Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Hospital Today and a Few FFXIV Screenshots!

Well, one last update before we welcome the newest Targetess into the fold!  We'll be packing up soon to head to the hospital to (theortically) welcome my new daughter into the world ... at a somewhat undetermined time today (or tomorrow)!

I've been meaning to put a few screenies of my FFXIV guy up for a while, so I'll just post 'em up before we head out as a final update for a bit.  Here we go!

I was a little enamored of the panoramas and vistas of FFXIV and didn't know how to hide the UI, so there's a lot of clutter in some of 'em.  Forgives meh.  Technical specs so you know what I'm running: 6-core AMD 3.3ghz processor, 750ti card, running all graphics at the high level save for shadows, which is at medium.  I've got shadow smoothing on and my card stays pretty cool the whole time.  It's more graphically intensive than WoW (duh) but better optimized than SWTOR (card runs 5 degrees hotter in Star Wars).

The Limsa Lominsa Lower Docks - near the Thieves Guild.
Caught a good angle to see the sunset.  Love the sunsets in Limsa Lominsa (a pirate city).

Limsa Lominsa - near Costa Del Sol.  I visit here for the Maelstrom leves (daily quests) and for the music.  Seriously, it's so soothing.  I was shocked today to see the draw distance; usually it's a bit hazy, but today the weather was clear and bright and I could see forever.

Same place, just looking out over the ocean.  Usually you can't see that far if it's even remotely foggy, but today was so clear ... it was amazing to see islands out that far!  Also, don't mind the bondage gear my ninja's wearing.  It's the best piece of equipment for my level ... but it makes me look like the gimp :(

My ninja showing off the Ul'dah sunset while out adventuring!  Being born in Arizona, I'm always partial to desert sunsets.  The sky turns orange here for like 2 minutes and it's wonderful.

Thug life.  Also, skull and crossbones eyepatch.  JUST STAHP FFXIV.  I LOVE YOU TOO MUCH.

Lookit this sheep!  I slaughtered him shortly afterwards for a quest, but lookit how cute!  I did feel bad.  Somewhat.

Heh.  Doody.
Time for ol' Backfist to take a nap!  Catch ya'll in a few days!

Friday, July 17, 2015

UPDATE: Community Cantina Pack - This is Usable 50 Times!

Hey, courtesy of Shintar's awesomeness, I was able to snag a Community Cantina pack for myself.  They gave me a code and were like, OH HEY HERE'S A LINK THAT YOU CAN GIVE TO (edit) FIFTY FRIENDS.  It's got a speeder in it!  And like other stuff too, apparently!

I don't know (edit) FIFTY people in RL that play SWTOR, so I'm opening it to ya'll!


Happy hunting!

And as always, if you'd like to play some SWTOR, use my referral link.  I'm on the Ebon Hawk on a variety of characters; just look for the Cracken legacy.  And yes, that's for General Pash Cracken and his son Page Cracken, elite Rebel commandos.


Monday, July 13, 2015

My Baby is a Jerk

My baby girl earned a lot of dark side points over the weekend.  She is now able to equip the Relic of LOL My Parents Hate This Shit (requires dark rank 2).  She is continuously trolling her parents with start/stop contractions that throw us in a tizzy.  This is the second child we've had (or having, or will have, whatever you want to say) and we thought we'd have the whole 'contractions' thing down pat.  We were wrong.

Our baby is a jerk.

In between fitful nights of sleep and anxious days, I did manage to log a few hours of MMO time (I got nothing else to do, right?).  It's been raining here for like, 3 years so going outside is basically out of the question.  Ok, maybe not 3 years, but it seriously has been 3 weeks of continuous rain.  I was able to get out and weed-eat my lawn on Friday but had to stop as the skies decided that 'Nope, we've had enough of this shit, Targeter' and dumped a gigantic rainstorm on me.  Luckily, I was able to finish mowing the next day before the torrential rains came, and we even got a nice afternoon at the pool!  Hooray for correct timing!

Seeing as how the weather has denied us almost all sunshine for 21 straight days, I was able to get some pretty decent FFXIV time in.  And I finally got the Ninja in FFXIV yesterday.  Hooray!  Felt like a big moment for me even if the class is so far kinda underwhelming.  But I am very low level (32) and it basically plays like the Rogue, but still ... I thought there'd be more stuff to it.  I'll learn more as I go, obviously, but oh well.  On the road to Ninja, I had to beat the level 30 Rogue quest 'Cloying Victory.'  Also known as 'Please Dear God, Don't Make Me Do This Again.'  I had to repeat this quest 6 times.  SIX TIMES.  You know how long it's been since I played an MMO where you even thought you maybe would fail on a quest?  Long time.  'Cloying Victory' changed all that though.  I was alternately amused, depressed, angry, and humbled.  But mainly, I'm glad I got it done (with the Echo buff /sadface).  In retrospect, there were a few things I could have done to make it easier on myself (leveled up a couple more to hit the duty max, killed a guard or two before taking out the detonators) and there were a couple of early aborts; I couldn't find the detonators because I wasn't paying attention the first time, Jacke got annihilated on the second try because the pirate captain just started wailing on him from the get-go, a random wipe in the middle when the little guy got destroyed by three abilities in five seconds ... you see where this is going.  It was a lot of trial and error to get it done, but in the end, it was oddly refreshing to see an actual, honest-to-god difficult class quest.

Well, I say that now.  Ask me in the middle of my attempts and my reply would have just been a long string of expletives connected my spittle and froth.

Monday, July 6, 2015

... Minor Interruption in Service ...

Howdy!  Just wanted to let you guys know that here pretty soon, the old Imperial Intelligence will be taking a small break to welcome the newest little Agent into the fold.  My wife is expecting our second child any day now and we're (im)patiently awaiting her arrival.  Thusly, my MMO time may take a downward swing for a smidge.  Dunno why.  Stupid babies all taking up my time an' stuff.  Being a papa for the second time is a lot less stressful than I expected.  We sorta know the deal now and the unknowns don't scare us too bad.  At least, that's what I tell myself.

Just an update on what I've been doing when I haven't been assembling cribs and dressers and other manly husband things:

  • Inquisitor is still on Balmorra.  The reticence to play him is in full swing and not for the reasons most think (lulz dis gaem iz bayd); I am terrified of finishing my last class story and never being able to experience it 'for the first time' again.  It's unnerving how much I *don't* want this to be my last class story.  At this point though, it's been so dang long since I played my Agent that I may just make a new and do it all over again.  It'll probably feel pretty damn fresh to me!  That and the Warrior.  That may be my new plan.  The recent revelations that KotFE is going to ditch class story and continue forward with 'the Outlander' story only heightens my anxiety.  I guess at some point I'll need to swallow my fear, pick a main (oh god, that's even more anxiety), and go through Shadows of Revan.  GAH!  I'm paralyzed by choices!
  • FFXIV has its hooks deep in me.  This game is very refreshing and new.  Sure, there's a lot of MMO tropes in it; lots of fetch quests, gather things, kill things, etc.  The presentation is new and unique, though (at least to me).  I'm currently winding my way casually to a ninja; Pugilist 15 and Rogue 30 are required, so that's my long-term goal now.  What it really boils down to is this: Eorzia is just a very nice place to spend a few hours a week.  Eventually, I think the grind will get to me ... the cross-classing system has the potential to be a very, very big time-waster.  Maybe it won't be in a bad way though?  We'll see.
  • My WoW time runs out in 7 days.  I'll be brutally honest here; I don't have even the slightest urge to log in.  Patch 6.2's release did nothing to rekindle my interest in the game at the moment.  Another Timeless Isle zone that isn't as good as the Timeless Isle, a raid that looks interesting I guess but the arms race with mechanics in WoW fights is getting very old, and shipyards which are not garrisons but behave just like garrisons.  There's not a lot there to keep my interest, especially since my raid team blew apart and my friends moved to a different server.  Sometimes it does sound like I'm coming down very hard on WoW and I don't mean to, but it was my first real MMO (sorry, you don't count Puzzle Pirates!).  I'm very attached to the game and my characters, so when it takes a turn that I don't like I find myself being a bit disappointed (but not as vocal as this guy).  I will be interested to see what they bring out next, but a quicker cadence to expansion releases really just means you get less value per dollar; more xpacs, more $$$, less patches, less content (re: Warlords of Draenor).  For Blizzard to earn my entertainment dollars again, they'll need to show me something pretty spectacular ... elsewise, I'll just have to check it out when my time/budget allows.

Hopefully I'll be able to share the news of a new baby Targetess with ya'll soon!

Monday, June 29, 2015

X12 Buff Progression: Inquest for the Inquiring Inquisitor and FFXIV

After powering through three class stories (bounty hunter, consular, knight) in as many weeks, I've decided to relax quite a bit and take the Inquisitor at my own leisurely pace.  I'm feeling a certain amount of reticence in leveling my Chissquisitor; this is last class story I have left before 'seeing it all.'  Well, seeing the class stories, anyways.  It takes a bit off the shine of SWTOR knowing that I'll be seeing new class stuff for the very last time.

I've done Makeb a couple of times and found it to be competent.  I've yet to experience the Shadow of Revan stuff, but from all accounts it is well done and intensely fascinating.  I may hold off on that for a while just to prolong my game experience; after all, I'm very intent on taking SWTOR as casually as possible this time around to avoid inevitable burnout.  And that means trying new things and taking time off from the game if I need to.

Nowadays, I busy myself with being outside, playing my Xbox One with my son (Forza Horizon 2 is a particular favorite of ours), and trying out new games.  Or more accurately, trying older games I haven't played in a while.

Enter Elder Scrolls Online!  Again!

TESO captivated my interest from the early announcements.  It looked like Oblivion (but prettier) and played like Skyrim (at least later in development).  There are several very cool things about it (good starting races, good starting zones) and some bad things (lol auction house wtf, twitchy combat).  Mainly, my wife plays it a lot and I sometimes watch her and think, HUH.  Maybe I should do that again!

TESO can't catch a break.

I downloaded two MMOs over the weekend.  One was TESO.  I won't be playing that any time soon, thanks to the *other* MMO I downloaded.  On a whim, and it was a complete and utter whim, I also downloaded the trial for FFXIV: A Realm Reborn.

Now, I played the original FFXIV on a trial account early on.  To say that I hated it would be a shockingly inaccurate statement.  I *loathed* that game.  The opening cutscenes on the ship, the 15 minutes of voiceover, the hilariously bad menus and UI.  God, everything about original FFXIV was 'wtf lol dis game suxxx' bad; the combat, the graphics, even the chatbox.  I tried it and dropped it almost immediately.  It's important to remember that my only real MMO experience prior to FFXIV Original Flavor™ was World of Warcraft (and to a lesser degree Puzzle Pirates).

Then came a cavalcade of other MMOs, including SWTOR.  I tried EQ2 as well and found that I enjoyed it a bit despite the busy and antiquated UI.  Rift came and went; while it was a bit clunky, I appreciated what Trion was trying to do.  Some Perfect World MMOs came after that, so generic and bland that I've forgotten their names.  There was TESO as well, and a trial of Wildstar which did not impress me at all.  Heck, I even tried MMO shooters like World of Tanks (nope), World of Planes (better but didn't last long on my HD), War Thunder (better than WoP but still not good), and Destiny (bought it on sale, ok for a time, got old fast).

The only one besides WoW that really stuck to me was SWTOR.  That may have changed yesterday morning.

I booted up the trial of FFXIV: ARR (which is now pronounced in my head 'Fix-iv arrrrr') and was pretty impressed with the visual style.  Even the start screen was snazzy.  The character creator was pretty outstanding as well; it may be missing all the sliders and customization of TESO's crazy editor, but it had more than enough options to make me happy.  Much more than SWTOR or WoW's creators, that's for sure.

The opening cinematic definitely lets you know you're playing a Japanese RPG.  It's weird and makes no sense, but not in a horribly awful way.  I generally dislike JRPGs intensely, so the fact that this one did not immediately piss me off was a good sign.  The opening scenes aren't skippable, which makes it rough if you create more than 1 or 2 characters though.

The game starts you off in 1 of 3 different cities based on starting class;

  • Limsa Lominsa for Marauders and Arcanist: A beautiful seaport that boasts some truly inventive vertical design.
  • Gridania for Lancers, Archers, and Conjurers: A fairly standard woodland realm that's sprawled out and mildly inconvenient to traverse.
  • Ul'dah for Pugilists, Gladiators, and Thaumaturges: A desert city with all the Arabian trappings you'd suspect.  I've spent the least amount of time here so far and can't really give a good indication of what it's like.

So far, the game is interesting and fun.  In stark contrast to Warlords of Draenor, FFXIV's world feels alive and bustling.  There are an immense amount of NPCs wandering around in cities and small towns, enough to make it feel like a real place, and they interact with your character for the most part.  The creature density is pretty damn high in the wilderness, though thankfully (at least early on) most of them are not aggro-on-sight.  Leveling is a steady process, with decent pace and excellent quest writing.  All in all, I'm pretty impressed.

I started as a 14-day trial account, but since the base game is only $20 and includes a free month, I signed up for the whole shebang.  I'll be interested to see my engagement level in 30 days; will FFXIV stay with me like SWTOR did?  It's off to a promising start ... but then again, so was Rift.

I'll report again with my impressions beyond the starting zones soon!

Friday, June 26, 2015

The Road Map to Knights of the Fallen Empire

October 27th isn't too far away, so let's lay out the road ahead (as we know it) for the new expansion, Knights of the Fallen Empire.

There are five bonuses for players if they are subscribed from July 31st to launch day (or, more technically 7 days before launch day).  A new companion, some blasters, a coat, a swoop bike mount, and early access.  These are earned in order ... each one can be earned individually, but you must be subbed for the first four in order to activate early access.  Also remember; these bonuses will be mailed to you either on Early Access start date (October 20th) or launch day ... they will not be available before then.

The official site lists them:

  • Subbed on July 31st - Nico Okarr, a new companion for KotFE
  • Subbed on August 31st - Nico's twin blasters (can be used for Nico or yourself)
  • Subbed on September 30th - Nico's coat (can be used for Nico or yourself)
  • Subbed on October 19th - Swoop bike-inspired mount (inclusion in swoop gang not included)
  • Subbed from July 31st to October 19th - 7 days of Early Access to KotFE

Remember, you must be subbed from July 31st to October 19th to get the early access!  If you miss one of the cutoff dates, you're shit outta luck on Early Access.

If you 'd like to sub, hey, gimme free cartel coins and earn yourself a goodie package by using my referral link!

Bioware has made a big deal over 'returning to their roots' with this expansion by making it story-focused.  It almost sounds like a is a single-player expansion (CONFIRMED).  My fears about the new story were solidified in an article/interview at MassivelyOP.  So what does it mean?  There will be a single story in KotFE, the story of the Outlander.  Much like KOTOR or any other Bioware RPG, you'll have a singular story to play.  Granted, the story will branch out and take twists and turns as you make choices, but this really means that the much anticipated and long awaited class story continuation is very much dead (for now).  Bioware states that there will be 'class flavor' in the Outlander story, but I sincerely doubt there will be much other than, "Hail <class name>, well met!  We have a mission for you.  Kill 10 droids!"

Is this such a bad thing, though?  If it's a true return to form for Bioware Austin and they really are channeling both KOTOR and Mass Effect, can it even remotely be a bad thing?  My personal belief is that it will be equal parts awesome and disappointing.  The class stories were something that made SWTOR so incredibly special and also so worrying ... their ability to carry on that much development on 8 different game stories at once was often brought up pre-launch as a potential failure of the game.

There's also a new free level 60 feature for KotFE ... sound similar to anything?

To be fair, I think this is a GREAT feature.  The ability to instantly make a new character at level 60 is a springboard to the new content.  It instantly engages new players and lets Bioware concentrate on the story they want to tell.  The downside is this; brand new 60s mean brand new players who don't really know what they're doing.  This is basically ok, though, since the multiplayer content will be pretty sparse.

Also remember that this is not a *boost* to 60.  You can create a new character at level 60.  Existing characters cannot be catapulted to 60.  Bioware also states that they are working hard on providing us 2 extra character slots for the new expansion; no need to delete old characters to clear space.  And finally, the level 60 option will of course be available in the Cartel Market because OF COURSE.  I'm not mocking it ... I mean, why WOULDN'T it be available?  It'll sell like hotcakes.

The lack of class story continuation is disappointing but ultimately practical.  When I was watching the E3 conference and the subsequent interviews/press releases, in the back of my mind I knew there would be no class story ... they reference 'the Outlander' way too often and way too heavily for me to think there'd be class-centric stories.  It makes me wonder if all the current companions will be jumbled up and spread throughout the expansion as quest givers instead of hanging with us.  I'm betting we'll get a whole new crew of companions instead, plus whatever Cartel Market companions we've bought over the years (Treek, HK-51).

It's a bit sad, but expected.  It still hasn't really affected my excitement for KotFE, but it has taken a tiny bit of the shine off.  Oh well.