Wildstar Free2Play Launch

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Wildstar was a game I enjoyed greatly when it first came out, but which fell foul of one of the MMO’s biggest issues as a genre: playing solo became quite boring, and I ended up giving up before I got too far due to there being fewer players in my level range doing any of the content. This was mostly problematic because I was very slow at levelling, but higher level players had no real reason to come back to my zones and so I was left exploring by myself. Now that it’s gone free2play this week, I’m really hyped to try it again.

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I’m an Alt-a-Holic (Blaugust #25)

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As you can see, my Guild Wars 2 characters reveal my altitis. Though ooh, I do have one more character slot!
I admit it. When it comes to MMOs, and even sometimes RPGs, I’m definitely an alt-a-holic. I have altitis. Whatever you want to call it, I make too many goddamn alts!

Why do I do it? First of all, in traditional MMOs — in this regard FFXIV does not count as traditional — playing all the classes meant creating a new character for each one. Frequently I would have at least two characters going at any one time, and as I rarely made it to level cap in past MMOs that didn’t matter all that much. I have a tendency to be indecisive about what class I actually want to play, so this often manifests itself in me creating a new character every now and again. Worse still, I frequently want to look at a pretty new character without having to spend real money because I’m cheap. There, I said it. I’m cheap.

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Screenshot of the Week #7 (Blaugust #23)

psycheplays_blaugust15-day23_screenshot-of-the-week_ffxiv2This week’s Screenshot of the Week is my au ra lady’s stupid looking grin after I gave her a bit of a makeover this weekend. I hate to admit it but I have used a ridiculous number of Fantasia potions messing around with my character’s appearance, though apart from one fun little detour, I’ve stuck with miqo’te for the first half of my time in FFXIV and now an au ra since the expansion.

Some days, I miss my little catgirl and consider switching back to a miqo’te, but since I was so excited for the dragonlady and even renamed my character to make her name more lore friendly, I think I’ll wait it out for a little longer before I go and buy yet another Fantasia for the pleasure!

What have you been playing this week?

EQ2’s Prison Server Experiment (Blaugust #21)

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In case you haven’t heard already, later this week Everquest 2 will release a Prison Server known as Drunder, where players who are consistently disruptive or break the rules of the game will be sent and will never return from.

I’m not even exaggerating — players who get sent to Drunder will have their entire account sent there. No characters can exist outside of Drunder if you’re sent there, and you’ll never come back. Players can request to be sent there via a support petition, but again, they will not be able to transfer off.

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Currently Playing (Blaugust #20)

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I read Jewel’s post on being a Crazy Game Lady this morning, and it kinda struck home for me. Up until very recently, I never had a gaming “home”. While I had a few games I played consistently, when it came to things like MMOs, I would hop from one to the next. I never reached level cap in any of the MMOs I played for a long time.

I have played almost every major MMO release since my early teenage years, and stuck to none of them. I’ve dabbled in WoW, dipped my toe in Final Fantasy XI (that one stuck a little more than most!), played Aion for a while and eventually pushed to the max level in RIFT before dropping it like a hot potato because its end-game didn’t appeal to me and my time schedule.

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Life, the Universe & Everything (19/08) (Blaugust #19)

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I’ve been gone a little bit the last few days, so I thought it’d be a good time to give a Life, the Universe & Everything update. I’ve managed to keep up with Blaugust posts somewhat, but I have fallen off the wagon a few times! I’m kind of kicking myself for missing a few days.

There are two major reasons for this: first of all, I’ve been sick since last week, and because of that I’ve been finding it hard to find the energy to get on my PC. Gaming has been limited since last Wednesday, and I had to miss work to rest up. It’s getting better now, but I’m still finding myself exhausted! I also have had a pretty busy week at work which isn’t helping, because I get home from work and all I want to do is chill and turn off my brain for a little while!

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Screenshot of the Week #6 (Blaugust #16)

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This week’s Screenshot of the Week is a shot of my lovely sylvari mesmer from Guild Wars 2. With all of the changes recently, I’ve been wanting to get back into the game and give it a go, see what’s new with the expansion Heart of Thorns fast approaching.

I admit, like many others I’m finding the changes to skills pretty overwhelming and confusing, not to mention the fact that I always found my mesmer a little complicated! But unlike most games, I’m able to drop into GW2 and run around the countryside exploring, and still level up. My mesmer got from level 55 to almost level 70 with the use of a few Tomes of Knowledge and working on some zone completion with T’s warrior.

While I have no intentions of making GW2 my MMO home, it’s fun to jump into every now and then, and I find it really relaxing! The dungeons are challenging when you do the explorable versions of them, but they’re also entertaining with a group of fun people. I do miss the “holy trinity” of classes, but at least it means you don’t have to wait around for a tank or healer to get a group as well!

Gaming To-Do List (Blaugust #11)

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Following in the footsteps of Jaeda at Dragons & Whimsy, Ysharros at Stylish Corpse and a few other video game bloggers, I thought it was about time I started my own gaming to-do list. I’m somewhat using the rules laid out by Izlain in his post The Gamer To-Do List. You can read his suggested guidelines over on his blog!

First of all, why would I do this? Like a few of my fellow gamers, I have a Stack of Shame (on Steam and elsewhere) the size of a skyscraper at this point and it’s ever growing, and I have a few too many unfinished games piling up on the backburner, not to mention games I own but have never even installed.

Instead of feeling excited that I have so many options, I feel, well…stressed. I know that’s absolutely ridiculous, but I get so overwhelmed with a long list of games that instead of just picking one and playing it, I stare at my list and end up doing something else instead. Or, in some cases, doing nothing.

So for me, organisation can sometimes help! When I’m on my time off, I often even write myself a list of games I want to play so that I don’t get distracted or waylaid. With that in mind, here are some things I want to achieve in my video games of choice so that I can feel accomplished and make some progress on my gaming to-do list!

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Venturing Into PvP (Blaugust #10)

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I am not a big PvP player. I have PvP’d before, and enjoyed it, in games like EVE Online and a few fantasy MMOs were PvP is restricted to a scenario or instance and kept away from the open world, but for the most part, my focus has always been on PvE.

I initially started dabbling in FFXIV PvP a week or two ago for one reason, and one reason only: to get my paws on the gorgeous armour sets and use them for glamours. I am not ashamed to admit that, glamour is a fantastic feature and one I use a great deal. My White Mage above is sporting the lovely Swansgrace Coat and Direwolf Thighboots of Healing, and I know already that I want to pick up the Swansgrace weapon and some of the Unicorn set for my Bard.

But a strange thing has happened in my grind for Wolf Marks, the currency used to pick up these items. I have started to enjoy PvP.

I know! Me! I have found myself defaulting to doing PvP to get tomestones for normal gear, and spending a lot of my time in-game running the PvP roulette (which basically means doing Seal Rock over and over) and really enjoying it. For those who don’t play or who haven’t tried Seal Rock or FFXIV PvP at all, it’s like a capture-and-hold type game mode where points called nodes will activate around the map and Grand Companies will battle it out to capture these nodes, earning points for their team up to a maximum of 800. I was really intimidated the first time I tried it but I had so much fun that I’ve been going back ever since.

Now it’s less about the gear, and more about having fun pew-pewing enemy Grand Companies, working with my team, and just generally having a good time. I was so surprised at myself! It’s even inspired me to venture into PvP in other games too, and focus on more PvP aspects of the games I play.

Do you do PvP? What’s your favourite type of PvP you’ve experienced in games, particularly MMOs?

On MMO Progression (Blaugust #2)

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I’ve never been one for hardcore raiding. In fact, Final Fantasy XIV was the first MMO I ever raided in at all. I came close in a few past MMOs, but I’ve always found myself bumbling around, levelling up and exploring but never taking the game very seriously. FFXIV was different, because in that game, I have met a group of like-minded people who make content progression fun, which is honestly what I’d always been missing.

That said, I find myself hungry. I want to do more. I want to experience more, challenge myself, and push myself to complete content. I don’t expect to ever be world first or even close to it, and I don’t have the time (unfortunately) to dedicate to such an endeavour. But I do find myself watching streams and videos of people progressing through FFXIV‘s most recent raid content (Alexander Savage) and wish I was doing so too.

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The difficulty of variety game blogging (Blaugust #1)

psycheplays_blaugust15-day1_video-game-bloggingImage source: #1 | #2 | #3*
What’s that clicking sound going off like a machine gun in the distance? Why, it’s the sound of 69 (or possibly more, at this stage!) keyboards typing away furiously, as Blaugust is upon us! I’ve decided to take part in the Blaugust daily blogging challenge this year, as I did last year — though I know that I will struggle to stick to it — because I know it’s good for my writing muscles. I also recently read that it’s good for you to write creatively about anything that is on your mind at least once a day, so I hope this will help me!

So, to the topic of this post. I have been blogging about games in one way or another since I started playing Final Fantasy XI in 2008, thanks to my friend Tilly at TillyKay.com getting me into the habit. I’d always written a diary or journal of some form, either physical or online, so it made sense to progress naturally into sharing my gaming adventures.

Since then, I have blogged about Warhammer: Age of ReckoningAion, and briefly about RIFT. I dabbled in EVE blogging as well. However, about a year or two ago I wanted a more general nerdy blog, and the first of three blogs was born. I’ve since settled on Psyche Plays and plan to stay here, but it is not without its challenges. 

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Screenshot of the Week #3 (FFXIV)

028This week’s Screenshot of the Week (yeah I know, I haven’t done them for a while!) is an FFXIV selfie to show off my Au Ra’s new look. In case you couldn’t tell, I’ve been really enjoying playing Heavensward lately and a lot of my gaming time has gone into it. This is my Bard, currently level 60 and item level 168 or so. Got a long way to go, and Alexander is coming out this week, eep!

I will probably continue tweaking my Au Ra’s appearance for a while, and I haven’t 100% settled on Raen but I think it’s where I want to be. The white scales are really pretty, and I love the naming conventions, even if I’m not a roleplayer.

Adventures in Heavensward (FFXIV)

Adventures in Heavensward - My lovely Au Ra lady during my Bard levelling journeyHeavensward, the first expansion pack for Final Fantasy XIV, was released last week and I’ve genuinely never been this excited by an MMO expansion in my entire gaming life. There were a number of things I was looking forward to in this expansion, and it would be pointless to go through all of them, but a few of the highlights were the additional levels to attain, beautiful new zones to explore, and of course, the ability to change my race to an Au Ra. Who doesn’t want to be a beautiful dragon lady? 

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Heavensward & Au Ra Excitement (FFXIV)

My Au Ra Xaela lady, one of my two choices for Heavensward when it releases.

My second Au Ra and the one I will probably go with.

With FFXIV’s first expansion pack, Heavensward just around the corner, everyone has been sharing their benchmark scores (I got 7800 on highest DX11 settings on 1920×1080, and 11000 on the same settings but 1280×720) and, perhaps more importantly — oh, who am I kidding, absolutely more importantly! — the appearances of their Au Ra, the new dragon-based race being introduced.

These are mine, and I cannot decide between them! While I definitely prefer the appearance of the Raen, I have to say that I still love the lore of the Xaela and of course the aesthetic with the darker scales. I think I will keep tweaking until I’m happy with both then make a decision, but at this point I feel like I’ll go with the Raen.

Now my only real concern is what to call myself! I’m not sure my character’s name really suits the Au Ra, as her name is Sirantha Swift, but then again it never really suited Miqo’te either, so I’m not sure what to do with myself! But, with me taking a week off work specifically for the expansion hype, I think it’s pretty safe to say I’m really excited in a way I’ve not been for an MMO in a long, long time, if ever.

Will you be switching to Au Ra too?
Let me know in the comments and share screenshots if you have any!

The Time for T9 Has Come! (FFXIV)

FFXIV: It's time for Cake to kill Nael Deus Darnus in T9!

My Free Company and I have been spending the last few weeks in the Holocharts working on downing The Second Coil of Bahamut Turn 4, also known as Turn 9 or T9. For those of you who either don’t play or aren’t familiar with the raiding system of FFXIV, Coil is the end-game 8-man raid of the game, beginning with the five turns from the Binding Coil of Bahamut, followed by the four turns of the Second Coil of Bahamut, and finally the Final Coil of Bahamut which we are eagerly anticipating for the near future! The last turn of each Coil is notoriously a skill-gate of sorts, as they often have difficult mechanics to overcome. T9 is definitely no exception and this week is our seventh week working on it.

I have been a little quiet lately, and this is part of the reason why. I’ve been watching and reading guides, practising in between raid nights, and generally being quite addicted to FFXIV all over again. I had never stopped playing, but I was feeling a little demotivated and all this work and excitement has got me hyped up!

I’ve also felt a renewed love for my FC and how our group works together. I tried out a few party-finder groups at the weekend for additional practice (and I certainly wouldn’t have said no to a clear if it had happened!) and realised that sometimes, the group you’re comfortable with really is the best way to go. I can’t wait to feel like we’ve made a major achievement on our journey together, and start looking into finishing of the Coil storylines in time for the upcoming expansion!

To Parse or Not to Parse?

In MMOs, should you use a DPS parser?

Anyone who has ever played an MMO semi-seriously will have heard of parsing in some shape or form. Some games and communities encourage it, such as World of Warcraft where nearly everyone will use an add-on to monitor the damage per second (DPS) of their party during a particular fight; some will frown upon or even potentially threaten to ban for the use of them, for example Final Fantasy XIV where their use is strongly discouraged.

One question that often comes up, particularly in the latter group, is should people parse the damage of others? Technically speaking, it’s often not difficult to find an application or add-on that will take the contents of the combat log, translate it into a more readable list of numbers assigned to each person representing just how much damage they’re doing, on average, throughout the fight. With this in mind, most of those applications or add-ons will show everyone’s DPS, not just the player using it. Which raises the question as to whether or not it’s “morally” (using the word loosely) right to do.

Personally, I’ve used a DPS parser in many games I’ve played, be it through add-ons in WoW and Rift, or now in Final Fantasy XIV. I’ve always used it as a way to monitor my own performance, and I’ve found that it’s been a hugely positive influence on my raiding gameplay in FFXIV. Firstly, it’s helped me identify weak points in my rotation, as I noticed that I was doing slightly less DPS than the recorded “averages” I’d found online for my class. After reading and experimenting a lot, I’ve now pushed my DPS significantly higher, and know that I’d be able to do even better with more practice. It’s also helped to reassure me when I noticed that I was dropping down in the enmity list (think agro) — I was using an ability to reduce my enmity, but only at the beginning of the fight and still seemed to be consistently low. I was worried my DPS was lacking, so up popped the DPS parser and I saw that I was in fact pushing DPS that I was pretty proud of, and was fighting for top spot with one of our other DPS in the party. And finally, it’s helping me to understand the fights and how to optimise my singing (as a career Bard), as well as movement and downtime.

However, I often see people complaining about elitism in MMOs, and I worry that parsing is a tool that might contribute. Raiding guilds are one thing, where you’re expected to perform to your very best at all times without exception, and I can see parsers being used to identify who can make the cut. But I’d be uncomfortable if I knew that someone was parsing me without at least letting me know. Unless I’m putting myself in a situation where it’s warranted, it just feels like a pre-judgement on my performance which I might already be working on myself. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying people shouldn’t suggest improvements if they see them, but I worry that someone judges just a number without knowing the context behind it.

Of course, there are good sides to parsing beyond my own personal experiences. Some people will use them as a way to educate and help improve the performance of those in their raid groups, which is great! Taking the numbers and translating them into something tangible is where I think parsers will really start to shine. If we take the numbers at face value, that’s when they start to become more dangerous.

What do you think? Are parsers good or bad?
Let me know in the comments below!

Screenshot of the Week #1

Screenshot of the Week: My friend Iolet Wayland's character in FFXIV.

From now on, each Sunday I will be posting a Screenshot of the Week, much like my previous Screenshot Sunday posts. The difference will be that I will only be highlighting one screenshot, along with a description of the image!

This week’s SotW is of my friend Lina’s character in Final Fantasy XIV, a Scholar by the name of Iolet Wayland on the Odin server. I’m highlighting this screenshot because I’ve been working on screenshot editing and signatures for my Free Company, and was pretty happy with the result here! Iolet is one of our main healers in Cake, our Free Company, and her character is one of my fellow miqo’te!

I’m still working on my technique for screenshot editing and will be continuing to refine the process. Ultimately though I’m really happy with the colours in this one, and hope I can transfer that into other game screenshots.

Goodbye, Avatar! (FFXIV)

Goodbye, Avatar! T8 has been downed by Cake!

Thursday night was a night of progression for myself and my Free Company in Final Fantasy XIV. The last few weeks we’ve primarily been working on the Primals and trying to clear 2.5 dungeons (as well as World of Darkness together), and any content that people were missing. We’re far from a hardcore raiding group, but we enjoy progressing together, and in the last few weeks we’ve cleared something every raid night. Thursday night was no different!

We started off by trying Ifrit EX, after only clearing Titan EX last week. I was genuinely surprised that Ifrit was pretty simple, and we cleared it second try! First try we just had a few sloppy mistakes and had to start over, but afterwards it was smooth sailing. Sadly no pony drop, but now that we’ve cleared all of the Extreme modes I’m hoping we can get on to farming them sometime.

After the Ifrit EX clear, we jumped straight into T8. It was pretty tough, mostly because most of us hadn’t seen the fight first-hand, and I sure didn’t contribute with my lag and a few disconnects strategically placed throughout the fight. In fact, I disconnected just as we were about to get the kill! The group stopped DPSing til I could get back in only to wipe at 1%, I felt so bad! We took the Avatar down shortly after that though, so not too much time was lost! I’m proud of us, because we’re completing the content while having fun. Sure, we’re quite far behind as we’re only starting work on T9 now (which is really crazy, by the way!) and still have all of the Final Coil of Bahamut to go, but we’ve done a great job of clearing content and progressing together, without treading on anyone’s toes.

I even managed to score the kill for Battle in the Big Keep, unlocking Trial DR for the first time. I’ve been so bad at keeping up with that! It was a really fun fight.

Onwards to further content and progression! No more will Cake be known as “All the fun, none of the content”.

Life, the Universe & Everything (10/02)

First of all, it’s my birthday today! Since I’m off work this week, I thought what better time to post a general update about everything that’s going on in my life, gaming and all.

As you probably know, I’m playing Guild Wars 2 a lot and am working on both levelling my Mesmer and trying to unlock more Ascalonian weapon skins, since I got the longbow for my Ranger. I’ll be trying to get the greatsword for my Mesmer through grinding the PVP reward track and maybe a few explorable dungeon runs, which we started this past weekend. It’s been fun, since we’ve been playing with one of my FC mates from Final Fantasy XIV and she’s a lot of fun to play games with!

Life, the Universe & Everything: My sylvari mesmer in Guild Wars 2.

Speaking of FFXIV though, I’ve finally started working on my Artemis Animus! I was a bit behind the curve when it came to upgrading it to an Atma, and I picked up the first of nine books a few weeks ago. I never got round to finishing it, and I was surprised when I finished it today and felt a genuine sense of accomplishment that I think I’ve been missing lately! So I’ll be trying to upgrade it now, perhaps quite slowly but still, it’s something. I have no idea how to upgrade it to a Novus yet, as I never really paid much attention to it.

I know a few of you have noticed that I haven’t been streaming lately, and for that I’m sorry. I have been feeling a little nervous about it for the last few weeks for some reason, and it’s just put me off going live every time I’m about to. That mixed with the issues I had accessing Twitch last weekend just made it pretty difficult. I will be getting back into it as soon as I can, because I really miss you guys! But I just needed to get myself into the right frame of mind. In between regular streams, I will keep my Forge.gg stream up for whenever I’m playing a compatible game. It’ll tweet automatically when I go live, or if you have an account you can follow me there and see when I’m live on your sidebar. Check out Laughter’s post about Forge.gg for more information and invites to the site.

Life, the Universe & Everything: Forge.gg is a new streaming service for quick captures.

Apart from all of that, everything’s been fine! I’ve been enjoying the beginning of my week off and am thinking of starting a backlog of games I need to finish since I have some time to do that, then maybe dedicating a day every week to my backlog (thanks to Devisaidso on Twitter for the inspiration!).

Hope you’ve all had a great start to 2015!

Adventures in Tyria…Again (Guild Wars 2)

Guild Wars 2: Levelling a Thief following the Heart of Thorns announcement.

Guild Wars 2: Just a couple of norn badasses, no big deal.

Last weekend during PAX, Arenanet announced the first Guild Wars 2 expansion pack, Heart of Thorns. I picked up Guild Wars 2 when it was first released and truly loved the game, and even my MMO-hating fiancé played it with me! Something about GW2 just felt right: more of an RPG than an MMO, with a rich, living story and plenty of events and beautiful things to explore. There was, of course, PvP and dungeons just like most MMORPGs but those weren’t what I enjoyed most about the game. Ultimately, I stopped because I didn’t enjoy the end-game at the time, but with the announcement I’ve been dabbling again.

It’s an interesting change of pace from what I’ve been playing lately, and I’m enjoying it a lot! A few friends have returned, giving me plenty of people to talk to in-game and even play with from time to time. Right now, I’ve decided that since I don’t really understand or remember a lot of things from the game (especially at max level!) I’m going to be levelling a Guardian with a few friends, and a Thief with my fiancé, which we’re recording for fun. If you’re interested, the first episode is already live on my YouTube gaming channel. In between that, we’ve been playing around with our old characters as well so as not to neglect them, however!

The release date for Heart of Thorns hasn’t been confirmed, but I’m really excited! I never truly shut the door on GW2 as it was a fun game and one I’d always intended to return to from time to time, so I’m thankful for the expansion announcement giving me the kick up the backside I needed to motivate me.

Will you be playing again?
Let me know in the comments, and be sure to leave your tag!

Our Eternal Bond (FFXIV)

FFXIV: My Ceremony of Eternal Bonding with my guild leader was a lot of fun!
Yes, that is someone dressed up as a ghost…

FFXIV: All of our friends were there! Even though one of them could only be there in spirit as she was busy!

On Tuesday 13th January 2015, we celebrated our bond by getting married in a beautiful ceremony, the ceremony blessed by a slightly eccentric individual, in front of many of our friends. And by “we”, I mean my guild leader Arvenia Wolvesbane and I, by “getting married” I mean we had our Ceremony of Eternal Bonding, and by “slightly eccentric individual” I mean a Moogle. The part about our friends was accurate, however!

Square Enix recently introduced the ability for players to get married in Final Fantasy XIV, either through the free Standard Plan, or by purchasing the Gold or Platinum plans in the online store. Whenever the feature was first announced, I was impressed to find out that Square Enix had allowed same sex marriage, and so I proposed to my guild leader, Arvenia, whose character is a tall blue-haired lady Roegadyn.

FFXIV: We even threw a party afterwards at our FC house.

We invested in the Platinum plan for the extra options, including additional colours and flower options and different decorations in the ceremony. Also, the paid options give all guests an exclusive pet: the Demon Box! We thought this would be fun so we went for one of the paid packs and invited our Free Company to join us.

It all starts with a questline that you do with your partner, and after travelling Eorzea to pray at various locations with your bride or husband-to-be, you will go to the venue together to select the options you want to go with, including the priest for your wedding (the Moogle was definitely not a disappointment!), the colours for the carpet and flowers, the music for the procession and the all-important after party, how you enter and exit the ceremony, and of course who gets to carry the bouquet! After both of you have agreed and saved your settings, you can also reserve a date and time, which has to be done in advance.

FFXIV: A cuddle following the ceremony.

Slots open for two weeks, new slots opening every Friday at 9:00am GMT for the following two weeks. We noticed that even after a few weeks had passed, it was still difficult to get a good slot. I was a few hours late to reserve our date and time, and most of the timeslots were already gone, but we managed to snag a decent one that just meant I had to rush home from work! Some of my friends were not so lucky even though they also tried to reserve their dates on the same day as us.

All in all, our ceremony was lovely! I was surprised to find that three of the guys from our FC showed up in grooms garb, which was really sweet, and everyone dressed for the occasion (including one of our friends who showed up in the All Saints’ Wake ghost costume!) and we even received pets and gil gifts! It was really cute. The ceremony is super cheesy but frankly I was impressed that they made such an experience out of the in-game marriage system!

FFXIV: A candid shot from just before the ceremony.

So thank you Square Enix, not only for letting me marry another woman, but also for making the experience memorable for all of us. We all had a lot of fun, and went back to our FC house for a rather debaucherous party afterwards!

Life Lately (15/09/2014)

I apologise for the lack of posts lately, once again! Things got quite a bit busier over the last few weeks and it’s been hard to sit myself down still long enough to catch up on posts. I know I say that a lot, but honestly, I travelled to LA in July and a week later to Germany for gamescom, followed by two extremely busy weeks at work and yet another business trip! I’m just now recovering from all the travel.

I’ve been picking up on my stream schedule as well, streaming at least two or three times a week which is fun! I’ve been getting very much back into it, which has been great because I really missed talking to people while I played games and this gives me a great opportunity to do so.

Due to all my travel, I completely failed at Blaugust, so I apologise to all of my fellow bloggers who were taking part! I wanted to do so much with it, so I hope we’ll have more opportunities to do blogging events that will help with the gaming blog community. I did meet some great games bloggers through it, however, which has been a real treat!

Gaming wise, I’ve been playing an inordinate amount of The Sims 4, and I promise to write up a review here over the next few days! I’ve also been playing Final Fantasy XIV, with a focus on levelling the classes I need for cross-class actions, practicing T5 with my FC, and farming for my atma weapon. All in all, I’ve had a lot to keep me busy, and I’ve been neglecting this place a little too much.

I hope everyone has kept well! Thank you for putting up with my sporadic posting.

Oops, I resubscribed

Blaugust Day 24: Oops, I resubscribed to FFXI...

We’ve all been there. You’re sitting at your PC (or other gaming device of choice) and staring at your list of games, not sure what to play. You remember the good old days in insert-old-MMO-here and sigh wistfully. Would it be that hard to go back? What would it be like? Most of us shut down the thought in an instant, remembering that there was a reason we quit or moved on, laugh at our moment of weakness and launch something else. I usually do. But not this time.

This time it was different, because my Free Company in Final Fantasy XIV are a big old bunch of enablers who played my personal addiction religiously. A lot of you probably already know my history with Final Fantasy XI; I wanted to play it at release so badly but couldn’t, and then a friend I met online started playing again and I jumped in too (if you’re reading this Tilly, thank you and curse you! Also, I’m sorry but I think I stole your hairstyle…) I never really got very far, not even reaching level cap, but I really loved it and I guess part of me felt rewarded since I could finally play it after not touching it when I really wanted to all those years ago. And now that my FC is playing, I’ve resubscribed again.

I’ve seen World of Warcraft players do the same, and have almost slipped up myself several times on that front. I’ve watched friends, now serial WoW quitters and resubbers, dip their toe in and get sucked into the whirlpool of nostalgia before realising the fun didn’t last. And I know, deep down, that will happen with FFXI as well. But y’know what? Right now, I’m revelling in the soundtrack while I sip on a cup of tea, just like I did six years ago on a cold evening in January, when I first started playing.

Nostalgia is a beautiful thing. Pity it’s pretty terrible for my wallet.

#Blaugust
Header courtesy of Belghast of Aggronaut.com.

Interested in taking part in Blaugust?

Check out the Nook on Anook, or Belghast’s post on the Gospel of Blaugust and get started! You don’t have to write a gaming blog, and your posts don’t have to be about gaming to participate. So come along and join the fun!

The good old days of MMOs

Blaugust Day 9: The good old days of MMOs, Final Fantasy XI!

I have always had a very over-active “nostalgia bone”, which tends to be my downfall when it comes to MMOs. I’m often tempted back into old MMOs that I haven’t played in a while because of it. This hasn’t really happened to me recently as I’ve most definitely found my home in Final Fantasy XIV, but I am not naive enough to think it won’t happen again sometime.

But one time I’d love to return to is the good old days of Final Fantasy XI. I didn’t reach level cap like I have done in other MMOs since, or like my friends did in FFXI on multiple jobs, but I still remember the game so fondly. I played it with Tilly of Paper Crowned; she was a veteran, whereas I had never played the game before but had always wanted to from watching friends play it in the past. I still fondly remember curling up in my old computer chair with a cup of tea for a spot of fishing with friends.

A lot of people complained about FFXI; it was a punishing game, with very little forgiveness. One of my least favourite memories is of dying after finally reaching the level that I could equip my next gear, so I ended up lying in a heap on the ground, completely naked. It wasn’t my finest moment, to say the least!

For some reason, this game holds a special place in my heart though. It was the first MMO I ever encountered, even though I wasn’t able to play due to not being able to pay for it myself (I was a young teenager!) and having paranoid parents who didn’t trust the internet at the time. So I settled for watching people playing, marvelling over how the characters really breathed and the cat girls that pranced around the beautiful environments. I listened to friends talk about what jobs they’d level and what they needed for their subjobs, what skills they wanted to level up.

I’m fully aware the game is vastly different to what it was before. I realise I probably won’t enjoy it the same way I did. But that doesn’t stop me from looking back on it fondly and remembering those great times that I spent with friends or all those wonderful people I met. And maybe one day I’ll give it a shot again!

#Blaugust
Header courtesy of Belghast of Aggronaut.com.

Interested in taking part in Blaugust?

Check out the Nook on Anook, or Belghast’s post on the Gospel of Blaugust and get started! You don’t have to write a gaming blog, and your posts don’t have to be about gaming to participate. So come along and join the fun!

Why I heal

Most people have a really profound reason behind their choice of role in an MMO — or, indeed, in any game — especially when it comes to healing or tanking. I am often a healer in MMOs, and fellow healers always seem to have had this in their history, something that’s just always been the case. Their go-to class, perhaps. But for me? It’s not really how it works.

My first ever class in an RPG-esque game was a Paladin in Neverwinter Nights. I played her with a greatsword and a focus on smacking things in the face, which means later I decided Fighter made more sense. In fact, T and I played NWN together a lot, and we always had our two iconic Fighters in fullplate with greatswords, and a huge roleplaying backstory behind them. It wasn’t until I played Final Fantasy XI that I began healing, and even then it wasn’t entirely by choice. I wanted to play a Dark Knight. I wanted to play melee DPS. All of my friends also, sadly, wanted to play melee DPS (even specifically picking Dark Knight) and that messed with our static party, so I decided to take the hit and play something different. I tried tanking and it didn’t feel the same, so I went with healing instead.

Ever since then, I’ve dabbled in DPS classes every time I start out in an MMO, only to end up ultimately switching to a healer for the “good of the party”. My current MMO, Final Fantasy XIV, is no different. I started out as an Archer with intentions of playing a Bard and going support-DPS, especially because I’d always admired my friend’s Bard in FFXI and while they’re pretty different, I thought it’d be fun. It was! And I even tried to play Arcanist into Summoner, but we had so many DPS players in my first Free Company that it made sense to switch. Since I wasn’t fond of the idea of tanking, I went with White Mage, and it’s kinda stuck ever since, with me switching out to DPS with my other static when I play with them.

To say I heal out of pure necessity would be a lie, however. One thing I think a lot of healers, and even tanks, have in common is that we like to feel needed, or like we’re making a really positive impact on the party. And that’s what keeps me coming back to healing. I feel important, and I feel like my role is necessary. Most of all, I feel challenged, and that’s what makes it all the more interesting.

#Blaugust
Header courtesy of Belghast of Aggronaut.com.

Interested in taking part in Blaugust?

Check out the Nook on Anook, or Belghast’s post on the Gospel of Blaugust and get started! You don’t have to write a gaming blog, and your posts don’t have to be about gaming to participate. So come along and join the fun!

Blaugust Day 7: Non-Specific Game Blogging

Blaugust Day 7: Non-Specific Game Blogging, can get lonely!

Belghast over at The Aggronaut mentioned in his most recent Blaugust post that non-specific game blogging isn’t a huge thing and doesn’t have much of a community, and this is something that I identify with a lot as it’s always been a concern of mine.

I started public blogging years ago, and I focused specifically on Final Fantasy XI. I was never a particularly well-known blogger in the FFXI community but a friend of mine was, and it always inspired me to see so many people engaging with one another. That’s what motivated me to get involved with blogging more actively, and so I continued the tradition into Aion where I became a little better known. I tried a few different MMOs and blogged about them, but I realised that I am not a one-game gamer. I play a wide variety of games; MMOs, RPGs, FPS…the list could go on for a rather long time. And so I realised that I was always going to want to talk about multiple games, which is what made me want to start a general gaming blog like this.

I was always concerned that talking about so many different games would mean no one would be interested in reading on a regular basis, because people wanted to read about the games they were interested in. They didn’t want to read about my interests, or the games they had no intention of playing! Why would they want to read my little blog? Along with that, I noticed that there are tons of gamers who write about their experiences in specific games, but very few who interact on a regular basis and talk about all the games they play. I was worried that I wouldn’t find a “home” in a community because I wasn’t focused.

Blaugust has shown me that there’s a lot of people out there who play games the way I do, and even more importantly, who talk about games in the same way I do. And that’s really encouraging! I hope that I’ll be able to talk to these people more often, and we can form our own community. Maybe I can even reform #GamerGathering, the Twitter chat I tried to get started but that ultimately fell on its face a bit as we only had a few people interested in the chat!

#Blaugust
Header courtesy of Belghast of Aggronaut.com.

Interested in taking part in Blaugust?

Check out the Nook on Anook, or Belghast’s post on the Gospel of Blaugust and get started! You don’t have to write a gaming blog, and your posts don’t have to be about gaming to participate. So come along and join the fun!

Just Sayin’: Skimpy armour isn’t the devil

I like skimpy armour. There, I said it. I like armour that’s flattering to the form and still fantasy-friendly. Before you grab your pitchforks, hear me out. I’m not talking about female characters wearing straps of leather and pretending it protects them in some way, but y’know that Conan guy? Yeah, I think the bare-chested look with the loin cloth works for a big sword wielding fella, and why shouldn’t that be an option for the ladies too?

Realism is a wonderful thing in armour, and something I have a great deal of respect for. Breastplates without boob curves look fantastic, and even better if they don’t impale the poor women wearing them. However, I’m not averse to the infamous “boob window”, or characters that require a great deal of manoeuvrability wearing clothing that doesn’t restrict their form. While I’d probably prefer my rogue to be wearing form-fitting black leather that covers the majority of her body, with a hood to match, I’m not going to turn my nose up at a bit of cleavage, or a midriff displayed here and there.

I realise that some people will feel this makes me a bad feminist, because skimpy armour is there to objectify and overly sexualise women, however I don’t entirely agree. While yes, games like TERA are fairly renowned for their armour that borders on the ridiculous, I do feel that we’re conflicting here a little. To quote Dani Colman in her post The problem with false feminism (or why “Frozen” left me cold):

I don’t have a particular problem with women being sexualised on screen, either: as long as they aren’t objectified, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with celebrating that the female body can be a beautiful thing that is very appealing to show off.

Feminism states that women should be entitled to wear whatever they want in the real world. Shouldn’t women in the gaming world have the same options open to them? At least within reason.

Just sayin’…

The trouble with MMOs

The trouble with MMOs: I've fallen in love with WildStar, too.

If you’ve been following the blog or have known me for any length of time, you know that I’ve been playing Final Fantasy XIV since its launch and have been thrilled with it because, for the first time in my lengthy MMO “career” I’ve finally found a guild that I feel at home with. They’re a great bunch of people whom I get along with really well, and I’ve even been playing other games with them. In fact, I’ve even loosely organised to meet up with a few of them in real life over the next year or so. We’ve been completing content together at a reasonable, casual pace, and make sure to make time to play together at least once a week.

However, the problem is that I’ve got this new found love in WildStar. The game is beautiful, and it reminds me so much of the good times I had in World of Warcraft back when I played. And I mean that in a good way — it doesn’t feel like a “rip off” to me, and I’m really enjoying having a modern game that I not only love, but that I can play with friends.

Why is this a problem? Because I don’t have enough time to play all of the games I want to play!

The trouble with MMOs: I work to buy my video games, then have no time to play because of work!

As the image above says, like most people work to survive, I work so I can buy games that I can enjoy. And then I have only a few hours per day to dedicate to gaming…meaning I don’t have enough time to play those games. It’s a massive first world problem, and a very pleasant problem to have considering I know not everyone is as fortunate as I am, but damn if it isn’t frustrating to know that I have gone years without an MMO that captured my interest and fed my nostalgia muscle, and now I have two.

The trouble with MMOs is simply this: they’re incredibly time-consuming, and to some extent quite addictive, meaning it’s easy to get completely wrapped up in one game and realise you’ve neglected the other, but by that stage it’s too late and you’ve missed out on a bunch of content.

And please, don’t mention EVE Online to me. I have three active accounts and a corp to run, when all I want to do is prance around colourful fields and ride around on chocobos all day, every day. What’s a girl to do? I’m considering scheduling out my MMO time, for crying out loud!

Life Lately (14/06/2014)

Life Lately (11/06/2014)

I’m still here! My sincerest apologies for being so absent lately, life has been pretty busy, both in the wonderful realm of “real life” and my gaming adventures!

Many of you know that my mum has been in and out of hospital the last few months. The good news is she finally was scheduled for her surgery last week, and while there were some minor complications during the surgery she was released on Friday! I got to go visit her at the weekend, and it was really nice! For the first time in a while I didn’t bring my laptop as I was busy all weekend. I did learn that I make a mean fried egg sandwich while I was up! She is recovering fast, and will be back to her normal self within a few weeks.

In gaming news, I have been hopelessly addicted to WildStar since its launch last week. My spellslinger is only level 18 but I’ve tried my first adventure and had a blast! I’ve honestly been clocking most of my out-of-work hours into this game lately, so I haven’t been giving other games, or my blog, the love they deserve. For that I am very sorry!

Now, I had honestly considered taking a long break from Final Fantasy XIV because of my newfound addiction, but with Square Enix announcing Rogues, Ninja and marriage in FFXIV I’m really excited! Especially because SE even went ahead and announced same sex relationships. This shouldn’t be a big deal, but it’s great that they made the step other companies have been unwilling to do.

I will be back on my streaming schedule as of tonight, all being well, so feel free to catch me on my Twitch.tv channel for Scaredy-Cat Saturday at 10:00pm GMT+1 today!

Wildstar Headstart!

Wildstar is finally here! The headstart began on Saturday morning, and despite a rocky start due to a suspected DDoS attack and lengthy queues, the game is just as fun as expected. I posted a Wildstar First Impressions review a few weeks ago, and I stand by my original thoughts. Some of the things that bothered me about the game are fixable through a little bit of tweaking, which is exactly what I was hoping.

I’m playing an Aurin Spellslinger on Ascendancy (EU PvE), so if you happen to come along on that server, feel free to say hey! My character is called Lovely, though you may also see me on Sweetheart, Chasidah or Delight!

First Impressions: Wildstar

First Impressions: Wildstar - Beautiful environments, adorable characters.

This week, Wildstar opened its arms to players for its open beta period, and I figured it was as good a time as any to give the game a shot. I’d been watching from afar, listening to what friends said (mostly positive) but not sure I was all that interested. However, after playing in the open beta, I can honestly say I am! As always, I’ll be honest; there are great things about the game, and quite a few gripes, which I’ll share in the hopes that anyone considering buying the game will make the commitment with as much information as possible.

First of all, the game is cute and I find myself immersed despite its cartoony aesthetic and super-saturated palette. Character creation is fun, and I immediately fell in love with the Aurin (purple hair!) and their bouncy personalities. The classes aren’t your usual fare; while there’s some similarities in the classes available to you, esper and spellslinger are a bit different from your usual mage and ranger archetypes, and the more active combat style works really well. This is what put me off other MMOs like Tera, so I’m surprised it works so well here. Combat did strike me as odd at first, but after I got used to it I found myself enjoying the mobility a lot.

First Impressions: Wildstar - Making friends with the local wildlife.

Questing is fun, even though I heard the opposite from a few friends. I especially like that, as an “Explorer”, I get to complete little side missions that involve exploring the map and finding trees to climb or radioactive pools to mark. I haven’t tried PvP yet, and I’m not sure when I will, but for now I’m having a lot of fun in the PvE.

One of my favourite things about the game, however, is its soundtrack. The musical score is gorgeous, reminiscent of Firefly in some places, and Star Wars in others. Everything about the game’s atmosphere has been perfected; every sound is really fitting for the environment. This is something particularly important to me, as I realised that a lot of my nostalgia for WoW was flared up by the sound and aesthetic of the game.

I do have some issues with the game, as I mentioned. The first thing I noticed was that the game runs really hot on my GPU, which is shocking as other more powerful, graphically intensive games run upwards of 20ºC cooler. The temperature varies wildly as well, no matter what I do with my video settings. V-sync changes nothing, and tweaking the settings seems to make no difference. My temps will be low for a few minutes then soar randomly for a while, before settling down again. There seems to be very little rhyme or reason for it as well, though I did notice my temps are always high indoors.

I also hate the camera with a fiery passion. It sticks pointing downwards at my character, seemingly at random, and it’s incredibly annoying. I’ve been told there are add-ons that resolve this kind of problem, and make the camera follow you at all times, however I’ve yet to find this add-on and am frustrated that I have to use an add-on to resolve something so simple.

First Impressions: Wildstar - Naradra, my Aurin Spellslinger for beta, but probably not my character at launch.

Ultimately, the problems I have with the game aren’t enough to put me off, and I did end up preordering so I could play with a friend. Would I recommend it? Yes, but only if you’re happy with a brightly coloured, very cartoony aesthetic, and more action-oriented combat rather than just stand-still-and-press-buttons. There’s still a lot of pressing of buttons to activate abilities, but there’s a lot more movement and manual targetting (though you can set yourself to auto-target your selected enemy in PvE.) If you are interested in the game, you can get 20% off on Green Man Gaming by using the following code: FUSWJT-B1DU64-JBV8UY

That will obviously only last for a while, but get it while you can if you are interested!

Throwback Thursday: My first MMO experience

Throwback Thursday: My first MMO experience - Final Fantasy XI.

My first MMO experience wasn’t through actually playing an MMO. I was a member of an online community when I was about 14 or 15, and we had a guild of people from all around the world. All of my guildmates were into this MMO game; a genre I had never heard of. It was over 10 years ago now, so you can’t really blame me! The MMO in question was Final Fantasy XI.

A guildmate whom I also knew offline was playing, and when I was at his house with some friends one day I remember him starting to play it. I was completely enraptured, especially when I saw the catgirl race, Mithra, for the first time. I watched him play, and day in and day out I read posts on our forum about this game and how my guildmates were levelling, what “Jobs” they needed to level. I remember hearing them talking about levelling White Mage in order to become a better Paladin, and I didn’t really understand it but I knew I wanted to play.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t, because it required a subscription and unsurprisingly by teenage self didn’t have a debit or credit card and my parents really didn’t want to pay for a subscription game. So instead, I looked on longingly and eventually ended up playing my first RPG as a result of my burning desire to explore Vana’diel. This was where my first exposure to The Elder Scrolls series also began, as I picked up Morrowind as a kind of consolation prize, and I’m glad I did!

Throwback Thursday: My first MMO experience - Playing FFXI recently.

It was many years, and even a few MMOs played, before I ended up getting my paws on FFXI, thanks to Tilly at LoveTilly.com who decided to hop back into the game again after a long break. I joined her, and played on and off until very recently when I decided to give it a break due to lack of people to play. The MMO does still have a special place in my heart, though. It was my first exposure to MMOs, introduced me to the wonderful world of RPGs, and even sparked my first public blogging experience as I blogged about my XI antics.

What was your first MMO experience?
Let me know in the comments!

Life Lately (16/04/2014)

Life Lately (16/04/2014)

I have been really slacking on the blogging front lately, and I’m really sorry! Every evening has been super busy with the massive (and growing!) list of games I have to play and at the weekend I was away, so I’ve been a little bit absent and even missed my Screenshot Sundays. Whoops!

In gaming news, I’ve been playing EVE Online and got my main pilot (the pirate lady) back into high sec finally, after spending a rather large amount of ISK to get tags for security status. It was a pain in the ass, but it’s done now and I’m glad! Now I can travel through high sec without people (legally) being able to shoot me. This is great, as I can start doing missions again on her, and even start moving more freely around space to find a place to set up shop for our new piracy/PvP corp.

However the big gaming news, for me at least, is that my Free Company in FFXIV managed to down Turn 4 of Coil last night! For non FFXIV players, the Binding Coil of Bahamut (or Coil, for short) is the first “raid” players encounter, and is split into phases. Turn 4 has been giving us trouble, so it was exciting to down it last night three times, and even get my healing robe! A few of us got loot so it was definitely a great raid night. We do need to grow our FC a little as we’re struggling to get enough people together for events, but at least we have fun together.

As far as real life is concerned, I went to visit my family at the weekend as I needed to visit my family doctor. It was a great weekend; I picked up a wireless Xbox 360 controller/receiver combo for my PC (even though I already have two wireless controllers…finding a receiver was difficult!) and played a little bit of Dark Souls. My family and I went out for dinner on Sunday evening and my mum and I managed to squeeze in a coffee date before I left on Monday.

The big news is that I ordered my new PC! I’ll be sharing the specs and a review of the website I used to purchase it as soon as I receive my order, but it should be arriving this morning. I’m really excited; it’s a massive upgrade and has even encouraged us to make a better gaming space in our apartment, which will make me feel much more comfortable about streaming again. I will even be creating a better streaming schedule, especially now that I have a brand new and shiny webcam on its way too!

First Impressions: The Elder Scrolls Online

First Impressions: The Elder Scrolls Online - My bosmer admiring the Ebonheart Pact landscape.

First Impressions: The Elder Scrolls Online - So reminiscent of Morrowind.

This is going to be a slightly different First Impressions post, as all of my previous posts in the series have been overwhelmingly positive, and as an upfront disclaimer this post won’t be. Some of you have probably read my post on why I won’t be playing ESO, so this one may come as a surprise to you. That’s right, I picked up The Elder Scrolls Online despite promising myself I wouldn’t. Before you try to burn me at the stake, in my defence I got a great deal on it and stuck to my guns on the Imperial Edition being the worst thing to happen to gaming ever (okay…not ever, but it was still pretty bad!)

I’m really glad I tried the game. It’s surprisingly pretty in a lot of ways, particularly the environments. The Ebonheart Pact zones are so reminiscent of Morrowind, the first TES game I played, and frankly I appreciate that, even if it is what some would consider slightly fan-servicey. The environments are a lot more lore friendly than I thought, and while the quests are a bit “fetch and return”, there’s still a bit more variety to them which makes them more entertaining than your average grindy questing experience in MMOs.

First Impressions: The Elder Scrolls Online - My bosmer nightblade, Sirantha.

I went with Ebonheart Pact because I initially planned to when I was excited about the game last year, and Nord was the race I planned on going before I picked up the preorder copy allowing me to play any race in any faction. Also, my boss was there and offered to get me into a guild he’s a member of, and the environments appealed to me. I have a Nord Dragonknight and a Bosmer Nightblade primarily, with a focus on the latter. The combat is fun, if a little confusing due to the skill trees, but at least it still feels somewhat open to allow for a lot of self-development and lack of restricted weapons and armour combinations. This makes for interesting class combinations like Sorcerer tanks and healing Templars, which is alien to me but seems fun.

Exploration is rewarding, as well as a great deal of fun to do. I love finding little hidden chests and battling to unlock them, then receiving some small item to say, “Good job! You found this before other people did.” There’s also vampires and werewolves in-game, and how you become one of either is pretty interesting — one method is to have players bite you at a ritual site (which they can do once every seven days) to contract the disease that morphs into these two supernatural beings, giving you an additional skill tree to draw on.

I have genuinely enjoyed the time I’ve invested so far, and will definitely be playing a little bit more. However, despite the fun I’ve had and the few hours I’ve invested, I don’t think I’ll be subscribing, at least not yet. Why? Apart from the fact that I’m already invested in two subscription MMOs, there are a lot of flaws I see that are putting me off, at least for now. The paygated race still sticks in my craw; despite it not giving any bonuses it still feels like a cheap trick. But that’s something I knew before buying the game, so what else gets me?

First Impressions: The Elder Scrolls Online - Pretty skies that remind me of my first night in Skyrim.

First of all, I’ve always played every single game in The Elder Scrolls series in first person. I find it far more immersive and have always enjoyed it. It just doesn’t feel like a valid option in TESO; the FoV is absolutely wretched and I can’t find a way to modify it so far, and as there’s a large amount of PvP in the game — with it arguably being the whole point — being in first person would put me at an obvious disadvantage. This wouldn’t be so bad if it weren’t for how awkward third person feels. It’s clunky, and I’m not sure I like it. The combat is punishing, which is fine, but it is relatively frustrating to die repeatedly even in low level PvE content. Yes, this is somewhat a case of l2p, but I don’t know if I’m willing to put in the effort when this was never a problem in previous TES games, even on the hardest difficulties.

I’m also not a big fan of PvP in MMOs, with very rare exceptions (EVE Online being a very notable one where I went full PvP and even pirating) so I’m not sure exactly what I’ll be getting out of the game, particularly if I don’t want to do end-game since I’m already invested in and enjoying another MMO full-time.

There are a lot of oddities that bother me, such as the fact that you only receive one copy of the preorder/beta items, and if you happen to delete your character that received the item, as many people have done due to playing around with classes, that’s the item gone forever. Can you contact support to have it returned? Probably. Should you have to? Absolutely not.

First Impressions: The Elder Scrolls Online - My Nord Dragonknight exploring the old starter island.

Ultimately, I won’t be continuing my subscription after my free 30 days are up. Will I come back to it? Probably, because it is a lot of fun, but not for a little while yet. It may not be the game for me right now, but it’s certainly not deserving of the huge amount of hate it’s received (though, nor is it particularly deserving of the massive hype surrounding it either, in my humble opinion.) Should you pick it up? That depends. If you’re looking for just another MMO, this won’t be for you, the same for if you’re looking for an Elder Scrolls game. It isn’t really either, it’s somewhere in between. It’s definitely a change of pace, with some adopted features from Guild Wars 2, and a lot of similarities to Dark Age of Camelot and even to some extent Warhammer: Age of Reckoning in its Realm vs Realm style combat and keep sieges. If you think you’ll enjoy that, by all means, this might just be the game for you. It’s fun, but something I will keep on the backburner for when I have the time to invest into it fully.

A thought on veteran rewards

A thought on veteran rewards.The lovely Zuu over at Zuulzilla.com made an interesting comment in a conversation we were having on Twitter the other day, as you can see over to the right. Zuu doesn’t believe players who have played longer than others should receive special treatment through veteran rewards. The reason I find this interesting is that I personally think veteran rewards are a nice boost, a way of saying thank you perhaps. I hadn’t considered that it would actually reinforce the “timecore” aspect I had mentioned in my recent Just Sayin’ post on Hardcore vs Casual play.

I’ve seen veteran rewards as a method of thanking players for subscribing, perhaps through exclusive mounts, pets or other benefits after a few months. Everyone will receive them as long as they subscribe for that period of time. But there are other methods out there, such as giving characters bonuses based on how long they’ve been around.

So I turn the question to you guys — do you think veteran rewards are a good idea, or terrible? In what instances have you seen them before?

Check out Zuu’s blog, and you can also find her over on Twitter!

What to do at level 50 (FFXIV)

What to do at level 50 (FFXIV)

(Please note that this guide is slightly outdated as gear is very much different, and Tomestones of Philosophy no longer exist. But some of the other tips are still very relevant!)

So you’ve just hit level 50 in Final Fantasy XIV and you’re a bit overwhelmed. Where on earth do you start? Well, luckily there are plenty of things for a new level 50 in FFXIV, so here are some suggestions based on my own experience.

1. Finish off your main storyline.

The storyline is genuinely one of FFXIV‘s greatest assets; it’s fun, engaging, and unlocks a whole host of interesting content for you to work on. Some examples are a few additional dungeons, and your Relic weapon, which will be arguably one of the best things you’ll receive in-game.

2. Start your Relic quest and get your Relic weapon.

Starting your Relic quest is as simple as speaking to Nedrick Ironheart, an NPC in Vesper Bay, and accepting “A Relic Reborn.” You can repeat this quest for each job you hit 50 on, however after you finish it once, subsequent quests will be accepted directly from another NPC called Gerolt. The quest itself has a lot of steps and will take a little while to finish, however you’re lucky if you’re starting now, as the “Notorious Monster” style fights you have to complete can now be queued up for via the Duty Finder! Make sure to unlock Amdapor Keep, and get started on your Primal fights. You’ll probably want to have one of the Primal weapons to be able to complete Titan Hard Mode, as it is a bit of a DPS race and can be a big test for healers. You’ll also want a few pieces of your Darklight armour, which I’ll get to next! Once you’ve got your Relic, however, how do you get your Zenith weapon? Easy! You can upgrade it by trading it to the furnace next to Gerolt along with three items, which can be purchased in Mor Dhona (Revenant’s Toll) for 300 Tomestones of Mythology each.

3. Gear up! Get your Darklight armour set.

Darklight armour is the first set you’ll start collecting. To do so, simply complete some level 50 dungeons such as Wanderer’s Palace or Amdapor Keep. These will award you with Tomestones of Philosophy (some earlier dungeons will give a small amount too) after each boss, and Tomestones of Mythology. The Philosophy stones are for Darklight gear, and the Mythology stones allow you to get your AF2 gear.

4. Level up alternate classes to unlock cross-class actions.

You can use multiple cross-class skills, depending on which job you’re playing. For example, the ideal cross-class abilities for white mage would be Swiftcast (Thaumaturge), Surecast (Thaumaturge), Virus (Arcanist), and Eye for an Eye (Arcanist). Each job will have its own preferences, and each class will have really useful skills to share. Virus is one as I mentioned before, but also Raging Strikes and Quelling Strikes from Archer can be useful for ranged DPS. Make sure to unlock the ones most useful to you by levelling up the relevant class and equipping them in your spellbook (P).

5. Join a Free Company!

This one sounds so obvious, and is shockingly something I usually reject. I sometimes want the solo experience, even in an MMO, so feeling forced into a social group can be intimidating and even annoying. But my fun levels have increased tenfold by joining a great guild that really fitted me, and I now find that I log on just to hang out with them and help where I can. A lot of the game’s content can be completed solo or using random groups, but nothing beats a Free Company group! And if you’re looking for a home, Cake is recruiting on Odin!

Got more questions about things to do at level 50 in FFXIV? Let me know in the comments!

Happy Valentione’s Day! (FFXIV)

FFXIV: Happy Valentione's Day to you and yours!

A very happy Valentione’s Day to you, and Valentine’s Day to all you non-Eorzea citizens! I just finished the FFXIV Valentione’s Day 2014 event and gathered all of the adorable goodies, including heaps of chocolate because really, who doesn’t love chocolate?! (I actually know a few people who hate it, but shhh…)

Whether you celebrated with your loved ones, alone, or didn’t celebrate at all, I hope your day was lovely all the same! Now get out there and get your paws hands on that discount holiday chocolate!

Screenshot Sunday #9

I’m going to interrupt the holy ritual of a wordless Screenshot Sunday to say first of all, I’m sorry for my lack of posts this week! Secondly, I am deeply invested in Final Fantasy XIV hence the multitude of screenshots you keep seeing from it. And finally, only one screenshot this week as I’ve been crazy busy with work and super tired when I get home! Hope you’ve all had more gaming this week than I have. I’ll be making up for it next week!

SCREENSHOT SUNDAY: Final Fantasy XIV - Just giving someone the sideeye in Crystal Tower.

Happy Sunday!
What have you been playing this week?

Why I won’t be playing ESO

Why I won't be playing The Elder Scrolls Online. Everyone who knows me, knows that I am a massive The Elder Scrolls fangirl. I mean, cried-a-single-tear-of-joy-when-Skyrim-was-announced fangirl. And I’m not even ashamed! But we need to sit down and have a chat about The Elder Scrolls Online or ESO for short.

Yesterday, I heard the news that The Elder Scrolls Online collector’s edition and preorder packs had been released and the community weren’t too happy about them. I looked into it myself and could see why.

As a bit of backstory, while I was at Gamescom last year, I heard that ESO was going to have a cash shop. This in and of itself wasn’t a bad thing necessarily, especially if they only offered cosmetic items, but considering their marketing angle was, “Access all of the game with one low monthly fee!” (Paraphrasing, of course.) They then introduced the cash shop and it just left a bad taste in my mouth, as it wasn’t really aligned with their marketing campaign. But I was still okay with it. Again, cosmetic items are fine, and I am addicted to buying vanity pets!

However, their Collector’s Edition allows an exclusive race, Imperial. And if you preorder? You can play all races on any alliance. The latter isn’t so bad, but locking an entire race with “unique bonuses” to CE? That’s ridiculous. I have enough money to buy the CE, and wouldn’t shy away from it normally, but this just goes against everything I believe in as far as game pricing is concerned. When there are many MMOs out there that are just as enjoyable, if not more so, and for less with no exclusive bonuses, races or classes for CE, why would I want to invest in something I’m not even sure I’d enjoy when I fundamentally don’t agree with what they’re doing?

And so I’ve made the decision not to buy. Of course there will be people out there who will, and that’s great, but I am already fully invested in FFXIV and have no desire to spend all of my time getting into another MMO right now unless it really blows me away, which frankly, ESO? You haven’t really done.

Thinking back over 2013

I’ve seen a lot of delightful 2013 recaps, so I thought it was worth reviewing my own year, and seeing what I could come up with. Props to my friend Tilly at LoveTilly.com for her lovely 2013 review in photos! Sadly, no beautiful photos from me, but except some camera phone snaps below!

Thinking back over 2013...

As I mentioned in my Christmas 2013 Recap post, I’ve been stressed out almost every Christmas holiday, including New Year, for the last few years. This has generally been self-inflicted, but almost always linked to work. This year has been different, and in fact, I’ve noticed a vast improvement over my entire year!

The beginning of 2013 was a bit rough with some family troubles and my uncle ended up in hospital, but he made a full recovery, which is the positive side of that story! I moved into a documentation/technical writing position at work, which involved writing FAQs and helpful guides for players with issues who visited our support website. I got to do a lot more writing which was great! I also dyed my hair bright purple, which I loved and hope to return to sometime.

Thinking back over 2013...

I did a lot of travelling and events with work this year. I attended ArcadeCon and hosted our work event with a colleague in front of a crowd of about 30 to 50 or so. I even got to meet Virginia Hey from my favourite series, Farscape! In August I went to Gamescom and got to not only host a lot of the contests on stage (in front of much larger crowds than at ArcadeCon!) but also cosplayed as Pentakill Sona as part of the Pentakill band performance. It was so exciting.

I also visited the Caribbean for the first time on a trip to Punta Cana. It was absolutely beautiful; we stayed at the Hard Rock Hotel which was all-inclusive. I really want to get to a point in my life where I can feel like I can walk into any restaurant and just eat, without worrying about the cost. Even if I simply go on more all-inclusive holidays to get that feeling! Waking up at 6:00am to the beautiful sunrise, eating a lovely breakfast and swimming in the pool before relaxing on the beach, sipping complimentary cocktails all afternoon, was just one of the most wonderful experiences of my life, especially as I got to share it with T and some good friends.

Thinking back over 2013...

Towards the end of the year, I found the wonders of Final Fantasy XIV, got horribly addicted, and reached level 50 as a white mage with my Relic+1. I’m now in a wonderful Free Company called Cake with some of the nicest people I’ve ever met in gaming. I genuinely enjoy hopping on for shenanigans with them, and helping them out whenever I can as they’ve done the same for me! Now all I have to do is convince T to join me and I’ll be pretty chuffed.

I made peace with an old friend and embarked upon a whole new friendship that I really appreciate! I also got promoted to Associate Project Manager at work, so I’m looking forward to digging in on that when the new year hits. It’ll be an entirely new experience and I can’t wait to get started! I took part in some fantastic training in the last few months as well, all of which have helped me to overcome my stress levels more, learn how to leave work at the office, and helped me improve my own time management and people skills. I foresee 2014 involving me honing those skills further, getting more focused with my writing, and potentially starting to plan a wedding, as last week we agreed on a provisional date!

Make love & WAR

Make love & WAR

A few days ago, on 18th December, Warhammer: Age of Reckoning shut down for good. Those of you who know me know that I haven’t played WAR in years, but it’s still an incredibly sad thing to see happen. Why? Because WAR was the first video game project I worked on. My games industry career started in GOA Games Services Ltd., the European publisher for an MMO that will forever stand out in my memory. I feel very strongly that I wouldn’t be where I am today if it weren’t for myself taking that chance, and for the company taking a chance on me.

There’s a great post by John Drescher called WAR is (still) everywhere that rings particularly true for me. This quote is what really brought it home:

“If you look around the industry today at pretty much any major MMO being developed in the Western market, you will find WAR there. Sometimes, it will be in the games themselves where concepts and ideas that first showed up in WAR have been “gently borrowed”. Mostly, however, it’s in the people making those games. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a major MMORPG team whose leadership doesn’t feature someone who cut their teeth as a developer on WAR. In some cases, HUGE chunks of the WAR team simply set up shop in a new project – old comrades in a new home.”

The Tome of Knowledge really drove achievements into a mainstream requirement for MMOs, where they weren’t so much before. Titles, too, weren’t so big until WAR came along, and now they’re almost a staple in games. Most importantly, though, was the Public Quest system, which you can see iterations of in games like Guild Wars 2 and Final Fantasy XIV. Were things like these done before? Of course, but not in the same way or on the same scale, and that’s what makes the difference.

Perhaps more importantly, though, you find so many games industry professionals who worked on this game in some shape or form. I was in the customer support team then later the community team. I’ve moved through one additional games industry company before finding myself where I’m at now. Most of the people I work with now are people that worked with me before at GOA, and when I go to conventions like Gamescom, I meet old colleagues frequently just milling about the floor, working or just attending. As mentioned in the post on Josh Drescher’s blog, a lot of us learned skills from working in a tough environment that we’ve carried on to our new roles, and that’s something I’ll always be thankful for.

So thank you, to Mythic, to GOA, and to my fellow WAR coworkers, for what was a great experience and so key in my personal growth. I really do appreciate it, and will never forget it.

Thyrus Zenith Get! (FFXIV)

Final Fantasy XIV: I finally attained the White Mage Relice weapon!

After what feels like weeks of work, I finally completed my Relic quest and received my Thyrus Zenith. For those of you who don’t know, the Relic weapon is often the best in slot item for most jobs when it’s upgraded to “+1” (ie the Zenith part of the title, recently added), and achieving it consists of a long quest line involving killing multiple notorious monsters and the hardmode version of Primals.

The biggest challenge is defeating Titan HM, which was extremely tough but thanks to some really great people from my Free Company, it was much easier! Even if I did spend the last two minutes eating lava off the platform…

Next up? Pick up my remaining Darklight armour, then take a break from healing to level my Bard! I’m also strongly considering starting a new FFXIV specific blog, but I haven’t yet decided whether it would make sense or not. For now, my posts will be sporadically posted here!