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!

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!

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