Diablo III Season 5 and FFXIV

I am making a feeble attempt at posting more often.

I had an odd urge and almost MMO relapsed into resubscribing to Final Fantasy XIV a couple of days ago. But, I had remembered how much of a drag early combat was and how much of the main quest line was gated fairly early on in the game. It’s not necessarily that bad of a thing to force people to run instances early on in the game I guess, but it’s not really what I was looking for. I had every intent on enjoying the game solo and then grouping for middle-high levelish instances with the intent of eventually finding a suitable guild, etc. Well, that and newbie instances are such a drag.

Everyone says that Final Fantasy XIV’s story is really good but do they mean good as in on par with narrative games or good as in not shit/decent for an MMO? I am legitimately curious. If I had a regular group of people also leveling through FFXIV, I am sure that the game would be much more fun. But that said, I am not sure I am interested in playing an MMO at the moment anyway.

I did however, pick up Diablo III. My husband was so kind as to power level my season 5 crusader to level 70 paragon 100+ so that we can play together in some capacity. The downside of course of power leveling a class being that I have limited knowledge as to what exactly I am supposed to be doing with my crusader.

Diablo III isn’t exactly that complicated game so at this point, I am sure it is a matter of sorting through the mounds of phat lootz and set items, picking out the best ones/gemming/re-rolling stats, and then basing a build off of that. I can at least, not be insta-gibbed while being carried through some of the harder rifts though jumping into Torment X was a bit…much lol. TL;DR: Pew pew pew with friends = much fun.

Odds and Ends: April 27th 2015

For one reason or another I chose to drop my level 9 character on Midgardsormr and reroll on another server: Same class and most other choices except for race, for aesthetic reasons. Upon character creation I had chosen to create a max height Elezen. I am discovering that the problem with tall characters seems to be that because of their super wide strides, they look like they are running in slow motion. Also, who the hell does server maintenance on a Monday evening?

  • I have been playing the new Hearthstone expansion on my iPhone on and off at work during my lunch hour. Not so much lately because…busy busy but pretty good port all around. Surprised at how well the interface works on the smaller screen.
  • We got home late on Sunday evening after running around and driving all day so I ended up falling asleep during roughly half of Game of Thrones :/
  • I vow to pick through, edit, and upload my GoPro footage from Sunday’s airsoft game within reasonable time.
  • Because I burned through my previous, “I need a random sitcom or something to watch on Netflix while I either work on or play something” show, I started watching Dexter on Netflix. I don’t recall exactly where I had originally dropped the show.
  • We should have another podcast episode out soonish.

I doubt anyone really cares but I recently migrated this site from Drupal to WordPress. As a whole, it really is a better blogging platform. Unfortunately, my Sims legacy section and a fer other things fell victim to the migration as I was too lazy to port the custom content types over.

That MMO Itch: Final Fantasy XIV

It has been several years since I have played any MMO for an extended period of time aside from dabbling with WoW for short spurts to poke at new raid content in LFR or to say hi to people. Nevertheless, I guess the thing about being any MMO gamer is that the urge to play, though dormant, never truly subsides and rears its head from time to time to sneak $15 or so from my pocket. So what I am getting at is that I had a big MMO itch and a small hole to fill. So, the small hole that was once filled with WoW at some point is now being filled with Final Fantasy XIV, at least for the time being (ie: at least through the free month of play that came with the client purchase).

Final Fantasy XIV A Real Reborn is without a doubt, unapologetically an MMO down to the fetch questing. That’s not necessarily a bad thing but it is what it is. My FFXIV ARR beta character was a gladiator if I recall correctly. I decided to step outside of my plate/paladin class box and roll a pugilist which to my understanding is kind of like a rogue but with a lot of dancing? I like the movement based combat abilities. Pugilist abilities as a whole thus far seem to revolve around being able to use certain abilities in certain stances. Suffice it to say, I do not yet fully or even close to fully have a grasp as to what I a supposed to be doing with this class but I am only level 5 at the moment.

I don’t have my Logitech G13 configured for FFXIV yet so using a WASD configuration for combat is mildly irritating because I am use to being able to move my character with the thumbstick while having my other four fingers free to do whatever. It feels rather limiting having to choose between the ability to use my middle finger to press the ‘W’ key to move forward or the ability to use my middle key to press one of the combat hotkeys to punch punch.

The game is pretty fun so far if not exactly what I was expecting down to a tee.

FFXIV: ARR (Beta Phase 3) Impressions

I am impressed, Square Enix really did overhaul the shitbag that was Final Fantasy XIV 1.0. What can I say, it’s actually decent; At least on par with any other run if the mill new MMO on the market if not better. I am pretty torn on this game though. I really do want to buy A Realm Reborn, but I am unsure if I have enough time or interest to regularly play an MMO nowadays, even casually. I was going to preorder ARR but after hearing pretty awful things about the launch servers and experiencing many many bad launches myself, I think I’ll hold off then reassess how much I need ARR in a week or so.

  • Questing: The quests are a mixed bag at least early on (unsure if that remains true through high level zones). Plot line quests seem decent enough but everything else feels like leveling filler. It’s your standard fare quest hub grinding x and gathering y.
  • Character models: Probably the best character creation system that I’ve seen. It has a lot of options without overwhelming players with sliders. You can also save and import character blueprints which is a nice and seldom seen touch.
  • Performance: It looks great and runs smoothly on my machine. Leagues better than the FFXIV 1.0 beta. No comparison. Very few technical issues. I don’t think I experienced any noticeable frame drops or lag even in busy cities or FATEs
  • Interface: ARR actually has a functional and clean mouse & keyboard optimized user interface. It is intuitive to use with Bo interface lag; You can even move and scale bars and other UI elements.

I can’t say if the game will be handled any better or if they are going to stay true to the supposed 3 month content release cycle, but we will see.

Final Fantasy XIV: Gridania


This morning, for the first time ever, the Final Fantasy XIV updater actually worked. As in, I was able to download and install the patch as intended without having to resort to megaupload mirrors linked on forums. Rock on! Anyway, there is something that I find visually unappealing about the way Limsa Lominsa looks and is laid out. For whatever reason it just feels sterile to me or something.


So instead of continuing in that zone, I rolled a new character (pictured to the right) in Gridania. The city itself, set in the midst of a lush green forest, is comprised of crafted wooden structures interwoven with the natural environment. I suppose every fantasy MMO needs its “elven” city so this would be it. Gridania’s layout is fairy straightforward: It’s roughly a circle with a couple of offshoots. There’s still an ungodly amount of running between one end to the other, but I think that it is easier to navigate than Limsa Lominsa’s multi-tiered spread.

The Gridania Rank 1 quest line, “The Color of Sin” is a personalized linear story that is very single player Final Fantasy-esque, integrating short cutscenes with gameplay and dialogue. In pure MMO mechanical terms, the gameplay itself wasn’t too interesting; You run around between NPCs, you talk to people, do an escort quest and kill a few things. That’s pretty standard fare, but I really like how the entire quest line is packaged together. Overall, it succeeds as a narrative and at retaining the overall feel of the Final Fantasy franchise.


As a part of this quest line, after quite a bit of NPC bouncing, you are eventually told to head to the growery. At this particular location you are tasked with learning a dance from a group of 6 children in order to partake in a ritual. In order to learn this dance, you must talk with each child and perform a specific emote based off of a text clue. I think this part of the questline would have been less frustrating if the hints had made more sense (mistranslation?). I had to look up a few of the answers or copy the other players around me, who also looked just as confused based off of the frustrated emote spam. By the way, if anyone needs them, here are the solutions:

Elyn: /lookout (wave 3 times, what?)
Nicoliaux: /clap
Sansa: /bow
Ryd: /surprise
Aunille: /beckon
Powle: /cheer


In exchange for these “dance lessons,” you must escort two children into some forest grove. The escort quest functions much like any other MMO escort quest. You must stay near the children (bounds are represented by the red circle on the minimap) and you must not let any harm come to them. The NPCs aren’t on rails, they use some sort of pathing algorithm which is alright, just a little different than what I am used to.

I would love to play more storyline quests like this one. I hope that Square Enix is majorly holding back because after finishing “The Color of sin,” the next storyline quest doesn’t occur until you hit rank 10 (the one after that being at level 20 and so forth). Inbetween story quests, at least to my understanding, you grind on guildleve quests which are generally uninteresting. I mean, if the entire leveling structure was mostly story quest based, that would be pretty bad ass. At the moment, content seems way too sparse and bizarrly paced. But then again, Square Enix did say that they were holding a few things for release day.

Out of curiosity: are there any keybindings in this game or is there a way of at least macroing certain items? Since the menus are so slow and nested, I would like to be able to access as many things as possible with the keyboard. Ideally, ‘r’ for example should allow you to respond to tells, ‘j’ should open the quest journal and so forth. Doesn’t FFXI have default keybindings for most menu items?

Final Fantasy XIV Impressions


At some point I was thinking of purchasing Final Fantasy XIV and playing it for a month or two until Cataclysm approached its actual release date (in which case I would continue obsessively playing WoW :P). I don’t feel like I really gave Final Fantasy XI a fair chance and would have loved to at least experience a taste of why people find that game so attractive. But as mentioned before, I don’t really want to do the $60 temporary MMO thing again, ala Aion, so that leaves the open beta.

All other criticisms and issues aside, I will be frank: The interface and controls are horrible if not borderline unacceptable. My goal is to play the open beta past the introductory curve for the sake of getting into the real meat of the game but the problem is that, it feels like such a chore to do anything in FFXIV at this point. I mean, I was never fan of the nested menus, but they aren’t too different than any menu found in any of the console Final Fantasy games which weren’t too bad. the real problem is that there is a palpable delay between literally everything that you do. It is cludgy and feels like a bad port.

The interface lag makes it feel like I am playing the game through a remote terminal connection, which to my understanding is a correct assessment given that literally everything, including mouse control is being handled server side, or at least feels like it. Speaking of which, why is there no hardware mouse support? Supposedly Square Enix is ‘considering’ adding it into the game at some point, but that is such a basic feature. It is like selling a car and then adding the wheels on at a later date.

I think it’s pretty clear that Square Enix has absolutely no idea how to make a game that is not console based. There is a solid standard for PC MMO interfaces that hearkens back to the days of Everquest. Over the past decade or so, one game or another has build upon it but it is effectively, the same damn layout, it just works and there is little reason to deviate from it. But, I am playing a beta so hopefully within the next few weeks at least a few of the interface issues will have been polished out.

Also, the omega hares of death have been replaced by the dodos of impending doom.


Final Fantasy XIV Open Beta Delayed


I am disappoint. I was looking forward to giving Final Fantasy XIV a short whirl this week without having to dish out $60 at launch. Oh well, maybe the beta won’t be pushed back too long (or outright cancelled). It’s a little worrisome that there would be critical bugs severe enough to completely pull the installer and the entire beta 3 weeks before the launch date. But on the other hand, name one large MMO with a perfect and unhithered launch? I assume that within 3 to 6 months time most of the critical bugs and server load issues will have been smoothed out. That time period is when we need to be taking a more critical look at both the game and Square Enix’s ability to support it.

That said, I still hold very little faith in Square Enix to ever hold the ability to make a decent MMO or single player RPG ever again, based off of the notable decline in their flagship titles. Unless major positive change happens, gone are the days of the JRPG dynasties. But then again, I’ve become somewhat of an MMO skeptic and obviously WoW biased. I hope I’m wrong and that it is a legitimately good game, regardless of my disinterest in subscribing.

Since I’m on the topic of FFXIV: Many people have been abuzz about the XP capping. I don’t comment too much without actually having played the game (QQ) but my question is: Is it really necessary to gate content to that extent? And, will it work toward a more casual friendly game or will it just frustrate people? All MMOs gate content to some extent, but a hard cap seems pretty harsh. I guess it depends on how much non-grind content is available. If there are for example, very comprehensive secondary systems (like crafting), it might not be that bad of a change.

But still, WoW currently rewards players for spending some time away from the game by rewarding rest experience. I have always been a fan of positive reinforcement over punishment. Penalizing the hardcore player base, the one demographic willing to stick with it through thick and thin does not seem to be that wise of a choice. I mean, charging prospective players $13 a month and then arbitrarily dictating exactly how long they can play? What? I am an adult and can dictate my own time usage. As for minors, just put a parental lock in place. That’s my 2 cents.