Final Fantasy Record Keeper PSA: Orb Fest

FYI: There is an orb fest scheduled for this Sunday. If you have not started doing so already, it is likely worth saving your mithril and forgoing the current banner pull in favor of stamina refreshes during the orb dungeon event. If you finish the Terra event early (or don’t care), I would focus on completing the dungeons for the sake of maxing out stamina. Someone on /r/ffrecordkeeper has made a tool to calculate orbs needed.

Schedule

There are 4 event phases, each phase lasting for 3 days.

  • October 18th: Phase 1 Black + Dark + Lightning
  • October 21st: Phase 2 White + Holy + Earth
  • October 24th: Phase 3 Summon + Fire + Ice
  • October 27th: Phase 4 Power + Non-Elemental + Wind

It is also worth noting that the Barret event starts on the 21st. Technically, you can wait until the Orb Dungeon has completed and then work on the Barret event but it may be close. In my opinion/based off of my orb needs, the most important phases are phase 1 and phase 4 since Black, Power, and Non-Elemental orbs are used in virtually everything. The weakest phases of course being either phase 2 or phase 3 depending on your personal need. Figure out which orbs you need now and use the weakest phase to grab Barret and Cloud’s MC2. Personally, I am hoping to come out of the event with well honed Breakdowns…in dire need of Greater NE orbs.

Odds and Ends: October 2015

It was nice, chilly, rainy, and fall-like last weekend and now it is about 100 degrees outside. It’s at the very least a “normal” Southern California dry 100 degrees and not an abnormal El Nino super humid 100 degrees outside, a la most of the summer. Still playing Metal Gear Solid V though at more of a, “do a mission here and there in-between being busy with other stuff” pace. I do believe that I am either at or towards the very end of the game.

The problem that I have with the second part of the game is that it seems to be for the most part, comprised of filler missions. By filler missions I am referring to the missions that are just rehashes of previous missions with harder win conditions (such as stealth only, no starting gear, “extreme”, and so forth). Unfortunately, I am pretty sure that I have to play through all or at least some of these in order to unlock the next story progression missions. So that is kind of where I am at in the game right now: Putzing around while waiting for the game to trigger the next piece of new content.

Hearthstone
I’ve dabbled in Hearthstone on and off since beta, but haven’t played it seriously or all that competitively. I have been the mood to play Hearthstone so I have been trying to get more into it beyond building decks and playing a game or two during lunch at work. Really, the only classes that I have even somewhat extensively played are: Paladin, Mage, and Hunter. Next week’s “project” will be to build a warlock deck and play at least until all of the base cards are unlocks.

Rick and Morty
Marathoned season 1 and caught up with season 2, which I finally finished watching last night. Great show, new personal favorite, and easily the best show that i have watched lately. I had assumed that Rick and Morty was just a standard goofy Adult Swim show, wasn’t expecting feels. I am now really super ultra said that I will probably have to wait at least a year and a half for Rick and Morty Season 3.

Other TV Things
We dropped Netflix and Crunchyroll and picked up Hulu Plus, now that there is a reasonably advertisement free plan + a shit ton of anime. The only two things that irritate me about Hulu are: No options for separate profiles on a single subscription and only being able to stream it on one device at a time. Really, the only thing that I greatly miss (in light of football season starting) about not having a cable subscription is easy access to sporting events.

Pathfinder
Monthly pen-and-paper Pathfinder (D&D 3.75) group starting up soon. I am rolling a human sorcerer and am currently torn between whether or not it is worth losing a spell per day to go crossblooded with Arcane/Draconic. I guess one of the human racial benefits makes up for that, but still. I would be lying if I were to say that I wasn’t tempted to fully minmax my character into fireball blasty goodness.

Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain (PC) Impressions

For whatever reason, I had inadvertently forgotten about Metal Gear Solid V’s release date as well as the fact that it was a simultaneous console and PC release. I guess I had just assumed that it was going to be out on consoles first then PC 6 to 12 months later ala GTA, etc. So much to my pleasure, Phantom Pain has occupied much of my free time as of late  as I slowly savor making my way through the main missions in between fulton extracting all the things. Metal Gear Solid has always been a game series that I hold dear. It has a combination of drama, humor, and ludicrous, over-the-top action that I just relish. Oh, and it is primarily a stealth game, which are sadly few and far between.

Phantom Pain is a fairly big departure from the traditional Metal Gear Solid formula in that it is structured in an open-world mission based fashion instead of being linear action/stealth narrative. The game is comprised of three main pieces: Main missions, side-missions, and base-building/fob etc. The side-missions allow for open world exploring whereas the main missions occur in a smaller subsection of the map. Changes made to the world during the side-missions though, persist during the campaign. As always, Snake has a wide variety of weapons and tools to choose from. Obviously, full stealth is the most difficult and rewarding route, though it is hard to resist unloading your full arsenal from time to time.

Phantom Pain is still a Metal Gear game, so there are quite a few cut scenes. I would say that roughly half of the introductory mission is either a cinematic or dialog, but that tapers off greatly when you get past the tutorial and into the meat of the game. If you aren’t caught up on the Metal Gear Solid series’ story, it’s no big deal; The gameplay stands on its own merits and is enjoyable to play even if the Metal Gear lore isn’t your thing.

If there is any one thing that I greatly dislike about Phantom Pain it is the saving system. I really wish that the game save system wasn’t checkpoint based. The game only saves when you zone in and out of a new area or very specific checkpoints on the map/mission, which is fine for a linear game but it doesn’t really work in an open world environment in my opinion. Quite often, being able to save at all, including situations while free roaming on a side-mission, requires exiting the area via helicopter or zoning into certain subsections on the map to trigger a checkpoint. It feels limiting and kind of defeats the purpose of a single player game. Some of the hotkeys and menu navigation in general is a bit irritating; The menus particularly since they are keyboard only with odd bindings (navigate tabs by using ‘1’ and ‘3’ not left and right).

The build-a-base aspect of the game is a lot more engaging than I had thought it would be. Much of my evenings seem to be spent indulging my mild game completion fetish by systematically fulton extracting every single valid resource on the map as well as meticulously scanning and extracting enemy soldiers with valuable skills to join the fold. In short, gameplay elements such as new and upgraded weapons are unlocked by researching them at motherbase. Each weapon blueprint has a minimum set of requirements in the form of resources and the level of your R&D team. Upgrade your team by recruiting folks or by…well…whisking them away from the battlefield via balloon.

I am 56 hours deep into the game and about somewhere between a third and half way through the game. To say that I am having fun would be an understatement.

Odds and Ends: August 2015

Aka, reasons why I have not been posting lately:

  1. We have a kitten: Kittens are far more fascinating than anything computer related at the moment.
  2. It’s f-ing hot: Well technically it’s not the fact that it is hot but rather unseasonably humid. I live in a part of the US that you could normally bet a million bucks on never raining from May through October. It not only rained in July, but stormed with thunder, lightning and everything but only long enough to make absolutely everything miserably humid. Also, our office unfortunately heats up rather quickly so not a whole lot of gaming happens when the room is 90 degrees. We did cave and get an air conditioning unit so life is once again good.
  3. We bought a treadmill: Running after work eats into my allocated gaming time, which is something that I am totally okay with. I would however, like to setup a treadmill gaming station at some point.
  4. There is nothing to play: Well, now that the long awaited New Game+ feature has been added into The Witcher 3 via free DLC, I will probably play that and The Sims 4 until Fallout 4 is released in November.

Summer Dry Spell

I am still poking at The Sims 4 on and off but aside from that, there’s just not a whole lot else that I am interested in playing now? In theory I should at least attempt to play some of the games purchased during the Summer Steam Sale or well, some of the games that I have purchased and never touched in general. I don’t know how it is with other folks, but I guess I go through cycles oscillating between really feeling like game and really not feeling like gaming. This month would be the later.

Running has taken precedence over gaming this month. I would love to setup a treadmill battlestation at some point so that I can browse or play walking, but I am not sure how that will work out. For the time being, iPhone Hearthstone/whatever game + walking works out fairly well. Running/jogging + iPhone gaming not so much because of too much bouncing.

About 5 or so people have recommended Dirty Bomb, so I may pick that up at some point. I had an itch last week so I did end up resubscribing to FFXIV: ARR. More specifically, I subscribed after the one month free trial ran out in May. As a whole, I am having difficulty getting into the FFXIV storyline because it more-or-less feels like MMO 101. To my understanding, the main scenario begins at level 15. So, given that I just hit level 15, what I have been playing is what I assume to be the starting area quest chain, so that makes sense I guess.

Analytical and Deeply Immersed (and Stuff)

gamerprofile

There’s another one of those gamer profile quizzes and floating around. This one seems fairly accurate-ish given that my absolute favorite gaming genre is fantasy role-playing (and MMO by extension though not so much as of late), with general action/strategy/FPS games trailing closely behind in second place. Above all I appreciate a decent character story and well, swords and guns and stuff.

It’s been a fairly light gaming week. In the wake of finishing The Witcher 3 (aside from the second playthrough that I poke at now and then), and thus not really having anything that I feel like playing, I have once again picked up The Sims 4 and started another stupid legacy story thing, continuing with the same family line as my original legacy story which was completed, but “lost” during a website migration. I still haven’t bothered playing or downloading either of the two games that I purchased the other week during the Steam sale. I think I will try to make a point of doing so in the upcoming week, so they don’t end up in the ignored bin for all eternity.

I keep reading about Heavensward in my blog feed. It’s very tempting to pick up FFXIV again, but I have a sneaky feeling that i should at the very least, wait until the initial login rush has passed.

The 2015 Steam Summer Sale

Every year, Steam has some sort of odd promotional gimmick, usually centered around the trading cards and badges. This year’s gimmick was an odd cookie clicker game. I guess the goal of the game is to get to level 100M for a badge? *shrug*

I gingerly managed to escape the Summer Steam Sale with only two purchases: Shadowrun Returns and Hatoful Boyfriend; Bringing this year’s total expenditure to all of about $5. I have heard decent things about the Shadowrun Returns game and overall, I really like the universe and game system (based off of a short pen and paper campaign). If I recall correctly, the combat system is turned based ala X-Com, Baldur’s gate, etc. As far as Hatoful Boyfriend goes…reasons. I do hope to play both titles at some point, but seeing as how I have picked up The Sims 4 again and am also working my way through Witcher 3 playthrough #2, that may be a ways off.

This is a bit late in the sale but: Both the Witcher 1 and the Witcher 2 are still on sale for about $2 each. I think I clocked around 40 hours of playtime per game and greatly enjoyed every minute of it. So if you are looking for a longish RPG to play, especially if you enjoyed playing the Witcher 3, both are well worth picking up.

Fallout Shelter

Along with Fallout 4, Doom 4, and Dishonored 2 (yay!), Bethesda also announced the immediate release of Fallout Shelter for iOS and Android. It is pretty fun even though it is another one of ‘those’ freemium resource building phone games. It at the very least has a high production value and is free to some extent; So if you enjoy that sort of thing, it is definitely worth a try.

Odds and Ends: Flying in WoW, The Witcher, Etc

Aside from a few mobile games, The Witcher 3 has more-or-less dominated almost every free hour of gaming time that I have had since its release date. After soaking about 90 or so hours into it I have finally finished the game. I can’t emphasize how much I have enjoyed playing this game. But that said, kind of burned out on open words type games at the moment so GTA V will have to wait. What to play next…

Picked this game up for my phone: You Must Build a Boat. At the core it is a match 3 puzzle game (Bejeweled, etc) with an RPG mechanic. If you like match 3 games, this game is worth picking up. YMBAB is available on the App Store, Google Play, as well as Steam. Games of this type just don’t seem to be nearly as fun on a non-touch interface device so I would recommend it up for your mobile device.

I had a post mostly completed and sitting on the backburner in regards the announcement (a week or two ago?) that there would not only be no flying in WoW for the Warlords of Draenor expansion but for any future expansion as well. Apparently because of the massive backlash, flying will be obtainable only after completing virtually everything in the expansion (faction reputations, all quests, etc). Overall, this solution feels like a decent compromise.

As a whole, I think that taking such a huge feature such as flying away from the player base is worse than any negative effect that it may have had on the game in the first place. I don’t remember who it was (apologies) but one of the blogs from my feed suggested changing the flight mechanics to make it less convenient. The cited example was eliminating hovering.

NBI Talkback Challenge #4 The Seven Gaming Sins

I guess I haven’t done too good of a job keeping up with the NBI writing prompts but this one looks fun. So without further adieu: The seven gaming sins. Keep in mind that the social aspect of these questions are being answered mostly from a WoW player’s perspective.

Lust – Do you enjoy games more if they have scantily clad and “interestingly proportioned” avatars? Do you like playing as one of these avatars? Why or why not?

Do I enjoy playing half naked ultra stacked men and women? As a whole yes, but mostly because I am easily amused. Honestly, it depends on the game’s overall tone, context. etc. Do I find busty beauts appropriate to the setting of a game such as Dead or Alive or Duke Nukem? Well, yeah. A game with a more serious tone however, such as Half-Life, Half-Life 2, or a military shooter, probably not so much. If the character designs are too over the top, it breaks immersion.

Gluttony – Do you have a game backlog of unfinished games but still buy new games regardless? Why or why not?

Ugh yes. Why? Because at one point in time (several years ago), I binged on a Steam Summer/Winter sale or two and scooped up a horde of sub $5 and sub $10 with the intent of playing each and every single one of them one day. I don’t really have the time or interest to play through my entire backlog. Besides, it’s not as if I really buy too many games nowadays.

Greed – Do you enjoy hand outs in a game? Have you ever opted to NOT do an action / in game activity because the rewards were lacking? Why or why not?

Keep in mind that I consider the enjoyment and fun that I have obtained after completing an action a reward. So, have I opted out of a quest because I did not feel that it would be rewarding enough? Definitely. This one is mostly in reference to grindy MMO activities.

Sloth – Do you ever leech or AFK in a party? Do you discourage others from attempting things that you feel are difficult? Have you ever seen someone that needed help, but decided not to help them? Why or why not?

No, it’s rude and a huge waste of everyone’s time, mine especially. Why even run a dungeon or join a group if you aren’t even interested in playing?

Have I ever discouraged others from attempting things that I have felt are difficult? No, I try not to unless they are clearly under-geared or under-prepared to the extent that it is going to screw everyone else over in the party.

Wrath – Ever get angry at other players and yell (or TYPE IN CAPS) at them? Have you ever been so angry to stalk a person around in game and / or in the forums? Why or why not?

No…

Envy – Ever felt jealous of players who seem to be able to complete content you can’t? Do you ever suspect they are hacking or otherwise cheating? Why or why not?

Not really.

Pride – Are you one of those people that demands grouping with other “elite” players? Do you kick players out of your team who you feel are under-performing? Why or why not?

I enjoy grouping with competent players who are willing to spend time learning how to play their class properly but I do not really “demand” to group with elite players nor do I appreciate the attitude that follows people who generally identify themselves as such.

Will I kick people out who are under-performing to the point of being incompetent? Yes. Most of these people have fallen under the AFK sloth category… Will I kick people out of the group because they are struggling? Eh, I really dislike doing that and at point, it’s usually group consensus. We all have to begin somewhere and kicking someone out mid run who is trying hard but struggling a bit is a bit rude.