I’m a Bard

I had a lovely long weekend and spent most of it doing increasingly silly things in FFXIV, and tying up loose ends in WoW. On the WoW front, I’ve been gradually losing interest since Nighthold released, and only partially sure why other than being distracted by FFXIV. I’ve resolved to let my subscription lapse for a little while, so I spent some time cleaning up my bags, making sure my mail was empty, and other housekeeping things. I realized that the Love is in the Air event was about to end and I had barely even tried to get a rocket this year, and I’m surprisingly ok with that. Even though they changed it so you don’t have to be max level to try, I just couldn’t bring myself to care enough to grind myself into the dirt trying for such a low drop chance mount. I did grind archaeology a little bit, since the bi-weekly quest is currently rewarding a ghost moose mount. Somehow grinding for a set endpoint is much easier to stomach than grinding for a tiny random drop chance. Anyway now I’ve got a sweet new mount and can walk away from the game for a break in style.

On the Final Fantasy front I am fully engaged in what feels like a series of weird side projects with no main overarching goal. My scholar is now geared enough that I feel comfortable that I’ll be able to get into whatever the next set of dungeons is without issue. That means that I’m still slowly working on her gear but it is no longer any sort of priority. I also managed to get my summoner’s gear over the threshold needed for expert roulette. This not only means that I get showered in upgrades, but also that I can actually run dungeons with my healer buddy again finally. Hooray! Mostly the end-game stuff feels like keeping time until the next new thing arrives, and I’m ok with that. I have a lot of other silly things vying for my attention.

One of the silliest things actually got completed this weekend. I finally finished my scholar’s zeta weapon. It took way too long, and probably wouldn’t have happened if most of the steps hadn’t been nerfed into the ground by the time I got to them, but I still feel weirdly proud and happy to have completed it. I will be starting the Heavensward weapon quest soon, but it will be nice to take a breather for a little bit before I start.
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Another thing I’ve been doing a lot of is running Palace of the Dead. In my last update about my bard, she was trapped deep in the hell of the subligar levels. As of Monday she’s now level 50 and looking much better. I didn’t have any ironworks gear laying around for bard, but I did have some ilevel 100 gear that looks just lovely with her garuda bow thank you very much. Aside from the bard I’ve also gotten my lancer and marauder up to 30 this way, which means I have a freshly minted dragoon and warrior. I doubt I will be playing either of them very often but it has been fun to try them out and to see their class stories. Now I am only missing monk, paladin, and dark knight and I’ll have all the combat jobs unlocked.

The last week or so have seen a renewed flurry of activity in my free company, with lots of new faces and old friends returning to the game in preparation for Stormblood. It has been really fun introducing some people to the game, or helping folks gear up and run new-to-them content. Playing with friends definitely helps make a game more fun and more “sticky”, I’m constantly bouncing around doing all kinds of things I probably wouldn’t be doing on my own. My only real concern is that I’m going to get burned out before Stormblood gets here, so I’m planning in advance to take a mini break before that happens. Other than that I’m settling in and enjoying all the company and the silly things to do!

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The Subligar Levels

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I’ve been playing more FFXIV than anything else for the past week or so. This has led to some fun times and some questionable fashion choices. Not that anybody would choose to wear this outfit if it weren’t the best available gear for the level. The subligar levels are not kind.

Palace of the Dead got added to the game right around the point when I was drifting away, so even though I was subscribed at the time I never ran it. Since I’ve been back I’ve been making up for lost time, chain running it to level some alt classes and score a sweet weapon upgrade for my scholar. I waffled a lot over what class to level. I started with my ninja since that’s closest to being done but by the time I hit 55 I needed a break. Then I decided I wanted to level all my low classes together so I could start getting rid of lowbie gear. I managed to get everything to at least 26 or so before a clear winner emerged. So now I find myself leveling a bard.

Barding it up in the random levels of PotD is a super relaxing time. Unlike ninja, where I feel like I’m playing whack-a-mole with my ability buttons, bard has a rotation I can keep on top of with relative ease. It also keeps me safely out of melee and back in my comfort zone, as far away from angry monsters as possible. Running the 51-100 floors means the exp is coming at a furious pace, plus I can start working on more weapons now that my scholar’s is fully upgraded. I suspect when I hit 50 and the exp slows down I might get bored and swap to something else for a while, but for now I’m having a blast.

Meanwhile my scholar is also making progress. On the nonsense front, I’ve moved to the zodiac stage of my relic weapon quest thanks to my old FC mate who was gracious enough to bake me some sort of horrible eel pie so I could finish the prior step. Now I just need to farm some light to finish that off so I can start on the Heavensward version. Let’s all take a moment of silence in memory of my sanity.

In the slightly-less-nonsense realm, I’ve continued to make steady progress gearing up. Notable additions include the previously-mentioned weapon from PotD, and the healer hat from Dun Scaith. The hat came with a side of salt, since I won it while running with my white mage buddy who desperately wanted it for transmog but had already won an item on the previous boss. Ah, those delicious white mage tears. To add insult to injury I immediately glamoured it into the scholar tophat because the scholar tophat is the best tophat. Sorry friend!

I’m not sure if I’ll get to try out my new hat at our weekly FC raid night this week since tonight is some sort of holiday or something. I am sure that I’ll be spending a lot of time in Eorzea this week though. Hopefully it will be enough to get my bard far far away from the subligar levels for good.

Out of the gear valley

I finally managed to slowly claw my way out of the item level valley I was stuck in with FFXIV. This was about equal parts hard work grinding tomes, generosity from my FC fellows, and the dumb luck of having enough tokens from Alex section 2 to put toward a weapon upgrade. Without all of those things I’d probably still be griping about how all my friends were having fun without me. Instead I got to see 2 new dungeons and one new raid and finish up the available MSQ.

It was actually weirdly frustrating to see ilvl 245 gear dropping like candy from the new expert dungeons. Yes, I’m happy that I’m getting lots of upgrades but it is so unsatisfying to immediately replace gear that I spent so much time grinding tomes for with green dungeon drops 15 levels higher. I accept that some amount of gear resetting is a fact of life in MMOs but FFXIV’s gear progression and gating seem incredibly uneven. Gear complaints aside I did enjoy the 2 new dungeons, although I like fighting dinosaurs much more than fighting people and mechs.

The thing I spent the most time on since getting my gear sorted out has been random non-progression activities. For instance I spent several hours farming old dungeons for the quest to upgrade my Nexus weapon, then hit a wall because nobody on Cactaur is selling the “tailor-made eel pie” I need. Gross. I also somehow found renewed interest in leveling up all my alt classes, and after this weekend all my combat classes are at least level 23. It felt good to throw out some of that low-level gear I had been hanging on to and it was just fun to spend a few hours figuring out different classes. I’m looking forward to getting everything up to 30 and unlocking jobs for all of them. The only down side is that I haven’t played some of these classes in so long that I had no idea what was happening in their class quests. Sorry GLD lady, I have no idea why you’re so mad at this other guy, please just give me my new ability and/or weapon upgrade, thanks.

I’m really happy I’ve gotten back into the swing of things in FFXIV again. It feels good to play with my friends there and it has been fun catching up on the story that makes the game so strong and endearing. I hope my newfound interest in alting doesn’t send me down the road to fast burnout. I suppose it could be worse, at least I haven’t jumped into the black hole of crafting classes…yet.

Gaming Goals February 2017

Whoops I posted in a new month without going over my gaming goals first. Let’s remedy that, shall we? First, a look back at January’s goals

January  Goals

WoW: Get that starbunny pet. Nope. I didn’t solo a single raid or even look for pets on the auction house. My WoW time took a nosedive last month, and I’m taking it off the goal list for February.

Diablo 3: Get all the cosmetic goodies from Season 9. Yes! And I got my stash tab! This is the closest I’ve ever come to finishing the season journey entirely, since I got 3 conquests done without too much trouble.

Get all the goodies and achievements from the Diablo anniversary event. Yes! It took a couple evenings of farming temporal priests and named monsters but I got it done before the event ended.

Destiny: Run some strikes with friends. Nope. Barely played Destiny at all last month.

Justice Monsters V: Clear the normal quests on Master difficulty. Nope. I discovered another round of quests past the 10-x series that have dual elemental focus so I’ve been working my way through those.

WildStar: Play once a week. Yes! I’ve actually been playing a little here and there and really enjoying myself again. It turns out that leveling a new alt was just what the space zombie doctor ordered.


February Goals

FFXIV: Finish the available Main Story Questline and see the new-to-me raid content. This is all locked behind an item level requirement of 230 or 235 so it means a bit of grinding but I’m sure I can get there.

FFXV: Pick this back up and play at least 2 chapters. The game is great and for some reason I dropped it suddenly. I need to make progress on it so I can eventually talk about it on the podcast!

WildStar: Keep playing once a week, and get my new esper alt to level 30. I’m keeping these goals modest because I don’t want to wreck a good thing. I’m just happy to be back in the game and see some of my old friends again.

Justice Monsters V: Clear all of the quests on any difficulty. I’m revising my goal from last month since there’s a bunch of quests I didn’t know existed then! I’d also really love to upgrade one of my monsters to legendary before the game ends, but without pouring money into a dying game that seems unlikely to happen.

Gear Valley Woes

I’ve been happily poking at FFXIV over the last week. It doesn’t have its claws back in me super deep yet, but I have at least been enjoying myself. Part of what’s keeping me from fully embracing my return to the game is that I am once again stuck in a bit of a “gear valley”. By this I mean that my gear isn’t good enough to do the newest content yet, but it is good enough that doing the highest level content I can will only net me marginal upgrades at best.

I’m aware this is often an issue in MMOs but it feels more pronounced in this case. I’m not sure whether it is because my fastest option for gear is Weeping City, which is painful compared to its 2.0 counterpart, or whether it is the fact that the more fun options like Alex have prohibitive queue times. Anyway after playing for a week I’m only a couple points away from being able to run expert roulette. I know it isn’t the end of the world to have this delay but I want to be able to play with my friends and also see the new story stuff that’s such a key part of the game.

To prevent myself from burning out running the same two dungeons over and over for “bookrock” currency I also made a tiny alt. Alts in FFXIV are a terrible idea, since you can of course be every single class on one character without having to start the whole story over. On the flip side, seeing the beginning of the story again after several years has been pretty fun, and wandering around the woods outside Gridania has been surprisingly soothing even if it is full of gross bugs and fungus. It’s been forever since I spent more than 10 minutes at a time just questing in FFXIV, and it has been good for my enjoyment of the game. I’ll probably try to fold things back into my main and maybe spend some time leveling one of my lowest classes like lancer, but for now part of the fun is going back to the start like re-reading a beloved book. It is a nice way for me to remember how much I enjoy the game when I’m not slamming my head against a gear check wall.