September 2017 Gaming Goals

Oh crap it’s September already! Aside from the semester starting and my stress levels kicking into overdrive, it also means it’s time for my monthly gaming goals update.

August Goals recap:

FFXIV: Level my AST. I did it! Hooray! I still can’t decide whether I like AST or SCH better though.

Clear at least 1 boss of Omega Savage. Nope. We got the first boss down to something ridiculous like 0.1%, but that group ended up disbanding. Sadness.

Diablo 3: Finish Barbarian set mastery. Nope. I’ve been super unmotivated in D3 and combined with terrible luck with drops I still don’t have the last set I need to try the 4th dungeon.

WoW: Get back to the Robo-squids project. Yes! We got through Blackfathom Deeps and Gnomergan this month. News flash: I still hate Gnomer just as much as I ever have (which is a lot).

I got half of my goals for the month done. That’s not too terrible!


September Goals:

WoW: Get my shaman class mount. I leveled her up to 110 in August. Now it’s a matter of gearing up and getting through the Broken Shore quests to unlock the mount questline.

Do more Robosquids stuff. I’ve been loving this project but it’s hard to find times when all 4 of us can play. I resolve to pester my friends until we get it back on the schedule. (You’ve been warned, guys!)

Horizon Zero Dawn: Finish a second playthrough to see all the updates. It’s this month’s Aggrochat game of the month so I’m doubly motivated!

D3: Finish the Barbarian set mastery. I know I can do this. I just need a push. And I really need to get it done before Destiny 2 releases on PC and starts filling the “murder monsters, get loot explosion” slot in my gaming time.

Legendary: Get a maxed-star card of every color. Legendary: Game of Heroes is a mobile game with a super boring name and very sticky gameplay for me. It’s like a much slicker-looking, slightly less confusing Puzzle and Dragons. The weekly-ish events give pretty good chances at strong cards and materials to upgrade them, so hopefully I can get a maxed-out team by the end of the month.


You’ll note that FFXIV has fallen off the list. I’m just not into it lately, and forcing myself right now is likely to end in a full stop instead of a brief pause. I do still want to try to show up for raid nights more to hang out with my friends than anything else.

I think this month’s goals are pretty reasonable. I just need to remember to play HZD for the main story and not all the side content or there’s no way I’ll finish in time…

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August 2017 Gaming Goals

I’m a few days late with this one since I’ve been AFK for most of this week. I had set a few somewhat ambitious goals for July and did a decent job on them. Let’s see what August brings!

July Goals recap:

FFXIV: Clear both EX primals.  Check! I still haven’t done this with a FC group, but I did at least get my kills.

Advance at least one of my Anima weapons at least one step. Nope. I dialed my play time back and mostly focused on current content.

Level my AST.  Not really. I did get a couple levels, but AST is still not 70. The problem here is that they fixed some of the problems with scholar, so I felt way less motivated to have the 2nd healer job.

Figure out how to buy a house. I do know how to buy a house now so I’ll count this as a win. I haven’t actually bought one because I’m still waiting for people to move out to the new zone so I can find open property in Mists.

Diablo 3: Complete the basic season 11 journey with a necromancer. Done! I haven’t gone much past the first 4 chapters but this is still a win.

Complete the challenge rift every week. Nope. I did attempt it every week, but last week’s build was really difficult and I didn’t manage to clear it under the timer.

Master all the crusader set dungeons. Done! I was an overachiever and got monk and witch doctor too!


August Goals:

FFXIV: Level my AST. I’m so close it really is silly that I still haven’t finished this.

Clear at least 1 boss of Omega Savage. This might be a matter of flinging myself at pugs until I smash through, but I’d love to get this done.

Diablo 3: Finish Barbarian set mastery. I’ve only got one barbarian dungeon left to master in order to get my fancy wings. It might mean giving up on much seasonal progress this time around, but I can do this!

WoW: Get back to the Robo-squids project. There’s an awful lot of dungeons left for our little undergeared, underleveled, undersized group to get through, and now that the new game shine is starting to fade from Stormblood I’m ready to jump back in.


I think these are pretty modest goals for the month, and they’re all things that I really do want to get around to. I can’t wait to post about my pretty new wings!

Stormblood for the Holiday

I had a very long weekend for the holiday and spent most of my gaming time with FFXIV. Our Free Company is still very active and it feels so great to have tons of people around and looking to group. I spent a good share of time helping folks knock out story dungeons or just getting faster queues for roulettes. Yes, even as a healer my roulette queues are almost instant right now, while the poor DPS are waiting and waiting. I would love to see the data on the effect adding 2 new DPS classes had on queue times. I suspect it isn’t as drastic a change as we might think since many folks are happy with their chosen role, but I’m sure it did make things at least a bit worse. There’s so very many red mages now.

One of the goals I had for the holiday was to complete the two EX primals that are available. I got halfway there. It only took a couple attempts to get a Lakshmi clear, but I’ve been trying Susano over and over and over to no avail. I am hoping that once I clear it I’ll be able to get into the farm groups that actually know what they’re doing, because I’m so sick of watching the other healer (it’s almost always the healer) stand in the group with the lightning and kill us all. I’d really like to get the weapon from him, since it will be at least 6 more weeks before I can get a weapon upgrade anywhere else.

The big excitement really came yesterday when the first wing of the Omega raid opened up. As is now standard in FFXIV, it had 4 bosses with the token loot system used in Heavensward’s Alexander raids. I got pretty lucky and won items off the first 3 bosses on the first try, so I only had to run V4.0 a couple extra times to get all my gear for the week. I ended up with a belt, a pair of gloves, and 1/2 of a hat. Not bad. I’m hoping to farm Lakshmi a bit so I don’t have to depend on jewelry from Omega as much and can focus on “left side” tokens. Loot aside, the raid was super fun and I’m quite happy with it. I’m curious to see where the story takes us, but I think I already like it better than Alex. I loved the music and a lot of the fights from the Alexander raid, but the story left a lot to be desired. Omega seems to fit in much better with the overall plot of the expansion.

Stormblood has definitely been keeping me busy so far. I am hoping now that most of our raid group is at 70 that we’ll set up a regular raid night again and work on clearing the EX primals and Omega. I’ve been flirting with burnout a bit, mostly because I’ve been running a lot of things on my own and pugging is bad for my mental health. If I can do fun things on the regular with my friends I’ll be a much happier Grace.

July 2017 Gaming Goals

A belated post for my July goals since I was too busy playing games over the holiday weekend to blog about playing games!

Review of June Goals:

WoW: Level one more class to 110. Done! I ended my temporary return to WoW with only the Shaman, DK, and Warrior below the level cap.

Subnautica: Rebuild my sweet sea base empire. Done? I’m going to call this a win. I didn’t build quite as fancy a base as I did in my earlier playthroughs, but I did build two of them and that should count for something.

FFXIV: Play Stormblood. Done! Yes this goal was a gimme but I don’t care. I didn’t want to stress myself out with goals I just wanted to enjoy the expansion for a couple weeks.

I actually completed all my June goals! I guess the secret to success is having really easy goals.


July Goals:

FFXIV: Clear both EX primals. I got Lakshmi this weekend but Susano still eludes me. I want a fancy weapon and maybe a doggo.

Advance at least one of my Anima weapons at least one step. Hopefully an easy goal but I’m being intentionally vague with it. My SCH weapon is on the light farming step, while my AST weapon is on the “do a bunch of dungeons in order” step. I should be able to finish at least one of these, especially with a certain friend who has been encouraging me to do these silly things.

Level my AST. After leveling roulette last night I’m at 65, so this should be easy. I am very curious to see how different the healing feels compared to SCH. It will be easier to compare the two when they’re both 70 and equally geared.

Figure out how to buy a house. My FC is moving to the new housing district when it opens, and I would like to continue living in the Mist. That means I’ve got to buy my own place. I’ve been saving up, so hopefully I can afford it when everyone abandons their property to move to the new zone.

Diablo 3: Complete the basic season 11 journey with a necromancer. This will be a somewhat short timer since the season doesn’t start until near the end of the month, but completing the 4 chapters should be easy.

Complete the challenge rift every week. I’ve done the first 2 so far and they’ve been quite fun and not too punishing so hopefully I can continue.

Master all the crusader set dungeons. I have been slowly working on this since season 10. I just finished Roland’s set dungeon last night so all I have left is Akkhan’s. I just need to finish farming the set.


I have some actual goals this month for a change! Hopefully keeping them focused on just 2 games will help me meet them. Wish me luck!

Stormblood: Roll Credits

I “finished” FFXIV Stormblood this morning. By that I mean I got far enough through the MSQ to see the credits. This is a pretty leisurely leveling time for me, clocking in at 9 days to 70 and 10 days ’til the credits rolled. Part of that was due to the launch difficulties and part was simply being willing to take my time more than I usually do in a new MMO expansion. Now that I’m 70 and through the main story, there are expert dungeons and primal fights to tackle, along with the sacred ancient rite of grinding bookrocks for gear upgrades.

The story, for the most part, has been some of their best so far. There is one villain whose writing I really disliked, but otherwise I’ve been impressed. They even got away with sticking me with Alphinaud again after letting me enjoy hanging out with his much cooler sister. They also managed to make me care about the fight for independence from the empire on two fronts. I know that “fighting the evil empire” is a solid FF mainstay but in FFXIV I’ve never cared about them that much. To be honest they’re still my least favorite type of enemy in the game, but at least this time around they’ve been a clear and constant threat instead of just popping in for inopportune plot points. I’m looking forward to seeing what happens in the aftermath of the 4.0 MSQ and how all the still-loose ends get woven together over the life of the expansion.

Stormblood’s group content has set a very high bar. FFXIV has some of the most interesting, beautiful, and complex dungeons and raids I’ve ever seen and this expansion does not disappoint on that front. The dungeons start off fairly simple but ramp up very quickly in complexity.  There are 6 total that unlock while leveling, and only one of them is not tied directly to the MSQ. The theme of the first dungeon is my favorite, a haunted shipyard. The second dungeon is the optional one, and is the most beautiful in my opinion. I’d love to live there once we clear out all the creatures who are trying to kill us. The third dungeon has the most flimsy story premise (“go face this challenge before we’ll let you get to the real fight”),  but it has my absolute favorite boss fight in any of the Stormblood dungeons so far. This game is absolutely making sure that by the time you get through the story, you’re also prepared for the challenges you’ll face at endgame. Dungeons 4, 5, and 6 are so deeply tied to the MSQ that I’m afraid to talk about them much for fear of massive spoilers. Of those three I think dungeon 5 is my favorite, but I haven’t run them as many times as I have the early dungeons, so I’ll reserve judgement a bit.

There are also three trials in the Stormblood MSQ. They are each very distinct and challenging in their own way, but the final trial is the most difficult by far. It took me 4 different pug groups to finally clear it. The start of the expansion is probably making this more difficult than it should be, since many folks (like me) are still in leveling gear and don’t know the fight yet. It is also a very long fight, with a truly ridiculous number of moving parts to keep track of. This is the one I’m most looking forward to the EX version of, when I’m safely in a group full of my friends and we can take the time to learn whatever nonsense amount of dancing will be required to win.

If you’re playing Stormblood, I hope you’re enjoying it as much as I am, and if you’re not, now’s a great time to hop in and try FFXIV for yourself!

Stormblood Stuff

Stormblood is finally upon us and boy did the early access weekend have an extremely rough start. On Friday I woke up at butts-o’clock so I could log in and get a head start on things before I had to go to work. I did as much as I could of the main story quest until I ran into the roadblock of the first instanced solo duty. Being an optimistic sort, I ran to work and figured that I’d pick up where I left off when I got home. I spent all day at work worrying that my friends who had taken the day off were going to race past me and I’d be playing catch-up all weekend. By the end of the day I discovered that was not true. The instance servers were still overloaded and after a lengthy queue to get in my reward was being disconnected immediately when I tried to start my story quest.

All of Friday evening and Saturday I smashed my face against that quest, along with the thousands of other people milling around the questgiver and giving “insightful” commentary in the zone chat. In some other games this road block wouldn’t be quite so bad, but FFXIV gates their content heavily with their story. That means that all the new group content and zones were locked until we could get past this quest. On the plus side, I got some IRL crafting done, finished off my dad’s fathers’ day gift, and got to watch a movie. On the down side, I was so frustrated and angry I was about to just go play WoW and swear off FFXIV for a few weeks until I could calm down and they could fix the game.

Luckily, on Sunday morning when I got up the quest let me through on the first try. After that was a full day spent catching up on all the questing and dungeons and things I had wanted to do earlier in the weekend. I’ve seen the first dungeon and the first trial, and as much of the story as I can through level 64. The next step of the MSQ requires another level, and I’ve unlocked the second dungeon so I suspect I’ll be running that a few times until I can progress again. Some of my friends are doing all the side quests, but I prefer to level through group content if I can, so that those side quests are still around when my other classes need to be leveled. I greatly enjoyed the first dungeon, and ran it quite a few times as my friends got to that point in the story.

The story has been good so far. It is far too early to be posting spoilers, but I will say I am enjoying myself more than I thought. It is no secret that I didn’t care much about where the initial Stormblood story was taking us, but the MSQ is doing a good job of making me care. Also getting to travel around with Alisaie and Lyse has been one of the highlights of questing in any game I have ever played. The story leading up to the first trial was a joy, and if they swap out Alaisaie and make me go back to traveling with Alphanaud again I might never forgive them.

Stormblood This Week!

I have this weird mix of excitement and apprehension over the early-access launch of FFXIV Stormblood this weekend. On the one hand, I’m always glad when the stars align and all or most of my friends are actively playing the same game at the same time. On the other hand, I’m feeling pretty apathetic about FFXIV and MMOs in general lately. Sure, I had a brief burst of enthusiasm after the last live letter when we got to see cool things like the summoner getting to summon MFing Bahamut. However this has been tempered by the usual mix of positive changes, nerfs, and sidegrades that mean I’ll be relearning whatever class I decide to main. Because of course I still have not completely decided whether to be a scholar or astrologian this time around.

I wish I could steal some of the excitement my friends are feeling about this expansion. The sad truth is that I care even less about the Garlean empire and Doma than I did about the annoying pompous elves of Ishgard. I’m cautiously optimistic about the underwater content that’s been previewed. If you have been reading this blog for any length of time you know I’m a sucker for beautiful sea creatures and underwater zones. The general consensus in gaming, though, is that underwater zones are really hard to get right, and a lot of people hate them. Hopefully FFXIV does them justice.

I’ve been playing tons of WoW lately and you might think that means I’m not excited about Stormblood because I think WoW is “better”, but you’d be completely wrong. WoW is currently scratching an itch that is more about nostalgia and inertia than any sort of compelling gameplay. In fact the most joy I’ve gotten out of it recently has been from ignoring what I’m “supposed” to be doing and just faffing about on alts. This makes me suspect that my return to FFXIV could be smoother if I try not to care about getting through all the content quickly and instead focus on enjoying whatever happens to capture my attention. Unfortunately if I want to capitalize on the brief time when all my friends are around and active, I’ll want to level quickly and be available for dungeons, trials, and raids. I don’t want to miss out on that all-important first-time-seeing-the-instance fun. That fear of missing out doesn’t mean I have to power level, because my friends are mostly adult people with jobs and families and things that mean we can’t all play for a week straight. It does mean I should probably pick one job and move through the leveling story with a purpose so I don’t get left behind.

There’s no easy choice for me between SCH and AST but at least I know I’ll still be maining a healer either way. And regardless of my apathy about the expansion itself I am genuinely excited to hang out with my friends and kill internet dragons or whatever their Doman equivalent is again.

June 2017 Gaming Goals

Hello again. I’ve survived yet another month and that means that it is time for this month’s edition of gaming goals.

May Goals Recap:

FFXIV: Get enough scripture to buy a weapon, and get it upgraded. Nope. I’m still sitting on all the materials for this because I could never decide if I wanted to buy it for scholar or astrologian. Then I stopped playing FFXIV for a while so it was moot.

Finish the aether oil step of the anima weapon. Yes! By some miracle I actually got this done. I blame a brief burst of enthusiasm for the game fueled by the most recent live letter with all the new Stormblood info.

Diablo 3: Complete the season. Yes! I honestly surprised myself with this one, because I was afraid I would get bored and wander away just before the finish line like last season. Instead I followed through and was weirdly proud of myself for accomplishing this.

WoW: Level one more class that I don’t already have at 110. Yes. Hahaha! I’ve been playing way too much WoW lately. The only classes I don’t have at 110 in some form now are Shaman, DK, and Warrior.


June Goals:

WoW: Level one more class to 110. I can tell I’m getting close to burning out on WoW, and with Stormblood on the horizon I know I’ll be putting it down once this month’s sub is finished. Hopefully before then I can get one of the 3 remaining classes up enough to see their story.

Subnautica: Rebuild my sweet sea base empire. This is my AggroChat game of the month for June, so I have to play it at least a bit. My intention here is to see what has been added in the 6+months since I last played, and to do my best to recreate some of the cool stuff I had acquired in my earlier playthroughs.

FFXIV: Play Stormblood. Ok this is basically cheating, of course I’m going to do this! But I don’t want to have any more strict goals because I want to be very chill and just enjoy the launch and the leveling process without having to rush things.


Once again this is a month with really modest goals. I’m hoping that means I will actually accomplish them for a change. And I know myself well enough to know that when Stormblood launches all other games will be purged from my attention for at least a few weeks, so there’s no sense trying to do anything ambitious in June.

Weekly gaming grab bag

I’ve been adrift a little bit in my gaming over the past week or so. The D3 season keeps progressing in smaller chunks, and I am getting close to finishing my second conquest. I just need one more set dungeon mastery, since I did Tal Rasha’s, Vyr’s, and Firebird’s after finishing my 4 demon hunter ones. The wizard dungeons have been harder overall than the DH ones, with Vyr’s in particular being quite awful due mostly to its size and spread of monsters to kill. I did the basic completion of Delsere’s before, but never mastered it. I guess as long as it isn’t worse than Vyr’s I should be fine. I am very much looking forward to being finished with these.

I’ve mostly wandered away from FFXIV, with most of my play time happening on Tuesday for our weekly raid night. There’s so much I could be doing but I’m in a really solid place to start the expansion so anything else is not very vital. It’s nice to stop obsessively grinding lore. I also made yet another attempt at FFXV and yet again bounced off it super hard. I guess I need to admit that the combat in that game is just not for me and let it go. At this point it is not that I can’t do it, it’s that I really just do not enjoy it at all. Instead I booted up a new game of Horizon: Zero Dawn and put in an afternoon reliving that joy. I think I’m going to try to motor through the story this time instead of doing all the side quests and exploration, just so I can have it fresh in my head to talk about with friends who are playing now.

I have also been logging into WoW every once in a while to work on my reputation grind to unlock flying. I’m hoping I can get it finished before my subscription runs out because I doubt I will pay for another month right now. The game is fun enough but the manic joy from the Legion launch is long gone and everything in front of me looks like a horrible long grind. While many of my WoW guildies have embraced the grind, it just makes me want to check out and do something else.

The same combination of overwhelming amounts of new stuff to do along with a long grind for character power rewards is keeping me away from WildStar as well. Every time I log in I have fun for a while but when I look into the long term progression I check out. These kinds of mechanics are great for people who are super invested in one game and need something to keep them engaged, but seem like this unassailable mountain that you will always be behind on when you’re a new or returning player. I guess this is one of the reasons why D3’s seasons are so appealing to me, because no matter how progressed or not my non-seasonal characters are, everybody gets to start over from scratch at the start of a new season, and you avoid that sense of “I can never catch up” that’s so demoralizing.

Well, that’s what I’ve been up to over the past week or so. I can feel the start of a super introverted spell coming on as I start poking at more single player games and avoiding group content. I’m mostly fine with this since I have a lot to keep me busy on my own, and my friends are somewhat dispersed across multiple games right now too. As long as I’m out of this mode by the time Stormblood launches I know I’ll be fine.

Finishing Heavensward

AST

Level 60 AST get

Since I finished the story of Horizon: Zero Dawn, I’ve been getting most of my gaming fix from Final Fantasy XIV recently. This involves lots of tying up loose ends in advance of the new expansion launch. I hit a couple different milestones in the last couple weeks, and I think I’ll be in a really great place heading into Stormblood. Not a whole lot has changed for my Scholar main since I finished her zeta weapon about a month ago. I’ve been faithfully capping my scripture and very gradually upgrading her gear to 270, but it’s been slow. The increase in the weekly scripture cap should help me finish off her last few pieces in the next week or two. I have started working on her anima weapon, the Heavensward version of the relic weapon chain, and so far it seems just as much of a silly slow slog as the relic. I’ll be working on this for a while, and as with the relic I’m in no hurry to grind myself to death and will be perfectly happy finishing this months from now.

I have also been working on various alt class side projects. First I got my ninja to 60, mainly via palace of the dead with a small amount of Fate and leve grinding mixed in. I had most of a set of gear ready for it that I had accumulated from expert roulettes, so I could pop straight into experts and Dun Scaith. Since I don’t need anything from there on my SCH I’ve been using my gear lockout and UFO quest to grab a few ninja pieces. I don’t love being a melee DPS but having the NIN around has been really handy for doing quick beast tribe dailies and it is a nice change of pace from healing.

The next job I worked on was my white mage. I find that I really do not enjoy the white mage playstyle. I can’t quite put my finger on what makes me dislike it so much, but it feels incredibly slow and boring to me even though I know it is a very strong healer. Unfortunately, I made one of my retainers a conjurer when I hired her, and for her to level I either needed to start her over from scratch or get my white mage to 50 so I could give her a Heavensward job. So I leveled WHM to 50, mainly in POTD with a few beast tribe quest turn-ins for good measure. The process did nothing to improve my opinion of the class, but at least now my retainer’s level is no longer tied to it. Instead, I swapped it to astrologian.

As you might have guessed from the screenshot above, I managed to level my AST to 60 in a hurry. I think I like it even better than SCH in a lot of ways. It certainly has a lot of really fun tricks and tools to play with. Having all of my SCH healer gear waiting for me when I hit 60 was also a nice bonus, since it meant I could hop directly into whatever content I wanted, and not feel like I was underpowered compared to my main class. I am giving a lot of thought to swapping mains to AST for the expansion, but I’m playing around with it a bunch for now to see if I still like it when the novelty wears off. I was incredibly saddened that I can’t use my amazing SCH tophat as a glamour for it though. To make myself feel better about the loss of the world’s best hat I did some retail therapy and bought the AST ravana weapon pictured above. It is on fire and also has butterflies and I love it.

Between all of that and finishing up the main story quests that came out this week I am in a really great place for the expansion. Now I just need to stay interested and not burn myself out grinding the anima weapon until Stormblood arrives.