Tag Archives: ffxiv

Elder Scrolls Online [ESO] — first impressions

This post first appeared on my Medium publication, Tikh Tokh.

Disclaimer: I’m an older gamer whose main interests are crafting, exploration, lore, game design and aesthetics. If you want to know if ESO has the best dungeons or the most exciting PVP, you’ve come to the wrong place.

So…first impressions:

“God, the characters are ugly.”

“Help! The camera is awful!”

“Bloody hell, how do you move around in this game?”

But then there came a moment when I saw my first ‘mansion’…

…and the graphics whore in me kicked in. Jaw agape, I wandered through this empty mansion and was transported back to my favourite game of all time – Vagrant Story. Created by Square Enix, Vagrant Story was probably the most beautiful game ever developed for the first PlayStation console, and the graphics had the same effect on me.

But this article isn’t about Vagrant Story, it’s about ESO, and the reason I bring the comparison up so early in the piece is because this was the moment when all my other first impressions faded into insignificance. I still hated the appearance of my character [and all the npcs]. I still found moving around difficult, and battling excruciatingly hit or miss, but…the beauty of the ‘world’ had me hooked.

The following is a watery vista just to the north of Balmora:

The next is a close-up view of the texture of a wall in Balmora. The dark shapes are shadows from a tree:

Before playing ESO, I honestly thought Final Fantasy XIV [FFXIV] was the most beautiful MMORPG currently available. I still think FFXIV is beautiful in that distinctly Asian, manga-esque way, but I no longer think it’s the best out there. ESO is.

The grass and bushes in ESO are thicker, richer, more real looking. The textures are a million times better, and the abundance of fauna, both large and small, make the environment feel alive. Plus the whole landscape is full of things to find, but more on that later. Time now for some negatives.

I began this article by saying that ESO characters are ugly. I stand by that. Nevertheless, I do acknowledge that my aesthetic may not appeal to everyone. I have played Western MMOs [WoW, GW2 and a couple of forgettables], but the bulk of my playing time has been on Japanese or Korean MMOs. Bear that in mind as you look at the following screenshots. The first is of a Dark Elf male and a Nord female:

I love character customisation, but I found it next to impossible to create attractive characters in ESO. The faces shown above are two of the most attractive ones, but I don’t think either is that attractive.

The two characters above are from Asian MMOs. The character on the left is from my brief foray into Blade and Soul. Loved the aesthetic of the characters, hated the game. The character on the right is from FFXIV. Both are gorgeous, and as a female player I make no apology for prefering them to the ESO offering.

I’m not impressed with the ESO body aesthetic either:

To me, the legs in ESO look too short for the bodies, but that could just be me. The monotony of the faces, however, is not my imagination. It is possible to create some differences between races, but within races, all the faces come out looking almost identical. As for the Cat and Lizard races…rolls eyes. Really? Stick an unmodified cat head on a human body and that’s it? Instant Cat race? The less said about those two races the better.

And now to the camera and movement settings in ESO. Having the camera locked to the head of the character may work in first person shooters, but for those of us who prefer a 3rd person perspective — i.e. seeing our characters from behind as they move about — the camera is nauseating, literally. You can’t just point to some ‘object’ with the mouse and look at it. You have to move the character until the cross hairs at head level pan over the object you want to check out.

The camera setting also means that the character has to be pointed at and looking at any enemy it needs to fight. Getting that ‘head camera angle’ just right in 3rd person view is tricky, very tricky. Again, I imagine that the camera setting would make fighting in PVP easier as you wouldn’t have to worry about lining up the crosshair, it would just be ‘there’. Pity I don’t do PVP.

You can change the key bindings for actions and weapon skills, but after much effort I finally gave up and learned to use the default setup, more or less. These settings include:

  • left mouse button for ‘Attack’ [with your weapon]
  • right mouse button for block, and
  • left & right mouse buttons together to interrupt

Actual weapon skills are handled by the number keys, 1–5. This means you can only ever have five of the total available weapon skills active at the one time. [I haven’t reached the level at which I get weapon swap which will effectively give me another 5 weapon skills to work with and I’m ignoring Ultimates for now].

Do I enjoy the battling? Not particularly, but I’m now able to hold my own. In time I may actually become reasonably proficient at fighting. -sigh-

Still on the subject of fighting, I have to say that the solo ‘dungeons’ [delves?] are fast becoming my favourite parts of the game. Most of these instanced, solo events are part of a quest chain and occur underground, or in some dungeon-like area.

This is the map of the Vassir-Didanat Mine dungeon:

These instanced dungeons can be completed on your own or by casually joining other players who are in the same place at the same time. No need to join a party, just tag along helping each other as needed. Great fun.

Returning to the camera settings, another problem is that you can’t just sweep the mouse over the environment when you’re looking for something. This can make gathering tricky as collectables aren’t marked in any way. You have to get up close and personal, and touch the object with the crosshair before you can see its label.

In the following screenshot, the object circled in red is a maple log:

If you love gathering and crafting, you will eventually learn to recognize the appearance of collectables from a distance, but as you can see from the above screenshot, collectables don’t exactly leap out of the environment at you. Yet despite this, or perhaps because of it, each rune, flower, or lump of wood I discover feels like an achievement.

This sense of accomplishment is in stark contrast to FFXIV where gathering is ‘easy’ but horribly boring. Sadly, crafting in ESO is the exact reverse. You rock up to a crafting station, choose the item you want to craft and hit a button. If you have the required materials, the item is crafted without any further input from the crafter. Boring….

By contrast, crafting in FFXIV is a mini-game and actually requires both strategy and skill.

In an attempt to make crafting in ESO a little more substantial, higher levels require ‘traits’ that must be researched. Researching a trait involves the destruction of an ‘item’ [weapon, gear, whatever] in order to learn the trait it contains. Researching a trait takes 6 hours and again, requires no further input from the crafter.

There are other bits and pieces involved in crafting, but at this point I haven’t discovered anything in ESO that makes my heart go pitter pat. I’m still at a very low level though so I’ll reserve my final judgement until I learn more.

Before I finish this preliminary overview of ESO, there are two further positives I really have to point out. Despite the fact that my character is only level 12, the quest lines have already given me a mount and a room at the inn which I can furnish as I wish.

None of the MMOs I’ve played have ever been this generous to a newbie player. It’s almost as if ESO believes players should be enjoying themselves right from the beginning instead of having to level up for weeks before being rewarded with something ‘nice’. I’m not saying ESO is perfect, far from it, but I will say that I’ve never enjoyed these low levels in an MMO before. That has to mean something. Oh, and it’s free to play. That means something too.

cheers

Meeks

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


#FFXIV – decorating my new room

Non-gamers look away now!

Just a couple of pics of my room in the Tonberry FC. Absolutely adore the ‘rust red’ of the walls:

and…

Okay, back to work now. -waves-

Meeks

 

 

 


#FFXIV – The Vault

I’ve always believed that the definition of true courage is not a lack of fear but the exact opposite – lots of fear but the courage to push ahead anyway. Sadly, I’ve been less than courageous the last six [?] months, putting off doing The Vault dungeon until I’d literally run out of anything more interesting to do. 😦

Well, my Summoner, Meeka Thara, has finally done The Vault. Twas not glorious. I died at the three quarter mark of the third boss, but luckily the rest of the party finished him off while I lay ignobly dead at their feet. -sigh- I did learn a few things that may help others though. What follows is for newbies, and is only a kind of overview and tips type thing. You should still watch videos of the fight and read up on it for the complete mechanics.

So, to the overview and tips:

  1. Unless you’re incredibly overpowered, the trash mobs are actually quite hard. Not Limit Break type hard, but hard, and they aggro from quite a distance. Party members who run ahead of the tank are stupid, plain and simple.
  2. The first two bosses [Ser Adelphel and Ser Grinnaux] start out almost easy, but when you get them down to about 20% HP they morph into much harder creatures, so don’t be lulled into a false sense of security.
  3. As per usual, the 2nd boss [Ser Grinnaux] is harder than the first and uses some mechanics that can trap the unwary. One of them is the aetherial tear [or void gate]. The Boss throws these void gates around the outer edge of the circular arena. Standing near a void gate will cause boss 2 void gatesome damage and stacks of vulnerability. Unfortunately, it’s not just a case of avoiding these gates. Every so often, the boss does an aoe knockback that sends everyone to the wall. If you get knocked back into a void gate it’s not good. As much as possible, try to position yourself so your back always faces an undamaged section of wall. I did read one forum post that advocated stacking the void gates all in one place to make it easier to avoid them but…I don’t know how you’re supposed to do that.
  4. The third and most powerful Boss [Ser Charibert] is hard right from the beginning. His mechanics include:
    1. Heavens Flames – these are circular fire aoes that target each, individual player – i.e. you will always have to be on the lookout for them,
    2. Chains – this mechanic chains two players together and keeps doing damage until the chain is snapped. If the two players are standing fairly close together when they are chained, they just have to run a short distance away from each other to snap it. If, however, the players are a long way apart when they are chained, they may not be able to put enough distance between each other to snap the chain.
    3. Knights – look like huge chess pieces and march in a row from the north of the arena to the south. Contact with one of theseboss 3 knights Knights causes damage AND a powerful Attack Speed Slow. This is not the kind of debuff you want when fighting a boss. The good thing, however, is that the Knights can be avoided, at least in the early part of the fight because they’re fairly slow and always keep to a straight line [think of them as moving line aoes].
  5. One strategy I read which worked really well during the early part of the fight is illustrated in the follow graphic: boss 3 schematicThe idea of stacking on the tank is that you automatically avoid the lines of Knights. You also have heaps more room to move if you get chained. It does work so long as you keep track of where the boss and tank are. 🙂
  6. At about 60% health, the boss disappears and returns with 2 adds – both Knights, but these ones can do line aoes. He also casts Holy Flames. There are about 6 [?] of these positioned around the outer perimeter and DPS have to kill them asap. Holy Flames are boss 3 at 60 percent holy flames followed by a room wide aoe called Pure of Heart. Now I’ve read that Pure of Heart can be followed by Sacred Flame, which is another room wide aoe. Apparently Sacred Flame depends upon whether the Holy Flames were all extinguished prior to Pure of Heart going off. We got all the Flames so I didn’t actually see this for myself. I assume it would have been bad though.
  7. In all the videos and guides, they say that after the Holy Flames/Pure of Heart sequence, everything else is ‘just’ more of the same but ‘a bit faster’ until the boss dies. Hmm….
  8. The reality is that phase 2 of the fight is when the boss throws everything at you at top speed, again and again and again. Knights charge down, chains happen along with fire aoes, and it’s all happening at once and OVERLAPS. Dodging the Knights was easy in the beginning but now with everything hitting you at once, moving and fighting at the same time becomes problematic, at least it did for me. boss 3 phase 2As you can see, a new line of Knights is forming in the top of the screen before the first lot have even passed. It’s rather chaotic and unless you’ve got your camera pulled out as far as it will go, seeing what’s happening [so you can avoid it] is difficult. This is around about where I died, probably because I was just too slow.

Given my lightning fast reflexes – chokes laughing – I should have just focused on my feet and forgotten about everything else. After all, the rest of the party managed just fine without me. Instead I tried to dodge while casting like the healer – awesome healer, by the way – and I failed.

So there you have it. Another dungeon, and a morning wasted on gated content that I hate, and no writing done, but at least I now have something more to do until the next trial in the game [Bismarck]. At this point, all I want to do is get past the gated content and reach the Dravinian Hinterlands for the crafting. After that, who knows.

cheers

Meeks

p.s. if you click on the screenshots, you should be taken to the Youtube video from which they were taken.


#Heavensward – 2 x 60 at last

Before anyone gets too excited -rolls eyes- none of my characters have hit level 60 in battling yet, but I am proud to announce that Takh broke the crafting barrier twice today – once on blacksmith and the second time on goldsmith:

takh hits 60 with bsm

takh hits 60 with gsm

And now to reveal a little secret – Takh reached 60 on two of his crafts without ever having set foot in Heavensward! And it wasn’t all that hard. Basically he did the Grand Company [GC] missions every day, handing in HQ [high quality] and starred items where possible.

Of course he did have some help from Meeka. She did all the gathering and provided him with melded crafting gear via her carpenter, weaver, leatherworker and alchemist, but if you have the gil [money] to buy all those things, it is possible to get a craft to 60 just on GC missions alone. As I never have a lot of gil, I had to do things the hard way, but that’s okay; I really just wanted to show that it can be done. Plus, if I’m honest, I also wanted to thumb my nose at Heavensward and all its gated content.

In the next week and a bit I intend to get 4 of Meeka’s crafts to 60 as well, then I’m going to pack up the Mist house, move what I can into a private room in the Lavender Beds house and jump into Blade & Soul [release date 19th January, 2016].

B&S is a buy-to-play mmo with no monthly subscription so I’ll actually save money for a while. And when I get sick of the PVP element, I’ll go back to Heavensward and hopefully my friendly house-sitter will have kept the Lavender Beds house going for me. If not, my characters will be homeless and I’ll be so angry at FFXIV that I may never buy a Square-Enix game again. Ever.

-hrumph-

Anyway, the weekend’s over and I need to go to bed. Goodnight all!

Meeks


Merry Christmas to all and to all a Merry Christmas!

Here in the Antipodes, Christmas Day has dawned bright, hot and very windy, perfect bushfire weather. That’s one reason the Offspring and I did Christmas the European way – last night on Christmas Eve!

Masses of food, oodles of presents and a couple of games of Scrabble with the Offspring’s partner, David, rounded out a lovely evening…with not a digital device in sight. It was the most fun I’ve had in ages!

Today is for enjoying the presents, gorging on leftovers and keeping an eye on the weather.

For all of you, wherever you are, we wish you a safe and happy Christmas!

-hugs-

Meeks and the Offspring


#FFXIV – why I can’t leave

I’ve written some pretty unhappy posts about Final Fantasy XIV over the last few months, but no matter how angry I get, one thing keeps me playing. And this is it. My house in Mist:

From the outside

From the outside

The front door

The front door

Warmth and books

Warmth and books

And a place to cook :)

And a place to cook 🙂

Going downstairs...

Going downstairs…

...into...

…into…

...the bedroom!

…the bedroom!

with its own oriental ensuite!

with its own oriental ensuite!

And finally the best feature of all – the view.

Dawn breaks in Mist

Dawn breaks in Mist

Yet as pretty as this scene is, it still doesn’t convey the eerie sense of reality I get when I sit here, staring down at the beach and watching the waves come in. Yes, there are waves and breakers and they move, seemingly at random.

But the waves are not the only things that move. Birds fly overhead, casting a shadow, or the quality of the light changes due to time of day or weather, or off on the horizon you see the dim outline of a ship with massive sails, majestically sailing out of sight…

No prizes for guessing where a lot of my ideas for Innerscape came from.

Have a lovely Sunday,

Meeks

p.s. most of the furnishings are crafted. If anyone is interested, I can tell you what each piece is, which craft makes it and what level recipe it is. Let me know in comments.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


FFXIV, Steps of Faith – Summoner

Steps of Faith is the final trial in FFXIV, version 2.X. It came out in early 2015 and was obviously designed to be the Grand Finale for this part of the storyline. As such, it was hellishly hard, especially for those just wanting to finish the story so they could play the up coming expansion.

For the expansion – Heavensward – the Steps of Faith was nerfed. [Nerf=the weakening of a game element for some reason]. Nevertheless, the trial is still hard, and I will never, ever, EVER put up with this much pain for a game. I got through it, on the 3rd try, and I scored another commendation, but it was real skin-of-the-teeth stuff, and the stress was not at all pleasurable. The following are a few things Summoners won’t find in the guides, but they are critical:

a) Your pet is going to be next to useless – it dies with monotonous regularity,

b) You CANNOT use the cannons while your pet is out. The hotbar of the pet stops the hotbar of the cannons from displaying. You will not even see the cannon weapon skills much less use them. I don’t know if this is a glitch or what but it was extremely embarrassing to find out the hard way. Thanks, SE.

c) You will be doing very little damage as a Summoner

d) BUT – you can be vital to the group by manning the Dragonslayer harpoon up on the towers.

I cannot stress this enough. Use the mechanics. Brute force may work if it’s a very well geared group who all know what they’re doing, but Duty Finder will not give you that group. If you go through Duty Finder as I did, you will need the mechanics.

Our group of 8 comprised 3 n00bs, including me, and we wiped on our first attempt because yours truly couldn’t use the cannons [had my pet out] and the attack was generally disorganized.

We didn’t wipe on the second attempt, but we did fail. Vishap [the Boss] had something like 50% health left by the last barrier.

Why? Because no one was using the Dragonslayer harpoons, that’s why. Either everyone forgot about them, or thought they could just burn their way through by brute force. Wrong.

On the third attempt, I decided I was next to useless anyway so I might as well give the Dragonslayer harpoon a try. If I messed up we’d be no worse off. I didn’t bother with my pet, just cast all my debuffs on Vishap before running for the tower.

I don’t know whether I got the first harpoon off or not because one of the mini-bosses followed me up the tower and killed me just as I clicked the harpoon. I rezzed [came back to life] and ran back to the fight.

My timing was out with the second harpoon but I know I got the third one. It took a nice big chunk of life from Vishap and also made the difference between success and failure as we only took the Boss down at the very last possible moment. It was so close I thought we’d failed again. Without the harpoon damage, we would have failed for sure.

So let’s look at the mechanics. The graphic below shows the basic structure of the fight:

ffxiv SoF map

Apologies for the amateurish graphic but it gets the job done. As you can see, the trial is in 4 parts, each part separated by a glowing blue barrier [it represents a magic ward]. The first part contains:

  • 2 pairs of cannon
  • 1 tower with the Dragonslayer harpoon on top

The purpose of the cannon is to kill the adds so the group can dps the Boss without getting killed.

The purpose of the Dragonslayer harpoon is to take a big chunk of the Boss’ life. The harpoon looks like this:

harpoon target zone

The harpoon gun is to your right as you go up the stairs of the tower. Do NOT interact with it until the Boss is more or less over the big orange circle on the ground. The harpoon has no hotbar button. As soon as you click on it, the gun will fire. It hits just the one spot and cannot be aimed

In the remaining sections, you must not fire the harpoon gun until the Boss is in position AND the players on the cannons have triggered the snares.

The snares, [shown below] look a bit like orange crystals, or lamps. The cue to trigger the snares is when the Boss uses his big, rectangular AOE. Once triggered, the snares throw chains over the Boss so the harpoon can hit it. Without the chains, the Boss will dodge the harpoon.

snares

Once the Boss destroys the last pair of cannons in a section, everyone, including healers, should be dpsing the Boss with everything they have. You won’t stop him destroying the barrier, but you can reduce his life quite a bit.

[Note: if you die, don’t wait to be rezzed. Go back to the beginning and use the shortcut portal to get back into the fight]

The final mechanic is the pile of explosive barrels. They are there as a last ditch boost to your group’s damage. But there is also one last harpoon gun available. You can see one of the snares circled in yellow in the screenshot below.

last phase

The players on the cannons have to stop the adds from destroying the barrels. Then, when the Boss gets there, they hit the remaining barrels with weapon skill 1 on the cannon hotbar.

I haven’t mentioned any of the mini-bosses that spawn because lots of guides talk about those, and you can find a good one here:

http://ffxiv.consolegameswiki.com/wiki/The_Steps_of_Faith

You can also find MrHappy’s walkthrough video guide here:

[Note: all screenshots are taken from MrHappy’s video guide]

Well, that’s it. The last game how-to. Now I can give Square Enix some more money to buy and play the expansion. It better be worth it because I haven’t had any fun doing this.

cheers,

Meeks

 

 

 


CGI Silly Putty

Technophile or technophobe, everyone should have a look at this video clip!

It shows computer generated shapes squidging up and splaying out, and generally behaving like real world ‘wet’ things.

The animation is great fun to watch, but what really blew my mind was that none of it is real. Every last bend, twist and splodge is created by a computer graphics program simulating the real world… and doing it well.

And because more is better than less, here are some more fluid simulations:

Final Fantasy XIV has some amazing looking ‘water’ but still nothing that looks and acts like real water.

The following 3 pics were taken at a game location called ‘Mist’ and show the waves coming in and going out. [note to self – really must download a video capture app again].

Look at the waves….

mist ocean 1

mist ocean 2

mist ocean 3

The waves don’t ‘interact’ with objects terribly well, but one day they will. One day, the simulated world will look as real as the real one. And from there, Innerscape is just a hop, skip and a jump away.

cheers

Meeks


FFXIV update – The Keeper of the Lake

Apologies, another gaming related post coming up. The pic below is of my character, Meeka, and the new minion she just earned from completing the Keeper of the Lake.

ffxiv kotl minion closeup

To bring my non-gamer friends up to date, Square-Enix, the Japanese developer of FFXIV brought out an expansion in July I think. This expansion was mooted to be as big and fantastic as a whole new game. Hence the buzz.

I didn’t buy the expansion, however, because to actually play it, you have to finish all the old content first. This content is attached to the storyline, and FFXIV is heavy on storyline so there’s a lot of it.Up to this point I would not be complaining. Unfortunately, the dungeons and trials I hate so much are a part of the storyline, and you can’t do one without the other.:(

Yesterday, I tried to do the next dungeon in the storyline [the Keeper of the Lake] and came very close to quitting the game altogether. The reason? A group of players I would not like to meet in real life. I don’t want to make this a self-justification rant, but I was not the reason the melee dps and the healer died at the first boss [Einhander], leaving just me and the tank alive. [In dungeons, once the healer dies, the tank usually dies soon after, and vice versa].

Now, in this situation, the thing I did right was to use my weak, Summoner healing spells to keep the tank alive. The thing I did wrong was to forget about my ‘Resurrection’ spell.

As its name suggestions, Resurrection allows a Summoner to revive a dead player during a battle. Unfortunately, Resurrection takes over 6…six…seconds to cast, and you cannot move during that time or the spell will be interrupted – i.e. the player stays dead.

While this is all happening, however, the boss is not being polite and waiting while you cast your six second spell. No, it is spamming AOEs [area of effect spells] all over the place, so the player who stands still for even 1 second is essentially dead.

I knew this, and thought the fight was hopeless, but I was wrong. There is a way to get around the long cast time of Resurrection – by using it in conjunction with another spell called ‘Swiftcast’. Essentially, what Swiftcast does is it turns the first spell that follows it into an instant cast. So in theory, Swiftcast + Resurrection should go from taking 6 seconds to taking 0 seconds.

In theory, again, when the dead dps said ‘smn rais hlr’ [translation: summoner raise healer] he was right – I should have whipped out Swiftcast and followed it by Resurrection to revive the dead healer. But I didn’t have Swiftcast, did I?

Without going into too much detail, Swiftcast is a spell that you get as another class. The class is called Thaumaturge, and they get the spell at level 26. Now what you need to understand is that in FFXIV you can play as every single class in the game, and you can use some of the skills you gain in what’s called ‘cross class skills’.

But. You guessed it, my Thaumaturge was only level 20 [because I don’t enjoy playing it].

So in that sense, the dps player was within his rights to demand that I use Resurrection. Instead, we wiped and that should have been that. In the past, when a group wipes [everybody dies] they try to learn from their mistakes and go back in. In this group, however, they kicked me from the dungeon and the group.

Under normal circumstances, I’d feel as guilty as hell about that, sure that my age blah blah makes me a terrible player. But in this instance I just got mad. Very, very mad. You see the mechanics of Keeper of the Lake [the dungeon] are all about movement, and dodging. If there is a theme, KotL [Keeper of the Lake] is a movement test of all party members. Thus the melee dps and the healer died because they were either not aware of, or unable to master the dungeon’s mechanic. My lack of a quick Resurrection spell may have exacerbated the problem, but it did not cause the problem itself.

Hence my anger. Nasty, mean-spirited and unfair were some of the cleaner things I called the group as I stood there, unable to believe they would blame the whole mess on me. I can understand the temptation to do so, but it was neither just, nor in keeping with the courteous spirit of the game. And for once, anger stopped me from running away.

I spent all of yesterday getting my unloved Thaumaturge to level 26. Then I spent hours more trying to create a macro that would allow me to revive someone faster. [Macros are like tiny command driven in-game apps that automate actions and skills].

I wish I could say my Resurrection macro worked this morning when I retried the KotL [with a much nicer group!], but it didn’t. This is what the macro looks like:

/micon “Resurrection”
/ac “Swiftcast” <me> <wait.3>
/ac “Resurrection” <t>
/p Raising! <se.11>

/micon “Resurrection”  – simply creates an icon for the macro so you know which one does what. [worked]

/ac “Swiftcast” <me> <wait.3> –  is made up of a number of commands:

/ac ‘ means the command is about an action. It can also be written as ‘ /action ‘

“Swiftcast” – is the name of the action to be used [worked]

<me> – says that my casting is to become instant

<wait.3> – is supposed to give the connection time to process the command before going on to the next one. Remember we are talking about the command going from my computer, via the internet [slow in Australia] to the Japanese servers and back again. On good days there is no appreciable lag and everything feels ‘instant’, but in dungeons and other areas of peak action, the lag can be noticeable. [I think this failed]

/ac “Resurrection” <t> – this is the prime command and tells the game to revive the player currently targeted – <t> – by me. [did not work]

/p Raising! <se.11> – this is basically just a message to the group members that I’m going to be raising someone. The <se.11> is supposed to play a sound to get everyone’s attention. [did not work]

Each line of commands should work, but something in the mix failed because when I used the macro in the dungeon this morning [to revive the healer would you believe 0.o], Swiftcast worked but nothing else did. I managed to cast Resurrect manually before the 10 second Swiftcast interval ended, but I died just as the healer revived. If anyone can fix this macro I will be eternally grateful.

Now, this is where it gets really interesting, and lead me to writing this post – we were at the last boss [of 3] and the AOEs were insane. Picture a main boss who keeps spamming AOEs that cover great big chunks of the available floor space. Get caught in this maelstrom of criss-crossing damage and you don’t last long. Now add to that a second, boss-strength creature that is also spamming AOE’s and the fight becomes horrendous.

We did not have time to think, literally dancing from one small safe area to the next while desperately trying to do some damage. But as both the Black Mage and I were magic casters, it meant we’d get half way through and 2.45 second cast and bang, we’d have to jump out of the way again. Our spells kept being interrupted and we were all getting tired just from from the visual overload of trying to make sense of the constantly changing action.

Inevitably, concentration slipped. The Black Mage died and suddenly the healer was dead as well, leaving just me and the tank. Again.

I won’t lie, I was terrified. The debacle of the first attempt ran through my mind as I hit the macro to revive the healer. And…nothing happened. What????

I wasted a second or so thinking the delay was normal before it hit me that the macro had failed. Swiftcast was on but nothing else had worked.

My brain went into neutral. I knew there was an icon for the manual Resurrection spell on my hotbar but do you think I could see it? Talk about flustered, or perhaps that was just sheer fear. I did find the icon eventually, and there was enough time left on the Swiftcast to manually hit Resurrection, but I was caught in an AOE and died just as the healer revived. It was the most freaky timing I have ever seen.

After that, all I could do was lie there, watching as the healer [who is a very experienced player] and the tank did the impossible and beat the boss. Just the two of them.

It was wonderful, and I can honestly say I loved every member of my group the second time around. And you know what? Out of that 4 man group, only the healer had ever done KotL before, but the healer made sure everyone knew what to expect and we pulled together and got through. As a team.

That is how massively multiplayer games should be played – with courtesy and kindness and camaraderie. Because everyone has to learn the hard way, by making mistakes. I studied that dungeon for hours, but seeing it on a video clip is nothing like doing it yourself. That experience you can’t get second hand.

So to G***t Knight – you were right, I should have raised the healer. And thank you for pushing me to learn a skill I should have had sooner. But about everything else, you were so wrong.

And in celebration a few more screenshot of me, my house in-game and my cute little minion.

ffxiv kotl minion in house2

ffxiv kotl minion in house3

-hugs-

Meeks

 

 


I survived Titan hard mode!

meeka shocked-dance-

Okay, this post is for my gamer friends only. Apologies to everyone else, but today has been a huge milestone in my gaming career, and I just have to write about it. You see, Titan hard mode is…a very hard fight. The video clip below is what I studied, for hours this weekend, just to try and learn the mechanics of the fight:

If you’ve had a look at the video you’ll know that even young, very competent gamers consider this one tough. As I am neither young, nor very competent when it comes to battling, I fully expected to die, multiple times. Worse, I fully expected my incompetence to cause the whole group to fail dismally. Given how much gamers invest in these fights, they do not tolerate failure terribly well. And they don’t tend to be very forgiving of group members [like me] who make them fail.

So I am not exaggerating when I say this particular fight has ruined my weekend till now. I literally could not think of anything else, and when I logged on this morning I had to grab a bunch of tissues because my palms were sweating so much. Fear sweat, people, fear sweat.

And then none of the bad things I’d imagined actually happened!

Titan hard mode is an 8 man fight – meaning two healers, two tanks and 4 dps [damage doers like me]. Two of the eight were my wonderful friends, Mateus and Baufian, but the rest were complete strangers. Luckily they were all players with heaps more experience than me, and essentially, they carried me for most of the fight.

But…. I managed to remember all the mechanics of the fight, and more importantly, I managed to avoid all the many things that could have killed me. And then, at the Heart phase, I actually remembered to use the caster LB [Limit Break] against Titan’s Heart. I can’t tell you how proud I am of that because my hands were still shaking at that point.

[For those who don’t know, the caster LB is a ground targetting skill. This means you have to click on the LB and then move the ground circle under the foe you want to target. When you release the button, the cast time for the LB begins and it goes boom.]

And I lived. No one had to waste time resurrecting me. No one had to bite their tongue about the ‘useless noob’. And I didn’t humiliate myself in front of my friends. I will remember this fight for a long time to come.

Now, just in case there are others like me out there, here are some tips that helped me get through Titan hard mode, in one piece, first time through:

Do your research.

For me this involved watching the above video a million times. It also meant taking something like 8 pages of notes AND doing dinky little drawings of the hardest bits – like the Bombs.

Turn off Titan’s music.

I’m told the music is very stirring, but for this fight you need to be calm, not revved up even more.

If you’re on a pc, click on the system icon as shown:

ffxiv system menu

Select ‘System Configuration’ from the menu. That opens the System Configuration window:

ffxiv system sound music

Click the ‘sound’ option in the left hand pane, and then drag the BGM slider all the way to the left. That will shut off only the music. Click ‘Apply’ and you’re done.

Turn the battle effects display down.

When you have a boss and 8 players all using showy weapon skills, it becomes almost impossible to see what’s going on, and in this fight you must be aware of what’s happening at all times.

Again, you start with the System icon, but this time select ‘Character Configuration’ as shown:

ffxiv system character menu

From here, you will get this window:

ffxiv system character battle effects

Click the ‘Character’ tab and scroll all the way down to the bottom. That’s where you will find the Battle Effects Settings [the big, showy special effects]. To change the settings, click on the words, not the radio button. For some strange reason, the radio buttons don’t actually work. -shrug-

Again, click on ‘Apply’ when you’re done.

Zoom your camera out as far as you can.

Again, this is so you can see the whole fight instead of just your own small corner of it. Coincidentally, that will allow you to see the things you have to avoid. If you can’t see it, you can’t get out of its way.

Position.

If you’re a caster dps like me, don’t hang out right at the very edge of the fight. I know this is what we normally do, but this fight requires you to move almost constantly so if you’re a little closer in to Titan, you have more options of where to move to. Also, when he does Geo Crush, it means you can run in towards the tank faster. This in turn means you can be AOE healed.

Marked guide.

And last but not least, it really helps if you go in with an experienced friend or two, especially if one of those friends puts a mark above his head. That mark is very visible all through the fight and if you ever suddenly get that awful feeling of not knowing where you’re supposed to run, following that mark can be a lifesaver.

So there you go, a very non-expert review of Titan HM. I suspect that preparation aside, I was very lucky to make it through so easily, but hey, I’ll take a little credit for my win. 😀

cheers

Meeks


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