sandrian

Meet Verana

I’ve been getting some more Wildstar time in and decided to roll a little alt. I wanted to try out the Warrior class, but didn’t want to play Aurin or Human. So I made a Mordesh, called her Verana and hopped into the game.

With and without her amazing hat. I like the way she looks. Kind of menacing, but pink! I have to say that I’m actually liking the Mordesh movement more than Aurin right now. It’s all a bit slower and easier to control rather than my little Aurin stalker who bounces all over the place.

I figured I would start in the Human zone for a change, Northern Wilds, and was immediatly awed by it. Yes yes Everstar Grove is bigger and very green, but all the snow was just amazing to see. You get in when there is a huge snowstorm going on.

The little dudes you see in the snow are actually Wildstar’s idea of yeti’s. I felt bad for killing them, they were so nice and furry… Also avalanches! And yes they hurt if you got caught in them.
After a while I got send to a special station, as seen below, and when I came out, the storm was gone! You can also see my trusty Data Cube on the second screenshot, I called her Dixie by the way. I’m a Scientist on this character and loving it so far.

The quests in Northern Wilds are funny and sad at the same time. I managed to rescue someone from the snow, but not everyone was that lucky.

 I also talked to someone in a bubbling pot…

All in all the zone was great. I wasn’t really taken away with the story. Sadie Brightland randomly dies (sorry for the spoiler!) and I felt a lot less sympathy for the Exiles here than I did in the Aurin Starting zone. Poor tree! Also, the rewards for questing were a bit inappropriate for the climate. I do your bidding and you give me short shorts in the snow? Silly Wildstar…

I did like the Northern Wilds as starting zone a lot. It was nice to do something different from Evenstar Grove and it’s not a huuuuuge zone to start in. As you can see in some of my screenshots I no longer use the standard Wildstar UI. I installed Potato UI instead. It seems to have helped with my FPS issues so I do like playing it more now. Unfortunately my sub runs out on July 3rd and I’m not sure if I’m in the financial position to renew it. I’ll have to wait and see.
For now I think I found my new love: Warrior. It feels very much like the Warrior I’m used to from World of Warcraft and I’ve completely fallen in love with my little Mordesh. I’m taking a lot more screenshots on her aswell (as you notice) so expect more screenshot filled posts the coming two weeks!

Annoyed At Wildstar

After reading fellow Blogger Jaedia post about her FPS issues I figured I would make a little post of my own about that and how it’s making me feel towards Wildstar as a game.

I have tried out Wildstar in beta phase and noticed that the game wasn’t optimized very well. I was having horrible FPS drops, even on Low settings, and although I did like the game play itself, the graphics made me not want to play it at launch initially.

As launch came closer I started to itch. I wanted to get on the hypetrain that was Wildstar but was afraid that I would still have graphic issues. Inspite of this I decided to buy the game after all. My fears however were justified. I still had those horrible FPS drops that I had way back in the beta. It became a bit less after removing the old roaming folder, but it was still horrible. On Low settings I would jump up to 90 FPS, but drop down to 30 aswell. On Medium Settings I’m bouncing somewhere between 15 FPS and 50 FPS. It all seems very random too.
There is a little area in Celestion where you have to do quests that require you to jump on waterspouts. Water, as animation, is very difficult for graphics cards. However I didn’t seem to have any issues there. I could just ride the spouts, land and have minimum FPS loss.

I had to land on top of a statue with the help of those waterspouts for a Settler quest. Wasn’t easy!

Moving over to the next zone however, Thayd, gave me horrible framerates. I’m not really sure if it’s the enorm amount of NPC’s there (because honestly I didn’t see many players at the time) or if it’s somehow coded differently. Either way, my graphics card chokes.

What I described above has affected my gameplay significantly. I’ve tried a few solutions to make my graphics better but to no avail. This causes me to be annoyed at the game after a while. Having random almost freezes is never fun. It’s also made me a bit reluctant to play, even though I unlocked my personal housing and mount.

Which obviously is an utter shame. I’ve already found so many interesting things in Wildstar. So much humour. It reminds me a lot of World of Warcraft from “ye olden days”. Although I find Wildstars lore not very attractive as of yet, the gameplay itself feels very refreshing. And if you encounter a tiny village full of cowering mini rabbits, who wouldn’t fall in love?

As it stands now though I don’t think I’ll go for a renewal of my sub once my first month is over. The lack of optimization of the game is driving me crazy. And unless Carbine finds a way to fix it playing Wildstar is more frustrating than fun for me.

Wildstar Beginnings

Wildstar arrived yesterday and I’ve logged quite some time on it since. Working out graphic issues, unfortunately I have to play the game on low settings, getting accustomed to playing Stalker again and trying to figure out what the hell a Settler is supposed to be doing.

I’ve taken some screenies along the way. I was still devastated that the Chua killed the elder tree in the Aurin starter zone. Luckily I managed to get a screenshot of him before his horrible demise.

Poor chap deserved better than that. But well, atleast it gives the Aurin even more of a reason to hate the Dominion. And wow… the Dominion. They seem to really go all out bad guy in this game. Their primary focus, next to conquering Nexus, is making sure the Exiles suffer. Evil right there I tell you. I have started a Dominion character on Zhur (EU) but didn’t play her much yet. You all might get a glimpse in a future post.
Anyway… Back to screenshots.

I arrived at Woodhaven… And it was just as gorgeous as on Beta. The waterfalls were still immense and everything looked much more finished. There were tons of things to do for me as Settler aswell. Apparently I’m responsible for decorating the towns with flowers and banners. Too bad that they keep respawning and are not permanent once you planted them. Next to that I’m the one in charge of the pop up HP/XP/Stat increasing booths. It’s quite awesome.
This is the point where I had to turn down my graphics aswell. I was getting major drops and almost made the game unplayable for me. So now everything looks a little bit more ugly, but atleast I can play and that’s what matters!

Also, I’ve been trying to find every bit of lore I possibly can in the big open world. Sometimes you really need to keep your eyes open for hidden datacubes or books or leaflets. Especially data cubes are fun to find because you don’t have to read, someone will actually tell you what it says! They’re just scattered in sneaky little spots, thus making some very hard to find…

At the end of my furious leveling on launch day I was a level 8 Stalker, arrived in Woodhaven and very pleased with the game so far. I like the combat system, as Stalker mind you, and Lightspire is bustling with activity and new players. I can’t wait to advance further and unlock mounts and housing, which I’m sure will take up a lot of time aswell.

Meet The Aurin

So, my copy of Wildstar arrived today and ofcourse I immediatly installed it and got it rolling.
The first thing I noticed was that damn, I still have graphical glitches when I try to play the game on High or Ultra High settings. It seems my graphics card can’t handle that. On Medium everything still looks pretty and I have a lot less graphical issues, I mostly get glitches on cutscenes and when zooming in and out on my character, so I will probably keep playing it on those settings.

In the meantime, meet Sandrian… Aurin Stalker Settler extraordinaire!

I took this screenshot on high settings, although I find it too be almost equally as pretty on medium. I haven’t found out how to hide the UI yet though 🙁 I did however scale it down to a normal size now.

So yeah, I chose to be a Stalker, the class I had insanely much fun on when I was playing Beta, and as path I chose Settler. Why? Pop up mailbox! Among other things anyway.
I have made it to level 5 right now, and level 3 Settler, while waiting for the lovely Jaedia from Jaedia’s Menagerie to log so I can add her as friendsies and join the Twitter/Blogger guild that has sprouted on Lightspire.
Other than that I’m going to look into making a Dominion character on the Zhur server where Wabbage from Wabbage’s Den plays on.
Anyway, now that I’ve given you a little glimpse of the Aurin I’m off to play some more!

About Boarding The Hype Train

Now that I’m at the brink of graduation from university I find myself in the position that I have a lot, and I mean a lot, of free time. Due to the jobmarket being as is I don’t expect to find a job soon so this will leave me with days to fill.
So far I’ve been entertaining myself with FFXIV. My character, Sandrian Noble on Moogle EU, is slowly levelling up all jobs and seeing most of the game. I have a Paladin, Scholar and Summoner at level 50, a Bard at level 41, both Black and White Mage at level 30, Pugilist (Monk) at level 20, Marauder (Warrior) at level 11 and finally Lancer (Dragoon) at level 10.
If I want to get all of them to level 50, and I plan to do so, I will have to make some sort of playing schedule because honestly I will get burned out if I don’t. Even if I love playing Final Fantasy as a whole, levelling the classes through the same content gets kind of tedious if you do it for the 5th, 6th, 7th time. So I need a break from the game every now and then.

Now queue Wildstar. It’s hyped up a lot, I’ve been following it myself, and a lot of people I know are going to play it. It seems to be one of the first “sci fi” based MMO’s to draw my attention, I tried SWtoR 10 mins and hated it, and I would actually have the time to play it. I’m just really doubting if I should jump the hypetrain.
First off, it’s another sub-based MMO. Although they’re introducing a system where you can buy your sub via ingame gold, it requires a lot of playtime to actually acquire those things. I’m quite sure that people will sell them for impossible amounts of currency, which in turn forces everyone to buy the sub anyway. Considering that I’m already paying my sub for FF and that I will probably pick up WoW around Warlords of Draenor again I don’t know if it’s very smart to pick up a third MMO, especially since my income has very much diminished over the past month.
Secondly I’m not really sure if I can commit to playing yet another game. I notice I get bored with things fast lately, I thought I would be playing much more Diablo III than I’m actually doing, and it looks like Wildstar isn’t very casual friendly (please correct me if I’m wrong). I’m afraid that Wildstar will suck me in which will lead to me dropping FFXIV, a game where I’m finally happy in. I’m not sure if this will happen mind you but my previous attempts of playing two MMO’s have miserably failed because I’m bad at setting boundaries. I have trouble saying “no” if people ask me to do stuff and in turn don’t do what I want to do myself.
Thirdly, I’m not sure if I actually like the game itself. I have played some Wildstar beta and found it to be very graphically glitchy then. Watching the streams now it seems that a lot of players are using add-ons to help them level. The only class that has gotten me immediatly hooked was Stalker. I didn’t try much of the rest but noticed that I don’t really like the battle system with ranged classes from the bits that I did play.
Lastly I’m really worried that Wildstar will be yet another “overhyped” game that will draw a bazillion players at the start, but die out after one or two months of play. It’s happened to so many MMO’s. I know that there’s still thousands of people playing Guild Wars 2, Rift, TERA and whatnot but I’m used to the massiveness of Warcraft and that’s probably making me biased.

I could be worried about nothing since FFXIV has around 1.5 million people subscribed and playing and is still bustling with activity after almost a year after launch. But there’s still that little bit of me that’s concerned. Nevertheless I caved in and bought the game, against a discount, and am now taking a risk. Again. There are some Wildstar posts to be expected the coming week. I won’t stop playing FF14 however, and I did promise some Rafflesia pics.

Sceneries and the Wildstar hype

I really love the world of Final Fantasy 14. Square Enix made a beautiful MMO.
Their world is breathtaking, especially in 1080p HD. Which I can actually see thanks to playing on a Playstation 4. The shadow details are amazing, as are a lot of the other details. Even the weather is gorgeous.
My two favorite zones have to be Central Shroud, which you can see below and the coast of Eastern la Noscea with the Costa del Sol town, also below.
Square Enix really managed to capture the pristine white beaches and ancient forests and I can just sit in either of these locations for ages.

Next to all the running around in Eorzea, I’ve been more or less interested in the hype that is called Wildstar. I’ve taken part in an open beta weekend, when the game was still rather glitchy on graphics, but apparently a lot of people are very hyped up to play it. I’ve been seeing squee’s about early acces everywhere and blogs about Wildstar are sprouting like weeds.
I have to say I’m a bit jealous about this. It really gives off the vibe of being the next big MMO and I can’t really take part in it due to financial reasons. Luckily I’ll probably get a 7 day guest pass but even then I feel a bit left out.
Then again, a lot of MMO’s have been very hyped up over the past few years only to die a silent death. FFXIV was bustling with activity for the first few months but has dwindled down a bit aswell now. I’m lucky to be in a nice free company with a steady raid group, but I can imagine it’s not much fun if you don’t have these things. I really hope Wildstar lives up to the hype though and that Carbine/NCSoft can push out enough content to keep people interested.

And who knows. Maybe I’ll pick it up aswell and use it as another blogging topic. For now I’m going to head back into Eorzea and roam the beautiful lands again.

I’m Still Around!

It’s been a while I know. I’ve been busy and then the blogging get’s chucked to the background unfortunately.

I haven’t sat still during the time I wasn’t posting. I’ve been playing Diablo and Final Fantasy 14 a lot, and finally found a nice static raidgroup for the latter.
We’ve tackled turn 5 of the Binding Coil of Bahamut and are now struggling our way through turn 6. I also picked up my lovely ilvl 100 Soldiery Chest, that doesn’t look to bad from the front…

But rather horrible from the back… Really SE? What were you thinking when designing this!

I was very very excited to finally get Twintania down with my new group though. We had been struggling for a while, our tank kept dying, and at some point we had to make a decision to either replace the tank or one of our healers. Luckily for us, and unfortunately for him, the healer we wanted to replace decided to announce that he would retire from the game due to lack of fun. We got a new healer in, an amazing Scholar, and downed Twintania, and turn 5, in less than an hour of trying. So happy faces all around!

I’m trying to take more screenshots of my adventures in FF14 so expect a bit more picture posts from me. I’ll take a screenie next time we enter Turn 6 so you can see the horror that is Rafflesia. But I’m also planning a little scenery post because gosh, even after playing for almost 10 months the scenery in FF14 still impresses me.

On another topic, I’m probably getting a 7 day trial pass through Wabby for Wildstar. I’ve been very undecided if I actually want to play the game and this is the perfect mid ground. I can try it out for 7 days and then decide if I’m getting it or not. Win/win no?

Expect a few more posts coming from me soon! For now I just wanted to let everyone know I’m still alive and kicking…

A New Home

I’m writing this after recovering from a massive headache yesterday, something that has been the story of my life for the past few weeks.
I think I have the wrong posture when I sit at my pc at work but also at home. I wake up with headaches frequently, actually more often than not, and it seriously disturbs my normal daily routine.

Due to this I’ve been trying to bring down my game time, I notice that trying to game with a lingering headache will only make it worse and that on it’s own isn’t something very enjoyable. When I do play I divide my time between FFXIV and Diablo III. I’m really excited for the D3 expansion that is coming out very soon (actually in about 25 hours from when I’m writing this) and I really got back into FFXIV after finding a new home on a new server.

I shouted out on Twitter at the start of January in search of a new home for FFXIV. Everyone I knew in the game had left and the new little guild I started up with them had utterly died out. Partially it was my fault for not being around as much as I hoped but I heard from a lot of people that they were bored with the game and would have left anyway no matter what guild (or free company as they’re called) they were in. So there I was, stuck in a dead guild on a dead realm and desperately searching for a new home, mostly because I didn’t want to quit the game.
Queue a friendly guy from the Free Company called Cookie Monsters who play on Moogle EU responding to my tweet in January and I was sold. The FC is a very large and friendly one who runs multiple progress groups in the Binding Coil of Bahamut and also has Extreme Mode Primals on farm. I instantly felt like home when I joined them on a newly made character. I really really wanted to bring Sarella over from Shiva but unfortunately I have no credit card and thus no means to pay for a world transfer and so I had to start over again.

Fast forward a few weeks and my new character, Sandrian Noble, is level 50 on 3 battle classes and gearing up nicely to start doing some Coil runs of her own. This time I decided to level a Tank and DPS class, namely Paladin and Summoner and because I levelled Summoner I got Scholar to 50 aswell for free. I consider Summoner to be my main job but when needed I also make a very nice Paladin tank. I have my relic weapon on both of them and I hope I can play more endgame after patch 2.2 hits, which is only 4 days away aswell.

I’m really excited for the changes and added features that patch 2.2 bring like Glamours, Gardening and easier profession levelling and I don’t see myself quitting FF anytime soon. I had some posts queued up about it but since I went through some drastic gaming changes I decided not to publish them. They’re still around as concepts so maybe I’ll get to publish them some day, but right now it just doesn’t feel right.

As far as my other games go, I let my sub from World of Warcraft run out. I have no interest in the game right now, mostly due to my last guild falling apart and not wanting to roll Horde fulltime to play with some people who do still play.
On my PS4 I purchased Thief which seems to be an awesome enough game, I just didn’t have much time to play it yet. Knack I actually finished. I really loved that game and spent a lot of time on it, unlocking many trophies in the process.

I’m So Excited!

And I just can’t hide it…. Or not.

I’m not sure how I’m feeling lately. I finally found some fun in some games again. Got a PS4, which I wanted, and actually feel a bit better again IRL aswell. And yet something feels wrong. Seems like things are running a bit too smoothly, if you get what I mean.
Anyway today’s post is one I think many gamers can relate to: Too many games and too little time.
Exactly: None. I have so many games. Too many to play actually. There’s a huge pile of PS2 games that are barely touched sitting under my bed. I have Pokémon X and Kingdom Hearts 3D staring at me for the 3DS and there’s quite a list of games on my PC that I barely touched aswell. It’s quite logical. Throughout the year many shiny games come out. Not all of them are my cup of tea, thankfully, but enough are able to take my interest. Over the last year I bought AC 3 & 4, Tomb Raider, Rayman Legends, Ducktales Remastered, The Sims 3, Final Fantasy: A Realm Reborn, Civ 5 xpac and Warcraft III (yeah I know I’m a bit late with that last one, don’t judge). And these are only the PC games. I got a PS4 with Knack, I bought Pokémon X, Animal Crossing and Kingdom Hearts 3D for the 3DS and I really don’t want to start mentioning all the second hand games I bought for the PS2. 
It’s too many. Way too many. Especially considering I also still play WoW and added FFXIV to my MMO’s. I just can’t keep up. That’s why I can’t get excited for new games coming up. The Elder Scrolls Online? Meh. Wildstar? Not interested. All the games that are planned for the PS4? Only interested in FF15 and Kingdom Hearts 3. 
Hell the only game I would consider buying the coming months would be FF13: Lightning Returns, but it’s not coming out for the PS4 so I can’t even play it even if I would get it.
I used to play the shit out of Donkey Kong on my old Gameboy. They brought it back to the 3DS, shiny? Certainly. Will I buy it? No. Right now I feel like I’m wasting my money on games. I feel bad for not playing the games I already bought and I certainly don’t want to buy anything I would instantly regret. 
I wish I had the discipline to just make a gaming “schedule” and finally start playing all those games I bought. But I’m a scatterbrain and get distracted easily and default to my old habit: play WoW almost non stop. And I feel so bad about it. I have all these great games just dusting away… *sighs* Atleast I know I’m not the only one with these issues, but it just sucks. Maybe in this case it helps I’m not interested in any of the new games coming out, maybe it will boot my ass to start playing the games I already have more so I can actually finish them and then buy new games.
Too many games… TOO LITTLE TIME!

Complaints For Everyone!

Alternate title: Why No MMO Is Good Enough.


I’ve been having a lot of discussions lately with people I’ve met through my games about the MMO’s we play. Some discussions have been constructive while others were just disheartening. They all boil down to the same thing though: No MMO out there seems to be good enough according to the people who actually play  them.

World of Warcraft is ofcourse bashing choice number one. Everyone likes to complain about “how it was so much better in Vanilla/TBC and how the game has only steadily been declining since then.” The arguements people use for this can differ quite a lot. Some say they miss the effort that went into the game at Vanilla times where you had to grind your way through everything and getting your Epic Riding mount actually still meant something. From others I hear that they miss the old talent system where you could completely break your class with picking the right talents and thus ensuring your OPness. Another point that people try to make is that the WoW community had gone to pieces. Apparently it’s more casual now with more “noobs” and “kids” that want free epics for every button they push. Up to a point I have to agree with this one, WoW has become more casual and it’s easier to get entry raid gear now than it has ever been.
My personal pet peeve with WoW has not much to do with the game itself but the whole attitude when it comes to Addons. Especially DPS meter Addons. They’re almost mandatory to see how you are performing relatively to others and thus taking the focus away from what’s actually important: killing the damn boss. Who cares if you’re below that Hunter? The boss is dead no? Unfortunately that’s not how it works in WoW and that’s also the major reason I feel more comfortable playing anything on say FFXIV or GW2 because you can’t see how you perform there. Succes is measured by bosses downed or events completed. Not by how high you are on a meter.

But WoW isn’t the only MMO that has it’s flaws. There are many many out there and they all have an aspect that apparently turns players off. There hasn’t been a single MMO that has been as succesful as WoW, even though many got hyped up to be. You see that some games start out great but that numbers decline as the novelty of the game wears out. People don’t know what they want and when they want it and we all want something different. So in a sense no MMO will ever be truly good enough to please the entire MMO community. And that’s fine.

Personally I’ve tried Neverwinter, Dragon’s Prophet, Rift, SWToR, GW2 and FFXIV. Out of all the games only GW2 and FFXIV have stuck around on my computer. I didn’t like the targeting system in Neverwinter and because I was unfamiliar with the Dungeons & Dragons franchise I didn’t really bond with the game as a whole. Dragon’s Prophet was just confusing to say the least. I dabbled in the beta for a few seconds but got out as fast as I could and never looked back.
I could see the potential of Rift although personally I still find the game to be confusing as hell and SWToR just isn’t my cup of tea. I absolutely love the Star Wars movies, but the game feels meh. It felt very clunky and just not that epic.
Almost all games felt like they missed something I had in WoW, which was my first and only MMO experience for a long time. So even I can’t escape complaining about games.

The last two MMO’s that have stuck around for me are FFXIV and GW2. Especially FFXIV I enjoy a lot next to WoW. I like the simplicity of the classes. There are no talent trees. When you’re a Gladiator you tank, when you’re a White Mage you heal and when you’re a Monk you DPS. Wanna switch things up? Switch your armor set/class and you can perform any role in the game on the same character. Sure it takes a while to get to that point but the idea is good. No fiddling about with talent trees, no reforging your gear. Hell you can use the same gear set for Scholar and White Mage and also the same gearset for Paladin and Warrior. I like this simplicity a lot, mix it in with the prettieness of the game and you have a mostly satisfied customer. I say mostly because I absolutely hate levelling professions in FFXIV. They’re tedious to level and take forever.

The other MMO that’s stuck around has been Guild Wars 2. I haven’t played it as much as I’ve wanted to but I still find it very enjoyable. You can pick whatever class you want and still be able to heal yourself. There aren’t really any set roles for anything and you’re very free to do what you want. Which is also a major downfall. I’m so used to doing instances that the complete lack of them in Guild Wars untill you’re level 40 or something just makes the game repetitive. Although the scenery is amazing and they try to keep the game interesting by making lots of events I just get bored. Bored from doing the same thing over and over again. Doing hearts, doing skillpoints, visiting vista’s and doing your personal story somewhere inbetween. Professions wise it’s kind of fun. You get to discover new recipes by combining existing materials which grant you lots of skillpoints and also levelling XP. But I think the tediousness of only open world questing/grinding/events makes me not play this game as much as I would’ve liked.

What the moral of the story is here is that there are always some negatives about a game. People expect games to please the majority. You can’t. Everyone has their own wishes when it comes to an MMO and if you ask someone to come up with a concept for one you will get 1000 different ideas and people will disagree on most of them.

Personally I try to enjoy my games as much as possible, with all their perfections and imperfections, and just avoid the things that I don’t like. I think this is the wisest attitude, one that I have seen people express more than once. If you don’t like an aspect of the game, then just not participate in it. And if that doesn’t cut it, maybe it’s time to move on to another game before frustrations take over and you might start to hate the game that you once so enjoyed.