December 2019 In Review

So here we are. The final month of the year. The final month of the decade even! I can’t believe how fast things have been flying by. I’ve been living in my own apartment for eight months now. I’ve been working my new job for four. I’ve had a lot of struggles throughout the year and unfortunately December hasn’t been much different. Despite it all I have made some progress when it comes to gaming and then especially in FFXIV. Let’s see what I’ve been up to, eh?

In Final Fantasy XIV
I’ve been steadily leveling battle jobs. The last time I wrote about this my Dancer was still sitting at level 60-something. Right now my Dancer is level 80, my Dragoon is level 80 and I’m slowly leveling my Ninja up to 80 aswell. I’ve been taking it slower on this job though. Instead of grinding out roulettes and whatever else I could get my hands on I’ve opted to do only one or two roulettes per day and instead focus on clearing out all the sidequests that I still have around. Oh and do pixie dailies and hunts because they are fast and easy. Right now I’ve just hit level 77 so I think I will be 80 on that by the weekend, even with taking it slow.
I’ve also been grinding out a lot of FATEs to get to max rank in all the areas of the First. And it’s been actually going quite well! So well in fact that I only have Ahm Araeng and The Tempest to go. It helps that you get a challenge log bonus for completing five and ten FATEs with a gold medal respectively. I’ve also been using it as a medium to level my Chocobo who, finally, hit rank 10 this month, earning myself the White Mage Barding seeing as I specced my Chocobo to be a Healer.
Finally I’ve been mopping up sidequests in various zones. I still have hubs to go in the Raktika Greatwood, Kholusia, Ahm Araeng and a few quests in the Tempest. It’s going to feel so good to finally not see any exclamation marks on my map anymore though!

In Pokémon Sword
I’ve gotten all 8 gym badges! It’s currently idling on my TV because I’m probably going to go into 2020 while playing this game and hopefully get closer to the credits as I do. I really only have the Pokémon League and whatever postgame is after that left and then I can kind of scratch the game off my “to-do” list. I’ve played for about 18 hours so far so that’s not too bad. I am going to try to finish up the Pokédex so I think I will have many more hours to go.

Next to Pokémon I’ve actually not really touched any single player games. There are a few that I may go back to after finishing up though, with Spider-Man on the PS4 and Link’s Awakening being the biggest candidates for that. I really want to make more of an effort to tackle my significant backlog of games in 2020 and seeing as how I’ve been able to complete games in 2019 I’m sure that with the right planning I can do it. I have so many amazing games that are just waiting to be played and for the first time in a while I’m actually really motivated to pick stuff up and finish it.

In other MMO’s…
I’ve logged into WoW to pick up the presents from the tree on Christmas day but that’s basically it when it comes to Azeroth. My sub is about to expire and I only have a few days left to complete the Anniversary Event and get the Deathwing mount so I may just reserve an evening to do exactly that.
I’ve also installed Lord of the Rings Online to see if I can get somewhere in that game. I want to expand my MMO horizons and it was a toss up between that and Star Wars: The Old Republic. Apparently both games are okay to start with on a F2P basis so I’m just going to roll with that and see if LOTRO captures my interest enough to want to put down money. So far I’m mostly trying to get over the outdated graphics and get used to the gameplay. I’ve only really played the tutorial fight though so I can’t really say anything just yet. I can say that I rolled an Elf (sorry Syp!) Archer because it’s my favourite fantasy trope. Let’s see how things will unfold there shall we?

In offline hobbies…
I’ve decided to pick back up puzzling again and bought myself a 1000 piece puzzle as said in my last post. I also have a diamond poster thing going on that I want to start on next. I’ll take a picture and explain better what it is when I get there. I really like just doing stuff like that, it helps me calm down and unwind without having to stare at a screen. I also let my eye drop on a very pretty, yet very expensive, Lego X-wing. I really want to build one but I have no idea where to put it once it’s finished so I’m holding off on buying it for now.
I’ve also been picking up reading again and am spending a bit more time watching movies and shows on Netflix and Disney+. I pay for both services so may aswell use them! I managed to devour the Witcher in one sitting and I’m currently rewatching the entire Star Wars saga after seeing Episode 9 in the theatre two weeks ago.

Finally…
I’ve decided that after this little experiment I do take kind to setting myself goals on a monthly basis. Even though I don’t always do what I want to do it helps me sort of make sense of what I want to achieve for the month. So starting tomorrow I will do a goals for January post again. For now I wish you all a nice New Years Eve!

Sandy’s Sunday: Checking In

Hello everyone! It’s me! Just wanted to do a quick post as a sort of checking in on my blog.
I’ve not really felt the need to write anything for the past two weeks. Mostly because holidays and work getting in the way and also because I honestly didn’t know what to write about without spoiling too much for my December in review post that I will put up on New Year’s Eve.

It’s been a weird few weeks with a lot of days off and people not being around. A colleague unexpectedly found a new job, effectively leaving my team with one person short. We’ve also been dealing with all the people having time off around the holidays and as such I’ve had a lot of time where I was the only person who would be around. It was great for a while since it gave me the opportunity to finally get around to cleaning up my overflowing mailbox, I went from 100+ emails down to 8, and checking up on aswell as preparing various projects for the new year. Work is still busy as ever but now that I’ve sort of “caught up” I’m confident that things will work out better in January.
I took January 2nd and 3rd off myself so I effectively have 5 days off starting Tuesday afternoon. Usually we go home earlier on New Year’s Eve so that’s nice. To keep myself entertained for this extended weekend I decided to pick up a hobby I haven’t touched in a long time: puzzling. I bought myself a brand new nice looking 1000 piece puzzle yesterday and I will take full advantage of my five days off to get it finished. I actually started yesterday evening with sorting all of the pieces and putting down the edges. It gives me something to do besides gaming and I’ve noticed that once I get into the zone of things I find the relaxation I’ve been looking for.

All things considered I’ve been relatively doing okay. I’m still very much exhausted although having days off around the holidays have helped me to kind of catch up on much needed sleep and relaxation. I’m still going strong when it comes to leveling stuff up in FFXIV, which I will tell more about in my December in review post, and I’m trying to find a set time every weekend to dedicate to single player games. I’m almost finished with my Pokémon Sword playthrough and it has helped tremendously to just pick a timeframe to start up the game and make progress in it. My best friend already beat the game so I can’t lag behind for too long and after that I may turn my attention to a new game or keep the slot for Pokémon for a while so I can work on completing the Pokédex. A feat which I’ve never accomplished in all the years I’ve been playing Pokémon. I think the closest I’ve gotten is in Pokémon Blue where I caught 146 out of 150 of them and maybe in my Pokémon Moon playthrough where I was on 2/3 of the Pokédex completed. Right now I’m around 80/400 Pokémon caught in Sword so I still have a way to go but it’s not the 1000+ Pokémon I would have to be staring down if they implemented a National Dex.

So yeah. I’m still alive. I’m still gaming. And a true gaming update post is coming up!

Good Days And Bad Days

Fair warning! Personal and pretty depressive post. Be aware that I’m not in a very good state of mind right now, but I’m not causing myself any harm.

As of right now it’s 23.45 and I should be getting ready to go to bed. Even on a Saturday I’ve made it a habit to not go to bed too late, seeing as how it majorly disrupts my sleeping patterns and I pay the price for it later in the week. Yet even as my body tells me that it’s time to go to sleep my brain is still in overactive mode. I thought I would have a good day today. I caught up on some much needed sleep and made my way into town to get some new clothes. One of my jeans suddenly had a massive hole in a place where there shouldn’t be one and I have been discovering holes in some t-shirts aswell. Wearing holey clothes isn’t something that you should do in general so it was time I went shopping for replacements.
And that actually went smoothly! I got back home with five t-shirts and a blouse, a new pair of jeans and two sweaters only two hours after leaving my house. After that I made sure I got groceries before it started to rain and then I settled in to a session on the Dancer in Final Fantasy XIV. And that was kind of that.
I played untill 19.00 and skipped dinner. I put up some shows on Netflix and let those play as I scrolled on my phone and was slowly sinking away into all kinds of wrong things to think about, slowly turning a good day into a bad day. Instead of getting my apartment cleaned up a bit and doing laundry and other mindless yet soothing things I let myself think about all the regrets I have and all the things that are not going well right now. It doesn’t help that work has been a major source of stress the past few months and that I can’t seem to flip the switch on working on my health. For some reason I’m so anxious to go to the gym that I just freeze up and block and do other things instead that are pretty detrimental to my health, both physically and mentally. Looking at my gym membership and seeing that it’s been well over 2.5 years since I last went hasn’t really helped either.

It’s at times like these where I feel the most fragile and just decide to air all of this in public into the ether. It helps because I get rid of the feelings and I feel like I’m talking to someone, even though that someone is anonymous. And I know that this isn’t the content that people necessarily are interested in but it’s just extremely soothing to get it off my chest. Like anyone else I’m insecure and have doubts. I have good days and I have bad days and sometimes days that start out good turn into a lot of bad. I am overwhelmed at work and one of many people that’s balancing on the edge of a burn-out. I’m overweight and having numerous health issues because of it. I want to get breast reduction surgery but to get that I need to lose weight. I love living on my own but it gets extremely lonely at times. I get jealous of my best friend who has her hubby and two kids and, even though she has her own struggles, has the life I kind of want aswell. The worst thing is the overwhelming and paralyzing anxiety. Being scared of doing the wrong thing. Being scared of how other people view me. Being scared of ending up alone and with no one to notice when things are bad. These are all things that come to the surface every now and then and pull me under. I let my house get a mess. I let myself get a mess. I stop caring about anything and everything and go through life in a daze, wondering where all my precious time has gone.

I know change starts at myself. And it starts with one step at a time. One step, like not skipping brushing my teeth during the evenings because it feels like more of an effort than it actually is. Starting with getting my ass to that gym so I can start working on getting in a better shape so I can actually elevate some of the problems I’m having. Even if that gym visit is only for half an hour. It’s still half an hour more than I’m doing right now.
Start by having my kitchen counter tidied and cleaned with no dishes left before I go to bed at night. Expand that to a clean dining and salon table so I don’t pile up the mess as I get home from work. Start to fold laundry as it’s dry instead of leaving it on the rack for a week. Establish the good things. Create order in the chaos that is my house and my head.

It all seems so simple and yet it feels like it’s the hardest thing ever right now. I’m being pulled under and I don’t know when I can break the surface again. It sucks. I look at myself in the mirror and I’m disgusted with what I see. I wish things were different. I wish I was different. But I mostly wish that things weren’t as hard as I’m making them for myself. I am my biggest demon. And today the demon has won.

A belated Sandy’s Sunday: Flying beats Fighting

Disclaimer: I actually wrote this post on Sunday with the intent to post it that same day. Apparently I didn’t, I’m still posting it now though! So this is my belated Sandy’s Sunday.

This morning I finally pushed myself to start up Pokémon Sword and gently get back into the game again. I haven’t had time to sit down for a proper session this past week and it was high time I made some progress again. So I pulled out my Switch and finished up route 6 and made my way to the next town. My starter has evolved to it’s final stage, the average level of my party is somewhere around 34 and I was very confident I could take on the next gym like this. And I was right.
The fourth gym is populated by trainers who use Fighting-type Pokémon. I have two counters in my team to that. Corvisquire (Flying) and Orbeetle (Psychic). The trainers during the gym mission were a breeze. Corvisquire took all the Pokémon down in one shot using Drill Peck. The Gym Leader was slighty more challenging. Her second Pokémon fainted my Corvisquire and was also super effective against Orbeetle due to it being a Dark type ontop of a Fighting type. So I switched in Cinderace (the starter) and used a Revive on Corvisquire and a Super Potion to get it battle ready again. In the end I was victorious and am now the proud owner of four badges. On to badge number five!
Right now there’s a few events going in Pokémon Sword/Shield where you can catch a Gigantamax Butterfree and/or a Gigantamax Snorlax. Apparently there is a difference between Dynamaxing and Gigantamaxing your Pokémon. When they Dynamax they just grow very big, get more HP and their attacks turn into stronger versions of themselves, kinda like Z-moves in Pokémon Sun and Moon. With Gigantamaxing they also change their appearance and get even more special attacks. So far I’ve not encountered either of them but I still have quite a while to do so, since the event runs for atleas the rest of December.

In Final Fantasy XIV I’ve been leveling up my Dancer. She’s currently sitting very close to level 66 and I’m sure I will have hit level 67 when I’m done with all the roulettes after reset today. Simultaneously I’ve been leveling Dragoon via Pixie dailies and FATEs. Today I sat down and grinded out the FATEs I needed to get to rank 3 with the gemstone seller in Lakeland. It took me somewhere around an hour and a half but in the end I hit rank 3 and my Dragoon hit level 72 so that’s a win! For my efforts I got a new barding for my Chocobo, as seen in the above screenshot, and one of two music scrolls that the vendor had on sale. I’m planning to keep doing FATEs in level appropriate zones, meaning that the next zone for this is Il Mheg. With the Pixie dailies being there aswell there’s usually a steady stream of people doing FATEs around the zone so I’m quite confident I can get that zone done in not too long aswell. I think I need to do around 30 FATEs for it, but if there’s a train going that won’t take that long at all.
As added bonus Dragoon as class is pretty sturdy so I don’t have that many issues tanking mobs in FATEs, especially when I remember to call out my chocobo, who I’ve trained as healer.

I’m really hoping work will slowly calm down next week so that I come home less exhausted and more ready to game. I feel like I’m losing a lot of time just sitting on the couch and staring at the TV because I feel too tired to do anything else. I know that sometimes just sitting down and doing nothing can be very beneficial, I don’t have to be doing something all the time. But right now the time I spend on doing nothing is just too much. I feel annoyed with myself about it and I need to change that.
As Christmas and the end of the year are edging closer I can’t believe we are about to start a new decade already. It feels like yesterday that I graduated High School and went on to University and yet here I am, 10 years later doing a job that is nothing like the field I’ve studied for. Finally living on my own in my own house and owning my own car. If you asked me 10 years ago if I thought I would end up like this I would have responded with a look of horror. Unfortunately life doesn’t always deal fair cards and I’m actually feeling quite lucky to be where I am today after years of struggle. With me not having to worry about finding a job, a house or even transportation anymore I can turn my attention fully to my next life goal: getting physically healthy again so I feel better in my own skin. Is it an early New Year’s resolution? Maybe. All that I know is that with everything else out of the way I can finally focus on stuff like this again. But first I’m going to enjoy a very yummy Christmas!

Controllers and Tiny Hands

I told Belghast from Tales of the Aggronaut yesterday that I really enjoyed his post about finding a controller that would suit someone who has big hands. Mostly because I suffer from the exact opposite. My hands are, by all standards, tiny. It comes with the total package of being only 1.60m (or 5f3in for my US friends) tall. I have a small shoe size and smaller than average hands. Just to draw an equation: My best friend’s daughter, who is only 7 years old, almost has as big hands as I do.
Having these tiny hands can be very handy in some situations but for someone who likes playing games, a lot, this has caused it’s share of issues over the years in finding what controller and mouse fit my hand nicely without feeling too uncomfortable.
I can honestly say that I’ve not yet found a controller that is truly comfortable to hold for me, but there are a few that come very, very close.

Playstation’s Dualshock


I’ve been a Playstation gamer since I was very young. Their dualshock controllers have therefore always made the most sense to me layout wise and I guess I trained my hands from a very young age to handle this specific controller. Is it completely comfortable for me to hold? No. However this comes closest to taking the cake. It’s one of the smaller controllers out there and ergonomically it’s pretty good to be holding for longer amounts of time. In it’s current incarnation I can reach all buttons, although I have some issues with using the touchpad itself. My thumbs sort of reach the lower bottom corners so I can press it when needed but when I need to use the navigational features I have to take one hand off the grip and navigate that way because my thumbs just don’t extend enough.
Any variation of the Dualshock usually turns out bigger and bulkier and as such I never bought anything else to play with, with the so called “Pro” controllers being completely unusable for me. I currently own two Dualshock Controllers. One that came with my Original PS4 and one that I bought on sale a few years back so that I always have one to use while the other one charges. They’re very sturdy and I think they will serve me well for a few more years atleast.

The Nintendo Switch Joycons

Surprisingly, I really enjoy handling the Nintendo Switch Joycons. I guess this stems from the fact that the Switch has been partly developed to be handled by children and as such the Joycons are pretty small by any standard. I actually really enjoy just taking the Joycons off the Switch and play with holding one of them in each hand. They fit snugly and I can easily reach all the buttons. And even though I show them in the picture with the wrist straps attached I actually prefer playing without those. It’s kind of a shame that Joycons are so ridiculously expensive, €75-80 for a pair. I currently own two pairs. The pair pictured here and the neon blue/red ones that came with my Switch when I bought it.
Compared to the Dualshock the Joycons do feel way more fragile and “cheap” in a way, but then again they are much smaller and still hold all that technology to make them work. For me the small and flat shape of the Joycons is ideal atleast and I have no issues playing for hours with them. I even want to go as far as to say that these are the best controllers Nintendo has made for me so far since the NES/SNES area where controllers were still much smaller. And even back then the NES/SNES controllers were inferior to the SEGA Mega drive (Genesis in the US) controller for my tiny kid hands since the Genesis controller was curved whereas the NES controllers were square bricks and the SNES controllers just made no sense to my kid brain. And as far as the rest of Nintendo contraptions go.. Let’s just say I’m happy that they went with Joycons.
I think the only downside to the Joycons is that they’re miss a bit of grip on the backside of them. If they had a place where I could comfortably rest my fingers they would most definitely take the top spot for me.

And I think for me the list ends here with controllers that I actually use without feeling like my hands cramp up from having to hold them for a longer amount of time. It may be a bit dull but I’ve not really owned many different types of consoles and thus controllers in my lifetime. I was always a handheld gamer, which was pretty nice for someone with small hands. Even there I notice that I can’t really use some handhelds properly though. When I was a kid I got a Gameboy Pocket because the bigger original Gameboy was just way too bulky to hold. I’ve always owned the smaller versions of the Nintendo handheld lines and even though my “main” handheld is a 3DS XL right now it’s actually a bit too big to fit my hands properly and as result I can’t play with it for very long before my hands get tired from holding it.

There’s two more controllers that I can handle okay, but that I don’t really feel belong on this list, and that’s the Switch Pro controller and the Wii-U Pro controller. They’re both slightly too big for my hands, for instance on the Wii-U controller I can’t really reach the Home button well but ergonomically they do work, with the button layout on the Wii-U one being a bit more sensible to me.

And for all other controllers out there.. I’m sure I’ve not tested enough to really form an opinion. There is however one controller that is just a HUGE no for me.. And that’s the XBOX one. Sorry Microsoft.
I own a wired 360 controller that I bought before I got my PS4 to play games with a controller on my PC. I managed to make it work but ever since I got my PS4 I switched to the Dualshock and basically chucked that controller into a corner and never looked back. The layout is horrible for my hands. The controller is too big and just so unwieldy for me to hold, I really don’t enjoy playing anything with it at all. This has been true for all incarnations of the XBOX controllers and I don’t think that will change anytime soon.

All in all I feel the scope of controllers for people with small hands is rather limited. I know that in the PC gaming world they’ve developed some mice for women, which are smaller, but maybe the console world should start looking into this aswell. Not all gamers are men and there are some of us out there that could do with smaller and less weighty controllers that are easier to wield. I think Google has tried to make an effort with their Stadia controller, which they designed with smaller hands in mind aswell so they can appeal to a larger audience. Unfortunately I don’t think I will ever get to test that controller since I don’t ever plan to subscribe to Stadia but atleast there’s one company making an effort.

So if any representative from Nintendo, Playstation or Microsoft happens to come across this post, design a controller for small hands! You have so many women and girls that play your consoles and I for one would be so happy to own a controller that is truly nice to hold, where I can actually reach all the buttons and that isn’t heavy after an hour of play.

Pad Thai and Samurai Shenanigans

Last monday my Samurai hit level 80. It was actually pretty fast as far as leveling up went, faster than I expected. I’m quite happy that it’s over because overal I’m not a huge fan of Samurai as a class. I kind of miss the logic in the class. The self buffs you put up don’t really time out like the Monk and Dragoon stuff does so you’re not really forced into a steady pattern of attacks, besides activating the right stuff so you can use Midare Setsugekka. I also find that Samurai has a lot of skills outside of the global cooldown and they’re kind of hard to manage. It just doesn’t make sense to me and I doubt I would enjoy this class playing it fulltime at 80. I had the same thing with Black Mage and like Black Mage I will probably put Samurai in a corner and won’t pull it out again unless I’m extremely bored or untill the next expansion drops, either one.
This sentiment may change over time though and I might just do some shenanigans on it but for now it’s another notch on the level 80 belt and I’m moving on to my next class, which is Dancer. I’m kind of enjoying the class, although the scope of it is limited since I’m only level 62. I hope I can level it up decently fast so I unlock more skills and steam to 80 before the month is over. I also decided to grab some nice gear for my Dragoon and take that through atleast the Pixie dailies every day to start slowly leveling that up to 80 aswell. Since I’m max rank with the Pixies that’s actually a nice amount of experience every day.

In real life work has not really let up that much. I’ve worked overtime most days again but I managed to connect with an old friend I met through World of Warcraft this Thursday. He had to be in the area for work and messaged me if I wanted to go out to dinner and catch up. I accepted and we wound up at a local Thai place where I ordered the Pad Thai and was kind of blown away by the true mountain of food I had on my plate.
For reference, Dutch portions are quite small usually. I can order an entree and a main course and be full from that most of the time, with very rarely having room for dessert. These are decent plates of food, nothing to extravagant but enough to fill you up properly. This Pad Thai though was of another level. I ate about half of it and took the other half with me to eat at home today and it was still a full plate of food. I don’t think I’ve ever gotten such a big portion anywhere and it was the first time I actually took food back home. Meeting up with my friend was nice though and we dredged up memories of the good old days of raiding in WoW and the guild we were in. It made me realise that my life looked very different 8-10 years ago and that I’ve grown as a person a lot in that time. Sometimes I miss those days where I had a tight knit community of online friends that I would play with almost every night but life does its thing and you end up getting out of touch with many people over the years. I don’t think I could do the 4-5 days a week raiding schedule anymore now that I have a fulltime job and other obligations and I salute anyone who can. I’m firmly in “casual” gamer mode these days and in some ways that’s probably the best thing that has happened to me.
For now though I’m looking forward to a nice relaxed weekend filled with gametime again and taking my car for a spin, if the weather allows it.

Gaming Goals: November 2019 In Review

So. In a whim I’ve decided to shake up my monthly goal posts. Even though I really enjoy setting myself some longer term goals I feel like they’re just summaries of all the things I didn’t achieve lately. So instead I want to turn these monthly posts into “reviews” at the end of the month with a short focus on expectations for the coming month instead.
No more detailed goals, no more frustrations over me getting to the goals or not but instead a positive focus on all the things I did manage to accomplish. So let’s start out shall we?

In Final Fantasy XIV…
I’ve had a very productive month. I’ve leveled my Blacksmith, Armorer and Leatherworker all up to level 70/71. This was helped by the crafting/gathering overhaul that patch 5.1 presented and I have decided to take my focus off crafting for the time being since I have achieved the goal that I wanted to at the start of the month. I’ve also completed all the associated job quests for these classes, allowing me to focus fully on those last ten levels when I feel like it.
In a moment of realization that levequests have also been boosted significantly experience wise I managed to take my Fisher from level 48 to 64 in a single hour by just buying fish off the Market Board and handing them in to the levequest people. I’m a bit stuck now though and instead am catching up on all the job quests that I’ve skipped. I’m sitting on the one for level 55 right now which I’m actually trying to complete on my own. I have unlocked Spearfishing aswell and I’m quite curious to see that in action once I’ve caught up on all the job quests.
On the battle jobs front I’ve taken my Monk and Paladin up to level 80 and my Samurai to 77. I’ve deviated from my original plan for this a bit but it has paid off in the end. I finished the last remaining class questchain in Shadowbringers, the Tank one, and opened up the final quest that ties all those class quests together. I’ve gone back and done the level 80 Monk, Paladin and Astrologian quests and enjoyed all the small stories they told.
I’ve also done all the new content that was added with patch 5.1, I unlocked the new deliveries (Kai-Shirr), did the Copied Factory and caught up to the Mainstory. I think the only thing I haven’t properly touched is the Ishgard Restoration but that will probably come up once I turn my attention to crafting again. As for the Pixie dailies.. For all intents and purposes I’ve finished off their story. I am currently not exactly max rank yet but I have the achievement for finishing the “story” and I am the proud owner of a flying pig.
On my White Mage I’ve been slowly getting back into the habit of doing ex-roulettes again so I can start gearing up my other classes and I’ve finished another book for my Animus weapon.
I notice that I tend to play a lot of FFXIV on my days off because it’s just very nice to sit down and get stuff done that way than when I’m tired during the evenings.

On my Nintendo Switch
I have kind of abandoned Link’s Awakening. I managed to get the key to the Angler’s tunnel but I’ve not yet figured out how to get into the dungeon itself. This was around the time that Pokémon released so I shelved the game and instead turned my attention to Pokémon.
In Pokémon Sword I’ve made it past the third badge. My Pokémon are all between level 28-30 and I’ve been sent back into the Wild Area. I have a choice now to backtrack and catch any Pokémon that I missed previously or soldier on to the next town, Hammerlocke, and continue the story and challenge the fourth gym. This is kind of where I left off last week and I’ve not picked the game up yet because I’ve been busy with work and FFXIV.
I am immensly enjoying the game though, in spite of all the negativity surrounding it. I know a lot of hardcore Pokémon fans are really unhappy with a lot of things like a lack of national Pokédex or a very short post game story. Personally I’m just enjoying what the game does have on offer and I am tackling it on my own pace. I do want to aim to complete the Pokédex of this game in earnest so I know I will sink a lot of hours into it the coming months.

In my personal life
I’ve had a really rough month. Work has been an absolute nightmare with me working a lot of overtime and experiencing a lot of stress due to things beyond my control. The only big positive thing was getting my new car last Friday which was everything I hoped for and more. I love the colour and the way it drives. Now I just need to plan a few longer trips so I can take it for a proper spin instead of just driving it around town.
I’ve been watching a lot of tv and reading books. I decided to re-read the Harry Potter series in tandem with the movies that have been showing here every Monday evening. I’m currently halfway through the final book and am rediscovering a lot of things that I had forgotten over time. So a lot of my evenings have revolved around being a couch potato and just staring at the tv, being too tired to really do anything else. I hope the worst has passed though and things will get better from here.

Looking ahead to December…
It will still be a busy month at work and we have holidays to boot. I don’t really have a real vacation to speak off, but I did manage to get the two days off between New Year’s Day and the weekend so there’s that. My Christmas is already booked so I don’t have to worry what I will be doing then and I think I’m going to spend New Year’s Eve at home by myself to enjoy welcoming the new year in my own house for the first time.

I think I will still put the majority of my gaming time into FFXIV to level up more classes and slowly start to gear them up aswell. I really want to find some time to dedicate to World of Warcraft and their anniversary event and Guild Wars 2.
I will definitely have made progress in Pokémon Sword, I may have even defeated the champion if everything goes well.
Maybe the Kingdom Hearts 3 expansion will come out this month aswell and if it does I will set some time aside to buy it and play through whatever they added to the game, even if it only takes me an afternoon.
Other than this everything is up in the air. I realize that I want to blog a bit more often so I may start taking daily notes of what I’ve been up to and turn those into 2-3 weekly posts per week. I guess we’ll see.

Final Fantasy Fever

Today is always a weird day for me. 18 years ago my Mum died on this day and I’ve made a habit of taking it off every year. I never know how I am emotionally. Some years I have a bit of a breakdown and I spend most of the day crying and listening to the wrong songs and other years I feel quite calm and centered and able to enjoy my day. Today has been the latter, but I’m glad I took the day off nonetheless. It’s given me a bit of respite from work and allowed me to have a day to relax and get back into a calmer state of mind. I made sure I did all the stuff I needed to do in the morning and as a result I’ve had most of the day to catch up on a ton of things in Final Fantasy XIV.

I’ve not really been into a proper gaming mood during my evenings after work but that has made me even more eager to pick up my controller and play during my days off. I made a ton of progress last weekend on my Paladin, which I managed to ding 80 Monday evening, and that has set me up for a nice session today. I did roulettes on my Samurai, climbing up to level 71.5. I finished up a lot of job quests that I hadn’t done yet after getting to max level, Paladin, Monk and Astrologian, and I finished up the Tank class quests from Shadowbringers. By doing so I opened up an extra questline that only becomes available when you’ve cleared all the class quests. It ties the stories together neatly and shed light on an unexpected character.. And that’s all I’m going to say about it. All of this though tends to take up quite a bit of time and it was nice sitting down and just getting all that stuff done and getting bits and pieces of additional story and lore along the way. It’s one of the many things I love about this game and seeing as I still have a ton of jobs to level I’m sure I will get to see much more awesome story bits for the coming few months.

As it stands now I still have to level 9 battle jobs. Three tanks (Dark Knight, Warrior, Gunblade), three melee (Samurai, Dragoon, Ninja) and the ranged physical DPS classes (Bard, Machinist, Dancer). I have started on Samurai because it shares gear with Monk and it means I can get rid of all the sub level 80 gear once I’m done leveling. After that I may switch to a ranged class to keep things a bit more interesting. I’m really digging Dancer right now so it may actually be the class I’m going to focus on after I’m done with Samurai instead of Dragoon which was the original plan.
Next to my battle jobs I’ve also made leaps and bounds in leveling my crafters. Right now Leatherworker is the only job that isn’t level 70 yet, but I’m sure I won’t be too far off. Right now it’s sitting at level 66 and about two-third of the way to level 67. All my other crafters are level 70 or 71 and I’m quite content with that. Once my Leatherworker hits the level 70 treshold aswell I may start looking into the whole Ishgard crafting thing while simultaneously doing the quests in the Crystarium for the massive experience boosts that they give. After that the only classes/jobs that I still need to level are Fisher and Blue Mage and I think I will get to those in due time. Fisher is sitting at level 48 and Blue Mage at level 10.

It may sound a bit odd but having all these leveling goals is what is making me have so much fun in the game right now. I may be a bit of a machine when it comes to leveling, I get very single minded and focused on getting things to maximum level but for some reason this helps me relax and wind down. It also helps that the game rewards you with titles and gear and apparently mounts for getting everything to maximum level so that’s an extra boost to my motivation. Sometimes it feels like I’m feverishly playing the game. Pushing myself to my limits in how much experience I can cram into one session and being exuberant when I get to where I want to be. I may even label myself as a bit obsessed sometimes, especially on days like today where I play for hours straight to get things done. I don’t consider it a waste of time though since I gain so much satisfaction from my play sessions, and that is what is enjoying your hobby is all about right?
I have thought about what I want to do once I do get everything to level cap. I guess the next thing in line is to gear up all these jobs by running ex-roulette, raids and primals. I feel pretty confident in my ability as White Mage to dare to join pick up groups and it’s nice to kit out all my classes in the best gear possible. I think I also want to start doing crafting and gathering related achievements to earn even more titles and gear. Then there are tons of things that I’ve not actively participated in yet. Golden Saucer stuff like Chocobo Racing and Triple Triad, PvP, getting one of the Stormblood relic weapons. There’s just so much to do!

For now though I’m going to end my post here and boot my Playstation back up. All dailies have reset about an hour ago and after spending some time cleaning and typing I feel renewed for another session in the lovely world of Eorzea.
Untill next time!

Sandy’s Sunday: A dash of FFXIV

It’s a bit ironic to title my post after Final Fantasy XIV and then open with a screenshot from Pokémon Sword. It’s deliberate though seeing as I’ve made it past the third gym today and am progressing nicely through the game. I’ve been sent back to the Wild Area to make my way to the next big city: Hammerlocke.
I have two choices now. I either power through to Hammerlocke and take on the next gym or I start backtracking and catching all the Pokémon I’ve missed in this first part of the game. As of right now I’m still undecided on what I want so I’m just gonna sleep on it for a night and decide then. All in all I’m really enjoying this new Pokémon game and I’m doing my best to keep a party full of Galar Pokémon. It feels nicer to play that way for some reason. I hope I can get a few more badges, and some more Pokémon, the coming week and make a big push through the game towards the Pokémon League. I really can’t wait to beat Leon and his stupid Charizard. I need to see how Bede, Marnie and Hop work out throughout the story and I’m quite curious as to when I get to catch my Legendary. I guess the only way to find all of that out is to just keep playing.

In other gaming news. I managed to get a few proper sessions of FFXIV in over the weekend and my Paladin is now sitting at level 79. If all goes well it should be level 80 tomorrow evening and I can return to leveling my Samurai and get that pushing up. I know I’ve deviated from the plans a bit but I really wanted to see the Tank story line and so far it hasn’t disappointed, like all of the other storylines.
I’m also still slowly leveling my Leatherworker. I’ve not yet used the whole restoration of Ishgard to level anything yet, preferring to stick to my Beast Tribe dailies. This has taken me to level 59 Leatherworker though and I’m positive that I will ding 62 tomorrow once I’m done with all dailies and job quests. I’ve been desynthesizing a lot of my old gear from my Armoury chest, freeing up a ton of space and leveling my Desynth skill on Weaver, Goldsmith and Blacksmith respectively. I may start diving into Ishgard once my Leatherworker dings level 70 aswell but for now I don’t think I want to spend time on that.
For now I’m still in full leveling mode. I can’t wait to get all my classes to level 80 and be “done” with that part of the game. Then I can start working on properly gearing them and keeping up with other things like Achievements, Golden Saucer and getting my hands on silly amounts of collectibles.

Finally last week has been brutal to me on a personal level. For some reason work has decided to crank things up past eleven and as such I come home completely exhausted every day. Having sick coworkers doesn’t help either and for some reason I find myself in the middle of a struggle between coworkers about how to properly do our job. It’s giving me a headache really and I try to stay away from all of it as much as I can. Alas being in my current function I seem to get dragged into the middle of everything. Let’s hope that next week won’t be the same. I have Wednesday off, it’s my Mum’s memorial day, and my car arrives on Friday meaning I will only work 3.5 days this week to begin with. I guess the only way right now is up.

Sandy’s Sunday: Pokémon time

Last Friday Pokémon Sword and Shield finally launched worldwide. I had pre-ordered the dual pack version which contains both games, a steelbook and apparently a special code together with a friend. I already picked Sword, he picked Shield and we did a coinflip for the steelbook case, which I won.

So far I’ve been having a blast. I’m about 4 hours into the game and am on my way to the first gym. The Wild Area is amazing and terrifying. I wandered a bit too far and suddenly got matched up with Pokémon way beyond the levels of my own team. The Dynamax encounters are actually pretty neat and they drop a lot of useful stuff like experience candies. The story so far is okay I guess, but that’s never really been the highlight of Pokémon games. My rival, Hop, is annoying as usual and the game is still quite hand-holdy but you can opt out of a lot of explanations and just progress through the game at quite a nice pace.
The region is set in Britain this time and it shows. From the absolute weird Pokémon names, a fox called Nickit, to the generally British terms for things that are quite obvious. Hell even team Yell, who are sort of the bad guys?, are a sort of punk-rock style opponents that you can only expect in a British themed game. You can cook curry’s with your Pokémon at your campsite and the towns have a thorough British feel to them. So far I’m really enjoying this, more so than X and Y or Sun and Moon who were supposed to mimick France and Hawaii respectively.

Apart from latching onto Pokémon Sword for the last two days I’ve been feeling a bit detached from gaming. I’ve still not explored everything patch 5.1/5.11 have to offer in Final Fantasy XIV. I’ve not touched anything Warcraft related except to pick up the anniversary pet. The only game I’ve been putting time into has been League of Legends. I’ve been playing a lot of ARAM’s so I can complete the Worlds missions that are still open. I have been having a blast doing this so I guess I can’t say it’s a waste of time.
I have been putting a lot of time into re-reading the Harry Potter series however. This was mostly spurred on by the fact that they’re showing all the movies on TV here and I’ve been watching those on Monday evenings. Tomorrow they’re airing the seventh movie or the first part of book seven. Coincidentally I’ve just started reading that so I’m in full Harry Potter mode for the time being.

So yeah. I’m still feeling very detached from the whole blogging stuff right now. I can’t seem to get myself to write anything besides these weekly mini-updates. I’m also still very much not reading other people’s blogs, sorry! I really should get back into that but I’m just not in the right mindspace right now.
As far as games go, I really should start checking out the Ishgard content for crafters because apparently it’s an amazing source of experience. I’m sitting at all my crafters at level 70 right now, with only Leatherworker at level 50. On the gathering side only Fisher isn’t 80 yet so I hope that Ishgard can assist in that. It would be so nice to just get everything to level 80 for completion purposes. I also really need to do the mainstory content… I may just hop on today and make my way through that.