November update: Progress on multiple fronts

Level 70 Paladin skill

It’s odd how time works sometimes. I could swear it was only the start of November a few days ago and yet here we are with less than a week left this month. It’s gone surprisingly fast, even accounting for the fact that last week I was sick and mostly bedridden which of course skews your perception of time even more.

If you’ve been keeping up with my blog and Twitter you have seen that I’ve been making steady progress in my FFXIV leveling endeavours. My Paladin sits at 70 and as of writing this my Dragoon just hit level 64 and is firmly on track to be 70 this week. After that I’m switching to my Warrior so I can have fast tank queues again before settling down on Monk. All in all I’m quite happy with how fast the leveling is going. I’m pretty sure I won’t actually make the whole “get all battle jobs to 70 before the new year” goal but I’ll get very close. As I’m estimating it now I’ll probably be somehwere halfway in leveling up my Dark Knight and then I only have Samurai left. Again I’m not really accounting for the extra playtime I get from my week holiday so I may actually be left with only Samurai in the new year.

Next to leveling I’ve also been tackling a lot of unattended end game stuff. I’ve never actually touched the second part of the Omega raid, Sigmascape, so I’m slowly working my way through the normal raids for the story. I’ve done part one with the ghost train and part two with the painting and enjoyed both fights. They’re not necessarily hard but you can and will die if you don’t follow the proper mechanics. I’m staring down the “Guardian” next and then Kefka afterwards. This will allow me to open up Alphascape which I will run not to only close out the story but also in search of some gear upgrades for my White Mage.
I’m also planning to queue for the Ridorana Lighthouse this week as I haven’t done that one either yet. I’m almost one hundred procent positive that tomorrow will be the best evening to run this particular instance since it’s reset day and then most good people run it to get their weekly drop.
Now I just need to tie up some sidequests here and there and I’m pretty sure I have another primal to unlock in the form of Suzaku. I’m also on the final set of quests to rebuild Doma, which I’m pretty happy with.

Final Fantasy however isn’t the only game I’ve been spending my time with the past few days. I’ve also played about nine hours of Pokémon LetsGO and made it as far as Lavender town/Celadon City. I’ve wasted about an hour trying to force shinies to spawn with something called the 31 catch combo chain, which I’ll talk about more in a later post. For now I’ve decided to mainly follow the story and beat the elite four as soon as possible. I’m really liking this game and I’m pretty sure it will stick for the forseable future.

Lastly I finally made some true progress in reading the final book of the Farseer Trilogy. I’m almost halfway done now (page 400 out of 912) and I have to say I really like this particular set of books a lot. So much that I’ve acquired all of the other books that take place in the same realm. Which means I have 13 more books to look forward to in a story that is actually finished. Unlike some of the other sagas I’m following, and yes I’m looking at GRR Martin, Parick Rothfuss and Scott Lynch as I write this particular sentence.

All in all the two games and the book should keep me busy for atleast another two weeks or so. I hope to have made considerable progress in Pokémon by then and hopefully have started reading the first book in the Living Ships trilogy.

As always I’ll keep you guys updated.

Paladin level 70!

Paladin after 70 quest

Today marks the day that I finally have the holy trinity of MMO’s (tank, healer dps) at max level in FFXIV. My Paladin dinged level 70 about 30 minutes ago and immediatly I switched to new gear and went ahead with the final quest for Paladins this expansion, which was the grand finale to the prestigious Ul Cup. Of course I won, I am the hero of the story after all.

Doing the level 50-60 and 60-70 experience on Paladin back to back I have to say that I enjoyed the Stormblood quests more than I did the Heavensward. The idea of partaking in a grand tournament for swordsmen (and women) and basically going back to the Gladiator roots you start the class with was nice. The fights were epic and the finale fight even more so. Much better than some scheme to help a young lad find his inner Paladin which included a faked death and a fight to establish the “alpha Paladin”. I’m not sure what kind of drugs the writers were taking when they thought up that particular storyline but I was happy to just breeze through it and not really give it a second thought. Mind you the Heavensward quests weren’t bad, they were just not really interesting to me compared to the Stormblood ones.

It’s the special storylines that every job has that make me love FFXIV a lot as MMO. It feels rewarding to level up every class because you are rewarded with stories that you normally wouldn’t see. This goes for battle and crafting/gathering jobs. They all have their unique stories to tell and enrich the world of Eorzea as whole. Next to that all the stories also make sense for the class you are playing. The Black Mage ones were filled with grandeur and imminent threats. The Paladin ones were filled with swordfighting and finding true callings. As Machinist you play a pivotal role in Ishgard and it’s transition to a more unified people instead of the clear separation between nobility and “lowborn” people. A lot of stories are fuzzy though. Classes that I’ve leveled early on or that have been 50 for ages I don’t really remember very well anymore. Luckily there is the journal that keeps record of all the quests you’ve done so if I want to I can go back and read what the stories for all my jobs have been so far.

All in all I’m in a great leveling mood. With my Paladin reaching 70 I’m now down to 5 battle jobs with Dragoon being next on the list. I can finally go back to flashy gameplay and awesome looking weapons after doing a lot of “123” rotations on my Paladin and before that standing still and casting on my Black Mage. I’m looking forward to covering the next 10 levels aswell as the story Dragoons will get told in Stormblood.

Common Cold

Zurvan

Seems like I captured the Zurvan fight at just the right time. I always like the intermezzos that Square Enix builds into their trial fights and Zurvan is on the more epic side of said trials. I opted to not main tank this fight though since I’m not really familiar with it plus the other tank had like 10k HP more than I have (Warriors are filthy cheaters I tell you).
The progress on leveling Paladin has been slow but steady. I hit 68 tonight which means I should be 70 on Friday night and tick it off as another class done! In the meantime I’m enjoying tanking on Paladin a lot again, post 50 the job has gotten much more interesting with many more buttons to press than previously.

Being knocked down by a cold this week I didn’t really feel like doing much of anything. However yesterday during the afternoon I attended my very first live orchestra performance in the Concert building in Amsterdam. It was an orchestra plus choir from Eastern Europe and they performed music from various movies with the final hour being dedicated to music from Star Wars alone. It was a magnificent thing to attend and while I don’t necessarily enjoy classical music in general hearing an orchestra perform songs I know was something I felt I needed to experience. Even though when I came home I had a fever flaring up I’m happy I went. This did result in me calling in sick to work today after barely sleeping last night and dealing with all the discomforts that the common cold brings. I’ve thus recovered enough to try to attend work again tomorrow, even if it’s only for a part of the day.

Other than my cold and the concert I don’t really have much to tell right now. Being unwell kind of makes your days boring and mostly spent in bed. I’ve been in too much of a funk to really game a lot so apart from the progress on my Paladin I’ve not really touched anything else. I am planning to play a bit more Pokémon LetsGO as I start feeling better, and to change from playing FFXIV only to also playing a single player game on the side.

Phone Woes

Under water with sunbeams

I’m having a bit of a rough week with my phone this week. At the start of the year we had a few weeks where it was extremely cold outside and my iPhone did not like that. It would just shut off while still having 30% battery left and that was that. Once I came back home and it was warmed up it worked fine again. This should’ve been a first warning sign that my battery was slowly decaying. Ofcourse cold temperatures are never good for technology but -5 degrees celsius is something that a phone should be able to handle.
The past week, as it’s getting colder again but no freezing temperatures yet, once again my battery seems to be draining rapidly. Again I had 30% -> 1% drops in battery life and even a 100% to 57% in the span of 5 minutes, even while sitting in the train. Whenever I’d use my phone in the morning after turning off airplane mode I would always have 10-20% battery drops aswell so in all my wisdom I decided it was time to get my battery replaced since I’m pretty sure there were a few rotten cells.

According to the phone shop I still had about 70% capacity left but due to the sudden drops in percentage I opted to replace my battery anyway, which after more than 3.5 years of use should be a saving grace. However after charging up the new battery this morning it’s showing odd behaviour again. I saw the battery charge to about 99% and figured I’d wait a few more minutes to get it to 100. However when I went back to check it suddenly had 85% charge and, after hard resetting the iPhone, it dropped to 80%. I figured the battery was being a bit wonky so I plugged my phone back in to charge and calibrate properly, however even though I get the indication my phone is charging it’s not actually charging past 81%.
I’m sincerely hoping it’s something to do with the replacement battery I had put in yesterday so I can just go back and have them look at it, it came with a 3 month warrantee, otherwise I’m scared they may have broken something while replacing the battery. The dock connector could be an option but because it was working fine before I doubt that’s the case. In the worst case it could be my phone itself that’s just defective after 3.5 years of extensive use. Right now I’m mostly trying to find out whether it doesn’t want to charge anymore at all or just not past 81%. So as experiment I’m letting it drain during the day and plug it in again in the evening when the battery is down to 30-40% and pray it’ll charge back up again.

One thing this whole ordeal has made me realize is that I’m more reliant on my phone than I’d care to admit. Of course when push comes to shove and I have to pick up a new one it’s not the end of the world. It’s more that this phone has some sentimental value due to it being a birthday present from my dad almost four years ago and I’m not really the type to pick up a new phone every two years to begin with, however it’s beginning to look like I’ll have to search for a replacement.

The screenshot at the start of this post is actually super unrelated to the topic. But I think it’s pretty and wanted to show it off.

FFXIV, Pokémon and Sabrina

It’s been an odd week for me. Pokémon LetsGO finally got released and I picked that up yesterday evening. I’ve been leveling my Paladin, although I’ve allowed myself to take a night or two off from that aswell and I’ve started watching the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina on Netflix.

With the new expansion announcement of FFXIV, Shadowbringers, I realize I’ve taken the decision to work on leveling my classes on just the right time. Blue mage is coming in patch 4.5, which probably means somewhere in Q1-Q2 of next year, and if all goes right I should be up for leveling a battle class again by then. Even though Square announced that the newly announced class will work a little differently.
I wasn’t surprised at all to find out that we were going to Garlemald, the current expansion has done it’s best to set up that premise. I’m also not too surprised that Yoshi P. hinted at Viera as the next race and I’m quite curious to see how they look. What did surprise me is the announcement of a “New Game +” mode. I may actually be quite interested in that, assuming it’s done properly. I also really hope that they’ve learned of the mistake that is Eureka and bring back the relic weapon in a more traditional way in the new expansion. All in all there is a lot to look forward to concering this new expansion and if all goes well I’ll be playing it at my own house when it comes out.
On the leveling front in FFXIV there’s not that much progress to mention. My Paladin sits at level 65 and thus is only 5 levels away from reaching the cap. With near instant queues for almost all roulettes and the ability to queue up for on-level dungeons this has got to be the fastest class to level up together with Dark Knight and Warrior. I’ve also diverted some of my time this week to take a stab at leveling my crafting professions and working a bit on the Heavensward Relic for Dragoon.

As mentioned before I picked up Pokémon LetsGO (Eevee) edition last night and so far I’m really enjoying the game. It’s really rather casual to play and even though I was a bit sceptical at first I actually really enjoy the new gameplay mechanics. Not having to wander through tall grass hoping this or that random encounter turns into the right Pokémon to catch is really refreshing and the interaction between your character and your partner Pokémon is just straight up adorable. It’s a game that you can easily pick up and play for an hour or so and it doesn’t really require much thought to play. I’m hoping that for once I can atleast complete the Pokédex on here, next to beating all the Master Trainers that are in the game.

Finally I’ve started watching a new show on Netflix: The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. It’s basically a more adult retelling of Sabrina the Teenage Witch, a show that was a big part of my childhood/teenage years. It’s a bit more gory and horror like but so far no real scares. I’m about halfway through, I think episode 6 out of 10 and I’m probably going to finish watching it next week. After which I’ll have to find yet another new show to watch, but that is a decision for future me.

A small update: Black Mage and Paladin

Above you can see a screenshot picturing the finish of the Black Mage campaign. I dinged level 70 on it last weekend and set about tackling the level 70 job quest as fast as I could. It was an interesting journey from level 50 to level 70 with me mostly finding out that I really dislike playing Black Mage and/or that I’m really bad at it. EIther way I’m happy to have tackled this particular job, mostly so I can stripe it off my “to do” list. It also netted me the Goddess of Magic title so there’s that.

With WoW slowly dying down a few friends have come back to play FFXIV with me. This has caused me to deviate from my original plan of leveling my Dragoon after my Black Mage and instead has seen me picking up Paladin to level as next class so I can provide instant queues for the people I’m playing with. I’m actually rather enjoying the class, moreso than I thought I would and it enforces my general idea that tanks have the easiest job in this game. I could just pick up where I left off and even though I felt a bit clunky tanking my first few dungeons I could make mistakes without actually causing the party to wipe. Paladin changes significantly from level 50 onward, changes that are quite welcome for a class that was characterized as “123” class for most of 2.0. They’ve gotten a bit more AoE, a second combo and a few interesting cooldowns down the road. As of writing this post I’m sitting at level 57 and am hoping to achieve atleast level 60+ over the weekend. Some Palace of the Dead spam may be in order for that but honestly I don’t mind running it that much. Roulettes still give a good chunk of experience and I may even dabble in the main scenario roulette again now that I actually have the time to run it.

All in all I’m on schedule to level my remaining battle jobs to 70 before year’s end. I have a few long weekends in November and an entire week off in December to help me speed up this process. With only 6 jobs remaining I can feel the end coming in sight. With that I can finally purge my bags of all remaining sub level 70 gear and start slowly working on gearing up my jobs. I can also turn my attention to my remaining Gathering and Crafting jobs and slowly get them up to max level aswell. All in all my plans for FFXIV are big and I’m spending most of my time during the week playing the game, since there’s not much else to do in the evenings anyway.

November Goals?

I realized that I’ve basically already written a bit of a masterplan of goals for the rest of my year so I was unsure if I really wanted to write a November goals post. But maybe I should, because it will explain a lot of things that happened in October and why I’ve made the shift to FFXIV.

Normally I’d take a look back at my goals of October and how much I’ve actually done of them, but I’ve failed all of them so miserably that I’m not going to bother.
At the start of October I was still heavily invested in WoW. I’d found a raid group to run with and had tons of banter with friends. However I noticed that my general interest in the game was already starting to wane. I’ve made no attempts to finish up storylines on my Paladin on Horde side, because I really wasn’t interested in the stories. World Quests were beginning to feel like a chore and the raiding as Retribution slowly got to me (I don’t enjoy the spec). One of my best friends announced halfway through the month that he would let his subscription lapse and another one followed suit last week. This has only reinforced my own drifting away from the World of Warcraft. I’ve bought a six month sub and I’m definitely going to keep it running if I feel the need to play more but for now WoW is going to take a permanent backseat as I focus back onto Final Fantasy XIV.

Next to this I’ve been in a gaming funk in general. I do enjoy running stuff in FFXIV because it’s low effort and I can do most of it without thinking plus a few of my friends are more active over there again so I have people to chat with. For the past two days however I’ve simply just been so tired that I had no energy to log into any game at all. I’ve been going through some crazy changes at work, which will still linger for a few weeks, so going to bed early has been a priority over any nightly entertainment. This is also the reason I’m not really wanting to commit to any goals besides pushing up jobs in FFXIV this month. Real life is just getting a bit too crazy and I really need more hours of sleep because of it.

I am wanting to post more progress updates, and more blogposts in general, so look forward to those instead of a static list of goals for this month.

End of Year Goals

As October is drawing to an end I find myself back in the world of Eorzea. World of Warcraft is slowly going on the backburner. I raid, I do my Emissaries but that’s it. My interest in the game is at an all time low and I mostly keep playing because of friends. One of whom is quitting at the end of the year himself and the rest are slowly burning out on the game aswell. So as my interest in one MMO wanes the other one waxes. I feel the motivation to level so much that I’ve managed to push my Black Mage from level 60 to level 63 in a single day. I’ve done every single roulette available, did my beast tribe dailies, caught up on all the job quests for Black Mage and dove headfirst into the Hallow’s Eve event.

All in all it feels good to be back in Eorzea. Good enough to set a rather ambitious “end of year” goal for this game. As you may have seen throughout the year I’ve been leveling my classes on and off. Right now I’m only missing seven more battle jobs at level 70, six of which are melee/tanks and one caster (the Black Mage in question). My goal for the end of the year is to have all of them at level 70 so that I can finally get rid of any sub level 70 gear from my bags. It’s a rather ambitious project seeing as I’d almost have to level a job per week to get this far. Add to that the fact that five out of the seven jobs I’d still need to level hover around level 50, meaning I’d have to do 20 levels instead of 10. The one big advantage is that I’ve saved my Tanks for last. They have the fastest queues thus probably the easiest time leveling out of all the jobs. As it stands I’m planning to level via Roulettes, Beast Tribe dailies and Palace of the Dead/Heaven on High. It’s the most reliable way to get experience fast and I should have the time to do this six out of seven days per week. I’m raiding in WoW on Wednesdays so that evening is kind of off limits.

Right now my progress is as followed:

  • Black Mage: 63
  • Dragoon: 60
  • Monk: 53
  • Warrior: 53
  • Paladin: 50
  • Dark Knight: 50
  • Samurai: 50

This is also the order I’m planning to level these classes in. I hope to have my Black Mage to level 70 somewhere next week so I can start working on Dragoon, which I’ll probably mostly play on my Playstation aswell as Monk. For some reason they just play better on a controller than on keyboard+mouse. As for my tanks, I’ll probably switch that up between PS4 and PC since I don’t really mind playing them on either. Samurai is going to be dead last purely because it’s the only job I’ve not properly played thus I will probably have to figure out how it works when I start leveling. I already apologize to the random groups that get my Samurai slotted in, I’m probably going to be terrible at it. Just like I’m slightly terrible at Black Mage, hence I just want to get that job out of the way as soon as possible. That it will also grant me the “Goddess of Magic” title is, of course, a bonus.

My ambitions for FFXIV don’t stop here however. Next to having my Armoury Chest cluttered with various sets of battle gear it’s also filled to the brim with gathering and crafting gear of different levels. That will be my big goal for the New Year: level up all my remaining Crafting and Gathering jobs. I have Botanist, Miner and Weaver at 70 so I can cross atleast three of the jobs off my list already. What remains is scattered between level 21 (Alchemist) and level 44 (Fisher). I’m planning to level up my Crafters simultaneously, meaning I want to get them all to level 30 and then all to level 40 and level 50 and so on. Ofcourse once I hit level 50 and can start doing Beast Tribe dailies and handing in deliveries things will speed up quite a bit. I’ll be quite happy to get to that point though, because the pre-50 grind is still agony.

For now though it’s running Roulettes and hoping I don’t get shitty fights on my Black Mage.

Getting Exalted

I’ve been dutifully slaving away at my reputations on my Rogue the past month and it has finally paid off. I’m now officially exalted with all the Island Reputations in Battle for Azeroth AND the 7th Legion. Which means I’ve unlocked all the magnificent horse mounts Alliance gets and the Dark Iron Dwarves as playable race.

The Dark Iron scenario was fun. I got sent to Blackrock Depths, Molten Core and Firelands and the story surrounding that was okay. I don’t want to spoil much more than that because other people may still need to unlock this particular race. I also immediatly made a Dark Iron Shaman to play, although I don’t think I will be leveling her anytime soon. It’s nice to see she’s there on my character list though. Even though I don’t particularly enjoy the Dwarves as a race the Dark Irons are a bit more badass and thus I’m okay with leveling and playing one at some point in the future.

With these reputations maxed out I’ve been making a few big steps on my goals for this month. I only have the Tortollan Seeker and Champions of Azeroth reputations to go, for both I’m about 6000 reputation away from Exalted. Again I’m in no real rush to see this finished purely because getting those particular reputations to Exalted doesn’t net anything extra. My Paladin is doing well. We’ve been slowly pushing our way through heroic Uldir and are now sitting at 5/8 bosses cleared. Zul proves to be a real pain in the ass though so hopefully we can get some progress on him next week. Other than that I’ve not really made major progress in WoW. I’ve been cutting down on the number of hours I play the game and instead am opting into reading more and watching shows on Netflix.

All in all I’m starting to notice that my interest in WoW in general is slowly starting to fade. I still play and I still raid but I notice that my interests are declining. Battle for Azeroth isn’t as fun as expansion as Legion was with little to no incentive to level alts and no real endgame besides grinding Mythic+ and doing your Emissary quests. I’ve noticed that farming transmogs is being made difficult by the Legacy Loot mode system and farming anything else just takes up way too much time. Right now I’m mostly logging in to just get my Emissaries done and that’s it. Maybe it’s just a temporary slump untill I figure out what exactly it is I want to do in this game. Maybe it’s a build up to a longer break where I step away from MMO’s in general. I guess only time will tell.

My Own Plan

Looking out over Tiragarde Sound

It’s been a bit of an odd week for me. I found myself slipping back into casual raiding on my Paladin. At the same time I’ve been trying to take a bit more distance from WoW and immerse myself a bit more into FFXIV, single player games and making sure that I have a healthy sleep schedule. I’m aiming to be in bed by 23.00 every night except Saturday because obviously I have a bit more time to sleep in over the weekend and as far as things go I notice that It’s having a good effect on my general mood.

The lack of clear focus in my MMO’s has me reconsidering what I want to do in them for the rest of the year. In FFXIV I’m quite certain that it boils down to leveling as many classes as I can. I’m slowly bumping up my Black Mage, while also catching up on gear with my White Mage. Unlocking Heaven on High, the Stormblood version of Palace of the Dead, will help me a lot with my leveling ambitions and will provide me with decent weapons for all my jobs. Being able to tick of level 70 on my remaining jobs will be very satisfying and I’m not really looking into doing anything else there right now.
Well that’s not completely true. I’m also busy unlocking any content that I may have missed from this patch and the last while supporting Doma with the rebuilding of the Enclave. Seeing that city grow and getting all the cutscenes has been very fun and satisfying. Plus it’s a gil income that I can definitely use.

In WoW my focus is slowly shifting away from traditional progress (raids and dungeons) and more to personal progress. I’m working on getting the BfA reputations Exalted on my Rogue while also completing the Battle for Azeroth achievements that are easy to obtain. This means I’m wandering around the world a lot looking for items, treasure chests and creatures to kill. I’m also slowly picking up the transmog farm again and have been running the T11 and Wrath of the Lich King raids to complete or start working on transmog sets. This has led me to discover that the Legacy Loot rules are atrocious and I’d much rather Blizzard reimplement the old way of running outdated content with group loot and a need/greed system for when you buddy up. Nonetheless I’ve been able to obtain a complete T11 set on my Paladin and one of the pets from the Raiding with Leashes IV achievement. I’ve stated earlier that I want to make an effort to level up one of the Allied races but for now that’s a weekend only project. I want to narrow my scope to my Paladin and Rogue mostly so that I don’t get overwhelmed with content and to make sure that I don’t spend too much time playing this game when I could be doing something else. This also means putting my Mythic+ ambitions on the backburner, but honestly with how the game plays right now I’m alright with that. Trying to get a weapon upgrade for my Protection spec has been atrocious and I’m not really content with the whole way Azerite Gear works either. So I don’t want to put too much energy into it where I can use it on things that are more important.

In real life I’ve gotten some very good news from my job. Up untill now I’ve been working as a “temp”. The rules are a bit confusing here in the Netherlands but it boils down to whether the company you work for wants to hire you on their own or via a temp agency. A lot of companies work with the latter because it’s easier to fire people that way and because it’s limited. You can only work a maximum of five years for a company via a temp agency after which you’re usually dismissed and have to look for a new job. I’m in my third year right now and didn’t have that much hopes on obtaining a normal contract but my boss surprised me last Friday with the announcement that they are working on it. This means a much better contract for me with a lot more vacation days that I have now (45 vs 20), a bonus that’s decided on how much profit the company makes, an extra month of salary and better sick leave arrangements. Seeing as my current temp contract runs until April 1st next year I’m hoping they’ll transfer me then which would be perfect because it lines up with me moving to my new apartment around that time aswell.

All of this has inspired me to pick up the slack in other areas of my life. I’m eating more healthy (no more candies and crisps) and trying to be more active when it comes to exercising. I’m picking up the courses that I started ages ago again and I’m generally in a more stable and happy mood than I’ve been in a very long time. I’m also trying to be less chaotic at work with how I do my job and be a bit more organized in my private life aswell. I’m going out more and planning a lot of fun things for the coming few months. I’m not quite where I want to be yet, I’m still full focus on losing weight, but my life finally seems to come together slowly. I can’t wait for 2019 and all the amazing things it will bring. I just need to make my own plans and stick to them and I’m positive that things will then work out in my favour.