Blaugust

Flying unlocked (again)!

A day before I thought I would I unlocked flying once again for all my characters in the new expansion. This speeds up so many things in World of Warcraft, especially when it comes to doing quests and gathering. No longer will I have to do everything by ground mount while dodging half a zone worth of mobs, yes I’m looking at you Nazjatar. Honestly I’m still not sold on the whole “pathfinder” achievement and that flying is an unlock way later in the expansion than it’s been since Mists of Pandaria. I do understand how it ties in to keeping people playing by not handing everyone stuff on a silver platter but still. I rather go back to the “buy this tome to unlock flying” and Blizzard actually use their resources to add more dungeons or other content than this silly content gating by achievement.

With this out of the way I can dial back my gameplay of WoW again, like I’ve done with Final Fantasy XIV, and maybe finally spend some time playing Final Fantasy 8. I’ve set up the game via Steam and played for an hour or so but other than that I haven’t really touched the game, and I do want to start making progress there. I will probably also aim to get a few hours of Guild Wars 2 in while I’m at it and maybe during the weekend play Spider-man on my Playstation 4. I’m still determined to complete more goals on the list I set for myself this month but ticking off the whole WoW flying thing has been major for me. I’m also pretty chuffed with the mount you get as you unlock flying, a bright yellow mechanical parrot, and will probably use it as mount of choice on my Rogue for a bit as I delve into other content than just grinding out dailies. I have Mechagon to do as I’ve just unlocked the quest to go there and defeat the final boss with achieving Revered reputation. I want to do the Zuldazar and Aszhara raid and I want to work on leveling Engineering.

Was it worth gritting my teeth and grinding this out? Probably. Would I do it again like this? No. I rather just casually play and unlock flying in a more natural way than grinding for 2+ hours every day just to unlock it as soon as possible. This would probably be the case if I had kept playing the game instead of taking a break. Oh well. Lesson learned.

Accidental Azeroth Progress

After me complaining two days ago that progress was going very slowly in World of Warcraft when it came to the reputation grind, I apparently completed a quest that opened up a very long and interesting questchain. It culminated in the picture shown above where Jaina and First Arcanist Thalyssra open up the way into Aszhara’s Eternal Palace and give me the quest to go and kill her. Because of this, and because of all the World Quest and dailies that I did on the side, I’m suddenly finding myself only 100 reputation away with Revered when it comes to the Waveblade Ankoan. Which means I only have to do two more WQ’s to get there.

I feel like a bit of a weight has lifted off my shoulders here. Grinding for flying is sucky enough but since I gave myself the deadline to obtain it before WoW Classic launches it meant I had to spend a lot of time playing WoW the past few weeks. More than I had anticipated and it was starting to make me resent logging on. Knowing that I’m basically only a few days away of unlocking flying, I’m currently also almost 9/12k into Honored with the Rustbolt Resistance, has made me much more relaxed with my time spent here. All in all it means that I should be soaring over the Battle of Azeroth zones by Wednesday, assuming I play enough every day to get the Mechagon stuff done aswell. Coincidentally this occurs together with me finishing off the Mechagon spider mount, which is only three quests away for me aswell! It will be nice to add another mount to my collection. I’m definitely planning to do the Eternal Palace raid somewhere next reset aswell since I think all wings should be available in Looking For Raid then. Or perhaps I should do the Zuldazar raid first since I completely skipped that…

All in all I’m quite happy the end is in sight for my flying in Azeroth goal. Of course the next step is to get my reputation up to Exalted with both factions, and earn my 90 reputations Exalted achievement, but that should be much easier when I can just fly from quest to quest instead of making my way to flight points and then barreling past mobs hoping they won’t daze me off my mount. I also may want to dabble in leveling up my Engineering more seeing as I got my mining to 175 skill, which is the current maximum, but my Engineering is stuck at 131. It probably has something to do with the fact that Engineering as profession just majorly sucks to level up. You don’t really get many useful things from it and everything just takes so much materials to craft that I’ve kind of thrown my hands in the air at some point after I made myself the helmet/goggles, which weren’t even upgradeable at the time. But I digress. Let’s see if the final two WQ’s I need for the Ankoan spawn somewhere before I go to bed so I can finish off that reputation today and otherwise I will definitely finish it off tomorrow.

A short book review: Tales of Lunis Aquaria

Tales of Lunis Aquaria as shown on narratess.com

So I don’t think I’ve ever done a proper book review. Mostly because the books that I’ve read are all bestsellers in their own right and I don’t think the authors really need a gaming/hobby blog like me to shower them in praise. They received that enough. However after reading this book I feel compelled to write a post about it. So let’s start with the basics.

Book title: Tales of Lunis Aquaria
Author: Tessa Hastjarjanto
Publishing date: 8th of April 2019
Genre: Fantasy
Book type: Short stories
Format: E-book (but there is a paperback available aswell)

Tales of Lunis Aquaria is a bundle of nine short stories set in a fantasy world. Each story involves different characters although there are a few reoccuring ones. It’s an entry book in what will be a bigger universe expanding on the introductory short stories written in this book. There are a few main characters, the ones depicted on the cover of the book that play a big role in the universe. They are however only featured in two (or maybe three if my guess is correct) of the short stories.
It’s a relatively short book, only 104 pages long in the e-pub format that I use on my Sony e-reader and as such I was able to read through it in a relatively short time. The fact that I didn’t put it down once I started reading it should say enough about the quality of the stories. I was immediatly sucked into the world that Tessa has crafted with her writing. All the stories are very pleasant to read through and are short enough to fit into small reading sessions for when one is traveling or when you want to read something before going to bed. I enjoyed all of the separate stories, enough so that I can’t wait untill the continuation comes out for all of them. I don’t want to spoil too much of the stories but I can definitely say that the one titled “Moonflower” was my favourite one. The premise is as followed (as written on narratess.com): To win the heart of a girl, a young man sets out to find the most beautiful flower there ever was. He faces the dangers of the mountains, looking for a flower that might not even exist. The tale has a twist at the end and I so want to find out what happened! All of the other stories are written just as well but specifically this one has me hungering for more.

As mentioned the flow of the book is good. Tessa crafts a very compelling world and everything fits together nicely. I’m quite curious as to how the stories continue. With setting up nine different ones she’s given herself quite the task of expanding this world. If anything that’s the one thing I may nitpick on. The introductions are written so well that I really can’t wait to read how they continue. Seeing as how this is only the entry in a far bigger series I expect a ton more books to come out and patience isn’t one of my strongest virtues when it comes to things I enjoy. I hope she can write a compelling universe with this as starting point and I can’t wait for the next book to come out.

If you’re looking for a light book to read during some travel time or a saturday afternoon sipping a cup of tea and you like fantasy this is the book for you. But know that if you’re hooked you might have to wait a bit to see the stories continue!

Tales of Lunis Aquaria is available at Amazon, Kobo, Nook and Smashbooks and if you’re Dutch you can get the e-book from Bol.com or the paperback from boekenbestellen.nl

Reading blogs

With Blaugust 2019 well under way I had the pleasure of adding a lot of blogs to my Feedly, which is the medium I use to read blogs. Since I work fulltime and have a bit of travel time I prefer to read stuff on Feedly as I travel to and from work. It’s a nice reader, I can easily add (and delete) feeds from it and because it’s cross platform I can read on my PC, my phone and my tablet without issues. I love that it works that way and I don’t really see how I used to read blogs without the help of a feed app.

Of course a feed reader like this has it’s downsides. It’s literally a reader only, so if I want to comment on someone’s blogpost I will have to actively go to their website and comment. One of the other downsides is that for some people’s blog I don’t get full posts on Feedly but only an excerpt with a redirection to their website to read any further. Because of the way that I’m using Feedly, namely to just catch up on blogs during some downtime, I remove those blogs when I come across them. I know it sounds a bit harsh but unless I see a really compelling reason to constantly open a blog seperately to read it I just don’t put in the effort. Especially with so many people posting due to Blaugust right now it’s just a step that I’m not willing to take.

As for the rest. I consider myself to be mostly a blog lurker. I enjoy reading what other people are up to and have a few blogs that I’ve been following for years now and that are big examples to my own blogging. Tales of the Aggronaut, Bio Break, Aywren Sojourner and Contains Moderate Peril are a few of them on that list. Although I’m not always interested in the specific topics they write about, I don’t play most of the games the reference on their blogs for example, I do always enjoy reading every blog post they put out. They are able to make things interesting even for people who have no clue what the game entails. I like their writing personas and I have a huge respect for all of them because they’ve just been around for so long. I mean I’ve been blogging for a good chunk of time myself, my archives here date back to 2013 but I’ve been blogging for longer than that, but I still don’t think I’m anywhere near their level. I feel like my writing persona is all over the place and I use my blog more as a sort of diary than anything else.

Anyway. I do enjoy having added all these new blogs to my daily reading routine. It is a bit overwhelming to keep up with all of them but I’m trying my best to do so. Now I just need to nudge myself into the comment game and interact a bit more with my fellow bloggers instead of being the lurker that I have been over the past years.

Hello Blaugust and gaming goals

So we’ve finally made it to what is offically the first day of Blaugust this year! July has been a bit of a wild ride for me with time off, Shadowbringers launch and hosting a friend for a week. It’s the reason why I didn’t really want to tie down on a “goals for the month” post. However August should be calmer and thus I feel like I can actually devote some time to setting goals for the month.

MMO Goals

  • Cap weekly on the new tomestones in FFXIV and get healing gear upgrades
  • Level my Black Mage to 80. Level my Red Mage to 80
  • Level my Alchemist to 70. Level my Culinarian to 50. Level my Botanist and Miner to 80
  • Poke away at the ARR Relic chain for the White Mage weapon. I really want more transmog options… I’m currently at the Atma step.
  • Play through Nazjatar and Mechagon content in WoW and unlock flying
  • Play some GW2

Non-MMO Goals

  • Play through and write about FFVIII, not necessarily finish it though
  • Play through and write about Spider-man on the PS4

So as you can see for August my main focus will still be on FFXIV and getting stuff done there. Otherwise I want to put some time in the new WoW content and some time in general playing Guild Wars 2. Finally I already announced I wanted to be playing FFVIII and Spider-man so I will be doing just that. I’m hoping to finish Spider-man this month, I’m not aiming to finish FFVIII but I do want to make some decent progress.

All in all I think all the goals I’ve set are doable, I just need to be smart with planning my game time to achieve all of them.

Exhaustion strikes

So I’ve been back at work and the first evening of falling asleep the moment I’m home has happened. It’s always a major struggle getting back into my proper work rhythm after I’ve been off work for more than a week but this time it feels even worse because I’ve had an exceptionally lazy vacation, meaning I’ve lost the tiny bit of stamina I had acquired with my normal schedule. So I’m rebuilding this, and more, and it’s making me very much tired. It also doesn’t help that I was up hunting mosquitoes untill 01.30 in the morning last night I guess but still.

It’s one of the few things I dislike about my job at times. When you get back from vacation it’s always a struggle to get to a point where you are all “caught up” on current work and circumstances. I’ve been dutifully slavering away at my slightly exploded mailbox since people figured it was okay to start mailing me again on Thursday/Friday to get things in motion on Monday. Next to that I have my regular tasks that need doing so I’ve been quite swamped with all of it. I managed to make it to about 50 “unread” mails though so I guess there’s that. I’m really hoping that I can get the last bit down tomorrow and be all where I need to be again.

In gaming news, the newest patch of FFXIV hit today, bringing with it the new Tomestones and the Savage mode of the Eden raid. The reward for defeating the final boss is an awesome four seater mount and I may actually want to try to clear it just for that, if I can get into decent PuG groups. For tonight though I think I’m going to stick to clearing the normal version of the raid and start doing expert roulette again for the new tomestones and not play my Black Mage for a night. I made it to level 75 on that playing yesterday evening, aswell as getting my Alchemist to 65 and my Culinarian to 41.
Another good change was the rate that Trusts gain experience from the dungeons you do with them. It’s going to be a less torturous road to get them from 70 to 80 now and I may even use them a bit more as I’m leveling up the rest of my dps classes to circumvent queues and still get leveling done when I’ve exhausted my roulette options.

I’m still quite curious how the Relic Weapon grind will look this expansion. Square Enix hasn’t said a word about it yet, which is rather worrisome. It feels like they launch the weapon much later every expansion and if this one is going the way of Eureka in Stormblood it will mean that I’m probably once again going skip out on it. I really didn’t enjoy Eureka and I’m in no way up for the same sort of grind again. I rather go back to the ARR and Heavensward types of Relics but I guess time will tell how things turn out. I would be very disappointed if they didn’t do any Relics this expansion but with the ever growing amount of jobs it wouldn’t surprise me. I mean they already took job quests away… Maybe Relics are too much of a hassle aswell.

Schedules and ponies

So today is officially the first day of my “new” schedule for Blaugust. I’ve roughly made up my mind and settled upon the following for weekdays after work.

17.30-18.00: Come home and wind down a bit. Maybe head over to the store for dinner or something else.
18.00-19.00: Dinner time! This spans cooking, eating and doing dishes
19.00-20.00: Blogging time. I’ve carved out an hour mostly so I can start a bit later if needed but mostly so I have enough time to sit down and write a proper post.
20.00-22.30: Activity for the night. This will mostly come down to gaming but I’m also planning to take more walks and get exercise so whatever goes really.
22.30: Shut down and get ready for bed.

By sticking to this time schedule I’ll get enough time in to play the games I want, have time to cook/eat and still have time to blog and go to bed at a reasonable hour. Let’s see if I can make this work!

All the pretty ponies!

Throughout my years playing FFXIV I’ve never managed to get any of the primal mounts when it was current content. I was really happy to land in an FC that did a few farm nights leading up to Stormblood and I got a few ponies and birds then but never really pursued it any further. While I was doing my crafting dailies yesterday I figured that now that we are level 80, soloing the original primals in A Realm Reborn content should be a piece of cake now and seeing as I only needed the Shiva and Ramuh ones I decided to set an hour aside to farm those.
Shiva was peanuts for my Summoner. I barely took damage, especially with the shielding that the Titan egi provides and I managed to get the mount to drop there in two runs without dying. Ramuh was a bit trickier since he does the tankbuster move. Once I figured out how to survive that, it killed me two-three times, I managed to down him pretty easily and to my surprise the mount dropped from that first time I killed him.
This meant that I finally had all the ponies and could do the quest to obtain the Kirin mount, earning that achievement in the process. The quest itself was okay. You go to the Yoshida guy in Mor’Dhona who has a quest for you once you obtain all the primal mounts. He then gives you a whistle that only one worthy can blow and asks you to do this at an overlook so you can make pretty screenshots as Kirin appears before you. It was simple and short and you walk away with a badass looking mount in the end. I think the scene I captured above was one of the better ones I could get with all of the ponies gathered around.

I’m quite happy that I finally got all the mounts with all their awesome primal music. I think the Shiva one will be my go-to for a bit now since I absolutely adore the music from it, but really I could put all of those mounts on my favourite roulette and not be disappointed by whichever would come out.
The next step will be figuring out how many people you need to get the birds from the Heavensward fights. I’ve already obtained a few there but still need the ones of Bismarck, Sophia, Sepiroth and Nidhogg. If it’s doable with two or three people I may just convince a few buddies to tackle those fights in the coming weeks.

Tonight I will probably turn my attention back to leveling though. My Black Mage hit level 74 yesterday and I want to get it to level 80 as soon as I possibly can, purely so I don’t have to play it anymore. I honestly really don’t enjoy myself on this job and I want to be done with it sooner than later. I just don’t understand how I can fit in Flare and Freeze in my rotations, not now I’ve barely figured out how Blizzard and Fire 4 work. The numbers are pretty but I’m way to distracted with not letting Enochian fall off and having to move in the middle of my casts to really enjoy it. So I’m gonna just grind through the levels, do the 80 quest when I get there and then call it a day and start leveling my next job.

Blaugust prep!

Today the first day of the Blaugust schedule started and we are calling it prep week. I know it’s not officially August yet but nonetheless it can’t hurt to start a few days in advance laying out what I’m planning to do for Blaugust exactly. Writing a blog post every day isn’t necessarily as easy as it may sound, especially when you don’t have a variety of topics to write about. So today I’m going to talk a little bit about how I want to tackle the every day blog posting and what kind of posts you can expect from me over the coming five weeks.

FFXIV progress posts. This will probably still be my main game over the coming weeks. With the new tomestones out on Tuesday and me wanting to atleast attempt to do some Savage content next to leveling up my jobs I will probably have enough to write about for a decent amount of posts. Most will probably be just a quick insight of where I’m standing at the moment progress wise but I may write about a questline or encounter here and there that I feel needs some spotlight.

WoW/GW2 posts. Now that I’m wanting to dedicate less time to FFXIV I can dedicate a bit more time to the other two MMO’s that I have installed on my PC. In WoW I’m mostly planning to explore the 8.2 content and earn flying aswell as catch up to the raid content that I’ve missed so far. In GW2 I want to continue leveling my Elementalist and hopefully push past the level 25-30 barrier that most of my characters seem to end up stuck on and hopefully be able to turn the adventures there into some entertaining posts about how much I suck at this game.

FFVIII and Spiderman posts. As I mentioned before I intend to play through FFVIII. I’ve never finished a mainstream Final Fantasy game and so I figured it was time to pick one at random and just work my way through it. Apparently I picked the one with the most convoluted battle mechanics out there but I’ll make it work. I’ll be taking notes and screenshots as I play through the game so I can make more indepth posts about the story, how far I am and what my opinions of the game are so far. I intend to do the same for Spiderman on the PS4, although that is a much shorter game so I’m probably not going to post about that one a lot.

General topics. I have a few gaming and non gaming related topics that I want to talk about aswell. I’ve taken the habit of writing my ideas down and then sitting down at a later moment to turn them into proper posts.

Next to topics I’m also working on a “posting schedule” so that I can sit down and write a blog post around the same time every day. I’ve also taken note of days where I won’t be able to post on my scheduled time or at all so I need to make sure I have a few extra posts lined up to post during that time. The big problem that I’m facing with here is that I’m horrible at sticking to schedules. Something I’ve been struggling with for a big part of my life and something that I’ve been meaning to change forever. So I’m using the Blaugust opportunity to do so and create some new, healthier, habits for myself so my days will maybe go a bit smoother and more enjoyable than they are going now.

All in all I feel like I’m more prepped this year to participate and succeed in posting every day than I have been in previous years, so let’s aim to make it work!

A hot mess

Today is the final day of the heatwave we’ve been dealing with here in the Netherlands (and a big part of Europe). It’s really weird how our country is divided in two at the moment with the south having enormous thunderstorms and rain and a 21 degrees Celsius average and the northern part sunshine and still 29 degrees average during the day. But now it’s finally dropped to a nice cool 22 degrees here aswell so now I just need to wait for the temperature in my house to go down as well (currently still sitting around 27 degrees).
All this heat has seriously fucked up our sleep schedules here so I wasn’t too surprised to be falling asleep after my guests left and only waking up about two hours later. I’m still kind of groggy as I’m writing this and I’ve skipped dinner altogether because I just couldn’t be arsed with cooking but atleast I’m no longer sweating when I move my big toe so there’s that.

I can’t believe it’s almost August. It feels like the month of July has flown by faster than any other month so far, even with two weeks off in the middle of the worst heatwave we’ve ever seen here. And people still claim climate change isn’t real. Unfortunately due to this silly heat I’ve not really been able to do much of anything that I wanted to. I’ve been mostly hanging out on my couch, watching a lot of Netflix and trying not to melt into a puddle of oblivion. On the plus side this has allowed me to finally finish Lucifer season 3 and 4 and I’ve started watching “The Good Place’ which so far is a hilarious show. I’ve also spent a bit more time using my 3DS and playing Theatrhythm Final Fantasy Curtain Call, seeing as it wouldn’t heat up house as much as using my PS4 or PC would. But mostly I’ve just been listlessly sitting on my couch and lying on bed hoping for the heat to go away.

Next week I’m going back to work and with that I also hope to go back to a more normal routine. I want to make sure that I’m getting back to a healthy sleep schedule and that I’m setting myself to a healthy eating schedule aswell. I may not be perfect with what I eat but I want to eat at steady times and not have snacks after dinner anymore. I’m also going to plan my gametime again seeing as how I’m done with most of the FFXIV rush of the expansion and I’m back to simply leveling all my jobs/classes again. This means I can spend less time on there and more time playing other games like FFVIII which I’m going to use for Blaugust and I may want to poke my head back into WoW and GW2 again aswell. I might even pick up Spiderman on my PS4 again now that it’s cooled down since I really enjoyed the game before FFXIV launched.

All of this should lead to me having more than enough to write about during Blaugust, I just need to get myself to sit down and write… Which I’m going to put into my daily planning.

Blaugust is coming!

You’ve maybe seen it go around the blogging community but this year we are once again going to have Blaugust, as usual started up by Belghast. I’m participating again this year as a participant. Even though I’ve been blogging since forever I don’t think I’m the correct person to mentor other people. My blogging track record is shady at best and I don’t really want people to use my blog as an example of how to run things. Hell even I still don’t know how to run my own blog properly so it’s usually a small miracle if I’m able to pump out more than one post every two weeks.
Anyway, this year there are a ton of people participating again, for a full list I’d recommend going over to Bel’s blog. He’s posting a list of people under every post he’s writing right now so you will have the most up to date list of people participating.

As for me and Blaugust.. I’ve decided to pick up FFVIII to play during this time so I can write a small series about it. Why number 8? Well, no reason actually. I could’ve picked any of the Final Fantasy games (except 14) and write a series about it because, gasp, I’ve never actually played a Final Fantasy game from beginning to end. I’ve not even touched a lot of the iterations. So I figured I would pick one of the games that I bought during a big steam sale and start playing that and write about it. So FFVIII it became.

I’ve played a tiny bit of the game so I could create a save file to work off of, but I’ve already hit my first wall in doing so. For some reason I can’t seem to run the game in fullscreen mode. It will either be a tiny ass window (when I have fullscreen checked) or it’s a windowed fullscreen mode where the bottom bit is falling off when I don’t have fullscreen checked. I don’t seem to be able to find a fix for this.. All the suggested things have come up with no results for me. So I will probably have to make do with the whole windowed fullscreen game and see from there.
I’m also still struggling a bit to learn the keyboard scheme but I guess that’s just a matter of getting gametime in.
I know that FFVIII is a bit different when it comes to the leveling and magic experience but I want to see that for myself. Maybe by playing this game I will propel myself to play more of the entries in this series but I guess we will see that later. For now I want to make an honest effort into playing this game and writing about it and hopefully take everyone with me on the journey to completing my first standalone Final Fantasy game.

In other FF related news.. I managed to get my Astrologian to level 80 yesterday meaning that I’m officially done with leveling my healers, yay! This also means that I could finally get rid of all the healer gear that was accumulating in my bags and I basically have all my healers on a high item level now so that’s nice aswell.
The next class I’m focusing on is Black Mage and I managed to get that almost to 71 by spamming FATEs so I’m sure it won’t take me that long to get that to level 80 either.
I also managed to get my Alchemist up to 63 and my Culinarian to 36. My Miner and Botanist are both sitting halfway to 78 so it’s been progress all around!