Expansion

Shadowbringers Mayhem

I kind of fell off the face of the planet when the early access for Shadowbringers launched, like a lot of people surrounding me who were going to play aswell. I have posted a Twitter update here and there but didn’t really got around to get myself to sit down and blog about this entire experience. Now that I’ve hit a wall in endgame though I figured it was time to drag my attention away from my console and the game and write a blog post instead. I will give a heads up now, since the game has been out for well over a week there will be some spoilers in this blog post. If you don’t want to be spoiled don’t read any further!

So at this point in time not only have I finished the Mainstory, I’ve also gotten all the tome gear for Healers and I managed to beat Titania Ex and get the White Mage staff. The only endgame content that I haven’t finished yet is Innocence Ex but I’m probably going to tackle that somewhere during the weekend with a few people from my FC and then wait for the raid to drop next week.
Seeing as I’m done with the big “get my White Mage geared” grind I’ve already started leveling my next battle jobs: Scholar/Summoner. They’re sitting at level 74 now and with the roulettes that I’m doing I get about a level a day. Add to that the fact that I can do hunts, FATEs and sidequests to level up these classes and I’m sure they will be level 80 in no time, after which I’m going to pick up Astrologian and get rid off all my sub level 80 Healer gear.

All in all I can say that Shadowbringers has been one hell of a ride. I have thoroughly enjoyed the story with all it’s twists and turns. I’ve laughed and I’ve cried. The ending with Emet-Selch was really well done and although I’m not exactly sympathetic to the Ascians mission I can get where they’re coming from.
From start to finish the story had me enthralled. The zones were amazing with the highlight being the music in Rak’tika Greatwood and Upper Kholusia and the remade Ascian city in the Tempest. I loved seeing Graha’Tia again, even though he was not the one from our timeline. I love how the relationship between me as Warrior of Light and the Scions has developed. It really feels like we are a group of friends and that you’re completely accepted among them as WoL. The fact that we’ve said a final goodbye to Minfillia was really emotional aswell and I felt especially sorry for Thancred. All in all this expansion so far has managed to tug on a few heartstrings and I can’t wait to see how Square Enix will expand on the story and how the Scions will eventually return to the Source.

As far as the grinding at endgame goes… As I mentioned before I managed to get all the gear I need on my White Mage fairly quickly. Due to this I’m able to scale back a bit and start focusing on other things like picking up levelling my Crafters again and slowly levelling up my Botanist and Miner to level 80. The Crystarium hand-in quests are interesting but unfortunately only a one time only thing. So I can either choose to use them on my Botanist or my Miner but not both. For now I’ve chosen to level Botanist first and catching up with Miner via levequests. As far as my Crafters go… My Goldsmith got up to level 66 today and my Alchemist should be level 56 tomorrow. I’m a bit unwilling to set any particular goals when it comes to leveling those seeing as I have two weeks off the next two weeks and I have guests coming over so I probably won’t be playing much of FFXIV at all.

Anyway with me slowly coming out of the expansion high I expect to be posting a bit more again about what I’m up to in FFXIV and other games. I’ve attempted to make a bit of a weekly schedule where blogging is set to happen on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. I just hope I have enough to write about for that schedule to really make sense. I guess we’ll see!

Shadowbringers is here

Yay! I’ve survived the hellish temperatures of Europe this week. Luckily living in the Netherlands it’s not as extremely warm here as it is in say France and Spain but still. 30+ degrees (Celsius mind) weather is not fun in our climate. I was happy to be at the office for most of that time where the airconditioning runs steady.

As you all may have noticed Shadowbringers early access has started last Friday. I went home from work a bit earlier so I could get into the game and have been playing a lot of it over the weekend. I’m sitting at level 74 right now and am making my way to the third dungeon.
So far I’m really enjoying myself. White Mage hasn’t changed that much from what it was before except for the fact that lilies are finally useful now and that I’ve lost a few spells along the way. The zones of Norvrandt are absolutely gorgeous with my favourite one thus far being Il Mheg, the faerie zone. That’s also the zone where you fight the first Primal of the expansion and boy that fight was fun! I can’t wait to challenge it on Extreme and hopefully get my hands on a mount because the music is superb, as usual.
I’ve been sticking to doing only main story quests and the sidequests that give Aether Currents or gear pieces. I’m leaving all the rest for the alts that I will inevitably level through the content. I’ve picked up Dancer today but haven’t really played the class yet. I’m also going to pick up Gunblade somewhere this week but I’m holding off on leveling either job untill my White Mage is level 80. I need the roulettes on her sometimes to catch up to the level of the mainstory.
The role questchain has been odd so far. It has a ton of humour in it but it doesn’t really feel like I’m actively doing something as Healer. I’ve only done three of those quests so far though so maybe there will be more interesting stuff coming up. For now I find them to be a bit dissapointing.
The new crafter/gatherer hand-in system is a bit odd. I don’t think you’re supposed to craft collectables but just craft regular items (or gather). Unfortunately for the level 70 hand-ins you’re reliant on some Stormblood crafting supplies so I will tackle that after I’m done with all the battle content I think.

I have been taking some screenshots on my PS4 as I play through the various zones and I will probably post a few once I write the post that will cover me dinging 80 and what I think of the expansion so far. For now though I’m neck deep in Eorzea and I don’t see myself surfacing to play something else anytime soon.

Plans for Shadowbringers

As I’m writing this post we are on the first day of a few days of pretty warm weather in the Netherlands. Being a sea climate country, any temperature above roughly 25 degrees Celsius is a pain in the ass and we are going over 30 this week so I’m preparing myself for massive heat walls as I exit my airconditioned workplace. At home I’m keeping my windows and almost all of my curtains closed during the day and pray that my house doesn’t warm up too much as I’m gone. It’s all I can do really to stay as cool as possible.

With Shadowbringers early less than a week away I think it’s time I get my stuff in order when it comes to what I want to do with the expansion launch. Obviously there will be a ton of new content to tackle and I’m quite happy that the early access starts before the weekend so I will have a decent amount of time to play the expansion before I have to go back to work.

Before I go head first into the new expansion there’s a few preparations I need to do.
I want to finish off whatever quests I still have open in my questlog. I need to clean out my inventory for both regular items aswell as gear. The gear I’m ditching I will either use to level up my desynth skills or will get converted to Materia and then sold on the Marketboard. As far as my regular items go, I’ll probably put some up on the Marketboard to sell and some will go into my retainers so I can decide what to do with it on a later date.
I’ll stock up on food and drinks for the weekend and probably won’t make any appointments with anyone so I can take full advantage of this few day headstart.

Now as far as leveling goes, I’ve decided to level my White Mage through the content first. It’s been the job that I’ve been enjoying the most ever since I stopped raiding in Stormblood. It reminds me of Holy Priest from World of Warcraft. Next to me simply enjoying the job it also ensures that I don’t have ridiculously long waiting times for dungeons. I guess the only other role that would be more beneficial would be a tank. Speaking of which, I fully intend to try out Gunblade after I finish leveling my White Mage. It looks wickedly awesome and leveling up a tank shouldn’t take too much time. After that it’s a toss up. A lot of class overhaul has taken place so there’s a big chance that I need to learn some jobs again from the ground up. I intend to level all jobs to 80, which should be much easier now that I have them all on 70 to begin with, bar obviously Gunblade and Dancer which start off at level 60.

I’m also going to continue doing my beast tribe dailies to level my crafters. I currently have my Goldsmith sitting at 63, my Alchemist sitting at 52 and I’ve started doing the Ixal dailies for my Culinarian, who is level 33. I’m not sure if I can get my Goldsmith to hit 70 before the expansion launches, especially since we have one offline day on Thursday but I do want to get it to level 70 as soon as possible. Next to that I plan to level my Botanist and Miner to 80 after I get to the endgame on my White Mage. I’m also fully intending to level up Weaver and Carpenter to 80 soon after purely so I can actually start selling stuff on the market board now that everyone is still fresh in the content, plus I may be able to craft useful gear for myself along the way.

I’ve been pretty unsure when it comes to raiding and doing endgame things. My Stormblood raiding experience has kind of robbed me of the fun I was having so I’m really not looking for a steady group to raid with. However I think I should be fine pugging most content, especially ex-primals. Savage raids are a completely different beast but that won’t be available at the start anyway so well. I want to get my White Mage the best gear possible as soon as possible though so I do expect myself to start doing Ex-roulettes again when I’ve reached max level.

All in all I’m going into this expansion fairly blind. I’ve not really looked at all the job changes or all the systems that they’re replacing or expanding upon. I like to discover most of everything on my own and I hope I can get along at a fair pace with this expansion launch. I will probably make a few more detailed plans after I get my White Mage to level 80 but for now this is what I’m hoping to do for upcoming few weeks.

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.

Still in Eorzea

Seeing as I’m having a mellow day today, I didn’t fall asleep untill 4 am last night, I figured I’d talk abit about my progress in FFXIV and how much hype I have for the stuff announced at Blizzcon.

So first up: FFXIV
I’m still firmly planted in Eorzea for the time being. My static has the Savage content on farm and we may be looking at doing Unending Coil, although the mere thought of having to go in there is already giving me anxiety. Not because I don’t think I can do it, but more because I’m worried it might kill my static alltogether… Although this is something for a different blog post.
When Stormblood launched I had set the goal of getting every possible class up to 70. I’ve never had everything max level before and I don’t plan to quit for most of the expansion like I did in Heavensward so here I am on the leveling bandwagon. With the addition of the Alliance Raid roulette and the new Kojin beast tribes it’s actually not very complicated at all to level your battle classes up these days. Especially when you’re focusing on your healers and tanks that get instant queues for everything… I’m pretty sure I can get a character from 60 to 70 every 2 weeks or so. So far I’ve brought up my Ninja, Bard, Red Mage and White Mage and my Astrologian is currently sitting on level 66. I’m really enjoying healing again and just casually running stuff as healer somehow feels very relaxing compared to doing it on a DPS. I really want to get the “Goddess of” titles and seeing as I only have Summoner/Scholar and Black Mage left after I finish leveling Astrologian I will probably go for the “Goddess of Magic” title first. After that I’ll have to see. I’m really enjoying Monk again so I may just want to pick that up, even if it means having to spam Palace of the Dead to get to level 60 first. The only downside to leveling DPS is that queues for roulettes are quite a bit longer than for healers and tanks but I can live with it.

Yesterday I also decided to start working on atleast my gathering classes again. My Botanist is currently sitting on level 58 and my Miner is level 56. The goal is to get both of them to 60 atleast over the coming two weeks and then hopefully do the final push to 70. Even though it’s quite tedious to level these gatherers, especially when you go the Levequest route as I am doing, it’s nice for when you feel hungover and don’t really want to think about playing much. It’s relaxing and you can just stop and take a break and do something else for a bit and come back and do the next Levequest without worrying if you might miss out on a queue pop or anything else. After I get my Miner and Botanist to 70 I may want to look into some crafting classes but I’m not sure yet how I’m going to tackle those. The majority are still below level 30 and spamming leves isn’t my favourite part of the game. But if I want to get into the crafting game I need to bite the bullet at some point… So we’ll see how it goes.

WoW BfA logo

Now to the second part of my post: the future of World of Warcraft.
I have to honestly say that I wasn’t very thrilled about Blizzcon this year. My interest in WoW has been waning for a while and I’ve not been subbed for a long time. I returned for 2-3 weeks to see the Argus content but after that I drifted back to FFXIV again with no real intent to return. After seeing the announcement for a new expansion, and the vanilla servers, I can’t say I feel motivated to return anytime soon. I think ideally I’d want to return at some point just to see Legion through to it’s end. I’m still a sucker for WoW lore and I do want to know how stuff ends so I will probably purchase atleast one month of playtime at some point to live through the final moments. After that I don’t really know. I’m not a proud player on any faction although I heavily favour Alliance and the whole Alliance vs Horde story doesn’t appeal to me much. The only thing I am quite pissed about is that they’re destroying Teldrassil. Night Elves are by far my favourite race and they better come up with a damned good incentive to why this happens.
As for the vanilla servers. I never played true vanilla WoW and I don’t think I could go back to something that has been dubbed a “grindfest” time and time again by the people who did play in that era. I feel like the nostalgia pull is very strong but only for the people who actually played back then and even then I think some caution is adviced. All the QoL stuff that we’re used to won’t be around there and I think that’s a harder pill to swallow for many people than they realize right now. If anything I’m staying away from the vanilla server alltogether unless they end up making it a sort of progress server after a while. I would like to live through the different expansions again, but for now I’m not hyped.

All in all this has pushed me even deeper into playing FFXIV, even though I can feel the burnout slowly coming there aswell. I need to start playing some other games because spending all my time in an MMO has proven to be bad for me before and I don’t want to quit and not come back for a year again. I am planning to start playing Horizon Zero Dawn, even though I’ve been saying this for a few days now, just to break up the leveling grind in FFXIV. Another game I want to play is Xenoblade Chronicles on my 3DS. This is mostly due to XC 2 coming out in less than a month and I do plan on picking that up at some point… It would be nice if I atleast knew what the story and setting is about before I commit myself to the sequel of a game that I’ve never finished in the first place.
Then there’s Pokémon Ultrasun coming out next week and I’m definitely picking that one up aswell. Luckily I don’t have to invest that much time into Mario anymore, now that it’s just the grind to get all moons and coins, which leaves me with an “open slot” for atleast one single player game. I just really need to learn to plan my time to accomodate all of this!

Setting Examples

Blizzard made a very good move with the release of their new Hearthstone expansion: Whispers of the Old Gods.  Next to introducing another new set of cards (134 in total to be precise) they have launched a new mode of play: Standard. Standard mode will only use cards from the last two years of the game, meaning that older expansion and adventure cards will not be used in this format anymore. It will also be the new official tournament format, something I actually quite cheer on. For someone like me having a format where I don’t actually have to catch up on hundreds of cards is a huge deal. For new players it’s also very nice since it’s easier to create “good” decks due to limited use of cards plus there are some mandatory cards that are rendered more or less useless now (I’m looking at you Dr. Boom) giving people much more freedom in deckbuilding. It will also allow for a more shifting meta, all to keep the game fresh.
Ofcourse for the people who are disappointed and have a really big collection of cards there is a game mode called “Wild” where all old cards are still usable. And there will be some Wild mode tournaments going on as well, meaning all the money people may have put in their collection will not feel like a “waste”.

What makes the launch of this expansion so good, in my opinion, is that Blizzard compensated the reduced usage of cards with “free” Old Gods packs. Some earned simply by logging into the game now that the expansion has launched, others earned by winning a grand total of 9 games in the new Standard mode. All in all this earns you 13 WotoG card packs, giving you a nice boost in deckbuilding with the new meta in mind.
Unfortunately the cards from my free packs haven’t been that amazing, but I managed to gather enough Dust from disenchanting old unused cards that I run a decent Shaman deck for Standard mode now and I am enjoying myself very much doing so. It feels much easier to make a decent deck this way and the Old Gods cards themselves are interesting. Add up the fact that next to the 13 free card packs you also get a free Legendary card, C’Thun, and two basic cards to use so you can buff C’Thun. The how and why of this I won’t explain in this post, but it helps new, returning and old players build new decks easily, something the game desperately needed.
As added bonus, it also makes it easier to decide what Adventure one wants to unlock first. Since Adventure cards are rotated out aswell, it’s wisest to always go for the newest one. The downside to this is that not only are the Adventure cards rotated out, old “unused” Adventures are no longer available to be played to new players. Only the players who have unlocked atleast one wing of Naxxramas are able to unlock and play through the rest. Anyone who starts playing now will not see the Adventure at all, and that kind of makes me sad.

All things considered this expansion  caused me to promote the game among my friends, telling them that NOW is the time to get playing because the game technically got a soft reset. It also made me want to play more again and be more serious about climbing the ladder (and consequently get better rewards at the end of the month).
And when a game company achieves that with me, they have made a very good move.

Now, will YOU be inspired to play with the Old Gods?

World of Warcraft: Legion – Blaugust day 6

Legion. The 6th expansion of the World of Warcraft. And most likely the final one?
A bold statement. I know. But I will go into detail as to why I think this is supposed to be the pinnacle of the World of Warcraft game.

Lore
From what the initial panel showed us, Blizzard is trying very hard to make up for the absence of lore in Warlords of Draenor. Not only are we continuing the fight against the Burning Legion, which will apparently be a bigger invasion than the War of Ancients was, we are also going to explore the Emerald Dream/Nightmare, have a run in with Azshara AND finally find out what happened to Alleria and Turalyon.
It’s almost like a lore overload. A tiered cake of lore. You want more lore you say? Here we shall add another tier, and another, and… another. It feels rather overwhelming to focus on that many “big” stories at once. May I remind people that there have been rumours of an entire Emerald Dream expansion instead of the “addon” we get right now?
And Aszhara. She has been surrounded with so many mystery. She made a short cameo in Cataclysm if you played through the Darkshore story quest. She was once the most powerful being on the planet. Anyone who has read R. Knaak’s “War of the Ancients” knows that even Mannoroth could not do anything against her. That makes for a pretty damn powerful woman. I had hoped she would get a bit more attention than just a sidezone in an xpac, but we don’t know what Blizzard has planned yet.
And then there’s the brief mention of Alleria and Turalyon. People have been wondering for ages what happened to them. They went into the Outlands only to disappear and never be heard from again. What has been their story? Can Blizzard do right by them?
And ofcourse there’s the Burning Legion arc, which is a direct continuation of the story so far in Warlords of Draenor. We will be dealing with the biggest invasion ever, and might even get to deal with Sargeras himself? Who knows!

So yeah. What I mostly see here is Blizzard’s attempt of knitting together a lot of loose ends that have been created throughout the years in the Warcraft universe. Lore that people have been yelling for, for years. The question is, will they succeed in doing this?

I see two scenario’s played out here:

1. The expansion is an utter piece of shit. Lore is treated badly. The new gimmicks of Artifact Weapon and Class Halls suffer the same fate as Garrisons do now and people are disappointed. Sub numbers keep dropping and Blizzard will eventually either pull the plug from the game or decide it to go f2p. After 10-12 years it has served it’s purpose, it’s time to look to the future and focus on a different project.

2. The expansion is amazing and truly the pinnacle of the World of Warcraft. We finally get a lot of answers, if not all, to all our lore questions. The newly implemented features are great. PvP is finally in a good place. Sub numbers rise again and people are happy. The question is WHAT THEN?! Since it looks like they are tieing all loose ends in this expansion will people be open to new stories? New adventures? Or is this the end to the Warcraft story, which is good, and will Blizzard make it like Final Fantasy XI, it will still be around but there won’t be any new content added. Instead we are groomed towards a new MMO, a better MMO. Warcraft 2.0?

So yeah. These were my first thoughts to make it to my blog on the newly announced expansion. I will probably write more about it when the dust has settled down a bit and more details are being brought out.
As parting words I will only say: OMFG DEMON HUNTERS! DIBS! ROLLING THAT!