Raiding

Enjoying the casual

One of the best things I’ve done so far is stop being commited to a steady raiding crew or group in World of Warcraft and/or Final Fantasy XIV. Although I really enjoyed raiding a lot, and still do up to a point, I just can’t really set aside multiple nights a week for it anymore. When I come home from work I want to be able to sit down and relax, not rush my dinner and showers because a group of 7 or more people are waiting for me to show up. I guess it comes with being an adult and having a fulltime job. I guess it also comes with having raided on and off since 2008 and at some point you’ve kind of seen it all. Even though the developers think of new and interesting mechanics every raid boils down to the same thing: don’t die and make sure you get the boss’ health to 0. And then pray for loot. It’s a gameplay loop that I’m not really interested in anymore. I rather see a raid for the story once and then move on.

Not commiting to raiding has allowed me to enjoy my evenings my own way and has allowed me to take up other projects like leveling all my battle jobs to 70 in FFXIV or chasing after all the Mage Towers in WoW a year ago. Content I enjoyed way more than the raids of Legion. Not being committed has also made me feel less guilty for not logging into games. No one is pressuring me to stay on top of gearing, I don’t have to keep playing to not get sloppy on my classes. I don’t have to log on constantly to stay on the curve. If I don’t want to log on I don’t. If I do log on and decide to spend my time just running around leveling an alt then that’s fine aswell. I have no expectations from others, only the ones that I put on myself.

Not pushing myself to participate in the gearing/raiding loop also exposes how much stuff there is actually to do in an MMO. There are various collections to attend to like mounts, minions and glamour/transmog gear. There’s achievements to be had that come from all types of content. On WoW for instance while I was leveling I made it my mission to complete the “Kill all rares” achievement for zones, or atleast get as close as I possibly can. In FFXIV there’s achievements for logging/mining/fishing X amount of times in a zone. There’s achievements to craft all items available for a given profession. There’s sightseeing, PvP, FATE’s and more. I could choose to lose an hour of my time logging into all my high level characters in WoW and just kill Onyxia over and over again untill she drops her mount, which is the last one I’m missing for an achievement. I could head back to old raids alone or with a friend to get gear for transmogging or to just get achievements and mounts that I’ve missed over time. I could farm ponies, birds and dogs in FFXIV or I could pursue the Big Game Fishing quests and related achievements. All of this these things are obviously designed to make you log back in again and again. When I was raiding that was the thing that kept me coming back and now it’s all the other stuff I can do.

Next to opening up MMO content I’m also free to just drop my MMO’s altogether when a game like Kingdom Hearts 3 comes out and play that instead. There’s more time for other (single player) games, there’s more time for shows and books and other hobbies. I don’t have to stay up until X time because the raid isn’t over yet. I can keep my own sleep schedule going and decide for myself if I’m going to call it an early night or not. All because I choose to be commitment free when it comes to games. All because I choose to be a “filthy casual” as some people would say. Do I miss raiding? Do I miss interacting with a group of people on a regular basis? The answer to both of those swings between absolutely and not at all. Do I feel bad for giving it up? Never. I’m going to stay casual for as long as I want to and enjoy time the way I want to spend it.

A final note. The screenshot at the start of my post doesn’t begin to do justice to the gorgeous game that is Kingdom Hearts 3. But it’s pretty nonetheless so I felt the need to share it here.

FFXIV progress: Statics and Levelling

Today I’m proudly showing the video of our first Omega 1 Savage clear as header. We’ve started up raiding as a static and we have been slowly progressing through the content. It started with some ex-primal farm (untill everyone had their weapons and accessories) and now we’re tackling the current hardest raiding difficulty bit by bit. Now honestly I have to say that O1S isn’t the hardest fight out there. They added maybe one or two new annoying mechanics but overal it’s mostly knowing about when to slide to the sides and when not to. It’s a great fight to get you warmed up for the harder content later on and even though I died in a very silly way here I’m still proud of my part in the play.
We cleared this last week and recleared it again last night where I didn’t die and pulled much better DPS than I did before and afterwards moved on to O2S. We had been struggling with O2S on our first night of trying it mostly because people kept on dying. It’s a lot more complicated a fight than it is on the normal version and if you don’t really get the “dance” you will die to silly mechanics. Last night however things started to click together and we killed it on our 5th or 6th pull of the evening. On our kill we actually only had one death if I recall it correctly and the rest of the run was done perfectly. We cheered, the beast was dead. I also got lucky with winning 3 pieces of loot from that particular boss. The Ninja headpiece dropped (yay!), I won the Dragoon boots for my offspecc (yay?) and I won the token that will allow me to purchase my 330 weapon the moment I manage to scrape together 1000 Creator tomes. All in all I was pretty content. Then we peeked into O3S and all the sense of achievement kind of fell away as we got obliterated. Hard.

It feels like the ramp up in difficulty of Savage is quite steep. Where we killed O1S in about 3 pulls we had been struggling on O2S for almost 4 hours of pulls over 2 nights before it finally went down in the end. While in theory O2S isn’t actually that hard it’s just the damage that is punishing and any mistake made will immediatly result in death. Have too many people die and you will eventually hit enrage due to lack of DPS. It was hard to figure out and we had to replace a few people in our first week but eventually it seemed to come together. The new challenge, O3S, is a gigantic ramp up again. The first phase alone is riddled with mechanics and we’ve seen up untill she summons the dragon in the second phase. It’s a mess really. There is so much to remember. Stack, stand away, sprint to corners, stand on the right tiles, kill adds. We barely made it to 75% health on her and I was already overwhelmed with the complexity of the fight. It takes me back to raiding days in Coil where learning mechanics and timings was the most important thing you’d do in progress and there was almost no way you could brute force through stuff. They’ve brought that back in Creator Savage and I can’t wait to learn the rest of the O3S fight before advancing onto the big boss: Exdeath. We’re raiding again tonight and although I don’t expect us to down O3S I do hope we will progress farther into the fight while also perfecting the mechanics of earlier phases.

Next to progressing as a static I’m also learning to be a better Ninja. For the first 50% of the O2S fight all of our DPS were over 4k. For someone that’s barely played Ninja and is still perfecting her rotation and timings it’s a grand feat. I’m still miles away from the best of the best but I’m slowly climbing up getting better at my class as I play it more. Ten-Chi-Jin is still an ability that I need to get used to but I’m learning to incorporate it into my rotation better and my DPS is going up for it. I still have some issues timing TA/Bhava right but I’m getting there. I had briefly thought to give up Ninja and go back to Bard instead now that the class is actually fun to play again. But persistence and the fact that I’m completely in love with how Ninja looks while you play it (seriously it has the best battle animations) I’m sticking to the class and will aim at improving myself as the expansion goes on.

Another type of progress that I’ve been making is in leveling my alt jobs. I have gotten Red Mage to level 60 and am now turning my focus on White Mage. I’m not sure what happened to my love for Astrologian. It’s still there, I still think it’s a great job, but for some reason I’m enjoying White Mage a lot more right now. She’s currently sitting at level 53 and I’m mostly running roulettes for the experience instead of spamming PotD like I did on my Red Mage. Instant queues help a lot with that and it’s less boring than running the same 10 floors of PotD over and over. I’m in no real rush to level either since I met my goal of atleast one level 60 battle job per month. However if I could get her a few more levels over the coming days that would be nice.

All in all I’m content with how FFXIV is going now. I’ve set clear goals for myself and I’m hoping I can stick to them. Breaking them down into weekly chunks has been nice because I don’t have to look and plan ahead that much. It also means that I’m putting less pressure on myself to actually attain stuff. It mostly helps me focus on doing one thing at a time. Static raiding will take away some of that time but it’s time well spent. I really hope we will down O3S soon and that we all get a little better geared so that we have an easier time clearing and reclearing the content.