Thursday, January 6, 2022

Thoughts on Endwalker so far

 On of my New Year's resolutions is to try to do better about posting to this blog on a regular basis.  I realized now that I look at it that it has been over a month since my last post.  Much of that is because I have been very much head down working my way through the new Final Fantasy XIV expansion, Endwalker, and I've also been trying to honor the generally accepted one month ban on spoilers.

But we're far enough along, I feel like it's time to go ahead and start posting again.

So first, lets' do some quick status updates on where I stand.  I ended up playing my Summoner for the MSQ despite my initial intentions, and was glad I did.  I really like the changes that they made to the job for the expansion and am finding the rotation to fit my playstyle a lot better than it did before.  Since finishing the MSQ, I have also managed to get my Machinist to 90 and am almost there on my Gunbreaker (currently at 89).

I've also finished the role quests for both caster dps and for healers and am about half way through the ranged dps one.  If you haven't had the chance, I would highly recommend going through the role quests.  For this expansion, they involve going back to some old places and tying up a few loose ends on older storylines, all while working through issues that are in keeping with the themes of this expansion.  They're very well done.

I've also started to work on getting my DOH/DOL jobs up to 90.  I quickly figured out why I should have updated all my gear for those jobs to the level 80 gear as it became apparent that it was going to be difficult to do much of anything in level 77 gear.  

I also regretted not finishing the job quest lines for each of the DOH/DOL jobs as it also became apparent that with the changes in abilities for each crafting job that I would probably need the ability Manipulation for each job, which is unlocked separately for each crafting job through those quest lines.

That was the bad news.  The good news was that working through those quest lines got me enough xp to get up to level 82 on each job, which enabled me to use the level 81 gear from the new expansion.  I wasn't able to craft it, so I had to drop about 1.5M gil on the market board to buy all of it, but I've already pretty much earned that back through my regular activities.

The level 81 DOL/DOH gear is actually pretty decent looking.  It's a nice improvement over the dwarven-themed level 77 stuff that I was using.




I've been working through Studium delivery quests in Old Sharlayan, which are very similar to the Crystarium delivery quests, but have mostly been using Grand Company turn-ins to level those jobs.  They're all sitting between 83 and 85 at this point.

After I finish Gunbreaker, I'll work on my Samurai next and then finish up the rest of my level 80's, before I embark on getting the rest of the lower level jobs to 90.  I've been using the daily leveling roulette to work on my lower level jobs a bit at a time and all of them are above 40 at this point.  Once they get above 50, I will go back to doing them one at a time, rather than all at once.

I'm not going to get into much here on spoilers for the expansion story line, other than to say that I really enjoyed it.  You can tell that the developers poured their hearts and souls into this one and the story did a great job of tugging at the emotional heart strings throughout.  I was pretty pleased that it was essentially a fairly clean happy ending, because I definitely wasn't expecting that, particularly since they kept consistently foreshadowing that it was going to be anything but.

I've also done a couple of weeks worth of the new raid, Pandaemonium, which I'm also enjoying.  It's only the 2nd FFXIV normal raid that I've ever done as current content, and so far I like both the fights and the story line.  The fights are challenging and take some time to figure out, without being frustrating.  Your mileage may vary.

That's it for now.  Until next week.

Cheers,

Joar


Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Preparing for Endwalker

With the early access period for Endwalker starting on Friday, last weekend I spent a bit of time preparing for launch.  Having done this with a lot of games over the years, I have a pretty good routine down at this point.  The big points have been cleaning out my bags, making sure I have enough buff food and chocobo greens.  There have been a few other points that have made sense given the changes that they're making:

  • First, since none of my retainers are max level yet, I got them all right to the point where they just leveled up.  Partial xp levels are going to be erased.
  • Second, I've gone in a desynthed all of my belts that I have stashed anywhere.
  • I'll also be logging out tomorrow in an inn room to make it easier to log back in once launch occurs.
  • I've also tried to do some clean up on my retainers' bags, desynthing old gear that has no future use and getting rid of a few other odds and ends that have accumulated.  Even for someone that has only been playing for about a year and a half, I've still accumulated an enormous amount of stuff.



I feel like I'm ready, with one minor exception - I still haven't decided which job I'm going to be playing through the MSQ and initial raid content.  I was originally fully on board with the idea of MCH, but as I've looked at the changes for SMN, and since that was my original max level job, I may decide to continue to proceed with that.  That decision may not get fully made until the moment of launch.  I'm bad with that stuff.

In other game updates, I'm pretty much on track to finish the Heart of Thorns expansion in Guild Wars 2 before Endwalker launches.  I'm still enjoying playing the Necromancer and am looking forward to working through the Living World Chapter 3 when the time presents itself.

In Elder Scrolls Online, I'm also almost finished with the new Deadlands content.  I'm not sure I'm going to get this particular piece done before Friday, but we'll see.  I'm going to prioritize Guild Wars 2 first and if I have time to finish up Deadlands, we'll make that work as well.

That's about it for now. 

Cheers,

Joar


Tuesday, November 23, 2021

On To Heart of Thorns

Guild Wars 2 

I made it through Season 2 of Living World in Guild Wars 2 this week and have now started on the Heart of Thorns content.  I'm sure this was all discussed at length back in 2014 when Season 1 ended, but it's actually quite jarring to have it no longer available.  As a new / returning player to the game, it feels really odd to go from the end of Personal Story Chapter 8, to the first first episode of Season 2 where all of a sudden you are thrown in with a completely new group of friends and you have no idea what their back story is or where they came from.

The little cut scene thing explaining Season 1 is completely inadequate to help with any of that.  


So far I'm enjoying the content on Hearth of Thorns a lot.  I managed to pick up enough hero points in the initial zone to unlock the first part of the Reaper Elite Specialization, but pretty quickly realized that wasn't going to go well without unlocking the full tree for Reaper, which will probably take a while, so back to basic Necromancer I go.  

I'm likely not going to get all the way through Heart of Thorns before Endwalker early-access drops in 10 days, particularly with the holiday in between, but I think Guild Wars 2 is earning a spot as my primary back-up during FFXIV down time.

ESO

There's new ESO story content.  And I had no idea.  So I've been playing a little back on ESO.  This story takes us into the Deadlands and a new interesting town there called Fargrave.  Our favorite Dremora Lyranth plays prominently in the story.  

I had just been working on the next faction for Caldwell's Silver, and put that on pause for FFXIV and GW2, but I'm always up for new content.

FFXIV

I've mostly been slowly working through the Stormblood portion of the Hildibrand quest line planning to finish that off right before Endwalker early release.  I should be in really good shape for that.

I do need to clean up my bags and various inventories a bit before kicking things off for Endwalker, but I don't expect that will take more than an hour or so. 

So that's the update for now.

Cheers,

Joar


Thursday, November 11, 2021

I'm a Manderville Man

I'm going to start with FFXIV updates this week.  With Yoshi P hinting that something would be done to make leveling alt jobs easier in Endwalker, my motivation to keep working on those has waned significantly.  It's part of the reason that I've taken up Guild Wars 2 again, although I am spending a decent amount of time on FFXIV still.  One of the things that I've been working through is the post-ARR Hildibrand quest lines.  



I get so much small joy from these quest lines, I'd really encourage anyone that hasn't been through them yet to give them a try.  The initial quest to start the ARR quest line is called The Rise and Fall of Gentlemen, and is obtained from Wymond, not far from the main aetheryte in Ul'dah.

I'm now finished with the Heavensward portion of the quest line and will be starting the Stormblood piece.  Sadly, there was no Shadowbringers quest line, but it looks like the good Inspector will be returning for Endwalker.  

I'm also completely finished with all the main raid content now other than Coils, so I'm going in to Endwalker in a good state.

Guild Wars 2

My ranger hit level 80 and is diligently working through Chapter 8 of the Personal Story, which as it turns out is quite LONG.  I actually went back and ran through the prologues for both Heart of Thorns and Path of Fire to unlock Masteries and also grab the Raptor mount, because there's a ton of running around in Chapter 8.

I really enjoyed leveling the Ranger, but right now at max level, he feels pretty squishy.  I have not unlocked Soul Beast yet or switched to a build using that, so that may help.  In the meantime, I'm thinking about using one of my level 80 boosts on my Necromancer.  After I finish the Chapter 8 on the Ranger, I'd start on Living World Season 2 and Heart of Thorns on the Necromancer.  I did finish leveling cooking on the Ranger as well, which took me all the way from 73 to 80, in about 30 minutes.  

This game is filling a nice void while I'm waiting for Endwalker to come out, so I really appreciate it for that.

That's the update for now. 

Cheers,

Joar

Tuesday, November 2, 2021

Diving Back Into Guild Wars 2

 It's been a bit longer than normal since I've posted here.  Most of the last month or so has been a mix of Guild Wars 2 and Final Fantasy XIV.  And overall, it has probably been quite a bit less play time than normal because of some other real life commitments.  The middle Joarling is a senior in high school this year, so that means we've been working through the whole college application process for the last few months.  Swim season for the kids is also in the full swing, which also means a lot less time.

FFXIV

I did manage to get my Gunbreaker to level 80 and also completed all of the Shadowbringer role quests.  I've been doing a little bit of leveling with most of my other jobs that are not yet at 80, but just a little bit of a time with each one, so they're all right around the mid 30's now.  After hearing that leveling alt jobs will be easier in Endwalker, I figured it didn't make much sense to make a big push to get a few more there before Endwalker drops in a few weeks.

I'm also almost finished with the Omega raid.  I only have the very last boss / wing to complete.  Other than the Coil of Bahamut stuff, that means I'll be completely done with all the raid content.  So I'm feeling pretty good about where I've set myself up going into Endwalker.  I'll be working through the MSQ on my Machinist, who I've really been enjoying lately.  It feels like they're making Summoner even more complicated, and it seemed crazy enough.

GW2

This is a game that I've never successfully gotten into for any length of time.  Prior to this past month, the highest I'd ever gotten was level 20.  But I thought I'd give it another try and it seems to have clicked with me this time for some reason.  I think the personal story quest concept is new from when I first tried it, so that has definitely helped.  I've now managed to get my Sylvari Ranger up to level 72, so I'm almost at max.  I need to finish the level 70 personal story quest chapter, which seems quite long, and then I'm going to level up cooking to get the rest of the way to 80.  

I've been enjoying it a lot and am really looking forward to the new expansion coming out next spring.  I've got a few other alts along the way that I may try a bit as well, although given how low level they all are, I may just restart them from scratch to make sure that nothing bugs out.

That's it for now.  With Endwalker releasing soon, and college applications mostly done, I should be able to get back to posting more regularly!

Cheers,

Joar


Monday, October 4, 2021

Thoughts on New World, FFXIV and other MMO's

It has been longer than normal since my last update.  I've still been playing a fair amount, so it's mostly from lack of feeling like I have much to talk about.  Since the last update, I not only got my Bard to 80, but also finished getting White Mage to 80 as well and currently have my Gunbreaker sitting at level 70.  I've also started working my way through the Omega raids, which are the only pieces of the normal raid series that I haven't done yet.

I also spent quite a bit of time in the Gold Saucer knocking out the requirements to get the car mount from the current special event.

I've been losing a little bit of motivation when it comes to FFXIV.  I continue to be very excited for Endwalker, which is only 45 days away at this point, but once Gunbreaker is done, I'm not sure I feel a huge amount of interest in starting the process with another job, at least for now.

I decided to purchase New World to give it a try when it released, just for something different to do.  There's been plenty of press already on the massive server and queue issues they have on release, which is almost funny in the context of a game operated by the one of the largest hosting services in the world.  I've given it a decent amount of play time so far, and I think I've concluded it's probably not a game I'm going to spend much time with.  In general, I'm not a huge fan of mouse click combat.  While it is undoubtedly a beautiful world, it's not one that I feel much connection with.

Part of the issue may be that I've struggled to find a weapon set that I feel comfortable with.  I've tried sword and shield, hatchet, great axe, warhammer, fire staff and life staff, and nothing has really felt right with my normal play style so far.  I'm not ready to completely give up just yet, but I'm less enthused about it than I was.

I've been thinking about splitting time between ESO and Guild Wars 2 while I wait for Endwalker to release.  Those both tend to fit my solo play style a little bit better and one of my great gaming regrets is that I've never gotten a character to max level in Guild Wars 2.  I've currently got a Sylvari ranger sitting right around level 20, so it might be a good break time to dive back in and see how far we can get.  I know there is an absolute enormous ton of content in Guild Wars 2 that I haven't experienced, so there is definitely some interest on starting to work through that.

That's it for now.

Cheers,

Joar


Monday, August 30, 2021

Home Stretch for my Bard

 FFXIV

As the title would indicate, I'm in the home stretch on leveling my Bard, which is the last of the ranged physical dps classes to go.  My Bard is currently sitting at level 74, and I anticipate finishing up sometime during the middle of this week depending on real world demands on my time.

I may go ahead and pick up the healer classes next instead of magic dps, although I still haven't decided for sure.  It will definitely be some combination of both of those groups for the next installment though, and I doubt I will be able to get through both before Endwalker releases.

I'm still really enjoying the game, having a lot of fun adding to the job lists on my character.  I'm really looking forward to starting an expansion at release with Endwalker and working through all of the various raid and trial content in real time instead of after-the-fact.  I'm pretty sure I'm going to run through it all as a Machinist, although I'm not 100% committed to that yet.

ESO

I'm back to playing through this periodically and am currently working my way through Auridon on my Caldwell's Silver initiative.  I've also been trying to play some of the new content dungeons that have dropped recently, including the early Oblivion stuff, but so far haven't been having much luck with queues.  I'll keep trying though.

That's about it for this update.

Cheers,

Joar




Thursday, August 5, 2021

Finally back into ESO

ESO

Since there has been nothing to talk about in this department for quite a while, I figured I'd start his particular blog post with Elder Scrolls Online, where I have been playing again regularly.  I finally got around to finishing all the Coldharbour stuff on my Magicka Templar and have now moved along to working on Caldwell Silver, which for me seems to mean the Aldemeri Dominion next.  I finished the Blackwood main story quests as well, and am now just waiting for next DLC release, which sounds like it's coming fairly soon.  I may go back and do some of other Gates of Oblivion dungeons that were released prior to Blackwood just to make sure I'm current on that story.

I also managed to hit CP 160, which seems to be some kind of milestone, although I'm not sure I completely followed why.  I've been toying with various solo builds and working on my crafting a bit and just in general, enjoying the solo aspects of the game.

FFXIV

It's been an interesting time in FFXIV.  With the latest developments out of Activision Blizzard, a substantial chunk of my old World of Warcraft guild has made the move over to FFXIV.  So I did a quick server move so I could join them and help everyone get the guild up and running in FFXIV.  So I'm now on Malboro instead of Zalera.

I'm continuing to work on my Dancer and my Bard.  The Dancer is sitting at level 72 and the Bard is sitting at level 50.  I'm hoping to get the Dancer finished in the next few days and then move along to polishing off the bard.  I also started a Gunbreaker, so I'd have a decently high level tank to run stuff with the guild when needed.  Might do a little bit of leveling him through dungeons, but I've had some stability issues on the home internet, so may wait until that gets fixed.  Nothing worse that a tank disconnecting mid-fight. It would also be nice to get a tank class done so I'd have that checked off the list towards eventual mentor status.

One thing that I've added to my regular leveling routine is doing the daily Frontline Roulette.  It's a ton of xp (although it seems to be slightly less once you hit level 70 - need to investigate that more).  In the 50-70 range, I was getting about half a level for a 15 minute battleground, with fairly short queues.

I'm leaning toward leveling the magical dps classes next just because there isn't as much common gear with the melee dps class, particularly for token and endgame gear, so less gearing synergies to be had while leveling all of those at once.

That's really it for now. 

Cheers,

Joar

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Strategies for Leveling Alt Jobs in FFXIV

 I'm clearly spending the majority of my time in FFXIV these days.  There is literally no update on ESO because I don't think I've played it at all since my last blog post.  

I managed to get my Machinist to max level within the last few days, so that's my 4th DOW/DOM job at max level.  While I really enjoyed the MCH, I think I still plan to play SAM mostly as my main for Endwalker, although I may try to gear up the MCH as well if I get the chance.  I have gotten the SAM fully outfitted in 510 gear, so that job is ready to go.

With MCH done, I've started to work on both BRD and DNC.  As I've continued to level things, I'm finding Armoury Chest space is becoming an issue.  One of the strategies that I'm using to deal with that is to just keep gear for one job type in the Armoury Chest at a time.  So right now, I only have physical ranged dps gear there.  For healer gear, melee gear, caster dps gear and tank gear, I'm currently storing all of that with retainers.  

So I'm going to work on leveling the BRD and DNC somewhat together next.  Then, once those are both done, I'll desynth all the non-max level ranged dps gear, and switch my armoury chests completely out for caster dps gear and start leveling that (or healer gear, or melee gear depending on which type I decide to do next).  Then follow basically the same process from there.

For caster dps, I only have BLM and RDM to do (I'll leave blue mage off to the side for a bit because of it's unique nature).  For healers, my WHM is at 53 and I need to start an AST.  

I also started a ROG/NIN and have started to level him as well, because even though it's melee dps, below level 50 that job shares generic dexterity DOW gear with the physical ranged dps classes.  

In terms of what I'm actually doing to level, it is still primarily just the suite of daily roulettes - leveling, alliance raids, trials and 50/60/70 dungeons.  I need to add beast tribe quests into that rotation, mostly because I'd like to get all  the mounts from those.  

Cheers,

Joar


Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Unlocking Old Content in FFXIV

FFXIV

One of the interesting things that you might not be aware of as a new player to FFXIV is that there is an incredibly large amount of content that is not automatically unlocked as a result of leveling and progressing through the MSQ.  This content includes Trials, Dungeons, Alliance Raids and Normal Raids.  Almost all of these items include interesting quest lines and stories associated with the content being unlocked.

This can also include both Hard, Extreme and Savage modes of different types of content.  

Beast tribes are another type of content that can also be unlocked, none of which are started through the MSQ.  Beast tribes unlock daily quest type content and also various rewards that become available at certain reputation levels.  I'll cover beast tribes in more detail in a later blog post.

For group content, almost everything is unlocked via quest indicator that look like this:

 

For finding all of this various content, I use the following website:  https://ffxiv.consolegameswiki.com/wiki/FF14_Wiki

So here is a non-definitive list

Dungeons Requiring Separate Unlocks:





















And here is the list of trials:  











A couple of notes on these lists.  I've left the high-end extreme and unreal versions of the trials off these lists.  These are sort of the FFXIV equivalent of mythic raiding for you WoW folks.  Also, the first trial on here, Relic Reborn, is part of a fairly lengthy quest chain to get your relic weapon for ARR.  The weapon itself isn't particularly useful these days, but could be something that you want for a glamour.

In order to unlock each of these, if you go to the website that I linked above, it'll also include the unlock quest, which you can click on to find out where the quest giver is.  Note that a few of these are part of a larger quest chain, so if there is a previous quest listed, you may need to go back a bit to find the actual starting point.

In other FFXIV updates, I've managed to get my Machinist to level 65 in the limited play time that I've had the last several weeks.  I've also been running Eden's Promise on my Summoner to try to get 510 gear for my Samurai in the thought that I might go Samurai main for Endwalker.  I haven't been having a ton of success with that, so I may just buy the gear I need at some point.

I've also been doing a little bit on both the White Mage and the Thaumaturge.  Can't decide which of those two will be the next job that I level, but I'm keeping them both somewhat in motion just in case.

Cheers,

Joar


Thursday, June 3, 2021

Almost done with SAM

 FFXIV

I've probably been playing too much FFXIV lately.  I've been working on leveling my SAM job, which is currently sitting at level 78.  I've also been working on White Mage (48) and Machinist (57) during downtime from roulettes with SAM.  Finally, I also started an Archer / Bard and a THM/BLM.  

I also did my first dungeon run on my Gladiator / Paladin which went okay.  I was kind of surprised how long the dungeon queues for tanks were.

I think I'm starting to figure out that I don't really enjoy playing a healer or tank in this game all that much, with Scholar being the one exception to that.  So I may just focus on working on all the various DPS specs for now.  Maybe continue to work on WHM and PLD when I feel the need to revisit.

I also did all the new MSQ stuff from 5.55, which I enjoyed.  I was surprised there wasn't a new dungeon in 5.55, but that's fine.  I'm also going back and working on some of the Resistance Weapon stuff as well as the whole Bozjan quest line, which has been pretty interesting.

ESO

ESO has been getting pretty heavily ignored over the last few weeks while I was very focused on my SAM in FFXIV and also just generally busy irl.  I even missed the launch day of Blackwood.  I did hop into it yesterday and started working my way through the main quest story line.  

I also created a Stamina Nightblade character which is what I may work on next.  Was thinking about trying to just level him through dungeons and also maybe do some of the Thieves guild and Dark Brotherhood content on him, since neither of those seem to fit with a Magicka Templar and its super bright glowiness.

That's about it for now.

Cheers,

Joar



Thoughts on Endwalker so far

 On of my New Year's resolutions is to try to do better about posting to this blog on a regular basis.  I realized now that I look at it...