Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Initial Thoughts on Final Fantasy XIV Patch 5.5

 I managed to finish the MSQ for the FFXIV Patch 5.5 that released yesterday.  As usual, the story for this game continues to be very compelling.  The patch also added a ton of content that I haven't even been able to touch yet.  

Since I've mostly been working on my DOH/DOL jobs, I was a little unprepared for this patch, having not done anything on my level 80 SMN/SCH since the last patch.  As a result, I had to purchase some gear to qualify for the ilvl minimums on the new dungeon in order to complete the latest storyline.

That's probably one of my primary issues with FFXIV to date.  As the main story quests roll out, particularly in endgame patches, there is content that is gated behind an ilvl requirement.  In this case, you would have either needed enough tomestones saved up from older content to exchange for upgraded gear.  Or you would have need to be relatively current on going through the most recent raid instances.  

In the case of this patch, the minimum ilvl for the new dungeon was 490.  If you had been spam running the dungeon from the 5.4 patch, you still wouldn't be there, since that dungeon dropped 485 gear.  The most recent raid from the patch 5.4 dropped tokens each week for 510 gear, but you would have needed to be running it basically every week to get the drops you need.  

The raid version before that, which did not have a weekly limit on drops, only dropped 480 gear, so that wouldn't do the trick.  The alliance raid that was available before Tuesday also had a weekly limit for 490 gear.  So you would have needed to be grinding each week just to have the gear for a main story quest dungeon.  Maybe that's the intention, and there are likely other sources of gear that I'm missing, but if the idea is for you to see the story, it seems like it would be helpful to have a story mode version of the dungeon without an ilvl requirement.  

I could also just suck it up and do the raids.  

On my DOH/DOL jobs, I'm making pretty good progress.  Basically everything is at level 76, other than mining, which is 77, and fishing, which is 75.  I'm still mostly using GC turn-ins and Beast Tribe quests to level, but thinking about switching to Crystarium levequests and Crystarium Mean quests for the homestretch.  The odd thing is that there doesn't seem to be any general consensus on the fastest most efficient way to level crafting.  I hear levequests a lot, GC turn-ins and Ishguard Restoration.  So your mileage likely will vary.  I'd recommend just doing whatever approach you enjoy the most.


I'm also really enjoying playing my way through ESO.  I'm basically almost done with the whole Daedric War / Morrowind arc, being about one quest away from finishing Summerset.  What a beautiful place!

Also, this picture is from Clockwork City, but still pretty cool.

My Templar is now sitting at level 42, and I'll be heading off to work on the Elsweyr stuff next.  Once I get relatively current on content, I'll go back and finish Coldharbour on this toon and do the other two covenants.  Assuming I have time before the next xpac drops, which is doubtful.



Wednesday, April 7, 2021

On To Morrowind!

I was off for spring break last week.  Didn't really do much in the way of gaming, so there really isn't a whole lot of progress overall since my last update.  But here goes:

Elder Scrolls Online

I finished the Daggerfall Covenant content on my Magicka Templar early this week.  It really was a very interesting story line and I'm looking forward to doing the other two alliances as part of the Caldwell Silver / Caldwell Gold thing later on.  I think I've definitely found my class in the Magicka Templar as well.  With the xp boost from the Jester Festival, I've managed to get him up to level 37.  I've now started the next major content block of Elder Scrolls Online with the Morrowind / Clockwork City / Summerset storyline.  I'm about half way through the Vvardenfell story line and have been enjoying that so far.  The area itself is quite odd looking, but the story has been pretty compelling so far.

I'm also still diligently doing research and deconstructing stuff for crafting, which seems to be leveling up my crafting skills.  I'm still not sure I fully understand what the point of the whole exercise is, but I'll keep at it for now.  At least at the moment, I don't seem to have the ability to craft anything particularly interesting, but I'm guessing that may change later on as I get more of the researches done.


I've continued to make really good progress on my crafting and gathering jobs.  All of them are now sitting at level 74 except for mining which has surged ahead to level 75.

We also have a new content patch coming in FFXIV next week, which I'm really looking forward to.  This will be the start of the wrap up of the current expansion, bringing the max level storyline to a close.  I guess we'll see if that involves bringing some closure to the story of Gaius van Baelsar.  The biggest decision for next week is going to be whether I want to run the content as a Summoner or as a Scholar.  The queues obviously promise to be shorter on the Scholar / healer class, but that can also be a lot more pressure, especially on brand new dungeons and trials.  So we'll see.  

That's about it for now.  



Friday, March 26, 2021

Shadowbringers DOH / DOL Leveling

There are quite a few updates this week, but I'm going to start with FFXIV.  I managed to get all of my DOH/ DOL (crafting and gathering jobs) through the Stormblood levels and have now moved on to the current Shadowbringers content.  This involved crafting new sets of gear for both gathering and crafting, both of which had full usable sets of level 71, which was nice!  This gear also looks quite a bit better than the later Stormblood stuff did.  Gathering gear is the top picture and crafting gear is the bottom.  

Shadowbringers also brings two new beast tribes which also provide experience for these jobs - the Dwarves, which provide daily quests providing crafting xp, and the Qitari, which provides gathering job xp.  As far as I know, this is the first time we've seen a gathering dedicated beast tribe, which is nice.

They were fairly involved quest lines to unlock both of those, but the stories for both were definitely engaging and worthwhile.

Here is where I currently stand on all of these jobs:


Carpenter - 72
Blacksmith - 73
Armorer - 73
Goldsmith -73
Leatherworker - 72
Weaver - 73
Alchemist - 72
Culinarian - 72


Miner - 73
Botanist - 73
Fisher - 72

Elder Scrolls Online

There is an in-game event this week called the Jester's Festival that gives an automatic 100% boost to experience with an item that you receive from the intro quest.  So I'm going to try to leverage that into some significant progress on my Magicka Templar.  He's currently sitting at level 30 and finishing up the Daggerfall Covenant story line, which has been really fun and engaging.  I'm really looking forward to going back and trying the other two at some point.

After finishing this one up, the plan is to do some of the intro material from Cyrodill in order to get the mount speed boost, and then keep working chronologically through the content.  The Templar looks pretty decent so far.  The armor you get always seems to be nicely coordinated.

That's about it for this week.  



Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Major Changes

If you're looking at the blog today, you'll notice there have been some significant changes.  Both the website address and the title have changed and the long list of max level characters on each server in World of Warcraft have gone, replaced by some information on the various other games that I'm playing.

Thank you to my good friend Sarah (@InternetofWords/@MoveablePress) with help on brainstorming the new name as well as the absolutely brilliant new blog header!  

What has prompted this?  For starters, for the first time in probably 14 years, I'm no longer subscribed to World of Warcraft.  I haven't played meaningfully in several months, and I'm getting enough entertainment from the other games that I'm playing that I haven't really missed it at all.  

This blog post isn't going to be a bash on Warcraft.  I know a lot of people are still enjoying the current iteration of the game, and that's great.  I'm just finding that other games are working better for me right now.

The other major changes, is after getting some good feedback on Twitter, I changed the main class that I'm playing in ESO to Magicka Templar, and it definitely feels a lot better and more fluid to me!  Since I already went through the Coldharbour quest line on my Magicka Sorceror, I decided to skip that on the Templar and just work my way through the Daggerfall Covenant storyline.  That's been really good so far and I'm really enjoying that storyline.  

Thanks to @Clockwork_Bells, @_JoshuaCooper and @Belghast for the recommendations on classes and questing progression!

I will likely go back and do the Coldharbour stuff at some point, but for now, I'm having a good time working my way through the DC stuff.  My new Magicka Templar, Joarvyk, is sitting at level 22.

In FFXIV, I'm continuing to work through DOH/DOL progression and am very close to having all of these jobs to level 70 and progress on to Shadowbringers stuff.  The Stormblood leveling for these jobs has been a ton easier than Heavensward was and I'm back to leveraging Grand Company turn-ins and Namazu beast tribe dailies for a lot of the progress.

Here is where I stand on each job:


Miner - 71
Botanist - 70
Fisher - 68


Weaver - 69
Goldsmith - 69
Alchemist - 69
Blacksmith - 69
Leatherworker - 69
Culinarian - 68
Armorer - 69
Carpenter - 69

The mid-Stormblood crafting gear has got quite the look going:

Apparently I'm prepared for both blacksmithing, waltzing and an evening with the Bridgertons, all at the same time.



Tuesday, March 2, 2021

The Painful Push Through Heavensward DOH/DOL Leveling in FFXIV

Boy did I hit a rock wall on leveling my DOH/DOL jobs after my last blog post.  As it turns out, the materials for Grand Company turn-ins once you get past 50 for most of the DOH/DOL items become truly prohibitive.  Lots of rare materials that may only appear at certain times with very low harvest success rates. 

Gear also becomes a major issue with crafting those items for the turn-ins as there seems to be a serious jump in stats needed past 50.  And crafting the gear needed for yourself is subject to the same issues as the GC stuff that you're trying to make to turn-in in the first place.

The answer for me ended up being switching to Ishgard Restoration.  My pre-50 gear seemed to work just fine for the level 40 Ishgard Restoration items which gave plenty of xp for leveling the DOH jobs from the early 50's to 60.  Plus gathering in the Diadem naturally progressed my DOL jobs.

If I had been willing to do the rather long unlock quest line at the time, unlocking the Moogle Beast Tribe dailies likely would have helped during the process as well, but I didn't think of that until it was too late.

My plan, which seems to be working pretty well so far, was to craft a full set of early 60 crafting and gathering gear since the Stormblood stuff seems to be a bit more straightforward.  

I also unlocked the Namazu Beast Tribe quests and used those to move my various DOH jobs up from 60 to 62 or so until more of the new gear could be used.  And at this point, I'm now back to being able to use the Grand Company turn-ins to get about a level per day on each of the DOH jobs.  Plus an additional level a day from the Namazu stuff.  

I briefly flirted with going back and trying to get current on all the profession quests, but ended up deciding that wasn't necessarily worth while.  

Here is where I currently stand with all of them:


Weaver - 63
Goldsmith - 62
Alchemist - 62
Blacksmith - 63
Leatherworker - 62
Culinarian - 63
Armorer - 63
Carpenter - 63


Miner - 65
Botanist - 65
Fisher - 60

Elder Scrolls Online

Since I've been very focused on FFXIV lately, I haven't made much progress on ESO.  My Sorceror is sitting at level 25 and working through Coldharbour.


Death Knight is still sitting at level 54 and still hanging out in Maldraxxus.  Not much going on there.

That is the update for this week.



Tuesday, February 16, 2021

More FFXIV and ESO

 I've been moving things along in both ESO and FFXIV.  I've been mostly working on crafting and gathering jobs in FFXIV (which are called Disciple of the Hand (DOH) and Disciple of the Land (DOL) in that game).  

Up until fairly recently, I've been mostly using Grand Company turn-ins every day to level those, but after hitting level 50 on most of the crafting disciplines, the materials for those became pretty prohibitive, so I've switched to an alternative approach called "Ishgard Restoration" that's from the Heavensward expansion.  You basically craft things intended to help rebuild Ishgard.  Most of the mats are easily obtainable from a zone linked to Ishgard, and those that aren't are much easier to go out and gather than the ones you'd need at these levels from Grand Company turn-ins.  I'm still doing the Grand Company turn-ins each day for the gathering jobs, but I've stopped for everything else.

I may also do some Ishgard Leve-quests on the gathering side of things as well.

Here is where I stand on each of the professions so far:

Carpenter - 53
Blacksmith - 53
Armorer - 52
Goldsmith - 55
Leatherworker - 54
Weaver - 55
Alchemist - 53
Culinarian - 53

Miner - 55
Botanist - 53
Fisher - 48 (fisher isn't really used for anything else while leveling, so I'm less concerned about that one)

I'm also continuing to work on my Machinist, who is sitting at level 53.  I've also got a Lancer (28) and White Mage (38) in progress as well.

Elder Scrolls Online

In ESO, I'm still working through the story line.  My Magicka Sorceror is sitting at level 22 and still working through the Coldharbour storyline.  Still struggling to find good places to stick skill points, but it doesn't seem to be hurting me while I'm working my way through things.

I'm not really doing much with the professions besides deconstructing all the stuff that I accumulate in my bags, which seems to at least be giving me some skill ups.

World of Warcraft

I'm still occasionally puttering around with leveling my death knight.  He still sitting around level 54 and working his way through Maldraxxus, but he hasn't been totally sidelined at this point.

That's the update for this week!



Friday, February 5, 2021

Picking Up Elder Scrolls Online

 My motivation to continue to play World of Warcraft is really petering out.  You used to be able to find your exact start date with the game on the account screen, but that feature seems to be gone now.  So I'm not sure exactly when I started playing, but I believe it was sometime in the spring of 2007.  I've been continually subscribed since then.  

I haven't always been playing constantly since then - I've taken time out over the years to try games like RIFT, SWTOR, Wildstar and most recently FFXIV, but I always found myself eventually coming back to WoW.  And that return was generally soon enough that I never considered cancelling my sub.

I may have finally reached that point.  I was in the process of leveling my fourth character to 60 so that I could finish up the last covenant campaign (Kyrian in my case), and I've just run out of steam and motivation.

I'm still playing FFXIV on and off, but mostly right now I've picked up Elder Scrolls Online and have been giving that a whirl.  I've been playing as a Magicka Sorcerer so far and am really enjoying that.  It obviously doesn't stray too far from my warlock roots, although I suppose Necromancer would have been closer.  

I'm really enjoying the game so far.  I'm not very far at this point.  I started in the Western Skyrim / Greymoor storyline and then eventually figured out I should probably go back and start at the chronological beginning, so travelled to Vukhul Guard and picked up the Coldharbour story line there.

My character is currently sitting at level 15 and is still a bit overwhelmed with how the skill points and gearing and everything else works.  But there is a lot of interesting content to work through and I'm really enjoying just working through a new story and exploring new things.

Before I started playing World of Warcraft, I played both Morrowind and Oblivion, so this feels a little bit like coming around full circle.  I don't remember much about those games anymore other than they helped build my passion for this kind of gaming.

As I mentioned, in WoW, I sort of got stuck on leveling my 4th toon.  It's the blood DK, and he's currently sitting at level 53 and working his way through Maldraxxus using Threads of Fate.  I was running the daily callings and weekly Venari quests on Joar before I gave up, but still hadn't managed to get all the factions to exalted yet.

In FFXIV, I've been mostly working on DOL/DOH jobs, crafting current gear to help me keep leveling up each of those, which I'm mostly doing through Grand Company turn-ins.

That's about it for now.  



Friday, January 22, 2021

Third Character to 60 and Progress on Covenant Campaigns

 I managed to get my third character to level 60.  It ended up being the retribution paladin and not the death knight (but the death knight is officially up next now).  I'm now working through the Venthyr covenant campaign on that paladin having already finished Night Fae and Maldraxxus on my previous two level 60's.  As you may have guessed, the death night is going to be Kyrian.  Because that makes sense.

Retribution didn't feel quite as powerful to me while leveling as it has the last couple of expansions.  Now that I'm getting some better gear from the covenant campaign, it feels a little bit better, but still not quite there.  It ended up taking about 30 minutes longer to level from 50 to 60 than my beast mastery hunter did.

The covenant campaigns have been pretty enjoyable.  I've enjoyed all the stories so far and the extra flavor they provide to the game.  Joar is continuing to work through regular stuff like the daily callings and the Bolvar questline, but everyone else is pretty much just getting parked after finishing the covenant campaign.  

I'm making good progress on professions for the three toons at max level so far.  The only thing currently at max level is tailoring, but I'm leveraging the daily world quests to move things along.

I've got 4 more characters to get to level 60 in order to have all the professions fully represented.

There hasn't been much FFXIV these days, but I did go ahead and purchase and subscribe to the Elder Scrolls online and am in the very early stages of leveling a Magicka Sorc.  I realize that's not very warlocky of me, but wanted to try something different, as I always seem to do something warlocky.  Still a caster, so I'm not straying too far afield.

Things have been very busy IRL, so my playing time has been much more limited, so not on my normal break-neck leveling pace for a new expansion.  That's okay though.



Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Finally Finished a Wing of Torghast

 I still haven't done anything of note in the Maw on my warlock, but I did finally finish a wing of Torghast and turned in the first part of the Bolvar quest line.  Which also means I got my very first soul ash.  Yeah.  I know.  I'm incredibly far behind.  I also don't care.  Yay.

This came after the recent nerfs, so I found this particular run to be a lot more enjoyable than previous attempts.  It was also a wing that didn't seem to have quite the same number of traps and other non-sense and seemed a lot more linear.

I did get a decent legendary memory off of the world boss this week, so I may need to figure out how to go ahead and work on all of this stuff to craft a legendary for myself.  My tailoring is maxed, so I should be able to craft one of the base pieces for myself.

I've also resumed leveling my hunter through the Threads of Fate.  He's sitting at level 58 and getting pretty close to done with his third zone.  I saved the ever exciting Bastion for last, so that should be a joy.

Mostly I've been just doing side quests on him, along with bonus objectives and the occasional world quest.  The bonus objectives have been pretty good because they all seem to award a nice piece of gear while leveling.  I've done some dungeons where I've been able to find the quests, but not always.

Next up after the hunter will be the death knight.  Still trying to decide if I want to go Frost or Blood on him.  It's never good when I go into the leveling process uncertain on these things.  I'm not necessarily looking forward to running callings on multiple toons each day, but it's really just until I can get through the renowned story line on four toons.

So that's it for now.  On the FFXIV front, I've continued to work on crafting there, and have all the DOH/DOL jobs up around level 40.  I've started to make new crafting and gathering gear for each of the jobs before moving on with leveling up through GC turn ins.  Beyond that, I'm working on my MCH, LNC and WHM and thinking about adding a PLD to the mix.



Thursday, December 17, 2020

Losing Interest in Shadowlands - Spending Time Back in FFXIV

My first alt that I've leveled is about halfway to level 60 and my warlock is finally geared enough for heroics, and I'm really starting to seriously lose interest.  Normally, I feel like I'd have 4 or 5 characters already at max level by now given how quickly it actually is to level, but I just can't seem to get motivated.   I'm still doing the callings every day, but for some reason, I'm just not feeling the attachment to the game that I used to.  

In other news, FFXIV released their latest content patch last week, which included new MSQ quests (I know that's redundant), a new dungeon and a new raid.  The MSQ stuff (which included the new dungeon) took about a day to get through, and I really enjoyed the whole thing.  I really love these characters, and it's always comforting to go back and see what the next chapter in the story is.  

I've also been working on some of the Shadowbringer raid stuff - I finished Eden's Gate as a SMN, and may run the pieces of it a few more times to try to gear up to do the next set of raids as a SCH.  I've also gone back to working on professions, and have pretty much everything other than ALC and ARM to the point where I can at least desynth stuff.

The thing that I really find myself loving about FFXIV is that there is so much to do, but none of it feels urgent.  If I want to work on professions one day, that's great, if I want to level a new class one day, that's great too, or I can work my way through the various raids and the quest lines associated with them - which are also all phenomenal stories as well. 

I'm not ready to give up on World of Warcraft just yet, but it will definitely be sharing my attention with FFXIV for now.



Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Shadowlands Endgame for the Casual Player

 I managed to hit level 60 on my warlock on November 30th, about a week after lunch.  My playing time was a bit limited after that because of some real life commitments, including the wedding of my oldest son!  

Let me start this by saying that I'm a casual player, in case that wasn't clear for someone that has 42 max level alts.  I've never done any high level raiding, and in fact, the last time I participated in a normal or better raid with an organized raid group was probably early Warlords of Draenor.  I do however run LFR a few times when it comes out just to see the fights and the instance.

So now I'm onto endgame with my warlock, and I'm finding it a bit confusing.  As usual, running normals seems to be the easiest way to gear for heroics, which will in turn be the easiest way to gear for LFR.  The last two expansions, gear-related world quests were also a meaningful way to get this done, but that doesn't appear to be the case any longer.

Emissaries are apparently now callings, and that all seems to work fairly well.  The part that is now a bit confusing for me is the Maw and Torghast and how those fit into things for me as a casual player.  Torghast seems to mostly be directed at helping you accumulate the materials that you will need to craft legendaries, which would be nice to haves, but I'm not sure are wildly necessary for someone just looking to run LFR.  Which is good, because so far, Torghast seems like a giant pain in the butt.  I know the various dailies and things in the Maw for good old Venari are designed to reward you with things that will make running Torghast easier, but if I'm not that in to Torghast, I'm also not sure how important that is.  I'll continue to work through both of those though and see how that works out.

For me, it may be something that waits until all my crafter characters are to the point that they can create the base legendary items.  That may be a while.

So far I'm enjoying the endgame play.  I'm definitely missing the flight whistle, but the dungeons are interesting so far and I'm enjoying the process of improving my covenant.  There also appear to be lots of mounts that can be collected to go and chase down eventually (I did get the frog one, and I see to have something working on hatching in my bags, but not sure if it's a mount or a pet).

So there is definitely plenty to do to keep you occupied.  Raid finder week one releases a week from now, and I'm still not geared enough for heroics, so there's definitely some work to do.



Initial Thoughts on Final Fantasy XIV Patch 5.5

 I managed to finish the MSQ for the FFXIV Patch 5.5 that released yesterday.  As usual, the story for this game continues to be very compel...