Wednesday, April 6, 2022

Approaching the End of Icebrood Saga

I've gotten pretty bad at writing and publishing regularly again.  It's not for lack of consistent play time as I have been making a fair amount of progress on both of the games that I've been playing regularly lately, which continue to be Guild Wars 2 and Elder Scrolls Online.  I've still been trying to figure out why I've dropped Final Fantasy XIV.  Perhaps Endwalker felt like more of an end to the story that I was expecting.  Hopefully once the new patch content starts coming out, I'll feel a little bit more interest in getting re-engaged in whatever new stories they're looking to tell. 

I think I've also finally moved on from the intense commitment to lots of alts that really inspired this blog in the first place.  I feel like now I'm more interested in having a single character that I'm connected to and immersed with, focused on playing through the content and experiences on that particular character, but doing that across a variety of games instead of a variety of races and classes.  It also makes me debate picking up OG Joar and trying to get current on World of Warcraft, just with Joar.  But that also raises issues about a certain company filled with...checks Twitter for the perfect phrase..."cromulent shitcrustibles."

So here are the updates on the various games that I'm currently playing:

Guild Wars 2

I finished Living World Season 4, which was a story that I really enjoyed.  The zones were generally pretty great, although there were a few that were pretty challenging to navigate.  It did unlock the possibility of grabbing a Skyscale, although the time commitment and cost of doing that seems to be outside the scope of what I'm interested in doing at this point.  Maybe once I'm caught up on the content though.

I've now moved on to the Icebrood Saga, which is effectively Living World Season 5, even though it doesn't appear that way anywhere.  The early part very much gives me a "Scar from Lion King" kind of feel, but that might just be me.  I'm about halfway through that at this point, at which point I will be moving on to actual current content.


I'm still working through the Aldmeri Dominion storyline on this one on my Magicka Templar for Caldwell's Silver.  I'm in an area called Greenshade now, which has a pretty interesting storyline so far.  Tree spirits, undead armies, old enemies raised from the dead as shades.  All that kind of great stuff.  And talking cats, but not like FFXIV cats.

I've also been steadily leveling up my professions as I go, mostly through gathering, researching and deconstructing stuff that I get.  I'm not terribly far off from actually being able to make some useful stuff for my character at this point, which should be fun.  I think there are some craftable sets that are pretty decent for Magicka Templars that I will need to look at.

That's about all the updates for now.



Wednesday, March 16, 2022

On To Living World Season 4

Guild Wars 2

For this week's update, let's start with Guild Wars 2 first.  I'm continuing to progress through the story line with my Necromancer.  I managed to finish up the Path of Fire story line and have moved on to the Living World Season 4 stuff.  As part of the process, I managed to grab most of the hero points in the Path of Fire areas, and that got me enough to fully unlock a good Reaper build, that I'm now using.

It's definitely quite different than a normal Necromancer Minion build, but so far I'm liking it a lot.  It clearly hits a LOT harder, which helps when working through some of the new story content, particularly some of the harder boss fights.  I'm not normally a big fan of melee, but it feels like that's pretty much always the better option in GW2.


I really should play this game more than I do, as it fits much better with my playstyle and availability.  I've picked up my Magicka Templar again and am working my way through the Aldmeri Dominion story line in order to get Caldwell's Silver.  A new dungeon also released this week, which I haven't tried yet, but it seems like there are some pretty decent armor pieces in there that my character would be able to use, so I might try queueing for it if I get the chance.

I do need to update my gear a bit.  I haven't paid much attention to it once I got past CP 160 because I basically shred everything I come across anyway.  So I may try farming some dungeons to see if I can improve that at all. 

Thursday, March 3, 2022

Spending More Time in Guild Wars 2

Guild Wars 2

I've gotten a little tired of running the MSQ roulettes every day, so I've jumped back in and am spending more time in Guild Wars 2.  I've still been running with my Necromancer, with a fairly straight minion build.  I haven't unlocked enough hero points to run a good Reaper build yet, although I should probably work on that.  I'm mostly focused on getting caught up on the story content at this point (although having a good Reaper build running would probably be helpful with that).

I managed to finish up Living World Season 3 yesterday, which I really enjoyed.  It definitely jumped around a bit, and some of the fights were pretty tough, but overall I thought it was well put together.  I'm now going to be starting on Path of Fire.

I had originally thought that since I had done the first episode of Path of Fire in order to get the raptor mount, that I'd be able to skip that now, but it doesn't look like that's the case.  It's possible that I did that piece on my Ranger instead of on the Necromancer though, which might explain that.  My plan for right now is to get caught up on the story and then work my way back through map completion, but I can't decide if it makes more sense to work on a little bit of map completion in order to get the hero points for a Reaper build.  My Necromancer was boosted after doing the original leveling slog on my Ranger, so really only has the hero points from Heart of Thorns.


In FFXIV, all the jobs are at 50 now, other than DRK, which is at 47, so not far off at all.  I've also started working on leveling my Astrologian, who is somewhere around 54 at this point.  While I've stepped away from FFXIV a little bit, I'm planning to at least finish getting the DRK to 50 for now, which shouldn't take more than one or two more runs.

That's about it for now. 



Thursday, February 17, 2022

Lots of Jobs Hitting 50

 I'm down to only having 5 jobs left to move up to level 50 - Paladin, Monk, Dragoon, Dark Knight and Blue Mage.  Then it will just be the slow one at a time grind that I talked about last week.

Things have been a bit busy in real life, so I've had pretty limited time for gaming, so it may be a while still before I get very far on this.  I just need to grind out those last 14 levels on Blue Mage, which really doesn't take all that long, but just need to dedicate a couple of hours to it.

As you can see from the above, I'm also pretty far along on White Mage at this point.  And after that, I'll just be following the leveling order that I set out last week.

On the Guild Wars 2 front, I've still been working my way through the Living World Season 3 story.  I'm about half way through at this point, and will be starting Path of Fire after that.  I already did the first part of Path of Fire to get the mount, so I've got a tiny bit of a head start on that one at least.



Wednesday, February 9, 2022

My Remaining Leveling Order

I managed to get my Bard to level 90 this week, and I'm now working on the White Mage, who is the last of my pre-Endwalker level 80's to be leveled to 90.  I've also been making good progress on all of the other classes, which are all rapidly approach level 50 - most of them are around either level 47 or 48, except for my Dark Knight, which is 41, and my Blue Mage, which is level 35.  

I also managed to completely finish getting all of the Asphodelos gear on my Summoner, including the Radiant weapon, having accumulated 7 weapon tokens.  So I think I'm now done with this raid tier for now.

The caster set, which is on the far right in the picture below, looks a little odd on a male Hyur.  In addition to the shoulders, it's also backless.  The Eden healer stuff was the same way, but I always end up coming away feeling like I'm auditioning for the next season of Drag Race.

Once the White Mage is done and everyone else is sitting at 50, I'm going to go back to leveling my alt jobs one at a time, so I've been debating the leveling order for the remaining classes.  Here is what I initially came up with:


Except for the last four spots, I think that gives me a good balance of types.  I may tweak this a little bit as we go, but for now that's the plan.  

I also finally broke down and bought an apartment room in my Free Company house and spent a little bit of gil furnishing it nicely.  With that in place, I'm not entirely sure I need a house once the new area comes open, but I guess we'll see when that happens.

In Guild Wars 2, I've been working my way through Living World Season 3, which I've been enjoying so far.  There's no way I'm catching up on content before the next expansion comes out, but I'm not in a huge hurry for that anyway.  I'm still not sure that Necromancer is long-term the class that I want to be playing, but at least for now, I'm sticking with that, and haven't picked up my Ranger again.  

That's it for now.



Thursday, January 27, 2022

The New Perils of Leveling Through Alliance Raid Roulettes

One of the main strategies that I used while leveling new jobs in Final Fantasy XIV is to do a handful of daily roulettes that usually give a lot of xp and other rewards.  The ones that I do every day for jobs over 50 are the MSQ, Frontline and Alliance Raid roulettes.  With Endwalker, leveling jobs from 80-90 using the Alliance Raid roulette contains a bit more risk now because of the likelihood that you could pop up a one of the Nier Automata crossover raids from Shadowbringers

Maybe it's because I've done the older alliance raids a lot more, but the Shadowbringers Alliance raids all just seem to have a much higher level of difficulty than the alliance raids from previous expansions, as well as taking probably about 15 minutes longer on average.  

Paradigm's Breach seems to pop a lot, so I'd encourage folks to watch the video for that one a few times before doing alliance raid roulettes between 80-90.

One advantage to getting this raid, is if you're working on gearing alt jobs, the gear that drops in Paradigm's Breach is relatively just as good as the Cryptlurker gear that you can buy with Poetics, so it's also a decent way to stock up level 80 gear for alt jobs.

I finished all of my DOH jobs last week as expected.  I now just having Fishing to complete in order to be completely done - just waiting for the time to do a few raids out of Limsa, which should finish that up pretty quickly.  I'm also sitting at level 89 on my Dancer, so expect to start on Bard by tomorrow, and then will finish up on White Mage.  I may take some time off from leveling these guys from 80-90 in order to grind up some Astronomy tomes on my Summoner so I can grab the 590 weapon after I finish my 7th run of Pandaemonium.  Although that will probably only actually take a day or two.

Most of the other jobs that I'm working towards 50 are sitting around level 44 / 45, other than DRK which hasn't moved since the last update.  

That's about it for now.



Thursday, January 20, 2022

Big Progress on Crafting and Gathering and More Jobs to 90

 The big news since my last blog post update is that I've gotten quite a few of the DOH/DOL jobs to 90 at this point, most within the last day or two.  Mining is done on the DOL side, and Leatherworking, Blacksmithing, Armorer and Goldsmithing are all done on the DOH side.  Most of the rest are somewhere around 89, so the rest should be done fairly soon.

I did end up making a full set of level 87 crafting gear, just to make finish all that up a little bit easier.  Thought it looked pretty good:

Once all of the DOH/DOL jobs are done, I'm going to start working through all of the ilvl 560 crafting and gathering gear, so I'm not in the same spot for the next expansion that I was for this one.  All of that is obviously absolutely no rush at all, so I will likely just work on single pieces here and there as I have time.  

I've also continued to make progress on leveling my other jobs.  I finished getting both Gunbreaker and Samurai to 90 and am now working on leveling Dancer, which is sitting at level 82.  After that, it will likely be Bard and then White Mage, and that will finish up the jobs I had previously gotten to 80.  My Astrologian is sitting at level 50, so that will be the one to go after White Mage.  I also finished the Tank role quest, leaving only the melee dps role quest to complete, which I've already started on.

I've also made good progress on working the other various jobs towards 50.  Most are sitting around level 44.  I did realize that I had never started a Dark Knight, so I went back and rectified that, and have gotten that job to level 35.  I am just working Dark Knight through dungeons trying to catch that job up with the rest of the sub-50 jobs.

Finally, I've been trying to do Pandaemonium every week and am only still missing two pieces of gear from that raid - gloves and boots.  

Till next time.  Cheers,


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.



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. 



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.


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.


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.



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. 



Approaching the End of Icebrood Saga

I've gotten pretty bad at writing and publishing regularly again.  It's not for lack of consistent play time as I have been making a...