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Goodbye 2011, Hello 2012!

01 January 2012

After pushing this back further and further, I now bring to you my Year-in-Review 2011 edition! More specifically, the video game/online edition since this is my gaming blog and all that ish. I’ve debated how I wanted to format this review, and I think the best way to go about it is to break it down one MMO/online game at a time.

Final Fantasy XI
I’m starting with this one because at the start of 2011, we (as in me and my LS) had made a comeback to the game after a few months of waning interest in FFXIV and feeling nostalgia over our lives in Vana’diel. We found that Rubicon was already on our server (Ragnarok) and Frei was cool with the idea of transferring if it meant he would get a chance to finish our favorite expansion storyline: CoP.

It was a rather tumultuous journey in here… I ended up gaming with Chakura more often during our stint in FFXI, losing a friend, playing with the person that brings nightmares to the server, greeting Kimiko onto Ragnarok, and getting having our group nicknamed Derp Squad/Team Derp because of stupid things said/done on Skype during event runs. Not that they usually ended in fail (on rare occasion, I believe), but it was the kinda actions that either brought upon a ton of laughs or a few facepalming actions on our resident Monk.

Things fell apart as they usually do for me when my cousin came over for the month of August. No matter what I try, things just get shaky and weird. It was around this time things went into decline for longer than intended and for different reasons that started off with that month. Which may have been a blessing in disguise since FFXI overall seemed to be going into a direction that was more of a chore rather than fun. Which seemed to make all the more sense when we saw that Tanaka was back on the helm for FFXI, and appeared to be steering it towards more of a senseless grind with no hope for a future expansion. Here is hoping I’m wrong and the new year brings about news of one…

Final Fantasy XIV
This MMO has been interesting to say the least. I’m honestly at a love/hate relationship with the game, and I don’t see it letting up anytime soon. Yoshi-P is certainly an interesting character to say the least, and I look forward to his letters from the producer and translated thoughts from him. If things were different, he is the guy I would have loved to see make a MMO from the scratch vs. cleaning up someone else’s mess. But this isn’t about Yoshi-P as it is more about the game itself. Final Fantasy XIV was spurned by some of us before, taken in with open arms, and then spurned again at times with a tug o’war type of fashion. There is no denying that we are eagerly awaiting 2.0. While I have some doubts of what 2.0 will change and fix, I am still in the belief that it will at least change many things some of us have been suffering through over the course of a year and a half and will continue to suffer through until the release of 2.0.

The Market Ward changes are welcome but still unpolished, the graphics are gorgeous but buggy with its terrain issues, and I’m hoping to the man above that Yoshi-P and the Dev team aren’t listening to the rubbish of including that stupid wyvern pet and other useless additions that don’t really need to be added onto the game. However, since that voice almost seems to be in the majority because of how vocal they are, I am actually starting to believe they might be dumb enough to include something stupid like that damn wyvern. Yes, I hate it and I hate every single moron that firmly believes it would be a good addition to the game. Just listen to the podcast if you wanna hear me spew hate and venom, because I can and still will spew hate and venom for that retarded vocal minority that wants to ruin the future of Dragoon with a silly pet.

Am I paying in a few days? Yes. Despite playing SWTOR and enjoying it a bit, I find myself drawn to FFXIV and wanting to at least be prepared to tackle on content pre and post 2.0. I’m still a little hesitant and I still have my gripes, but I honestly want to see this through and hope that things end up falling into place for FFXIV. There are many GOOD things Yoshi-P and his dev team have done for the game, and I’m in the belief that as long as they don’t give into the demands of the vocal retards (aka the people wanting wyverns) then they will be fine through the year of 2012. Lets just hope I don’t look back on this and regret everything I say…

World of Warcraft
I came back to this game during the tail end of 2011 (October – December), after feeling nostalgic from reading and responding to tweets from players currently playing WoW. My feelings are mixed on this venture. The game has many good points, and I would be a fool to disregard them. I am choosing not to return to Azeroth for a time because of a few reasons:

1.) Its not fun playing without Orophen. I am happiest when I get to play with him. Yes, I play other games without him but its harder for me to stay interested in them when he isn’t around to share that interest with me.

2.) Someone I am trying to avoid started to pick it up again. I think in the future I may try to talk to this person, but I’m not so sure… Things were left in a lurch and I was blamed for things that I felt I shouldn’t have been blamed for when constant invitations were sent and consistently declined. Its a situation that leaves an awful taste in my mouth, and almost makes me want to regurgitate my food just thinking about it. I could pay for my character to be transferred, but its not like I have the money to waste for something that could be used on bills, books, and tuition. Meh.

3.) I don’t have the time. I could do x, y, or z in WoW but I’m focusing on several things at once and I’m not sure raiding can fit into the picture of what I have without sacrificing something I am currently doing (XIV, the podcast, other games, school, work, etc– school and work being the #1 priority here). I honestly don’t like half assing things I am serious about; it leaves a really awful taste in my mouth and raiding would take up focus I could and should spend elsewhere.

So while I really like WoW, its going to probably take a back burner here for me until I can foresee myself being able to commit more time or go to another server without having to level characters from scratch again.

League of Legends
Playing this probably led to me breaking my mouse after so much clicking. I am looking forward to going back to play after I get a new mouse (been holding off on it because I am still on the fence as to which to get), but its a great way to kill a bit of time. Especially against bots. Bots. Bots forever. I still wanna go back in and do try Dominion out again. I’ve only done it a few times, but it wasn’t enough to whet my appetite for it. I’m still needing to perfect how I play with Akali; it would probably do be a butt load of good if I actually remembered what I would make my builds out when I found one that worked. orz

Star Wars: the Old Republic
I had actually a much longer entry for this, but it was gone after the iPad WordPress app ate it. I have my issues with the game I haven’t been vocal about as others thus far; the lack of data log on damage taken and dealt, the lack of brackets in PvP, certain class issues (so far I’m not seeing many abilities that utilize the Stealth ability as an Assassin and that bugs the SHIT out of me), etc etc etc. However, despite my gripes with the game, there are reasons why I play and may continue to do so for a time:

1.) My sister is playing. My sister is NOT an MMO player. She is very much a casual gamer in many ways, but I still love and cherish her. To have her play this game tickles my fancy and I stick around to help guide her into hopefully cultivating interest in other games. Though I have my reservations that will happen since SWTOR appeals to her for the fully voiced cut scenes and because it is easy enough for her to pick up and enjoy without worrying about number crunching and so on.

2.) Because I have a handful of friends who are playing at the moment. I have found that no matter how frustrated I can be with a game (XI, XIV, SWTOR), I can find myself enjoying the game when I am in the company of good friends. I didn’t have that same kind of backing in WoW. Not to say I couldn’t have made the attempt, and in retrospect I could and possibly should have. But then it would go back to the time issue and me feeling guilty that I wasn’t spending enough time in said game. I’m also a person who is rather loyal, and the guilt of abandoning friends who have dealt with my whims for over a year or more seems insane to me at best.

3.) The storyline. I’m sure certain things would have ended up the same despite my choices, but I’ve delighted in some of the choices that have ended up changing things altogether: the Black Talon flashpoint, the Marauder quest line, either sleeping with or killing targets as an Agent have all surprised and delighted me at the same time. There are also interesting ways that crew skills have been utilized in the game, and have I mentioned that I’m in love with my companion? Khem? He may not be the best, but he entertains me and doesn’t judge my being evil unlike Vette. Even though Khem things I am too big for my britches, I still love him like the big flesh eating thug he is.

The previous entry I had written went over in detail my gripes and things I’ve thought about games launching post WoW. I may or may not write this again, but in the end things boil down to this: enjoying the game you are playing and the people you are gaming with. The bigger determining factor for me is and always will be who I am gaming with. It may not be for other people, but no gamer is alike as is proof in the titles we have given ourselves and others: casual gamer, mid-core gamer, normal gamer, hardcore gamer, etc. 2012 will probably change my gaming habits to back to my college days when I was trying to transfer from a junior college to a University. Maybe more so since I am trying to get into a competitive market/field of study. This probably means less gaming overall vs. the surge I had in 2011, but something has to give since I’m going back to school out of my own pocket this time around. Or maybe I’ll win and won’t have to change anything. We’ll see!

So, there you have it. A four page document in Word pasted smack dab in my blog. Expect my next entry in four months or so, hah!

Nice to meet you again, Eorzea!

22 August 2011

First of all, I apologize my updates are very sporadic. I haven’t updated in awhile and it hasn’t helped that most of the time I have been busy with other things. Hopefully things will level out by the start of September when things start to settle down a little bit for me. Sort of. Eep!

Playtime has been, unfortunately, been as sporadic as my updates because of my schedule and not being able to clearly focus on scheduling events properly. Despite that Team Derp has moved on and we have managed to pull through with podcast recordings and also playing a bit of XIV together this past week. Part of the reason is two fold: as it stands FFXI isn’t that interesting to me at the moment. The updates are lack luster and the sheer amount of time needed to put into things at this very moment is something I am lacking at the moment. The other reason is that updates and news for XIV HAVE picked up a lot of steam as noted in the recent podcast episodes for Go Team Derp! If you haven’t already heard/read about the upcoming changes to Final Fantasy XIV, I highly encourage you to check out the last Letter from the Producer or simply check out the updates posted on zantetsuken.net. Also listening to our podcast is a super bonus!

Playing FFXIV again has reminded me what it is good for: allowing you to get that same sort of feeling that you get in WoW by doing quests. What is that, pray tell? Doing something that allows you to get some sort of reward at the end even if its a short run. Of course, the rewards in WoW are usually greater and most of the time don’t require you to be on a 30 minute timer as is the case for leves. But! Hey! At least its SOMETHING. I’ve always been able to manage my time rather well on XIV vs. XI, and in crazy times like this such things is helpful and makes me more inclined to log on vs falling asleep exhausted.

There has also been many changes since XIV’s initial release, making it fun to learn what is new and what isn’t. Its fun having done a leve so many times in the past only to come back and that -for once- the location of the mobs isn’t where it used to be before or that the mob AI in leves is a little different than what was remembered almost a year ago. Even the inclusion of finding quests more easily is fun, although I am less inclined to actually read the quest log since its not as interesting when its mostly the same format as it is in WoW. I like my cut scenes, darnit! I’m hoping for more compelling quests as is found in XI’s Windurst areas, but I won’t hold my breath on it. I’m already satisfied with the fact sweeping changes are being made in the future and that we will actually see the vision Yoshi-P has vs. speculating on what it is or will be.

Most importantly I am looking forward to chocobos. Walking is a pain. No matter what game you are in! I’m hoping that chocobo raising and riding isn’t similar to XI, but its hard to imagine what it will be like and if its possible for it to be different than how it was executed in XI. Maybe I’m not imaginative enough, but I’m about 95% confident that it will be quite similar to what is in XI. Not that its bad, because at least I know what to be prepared for. I’ll be very surprised if it isn’t like it and its something completely different altogether, but no matter the outcome… I do want my own chocobo. A white or black one if possible.

Welcome to the land of Eorzea!

26 September 2010

Now that the collector’s edition for Final Fantasy XIV has been out for a few days, I feel like I have gotten the initial rush out of my system and can safely blog about it without feeling hyper anxious about staying on the game for hours on end. Well, and it helps that my wrists are a tad sore and I am in dire need of doing other things at the moment. That said, I am incredibly excited for what is to come with this game in the coming months and beyond.

First of all, I was utterly floored when my best friend decided to take a break from the land of Azeroth and come check out the world of Hydaelyn. I have been keeping my WoW account active every so often so I can go on and chat with her when I can, but its been hard since I was not really into WoW. It was a great time waster, but nothing I could feel really invested or immersed in. That’s what I have been missing terribly since I’ve pulled away from Vana’diel; the whole immersion experience of feeling like you are in a living, breathing world instead of having to feel the intense pressure of going from one quest to another without wait. I don’t know how she feels about XIV so far; I know its buggy, I know it has its flaws, and I know it lags as hell on the Lindblum server. I do hope she is enjoying herself, but I am also keeping my WoW account active in case she doesn’t. I told her I’m ok with her leaving XIV; which is true. I would rather her be happier elsewhere than frustrated playing XIV.

Second, 8 hours leveling!? Who would have thought! I am usually not one to enjoy sitting down for long periods of time, but I found myself doing so the other night to team up with people from Save Point doing leves and behests. It was kind of insane, a lot of fun, and also really exhausting as it started to get to 2 a.m. and Naked Moles were hunting us down and knocking us down dead. Then I started to fall out of my chair, and well… lets just say I needed a serious break after that because it was the first time in a very long time I had sat down and just gamed so seriously. Will it happen again? Who knows. Maybe. Maybe not. I did have a lot of fun, and am looking forward to getting a chance to play with the people I’ve met from FFXIVblog and Save Point.

By the way, I seriously think either I’m very well liked or I am the sore butt of jokes with some of the guys on the LS. You guys know who you are!

Anyway, the only problem I have, really, is with the complainers. I guess its because after following this game so intently, working on FFXIVblog, doing the Orzcast, playing the beta, and what have you… it feels like XIV is in a way my child. Now this is a problem; when a parent really loves their child, it is easy to get annoyed and get into downright denial when someone says there is something wrong with your child. You come up with excuses, you defend remarks made against your child, and sometimes you just want to strangle the other person and tell them they are wrong. I’ve had to catch myself a few times, because it is SO easy to feel frustrated with some people when the things they are complaining about has already been mentioned to be future fixes. Then I have to remember… not everyone has been following the game as intensely as others and there is a disconnect of information and what not.

Eorzea has its rough sides right now. Its new, its shiny, and those who have been playing the other games right now tend to forget where their beloved games originally started out; which wasn’t always at a pretty place.

I do hope people give it a chance, and that people who are like me and getting impatient with the complainers remember that some of us are coming from different perspectives and might have a harder time seeing what a beautiful gem we see before our eyes. XIV is new and has the potential to build a great community like XI, and definitely better than the mess that is known on WoW forums and chat channels. I’m definitely looking forward to seeing more of what is to be offered us, and to be able to enjoy the journey with new and old friends alike for some time to come.

Final Fantasy XIV Open Beta

06 September 2010

As some may know, I have been in the Final Fantasy XIV Closed Beta since the tail end of Alpha. It has been amazing to see the game grow and change since its alpha testing stages to the current stage it is at right now in open beta. Yeah, sure, there are bugs, but what MMORPG isn’t buggy upon release? And that hasn’t even been in another country for a year to work out those said bugs? I think its fine. Sure, people are complaining about this and that but I’m not particularly worried that it will affect my enjoyment of the game. Even in its current state, I find myself having fun with what I am able to play with. Others may not feel the same way, which if fine. In the Western MMO market there are other options (both free and pay to play) people are able to choose from that doesn’t have to be FFXIV.

Though I have to admit, after not having really played Final Fantasy XI actively for a year, it was a little hard getting used to the pace of enjoying the journey vs. getting to the destination (though, from my current understanding of the XI environment, getting to the destination quickly seems to be made easy due in part of the Abyssea expansion). The hand holding experience of WoW and Aion almost had me fumbling over Final Fantasy XIV, but it was quick and easy to get back into the groove of things and settle into the rhythm Hydaelyn had to offer. The environments itself made me remember why Final Fantasy XI was such a special gem and why I felt that magical return to me for Final Fantasy XIV; it was so easy to feel so immersed in the world itself and not feel that it was a game where I needed to quickly hit enter to get to the next thing. Even though finding an NPC can sometimes be like finding a needle in a haystack, it is in successfully finding those NPCs or learning something how to craft that just tickles me with delight and wonder at what else I can learn and accomplish.

Crafting, by the way, is the most fun I had ever had in any sort of crafting system I have tried to date. Granted there are still some aspects I feel could use tweaking (I’ve never been a fan of having to individually select my items to craft with), but in general I’ve found myself wanting to craft. Yes, that’s right. I WANT TO CRAFT. Not often does that happen or that I’m not just willing but excited to do something like crafting.Stranger still? Me like a hand-to-hand job. Yes, that’s right, a hand-to-hand job. Hard to believe, yeah? But here I am! Playing a hand-to-hand job and loving every moment of it!

I’m actually trying very hard not to play too much because I don’t want to ruin how things will be when the game finally comes out for its retail version. There is so much I want to do and try out, even though I know that in two weeks time all that data will be wiped clean. ( ;^;) Still… I’m really excited to play Final Fantasy XIV and to be more full immersed in its community than before. The people I’ve met and talked to have been generally great and supportive of not just the game but of each other. Even better is being able to reconnect with friends from Final Fantasy XI whom I have missed during my absence. ♥ I definitely feel at home in this game compared to WoW and Aion, and am eagerly looking forward to seeing how the game will develop from here on out.