Monday, October 21, 2013

FF14 News & Exalted! Some WoW

Hello Readers (all..two of you?), here are some updates in my world.

So....I'm thinking I will probably quit this game, at least until they have some content patches.
There just is not much to do. A lot of people have fun leveling alts, and I really have never been big into leveling alts. To me leveling an alt I do not intend to raid with is an excuse to waste time because the MMO did not have enough content. No I don't expect that I should be bemused by a game at all times, but FF14 missed a lot of necessary content at release that occupies my time generally in games outside of raids, those being:

  • PvP
  • Dailies
  • Some Rep Grind
  • Leveling Crafting
  • Upgrading My Gear
FF14 does not have the first 3, and the last two are a bit pointless. Let me explain.

Building your own gear is for the mostly pointless. By end game you can invest about an hour or so per piece of gear (About 4 for chest/legs) to get your 'pre raid' items (Dark Light). The total time investment is a long for your first good 'max level' item set but not terrible. You COULD craft a better set but the time investment is rather immense. It requires leveling a whole new class, a large investment of Gil (or grinding the same instances that provides the prior mentioned Dark Light Gear) and a Materia and a bit of luck. It ends up becoming a rather excessive amount of effort and the end result is gear that is actually at best subjectively better than the aforementioned gear. In effect, crafting your gear is something you do to really pass the time, there is no benefit to doing this yourself. 

Upgrading My Gear
On Materia..this is final fantasies 'enchant' or 'geming' system, however almost NO quest gear can be modified with materia and infact, none of the dark light or raid gear you get can be adjusted. This means you can go the entire game and never use materia once! This makes gearing yourself very dull. In WoW (by comparison) you are geming, enchanting and altering states commonly to ensure you reach certain stat caps without going over. This is actually a little fun, although its not as deep and detailed as I would like, but the lack of any decisions in FF14 is killing me.


Combat is also really very boring as a Tank. A Paladin in this game has very few options; one combo (a set of three attacks done in order) and a few cooldowns I can pop for added survivability. Thats combat is combat as a Paladin: hit three keys in order, hit a macro or two to trigger some other powers, throw up cooldowns as you expect to/start taking significant damage.

On the flip side something I LOVE in FF14 is the telegraphed AOE's and how you can move in and out of these to mitigate lots of damage. This is the most interactive part of the game but it is also soured for me because as a West Coast gamer I'm forced to connect to a Canadian east coast server. No problem right? Not so.

Right now I'm playing on a east coast WoW server and my connectivity is at 35 ms of ping. Things happen pretty much immediately, no noticeable input lag. I can throw an interrupt on a target a moment before they finish casting a spell and it will interrupt. In FF14 I have tracked my ping against the server between 130-240 MS. Add to this that FF14 seldom has true 'instant' off GCD attacks as effects coincide with their animation (which for many abilities take a full second or more to fire off) before taking effect. The result is I can throw an interrupt the moment a 2 second cast appears on my screen and have a 50/50 chance of actually stopping it. The same applies to escaping telegraphs. On a number of fights I will move the moment a telegraph appears, escaping it well before the monster stops casting its ability (in FF14 the time where you are 'hit' by a spell is based on the cast bar of the monster, not the animation of the effect) and again still get hit 50% of the time despite being many 'yaums' (yards) away. Some nights I have stopped bothering and its very disheartening because the telegraphs right now are the best part of the ff14 combat.

What does all that amount to? I think FF14 is a great game, has great potential, but I think Square Enix has a lot of work to do to get the game into a position where its truely satisfying. I think a lot of the fan base (FF11 players) are not experienced playing in what I would consider a proper end game and are more apt to consider these aspects of the games part of its charm and somehow spin them into positives, and they are welcome to that. I believe until patch 2.1/2.2 comes out I will look for other pastures. 


So last night I ran the second to last game in my Pathfinder arc. My players are ascending the tower of a vile necromancer in the midst of a ceremony seeking to bring back an ancient evil (which they are only dimly aware of, unless they read this which case SURPRISE!). Was a good game but MAN do I loath Pathfinder. Combats take long, are generally pretty boring and heavily penalize players. Want to charge? Good luck with that. Fire a ray into a melee? Good luck, without two feats your at a -8 to hit most times. I really dislike the system in which 3/3.5/Pathfinder are based on and really wished some of my players did not cling to it so tightly and dislike 4e on basic premises which I think are false. "Its like an MMO" seems a strange allegation to me. Healers heal in Pathfinder and do so in 4e, they just heal AND can damage in 4e. Damage dealers do damage in both systems, its just more interesting in 4e since you can move creatures around, stun them and apply other effects. The only thing remotely like an MMO is that in 4e Tanks have a way to 'encourage' enemies to fight them instead of their allies, although point of fact this was something introduced late in 3.5's life cycle and was a common complaint of every 3.5 tank I was are of because at a certain level when monsters could teleport/fly/burrow they could avoid the hard to hit tank and butcher the tasty healer and if they didnt it was generally the DM not playing up to the intelligence of most of the monsters they threw at the party (Honestly why would a Red Dragon waste 5 rounds attacking a fighter getting healed and NOT just take out the healer and the rogue sneak attacking them for 6d6 added damage every hit?).


So with the end of the aforementioned arc we return to Creation with a brand new Solars campaign. My intent here is to get a game going with a circle of Solars that will transition into 3E when its released. So far I understand Jill will be playing a Night caste and twin to Trisha's Zenith caste (God Help Me). One of our new players, Michael has opted to play a Twilight caste and James is interested in a Dawn caste. Why is it no one ever picks Eclipse? That anima banner is insane, and Fae cannot attack you unless provoked (super awesome!).

For system we will just use the 2.5 errata and not my custom house rules because while I adore my house rules, I would rather not worry about tweaking them so close to 3e.

World of Warcraft
Hit max level with my Paladin, doing content. Pretty fun. Man do they give you epics easy now, but it seems that something being purple does not mean as much anymore as the iLevel difference between the 'free epics!' you get shortly after hitting max level and the stuff I see from raids is pretty significant. That is good to know! Game still looks like shit but its fun.

EVE Online
Thinking I might resub. Hrm...

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Path of Exile, WoW, FF14

Greetings 3 people that read my posts on the internet. How are you?

Actually my page has gotten 40 views?! Either someone is hitting refresh a lot or about 6 of you are reading this crap! Anyhow on to stuff.

Path of Exile
Is finally getting its release. Its like, this week basically (if im not mistaken). It includes a crazy amount of updates. Act three is being extended significantly with a number of new zones, mini bosses and a new end game boss (Piety was intended to be a 'mid act boss', similar to Brutus in Act 1). Other cool stuff?

  • New Class (Scion) who appears in the center of the passive tree
  • Speaking of the passive tree, its been entirely redone, allowing for more builds, new passives, etc.
  • With that, EVERYONE is getting a full free respec (WOOHOO)
  • Lots of new skill gems. Check this guy out:
  • New proc skill gems. You can link something (like say, Molten Shield) to a proc gem that works when you take damage and theres a chance when you take damage that a weaker version of molten shell is auto cast on you. There are a number of new proc types including offensive ones (when you crit, when you kill an enemy, when hit). In general the % to trigger seem better for melee characters (whom in general take more risks).
  • Speaking of risks, all two handed weapons (melee, bows, staves) are getting  buffs to compensate for the lack of a shield (Shields are amazing in PoE). With risk comes reward!
  • Probably other shit I forgot about.
World of Warcraft
So I got my Tauren Paladin to 89 last night, probably 90 tonight. Its pretty enjoyable so far. Theres lots to do. The graphics are poo, and theres no impact to the combat (it feels like your punching the ocean..) but the mechanical complexity is pretty enjoyable. I like the class definitions there, especially between the tanks (<3 paladins!). Not sure if this makes any serious contention vs ff14 (read more in the ff14 section). 

I joined some random guild but at this point will either see if they have some voice communication (They seem pretty quite in chat despite having 50+ members online) or seek another guild that will satisfy my need to ramble for hours about dumb shit.


So I like this game a lot, but per prior posts....theres not much to do when you hit level 50. At least for me there isnt much to do. You can level other classes, level crafting (which seems awesome), but you have very few options for end game PvE. What exists is fairly good, just very thin. 

Now when patch 2.1 comes out (late november, early december) it will introduce a ton of stuff. You got new dungeons, new raids, new missions, dailies, arena pvp, etc etc. But realistically I'm not going to wait around to then. So what I think I will do is continue to log in to do my raid, and spend the rest of my time either in WoW, PoE or maybe EvE online.

Speaking of that...

EvE Online


I lost some drones and some mild amount of tank but WHO THE FUCK CARES. I now have a reinforced siege mode that makes me an ultra tank for a period of time and extends my missile ranges significantly. It also makes you IMMUNE to electronic warfare while enabled! They also gave battle ships a new launcher that does less damage than normal launchers but can rip apart smaller ships! 

Tempted to go try this in action.

Star Wars: Edge of the Galaxy
New RPG system that looks really interesting. Totally ordered it!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Exalted 3E: Updates

So the developers confirmed that E3 wont be out in November. No big surprise here. Given the updates so far it was pretty clear it was not ready yet.

That being said the updates still look pretty promising. One of the excerpts stated how large and useful the new awareness charm tree is. For those that dont know the old awareness trees in E1 and E2 were hyper condensed charm sets with generally 2-3 great powers and 2-3 less useful powers. Compared to other trees (melee) it was hard to sometimes pick awareness as a favorite ability because the likelihood you would invest much exp (and thus maximize the discount) was not 'worth it' for many. One thing I really enjoyed about both Alchemicals and Infernals design were charms that built off themselves. My hope with many of E3 is that we will see building charms more often which I think has a number of really good advantages:

1) The toolbox does not grow as a player to an overwhelming level. Not every players skill set mechanically is as strong as others, so having 30 charms over a lengthy game can be overwhelming for players. Having a smaller amount of charms that instead have become more potent (or more flexible) I think is easier to manage.

2) The idea of building charms I also think you generally avoid 'useless' pre-requisite charms that some trees (*COUGH* every-Sidereal-tree *COUGH*) suffered form.

3) Upgrading just feels cool.

As part of the update we found out one of the developers, John is also very under the weather and has been hospitalized. I hope the best for him. I got to meet him this year at GenCon (along with Holden) and both of them were super awesome guys.

Hopefully the closed or open playtest will open soonish. I know my local players cannot wait to get their grubby mits on it ^_^

Thats all for now. 

Final Fantasy: End Game

So I have spent more time in FF14's end game. Here are my thoughts.

1) In general, there isnt MUCH content there, but the content is sufficiently hard such that it takes a while to progress through it. This is good and bad. Its good cause your not doing a lot of grindy stuff (trash mobs etc) and it pushes you to play the game very well. On the other hand, once you master the content it becomes very brief and..then there isnt much to do.
2) There is very little reward or upgrading on a whole that goes on. You basically go from an item set given to you at max level via the main quest up one tier of dungeon drops, to one tier above that(tokens) which you can get in the first week. After that its entirely drops from the Coil Raid (which most guilds can only hope to kill about two bosses out of right now, potentially three) and from a token system which is heavily throttled (example: buying a chest from that token system takes about 3 weeks of not spending tokens elsewhere).

Outside that there isnt alternative content for end game PvE. There is a ton of stuff you can do with crafting (crafting is VERY deep) and leveling your other classes/jobs, but for end game players like myself..its a little suffocating. The next patch (coming up soon I hear) will supposedly included 3 new hard more dungeons and a 24 man raid (Crystal Tower) which I feel will do a lot to make the end game good but I fear if that patch does not come out in a timely (NOW!!!) manner I will lose interest.

Issue then is...IF FF cant hold my interest (and I hope it does, it really is a pretty good game) where do I look?

EvE: The sand box is awesome, but frankly I do not know enough people in the game that do what I would like to get into (Massive wars). Also I tend to get a bit finicky about loosing my ships :(

WoW: Probably the healthiest end game total between PvP and PvE, but it looks like trash. Its hard for me to get around how bad the game looks. I have dl'ed a 7 day trial on my old account last night to try it out and see if I can get past it. We will see :(

Future Games:
Wild Star. I have no hope for this game at the moment. The beta was sad for it, but we will see how the game cleans up in the last few months.

TESO: I ....think this is all hype. After seeing how structured the classes are I lost faith that this will really mirror the open design that was part of the TES universe to this point. Have not been in a beta so far so I cant be certain yet.

Path of Exile: Not an MMO, but man do I love this game. It has a huge end game, replayability and development team. Its just that I want an MMO to go along with my PoE play because some days I want to raid, some days I want to kill a million monsters...

So tonight I go into Coils in FF14 with a new raid group. We will see how we jell and maybe as a result of that how enjoyable I find the end game.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Final Fantasy

So I have been playing FF14 now for a few weeks. In that time I hit max level, have become a raid leader, gotten into coils and also seen a guild fall apart in a rather heartbreaking fashion. Here are my thoughts of the game overall.

  • Game is visually stunning and a joy to play
  • Crafting is much more involving and intelligent than most games
  • The difficulty of encounters is refreshing given how easy I feel most MMO content has gotten
  • Class balance is rather poor. While parsers are rather inaccurate but there are clear discrepancies between ranged and melee dps and even within that role. Monks and Dragoons could do the same damage, but Monks seem to be ahead. Regardless Monks provide raid utility (bonus healing, silences) and nothing. The same goes for Black Mage and Summoner. The former looks flashy but the latter does better damage per second and can provide an in combat rez, damage mitigation and more. Don't even ask about Warriors.
  • I do not like the general design of the end game thus far. It is generally pretty stale, involving grinding against certain instances to get gear (which can be done within 3 days) after which you are done with that 'set' of gear. Then there is a ladder of primal (single boss instances without trash) that are fun before going to the first end game area called Coil of Bahamut. The Coil is interesting but generally has many problems.
    • 8 players only AND there is a type of instance lock (you cannot kill a boss you have already killed in the same week). This is a problem for a large guild in general.
    • The fight mechanics are interesting but..uninspired I feel.
I enjoy the game, however I'm not sure about the long road with the game. The japanese developers, bad customer service and disjointed web site give me concerns. On the other game, the actual design from the developers seems top notch. So..whats the verdict?

I will stay with the game, but I will also be checking out TESO and giving WildStar another shot (I was in the beta and was VERY unimpressed, but we will see what they can do in the time I have been away from the game).