Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Sumasu Sisters' Commandments of FFXIV

There was a request in the official forums by a player to fill out a FFXIV Research Survey. We found the the question "If you were to come up with a few rules (like a Ten Commandments) for gameplay, what would they be?" very interesting so we each wrote up our "Ten Commandments" and thought we would share them with you.

We suggest you fill out the survey yourself before reading our answers.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Questing in the Age of the Giant Stampeding Punctuation Marks

Can I touch it?
Quests! We like quests. We like finding that NPC that desperately needs us to deliver items to 5 other NPCs or hates bats with a passion and will reward us handsomely for slaughtering an arbitrary number of them and returning with 10 teeth. We like rewards of exp and items. We like the stories they tell and the lore they convey. They can give us a personal connection with our starting city, and later, the world. After all, we are heroes and items need fetching and mobs need killing.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Duty Finder

The duty finder has been heavily discussed since ARR was released, and with good reason. Dungeons are a massive part of any MMORPG, and Final Fantasy XIV is no exception. Here are our top likes and dislikes of the duty finder system, and where we think they should go from here.

One of the main reasons for the existence of the duty finder is to allow for easier grouping for dungeons and other group content. Not everyone has a kick ass endgame free company. Even for those who do, not everyone is on the same dungeon or needs the same thing from the same places at the same time. It's good practice to ask your FC/LS if they want to run, but DF is a nice option when everyone busy or offline.

Right now the system works very well for healers and especially well for tanks. If you heal or tank, you are almost assured an instant queue. If you are a damage dealer, expect a much longer wait. We are very lucky, as we run almost everything together as pld/whm. If we were mnk/blm, our experience would likely be very different.

Another example of where this can be great is when your linkshell or free company is clearing some content together, but you're short a dd. You can do it with your group, but fill in that last spot with the duty finder. This often works very well. Of course, like with most other things with the duty finder, this can also be a nightmare, depending on who you end up with. Hilarity can ensue when the 8th and only pugged member tries to boss you all around ;)

One of the things we enjoy most about the duty finder is the ability to meet new people. There are hundreds of thousands of people playing this game, and the duty finder allows us to interact with people we would not have met otherwise in our gaming experiences. We've met some amazing people in our dungeon runs; helpful people, hilarious people, chatty people, and any combination of the three. Of course, this is also an enormous downside to the duty finder; you could find the best 8-man group you've ever run. Everyone can be getting along, laughing and chatting and completely decimating the content in record time...and you could be from four different servers and never get to play together again. We have had this happen several times already, and it's always a little sad to find out someone is from a different server when you work so well together and have so much fun. Sadly in all the dungeon runs I have done I have added 2 people to my friendlist afterwards. Same here; added two friends out of all of my runs, and I've run with some excellent people from other servers.

Speaking of meeting new people, this can be a positive in another way. The duty finder can have a sense of anonymity due to playing with people from other servers. It's a great way to practice skills and learn rotations without embarrassing yourself in front of your linkshell or free company. Yet again, this anonymity can also be a negative. Because players believe they might never see you again because you are on a different server, haters and trolls are much more common. I recently ran AK, and lost aggro on the third group of trash mobs for a moment, as someone was hitting a mob other than the marked target. No one died, and I picked it up immediately, but one of the players started hating on me, and a spirited discussion ensued. -_- 

I had a bad pug experience doing Halitali for my GC hunting log. I'm on whm and we get to the fire sprite boss with absolutely no trouble and the tank is tanking, the blm is nuking and the bard is killing adds. Right as the boss has a sliver of life left I ran over to heal the bard quick just as the tank took an unusual amount of damage and suddenly died. We finish the boss and I raise & rebuff the tank and figure we would be on our way to the next area and the tank gets all bitchy and finally says "If I die again I'm not going to participate" he was seriously going to just /afk there until the timer ran out if he died again. I just typed "Have fun" and left the party. Yeah it was probably my fault he died but there is no reason to lose your mind about it. Now he can wait for another healer and I will go chop down trees for 15 minutes and hope I get a better party next time*.

We've seen far too much of this type of behaviour and much worse. Jerks are aplenty in DF parties for content at all levels. There is a lot of bullying and harassment. Comments like "This must be your first MMO!" or "You suck!" are not going to help the party succeed. Even if it was someones first MMO you shouldn't treat people that way. Hell especially if it WAS their first MMO you shouldn't act like that.

People need to have a touch of patience. Especially if someone is new or the screw up is minor. Failure at a boss should be considered a possibility, especially in a pug. Doubly so for a new person. I can have a fight explained to me all day but I cannot really process this information until I experience it first hand. If the party fails it's much better to figure out what went wrong and have another try at it. No, I will not wipe over and over at a boss if we aren't getting any better at it. I will wipe a couple times if we are learning and getting better. Hell, we occasionally get unlucky in premades and wipe on something we have done together 100 times before and we laugh it off and go again.

Public Service Reminder from the Drunken Lalafell Morality Squad: We just want to remind everyone that regardless of server, each character you group up with has a human being attached outside of pixel space. Try to remember that before you turn into a giant douche.

There are a couple of issues in game that absolutely need to be fixed as soon as possible. The ability to vote to kick someone from a party is crucial. If you have someone that AFK's in the beginning of the dungeon, you are left with no choice but to take your fifteen minute penalty. Often, people receive error messages and cannot get back on, but we cannot remove and replace them. Instead, we have to leave the dungeon ourselves and deal with 15 minute penalties for leaving the instance. We think 3/4 or 5/8 to remove someone from a group would be sufficient and fair for everyone. We know that there is the possibility of this tool being used for evil, but honestly believe it will resolve more issues than it causes, especially if implemented properly.

Speakking of evil, a blacklist that works for all servers within a duty finder group would be nice to filter out the truly vile people you never want to see again. Completely removing the chance of ending up in duty finder with anyone on that list would be amazing, especially when dealing with people actually griefing your dungeon runs.

Another item that is a major issue is the lack of instance servers. With the Tomestone of Mythology cap resetting on Monday mornings, some people are having to wait up to, or even more than, an hour to get into an AK instance early each week. Partially, this will be alleviated when more options for earning Mythology are implemented, but right now, we're just hosed. Hopefully, the instance servers that will be added mid-October should eliminate this problem.

As you can see, we like quite a few things about the duty finder. When utilized correctly by competent and decent human beings, it's an excellent tool for grouping players together. There's still some work to be done, but we are glad it's available.

*I did, it was awesome.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Back in the Saddle

It's finally here! Tuesday was the official release of Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn, and the response has been overwhelming. The sheer volume of players has caused Square Enix to suspend sales of the digital copy of the game. It has also made it necessary for SE to add more servers to handle the load. So what have we been up to since release day? Absolutely everything! ^^

Pally quest rocking!

Twin Adder, Baby!

Dungeons and questing and cut scenes, oh my!

Collecting minions! MWAHAHAHA!

Oh yeah, and finishing the main storyline quests. ^^

So we've been very busy Lalafells. What kind of mischief have you gotten into since launch?

See? Pithy and picturesque! ^^

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Why I Left and Why I am Back

From Kariri: Please forgive the upcoming wall of text. I promise the next posts will be pithy and picturesque. ^^

What's important in an MMO to me? The story and how it makes me feel, ease of use, and the people I play with. I have to make a connection on one level or another. The connection on all three levels is what I think makes an MMO exceptional. Final Fantasy XIV 1.0 was not any of these things for me. So far, it feels like Final Fantasy: A Realm Reborn might have what I am looking for.

First impressions:

The old game left me feeling like my contribution to the world was unimportant in the grand scheme of things. I was in no way special. I would in no way be saving the world. I was just one in a large, faceless mass of adventurers trying to make a name for themselves, and I would have very little impact on anything. It lead to me feeling like I was unnecessary. And if it's not important for my character to be here, I, as a player, have no reason to show up. Between mud classes and generic storylines, I couldn't make myself stick around.

This changed drastically from the openening video of A Realm Reborn. Dalamud, Bahamut, memories missing, the echo, and a plot line that we follow through an amnesiac public. Why are we special? Why do we see what happened, and why doesn't anyone else remember? Now I work with the archons, Louisioux has been missing since he saved the world, and I have actual value to these key players in the story. I can make a contribution. In short, I matter. To the small group, to the city, to the region, to the planet. It's quite a difference.

That aside, the world itself seems to have more life. Yelta and I discussed at length the fact that there are NPC's around everywhere doing many different activities, and it adds a greater level of reality to the game. There are lots of guys lifting some heavy boxes and women dancing and children playing and guards sitting around. There are men flirting with the whores in one area. They've also played with the environment a bit; a tree dropping snow in Coerthas comes immediately to mind. So while the graphics engine may be less powerful than the old one, what they are doing with it is much more powerful; they're adding another connection to the world.

Another area that the game was lacking before was the user interaface. After playing FFXI for several years, this was one upgrade I was truly looking forward to in 1.0. Imagine my astonishment when it was practically the exact same UI. The clunky, awkward, ugly, lagging horror of a UI. We had seen a decade of new MMO's come and go with superior UI's since FFXI, but they kept that antiquated wreck. I was both baffled and disappointed.

I was relieved by the new UI in ARR. It's updated, sleeker looking, and less clunky feeling to me. I was a bit concerned that it might be too much and I'd feel like I was playing the UI instead of the game world, but it's not so. With the ability to add, remove, and resize practically anything, I can make it as cluttered or clean as I want. Menus are easy to navigate and finding things is a lot less of a problem than it was in the past. This is not to say that there aren't improvements that could be made; there are, and a number of them. However, compared to the older version, we are definitely moving in the right direction.

My third component is the people I play with. To be completly honest, I would still never have tried an MMO if it weren't for Yelta. She literally taught me to walk in FFXI, which was my first MMO. She taught me the role of a tank when I freaked out because all the monsters were hitting me in the dunes and I didn't know why. Yes, I was that noob. She let me whine and vent and ragequit until I understood how these games worked, and she put up with my complaining until the euphoric day I finally got a chocobo and rode into Jeuno and was hooked for good.*  I never enjoy a game as much without her, and I'm a happier person when we play together regularly, to which my husband will attest. :P

That being said, I wouldn't have even given Final Fantasy: ARR another thought if she hadn't stuck with it all along. She's got a couple of good, solid groups of great friends, and I am lucky enough this time around to feel like I can tag along. The duty finder has been helping me quite a bit too. I despise tanking if I don't know what I am doing, and refuse to make an ass out of myself with my linkshell or free company until I get the hang of things again, so I've been using the duty finder to test my skills and shake the rust off. I'd rather run with linkshell or free company members, but to get rid of my terrible tanking paranoia, it's been invaluable.

So there you have it; why I quit and why I'm back. I just want to say thank you to Yelta for keeping this going without me. I abandoned her early on and have felt terrible about it ever since. Hopefully we can get it going all over again. Together this time.

*This made Yelta cry at her desk at work. I've missed my sister ingame and am so happy to have her back.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Beta test phase 3 test 3

I managed to get on a bit for test 3 and while the duty finder testing was pushed back I found other things to do. I forgot to take as many screenshots but hopefully you find these enjoyable.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Beta Phase 3 Test 2

Ok so I never wrote up anything further about phase 3 part one. It was awesome and everything but lets move on.
Yelta's Back! (you see what I did there?)
I got the original Yelta back! It was fun running through the storyline on a 50 who has lots of useful cross class skills but I think upon release a lot of us are going to level arcanist or other low level class so we don't waste that precious xp while we do the beginning questline. I played both whm and blm as well as their class versions and found all very fun to play. 

The Mouseover Cure Macro and You

This is really a draft and I will clean it up this weekend with some more screenshots to illustrate just how to do it. 

I've heard people lamenting the lack of mouseover macros for healing and I thought I would write up a quick guide on setting them up.

Hit escape or whatever brings up the menu for you and choose User Macros. Click an empty number on the left side of the panel and then on the right side choose a macro image, name the macro and then enter the following line into the box for commands:

/ac "Cure" <mo>

Drag the image of your shiny new macro from the macro palette (left side) to wherever you want it to be on your bar.

Now put your mouse over another player's character or if in a party you can put your mouse over the nameplate in the party menu. It gets a yellow glow to show which nameplate has focus. Hit the button on your bar and cure should be cast.
"Ok that worked, but I can't heal myself OMG HELPZ!!!!1!!!"
Having read the entire config I remembered there was a setting that might fix this. Under Character Configuration make sure to click the box that allows the mouse to select your character:

Make sure Enable clicking on self is checked

In the following screenshot you can see I have the Reaver targeted and the yellow glow over Cueball's name shows that is what my mouse is hovering over.
Cueball taking a beating

I can then just tap the 1 key on my keyboard and cure him when needed but keep my target on the mob and tap 3 to keep the Aero up.

To make the macro a little more robust add the following 2 lines to the macro:
/macroicon "Cure"/ac "Cure" <t>
/ac "Cure" <tt>

/macroicon "Cure" keeps the cooldown timer and the mp cost on the button. (Thank you Anonymous commenter!)

What the rest will do is if the mouse focus isn't something that can be cured it will try to cast Cure on your target and then failing that will try to Cure the target of your current target. That part is awesome for those times when my mouse gets flung across my desk when I sneeze since Cueball still gets a Cure as long as I have the Reaver targeted and the Reaver's target is whoever has the most hate which should be Cueball if he is doing his job right. Cueball usually does his job right.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Beta Phase 3 is here!

Hello fellow adventurers and curious people! With the partial NDA lift I thought I would give a little update.

For this current weekend I am playing on the Malboro server with both the Smokin' Aces LS and hopefully the guys over at Zantetsuken.  

In 2.0 the current plan is to go to Excalibur. I will keep my server choice up to date over on xivpads WorldTransferDirectory. I've also updated my Hiding from our Guilds LS with my current 2.0 plans.

I only got to play for a little bit this morning but here is a very pretty sunset near Ul'dah:

Some of the npc dialog is pretty darn funny:

Well thats all for now. 


UPDATE - I played quite a bit and will do a writeup later but here are some pictures.