Pokemon Sword and Shield

pokemon SnS

In case you’ve been living under a golem, there was a Nintendo Direct yesterday where they announced the new PokeMon game for the Switch. It’s already creating quite a bit of buzz and a fair amount of memery as well. You can see the YouTube video here.

galar region.png

Naturally it comes with a new region, as the first main game of any generation typically does. I personally think this map looks a bit small, but it’s also an art piece not exactly a detailed map of the region.

They also revealed the initial form of the new starters. Overall the reaction to the starters seems mixed, with a lot of comparisons to various critters of the past and the very-present concern over the fact that Scorbunny looks like it would end up being another bipedal Fire/Fighting type. Of course, they said the same thing about Litten before Sun and Moon came out too, which proved to be only half true. It ended up being a leonid wrester that was Fire/Dark instead.

While the game does look really nice in their polished little trailer, I find my own reaction fairly reserved. The same concerns and issues I held after the last generation are still fairly present.

First, how do I know they aren’t going to put out an Ultra Sword and Ultra Shield a year later? That’s exactly what they did last time. At least the generations before that were technically a different game, a remake typically, on the off year. Ultra Sun/Moon was announced shortly after I bought copies of normal Sun/Moon and this has left me reluctant to buy any of their products without waiting to see what their off-year product is going to be.

My second major problem is that, well, it seems to be the same old formula. I realize that the series has always been super formulaic. It’s admittedly a formula that works, and admittedly one that I seem to like. I feel like it’s experiencing at least a little franchise fatigue at this point, at least for me personally.

Let’s face it though, this thing is probably going to sell like crazy. It generally does, and as long as that’s the case why would they dare change it up? On the one hand, the whole industry seems to be underperforming, but on the other, Nintendo is, well, Nintendo. They have very solid franchises that perform very consistently and there’s no immediate reason to assume this one will be any different. At least not yet.

My third comment is somewhat more neutral. These are the first games in the series that are named after weapons. Does it mean anything? I don’t know, they’ve been tinkering with their naming conventions for a while now. X/Y and Sun/Moon broke from the more traditional color/gemstone naming that the series used for so many years. It seems like a strange move for what’s generally been regarded as a franchise for children of all ages. That said, as symbols go, swords and shields aren’t typically though of as serious instruments of bloodshed I don’t think. Instead they bring a general medieval fantasy vibe. Again, though, that’s going to be due to the things I typically read and play.

I’ll go be a negative nancy somewhere else though. I’ve just been turning these ideas over in my head as I form an initial opinion of what we’ve seen. Y’all stay safe.

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FFXIV – Inventory Woes

My name is Steve, and I am an MMO hoarder.

Seriously though, I totally am. When I resubbed to XIV, I knew I needed to go ahead and pay for the two additional retainers that I had when I quit. I’ve been tolerating it so far but I’ve got to try and clean house this weekend.

Okay, my “original” retainer, so to speak, is currently at 162/175. Looks like 64 pieces of that are either crafting gear, retained for leveling crafting classes in the future. 16 fish, 36 fairly random crafting components, 14 raid tokens, 7 unopened equipment coffers, 6 leftover event items and a few each of materia, house decorations, and some music scrolls, give or take.

My second “free” retainer is at 164/175. 29 pieces of irreplaceable class gear, 4 consumables, 1 fish, 6 crafting components, 21 dyes, 70 pieces of mostly combat materia mixed with some obsolete elemental ones, an armor coffer, 7 beast tribe items, and around 18 random consumables and exchange items.

My first paid retainer was specifically for crafting components and is currently 174/175. Looks like 1 consumable, 15 gathering and crafting materia, and the entire remainer is a variety of ores, woods, leathers, subcomponents, etc.

My second paid retainer is at 93/175 and that’s mostly Culinarian components. There’s a random pair of boots about about 6 different types of wood, everything else is components for food.

inventory

On top of all that, my personal inventory is 125/140 as well. I’ve got about another 90 crafting components in my personal inventory, many of which don’t have a corresponding location on my retainers.

What I’m thinking about doing for this is to get my list of unspoiled node materials, the ones that are more difficult and time consuming to obtain, setting those to the side, maybe, then dumping everything else. My gatherers are max level. If I honestly need something I can, in most cases, just go get some of it. I don’t need most of these ingots and nuggets. I’ve got eight different types of water. Some of them are level 20-40 materials that I can just replace by whacking a node for 5-10 minutes. All that materia? I can either go turn it in to get some higher grade stuff, dump it on the market, something. I am never, never, going to need those low level combat materia. I change gear so quickly below 70 that it’s just not worth the effort. I may even be able to clean up the cooking ingredients a little.

That’s one of my main goals for this weekend anyway. I gotta do something, I’m drowning in everything except gil. One can only hope that maybe, just maybe Shadowbringer will give us something that’s not another 6-10 new varieties of junk to add to and/or replace the previous junk. Seriously, how many types of ore do we need?! I’m counting about 35, not including gemstones, misc rocks, and  around 15 ore sands. When you consider that each one has a normal version and a HQ version that’s 70 items, just regular ore alone!

Okay, I need to go chill out or something. I’m getting a little… heated. Y’all take care, try not to fill up your inventory with all the things.

Incoherent Rambling?

I’m really feeling kinda melancholy today. I’ve been reporting on various bits related to a variety of gaming companies, and reading but not reporting quite a number of others. I’ve taken those thoughts to reddit as well, where the common consensus is that corporations are evil and Activision Blizzard is circling the drain.

The main point I always find myself going back to is that “it’s not just Activision Blizzard.” It seems like every couple of days someone else is reporting weak performance and planning layoffs. I realize it’s that time of year, end of quarter, end of fiscal year for many, and that sort thing is normal.

What does in mean, though, for the gaming industry as a whole to be a little weak? I’m trying to figure out how to start, and where to look. Are sales down, or are expectations high? Is it both? Why? Of course, many of these questions are massive, much bigger than myself, but that doesn’t mean I can’t form some manner of plan on how to dig into it.

I’m not feeling particularly motivated to do it at the moment, though, or much else for that matter. The bright side being that it’ll pass soon enough and I’ll be back at it, among other things.

I’ve been rather impatiently waiting for my outstanding set of transcripts to arrive as well. I’m a bit ahead of myself though, as I checked my confirmation email and they were only sent a week ago today. It’s literally coming from the opposite corner of the country, so I think it’s reasonable to assume it’s only just now arriving. I’ll get concerned if it isn’t showing up next week.

I’ll also have to head back to the doctor’s office and get some more shots. There’s apparently no record of me having gotten a second MMR vaccine and they have no intention of letting me attend without one. The bright side of that is that it only costs $10 for me to see my primary care provider, and since I discussed all this with him last week, they may just arrange the shots without seeing him again.

Also, if I’ve missed more words and/or errors than usual, I apologize. I’m dropping words and letters all over the place it seems.

Okay, something concrete to wrap up with. The list of companies I’m thinking of looking into at the moment, in no particular order.

  • EA
  • Activision Blizzard
  • Ubisoft
  • Take-Two
  • Square Enix
  • Capcom
  • Nintendo
  • Valve
  • GOG
  • Epic Games

I’ve intentionally left off most of the various MMO developers. I may add them, I may do them separately, I don’t know yet. Some of these companies, like Valve, are private corporations about which I may not be able to get really solid numbers, so I might end up dropping those.

Let me know if I missed anyone large. That list was just most of the large parent corps I could come up with off the top of my head, and many of the company names I’m actually familiar with are buried in their subsidiaries somewhere.

I’m not quite sure what information I want to pull, or even exactly what my hypothesis would be. This is fairly dangerous territory. If you go digging through data looking for any old correlation you’re bound to find one eventually. A correlation doesn’t mean there’s anything to see, though.

people-who-died-by-falling-out-of-their-bed_lawyers-in-georgia
Chart and data courtesy of http://www.tylervigen.com/spurious-correlations

Fun website, by the way. Not the best interface but it’s fun to poke around and find absurd correlations that probably don’t mean anything. Data is a bit dated now, but it still serves it’s purpose.

Y’all take care. Please don’t die, falling out of bed or otherwise.

The Pull of XIV

I always forget, when I’ve been away from it for while, just how easily I can slip into FFXIV and lose hours. It seems like it starts as just an hour or so to do a quick queue and a few odds and ends then quickly becomes multi-hour sessions of doing every queue available plus spamming dungeons afterwards and doing gathering and crafting in between.

I’m quite fond of my crafting and gathering too. I’ve already started the weekly delivery routine for max level. I had all three gathering classes at max level and geared enough to be effective, but not top tier. On top of that I had three, maybe four, max level crafting classes as well. I had the specialist trait for Culinarian, Alchemist, and Goldsmith. I seemed to be working on Leatherworker when I quit. It’s in the mid-50s.

For all the time and effort I spent with my Dark Knight, I’m so done with tanking right now. It’s great for queue times, but the skill gap between then and now makes me feel ineffective. The level of knowledge required to catch story content up with a tank is much higher than I’m willing to put in right now. There’s no good way to do those fights without watching videos ahead of time, typically more than once. As a DPS all I need to commit to memory is the “how not to die” bits.

Today we spent a good deal of time discussing what we’ll be doing for the next expansion. Since our entire guild went on hiatus, there are only five members left, and neither of us are officers, so our abilities are limited. We can invite people and do some basic management, but we cannot remove people if things go sideways and there are just random things I can’t do.

The point of the thing is, the two of us like to do the raids. We even did some of the savage content from Stormblood, though I never personally got any clears. We were doing them entirely via PUGs, which is hit and miss at best, and nobody else in the guild is really interested in that. The obvious solution would be to try and recruit people to do that kind of content with. Forming our own static, so to speak. I’m not opposed to that, but we need a little more freedom to manage in order to pull that off.

The second option would be joining a static outside of the guild. I’ve never tried that, but I know a lot of the them prefer guild membership. I’m disinclined to leave the current one. Driven mostly by the fact that of the four other people, I know three of them personally. My brother, my coworker, and someone else at work that I see daily. It’s a great group, especially for the casual content and normal raiding.

I dunno, we’ll see. A lot of this also depends on what classes we end up getting. We’re seriously discussing the possibility of dual healing, since the two of us are on voice chat all the time. We did that some with Stormblood, White Mage and Scholar are a solid combination.

Either way, I’ll stop rambling on aimlessly about FFXIV. Y’all take care, try not to drive yourself insane with savage raiding.

Something Old and Obscure – Pathfinder Online

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I remember when this project was still fairly new. It was being promoted on some of the table-top RPG podcasts I listened to at the time. I even remember where I was when I listened to the episode I’m thinking of, I just don’t remember when that was or why I was there. I’m guessing it was late 2012, but could have been as early as their kickstarter in mid-2012.

Now, I haven’t followed this project very closely. At the various times I had checked on it, it was either not available, not in a state I was willing to pay for, or appeared to be dead. I actually though it had shut down in it’s entirety, but that’s not the case. Development has continued with, I think maybe, two people. It came to my attention again because there’s a trial key in the $1 tier of the latest Pathfinder book bundle on Humble Bundle. I figured I’d give it a poke and see what had come of the project I heard about so long ago.

After going through the class tutorials, I can see why I haven’t heard much. This certainly isn’t a game that’s going to have mass appeal. I managed to get through the first few class tutorials before the game randomly decided to shut down and I chose to stop there. I actually considered not even writing this post at all at that point.

This morning, though, I decided I should at least finish the class tutorials before I wrote about it.

equipment window.png

Like most sandboxes, guidance is quite minimal, and some amount of paying attention and reading the dialogue/quest text is needed. Right off the bat I struggled to figure out how to equip items because I hadn’t read the text and couldn’t find the one key that brings up that particular window. I do quite like the appearance of the window though. Something about it’s overall scheme and layout I find appealing.

I didn’t find combat very interesting, but I think that’s because I don’t understand it. There are three bars there, blue is stamina, red is health, and I dunno what yellow is. There are a lot of little icons that pop up on that interface in combat that aren’t explained and mean nothing to me. I just end up spamming the main attack ability ad nauseam. I also didn’t find archery, divine magic, or arcane magic to be, in any significant way, different other than flavor.

gathering node

I ended up doing mostly gathering after I finished the tutorials. It’s found in various types of nodes scattered around the map, but generally seem concentrated in areas covered in things that want to kill me. I used the longsword from the fighter tutorial and the leather armor from the archer tutorial because the gathering classes armor bonuses are mostly in the “light” category.

goblin slayer

I ended up killing lots of goblins in the process. The little buggers just can’t be bothered to let me be.

hex map.png

The map is a somewhat odd thing as well, being based on a hex grid. The borders aren’t actually so obvious when you’re running around, and I have no idea what the icons mean, but it’s a decent way to lay everything out I guess.

I was originally going to point out that I hadn’t seen any other players during the time I spent with it, but I did eventually see some. Three people, total, were running through tutorial stuff while I was finishing mine this morning. I presume they’re all there using the same trial key I also had. I mean, why not right?

I might be playing it some more to better flesh out my opinion, or I might not. It’s not a bad game, by any stretch. It reminds me of The Repopulation in a lot of ways. It’s now a super small project supported by a tiny team that’s function but a little rough. The difference being, of course, that Pathfinder Online is subscription based, and I’m highly unlikely to actually sub at the moment. It’s not completely dead though, so there’s that.

Think I’ll leave it there for today. Thinking about the original pitch and promises from years ago compared to where they ended up is mildly depressing.

Random Activities in FFXIV

Derp, I almost forgot to write something in all the chaos. I spent most of the afternoon playing FFXIV with my brother. We’ve been leveling Bard/Machinist by doing roulette and then just spamming dungeons in between. Since we’re running two DPS classes it takes a decent 15-20min to queue into a dungeon.

We’re not doing that bad though, we’re 56/58 at the moment, which is a gain of about four levels today alone. Not all that bad considering we’ve been doing class quests and other random gathering and crafting abilities between dungeons.

We also spend time leveling blue mage sometimes as well, since that can be done fairly quickly in open world content. It’s the cheesiest, goofiest class I’ve played for quite some time, which is part of the fun. Working out how to use the abilities we have to do dungeons has been especially interesting.

So far this results in sleeping the enemies with Acorn Bomb, using Sticky Tongue to pull them to me, then using 1000 needles, which usually kills it. Sticky tongue works because it doesn’t actually do damage, so it’s still asleep for the extraordinarily long cast time of 1000 needles. With two of us we can pull one to each of us and make quick work of the individual mobs. This doesn’t really work with the bosses though, as they tend to be immune to all the various status effects.

We haven’t done much in the way of progression since we came back, and to be honest, I think we’re planning to do it with the DPS classes once we get them to max and geared up. Probably be take most of a week, I think.

Either way, it’s late and I was on my way to bed. Y’all take care.

Warframe – Melee Update

What, Warframe?! It’s not Wednesday yet!

We finally got some details on what to expect from the new melee system. It sounds like a pretty good start, overall.

For a start, it’s going to remove the barrier between melee and ranged combat. You will be able to switch back and forth with no delay and add a delay for combo loss on gunplay and certain movements. The hope is to create a fluid system that blends melee into gunplay instead of having them be two essentially separate modes.

Also on the table is allowing us to aim the melee ground slam to some degree. Currently it just drops you wherever you’re located, straight down. I’m not sure how practical this will end up being, though. It’ll certainly be disruptive to people like me that have grown accustomed to the straight down version.

They’re also updating some of the visual effects for melee. Whatever, I guess. I didn’t realize there was anything particularly wrong with the previous ones.

There’s a few other changes as well. Blocking will be automatic in melee mode instead of a key that has to be held. They’re also changing the channeling key, which I never really used anyway. Both of these are so the left and right mouse buttons can control the gun regardless of which mode you happen to be in.

We’ll see how it does, I guess. It’s an interesting start, to be sure.

baby fuzzy

Here, have a baby fuzzball. They really don’t like the flash on my phone.