Why Not Just Fly?

I’m working my way through Path of Fire to get the Griffon mount. It’s the first mount that looks like it’s flying, but it’s not.

The second “Flying Mount” introduced into GW2, Living World Season 4 is the Skyscale. This has enhanced flight mechanics, but still can’t really fly.

There must be some “religious objection” to flight. Ever since Gliders were introduced in Heart of Thorns, we could only “Glide” while all other popular games in the genre have True Flight. Well, not really…

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WOW Pre-Patch Starter

Ok. I admit, I’m just a lurker. I don’t pay for Wow any more, I just play the starter or trial or whatever they call it. Yep. Recall that I played it for years and left when in Legion they did the “Universal Level Scaling”. That ruined it for me. Anyway, I check in periodically to see how things are doing, and of course yesterday was the big “Shadowlands Pre-Patch”. So I logged in, made a new toon and ran through the tutorial. I’m not going to spoil all of it. But you can do it too for only about a two hours investment. And you’ll wanna check out the new character customization options, although after FFXIV, I find those completely underwhelming.

You are led by the hand, literally, through the experience on Exile’s Reach. It’s a common trope, nothing original here, Blizzard:

  • The ship to far off lands
  • The catastrophe that washes you up on the beach
  • The buddy that’s going to walk you through the whole experience, step by step.

But there are a few Wow specific tropes here too:

  • The obligatory “Bomb the masses from some sort of airship”, although this airship was just a little rotor and you dangle from a rope. Come on Blizz, the Goblins and Gnomes have better little one-man airships than this.
  • The “dress up an on Ogre” quest, or dress us as anything else, to sneak into the fortress, after which everybody ignores you anyway as you walk around with no costume.
  • and the minor dungeon tutorial where the NPC acts, or says she is acting, as your tank while you kill some trash and a boss.
  • Minor spoiler – watch out for those treasure chests lying around. They keep getting bigger and bigger as you go.

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GW2 vs FFXIV Story Trials

Doing Guild Wars 2 Stories Again

There is a marked difference between the GW2 Story Trials or Instances and the FFXIV Story Instances. I have many GW2 characters of all races and classes, but haven’t played it much recently. Back when Path of Fire came out I worked through the story and maps enough to get many of the mounts: Raptor, Springer, Skimmer, Jackal and Warclaw. I recently decided that I’d like to get the Griffon mount. To do this I need to complete the Path of Fire story on at least on character. So I started with my Necro, which was farthest along this journey. After about 4 hours I gave up in “The Departed” when I could not figure a way to kill “The Soul Eater”.

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Genshin Impact Over-Hyped?

I think Genshin Impact is being over-hyped. I’ve watched a few of the videos on youtube and my conclusion is that it’s more hype than real content. And it has the problem of Cross-Play with Mobile, which means that it can’t be better than a Mobile experience. There’s a reason that Wow and FFXIV and other complex games aren’t on Mobile. The opportunity for controls is not good enough on mobile to make a game very interesting.

Here are a couple of shots from the web that show the hype. “Astounding”? Seriously? How “Astounding” can a hub based game that will run in the constraints of an iPhone really be? Who has 40GB or more on a phone to dedicate to a game? I’m sure that Genshin Impact is more like 4GB of your phone, or your PC, which is what we’d expect from a mobile game. Echo of Soul , which is an older true MMO, but with very small zones and OK graphics is about 14GB as a download, and is too large for a mobile platform.

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Elric vs Geralt

A while back I reported a video where Elric of Meinbone’ was compared with Geralt of the Witcher Stories. Recently I found a more balanced and careful comparison of the two story collections. Proper Bird is a long time youtuber and Witcher Stories fan. She does an excellent and thorough deep dive into the subject of how these stories compare and shows that it’s less about “plagiarism” and more about influence. The video is long, but if you’re interested in this controversy, then this may clear some things up for you.

Enjoy
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Gear Upgrades After 5.3

There have been some changes to Shire [60] and Scaevan [70] Gear upgrades with 5.3. And it’s a little confusing. You can check the patch notes for 5.3 here.

Notice that the NPC in Idyllshire no longer sells Un-Augmented gear and no longer sells upgrade materials. The upgrade NPC across the street will still upgrade gear if you have the upgrade materials left over from before the patch.

However, if you have the un-augmented gear, but no Twine, Gobcoat or whatever, then you have to take a hike to the Calamity Salvager in a major city. Here’s my visit to the one in Gridania.

When you visit the Salvager in any of the three starting cities, you need to “Deal in Spoils” and then choose the Shire / Scaevan War or Magic choices to upgrade your old gear to the new augmented type. It costs the same number of tomes as before, but the intermediate materials [ twine, coat or gob] are no longer needed. Once you upgrade all your gear, you never have to deal with the salvager again. All the new gear starts as Augmented, for more tomes of course.

I’ve not yet dealt with the issue of Ironworks gear [50]. I’ll come back here to update this when I found out what’s up.

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FFXIV Getting Started

There are lots of help videos for Final Fantasy XIV on Youtube. But most of them assume you have already started to play the game. How do you get started playing the game in the first place? I suggest starting with the Benchmark to see how it will run on your system and then starting with the Free Trial. Here’s how you can do that.

Start with the Benchmark

First find the FFIXV Benchmark page here. This will show you how the game will perform on your machine. I suggest not using a laptop. While the game is somewhat forgiving and the graphics can be downgraded quite a lot, it’s still a modern game, so it’s going to cause a lot of strain and heat on your laptop unless you have a high end gaming laptop.

The benchmark is about 2 GB. Very much smaller than the full game, which is about 40GB. I suggest you load the benchmark, and the game, onto an SSD – Solid State Disk – if you have one. Also, you probably want to install the benchmark and the game into a folder such as “C:\FFXIVBench\”. Here’s a video with all the steps to install and run the benchmark.

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FFXIV vs WoW

There have been plenty of articles and Youtube videos comparing Final Fantasy XIV and World of Warcraft. I’m not trying to do a comprehensive guide to the two games, but compare them on two key areas that I find interesting. I played Wow for many years. I finally left in December 2017 when Universal Level scaling was introduced. But with all the hype surrounding the upcoming Wow “Shadowlands” expansion, I’ve had some thoughts about how FFXIV and Wow compare and how I think Blizzard is messing up again with their designs.

I’ll talk about two key areas and compare the two games:

  • Gear Upgrades and New Expansions
  • Class Specs and Talents

There are some important differences between the games that World of Warcraft could learn from as they move forward to Shadowlands and beyond.

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