Tips for Looking Great in FFXIV
Jan13

Tips for Looking Great in FFXIV

Things are continuing apace in FFXIV! My highest class is a 23 Conjurer, with a level 7 Arcanist coming up the ranks. The goal is to eventually get both classes to 30 at which point I can combine them in various ways to form a White Mage and a Scholar, the two healing specializations. I think. It’s all a little confusing.

Next week patch 2.5 hits, and there’s a fancy trailer for it on YouTube as of today. While I’m way too low level to worry about any of the end-game or max level content updates, this patch is also introducing a casino-like place with lots of carnival games including chocobo racing and the Triple Triad card game from Final Fantasy 8. Sounds good to me!

smile 294x500 Tips for Looking Great in FFXIV

Anyway, as I’ve mentioned before this game is really all about cute outfits and pets and mounts. (You can get costume gear for your chocobo, people. CHOCOBO HATS.) So here are some tips on being fabulous in Final Fantasy 14 using a few tools that I didn’t find terribly clear for new players.

1. The little color swatches on gear tiles represent the color of the item. That might seem obvious in retrospect, but it actually took me ages to figure out. My first instinct was that the swatch indicated quality of gear (like blue and purple in WoW) but then I was sort of boggled trying to figure out where things like “light green” and “kind of pinkish” would fit on a quality continuum.

swatches Tips for Looking Great in FFXIV

2. The game has an Aesthetician that you can unlock who will change your appearance, but you can also change your race by buying a $10 bottle of Fantasia from the Mog Station. This is important (and cool) in a game like FFXIV where you’re encouraged to just have one character forever. After dealing with WoW, $10 for a race change seems pretty reasonable!

3. You can change how your character stands while idle! Type /cpose repeatedly to rotate through the handful of options, including crossed arms and a variety of slouches. Your character will remember what you picked and use that pose while idle until you change it again.

4. For PC players, the “Pause” key is bound by default to “look at camera”. This little command is super useful for taking all kinds of cool screenshots of your character, like the one at the start of this post. Just pick a nice backdrop, move your camera, and hit Pause. Combine this with one of the many available facial expressions found under “Emotes” in the social menu. Pow, perfect screenshot!

Awesome Games Done Quick is Awesome

As mentioned in previous posts I’ve been feeling a little blue about the “gaming community” as of late for various reasons. Gamers, man. This week though I started watching the Awesome Games Done Quick event and if like me you’ve been feeling down about gaming I absolutely recommend that you check it out.

Awesome Games Done Quick is a fundraiser for the Prevent Cancer Foundation, held twice a year by the speedrunning community. It’s streamed live, 24-hours a day, and at any point you can go to Twitch or their website and check out folks blasting through games both old and new. As of this post the event has raised over $500,000 for their charity! AGDQ has been going on for a number of years previously, but this is the first time I’ve tuned in. And man, it’s been a treat.

First of all, it’s a joy to see people who reeeeeeally love games. Speedrunning can be through just plain skill and muscle memory or also involve an element of glitching the game to skip segments, but either way these folks have clearly spent hours devoted to their current game of choice and they are often a font of wisdom about it. I may not be a speedrunner in any way but seeing nerds (and oh man these are nerds) talk about analyzing algorithms to discern the most optimal paths in a game… well, even if we don’t have the specific type of gameplay in common I can’t help but feel that these are my people.

Additionally AGDQ and speedrunning in general seems to be a robust community, and each game also has its own dedicated group. The player gets to bring fellow speedrunners up “on the couch” behind them while they play, and often donations come in from their friends while they’re doing their thing. There’s discussion about “building on Y’s strategy” or a moment of giving props to the folks who helped the speedrunner while they were getting started, and I find it really heartwarming to see people being supportive and friendly.

But aside from the love for games and for their fellow speedrunners, some of the stuff you see on the stream is seriously amazing. There’s the gobsmacking invisible Tetris, a highly entertaining run of I Wanna Be the Boshy (with a mystery $20,000 donation near the end!), and today’s Ninja Gaiden Relay Race which sees 6 players battle over three games and end up a lot closer than you’d expect. Yesterday even had the first even AGDQ marriage proposal!

This round of Awesome Games Done Quick goes through January 10th, and if you find yourself idling in front of your computer you should definitely pop by to see what’s happening. It’s people who love games doing cool things with games, all for a good cause, and it might even make you feel better about the idea of a gaming community.

Cat Context 67: Favorite Games of 2014 and a Look at 2015
Jan07

Cat Context 67: Favorite Games of 2014 and a Look at 2015

cat context vertical Cat Context 67: Favorite Games of 2014 and a Look at 2015

Like Cat Context? Check out the The Gaming and Entertainment Network for more great shows!

This week Liore, Ellyndrial, and Arolaide look back at their favorite games of 2014 and then beyond to what we’re excited to get our hands on in 2015.

Without giving away anyone’s list, 2014 seems to have been a year where we played games differently. Elly has more than one mobile game on his list, while Liore discovered visual novels this year and totally fell in love with them. Aro’s list features a number of successful Kickstarter projects, which sent us on a bit of a tangent: is the era of runaway Kickstarter funding over? Now that we’re starting to see the results of 2012’s crowdfunding madness, are people pleased with what they got?

After looking back at 2014, it’s clearly time to look forward to 2015! We talk about what games we’re excited to try for ourselves, and what games we’re interested to just … see how they work in practice. (No Man’s Sky, we’re talking to you.)

Also, Aro tries out her old lady thumbs on a Raspberry Pie emulator! Liore gets excited for her new hipster holiday gadget! Elly schemes to get a Playstation 4!

Like to watch? This podcast has a livestreamed video version:

If you enjoyed this podcast, please “Like” or “Favorite” it in your media consumption method of choice! It makes us feel nice.

* Wikipedia on games released in 2014
* Free Music Archive page for our theme, in THE crowd by The Years

MMO Update: Wait, I played an MMO?!
Jan06

MMO Update: Wait, I played an MMO?!

Thanks to the holidays I finally finished Dragon Age: Inquisition (~110 hours) and Danganronpa 2 (~35 hours) — more posts on both of those later — which left me with a rather large hole in my relaxation schedule. I bought a few things during the Steam Holiday sale, but they were mostly puzzle games and didn’t feel like suitably dense follow-ups. After Dragon Age and DR I wanted something with a little more narrative. I wanted something I could optionally play with my partner, and didn’t require too much time or mental effort. I wanted something with silly hats. I wanted…

I wanted an MMO!

A few months back I had dabbled a bit in Final Fantasy XIV, and it seemed like the best candidate for a return. The mechanics of the game are very much in the tradition of WoW-likes (hotbar combat and such), but pleasantly different enough thanks to the Asian design style and huge legacy of Final Fantasy lore. I’ve been actively avoiding any reading or research on the game because it’s more fun right now to just bumble around and figure stuff out.

In fact, FFXIV hits a nice sweet spot for me as far as “casual” MMO playing goes. There are many, many optional grinds what with the multi-class system and separate crafting classes, as well as the hunting and sightseeing logs. I can focus on leveling my main class (Conjurer, obvs) if I feel like being productive, or just run around killing things or hitting trees if I want to put a movie up on the other monitor and chill out. Later in the game there’s chocobo breeding and guild houses to investigate, and each step of the main questline provides a lot of story and character.

Also the hats. Just look at this hat I got last night as part of the New Year holiday event:

ffhat2 500x440 MMO Update: Wait, I played an MMO?!

It’s.. a samurai sheep hat. With a mustache. And the “wool” jiggles as you move. It’s totally ludicrous, and I love it.

So anyway, after a break of many months I seem to be playing an MMO on a regular basis again. I’m not sure why it clicked now, or why exactly FFXIV, but it did and suddenly I’m having a lot of fun. 2015 is off to a good start!

The last word from 2014

I wasn’t going to do one of these because I already tried to be all poignant and shit in my birthday post, but it looks like most of my blog friends have a 2014 wrap-up and I’m a sucker for a trending topic.

Cool Internet Things That Happened This Year
* Created 8bit Kitchen, a collaborative food blog.
* Became a founding member of The Gaming and Entertainment Network along with a bunch of other cool blogger folks.
* Briefly played with video editing for Totally Legit Movies, which was super fun but also super time consuming.
* Was part of bunch of awesome interviews on GameOn, in particular Jeremy Gaffney right after the launch of WildStar.
* Hit 1000 followers on Twitter!
* Appeared as a guest on a couple of episodes of the much missed Contains Moderate Peril podcast.
* Along with Ellyndrial raised over $1400 for our local children’s hospitals during the Extra Life Marathon thanks to folks like YOU.

Cool Things I Wrote This Year
These are some of my favorite posts of 2014.

* A Modest Proposal About Boobs
* An Unofficial Guide to Firelands (I stole this from Elly)
* Friday Five: I Told You So Edition (being right feels so good)
* MMOs Are Dead and I Don’t Feel So Good Myself (speaking of being right)
* Talking to Depression (it’s, um, depressing but I like this post)
* Hot Gamer Trend of 2014: Alienation (ugggggh)

Internet Goals for 2015
1. Refocus this blog here and buckle down on writing. I’ve been kind of dithering because, unnngh, I’m not really into MMOs lately so I could write about other games but sometimes I want to write about movies and gadgets and oh god I don’t know let’s just watch more Netflix. Figure out what you want to have as your focus, Liore, and write it. Slacker.
2. Retweet more cool things on Twitter.
3. Guest on more podcasts. It’s fun to see how other podcasts are run and join in the conversation, so I should be a little more proactive about finding opportunities.
4. Post more on 8bit Kitchen! I cook all the time but I’m too lazy to take photos of it.
5. The goal for Cat Context is.. um.. just keep bein’ weird.

Real Life Observation for 2014
I am ending 2014 in a pretty damn fine place in my personal and professional life, mostly thanks to making a huge leap of faith and throwing caution to the wind. Clearly 2015 is gonna be awesome. :)

Acknowledgements
Syl, Murf, Roger, Bel, Brax, Dahakha, Syeric, Wilhelm, Eri, Talarian, Shintar, Jasyla, The Mystical Mesmer, Jeromai, Cary

And, of course, the IRC Crew (you know who you are). Thanks for keeping me sane, listening to me whine, and being the smartest, funniest, best bunch of bastards on the internet. <3

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