Final Fantasy XIV – A Realm Reborn Review

September 13, 2013 - 10:06 am No Comments

ffxiv-review

As we approach the one month mark of the Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn launch, it’s time to address the bright spots and the short falls of what has been a record-setting launch. For the early adopters, it has been a rough ride, arguably one of the worst MMOG launches ever in terms of server stability. There’s also been plenty of technical issues that have had to sit back seat while Square Enix addresses server issues. Despite these issues, the relaunch of a once downright terrible game has actually been a resounding success.

How does a game launch plagued by server and technical issues equal success? The sheer number of players that have flocked to the game indicate a strong, positive future for the game. Records have been set: launch day experienced 187,000 concurrent users and subsequent numbers have topped 325,000 concurrent users. This owns to the fact that the game, once we could finally play it, is simply amazing. In a stark contrast from the original launch in 2010, A Realm Reborn has experienced an amazing rebirth. Read through the cut for some highlights.

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The Calm Before the Storm

August 13, 2013 - 5:30 pm No Comments

calm-storm

You might have noticed I haven’t posted anything in a few months. I have a problem – I’m bored. Honestly, there’s just nothing out there for me right now that really screams “play me!” Since my last long endeavor (The Secret World) played itself out, I’ve really been scattered around games. I’ve revisited old games, experimented with new ones, and played plenty of assorted betas. I’ve spent more time playing Minecraft: XBox 360 Edition then I have any MMOG in the last six months (Raptr doesn’t lie!).

That said, I have not been estranged from the news and buzz of the upcoming titles. Elder Scrolls Online, Wildstar, and even Destiny have my spider senses tingling. But you know me, by now. What does the greatest console RPG ever, the latest WoW-clone, and a shooter have against the likes of the juggernauts: Final Fantasy and EverQuest. Yes people, we finally have the next iterations from a pair of franchises as storied for gamers as the Yankees and Dodgers are for baseball fans. Read through the cut for a preview of what may be the next chapter of Die by the Arrow.

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Neverwinter Arrives

May 2, 2013 - 1:16 pm No Comments

After months of closed and weekend betas, Neverwinter has finally launched entered open beta and with it dreams of bringing the table top Dungeons & Dragons spirit to the massively multiplayer online platform are potentially realized. Wait, didn’t Dungeons & Dragons Online already do that? I’m confused. In any case, Neverwinter brings the ultimate geek game to current generation standards and perhaps draw in a crowd that might previously have been missing from the scene: the classic Neverwinter Nights gamers. Read through the cut for my review and how to play it with a XBox360 game pad!

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RIFT Grindhouse: Post-60

March 30, 2013 - 10:58 am Comments Off
rift grindhouse

Raptr shows me as playing RIFT more than World of Warcraft now, which of course is only true over the last year of actually using Raptr because I’ve probably got another 2000+ hours in WoW (and, in fairness, at least another 5-600 hours in RIFT) pre-dating my Raptr use. It does show that RIFT dominated March – logging 310 hours played. Somewhere around 10 hours a day played, so if any developer out there needs a play tester just drop me a line!

Anyway, it’s safe to say I’ve established myself in RIFT again and I’ve spent the majority of those 300 hours playing post-60 level cap. I’ll be honest, I haven’t really been playing my level 60 all that much – altoholism has hit me very hard this go-round. I started leveling my Defiant rogue and my Guardian Warrior under the assumption I’d be splitting my time raiding on Wolfsbane and carousing around Faeblight. Things changed and now I’ve got three characters at 55 or higher, including two rogues. But I’ve learned a bit more about leveling up to help you the readers out. Read through the cut for more about that and a handful of discoveries I’ve made about RIFT post-60.

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Posted in RIFT

Sixty: Storm Legion Endgame

March 8, 2013 - 12:07 pm Comments Off
Sixty-Storm Legion Endgame

Reaching the Cap Again

Raptr says I’ve logged 89 hours in the last week. That’s insane – although, in fairness, a lot of that time was spent staring at the character select screen. Still, it took about 10 days, or about 35 hours, to go from 50 to 60 with a plentiful bounty of rested experience along the way. Of course, I forgot about my veteran pots. The grind was not nearly as bad as I expected; in fact, it was quite fun getting back into the game, using a new soul, and generally plowing my way through hordes of carnage, story, and daily quests.

It wasn’t all kill beasts and find porticulums though. Along the way there were plenty of planar mobs to kill. Invasions seem to be significantly more common than in vanilla RIFT. Footholds are common and rifts are opening all over the place. While carnage quests are the bread and butter of the grind to 60, there is plenty of variety to keep a person busy and engaged. Overall, the experience from 50 to 60 was massively enjoyable and a far car from the “same old, same old” grinds of other MMOG expansions. Read through the cut for more on the grind, dimensions, and what there is to do once you hit sixty.

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Posted in RIFT

Return to Telara

February 23, 2013 - 6:03 pm Comments Off
Return to Telara

The Storm Legion Beckons

Yeah, I’m game hopping. What of it? I just can’t seem to find a game right now that can command my attention for more than a few weeks at a time. After enjoying a short jaunt back in Azeroth (six max level characters later), I spent a little time maxing out a single character in Telon. It was good fun, but both just got boring. So round and round the MMOG wheel spins, and now I find myself smashing away at the armies of the Storm Legion in RIFT’s first expansion. To Telara we go!

After about 30 hours spent in game over the last week there’s a few things I’ve figured out. One: I’ll likely never be inclined to get into the number-crunching of spec building this time around – it’s just too time consuming and I just want to play right now. Two: while the new continents offer great quests and the carnage missions are like free xp, the vast amount of total xp required to level makes the journey to 60 one of the longer grinds in any expansion I’ve played recently. Lastly: I really miss raiding! Read on for the review of my return to Telara.

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Wearing Out the Welcome

February 7, 2013 - 9:55 am No Comments

Wearing Out the Welcome

Since the launch of Guild Wars 2, I’ve been a bit of an MMO floater. I’ve jumped around between GW2, World of Warcraft, Vanguard, and even sat idle in The Secret World for a bit. This is a result of two things: free to play going mainstream and no mainstream games that are really grabbing my fancy. That’s not to say the above games aren’t all great games – they all have their strong points – it’s just that none of them have everything in one package to keep me sticking around.

That said, I’ve recently jumped back into Guild Wars 2 bringing my wife along with me, which affords it the official title as my “current game.” For the last month or so, I’ve been battling away in Tyria, picking up where I left off on my level 50-something Ranger. In that month, I’ve accomplished level 80 and 100% map completion, joined the super-guild Gaiscioch, and tossed around a few heads in fractals and dungeons. Oh… and started another nasty altoholic episode. Read through the jump for my full review of the entire Guild Wars 2 experience.

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Tillers and Pandaren Cooking Reference Guide

January 2, 2013 - 12:55 pm Comments Off

With a couple of months now passed since the launch of Mists of Pandaria, I’ve done a whole lot of mindless farming – literally farming not the gamer slang version. Let’s face it, there’s a whole lot of achievements associated with farming and cooking, so, being the achievement-whore that I am, I just had to put in the effort to get all of them. It’s not a short journey, that much is certain. Is it fun? Not particularly.

To master all of the Ways of cooking and to earn the best friendship of all of the friends of the farm, it takes a whole lot of resources. Harvested ingredients, hunted ingredients, and fished ingredients galore, in total it’s a collection of well over 5,000 individual items – and this isn’t including the Now I am the Master achievement. Keeping track of all the needed resources for all these achievements is quite a task, but having a fancy spreadsheet sure does help.

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Tiller Friendship Farming Spreadsheet

November 13, 2012 - 11:01 pm Comments Off

One of the big new features in Mists of Pandaria is the farming side-game. It obviously ties in with the new cooking system as the new it thing in World of Warcraft. Part of the grind is raising your friendship – a new form of reputation – with each of the Pandarian farmers at Halfhill. You’ve got dailies and random gifts to provide each farmer to strengthen your friendship, but you’ve also got the option to give each farmer his or her favorite dish. Well, keeping track of all the dishes, ingredients, and exactly how many of it all you need to cap out each friendship is no small undertaking.

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Pandas, Dailies, and Pet Battles Oh My!

November 6, 2012 - 11:10 am Comments Off
pandas, dailies, and pet battles

You didn’t think I’d miss the launch of the latest, greatest WoW expansion did’ya? Sure, I’ve been off playing games like The Secret World, Vanguard, and Guild Wars 2, but Warcraft is the olde standby, the warm bed we always return to when we seek comfort and familiarity. With the launch of the new expansion, Mists of Pandaria, I’ve jumped back in full steam.

The result is a very mixed feeling about the game and the future of its status in my stable of MMOGs. Pandas (bleh), dailies (bleh), and pet battles (yay) aside, the expansion offers an absolute ton of content, all mostly gated behind some sort of grind, alongside massive changes to character talents, advancement, and achievements. As with any changes as deep as an expansion brings, there are the good and the bad. Read through the cut for my favorite and least favorite new features.

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