FFXIV – Back in Eorzea

On a pure whim, I went back to Final Fantasy XIV – A Realm Reborn, about a month ago. I have no idea why, aside from the fact that World of Warcrack just doesn’t appeal at the moment (I really need to cancel that sub), EQ2 seems like way too much trouble to get back into right now, and FFXIV lets me scratch the harvesting and crafting itch relatively well. And it’s a very pretty game, which EQ2 really isn’t no matter which way you slice it.

So here I am, having transferred to @Psychochild’s server – Midgardsormr – because I am nothing if not obedient to my friends’ orders. That was actually my first paid (and possibly first voluntary) character transfer ever, now that I think of it. Aside from not being cheap ($18), it was remarkably painless. And I’ve been taking screenies, because FFXIV is a game that sort of demands them, at least from me, and there are plenty of cutscenes as I whittle away at the main story quest. The good thing is the action pauses every time someone says something, so getting decent screenshots isn’t all that hard.

I probably wouldn’t have posted about it — the blog remains weak in me these days — but yesterday I acquired some new gear that made me look like a total ho and I figured I should share it. As one does.

The original pirate-ho look. Yes, it’s a plate-mail bikini… but at least I have a stylish tricorne and eye-patch! And the first thing I did after acquiring said armour was a dungeon (no really, me, in a dungeon) in a howling blizzard. Of course.

the_original_pirate_ho

The pirate-ho look, slightly modified, now with shorty-shorts. Marginally less mortifying.

piratey_ho

Psychochild found my deep embarrassment extremely entertaining. Admittedly, he’s been there himself.

A few other things I encountered in the last few play sessions include:

A cool dragon skelly in the snow. Oh yeah, and some plot and bad guy (actually corpse of the not-so-bad-guy that the bad guy murderised and impersonated).

Cool_dragon_skelly

A super cute but also mean sylph. Sylphs are awesome. I would totally roleplay one if I could. (You need to read the text. They all talk like that, only not all so scathingly. Though the NPC was remarkably stupid, I have to admit.)

Cutemeansylph

A level 50 group-hunt type mob. I don’t really know much about those other than seeing them around, since I’m not level 50 in any class that matters (i.e. adventuring). It was the name/model combo that made me laugh. Also, me on a beach in pirate-ho costume, which seems appropriate.

Dark Helmet

Camp Dragonhead at sunrise. The landscapes are beautiful in the game and the weather is very well-done. Even the lens-flare stuff is awesome as opposed to overblown and tedious.

Dragonhead_sunrise

Me and my buddy Cid flying through the Eorzean skies in the good ship Enterprise. Yes, someone said “Engage”.

Enterprise_skyscene

And finally the Mor Dhona loading screen because the loading screens are so pretty I want them for wallpapers. Minus the Moogle and text, ideally, but beggars and choosers.

MorDhona Loading Screen

And there you have it. As @Stargrace always says: Happy Gaming, no matter where you find yourself. And may the RNG be ever in your favour.

Sims 4 – Getting Together

I actually pre-ordered the Get Together expansion for Sims 4, but what with holiday busy-ness and end-of-year business it was some weeks before I actually got to play it. I wasn’t too worried — as I’ve said elsewhere, the Sims seems to be the most lasting game I’ve played in the last few years, along with World of Warcraft. (And since I haven’t logged in to the latter in something like 6+ months, I’m seriously thinking I should at least cancel my sub and save myself 100-odd bucks a year. I can always resub later on.)

In any case I’ve got some playing done here and there in the last couple of weeks. Rather than try the expansion with my current Legacy family (the Stylishes), I decided to start a whole new game, and the screenshots below are from that. The gal in question in Leslie Free — I’d initially intended to let her do her own thing, hence the name, but my control-freakiness soon threw that notion out the window.

It also dawned on me that I’d never tried the Scientist career from the Get to Work expansion, so Leslie is well on her way to becoming a mad scientist. It’s fun. The job requests (for progress & promotion) can be a little silly and overly-pushy in terms of having you be a ‘mad’ scientist, but the workplace is fun. I wouldn’t mind a bit more variety in the work hours as you go up the chain — it’s currently Monday – Friday 10AM-7PM no matter what rank you’re at — but that’s a minor niggle. And I get to make TRANSMOGRIFIERS!! It’s not called that (actually you can name it that if you like), but that’s basically what it is. Pick an object, point the ray-gun, and zzzzzzaaappp! it turns into something else. So far it’s turned into nothing useful, though I did turn some flowers at the park into a lovely coffee table, but apparently later on this could be lucrative. As someone who is always spending all my Simoleons on house upgrades I remain skeptical, but we’ll see.

Anyway, here are some not-entirely-random screenshots that document Leslie’s progress so far.

IntPiPoMo – final miscellanea

I was going to write about how the Sims seems to have ended up as my go-to solo game for the last 6 years (since the Sims 3 came out, in fact), but I can’t seem to find my old Sims 3 screenshots. They’re not lost — they’re just buried in what is now a secondary-secondary drive slaved in from the computer I had back in 2009. And I can’t be arsed to go find them.

Instead, here are a few of the other screenies I came across while looking for the ones you’re not going to see.

Guild Wars 2

I didn’t play it for more than a few weeks, but it sure was pretty.

GW2_2

gw2_3

gw2_4

gw2_5

gw2_6

FFXIV – A Realm Reborn

After a very unfortunate beta and first launch (tried one and therefore skipped the other), FFXIV came back better, stronger and faster. I thought I’d play it until the earth got swallowed by the sun, but like so many other MMOs I’ve played in the last decade, it didn’t stick. I’m not sure why, because I have very fond memories of it — aside from the need to do dungeons to progress the main story whether I wanted to or not — but as I wrote elsewhere I think that has a lot more to do with me and the lack of a constant group of known-people (friends, even) to play with than with any flaws in the game itself.

ffxiv_01

ffxiv_02

ffxiv_03

ffxiv_04

…Aaaand, that’s 50 (52 for the nit-picky). If Thanksgiving weekend food-excess and torpor allow, I might post a few more before November becomes December, but don’t count on it. Thank God for IntPiPoMo, or I might not have posted at all this month! Ahhh Blaugust, where art thou?

Happy Thankstuffing, US folks. Belated Thanksgiving, Canadia folks. Booyah, everyone else.

InTiWhatNow?

There is a new Thing in the blogosphere and it appears to be all Gamer Girl’s fault*. And I’ve never met a bandwagon I didn’t like, so…

intpipomo2015_badge

I lie. I hate bandwagons. But I’ll get on this one, at least for today, because I’m using old TSW screenshots as my desktop wallpapers at the moment (nerd? moi?) and they’re all awesome. All of them. Every last one. But this one is especially awesome. Because nice ass, BFG, cool boots, BFG, awesome Baron Samedi hat, Big Fucking Gun (and sword) and sinister sunlight. How can sunlight be sinister? Go play The Secret World and find out.

TSW_Mys_Kingsmouth

Or buy The Park, I’m told it’s nice and scary (reviews and play footage over at Tyrannodorkus’s place). I will never know, because I like scary for about 3 seconds, or when it’s happening in print (and not on a screen). Which is why I’m forever stuck around Kingsmouth-Solomon Island-Blue Mountains in TSW. Oh well. Still great screenshots.

Here’s another one from The Park, in fact, only the TSW version. It’s from a cut-scene but that counts, right? Don’t miss the creepy little NPC waiting for me to roll on by on the left hand side.

Mysericorde-2014-11-01-13-15-59

Click for larger versions, natch.

That is all. It’s highly doubtful you’ll get 50 of these in one month. I am not having an optimistic day. Now fuck off my lawn.

———–

*Actually it wasn’t, but you can go read her post and get the actual history. Let YOUR fingers do the damn walking.

Haiku Sunday – 13 September 2015

Ack! I forgot Poll Saturday!

The last few days have been a little busy. There’s work, as usual. Then there was cleaning the house for the impending maternal visit (she lands in a few hours). Then, because life wasn’t interesting or busy enough, there was the Friday afternoon spent chasing down an escaped parrot.

That was hair-raising. Imagine a cage door somehow not as shut as it seemed (and we’re quite careful), and a French door open to outside. Imagine four dogs, one of whom is deaf and old and doesn’t care much but three of whom are quite happy at the idea of chasing squawking, flapping, screaming, one-bite-fits-all small parrots.

micahAll in all we’re lucky only one of the 2 parrots got out.

Cue 3 hours of alternate deep depression, heart-stopping hope, self-flagellating guilt and remorseful relief. Yes, we got him back. Turns out most “how to catch your escaped parrot” websites are right: a tame parrot that can fly won’t usually go very far, and will usually stay put once they find a relatively safe spot to sit. The little bugger didn’t answer any of our calls, but it turns out he was about 20′ from the back door (and 20′ up in a tree) while we were freaking out calling him.

Eventually he got hungry, and mostly he got jealous of the fact that the other parrot was being fed yum-yums (seeds and nuts) and was making a lot of noise about enjoying them. He tried to fly down, failed, landed on a branch within reach and was very happy to get on my hand and go back into the house. Whew.

So, haiku.

Friday was hellish
Le perroquet est dans l’arbre!*
All’s well that ends well.

Feel free to join in.

* See Mr. Izzard, French lessons, and monkeys, passim.

Wot I'm Playing – September 2015

This is a total cop-out post because I’m not actually playing anything, hee hee, ho ho. So you’re about to be regaled with all the games I’m not playing, which has been a quarterly litany this year.

WARNING: Do not click the subheading links unless you want to watch extremely silly and definitely NSFW comedians on YouTube. YHBW.

A Compuder

I’m not playing WoW, even though the Draenor flying patch is in and whatnot. Not for lack of interest — well okay, partly for lack of interest — actually, wait, almost totally for lack of interest. And not just in Warcraft. Nothing is really calling my name these days. I’m also not playing TSW, though I keep both games up to date. I’ll have to log back into TSW soon, if only to take more screenshots. Easily the best game evar for moody and evocative screenshots — and for allowing me to make a character that looks the way I would totally love to look in that grindy-ass Real Life game.

It doesn’t help that MMOs are better with other people. But other people tend to play in the evenings, and in the last 6-36 months I’ve tended to conk out right around the time the sun goes down. (Turns out that’s almost certainly the medications I’m on and not just some weird mutation that’s turning me into a sloth, but that’s a whole other story for another time.)

I got all up in ARK‘s business for what, a week? … and haven’t fired it up since. (Playing alone probably didn’t help that one.) I played Shadowrun: Hong Kong and that was super fun, but when I thought I was about a third of  the way in it turns out I was almost at the end, and I finished it before I truly realised what was happening. Super fun but too damn short! Of course, it includes some sort of development platform so maybe there will be other adventures to play. It was never intended to be another Skyrim or Witcher, after all.

Speaking of the Witcher, been meaning to pick up the 3 that people are raving about but haven’t got round to that either yet. In fact, if you were to check my to-do list you’d notice I haven’t done a single item on it.

I haven’t played my new Sims 4 Legacy family in over a month — but there I’m not so worried, because I always go back to the Sims. After looking down my nose at that game for a number of years (and incarnations 1 and 2), I picked up Sims 3 on a whim in 2009 and have been pretty regularly hooked ever since. I don’t play it all the time, but I do play it several times a year for a month or so. So the Stylishes will be back, sooner or later, and I may even post about them someday.

What I have been doing is preparing for the impending parental visit. My mum will be staying with us for ONE. WHOLE. MONTH., so we have to brace ourselves and assume crash positions. And clean the house. Lots and lots and lots of cleaning the house.

airplane_crash_position

Me? Mobile games? With my reputation?

It’s also possible I’ve been *cough* playing a few mobile games. I never did get the point of those until I got a decent tablet; the only games I have on my phone are sudoku, crosswords and a Bejeweled clone and I hardly ever play those as it is. But on the iPad… hell, if it moves I’ve downloaded it. Well, not quite, but I’ve tried out a few games. And I spend a few moments every day doing whatever non-in-app-purchase moves I can do. Which isn’t many, but when you have about 6 games that’s about an hour’s worth.

I’m currently farting about with Happy Street (which fails to hook me but is super cute and so easy it hurts, and it’s all Syl’s fault), Paradise Bay (ditto with nice Disney-like graphics), Adventure Capitalist (seriously, making money to buy more stuff and make more money faster? I might as well be raiding), Best Fiends (which is super cute and kind of fun, since I like match-3 games), and the standard crosswords, sudoku and mahjongg.

Le tabletop game est sur la table

And of course there’s the attempt at a tabletop group and some games. There’s a G+ community going at the moment with a half-dozen folks, and we’ve met up a couple of times on Roll20. Yesterday we did some character creation with about half the group and will fit the other half in as and when schedules allow.

[Tangent-ish: speaking of which, because the schedules and time zones of the current dirty half-dozen are so hard to reconcile, I’d be happy to sort out two or even more groups – playing or GMing, I’m easy. So if you’re interested in playing something FATE-related, or even finding out what the big deal is about FATE, leave your Pathfinder books at home and holler at me in the comments, or on G+.]

Oddly enough it never occurred to me that scheduling is possibly even harder online than it is in person. I expected it to be the opposite… but we have 2 players from the UK, 4 from the US East Coast, and me in the US South-west, which gives us a 7-hour time-zone spread and makes things a little complicated. Add to that some odd work schedules (some folks have non-Sat/Sun weekeneds, some work rotating shifts, some have pretty hefty workloads, we all have other external commitments, etc. etc. etc.) and I swear it’s been harder getting us to our computers and keyboards than it would be to head down to my local game shop and kidnap a few callow youths.

Problem is, I don’t want callow youths. One of the best things about getting older and being an experienced gamer is that you get to play with other older and/or experienced gamers — gamers who don’t think a dungeon crawl with 10,000 gp as a reward is the best thing you can get out of tabletop games. (Not that I have anything against a good Monty Haul campaign, mind you, but I did outgrow those in the 90s.) Or, to be a bit more tolerant of the chronologically-challenged, I don’t want inflexible callow youths. I want to play with folks who don’t mind stretching their gaming comfort zone, as I am currently trying to do.

In fact, what I’m really doing is trying out systems that formalise how my RL friends and I played for years. We didn’t always play so-called storytelling or story-heavy systems, but we always played them as though they were. Character was paramount (possibly herded by a literature major who has very definite opinions about whether character drives plot or the other way around *cough*). And–

And so on. Since this is still nominally an MMO blog, at least until I change the tagline at the top of the page, I won’t froth about tabletop gaming. But the 2 semi-sessions that have been managed have been fun so far; here’s hoping we’ll manage a few more.

The Obligatory Comment-Inducing Question at the End

And you? What have you been playing or wishing you had time to play? Do you think the moon is made of cheese? Who really shot JR? And was the ending of LOST lame or what?

 

Alert! Mouse post! Move along…

So, now that we have the rodentophobes out of the room, a quick update on the rodenty shenanigans. (Part I for those who missed it.)

We lost one of the 4 on Wednesday, and I had something in my eye for the longest time after that. Then last night I got up for the 3AM feeding (every 2-3 hours, 24/7, because they have stomachs the size of fleas) only to discover that another baby mouse seemed to be ailing. He was lethargic, super dehydrated, and didn’t want to eat anything.

Long story short, with the SO’s help we alternated holding him in a hand (warmer) and feeding him every 10-15 minutes, even if it was just a small drop. By 7AM he was filling out a bit and actually had a little visible milk in his tummy — that’s getting much harder to see now that their fur is coming in, which doesn’t help, though the fur coming in is a good thing obviously. At I write this it’s 1PM and he’s been back on the 2-hourly feeding since 7. He’s still pretty skinny and not quite as energetic as the other two, but he’s still here.

Not having raised orphaned field mice before I have no real basis for comparison, but these guys seem a little slow to develop to me. Which may be at least partly my fault — I focused more on the danger of over-feeding them (bloat, colic) than on the rather more dire danger of under-feeding them (you know… death). As a result they’re skinnier than they should be, or at least were until last night when I started stuffing them like Christmas geese. Now we’re finally seeing the round tummies I associate with replete neonate mammals, and they’re filling out their skin a lot better. A couple of them have really one weirdly bulging not-opened eye, but because it’s not just one of them (and doesn’t seem to cause them any pain), I’m treating that as a bridge we’ll burn when we get to it and calling the bulgiest little dude “Cyclops”.

So — so far so good, apart from losing almost half the contingent we rescued last Saturday. I’m trying not to flagellate myself excessively for that, but it’s difficult when one has a lifelong habit of wanting to take responsibility for the entire universe and probably beyond.

While the rodent contingent is doing well enough, I , predictably, am a wreck, both from lack of sleep (5 hours last night, in 2 – 1 – 2 hour snatches) and from the emotional roller-coaster of trying to keep tiny little creatures I know nothing about alive. Well, predictably for everyone except What Consequences? Girl, i.e. me. But as I’ve said before I wasn’t going to let them die in my back yard or pile them up somewhere so that they could die conveniently out of my sight; that’s not a mindset I understand even if they are at best a nuisance in our environment. As long as they’re not in my house (present guests excepted), I have no problem sharing my mountain with the field mice. I’m pretty sure they were here first.

I’d add pictures but they’re on my phone and my phone is in the kitchen and I’m not getting up and walking that far, no way no how. You’ll have to imagine them. They look more like mice and less like jelly-beans every day.

Positive vibes and sleeping tips gratefully accepted.