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08 January 2015 @ 01:11 pm
Winter Games: 2014-2015  
What did i do with my time off over the holidays?

I started a new game of "Recettear". I forget what the original inspiration was, i think maybe i wanted to play something Zelda-like? In any case i was rather sad to discover that i somehow missed this save when transferring things over to my new hard drive. It didn't take me _too_ long to "finish" the game again and get to Endless mode though. Don't want to think about how much dungeon progress i lost though =P

I played a game of "80 Days". I stumbled across a recommendation for this game somewhere and gave it a shot. It's on both Android and IOS. It's a game version of "Around the World in 80 Days", except set in a alternate steampunk world. There are locations scattered all around the world with a number of different kinds of routes between them. Some routes appear automatically and some are discovered by story events. In each city you can buy items, some of which provide a benefit and some of which can be sold for a huge profit if you happen to go through the right city. You have to balance the time each route tacks vs the cost, balancing in the fact that you may really want to go through city X to sell that doodad you picked up for an obscene amount of money, even if the trip takes a little more time. It was rather fun, but i only got through one game because i then got distracted by...

"Plague Inc." I played a lot of Pandemic on the web back in the day. Yet for some reason even though i heard a bit about this several months ago i never picked it up until seeing a good review of it over the holidays. It's your "standard" evolve a disease and try to wipe out humanity game. The developer freely admits the game is inspired by Pandemic 2, and although some people have accused it of being a simple clone of Pandemic 2.5 it seems to me that they've added enough depth and complexity to show that's not the case. Although like Pandemic it keeps the silly convention that when you evolve your disease all of it instantly evolves together worldwide. It's a pretty reasonable thing from a gameplay standpoint, but it does demonstrate that if any diseases ever develop telepathy we're definitely all screwed.

But in any event i played a fairly large number of hours of it on my phone, and then when i got home i discovered there was a PC version available on Steam, which i picked up and have played a couple more hours of. (The PC version definitely seems a little more difficult, though it's possible i just think so because i had to start over without any of the boosts i'd previously earned.)

A little later i ended up watching a Let's Play of Dungeon of the Endless and ended up deciding to grab a copy of that too. It's definitely very interesting, but also rather hard. The Let's Play guy said at the beginning that he'd already played a couple games and hadn't made it to the end yet. So i went in expecting it to be difficult and it exceeded my expectations. This is a rogue-like where you start out with two people and can recruit up to four. Each level you explore a series of room. You have a limited resource that can light up rooms, and every time you explore a new room any rooms that are dark can spawn monsters. You can fight the monsters with your characters and/or you can build defenses in rooms you've lit up.

And finally, on thursday Avalyn saw an add for a free trial period of Final Fantasy 14. She's been a WoW player forever and has made intermittent attempts to get me to join her. So she said "you like Final Fantasy right? We could play this together!" So i finally gave in to temptation and started playing my first MMO ever.

We then stayed up until about 5am playing. Then on friday we restarted because we found out that coraa and jmpava have characters on a different server. (I was very happy that we were able to grab "Ultros" and only reluctantly moved to "Midgardsormr". What kind of a name is that?) Thankfully it was _much_ quicker to race through the early content now that we knew what we were doing and it only took us a couple hours to get back to where we were. We "only" stayed up until 3 am that "evening", and then saturday and sunday night we managed to cap things off at a fairly sane time.

We are now at level 20 and are two-thirds of the way through the introduction to dungeons part of the plot quest line. However after reading a couple tips and tricks i got enthusiastic about crafting and gathering and ran around the world picking up every non-combat job.

Overall the game seems reasonably fun. I'm not a big fan of the free-form semi-action mode of combat with just a single character to control, but the controls aren't too difficult and the story is reasonably interesting so far.

I am rather sad that almost all the Nobuo Uematsu music from the first version of the game got removed. I guess they figured that everything had to go in order to get rid of the bad taste the first release left in players' mouths, but the music was the one thing that almost convinced me to join the game then.

Avalyn and i coincidentally picked classes that resulted in us starting in the same city, which was very convenient for the first dozen or so hours of play. Unfortunately we both picked DPS classes, which means we may have a little difficulty with late game content without working with other people. Luckily jmpava has a tank character and has already helped us out with one dungeon and some random wandering about in the overworld.

After hearing acrimonious stories about sniping loot/EXP in other MMOs i like the fact that FF14 makes it impossible to do that, and in fact actively encourages people to jump into fights and help each other out. I also like the "Fate" events, which are basically mini-quests on the overworld map that spawn on a regular and fairly frequent basis and which anyone can join in on just by walking into the area. They provide a pretty significant EXP bonus as well as being more interesting that a regular grind.

As for the dungeons... well we've only done two so far. For the first one Avalyn and i were teamed up with two random people, both of whom were incredibly competent. Unfortunately we didn't really get the chance to read the help pages on how dungeons work because as soon as it started the two of them were tearing off down the corridor, leaving us trying to frantically catch up. When it became clear that we weren't experienced they offered us some advice, some of which made sense and some of which went over our heads. All in all it was a little overwhelming. (Ironically, i meant to give them in-game props for the help despite the rush, but we were in such a hurry to keep up with them that we exited the dungeon and passed the point where you could make player recommendations before we realized it. Some kind of karma there?) The second dungeon we did was with jmpava and just one stranger, and combined with the experience from the previous dungeon it went a little better.

The PvP content in the game is (as far as i know) restricted to the battle events, which are supposedly large team vs team affairs that run in separate instances. Which means that we don't ever need to deal with it if we don't feel like it, which is nice.

Jack of all trades, master of none: Nailed it!
http://na.finalfantasyxiv.com/lodestone/character/9582742/
 
 
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