Stabby People

Have I complained here about rogues/thieves/assassins/hunters/insertmediumarmorevasionclasshere yet?

They suck in multiplayer games. You might be surprised by this, you might not be. You might really really not be. I find that this is a thing that a wide variety of video games fail at, or at least I see them as pretty major failures. I’m not talking about Nova or the FFXIV ninja. Those things work fine because of their systems. Yes, I’m saying the stealth is fine. Piss off.

It’s the Guild Wars 2 and action games and even Destiny where the whole “agility” thing is just bad. Bad. It’s not a substitute for armor. The essence of games is give and take, back and forth. The concept of the agility character, the “don’t get hit” character, is bad for entertainment.

I don’t want to never hit you. That’s not fun for me. You don’t want to die in goddamn hit. That’s not fun for you. Somehow, this is the kinda crap that keeps getting shoved forward. I mean, that’s not all of it. I have a laundry list of things I find to be just bullshit designed about Hunters in Destiny. That’s not really the point of this post though.

This is, for once, a post of hope and inspiration! Shut up, it happens.

I had a chat with a friend today, and after meandering a bit, he came to a pretty lovely conclusion that the era of guns is the era where your agility people and their stealth and rapiers and daggers and whatever the crap matter again. Because there are no more big guys in armor that they couldn’t actually fight.

Think about it. Everyone running around not in armor. It won’t matter at that point! You can have your sneaky things, and your “warrior” types are musketeers. Not to be confused with the people with muskets. You know what I mean.

Guns, magic, stabby daggers, people with rapier and buckler dueling. It could totally work. I mean, sure, it sounds funny for tanking, but you people accepted that a bear can tank a dragon, so I think you can manage something here, right? And let’s not forget the ninja tank phenomenon of FFXI.

I’m just saying, the agility guy is a cool concept. Hell, I dabbled in rapier a bit back in college and had a blast. I mean, no, it’s not actually an agility weapon, but rule of cool as it were. Appreciate that there is a setting where it might actually make sense and not be a hideous burden on an action game.

Too bad no one will ever make it.

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Stealthies, stealthies, everywhere, and Square hates mages

Final (final) Fantasy XIV

It has taken me less than 30 days to become bored with FFXIV again. There isn’t enough to do in the game that I actually care about. It’s the hunting community. I enjoyed the act of hunting, and even most of this run has been great (for hunting), but the community is falling apart again on Cactuar.

I like the general hunting community. They are courteous, active, and interested in chatter and generally being social in a medium that is designed for it. Also, there aren’t any queues for your bullshit. You just do it.

A rash of unreported kills, early pulls, and a lack of hunters has left the whole thing pretty rotten for me. Given that the only job I actually play is ninja, and that gearing up is literally a weeks-long thing, and mostly being done by a single Void Ark run each week… the incentive to carry on is weak.

The one goal I really had for this run, other than checking out the mudra changes (fantastic by the way!), was to ding 60 on black mage finally. I didn’t do that. The job is just too damn boring to level after ninja. It’s REALLY boring to level. Nothing I read about the job or continue to see about the job makes me think it is in any way going to grow more interesting.

Square has a hateful relationship toward black mages, so I knew this going in. Black magic is the bastard child of these games, and may only actually be good in VI. Summoning magic tends to be straight-up better than black magic, and frequently not usable by the same character. Not that it matters. Ifrit beats fire every time basically. I’m pretty sure in III it was better to just be a ninja and throw shuriken. Remember this, both of you people who read this blog: Square hates black mages. Poor Vivi.

 

Xenothingy something X

I was given my first introduction to a Xenoblade(s?) game today. It was the latest one. I watched a friend play it. It was horrible. That was the sum total of the experience. Actually, I discussed this at length with said friend. It’s like there are a ton of really great systems and even entire other games contained in this one. There are too many. It is pointless and overwhelming and dear god that gameplay is insanely boring.

There was a brief moment when I was tempted to actually ask to see a bit of story. Very brief. Before the commentary on the opening lore and cinematic that is referenced in a flashback more than once in the first hour of gameplay. That’s… too much bullshit.

Couldn’t we have just learned something from “Good morning, Crono”?

 

Heroes of the Stealth

I finally like stealth. Okay, that’s a dirty goddamned lie. Stealth is still an evil blight on gameplay and I have been seeing firsthand how much it changes things. I did have fun with it though.

Nova is free this week in Heroes of the Storm and I picked her up for fun after playing a lot of Cho’gall, who is absurdly fun, and the various other heroes in my roster who are more conventional. She’s a lot of fun, and the amount of silly burst you can have is awful and amazing. You’re also a weird aspect of the fight.

I have finally played enough games that I got my “dark templar vision” back and can see stealthies pretty easily. My friends who play my tanks don’t have that, and I was left in a lot of really ugly situations with enemy Nova players where I was hideously exposed. It was interesting to note that my life was much more interesting (read: difficult) when there was an enemy Nova who was watching for me as much as I was for her. At that point, it becomes a game of how well the other members of the team function without you while you wait for a chance either to kill a crucial target and run like hell, or, even better, get the other Nova killed.

In contrast, games without an enemy Nova were almost freebies to just murder people. No one actually looks for you. Despite there being a reasonable visual cue, no one will see a damn thing and you will legitimately be invisible. With burst. And an all-range satellite laser. It’s… almost mind-boggling.

The caveat, of course, is that you have zero escape mechanisms except just running like an idiot until you can cloak again. Patience is your ally. Also, tanks who know how and when to engage. Mostly though, you’re just a horrible killing machine the enemy… doesn’t even try to deal with until you kill them?

This is what gets me. I realize they could just learn to see me, but that’s still an absurd skill you have to learn for two characters in the entire game. I could probably play Nova effectively *without* stealth, but stealth makes her this awful creature that will either inflict paranoia on the enemy, or just wreck them. I’m not even a good Nova!

Okay, playing her without stealth might suck a bit, but no worse than playing Lux in LoL, and I was great at that. Full AP too, because vitality is for losers.

I’m totally saving the 10k to buy Nova.

 

 

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Soccer with the Enemy

My faith in WvW was restored. I don’t know why I should be surprised. I vented my frustration about the state of things, it follows naturally that the universe should laugh at me. Who am I to complain about good things being delivered to me anyway?

I ran into a mesmer while roaming on my little guardian. Hanging out west of my borderland garrison, looking to snipe dolyaks. We had a nice scuffle and I ended up losing, because I’m not actually very good at the moment and also because holy crap mesmers are amazing right now. That’s not the good part. The good part was after.

After respawning at the garrison, I ran straight back out and waved to the JQ mesmer, now hopping around on the rocks of a nearby ruin. They waved back and hung out in the little arena it forms. I jumped across the rocks and joined them, and we proceeded to scuffle a good 7 or 8 (or more…) times. They never finished me.

I never won a fight. I got close repeatedly, after fiddling with my build repeatedly, but I never managed to down them. It was the most fun I’ve had in ages. What made the experience better was that my team would come rushing in gung-ho to save me, and as soon as I mentioned dueling they would peel off with a quick wish of good luck. Everyone was just… nice.

We actually started chatting at some point, and they were kind enough to offer advice, discuss the state of things, and mention what works when. Everything was fine and dandy until a particularly skilled Blackgate ranger came by and murdered us. Oh well!

I’ll admit, despite generally considering Blackgate to be dishonorable scum, and having that fully reinforced for most of the time I wasn’t dueling the mesmer, I did run across a couple who were interested in having a duel and not outright murdering me or anyone else just because. Of course, some other Blackgate people were just looking to kill for the hell of it and that maybe ruined the experience.

Actually, the experiences I had between mesmers, rangers, eles, thieves, and guards yesterday really made me appreciate just how… weird balance is right now. Power meditations was a little lacking a lot of the time, and I found burning meditations, even a very hastily put together build, to have a lot more oomph most of the time. The one time it doesn’t, as if you fight power mediguard.

The Blackgate gentlewoman I was attempting to scuffle with was a power mediguard that had gotten the drop on me previously in burn build, and I wanted a chance to properly fight them power to power. After the fiasco with their scum server-mates, I ended up fighting another mesmer on power because I was trying to find them, and barely lost. So I swapped back to burning and then ended up… well it was kind of all a joke.

I’m not sure where the balance is. I feel like the thing that holds me back is consistently a lack of energy. I can’t take my dip into Honor for vigor on crit now, and that’s screwing with me. I tried dropping a DPS line and picking up Honor, which I generally am disgusted with. I felt a lot more comfortable with that trait setup though. Maybe I’ll have to drop a DPS sigil in favor of Energy…

Regardless of how screwy my build is presently, or how horrible Blackgate is, I had a great time in WvW yesterday, and largely just wandering around doing solo things. I fully intend to keep at it 😀

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Friendless Fantasy XIV

I am actively taking a break from FFXIV. One reason being that I’m literally not going to have a computer starting mid-August, because I’ll be on a month-long vacation to various parts of Europe. Another reason being that the intervening period of time is going to be more or less entirely about packing and figuring out the logistics of shipping all our stuff back to Seattle. Reason three is that I seriously need a break.

I’ll admit that I hit Heavensward hard. I definitely got ahead of a lot of people, got geared up thoroughly before people, and dove into Alexander day 1. One of my best friends is in that group of people that was left in the dust. I felt weird pushing forward mostly alone, he felt kinda lame only hitting 60 last week. I have the free time, he had a wedding to plan, and 3 hours of time difference made it difficult to even get time together.

Something I really appreciated while I was active in Guild Wars 2 was having a regular partner. I had someone who joined me on my WvW escapades constantly. That friend was easily the best part of the game. We all like having friends, right? Well, as much as I love my FC, it wasn’t quite the same to have this brand new leveling opportunity, and to just blaze through it solo. I definitely missed that sense of camaraderie. I’d rather play the game less and tackle things together. I didn’t realize that, and I’d kinda forgotten about the idea.

During our 1-50 run in FFXIV, my now-happily-married friend and I did most things together. We beat the story together, we did Ultima HM together, we did the HM primals together, and we leveled some alt jobs together. It wasn’t always constant, but we did a lot of it, and I think it was important. I’d rather not leave him horribly behind and have my own Tam-Tara HM happen >>

This is part of why I need a break – to reset where we are together.

There is also a fourth reason: I don’t know what to play. I’m going to keep this part brief, because I have vented my frustration over the state of ninja enough lately. It’s felt terrible, the timing is bad, and I just hate playing it now, and refuse to pay money for a service to just make the game run correctly. Maybe I’ll paladin? …or summoner? or actually keep up with black mage which is actually 51? I don’t know. The state of ninja bums me out though. It might not be quite such a bummer if most of the new skills weren’t… just stupid. After lots of testing, there is no actual use for hate skills during end game. Tanks in DPS stance can still keep hate without me doing anything. They are terrible skills. I just don’t get the point of Dream Within a Dream or Duality. They are boring, filler, and don’t seem to have any inspiration. Armor Crush I like, despite it being an admittance of failure in the ninjutsu system. Oh well. I’m sure I’ll get over it eventually.

Or play Guild Wars 2.

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GW2 – Tactics Guardian

I went home to Seattle recently for a wedding. None of that is noteworthy here, except that it gave me the opportunity to go home and hit up old games my brother still has lying around. Of all the silly things I could pick up, I picked up Ogre Battle 64 and kept on with the file I started last time I was in town.

Ogre Battle 64 is a fun game. It’s a fantastic, interesting, nuanced, and long game. I love having so many characters I get to care about and develop. One of my favorite game characters to date is still the little second-in-command sorceress that stuck by me all the way from beginning to end in my initial play. Her name was Butterfly, and her element was ice. She was quite possibly the strongest member of my army despite never upgrading her class. This game was great to me.

What I didn’t recall about it from years past was that it is *cruel* if you make a mistake. It’s definitely challenging… possibly because I’m not doing any extra training… but I made a mistake that killed off two whole squads in the last mission I played. Two. Whole. Squads. Soft reset to –

– last night, when I picked up Guild Wars 2 again. I don’t know why I did it, really, since this game aggravates me as often as it makes me smile. Probably more so, actually. Anyway, I dove into my borderland to defend the realm yadda yadda. I played with some builds, tried being an ele a bit, went back to my guardian as usual, and generally tried to stick to the action. There is a lot of action going on in the T1 stuff and I’d been annoyed, VERY annoyed, that roaming is practically dead. It’s not a thing you do much of when there are multiple pockets of 5+ enemies roaming around looking specifically for stragglers to pick off while they are moving to real objectives.

So it started off frustrating, but I decided to persevere through the obnoxious tactics and just skirt everything like the ninja that my guardian definitely is not these days, and go join up with the actual army and stake out some people to follow. It was actually a blast to just run with the army and be in a loose squad of people. There were multiple commanders moving around, and multiple subsets of people, partied or not, and somewhere in there it kinda clicked.

WvW is Tactics Ogre.

I know, it’s kind of a silly idea. It made me feel a little better about the whole thing though. It made me think, yeah, I want to party with people and have a group. I want to work as a unit. Maybe I can make my build still fun, but more party-centric and have a stronger army. It was an inspirational moment. I liked it too. I really did. I liked looking at what I could do and having a real impetus to try something different.

I just wanted to share this fun story.

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I’m trying to think of proper mini-games in FFXIV and I’m failing off the top of my head. There is no Crazy Motorcycle. There is no submarine. I’ve yet to see a squat contest. Or a soda guzzling contest*. No Tactics Moogle. No Tactics anything actually. No snowboarding either. I’ll go out on a limb a little and mention the lack of rafts, or magic-only towers, or party-splitting. I’m the tiniest bit sad my magitek armor doesn’t fire/ice/lit/cure beam, but I can probably let it go.

The point is that there is a lot of MMO fighting pew pew pew and a decent amount of clicking things (Oh Halatali HM, I still think you’re silly), but where the hell are the random fun things? Where is my opera, damn it?

Which is also to say that FFXIV is fantastic and amazing and I have a ton of fun with it (when it isn’t lagging my ninjutsu), but there is a certain silliness that has come to be sorta standard in FF that I can’t quite grasp here. I’ll say that Hildibrand has the feeling right, but there’s more to it than that. I’ve yet to fake sword fight in a play. I can probably survive not knee-jerk hitting X to dodge lightning. Give me a ShinGARLEAN parade, maybe?

I will say that I love having Triple Triad around, even if it is maybe too easy to acquire cards and the tourneys are a little silly, but I love that it is included and that you can challenge other people. Even the silly games at the Gold Saucer actually do it for me in this regard, just a little. Until this really pops up somewhere in story, or dungeons, or really just become something you can go DO (snowboarding mountains in W. Coerthas! Come on!) I think I’m going to miss that feeling just the tiniest bit.

Oh well 🙂

*if you know the reference, you get a cookie!

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Red Magic

Red Mage came up again somewhere in a Reddit thread dedicated to reminding us all that S-E will add no new jobs to FFXIV during the course of 3.0. Every time this comes up, there is always the discussion of what it would do anyway, and how it would have to pick a role and shouldn’t be a single role and blah blah blah and then everyone who likes it puts a shout-out for what role it would be.

I’m slightly confused by the inability of some people to see Red Mage working. It would need some kind of support for white magic, some kind of violent magic, and some kind of stabbing people in the face. Melee… harmful magic… support magic. If you look at it purely from *what it does*, effectively, that job already exists.

It’s Summoner.

Seriously. It’s Summoner. Take Ifrit-egi, the wealth of nonsense damage spells, and the battle rez and never-used physick, and you have the stabbing, blasting, supporting trifecta in a completely different aesthetic package – which makes a lot of sense given that Summoner moved from a Black Mage+ to a White Mage+ in later games. It’s a sort-of WHM with nuking a la Yuna and Garnet, pushed even further toward Summoning and DPS.

So what would Red Mage be? The melee version of Summoner. There you go. That’s really it.

Okay, it’s not THAT simple, but I think it would work really easily as a melee DPS if you look at it this way, and it could even get fun about. For instance, instead of the double cast stuff, give them a trait (like that ninja nonsense with the falling and the running) called Fast Cast, or even Haste and give it this effect: spells now function like weapon skills. Red Mage can now use spells as combo actions! That would be hot, right? Stab-BOOM-ZAP-STAB. You could also cross-class something like Thunder or Cure and it could actually fit into your rotation in a fairly normal way potentially. Since S-E has complete say over design, they could even add actions that combo off of those abilities! Yes, you’ll take those cross-class. Does anyone actually NOT take Swiftcast? No. Let’s ignore the false choices and accept that being able to use Thunder and combo into an awesome sword maneuver would be fantastic. Enthunder re-imagined as a cool sword maneuver instead of a flat, boring buff skill? Or maybe as both? That would be hot.

I’ll admit, I’m still less solid on what you give this thing for support. Looking at MCH and BRD, it seems like it wouldn’t be remiss to mirror skills from someone else, like Summoner. Rez? Sure. Heal? Sure. I actually like the idea of bringing back Dia and making it a line of healing attacks that do something and provide some kind of protection buff or small regen effect or something cool and groovy for your party on use. Balancing this to not make healers obsolete (like it effectively did in FF1 XD) would be tricky, but that’s what the professionals are for!

Anyway, I just thought it would be fun to bring this up since Red Mage is *awesome* and I too would love to see it come in for 4.0. Gotta keep the dream alive, right?

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