I Live in the Shadows

My donkey and I in front of the House of Darkness
My donkey and I in front of the House of Darkness

Black Desert Online log.

I don’t have any pictures, largely because I haven’t taken any. (I went and took some!). I’ve found nothing particularly memorable about the game. Chwula and I have killed two boss monsters; that took us about ten seconds for the first one and about five seconds for the second. We haven’t found any dungeons or any other group content yet (but, we’re hoping).

The rest of the game has largely been about finding out information on monsters, NPCs, places and so on so that you can have conversations with people. Those can lead to more knowledge that can let you have more conversations with other people. Killing monsters can lead to more conversation topics.

I know a guy… I know a guy who can absolutely not hear enough about goblin cauldrons. Anything you can give him on goblin cauldrons, he wants to hear.

I bought a house, but it’s too dark to see in it so I haven’t been back. I got some workers, but I don’t know what happened to them. I don’t think I still have them anymore. My fear is that they are slumped against a rock face somewhere, pick in hand, dead of exhaustion because I never once looked in on them.

I bought a donkey off the marketplace because it seemed I should have a donkey by that point. Then a quest gave me another donkey. Donkeys are typically slower than running, but you need to ride them in order to build the training skill so you can catch more animals.

Combat is via combos; you need to use combos to perform them better, but a lot of them are pretty hard to do. LeftShift+A (swipe left) to Q (block) to S+left mouse button is a combo that I am supposed to be using a lot, according to the training.

I’m level 17 now, and thus far have not seen any hints of group content. Just kill stuff to make more conversations. I guess this is what an OCD MMO looks like.

Yes, I DO understand that if I read up on this game and read guides and watched videos and dived into the social media and so on that I would probably have a clue what the game is all about. But at the moment it is super dull. I guess the exciting stuff happens at some point in the future.

There is stuff I like doing in MMOs. I like having a character that is uniquely mine. Every character of a class looks more or less the same here. I like dressing up. You can’t, here. I have had many upgrades but looks just the same as I did when I created the character. And why the hell is my home pitch black dark even in the day? Even with the windows open? How does this make sense?

Right now I am regretting the purchase. Nothing seems to have a point, and the plot is really thin. It involves making a black spirit stronger, but not for any apparent reason. The black spirit was absolutely insistent I head to Alejandro’s Farm because… reasons… Then when I got there, it was just about killing stuff to improve knowledge to have better conversations all over again.

I just get the quests I can get, have enough conversations to unlock what that particular NPC has to unlock, then get on my slow donkey and autorun to the next place to do it all over again.

I suspect, from reading about other people’s adventures, that this turns into some sort of market trading game. I stumbled upon an NPC that wanted me to connect nodes to make a trade route, and there sure are a lot of laden wagons running around. I also lost the “Bargain” mini-game when I was trying to sell my stuff.

Conversations and mini-games… well, since conversation IS a mini-game, I guess it’s ALL mini-games. I did kinda enjoy the mini-game where you play the flute and attract rats, though…..

The Enemy of My Enemy is My Enemy

An Uneasy Alliance
An Uneasy Alliance

With the child saved, we headed to the Rising Stones to take stock and see that everyone that had abandoned the place when the trouble started had come trickling back in. Because it is IMPORTANT that all the powerful allies we have acquired are never actually available to do the actual fighting. For that, they always defer to the Warrior of Light and her powerful friends. Are they also warriors of light, these powerful friends? Do they also have the Echo? It’s never revealed. Everyone assumes that, hanging around just out of sight, nameless friends with equal connection to Hydaelyn’s power are available at a moment’s notice to save Eorzea from any given threat, and then to fade away until they are once more needed.

When you think about it, that’s really preferable to my role as the Warrior of Light that is at the other end of everyone’s linkpearl. These other mysterious warriors of light just get to kick back and relax. Me, everyone knows just where to find me.

I know if Yda and Papalymo ever decide to return from whatever desert they have found themselves in (Kasul guesses the ruins of Al Mhigo), they will just alert us at their pleasure through a telltale ringing in our ears. It’s not tinnitus, people. It’s a cry for help.

Pi... ka... chuuu?
ピ… カ… チュウ?

Anyway. Aside from Yda and Papalymo, only Minfilia’s whereabouts are still unknown. Her mom is worried about her. Pikachu cosplayer and Circle of Knowing member Krile, who has helped us several times in the past, investigated the sewer beneath Ul’dah where Y’shtola cast the spell that flung both her and Thancred into the aethyr, and discovered that there was a trace of a third signature caught in the spell. It could only have been Minfilia, but there was no way of knowing where she ended up. Krile and Thancred set out to Castrum Praetorium to investigate the Ultima Weapon battleground to see if they can use the power that Hydaelyn sent to protect the warriors of light as a sneaky way to see if Hydaelyn had caught up another. It turned out that Minfilia had very likely been drawn into the aethyrial flow and may still be caught up in it.

Krile thought Y’shtola’s old mentor could provide entrance to a Sharlayan fortress, the Antitower, here the aethyrial currents had been studied long before. And in fact, the entrance to that mystical place was through a wooden door in her study. So, no extra teleportation fees to get THERE.

The Word of the Mother
The Word of the Mother

After several creepy encounters and a David Bowie homage, we finally made it to the center of the Antitower, where one of Hydaelyn’s soulstones began to glow, and we were taken into the crystal realm where Minfilia appeared before us, in new clothes.

This is what has to happen to get new clothes in Eorzea, if you’re an NPC.

1) Die.
2) Yay! New clothes!

Alternate methods: Join the Crystal Braves and die, or nearly die of exposure until someone finally just hands you a jacket (Alphinaud’s strategy).

Minfilia, speaking on behalf of Hydaelyn, now too weak to speak on her own, recounted her journey into the aethyrial flow to Hydaelyn’s center of power. She gave a brief overview of the creation myth (Hydaelyn and Zodiark are two halves of a whole, and the last Seven Ages have seen triumph and triumph for the forces of Zodiark). Hydaelyn used the last of her power to send us back to the material world. If we don’t succeed in stopping the Ascians, the entire world is doomed. But the Ascians will be happy — they just want to live in their in-between dimension with Zodiark. They don’t need the world for anything.

Raubahn has been disarmed!
Raubahn has been disarmed!

Returning to Ishgard, we found that Lord Aymeric wanted to capitalize on the dragon Vidofnir’s timely arrival and rescue of the peasant child to forge a lasting peace with the good dragons of the Dravanian Empire. He decreed that Falcon’s Nest would be the site of the summit, and sent Lucia out to make the arrangements with the noble houses of Ishgard.

Tensions in Falcon’s Nest were high, as lots of people had been tormented at the teeth and claws of the Dravanians during the long Dragonsong War. Lord Fortemps’ sons were out to help keep the peace. But youngest son Emmanellain shirked his duty and went off, giving a loud protest room to grow. Desperate to cover up his desertion with swift action, he ordered the leader of the protest, a woman who had recently lost her husband to dragons, shot with an arrow.

The crowd fell silent, then erupted into riot. Emmanellain’s young assistant was nearly killed by rioters. The peace was broken.

Lord Aymeric tried a desperation move. He would delay the peace summit until the four realms of the Eorzean Alliance could meet together for a Grand Melee, hosted by Ishgard, as a way to bring people together. Aymeric, of course, enlisted me into the battle. Fortemp said Emmanellain would also take part. Emmanellain resisted, but when he saw how much his young assistant looked up to him as a role model, he decided to take part.

The melee itself went fairly well. Thancred took out a cyclops that tried to enter the fun. The Serpent and Maelstrom forces were swiftly taken care of, leaving only Ishgard and the Flames on the battlefield. I stepped up for Ishgard. Raubahn stepped forward for the Flames. Until now, everyone had just treated this as a bit of fun. Raubahn was out for blood. He summoned his fury and took on the countenance of a Dark Knight with primal powers at his call, at times using powers from the Heavensward knights in The Vault. Had his months of torment eroded his sanity?

It was a very close fight. But we won it for Ishgard. Lord Aymeric, to cheers, said the peace summit would continue immediately.

The prodigal dragoon returns
The prodigal dragoon returns

Vidofnir was happy to return. Lord Aymeric unveiled a huge relief depicting Vidofnir’s father, Hraesvelgr, with his (then) human companion, Saint Shiva, back in happier days. Aymeric and Vidofnir began to speak the oaths that would seal a new friendship between humans and dragons, BUT JUST THEN….

Estinien appeared, high atop a tower. We wondered if he’d freed himself from Nidhogg’s influence. We didn’t have long to wonder; he plunged down and drove his lance into Vidofnir’s spine, killing her instantly (and she is still dead, if you go back to her old home in the Dravanian Forelands). Estinien was clearly still under Nidhogg’s power, and made threats against all assembled before he jumped into the air, hung there for a moment, then transformed into Nidhogg himself and flew away.

The peace broken, everyone goes their separate ways. The Scions vow to restore Estinien, free Minfilia, and find Yda and Papalymo.

An epilogue shows Yda and Papalymo, still in some Thanalanian location, wondering who they can trust. A second epilogue shows someone in Little Ala Mhigo (it’s not said but is pretty clear) donning a mask. This is probably NOT the masked boy that shows up for the Containment Bay fight…. but more on that later.

The Aftermath

FINAL FANTASY XIV 3_2_2016 7_46_54 AM

FFXIV daily report

Raid: Void Ark (DRG)
Leveling: Aurum Vale (AST)
Vath rep: Trusted (DRK)

I have to admit that I am still processing the events from our story night. It was …. shocking things happened. Afterward, I changed my armor to more honor Ishgard.

I will write about THAT, soon… busy tonight, unfortunately.

During the 3.2 story quest, I became very aware as to how out of place I looked in the Gambler attire that I’d worked so hard to get. With… what happened… I felt I needed to get more serious about the troubles ahead.

I looked through all the things I could make to try and come as close to Ishgard wear as I could. It looked like the Darksteel Haubergeon came closest. My armorsmithing gear wasn’t up to making something so complex, so I had to spend some time on the market buying upgrades. I had nearly all the materials otherwise to make the thing, but even crafting the subcombines took quite awhile to make perfect.

It was all worth it when I finished the crafting and… found I could only wear it as a dragoon. Now, I like my current dragoon style, so THAT was out. All the other haubergeons can be worn by tanks AND dragoons. Not this one, though.

Back to the smithing table to create a cobalt haubergeon. It came second closest to the Ishgard style. Afterward I dyed it ink blue. Ishgardians don’t dye theirs, but I felt it was a better look for me.

I couldn’t glamour it yet because my tank breastplate was an un-upgraded esoteric bp. I would have to do Void Ark to get another Mhachi Farthing in order to buy the component necessary to upgrade. I went in as a dragoon, because why not? Got the farthing, did the upgrade, glamoured the bp, and here we are.

I dropped down to Astrologian for the leveling dungeon. That turned out to be Aurum Vale, probably the most tedious and deadliest of the sub-50 leveling dungeons. You won’t get that in a roulette unless someone specifically requested it. It turned out that ALL of the other three people specifically requested it for various reasons — one because it was the highest level dungeon available, one because of a grand company quest, another to complete a hunting log entry.

It went fine. We had a good time — as good a time as you can in AV. The tank didn’t know the last fight and got nine stacks of the debuff, which you’re supposed to clear after three, max. I was too busy trying to keep them alive to explain. They did eventually die, but we won anyway.

I’m calling that “not my fault”.

I haven’t been working the Vath beast tribe quests too hard. I’ve been doing them now and again as a monk, but decided to switch to dark knight after… something that happened in the story night quests. Reached the “Trusted” reputation and was eligible to buy the Vath minion (pictured).

A pretty slow night, really, with a lot of crafting. I think I spend about 200K gil to make a couple haubergeons that I could have bought from the market for maybe 20K total.

But heck, what are you supposed to spend gil on anyway?

Little Ladies

Lovely ladies going for a song
Lovely ladies going for a song

FFXIV Weekend report:

Paladin to gear level 196
Dragoon to gear level 203
Astrologian to gear level 188
Arcanist –> Summoner/Scholar level 31

Picture is of the pop idol group trying to grab their little bit of fame in Ul’dah as part of the “Little Ladies” event. You hand out some flyers and vote for the one you want to be the leader of the group. I voted for Masha, the Mi’qote, as one does. As you do stuff for them, you unlock new outfits and new interview questions.

I haven’t been working too much on my paladin gear, since Kasul and I are just about to start on the new story quest, and the dungeons we’ll unlock drop 195 gear. Esoterics (200-210) and the new Lore stuff (215) will help, but I really want the option of picking up some upgrades with the new stuff.

I’ve been doing on the level 60 roulette as tank, because I don’t want to wait to queue with dragoon, and I don’t want to heal those dungeons. I switch to dragoon for raids, and healer for all the other roulettes. I have three max level jobs; why bother if not to play the one that’s most enjoyable for the content?

It’s been a sort of personal quest to get the dragoon job as high in DPS as possible. I’ve been really working hard on Stone, Sea, Sky, and can easily pass the A1S — Alexander Fist of the Father (Savage) — test. The irony that once I have gear good enough to pass the tests I would no longer need anything from the dungeon itself isn’t lost on me. I did an A3 (Alexander Arm of the Father) and got SEVEN commendations afterward. EVERY SINGLE member of the raid commended me. I have screenshot proof.

You like me! You really like me!
You like me! You really like me!

BIG change from when I first started those raids as a dragoon and lagged behind HEALERS on DPS.

I have been spending most of the new esoterics on my dragoon gear for exactly this reason. I also spent a bit to get my astrologian geared better.

I’ve been working on my Arcanist class on-and-off for a little while. Yesterday I leveled to 30 and did both the quests to tame an Ifrit for my use (summoner) and capture a fairy for my use (scholar).

After a couple hours crafting all new gear for the scholar, I joined a Haukke Manor group as their healer.

The scholar “meta” is to let the fairy handle the bulk of the healing while the scholar herself DOTs and nukes the bejeezus out of the mobs. This requires a lot of “stance dancing” — moving in and out of DPS stance. This worked out pretty well until it didn’t. The tank died in one large pull as I was trying to “bane” (group DOT) the pull. I couldn’t get out of the DPS stance fast enough. I felt bad. I got him right back up and we continued on, but it’s one of the rules. Healer dies: tank fault. Tank dies: healer fault. DPS dies: their own damn fault.

I DID die as a healer in a Halatali (Hard) run. The tank ran off with one of my heals-over-time spells on him (I was playing Astrologian) and, as he aggroed each mob, that mob thought I was healing him and came straight for me. I was instantly killed by every mob in the area. So: healer dead. Was it the tank’s fault?

Kind of. He should have seen he had a HOT on him and waited a couple seconds before running off. But it really was my job not to HOT that close to the end of an encounter. The tank might not know my job, but I sure should.

Tonight: MORE MAIN STORY QUEST!!! I can’t wait!

I could already be a winner!
I could already be a winner!