The IJN Welcomes You to Tier V

The Furutaka, a T5 Cruiser
The Furutaka, a T5 Cruiser

It was only fair that Suzuki Senchou was offered command of the Imperial Japanese Navy cruiser Furutaka on her addition to my fleet. It was his stellar record on the Kuma that not only drove the research of the new line of cruisers, but also drove improvements on other ships of the line. However, the deeper waters of Tier V engagements may tarnish the record that has brought my record of wins and losses almost to “average”.

World of Warships remains a great bit of fun for when I just have a few minutes to play. Matches are set at a maximum of twenty minutes, but often don’t last that long.

Since my last update, I’ve filled up my Tier IV roster with the destroyer Isokaze, the battleship Myogi and the aircraft carrier Hosho. Where the cruisers are great all-purpose ships — fast, nimble, powerful both at medium and short range — each of the others offers their own style of play.

I, naturally, can’t help comparing them to fantasy RPG classes.

Destroyers are the rogues — sneaking around, catching ships by surprise. They kill battleships and aircraft carriers.

Cruisers are the fighters. You don’t ignore a cruiser that has you in her sights.

Battleships are the rangers. They cannot hit anything at medium range, but they can stop you from getting close to a capture point by shooting you from beyond your range.

Aircraft carriers are the support. Fighters to take out torpedo planes and bombers, torpedo planes and bombers to help soften the enemy enough for allied cruisers and destroyers to move in. Nobody gives them much credit, but it’s surprising how often they’re at or near the top of the charts at the end of a battle.

I started off pretty terrible with destroyers. I can’t just run around looking for a battleship or aircraft carrier to play with; cruisers will cut me to pieces. And I really can’t do much to them. Cruisers can easily avoid torpedoes, and they have superior artillery. Most destroyer captains try to fill choke points with torpedoes and hope a cruiser stumbles into them. That actually works some of the time.

Best bet is to follow some other cruisers into battle and help out where possible until the stage of the game where the enemy battleships are spread out — and then go to town. I’ve been those battleship captains who see a destroyer blip on the radar… and then vanish. All I can do is turn toward the torpedoes I know are on their way, and hope that an aircraft carrier wasn’t sending a torpedo plane for crossfire.

I haven’t spent even a ruble on the game yet. I may never hit tier 10. But I’m not playing for that. I’m playing for a short bit of fun. Other people have their mobile games. I have Warships :)

Vana’diel Nights

Not harvesting.
Not harvesting.

I figured out that I should do harvesting and/or crafting for awhile in FFXI, gain some levels. My armor craft is 52 or so, and my mining 51, but none of my other Disciple of Land/Hand jobs is anywhere near high enough to do me any good in Heavensward. Gathering is the exact sort of brainless, mechanical sort of thing I could do while watching Hulu.

Having been informed that hard mode dungeons now gave experience, I almost took the plunge… but… there’s a new event going on! The Maiden’s Rhapsody. A mysterious traveler from a distant world has come to Eorzea to rediscover her mission, and her memories.

The world being Vana’diel, the game world of Final Fantasy XI. I played that for awhile. I’m sure I must have taken screen shots when I played back in 2004/2005 during one of my many breaks from EverQuest. I can’t find them, though. I don’t think I have loved and hated a single game so much. I finally quit to preserve my sanity. I can’t really explain it, but every FFXI player I’ve ever talked to knows what I mean by that. The game punished you so very much for every little thing. And then something would actually go right, and it was like the sun breaking through the clouds and warmth returning to the world. And then it would be three days trying to get a group for a BCNM. Or trying to solo the stuff needed for a level cap quest. Being begged to teleport people to groups, give them all three stealth spells (sight, sound, scent) to make it safely, but not being invited into that group. Etc etc etc.

Wow. The scars still seem fresh.


Final Fantasy XI and Final Fantasy XIV have different game settings, but nonetheless have a lot of similarities. The races all have analogues in both games — storyline NPC Tataru seems to have given her name to the Vana’diel variety of Lalafell, the Tarutaru. The FFXIV Miqo’te lose most of their males and become the Mithra and… Yeah, the quest more or less revealed that Eorzea is a past version of Vana’diel, separated by several centuries and a few cataclysms.

Iroha, a samurai, the story goes, was sent back in time in order to find heroes to come forward in time to save Vana’diel. She made that backward hop, but she went further than intended. Not all the way to Eorzea, though. The trip to Eorzea, she did in her sleep. OR DID SHE? Since she can’t “wake up”. I just ran through the video I took of the quest (how do I always get the perfect screenshot? I record all the cut scenes). It is never firmly established that the worlds of FFXI and FFXIV are directly related, though they share some lore. I will just go forward insisting they are directly connected by way of something more substantial than Iroha’s dream quest for the power of Amatsu Kyori.

Since Iroha is stuck in our world, she decided to do some exploration until such time as her goddess allows her to return to Vana’diel. But, we know that Vana’diel is doomed. We can only hope that more NPCs make their way to Eorzea before the end of the month.

I wouldn’t mind if Iroha started teaching the lore of the Samurai. As long as some other teacher comes around the teach me the lore of the Red Mage :)

Picture is of my private room. Still decorated with all the Halloween stuff. The outfit is pretty nice. I’ll have to beg Kasul for some glamour prisms so I can wear this look for awhile :) I have ilevel 135 crafted armor, but it looks so dull.

Bomb Chair.

Chair goes boom.
Chair goes boom.

Kasul and I haven’t managed to be conscious and online at the same time FFXIV wants to be working for awhile. I’ve been spending time doing solo accomplishments. I’ve gotten paladin, warrior, dragoon, ninja, monk and dark knight to 50. That got me the “Warmonger” title. (Dark Knight wasn’t required for that, but I liked it so much). I don’t think I’ve done a dungeon since.

Back in some festival or other, I saw a lot of people floating around in bomb chairs. I didn’t think much of it, but I started thinking I would really like to have one of those. The wiki said you could buy it when you had max rep with the kobolds, garnered by doing the daily kobold beast tribe quests. Those took me a few weeks, but I maxed rep and got the bomb chair, just tonight.

I didn’t know if the bomb chair flew. I’d hoped it would, but I didn’t know. It does. I took it to Coerthan Western Highlands, and off it went.

So, go, me.

We’re still at the very beginning of the Heavensward storyline. Iceheart has joined Alphinaud and Tataru in our little NPC band. She told us (and showed us) how the old Saint Shiva thing got started. The moment when Shiva and the dragon decided to … you know … was uncomfortable for many reasons.

Ravana and Shiva
Ravana and Shiva

I don’t know why Iceheart wouldn’t just turn into Shiva all the time, but she seemed oddly reluctant. I figured she’d just have to power up when we walked in to meet Ravana, the primal of the bug people. We’d stashed crystals there in preparation, but while they were enough to let her transform into Shiva, she didn’t have enough power to cause Ravana any problems.

They needed Kasul and I, and six other random people.

So I watched the video, read the walkthrough, and it didn’t sound too bad. But it was. There’s a DPS check near the beginning. Like the Odin fight, if you can’t pass the DPS check, you will lose. And we lost again and again. But we really needed this for progression! Usually, progression fights aren’t that tough!

Once everyone realized that yes, this was a DPS check and no, we did not have DPS, we disbanded. We got someone from the free company to come in as a DPS and we went in again. We won on the second attempt.

See, there’s a bunch of adds that pop up near the start. Butterflies. They flap around a bit, then land and begin to cast a spell. If they finish casting, they summon one of Ravana’s swords, which multiply Ravana’s ultimate that he will soon cast. Most of the adds don’t have much health. Two of them do. Now as far as swords go, one or two is fine. Three or more doom the raid.

I had this thought that we were supposed to let the high health butterflies do their thing, and that would be okay as long as all the low health ones died. I had a whole bunch of ideas, but… it’s a DPS check. On our winning attempt, we had just one sword, because we had the DPS.

I’ve replaced all my vitality jewelry with strength jewelry, and I’ve started staying in my offense stance as much as possible. I had a bad case of /r/ffxiv for awhile, and I went to tank school on Reddit. Since then I’ve heard it lots of places. Tanks need to DPS. As much as I want to be a damage sponge and let everyone else do the hard work, I gotta DPS. That was one of the reasons I spent so much time leveling dark knight — a strength-based DPS tank was something I needed some time to learn. Do it wrong, and you’re a paper tank. Do it right, and people don’t really notice, but it probably helps with some DPS checks. Like Copperbell (Hard).

Not that I do hard modes any more. Kasul and I finished them all up, but since they don’t give any xp, and the loot is not useful, there’s really no need to do them. I think I heard that at 60 they start giving out tomestones of law or something, but… I’ve reached level 56 largely by soloing quests. Not really sure I need tomestones I can only get once I have essentially completed the storyline. The Free Company to which I belong is waaaay ahead of me in progression.

Dusk Vigil
Dusk Vigil

Dusk Vigil was, I think I remember, an optional dungeon. Still, completing it would give us the last aethyr current we would need in order to fly in the Coerthan Western Highlands. So totally worth it. The dungeon was easy enough; I don’t think we had any trouble, even though three of us were new.

Quite a shock when we came to meet Ravana the next time and it was actually _hard_.

It’s been almost a month since we last grouped; I think it will have been a month next time we finally meet to play FFXIV. When Kasul was logging in every night, it was fun to go there and just spend time with him, but now that it’s just me… I don’t have much motivation to play an MMO alone. Getting the “Warmonger” title and the bomb chair were my two independent goals in the game. I would love to finish the HS storyline — heck, I’d like to learn how to raid and see those parts of the story. But I’m too late to the game to do any of those things.

I might switch grand companies again, go join the Gridania one. That gives me an incentive to do dungeons and earn seals to rank up. The Maelstrom were a little disappointing in that there weren’t as many expensive furnishings to buy as there were in Ul’dah. I keep on buying useless consumables to keep my seals below max.


There's a lot of secrets packed into this room
There’s a lot of secrets packed into this room

I kickstarted Armikrog a few years back. It’s a point and click adventure in the style of Maniac Mansion, Day of the Tentacle and so forth; you solve puzzles by picking stuff up, finding someplace to put it, pressing buttons and so on.

You’re not supposed to finish one of these games in a sitting; you’re supposed to be stumped by things, then hours or days later, have an “a HA!” moment as another puzzle falls to your subconscious. I’m hoping my subconscious comes up with something soon. There’s a particular choose three of fifteen picture puzzle which is causing me grief. The game has told me what one of the pieces is and, I think, where it goes.

I’ve found a baby that coughs up a green rod when you lull it to sleep. Weird.

Armikrog is the story of Tommynaut and his blind dog Beak-beak. They’ve crash-landed on a strange planet and have been chased into this mysterious building by a monster. I think the opening song (yes, there is an opening song) explains that he’s the last of three “nauts” who have been sent to explore the planet Armikrog. With Beakbeak’s help, maybe Tommynaut can find out what happened to his friends and escape Armikrog.

The game is animated entirely with stop-motion claymation. Every frame was created by hand. The whole game looks beautiful.

Unfortunately, Armikrog is a very minimalist experience. There’s just you and your mouse, clicking on things until something happens. I haven’t encountered any of the game breaking bugs that have been widely reported. I do expect they’ll be patched quite soon. I don’t intend to finish this game in an hour.