The Jig is Up!

I don't have time this morning before to work to write up last night's FFXIV Story Time, so I'll just leave you with this until later :) Kasul and I doing a jig in front of Castrum Meridianum, as we prepare for the penultimate (their words!) encounter in the story of the fight against the Ultima Weapon.

The Jig is Up!

I don’t have time this morning before to work to write up last night’s FFXIV Story T

Life Begins at 50!

It's tough to be so close to 50 but not actually BE 50. I figured I'd better work on that. Sunday morning I used a combination of roulettes, hunting logs and fates to bridge that gap.

The level 50 quest was suitably wonderful, and goddammit if I didn't feel like a member of the Sultansword afterward. I can't imagine how I'll feel the next time I get a job to 50 — oh wow, looks like I (yawn) saved the world again, and just in time for brunch… The first time means something. I imagine the job quests didn't always grant both an iLevel 50 and iLevel 90 armor set. I'm grateful that they give newbies like me a little head start, especially since I'm not planning on buying Heavensward just yet. Level 50 is the hard cap for me now.

The first roulette dungeon I got was Garuda. I'd done it twice before; the first time was a struggle, the second fairly smooth with just one wipe. This time, though, everyone knew the fight, and it was a perfect run. First try, everyone survived the Reckoning in fine shape, it was over and done with in minutes. Next roulette was Sastasha, and lastly Stone Vigil. This turned out to be the problematic run. Everyone kept dying in the cannon room. Not sure why. I finally guessed it was because the dps and the healer were all camped out next to the cannons. I suggested they only go up to the cannons when they were shooting Isgebind, and we succeeded after that, though I'm not sure that had anything to do with it.

I finally made level 50 finishing the 3rd level gladiator hunting log.

I had a baby shower to attend, so I couldn't really explore much. I did add my new spell, Circle of Scorn, to my taunt macro. It'll be useful for grabbing that initial aggro. I also got an ability that will make me nearly invulnerable for 10 seconds. That might also be useful on large pulls. It has a seven minute cooldown; I'm not sure if I'll remember to use it very often.

Level 50 opened up a couple of PvP scenarios with my grand company, the Immortal Flames. I also got a new PvP roulette to play with. I signed right up. Half an hour later it popped me into a three-way PvP match between the grand companies of Ul'Dah, Gridania and Limsa. Standard capture and hold scenario. Enemy PCs are labeled only with their class, so you have an instant idea of what they can do. I, as a paladin, was largely ignored or ganged up upon. I had no idea what I was doing, but I did appreciate being stunned and kicked off a plateau to my death. That was a pretty slick move :)

Doing my first PvP got me another title, Flame Puppy. I found I'd also gotten the Flamelady title for earning over 100K company seals, so…. I'm the Heart of the Party no more. Flame Puppy for me.

Omuro, who'd finished the main story quest and started on the hard dungeons, grabbed me for a hard level dungeon, but newbie me couldn't play those games. He signed us up instead for Dzemael Darkhold. Not really a fan of that dungeon. I fell off a ledge, again, when a toad stomped me. Even though I'd done the dungeon twice before, I barely remembered the encounters, and nobody else in the group seemed to remember the second and third boss fights, either. I kinda had dim memories, and shared them. Second boss, dodge AEs. Third boss, kill the corrupted crystals.

Mostly Omuro just wanted to show me his cool, hard-mode armor. Which was suitably awesome. I defy anyone to prove to me that playing dps is ever hard mode. compared to tanking and healing. I've got my Dragoon job into the 30s, with Archer and Pugilist on their way. When I do dungeons or hests as dps, zero stress. If the tank is new, sometimes I can offtank (Dragoon is great for this), but mostly… after the thrill of tanking, merely doing dps — as vital a job as this is — seems a little boring to me.

Tonight's our story night. I'm looking forward to dealing with the new threat we encountered after defeating Garuda last week!

Garuda is (not) Dead.

Confronting the MothBirdQueen
Confronting the MothBirdQueen

It took a surprisingly low number of stupid fetch-this quests to get to the point where we could meet our new challenge: defeat Garuda, the primal of the Ixali bird people. Though Garuda herself looks like a bird-moth hybrid, so maybe a bug crystal got mixed in with all the wind crystals used to summon her.

As with the lead-up to the Titan fight, the various NPCs are fully aware that they are just wasting our time. Where with Titan, we were gathering obscure foods for a feast, here, we were continually sent to gather the wrong type of crystal to allow Cid's airship the ability to reach Garuda's hurricane-shrouded perch.

When the NPCs couldn't even convince themselves to send us after one more wrong type of crystal, we were finally off to see the wind goddess. Cid's ship is called the Enterprise. The elf did a Picard-like "Engage!". The Enterprise rose into the air with hints of Star Trek: The Next Generation's theme mixed in with the music.

The Enterprise. Its five year mission: collect corrupted crystals.
The Enterprise. Its five year mission: collect corrupted crystals.

When we arrived, the Ixali were there in full force, along with many Ifrit Amal'jaa and Titan goblin cultists. Cid and the elf ran off to take those on (ineffectively, as it turns out), while Kasul and I waited at Garuda's gates for people to join our group.

Waited, and waited, and waited. We decided to ask our Free Company for help, but just then the mission popped, and in we went.

I don't think any of the two dps who joined had done it before. Maybe the summoner had. I know the ninja was as new as we were, since we saw him turning in the quest after. Spoiler alert: we won.

Garuda has, inexplicably, built within her perch, four stone pillars that are impervious to her attacks. What an odd thing to do. Those pillars are key to the fight. Garuda, suddenly understanding her mistake, tries to destroy those pillars via direct attack (tank keeps her attention), shooting AEs at the other group members that can spread to break the pillars (other party members stop dancing on the pillars), and dropping flaming pillar-eating feathers on them (kill those feathers).

Kasul and I wait for help.
Kasul and I wait for help.

My one job was to drag her away from the pillars and soak up heals, so I didn't screw things up. The two dps — especially the ninja — just loved the pillars so much that they couldn't stay away, and apparently had a long running battle animation such that they couldn't break away to deal with the feathers. As such, we had a few tries until everyone knew to (a) stay away from the pillars except when blocking Garuda's attack, and (b) kill the feathers when they spawn. Despite me, reading from the walkthrough, explaining this at the start of each attempt and at several times during it.

Garuda unleashes a spectacularly powerful attack midway through that is ameliorated only by whatever remains of the pillars. Tanks can survive the hit, but everyone else would be killed. The summoner was insta-killed every time. The first time we got that far, it was me and the ninja that lived, so it was just a matter of time until we died. The next time we got that far, Kasul lived, and eventually managed to get the ninja up while Squishy the Summoner remained dead. Squishy the Summoner later took Kasul to task for not rezzing him and letting him rez the ninja, but I think Kasul made the right call. Squishy the Summoner really wasn't surviving Garuda's now un-weakened attacks. And it was the ninja's limit break that eventually won us the encounter.

Kasul was eager to continue the story, but I needed some time to wind down. We did a quick Cutter's Cry and, with Omuro, a smooth Stone Vigil run to finish the night.

Next up is Omuro's Garuda fight, and the Aurum Vale dungeon for Kasul's and my Grand Company promotion.

Taking Leadership

ffxiv 2015-07-04 15-26-05-51
I've been wondering lately if we play classes in MMOs that reflect our own personalities, or if our personalities (in game, at least) are shaped by the classes we play.

I consider myself pretty much a loner in real life, but I don't enjoy soloing in MMOs; I never have. What I really did like to do was to joke around with people while someone else provided a nice selection of fun activities. My only job here was to show up, really.

This took me through my first few years of EverQuest. I played a druid and then a rogue, and all I had to do was show up. I was super replaceable, too. My game life matched my real life, in that it turned out I was super replaceable at my current real life job, causing a sort of wandering around the state of California and eventually Connecticut while I struggled to fix my life.

I eventually started playing healer classes in EverQuest, then WoW, then EverQuest 2, because I liked feeling needed, but not necessarily essential. Healers keep the group going, but by themselves, typically struggle. As such, the role is typically eliminated in action RPGs and some MMOs (like Guild Wars 2) in order to make sure everyone gets their fill of jumping around like maniacs, and nobody has to sit in a corner and be quiet and heal.

Lately, I've tried to take more control over the direction of my life. Perhaps I'll stop being ashamed of existing at some point, get over my traumatic childhood, and just be a real person for a change. This has been mirrored recently in MMOs, as I've moved to enjoy the tanking role. I swapped roles in EQ2, moving from a bard to a berserker/tank. I liked it, and in Neverwinter, went full tank. Now in Final Fantasy XIV, I went tank and haven't looked back.

A group gets defined by its tank. Last night, Omuro was doing Stone Vigil with a poor tank and everyone suffered. I'm a noob, but I can learn, and when Kas and I did Stone Vigil on our own with two dps (both of whom were new to the dungeon), it was smooth. Because I paced the group, told everyone what to do, trusted Kasul to keep us all alive and the dps to do their jobs, and just… led.

Today in a RL meeting, the group was settling on a super vague mission statement, and even though I'm just a minion, I was able to take what I learned leading groups in a game, and proposed (and got adopted), a very specific mission statement against which we can actually plan. And now I will be part of a planning meeting to which I was not previously invited.

So… the question is… are MMOs making me a more effective leader, or am I taking personal growth outside the game, back into the game?