Wednesday, April 18, 2018

The Adventures Of Pirotess: Crafting With Blacksmith

 Our next adventure in crafting is Blacksmith. Blacksmith is a great crafting class to have for your adventuring and other crafting jobs because you can make a variety of weapons for your adventurer's melee and mage job classes and make tools that are used in the crafting classes. To unlock the Blacksmith job class you will need to travel to the Blacksmith's Guild in Limsa Lominsa.

Pirotess at the Blacksmiths Guild.

As with the other crafting jobs, you have a journal with a list of recipes you can craft for your different levels. You will need your primary tool, a hammer and your secondary tool, a file to craft these items. There is a tab for tools and weapons recipes. It shows you a list of the materials needed in order to craft the item. This is where the gathering job classes of Botanist and Miner come in handy because you will need fire and earth shards to craft as well as various metals and ores. It is also a good idea to have Leatherworker unlocked because some of the items on Blacksmith involve working with leather.

List of weapons and tools in the crafting log for Blacksmith.

You can also craft housing items such as tables, chairs, and windows. This is in a separate tab and just like the items list, it shows you the list of housing items you can make and the materials needed to craft them. These are a little more challenging, but they are fun to do and you can make quite a bit of gil on the market boards with housing items.

List of housing items that can be crafted on Blacksmith.

When you start crafting, you have a set of basic skills that you can use to create your item and sometimes enhance it to better your chances of crafting a high quality item. With more challenging items, expect a few synthesis failures. One thing that helps with pretty much most of the crafting is food. Culinarian comes in handy for this because there are a lot of foods that can add things to help your crafting such as increased crafstmanship. Weaver is another good one for this job because Weaver can craft gear that has crafting enhancing skills on them.

Use the crafting skills on Blacksmith to create items.

For some of the basic materials needed and regular things like sheets of metal or brass plates, you can buy these from the suppliers at the blacksmith's guild. This is cheaper than buying items from the market boards. For fancier items you will need to buy from the market boards or use gathering classes such as Miner and Botanist.

Buy supplies for blacksmith from the guild suppliers.

When you reach certain levels such as level 25, you can talk to the guild master NPC Brithael, to do a quest for Blacksmith. This requires you to craft a specific item and present it to him. For completing the quest, you receive the tool or gear of your choice for your Blacksmith.

Talk to Brithael for job specific quests.

There you have it. Blacksmith is great for helping to gear up crafting classes with the right tools and giving adventurers the weapons they need for their melee and mage classes. Blacksmith can also help adventurers take some time to decorate their houses with furniture and other housing items. Blacksmith is a lot of fun and it's a nice break from adventuring. There's a great variety of items you can make that are useful all across the board. So if you're interested in checking out Blacksmith, head to Limsa Lominsa and start crafting. See you at the next adventure!

See you at the next adventure everyone!

*Final Fantasy XIV is available to play on the following platforms: PC and Playstation4

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Ni No Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom A Fun Fantasy Adventure

 I had been excitedly waiting for the sequel to the first Ni No Kuni so when I got Ni No Kuni II I started playing right away. The story is set hundreds of years after the events in the first game and begins in the kingdom of Ding Dong Dell. This introduces you to the characters Evan who is from Ding Dong Dell and Roland who is from the same world as Oliver in the first game. Roland gets transported to Evan's world and the two meet just as a coup is happening in Ding Dong Dell.

This helps lead into the tutorial on how battle system works. No longer turn based, it is now action based and you can equip up to three melee weapons which you can swap in and out. You can also equip one ranged weapon. The items menu is easy to navigate and this is also where you can equip armor and accessories.

Roland and Evan escaping Ding Dong Dell.

Another thing that is different with the battle is that there are no more familiars. You now have adorable elemental beings called Higgeldies. Higgeldies can help you in battles. You can have 3 different groups of Higgeldies with you and you can direct them to use their attacks on enemies. There are a variety of Higgeldies to choose from with powers ranging from water based attacks to dark based attacks. You can also recruit Higgeldies when you come upon Higgeldy stones. If you give the correct item that a Higgeldy wants they will join you.

Recruit Higgeldies from these stones.

The battle system is not the only thing that has changed. On the world map, your characters are in chibi form as they run around exploring everything. It is very cute and does make exploring a lot of fun. You also have fast travel via trip doors. When you unlock a trip door you can fast travel to that area. It is a good idea to find all the trip doors to make traveling a little easier because there is a lot of back and forth between areas. 

Explore the world in chibi form.

As the story progresses, you also get introduced to skirmish battles. Skirmish battles are a fun distraction from the main story because you plan out tactics with up to four units and have a mini battle that lasts from 3-7 minutes. Evan can lead his army in these battles and give commands to use abilities specific to them. My personal favorite was a unit that could build siege towers because those came in handy in some more difficult battles. You can enhance your army's abilities before battles start by buying power ups like enhanced might. There are skirmishes all over the world map, some are story based and others are fun little side quests. Even if you lose a skirmish, your army still gains experience and levels. This does encourage repeating a lot of the same skirmishes, but it is worth it.

Skirmish battles are a fun distraction.

As the story progresses, Evan and Roland meet new allies and Even tells them his dream of building a kingdom where everyone can be happy and live happily. This is a great lead in to introducing the kingdom building function. Throughout your travels, you can request that people move to the kingdom of Evermore and each citizen has an ability that they're good at such as farming so you can put them in a building suited to their abilities in order to grow your kingdom. You can recruit citizens with the Swift Solutions side quest guy or doing specific quests for citizens and when you complete them they move to your kingdom. This is another fun aspect of the game as you level up your kingdom and add more buildings.

Have fun building your kingdom.

One thing that amused me was Leafbook. I thought this was a fun nod to social media because Leafbook shows pictures of your adventures and citizens you can recruit for your kingdom with commentary from the people in your kingdom and all over the world. There are also hints for various treasure hunts and elite monsters you can fight. There are also a ton of side quests you can do that offer rewards like rare weapons and armor.

Take a look at Leafbook.

As for the story itself, I liked it a lot. It was interesting and it felt nostalgic visiting the towns while discovering some new areas as well. I liked Evan, but I did not feel the same emotional connection to him that I did to Oliver in the first game. I did take issue with some of the skirmishes as well because they aren't as balanced as they should be. Some can be easy while others are ridiculously hard. I also did not like the fact that there are story driven skirmishes especially with the final leg of the journey so if you fail the skirmish you have to try again until you actually beat it in order to progress. That is really frustrating.  In some parts of the story the characters felt a little underdeveloped, but everyone is charming and the game play is good so it is forgivable.The artwork is beautiful and the music for the game is great as well. Ni No Kuni II is a fun fantasy adventure and I had a good time exploring all of it.

The artwork in the game is great.

*Ni No Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom is available to play on the following platforms: PC and Playstation 4

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Assassin's Creed Origins Curse Of The Pharaohs

I have loved playing Assassin's Creed Origins because it has been a lot of fun to play and just explore ancient Egypt with Bayek. I could not wait to play the latest DLC Curse Of The Pharaohs. This is set four years after the main events of Bayek's story and opens a completely new quest while exploring Thebes as well as a ton of new side quests. There is now an atlas feature that makes fast travel easier from the global map. The level cap has also been raised to level 55.

Fast travel is now easier on the map. 

The story has Bayek investigating a mystery about why dead pharaohs are walking around and if it's an artifact causing it. Curse Of The Pharaohs is so well done. It explores the mysticism of the time and themes that are relevant to the era. The combat is great as always and with a heightened sense of danger added when a pharaoh's shade rises because you can fight them, but they are a little more difficult than regular enemies. If you defeat one, they go back to the Land Of The Dead for a time. You get an alert when a pharaoh's shade rises and you can find out where they are by looking at your map. Be prepared for a challenging fight because they are designed to be challenging and after a certain amount of time they run away so you definitely have to plan out strategically to fight them in the open world. 

Bayek prepares to fight a pharaoh's shade. 

There are some nice rewards during your adventure. Some are from doing the Trial Of The Gods which offer weapons and armor. There is a very cool Warden's Oath armor set you can get with the Ubisoft club rewards just from participating in community events like Trial Of The Gods or the daily quests. 

Warden's Oath armor. 

The temples and areas in Curse Of The Pharaohs are beautiful. One of the places I enjoyed exploring was the Land Of The Dead. Steeped in ancient Egyptian spirituality and folklore, this was such an interesting place to explore and gorgeous. I read all the scrolls I found here because they were interesting and you learn a lot about the history and people not just in this area, but in the history of Egypt itself. 

One of the beautiful views in The Land Of The Dead. 

There are a ton of side quests in the Land Of The Dead also that play alongside the main quests. Bayek does travel back and forth often from the living world to the dead one. Sometimes it can be a little confusing to follow the main quests because they are not as streamlined as the quests were in Hidden Ones so it can be a little odd trying to do the main quests in the right order which detracts a little from the game, but not enough to make it a deal breaker. 

Bayek explores a temple in The Land Of The Dead. 

I liked the main story of Curse Of The Pharaohs a lot because it was interesting and exploring the new areas was a lot of fun. Sometimes taking a break from the main events and discovering new areas and looking around offered great views and I appreciated how much detail and thought went into everything. It really showed how much research was done to make everything just right. I was also thrilled that you get a new mount, a horse of Anubis. 

Horse of Anubis is awesome!

I liked Curse Of The Pharaohs a lot. The main story is interesting and well done. The ending felt a little rushed to me, but it was not a bad ending. The entire DLC itself is fantastic because of how great the gameplay is, the awesome rewards from quests, and the exploration of beautiful areas in the living world and the mystical one. I found the historical aspects incredibly fascinating as well as the closer look at the ancient Gods and the stories about them. Curse Of The Pharaohs is a lot of fun to play because it doesn't just offer an interesting story, it offers a rich tapestry of experiences immersing you fully into Bayek's ancient Egypt and allowing you to explore it to your heart's content. 

Another amazing view.

*Assassin's Creed Origins is available to play on the following platforms: PC, Playstation 4, and Xbox One

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Assassin's Creed Origins Discovery Tour Is Fun While Learning

The latest DLC installment for Assassin's Creed Origins is out and one of the things is the Discovery Tour. The Discovery tour gives you a museum experience within the game. Working with egyptologists it not only shares interesting facts about ancient Egypt, it also shows off historical items from museums all over the world. With 75 guided tours to choose from, you just follow the highlighted trail to several locations to hear historical facts from the NPC narrator about historic buildings, cities, and people.

Just follow the trail for a guided tour.

You can choose from a list of guided tours from your user interface menu. You can fast travel to these areas and start the tours. You can also choose from a variety of characters ranging from Bayek to Cleopatra to Julius Caesar in order to walk the tours. Discovery takes out the combat of the game and allows you to explore the areas in depth while learning about them. 

You can choose avatars like Julius Caesar to explore Discovery Tour.

I loved the Discovery tour. I have always been a big history nerd and ancient Egypt is one of my favorite subjects. It was interesting and fun learning about things such as what daily life was like and learning about how the city of Alexendria was built. I loved seeing the different artifacts from museums all over the world. I also found it interesting that they also gave insights into things they used in the game, what they changed and why, and showcasing various architect designs of the various areas.

You can see artifacts like this one with Discovery tour.

When a guided tour is ended, you can free roam and explore. This is really cool because you can observe things like how people made bread. It gives a lot of great small details that add to the experience. You can also take photos of things that capture your interest while on these guided tours.  You can take in beautiful scenery and sites. It was a lot of fun for me just taking pictures of things I really liked seeing like the city of Alexandria at night. 

One of the great views in the tour.

One of the most interesting things to me was learning about the history of  the architecture of historical buildings and learning about the city planning of Alexendria. It was cool learning all the ins and outs about that and how it was done. There are a lot of great maps of the city and various locations within the tour. 

Learning about the city planning is quite interesting.

Taking a break from the main game and checking out Discovery Tour is well worth it because it really lets you see just how much thought and research went into everything in the game. You have freedom to explore and have fun while learning about ancient Egypt and the historical figures that lived in it. 

One of the museum artifacts shown in the game. 

*Assassin's Creed Origins is available to play on the following platforms: PC, Playstation 4, and Xbox One

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Farewell, Stephen Hawking

Stephen Hawking has passed away at the age of 76. Think about that. He was only given two years to live and he lived well beyond those years. I am so bummed that we have lost a brilliant mind, but I'm grateful for how he expanded our minds with his passion and love for science. Farewell, Stephen Hawking. Rest well among the stars and thank you for the gift you gave us of exploring and thinking about the universe in different ways. We will miss you.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

The Adventures Of Pirotess: Crafting With Weaver

Weaver was the next crafting job I tried out. Weaver is another job class that I enjoyed. To unlock weaver, you need to head to the Weaver's Guild in Ul'dah and talk to the NPC there. Once that's done you get the tools you need for Weaver, a needle and later on as your secondary tool, a spinning wheel. 

Pirotess at the Weaver's Guild.

Weaver is useful for crafting light cloth armor for caster classes as well as armor for crafting classes that enhance stats such as crafstmanship and control points. Lightning and wind shards are used for crafting on Weaver. This is why it's best to have the botanist and miner jobs unlocked so that you can gather the shards needed for crafting as well as other crafting materials. You can also buy some of the beginning materials needed from the Weaver's Guild supplier, but as you level and the recipes become more challenging, you will need to go out and forage. 

The weaver's guild will have some of the needed crafting materials.

As with the other crafting jobs, you will have a crafting log book giving you a list of items you can craft on weaver. You can go down the list and start crafting as long as you have the required materials. Once crafted, you get experience points for it and a check mark showing proof that you have successfully completed it. With some recipes that you have crafted normally you can use quick synthesis which lets you craft items in bulk. You will only get minimal experience doing this and you won't necessarily get high quality items from it and the chance for synthesis failures is a bit greater. It can be convenient if you need to make a certain number of items for quests or for selling on the market boards. 

List of items that can be crafted on Weaver.

Weaver has a set of skills that can enhance your crafting. Because I have been leveling Culinarian, I am able to craft food that also helps with my crafting such as baked onion soup which helps with my craftsmanship. Using food that enhances crafting is a great way to help crafting on weaver. Skills like Steady Hand and Inner Quiet can help make sure that your crafting is successful. 

Use your Weaver skills to help your crafting.

Light armor isn't the only thing weaver can make. It's a bit more challenging, but with craft enhancing food and armor you can craft furniture like beds, rugs, and stuffed toys. This is under the housing tab in your crafting log. Patience is a must for these recipes because the more difficult recipes will result in a lot of craft failures. Once you master it however, it gets a bit easier. Furniture also sells for quite a bit of gil on the market boards which is a nice way to add to your adventurer nest egg. 

A list of furniture items you can craft on weaver. 

At certain levels such as level 10 you get a quest from the guild master, Redolent Rose where you need to craft a specific item and turn it in. Completing these quests gives you experience points and at some of the levels you can choose armor for your weaver. You also get improved tools for your weaver as you level up. 

Pirotess talks to Redolent Rose, the weaver guild master.

Weaver is not just a useful crafting job, it's a lot of fun. I enjoyed making a variety of things for friends ranging from crafting gear to furniture for their houses. Making high quality items is a challenge, but the sense of accomplishment when I successfully did it was fantastic. Being able to make a few things for myself is also great especially when I'm having some adventurer downtime. Thanks for reading, everyone. I believe the next crafting job post will be for Blacksmith. See you at the next adventure!

Pirotess enjoying some crafting on weaver. 

*Final Fantasy XIV is available to play on the following platforms: PC and Playstation 4

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Monster Hunter World: Come For The Monsters, Stay For The Adventure

 The more I read about Monster Hunter World, the more I wanted to try it out. The day I got the game for the Playstation 4 I was excited to play. The character creation has a variety of options to choose from right down to the facial expressions. I spent quite a bit of time creating my character to the way I wanted it to look.

Designing my character.

Once you have your character design done, you can choose your default armor for the start of your adventure. Your options are leather, chainmail, or no armor. Don't worry about the armor not being so great, you do get to upgrade to better armor later.

I chose the leather armor to start. 

After that came my favorite part, designing my Palico. A Palico is your feline best friend who goes monster hunting with you and assists you with finding items, healing you, and using gadgets to distract the monster while you battle them. They are also such cute kitties! Naturally, I designed mine to look like our cat Loki and named him after Loki also. Loki remained unimpressed, but allowed it because he is a diva after all. 

My Palico, Loki.

The initial introduction to the main story introduces you to the game mechanics and gives you a few tutorials on how to choose weapons, how to train with them, and how to battle monsters. I enjoyed exploring everything. The different areas are beautiful and the real stars are the monsters themselves. There are no cookie cutter monsters here. Each one is unique and they really stand out. You also have a vast amount of wildlife ranging from insects to non aggressive monsters.

Exploring the Ancient Forest.

The game will not hold your hand completely. There will be things you have to look up or you will have to ask friends for help. Explore everything. Part of the monster hunts is tracking. The more tracking you do, the more information you will unlock about various monsters such as elements they're weak to and which parts of their bodies are breakable. You will also be able to craft weapons and armor with materials from the monsters you hunt which you get after successfully completing your quest.

You can earn armor and weapon materials from monster hunts.

This is where the main headquarters comes in. Here you will find things to help you on your monster hunts. This is the hub where you can get main and optional quests as well as events. There are vendors where you can buy items you need for crafting or ammo for weapons. There is also a botanist area where you can grow various plants for crafting items. In order to craft weapons and armor you need to visit the workshop. If you have enough of the materials needed, you can craft weapons, armor, and charms for yourself. You can also craft armor and weapons for your Palico. The workshop is also where you can upgrade your equipment to make it stronger and even add elemental strengths to it.

Build all the things in the workshop. 

Another useful thing is the canteen. An adorable team of Palicoes will cook meals for you. Eating meals before you go on your monster hunts gives you and your Palico a boost to different stats depending on the type of meal you eat like a boost to your health and stamina. You can pay for your meals with money, points, or vouchers from your daily log in bonus. Protip: If you use the vouchers everyone on your session can get a meal cooked for them for free. It's a nice way to help out your buddies.

Enjoy a stat boosting meal courtesy of the adorable Palicoes!

Choosing weapons may seem like a daunting task, but you can test them out in the training area which is accessed from your room to see how they work and decide if it's a weapon you want to use. Weapons range from light bowguns to heavy axes and more. You can change your equipment before going on quests according to which monster you're hunting. For weapons like the bowgun you can craft ammo for it. You can also craft traps, bombs, and healing items with materials you find and from the monsters you hunt. 

Using a light bowgun to hunt a monster.

You do need an internet connection to play Monster Hunter World. This game strongly encourages you to play with your friends and other players and to work as a team hunting monsters. That's not to say you can't play solo at all because you can. You can make the session private or switch the number of players on a quest to 1 and passcode it if you wish. If you're not a subscriber to Playstation Plus or Xbox Live you will be pushed to offline mode and single player as well. Personally, I like doing the monster hunts with my friends. We all have fun together, help each other out, crack jokes, and have a great time exploring and hunting monsters. This is also where the SOS flare comes in handy. If you're finding a monster hunt to be challenging, you can fire the SOS flare and other players can join your quest and help you out. To me, that's a win win.

Hunting a dragon with my good friend Sol. 

More friends means more buddies to help you out with monster hunts and vice versa. You can exchange guild cards with other players. You can edit the greeting on your guild card, choose a background setting, and choose a pose for you and your Palico. The guild cards show your hunter rank, stats, and achievements. They do more than that though. First of all, if you play with a buddy you've exchanged guild cards with you gain unity which is how much you play together. The longer you play together the higher the unity. The second thing which is pretty cool is the guild cards you have from your friends allows you to hire their Palicoes to help with monster hunts or you can hire them for Tailraider Safaris which has them going out and gathering resources for you. The current number of guild cards you can receive is set at 100. 

My guild card is humorous. 

You don't always have to go monster hunting. You can go on expeditions which aren't timed and allow you to explore to your heart's content. You can gather crafting resources, take in the view, or go fishing. There are gathering quests where you need to get certain materials in order to upgrade camps and headquarters. Expeditions are perfect for doing these. I enjoyed taking breaks here and there just to do some fishing.

Fishing time!

While the main story itself is rather light, it is interesting. The big thing about Monster Hunter World is the thrill of hunting all these monsters that are unpredictable and challenging and creating an exciting sense of adventure. Going on these adventures with your friends makes it even better. Sure it can be challenging, but it is a lot of fun rising to those challenges and exploring the incredible world that this game has created. It's worth visiting again and again.

If you're playing the game on Playstation 4, I'm on there as Pirotess. I look forward to enjoying the game with everyone!

Taking a break in my room. See you at the next adventure!

*Monster Hunter World is playable on the following platforms: Playstation 4 and Xbox One

*Author's Note: Monster Hunter World will be coming to PC in Fall of 2018