Sunday, November 12, 2017

Assassin's Creed Origins An Amazing Adventure

I have been excited about Assassin's Creed Origins since I first heard about it so when I got my copy I began playing right away. The opening for the game is intense and introduces you to Bayek of Siwa, a Medjay (essentially a protector for the people of Egypt sanctioned by the Pharoh) and a bit later his wife Aya. The story starts with a sad event, but it clearly explains in that moment why and how the Brotherhood of Assassins were created. Playing as Bayek, there is an initial tutorial for what the game controls are and they're pretty great. The controls seem more streamlined to the point where my biggest complaint of getting stuck on things during parkour runs and jumps did not happen at all. It was a very welcome change.

Bayek of Siwa.

 I did get the season pass and this is truly worth it because you get access to some great weapons, gear, and mounts. Having the season pass will also give you access to the two DLC chapters, The Hidden Ones and The Curse Of The Pharohs on their release dates. If you're part of the Ubisoft Club, you also get some cool rewards ranging from crafting materials to legendary weapons. This also includes the Altair and Ezio outfits. You can also earn a lot of the weapons and gear from doing side quests and daily quests.

Some of the rewards you get with Ubisoft Club.

Ancient Egypt is huge. This is truly an open world game and it is definitely in your interests to explore everything because there are a lot of interesting things to see and do. I took a long time getting to the main story because I was having fun just exploring and doing all the side quests. There are a ton of side quests which give you the needed experience points and give rewards ranging from weapons to mounts. It is a grind to a soft level cap of 40, but because the game is fun to play I never really noticed and I got to level 40 fairly quickly. 

One of many great views in the game. 

One of my favorite things in the game was the symbiotic relationship Bayek had with his eagle, Senu. When doing missions where you needed to locate a target you could call Senu and with the ability of eagle vision have Senu search the area and seeing the world from her perspective until you find the target. This was a very useful thing to have especially when scouting enemy forts so I could see how many people there actually were. 

Senu scouting an area.

The skill tree for Bayek is easy to navigate and there are three sections to unlock skills; Hunter, Warrior, and Seer. Even after you hit the level cap you can still build up these skills as the experience points then go into the meter and when maxed each time, it rewards you with ability points which can be used to unlock skills. Bow Bearer is incredibly useful for the Hunter because it allows you to carry a bow for stealth and one for melee battles. Chain assassination is also useful because it can get you out of a sticky situation. 

The skill map is easy to navigate.

You do get to play as Aya for some missions and it is fun to play as her because there are some ship battles with her as well. The ship battles controls are well done and I wish there had been a few more of them because they were exciting and I enjoyed them. I also wish there were more missions with Aya because she was a smart and brave woman and she was just as interesting a character as Bayek. There is normal sailing also and this helps with getting to other areas or finding a spot where treasure is hidden. You can dive into the water and find those treasures as well as other secrets like tunnels leading into hidden temples.  

Sailing in the game is great fun. 

The main story is excellent. I really liked Bayek and Aya because they were such interesting characters. I felt sad for their pain and a sense of vindication for them when they accomplished their goal. There are of course real historical people in the game like Cleopatra and they are involved in the story. I did feel the main story was a bit short, but I still enjoyed it a great deal.  It answered a lot of the big questions such as how the Brotherhood was started and also gave hints about some of the assassins that followed after Bayek and Aya. 

Once you're done with the main game, there are still things you can do. There are mini game events like chariot races at the Hippodrome or gladiator fights at the Cyrene Arena. Both are fun to do and give you a break from the main story and side quests in the game. The chariot controls do have a bit of a learning curve, but once you get the hang of them it's a breeze. The gladiator fights have three rounds and then you unlock an elite mode which is just one challenging boss fight with the champion of each of those rounds. You can also compete with your friends for the best score. 

Racing at the Hippodrome.

There are daily quests as well which you get from an NPC named Reda. The quests range from rescuing people to recovering stolen merchandise. When these are done, you get a reward from Reda usually a rare or legendary weapon. Sometimes you get a rare mount which comes in handy.  You can take photos and share them with the photo share feature. This is a cool thing where you can use the controls to take a photo and share it with other players in the game. You can also avenge other players. If you find a fellow assassin that has been killed, it gives you a quest to find the perpetrators and you can exact revenge on them.  

There is also the event Trial Of The Gods. Currently you can fight Anubis, the god of the dead. You should be level 40 for this fight because it's difficult otherwise. This is a great battle and once you defeat Anubis you get rewarded with a spiffy item. If you missed it, don't worry. There will be another chance to fight him and you will be able to fight other gods later on. 

Battling the god Anubis.

Assassin's Creed Origins is an amazing adventure. The story is excellent, the side quests are fun, and there are so many beautiful things to see in this game. There is so much wonderful variety in the people, the voice acting, and the music. It is a joy to play and even after you're finished, there's still a lot of things you can do. I loved the game and and I can't wait to play more. 

Leap of faith to the next adventure!

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

Saturday, October 21, 2017

The Adventures Of Pirotess: All Saints' Wake Halloween Celebration

Halloween is my favorite day of the year so naturally I was excited to check out the Halloween event in Final Fantasy XIV. The event called All Saints' Wake is a lot of fun for everyone and celebrates everything Halloween. All the towns in Eorzea and the Free Company neighborhoods are colorfully decorated for the event and it's great just to walk around town and see all the fantastic Halloween decorations.

The town of Gridania decorated for Halloween.

To start the event quest you need to be at least level 15 and must have completed the main story quest It's Probably Pirates. When you meet those requirements, you can travel to the town of Gridania and talk to the NPC quest giver, the Adventurer Guild Investigator at the coordinates X:10.4 Y: 8.4 and start your fun Halloween adventure. The quest is called, An Orthadian Wolfman In Gridania. You then talk to an NPC named Soga. After that, you then talk to an NPC named Impresario. Speak with Impresario a second time and this leads you to the quest The Adventurer Who Cried Wolfman. Then you go into your inventory and use the werewolf item. This gives you all the pieces for the werewolf costume which you need to equip and yes, you get to keep it forever. 

Grr! Pirotess in werewolf costume.

After you have your werewolf costume equipped, you speak with Impresario again and then speak with Soga to get the fun started. 

Talking to Impresario.

You now get to run around town and say, "GRRR!" in say chat to three specified people. Once this is done, you speak to Soga and then speak to Impresario to complete this quest. After that, you talk to the Adventurer Guild Investigator again to start the quest Mind Their Manor. When you speak to the Uncanny Illusionist and the Harlequin Guide, this starts the seasonal dungeon instance. You will get matched with others doing the event so you have a full party of four people. 

Pirotess is ready for the seasonal dungeon. 

The dungeon itself will feel familiar because it's pretty similar to the Haukke Manor dungeon except for the event it's called the Haunted Manor. Its atmosphere is spooky fun with the area being decorated for Halloween. In the upper right of your status bar you will see a sanity meter. This is where the teamwork begins. You must be careful and sneak around the monsters in the manor and not be seen. When your sanity meter drops to zero you fail the mission, so show off your stealth skills. 

Entering the Haunted Manor.

If one of the monsters sees you, your sanity meter drops and you get turned into a pumpkin for a couple of seconds. The objectives are randomized and you must complete four of them within the time limit. For example, there is one objective where you need to run around and search every room for a clue as to what numbers unlock a pumpkin safe. It's important to work together with your team so in the case with the safe, you have to call out the number you find: The first number is... in party chat in order to reach the goal and complete the tasks successfully together. 

Unlocking the pumpkin safe with the right numbers is one task.

When you are successful you receive three pumpkin cookies from a jack o' lantern chest at the end which can be traded for items from the NPC event vendor, the Alluring Peddler. 

Victory comes in pumpkin cookies!

There are six Saints' Wake items you can trade pumpkin cookies for to the vendor. Those items are: Magicked prism, ghost candlestand, pumpkin tower, pumpkin pie set, pumpkin pudding set, and All Saints' advertisement. 

All the items you can get from the vendor. 

I had so much fun doing this event because it has everything Halloween which I love and I had a blast doing it with my friends. That's one of the terrific things about the events in Final Fantasy XIV. It celebrates the importance of friendship and enjoying time with your friends. All Saints' Wake is a good time celebrating Halloween and a nice break from adventuring. Check it out with your friends and enjoy all the fun to be had. See you at the next adventure everyone!

Happy Halloween!

*Final Fantasy XIV is playable on the following platforms: PC and Playstation 4

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

The Adventures Of Pirotess: Patch 4.1 Brings Some New Things

Final Fantasy XIV patch 4.1 The Legend Returns arrived with some new things in the game. There is of course more main story content quests which adds a new dungeon, the Drowned City of Skalla. With challenging bosses and interesting areas to explore it's a fun run to do with friends.

Facing a boss  in the Drowned City of Skalla. 

There is also a solo duty that you can do that is part of the main story. It's an interesting development to the story. I do wish the main story content had been a little bit longer, but for what was there it was a lot of fun and I did like seeing more about some characters who were my favorites. 

Solo duty fight in The Legend Returns.

There is also a new raid to do, The Lost City Of Rabanastre which requires 24 people to run it. Honestly, this raid is quite a challenge on your first run because you're learning the mechanics for the different bosses. I did feel a bit frustrated with how much we wiped because there are so many wide area attacks to the point that you have to be constantly moving with no time for a break. It is just a game however, and games are meant to be fun. We kept going and we did successfully complete it. It was definitely an interesting run. 

Getting ready to battle a boss in Rabanastre.

There are new beastmen quests to do also with the Blue Kojin. This is a good way to gain experience points on job classes you're leveling as well as earning extra gil and items. These are fun to do and you can build up your reputation with the beastmen the more you help them. These are daily repeatable quests which comes in handy for level grinding.  

Pirotess helps out the Blue Kojin. 

There was a short Hildebrand quest which to me was disappointing because I love the Hildebrand quests. They're fun as well as funny. While I do understand it's basically setting things up for more Hildebrand quests, I do wish there had been a little more. It was fun however and it was cool to see a few familiar characters from the Hildebrand quests. 

The Hildebrand quest is rather short. 

There are some changes to the game also. With your squadrons in your Grand Company the level cap has been raised to 60 for them. Command missions have been added which means you can run dungeons with your squadron and earn experience points while doing it. There is also a new primal fight with Shinryu Extreme for those looking for a challenge. People are also able to buy plots in Shirogane now. Naturally the first day plots became available, it was quite the free for all. They have since stated that they will be adding more plots so people have a chance to buy a house in the new area. 

One of the things they changed which I'm really liking is the fact that you can now have your chocobo and your minion out at the same time. There is also a timer showing how much time your chocobo has to be out with you. This is definitely a nice change. With all these new things, there's a lot to see and do. It's a lot of fun, but even more so with friends. See you at the next adventure everyone!

Pirotess with her chocobo and a minion. 

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

Monday, October 9, 2017

The Adventures Of Pirotess: Botanist Helps With Many Crafting Jobs

As many remember in the last Adventures of Pirotess post, I tried out crafting with culinarian and found that I liked it. One of the big things for crafting of course is having the necessary materials to craft. This is where the gathering job of botanist comes in handy. Botanists can harvest a variety of resources from plants and trees. Since I use fire and water shards for culinarian, I do a lot of gathering for those in the various areas where they can be found. I also find a lot of ingredients I need in the different places such as sun lemons from trees or button mushrooms from fern plants.

The Botanist's Guild can be found in Gridania and you can join it by talking to the receptionist in the guild when you're level 10 or higher on another job class. You get a primary tool which is a hatchet for logging and a secondary tool which is a scythe for harvesting from vegetation. You have a harvesting and logging journal that gives you a list of things for you to harvest so that you get credit and experience points for them. 
Botanist also comes with some abilities that help you know where to search for things. For example, the ability triangulate activates automatically on botanist and allows you to survey the land so that you can find mature trees and lush vegetation. Stealth is a handy ability that allows you to conceal yourself from enemies. It reduces your movement speed, but it's a trade off to not be a tasty snack for nearby enemies.

There are two types of nodes you can gather from and they're shown on your map as two different colored feathers. We'll start with blue feathers first. Blue feathers on your mini map represent lush vegetation and for this you need your secondary tool. 

Mini map in the top right corner showing the blue feather icons for lush vegetation.

When you start harvesting, a list of items that you can gather from the node will appear and you can choose which one you wish to harvest. You can use the ability Field Mastery to increase the success rate of obtaining items. As you level, you get higher leveled Field Mastery abilities as well as a better luck rate.

List of items that can be gathered from the vegetation node.

For logging, the icons on the mini map are a different color. These are yellow feathers representing mature trees that you can harvest resources from. Just as with the vegetation, when you start harvesting an item list will pop up showing you what can be harvested from the tree and you can choose which item you wish to gather. 

Top right mini map showing yellow feather icons for mature trees.

I like botanist because it is incredibly useful. While it's not the most exciting job, it helps with many crafting jobs. For my culinarian it's been great to be able to gather the shards and ingredients I need because that is less money that I'm spending on the market boards for items. This is also true for a couple of other crafting jobs I started doing. Culinarian also helps my botanist job because I can craft meals that increase not only my experience points, but also my gathering and luck rate. That's quite handy to have when I need to replenish crafting items. 

It's also helped our resident Free Company gardener, Sekilini. I often find a lot of elemental light seeds such as firelight or waterlight which become fire and water shards something we need because of all the crafters in our Free Company. As I said before, botanist is quite useful. Usually, I pick a quiet night to do it and just chat with my friends in the game or watch a movie while I'm gathering. It makes the time go by a lot faster and before I know it, I have resupplied all the things I need for crafting successfully. That's a pretty good deal all around. See you at the next adventure everyone!

No doubt about it, botanist helps a lot. 

*Final Fantasy XIV is playable on the following platforms: PC and Playstation4

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Mother Gamer Plays Warframe

A friend of mine suggested that I check out the game Warframe. They thought I would like it since I like games like Phantasy Star Online and Mass Effect. Warframe is a free to play co-operative third person shooter game. It's a science fiction futuristic role playing game. You can play Warframe on the PC, Xbox One, or the Playstation 4. Unfortunately there is no cross platform play with this, but at least you have a choice about which one you want to play on.

You play as a member of the Tenno, a race of ancient warriors who have awoken from cryosleep and find themselves at war with a race known as the Grineer who appear to be human clones with metal mods and the Corpus a corporation with robots and laser technology. I found that concept pretty intriguing and decided to check it out on my computer.

There are three starter warframes to choose from; Mag, Volt, and Excalibur. I decided to go with Mag and started my adventure in Warframe and named her Pirotess Dragontamer like my Final Fantasy XIV character. The introductory tutorial is quite helpful which gave me a chance to get used to the battle controls. I also liked that you can change the colors of your warframe and customize it to your tastes.

My Mag warframe is pretty cool. 

There are so many missions you can do on each planet ranging from rescue missions to spy missions. You can do these missions solo, but it's definitely easier to do them with friends. The max number of people on a team is four and it does make a mission go a lot faster when you have a full team. Finding a team is fairly easy as you can make your match settings public and the game will match you with people who are doing the same mission.

Pirotess doing a mission with her friends.

I'm glad I tried Warframe out because I love it. It's a lot of fun to play and the story is very interesting. The graphics for the game look great and the voice acting and music is really good as well. It's hard to believe it's a free to play online game because there is so much content and so many great areas to explore. 

You can also do crafting in the game and it isn't boring. In many of the missions you get blueprints for weapons and different warframes which you can build in your ship. Level grinding is not boring at all because of the variety of the missions. You also have solo missions for ranking up your warframe. The max level for a warframe is 30 and you can level up your weapons and pets as well. 

Pirotess on her Frost warframe.

My husband Ron plays Warframe with me as well and he's really enjoying it also. It's a lot of fun playing the game together and with our friends. Having a good clan helps too because they can help you get missions done as well as helping with getting blueprints and items you need for crafting and modding equipment.

I'm also looking forward to the new expansion for the game, Plains of Eidolon because it looks fantastic and there's going to be even more things added including a new warframe. Warframe is so much fun and I love just exploring and doing all the events and missions with everyone. It's fast paced and fits in my wheel house for sci-fi space games. Now, I'm off to explore more of the galaxy!

Hanging out in our clan dojo. 

*Warframe is available to play on the following platforms: PC, Xbox One, and Playstation 4

Saturday, September 16, 2017

The Adventures Of Pirotess: Crafting Fun With Culinarian

When I played Final Fantasy XI I never really bothered with crafting. I just never had any interest in it and was busy doing other things in the game. Now, with Final Fantasy XIV I've enjoyed all the different things that can be done such as Fates, exploring dungeons, PVP, and beastmen quests. There is also crafting. I had unlocked the crafting jobs, but never really tried them out. I did do a bit on Botanist which I liked, but I got busy doing main story quest content. I decided I wanted to try out culinarian which is a cooking job so I asked people in my Free Company about it and a few of them had done culinarian and were giving me pointers on it and how to get started.

I went to Limsa Lominsa Upper Decks where the cooking guild is located and started the first culinarian quest. Once you've joined the cooking guild you can get many of the basic ingredients from the vendor there to start your beginning recipes. You also need fire and water shards for cooking. This is where my botanist came in handy because I could go to different areas in Eorzea and gather the shards and ingredients I needed. Botanist and culinarian complement each other really well.

Pirotess begins her journey as a culinarian.

I found that I loved culinarian. It's a lot of fun to do. It's easy to navigate in the user menu which is nice. There is a crafting log, so you can make a recipe and get credit for it as well getting experience points for it. You get more experience if it's a dish you are making for the first time. 

The crafting log for culinarian gives you a list of recipes to make.

You have abilities on culinarian to help ensure that your crafting doesn't fail. Steady Hand for example improves your action success rate by twenty percent for the next five steps of your crafting. Maser's Mend is another useful one because it restores item durability while you are crafting. All of these actions require control points, so you need to be aware of how many control points each action takes in order for your crafting to be successful. If you do it right, you can even craft high quality dishes. Craftsmanship is a little more subtle, but just as important. The great thing with culinarian is you can cook up some dishes that increase your crafstmanship for a set amount of time and you can cook up a storm.

Pirotess cooking a dish. The hotbar shows the culinarian abilities.

When you start crafting on culinarian you get a job class quest every five levels. When you're at higher levels, it's every three. With these quests you have to cook a specific dish for the quest and turn it in. It gets a bit more challenging at higher levels because then you have to make a specific dish that has to be high quality. My culinarian is now level 47 and when I had to do one of the more challenging quests it was a tad frustrating, but I was determined I was not going to give up until I got it right. I finally managed it and was pretty stoked with myself for sticking with it because it paid off. 

Pirotess turns in a dish for her culinarian quest.

For me, culinarian is a crafting job that is a lot of fun for me. I like creating all the different dishes and it's something helpful I can do for the people in my Free Company. I've made a lot of dishes for the tanks, the mages, and the damage dealers. I've also made dishes that help with crafting for all the folks that do crafting jobs. The fact that botanist goes hand in hand with it is also very cool because when I see that I'm running low on ingredients, I can just go gathering and get everything I need. My Free Company has a lot of great people in it also who do really nice things like send me ingredients for my culinarian while they're out adventuring. They know that I love culinarian and that I am constantly crafting so it's a win win for everyone. 

I'm also grateful to everyone who gives me tips and pointers on how I can get the most leveling in while crafting, suggesting foods I can use to improve control and crafstmanship, and letting me use things from our house garden for my crafting. Seriously, you guys are awesome and I appreciate you.
I'm glad I tried out culinarian because it turned out to be something I really like and when I'm taking a break from adventuring, I can just craft to my heart's content.  See you at the next adventure everyone!

Pirotess and Snuky, culinarians crafting together!

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

Monday, August 21, 2017

The Adventures Of Pirotess: Stormblood Is Amazing

I just finished the main story for Stormblood, Final Fantasy XIV's recent addition to the game. There is so much to see and do in Stormblood and with two new job classes added, samurai and red mage there's even more fun to be had. Honestly, I loved that they added samurai. Bard and samurai were the first two job classes I ever played in Final Fantasy XI and I loved them so they hold a special place for me.

The new changes to bard are very welcome. I really did not like the way bard was because it didn't feel like bard to me. It felt like a ranger job class that occasionally played songs. Some skills are gone, but others have improved and now bard has actual songs in rotation. I'm especially pleased that I can play Mages Ballad to help fellow healers. I've been leveling samurai now that my bard is level 70 and I love it. Samurai is fun to play and I love all the skills that comes with it. I only unlocked the red mage job class and haven't really played on it yet, but from discussing it with friends who have they are enjoying it a lot.

Pirotess on samurai.

I think the main story for Stormblood really stands out because it has a rich tapestry of strong characters that are likable. I found myself caring about them a great deal and even had a couple of favorites. The voice acting for Stormblood is well done and the ones who stood out to me, I looked up to see who voiced them. I especially liked the voice actors for Lord Hien and Gosetsu. The music in Stormblood is incredible. It's awe inspiring, memorable, and definitely sets the scene for much of the dungeons, story, and boss battles. 

Simply exploring the different cities and towns in Stormblood is fun in itself because it shows how much thought and care went into the designing of them. One of my favorite cities was Kugane because it was beautiful and the music for it was quite pretty. There are plenty of side quests in Stormblood also of course and much of it is fetch quests, but there's a little more depth to the quest givers and a little more story to them that makes it more interesting. There are also aether currents to find in the new areas so you can fly everywhere which for some quests makes things a lot easier.

Pirotess admiring the city of Kugane.

Following the main story there is also a pretty cool addition of being able to swim and dive underwater. You can explore underwater towns and there is a lot of underwater content as part of the main story and side quests. The art work and music for these areas is beautiful. I had so much fun in these areas with my friends and sometimes we would just take a break from adventuring and swim in the new areas. You can use your mounts underwater too which is nice.

Pirotess explores an underwater village.

The new dungeons in Stormblood are interesting. There are some I enjoyed and others I just could not stand because of how insane the amount of area of effect mechanics were. I'm not the best player to begin with, but I try my best so in many of these I died a lot because of the sheer number of AOE attacks and trying to dodge them. This was especially true for the damn primal fights. I truly hated them especially the final one. I don't like primal fights to begin with so having to do these for the first time was not fun for me. The final primal fight for me was the worst. I died many times and I was lucky enough to be running it with friends who knew that I was new to it and were patient about it. Perhaps Square Enix will nerf that fight later down the road, but for now it's challenging and will keep you on your toes.

Pirotess running a Stormblood dungeon.

The story in Stormblood kept me invested because it has great characters and great villains. I think my favorite villain was Zenos because he was so crazy, but there were layers to it. I couldn't stand him and for me that showed just how well he was written as a villain. His obsession with Pirotess and with violence were all kinds of disturbing, but damn did it add a great sense of urgency to the story.

Zenos is all kinds of crazy, but what a great villain.

I kept going with Stormblood because I loved the story and I had to know what happened next. Stormblood did seem like it was over too soon, but I enjoyed every minute of it. Stormblood itself is amazing because of the great story, the characters, and the themes it explored such as freedom, the bonds between us, and choosing your own path. With incredible music, emotionally moving cutscenes, and great acting Stormblood has all the bells and whistles and more. 

Pirotess celebrating with her friends.

*Stormblood is playable on the following platforms: Microsoft Windows and Playstation4

* I will be doing more Adventures of Pirotess as requested. Thanks for reading!

Thursday, August 10, 2017

The Adventures Of Pirotess: Fun At The Moonfire Faire

One of the things that I love about Final Fantasy XIV is that there are a lot of great seasonal events. These give you a nice break from adventuring and allow you to just have fun with your friends enjoying everything and getting some pretty nice items from the event quests.

The Moonfire Faire started on August 8th and the event is running until August 26th. I had fun doing this one because it celebrates Summer at the beach in Costa del Sol with fireworks, swimming, and items like the Faire Joi swimsuit. I had a blast doing it with my friends Sekilini and Neji.

The way to start the quest is by going to Limsa Lominsa Upper Decks at x11.5 y13.8 on your map. This gives you the Isle and the Faire quest which takes you to Costa Del Sol. All the towns are decorated for Moonfire Faire and having fireworks. I stopped and checked out all the terrific decorations and enjoyed the fireworks too.

Pirotess watches the fireworks in Limsa Lominsa.

When you get to Costal Del Sol there are two quests you can do for the event that earn you Faire vouchers that you can trade to an NPC for prizes. One quest has you swimming around in the water looking for mortars to light fireworks. The other quest has you delivering battered fish to an NPC vendor. If you aren't a culinarian like me, you can either buy them from the market or have a friend make them for you. I was very lucky that my friend Sekilini crafted some fish for us to trade. 

Pirotess lights a mortar and enjoys the fireworks.

When you do these quests you earn Faire vouchers which you can trade for items. You need 7 for the Faire Joi swimsuite. Make sure you also do the True Meaning of Summer quest for a hilarious discovery about the people running the event. The swimsuit is the big thing, but you can get other items also with the Faire vouchers you earn since the quests are repeatable. The ones that are worth getting are the shaved ice, the Moonfire Faire poster, and the Hyper Rainbow Z Orchestration scroll.
Other items you can get are sparklers and a variety of mini fireworks.

Pirotess celebrates in her Fair Joi swimsuit with sparklers.

It's definitely more fun to do this with friends. Sekilini, Neji, and I had fun doing this together. Afterwards, we just ran all over the beach and swam around in the water. We also did a lot of the float emote which was amusing. The Moonfire Faire is a relaxing event that allows you to have fun and goof off with your friends. It's a great way to celebrate Summer, fun, and friends in the game. 

Pirotess, Neji, and Sekilini enjoying the Moonfire Faire.

*Moonfire Faire 2017 is August 8-August 26.

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

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Mother Gamer Plays Final Fantasy XII The Zodiac Age

I remember playing Final Fantasy XII on the Playstation 2 when it came out and while there were one or two frustrating moments for me, I liked it a lot because I liked the story and I liked the characters. My favorite of course was the sky pirate Balthier voiced by Gideon Emery.

I was pretty excited for Final Fantasy XII The Zodiac Age because it was the game remastered with some new things added in. So what is different? Those who played the original like myself will recall the game had an unbalanced difficulty spike. You could see the enemies on the map so it was a real time battle instance and that took some players by surprise and took some getting used to. The battle system has been overhauled. It's still real time battle, but the balance is a bit easier so you can do what you're meant to do which is enjoy the game.

There is a trial mode for those who want a hardcore challenge. It's best to wait until you have a full part, but once you do you can give it a try. The game will ask you which save you want to use and then you can go nuts in a series of 100 arena battles pitted against fixed opponents and optional ones. Be warned however, it is best to be fully prepared before you attempt trial mode. There are no shops or breaks, so it's best to make sure you have all the healing items you need and plan your strategy accordingly. If you survive trial mode the rewards are worth it. While you don't earn experience points from it, you do get license points which are needed for unlocking gear and skills as well as getting to keep any treasures you find.

There is a high speed mode in the game. With the push of a button you can move your characters faster. There are also better guides in the game so you don't get lost with the quests highlighted. There is also an autosave feature in the game which comes in handy for boss battles.

The job system has been updated. In the original game, there was a license board and they were basically all the same for each character so they ended up essentially being the same which was a bit boring. That has changed with the updated job system. Now each character has their own board depending on the job you choose for them. Jobs range from Machinist to Knight to Red Mage.

Those are all the new things and they work, making the game more enjoyable and user friendly to those who have never played the game before. It's a nice change and it modernizes Final Fantasy XII in a good way.

As for the game itself. I found myself smiling at the nostalgia of it as I started playing as the main character Vaan and exploring the world of Ivalice. The colors in the game seem brighter somehow and the remastered music is beautiful. I actually sat there for a few minutes just listening to the music because they did such an amazing job with it.

Vaan exploring the city of Rabanastre.

The story is still the same of course and being able to pull up the map with the push of a button so I could see where I was going was nice because in a big city like Rabanastre it's easy to get turned around. The map will also mark on the spot where to go for your main story quest which is quite helpful. Just exploring can be fun in itself because there's so many interesting things to see in each area.

Final Fantasy XII also has one of my favorite Final Fantasy things, Moogles. There are Moogles everywhere and the design for them in this game is adorable. There are Moogles who you can rent chocobos from and there are even Moogles who can teleport you to anywhere in the city and they call it Moogling. I know. It's so stinking cute. I loved it and I enjoyed the fact that no two Moogles were alike. They were all different in their styles, color of their poms, and personalities. 

A Moogle who rents chocobos.

Besides the main quests, there are side quests you can do. There are also special hunts you can do via a special board in a tavern. Once you accept the hunt, you can get information about it and then go look for the monster you're supposed to defeat. Your adventuring primer can give you clues on where to find your target. Once you have completed the hunt, you can return to the NPC who hired you and get your reward usually in the form of gil and useful items.

Successfully completing a hunt. 

There are elite hunts too which you can get from the Clan Hall in Rabanastre from an adorable Moogle named Montblanc. These are more challenging, but the rewards from them are pretty great. As you go up in rank from these elite hunts, the more you'll unlock. Definitely be prepared while doing these especially in regards to making sure your party is leveled enough to take on an elite hunt.

Getting an elite hunt from Montblanc.

The areas you explore for the main story quests are interesting although some of them are a little dark like the Rabanastre sewers. The battle system works really well considering the updated changes. You can only have four in a party, but you can have three members in reserve so if one gets KO'd you can swap a party member in. The gambit function which can be used to program the other characters in your party on how they attack or heal can be turned on or off depending on what you prefer. It does come in handy when you're level grinding or handling a boss battle. As you progress, you can unlock more gambit slots so that you can add more commands making your party as streamlined as you like to your tastes and fighting style.

The gambit function is pretty useful for me. 

There are a couple of things that I'm not so thrilled with in Final Fantasy XII and that is the license board and not being able to change jobs freely. In order to be able to use certain spells, gear, (yes gear) and items you have to earn license points and then unlock them via the license board. This can be a little tedious and frustrating. It's not a huge deal, but it detracts from the enjoyment of the game a bit. With the job system you can only change jobs twice; at the beginning of the story and then a third of the way through the game. For example if one character is a Knight, when you get to the second point of choosing another job you can switch to another job like Black Mage. Those are the only times you can do it so you need to plan and really think about which job you want for everyone and how you want your party set up to be. I do wish you could switch freely, but again it's not a big deal.

The license board unlocks gear, spells, and items.

The story itself is good although some of the lines are a bit corny. The characters are interesting and there are some interesting villains too. The game is beautiful, perhaps more so with the remaster. There's all kinds of things to see and do with the main quests, side quests, and hunts. Most importantly, the game is a lot of fun to play. Veteran players like myself will relish in the nostalgia and appreciate all the new things in it while newbies will enjoy exploring and discovering all the great things Final Fantasy XII The Zodiac Age has to offer.

Exploring all the things!

*Final Fantasy XII The Zodiac Age is playable on the following platforms: Playstation 4