Back to YouTube

Last Sunday, I released my first YouTube video in over a year. It took quite a bit of work to get this video posted. Far more than I had originally thought it would. And now that it’s up, it has taken even more effort refining it once posted, and getting video number 2 up (which was originally intended to go up Thursday, and now I’ve delayed until Sunday). Now I realize that not posting in over a year, is a big no no on YouTube, but I didn’t realize how difficult it would be to get back up and running! I mean, I had made more than 200 videos previously, and though it was varying degrees of quality, I had quite the groove going. I figured since I’m in this bit of YouTube re-discovery, I would share some of my experiences with everyone.

First of all, though I started with my subscriptions, I’m basically starting from scratch. I had previously used Vegas 12 to edit my videos, I moved to Vegas 14 for the first video and the second video is causing me issues so I am trying out Adobe Premiere. Even if I was able to stay with Vegas, I feel like I’m  having to relearn how I did everything. My first video was extremely basic, no outtro, no real intro, no cards used, nothing. It was as barebones as I could make it, and I probably should have followed that for the second video, but I wanted to get my video quality at least back to where I was before (in fact, I was improving it in some cases). It’s amazing what you forget!

I also had many issues actually recording. I started recording last Friday evening and kept having to start over. I had always used Mirallis Action! As my recording studio of choice, but I recall towards the end of my previous youtube tenure, that I was having issues with it for some reason in one of the later releases. So I had bought an Elgato Capture Card in hopes of not only getting a device that worked, but also decreasing the amount of processor time used in capturing. Well unfortunately, for some reason the voice capture kept on glitching out in Elgato, so I would finish my recording job and load it, only to find it was ruined, and then have to start over. It wasn’t until a move to playing No Man’s Sky on the PC and a switch to using Audacity to record voice did I solve all my issues. Long term, I don’t like this solution and in the future I will have to re-dedicate some time to getting it better. The problem is that there doesn’t seem to be any method to hit record for both programs at the same time, so there is a little lag that I need to adjust for when editing.

Onto the bright side of life… it’s been a slow week at work this week. Why is that good? I have spent a lot of time this week researching how I can improve my channel. This has made me re-look at how I had been dealing with SEO on my channel and videos. Over the week I have been fine tuning everything and I think this has already gained me some returns, even though the changes didn’t begin being made until 3 or 4 days after I published the video. I went from around 10 random keywords that related to my videos and channels to about 20 in each and the new keywords are much much more refined than they used to be. I then went back and looked at my description and started fine tuning that as well to make it more keyword dense.

I have also discovered a couple of applications in TubeBuddy and VidIQ that I have found to be tremendously helpful. Both of these are freemium services and chrome extensions that you can sign up to that analyze your channel and give you reminders and suggestions on how to improve your channel. They have a ton of stuff hidden behind a pay wall, and their pay wall is pretty pricey (Starting at $10/month and goes up from there). I honestly can’t imagine paying for either one because I think they are so cost prohibitive, but I see what they have and I’m kind of tempted. Still, even without paying, they are extraordinarily helpful, especially the VidIO extension. I now can go to competitor’s channels and see who is linking to them, what keywords they use, how they are ranked in those keywords, and it even tells you subscriber counts in the comments for everyone. Very helpful stuff, have loved the added info and am using it where I can.

I still have a lot of work cut out for me, but I do feel like I’ve made progress. In episode 2, I am working on getting a decent intro up and running as well as a basic outro. Going forward, I want to get a better outro, and even refine my intro further, get better music for them both (right now I’m relying on Google’s music, but I think I’d be better off using free music from somewhere else), I also kind of want to improve my banner for my channel, though I’m not sure how, and I would like to get a better logo that can actually be used in the intro. On top of that, I want to refine my recording process to make that easier and figure out better ways to promote the channel to get the growth going (YouTube is kind of like a snowball, the more subs/views you get, the faster it grows, so early going it’s a struggle unless you push it).

Return to No Man’s Sky

It has been a fortuitous week for me and No Man’s Sky. I saw the game on sale at Humble Bundle last week and decided to pick it up again to see how it is with the Foundation and Pathfinder updates. Today, they released the third major patch… Atlas Rises. I’m sure the timing of that sale was not a coincidence but it seems weird coming into it again right before a major update like this. Overall though, even before 1.3 (the newest patch), I kind of decided I was going to return to the game after 10 months of inactivity. And I felt it was worth giving a sort of review here to explain why.

First, probably the biggest thing to me, is that the game feels more diverse. I looked through the 2 major patch notes and it does look like they made additions to plant and animal parts, and made some major world generation changes. The overall result of this is that, I did get a better sense of each world being different. And even more important, I was stepping foot on more planets that seemed to have life on them. Unlike before where it seemed like almost every world was a barren wasteland with a random animal roaming around it. Even when I found myself on a barren world, there were features on it, which made it seem different than other worlds. I appreciate this a lot.

It isn’t perfect. There is still a general sense of same-ness to the worlds, but it isn’t nearly as bad as it once was.A personal pet peeve of mine, still exists… diversity within the same planet. And honestly, I don’t think that one will ever get fixed. To me it is weird that an entire planet basically has the same environment. There are certainly patches where it differs but by and large if you are on a planet it looks a certain way everywhere on that planet. Looking around the NMS reddit, and the one most requested update for 1.4 is to focus on flora and fauna to give even more real planets, and I couldn’t agree with this more. There are other wishlist items I have, but this would make the game feel complete to me.

You can also tell that a major rebalance of the game has occurred. This happened in a number of ways. First, resources. I’m not sure what exactly was already there and what is new, but I do believe that Hello Games has reclassed their star systems and resources so that the hard to get to systems have more rare resources and few planets, whereas the easy to get to systems have more planets but fewer rare resources. I also think they went and basically added logic where each planet in this type of system will have X common, Y uncommon and Z Rare resources. And I feel like they may have created rarity in the first place. Before it seemed like Gold and Copper were everywhere, but these seem far less common than they used to, and honestly this is appreciated. They’ve also added a whole bunch of new resources, I think around 20, since launch. And on top of that, they’ve created barriers to harvest, which I know some people are annoyed by, but the reality is that it helps give you a sense of something to work towards. Now I need an Advanced Mining Laser to mine Titanium, which makes sense. I actually wish there was one or two more mining tiers than just normal and advanced. There is also a Hazmat Glove that you need in order to harvest certain plants. Again, nice touch.

Then there are starships and your multi-tool. Instead of everything just being random, Hello Games has added classes and rarity to both objects in No Man’s Sky. Starships come in Shuttle, Fighter, Explorer and Hauler now. Each class has different looking ships, and each class has bonuses. For instance, Fighter ships do bonus damage when in a fight, but generally have small storage holds. Haulers get bonuses in storage and shields. Explorers get bonus to their Hyperdrive engines. And Shuttles get no bonus but tend to have more storage than Explorers and Fighters. And then there is rarity. Each ship has S, A, B, or C rarity, in that order from most rare to least. Increased rarity means increased price, but higher chance for more storage and it also gets an increase to the bonus that the class provides. So a C class Fighter will do up to 20% bonus damage, but an S class Fighter can do more than 50% bonus. Multi-Tools have been given new weapons that you can install on them and have their own specializations. They can be a Pistol (Mining bonus), Rifle (Damage Bonus), Experimental (Scanning Bonus), or Alien (A mix of bonuses). Like the starship, it has the same rarities that affect how much bonus you get, and I would also guess how many slots for modifications the item has.

I mean, all that is really just restructuring of what was there. And the reality of it is that those additions do a ton for the gameplay loop. They give you things to work for. The new rarity system also gives you more want to go back out there and find the “perfect” starship or multi tool. Resource balancing gives you more reason to explore the galaxy to find rare and exotic resources so that you can build enhancements to your gear that are more powerful. All this leads to a better overall experience… and it doesn’t even get into what they really added.

And that is Bases, Freighters, and Cars. Bases allow you to personalize your home base, increase your storage space, allow you to farm certain resources, and even automate harvesting nearby resources. Freighters allow you to get into and purchase those big ass ships that you always see flying in the distance. They are super expensive so it gives you something to save up for, and it looks like in 1.3 they are adding in classes for freighters too to give more variety and make you now want to find the perfect freighter. Freighters share storage with your base and can carry up to 9 starships and even more cargo than before. So now you can go and get a bunch of starships to make your perfect fleet for your situation. I’m less sold on the cars, I think it’ll be nice for exploring your world and getting more storage while doing it, but I don’t know the limitation of that buggy. They also added the ability to create race tracks and race other player’s track which is a nice touch but I’m unsure how interested I am in that, but I like that it is there.

And now… 1.3… The big flashy thing they added was Stargates which let you portal from one planet to another, if you know the address. This alone is pretty awesome, but they also added 30+ hours of story and lore, a fourth race, new buildings and base parts, crashed freighters, new farming branches, and NPC missions. All of this again, fleshing out the universe that much more and giving the player more to do.

I’m actually kind of excited for the game again. And unlike the last time, the game is already out! I can go play it! I have been playing it for about a week now and still enjoying going in and exploring more. I am probably going to restart with 1.3. And I’m probably going to YouTube it like I said I was going to over a year ago. It seems surreal that the game took an extra year, but it feels like it is finally starting to live up to its promise.

E3 2017 Thoughts

Microsoft Xbox One X E3 2017 Conferance

I was originally going to write about E3 broken down by the three major console manufacturer’s but on second thought I decided it was a rather boring E3 this year so I’ll break it down to a few paragraphs instead.

First… Microsoft. They decided to price the XboneX at$500 targeting less than 10% of Americans…. good job? I guess the 90% will live on knowing Microsoft doesn’t care about them. Oh well,  I wasn’t all that impressed by the graphics in the games they showed off as “exclusive” anyway. They also kept touting the “most powerful console ever made” joining previous generations with…. WiiU (if you consider it last gen), PS3, Xbox 1a, N64, and the Atari Jaguar…. ummm ok. Am I the only one that notices the trend? Outside of the XboneX… they really didn’t have a whole lot, probably because the biggest upcoming games they had, they’ve cancelled leaving a ginormous hole in their library, not to mention all the defecting third parties. I think I am mostly looking forward to Cuphead on this console. The backwards compatibility with the original Xbox 1 was also pretty interesting and surprising. But I have no games from that console so it doesn’t affect me at all. It feels like a wild attempt at trying to get more games on the console… I’m sorry  Microsoft, but the Virtual Console hasn’t actually helped Nintendo a ton.

Sony…. I don’t even really remember much of what they announced. Horizon expansion? Oh Uncharted, I thought that game was Tomb Raider for the first half of the trailer, they really need to consider putting the titles in the corner or something. God of War looked really good. And… wait that was pretty much it. Not showing off Final Fantasy 7 Remake or Kingdom Hearts 3, or anything new really. I actually kind of thought they’d announce the PS4 Pro having a new price point of $349 just to mess with Microsoft, but I guess they decided on having a console $100 cheaper being very similar in graphics was good enough.

Nintendo showed a bunch of stuff we already knew about. Except they actually had I would say the 3 biggest announcements of the show with Metroid Prime 4, a mainline Pokemon, and Mario + Rabbids. All 3 had been rumored. I thought Mario + Rabbids looked amazing, I didn’t have much hope for it when rumors started flying early this year but I think it looks like a solid game. I will say that this show made me far more interested in Mario Odyssey. The hat possession looks really cool and some of the worlds look very unique as well. It reminds me a lot of Super Mario 64 mixed with Banjo Kazooie mixed with Kirby. I’m actually likely going to get it. Oh and praise be to Xenoblade, which despite pre-E3 rumors is sticking to a 2017 launch date.

Oh and there’s Assassin’s Creed.

I mean I would say any year that doesn’t have a major console being shown off is going to be a down year, but then… Microsoft had one… and this was actually the first year at E3 for the Nintendo Switch. So why did this year’s E3 seem so….. boring?

And I leave you with this year’s winner of E3… Devolver….

SNES Mini Wishlist

I’m sad that I was never able to get my hands on a NES mini. Even though Nintendo has said the last shipments of the year will be sent throughout April, I am kind of hopeful that the verbiage “of the year” means we will see its triumphant return at some point. I really want to get every version of the mini and will likely buy myself a Famicom Mini imported from Japan as prices for that console are fairly reasonable. HOPEFULLY, the SNES mini doesn’t have the same production issues the NES mini did. I imagine demand will be even higher this time around as the SNES is thought of better than the NES and I can imagine more people wanting to get on board with the games. So really my #1 wish for the SNES Mini is that they actually make enough that I can own one! But outside of that, everyone and their mothers are making wishlists of what games they want to see on the novelty console so I figured I’d make my wish list. Note though, there are a ton of games I want to see on this console. My choice is basically copying the concept of the NES mini of getting a number of games from different genres and companies.

  1. Super Mario World – I think this is the one gimme that we can expect on the system. The game plays just as good today.
  2. Earthbound – I kind of expect this one on the system as well. The mini will need a couple token RPGs, especially since SNES had so many really good ones. Nintendo of late has been doing its best to promote the Earthbound series and this would be another easy way to get it out there.
  3. F-Zero – A racer, and a great one at that. How could we not see this on the system?
  4. Super Street Fighter II: Random edition – Nintendo gets Final Edition on Switch as an exclusive (for now), is it possible we see one of the SNES editions make it here as well? I have a feeling it was in on the contract.
  5. Final Fantasy IV – VI is the better game, but could easily be held back for a second SNES mini. NES mini has the original Final Fantasy, proving that Square Enix is willing to deal with these.
  6. Super Metroid – Often considered the best Metroid that was made. This would be a beneficial addition for the actiony-type games.
  7. Mega Man X2 – X1 I think is the better game, like FF4 over 6, save it for a future edition, X2 provides a good variety and is still a good game.
  8. Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy’s Kong Quest – See above.
  9. Earthworm Jim – I’m not even entirely sure who owns Earthworm Jim these days. There hasn’t been a new one in ages has there? It was a great game and also a little niche. I think it’d be a great add.
  10. Super Castlevania IV – Konami played nice and put Castlevania on the NES, here’s another classic.
  11. Kirby’s Dream Land 3 – I never got into the Kirby games, but how can you not include Kirby?
  12. Ken Griffey’s Jr’s Winning Run Baseball – Sports game that was actually created by Nintendo. Easy add.
  13. Super Punch-Out – Probably the least popular of the Punch Out games, but again, adds variety and owned by Nintendo.
  14. SimCity – This is one of my all time favorite renditions of any SimCity. Super fun version. I’m not sure how EA feels about putting their games out there and generally this one can only be gotten via cart, but still would be awesome to see its return.
  15. Pilotwings – Man the SNES had a good launch… Pilotwings, SimCity, F-Zero, and Mario World. Pretty sure that was it at launch but I’d take any one of em.
  16. NBA Jam Tournament Edition – Switch is getting a Jam-like game, why not promote it by putting Jam on the mini?
  17. Actraiser – Another game I love that doesn’t get a lot of praise but is great. Part Platformer, Part God-Simulation Part awesome.
  18. Star Fox – Honestly, I was originally going to leave it off the list of games because I feel like the list was already Nintendo heavy and needed to save a few gems for SNES Mini 2 (Which I imagine they have to leave as a possibility), but it is a shooter game and this list is pretty slim on those. It also is the game that showcases the FX chip the best.
  19. Breath of Fire – I wanted one more RPG on the system after FFIV & Earthbound and I wanted it to not be going through Square which is really difficult since Square and Enix were the two big RPG creators of the day and now they are the same company. Breath of Fire is a good game that doesn’t get a ton of press which makes it a great niche game to add to this list.
  20. The Legend of the Mystical Ninja – LOVE this game. Another niche action-adventure game.
  21. The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past – Thought I’d forget? Naw this game has to be there.
  22. Zombies Ate My Neighbors – I think the Genesis version might actually be the better version, but this is still a cult classic.
  23. Super Adventure Island – Another Hudson Soft Game, I was thinking either this or Bomberman, but I decided that if they were going to include games that allow for 3+ players it’d be on the next SNES Mini, not this version.
  24. Super Star Wars – This is kind of a pipe dream. I don’t think it would happen, but the Star Wars trilogy on the SNES were pretty good games.
  25. Super Mario Kart – Nintendo brings back the version that started it all. I would rank the original as the 4th best SMK, but die hards love this one.
  26. Lemmings – Another pipe dream. This was made by DMA designs which is now Rockstar North and Rockstar hasn’t traditionally played nice with Nintendo so don’t expect it to happen. But IMHO, Lemmings may have been the best puzzle game on the system.
  27. The Lost Vikings – Simliarly, another classic that likely won’t make it. I mean this has a better shot than Lemmings.
  28. Wario’s Woods – I”ll be honest, not played it, and I don’t think the game is generally thought of well. But it is a puzzle game all the same.
  29. Some random Madden – They are pretty much all the same, but this is the generation that started the franchise so I feel like it should be included.
  30. Aerobiz Supersonic – Another pipedream, but this game is a personal favorite of mine. It’s an Airliner business simulator back in the SNES days and is honestly one of my fav from the system. Very niche game and doubt it’d show up but this was my personal wish it was there item.

Done With Final Fantasy XIV

It may come as no surprise to anyone that late last week I cancelled my account for Final Fantasy XIV. The game is beautiful, has a couple of cool ideas, but overall it just isn’t for me. I had tried to salvage it one last shot by switching guilds, but the new guild didn’t work out so I just cancelled completely. Here’s a listing of overall issues I had with it.

  1. Lonely – I keep hearing how great the community of FFXIV is… maybe it is the juxtaposition of the juvenile community of WoW. But I never got over my sense of loneliness in the game. You were rarely encouraged to do quests as a group, really because they all contained long cut-scenes, in a lot of respects you were discouraged from grouping in them. Dungeons were largely cross-server which meant pick-up groups were even more throw away than before as you have no way to communicate cross server. The only real way to group was to get lucky on  your guild pick up, which I was not…. twice.
  2. Easy – FFXIV follows the WoW trend of making a game that requires no effort at all. No death penalties. Like, I’m sorry if I can do raids and extreme/savage difficulty in a pick up group, there’s something wrong with the game. The high end loot is all easily attainable by anyone. The game is, like WoW, designed to make sure that everyone has access to everything, and generally it takes the same amount of time, as everything is fairly kept to a cap, for everyone. (There are a few pieces that leave this formula but too few.) I find it funny that I had convos with people about the original FFXIV, and one of the things they brought up with why it was bad was that you lose xp on death… man that sounded nice. Now I have since watched videos on why the original was bad and I don’t think it was good, but that particular functionality is not a reason.
  3. Itemization – This game had really crappy items. I mean REALLY crappy. I feel like the game in general had a lot of features that were overly simplistic because balancing is hard. I mean, yeah it’s hard, that’s why they pay you money to do it and not just throw crap in. Items were super basic, there were no sets, no randomization, items never gave bonuses to skills. You have a stat for strength? Item will give it a bonus and nothing more. It wasn’t good and it made it difficult for me to want to progress. I didn’t look forward at items and go “Man I can’t wait until I get the extra 10 to Wisdom.”
  4. Raids – I have discussed this in a previous post. I chose FFXIV because I wanted to raid. And while the 3 raids the game had were pretty nifty… There just weren’t many here to hang your hat on.
  5. Class Selection – I will say, for the most part, the class selection in the game is fairly vanilla. I landed on Astrologer because I felt like it was one of the more interesting classes in the game, and also because I like healer, but everything else is also pretty standard. It’s hard to say so early, but I am kind of disappointed that Stormblood releases 2 DPS classes. Red Mage could have been cool if they did something to follow the traditional half-healer half-DPS, but they already got that sort of covered with the Scholar anyway. And the game completely ignores the fourth pillar of classic MMO class balance… the Support. I was leveling a Bard towards the end, but the Bard at its base is really DPS. It does touch on support, but not much.
  6. Elder Game  – Or lack thereof. This is kind of a summary of previous points to be fair. Obviously if there are few raids and no itemization. the Elder Game is going to be lacking as well.  I feel like FFXIV, and feel that again this is a problem in WoW as well, utilizing leveling  up secondary classes as a form of Elder Game, and as someone who just wants to play one or two classes at a time, this really holds little appeal to me. The game, and others in the game, really encourages you to go ahead and level that other class because it’s just so easy to switch between classes on the same character. It’s cool, but shallow. Stuck on the time limit to get better gear for your main class? Just level a new class! They entice you further by giving bonus XP for already having a max class character, so why not? Because there is no way for items to get lost, there is no need to get items more than once. And because it isn’t particularly difficult to get items, you always kind of have that urge of, I’m done with this class now to do another. It’s just not for me. Of note was the inclusion of a casino, haven’t seen that rendition of an Elder Game since the olden days. I didn’t mind that so much except to avoid people from getting rich, they made their own currency <rolls eyes>.

So with that, I end a chapter in my MMO life. At this point, there aren’t many  other MMOs I am very interested in. Most of the MMOs these days area either PvP or WoW-easy and I’m not that interested in either. Maybe in a year I will revisit the genre and there will be something new.

FFXIV 2 Months In

I am now entering my 3rd month with Final Fantasy XIV and I thought I’d stop and talk about it some. For reference, I have leveled both a White Mage and Astrologer to level 60, I’ve been at 60 for a few weeks with both actually and am starting to get fair gear for my level. I have also leveled the 3 gathering classes to level 46, and the about 8 crafting classes to almost level 40. I have not completed all of the Main Story line quests as of yet, but I feel I am probably pretty close to being done with them.

I first want to discuss the quests…. I did try to pay attention to the quests early on, but I got bored fairly quick and got tired of reading the insane amounts of text for what didn’t seem all that interesting of a story early on. I hear it picks up, but when I have this sense of “catching up” in terms of actual game since I didn’t play the first 3 or 4 years of the game, reading a ridiculous amount of text that don’t actually have much to do with the game play, well it’s easy to let it go. I don’t believe any of the story is interactive at all at any rate so I don’t feel like I am missing out. By interactive, I mean no choice I make or any player or group of player changes the story. We can’t as a server decide that we don’t care about X going on so that thing is going to not happen. As a matter of fact, you pretty much have to defeat whatever bosses you have to defeat because the only way to get content unlocked is by unlocking content which requires beating bosses. So if I decided to actually not defeat a boss because I don’t believe in his cause, well not only am I not unlocking that raid or dungeon or trial, but I am also not unlocking everything that gets unlocked AFTER it in the storyline, which is just awful. You may as well not play at that point. So there really is no story choice at all and there is no player that ever affects the game world at all in any meaningful way and because of this, I just don’t care about the story, even though I’ve heard it’s decent.

Now the reason that I came to FFXIV in the first place is because I heard that the raiding scene was pretty good. I am just starting to get into the raiding. I am not in a guild that has a regular group that raids, so I generally go in duty finder and just get auto added to the random raids. So I admit that I have a limited experience here. Still,  I have gone through most of the most recent line of raids. I have had a difficult time getting through the level 50 raids as there are fewer people who go through them which makes sense. My overall reaction is…. what raids? Which is only slightly unfair. Group content in this game is divied up into a number of different categories… It’s all instance and level synced so even at 60 you can play the level 17 dungeon and it is easier for a 60 than a straight 17 but still can be challenging.

  • Dungeons – are what you’d think, it’s usually 2 smaller bosses, one more challenging boss, and a bunch of trash. Usually it is a decent sized run that takes about a half hour and I find the Dungeons fairly satisfying, though they don’t drop any gear worth wearing for the most part. Most dungeons have a normal and a hard variety. I like this, as it reuses the assets from the original dungeon and keeps it relevant and variety later in the game.
  • Trials – These are essentially one off boss fights. The boss is usually fairly challenging, especially at extreme. The fight does have 3 difficulties: Normal, Hard, and Extreme. I kind of hope and expect for a forth difficulty with the upcoming expansion. Really, this is a non-loot event which is odd to me, the Extreme version does have super rare mount loots that people farm them for. They tend to have a decent tome drop compared to dungeons and they are super quick, like 10 or 15 minutes, there are a couple longer trials but they are rare. Honestly, I don’t entirely understand why people do the Trials but I find myself doing them more than other content because I find them fulfilling and when I only have a few minutes, they fill up time well.
  • GuildHests – Really these are kind of mini-trials. Most of them are a single fight and not overly difficult. The last Guildhest is level 40 so I have a feeling they won’t be continued longterm. Again no loot or anything, you do get some grand company $$ but not much.
  • Raids – Ok I am going to actually split this up into two:
    • Mini-Dungeons – This is actually a more accurate way to describe most of the raids in this game. Take 8 players and put them through a series of bosses, sometimes with trash mobs between. This is where most good loot is dolled out. They are generally quicker than actual dungeons because they have less trash to go through, but the mechanics of the bosses are far more complex and the boss fights take a bit more time. This is not at all what I would call a raid however because there isn’t a time investment or strategy investment really. They are like 2 or 3 trials put together, generally take 20-30 minutes. Honestly I’d rather do these more than Dungeons because there’s actually loot here. But because there isn’t a daily roulette, there aren’t as many groups doing it for some reason.
    • Raids – There are, I think, 3 Raids per 10 level tier. Seriously, only 3. And they aren’t overly popular to do. Probably because they actually require time and effort to do. But they also don’t seem to have as good of gear as the mini-dungeons either so there’s less reason to do them.

So here’s the thing. The best loot in the game is dropped in the mini-dungeons so everyone tends to focus on that. This makes sense. The second tier of loot can be received from doing ANY of the rest of the content (outside of guildhests). Because you receive tomes from doing them, you turn in tomes for 2nd and 3rd tier gear. YAY hazzah. Some methods you get more tomes than others, but generally you get tomes from doing near anything in the game. So in the end I feel very unfulfilled by what I’m seeing with the raiding tier. I don’t visualize small dungeons as raids, I really don’t. Raids are a massive undertaking…. to me it’s generally 20+ (though I would take 15+) people getting together and coordinating for a greater goal. And that was the draw I was looking for. 8 people running through large scale content, while fun is the stuff that fills the middle between the big thing. The dynamics within these are great! They totally remind me of the instanced dungeons in EQ2 that we would use to gear up to do the raids. But here they are the end result. It’s weird. The whole gear system is f’d up.

So Blech. I’m still playing FFXIV but I feel the writing is on the wall. I do really like their crafting system, being able to switch jobs is pretty nice too. I feel the game as a whole follows WoW’s “let’s make the game really easy so that casual players can play and hardcore players feel left out.” But that’s becoming standard, anything meant for a hardocre player is viewed as “not with the times.” I may go back to giving EQ2 another play, but honestly don’t have high hopes, it seems like the servers are pretty dead now.