Crystal Tower Tips

Since 2.1 came out, Crystal Tower (CT) has been the content I have probably explored the most. I have chosen to do CT over numerous other pieces of content, even though I’m on item lockout most of the time. I find myself liking the music, the mechanics of the dungeon and the fight itself, and playing with 7 friends at the same time.

During my time there, I found that there were also things in there that drove me insane and other parts that I thought were quite helpful. Here is a list of some of the things that have helped make my CT adventures a little better overall:

1. Make a full premade party if you can. I’ll get into this more later, but it can be quite confusing and daunting when you are in a huge group of 16 other players. You have a lot of unknown variables running about, and sometimes it’s easier to take comfort in playing with people you know. You also get in a LOT faster that way, too.

2. Know you chat commands! Everyone should be familiar with the /p for party chat, but /a allows you to talk to the entire alliance. Make sure you pay attention to the alliance chat, because people will let you know if their group is ready, differing tactics, and other things that might be going on in the dungeon.

3. In your own party, designate a Main Tank (MT) and an Off Tank (OT). In each phase people will go over who is the overall MT and OT for specific fights such as the Bone Dragon and Behemoth. Make sure to know who these people are in case an alliance party is having difficulty and you need to help spot heal.

4. Talk to your party. Make sure you designate one person to be the main form of communication of letting the others knows if your party is ready. It is less confusing when one person is doing it versus several at a time. Usually people will look at what part of the alliance they are in (A, B, or C) and say “A ready!” to let people know it’s safe to pull.

5. Try to stick together if possible. It’s crazy enough with people in there running about, but imagine how frustrated your healers must be trying to get within your range to heal you. Don’t trust the other party to heal you; they may or may not. So just play it safe and stay relatively close to your healer.

6. BE FLEXIBLE. I cannot stress this enough. For the first two fights, for example, I have seen so many different ways of that being handled. The other fights are more linear on how they should be handled, but those are different depending on who is trigger happy, who likes to play it safe, etc. Sometimes you just have to jump in and go guns blazin’ and that’s ok too!

7. BE POLITE. I also cannot stress this enough. It is incredibly frustrating when another party is acting cocky publically or is being incredibly rude and condescending to the other alliance parties. Each party thinks their own is awesome and with just cause, but the other party is also looking at you going “what the fuck” and rolling their eyes hard at your actions whatever they may be. Don’t be a dick. Play nice and be nice. You can’t get the shit done if people are angry and end up leaving or try to troll others in passive and non-passive aggressive ways. If all else fails, if you came in with a full premade at least you can bitch and moan to them and most likely they will be feeling the same way you are.

8. Keep your fingers to yourself. No one likes finger pointing. Not only does it not get us anywhere, but it just builds paranoia, stress, and all sorts of ill feelings. No one needs more of that in an already crazy situation. People fail and make mistakes all the time. If it’s repeated, then start to point out where the problems are but don’t curse the person out. They may just not understand fully what is going on. It happens.

9. Admit you don’t know what is going on; even if you have already done the dungeon. Whether it’s in party chat or in alliance chat, if you admit you have no idea what is going on at least it’s better than going out like a headless chicken running about making things difficult for everyone.

10. This will go against #2, but ignore the alliance chat. You can only control your own actions and not that of the many different players around you. Some are incredibly rude and mean; I ran into players who had no qualms against calling people retards, trolling others to die, etc. Ignore them. You are there to have fun and sometimes it’s better just to ignore the riff-raff and turn your head the other way.

On the technical side, you are able to change colors for the alliance and party members so that you can find one over the other. I made my own name pink and that of my party members green. It’s far easier to find them in a sea of other people versus having everyone at the same color. I also changed my party chat to play a sound whenever a message is sent, since my chat box is usually going by pretty fast with superfluous information.

CT is a fun place. It is something I would gladly do because I enjoy it so much. I hope anyone else who tries the content or has been dissuaded by the other players try it again. And if you’re on Excalibur? Hit me up! I would be happy to do it if I’m available!

A Realm Awoken

It has now been a few days since Patch 2.1 has landed for XIV, and I can’t say I have done a lot. I had changed my hair with the new aesthetician, Jandelaine, who is probably the most fabulous character I have seen in XIV to date.

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I have yet to touch the Hildebrand quest line or go beyond unlocking a few things here and there. I have done a LOT of Crystal Tower, however, primarily because I enjoy it so much! I am actually disappointed there isn’t MORE of it because of how much I enjoyed it. Sure there are times when there are parties in your alliance that make you go, “What the fuck is that person smoking?” or just want to table flip because someone is being a huge troll but overall I would have to say I rather enjoy myself. Granted its a lot more fun in a pre-made party, but I really enjoy the mechanics found in Crystal Tower and am eagerly awaiting more content from that spectrum.

I did, however, manage to do a lot of messing around with Photoshop! I’m a completely nub when it comes to Photoshop, and Orophen has been very patient in helping me out and answering my cries of panic and desperation.

UltimaUMadBro

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snowkisses

Holidays2013-CalaOro

Oh, I guess since I included the image of Ultima… I did try Ultima HM. Once and that was all, and I have to say that it was damn fun and intense. It felt just as fun as the Ultima fight had been when I wasn’t as geared as I am now, if not more so because it was a lot more chaotic and intense. I look forward to trying to clear that and Garuda HM sometime during the break. If I’m not busy with a million other things that is.

Party and Derp Finder Woes

The mindset of me, myself, and I has driven me crazy, but lately it seems to be more so within the context of FFXIV. I had noticed this problem before a friend talked to me of a situation with her problems as a healer. It is the same pretty much in any MMO; if shit goes down then its usually the healer’s fault. Sometimes the healer and the tank switch positions, but rarely is the blame placed on the DD (unless they do something really stupid). Though sometimes it IS a single person’s fault, people need to check themselves first before they accuse the healer of doing a shitty job. As a former healer, it is incredibly difficult to dodge AoEs, maintain HP of your allies, maintain your MP and enmity, and also maintain your own HP if you so happen to derp. What makes it worse is if the tank is taking too much damage because of either poor gear, has poor rotation, doesn’t use correct abilities, isn’t tanking in the right spot, etc. There is also the DD who can also be too under geared, has poor rotations, doesn’t move out of AoEs in time, etc. A healer can’t correct someone’s stupidity and even I get offended when someone pins the damn blame on the healers. On the flip side, a healer can’t blame everyone else if they are pulling too much enmity to throw the mob off and make shit go bonkers.

I see it as a triangle. An equilateral triangle (three equal sides, three equal angles, all at 60 degrees) is the perfect setup; healer, tank, and DD work cohesively and together to make things go smoothly. You can sometimes limp along well if you have an isosceles triangle (two equal sides, two equal angles), because you have at least two people trying to support the third one. All hell breaks lose, however, when you have a scalene triangle (nothing is equal) and you have maybe one party pulling the weight of two.

This is why the Duty Finder is sometimes very frustrating for me; a decked out WHM can’t expect a lesser geared tank to hold hate when they go nutso on the spells and abilities. Conversely, if the tank doesn’t know what abilities to stun and when or how to use Provoke… you can bet I’ll be wanting to fling curse words in your direction. And for the DD who don’t bother to make sure their gear is in check or who thinks their relic+1 automatically makes them awesome? Check your rotations, check your positioning, and for crying out loud please pop in some food into your mouth flap. Yes there are shouts that ask for relic only, but those are typically speed runs. For typical clears, the runs can be accomplished by having appropriate gear choices. Everyone starts from somewhere but if you’re pulling into the Keep with Item Level 39 gear, then you might need to assess what needs to be fixed and how. Gear can be cheap, and upgrades are a plenty if you go to Wanderer’s Palace before hitting up Amdapor Keep. It isn’t gear snobbery to expect appropriate gear or to at least get your head out of your damn ass; its being respectful to the other people who are also wasting their time and energy to get what people collectively need as a party.

A Long Overdue Update

I had been promising an update for a while, and while it will be brief… at least it will be something!

Life on Excablibur is actually better than I imagined it to be. Most of it has to do with the fact I have a pretty awesome set of LSes and friends on the server. Granted there are a smattering of people on other servers that I wish I could play with, but the majority of the people I am playing with are pretty damn awesome. Hell, even most of my DF parties aren’t that bad even though I tend to have anxiety attacks before queuing up into one.

My biggest fear as a player with limited play time is that I’m a.) horrible b.) under equipped and c.) uh… I’m horrible? Even though I can’t play often, I am sometimes obsessed with wanting to be a better skilled player to the point I end up freaking out and am unable to play for fear of being a disappointment to others and myself. I know this is strange coming from a person whose current job in life is to encourage others to fail, learn from them, and make it not seem bad at all. Yet when it comes to myself? The idea of failure seems utterly and completely catastrophic that sometimes I am paralyzed with this unreasonable fear that I will be abandoned, made fun of, and left alone with no friends. It is the sort of pressure that is self inflicted and unnecessary, and I often have to go through a process of talking myself out of such a toxic train of thought which leads to a mixed bag of results. After all, with my current IRL status, the game is really one of the few places I can just chill out and not freak out over everything that truly affects me in real life. Like… grades or my family.

In game progress is mostly focused on gearing in full Dark Light, getting my relic, using tomes of Mythology for a +1, and maybe making progress towards the Coil. The Coil actually seems like a pipe dream, to be quite honest. I’m too swamped with other things that I pretty much think of only taking one step at a time. Which is… okay… but it makes me feel restless. Sometimes I wish there was a system in place to give you rested bonus towards a slight increase of tomes. Ok, that would probably break the system and what not, but at the rate I’m going I feel like it would be quite some time before I am able to be where I want to be. Will people still want to help me? Or will they be too preoccupied with higher end content to want to bother? I’m sure they would, but me being a worry wart tends to put those thoughts into my mind. Oy…

The Innovation of Loneliness

The Innovation of Loneliness from Shimi Cohen on Vimeo.

I couldn’t help but find this interesting. I use social media a lot (primarily twitter), and I know that I worry and fret about putting my best foot forward. It made me think, too, of podcasts. People want highly polished material, and I get that because there are so many other things that people could potentially waste their time on and you want to grab and hold their attention. But I can’t help but wonder, do people expect this out of their relationships? To have purely polished surfaces that appeal to their senses?

I remember once reading a study that people nowadays are building relationships more based upon those with similar interests, thoughts, feelings, etc vs. those who may be different than they are and trying to find a way to get along with others. I can’t help but be reminded of that article when watching this video, and wondering if people just want to build their relationships based upon false pretenses. Which end up making us feel lonely anyway, because it goes back to the idea of quantity vs quality and the superficial idea of achievements.

I wonder then, how would one build quality relationships online? The social media sphere is changing how we handle relationships, but also making it possible for some people to actually build them when it may not otherwise be possible. The later applies to me in particular, since I can’t seem to be able to retain many friendships in real life. There is the other aspect of relationships that just bother me, and that is trying to maintain contact. I am the type of person that has a hard time striking up conversation unless it happens to be something I am really engaged in. I like to listen though, but… conversation is a two way street and I always feel like I fail in that area. Which is probably why I really enjoy the podcasts. It allows me to converse with people in a way that I feel safe and comfortable with, and then later on sit quietly and just be able to soak in everything around me. But… Its that later part that bugs me and wonders if I just fail at this whole thing and am destined to live with that lingering lonely feeling. Meh…

The new XIV Commercial

I have only seen an iPhone capture of the recent XIV: ARR commercial, and I’m kinda… confused. If I were a new player, I wouldn’t get it. I would wonder if maybe it was cosplay magic or something, but an actual game? With a story? And lore? And all sorts of cool stuff? I just wouldn’t get that by watching that live action/CG clip.

I think for a hardcore XIV fan, they would get the reference and maybe appreciate it. I say maybe because while I was happy to see Louisoix, I just didn’t feel the same kind of excitement I felt when watching End of an Era. It didn’t do anything for me but make me giggle and then wonder what on earth was going on. Granted, I am not an art director, nor am I someone awesome and have skills to back it up. So I wouldn’t know how to make it better and maybe I don’t know what I am talking about. I just know that if I were to show this to my sister, who hasn’t played XIV at all, she would probably look at it and go, “wha?” versus “hmm, I think I might want to play this game!” Which I think is a shame, because after hearing of my sister’s recent experiences in GW2, I really want her to play XIV and to be around other players who would be willing to do a dungeon a second time for ONE person if crap happened.

Wishful thinking? Sure. But I was hoping that the new commercial could at least help illustrate why the game is cool in the eyes of my younger sister (she is used to just tuning me out otherwise). Watching players morph into another character just doesn’t quite do it…

Changes Being Made

Although this isn’t site news for Calaera.me, per se, it is for SBXIV. I’m honestly tired. I am tired and worn out by the comments I read once in awhile regarding the cursing on the show. Because apparently, despite more XIV shows coming out, people MUST make comments about SBXIV and the amount of cursing going on. Which, I might add, is ridiculous considering it is:

1.) Marked Explicit or NSFW on iTunes and on the site.
2.) There are more XIV shows than there were months ago. Honestly its not that hard to click stop/pause and find something else more suitable to someone’s ears. It seems ridiculous to go complaining about it, when there are other options for people to choose from. That is also why there are different shows out there for people to watch. I am not the biggest fan of certain TV shows, but I won’t complain about the fact that a particular show doesn’t suit my tastes. That just seems pretty stupid.

There were several choices I was going to make…

The most drastic was to step back. Way back. Thank Frei for pointing out that there are people who surprisingly like me and what I do. But if I was considered to be a problem, it seemed reasonable for me to take myself out of the equation. But taking myself out of the equation then changes the entire tone of the show, and that was what concerned Frei and Orophen. Instead we agreed that we would either make a conscious effort to cull back the swearing or make edits to take it out. Honestly, I am pretty peeved about it. The shows were meant for friends to chill and talk about XIV in a way that was more entertaining than the boring straight talk some podcasts do. I get people like so called “professional” shows, and hey… that’s great. I don’t. I dislike em for many reasons, but I won’t berate someone for liking something I hate nor will I complain to those shows that they aren’t being what I want them to be. That’s why I went and made my own. Makes sense, right? If you want something done right, do it yourself!

But… the show is undoubtedly getting attention because of reddit, google, iTunes, or whatever. So I decided to we would soon begin to take down all of the old episodes and archive them somewhere. Which, honestly, is about time we do so anyway because the game is going to be new and different. It doesn’t make sense to have the old content up for people to easily grab and get a hold of. Though I know it really won’t do much in the long run, because people already have a set opinion of us. Which, honestly, suits me just fine. If they like something else, good for them. I won’t cry over it, because this isn’t a competition for me. I am just peeved (mostly at myself, because I get curious) when I read comments complaining about something like the swearing or the shit I say because it makes them “uncomfortable”. Don’t like it? Fine. Quietly back off and go find something else or make something suitable for your tastes and listen to it! But… whatever. I’m tired. I’m tired and frustrated and I really just want to yell and scream at people to shut the fuck up and back off. If it starts to become more work than play for me, I still stand by word of dropping everything. No regrets if it came to that, because it would be way better than building up resentment and anger over something that is supposed to be a fun project for those involved or want to participate and listen.

The Experience of the Old and New

I know a kid. I’ll name him Alex. Alex was born three years after his older brother Nick, and adored his older brother. They did things together, they liked the same things, and Alex really looked up to his brother and wanted to do the same things as he did. Eventually Alex became old enough to show interest in a martial art his older brother had been doing for a few years. Being new, he entered in with the lowest division with other people who were new just like him. Alex enjoyed the martial art so much that he would practice at home with his friends, and even spar together with them when they had time. His older brother Nick, remembering the fun time they used to have doing things together, decided to go up to his brother and ask to join him. Alex is reluctant. After all, his older brother Nick is several belts ahead of him and has the skills and knowledge that Alex has yet to obtain because of his limited experience.

Now, if you change Alex with FFXIV ARR (new) player and Nick with FFXIV Legacy player, some (definitely not all) parts of the aforementioned story can easily be compared with the other. Granted not all new players have played with Legacy players and what have you, but there are some Legacy players who just happen to like, oh, I don’t know… helping? Doing content? Or are in possible need of gear for their other classes/jobs? Maybe they just want to get ready, or maybe they just want to help someone else who they are partnering up with but they need more party members. There is an endless amount of possibilities, and no one knows what someone’s intentions are unless they ask or they have found a way to read minds over the internet. If you have the later ability, please get in contact with me. I need to know your secret.

The thing is, people want to experience this game in a myriad of different ways. I get that. Some want to do the new content only as their Legacy character, some want to do it as a new character, or maybe there are players who have never played XIV and want to give it a chance. It’s sort of like real life. I know, “the scary elephant in the room that a handful of players are desperately escaping is part of a game!?” Crazy as it may seem, it is very rare for us to experience something completely fresh and without previous knowledge and wisdom dictating how to approach something. Infants are curtailed from causing great harm to them by loving parents, toddlers have care providers watching every movement and breath they take, and if you happen to find yourself in some strange and foreign part of the world no one has explored? Well, previous experiences from other expeditions will either help you or kill you.

My point is that if you are making frowning faces at the Legacy players for playing, supporting, or helping a game they happen to love as much as you do? Take a step back. Look at them like the older brother or sister. They can either be a huge PITA or a blessing in disguise. You can play with them or you can just walk away. If you walk away, then find players locally that better suit your tastes. It is beyond ridiculous to ask a feature of the game that is meant to help EVERYONE to ostracize the players that helped make this game grow with their support. Some of them want to help. Some are asses, but new players aren’t exempt from being assholes or even making unreasonable demands upon the party to suit their needs. At this point it is all smoke and mirrors, and if you choose to judge a book by its cover then hey, your choice. I’ll sit here, sip my wine, and judge you for being an ass to some of the most dedicated and helpful players that have helped shaped this community all because of your preconceived notions that have no bearing on the community as a whole.

Flabbergasted By Flabbergasting People

I don’t understand people. I wish I did, because I am oftentimes flabbergasted by them. Take Sequence Break for example. I know we have fans and I know we have people who don’t give a rat’s ass. I get that. I don’t even care about the later group because its a waste of energy. So why am I flabbergasted? Because some of these people continue to listen even if they don’t like the show.

I don’t know, maybe I’m crazy. Maybe I’m flipping insane, but I will tune out or walk away from something if I don’t like it. There are several XIV shows I just didn’t like because they were too dry and boring or were even more off the wall than SBXIV is (shocking, I know). Then there are the people who complain about, “Oh there isn’t x, y, or z.” or “Ugh, this shit has a, m, z, x, and l!” If you have a vision for something or have an idea… then why not put in the work to get it done if you’re going to complain about it? So many people are passive about things and hardly proactive.

I don’t know if people are just being clueless, lazy, or what… but its really not that hard to set up shop if you think you can do a better job and want to put in the effort to do so. The amount of free tools out there is mind boggling, and so are the amount of tutorials and guides to help people get going. Though if the problem is effort, then they need to sit still and shut up. I can’t fault someone for putting effort because they are trying, and that says a whole lot more than the people who sit on their damn asses all day just throwing stones without doing much for themselves or anyone else. But whatever.

I take comfort that soon there will be more shows for people to listen to, because some are coming back and some are being made. Hopefully people find what they are looking for or decide to get off their carcass to make what they desire to hear out of a show.

Time and Experience as a Meter to the Wise

Something earlier really bothered me, because it speaks about a lot of the problems that thankfully many people are unaware of. When you start getting you neck deep into bullshit, you end up having to wade through a lot of it before you can find yourself able to breathe. This is especially true about certain aspects of the community.

I spoke with several people (many of whom I consider dear friends), before finally finding the introspection I have been looking for. This friend is amazing. Simply amazing. He is bright, funny, and wise. He told me this:

“Experience should account as milestones and commitment, not as domination and authority.”

Smart words that don’t just have to apply to whatever we were talking about, but life in general as well. I just hope someone understood I am still a crazy toddler despite having done this since 2009. Crazy, right?