End of 2012 Review

The end of the year is near, and I thought I would get a head start on this before I forget (as I am apt to do). Here are my previous year end review entries from my other blog:

2011

2010

2009

2008 (dunno what happened!)

2007

When I review the previous entries, I often mention that usually the year sucked. This year? In all honesty, its been great despite the fact I got into arguments with friends, lost friends and acquaintances, I found my dad has a very aggressive form of kidney cancer, had his kidney removed, and a slew of other things. However, I also: reestablished friendships, aced Chemistry courses, helped try to make Sequence Break XIV a better podcast, made new friends, was able to go to PAX again despite tickets being sold out very quickly, and found I can still appear younger than I look despite how old I feel! Hooray!

This has mostly been a year of Final Fantasy XIV for me. Thursday and Friday, for a large portion of the year, were days I looked forward to because it either meant: podcast recording or gaming night with GameOver. My LS (which is mostly used as a means of communication between my set), has lost and gained members but the core of the group still remains and we’re still looking forward to playing ARR together. I’m actually happy playing with these guys, because then you realize you aren’t the only crazy one. Group of crazy people = awesome and fun. Looking forward to another year and (hopefully) an increase in allowance!

PAX was fucking INSANE this year. The first day was a damn mad house, and my sister was so upset she almost left on Friday evening. I ended up getting her to stay and she had a better time on Saturday and Sunday thanks to a smaller crowd and the boys making sure she wasn’t by herself and getting pushed around. Reiokyu otou-sama, my brother, and my boyfriend were also there this year. It was sort of like our old XI days sans Mekare and Hiro. I was picked on at every place we ate at, but all in all it was actually a lot of fun. I ended up purchasing a 3DS XL later in the year because of PAX, because once you go big you can’t go back! I also bought a Vita after playing with a few of them, and found myself being cautiously wary of the Wii U even after having had fun with the system on the floor. ^^; Lets just say I had to skirt away from their floor because of the ZombiU seemingly taking center stage next to the Mickey game.

Other games?

Tera and Guild Wars 2 were kind eh. I liked what they offered in the beginning, but they have pretty polish at the start that leads to emptiness as you continue on. Nice flash and no depth are not what good games make. Diablo 3 was the same way, and I can’t get myself to finish Skyrim because I have severe issues with undead. Which is strange given the previous title, but I actually finished D3 by having problems primarily on the first stage and a little bit later on. Yeah, go fig.

At the moment, I’m in portable gaming overload. I ended up owning a plethora of games on iOS and buying a 3DS XL before being gifted with a PS Vita. I’m currently making my way through: Paper Mario Sticker Star, Ragnarok Odyssey, and Persona 3. Don’t ask how or why, but hopefully I will be able to finish them before ARR is released…

My hopes for 2013 are actually small and almost childish: I want to continue gaming with my set. I do consider them to be my friends now, and I cherish them a lot more than some IRL relationships I have. Its hard being yourself around others when they judge you for liking certain things, but for the most part… most of us like the same things or can overlook certain things because the person overall is really cool. This is how I feel about the friendships I made in GameOver, and why its the one thing I hope continues in 2013 no matter what game we play. Now if only we can move more of them onto the West Coast~

A PC Reborn

Early December, my PC would no longer start up. It had an overloaded USB problem that resulted in a lot of headaches not just for my father but for me who had a lot of stuff I needed access to. It also threw off my normal routine and cut me clean off from doing any sort of gaming on my PC. I was able to catch up on handheld gaming and even spent more time outside (gasp!), but I was still rather anxious to have my PC back and running.

The new parts arrived last week and last weekend they were put into my computer. Here is the before and after of what I now have in my PC:

Before

ASUS P6T Deluxe V2 LGA 1366 Intel X58 ATX Intel Motherboard

Intel Core i7-920 Bloomfield 2.66GHz LGA 1366 130W Quad-Core Processor BX80601920

Mushkin Enhanced Redline 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model 998805

After

ASUS SABERTOOTH Z77 LGA 1155 Intel Z77 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard

Intel Core i7-3770K Ivy Bridge 3.5GHz (3.9GHz Turbo) LGA 1155 77W Quad-Core Desktop Processor Intel HD Graphics 4000 BX80637I73770K

CORSAIR Vengeance LP 16GB (2 x 8GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model CML16GX3M2A1600C10

A new power source was also placed into the system, but I can’t remember what it the hell was used. Unfortunately, something happened to the HD in the heat of things and we ended up having to reformat the entire drive. I lost a lot of data that was rather important to me (screenshots and documents for class and work), but overall I am also happy that it was reformatted. Starting over is sometimes nice, too.

Overall the system is actually quieter than before aside from the brief hiccup with the hard drive. Hopefully I can get back to blogging, too, now that I can actually have a working PC again! ^_^;

After Show Reflections – SBXIV Ep 49

Note: At the time of writing this entry, the most current episode of SBXIV still has not yet been published. I haven’t re-listened to the episode, and am going mostly based off of memory and other such things.

When my boyfriend tweeted something about GBTV, I immediately knew what it was about. It’s hard not to be able to tell, since it is the same thing the forums are going on about and that we had just talked about on our most recent episode of SBXIV: the bloody quest/battle footage from Alpha. I am bolding those words, because let me stress that 1.) this is Alpha and 2.) its of very limited content. As far as I remember, battle in WoW hardly seemed as interesting during those early on levels. Tera? I was staring at my panty clad ass too much to actually remember. GW2? Ok, you might have me there. Maybe.

A lot of comments have been directed at how supposedly boring and bland the content is based upon five minute videos of the Alpha and that the game isn’t following the direction of one game or another such as Tera or Guild Wars 2. Of course, as far as I am concerned, Guild Wars 2 has a declining population and I don’t even know many friends who are currently subscribed to Tera vs. the amount of friends I know who have unsubscribed long ago. Does XIV REALLY want to completely follow their path?

I try to give people the benefit of the doubt, and TRY to think of them wanting to see XIV succeed. I know I want SquareEnix to succeed and most importantly for XIV to do well, but I know that some people are just so full of hate and vitriol and that they can’t see past their own blinders or what could be the bigger picture. XIV has already taken a lot of inspiration from these games, as can be gleaned off already published interviews, letters from the producer, and videos. There is also the fact that very solid reasoning has been given against mages being able to move during casting, and that was for balancing reasons in PvP. One can also argue that the game conventions in regards to PvP is most likely going to be based more upon Team vs. Team vs. one singular Player vs. Player. One looking for a more one-on-one action will most likely be utilizing a ‘duel’ sort of feature that may be implemented in the game at a future date.

A Team vs. Team setting is really nothing new; other MMOs have utilized this sort of game mechanic in their game as a form of PvP for a long time. The problem is that it appears Western gamers can’t seem to wrap their mind around the aspect of a TEAM battle in an MMO setting. For an Eastern audience, this is nothing new as their culture is based upon people working together in harmonious ways to reach goals. It is my belief that this is a reason why they tend to do better at games such as LoL and SC because they know how to work as a unit vs. trying to get their own personal glories. Such a theme is also very frequent in other FF titles, despite each series having its own main character(s). Without the unit as a whole, shit wouldn’t get done and the story as a whole wouldn’t progress. You could try, but it would be damn hard to do so, no?

But for a Western audience who think more of what can one do to elevate oneself vs. the group as a whole, I think this is a barrier of entry to think of how the mage can be utilized in a PvP setting with their disadvantages of being unable to move vs. being able to move.

Granted, we don’t know all the details. We don’t know how much damage the casters will be able to do on a whole vs their opponent, but with the inclusion of weapon skills it isn’t hard to imagine that it won’t be a significant amount of damage. Already the preview trailers have shown the BLM contributing to the all powerful Meteor within a group setting. Again, team work vs a single minded player is what I feel will help tide over a PvP match in XIV. Not just mindless team work of mashing buttons either, but more thoughtful actions that will most likely result in *gasp* communicating WITH your team to work WITH them versus against them to pull off well executed and deadly limit break attacks.

Do I think its impossible for the Western audience to do this? No, hardly! I know there are very capable groups out there who are able to keep the Japanese playerbase on its toes in XI in regards to its version of PvP, and I have no doubt that the same thing can and will be done again in XIV. My problem is the greater populace who can’t seem to wrap their head around other possibilities and seem stuck in their tunnel vision of what will make a great MMO. What fits for one, doesn’t always fit for all. Lets just hope those trying to shoehorn their way into XIV aren’t looking to ruin what already looks like a promising game at this point in time.

A Fresh Start

Hello and welcome to my new domain: calaera.me. If you are a long time reader of mine, you are probably rolling my eyes at my newest domain name acquisition. Trust me, my boyfriend is doing the same thing. Currently ALL of my entries can be found directly at mreh.net. I wanted to start fresh and new, but I also wanted to keep in tact old memories that I had chronicled over the years. This was as good a compromise as any, and would allow me to start things off fresh without having to go back and retag and categorize everything.

You may be wondering: what is the difference between this site and unimaginative.me! Simply put, I realized that not everyone may be interested in my day to day ramblings, and that a large part of my twitter following is predominately due to FFXI, FFXIV, or any array of video games or MMO.

So what can you expect to see here? Most likely the same things you found on my other blogs. Ranging anywhere from my adventures with friends, thoughts on news, thoughts on other things, etc, but mostly focused on, well, video games or technology. My blog is rather mundane, and its not really meant to be THE source (or any kind of source, for that matter) of high end game content or what have you. Other sources are far more capable than I am, and have more time and patience to dedicate to such an intricate craft.

In other words, if you are searching for super cool detailed stuff that would help you be the best that you can be? Well, you are at the wrong place. If you want to be bored to tears reading the adventures and glancing at the occasional screenshot of a girl and her friends, or even to read a derp-tastic guide on how to do things with a not so ideal setup? Perfect! You are at the right place! :) Enjoy!

Handheld Gaming Fest

Since the week of Thanksigivng of this year, I have acquired a PS Vita and a 3DS XL. I had previously owned a LE Zelda 3DS, but had wanted an XL after testing one at PAX Prime and finding my eyes just aren’t well suited for such a tiny screen over long periods of time. It has been a bane having new toys close to finals week, but has also helped in coping with heavy personal issues as well as when I am confined to bed rest.

Here are just a few games I have been playing since then:

Style Saavy (3DS)
Don’t look at me funny because I REALLY like this game. I usually shy away from girly things, and I know it plays along very awful stereotypes I’ve hated since I was a kid. However, the fact that its anime/Japanese based has a lot to do with why I have chosen to play the game (I rarely play games bundled with systems I buy). You play as a female protagonist who is asked to help out at a store and eventually works her way up through the fashion food chain. Your customers often ask for themed clothes that typically corresponds to what your store looks like and what is sold from your window. Themes range from girlie, pop, luxury, edgy, bold, etc. You can also go to other stores for hair, makeup, to get your picture done, and furniture for your home.

A very fun game that is a lot like dress up, but with more clothing styles to choose from than you can imagine!

Persona 3 Portable (PSP/Vita)
To be honest, I have never played the Persona series on my own. I have watched my brother play it, I have read about it, and watched videos, but my brother would never let me touch his game so I couldn’t play it until now. ^^; I am not very far into the game since I restarted it, but it has made me remember why I really like JRPGS and that is mostly due to visual appeal and its quirky-ness. The dungeon crawling + dating sim like progression is fun and keeps me engaged in doing things other than crawling dungeons all day long. Looking forward to playing more of it during my winter break!

Paper Mario Sticker Star (3DS)
I am a HUGE fan of Paper Mario as it reminds me of Super Mario RPG, which is another Mario title that I enjoy. I haven’t gotten far, but it is a game where I have turned on the 3D slider up a bit when I can tolerate it. I usually have the 3D slider off for most games, but this is a title where I find that the 3D functionality has been utilized rather nicely despite how 2D it appears. I look forward to playing this more often when time and battery life allows!

Hatsuoki: Demon of the Fleeting Blossom (PSP/Vita)
I remember seeing this in GameStop when it was released and was tempted to buy it then, but refrained because I wasn’t sure about the game. I knew it was a visual novel and that it is an otome game (a female protagonist looking to develop a romantic relationship with a guy and sometimes a girl), but I wasn’t sure if I wanted to play it. On a whim I decided to get it, and have been having fun learning pseudo Japanese history (I end up wiki-ing certain things later on) and trying to win over various guys.

I am not particularly new to dating sims, as I typically play the male protagonist and have fun winning over the female or just using them for sexual purposes (my sister says I’d make an awful guy…). An otome game, however, is kind of… challenging. As a girl, I know what a girl would like and am often amused when they play on stereotypical answers. But now that I am trying to win over a guy, I realize that the dynamics are different. Its actually very strange and puzzling to me, and I was very disappointed when I found myself not winning over the guy I originally wanted! ;o;

The game itself has an interesting take on the Shinsengumi that has made me feel more sympathetic to them than I have in the past.
It is a strange setting for a romance story, because of the known fate of the Shinsengumi but maybe that’s why it was chosen? Yay bitter sweet romance!

The game is strictly a visual novel, so be warned of this. There is another “Hatsuoki” title that has fighting elements within it, but I am not familiar with its exact game title. I know for sure I’ll be seeking out the anime once it is released in NA. *insert school girl squealing here*

The FFXIV down time probably came at the best time. To be able to play these games has been a blessing, and has rejuvenated my interest on my handheld systems. Looking forward to giving them more loving in the coming weeks!