Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Final Fantasy XIV - Family Adventuring

In my last post I posted a picture of my character Mialee Liadon in her new look as a Miqo'te.  Considering how much time and gil I spent trying to find a look I liked for her when she was an Elezen, changing her race was not a snap decision (see post 1, post 2, post 3, post 4 for the evolution of Mialee's look as an Elezen).

A few weeks ago Penny watched me play and then asked if she could play too.  She had made a character on my account when I first started playing and although she didn't get too far she remembered she had one.  The combat mechanics were too complicated for her as she was only 4 I think so she spent all her play time just wandering around looking at things (and dying to high level things when she found them).  Now I didn't want to give up my play time so she could play so I made her a trial account.  I figured why not since it wouldn't cost me anything and she would have plenty to do while on her way to level 35.

So she made a new character on my server (Exodus), a Miqo'te named Luna Khaleesi (named after our two cats, Luna and Khaleesi).  She was annoyed that my character was not a Miqo'te and kept wanting me to change to one.  Penny wanted my character to be the same race as hers so that she can pretend our characters were sisters.  I didn't think much of it at first but eventually I came to the decision that this might be funner for her so I surprised her during one of our gaming sessions with the new Mialee and she was very happy.  I think that simple change made Penny connect with both her character and my character better and as a result she seems to enjoy the game even more than before.  And, like me, she likes looking for nice outfits for her character.

Luna (on the left) and Mialee (on the right)
After trying out the Marauder first (mostly because that was my main class) she eventually settled on the Arcanist because it has pets.  She liked the carbuncles and when she made it to 30 she got access to the fairies which really made her like the class.  I ended up gettting her a 1 month subscription as a treat for doing well at a recent violin competition she attended and as of this post she's a level 40 Scholar.

I truly don't know if this was a good decision on my part or not but wow is it ever fun being able to share my Eorzean adventures with her!  She loves exploring all of Eorzea and because she's playing on my gaming laptop the scenery looks amazing and the gameplay is smooth (compared to my old bare bones desktop at least).  Penny especially loves night time in the La Noscea region as she can see the stars so clearly and often just wanders around at night following the stars.

One really neat thing is that she is learning how to play in a party and learning the different roles.  She's a fairly proficient healer but does spend most of her time DPSing and letting her fairy handle all the healing.  I have to remind her for tougher fights to pay attention to the tank's (me) health bar because if the tank (or healer) dies, so does everyone else.  It does help that I'm an experienced tank so there's a little more room for error but I am wondering how she'll handle the more mechanically intensive fights as she continues her adventure.

I guess only time will tell if this is a good thing for her or not.  In the meanwhile we get to enjoy a hobby as a father daughter tank-healer team!

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Final Fantasy XIV - Revisiting Eorzea

First let me say that Facebook ads work (at least some of them do on me).  I think it was a Facebook ad that got me into playing League of Legends for the first time so many years ago (before Season 1) and it was a Facebook ad that rekindled my interest in playing Final Fantasy XIV again.  Can't quite remember what exactly was in the ad but it got me all nostalgic about when I used to play the game with my friends a few years back.  The last time I played FFXIV was when the Go Go Posing Rangers event was on back in 2016.

So I started up my subscription at the end of December and have been playing daily since.  I hadn't finished the main Heavensward story so that was my first goal.  To be honest I'm still not done that part yet.  On top of the main story in the original expansion, Square Enix added a few patches worth of additional main story since.  I just finished the 3.1 scenario "As goes light, so goes darkness" and now into the 3.2 scenario quests.  After the 3.2 scenario quests, I'll move into the 3.3 quests followed by the 3.4 quests and finally the 3.5 quests.

It's been a little slow as I don't want to outpace my healer friend who I convinced to resub and join me.  He's a dungeon or two behind me so while I wait for him to catch up I'm doing a bunch of side things.  Mostly crafting.  Prior to my return to the game I had 5 of the 8 crafting classes at lv50 so I started power leveling them to 60.  That task blew through a tonne of the gil reserves I had.  I think close to 3 million after all was said and done!  While doing this for my 5 main crafting classes I quickly realized I needed the other crafting classes at lv50+ as well so I could access certain reagents that they could make.  I could buy everything off the market board but that was getting too costly as my levels increased.  This also led me to pick up the botanist class and to continue leveling my miner so I could access more raw materials for my crafting.

So that's where I'm at right now in my journey in Eorzea.  Waiting for my friend to catch up to me in the story and spending gil leveling my crafting classes and gathering classes.

P.S.  Finally used my Fantasia potion and turned Mialee from an Elezen to a Miq'ote.  Why did I do that? Stay tuned and find out!
Mialee as a Miqo'te (with the Tidal Wave axe from Leviathan)

Sunday, February 4, 2018

2016 and 2017 Years in Review

The last two years were busy to say the least.  I'm going to blame all the other stuff on why I didn't write anything about my gaming those years.  It's not that I didn't get a chance to play games or be involved in the gaming communities in town, just didn't have time to write or reflect about it.

Here's a brief run down of what occured
  • Started an Esports club at NVSS.
  • Penny and I played the Pokemon TCG competitively and regularly placed in the top 8 at our local events.
    • Once she could read better, the decks we played got more complicated and we started buying singles and building meta/net decks.
  • Finally reached Gold rank in League of Legends in Season 6 (2016)
    • And got the shiny gold border for all of Season 7 (2017)
    • Sadly I didn't play much ranked in Season 7 and ended up in Silver again.
  • More board games!
    • Got into cooperative board games big time.

Monday, January 29, 2018

Back From the Void

I have not paid much attention to this for a year and a half now.  I did not die and I did not stop gaming.  Just got busy and fell into a rut with regards to chronicling my journey as a gamer and geek dad.

Anyways, I neglected to do a Year in Review post of 2016 like I did the years prior, so I will post a Years in Review 2016-2017 later this week.

Lots of cool things happened in the last year and a half, the most significant of which being that Penny learned to read!  That opened a lot of opportunities to show her various games and what not.

So stay tuned as I chronicle my continuing journey as a gamer and geek dad.

Friday, July 8, 2016

Pokemon - Re-Learning the Card Game with Penny

Summer has arrived and with it a bunch of free time (when I'm not doing housework at least).  This summer Penny is a lot more cognizant of her surroundings and after a year of kindergarten is eager to learn how to read and do math and other stuff.  I've already started on teaching her the basics of game play with games like Tsuro and X-Wing so following a set of rules is getting easier for her.  She does have occasional bouts of why can't I do this but those are getting lesser and lesser.

Anyways, she started watching Pokemon on Netflix a few months back and out of the blue I asked her if she wanted to learn to play the Pokemon card game.  From my perspective this accomplished a few things.  First, she would learn to play a game that I used to play when I was younger.  Second she would learn to count by 10s since for some inexplicable reason Pokemon hitpoints and damage are in 10s and third she would learn to read some words like Cut or Tackle or other simple words that are Pokemon attacks.

So to start the road to learning the game we picked up the new Trainer Kit from Game Quest.
And so it begins...

The set contains two 30 card decks with fairly simple Pokemon, a playmat and all other necessary components for playing the game.  I thought Penny would want to play with the Pikachu deck as Pikachu is so prominent in the series but she opted for the Suicune deck as she liked the look of that Pokemon better.

The first game we followed the scripted game plan.  By scripted I mean that the decks were already pre-ordered and the instructions told each player how to play each turn for the first 8 turns or so.  This pre-scripted game ends up with the Pikachu deck winning.  Needless to say Penny was not happy so wanted to play again.

This time we shuffled up the decks and went at it again.  I kind of got a little unlucky in the second game as I did not draw enough energy cards to fully power my Pokemon (especially my Electrivire) and Penny eventually knocked out enough of mine to win.  She even made good use of Retreat to save her Suicune from my Electrivire and then brought it back the next round (after letting one of her Seakings eat an attack) to finish off my Electrivire for the win.

Penny laying the beats down.
As for the objectives I set out when teaching her the game, all were met save for the reading one.  We will have to work on that a bit more.

The rules for the game were really simple and haven't changed much at all when I first learned them back in 2000.  Penny picked up the rules really easily and she seemed to enjoy the imagery of the cards as well as imagining the two Pokemon fighting each other.  The only hangup we had was when we used attacks that had additional conditions like coin flipping.  She couldn't read the whole sentence so I had to explain to her that some attacks did extra stuff or only hurt under certain conditions.

Penny picked up counting by 10s pretty easily especially with the counters available.  She was even able to do some elementary algebra by figuring out how much more damage was needed to knock out (though she used the term kill) a Pokemon.  Interestingly she understood weakness easily enough (she referred to it as the Pokemon being allergic to certain types) though her math skills were not enough to multiply by 2 yet (admittedly I have not taken the time to show her what doubling means).

I need to figure out how to play the game for 3 players so that my wife can join us too.  My biggest concern is it would end up becoming gang-up on whoever was winning as is my experience in most other card games.

Teaching her the Pokemon card game coincides perfectly with the recent release of Pokemon Go too.  Just gotta wait for it to come to Canada now.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Video Games - League of Legends Highlights Sway

This past Tuesday was a Professional Development Day (Pro-D Day) for my district and rather than drive 2 hours to the town where the various Pro-D sessions were held, I instead opted to submit a self-directed Pro-D application to learn how to make a Sway.  Sway is a new presentation app that Microsoft developed as (I guess) an answer to Google Slides and Prezi (both are presentation apps that are natively online).

I originally wanted to learn the program at another Pro-D day but that session was full.  The app did interest me so I briefly looked into what it actually was and initially dismissed it until now.  Neat little program and in my mind, the biggest advantage over PowerPoint is the native online presence Sway has.

However, since I'm not supposed to be making lesson plans or other lesson related activities during my Pro-D day I instead learned how to use Sway and created Mr. Arocena's League of Legends Highlights.

In the process of learning Sway I also inadvertently ran across HitFilm Express which is an amazingly powerful free video editing software package.  I'll end up using it for all my education videos as well as it can do things that Movie Maker cannot.

The only flaw I found (and it's a major one in my mind) is that for some inexplicable reason Sways cannot be grouped into folders.  So for example if I make a bunch of League of Legends Sway presentations, they will just be sitting there ungrouped and unorganized in the My Sways tab of the website.  Huge flaw and the only reason I'm not going all-in on this new tool.

In the meanwhile though, Sway is great for special projects like the one I made.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Video Games - New Gaming PC Built!

My birthday came and went and with it an opportunity to build a new gaming PC.  I hadn't actually built a new PC from scratch since my university days, instead relying on pre-built systems and just upgrading the video card from it.

That sufficed for the most part but recently I've been experimenting with streaming and recording my gameplay and the pre-built systems I had been buying just weren't up to the task (part of the reason I haven't posted many video game related things or even streamed any game play).  With the opportunity to build my own PC again I spent a few days researching parts and finally decided on the following build

I scavenged the case and HDD from the existing computer so that saved me a bit of money.  Although in hindsight I should have picked up a new case anyways as I could then have a 2nd PC.  What I would do with the 2nd PC I have no idea but it would at least be working.  Maybe sell it or give it away to someone I guess.

Anyways, the new system was arrived last week and was fairly easy to put together compared to when I last built a computer.  Installing Windows 10 wasn't too bad either and I managed to activate it with an old Windows 7 key I had from an ancient laptop we had kicking around.  The computer operates much quieter than the previous one and is ridiculously fast in comparison as well.

My old system (running on an AMD A8-6500 with a Radeon R7 240 graphics card and 6gb of RAM) struggled to play Final Fantasy 14 at 1080p resolution on ultra low settings with an average of 20 FPS.  My new system runs it on maximum at 1080p while averaging 60 FPS.  There is no noticeable drop in FPS during gameplay while recording or streaming either so I think I'm going to be more inclined to stream/record my games now.

Obviously the PC is nowhere near top end but man is it ever a huge improvement over what I had before.  I have a potential significant upgrade path as the 7th generation Intel processors will use the same socket and I have a power supply large enough to power a beefier graphics card if I need to upgrade that later.  Given the current benchmarks though, my system should last a few years before needing any major upgrades (so says every PC builder).