Archive for August, 2010
On the eve of tomorrow’s big open beta launch, I can’t help but feel bogged down. School is starting up next week and I feel like I need to take the time to balance everything together and just get into a groove. There has been so much to do on the website and I am mostly through the list of stuff I wanted to take care of. Other members (particularly Lux Aeterna) has been kind enough to post a good bit of information on the site and members have really started to spend more time on the forums.
Everything looks good at the moment. I’ve even been playing a little late-night Starcraft 2. I just got promoted to Gold League tonight so I feel I’ve just made it to above average play skill now. It’s a tough game and I think it’s time to see what new stuff lies ahead of me. I need to work on different build orders like Ghost build, fast expand, and siege tank/marine mass. My harass game also sucks pretty bad. I hate going for tech lab on barrack#1 for reapers, and I don’t like devoting time to using medivac transport with marines either. I will have to adapt to this new league and honestly I am pretty frightened of what lies ahead.
Anyway, back to FFXIV now! I got pretty disenchanted with the last beta phase. So many parts of the game were just unplayable and it was a real downers. I hope this time, with the newly updated client and the promise of about 5x the playerbase, SE has manned up and improved what they needed to improve. I guess I’m glad that I have a week to get into it before school starts. I am crossing my fingers that other cities will be accessible this time around and we get to experience a build closer to what retail intends to be.
I will be on Exdeath tomorrow evening. Hope to see some of you there!
What can I say? Things are shaping up on the website now. I’ve spent the last few days trying to fix things that are just broken about EQDKP Plus. Ya know, I really love the software and all that, but some of its strengths are also its weakness. For example, it is very plugin-friendly. It arrives with about 40 plugins made by about 15 different people. You can email them directly from the plugin page which is really cool too. Unfortunately there are some big shortcomings of the system itself, and they won’t release an entirely new EQDKP Plus package without updating every little thing about it, so that makes new versions take forever. To remedy some of my problems I’ve taken it upon myself to learn a little php. I am no pro, that’s for sure, but I have an understanding of it having known some C from back in my MUD days.
Some of the projects I’ve undertaken include adding surveys to the website, updating class and race icons (and then actually figuring out how to display them) on the DKP, figuring out how my proposed EP/GP multipool simpleDKP/ZeroSum hybrid system would even function (I figured this one out, much to my amusement), organizing a linkshel meeting (which was a big success imo), and just generally trying to keep the ball rolling with 30 days left to go before launch.
I really wanted to get some kind of customizable application thing going for reasons other than screening applicants. I found some free survey software over at limesurvey.com which I can use kinda like an application for leadership positions. While this isn’t really my MO on how to handle leadership applications, because I feel those interested should know what I am looking for and I want to hear what they have to say rather than respond to some scripted questions, but I see some value in being able to use it for temporary positions. I also may use it for evaluation purposes–such as the end-of-year assessments I asked Karasu players to write for the leadership over the years. A survey form would make it much easier to gather the information that I want, rather than sifting through badly formatted private messages which clutter my inbox and require filing.
Last night I tackled those DKP icons. It was a breeze mostly, but required a lot of resizing of images down to 25x25px, which let me tell you is not a fun thing to do when you’re talking 20 images. It takes like 20s each, but it’s tedious as hell! There was also a lot of redundancy in displaying pictures. Next to the member name is would show Class Icon > Race Icon > Member Name, and then in the Class column it would show Race Icon > Class Icon (so reverse order, without name). Talk about dumb. Luckily I found the calls for both icon types and was able to modify how the DKP listed members so each icon would only show up once and in the appropriate place. Sometimes I wonder what those crazy German dudes over at EQDKP Plus are thinking when they’re coding these things. I am just thankful they made the code easy to read and understand, even for a layman like myself.
As for the rest of the DKP, I figured out just how we’d implement an EP/GP system. Firstly, you have to add all the events to a pool, like say Dynamis. In there, you tie all the Dynamis events to the pool as normal. Then you just work that as a ZeroSum. However, that isn’t giving points for the event on the EP side of things, just shifting points in the GP columns. They way you add the EP is to make individual adjustments (you can make one adjustment to as many people as you want), and comment which event it is for, then put in the value. The nice thing about this is you can delete one of those adjustments and all the ones tied to it go away (much like deleting an event also deletes all items from that event and readjusts points accordingly). The other advantage to this since adding EP this way does not input a raid on the DKP, it just keeps the GP events (the stuff people want to view anyway) uncluttered. This way when you’re checking out what events people did today, you’ll see just the ZeroSum events, and the individuals adjustments are all kept in member pages. I really think it’s great, just have to convince others it can work, or let myself be influenced by other people as or more crazy than I am.
Ah, the linkshell meeting. Not as many showed as I would have liked, but it was the first, and I know of at least two others that listened to it in its entirety, so I cannot complain even a little bit. We spent a lot of time on recruitment, because that’s really all we have at this point. Some other small topics were touched upon and we did not tackle DKP anymore than we already have on the forums. That’s fine though–I think we’ve said enough on the subject and that topic is just about as far advanced as we can get it at this stage. As a direct result of the meeting we now have an official senior/recruitment leader (Ruok), and we revamped the recruitment process completely. I feel like we fixed all or most of the problems people were running into with that stuff. It’s still a little clunky having to move things over from the DKP’s application section to the forums, but it’s only work for 1-2 people now as opposed to the near-35 the linkshell is looking at right now. Efficiency is a factor high on my list as a leader and it’s something I am always looking to squeeze out of everything, even if its minor.
With school just around the corner again (and it just ended last month), I am doing my best to keep things moving in a positive direction. I just PM’d Celestein today about the PR position and I am hoping he’s got some additional ideas. I am trying really hard to wrap up old things and move onto fresh topics with these guys but I fear we may hit a wall just short of launch date. I have to maintain their motivation and encourage them to start mingling a bit more. I don’t know how exactly to do that, but I know where I am going to start. There are two people I definitely need to talk to in the next 48h before things slip away any further. Oh but now I sound paranoid. It’s really not all that bad; I just don’t have anything else to think about for the next two weeks. I’ll be much better once school starts and my mind is working on other things outside of this game.
Honestly I love leading. It’s such a thrill. I wonder if I’ll even care if the game sucks.
My girlfriend is a GameStop employee so she was able to snag a beta code last week and I had the chance to toy around with the beta for two days before it went down. There was a fair amount of content to see, and I didn’t get too far, but I tried to experience a little bit of everything so I could talk about it on forums and with other testers. Here’s a few of my first impressions:
Battle / XP (solo)
My favorite activity hands down. In general, the battle system is clunky. It can take a few seconds for you to switch from active to passive mode and back. I found it easier to have weapon drawn before using the action bar too. Mobs are spread out fairly well, so the availability itself isn’t bad but resetting all the levels made from some crowded areas. Once you get past 11 or 12 it seems to be less congested. Also, between battles, be sure to use passive mode. Not only do you run faster, but you don’t regen HP in active mode! How clever SE. There is no MP regen so mages must have it rough.
You utilize your combat abilities (light slash, weapon skills, buffs) from your action bar. You set these abilities on your action bar from the menu. Unfortunately the bar resets every time you switch classes. That is likely to get fixed today though.
Combat itself is, as I said before, clunky. Lock-on is the same as it was in FFXI, but your movement is more fluid, so it seems forced to have it. It is necessary sometimes though. Occasionally, it will say you cannot see your target or target is too far but it really is right in front of you. Beta bugs I guess. I can see combat being very strategic as time goes on due to the stamina bar. For those that aren’t aware, everything you do in combat uses a portion of the stamina bar, which gradually refills itself. You build TP like in FFXi, but the numbers are on a scale 1000 this time, and it caps out at 3000 TP (there’s no % tacked on either). At 1000 TP, you can use weapon skills (I got circle blade, red lotus). Magic based ones also use MP, like red lotus which used 3. I had like 180 MP so it wasn’t so bad, but if you don’t manage it well while grinding, you’ll run out!
You get a class “rank” and then a physical level. The latter seems to increase much faster as the EXP you earn goes towards it. Your rank improves by utilizing your weapon during combat. I hit Rank 11 Gladiator / 12 Physical. So I imagine those Physical levels will make it easier to level up Pugilist and Marauder next time I get on, assuming they don’t wipe levels again!
Well, like they said, you switch your weapon, you change your class. Indeed! It’s pretty cool, but it isn’t as seamless as it will (hopefully) be at release and can take a few moments. There’s a shop where you can buy all sorts of Rank 1 weapons for the other classes, which makes it easy to get started there once you finish a leve or two for some gil. The shield was removed in this phase though, which pisses me off since I am a gladiator main. I’ve been getting my ass kicked out there! I need some protection. This also rendered my Phalanx counter useless, but that probably belonged in the previous section.
Anyway, most of the gear your get either comes from doing local/regional leves, which can have a reward. You start out with the basic 5 or 6 slots covered so you’re not naked and you can obtain pieces of the “Hemp” set from starter leves.Gear wears down on a durability scale. it seems really slow though, which is great! This is definitely a nice system for that, and I appreciate the effort put in here, being an oldschool MUD player where gear repair was a standard feature in medieval fantasy themed games.
Oh, you can also purchase guild “weapons” in the respective guilds. I haven’t given this too much of a try so I’ll cover this next.
So i got Armorer to Rank 3 and could not figure out how to fish, or why my Blacksmithing just wanted to keep breaking synths. I wasted about 4k gil thus far crafting. That is a lot of money when you can only do 8 quests every 2 days and the rewards are like 1k each. The array of available crafts are great. There’s something for everyone in this category, and you can try out as much as you like! The cool thing about this is being able to repair your own stuff as well. They included a few things in the GUI that allow you to facilitate repairs–either by doing it yourself, looking for services, or providing services to others. A very good idea, as it is basically the party-seeking equivalent of the battlefield classes.
The game also lags like you would not believe when you enter into the synthesis menu. It takes almost two minutes to perform the setup fora synth and another minute to actually craft the item.The way it works is supposedly like EQ2. You enter the synthesis menu, select either a requested item (from a leve) or manually put items in the crafting boxes. You then select main or offhand crafting tool and begin the synth. Once in the synthesis action, you have about 10 seconds to make a selection each phase of the craft. You can choose from a Standard synthesis, Quick synthesis (forget the exact word now), or Bold (HQ?) synthesis option. When you make a selection, a certain amount of progress is made toward the completion of the final product. There are two factors you must weigh–durability and quality. If the durability of the item reaches 0 while crafting, you botch the synthesis. If the quality is high at the end of the synthesis, you make a HQ item (I believe, never pulled it off).Each time you select a synthesis type, the item’s %complete increases some, the durability goes down, and the quality goes up (can go down too maybe? didn’t pay that much attention to quality). It then prompts you to make another selection and you keep going in that fashion until you either complete the item or you bust it.
What I gleam from it is it’s very in-depth and time-consuming, but that means there’s a lot of variety in items coming from crafting. Unfortunately I do not have much to say about any of the other crafts (the above is how armorer/blacksmith worked–maybe it’s the same for all the others san fishing). If anyone knows how the fuck you fish, please let me know. I couldn’t reel in a god damn thing…
Yes, I really wanna be a fisher again!
Leves / Behests
OK the first problem here is the utter lack of information available on how these work. It’s very word-of-mouth/trial-and-error in my mind. You approach a counter in town and get leves, which are quests by another name. A cute little stained-glass card pops up that gives you a full description of what the leve entails, including rewards, location, issuers of the leve, required class/rank to complete it, and all that jazz. The problem is you can grab all of them at once in any categories you want (Local, Regional, Battlefield, Fieldwork, Faction leves), but once you’ve done eight of them, you’re done for two days. Also you can’t cancel any of the ones you’ve taken so you’re stuck with a leve until it is done. The idea behind it is kinda like assault tags that only refresh every 48h instead of every 24h. It’s a real pain in the ass, and the way it’s setup is that if you’re doing them solo, you’re wasting your leve basically. The idea here is to leap-frog your leves in parties, attempting them at higher difficulties to get the most out of them xp/skill/reward(?)-wise. So you’re going to want to find a party to do these with, since if I flag a leve with you in my party, everyone gets it active, and then you can activate the same one too for the party, essentially doing the same level 6 times instead of just once. At least, this is how it seems to work–I could be wrong!
They say that leves are going to be the backbone of the game, but unless you are a party-whore, you’re not going to make the most out of this timespent. As far as behests go, I am not high enough rank to grab any just yet (or I haven’t found any…), but the whole idea sounds awesome. It’s precisely what you did in XII and XIII with mark hunting. There can conditions you need to fulfill to make mobs spawn sometimes I believe. These are party-oriented methinks, and will definitely add a nice touch to this game, which you could not mistake for any other system than Crystal Tools to the max.
Beta bugs aside, the game runs fairly smooth. This the biggest complaint that people–but come on, it’s a beta. The mechanics are good, even if they seem a little ancient. I’d like to see some more nuevo ideas like an interactive map, smoother combat, and an improved GUI (although what I see so far is very cool). Everything seems to work well as a whole. Piece by piece, stuff doesn’t seem to fit but together, it all works really well. My recommendation is to try everything if you get in the beta. That will give you a great idea of how the game works.