ArcheAge – Calleil Diary, Next Four Days

Continuing my diary of ArcheAge on Calleil, the newest, emptiest North American server. To make a long story short, it looks like most of the land in safe zones was gone about a week after the new server came up. So if they start a new server and you want some good land, get ready to sprint for it. (The really prime spots.. those cool lone houses up on hills..  are probably gone within 24 hours. A really dedicated player can probably collect the 15 Gilda Stars from the main questline to buy a house design in under 2 hours.)

Calleil Day 6, Friday

Morning. Continued harvesting grapes and goose feathers. Placed some geese and grapevines on public land to increase yield. Completed a bunch of Dyed Feather trade runs for 8 gold each. Ran out of Labor Points, so I got a 1000-point Worker’s Compensation potion with 25 of my 75 Loyalty Points. (Nothing else in the Loyalty Store appeals to me anyway.) Spent some time doing plain old questing since that doesn’t cost labor and sometimes in ArcheAge all you can do is wait.

Afternoon. More Dyed Feather trade runs. I lost count of how many but I should have tons of gold rolling in throughout Day 7.

Evening. Bought 100 lumber for a mere 40 gold on the auction house! (Out of the 42 gold I had at that point.) I didn’t think I was going to get my Scarecrow Farm built until Day 7 but this surprise bargain made it possible a day early.

Carrying a lumber pack to use on my Scarecrow Farm.

Carrying a lumber pack on my trusty donkey to finish up my Scarecrow Farm.

Once the Scarecrow Farm was built, production shifted from goose feathers and grapes to lumber for the house. Planted five Hornbeam trees in the public nursery in White Arden and a few Yews on my garden. Yews yield less lumber but they mature in 4 hours, as opposed to the Aspens which mature in 10 hours. So my theory is that if you’re going to be around, you might get more lumber from two batches of Yews than one batch of Aspens. But if you’re going to be away, say, sleeping, then the Aspens are the better choice.

The Scarecrow Farm is up and running. You can fit a mind-boggling SIXTEEN aspen trees on it!

The Scarecrow Farm is up and running. You can fit a mind-boggling SIXTEEN Aspen Trees on it!

I realize now that one thing Labor Points do is even the playing field a little bit between people who have all day to play and people who can only play in the evenings. I don’t know if that was intentional or just a happy side effect, but it’s really easy to use up 5,000 Labor Points if you spend a lot of time playing. Back in Alpha, I never thought I would ever use up 5,000 Labor Points, but it doesn’t take long when you’re building houses. If you just play for a couple of hours a day, you’ll never have to worry about your spending, but if you play all day, you might have to ration them a bit.

Calleil Day 7, Saturday

A leisurely day. Planted a whopping 20 Aspen trees on my land and another 5 Hornwood trees in the public nursery. It is shocking how big a 16×16 farm is compared to the 8×8 garden. Crafted 100 Stone Blocks into a Stone Pack to build the second part of my house. Only a lumber pack left and the house will be complete. Making 100 Stock Blocks cost me 500 Labor Points, so I was left with less than 100. That meant spending most of the day questing and leveling. Also collecting gold in the mail from Day 6’s trade runs.

The hard part about planting trees in a public nursery is finding your trees again.

The hardest part about planting trees in a public nursery is finding your trees again. That little blue-white glowing shaft points out my tree.

Finally figured out the optimum opening combo for my “Dawncaller” class (Battlerage-Defense-Songcraft): Charge, followed by Shield Slam, followed by Triple Slash, followed by Whirlwind Slash. That would probably apply to any Battlerage-Defense class wielding a shield. I don’t usually play a lot of sword-and-board classes but I’m digging smashing mobs in the face with this one.

In the evening I harvested all my Aspen Trees and re-planted more. This left me with more than 300 logs, which is enough to put together a Lumber Pack to finish my house, but I wanted to wait until I regenerated some more Labor Points first.

I grew my Wolfhound Battle Pet outside my house. Unfortunately I thought it required regular milk and bought a bunch on the auction house. Then, after placing the pup, I realized it was the wrong kind of milk and I had to run all the way back down to where I got it from to get “special” milk from the cows near where you receive the wolfhound as a quest reward. Anyway, I rescued my ailing pup and he grew up fine. I named him Corporeal to protest all the other white wolfhounds named Ghost.

Me and my wolfhoud hanging out at the beach.

Me and my wolfhound hanging out at the beach.

I jumped into the Sharpwind Mines at level 27 and killed enough of the Blackbeard Thieves to finally collect the 8 pieces of stuff I needed to make that last piece of that set of gear you collect all throughout the Dewstone Plains. It was tough to solo the level 19 elite mobs at 27 but manageable with my sword-and-board class. I don’t know why I did this because I can’t wear that gear any more, but it bugged me that I didn’t have the complete set.

Tackling the Blackbeard Thieves in Sharpwind Mines for their armor.

Tackling the Blackbeard Thieves in Sharpwind Mines for their armor.

At the end of the day, I reached level 28, and ended up with almost 80 gold. (Of course I blew 10 of it on the wrong milk, but I’m hoping to make that back by re-selling it.)

Calleil Day 8, Sunday

Finished building my house in the morning. But I’m more interested in the land around the house than the building itself. It’s kind of ridiculous how much land you get to plant on with the garden, a farm, and the little bit of land surrounding a house. It actually costs quite a significant chunk of money to buy the seeds and saplings to fill up all that property, and then quite a chunk of Labor Points to harvest them. Since I don’t need lumber for a little while, I planted a bunch of Barley and Rye in an effort to work on making Breads and Soups.

My first house! Since I'm not much into housing, it will probably remain mostly empty.

My first ArcheAge house! Since I’m not much into housing, it will probably remain empty.

Discovered that you don’t actually have to water plants. I’ve always assumed it was required, but I discovered that it only accelerates the growth process. Has it always been like that? I seem to remember plants would wilt and die if you didn’t water them. Maybe I’m imagining that.

Otherwise spent most of the day questing. Completed three donkey trade runs from Gweonid to Two Crowns. Tried making Apple Pies instead of Dyed Feathers but they still made the exact same 8 gold and change. So far 8 gold is the best I’ve been able to do on a trade run through safe lands. Still, it seems like the resources for Apple Pies are a little easier to collect.

Shiny new plate armor which looks rather bad on a skinny male elf.

Shiny new plate armor which looks rather bad on a skinny male elf.

Reached level 30. Now maybe I’ll get to see all that ganking I hear about but never actually see. Since I’m almost out of safe zones, I assume my questing will soon take me into unsafe territory. I also switched my gear from leather to plate because I wasn’t happy with the damage I was taking. My character’s arms look pitifully unmuscular in plate.

Calleil Day 9, Monday

Kind of a slow day. Did the Elf quest line end with the king in Two Crowns? From there it said something about re-taking Auroria, which is the PvP continent up north. Surely they don’t expect me to go up there next, do they? :) I assumed I would be heading to places like Cinderstone Moor or Halcyona.

My next crafting goal is to build a Harpoon Clipper, which requires 50 Gilda Stars, 1 Lumber Pack, 1 Iron Ore Pack, and 1 Fabric Pack. That translates into 300 Lumber, 300 Iron Ore, and 1,000 Cotton (and some 1,500 Labor or more to process it all). I had the Iron Ore and some of the Lumber already so Day 9 was a Cotton-planting day.

Cotton for the fabric of my soon-to-be-built Clipper.

Cotton for the fabric of my soon-to-be-built Clipper.

I figure I should be able to build my Clipper on Day 10 or 11. Once I have the Clipper I’ll be able to explore around the oceans and up around Auroria with a little less chance of dying instantly. Maybe I’ll be able to look into trading across the sea, too. But only if it’s fairly low-risk. I’ll have to do some trial runs to gauge my success rate.

My donkey dinged level 20 so I can use the carrot-stick ability and go 30% faster for one minute at a time. When combined with the Songcraft Quickstep ability, donkeys can put on an impressive burst of speed for a short time. I lost track of how many carrots it takes to spur a donkey continuously from Gweonid to Two Crowns but I would guess somewhere around 20 to 30. Fortunately carrots are super-quick to plant and grow.

Heading into the dreaded warzone of Cinderstone Moor.

Heading into the dreaded warzone of Cinderstone Moor. Also the first and only cloak I’ve received as a quest reward.

The non-Elf quests did indeed lead me to Cinderstone Moor, the first “dangerous” zone I’ll be doing quests in. After a couple of hours questing in prime time, I still wasn’t ganked or inhibited in any way. Although I did see a lot of blood stains on the ground. And I think I saw a pair of gatherers kill someone to get to an iron node, though I didn’t actually see the deed. I’m not sure what happened actually. These two guys in a guild passed by me with green names and then a minute later I saw them with purple names (meaning they had attacked someone of their own faction), and I saw that someone had died in the log between the two sightings.

There’s a Specialty Workbench fairly close to the entrance to Cinderstone Moor so I’ll be interested to see if I can make any better profits donkey-running from there back up to Gweonid or Solzreed.

Toward the end of the day I had over 1,000 Cotton so I switched back to Aspens to finish out the 300 Lumber I need for the Clipper. My character was level 32 at the end of the day with somewhere around 700 Labor Points remaining. Just need to get this Clipper built and then I won’t need to use them up so fast.

ArcheAge – Calleil Diary, First Five Days

(Updated with the rest of the screenshots I meant to include.)

If memory serves, Trion brought up the NA Calleil server on Sunday afternoon (Eastern time). Since the queues on Naima were horrible at the time, and there was little or no chance that I would ever find a place for a house or farm there anyway, I decided that I would make a character on Calleil to see how fast property disappeared.

I wasn't the only one who thought it might be a good idea to start on a new server.

I wasn’t the only one who thought it might be a good idea to start on a new server.

This time I made an elf. I don’t know why. I really can’t stand the male elf model. I tried to make him look like a hideous vampire creature with a disfigured face. Of course, from the back, he looks like any other elf: Lanky and awkward.

Calleil Day 1, Sunday.

Character created around 8 PM. Rushed to around level 12 which took maybe an hour.

All by myself out here in the corner at the start of Day 2.

All by myself out here in the corner. Kind of surreal.

Calleil Day 2, Monday.

In the morning, placed a Scarecrow Garden in the corner of a field in Lilyut. Tried to situate it so that I could later replace it with a 16×16 garden.

1 PM, placed a stone house next to the garden, bought with Gilda earned from main storyline quests. I honestly don’t care about having a house; I just wanted to place it in such a way that it would block anyone else from interfering with my plans to replace my garden with a 16×16 farm later. Sadly there was still a way someone could block me on the other side, though.

By the way, my personal philosophy is that building stone houses will be easier than building wooden houses. I find it much easier and faster to wander around collecting raw stone than to grow trees for lumber. Especially on a relatively quiet server.

8 PM, began first trade run quest from Solzreed to Memoria. The housing space around the Solzreed Specialty Workbench was shockingly empty.

It's extremely weird to walk across empty fields in a house zone these days.

It’s extremely weird to walk across empty fields in a housing zone these days. I should be weaving around houses and gardens here.

Calleil Day 3, Tuesday.

When I got home from work I completed the second two trade run quests. I was able to do them faster because I bought the necessary olives on the auction house instead of waiting forever to grow them. (Those olive trees take a long time to grow.)

But of course, someone planted a garden in the exact spot that would prevent me from ever replacing my 8×8 garden with a 16×16 farm. So I demolished my house because I knew I couldn’t stay there. The space around my garden was starting to get more crowded with houses anyway.

After I demolished my house because of that idiot who planted a garden next to mine.

After I demolished my house. It’s getting crowded around here anyway.

Calleil Day 4, Wednesday.

Harvested Narcissuses’s [sic] in the morning and evening for the fourth trade run quest. Also looked for a new place to move, and found a nice spot in Dewstone Plains. Placed my house, then later moved my garden down there next to my house. It’s situated in a little alcove so nobody can place a garden directly next to mine. Anti-social behavior completed!

Calleil Day 5, Thursday.

9 AM. Nerve-wracking Austera trade run quest across the ocean completed with a rowboat. No players encountered, sea monster seen on horizon but avoided, seabugs seen but avoided. Seemed a lot easier than it was in alpha. Received 16×16 Scarecrow Farm design. (Sold my pack for an inconsequential 1 Gilda Star since they weren’t paying gold.)

Luckily, this was the closest I ever came to danger on the way to Austera.

Luckily, this was the closest I ever came to danger on the way to Austera.

Placed Scarecrow Farm in Dewstone Plains next to my unfinished house. Didn’t realize I needed a whole Lumber Pack to build it though. That will have to wait for a while. Very happy with my property placement. It’s not “prime real estate” but I like it much better than what I got on Naima. And I have a garden, house, and farm all together. Somehow I’ll have to wrangle up another garden design to make a farmer’s workbench, though. Not sure how to accomplish that. I guess I’ll have to buy one from somebody or find one on the auction house. I don’t think there’s any way to craft or earn another one.

Garden on the left, House in the middle, Farm on the right.

Garden on the left, House in the middle, Farm on the right.

11 AM. Four hour maintenance began just before I completed a Dyed Feather trade run from Gweonid to Two Crowns, hoping for 6 gold or more. (It was over 6 gold at Marianople so I wanted to see what it would be in the next zone.) I’m hopeful that I can earn gold a bit at a time and buy lumber on the auction house faster than I can actually grow trees and harvest them. I think I saw that 100 lumber was around 60 gold.

2 PM. Maintenance over. Completed trade run from Gweonid to Two Crowns for 8 gold. Not bad for riding a donkey from one place to another. Eight of those runs should get me the lumber I need for my Scarecrow Farm, then maybe I’ll be able to really ramp up production on Day 6.

Calleil Dyed Feather Gold

9 PM. Completed the first step of building my house by crafting and using a stone pack, which requires 100 stone blocks, which requires some 300 raw stone. Two more steps to go: 100 more stone blocks and then 100 lumber. Also completed a few more Dyed Feather trade runs at 8 gold each. Sadly it takes 22 hours to receive payment for each trade run so I won’t see that money until Day 6.

Hammering in the first batch of stone for the house.

Hammering in the first batch of stone for the house.

Conclusion

Based on my experience with observing real estate in the first five days of Calleil, I don’t think Trion needs to add many more North American servers, if any. There are still going to be plenty of places to put down a garden even on Day 6. But on Naima, I had a hard time finding a spot on the second day. Basically I think they did the right thing by sticking to their guns and not adding tons of servers. Maybe a month from now they might consider adding one or two more, but right now I don’t think it’s necessary.

ArcheAge – Head Started

ArcheAge continues to top the list of most popular posts and search terms on my blog for some reason, so I feel like I should say something about the head start.

Suddenly player collision doesn't seem like such a great idea.

Suddenly player collision doesn’t seem like such a great idea. Make way! Coming through!

I played a bit over the weekend, but not as much as you might think. For one thing, I kept getting disconnected due to the persistent server issues, and for another, I didn’t particularly want to spend all of my time staring at a queue screen. (Eventually I figured out I could leave ArcheAge on the queue screen and fire up FFXIV at the same time.)

As it turns out, if you didn’t play within the first hour that the game was up, you lost out on your chance to get a good spot for your farm and/or house. And by “a good spot” I mean “any spot anywhere in the entire world.” I feel bad for anyone who comes in September 16 thinking they’re going to be able to do any farming quests. I can’t even imagine where they’ll be able to build. I guess they’ll have to sail up to Auroria and stake out some land on the permanent PvP continent. Good luck with that.

That used to be a place where you could put a house.

One of the many places you won’t be able to put your house. And this isn’t even a busy server.

I managed to grab a spot for my scarecrow down in the Dewstone Plains north of Royster’s Camp on the Naima server. (I had some designs on playing on EU Kyprosa but that server is slammed all the time right now.) I’m playing a human on the Western continent. Neither of the Eastern races appealed to me, which I guess makes me a racist.

By the way, even though ArcheAge has 50 million character creation options, I can’t help but notice that everyone still comes out looking basically the same. There are no body customizations at all, it’s all face customizations which you never actually get to see in the game. Maybe it’s just the males. The females have more hairstyles at least.

In the alpha I played a fairly plain Sorcerer-type build. This time I started out running an Occultism-Vitalism-Auramancy build which ends up as an “Edgewalker” whatever that is. I wanted something mobile with lots of crowd-control abilities, because, you know, PvP and stuff. That’s pretty much the entire philosophy of playing PvP in any MMO: Stun the other guy so he can’t attack you.

Hey horsie, you could help you know.

Hey horsie, you could help you know.

Unfortunately the Edgewalker is extremely defenseless against archers, which is probably what 99% of everyone in PvP is going to use. So I swapped out the Auromancy for Battlerage and presto, I have an instant gap-closer and can smash archers in the face with my staff. (Being able to melee with a staff and produce reasonable damage is one of the cool things about ArcheAge. I love using non-standard weapons.) Time will tell if it’s any good for PvP, but it works great against mobs.

FFXIV – Crafting My Way Back Into It

I’m getting back into the swing of FFXIV with my slightly embarrassing, adorable Miqu’te that looks a bit like a porcelain doll in the game.

Rather than jumping back on the gear treadmill, I’ve spent most of my time on relaxing activities like gathering and crafting. Unlike most MMOs, those things are quite engaging in FFXIV and there are a whopping eight crafting and three gathering classes to level, so there is plenty to do. (By which I mean it would be impossible for me to max them all out without spending the rest of my life in the game.)

Chilling out with the giant turtles.

Weaving with the giant turtles.

If I were to be honest I’d have to say I’m a bit scared to go back to instances. Even though FFXIV combat isn’t super complicated, rotations are complex enough that people will probably notice if you’re doing it wrong and I don’t particularly enjoy looking like a moron in PUGs. So I’m breaking myself back into combat slowly.

Therefore I’m putting off going into any of the new dungeons. In fact, I never did most of the “old” level 50 dungeons. Amdapor Keep is the only level 50 dungeon I’ve ever done because it’s part of the Relic quest line. So The Wanderer’s Palace, Pharos Sirius, Copperbell Mines (Hard), Haukke Manor (Hard), The Lost City of Amdapor, Halatali (Hard), Brayflox’s Longstop (Hard), and The Stone Vigil (Hard) are all unknown to me. Not to mention trials Ultima’s Bane and all of the Extremes. And Syrcus Tower, and any of the Binding Coil Turns. So yeah, that’s a lot of content left for me to work through, some of which will be impossible without a guild. I’ll probably start with Syrcus Tower, since it’s easier to hide your screw-ups within a 24-man raid. :)

I started the Atma quest line to upgrade my Relic bow, but I feel pretty confident that I’ll never ever finish it in a million years. I haven’t seen a single Atma FATE yet, and somehow I need to find twelve of them, and then there’s a ridiculous amount of grinding for books after that. I can see where it would be gratifying to complete that, but it’s so far distant right now that it might as well be on the moon.

Got a big one.

Fishing overlooking Aleport. Best done with a controller while watching Netflix.

One of the great things about returning to FFXIV after a long absence is the tremendous amount of rest XP you have built up, and the 100 “leve” quest allowances saved up. In a surprisingly short amount of time, I leveled Miner from 40 to 50 to go along with the previously-held 50 Botanist. Then I discovered ffxivclock.com, a site which lets you know when you can go gather those level 50 resources from “unspoiled” nodes. I’ve been gathering up bunches of Crystal Clusters and selling them for mad cash. Well, more cash than I normally get, at least. For some reason, Fire Clusters are in great demand. (I have no clue what you even make with them, but people seem to like buying them.)

I had already made it to 50 in Carpenter, but I discovered that I hadn’t finished the Carpenter class quests. I was still on the level 45 quest. So I finished that one, which was pretty tedious, and then I did the level 50 quest, which was also tedious. And expensive, since I failed to craft the HQ Crab Bow on the first try, which destroyed the one expensive HQ Red Coral I bought, so I ended up just buying the damn bow for a ridiculous price but anything was better than risking another failed crafting attempt. Crafting can get pretty complicated in FFXIV. At least gathering the ingredients.

Currently I’m working on getting to 50 Weaver. After that I’ll work on Leatherworker. That will let me craft my own gear for Miner and Botanist so I can gather even more stuff to sell for mad cash. It will take a long time though since I’ve already used up all of my rest XP and most of my leve allowances. By the time I get those to 50 I probably will have already bought all the gear I need.

Results of Un-Learning Invert Mouse

I noticed that I never reported the results of trying to un-learn the use of Invert Mouse.

After about two weeks, I was no longer fighting my muscle memory and could play MMOs unhindered.

After about a month, I felt like I could aim pretty well again in shooters where precision is important.

It’s now been nearly six months, and I feel like I’ve never played any other way.

So it is possible to switch, even if you’ve played with Invert Mouse all your life. I have not attempted to play any flight simulators since switching though. I suspect I would crash and die instantly if I did.

Landmark’s Combat Update

Is something I know very little about.

I re-downloaded the game and eagerly logged in. Combat was here! Finally something to do besides dig up ore! My claim was long since gone, which was fine because it had nothing on it except some crafting tables. I ran to the crystal hub thingy in the middle of the map–an object that I still don’t know what to call–and found the right table to craft a weapon. I made a sword. I equipped it.

Then I stood there. I clicked the left mouse button. I swung the sword. It swished impressively in the air. I clicked the right button, and I charged forward to deal a thrust of doom. I looked for something to attack. There was nothing. There were no monsters roaming around. I walked up to someone standing there by the hub AFK and swished my sword at him threateningly. Nothing happened. There was no thunking sound and no numbers flying in the air. My sword went right through the guy.

Swish swish! It's combat! Uh, sort of. I guess.

Swish swish! It’s combat! Uh, sort of. I guess.

I logged out after a few minutes because, as is typical of all “major” Landmark updates, it was a total dud that barely changed anything about the game. (Don’t yell at me: I have no doubt that internally it’s a huge change.) I don’t know about anyone else, but when I heard “combat” I kind of expected to find some monster hordes roaming around the countryside jealously guarding the ore.

After reading around a little bit, I discovered that SOE pulled a clever bit of marketing bait-and-switch. Because “Combat” really means “PvP.” Why obfuscate the PvP? Well, clearly there’s nothing that social sandbox builders want more than PvP, right? I mean, SOE definitely nailed the pulse of their target audience with that one. I’m sure that players who have spent many hours building houses are falling all over themselves lining up to test PvP.

Assuming they can even figure out how to do it. My initial sword-swishing at a fellow player produced very unimpressive PvP action. Later, I logged in again, and suppressed my enormous disappointment with the new update for long enough to figure out (I think) that you have to find a claim on the map that has been flagged to allow PvP. Presumably if you run to that PvP claim, you’ll find someone else there ready to do battle.

My “home” zone only had one claim with PvP flagged. I didn’t feel the slightest desire to go there and fight somebody, so I logged off again.

So there we go. SOE started out saying that they were 60% finished with Landmark at the beginning of alpha. I think now they might have reached 65%. Maybe. Regardless, it’s still not a playable game.

I can’t help but wonder if there will be a dropoff in population when (if) the game is actually finished, if it’s nothing like what people have been playing for the last six months.

A Brief Word About That Controversy

I generally try to avoid industry politics on this blog, unless it relates to in-game politics. (Like raiders versus casuals.) Which is why I don’t have much to say about the recent kerfuffle known as GamerGate.

But I will say that I fully support equality and inclusiveness among gamers and I find personal threats against anyone loathsome. I try to cling to the possibly naive belief that truly despicable people are a very small, very loud minority.

On the off chance that any vitriol appears in the comments of this blog, I won’t hesitate to delete it.

FFXIV – Okay There’s One Bad Thing

To be fair, here’s one thing that FFXIV doesn’t get right:

I just re-installed it, subbed up, and jumped in again. (I went crazy and got a 3-month sub because I have some money coming in again heh.) I’m installing it on a different PC from when I last played it, so maybe you can guess what happened.

All of my settings, keybinds, and HUD configurations were gone. Even the character-specific configurations like my gear sets were gone.

This is bad, Square Enix! Bad, bad, bad. I’m excited to play again, but the prospect of spending hours setting everything back up is pretty daunting. Surely with all the other brilliant changes you’ve made in the last year, you can put in server-side configuration saving? We’re living in the age of The Cloud, after all. At least save my keybinds! And my gear sets! And … everything else!

This just in: Apparently there’s this thing called “The Googles” which has lots of useful information. You can copy FFXIV config files from an old installation to a new one, and it does actually work. I didn’t copy everything, though. I only copied the FFXIV_CHRxxxxx folder for the character I wanted, FFXIV.cfg, and FFXIV_BOOT.cfg.)