Progression Report – August 2015

August was a very easy month to summarize gaming-wise: Dark Souls, Dark Souls, and more Dark Souls, for a total of 132 hours. My Knight is about halfway through NG+ at the moment, and I can still see myself playing this game for a long time to come. I want to finish with my Sorcerer and my Thief, then try a Cleric and a Pyromancer.

Dark Souls Kiln of the First Flame

In the MMORPG space, my second and third most-played games in August were FFXIV and Skyforge, for a whopping one hour each. I would like to get back to leveling in FFXIV, SWTOR, and possibly even STO. SWTOR has that 12x experience thing that I don’t want to miss (for subscribers only though I think). I might have already missed the super-fast leveling event(s?) in STO. The Rift Primalist is on the horizon as well. And through my hazy Dark Souls fog I think I heard that Heart of Thorns now has a release date, which means maybe I should try to finish that cursed Living Story.

P.S. Thanks to Belghast for naming me a Blaugust Survivor!

Progression Report – July 2015

Blaugust Day 2

Dark Souls Elite Knight

July was a quiet gaming month for me. Work continues to be hectic, and I’ve also gotten it into my head that I might try to take a Microsoft exam so I spent a lot of time reading and studying.

It was around the end of July last year that I lost my job–not from anything I did, but from a contract changing hands to a different company. Fortunately nothing like that is going to happen this year. I’ve since resumed working on that project, but everything is different and more chaotic now as the ripple effects from the contract change continue to permeate everything and everybody.

But I digress. I spent by far the most time playing Dark Souls in July (51 hours), reaching level 40 on my Knight. I defeated the Taurus Demon and the Bell Garygoles, rang the first bell, then defeated the Capra Demon and the Gaping Dragon on my way toward the second bell. I’m currently mired in Blighttown.

The Witcher 3 took second place for the month (11 hours) as I finished off the story and put it away, probably for good. I didn’t complete all of the side stories, but since I’m now into Dark Souls I don’t see myself going back. It was a great RPG, as was The Witcher 2. (The Witcher 1 was… well, different.)

Farewell Witcher 3
Farewell Ciri and Geralt

In FFXIV, I puttered around for about 5 hours of questing, gaining a whopping one level to reach 53. I have to admit it’s pretty nice to be back in the leveling phase and not have to “worry” about endgame for a while. As you can tell I’m not the type to race to the endgame in MMOs so it’ll probably be a while before I get to 60. I’m enjoying logging in, running a handful of quests, and then logging out again.

The only other MMORPG I played was Skyforge for about 4 hours. I honestly don’t know what level I am. Does it even have levels? Anyway I’m playing the Cryomancer class. I don’t really love the class, but I don’t want to play a tank or healer.

Progression Report – June 2015

There were only two games I played any significant amount in June: Final Fantasy XIV (28 hours) and The Witcher 3 (18 hours). The latter is not an MMORPG, but since it feels exactly like an MMORPG I’m going to count it in my progression report.

In FFXIV I started in on Heavensward, but to be honest I’m still a bit burned out from all the catching up I did in May, so I haven’t played that much into the expansion. I’ve only managed to level my Bard class from 50 to 53 52, and completed the first dungeon Dusk Vigil. It’s a great expansion…

… but it’s not as great as The Witcher 3, where I reached level 23 and played to the point in the story where the curse was lifted from Uma. I’m really glad I stuck with the hard difficulty. Once I got to level 12 or so, I no longer had any trouble with it. The main thing to keep in mind is that you have to be patient and fight defensively until you get stronger and get the hang of the controls. I don’t know how much more story is left in this game, but I’ve seen swords and armor that require at least level 37, and I still have a crap ton of question marks left to explore on the maps.

Progression Report – May 2015

With the exception of a few interminable days at a work conference, I spent the entire month of May playing nothing but FFXIV. That clocks in at 180 hours or an average of 6 hours a day, which is pretty much the maximum amount that I can play any game in a month. (Many of those hours were spent AFK, in case you’re wondering–I tend to leave FFXIV online because it’s a pain to log in with the security token.) I should probably back off in June or I’m going to be completely burned out when Heavensward hits.

Speaking of which, I finished the Main Scenario and I’m ready for said Heavensward. Next time I will try to stay more up-to-date. I didn’t realize there were so many important quests after 50.

As if the Main Scenario wasn’t enough, I also started on those campy Hildebrand quests–I didn’t know there were trials associated with that quest line, too.

My main Bard reached gear level 121. I’ve got two more accessories I can upgrade from 120 to 130 with Carboncoat but that’s probably as far as I’ll get before the expansion. With the mountains of Soldiery Tomestones I’ve been collecting, I’ve geared up my alternate DPS classes (Dragoon and Blast Mage) to nearly 110. I should be able to use any of the three for pretty much anything outside of Coil. I also buffed up my White Mage to 100, although I don’t much like healing level 50 content.

I haven’t read much of anything about Heavensward, but I’ve been assuming there will be no need to run Final Coil for gear after the expansion comes out.

Why are you making me wear this... this... thing?
Why are you making me wear this… this… thing?

In an unexpected development, it was bothering me that my Arcanist class was sitting at the uneven level of 23, so I went and leveled it to 30 and picked up the Scholar and Summoner jobs. There it will likely sit until needed for lower level content. I’m just not fond of the way pets work in FFXIV–I couldn’t even tell you why.

In crafting, I’ve worked Leatherworker up to 50. (I picked LTW for no other reason than it was at 16 instead of 15.) I’ve also gained a few levels in other random crafting classes from doing those daily supply missions. I started doing crafting missions for the Ixal as well, which is yet another thing I didn’t even know was in the game. It was a lot of experience at the beginning but now not so much. I don’t really have any crafting goals except to slowly make newer cloth crafting and gathering gear with my weaver.

I looked briefly at buying a personal house, but those things are hella expensive, and there aren’t any plots left anyway. I don’t know why I would even need one except as a repository for housing items that show up in my inventory from time to time. (For example, I just got a Hildebrand painting as a veteran reward.)

Progression Report – April

Oh crap, I forgot to write one of these for April.

Well, it’s not hard to figure it out.

I started out playing mainly Star Trek Online and made it to, I don’t know, 30something I guess, and then I was bitten by the FFXIV bug again and spent the rest of the month there. Final tally: STO 34 hours, FFXIV 127 hours. (Though I’m sure at least 25% of those FFXIV hours were AFK time.)

My progression in FFXIV is further documented here, here, and here. Basically, I reached 50 in Black Mage and Alchemist, and obtained more and better gear for Bard and Dragoon from Syrcus Tower and World of Darkness. And I completed the Main Scenario up to the Snowcloak dungeon quest.

Progression Report – March

March was definitely a low point in my 2015 MMORPG activity, but don’t panic. This is normal for me. There’s usually one or more months during the year when I end up watching television instead. Still, I accomplished a few things.

In Rift, I continued to log in every few days to collect Minion rewards and send them out again. My bank and inventory is bursting with useless junk.

In Final Fantasy XIV, I forgot to mention that I joined the cool blogger Free Company on Cactuar. Unfortunately every time I log into FFXIV I stand around feeling like I don’t have any goals to accomplish. I do have goals, but none of them are interesting to me right now, which is a shame because it’s awesome to see so many other people *cough* finally *cough* getting on the FFXIV bandwagon.

In a surprise move toward the end of March, I created a Romulan faction character in Star Trek Online and ran around for less than an hour. I could see myself playing some STO in April because it feels “new” to me right now, but historically the game has never clicked with me.

In Neverwinter, I finally put the time in to level my Great Weapon Fighter from level 59 to 60. That took about 2 hours.

In Guild Wars 2, I played about 3 hours and finished up the Echoes of the Past story. And the most amazing thing happened: I found a staff!!

GW2-Monsoon-Staff

This is literally the first staff upgrade I’ve seen since I hit level 80 like two years ago. Unfortunately it’s a stupid useless healing staff, and I normally use an axe anyway, but just knowing that it’s possible to still find gear upgrades out in the world is encouraging. But as a super casual 3-hour-a-month player, I guess I will have to wait another two years to find another one.

SWTOR held another double-XP weekend from March 27-30, which salvaged a month otherwise completely devoid of logging in. I spent 4 hours questing in Balmorra over the weekend, leveling my Jedi Guardian from 32 to 35. (Still, I cancelled my subscription which ends on April 11.)

Now for something completely different. I’ve seen a lot of people talking about how great Marvel Heroes is, so I went ahead and downloaded it. I’m not a superhero person but it’s kind of a fun game in a super-casual kind of way. I played a whopping 12 hours and after trying a bunch of heroes, went with Colossus and leveled him up to 19.

Rawr.
Colossus practicing his skiing stance.

I played nearly 13 hours of Trove in my quest to get a character up to level 20 so I can get a free Budgie mount in Rift. My Fae Trickster is now up to level 13. I typically play just long enough to fill up that bar in the top-right corner, then log out.

Topping the list for March, I spent almost 17 hours playing Path of Exile, another ARPG which arguably doesn’t even belong here. I played most of the different archetypes but I’m sticking with the Templar as my main, who has reached the god-like level of, coincidentally, 17.

I didn’t play any TSW or The Repopulation in March.

In the single-player game department, I played mainly Banished and Civ 5 with a smattering of Dragon Age II and Legend of Grimrock thrown in.

In April I’m planning to work on a story for Camp NaNoWriMo, so my gaming time might be further limited. But I hope to continue leveling my Fae Trickster in Trove, play some more STO, and hopefully get back into FFXIV. Maybe I’ll work on my Black Mage class.

P.S. I don’t know if I can keep up this pace of monthly progression reports, I might switch to quarterly. :)

Progression Report – February

I think I’ll make this a “thing” and do a monthly progress report of all the MMOs I’m playing. I started running a time tracking program* called ManicTime so I can actually record precisely how much I’ve played every game now.

Games on my desktop

FFXIV (22** hrs). I unlocked most of the new 2.5 dungeons and World of Darkness, however I haven’t actually gone into any of them yet. (To this day I’ve only done one level 50 dungeon–Amdapor Keep for the Relic quest.) In other news I leveled my Rogue class from–you might want to sit down for this epic achievement–10 to 15.

Crazy Pirate Outfit
Got this crazy-looking pirate outfit from Syrcus Tower.

Now that Syrcus Tower no longer has the weekly restrictions, I’ve run it with my Bard to pick up more of the level 100 Amon’s patchwork pirate outfit. I only need the boots to complete the set, which of course never drops no matter how many times I go through there. I’ve also picked up over half of the Atmas I need from FATEs for the next part of the Relic weapon quest, and I’m inching closer to maxing out the Sylph Beast tribe reputation. (The only reason I’m doing that is to get that freaky goobbue mount, which is the only mount I’ve ever wanted in FFXIV.)

Just recently the Manderville Gold Saucer was added. I’ve only played a little bit of cards so far.

Guild Wars 2 (4 hrs). I finished up Dragon’s Reach Part 2, and started Echoes of the Past, so I only have to finish four more Living Story Season 2 episodes to get caught up. At every turn, there’s an annoying boss battle to get through so it’s slow going. I’m starting to see the origins of the Revenant profession now though. I try to log in every day for the login rewards but I only remember to do so every other day or so.

Landmark (2 hrs). I dropped into Landmark once or twice since I re-rolled and at least it seems like they’ve removed the impossible-to-beat monsters from around the starting area. (In fact all monsters now seem to be gone.) I like the big checklist of things-to-do that shows up on the right. I still have no clue how to reach the “underground” layers though. It’s now been, what, a little over a year since it was released to the public and it’s now looking to be about where I thought it would be back then. Onward and upward… hopefully.

The starting point of the new island in Rift 3.1

Rift (2 hrs). I started looking into the new island released in 3.1, but it hasn’t really grabbed me yet. Since my Mage is already 65 it seems a bit pointless to go through another quest chain. If you’re into lore, it seems like this new area is trying to tie the stories of the Storm Legion and Nightmare Tide expansions together somehow. I sort of feel like I can’t progress much further in Rift without joining a guild.

The Repopulation (2 hrs). A $20 edition became available on Steam so I went ahead and took a chance on it. I haven’t played much yet because the game is still pretty rough–I haven’t even left the tutorial area. (Yes, it’s so old school that it actually has a tutorial area!) The animation is a bit janky and the graphics are a bit slow. If you get it, be prepared to jump right on into the deep end with overwhelming amounts of information right at the start. If this is what Star Wars Galaxies was like, it’s no wonder people went for the much simpler WoW instead. :) (Though I don’t know what any of it means, I’m impressed by the amount of stuff in the 15.1.1 patch.)

My dude in The Shadowy Forest

The Secret World (19 hrs). My most exciting MMO development of the month was finally getting past a TSW mission that had me stuck in the Besieged Farmlands for, oh, I don’t know, the past year or so? It was the main story Mortal Sins, Tier 4–the one where you had to find a woman spying from a hilltop or something, but there was no mark for it on the map. After getting past that, I pushed on through to the end of the Mortal Sins quest line which presumably was the end of the main story at the original launch. It’s hard to quantify my progress since there aren’t any levels in TSW, but everything in Transylvania now ranges from “Normal” to “Hard.” I tried some Scenarios but I have yet to come anywhere close to succeeding at one, even on Novice level.

On a technical note, I had a major problem with frame rate hiccups in TSW, especially during combat. I thought it might have been Verizon screwing around with traffic shaping again but using Battleping didn’t help. However, when I switched from DirectX 11 to DirectX 9 the problem entirely vanished. (This was on a GeForce GTX 770.)

SWTOR (12 hrs). Last time, I reported that I had gotten back into SWTOR and re-subscribed. Well, that didn’t last long. My interest faded toward the end of January and I only logged in a couple of times a week. Not that there’s anything wrong with SWTOR. I enjoy it when I play it. But, you know, the quests are all pretty much the same, and the leveling progress is a bit slow. Kira Carsen’s witty banter can only entertain a person for so long.

Then, luckily for me, there was a double-XP weekend from Feb 13-17 so I played a lot more during that time. I usually miss promotional events so it was pretty exciting that one of my game-du-jours actually aligned with a “bonus stuff” weekend. Since my last update I leveled my Jedi Guardian from 22 to 32 and finished Tatooine, Alderaan and all of Chapter One, surpassing the progress I made with my original 28 Scoundrel who hit a brick wall in Alderaan.

Trove (1 hr). I popped into Trove now and then but I can never figure out where to find all the cool stuff they keep advertising. Still, I get a bunch of… I dunno, some kind of yellow coin thingy… every time I log in, so it’s fine.

ArcheAge was not on the above list because my patron status has run out and I don’t particularly want to log in anymore to see what abominable thing has happened to my house and farm.

And that’s pretty much all of the MMORPGs I’ve been playing. With my recent forays into survival games I’ve been thinking of re-installing Fallen Earth. And next month I predict I’ll be playing some ESO again.

P.S. My biggest time-sink was Google Chrome at 32 hours, 12 of which were spent writing and editing blog posts. :)

* I only started ManicTime on February 13. Next month I’ll get a much better sample.

** I don’t believe ManicTime on this. There’s no way I played more FFXIV than TSW since February 13.

MMO Pinball

Just so you know, I have been a veritable pinball of MMO playing lately.

First FFXIV leveling an Archer/Bard to level 30. Then WoW leveling a Mage from around 17 to 50, and leveling some other characters. Then GW2 to check out the Tower of Nightmares. Then LoTRO leveling my hobbit Hunter from 38 to 45. Then Rift to check out the Song of Dreams patch. Even a little bit of Neverwinter and TERA and (gasp) Aion thrown in there between.

Now I am thinking about getting back into EverQuest II because about 95% of it is still new to me.

When will the madness end??