FFXIV – 4.2 Rise of a New Sun Patch Notes

They aren’t too concerned about spoiling things from the previous patch, are they?

Roughly 75% of the 4.2 patch doesn’t interest me, but there’s a few cool things in there.

This cracked me up: You won’t be able to skip the cut scenes in Castrum Meridianum and the Praetorium anymore. If I were a new player, I’d be glad about that, because I’d hate to miss them (I honestly don’t remember if I watched them the first time or not, or if I ever have). I don’t understand why they didn’t do the same in other Main Scenario instances though. The social pressure to skip cut scenes in instances is immense (even if nobody asks you to), and to this day I can’t understand why they keep putting cut scenes, even very short ones, into group instances.

There are some changes to the Bard Perform thingy, but I still think it’s an underwhelming feature. I thought I was going to be able to program elaborate sequenced performances with it–to just press a button and have my character play a song. But no, unless I completely missed something, you plunk out notes on your keyboard in real-time. What’s the point of that?

No changes to Bard actions as far as I can tell (the only job I care about hehe).

One new dungeon Hells’ Lid at item level 310. I presume the Main Scenario will go through it. My item level is 321 so I’m ready. (“Players must first complete the main scenario quest ???”–so yeah, it’s a main scenario dungeon.)

Second new dungeon Fractal Continuum (Hard) at item level 310. Appears to be optional. I have no memory whatsoever of Fractal Continuum. If it wasn’t part of the Main Scenario Quest, I probably haven’t done it, so I won’t be able to do this one.

One new trial The Jade Stoa at item level 325. Sadly it appears to be part of the Main Scenario as well (“must first complete the main scenario quest ???”), so I guess I will need 4 more points of item level from somewhere.

Thankfully the weekly restrictions on alliance raid The Royal City of Rabanastre will be removed so I can spam it to get new gear at my leisure. (If I’m not mistaken I’ve only gotten one or two Bard drops since it came out.) Presumably that will allow me to get over 325 for the new trial.

For the cutting-edge treadmill crowd, Allagan Tomestones of Mendacity will be added as the new top-tier 450-per-week currency, replacing Tomestones of Creation. We won’t be able to get Tomestones of Verity anymore.

Interestingly, the Expert Duty Roulette is changing into a whole new thing that includes the new Hells’ Lid and Fractal Continuum (Hard). Presumably I’ll have to familiarize myself with Hells’ Lid for the main scenario, but I don’t think I’ve ever been in a Fractal Continuum before, and I’m not anxious to start now. What used to be the Expert Duty Roulette will be called the Level 70 Duty Roulette, and probably not worth doing anymore, unless you’re one of those people who has nothing better to do than to run ten different roulettes every day to squeeze out every last tomestone from the game to gear up all 15 jobs for raid-readiness.

I will probably be getting the majority of my Mendacity from the Alliance Roulette Duty, if I get them at all. Although if I get used to the new dungeons, it would probably be less tedious to run an Expert Roulette every day. (It’s not clear to me if any of the dungeons will reward non-bonus Mendacity tomestones or not.)

I have no problem with removing elemental resistance. I never once gave that a single thought while playing.

The item stack size increasing from 99 to 999 is the greatest news ever. It won’t save me much space though because I rarely kept more than one stack of 99 materials anyway. It begs the question though: Why stop there? Arbitrary numerical limits in computer software annoy me. The only inescapable limiting factor that’s apparent to me is the number of digits you can display at the bottom of the icon, and it looks to me like you could easily get five digits in there.

Not letting you discard something if you haven’t already unlocked it is a nice feature for people like me who tend to discard things when I don’t know what it is. I’m quite sure I’ve thrown away things I could have used numerous times before. This feature won’t help with knowing whether to roll on something or not, though.

I’m very interested in trying out the new Glamour Dresser thingy, but I have a feeling it’s not going to work as effortlessly as I’d want it to, which means I will probably just continue to wear whatever mismatched gear I last picked up. For example, I anticipate it will be a pain to get the required number of “glamour prisms,” a step which seems arbitrary and pointless and designed to annoy me specifically. I am not looking forward to the tedium of clicking “yes” on every “are you sure” dialog as I throw truckloads of saved gear into this Dresser. And I see that there’s a hard, arbitrary limit of 200 glamours you can put into the Dresser, which I expect most people will run into on the first day, because who doesn’t already have 200 gear pieces already sitting on their retainers?

The Duty Recorder, if it is anything like what I think it is, looks like one of the coolest things ever put into an MMORPG. It’s Quake Demos all over again!! Except everyone in the group has to consent before you can record the instance!? Ugh! And it only works on the new trial The Jade Stoa. I would literally use that every single time I was in an instance if I could. (Or at least the first time I was in an instance.) People making video guides are going to love that. Next they need to add it into the PvP matches.

The Chocobo saddlebag looks cool I guess, but I doubt I’ll use it except in emergencies. It doesn’t seem like it would be functionally useful unless you could automatically put things into it. Like if you could direct all of your loot drops to the saddlebags. But more inventory space is always nice, I guess. Still, it makes me revisit my long-standing gripe, why is there any limit at all on my inventory? Especially in a subscription-only game. It should be unlimited, right? An endless, bottomless inventory? Auto-sorted, filterable, and searchable? It’s 2018 last I checked. Nobody is trying for immersion and realism with their inventory system anymore. The game industry is firmly in “well that’s the only way I’ve ever seen an inventory so let’s keep doing it that way” and it annoys me.

I like the inventory grid changes (from 5×5, 6 tabs to 5×7, 4 tabs). But … I still want more. :) Next, can we arrange it however we want? See above, where I mentioned it’s 2018. It would be great if I could expand the window so it’s all on one tab. I imagine the FFXIV game engine is probably a creaky old thing that will break at the slightest touch by now but surely somebody over there can manage resizable windows?

Maximum retainers increasing to nine would have been awesome if I hadn’t just cut out all of my retainer subscriptions. :)

Still waiting on improvements to the Retainer UI. If they haven’t changed it by now, I imagine they can’t, and I’ll have to wait until the next Final Fantasy MMORPG. Speaking of creaky old engines, when I look at the FFXIV UI and ponder what they have and haven’t changed, I imagine the code behind it all is a bit of a mess. The UI layer is by far the biggest problem in FFXIV. I get the impression that they slapped it together very quickly for the 2.0 re-launch, and I suspect they are now paying the price for that. I hope they are working on the next iteration of a flagship MMORPG already because this one is already showing signs of age. :)

MMO News Roundup 2

I found this Moonshade Highlands library in Rift for, I think, the very first time this week. Weirdly I got to it from Sanctum. I have no idea what it’s for, except to give me a little bit more experience as I level up.

Final Fantasy XIV 4.2 releases January 30. Yay! The nostalgia part of this patch means nothing to me, as I’ve never played any other Final Fantasy game. But I’m looking forward to continuing the story. I don’t care much about any of the “progression” aspects, though. I have the gear I need to do the Main Scenario and that’s pretty much all I care about right now.

Perhaps counter-intuitively, since I’ve repeatedly said FFXIV is the best subscription game to subscribe to, I’m thinking about cancelling my FFXIV sub before it renews on February 18. I’ve already cancelled all my extra retainers (I was paying for 4 extra over the 2 included). I haven’t played regularly in a while, so that money is about 99% wasted. I’m pretty sure I’ll be done with the new content in 4.2 before the 18th. I can just re-sub for a month every quarter when the new patches arrive. I might once have fretted about losing out on the Veteran rewards but I’ll be honest, I haven’t used a single one of those rewards, like, ever. Certainly not the longer-term ones, which are exclusively costume items.

Devilion is closing. It’s probably my fault. I only played about 45 minutes of the open beta and never returned. On a more serious note, it’s very classy of them to enable bonus events as long as the game remains running.

Conan Exiles will be launching May 8. This is the first time I’ve heard a launch date. I’ll give them points for at least getting within six months of their projected one-year early access period. Most interesting to me is their decision to completely revamp the combat system right before launching. That sort of suggests the game will continue with frequent bug fixes long after launching. :)

Fragmented is in maintenance mode. I actually bought The Repopulation on Steam so I also got a free copy of Fragmented. I played it for a few hours once. It actually wasn’t bad. Better than a whole lot of other survival games. Kind of a shame to see it dying out.

Age of Conan is getting a progression server? Well, it’s not the game I would have picked for a nostalgia server, but okay. It still plays much the same now that it played at launch, last time I checked, so what’s the point of a progression server (besides publicity)? My highest-level AoC character is around 50 I think, though it’s possible I used a level boost of some kind recently–I don’t have it installed right now so I can’t check. I’ve always liked AoC. The only problem I ever had with AoC is the unrelenting onslaught of quickly respawning mobs you have to kill to get to and from quest objectives, making every little quest an hour-long marathon. I said “AoC” repeatedly by the way to make the point that Age of Conan is the game that was on the market long before Ashes of Creation.

Speaking of Ashes of Creation, they revealed a preview video of the UnderWorld. I wasn’t going to include this news, but it dovetailed nicely with the previous paragraph. The video looks fine I guess, but it didn’t blow me away, because it continues to illustrate my personal belief that the folks at Intrepid have never played an MMORPG before. “The UnderWorld” looks quite a lot like Rift’s Goboro Reef, and I would swear there is at least one place in WoW that looks similar, too. Maybe one of those Night Elf zones? I can’t remember.

Rift Prime – Too Late?

Looking longingly at the place where level 69 players–or patrons–can go.

I suppose the announcement of RIFT Prime deserves its own blog post, rather than an offhand remark in a news summary.

Like most of the other reactions I’ve read, I’m tentatively interested, but I’m certainly not jumping on the hype train yet.

See, here’s the thing. I’m probably only going to subscribe to one game at a time. Historically the main reason is that there are precious few games out there worth subscribing to. But in more practical terms right now I have drastically reduced disposable income and it would be pretty reckless to throw money away on something that isn’t amazing. I’m no longer working at a job where an hour of cubicle work time offsets months of subscriptions on mediocre games I forget to even play.

Right now, the undisputed king of games deserving my subscription dollars is FFXIV. In second place would be WoW. And that would be the end of the list, as far as I’m concerned. EVE could be in there but I’m just not interested in long-term market-driven gameplay.

So from my perspective, the question is not whether I think Rift Prime is a good idea or not. Obviously subscription business models are the best idea, and it’s been proven over and over again that subscription games are the best games to play. I mean, if the studio wants to create an immersive game experience, that is. If the studio wants to, you know, stay in business, or make a big advertisement for a cash shop, that’s a whole different story.

The question for me is: If I’m only going to pay one subscription at a time, is Rift Prime worth supplanting FFXIV and/or WoW? We don’t really know yet, but I’m going to guess probably not. If this was 2011 and we were talking about Vanilla Rift then the decision would be very easy: Yes, obviously I would and did subscribe to Rift over WoW, and FFXIV didn’t exist. Rift in 2011 was quite clearly better at being WoW than WoW was. Presumably Trion now wants us to think of Rift Prime as that great old nostalgic Vanilla Rift (2011 doesn’t seem old enough to qualify for “nostalgia” though).

Another way to look at this is: Do I want to pay a subscription to play old content in Rift–a game I’ve already played to death–or pay a subscription to play new content in FFXIV or WoW. And oh by the way, as an additional factor, I can play that old content just fine right now for free. There’s nothing at all stopping me from leveling a brand new Rift character from 1 to 50 to recapture that good old Vanilla Rift feeling, more-or-less.

The answer seems really easy if you have a budget. No, obviously I’m not going to waste my one precious subscription on a game I’ve already played. I’ve leveled every class to at least 60 once already. I’ve played a million different builds already, back in Vanilla Rift. I have no need to experience that again. It’s not going to be any different now. It’s not like they’re going to add new classes or builds or anything.

Or are they? One wonders if they will unlock all the new souls or not. Presumably not, if they want to preserve the old experience.

Now if you haven’t already played Rift, then I might recommend that you run, don’t walk, to Rift Prime and subscribe and play it, and I’m very jealous of anyone who still has their first experience of pre-free-to-play Rift still ahead of them. Vanilla Rift was awesome.

Just beware that Rift Prime isn’t Vanilla Rift. It’s going to be a new thing.

In the Spring of 2018, we will launch a new server, RIFT Prime.

Our goal for RIFT Prime is to provide the experience that many of you have requested: no lockboxes, a significantly reduced store with more of the current store-based items obtained through gameplay (or removed entirely) – plus the excitement of sequential progression through RIFT’s content with monthly milestones and achievements.

As a small teaser of what’s to come, dynamically matching characters to their current zone’s level, dungeons dropping loot specific to your character’s true level, caps on the number of professions available to a single character, and participation awards that carry over to your characters on existing servers.

No part of that last paragraph above was ever in Vanilla Rift (except the profession caps I guess). “Significantly reduced” store, but not eliminated. I imagine it will be somewhat akin to the cash shop that also exists in WoW and FFXIV, where you can buy all kinds of cosmetic items.

So no, not much hype from me. I am moderately interested in the “spectacular ending” referenced–mainly if one could experience as a solo player. I am also curious to know if subscribing to Rift Prime will also provide subscription benefits to your non-Prime characters.

UPDATE

I originally wrote that Rift came out in 2013. It was actually 2011.

MMO News Roundup

I’m trying an experiment here: A list of MMO news that I found noteworthy during the week. I’m trying this slightly retro blogging format because, to be brutally honest, for most MMO topics, I have a lot of trouble summoning up more than a few sentences of commentary, which results in a glut of unfinished blog drafts and a paucity of published posts (ha!). The challenge here will be finding a picture to use.

Not at all related, but something I did this week.

Chronicles of Elyria is dropping SpatialOS. I know almost nothing about this specific game, but you couldn’t throw a rock last year without hearing about how SpatialOS was going to change the world. Now we learn that changing the world is apparently too expensive. In the dev update, Caspian wrote, “In January of 2017 we began the long process of taking what was mostly an offline, single-player game…” Stop right there! Why?? Why ruin it?? Okay, and lastly:

Project Gorgon is coming soon to Steam Early Access. My standard rule for Early Access games is to avoid them unless they are under $10. In this specific case, however, I have played Project Gorgon before, so I know exactly what to expect and I might spend more for it. I don’t want to play it through Steam, though. I hate playing MMORPGs through Steam. I hope there is a non-Steam version.

Life is Feudal is now on Steam Early Access. The real one, that is, not the stripped-down lite version(s). This game is on my radar, but I’m not paying $30 to try it. Also, as previously mentioned, I don’t like playing MMORPGs through Steam.

Final Fantasy XIV 4.2 is almost here. I have almost nothing to say about this except, oh yeah! That new patch is almost here! I didn’t realize this until recently, but Square Enix has a whole page devoted to it. Presumably, they’ve been doing preview pages for every patch and I’ve just never noticed it before. No wonder everyone always knows what’s going to be in the patch before I do! I will need to review my 4.1 post to refresh my memory on where we are in the Main Scenario.

Amazon’s New World disappeared and returned. New World disappearing would have been in last week’s post, if I’d been doing this back then. Now New World is back. The biggest news was really the leaked New World video. I didn’t watch it. Why bother? I’m supposed to start getting excited about a game that isn’t even far enough along yet to announce–let alone release–a buggy, pre-alpha, barely-compilable, full price early access edition with fully-functioning, fully-debugged cash shop? (Don’t judge me, you know every AAA game from now on is going to release like that.)

And now we know why Chronicles of Elyria can’t afford SpatialOS. They can’t attract money because of an antiquated notion of “maintaining creative control” in a world full of cash grabs, loot boxes, and micro transactions. (Personally I think it’s because they used “MEOW” in public.) High marks for integrity, but I hope they (and their employees) are prepared to go to the figurative grave for it. How about sell that single-player offline game?

Raph Koster wrote about game development costs again. No comment except that it all rings very true to me.

Albion Online is fine despite secretly firing half their team before Christmas. Nothing to worry about. Perfectly normal. The game is expanding, even! (It is plausible to reduce a development team size after launch, but seriously, who is buying that Albion Online is going gangbusters? I actually mean that literally. Who is buying Albion Online?)

Rift will be opening a subscription-only progression-ish server in Spring. Didn’t Allods Online do this? I might be tempted to try it, because I think we can all agree that Trion cheapened Rift considerably with the increasingly-aggressive cash shop, but I’m already paying a FFXIV subscription and I don’t need/want another one.

And in the gossip section of this post, I suspect one of the above stories prompted this tweet from MassivelyOP’s Bree Royce:

P. S. I’m aware that all of these links go to MassivelyOP. It’s true I’m somewhat biased in that I like MassivelyOP, but it also happens that I almost always see news there first. I actively looked for interesting stories elsewhere and couldn’t come up with any.

YouTube – Death of a Hobby

I never thought this would happen, but YouTube finally made changes that affect me.

Previously, channels had to reach 10,000 total views to be eligible for the YouTube Partner Program (YPP). …starting today, new channels will need to have 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 hours of watch time within the past 12 months to be eligible for ads. We will begin enforcing these new requirements for existing channels in YPP beginning February 20th, 2018.

Now first, let me just say that I completely understand why they are doing this and don’t really have a philosophical or business problem with it. I mean, big brands like auto companies or Hollywood sure don’t want their ads going on a dinky channel with no barrier to entry like mine, right? If I were big business with big ads, I’d be complaining about that, too. It makes perfect sense.

But man, I was less than 1,500 views away from getting to 10,000 views. After like three years. I was so close to exploiting the system for my own personal gain! Imagine the tens of cents of free money I could have been pulling down every month.

Now I am roughly 980 subscribers and 3,800 hours away from the threshold.

With these changes, YouTube is very clearly saying, “We don’t want hobbyists as ad partners. We want committed, full-time creators only.” Which, again, makes perfect sense. YouTube is certainly big enough now that it doesn’t need hobbyists anymore.

It’s just a bummer for me. It’s now not even worth putting a couple of hours a week into anymore. So you probably won’t be seeing anymore polished videos from me, at least after I finish uploading the backlog on my hard drive. It’s mostly going to be “press the start button and hope for the best” content from now on, like when I started out. And like streaming! Zing!

And I just made a cool trailer for my Guild Wars 1 series starting next week. Arg.

Well, at least it prompted me to write a blog post when I otherwise wouldn’t have.

UPDATE

Out of curiosity, I wanted to see how far I could get after clicking the button to “apply” for monetization, despite knowing full well I didn’t meet the qualifications. After all, it said right there on the page that I was eligible! Maybe I was a special snowflake.

After you enable monetization, there is a 4-step process to go through where you accept some TOS and then setup an AdSense account, which is a tremendous pain because you have to insert some script tags into the header of a web site just to “activate” an account (a process that WordPress does not make easy). Then you setup your monetization preferences (which is basically how obnoxious do you want the ads to be in your videos).

It lets you go through all of that work even though you have zero chance of becoming a partner. Then you get to the final step:

I already knew those numbers from looking at my Analytics tab and doing some math (because it shows view time in minutes not hours–for me, at least, maybe it shows hours for Big Name People). YouTube, apparently, did not know those numbers until after I had given over all kinds of PII (Personally Identifiable Information) to the AdSense page. Things that make you go hmmmmm.

ARK Revisited Two Years Later

There is a wide variety of interesting sky effects, too.

I haven’t played ARK much since early 2016, so I decided to re-download it and give it another look. The game finally “launched” last year, after all. Presumably all of the problems I had with the game are now fixed.

Well, not exactly. Although to be fair I really enjoyed it before, too. I just ran out of challenge. I got to a point where I could go to any biome and survive, and kill any dinosaur in my path, and that is pretty much “winning” the game.

So to start off with, yes, if you have a controller plugged in, the game still vibrates it whenever you die, even if you aren’t using it. So the controller sitting over on a table somewhere will leap to life when you die, vibrating itself on maximum full power, scaring you and your pets half to death as it slides off said table and crashes to the floor. And no, there is still no way to turn off this feature, two years later, even though literally everyone who has ever played ARK wants the ability to turn off controller vibration.

But I will say that ARK does appear to run much faster. Then again, my PC is much faster than the last time I ran ARK. At any rate, I am able to run at 1920×1080 on Epic settings with minimal resolution scaling and a tolerable frame rate, so that’s a whole lot better than before, when I had to run it basically on just a few steps up from Low.

Initially, the intense motion blur and camera shake had a tendency to make me physically ill after a short time. I just don’t have the tolerance for first-person games that I once did, at least not without immersing myself in them for a while. Eventually I got used to it.

The basic gameplay is the same as before, but there is a lot more variety in the dinosaurs and a few crafting changes.

The menus have undergone a facelift. They look better (I would characterize them as higher-resolution), but unfortunately they still have the somewhat random organizational style that makes it hard to figure out where the clickable buttons are. Sometimes they are in the middle, sometimes they are on the right. You basically just have to memorize and get used to each menu page because there is no consistency.

Base camp until I built a house.

In terms of crafting changes, most everything is the same as before at the lower levels. (I have not gotten beyond level 15.) I did notice that there is now “raw fish” in addition to the regular “raw meat.” You get fish meat, obviously, from chopping up fish. You catch fish by jabbing them with your spear, which is by far the easiest way to get some protein in your ARK diet.

Unless there happens to be one of those duck-dinosaurs flying around nearby. I stabbed a fish one time and a duck-dinosaur flew down from out of nowhere and stole it from me! It kept circling around me and stealing all my seeds and berries, and knocked my spear out of my hands. It was very annoying but it was also a fun, new gameplay experience I hadn’t seen before in ARK. Eventually I had to run away from it. New gameplay experience in ARK = win!

The bow is considerably improved since the last time I played. It actually feels like a viable weapon now, and it’s much easier to hit things. The arrows fly reasonably straight, as opposed to before, when it felt like you were basically just throwing the arrows with your hands in a really high arc.

There are now “story” elements in the game, which take the form of finding journals in chests throughout the world. This seems like it will give much more incentive to move around, instead of just building a base near the best resources and staying there indefinitely. There was a story before (I think) but I never really encountered it. It will be interesting to see if exploring the world to search for things will be fun or aggravating. It can be very dangerous to move away from your “home base” if you aren’t prepared.

It’s hard to read that cursive font, though. :)

The lights that beam down from the sky and provide gear, which I just discovered were called transmitters, also have blueprints which apparently let you generate “portals” to boss encounters, like the “Broodmother.” I’m not high enough level to see one of these yet, so I don’t know how it works. But I don’t remember seeing anything like this in the transmitters before. The last time I saw anything about a Broodmother was at one of three big obelisks, which were rather difficult to get to. Now I guess you can get to a Broodmother from anywhere.

There are still problems, though. Once I got stuck among some rocks. This is when I discovered there is no suicide command. I had to wait until I died of starvation. As you might expect, I did not find this to be a compelling gameplay experience. You know, staring at the screen, waiting. It takes a good fifteen minutes to starve to death. I tried to fatigue myself by punching at the air to speed it up, and managed only to pass out in the heat. At least it gave me time to work on this post, so I guess they can call this getting-stuck-and-waiting-to-die feature a blogging tool. I imagine there are a lot of places to get stuck in this game so I expect to be seeing this feature again.

Just let me die!

It’s still totally safe to drink the salt water from the beach, too. I guess that’s the “evolution” in the survival they are talking about.

Anyway, it’s a fun game to kill some time in. I’ve been looking for something semi-fresh to putter around in while watching television, and ARK is perfect for that. It was worth the $20 investment in 2015.

Free Book Weekend

We interrupt your regularly scheduled blog post for a blatant, unabashed, self-promotional advertisement that has no purpose other than to shower me with cold, hard cash that I will not share with you.*

I have had a book on Amazon called Lute of the Sparrow under my writing name Everett Renshaw for about seven years now. This weekend (starting January 13), I am making it available for free. Please go forth, download it, read it, and post a review. Preferably a good review.

Actually I just learned, somewhat to my surprise, that you can also get it for free if you have Kindle Unlimited.

Thank you!

* Actually the purpose is to get some damn reviews, which is far more valuable than money. :)

Single-Player Holidays

The last thing I mentioned playing was Divinity: Original Sin. I sort of gave up on it. It’s a great game and all, but it’s just too exhausting. I went through two boss fights in a row (SparkMaster 5000 and Radagoth) and both times, luck was the determining factor for success. That’s just not fun. I don’t know how all the people who play tabletop games do it. :)

I last logged into FFXIV on December 22nd, when I got the Christmas bear mount in about twenty minutes in the FFXIV Starlight celebration (I also got the Bard Perform skill, which was underwhelming).

I installed EverQuest II and started a new Conjurer, which seems to be one of the few classes in that game that I like (Warden and Necromancer are the only other two classes I’ve played more than like 5 levels). I had a lot of fun with it until I bought Divinity: Original Sin. I haven’t logged in since.

On January 6th, I finally re-installed ESO after my big SSD crash. This time, I realized that the breadcrumbs I thought had been leading me to Morrowind back in June of last year were not that at all, and I had been following some random quest that was totally unrelated to the expansion. My mistake I guess for thinking that the NPC who ran up to me after I logged in the first time after installing the expansion would actually be giving me a quest related to the expansion. It explained why it felt like it was taking such a long time to get to Vvardenfell. :) This time, I just waypointed right to Seyda Neen and looked around for a bit. It didn’t make much of an impression on me. I didn’t even take a screenshot. The most memorable part was an NPC guard telling me that her talents were being wasted guarding an empty building.

Right before I logged out I noticed that I had mail which had an attachment which I had to consume in order to finally start the quest that led me to Morrowind. It was a pretty convoluted set of steps hidden in a place I rarely look. I read my mail in MMORPGs about as much as I read my mail in real life–not very often. Mail is not a great way to deliver story content to me. I wish they would just put the new quest in my log without me having to do anything.

Anyway, I played ESO for about a half hour and felt like I had seen enough for the forseeable future. Maybe when they launch the new wardrobe system I will log in for another half hour to change my outfit. I don’t know what it is about ESO but I always feel like I’ve already done all of the new and interesting stuff way back in the months around launch time, so there’s never much of a “hook” to draw me into the game. It’s always just … more of the same.

Other than that I have been playing Morrowind (the old one) and Oblivion. I also installed the Skyrim Special Edition (the only other game I bought in the Steam winter sale) but I just can’t play three games simultaneously. It’s hard enough with just two.

Finally, the entire reason I’m writing this post is to test out a new Corsair K55 keyboard I bought to replace my 10+ year-old dying Logitech G110 keyboard. It was still mostly fine for playing games, but anytime I tried to use it to actually type words, for example, into a blog post, the keys would stick and it was just too frustrating to deal with. I got the K55 largely on a recommendation I saw on Keen and Grav–his criteria matched mine pretty closely. Non-mechanical, quiet, full-sized, etc. It “feels” different (the keys feel very tall to me) so it’s going to take a while to get used to, but overall it works fine. The “RGB” flashing disco lights thing is just ridiculous to me, but I was able to set it to a solid color by installing the “manager” tool. It still does a disco strobe thing every time you reboot though. I’m not sure this keyboard feels like it’s really designed for longevity, but we’ll see. (It does not feel any more solid than the old, dead Logitech it replaced.)

Incidentally, the best keyboard I’ve ever used for typing is the MacBook Air chicklet keyboard. My fingers fly across those keys at light speed with almost no effort. This Corsair K55 is a pale shadow of that, but at least it works without the keys sticking.