Final Fantasy XIV – My Return

I’ve been back into Final Fantasy XIV – what I have previously called the best MMO out there right now – for about a month. I began with a new character, but once I had the hang of playing the game back, I went back to my older character to get a “head start” for the upcoming expansion. Note, “Stormblood,” the next expansion in the series, comes out June 20, with early access for pre-orders beginning five days before release (I will be there).

I quite playing FFXIV almost two years ago. I went on “vacation” for a month back in June of 2015 – right when the “Heavensward” expansion came out, got back into town, and Elder Scrolls Online had released for Playstation 4. I didn’t look back – dropped some gil (in game currency) of to my Free Company (guild) at the time so they could do their airship thing, and jumped ship to ESO. I didn’t regret it, and looking back now, I still might do it over again – I have met some great people since then and it would not have been likely if I had stuck with FFXIV. I comforted myself by saying ESO didn’t have a monthly subscription, though my wife will assure you that I had a monthly sub for ESO.

After some good and bad – mostly weird, experiences with some free to play MMOs, I’m back with FFXIV. I feel like I’ve come home. I will touch on my opinions of F2P versus sub models in another article, but I will say this to all who would rather dish out money to F2P versus a sub model – the excuse that “I will not pay to play,” typically doesn’t jive in the end. But i digress, so here we go.

Coming back into FFXIV – which is one of the deepest MMO games you can play, I had two goals. First, relearn how to play. This was not just my DPS rotation as a Dragoon or the mechanics of dungeons and raids, but everything – from the menus to the UI to how to sell stuff on the market board. I had literally been away for 22 months, playing and learning other MMOs out there, and I was extremely rusty to say the least. My second goal was to be ready for the new expansion the moment that it dropped. To do this, I had to accomplish my first goal, but i also had to complete the Heavensward expansion quests. Unlike World of Warcraft where you can jumo to the new content right away, Square Enix wants you to complete everything – in order – to get to the next area/expansion. This would mean if I did everything solely on a new character I would have to finish the base game main story quests (A Realm Reborn) then Heavensward and on top of that, gear my character out to a respectable item level for when Stormblood dropped – I figured ilvl 250 would suffice. Needless to say, I completed both of my goals, and here is how I did it.

  1. Created a new character on the server I have played on – Brynhildr – leveling him up enough to get to my job skills (Dragoon – Maurader to lvl 15, Lancer to lvl 30), relearned the basics of my rotation, learned the basic mechanics of dungeons, etc, essentially relearned the game.
  2. Got back onto my old character and set him up – skills, etc. Began Heavensward Main Story Quests (MSQ).
  3. Leveled to 60 on Dragoon, finished MSQ
  4. At level 60, constantly geared – first to ilvl 200, then to 230, then to 250 – which is where I felt I needed to be for Stormblood’s release. I did this through dungeons, hunts and finally raids and daily roulette. I will confess I also bought some gear from the market boards to help alleviate the grind. I had a lot of help in running some stuff, as well as answering my questions from my current free company along the way.
PS_Messages_20170508_081223
Dragoon – Level 60 / ilvl 250

As you can see, I did it. took me playing around three weeks on my old character to go from level 50 to level 60 as well as raising my gear level once I was at 60. This was with an average of about 3 hours a day over that three week period (maybe a little higher if you count weekends).

It’s not perfect – I can still get better gear. My plan is to continue to do my daily routine – Expert Roulette, Level 60 Roulette, Trials Roulette and Vath Beast Tribe Quests – this will enable me to have enough Tomestones of Scripture to finish upgrading the rest of my gear, minus my weapon, to achieve an ilvl of around 257 before Stormblood releases. Beyond that, I am simply working on leveling other classes, currently working toward a Paladin (tank job) and Black Mage (ranged DPS).

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State of Things – JZH Gaming (4/25/17)

Hello all!

Another week of gaming is under our belt since last weeks “State of Things” post, and I’d like to share where everything is at with the website here as well as the YouTube channel.

Altlesjo and I are both playing Final Fantasy XIV  – currently in it’s Heavenward expansion with the Stormblood expansion coming in the 3rd week of June. Altlesjo has just started and I have finally reached level 60 and currently working on raising my ilvl and finishing up the main story quests involved with Heavensward so I can be ready for Stormblood at launch (hopefully pre-launch with the pre-order). I have shared some content already, and I will continue to have random streams and video uploads of FFXIV game play, but nothing set in stone at the moment. My plan moving forward is to stick with FFXIV, and offset down time with that with other games, such as Star Trek Online and eventually Elite Dangerous. I cannot speak too much towards altlesjo’s intentions, except I can say with confidence that neither one of us will play a F2P MMO ever again.

If you are interested in FFXIV and would like to be able to play with either one of us – doesn’t matter if you are new or not, we play in the North American (Primal) Data Center on the Brynhildr Server. The great thing about this game is that no matter if you are on PC or PS4, as long as we are on the same server, we can all play together. On top of that, for raids there is cross-server capability.

Streaming Schedule (Current Plan)

  • Mondays – 10pm Eastern – The J&J Show (note: we will be starting it up again soon, we let everyone know when.
  • Tuesday – Thursday – 8pm Eastern – FFXIV – Random streams, will not happen every night most likely
  • Friday – 7pm Eastern – Star Trek Online – Elite Queue runs, Battlezones, etc
  • Friday – 8:30/9pm Eastern – FFXIV
  • Saturday – 7pm Eastern – Mass Effect: Andromeda Multiplayer – Dependent on participation, if no one available, I will stream FFXIV
  • Saturday – 8:30/9pm Eastern – Final Fantasy XIV Game Play
  • Sunday – No Streams Planned

So, main nights for streaming will be Friday and Saturday – beginning with STO and ME:A respectively, then switching gears to FFXIV. The main drive, currently, for making videos other then streams will be FFXIV, followed by builds, etc for STO.

This week, I plan on making a page of links for FFXIV. This will contain YouTube channels I have been following as well as links to guides and discussions that I have found helpful – for all classes and jobs. The Star Trek Online page will also have some updates with YouTube channels and specifically important videos moving forward.

Lastly, thanks to all! If there is anything you would like to see in the games/streams listed above, let me know and I will see if I can make it happen.

LLAP,
jzhnutz

State of Things – JZH Gaming

Hello all, happy Monday – to all who celebrate Easter, I hope you had a wonderful one, and to those who don’t, I hope your weekend was wonderful as well.

As everyone who follows myself and those involved with JZH Gaming, our original focus was Star Trek Online. While the game has had its ups and downs, the STO has provided steady entertainment for a lot of people. I want to preface this site update by saying i am not leaving STO behind, though the trickle of new stuff will remain until we get the space balance update when Season 13 comes to consoles – Season 12 comes in tomorrow. That being said, I plan on having content from STO on Friday nights – which may not show up until Saturday morning – but there will be content hear and there. I am not going to write in this post what I feel the state of STO is on Playstation 4 – I will leave that for another post, but because of where I am at personally on my characters, until the space balance update – beyond making sure I have everything I need when it hits – there simply isn’t enough content in the game, even with the Season 12 update hitting tomorrow, to have me playing everyday. Saying that, I will continue to pass on news, updates and anything I come up with when it happens, so stay tuned. I will also continue to tweet out videos from PC players – i.e. Oden Knight, Snipey, SOB, etc, as they produce content that is always helpful for console and PC players alike.

I have resolved to not get into a free to play MMO ever again (note: this is not the first time I have said this), and beyond STO, in that regard, I feel i am best served playing an MMO that is either just buy up front, or buy up front and subscribe. In that vein, myself and others are eagerly awaiting the release of Elite Dangerous on PS4, and I have recently got back into playing Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn. Once I get back to the point in FFXIV, I will be sharing more content – at the moment it is mostly leveling and unlocking the dungeons, trials, etc on the way – but soon I will be having content on the channel for everyone to see. Once Elite Dangerous hits, there will be regular coontent from there as well. My plan is to play FFXIV on a regular basis, while doing what needs to be done with E:D when it comes out and as needed. For those who have known me for awhile, or for those who have played with me or asked me about MMOs in general, you will know I holed FFXIV in high regard – which I only stopped playing once Elder Scrolls Online came to PS4.

I know it appears I will be jumping around a lot – and though it seems that way, that is not the plan. STO has a very conflicted place in my heart – but it is there, and I will continue to play it until Cryptic ruins the game entirely or until it ends server wise. However, I will not be spending any money on the game – everything, from now on, will come from resources I can get in game. With that, I have spent a lot of money already, and my in game resources are decent, so from a content perspective, nothing should be lacking – except maybe playtime. Concerning Elite Dangerous – we still do not have a release date, and because of how it is set up, I do not feel like I will have to grind constantly to “keep up,” since most of the stuff is on your own and building yourself to where and what you want to be. With Final Fantasy 14, because I already have experience in the game, I am not spending a lot of time learning anything new, just essentially relearning what I already know – and therefore I feel like I can be at a place soon to provide good and constant content, which I am really looking forward to. Lastly – the plan with other games, such as Mass Effect: Andromeda, is still to have content related to multiplayer, etc on a normal, weekly basis. This, and any other single player games I play, will have content as it comes.

For now, the J&J Show is on a short hiatus – mainly because we do not have anything new to really talk about. Yes, STO has an update tomorrow, but with that, all of the information has been released already, either by Cryptic or by PC players. Obviously, if there are issues, we will make sure to pass those on to you, as well as test them out, but beyond that, there isn’t too much to say. Hopefully, once we get the space balance, there will be more to talk about. In the mean time, once Elite Dangerous gets released, we will have a show or multiple shows on that to give you our thoughts and our visions for what we want to accomplish in game. I am also thinking about doing something similar with FFXIV, but I do not have a plan at this time. For streaming schedules, Friday nights between 7-9pm Eastern will be STO (this week will have the new queues and the battlezone) and Saturday nights between 7-9pm Eastern we will have Mass Effect mulitplayer – both of these nights will be contingent on participation from other players. Beginning either later this week or next week, I plan on streaming some FFXIV – time will be around 7pm Eastern, and last for how long it lasts. I will post something on twitter once I have a better idea when and what.

For everyone who has subscribed to the Youtube channel, and for everyone who follows me here, I appreciate everyone of you.

LLAP,
jzhnutz

 

Guilds and Gaming

I’m a gamer – meaning I play video games. Much to the chagrin of my wife and to the delight of my children, I love sitting in front of a computer screen and allowing an alternate reality to consume my time. I have been playing video games since I was about five years old – from Super Mario Bros., Dragon Warrior and Final Fantasy (the original) to Skyrim, the Witcher 3 and Star Trek Online. My gaming “career” has spanned for 20+ years, and I have enjoyed every minute of it.

During the span of my gaming lifetime, I began to play video games online – both games that allowed for simple co-op with friends to massive multiplayer online games (MMO’s), and this expanded my horizon when it came to the games I came to love. I’m a role play gamer by heart – meaning I love creating a character and making him or her my own. This began with a free copy of Dragon Warrior from Nintendo Power magazine to anticipating the release of Final Fantasy 15 next month. With my love for RPG’s I began to dabble in a lot of MMO games, and to date have played a lot of them. In that span I have been a part of corporations (EvE Online), guilds, fleets, etc, and have even chose to start and lead my own. My experience is less then some, but it is still vast, and my take on in game organization of players is not unique.

For the sake of wording, let’s just call them guilds. My first experience with this was in EvE Online, and my current experience is being a guild master in both Neverwinter and Star Trek Online, both on Playstation 4. It isn’t easy being in a guild – there are rules, regulations, and requirements. There is typically, if the game is good and thought out, some sort of guild objective to complete. However, without these guilds the game and experience itself would be incomplete. In some games I like to sit back and just be a part of the crowd, yet in others I like to lead from the front. I have ran successful guilds in some games and had disastrous results in others. My guild in Neverwinter, for example, which I have passed off the day to day duties to a good friend of mine, on PS4 is a leading guild, especially around the guilds that don’t charge for admittance. We do have requirements for membership, but they are not strict – the purpose is to both have fun and better the guild at the same time, and in truth, they go hand in hand. My other guild is a Star Trek Online fleet, which, even though only being out for only about 2 months, has grown and carries a good reputation in the community – in fact, both of these guilds carry weight and a good reputation in the community. We are not perfect, far from it, but we are good. I appreciate the fact that people want to join us and be a part of our group, not because we are elite, but because we are not.

Elitism in gaming is a given. There is always going to be those people who are willing to do anything at all to be the best – from paying a ton of money to cheating. We have guilds in game that ensure they are the “best” by forcing people to pay money or in game materials to enter their guilds so they can boost their guild status – though holdings, guild buildings and guild projects. I understand, everyone wants to be in the best position as possible, yet to me, this takes the fun out of the game. Once you have reached the top, there is only one way to go, and that’s down, and it seems to me to be inevitable.  But I digress from my main point. The way I see it there are four types of guilds:

1 – The Elite

These are the guilds that make you purchase your way in. They are typically honest – they take the money or materials and boost the guild to heights that no other guild can reach otherwise. You instantly have access to the best gear, benefits and the like, and you really don’t have to work hard for it, just open your wallet (or in some games, farm the materials / in game currency). These guilds are great – in their own mind, because they are the world’s first in clears, their guild holdings are maxed or way beyond any other guild. They have the right to look down on the little people because they are nowhere near the pinnacle that these guilds have reached. These guild rise fast, but in the end, simply plateau to quickly – and ultimately get caught up to by one of the next types of guilds.

2 – The Militant

These guild usually start out as type 3 – simple groups started by groups of friends that eventually grow because of relationship and overall appreciation for the games. However, due to wanting to be the best – but not wanting to spend money, they fall into the trap that the elite guilds simply by pass through entry requirements. Members are required to donate large amounts of materials – meaning the grind is real in two ways – the personal grind and the guild grind, and what happens is that people will eventually lose interest in the game all together. Grinding is fun, but when it is all you do, it gets old quick. Yes, grinding is a major part of MMO gaming, but when it becomes just that, the fun is gone, and the stress sets in. (My opinion is that gaming should relieve stress, not cause it, at least not on a continual basis). It usually starts out small, but in the end, because the demand to be the best is so high, the need for grinding increases, and eventually will swallow the guild whole. Unfortunately, in the end the guilds like this never actually plateau, they end up getting half way there and they stop. Guild participation is a must at some level for all members, but these guilds end up taking it too far. People get for the slightest reason – it can be as simple as an officer is frustrated because certain donations aren’t coming in, or because someone is asking a stupid question or whining over something. The thought that we have no idea of what is going on in that person’s real life never crosses our mind, only that we are tired of people’s bullshit.

3 – The Ugly

These are the ultimate failures. Again, typically started by a group of friends. Has typical growth but has no real vision. Unfortunately for the guild leadership, is is just as much the fault of the members they bring in as it is their own. They grow in size only to have a roster full of dead weight. No one wants to kick anyone because they do not want to hurt anyone’s feelings, yet there is no active participation, except maybe from a few select people who just want to play the game and could care less about the guild or its functions. These guilds ultimately just fill useless stats by developers – “In 6 months we have 1.2 million players with 1325 guilds!” blah, blah. So, I suppose they are at least good for the bottom line, but not for much else.

4- The Good

The last category of gaming guilds – at least in my mind. To be honest, the have attributes of the elite and the militant – They want to be the best, they want people to participate, they want guild donations, they want active and good members. At the same time, they take the time to cultivate even the most idiotic members – as a friend of mine calls them, “The Potatoes.” They mentor these members as long as they allow it and help them grow into something else. If they don’t grow, they get let go for more viable players. These guilds call for donations and put incentives in place beyond the obvious ones – the growth of the guild. They recognize that people need something for themselves, not just the group as a whole. The guild itself is important, but it always comes down to the individuals that make up the guild. In other words, the guild members don’t get lost in a roster, they are the roster. Growth in these guilds is not as quick as the militant, but it certainly isn’t as slow as the bad. The guild members are happy and they are willing to help the guild grow any way they can. Some help more than others, and these people are recognized. Some only help a little, and appreciation is shown and at the same time they are helped to get to a place where they feel they are free to donate more. There are requirements, rules, etc, yet when these are not met there is an attempt to figure out why and there is an attempt to rectify the problem. These guilds ultimately get to the top, and they get there through hard work and effort. They don’t pay their way to the top and they don’t crack the whip to get there either. These are the guilds that last, these are the guilds that have happy and successful players.

I admit, these descriptions are over generalizations. There are thousands of gaming communities and guilds out there, and to lump them into one category or another is simply too difficult to nail down. I also left off the list my least favorite type of guild or community, and that is the one where the leadership doesn’t even play the game, but rules at the top for no other reason than because they can – not caring for anything or anyone except the number of members on a spreadsheet. This is more of a plantation then a community – and I despise them – but it is what it is. For those in these type of groups, I encourage you to leave and find a home that actually cares. The choice is yours in that matter.

Again, no guild is perfect, and most guilds typically, and fluidly move from one type or another. House Stargaryen, the community I run, as an example has had its militant times – thankfully to our benefit, but sits pretty comfortably in the good zone. In the end, a guild or community should enhance YOUR gaming experience and in turn you should enhance the GUILDs gaming experience – a mutual beneficial relationship. To me, a guild or gaming community should be a place for people who love a particular game or games to come together and participate in that game together. Simple as that. The guild should enhance the gaming experience and not be a detriment to it. Obviously politics and goals will enter the picture, but they should never detract from the game or the gaming experience. They should make it more fun, and not the other way around.

Site News

Alliances

On a really sweet note, going to be teaming up with friend l-LeGiT_PsYcHo-l to post more videos and builds. Legit runs a sweet tank among other things, and is upping his stream game once again – check him out on Twitch, YouTube and on Facebook!

Eternum (ESO Guild PS4-NA) has begun to step up its game with progression raid (trials) runs. Our goal is to first get used to playing with one another, second to get mechanics down, and third to begin getting stage/boss completion. The team has awesome leadership and members, and once we get our team completely organized with one another, Legit and I will both start streaming our runs.

If you are in need of a wonderful end game PvE guild with a little PvP thrown in, check out Eternum on Facebook. The guild has excellent leadership staff who are very knowledgeable towards end game ESO goals.

Builds

The Dragonknight Tank build has been updated – will post some videos once I have the time to make them. Currently working on updating the Stamina Templar build for both personal PvE as well as trial orientation. In the same vein, I am also working on stamina builds for Dragonknight and Nightblade, both focused on end game PvE and trials. Shout out to my fellow stamina gurus in Eternum for all of their help so far!

stamplar
Stamina Templar

Additional for tanking, Legit_Psycho will also be posting a build soon – I will post my build and his together and we will discuss the difference – both advantages and disadvantages to both.

On the magika side of things – Templar and Dragonknight DPS builds are planned, but are still in need of a lot of work. I still have no love for healing – not really, just don’t have the time or the character space at the moment, but come the next update, I will also have a healer build.

Schedule

My current schedule is pretty straight forward… trials, then trials and trials again! During the week its mostly farming runs in Maw of Lorkhaj and Sanctum Ophidia. Thursdays and Saturdays are taken up with progression runs, and Fridays are PvP nights. I will post a tentative streaming schedule soon once I get permission for the others involved. In the meantime, I will be posting video clips on YouTube to show some highlights.

 

 

Update & News – 6/22/16

With the release of Dark Brotherhood on ESO now for all platforms, it is time for what has become a quarterly update. Coming soon are two updates to builds, one for tanking – specifically tanking as a Dragonknight and one for Stamina Templar DPS.

Some New Pages:

Best in Slot Gear for Trials
– This covers all builds (except Stam sorc…) and has been compiled by some great minds with a lot of research on PS4 and PC. Though the list and page will continue to evolve and be updated, this is essentially what people will expect you to have if you are running vMoL or vSanctum

Sorcerer Tank
– Two videos by my friend StarFireLeo on tanking with a sorcerer. I will be going through the videos and picking out the information for an actual write up soon, but until then, the videos are worth watching if you want to tank with a sorc!

Playing ESO News

Guilds
– I have joined two wonderful end game focused PvE guilds, which are connected together by members. Both University and Eternum (PS4-NA) are excellent guilds with many knowledgeable members who are in the top tier players on PS4-NA.  Both links go to their Facebook pages.

Goals
– I have gotten to where i want to be with my tanking and stamina DPS, now its on to magika dps and healing. Healing will take a back seat at the moment. First up I will be getting my magika Dragonknight vMoL ready, then getting my magika Nightblade there as well. Once that is done I will be focusing on my healer. If I get any free time, I will be leveling up  a new stamina DK (khajite this time) as well as a magika Templar for DPS.

Coming Soon
– Totally revamped page dedicated to tanking. My plan is obviously to have a Dragonknight focus, but also I want to have space for sorcs, templars and even nightblades (some of the most cool and pain in the ass tanking ever).
– New leveling guide – with the new training trait, leveling has become a breeze. In reality, the gist of leveling is put on all training and run to a good grind spot with a few friends, but I want to go into a little more depth to make sure you get on the right track with leveling what you need, for each class.
– More videos – The JZH Gaming Youtube has been quiet of late. Some of that is I have been real busy, some of that has been not having too much to stream. I promise there will be more streaming coming soon!

ESO – Guild Change

To address any questions concerning the events following the end of the Sanctum Ophidia run last night – I, and several others who i play with, are no longer a part of Conviction (ESO Guild – PS4/NA).

The Serpent – Sanctum Ophidia Finale

The reason why, ultimately, is not important. However, because I am sure there is ill feelings (on both sides) I wanted to address it briefly in a post. i put friendship above and beyond any video game, and even more so any particular guild in a video game. Loyalty to a guild from its members is important, likewise, loyalty and transparency from guild leaders to guild members is equally important. Personally, I felt that proper transparency was lacking during recent events, but more importantly, that lack concerned a friend of mine. In life, we all have personality conflicts. insecurities, pet-peeves, etc. As a guild, these have to be set aside, by both members and leaders, for the guild to be successful. If there are issues, they must be addressed personally, never corporately – unless its a corporate problem, and in that, discussion must take place. This holds true in “real” life relationships as well. I know there will be conflicting reports, but I know, at least for me, I and others made the right decision. It was not made lightly, nor was it made in anger from me. I felt, again for me, it was necessary.

In a world full of bullshit and a video game culture full of elitism and toxic attitudes, I place friendship and compatibility over anything and everything, period. I know people don’t like me, and that is fine, and vice versa. I can still play with you, as long as you don’t mind playing with me. I also know no one is perfect- even the best at something ultimately get taken down. i am appreciative of all the opportunities I have received in ESO, from Conviction and other guilds/people, and no one situation will ever change that. I am also thankful for the friendships I have attained from playing this game. Saying that, I would like to tank the Conviction leadership for having me in the guild and the opportunities to raid and do dungeons. More importantly, thank you to all of the people I have befriended because of that guild, I am sure we will have even more glorious times together on the battlefield that is ESO together. I wish no one any ill will, only happiness and luck.

In the end, remember that ESO is only a game – its the friendships that matter most. Peace – jzhnutz

 

ESO – Dungeons & Trials

Beginning last night, we have started streaming our Undaunted Daily Pledges – beginning first with the normal pledge and ending with the veteran pledge. Last night was Wayrest Sewers (Normal) and Fungal Grotto (Veteran), both were successful.

The plan is each night to do this – stream during the run, in which for the veteran dungeons we will discuss mechanics for each boss as we go. We are also planning on beginning trial (Dragonstar Arena) runs the first of next week. First on normal, then on veteran for score. Again, we will stream and discuss mechanics as we go. Once the streams are done, we will post the videos here on the website.

Our stream can be found at our YouTube Channel – formerly the channel of the Phantom Forsight Gaming Clan. The streams, and the videos, will be available, even if we fail to complete the dungeon. This is both for us to look at and evaluate our performance and mechanics, as well as for you to see the dungeons and mechanics for yourself – even if its what not to do! You can find the videos by using the menu on the right.

Our current schedule for streaming is weekdays (Sun – Thurs.) starting around 7:30 EST. Weekends the time will very, so subscribe to the channel for alerts and updates. If our time changes, we will let you know here on the website. Lastly, our current plan is to run DSA on normal this Sunday, so stay tuned!