Video Game Tuesday: Why Ultimate Coil Should Be The Gold Standard

This week for Video Game Tuesday I’m talking about the success of Final Fantasy XIV’s latest hardcore encounter. It’s Why Ultimate Coil Should Be The Gold Standard!

Ultimate Coil?: The Unending Coil of Bahamut (Ultimate) is the latest hardcore fight in Final Fantasy XIV. To even enter Ultimate Coil it requires the player to clear the Savage version of Omega Deltascape V4 (The Exdeath Fight). Plenty of players have yet to even clear that fight, and as of the time writing this post (9 days after the release of the encounter) there still hasn’t been a clear of Ultimate Coil. That being said there are no new mechanics to the encounter which features Twintania the boss of Turn 5, Nael the boss of Turn 9 and Bahamut the boss of Turn 13. It’s merely just incredibly unforgiving and hard. If you make a single mistake it almost assuredly will lead to a wipe. This is the type of content that should be present in every MMO out there, the type that is so hard to complete it takes people weeks or months to complete.

The actual fight is said to last for about 20 minutes in total, not terribly long compared to past Square Enix bosses like the 18 hour boss fight of XI’s Pandemonium Warden. People have yet to complete this fight and I find that fact incredibly amazing. There are no bullshit glitches (Crota I’m looking at you, you teleporting bastard), no unknown mechanics, just pure difficulty. The first group to clear this encounter will probably go down in gaming history as some of the best gamers in gaming history. They’ll be up there with the likes of Mionee, a World of Warcraft player who has been soloing the hardest encounters in the game by herself for years.

So Gold Standard?: Yea, if other developers can adopt this sort of fight to their own games it would mean a lot for the hardcore players. Imagine doing a boss fight in Destiny where you not only took on Oryx, but had to deal with Atheon and Crota with all their mechanics at the same time. It’d be insane, heartpounding and a ridiculous bragging point if you and your friends could actually complete such an encounter. Ultimate Coil has a gear reward that matches the same you’d get from V4 Savage, with just an extra materia slot, so for the most part it’s only there for bragging rights, but that isn’t a small thing.

That’s it for this week’s Video Game Tuesday! Do you want to have the hardcore boss fights in your games be like Ultimate Coil, where you just have to be nearly perfect in execution to succeed? Leave your answers in the comments below!

Edited on 11/4: The Unending Coil of Bahamut (Ultimate) was beaten 12 days and 2 hours after release on 11/4/2017.

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Video Game Tuesday: What other MMOs can learn from FFXIV

This week for Video Game Tuesday is I’m covering a topic that sets apart my favorite MMO from all others. It’s all about What other MMOs can learn from FFXIV!

What is the biggest difference?: Well it’s really simple, Final Fantasy XIV (FFXIV) makes you feel like the hero of the story, and not just some passenger to an NPC’s story. No in Final Fantasy almost every NPC knows about you. You’ve killed gods, brought end to wars and taken down dragons. The NPCs you work with always acknowledge that you are the key figure in these fights, that without you none of it could have been possible.

Really?: World of Warcraft has had issues for years where no matter how powerful your character became, you were always not the main participant of the story. You as the player were never the hero in the story. Sure you might have taken down Nefarian, stopped C’Thun in Ahn’Qhiraj, killed Illidan and beaten Kiljaedan through the Sunwell. You might have brought down the Lich King and killed a dragon gone mad with power that tore apart the world, but you never really were the main character.

This problem is highlighted most with the Lich King encounter at the end of Wrath of the Lich King. You bring down Arthas all the way to 10% and boom you and your entire raid die. But Tirion Fordring, breaks from the ice that kept him out of the entire fight, breaks Frostmourne and deals the fatal blow to Arthas.  You the player on the other hand are shoved to the side until you get resurrected and hurry him along to death. There’s no thanks other than maybe a statue of the races of your faction in Dalaran if you killed him first on your server and some shiny weapons. That’s it, you get no real recognition. You may get a few NPCs thanking you, but in general you aren’t proclaimed the hero and lauded throughout the world. You were just there, helping Tirion while he slept in a block of ice until he decided to get out of it and finish the fight you were dealing with.

Final Fantasy XIV doesn’t have that problem and lots of MMOs, including not MMOs like Destiny, could do with learning from how Final Fantasy treats the player. You are treated as a hero, and even other players aren’t treated like you are by NPCs. It makes you feel special and gives further immersion into the world of Hydaelyn.

That’s it for this week’s Video Game Tuesday. What are your thought son the subject? Do you feel like the main character in MMOs, or just a minor actor compared to some NPC hero. Leave your comments below.

Video Game Tuesday: An Amazing Community Project

Hey all I’m back with a more brief article than usual for this week’s Video Game Tuesday. It’s all about An Awesome Community Project!

What project?: Well user Aelrindyl on the Final Fantasy XIV subreddit had made a post asking for the game’s community to send in images and birthday wishes for the games director, Yoshida Naoki. They’d be professionally bound and printed and sent to him for his birthday. I sent in a submission myself, although I made a mistake on the email address so it didn’t get to Aelrindyl for the project. Nonetheless the book was over 250 pages of printed birthday wishes, thanks and many, many screenshots from the community. It was an awesome project and frankly I don’t remember anyone doing something as awesome as this for a game’s director.

Why not?: Most game directors tend to be reviled or tolerated at best, but Yoshida is universally well liked and is best known in the community by his nickname Yoshi-P. The time he gives the community and the humble and eager manner with which he deals with all issues is frankly amazing. He took a game that was universally disliked and remade it into one of the most popular MMORPGs in the world. Despite all that he still gives nearly monthly broadcast sessions he calls “Live Letters”. These Live Letters often touch on upcoming features for Final Fantasy XIV, or things that people are asking about. Are people upset with a certain game design choice? It’s most likely going to be discussed and explained in the next Live Letter.

So special shout out to Reddit user Aelrindyl on making such an awesome community project, here is the link to the thread where Aelrindyl relays the dev team’s thanks and messages after Yoshi-P got his birthday present. And once more a Happy Birthday to Yoshi-P!

Video Game Tuesday: What Makes Good Seasonal Events

the_rising_2015

This week for Video Game Tuesday I’m covering a topic many MMO players will recognize! It’s all about What Makes Good Seasonal Events!

Seasonal Events?: I mean stuff like Brewfest in World of Warcraft, or The Rising in Final Fantasy XIV. These events come up every year and celebrate either a real holiday or a game related one, Brewfest is WoW’s version of Oktoberfest, and The Rising is FFXIV: A Realm Reborn’s launch anniversary holiday.

Okay so what’s an example of a good Seasonal Event?: Last year’s The Rising was an amazing event that brought the players and developers closer together than any other in game event I’ve ever participated in. To give some context, I did the “What a Long Strange Trip It’s Been” Achievement in WoW, twice (Switched mains right after Wrath launched.)  But more importantly it needs to allow spontaneous engagement and disengagement depending on the player. Having to wait to participate in the event sucks, and should be an open world thing. Not something locked behind a Matchmaking tool.

What’s an example of a bad Seasonal Event?: Sparrow Racing League from Destiny is a great example, to get anything useful out of the event, other than having fun, it took tons of races to unlock even decently relevant items and the dreaded RNG still might screw you over (I know it did for me!). Not only that, but SRL hasn’t returned since it’s one and only launch, despite constant requests by the community to reactivate it. Oh and it didn’t fulfill the above requirements, at all.

Here’s a list of my favorite in-game events: 1. The Rising, for reasons I linked above. 2. The Wrath of the Lich King Pre-launch event, aka The Zombie Plague (Yes it was a one time thing, but damn if it wasn’t some of the best fun I had in that game outside of ICC25H.) 3. Children’s Week, Because I loved to hear people complain about bringing the orphans into PvP for the achievement (Pro-tip: Do it on the very first day of the event, although I think they made it a Feat of Strength and it doesn’t count towards What a Long Strange Trip anymore.)

That’s it for this week’s Video Game Tuesday! Are there any fun Seasonal Events you love? Leave a comment below!

 

Video Game Tuesday: Games That Make You Reflect

heavensward

This week for Video Game Tuesday I’m doing a bit of reflection. It’s all about Games That Make You Reflect!

What do I mean “Reflect”?: Well I’m not talking about returning attacks or bouncing things back like Pong. I’m talking about games that make you really ponder about various things wether it be as simple as the story of a game or even as far as your own life.

Why am I talking about this?: Well with the most recent update to Final Fantasy XIV one major plot thread of the Heavensward Expansion came to a close. After completing the main story of this latest patch, a sidequest opens up. Doing the sidequest leads your character on a journey of reflection regarding their journey in Heavensward and all the various people you’ve met and adventures you had. It was very oddly reflective for an MMO, and while some people will complain that it’s merely a go and talk to various people quest, those people are completely missing the entire point.

What is the point?: It’s to take a step back and look at what has brought you to your current place in life. The entire quest lead me to think about how I got to where I am today, and it’s not less winding a journey than the one my character experienced in the game. I took Japanese in High School, a choice that ended up completely reviving my love of learning and leading me out of a really bad point in my life where I seriously hated myself and wanted to die. I also took the class Tech Support and Programing and learned that while I understood how to code, I lacked the creativity to make code myself. Later as a High School Senior I started to really write and found that I could enjoy a thing I thought I’d always hate, because my own handwriting is terrible I had always hated writing reports in school.

After graduating I chose to move to SoCal and attend an art school to learn how to make games, and learned all about how to use Photoshop, and 3D Studio Max and learned all about how to design games. It was a interesting period because while I enjoyed learning about it, my issues with my gross motor functions prevented me from successfully completing the most basic of art classes that required me to draw everything by hand. Further complicating the problem was that a mere 7 months after moving down to SoCal I learned that the school would cut a lot of various 3D Modeling classes, the main reason I was there. So I moved back to Oregon and transferred to the local branch of said Art School. There I found that they taught a completely different program, Maya, and that I had the same issue with modeling that I had with programming, the lack of creativity that allowed me to create something new.

However I still tried to learn and even took some Political Science courses. After having yet another run in with depression I transferred to the local university, and started learning Japanese again. Unfortunately for me I shouldn’t have chosen said university as the program there for Japanese was 35 years out of date, our text books talked about the USSR for god’s sake, and that their way of teaching was completely different from the way I had learned in High School. A few years pass and I decide to leave that university, then after taking another year to deal with yet another bout of severe depression, I started writing a blog about something I had a true passion for, Stories. Six months of uninterrupted daily posts later while I’m on vacation with my family I get an email about posting my blog posts onto a site called gameindustry.com. The rest is history.

So yes, I seriously enjoyed and appreciate what this simple quest did for me. I did all this reflection because of a single rather simple side-quest in an MMO. I even wrote a blog post on my thoughts about it.

That’s it for this week’s Video Game Tuesday! Are there any games that have made you have some serious self-reflection? Leave a comment below with the game and, if you feel like it, your own reflections.

Video Game Tuesday: Practice

nightstalker

Hi all to celebrate the release of Dark Souls III I’m covering a topic that should help any newcomers to the series, and will help in pretty much any game, for this week’s Video Game Tuesday. It’s all about Practice!

What do I mean by Practice?:I mean to repeatedly do something in order to learn how best to play for you. This will certainly come in handy in Dark Souls III, however it’ll also come in handy in any game. There are two main aspects to practicing that I’ll focus on. Muscle Memory and Spatial Memory.

Muscle Memory?: The process in which something becomes instinctually engrained in your subconscious to the point that you can repeatedly do something without thinking to hard. This works great for pretty much any game, and especially well in MMOs and Fighting Games. However to properly build-up Muscle Memory takes hours and hours of work. For example in MMOs like World of Warcraft or Final Fantasy XIV:Heavensward in order to properly build up muscle memory I’d spend hours whacking away at a training dummy in order to memorize instinctually my abilities the way I set them up. This is especially necessary for any damage dealing classes, as you tend to use abilities in rotations or priority lists. With Rotations it’s merely a process of remembering which buttons to hit in which order. It’s not as simple with priority lists, as you need to pay attention to certain things that occur to your character in order to determine when to use abilities. However it’s still good to memorize where the buttons are so you know without looking where that particular button you want is. Despite how much of a time consuming process this particular type of practice I find it’s still less than is required for Spatial Memory.

Really Spatial Memory?: Yes I find the process in which I personally memorize Spatial positions to be a much more time consuming and more involved process than Muscle Memory ever is. For me it’s all about repeatedly doing something until I can judge instinctually without conscious thought where to stand or where to go in order to successfully perform game mechanics. Spatial Memory is incredibly important for Action RPGs, MMOs, and not surprisingly Platformers. In fact the easiest form of spatial memory for me to memorize is where to go if it’s not a random order. I was the “Relic Runner” in my Destiny raid team for The Taken King, and I got to the point where I could start moving to where the next platform would be without it actually having formed already. It took incredible timing on the part of myself and of my team mates in order for them to be where I needed in the proper order in the time I needed. I eventually got the entire process from start to finish down to about 20 seconds consistently, however that took ridiculous amounts of practice for me to be able to do. It actually all stemmed from the Crota’s End raid where I was the swordbearer and had to get in and out to hit Crota without dieing. That particular encounter was eventually done consistently for only the normal difficulty, due to bugs and the inherent bullshit that was the gear system at the time I was never able to do it consistently for Hard mode. But to do it consistently I would load into the boss arena and practice jumping from floor, to rock to platform repeatedly. I did this for hours and hours while I listened to books in order to make it instinctual.

So what does this all mean?: If you keep practicing eventually you’ll be able to get stuff down to the point where you don’t need to think about how you move or what to use at what time and instead focus on other things like boss mechanics. If you want to beat Dark Souls games this is what you’ll need to do for every enemy and boss. It might be frustrating and boring, but it is a great skill to learn.

That’s it for this week’s Video Game Tuesday! Have fun in your gaming and hopefully this post will prove useful to those who intend to tackle Dark Souls III!

 

Video Game Tuesday: FFXIV vs P5000

sephirot

This week for Video Game Tuesday I’m covering the stupidity that was the uproar over a piece of music last week. It’s all about FFXIV vs P5000!

What’s this all about?: Well last week Final Fantasy XIV had their patch 3.2 launch with a new boss fight, Sephirot (no, not the long white haired dude), and some random YouTuber thought that the second phase of the fight’s musical score sounded familiar. Well it turns out it did sound familiar to some song by a band I hadn’t ever heard about, nor do I even care about still, Powerman 5000. The band in question made inflammatory remarks on their Facebook page.  The game’s director Naoki Yoshida, Yoshi-P to players, responded the next day with the remarks that he had heard about the uproar here in the States and said flat out that the sound director had not copied it.

My take on it?: It’s utter bullshit. It might have sounded similar, however it also wasn’t copying the song in question and it sounded similar to every other song in that genre of music. Another thing that I’ll point out and I’ve done so before, is that Plagiarism is the basis for all artistic activities. No one reinvents the wheel unless they are beyond stupid, and using musical techniques that others have used before isn’t stealing from them. It’s a technique not an IP that you can copyright. Powerman 5000 has no right to even bitch about this, let alone even pursue legal action (which they’d lose).

That all being said I actually enjoyed the hell out of the boss fight in question, it’s quite fun and the music is enjoyable, but I’m not going to go downloading Powerman 5000 because it’s in the same genre, I’ve never heard about them prior to this.

That’s it for this week’s Video Game Tuesday!