Video Game Tuesday: Thoughts on Blue Mages in FFXIV

This week for Video Game Tuesday I’m back with my thoughts on a big announcement that happened a few weeks ago. It’s my Thoughts on Blue Mages in FFXIV!

Blue Mage?: So announced at the Las Vegas Fan Fest was not only the upcoming Shadowbringers expansion but also the announcement that Blue Mages would be coming in Patch 4.5. This has been met with some major ripples in the community and it’s pretty torn up about it.

What do we know?: That it’s going to be the first “Limited Job”. It’ll start at Level 1 and will be capped at Level 50 for a while before the cap will be raised in the future. In addition it’ll be barred from doing anything with Matchmaking, from PvP to the Random Dungeon Roulettes and the current 24 man raids if it ever reaches the current level cap. What it won’t be barred from is premade groups which means you can tackle any older content and theoretically any newish content that’s still level relevant as a Blue Mage in a group. We know we’ll be learning various abilities from monsters, including bosses like Shiva, and that the powers are going to be pretty freaking broken (as in really imbalanced in the favor of the player) with a total of 24 usable at any one time but with 49 in total that we’ll have to pick and choose from. To learn the abilities we need to merely see it in action and we may learn it. It’s not a guaranteed thing, so there is an RNG element added into it. We know that they’ll gain XP much faster than any other job in the game, so it shouldn’t be a burden to level them up just by killing mobs out in the world or doing level relevant FATEs. We know that the weapon will be a cane and the aesthetic will be the more classic take on the class rather than the more Middle Eastern versions from the Tactics sub-series. Finally it’ll have a special Blue Mage specific solo instance or challenge area called the Masked Carnival and that it’ll take players using their various abilities with high amounts of skill to perform well.

How do you feel?: Pretty excited, because Blue Mages have always been more than a bit overpowered if they had the right skills in the right situations and could pretty much kill anything with ease when those conditions were met. That doesn’t seem to be changing with it’s implementation into FFXIV. If anything this will make playing as a Solo player really fun, and those who use the class skillfully will be able to solo stuff much easier and be able to do older content without having to worry about sharing loot with other players. That isn’t to say that they can’t and won’t do content with others, if anything people will be running old group content with a mix of higher leveled classes and Blue Mages to learn certain abilities from specific bosses.

However I’m not a huge fan of the class aesthetic, and would’ve preferred the Tactics version’s. Especially since they had a perfect region in game that would make a lot of sense to have Blue Mages hail from if they went that route.

BUT WHAT ABOUT ME MAINING BLU?!?!: Look, it was never going to happen while feeling like playing a real Blue Mage. Having only limited monster abilities is just taking the class and making it another Black Mage/Warrior/Scholar depending on the role it would’ve been limited to. And before you bring up Red Mage being in a similar situation, it never was at all. They did an amazing job bringing the class to FFXIV and making it work in the classic holy class trinity without being either too overpowered or a completely underpowered class. Blue Mage could never fit in any of those roles without pissing off the other 2 roles and the developers know that. So they did something completely out of the box and made it the class to play as a solo player. Red Mage was going to either be a DPS or a Healer, and honestly they don’t need another Healer class, as they’ve got the entire spectrum of healing covered from HoT healing to Shields. So they took the White Magic spells and mixed them with the Black Magic and made it a Spell DPS class that mixes them together to make Red Magic, which was always the core concept behind the class. It makes sense, and while they have a heal that’ll help in a pinch they shouldn’t be using it unless they’re in an emergency.

That’s my thoughts on the situation and I’m looking forward to playing Blue Mage as it sounds like it’ll let me solo some old content without other people which suits my generally lone wolf nature perfectly.

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Video Game Tuesday: Setting Expectations

This week for Video Game Tuesday I’m talking about the importance of a very key factor when discussing future games or plans for content. It’s all about Setting Expectations!

Expectations?: So recently we’ve had two really good examples of how NOT to set fan expectations both prior to announcing something and afterwards. The Diablo Immortal Issue, and Final Fantasy XV’s cancellation of almost every future DLC and PC support.

Diablo Immortal: Let’s get this one out of the way first. Blizzard royally screwed up with the announcement of Diablo Immortal at the recent Blizzcon. I don’t think I remember them screwing up so bad, ever. There was the Real ID fiasco that occurred years ago, but that wasn’t as bad I think. They could and had plans to announce not only Diablo Immortal, but also Diablo 4 as well at the end of that announcement. Instead they just announced Immortal, which was a huge freaking mistake. First hardcore gamers in general, and PC gamers in particular, all hate the idea of Mobile games, add in the fact that Blizzard was teaming up with NetEase to make Diablo Immortal and the whole situation looked like a huge betrayal of the Diablo fanbase. One of the developers incredibly poor response during a particularly pointed question during a Q&A session later only exacerbated the issue. They should have gone with their first plan, as it was would have been much better. People would’ve been upset, and arguably rightly so in some views. Having multiple teams working on separate projects for Diablo could be seen as overly ambitious, and division of potential labor towards the quicker goal of completing Diablo 4, as well as the blatant cash grab that was the initial response to Diablo Immortal. I don’t agree with the direction of making a Diablo game for mobile, first it seems like it could easily be a poor clone, and while the demo available was apparently okay, that was a controlled demo that was made to showcase the best of the game. The rest of the game could easily be a huge disappointment, and the response from the people who played the demo doesn’t rule out that possibility. The Blizzard seal of quality has meaning, and if they handle this poorly they could end up repeating Bungie’s mistakes that cost them pretty much every shred of credibility with the gaming community.

Final Fantasy XV: The loss of Director Hajime Tabata seems to be the root issue of this issue, and frankly it’s a huge disappointment. I was really looking forward to playing the second wave of DLC, and because it was announced I hadn’t touched the first wave of DLC. Now I’m not sure I will for a good while. I’ll probably have fun with the Final Fantasy XIV crossover stuff, but I’m highly saddened that Square Enix is cutting back on the entire DLC plan they had for 2019 and beyond. Unlike many, I was looking forward to seeing a different ending that would’ve been included in the Noctis DLC, as while I really enjoyed most of the game and the story, the later portions of the story were incredibly depressing. Knowing that we lost this DLC is highly discouraging and a huge black mark on Square Enix’s record of making Final Fantasy games for me.

How can Developers handle expectation better?: Honestly, knowing their consumers better would prevent many of these issues in my opinion. Nintendo lost many hardcore gamers with their decision to cater to the casual market with the Wii, and they are still feeling the repercussions of that decision still. Granted that the Switch is a huge success, but they lost a lot of trust with the decision to pursue gimmicky controls with the DS and Wii. Others should take note of their mistakes and keep them in mind when they are planning announcements.

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

Video Game Tuesday: Why I don’t Stream

Hey all I’m back with an answer to a question I’ve been asked a couple times for this week’s Video Game Tuesday. It’s all about Why I Don’t Stream!

So Why Don’t You?: There’s a few reasons, foremost of which is that I hate the sound of my own voice. It just isn’t the right voice for narration or commentary in my own opinion. The few podcasts I’ve taken part in with my GiN co-workers were not pretty for me in my own judgement and I think I made a miserable showing of myself.

Secondly I’m busy as hell. I have to read thousands of pages worth of content every week to keep a steady stream of content for posts, and even with my admittedly incredibly fast reading speed it takes most of my waking time reading to give myself stuff to cover.

Thirdly, and this ties into the second reason as well, I couldn’t keep a regular streaming schedule. If I don’t do it daily, and for more than a few hours every day, I’m not going to be successful streaming. I am often away doing other things like dog sitting for my family and that isn’t tied to a consistent schedule. Sometimes I might go over every week for most of the week, or I might not go for a month. That doesn’t lend itself towards being able to do consistent streaming and it’d be a huge disservice to my viewers.

Finally I don’t have the equipment for doing so, and it’s well out of my budget. Granted that this is a big reason, but really the first three reasons are the more pressing issues for me.

Fun fact: I try to write my posts at least a week in advance to deal with my admittedly irregular schedule. Thankfully WordPress has a handy scheduling function that allows me to write content days and weeks in advance.

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

Video Game Tuesday: Streaming Consoles

Hey all for this week’s Video Game Tuesday I’m going to cover some thoughts on some of the rumors and comments I’ve heard recently. It’s all about Streaming Consoles!

Streaming Consoles: I’ve heard multiple comments and rumors saying that the next generation or the one after will be all about streaming like PS Now. Here’s why I find that concept to be utterly laughable.

Why?: Well okay there are many reasons including but not limited to the reason most people buy a console now a days, other than exclusives like Zelda games, is because it’s a one time buy that will last for years and will consistently play games with little to no maintenance on the user’s behalf. You don’t have to worry about malware mucking up your console to the point of being unusable. You don’t have to search for constant upgrades for the console, like you might with a PC either.

In addition they serve as excellent media centers for homes even when you don’t want to use the console for gaming. I rarely play a game on my PlayStation 3 anymore, but I use it all the time to watch Netflix or other things.

But that’s not a good enough reason!: You are absolutely right, however here’s the biggest and best reason I have that streaming consoles are a long, long way off. Infrastructure. Yes you read that right, Infrastructure is the main reason you won’t be seeing a streaming console any time soon by my estimates. Sure some people with delusions might think that it’s a great concept, but they forget a really simple fact. Most people have rather shitty Internet connections. Playing a game on multiplayer with a poor connection is an exercise in frustration and then you want to stream games exclusively? You want people to play a game with decent quality? You’re going to need to have them getting much better connections to the Internet than they are most likely getting. Unless you live on the coast in the US and are in a big city like Seattle or Los Angeles, you most likely don’t have that great of an internet connection.

Sure it might be okay for Netflix or the like, but that’s because the data being transferred is almost 99% one directional. If it was two directional, like it would have to be to be playing a game, most American’s would have a truly terrible gaming experience. That fact isn’t going to change anytime soon. It’s a simple fact of life that right now ISPs like Comcast or Time Warner don’t want to upgrade their systems to handle better speeds. It’s a huge expenditure that they don’t want to take on and they will fight tooth and nail to avoid giving every American citizen decent Internet. Hell even I don’t get that amazing of Internet, I get maybe 35 mb/s download speed and 10 mb/s a second upload at best where I live. There’s no way in hell that streaming a game is going to be doable with speeds like that.

This isn’t even taking into account countries like China, or European countries. I’m not fully up and up on their ISP situations, but business is business and their Comcast equivalents are going to be just as unwilling to upgrade their systems as their American counterparts. So no I see this concept being utterly stupid and ridiculous and not even profitable for Sony or Microsoft.

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

Video Game Tuesday: Is Cayde-6 Really Dead for Good?

This week for Video Game Tuesday I’m back with my answer to a question I’ve been asked by a few friends. It’s all about Is Cayde-6 Really Dead for Good?

Huh?: So in the upcoming Forsaken “Expansion” for Destiny 2 beloved character Cayde-6 is going to be killed, supposedly permanently. Many people, including his own voice actor Nathan Fillion, don’t buy that.

So what about you?: I don’t buy it for a second. There are multiple reasons, from gameplay to lore.

Gameplay: If they really kill Cayde for good, that will cause problems with people playing in the Tower. For those who haven’t done the expansion, Cayde will be showing up to do his usual giving out of activities and the like. But what happens when you have people who have done the expansion and haven’t done it in the same fireteam load into the Tower? If they really mean to kill him off they’ll remove him from the tower, which would require a completely separate instance of the Tower which would cause issues with players in fireteams. Otherwise the impact of Cayde’s loss will be meaningless if we can just waltz up to him and grab a treasure map from him like usual every week after he supposedly dies.

Storytelling: Cayde is a wiseass, and that’s a good thing because honestly Destiny needs someone to lighten stuff up. Cayde has always been the one to do that, and if you kill off that character you lose a huge part to the story. Things will get incredibly dark, and even some darker series like Game of Thrones need some lighter moments and characters interspersed to balance the story out.

Lore: First off, it’s supposed to be really freaking hard to kill a Guardian, which Cayde is. Even more is the fact that he’s an Exo, which means every time he dies he loses a few memories and gains a new number. Cayde’s died 5 times before, but Banshee the gunsmith has died 43 times. Finally, Time Travel has always been a thing in Destiny lore. It’s central to the plot, as both the Exo Stranger AND the Vex travel through time. We even get Cayde out of Vex time warp shenanigans in Destiny 2, and that isn’t even touching upon the whole Osiris expansion, which heavily touches upon the time travel aspect of the Vex in great detail. If Cayde were to die for good, we could just hijack a vex machine to prevent it. Boom done deal, Cayde doesn’t die. It wouldn’t be the first time we messed with the timeline in Destiny to our advantage, that’s the whole point of us going into the Vault of Glass back in Vanilla Destiny in the first place. So I’m not buying into the whole Cayde is really dead for good thing Bungie is spouting. Because from gameplay, storytelling, and lore standpoints, it’s total bullshit. Now Bungie could really kill off Cayde, but it’d be a huge mistake on their part. We’ll see how they decide to play their cards, but I would expect Cayde to be sticking around.

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

Video Game Tuesday: ArenaNet Debacle

This week for Video Game Tuesday I’m back with a topic that gets me riled up. It’s all about the recent ArenaNet Debacle!

ArenaNet Debacle?: So for those unaware a couple writers for the Guild Wars 2 Developer ArenaNet made some angry, and absolutely justifiable, comments via their Twitter accounts. The nastier parts of the gaming community, including remnants of the sham #GamerGate movement among many other more bigoted parts of the community, called for their immediate firing from the company. And they were fired. It’s an absolute PR disaster and sets a terrible precedent that if people get angry and vocal enough they can call for specific developers to be fired. It’s bullshit of the worst kind and absolutely unacceptable behavior from the gaming community.

What should have happened?: Well ArenaNet should have updated their Social Media guidelines. Developers shouldn’t have to take crap thrown at them from ignorant asses that no nothing about making games. Defending themselves is perfectly acceptable, and following ArenaNet’s firing of the writers many other companies have updated their own Social Media guidelines. They also should have defended their developers rather than throwing them to the wolves like they did. Frankly I think what they did is completely unacceptable and stupid on their part.

The fact that people from such nasty parts of the gaming community, including the bullshit #GamerGate movement, got people fired is beyond stupid. What happens when all the good developers get fired? You get games like Candy Crush or even nothing at all.

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

Video Game Tuesday: The Importance of Timing

This week for Video Game Tuesday I’m going to talk about why doing certain things pisses off players and how to avoid them. It’s all about The Importance of Timing!

Timing? Yes, Timing. It’s pivotal in making the most money and keeping your player base happy. It’s also why people hate Bungie so much in regards to Destiny and it’s sequels content, or rather lack thereof.

Keeping to a schedule: If you commit to a schedule, and especially if you do so publically and on record, you have to keep to it to the best of your ability. Bungie for example promised frequent content updates for Destiny and it’s various sequels, but it’s frequently and often quite lacking. In particular is the dearth of meaningful content being released regularly, which is always a death sentence for an MMO. It’s why Wrath of the Lich King was the last great World of Warcraft expansion before the disaster that was Cataclysm. The content drought was incredibly long in between Wrath of the Lich King’s final patches and Cataclysm, and that was unacceptable in terms of business. The fact that Cataclysm was highly despised as well did not help matters and led to a significant decrease in subscription numbers for the game. And by regular releases, I mean in periods of no longer than two to three months, which is the acceptable amount of time most games have content updates. Final Fantasy XIV has a major patch about every 3 months, and in between those patches are smaller content patches that add additional content. Compared to a game like Destiny 2 whose first content update post launch happened 3 months and was universally despised and you can see why timing is everything in business.

So what about other games? Well other games, in particular games like Fate/Grand Order’s NA client which is two years behind the original JP client, the community has a general sense of what the hell is going on and what is coming out when. That all went to shit when Aniplex decided to move the Paid Gacha pull, where you paid ~$30 to get a guaranteed SSR servant, two months earlier and left out on two highly sought after servants in that banner, Mordred and Jack the Ripper. It’s a move that would have been acceptable if that was an NA exclusive event, but it was a replacement for the typical New Year’s Paid Gacha that occurs yearly for the JP client. So it pissed off a ton of people, including myself. Not only would it have made a ton of business sense to have both those Paid Gacha occur, in addition to the delayed Anniversary Gacha that just happened a couple weeks ago, but it alienated and upset many people.

In addition Fate/Grand Order’s localization team seems to think that announcing content updates at Anime Conventions is a smart move. That’d be acceptable if they lined up to the expected schedule that the community projected, but they didn’t. They let the NA Client fall 4 weeks behind schedule just to announce an event at an Anime convention that at most .01% of the player base went to. It was just another insult in a long line. Such things could’ve been avoided if they remembered how important Timing is.

So that’s it for this week’s Video Game Tuesday. I’ll close out with a quote from Wit from the Stormlight Archives that puts it best. “What is it we value? Innovation. Originality. Novelty. But most importantly…timeliness. I fear you may be too late, my confused, unfortunate, friend.”