Change is coming~

I finalized the plan with Orophen on what to do concerning my blog. I want a fresh start. I typically desire this after awhile, and I feel as though I am due for one at the moment. Right now the current blog will be archived on one of my old domains called mreh.net. I feel this is fitting as some of our other stuff is also archived there and is where I had originally placed my FFXI blog previously named doink!.

unimaginative.me will now become my “personal”/micro style blog and errorcode.me will now become my gaming sort of blog or at least pointed specifically to a gaming category on this blog. I’m still undecided on this aspect.

The plan had been to separate the content awhile ago, but then it was scraped because I wanted simplification. But the simplification ended up not being as simple as I wanted, as I soon had problems with categorization, tagging, etc. I’m kind of obsessed with organization at times, and I’m rather nit picky about how that information is sorted. Even as of right now, I’m not sure how to sort the data and re-categorizing everything would be quite a pain to deal with.

I am also looking into reblogging content on tumblr and LJ, since I know I have friends who frequent either place and are sometimes not as keen on visiting my physical blog. Not that I blame them, because I’m also lazy doing the same and often have to make a conscious effort to check other social sites or at least checking them through via my phone… orz

Changes to the blog

In the coming weeks, I’m planning some changes to the blog. I am still debating between splitting my game and personal blog, but I know that if I do decide to blog more ffxiv I am sure my boyfriend will stare and wonder why I am not posting it on zantetsuken.net…

To be honest, sometimes I get an anxiety attack when I think of blogging ffxiv related things. I think of my early experiences with ffxiv (in-game and out) and with choice people I am very glad to have out of my life, and I can feel my entire body tense up and feel like shit. I know that sounds dramatic, but those choice four – five people were really too much for me to deal with and make me particularly reluctant to join some linkshells. It also makes me incredibly happy to be where I am and with mostly chill people who don’t have sticks up their asses or aren’t fucking insane (in a bad way). All the better if they decide to never come back to ffxiv, but eh… I’m on a different server now, so whatever.

But back to the blog. I am also planning to do it more in the style of a microblog. I know this sounds crazy when taking into consideration I am active on twitter, but I also have times when I wish to blog more than 140 characters can allow me. Tumblr is currently an alternative, but I am wanting to give WP another chance. There is also the level of control on WP vs. Tumblr that I am reluctant to give up.

So, expect to see more of my ill written blog entries. I hope. We know how well I’ve been keeping to my word of blogging more so far! <_<;

How to get from SeaTac Airport to Downtown Seattle

I know several friends and people from twitter are coming to PAX from different parts of the country. Some have asked how to get from point a to b, and I'm here to write up a rough guide on how to do so while I wait for my boyfriend's flight to arrive. Keep in my mind I am writing this on my iPad without a keyboard, so it might come out weird. Here goes!

Your options:

Rental Car: honestly, this is a waste of damn money. Downtown Seattle is very walkable and you do yourself a disservice by renting. There are parking fees, gas, and a slew of other things that I would personally not want to deal with.

Taxi: I believe ALL the taxi services offer a simple fee of $32 (thanks to @jediguybob for the correction!) for a trip from the airport to downtown Seatte. I have ridden some taxis here and the guys are usually very friendly and nice. You'll get to downtown anywhere from 20 – 45 depending on traffic. Give or take more or less depending on the prior condition or who your driver is.

Light Rail: this is by far your cheapest option. You should only have to pay $2.75, takes 40 – 50 minutes and you don't have to really worry about transferring from one place to another. I highly recommend this option.

If you choose the later option, here are some tips and directions on riding:

- You MUST pay your fare before you board. If the security happens to do rounds when you are on and you are without a ticket? Your fine is $124. The ticket machine is usually in an area above or below the platform you are to board on. In SeaTac, it is on the floor before you ride up to the station itself.

- If you still have the ORCA card I gave you for Sakura Con, you can preload your card online. Look up ORCA card and follow the directions on their website. Remember to tap before and after boarding the the Light Rail! Failure to do so, and you can expect to pay the $124 fine as well.

- Don't be stupid. Seriously. Watch your phones and small devices. There might be cameras and the random security checks, but that doesn't stop people from being jerks and taking your shit.

How to get to the station from SeaTac: from baggage claim, head all the way to the end of the baggage claim (if you are at baggage claim 1, you are on the wrong end!) and head up the stairs. Cross the sky bridge and turn left. Walk alongside the path until you get to a clearing with a floor above you. This is where you will board the rail. Purchase your ticket making sure you select that you are getting off at the West Lake Center station. Head up, board when they are ready, and keep your ticket!

From here enjoy the scenery until you find yourself going underground sometime after the Beacon Hill station. The electronic ticker signs are plastered almost everywhere so you can't really miss what stop is what. But what you are looking for is West Lake Center station. It is the last station, so you CAN’T go wrong! Get off of here and go to the set of stairs that is on the furthest left side or whatever brings you to the Nordstrom side of the area. If you find yourself peeking at Macy's and then McDonalds then you are on the wrong side.

If you are staying at the Grand Hyatt, go left and up the street about two or three blocks. The hotel is on the corner to your right. If you are staying elsewhere… You are on your own unless you leave a comment of pester me on twitter with your hotel name and I will do my best to help you out.

OMG PAX 2012

I would be lying to say if I weren’t amped, because I am. Several friends will be attending this year, the boyfriend will be there, and I’ll get to experience a bit of the Final Fantasy 25th Anniversary for myself at the ACT Theatre.

Of course, there are some things on my mind that I’ve been worrying about:

- STUFF. Like, actual stuff. If I need to worry about bringing a laptop, what clothes to bring or how many (I’m factoring in if I want to dress up a little if I go out to dinner with the boyfriend), what to pack my shit in, etc etc. Thankfully the boyfriend will be there and can carry things. This is what is great about having a boyfriend. He acts as a humanoid pack mule. Too heavy for me to carry? Give it to the boyfriend. Too much to carry? Give it to the boyfriend? Need to use the restroom? Give everything to the boyfriend. The boyfriend is great. He may be bored and meh that he is being used in this way, but I will ensure he is properly compensated for his efforts!

- On a more serious note, I am worried about actually going to PAX and staying out. My father is having major surgery this week and he and my mom need help getting things done and making sure he’s taken care of. I know that the thought of them will always be on the back of my mind, and I’m tempted to go home at the end of the day just to check in on them with my own two eyes. I just… don’t really know what to do about it. I want to be with the boyfriend and friends, but family is damn important. I’m sure they’ll be fine and I may not have to go check in on them all the time, but I can’t help but worry. This is a big flaw of mine. I’m a worrywart. Thankfully there are cellphones and hopefully decent reception at the convention center…

- Meeting people. That anxiety of, “Will they like me?” sometimes fill my mind when I realize I’ll be meeting certain people for the first time in real life. I want to run and hide, so it will be a miracle if I stand my ground and force myself to get social. Most likely I will end up doing the later rather than the former, but I still think running away for the high lands should be an acceptable course of action.

I’ll be taking pictures and maybe trying to record certain things of my adventures at PAX. But more importantly, I’m going to try and have as much fun as possible. I’ve been looking forward to PAX since the 2011 PAX Prime event ENDED, and knowing friends will be coming has made the whole con seem even cooler than before.

 

Thoughts on blogging

I’ve made resolutions in the past to blog more and have many random thoughts and desires of wanting to blog more. I often open up WordPress, Word, or any number of programs I use to write with, and more often than not I end up not publishing whatever gibberish I wrote or planned to write. Funny thing is, I wasn’t always this way. I had a Livejournal and another self hosted blog that I would write in whenever the mood struck me. Random things, short things, long things, whatever. It was written and published without so much as a second thought. Ah, to be young, naive, and free of inhibitions!

I am older now, more conscious, more aware, and more conflicted. Many blogs I read are written very eloquently, themed, have deep thoughts and me!? I’m some putz that just writes about weird shit no one really cares about and in a way that makes one kind of wonder how the hell I earned my degree (I know I do).

I’ve thought about this for a very, very long time. This thought about my thoughts on blogging, my views on it, and how I’ve approached it. And you know what? I’m kinda tired of it. I miss the days of blogging just to blog. Twitter has taken up that space, but sometimes there are things I want to write that need more than just 140 characters. Sometimes I want to just ramble and rant and rave and seem like a lunatic. Where can I do that without restraint? Duh, here.

And you know what? I have nothing to lose. I have no viewership. I have no dedicated readers. I just have me. Me and my damn blog. I’m blogging the way I want to, dammit, and no one is gonna stop me!

Thoughts on Legend of Korra – Season 1

I have been trying very hard to will these thoughts away by trying to tell me that I should let go because its just a kid’s show. Then I start rewatching the episode on iTunes and I get riled up again to the point of wanting to punch something. So here I am at 11 p.m., at my desk and dozing off, and willing myself to write out my thoughts on Korra instead of stewing on them. Of course, the entry is primarily on the last episode and is full of spoilers. You have been warned.

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E3 Not Good Enough?

Like many people who currently play FFXIV or are remotely interested in the game, I’ve been eagerly anticipating the arrival of E3 2012. E3 is usually something I look forward to since we get to see what new games or expansions to current MMOs are coming out for the next year. It is the BIGGEST event for a gamer and seemed even bigger for FFXIV’ers because they would finally reveal the 2.0 preview video. Then the Letter from the Producer XXVIII dropped. Yoshida mentions he is on his way to E3, they plan to kick off the promotion video, unveil the promotion site for 2.0 after E3 ends, and I can tell you that my excitement is building as I read these words because it is something I’ve been eagerly anticipating for a long time; not just as a player but also as a person trying to do something in the community by doing the Sequence Break XIV podcast and Zantetsuken site. However, in one fell swoop this excitement that has been cultivated for months? The giddyness that FFXIV was going to be the most awesome come back kid is now flushed down the toilet. Why? Because they wanted 2.0 to come out with a bang. Not a trickle of information. A huge flood of information that would just awe and amaze us outside of E3.

…. Right. The biggest event for any gamer, publisher, or news media person, and would most likely garner the MOST attention from the gaming community on what FFXIV has done to become a better game is not a good platform to showcase the finished 2.0 promotion video. Because who the hell wants just a trickle of information when you can have a flood? Who wants a video when you can have a website AFTER e3? Appealing to new players? And possibly PS3 players? What better way to do that than not to do this at (excuse my language) fucking E3.

I’m dumbfounded. I’m also very hurt and angry. As someone who has done what she can to promote FFXIV to her friends and listeners of SBXIV, I have really tried to amp up 2.0 and told many people to wait until E3 if they are interested in FFXIV. I’ve managed to bring my friend, brother, and possibly my sister into FFXIV. I have also talked to other players and tried to convince them to play FFXIV now and to see what exciting news would come out with the promotional video being released at E3. Now? I feel like a fool. The rug has been pulled from underneath me. I told many people that Yoshida is awesome, because he is awesome and the things he has done for FFXIV so far have been really great. The past year I’ve also renewed my faith in SE after the initial failure of FFXIV and (in my eyes) FFXIII. Then this happens and I’m left with shit in my mouth and questioning what the hell I’ve been doing for almost a year with SBXIV (formerly Go Team Derp!), Zantetsuken, and on twitter.

I know that sounds dramatic, but I’m trying to wrap my head around this and I can’t. I understand that they want to do what is best for 2.0, because I also wish for the same thing. But not showing a video at E3 is probably missing the biggest opportunity to reach to new and former players who just brushed FFXIV under the radar even with the Welcome Back Campaign. I’d understand if they said that the video wasn’t finished. I’d be cool with that. Knowing it is finished and not being revealed is what is really mind boggling to me. The interviews that are to come are going to be exciting, but nothing would have beat actually seeing visuals of 2.0 — even if it were just all CG. Garnering interest would have at least put more seeds in people’s minds for something to look forward to. It would be a seed that hopefully will grow to, “Hrm. Maybe I should check out this website!” when the site launches and to hopefully go to, “Oh, I remember that trailer at E3! Maybe I should check this game out!” At the very least, it would have solidified the reason for people to continue to sub after returning to the game. Legacy status is a big enough reason in and of itself, but it means nothing if there is no visuals to help tease the players into wanting to stay for what will come.

So what now? I’m hoping that the release of the promotional video in August will mean they will have a larger presence at PAX Prime where players can actually look and (hopefully, but I am no longer holding my breath) test the demo. It would get directly to the players themselves or at least 70-odd thousand of them. Its not as media heavy as E3, but it is at least a mini one. Orophen and I plan to be there, as well as FusionX from Gamerescape. I’m going to try to convince myself that someone from SE is reading my tweets (well, I know ONE of them sort of is) and is holding off this whole thing just for the sake of us. I know that is crazy and full of shit, but it is the only sense of comfort I can give myself right now after such a huge blow of disappointment.

One step at a time…

There has been a lot on my mind lately, and when I get around to writing my thoughts down I often feel that they are disjointed and incomprehensible because of how jumbled they are. They don’t connect or mesh well with other thoughts, and I often become frustrated because then I will end up writing what amounts to gibberish. Not that I don’t do so already. It almost makes me wonder if doing a vlog would help, but then I’d have to worry about getting the images or props ready to show vs. my ugly mug on the screen. I’ll try to narrow my field of focus today to XIV, since that is the topic that has been popping up a lot as of late.

Currently in our little group we have myself, Orophen, Reiokyu, Frei, and Shouri. Two people have either recently left or have been kicked out because a.) they just stopped coming and have refused to engage in conversation with anyone from the LS when they do pop on Skype or b.) were only around to get power leveled and then proceeded to ignore us and only help our their other LS. I had a lot of choice words for the later and many more for the former, but none of that will be shared here. Then there is another guy, but he’s usually busy and hardly ever on. I’ve asked to team up with the Nightblades since, at the moment, they are also down a few of their members due to server lockout and to tag along with Jeff’s group if they will let me. It is a nice setup, I think, and it allows me to get to know the people who have been on my twitter list for awhile. I’ve already met Jeff in real life when he and Mai visited Seattle for a few hours. I often get worried, however, worrying if I am a decent enough player to be able to play with them. Even if I don’t have a lot of time to play like a hardcore player or have the achievements of one, I still worry a great deal about my abilities and skills as a player. I’m even making an attempt at leveling Weaving just so I can try to make my own triple meld gear for my BLM and WHM! Crazy considering that I am not much into crafting in the first place…

What is sort of driving me crazy right now, however, isn’t just the lack of people in our group to do end game content with, but the disparity of level between certain members and the core members. It reminds me of CoP and when we were starting the CoP group up with Reiokyu, Hiroshiko, and my brother. It was really different then, with half of us playing in a way that we could read each other and go into a fight without a huge exchange of words going on and then worrying about the other half and if they would be able to do what was needed of them. I still remember getting incredibly pissed off when people weren’t listening to directions on the Diabolos fight and causing a wipe that could have been prevented. Eventually two of the three became really solid players and I don’t think any of us felt the need to worry as much if our backs were being covered as much as we did the first half of our CoP run.

I find myself somewhat in the same place now as I did then, but not as ornery at the moment. There are several reasons for this: 1.) I am a lot more mellow then than I used to be. Anyone who knew me then knows I have a nasty temper. It is very explosive and volatile to the point I am heard outside and I’ve actually used weapons to hit people. ^^; 2.) I am a little more busier. Back then I was a full time student and was often too busy to play very often. I am back in school again but I have other commitments to take care of, too. Often they are on my mind while I am running other things at the same time. Which, to be frank, is probably for the best considering #1. 3.) I am a little more patient. I am trying to see where things are going at the moment. I’m concerned, yes, but I’m also willing to give the benefit of the doubt and look to see if there are improvements. If not, then… well… I guess I’ll cross that bridge when it gets there.

Perceived Difficulties

I should be studying for my midterm, but whatever. I am here writing out my thoughts because the official Final Fantasy XIV forums simply likes to incite some anger in me that just doesn’t want to go away.

Last night I had checked out the forums before going to bed and was dismayed but the large amount of Final Fantasy XI 2.0 sort of threads that have been making itself popular as of late. Whether it is from people wishing to troll, trying to be sincere, or whatever… I am starting to want to smack them all.

First thing is first: this perceived leveling difficulty in XI has to stop. The first job may take 3+ or it may not. But the leveling therein after actually takes far less if you: a.) know what you are doing and/or b.) have a group that is either carefully put together to get you through levels quickly or you just have a set of friends interested in blasting through the levels quickly. And, no, this not by even exploiting level sync camps, but through using lesser known camps that actually rake in a good amount of EXP.

Yes, leveling is fast in XIV without even knowledge of so called “exploits” of differing camps or a power leveler. But one of the biggest factors in extending the time people were able to cap out their jobs in XI was the fact that people would sometimes wait for DAYS for a party and get no invite. Either people would turn down invites if they came from particular jobs or would gloss over the DRG sitting there for several hours with his flag up.

That doesn’t make the game hard. It makes the game frustrating! People have quit the game because they honestly couldn’t level jobs they wanted to because the majority felt that so and so job weren’t good enough. Remember when DRG was lolDRG? And many people either switched to another job or quit altogether? I know I do. I remember when it happened for SAM, too. That isn’t a way to bring back or retain players! It is sure to drive them away to the point of insanity!

Another thing is EXP penalty for death. This one has me shaking my head because this is also as frustrating and affects the game very differently than it does for shelling out gil to repair gear. First of all, losing out on EXP did mean that people were forced to try things to not die. And, well, that is pretty much it. Because once you get people into the mindset that they can’t or shouldn’t die because they would lose a lot of EXP from doing so, then you have people who are pigeon holed into a particular set up or strategy and are afraid to go outside of that paradigm to try something different.

Yes, you can argue that it would be the same either way and I wholeheartedly agree. However, there is a subset of people who actually LIKE to attempt things in unconventional ways. Strange as it may seem, I am also one of them. I had remembered a time when BLU wasn’t used very much for CoP and then that changed somewhere along the way after I had written about using a trio of BLU to pretty much annihilate a portion of CoP content. I get high off of the success of doing something that a lot of people who have grown to accept isn’t possible to BE possible. But trying those things out is hard to talk people into if they are constantly worried about losing chunks of EXP, and deleveling a level or two or maybe even three (I have seen the later happen). Coupling this with the aforementioned topic of length of time to put together a mandatory party or getting invited to a mandatory party, and you will find that of course people would be resistant to the idea because then the game becomes more like a job than an actual game. The only bonus of loss of EXP by death is that it allows the players to be able to be added to the pool of people to EXP party with for the remaining few levels, but only for those later levels and not for the earlier levels where people often struggle to find groups for.

EXP loss by death and longer duration of leveling a job don’t make the game any more difficult unless you wish to define difficulty under the idea that you are struggling to find a party, get EXP, or even to be able to successfully pull off a battle without death. But if the definition of a struggle falls under trying to think of new or interesting ways of tackling an enemy or group of enemies, then I think we are working more about the actual game difficulty versus player induced or mentally perceived game difficulty.

Either way, I just want FFXIV. I want the spirit of XI, sure. The sense of adventure and immersion of being in a expansive world with engaging story that grips you and begs more of your precious time away from real life. I may not have the time, but I would love to have a game like that. And to be honest, XIV is slowly becoming that. It may not be an identical twin of XI but I am ok with that. I love what XIV is doing and how well it is doing it so far. Why change it to something archaic and that is out of touch with a growing population of aging gamers?

Frugal Microwave Popcorn

I am currently taking a Chem class in which we talked about a chemical called diacetyl. It is typically found on butter flavored foods such as microwave popcorn. Now, in small concentrations its not bad for you. When is it bad? When you’re working with it, inhaling it constantly, and you find yourself with something called Bronchiolitis Obliterans aka popcorn lungs. Now, if you are like myself and my professor, you’ll pause, gawk, stare, and maybe blink. Obliterans. Kinda like obliterate? Its not exactly the same, but it does give you a hint as to what is going on: your lungs are messed up and its irreversible. If its severe enough, you pretty much need a lung transplant in order to survive.

There is more to the story, of course, so I highly recommend checking this article out and googling others like it.

So now you are staring at this entry going, “wtf? What does this have to do with Frugal Microwave Popcorn?” I’m getting to it. Our professor pretty much gave us a quick, cheap way of eating popcorn and still from a microwave if we didn’t want to deal with other alternatives. She suggested this to assuage our fears and to give us options in case some of us were of the super paranoid type, wanted cheaper alternatives, or just wanted healthier options. Here is that recipe:

Frugal Microwave Popcorn
1/3 Cup of Popcorn Kernels
2 tbsp REAL Butter
½ tsp Salt (or seasonings of your choice)
Place all ingredients in a brown paper lunch bag. Fold top down twice, and “tab” to keep it closed. Microwave for 3-4 minutes or until pops are 3 seconds apart. Enjoy.

Variations:
1) Use bacon grease instead of butter
2) Seasonings: cinnamon sugar, Italian seasoning, chili pepper, powdered parmesan cheese…