Birthday, Pillowfort, Games

My birthday’s tomorrow!  And I have a ton of time off work for it, too! Other than Cake Night on Saturday (which c’mon, that’s the important part) I’m not sure specifically how I’m going to spend the time. Games? Yep. Movie(s)? Maybe. Naps? Definitely. The only problem is that I have the massive problem of still not knowing what theme I want for my cake. Brian’s likely to kill me if I don’t pick something soon, so I’ve got to figure something out on that front. We do have new Fairy Tail to watch for my bday, though! Technically not new, but the Collection… 6? set, which is the last two eps of Tenrou, X791, and I think the start of the Grand Magic Games. We’re still catching up on re-watching the last sets though, so we might not watch the new ones right away. We’re about halfway through Oracion Seis as of last night.

Otherwise, in Bren-gaming-news, FFXV Hell is still the Thing. I’m working on general hunts and side quests in chapter 3 before I head into Lestallum with my #PrinceSpaceman New Game+. Brian’s only a little bit behind me on his save (also chapter 3, but not as many side quests done yet), which is nice, because I don’t want to get too far ahead of him as he plays. Ideally, I wouldn’t get ahead of him at all, but the only way to guarantee that is to not play at all until he finishes each chapter. And, well, I don’t want to wait.

am, however, getting closer to picking up the previously-postponed New Year Dragon Age Re-Everything. I had a dream that was kind of about my Ria Hawke last night, and so with her calling to me I think it might be time to force myself away from FF at last. Well, at least from FFXV. I’ve started playing FF Record Keeper on my phone finally, after god-knows how many times I’ve meant to play it and just never did, and I’m hooked. It’s super generous for a F2P game, and it’s absolutely adorable. Then again, give me FF6 style sprites on almost anything, and you’ll sell me on it.

…And now I’ve just had the horrible and not-affordable idea of commissioning that style pixel art of my Dragon Age girls (at least the main 4 of Warden Elissa, Ria Hawke, Mika Trevelyan, and my Inquisition Agent Vrania Amell; possibly also of my Surana as well, because while she’s not from of my canon world state, I adore her almost as much as do the others). Maybe if people don’t listen to me* and give me like, gift cards or something for my bday that I can trade for art services, I can see if any pixel artists would want a trade like that. *I’ve actually told one friend to contact all our other friends who may come by to override Brian in reference to Cake Night invitations, to tell them that if Brian said “birthday” that I don’t want people to bring stuff. I just want people to eat cake and play a few specific games with. I won’t be rude and turn things away, but presents aren’t what I’m going for. Also, when I saw most of those same friends last week I deliberately called this Saturday Cake Night and not “for my bday” so hopefully that’ll stick.

Oh! I finally got my email from pillowfort.io that their beta’s going live this week! I still don’t know how the site’s going to work overall (and a lot of that is going to depend on the dedication of the community it does or doesn’t build–it’s not all on them), but from the demos I’m hopeful for it as a tumblr/LJ kind of replacement community. I looked today and their sign-up/sign-in splash page is already live, but since it won’t officially open until Friday around 3pm EST we won’t be getting our beta keys until then. That said, I will have four extra keys, in addition to the one for myself, so if anyone’s interested just DM me on Twitter. Mutuals from Twitter and/or Tumblr who don’t already have keys get 1st priority on my extra keys, then if all four haven’t been taken then others will be up for grabs to anybody. (You can go ahead and DM me now if you’d like, but I won’t have the keys to pass along until Pillowfort emails them out to me on Friday itself.)

Once pillowfort is opened, and if the site works how I hope it will, I’ll be putting any super-fandom posts over there, with links to them here. That means fanfic, if I ever get focused enough to write it again; that means fanart both commissioned of my characters and that I just really, really adore; that means mega-meta and what-if commentaries on games. Probably/mostly Dragon Age, because FFXV Hell can’t last forever. The NYDARe-Everything will be the opposite, though, with primary posts coming here and the cross-post links going over there.

Okay, finally I do want to mention a small thing that’s not going to be part of this blog’s actual theme or primary content, but that isn’t going to be entirely invisible so I’ll mention it the once: US Politics. This sort of thing won’t be posted directly to this page unless there are some major items that I feel like I can’t not post, but the copy of my Twitter feed on the right side of the page will have quite a bit of politics mixed in with my usual posts of cats, games, and random stream-of-consciousness blather. You’ve been warned, or something like that.

*Fake edit: Coworkers have gotten me presents for my bday tomorrow. D4 got me a $25 Think Geek certificate, which I’m probably going to take to the local store of to dig through their Pop! wall. Manager got me a cute Hello Kitty top-and-shorts PJ set. They both did this after asking what I was getting, and after I answered that I wasn’t “getting” anything cause I told people not to get stuff. They don’t follow directions very well. :p

Year-End Partial Recap (Minor Non-Plot Spoilers for FFXV & Rogue One)

So, not only has it been almost two weeks since I last posted, but all those posts so far have been Final Fantasy XV and I figure it’s time for a more general update.

FFXV? In spite of some massive frustrations, it’s still going, and I technically still like the game. But some of those frustrations continue to include:

  • Load times: depending on a combination of your chosen destination and luck, “fast travel” in the game can take longer than just letting Ignis drive the Regalia on auto. Since I have the game set up now to accumulate AP and Exp on long drives, unless I’m playing online I usually just choose the latter and turn to my phone or laptop while I wait. Or, on at least two occasions, I nap between destinations, only to wake up at my end point to wonder how long I’ve been standing there. But hey, at least I get points for it!
  • Music: so, this is something that I’ve had thoughts about for a little more than a week now, it’s also and the reason for that “What Makes an FF?” poll I posted. I couldn’t say that’s what it was for at the time, because I didn’t want to steer answers, but that is what it was for. With 78 answers total (three per person who answered) most of the answers revolved around recurring elements such as chocobos, moogles, Cid, etc. (21 answers total.) But about 10% of answers did name music specifically; that’s the answer I was looking for, for comparison to my biggest complaint about FFXV: So far, at least, (tail end of chapter 8) there has been no memorable music in the game. Originally, I thought the use of previous games’ soundtracks in the car was a great addition, but by the time I found the MP3 player item to let me take those soundtracks anywhere in the game, I started to wonder why the game needed to rely on so much of the older games’ music. And the fact is, up to where I am in the game, it’s because the game doesn’t have much music of its own. That’s horribly disappointing for me, because if I were to answer my own poll, my answers would have been 1) music (this is where my emotional investment in the series is generated) 2) recurring elements and 3) character relationships. I love the boys, but without a strong supporting soundtrack the game suddenly feels horribly flat. I’m praying that this changes as I leave Lucius for the less-open parts of the game, but I’m not terribly hopeful.
  • Product placement and fan service: like a lot of players, I hate what they made of Cindy. I don’t care so much about the sexiness of her costume; it’s something, unfortunately, to be expected. I care more about just how dumb it is. Characters can be sexy, even fan service, without dressing like that. Look at the women walking around Lestallum, for instance; when walking around town they look ridiculous, with their crop tops and whatever, but when it shows those characters working they’re in full containment suits. They’re nothing like Cindy, thank god, but they’re still half-dressed when off-duty. But when they do get to work they look like they’re actually going to be working and not permanently maiming themselves while doing so. Also don’t get me started on the product placement. God, it’s making me want to cry. The camping gear I get; even without the game, there’s only one brand I could name off the top of my head, and it’s the brand in the game. But the food… oh dear god. I got a certain quest and I felt my soul shatter into a thousand pieces. You know the one. I knew it was coming. I’d seen it on YouTube. But after sitting through it I wanted to go buy as much of the product as I could find and burn it on a ritual bonfire.
  • Missing plot: this could be considered a sort-of spoiler, but I want to include it here without hiding it because it’s important. READ ANY PAPERS/MAGAZINES/ETC THAT YOU FIND and LISTEN TO THE RADIOS WHEN YOU GO TO THE DINERS.You will miss explanations for a few things, at least, without doing this. Perhaps these things will be covered directly when you get to later chapters, but these missing elements begin to affect game play right around chapter 8, I’ve noticed, and without a combo of the papers, the radio, and a little bit of online spoilers I’d have no idea what was going on right now. Also, Brotherhood and Kingsglaive aren’t necessary, but they are extremely helpful with just little bits of fill-in-the-blanks. Missing those won’t leave you without as many details as missing Dragon Age additional materials, but they do have additional context that I appreciate when I run across more vague areas in the game.
  • Endless side quests: This is more of a personal problem, and I’ve mentioned it before, but the side quests are continuing to wear on me. I’m too much of a completionist, and there are too many unimportant quests to complete. However, through one of these unending side quests I located the home of the terrifying Worst Bird. He (She?) hasn’t shown up in that specific location yet, though, so I’m assuming I’ll have to wait for a hunt to actually face it once more.

…I think that’s enough of direct FF talk, so now on to other things. As I mentioned before, my next plan fandom-wise is to do my New Year Dragon Age Re-Everything, starting approximately on Jan 1st with The Stolen Throne and continuing until everything I can get my hands on is done. I’m not going to set a specific schedule for this project so that I don’t feel rushed (like I’m starting to feel with FFXV, since I need to finish that before I start this). I’m hoping I can find a better method of streaming from my PC, since the only client I’ve managed to get working so far is horrible for picture quality; if so, then I’ll actually have all my gaming online as well as making summary posts like I will be for the rest of the media in the collection. The world state I’m using will be my canon one; anyone from Tumblr should be very familiar with it by now but I’ll spare the details for everyone else for now. If you’re super-curious, you can dig through my Dragon Age tag here for the bullet summaries for my Warden and Hawke; the newest official versions of those saves are still more or less the same as those originals, though some motivations and attitudes have changed.

Finally, I saw Rogue One day before yesterday, and I wasn’t entirely impressed until the end. The first half of the movie feels like it doesn’t know where it’s supposed to be, and then final scenes ended up playing out exactly how I’d guessed they would. Remember that thing I said in my Final Fantasy rants above though, about music creating huge emotional investment for me? That’s where a lot of my final, positive opinion of the movie comes from. I do feel that with repeated viewings the whole movie will feel more unified in the series (I was the same way with TFA; I enjoyed it but it didn’t feel connected to the rest of the movies until it was out on disc and I could watch it a few more times), but it’s going to take some time to get there.

Anyway, that’s my pre-Christmas fandom recap, I guess. I have other, more personal-and-work-related things going on, of course, but those aren’t nearly as interesting and I’ve babbled enough for one post.