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.

Infinite Fetch Quest XV (Non-Plot Spoilers)

On our way to… I don’t even remember which quest anymore.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m still enjoying the game overall, and once I get back to real plot stuff my opinion will probably go up to loving the game. But right now, in Chapter 3 and probably continuing for the next few chapters? I feel like I’m in the Hinterlands in Dragon Age: Inquisition. If a quest is available, I have to complete it. That’s just how I am. And hey, being this way and completing all the quests should ensure that I won’t be underleveled later.

But oh my god is this tedious.

It looks like there are six trophies for side quests (with the sixth one being for 80 quests completed) and I have four of them so far, counting last night’s session. I was originally planning to stream tonight, since it’s time to fight Deadeye and get chocobos and things like that, but I’m sort of second-guessing myself now. Three hours of side quest streaming–again–doesn’t sound terribly appealing, after all. Maybe instead, I can do an hour and a half or so offline, then Deadeye and all on a stream after? That might be the best idea.

Also, I have a better way of saving Prompto’s pictures than I’d previously found searching online. I mentioned before a thread that advised full-screening the pictures and then manually screencapping them, and while that works, there’s a black frame around the photo. If you like having the frame, then this original method that I found will work fine for you. But in a different thread on the same forums, someone mentioned that you don’t have to actually upload the pictures to Twitter or anywhere else. Instead, all you have to do is get to the share screen where you pick where to upload it, then back out again. Technically, I already knew that sharing a picture saved a full-sized, not-framed copy of it to your capture gallery. I didn’t know until finding the thread, though, that stopping the upload still saved the file locally. So, yay! Upload your pics later if you want, or transfer them to USB to edit them, or whatever you want to do, without going through the nonsense of getting them back from Twitter! I know, I know, it’s a dumb thing to get excited over. But I freaking love having screencaps, and not having Prompto’s pictures automatically save to the Capture Gallery is almost hurtful.

Anyhow, have a dumb shot of the boys, since I have these pics saved now.

Overlooking Galden Quay

Best Bird | Worst Bird (Final Fantasy XV)

I was able to get another night in with FFXV last night. Spent most of it looking for hunts that were at my level, but after that I finally made my way to Galden Quay. And that was… an experience. I fished, badly. Very badly. I tried to kidnap a cat. I took pictures at the designated photo location with a gorgeous view over and over like it was a a photospot at Disney. You know, good touristy stuff.

Oh, and then I almost got eaten by a huge bird–the same one that I briefly saw on night one, when I declared, “Oh, I’m going to kill that! …or maybe it’ll kill me. Oh.”

For the record, Best Bird:

Worst Bird:

Its head has its own pair of wings for god’s sake. What the hell even is this thing?

I did finally get around to advancing the plot some, and finished up Chapter 1. I wouldn’t have noticed any different if I hadn’t seen Kingsglaive, but I love that scenes from it were added into the game. I really liked the movie, and having its events integrated directly (rather than just some re-make recap) felt very right.

Tonight (?) I’ll be heading out for at least one side quest here at the beginning of Chapter 2, then unless I find more hunts my level I’m going to do the next plot quest, which involves meeting up with a person in a place. That’s not a spoiler… right? I think I’m okay saying that much.

FFXV Night 1 Quick Summary (No Spoilers)

I’ll see about a more in depth post later, maybe in the morning, maybe later, but for now here are a few points from tonight’s session:

  • They actually made me push the Regalia when it broke down.
    • But they let me control the camera the whole time, so I got some entertaining angles at least.
  • Prompto not only has Instagram filters for his photos, the fact that posting them to social media is actually in the game’s menu (not just the system gallery) leads me to believe that under normal circumstances he’d be posting them to Twitter himself.
    • I’d actually really like to see Prompto’s Instagram.
  • There was a QTE-ish thing to stir a pot of stew.
  • Magic is kind of like using draw points in FFVIII; you find deposits and pull the energy from them, then craft spells from that. Like FFVIII, magic seems to be exhaustible. Need to look into this more.
  • Leveling what we’d normally call skills is like the sphere grid (FFX) and/or Cystarium (FFXIII).
    • Otherwise leveling seems normal; you have to check in at a camp/inn/etc to apply your experience but it raises your HP, MP, and probably (I haven’t looked deeply yet) other stats as well.
  • FFVI-style sprites indicate who can use items when in shop menus, etc. They do the FFVI victory dance when an item applies to them just like in that game, too.
  • I figured out how to control the stereo in the car. I then spent a 4 minute (real time) drive between two points skipping every track on shuffle.
    • I finally settled on Bombing Mission because Bombing Mission.
  • Squeenix via Ignis deserves a smack upside the head for a comment made to Prompto at one of the outposts, about how he needs to stop eating if he doesn’t want to gain weight. Dick move, Squeenix. Dick move.
    • Is there a “Prompto Argentum Defense Squad” yet? If not I’m starting one.
  • I am a master of Justice Monsters V.
    • Seriously just skip through that whole section on the stream part 2 highlights. I got sucked in for a nice little chunk of time.

…I know there’s so much more, but after three and a half hours I don’t remember what else specifically. The highlights should be transferring from Twitch to YouTube any minute now, and you can watch them at either site. I’ll try to be back on tomorrow night for more (maybe I’ll even leave Hammerhead!) but it’ll depend on how work and life turn out through the day. At the latest, I’ll be back on by the weekend, but I don’t honestly expect it to take that long for another go at it.

I mean, I have to get back to Justice Monsters V after all.

Morning Update: I knew I’d find more after letting all of this sit overnight.

  • The load times. Oh sweet GOD the load times. You know how Dragon Age: Origins or Oblivion loaded on PS3? It’s a similar wait. Not every transition has an official loading screen (thank god) but the ones that do are torture.
  • Prompto’s photos don’t automatically save to the system’s capture gallery, and can’t be manually exported there, either. Choosing to share a picture gives you the options to use Facebook, Twitter, PSN’s messaging, or PSN’s communities. This is such bullshit. I’m going to look around and see if either of the PSN options will put the pics in a place where I can manually save them, but in the meantime the only screen caps my system has are the automatic ones from when I get trophies.
    • Confirmed that I can only get the images if I upload them to Twitter and save them from there. Doing it that way is making .jpg-large files (which apparently is a thing for Twitter, I haven’t saved pics from there before so it’s news to me) so make sure to change type to “All Files” and rename it with a .jpg extension if you’re like me and haven’t saved from Twitter before. Unfortunately for me, this means a lot of sharing to Twitter then coming to the computer, saving, and deleting the extra tweets. Such bullshit.

Further Update re: Prompto’s photos.

I continued to look for ways to save these without uploading the first, and came across this post on the Final Fantasy XV forums (screenshot because I was on my phone at the time) for how to save them on PS4, at least. TL;DR:

  • Open photo in-game so it fills the screen.
  • Screenshot the game as with the photo filling the screen.
  • Photo now magically saved to the system’s capture gallery.

It’s still bullshit, but at least it should work.

10 Year Wait (Archive/Crosspost)

final_fantasy_xv_logosm

When I was… I don’t know, 13 maybe? …my stepdad asked as a joke what I would do if Final Fantasy made it up to some crazy number “like fifteen” and would I still be playing then.

So, what will I be doing? I’ll be sending him a selfie today of me and my copy of Final Fantasy XV. I doubt he’ll remember the joke, but I’m going to do it anyway, because 20 years later here I am.

My copy should be here whenever the mail gets delivered, since it’s coming through Amazon, and depending on what time everything finally installs I might get started tonight, or I might have to wait for the weekend. I’ll find out as the day goes. What I am going to be doing is streaming my way through the game, in spite of being kind of nervous about it. I don’t normally stream things, and when I do it’s not usually something I haven’t finished. The only time I streamed something brand new was when Trespasser came out for Inquisition, and that time I did a full no-mic stream for people who couldn’t get the DLC yet to see the story (or at least my world state’s version of it) if they didn’t want to wait to get it themselves without having to listen to me babble over it. I still don’t know if I should do the same with FFXV. If I keep the mic on, anyone coming in should be prepared for plenty of… frustration on my part. Very, very vocal frustration. The teleport dagger thing (I don’t remember at the moment what they called it in Duscae) is going to be the death of me, and everyone’s going to hear it.

…I guess that’s my warning for this, then? The game is “T for Teen” but the stream will be “M for Mature (Strong Language)” and all. Twitch will automatically put out a link each time I load it up, of course, but if you want to go ahead and add me you can find my channel here.

Finale: Mixed Messages? (Long Post)

If you follow me on Twitter you probably saw my recent posts about the migraines, allergies, and insomnia I’ve been suffering this week. What I’m about to post made me laugh even through the pain of the migraines and exhaustion of working through a corporate visit at work after only an hour of sleep.

I’ve made quite a few posts lately about door mats. Quite a while back, I introduced my mat here as I pondered how specifically a vampire must be invited to enter a home. Then at the beginning of this month, my prized door mat vanished which left me quite unprotected, and a week later this crude replacement was left in its place. Now, it ends; or at least, the drama of the door mat likely has ended so that new, more insidious pranks can be managed by those responsible.

As I came home yesterday everything was fairly normal: I parked the car, walked to my building, and trudged up to my floor. However, upon reaching the top of the stairs I was greeted by the following sight:

(Click to enlarge.)

On most days, this would be a moment for me to laugh normally, but considering my condition I laughed so hard I cried when I saw it. The photo is actually from the other angle from where I first got to glimpse the scene, but I also have individual shots of each of the door mats (and occasionally kitchen and bath mats) left outside my door yesterday–fifteen in total. (The picture itself has seventeen mats, including my original mat and the imposter mat that I still haven’t gotten rid of.) Just for fun, I’m going to rate each mat’s Vampire Prevention Value (VPV) on a scale of 1-5 while I’m at it, where 1 = “Please bite me”, 3 is neither positive or negative to the vampire, and 5 = “Fuck off”.

From the left to right & back to front:
1) *Grr* I’m a tiger!
I’d have to rate this one a 4 on my VPV scale. There is no mention of “welcomes” or “invitations” and while there is no overt threat from this mat either, the tiger itself is a fearsome beast. If properly trained, one could probably be an amazing guard cat–much more effective than the three cats I currently have.
2) I’m a slightly fancy, but still generic door mat.
Unless there is some hidden message woven into the design of this mat, it’s a solid 3 on the VPV scale. No welcoming, but no threats. In addition, it’s not particularly tacky so while it will get ugly pretty quickly because of its light color, at the moment it is a respectable door mat.
3) Boring, now in beige!
I certainly hope this didn’t cost anyone more than 50¢ to buy this. While it also gets a 3 VPV, it’s just so boring, and an ugly color to boot.
4) Boring, now in green!
Same as above, but at least the color is a tiny bit better. VPV of 3.
5) Normals need not apply.
In spite of the wildlife theme of this mat giving an initial impression of redneck, I like this mat. It’s relatively accurate considering the fact that I live there, but it does worry me. While the mat definitely wins a five on the Annoy Stodgy Neighbors scale, I can only give it a VPV of 2. There’s definitely no overt invitation, which is a good start, but the line, “Home for the Unusual” worries me. Vampires are not particularly common, plus drinking blood and sleeping in coffins are definitely somewhat strange behaviors in typical society. I don’t have any choice here but to classify that line as an indirect invitation for any one or thing that is considered “unusual” to not only enter, but to even move in!
6) Ishihara Test for Color Blindness
Technically a kitchen mat, not a door mat, but a VPV of 2.5. I really should probably give it only a three, but perhaps if the vampire is colorblind he will recognize the mat as an Ishihara test and become offended that he is being taunted by his inability to see reds and greens. At this point, one of two things could happen: he could (a) get all emo as vampires lately have become prone to doing, and go home to cry bitter tears beneath his perfect hair; or more likely he will (b) seek revenge for the insult and embarassment. He cannot enter the home to take such vengence, but that doesn’t mean he can’t ambush the ones within as they leave the house.
(The next mat in the photo is just the gross imposter mat without it’s label, so I’m not posting it again.)
7) Peace, Love, and puncture wounds.
I don’t mind mats that look like pebbles themselves, but when the pebbles have words on them it just looks dumb. The only time this mat is appropriate is if a miserable bastard gets it for his home so that he can wipe the dirt from his boots across such noble concepts as “harmony” and “tranquility”. Even worse is the fatal mistake that earns this mat the first VPV of 1 on this page, the inclusion of the greeting “Welcome” in one of the pebbles near the center. Without specifically defining which individuals are welcome and which aren’t, a vampire with keen enough eyes to notice this fact will be able to feast upon anyone within, in the privacy of their own home.
8) So long, and thanks for all the fish!
I adore this mat, and am sad that it’s a stiff, scratchy door mat and not a kitchen mat like mat number six. If it were a kitchen or bath mat, I’d totally use this inside my house. As for the VPV, it’s probably another 3. While it does have “Hello” printed on the one odd fish out, saying hello to someone doesn’t overtly or implicitly invite them to your home.
9) This is the mat I’m looking for.
Just wanted to make sure before anyone with a guilty conscience starts arguing with me that I make it very clear that my original mat WAS returned with the delivery of the new mats. My mat, by the way, gets a 4.5 as it’s VPV. It makes no threat to the vampire, but he knows that under no circumstances is he welcome.
10) Mostly harmless, unless you’re allergic to cherries.
I don’t understand why this design is on a door mat, personally. It doesn’t seem to be causing any harm, though, so its VPV is 3.
11) Epic Win
A bit redneck for my tastes, much like the loon mat, but so much more successful in vampire repelling. This one is actually the only mat to get a VPV of 5 of the entire set, including my original mat. Trespassers are not only clearly unwelcome, but the mat offers threats of violence for any offenders. Although in Interview with a Vampire the alligators in the swamp weren’t effective at killing Louis, they still fucked him up pretty badly.
12, 13, 14, and 16) Here we have a cross hatch design, some coffee mugs, some military pride, and the kid from The Incredibles. All get a VPV of 3.
15) A moose? Seriously?
The final mat, though it’s a bit out of order from the photo. This is exactly what I was afraid of when I first started to wonder about door mats as invitations. At least in the pebble mat the word is slightly obscured, and the vampire might not realize he is permitted inside. But to feature the word so prominently on the mat is suicide. While you’re at it, make sure to leave your door unlocked, too. Definitely a VPV of 1.


“Idiots.”

This is Not the Mat I’m Looking For

As I mentioned very briefly on Twitter a bit earlier, “…someone’s gonna get their ass BEAT. Like, stereotypical-ghetto-with-a-shoe.” Everyone remembers my post from last week about my Anti-Vampire Door Mat, correct? Well, this morning (I say morning, but it was really only about an hour ago; I’m lazy on Saturdays) I go out to pick up my new glasses to find this:

Please note that this is not the mat that went missing last week. This is the mat that went missing, and I am not amused by the poor imitation left on my stoop as a taunting reminder of what I have lost to such petty thievery. Now I must determine if the original theft was carried out by members of the MNC, or if only the false replacement was their version of a joke, or both, or neither. I still suspect certain co-workers in the incident, although to my knowledge the “leave” tag taped to the new mat does not match any of their handwriting. Perhaps I should actually issue such a challenge to all visitors from this time forward, to attempt to discover the culprit?

At least in the meantime I should be protected from vampires again. Small victories, even in the midst of all this loss. ^_~