All the Ampersands

Finishing sets

With both red mage and black mage now at level 80, I’ve been trying to figure out how to gear up. Some folks from my FC, and friends of the FC have thought about starting a casual raiding static. (Current status: 7 people interested but in vastly different time zones and work schedules. The desire is there, at least.) The issue with gearing those two casters is that they use the same gear, but different stats are important. (Red mage: anything over Spell Speed; black mage: there may not be a thing as too much Spell Speed.) Tonight I started perusing the Balance Discord’s suggested gear/melds for each job. But, this is where I don’t do so great without making a spreadsheet or chart or something. I’m sitting on two weeks and some change’s worth of the current tomestone, so I can purchase… something, once I figure out what to get. Normally I start with chest/pants pieces and then get a red mage weapon as soon as possible. This time I’m researching. Egads.

Gathered for the beginning of the third Eden fight

Last night I ran the normal Eden raids with the greater Spawn Respawn family, which is always good fun. (They stream on the regular as well!) I needed three bits to finish that tier’s gear set for casters, and got everything in one set. That leaves me free to work on leveling other jobs for now. We ran a few roulettes afterwards and I got to off-tank a couple fights and dance through Void Ark. I probably should pick one tank or healer job to level up and focus on it, so I have options when running with friends. Still, it’s fun switching off and trying all the things.

Ambrosius wearing the Yojimbo barding

For Trials roulette we were lucky enough to get Kugane Ohashi. It must’ve heard me saying “ooh, let’s get that barding” because I won the roll for it!

I need to get into the habit of taking more screenshots while I’m playing and grouped up with folks. Having the record reminds me of what we did, and therefore what I can write about. Instead, lately I’ve been getting these post-fight one-offs.

Text from a combat log: You defeat Leviathan
Damn right I do.

More than tweeting

I first threw the idea around of starting this blog back in December of last year. My boyfriend and I were visiting his family for the holidays. On a morning when we had nothing going on, I figured I could sign up at wordpress.com and just get going. And I got halfway there! WordPress account, check. Starting to write there, not so much.

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Bok Choy, a prominent FFXIV raider, recently wrote up a breakdown of tanks in Shadowbringers that’s a great comparison of each tank and the similarities and differences in their ability sets. I got Gunbreaker to 70 last night, and a tank is probably my next thing to level to 80, so I’ve got tanking on the mind.

This video is so quick and silly, I love it. I just wish I knew all the source references!

Help the right one out

The first half of the quest chain: Cold Comfort Farmer

There’s this one quest chain in Fable II that had me thrilled the first time I played through it. It starts in Brightwood towards the beginning of the game. You meet Giles, a former town guard turned farmer, whose farm has been beset by bandit attacks. The leader of the bandits murdered his wife in cold blood. Fearing for his son’s life, he sends his boy away until the bandits can be dealt with. Giles’ tale is one of the Fable series’ ethical decision points: do you help Giles and bring the bandits to justice, help the bandits, or walk away? If you’re me on my first playthrough, you’re all go, go, good team and of course you’re going to take Giles’ quest and get those bandits.

Say you do this, and the game’s timeline advances about a decade into the future. (You did, and it did and was going to anyway.) When you return to Brightwood, Giles’ farm has prospered. When you catch up with Giles, he thanks you again, but has another quest for you: helping him set his son Rupert up on a date. Take his portrait and find someone in town to go on a date with him.

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Weekend leveling

What time I had to play this weekend, I spent mostly helping others and figuring out what to level up next. I did want to get capped on Phantasmagoria tomestones, and that happened, in part because of an impromptu maps party with free company friends and a couple more friends from another server, to try and see the new Dungeons of Lyhe Ghiah. Figures that I’d forget to get a couple screenshots, but you’re a fan of the Lost Canals/Hidden Canals/Shifting Altars of Uznair, you know how this one goes too. But it’s still fun to do with friends, potentially lucrative, and the first time we saw how we went from one room to the next, we were all delighted and typed in our various ‘OOOOH’s into party chat.

I’ve only leveled red mage and black mage to 80, and right now I’m splitting my time between a few jobs before picking one to focus on. I’d like to get Dancer up to 70, both because it’s fun so far, and also to keep the Aiming leveling gear floating around to a minimum, as I’ve got Bard and Machinist at 70 already. I do feel like I should glamour the level 60 Shire tomestone gear for it, as of course it wasn’t designed with the feel of Dancer in mind. But it just feels off, visually… unless there’s a Gene Kelly-equivalent on Hydaelyn I haven’t run into yet.

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Minion’s Adventure (ミニオンの大冒険 ) by Zanekonpu/Toitoi Pictures

The latest machinima from Toitoi Pictures is, as their work has become known for, super-cute and completely endearing. The costuming used in this one is a clever idea!

GamerEscape’s FFXIV Gear Set List is a comprehensive list of armor sets available, sorted by name, job, and a few subcategories. It’s very helpful for seeing what a set looks like before you have all the pieces handy, so you can decide whether it’s worth collecting or not. XIV Style was my go-to site until recently, but they’ve not updated in several months and are missing the most recent sets of gear, including the last sets of dungeon gear from Stormblood.

Love for the Chais

Teeeeny spoilers here if you play FFXIV but haven’t finished the Shadowbringers 5.0 story yet. In the comments, too.


Rohiaux looking shocked
C’mon, me.

When we first come across Dulia-Chai and Chai-Nuzz, there’s this moment that I instantly hated. The cutscene shows your character making a face of shock at seeing Dulia-Chai, who’s doing nothing but sitting there having tea. She’s also, quite possibly, FFXIV’s first fat character. A resident of Eulmore, she has nothing to do but eat, drink, and be merry. That look of shock took me out of the moment—that’s not how any character of mine would react, and having it decided for me left me felt robbed of my agency. Despite how I think my alter-ego would react, there he is gaping. And that lead-up filled me with a knowing dread. Here it is, I thought, here come the fat jokes.

Dulia-Chai, sitting in the bar in Eulmore

But thank goodness, for once I was wrong. From then on out, she’s portrayed very kindly. Any humor in her scenes plays out either from her rich and matronly, Oh Alphinaud you’re adorable, let’s go shopping and get you a new outfit personality, or at how her flustered but very-much-in-love husband tries to look after her even though she’s the clear decision-maker.

Alphinaud sketching a portrait of two miqo'te, the Chais: Chai-Nuzz standing next to Dulia-Chai sitting.
I’m hoping to bug Alphinaud for a copy of this sketch at some point.

You see this when Chai-Nuzz sees Alphinaud’s first sketch of them, a realistic portrayal of the couple. His issue is with its realism, having wanted a more fantastical depiction of them; presumably flying around on giant flowers or traipsing across rainbows on a pegasus-drawn chariot. From this, I inferred that he thought—erroneously—he was somehow protecting his wife from her own appearance, thinking she might take offense. However, the portrait turns out to be exactly what Dulia didn’t know she wanted. After she sees it, she tells Alphinaud that she loved the portrait and was touched by it, feeling seen in a way she hadn’t been in some time.

It’s also worth mentioning that this revelation occurs at a point where you and Alphinaud are fleeing the city, and when she confirms that yes, it’s you that the city guards are looking for, and that yes, you’re okay but have to go, she quickly states that she and her husband will cover for the both of you. This conviction plays out throughout the story. At a point where the townspeople are confused about what to do next, she’s the first to speak up and admit that she’s as lost as everyone else, but is ready to help in any way she can. She and Chai-Nuzz also own up to mistakes they’d made earlier on, and attempt to make amends as soon as they’re able. She contributes in other ways as well, but to discuss these would be to wade deeper into spoilery waters.

Dulia-Chai talking to Rohiaux while Chai-Nuzz trembles with unconfidence

It was so utterly gratifying to see a fat character portrayed this way: Not for laughs, but as a loving, caring individual who, while maybe slightly out-of-touch with the world, knows who she is, likes who she is, and is willing to do the right thing. Her husband adores her even if he doesn’t always know how she thinks. And despite that agency-robbing initial expression from my character, all the other characters treat her with respect as well. The Chais radiate love, and I’m pretty sure they’re my favorite characters in Shadowbringers so far.

Ran into this lalafell in Leap of Faith and… I suppose if you were going to dress like that guy, this would be the place to do it.

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