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Snory & Hoofty & Poofty

Throughout the years, I’ve swapped factions and races. So, the time has come to re-introduce my hunter as she is nowadays.

Her name is Snory, she’s a Void Elf BM Hunter on the EU server Argent Dawn. You can follow this link to visit her armory page and better see her transmog gear.

I’ve been mainly playing this character for all post-Cataclysm expansions and I can say that Beast Mastery is my favorite hunter specialisation. The rotation makes sense, it’s fast, it’s ranged and it remains fun even when a fight requires to move a lot. It’s a real jack of all trade since you can easily top the meters in group content (LFR hero lol) and solo pretty much anything in the game.

Her professions are Mining and Engineering, which explains why she’s transmogrified as “techno” Hunter with Mimiron’s Repeater as weapon. my greatest wish in the game would be to get Mimiron’s Head as mount to complete her style (yep, back to Ulduar).

My total /played time with my hunter is over 152 days, which means 3642 hours and that’s only one of my characters. I could calculate my total WoW /played time, but some things are better left unknown…

Pet Battle World Quests: Shadowlands

Since we’re trying to complete each day all the Pet Battle World Quests that award Polished Pet Charms, I have created a page with all the pet battle strategies that Soforah and I use in Shadowlands. They are not always the most optimal strategies, but they work even with a rooster of not-so-rare pets. So far, all the battles from Shadowlands are covered and I’ll soon add the strategies for BFA. That page is accessible via the “Links” menu located in the brand new top bar of the blog (ooh, shiny).

Patch 9.1.5. Makes Me Happy

Soforah and I are having a blast in Shadowlands. Between the Anima hunt, the mushroom quests, Torghast, the covenant upgrades and Korthia, our daily routine is really fun and diverse. However, reading the developer update made us very excited for the things to come. I’m also glad that Blizzard continues to be the kind of developer who listens to the feedback, despite the negative vibe spread by the toxic community.

Well, that’s a lot, but what makes me really happy is:

  • 21 new soul shapes (mostly critters), I wanna be a squirrel and a cat;
  • Soloable Islands expeditions (we didn’t give it enough love during BFA);
  • Recyclable Shadowlands legendaries (bye bye boots, hello pants).

Also, I’ve already re-installed Hearthstone on my phone, because there’s no way that I would miss on the gorgeous new mouse mount!

The Day People Will Realise That Streamers Are Full Of Sh*t

I never enjoyed streamers, I don’t find them entertaining. They call themselves “content creators”, but they’re only a bunch of backseat drivers who never created anything (free speech feels good!).

When a game is popular, they’re on the first line, singing its praises but, when the game loses in popularity, they’re the first to lead the hate charge. The human brain is wired toward negativity, it’s a biological fact, it’s what makes us look for cars before we cross the streets. Medias have been abusing this facts for hundreds of years by serving us all the bad things happening in the world through their news shows. Streamers are doing the same, because a negative video simply brings more views.

The problem is that, by gaining a greater audience, they gain the power to influence the trend. Do you honestly believe that Final Fantasy XIV would have such stellar numbers if streamers wouldn’t play it? The problem is when a nobody uses that power to damage a game or a company for profit or just because he got cocky over an insult on Twitter.

When the scandal against Blizzard first appeared, the amount of streamers to jump on the hate train was incredible. The same people who profited their games for over a decade suddenly became a linch mob. Now, they’re already tempering their speech, realising that World of Warcraft is still a great game and that it is still popular. The “I will never return” has already turned into a “I still enjoy the game”. Wait for the next patch or the next expansion and you will see those hypocrites posting WoW videos again.

So, where’s the integrity in all that? Well, that’s simple, there’s none. If you’re looking for integrity, just stop watching video game streamers, they’re just trying to pay their bills, mostly at the developer’s expanse.

Final Fantasy XIV Feels Bad

Sometimes, you realise how good something is after you’ve tried something else… Well this is exactly what happened to us. We were a bit burned out of Shadowlands, then came the Blizzard scandal and the huge “let’s quit WoW” trend that followed. So, out of curiosity, we gave FFXIV a try.

Final Fantasy Online was released in 2010 but we’ve never felt that it was something for us. We’re not fans of anime, we don’t like their aesthetics, it doesn’t match our idea of heroic fantasy. However, the hype got us and we felt that we had to give the game a chance.

The first thing that I can say is that, if you don’t like steaks, no sauce will make you love them. Well, it’s the same with games. No matter how you look at it, Final Fantasy is, at its core, a Japanese game with anime-like graphics. But I thought that I could close my eyes, put the steak in my mouth, chew and Swallow… I was wrong!

Graphics

The first thing that prevented me from enjoying the game is the lack of details in the landscape. For example, when you walk in a desert, it’s just plain yellow, you move on a yellow flat plate that’s supposed to feel like a desert.

The lines are too straight, the buildings feel like they’ve been drawn with a pencil and a ruler. There are entire cities made out of a bunch of textured polygons stuck together that resemble houses and castles but that’s it, there’s no charm.

Music and Voices

The music is miles away from what was composed for World of Warcraft. Most WoW themes have created memories that I will remember forever (Lament of the highborn, Aldrassil, Coldridge Valley,…), while FF14 themes are tunes that I want to forget.

We started by muting the music that launches automatically every time you ride a mount. Then we muted the combat music, which makes the game feel like Pokemon. We ended up by muting the entire sound, we couldn’t take it anymore.

There’s almost no voice acting, and when there is, it sounds bad. World of Warcraft’s voice actors can pride themselves for the amazing job that they do. FFXIV voice actors should rethink their career choices. Most of the time, it sounds so ridiculous that it triggered uncontrollable laughters.

Text

Each quest comes with pages of text . If you don’t read it, the game easily becomes shallow and if you do, you end up reading the worst literature that I’ve ever read in my entire life. The localization team apparently decided to go for some “old English” style, the results is a annoying to read, and there’s a lot of it.

Dungeons

Honestly, how can anyone find FF14’s dungeons good? Their design is uncharacteristic and the bosses are uncharismatic.

If you wanna see what I’m talking about, you could compare two starting dungeons from both games: The Deadmines (WoW) and The Copperbell Mines (FFXIV), the difference of quality is so huge, it’s embarrassing.

Gameplay

From the start, killing mobs in WoW feels amazing. Whether you hit them with a huge stick or you curse them from afar, WoW’s gameplay is smooth, fast and addictive.

FF14’s gameplay, when you get to experience it (between the hours of text reading), feels clunky. You will often read that you have to wait the last levels to experience the real gameplay of Final Fantasy, but no matter how many buttons are added to the action bar, weaving easily gets tedious.

Ridiculous

Everyone who plays WoW knows of Muradin, Sylvanas, Anduin, Ragnaros,… In FF14, I don’t even know the name of 2 NPCs, and if I do, it’s because they’re so ridiculous that I can’t forget them (unfortunately).

The name of the places are horrible: Limsa Lominsa (I had to google to spell it right), Costa del Sol (yep, I swear),…

I have to say something about the gear… Why even bother with dragons and castles, only to have us stumble upon a dude dressed in Summer attire? I completely breaks immersion.

Conclusion

Of course, my opinion isn’t objective but this is my blog and I don’t need to be objective. Now, I must admit that a great part of my negativity towards Final Fantasy comes from the fact that I’m not into anime. I love western fantasy, the one from Dungeons & Dragons.

But, regardless of my preference, I think that FF14 suffers of a huge lack of quality. From its gameplay, the way the lore is passed on, the graphics, the music and the overall charm, it feels like a cheap asian rip-off. Coming from WoW, it’s as if you’d be walking inside of a fake Chinese Disney park after visiting the real thing for years.

Trying FF14 has brought us some good though, it made us realize how spoiled we are with World of Warcraft. Since we’ve tried FF14, I’m even more amazed by the quality of Blizzard’s MMORPG. So many things are over-the-top, from the smooth gameplay to the music and the polished graphics, but the thing that matters most to me is the charm of the world and Eorzea doesn’t hold a candle to Azeroth.

Meanwhile at Blizzard

Year after year, World of Warcraft has lost its popularity. There’s always been negative people but their voices were lost in the ocean of positivity that was surrounding the game. Expansion after expansion, the game has lost its identity, trying to satisfy too many different types of gamers. Victim of its own success, WoW entered a slow and painful descent, no king rules forever.

Keeping a good PR when only haters can be heard is a difficult job, especially when your product so heavily depends on its community. So, when a developer publicly calls one of the last big streamer “an a**hole”, it’s time for damage control. It never happened and, ultimately, the streamer left for another game, taking with him hundreds of thousand followers.

As one’s misfortune often benefits another, FF14 reaches now a total of 22 millions accounts. The store even has to place people in a queue, only to purchase the game.

As if it wasn’t enough, California sues Activision Blizzard over a culture of ‘constant sexual harassment’. I’m not gonna quote the entire lawsuit, but we’re talking about lack of support by HR to the victims, encouragement of this behaviour by the CEO, J. Allen Brack, and even Alex Afrasiabi being called the Bill Cosby of Blizzard. It goes as far as the suicide of an employee after a week-end/relationship with her manager and her bullying at a company meeting.

From in-game protests, massive unsubscribes and tons of flaming forums, I can tell you, internet reacted accordingly to the gravity of the situation. There can be no compromise toward this kind of attitude, there’s no place for frat boy culture in this world.

Since the departure of its former CEO, the Californian company has only shown disregard for its community and its employees. I remember the last Blizzcon of Mike Morhaime, when he said about J Allen Brack “You think you know him, but you don’t”. I often wondered what he meant… I think that I know, now.

I know that Blizzard isn’t the only company with an horrible behaviour towards women but, if we want the world to change, examples have to be made and Blizzard prepared its own gallows by first angering its own crowd.

Diablo 2 Resurrected Saved the Week

E3 has come and gone. All over internet, gamers were going crazy with anticipation, begging for their yearly fix of hype. And, as usual, the developers threw us scraps. I went back to my cave with my tail shaking, but uncertain whether I should feel excited or disappointed. Between ridiculous announcements like Mario Rabid (lol) and a new BMX game from Ubisoft (there is still a public for that kind of crap in 2021? I’m baffled!), not much happened.

Starfield’s teaser looks good but I was more excited about the Elder Scrolls 6 Easter egg it contained. I’m also happy for Outer Worlds 2 but, once again, the trailer had absolutely no gameplay shooting.

Meanwhile, Blizzard revealed the release date of Diablo 2 Resurrected (23.09.2021). Finally, something concrete came out of that week.

The Darkside Detective

Inge found this little gem on Steam and we had a lot of fun completing the first 6 cases. The bonus cases, however, were less logical and required to exhaust every dialogues and click several times on objects that unlock later in the story.

I love point-and-click games and their crazy sense of humour but I really don’t like when they stray too far from logic. Using a key on a lock to open a door is ok, giving a tinfoil hat to a monster so he feels protected from mind reading governments is ok, using a stick on a frog to unclog toilets to get a password easily gets tedious. So far, The Darkside Detective has managed to stay on the right side of this line. Let’s hope it’ll stay that way in the second chapter “A Fumble In The Dark” which we’ve already purchased and installed…

Life Is Strange 2

We actually played this game a few weeks ago, but I kind of slacked with writing the post…

Being already fans of Telltale games and the two first Life is Strange, there was little doubts that we would enjoy this chapter. What I didn’t expect was to enjoy it this much, we both got hooked from the first minute. The journey of the Diaz brothers through a racist America was fantastic and filled with a lot of emotions. I know that these situations are made to provoke extreme reactions like injustice and anger but the result was an amazing journey where we met amazing and also horrible people.

Some episodes were a bit too hard on Sean though, I’m especially thinking about the fourth, which kinda filled me with a lot of frustration. Also, Daniel is a brat! Even at 9, I would have never acted half as selfishly as he did. If you think about it, everything wrong that has happened in the game, from start to end is the direct consequence of his actions. Never once does he think about his brother who’s constantly trying to protect him.

My favorite episodes are the first and the third. The first because I really didn’t expect things to turn out that way, we went in completely blind and got very surprised. The third episode introduced Cassidy which is probably the best thing that happened to Sean in the entire story.

If you play the game, you’ll probably notice the amazing soundtrack, but there’s one song in particular that we both enjoyed. In the first episode, when you visit Sean’s bedroom, you can listen to the music on his MP3 player, the song is titled “On The Flip of a Coin” by The Streets. It’ll forever be the song that will remind me of this beautiful moment.

Valheim: The Elder And A New House

We’ve both killed The Elder. The fight wasn’t really hard and we both killed him with a ton of fire arrows. Soforah had a bit more difficulties because her keybinds acted strange in the middle of the fight. Anyway, he’s dead and we’re getting ready to move on to the swamp.

Also, I’ve built a new house, mine was getting to small, especially with the fermenters and the upgraded forge. One of the greatest features of Valheim is physics. If you don’t pay attention to the way you build your fundations or your roof, everything could collapse. Since I’m not an architect (yet) or like my wife says: “you’re not Ted Mosby”, I’ve followed a great Youtube video from Zeroster. I am very happy with the result, it is cute inside and outside, very sturdy and it has a lot of storage space.

It is located in the meadows and I’ve surrounded it by a big moat, which resists the attacks of the trolls, the forest and the swamp. My next step is to find the perfect location for my future ship…

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