My House…is a Very, Very, Very, Fine House

Today is a screenshot day! I’ve been meaning to post these somewhere, and now that I’ve shaken the dust off of this blog, it seems appropriate. I’ve had a house in FFXIV for quite a while now. It’s a nice medium plot in Mist, and I’ve recently redecorated. Except for my basement because I can’t make myself do it. Having joined The Maelstrom, I blew a bunch of their currency to build, what I like to call…

The Storm Cellar! (Pun absolutely intended)

The Galley, right side. Where the cooking is done.
The Galley, left side for storage of the ale, breads, herbs etc.
View from the stairs of the galley entrance.
Ale on top and a nice cozy fire great for a rousing game of Triple Triad. There’s even a bunk in the corner. Don’t drink and drive.
Last but not least, the Storm Captain’s alcove and war table.

It’s one of my favorite rooms, and the only one I haven’t changed since I put it together. I have been considering making it a greenhouse since renovating to a more flower garden theme in other areas. But…for right now, it remains. Until Sea Swallows All.

The Devil Went Down To Faerun

Yesterday, after years in Early Access, Baldur’s Gate III finally released in full. It took me three tries, but I finally created my tiefling bard, Tavi. Her chosen instrument? Violin! Because I couldn’t resist the bad reference! The character creator is really well-designed, allowing you to choose from small previews on the buttons for the face, scars, tattoos, makeup, and hair. This makes my life so much easier than trying to remember which number style I had liked 5 minutes ago when I wasn’t paying attention to the numbers or forgot the strange name they assigned.

I didn’t make a lot of progress, even though I wanted to. But when I came home after physical therapy, my life lived up to my blog name. You see, I live on a military installation, which means there’s an ID check to get to my house, and I totally failed the dice roll! My ID had expired almost a week ago. Whoops! I thought I had another year. So I spent half an hour getting a pass to get through the gate, then went straight to get a new ID, only to remember I need my husband for that. So I called him, he got there, did his part, and went back to work. And I ran back to my house to get my second form of ID! I couldn’t use the old military ID like one would if they had paid attention to the dates and gone before it A: expired, and B: got confiscated due to said expiration. So I drove back (it’s literally 3 minutes from my house) and finally got a new ID. Yay! I’m legal again.

Now I could finally dive back into the character creator and play! Easier said than done. I went through several attempts to create and play, but every time, I found something I didn’t like or forgot to change the name. As you do. Finally, about two hours before I went to bed, I did it. And I got through the initial tutorial, found most of my companions, and set up camp! Maybe today, after I hit “publish,” I’ll actually get somewhere.

Knock on wood.

So Excited!

I’m as excited as a bunny in a basket of carrots!

The day is finally here!! I have been DYING for a fully involved, in depth, beautiful to look at RPG for at least a year. I’ve played Mass Effect and Dragon Age (all of them) to the point of burnout. Like, seriously y’all I have the dialog paths memorized. I need STORY, I need choices and consequences, adventure and romance, and finally I can have it when Baldur’s Gate III releases! I’ve sunk 99 hours into the early access version and it was only ONE chapter!

In those 99 hours, I saw something I’ve never seen in an isometric game, high quality voice acted cinematic conversations. The character creator is detailed and the character models are gorgeous. So excuse my brief but enthusiastic blog post today, but I have spells to learn and weapons to polish, and a cast of characters to adventure with!

Recovery Gaming

So my comeback to WoW didn’t pan out, what did I move on to while I was basically tied to a recliner and only had one arm? Anything I could play with a controller, that’s what! The following games helped me keep my ass in the chair, and out of trouble while my shoulder healed.

First, I tried a stealth game, A Plague Tale Innocence, and it was HARD, but the story was engaging as heck so I kept going. The atmosphere was gorgeous, yet terrifying, the playstyle was a new thing for me but I pushed through it. In fact I was so happy with it, I played the sequel.

The sequel was even better than the original. It had some very nice quality of life changes that made like easier for me. The accessibility options allowed me to just relax and enjoy the game rather than tense up and aggravate my very sore post-op shoulder.

The coziest of cozy game, Disney Dreamlight Valley quickly became a favorite past time before surgery, but I bounced off of gaming all together for a time and it sat unplayed. But being controller friendly at a time I couldn’t use a mouse it quickly became a time killer for me. Its low stress, Animal Crossing meets Disney style really just tickled my fancy for a while.

This one! Roots of Pacha took a lot of my time. Imagine Stardew Valley, but in prehistoric times with prehistoric animals! Or as close as one can get I suppose. It’s at least as charming as Stardew was, I played through it once, and plan to do so again at some point.

Finally, Harvestella! This is the one I probably spent the most time with. It got some mixed reviews but I enjoyed it. It, to me, was a nice combination of farming sim and JRPG. The story was engaging, the characters were varied and interesting, and it was more challenging than I expected. Definitely worth playing, but maybe wait for a Steam sale, $60 was a pretty steep cost but I was desperate.

Two Years Off

It’s been two years since I last picked up World of Warcraft. And two years since I wrote for this blog.

 I bought Battle for Azeroth, and never finished it. I bought Shadowlands, never finished it. Then, Dragonflight came out. I was bored between major game releases that fit my niche (ie: picky) needs in a game. And I had even grown bored with Final Fantasy A Realm Reborn (FFXIV from this point on).

But in the two years of playing FFXIV and not playing WoW, I may have learned some things that help me not quit at the end game. 

You see I’m not a raider. I don’t do mythics. In fact, I only really care about doing things that continue the story or reward pets or cool weapons and outfits for transmog. 

But it never failed, I’d hurry to get to the end and level to max, but then what? There’s not much left if you’re straight casual. So I’m slowing down. I’m not rushing to the end, I don’t care how long it takes to hit whatever the magic number is now. In fact I haven’t even started the new zones yet.

I’m traipsing around Shadowlands in the hunt for some Dark Ranger transmog armor. I’m taking a lowbie lightforged Draenei through Battle for Azeroth to hit 50 and get the heritage armor. Maybe I’ll unlock some more allied races and make more characters. 

Blizzard may never make WoW casual or semi solo player friendly, but maybe I can. 

I Fooled Around and Lalafell in Love

When I first started playing video games in force, it was really just one game. World of Warcraft. I played it for hours a day, blogged about it, tweeted and chatted about it. I was sure it was the only game I needed. Then I found Steam, and through a WoW friend, tried some other games like Dragon Age Origins, which led to Mass Effect.  Still, I always returned to WoW eventually.

I tried other MMORPGs over time as one of my long-time WoW friends recommended them but only one really stuck for a while, that being Star Wars: The Old Republic. Still, I went back to WoW when Bioware decided chaptered story content released monthly was a good plan.

When Belghast was recommending Final Fantasy A Realm Reborn, I tried it for about a day. Bel got me into SWTOR after all, and, Rift for a while as he tends to tempt his friends into these things (pretty sure he’s attempting to have House Stalwart strategically placed for MMO world domination or something).   I got to level 4 before I became overwhelmed and confused and longed for the comfort of what I knew. So I left it behind never going further in the free trial. I decided if it ever went free to play I’d play it. Since around that time, every MMO that came out seemed to go from subscription to Free to Play within the first year. But it never did.

Two weeks ago, having grown bored with WoW back around the winter holidays, (as tends to happen when I reach max level) and craving an epic story based game that I could sink my teeth into I began searching again. There haven’t been many games of late that were in my wheelhouse.  My wheelhouse is admittedly very small and that is its own post, but I just wasn’t finding anything I hadn’t already played, in some cases to burnout levels (ie: everything Bioware). I had already finished Pillars of Eternity, Rise of the Tomb Raider, and Dishonored 2 (twice). Horizon Zero Dawn I can only play for a limited time since it’s on the main (read: only) television. Nothing on Steam was really jumping out at me, aside from an early access crafting game that I managed to drop 100 hours in while I waited for the next big thing to catch me.

I don’t know what made me look at it, but I found myself downloading FFXIV’s free trial again, which now lasts until level 35. I created an adorable little Lalafell arcanist and started my adventures. I was more patient this time since WoW wasn’t calling me back. I learned to follow the fancy quest markers, which took me into the main story. And that story pulled me through 100 hours, and 50 levels of pure enjoyment. I couldn’t quit, I couldn’t stop…I had to see what was next.


THAT is in my wheelhouse. Beautiful settings, amazing artworks, colorful and memorable characters peppering this huge world. I normally hate leveling from 1 to max, but with a story pulling me through those levels, it becomes less about that next level and more about the next chapter. And the way Square Enix frames the “you’re the hero!” tale is both unique and perfect. In nearly every cutscene you are shown LEADING your party, be it NPC or adventurers like yourself, you are very much framed as the main character. What really gets me about that, is in Duties (or dungeons), you see your other party members but the camera and the setting clearly show your character as the one in charge.


I’m at the end of Vanilla FFXIV now, and still overwhelmed and frequently confused with how much there is to learn and do in this game. But I understand now why they haven’t made it Free to Play. They don’t need to. They can compete with the market because they have a product that not only still draws people in but keeps them there with the sheer amount of content beyond the main story and max level. The crafting is in depth, there’s housing to (hopefully) buy and decorate, along with the typical mounts, outfits, and pets to collect. Heck, you can get outfits FOR your mount! Mine (Named Trex)is dressed up as a Behemoth.


I only keep one active paid game subscription at a time. And I have another couple weeks of free time in Eorzea. But I think there’s a clear winner between Eorzea and Azeroth, and for the first time in 12 years, it isn’t Azeroth winning.