What the well-dressed Viera is wearing this season…

Pictured: A really mean fairy.

I am still alive. Honest!

Life has, however, been getting in the way of doing anything worth writing about.  In the last few weeks, we’ve lost one cat and another has developed not-terribly-serious kidney problems that nonetheless have me giving him subcutaneous fluids every other night.  My wife and I both have needle phobias.  This does not make for fun times for anyone involved, much less the cat that is being jabbed with a needle in the back of the neck.

But enough seriousness.

When I have been getting time to goof off with a controller in my hands, it’s been spent on Final Fantasy XIV.  I am officially in the stage of the game where I am more or less playing to make my numbers bigger, and that is where I would normally put an MMO aside…

…except that it’s actually kind of FUN to make my numbers bigger in this one, and I have been diving into some of the post-game raid content.  It’s… well, it’s different from raiding in pretty much any MMO I’ve played before.  I mean, sure, the basic ideas are the same – you get a bunch of your closest friends* together, walk up to a boss, die repeatedly until you’ve figured out how to stop dying, curse a bit because you didn’t get the loot you wanted, and then keep killing it until either you have your loot or until the group disbands due to internal drama.

* Much of the time they aren’t really all that friendly.

Where FFXIV differs in a huge way is that bosses are, for lack of a better term, solvable.  They always do the same attacks at the same time, which means that you can time your attacks and movement around a boss script that never varies.  This is, frankly, an alien concept, and it has taken me a long time to get used to the idea.

The boss that I have been beating my head against for the last few weeks is a big damn fairy named Titania, because someone at Square is a Midsummer Night’s Dream fan. She drops really nice looking weapons.

My character uses big damn axes.  I like pretty things.  A big damn axe that looks like butterfly wings is about as pretty as you get.  It only took me three wins to luck into this one.

I have no idea how many times my groups failed to kill this boss. A low estimate would be  20 or more times over several nights, which was getting a little depressing and had me really leaning into the is-this-worth-it? line of questioning that usually results in me rage quitting a game.

Now I have beaten her, I am flush with the glow of accomplishment, and all that rage is a thing of memory.  Yeah, baby, feel that dopamine kick right in the old lizard brain.

Square also dropped a series of 8-man raids a couple of weeks after the expansion launched, and they are far more forgiving and fairly shower you in loot.  It’s only taken about four weeks of raiding one night a week to reach the point where all of my stuff MATCHES, which is really the end game for any MMORPG.

Just look at all that wonderfully coordinated armor that will be made obsolete as soon as the next set of raids launches.

Anyway, short version, I have reached the “loot treadmill” stage with FFXIV but it has not yet annoyed me to where I stop playing.  Also I would like my cats to stop making me poke them with needles.


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