[OOC] The Road Grows Rocky…

So, 6.1 came out for FFXIV and I’m… not loving it. Feels like the shine is starting to wear off a little.

First thing, I don’t like the dumb photoshop plate things. They convey no useful information to the viewer other than… your play hours. Your name, race, title, class are all visible by, you know, looking at you. That’s not information that I want to share with strangers, nor do I believe they are desperate to know it. Thankfully, I could turn it off and forget about it immediately. Like, I guess it’s fun if you like making images but you could draw or do photo manips before. Unfortunately, you cannot turn off the portraits which show at the start of PVP matches. I guess I don’t like how it feels less like you’re in a world and more like you’re just… playing in a game. Which of course we are, but you know what I mean.

The storyline was fine, I enjoyed it and the character development of one that I like. I did not, however, love the dungeon. I died more in there than I have in any other trust dungeon, and yeah that includes Amaurot. I also thought the motivation was weak and unsatisfying, like I prefer a little more depth than “murder hobos chasing gold”.

I didn’t get really tilted until I was forced to spend time with my most hated character. It’s a close tie between him and Thancred, but he at least has the sense to shut up and leave me alone once in a while. I was interested in the story, but I am just sooooooooooooo over this shitty NPC who treats you at villain level, never apologizes, and then proceeds to act like he’s your BFF and literally never leave the screen. Look, I get that I’m not going to be super excited by every aspect of the story but… can we not? Please? This dude’s had four raids and two full-ass expansions. Anyway, the raid itself was pretty fun but I am admittedly becoming discouraged by just how unforgiving easy stuff is. I gave up serious raiding four years ago, I did not enjoy it and it stressed me out too much. Please don’t do me like this, game. I just hope it gets easier as more people play it.

Lastly, I’m getting really bummed about being broke all the time. The idea of getting a house isn’t even a remote possibility. I don’t enjoy crafting (in any game), which seems to be pretty much the only way to make any. I enjoy the treasure maps, but the current ones now cost 4 times as much as they used to, and I have yet to make any real profit from them. My retainer selling my stuff from the last three weeks has around 112k on him. The profit margin is just too slim for me to be spending that much on maps now, and there’s like… really nothing else I can find that I enjoy that is profitable. I’d love to sell minions, but I’ve never gotten one in all my trust farming (and it’s a lot… believe me).

So I’m not really sure what I want to do.

[Art] Winter & Shinryu

Before I complain, here are all the Winter and Shinryu pictures I’ve drawn. More exist as sketches, hopefully one day they will be done.

Enjoy needy dragon!

[OOC] Happy Birthday to Me!

Well, almost a week late, but close enough. I wasn’t even sure if I would get to see this one, as I was diagnosed in the beginning of April last year. I had no idea what was going to happen, if I’d have to sell all my stuff and rehome my pets — the snakes and spiders, at least. They are very easy to care for, but they are not a pet that I’d foist on someone who didn’t want them.

After a few months, things were actually going pretty well. I’m pretty much tired all the time, I have some mild nerve damage in my fingers that makes drawing more difficult, and my brain feels foggy a lot, I can’t concentrate or remember things well. Sometimes my vision gets a bit blurred and I can’t focus on words or screens very well, but that’s more recent.

But really, otherwise, my side effects have been really mild. I don’t feel sick, and I can still eat. I’m not in bed all day. Both my doctors have commented on how amazing I’ve done and how much progress I’ve made. And I realized I can just do things that I want to do, even if I have to take it a bit slower. Like I took my trip to Maine in the fall, and this coming summer I’m going to Breyerfest in person, in Kentucky. I’ve only been online, so I’m excited to go in person.

I think having FFXIV to focus on has been a great distraction, too. I struggled in ARR and the beginning of Heavensward, but I really started to get hooked once the feels started, and then the finishing move: I fell hard for a character. Actually there were a couple that I liked, but one won out. That’s the most sure-fire way to make me REALLY like something, is to be invested in a character, lol. I’m kind of sad that the story is over (at least for the time being), but I have been taking my cat through, and plan to do the other alts once they get over the ARR hump. There’s still TONS of things to do that aren’t raids or timed dungeons, I just started working on the beast tribes and I’ve been going with a group to farm old mounts. I’m also really enjoying leveling with the NPC group — something I had wished for back in my early days. I’m so happy to see it will actually be a reality soon! I still enjoy ESO and SWTOR — and have stuff I want to eventually finish there — but FFXIV is such a vast difference from how unhappy I was in Legion. And from what I’ve read, it’s actually gotten worse. Yikes!

I start my final cycle of 3 sessions in two weeks, after that I will be getting the injected drug every 3 weeks, and the doctor also wants to put me on an oral drug. It does have some side effects, but my hope is that it’s less than the IV one I get currently. I’m looking forward to having more energy again hopefully. I really would like to start writing and drawing more again! I also want to sew some “horse pouches” for my Breyerfest trip to transport them in, since they aren’t in boxes there and people will be selling there as well.

[OOC/Admin] Cast Pages Updated

I finally updated my “Cast” pages; I added all of my FFXIV characters and a bit more description to my WoW characters. As I noted on their pages, I consider them “retired” as I have not played WoW in nearly four years and I really cannot see myself returning. However, it’s certainly possible that I might write them in the future, and I like having reference for all of my past stories.

All of my FFXIV characters are on the Zalera server, feel free to say hello if you see them! Most of the time I’m playing Winter, but not always.

[OOC/Screenshots] Shadowbringers & Legacy of the Sith

I happened to finish these up at about the same time and I have Opinions about them. I’ll do my best to avoid spoilers, but you might want to avoid anyway if you haven’t played either.

For the love of God let me go home

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[Story] Titan

[[ Woo, a story! Had this one in my head for a while, it’s about my old mustang character, Tempest. Hopefully I can get back into more writing again! ]]

The last cold rains of winter clung to the herd’s shaggy coats, and Tempest shivered, thinking that she might never be warm again. But beneath their hooves, tender green grass sprouted, and soon enough, the days would be dry and warm. They’d roll in the soft grass and nibble the sweet clover blossoms. She sighed, shook herself again, and surveyed the valley below. Beside her, Ironhooves did the same, her lean frame tense as she checked the air.

“I think someone–” she paused, hesitating. “I’ll keep watch,” she declared, glancing back over the rest of the herd — only two at present, but Ironhooves was diligent about their safety, just as she was Tempest’s. In many ways, the lean fleabitten mare acted as the stallion of their little band. She was the first to attack any threat, no matter the danger to herself. She stood watch and chased off any stallions that came too close — thankfully that had only happened a few times along their journey. 

Back in the big valley, they had got along very well without a stallion at all. Tempest, alone herself, had met the spirited Ironhooves and their friendship was nearly immediate. They spent many nights talking together beneath the stars, Ironhooves her devoted guardian. But more than that, Ironhooves had always been there for her when no one else had, even during the most difficult times. The memory of Heart-Seer and their colt sent another pain through Tempest, one more piercing than the frigid rain. It seemed a little less though, and Tempest wondered if one day it might fade to nothing more than a dull ache, just the way the winter faded away to spring. 

Tempest and the other mares paused to graze while Ironhooves stood guard. She knew that Ironhooves would eat quickly when the chance presented herself, or while they moved. That was probably part of why she was so lean. Near Tempest’s side was Daisy, with her wild white and brown patches, originally from the valley with them. Not far behind them, Brook nipped eagerly at the fresh grass, an older mare they had come across on their journey. She had an injury from her previous herd’s stallion, and Ironhooves took it upon herself to ensure that Brook healed, now only a scar on her hide betrayed her unhappy past. 

They had not seen another herd in some time, which seemed strange to Tempest given the place they were in. Plenty of grass grew on the open plain, and there were hills to provide lookout for danger. There had to be some other danger, but it could wait until her stomach was full. But as if she had heard Tempest’s thoughts, Ironhooves gave a little snort of alarm.

“Someone here,” she said, her nostrils wide as she scented the wind. “Stallion.”

Tempest frowned, raising her own head, and Ironhooves was not mistaken. Beyond one of the hills, she saw him, scenting the air as well. Surely he was aware of them, and Tempest tensed as he began to approach. She did not smell any others, but that doesn’t mean they weren’t nearby. As he grew closer, Tempest saw just how big he was — bigger even than Heart-Seer — and he wore a tattered thing about his head. From meeting others in the valley, Tempest knew that this was a thing that humans put on you, which meant this stallion was human-raised. Ironhooves noticed it too, and her ears pinned further, showing her teeth to the threat.

Tempest did not threaten the stranger, but she did tense, ready to fight if needed. Or they could run, but if his herd was hidden nearby, that might not go very well for them. The stranger, black from nose to tail, slowed in his approach and turned to face them sidelong. It was a gesture of peace, which caused Tempest to exhale a breath of relief, but Ironhooves did not appear convinced.

“Hello. Who are you?”

Though his voice rumbled like distant thunder, there was no threat in it. Ironhooves remained suspicious, her ears pinned flat, but Tempest stepped forward with confidence. Their noses touched; he did not smell unusual aside from the lingering smell of humans. He was polite and did not snap or strike. 

“I am Tempest, and this is my herd,” she answered finally. “Ironhooves, Daisy, and Brook.”

The stallion gave a little shake of his mane, amused. “Your herd? You are alone?”

Tempest knew the intention of his words, and from her glare, so did Ironhooves. “We are not alone,” Tempest explained. “We have each other.”

“Hm,” said the stallion, leaning back on a hind leg. “I am Titan.”

“Titan? What kind of name is that?” Tempest heard Ironhooves give a little snort of laughter.

“It’s — well, that’s just what they called me. I’ve always had that name.” He paused, studying Tempest carefully. “Will you stay here?”

Again, the implication hung heavy in the air between them. It seemed a suitable place to stay, with plenty of grass and open spaces. And Tempest was so very tired. She did want to stop moving, to settle someplace safe, though she wasn’t certain the rest of the herd would agree.

“We will discuss it,” she said, and turned to the other mares. They gathered with heads close so Titan couldn’t overhear, though he probably could. He reached down to nibble at the grass, ears turned toward them. 

She looked first to Ironhooves, who she knew would be against it. She had always said they could do just as well on their own, and she had been right. But she didn’t understand how Tempest yearned for her own foal, especially now. They had discussed it in those firefly-lit nights in the glade, and she had agreed — reluctantly — that having a daughter wouldn’t be so bad. Tempest had hoped she might sway on this, but it hadn’t happened yet. And if Ironhooves refused, she couldn’t very well leave her. She was her best friend, and Tempest couldn’t abandon her like that.

Daisy spoke first. “I think it’s a good place,” she said. “It looks nice.”

“He doesn’t seem bad,” said Brook, looking over toward Titan. 

Tempest looked to Ironhooves. “Hmph,” she said. “I don’t see why we need him at all.”

“Let’s stay for a while,” Tempest said gently. “If we don’t like it here, we can leave.” 

Ironhooves grumbled, but seemed to accept this. Even she knew that staying in one place would be a welcome change after traveling so far.

Titan lifted his head as Tempest approached, ears forward.

“I have questions,” she said.

They walked down to a stream, bubbling over with fresh, clear water. Tempest took a drink, and it was very good water. “Why don’t you have a herd?” she asked Titan.

“Well, I — I hadn’t found anyone yet.” He scuffed at the bank, perhaps a little shaken by her question. “But now I’ve found all of you,” he said brightly. “I feel lucky indeed.”

Tempest ignored this attempt at flattery. “And you came from humans?” The thing about his head was worn, and would probably fall off soon, but it was still there, plain proof of Titan’s history.

“I did. They were kind, but I wanted…” he trailed off, looking to Tempest. “I wanted to be with others, do what I wish. You understand that, right?”

For her and the others, there had never been any other way. But, she could only imagine what it was like living with humans. Tempest had heard many stories, though she didn’t believe half of them. 

“We have agreed to stay for a time. Ironhooves is… unusual. But she is my best friend. You must treat her kindly, even when she doesn’t deserve it.”

Titan’s ears perked brightly. “Oh, you have? That’s wonderful. I’m so pleased.” He reached to touch her nose again, gently. “I hoped that you would stay.”

Did he mean all of them, or her in particular? Tempest took an unsure step away. It would take time to trust this stranger, but that, they had. 

“Come,” Tempest said. “You should meet everyone.”

[OOC/Screenshots] Bunventures, Part 2

As I mentioned in the last post, I have been playing my bunny on FFXIV again. I’ve never been able to stick with the game for long; I always got frustrated at the forced grouping required by the storyline and stalled until I eventually lost interest in playing altogether.

I still groan every time another required dungeon comes up, but I’ve found that going as a DPS takes a lot of the pressure off — I’ve never messed up badly enough to not finish whatever thing I was doing. The queues aren’t too awful, probably because there are a lot of people playing right now, and I can do other things while I wait.

I had mainly been leveling White Mage, I enjoy playing healers and it’s a pretty straightforward one. I do really wish they had something that felt like Resto Druid — I don’t miss WoW at all, but I do miss healing with my druid. By doing all the side quests I found myself overleveled, so I have been keeping up with Summoner as well. It recently got a rework, which feels a lot more powerful and she hasn’t had any trouble questing aside from when she first got to the level 50 starting zone in Heavensward.

I finished that expansion — at least, I think I did? I think I’m in the weird limbo between that and the next expansion. Since I unlocked dungeons with my squad, I want to focus on doing those with some of my baby classes so I’m able to learn them, as well as the dungeons. Practicing them with NPCs will help me learn them and feel more confident going with real, live people.

I’m not in love with the story still. I did like it overall, I’m just not really attached to any of the characters and it often feels like my character is just present while things happen versus actually progressing the story. I hope this changes in future expansions, I feel like if there is one NPC I really get attached to, that will help a lot. So far my favorite is a side character who happens to share the same voice actor as one of my favorites from SWTOR, but she’s not really done anything in the FFXIV story. It also seems like there’s a lot of running back and forth to talk to people. Couldn’t this be a holo-call, er, I mean, pearl call??!

Since I’m not playing WoW anymore, I kind of want to update the character pages, but I might still eventually write those guys so I’m not sure. Sometimes I feel a little sad about it, but since I neither raid nor do mythic +, there is really nothing there for me anymore. All the other games I play (ESO, SWTOR, FFXIV) let me do the things I want to do without having to jump through hoops and do chores I don’t want to do. But, as I said, I do miss my resto druid — so I did make an Elezen named after him, I guess that’s close enough.

[Art] Christmas Bun

Gosh it’s been forever since I have posted! As you can probably guess I haven’t got back into the habit of writing daily, though I have been slowly working on some little art projects. Most of my story ideas include characters that aren’t mine, and I’m always hesitant with those.

I also picked up my bunny on FFXIV again, and this time I went to the trouble of finding a group so it’s been a lot less lonely. I am also really enjoying her main class (White Mage) and Summoner just got a redo so it feels a lot stronger, so I’m bringing that up as her secondary class for when I’m overleveled in a zone (like now!) Having a distraction from everyday stuff and medical stuff has been really nice.

So here’s just a quick Christmas doodle of her, I am not sure how accurate it is as it’s the first time I’ve ever drawn her.

[OOC] Mini Maine Adventure

This past weekend I went on a mini road trip to Maine. When I realized it wasn’t that far I thought it would be fun to go, and I went just in time because it’s starting to get icy and cold here in the Northeast.

The main things I wanted to see were related to Stephen King’s books and movies, because he’s one of my favorite authors. There’s also a model horse store I’ve bought from online, as well as the places in Vermont that I like to visit on the drive over.

I didn’t get to do everything I wanted to — I would have loved to visit the coast and see some of the lighthouses and islands, there is also a beautiful state park and some trails. But I had to balance my energy levels with how much I was trying to do, and of course I had to be back in time for things at home. Still, it was a really fun trip and Maine is so beautiful, it’s easy to fall in love with.

Images behind the cut because there are a lot!

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[Art] SWTOR 10th Anniversary Diamond Painting

Still haven’t had much energy for art or writing, though I have a lot of things I want to get done I only have a few hours a day I can actually do them. But hopefully I should be finished with treatment this month! That should help, I hope.

I have been doing a lot of diamond paintings, they are a pretty low-stress activity that I can do in the evenings. I found one of the SWTOR original loading screen, so I thought it would be good to finish in time for the 10th anniversary this month. This is the largest one I’ve ever done!

Daddy Jace 😉
Closeup of Satele so you can see the individual diamonds!

Hard to believe Kaz and all the others will be ten years old! I still remember doing Tython for the first time in beta.