Action Shots

It wasn’t all that long ago that in FFXIV they had a competition to take some “action shots” of your characters in the game.  I was interested in trying it out, but ultimately decided to not submit and pictures that I took.  Really, for all I know the competition may even still be going.  I have to be honest, I’m having somewhat of a hard time getting good action shots because of two reasons.  The first is that, well, I’m not sure how well people in dungeons will take to their tank just all of a suddenly stopping and doing some GPose work.  The second is that, due to the first, I would be using targeting dummies and they don’t make for particularly good action.

Anyway, here are some of the results of me screwing around trying to figure things out.

Sita the Bard


Sita the Dark Knight


Anyway, keep it classy, everyone.


Away From Keyboard

It started as a simple game, as these things tend to start.

A few months back I logged into Final Fantasy XIV, settled in and took a look at my chat window.  New Free Company message.

“Fun Game: Find AFK company members and take compromising photos of them!”

Interesting.  For a few days, I thought nothing of this.  Then I found my first victim.  By happen stance, I ran into a Free Company member in Limsa and they just happened to be AFK.  I would learn a few minutes later that they tend to go AFK a lot and, most importantly, for long periods of time.

And from that moment I was hooked. For weeks it would be a good game for me to find AFK members, hunt them down and get pictures of them. It was a fantastic challenge and got me to really understand the group pose function.  Eventually, the stakes would go up. Could I get the company leaders? Could I get the rare members that you never see?  Could I get a picture of someone in a crazy short window of 45 seconds?

Well, as you well know, I’m much better with pictures than words, so I’d like to share a few.


By far I have more pictures of Ashgar than almost any other company member. This isn’t for any particular reason, he just happens to be the one I catch the most.  I don’t particularly like how dark some of these are, but I often do not have a lot of time with Ash to get a shot in.



Paper’s another one of my favorites, and probably because she changes her hair a lot like I do.



The Gold Saucer seems to be one of the best places to catch people AFK, if not the company house.

Muspel and Sita 01
Just a few more MPG???



The pictures of Nephsys are some of my favorite. There could be no finer miner.



The man, myth, and legend. Initially, very difficult to get a picture of Bel but I have had some good ones in the last few months.



The Leader herself. Super rare, but glad I got at least one!

Tam and Sita
Tam just does not care


Finally, during the Ash runs, we managed to get some good unintentional shots.

Like those times you try to have a nice moment with Ashgar, but you just sense that Belghast is somewhere, watching.

Uh Oh
Creeper-Bel’s gonna creep


Or when you try to cuddle up and another company member like Solaria catches you?

what the
ExCUSE me?!


Speaking of Solaria, I have several of her and Isa, but they will get their own post soon.

Take care everyone!


Taking the Red

Last time I talked about The Trinity, and tanks specifically. I do plan on continuing the discussion on The Trinity, but today I wanted to talk about the Group Pose function in FF XIV.

Red Sita - 03
So eager to learn more…

I love this function, greatly. If you were to look back through the images I have taken of Sita and others over my time on FF XIV, you can see a clear breaking point in where the quality of the images got significantly better. That was the point where I discovered group pose in the game. It had been in the game long before I started playing again, but I would say it’s not a function that is well talked about unless you were to go looking for it.

Red Sita - 02
The Mitsuru Kurijo pose.

For the uninitiated, group pose will put the game into a mode where you can pose your character with others and really configure the shot you want prior to taking a screen shot. Almost every image I post on this blog from 14 is using this mode. It allows the characters to do emotes, allows you to stop movement at key moments, gives you the ability to put in lighting effects and several other things. As a highly visual person, this mode is a god send to me. I have yet to see such a thing in other games and much less in other MMORPGs. In Guild Wars 2, there are several things you can do to help you get a good shot of your character, but nothing with that allows this to be done with as much ease as group pose.


Red Sita - 05
This was a very toothy post in terms of images…

Through my use of it, I will say that the one thing that group pose doesn’t have is the ability to trigger emotes while in the group pose interface. As it works now, whichever emote the character recently did is the emote that is done in group pose, on a loop. It’s not unusable, but it’s a little bit of a time waster to bounce back and forth between group pose mode and game mode if you are trying to switch out emotes. Additionally, while you can at least change where other characters are looking, you cannot trigger them to do emotes either (unless you happen to get their players to do the emotes for you). It is definitely something I hope they add in the future.

This also brought up another point when I was discussing this with Ammo; I wish that the facial emotions were pervasive and lasted indefinitely, as opposed to wearing off after a few seconds. While the resting face of most characters are not terrible, sometimes you just want to have your character look snarky as hell.

Red Sita - 01
“Why yes, I am a badass.”

Anyway, if you haven’t checked it out yet, I highly recommend looking into group pose and seeing what you can come up with.

Red Sita - 04
She really looks like she’s up to no good…

The Trinity – Tanks for Nothin’

“The Holy Trinity” of MMORPGs has always been an interesting thing to me. I am not fully certain where the trinity began, but if I had to wager a guess it was probably Everquest or Ultima Online (at least, video game wise). It probably was not until World of Warcraft that the concept of the Trinity became a more common knowledge, mainstream point. On the surface it makes sense. You obviously want a “tank” to keep aggression (remember when it was called aggression before the more colloquial term “aggro”?), a healer to keep everyone healthy and big hitters to actually kill the thing. It’s one of those things that just makes sense, so much so that it is hard to conceptualize anything different.

Sita - DRK - Phase 1 - 01
“Embrace the Darkness, friend.”

I think this is where it breaks down though. We are stuck in this rut of believing in the Trinity (I promise you, this is only about gaming) so much that I think it stagnates the creativity of party class composition. Standard MMORPG group size is 5, and in that 5 you are expected to have 1 tank, 1 healer, 3 DPS. Without fail. All players know it, all developers know it, babies in this generation are born knowing it. The issue? Generally no one wants to play healer or tank. EVER.

Can you really blame this on player population though? Tanks and healers are some of the most thankless jobs in existence. This post, I want to talk about Tanks, but healers will becoming soon.

Sita - DRK - Phase 1 - 05
Let us think about what it means to Tank.

The tank’s role is pretty self explanatory. Be a meat shield, keep your enemies angry at you, make them think you are the biggest threat to be eliminated and keep your “squishies” safe. You are the momma-bear and daddy-bear of the party. In general, you are going to want to have a good relationship with your Healer, because they are going to save your life. Repeatedly. That is the basic concept of a tank from the outside looking in. Most tanks, however, will tell you there are a few more things that you have de facto responsibility for that no one really tells you when you start.

You are a Cartographer
You probably didn’t realize this was in your job duties when you signed up to be a tank, but get ready because you are going to have to be able to do this. For every instance you tank you are organically expected to know the entire layout of your instance. The entire map, all enemy placements, all treasure placements, trap placements, pulling patterns, patrolling patterns, shortcuts, etc. If you aren’t on your game on any of these points, get ready to feel the heat because your DPS are going to go ballistic: there’s always one that wants to speed through everything. You would think that this should be the responsibility of everyone in the party. Logically, you are correct, but realistically, no. Somehow, even if your DPS pull aggression on enemies accidentally, if your party wipes, this is somehow your fault (along with your buddy the Healer, but again, another post).

Sita - DRK - Phase 1 - 03
“Other people knowing the instance. So laughable!”

You are a Zoologist
Well, maybe not a zoologist exactly, but you are expected to know the ins and outs of every monster and boss that your party is going to encounter during that instance. Every mechanic, every situation, you better know what’s going to happen, or your Christmas is going to be ruined. And much like being a cartographer, if someone else in your party makes a mistake, somehow this is still your fault.

You are Everyone Else’s Entitlement
This is probably the worse of them all. The general feeling seems to be that for most players, the Tank in the party is just a means to an end. After a rough instance, the conversation starts to go towards who had the better DPS, who was more instrumental to the killing of some boss. Mean while the Tank is off on the corner, crying and nursing his wounds wondering why no one stops to think that your tanking skills were why they could even do such high DPS to begin with. Her Healer buddy may join her for a moment, but not for long. Healers seem to be credited for keeping everyone alive over the Tank, simply because of the nature of them being a Healer.

Sita - DRK - Phase 1 - 04
“Dragoon, get out of the FIRE.”

The result of these unspoken job requirements is this: if you are not perfect and on your A-game as a Tank, you are going to witness the Greater Internet Fuckwad Theory firsthand. For most people, this is enough to stop wanting you to tank all together. For others, you may not play the game again. Then of course, there are those few who stick through it and continue to do our Tanking, and they are truly saints with the patience of some kind of Buddhist master.

Now granted, most of this is generalization, but I wager that this is more the norm than most people realize. This contibutes to the overall problem with the Trinity, which I will get into in another post.

Sita - DRK - Phase 1 - 06

My Lost Love

I made a brief mention of this in my last post, but Stormblood has officially been released. I am a somewhat old-new person to Final Fantasy XIV. I was not a part of the original 14 when it was released, as at the time I was stuck in the siren song that is World of Warcraft. When the transition happened to A Realm Reborn, however, I was in the first few weeks to pick up the game. I was excited to try something different and it seemed like a lot of things from Final Fantasy XI that turned me off had either been fixed or improved upon. And as expected, the game looked beautiful.

Sita - Phase 5 - 04
“I can’t see a thing with these glasses….”

For about 15 seconds.

Sadly, 14 pushed the limits of my then computer to the brink and my computer would go no further. Desperate, I remember turning all of my graphics settings down to the bare minimum, but it wasn’t enough to get rid of the jerkiness of the game. Defeated, I simply turned off the game and wistfully went on to something else. I was not in a position in my life where I would be inclined to spend money on a better computer at the time and by this point the computer I did have could not be pushed any further with new hardware.

Sita - Phase 5 - 06
I start to wonder if those scales hurt or not.

About a year ago two things happened that changed my situation. First, said computer finally crashed. At the time I thought it was due to a recent update Guild Wars 2 had released as it was only after that update that I started having weirdness with my computer. However, before long the tell-tale sounds of something reminiscent of a clicking beetle that I understood all too well. So the computer was scraped and its primary hard drive destroyed. I resigned myself to my laptop and continued on through Guild Wars 2 unabated: it was enough for me.

Then Overwatch happened. Now, at this point my life there are few games that come out to get my excited to the point where I consider a day one purchase. But something about Overwatch grabbed me in that way and I was ready to dive in as fast as I could. When this feeling came over me, Overwatch had not been released so I knew I needed to be ready. A quick query to my friends confirmed my suspicions: there would be no console players there. This was going to be a PC game purchase.

Sita - Phase 5 - 07
“Welcome to Gridania. We have trees.”

So I needed a PC. The laptop could barely run Guild Wars 2 and I knew there would be no way Overwatch would run. Plus, I just needed something strong for my day to day use (I am a programmer after all). So I made sure the computer I got would be able to handle Overwatch. And it could, and it was awesome. And for a year, Overwatch was a stable game in my diet and continues to be today. But I also tried other things with my new toy. Legion, Dragon Age, Terraria, the remastered Homeworld series. However, it wasn’t too long into this year that I got the urge to try something new. And it was at that point my friends reminded me of a lost love.

And so I joined up with them on 14 and I really have not looked back. I ripped through the Realm Reborn content quickly and just devoured the story. The community was unlike any I had been a part of and it felt really good. Granted, compared to the toxicity of Overwatch.. well you know.

Sita - Phase 5 - 08
“And that’s how Au Ra are made. Questions?”

Why do I enjoy 14 so much and what kind of experiences have I had? Well, that’s for another time.