Plate mail and blue jeans

Tibuant's gaming journal

Month: August, 2013

Negligent Tibuant

Hey, the title of this post rhymes. That aside…

I’ve been pretty negligent recently. I blame Final Fantasy. Which, at the moment makes me unhappy due to service account issues barring me from playing. But, rather than mope around sad about not being able to play my newest time-sink, I’ll make the most of it.

I’ve neglected blogging quite a  bit, and intend to start back up, writing some stuff here or there. This post will be the first of many! …I hope.

I’ve also neglected the other games I’ve previously told myself I’d continue playing. I haven’t really touched Rift, TSW, nor LoL, since FFXIV’s early access started. Which is unfortunate, since I thoroughly enjoy each game… And I had gotten used to talking to many of the guildmates in Rift daily. To be fair, I’ve been intending to hit Rift less heavy and let other players level up so we can start doing dungeons and awesome end-game stuff. I know many players are tired of the “this game at this time on this day” schedules for dungeons and raids, but I find such a schedule extremely helpful myself, so I can avoid getting burned out on a game due to my usual “run circles around the main hub spamming the guild chat, asking if anybody wants to do a dungeon” habit.

Not being able to play FFXIV aside, I’m really enjoying the game. I feel it is very well done. It’s unfortunate since I also feel that the development team has done an amazing job, only to have other aspects (support, community management, expecting only 100,000 players and then getting 300,000+) have made it a very poor experience. As Belghast recently posted, don’t buy the game yet. This isn’t to say “Don’t buy the game at all,” because it is amazing and absolutely worth your money; just wait so you can actually sign on and enjoy the game.

The bright side to not being able to sign on due to the account problems I’m currently having is that I can step away from the game, take a break from spamming the login screen, trying to get in, and actually get some other stuff done. Like this blog post. Maybe a quick “Hello,” in Rift. Some sorely needed rest and comfort food for James… And then spamming the support chat once the North American support time starts.

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Soloing Hive Kaaz’Gfuu: Queens Gambit

Tonight, I’d like to write about soloing the level 60 2 man chronicle, Hive Kaaz’Gfuu: Queens Gambit. Why? Because that’s what I just spent the last few hours learning to do. Overall, I feel it was difficult, but ultimately fun and rewarding.

I’ll preface this post with a Public Service Announcement: there’s a bonus chest that spawns in Queens Gambit at one of several locations. Popular theory suggests it only spawns sometimes, but it actually seems to spawn every instance: its just that half the locations are after the final boss in an area most players would fail to notice. One of the locations it can spawn in is bugged so it is unreachable: don’t worry about knowing if this is true in your instance or not, just explore the instance entirely (including the section to the left of the portal after the final boss!) and it will be impossible to miss if it has spawned in a reachable area.

For the trash, just take your time and pull single mobs or small groups. Have a ranged spec, or at least one ranged ability to take advantage of the Volatile Chemicals scattered along the instance.

The first boss, Abido Kyo, is heavily based on reaction time: avoid the called out attacks and AoEs, don’t be caught with your back to a geyser, and slowly whittle down his health. Overall, I feel the first boss fight is the most dependent on quick reaction time and less on gear or spec than the other two.

The second boss, or bosses, are Och and Krok. I’m not entirely sure how the rage mechanic works regarding killing one before the other, so I tried to keep them within 20% of each other, but this fight is easier with a tankier build, and creative use of the pillars. As a Warrior, I imagine a ranged class dodging in and out of LoS could avoid Och’s attacks easily, but Krok can only be damaged from within his shield. The twins seem extremely slow (although Krok can climb over the pillars?) and I would chase them around the pillars to separate them and tear them down little by little, one by one. A little practice circling the pillars and dodging the red cone AoE makes this otherwise difficult solo encounter quite easy.

The final boss, Inyr’Kta, is easiest with a DPS spec: the free healing means you can worry less about tanking or healing and more about putting the hurt down. The fact that your free healing can die half way through the fight (and the realization that you sorely need it) means your top priority should absolutely be on causing as much damage as possible. Again, a ranged spec or at least one ranged attack (preferably not channeled) will make this fight much smoother: you can range the fire crystals down as you run by them to avoid the mega-death-crystal-thing, and it makes focusing fire on the boss easier when you find the healing aura too far from the boss to melee + stand in the heals… And you want to stand in the heals as often as possible.

Again, if you didn’t find the extra chest, then after the boss, do not take the portal out: instead, take the path on the left side and continue to clear the instance until you find that extra chest and loot your hard-earned rewards.

Of password restrictions and an annoyed James

I’ve been meaning to blog every weekday… Here it is, Wednesday, and my last post was Friday. I’ve been struggling to think of something to write, and I’ve come up with very little. I also promised pictures (which is what has delayed my posts… “I could blog about… Oh, what picture would go with that?”) So rather than keep my promise for pictures or stay strictly gaming, I’m going to just rant about something recently bothering me: it seems the easiest way to keep content flowing…

So, with the preface/warning for this post out of the way, let me introduce myself again. Hello, I’m James. I’m a Computer Science major. Oh… Did I mention I’m a Computer Science major? See, this point is important: I play with computers a lot. I’m almost always on a computer. My entire life pretty much revolves around these evil, wonderful inventions… So why is everybody else always making them work against me?

Windows, for example, is a necessity if you want to run programs on your computer instead of having an expensive blinking set of lights. Sure, Linux and OS X are Operating Systems as well (and I use OS X very often) but I like to game. Wine is awesome and both Linux and OS X have come a long ways in regards to native games, but booting up Windows is still the best choice.

Default behavior seems to include randomly shutting down for updates, as well as being unable to tell the computer “Just shut down, don’t update,” so any time you may be in a hurry to shut down your laptop you have to wait up to an hour for god-knows-how-many updates to download and install.

But this post isn’t about that. It may be on my mind because I freshly installed Windows on a laptop and had to let it install a ton of updates, but its a rare enough occurrence I’ll let it slide under the radar while I complain about something much more annoying. Password restrictions.

Now, I’m not some super programmer, and my programming experience is limited to the sub-par education I feel I’m getting at my university plus my own fiddling, but… Aren’t most passwords stored as a salted hash? What benefit does a service get from putting restrictions on passwords? Let me tell you what benefits a user gets out of it: none.

When younger, sure, I feel that the password restrictions may have helped me to form more secure passwords, what with the “at least one number” rules and such, but now they’re just a waste. If I wanted to hack your service, do you think the password restrictions would be any more useful? No. I’d brute force passwords within the parameters of your restrictions… Or I’d generate a rainbow table within the parameters of your restrictions and use SQL injection or some other method to get a dump of your hashes.

The only bright side I can think of is the varying password restrictions force users to use different passwords for different services. It is also, however, just as likely to cause a user to write down their passwords, keep a plain text file, or use a cloud-based password storing service. I consider none of these safe, overall. Click here for the relevant XKCD you’ve already seen. This is the problem with passwords nowadays. Restrictions hinder the users while aiding the hackers.

I’m stubborn. I like to have creative freedom with my passwords so I can think of something creative and easily remembered. I also don’t like to write down my passwords, and I’m not fond of services like 1Password. I’m not overly big on the “change your password every so often” requirement, either, as my limited statistics knowledge suggests no real benefit to it so long as neither the password nor hash aren’t compromised through more direct methods. (such as downloading a service’s database, or finding your sticky note with your password written on it)

In my experience, all these password restrictions do is force me to reset my password–since I’ve forgotten it and am too lazy to write it down or use any services/programs to keep track of them–once or twice a month. You could argue this is a problem with the way I tackle passwords since I try to keep a different one for each service I use and I don’t write them down: I instead consider it a problem with the computer industry today. Stop limiting my passwords to “6 to 12 characters long, no spaces, no special characters, at least 1 letter and at least 1 number” and other meaningless crap.

Everything in moderation… including moderation, itself

Yesterday, I had mentioned wanting to post about moderation. One would think that at the age of 26, I would already know quite a bit about this. In some cases, I do: when I workout, I don’t workout too often or too hard, taking an appropriate number of rest days and not pushing myself too hard, too often. Similarly, when I drink, which I limit to once or twice a week at most (and often opting for just once a month) I don’t like to sit with a big box of bud light and down them in one evening. It might help that I’m more a fan of thicker and darker beers better suited for slow sipping, or that they’re expensive local brews that I can’t afford to constantly drink, but I have through time (I remember an incident when I was about 20…) learned to drink in moderation, and never too heavily.

The problem I have found is gaming in moderation: I’ve always been a big fan of stories, action, role playing, and just killing monsters. My earliest video game memories involve The Legend of Zelda for NES, The Secret of Mana and The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past for SNES, and Diablo (the original) for PC. These games very much helped to form not only my gaming interests over the years but my personality, as well. It isn’t so much that I “play games so much I waste my life away,” so much that I play a game so much I lose interest in it long before I finish it. This problem has gotten worse and worse as time goes on. I really haven’t touched any of the many RPGs I have sitting on Steam in forever, mainly because I’ll binge on them until I’m bored then quit. When I return to the game, I can either start where I left off, painfully unaware of whats going on, or start from the beginning, where I find myself somehow aware enough of the story or familiar enough with the play-style that I just don’t feel like continuing through anymore.

I’ve recently returned to Rift to play with a guild I had first met back when the game had first launched, and I had somewhat followed to The Old Republic. I find it ironic that a close friend of mine who I invited to play with me–and shortly thereafter convinced to join the guild I’m in–has shown similar gaming habits to my own: he played Rift for a few days straight, leveling from 1 to 40 in such a quick amount of time I was amazed, only to tell me shortly after that he was bored of the game. Luckily, this is not the case as we recently spent an entire day grinding rifts and searching for artifacts: by varying what activities I’m doing in the game, and finding multiple reasons to do them, it helps keep it fresh and interesting. While I’ve wanted to grind out rifts for Hellbug mounts for awhile, being able to help a friend grind planarite to afford something as well as finish up the guild quest while doing so made it much more interesting. Similarly, searching far and wide for a specific artifact so I could give my character the suffix “The Awesome,” while helping find artifacts for the guild quest, was more fun than just searching for the artifact or just farming artifacts for the guild quest alone.

The “varying activities” approach to keeping the game interesting is what I had really wanted to discuss, initially, but not just within the realm of a single game. By pulling away from the “one game at a time” mentality that I used to hold, and trying to switch back and forth between various games and even non-gaming activities, I find my tolerance and ability to enjoy games much easier to balance. The House Stalwart Guild which I find myself a part of (the community is more than awesome, although why I’m explaining this when currently 100% of my readers are here because they’re part of the said community, is beyond me…) has various nights for various activities: Wednesday being the big day for Rift, and Friday being a League of Legends session. I recently jumped on The Secret World with Rowan and Enura to try my first run at a TSW dungeon. I found the last boss (Cthulhu, basically) particularly fun, and there was one mechanic I would even label creepy at times. The variety of the gameplay made for a nice getaway from Rift, and of course Rowan and Enura were both fun to group with and amazingly helpful as well as accepting of it being my first time in said dungeon.

I’m definitely looking forward to adding TSW into my gaming rotation, but for now the many Rifting sessions with Eld, guild Rift nights on Wednesday, and guild LoL nights on Friday (along with the  Friday Trion twitch.tv stream I hope to start following) should give me enough variety to keep from getting too bored with any one single game.

Since my blog has so far been particularly empty of pictures, (I should start working to remedy that) I promise to have a photo in the next post!

The pros of partying up

All things in moderation

So, I wanted to write about this wonderful thing called “moderation” that I learned recently, but since I spent the entire day playing Rift, it didn’t seem very befitting. That gives me something to focus on tomorrow. Today’s post will instead be about playing games with friends, with a little rambling on about the RNG.

Two’s a party

Most of the time, due to my “on during the day” schedule, I find myself playing MMORPGs alone. While I’m rather introverted, and find that soloing is great at times, it quickly gets tiresome. I recently convinced a friend of mine, Eldilkoon, to pick up Rift. He jumped on early today, and I mentored down to help him quest and level. Even though I wasn’t focused on gaining a level myself or doing anything other than helping him out, it was a blast. I know the person behind Eld rather well in real life, and initially convinced him to try out Rift over some beers and buffalo wings at his place. I look forward to further such “Rift parties” in the future. Yes, I realize I’m a geek.

Eld is recently 45: nearly every time I had mentored down to help him quest, I would stop to pick up twisted artifacts. Not having quantum sight, he wouldn’t see these artifacts and would have to take my word for it. I’d often show my wonder in the party chat at how many were in one area, or the precarious placement of them and the effort I would have to give in order to get one. Today I was a particularly bad mentor as I kept falling off mountains, straying away for twisted artifacts, and just generally being on the other side of the map instead of fighting at his side.

Its not a grind if you’re having fun

Interested in these twisted artifacts, I took Eld to Freemarch where we mentored down to grind out some rifts so he could earn the necessary planarite to buy Quantum sight. I have more experience grinding rifts in Freemarch than I would like to admit: I closed more than a hundred fire rifts over the course of a week in order to get a Skittering Hellbug mount, and had collected ten or so Skitt pets as well as a Blurple pet in the process. Somehow, amazingly, the RNG decided it had been mean enough to me in the past, and tried to make amends today by dropping four… four… Skittering Hellbug mounts, two of which dropped from the same rift. The day isn’t over yet, and I intend to bust out so more rifts, so that number may very well increase. While I still haven’t grabbed myself a Gulanite Hellbug mount nor a Toxic Hellbug mount, Eld received both a Skitt pet and a Blurple pet during our grind session.

In the process of helping Eld grab the necessary 12k planarite to buy Quantum Sight, we finished off the guild quest (close 100 rifts that would grant experience) and I ding’d level 58. I quickly took him to one of my favorite Twisted Artifact hunting spots–Iron Pine Peaks–and showed him an area where two or three are often able to be seen from the same spot.

An extra note about the RNG

Sometimes the RNG is mean, sometimes the RNG is nice. While I still haven’t gotten my purple or green hellbug mount, I’m glad it took pity on me today and gave me red mounts to spread among my alts. What I’ve learned today is simple: no matter how bad your luck, and how good the luck of those around you, don’t give up. If you stop focusing on the result–grinding for the mounts–and focus on the fun–playing with a friend and helping them achieve some quantifiable goal–you just may find the end result coming naturally.

Simple introduction

Hello, my name is Tibuant

Actually, my real name isn’t Tibuant; its James. Tibuant is an online alias I’ve adopted for the many games I play. As of this post, those games include Rift, The Secret World, and League of Legends.

The character

Tibuant is usually a tank; he enjoys doing so very much. Whats more badass than being the one standing toe to toe with the giant dragon while everybody else stays as far away as they can, shooting magic at him? Depending on the game, Tibuant prefers to wear nice suits, or to don the heavy plate mail and blue jeans combination. Its a signature style that several of Tibuant’s Rift relatives (including Tiburius and Tibrea) have adopted.

The guy behind the keyboard

As for the one who controls Tibuant, his name is James. That’s me. I’m a 26 year old Computer Science major who enjoys reading, drinking microbrews, programming, (although this seems a dangerously “on and off” hobby that I hit hard for months at a time then completely neglect for a few before returning with a renewed interest) and just wasting time on my computer. Similar to programming, I have an on-again-off-again love for weight lifting; when I’m in the swing of it, its amazing, but when I take a break and forget, its hard to get back into. I consider myself a philosophical mind, and think often–way too often–about everything and anything.

The blog

So, the reason for this blog is simple: I enjoy playing games, I enjoy reflecting on games, and I enjoy discussing my opinions about various aspects of games and the direction that games are going. I’ve been reading a lot of gaming blogs by guild mates recently and always end with this burning desire to discuss something new I read or thought about, but without the proper outlet to vent to. And so, this blog now exists for that purpose.