January to March 2017

It’s a fresh new year.

I’ve been thinking about the kinds of content I’d like to share this year and these posts seem like a natural fit. I’ve always enjoyed writing them and I feel like they present an accessible summary of recent events, which, in this case, is slightly more gaming content than I would have anticipated. But I’m not too concerned about that, either. It’s been nice as I’ve enjoyed many of the things I’ve been talking about. Which is more than I could say for some of the things which have inspired gaming content in the past.

There have been quite a few JRPGs in there, too.

We started the year with Good Tidings, which reflected on my seasonal activities and the various ways in which I was unable to resist the temptations of the Steam Winter Sale once more. Before long we were talking about my Yearly Consistency, too. Turns out I’m a little more rigid than I would have expected! I’ve been assured by medical professionals that it’s fine, though.

While there has been more gaming content than creative there were a few notable posts for the latter. Mutant Deathclaw led into Anatomical Fish which allowed me to pause and talk about a Momentary Regret, but before long we were back with more creative efforts in Happiness Hat. There were examples of Multiple Attempts next which was followed by Pug Life. In many ways this has been a period that was oddly focused on digital painting, but there have been some traditional efforts in there as well. While I would have preferred to have more creative content in this period, I’m not that upset about it, as I’ve been able to reflect on what I’d like to do next, which should hopefully mean even better creative content in the future.

Gaming content started strongly with the Diablo III 20th Anniversary Event. The Darkening of Tristram was a limited time event which presented myriad challenges to undertake and achievements to earn, including one which required an entirely new character. I decided to give the Witch Doctor a second slot in my roster and you can read about that build over in My Curse Upon You! Which, oddly enough, became one of the most powerful builds I’d managed to bring together. I’m not sure that’s to do with her pets, either.

The damage over time spells are pretty ridiculous in their own right.

We also saw the conclusion of the Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster through both The Summoner’s Pilgrimage and Dressed for the Occasion. There was a brief return to the Hyperdimension Neptunia series, too. With the events surrounding the Journalists of Gamindustri and where there was Hope for Planeptune. Great JRPGs one and all!

I also explored the depths of a rather quirky and somewhat different ARPG in First Impressions of… Victor Vran. I took a break from writing posts about specific things for a moment to reminisce about the Smaller Parts of a Larger Whole. The conclusion to this period was Emotions are Prohibited, which looked at the intricately detailed and ridiculously enjoyable NieR: Automata that has continually surprised and impressed me. I’m still working through Route B, too. I’m nearly at Route C… there’s just so many side quests to do! There are also a number of weapons which could do with an upgrade. So I reckon I’ll be there for a while yet. Especially as I’m looking to complete all of the main endings.

Have a nice weekend, all!

Moggie

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The Summoner’s Pilgrimage

It’s quite the journey.

But with the help of a legendary guardian, a man obsessed with Blitzball, a lady who loves belts so much she made a dress from them, a powerful warrior from a distant land, and someone who just appeared in Spira you might just make it. You’ll need a little more than luck on your side, though. You’ll need to have Fayth. Myriad Fayth. Which is the whole reason you’re on this journey in theThe Summoner's Pilgrimage first place. That and exploring the world around you, looking for meticulously placed treasure chests in random locations, and (of course) farming AP like there’s no tomorrow.

Mostly because if you fail there probably won’t be a tomorrow.

Unlike most Final Fantasy titles I’ve completed, this particular title boasts a new challenge through the Expert Sphere Grid which is (almost) entirely new to me. I’m still not sure what it really does, either. Other than change starting locations, shuffle around certain nodes, and allow for complete freedom with character development. Maybe that is literally all it does. I don’t know.

In either case, it’s been interesting going back through the various characters and creating strategies of my own. I’ve got a fair few Black Magic users. Got a couple of White Magic users, too. I’ve seen the wondrous cacophony of destruction that is a Doublecast Ultima. I’ve also witnessed Auron cleave an enemy for nearly 100k damage. It’s honestly a little disgusting. I’ve experienced the better parts (exploring the Omega Ruins) and the worse parts (trying to obtain the Sun Sigil) in equal measure. I can’t say I haven’t had fun, though. I can’t say whether it’s made things easier or more difficult, either. I think that having a secondary White Magic user in Rikku (who practically mirrors Yuna) has proved invaluable.

Then again, with the acquisition of the Nirvana, and full Black Magic spell availability, Yuna has become a force to be reckoned with in her own right. Able to easily break the damage limit and deal 30-40k per spell. It, again, is honestly a little disgusting. It wouldn’t scratch the super bosses… but that’s for another time. Maybe. It’s actually funny that I don’t enjoy Blitzball enough to bother trying to get Wakka’s Celestial Weapon, but he’s a good candidate for breaking the damage limit. He’s got nearly as much Strength as Auron does.
The Summoner's Pilgrimage
That said, I love the way the Masamune fits so perfectly with Auron.

He’s probably the only character who has consistently been able to take a punch and get back up throughout the entire experience. The fact that he now becomes even more powerful each time he gets hit just makes that sweeter. Especially considering he was one of the first to reach the health limit. He’s got a bountiful pool to draw from and it’s immensely useful.

I’ve always felt that Final Fantasy X was a genuinely difficult entry in the series. It’s one that has very interesting mechanics for key fights that rely more on your ability to understand, react, and survive than simply deal damage. Significantly easier when you’ve got Auron and the Masamune- but still an experience. I highlighted many of the key changes to the Final Fantasy formula which I think Final Fantasy X exemplified through An Evolving Narrative. It’s still one of my favourite entries in the series and one that I still enjoy to this day. That said, I’m looking forward to Final Fantasy X-2 as well. There are a number of things that I love about that one, too. Despite (in my opinion) being easier than the previous entry.

Have a nice week, all!

Moggie

Good Tidings

To you and yours.

Gather ’round the fire and listen to ol’ Moggie for a moment, folks. It’s that time again! The New Year. The time for resolutions, forgetting to date things correctly, and most importantly even more sales on anything and everything. Will the sales ever end? Will your wallet ever be safe? You feel comfortable knowing that the last gasps of the Steam Winter Sale can be heard. Soon it will be no more. Soon there will be nothing to worry about. Until you hear it rising once again from the depths- taking on another form- haunting your wallet once more.

Or you’ll just run into the Steam weekly sales.

It’s not just the time for sales, though. Some people spend it with their family. Or their pets. Or both. Or they spend it wondering why they ate so much as another mince pie carelessly falls into their mouth. They can’t stop. They won’t stop. They will be satisfied at any cost. They will awaken amongst confectionery wrappers with little recollection of the night before.

I’ve spent these few weeks reflecting on how things have progressed in the last year. Making small changes to my various sites, updating information, scheduling posts for the New Year, and deciding on what content I’d like to be working on. It’s certainly easier to find the time to work on these things when not actively making content or writing posts. Not that I ever take much of a break from writing posts. But it’s something. I’m always a little excited when I have a whole list of scheduled content that I can’t wait to share with you all. Especially if you’ve not seen it via Tweets or anything else yet. I’d love for that few week lead to carry forward into the rest of the year, too. But that’s not really how I produce content.

Twenty seven years and still not sick of it.

Twenty seven years and still not sick of it.

I also made a few purchases during the Steam Winter Sale. The first was GRID, which I have introduced to my followers via a couple of Tweets highlighting my inability to take corners or to remain unscathed during a race. The second was Arcanum: Of Steamworks and Magick Obscura, which, besides having quite the title, is something I’m keen to talk about once I’ve had more time to explore the opening areas. At the very least, I’m quite impressed with how extensive the character creation options are.

I can see that resulting in many unique builds and character stories.

On that note, Final Fantasy X is still going strong. I’m approaching it more casually than I first anticipated I would- but I’m in no rush to see the end of it. I’m also enjoying the varied character builds I’m able to work towards thanks to the Expert Sphere Grid. Who would have thought that Rikku would be one of the most proficient White Magic users in my party? Not me!

For the coming year I’m looking to introduce creative content as a major focus and have it remain as such throughout. I’d like to improve on the unexpectedly plentiful creative content from last year, but in a more diverse way. Perhaps by bringing together more materials than we’ve seen in any singular year before this. Or perhaps by bringing together a stronger, more developed, and more consistent approach overall. I’m looking to talk a lot more about what I’m doing, what’s working, and what’s not when it comes to all things creative. Hopefully this will encourage me to be more proactive when it comes to pursuing new ideas or using new materials.

Have a nice weekend, all!

Moggie

September to December 2016

The seasonal edition.

‘Tis the season to remember all of the things I’ve done over the last three months. Some of them were pretty good, too. I’d usually post these on the last posting date of the month (which in this case would be the 30th of December), but as this is the last post I’ll be writing this month (and this year) I brought it forward. This way things can transition as they normally would. You just get this post a little earlier, which, to be honest, isn’t an entirely bad thing if you’re enjoying my creative pursuits.

They’ve been surprisingly prominent for the entire year.

Then again, I’ve also had some great gaming content recently. Starting with the wonderfully enjoyable (yet incredibly cheap) Ember, leading to the exploration of the inner workings of my mind (and Cities: Skylines) in Salston Heights, followed by my observations regarding two very interesting titles through both Lost Castle (First Impressions) and Chronicon (First Impressions). I managed to squeeze a couple of JRPGs in there, too. Heavenly Pudding looks at something new while An Evolving Narrative looks at something old. We also had a brief look at the history of every video game ever through Evoland II in Nostalgia Lane.

I even spent some time with Moggie and friends to work on some of the things that I’d started with the previous subscription. It worked out better than expected with most of my long term goals being met quite quickly. Which, in turn, further reduces the number of things I’d like to do before we venture into the content that Legion offers.

Traditional art has been the sole focus of my creative pursuits recently. I’ve enjoyed bringing together different elements and new techniques in posts such as Equal Opposites, Aquatic Owl, Fishy Abomination, Murky Lioness, Leafy Green, Acrylic Ambitions, and Beastly Practices. It also seemed like a really good time for Fruity Nostalgia. Likewise, it was a great time to look at the process of Building an Abomination. Truly an interesting selection of wonderfully diverse posts.

We’ve seen a number of pieces reach my personal site, too.

The first was one that came as a surprise as I didn’t expect the scanned version to sway my opinion as much as it did, but you can decide for yourself when you see Failed Tree Attempt #206. To show appreciation to those who supported my digital painting efforts I slightly updated and finalised the Final Fantasy related “Wark! Wark!”, which was followed by (another Final Fantasy staple) Bomb. I also wrote the first Artist Feature post I’ve done in a while, in which I looked at the wonderfully adorable and exceptionally talented Laura Jane (and her gorgeous traditional art illustrations). They’re always a lot of fun to write (and to see the reception of).

Which brings us to the end of this post and this year of content on Moggie @ WordPress. If you’re curious about how the entire year has looked check this Tweet. It should give you all the statistical data your heart can handle, or, at the very least, a better insight into what I’ve posted. Which is just as good, right?

Have a nice Christmas, all!

Moggie

An Evolving Narrative

It’s a natural and beautiful thing.

As part of my seasonal tradition this year I’ve been playing through Final Fantasy X once again. It’s one of those adventures (and stories) that’s just as fun to experience a second (or a third) time as it was the first, even if you’re already aware of the plot twists and turns. You might even make more sense of the events the second (or third) time, too. It’s equally as interesting when you consider that many of the changes in Final Fantasy X shaped the series as a whole, with later instalments taking note of what worked and what didn’t.

There has definitely been a greater emphasis on presenting stories since then.

From Final Fantasy XII where no character was individually crucially important as each had their own role to play, to Final Fantasy XIII where the world was secondary to the development of the characters found therein, to Final Fantasy XV which seems to be building around both aspects but still focusing on the party and their development through their adventures.

Of course, as I don’t own a PS4, the information about Final Fantasy XV is pieced together from things I’ve seen through to about chapter three of the main story. But what I have seen I’ve liked the idea of, as, even though I’m not playing this myself, I’m interested to see how the characters change. How they develop. If they develop at all. How that will impact the story and whether there are choices within the story that affect how it ends, or whether the ending is set no matter what you do. It’s an interesting change of pace for sure. It’s also interesting to see a similar battle system from Final Fantasy XII making a return, albeit without the Gambit system (if I remember correctly) but with party specific interactions at the very least.

We're in a different business these days.

We’re in a different business these days.

It’s also interesting to think that Final Fantasy XIV, their second MMORPG, has a particularly story based approach as well, often requiring you to complete things individual to your class to progress even as far as requiring you to venture into dungeons. Something that isn’t typically present in those kind of things. That said, I feel like Final Fantasy always had great stories to tell it’s just that they were harder to convey with the older technology. You can certainly show a wider range of emotions with hyper realistic 3D models.

You can also have tens of thousands of polygons for just their hair.

On the other hand, I feel that Final Fantasy IV still has one of the best collection of characters in the series which is equally as dynamic as it is interesting. Often times characters will leave, return, leave again, and then return for the last time. Or they might die. But each event actually changes the characters or the remaining party to some degree. It has a great story, too.

It’s been a fairly nostalgic year in many ways and I’ve been looking forward to experiencing Final Fantasy X again, which makes it a nice way to spend the festive season and to end off the year on a more positive note than has been present throughout. Took up the Expert Sphere Grid, too. I did use that system for about five hours back on the PS2 after I finished it the first time, but I never got much further than that. I’m not entirely sure how different it actually is (in terms of statistics and abilities) but it does seem more flexible. Seems easier to build characters who are proficient in a range of different abilities and spells than simply their default load out, which for some is actually somewhat confusing. Like Wakka. I don’t know what to do with him.

Have a nice weekend, all!

Moggie

Old Haunts

The best places to go back to.

I’ve been thinking about the Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster. I was originally going to pick it up on my newly acquired PS Vita, however it would seem that there’s a little snag regarding the physical version you can buy. It includes Final Fantasy X-2 as a download code. Which is sort of okay as I don’t really care too much for Final Fantasy X-2, but if I’m paying for both titles I’d like to be able to play both. Of course- I could just download it. But I don’t necessarily have the free storage to download it at the moment.

Whereby it would make even less sense to pay more to expand my storage capabilities.

That said, the very same Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster is now available on Steam and that could be a better option. The entire Final Fantasy XIII trilogy is available on Steam, too. While there is a good chance that the recently announced Final Fantasy XII The Zodiac Age will make its way there at some point. Or (at a stretch) make its way to PS Vita.

So I could have Final Fantasy to Final Fantasy IX on my PS Vita and everything above that in my Steam library. I’m unsure as to whether Final Fantasy XV will ever come to Steam, but I’d reckon it’s likely even if we have to wait an additional couple of years to see it. Still, I’m a massive fan of the Final Fantasy series. It’s one of the reasons I became as enamoured with RPGs as I did. It’s one of the few things you’ll ever see me playing filled with childlike wonder and glee, too. The other being Chrono Trigger. Even if I’ve probably finished Chrono Trigger over thirty times (that’s not an exaggeration either). While I haven’t read/seen too much about Final Fantasy XV, I’d still love to play it just because it’s a Final Fantasy title.

A fitting name for such a beast.

A fitting name for such a beast.

While Final Fantasy XII (and above) weren’t my favourite Final Fantasy titles, I do admit they deserve a second chance. Final Fantasy XIII was an entry in the series which I didn’t really enjoy the first time out, but I definitely enjoyed it more the second time I went through the story. Mostly due to the fact that earlier in the story they restrict who you can have, what you can do with them, and how useful they are. Once you reach Gran Pulse (I think it is) you’ve finally got the freedom to build the party that you want.

Greater selection of Paradigms to choose from, too.

Which would probably be my major complaint (for lack of a better word) with later instalments. They had interesting stories, characters, combat mechanics, and so on but there was always an annoying feature. Like the constant party shuffling early in Final Fantasy XIII. Or the fact that some parts of Final Fantasy XII played out like an MMO with intense grinding.

That said, Final Fantasy XII was an entry in the series that deserved the definition of epic. It was a stunningly beautiful title with an excellent selection of music, it also had a huge and vibrant world and took many risks with and different directions in many key Final Fantasy mechanics. It’s an interesting conundrum I’m faced with for sure. It’s such an influential series (for me personally), and I’m unsure as to which would be the best way to continue to support it. Steam seems like the obvious choice for the later instalments. Especially if those later instalments are released with very little changes to the original versions of said instalments.

Have a nice week all!

Moggie