The eternal healer and streaming times

The eternal healer
Guys and gals, I went totally overboard when I started playing FFXIV this weekend. No, I did not roll an Elf. No, I did not decide to dress my character up in strange clothes (the game forced me to do that). No, dear readers, I decided to roll a class that cannot heal.

Le gasp. Yes, this is worthy of a French gasp, for it is against the nature of the Chin to play an MMO as a class that cannot dish out HoT’s, provide buffs or support fellow players in any other kind of way. So, why do I like being the healer so much, and why didn’t I roll one this time around?

Let’s answer that second question first. I knew my GF would love to roll a healer, so when she told me she would create a Conjurer, I knew it would be overkill and a terrible leveling experience if we both would play healing classes. Having that base covered, it seemed to be the logical choice to create a character that can kick some serious butt, while my GF would keep him alive. Y’know, division of labor and stuff.

So, me choosing a class like the Lancer in FFXIV has a totally practical reason, but why do I love healing so much? The reason for that is pretty selfish: I love to be needed. It’s nice to know that people need your help: it gives me a warm feeling, and hearing “thanks Chin, I could not have done it without you” even turns a rainy day into a sunny one. Playing a DPS in an MMO always made me feel like being that figurative “fish in the sea”: you were replacable. Of course I know that this isn’t true: if you’re a good DPS, you’re not replacable. Still, a party of five has three DPS, one tank and one healer. And folks, “one” sounds somewhat more special to me than “three”.

Sssht, calm down my DPS buddies. I still love you!

Streaming
Yes, I’ve gotten the taste of streaming, and I’m proud to announce a regular stream night. Every Tuesday night from 20:00 until 22:00 CEST, I’ll be streaming live! If you want to see my play different games (I’ll announce the game beforehand), drop by at twitch.tv/thechindividual. I would love to see as many of you as possible tomorrow night, so I can share my gaming adventures with you!

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Cross-platform gaming: hardware politics vs. united playerbases

final_fantasy_xiv_by_milady666-d59acqe

Even though I have to live without my PS4 for now, I had no lack of gaming this weekend. My GF and I decided to pick up Final Fantasy XIV. I got a copy for PC, while she bought the PS3 version in the Playstation Store. Since Saturday morning, we’ve been leveling a dynamic duo on the Lich server, marveling at the beauty of the game while learning the ropes together.

What amazes me is first of all how much fun FFXIV is when you have someone to play together with (considering how much I hated the game about a year ago), and second how awesome cross-platform gaming is. The idea that my GF can play on her PS3 while I join her from my PC seems so simple, yet there is a serious lack of games that allow this. Why spread your player base across three or four different platforms, when you could bring them together on shared servers?

I know about the challenges regarding cross-platform play. Especially when it comes to console games, sharing a common server is about more than allowing players to connect to one. It’s about hardware politics. In order to have someone on a PS4 to play together with someone on a Xbox One, Sony and Microsoft would have to connect their services. You think one of the two would be even willing to provide the other with vital information about their network structure? Of course not!

However, thinking as a gamer, any title could only profit from cross-platform play. Considering a game like Destiny is not far away, I would love to play with friends that own a Xbox One. As it stands now, all I can do is talk with them about our experiences. If they ever need an additional man for some group content, my guns will not blaze for their glory. 

The day may come that hardware politics stand no longer in the way of a united player base. Until that day, I will enjoy FFXIV and how it stands for this ideal. Eorzea: a world many platforms can connect to. 

My PS4 – a tale of terror.

If you’ve been keeping an eye on my Twitter the last three weeks, you might have noticed some Dutch tweets I directed towards the Playstation Customer Service. These tweets are the result of a nightmare I’m experiencing right now, concerning the repair of my PS4 and the fact that today, more than one-and-a-half months later, I have not received a working PS4.

Let’s rewind the clocks a bit, to 12 June 2014. After several crashes, I had to admit to myself that my PS4 was a lost cause. After a call with the (very helpful and polite) Customer Service, I received the necessary documentation to send in my PS4 for repair. However, as I checked the documents, I found an error in my address. I talked once more with the Customer Service, and the charming guy at the other end promised me that the change in address had been processed. Once my PS4 would arrive at their repair center, it would take 3 to 5 days before I would hold it in my arms again. I handed the package over to the mailman, and waited.

Days went by, and after receiving a confirmation about the arrival of my package, I hoped to see my beloved black piece of gaming goodness soon. Alas, two weeks went by without a package, so I felt forced to call the Customer Service once more. To my great dismay, the kind lady had to tell me that the package had been delivered to a non-existing address, and was thus in some “mail limbo”. It would take two more weeks of calling Customer Service everyday and bitching & moaning on social media, until the head of Customer Service contacted me directly. He admitted that the package had been lost, but a new PS4 was on its way. Would this bring an end to my waiting?

It would not. After releasing my new PS4 from its box yesterday, I had to discover that it was a DOA: a dead on arrival. My phone call with the Customer Service was filled with emotions, but in the end, the result was the same as at the start of this horrifying tale: I have to send this one back as well, but the guy from the Customer Service promised me that I would receive a brand-new one for real this time.

The anger I felt yesterday has subsided, but this mess of an experience has taken all my faith in Sony’s repair and customer service. Should my next PS4 break down as well, I should consider sticking to my PC for gaming. 

Live from Nexus: devoured by color

wildstar landing

When I first wrote about WildStar approximately two month ago, I described the game as a fairly standard MMORPG packed in beautiful graphics. After surviving the Headstart (which went better than expected. Big up, Carbine!), I have come before you to revise my opinion. In this and the next post on Thursday, I’ll be reporting live from Nexus why WildStar is more than your run-off-the-mill endgame treadmill and why you should bother checking it out. Today, I want to tell you about what made me change my mind from a more aesthetical point-of-view, while Thursday’s post will dive deeper into the different convincing gameplay elements.

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Why net neutrality should interest you

If you’re like me and spend a whole lot of time on the Internet, the term “net neutrality” should not be new to you. If it is, I suggest the video above for a quick summary of its meaning and a discussion of its implications. Once you’re up to speed, let me tell you why you should care about net neutrality.

As it is right now, the Internet treats all data equally: no matter if you’re watching videos on YouTube or read posts of your favorite small-time bloggers, both kinds of data will get to you in the same time. However, once ISP’s get the right to treat data differently, this could very well change. We might end up with an Internet in which ISP’s ask additional fees to use popular services like Netflix or Spotify, while small content creators become part of the “slow-lane” Internet, having a harder time to reach an audience.

You see why this should bother you, no matter if you just enjoy a good movie night with your favorite streaming site or are a content creator like my fellow bloggers and I. If you live in Europe, you don’t have to worry just yet: Brussels voted for net neutrality in early April. If you live in the States, however, let the FCC know how you feel about this and fight for net neutrality.

How ArcheAge made me play Guild Wars 2 again

My mind works in strange ways. Yesterday, while waiting for the washing machine to finish and browsing my favorite gaming sites, I was reminded of the fact that Trion is bringing ArcheAge to the west. This makes my tingle with joy, especially knowing that the company is offering different “Founder packs” to get into the alpha. I’m all about getting into a game earlier than the unwashed masses, so I went and checked them out. Alpha access…the thought of that made me wild. Would I already be knees-deep in ArcheAge this weekend? Would I already see what all the fuss is about, sailing my own ship and tending my own farm?

I would…had I spent €140.

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