“Wark! Wark!” – 2016 – Digital – click for full view on site!

The trustiest of steeds.

Chocobos are definitely one of the iconic elements of the Final Fantasy series. One of the most diverse, too. Each colour often represents a different trait or ability, from the limited flight capabilities of black chocobos to the legendary racing capabilities of golden chocobos. In Final Fantasy XIII-2 they were even potential party members. They’re quite interesting creatures and you’ll likely enjoying riding them if for no reason other than their particular theme music.

It’s an addictive piece of theme music.

This particular chocobo is referenced from Final Fantasy X/X-2 while this particular piece is actually quite old. Well, a few months old at least. It was one of the many digital pieces I was working on over those few months of digital painting here on Moggie’s Proclamations. It isn’t finished, but it’s as finished as it can be as I’m still not sure how best to approach digital painting.

That said, I did want to share something with my readers. Many of you engaged with the previous digital painting work in progress posts- which I appreciate- and I would like to give you all at least a little something before we take a rest from digital painting. I still feel it’s the best decision, but I don’t want to seem ungrateful for all of the positive support I received regarding those digital paintings. Plus, it’s a chocobo! What’s not to love? It’s certainly a welcome addition to my personal site, too. Given that the Final Fantasy series is one of the biggest reasons I’m as interested in gaming as I am. That and Chrono Trigger. Which gets double the love because of the Akira Toriyama art style.For this piece I decided to paint a young-ish chocobo. Mostly because I imagine that baby chocobos would look like baby chickens. In other words- fluffy and adorable. Which is mostly an excuse to paint tiny, intricate, almost invisible details. As I do. Also, don’t ask about the beak. That was one of the larger concerns I had with this piece and I didn’t really know how to approach it. So it’s sort of unfinished but finished. I tried to clean it up a little, too. Make it look a little more respectable.

I’m proud of that nostril, though.

This particular style is just another example of the many different things I’ve tried. I like those. They make my personal site that much more enjoyable to browse as you never know what you’re going to get, especially when you consider the older pieces. Which were set in their own ways- and their own styles- for such a long time.

On the other hand, it’s nice to be trying new things and branching out not only to new styles but to new materials. Or, rather, materials I’ve had for some time but have not used. Or, rather, have used but never shared the results as they were less than satisfactory. It’s complicated. As is many of the things that I do. It wouldn’t be half as much fun if it were simple. Certainly be a lot less stressful, though. Not that creating things should ever be stressful- it should be something you do because you enjoy doing it. Any time you’re not enjoying it, you should probably take a step back and assess what went wrong and where. Then rectify that situation.

Have a nice week, all!

Moggie

Art, design, and the like found herein (unless otherwise specified) is drawn and owned by David Wilkshire (also credited as Moggie) from 2006 to present date.

Final Fantasy, Chocobos, Moogles, Genji equipment, and all associated trademarks and devices are owned by Square Enix.

Paradox Police

You never know where one will appear next!

Final Fantasy XIII-2 is a pretty complex instalment in that respect. While there is a main story to follow, there are also numerous optional areas which you can visit to unlock even more areas or any of the remaining fragments. It’s odd to encounter an actual quest system, too. Especially if you’re used to the linearity of Final Fantasy XIII where the Cie’th Stone missions were the only actual quests. Of which you were limited to one at a time (and undertaking them again was annoying). Now you can have dozens of quests strewn about all kinds of locations!

I do wish there was an actual quest log, though.

It can be a little frustrating to return to the Historia Crux and then to the location only to find that you’ve yet to finish that quest. Or that you even know what it is. However, that’s a minor point as there are often reasons to visit as many points in time as possible. Mostly to collect creatures and find specific creatures that you’ll need for infusions or specific Paradigm Roles.

On that point, the creature system is quite fascinating and much broader than I initially anticipated. Especially the infusion system. Which essentially allows you to consume one creature to empower another and gain bonuses for doing so. Most interesting regarding this is that you can infuse Sentinels into Medics or Ravagers into Commandos and so on. They’ll retain their initial role when infused, so, for example, a Cactrot is a Medic and if it is infused with a Chocobo (a Commando) it will remain a Medic. That said, it can gain any of the unlocked passive abilities the Chocobo might possess. So while the weapon and accessory upgrade system is out- there’s more than enough to upgrade and tweak in the creature system to replace it.

I’ve been having a lot of fun collecting creatures to empower the ones I’ve got in my current Paradigm Pack. It’s a little finicky, though. You won’t always get the creatures you want and you can’t have duplicates. So if you’d like to use a creature for multiple infusions you’ll need to capture it, level it, and then infuse it before you can obtain a second one. Chocobos being the only exception as they will be used for Chocobo racing at some point. I’m not sure if the actual creature progression system will feed into what makes a good racing Chocobo or if they have unique statistics.

Kind of like the breeding system in Final Fantasy VII.

It’s nice to have the freedom to make all of these choices at your own pace. It’s also really nice that I do believe you have the capability to unlock the entire Crystarium before tackling the final encounter, which means I can continue to develop them as I’d like them to be. Which makes a little more sense to me as I’d prefer to go into that encounter at full power as it were.

Given the number of optional areas you can unlock, it seems that the story can continue for some time to come if you’re committed to completing everything there is to do. I’m not entirely sure as to what the fragments actually do. But I assume it has something to do with the ending or the possibility of receiving an ending as (in true time travel fashion) I’ve heard there are multiple endings. I’m aiming to collect as many fragments as I can but I don’t know if I’ll get them all, I’m also unsure as to how you go about unlocking a new ending and so I may only see a few. Unless it’s a system like in Chrono Trigger where going to specific locations opens up that ending. So you can essentially get them all without having to restart the adventure over and over.

Have a nice week, all!

Moggie

Adventuring on Gran Pulse

The wildlife is certainly something!

When first introduced to Gran Pulse you’re experiencing what was common in Final Fantasy as a series but not in Final Fantasy XIII as instalment. A sprawling world filled with danger, treasures, exploration, bosses, and the ability to experience any or all of it at your own pace. You also (finally) gain the ability to choose your own party and experience the breadth of the various Paradigms which are available. However, this freedom does come at the price of sometimes being overwhelmed or simply outmatched.

Particularly with the Cie’th Stone missions which are quite literally all over the place.

Geographically and in terms of difficulty relative to numerical ordering. Exploration is key with Cie’th Stone missions, as often you’ll be unable to find new missions or the ones you can find are too difficult for you to complete. They’re also useful for opening up new areas or mechanics. Most are tied to the achievements you can unlock, too. From a character development perspective it will be when your characters unlock the highest level of power they can attain (pre-completion). That said, while I have mastered the three primary roles each character has- I’m hesitant to invest in any of their secondary roles. Mostly because even with over 700k CP I’m barely able to fill one of those roles out.

They’re also vastly statistically inferior to primary roles and cost a considerable amount to unlock and upgrade. Often at very little benefit. As there are few who will gain the range of abilities or effectiveness in that role as someone who has it as a primary role. That said, some secondary roles for certain characters open up abilities that the primary roles don’t.

Gran Pulse is (unsurprisingly) home to some of the rarest equipment, accessories, and components. Often hidden behind any of the myriad of challenges this harsh world has to offer, but usually worth the price of admission when you start acquiring some of the most powerful items. Like the Genji Gloves. Or the Growth Egg if you’re going for those character development achievements. It’s quite amazing how much there is to do and yet how little there seems to be available to begin with. It seems fairly linear- but it isn’t. Not by a long shot.

You probably won’t be able to do it all on your first visit, either.

Leaving isn’t permanent- but it likely will be for most people who will move on to finish the story and defeat the final boss. I didn’t return the last time I finished Final Fantasy XIII, but this time I intend to go back and acquire a few more achievements and maybe even try to clear all of the Cie’th Stone missions. It’s been fun, though. If nothing else I’ve had a good time. It also brought back some great memories of playing the Final Fantasy series when I was younger. That said, this isn’t the end of Final Fantasy XIII- I have the whole trilogy to get through and I intend to do just that! I’m particularly stoked about what Final Fantasy XIII-2 has in store for me.

I was going to talk about creative things today as I’ve been working on something new. That said, I don’t have too much to share regarding that particular piece besides a rather hilarious sneak peek I posted over on Twitter. I should have it finished soon. So, if you don’t see it in the next post it should be in the one after. I have been playing a lot of Final Fantasy XIII recently. So, this post seemed to fit as I could talk about something I enjoy and do something slightly different in the process.

Have a nice week, all!

Moggie