I had a lot of fun yesterday evening figuring out the Mountain of Lost Souls. The First of the Arcanes, Ashetaka, and I were itching to get in there and plumb its depths. I had a brief set of notes passed on to me by "word of mouth" from Syldir, who was very generous in giving me a bit of a head start with some the needed equipment during a Bahamut run (thanks, Syldir!). Ashetaka was working with what he could remember from previous MoLS runs. Together we trekked out there and...well, it took us a few hours, but we finally managed to piece almost everything together and emerge from the mountain victorious! We definitely want to go back and do a few more passes, but my pesky work schedule will need to co-operate before that can happen.
What I realized during it is that my brain is pretty poorly suited to exploration. There's really no two ways about it; when we were trying to work out small puzzles, my brain failed to connect some dots, and think outside of the box...I definitely would not have been able to complete the run without Ashetaka, who poked and prodded everything.
I think my problem tends to be the fact that I think very straightforward - I come across a piece of information: does it seem important? If not, throw it out and completely forget about it. If it does, start thinking about that thing non-stop in a very closeminded/obtuse manner. It makes it really frustrating for me when I hit a wall in a puzzle because my brain starts running in a very small circle and it's hard for me to get it to jump off that track and try to approach it from a different manner. It's a combination of the assumptions I make and the way I convince myself of the way the problem must be solved.
I'm not sure how I can get better at puzzle solving/exploring beyond exposing myself into more puzzle-y scenarios around the Realms until my brain finally gets it. I do like puzzle games, funnily enough, with the Professor Layton series being one of my favourites, and I often have little trouble making my way through that game...but when it comes to the realms, for whatever reason, I find myself stumped.