30 November, 2004

Paragon of Black Mage Excellence

After a long weekend celebrating Thanksgiving with my friend's family, I suppose you could say I returned to Vana'diel with somewhat of a vengeance. I was literally involved in something or other from the get go until I slept, whether it be crafting (not much), fishing (even less), xp-ing (yea), or working on AF (hell, yea!).

The three main achievements of that day: BLM54, Wizard's Gloves, and the Wizard's Pestatos. ^^

I actually got the hat first, after Veelea told me that there was a BLM AF3 alliance being formed. They agree to let me tag along, even though at the time I was only BLM53, but figured that since the alliance was about 12 people, there shouldn't be too much of a problem. I was quite amused at the fact that there were two THFs in the alliance, even though they probably couldn't tell which side was the 'back' of the Magic Sludge for Sneak Attack. /shrug.

So once again, I'm back in the Toraimarai Canal, except that now it was my turn to go about examining the ??? that represented magic stagnation underneath the depths of Windurst. I find it quite amusing that all the Black Mages were rather worried about when to use their Manafont to absorb the stagnation, since it is pretty much spelled out to you when the time comes, although I suppose if screwing up meant having to wait another two hours, I guess you'd exercise greater caution.

So after getting to the two ???, having all the Black Mages use their 2hr ability to absorb the magic stagnation and getting to the site of the Magic Sludge NM battle, for some reason, the two PLDs have to go. Then others have to scoot as well. In the end, we are left with just seven of us- two THFs, one WHM, and 4 BLMs. I conjure up a plan to try and see if there was any chance that we could take on the Sludge given that I've heard that a single party can handle it, but alas, things mess up, and we all Warp/Escape out to safety. Well, except for the poor WHM who died trying to keep things together. (Thank you, Reraise II...)

Fast forward a few hours later.

I'm busy helping out Brahk with his AF2 quest, which involved killing an NM giant bird down in the Labyrinth of Onzozo. Brakh, being a fisher, has helped me out several times with his fishing up Silver Rings for me to desynth, and he had managed to enlist the help of Fulayg, a NIN75.

Then Veelea tells me that there's another BLM AF3 alliance in the making. Perfect timing, wouldn't you say? WIth that in mind, I literally rush Brahk over to the Labyrinth, and try to kill the bird as fast as we could. Things get a little hairy when we're fighting a little too close to an Air Elemental that conned Tough to me, but I run over to the back of the room we're fighting in and don't get magic aggro from there. In the meantime, Veelea's trying to stall the alliance from setting off without me, while I'm relaying the progress down at the Labyrinth to her. She asked me how long we're going to take, and I tell her that the bird's almost dead.

Brahk then tells me that the bird can use Benediction. I inwardly /groan.

Fortunately, he was either mistaken, or the bird just chose not to Benediction, but it died sure enough. We say our goodbyes, I Teleport Brahk out while Fulayg Instant Warps back to Jeuno, then I go on a mad rush back to Windurst. Thank goodness I decided to do the Norvallen supply quest- a quick chocobo from the Crag of Holla to the Jugner Forest Outpost, and within five minutes, I'm standing in Port Windurst, ready and raring to go.

I join the alliance, and this time, only four BLMs need the fight. We bring along an alliance, this time with Lvl65+ help aplenty for the ride, and go through the motions once again. Thankfully, nobody decides to leave this time around, and we're soon trying to beat upon the Magic Sludge with whatever we have.

For those who think this is an easy fight: Of all four times I've done this, the Sludge has been anything BUT easy. For one, its magic resistances are literally through the roof, and nothing is more discouraging than seeing Freeze hit for 120 damage and Firaga IIs for 56 or so. Our PLD did a great job tanking this thing, then again, I think he was in full Adaman gear, or something like that. The PLD end-game gear. Yeah. That.

Eventually, we kill the sludge once for all four Black Mages who needed it, and after many thank-yous, /bows, and promises of lifetime supplies of Warp IIs, we (the BLMs) literally run as far as our little-wittle Taru legs can bring us back to Heaven's Tower before receiving our hat and /cheers all around. I still have six more levels to go though...

Finally, I manage to get my Wizard Gloves. Throughout the day, I had been paying the Garlaige Citadel occasional visits, trying to get a coffer key. Danatoth and Deathdealer try for a bit in the afternoon, before the first AF3 alliance, and we fail to get the key. Veelea joins in after helping a BLM AF2 party in Castle Zvahl Baileys, and while we kill faster, the Magic Pots, Weapons, and Fallen aren't feeling terribly co-operative, and no key drops from them. With the alliance scheduled to leave in an hour, we pop over to the Sea Serpent Grove to try and get Danatoth a Golden Eye for his Optical Hat. That, also didn't turn out good at all, although we did randomly get a Grotto coffer key off a crab that we fought to clear the room. We then decided to lot on the key.

Veelea lots first with 841. It is more or less a foregone conclusion, even Danatoth comments, "It's gonna be hard to beat that."

I then lot 917. ^^

Even better, the Grotto coffer just so happened to be right next to us, and within five minutes, I have a map of the Sea Serpent Grotto! Although to be fair, I guess Danatoth should've had it, since it would've been so much more helpful with Widescan. Ah well.

Later on, Gluey and I head back down to the Citadel to try and get a key. Once again, we're under time pressure, as Gluey has Simurgh to camp out in the Rolanberry Fields in an hour. One hour later, we still have no key, but fortunately, sheer dumb luck, or some divine sense of a climax kicks in. On the very last weapon that we decide to fight, Gluey lets out a little "ARRR", I guess in some effort to coax a key to cough out.

You find a Garlaige coffer key on the Over Weapon.

We both had a good laugh about that one. ^^

The last step was to actually get the coffer, which is no easy task thanks to the ridiculous layout that is the citadel. In the end, I round up Veelea (once again), Traktor, and another BRD I met the day before named Shortee. The plan was to get inside the Citadel, go behind both doors, and worst come to worst, leave me behind one of them to log out. Our first problem was when we reached the second set of banishing gates, and in the middle of talking, I forget that we're next to Dromas and Explosures that aggro to sight. The net result is that we have Shortee face down on the ground. Ouch. Sorry about that! >_<

The other problem is that there is another RDM that's trying to hitch a free opening from us. Now, assuming the coffer's behind the gate, I don't want to open the gate only to have him run through it first and take my coffer. In the end, he must've gotten the hint, since he eventually goes to step on a switch. Traktor, Shortee, and Veelea move onto the other three, and I rush inside, trying to find the cofer before the RDM does.

It was all for naught, as inside, at the last spawn point, I see a Mithra mage healing. Traktor asks if she got the coffer, to which she replied "yes". We give our congratulations to her, a little disappointed that we couldn't get it. The Garlaige coffer really is atrocious, and is probably the second hardest coffer to get, next to the Castle Oztroja one. Part of it is probably because it's such a pain to get to the coffer spawns to begin with, but oh well. ; ;

Traktor Warp IIs Veelea and Shortee, while I log for half an hour, hoping that the RDM wouldn't be there when I got back. Fortunately for me, things perk up. I log back in, and find the RDM still in the Citadel, but not behind the 2nd banishing gate (or so it seemed). I make my way through the coffer points, spamming the Tab key to try and find the coffer. I tabbed over a Trasure Chest, but that wasn't quite what I was looking for, although granted, I also brought my Garlaige Chest Key just in case.

Then there it was, innocuously tucked in a corner behind a Chamber Beetle. I immediately shout in the linkshell:

Treasure Coffer {Found it!}

Gluey and Traktor go berserk. I see "omg!!!" and "GOGOGOGOGO" fly across the screen. It's really quite hard to capture the excitement of opening something like this without actually doing it yourself, and wary of anyone else who might take it from behind me, I Blink up, and when the Chamber Beetle guarding the coffer is turned away, I drop Invisible, trade my Coffer Key, and receive the old gauntlets!

I then take Gluey up to Castle Zvahl Baileys to kill Dark Spark, and help fight Chinowhat some more with his Zvahl Coffer Key. The two of us could duo Dark Spark easily enough, with Barfira and Stun between us, not to mention Gluey and his new-favourite /NIN sub. We even got a skillchain going: Guillotine -> Seraph Strike for Impaction. Fun fun. ^^ After getting the shadow flames, we pop down to fight Ahrimans and Demons with another RDM, Phalyx to get the key. For some reason, luck's not with us once again, and when I had to leave for time reasons (it had been a very intensive day), we still had not gotten the key. ; ; At least we spiced things up with a fight against Marquis Amon, some NM Demon near our camp:

I go back to Jeuno, switch over to BLM, and lay the old gauntlets and the Shadow Flames in the toolbox. The guantlets are restored, and I receive the Wizard's Gloves! Talk about a productive day.../grin

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