31 December, 2004

Prelude of White and Black

Before I begin, a little aside on the recent events in the real world. I'm sure a good many of you have read about the tsunami that was wrecking havoc all over South East Asia, which just so happened to coincide with my return back to this end of the planet. For shame, I myself wasn't aware of this until much later (you can tell I don't read the news very often), and am now intertwining meeting up with friends here, and calling up relatives/friends/friends of relatives to try and figure out who's okay. So far, so good. I guess we just got lucky on that. So, without further ado, in lieu of the disastrous events happening here, I send my condolences and support out to those affected. Now to try and figure out how to donate to the recovery while handling a case of the flu and a splitting headache.

So, back to Vana'diel.

As some of you may have noticed, my computer's device drivers have been crashing, and as long as my FF installation CDs are here with me in Singapore, and the CDs I need to reinstall the drivers are in the United States, chances are, I probably won't be able to get any consistent FF-ing done whilst I'm here. I've already crashed too many times, and personally, I'd rather not do anything while I'd cause massive inconveniences to others. Among others, the drivers have already made a right mess of a Leviathan excursion, crashed multiple parties, including one where I crashed every single fight, not to mention all the times I log in to find myself dumped in Port Jeuno while trying to head to Bastok. In the meantime, I've been sneaking in what I can over at Ben (Glueforever's) house, as his RNG charges onwards to try and use his newfound E. Bow. ^^

Eventually, Gluey and I sat down for an xp party that finally got me my goal over the past three months- Black Mage 60. ^^

I now have a full set of both BLM AF and WHM AF with me, and with that, it's time to move onto other things. I've been giving what to do next a little bit of thought, actually. It seems that I might just make BLM my main, and take that up to 75, although I'd first want to level RDM up a bit. For now though, I'll try to get some sort of buffer going on my BLM so I can safely sell my Seer's Crown +1 (which, by the way, has served me VERY well over this period). Anyway, here's a picture of me relishing my new hat:

Just where all my hair goes in that hat is still a mystery to me...

Still, the question of what to do next looms over my head. I have some minor accomplishments, such as acquiring my Water Staff (very useful now I level up on Raptors pretty often), but in the greater scheme of things, I'm still uncertain. I guess, assuming I want to take BLM all the way to 75, I'll have to level up RDM first. However, I get the feeling that as soon as I level up RDM to any decent level (read: 37), I'll want to take it all the way to 60, and get my 3rd set of AF, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, just...Traktor and Railston are already getting rather impatient for me to catch up with them for our BLM "static"...Traktor's 65 now tho, and trying to rush 155k xp to catch up with him isn't the most exciting thing in the world. Then there's SMN37, although I think I'll get my avatars first. Guess I won't be leveling up WHM anytime soon. ; ; I wonder just what Tuuf's calling is...

21 December, 2004

Progress check.

These past two days have been a race to try and get to BLM60 (and my Wizard hat!) before I had to go. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to get the requisite xp, and as I write, I'm only 12k tnl. That's about a day's work right there, so I'm sure it won't be long before I'm strutting around a full BLM AF set to go with my WHM. Speaking of which, it's been a very long time since I last wore my Healer's set...I kinda miss WHM...

Tried my hand once more at leveling Goldsmithing, too. Lightsday, New Moon. Twelve Mythril Sheets and six Ram Leathers. 96k worth of ingredients, not to mention 1.5k worth of crystals for 97.5k in the end. I end up succeeding five synths, break one and lose the Leather and a Sheet, and sell the Cuisses on the AH for 5k each. That's a 72.5k loss right there, all for, a WHOLE +0.1 SKILLUP POINTS.

Keeping a running tally from yesterday, I have now spent a total of 103.9k on +0.3 skillup points, bringing the extrapolated total to around 347k per skill level. Platinum is starting to look _very_ far away indeed...

I could go on about how three good parties helped me on the way to BLM59.4, but it's 4:50am, I'm tired, and I still have to pack. Let's just say that having two BLMs in a party makes for very good xp, even if one of them is absolutely clueless and made enough successful MBs to count on one hand, if even that.

And finally, to all those reading this, Merry Christmas everybody! :D

18 December, 2004

The Price of Gold.

I actually haven't been FF-ing much today. Something about final exams I need to do, including this mid-term that's actually due six hours ago. Yeah...about that...

Anyway, thanks to my trusty Vana'diel clock, I noticed it was Lightsday sometime while trying to figure out certain things, like the various symmetries of an icosahedron. In a flash, I decided I'd level up Goldsmithing, just because, well, I had accumulated over 600k, but I was reluctant to spend it on anything. Sure, it looks pretty, but ultimately, it's not going to do me any good like sitting there in my walletaru. I didn't have time to go all the way to Bastok to get Advanced Imagery support for Mythril Cuisses, so I struck it out with the one synth left- Gold Ingots. Lightsday, shades, (nearly) a full moon...I felt it was reasonably safe.

Since I really ought to get back to my take home exam, I'll summarize it for now. Fifteen Gold Ingots (and two breaks later), I achieved what I had set out to do for the night.

Yes, I'm finally 53! /cheer

Well, I'm actually Goldsmtihing 53.2 right now, after using some extra Nuggets (breaks ; ;) lying around the place. I actually did some quick calculations, just out of curiosity as to how much Goldstmithing actually costs. Right now, I spent roughly 31,400gil on those two extra +0.2, so extrapolating that out to +1.0, getting from Goldsmithing 53 to 54 will cost me approximately 157,000 gil! Actually, come to think of it, that's not _too_ bad...I think...


16 December, 2004

It's Christmas in the air! ^^

For some reason, my computer has been acting up more and more recently, and I haven't the foggiest idea why. I keep crashing every so often, particularly in towns, and while up to now, it's been just a minor inconvenience, today, things just seemed to go berserk. My computer was inexplicably shutting itself down every two minutes or so. Given the major of the Christmas quests, I almost blew my top off. Some start to a Merry Christmas, eh? >_<

Anyway, it's getting late, so I'll quickly gloss over the details of what happened. I actually ended up starting the Christmas Tree quest first from the Mithra at the West Sarutabaruta gate in Port Windurst. She told me to run all the way to the Mog House in Port Windurst (same zone) and get something for her within two hours, which, I assumed wouldn't be a problem. So I ran as fast as my little-wittle Taru legs could carry me, and just about make it back in time, until I forget that I'm actually supposed to trade her the item, at which point, my time limit had expired.

My next task would be to collect something from the Moogle in Windurst Waters, a zone away. Naturally, I figure that running to the Mog House in Port Windurst, then using the back alleys to exit to Windurst Waters would be the best way to go, and I was fine...until my computer crashed (which, by the way, I'd become very used to ; ;). By the time I log in and everything, I end up an hour late, so no reward for me. ; ;

Next chance I get, she tells me to get something from Windurst Walls. Taking no chances this time- I set my home point in Port Windurst, and run off once again. As predicted, the computer crashes again half way, but fortunately, I manage to get her item before time runs out thanks to a quick Warp back to the Home Point right next to the gate so I wouldn't have to traverse the whole Port Windurst. In return, I get a spiffy Windurstian Christmas Tree to accompany my Cupboards in the Mog House, although I don't know what I'm giong to do with it in the long run. I mean, I'd keep it, but it has Water energy...

Anyway, onto the main event- getting my Santa hat! ^^

For those who haven't done it yet, here's how it goes (at least, from a Windurstian's perspective). Talk to the Moogle by the Windurst Woods gate (where the summerfest moogles were), and the Moogle will tell you the locations (parts of Windurst) of three children, all of whom have a little letter that they want a budding adventurer to give to Santa. The children are random, and are all incidentally Tarutaru children, so unless you're a Taru yourself, the height difference between grown-up Taru and Taru cubs might be a little hard to distinguish. (And yes, Tarutaru children are called 'cubs'!) Once you find the 3 children, completely by trial, error, and a lot of peserverance, you need to head over to Santa Taru in Windurst Waters by the zone to East Sarutabaruta, and trade all three letters that the children gave you simultaneously to him. Here's the catch. I wasn't aware at first that the Santa Taru would quiz me on not only the children's names, but also which child gave me which letter! Suffice it to say, I got my answers wrong, and had to go do everything all over again.

That, in conjunction with my computer crashing every minute or so did nothing to ease the situation. At least I finally managed to attain my goal, so here I am, enjoying my brand-new Christmas look! Don't I look just soooooooo cuuute? ^^

14 December, 2004

Heir to the Great Wind

Garuda, take 3. ^^

But first, something a little different.

I actually worked on two things today, and while the showdown with Garuda Prime (again) was certainly one of the major accomplishments of the day, it certainly didn't take up the majority of my time. No, no. That dubious award goes to the Wizard's Tonban, which is the BLM coffer AF in the Eldieme Necropolis.

I had tried earlier to get a coffer key party going, to no avail, and sometime around 5 in the evening, I noticed someone else was shouting for an Eldieme Necropolis coffer party. Eventually, a group of us, 8 strong, set off to try and find the key. The bad news is that FIVE of us needed the key. For the record, in all the 8 or so times I've been down in the necropolis joining skillup parties with my WHM, I had never seen the key drop. Now that I needed the key myself, the prospect of fighting with four other people for the drop, as well as trying to find everyone a key (for posterity's sake) did not appeal to me. But some of us can be so stubborn sometimes. ^^

I was a little afraid at first since we were bringing so many people down. For some reason, it never occurs to people that the more members you bring down with you to the Eldieme Necropolis, the harder things get. It's not like Davoi, or Castle Oztroja, where more people means mobs die faster. More people means Blood Saber (an AoE Drain which get spammed a lot) means full health for the undead. But I digress. Our camp actually had two spawns right in it, and we never noticed, until eventually, we took it upon ourselves to move camp. Thank goodness for Takhisis, a BLM75, who decided to come down for the ride, since she could at least do a decent job and keeping the link busy while the rest of us tried to pummel the old skeleton.

And I was also pulling as WHM. ^^

I won't go into all the details here about how the keys dropped, but suffice to say, five hours later, we actually managed to get five coffer keys to drop. Even stranger, it soon became an inside joke that we'd get a coffer key only when we had links, which certainly seemed to be the case! Every single key that dropped came from a link, in particular two keys that dropped during an insane chain of links that was at least five skeletons long, and took several 2-hour abilities to beat. There were other funny incidents that happened during that time, including our RDM dying twice thanks to untimely Converts just before a Blood Saber went off, and my computer crashing right in the middle of the links, but in the end, all was good and everybody went home happy. ^^

I then Warped back to Jeuno to find Toefu shouting for another run at Garuda Prime. Between hunting for AF, and getting Garuda (not to mention that it'd soon be Lightsday New Moon for my Goldsmithing!), I eventually couldn't resist to settle the score from last night, and joined in the fun.

No risks this time. Same strategy as before- Toefu tanks Garuda while everyone else keeps him alive. Yagudo Drinks and Pineapple Juice included. Two WHMs. Our party was RDM THF PLD WHM WHM BLM, and mana conservation was critical here. The other WHM and I would alternate between sitting down and healing the active members. That way, our collective WHM pool would always be gaining mana. The THF could Trick Attack onto Toefu, so he could hold hate better. The Paladin was there for a SATA partner, and the BLM was to apply the coup de'grace.

Even then, we still almost ran out of mana. It was a little dicey when Aerial Blast left Toefu with a sliver of health, and _decimated_ the THF, and we Raised II'ed the THF in the middle of battle, who then went on to fight weakened. Thank goodness Garuda doesn't do any AoE attacks other than her 2-hour. There was also a time when Toefu Converted whilst tanking, but between Fast Cast, Stoneskin, and a well timed Cure V, he managed to survive that with no problems. It sure took a while, what with a RDM and PLD meleeing, but eventually, we managed to wear Garuda down until the BLM stood up and started the chain of Blizzards that turned her name grey. We beat Garuda Prime! :D

So all was good. Toefu got his dagger (a mighty fine one, I might add, too), as did the THF who couldn't resist after seeing its stats. Take a look- Garuda's Dagger; (RA/EX, obviously :P) DMG19, Delay 183, AGI +3, Attack +7, Additional effect: Silence. Mmmmm....

I got Garuda to accompany Shiva, and Perroevil, our PLD took Garuda as his first ever avatar! Of course, I couldn't resist running outside to take a screenshot. ^^

Three avatars down (Carby included), five to go. There was brief talk on taking on Ramuh, but it was late, and when we got to Mhaura, neither the PLD nor the THF had enough Windurst fame to get the quest. And so, we called it a night.

Well, except for me. I went around to look for my AF. ^^

The Eldieme Necropolis coffers are much like the Garlaige Citadel coffers, in the sense that thanks to the door system on the upper level, and the tiered floors on the lower level, you cannot reach all of the coffer spawns solo. At least, you can reach four of them, although one involves coming all the way from the Beaucedine Glacier, and I didn't really want to walk that far just yet. Fortunately, I bumped into Codelogic (RDM75 Taru!) inside the necropolis, and he offered to help me look for the coffer. It was very discouraging, really. Hunting this coffer is very much like the Castle Zvahl Baileys coffer, where there are spawns, but because of the nature of the Necropolis, you have to exit and reenter the Necropolis each time you're aiming for a new spawn point. The worst was when, after searching through all the non-Beaucedine Glacier spawns, I head up through the Glacier, come down, and find...empty space.


We make another last minute check at the top floor's spawns just in case it had popped up there during this time, to no avail, and eventually drop down to the Hume Bones to check the spawns there, again, finding stone wall. We decided to call it a night then, and I Warp II'ed Codelogic and logged out at the Hume Bones for the night.


This morning, when I woke up, I decided to randomly check the two spawns at the Hume Bones, and as luck would have it, guess what I found sitting on the side:

At long last, I see the words appear on the screen:

Obtained: Wizard's Tonban.

I can level up BLM again.../sniff.


Trail by Wind

It's a nice break from the regular scheme of things. You know the drill. I go on about my xp adventures, how my parties rocked, or how my parties sucked (today was mostly of the latter), and end with a little whining about how expensive Goldsmithing is (for the record, I just spent 38k on 7 synths with a break and no skillups ; ;).

Today was pretty much the same except for one little thing, which if you read the title, is pretty obvious. Trail by Wind.

Garuda Prime.

I'll get around to that eventually though. I actually had a rather memorable party earlier on with my Red Mage, which I finally got around to leveling after Glue reached RNG20. Our original party was horrible, and things just weren't going right, and dissolved pretty quickly. That was when Glue and I made a new party with only four people- RDM RNG RNG BRD. ^^ It was good times. We hit Chain #5 on IT Land Worms for 260xp. What was funnier was that I got /tells from assorted melee players all wondering if I had space in the party.

Well, I _did_ have space, but we didn't really need the extra members...

Eventually, once I hit Level 21, and Worms were giving us a little less xp, we brought in two more members- a WAR, and a BLM. ^^ We still ended up killing Land Worms for the most part, although we'd bring in the occasional Clipper to maintain a chain. Too bad the BLM fell asleep at the keyboard and died when a Land Worm spawned right next to him. ; ; RDM22 so far. ^^

So, onto the Trail by Wind.

I was randomly idling around Lower Jeuno having just logged on, and debating whether I should go level or not. I then saw a /shout from a RDM70 named Toefu recruiting people for the Garuda Prime fight. People seemed to sign up quickly enough, and soon, we were off. RDM, BLM. BLM, PLD, DRG, and me. For the record, we were probably horribly underleveled. Our job levels were like RDM70, BLM66, BLM64, DRG55, PLD61, WHM62. I guess it was worth a shot. Besides, I wanted to do something a little different for a change. ^^

So we headed down to the Cloister of Gales, which until now, I hadn't the faintest idea where it was. Apparently, it's tucked away in the hidden areas of Cape Terrigan, right off the marked area, guarded by Greater Manticores aplenty. Fun stuff. The cloister itself, compared to the Cloister of Frost in Fei'Yin, is a lot more vibrant to look at, at least, in my opinion.

We come up with a preliminary strategy- Apoc (our PLD) tanks, obviously, while the mages spam Cure II and Regen + Haste to keep things flowing. All this, with an Ice Staff-powered Baraera, and we were good to go.

The fight started out well, Apoc got, and held hate as expected, and while he was taking damage rather quickly, it was certianly manageable with myself, Toefu (our RDM), and Krutoyhooligan and Tearl (our BLMs) alternating between nuking and healing. The first obstacle comes when Garuda used Aerial Blast. 800+ damage on all the melee killed off both Apoc, and the DRG55, Chalky who came to help.

So now it was an all-mage fiesta. WHM RDM BLM BLM. I have to admit, Toefu did an admirable job tanking Garuda Prime. Between Stoneskin, Refresh, Regen II and Haste, we could go on for a very, very long time. There were, however, some problems that soon brought itself to light. Like what to do with the second Aerial Blast.

Toefu died, and soon, it was a mad rush to the protocrystal to try and get out of the battlefield. I ended up dying, and then suggested that since we had gotten Garuda to a sliver of health (5% or so), I could activate Reraise II, Raise II the BLMs, then just nuke it to death. That sounded like a fine plan, until I scouted Garuda Prime back in her nest to see she was at full health. Oh well. ; ;

So we left the battlefield, and while I'm going through the long process of Raise II'ing everybody, we come across a high level party who was out to help Kayla with her SMN AF3 fight. They ask if we want to help out, and after some internal discussion, we agree only to find that we are locked out of the battlefield when we try to enter. >_<

So our perspective of the SMN AF3 fight is basically watching the alliance HP bars go up and down, and watching status remarks fly across the party chat. In the meantime, we're busy trying to figure out how to go about beating Garuda Prime the second time through. Eventually, it boiled down to grabbing someone from the SMN AF3 alliance, since Kruto had to leave, and then trying to take on Garuda that way. Eventually, Kayla, the SMN who was getting her AF3, ofers to help us, and after a minor mishap whereby she got a Warp II from a Japanese BLM who "had trouble reading English quickly" >_< we're off once again.

This time though, the plan was different. Toefu would be main tanking after Shiva took on Garuda. Everybody else would, well, just try doing their thing. Unfortunately, Apoc and Chalky still die first after (you guessed it) another Aerial Blast wiped out the two of them. Apac was a little bit too fixated into his PLD role, forgetting that it was the RDM that was supposed to tank, and Flash'ed Garuda Prime twice, both times meeting resists! First time I'd ever seen a resist on a Flash....

And so once again it was 4 mages versus Garuda. Once again, we almost beat her, except that Tearl nuked a bit too hard, and got aggro, during which he got hit, and ran over to rest. For some reason, Toefu's attempt at holding hate didn't work after that, and Garuda went halfway across the battlefield just to slap Tearl around a bit and ten seconds later, we have another party face down on the floor. Even worse, Reraise II wears off. ; ;

Things are getting dire, and barring major heroics or miracles, we weren't going to beat Garuda. It didn't really help that Toefu didn't seem to have the time to Refresh me, and as I write this, I'm very sure that if I had mp, we could've won. But you know the drill. Stoneskin wears off. Toefu gets hit. I Cure V, and all the mages are out of MP. That means Toefu cannot Convert, and is literally trapped. I try some heroics and Benediction (without Reraise up ; ;) and die soon thereafter. Toefu follows suit, and Kayla runs out of the battlefield so she can Raise (1 ; ;) me.

So I didn't get Garuda Prime, and sucked up 3100xp (or all today's work xp'ing) in the process. Ah well, at least it was fun, and in the end, isn't that what it's all about? (Still sucks tho...)

10 December, 2004

I got it!

On the 22nd of September, I hit Goldsmithing 38, and attained my Novice status. It was also the time when I could start handing in items for Guild Points to get that one item all the Hume and Elvaan Goldsmithers /drool over.

Two months, three weeks, and ludicrous amounts of gil later (okay, so I'm one day short), I finally have it:

Too bad they don't look half as cool on a Taru... /sulk

09 December, 2004

A plan of action.

I feel...burnt out.

I'm not too sure why either. I mean, feeling burnt out from leveling is one thing, but then again, I haven't leveled in the past three days. Nope, not even BLM (need my Eldieme Necropolis coffer first... ; ;). I guess it’s one of those things that happen if you play too hard at one thing, I guess. I mean, I've been playing hard in FF and have gone back to my studies with somewhat of a renewed vigor, so I guess I need a bit of a break. Oh well, at least the update's going to take a while. ^^

It's funny. I took a look at my past entries, and noticed upon two lines I wrote a little over a month ago:

Tuufless's goldsmithing skill rises 0.2 points.
Tuufless's goldsmithing skill reaches level 50.

Now, just over a month later, I'm only Goldsmithing 52.3. Damn, the 50s are harsh! Gold is pretty much at an all-time low at the moment, and I frankly haven't the faintest idea why. Gold Ingots are flowing into Jeuno like water, and Beastcoins are waiting in line by handfuls in the Auction House. I remember seeing over fifty Beastcoins in Jeuno, which is certainly more than I've ever seen at one go. 40+ Gold Ingots on sale, too. The price of a Gold Ingot has plummeted to 28-29k per Ingot. Stacks of Gold Ingots are now 360k. And the prices are still high.

The Gold Nuggets have more or less stabilized at 51k/stk. That's 33,500 gil to make one Ingot, so I lose 4-5k a synth. I don't even skillup that much from Gold Ingots that way anymore, not even on Darksday with no support. I mean, I know there is a drastic slowdown, but six synths for no skillup at 52 is quite...outworldly.

I've contemplated heading over to the dreaded Mythril Cuisses route as recommended by others. I can make two Mythril Ingots for about 9000 gil. The Ram Leather goes for another 1k or so, and the Cuisses sell for 7k at the Jeuno AH. Assuming I don’t flood the market. I guess that’s really not too bad. At least, my loss is less than the Gold Ingots, although that all changes if I vendor them. The Cuisses are, on the other hand, 9 levels above me, so I will break. A lot. I guess I'll give two or three a shot, depending on how many Sheets I can make in time. Firesday, Full Moon in about 6 hours. I'm sure I can piece together something by then.

My main goal here is to just hit Level 55. From there, I can make a reasonable shot at Platinum Ingots via Nuggets, which reportedly are breakeven for me at 55, then slowly turn into profit all the way to Level 64, where they cap. I imagine I'll be making quite a lot of Platinum, given the way I'm skilling up at the moment. Hopefully the Platinum Nuggets won't undergo a ridiculous pricehike like Gold did. I'd imagine there won't be as many Platinum crafters, since they might all be scared off by the prospect of taking Gold past 50. After all, they got their shades, there isn't any real need for them to take Gold to 60...or so I'd hope.

I'm also saddened by the number of people that are leaving the game. To their credit, FFXI's been out for quite some time, and with EQ2 and World of Warcraft, I can very well see them move on. Elowen was the first to tell me she was quitting, then a few days ago, Accolade came to say his /farewells. The very next day, Erieta announces in the TrueRune LS that she will terminate her account upon the new year. /sigh. I guess people have to move on. Anyway, for posterity's sake, I took a screenshot of Accolade's last moments with his linkshell:

It's not a very good picture, mostly because it was nighttime. Frankly, there needs to be something done about the screenshots- they're all very very dark, especially at night. It is really so hard to ask for some way to take screenies without the use of third-party editing software?

Anyway, while I'm on the subject of people quitting, I have to admit that the thought has crossed my mind a couple of times recently. There are, however, a few things that I want to accomplish before I do leave, although knowing how things go, these probably won't all be complete:

And so without further ado, I present Tuuf's list of “Things to do before I...die?”, or whatever the more appropriate term is. ^^

1) Have a Lvl 75 Job.
2) Goldsmithing 100. (This will probably not happen, but one can always dream. ^^)
3) Go to Dynamis.
4) Participate in an HNM run. (*cough* Kirin, anybody? *cough*)
5) Get BLM60.
6) Defeat Fenrir.
7) Attain Windurst Rank 10.
8) Go through the Ru'Avitau teleport scene myself. ^^ (At request of Gluey ^^)
9) Whilst I'm in , complete “Divine Might” (the one with 5 Ark Angels)
10) Get a good amount of experience with NIN/BLM at Level 60+
11) Get RDM60. (Must have that hat! >_<)

That's all that immediately comes to mind...wow, that’s a lot of leveling I need to do. Oh well. I'll get around to it someday...^^

Hmmm...Gluey has mentioned that he wants to Level up SAM as a second 75 job...I guess I can take my Ninja with him then, although that WAR sub’s really going to bug me...

05 December, 2004

Lotsa, lotsa parties!

It seems that this past week has been treating me really strange. For one, I think I've partied more during this past week than I have in recent memory, and to be honest, at the time of writing, I'm feeling quite burnt out. It all started when I decided to activate Mission 9-1. As I may have mentioned already, the plotline for the Windurst missions is really quite well done, at least, in my opinion, and as such, I wanted to get 9-1 and 9-2 done. The problem is, I'd need at least a WHM65 to do 9-1, and WHM70 for 9-2. That, and at some point, I would like to try joining an HNM LS (though I still do not know how to go about finding one) and it'd be easier for my WHM to reach the requisite level before my BLM. (People say one starts looking for an HNM LS around Level 65, although I know of many who are in one at lvl 60...)

So I started partying once again with my White Mage. Let's just say that WHM plays very diferently post 60 than pre-60. Other than the Monastic Cavern, the prime xp spots all require you to fight something that spams status effects, and that's where the White Mage comes in. Silena and Paralyna against Toramas in the Valley of Onzozo; Silena and Stona against Cockatrice in Cape Terrigan; Erase, Poisona, and Blindna against Anticans in the Attowa Chasm (more on that later). I find myself spamming Cures very little nowadays, well, unless we have a bad tank. That, and Cure V is a godsend. Too bad many people don't let you use Cure V to the fullest, and half the party freaks out and starts casting Cure III once they see the tank's HP turn red.

It seems that my parties alternative between good, and downright horrible. I have no idea why. There're the parties that I can easily stay for 10k xp or so in say a couple hours time. My Cape Terrigan party was such an example. We were chaining on Cockatrice there, and getting xp at around 200 a kill, which is pretty good for 60+. I even got a compliment from one of my party members to add to the "warm and fuzzy" collection:

Marlo: Tuufless is awesome WHM. /grin

On the other hand, I got invited to an AWFUL party in the Boyahda Tree, where the leader was actually Level 64 and was on /anon so I wouldn't know. He then proceeded to bring a 61-64 party (mostly 61-63) to the Boyahda Tree to fight Steelshells when they are normally xp fodder for Level 65 parties. Needless to say, the party couldn't chain at all and we got a whooping 3k xp in 3 hours. I would've left, but the leader's insistence at getting him his level (500tnl, which I equated to an extra 30 minutes) let me grudgingly stay. I'm probably too nice sometimes.

'Course, that's when he pulls a black mandragora along with the Steelshell which kills me and wipes out the 3k xp I had built up over the past 3 hours. If it weren't for the WHM70 that was around and gave me a Raise III, I would've blown my top.

At least the next party made up for that, at least, in fun factor alone. Unfortunately, it wasn't for my WHM, but rather, for my BLM.

Yep, I finally managed to put it together. The. Best. Party. Setup. Ever.

BLM BLM BLM BLM BLM BRD for the win!

To be honest, I wasn't quite sure how a BLM party worked, but after a few practice kills, we soon got down to business. I had brought along Shortee to be our BLM, who has since been a convert to the BLM party (/grin) and Zenyu. We then found three other Black Mages, and soon, we were off to Kuftal to start off a Robber Crab massacre. Shortee probably never imagined he'd end up pulling as a Bard before, but he did a good job. Luckily we were the only people at our camp, otherwise our kill rate (and the amount of lag we created) would've probably driven any competition away. We even moved to a spawn zone just because the pulling distance started getting too far to chain effectively!

Anyway, here's how it worked: Shortee would pull with Ice Therondy after singing both Ballads on all 5 BLMs. When we caught sight of the crab, one of us would Stun, while the other four Sleep II. (Chances are, one of them will hit). We all Aspir, and wait for my signal:

/p {Freeze} in 3 seconds! Get ready!
/p GOOOOOO!!!!!!
/ma Freeze

It only took 4 Freezes (and the occasional Blizzard II) to put a quick end to whatever Shortee brought back. ^^ I don't recall what our exact xp rate was, but I remember mentioning something like 1.5k in 10 minutes to Shortee. Needless to say, it wasn't long before I dinged BLM55 in this party. ^^

The funny part was that when we disbanded, Shortee went out and boldly /shouted across Lower Jeuno something along the lines of "hahaha, all you melee are now useless!" I wonder what they must've thought. ^^

Following the pattern, the next party was a disappointment. With my WHM, and with Railston, we went up to Cape Terrigan again to try and xp off Cockatrice. Unfortunately, for some reason, the PLD was taking a very large amount of damage, and after a bad start which wiped out the entire party, we get going for a little bit before a premature pull meant I ran out of mana, which meant a dead tank. In the end, Railston and I spent 3 hours and got a net gain of only 1k xp. We tried partying in the Valley of Sorrows, but despite what people say, I am not a fan of chaining lots of 100s together, when it is perfectly possible to chain at least 150s elsewhere.

Finally, the Attohwa Chasm party. I wasn't actually seeking at the time, but the /tell came in nonetheless. The fact that it was in Japanese already got my hoeps up, and after asking where they were planning on going, I mentioned that I had never been to the Attohwa Chasm before.

Not that that mattered, since the leader hadn't been there either, but had heard it was a good xp spot that has yet to be explored. Feeling somewhat adventurous, I agreed. The chasm is a rather pretty place, although very hazardous. Once you reach the surface, all sorts of things can kill you, from HNM Dragons (Tiamat) to even the scenery that occasionally belches out poisonous gas that takes off very large chunks of your HP per tick.

We were leveling off Antlions, which really look more like giant lobsters than anything, but I digress.

The kills were decent. We were getting at least 150 a kill, and chaining up to 180. For some reason though, we could never actually get Chain #5, but the kills were very steady and constant. It's rather surprising that not many people know of this place yet, and as Kohen told me, word is slowly starting to go around. Heck, even the party (all JP) were discussing the possibilities of this place, for they certainly weren't aware this was a decent xp spot. The AoE Blind was a bit of a pain, but with three mages, all /WHM, we set up a system where each mage took care of a melee character. That way, we avoided overlapping -na spells. Ah, systems.

The result of all this work? I'm a Level 62 WHM! :D

Finally, in terms of crafting, I've finally begun work on the Lu Shang's quest. After all, I figured Fishing's pretty decent profit later on, and since I have the capital to support myself for now, I might as well turn in ALL the Moat Carps I get while skilling up, instead of AH-ing them and starting later. Goldsmithing's still on hold until I get my sunglasses completed- I only have 10k GP to go, and with tomorrow's prediction being Silver items, I could very well be strutting around a pair of shaded spectacles in Lower Jeuno within the week!

In preparation, I also bought up eight Cupboards from the furniture shop in San d'Oria (15.5k each! >_<). Only time will tell how a Fire Moghancement will affect my Goldsmithing. I guess, as long as I save at least one Gold Ingot, that's already two Cupboards paid for. I tried synthesizing Gold Ingots via Nuggets without any imagery just to see what happened. I got +0.1 out of 4 synths and no failures. Hmmm. Only time will tell, I guess.