19 January, 2005

Ode to a Dragoon.

/sigh. It's one of those days again.

I'm actually writing this entry in the afternoon, as opposed to the wee hours of the morning, just because I'm quite frankly burnt out. Combinations of bad parties, and other assorted messiness has taken quite a lot of the joy out of playing this morning, so I figured I'd take a break for a few hours. I really don't know how it happened. The setup was great. RDM BLM BLM PLD THF RNG. My only gripe was that a NIN tank would potentially serve our party better, since we were without a dedicated healer, but then again, a NIN tank would send the mob flying in all directions thanks to the good 'ol RNG BLM BLM. Having a Eurytos' Bow on the RNG probably wouldn't help the hate control, either.

On the plus side, the PLD + THF managed to hold hate pretty well, and I don't recall the mob ever turning to me once the initial SATA had been settled. Unfortunately, for some reason, things just kept going wrong. It's not like the players were horrendous either, since I've partied with pretty much all of them before. Things just didn't...click together, I guess.

Anyway, that's not the main point of this entry.

Rewind about an hour, when I'm trying to build the party. As per Gluey's and my "pseudo-static", I start off with RNG BLM. I invite a THF in to get the Sidewinder -> Dancing Edge skillchain for Distortion. Standard procedure, straight out the textbook. It was then I noticed my LS member, and good friend, Akanea seeking. I guess it's time for a quick introduction.

Akanea and I go back a loooong way. Well, not that long, but you get the idea. Looking through my archives, Akanea (hereafter shortened down to just "Aka") and I first partied together in the Boyahda Tree, way back when I was around WHM54. Take a quick look at the archives at the 22nd September entry. See that DRG I mention there? Yep, that'd be Aka. Come to think of it, that was almost four months ago. Wow...

Anyway, Akanea's a great person, and I really enjoyed my time partying with him. There's just one problem. Aka is also a Dragoon. (Which you should've realised from the previous paragraph.) For those who aren't quite familiar with party setups in Final Fantasy XI, the standard party build is one tank, two melee for a skillchain, and three mages. Actually, "mages" are rather generic, since Bards can also fit in there, but you get the idea. In addition, one of the mages needs to be able to contribute a mana refresh effect to the party, which means either a Red Mage, or a Bard. But that's deviating from the point.

The problem is that while the mage roles are pretty much set in stone since you pick three jobs from WHM BLM RDM BRD SMN, of which one has to be either RDM or BRD, you have no less than six different melee jobs (that's more jobs than mage) all competing for two slots. Of those two slots, the most desired is Ranger, due to their ridiculous damage output, rivaled only by the Black Mage. With the Ranger, you also have a Thief, which has (imo) the most powerful closer to the Distortion skillchain in the form of a SATA Dancing Edge, which can, on occasion hit the fourth digit with relative ease. It's a beautiful thing to see a Ranger, Thief, and Black Mage get to work with a Sidewinder/Slug Shot to SATA Dancing Edge skillchain with a Blizzaga II Magic Burst on top. Mobs can go from full health to zero in that one skillchain alone. I'm getting ahead of myself again here...

The problem is, Dragoons are well, pretty low on the recruit list. Other than the fact that they look cool in their blueish-purple AF armour, they don't contribute all that much to parties, at least, not in my experience. As such, Dragoons can spend days on end trying to find a party to level up with while everybody else cruises ahead of them. The situation is similar to Thieves before they reach level 15- nobody wants them.

So, going back to Aka.

In the time it took me to level my Black Mage from level 35 to 63, Akanea has managed to get from Dragoon 60 all the way to 62. The disparity's astounding sometimes, and since I really do like partying with Akanea, I'd want him in. Unfortunately, I already have my skillchain all set up. Bringing Akanea in would make the mage ranks very tight, and generally, three melee classes aren't really recommended. So, once again, I leave Aka in the lurch and go off to party yet again. Honestly, it doesn't feel good. At least the party didn't turn out well at all, so Akanea wasn't missing much, but that's not the point here.

Partying with friends is a very good thing. It's nice to be back in the 60s, where many people have slowed down and taken time off to explore other aspects of the game. I'm back with many of my friends whom I've made during my White Mage days, and the company's good. But right now, I'm rather preoccupied in getting my Black Mage up to 65 so I can join Glue's sky LS, who reportedly need Black Mages, and to be honest, that goal is quickly falling out of sight. It may be the grind, which is indeed, harsh. A good party gets about 5k points an hour. Even then, it'll still take over six hours of leveling just to get one level. Suffice it to say, I'm looking at roughly fourteen more hours of mashing macros and casting nukes at mobs while watching my "To next Level" bar crawl forward at a crippled snail's pace. But when did leaving old friends behind come to be? Logistically, partying with Akanea is no longer sound since he's a whole level behind me. I could wait, and party with him once he hits 63, but given the rate at which things are going, that's a very far-off thing.

Aka, if you're reading this, {I'm sorry.}. Since I don't level up my WHM all that often now, hopefully we'll be able to party again once you and Avar hit Level 63. Then it'll be good times again! ^^

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