28 February, 2005

Fly Me to the Moon...

So much happened for me to write, I decided to split today up into two parts. /grin
Well, also because this would've been yet another competitor for the title, and I felt it was significant enough to warrant its own section, but anyway...

When I last left off, I was soloing Sapphire Quadavs in Beadeaux in an attempt to get my Water IV scroll, and my Black Mage's testimony, although the testimony evidently is a far more common drop. >_< What happened in the end though, was that two skillup parties came down, and a third was forming in Jeuno, and it didn't look like any of them would want to let me have the Sapphires all to myself, and so I Warped back, albeit disappointed.

It was also Full Moon, and so, I randomly decided that I would try to get my {Moon} pass.

To those who do not know, {moon} isn't actually a whole different area- it's just a sectioned off area in Ro'Maeve. Within {moon} lie all sorts of nasty-wasty creatures (all of which aggro to magic like the mobs outside), and are mobs that parties in the 70s xp off. Needless to say, having access to {moon} would be nice, and it'd allow me to be more flexible in terms of where I could go party, although for the record, I've been to be rejected because I didn't have {sky} access. >_<

Here's a map of Ro'Maeve to explain things:

There aren't many walkthroughs out there as to how to get your moonpass, or at least, the ones that I found were a little fuzzy in some parts, so I'll try to explain things as best I can. As I just said, {moon} comprises of the two areas circled on the map. These two areas are as far as I know, unconnected, so you'd have to leave one side of {moon} to get to the other. There are two ways to get into {moon}- either get someone with a moonpass to let you inside, or wait for the moongates to open and let you in. The two moongates are almost always closed, but are open at 0:00 to 3:00 every night of the Full Moon. If you cannot find someone who will let you in, and need to do it solo, that's when you'd go. Incidentally, during this time, the lowered platform (also marked) near the entrace to Ro'Maeve raises, giving you a more direct route to the top where the Hall of the Gods lie, although this isn't really neccessary.

Anyway, once you are inside {moon}, you are looking for a ??? which spawns in one of eight possible locations. Not much is known about where the spawn points are although the general consensus seems to be that there are four points on each side, and then, they are further divided into three on the "top" floor and one on the "bottom" floor (there are connecting staircases). Furthermore, the ??? changes position every ten (real) minutes if not touched.

So all you have to do is find the ???, although that's not always an easy task.
The problem lies in just surviving. Anyone who's been to Ro'Maeve can tell you that every single mob there aggros. Some aggro to sight, others aggro to sound, but they all aggro to magic. Given the crowded nature of the place, trying to magically reapply Sneak or Invisible is just about the equivalent to committing suicide, bearing in mind that these are xp mobs for level 70 parties, espeically since the mobs have a huge aggro radius when it comes to magic. So you are forced to go with Silent Oils and Prism Powders. How much you should bring depends on luck, really. I personally felt I got lucky and managed to find my pass within three quarters of a stack of both. Others have taken multiple stacks and spent hours in {moon} before finding that ???.
And so, since I already had a few Oils and Powders with me, I just decided to try my luck and bought one stack of each, cursing at the insane prices of both- 11k for Silent Oils and 10k for Prism Powders? Jeez...maybe I should level up my Alchemy to HQ these, considering how quickly they sell! I actually tried checking the San d'Oria AH in Rabao, but they were out of stock on Silent Oils, and their Prism Powders were even more expensive than Jeuno, so grumbling, I bought the oils and powders in the Jeuno AH. The 1,500 gil chocobo didn't help /comfort me, either. ; ;

And so I chocobo'ed into Ro'Maeve, arriving late, and so decided to wait outside for a little bit. Of course, what's an adventure without a little distraction? Valoo happened to be in the area, and asked if I wanted to help kill some Goobbue NM called the Keeper of Halidom. Evidently it drops some very expensive Great Swords, and since I had time to burn for the net hour or so, I figured why not. ^^

He wasn't too hard at all, although Valoo said he packed quite a bit of a punch. >_< We killed him, and only got two Goobbue Humus and a Tree Cutting from him. Evidently, the Great Swords are are very, very rare drop- someone reportedly is 0/28 on them!
Walking to the spawn point and back took up a considerable amount of time, and before I knew it, by the time I had returned to Ro'Maeve, it was about time to set off. And so I did.

I actually got to the west moongate a little early, and had to spend a few minutes in front of the gate holding my breath in case the Killing Weapon behind me decided to aggro and turn me into Taru chowder. Fortunately, my Silent Oil and Prism Powder co-operated, and I only had to reapply once. Once inside, I search through the left section to no avail, and then went to the right section where I eventually found the ??? in a crack on the open section of the lower floor around (I think) E-5. Waited until the Weapon guarding it and the Golem turned to face the other side, then dropped Invisible and rushed to get the ???. There was a faint glimmer, and then the words appeared on the screen:

Obtained Key Item: Moongate pass.

I hurriedly put Invisible back on, and then ran back to the Hall of the Gods where I could Warp back safely. Phew! ^^

With that out the way, I then resolved to resume my hunt for the Water IV scroll. I managed to drag Railston for the ride, and we duo'ed the Quadavs for a while. It was kinda nice having him around since I could pull one link and we'd just split it, or just kill the Sapphire Quadav twice as fast. We weren't without accidents though- Rail died once after his Silence got resisted and the Sapphire Quadav stayed home to cast instead of running out to us so the other two Quadavs moved and linked. That, and I underestimated the Sleepga II castime so the Quadavs were all awake after Railston tried to Firaga III all of them. Yeah, he died. >_<

I died as well after pulling two links, and just got interrupted as I jammed on the Sleepga II macro, and died later that night again once Railston decided to leave, deleveling in the process. ; ;

Fortunately, I was left quite cloe to tnl (about 180tnl), but at 32xp a kill and 10 minutes per kill, it still took quite a while! >_< Eventually, Codelogic and a Japanese NIN/MNK came down and we eventually teamed up to try to find both the scroll for me, and a key for the Japanese Ninja, neither of which happened unfortunately. By the time 4am rolled around, I called it quits, and Codelogic Warped back to Jeuno while I logged out in Beadeaux to try again tomorrow. At least we got Waterga II and Waterga III... ; ;

But why no Water IV?? ; ;

Shattering Stars, Take 2

"Shattering Stars, Take 2." I'm not sure what to call this entry, really, and whether my second attempt at fighting Maat was worth the title is quentionable in itself. Other possible candidates for the title include "The Party that does not end," or just "70! ^^"

I guess some explaining is in order. ^^

The morning was pretty much spent idling around, hoping to see if someone was /shouting for a Beadeaux skillup or an Ifrit run (they weren't). For some reason, I have a great abhorration to /shouting for missions and stuff like that, although I have few qualms trying to start up an xp party. And so, a lot of the morning was spent doing other things. Zimo, a Ranger, had previously invited me to a party, but I had to decline since at the time, the Doom LS was about to start their escourt run. And so he tried to invite me once again, except that I actually had my party flag up. ^^

And so, we went down to Bibiki Bay, despite the fact that I personally quite liked Kuftal Tunnel. That, and I wasn't quite sure where we'd camp in Bibiki that was worth it, since I only knew the camps up to the Dhalmels. As it turned out, the party setup was BLM WHM RDM RNG DRK NIN. We camped in some cave at the south of Bibiki, where all the assorted Hobgoblin Fishermen gathered, namely Hobgoblin Anglers, Hobgoblin Fishers, and the occasional Hobgoblin Physician. I was initially dismayed at first when I was told that I couldn't Magic Burst Firaga III off {Light} as there were Tartarus Efts in our camp, and for a while, I stuck with just plain old Thunder III Magic Bursts. Eventually, I soon noticed that whenever both Efts went to the back of the cave, there was ample space to Magic Burst Firaga, and so, that's how I got my fix. I have to admit that as time wore on, I grew more daring in my perception of what a safe distance was, and I had to cancel many Firagas (and consequently miss MBs) thanks to an Eft that decided to get out of the cave and have a breath of fresh air.

Tuufless slaps the Tartarus Eft.

Anyway, we were fighting pretty much nonstop. Thanks to the fact that Arching Arrow to Spinning Slash for the Light skillchain dealt so much damage, I only really had to stand up to Magic Burst a fight. Indeed, all I'd do to start a fight was to to my usual Frost, Rasp, Drown triad, then Blind and Drain to skillup, and then the rest of the fight would basically consist of me waiting to MB while spamming Dia to skillup Enfeebling Magic for my Maat fight. When I mean we were fighting non-stop, it was pull after pull after pull. I'm not sure how many people know of that particular camp- I personally had no idea such a camp existed, but the mobs were plentiful and the respawn time didn't feel too long either. Granted, we'd occasionally miss a Chain #5 (when I had to cancel an MB), but we were making a little about 5k an hour, and everyone was happy.

Happy to the point where nobody wanted to leave.

Well, that's not quite true. Actually, quite a few people left, but in the NA players' tradition, replacements were sought. ^^ First, Zimo (RNG) left, and we brought in Dyson (another RNG) to replace him. Then, Unstopable (WHM) left, and we grabbed Fishura (RDM). Then, the other RDM, Neiru (JP) was feeling sleepy, after having played through the night until 9am JP time, and apologising, he left as well. We then brought in Izsa (BRD) to replace Neiru after some coaxing. After that, Fishura had to leave, and so we brought in Awo (RDM) to replace. From then on, we played for two more hours before finally disbanding the party.

The party, in its entirety, lasted about eight hours, during which I personally got a whopping 35k xp points, and better yet, I dinged 70! :D

'Course, it was a little-wittle bit embarrassing to ding 70 without my scroll of Water IV, but even if I did have the scroll in my possession, it would've almost assuredly been left in my Mog Safe. After all, who brings scrolls for the next level when you're 34k tnl at the start? >_<

What was also odd was that the Ninja, Reikiyoki (or something like that) complimented me on my Black Mage-ing. Personally, I found it quite nice, since as I'm sure I've mentioned before, I've had quite a number of people complement me on my play as a White Mage, but in the 70 levels of Black Mage, I've only had one person tell me I was a good Black Mage. Perhaps the difficulty to play a Black Mage is somewhat underestimated?

Anyway, with Level 70 came the opportunity to fight Maat once again. The fact that it was Darksday was just gravy. And so, remembering mistakes from last time, I set about to try again. This time, I even managed to borrow an Enfeebling Torque from Fishura to help out with my Sleeps, and had everything macro'ed, just to be sure. I entered the battlefield with nothing on, except two Electrum Rings and a Gold Hairpin, based upon the assumption that Maat is a mirror image of yourself upon entering the battlefield, so hey, why not make yourself gimped with -50 hit points to boot? ^^

And so I went through the routine performance of getting Blink up via the Blink Band, and then, now knowing that Maat doesn't engage you until your first spell resolves, I opened with Freeze.Maat started to cast Blizzaga II, and then I hurriedly Stunned, then Sleepga II'ed him. It's a little difficult to tell when Maat's actually slept, and as he kept moving forward after I cast Sleepga II, I thought he must've resisted, and so hurriedly Elemental Seal'ed and cast Sleep II...only to find that the Sleepga II landed successfully. >_<

I then cast Flare on him, which almost did the job. Maat started casting Blizzaga II and I tried racing with Sleep II. Besides, I was still at full health, and Blizzaga II, while it'd hurt, it wouldn't kill me like Stonega III. Then Maat came running up to me and started attacking. I figured Maat had interrupted his Blizzaga II and decided to go melee instead, so I kept the Sleep II running.

One of his physical attacks connected, and....Blizzaga II resolves??


Suffice it to say, I died. ;

Oh well, lessons learnt again. I've rewired my macro set to be almost fool-proof (of course, we'll see how foolproof it really is the next time I try), and now I had to somehow procure yet another Black Mage's testimony.

And so, I trooped down to Beadeaux again to try and get a testimony (and Water IV), except this time, I was doing it solo. Like I said, I hate asking other people for help on missions and stuff like that, preferring to solo when I can. That, and I'm sure some people know how expensive Water IV is, and should Water IV drop and people insist on lotting for it even though I need it more than they do, I, for one will be a very mad taru. >_<

Soloing the Sapphire Quadavs aren't particularly difficult- it's just a very tedious process. In essense, anything that can be reliably slept is fair game for me, and all I have to do is Silence, Thunder III, Stun, Sleep II, Aspir, rest and repeat, keeping up Stoneskin and Blink all the while. It takes me a little over five minutes to kill one Sapphire Quadav, but at least I'm not wasting my time killing the other assorted Quadavs like in a skillup party. Of course, sometimes pulling the Sapphire Quadav out of the clump of other Quadavs is a little bit of a chore, and one basically has to wait it out, hoping that the Sapphire will separate itself from the others and then pull with Silence (this is to ensure the Sapphire Quadav doesn't stay back home casting spells and not moving, giving the other Quadavs opportunity to link.) It takes about ten minutes to kill one Sapphire Quadav, so it's not a terribly fun thing to do for long stretches of time, but we make do with what we have, I guess.

In the end, I got neither the testimony, nor the scroll of Water IV. At least one Quadav dropped a scroll of Waterga II, although that wasn't quite what I was looking for. >_<

Then the skillup parties began to trickle in. Once the second skillup party entered, I pretty much gave up, since judging from their pulling styles, they certainly weren't going to let me have the Sapphire Quadavs to myself, unlike an earlier group. Heh, /fume-ing over potential links with a Thief is quite fun. ^^

More to come... ^^

27 February, 2005

Return to King Ranperre's Tomb

We're back, and we're back to King Ranperre's Tomb to teach those nasty-wasty skeletons that Black Mages are not to be trifled with! Much has changed since the last time we came. We're now Level 69 and above, armed with the bane of undead all over- Firaga III.
It started out slow, but after a good hour or so of trying to complete the party, we managed to set off to King Ranperre's Tomb with four Black Mages, a Bard, and a Summoner. I was skeptical at first, but now I'm convinced that once you hit the Firaga III BLM parties, a Summoner is very much needed, if only for Carbuncle pulls since it's too dangerous to have someone who can be aggroed try to pull. Summoners, on the other hand, can Sneak themselves, and have Carby pull the mob back to camp safely, which at this point in the game, was pretty darn high up in our priorities.

/em recalls the last expedition to King Ranperre's Tomb.

At first, I thought we'd just take out the Spartoi Soldiers, although in the end, that certainly did not turn out to be the case. Everything was fair game to us- even the Spartoi Sorcerers and Lemures (Ghosts) went down with no problems whatsoever! It was just too bad that we were playing in peak hours- the Tomb was crowded to no end, and I think we must've shared our camp with at least two other parties.

So anyway, Carbuncle would go pull. Carbuncle returns with undead in tow. No need for Sleep this time (not like we could land Sleep on an undead anyway), just Firaga III when in range, then an assortment of Stuns and Fire IIIs for the kill. Great fireballs and pillars of flame shot up, lag spiked, the undead died {Huh?!}, and we all /cheer-ed.

We had to end early though- since it took such a long time to complete the party, we had set off around half past one in the morning, and after an hour, Hirushi couldn't take it any more- he even "neochi"'ed on us, meaning that he fell asleep at the keyboard. ^^

We were sorry to have to end so quickly, but we disbanded in high spirits. It was a very good (and fun!) experience for all of us- us BLMs had never done a Firaga party before, having used Ancient Magic up to now, and this was even one BLM's first BLM party! He kept thanking me in /tell for the fun time, which was very nice indeed. ^^

In other news, I joined a party with the intent on killing Ramuh for my Whisper of Storms. It was pretty much the same old fight as before, except that he didn't do his AoE Paralyze attack on us which made things a whole lot easier. Since we were in the Cloister of Storms, we also ended up helping our SMN58 with the first part of his AF3 battle- a fight against two NM Weapons, named Thunder Gremlin and Lightning Gremlin.

We didn't know what to expect of them, and just figured we'd do the old standby of sleeping one and fighting the other. That is, until we tried an {Elemental Seal}-{Sleep II} on one and it got resisted. >_< Guess they can't be slept then. :P

In the end, we ended up fighting one Weapon, while Aable kited the other weapon up and down the ramp that leads to the top of the arena. One of the weapons' (Lightning Gremlin) attacks drains TP when it connects, and the other (Thunder Gremlin) drains MP, so in retrospect, Aable should've kited the Lightning Gremlin instead of the Thunder. :P

So we were merrily going on killing the weapons...when I disconnected. >_< At least the others managed to win anyway, and I met them outside the battlefield when I logged back in again. Still was embarrassing though. >_<

Finally, the Doom LS did an escourt quest! We were trying to get Anipheus one of those xp papers so that he can fight Maat the "cheating" way, and so, with a few of us in tow, we all embarked on the quest to escourt Olavia through the Crawler's Nest. It was a little cumbersome at first, since we didn't quite know how to control the NPC, who is quite prone to getting aggro, but with everyone in the LS in the 60+ levels, we easily cleared the way for Olavia...that is, once we figured out how to command her to stop and move on. >_<

Still need to hit Level 70 and fight Ifrit. Also need to work on the Zilart missions soon, too- I want to see {sky}! ^^

23 February, 2005

Shattering Stats, Take 1

As you might've guessed from the title, I tried my hand at fighting Maat today.

As you also might've guessed from the title, I was also what some might called "pwned." >_<

Ah well. At least it made for a story. ^^ I've been working towards this fight, somewhat, trying to cap my Enfeebling Magic in regular party setups, including one very nice party in Bibiki Bay. After spamming about three Dias a fight, about 2-3 hours later, I'm looking at capped magic skills across the board. In addition to that, come level 70, I need to get ahold of a Water IV scroll, and as some might say, "I'll be damned" if I have to actually purchase that scroll off the AH.

So I tried to skillup in Beadeaux yesterday to get the scroll (where I died >_<), and while I got neither Flood, nor a scroll of Water IV, I did get reminded that the Sapphire Quadavs which drop said scrolls, also drop a Black Mage's Testimony.

Fast forward to today. I happened to log on, thinking it was Lightsday by rough approximation, and as it turned out, it was actually Firesday. For those who are unfamiliar with how a Black Mage fights Maat, it involves two things- maximising the amount of damage your Ancient Magic spells do, and successfully landing a Sleep on Maat so you can fire off said Ancient Magic safely. With a Fire Staff, Firesday, and a newly-found Flare, I felt Firesday was the better day to try and take Maat on, and since my Dark Magic and Enfeebling Magic are both capped, I shouldn't have too much trouble Sleeping Maat, rightaru?

So I went back to my Moggie-Woggie house and picked up my Blink Band that Rhydia sent me, along with my Black Mage's Testimony, and traded it to Maat. Just like the last time, he teleported me all the way to Horlais' Peak for our duel!

The plan was simple. Sleep him, Freeze, then Stun, Sleep, Flare, Manafont and Fire III for the win. I chose to open with Freeze first since ancient magic supposedly adjusts the target's elemental resistances accordingly, so being hit by an Ice spell would lower Maat's Fire resistance so Flare had a better chance of dealing maximum damage, which I wanted since a lot depended on how much damage Flare deals.

I have to say, I have never actually been inside the Horlais' Peak Burning Circle. I'd been to the Waughroon Shrine numerous times for BCNM40 runs way back then, and the Balgas Dias BCNM while doing missions for Windurst, but I have never, ever stepped into the circle in Horlais Peak. Somehow, I imagined a battlefield covered in snow, with hot springs lining the area. I expected someplace that resembled the Northlands.

I was sorely disappointed when I zoned in to see a green valley. Ah well. >_<

I prepared my fiddling around with Rhydia's Blink Band for a bit before figuring out how to use it, and then opened the fight with Sleepga II on Maat. I wasn't sure if Maat would attack you as soon as you started casting a spell on him, so I chose to Sleepga to be safe, and Sleepga II since it seems to have a lower rate of resistance. Well, Sleepga II was resisted. >_<

Maat started casting Aeroga III. Rather than risk racing it with Sleep II, I impulsively Stunned Maat, then cast Sleep II. This one actually stuck.

I cast Freeze on Maat, after which he ran up to me and started hitting me, taking out my Blink shadows. I tried to Sleepga II, but that got resisted, and then tried to Sleep II him again, which also got resisted. >_<

Maat then started to cast Stonega III, and whether or not my Stun timer had reset by then, I don't remember, but I certainly wasn't able to stop him, and 600+ damage later on my poor little-wittle Tawu-self, I died. ; ;

Looking back, I was definitely not prepared for this. I guess I can attribute it to rushing when I logged on seeing it was Firesday, I guess I was overly excited. I didn't prepare a special set of macros unlike what I've heard some people do, I might've forgotten to try and Stun that last Stonega III, although with the Sleep timers being reset, I don't think I would've won anyway. I didn't have a Bind macro, although I don't think that would've helped since he could've still just nuked me. I forgot to Elemental Seal before my second set of Sleeps, and I even forgot to eat Pie! >_<

Ah well, lessons learnt. Now to go find another Black Mage's testimony. ; ;

22 February, 2005


Loitered around Lower Jeuno again this morning, and guess who I saw?

Of course, it was not to be.

Elowen>> sorry that your friend left

I guess it had to happen sometime, and now, Elowen has finally been sold.

Oh well, like I said, it had to happen sometime. Even then, it still hurts. I guess I had already expected something like this would happen, when Elowen first told me she'd be quitting the game, although now that that has become a reality, it's rather difficult to stomach. As you can see from the picture, Elowen still has the Doom linkpearl on, although at the time, nobody was online. As it turns out, the new "Elowen" is some guy from the United States who purchased the account to get a taste of what Red Mage endgame was like, he already having 50 levels of RDM under his belt (or so he says). I really don't know what to expect. Those who know the old Elowen would be terribly suspect of him, and probably refuse him entry to HNMLSes, especially those who condone against any form of monetary exchange. The new Elowen still has to learn all the knacks of being a RDM in endgame events, and honestly, I don't know what to expect.

The rest of the day wasn't much better. Planned a BLM party that ended up not happening, tried skilling up in Beadeaux for three hours in an attempt to get a Water IV (it didn't drop, neither did the keys for that matter), even ended up dying in said skillup party. Decided to try to get an Ifrit and Ramuh party going so I can complete my moon bauble, and ended up counting my members on one finger. All in all, I can't say I really enjoyed today, and am feeling rather burnt out at this point in time. Maybe I need a break or something. Maybe.


20 February, 2005

Hakutaku {Found it!}

Onekomaru>> tuuf!
>>Onekomaru you sound strangely excited ^^

As it turned out, Onekomaru had a Hakutaku raid going, and they wanted me to come along! Given that I had finally reached the point where I can start going for these high-level raids, I figured, why not, and decided to tag along for the ride. The alliance, it seemed, contained quite a lot of people that I have known since my earlier times, and it was nice to meet everyone again now that (most of us) were in the 70s. In addition, I met a number of people who seem to be in the "community", or the players who have been here since the NA release of the game, the people who reularly post on the Killing Ifrit messageboards, so I finally got around to meeting them proper, although it seems that a number of them know me through some means. As it stands, I was the only person in the alliance who was under Level 70. ; ;

For those who don't know, the Optical Hat is the height of melee headgear, at least, in terms of accuracy. It's a Level 70 hat that gives +10 Evasion, +10 Accuracy, and +10 Ranged Accuracy so you can imagine why the melee (especially Rangers, I think) drool over it. Or at least, I'm not aware of another piece of headgear that melee wear, but then again, I prefer the magical arts for a reason. ^^

Getting the Optical Hat is no joke though- one must first gather five Hakutaku eyes which are dropped from the assorted Hecteye mobs located all across Vana'diel, levels ranging from 50 to 75. Alternatively, while these eyes fall under the category of being non-AH-able, people can still sell them in Bazaars. Once you have all five eyes, find a high-level Alchemist (90, I think) to make a Hakutaku Eye Cluster (and not break in the process). Having done that, you need to then find an alliance, go down to the Den of Rancor, trade the Hakutaku Eye Cluster to a ??? somewhere in there, and kill Hakutaku! At least the Optical Hat is a 100% drop, since it'd be, well, rather annoying if it wasnt...

Prior to this I had heard numerous things about Hakutaku, not all of which was accurate. I had heard that Hakutaku is a hard fight, and that the fight lasts around 30 minutes each. I had also somehow managed to get the idea that Hakutaku was forced spawned in the Kuftal Tunnel, when in actuality, it is forced spawned in the Den of Rancor. Oops.../blush.

I was one of the last people they were looking for, and so, with 16 people in the alliance, we all Teleported over to the Yhoator Jungle and beelined for the Den. It was a little bit awkward with people unsure of where the ??? was in the Den, and I got lost quite a number of times. Most of all, I was deathly afraid of screwing up, after all, it was my first "real" fight (well, excluding HNMs) and given what I had heard about some up and coming players, I didn't exactly relish the thought of tainting my image with a screwed up Hakutaku run. Did I mention that the Hakutaku fight is supposedly difficult? >_<

As such, I stuck to following my party leader, who just so happened to be Ashira. I figured Ashira would in turn follow the alliance leader, so at least if something happened to our party, at least I wasn't alone floundering around delaying everybody. Obviously, that didn't quite work out as planned as after resting from a fight (someone got aggro), I got up to find that the rest of the party had gone on without Braveheart (a Galka Beastmaster ^^) and I. It didn't help that the other members didn't show up on the /map, but that was soon rectified after we discovered that we were directly above the rest of the party. :P

So after clearing the area out of Tonberries and Million Eyes, we got down to business. Onekomaru was first, and she traded her Hakutaku Eye Cluster to the ???, and we begun!

My task was to Stun all of Hakutaku's most damaging spells. Fire IV was okay since Thebrebaud (NIN) was tanking, and his Utsusemi would gladly absorb a Fire IV. The same reasoning applies to Flare. Firaga III, on the other hand, needed to be Stunned, and we had three Black Mages there who were in charge of making sure Firaga III never resolved. That, and I quickly soon found out that nuking Hakutaku really wasn't a worthwhile endeavour, so I took to helping the White Mages out with Paralyna, which, by the way, Hakutaku does A LOT.

I'm not sure what the attack is called, but I remember Gluey telling me something long ago (around the time when he got his Optical Hat) about looking away from Hakutaku to avoid its eye (Paralyze) attacks. That, and Onekomaru said to try tanking Hakutaku backwards, so as you can see from the pictures, I had my back to Hakutaku the majority of the time, although I didn't think it'd affect a mage, but hey, better to be safe. ^^

Of course, having one's back to Hakutaku made targetting it a right pain, but we do what we can. :P

Long story short, the Hakutaku run was a success, with few deaths, two of which were Riotouscrow's, who I hear dies pretty frequently anyway. It was particularly funny when he decided to pull a Million Eyes when all the White Mages were away, and he soon came running back to camp screaming "Cure III". Evidently, all the other mages figured the white mages would Cure him, so we just kept sitting down.

Then Riotouscrow was defeated by the Million Eyes. Oops. >_<

I didn't come back empty handed, either! On our second run, Hakutaku dropped a scroll of Flare, and I asked if I could take the scroll (for obvious reasons). Well, people started lotting, so I figured I might as well try my luck as well. Somehow, I actually managed to win the lotting, and five minutes later, I had a scroll of Flare in my possession, which I wasted little time in using. Now I have my most powerful (and pretty!) Ancient Magic, I can now go give Maat a shot for his money. :D

All in all, we fought, and killed Hakutaku three times, taking a little over an hour and a half to do, although it certainly didn't feel like it. {Congratulations!} to Onekomaru, Fatesfury, and Shuyjin on your Optical Hats! ^^ (Now, if only it didn't make you look like a mage...)

Looking for Bronze...

7:57, at the Metalworks Blacksmithing guild store, waiting for the shop to open for the day...



/em takes deep breath in...


Enter, enter, down, down, down, enter, left, enter, up, enter.

You are unable to carry out that purchase.


I hate guild campers.

No, wait. Let me reword that.

I HATE guild campers.

Normally they don't particularly bother me, except for this one time, I happened to need Bronze Ingots en masse. After capping out Sairui-Ran for my Alchemy a few days ago, I've been looking around for what to skill up on next. Traditionally, the route dictates either Silent Oils to 29, which are a significant loss, or Glass Fiber Rods, which are also a loss, and then Minnows and Potions, both, you guessed it, losses.

Then I noticed that Bronze Bolt Heads are actually profit if done correctly. The reason most people ignore them is because of their Smithing subcraft requirement, but I already have that covered! The guild sells Bronze Ingots at 144 gil each, the Animal Glue is Fire Crystal + Rabbit Hide + two Bone Chips for 800 gil. Distilled Water is 11 gil, and then the Fire Crystal is another 350 gil. Two synths make a stack of Bronze Bolt Heads, costing me 2,610 total, and they sell for 4,000 gil on the AH. Profit? {Yes, please.}

The problem here is somehow getting ahold of said Bronze Ingots. See, while the guild sells them at 144 each, the simple fact that stacks of Bronze Ingots go like hotcakes off the AH for at least 8,000 a stack means that people have taken to camping the guild, waiting for it to open, and then buying the twelve new pieces of Bronze Ingots that the guild receives for the guy, costing them 1,728 and a little bit of sore fingers. In return, they sell the stack on the AH for around 6,200 gil profit. Simple, eh? One person, Lucita, seems particularly practiced at this. His name occupies the majority of the Bronze Ingot history, and on my numerous attempts to try and snag some Bronze Ingots of my own, I see him log in just before the clock strikes 8, presumably buy up the Ingots, then log straight back out again. Given that he'd had to consistently beat all the other people who camp the guild, one natural conclusion is that he's botting, or just has an uber connection.

So, I couldn't get my Ingots that one time, no biggie, I'll just try again later.

Seven tries later, I'm starting to get pretty annoyed.

It doesn't look like I'll be skilling up my Alchemy anytime soon, although realistically, I could still break even skilling up on Bronze Bolt Heads if I just sucked it up and bought up the stack for 8k each, although that leaves me very little room for breaks. I know, I probably shouldn't be complaining about it since not only is it breakeven, I should have plenty of money to spare. Actually, I do...sort of.

Darksteel Ingots have risen back up to 20k/ea. I guess part of this is due to the weekend, and the higher traffic means for more purchases. Whatever the case may be, I checked the AH history to take a look at the prices there so I could list up some of my Darksteel Ingots, and saw the start of a 20k/ea. trend. Thanks to several purchases, I have about 15 Ingots on me, so I put three up for sale while contemplating selling the stack of Ingots, or turning them into Darksteel Sheets for skillup.

Later that day, I found all three Ingots sold, and no more Ingots on the AH.

I quickly put up six more Ingots, so at the time of writing, all six Darksteel Ingots on the Jeuno AH are mine. Mwahahahahaha...

After that, I headed down to Bastok to try and get my Bronze Ingots yet again, and also to replenish my Darksteel Ore supply. Selling those six Ingots destroyed my stack, and I was looking to replenish it. Randomly checking a few Bazaars (Note: If your Bazaar has Ores in it, PLEASE wear mining gear! >_<), I came across this guy with quite a few Darksteel Ores for sale at 9,500 each. Cheaper than the AH, too. ^^

I quickly bought up the five Darksteel Ores that I needed to compelte my stack (Wyred sold me one). It was then that I noticed he had quite a bit of Darksteel Ores in his Bazaar. Scrolling down past the 1k Lightning Clusters (which I wanted, but didn't buy ; ;), I saw, even more Darksteel Ores!

SIXTEEN Darksteel Ores later, he still had (a few) more to go, but I was out of money. ; ; At least, I would've liked to buy the rest of them, but I was now down to just a scant 30k, which would have to go towards buying Iron Ores to turn them into Darksteel Ingots. Ah well...Hopefully my Ingots would've sold by tomorrow so I can put some more up for sale. ^^

Also completed the Gustaberg Tour quest today. A BRD72 randomly messaged me while I was /anon, asking me if I wanted to do the quest. For those who don't know, the quest involves making a party of players who are at the most Level 5, and reaching this Galka in North Gustaberg. We had an escout, a BLM72 who'd Fire all the Quadavs who would have otherwise aggro'ed us, and we managed to complete the quest pretty quickly. T'was a refreshing break from the usual scheme of things. ^^

Finally, "The Crew" got together once more for another round of mass nuking, this time with a new addition, Biostar, aboard. We decided to try out King Ranperre's Tomb for curiosity's sake, and since Rhydia was with us, she had the Firaga III that we needed. We were horribly underleveled for the area, but the feeling of immortality that comes when Black Mages travel in groups was obviously, well...

...long story short, Sneak dropped in an untimely place, there was a lot of {death}, {death}, and even more {death}. Hirushi and Cannon bit the dirt floor when Sneak wore off drawing the attention of Spartoi Sorcerers, and Rhydia and I actually bit the dust twice. With six deaths before we even got started, we had a mutual agreement to stay away from King Ranperre's Tomb until we were around Level 70. In the end, we all decided to head off to Dragon's Aery to actually try to get some xp going. Suffice to say, we weren't exactly feeling terribly adventurous after all that. >_<

BUT! We will be back! ^^

18 February, 2005

Happenings, Schmappenings

Yep, this once-a-week type of update might actually be more usual than unusual. Despite envisioning myself with plenty of free time to do whatever I need to do, as usual, I find myself scrambling to try and actually get things done. I'm very sure an urgent rearranging of my priorities is in order, but until then...^^

On the xp front, I have hit Level 68 after 4-5 BLM parties, and one (or two!) regular parties. The difference is staggering, seriously. Each time I'd join a regular party, I'd come back with 3-4k, depending on how long I partied for. Some people only do 2k/hr, which makes me want to switch to Apple Pies, if even that. Actually, I've since taken to skilling up in regular parties, which is probably a bad thing, but oh well. Each time I've gone on a BLM PT run, I've come back with about 12k xp overall. When you consider the fact that for some reason, I have an incredible knack for getting into accidents, dying at least once or twice a party, that's a LOT of xp. Not to mention that BLM PTs are (nearly) foolproof, and are relaxing to boot. Granted, the Freeze animation gets old after a while though...once more level to Firaga III parties in King Ranparre's Tomb. :D

I'm not sure what to think about all this partying stuff anymore. I don't even know if beating the system and leveling (for most intents and purposes) in BLM PT "onry" is a good thing. Being foolproof has its disadvantages- namely hate management. There's been recent critique on the good of finding five BLMs and a BRD, and it seems that BLMs who party too much in BLM parties have lost what sense of hate management they had. In addition to that, switching from AF to a Black Cloak (and losing the -7 Enmity in the progress), and it's not hard to see why some people don't like the idea of BLMs getting used to BLM parties.

If there's any good though, BLM parties generate some very nice community, partially because you need so many of us to even get started. I know pretty much all of the NA BLMs in my level range, and some JP BLMs too. We've created a linkshell, BlackMageNation (politically incorrect, since Bards are ever-welcome ^^) and have begun trying to find members. It's not my linkshell, and originally, I just wanted a linkshell to help organise times for future BLM partying, although the creator, Cannon, seems to have some other plans. Right now though, the shell is still in the stage of "people have the pearl, just don't log in very often." We'll see how this goes.

Funnily enough, it seems that word's starting to get out that I make BLM parties quite often. Last night, I even had a waiting list-of-sorts of /tells from Black Mages who wanted to party with me! I certainly had a bit of a chuckle about that, although I still have a bit of a Bard shortage to contend with.

Also picked up my Black Cloak today- the price tag of 180k wasn't fantastic, but hey, it was something I've been looking forward to. I was curious as to how much losing AF would change things, so I joined a party for a short bit. I personally haven't noticed much of a difference though, although it may be that I've been exercising quite a bit of restraint when it comes to my nuking. That, and with the third level skillchains, an Aeroga III Magic Burst is usually enough to kill the mob after the melee have smacked it around a bit to get TP. Overall, I haven't been able to make up my mind about the Black Cloak. It's obviously a godsend in BLM parties, with the Elemental Magic bonus (less resists) and Auto-Refresh, but in regular parties? Aesthetically, I don't even get to wear my hat! I _LIKE_ my Wizard's Pesatos! >_< (Then again, it's been a very long time since I last wore Tunic-type gear...)

Darn gold band-thingymajiggy on the top makes me look like a blonde. Red hair, I say! Red! >_<

In other news, I almost ended up (accidentally) fighting Maat for Genkai 5. I was bored, and decided to trade in my Black Mage's testimony to Maat just to see what would happen. I knew you had to personally trade the testimony again to the Burning Circle in order to start the fight, so I wasn't too worried about what would happen. The following ensued:

Maat: That wasn’t so hard now, was it?
Maat: I bet you’re wondering why I keep having you travel around the globe, collecting all these rare and obscure items for me. Heh heh heh. I know what you’re thinking. You’re sick and tired of playing fetch for old Maat. You want a chance to show me what you’re really made of.

(Me: Yeah...)

Maat: Well, now that you mention it, I think I’d be delighted to test your might with my own hands.

(Me: {All right!} ^^)

Maat: I may look old, but I still have a lot of spunk in me. I can take anything and everything you’ve got. What do you say? You’ll get your chance to get back at me for all the trouble I’ve put you through, and I’ll get some good exercise.

(Me: You’re on!)

Maat: Heh heh heh! That’s the spirit! Now take that black mage’s testimony to the burning circle and throw it in. I’ll be waiting for you inside.

-Maat then teleports me to Horlais' Peak-

Me: !!!!!!
Me: oei!
Me: You’re not supposed to teleport me to the BC! OEEEIII!!!!
Me: I’m not ready yet!!!
Me: Waaiiiitttt!!!
Me: Noooooooooo...............

/em leaves fingernail marks across the Horlais' Peak floor...

Well, okay, so maybe not the last part- I ended up chickening out and Warped back to Jeuno instead of fighting him then. In the spirit of the test, I think I'll wait to hit 70 first. ^^ I seriously was not expecting him to teleport me to the burning circle, although I guess if you're level 65+, you can get to any of the basic Burning Circles with no problems, and this was just to save you the trouble. >_<

11 February, 2005

One Week Later...

Hello-wello! It's been a looooooooooong time since my lastaru update! So many things have been happening, I haven't really had the time to play much these past few days- only really managing to squeeze in an hour of mining a day. That, and recent happenings in-game have taken an ugly turn, which I won't get into.

Mining in Oldton Movalpolos has been really nice to me lately. It seems that since I hit Goldsmithing 55 (well, technically 54 plus shades), I seem to be able to HQ2 out Gold Ingots a lot more regularly than normal. Or it could just be me, and I simply had a lucky streak. But I'm not complaining about that. I was literally Warping out of the mines loaded with Ingots ready for sale in Jeuno. Having my Smithing up is really nice now, since I can make Darksteel Ingots out of the Darksteel Ore that I find- not so common in Oldton, but Gusgen....mmmm...

...and the chinese gilsellers aren't there anymore! :D (at least, for now :P)

The end result is that over the period of about a week (and a bit more, when I didn't mine), I finally managed to scrounge up enough money to go get my Elemental Torque! With the torque now in hand (or neck, whichever you prefer), it was time to tear up some more mobs. So I got a BRD (Hirushi), called around for some BLM friends, and...yep, that's right.

{Black Mage}{Party}{Power} :D.

We started killing Bark Tarantulas in the Boyahda Tree, and after a while, we noticed that Hirushi was starting to have some trouble pulling the spiders fast enough. The xp was decent, like, 160 a kill, but it wasn't fantastic. Eventually, I managed to convince the party to try out someplace else. Yep, we ended up xp-ing in {Dragon's Aery)! Same old plan. The Bark Tarantulas there were a little harder (considerably so in some cases), but they still fell to the ridiculous power that is a Black Mage party. We didn't get ridiculous xp since Goreth was BLM67 at the time, but Chain #3 for 310 was still nice. That, and we were now getting 200+xp a kill more frequently, which is always nice. ^^

It was rather funny though- some of us received /tells from other people trying to complete their parties. They were all looking for a Black Mage to complete things, but alas, we were off doing our own things! >_< In the end, we decided to all go /anon, lest people find out what was going on. That, and up to the time (during the Superbowl), I had never seen the Boyahda Tree so empty. Nor was Lower Jeuno ever so lag-free, but I'm getting ahead of myself here. :P

Anyway, since then, I haven't had the opportunity to xp again. Still half way to 67...

In the meantime, I've been mining away as usual, trying to raise money for my other wants. I figure since I'll be casting Freeze quite a bit, I might as well get cracking down on trying to get my Aquilos Staff. Then after that, a Penitent's Rope would be nice, although by that time, I probably would be able to wear a Black Cloak (or Demon's Cloak- hah!). Today, took advantage of a shortage of Darksteel, and managed to (at least temporarily) push the going price of Darksteel Ingots to 20k/ea. in Jeuno! I wonder how long it'll stay up there though...Mining Gusgen's starting to look more appealing with such prices. That, and I managed to hit Smithing 52 in the process, too. ^^

Lemme see...what other {Hmmm.}s are there? Ah, I was helping out with a Dark Spark fight, and teleported into Xarcabard. As we had a WHM75 with us, I brought my BLM along. Bear in mind that this is, I think, the first time I've stepped into Xarcabard as a Black Mage, and as the familiar sight of us teleporting into the Northlands appeared on my screen, all of a sudden, I got a cutscene!

I was very mystified at this, and told the others to go on, while I tried to figure out just what this cutscene meant. I thought {Windurst}{Mission} 9-2, maybe? After all, I had worked with Traktor to get the first part of the mission done- collecting the three ancient song verses. Now all that's left is the final BCNM for Rank 10. {/grin}.

Raogrimm: Tuufless…

Now that I have passed from the mortal realm, I have only you to turn to. The time left to me is short. Thirty years ago, I came into contact with the insidious power of this land, and rose from the grave. However, at the same time, this world laid claim to a part of my soul…

I have been released from the hate that consumed me, but the half of my soul that was taken captive all those years ago is calling to me…It has become a towering darkness. A raging hatred, spawned from the depths of my being…

Very soon, I will be drawn into that soul. I no longer have the strength to resist. The soul that was divided will become whole once more, and that rage will take on physical form.

A new Shadow Lord will be born. Surely you have sensed the growing evil? The beastman armies that are imprisoned here are massing for battle. They plan a return to the world of their origin, the realm that exists beneath the light of hope.

My link to you will soon be severed, so listen carefully. Thirty years ago, an expeditionary squad formed from the elite soldiers of each nation was sent to investigate the Northlands. You must have been their memories when you first laid your hand upon the chunks of magicite.

Seek out the markings that the expedition members left behind. They will aid you in gaining entrance to this world.

You must defeat the Shadow Lord before our unification is complete. My hopes go with you, Tuufless.

It now became clear. "Markings"? There was only one set of such markings I knew of, and that was the Trail Markings found in the three cities, Jeuno, the Beaucidine Glacier, and Xarcabard. Yep, I finally got it. The introduction to Dynamis- the Shrouded Land. :D

I even have an invitation to join Anora's Dynamis Linkshell, since they need more Black Mages. Personally, I'm quite excited about it, although I said I'd want to get certain things before I join them in Dynamis. Sleepga II would be a good start to that. >_< They plan on hitting Dynamis-Jeuno and Dynamis-Windurst, so that's something to look forward to. ^^

02 February, 2005

Heir to the Great Water

As some might have guessed from the theme of the past few days, I went about completing my summons, which meant fighting the one final avatar (not including Fenrir) that I needed to get.

The problem with Leviathan is that, not only is Leviathan one of the harder avatars, since his Spring Water cures him by quite a fair amount, he is also the hardest to get to. In order to reach him, one must travel through the Den of Rancor, which involves traversing through the Temple of Ugglapeih (and I'm sure I spelt that wrong). Not only that, the Den of Rancor is behind a door in the Temple, that can be opened only with a Paintbrush of Souls.

So not only is finding six people willing to fight Leviathan hard, but you also need to find some way to get the Paintbrush. Fortunately for me, Anora had the paintbrush, and with the same group as last night, we were off!

Actually, that's skipping ahead a little bit too far. We actually went out and defeated Titan and Garuda again to get the whispers before setting off for Leviathan, but that's of minor concern right now. ^^

Compared to the rest of the Cloisters, the Cloister of Tides is probably the coolest of the lot. The protocrystal is situated in an underground cavern, flooded with water, with underground streams trickling water in on the sides. Only the Cloister of Gales cold rival its beauty, although to be fair, a lot of the other cloisters had a lot more potential. The Cloister of Flames, for example, could've had the crystal surrounded by a moat of lava, but I guess the designers felt stone walls would suffice. Oh well.


As predicted, Leviathan took the longest, although his attacks didn't seem anywhere as devastating as any of the others. I don't recall any AoE status effects like Ramuh's Paralyze-ga or Shiva's Sleepga, so I had an easy time for the most part. His attacks also felt somewhat sluggish, giving Serephia (WAR/NIN) plenty of time to recast Utsusemi in between. Eventually, we managed to kill Leviathan without too much trouble, which was a good thing since I was running low on mana. >_<

Leviathan's probably the coolest looking of all the avatars, although Shiva and Garuda give him a good run for his money. ^^

Defeating Leviathan completes my collection of the seven basic avatars, and with three whispers done, it is only a matter of time before Fenrir is mine. :D First though, I need to get BLM70 to at least put up a decent challenge.

Anyway, since I forgot to post pictures of me and my newfound summons, here they are now:

So....going back to getting BLM70.

Eventually, I decided to forgo hanging around, trying to get the money for my Elemental Torque (gimp, I know ; ;) and just go for it. It wasn't long after I put up my flag that an invite came in, and I came into a party that consisted of BLM WHM RDM PLD THF SAM. With that, you'd expect the xp to come in, and I have to admit, initially, my hopes were up. You have a good tank, the mage trio, a SAM and THF for frequent, powerful Distortion skillchains, and as I soon found out, the PLD's Swift Blade for Darkness as well. (My first 3rd level skillchain!)

For some reason though, the party turned out disappointing. Maybe it's because I'm too used to Black Mage parties now, but I had to struggle to just stay awake. Comparatively, the xp felt like it was trickling in, and to be honest, the rate didn't seem all that good, like maybe 2-3k an hour. I really don't know what's wrong with the setup, but oh well. When the WHM said she had to go, rather than stick around for a replacement WHM, I decided to go off and do some other things and with that, the party was called to an end. Too bad though, the PLD wanted the party to go for a {Long time}, but I guess that was not to be.

So I come back a few hours later to find BLM BLM BLM BRD seeking. :D

It took a little bit of convincing as some people didn't seem all that familiar with how things worked- the BRD felt that we needed a tank, and the Rank 10 (BRD75) BLM felt Stun + Blizzard III was in order, but after getting them to try out the classic Freeze plan, we settled down pretty quickly. I think we made about 8.5k in our first hour of partying? We had to disband pretty quickly though, since one of the BLMs needed to pick his parents from the airport. We tried going along with 5, but other people had stuff to do (and I died after lag interrupted my {Stun} on a {Flood} from a Water Elemental we were fighting ; ;) so instead, we decided to just set a time and come back then.

Until then. ^^