31 March, 2005

Platinum Pursuits

As the name implies, I have embarked upon the next stage in Goldsmithing. After finally getting around to it, I have accumulated a small harvest of Platinum Nuggets. My current recipe, as suggested by Pikko's Pots, seems to be working quite well, and I can usually get a full stack of Platinum Nuggs (48k) out of two pots. Given that a Cutting costs about 6k, that's roughly 18k profit per pot! ^^ I started off a little cautious though, with just small harvests, but given the results, I have just upgraded to twenty pots worth of Tree Cuttings. My guess is that if I sold four stacks back to the Auction House, I could then recycle that money to buy the next batch of Cuttings (even at the outrageous prices of stacks in the Jeuno AH) and still have plenty of Nuggets left over.

However, it is possible to flood the nuggets, so I needed some way to use up a lot of Nuggets myself. What no better way to do this, than to burn up some platinum?

Granted, I was a whopping nine levels below the cap, which would be insanity under normal conditions. But then again, I had Advanced Imagery support, a powerful Fire Moghancement, and my shades, so I didn't think it would be as bad as say, starting Insect Paste at Cooking 20. If there's anything I heard the hard way though, Firesday is a whole lot better for success than Lightsday. I tried Lightsday, Full Moon (100%), and broke my first three attempts, losing two Ores and nine Nuggets. I called it quits right then and waited for Firesday to roll around. Still a Full Moon (96%), I went back and did everything again, and ended up succeeding five consecutive synths, getting +0.2 in the meantime. ^^ I was quite happy, except that somebody had already listed six Platinum Ingots up on the Jeuno AH. I'll probably wait for those to sell before putting mine up. >_<

Finally, just was I was finishing up my Goldsmithing, Aka suddenly decided to have one big group picture! Rushing over to the Ru'Lude Gardens, we tried to take the picture. It was a little awkward at first, with people slowly showing up, and changing clothes (I had to go back to Windurst to change into my WHM AF! >_<). Not to mention the amount of time we spent trying to get people into position, only find that once we got that part done, the sun had set, so we had to wait another real half hour for it to rise again...

But anyway, here are the results:

And this is the other screenshot, more suited for a desktop wallpaper. Personally, I prefer this one to the above, but hey, some might object to that. ^^

I should probably go about making that second picture a real wallpaper, but I'm too tired right now to do that. I tried fiddling around with it a bit though, with a half-baked attempt sitting in Photoshop, and another half-baked idea sitting around somewhere that went roughly like:

Set of Elemental Staves: 800k.
Igqira Weskit: 1,800k.
Spells learnt to date: 3,200k.

All the friends I've met during all this: Priceless.

There are some things that money can’t buy. For everything else, there’s IGE. ^^


Anyway, before I go, I need to ramble a bit about the dunes again. Yes, I took my SMN for a spin. No, it was not a nice experience. I was invited to a party where three of the members hadn't done their subjob quest yet, which was okay, since this was Level 14. The other two members, a MNK, and a NIN were both Rank 4 and 5 respectively, so I figured it couldn't be that bad. Yet, people's incompetance never ceases to amaze me sometimes. The Rank 5 NIN somehow got it into his head that leveling NIN15 (or 12+ for that matter) without Utsusemi: Ichi was a good idea, complaining about the costs of that spell. He later proclaimed to be a RDM52, which made me /slap my forehead in an attempt to figure out why he'd still want to level NIN15 without Utsusemi, given that he's already seen how important the spell is.

Seriously, if you do not have Utsusemi at NIN15, I will kick you. Complain all you want about the costs, but hey, it's not called an advanced job for nothing.

First mob, the whole party wiped out except for the MNK. Gee. Nobody knew what roles they were supposed to be doing- the WAR didn't Provoke, I had to go pull, the BLM couldn't keep his finger off the trigger, the WHM didn't know how to ration Cure IIs to stop getting hate (and coincidentally, dying)...it took roughly three hours to get that last 1k that I needed to ding 15. I think I'll be solo'ing more from here on...

29 March, 2005

Serket Breaker.

It's odd. At first, I thought Equilibrium was a sky LS, although it seems to be that while their activities are primarily sky-based, some members occasionally pop down for ground HNMs just for fun. Of those, Serket is the one HNM we've been trying for every now and then, and while we were unsuccessful at claiming Serket yesterday (as I said, the challenge in HNMs now seem to be claiming it, as opposed to killing it), today, Serket fell into our laps.

Stev initially wanted to go camp Simurgh in the Rolanberry Fields. I decided to tag along just for the supposed thrill in HNM hunting, although when it came apparent that we wouldn't make it in time (Simurgh spawned and got claimed), we shifted over to Serket. And so, our chocobos turned around and headed straight for the Garlaige Citadel.

I. Hate. Camping.


Each time I come down to the bottom floor of the Garlaige Citadel (third time already), I keep asking myself why. Not only is camping mind-numbingly boring, having to stay there for anything that is up to the full 3-hour window is really quite testing. Sure, I can always chat with people, but there's always that risk of Serket spawning mid-sentence and missing the claim. Given that (most) people have a method of killing Serket down to a 't', Serket gets claimed very quickly, and even "spawned" claimed on my screen last night.

THe place started out with just a few other people camping, although it soon quickly filled with people from all assorted HNMLS'es, some of which I had never heard of before. I ended up camping the area to the far east with the Magic Pots and undead, and eventually, someone from BBQGold joined me in camping. Well, now I was in a fix. >_< We ended up chatting a little bit, and I basically told him my situation of trying to figure out which LS I'd end up going in. I'm not sure if he understood my situation or not, but it'd be very embarassing to have BBQ members see me help out a different LS when I'm trying to get into BBQ! >_<

Unlike last night though, a sufficient number of Equilibrium members were bored enough to make the trip down to Garlaige, and I think we had twelve of us in the end. Thankfully, Serket only spawned around one hour into the window, (as opposed to the last twenty minutes like the previous time) and happened to spawn right in front of our PLD (Hiaku). The lines in /party chat flew by:

{Provoke} >> Serket (or something to that extent)

Serket was ours! Now just had to kill him.

Surprisingly, Serket didn't feel terribly devastating that particular evening. I remember him casting a lot of Bindgas, but compared to his spin attacks that deal massive AoE damage and Stuns everybody, that was nothing. Sure, he Poisonga'ed a few times, but we managed to minimise the damage. It still got a little close- three of our members somehow dipped into red health (partially because we had no WHMs with us), but Cure IIIs and Poisonas from the /WHMs sufficed.

Having to fight in these circumstances wasn't too bad, to be honest. I just ended up playing White Mage for the battle since I wasn't quite sure what I was supposed to do, and I felt curing would help more than nuking. The lag, however, was horrendous. I couldn't do anything to time with such lag, which got to the point where my Stun on Serket's Earthshaker would go off way too late, and even movement was choppy at best. I had a three-second delay between my commands and execution, but at least it was somewhat manageable. Serket has a fair amount of HP, but we eventually whittled it down, and just as I was going to get an Elemental Seal'ed powered Thundaga III going, he fell. Damn lag. >_<

It was still fun though. At least, HNM'ing is fun as long as you get the claim. With Serket's death, we eagerly awated the drops. Serket Ring? Venomous Claw? Maybe even...Strider Boots? ^^

Guess not. >_<

At least I resisted Bind! ^^ Of course, being part of the killing party, I am now staring at one of many cheesy titles you get for killing an HNM- the omnious Serket Breaker. Yeah...

Finally, a Happy 21st Birthday to Faeyth! Now, if only that {cat} would log on and get around to taking a little pressie I left behind...

27 March, 2005

Dynamis-San d'Oria Interloper

Next up on the Explorer hitlist: Dynamis-San d'Oria. ^^

Last time we went on a Dynamis run, we failed at clearing Dynamis-Bastok, which left quite a few of us puzzled, since from what the other members were saying, they had cleared Dynamis-Bastok multiple times in the past with no hitches. Things were going well until for some reason, someone got aggro, things linked, then suddenly, the entire top row of the Bastok Mines area, from the tavern to the Alchemy guild were upon us. We wiped twice before running out of time. orz

At least a pair of Sorcerer's Tonban dropped! Unfortunately, I was just 10 points shy of the BLM who got it in the end. D'OH! >_<

Anyway, back to San d'Oria. Recently, I've been trying to keep track of just what AF2 pieces I'd want. As I've mentioned earlier, the BLM AF2 set is incredibly competitive, and in the long run, it might be wiser to just save points and spend it on the pieces that I really want. From what I hear, the gloves (from Windurst) are a little bit of a disappointment, being overshowed by Zenith Mitts, while the Body piece also succumbs to the Igqira Weskit. The leg piece (Bastok) is decent--it replaces the Errant's leg piece, but it isn't anything to get really excited over. That then leaves the Sorcerer's Sabots (Feet, from Jeuno), which I suppose is nice, but again, nothing too fancy.

The real kicker, on the other hand, is the Sorceror's Petasos- the hat. ^^ 23 MP, Elemental Magic skill +10, Enfeebling Magic skill +5...and -2 Enmity to boot! ^^

Okay, so maybe it doesn't blow stuff out of the water, and truth be told, by the time you're Level 75, +Elemental Skill isn't so great anymore since a lot of the mobs you fight are VT, which means they will resist less naturally. Thus, a lot of BLMs choose to swap out +Elemental Magic skill gear for +INT gear or Magic Atk. Bonus gear for the extra damage. I still prefer to be resisted as little as possible, although the Elemental skill boosts play a larger role in endgame hunts. Anyway, I digress. I'll probably end up saving for the hat, although I'd have to first reach Dynamis-Xarcabard, then hit BLM75, so....that might take a while. Then again, quite a few BLMs have a significant lead over me in terms of points, so I could at least use the time to try and catch up. Hee...^^ Anyway, all this is moot since no BLM AF2 piece drops in Dynamis-San d'Oria, so I didn't have to worry about whether I should spend my points or not.

So...back to Dynamis-San d'Oria. (I gotta stop getting sidetracked...)

I felt Dynamis-San d'Oria was actually quite easy, possibly because things went smoothly, and we actually had an excess of Black Mages. We occasionally had a large train, especially the section near the Mog House with a lot of SMN mobs, and it was fun to play crowd-control and keep everything still.

At least, I didn't want to die to Carbuncle, of all things...oh, the humiliation...>_<

Some observations about Dynamis-San d'Oria. For one, there were quite a lot of BST or SMN-type mobs for some reason. The BST pets, all Hecteye-type mobs, were also a right pain to Sleep, and I believe it is recommended that Bards go and Horde Lullaby the Slimes since Sleepga II doesn't work very well on them. That's about all I remember, other than noting that both trigger NMs would have to be suicide pulled. Anyway, we wiped once with a pull gone wrong on the second trigger NM. I'm not sure what happened, but Kitsume went to suicide pull, and we managed to provoke the NM out of the train. However, someone got aggro and after we killed the NM, we got a warning from Kisume that something had gone wrong, and we had at least fifteen mobs headed our way. >_<

So we wiped. >_<

Fortunately, we wiped in an area that wasn't too bad, so after some time, we just Raised everybody and went back to business. The fact that we were well ahead of schedule was a nice addition, too. ^^ With both trigger NMs down, we went ahead and killed the {Mega Boss}, which was pitifully easy compared to Jeuno and Windurst. I don't think that many of us died in that fight, and the statue went down remarkably quickly. Having lots of Black Mages is a good thing. ^^

One more Hydra-Corps piece down, and the title, "Dynamis-San d'Oria Interloper" is mine! ^^ All that's left of the first-tier Dynamis is Bastok, which I'll have to do someday. Unfortunately, I think Explorer is going to hit Dynamis-Beaucedine next, so that will have to wait. ; ;

25 March, 2005

Of all things...

This HNMLS problem isn't the only thing that Wadian is causing me.

It seems that Wadian (the person) also has a crush on me. >_<

Why of all things that could possibly happen to me, does a gil-seller have to have a crush on me??!

I've already told him "no" multiple times over the past three days, but he just keeps coming. Members of his LS already tell me he's very sensitive, and I'd hate to hurt his feelings, because gil-seller or not, he is still a person. It's just that...his constant hounding is rather unsettling at best. I certainly wouldn't want people I know to be walking by and see "Wadian kisses Tuufless!" Geez, and they say girls have it easy...here's an excerpt from my last conversation with Wadian earlier today (translated, of course):

Wadian: I really do like you.
Me: >_<
Wadian: You don’t believe me?
Me: It’s too complicated.
Wadian: Why do you say it’s too complicated?
Wadian: Be my girlfriend, okay?
Wadian: Please.
Me: I already told you, no.
Wadian: When will you change your mind?
Me: {/sigh} ; ;
Wadian: Changed your mind yet?
Me: I can’t change my mind, it’s just how I feel.
Wadian: Why do you feel that way?
Me: {/sigh}…
Wadian: I’m saddened ; ;
Me: Sorry. ; ;
Wadian: Just say okay—it’s just one word!
Me: It’s not that simple…
Me: I don’t hate you, but…
Me: I don’t have any feelings for you either.
Wadian: I already said it’s just a game. How is it that complicated?
Me: ......
Wadian: Okay? I’m begging you {/kneel} >.<
Me: No! >_<
Wadian: I’m crying >.< I’ll ask you again later.

Geez, I can already see it on the front-page headlines of the Vana'diel Tribune: "Gil-seller falls in love with kindly taru." /bleach

I know, this is where everyone is asking me to just /blacklist Wadian and move on.

Unfortunately, I can't quite justify /blacklisting him, although I've gotten close. I'm gonna have to be drive it into his skull that no, I'm not up for grabs, and no, Tuufless cannot be bought!




Just opened my delivery box to see a single red rose there.

Guess who it was from?

23 March, 2005

Endgame troubles...

With my failed attempt at getting a Venomous Claw yesterday, it was time to look at how I would raise the funds needed to pay for my Weskit. The standby answer would be to find an HNMLS. In fact, Wadian (the person) even gave me a pearl to his HNMLS, although I don't think I'll join.

The problem with HNM-ing is that politics and drama are rife, and the last thing I want is to make some enemies. Some people feel differently, and are very liberal with their use of the almighty /blacklist, but I am not one of these people. It saddens me to have to /blacklist somebody, and as such, my own blacklist has a grand total of zero names, just because nobody has annoyed me enough to warrant addition. Actually, that's not quite true. Two people have cut it close, and one actually made it onto the blacklist, but I removed him a few months ago. But I digress.

Politics are rife, and being involved in Wadian's HNMLS would just make things worse. For one, Wadian's a gil-seller. That already makes people prejudiced against not only him, but against everybody that's associated with him. As such, while I do have many people in Wadian (the LS) with whom I am on friendly terms with (some even on my friends list), the whole LS is generally scorned upon by the rest of the community, labeling them as a bunch of...I don't know what to call them, but the fact that they are generally not liked by the rest of the playing community should suffice. While it may be true that there are a bunch of asses in Wadian, I don't know the people in the LS to make that justification and I suspect that label is coming from mostly one bad experience, amplified by the Wadian association. Those of us who have managed to make it this far without buying gil certainly despite those who liberally flash the credit card, and to be friendly with those who sell the gil itself is akin to committing social suicide. Like I said, some could care less- I'm just not one of those.

If I were to accept Wadian's invitation and join his LS, I would basically shut myself off from not only all other HNMLS'es that might want me, but also from all future HNMLS'es that will probably not want me due to a prior affiliation with Wadian, and I feel that that is too much of a sacrifice to make. While yes, I'd like my Weskit, there are many things I place above it, and this is just one of those.

Just for fun, I decided to watch a Serket fight. I looked at Wadian's /lsmes, which displayed (among other things), Serket's spawn window, and headed down to the Garlaige Citadel. Since I was still doubtful about things, I went with the TrueRune linkpearl equipped as a affirmative sign that I was going down neutrally. Some people didn't take very kindly to that, telling me to equip the Wadian pearl, and saying it was impossible to stay neutral for these things. Already, the politics are getting to me. /sigh

Wadian eventually claimed, and killed Serket. Railston was right in saying that they're pretty good at what they do, although in Gluey's terms, they literally Zerg'ed Serket, bringing down at least twelve people to try and get the claim as opposed to the three that other HNMLS'es had. It seems that the challenge in HNM'ing is no longer in killing, but just getting the claim. For the record, I almost died as a casual observer, with Serket's AoE stun that knocked through my Stoneskin and still dealt 400 damage, and has a ridiculous range, not to mention his Poisonga which deals 20 damage a tick. Ouch. >_<

It wasn't a total loss though. I ended up watching a Serket fight, got to speak with Zeretul, who then invited me to his sky LS, called Equilibrium, and even got to unofficially help out CoolReturnsX. Given the experience however, I don't think I'd like to participate in {earth}-based HNM fights, sticking with just {sky}. As I have just said, I have an invitation to join Equilibrium, and even have the pearl, but I'm also awaiting an offer from BBQGold.


I really wish all this didn't have to happen. I'm in full agreement with what Pingpong said over on the Killing Ifrit forums, that "if you [have] any RL friends on this server or a close group of people you lvled with, I highly recommend sticking with them to the end of the game and not all end up going to different Linkshells for the sake if being in an HNMLS." It'd be great to HNM together with people I know online, unfortunately, they are all scattered amongst the various HNMLS'es out there. I briefly considered starting up an HNMLS of my own (and even have a name for it: {Run away!} ^^), and could invite in all my friends, and TrueRune "graduates" per se. However, reality soon hit me. All the people I'd want to invite already have an HNMLS of their own, and they'd have to deal with the backlash of changing HNMLS'es. In addition, there are conflicts amongst my circle of friends; while they are friends with me, they certainly won't get along if I put them together, and as a result, the LS would flounder.

Anyway, here's how I stand: earth HNMs are pretty much on a {Thanks for the offer, but I'll have to pass.} basis, and I have yet to affiliate myself with a {sky} LS. Once I hear back from BBQGold, I'll decide. I've spoken to several people about this, and have heard both good and bad things about Equilibrium and BBQ, and for now, it feels like Equilibrium is more suited towards my ideals and philosophies. On the other hand, I have many good friends in BBQ, and it'd be nice to experience the endgame together.

21 March, 2005

Operation Desert Swarm

As time progresses, I grow closer and closer to Level 73, which is the level that I get to wear what many consider to be the best BLM body gear available- the Igqira Weskit (at least, best NQ gear). Stat-wise, it's very sweet, with "Magic Attack Bonus +6", "Elemental magic Skill +5" and "Conserve MP +2", and it's the staple for pretty much all Black Mages 73+, unless you really needed +Elemental magic skill, in which case the Black Cloak offers slightly more. That all goes to moot once you have a Sorcerer's Petasos, but that's a very long way away...

The problem is, the Weskit is roughly 1.8 million gil.

I am aware that to many players out there, 1.8 million is not really a big deal. However, I don't have the brute farming powers of a Thief or a Dark Knight, nor the access to a HNMLS or sky LS to get multi-million drops which, when split, still give each members a very tidy chunk of change. Personally, the most money I've ever had on me at any one time was just a little sky of 900k. This is twice that.

Today was yet another Black Mage party en route to that level. Cannon invited me into a party in King Ranperre's Tomb, and we had a Red Mage instead of a Bard. Personally, I'm not a huge fan of Red Mages in BLM parties since the demand to keep Refresh up on six people and still pull is too much for some Red Mages to handle. We even got to the camp to find a Monk party obliterating the place, and we end up trying to camp in the far east room. Things are okay for a bit, until we get low-HP aggro whilst trying for Chain #6 and I typically die. I get Raised, and die again due to another accident, and then get Raised a second time, then die a third time when weakness wore off, a Hati aggro'ed on me, and nobody did anything. I didn't want Cannon to Escape us earlier since I assumed people would realise that I'd be aggro'ed and step in to intervene, but I guess I was mistaken.

Suffice to say, that was pretty discouraging, not that I had any real desire to hit 73. Anyway, we ended up helping an alliance out with San d'Oria Mission 6-2, where you fight three NM Skeletons in King Ranperre's Tomb, since we were closeby. It was rather funny how we essentially stole the show, toasting all the skeletons, BLM style. Anyway, we disbanded after that, since I had planned to go mine for a bit.

Then, Railston asked if I wanted to go on a Kindred's Seal BCNM run.

A bit of background for those unfamiliar. Kindred Seal's are basically another form of Beastman's Seal that drops off Level 40+ mobs. The difference is that while Beastman Seal BCNM fights have a level cap, determined by the number of seals you traded in, Kindred Seal BCNM fights are uncapped. Thus, the potential for greater rewards are much harder. For BLMs, there is a particular favourite Kindred Seal BCNM fight that many BLMs use for money- the Waughroon Shrine Lachesis Orb KS30, Operation Desert Swarm.

When one does this BCNM fight, one is essentially looking for just one drop- the Venomous Claw. It's current going rate is hovering around 5 million gil, which was more than enough to cover the costs of my Igqira Weskit, and have plenty left over to buy me some HQ staves, a Penitent's Rope, or maybe get my Goldsmithing up some more. Unfortunately, all the other drops leave much to be desired, hovering around the 160k mark. Anyway, this BCNM fight is literally taking candy from a baby with enough (4-5) BLMs. Railston invited me to his party, and I say {Hello!} to its members.

Two of the members happen to be Wadian and Shak, both successful and rather (in)famous gil-sellers. Actually, both of them are part of the Kuftal group that continuously camps Amemit and the Phantom Worm. They are now full-fledged Level 75s, and Wadian even has his own HNMLS by his own name. I know some people in his HNMLS, including both Railston and I hear Traktor is also in the linkshell, although I haven't actually seen him around recently. Personally, I don't know what to think of Railston being in the LS, but that's a different subject altogether.

Anyway, we eventually get Wadian (NIN) and five BLMs to go down to Waughroom Shrine. The plan was simple. At a given time, everyone -ga III all the scorpions, then someone Sleepga II. Wait for the -ga timer to reset, then -ga III again for the kill. Piece of cake. Unfortunately, Shak didn't fully understand the instructions and ended up casting Sleepga II instead of Thundaga III and as a result, we all wiped out. We tried to Reraise and finish it off, but we wiped again due to more misunderstandings. So...

Fortunately, we then simplified things to everyone except Railston Thundaga III (or in my case, Blizzaga III) while Railston was the sole Sleepga-er. That went all well, and we went through all the remaining orbs with no further incident.

Unfortunately, out of all five Lachesis Orbs that we used for this particular BCNM fight, not a single Venomous Claw dropped. ; ; I personally got a Warwolf Belt (175k), a chunk of Gold Ore (10k), an Anubis's Dagger (1k...), a H.Q. Scorpion Shell (3k...the claw is the "HQ" drop of this), a Phoenix Feather (3k) and a RA/EX Katana. {/sigh} We actually went back to Jeuno to get a second round of Lachesis Orbs and did the whole thing all over again. Eleven battles later, we were 0/11 on the Venomous Claw. ; ;

This Weskit is starting to look very far indeed...

Touching the sky...

I somehow got caught up with a whole slew of missions today. What started as a simple headstone pilgrimage quest for the fifth Zilart Mission evolved into a full-blown effort to getting {sky} access, which we did. In the spirit of keeping the storyline secret, I'll only reveal as much as I think is necessary.

ZM5 involved us travelling all across Vana'diel to collect the eight elemental fragments, each found at a particular Cermet Headstone (well, with the exception of the Dark fragment, which Grav'iton gave me upon completing ZM4). Some of the headstones will spawn NMs that need to be killed before one can get the fragment, and this was what this party was for. Actually ,we went as an alliance of twelve, although people started dropping out along the way. We had the luxury of having both a PLD and a NIN with us, so we could switch main tanks depending on whichever was best suited for the mob at hand. For example, the NIN would be better against the Shade in Cape Terrigan because of the amount of Dimensional Death he does, while the PLD would be better for the fast hitting Opo-opos in the Yuhtunga Jungle. Anyway, the details of this mission can be easily found on the net, so I won't go into any more detail here- we basically did the good 'ol mechanical churn-through process, although the exciting part was getting to the headstone in Yuhtunga Jungle.

Basically, the headstone is located in an elevated area in Yuhtunga, and as such, is normally inaccessible. The only way to get there is through Ifrit's Cauldron. Suffice it to say, trying to sneak an entire alliance through Ifrit's Cauldron without incident is hard enough by itself, and many people just choose the cheaty way of doing this- sneak one WHM through Ifrits, then everyone die at the base via a Venom Potion or something, ready to be Tractor'ed up and Raise II'ed. We decided to have everyone walk through the place. Since I was the only one really familiar with Ifrit's Cauldron, I ended up guiding the rest of the alliance, although Beurnak had done this part of ZM5 before, so he went ahead as well. Things got interesting just by the final zone back to Yuhtunga. One of our members, Chukk, got stuck in a crack, and thus got separated from the rest of the group. By this point, people were starting to run low on Silent Oils and Prism Powders, so we were in a little bit of a bind. I went back to get Chukk, and eventually, the two of us found ourselves trapped in a corner with a Flame Spout on one side, a true sight Ash Dragon on the other, and three bombs in the near vincinity.

Even worse, we both ran out of Prism Powders. It was scary! >_<

Thankfully, bombs seem to have a rather short sight aggro range, since a Bomb actually looked at us for a good while without aggro'ing while Chukk and I held out breaths. Some of our members came back into Ifrit's Cauldron to help us out as soon as the Flame Spout went down. After a good long while, the flame spout finally went down and Chukk and I ran for it. The Provokes later, the Bombs were all on our tanks and we all managed to zone into Yuhtunga safely.

After all the NM fights in Cape Terrigan, the Sanctuary of Zi'Tah, Behemoth's Dominion, and Yuhtunga Jungle, much of the party disbanded, and it was just six of us that stuck around to get the final three fragments in the La'Theine Plateau, Fei'Yin, and the Western Altepa Desert. This was the party that ended up working together for the full run through to ZM12 and {sky}.

Unclejer (NIN), Chukk (MNK), Starfire (DRK), Coldfusion (WHM), me (BLM), Beurnak (RDM). Oh. Yeah. ^^

Like I said earlier, there isn't much to say about the Zilart Missions in particular, so for the most part, I'll just brush over it. Simply put, getting to sky involves a lot of running around and relatively little fighting. Despite the number on ZM12, a lot of the Zilart missions up to that point (7 in total) are just cutscenes. Thus, there are just five real "missions" that one needs to finish before getting sky access- "The Temple of Uggalepih" (ZM4), the "Headstone Pilgrimage" (ZM5), "The Quicksand Caves" (ZM6), "Return to Delkfutt's Tower" (ZM8), and "The Mithra and the Crystal" (ZM12). Of all of these, only ZM4 was rather tedious, and the rest were really quite easy with a good party around Level 69-70. However, of special mention is ZM8.

Simply put, this fight was challenging, but fun! You are against just one foe, Kam'lanaut (those who haven't started the ZMs will have to figure out who he is), who keeps changing his elemental alignment, which you can tell because the screen will say something like "Kam'lanaut uses Fire Blade". He's pretty much a RDM-cross-PLD on steroids with a sword, impressive armour, Slowga, Dispelga, Silencega and one of his more devastating attacks, Light Blade. Anyway, his elemental blade is a sign of what he's aligned with. He will become weak to whatever his element is weak to, but more importantly, casting a spell of his element will retroactively add to his hit points, instead of taking away from it, and so care is needed. I was back to BLM at this point, and we had Coldfusion, a WHM75 come to help us out with this.

The first time we tried the fight, Dispelga took out the NIN's shadows, Slowga meant that he couldn't recast Utsusemi in time, and Light Blade hit him for 1165 damage. He died.. >_< As agreed, if the tank dies, everyone runs, and run we did.

The second time, the same thing happened, although we learnt one important thing- Light Blade can be stunned, and has a reasonable prep time. I think we managed to Stun the first Light Blade, but the second one came down, again, with Utsusemi down and we fled.

I was also starting to get rather disoriented at this point, since while as a BLM I can tell you stuff like Earth is weak to Wind, or Water is weak to Lightning, trying to do this all on the fly was rather difficult. So, I created a new macro set, just for this fight alone. Basically, I set up six keys, Ctrl-1 through to Ctrl-6 that corresponded to the six elements in the order in which they are learnt--Earth, Water, Wind, Fire, Ice, Lightning. I had used this setup way back in my newbiw BLM days, so I was still familiar with the placements and everything. Then, instead of that elemental spell, I programmed the macro to cast the spell that the element was weak to. Thus, my "Fire" macro would look like:

/equip Body “Black Cloak”
/equip Main “Water Staff”
/ma “Water II”

That way, I had already done the weakness-conversion, and all I had to do was mash the macro that corresponded to Kam'lanaut's element, and I would automatically cast the spell he was weak to. So if I saw him use Wind Blade, my "Wind" macro would make me cast Blizzard II. It was a whole lot easier this way. ^^ (I also only light nuking with II spells since Great Wheel resets all hate, and we needed the NIN tank to quickly regain hate should Kam'lanaut turn on me)

We try for the third time and fail again, although this time, we have promise. People were now getting the hang of the battle, and I could nuke more efficiently with my new set. Finally, on the fourth attempt, we beat him. Ironically, we stun one Light Blade, then our DRK got hate after a Great Wheel, and Kam'lanaut just decided to use Light Blade then. The DRK bit the dust, but at least the NIN was still alive. Our WHM then Raise III's the DRK in the middle of fighting while the RDM and I try to keep the NIN alive. As his life inches down, we start getting more confident, and we up the damage a notch. Eventually, Hundred Fists, Fire III and Blizzaga III took out Kam'lanaut (he was aligned to Wind at the time >_<) and voila! ZM8 complete! For those of you who are thinking about doing these missions by the way, the cutscene just before and after this fight is sweeeeeeet...^^

Some of us then go for another round, with Perroevil (RNG) and his RDM friend also needing ZM8 done. They brought along a (I think) JP PLD75 and so, Starfire, Coldfusion, and I went back up to help them out. For some reason, a PLD75 tanks him very well. Light Blade only dealt 470 damage to him as opposed to 1000+ on a NIN, and we took him out with no problem. From there, it was a lot of running around between Norg and the Hall of the Gods before doing the final battle for "The Mithra and the Crystal" (a laughable fight, compared to ZM8, and before we knew it, we had sky access! :D

Time to go for some exploring! ^^

(By the way, those of you who remember my entry from a few months ago may recall that I listed watching the Ru'Ann teleport sequence as one of my "things to do before I quit". Yes, the teleport sequence is purrrty! ^^)

19 March, 2005


I nearly quit today.

The behaviour of some people online saddens me greatly. Just because I do not actually see you on the other end of the screen does not mean simple manners become luxury. I mean, granted, I can see why some people are out to cheat others and generally be complete asses to others. I mean, take for example, I borrow your Aristocrat's Coat and then throw away my linkpearl and /blacklist you. You are now down an Aristocrat's Coat and I am up one.

Seriously, just what are you going to do? Type angrily at me?

But just because we can does not mean that we should. The time with the server changes was horrible- people who were going to switch servers were borrowing things left, right, and center and then running off to their new world. But I digress.

Names kept to protect the innocent. Or maybe I'm just too nice sometimes.

What upsets me greatly was how a particular group of people behaved on this particular night. It all started out with me trying to get Kagemushi's Davoi coffer key. Those of you who have tried to get the key before will know that it isn't exactly the easiest of drops out there- I personally spent ten hours trying to get this key, eventually giving up, and stumbling across it whilst doing Windurst 8-1. We had a bunch of people from TrueRune come along and one outside Ranger who needed a Ranger's testimony.

Now, the problem here was our setup- RNG RNG THF THF DRG BLM.

Note the absence of a proper tank, and the fact that our party is incredibly melee-centered. And so, for a while Akanea did an admirable job tanking, and I tried acting the part of White Mage for a while, although I was personally rather miffed at this since I could've done to change into my White Mage gear for this. No matter. However, the outside Ranger was certainly getting on my nerves, unloading two Sidewinders in rapid succession without a proper tank and screaming for Cure when I'm in the middle of casting a Cure on our "tank"! He lucked out and I managed to get a Cure on him with him at a sliver of health remaining, but I can imagine how much he'd complain if he had died. Fortunately, the Ranger's testimony dropped without too much trouble, and we went on to the main event- Saoirse's coffer key at Castle Oztroja.

A bit of a background on Oztroja. Skillup parties in Oztroja are particuarly valued by Black Mages since the Yagudo Prelates there are the only source for the spell Aero IV. While yes, one can buy the scroll, it is a pretty penny at 200-250k (and rising), and there is rarely one in stock. So, I tagged along hoping to snag an Aero IV along the way.

This is where we also get some help from outside people- a THF, his BLM friend, and a NIN, so at least we have a real tank to work with. The THF was level 61, the BLM was 56, and I do not recall what level the NIN was. Anyway, for some reason, the NIN started pulling and I was a little anxious since I'd like to cycle through the Prelates as quickly as possible so they can respawn. However, Oztroja is no Beadeaux. There is no real convenient place to camp that gives you access to multiple Yagudo Prelate spawn points, and so, I understand when the NIN was saying he was just pulling whatever was closest.

He then went on to ask "Why don't you pull?" I figured that as a NIN, he shouldn't be pulling, and while I was curious why none of our THFs or RNGs were pulling, I also wanted to try to get through as many Prelates as I could feasily. So I stepped up and started to pull. Being able to pull with Silence particularly helped to avoid links, which I guess is a nice plus point. I proceed to try to clear out a path to the side rooms where some Prelates spawn. One of the Yagudo that we killed along the way happened to drop the key, and we were all happy.

Now, all I really needed to get were Prelates. Given that the positioning of the Yagudo aren't exactly the most convenient, I was not skilling, or taking part in combat, instead immediately going out again to wait for the opportune moment to pull since my experience in Beadeux tells me that such times are few and far in between. So I really did need some time for the Prelate to separate itself from whatever it happened to be with, and vice versa. Some might argue that I should've pulled the other mob first, but if I'm waiting for the Prelate to separate, then I am also waiting for the other to separate. Basically, I might as well pull the Prelate.

Fast forward a bit. Thanks to the fact that we only have two mages, and one of them is out pulling, our party gets worn down quite quickly. In addition, the visiting BLM died on the last pull (I'm not sure what happened- he was just face down on the ground all of a sudden). I go out to pull. By this time, another skillup party has arrived, and are also killing off the mobs in the area. I guess someone in their party must've recognised that I was trying to get an Aero IV, since for the most part, they left the Prelates alone, which I appreciated. Eventually, it came down to this- the party's all in yellow and I'm staring at a Prelate + one other Yagudo when the other party arrives. They line up to pull and I'm watching them do this. Then, they pull the other Yagudo.

Two options- I can wait for my party to recover and not pull, and have the Prelate link, or I can pull the Prelate away from them and make things easier. I decided to pull, also because by pulling it away from the party and back to the camp, I avoid the possibility of pops along the way back, and while the party's down, I was planning to Sleep II the Yagudo to let the party recover. In the worst cast scenario, I can deal with the Yagudo myself since I can solo them. So I pull with Silence and start running back to the camp.

The party freaks out.

I get back to camp when the Silence I cast on the Yagudo wears off. I've started casting my Sleep II when the Prelate decides to cast Sleepga, which knocks everyone out. Given that I was casting Sleep II at this point, I don't really know why the other BLM did not Stun the Sleepga, but oh well. Luckily, the Yagudo then followed up with Poisonga II, waking everyone up, and since I didn't get to cast Sleep II the first time, I can Sleep II immediately after waking up.

People start engaging the mob, and so my Sleep falls off almost instantly. ; ;

At this point, this but becomes a blur. Because the Yagudo had been landing some hits during all this, people's health was now in the red with Poison II and an angry Yagudo on them. I quickly try Poisona-ing everyone and Curing them when I notice that the other BLM has instinctively started to cast Escape. Whether he was told to do so by the visiting NIN or THF in /tell, I don't know. However, the problem is that I was also in the same party as him.

I go "{Escape}{Huh?!}", and he sits down. If he was told to Escape, the person telling him must've been frantic at this point, since he immediately started to cast Escape again. At this point, I'm wondering what the hell can get us out of this mess when his Escape resolves. It then becomes crystal clear to everyone else at this point why I didn't want him to Escape. The Escape took me with it, and now the others six are left up in Castle Oztroja, stranded with low health against an angry Prelate, and they no longer have a mage with them.

As soon as the screen loads showing me in the Meriphataud Mountains, I immediately turn around and start running back to the others to try to get back to them. Sometime during this, a BRD comes into the party, and he immediately starts launching with comments like "{Congratulations!} you have just killed your party" and basically being a complete nuisance from the get-go, especially since he had no idea what had happened previously. The other party (who is outside) starts yelling at me, wondering why the hell I would pull a mob when the party's recovering, obviously not knowing some of the details. I guess to them, it must've been a stupid, @#$%ed up pull; while to me, I'm wondering why the hell they would engage a mob when there are two BLMs who can both Sleep it. Sometime while walking through Castle Oztroja, they disband and leave in a huff.

In an effort to patch things, I apologize to each of them in /tell. The NIN's okay with it, giving me a "np". The BLM is a little nicer, giving me a full "hey, np. I'm just sorry I could only save my friends and not yours." The THF, on the other hand...

"I'm not the only one you should apologize to."

Geez, if this is how people behave, no wonder the Japanese don't want to play with us. Trying to get all high-and-mighty, eh? I asked him why the other BLM Escaped, and he replied with words describing by last pull that made me glad I had my chat filter on. In retrospect, I asked the wrong question: I should've just asked why on earth he engaged the mob. In the end, we part ways somewhat awkwardly, wishing each other a good night although to be honest, I don't like him, and I'm sure he doesn't like me either.

In the meantime, the BRD's been going on about how stupid things are, and have been letting the rest survive with Horde Lullaby and regenerative songs. Enron offers to bring some of his friends along to help get my Aero IV scroll, but at this point, I'm upset enough that I just want to quit. I come back to find the rest already on their way outside. Personally, I was rather disorientated after all this, and ended up walking in circles twice before finding the path down, where I meet up with Enron and the BRD. I know Enron wants a Warp II home, but I wasn't sure what the BRD wanted. I felt like he would, since we are disbanding, but I wanted to be sure, especially given the recent turn of events.

So I ask in /party chat, "Would you like a D2 back?"

I have people telling me yes, and people telling me no, but the BRD himself keeps quiet.

I then ask again, addressing him specifically, "___, would you like a D2 back?"

Crickets start chirping.

At this point, I feel it's safe to assume that he would want a D2, since it'd be better for him to not want a D2 and get it, than want a D2 and not get it. I start casting Warp II on him, and he yells out {Stop!}, but it is too late. I try to interrupt the spell, but it goes off anyway and he gets Warped back to Jeuno.

In thanks, I get a "Tuufless...I don't like you --;" and he disbands. /sigh

I'm wondering what else can go wrong, really. To be perfectly honest, this night was the one time in FF I actually cried (which then brings up the suggestion that I'm taking this all-too-seriously, but that's a different point). Shocked at the BRD's behaviour, at how the THF suddenly bared his fangs despite the fact we were joking around earlier while helping Kagemushi just goes to show just how low some people are. The fact that this is not a common occurance is not exactly encouraging either.

The ironic thing is that people behave like this and still wonder why the Japanese don't want to play with them? Heck, I wouldn't want to play with people like them!

At this point, I really need a place to vent, and I let it out in the linkshell. I don't remember how I sounded at the time, although I definitely remember that I just wanted to quit, having completely lost faith in the game. Thankfully, the members in the linkshell are more insightful, and come to support me, which really helped. (Thank you!) Sometime during all my ranting, I have Enron trying to convince me to stay, and I also become acutely aware of something Aka, Saoirse, and Kagemushi are planning behind my back, thanks to an mt in /linkshell (I had disbanded from the party). I came to the logical conclusion- they were pooling their funds together to buy me that last scroll of Aero IV on the Auction House. I was rather taken aback at this, since I didn't think I meant this much to people.

I didn't want them to buy the scroll--after all, it's my spell, and I wouldn't expect them to foot my costs, and since I had every intention of quittinfg, it'd be a complete waste of money if they bought the scroll, I used it and then quit. After continual bugging from Akanea to accept the scroll (which they had already bought and sent to me), I reluctantly took it, and they all wanted to meet up with me to see it in action, their reasoning being that "it'd make [me] feel better after I blow up some crabs or something." Hehe. ^^ I meet up with them in Qufim, Aero IV in hand, and still unsure if I should use it. Saoirse assures me otherwise, "If you use it, feel happier and then quit, it'll still be worth it." Kagemushi starts engaging a crab, at which point, I basically go "Screw it," and use the scroll of Aero IV.

Aero IV obliterated the crab. It felt good. ^^

Thanks guys. /smile.

(Afterwards, we decided one crab was not enough, and then went about training the entire Qufim Island. It was rather amusing to see a Japanese BLM40 try to steal the fun by Thandaga'ing the train and getting killed in the process, although the fact that many many many leeches, crabs, pugs, and giants were actually all of us, including myself, meant that we had to hurry. Saoirse, Kagemushi, Akanea and I all went in different directions training and met in one spot. One Blizzaga III, an Aeroga III and a Waterga III later, everything died. I laughed maniacally. Ah, talk about sweet release...and Enron, if you're thinking dirty thoughts again, I will /slap you! /grin)

18 March, 2005

Everyone's Grudge

Thanks to ZM4, I now had a Uggalepih Coffer key in my possession. And so, what else is there to do other than try to find myself a map of the Temple of Uggalepih with the key? ^^

Thankfully, I pretty much remembered the way to get to the coffer area, although seriously, the Uggalepih coffer is quite possibly as annoying, if not more so than Garlaige Citadel. A person can only reach half of the coffer spawns solo, with the other five either behind locked doors (of which a key is needed), or behind the door that is watched over by a Temple Guardian. I went down hoping to try my luck.

Unfortunately, none of the accessible spawns help the coffer, and so the coffer was definitely behind a locked door. (This, I confirmed after following another party through the door with the Temple Guardian). Chances are that the coffer spawned behind the door that requires the Prelate key to get past, but I didn't really want to farm up a one-time use key just to see if a coffer was there, so I decided to take my chances with the other two spawns hiding behind the Uggalepih key door. Given that the exit from the Sacrificial Chamber leads to the coffer spawns, I was kicking myself for quickly Escaping out of the place after beating ZM4, but then again, I do that every time I Warp II people after a party, and Warp myself before the treasure has time to fall into my gobbiebag. /sigh

That meant I now had to solo Tonberry Cutters for the key, not that they were a problem being {Too weak}. Of course, I had Throat Stab to watch out for, which is an attack that reduces me to 10% of my max hp, and of course, Everyone's Grudge, but I don't remember killing that many Tonberries. I certainly didn't kill many as a White Mage, and I remember taking care not to score the killing blow as a Black Mage. So I figured I'd be okay.

Several Tonberry Cutters later, I was still key-less. Frustrated, I then go ahead and fight one more and then, just as I was about to deal the finishing blow...

Hmm...I guess I must've killed more Tonberries than I thought. /sulk

With that, I decided it was time to clear up my Tonberry hate, or their Rancor. I sought out a person by the name of Magephaud in Norg who also had a previous encounter with the Tonberry. He told me that he could tell me where I could go to clear my hate, but he'd only do so in exchange for three Gold Beastcoins. ; ; Grumbling, I bought said beastcoins from the Auction House and handed them over. He then told me about how he too had once killed Tonberries, and stumbled across a Tonberry Priest who could lift the curse on him. However, the Priest demanded gil out of him, and so, reluctant to simply hand over gil just like that, he asked the Priest to prove his claim.

The Priest then lifted the curse off Magephaud, but of course, Magephaud didn't pay. Instead, he swiped the Priest's key, and fled. >_<

It was this key that he gave me, and with it, I then went to seek out the Tonberry Priest, and reset my hate. /sigh...I imagine this map could take quite a while...

17 March, 2005

Dynamis-Windurst Interloper

Explorer (my Dynamis linkshell) goes on its Dynamis runs every Wednesday morning and Saturday afternoons, EST. This, of course means that the Japanese have to get up to participate at all strange hours, and given how most of the linkshell is Japanese, I'm surprised our timing is not more suited to their timezone. When I go back in the summer, things are sure to get interesting...

Anyway, this time we managed to get into Dynamis-Windurst without any conflicts with other Dynamis linkshells, and to be honest, I wasn't even thinking about that. I had just come from an exam myself, and rushed over to try and make it in time. So.... >_<

From what I've heard, Dynamis-Windurst is the hardest of the four basic Dynamis zones, although I could be wrong there. Still, the statues (Avatar Icons) reportedly have a higher resistance to magic, and not only that, you also have the infamous House of the Hero, which is really one giant trap waiting for whoever is unfortunate enough to walk past it. So, I was a little anxious about this run, although we are a capable linkshell. ^^

So, I airship down to Windurst, zone into Windurst Walls, and who do I see- a new member, Fishura! :D

It's his first time too, so I can certainly empathise with him- he was having the pre-Dynamis jitters just like I was with Dynamis-Jeuno a few days ago, and I basically told him everything I felt was useful. It would be a little different for him since he is RDM, so I guess he was really just support for the extra mages in the back row beating up all the "regular" mobs with the sleep party.

Dynamis-Windurst also seems to be the more expensive of the four- poision potions and echo drops are both required, adding an extra 24k onto the Dynamis-Windurst price tag.../grumble...

Anyway, after some chatter with friends in the linkshell, we were off! our route in Dynamis-Windurst would take us around Windurst Walls, killing three trigger NMs in order to spawn the final boss at (I think) the Windurst Walls Auction House. One of the NMs happens to be close to the House of the Hero, so that was sure to get interesting. It was also funny when Elmas asked the linkshell who wanted BLM AF, and only Kyubigokou came up to the front. In the end, he still didn't get the AF. >_<

The first part started out pretty normal- I was put into the statue-killing party this time, so I was out on the front lines for much of the run. Actually, there isn't much I can say about this run that hasn't been covered already in my Dynamis-Jeuno entry, since things are just like that- if everything goes smoothly, the plus side is that things get done effeciently with no deaths, and everyone's all happy. On the flip side, everything, or everyone becomes part of a well-oiled machine-- going through Dynamis-Windurst clearing things systematically, efficiently, and mechanically.

Of course, things aren't always like this, and soon, I get introduced to something new--suicide pulling. Our puller actually had to do this three times (on the three bosses), so I don't know if that attests to Windurst's difficulty, but oh well. Basically, the number of mobs surrounding a boss was huge, and to try and kill them all the standard way along with the boss would just take too much time, and at higher risk. This was where suicide pulling comes in. The Thief would aggro the boss, and with it, spawns all the accompanying statues and mobs that link and go after the Thief as well. The Thief then activates Flee (or in longer dashes, Perfect Dodge), and runs off someplace and eventually gets beaten up by the train he created. In the meantime, the Paladin is standing by to provoke the boss NM away from the train. Since all the linked mobs were after the thief, we are able to isolate the boss NM this way without having to deal with any other mobs. Of course, the Thief would have to be Raised, but so much time is saved in the process that this was well worth it. What Gluey said might very well have some merit in it-- there are a lot of THF74s, just because they die so much in these things. >_<

There were some areas that we avoided altogether just because the mobs would be far greater than what we could handle. Koru-Moru's Manor for example, had plenty of mobs at its doorstep, and we sidestepped that by hugging the right hand wall as we made it across to the other bridge. One NM boss lay by Yoran-Oran's Manor, and so we did a suicide pull. Unfortuantely, someone happened to be resting up front (while pulling, you do not rest) and so, the Yagudos killed off our THF, and then turned to look at us! We almost wiped out, having about ten people left out of the 33 or so that went, and much time was wasted in the process. In fact, because of this, we almost didn't manage to clear Dynamis-Windurst in time, defeating the final boss with something like five minutes left on the clock.

The final boss also had to be suicided, and once again, things went wrong. >_< The PLD couldn't provoke the boss out of the train quick enough, and the Thief died before the boss could be pulled far enough away, and so everything else linked to it. We now were in a dilemma. We had a boss after us, along with a sizeable train. Trying to kill the train off would be nigh impossible since the boss can't be slept, and so, we did the cowboy move:

Tzee Eciu Idol {Full attack!}

Everyone unleashed everything they had on that one boss, hoping to kill it before the whole alliance wiped out. It was rather funny to see it happen, despite the fact that we all knew we'd die in the end. I think even the Red Mages joined in the nuking along with the Black Mages, at least with an Ice Staff-powered Blizzard III.Slug Shots, SATAs and everything flew everywhere. SAMs 2hr'ed and started firing off all the skillchains they could think of. I, myself tried to nuke the Idol, but one of its attack deals 800 damage in an AoE, and I um....died. >_<

Somehow, we managed to kill it. With its defeat, we (or at least, those left standing) tried to fend off the train for as long as we could, but were horribly outnumbered. The entire linkshell wiped out. Not that it mattered, since with the boss' defeat, the ??? was on the ground where it fell. Eventually, the links went back home to the Auction House.

Then the Reraise IIIs were activated.

Raise IIIs followed.

We all got the Hydra Corps Lantern, and "Dynamis-Windurst Interloper."

And there was much rejoicing. ^^

16 March, 2005

Getting things done.

Sometime in the evening, I decided to party. Personally, I felt the party was rather mediocre, with people not knowing what to do, and we only managed some 3k/hr in Kuftal Tunnel. The fact that two other parties came down to join us didn't help, and I was getting decidedly bored. The THF wasn't familiar with the mobs, not that it was his fault since it was his first time here, but our WHM was horrible. He, at level 70, still had to be told what status ailments were on people, and for the most part, it ended up as he just casting Stona while I handled everything else. As BLM, of course. It particularly annoyed me when I was hit by Baleful Gaze, and after we defeated the Cockatrice, I saw him resting. Sheesh.

Anyway, that's not what this entry is about. ^^

Sometime during that party, Erieta sent me a tell informing me of a ZM4 run in the making, and that they lacked only a Black Mage. I sent the leader, Avatarr, a /tell, and he was delighted to have me on board. We only had one lantern in the whole group, but that wasn't too big of a problem. I told him that I'd be finishing up with my party soon (we were, indeed going to end shortly), and I'd join him then. He was even happier when I told him that I already had the paintbrush of souls to get into the Den of Rancor. (Hah! I knew it'd be useful! ^^)

Ten minutes later, we were off. WHM BLM RDM DRK MNK PLD.

Our first stop, as I had mentioned earlier, was to pick up three more lanterns. It was a little annoying since only Tonberry Maledictors drop unlit lanterns, and they have this nasty habit of linking. Somehow, I ended up pulling, since I was the one who was most familiar with where to go and what to do, having done this multiple times in the past. I ended up just pulling all the Tonberries and Bees to clear a path to the Maledictors, and to give the others something to do. That, and it was hard to try and stay Invisible with all the magic-aggro pots around, so clearing everthing in the way was a better option. That, and we got plenty of coffer keys for everybody, although what people would do with them is beyond me. At least...I know what I'm going to do with mine...but that's a tale for another day. ^^

Eventually, we got three more lanterns without too much trouble. Actually, we had a bit of a dry period where we were stuck at three lanterns for a bit, and Maledictor after Maledictor would die with no drop. That only lasted so long, and we were off!

Heading over to the Den of Rancor, I somehow took charge of the group, giving them explicit instructions as to what to do. First rule, stay together.

With that, we all Sneak'ed and Invisible'ed ourselves, and headed over to the Altar of Rancor to get those lanterns lit. There were two bats and two bombs there, so we ended up getting aggro, but they were cleared out without too much problem, them being DC to me. I then asked people to light the lanterns, and then double check, confirming that they had a "Rancor Flame."

The next part was walking down to some portcullis with four large lanterns in front. The four people with the Rancor Flame would have to light the lanterns in order to open the gateway to the Sacrificial Chamber for the BCNM fight. This was where our first rule was broken. We separated. >_<

At least nothing bad happened, and we joined up again after a little bit of map-guessing. After arriving at the big lanterns, we saw it was guarded by Tonberry and Bats. Of course, we could try clearing the room out as some guides suggest, but we preferred not to. And so, we waited for Tonberries to turn around before lighting the lanterns. Unfortunately, one of us timed it wrong, and got aggro. ; ;

Tonberries linked, and soon, we were fighting five mobs at once. Our stealth option certainly wasn't working, and so I ordered people to just light the lanterns and run for it.

Remember what I did earlier: I got them to confirm that they had a Rancor Flame.

So of course, it soon came to our realisation that one person had not lit their lantern. /fume.

And so, we broke Rule #1 yet again. The PLD, RDM and I stayed at the lanterns, exchanging Provokes with Sleepgas while the WHM followed the MNK and DRK back to the Altar of Rancor to get their flame (and also Raise the MNK who died along the way ; ;) It got a little harrowing whenever a Bat happened to fly too close by, since they are Sleep resistant, but the PLD did a good job soloing the bats with our support. The Tonberries were easy to keep slept though.

Eventually, the others returned with the Flame, and quickly lit the last lantern to open the gate to the Sacrificial Chamber.

Hard part was over. Once inside, we briefly went over the battle plan- to Sleepga II everybody, then take them out one by one. The THF Tonberry was reputedly near-impossibly to Sleep, so hed be first, and then after that, wed kill the BLM Tonberry and finally the SMN Tonberry, ignoring its Elemental.

The fight really wasn’t as hard as I had imagined it to be. Maybe it was because we had Level 70+ people in a fight meant for 60+, or maybe we were just that good. (Hah, really...)

Anyways, upon their defeat, one of the Tonberries transformed into its human form, a person of the ancient people, the Kuluu. This is where the Zilart storyline starts to take shape, as he then explained the history behind the Kuluu and the Zilart, how the Kuluu stopped the Zilart's power hungry plans to access the land of the gods and ended up warped into the Tonberry. I shant go into further details since this is something worth seeing for yourself. ^^

But in any case, I was finally done with Zilart Mission 4! /cheer.

That wasn't all that happened though. In fact, at some point during at this, Sanzou sent me a /tell, informing me that he and his group were (finally) getting around to doing the Windurst 9-2 battle at Full Moon Fountain! I obviously said I'd go, letting them know that I was in the middle of ZM4, but after we finished, I literally rushed off to Windurst. Of course, by "rushed off", I mean "take the outpost teleport from Yuhtunga Jungle, which just goes to show how useful the teleports are when you're higher level, although I have to complain that one cannot use the teleports to actually travel for xp, since the teleporters want you above a certain level "for safety reasons." Screw that. >_<

Anyway, from the looks of things, I was going to try to beat 9-2 with mostly people from Unsent. Our group was a little odd-- BLM BLM RDM RDM PLD DRK. Upon meeting up with the others in the Full Moon Fountain, we sat to try and discuss our plan of action for a bit. The Cardian portion of the fight was easy enough to decide- we'd kill the BLM Cardian (Ace of Buttons), Sleepga II the others, then go after the RDM (Ace of Coins), PLD (Ace of Swords), and then finally, the WHM (Ace of Cups). However, we pretty much assumed that one wouldn't be able to sleep the Manticore or the Wyvern that spawned afterwards, and besides, we also had Ajido Marujido to worry about. We decided that we'd take out the Wyvern first, followed by the Manticore.

And so, we entered the arena, and started to fight the cardians. Everything went according to plan as we systematically took then out one by one, until we almost defeated the last one. Then, I cast Sleep II on the last Cardian and we all rested up to full, since there was no time to rest once the last cardian was defeated. Of course, once we were all rested up and raring to go again, we killed it. ^^ Unfortunately, the second part of the battle didn't quite go according to plan. I'm not too sure what happened. I think we underestimated just how much damage the Wyvern and Manticore do, and the next thing I knew, I found myself spamming Cure IIIs on our PLD instead of nukes on the bosses, and eventually, the PLD fell. Sanzou then tried to tank, but as DRK/NIN, he didn't exactly evade much, and after an admirable attempt, he then fell as well.

All this time, our little friend Ajido-Marujido was busy trying to nuke the Manticore into oblivion, and now that both tanks were gone, he soon became the focal point of the Manticore's claws. Ever tried to keep a Tarutaru that spams IV-spells and Ancient Magic alive? He died in two hits, and we were then unceremoniously booted from the arena. >_<

Once outside, we Raised the fallen and then went about to decide what to do this time. We realised that trying to tank both the Wyvern and the Manticore was out of the question, and we all doubted Sanzou's ability to solo tank one while the PLD held the other. It was then we decided to have both RDMs Gravity and kite one of the bosses, while everyone else tried to focus on killing the other as soon as possible. The problem was that if Ajido decided to attack the boss that we were kiting, that'd be the end of him, and so we quickly modified that to include watching to see just what Ajido would go after.

Once again, we killed the Cardians, resting to full before proceeding to finish off the last one. Geared up for the next battle, we set the plan in motion. While we were standing there waiting for something to happen, Ajido beelined straight for the Wyvern. The plan was set into motion. Gravitys went on the Manticore, and the RDMs tried bouncing the Manticore all over the room while we were trying to kill the Wyvern. This time, things were going fine, and while Firiel (RDM) was killed while kiting, we managed to stall the Manticore long enough for us to just about finish off the Wyvern.

Ajido Marujido: You should be thankful. I'll give you a shortaru trip back to the hell you came from!

The nice part about this fight is (well, other than fighting alongside Ajido-Marujido, because Ajido is awesome!) that once one of the bosses are dead, Ajido practically kills the other one for you. If there was any reason to keep RDM and BLM abilities separate, this was it. While I personally didn't see it myself, Firiel assured me that the Manticore went down in very short order thanks to the call that is Chainspell-Flood. Or at least Chainspell-Water IV, or something to that extent. >_<

Rushing back to Windurst, I was then told about what happened. Fenrir was awakened and now stands watch over Windurst. With the Cardians gone and Fenrir watching, the Yagudo are now hesitant to continue their demands upon Windurst. All is well, although summoning the great beast to stand watch had its price. The Star Sybil lost her ability to perform a moon reading, losing the foresight that had guided her in ruling Windurst. However, all was well with the realisation that she did not need the stars and the moon to guide her any longer, instead, letting the people guide her. I think I might have said a bit too much there, but I'm sure there's plenty more I haven't said to those who don't really like spoilers. Like the special ending cutscene. ^^

In any case, I was now the proud recipient of both Rank 10, and my Windurstian Flag! Not only that, but with Rank 10, I was now able to go out and purchase my own Federation Aketon, which I proudly wore around Windurst soon after. Here, take a look:

Of course, what to do next comes to mind...but I guess that can wait. ^^

15 March, 2005

Forbidden Magic.

Well, not quite.

The title was supposed to be something along the lines of "Practicing the Forbidden Art", or "Walking down the road of the Summoner", but both titles were just too long for my liking, so I kept it as just "Forbidden Magic." Those unfamiliar with the story behind Summoners in Final Fantasy XI might not know of this, but as the title implies, summoning magic was a recently discovered branch of magic, discovered by some of Windurst's astounded professors. However, since it was not understood, and was dealing with some very volatile things, the Star Sybil deemed Summoning magic banned. I won't go into any more detail, just in case there're those out there who'd prefer to find out the story for themselves. ^^

Anyway, I've muled all my RDM gear away, and am now leveling up my good 'ol SMN. ^^

Finally having Fenrir is so nice. After having tried soloing in the La'Theine Plateau with the other avatars and now with Fenrir, he really does solo a whole lot better than the regular avatars. I still died when a VT Orc aggro'ed me while I was resting, and the two hits he got on me was enough to kill me before I could get my Spirit out. As of now, I'm busy tearing up Fort Ghelsba, and finding that I'm getting a whole lot more xp there, faster. Sure, everything there's "Easy Prey" to me, and it's only 18-25xp a kill, but I go through at least five mobs before my mp starts running low, and I have to dismiss Fenrir to rest.

That, and the Fire Crystals that drop from the Orcs-aplenty there are mmmm, good! ^^

13 March, 2005

Welcome to Dynamis.

Dynamis, the Shrouded Land.

The place where some of the very end game gear is sought. Relic Weapons, Ancient Currency, and of course the second AF set. I had been wanting to go to Dynamis for quite some time now, but could not find a linkshell to go with. It might be my (lack) of a seeking technique, which basically comprises of it cropping up in random conversations with friends, but I guess it's bound to work eventually. Anyway, my Dynamis linkshell is called Explorer. It's (mostly) Japanese, although we have a few American players as well, and everybody is at least level 70. I came to know of the linkshell through Starfox, when we were partying in King Ranperre's Tomb. We started talking, and eventually I mentioned my want to try and get into a Dynamis linkshell, to which Starfox gave me an invitation, saying he'd check with the leader to see if it was okay. In addition, it turned out that one of my party members (Stev), was also in the same linkshell, so all of a sudden, I had two people on the inside who could help me get in. Hee! ^^

Their raid was scheduled for today, and so, I was asked to wait for a reply. I was anxious at first, and as the hour approached, and I heard nothing, it looked like they didn't need me. Eventually Starfox logged on and we started talking again. Then, one particular tell stood out:

Starfox>> Join.

Woohoo! ^^

I (and two other new members) went up to meet with the leader, Elmas. Honestly, I was very nervous at this point, and tried to conduct myself accordingly, although what really happened was me fumbling around and Elmas traded me a linkpearl quietly. I didn't really know what to say or do at the time, really! >_< Anyway, since Starfox is bilingual, he explained the linkshell rules and system to us while Elmas looked on. Basically, the linkshell works on a point-based system. You get points for participating in a run, and points are deducted when you receive certain items.

For us, it +10 points per Dynamis run, with a deduction of -5 points for a Relic weapon, -20 points for a 100-Byne Bill, and -50 for AF. I'm personally in agreement with this system. since certain items are very competitive, and ideally, you'd want the person who had worked the hardest to get the item first. After all, the last thing you want is to go through twenty Dynamis runs before seeing your AF, only to be out-lotted by some new member, hence we don't compete lots for items. This is especially true for Black Mages, since BLMs are so useful in Dynamis, our numbers in a raid usually end up in the double-digits.

We were originally going to do Dynamis-Windurst today, but when the time came, we found that another linkshell was already doing it (only one group's allowed in one particular Dynamis area at any time) and so we switched over to Dynamis-Jeuno. At this point, I was very nervous, this being my first Dynamis run and all, and I didn't want to screw up. Starfox, Stev, and Kyubigokou (who I was pleased to find out was also in the LS) were all giving me a brief rundown on what it's going to be like.

My "portion" of the linkshell would be comprised of all the Black Mages. Our alliance is split into three parties- a BLM "nuking" party, a BLM "Stun" party, and a pulling party. What would happen is that the pulling party would go and well, pull, and train the mobs past everybody. The nuking party's goal is to take out the statue-like mobs, since only magic is effective against them. The Sleeping party's task is to Sleepga everything so things don't go out of control, and to Stun certain mobs when needed.

For example, MNK-type mobs use Hundred Fists, and upon seeing it, one person repeatedly yells out "Hundred Fists!" (or something to that extent) and everybody must disengage the mob so the BLMs can Sleep it. Then, it's just a matter of waiting 30 seconds for Hundred Fists to wear off, and it's back to work. NIN-type mobs can Mijin Gakure, which would result in much death, and so must be controlled. We cannot Sleep NIN mobs, otherwise we cannot kill it, so it's basically the entire raiding party against one NIN mob with all the BLMs continually firing Stuns at it to make sure it never moves. Then there are the SMN-type mobs, which can Astral Flow (obviously a bad thing), and so, the avatars must be kept slept. After all, a party wipeout to Carbunce would be rather...embarassing. BST-type mobs can Charm(-ga?) and also have their pets. Because of this, the BST is killed first, then the pet, since with the pet around, the BST cannot Charm. Personally, I'd say the pets are more annoying, as the Slime-type mobs kept casting Paralyga, which had a huge area of effect!

I was part of the "nuking" party, which meant that all I had to do was take out the statues as they came in, and then I could go help out with the regular mobs once that was done. I was probably playing overly cautious, as out of fear of hitting the wrong mob, I waiting until there was some sign that the mob I was targetting was also the one scheduled for destruction. Combine that with the ridiculous lag you get there, and most of the time, the mob was dead before my nuke resolved. >_< I had an early death (first Dynamis death :P) thanks to something going awry, but we managed to handle it in the end. After that, the rest of the Dynamis raid pretty much went on without event, other than my disconnecting and not being able to get back on, but that was rectified in five minutes. >_<

I tried taking some screenshots, but now I realise why so few Dynamis screenshots exist- it's really quite hard to take good screenies of Dynamis, especially when you're in the back rows. Oh well.

We started at the Mog House exit, and slowly worked our way towards the palace grounds, where we'd fight the final boss for the area. During this time, we got two WAR AF, a RNG AF, and RDM AF! While I suppose I could go on telling how Dynamis was done, once you get used to it, it all becomes very repetitive, and not terribly interesting, but oh well. We eventually got to the final boss, a giant Goblin Golem, and with everybody against it, it went down without too much event, well, killing five people in the meantime.

A ??? appeared where the Golem died, and I got the key item (some Hydro Corps map thingymajigy), and more importantly, the title:

"Dynamis-Jeuno Interloper"

/cheer! Dynamis-Jeuno cleared! All that remains is clearing the other three basic Dynamis zones- namely Dynamis-Bastok, Dynamis-San d'Oria, and Dynamis-Windurst, before gaining access to the next tier up: Dynamis-Beaucedine. From what I hear though, the ice zone Dynamis areas (Dynamis-Xarcabard../shudder) make the basic four look like a walk in the park. Eek!

12 March, 2005

Hier of the New Moon

Too bad the "Dynamis-Jeuno Interloper" title wouldn't last long. >_<

See, while the Dynamis raid was scheduled for today, that wasn't the only thing I had planned.

I was also personally organising a Fenrir run of my own. ^^ Basically, I've more or less given up on /shouting at the last minute when trying to look for help to go do something, as most people generally ignore the /shouts, or just don't help. I mean, heck, I do that myself, so I don't expect the general populace to come running at me for the chance to fight Fenrir. So instead, I decided to try getting people I knew to help out, and then /shout every now and then for missing members. The difference now that is I'd be /shouting Japanese style, which basically let's people know well in advance of a particular event. In my case, I started a whole day early:
/shout {Excuse me...} Looking for members to go on a {Fenrir} run tomorrow, Saturday night 0:00 EST! Please send a {/tell} if interested! ^^

Or something to that extent.

By doing this, I got a few /tells from people who were interested, and I could then jot their names down. Now that they are aware of the time, they can then log back in and we could all set off without further ado. Far better than sitting around Jeuno /shouting for two hours only to have discouraged people leave and the party disband in the end. By Friday night, I had NIN (Thibrebaud), BLM (me), and RNG (Onekomaru) confirmed, as well as a second NIN (Jaxter). I also had a DRK (Nemrac) and SMN (Letum) on the sidelines, willing to help out if I needed more people. Only thing missing was a Bard.

Finding a Bard was hard. Neither Hirushi (who's been away from the game for quite some time) and Zim could make the run, so come Saturday evening, I ended up /shouting for a BRD. I didn't really want to go through all this, only to disband in the end, just because we couldn't find one person. Luckily, a BRD replied!

He was interested in fighting Fenrir, the problem was that he didn't have a moon bauble. Fortunately, he was in the middle of a complete avatar run, and with luck, he'd be finished by midnight. WIth that in mind, I went about doing other things, checking to see if other people were online, and reminding people of the time. Our first hiccup came upon the realisation that the BRD's (Sidant) avatar party's tank could not do Ramuh, which was their last avatar. Fortunately, Thibrebaud could still go in his place, and he volunteered to go tank Ramuh for them, bless his soul. ^^

Meanwhile, I was busy struggling with another hiccup of my own- Jaxter had logged on earlier (at 11:30), and we spoke for a bit. He then needed to log out, saying he'd "be back in 30 minutes". Now, it was 12:30, and I was getting anxious. Regardless, I decided to airship down to Windurst, although in hindsight, staying in Jeuno /shouting for a NIN would've been the better option.

By sheer dumb luck, Junstrife happened to be riding the same airship. Junstrife is another NIN, whom I know has been trying to fight Fenrir again, so I asked him if he'd like to join us, explaining that our second NIN was "Missing In Action". He agreed, although I don't know what I would've done if Jaxter had returned. Junstrife initially thought that he couldn't get the moon bauble, but after clarifying that after getting your moon bauble, one did not need to go fight the entire run of avatars again to get another (which, garnered an "OMG!" out of him ^^), he joined with no problems whatsoever. It was still funny though. ^^
Thib, Sidant, and their party had then beaten Ramuh, and were now on their way back to Windurst to meet up with us. And so, the group was settled.

As Onekomaru put it, the party was "foolproof". ^^ I personally agreed with her statement if it weren't just for two "small" problems. The first was that it was a Full Moon. The second was that given travel times and everything, by the time we got to Fenrir, it'd be Darksday. Fighting Fenrir on Darksday, Full Moon is not something you'd want to be doing. We briefly considered hanging around for an hour waiting for Darksday to pass, but decided to give it a shot anyway.

There are a number of things that make Fenrir so difficult. For one, he's ten levels higher than all the other avatars. Secondly, he's of the Dark element, so the WHM has no Bar- spell to cast against him. Thirdly, his 2hr, Howling Moon, is devastating, and finally (the most annoying, I think) he Dispelgas. orz.

Fenrir's version of Dispelga, or Lunar Cry, was by far the hardest thing to deal with. It'd erase everything except food (not just one buff, but everything at one go), which includes stuff like Ballads, drinks, and Reraise. That meant that when I couldn't Stun Fenrir's 2hr (Howling Moon) in time (and ended up being one-shotted in the process), the whole party (eventually) wiped out and none of us could reraise. ; ; In addition, the range of Lunar Cry is ridiculous. In the picture above, I was just barely within casting range of Fenrir, and I still got hit with Lunar Cry. ; ; Letum testifies that there were times where he couldn't even see Fenrir, and still got hit by Lunar Cry as well.

Evidently, Howling Moon can, in fact be Stunned, the problem is that the window of opportunity is so small, it's very hard to actually catch. you literally have about half a second to Stun Fenrir before Howling Moon resolves. Like all the other avatars, he 2hrs when he's around 50% health, so at that point, I stopped whatever I was doing to jam on that Stun macro as soon as I saw the words "Fenrir readies Howling Moon", and I still missed it. ; ; We put up a decent fight, at least, the three of us that survived it, but in the end, Fenrir got the better of us and we wiped out. >_<

Onekomaru bit the bullet and returned to homepoint to change into her White Mage so she could Raise III the rest of us. Soon, it occured to me that Onekomaru had no way to get past the three-mage gate that eventually leads to the Toraimarai Canal, so I homepoint'ed as well to open the door for her. It didn't really matter- I had xp'ed in preparation for dying a lot in Dynamis, and after a relatively clean run, I didn't mind taking the hit. Besides, this was Fenrir we are talking about! ^^

The good news is that by the time we returned, it had changed to Firesday. Within ten minutes, we were up and running, and raring to go up against Fenrir one more time. ^^

And so we went up against him again. Now that Onekomaru was WHM instead of RNG, his life total went down a lot slower, although the good news was that we had four people who could all cast Erase to take off the Evasion and Accuracy Down effects on the NINs when Fenrir uses Ecliptic...something. (All his abilities sound the same to me. >_<) I ended up doing some light nuking to speed things up a little bit, and when hit life total hit 60%, I stopped, and readied myself to Stun on moment's notice.

One thing we decided was that, despite the Darksday, Full Moon, Fenrir really wasn't all that difficult to deal with. Essentially, what the entire battle resolved around was surviving Howling Moon. Once we got that, the rest of the battle would be a piece of cake.

And so, I waited.

And waited.

And waited some more.

Finally, it came: "Fenrir readies Howling Moon!" I hit the Stun macro, hoping to catch it in time. I even removed all the gear-swapping lines in my macro to avoid any possible slowdown. The lines on the screen went by:

Fenrir readies Howling Moon.
Tuufless starts casting Stun.
Tuufless casts Stun.
Fenrir is stunned.

Junstrife>> NICE!

From then on, it was a piece of cake. Thibrebaud died again when Junstrife's Provoke was not up when his shadows went down, but the worst was over. I upped the nuking a notch, culminating in a Manafont-Elemental Seal-Blizzaga III while Letum Astral Flow'ed and readied Ifrit's Hellfire, and with that, Fenrir was defeated!

Ecstatically, we all run back to Windurst Woods, where I got that final cutscene with Carbuncle telling the researchers about the purpose of the avatars and their presence. Personally, I was too excited to pay much attention to what Carbuncle was saying, and just skimmed ahead to getting my item- a pact with Fenrir.

It is done. It is finally over. Fenrir...is mine!



/hurray! ^^

Many, many thanks to everybody who took part in this run: Onekomaru, Thibrebaud, Sidant, Letum, and Junstrife. I couldn't have done it without you guys! ^^

All that is Red and Glitters...

Another long break in between! Actually, I wasn't updating this mostly because not a whole lot has been happening. If you want the brief summary of this past week, I, um, hit Black Mage 71! Unfortunately, that's about all the major accomplishments I had...until today. ^^

On an aside, I've started to level up my Red Mage to work as a subjob for the Black Mage. As I'm writing this, I'm sitting upon a RDM34 that's about half way to level 35. Two more levels after that, and I have a settled RDM sub. Now, whether I want to continue leveling RDM past 37 and onto 60 (*cough* pimp hat *cough*) or not has yet to be determined. I'd imagine I'd like to get around to it at some point, although given the standard of players I've been meeting, that doesn't look like a very nice proposal.

See, while on the one hand you get awesome parties that get Chain #4s for 268xp in the Yhoator Jungle, such parties are few and far between. Most parties are still incredibly newbish, struggling to meet even 3k an hour. Black Mages seem particularly guiltly of "n00b" behaviour, and for some reason, can never seem to keep their finger off the trigger, much to the dismay of all their tanks. Eventually, I dragged my Red Mage through the hell that is the jungles, and into the hell that is the Garlaige Citadel. Why people like this place is beyond me, although to be honest, I quite liked Garlaige the first time I leveled through here on my White Mage. Now, it just feels horrible. People don't know what they're doing, people are trying mobs that're way above what they can handle (I saw someone ding 31 in Garlaige- you don't even think of moving into Garlaige until 32). As mentioned earlier, the Black Mages have absolutely no sense of hate (or mana) management (the party I was just in had the BLM open with Aero II, Water II, Stone II- only reason why he didn't die was because of the two WHMs in the party.) Oh, and did I mention trying to explain SATA is a right pain in the neck?

Not to mention the obligatory train of assorted bats to the zone that causes much {death} and delays everybody for about ten minutes...

...only to have someone zone back into the Citadel, aggro the bats, and pull them back to the zone line so everybody has to wait some more. /sigh


The main event of today? New Moon. To be more specific, Darksday New Moon. ^^ That meant a bit of crafting. Having made two stacks of Darksteel Ingots, I decided to list them up in Bastok to see if I could sell them. The Bastok AH had them at 240k/stk, which was a lot better than the 200k/stk Jeuno was offering. Two days later, I find that the Ingots still haven't sold, and go to check that the price had fallen to 207k/stk. ; ;

Another aside, this time on undercutting:

Darksteel Ingots is one thing. However, whoever had the moronic sense to completely screw up the Combat Caster's Boomerang +1 market deserves to be shot. In the span of 4 days, or nine transactions, some fool has dropped the price of the Combat Caster's Boomerang from a nice 40k/ea. to 30k/ea. One even sold for 28,100 gil.

A Combat Caster's Boomerang +1 costs 28,100 gil. A normal Combat Caster's Boomerang costs 30,000 gil. Anyone see a problem here?

It's marvellous what people's intelligence (or lack of) can do. From something that was a 5k profit/synth (Mythril Ingot from Ores/Coins), it's now a 9k loss/synth. {Congratulations!}


Over the past few weeks, I had been accumulating a bunch of Mythril Ingots. Why, I don't know. I kept on picking up the random piece of Mythril here and there and would synth them into Ingots, not selling them since the AH was offering 7.5k for one, and I preferred a better 8-9k price range. So I found myself with half a stack of Mythril Ingots, and two stacks of Darksteel Ingots. That, coupled with Darksday, New Moon, led to just one conclusion.

Skilling up! ^^

My Darksteel sheets initially leveled up like crazy. I got +0.2, +0.1, +0.1, +0.1 all as my first four synths, succeeding in every one of them. I was quite happy about that, and soon, I was greeted with:

Of course, now I had a problem. Smithing had caught up with Goldsmithing, and that would not do! >_< Hurrying over to the Bastok Auction House, I found that there were no Ram Leathers in stock to make Mythril Cuisses. At least, no single pieces of Ram Leather. And so, I bought an entire stack and set about converting my Mythril Ingots to sheets. >_<

Four synths later (one failed and I only lost the leather :P), I finally get what I've been (sort of) working for over the past...what is it now, six weeks? My records tell me I hit Goldsmithing 54 on the 25th January, so yeah...that one level took me a heckaru of a long time! >_<

So the cuisses cost me 19k a synth (especially since I tried to desynth them to recycle materials). That's okay. Sweet bliss follows:

/joy ^^

05 March, 2005


Again, busy-busy today! >_<

Purchased a new bookstand for my house, and now I can read a littlaru bit when I'm at home. /grin. Other than that, Warped into Jeuno to find lots of cheap Darksteel Ores on sale, but somebody was busy buying up the lotaru! I managed to snag four of them before the cheap ones were gone, but that was all. ; ;

I still had my stack of Darksteel Ingots from the last time someone decided to release a whole bunch of Darksteel Ores at once. I think this must be a weekend thing, and it'd be interesting to find out if prices drop when the weekend comes due to increased supply (theoretically). Then again, the weekend would also mean increased demand, so that doesn't quite make sense. I do know that Darksteel Ingots go out of stock on weekends though, and that's the ideal time to sell. ^^

So anyway, I had this stack of Darksteel Ingots that I didn't quite know what to do with. I could always sell them piece by piece for a very nice profitaru (around 85k profit), or I could synth them into Darksteel Sheets which, while isn't quite as profitable as the Ingots, still lets me come out ahead, of course, assuming no failures. It was also Watersday, so I was a little apprehensive about crafting the sheets, but in the end, I bit the bullet and went for it.

Advanced Imagery. Watersday. Last Quarter Moon (actually, just 2 days before the New Moon, but I couldn't wait until then >_<).

+0.2, +0.1, +0.2, +0.2, +0.1!

What is this thing they call a +0.2 skillup? I vaguely remember something of the sort waaaaay back when I first started crafting, but to have a +0.2 skillup in a craft that's in the 50s, yet alone this many, is almost unheard of. Even better, I only failed once (on the first 0.2 skillup), and even then, I only lost the crystal. ^^


Overall, a +0.8 out of twelve synths with no material loss? Geez, even my Alchemy doesn't give that good results! Now if only that were for my Goldsmithing...I actually tried to find a stack of Gold Ingots to make some rings based on this, but there were none to be found. Gold seems to have shot up quite a bit recently though- Ingots are 40k/ea now. Stacks are (I think) 420-440k...

Anyway, Smithing 53.5! ^^

04 March, 2005

ひな祭り! (Hinamatsuri!) ^^

Been so busy with real life stuff, I didn't get to accomplish much today. But no matter! For today is a day of celebration in Japan, the celebration which the Moogles are out helping all in Vana'diel celebrate, and unfortunately, it seems that a lot of the English-speaking populace has no idea what in the world is going on. Labeling things as "the worst event SE has planned" is missing the point, I think. So, I'll take it upon myself to explain more about "Hinamatsuri." ^^

/em clears throat.

Hinamatsuri, or the "Doll's Festival" is celebrated in Japan on the 3rd of March (hence the title). For the Japanese, this is a day to pray for a young girl's growth and happiness. That's right- a festival for girls. That explains why those cakes you eat (more on that in a bit) turn you into little girls of the appropriate race, and consequently, why there are no Galka cakes. >_< "Hinamatsuri" is also called "Momo no sekku", or the peach festival, because of the peach blossom season on the lunar calendar (which Japan no longer follows, but hey, tradition! ^^) This is a festival that dates back to the Edo period in Japan (1603-1867).

During this time, most homes with young girls will set up a display of "hinaningyo", or "hina dolls". Around the dolls, peach blossoms, assorted rice cakes, including special coloured and diamond-shaped ones called "hinamochi", and white sake are placed as offerings. The hinaningyo are arranged in five or seven tiers covered with a red carpet. These tiers represent the various social ranks in society, so at the top sit the Emperor and Empress, followed by three court ladies (sannin-kanjo), then five musicians (gonin-bayashi), two ministers (udaijin and sadaijin), then finally, three servants on the bottom (at least, in a 5-tier display).

The costumes worn by the dolls dates back to the Heian period of Japan (794-1185), and the Empress's costume, a "juuni-hitoe", or the "twelve-layered ceremonial robe" is still worn today at the Royal family's wedding ceremony.

However, these dolls can be very-wery expensive! Some of the full sets can cost more than one million yen! >_< There's also a superstition that if you do not put away the hinaningyo quickly after 3rd March, the daughter will marry late, which, at least in traditional thought, is not a good thing. >_<

Finally, there is also a song for Hinamatsuri, appropriately named "Ureshii Hinamatsuri" (Happy Hinamatsuri!):

Akari wo tsukemashou bonbori ni
Ohana wo agemashou momo no hana
Go-nin bayashi no fue taiko
Kyou ha tanoshii Hinamatsuri

Translated, the lyrics read:

Let’s light the lanterns,
Let’s set peach flowers.
Five court musicians are playing flutes and drums.
Today is a joyful Hinamatsuri!

Anyway, back to Vana'diel. The peach blossoms have bloomed in the three major cities, and they are so pretty! Even better, I found a display of offerings near the fountain in Windurst Woods, which I certainly had a little bit of fun with. ^^

Finally, since this is a girl's festival...here's ME! As a little-wittle taru! (As if tarus weren't small enough already >_<)