Compare and contrast to some of this bloggaru's earliest entries, when I was blog about practically anything that happened- what level I ding'ed, the good parties, the bad parties, random encounters of the third kind, so and so forth. Admittedly, the game has lost some of its luster, and really, once you're up there at 75, there isn't a whole lot to do if you want to avoid the drama train and say "no" to HNM and sky.
Consequently, I noticed that I no longer have access to BBQ's private forums. I guess that means I'm technically no longer part of BBQ, I guess.
Granted, I could blog about how we cleared Dynamis-Bastok yet again, but the problem with all these activities is that they get so tediously repetitive, it just ceases to be enjoyable. Sure, the first time going in was fun, maybe the second. Nowadays, I'm just grinding it out, waiting for the designated time to expire just so I can move on with other things.
I've come to the conclusion that Dynamis is flawed in its design. For starters, it's a massive time sink that goes against one of the fundamental rules of an MMORPG, that is "real life > online". Heck, even Square-Enix has it in their warning message that they flash by you each and every time you log on:
"Exploring Vana'diel is a thrilling experience. During your time here, you will be able to talk, join, and adventure with many other individuals in an experience that is unique to online games.
That being said, we have no desire to see your real life suffer as a consequence. Don't forget your family, your friends, your school, or your work."
A Dynamis linkshell typically takes about 45 minutes to an hour to get all the pre-raid stuff sorted out. Party formations, alliance formations, taking down attendance, confirming who gets what drops, and so and so forth. Once inside, you can spend up to three and a half hours inside Dynamis. Doing the math, that tells you that each Dynamis run takes up at least four hours of your day. Given that the Chinese government seems to have decided that anything over three hours of continued gameplay is considered unhealthy, we have a small problem.
Four hours is a long enough period that will almost certainly cut into something you do. For example, dinner with friends and family. Unless you start right after lunch, there's a good chance that your Dynamis run will spillover into dinner. At some point, a line needs to be drawn somewhere.
Not to mention that all this happens twice a week.
Also, what's with the system where the Dynamis zones aren't instanced? I can understand why it might not be, because a player should be able to /search a Dynamis zone. However, with a linkshell's run taking up four hours, it will get more and more difficult to schedule a run without a conflict, although the new Dynamis zones will ease this somewhat.
The drop rate is rare, granted, but does it have to be asanine? While many can grasp the value inherit in something rare, do the math. As a Black Mage, I have a lifetime total of 280 points, or the equivalent of 28 Dynamis runs. At four and a half hours per run, that's 126 hours, or five and a quarter full, real life days spent in Dynamis. All I have to show for that is a pair of Sorcerer's Sabots. Heck, Kaibara has spent over a real life week in Dynamis, and he still doesn't have his Sorcerer's Petasos. Doesn't that strike you as somewhat...strange coming from a company who tells you that this shouldn't affect your real life?
The new Dynamis zones seem to be a step in the right direction, with a much shorter time limit in Dynamis, although that really doesn't help the drop issue, although I can't really say much about that seeing as how the new Dynamis zones will be up on Monday. Personally, I think having AF2 drop off mobs is incredibly silly and wasteful since there will be different demands for each piece. So then not only does AF have to drop, the correct AF also needs to drop, otherwise it joins the pile of /tossed AF, along with the rest of the DRG, DRK, and BST AF we have lying somewhere in the Jeuno sewers. Have something that lets a player get his AF for sure, after a good amount of work. The Limbus system with AF+1s is something I like as an idea, although I think it might be better to make the Ancient Beastcoins (or its equivalent) RA/EX so one can't just "buy" his or her AF (supply not withstanding).
On another completely different note, yesterday's edition of the New York Times contained an article entitled "Ogre to Slay? Outsource It to Chinese", written by David Barboza that, well, dealt with gilsellers. There is also an accompanying article, "Virtual Achievement for Hire: It's Only Wrong if You Get Caught", by Seth Schiesel that again talks about gilsellers, or at least in Seth's case, goldsellers in World of Warcraft.
After reading the articles, I do not envy the position the Chinese youths are in- playing for 12-hour shifts trying to meet a daily quota of gil. At the same time, I have next to no sympathy for them. Yes, I am an ebil taru. Hear me rawr~!
The irony was that that night, I actually got an invite for a Crawler's Nest xp party from some guy named Jokia, who evidently is a gilseller (although I did not know it). He spoke some English, but after a while, I got very suspicious based off his broken English, his lack of knowledge as to how to construct a party, not to mention him being Rank 10, and not knowing how to get to the Soldier Crawlers.
A quick /tell to Vagus, and I found out that yes, he is indeed of gilseller status, and I eventually excused myself from the party. The funny part was that previously, he had invited Ellven (who is also high on the "gilseller" suspect list) to the party, and I talked him into kicking Ellven because he was a gilseller. Little did I know that the leader himself is a gilseller too! Gilsellers kicking other gilsellers out of their own parties? They're everywhere! >_<
I also started my Summoner AF, or at least, the AF1 weapon. After a lot of running around the world, from Windurst, to Bastok, I found myself in the Cloister of Tremors, fighting this Hecteyes mob by the name of Galgalim. Normally, I'd fight him with my BLM, but I was feeling lazy, so I figured I'd try to solo him on my WHM instead. So, I took out my trusty Darksteel Maul, and went nuts over the poor Hecteyes. That, and I got a few giggles out of beating stuff up with Hexa Strike once again. ^^
Unfortunately, for some reason, there seems to be a bug with the Summoner AF! I went back to Port Bastok, where I get a cutscene, but then I'm supposed to go back to Windurst Walls and the House of the Hero to pick up my Kukulcan's Staff, but I got nothing! >_< Evidently, this can be fixed by going talking to everybody once again, starting from the beginning at the House, then going to Port Bastok, then back to Windurst again, but all that travelling! >_<
In even more Summoner-related news, I managed to get SMN43 today. Starting from SMN41, I saw some people lfg, and brought together a 41-42 SMN BLM BRD DRG THF, and ended up settling with a NIN40, who agreed to at least try to tank Desert Beetles even though they are more 41-44 material. Turns out that the Beetles only conned IT, high defense to the Ninja, so that sounded just fine.
Unfortunately, things got off to a very rocky start. Someone got aggro from a wandering Antican, and half the party ended up wiping while the rest fled to Rabao (all the way from Revelation Rock, too -_-). I was one of the dead, and seeing as how we had nobody who could Raise, I homepointed, switched over to my WHM, Teleport-Altep'ed, and grabbed a chocobo from Rabao to raise the fallen.
We get a Chain #1, but after a very delayed skillchain, the DRG took hate with Double Thrust, and the SATA Viper Bite was too slow in coming. In the meantime, I was busy getting Shiva ready for the Magic Burst that should've come, except that by the time the Viper Bite actually went off, the poor DRG had died thanks to a critical hit and a Rhino Charge, or something of the sort. Back to Rabao again to swap to WHM and chocobo out for Raise. -_-
The party actually picks up from here, and the xp is flowing in. We're only 41-42, but we're getting 200+xp/kill on Chain #3+, and I'm feeling more and more enthusiactic about our chances. Unfortunately, somewhere along the way I decided to summon Shiva to MB on the Distortion skillchain since the Beetle was particularly tough and had a lot of HP. The NIN's shadows happen to go down just as I start bringing Shiva out, and the next Ninjutsu in line is Utsusemi: Ichi, too. -_- Needless to say, the Beetle scores a critical hit, and a few seconds later, we're looking at a dead Ninja and a DRG doing his best to tank (it wasn't pretty). At least the Beetle died, but not without casualties. Back to Rabao again. >_<
At this point, I'm thinking that the Chocobo vendor and I must be really good friends by now...
After that little hiccup, we continue onwards and the xp comes flowing in again. At some point, I ding 42, and lo-and-behold, Cure III (from a /WHM21 subjob) is a godsend to a poor Summoner who's really trying to main heal. >_< An hour and a bit later, I'm starting to get my hopes up about dinging 43 and getting Ecliptic Growl, and sure enough, I get my level within the last 20 minutes of partying. As we're about to start on our last chain, two Beetles pop. We agree to Sleep one and fight the other, but thanks to some miscommunication, we end up sleeping the wrong Beetle, and Provoking the wrong Beetle, too. >_<
So we end up with a BLM dead on the floor, and suddenly, people start dropping like flies. I Astral Flow out a couple of Diamond Dusts, but in the meantime, the NIN and BRD goes down. Our DRG once again makes a brave attempt at tanking, and we actually manage to kill one of the beetles, but the other does the NIN in. So it's just me and the THF trying to kill off this last Beetle. The second Astral Flow almost kills the beetle, and with Shiva tanking, a SATA Viper Bite leaves the Beetle with a sliver of health left. Unfortunately, my Astral Flow wears off at this point, leaving me incapacitated, and I sit down hoping that the THF will be able to finish off the Beetle, or at least last long enough for me to recover some MP.
Thankfully, a Perfect Dodge and a Cyclone later, the beetle dies, and we (just the THF and I) emerge triumphant. Never mind the fact that there are four fallen bodies around us. Back to Rabao it is! >_<
All in all, I have no idea what to think about the place. Overall, a rather amusing (if not, then at least trying) party, that's for sure. ^^