31 December, 2006

...and a Happy New Year!

Heh, just barely one week after my return, I've already managed to burn myself out. At least it wasn't all for nought, and I'm glad to see this as fruits of my labour:

Yes, I've finally gotten around to completing my BLM's Group 1 merits. About time too, I suppose.

When I came back, I found myself with Level 1 Ice potency, and a sole merit point to my name. Raising my Ice potency to Level 5 would take another 13 merit points, or 130,000xp, which I got this past week.

I don't think I've ever xp'ed this intensely before- it must be the senses kicking in to make up for lost time or something. Quite literally, when I wasn't in a merit party, I was solo'ing on my BLM, although the more scary part is that I only partied three times during the course of this past week.

It all started out by my dragging a group of people down to the Nyzul Isle to test out the new Greater Colibri camp I heard about. Suffice to say, I kept coming back here as friends kept getting back to me, saying that they, too, wanted to try this camp out after hearing my positive feedback.

Seriously, for something as squishy as Colibri, they chain for 200xp/kill ultimately yielding much better xp than say, Sea Puks. With the correct setup, they practically go down just as quick, too. I was quite surprised at how easy it was to get a pretty good 9-10k/hr rate down here, just sticking to Chain #5s, but another party with some friends from TK completely blew me away. We barely partied for two hours that day, but managed to clock an amazing 18.4k/hr rate in our time there. Definitely something I wouldn't mind again. ^^

Anyway, that should be enough promoting for now. :P

Ultimately though, I had to ask myself just what I wanted to put my merits towards. By now, I'd come to terms with settling down as both BLM and RDM as "my main jobs", and would treat it as such. The only problem is which to merit first.

In the end, despite the fact that ultimately, I think I'd prefer to be thought of as a RDM, I ended up putting my points into BLM instead. Part of it's because I always felt that I should at least finish my Group 1 merits (that, and Blizzard IV's my favourite nuke). Part of it's because I felt I needed to pull my socks up and at least try to close the (noticably large) gap between me and some of my BLM friends. Part of it's because, well, if I wanted to merit RDM, what would I merit first?

At least BLM's Group 1 merits are easy- I personally haven't heard of anyone doing anything other than Level 5 Ice and Thunder potency. But RDM is an entirely different story altogether. Heck, what Group 2 merits do I put for RDM? If anything, I'd prefer to just sit back and wait things out a little more before committing my points to RDM merits, simply because I feel it would be better to further define what my RDM will do in-game before meriting appropriately.

Part of that consideration is HNM. Admittedly, Kaeko's livejournal has gotten my interest, since a lot of it deals with actual strategy, which I particularly dig. I guess this is why I like CoP so much, since when I mean strategy, I mean more than just "throw 36 people at Tiamat + adds". Kaeko (and TK) break down a fight into several different aspects, taking advantage of each in order to maximise their efficiency, and secure a win, which I definitely approve of.

You can see it in my comments about the Airship battle or Divine Might. I like these batles, not because they are cool (although there is that), but because just throwing yourselves in there isn't going to do you any good. In order to come out successful, you need a predetermined plan in mind.

But anyway, should I ever join an HNMLS, I would have to take the other RDM's merits into account, and then maybe we could co-ordinate something together. Of course, I'm still just as wary about joining the HNM lifestyle, particularly with rl picking up, but it's still nice to muse about every once in a while. ^^

In any case, BLM Group 1 merits, complete.

Yes, and about time too.

Have a happy new year, everyone! ^^

25 December, 2006

Merry Christmasu, everyone!

Blatantly taken from Calcula's comic,

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

In other words, {I'm back!}

And what better time, too. Merry Christmasu, everybody! ^^

19 December, 2006

I would like a Dalmatica.

I would like a Dalmatica.

I'll be frank about it. Before the release of the Morrigan's Coat, I always wanted a Dalmatica.

However, the idea of staring at a screen for up to three hours, hoping to get a lucky claim just for the chance of getting the drop, doesn't bode well with me, not to mention having to deal with perpetual competition and the ensuing drama.

To some, that is the cost of obtaining said Dalmatica, although really, as Russta put it, it sure looks like a way of aesthetically saying "I've stood in a zone longer than you."

Frankly, I didn't want to deal with all of that, so no Dalmatica for me. I can live with that.

Doesn't stop me from wanting one, though. ^^

My problem with FFXI's system of gear acquisition, for the most part, is that the old system, for god gear, Dynamis drops, and so on, was very binary- either it dropped, or it did not.

Of course, you can make the connection that more attempts = more drops, which is only fair. However, can we really say that a linkshell standing in Dragon's Aery, with more people mashing their Provoke/Dia/Flash/whatnot macros every 30 minutes means more claims than another?

What about those long streaks of "no-drop" days?

Harkening back to Dynamis, I believe it took Explorer II over a year before we saw a Duelist's Chapeau drop for us. But can you really make the argument that we "progressed" towards getting a Chapeau on the days where none dropped? In the meantime, other linkshells were happily getting their Chapeaus with no real issues whatsoever. Is that, for lack of a better word, "fair?"

People like challenges, however, people also like to see progress within that challenge. It is for that reason that I like the various sea gear (Brutal Earring, Loquacious Earring, Relaxing Earring, and so on) and Assault. While a run doesn't give you that coveted piece of gear, it at least gets you quantifiably closer. You are 6 ancient coins closer to completing that earring, or you are 600 points closer to redeeming that piece of gear. Compare and contrast to say, gods, where if it didn't drop, it was "too bad," "FU, SE!" and end of story.

(On a side note, grammar-nazis out there: just what is the correct use of punctuation for the above?)

I really would like a combination of the two systems. Make multiple, associated ways of obtaining gear. By "associated," I mean being able to work on both routes with a single event.

Right now, the Morrigan's Cuffs and Zenith Mitts are competition for one another (assuming all you're after is the MAB+5). People who want a Cuffs won't want to help out with Mitts and vice versa. Another way of putting it is that progress on Mitts doesn't affect the Cuffs. That doesn't really work at all.

On the other hand, (using Dynamis as an example) if you've already got all the gear you want from Dynamis-Jeuno, why should you sit around conceivably wasting your time, instead of perhaps making some progress towards your Dynamis-Beaucedine gear?

What if, (again, using Dynamis as an example) mobs could drop AF2, but you could also exchange a large number of ancient currency for AF2 pieces? That way, everybody would have progressed a little bit further towards getting their AF2. At the same time, gear could drop, so you still enter Dynamis with eager eyes, waiting for that drop to come. So in the end, if the piece of gear drops, great! If not, at least you can logoff knowing that you are at least closer to your goal than before.

I know the above paragraphs will probably draw fire from the crowd that says "You should be there to help others!" Pigs fly and angels sing, but unfortunately, things don't work that way. People ultimately want to get something out of their time committed to an event. If that satisfaction comes from seeing another person get their gear, fantastic. Unfortunately, there is little else other than that.

Of course, there might have to be some other minor adjustments, like making all currency EX to prevent gilbuyers from simply buying their AF, but hopefully you recognise the intention behind such a system.

I still would like a Dalmatica regardless. Now if only there was a way to exchange "hours clocked camping Aspi/Fafnir" into "Dalmatica."

Idle lurking

So, let me get this straight:

Nemain's Robe +
Bodb's Robe +
Macha's Coat +
10 Imperial Wootz Ingots +
10 Imperial Gold Coins

= The only (non-Dalmatica) way for RDM to get a Refresh effect on a body slot.

Aside from the fact that the Robe might look a little bit...odd when coupled with the almighty Chapeau, I'm generally happy that this new piece of gear is around.

Emphasis on the "generally."

I won't go into further debate as to whether Morrigan's Robe or Dalmatica is so-called, "better." Personally, as a Taru RDM, I have an abundance of MP and a shortage of MND, so I would personally prefer the Morrigan's over a Dalmatica.

Really though, I just want to have an Auto-Refresh effect on my gear that lets me wear my Chapeau. :3

The pressing question on my mind however, is just how difficult will this be to get?

If anything, the three pre-requisite gear looks to be drops from Salvage, which seems to be ToAU's version of Limbus. I'm rather happy that Salvage, like Limbus, is an alliance affair (read: not basic Dynamis), and hopefully, completing the Morrigan's Robe will be a challenge.

That's right. I don't want the Robe to be easily accessible.

Take a look at the Walahra Turban. In exchange for 1,000 Imperial Bronze Coins, you have an unrivaled 5% Haste. It's a very nice piece of gear, admittedly, and put the 'ol Panther Mask +1 to shame.

Unfortunately, it was because it just cost 1,000 coins to get (not like people don't xp in the ToAU zones), that now, everybody has a turban, and really, there's little excuse not to have one if you have a job at 75.

Basically, the Turban is a "compulsory" piece of gear.

Trying to balance out player demand and supply for gear is always a tricky business, particularly if said gear offers something unparalleled or unique. In the Turban's case, 5% Haste was the most haste you could get from a Head slot, and with it being so easy to obtain, everything else (*cough* Panther Mask +1 *cough*) bit the dust.

I have similar fears with the new gear that was released this update.

Given the description of Salvage, it doesn't look like the new gear will be easy to assemble, so at least that's one worry down. However, it doesn't really address one other concern that I have from the new gear:

It almost renders "older" gear obsolete.

From a marketing perspective, I can see why they're pushing ToAU gear. After all, they want more and more of their player base to pick up their new content. However, notice a lot of the new ToAU gear is so good, it quite possibly challenges god gear in terms of quality.

I may be wrong in saying that, after all, I'm not familiar enough with god gear drops to make such a statement with certainty. But for example, notice that a Morrigan's Cuffs already makes the Zenith Mitts look rather tame, unless you really want that extra +25MP from Zenith *cough* Galka *cough*.

However, it's also interesting to note that (perhaps quite by coincidence) mages still have a reason to go after Genbu, as the Zenith Mitts +1 outclasses the Cuffs in the +MAB department. Not that we're likely to see any Zenith Mitts +1 anytime soon, but the point is that there's still that possibility to keep Genbu breathing (albeit, in a rather twisted sense.)

The problem with continually pushing gear upwards is that, after some time, your in-game mobs, whether they be normal mobs or HNM get easier since they generally don't improve themselves, or so to speak.

The other issue is that no matter how much gear is around, only the very top tier actually matters. Adding more gear simply obsoletes others, and with little being done to spice up the older zones, I wonder what will become of them.

15 December, 2006

Look familiar?

See title. ^^


27 October, 2006

Two months later...

They say that in art, one must know how to paint, how to mould clay, or how to wield the blade to create one’s latest piece. That being said, people often forget that one must also know when to stop, when said piece is finished and done.

There’s always something that can be improved on, something that tugs at you saying “this isn’t quite right!” After some time though, “fixing” things loses its point, and worse, you run the risk of making the piece look overworked.

It’s as if you tried too hard. Ever seen those girls on the street with overdone makeup? It’s like that. Less is more sometimes.

There are plenty of other places this idea can be applied to elsewhere in life, in work, in love. The trick is finding that spot of balance and harmony, and I’ve always tried to live up to that principle.

Anyway, I digress.

The point is, sometimes, it is just time to let go. I know my last two posts have contradicted one another, but as time goes on, I feel that maybe my FFXI career really is good and done.

Were there goals in-game that I wish I could’ve completed? Plenty. But given the vast world that is Vana’diel, trying to accomplish everything is too much.

My last post was inspired by a spark of inspiration, an idea that I thought held promise which I could develop. It sounded like such a good idea at the time, but when it came down to things and I did my research, alas, the signs were all “no-go.”

And “no-go” it was.

Given my capriciousness over the last couple months, I don’t really want to say for sure whether this will be my final goodbye, or whether I will ever return to Vana’diel. Things move on, and as the toils of real life throws more and more stuff at me (and believe me, life is throwing two very big monkey wrenches at me at the moment), I’ve come to realize that really, perhaps it’s time to just draw a close to this chapter and start working on the next.

You can probably guess from my tone that prospects of my return are rather bleak (*cough* emo *cough*), and should I never return, then so be it. I have fond memories of Vana’diel and really, that’s good enough for me.

I still read people’s blogs from time to time (although I really wish some of you would update more!). It’s nice to see how other people are doing, even though I am no longer part of the same experience.

In about three weeks, my Content ID will expire and if what SquareEnix says really is true, then Tuufless will be deleted, and things will finally have some closure.

On a final note, sometimes I can’t help but wonder what it was in-game that finally did it for me. Most of us have that one big goal that we look at and say, “When I get this done, I can quit the game, happy.” It’s funny that oftentimes you don’t really know what said goal actually is until you complete it. I, for example had big dreams of my own- solo Charybdis, get all the good gear from Assaults, complete CoP, explore all the kooky campsites across Vana’diel…

…But in the end? Maybe I should just have never gotten that hat. ^^

P.S: Oh, and as for that project I was working on? It’s finally completed to the point where I feel it is ready for public consumption. Check it out here.

24 September, 2006

One month later...

Strawberrie said:
Celius's first rule of quitting states that if you tell even a single soul about it... you will return.

See you soon, Tuuf. :o

Oh gawd dammitaru, Celius. -_-

It's been a little over a month since I "officially" quit the game, and to be honest, I really thought I would be gone for good. I was planning on saving my gear, just in case I decided to come back, but changed my mind at the last minute and gave everything away to those who showed up at my "farewell" gathering, just so that I wouldn't come back.

After I did my "final" /logout somewhere in East Sarutabaruta, I went on to cancel my Content IDs and uninstall the game.

Yes, I was that determined to put this chapter in my life behind me. >_<

As Strawberrie put it, at the time, it probably was for the better. I had ust graduated from college, and since returning home, I had idled away 2+ months at home, playing FFXI and living off my dwindling savings, and basically being an all-around leech in the family. I was determined to put an end to that. Really.

And I suppose it worked. I got onto the jobhunting bandwagon, and am now interning at an advertising agency, as well as looking at a possible lecturing position over at one of our local polytechnics.

It's been kinda nice, but boy, I hate the working life. It could just be that I'm in the wrong department (I'm currently stationed in account servicing), but the workload is high and the hours are crazy.

9-to-5? Hah. Try 9-to-9. (Or even 9-to-11, as I did once. -_-)

That, and just sitting down at my desk felt so awfully draining. I barely even felt alive during the day (and I don't mean in the "I'm exhausted" sense), with little human interaction other than taking orders from my superiors. I need out. Sooner, rather than later.

I know those of you out there already working are probably snickering at me right now, seeing as how I can't take this kind of stuff, but in all honestly, I do not want to be stuck in this kind of life for any length of time. And so, I started thinking about other ways to go about things. What I could like doing.

Yeah...just what do I like doing??

I liked teaching, and I liked writing. That much, I guess should be obvious based on the three blogs that currently make up "The Bloggaru Network"-- I like taking my experiences and helping those who would find themselves in a similar situation. To explore this avenue, I decided to take something that I already knew and liked and running with that to just see what happens. Guess what I decided to use as a base. :P

I've already thought up plans on what I could try and do. I'm aware that over the course of this project, I may upset some people and step on some toes, but it's a risk I guess I'm going to have to take.

I don't know where this will go. I will have to ask plenty of questions, and seek plenty of answers. Hopefully I'll have everybody's support.

So if you just glazed through all of the above, don't worry. The big news is, I'm planning on returning sometime. Only as of right now, I can't say exactly when.

More to come soon, but the taru will be back! ^^

15 August, 2006

The End.

I never thought the day would come, and it feels a little strange typing all this out, but I'm afraid the time has come to hang up the wand (or staves), and move on.

Yes, I'm quitting FFXI.

Nothing against the game or anyone, really- I've been rather fortunate in avoiding all the drama that comprises the endgame, just that, well, thoughts of leaving have been with me for a very long time, but now recent developments in my real life demand my attention. In short, it's time to move on.

Strange, isn't it? To leave behind a game, much less a video game that you've been involved in over the past two years (and four months). I can't say that I regret playing, after all, I got to meet many people, made a whole bunch of friends (although I'd really like to meet people irl ; ;) and went on to creating a player resource in Campsitarus as a means of "giving back" to the community.

This blog in particular, has chronicled Tuufless' progress from the time I was a lowly WHM55 on my first job, fighting my first Prime Avatar fight all the way to now. Within the some 190,000 words that make up this blog are my experiences and trials, information that I hoped would help others facing the same situations, information that I wanted to see used. I'm generally satisfied by the responses I've gathered so far, although I suppose at some point it might be a good idea to quickly go back and index all the useful posts, although it would probably be too rushed to actually be a half-decent guide.

The following picture summarizes my thoughts and feelings quite nicely. It's a little cheesy, I'll admit, but it gets the message across.

(Full-sized image can be found here)

To all my friends who I have met in game, Thank You. There are far too many of you to list out, so forgive me for not mentioning names, but you know who you are when I say that.

A group photo with everybody would be nice, but ultimately quite a pain to organise, not to mention that half the people you want to show up, don't, but to just abruptly leave without warning, giving people no chance to say their own farewells isn't particularly fair, so...^^

I will make it a point to log in again Friday night around 11PM EST (Saturday, 12 noon JST.) It'd be nice to see a bunch of people one last time, at, say, Windurst (where else?). Five days is ample warning, isn't it? ^^


P.S: Several people have asked me about Campsitarus, so here's what's going on.

This blog, Shiny Things, and Campsitarus will remain up, since Blogger is (thankfully) a free host for this sort of stuff. ^^ However, Campsitarus will undergo some changes. I don't know how many of you noticed, but Campsitarus will be merging with the Vana'diel Atlas to create a new resource on the internet. At least, that's the plan. >_<

08 August, 2006

How not to win an ENM

Completely out of the blue, I was reading the Killing Ifrit forums, when I stumbled across a thread under the Red Mage forums regarding soloing the Monarch Linn ENM, "Fire in the Sky."

As the strategy relies heavily on nuking, I went down to the local AH and rummaged through all my mules to pick up whatever Level-50 gear I could find that added INT. It wasn't too expensive, until I bought a pair of Sly Gauntlets for 650k, and now the total bill came up to be around 1 million. (Guess this ENM had better be worth it, huh. -_-)

I was feeling pretty confident about my chances against the Cluster Bomb in the ENM itself, but the problem was procuring the Giant Scale I needed to get to Monarch Linn, and solo at that too.

Fortunately, TrueRune happens to have a PLD74 who is fairly desperate when it comes to getting xp....heheh.

So I conned Seraphpdh into joining me on my suicide mission. He went down to the storage NPC to pick up his 50-cap gear, and the two of us set out to duo some Pyrodrakes in Riverne Site #B01!

Actually, I arrived there first, so I solo'ed the first Pyrodrake with a combination of Gravities, Binds, Water II and Sleep. It took a while (just under 15 minutes -_-), but a Convert later and some more nuking, it got the job done. No Giant Scale drop. ; ;

Fortunately, Seraph had arrived by then and we set out to duo another Pyrodrake, this time with DoT tactics involving kiting with Gravity and Bind, and DoTs (Bio II and Poison II). Killing the Pyrodrake now was a much more exciting affair, and slightly quicker, too. Strangely enough, not a single Bind got resisted, which kinda makes me happy. ^^ This time, the Giant Scale dropped, and we were off to Monarch Linn!

...That is, until I got lost and accidentally traded the Giant Scale to the Unstable Displacement to get onto that island at (G-7), and then walked out the other Unstable Displacement. >_<

So now we had to farm up another Giant Scale. -_-

Fortunately, it only took three more Pyrodrakes before the second Scale dropped, and with that, we headed over to Monarch Linn for real this time, picking up the ??? for a Rivernwort along the way (more xp!).

Inside Monarch Linn, we restd to full and then prepared to enter the ENM, which then led to the following exchange,

"Oops," indeed. >_<

Armed with nothing but a Warp Cudgel and a Goldsmith's Apron, our fearless duo went in to battle the Cluster Bomb anyway, and got surprisingly close to beating it, except that I didn't have all the +INT gear that would've been nice for victory, and I thought I could Water II, Chainspell, then Fire, and have the timer reset for a second Water II, which...wasn't the case. I should have Chainspell'ed from the start, but oh well. The bomb blew itself up much faster than I anticipated and we were blown out of the arena, Snoll Tzar style. Ah well. But with no xp loss, at least HP'ing back to Aht Urhgan was easy! :D

That, and I now know to come with 40-cap gear... -_-

05 August, 2006

The Circle of Life

I was making my usual rounds through the various blogs when I came across Kirsteena's entry, lamentably entitled "Blm woes".

To summarize, the advent of ToAU and the very nature of the mobs now mean that TP spam parties are all the rage now. Practically everything from the mid-50s are taken apart by some combination of a BRD, a RDM, a WHM and three melees, generally /NIN. The unfortunate side effect of this is that I'm hearing cries from other players, like Kirsteena and Gorokai, trying to level up this once sought-after powerhouse job: BLM.

To put it succintly,
Skillchains have died. Spamming weapon skills is all the rage. I fear when we get the next batch of players, who have only really known spam parties, through to endgame. Their precious rampage is going to do squat on Gods, and we are going to have players with little skill coming through.

Sound familiar?

It wasn't too long ago that BLM parties were all the rage, and many a melee-party looking for a BLM to round off their party, was left behind in the dust as BLMs formed groups with one another for round after round after round of good 'ol manaburning (something which I was rather guilty of).

Interestingly enough, these very same complaints were voiced throughout the community. Disgruntled parties unable to get that elusive BLM so they can set off. People worrying about noob BLMs as their precious Freeze does squat versus Gods, or their Sleep II gets resisted time and time again. Or, even worse, BLMs who couldn't land a Magic Burst to save their life.

To a certain extent, all this did happen. Our justification for manaburning was that we were familiar enough with party dynamics that we could easily hold our own in a regular setup, which I still believe now. However, the same could not be said for everybody, and therein lies the faults of "BLM PT ONLY."

I know BLMs who manaburned their way to 75. I know some of them who couldn't perform any of the aforementioned basic functions of a BLM. I've heard the horror stories of a BLM opening a fight with Flare with a NIN tank, and those who still equip their Ice Staff on Wind nukes (and gets their MBs resisted too, although I suppose at the time, I would've been surprised at just the MB part alone.)

On the flip side, I've seen the search comments, comprised of "{Black Mage}{Party} Only," or something resembling those lines.

Interestingly enough, we're seeing the same things here, except with the roles reversed. "{Burn}{Party}Only" litters the search comments of many an lfg BRD75, and I remember coming across more "If you have DRG DRK PLD BLM SMN (etc.) in your party, don't invite me" type of comments than I really cared to count.

And then, of course, just like those who worried about the state of endgame Black-magery, there are those today that worry for the state of endgame melee. The cycle continues...

02 August, 2006

My favourite zone of all...

The Sanctuary of Zi'Tah may be pretty, the The Ru'Aun Gardens, strangely tranquil. The Tavnazian Safehold has one of the better pieces of music in the game (in my opinion), with Gustaberg following closeby behind.

But my favourite zone of all? The Misareaux Coast and the Lufaise Meadows.

I can't quite describe just why I like the place so much, but I'm sure gorgeous scenery, nice music to just chill to, and flying dragons overhead have something to do with it. Granted, technically they're two zones, so if I had to pick one, I'd go for the Misareaux Coast simply be merit of the waterfall that lies outside the Sacrarium, which is unrivalled in anything else in Vana'diel.

Several months ago (back in February, to be exact), I scouted around Vana'diel in search of potential camps to explore as Campsitarus was picking up speed and I wanted new places to put in. At the time, Treasures of Aht Urhgan had not yet been released, but for some reason, barring the occasional merit party off Abraxas in the Lufaise Meadows, there was a complete dearth of xp parties in the Tavnazian Archipelago region.

And that made me a sad taru.

On a bit of an aside, I have to say that all things said and done, I think I prefer Chains of Promathia over Treasures of Aht Urhgan. Don't get me wrong, ToAU did a lot of good things- but it feels all-too detatched, and made things a little too easy for players. Talk about pampered xp parties, with Sanction Refresh, a 15% xp bonus, physically weak mobs, and even a teleportation service straight to camp! On the one hand, all this is great, but I think some of that, y'know, adventuring, and actually travelling to camp has been lost (along with people's strange disregard for an already overpopulated camp. -_-)

But I digress.

So I was wandering around the Lufaise Meadows and the Misareux Coast looking for ideas when I happened to come by a pair of Beastmasters leveling off the Bigclaws and Makara. Crabs and Pugs are no stranger to xp parties, and at the very worst, they're friendlier than say, Leshachikha and Leshies that I still don't believe I managed to convince a JP party to go to. I wandered around the water for a while, following its trail upstream, marking down any potential camps I saw, and lo and behold, it led up to the waterfall.

"This is somewhere I want to party someday." I thought to myself at the time, and I scurried off to make my entry.

Unfortunately, I couldn't quite test the spot out myself, which I demand out of the vast majority of the camps I post on Campsitarus, mostly because I didn't have any jobs of the correct level range. However, my static group with Strawberrie and co. finally got me to the point where I could concievably drag a party there, although Darya who had just rejoined Odin after running away to Remora (he would later learn the error of his ways!) did not have Tavnazian Archipelago access.

Fortunately, Darya happened to go to sleep early today, leaving just Vagus, Strawberrie, Ristin, and I to party. All four of us had access to the Archepelago, and even better, all of us were actually willing to go to the Archipelago Gears started to turn.

Some hunting around later, I catch Masasume (who had just returned to the game) off guard on his WHM38, and we pick up a Japanese PLD41 for the ride as well. With that, all of us were off to xp at the Misareaux Coast!

XP was a little strange there. I won't say it was the easiest xp I've gotten (the mobs aren't as squishy as say, Worker Crawlers in Yhoator), but it was enjoyable nonetheless. In between Strawberrie yelling at Vagus and I to line up so that the Paladin would not get hit by Chaos Roll, I was busy happily snapping away at us fighting mobs for Campsitarus. Sometimes, I get a really nice shot, that is just too big for use in the compilation. So, I decided to make another copy, one that placed less emphasis on the mob itself, and post it here:

Seriously, how could you not want to party there?!

I think we ended up partying a little longer than expected though. Some of us hit Level 42, which leaves Darya now trailing at WHM40, so I guess he'll have a bit of catching up to do. ^^ Vespermoo is also trying to catch up again, given his absence for the last few days, so with any luck, we'll be all back and storming whatever strange location I come up with before too long.

And if you're thinking of dragging a party down there yourself, here's the link to the Campsitarus entry!

31 July, 2006

Campsitarus- 100,000 hits!

Almost exactly nine months ago, I first set up the groundworks of what would eventually become Campsitarus, my resource to all the various xp camps I had come across in my travels around Vana'diel.

Since then, the compilation has grown a lot bigger than I had originally intended, and with it, taking me (and several unknowing party members) off to various places around Vana'diel, including Purgonorgo Isle, Carpenter's Landing, the Lufaise Meadows (and I don't mean Abraxas), and the Sanctuary of Zi'Tah.

I've gotten linked from numerous linkshell forums around the internet, their websites, and other FFXI-related resources, including the Vana'diel Atlas. In addition, people have come to hear of the little Campsitarus blog through word of mouth, and through my blogging associates (listed on the right), eventually spanning across servers.

Today, Campsitarus will get its 100,000th visitor. (Well, technically in about four hours, but it's 2am here. -_-)

It's a milestone of sorts, really. I couldn't be happier that what started off as a little idea has flourished into something this big, and in doing so, it has rekindled some of the fun and wonder I found when I first picked this game up some two years ago.

To commemorate the occasion, I asked Strawberrie to see if she could doodle up something for me, and look at what she made! :D

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

I guess this means that as of now, my eyes are brown, and I seem to be missing a lot more teeth than when I first started, but hey, what would you expect from eating nothing but pie for a year and a half? ^^;

In any case, here's a big {Thank you.}! to Strawberrie for the picture! (You would've noticed I've modified and incorporated it into Campsitaru's new title bar.)

In addition, thank you to all the people on Odin, and from the other servers for their support, feedback, and encouragement. Believe it or not, I've screenshotted them all, and I really do like it when people drop a little note about the webbie. ^^

In particular, I have a number of people to thank- those on my immediate blogroll who took thr trouble to promote Campsitarus in its infancy over on their servers (and still do so now.)

On the Odin side, I have my various linkshells and groups to thank- TrueRune, and our little static (Akanea, Seraphpdh, Saoirse, Sheldan, Hiroaki), my current NIN static (Darya, Strawberrie, Vagus (who also informed me of a lot of new camps I missed), Ristin, Vespermoo), everybody on my Friend List who helped contribute to Campsitarus one way or another (too many to list out -_-), and of course, everybody who agreed on following me to camp, no matter how strange the location. :D

So, the next question then becomes "Now what?" Well, I've started discussions with the folks over at the Vana'diel Atlas (where I shamelessly peel all my maps from), and with a little bit of luck, something will come to fruition, even if it is just to get rid of all the clutter that's built up on the front page! :D

Once again, a big {Thank you.}{everyone}!

30 July, 2006

Sorcerer's Petasos!

The highlight of my day can be summarized thusly,

One year, four months, and eighteen days after I first joined Explorer, I finally have my Sorcerer's Petasos!

Granted, it doesn't quite match the Wizard's Coat, which means that I'll probably have to start looking into getting a Sorcerer's Coat the next time I heard down to Dynamis-Beaucedine, but the hard one is finally over, although strange as it may sound, I have mixed feelings about it.

Of course I'm happy to have one of the best BLM hats in the game. Granted, it's not "ZOMG DAMAGE" like the Yigit Turban, or a Wizard's Petasos +1 to a lesser extent, but it has some very nice stats on it. In particular, the +10 to Elemental Skill is very good for reducing those pesky resists, but coupled with the Sorcerer's Coat, blows the Black Cloak out of the water.

On the other hand, I can't help but feel that maybe this should've gone to someone else, like Riot for example, who was next in line and is 4/5 on BLM AF2, I believe. The thing is- I rarely, if ever, play BLM anymore. I've said it multiple times, and with more and more of my activities focused on my RDM, I can't help but feel that perhaps this should've gone to someone else. But then again, not taking the hat when I'm finally first in line for it would've been a slap in the face of all the effort I put in over the past year or so to get to this.

But hey, Seraph told me to "wear it with pride" right after I got it, and that, I will. ^^

Now, the Duelist's Chapeau, on the other hand, has a hideously long line for that. I personally have no idea how long I'll have to wait before I get one of those, so I think I might just get around to picking up random pieces of RDM AF2 in the interim, while we (slowly) shorten the line, one hat at a time...

26 July, 2006

New merits!

After much thought, I decided that I would focus my merits into getting Paralyze II and either Slow II or Bio III, depending on how things turn out. Part of this is due to my thinking forward about my overall merit point setup, and I think I would include maxed Ice Accuracy in there somewhere, if only to land Bind and Blizzard III more regularly, of which Paralyze also falls into that category.

Admittedly, that choice was partially inspired by Avesta, and the role that Bind plays in determining the outcome of the fight. One of his more recent accomplishments (which I also find the most impressive) is solo'ing Charybdis around his spawn area. To do so, he used an all-out DEF build with RDM/BLU (for Cocoon) in combination with Gravity, Bind, and the almighty DOT.

Anyway, after some merit parties, a solo session, and an ENM later, I finally raked u p the 30,000 limit points I needed to put a single point into my first "Group 2 spell"- Paralyze II.

There is already a thread trying to decipher some of the mechanics, including Slow II, so I chose to focus on trying to figure out what the deal with Paralyze II is. To that end, I went out to East Sarutabaruta, picked an unfortunate Bumblebee to play with, and started.

Here's how the experiment went. I took four batches of results, each batch containing 100 attempted attacks from a Bumblebee with a Paralyze effect on. First, I took results with Paralyze I and 62 MND (base RDM75 MND for a Taru). My second batch also used Paralyze I, but this time I equipped +32MND worth of gear, for 94MND total.

My third and fourth batches involved the same deal with MND, but I exchanged Paralyze for Paralyze II. Here are the results:

Batch 1: Paralyze I, 62MND
Paralyzed Attacks: 24/100 = 24%
Paralyze Duration (# of attacks): 16, 17, 18, 13, 11, 7, 12
Average Paralyze Duration: 13.43 attacks

Batch 2: Paralyze I, 94MND
Paralyzed Attacks: 19/100 = 19%
Paralyze Duration (# of attacks): 12, 11, 9, 14, 15, 18, 7
Average Paralyze Duration: 12.29 attacks

Batch 3: Paralyze II, 62MND
Paralyzed Attacks: 28/100 = 28%
Paralyze Duration (# of attacks): 11, 8, 10, 12, 11, 7, 13, 20
Average Paralyze Duration: 11.5 attacks

Batch 4: Paralyze II, 94MND
Paralyzed Attacks: 29/100 = 29%
Paralyze Duration (# of attacks): 17, 13, 11, 9, 12, 8, 12
Average Paralyze Duration: 11.71 attacks

*Paralyze Duration does not count the very last Paralyze I cast per batch.

I have to admit, this was fairly discouraging. Against Level 1 Bumblebees, there was nothing significant to say that Paralyze II was any better than Paralyze I. Heck, on average, Paralyze II was wearing off faster than Paralyze I!

Even worse, there isn't much to say about what kind of role MND plays in determining whether the mob skipped its next turn or not. In short, I feel that the sample size is really too small to really draw some conclusions. Granted, MNDs effect would likely be small, and this is really too small a sample size to really draw anything conclusive from.

What I suspect goes on is that MND determines the chance that Paralyze will proc, or more accurately, the difference in your MND, and the mob's MND, similar to how Slow works.

For example, let's say you had a 1000-sided dice. At each attack, the computer rolls that dice. If the number is say, less than 300, then the mob skips its next turn. Adding MND just raises that number to say, 350. If this was the way Paralyze procs are determined, then I may very well have gotten an unlucky streak in Batch 2, which is something a massive volume of data would likely smooth out.

What I can say however, is that because there wasn't any real significant improvement in proc rates when adding on 32MND, it seems that there is a cap to the MND difference, or at least some drastic diminishing returns. Given a Taru's base RDM75 MND is 62, the cap is likely below that. Of course, the problem is then figuring out how to determine whether this postulation is true, but I guess that's what Diorama-Abdhaljs is for.

In any case, some other people have tested more things with Paralyze I, so there's data there to compare with. Their experiment and conclusions is fairly solid, but I dislike how they drew their conclusions based on a range of mobs (T-VT Dhalmels, which would almost certainly give a range of MND stats.) The real question though is how much better a 3rd level Paralyze II is over a plain Paralyze I, but I guess I'll have to repeat this experiment a few (d A brief sample of forum thread topics, taken barely 36 hours after the latest version update includes:

"SE Newest Joke: Blu AF1"
"Nin getting screwed even more?"
"Anyone else getting more upset?"

Sometimes, you just can't win. -_-

Granted, not everybody got powerful new abilities to merit, but you'd think people would be looking forward to getting something. -_- In any case, common consensus seems be that THFs, RDMs and BRDs got the goods in this latest version update, which I personally like. Personally, I don't really see how, if this was in an effort to rebalance the jobs, BRD got even more things to add to their repertoire, although I can see how THFs and RDMs needed a little bit of help, even if all RDMs got was the long-overdue reinforcement that they are indeed, the masters of Enfeebling magic.

Now that's an interesting dilemma.

Like many other RDMs and THFs, the question was "What do you merit"? To that end, (and also to straighten my thoughts on this), I suppose I might as well put down my thoughts and impressions to paper (or whatever the digital equivalent would be here).

So far, people appear happy with the tier-II enfeebles. If anything, it solidifies RDM's place as "The Enfeebling class", which until now was suspect because the Ninja's equivalents to Slow, Paralyze and Blind (Hojo, Jubaku and Kurayami) overwrote the RDM's versions. Slow II and Paralyze II, even at their first tier, are slightly more potent than their first-tier versions, and with the ability to further enhance their potency through additional merit upgrades, I'm happy with this move.

Unfortunately, Dia III and Bio III turned out to be rather disappointing, due to their short, 30-second duration at level 1. Granted, additional upgrades increase that period longer, but that doesn't feel like it's worth the opportunity cost, looking at the tier-II enfeebles. Not only that, but the mana cost is high enough such that continuous recast to keep Dia/Bio III on the mob isn't particularly friendly on the mana pool. That all being said, maxing out Bio III as a counter against some HNMs' very damaging attacks seems like a viable option to pursue.

Phalanx II is nice, particularly since it can be cast on other party members. I can't quite comment on its use in HNM, but in terms of xp, I can't help but feel that it would've been much better as a RDM55 spell (possibly a little later, around RDM60 or 65). Nowadays with the trend towards TP spam parties, there isn't a "tank" member per se, and the Phalanx effect would've been very nice for the earlier levels where there is a tank class, a PLD, who could really benefit from it.

It would also give parties more things to consider when it comes to choosing between a RDM or a BRD (although ideally both -_-), which I felt was rather needed, especially post-55, after BRDs learn Ballad II. I found that most people just invited either job for Refresh/Ballad, and not really for what else the job could bring to the table. For example, as it stands, you would want to couple a BLU and RDM together, since a BLU needs the mana refresh, but is stuck in the front lines where a BRD would give him Minuet and Madrigal instead. I didn't feel as if Haste really separated a RDM55+ and BRD55+, given that Bards could just sing March. Having Phalanx II as a RDM55+ spell would force people to think about the tradeoff (Haste + Phalanx II versus Minuet + Madrigal) rather than simply inviting "the Refresh job".

On the HNM side, the structure of the Group II merits lead to some interesting structural considerations. Currently, with just six upgades total, a RDM75 can choose to simply put one point into each new spell, giving him versatility. However, in a team environment, it may be better to instead have the mages divide their merit abilities so the team gets the maximum benefit out of the RDM's enfeebles. That is, have one RDM max out Slow II, another max out Paralyze II, and so on. Given that the current cap stands at 3 upgrades per spell, an HNMLS would just need three RDMs to work with one another and split the six spells amongst them.

This is particularly enticing due to the fact that each spell gets more potent with each upgrade, so with a full arsenal of capped enfeebles between the linkshell's main RDMs, come battle time, the linkshell reaps the benefit of full-powered enfeebles (and Phalanx), as opposed to weaker, half-assed versions.

That idea may be a little extreme, and I don't know if there are any other jobs whose merits allow for this sort of division, but it'd be interesting to see how many (if any) HNMLSes take that extra step to enhance their linkshell's performance. Admittedly, it's not really for the faint hearted, but I can see some of the more hardcore linkshells, like TeamKanican or LimitBreak take a look at this approach.

On the whole, it looks like the new meits can be viewed as a way for SE to encourage players to individualise, although whether this does not buckle down under social pressure once an accepted "best setup" becomes commonplace is yet unknown. Given the nature of the RDM merits, I don't think such an end will come, although I can't really speak for the other jobs. The merits feel more of a minor tweak to the jobs, which I suppose it is good since players won't be shunned for meriting a different spell. However, should such merits matter, how do you distinguish between someone who has leveled up that ability and someone who hasn't, other than word of mouth? Rummaging through search comments ceratinly isn't the most effective way of doing it...

23 July, 2006


Recently, I've taken to leveling up my Ninja in a static with Strawberrie, Darya and Ristin. Madmartigan was with us too, until Darya's work hours kinda forced things apart (Darya needs to sleep early, while MM works until late at night, soo...; ;).

In any case, I've sort of rediscovered the fun of leveling up with friends in a static. It's "warm and fuzzy" to know that there are people you know by you each step of the way, and since we're all experienced players, we get to cut through a lot of the aggravating, low-level newbs that oftentimes led me to tear (some of) my hair out. Of course, we're not completely free from them, given that there is a slot open for variance, but it's pretty good nonetheless. ^^

Even better, having a static allows me to drag them to new places to explore and document for Campsitarus! Because of that, choosing where to xp seems to have defaulted to me, not that I'm complaining though. ^^ So far, I've dragged the group down to the Korroloka Tunnel (24), the Maze of Shakhrami (25), and now, the Yuhtunga Jungle (32).

But not for Goblins and Mandragoras! No, we're fighting Soldier Crawlers. :D

In any case, we picked up Vesp (now "Vespermoo"), who has joined Darya in returning to Odin, and from now on, I think Ves has expressed interest in joining our static, which makes five of us: NIN COR BRD WHM BLM!

Of the five, four of us are taru, which meant that there was just one thing to do while waiting for the airship to dock in Kazham...

.../panic motion...

.../panic motion...

.../panic motion!

Tarutaru dance rave ftw!

It amazing how something so simple turned out to be so fun. Gorokai really was right when he said "Tarutaru get all the fun." I have to agree with him there. ^^

We even got a small audience who gathered to watch the show amidst cries of "ZOMG SOOO CUTE!!" :D

Easily the most entertaining airship ride I've had to date. ^^

18 July, 2006

Duelist's Tights!

The highlight of my last Dynamis run, would be very nicely summarised in one picture:

Which makes me 1/5 on RDM AF2.

Wait a second, Red Mage?!

Yeah. ^^

After giving a bit of thought to things, Red Mage seems to encompass what I want out of a job. I'm barely on Black Mage anymore, which has done wonders in detaching me from really trying to work on it anymore, to the point where I'm considering passing on our next Sorcerer's Petasos, although I'm sure push comes to shove, I'll end up opting for it anyway. Feels like a waste to see it go after all this "waiting".

However, Limbus on the other hand has given me some new challenges, that is to collect and upgrade all five AF1 pieces. And if you're going to try for something like that, well, RDM AF1+1 seems to be the most spiffy of the sort, not to mention that I really do like my Chapeau. A lot. ^^

I guess a lot of it has to do with the imagery. I don't really care for Honam, or Yigit, or Zenith, or what-have-you, other than just for the sake of having it. To me, the big draw comes in the flavour of what I do, which in FF's case, lies in the various AF. I have to commend SquareEnix for this though- it's a rare opportunity that they jumped upon, and quite nicely, too. Other MMOs like World of Warcraft have similar sets of gear, but they don't capture the same feel for one's class as FF does, which has an entire ten-year history of the franchise behind it.

Now if only AF2 weren't such a pain to collect. -_-

In the long, long, LONG term, maybe a full set of AF2+1 may be in order, although I really don't see that happening anytime soon. However, I have tried talking to Lostman, our Dynamis shell's leader, and trying to convince him to take on the CoP Dynamis zones for a change of pace. We shall see what happens soon enough, I hope.

But anyway, I decided to opt for RDM AF2 on our Dynamis-Jeuno run, and sure enough, they dropped.

It's a very nice replacement for the Druid Slops that I've been wearing all this time, with the +10 Elemental Magic skill clearly outclassing the +5 from the slops. My only problem is that I quite liked the red top + white/gray trouser look, but I guess I could get used to this. ^^

In addition, unlike BLM AF2, it looks as if all of RDM AF2 is actually pretty decent, so I suppose I'll have more to look forward to in terms of actually collecting AF2 pieces, rather than like, pass on our umpteenth Sorcerer's Gloves. >_<

16 July, 2006

Excavation Duty

1/5 done.

I have to say, I'm quite liking this Assault stuff. It's quick, doesn't require too many people to do, and from what I've seen, each of the various assaults seem to have a particular trick to them that does the trick. Sure, you could brute force Ilrusi Atoll's "Golden Savage" or Lebros Cavern's "Excavation Duty," but then you leave yourself open to unlucky streaks like, just not hitting the correct chest, or not having the Qiqirin Mine drop. Instead, it is just that much smarter to bring along Carbuncle to let you run away from a Mimic, or use DoT against the walls, which I'll outline in a bit.

In any case, I know I'm a little slow in actually getting my Yigit stuff, much of which has to do with a bit of laziness on my part, part of it also because of a reluctance to give up my mage hats, not to mention that most of it will only go to my Black Mage, which I don't really take out all that often. (And I'll be damned if I have to give up my Chapeau in place of a Turban!)

So, anyway. Some of you may have seen shouts in Aht Urhgan regarding 3-man Excavation Duty runs. I don't know why the overwhelming majority of these shouts are Japanese, but that only means that either (a) the English players just aren't doing it, (b) English players do their Assaults in static groups, or (c) English players just aren't aware of the strategy.

To (c)'s end, I'll attempt to illustrate the strategy for a 3-man Excavation Duty run. I've seen several "guides" around from when ToAU was first released, telling people to go about killing the Qiqirin for mines, and I can assure you that this is the wrong way to go about things. Not only are the Qiqirin a pain to kill, but you leave yourself open to the fates in the hopes that a Mine will drop.

Done correctly, this Assault will yield you 1,333 points per run (1,466 if you took the armband), so you will reach your Yigit/Amir/Pahluwan gear in about 12 runs, or just under two weeks worth of Assaults.

In any case, I'll start the explanation.

Basic strategy:
DoT is the key to beating this Assault. I generally go with BLM/WHM, RDM/BLM, and another melee, although this obviously varies. To be honest, I don't think it really matters what jobs you go as (although I suppose THF gets the shaft here), as long as you have at least one BLM/WHM, or RDM/BLM.

You will attack only the Brittle Walls. That's it. No silly Qiqirin tricks, WALLS ONRY!

For reference, my preferred setup is (BLM, RDM, MNK). However, I've done other variants of that, including (BLM, MNK, WAR/DRG), (BLM, RDM, DRG), or (BLM, DRK, MNK). You get the idea.

You start at the red dot marked. Upon entering, Invis up and head towards the first wall, at (G-10).

To take down the wall efficiently, keep all DoT spells on at all times, namely Bio II, Choke, Burn, and Shock. If you have a Black Mage, Bio's preferred over Dia because of greater DoT potential (again, more on this later).

After the first wall, Invis up and move on towards the other walls. At (G-9), the road will split. The Black Mage (or Red Mage if you don't have one), goes North and solos the wall at (G-6), using DoTs and nukes. The other two members continue East, and starts working on the wall at (H-8).

After the mage has finished his northern wall, he/she moves to rejoin the other two. Generally speaking, I've found that by the time the mage has finished with his northern wall, the other two members are finishing off their wall, so just regroup and continue. After that wall is downed, move onto the last two walls at (I-7).

If all has gone well, you will get the 10-minute warning whilst fighting your fourth wall (that is, the southern wall at (I-7)). If you do, you're more or less on schedule. Within the next couple minutes or so, you should finish that wall off, and begin work on the final wall.

The important part here is that when the 5-minute warning comes, one person needs to begin heading back to the start point, where the Ancient Lockbox and Rune of Release will pop. This is important because it takes about 3-4 minutes to walk all the way back, and you will fail the mission if you do not hit the Rune of Release, even if you have downed all five walls.

Once the fifth wall is down, hit the Ancient Lockbox, get your ??? item, Hi-Potion +3s, and Remedies, hit the Rune of Release, and voila! 1,333 Assault points up!

There are, of course variants to this strategy. A trio of Black Mages can easily wipe the floor with this Assault, simply by slapping DoTs on the walls, walking off to nuke the Qiqirin for mines, and then coming back for more. However, it's fairly difficult to find three Black Mages (given that you are one yourself), so I've outlined this strategy for everybody else's benefit.

Advanced Notes:
As I said earlier, your DoT spells are the key to beating this. Most people don't understand just how much damage the DoTs do to the wall, but a full set of Bio II, Choke, Shock, Burn takes off about a quarter of an entire wall by itself, so go figure.

Because of that, nuking is, while nice, not really essential. Granted, it's nice additional damage, but I think people give nuking too much credit. Stick to tier I and tier II nukes only though- tier II nukes give greater damage/time, but drains your mana faster, which you don't really want since you need the mana to reapply the DoTs. (For reference's sake, you will need 141mp to reapply the whole set of DoTs.)

Drain also does surprisingly good damage from time to time, so be sure to fire that off every minute. Red Mages should burn their mana early on to get in three Converts within the 30-minute time limit.

But another important part here lies in your skills and stats, which is why BLMs and Bio are preferred. I don't remember where exactly this information came from, other than it was a Japanese bulletin board, but apparently some people did a lot of testing and came up with the following "tiers" for the DoT spells.

* Shock, Choke, Burn are affected by INT. In order to attain the next tier and have greater DoT, you need to have at least 101 INT.

* Bio II is affected by Dark Magic skill. For that to reach the next tier, you need a Dark Magic skill of 291 and above.

BLMs with the appropriate gear can get both INT101+ and Dark Magic 291+, which is why they are so good for this Assault, while Red Mages can get the INT, but not the skill, while Dark Knights can get the skill, but not the INT.

14 July, 2006

Tarutaru wuv. :3

So, Strawberrie made the mistake of going AFK in the middle of Al Zahbi the other day...

Other than that, I've been pretty busy lately, so haven't had the chance to update much. More to come soon though! >_<

P.S. It's Darya's fault.

11 July, 2006

New players nowadays...

Of all the nerve, if there's one thing I cannot stand, it's people who ask to be babyfed. Check this out:

My guess is that some of you might understand just how I was feeling by the time I gave him my final "no" at the very end.

1) First off, "plz" is not polite.
2) Bad spelling just tells me the same thing "plz" does- you can't be friggin' bothered.
3) He hasn't done any research into the quest whatsoever.
4) And he even has the nerve to retort with a "y not"?!

People wonder why I'm so unforgiving to noobs sometimes. Really, it's not that they're aggravating because they don't know the mechanics- it's aggravating because they're rude, and refuse to take advice. I mean, it's one thing to ask someone for help, but it's another to demand to have your hand held all the way like a four-year old child.

In other news, I think I'm retiring COR. It's a bit of a pity, particularly since I leveled up a RNG sub for it, but it's just too trying to level up another job through the noob zones all over again and keep my sanity. I'm just..I don't know. Tired.

Instead, I think I'll focus on my RDM, and work on that for a bit. It sounds strange as RDM technically is my third job, but I've grown to like it more and more. It's quite sad that I'm almost never on my WHM or BLM nowadays, but what can you do? >_<

But still, I don't know how much longer I have it in me to continue playing. We shall see.


On a completely different note, here's a quick picture of something I was up to recently:

Yeah, I was surprised when Omega stood up on two legs, too. ^^

02 July, 2006

To be new again.

As I briefly mentioned the last time, I had the unique opportunity to teach a bunch of Japanese newbies party dynamics, and how to play.

I know what you're thinking. Japanese? Newbies?

Yeah, they exist, alright.

In any case, I was seeking as my Corsair, soloing in the Konschtat Highlands when I got a Japanese invite from a MNK. I was evidently the first person he invited, and soon after the complimentary greetings, he asked me to help look for members. I told him that a Bard was lfg, and so we picked her up as well. It was then that I found that the MNK had only been playing for just over a week, and had already unlocked his subjob, and was now working on his MNK through the Valkurm Dunes.

I soon found a WAR to come along with us, although the Warrior at the time was in San d'Oria, and I used the time to try and find more members. I found a BLM to fill in the next spot.

The BLM's reply to my invite intrigued me. See, when I look through people's search comments, I see general comments about their stats, their food/gear they have/use, what subjobs they have available, if they are Japanese, or some haughty comment like "NIN tank only", "Burn party only", "{Veteran}{Please invite me.}", or the equally snidish "{Amateur}{No thanks.}"

The BLM's search comment indicated that he was a new player, and his reply to me was "I'm a new player, is it still okay if I join?"

Of course, I let him in. Besides, it was the dunes, so I'd expect a few new players (I suspect he must've noticed my Rank 10), but his humility certainly caught me a little off guard. I certainly could never imagine an English-speaking player to inquire if their newness was okay- many players nowadays seem obsessed about trying to advertise themselves instead, which I suppose works, although to be honest, the only crucial pieces of information party leaders really need to know are your tnl, what subjobs you have, and which areas you can go to.

Anyway, the five of us (WAR BLM BRD MNK COR) stood around for a little bit, when a JP WHM started seeking. I was hesitant at first, but you can't really turn down a WHM at this level, and afraid she would get invited by someone else quickly, I just instinctively asked if she wanted to join in.

She replied yes, and we were off to kill Snippers at the beach.

Unfortunately, my fears came true. With the WHM, our party setup was WAR MNK COR BRD WHM BLM, and try as I might, COR is not frontline DD, and the crabs were taking far too long to kill, and draining too much of the party per kill. On our second crab, two of our members died, after which I warped back to Aht Urhgan to switch over to WHM, and then came back to raise the fallen.

The problem now was that here I was as a WHM, with no real way of getting back to the party quickly. In the end, I offered to just drop and powerlevel them until they found a sixth member, but the BRD didn't like the idea of it (I suspect for the same reasons I do). When the BLM asked what "PL" stood for, I replied with "Power Level", and the BRD chipped in with "Something the foreign players often do."

Gee. -_-

In any case, I suspected that I needed to take action, otherwise we'd just spend more time talking at the beach, so I dropped from the party there and then and told the MNK (who I gave back the leader) to pick up the WAR that was seeking. I headed over to the crag of Dem where I met up with the WAR, and escourted him over to the rest of the party, and a good thing too, since I think they caught Goblin aggro while moving to the oasis and two more party members died. ; ;

So I stood there and watched. I didn't powerlevel them- I just stoodback and watched to see if they could handle things. As I suspected, things went a lot better, with the second WAR in for additional damage, but also to act as a supporting tank of sorts.

Practically the entire party were newbies (sans the BRD) though. I ended up giving pointers about what to do (like telling the Warriors to constantly Provoke to manage hate). Later on, Deadend from my Dynamis LS came down to watch as well (Apparently, Joy, our BRD, is his {wife}), and he explained this thing called a "Skillchain" and "Magic Burst".

This part also caught my attention. While Deadend and Joy were explaining how to create a skillchain and land a Magic Burst, nobody interrupted. Everybody just stood there, "listening" to the explanations we were giving them. It was a real, "time-out" session where we got their full attention to explain battle mechanics to. Those of you who are aspiring teachers irl would empathise with me when I say it's a real pleasure to teach to people who listen.

Deadend had set up a skillchain that went from Scission to Fusion. The melee executed the skillchain, but the BLM missed the magic burst, since the MNK did Combo, closing the Fusion skillchain before the BLM's Stone MB could land.

I then suggested that for new players, perhaps the skillchain was a little too complex, and suggested they just focus on Combo. The next time, the MNK did Combo too quickly, almost immediately after the starting weaponskill. After the battle was over, we told him to slow down and take his time.

The next crab came by.

Skillchain: Fusion
Magic Burst!

Everyone /cheered!

This is what things should be like, learning how to skillchain and land a Magic Burst in the Valkurm Dunes, as opposed to say, Qufim, or the Jungles. -_- Granted, I don't think we taught the melee how to actually set-up a skillchain, in terms of actually selecting jobs and weaponskills to create one, but they're already miles ahead of the majority of the Dunes players from what they did that night. -_-

Heck, I learnt how to magic burst in the Dunes as well (and actually took me many, many tries because I couldn't distinguish the skillchain effect from the weaponskill effect >_<), and I don't see why anybody else couldn't. Besides, it's really not that difficult, yet for some reason, people seem unable to piece this together until much, much later. I wonder why?

In any case, the party ended soon after. It was a two-hour long party, with perhaps like, 8-10 mobs killed. But they learnt one of the most important parts of battle tactics, and that, in my mind, made that party a resounding success.

We even escourted them up to the Crag of Holla to get their gate crystal, and to top things off, I gave them their first Teleport! (Over to Dem :P) All in all, a good time. ^^

30 June, 2006

Ranger, Complete! (at least, for now)

Over this past week, I had finished leveling my Ranger to 36 (with just @1k to 37), without having ever stepped in the Garlaige Citadel. Okay, so I did go into the Crawler's Nest, but hey, you have to /bow down to conventionality sometimes, alright? >_<

In retrospect, I really did enjoy Ranger. The nature of a puller is certainly different from a mage, particularly late at nights when I would sometimes fall asleep in the few seconds of shuteye I'd get in between pulls. That, and for some reason, plugging arrows and bolts into (flying) things, is strangely amusing, I can't quite get enough of it.

OMG, Barrage is silly!

OMG, Holy Bolts are silly!

That pretty much sums up my feelings once I hit Ranger 30. ^^ With two Hawker Knives and HQ Noct Gear, my Ranged Accuracy finally got to the point where I'd actually hit most of the time. Barrage also gave me the following skillup run, which literally caused me to sit back and chuckle for a good couple minutes, before continuing:

In any case, my particular path to RNG36 is as follows:

0-11: Solo'ed this before the Ranger nerf. I don't remember much about this stage, to be honest.

11-12: This level was done with the help of Onekomaru and Aetion, who both decided to help powerlevel me with their Bards. I still miss the 4x Minuet. ^^ Too bad it was late at night, and they were sleepy though. >_<

12-18: This was one of the more memorable parties in my Ranger career. As a Corsair now, I find myself constantly trying to duplicate this, but for some reason, there has been a total lack of Rangers around. Seriously, a "/sea all rng 12-15" would turn up maybe, one, maybe even two RNGs if I was lucky.

In any case, I guess I have to consider myself lucky on this one. I grabbed together RNG RNG RNG COR BRD WHM and we went to town on Worms from the Maze of Shakrami, to Korroloka Tunnel, getting all of us 5-6 levels in the process. Hooray for skipping past the accursed dunes!

18-21: I think Coejus helped powerlevel me from 18-20 back in the Maze of Shakrami here. I probably found the Land Worms too hard to hit without all the +RAcc gear for my liking, and besides, I needed to skillup my Marksmanship at the time, too. Later on, I'd find myself a BRD and a COR, and the three of us took out Land Worms in Qufim for a bit.

21-23: I think I got this in the Qufim party I had with Willriker, although it feels like a lot of xp for just one party, especially since while it was decent, I don't remember the xp being fantastic. But I do know that I was looking to perhaps moving onto the jungles at this stage, which was something I'd find trouble doing.

23-25: I was invited to a terrible party in Qufim, with a "know-it-all" noob, that just irritated the heck out of me. When half the Pugils con "Tough" to you, and xp is a whopping 65xp/kill, it's time to move on. His reply? "I don't have the Kazham keys yet." Fair enough, but don't go about holding everybody back. That, and don't tell me when to pull, gawd dammitaru!

25-26: Yuhtunga Jungles! I had two so-so parties off Mandragora and Goblin Smithies here. One was NA, the other JP, and I can't really say one was any better than the other. My Japanese party, however, did end up straying away from the usual "just outside of Khazam" camps, and ended up camping at the Yhoator Jungle zone after the leader made a mistake, and tried fighting Yhoator Mandragoras instead (oops...) I had seen other parties use the same camp, and I have to say, I wasn't terribly happy with it. Pulling was annoying because of the unavoidable Goblin Smithy right at the mouth of the tunnel, and the rest of the mobs were at the next tunnel down.

26-30: This was my other favourite party as a Ranger. When my JP leader assembled a party of NIN RNG RNG COR WHM BRD, I have to admit, I was a little bit skeptical at first. But then Goblin Furriers at the Yuhtunga Jungle Outpost were so soft, we were immediately chaining for xp in the high 200s, and leveled up to 30 in no time. Two Rangers (the part I was worried about), turned out to be very good in the end- our Ninja did a pretty decent job at holding hate (what, with two of us wailing arrows), and I had someone to help me pull the somewhat spread-out Furriers. Definitely want to come back here again.

30-31: I got another JP invite, and dragged Cerin (RDM) along for a party off Sahagin and Makara, just outside the Sea Serpent Grotto. I have to say that it definitely got a lot easier as time went by, though. We still managed a decent pace, although I think the trick here is to somehow manage the transition from Sahagin up to Makara well. A good party, although not spectacular.

31-32: NA party down in Yhoator Jungle off Mandragoras. There was this diva WHM however, that annoyed the heck out of me, insisting that I wait for full MP before I pull, even going as far as to sarcastically fire a shot at me when I suggested he raise another party's WHM when his mana was ready ("That must be the first time you've waited").

Like, I'm sorry if you can't manage your MP bub, but I've played 282 levels of mage classes to know when you have enough mana. Besides, does he want the chain or not?

"No death > No chain," he says.

"And we haven't died yet," I reply.

I think I win that argument there, although the above isn't quite true- I did die, but that was after I quickly remembered that pulling a Goblin Pathfinder brings his Goblin's Bee pet along, which then links with all the Yhoator Wasps around, which....uhoh...>_<

At least I told the others to run away, leaving me as the only one dead from that. >_<

32-33: I assembled an English party of RNG THF NIN WHM RDM COR, and after some debate, we decided to take on the Worker Crawlers at the start of the Crawler's Nest. I have to say, I didn't really like this party. For one, the mobs were too spaced out, at least in clumps, so I'd have to watch for links (could take a while), then ater clearing one cluster, run over and start pulling from the other cluster (even more time), and then once I got there, watch for links again (even more time).

The worst part was the THF who was a complete noob. Didn't know how SATA worked, heck, he tried SATA'ing off me, although I knew something was up when I saw him ready Sneak Attack behind me, and quickly moved out of the way before his Trick Attack. Despite our instructions, he showed typical noob behaviour, and never learnt. Definitely the downpoint of this otherwise solid party. Oh, did I mention that his SATA Viper Bites were dealing a grand total of 80 damage?

33-34: Another one of my parties, I got together a group of NIN RNG BLU WHM COR BLM, and dragged them all the way to Purgonorgo Isle. XD

In all seriousness, yes, it's really, really out of the way (and I should've split the party into two and just Tele-Mea'ed), but the xp is so free-flowing here, it's quite hard to resist, unless you don't know what you're doing. Soft, squishy Alraunes, and even softer, squishier Toucans (flying mobs ftw) got us constant chains in the decent numbers, at least, until a bunch of us hit Level 34, when it just turned to "decent xp."

34-35: Tried solo'ing Flesh Eaters in the Attohwa Chasm, which was something I had periodically done from time to time, but unlike say, the Maze, or Korroloka, or Qufim, I hate solo'ing in the Chasm. For some reason, whether it be the silly patches of weeds, or the slight bends in the side paths, you actually have to get in really close to the Flesh Eaters in order to shoot, otherwise "You cannot see the Flash Eater". Of course, that meant that you also couldn't run away from Stonega in time, although you could easily survive one or two Stonegas.

There were times, however, when certain Flesh Eaters would be particularly Stonega-happy, not to mention that they pop in clusters, so you'd have to deal with the unavoidable, "cannot run away in time from" link. However, Hirushi came down to save the day, and when the Flesh Eaters started conning Decent Challenge, we took a little tour of Vana'diel, trying to find mobs he could powerlevel me off, before settling down (surprisingly), on Marine Dhalmels in Bibiki Bay, which were strangely easier than the Ravens, partially, I guess, because of everybody's favourite Dhalmel move, Berserk.

35-36: My final party as a Ranger was strange, yet very entertaining. I was on my way to Jeuno, when I got a tell for a party in the Crawler's Nest. When the leader told me he had a powerleveler, I was even more skeptical, and when I asked him on his proposed setup (RNG SAM SAM WAR THF BRD), I was even more put-off, to say the least.

For some reason, I decided to accept, and boy, this party turned out to be fun. Not because I could pull nonstop, due to the powerleveler, but we camped in the famous "sack room" in the Crawlers Nest, competing against three other parties. I still managed to outpull all of them, including our THF, who was helping me pull, getting a "Damn, you're fast" out of him. The reasoning was simple:

I had Widescan, and they did not. ^^

It was the first time I had ever used Widescan for my pulls, but it turned out great in the end. A few seconds before the Crawler would die, I'd open the map, check Widescan for a red dot in the surrounding tunnels, and then tell the THF where the next mob was, and then he'd Flee over for the pull. It was very amusing, to say the least, although as the THF was also controlling the BLM that was powerleveling us, I eventually because the sole puller instead, especially when the place emptied out.

I was surprisingly keeping up with both SAMs in the party, and throwing in a few Barrages into the mix allowed me to have enough TP buildup such that I could create a Distortion skillchain with both Samurais (they'd just alternate) via Split Shot → Tachi: Enpi.

We were also camping next to some gilsellers, and it was amusing to see them die over and over again.

That pretty much sums up my Ranger career thus far. I might've missed out a fvew parties, or gotten some of the details wrong, but I think that suffices as a decent summary of my experience. I am now @1k to 37 after soloing some more in the Attohwa Chasm, but the place is now too slow for my liking to really go there and solo xp. I figure I'm more or less done with Ranger, at least for the time being, and I can always just do an escourt quest on another job and use the scroll to ding RNG37 should the need arise.

I've sinced moved onto Corsair, and like I said, it plays very differently from Ranger, which is something I miss. My Corsair adventures so far include several terrible Dunes parties, teaching a bunch of JP newbs party dynamics (more on this another time), and I actually managed to make myself a good Valkurm Dunes party!

I have to say though, compared to RNG, COR's Ranged Accuracy SUCKS. I was so eager to take out my Bandit Gun +1 and start plugging Goblins with bullets (hooray for capped Marksmanship), but I think the only shots that hit were the ones that I fired with Sharpshot on. -_-

29 June, 2006

Horns of War

I took a break from leveling my Ranger to do some good 'ol-fashioned KSNM fights with Evilstar and his BLM crew. I have to admit, it had been a long time since I last did anything with this group, but it was a nice change of pace from the leveling grind to RNG37 (more on that later).

Evilstar's BLM manaburn linkshell, named Conclave occasionally offers to manaburn Kindred Seal fights for willing people. These aren't the BLM KS30 Operation Desert Swarm fights that took Odin by storm not long after I started the first few runs of this service, but the meaty KS99 fights instead.

Y'know. Kings.

I had previously fought (and defeated) the Aspi and Fafnir lookalike mobs in the Waughroon Shrine and Balga's Dias respectively, but I had yet to take on Behemoth. Needless to say, I was quickly brought up to scratch with the strategy, and it was pretty smooth sailing from there.

Except from the occasional death here and there, of course. -_-

I have to say, fighting Behemoth is quite fun, if anything because of the running around you have to do in this fight in order to avoid having huge, fiery rocks being hurled at you, otherwise known as everybody's favourite, alliance-wiping move, Spike Fla...I mean, Meteor.

Because of my refusal to take part in endgame activities, I had never seen Meteor up to today, and I have to admit, for a first-timer, it was quite a sight. Of course, death and destruction in the form of blazing fiery rocks of doom wouldn't really be anything other than spectacular, I suppose, but when I found out that with Stoenskin and a good, Neptune's Staff-powered Barfira on, I could actually survive Meteor, quite often by considerable amounts.

There was one run where I actually got hit by three Meteors, and survived all of them. Alas, the fourth kill me. >_<

I can hear the printing presses starting already with the "I SURVIVED METEOR" T-shirts to be circulated around Vana'diel. Or Midgar. Your choice.

Even Gorokai came down to do a run of his own, which you can read about here. In any case, I came out of that, hopefully with a tidy chunk of change to help ease the pain of leveling Ranger to 37. To date, I have spent about 2m gil getting Ranger up to 37, and am quite hurting from it, but Ranger was really, really fun, and I might just turn around and level that up instead of Corsair. But to give Corsair a fair look, I'll level it up for a bit for now and see how I feel about it. I can say though, that it feels very different from a Ranger...

26 June, 2006

Taru can do anything!

I found what must be the cutest taru video ever that I've seen yet on Frohike's blog. Yes, Taru rule the world! XD

24 June, 2006

Life of a {Tarutaru}{Ranger}

One week (and a bit) since my last post, and I'm standing at RNG30 now.

I have to admit, plugging arrows and bolts into monsters is a lot more fun that I thought it would be. ^^

In this past week, I've had my share of amazing, terrible, and downright trying parties and people, which I suppose I could detail out in all its bloody glory. After all, it's been a while since I last wrote about my doings in this world we call Vana'diel.

As I detailed last week, I managed to completely bypass the dreaded Valkurm Dunes with a fantastic Ranger party that took me all the way from 12 through to 18.

I tried to solo some of the Worms, to no avail- my accuracy was bad enough that whenever I tried racing a Worm to the death, I'd end up with the short end of the stick, and dying. I believe Coejus was nice enough to PL me through this period of time in the Maze of Shakrami, while I worked on getting my Marksmanship up to scratch. I also got a "party", which was essentially me, a BRD, and a COR trio'ing Land Worms in Qufim which took me to 21, I believe.

Qufim came and went surprisingly quickly. I managed to land an unexpected party with Willriker, after I noticed him leveling up his Ninja (and complaining to him about my dearth of invites ^^), so he picked me up to join in his party after one of his Warriors left. To be honest, I think that was my first time actually, seriously pulling. XD I'm not sure what constitutes "serious pulling", but it sure felt different from the Valkurm Dunes.

Willriker mentions how big a difference a puller who knows what he/she is doing can make, and to an extent, I have to agree. It's interesting being on the pulling side of things, and directly playing a role in controlling the party's flow of xp. Granted, as Willriker said, we were camping a little far from the Pugils I was trying to pull, but I guess it turned out okay in the end. ^^

In any case, since he was nice enough to honour me in one of his posts, I'll return the favour and send him a littaru Vana'diel postcard:

There. I think he'd appreciate it. ^^

Qufim Island was also strange. It seems to me that Campsitarus is getting me quite a lot of fame in Odin, at least amongst the English-speaking population. This past week, I've gotten quite a few tells from strangers thanking me for my work over on Campsitarus, including one that literally opened with "Hey, you're the campsites taru!"

Glad to see people actually notice my profile over on that page. ^^

Then came the inevitable letdowns. I finally figured out what it must be like to be on the receiving end of an endless string of commands of "pull" and "don't pull". It was only a few times, but it was irritating enough that I just wanted to leave the party right there and then. Like, if you have enough trouble struggling to do your own job, don't very well turn around and tell me how to do mine. What's that you say? You're rank 2? Without Kazham access? On your first job?

'Nuff said, really.

I hit a bit of a dud at 24, when I felt that I needed to be out of Qufim, but was still a little too early for the Jungles. I eventually got a few Yuhtunga Jungle parties, nothing too spectacular, except for the one this morning, which had my favourite job base- COR BRD NIN. The party ended up being COR BRD WHM RNG RNG NIN, and I think we were 26-27 when we started. We ended up heading down to the Yuhtunga Jungle outpost and literally chaining the Goblin Furriers there like crazy. Of course, having two Rangers to pull certainly helped, and having everybody sub NIN, kept the WHM's mana high, not to mention with the added benefits of Healer's Roll and Mage's Ballad.

From 200+xp/kill, we stuck it out until too many Furriers were conning Tough to those of us who leveled twice, and eventually moved down to the Sahagin camp before calling it a day. At this point, I was RNG28, and loving my new pair of Archer Knives I picked up before I left. +20 Ranged Accuracy made such a noticeable difference in my shots, I was wondering how I survived without it...

I then got another party in the Yuhtunga Jungles with yet another "know-it-all" noob, who insisted on telling me when to pull and when not to pull, which once again really got on my nerves, especially given his inability to conserve mana, and insistence on waiting for 80% or more MP before my pulling. I almost pulled out the "I am more experienced than you" card, but chose to bite my tongue in the end.

I mean, I know I've been accused of being bossy before, but seriously, when someone who is probably more experienced at understanding and controlling party dynamics comes into something you're clearly not familiar with, it'd do you good to listen. -_-

Then again, I'm guilty of that myself- I remember a good argument in Doom waaaay back in my WHM40 days, where I was complaining to Armageddon about how WHMs aren't wanted in the later levels, and how ridiculous it was that RDMs got Cure V. (I have BradyGames to blame for that- according to them, Cure V is also a RDM75 spell. -_-)

Anyway, after that party disbanded, I grabbed three of its members (myself included), found three more seeking people, and then showed them how it was done. With like, proper party configurations and moving to a less crowded camp. Yeah. I'm nto sure how fast we went, but some people got two levels in just over an hour, so....yeah...

I hit RNG30 in that party, and came to meet my new friend called "Barrage". It's a lot of fun, although I have to admit that the TP gain from a good Barrage is downright silly. One shot took me from around 10%TP to 95%, with 280 damage thrown in for good measure. Seriously, with stuff like that, who needs Meditate? (Other than the occasional dud Barrages. -_-)

So here I stand, after making all my next purchases, including a new crossbow, bow, Holy Bolts galore and Nocto +1 gear. There're a bunch of other things I really ought to be picking up, like a Genin's Earring, but Ranger is expensive! I've just dipped below 2 million gil, and that was from the 4m I had before embarking on RNG. ; ;

Granted, 1.3m of that went to buying myself some Leaping Boots, but still...

...Ah well, it's all in good fun anyway. ^^ Seven more levels to go before switching over to COR!