26 February, 2006

{Joyeuse}{Found it!}

My hands are still shaking as I write this.

Considering my recent luck at NMs I want to kill, I really ought to look into fighting more NMs before this streak runs out. So many things had to go right for today to happen, and I'm still quite amazed everything pulled together so smoothly.

At all started like this: after my Dynamis today, I was feeling a little bit bored, and was talking to Sakurato about how I'd like a Joyeuse. For those two don't know, a Joyeuse is basically the Red Mage's dream sword, or at least one of. Many people place the Joyeuse as being better than the Enhancing Sword, but since I don't actually have an Enhancing Sword, I'd be hard pressed to actually verify that statement. ^^

Anyway, we got talking, and then, completely on a whim, I decided to drag Saku down to the Sea Serpent Grotto and try to pop Charybdis.

The bad news was that Saku had to leave for a birthday party in 45 minutes, but we decided to just try our luck anyway. After all, with just 45 minutes in what I hear is a pretty large window (4 hours or so?) with no knowledge of Charybdis' last ToD (time of death), what were our chances?

Not much, right?

So, you can imagine my surprise when we literally walked in to find this wandering around:

As it turned out, two Japanese players had popped him while leveling their NPC fellow. The problem was, they were NIN and WHM and couldn't kill Charybdis as they stood. I asked if they were going to fight Charybdis and if they had a Bard, and they said that their Bard friend was afk, and couldn't be reached.

Sakurato then told me that with a Bard, the three of us could trio Charybdis, and then it became a rush to get a Bard down here. Doing a quick /sea all brd 73-75, I didn't recognise any names who might help us. I didn't have very many Bard friends on a friendlist, at least, not until I looked again and saw that Hirushi was online. Coming back into the game just three months ago, he leveled like a fiend and had since attained his goal of BRD75. Thankfully, he was free, and quickly responded to my call for help, and rushed down to the Sea Serpent Grotto the fastest I have ever seen.

In the meantime, I had a little bit of a moral stance to make. As Saku told me, Hirushi, herself, and I could probably take and beat Charybdis. However, the Japanese did pop Charby, so it sounded very crass to just barge in and steal the claim. I know there are those who believe that unclaimed NMs are fair game, but I felt it'd be very rude to just take the claim for ourselves.

It was then we decided we'd team up, and /random for the Joyeuse. The plan was set. A 50/50 chance at the Joyeuse for both parties sounded like a decent compromise- after all, they popped Charby, but we had the people needed to beat him. Fair trade?

When Hirushi got to the Sea Serpent Grotto, we joined together into one party and went over battle tactics. Just to reiterate, we were RDM/WHM (me), THF/NIN (Saku), NIN/WAR (Sabo), WHM/BLM (Furiae), and BRD/WHM (Hirushi).

First off, Sakurato would tank, since as a Thief, she has the highest Evasion of the group, and would be the person best suited to handle Charybdis' permanent Hundred Fists effect. The Furiae and I would make sure everybody was alive and working, with Haste, Cures, Barwatera, Blindna, Erase and Refresh. Hirushi's job was to support with curing, and Ballad, but more importantly to keep double Mambo on the melee. This ensures that Saku has 300+ Evasion, so tanking Charybdis would be a breeze.

Unfortunately, due to concerns regarding giving Charybdis TP, we asked Sabo not to engage, and just enfeeble. It sounded a little bit of a waste, but I guess Saku had her reasons when she told me to tell Sabo not to attack.

Because of potential aggro from the Water Elemental that spawns behind the door (one of the reasons most people have trouble with Charybdis), mages would stand on the bottom of the slope while melee fought with Charybdis on the top.

After checking if everybody knew what they were doing, we pulled Charybdis with Sabo's Provoke, letting Saku open with a Sneak Attack'ed Dancing Edge, stealing hate, and we were off!

As the Red Mage (and the only non-75 person there, I might add ^^), my task was to keep Sakurato Hasted, and Charybdis somewhat enfeebled. Because Sabo was also enfeebling with Ninjutsu, the only enfeebles I really needed to keep on Charybdis was Gravity, Poison II, and Bio II. Yes, the plan was to literally DoT Charybdis to death. Hirushi and I would Dispel/Finale Charybdis' buffs, namely Evasion Bonus and Regen. All three mages would Erase and Blindna to keep the melee working, and Barwatera to minimise the effect of some of Charybdis' TP attacks.

Sakurato was right when she said that just the three of us (Hirushi, herself, and I) could beat Charybdis, and to be honest, it didn't take as long as I thought it would. Then again, Sakurato is an exceptional Thief, with maxed out merits and practically every single piece of dream Thief gear around (including her new acquisition- the Love Torque from the Jailer of Love!), so perhaps taking any random THF75 friend to solo tank Charby might not be the best of plans.

Anyway, as Charby's HP slowly ticked into the final few percent, we went on {Full attack!} mode, which unfortunately, only amounted to Sabo actually engaging, and myself chaining nukes. A couple Blizzard IIs later, I snuck in the killing blow, and there it was:

I have to admit. I was a nervous breakdown at this point. >_<

My lotting suck is terrible (but then again, isn't everybody's?) and I really, really wanted to win the lot on the Joyeuse. After the Joyeuse fell into the treasure pool, everybody else passed, while Sabo and I just stood there.

After a while, I managed to get Sabo to lot first (for some reason, I'd rather go second).

Sabo lots a 264!


I hold my breath and cast my lot. I had a good chance of beating a 264, right?

Tuufless lots a 671!

And the Joyeuse is mine!

Words cannot really express how relieved I was to get the Joyeuse. I don't really know why, either, since the Joyeuse technically isn't that big a deal seeing how little Red Mages actually melee, but I guess it was more symbolic than materialistic. Although I won the lot and the rest were sending {Congratulations!} my way, I still felt a little bad for taking Charybdis off the Japanese, despite their reassurances that it was okay. I think I'll go help them out the next time they camp Charybdis, just as a token of appreciation, like what I did the very first time I camped Charybdis for Aysuu.

After the party disbanded (and Saku ran off to catch her friend's birthday party), Hirushi and I went out to test out the Joyeuse on unknowing Sahagins, and yes, I'm very happy with my new sword. ^^

Thank you to Sakurato, Hirushi, Sabo, and Furiae for the help! Now, with a Joyeuse in hand, perhaps I should look into trying to melee the Red Mage's Maat fight, ala Grendal-style. ^^

24 February, 2006

What a party!

I guess I must've gone on another xp hiatus, since I don't actually recall actively partying in recent memory. A lot of my efforts have been focusing on leveling up my Goldsmithing, and I guess xp must've taken a back seat to that.

However, occasionally I get the one nuts party that just goes on, and on, and on, and on.

It all started when I felt like xp'ing my Red Mage. At the time, I was RDM68 with about 6.5k tnl. Doing a quick search, I noticed two things in particular- there was a BRD68 seeking, and two WAR70s. I figured this might be a good enough base for a Warrior party, based off my first experience with an axe-burn setup. So, I talk to people and got a base of BRD WAR WAR RDM. The third Warrior, on the other hand, was quite a pain to get. -_-

After talking to Mystrall about what we could invite instead of a Warrior, I decided to invite a NIN/WAR to the party, although no sooner did I invite him that a WAR69 started lfg. -_- However, when I asked the Ninja if he had a DD build, he said that, without a Haubergeon he'd be hard pressed to really do damage, and perhaps I should find someone else in his place. I felt bad asking him to leave, but I really wanted that third Warrior in the party. To round things off, one of my existing Warriors told me that his friend was about to be done killing Byakko, and he'd like to join. Fortunately, his friend was also a Bard, and so, once I gathered everybody together, we were off!


Yes, that's two Bards. Double Minuet and double March is pretty fun, last I heard. ^^

The party did not disappoint. We were literally plowing our way through everything in Bibiki Bay, which was fortunately open. There were some clashes with a nearby manaburn party though- it got to the point where we were even pulling from adjacent camps because the Catoblepas' 5-minute repop timer was too slow! >_<

Anyway, with the xp ring, I had managed to work off my 6.5k tnl to RDM69 in under an hour. I wasn't quite sure just how fast we were going, but it was at least 7k/hr, which is pretty impressive, not to mention a very intense party- heck, we were literally pulling merit style, where the Bard would go pull, (in this party, I also helped pull) and we'd "claim" the mob first by Sleeping it closeby, where I can then juggle in between buffing the party members, and debuffing the next mob. Othertimes, the Bard would go to the adjacent camp far off, and pull a mob while I also went down south to pull some (closer) Goblins- that way, the Bard's back in time to catch the xp from the Gobiln kill, we have our next mob lined up, and have also burnt some extra time for the Catoblepas to respawn. XD

The numbers ticked off as time passed by. There were some hiccups, like an unknowing Bard claiming a Catoblepas that I had already slept, and so when it woke up, I had the hate, but couldn't touch it. Needless to say, two of our party members, including myself died because of that (SquareEnix should really fix that problem -_-.) which resulted in some heated exchange, but that was eventually cleared up.

Several hours later, I hit RDM70.

Yes, that's one full level at the late 60s in one party sitting. In total, I think we made just over 44k xp during the course of the six hours we were there. I know I'm not one for long parties, but when the xp flow is this good, it's both fun, and you really do feel like going on and on!

Of course, some of our members had switched out in the meantime- two of our English-speaking Warriors had to go, and so found Japanese replacements as the time shifted into Japanese peak time. In the end, I think the final party setup was four Japanese, myself, and an NA Bard. Of the six, four of us were there from the beginning.

It's been a long time since I last had some a long party, and to be honest, thinking about it, I don't think I really want such a long party ever again, but the whole change of pace was like taking a breath of fresh air, and showed a whole different style of play compared to the usual routine of buff/debuff, wait for melees to get TP, skillchain, Magic Burst, rest, repeat.

But then again, if someone invited me to be their Red Mage in their Axe/Fist/anything-that's-not-"mana~" burn party, would I accept? In a heartbeat. ^^

Burier of the Illusion

I'll cut to the chase and spoil the suspense with this:

Yep- we beat the final Zilart Mission, Eald'narche with just three people. ^^

It was all completely unexpected. I had come from a rather eventful day skilling up my Goldsmithing (hit Goldsmithing 77 now, by the way! ^^), and decided that, I'd need a whole lot of Fire Crystals for me to make the Iron Sheets I need to make Targes in order to finally make the Gold Bucklers I would be skilling my Goldsmithing on.

Fortunately, as a Black Mage, I can quite easily and reliably solo the VT Fire Elementals up in the Ru'Aun Gardens for both xp and profit. It was also one of the few ways I could get something like twelve Fire Clusters and not feel somewhat funny about it (I don't like holding crystals myself- so I buy them sparingly).

I was flipping the first pincerstone when I bumped into Xmode, who I /waved to, and asked what he was up to- he said he was going to try and solo the final Zilart mission. Of course, I didn't believe him, and figured that it would be quite a show, and asked if I could just tag along and watch.

He then told me that there was another Red Mage with him, Aelesia, who also planned on trying to solo Eald'narche, and that it would be okay for me to watch, but I must not interfere. Fair enough- I respect the integrity of what people try to do as a self-challenge.

So I abandoned by Fire Elemental farming and headed straight on towards the Shrine of Au'Avitau, and through that, the Celestial Nexus. Initially, the plan was that I'd follow Aelesia in, and just stand by and watch as Aelesia tried to solo Eald'narche. Xmode would then try his own solo attempt afterwards.

At least, all went well until, for some inexplicable reason, one of the Orbitals ran over to me and starting attacking me, even though I hadn't done anything to get aggro, other than walk into viewing distance, -_- Anyway, I was explcitly told to not interfere, so I reluctantly ran into the corner where I died. Aelesia was too rushed, and wasn't used to things yet, so she lasted a few more minutes before she too, also fell. ; ; More specifically, she forgot her Poison Potion, and Eald'narche opened with Sleepga II. >_<

Outside, Xmode Raised Aelesia and I. Aelesia told us the mistakes she made, and was determined to give it another shot. After weakness wore off, and she recovered her MP, she did just that- and entered the battlefield a second time. During this time, Xmode and I were getting bored waiting, so we figured why not duo this?

And so, Xmode and I both entered the Celestial Nexus, where we came face to face with...

The plan was simple- Eald'narche comes in different stages- the first is dealing with the Exoplates that surround and protect him. He is also assisted by two Orbitals which are generally weak, but respawn quickly, so it's generally accepted that sleeping them is the way to go here. My task was to keep the Orbitals under control.

However, one thing of note is that the battlefield is huge. As such, the lag here is nothing short of stupendous, and I had a lot of trouble just doing anything because I'd hit my Sleep macro when trying to sleep an Orbital, and by the time my Sleep started going off, the Orbital would already be beating down on me, whereby I'd get interrupted, and die. Well, it's not quite like that, but suffice to say, I died a lot earlier than I had intended because one of my Sleeps were resisted (because of lag- I was manually typing in my commands, and forgot to switch in my +Enfeebling gear after Sleeping), and I couldn't get the second Sleep to even resolve.

Xmode did a pretty good job solo'ing the Exoplates though. It really doesn't look all that difficult- you just need to keep a cycle whereby you juggle between keeping Utsusemi up, and keeping the two Orbitals slept, which isn't too difficult with enhanced Fast Cast going on. Utsusemi is particularly nice because Eald'narche uses ancient magic a LOT. The hard part comes though, when Eald'narche fires a Sleepga II your way, but that didn't happen all too often, and you have Poison Potions to counter that.

Anyway, Xmode managed to solo the Exoplates all the way down to 30% when a mistake with Utsusemi left him exposed for a short amount of time, which was unfortunately enough for Eald'narche to land a Freeze, which took too much HP such that Xmode never really managed to recover from that hit, even with a desperation Convert (trying to stay alive at the cost of his mana. ; ;)

So we both were kicked out of the battlefield, Reraised, and rested outside, when we got the news that Aelesia had managed to almost managed to beat Eald'narche's second form (more on this later), but because she had already used her Chainspell in her first attempt, couldn't finish the job, and so she was confident that he could, in fact, be solo'ed by a single RDM/NIN. We just decided to trio him anyway, since we were sure we could beat him now.

RDM/NIN, RDM/NIN, BLM/RDM for the win! ^^

I told Aelesia and Xmode my concerns regarding lag issues, so all I did that one fight was concentrate on sleeping a single Orbital, while occasionally tossing some Cures towards Xmode and Aelesia. I'd didn't really nuke the Exoplates- only sent over a single Thunder II, so my contributions in the first part were minimal, other than sleeping an Orbital, and dropping some Elemental debuffs on the Exoplates to speed things along a little.

Eventually, they managed to break through the Exoplates, where Eald'narche was left exposed, and a sitting duck. Stage one completed!

Now onto Eald'narche's second form:

There is a little bit of rest time in between Eald'narche's first and second forms to recuperate- you spawn back up at the entrance of the Celestial Nexus, however, within a minute, Eald'narche comes up to the front and starts attacking. To be honest, I don't know too much about his second form, because we were on {Full attack} mode!

Because Aelesia had already used up her Chainspell, only Xmode Chainspell'ed and started nuking Eald'narche with multiple Blizzard IIIs. Eald'narche, unfortunately, opened with Sleepga II, catching all three of us, but at least the Red Mages had remembered to kep the Poison Potions on, so after I got Cured by Aelesia, it was my turn to manafont and join in the fun.

One Thundaga III and a Blizzaga III later, we had defeated Eald'narche, and completed the Zilart storyline! I won't say what the ending cutscene entails, so you'll just have to find out for yourself, or at least read about it elsewhere if you really want to. It's definitely worth a watch though, I can say that. ^^

In any case, it was a strange (but fun!) night- congratulations to Xmode and Aelesia for completing the Zilart storyarc!

23 February, 2006

A resolution

Okay, after much thinking, pondering, bugging and /poke-ing people, I think I know what job I'd like to "pimp" out, or so to speak.

Black Mage.

(Gee, like you didn't know already. -_-)

Okay, okay, I admit it. But the last post I made really drived the point down home. I can level all the jobs I want, but it is Black Mage and White Mage that mean that extra something to me. As Strawberrie pointed out, "it's gotta be the first job you ever level." In my case, my "first (and only) job to 75" would be Black Mage. However, the first job I actually ever leveled seriously was White Mage, which I took all the way up to 62, when I had a little bit of a change of heart, and started leveling up my Black Mage again with Glueforever, who I believe was capping up his Warrior subjob to 37 back in the day.

It's been a little over a year since my Black Mage overtook my White Mage, but I still haven't lost that connection with WHM, even though I don't really have too much interest leveling it up at the moment (what with no gear et al). I've tinkered with the idea of pimping out Red Mage (actually just last week ^^) but the very idea of pimping out my third main job never really clicked with me, and felt almost forced, as if I was just rationalising my way through things. Maybe I'm doing that right now. Hmmm...

Anyway, for now (in my ever-changing state of mind), Black Mage it is. For one, the Sorcerer's Petasos is ever-so-sexy, although I've noticed that it's becoming a more and more common sight these days. -_- Furthermore, I like seeing the big, flashy animations as spells and whizzes go off.

I still might level Red Mage to 75 though, if for nothing else but the more ready merit point party invites a Red Mage gets over Black Mage. Actually, I'm still a little surprised as to why Xmode and Sakurato like partying with my Black Mage, considering how I just know how I could be contributing a lot more if I were Red Mage instead.

Anyway, I guess I might have been caught up in all the merit point party-style jazz, where skillchains go out the window and melee spam whatever deadly weaponskill they have the moment they hit 100% TP, but just last night, Chummy and Akanea felt like xp'ing with Tumble and was wondering if I wanted to join them.

SAM DRG WHM BLM. Not the most ideal of merit point setups. For one, Aka and Chummy don't dual-wield, so their TP build is slower compared to a more orthodox merit party, and there's just one Refresher. We ended up filling things up with RDM and NIN, and went off to the Uleguerand Range, where, after a party wipe when we realised we couldn't handle a Kindred Summoner's Dark Spirit pet (no Lullaby ; ;), we moved onto chaining King Buffalo instead.

Compared to a more faster paced merit point party, we didn't really put up the big numbers, only 5k/hr or so. But you know what? It didn't really matter to me. It had been so long since I brought my Black Mage to a normal party setup, that is was rather refreshing to go through the old motions again.

And Magic Bursting once again. XD

2050 damage. I think that's a new personal record. ^^

Actually, no- I remember doing a full 2300 damage via an Elemental Seal-ed Thundaga III on the Bugbear in the Bionic Bug ENM, but that technically wasn't a Magic Burst (although it would've been downright scary if it was! o.O)

Of course, I know that can be topped- it wasn't Iceday back then, and I don't have points put into Ice Potency, and there's gear I could improve upon, but I guess that's something to strive towards...and isn't that part of what this game is all about?

By the way, the proceeds from my Nobles Tunic sale (which I'm still sore about, btw -_-) have gone into skilling up my Goldsmithing. As of now, I've hit Goldsmithing 76, and with a little bit of luck, I might just scrape into Goldsmithing 80 and get myself out of hell. ^^ I will get my Nobles Tunic back though! >_<

19 February, 2006

WHM {Taking a break}. ; ;

I like getting complemented in game for the work that I do in my blog, it makes me feel all warm and fuzzy...mmm, fuzzy. ^^

I was walking through Port Jeuno the other day, looking up AH prices when I was stopped by somebody who gave me some Papillions he was skilling up off- and for some reason, I've always wanted to play around with some Papillions after I saw a video long ago (I think it was a goodbye video of some sort) that had a scene with the main taru with butterfly wings. Since then, I've always wanted to take a picture of myself with wings. >_<

Anyway, I figured the colour would go well with the Nobles Tunic, so I whipped out my White Mage, and took a picture!

Unfortunately, I have quit WHM (at least, temporarily). Like I said earlier, my interest in leveling WHM past 70 is quite low, and my Nobles Tunic has depreciated 3.5 million since I bought it. I took a look at the AH, and saw that there were three other Noble Tunics on sale, and the price was dropping fast. But more importantly, seling my White Mage gear might give me that last edge I need to get me out of Goldsmithing hell, and into the 80s, where Elemental Beads alleviate the pain of Goldsmithing somewhat. Yes, especially my Nobles Tunic.

I sold my Nobles Tunic, for 15,100,000 gil, too. ; ;

It was one of the most painful things I've had to do recently, particularly since I am very attached to my gear (I worked hard for it, okay!), and there are certain things I just cannot bear to part with. My set of Elemental Staves, for example, has never left me- I might have put them in my Mog Safe once or twice, but they've always been in my inventory. Yeah, call be obsessive in that way. >_<

My hope is that this gamble will pay off. Once I break free out of Goldsmithing hell, the rest of the road is relatively easy from there. However, I still have concerns about what job to call "my own", despite the fact that just in the last entry, I said I wanted to pimp out Red Mage, but after thinking about it, I really don't see myself as anything other than a Black Mage, even though I hardly ever take my Black Mage out for a spin now.


13 February, 2006

Valkurm Emperor {Found it!}

After much thinking and looking at my options, I think the job that I want to "pimp out" is Red Mage, instead of Black Mage, which is a little unfortunate given how BLM was my first job to 75, and I already have fifteen merit points invested in Black Mage, but I have my reasons.

Firstly, the competition on the Sorcerer's Petasos is nothing short of ridiculous. Geo and Kaibara have accumulated 430 points and are still waiting for their Petasos, and we don't go nearly enough times to get the hat. Competition for the Duelist's Chapeau, on the other hand, is lesser, although I'll have to verify that the next Dynamis run so I can do a "/sea all linkshell rdm."

Secondly, the style is more active, and is more attuned to my playstyle. I like being busy, and while a Black Mage's role in a party can be quite busy, it is a very specific tool, and doesn't have the versatility of the "jack-of-all-trades" class that the Red Mage is.

Thirdly, pimping out Red Mage is going to require me to level up several other subjobs, helping out the Campsitarus site in the process (something which I need to work on). This includes /BRD for those times when you are nothing more than a battery, /DRK for those Chainspell-Stun days, and /NIN for solo play.

Of these, I have interest in leveling my Ninja, however, gear is one thing that has been keeping me from doing it. For one, I can't stand large purchases, and I hate parting with my money (yes, I know, I'm a miser). However, I also dislike camping, so either way, something had to give. I was willing to go on without Bounding Boots, maybe, but I was certainly not going to forgo Evasion +10, and so needed to either fork over the cash to buy an Emperor Hairpin, try to BCNM it up, or camp the Valkurm Emperor for the Empress Hairpin drop.

I certainly wasn't willing to buy the Emperor Hairpin, and nobody was around to help me with the BCNM, so it was off the the Dunes!

Most people say camping the Valkurm Emperor for the Empress Hairpin is even worse in terms of difficulty getting the claim compared to Leaping Lizzy, not to mention that the drop rate would be pretty bad for someone without Treasure Hunter, so suffice to say, I wasn't really looking forward to camping him. Actually, I had gone a few times before, but each time, impatience wore out (within about five minutes, too ^^), not to mention competition, and I warped back soon after.

This time wasn't much different. I was bored, and completely on a whim, decided I would go to the Valkurm Dunes and try to get me a Valkurm Emperor, which would be quite hard given that, strange as though it may be, I have never even seen the Valkurm Emperor before. And so, I switched over to RDM/RNG (a very gimped subjob, btw >_<), and headed down to do some Emperor camping.

When I got there, there was nobody else around, sans for one other Red Mage who left shortly after I arrived. I'm guessing this is a rather unusual case, since in my previous times, there have been at least two other people camping, hoping to get a hairpin. By sheer stubborness, I stuck around, and started killing Damselflies, and occasionally checking Widescan to see if the Emperor popped.

Call it beginner's luck, or the luck of the taru, but just ten minutes or so after I started camping, I decided to walk back to some other Damselfly camps I cleared earlier when, not even on widescan, I approached a Damselfly with an unusually long name. My heart skipped a beat.

Valkurm Emperor {Found it!}

(And for the record, you can tell I'm a n00b at this camping business for announcing it in the linkshell before actually claiming it myself.)

There it was, sitting by itself without another living thing, PC or NPC in sight. I took it with Dia before taking out my trusty Fleuret for battle.

One half of the battle- the claim, was won. But would the hairpin drop?

I am now 1/1 on the Valkurm Emperor. Luck of the taru, indeed. XD

The Sh*tlist

Talk about a weekend! Actually, thinking about things, not that much happened, but I certainly have more things than normal to write about, so I might as well get cracking.

First order of the day, one of my major goals is now complete. After a long day's work grinding out 20k over the course of two parties, I hit WHM69, and was within striing distance of my main goal with White Mage: WHM70 and Raise III. As it turned out, I got into a pretty decent party down in Bibiki Bay on my White Mage, and sure enough, after a while...

It felt good to finally pick up what is probably the last really important spell in my White Mage career, although a case can be made that Reraise III warrants enough importance, if only to my own benefit at that. It also felt good to finally use that scroll of Raise III that I had picked up nearly a year ago, (and probably should've sold then, too ^^;). The T.E.R.T. (Tarutaru Emergency Response Team) now has an upgrade!

Unfortunately, my interest in leveling White Mage seems to have completely disappeared upon hitting WHM70, and I don't really know why. What's stranger is that this is in spite of the money that I've put into White Mage, particularly recently. In the last month, I've bought a Noble's Tunic, and the whole Blessed JSE set (minus the Blessed Briault), all with a hefty price tag of about 21 million gil. That's a lot of gil to put into a job you're not very interested in anymore! >_<

Of course, the price of the Noble's Tunic has fallen 2.5 million gil since my purchase, which only makes me upset to think about it. /sulk

On another note though, the party in Bibiki Bay really opened my eyes to just how poor in terms of player skill people in the higher levels are, especially in the jobs that have easy invites. In particular, Black Mages, Red Mages, and Bards.

See, while I don't have anybody on my blacklist, I do keep a sh*tlist of people who, well, royally sucked in one of my parties, and I make a note never to party with them again, at least, not if I can help it. So far, I have one PLD, one THF, and the rest are all Black and Red Mages. I think after my abovementioned Bibiki Bay party though, I can add a Bard, although what's scary is that the party was still very decent.

So, what was wrong with the Bard? At first, nothing. Yes, I didn't notice anything was wrong for the first hour of the party. Slowly though, I started to feel that something was amiss, I wasn't quite sure what it was, but I noticed that something wasn't quite right with the Bard. Maybe it was something to do with the Bard never moving from his spot in between the melee and mages. Maybe it was something to do with the Samurai getting Ballad.

Only after I took it upon myself to actually watch the Bard in action, did I realise what was going on.

The Bard was standing in the same spot, casting only Ballad and Ballad II.

Yep, just Ballad. Well, not quite. I saw the occasional (resisted) Elegy, Threnody and Requiem, but the scary part is that this Bard didn't make my sh*tlist until I noticed the lack of any melee-enhancing spells (ala lazy Bard), or even acknowledgement of what was going on (Our BLM's Waterga III MBs were getting resisted, so I told the BLM to stick with Blizzard III for the Ice Staff's +Elemental Skill effect. Suffice to say, the Bard was still trying to land Water Threnody on the mob).

Kinda scary how dependant we are on Refresh that such a player could reach Level 70. /sigh.

My second example was a Black Mage in another party today. My good friend Maelstormstrom put together a party that was PLD WAR SAM BLM RDM WHM. I was RDM, Mael was WHM. For some reason, with the exception of Mael, myself, and the Japanese WAR, the other three members, well, weren't quite up to scratch. The Samurai was very slow in closing the skillchain with a SATA'ed Tachi: Yukikaze, to the point where quite a few skillchains were actually lost because of that. However, that wasn't the worst of it.

The PLD contributed a great addition to "Things you never want to hear in an xp party". To protect the innocent (or out of sheer kindness), I've taken out their names.
(PLD) sorry this isnt PLD
(PLD) is away
(PLD) my name is XYZ i just never play pld before w
Great, so not only is the PLD gone and has gotten his friend who has never played PLD before tanking for us, but his friend was simultaneously partying on another computer on his own character, so it's now half of a person who has never played PLD before. Great.

To make matters worse, he decides to go back to his own party (on his character), letting us know in party chat after the mob is pulled, and goes AFK regardless. So now we're without a tank with only a stand-in WAR/NIN. If it weren't for a rather rash decision on my part to Chainspell and nuke the bejeezus out of that Dhalmel, we would've probably gotten a few casualties, although I think I must've given poor Mael a heart attack trying to keep a Red Mage alive with a very angry Catoblepas after a Convert. Fun times indeed.

But the big kicker was the Black Mage.

See, the problem with having a Warrior and Samurai in the party is that they do not make a Level 3 skillchain. They do, on the other hand make Fusion, but who wants Fusion when your BLM is Level 67, and can cast Aeroga III, not to mention that Dhalmel are weak to Wind?

And so, {Rampage} to {Tachi: Yukikaze} for Detonation it is.

Unfortunately, something soon came amiss when, after we arrive in Bibiki Bay and get started with a skillchain, the BLM doesn't cast Aeroga III. Wondering what was up, Mael gave a quick {Aeroga}{Yes, please} only to find that the BLM didn't even have Aeroga III.

/slap #1 for the BLM.

No matter, we managed to drag out a whining Nappycat who was kind enough to do some postal work all the way down to Bibiki, and with a newly learnt Aeroga III in hand (or in memory), we continued.

Rampage goes. The Samurai readies his SATA, and uses Tachi: Yukikaze. I hit my Aero II macro for the magic burst, and then I see the BLM start casting Aeroga III after the Detonation animation has gone off. Of course, she missed the magic burst. -_-

I thought it was a fluke, maybe a freak accident. But four missed Magic Bursts later, I realised that this Black Mage couldn't land a Magic Burst to save her life.

/slap #2 for the BLM.

Nappy actually identified her as one of the BLMs on one of his manaburn parties, to which I kinda got the idea of where her skills (or lack thereof) came from. Seriously, it felt odd me teaching a BLM67 the timing for a Magic Burst. One would at least hope that you've had a chance to MB a Waterga III on a Distortion skillchain, but even without such experience, you would be able to deduce for yourself that, if you started casting after the closing skillchain, you would miss. Evidently, that wasn't the case, and I had to tell her to start casting as the Samurai readies Sneak Attack, only to have her cast her next Aeroga III after the Detonation.

/slap #3 for the BLM.

Then, a Magic Burst!

For a massive 400 damage! (/end sarcasm) Fine, so it got resisted. But wait! Aren't Dhalmels weak to Aero spells? What's going on here? To be honest, I couldn't figure it out for myself, but after watching resisted Aeroga after resisted Aeroga (on the times she actually landed the Magic Burst), something was definitely not right. Maybe she has severely underleveled Elemental Magic, but even that takes a supreme amount of incompetance that I was willing to give her the benefit of the doubt.

Then I saw something interesting, which I verified by watching her next Aeroga III nuke.

That's right, she didn't have a Wind Staff. She was nuking AEROGA with an ICE STAFF.

See, to an outsider, this makes sense. The Ice Staff has give +10 to one's Elemental Magic skill, thus reducing resists, so it'd make sense to equip it. However, what most people forget is that while the corresponding staves also add 10% damage to nukes of the correct type, equipping a staff of the dominating element reduces one's damage output by 10%. In this case, Wind is weak to Ice, so equipping an Ice staff lowers the potency of all Aero nukes by 10%. Also given current speculation on the elemental staves effect on magic accuracy, it's no surprise that all her Magic Bursts (with the exception of one) were all resisted.

Resisted Magic Bursts! On a mob that is supposed to be weak to the element, too!

/slap #4 for the BLM.

Seriously, I don't know how someone this bad makes it this far other than sheer ignorance and blind perseverance, but boy, I was literally pulling my hair out and slamming her quite vocally in the linkshell, or at least enough to get Tumble's attention,

In particular,
(Tumble) Geez Tuuf, it would be hard to level with you, for fear of not pleasing your high standards.
(Tuufless) Heh, I don't know- am I too demanding? >_<
In all seriousness, I don't think I expect too much out of people. All I want them to do is a simple task, and that is all. As Akanea (and others) have pointed out, I can get very bossy in a party, especially when things aren't quite working out as they should be, but a party is like a machine with six cogs- if one cog is faulty, the whole workings is less efficient as a whole. It's not about gear either (well, to a degree), it's just sheer player skill.

I think I am fairly forgiving of players at the lower level, but once things start picking up, I will assume that you know certain things about party dynamics.

For example, I do not believe that knowing how to land a Magic Burst consistently is too much to ask for. This is something that should really be assumed waaay back in Level 20, maybe 25.

But a Black Mage Sixty-seven who can't land a Magic Burst? Pathetic.

Whatever happened to pride at your job? Ever wonder why most people seem to prefer Japanese parties better when it comes to crunch time and cranking down the numbers on the tnl bar? Granted, I've had my fair share of bad Japanese players, but compared to the number of bad English speaking players, I'd go with Japanese if I had the choice.


09 February, 2006

What's in a name?

Something I've been meaning to touch upon is just how I got the name, "Tuufless". Since entering Vana'diel nearly two whole years ago, the name has since grown on me quite a lot. ^^

Someone even once told me that I had "one of the very cutest taru names [she'd] ever heard of," which really made my day back then, so yes, I really do like the name, "Tuufless".

However, I've also gotten the occasional funny look from people when they ask me, "Do you mean, 'Tuufless' as in 'Toothless'?" To that, I have to say, "Yes."

For those who are more into role-playing, my story, in a nutshell, is this:

While growing up as a tarutaru cub in the streets of Windurst, some silly, blind Hume didn't see me and walked rightaru into me, kicking me in the mouth as he was walking by. As a result of that, I've lost some of my front teeth, and some people started calling me "Toothless". That was all very meanie-weanie of them, but my friends turned that into "Tuufless", and now it's all cutaru! ^^

Of course, there is a real-life story behind the name, "Tuufless". Upon puchasing my copy of Final Fantasy XI, my roommates had decided that blowing things up was really fun (something I concur on), and so, I wanted to be a Black Mage. To make things fun, we decided that the most unlikely thing to go around bringing about death and destruction would be a little girl, knee-high, and so I went straight to a Tarutaru girl, and picked a face that looked purrrty. ^^

I was then plagued by the question that haunts every single RPG gamer.

Goodness knows how many names I tried, both standard, and more exotic. All of them, obviously taken. The random name generator wasn't much help either, although when my roommate was using it to get a name for a Mithra character, the name "Pyunii" interestingly came up. ^^

Eventually, after several minutes of suggestions from some of my roommates (and my shooting them down), I was basically resting my head on my elbows, watching the tarutaru model dance around on my computer screen.

It was then that I noticed this shot in particular:

I thought out loud to myself, "Hey, she's toothless..." But was it coincidence? Maybe, maybe not. At that point, I wasn't able to take a screenshot, so I wasn't sure that the tarutaru really was, in fact, missing at least a few of her left incisors, but then the dance sequence continued, and the second screenshot put my doubts to rest,

"She's toothless!" I exclaimed. All of a sudden, I had a name. XD

(For the record, I don't actually know if it was a problem with my computer rendering, or if the model actually is missing her teeth on everybody's computer (or PS2), but after watching the tarutaru dance over and over again, it's definitely missing on my version!)

I was actually going to run with "Toothless" as my name, but then there was this little quirk down at the bottom that said that characters with names nine letters or more ("Toothless" is exactly nine letters -_-) may get their name truncated at certain points, and I certainly didn't want that!

So now, I had to find something a little shorter. Fortunately, I managed to easily eliminate one letter by cheating on the phonetics a little bit, changing "~ooth" into "~uuf", and voila! Tuufless was born!

Of course, it was a rather nice perk that, someone toothless wouldn't be able to sound her name out correctly, so maybe my real name actually is "Toothless", just that I'm unable to sound it out correctly? ^^;

06 February, 2006

Tuuf is...xp'ing?

It's really strange. I used to hate xp'ing. Well, not exactly hate, but getting experience points on my other jobs, and merit points on my Black Mage was certainly nowhere near the top of my list of things to do.

After coming back, I seem to be on a bit of an xp binge of sorts, and I don't know why. What's even more puzzling is that I'm actually sorta liking it, well, except for the so-so party in Kuftal Tunnel this morning that got me 3k before I died, so I only came out 1.5k or so ahead. -_-

I know compared to some of the most hardcore people, the amount I xp even now is nothing (I've heard of people going on multiple 9-10 hour xp runs, and I don't think I could handle that ^^;) but compared to what I was doing before? It's a heck of a difference. I even joined one of Xmode's and Sakurato's merit parties without my usual fussing! ^^

I guess my break has something to do with it, and has in one way or another, renewed my taste for the good 'ol Chain #5 (or more!), but the Campsitarus blog (which you really ought to have bookmarked!) is definitely another factor. Interestingly enough, my Summoner dinged 53 yesterday, and I have yet to see a Robber Crab on my Summoner. Not that I'm complaining, of course, but I'm sure one day, my choice of strange xp mobs is going to get my party killed. ^^;

It's kind of refreshing to xp out in obscure locations though. My Summoner's certainly gone through some strange places, for example:

Alraunes in Purgonorgo Isle (I'm very proud of this screenie, btw ^^)

Plants in the Lufaise Meadows (Do people even know these exist??)

And more recently, the lower-tier weapons in Ro'Maeve.

They're not exactly the most convenient of locations, but I like finding new spots to go to, although I wish I could bring more than my Summoner to the table. No matter how I try to convince myself otherwise, I can't help but feel my spot in a party would be better served with another job, although since it's my party, I kinda have to, well, be there.

I've also been meriting a bit, as a bit of a reunion with Sakurato and Xmode, and after blowing up Demons in the Uleguerand Range for a bit, I decided to go ahead and form my own party without Saku and Xmode (they were camping Fafnir -_-), and went up to the Celestial Nexus for some more roaming parties.

As an aside, I actually like roaming parties as a Black Mage. Granted, I don't contribute much in terms of damage, but the subtleties are there, or so Saku tells me. Personally, I don't really think I contribute that much to the table, but hey, maybe there's something I'm missing. I really ought to level my Red Mage for meriting though, or even better, level a Bard to merit and get more campsite logs down!

(/em wahahas.)

Anyway, my Celestial Nexus party was enough to get me my fifth stored merit point (15th lifetime), and bingo!

Level 5 Thunder potency ftw! (And that took me way longer than I expected...-_-)

On a completely different note though, I was wandering through Port Jeuno after the abovementioned party, when I came across this,

Now, is it just me, or is that a chocobo in the middle of Port Jeuno?

(By the way, if I'm sounding a little different than normal, bear with me- I just came back from overseas, and am quite jet lagged. ^^; I feel like I'm running on adrenalin right now...something like that, yeah.)