27 May, 2006

White Mage. Seventy. Five. ^^

One thing that's always been bugging me at the back of my head, is that when I first set out into Vana'diel, my first "real" job was a White Mage, yet, I had gotten both BLM75 and RDM75, but for some reason, WHM, my first real job, was still lagging behind.

Now, I say "real", because technically, when I set my first foot into Vana'diel long, long ago, I was BLM. At least, I leveled up to BLM12 before a real life friend decided to join in, and I then switched over to WHM so we could level together (which we ended up rarely doing, btw. -_-)

I eventually took my WHM all the way up to Level 61 before shifting focus back onto BLM for reasons, I don't really remember.

But anyway, I digress.

Like I said, since then, I had leveled both my "second" and my third job to 75, while my first job stayed behind, and this was something that had been bothering me lately. Thus, these past few days, I've had WHM75 pretty high on my list of "things to do".

The good news was that when I dinged RDM75, I had already leveled up to WHM70 through occasional parties here and there, so the final push to 75 wasn't all that tough, except that the period between 70-73 felt particularly long since nobody really wanted a WHM for their TP spam parties, and I had to literally coax some friends into taking me into their merit parties as a WHM72. Once I hit 73 though, it was fiarly smooth sailing, especially with the new ToAU camps that easily net me around 10k/hr xp. It still felt like it took a pretty darn long time though, but eventually, I got my goal. ^^

White Mage. 75. ^^

The mage trinity is complete! /joy (well, except for BLU, but that doesn't count! :P)

20 May, 2006


So, I tried to log in for the day, to find that, once again, Al Zahbi is under attack, from the various shouts going about the Aht Urhgan Whitegate. Of course, my first instinct was to check the Besieged status to see just how strong the enemy invasion was, and to my surprise, I saw this:

Since a recent update, which adjusted the Beastmen level during Besieged, Besieged itself has gotten a lot harder. Gone are the days of wimpy, Level 1 Besieged, which you could easily wipe out half the incoming enemy forces with a bunch of Thundaga IIIs. Nowadays, it seems that just about every single Besieged is a whooping Level 5, and with the increased level of the mobs, each mob takes over an alliance to take down with any noticable efficiency. Oh, and did I mention that the beastmen mobs have 2-hour abilites? Mijin Gakure took more than a few people down with 4000 damage to everyone within its radius.

All this added up to one thing:


Lots of it.

Quite literally, one third of the time, you're standing around with your recieved packets plummeting down to zero, another third is spent standing around waiting for people and mobs to appear on your screen, and the last third is spent playing "Find the Mamool Ja Spotter" in the middle of everybody who's trying to beat on it.

We had 750 people in Al Zahbi alone to fend off the triple assault from all the Near Eastern beastmen. The server was congested to the point where people could not zone into, or even log into Al Zahbi, or they'd time out and disconnect. The lag also makes Besieged, something that is supposed to be exciting and fun, into something that's a drag, as you're sitting around trying to cure people who have run off long before the system even registers your spell, or wondering how on earth you died to unknown causes.

I wonder what goes on behind the design and development team over at SquareEnix. Conceptually, Besieged is a fantastic idea. It's unique, on a large scale, and forces all the players to band together towards a single goal. That, and how exciting is it to have to defend a city under siege?

Unfortunately, the communications are the big let down here. I seriously haven't the foggiest idea how SquareEnix thought they could somehow animate and render some nine-hundred characters in a single zone (NPCs and beastmen mobs included), and still expect people to play as normal. Players can barely do the job they are supposed to do, and as a result, there's a lot of disgruntlement at just standing there waiting. At least, it's gotten to the point where I'm thinking of just staying away from Al Zahbi during a Besieged event- it's too frustrating for me, really.

But hey, at least the xp and Imperial Standing Points you get kinda make up for things, right?

It's unfortunate, but to me, Besieged falls under the same category as Dynamis- a great idea, but terrible design and development. It's too bad, since it's a bit of a black spot in what is otherwise a very good expansion. Hopefully player numbers will dwindle once more and more people get tired of Besieged, but the question then becomes if there will be another update to tone down the mob levels?

In any case, as I said before, today was special as we were under attack from all three beastmen strongholds at once. However, not all three types of beastmen mobs would be in Al Zahbi, instead it would be a continuous sequence of three Besieged events, basically an extra-long Besieged.

I couldn't zone into Al Zahbi during the first Lamia wave, but managed to sneak in once the Lamia retreated, and the Mamool Ja came in. Fortunately, I managed to last all the way through to the defeat of the Troll army without disconnecting. How, I don't know, but hey, I'll take what I can get. XD

I went as White Mage, since one observation that people have found out is that you can't actually get limit points from Besieged, which meant that participating as my RDM or BLM was rather out of the question. Looking back, I guess White Mage was the best job for the task- I basically ran around town as a medic, dishing out Raises and Cures to random people I passed by.

Amazingly enough, I only died once during both Besieged events I was there for, netting me some 1400 Imperial Standing points, and 800xp in total. I usually die a heck of a lot more than that, but I guess a WHM can afford to play chicken at some points. ^^

At the end of the day, I'm not sure whether or not I want to participate in the next Besieged though. Perhaps if I really have nothing else better to do...>_<

16 May, 2006

Kraken Club {fun}

I haven't been able to play much recently, due to several deadlines looming over my head, as well as some final projects that needed to get done. >_<

However, I managed to snick in some time recently, and had a bit of fun. ^^ Starfox took me on an Assault through the Lebros Cavern (that's the one where you have to demolish the walls) with just three people, netting each of us a juicy 1999 Assault points each. ^^ I'm not sure entirely on the details, but we went with MNK RDM RDM, and it's pretty important that the MNK is well equipped with all the haste-esque gear they can get their hands on. We cleared the Assault with five minutes to spare, so I think we're onto something here. ^^

But in other news, I was also helping out some friends, and got my hands on a new toy in the meantime:


Heh, it's not mine, but one of my friends was nice enough to lend it to me to play around with, and holy cripes, a Kraken Club is fun to play around with. I was literally in my seat giggling like a little taru schoolgirl watching me relentlessly clobber away with a KC in my paws. The TP build is ridiculous, too- I've never gotten TP so quickly before, and spamming (rather weak) weaponskills was very fun. Perhaps I should see if I can borrow it again for skilling up my club some other time, because I'd sure like one to use for that then. XD

I've also hit WHM73 in a merit party with Starfox in the Bhaflau Thickets, and in a rare occurance, the place was actually, y'know, empty. o.O

Well, not completely empty, I think there was maybe one or two other parties there, but there were enough mobs to get the infinite chain going. Our Bard was new to pulling, and we had to take a little timeout to explain how merit pulling works, but after that, the Bard caught on pretty quickly, and we got all the way up to Chain #106 (my first 100+ chain! ^^) before we called for a break, since people's concentration was waning.

I was WHM/SMN for that, and despite being lower level than everyone else, I wasn't really in any danger of running out of mana, not with Refresh, two Auto-Refreshes, and two Ballads going on, and Ninjas to boot. Anyway, hopefully I'll hit WHM75, and then it's time to start contemplating what to do next. ^^

10 May, 2006

Goodbye Berrie ; ;

Two days ago, I was making my usual tour of the various blogs I read, when I came across Strawberrie's blog, entitled Tarunation! I was surprised to then find that Berrie had decided to quit the game. ; ;

To be honest, I guess I could've suspected it was coming. I noticed that Berrie had been logging on less and less as of late, and I know she and I share similar feelings regarding the endgame. I don't remember where exactly she said it, but she mentioned in one of her comments in this blog that she too, is essentially "done" with this game, and that her husband, Vagus, is what keeps her going.

Well, she and Vagus parted a few days ago and went their separate ways, and so, naturally, she chose to quit. I don't fault her decision, and if anything, it gives a sense of closure to her FFXI career, although admittedly, such an end could've gone better.

I don't even have any recent pictures with Berrie, save for this picture I took a long, long time ago in a party up in the Au'Aun Gardens,

I'm a little sad that I didn't even get to say /goodbye to Berrie on her last day in Vana'diel, but I suppose I must've missed her given my recent commitments in this thing we call "real life".

It's a little strange that Berrie and I are friends even though we almost never see each other in-game. Usually when she is online, she is out doing something with Vagus, and their activities (as well as time) don't really coincide with mine. As such, much of our communication comes through in our blogs, which is strange, since I never really expected our blogs to be our medium of contact.

Granted, she leaves more comments on my blog than I did on hers, so perhaps this "communication" was a little one-sided, but it was very nice to see her comments (as it is from everybody else's!) after a new post. To be honest, I'm at a loss for words here, as I don't really know how to describe it, but I guess those of you who also update a blog of your own might understand.

In any case, here's wishing Strawberrie the best of luck in her future endeavours! ^^

03 May, 2006

Going Blue- Windurst

As mentioned in my last post, I said I'd give BLU a try. Well, it certainly has had its trying moments, but so far, I'm liking BLU a lot. However, several things needed to be settled first to pave the way for leveling my Blue Mage.

One of said preparations would be to level up my Cooking to 60, since I figured I'd be going through a lot of Yagudo Drinks between now and Level 40, when some other form of mana regeneration is available. To that end, I finally got around to getting a few Cooking levels, although knowing myself, it will be quite a while before I actually get around to getting Cooking 60. Fortunately, I don't think I'm at the point where the crimp on my mana is to the point where I'd want some juice or Yagudo Drinks, but I'm sure once I start tanking IT mobs, I'll want some form of mana refresh. My Cooking's just shy of 35 right now, after going through a few Meatballs. I plan on leveling off Jack o'Lanterns next, although I have yet to check prices to see how feasible that plan is now.

The other concern is needing a WAR subjob, and to a lesser extent (possibly), a NIN subjob. I'm not quite sure what the full potential of BLU is just yet, but I hear BLU/NIN is decent damage, but whether such claims have been largely exaggerated by others remains up to me to find out. Previously, I've been reluctant to level WAR because MNK does not appeal to me. However, just as how BLU/WAR is a decent combination, WAR/BLU also seems feasible, at least from WAR16/BLU08 onwards to WAR37. So, I think I'll go with that path.

Finally, another reason for me to level BLU is to explore and collect more data on alternate leveling spots for Campsitarus. Because it is difficult to construct a party of people who are willing to go to strange places to xp, a pseudo-static of sorts would be ideal here. I already have myself as BLU, and Hirushi is willing to level up RNG with me. I'm still looking for others though, although admittedly, I haven't exactly started searching yet.

In any case, I headed down to Windurst, changed my job over to a fledgling BLU01/WAR01, picked up from Bronze armour from the local vendors, and a Wax Sword +1 to boot, and I was off! Armed with my Empress Band and Meat Mithkabobs and Pamama au laits a plenty, I was powering through the early levels like no tomorrow. It is particularly pleasing to get over one quarter your total tnl with just a single kill. ^^

It was also time to start picking up some spells! It took a day to do it, but eventually, I managed to pick up the core spells I would need from the greater Windurst area:

Foot Kick: 2 tries.
Pollen: 2 tries.
Cocoon: 10 tries.
Metallic Body: 5 tries.
Wild Oats: 6 tries.
Feather Storm: 2 tries.
Sandspin: 5 tries.

This took a lot longer than it looks, believe me. It's one thing to go around killing mobs for xp, it's another thing to go around attacking mobs, waiting for them to use an ability, and then killing them. I picked up Foot Kick first from the Savannah Rarabs in West Sarutabaruta, but I hit a blank when I realised that I was too low level to take on the Giant Bees that would use Pollen. In the end, I levelled up to Level 7 before taking on a few Giant Bees for Pollen.

Bees were annoying though. At Level 7, most of the Giant Bees conned Tough to me, so I couldn't really solo those, yet alone afford to stand with my back turned to said Bee that's pounding on me, waiting for the Bee to possibly use the correct move. The two Bees registered there do not include the multitude of Bees that I had to prematurely kill (or die myself), or ended up using Final Sting or Sharp Sting. The first Bee that used Pollen, unfortunately didn't give me Pollen in the end, but luckily, the second Bee did.

My next spell on the list was Cocoon, which ended up being more trying than Pollen. For some reason, I didn't have too much trouble finding Crawlers who would use Cocoon (as opposed to Sticky Thread or Poison Breath), but I just would not learn Cocoon after killing the Crawler! I think I must've spent about an hour or two just trying to get Cocoon, after a string of duds, but eventually, I got it. ^^

I had similar trouble with Metallic Body, but more annoying was killing a whole string of Mandragoras for Wild Oats and Head Butt. I spent a whole hour trying to learn both, getting Wild Oats in the process, but only through some random website browsing during one of my resting periods did I learn that the Head Butt I was trying to learn, was not in fact the Mandragora's Head Butt, but the Quadav's Head Butt! Talk about a waste of time...-_-

My last trial was getting Feather Storm. After killing dozens of Yagudos out in both West and East Sarutabaruta, I had a whole string of Howls, Double Kicks, and all the other Yagudo abilites except Feather Storm. Well, I did get one Yagudo that decided to use it, but unfortunately, I didn't learn it then. ; ;

I then decided to give Giddeus a try, where I eventually bumped into a Japanese aspiring Blue Mage by the name of Ninjan, who also told me he had trouble learning Feather Storm as well. Seeing as how we both shared the same goal, I invited him to team up, and as luck would have it, the very first Yagudo I pulled gave us both Feather Storm! Also noting that there were Dirt Eaters in Giddeus, we also stopped by to pick up Sandspin for me, and that completed my initial set of spells from Windurst!

I'm really liking BLU right now. The job is both versatile, and powerful, and feels as if it has so much potential that we have yet to unlock. Next up on my list would be to go to the greater San d'Oria and Bastok regions, completing my spell set (up to Level 12 or so, at least), before heading out to party. More to come when that happens. ^^

01 May, 2006

The Fourth Colour- An Empty Vessel.

A new expansion seems to split the FFXI blogging community into two camps- those who cannot wait to blog about the latest sights and sounds of the new expansion, and those who are too busy playing with the new expansion to blog about it.

Guess which camp I fell in. ^^

In any case, a lot has happened in the last week. I went to Aht Urgan, explored the new continent, travelled the lands getting all the staging points activated, tried out a few merit camps (which since capped my xp points on my RDM!), participated in Assault, defended Al Zahbi in Besieged, and even started leveling Corsair!

Suffice to say, I'm very pleased with Treasures of Aht Urhgan. The new merit camps are both convenient to get to, at a reasonable price, Assault is very reminiscent of World of Warcraft's instancing (well, to a degree), which is something I've felt this game needed for a while, and Besieged is, well, although I think they made it a little too easy, at least the built up anticipation was nice the first time. ^^

I've already expressed my interest in leveling Corsair, and as a result, unlocked it and took it up to COR09. However, while the mechanic is certainly interesting, the one-minute cooldown in between Phantom Rolls annoy me, and don't really make Corsair active enough for my liking. For now though, it is a very nice balance in between a Summoner and a Bard, and some of the buffs are very unique and powerful. I particularly like how your party makeup affects the Corsair's abilities, too.

But I needed something different.

Recently however, BLU has been picking up more and more speed as one of the more powerful classes out there, and for good reason- to me at least, a BLU's versatility is unmatched. I've heard stories of BLUs filling all party positions, from healing, support, offensive magic, and even tanking. The Blue Magic points is a good way of keeping a BLU's power in check, and overall, the system intrigues me. I figure leveling up BLU would further complete my profile as a consumate mage, as well as give me a decent dose of melee to compliment my RDM solo.

Not only that, BLU is not only one of the more unique jobs out there, but also one of the most involved, thus giving me oodles to write about! Depending on how I feel about BLU, I could very well start yet another blog all about my experiences and discoveries as a blue mage!

And so, it was off to unlock BLU!

The Blue Mage quest is started from this NPC, Waudo, location on the second floor of (J-10) in the Aht Urhgan Whitegate. Upon meeting me, he wanted to take a divination, and so, the interrogation began...(with dramatic music, to boot!)

"What is destiny?"

"...If the loss of one life would save ten thousand, would you offer yourself without hesitation?"

"...A loved one is afflicted with a terrible illness and has little time to live. You are asked to end that life by your own hand."

As you can tell, not exactly the normal, run-of-the mill survey. In fact, I felt quite a number of questions pushed the moral bounds, but I could understand what Waudo was getting at.

In any case, I was asked to get a pinch of Valkurm Sunsand, which I inwardly groaned at, seeing as how I now have to travel all the way to the dunes (which is already bad enough), but now I have to hang around until there's a sandstorm? /grumble.

So I teleported over to the Crag of Dem, and caught a ride on a chocobo to the Dunes. Ironically, there was a call for a Raise as I was riding past, supposedly not too far away from me. I immediately thought back to Waudo's questions...

An unknown stranger calls for help while you're on a chocobo.

1) Dismount and go to his aid.
2) Ignore him and ride on.
3) Find somebody else to Raise.

Something along those lines, at least. For the record, I went along with option 2, figuring that one of the kazillion powerlevelers that plague the dunes now would get him. I had a change of heart, and turned back, and lo and behold, someone else had already Raised him. Guess my taru intuition is still there. ^^

Thankfully, I did not have to wait long before the sandstorms came. Actually, I believe I waited just ten minuets or so, before the sand started blowing, and the ??? appeared on the sandbanked boat. I took a pinch of the sand, and Warped back to Aht Urhgan!

Waudo then asked me to travel to the Aydeewa Subterrane to deliver the sunsand to a colleague of his. Fortunately, I had all the maps quested and completed of the path I would need to take, and so, headed straight down, where a luminous platform greeted me, and along with that, a Blue Mage who was kind enough to tell me that everything I had just done, was all really just a test to see how much I wanted power...

He went on about the test, what it stood for, what my going out of my way to complete the test stood for, all sorts of things. Eventually though, he came to one final point. If I were to achieve ultimate power, I must also make the ultimate sacrifice (well, maybe not "ultimate", but you get the idea. -_-). And then asked if I were willing to sacrifice everything for said cause, stretching out his hand in invitation.

I did a little taru gulp.

Reluctantly, I said yes, and took his hand. Things went black.

The next thing I knew, two alchemists (damn those Alchemists! >_<) were busy messy-wessing with my head! >_<

I had read about the history of the blue mages, and it wasn't exactly suitable for one's bedtime story. In fact, some parts of it were rather horrific.
...the initial attempts to graft beastly appendages ended in disaster. One subject’s face erupted in a mass of thrashing feelers. Another was transformed into a horrific mound of quivering flesh. Even if rejection of the transplants was somehow overcome, the subject’s blood was eventually tainted by the blood of the monster.

In a final attempt, the alchemists devised a brutal new technique utilizing the power of magic that fused the essence of a creature directly to the mortal spirit.
And thus blue magic was born.
Yeeeeahhhh...I certainly didn't want to think about what they were doing to my head! >_<

But eventually, it was all over. The mysterious Blue Mage to dragged me into all this stood, towering above me (as all other non-Taru do -_-), bringing me into this new realm of magic.

"Congratulations, Tuufless. Welcome to the ranks of the blue mages."