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. ^^