31 December, 2006

...and a Happy New Year!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In any case, BLM Group 1 merits, complete.

Yes, and about time too.

Have a happy new year, everyone! ^^

25 December, 2006

Merry Christmasu, everyone!

Blatantly taken from Calcula's comic,

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

In other words, {I'm back!}

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

19 December, 2006

I would like a Dalmatica.

I would like a Dalmatica.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Idle lurking

So, let me get this straight:

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

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

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

Emphasis on the "generally."

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It almost renders "older" gear obsolete.

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

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

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

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

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

15 December, 2006

Look familiar?

See title. ^^