17 November, 2007

"Accomplished Goldsmith" {mine}!

I understand I haven't made a new entry in a pretty long time.

I also understand that I haven't made a "normal" blog post (i.e: not trying to dissect a fight) in an even longer time.

Coincidentally, I haven't made a post about my Goldsmithing in an even longer time.

To be honest, it's been so long since I last worked on my Goldsmithing formally, that I don't even remember when my last archived Goldsmithing post was! >_< I suppose with the current state of crafting (particularly in the durables department), the drive to actually work on Goldsmithing has more or less died down, as seems to be the case for quite a lot of the crafts lately.

With high costs to level and with fewer and fewer profitable synths, Goldsmithing's more or less been relegated to earning me bits and pieces of small change here and there. As such, it's been sitting pretty at Goldsmithing 87 for the longest time. I'd occasionally make an Orichalcum Ingot back when it was profitable, and now that it's a loss, that too stopped.

Until recently, that is.

For some reason, I just decided to go and get that next level, which meant burning a lot of money. I had forgotten what my exact Goldsmithing level was, other than it was 87.x, but that didn't really matter.

Just like that, I purchased two stacks of Gold Ingots from the AH (pretty hefty, considering I'm a miser now :P) and sat down to work.

The first stack was good- +0.5 skill in twelve synths. The second, gave me this:

Hitting 88 is the magical number to go get a rankup, and so I immediately made a beeline for Reinberta, who decided that, of all things, she wanted a Colichemarde (go on, look it up. -_-)

Anyway, not long later, I went back to Reinberta with a Colichemarde I shamelessly purchased from the Jeuno AH made with my own sweat and tears, to finally get...

Of course, finally reaching the highest rank in the Goldsmithing guild meant that I could finally use my guild points that have been sitting idle for close to a year now. In this case, I am now eligible to purchase my guild furnishing...

And so, for anyone who is just curious on what Fool's Gold actually looks like, here you go:

Title: "Accomplished Goldsmith." Dammitaru, that feels good.

I'm not sure where I'm going to go with Goldsmithing now to be honest. I've got all the guild items, so that's one major hurdle down, so the next would be the almighty 100 (haha, I can dream on :P). Looking at the markets now, Goldsmithing 100 would be more or less a novelty, since I can't really see anything I want to make at 100, except maybe sign my own Manteel if I ever get around to leveling my Bard (dream on!).

But first! Time to recuperate my losses from all those Gold Ingots! /cry

(Edit: Okay, whose bright idea was it to have the Moghancement: Experience from the Miniature Airship overwrite the Moghancement: Goldsmithing from the Fool's Gold?! Now I have to take the Airship down, and I like that airship! /fume)

14 October, 2007

Something new to solo!

Black Mages have solo'ed several things, from sea mobs to ENMs to KS30s to Apollyon NW.

Well, I've stumbled across this video that presents something new for BLMs to try and solo- Waking Dreams, better known as "the Diabolos fight."


Just in case the above video does not work, you can see the video here, along with the rest of Vol's solo feats (including Ark Angel MR!)

16 September, 2007

Random screenshot!

I'm still alive and kicking...sort of. No time to make a real blog entry, so I decided to leave everyone with this-

It's an old, _old_ excerpt from TrueRune. I haven't been on lately, so I haven't seen everyone in quite some time. A lot of the people involved in the chat have since quit, but I'll still protect the "innocent." ^^

04 September, 2007

BLM solo- Ebony Puddings

Regarding lack of updates:

I am aware that, quite unlike me, it has been over two months since I have last written an update. To say that my real life has been busy is a bit of an understatement, with my current occupation taking up the vast majority of my time, and other real life commitments filling up the remainder of whatever leftover time I have.

Thus, it should come as no surprise that I haven't exactly been doing anything spectacular in game, other than the usual Limbus and meriting, things that don't require a massive time commitment on my side. What all this will result in, I cannot say for sure, but given my recent activities, I simply haven't felt that there was anything interesting enough to write about.

What I can do, however, is go into further detail about something I've been trying to crack during my solo Pudding sessions- how to crack and maximise your xp/hour.

By now, just about every BLM75 would have had experience soloing Puddings in Mount Zhayolm, or at least have heard of it. While Puddings are slightly more dangerous to solo, coming from Wamoura Princes, once you get used to it, they are by far the fastest xp/hour for a solo BLM.

It's not difficult to see why they're the ideal solo mob, either. They are mage mobs, so are Aspirable. They also have about 1000hp less than a Wamoura Prince. They also don't have a "magic-resistant" mode, in fact, they take an additional 25% magic damage!

Of course, being mages, they are slightly more dangerous than a Prince, but all that means is that you'll have to deal with the occasional Burn or Shock, or have to Stun a Sleepga or Firaga III, all minor inconveniences to offset the extra xp.

General information
Mount Zhayolm has two weather conditions- Fire weather, which is rather uncommon, and Earth weather, which is common. Within the area are eight Ebony Puddings, each on a 5-minute respawn timer. Ebony Puddings have approximately 4900hp each, and as mentioned earlier, take 25% extra magic damage. They are rather difficult to Sleep, so a good enfeebling set is advisible here. I'm also going to assume that for the purposes of this writeup, you are BLM75.

Casting range here is 21.5 yalms/units/whatever they're called.

If you are not familiar with the layout of the area, you would be well advised to familiarize yourself with the area so you know where all 8 spawn points are, and be careful of the Phasma towards the NE side at night. The southern passageway leading to Halvung provides a safe place to kite a Pudding, as well as an easy zone to run to should something go wrong.

In addition, when soloing, one BLMs generally takes up three Ebony Pudding spawns, so the area can support three solo BLMs comfortably.

Generally, the sequence of events are as follows:

Thunder IV → Gravity → Blizzard IV → Aspir → (subsequent nukes)

Your subsequent nukes would obviously vary depending on your general nuking strength and resists. Personally, I find that I need a second Thunder IV and Drain to finish off a mob, others may need more or less.

If this is your first time soloing Puddings, you may have trouble with your first few attempts as you get used to things, but you should adjust pretty quickly and soloing should be a breeze.

My current situation:

I've timed myself on a few of my sessions, physically taking down a piece of paper, recording my xp before I start and then soloing for a full hour before recording the new value, thus finding out my xp/hour. This is much more realistic (for obvious reasons) than those that xp for a shorter period of time, and then extrapolate out to 60 minutes.

My average xp/hour so far has been hovering around 8k/hr.

However, I've heard word on forums from other BLMs boasting of higher xp/hour rates solo, not to mention that there are a few issues I see with my solo tactics, so I'm out to try and improve on this.

Solo Chain #5

Most BLMs have little trouble hitting Chain #4 solo, in fact, I myself don't have any issues getting a Chain #4. The problem arises when one tries to consistently reach Chain #5, which I feel is the key to faster solo xp/hour, as always. I've managed to get Chain #5s in the past, but I wasn't able to consistently duplicate that, which is what I'm trying to attempt to dissect here.

Mana management

The primary limiting factor you will most likely face is your mana. Even as a Taru, I have to stretch my mana to accomodate Chain #5, so I can imagine how hard it must be for, say, Galka BLMs (My nuking MP is around 996mp).

As per normal, your mana recovery will be through Sanction Auto-Refresh, Aspirs, and your resting. While you do not have much control over the first two, it is important that you pay attention to how much you rest so you manage your mana and time properly. As a general rule, you can afford to rest to full all the way up to Chain #3, but once you start going for Chain #4, you need to pay attention to the amount of time you have left before you lose the chain.

Up to now, I've always held that 600mp is more than enough to kill a Pudding, with extra mana to spare should something go wrong.

AM II versus Thunder IV?

One thing that I see a lot in Mount Zhayolm are BLMs meriting using two -IV spells and AMII. Personally, I can understand the draw of using Ancient magic- you get big, pretty numbers! However, I can safely say that using Ancient magic is not the way to go for one big reason- mana.

Case #1: You use Ancient Magic. This means you kill with two -IV nukes.

Thunder IV: 171
Gravity: 24
Blizzard IV: 164
Freeze II: 287

Total: 646mp

Case #2: You don't use Ancient Magic. Thus means you kill with three -IV nukes (and a Drain).

Thunder IV: 171
Gravity: 24
Blizzard IV: 164
Thunder IV: 171
Drain: 21

Total: 551mp

You're looking at almost 100mp difference, which will take roughly 30 seconds to recover through resting. The only logical reason to use Ancient magic over Thunder IV + Drain would be in the interest of saving time, however, the difference is only 3 seconds, so it'd better be a close one. XD

Resting for Chain #5

Of course, you'd want to try and get as much mp as possible before you head off. However, it's obvious that you cannot afford to wait until you are fully recharged, otherwise you'd lose the chain.

The amount of time you have to kill the Chain #5 mob is just 2 minutes. I timed myself, and I take roughly 1:15 to kill a mob (including the time it takes for me to run and engage one), so I know that I have another 45 seconds to sit down and rest.

When you rest, your mana comes back after 20 seconds, and then subsequently every 10 seconds thereafter. For me, that means that I have three ticks of rest (+20, +30 and +40 seconds) before I know I have to head out for the next mob. However, just in case of any accidents, I only allow myself two ticks of rest instead.

A naked BLM75 rests for 27mp for the first tick. However, with +hMP gear, that easily goes up to about 50mp/tick, so two ticks worth is about 100mp.

Putting all this into practice:

All this talk is fine, and I wanted to actually go out there and see how well I could put this into action. This would allow me to see just how relevant all this musing has been, as well as provide some data which I could then use to extrapolate a logical xp/hour target to try and reach.

I went over to Mount Zhayolm (which was thankfully open! :D) and solo'ed six chains, three of which were Chain #5s. I noted down all the relevant timings and did my data collection in the process:

Time taken to move to a pudding
Minimum: 0:03
Maximum: 0:24
Average: 0:08

Time taken to kill a pudding:
Minimum: 0:49
Maximum: 1:18
Mean: 1:01

Mana used to kill a pudding:
Minimum: 325
Maximum: 591
Mean: 445

Mean time spent resting after Chain #X:
After Chain #0: 1:26
After Chain #1: 1:17
After Chain #2: 1:13
After Chain #3: 1:13
After Chain #4: 0:34
After Chain #5: 2:22

Based on these figures, I can now artificially reconstruct a Chain #5 to have a rough idea of just how much xp/hour we should be targetting:

+0:00 Stand up, move to engage 1st Pudding.
+0:08 Engage
+1:09 Defeat #0, rest

+2:35 Stand up, move to engage 2nd Pudding.
+2:43 Engage
+3:44 Defeat #1, rest

+5:01 Stand up, move to engage 3rd Pudding.
+5:09 Engage
+6:10 Defeat #2, rest

+7:23 Stand up, move to engage 4th Pudding.
+7:31 Engage
+8:32 Defeat #3, rest

+9:45 Stand up, move to engage 5th Pudding.
+9:53 Engage
+10:54 Defeat #4, rest

+11:28 Stand up, move to engage 6th Pudding.
+11:36 Engage
+12:37 Defeat #5, rest

+14:59 Mana full, repeat cycle.

Thus, our simulation would take 15 minutes to complete a full Chain #5 cycle (which includes a full heal, ready to start the next chain). The average xp a solo BLM gets from a Chain #5 is about 2440xp, so by extrapolating that, we should aim to get:

2440 x 4 = 9760xp/hr.

Thus, a 9-10k/hr xp rate is theoretically possible, although admittedly difficult to do. But an extra 1.7k over my current 8k/hr is certainly something to strive towards, although I'll definitely have to do more testing (and practice more!) before I can see such results.

One big problem I face with trying to beat the clock for a Chain #5 is that I do not have a Sorcerer's Ring. To be more accurate, my refusal to engage in HNM activities means I do not have the Zenith gear to convert my HP over to activate the Sorcerer latent (this also means that I nuke with Yigit gages, instead of Zenith Mitts. T_T)

The benefits of having a ring are twofold- first, I will be able to nuke down a Pudding in just three nukes, essentially saving myself from having to cast Drain. This saves me the 5 seconds or so it takes for me to cast Drain, and then cast another spell, as well as 21 mana. Is it worth it? In the interest of time, certainly, considering how close I was at times to missing the 2-minute deadline.

Someone on the Allakhazam forums also came up with the idea of killing Puddings two at a time before resting, that is to say that he solos one Pudding, immediately moves to kill another, then rests. It sounds like a good idea, since you save the rest time, as well as having fewer "dud" ticks where you recover 0mp, but I don't know how he squeezes a full rest in time to solo Chain #4 and #5. I'll certainly have to give it a shot though. ^^

21 June, 2007

BLM Solo- Operation Desert Swarm

A few people have already solo'ed this particular KS30 fight and have written about it, such as Kaeko, and there have been numerous videos about, like Avesta's attempt (although it is quite old now),

However, I had yet to actually do this myself. I'm not exactly sure what prompted me to throw away some 120 Kindred Seals on praticing and fine tuning, but I started on it, and wanted very much to say that I was now able to comfortably solo the KS30.

Here are the basic facts, from Kaeko's writeup:
- 6 Platoon Scorpions.
- Each has exactly 5,000 HP.
- Not particularly resistant to sleep.
- Run at normal speed.

The basic sequence is as follows:
- Buff with Protect II, Aquaveil, Stoneskin, Blink, Phalanx.
- Rest to full.
- Thundaga III → Sleepga (reapply Stoneskin and Blink)
- Blizzaga III → Sleepga (reapply Stoneskin and Blink)
- Take medicines (Pro-Ether in my case, see below)
- Thundaga III → Sleepga (reapply Stoneskin and Blink)
- Manafont
- Blizzaga III → Sleepga
- Thundaga III → Sleepga
- Firaga III (win!)

Here's the log of my first successful run. I've edited it to remove all the "chaff"- the recast timers, "Equipment changed" lines, and so on.

Although I was successful that time, it was a lot closer than I would've liked it to be. Thus, I wanted to go out and solo a few more orbs to get more practice at it before I felt comfortable with a strategy.

Unfortuntely, four orbs later (two of which weren't mine), I had yet to repeat my win. However, it was not a total loss, for there were two realisations I made that I have since implemented into my strategy.

For those who just want to cut straight to the chase, here they are:
1) Bring a Pro-Ether (just in case).
2) Equip a Terra's Staff in your Sleepga macro.

For those who like explanations and reasoning, here are the more long-winded versions:

1) You will need mana items.
Assuming your gear is not of a very high standard, chances are you will be casting six -ga spells, in between at least five Sleepgas, not to mention reapplying Stoneskins, Blinks and Phalanx.

Doing the math, your mana spent (not accounting for Conserve MP) would be:


Thundaga III: 322mp
Sleepga: 38mp
Stoneskin: 29mp
Blink: 20mp
Blizzaga III: 299mp
Sleepga: 38mp
Stoneskin: 29mp
Blink: 20mp
Thundaga III: 322mp
Sleepga: 38mp
Stoneskin: 29mp
Blink: 20mp
Phalanx: 21mp


Blizzaga III: 0mp
Sleepga: 0mp
Thundaga III: 0mp
Sleepga II: 0mp
Firaga III: 0mp

Total: 1225mp

1225mp spent before the Manafont is very high, even for a Taru. As it is, my current nuking gear caps my MP at 1006, so I'm still 219mp away. Thus, medicines are in order.

Based off my nuking mp, I need to make up 219mp somewhere, so a Pro-Ether comes in handy. This will vary from individual to individual, so be sure to check you can make up 1225mp somewhere without the aid of Manafont.

I have to admit, I really really wanted to be able to do this without the use of anything out of the ordinary (nothing more than maybe a couple of Yagudo Drinks), but given the gap in mana, that does not look likely for me, at least not now. Should I ever get Zenith gear, however, there is a chance I will be able to push my max MP setup to over 1225, thus negating the need for any special medicines.

Of course, should you get lucky on your Conseve MP, by all means save the Pro-Ether for another day! >_<

2) Damage reduction in your Sleepga macro

This is the big one.

You will notice that in Avesta's video above, and in other videos around the net that the general strategy is to run away from the scorpions after your -ga spell has gone off before casting Sleepga.

This makes sense, since if you have Herald gaiters, you could feasily outrun the scorpions, that and you might as well gain some distance before casting Sleepga.

However, I do not have gaiters, nor can I run away because of lag issues. In my case, I have to consciously stop and wait a second or two before I cast a spell, otherwise the server-side will think I am casting a spell while moving, and thus interrupt my spell even though I appear to be standing still client-side.

Thus, I cast Thundaga III and immediately start casting Sleepga while standing at the same spot.

One thing I noticed in my subsequent attempts was that there were occasions where my first Sleepga would not resolve simply because the six scorpions were able to tear down my Stoneskin and land a hit on me, interrupting my Sleepga. Once Sleepga is down, there is no way to recover, so it is imperative that Stoneskin remains up.

Let's do the math:

* A Platoon Scorpion hits me, in Enfeebling gear for, on average, about 90 damage/hit.
* With capped Enhancing Magic skill (200), Phalanx reduces all hits by -18 damage.
* A scorpion thus hits me for around 72 damage/hit.

* With 114 MND, Stoneskin is capped at 350 damage.

So, with Stoneskin and Blink up:
Case 1: Two shadows absorbs, 4 hits- 288 damage (Good)
Case 2: One shadow absorbs, 5 hits- 360 damage (Risks interruption)
Case 3: No shadows absorbs, 6 hits- 432 damage (Risks interruption)

As you can see, the problem above lies in the reliance of both Blink shadows absorbing two hits from the scorpions. Should even one fail, then you risk being interrupted, and thus lose the KS30.

So, I needed a way to prevent some more damage while still in my Enfeebling gear. Fortunately, this can be solved by using a Terra's Staff instead of a Pluto's Staff in my Sleepga macro.

Now, with the damage reduction from the Terra's Staff, the numbers look like the following: (Note that the damage reduction from the Terra's Staff is applied first, then Phalanx is applied.)

* A Platoon Scorpion hits me, in Enfeebling gear for, on average, about 90 damage/hit.
* With capped Enhancing Magic skill (200), Phalanx reduces all hits by -18 damage.
* A scorpion thus hits me for around 72 damage/hit.
* With 114 MND, Stoneskin is capped at 350 damage.
* Terra's Staff reduces all physical damage taken by -20%.

Thus, I take:
(90 x 0.8) - 18 = 54 damage/hit.

Giving us the following three cases
Case 1: Two shadows absorbs, 4 hits- 216 damage (Good)
Case 2: One shadow absorbs, 5 hits- 270 damage (Good)
Case 3: No shadows absorbs, 6 hits- 324 damage (Good)

As you can see, the inclusion of a Terra's Staff dramatically improves Stoneskin's duration. Now, there is almost no way the scorpions will be able to break through your Stoneskin before your Sleepga goes off, even if all six Scorpions successfully connect, and you even have some room to play around with should a scorpion land a critical hit on you.

In fact, even if you gave yourself an error margin and assumed that scorpions hit you for 100 damage/hit instead of 90, a Terra's Staff setup would still let your Stoneskin last five hits without wearing off.

What about Magic Accuracy?

When I first considered Sleepga-ing in a Terra's Staff, my immediate concern would be the accuracy of my spells. After all, while it has not been conclusively proven to my knowledge, there are many people out there (including myself) who seem to vouch that equipping the corresponding staff to your spell increases its accuracy.

By wearing a Terra's Staff instead of a Pluto's Staff, my Stoneskin will go off, but the chance that it will actually stick may go down.

Fortunately, when I went to test this out (yes, on yet another orb -_-), I was pleasantly surprised at having absolutely no difficulty landing my Sleepgas whatsoever.

For reference's sake however, my current Enfeebling gear puts me at an Enfeebling Magic skill of 285, which would've also helped.

Is there a way to keep Stoneskin up and still wear a Pluto's Staff?

This idea also crossed my mind, and resulted in a quick flurry to the Bostoneaux Oubliette in search of a Jelly Ring before I changed my mind. The idea was that with a Jelly Ring and an Umbra Cape, I might be able to prevent enough damage and still hold my Pluto's Staff for Sleepga, but doing the math unfortunately proved me wrong:

* A Platoon Scorpion hits me, in Enfeebling gear for, on average, about 90 damage/hit.
* With capped Enhancing Magic skill (200), Phalanx reduces all hits by -18 damage.
* A scorpion thus hits me for around 72 damage/hit.
* With 114 MND, Stoneskin is capped at 350 damage.
* Umbra Cape and Jelly Ring reduces damage by 11%.

Thus, I take:
(90 x 0.89) - 18 = 62 damage/hit.

Giving us the following three cases
Case 1: Two shadows absorbs, 4 hits- 248 damage (Good)
Case 2: One shadow absorbs, 5 hits- 310 damage (Good)
Case 3: No shadows absorbs, 6 hits- 372 damage (Risks interruption)

Which is only slightly better, assuming the Cape/Ring effect is applied first, otherwise Stoneskin still falls within five hits. In fact, if Phalanx were indeed applied first, then any percentage reductions, we'd need:

(90 - 18) * 5x < 350
x < 0.972

13% damage reduction, which is only available by having a Jelly Ring, Cheviot/Umbra Cape and Goliard Slops, which aren't exactly accessible to everyone. Even then, you still get interrupted within 6 hits, so for now, I prefer to just stick with a Terra's Staff.

So, has all this helped?

After the changes, I made one more trip into the Waughroon Shrine armed with a new Sleepga macro and a Pro-Ether. Suffice it to say, I was very happy with the results, particularly the staff as you can see from the above chatlog excerpts.

In fact, I would've won by a very comfortable margin, except that in order to play things extra safe, I popped my Pro-Ether, cast Sleepga II (just to be sure), then Manafonted into Blizzaga III.

I then Sleepga'ed, Thundaga III'ed...

...then found out my Sleepga II still had six seconds on its cooldown. >_<

Oops. >_<

In any case, I still haven't quite gotten the technique quite down for myself just yet, which is something that's been frustrating me. I went on another run after the Sleepga II blunder, and this time, one Scorpion woke up prematurely, causing me to have to run back into the Scorpion cluster to sleep it, and then my final Sleepga was partially resisted by two scorpions just before my Blizzaga III would go off, so it missed a scorpion.

In essence, there are still a few things that can go wrong. For now though, I'm at least satisfied with the breakdown thus far, and with a little bit more practice, I should be able to do this without any further hitches.

Of course, the problem now is that I'm about 10k experience down from all this testing...>_<

19 June, 2007

Big Update! Part I - Storms of Fate

Once again, I haven't actually made any meaningful updates in a while, so I'll compensate by making one big update covering three different topics! The other two parts to today's entry can be found below. ^^

But first!

Ever since TrueRune (with the help of Fishura) beat the main Chains of Promathia storyline, I've been wanting to move on and finish the fights that represent the culmination the storylines of both Chains of Promathia and Rise of the Zilart.

Fortunately, I had already completed the Rise of the Zilart storyline quite a while ago, so after beating Promathia, I was all set for the first showdown against Bahamut himself.

All that was missing, as usual, was a team to do it with. >_<

Fortunately, Fishura was here to the rescue once again. :D

For some reason, I had managed to get the TrueRune sea group out in Al'taieu farming Phuabo organs for Saoirse and Akanea, when Fishura and I just so happened to be chatting with one another via /tells. It was then I found out Fishura was up in the Celestial Nexus completing ZM16 for some people, and there were plans to take on Storms of Fate afterwards, so I asked Fishura if there was room for us to join, and sure enough, there was!

The alliance that went in to take on Bahamut was as follows:
Lucimon (SMN/WHM)
Magicman (SMN/WHM)
Akanea (SAM/THF)
Drilex (BLM/RDM)

Khimari (NIN/WAR)
Eratosthenes (WHM/RDM)
Seraphpdh (PLD/NIN)
Rife (NIN/WAR)
Gunblade (SMN/WHM)
Blksatin (RDM/WHM)

Fanya (NIN/WAR)
Tidusany (SAM/THF)
Keebu (WAR/NIN)
Depon (BLM/WHM)
Sneakee (WHM/BLM)
Xichi (SMN/WHM)

For the record, that's three Black Mages, four Summoners, two White Mages, two Samurai, three Ninjas, a Blue Mage, a Paladin, a Red Mage and a Warrior. Not exactly your standard setup, and actually, we paid very little attention to what jobs were going, but it was enough to get the job done.

I'll be the first to admit that strategy-wise, I can't actually say a lot about the fight, simply because well, I was too busy taking screenshots as opposed to actually concentrating on the fight itself.

I do remember that my first impression was that Bahamut is huge. I do not have some Distance measuring thingymajig, so coming into the fight, I had no idea just how big or how far Bahamut actually was until I was able to actually step close enough to cast a spell on him, which was a lot closer than my first guess turned out to be! >_<

As you might except from a haphazard, cobbled together setup like ours, the run did not go perfectly, although we did fairly well considering the alliance we went in with.

Basic strategy for the Black Mages would be to look out for Firaga IV and Dispelga to Stun. Bahamut starts the fight fully buffed with Protect V, Shell V, Phalanx and Stoneskin, all of which need to be removed before any real damage can be dealt to him.

Basically, all I did was nuke in front of Bahamut (to prevent Sweeping Flail) and stun whenever appropriate to keep things going. Occasionally, the chatlog would be filled with calls of "Megaflare!" to let people know Megaflare was coming, although really, it's very hard to miss Bahamut's warm-up taunting. All my nukes were in Elemental Skill gear.

When Bahamut was getting low on life, the call for a {Full Attack!} went through, which was where I Manafonted and started blasting Bahamut with whatever I had from behind. Evidently, I managed to turn Bahamut after just three nukes, which turned out to be a pretty good thing, considering he spun around and then used Gigaflare, which hit all of five people standing behind him, including myself.

One quick Reraise and a few more nukes later, Bahamut gave up! A quick run back to the Ru'Lude Garders later, and we were now primed to take on Apocalypse Nigh and Bahamut's second, and more deadly form.

Unfortuntately, it looks like once again, it'll be another one of those "try to hop on another group's run" type of ordeal, except for Apocalypse Nigh, which TrueRune should be able to do, although not everybody has completed the Zilart saga just yet.

Big Update! Part II - The State of my BLM

With my current time restrictions, I came to the decision that it was time to just focus and concentrate on just two jobs- in my case, my Black Mage and my Red Mage. I enjoy playing both jobs, and each has their own unique challenges that come along with it. Furthermore, with people appreciating the benefits of a RDM/NIN tank, the combination of these two jobs would allow me to play four different roles in any setup- direct damage, healing, support, and tanking.

For now though, much of that remains in the future. As my first job to 75, much of my time has been spent working on my Black Mage. Of course, the ability to solo faster xp off Ebony Puddings is also pretty good incentive as well. -_-

As far as merits go, my choice of jobs echo the Magic category upgrades very well. Whereas previously with only 8 total upgrades, there needed to be a conscious decision between splitting Elemental Skill and Enfeebling Skill merits for BLM (I am of a firm stance that BLM needs some Enfeebling skill merits, not to mention that I had RDM considerations as well), now with the maximum capacity expanded to 16, I can simply just go for 8 merits into each category.

So far, most of my merits have gone towards my Black Mage, although if you want a complete map (also for reference's sake), here are my merit upgrades to date with respect to my Black Mage:

Max MP 4 (10 merits)

INT 5 (36 merits)

Black Mage:
Lightning potency 5 (15 merits)
Ice potency 5 (15 merits)

Freeze II 1 (3 merits)
Burst II 1 (3 merits)

For a total of 82 merit points in total. (I know, this is a lot less than those with 200+ points, but still...>_<)

More recently however, my social, Singapore-based linkshell, Doom, has started to do a few low-man (<6 members) Limbus runs, and after a lucky week where the BLM upgrade pieces finally dropped from both Apollyon and Temenos, I can finally say I have one of the best BLM hats in the game to add to my collection:

I hope that this will be a more regular event, as I would like to complete a set of upgraded AF1 for my BLM, as well as for my RDM (although the BLM upgrades are more notable, in my opinion). I have no idea if we will be able to move onto Ultima and Omega because of our numbers as well as our available jobs, but I'll figure out how to cross that bridge once I get to it. ^^

So, gear-wise, at the risk of embarrassing myself, my Black Mage gear (as of today) is as follows:

There are still some glaring things missing. For example, I have no Zenith pieces, not even Zenith Mitts for that matter. The only piece of relic gear I have is my beloved Sorcerer's Petasos. I'm still carrying around my self-signed Wisdom Ring instead of a Snow Ring. Speaking of Rings, I don't even have a Sorcerer's Ring, nor the HP Convert gear required to activate said Sorcerer's Ring.

As far as purchasable gear goes, I'm missing a Sorcerer's Ring, a Snow Ring, as well as HQ versions of most other pieces. Outside of what money can buy for my Black Mage, I'm missing a few Zenith pieces, most notably a pair of Zenith mitts for nuking and Convert gear. Other than that, I'd like to pick up a Static Earring from Apocalypse Nigh, as well as complete the BLM's relic set, seeing as how all my remaining pieces (Sorcerer's Coat, Sorcerer's Tonban, Sorcerer's Gloves) have some relevance.

Unfortunately, a mishap with my (now ex-)Dynamis LS that resulted in the leader accidentally deleting all my points (without any backup records, too I might add -_-) has seriously discouraged me from continuing Dynamis with that linkshell. I'm up for suggestions on how to re-enter Dynamis though, and I've often thought about low-manning Dynamis as well, although I do not have the resources just yet for such a venture.

Granted, a Novio Earring would be nice, but alas, is much too far in the future to really consider with any seriousness right now.

Big Update! Part III - /emo Taru!

I guess it's about time.

In Part II, I spoke about my Black Mage, here, I'd like to talk about my Red Mage. My Red Mage is not as developed as my Black, although thankfully a lot of their gear overlaps. However, the subjob demands of a Red Mage are considerably higher- I have /WHM, /BLM and /NIN leveled for their various purposes, but I have yet to level the last, very important subjob for RDM, which you can probably guess from the picture above.


Yes, as much as I hate to level DRK, and as much as RDM/DRK does not fall within the typical template of "damage, tank, support, healer," the RDM/DRK's 30-seconds of pure awesome in Chainspell-Stun is just too powerful (arguably the most broken thing in the game, next to Blood Weapon, KC-DRKs) to ignore. And so, reluctantly, I take up the scythe and get to work.

I'll admit firsthand, I don't like melee. Up to now, the most "melee" I really committed myself to was RNG and NIN, of which one is ranged (i.e. doesn't really go in there and brawl with the mob) and the other's effectiveness is more based on casting than actually beating things up.

So you can imagine my reluctance in leveling up my Dark Knight, not to mention the pains of having to go through the newbie levels and whatnot all over again.

Fortunately, I have yet to spend any charges on my Anniversary Ring. :D

In any case, I'm slowly working myself up the leveling treadmill. As I write this, I'm now DRK13, and have yet to get myself into a party (not that that's a bad thing). One perk I've noticed is the benefits of having capped Dark Magic skill from my BLM, which lets me easily solo Even Match mobs with good Drains.

However, there are two things that are driving me nuts about this job- capping my weapons (Great Sword and Scythe), and omg, DRK's Accuracy is terrible!

Hopefully this will be done sooner, rather than later. >_<

15 June, 2007

The Tarutaru Times Online

One of my good friends Wyred has been working on a little bit of a projectaru of his own for some time now. He has recently decided that it was ready for launch, and voila, check it out at...

The Tarutaru Times Online!

09 June, 2007


In drastic contrast to my lament last week, this weekend was really, really productive! I'll try to keep things brief:

It all started when myself, Trebla (BLM) and Sodalitas (SMN) were busy doing our own things when someone happened to ask on the linkshell if anything was going on. Since I had picked up my Zephyr fan last week, I offered up the Brothers ENM. I thought it'd take a while, but as it turns out, both Sodalitas and Trebla also coincidentally had their Zephyr fans as well. :D

So, our first order of the day was to plow through that ENM for some easy xp.

Unfortunately, nothing good dropped (drops were only worth 4k in total -_-), but it was the start of what was to come. We were contemplating what we could do with BLM BLM SMN when I offered Apollyon NW as an option, which was quickly taken up on.

I know Limbus has been around for quite some time now, but I've certainly been taking my own sweet time with it. Part of it is because I don't have a Limbus shell, but also because I prefer to duo Apollyon- just I don't have a fellow BLM I can go with on any regular basis. Thus, I take whatever duo offers I can take. :D

To be honest, I've only duo'ed this twice before (yeah, I wasn't kidding about the slow part). Both times we got up to Kaiser Behemoth, but couldn't kill him in time, probably due to unfamiliarity with him, but still net somewhere around 15 coins each for the run. This time, with a third person (SMN), I went in with the idea of killing Kaiser Behemoth.

It was Trebla's and Sodalitas' first time against Kaiser Behemoth as well, and while we did have a couple of mishaps, it was still a very fun fight, probably because of said unfamiliarity. XD

There was a point where a freak accident killed all three of us close to one another, so I ended up having to kite Kaiser Behemoth, weakened, while the other two rested off their weakness. Then, as Kaiser Behemoth was around 2% health, a Meteor-gone-wrong killed off both Trebla and I, leaving a weakened Sodalitas to fend off Kaiser. Fun times ensued. :D

But in the end, Kaiser went down! To make things even better, both Sodalitas and I went in hoping to get the BLM and SMN upgrade items, and voila, my Diabolic Yarn dropped off Pluto, while Kaiser dropped the Astral Leather for Sodalitas. Congratulations to him in advance for his Evoker Pigaches +1! :D In addition, after splitting the coins, I now had enough coins to purchase my first Limbus item...

Ta-dah! :D

(Too bad I only put it in my standing macro. >_<)

We then went outside into Al'Taieu to farm organs to complete Trebla's Hyorin Obi, since he was fairly close to completing it. In doing so, we also got the organs I needed to complete my Karin Obi. :D

And finally, all that ENM, farming and whatnot let me complete something I've been working on for a while now...

84 base INT ftw. :D Now to work on maxing out Elemental and Enfeebling skill! This weekend really goes to show just how much can be done if people really set their minds to things. ^^

03 June, 2007

A disgruntled taru.

I'm well aware that I haven't written anything for just over a month now. It's not that I've completely ceased playing, I haven't. However, my time spent online has taken a drastic cut. Gone are the free-wheeling days where I could log in everyday and burn a good chunk of time in Vana'diel.

My current occupation only gives me some 36 hours a week to do my own things, and with this change of environment, said free hours have grown to be very precious.

Which begs the question, just what has Tuuf been doing in-game, anyway? To be honest, I'm not sure myself. Nothing substantial, nothing that I feel worthy enough to write a blog post about. I've just been slowly chipping away at working on my Black Mage, picking up the occasional merit point here and there, and I've since funneled the proceeds from my Noble's Tunic into a Mahatma Slops and Prism Cape.

In terms of purchasable BLM gear, I just need to pick up HQ versions of the various pieces, and get myself a Sorcerer's Ring, although without access to any Zenith gear, the Ring doesn't look mighty tasty at the moment.

But anyway, I digress.

I was doing my usual rounds of people's blogs, when I came across this entry, entitled "On CoP" by Frohike.

His words strike home to me. Admittedly, I do not know much about Frohike, being on a different server, so all I know comes from his blog and his comments. What I do know is that in his real life at least, he is happily married (at least, I certainly hope he is! :D) with a baby son to take care of. As he explains in his entry,

I'm faced with a choice when I stare at the Playonline screen: do I want to spend the 2.5 to 3 hours of free time that I have tonight playing an MMO? And "spending" that time is really what I do. It has a cost, consisting exactly of what I could be doing rather than carrying out a virtual life in Vana'diel.

In the brief span of time between my kids' bedtime and my own, I could read one of the slew of books I've deceived myself into thinking I actually have the time to read. I could watch a good film with an appreciation that can't really be achieved during the kids' waking hours. I could continue to hone my writing, or finish the odd number of poems I began years ago. I could have a meaningful, uninterrupted conversation with my wife. Hell, maybe I could play something other than FFXI for a change.

What I think some of the other adults playing FFXI don't understand is the impact of this trade-off. We can't just come home from work, put in a few hours, log out, and go do something else in RL. Those few hours are it for some of us.

What Frohike writes echos my current real life quite well. With not a lot of time to do my own things, the opportunity cost of logging in increases. At the risk of sounding /emo, my one (and a half) days that I have a week need to be divided amongst all my responsibilities, my family, my friends and relationships both online and offline.

But when you only have (okay, for practical purposes) one day a week, how do you spend it? The question that faces me each time I log in is, "what can I accomplish now?"

I fully sympathise with those struggling to maintain their packed RL schedules on top of FF. I know a common complaint about FF is its time-consuming nature, and that has become even more apparent to me lately with my limited time. Suffice to say, with the clock ticking, I'd rather not spend my time sitting in my Mog House looking for a group, or staring in front of an empty screen camping some NM. Thus, I've just been soloing, making little progressions here and there on my own.

Sadly, for the most part, these little progressions are just that- little. An ENM here, some solo there, farming organs or crafting materials, and that's it for the week.

Oftentimes, I find myself wondering what all this is for now. I only log in four days a month (if even that), and I've seen people level up and overtake me, and subsequently, outperform me because they are able to participate in endgame activities while I am not.

It's good that SE is moving away from massive timesinks like the original Dynamis areas onto something that's more friendly for those with tight schedules. But how much of FF's timesink nature is inherent within its basic idea that everything should be done in a group environment?

For now though, the news of increased merit capacities have got me interested in pursuing the two jobs I love the most thus far, BLM and RDM. The real question though is how much can I really hope to get done on my own, and should I just ditch everything and start anew with a different job instead, or even a different game?


29 April, 2007

Shattering Stars- WHM

I decided to quit WHM, this time for good. Not that I have anything against WHM- after all, it was my first serious job, and I took it all the way to WHM62 before switching over to BLM. It's just that with three mage jobs, one of them was bound to eventually get the boot, and in this case, it just so happened to be WHM.

Literally everything I get called for calls for me to come on either my RDM or BLM. My WHM? Maybe the occasional Raise III here and there. Either way, I have very rarely used my WHM for anything since I actually hit WHM75.

Quitting WHM and selling off all my gear would free up a lot of the money that I have stored in gear, but also free up my Mog Locker which I need if I am to pursue other jobs (seeing as how I'm very pressed for space at this time). Just today, I went on a merit party with my WHM, and I was so out of practice, I made up my mind there and then that it was time to move on.

However, before I go ahead and quit WHM for good, there was one last thing I wanted to do:

Beat Maat. Again.

See, in the very, very, very rare instance that I actually level up all my jobs to 66+ and am able to obtain Maat's Cap (yeah, right!), the last thing I'd want to have to do is to revisit all my jobs again, repurchase gear, etc. just to fight Maat.

The WHM Maat fight is primarily won through endurance. I wasn't quite sure what exactly the alternate win conditions were, although supposedly it hovers around just being able to survive five minutes, or healing yourself for a certain amount. In either case, after farming Goblin Alchemists up in Cape Terrigan for about half an hour, my first attempt was a flop, mostly because I had no idea what to expect. Maat was hitting me quite hard (about 100 damage/hit), and the jig was up when he Combo'ed me for the kill.

Some more extra reading into the fight gave me the idea of damage mitigation instead. Thankfully, such items for WHM are very cheap, and so, armed with this extra knowledge, I went to the AH and picked up a few items, giving me the following gear setup:

Food: Shallops Tropicale

Main: Terra's Staff
Ammo: Fortune Egg
Head: Healer's Cap
Neck: Memento Muffler
Ear1: Insomnia Earring
Ear2: Medicine Earring
Body: Noble's Tunic
Hand: Blessed Mitts
Ring: Phalanx Ring
Ring: Medicine Ring
Back: Aurora Mantle
Waist: Hierarch Belt
Legs: Healer's Pantaloons
Feet: Healer's Duckbills

The rationale was to maximise VIT, DEF and damage reduction, which explains most of the choices I made. Of particular note is the Medicine Earring, whose -30% damage reduction triggers upon <50% hp. Combined with the Terra's Staff, it's a straight 50% damage reduced.

Note that I kept this setup even when casting Cure spells (i.e. with a Terra's Staff). I figured that the extra +Cure potency from the Medicine Ring and Noble's Tunic would make up for the loss from not equipping my Apollo's Staff.

This particular setup worked very well for me. I only needed to use one Yagudo Drink to last the entire fight, and although it was cutting things close, I still had Benediction available should the need arise. Essentially, all I did was tank Maat and lasted him out with a combination of enfeebles (Slow and Paralyze are very important!), Regen IIIs, cures and Flashes.

For the record, my battle log says I cured myself for a grand total of exactly 3000hp. I'm not sure how accurate this is as far as alternate win conditions go, although admittedly the number is strangely, well, round.

With that, I finally drew my WHM career to a close. I promptly sold off my gear, and am waiting to decide what my next move will be. Chances are, it might involve that Red mage's testimony that's been sitting in my Mog Safe for some time now...

24 April, 2007

More sea farming...

It's been about 5-6 weeks since my last entry. As promised, I haven't quit the game (obviously), but to those still active in-game, you would have noticed that my playtime has been drastically cut. ; ;

What little time I've been able to squeeze out of my playtime thus far has been towards upgrading my Black Mage some more, for reasons I briefly detailed out in my last entry.

To be quite frank, my BLM gear leaves quite a bit to be desired, particularly for someone slowly gearing up for (light) endgame activities such as myself. Last time around, I worked on getting my Rairin and Hyorin Obis, as well as my Relaxing Earring. Now, I decided to work on another Obi- Anrin.

The Anrin (Dark) Obi requires seven Aern Organs, which proved to be even more of a pain than say, ten Phaubo organs. Part of this is because of the low drop rate, part of it is because the damn Aerns reraise, part of it is because the damn Aerns link with one another. -_-

Admittedly, I could have farmed the Aerns outside in Al'Taieu, but I figured I might as well get some xp for my troubles, so I decided to take on the Eo'Aerns inside the Grand Palace of Hu'Xzoi instead. The advantage is that all the Aerns here are VT, reaping 240-300 base xp/kill, but all the Aerns here also have a chance of dropping the HQ organs, needed to pop Ix'MNK.

I camped in the western room from the entrance- the start point of the escourt for CoP 8-2. Frankly speaking, either the western or eastern rooms would work, but I preferred the western one, since the Aerns that spawn in the western room are either WHM, BLM, DRK, RNG or WAR. Three of the jobs are Aspirable, while the RNG has (noticeably) lower HP, which is a lot easier for me to handle solo, than say, DRGs.

Things get tricky when links occur, although a quick Sleepga followed by a dash back to the entrance of the Grand Palace easily fixes that. The problem is that because all four Aerns roam across the entire hall, it can be quite trying to safely kill an Aern without any of the other three linking. Especially when it Reraises.

Reraises are more of a time sink than anything since although you get xp for the first kill, nothing will drop. The problem is, you're out of mana so ou finish it off with a dance of Sleep II, resting and nukes while you can. All while trying to avoid links again. However, the main problem I had with Reraises was that it threw off the respawn timer making it difficult to predict when to expect the next Aern to pop. A solo BLM can just about clear all four Aerns within the respawn timeframe, but with Reraises thrown into the mix, it gets difficult to anticipate.

In any case, as I mentioned, the droprate is terrible. In the time it took me to get my seven Aern organs, I had racked up some 40,000 limit points. -_-

Of course, in a rare occurance, stuff like the above happens, but I only saw a double drop like that occur once. >_< Fortunately, I have three HQ Aern organs for my troubles. My next step would be to get the squid organs and tissues (I only got one T_T) and see if I can find people to help me out with Ix'MNK. ^^

16 March, 2007

{/goodbye} again. -_-

I understand it's been nearly a month since my last entry. It's not that I haven't been playing- I have been, but rather, the writer's bug hasn't bitten me, or nothing significant has happened that has made me want to write.

Two rl friends are back in the game, and are currently working on what will hopefully be a BLU75 and SAM75. On my side, I've been focusing on my BLM, given that we plan on working together as a casual-ish endgame LS of sorts, and I'm probably going to be the resident BLM around.

Thus, the sea farming. I finally got around to getting my Ice and Thunder Obis, as well as my Relaxing Earring, and I have to say, those organs were a pain to get. I actually solo'ed some 30,000xp just trying to get those organs, if that was any indication. >_<

Fortunately, all you have to think is "organs first, xp is a bonus," and things become a lot easier to stomach. It's actually easy to solo in sea as a BLM once you're used to things- not as good xp as, say, Puddings, but remember, organs first, yeah? ^^

I've also made some recent discoveries including finding out the convenience of having a PLD tank around as Seraphpdh and I duo'ed a few Euvhis, simply by him standing in the middle, covering me while I had 15 seconds or so of nuke heaven to kill the offending flower/spider/pot/whatever. It was fun. :)

Unfortunately, I'm going to have to take another extended break now. Unlike my last break, where I planned on quitting for good, this time I'm not planning on quitting, but also cannot say when I will be back. I know it will probably be at least six more weeks before I get back, and even then, I will not be able to play with any real frequency.

All I can say is "we shall see how things turn out." Wish me all the best of luck!

22 February, 2007

Dynamis-Xarcabard Interloper

Okay, so I haven't been updating much. That's not to say that I haven't been playing- although I think the picture from the last post should've illustrated that point clear enough. ^^ It's just that I haven't really done anything significant enough to write about.

Sure, I could write about how I've been meriting some more, gotten 3/5 Yigit pieces, including my plan for "Breaking Morale," but with the way the FF community at large has gone on, this information is readily available elsewhere, and really, I think I might actually be quite behind on the curve. >_<

But at least this is something I can write about:

It sure took me long enough, but I finally saw the Dynamis Lord go down, and got the spiffy "Dynamis-Xarcabard Interloper" to add to the collection of titles.

Explorer II went in with 44 people, with the main objective being the Dynamis Lord. I actually didn't really want to come along for the run, but Kitsume eventually convinced me to go along, if only just to help kill the Dynamis Lord. My relationship with Explorer II is not as strong as it used to be, thanks to me moving back to the opposite end of the planet (thus, dreadful times for our runs) and my "quitting" led Lostman to delete all records of my points with no backups.

So suffice to say, there's not much I have left with that linkshell. -_-

Likewise, I wasn't terribly happy joining the run. After all, I just lost all my points, and would lose another four hours worth of sleep on top of that just by attending (I've griped about the ridiculous amount of time Dynamis takes on several occasions). As you can tell, I ended up going anyway, although I was tired, sleepy, and very, very cranky.

The journey up towards Castle Zvahl Baileys was rather uneventful, sans me accidentally MPK'ing the entire mage alliance when I accidentally stepped too close to the "Wall of Eyes." It was pretty much standard fare, although I did notice that we picked up a few tricks, such as time-nuking said Wall of Eyes down by just nuking an eye one-by-one. That way, the accompanying Demons will spawn, but will not aggro if done correctly, and is a quick, painless way of getting past them.

Of course, until I MPK'ed the alliance. But enough of that.

In other news, we went 0/15 on the Xarcabard NMs (as usual), although we did pick up yet another Summoner's Horn (/wave Nivaud) en route to Castle Zvahl.

Fast forward a little bit more, we have all ten dragons down, and dispatched Ying and Yang flawlessly by whittling both down to more bite-sized HP chunks before dispatching both of them with a volley of Blizzaga IIIs. It went so smoothly, even the same BLM's Blizzaga dealt the killing blow to both dragons, and before long, we were sitting outside the entrance rearranging in preparation for the showdown against the Dynamis Lord.

We had seven RDM/DRKs to Chainspell-Stun the Dynamis Lord, with a generous amount of MNKs and BLMs for damage. An obligatory THF for Treasure Hunter, a few Rangers for the "Ranger death combo" and a few support mages to round it all up.

Unlike my last attempt against the Dynamis Lord, we fought on the slopes leading up to the entrance, rather than on the very bottom. A Ranger would pull via Shadowbind, and run past everybody, where the first group of RDMs would then hold the DL in place while everybody else unleashes hell's fury not seen since the Snoll Tzar.

For some reason, this fight went incredibly smoothly. I didn't see any Oblivion Smashes, nor did the DL get to make his clones, in fact, he just...stayed there (Chainstun, d'uh). It actually went by so smoothly, only one RDM died, and we were left scratching our heads as to why we had so much difficulty with the fight previously.

But in any case, it was a very nice, clean victory. Congratulations everybody! :D

On an unrelated note, you may notice the rather turquoise squares that dot the landscape in the picture above- something's happened to my graphics card, I think. I'm not sure exactly what, but removing and reinstalling the device doesn't fix things. It could very well be the FFXI files itself, but I don't think that's the case since some other games on my computer (e.g. POP:T2T) also show minor graphic errors, although nothing as major as this.

Does anyone have any ideas? ; ;

15 February, 2007

I haven't quit either!

...I've just been preoccupied with other things!


01 February, 2007


OMG, The Empyreal Paradox!

OMG, I'm finally done with CoP!

Despite the majority of us at TrueRune being unable to organise anything cohesive together, when things click, they click.

Since TrueRune attained Al'Taieu access all the way back in June, it has taken us about seven and a half months for us to finally get together and complete the last chapter of CoP.

Of course, we completed that last chapter in two weekends. >_<

Anyway, the TrueRune "static" at this point basically consisted of just myself, Chummy, Akanea and Saoirse. Seraphpdh had gone on to completing CoP while I had "quit" the game, and Tumble had also left the game.

We tried looking up our friendlists to see if anyone was willing to help us with 8-2 and 8-3, but the sheer length of the missions was a major turnoff for everybody.

Except one.

Enter Saintjust.

Like myself, a {Tarutaru}{White Mage}, he also needed to complete CoP from 8-2 onwards, and we quickly picked him up for 8-2. Figuring since we were only going to do 8-2 at that point in time and it was only escourting a bunch of Quasilumins around the Palace, we just went with the five of us,


I came RDM/BLM, since I figured we needed to shore up a little on our offensive power, but boy I should've come /WHM instead, or at least BLM/WHM. While the mobs weren't exactly spamming status effects, there was enough Silence to make things irritating, and everytime Akanea and Chummy skillchained to make Dark, I wish I were BLM so that my MB would actually, y'know, finish off the mob instead of leave it at like, 10% health.

Of course, I corrected that for 8-3 and came BLM/WHM. Blade: Ku → Tachi: Gekko for Darkness, MB 2x Blizzard IV/Freeze II for the kill!

I have to admit, although 8-2 and 8-3 did take as long as most people said they would (roughly 3 hours each) they weren't nearly as hard as I thought they might've been. In fact, I felt they were rather easy, with the only tricky bit being dodging spinning pots (of which, I am not joking when I say we were initially incapable of sneaking past. -_-)

I shant really go into the details of 8-2 and 8-3, other than the fact that by the time we were done with 8-3, everybody in the party finally managed to get that spinning pot thing worked out, except for those in the Garden that spin really quickly against you. I don't think we ever managed to sneak past one of those. >_<

One of the reasons why we took so long though was our insistence that we get the map for both places, which as you can tell, isn't exactly the quickest of things to do. Speaking to Quasilumins from all over the Palace of Hu'Zxoi was bad enough, especially one that had to be done in the middle of an escourt, although I guess it strengthened our resolve a bit when it came to getting the map of Ru'Hmet, which involves climbing all five towers.

Fortunately, actually climbing said towers is rather quick and painless, and easily done with a few Sleeps/Binds here and there.

As the five of us were getting the Quasilumin from the last of the five towers, Fishura decided to come along, and from there, the party became 6,


When it came to the gauntlet, we ended up just saccing to it while Fishura took the "easier" way through, having already completed CoP himself, and the final pots BC wasn't nearly as hard as we thought it might be. Of course, I guess when you have two BLMs, the pots go down quicker than normal.

Blade: Ku → Tachi: Gekko for Darkness, MB Blizzard IV + Freeze II killed one BLM pot.
Meikyo Shisui → solo Fragmentation, MB Thunder IV + Burst II killed the other BLM pot.

As the usual strategy goes, we wiped by the south door, reraised, rested to full recovery, slept one of the last remaining RDM pots, went all out on the other (toss in a Benediction), and the last was a piece of cake. Pots done!

After the last supposedly "hard" BC was over and done with, it was almost as if an unspoken revelation swept over us- we were very nearly done with CoP.

All that was left to do was the fight against Promathia himself in the coolest BC zone in the game- the Empyreal Paradox.

Of course, we weren't really sure what to expect. We heard he wasn't all that difficult, but we were in a funky setup with no medicines or supplies. Fortunately, Fishura assured us we could take him down easily, and so we just went straight into the Empyreal Paradox and comfronted the big P himself.

And yeah, he went down pretty easily, too. ^^

I have to admit, the Empyreal Paradox was every bit as spectacular as I thought it would be, and finally being in there myself after hearing other people tell me about how cool it is and seeing other people's screenshots, was really satisfying for me.

I kind of wish Promathia were much much harder than what he is- the way the fight goes right now, it is practically an anti-climax to the whole CoP, given some of the other fights you've had to go through along the way to get to this point.

Still, it's a ridiculously fun fight though, with a lot of running around, kiting, and watching NPCs own other NPCs (Prishe ftw!).

That, and you can Raise Prishe! No weakness, either! XD

It had been a long road, but it's finally over. I'm done with CoP. Congratulations, TrueRune. ^^

That, and I finally have my Tamas Ring. :)

Of course, now with CoP over and done with, I wonder what I'll do next...

But on an interesting note, Saintjust apparently had a bit of a starstruck moment as we were doing 8-2. It seems I'm more well known than I thought- he took screenshots of him doing CoP with me, and showed them off to his friend...

Tuufless's ego rises 0.1 points. XD

28 January, 2007

16-24 Bludgeon, Blastbomb, more spells, xp!

Warning: Very long post!

Thus far, I've enjoyed BLU quite a bit, and someday, I worry that my THF subjob will eventually get left behind in the dust as I focus more and more on BLU itself.

I like the solo playstyle thus far- I haven't really had any pressing need to go xp, given that much of the xp I get comes from, well, actually trying to get my spells in the first place, so other than the odd streak here and there, I haven't really thought to myself "hey, y'know, it's time to get a party."

In any case, I leveled up from BLU16 all the way to BLU20 so far. There are several stories to tell, so I'll separate them into their appropriate sections:

Getting Bludgeon:
Bludgeon is one of the more powerful spells a BLU can use in the earlier levels due to its high damage output. I have to admit, before ToAU, I didn’t really know this mob TP move even existed, probably because nobody fights Cardians on any regular basis (except maybe for the various Windurst missions.)

In any case, after completing the Level 16 set of spells (Sheep Song, Healing Breeze, Helldive) I decided to move on and start working on collecting the Level 18 set of spells (Cursed Sphere, Blastbomb, Bludgeon). Off the three, I felt Bludgeon’s the most important, and so set out to get that one first.

Everybody knows that Cardians are found inside the Horutoto Ruins, but just where inside the Horutoto Ruins are they?

This is probably basic knowledge to anyone from Windurst at least, but the Horutoto Ruins is a series of disconnected areas. There are six entrances throughout the Sarutabaruta region that leads to a part of the Horutoto Ruins, and as you might suspect, none of them are connected to one another from the inside.

After getting Myoha, who was leveling his RDM20 to come help me locate the Cardians, we eventually found it tucked in a section of the Horutoto Ruins leading up to the Windurst 6-1 mission, entered from the Southwest tower of West Sarutabaruta.

The Cardians found in this section of the Horutoto Ruins start at the “Too weak” Two-series, and scale upwards. For me, a BLU16, the Four-series were DC, the Five-series were T, and I stopped looking once I hit the IT Six-series.

The good thing about Cardians is that they have a grand total of two TP moves- Deal Out, and Bludgeon, so actually getting the Cardian to use Bludgeon (so you can learn it) is very easy. The only problem I could think of is that Cardians, being Arcana, aggro to both Sound and Magic, and they link as well. The rooms are a little cramped though, but fortunately, Myoha could pull with Silence (to avoid links due to other mobs pathing into the first mob while it’s casting), so we went by with no links whatsoever.

It only took three Cardians (who Bludgeon’ed) for me to learn it myself. ^^

Then, it was onto the next spell...

Getting Blastbomb:
Blastbomb was the "Level 18 spell" that worried me the most. Part of that is because, like Dhalmel, Orcish Warmachines have quite a number of various TP moves, although slightly less than a Dhalmel. That wasn't really my main concern though- the problem was just where to find Orcish Warmachines plentiful enough to keep on killing them. It's one thing to have to hope for the correct TP move, it's another thing when there is only one or two copies of the mob around!

Fortunately, I found a spot in Fort Ghelsba that had five Orcish Flamethrowers for me to try and get Blastbomb off.

As a BLU16 though, the Flamethrowers all checked Tough. The problem was that I needed to clear the surrounding area of Orcs which would link with the Flamethrower once I pull. In addition, all the orcs were EP-DC, so I'd still risk aggro, thus needing me to clear the place out before engaging the Flamethrower.

It took a while, and in fact, I dinged BLU17 in the process of clearing all the Orcs out. After I had cleared a section, I'd then rest to full, buff up, and engage the Orcish Flamethrower. I killed a few without successfully learning Blastbomb, and things got dicey once in a while when I'd accidentally get a link on me.

For the record, Orcish Flamethrowers have an 8-minute repop timer.

I died here once, conveniently after my scroll of Reraise wore, so I had to troop all the way back here again. However, since xp wasn't my main priority, I stopped by the Ru'Lude Gardens, and contacted my NPC Fellow, Yufafa, set her to "Healer" mode, and we were off!

Having a helping hand made it easier, to the point where we could venture further into Fort Ghelsba, where I found even more Flamethrowers awaiting. This led to me wandering up and down the following route:

Flamethrowers are marked in red crosses, and I went up and down the darker red path.

Thankfully, after figuring out this path to follow, my Blastbomb was not much longer. ^^

Getting Cursed Sphere:
Cursed Sphere was the last of the "Level 18" spells, and I already had plans on how to get it. The obvious way would be to join a Dunes party and learn it off the Damselflies. As a BLU17, I would be on the upper range of the flies, and sooner or later, I'd learn it.

Unfortunately, that meant actually joining a Valurm Dunes party, which is probably akin to having your eyeballs spooned out by a pack of...nevermind

Anyway, no dunes for me.

Instead, I headed over to the outpost in the Meriphataud Mountains, where there are plenty of Crane Flies around. All the flies here conned Tough to me, which meant I could solo them, and lo and behold, I learnt Cursed Sphere off the very first fly. ^^

On a side note, because I was not yet Level 20, I couldn't ride a chocobo out yet. It had been a very, very long time since I last walked the Sauromugue Champaign. ^^;

Solo leveling & getting Blood Drain:
Since I was in the Meriphataud Mountains as a BLU17 and had all the spells until 20, it was time for me to xp!

Once again, I could’ve xp’ed in the Dunes. But why pull your teeth out when you can solo Worms instead? ^^

Seeing as how I was just in the adjacent zone, I decided to walk down to the Tahrongi Canyon, and from there, hit the Maze of Shakrami. All the Maze Makers still conned Tough to me, and using more or less the same tactic I’ve been doing thus far, I found I could comfortably kill two Worms (getting Chain #1) before having to rest.

Thankfully, nobody else was in the Maze at the time soloing, so I had free reign to all the Maze Makers, and kills were netting me anything between 140xp and 200xp. I tried seeing if I could conserve my mana so that I had enough for Chain #2, which I did once- I killed a third worm for Chain #2, but that left me with exactly 0MP and 4HP with a Rasp on. Not good news. -_-

Eventually, I leveled all the way up to BLU19 here alone in fairly short order. I know solo’ing is sometimes a pain, and I can’t stand leveling up my THF solo, but when everything you fight is T, it kinda feels like a Dunes party anyway. Once I hit BLU19, a few Maze Makers started checking Decent Challenge.

It was time to start thinking about the two Level 20 spells: Blood Drain and Claw Cyclone.

Chances are, the developers over at SE were thinking of somewhere else to get Blood Drain from. Giant Bats use Blood Drain, which pointed at the various Combats flying around the Maze of Shakrami. Most of them conned VT to me, but to my delight, I noticed that a few of them actually conned T!

Of course, that meant that they were “high-T” so I’d go in fully buffed and engage them like I do everything else. I’m pretty sure that Blood Drain isn’t the only TP move the Giant Bats have, but the first one I engaged used it, but I didn’t learn the spell. However, I got it on the second Bat. ^^

After that, I warped back to try and get my last “Level-20 spell”- Claw Cyclone

Getting Claw Cyclone:
I didn’t really bother looking up Tigers when it came to Claw Cyclone- I knew the weakest ones would be in the Jugner Forest, so I just headed straight there myself after bumming a Teleport-Holla off a friend.

You can imagine my dismay when the first Tiger I came across checked as “Incredibly Tough.” -_-

A quick look online also revealed that the Jugner Forest tigers are the weakest in Vana'diel, too. ; ;

Thankfully, the tigers here were like the Combats back in the Maze of Shakrami- I just got unlucky with one on the high end, and I found some Tough Tigers just a little bit further into the Jugner Forest. Thankfully, it only took two Tigers to learn Claw Cyclone- both of them used it. Seeing as how I went /WAR at the time though, looking back, I'm quite glad neither Tiger used Roar- I wouldn't know what I'd do then. >_<

Getting Poison Breath:
I got help from Motoka, a friend of Lostman's- I actually didn't remember her at first, when we played, we were busy farming Sacrarium for Subligars, and since it was a Japanese party, that's how I remembered her.

In any case, I was shouting in Aht Urhgan Whitegate for a Teleport-Dem so I could head down to Gusgen Mines to learn Poison Breath from the Bandersnatches there, and Motoka replied. Only thing is, she replied in English, so I hadn't the foggiest idea who she was. >_<

So then she reminded me, and the ever-recognisable Japanese "^^" gave it away. That at least set some things straight. >_<

Anyway, Myoha and I went down to Gusgen to try and duo Ghouls and Bandersnatches. Theoretically, I thought we'd pwn down here, since both Head Butt and Bludgeon are classified under Blunt damage, which skeletons are weak to. Unfortunately, I underestimated Undead's low HP aggro.

We killed one Ghoul with no problems, but the second Ghoul brought me down to yellow HP. That got the attention of a BLM Ghoul, and an Aeroga later, I died. :(

Fortunately, Motoka came to the rescue again- after I homepointed, I asked if she could give me another teleport. Not only did she give me that, but she also offered to help get me Poison Breath!

We basically ran around the "circuit" on the top floor of Gusgen Mines- there are a number of Bandersnatches along the way, but actually getting them to use Poison Breath was bad enough. Eventually though, they gave in, and I think after about 30 minutes of running around or so, I finally got that spell.

Getting Soporific:
Initially, I was planning on heading down one of my past Carpenter's Landing camps and connin...er, convincing an xp party to level off the flytraps there. Unfortunately, a quick check of the area revealed that the flytraps are slightly higher level than the Diving Beetles and Shriekers which make up the usual xp mobs, so a party there didn't really look very enticing, particularly if people aren't used to combatting Sleepga effects.

As I was looking around for people I could possibly duo with, I noticed another Blue Mage looking for a party. I asked if he had gotten Soporific yet- he hadn't. I then proposed we go and duo flytraps to try and learn the spell. As it turns out, the flytraps in Carpenter's Landing in the area directly connected to Northern San d'Oria were all DC-EM to us, which was just perfect. There weren't too many flytraps, maybe four or so, but on a five-minute repop, there wasn't all that much waiting around to be had.

Unfortunately, Soporific also turned out to be one of those spells that's just a pain to learn. Flytraps don't have that many TP moves, but for some reason, we just could not seem to learn that darn spell. Of course, with two BLUs at it, it would only be a matter of time, in this case, about 45 minutes or so?

The good part about trying to learn Soporific here is that you are also right next to some EP-DC Land Pugils, which brings me onto...

Getting Screwdriver:

After both of us learnt Soporific, we turned our focus towards trying to get this spell even though at the time, we were only BLU22 and Screwdriver only becomes active at BLU26. Unfortunately, as seems to be the trend, we didn't learn it in the end, despite seeing it a few times amongst whatever Land Pugils we killed.

Thankfully, at least Screwdriver shouldn't be too difficult to get, after all- I could just join a few xp parties that fight Greater Pugils and I would've certainly learnt Screwdriver by the time we were done, right?? :P

Luckily, I was then invited to a 22-24 party. Not knowing where to go because Yuhtunga Jungle was packed, I offered Korroloka Tunnel. I felt 24 was too high for the Greater Pugils in Qufim Island, and the Pugils in Korroloka Tunnel are just one level range higher than their Qufim cousins. Alas, the Pugils did not pop as often as I thought they did in Korroloka. Instead, we were relegated to fighting Clippers, which meant that I wasn't going to learn Screwdriver anytime soon. -_-

Sure enough, by the end of the party, I still hadn't learnt Screwdriver. /sigh

After looking mobs up again, I discovered that the Pugils in the Valkurm Dunes would be just the right level for me to solo- all EM-T mobs. Unfortunately, as practically anyone can tell you, you don't really want to go fight Pugils in the Dunes, particularly if you're solo- there are simply too many parties there to reliably grab a reliable supply for yourself.

Fortunately, there's the other Valkurm Dunes, the one that nobody uses- Buburimu Peninsula.

After chocoboing there from Windurst, I was happy to find that the Pugils were the level range I expected they would be. I brought along my Signal Pearl as well, so Yufafa got to join in the action, and we duo'ed some more Pugils.

The problems of this camp soon became apparent, and now I know more reasons why an xp party really shouldn't go here. Again, for references sake, I camped at the beaches near the Song Runes. At night, Bogys spawn too close to the shore, and I actually had to deal with two Tough mobs simultaneously, something which I'm sure I couldn't have done without Yufafa around. >_<

When it rains, it turns out that a Water Elemental also spawns close to camp, and alas, that one killed me. :(

But not before I learnt Screwdriver from one of the Pugils! /joy

BLU in parties:
As you might've been able to tell, I got a lot of solo and duo xp thus far in my BLU career. I'm not sure why, but BLU lends itself very nicely to soloing, particularly at the lower levels, and I had the pleasure of seeing two BLUs in action, effectively stunlocking whatever mob we were fighting, thanks to the fast cooldown on Head Butt (which even damages the mob!)

So other than silly things like soloing a Chain #4 in Korroloka Tunnel, or duoing Chain #5, I have in fact gotten into a few xp parties over this period of time.

The first was when I was BLU19. It wasn't long before I got an invite to a Japanese Level 19 party, and when the dust settled, we were going off as NIN NIN THF BLU RDM BLM. Originally, our plan was to hit the Diving Beetles down at the Sauromugue Champaign, but we forgot to /check the area before heading out and alas, we soon found that the camp was taken.

So Land Worms it was.

Qufim was packed, as always. Parties with powerlevels were rampant (as seems to be the norm these days -_-) and to be honest, it wasn't terribly fun competing with another party for Land Worm pops around the pond.

It was around now that my router also decided to give up on me, and I kept disconnecting, but not before I reached BLU20, before d/c'ing and not coming back.

One thing that I did notice though, was the flexibility BLU had within a party. Because the core of our frontline was more or less the NIN NIN THF, I came /WHM. However, I needed to tweak my spell set seeing as how I probably wouldn't need Cocoon, Metallic Body or Pollen. Given that I would still be in the frontline though, I opted to set Healing Breeze as an option, just in case. Also, it took me a while to recall that I had subbed /WHM, and so could Barstonra- Worms got slightly easier after that. ^^

The other party I had was the abovementioned Korroloka Tunnel party off Clippers and Greater Pugils. Unfortunately, this party was a letdown of sorts. The setup was pretty decent- NIN THF BLU BLU BLM BRD. However, the majority of the party members were 24, close to 25 while at the time, I was still BLU22.

If there's one thing I've noticed about why BLU solos or duos so well is because against T-low VT mobs, you can land your spells reliably, in particular Head Butt. Against IT mobs, on the other hand, particularly ones where I'm on the low end of the party level range, a lot of my spells had no effect on the mob. In addition, a lot of my spells just didn't do anything- Bludgeon would on more than one occasion deal a grand total of 0 damage on a mob.

Of course, I suppose things will change once subbing THF for Sneak Attack comes into play, although another question I need to ask myself is what exactly am I supposed to do? I keep thinking to take advantage of low cast and recast timers, which basically means "spam spells," but as we know spell spammage gives the mob a lot of TP, I'm wondering if I should just be regular melee, chipping in the occasional Head Butt here and there.

I've never actually played a DD melee role (I focus on tanking as NIN and RNG is well, ranged :P) so I really only have my RNG experience to compare things against when it comes to damage against IT xp mobs. Of course, coming from RNG, I'm not terribly happy about my BLU damage, so I'm wondering if I'm missing something.

The other issue is that a lot of the "excitement" from BLU comes from learning your spells. However, my solo'ing Tough mobs to learn said spells, you also get a decent chunk of your tnl bar filled up doing so. I remember dinging then heading off to try and learn Cursed Sphere and so on- by the time I got all my spells, I was about half way to the next level, which was very nice.

Of course, this mechanic will change later on, simply because I will no longer be able to learn spells solo, and the total tnl between levels is too great to really expect me to have made significant progress on my xp bar while trying to learn a spell (and if it took me that long to learn a spell, I would've probably torn my hair out long before that. -_-)

...In any case, as seems to be the trend, I've burnt myself out on BLU already. Maybe someday I'll get the urge again. ^^;