12 March, 2009

Brothers ENM solo #2

In my last post, I detailed out my first successful solo attempt at the Brothers ENM. I went ahead and soloed the ENM again yesterday, and with the intention of improving my play, I'm going to repeat the exercise again. Things were slightly easier this time since I wasn't as nervous going into the ENM, although as you'll see from the video, things didn't quite go according to plan, so it was a good exercise in contingencies.

I nearly lost the ENM, but fortunately the game decided to forgive my misplays.


[00:03] Again, I entered the BC on Lightningday. This was not intentional- I actually logged out behind the ice wall the day before, and it just happened to be Lightningday when I logged back in.

[1:23] I don't think keeping Ice Spikes up is a good idea anymore because of situations like this. Sure, the Paralyze proc might be more potent than a regular Paralyze, but in this case, the Ice Spikes proc could've broken my Bind, leaving me with an unsleepable mob without Bind or Gravity. Taking away Ice Spikes will also let me use Bind more aggressively in the future.

[2:17] As you might notice, the Mindertaur had woken up and is now within my sight range. You can see the benefits of sleeping it some distance into the tunnel as means of buying some extra time while you kill off the Eldertaur.

[2:34] In retrospect, I don't think Thunder IV was the correct nuke to use here- I failed to play around Cure V, and the small sliver of health the Eldertaur had at the end made it even more painfully obvious. That being said, I'm not sure what I should've used instead- Blizzaga III is clearly out of the question because the damage would be split with the incoming Mindertaur, but Burst II might've taken too long.

[4:16] I thought it would be safe to reraise by now in the interest of saving time, so you can imagine my surprise to see the Mindertaur turn around! With no reraise on, Priority #1 was simple- get RR on.

Note to self: the Mindertaur has a very large aggro radius to sound.

[4:28] There should have been a Gravity here to buy even more time, especially since I still had to wait for the Reraise Earring's equip timer to finish! This technically almost cost me the run- I was lucky that the Mindertaur persisted in using non-damaging spells and abilities, allowing me to put on Reraise in the nick of time. Had Bind worn off earlier, or the Mindertaur cast a Banish II, I probably would've lost the ENM.

[4:45] I've considered replacing my Sorcerer's Earring with a Reraise Earring in my standing set because of situations like this. A Sorcerer's Earring will not kick in until I'm under 25% health, and in this case, the additional damage reduction wouldn't even matter. On the other hand, there have been times where I've needed to put on Reraise immediately after getting up. By equipping a Reraise Earring as part of the standing set, the timer gets to count down even when I'm unconscious, so I can get up and immediately use the earring.

[7:02] It turns out that I didn't see the Mindertaur buff with Protect when I first reraised. That being said, when I saw that Protect was dispelled, I decided to Dispel again just to make sure Shell was not on.

Two points to note- first, if you want to cancel a spell, just /heal. Running around like a headless chicken takes longer. Secondly, I remember reading somewhere that there is an order in which buffs are dispelled- that is to say that Protect would get dispelled before Shell does. I'm not sure whether this is true, since it's been a long time since I read that. Ix'MNK's Crystalline Cocoon (which puts on both Protect and Shell) contradicts that statement, since sometimes Shell is taken off first, though maybe Crystalline Cocoon behaves differently?

[8:51] This time, I end up with 344mp left, which is much more compared to my previous attempt. I totalled up the MP used to take out the Mindertaur, assuming Conserve MP did not kick in, and I got a total of 1009mp this time around, compared to 1169mp the previous attempt. The extra 160mp used the last time can easily be attributed to the extra Blizzard IV (164mp) I needed to win the last time due to a Cure V that my Silence this time prevented.

From the above, killing the Mindertaur without drinks or ethers would be very doable (well, at least for myself) assuming Cure V does not go off, though it doesn't really leave much room for error. My current nuking setup carries 1083mp, which means that I'll only have 74mp leftover if Conserve MP doesn't kick in at all. As such, non-taru BLMs will probably need to find ways to boost their MP to 1000+ to effectively solo this, at least using this method.

Further areas of improvement would obviously include not being so sloppy when things go wrong- I've mentioned that I got away lucky from that attempt, and I do not doubt that statement. In lieu of this, however, I should probably experiment around a little bit more with carrying a Reraise Earring around to see how it feels.

Finally, feel free to leave me a commentaru if you see any other areas of improvement/interest!

05 March, 2009

Brothers ENM solo

For quite some time now, it's always bugged me that I've been unable to beat the ENM, Brothers, solo. The ENM is very easy to duo, and I usually duo it with my friend Sodalitas. Yet, I've always felt that if I wanted to improve as a BLM, one of the things I could work on was clearing this ENM solo consistently.

But before I start on the "consistent" part, actually beating the ENM in the first place would make a very good starting point. -_-

I've tried a few times previously with no {success}, so as expected, I was quite nervous coming into this fight. I didn't do anything special to prepare since the idea was to be able to just go and "do it"- I only brought a Reraise Earring (I'm too cheap to use a Reraise hairpin :P) and a few Yagudo Drinks. Other than that, the rest of my inventory was pretty standard fare.

I watched a couple other videos, and borrowed a few ideas from them in my own fight, which I'll elaborate further below.

For those who aren't very familiar with this ENM, you are up against two Taurus, an Eldertaur (the small one on the left) and a Mindertaur (the large one on the right). The Eldertaur is immune to Sleep, while the Mindertaur can be slept, although it's recommended you back it up with Elemental Seal first. Both are susceptible to Gravity and Bind, and will try to cast Cure V once their HP drops below 50%.

The general strategy is to Elemental Seal-Sleep II the Mindertaur to immobilize it. Gravity the Eldertaur, and finish it off. Use Manafont if you have to, the priority is to kill the Eldertaur.

Once the Eldertaur is dead, run back to the start point, and let yourself get killed by the Mindertaur (you don't lose xp while in the ENM). Once the Mindertaur has left, reraise (you did put Reraise on, right?) and rest up. Hard part's over.

Once you're fully healed again, take on the Mindertaur solo.

At all times, be careful of Shell III and Unblest Armor, both of which give very strong Magic Defense Bonuses to the taurus- essentially, you'll see your nuke damage halved if either are on. In addition, make sure you do not face the taurus to avoid getting Doomed by Chthonian Ray.

For duos (I usually go BLM+BLM or BLM+SCH), have one person Elemental Seal-Sleep II the Mindertaur, while the other Gravities the Eldertaur, and both take out the Eldertaur first. After that, the Mindertaur should be easy pickings.

But wait! Why talk more about the fight when I can just show it to you? (And my first video, too! :D)

I have an HD version here, but I didn't get the aspect ratio correct, so it makes me look fat! /fume (So much for 5:4 ratios :/)

Okay, some commentarus- first, yes, I'm on Windower. Let's get that one out of the way first. Eventually, I'd like to be able to do it without the various aids that the windower gives me, namely without Recast, TimeStamp and Distance to make this more of a "true" solo attempt.

[00:03] First of all, you might notice that I entered on Lightningsday, for the obvious damage boost with Rairin obi. You don't actually need this bonus, but I figured it'd be nice to have anyways. ^^

[00:19] With regards to the pull, you will notice that I only go ahead far enough to aggro both taurus before turning back into the tunnel, which was something I got from Avesta's video. The idea is to pull and Sleep II the Mindertaur far into the starting tunnel. That way, when Sleep II wears, you buy yourself extra time because the Mindertaur has to walk all the way back to the main arena.

[00:19 - 00:50] The actual starting sequence is the same as Avesta's video- aggro both taurus, Bind the Eldertaur, Stun the Mindertaur, run a bit, Elemental Seal-Sleep II the Mindertaur, Gravity the Eldertaur and start working on it. As you work on the Eldertaur, pull it away from the Mindertaur to build distance should you not kill fast enough.

[02:06] This should've been Thundaga III- neither mana nor longer cast time leading to spell interruption is an issue because of Manafont, and should the nuke get resisted, a Thundaga III would've dealt more damage than Firaga III.

[02:20] Not sure why I stopped and turned around here- probably force of habit. In this particular case, I wanted to get killed, and the sooner the better. :P

[04:24] You might notice I put Reraise on again. This is not necessary, just an extra precaution since I still have time to die, rest and try again if I don't manage to kill the Mindertaur.

[05:24] Yes, I forgot to use my Yagudo Drink at the start of the second half. -_-

[06:24] There should've been a Silence before this nuke to prevent the upcoming Cure V.

[07:02] Elemental Seal-Silence was something I got from Metticus's video. You don't really need to sleep the Mindertaur again, but you do want to prevent him from Cure V'ing himself, especially since your mana pool is a lot more constricted this time around. In my case, I should've Silenced him earlier than I did, making the fight safer overall.

[07:30] This last Blizzard IV nuke was risky. Yes, Gravity wore off unexpectedly, but still, I should've tried to Bind or at least Stun the Mindertaur after the Thunder IV first, just in case. Had the Mindertaur double attacked, got lucky and broke my Stoneskin through Blink, I could've had that Blizzard IV interrupted and now I'm cornered with a speedy Mindertaur on my heels.

[08:12] What exactly is the correct legal jargon for this sort of thing?? /confused

[08:19] Love it or hate it, I just can't like the weather in Uleguerand Range. -_-

I'm still a little bit worried about the Mindertaur solo- if you count up all the mana costs associated with solo'ing the Mindertaur, the grand total comes up to 1144mp, which is definitely more than what I carry around. Of course, this is not taking Conserve MP into account, nor the one Aspir I made for 96mp. If I were to take that Aspir into consideration, the total goes down to 1048 which just barely makes it into my mana pool (1083mp total).

Admittedly, the Mindertaur fight could've gone slightly better- that Cure V that went off probably cost me an extra III-nuke's worth of mana, which an earlier Silence could've saved. In addition, looking at how close the total MP spent comes to my max MP, a Yagudo Drink might actually be relevant. :o

Of course, one further trick I could do would be to first nuke in a real max-MP setup, with my Zenith Crown +1, Mahatma pigaches and Morgana's Choker on for +120mp. The damage won't be as high, but it covers 73% of a Blizzard IV in mana, so that might be something to look into.

That's all I managed to pick out from watching over my own play. I'm still looking to improve though, so if there are other things I overlooked, please let me know!

02 March, 2009


Listing one's accomplishments and newfound loot in blogs like these is fairly commonplace, and was something I subscribed to back in the day. Of course, the interest in that quickly died out, since after all, who really wants to read about the stuff you got?

And so the post count plummeted. :P

That being said, I do feel that I ought to look back over the past month, more of an exercise on my own progress than anything else. For obvious reasons, I meant to post this on the last day of February, but my modem's power adaptor burnt out. -_-

So, here's how my February went:

1) Sorcerer's Belt (1st Feb 2009)
TK usually goes to Dynamis on Sunday mornings, JP time. In an effort to get me cleared through to Dynamis-Tavnazia, we headed over to Valkurm. We cleared the boss as per our normal routine, and then proceeded to farm for AF. I'm not sure exactly what adjustments SE made to Dynamis drop rates in that update ages ago, but it was literally raining AF- unfortunately I must've misplaced that screenshot where our loot pool had six AF pieces in at the same time.

Anyway, I don't remember how many people wanted the BLM belt- if memory serves me correctly, there were only about 2-3 people, myself included. Eventually, one Sorcerer's Belt dropped, we all cast lots, and the belt went to another BLM in the shell.

The run went on, but towards the end, we went after another set of Manticores and Sheep, and another Belt dropped! Thanks to an unfortunate pull though, things were rather hectic, and I quickly cast my lot on the second belt.

Not too much later, with the leader pushing people to quickly pass on items, I saw the belt drop into my inventory, which is why I'm not sure how many people actually wanted the Belt that run.

Either way, I'm glad to have what is probably one of the best BLM-only belts out there. :D

2) Sorcerer's Petasos +1 (2nd Feb 2009)
The belt wasn't the only thing that dropped that Valkurm run- somewhere in there, a Sorcerer's Petasos -1 also dropped. Alas, compared to the Belt, this drop was resolved quickly and quietly once we realised I was the only one in the run who put the BLM AF-1 as part of my wishlist for Valkurm. I guess everyone else must've gone for a different job. :P

I bought 28 Tukuku Whiteshells from the LS bank, and wasted no time in trading all the relevant materials to Sagheera for the upgrade.

Next day:

This is also the most I've officially ever spent on +6MP. But white border! >_<

3) Zenith Mitts +1 (16th Feb 2009)
A few posts ago, I had managed to pick up a pair of Cursed Mitts -1 from a bazaar. I'm still not quite sure about the price, but after a little haggling, I managed to buy it for 8m gil. Now, the only problem was that at the time, I think I only had a little over 3m on me.

Thankfully, I was able to borrow 5m off Celestria to cover the remaining 5m, and listed my Mahatma Houppelande and Hedgehog Bomb up on the AH, which thankfully sold rather quickly (at 300k profit, too! :D) so I could repay Celes.

The problem now was getting the abjuration. -_-

Despite the fact that I've been playing FFXI for a while now, and have killed my share of Genbus here and there, I have yet to even see an A-hands, yet alone get ahold of one.

So, the task fell upon trying to get ahold of A-hands. Since TK doesn't do sky anymore, that leaves two options- either try to get the Genbu pop items myself, or Fafnir.

TK does Fafnir. :P

Only problem was, we couldn't claim Fafnir. In fact, the two times we did manage to get the claim, it was Nidhogg instead, though that really isn't something to complain about. XD After that, in the wee hours in the morning, BBQ and TK teamed up due to lack of members and actually managed to claim Fafnir, but A-hands didn't drop.

However, Ridill did. :o

Well, on the 16th Feb 2009, just over five weeks after I got the -1 Mitts, TK managed to claim Fafnir, and finally, I get to see A-hands. XD Luckily, the rest of the members had been around enough to the point where nobody needed A-hands anymore, so it defaulted to me.

Off to San d'Oria I went, and voila! My first piece of cursed gear! :D

4) Zenith Crown +1 (24th Feb 2009)
Unlike the Zenith Mitts, I actually had the A-head abjuration for quite some time now, and was just waiting for an opportune moment to pick up a Cursed Crown -1. For those who are wondering why I'm going with -1, I did my Stoneskin and Sorcerer's Ring calculations in advance, and as long as I was nuking in an obi, an NQ Zenith Crown would fall short of the 75% HP threshold needed to activate the Sorcerer's Ring by just 3hp. So unless I wanted to carry around another item to lower my HP, HQ it was. :P

I didn't really want to pay AH price for it, so I contacted my Goldsmithing buddy, Nynaeve to help me try to make a Cursed Crown -1, which he got around to doing. It took him a couple months, but that was okay, since I didn't really have the spare cash to buy it off him at the time.

Luckily, he saved it for me, and when I got my pay from TK, I bought the crown off Nynaeve at a discounted price of 1.1m. And I was off to San d'Oria again! :D

5) Morgana's Choker (24th Feb 2009)
With a Zenith Mitts +1 and a Zenith Crown +1 in hand, all I needed to complete my Sorc Ring setup was just two things, one of which was a Morgana's Choker. To be honest, I was a little reluctant at getting one, because the choker would serve only as a Sorc Ring piece- I have no use for the +MND on the choker because I was planning to use a Stone gorget for Stoneskin.

My initial plan was to either get a Dalmatica (I wish ; ;) or a Serket Ring to lower my HP down by that last bit, but then I looked over my numbers again, and saw that -40HP would suffice and not -50HP.

Thus, Morgana's Choker.

Luckily, TK has been steadily growing more active in Einherjar, and I didn't particularly have any need for the ichor, so I had stockpiled a small sum of ichor, which in this case, came in handy. :D

Morgana's Choker get!

6) Sorcerer's Ring (24th Feb 2009)
With Zenith Mitts +1, Zenith Crown +1 and a Morgana's Choker in hand, the last thing I was missing for my Sorc Ring set was, well, the ring itself. -_-

Thankfully, ENMs had been fortunate to me that month, and Sodalitas and I split both a Hedgehog Bomb and Hagun, which paid for the Sorcerer's Ring. I bought it a little high, at 1.18m- the price has since fallen down to 1.15m, but it doesn't really affect me, since my purchase from Nynaeve saved me that money and then some.

Ring in hand, my Sorc Ring setup was now complete! All I really needed at this point was an Ixion Cape to round it off, but that can wait. ^^

7) Merciful Cape (24th Feb 2009)
One other thing I was working on was my Elemental setup. In fact, I already had an Elemental Setup, giving me 329 Elemental Skill and 122INT (without food), but in the name of efficiency, I found out that I could actually forgo using an Elemental torque and still hit the 320/120 mark.

Why would I ditch the torque? My reasoning was, if I got a Merciful cape, I could reach 322 Elemental Skill without a torque or a weskit. That being said, I felt it'd be better to aim towards damage in the body and neck slots, which would mean Morrigan's coat (I wish ; ;) and a Prudence torque.

The difference is, a Prudence Torque can also be swapped out for an Uggalepih Pendant when needed. If I stuck with Elemental Torque and Ixion Cape, I cannot use the Uggalepih Pendant and still maintain 320+ Elemental Skill. But with a Merciful Cape, I can maximize my damage with the Pendant (7MAB > 5INT) and still maintain 320 Elemental Skill.

The only problem was getting a damn Cape. -_-

Sodalitas and I have been duo'ing Ix'MNK for quite some time now, farming H.Q. Aern organs solo or duo in our free time. The fight against Ix'MNK is easy- we solo it when the other is not around- duo's just faster, but the drop date is abysmal.

Thankfully, we saw our first vice of antipathy today, and after casting lots, it fell to me. Now, all I need is a Prudence torque to complete my Elemental skill set. :P

Oh, and if anyone wants to compare {luck}, we were 1/29 on the vice drop. Hopefully the second drop won't take as long. (/pray)

Wrapping up
So, that was my February in a nutshell, at least in terms of me getting shiny stuff. :D There are a few other incidents here and there, including a GM asking me about a Jeweled Egg and me seeing a Macha's Coat, but losing the lot (/cry), but I guess some of those things would be better saved for another time (read: this post is getting long enough already. -_-)

One last thing- I've started working on a little resource for BLMs. Like Campsitarus, it is extremely crude at the moment, and honestly, I don't know what direction I'm going to take it, if it even develops. Currently, I plan to put all my BLM musings there, although whether it will turn into a BLM-blog, or a BLM resource blog is undecided.

The information there is very basic and simple, so right now, it's pretty much for my reference only. I don't envision it taking over Kaeko's BLM guide, at least, not to that level, but if anyone wants to take a look and give suggestions, clicky below to see for yourself:


Oh, and if there are any BLMs or SCHs out there who would like to contribute, please let me know! :D