22 April, 2009

Brothers ENM solo- after the April Update

Last month, I was working on trying to improve my BLM soloing, recording, documenting and commenting on my runs to pick out mistakes and areas of improvement.

I actually have three recorded runs, although I only put two up on this blog simply because, well, I didn't think they really appealed to the general FFXI audience. The third run can be found on my BLM blog, which is collecting dust at the moment, oh well. ^^;

Then the April version update came, and while people were dashing off to strange BCs and killing {Too weak} beastmen, I went up on my weekly routine Brothers BLM solo.

That was my first encounter with the 45-second Sleep II, and suffice to say, I didn't win that run.

Then came all the talk in the forums about SE adjusting sleep durations, as reports came trickling in. Mindertaurs, Ouryu, ghosts, bombs- all could not be slept for the full 90-second duration. The days of BLM soloing Brothers seemed over.

If this issue doesn't get rectified anytime soon, the question becomes whether a RDM could still solo Brothers, since a RDM's killing speed is faster than a BLM's for obvious reasons. (*cough* Chainspell *cough*)

So I decided to check it out. Never mind that I have yet to even attempt to do this ENM as a RDM, but seriously, the strategy should be more or less the same, right?
I am not used to soloing as a RDM (and this is my first time, too), so there are some incredibly newb mistakes in the following video. Keep that in mind! >_<

Well, there are a few changes, most notably that, as a BLM, I normally just suicide after the Eldertaur's dead so I can take on the Mindertaur with full MP. As a RDM, things change as I have Refresh and Convert, but not the firepower, so I need to maximize my MP before trying to nuke the Mindertaur down, and also try to reduce its HP as much as possible before nuking.

So, the basic strategy is now to just blast the Eldertaur down, and then DoT/kite the Mindertaur until the following three conditions are satisfied:
  1. The Mindertaur's at 50%HP.
  2. I have full(ish) MP.
  3. Convert is ready again.
Once all three conditions are met, I'd start nuking the last 50% HP by cycling through Thunder III, Blizzard III and Fire III, hopefully overpowering any Cure Vs along the way.

There were several (rather major) mistakes made during that run. I tried to make a full version, with the boring parts just sped up for completeness's sake, but silly Windows Movie Maker apparently doesn't like processing movies when the source files involved go beyond a certain total. Ah well.

[1:16] I'm not exactly sure why I'm casting Thunder III here, or why I haven't Chainspelled by this point. With the change to Sleep duration, it's even more important that I fell the Eldertaur quickly, which cold-casting Thunder III doesn't not accomplish. You can make the argument that I could've Chainspelled into Gravity to be safe, and save myself the trouble of having to wait for Gravity's cooldown later.

[1:31] /panic. :( Could've definitely kept my cool better here.

[2:00] The clock here was added later to first give the viewer a sense of the time pressure involved, but also to keep track of just how much time you really have before the Mindertaur's in a position to actively play a role in the ENM again. Remember that either taurus may cast Cure V if one of them is below 50% HP, so I definitely got very lucky here that the Mindertaur didn't Cure V the Eldertaur.

More importantly, it gives us a timeframe to work with in planning future runs- we can plan based on the assumption that you have approximately 55 seconds to knock off the Eldertaur.

Unfortunately, I can't show the entire fight here because of memory constraints (that, and it was a pretty long, boring fight), but some things to note are:
  • For some reason, I had a hard time getting Poison II to stick.
  • Eventually, I just settled on whittling its HP down through Bio II with a few III-nukes here and there.
  • Elemental Seal-Silence also wears off too quickly.
  • Composure is fantastic here!
Some things I was not happy about is that even with Convert and Refresh, it still took all my available mana to nuke down the Eldertaur, and to nuke down half a Mindertaur.

If you look carefully at the various snippets I put in here and there, you may notice that my Convert timer actually increases after a certain point- I actually set things up and was getting ready to kill the Mindertaur, but even after a Convert, I found myself unable to kill the Mindertaur, so I had to wait for Convert to cooldown again and redo that 50%. Thankfully I merited Convert down to an 8:20 recast- I'd have timed out if I left it at 10:00.

If I were to do it again, there are definitely some changes to be made, particularly at the start- I know that bit was screwed up bigtime. >_<

For one, the pull was completely wrong. I'll readily say I screwed it up bigtime, because just looking at the video reveals a lot of error. I probably slipped back into BLM mode, and just did things as I would've if I were BLM instead, thus revealing the dangers of playing on autopilot. :P

See, the whole reason why you pull the Mindertaur to the back of the tunnel when soloing this ENM as a BLM, before the Elemental Seal-Sleep II is to buy you a few extra seconds to take down the Eldertaur.

The point is, because of Manafont, a BLM's limiting resource is not mana, but time! Assuming the ENM was just a 1v1 fight against the Eldertaur, a BLM would have no problems blasting through, backed by Manafont because time is on the BLM's side.

But time is not your limiting resource as RDM because of Chainspell! Instead, mana becomes your limiting resource (for obvious reasons), but that is still a very soft limitation because of both Refresh and Convert.

So what I think I should've done instead was:
  • Enter the ENM, buff, rest up.
  • Run in towards the two taurus, and Elemental Seal along the way.
  • When they aggro and move into range, immediately Chainspell and Sleep II the Mindertaur.
  • Gravity the Eldertaur, and start nuking away with Blizzard III.
The difference is that as a RDM, you wouldn't even bother to drag the Mindertaur to the back of the tunnel, because moving back within nuking range of the Eldertaur wastes time, not to mention that you still need to cross the Eldertaur and get to a safe range on the other side. It took me eleven nukes to down the Eldertaur. Counting the Sleep II, Gravity, Convert and maybe a couple of Dispels, it shouldn't be too difficult to get 15 spells off under Chainspell, even within the 45 second naptime the Mindertaur has.

You could even get gutsy and Convert without curing yourself if time really was that tight, and plan out the following scenario (using my HP/MP as an example:)

Starting MP: 983mp
  1. Sleep II: 954mp
  2. Gravity: 930mp
  3. Blizzard III #1: 810mp
  4. Blizzard III #2: 690mp
  5. Blizzard III #3: 570mp
  6. Blizzard III #4: 450mp
  7. Blizzard III #5: 310mp
  8. Blizzard III #6: 190mp
  9. Convert into 190HP/796MP
  10. Blizzard III #7: 676mp
  11. Blizzard III #8: 556mp
  12. Blizzard III #9: 436mp
  13. Blizzard III #10: 316mp
  14. Blizzard III #11: 196mp
  15. Blizzard III #12: 76mp
Which isn't even counting the extra MP you save/gain from Conserve MP and Refresh.

In any case, it seems that SE has now officially come forward and classified this as a "Current Known Issue," so hopefully it'll get fixed. Given SE's track record though, I think it might be a matter of when it gets fixed.

I'd really like to go back and try again before the fix though, just to prove to myself that I can do the solo smoothly on RDM, even with the enfeebling "nerf" in effect. :P

18 April, 2009

Yet another layout to criticize.

Taking the comments from my last post, I went ahead with another design for Campsitarus,

One big critique I seemed to get with the previous template was that it was just too dull. Sorry, I'm not a graphics designer. ^^; I tried to spice things up a little bit more this time with little tarus that also act as visual cues to the level range they represent (although I might've overdone it with the 70s taru. ^^;)

Perhaps the header should have more colour, much like the current Campsitarus where Strawberrie's drawing of me in RDM AF provides a very striking contrast against the green-ish blogger theme.

I'm still trying to keep at least all the standard camps visible on the first fold. It's my intention to display all the alternate camps below (you'll need to scroll down). This time however, the screen resolution has been reduced down to 1024 x 768. I checked against an 800 x 600 browser, and while there will be a little side scrolling involved then, all the campsite links will still be visible.

The font size for the camp links have been increased, and are now bold. I'm not sure if this is overcompensating for the too-small links the previous time around.

I also took away the articles, even though I still think they'd be a good idea. For now though, I'll err on the side that I won't be able to keep up with the articles, and so as per Oshikorosu's suggestion, I took them off.

I'm still not sure on the colour palette. As you may be able to tell, the colours were taken from West Sarutabaruta [S] this time. It still looks rather dull, but I'm at a loss here on what else I can do to spice things up that isn't too complicated and will still load quickly.

So, opinions? Ideas? Comments?

15 April, 2009

What do you think of this as a layout?

After some fiddling around with Photoshop, I came up with this:

It's open to improvement, and is only something I quickly threw together, so there're bound to be some design flaws. As I am a believer of the "you cannot see your own mistakes," I'm putting this up for public consumption. Oh, and in case anyone's wondering, it's only a picture- this does not exist on the internet yet.

So, how is it? Too dark? Too many Mandragoras? Text too small? Why am I wearing a Haubergeon and a Butterfly Axe?

Some things to consider:
  • This was designed with a 1280x1024 resolution in mind, which according to the poll I put up, is the most common screen size.
  • Only "Standard camps" have been displayed. From what I've heard, not many people actually use Campsitarus for the alternate camps (and correct me if I'm wrong!) so I've decided not to display the alternate camps on the first fold (that's whatever you see when the website loads).
  • Where should the little explanation about standard camps and the button to flip over to Alternate camps go? Top left? Bottom right?
  • If you look on the left hand side, I'm toying around with the idea of maybe providing some extra value through articles related to xp'ing. There seems to be sufficient depth to explore, but I'd like to know what you all think about the idea. Basically, it'll expand Campsitarus into more of a real blog or online magazine rather than just a list of links.
  • Articles on the left, links on the right or the other way around?
  • Are the text "links" of the standard camps too small for comfort? You might be wondering what is with all the empty white space, but those boxes also need to fit the alternate camp listings for when users click on that button, and there are much more alternate campsites than there are standard ones.
  • Should I put info regarding BST pet camps here, and if so, where?
  • Is the colour scheme too dark? I didn't really give much thought to it, and based it off the current incarnation, using colours ripped from Caedarva Mire (place of /joy that it is -_-).
Either way, I'm sure it's an improvement over the one looooong list you have to scroll down in Campsitaru's current incarnation. Please leave feedback!

13 April, 2009

About a little blog of mine called Campsitarus...

Lately, I've felt rather empty in game. Sure, I'm in a good HNMLS and while the fights are nice and all that, I haven't really been satisfied with endgame. Sure, you get neat gear, some very powerful, but I haven't really felt like I've been giving back to the community.

So, I've turned my attention to a little blog of mine that I started up a few years ago called Campsitarus

You might have heard of it, or better still, even used it. ^^

I've been meaning to take Campsitarus off blogger for a long time, and have it properly hosted on its own domain, like campsitarus.com or something, following in the footsteps of other FFXI-related websites out there. Yes, I know it technically should be campsitarus.info, but that just looks odd to me.

My problem is, I'm a complete {Amateur} when it comes to website design and templating. I can design the structure of the website and I know what I want on it, but I haven't the faintest idea how to actually code everything so, well, it shows up on the screen.

Furthermore, the task of revamping Campsitarus is no longer a one-taru job. Since I first created Campsitarus way back in November 2005, I have listed 123 camps for parties, and have another 36 pet camps to write about. Some still don't have entries, which was something that really bothered me. It doesn't take a genius to figure out that that is a heckuva lot of writing. And that's not counting the camp entries I took down.

Or to be more precise, that is a heckuva lot of revising to do.

The nice part about having Campsitarus on a blog has always been that people could leave feedback in the comments when things change, like for example, the introduction of SCNMs that made the Castle Oztroja [S] merit camp not as feasible as before (and a pity, too T_T) I personally couldn't keep up with all the changes, so left it to the comments to duke them out.

It is my intention now to revise these entries to update them with any in-game changes, or maybe bring a little nugget of information, for example, BRD pullers at the Greater Colibri camp will pull with a throwing weapon (I forget which one) because the Colibris won't waste time mimicking Elegy, and the pulling distance is greater (25 yalms, as opposed to 21).

There are also a few questions and loose ends that I want to incorporate into Campsitarus. I'm thinking it might be a good idea if I wrote an occasional post about partying in general, like how to deal with Japanese or bilingual parties, or what each job has to offer, or even things like what makes a good party.

The end result would be a Campsitarus blog, with normal blog entries, as well as links somewhere on the front page to all the information that people use Campsitarus for.

For now, I think I'll fiddle around a bit on Photoshop to see if there's even space to fit everything in. -_- So many ideas, so little space...

...and did I mention I'll need help with all this?

So I'll say this again, highlighted, just because I know many people don't actually read the content word-for-word:

I am going to revamp Campsitarus and I'll need help. If you can write, edit, do web design or graphics, or would like to contribute, please {Help me out!}

Please, give me feedback on this either by e-mail (tuufless.taru(AT)gmail.com), by contacting me in-game (I'm on Odin) or leaving a commentaru below. If you're willing to give me a hand, even better! :D

P.S: If you have it, "//vanatunes play 48" is made of win. :D