28 July, 2009

BLM solo in Xarcabard [S]- a.k.a. "1400 damage or GTFO!"

New personal record: Chain #41!

Okay, I know the actual picture says Chain #40, but I but forgot to take a screenshot of the Chain #41 kill. Of course, I finally got a resist on the next tiger and lost the chain there without a screenshot of that new personal record. Go figure. -_-

As you might be able to tell, I've been obsessing over this camp as of late. Not because the camp is good, although that certainly helps, but because this camp just feels like it has so much potential.

The actual meriting process is very simple- walk up to a Gigas’ Tiger and nuke. Parsimony whenever it is up, saving the other charge for Alacrity in case of emergencies. Rest for one or two ticks, depending on how far your next mob is, before continuing.

So, just how good is this camp? Tigers here are level 75-76, which is 100-130 base xp, which goes up to 150-195xp/kill once you're past Chain #4, or an average of 172.5xp/kill.

So, if you kill one mob every minute, your xp/hr will be about 172.5 x 60 minutes = 10,350xp/hr. Not too bad.

But in reality, I was killing one tiger every 50 seconds on average. 3600 seconds/50 seconds per kill = 72 kills = 172.5 x 72 = 12,420xp/hr!

So this camp is very, very good. You want in. So, what do I need?

Minimum standards

The entire camp revolves around being able to one-shot a Gigas's Tiger. This creates a very interesting bar to entry and I am very curious if the development team actually took this into consideration (though I think that’s giving them too much credit).

I think I’ve shown by now that this camp surpasses Puddings in terms of xp/hr, but note that is only applies to Black Mages that meet the minimum standard, so here it is:

The minimum standard: To deal 1400 damage on an unresisted nuke consistently.

If you cannot do this, your xp/hr rate literally plummets to the point where you would probably be better off sticking to Ebony Puddings. This number is a lot easier to meet with frequent ice weather and day bonuses, but such things are inconsistent- to truly benefit from this camp, you would want to be able to come here at any time.

Why one-shot? The obvious reason why is that two nukes obviously take longer to fire off, especially if you need to Bind or Sleep in the middle.

Secondly, one common speed bump in pet camps is that you have to wait for the mob to turn its back to you, or navigate your way around the camp until you are behind the mob so that the master does not see its pet coming after you.

However, if you can one-shot the pet, you can nuke from any direction because the master will not link with a dead pet.

Together, those two reasons result in immense time savings, which become invaluable when you need to meet the 60-second time limit for everything beyond Chain #5 and still rest sufficient mana to continue the chain.

To give the reader just what kind of standard is required, this is my current nuking set for neutral day/weather:

As a Taru with full Elemental skill merits and full INT merits, I nuke with 133INT and +29MAB in gear. I also have maximum Lightning potency merits.

Yet, my neutral Thunder IVs land for just 1369 damage, off my estimated minimum requirement by 31 damage, so I still have to wait for Ice/Lightningsday to come around before I can merit in this camp! >_<

For BLMs who would like something more familiar to compare against, I use the same gear setup, to nuke Ebony Puddings with a /RDM subjob for 1515 damage without food, 1540 damage with.


Today, /RDM has become the default subjob of choice for Black Mages everywhere, and it's not difficult to see why. Here's what you get from /RDM:
  • Fast Cast II
  • Dispel
  • Gravity
  • Phalanx
  • Stoneskin
  • Blink
Of these, the most valuable are Stoneskin, Blink and Gravity. These are all defensive in nature, and provide Black Mage with the survivability required to function effectively.

However, if you can one-shot pets, there is no need for defense!

Your concern shifts from survivability to one wholly focused on pure mana conservation, which is where /SCH shines. This is what /SCH has to offer:
  • -10% mp costs through Dark Arts.
  • -10% cast time and recast time.
  • -50% mp cost through Parsimony (using one charge.)
  • -50% cast time through Alacrity (using one charge.)
You are most interested in the mana conservation through Dark Arts and Parsimony, whose effects add up immensely:

Let's say that with a cooldown of two minutes, you would Parsimony every third nuke. Thunder IV costs 154mp under Dark Arts, and 77mp under Parsimony.

Thus, you consume 385mp in total for every set of three nukes, in the following cycle:

Thunder IV → Rest two ticks → Thunder IV → Rest two ticks → Parsimony → Thunder IV → Rest two ticks → Repeat.

With Clear Mind V and +24hMP in my healing set, I get back 51mp on the first tick, and 54mp on the second tick for a total of 105mp restored through resting in between nukes, for a total of 315mp restored through healing per cycle.

If I nuke every 50 seconds, the whole cycle will take 2:30. With 1mp restored every three seconds from Sigil, Sigil restores 50mp in that time.

Thus, the total mana restored per cycle is 365mp.

Therefore, you have a net mana consumption of just 20mp every three nukes!

Camp orientation

Now that I've talked a little bit about the mechanics of the camp, one important final part is actual knowledge of the camp and its surroundings. First, you will never stay at one stationary spot. You will keep moving around, depending on several factors.

In total, I counted five Gigas Floggers in the area. One of them is to the far west, the other towards the eastern tundra. The other three are all clustered very close to each other in the center, and it is these three that you want to focus on.

However, you only need two Beastmasters to recur, so a good idea would be to just alternate between the two Beastmasters until one of them moves into an unfavourable location.

I'll be frank- this camp is very mentally taxing. Because you are /SCH, you have very little defense should something go wrong, other than perhaps Alacrity-Sleepga. Once you reach Chain #5 and above, pressure is constantly on you to keep the chain, which means you have to be able to answer the following questions quickly:
  • Where is your next tiger? How far is it?
  • Do I have to stand up early to get to the tiger in time?
  • Where are the surrounding Gigas?
  • Where are the Greater Amphipteres?
  • How close should I stand when I nuke to avoid the pet moving out of range mid-cast?
  • How far should I stand when I nuke to avoid aggro from the beastmaster?
As a rough gauge, if you have the Distance plugin on the unofficial Windower, a player character moves at a base speed of 4.0 yalms per second, so you can use that to decide whether you should stand up early to move to your next tiger.


It’s still a bit of a bummer that so far, my chain is completely dependent on not getting resisted. Theoretically, you can still keep the chain by timing an Alacrity-Tier III nuke in between tiger swings, but there are two problems to this.

One is more focused on player skill. Because resists are so unexpected, when they do occur, I find myself in a sudden state of panic even though I planned for such contingencies. With experience, I ought to be able to react accordingly and maintain a smooth flow.

The other, bigger issue is that if you nuked the pet in front of the beastmaster and your nuke was resisted, the beastmaster will see the pet and link, thus ending your chain even though you manage to kill the pet in time.

Yes, you could maneuver around the beastmaster to set yourself up for an ideal nuking spot, but if you focus too much on that, you forgo one large benefit of being able to one-shot pets. All I can say is that at least the Xarcabard [S] camp here has the benefit of choice, and with multiple Gigas Floggers around, at least you have the luxury of picking and choosing from the tigers available.

If, unfortunately you're forced into one particular tiger and you get resisted, well, that's life Final Fantasy XI. Just Sleepga, finish off the pet, curse, Retrace, and come back to start anew. :(

26 July, 2009

Black Mage Solo Chain #19+

So, did I mention I love Xarcabard [S]?

I thought I was loving the new beastmen pet camps as a Scholar, when I posted my picture of getting Chain #9 solo, but I just went back there as a Black Mage, and well, see for yourself:

Chain #19! Solo!

For those who are interested in trying this out for yourself, I went BLM/SCH, nuking with Thunder IV only, resting for two ticks between each pet and using Parsimony whenever it was up. Sometimes, if the next tiger was far away, I'd have to get up after only one tick of rest.

The fact that I managed to get Chain #19 and still have 566/1093mp suggests that with this method, I could very well see something around Chain #40, assuming no resists. That being said, my chain breaking around #20 does not surprise me, as with my magic accuracy capped at 95%, I'd expect one in twenty mobs to resist my nuke.

I did however, learn a few things:

First, you only really need two Beastmasters to go infinite. However, as I mentioned in my last post, there are five Beastmasters in the area, so this wasn't really a problem. You must also be decisive- interrupting your spell midway will break the chain, so I'd sometimes risk getting aggro from a Gigas that was walking towards me in order to keep the chain.

I also learnt that I was just a little bit short of damage once Lightningsday came to pass. The tigers would end up at just 1% HP after my Thunder IV, which leads me to believe that you need to consistently deal 1400 damage to fully utilize this method outside of Ice/Lightningsday. I am just 31 damage short of that. :(

(For the record, I was nuking with 133INT and +27MAB from gear.)

There are still gear improvements I can make- it's just a matter of getting around to obtaining the stuff. :P

But all that aside, the big question- just how much xp was I getting? I sat down to manually calculate it, taking the time from my first Thunder IV to the first Thunder IV of the next chain. Overall, I was getting about 11,300xp/hr! That's better than Puddings! :D

23 July, 2009

I <3 Xarcabard [S]

Wow, I'm liking this update. I haven't gotten around to trying out all the additions the update brought, but the first thing I did upon logging in was to beeline straight for Beaucedine Glacier [S] and subsequently, Xarcabard [S].

I think Xarcabard [S] must be one of my new favourite zones now.

I like the music, the mobs...and did I mention the xp?

The past couple of times I've been there, I counted a whopping five Gigas Beastmasters (Gigas Floggers) in the area. This would easily support two pet solo players, but when there's just one, the results are very, very nice. :o

Chain #9 solo. :o

Soloing here has been a very nice bridge between Vunkerl Inlet [S] tigers and Ebony Puddings, which has been a godsend to me since at SCH72, I really wasn't in a position to take on Ebony Puddings. I could kill them, but they'd take so much effort it really wasn't worth it.

Not to mention, you have your moments of {excitement} doing this camp, as you'll often have to dodge Gigas aggro and run in the path of a flying Greater Amphiptere (read: death from above) to keep your chain. :D

I stuck around Xarcabard [S] for a couple days, getting SCH72→SCH74 in the meantime. I think 74 would be the time to leave, since all the base xp goes down to 120-160xp/kill, and Puddings should now be a lot easier.

Best part of all though- the camp is right next to the Campaign Arbiter! Easy transport to and fro from camp, and to make things better, frequent Ice weather in Xarcabard [S] makes me a very happy nuker. :3

11 July, 2009


On a completely random note, I am in love with the Star Onions remix of Gustaberg.

It has come to my attention that all last written posts (I hesitate to use the word “recently” here) have nothing to do with my actual in-game activities. Sure, there were a few videos of me soloing Brothers, and a layout or two on the Campsitarus revamp (which is trundling along very slowly, I might add), but nothing answers the question of just what have I been up to in game?

I’m not exactly sure what to think of that. On the one hand, much of the FFXI-related blogs out there revolve around one’s own accomplishments and gains in-game, and to be quite frank, this very blog was along the same lines too.

However, somewhere along the road, I had difficulty fathoming that anyone would be interested in reading about my own conquests in game, especially when the posts start to resemble some variation of “We did this, I got that and the world goes on anyway.”

Occasionally there comes an interesting issue or hot topic which warrants a response, like my last post a couple months ago about Elmerthepointy’s questionnaire, and more recently, the Gardening bannings.

So in recent news, probably as a result of all the Astralburning that's been going on, Windurst took over Gustaberg.

{Nice to meet you.}, Kuuwari-Aori, W.W.

I haven’t really been all that involved in-game recently. I suppose I am at the stage where I’ve played long enough and am stuck in that not-so-pleasant limbo of trying to find meaning in what I’m doing, which is about the same time most people decide to just pack up and move onto other worldly pursuits.

I joined TeamKanican back in October last year to try and experience playing in a committed HNM linkshell. Things were initially both hectic and jam packed, with us camping Ixion, Sandworm, Fafhogg, (King) Behemoth and to a lesser extent, Khimaira along with all the other events that go on like Einherjar and Dynamis.

While you could say that continually having things in game to do were good, I quickly found myself disliking the rush from one camp to the next, only to stand around checking Widescan every few minutes, or spamming Stun every half hour.

More recently, we've laid off camping Ixion and Sandworm, going down to just Kings and Khimaira, which isn't so bad. We seem to have put Dynamis on hold, and I haven't been able to make our Einherjar runs either, so things have definitely cooled down in-game, or so to speak. The problem still remained though- I wasn't sure what I was playing for.

I realized that the main draw to me for TK was the image that Kaeko had portrayed, that TK was a shell that pioneered strategic advancements and so-and-so forth, and while I can say that with Kaeko’s help, we still do some of those things, the reality is very different.

Our latest pursuit lies with the trio team up between LimitBreak, BBQ and TK into Awsomeland to try and take down Absolute Virtue.

For obvious reasons, we haven't succeeded yet. Besides, if we had succeeded, chances are you would've heard about it by now.

But our rehearsal did lead to the following exchange, where I somehow found myself playing the role of Absolute Virtue,

Aside from that, much of my in-game time now revolves around low-manning ENMs, primarily Brothers and Shell We Dance, with the occasional Apollyon NW duo thrown in here and there, splitting the drops afterwards. It’s purely a money-making scheme, especially as I try to push for lower and lower numbers to maximize our returns per person, but it’s been satisfying working with people I’m familiar with once again and trying to push limits (no matter how small) as a small group.

I don’t know if I’m in a position to rightfully give strategic authority to others, but it was with that intention that I started taking videos of my solo runs with the intention of trying to improve other people’s play, by highlighting the general strategy required to win, as well as showcasing the mistakes to avoid.

It was this intention to share my knowledge and experiences that led me to agree when Ringthree asked me to contribute a mage-based column to his blog-turned-web magazine (though real life commitments have kept me from contributing much lately).

I also set up another personal blog along the same lines at thunderiv.blogspot.com which I hope will deal with my specific experiences as a Black Mage (and I suppose to a lesser extent, Scholar). It’s still largely empty though, but I do have several ideas I would like to put down on paper, but it’s just a matter of actually sitting down to write and flesh them out.

Then in addition, I also casually mentioned to Kallo back in April that I had an idea to talk about Campsitarus on Limit Break Radio, and we pieced together a brief outline which we just finished recording yesterday.

I’m not sure when the episode will air- it obviously depends on Aniero’s own schedule, but showing up as a guest speaker on the show was quite an experience and taught me a lot, even though the covered material itself was rather basic.

Honestly, camps and experience points is a huge topic, with lots of leads we could've followed, and in the interest of not wavering too far, we found it difficult to properly segment everything and just stick with the bare basics.

I definitely don't think we broke any sound barriers with what we spoke about, and I’m actually a little afraid people will think we’re talking about things that are overly basic, and I’m afraid we might've spent too much time just vaguely talking about things without really going down to things that might not be considered general knowledge.

Finally, I've been leveling my Scholar. It's currently sitting at SCH72, and once it hits 75, it'll mark my fifth 75 job along with BLM, RDM, WHM and SMN (notice a trend here?). It was interesting, especially in the earlier levels when I was trying to see just how far I could just on Beastmen pets only, but eventually, I just got sick of large tnls and started joining regular parties instead.

I did have a rather strange party the other day in East Ronfaure [S] though- it was a powerlevel TP Burn party, synced to 38, so I joked that I'd come SCH/DRK to melee with Attack Bonuses.

To my surprise, the party leader said "yeah, why not?" :o

It clearly didn't work out, so I decided to go and pull instead since we had no BRD with us. I ended up pulling an 11k/hr party as a SCH/DRK, and we were all set to leave East Ronfaure when we hit 41 until we found out that we were going 14k/hr afterwards. ^^

Don't try SCH/DRK pulling though- seriously, SCH/NIN would've been soooooo much better. >_<

Until next time!