Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Called to Task

In no mood to craft or farm, I put up my flag for more meriting last night. I got a replacement invitation fairly quickly to a party in Bhaflau Thickets. They were camped in the back, by the zone to the Jade Sepulcher, which is actually a fairly risky camp since mobs repop pretty quickly, making linkless pulls trickier if not impossible at times. The Mamool Ja Philosophers (BLM) can be particularly nasty when linked to an incoming pull since they enjoy spamming -ga spells and sleeping folks.

We got one of those on the first pull, and a nuke hit the entire party pretty hard. I pulled hate instantly and died before I could get my shadows back up. Yeah, death on the first mob. I could only chuckle, as I cautiously melee'd in weakened status for awhile.

But the party went well: RDM WHM WAR RNG NIN DRG. This wasn't really a standard "bounce the hate around" sort of merit party, so I was conservative with the Provokes, trying to let the hate land on the Ninja as much as possible and Voke/Warcrying the mob off of her when shadows were exhausted and a Firespit or Rushing Drub would hit particularly hard. The mages had to leave around an hour later, so we disbanded with me around 3k until the next merit.

I got a "{Party}{Long time}" invitation at 11PM as I was walking from the Runic Portal to my MH to log for the night. It was from a Japanese player whom I recognized from the Ziz party I blogged earlier this year. It was late, but I took it anyway... and once again the EXP camp proved to be unconventional but interesting.

We headed out to the Halvung staging point in Mount Zhayolm and people used their Cast Metal Plate to open the gate at J-7. I didn't have one but followed one of the other members through the door to make my way to the camp at I-9. This was Hilltroll country, and we camped up the steps in a location where trolls spawned on both sides of us, leading to an impressively endless 'sleep queue' of trolls. Party makeup was RDM WHM BRD NIN DRG WAR.

The killing went underway, and I made the initial mistake of eating meat when my sushi wore off, which didn't work so well on the Hilltroll Paladins and Hilltroll Dark Knights.

Live & learn.

This combined with an undispellable Diamondhide (I wish I had known this since the poor RDM opened every fight with Dispel), which made it impossible to gain TP very quickly, and the Paladins loved to Cure IV themselves. Thankfully the other trolls weren't as problematic.

I did my usual thing, spamming damage as much as possible while keeping the shadows up and trying not to interfere with what I assumed was the main tank. I assumed incorrectly, and the BRD eventually exploded:

{Warrior} {Provoke} {Do you have it?}.
{Warrior} {Too weak}?
Bard pokes Frohike.
[/say channel]: "you"
(I assume he was trying to clarify that he wasn't talking about the Hilltroll Warriors -_-;).

Let me tell you. If you ever need to galvanize a lazy or clueless Warrior into a crazed flurry of Provokes, Warcries, Rampage and rampant hate-stealing, you only need to use those two simple little auto-translates.

{Warrior} {Too weak}.

I'll admit I should have previously analyzed the party makeup and mob effects with a little more...engagement and turned off the auto-pilot for this one. I was angry at first, that the BRD should state this so rudely. But in a sense I was also relieved. At least the party didn't go for hours thinking what the BRD said but keeping it to themselves.

I was the only other Utsusemi user in the party, and the DRG wasn't going to bounce hate. Of course it was my job to trade hate with the NIN, and I should have known this. After bouncing the enmity around between me and the Ninja for a few mobs, I confirmed that this was what they wanted. {Provoke} OK? And the response was {Yes, please}.

And we kept going from there. When my damned Sis Kebabi finally wore off (sometimes that Sanction can be a double-edged sword), I switched to Sole Sushi and swapped in the Swordbelt+1 rather than the Life Belt, and we plowed through the mobs without too much trouble (excepting Diamondhide).

The party continued with no pauses until we disbanded around 2AM, with me close to earning my 3rd merit for the night. I closed with "{I'm sorry} {Provoke} {Slow}", which elicited a "np ty^^" from the Ninja before I logged out.

That darned language barrier can be tough at times, but the Bard got through to me loud and clear last night: Pull your weight, muthaf***a!

Live & learn.

I spent 2 merits this morning, trimming 10 seconds off of my Aggressor and Berserk recast timers. I want to upgrade these evenly to keep their timers in sync, while continuing to upgrade Crit Attack rate until capped. I'll keep upgrading Bergressor until I hit 3 upgrades each, then decide whether to begin working on Double Attack upgrades or go for the full 5 Aggressor 5 Berserk route.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Besieged by the holidays

Same tune this week. I had very little time to log on and get much of anything accomplished. I merited again a few nights ago out in the thickets in a 4xWAR, RDM, WHM party that went pretty smoothly for everyone but a poor Taru Warrior who kept pulling hate. He died twice. Once because the rest of us sucked and couldn't pull the mob off of him, and the second time because we were all asleep. But other than that, it was a nice quick & dirty party, no drama.

I logged in last night to a level 6 Mamool Ja Besieged in the Advancing stage, so I hung out in Al Zhabi with an LS-mate Minusjoker and got .5 in skillups on my Great Axe. I neglected to take a screenshot of the frog mobs, which I didn't notice until one of them charmed me. Another cast Burst on Minusjoker for 900+ damage. Fun stuff. I visited Gulool Ja Ja, and got tired of hitting him for 8 damage, so moved on to the other NM (can't remember it's name) and eventually killed it with the group. The Mamool Ja retreated after that. Another 1000 EXP down the toilet -_-... can't wait for that update.

After the Besieged, I finally spent my Imperial Standing Points on 20 Gold Imperial Coins and did the Nashmau exchange for the 1000 bronze coins, which I traded to an NPC for my turban:

Aside from the boat ride, it went pretty quickly thanks to /item macros. I don't see myself really using this piece except during an Utsusemi macro, at least until I start working on a pricey Haste build. I hear those are quite nice, once everything is in place.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

The new GM policy is a reality

I noticed a name in red today as I was checking the AH before dinner. He had an 'SGM' logo and it dawned on me that someone was in fact getting their Bomb Core back, in confirmation of the recent annoucement concerning mistakenly thrown/dropped items. Oddly, they carried out the transaction in the /say channel, and everyone quickly clustered around the event.

I checked his gear and it was all preceded by "Judge", Judge Sword, Judge Helm, etc. All of it was Level 1, GM-Only. And the stats were mostly buffed out basic stats, for the most part in the DEF category (e.g. DEF 70 on the body piece). The great sword was similar to non-abjurated relic gear, with 99 damage and 999 delay.

His avatar emitted heat waves that warped the air around him, making the appearance all the more impressive and strange. After he warped out, someone said the 'SGM' stood for 'Senior GM.'

So... there you have it. Apparently we only get one chance to get something like a thrown Bomb Core returned to us though. Use the favor once, and it's gone for good.

I guess that's nice and all but doesn't it seem a bit like they're looking a little too hard for work for the GMs? Wouldn't it be more efficient to implement some sort of equipment 'lock' option on certain slots? Or even a basic 'Disable Ranged Attacks' option would do it, really. It seems oddly un-Japanese to take such a non-preventative approach.

Things that make you go Hmmm.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

I'm back

And what better thing to do when high on paint fumes and dizzy from exhaustion than log into FFXI... at 11PM?

My first discovery when returning was that someone took a big dump on the Poison Potion market. 60 potions on the AH. 60... Honestly, what nimrod out there saw 50+ potions on the AH and decided that the market really needed a few more? Time to work on that INT, people.

Anyhow, in light of this I changed my plans when heading out the Bibiki and hopped on the Manaclipper to farm Uragnite Shells in Purgo Isle. The drop rate with TH1 wasn't too shabby, and the mobs were actually kinda fun to kill once I figured them out.

If they retract into their shell, they have a DEF+ and Regen effect which balances fairly evenly with the damage I inflict (with Axe or Great Axe). Weapon skills at this point are a waste. When the Uragnite emerges from the shell however, it is extremely vulnerable. Average hits with the Gawaine Axe were around 200, increasing to 300 on crits. Opening with a Sneak Attack while the snail was exposed was usually a good way to start things off. And needless to say, Raging Rush would hit for around 800 for a nearly instant kill. For extra fun, since the mob is immobile when retracted, I could run around behind it and Sneak Attack for a little more damage (pretty useless because of the Regen, but fun nonetheless). Their Venom Shield move usually missed, but when it stuck (for a 16HP hit per tick) some Antidotes were always on-hand thanks to the vendor NPC nearby.

Fun, relaxing, and perhaps dull to some of you but... I came away with about 6-7 shells, which currently go for around 17k. I could think of worse ways to earn 100k. Compare that to the 6 stacks of poison potion I would have needed to sell at the current market rate, and I think my time was spent more efficiently ^_^

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Meriting. Crafting. Moving...

I've joined up with a couple more merit parties and polished off a few nights with Besieged here and there. Although, since my EXP is capped, I probably won't be participating in Besieged any further until the update comes through that enables users to earn Limit Points in the event.

I've placed my first three merits into upgrading Critical Attack Rate a couple of times and plan on capping that before moving on to other categories.

Due to the big move planned for the end of this week, I haven't had much time to do anything other than jump on to craft the GP item of the day and trade it in. We'll be moving in earnest this weekend, and unpacking for awhile after that, so updates will continue to be sporadic as RL becomes more demanding of my time.

When I return, I want to continue building up some gil to fund gear for a couple of melee subjobs that I still need to cap at 37: MNK and THF. I'll probably start with MNK, although I might drop it again when the cost gets too prohibitive and pick up THF for some fun.

I also want to start working on getting my relic armor, so I've applied to Final Heaven, a sponsored Dynamis shell, and want to apply to whichever one the Lifthrasirians have been joining up with (Knights of the Round?).

I'm looking forward to another Savage Blade run which will hopefully happen this weekend or later, since I'd hate to miss Lycasdemus getting this WS on his Paladin (and getting sweet revenge for his prior death to this scorpion).

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Blacklist Episode 3: The Return of the Diva

After a couple of uneventful nights of crafting tidbits for profit and/or guild points, I went meriting in the mire last night. For the first time, I was able to effectively use Sis Kebabi, thanks to the Optical Hat. I went in with as much accuracy gear as possible, basically everything in the left-hand column of my equipment wiki, with the addition of the Life Belt rather than the Swordbelt +1. The meat took care of the attack bonus.

Meat! Not sushi! I felt like a Warrior again.

There were a few whiffs during the Aggressor cooldown, but nothing major, and my damage output was much nicer than what I'm accustomed to. I was literally laughing at some of the Rampage damage on the Imps and the occasional Jnun. I soon capped my EXP and phased into earning Limit Points.

Unfortunately, the RDM in the group (the sole healer for awhile) had R0-itis. You know, that annoying phenomenon where your connection alternates from second to second between normal rates, then 0, then normal rates, then 0 again, and so forth. It lead to a few deaths, but everyone kept a cool head about it.

About 1 hour into the session, we picked up a WHM who happened to be the person I had blacklisted last month (as a SMN) for repeatedly dropping out of my parties with rude one-liners and no warning. Before he arrived, I warned the group about the potential diva behavior and left it at that, forgetting I had actually blacklisted him.

The diva was apparently on his best behavior though, and uncharacteristically quiet [insert sitcom laughter here]. Sometime later, the leader went AFK during one of our bio breaks and never returned, and everyone dropped the party to re-form. I was baffled at first, since everyone did it without any communication. Just...poof... no one in the party but me and the AFK leader. My friend Lurick told me what was going on, and that the WHM had sent me an invite. And that's when it clicked; before I could alter the blacklist, though, Lurick got leadership and invited me.

I removed the WHM from the list anyhow, but I still had my doubts. The party was going well, so there wasn't much of a litmus test for the 'diva factor' still potentially lurking in his persona. Until a couple of minutes later, when three of us announced that we would need to be going in 30 minutes, due to the late hour, and that the party would need to disband at that point.

The party had been going for quite awhile with the WHM, so it wasn't as if we had pulled a "replace & disband" on him, but he barked at us to find replacements and to give him warning before we left.

Lurick barked back, and said 3 in the party were leaving and the disbanding would commence in 30 minutes.

To drive the point home, after every couple of mobs, Lurick would announce an exact t-minus count: "22 minutes, 37 seconds until {Disbanding party.}" From people's behavior, I took it the WHM had actually not been rubbing people the right way, but he'd been sticking around this time since we were obviously raking in the kills. Heaven forbid our EXP had slowed below a 5k rate or he probably would have disbanded again.

We disbanded early anyhow, when a bad pull killed Lurick for the second time that evening.

I left the WHM off of my blacklist, since his name is cemented in my memory now... Besides, being a caustic diva who can't be trusted in certain situations doesn't completely warrant being blacklisted. Just avoided, when possible.

I'm now roughly 8900 into my first merit point.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Limit Break Radio

Just thought I'd mention that I found an excellent podcast awhile ago, called Limit Break Radio. It is very well produced and organized and is, in my opinion the best FFXI podcast out there.

This week's episode was dedicated to BST, and was quite interesting for me since I'm planning on leveling that job once I get my WHM sub to 37.

Check them out if you have the time.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Keeping busy

So, as stated in my prior post, I did quite a bit of crafting and got into the more comfortable 700k range. Poison potions are still a decent profit, so I've been riding those as far as I can. I've also been working on collecting my Guild Points for the Alchemist apron, which I plan to acquire once I break into Craftsman status.

I was able to jump into a few merit parties and have been getting more comfortable with Mamook, since that's where the majority of them have taken place. The mire is often too crowded to accomodate a merit party, and the Mamool Ja staging point in the thickets has also been highly populated this weekend.

It's not ideal, but the EXP is acceptable if the party knows what it's doing. I still hate Sickle Slash though. Hate it.

Even Mamook was crowded on Saturday night, forcing our party to roam and basically kill anything in the halls, since all open-area sites were being ravaged by 1 or 2 parties minimum. But I'm gradually getting to the EXP cap, and looking forward to meriting. 36,699 / 44,000

Somewhere in all this mess, I've begun soloing the Cermet Headstones for ZM5.

And for some fun last night, I joined up with Lifthrasir to get Quan his LB2. Seeing those big damage numbers on the Hound/Coeurl/Tiger was entertainment in itself, and the mini-event was a great way to get the gang together.

As we ran across Xarcabard, killing pretty much anything in our path, I noticed how much more powerful our group has grown over the past few months... When more people start getting into their 70's we could become quite a force to be reckoned with.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Crafting Stasis

Updates for the next few days will probably be non-existant as I go on a crafting spree to increase my gil pool. Once I do this, I'm seriously considering leveling Alchemy a bit further, possibly into the mid-70's, with a smattering of merit parties to break up the monotony now & then.

I haven't checked into Dynamis shells yet, but I can't even really think about that until I get myself out of abject poverty.

In the meantime, I leave you with this funny video.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Hardcore Gamer Magazine: Caveat Emptor

The past couple of issues of this magazine sported a full-page advertisement for IGE on the back cover.

I've never seen such a huge IGE ad before, and I was quite disgusted when I found it.

I mean the magazine isn't that great to begin with, but I supported it because of its affiliation with DoubleJump books, who are responsible for making some really fine strategy guides for games such as Disgaea 1 & 2, and SMT: Nocturne.

When the second issue came with this ad, I jumped over to their forums and basically told them to stop, since this was clearly insulting to their intended audience, and that the MMORPGers that work there should know better. I was a bit harsh in my choice of words, but I was justifiably angry. Of course I got flamed to hell and back by the forum fans, and the senior editor DJPubba, claims ignorance.

To his credit, though, he is 'researching' the matter although they are stuck in a contract for the next 10 issues.

I must confess I flamed a person on that thread, and in hindsight this was completely unnecessary and unfair, so I came back and apologized. Sometimes I do let my emotions get the best of me.

To any of you who subscribe to this mag; if you care about what your gaming news sources are endorsing, I would encourage you to email:


Or set up an account on their forum and let your voice be known (use the existing thread).

Other magazines have turned IGE down and been very public about it.

HGM seemed to be doing fine before the IGE ads, so although it may be hard for them to wipe the $_$ out of their eyes and go with another customer, they really need to do it, or concede defeat to greed.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

On script. Off script. Ding 75!

Off script: I had to euthanize one of my cats yesterday. Her name was Soda and she was 9 years old; she began losing massive amounts of weight recently and we eventually discovered that she had suffered a renal failure and was diabetic. After several weeks of subcutaneous fluid injections, she was still in a downward spiral, and clearly suffering. So, being the 'Dad', I was tasked with bringing poor Soda on her fateful drive to the vet.

Out of respect, I requested to be there during the procedure. I whispered to her and caressed her cheek as her life peacefully left her body in a matter of a few heartbeats. I was a mess afterwards and could barely make the drive home.

On script: Several people in the group that did the O-hat run agreed to go for a ZM4 run last night, starting at 9PM PDT. I logged on at the appointed time and waited about a half-hour for the group to form and warp to Yhoat. All went smoothly until we entered the Temple of Uggalepih.

Off script: I'm of the opinion that missions in this game are truly scripted events. You go from point A to B in a coordinated fashion, communicating along the way to stay on script and reach the curtain call. Ad libbing leads to disaster, and there was a lot of ad libbing on this mission. Since I didn't have a pearl, I suspect much of this was happening in the /linkshell channel unbeknownst to me.

On script: The party wandered all over the first map, for reasons I couldn't quite guess, since we needed 1 lantern for our group and should have been targetting Maledictors on an entirely different map. They were randomly killing bees and looking for Tonberry Rattles. Again, not sure why. Were we killing time and waiting for someone? 1 member of the group (the one who also needed ZM4) and myself followed the group on its silent meandering path until it, by chance as it turns out, encountered the zone line at K-3. He and I both zoned into the jungle, and rezoned into the Decimation WSNM map to look for Maledictors, assuming the rest of the group was on its way.

Apparently they were busy killing random Cutters and popping some NM for a katana (?). So I eventually died, and my partner in crime narrowly escaped to the zoneline.

Ironically, we were treated as the ad-libbers, and I apologized without really knowing why.

Off script: I'd obviously had a long day. I was tired, and no longer certain of my best judgement. In such situations, I assume the blame when SNAFUs like this occur, try to learn from the mistakes, and trudge forward. I must, however, confess that I was angry. The anger was awkward and conflicted... these were the same people who helped me with the O-hat the night before. I couldn't possibly harbor resentment. What did settle into me though, was nagging doubt.

On script: Once raised and re-grouped, we decided to head to Den of Rancor to get the lantern drop. Almost as soon as we hit the zone line, the group had split in 3. One group to the east of the first room at H-6, and another splitting off to the west (there were only 2 of them...what they could accomplish as a duo was beyond me). The third consisted of one guy who wandered away from the first group, on his own, toward the 'A' entrance to the next floor. He died to bat aggro almost immediately, group 2 kept doing...whatever, and group 1 basically idled while the leader looked for Imprecators.

We eventually got the Unlit Lantern to drop, immediately after the leader announced that someone had already opened the gate to the Sacrificial Chamber (I thought he was looking for Imprecators, but must have decided to check the gate during the down time between pops, again unbeknownst to practically anyone else).

We entered the BC and narrowly completed the fight after a nasty Astral Flow at the tail end of the battle.

It was a wonderful CS, and I took my time reading it ^_^. I can't wait to see how the storyline unfolds.

Three of us stayed together after the mission and decided to merit/exp. Since I was 4k TNL, I couldn't pass this up, even though it was getting late. The leader formed a party and we headed out to the Mamool Ja staging point, which was only hosting a couple of other parties. Since I hadn't tried my hat yet, I went for a meat build to test things out. Ahem... Apparently this will really work better in Caedarva. The evasion on the Mamool Ja was still just a bit too high for a sushi-less diet. My performance improved once I switched back to the Sushi build.

I eventually hit the big 75 in this party, and kept going until I was roughly 6.5k into the level before the party disbanded.

Off script: After playing this game for approximately 2 and a half years, I'm elated to have finally hit this milestone. Exhausted, but elated ^_^. It's just too bad that it had to happen with such a cloud hanging over me, but that's the way of life I suppose.

I'm sure Soda was cheering me on in the way she usually did. Quietly walking across the keyboard.

Saturday, November 11, 2006


I'll be brief, and write a more elaborate post when I have the time tomorrow.

And Zorrandor got his too:

I got to meet up with some old friends as well: Gimppy, Rocco, Citroen, Lurick (we were all in a 5-person shell way back when we first started), and Phear (from CC).

It was a 9-hat run, and I had the last lot. Only one person left between start and finish, and we averaged 5-minute kills on Hakutaku. Needless to say PhoenixDown obviously knew what it was doing.

A hefty thanks to the entire team that stayed, and a special thank you to Asheress for dragging me into this ^_^. Much appreciated. It's random acts of senseless kindness like this that define the game for me.

Ok, now for some sleep.

Friday, November 10, 2006


I got into a party for 10k worth of EXP on Tuesday night. Nothing really notable there although I had the sinking feeling that a couple of the members were RMT... but couldn't totally prove the suspicion since they didn't completely fit the profile. Then they both suddenly DC'd simultaneously along with another party member they had 'miraculously' found (how does one find a WHM out of nowhere?), leaving me, the other WAR, and a RDM to kill a Jnun on our own before disbanding and blacklisting all 3 of them.

On Wednesday, I had a little... health incident that prevented me from logging on at all.

I apparently have a condition known as supraventricular tachyarrhythmia, where the upper section of the heart experiences a 'glitch' in the electro-chemical nodes that fire there and gets stuck in a feedback loop. This generates an extremely high heart rate and dizziness, and strange circulatory sensations; I honestly thought I was going to keel over and die in my cube when it was happening. Not fun. Apparently the condition is serious but not life-threatening, though they do recommend I go to the ER if I have another attack and can't get it back under control (there are excercises you can do to stop it).

I just need to take it easy and cut back on a few things... oh and sleep more.

Anyway, I logged in again last night for what I thought would be the party that would take me to 75. The WHM and PLD who formed it bailed with me at 4k TNL because they had to help an LS member with their LB3. It wasn't a fake reason either, because the PLD kept mt'ing questions about 'passwords' and 'torches' and I immediately knew what he was mt'ing about ^_^.

Asheress sent me heads up that the O-hat run will be happening tonight, and I'm fairly certain I can secure a cluster before the run. So it looks like I probably won't be reaching 75 until tomorrow night at the earliest.

But at least I'll reach it in style, right?

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

I'm a big fat liar

Did I say I would sleep tonight?

For whatever reason, come 10PM, I wasn't sleepy. Perhaps my brain is adjusting my circadian rhythms to accomodate the constant activity between 10PM - 1AM. Or perhaps I just have an illness.

A party started forming and got underway around 10:30, comprised of RNG WAR WAR WAR RDM WHM. All were 75 but me, to my recollection.

One of the Warriors, Asheress, asked if I had my O-hat yet and I bemoaned the fact that I did not. She'd stumbled across my blog and knew I wanted it badly, and graceously invited me to join a run with her LS sometime next week. They're going for 2-3 other members, so hopefully it won't be a marathon... This does, however, mean that I need to either go farm the eyes, or buy the Hakutaku cluster from a bazaar. I'm not exactly eye-farming material as a WAR, so I'll probably end up buying the cluster. But I'm barely in the 800k range at the moment, so I'll need to work on increasing my sum again.

On the EXP front, I was a flabbergasted noob once more. There were only 3 parties in Caedarva Mire, so the campsite was obvious. I'd never been in a 'merit' style party before and was really not prepared for just how quickly and relentlessly these parties kill. There were stretches where I was never even in 'disengaged' status. A couple of member rotations occurred, but the EXP didn't pause, even when the party was temporarily down to 5 members.

I was humbled as a WAR in this party, which was actually sort of ... encouraging. It means there's plenty of room for improvement, and I like to improve. I could only manage to occasionally pull hate from most of the mobs, as the 2 other Warriors constantly commanded their attention. After seeing these people in action, I'm looking forward to honing my equipment and merited skills once 75 is reached.

The party ended shortly after 1AM, a bit after a catastrophic link of 5 mobs killed a few party members. I managed to survive, but 3 people didn't. Once we raised and EXP'd a bit more as compensation, we proceeded to disband and return to town. The RDM, however, agro'd an Imp on the way back and died again before we could pop our heads out and /assist. And he deleveled to 74 -_-. He said he'd be solo'ing in the Thickets to get the level back.

I'm currently 20k into level 74, a little under half-way there.

Monday, November 06, 2006

On the home stretch

I managed to log in nearly 45 minutes earlier than usual since my son decided to go to sleep early last night. This left me with some additional 'awake' time to hopefully earn some more EXP. Caedarva looked much more promising and had enough room to accommodate at least 2-3 more parties. As I scanned the /sea lists to quickly get a party of my own out there, I received an invitation and accepted.

We had a decent setup of SMN BLM WAR WAR THF NIN and an uncontested camp, so the EXP flowed quickly and steadily. I didn't realize just how fatigued I was until we were about 1.5 hours into exp'ing and I began 'catching' myself drifting into La La Land. I'm sure some of you know that aweful feeling, where you re-focus on the screen and realize that you uh... "lost some time" and quickly scan the log for any disasters. My string of late nights and early mornings was finally catching up to me, in a big way. But I couldn't pass up this opportunity and resolved to stay awake & grind it out.

So I cranked up the iPod and paced around the living room with my controller as I played. If anyone had seen me at that time, they probably would have questioned my sanity.

I kept myself awake for about 15K before giving my notice. Several other people chimed in, and we called it a night.

In the process, I leveled up to 74 and was finally able to play with Utsusemi:Ni.

Tonight will most likely consist of... sleeping. A lot.

40,200 TNL /cry.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Slow & Steady

Glovont, a Warrior who occasionally frequents our LS, was forming a party last night and thankfully sent an invitation my way. All EXP zones but Bibiki were crowded, but we opted for the lesser of two evils and jumped out to the Mamool Ja staging point, setting up camp in the open area outside of the Mamook zone. There were no Paladins or Ninjas available, so for the first time in ages I was duo-tanking with another Warrior. This setup actually turned out OK and gained some amount of stability when a party member swapped in a THF sub, giving us two Trick Attackers. Glovont eventually reached 74 and we phased into a simpler 1st-voke + main tank setup. Well, that was the theoretical setup... I had more ATK on me so hate-swapping wasn't quite that straightforward at times.

The camp was a bit chaotic with so many parties, and we were exposed to pops at almost all times and all angles. Combine this with over-ambitious pulling due to competition, and the Puks' knockback AOE, and our battles often turned volatile. Amazingly, however, everyone kept their head and no one died. The party eventually fizzled due to RDM fatigue and I headed back to town with a little over 7k more EXP and some additional time to LFG and hopefully get a replacement invitation somewhere.

I was eventually invited to another party in the same area. It was on its last legs, but I actually appreciated the more stable pace and much safer camp. We stayed at the 'mouth' to the main area outside the Mamook zone and targeted Sea Puks exclusively. After about 2k, everyone (myself included) was passing out so we jumped back to town and called it a night.

13,500 EXP until I can use Utsusemi:Ni!

Saturday, November 04, 2006

EXP lost. EXP regained.

I logged in last night with the intention of EXPing some more but didn't have my hopes up since melee are a dime a dozen on Friday nights.

The LS was preparing to do a run for Atrenore's Healer's Briault quest, so I opted to have some fun with friends rather than LFG while collecting Moat Carps. And it was definitely a fun time. Runs through Beaucedine always put me in the holiday spirit, so I started a FFXI version of Jingle Bells (what with 'dashing through the snow' yadda yadda) and the other folks in the LS took it away. There was lots of running and joking, and the occasional "lolAgro".

Once Norey popped the Altedour I Tavnazia, I got cocky and popped my 2-hour much too early in the fight, underestimating this mob's HP and the power of the Dimensional Death move. He slept all of us and eventually killed me. Zorrandor (75 RDM) hit the dirt a little while later, but fortunately the rest of the group was able to kill it off & get Norey her Tavnazia Mask. Getting the crap kicked out of me caused me to neglect multiple photo opps here, unfortunately.

Since almost everyone was together and the Eldieme Necropolis was a short hike away, we decided to do get Lexxi her Choral Slippers, which require a 3-NM fight in the necropolis. A few more folks, including Jingy, outpost-warped to Beaucedine to join us. I was in bad form that evening, and forgot to take shots of the group until we were in the throes of the fight.

The battle went well and Lexxi got her slippers. A very productive night for the LS!

That same night, Feon graciously offered help with the Morbol fight for the ToAU Mission 12 key item, and we met up in Whitegate. He came with his BRD, Ishmael, and we ran to a safe camp in the woodlands to pull an Ameretat. Unfortunately, I hadn't geared up for evasion and had a terrible time tanking with Utsusemi:Ichi.

The mob hit much too quickly to give me a proper chance to refresh my shadows. I panick-swapped to my AF set and threw up Defender, but not in time to save me from my second death for the evening. Thankfully, Feon snagged a Raise III for me, which took a lot of the sting out of this one.

On our second attempt, Feon lent me his Melody Earrings for the extra evasion and I equipped my AF legs upon his recommendation. We still had a tough time and Feon eventually had to sleep the mob while he recovered MP and I refreshed shadows. We repeated the sleep cycle a couple of times and noticed that the mob wasn't regaining HP past 1/3 health while slept (?!). This was a godsend, enabling us to heal up fully enough to polish him off without too much danger.

Feon, in true fashion, kindly volunteered to duo Colibris with me in the Zoraal Ja's Pkuucha spawn area to regain my lost EXP. The gesture was much appreciated, and I got a brief peek at the NM before it was claimed by the horde of RMT there.

I was nearly passing out from exhaustion by the time I logged out around 2AM, but grateful for the friends I've made and the fun I continue to find in this game.

Friday, November 03, 2006


I'm not sure what came over me. Maybe it was fatigue, or maybe my brain is finally adjusting to my second life in Vanadiel. I walked away from my session with the impression that I had a good time, despite the fact that the EXP curse had obviously afflicted me once again. I think my net gain last night was around 500 EXP...

I noticed a Besieged gearing up as soon as I logged on, but it was still in the Preparing phase and stage 3, so I put up my LFG flag and puttered around with my inventory. An invite came within a few minutes and I hopped out to the mire.

The leader's name rang a bell, but I dismissed the negative hunch and joined the group: BRD, RDM, WAR, WAR, WAR, PLD. Aside from the lack of a WHM, this was a good setup... but there was apparently no designated puller. The RDM would spot a mob and spam a /party macro, and no one would move. Very bizarre. The party just had that un-cohesive feel to it, like people were operating on different channels and not all 'there.' We ended up pulling a string of 5 mobs, and somewhere in the shuffle, the RDM died and inexplicably HP'd... to Port Jeuno.

The BRD went down a bit later, and it was up to the melee to beat down the last mob. We were hurt badly from the prior 2 flies, but the tank kept up with the cures on herself and secured hate. As the mob turned on me and my HP dwindled into the red (we were all poisoned), I put up my 2-hour and Rampaged 800 HP off of the Imp before keeling over dead. This allowed the other Warriors to take the mob down in a few hits, and 3 of the 4 melee survived.

I joked that I at least died the way most Warriors like to die, right after a big meaty Rampage.

As the PLD doled out R1's to the party, the BRD leader threw up his hands and told everyone that he would be {Disbanding party}. I have a hunch that the person who asked me to replace him left for reasons other than fatigue. Ah well, net EXP was 500 so I didn't really lose anything and it was a good time-killer before Besieged.

When I returned to town, the advancing trolls had evolved to stage 6. While waiting for the event, I was invited to party again and initially took the offer until I checked the leader out. He had one of those 'funny' names that makes you suspicious, if you know what I mean.

Level 75 and rank 2. Hmmm... Searching for the first few characters of his name revealed a lot of variants. Double-hmmm...

I zoned to Whitegate to get a glance at the rest of the party. Another member was level 75, Rank 1. OK, game over. I laughed at the RMT and disbanded, leaving the one remaining legit player to make his own decision.

I waited for the trolls with a LS friend, Minusjoker (75 BLM). LS discussion ranged from dental surgery, to the Fibonacci sequence, to the average number of spiders swallowed by people each year (the number is 5, if you must know). The trolls took awhile but finally arrived around 11:45PM. We eventually found the troll boss, who looked very impressive, hit extremely hard, and of course had loads of HP.

People tried spamming nukes, which were ineffective, then noticed that Drain spells and Chi Blast worked very well against him. I didn't have either of those options, so I gained TP as best I could and used Full Break whenever possible. We had whittled him down to about 50% HP when the event ended. Unfortunately I had been killed by the boss, had reraised, and was killed again when the mob wandered to my healing spot. So I gained no EXP from the affair, true to form for the night.

A very strange evening, but fun and relaxing overall.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

When I blacklist you...

I'll never do it out of anger. 3 things will trigger an insertion into this list:

  • You run a casino and spam the /shout channel
  • You harrass me over /tell (this has never happened to me)
  • Your behavior indicates, without a shadow of doubt, that you can never be trusted.
Last night, someone was added to the list due to the third reason. This happened when, for the second time, I trusted the SMN to stay with the party until EXP got underway rather than jump to conclusions about how bad it was going to be. And for the second time, he used his status as the party lynchpin to completely dismantle it by rudely disbanding as we were moving camp.

How does the saying go? First time, shame on you. Second time, shame on me. So, before I forgot my mistake, I made a note of the name and blacklisted them. There's just no point in keeping someone who can't be trusted on your radar.

After this fiasco, I ended up scrambling for a healer and refresher for nearly half an hour before giving up and sending people on their way.

An invitation came about a half hour later, to the usual place, and I *gasp* stayed with the party even when I noted that the only healer was the RDM. We made steady, respectable, EXP and I logged out around 18500 into level 73.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Dragostea Din Tei

Just when you thought that song had left your brain... I go and necro-post it.

But come on, this video deserves to be posted. Too cute! And the Benny Hill finish is wonderful. ^_^

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Naja = Dominatrix

Naja Salaheem:
Why didn't ya speak up?
My morningstar gives ya goosebumps, does it?
Heh... That's why ya kept quiet...?
Let me tell ya somethin'.
This isn't just a weapon. It's a tool with which I exprrress 'affection' for my employees!
If I ever make ya bleed with this mace, just think of those drops as my crrrimson tears!

Yeah, I rest my case...

I've reached Aht Urhgan Mission 12 (Royal Puppeteer) but will need to defer the key item (Vial of Jody's Acid) until I can get some assistance in duo'ing or trio'ing the Morbol family mob that drops this RA/EX item.

For further amusement I decided to flag the Dvucca Isle Staging Point, which has a ridiculous walkthrough on the wikipedia. For the edification of adventurers who come after me, please ignore those directions and click on the 'discussion' link on that same page. The alternative mentioned there is faster and less dangerous.

Bring 1 silver imperial coin (100 ISP each), and some Sneak and Invis tools. Either take the ferry to Nashmau (yawn) or use the Runic Portal to access the Azouph Isle staging point and hike to Nashmau from there (or use that trusty bird whistle).

If you hike from Azouph, I'd recommend doing it during the daytime to avoid Jnun aggro, otherwise you'll end up consuming more Silent Oils than you need to if the zone isn't crowded with EXP parties. While making your way to Nashmau, beware the true sight Imps, sound-aggro Elder Treants, and sight-aggro rams. Leeches, birds, and Puktraps will not agro, and thankfully there are large areas with nothing but these mobs on your way to town. Just keep your eyes peeled.

Zone into Nashmau, and take the west exit to Caedarva Mire.

Head west and find the NPC at a cave entrance @ E-11. Trade 1 silver piece to enter the empty Alzadaal Undersea Ruins. Take the teleporter from here to another entrance to Caedarva Mire and talk to the NPC at the end of the tunnel to zone (be sure to do this before using Invis ^_^). Before taking the home stretch to the staging point, use Sneak and Invis since there will be Lamia mobs a few strides away. Then simply follow the right wall, pass the Lamia mobs, and zone to the Dvucca Isle Staging Point. Done.

Now, isn't that better than running around in the Arrapago Reef without a map?

Real Men of Genius

Murrdoc from our linkshell stumbled across this gem, and I couldn't resist posting it.

It's a parody of the Budweizer commercials that have been circulating on the radio since 2000, and oddly enough, manage to remain funny.


Rampage marathon

I logged in with the intention of catching up on my ToAU missions and proceeded to complete the Mission 7 cutscenes, but was soon dissappointed that I couldn't launch Mission 8 until the next day (midnight JP time). So I put up my flag and gathered my fishing materials together for some carp collection in Al Zahbi, hoping for a Besieged event as a nice diversion.

Of course, I received another Caedarva Mire invitation before I had a chance to cast a line.

The zone wasn't as overcrowded as the night before and we were fortunate to secure the camp at J-8 on the ridge, so we never ran out of mobs. Amazingly, this party went for hours without a refresher. The WHM had subbed SMN, had plenty of hMP gear, and somehow never seemed to run extremely low on MP. Fortunately the leader was BLM, so this added to the MP pool a bit. Nevertheless, I made a point of sending a compliment to the WHM, since she was clearly doing an amazing job. The rest of the party consisted of NIN, THF, WAR, DRK, all in the 72-73 range.

The party was quite lucrative in EXP and absolutely uneventful. There were a few close calls due to last-minute pops, but we pulled through. A BRD was eventually rotated in to replace the leader and a RNG replaced the DRK, and the pulls went into overdrive. By the time I left, I'd been in the party for about 4 hours and it was still going strong.


I'm currently 8400 EXP into level 73 and can finally off-hand the Maneater. My DoT seems to have increased remarkably: the latent effect on the Maneater is an increase from 43 to 49 DMG, supplemented by "hidden" effects of Accuracy +5 and Attack +18. Unfortunately, Amnesia doesn't do wonders for the trigger, since I can remain stuck at 100+%TP for awhile until it wears off, actually leaving me at a disadvantage compared to the Reserve Captain's Pick, which was at least giving me +10 Atk. But I can see the Maneater/Woody combo being very powerful in merit parties that don't involve these blasted Imps.

Tonight will probably consist of reading through more ToAU cutscenes, which are quite enjoyable, although Naja seems to have a bit of a dominatrix complex.

Not that Frohike seems to mind.

Monday, October 30, 2006


I picked up a collection of SF short stories by Ted Chiang last week and favored reading that on a few evenings, particularly on Thursday and Friday night of last week. Thursday evening greeted me with a Besieged event as soon as I logged in and it was getting a bit too late to hop into a pickup party by the time we repelled the Undead Swarm. So I logged out and read.


I was unable to log in until 10PM on Friday, and I was rather tired. A series of "/sea all" revealed a smorgasbord of melees seeking a party, so I figured an invitation would be slow... if at all likely. I went the lazy route and left my flag up, turned on the /tell chime, and went AFK to read more stories. By 11:30PM, all was still silent, and I logged out.

In case you can't tell, Ted Chiang is quite good. I highly recommend his collection to anyone who enjoys a good Borges-style brain massage. You can get most of his stories in one volume "Stories of Your Life, and Others." I can't wait until he actually writes a novel.

Rather than go the lazy route last night, I jumped on at 9PM and saw a paladin, white mage, and red mage all seeking. I immediately sent the /tells and worked for about 25 minutes to form a party. The RDM wanted a BRD and was too high-level for the rest of our members, so I eventually grabbed a level 70 BRD as soon as he hopped on (thank heavans), and relied on him for Refresh for the rest of the evening. I found Lurick (WAR) seeking and knew I could count on him to stick around; I grabbed a DRK because... I dunno, they seem to need invites, and I think they make fine DD.

Our setup became WHM BRD PLD WAR WAR DRK.

EXP in the mire was slow due to overcrowding, so we picked up the stakes and moved to Bibiki Bay, chaining Hobgoblin Alastors, Toreadors, and Blaggers for awhile until moving to the Hobgoblin Angler camp further south. The transition to the new campsite was messy, leaving Lurick and me to duo a goblin while the rest of the party was stranded at the old camp and the BRD, who had brought a /NIN sub by mistake, kept screaming at us to disengage so he could sleep it. -_- I'd 2-houred and was fairly close to killing the thing, but disengaged in the hopes that the mob could indeed be slept.

In hindsight, I should have gone down swinging. Lurick died as well, and the poor BRD followed soon thereafter.

Fortunately our WHM used Raise III, so the only significant penalty for the incident was down-time. Lurick bowed out around 11:30 and I found another WAR pretty quickly. This one was a Joyeuse-toting rank 10 with a Rajas Ring and was quite fun to watch in action. I complimented him on the sword and ring, and he complimented me on my damage as we proceeded to hack away the hours.

The DRK eventually disconnected but remained on my party list due to a glitch, so I was unaware of his departure until some other folks asked me about a replacement. Once the WAR dropped and I re-invited him, the glitch was fixed and we hobbled along with 5 until I could find a melee. I was favoring WAR/MNK/THF/DRK/SAM in my searches and had completely forgotten about DRG. -_- Shame shame on me. Once we got the poor DRG that I had been ignoring, the party cruised along, and the dragoon had the fortune of working on his latent in the process.

Sleepiness started to take hold around 1:30 AM (which felt like 2:30 to me thanks to stupid DST... you know kids don't really know about DST, so they don't sleep in that "extra" hour), and I brought in a Monk to replace me, passing the lead to the uber-WAR.

I'm currently 22K into level 72, and I'm effectively bored of EXPing again. That... didn't take much, did it?

Fortunately my friend Feon pinged me about joining up with a group to complete the ToAU missions. This was a fortuitous offer and I, of course, accepted with caveats about my limited time windows, which can shrink when my son refuses to go to sleep. I'll work my way as far as I can tonight, since I'm currently sitting at mission 7, and I assume they need help with one of the BCNM further down the line.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Musical chairs

That's what some people seem to want to play when they agree to join a party. I joined one in Caedarva Mire last night with the intent of getting a ways into level 72 and testing the use of meat rather than sushi. I did accomplish this, and I'm now 7000 EXP into 72 and wearing the Woodville's Axe rather than the old Tabarzin. The Reserve Captain's Pick will remain in place until I reach level 73 and can finally equip the Maneater.


I need to address the people who like to play musical chairs rather than EXP. When it's 10PM and the party gets off to a rough start, immediately dropping out of it doesn't solve anything, and dropping without warning (the dreaded fake DC) is certainly a great way to sabotage the EXP of the people who are left behind, and garnering a questionable reputation in the minds of people who actually remember names. How hard is it to simply state that you don't think the party is going well and that you're searching for a replacement? I mean... give people 10 minutes. That's all it takes sometimes; to either get into the groove or find a replacement. It's not like leaving will free you up for another party at such an hour.

This happened several times in our group, and it had all started due to inevitable overcrowding and slow pulls. The WHM suddenly dropping out got the ball rolling nicely. We kept plowing forward in fits & starts, and people kept getting discouraged and DC'ing. In the final stages of the party, we actually had a very nice setup, supplemented by mutual respect for the members who decided to tough it out while the party kept mutating. But...we could have earned twice the EXP if people had just calmed down a bit, and used their head.

In any case, my consumption of Meat kabobs rather than Sushi led to some interesting results. With Aggressor and Berzerk up, almost all hits connected for 75-95 damage. Rampages flucuated between 750 to the low 900's ... without a Bard or Corsair. I was wearing gear amounting to +37 accuracy, and Aggressor added 25 to that. Unfortunately, somewhere in that extra 25 from Aggressor lies the magical accuracy level I must acheive to truely use meat in EXP parties. I missed more than I cared to until I could get Aggressor back up. I can't parse to determine whether the increase in DoT during the Aggressor phase was outweighing the decrease during the cooldown. So it was back to Sushi once the food wore off. The damage from there on out was respectable and more predictable, but the numbers when using meat were much more promising.

I'll definitely try this again when I have an Optical Hat. I might even experiment again once I can get the funds to add some accuracy on the ring slots (swap out the Venerer for a Woodsman/Sniper) and ear slots (exchanging Spike Earrings for Assault Earrings).

Monday, October 23, 2006

Dunes: 1 - Frohike: 2

I'm at level 13 on White Mage, verging on 14, and I'm now prepared to put it down for a bit, at least until the folks on my LS feel like partying with their level 12 jobs.

The first party I got was fabulous: PLD tank and no PL. It got off to a rough start with a crazy puller who basically ... wouldn't stop, even when vehemently told to stop, and he spoke English. After I threatened to let him die on the next pull, he spared us the pleasure of booting him and dropped out of the party. We found a sane puller within seconds. I went from 10 to 12 with no horrible incidents besides one over-ambitious pull... I used Benediction and the PLD used Invincible and we all lived to see some more EXP.

The following night was devoid of invites, until a blind one came in. No blind invite I have ever taken has turned out well, and I should just make it a rule to never take one again. To convey the quality of this party I will quote the MNK leader (Rank 2): "Any melee job can tank at these levels. Besides, we have a backup healer." He had asked the Warrior to disband right after he dinged "out of our level spread"... on the first fight (?!). However the leader himself was the same level. He proceeded to invite a Thief replacement. The party became MNK MNK THF BLM RDM WHM. Hate control was a disaster, they pulled IT goblins, no one wanted to actually tank, and several people died with home points in Bastok and/or Jeuno. I disbanded and wished them all good luck, then sent a /tell to the leader letting him know that he was dead wrong about the whole... tanking thing.

Last night's party was complete crap until I fixed it and got rid of the PL. The setup was initially DRK WAR BLM BLM RDM WHM. The Red Mage, a 16-year-old rank 1, was being powerleveled by his father, a 60ish WHM. The DRK would end up tanking most of the time because the WAR didn't know how to do it.

The Red Mage meleed the entire time. Strike 1.

The PL was so aweful that he didn't know how to handle a 3-lizard link (the WAR was pulling), and let the entire party die. I was already annoyed at not being able to do my job, but this was ridiculous. I was getting the worst of both worlds. Strike 2.

The WAR, in some powerleveled stupor, brought in a WHM as replacement before he left. OK.

The DRK eventually left and passed me the lead, and I found a Ninja. I noticed the RDM was level 10, and the BLM had just dinged 14. Everyone else was in the 12-14 range. Hmmm... /em taps his fingers.

I didn't need to wait long before the kid started asking me to kick out the BLM, and threatening to leave and 'take his PL with him' if I didn't. I told him the decision to leave or stay was his, and asked him how close he was to 11... 300 EXP. He was ready to kick someone over a gap that was going to be closed in a few mobs. Strike 3.

On his second complaint, I told him I wouldn't be kicking the BLM and repeated that the decision to stay or leave was his. So he took his stupid PL and walked away, leaving me to create a proper party. Unfortunately this is what I had to build from: NIN, WHM, WHM, BLM, BLM. I found a WAR seeking within seconds. The next part sucked for me, but I think benefited the Rank 1's that comprised the rest of the party. I invited a WAR to replace me.

So it went from a powerleveled death-trap to a survivable party where people could actually learn their jobs. I walked to Bastok, helping a few folks along the way, and checked on my party before logging out. They were doing well, and I hope all of them continue to do so. Without a powerleveler.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Nunyenunc and Tom Tit Tat

I camped the bird NM as soon as I got on tonight and was promptly slapped by a level 20ish monk, and checked by another /anon camper in the area. I ignored the rude monk and asked the other camper to kindly notify me of the ToD if he got it.

About an hour and a half later, I gave the ToD and position to both campers and walked away with my Pilgrim's Wand. As Tsakiki advised, I hung around the positions indicated on the ffxi-atlas map rather than the FFXIclopedia entry, and the NM spawned just south of the path in that area, a little ways up the Starfall Hillock grade.

While I was camping, I stumbled across a Mandy NM by the name of Tom Tit Tat, who dropped Fruit Punches. Unfortunately, I didn't take a close look at them and failed to notice that they were RA only, not RA/EX. So I threw them out... I was kicking myself later when I saw that they were in fact sellable and worth about 40k on the Jeuno AH (although sales are quite slow on them).

Ah well.

The rest of the evening was spent getting to Jeuno and chatting along the way. I bumped into Atreiyu in Windy Waters and caught up with CC goings-on, and explained to him why I hadn't been on the shell much. He understood and we agreed to keep in touch. I do look forward to his wedding with Gunda, which is slated to happen sometime next year. That'll be quite the momentous occasion.

I turned in early since real estate agents would be invading our home early the next day. On that side of things, we've finally purchased a bona fide house, which I'm very excited about, and we're on the verge of selling the condo (fingers crossed). Things are going to be... busy in the coming months.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Microsoft, why hast thou forsaken me?

Xbox Live experienced an 'unscheduled outage' last night, and I was unable to log in. So I occupied myself with Oblivion while watching the season finale of Project Runway.

Screw you Jeffrey; your Gwen Stefani crap annoyed me from day 1, and your final collection was no better. Grrr... It should have been Ulli.

I took my anger out on poor Adamus Philida. And I was tame; sticking to the mission and killing him with the Rose of Sithis and taking his severed finger to his successor's desk for a little bonus.

Some people find extremely creative ways to vent, however. If you've had to deal with the 'Adoring Fan' in the game, you'll appreciate the sadistic glee in this video (the player obviously modded stuff quite a bit):

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Why people need to stop freaking out

About the deflating economy.

I've tried to phrase exactly why the deflation isn't catastrophic when compared to the overall value of gil, but this post did it for me.

The only caveat I would give is that this explanation only holds water if you actually use the profits in a timely manner. If you sit on the profits and the market skyrockets again, you just shot yourself in the foot (skilling up Marksmanship?).

Yara Ma Yha Who

I killed this Tahrongi NM before I had the chance to take a snapshot. I lucked out and he popped on my second Distilled Water trade, so total camp time on this one was only 50 minutes, fortunately.

With my Fasting Ring acquired, I ran over to West Saruta to try the lottery spawn on the Pilgrim's Wand NM. No luck on this one, though I suspect I was camping the wrong positions. FFXIclopedia gives one location whereas the ffxi-atlas map, gives another. I'll have to try the other spot on Wednesday.

Monday, October 16, 2006

The mage honeymoon is over

With both BLM and WHM at 10, I now need to take the plunge and go partying. Solo'ing these levels was quite fun, although I'm surprised at how much easier it was to level WHM. BLM just seems extremely anemic outside of a party at these levels, especially for an Elvaan with a limited MP pool. I probably died around 4 or 5 times on BLM, while WHM only garnered 1 death.

I spent last night shopping for all the new equipment I'll need. Due to my race, I'm going to need compensatory equipment which will not come cheaply or easily. This includes the Astral Ring, which goes for 700k or so on Ifrit, and the Fasting Ring, which is 'free' in terms of gil but not in terms of time. This RA/EX ring drops from a force-popped sapling NM in Tahrongi Canyon, but the pop doesn't always occur and can only be fed once every 50 minutes or so (some recommend after 22:00 Vanadiel time). Needless to say there are horror stories of people going 6-9 rounds with no pop. I'll give up after 4, since I need my sleep and sanity.

Next on my list will be the Pilgrim's Wand, which gives a nice +2 hMP effect. I can macro this in along with a cookie before resting (assuming Ginger Cookies hMP effect stacks with this wand's hMP?), then macro the standard +MND wand when I get up. This wand drops from a lottery spawn bird NM in West Sarutabaruta, so I'll probably camp it on Wednesday night.

Tonight will be spent pouring Distilled Water on the ground in the Canyon (zzzzz), and tomorrow will be Xbox Live maintenance, so no FFXI for me then.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Noobin on up

On a whim, I'd decided to get to work on my White Mage sub after acquiring the Maneater. Solo EXP in Ronfaure just seemed like it would be a nice vacation after the two weeks of crafting. And my hunch was correct.

I went the melee route as recommended by "those who came before me", on various boards or wiki pages. Loading up on Selbina Milk helped to reduce the down time while leveling White Mage to 8, but I was still burning through my MP with Dia pulls and Healing Magic skillups. So I still had some down time here & there.

Last night, I prepared to level up BLM, since it was now a gimped sub for my WHM, and decided I needed a nice cheap MP refresh to complement my HP regen. I went the lazy route and simply asked the LS, since many folks have leveled mage jobs, and Jingy recommended Pineapple Juice. This was something I could craft cheaply, so I purchased 8 stacks of Kazham Pineapples from the regional vendor in Port Bastok and put most of them on Frohike, along with a partial stack of water crystals.

Then Jingy recommended a Jack 'o Lantern, which I remember being a nice lowbie accuracy and evasion food. I looked up the recipe and did a double-take... As long as one of the towns owns Lower Elshimo, this synth is super-cheap, and people sell Jacks for 6-7k (probably because most buy the beeswax rather than HQ'ing it). So that's another recipe to tuck in the back of my mind as a good Bazaar synth. I have a few stacks of Ogre Pumpkins for now.

Before I headed out, Jingy kindly gave me some Pamama Au Lait which were quite a bit more effective than the Selbina Milk, albeit unstackable: 2 HP regen for 10 minutes. Nice!

When I finally made it into the forest I ate the Jack o' Lantern, the juice, and the au lait... and marveled at the contrast from my early days here. I simply had no down time. At all. The pugils in particular were wonderful targets because Stone killed them quickly, and they would drop water crystals which I'd forgotten to stock up, so fortunately I never ran out of juice ingredients.

Loading up on all this food led to over-confidence, and a few close calls. But the MPK adjustment made it rather easy to come out alive, especially when a linked mob happened to be a mage and would stop to cast...only to despawn. And since I wouldn't disengage from the target, I could still pause to throw some newbie-nukes at the more persistent chasers and continue running as my HP regenerated. A bit of this and I could just turn around and finish off the mob. Fun stuff!

I logged off with BLM at 6, and plan to take it to 10 tonight. Then I'll switch back to WHM and probably attend a few Valkurm parties once I hit 10 on that job. I'm still reading up on how to not suck as a WHM, in case this whim snowballs into something else. But I have a hunch the Dunes will probably beat the 'noob allure' out of me.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Finally got the Maneater

I dropped the Black Ink market, crafted all of my Echo Drops and sold them, and took on Poison Potion again, while keeping an eye on Sleeping Potion and a few other cheap synths. I managed to sell about 200k worth of the product before more overcrowding brought the price back down to 20k/stack (from 25-27). Sleeping Potion remained a joke, and still does.

It seems to me that the 60ish Alchemy market is bottoming out again. Granted I didn't exactly put in 100% focus, but it still seems like the 2 weeks dragged themselves out longer than they needed to. It should not have taken this long to make the gil.

I barely had the 2 million but needed some quick buffer money in case someone put a Maneater up for an additional 100k. And I also didn't want be a complete pauper by the time I actually did get the Axe. So I quested the Teleport-Dem scroll and sold it for 200k. I can always buy one later if I ever feel the urge to... tele-taxi?

So I took my wad of money and did a lot of this:

You can't see it, but my cot is a little off to the side. And my megaphone is on the ground.

I spent awhile fruitlessly camping the Auction House and shouting for the Maneater in Whitegate and Lower Jeuno. Of course there were a few people who couldn't resist responding to "{Maneater} {Can I have it?} {Reward:} 2,000,000 {Gil}" with a witty pun on the weapon's name. Yeah, that didn't get old fast ;-_-.

When 10:00PM came around, I decided that it was time to have some fun while the night was still young and go back to my home town to level White Mage and Black Mage in preparation for leveling Beastmaster. As soon as I got off the airship, I sent 2 million to my Jeuno mule and decided to check the AH there again... just in case.

And whaddya know. I didn't bother trying to haggle. I bid the 2 mil, sent the Maneater to Frohike, and breathed a huge sigh of relief.

I now have 200k in my pocket, and some peace of mind in knowing that my expensive gear purchases are now mostly done before the holidays. I can weather the storm with what I've got for awhile.

I spent the rest of the evening drinking Selbina Milk and clubbing things to death. White Mage is at level 5, Black Mage at 3, and I can't wait to play around with BST.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Mercredi sucks

This yahoo has succeeded in dropping Black Ink from the livable 12k-10k range to an embarrassing 8k or less. If anyone on the Ifrit sees him, please give him a nice /slap. I mean what the hell? It's barely worth filling AH slots with these now. I can HQ these like crazy, but it's almost to the point where I'd be better off selling the Nebs. But... too late for that, since I'm now sitting on upwards of 20 stacks of this product. I oughta smack Mercredi into next Jeudi.

The Poison and Sleeping potion markets have recovered from a week-long slump so it may be time to pick those up again for a quick 200 or 300k jaunt. And I have tons of honey that I held onto for ... no reason really, so it's probably time to sell some Echo drops. Still not sure if they're really worth my time, but I hate staring at multiple stacks of ingredients, especially when I'm so close to the coveted 2 million.

In other news, I went for an easy 80k and completed the quick and painless Sandy quest: The Rumor. This basically involved going to the Oubliette and giving a vial of Beastman Blood (1.5k) to a vampire in exchange for a Drain scroll (worth about 80k). The vampire's description of his 'affliction' and 'research' for a 'cure' made me wish there were such a semi-permanent status effect in this game... they use vampirism quite well in the Elder Scrolls games and I could picture it being used effectively in FFXI as well: weakness in daytime, strength at night, some DRK'ish absorb abilities, strength vs undead, weakness to light spells, and a quest to remove the 'affliction' if needed. Meh, daydreaming I guess.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Savage Blade

After Zorrandor broke his latent, the LS tried to put a Savage Blade run together but people's schedules didn't allow for it that week, so the event had to wait until last night. It was an adventure, in parts, even though a large percentage of it was spent waiting for poor Zorr and Lycas to run around to all 4 columns to unlock the Altepa Gate.

The group gathered at Rabao:

  • Atrenore - 70 DRG
  • Lexxi - 62 WHM
  • Lycasdemus - 69 PLD
  • Minusjoker - 75 BLM
  • Murrdoc - 62 DRK
  • Zorrandor - 75 RDM
We headed out to J-9 in Western Altep and made our way through Quicksand Caves (the Tribunus VII-I map) to the 'waiting room' just south of the Altepa Gate.

For anyone unfamiliar with this quest, it involves zoning into four different entrances to Quicksand Caves from Western Altepa, and in 2 of the 4 cases, opening weight-triggered doors which give you access to sand pits, which drop you down to passageways that lead to the activation points for the 4 pillars. The weight-triggered doors require a duo unless the player is a Galka (no joke). And of course the path to each pillar is littered with Anticans and Spiders that will aggro anyone below 71-2ish. Once all 4 pillars are active, the Altepa Gate opens, giving access to a special area in Quicksand Caves populated by high-level Anticans, several NM's, and of course containing the ??? point for the WSNM.

Although Zorr had cleared the 2 solo-able pillars earlier (Topaz and Ruby), they had apparently been reset by the time we all made it out to Altepa, so Lycas and Zorr headed out to trigger the remaining pillars while we sat in the waiting room and killed the single Ant that would pop there occasionally.

After awhile we started goofing around while Zorr and Lycas did the heavy lifting. We pulled the occasional mob for fun. Murrdoc and Minusjoker used their Chocobo whistles and raced their birds up and down the trench.

We did eventually make it through the gate.

While waiting for Zorr and Lycas to return from their last pillar, I zoned into QC and went poking around downstairs to check for the Ant NM that typically blocks the path to the ???. I didn't get very far before I felt quite uneasy and turned the hell around. Most ants there conned DC to me, and I didn't want to put the group in the awkward position of attempting to raise me in such a place.

Once we all zoned in, I did my best to warn everyone about the NM Antican Praetor that agros through Sneak and lurks at the 4-way intersection on our way to the ???. But one of us ended up agro'ing the NM anyway and we all ran back, poisoned, battered, and laughing.

Our second attempt was successful once we waited for the NM to move a bit south, and we made it to the room we would need to clear before triggering the WSNM. To my recollection there were around 6 DC ants here, but they didn't present too much of a problem to our group.

Once the room was clear, Zorr triggered the ??? and the Scorpion NM Girtablulu appeared. Lycas took on the tanking role, and within seconds the scorpion used its dreaded move: Death Scissors. This hit poor Lycas for upwards of 1200 damage, resulting in death. I immediately 2-houred, dropped Berserk, lost my shadows pretty quickly, and took a few hits before I could get my shadows back up. Each strike took a good 200+ chunk out of me.

I tried skillchaining Mistral Axe after Zorr's Decimation but failed miserably as my Utsusemi spell interfered... so we kept slashing, piercing, and nuking away at it. I'll admit I lost my head a bit when Lycas died and by the time I got my wits about me the process was more than half-way over.

We eventually defeated the NM and Zorr got his key item for Savage Blade.

My sincere thanks to the group for a very fun evening, {Congratulations!} to Zorrandor for unlocking a very powerful weaponskill, and {/comfort} to Lycasdemus for the being the unfortunate victim of such a nasty mob skill.

Monday, October 02, 2006


Sorry for the lack of updates. I could have done a few posts, but all of them would have simply consisted of several shapshots of myself crafting and camping shops. That's about all I've been doing...

I'm making steady progress to the 2 million gil I'll need for the Maneater. I'm currently at 1.33 mil and have a few more stacks of Poison Potion, which if sold at the 30k average will bring me to close to 1.5 mil. I'll let the Poison Potion market cool down a bit and move on to Black Ink this evening, fishing up Nebs on the ferry.

The 2 million should be reached around the end of the work-week, freeing me up for...anything other than crafting for a bit.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

I came. I saw. I rampaged.

Sales on my Alchemy items are progressing steadily, and no one seems to be flooding or massively undercutting the products I'm selling, although Carbon Fiber sales are a bit slower than expected. Poison Potion has resumed its 30k price-point, and I'm tempted to camp in Bibiki again since most of my stacks have sold. Fingers crossed here. All it really takes is one determined moron to ruin the market for a week.

By the time I put up my last scraps of Sleeping Potion on the AH last night, I was out of materials and didn't feel like schlepping more Bomb Ash from my Bastok mule to make Firesand stacks...so I put up my flag and grabbed some food.

An invitation came within minutes for the usual Caedarva Mire party. Atrenore and Lycasdemus were in an EXP party out there on their Dragoon and Paladin respectively, so I got to see both of them as I made my way out to... wherever the camp was going to be. There was a bit of milling around until we all arrived and settled.

We checked Imp Alley but two roaming parties were already killing everything there. The lake camps were also taken. So we perched on the hill at the NE corner of K-8 and killed imps, flies, and Jnun for a few hours. The leader was a Bard, so I was able to beat my 1008 rampage with a 1022 on another Jnun. Most other WS damage fluctuated between 400-700, with the occasional 800-900 fluke, usually on the Jnun.

It was a DC-happy night. Between my party and Nore/Lycas, we had about 4 disconnects. One of them was our Ninja, which didn't seem to phase the party: they kept pulling and let me de facto tank, so I had to kill Berserk for awhile and use Defender quite a bit. Fortunately the NIN returned. About 30 minutes later the THF disconnected permanently so we got a WAR replacement and kept going with a pretty good EXP setup: NIN, WAR, WAR, BLU/THF, WHM, BRD.

I kept screwing up the mob alignment to the consternation of the the BLU/THF, and I apologized profusely, explaining that facing the tank was practically programmed into me from years of SATA setups.

We suffered only one death when an Imp slept everyone immediately after the other WAR had rampaged. You can guess who died there. Oddly, the BRD kept ordering the WHM to R3 the fallen warrior, as if s/he didn't know how to play the job. Very...strange. To make matters weirder, this resulted in the WHM blacklisting the BRD for the remainder of the party, and yes they actually stayed. Odd folk.

During the largely uneventful EXPing, I was able to chat sporadically with the shell, and we eventually all waxed nostaligic about old videogame titles (Jingy was watching a documentary on the subject), almost all of us revealing our advanced age in the process. Platforms ran the gamut from Intellivision to Commodore 64, or in my case Odyssey (aka Videopac in France) and Amstrad. And yes, some of us are old enough to have played the first Zelda during our high school years (/em raises his hand), although I failed to reveal this to the group.

At an earlier point, Lycas dinged 69 on his Paladin while my HP was in the deep red, so all he got from me was a 'Woot!'. So a belated, proper, {Congratulations!} to Lycas is in order.

I myself am about 6k away from equipping my Woodville's Axe. But that'll have to wait.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Keeping busy

Just to try something different I had decided to camp Centurio X-I for some nice scrolls on Friday and was getting ready to head out to the Quicksand Caves as soon as I logged in. Coincidentally, Jingy and Minusjoker were both already out there in the spawn room; Jingy to skillup his Guard ability, and Minusjoker to get a coffer key. All three of us were getting some EXP for our NPCs, so it turned into a full party. A couple of people had killed Centurio within minutes of my arrival, so I sorta...gave up on camping it and proceeded to kill pretty much everything in the area for the coffer key.

When Minusjoker went AFK for a minute, I decided to pull another Antican but got a little too big for my britches and linked 3 of them. I killed two, and whittled the third one down, but died in the process. Jingy finished it off, and thankfully didn't die.

Lurick came in sometime that night to level his NPC... I didn't chat with him much but I think he was procastinating: his WAR was still level 70 so he probably hadn't beaten Maat yet. I didn't ask if he'd given it a third try.

We left once MJ's key dropped and I logged out, confused about my experience points since I still appear to be 20k TNL. I must have underestimated my EXP on the last update.

I logged in sporadically throughout the morning on Saturday to buy up Cobalt Jellyfish in Bibiki Bay and craft it all into Mercury. When you're playing in the living room with 2 kids all morning, firing up FFXI every hour or so for a mini-session is actually pretty easy and convenient ^_^. I might make this a weekly ritual on Saturdays, depending on how long the Poison Potion market lasts.

By the time I logged in for my evening session, I was sitting on 18 stacks of Mercury and moved on to Carbon Fiber which was selling quite well at 20k per stack. After crafting about a dozen stacks of these, I noticed the LS was gearing up to get a couple of members through LB1, so I threw on the only gear I'd left in my MH and warned the group. They were going to be playing with a male Elvaan warrior in full artifact armor. I remembered to bring Blinding Potions this time.

We decided to do the Papyrus run first, since this usually takes the longest, and we headed for the 'easy' camp in hopes that no one else was going for the paper drop that night. We were the only ones there and proceeded to kill Lichs and other assorted mobs. Zorrandor was working on breaking the latent on his Sapara of Trials for the Savage Blade weaponskill, so he and I eventually set up Fusion (Spinning Axe + Flat Blade) since he unfortunately couldn't use Red Lotus Blade as a RDM.

The paper refused to drop and the Lich spawns were sparse, so the Zorr and I stayed at our camp while the rest of the group took the long trip through the Glacier to enter the Necropolis at the F-5 entrance from Batallia Downs. I skillchained with Zorr until I was close to passing out around 1:45AM and called it a night. I wished the LS luck on the paper and the rest of the items.

It appears they were indeed lucky. Murrdoc posted the following report to the LS forum the next day:

First off...congrats to Mal and Q for getting all three LB1 items last night! After trying to get the drops near the bones camp for an hour or so, we relocated to the northwestern part Necropolis map where it was a matter of what...20 minutes? For BOTH drops! o.O How totally insane...I've never seen the papyrus double drop...well, ever? lol. Someone was smiling on Q and Mal last night^^ Then, we were off to GC, where Zorr solo'ed back to back bombs for back to back coal drops...I think we were there for a grand total of 5 minutes lol. We did spend a little more time in CN fighting exo's for the mold...but that had more to do with the giller pt in the exo room than anything else :P

Once the ball got rolling, though...all three items x 2 in a little over two hours! /hurray

I discovered yesterday morning that Zorr also broke his latent on the mob immediately following our last one. So we got quite a bit accomplished that night, and I was proud to have participated in at least some of it. Some pictures of the group:

Let's kill whatever Zorr's killing...Say {Hello!} to my little {Friend}Waiting for more Lichs

It seemed like the team was gearing up for the Savage Blade WSNM last night, which would include a very interesting run for opening the Altepa Gate. It sounded dangerous and I wanted to participate and take some pictures, but a couple of our mages were on leave for a few days, so we slated this run for a later date.

I spent the night crafting Poison Potion and killing mushrooms in Spore Hollow for Sleepshrooms. I've got 6 or 7 stacks of shrooms and will be ready to craft these into Sleeping Potion tonight.

This and Echo Drops (and perhaps some Firesand) will round out my merchandise for the week:

  • Poison Potion: 18 stacks @ 27k = 486k
  • Carbon Fiber: 12 stacks @ 18k = 216k
  • Sleeping Potion: 7 stacks @ 30k = 210k
  • Echo Drops: 10 stacks @ 10k = 100k
  • Firesand: ??? stacks @ 20k = ???

So it looks like be back up to 1.5 mil sometime this week. Another crafting session next weekend should get me enough gil to grab the Maneater before the holiday inflation maelstrom hits the server.