Tuesday, February 28, 2006

The Plan for Genkai 3

I've been poking around Allakhazam and reviewing the Limit Break 3 quest details, and it's becoming clear that if I want to actually solo this, I'm going to need some safeguards.

First of all I need to bring my THF and NIN subs up to 36 or more. Why? Warp Cudgel. Depending on cost, I might buy multiples, which would allow me to warp more than once per day. I don't plan to use my WAR to get through any of these sections, since it can't take on whatever might agro me and there's no sense in wasting that much EXP.

Before each of the three sections, I'll make sure I have the following CP item: Scroll of Instant Reraise. Upon entering the zone, I'll use it (probability of death is quite high, and I'd rather not have to backtrack if I die in an area where I can actually regain my footing & move on), and equip the Warp Cudgel. I'll macro the warp, to avoid menu-fumbling when an enemy decides to kill me.

For the Davoi and Beaudeaux sections, I'll use my Ninja, since Shinobi-Tabi are cheaper per invis than Prism Powders (30k for 99 Tabi vs same price for 12 powders) and NIN also gives me an EXP safeguard: Mijun Gakure. So if things really go sour, I can 2-hour, wait for the mob to wander off (hopefully) and Reraise to give it another go. If I don't get killed while weakened, I'll still have the Warp Cudgel if things go badly again. Of course this all goes to hell if my Ninja gets killed before I can use anything but, as the Ninjas would say, "c'est la vie" (if they were like... Jean Claude Van Damme style french Ninja's... work with me here). In any case, I'll have the Warp Cudgel to get outta dodge once I've aquired the crest.

I'm worried about Castle Oztroja, for which I'll be using my Thief. The walkthrough is very long and involved, and one part requires me to drop invisibility, light a torch, invis back up, and use Flee to run to the opened door before it closes. This is bad because A) I suck at navigating maps and B) I can't step on the leeches as I run. Considering how much stuff I trip over in RL, I predict death for Frohike in this section, but I'll try anyway, and see if I can use Reraise to my advantage. Of course I'll sub Ninja in this section to give me more Tonko:Ichi goodness, and will also use the Warp Cudgel if necessary.

So, how does that sound. Worried for me yet?

Sunday, February 26, 2006

I'm still here

Sorry for the lack of updates for the past few days. I've been busy with RL work and ... life.

The short sessions I've been able to grab consisted mostly of crafting and chatting with the social LS.

I've noticed I'm getting close to a 3 million gil sum and I'm wondering what to do it, rather than let it lose value in my MH. I still need to level up my Ninja subjob from 32 to 40, and my Thief from 26 to 37, so I'm guessing my purchase will be an Emperor Hairpin (3 million on Ifrit). I really would like to deck my Warrior out with some Victory Rings, but I think they'll have to wait.

I would camp the Valkurm Emperor if I had the time, but I really don't, so purchasing with proceeds from crafting (something mostly under my control and that I can pick up and do whenever I want) fits my playstyle more realistically.

I was initially going to skip the Emperor Hairpin, but I don't think I'll be well-served by playing either subjob at less than their potential. I wouldn't really be enjoying the jobs if I knew I were intentionally 'skimping' on them on my way to 37 or 40. And why play a job if you don't respect and enjoy it, really? I mean isn't that the point of this game? To have some fun?

I've had a blast crafting, and now I'll spend the gil (which I actually had fun making) to enjoy a couple of other jobs. Vanadiel life is good, at the moment.

Of course when I have to explain Sneak Attack / Trick Attack for the bajillionth time to a party in the jungles, I might be singing a different tune. ^^;

Thursday, February 23, 2006

February updates to crafts

After reading Aerroenu's blog, I checked into the new Alchemy recipes and noticed the new GP skills for all the crafts. The ones for Alchemy are:

Trituration - 10,000
Allows you to place ingredients in a triturator, making it easier to process more medicines with on crystal.
Concoction - 20,000
Allows you to concentrate ingredients to create medicines in the form of a solid drop. These drops have the same effect as their liquid equivalents.

I'm mainly interested in the Concoction, since this would allow me to produce stackable versions of Hi-Potions. I don't see the big gains with Trituration, since the new recipes that use it seem to basically double all the key recipe ingredients (other than Distilled Water), so all the savings amount to are the time-savings, and the cost of the crystals (also time-savings if those were farmed).

I think this means my next priority in the crafting arena should be to earn Guild Points and get Concoction. I'll still craft for gil, but only to keep up with expenses for now.

No luck with either a Skillup or AF party last night. I logged in too late in the evening, and after some non-response time, decided to generate a new mule and take him on a hike from Sandy to Jeuno. I'm amused at how easy it was to make most of the hike without using any stealth items, considering how terrified I was as a newbie running through La Theine a few years ago (not knowing anything about sight vs sound agro, nor the sight range of most orcs).

Tonight probably won't be supremely productive either, since my Tai Chi class ends at 9PM PST. But who knows, maybe I'll get lucky...

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Best NPC Fellow Guide

I just stumbled across this one after browsing the 'NPC Facts' thread on allakhazam.

I'm changing the link on my sidebar to the FFXIclopedia entry. It's much more thorough and easier on the eyes (and it's actually the main source of info for the Alla page).



I didn't get to log in until late last night, around 10:30 PST, since my wife and her friends had what they call a "stitch & bitch" session (hey I'm not kidding, other people do it), where they gather and knit and talk, while the husbands watch the kids. We rotate which homes get to host the S&B, and we were the hosts last night.

When I had logged in with Hunter earlier yesterday I'd caught my friend Ovidius, so I chatted with him a bit while Hunter helped me spot Jellies in Korrolaka Tunnel (of course since he's 2 and a half, he also wants me to basically whack any mob in the vicinity that gets his attention, but he knows the Jellies drop good stuff). Ovidius wanted to level up Alchemy, so I told him I'd send him the 0-60 walkthrough that evening (he has no computer and no guide >.<). So I spent about 30 minutes typing up the guide last night & sending it to him. It was a hybrid of two good guides on allakhazam ('Cheap Alchemy 0-60' guide and another one called 'Alchemy 0-60 the sorta easy way') with my own comments & advice interspersed in various places.

If he undercuts me, he's a dead man.

I spent the rest of last night's session killing more Jellies and traipsing back to Bastok Mines to set up my mules with Carbon Fiber and Firesand, and craft up some Silent Oil. But it was later than I thought, so I ended up just running to the Alchemy Guild to buy some Sulfur and call it a night. I got lucky and found the Guild unattended at 8am, with Malboro Vines at the dirt cheap price of 1600 gil, so I bought as many as I could (about 20-25 of them) & logged out shortly thereafter. I'll use them on Friday to prep a batch of Hi-Potions for Saturday.

I can tell Silent Oil will be fairly lucrative, since HQing 8 or 10 of them creates stacks pretty quickly with very few materials. But I've got to resist the lure of watching my gil pool grow; there are lots other things I need to attend to.

I think I might try forming one last skillup party tonight to cap out my Great Axe. If I can't gather anyone, I'll try forming a group for a Castle Zvahl run (for my AF legs).

Soundtrack: Opeth (Blackwater Park), Radiohead (Hail to the Thief), They Might Be Giants (A User's Guide to)

Monday, February 20, 2006

The crafting plan (for now)

Considering the 'slow burn' nature of Alchemy profits, I think I'll take the overstocked mule approach and sell common Alchemy items needed by higher level crafters.

I'll set aside 2 nights out of the week.

  • One night to farm up materials for the Alchemy HQ cash cow: Silent Oil. If gil isn't that heavily needed, this same night will instead be spent on earning Guild Points. I want to earn as many of these in this tier before taking my test and moving to 61 (since GP items in that bracket will be more expensive to synthesize). This will essentially be a 'building' day, adding to my gil or GP pool, rather than simply keeping up with expenses.
  • Another night (preferably Saturday) to stock up the Jeuno and Bastok mules with Carbon Fiber and Firesand (using all NPC-purchased ingredients) and have them keep 3-4 of each product on the AH every night. With the remaining time on that night, I'll play the newly discovered Hi-Potion game on the Jeuno AH (buying vines, crafting, and immediately selling the potion at about 4k profit, undercutting the living crap out of whoever has been playing Baron of High-Potions and hiking them up to a ridiculous 8k apiece on weekends), and I'll also craft up some quick small profit items such as Tsurara and Echo Drops (using the incidental Honey drops from my Beehive Chip farming). The income throughout the week from the mules and the spike from the High-Potion game will help offset the price of food, transportation, and gear upgrades during my other activities.

On a whim last night, I decided to try my hand at HQ'ing a weapon: Hellfire Sword. Ingredients are Earth + 2-Handed Sword (about 20k) + Silent Oil + Firesand. I'd crafted the other items, so the synth essentially cost 20k (give or take 1k for other ingredients). I bought the only three 2-Handed swords on the AH, crossed my fingers, faced south, and crafted. Results: 2 Hellfire Swords, 1 Inferno Sword. The Hellfires go for around 80-90k. I put one up on the AH. The Inferno Sword only goes for about 30k so the profit there is smaller though not negligible. I could have easily NQ'd all three though, since I'm only in the >11 bracket on this synth. I don't think I'll do this style of crafting until later in my Alchemy career, but it was fun to try out nonetheless, and the lucky double-HQ made it that much more fun.

Oh, and does anyone else love the fact that you can visually tell that you HQ'd an item just by the way the little crystal explosion changes to a more 'intense' version? I think it's great, considering the result takes a second to display in your log; at least you know you're getting something good ^_^

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Ding {Alchemy} 60. Now If only...

I had leveled Alchemy earlier!

As I wrote yesterday's post, I was only focused on skilling up and getting rid of my ridiculous stockpile of Hi-Potions as quickly as possible. I had no idea what maelstrom of gil would hit me today. After giving up on Bazaaring the Hi-Potions, I threw more of them into the AH at 5000, and decided to keep crafting to hit 60, resigned to not seeing much influx of gil to make up for my expenses until the next day.

Well, I don't know what happens on Saturday evenings in this game, but whatever it is, people drink Hi-Potions like water. Within seconds of putting 7 potions up, the listings came back yellow... sold for 7000 O_O. So I put more in, checked again, all yellow. History again indicates 7000, with a whacko paying 7500 a couple of times. Lather rinse repeat, until I'm completely out of the 40+ potions I had accumulated. So I start crafting batches 7 at a time and refilling the AH. Prices flew all over the place, from 7500 to 6000, and leveling off there (I probably angered whoever had set the initial 7000 price, but there were 70 stacks out there... time to lower the price).

When I started this process I had under 800,000 gil. A couple of hours later, I checked my sum: 1,250,000 gil. I'm stupified. In comparison, before crafting, I could only achieve such a spike in gil by farming Tree Cuttings. And getting a stack or two of those took much longer than a couple of hours.

In the madness, I hit 60. Mission accomplished. Now it's time to come up with a crafting plan.

Friday, February 17, 2006

A little verklempt

After getting about 4 stacks of flint together, I'd decided I had enough of stinky Dangruf Wadi and headed back to Bastok to synth. Bought the Bastok AH supply and the San D'Oria supply as well, which amounted to... 12 stacks >_>

So I made as much Glass Fiber as I could and called it a night. Close to 57 now, and not returning to this recipe unless I need the fiber for cheap (I'll use what I have now to craft some rods). I'll switch to Hi Potion tonight and hopefully hit 60 so I can HQ a few batches of gil-earning goodies and move on to getting ready for my solo LB3 excursion.

First stop on Saturday will be Davoi... alone. /sigh

It struck me last night that I'm growing increasingly lonely in this game. The LS I've joined is comprised of people who were already close before the LS formed, wheras I'm the odd guy that 'pops in for a few hours' every night... having no time for the time-sprawling NM hunts, etc. People I thought were old friends only send me /tells occasionally to brag about getting a crown or killing a god or something, but never to really chat and find out what I've been doing. It's always all about them. One nearly made my blacklist for sending a single chilling /tell unfollowed by anything for a good 5 minutes: 'Still 60? Blah.' That certainly made me feel all warm & fuzzy, &@$%^!

Anyway, enough kvetching (what's with the pseudo-yiddish today?). It doesn't befit a Warrior. It's just hard to keep going when the social vaccuum closes in on me sometimes...

Soundtrack: Oval (Ovalprocess), Various ( Rez: A Gamer's Guide To)

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Farming Flint

I capped out the Sleeping Potion recipe within minutes of logging on (late tonight due to my wife's newfound addiction to American Idol in addition to our continuing addiction to Project Runway; yeah, I'm a WAR and I watch Project Runway m'kay? Don't make me get all 'Santino' on your ass -_-).

I had grossly overestimated how much material I would need to get to 56 (due to the new 'method' I wrote about yesterday). So my Bastok mule will need to unload about 20 Poison Flours to desparate/lazy crafters. Whoever is smart enough to underbid on the stack of Sleepshrooms I put out there will be pleasantly surprised. I'll probably have to NPC the 4 stacks of Chamomile, but I'll check the Bastok AH to see if anyone buys directly from there rather than the Sandy grocery store.

I eventually wandered out to Dangruf Wadi with my /THF sub to kill worms. A guy on Allakhazam swore by the worms there for Flint Stone drops with TH1, so I gave it a shot. I must say the drop rate is pretty damn good... nearly 90% Flint, though the occasional worm will drop Zinc only, or Sulfur only. I marked all the worm spawns on the map, since there's apparently only one 'chamber' where worms pop consistently & close together, while the rest of the spawns are spread out in various corridors between chambers. Running around the whole map & marking took some time out of my farming, but I'll be all the more efficient tonight.

Doing the math, it's becoming obvious that I'm going to need a ton of these Flint Stones to make it through the home stretch, maybe too many. An optimistic estimate of +.5 per 12 synths means I need to perform at least 96 synths to make it to 60. Each synth will require 8 Flint Stones. So... 768 Flint Stones, or 64 stacks?!

I'll try this for a bit, but I think I'll either fork out the gil and buy 30 or 40 Flint stacks and/or switch to Hi-Potions if farming this flint gets too mind-numbing. At least the Hi-Potion only requires 1 Malboro Vine per synth, which I could easily farm in Pashow Marshlands or buy at the Auction House if I don't mind losing 2000 gil in profits.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

55.6 Alchemy

I decided to study the skillup theory behind Lokyst's crafting timer, and I discovered that I should really be aiming for a difficulty index range of 2-4, rather than always going for Advanced Support until 1 level below cap and always facing the 'correct' direction for the crystal's element. I had always attempted to lower that difficulty index as much as I could, not understanding that some degree of difficulty will provide more skillups, even if you're straddling that line that will cause you to break synths a little more frequently.

This led to some interesting decisions that I'd never made before (intentionally sabotaging my 'ideal' crafting configuration to boost difficulty), with very good results. I skilled from 52 to 55.6 in about 2.5 hours (including travel and purchasing more ingredients), which isn't bad at all at this stage. I wish I had followed the 2-4 difficulty index before, since I probably would have skilled up much more quickly. Guess I'll be wiser when I start another craft.

I checked the timer, and it looked like Watersday would offer me around 2 difficulty for a 56 recipe (while my level was at 52), if I crafted facing West with no support, so I waited for a few minutes until that day hit, and crafted away in Jeuno, since I didn't need the guild. I'd never done this before and I was surprised at the results; a few breaks here & there but nothing devastating, considering stacks of Sleeping Potion sell for 40k on this server, and I had farmed all of my ingredients. I dinged 53 within 10 minutes. O_O

Unfortunately I started running low on Chamomile, requiring a trip to Bastok, so I had to gauge how much time I could spend crafting before I needed to gather more Poison Flour and get on the Airship, all while taking advantage of Watersday as much as I could. I crafted on the pier and the on ship before liftoff, giving me a few extra points above 53 during idle time. Once I got to the Guild and bought more Chamomile, I crafted some more (no support, facing West) and hit 54 shortly thereafter... At 54, my difficulty index dropped to 1 or less on this day, even without support, and I'd neglected to check this until several synths later (when no skillups were happening). I recalculated and noticed I could get a 2 index if I just waited for Windsday, so I stopped for a few minutes and let Watersday pass.

Since I was so close to the 56 cap, I had to not only forego the Guild's support but face the wrong direction (SouthWest, for the Lightning element opposing Water) to boost the difficulty rating to 2 (give or take some decimals). Again the skillups rolled in, with some breaks but nothing terrible... I dinged 55 a bit after that, and got .6 more points before calling it a night.

Apparently, lowering the diffuculty to 'guarantee' a synth is not always the best option if you want the diffuculty rating to be just barely high enough to actually award skillups. I guess I knew this already in a sense, since I would never use Advanced Support when I was close to the cap, but I hadn't connected all the dots until tonight.

Anyway I'm out of shrooms now, and I don't want to buy stacks (still around 18-20k), so I'm moving on to Glass Fiber tomorrow night: Fire + 8 Flint Stones. This recipe will carry me to the coveted level 60, and a little past that to 61. Guess I'll be farming the mines tomorrow night.

Soundtrack: the hum of the fridge...

Monday, February 13, 2006

Film Break

I finally finished gathering all of my materials last night and set up shop in Bastok Mines again. Despite all the warnings, I was still amazed at how slow the skillups were. On average, a set of 12 synths would give me about + 0.3 skill.

This is going to take awhile...

I decided to log off early, take a mental health night, and watch a film I've been intending to see for a awhile now: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter...And Spring, written and directed by (and starring) Kim Ki-Duk.

If any of you are film buffs, this is a cinematic experience that you really don't want to pass up. It's one of those rare films that conveys ineffable 'moments' that you just can't capture in any other medium. And once you experience them, they seriously haunt you for awhile. One of the few nearly perfect films I've ever seen.

I'll try to resist the urge to watch it again and get some more Alchemy skill under my belt tonight.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Irony: Fighting Sleep to Craft Sleeping Potion

I won't bore you with the details of my climb to 51 Alchemy, save to say that I didn't go straight to Holy Water, but crafted Carbon Fiber for a bit instead, both as a 'bridge' to the Holy Water recipe (I was still 8 below that recipe's cap when I had maxed out Vitriol) and to build up a good stash of fiber for the Carbon Rods I plan on making later... at a mere 2000 gil per synth (on the 4 bomb ash from an NPC in Metalworks), I figured it was a wise investment. 2000 gil / Yield (3) = 666 gil per carbon fiber. Even if I sold the raw fiber, the total cost per stack would be 7992 and these sell for an average of 25,000 per stack in Jeuno. 17K profit in an AH slot is not too shabby.

Had to do a bit of shopping again when I hit the Journeyman test, since the Fire Swords on the market were overpriced compared to the ingredients for them. Once that was done, I took Holy Water to 51 and consulted a couple of Alchemy guides.

One told me to move on the Cermet Chunks (Fire + Magic Shard x 4), which is fairly pricey and difficult to farm for (Magic Pot spawns are too far apart in Delkfutt, and the drop is uncommon). The other proposed a cheaper recipe, that at first seemed fairly easy. Sleeping Potion: Water Crystal + Poison Flour + Chamomile + Sleepshroom. Two problems though... Poison Flour doesn't stack. Considering how many synths it takes to level after 50, I was going to need tons of room.

So I bit the bullet and completed the next Gobbie Bag quest to boost my available inventory slots to 50, NPC'd my RSE set, shoved a bunch of inventory off to the mules, made room on other mules for Poison Flour overflow and Sleeping Potion sales, and went to the Lower Jeuno goblin shop to buy up all the Poison Flour I could manage. Problem 1 solved.

I was almost ready except for one ingredient: Sleepshrooms. Welcome to Problem 2. Although I remember seeing a fair amount of these on the Auction House back in my Sandy days (many moons ago), none of my mules came up with anything in any of the towns... and Jeuno had 1 or 2 stacks up for 20,000 gil. Yeah, no thanks. So, once again, I was in a situation where I needed an ingredient that no want wants to farm anymore. So while Hunter napped this afternoon I spent some yawn-inducing time in Spore Hollow (Jugner Forest), slaughtering Funguars and stealing their shrooms every 5 minutes. After 5 stacks of Sleepshrooms and 1 stack of Woozyshrooms, I decided I needed a nap myself.

I'll stop around 8 stacks or so tonight and head back to Bastok to see how far I can skillup with what I've got. I want to at least get to 53 in order to set up camp in front of the Poison Powder guy to avoid more shopping trips & just synth from there without too much breakage.

Soundtrack: Best of the Talking Heads, Modest Mouse (The Moon and Antarctica), Opeth (Morningrise, Ghost Reveries), System of a Down (Mesmerise)

Friday, February 10, 2006

Another skill cap bites the dust

I was too friggin tired to do ZM4 again, so I convalesced and crafted some more, essentially giving up on Sky access for the time being.

Passed my Alchemy 40 test, so I'm now an Apprentice. Had to shop around to get individual Bomb Ash and Sulfur for a cheap synth (there were no single Firesands anywhere). [Retrospective note: these can be purchased from NPCs. Sulfur from the Alchemy Guild, Bomb Ash from Olaf in Bastok Metalworks (much cheaper than Guild)]

While muling around, I noticed I had an extra Viking Axe I'd forgotten about and checked the Jeuno AH. There were none for sale... and the last pricepoint was 400k O_O. I dropped it to 300k, and someone bought it and relisted it at 400k within seconds. This is why killing RMT will not kill inflation folks. Greed is alive & well in Vanadiel, whether or not it's linked to RL cash.

Anyway, I carried the Vitriol to its 42 cap and called it a night. I think my next recipe is Holy Water, which I find amusing: 1 Light Crystal + 1 Distilled Water. That's it. Nice, eh? I'll keep a few for my LB3 run in Davoi, since I'll need the Cursna when I get the Crimson Orb.

Soundtrack: Dead Can Dance (A Passage In Time), Various Artists (A Tribute to the Music and Works of Brian Eno), Secret Chiefs 3 (Book of Horizons) ... yeah I like that last one, I'm a wierdo >.>

Thursday, February 09, 2006

RMT was defeated by ...

Just read the news posted by SquareEnix today on POL.

300 billion gil, gone. I can't wait to see what it will do to the economy here. No wonder the RMT culture was acting so screwy lately!

{Good job!} Square

A day that will live in Infamy

Well I learned how to do Zilart Mission 4 the hard way and didn't complete it.

For the life of me I remember getting the Kazham cutscene awhile ago when I did ZM3, right down to the feathers the chieftaness was wearing, and her jibe about Gilgamesh. I remember that damn Mithra talking to me and giving me a key. But I've learned that I shouldn't trust my memory on something like this... there might have been something I decided to do right before the CS and I dreamt the rest up or maybe the power went out (very common here), whatever. I've got to check the mission log before each mission, no matter how sure I am that I'm ready.

So you've probably already guessed it, but I basically went through the hell of doing ZM4 with a random pickup group (people not following directions, getting lost [raises hand], getting agro, the usual crap), and got to the BCNM a few hours later (that's right... 3.5 hours to be exact). Everyone went in, except for yours truely. The door was 'locked tight'. >.> My heart nearly stopped when this happened.

At least I didn't cost them the mission. They completed it, while I cried outside the door and felt like the worlds biggest ass, not only for wasting my own time, but for potentially jeopardizing what everyone else had worked so hard for.

Yep, this is how I missed my LS's ZM train. They left the station, and I could have caught up tonight, but I was careless & missed my chance.

Let us never speak of this again.

I'll talk to the LS tomorrow to see if anyone still needs ZM4 and wants to do it... if not, & they're moving on with the rest of them, I think it'll be time for me to take my leave from the LS for good. I've heard of these situations before, and once the majority of the LS gets Sky access, it's curtains for anyone else. It looks like I might not be HNM LS material after all, which I already knew, but I thought this LS was going to be a little different.

Soundtrack: Brian Eno (Instrumentals, Vol. 2), Boards of Canada (Music Has a Right to Children)

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Zilart Homework

I've exhaused all Treant Bulbs on the server again, and reached 38.8 in Alchemy. I think I'll log off early tonight and read up on the Zilart Missions. My HNMLS leader has decided to get all the slackers Sky access... and in his typically over-ambitious fashion he wants to do it all tomorrow night.

Time to read up and prepare I guess. Grumble grumble, AF, GA Skill, LB3, Alchemy, grumble grumble...

Soundtrack: Rage Against the Machine (The Battle of Los Angeles), The Police (Synchronicity, Zenyatta Mondatta)

My kingdom for some Treant Bulbs!

I hit 35.3 in Alchemy last night and gladly broke my last Potion synth, never to return to that damned recipe again (to add insult to injury, Potions don't stack, so I had to keep muling everything to make room... Sandy and Windy beginners got some blowout Frohike potions from the Auction House last night). I've moved on to the Vitriol recipe full-time, which should carry me to 42 if I remember correctly. Great recipe, incredibly cheap, and I break even (via NPC, so no waiting around for AH returns). I even cheated a bit and used the recipe early, since the Potion recipe was annoying me. Everything was going just swell, until I completely depleted the entire AH supply of Treant Bulbs in all of Vanadiel. >.> No one bothers to farm these things, since they only go for 2-3k per stack.

So I farmed Saplings in South Gustaberg... wanted to die... and decided to go farm them in Battalia Downs, where I could at least pick up some black tiger fangs and not completely perish of boredom. I came close, but had to log out when Hunter woke up from his nap. Thank god. I'll check all the Auction Houses when I log in this evening, I guess. There's no playlist on this planet that will keep me awake if I have to farm my entire Treant Bulb supply.

Soundtrack: Ricky Gervais Show (new episode, woot!), Queens of the Stone Age (Lullabies to Paralyze)

Monday, February 06, 2006

Alchemy Schmalchemy

I was getting a bit worried when I hit 30 in Alchemy and switched to the recipe for Potion: water + distilled water + lizard tail + sage. Almost every synth was breaking. I had farmed about four stacks of lizard tails several eons ago and pulled them out for this skillup session. When I eventually checked the Auction House after running out of them, my worries were gone. There was a reason I never sold the tails...they're obscenely cheap.

Now that I've hit 33.4, I'm headed to craft Vitriol, which has an equally cheap recipe. 2 Treant bulbs and a Water Crystal. I purchased cheap stacks via mules in Sandy and Windy, assuming Bastok wouldn't be a good place to buy them. Since I was out of water crystals, I ventured back out to Pashow Marshlands, and killed Goobues for the bulbs (and one lucky cutting ^_^) and the Water Elementals that spawn there in the perpetual downpour.

Sitting on the Airship back to Bastok as I type this. I hope to hit 35 or more tonight, but I'm fighting sleep.

Soundtrack: Manitoba (Up in Flames), Spiritualized (Complete Works, Vol. 1)


From wikipedia:

In Egyptian mythology, Serket (also spelt Serket-hetyt, Selket, Selkis, Selchis, and Selkhit) was originally the deification of the scorpion. Scorpion stings lead to paralysis, and Serket's name describes this, as it means (one who) tightens the throat. However, Serket's name can also be read as meaning (one who) causes the throat to breath, and so, as well as being seen as stinging the unrighteous, Serket was seen as one who could cure scorpion stings, and other poisons, such as snake bites.

I felt like a hobbit who had been invited on an adventure that he wouldn't have normally volunteered for, but couldn't resist once proposed. I was happily leveling my Alchemy in Bastok with my pearl off, when the HNMLS leader sent me an unexpected message: "hey get over to Lower Jeuno, we're heading out to Serket." Not a wordsmith, but I couldn't resist the allure of fighting an HNM. So I dropped what I was doing, ported to Jeuno, got my gear, and headed out to Garlaige Citadel.

We setup camps at the usual spawns and waited, and... it popped at my camp. I can't tell if I or the leader got the claim first, but we got it. And boy, were we NOT ready to fight this thing. No one pulled the links away, which is basically what killed me the first time. Then we were subject to a successful MPK attempt, but the people who did this called for help, which was highly amusing. They died, and the third LS got the claim, although Serket had time to heal up quite a bit before they engaged it. They succeeded in killing it, with some healing help from one of our own LS members (hey we play nice), and got the Serket Ring.

We congratulated them, took note of the MPK team (who had no pearl), noted Time of Death, and walked off a bit wiser. I lost 1000 exp in the process, but I feel like it was worth it, just for the adventure, and witnessing the longest ranging Area of Effect attack I've ever seen. These are the sights I wanted to see when I began this game. What a rush! Needless to say I took lots of pictures. This was our linkshell's first HNM, and getting the claim so quickly and fighting it for as long as we did was really quite impressive.

OK, back to crafting potions now. And I still have that pesky checklist to reduce.

Soundtrack: Awestruck silence

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Cornette Contraband

Two old friends have returned to the game after a prolonged absence (around 3 months). Unfortunately, one of them works a swing shift on the East Coast so he's never on when I'm on. I did get to catch him during Hunter's afternoon nap, while I hopped on to do some crafting. His wife was on tonight, and I got to catch up with her too. Their baby is due in 2-3 weeks, so it was fun to chat about kids, etc. I got little accomplished tonight because of our marathon chat session, but I did manage to skill Alchemy some more while conversing with her.

--Begin RMT rant (skip if uninterested in another one of these)--
I was letting her know about all the ways to make gil on this server because her husband, lacking better judgement or patience or both, decided to buy 10 million gil from IGE. He does this every time he comes back to the game and freaks out about the inflation (this happened once already when he had to leave the game for awhile last year), and I always wish I could catch him before he does this because I don't believe he would go through with it if he realized how much RL money he is in fact wasting, and how he is ironically screwing over the economy. I mean, he spent $100 for a sum of gil that, in this economy, is sorta...meh. He'd be much better off in the long run making the gil legitimately, rather than flushing his cash down the toilet and supporting the RMT culture. And he has no excuse really. He's on constantly when he's not working, so it's not like he doesn't have the time to farm / craft / BCNM / HELM. He's just impatient, and ill-informed. He doesn't own a computer, which he could use as a resource for this game (among other things) if he would stop spending RL money unwisely. So frustrating...

Speaking of which, what the hell is happening on this server? I rarely see the usual sellers in their camps, they're sending /tells directly to players asking them if they want to purchase, and my gil-buyer friend above incidentally broke the IGE bank with his purchase; they had to actually scramble for 12 hours to come up with the 10 million gil, and disabled gil purchases from Ifrit on the site. Very odd, and kinda cool... maybe gilseller culture is backfiring now? Wishful thinking, I suppose.
--End RMT Rant--

In any case, she logged out after a bit to get her pregnant momma sleep. And I resumed my crafting... despising the Olive Oil + Beeswax recipe for Silent Oil, despite the skillup it provided. Such a waste. Then I got a request from a social LS member to buy Cornettes while I was in Bastok and send them to him in Windy. He was trying to achieve some sort of fame level for that town. So I obliged and purchased 20 cornettes from the bard shop. This took quite awhile since I didn't have 20 slots readily available, so much 'muling' was required... but we got it done. After that I reached level 30 in Alchemy and called it a night. Hope to hit mid-30's soon.

Soundtrack : The Essential Jimi Hendrix

Saturday, February 04, 2006

No invisibility for me

I went farming for Slime Oil tonight in Korrolaka Tunnel. It's a new relaxing activity for me... very easy to get a few stacks for immediate resale or to craft a few stacks of Silent Oil for profit (if I have the Beeswax synthesized as well). And the competition is much less fierce than say... Sanctuary of Z'itah. After farming a few stacks I started reading up on my LB3 quest, since there was some LS chatter about it (a couple of guys were duoing the Oztroja section). I got all pumped up to do the Davoi section this very night, just to do something different. So I killed my last Jelly, zoned to Bastok, and bloodported on over the Jeuno. That's when I noticed my Shinobi Tabi stash was very low. Since solo'ing the Davoi section requires invisibility almost the entire time, I would need more. Checked the Auction House, and none were available... zilch.

So it looks like I need to suck it up and kick my Clothcraft up a notch. And while I'm at it, I need to break 30 on Alchemy.

Since the wind kinda left my sails, I've decided to call it a night and see what I can get done tomorrow evening.

Soundtrack: Beastie Boys (Paul's Boutique), Ricky Gervais Show (Podcast)

Fun in a ... Party? Huh?

I randomly decided to put up my flag tonight. The LS was again scattered to the winds and in social chatter mode, so there was no hope of me rallying anyone to do any sort of coffer hunt, and I wasn't in the mood to skillup, nor craft. So I bought some Sole Sushi (ouch, 70k?) and joined a party headed to Valley of Sorrows. The party consisted of RDM, WAR, WAR,SAM, BLM, BRD. I know, odd... and I was a little worried when the leader immediately asked 'where do we go?' once we formed (usually a bad sign), but it worked and everyone knew how to play their job to the fullest. We even took on those nasty Peryton's when they got in the way.

A few mishaps resulted in some {death} for a few people, including myself. First the Red Mage decided to play good samaritan in Kuftal Tunnel and was raising the victims of Guivre, the horrible horrible dragon that routinely wipes several parties in the nortwestern chamber of Kuftal. While it was nice of him, it got him killed. So we had to wait a bit to get started. Once in the Valley, we pulled Raptors, and skillchained Tachi:Enpi > Rampage for Distortion. Since there were two WARs and a SAM, it never got boring.

For one, we were dual tanking, so I had to pay attention to shadow counts and rip aggro to me when my partner's shadows dropped (no mean feat, since he was wearing a Scorpian Harness and Tungi ><). Secondly, I became the designated puller after the first few pulls by the SAM, who was getting hit too hard during the journey back to camp. Thirdly, there was the SAM's Meditate job ability.

One WAR would hit 100 TP with the SAM and skillchain, then the SAM would Meditate and the other WAR usually had full TP at that point, so if we needed to squeeze in another Distortion, we could (this was a lifesaver with the birds).

Alot of fun stuff to juggle!

I died twice, but it never felt that tragic, since I didn't want to hit my level cap and keep the rest of the party back, and we were gaining EXP so quickly it didn't seem to matter all that much anyway. One deadly mishap occurred before we decided to kill the damned Peryton's... when one of them agroed the party as we were killing a Raptor. This resulted in a swift death for the three melees that fought the good fight while the mages retreated. The second happened when I ran by a Raptor pop on my way back to camp... which wouldn't have been so bad, since they can be slept, but the other Warrior provoked the wrong Raptor (perfectly understandable), which left me to die in the confusion.

All in all I gained about 8000 experience points in a relatively short party, with pleasant folks.

In other news, I was asked by a former social LS buddy (who I hadn't seen in the LS in quite awhile) whether I want to join an HNMLS. I told him I would accept as long as he was in it... turns out he's the leader. Don't have the pearl yet, since he was asking me this right as I was heading to Altepa, but I hope to catch him tomorrow.

Mr Bungle (Disco Volante), Secret Chiefs 3 (Book of Horizons)

Thursday, February 02, 2006

All pukey on the western front.

My son had another puke-fest tonight, a full 2 days after we thought he had recovered from the last barf-o-rama. So I didn't get on until later, like around 10PM.

Shouted to form a skillup party for about 30 minutes and got one /tell asking if we were going to take the tigers there (called Ovinnik's). Um yeah... something that can kill a level 75 character. While we're at it we'll skill up on Elementals too!

Anyway that person wasn't interested, and I wasn't interested in dying, so that was the end of that. One can easily skillup to 210 on crabs and lizards in Kuftal; anything higher and you should be going against Terrigan or Boyhada Tree crabs, not friggin level 77-79 Tigers. So good luck to you 'Ellie', ya moron.

Besides that, no takers. I'm exhausted and reek of vomit, so I logged out a few minutes ago. I'll try again tomorrow night. If things don't go well, I'll try to rally some LS members to help me and another LS Warrior with either the Fighter's Cuisses coffer or the Fighter's Lorica quest.


I finally found the right setup for skilling up now. In light of last night's party, I decided to keep it small. I was indeed pleased with last night's results, but the size made the experience much too volatile. I snagged a WHM around 10PM, and a SAM around the same time. We headed out in our little party of three to Kuftal and skilled up quite well, with no mishaps and next to no down time. Once we made it out there the party grew and mutated a bit. The SAM left for an HNMLS call, the WHM found a NIN friend who wanted to skillup, and the NIN brought along a weird little Taru friend whom he kept calling the king of AFK. He died a couple of times, out of the blue. The WHM had Raise 3, so no major problems there. People in the party were jokingly begging the strange Taru for money, so I think he has a reputation of wealth (from a casino? not sure). At one point I remember him randomly exclaiming, 'I wish this game would let you jump up and stab people in the neck...' o_O Anyway, he was the most memorable part of the experience.. the rest of it was pretty ho-hum.

In sum: No death, no politics, 6 more levels on Great Axe. It's now at level 194. 6 levels away from Raging Rush!

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Politics and Skillups

Since my method of shouting in Jeuno to form a skillup party seemed to work well, I decided to try my luck again. The dynamics unfolded quite differently and became unpleasant around the end, but the net result in terms of my stats were: no experience points lost, 9 skill levels gained. I'm now at 188, on the verge of 189.

The party started small; about 5 of us including another Paladin and Red Mage combination. After the usual creaky start that I've come to expect (people warping/transporting around, forgetting equipment, going on a food break, etc) we went to Kuftal Tunnel and, to our surprise, encountered no experience parties at the entrance. We steadily engaged Robber Crabs, and the skillup points started to roll in. I learned from one of the party members that A-class weapons cap at 210 on enemies in this area, making it a perfect place to carry my Great Axe into Raging Rush splendor. After a little while the Red Mage invited some of his friends, resulting in a small alliance: 6 in one party, 3 in another.

And this is where I started seeing a recurrence of the 'over-confidence' I'd noticed last night. We were plowing our way through enemies, killing everything, including lizards, on our way to the main chamber. Once in the open, someone noticed an Air Elemental and warned the group to stop casting magic. But someone else took it upon themselves to decide for the rest of the group that we could take it... and actually pulled it to us. I was mortified. The White Mage was furious. We all survived, but it wasn't pretty. After a scolding and some nervous laughs, we resumed our activity.

In a party of this size, with players largely in the upper 60's and low 70's, it became clear that there were going to be some personality clashes. I believe people who progress to these levels exhibit strong personalities anyway, since the dedication this game requires weeds out those who aren't stubborn enough to keep going. And when you put these strong personalities together... things can get heated; so I think I need to prepare to be a bit of a conciliator in these activities (as well as in future EXP parties).

After about an hour of skilling, someone noticed a Fire Elemental (stronger than the Air elementals) and joked about engaging it. The White Mage, not appreciating the humor, stated "If you pull that elemental, I will not heal you." This apparently pushed someone's buttons who, like a 2-year-old, ran over to the elemental, engaged it, and brought it back to camp. Again, I was dumbfounded. My HP was low, as were a few MP meters in the group. So I went over and rested with the Mages, watching this party of high-level players flirt with death again...over nothing but pride.

At this point I felt no loyalty to the group. They had taken this out of my hands and were gambling with experience points. I decided that if they died, I would use my Warp Scroll, thank them for the party, and log out, disbanding all of them on the floor of Kuftal. It would have been up to the White Mage to determine what to do with them.

This didn't happen, fortunately. They narrowly defeated the elemental, for a single Fire Cluster. Once the Fire Cluster appeared in the drop log, one of the mages who had reportedly wandered off to 'do some farming' (um.. wtf?), returned and asked if we were OK with her casting a lot for the item. The Red Mage, who had already fired off at the White Mage for her 'discipline' went absolutely ballistic and told the leecher exactly how he felt about what she was doing. The Red Mage promptly lotted the cluster, as did the leech, and several other folks, including myself. My LS-mate Phear was there with his perma-party, which included the strident Red Mage and the White Mage disciplinarian. Phear had taken the majority of the damage in the fight, and fortunately won the lot. Once this happened the Red Mage continued to rail about the leecher; the silence on the other end indicated /tells were being shot back and forth outside of the /party channel. Sure enough, within minutes, the White Mage and Phear, and the leecher (who was apparently a friend of the White Mage) disband to 'go play'.

So we were left once again with a RDM + PLD combination, along with me and a Black Mage character. We did OK for awhile, and I noticed that a smaller, bare-bones skillup party flowed much more smoothly here, as long as everyone kept their head. That's when the Black Mage carelessly cast an AOE spell of some sort on the crab we were engaging and accidentally got the attention of a lizard.

In typical Warrior fashion I cast Provoke on the lizard to save the BLM, crossed my fingers... and slowly solo'd it while the others finished off the crab. This is where I made my mistake: I didn't pull the lizard to a safer place. So another lizard linked, and now the party had two enemies and a Warrior with dwindling HP. I got a few cures (mental note: bring potions next time), but the RDM and BLM eventually died, leaving me and the Paladin to finish off the remaining lizard. This was getting difficult because of the lizard's AOE which lowered our strength. We were close to finishing it off when a Robber Crab popped behind the Paladin and immediately started in on him. When I saw this I knew we were doomed, but we kept going. The crab hated me, since I was wearing 3 pieces of my enmity-boosting Artifact Armour and dealing a large amount of damage with the Darksteel +1 Axes (I changed to these when the s*** hit the fan). Resigned to my fate, with shadows down and no hopes of getting them back up, I cast Mighty Strikes, and let off a Rampage, which took a good chunk of HP from the crab, but not enough.

The crab killed me a few strikes later. It was up to the PLD now, who took the crab to double-digits in HP before he died as well.

Someone had a WHM friend in the area who came over and gave us Raise 3; combined with my Moghancement, this resulted in no EXP loss whatsoever. Just massive downtime as the party recovered.

After this the party sort of fizzled out and we eventually called it a night.