Friday, June 30, 2006

Paragon of Tedium

I think I'm burning out on experience point parties, for reasons that are probably obvious to people who actually party more often than I do. I'll make one final stretch to 65 with a good buffer for Dynamis death and look for things to do with the linkshell, and/or work on the Chains of Promathia or Rise of Zilart missions. Anything but another 25K+ exp grind sounds great to me at this point, even something potentially involving multiple deaths such as Dynamis. I'm about 5.5k away from level 64 so this should take a few more nights, but I'll hunker down and get it done, then move on to some other diversions for a bit.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Paragon of Warrior Excellence

God, it sounds so pretentious but that's my title as of last night.

I partied on Friday night and reached level 63 in Bibiki Bay. I don't think I want to use this camp again unless, by some chance, it isn't crowded... which it always seems to be. There were a total of 4 parties in the area, all targeting the Tragopans, so the competition was ridiculous and we ended up killing more Hobgoblins than we cared to (the BLM Hobgoblin Fascinators were particularly nasty), but the EXP was decent and once again I was lucky to have a party of friendly players who knew their jobs. We shared pulling duty a bit, since I couldn't be everywhere at once, and it went rather well.

Since my little craftless EXP streak reduced my gil to 60K (yeesh), I spent a couple of evenings doing the old Alchemy routine: camping the Bibiki bay fishing shop, crafting Mercury for Poison Potion, and gathering materials for other consumables, namely Sleeping Potion & Firesand. I haven't had the time to get everything on the AH, but the few stacks I did sell have put me in the more breatheable 200k range.

While muling in Jeuno, I picked up a shout for help on The Talekeeper's Gift. I ping'ed the leader and let him know I was definitely interested although I hadn't flagged the quest yet. I wasn't certain I could get it done in time since they already had 5 members and were nearly ready, but I figured it couldn't hurt to at least prime the quest for later and if I could hop into their party, all the better. My XBL connection decided to crap out at that point. By the time I was able to log back in, the party had already killed the NM Goblins. Since this turned my focus to AF, I started to drop help requests with TheRebirth periodically. First evening was a no-go, but several friends said they'd like to help once they were free. On the second evening I was a bit too busy crafting, but still dropped a polite request just to stay on the radar.

I logged in last night for a quick session (it was late), just to put some more product on the AH and log out, but someone in the shell was asking for AF help and several others were expressing interest. So I took the opportunity and requested help as well. Presto... With Qufim so close, mine was the first stop, though I volunteered to tag along and help with the next quest (for RNG socks in Xarcabard).

We tried going trio, but this resulted in a couple of deaths, including mine. By the time we died, a couple of high-level Red Mages and a Dragoon had logged in and were looking for something to do, so we had a full party on our second attempt. We went after the WHM (named Doglix Muttsnout, /snicker) first while one of us kited the THF and another occupied the RNG away from the goblin healer. Doglix got off one Benediction, which slowed things down a bit, and the kiter wandered a bit too far from battle and went deeply into the red before one of our healers tracked him down. But we eventually won. I got an interesting CS, my Fighter's Lorica, and my new title when I zoned to Qufim.

A little moment of meta-irony: the final Talekeeper's Gift CS tells you that you own the only true artifact lorica, and awards it to you as a way to conceal it's role in a potentially scandalous political plot. How will they keep you from being conspicuous while wearing this unique artifact? Why, manufacture thousands of others, of course! So, that explains why so many other Warriors are wearing my 'unique' gear. Or... what if all the others have been told the same thing, and there is no 'true' artifact? Dun dun duuuuuun.

Hey, I thought it was funny.

The NM tiger fight for the Ranger artifact armour (also a 'Paragon' piece) was pretty straightforward and included the same group of people. Some expressed hesitation at the lack of a WHM, but it turned out fine, even when a couple of demons re-spawned halfway through the fight.

So at least two Paragons got their wings on Ifrit last night.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

And now for the cutest Taru video...ever.

Enjoy the video (be sure to turn your sound on)... oh and I hope you like showtunes. >.>

Red crawlers, eh?

I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one who thinks that the classic pallette swap syndrome in the new zones is a little... lame. But at least the Crawlers, I mean "Eruca", make for good EXP and really don't offer any weird surprises as far as TP moves.

I got an invitation from a Japanese RDM named Reefa whom I had partied with the night before in Wajaom Woodlands. This time, the camp was in Bhaflau Thickets on the eastern side of G-8, and the target mob was exclusively the Date Eruca.

Party makeup was RDM, BRD, WAR, WAR, BLU, NIN, and remained that way for about an hour until the other Warrior had to log out for some sleep. I was a bit envious over his Tungi, until I noticed that the TP gain was only moderately faster and the Rampages on average, seemed to be lower than mine... but this could have been a combination of factors (namely Accuracy/STR/Attack balancing on the rest of the gear). In any case he was clearly a dedicated player and knew how to play the job, as were the others, making for a fun party and painless EXP. And swapping in another BLU for the WAR didn't seem to slow things down in the least.

I received approximately 12k in about 2.5 hours of partying, and the party D2'd right when I was thinking about finding a replacement & getting some sleep. In the process of partying, I capped both Axe and Great Axe, without a noticeable decrease in performance with the GA which was nice. All in all, a perfect EXP night for me.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

I'm tired, but I'm 62

With 14k experience points to go, I put up my flag in Whitegate around 9:30PM and began preparations for fishing in the Jugner lake again for more Moat Carp and some skillup fish. As soon as I gathered bait ingredients and was ready to taru-warp to Jeuno, I received an invitation from a party in Wajaom Woodlands. They were camping at the south section of H-11 there, killing Puks and the occasional Aht Urhgan Attercop. It was nice to see a Paladin tank for a change, since I've grown so accustomed to Ninja tanks.

However, I've discovered that I need to exercise a bit of restraint as a pure damage dealer in these situations. Poorly timed Rampages made it difficult for the Paladin to immediately get hate back under control. And if my damage filled the mob's TP, the massive knockback AOE from the Puks would lead to a bit of chaos without a firm tank. So I had a few moments where I decided to just turn away from the mob & let hit me a few times (with Defender up, and some meager tankish gear swapped in) until the Paladin's flash or voke or cure timers were back up. I only had to do that once before in Kuftal Tunnel.

The party ended around 11PM due to sleepiness (east coast players), so I returned to Whitegate and put my flag back up. I felt I was ready for a 3-hour session or so (and the punishment I would feel the next day) just to see the remaining 10k trickle in and give me my level. The next invitation, to my surprise, came very quickly. But the party wasn't yet formed, so it took about 30 minutes to get underway and decide upon a camp. They opted to go for VT mob chains in Gustav Tunnel, H-10 on the lower floor: Goblin Alchemists, Shepherds, & Mercenaries, and... more Robber Crabs.

The mobs were a bit too low in the VT spectrum, but the party seemed relaxed about it and proceeded to exp-chain as best they could. Having a MNK, NIN, THF, and WAR in the party and no skillchaining was driving me nuts, so after pulling a few teeth I convinced the THF and MNK to at least set up Distortion on the crabs once the thief learned his Dancing Edge. I initially tried to get a Fusion SC underway for the goblins, but people weren't up for setting up two different skillchains. So they set up distortion on the goblins too. EXP was slower than it needed to have been, but not bad, and the party was very relaxed and upbeat (I'll take slow EXP in a pleasant party over faster EXP in a bitchy party any day). Since my Rampage didn't factor into any skillchaining, I was able to swap in my Great Axe, which capped on a Raging Rush right before I got my level... around 2:15AM. The party ended around 2:30, so I don't quite have a full buffer yet, but I'm happy.

Hunter slept in until a little after 7:00AM. Yes, I'm a bit of a zombie today.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Amemet + 1 acquired. Genkai 4 complete.

Not a whole lot to report aside from the title. Well, maybe a bit more.

I attempted another EXP session on Friday night, which ended up being a waste of 2 hours with no points gained. The party took the typical 30-40 minutes to form and decided to camp in the Labyrinth of Onzozo. I'd been in here before and had good results and knew what to expect in terms of aggro, zone layout, and mob AOE (silence/paralysis). I even knew the two main camps for our level range. The problem was no one bothered to check the zone population first. There were 2 parties at the G-6 location, and none of us had really camped the I-6 as a standalone group before (I'd camped there with another party before). The leader thought we could handle the I-6 camp alone, which I should have objected to, and at least one other member did in fact complain about... and you can probably guess the rest.

A Torama popped on our tail in the middle of a battle and aggrod the SMN, who stopped healing the Ninja tank, who died despite my 2-hour, which turned the mob to me when the tank died, which resulted in my death... and it all ended in a party wipe, with another Torama walking over our corpses for good measure. A friend of mine came by, brought another friend to clear the mobs, and raised me and the SMN. We eventually WarpII'd all of our sorry tails out of there. Fortunately we had killed a few Toramas before the wipe, so it ended up as a wash in terms of EXP (woot?).

While I was busy getting nothing done on the EXP front, the price of Poison Potion went back to the 40k range, so I was happy to find about 200k on my Jeuno mule when I logged in the next day. The price of the Amemet Mantle+1 dropped to 1.77 mil, so my post-purchase gil fund wasn't quite as low as I thought it would be, but still low enough to warrant another 2-hr crafting session to get into the comfortable 200k range. The brief sessions I had over the weekend consisted in fishing, and completing the Genkai 4 quest.

I might put my flag up again tonight if I'm feeling up for it, since I've got all of my gear & food out of storage anyway and would love to try out my new mantle. If I had the time, I'd craft up some more gil for at least one Victory Ring, but the STR bonus compared to my current setup just doesn't warrant the time it would least for now.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Note to self: stop being such a noob.

I took a break from crafting and fishing to EXP a little, since it has been several months since I've partied and I'm feeling the itch to level up a bit.

It's been so long since I've partied, in fact, that I made some really dumb mistakes, which made me literally blush with embarrasment at one point. It worked out OK, but my performance was far from superlative.

I had put up my flag around 10PM, assuming an invite would be unlikely, but I could at least multitask and craft tons of Mercury while LFG. When I noticed I was 200k away from affording the Amemet +1, I was getting ready to take my flag down and push onward with crafting, but got an invite before I could take it down.

The party was forming in Aht Urghan, which is not currently my HP, so the trip out there took a good 15 minutes (teleporting, waiting for the ferry, yadda yadda). I did some light research during the idle time, looking at camp information for Bhaflau Thickets and Wajaom Woodlands. But I wish I had instead spent that time reminding myself of basic crucial things I should do before getting to camp (in no particular order of importance):

  1. Signet
  2. Sneak/Invis Tools
  3. Food
  4. Shihei
  5. EXP Ring
  6. Macro check
  7. Bring Great Axe to skillup when level goes up
  8. Check party for SATA and/or SC partners

Back when I actually EXP'd semi-regularly, these were just automatic for me. I'm obviously rusty now: out of the above, I forgot number 1, nearly forgot Invis tools, and spaced on items 4-8.

We set up camp at G-8 in Wajaom Woodlands (near the Leypoint), targeting the lower level birds (Lesser Colibri), which spawned frequently & close together, didn't agro, and didn't link... I had initially assumed we would be targetting slightly tougher mobs in Bhaflau Thickets, but this party was going the T-VT & no downtime route. And they started immediately, no discussion.

The pace was something I was not ready for at first. I also didn't have the time to look up mob TP and AOE characteristics, so I wasn't aware of how differently the party would function because of these and how quickly we would need to operate...constantly.

The birds have a couple of TP moves. One of them removes all food effects (that's one Sole Sushi I'm never getting back). The other resets your TP to 0%. Because of the potential TP reset, holding out on a WS for skillchaining was not much of an option, so it was one big accelerated WS spam-fest. That's when I thought about hate-control and noticed a THF was in the party (see missed item #8) and realized I had not been doing my job as first voker for our SATA setup (Ninja Tank), which must have been frustrating for him. Of course as soon as I caught this, the THF kindly asked me to first-voke. Embarassment #1.

Once I started provoking, I nearly fell out of my chair when I realized I had forgotten my Shihei. I begged the NIN for some and she kindly forked over 2 stacks (which I paid for later). Embarassment #2.

I'd recently changed my /attack macro to stnpc rather than bt, which didn't work so well when the camp was surrounded by mobs. I hastily reverted to the old macro during the nanosecond between mobs. Embarassment #3.

After hitting a chain #10, I realized I could be getting a great deal more EXP if I'd bothered to bring my Empress Ring, not to mention some nice Conquest Points if I hadn't forgotten to get Signet. Not really an embarassment, just a "/slap me" moment.

The frustrating thing for me was that I barely had time to digest the mistakes & correct them before I had to voke/engage the next mob and watch shadow counts. It had the cumulative effect of making me feel like I was always a step behind the rest of the party. I can only hope most of this was just self-consciousness on my part, since the party was extremely kind and patient.

In any case the EXP was pretty good, and the party members were very kind. The session lasted for about 3 hours before people started falling asleep. In that time we earned somewhere between 15-16k exp (I'll have to verify this when I log on later, may have been 1k lower or so), and I dinged 61 during the second hour (I had been 11k TNL).

Tomorrow night might consist of another EXP session to get some more practice and refine my rusty combat skills a bit. I'll certainly be working on the last 200k gil while LFG. After that, I think I'll have fun with Genkai 4.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Fisherman, Cook, Alchemist, Ronin...

Well... I'm not exactly a disenfranchised Samurai, but a Warrior wandering the realm with a fishing pole in one hand and an axe in the other is close enough in my book.

I'll try to make this update quick, since I haven't had much time to blog lately, and still don't. I took the Fish Broth recipe to the cap (37) and started in on the Pie Dough recipe, which required more frickin' flour (I give up). But I bit the bullet and took that recipe through level 41, 1 level away from cap; I can't stand that last level in a synth range and usually switch to a harder recipe when I hit this point. Synthing the Meat Kabob for the test was nothing compared to the Veggie Gruel. I could see this being an attractive money-maker for level 90 somethings who take the time to farm the meat. The Pie Dough sold very quickly and for good profit, so I might look at this recipe again if I need a little variety in my wares. I took the Tomato Juice recipe to level 42 and change, and got tired of the useless, non-stackable product, so I moved on to Pickled Herring.

This was a great excuse to go fishing again, so I eventually headed out to the Qufim ice lake (after getting sidetracked for an evening helping an LS-mate with their Khazam keys) and camped there for awhile, using a Shrimp Lure and Halcyon Rod. It was fun playing night-cop and killing the mobs for crab/worm parties in trouble... I remember what a pain it was to be out there at nightfall with Banshee agro.

Once I skilled fishing to level 18 and took the Herring recipe to 44, I decided it was time to try fishing up Nebimonites for fun & profit. So I hopped on the ferry with some Crayfish Balls and fished away the hours, but stopped after awhile since it was becoming obviously inefficient. Targetting a single fish (Nebs are the only small non-mob fish that bite Crayfish on the ferry), and the wait time between ferry journeys added up to quite a bit of idle time, and not a lot of Nebs to show for it. So de-boarded the ship, synthed up about 8 stacks of ink out of my 2.5 stacks of Nebs and sent them out to the mules for a little profit (about 15-17k per stack), and decided to head out to Sea Serpent Grotto to target more Nebs, check out the area and use the Grotto Key I'd been hanging onto for who knows how long.

Traveling to that gray bubbling lake surrounded by Sahagin and Grimmonite fishers was fun, and the Nebimonite return was indeed faster during the good moon phases, but plummeted to frustrating levels during 50%-ish phases which gave me a lot of item-bites or 'You didn't catch anything' messages. I started to realize that this is a better place to target multiple fish if you have the necessary skill and a Lu Shang, since I was releasing quite a few 'bad feeling' and 'terrible feeling' catches that I knew were either Bream or Grimmonite. To pass the time during the bad moon phase I muled in a Silver Beastcoin and went hunting for the Treasure Chest, which was pretty easy to find, although this NM freaked me out a little (because I had no idea what level he was). So I now finally have a map of the Sea Serpent Grotto, and a free slot in my MH.

My character is sitting in Jeuno now with about 10 more stacks of ink ready for distribution. I think I'll hang onto these and wait for a dry spell in Jeuno, and synth some other revenue items such as Poison Potion, Sleeping Potion, and Firesand and build a good supply of these to sell at the right time. I need to focus on overstocking mules with a variety of products, which will enable me to sell quickly when the demand goes up on a given item. Since I haven't been focusing on making money, my sum is still only at 1.4 million, so I need to hunker down and get that last 600-700k for the Amemet Mantle+1.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Enough with the flour already!

I haven't been on much in the past few days due to RL priorities and lack of sleep, but I managed to log in for a brief session last night. My old CatastrophyCrafters linkshell lost its leader and decided to reform as TheEternalCalm, mostly with the same members though the primary sack-holder has changed (good luck, Trumpy!).

In cooking news, progress has been slow, mostly due to lack of time. Although this craft is cheap and easy to skillup pre-60, the ingredients take some time to collect if you try to aquire as many of them as possible via NPC vendors. Since some ingredients are cheapest through regional vendors, this can take quite a bit of muling & walking to gather the 4-5 stacks of each ingredient for a good skillup session. And some items like Bird Eggs are just hard to track down unless your mules have Rank 5 and can access the Airship shops (which only sell them if that particular town won the last conquest).

A stalling point for me was the Frost Turnip ingredient for the Vegetable Gruel you need to trade in to break the skill cap at 30. No one ever owns the Valdeaunia region (not exactly an EXP area), so there was no hope of finding this on a regional vendor. There were no gruels on any of the Auction Houses when I was on, and ditto for the turnips. I was getting ready to grow a few turnips myself when, by chance, someone put a handful up for sale in Jeuno. I had probably wasted at least a day or 2 just waiting for the ingredient or the dish to turn up somewhere. Sensing a little opportunity here, I crafted a couple of extra gruels with my leftovers and auctioned them off for 8k apiece (didn't have the patience to craft more of them). I'll check later rank recipes & plan ahead before I get close to 40 and 50.

I took the Meatball recipe through 33 and NPC'd most of the product since the sales on the AH are just too slow to make the auction management time worthwhile. Using this recipe for 5 skill levels seemed interminable, because I would either run out of room about halfway through each level (since the recipe produces and entire stack for every synth), or I would run out of San D'Orian Flour which, like all flour, doesn't stack (where are the shopping carts in this game?). After dealing with Poison Flour during Alchemy skillups, I wasn't too pleased with this ingredient. Cheap? Yes. Annoying? Hell yes.

Once I hit 33, it was time for another recipe. Most people seemed to be using Pet Food Delta, which not only required yet another flour ingredient, but also included Bird Eggs. After half a level of grumbling, muling the flour, and searching for the Bird Eggs... I decided to take a look at the other recipes in range and stumbled across another opportunity for cooking/fishing synergy: Fish Broth. This is the same scenario as the Sliced Sardine recipe. Using a Sabiki Rig in Port Windurst will allow me to target Quus for fishing skillups (to 19), and Bastore Sardines for cooking skillups (to 37). The recipe caps a couple of levels lower than the pet food, but I'll take it and probably skip the pet food recipe altogether.

I look forward to fishing tonight ^_^