Monday, July 31, 2006

There has to be a better way

There just has to. Another 5 hours in game, another 8k EXP earned, and I'm still 9k away from level 67. This is killing me...

I got an invite rather quickly tonight, but by the time I arrived at camp in Bibiki Bay, the group was only comprised of 4 people. We waited another 30 minutes to get a healer and a Ninja tank. We were eventually comprised of NIN/WAR, WAR/NIN, SAM/THF, THF/NIN, SMN/WHM, RDM/BLM, levels ranging from 64-66.

We floundered, badly, on weak Gobs (90 exp) and slightly higher level Dhalmels which took forever to kill but offered maybe 150 exp. Blah.

We were spinning our wheels and the Ninja... sir Shortysen from two nights ago, wasn't helping things: going afk, not responding to incoming mobs, telling us to stop while he looked for replacement (within 30 minutes of getting to camp). He is either a drunk or schizo because he didn't even remember the Mount Zhayolm portion of our EXP session at all from 2 nights ago. He remembered the part in Boyahda Tree where we tried to MPK the Red Mage leecher, but nothing else. He managed to simultaneously annoy and creep the hell out of me...

I won't go into a lot of party-dynamic detail because the details aren't worth remembering. Between "EXP party musical chairs", down time from close calls and seeking other members, terrible tanking (and repeated tank deaths), and people's inability to pull up camp and go someplace else... we wasted inordinate amounts of time.

Around the end, 4-5 member rotations later, I was sick of the inertia and the original "leader" fake red-dotted (yeah, that kind of party), so I was given lead since I had been doing all the work of finding new members all night anyway. But by then the damage had been done... we slowly made our way from the crappy camp to the Dhalmel camp further south, killing the tougher goblins along the way because the Paladin wanted to, which needlessly slowed things down when we could have invis'ed through.

I should have put him in his place and told everyone to just friggin' stop and invis up. He'd been rubbing me the wrong way all night because he just had one of those giant egos that belittles everyone else in the party and complains nearly constantly about every little thing, yet turns around and makes hair-brained mistakes and bad choices. You know... HNM drama queen material.

Anyway, we made it to camp and were making very nice EXP when people complained that it was 5AM their time. So we disbanded. Great.

I know I've said it before, but I mean it this time. I think I need to lead these parties...because I'm getting nowhere just following them. I hate doing it because I just don't have the personality to pull it off, but I guess it's time to practice my acting skills and get a little more dictatorial.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Experience Point Water Torture

Sometimes there are just no other words for it. I started at 10:15pm and logged out at 3:30am. I think I have maybe 8k more EXP than I did when I logged in.

The night started off extremely slowly. I logged in around 10:15 PM, put up my flag, and fished for Moat Carp by the Al Zhabi auction house square. In the process, I picked up .5 in fishing skill (I know, what the hell right?) from the Sazanbaligi which also bite the Insect Paste I was using. In retrospect, I probably should have logged out at this point.

Around 11:45 or so, a fellow LS member Tragic formed an EXP party consisting of BLU/THF, BLU/THF, WHM/BLM, WAR/NIN, NIN/WAR, RDM/whatever. The RDM didn't have ToAU installed, so we settled on Steelshell-camping in Boyahda Tree. Despite the multiple announcements of what we were planning, the RDM was taken aback at our 'sudden' departure from Jeuno on birds. Oook then... brushed that one off. The NIN tank was an old acquaintance: the throat-stabbing Taru named Shortysen from my Kuftal skillup session many moons ago. He sent me a /tell partly expressing what I was thinking since we left Jeuno: "Dunno about this party. Hey, you're on my friends list. Do I know you?"

The RDM had neither a map, nor familiarity with the zone once we got there, so the trip to the waterfall took a bit longer than usual. It was 12AM when we finally set up camp and started pulling.

After dispelling the first mob, the RDM proceeded to do nothing. No action whatsoever, for several minutes. Whether he was leeching or passed out we booted him and began seeking for other dispellers while pulling more shells, this time much more slowly. The lack of dispel basically killed the party, and with no replacements coming we warped to Altepa and slowly disbanded...until Shortysen announced he'd found a JP BRD and wanted to camp in an Aht Urgan zone.

Tragic needed to sleep so he left. The WHM, Jeston, had already warped to Jeuno and didn't have his HP set in Whitegate, but he joined us eventually (after a looong boat ride). One of the BLU, Showmo, stayed and I decided to EXP some more as well. Shortysen eventually found a JP BLM to join us. While Jeston was boating to town, we decided to camp the Magma Eruca in Mount Zhayolm. This was the same setup that brought me into level 65 earlier this month and I had fond memories of the camp.

By the time we got out there it was 1:30am and I was kicking myself for staying up so late for what would probably be a 3 hour party. For whatever reason, the JP members didn't want to set up camp at the entrance to the crawler area, but chose the far north... and rather close to a crawler spawn point. To make matters worse, a BST already had claimed the camp. I was the puller. It felt wrong to take his mobs, and I asked the party to move but the JP stubbornly refused, even as I watched an Eruca spawn behind one of them a few feet away. A nice back-pocket chain 5 mob, I'll admit, but pretty damn risky.

Needless to say, that pop eventually caused problems... all it took was a missed pop warning and a sleepy NIN, and the party was agro'd all to hell while I brought back the pull. I succeeded in tucking my mob away and allowing the mages to sleep it, and moved in to kill the pop, but the other awoke before we had really accomplished anything and it all just went downhill from there. Party wipe. What's funny is, the BLU had accidentally brought a /BLM sub from his Rabao->Whitegate warp (hey, it was just one of those nights) and came back from the Halvung staging point with a /THF sub only to find us all dead.

Here's the highlight of the night. Jeston had done the smart thing and cast Re-raise, but a crawler was sitting on top of him. So we were screwed until Showmo arrived and decided to try something. He cast Metallic Body, then walked up to the mob and cast Pinecone Bomb, instantly sleeping it. The WHM was then able to reraise and sneak, and run to a safer spot. Poor Showmo eventually joined us on the dirt, but the heroism wasn't lost on me. Gogo Blue Mages! With Jeston alive and safe, a good dose of Tractor and Raise2 had the party back on its feet again.

The JP members asked if we wanted to move but the BST had left, probably in disgust, so I didn't really care anymore. If we could stop being dumbasses for awhile, that pop might be useful.

We proceeded to pull some more, and with the 3rd chain #5 or so (using that pop to close #5 every time), I started to R0. Once the mob was dead, I warned the party, then /shutdown and rebooted everything. When I got back on, we pulled a couple more mobs until Showmo started to red dot as well. We continued to pull & kill while he was gone, but it was good to have him back when he did eventually re-connect.

At this point I had capped Axe and was working on Great Axe again. I was not dissapointed with the GA performance at all on these crawlers at this level and wished I had switched sooner. I don't know if it was the extra level, extra weapon skill, or new equipment (or a combo of the three), but swings were connecting for 100-130 on normal hits and 200+ on criticals. When my AF feet would proc, this would translate into some seriously dangerous damage.

I could tell Shortysen was losing steam though... Provokes and Ni spells were coming much more slowly, often requiring me to temporarily tank until the Showmo SATA'd onto him. By the time 3AM hit, he announced he had found a PLD replacement, but within minutes sent me a couple of /tells. "Hey" .... "I'm passing out", which he must have within seconds of typing it. He died, I threw on my full AF, Defender, 2hr, and tanked for my life... and we all survived.

It was 3:30 and obviously time to call it quits, so we D2'd out.

One of the subjectively longest FFXI sessions of my life. I of course won't be logging in tonight, since I'll need to recover some sleep.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Boredom in Bibiki Bay

I really couldn't turn down the invitation to party there, even when another one came in from Whitegate right before I teleported. I always give dibs to the first inviter, no exceptions. Besides I'm not a mage, so I can't be a party snob and 'evaluate' the party configuration & camp before 'choosing' the one I want.

I almost regret sticking to the 'first inviter' rule last night, but a party is what you make it sometimes... and I don't think I invested enough of myself (i.e. full concentration & analysis) into this one.

I was replacing a MNK, and the party was targeting pretty much everything but the Efts. The party setup was WHM, RDM, PLD, RNG, WAR, COR. The Ranger wanted to set up Rampage + Sidewinder for some reason and I just sort of went with it, not realizing that the resulting SC wasn't really that great for any of the mobs we were fighting (Reverberation i.e. Water). Had I been really "on" that night I would have suggested something else, like Blast Arrow + Rampage (Distortion) to at least make the birds die faster. But I wasn't all there and I'll admit it. I was on party auto-pilot.

We proceeded to kill at a steady pace, but I don't think we broke chain 5 which was surprising considering the seemingly low-end difficulty of the mobs. A few close calls occurred with the usual Goblin links, and I discovered a nice little bug with the "bt" target tag that I'm pretty sure wasn't there before the last patch. If you're currently engaged & locked on the party's mob and a dormant link (in red) is nearby, the "bt" tag will engage the other target... every single time. Unless I happened to be hitting the macro just as the mage was recasting Sleep or something. My attack macro doubles as a /recast timer notification, listing my commonly used job abilities. So if I happened to hit it to check the timers and a sleeping mob was nearby, hilarity would ensue. Guess it's time to switch to /assist "puller_name".

Leave it to SE to make a simple game mechanic such as targetting into a clunky, foreign, buggy feature.

I really enjoyed the new Bomb Core, especially when my accuracy was sufficient to land nearly all of my hits. Every swing was connecting for 50-65 HP per hit, and I could just smell the DoT. I can only imagine what a set of Spiked Finger Gauntlets in addition to the core would have done with these mobs.

Anyhow, the party flow was pretty humdrum, and I could tell I'd been invited right into the cooldown->disband phase of the party, when people were dozing off and just chaining enough mobs to get so&so their level or buffer or whatever. The Paladin told us he was struggling to maintain consciousness and the Red Mage was also desparate for sleep. Since we couldn't find replacements and at least 2 others were tired, the party disbanded. We all 2-hour'ed the last mob for the fun of it, and my Rampage hit for upwards of 1k on a goblin. Out with a bang I guess.

I received about 6.5 k EXP in the hour and half of partying, getting me to level 66 with a healthy buffer. Another 23k grind will bring me to 67... eventually.

I fished up a couple of stacks of Moat Carp with my LFG flag up before logging out for some sleep around 12:30 AM. That Lu Shang rod will be mine; oh yes, it will be mine... in a couple of years -_-

Tuesday, July 25, 2006


For anyone who listened to the latest episode of Pet Food Alpha, please skip their discussion about the question I sent in. They completely misread it and proceeded to give an answer that, at least in my opinion, amounted to "I dunno, don't use food much"

... yeah, I went O_O as well.

For those of you who do listen anyway, please be assured that I do not smoke crack, and yes I use accuracy food because I in fact need it (as most WAR do at my level), and yes I most definitely would notice a nasty dip in DoT if I decided not to eat sushi. Here's what I asked them, if you're curious:

I just recently learned that I've been wasting a sizable amount of gil on Sole Sushi when I could have been eating cheaper food such as Bream or Squid Sushi with no noticeable downgrade in my damage over time. Since all I really needed the sushi for was accuracy, I'd been spending upwards of 30,000 gil per stack of food for meager additional gains in damage when they really weren't necessary.

I wish I had known this sooner...much much sooner, and I think lots of players out there could use some advice on what foods to consume in their different jobs & levels. I've seen people eating expensive Sushi in Qufim, and it made me very very sad.

So... what foods do you eat now on your different jobs and why? And when do you recommend that people start eating food to boost their performance?

Hey, I thought it was a good topic starter. Too bad it was totally misconstrued, and again um FusionX ... O_O Different strokes for different folks, I guess. Maybe DRG don't need food?

But they hate NIN about as much as I do, so it's all good (even though, by Eric's definition, I'm a "pathetic little weasel" for subbing it >_>).

Monday, July 24, 2006


Of all the nights to come back to FFXI for a little EXP, I chose... update night! Egads.

It seems this update will be kind to the Warriors in Vanad'iel though.

  • Savagery: Adds TP bonus to Warcry.
  • Aggressive Aim: Adds Ranged Accuracy bonus to Aggressor [didn't they nerf this last year?]
  • Tomahawk: Expends a throwing Tomahawk to inflict a special Defense Down effect on the enemy
  • Warrior's Charge: Will double your next attack.

That last one could very well make us the kings of spike damage in the game ([SATA +] Berserk + Warrior's Charge + Steel Cyclone), until SE decides to strike us down with the fated nerf stick.

I'm a little wary of the changes but thankful as well. At least the Warrior role as ghetto-tank seems to be receding in the memories of the game balance specialists (no gratuitous +shield skill on these additions).

This will certainly give me stuff to try out in the future... once I can log into the actual game to play and get some EXP -_-.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Amnesia sucks

But doesn't it feel great when you get your memory back?

With 12k to go until level 66, I accepted an invite around 11:30 last night to Caedarva Mire at the Azouph Staging Point, which I had fortunately flagged when I was working on my Aht Urhgan missions. We camped just north of the gate, around K-8, and hacked away at the most annoying mobs I've had the displeasure of killing so far: Heraldic Imps. There's nothing quite like seeing a Ninja tank's shadows drop... and not come back up because he's silenced (thanks to Deafening Tantara) followed by an extremely fast dip in the Ninja's HP (thanks to Frenetic Rip), and being unable to weaponskill the mob or provoke it (thanks to Abrasive Tantara) away from the WHM who has to cast emergency-sized cures on the tank.

We didn't have too many of those moments because the mages were very liberal with the Silena on the tank, but we came close to party wipes a couple of times.

The risk had quite a payoff, as I was getting around 500+ exp with each kill when my Empress Ring and Sanction were in effect. We eventually got a rhythm going, where the puller would sleep the mob at a distance and people would debuff the hell out of it before it made its way to camp. We got a few chains after awhile. Nothing above 3 from what I recall, but enough to compensate a bit for the EXP ring wearing off. During Imp respawn downtime, we killed a few Jnuns.

The competition at our site was fairly high, which annoyed me at first until most of the parties eventually left as the night wore on. Then I realized how nice it had been to not have Imps floating all over the place. Our puller died twice due to pop-links, and running to the gate in emergencies was a risk unto itself... it's actually hard to open the door if the mob is on you, because hits will interrupt the 'event' of opening the gate. -_-

The puller's LS friend thankfully brought R3, so we didn't have to wait too long for him to ding 66 and let us all disband & sleep at 1:30AM. I'm now a little over 1k TNL.

By the way, as much as I hate Ninja tanks, it was a testament to the skill of our particular Ninja that hate control was rarely a big problem. This really impressed me considering the constant Silence and Amnesia on the party. So, hats off to the Ninjas who actually know what they're doing, which frankly seem to be rare these days.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

OK, no FFXI tonight but...

This video is a fun motivator and rather anti-soporific, unlike my actual FFXI life. It's ancient (like at least half a year old), but I liked it and thought some of you might as well, especially since it gives a little air time to each pre-ToAU job. If they would have removed the O-hat from some of the shots, it would have been perfect. Credit goes to Cruia on the Leviathan server for creating it. Enjoy.

If there were crickets in Vana'diel...

They would chirp around me. Constantly.

I've only logged in briefly over the past couple of nights and have been utterly aimless in these short sessions, mostly because I have the urge to EXP again but can't seem to form or get a party when the soonest I can log in is 10PM. At this point, there's usually a small motley assortment players with their flags up, mostly Japanese with {I don't speak any English} disclaimers. What do these mean anyway? That they'd rather not play with anglo-saxon players, or simply can't speak the language but would like to team up anyway? It seems to me that English speakers are a bit more helpful and descriptive in their use of auto-translation in the Search comments, but maybe that's just me.

Anyhow, I want to EXP a little more to try out my new Bomb Core (had to use the Astral Ring profit for something, right?). I'm not too worried about throwing it because:
  1. I never use the manual menus for ranged attacks, nor much of anything else for that matter.
  2. I never use Ctrl+R to throw stuff.
  3. I've changed my /ra macro: /equip ammo; /equip ammo "Dart"; /p {Pull back} {t} {call14}; /ra ; /equip ammo "Bomb core";
I've made similar changes to the /ra macro for my NIN set, and the rest of my macros were wiped out in the Xbox migration. I'm still a bit concerned about the Ctrl+R since the key is so close to the number 5, which is my /ra macro button. I think I'll switch that macro to the Alt register to cover my bases.

I logged out last night in Eastern Altepa Desert, where I'd spent perhaps 30 minutes trying to steal Mythril Beastcoins before I started dozing off. I'll keep plugging away at it while LFG tonight (or tomorrow depending on the family's plans today) but it's not as fun as fishing, in my opinion. I'm feeling the urge to cast a line out in the Jugner lake again and acquire some more skillups and Moat Carp.

Guess we'll see...

[chirp] [chirp] [chirp]

Oh, shut up.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Kuftal Tunnel map obtained


I logged in tonight with the sole purpose of finding this coffer. Once I had checked every spawn point about 4-5 times, I was beginning to get so familiar with the area (and burning through so many Silent Oils) that I was actually losing interest in finding the map. Either the respawn time on the Kuftal coffer is extremely slow, or people camp it for whatever reason (I'm guessing anything but the map).

I had decided to leave after about an hour, but tried the Recluse Spider room again with my remaining 'extra' Silent Oil. I found the coffer at the D-9 spawn point and claimed my map.

This is another location that has always freaked me out a bit, particularly due to Guivre, but partially because of the lack of a map (which once caused a nasty run-in with an Ovinnik).


The auction house still lists 9 Astral Rings for sale, with sporadic undercutting to 1 million, but most sales are in the 1.3 - 1.4 million range. I'm putting mine up tonight, since this AH listing doesn't seem to empty out very often, and there's too much danger of deflation.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

More fun with Coffers

After blowing another 50 seals for the priviledge of casting Mijin Gakure, I think I'm done gambling for awhile. I have about 50 seals left, which I'll save in case I want to do a real BCNM someday (yeah, right).

So...I have keys. Too many keys. My janitor skills are capped. Some may not think I have that many, but they take up so much space that I just stare at them in my MH sometimes:

  • Delkfutt Key
  • Boyahda Coffer Key
  • Zvahl Chest Key
  • Oldton Molvopolis Chest Key
  • Kuftal Coffer Key
  • Nest Chest Key
  • Gusgen Chest Key
  • Whine Cellar Key (? o_O ?)
So, as with the seals, it's time to burn some of these. I threw the Whine Cellar Key away. It's RA/EX and I'll never go for Black Mage artifact armor. I obviously can't get rid of the Delkfutt key. But two major ones stand out. At level 65, I think it's time I had maps to Kuftal Tunnel and Boyahda Tree, don't you? So I grabbed a key and went sightseeing.

And I eventually found the coffer in an easy, agro-free location, sitting amongst some Death Caps at J-8. It was the mellowest time I'd ever spent in the tree, since all I had to worry about was sneak in a few places.

I remembered how petrified I felt while finding my way to my first EXP party here, not realizing that most mobs don't agro until you get to the larger rooms. And I still got lost a couple of months ago during a skillup party and used more Silent Oils than I cared to. Having this map is a good thing for me. I feel closure with this place now... /sigh


The RMT appeared to be slacking tonight so I took the opportunity to kill a few Goobbues on my way back. Nothing spectacular since I hadn't subbed Thief, but I still got a Tree Cutting out of it (I think I'm 1 or 2 away from a stack).

I won't be able to play for the next few nights, but when I return I want to go on a Kuftal Coffer hunt, which should be...interesting!

Monday, July 10, 2006

BCNM 50: Treasure and Tribulations

I have an obscene number of Beastmen Seals and no one with whom to BCNM, so I figured I'd burn a few on the russian roullette of BCNM: Treasure & Tribulations.

On my first attempt, I attacked the large coffer which became a Mimic and killed me before the Warp Cudgel could proc. Realizing the stupidity of doing this as Warrior, I switched to Ninja for the Mijin Gakure.

I attacked the small coffer on the second attempt, which yielded a Ronin Ring (essentially worthless; sells seldom for around 5k) and a handful of Wyvern scales (approx 5k on AH).

I selected the medium coffer on the third attempt, which yielded a Tamer's Ring (not worth a sale, but I'll hang on to it in case I level BST), and ... finally ... an Astral Ring. This is worth approximately 1.2 - 1.4 million on Ifrit. It's unfortunate that it took so many seals, but I wasn't going to do anything else with them and they were taking up room in my MH.

There are currently 9 Astral rings on the AH, so I'll wait a few days before selling mine.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Warrior Artifact Armor complete

I set out to Zvahl again this evening, but it was rather late, so I planned to just get to the zone and log out for the night...

But it was just too tempting to keep going, so I explored the 4 spawn points on the bottom floor on the off chance that a coffer would be in one of the 'easy' spots. Not so lucky. So I went for the southern spawn on the central platform (which took quite a bit of hiking around) only to see the coffer within arms reach, yet so far away, on the north platform. So I went from the Yagudo to the Quadav pit, dropped to the proper platform, and found the coffer still unclaimed although camped by two Evil Eyes. No matter. I dropped invis, hit the key-trading macro, verified the Cuisses were acquired, and hit the Warp Cudgel macro. Luckily, I didn't get petrified & made it home with about 250 HP.

And now cue the Pomp & Circumstance theme:

Saturday, July 08, 2006

A key and some happenstance EXP

I swear serendipitous shouts and calls for help from the LS give me much better luck than actively seeking some things out on my own.

I've been indefinitely putting off the last piece of my AF, the Fighter's Cuisses, because I didn't have fond memories of Castle Zvahl Baileys from the Rank 6 mission and I didn't think help would be too forthcoming from the LS anytime soon (heck, I wouldn't volunteer for it).

As soon as I logged into Whitegate, someone was shouting for assistance with a Samurai Testimony drop in Zvahl and was proposing that people come along for their coffer keys. Ding! We went out as a party of three: me, a Paladin, and the Samurai. A key dropped on the very first Blood Demon we killed, but I lost the lot. We got separated when making our way to the next 'hole' when I dropped onto the wrong platform, so they told me to climb back up & wait. The next demon they killed dropped another key, which I of course lotted and acquired. Unfortunately they pulled a link on the next demon, and the Paladin died... however the Samurai solo'd the remaining mob (the other one had thankfully despawned) and got his Testimony to drop.

The Paladin got a Raise 3 and all was right with the world again. All three of us got our items with a total of 4 mobs killed, and it took us less than 30 minutes. Pretty amazing luck...

I got unexpected agro from one of the eyes (apparently these detect by sound and sight? doh!) so I had to warp out and didn't get a chance to look for the coffer. No one in the party wanted to search for it anyway. But I'll certainly go back tomorrow night and solo it. I'm quite a bit more familiar with the zone now and how to access the platforms that lead to the central coffer spawns so, barring any stupid mistakes, it should go well.

So there I was at 11PM with nothing to do and the SAM had an hour or so to spare, so he put a party together. We tried Marids/Chigoes at first in Bhaflau Thickets, which was a disaster even when targetting the Chigoes quickly. Party wiped twice before we ignored the JP Red Mage's advice (he was dead set on the Chigoes and kept calling the Ninja tank 'baka' -_-) and chose a different camp based on my own perusal of Campsitarus. At this point I was the leader, since the SAM had brought in a DRG replacement. People had enough of Deathga (and the hour or so wasted) so there wasn't much debate about my choice: Den of Rancor, Tormentors.

It was a gamble, since the camp only supports one party and it was difficult to tell if people were in the zone for EXP or for the ZMs. But we ended up being the only party at the campsite. After the first few pulls and noticing the mob's +EVA TP move, it became clear that we needed to get a skillchain going if we were ever to hit chain 5. I set up a quick & dirty Skewer + Rampage = Distortion with the Dragoon, and the Black Mage knew what to do. We were set.

By 2 AM, people were getting sleepy, so we stopped at around 8500 EXP and called it a night.

I love nights when I can actually log off with a sense of accomplishment.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Time to hit Ronfaure again?

I spent last night fishing for Moat Carp (gotta do it sometime) & waiting for the Mamool Ja to go from level 1 preparing to level 5 advancing... which took about 2 and a half hours. Since the LS was being quiet, I tuned into another episode of Pet Food Alpha (the new Mega Elixir, essentially, under non-Zam management). Eric and FusionX are both fans of the Bard job (Sammy likes it too, but she seems to like every job in the game besides WHM), and every time I hear them discuss it I make a stronger mental note to try the job.

It just sounds completely foreign to any other that I've played in the game, and I think it would be rather fun to play a Warrior's favorite support class. This also means I need to level WHM/BLM, which could also be an interesting change, depending on how far I take the sub.

I'm still not certain about this job shift; just ruminating. But it's a rumination that has returned several times now over the past few months, and I'm thinking of taking the next step.

In any case, the Besieged event was fun and I earned the full 700 EXP and 700 IS points once my Xbox decided to not lock up or disconnect on me.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Frohike dozes off quietly.

Since I've been running on fumes (read 4-5 hours of sleep) for the past few days, I didn't log in last night... It's bad when you feel the process of sleep actually coming upon you while you're walking in broad daylight. Yeah, that's pretty bad. That's like, toddler taking a faceplant at the dinner table bad. So I made like a human being and slept a little.

I'm thinking of setting up a 'thematic' series of posts at some point. Something I can come back to every now & then and elaborate upon. I've got two ideas so far. One is a Seinfeldian 'Did you ever notice?' column about those goofy little things in FFXI you notice once before it becomes commonplace in your Vanadiel mental space, but gets a 'recharge' when someone actually mentions it out loud. Another idea is a Walt Whitman style long poem that begins "Somewhere in Vana'diel..." and just lists "moments" that people have in the game and you know are constantly happening as you do your own thing in your own little world. Sort of an epic sweep through the game world (if any of you have seen Wings of Desire, think of the first few minutes of that film).

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Besieged by lag

I logged in with no real plans until I noticed the level 5 Troll Mercenary advance & decided to hang out in Aht Urhgan, flag some quests & missions, and wait for the trolls. It didn't take long for the fun to begin, and I joined an alliance of three parties a bit before the gates were breached. All I can say is... besieged is

A. Complete chaos - This is liberating in a way because you can participate in any battle you choose, and mages are usually around buffing and healing random people. My Reraise scroll wasn't needed, so I don't plan on wasting Imperial Points on this next time. Besides, there's no risk in dying anyway, other than wasting time if no one decides to raise you.

B. An interesting way to skill up weapons and learn some of the more obscure BLU abilities such as Diamondhide (someone in our party actually picked this up during a battle). Skilling up on Besieged mobs does require massive amounts of accuracy, so it's not exactly the most efficient way to do it, but it's a nice diversion from the usual skillup grind for high-level players.

C. A technical nightmare - and I don't see how they will ever fix this. The game engine simply cannot handle 400+ people in a zone, 70% of whom eventually congregate on a single mob (the General). They can patch and tweak all they want... I just don't think Besieged will ever get better in this area. To make matters worse, the Xbox port isn't up to snuff for these events either. It already has framerate issues during normal gameplay and chugs considerably during Besieged... to the point where it can actually freeze, which it did for me right as the General was nearing the last 10% of his HP. So I didn't gain any Imperial Points this round >_<.

Once that was done, I went a little further with the Aht Urhgan missions and logged out when I completed mission 5. I'll try to finish these up tonight and move on to another diversion... possibly flagging some staging points or doing a few map quests.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

More red crawlers, eh?

I put up my flag last night for what I hoped to be the last time for a few more weeks. While waiting, I decided to get rid of some Worms and Millioncorn sitting in my MH and sell stacks of Insect Paste. As soon as I had all of my ingredients together and kneeled for my first synth, an invitation came in. "Hello there, would you care to join a party in Mount Zhayolm?"

First of all, the request was in full English, no abbreviations, no auto-translate cuteness. And it was polite. After recovering from this, I noticed the zone name and realized that perhaps it was time to get some staging points flagged soon. The leader, whom I recognized from a previous party in Aydeewa Subterrane (unblogged, sorry) was kind enough to taxi me in, using Escape when zoning to Halvung from Bhaflau Thickets (F-8) to skip us straight to Zhayolm.

The setup was nearly perfect. The party was already formed, the site wasn't overcamped, we were only targetting one type of mob (Magmatic Eruca), and I was pulling (so I wasn't bored). The crawlers took awhile to kill, so we couldn't hit chain 5 as consistently as I would have liked. But the EXP was rather addictive, and the party very pleasant. The NIN (east coast) eventually swapped out for a PLD, without a hitch.

There was a bit of downtime on a few occasions as 2 people warped back to town to refresh Sanction, and the NIN died a couple of times when the WHM's attention slipped and Barfira wasn't up (the leader had another WHM character there, level 75, so Raise3 kept the drama at bay). But we kept plugging away and chatting until 2:30AM PST, when I was starting to nod in between pulls and several players were getting parental agro. Once again both weapons capped out, the Great Axe taking much longer than I liked but yielding a new WS to try out later (since Crawlers are immune to it): Full Break. And I went about 8100 experience points into level 65.

And now, onto anything other than EXP'ing for awhile...hopefully.

Monday, July 03, 2006

I feel cranky...oh so cranky...

Dear party leader,

When you propose an EXP party to someone who doesn't have their /invite flag up and that person interrupts their plans to assist you, show a little courtesy and respect. If no one is skillchaining and the Warrior uses his Great Axe, don't ask him to change his weapon. Just...don't go there, especially if he is dealing the most damage in the party aside from the Black Mage, and is having no accuracy or TP issues whatsoever. Judgement should be based on actions & performance, not your cookie cutter assumptions about 'proper' weapons. And speaking of action vs. concept, let's address one of your party members.

Dear pansy Ninja tank,

If the Warrior decides to provoke a mob that is trying to destroy the party's mages, don't get upset with him. Placing your pride over the safety of the party only makes you look weaker than you already do, especially when the mob has been turning on everyone but you for the duration of the party. During your downtime, as the party waits for the leader to return with a Thief subjob just for you, take some time to re-evaluate how you're playing your job when you don't have your Trick Attack crutch (oh noes!). And once we do get a Trick Attack setup, don't complain when the Warrior provokes the incoming mob... because that would just be moronic now, wouldn't it?

Dear suicidal Black Mage,

If you know for a fact that the Ninja is having cerebral issues (see above), please wipe that smile off of your face before the mob does it for you and ease up on the nukes. The Warrior may become so distracted by your 'amazing' damage that he'll 'forget' to provoke the mob off of you, because you're just that blindingly awesome.

Have a bitchin' summer & don't ever change,


... I hope I hit 65 soon, because I need a vacation from stupid people. I try to be low-key, low-stress, I really do, but parties like this make it extremely difficult. When I left after the 2 hours I had agreed upon with the leader, I found it appropriate (in a snotty kind of way) to bring in a Thief as replacement. An LS mate in the party said the hate management was still a nightmare. By the time I arrived in Whitegate, however, someone must have done something right: the Ninja died.

On a happier note, the party I actually sought last night was fun, laid back, and well-coordinated ... and, gasp, "allowed" me to use my Great Axe for awhile, until I got bored and used my Axes as well. Both weapons are capped and equally effective in solo WS spam. Can you tell I'm developing a pet peeve here?