Thursday, September 07, 2006

Attack of the Pointy Hats

Hey, I look at a blog title, I get bored, strange things happen...It is, however, germane to the entry so keep reading before doing that little o.O emote in your head m'kay?

After buying some more gear and juggling around with Acc/Atk/STR stats, I put up my flag and went to work on an Excel spreadsheet to dynamically calculate my statistics tradeoffs for WS macros. Yes, I'm that geeky -_-. No, I'm not looking for the 'holy grail' of perfect balance between these three statistics because that would ultimately be futile. There is no gear set compatible with all EXP situations since there are too many intertwining variables that force you to change things on the fly:

  • Atk or Accuracy buffs from your job abilities
  • Atk or Accuracy buffs from another party member's job abilities (BRD/COR)
  • Mob Defense and Evasion
  • Mob Job Ability Effects

So what I'm looking for is a quick calculator before I change my gear macros or start manually fiddling with equipment mid-fight. Something that emulates the GUI behavior in game but with the bonus of Attack and Accuracy differentials and the ability to group gear sets.

Hey at least I'm not setting up a database and a quick PHP application to do the job. I'm totally not thinking of doing that. Ahem.

I purchased some Thick Mufflers and Thick Breeches for my Acc/Atk build, and held off on the Sipahi Turban for my STR build until the price dips back below 300k or thereabouts. I might grab it tonight anyway, since the head is really a great gear slot for swapping at the moment: I can add and remove Atk vs. STR without compromising Accuracy, freeing up other slots to give the alternate bonuses.

Anyway enough gear talk. I barely had time to build the pick list and stats on my spreadhseet when I got an invitation to party in Caedarva Mire. I got to the staging point before anyone else did, and the party took a good 30 minutes to form, which gave me additional time to obsess over gear swapping.

The party eventually formed as COR (leader), BRD, WHM, WAR, WAR, NIN. I was the only sub-70 player there and the highest was 72, I believe. I could tell this was shaping up to be a strong TP-burn party and couldn't wait to experiment with my gear. Did I say I was going to stop talking about gear? My bad.

The WAR and NIN both had Optical Hats, which I think are the most unfortunate aesthetic mistakes in the game considering what wonderful pieces of equipment these are. I do plan to own one in the distant future, but for now I was the odd one out... It must admit that it did feel kinda cool to be killing things with Pointy Hat people, although I'll probably get pretty tired of seeing that Scorp Harness + Optical Hat combo after awhile.

The zone was quite crowded but we still found a nice scenic overlook at J-8 which was a short jaunt from several fly and Jnun spawns and nearly on top of an imp spawn. The WHM was self-admittedly not in top form (long workday burnout) but did well enough for us to hit chain 6 a few times.

I and the WHM died due to an epic link of Fly + Fly + Fly + Imp. The WHM ran out of echo drops and was silenced by the Imp, which I futilely tried to tank while the others killed the remaining fly that AOE'd poison all over everybody. We eventually took down all the mobs, but not before the WHM was poisoned to death. Watching my HP quickly go from 70 to 50 to 30, I did a /wave and "/em chokes" before lying down to gaze at the stars for awhile. The BRD quickly returned on her WHM to give us Raise III.

The WHM eventually hit his level 70 EXP cap and hadn't mashed Maat yet, so he brought in a replacement. And this is when things really started to click.

The new WHM didn't miss a beat. There was rarely a moment where I noticed any Silence/Poison/Blind effects lingering on me and I seemed to be Hasted quite frequently. The BRD puller never seemed to run out of mobs. Both the COR and BRD were doing amazing things to my stats, and we were plowing through mobs quite quickly. When the other WAR got a MNK replacement (also wearing a pointy hat), the damage really started... and we hit chain 10 at some point.

My favorite mobs were the Jnun, which had terrible evasion and allowed me to go all out on STR swaps, and therefore just crumpled to Rampage: I eventually hit for 1008 damage with Aggressor+Berserk only, no 2-hr, no Warcry (although the buffs from the COR+BRD probably influenced this quite a bit). The rest of my WS were consistently high unless I missed a gear swap or was overambitious in swapping out accuracy. I started considering 400-500 to be the low end of the WS damage and would occasionally go into the 800-900 range.

I'd never seen numbers this high on my Rampages on EXP mobs before so this was very exciting for me. BRD+ COR + squishy mobs = fun.

But what was even more exciting was the fact that the Ninja was absolutely holding hate. Again, major kudos to the Ninjas who know what they are doing in these types of parties.

I participated in the party for about 3 hours and gained around 20-21k EXP before calling in a MNK replacement. I was 3k away from the big 70, but it was 2 in the morning and I needed to decide between 'tired at work' and 'zombie at work'.

I chose the former.

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