Thursday, November 30, 2006

Blacklist Episode 3: The Return of the Diva

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Limit Break Radio

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

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

Check them out if you have the time.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Keeping busy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, November 17, 2006

Crafting Stasis

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

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

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

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Hardcore Gamer Magazine: Caveat Emptor

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, November 12, 2006

On script. Off script. Ding 75!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, November 11, 2006


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

And Zorrandor got his too:

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

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

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

Ok, now for some sleep.

Friday, November 10, 2006


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

I'm a big fat liar

Did I say I would sleep tonight?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, November 06, 2006

On the home stretch

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

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

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

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

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

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

40,200 TNL /cry.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Slow & Steady

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

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

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

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

Saturday, November 04, 2006

EXP lost. EXP regained.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, November 03, 2006


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A very strange evening, but fun and relaxing overall.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

When I blacklist you...

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Dragostea Din Tei

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

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