Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Called to Task

In no mood to craft or farm, I put up my flag for more meriting last night. I got a replacement invitation fairly quickly to a party in Bhaflau Thickets. They were camped in the back, by the zone to the Jade Sepulcher, which is actually a fairly risky camp since mobs repop pretty quickly, making linkless pulls trickier if not impossible at times. The Mamool Ja Philosophers (BLM) can be particularly nasty when linked to an incoming pull since they enjoy spamming -ga spells and sleeping folks.

We got one of those on the first pull, and a nuke hit the entire party pretty hard. I pulled hate instantly and died before I could get my shadows back up. Yeah, death on the first mob. I could only chuckle, as I cautiously melee'd in weakened status for awhile.

But the party went well: RDM WHM WAR RNG NIN DRG. This wasn't really a standard "bounce the hate around" sort of merit party, so I was conservative with the Provokes, trying to let the hate land on the Ninja as much as possible and Voke/Warcrying the mob off of her when shadows were exhausted and a Firespit or Rushing Drub would hit particularly hard. The mages had to leave around an hour later, so we disbanded with me around 3k until the next merit.

I got a "{Party}{Long time}" invitation at 11PM as I was walking from the Runic Portal to my MH to log for the night. It was from a Japanese player whom I recognized from the Ziz party I blogged earlier this year. It was late, but I took it anyway... and once again the EXP camp proved to be unconventional but interesting.

We headed out to the Halvung staging point in Mount Zhayolm and people used their Cast Metal Plate to open the gate at J-7. I didn't have one but followed one of the other members through the door to make my way to the camp at I-9. This was Hilltroll country, and we camped up the steps in a location where trolls spawned on both sides of us, leading to an impressively endless 'sleep queue' of trolls. Party makeup was RDM WHM BRD NIN DRG WAR.

The killing went underway, and I made the initial mistake of eating meat when my sushi wore off, which didn't work so well on the Hilltroll Paladins and Hilltroll Dark Knights.

Live & learn.

This combined with an undispellable Diamondhide (I wish I had known this since the poor RDM opened every fight with Dispel), which made it impossible to gain TP very quickly, and the Paladins loved to Cure IV themselves. Thankfully the other trolls weren't as problematic.

I did my usual thing, spamming damage as much as possible while keeping the shadows up and trying not to interfere with what I assumed was the main tank. I assumed incorrectly, and the BRD eventually exploded:

{Warrior} {Provoke} {Do you have it?}.
{Warrior} {Too weak}?
Bard pokes Frohike.
[/say channel]: "you"
(I assume he was trying to clarify that he wasn't talking about the Hilltroll Warriors -_-;).

Let me tell you. If you ever need to galvanize a lazy or clueless Warrior into a crazed flurry of Provokes, Warcries, Rampage and rampant hate-stealing, you only need to use those two simple little auto-translates.

{Warrior} {Too weak}.

I'll admit I should have previously analyzed the party makeup and mob effects with a little more...engagement and turned off the auto-pilot for this one. I was angry at first, that the BRD should state this so rudely. But in a sense I was also relieved. At least the party didn't go for hours thinking what the BRD said but keeping it to themselves.

I was the only other Utsusemi user in the party, and the DRG wasn't going to bounce hate. Of course it was my job to trade hate with the NIN, and I should have known this. After bouncing the enmity around between me and the Ninja for a few mobs, I confirmed that this was what they wanted. {Provoke} OK? And the response was {Yes, please}.

And we kept going from there. When my damned Sis Kebabi finally wore off (sometimes that Sanction can be a double-edged sword), I switched to Sole Sushi and swapped in the Swordbelt+1 rather than the Life Belt, and we plowed through the mobs without too much trouble (excepting Diamondhide).

The party continued with no pauses until we disbanded around 2AM, with me close to earning my 3rd merit for the night. I closed with "{I'm sorry} {Provoke} {Slow}", which elicited a "np ty^^" from the Ninja before I logged out.

That darned language barrier can be tough at times, but the Bard got through to me loud and clear last night: Pull your weight, muthaf***a!

Live & learn.

I spent 2 merits this morning, trimming 10 seconds off of my Aggressor and Berserk recast timers. I want to upgrade these evenly to keep their timers in sync, while continuing to upgrade Crit Attack rate until capped. I'll keep upgrading Bergressor until I hit 3 upgrades each, then decide whether to begin working on Double Attack upgrades or go for the full 5 Aggressor 5 Berserk route.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Besieged by the holidays

Same tune this week. I had very little time to log on and get much of anything accomplished. I merited again a few nights ago out in the thickets in a 4xWAR, RDM, WHM party that went pretty smoothly for everyone but a poor Taru Warrior who kept pulling hate. He died twice. Once because the rest of us sucked and couldn't pull the mob off of him, and the second time because we were all asleep. But other than that, it was a nice quick & dirty party, no drama.

I logged in last night to a level 6 Mamool Ja Besieged in the Advancing stage, so I hung out in Al Zhabi with an LS-mate Minusjoker and got .5 in skillups on my Great Axe. I neglected to take a screenshot of the frog mobs, which I didn't notice until one of them charmed me. Another cast Burst on Minusjoker for 900+ damage. Fun stuff. I visited Gulool Ja Ja, and got tired of hitting him for 8 damage, so moved on to the other NM (can't remember it's name) and eventually killed it with the group. The Mamool Ja retreated after that. Another 1000 EXP down the toilet -_-... can't wait for that update.

After the Besieged, I finally spent my Imperial Standing Points on 20 Gold Imperial Coins and did the Nashmau exchange for the 1000 bronze coins, which I traded to an NPC for my turban:

Aside from the boat ride, it went pretty quickly thanks to /item macros. I don't see myself really using this piece except during an Utsusemi macro, at least until I start working on a pricey Haste build. I hear those are quite nice, once everything is in place.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

The new GM policy is a reality

I noticed a name in red today as I was checking the AH before dinner. He had an 'SGM' logo and it dawned on me that someone was in fact getting their Bomb Core back, in confirmation of the recent annoucement concerning mistakenly thrown/dropped items. Oddly, they carried out the transaction in the /say channel, and everyone quickly clustered around the event.

I checked his gear and it was all preceded by "Judge", Judge Sword, Judge Helm, etc. All of it was Level 1, GM-Only. And the stats were mostly buffed out basic stats, for the most part in the DEF category (e.g. DEF 70 on the body piece). The great sword was similar to non-abjurated relic gear, with 99 damage and 999 delay.

His avatar emitted heat waves that warped the air around him, making the appearance all the more impressive and strange. After he warped out, someone said the 'SGM' stood for 'Senior GM.'

So... there you have it. Apparently we only get one chance to get something like a thrown Bomb Core returned to us though. Use the favor once, and it's gone for good.

I guess that's nice and all but doesn't it seem a bit like they're looking a little too hard for work for the GMs? Wouldn't it be more efficient to implement some sort of equipment 'lock' option on certain slots? Or even a basic 'Disable Ranged Attacks' option would do it, really. It seems oddly un-Japanese to take such a non-preventative approach.

Things that make you go Hmmm.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

I'm back

And what better thing to do when high on paint fumes and dizzy from exhaustion than log into FFXI... at 11PM?

My first discovery when returning was that someone took a big dump on the Poison Potion market. 60 potions on the AH. 60... Honestly, what nimrod out there saw 50+ potions on the AH and decided that the market really needed a few more? Time to work on that INT, people.

Anyhow, in light of this I changed my plans when heading out the Bibiki and hopped on the Manaclipper to farm Uragnite Shells in Purgo Isle. The drop rate with TH1 wasn't too shabby, and the mobs were actually kinda fun to kill once I figured them out.

If they retract into their shell, they have a DEF+ and Regen effect which balances fairly evenly with the damage I inflict (with Axe or Great Axe). Weapon skills at this point are a waste. When the Uragnite emerges from the shell however, it is extremely vulnerable. Average hits with the Gawaine Axe were around 200, increasing to 300 on crits. Opening with a Sneak Attack while the snail was exposed was usually a good way to start things off. And needless to say, Raging Rush would hit for around 800 for a nearly instant kill. For extra fun, since the mob is immobile when retracted, I could run around behind it and Sneak Attack for a little more damage (pretty useless because of the Regen, but fun nonetheless). Their Venom Shield move usually missed, but when it stuck (for a 16HP hit per tick) some Antidotes were always on-hand thanks to the vendor NPC nearby.

Fun, relaxing, and perhaps dull to some of you but... I came away with about 6-7 shells, which currently go for around 17k. I could think of worse ways to earn 100k. Compare that to the 6 stacks of poison potion I would have needed to sell at the current market rate, and I think my time was spent more efficiently ^_^

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Meriting. Crafting. Moving...

I've joined up with a couple more merit parties and polished off a few nights with Besieged here and there. Although, since my EXP is capped, I probably won't be participating in Besieged any further until the update comes through that enables users to earn Limit Points in the event.

I've placed my first three merits into upgrading Critical Attack Rate a couple of times and plan on capping that before moving on to other categories.

Due to the big move planned for the end of this week, I haven't had much time to do anything other than jump on to craft the GP item of the day and trade it in. We'll be moving in earnest this weekend, and unpacking for awhile after that, so updates will continue to be sporadic as RL becomes more demanding of my time.

When I return, I want to continue building up some gil to fund gear for a couple of melee subjobs that I still need to cap at 37: MNK and THF. I'll probably start with MNK, although I might drop it again when the cost gets too prohibitive and pick up THF for some fun.

I also want to start working on getting my relic armor, so I've applied to Final Heaven, a sponsored Dynamis shell, and want to apply to whichever one the Lifthrasirians have been joining up with (Knights of the Round?).

I'm looking forward to another Savage Blade run which will hopefully happen this weekend or later, since I'd hate to miss Lycasdemus getting this WS on his Paladin (and getting sweet revenge for his prior death to this scorpion).