Sunday, December 23, 2007

I'm still around...

Just not in Vanadiel.

But I'll be back when the holidays blow over...

Just thought I'd take the chance to wish all of you happy holidays.

To the friends whom I've left temporarily while my life stabilizes, know that I miss you. To the friends who've left the game but drop by here periodically, know that I appreciate the chances I get to talk to you and share a bit of my life and yours. To those who've vanished into the woodwork, know that I think about you even years after you typed that last /logout.

I'd say it seems silly to say so, but that would amount to false snobbery, so I'll just say it outright: my life really has been altered in subtle ways, and for the better, by the folks I've met in this strange melding of casual passtime, monumental collaborative achievement, mild to depraved geekery, and virtual treadmilling.

To supplement your merriment this holiday, I give you a LARP/RPG/MMO defiled staging of the nativity scene. Merry Xmas!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

20238 Files Remaining

Just ... kill me now. Go ahead, I've got reraise up. -_-;

Anyway, my WotG disc finally arrived yesterday and I attempted to install it, only to be greeted by an "invalid drive Z:\" error due to a recently mapped then disconnected network drive that for the life of me I could no longer find anywhere in any registry on the hard drive.

Stupid Windows...

A re-install did the trick, but of course that also meant a complete rebuild of FFXI from the original version up. Hence the file count.

But not all is technical doom and gloom. In the few sessions I managed to steal over the past week, I've raised my BLM to 30, my WHM to 43, and my fishing to 40, and had the privilege to welcome an old friend, Thitond, back to the game. He began his long hiatus before the ToAU expansion was released, so I've been having fun introducing him to a few Aht Urghan related activities and quests.

I should be back in the saddle in the next few days.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Thank you, Brandson! TYTYTY

He updated both the font and map packs for the latest version:

Now my eyes can stop bleeding!

{Hmmm} USB SchmUSB

Having the USB devices plugged in doesn't seem to matter.

The drivers are causing the problem, and these are enabled despite the absence of the external devices.

People are having positive results when they disable all "HID-compliant" devices in the Computer Management console. I've done it, and it doesn't affect my current ability to use either the native laptop keyboard or the external keyboard + mouse.

This absolutely worked for me. No more chugging, even while windowed.

Here's the thread on alla.

I'm on a MacBook Pro
Intel Core Duo 2.33
the adapter through boot camp is currently: ATI Mobility Radeon X1600

Now I'm working on the ghetto anti-aliasing problem. I'm testing slight increases to values in the Overlay resolution to account for the additional pixels from the window "box." If I can compensate accurately, I think the windowed can be made to look fine. Will post details here as soon as I get them.

Addendum (12/5/07): I've discovered that, for whatever reason, 1360 x 768, seems to be the maximum resolution supported by the native windowed mode. When the overlay resolution is set to this, and the gamma is adjusted appropriately, everything works fine. It's disappointing that the windowed mode seems to be subject to the same problems with Vertical Sync as the unofficial windower (i.e. Vertical Sync doesn't really work here). But at least it doesn't look like butt anymore.

Monday, November 19, 2007

/fume framerate

Maybe SquareEnix should have consulted Cliff Spradlin before implementing their sloppy version of windowing.

The windowed mode sucks. It essentially downgrades the resolution rather than intelligently adjusting the window size to accommodate the resolution set in the configuration, resulting in unsightly blur, otherwise known as ghetto anti-aliasing. For instance windowing in 1440x900 actually "squeezes" that resolution into something like a 1440x800 window.

Not only did they get the windowing wrong but they crippled the framerate in all modes for no discernible reason.

I've achieved some amount of playability by disabling mip mapping and forcing vertical sync off (rather than "app preference"), but it's still choppy.

I'm also grumpy because I can't use Branson's font pack anymore, but that's the nature of dat-swapping.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Black Mage - To the Jungles and Beyond!

My time, as usual, has been a bit limited, but I've used what I could to level fishing from 35 to 39 over the past week or so.


And... Black Mage from 21 to 28 since Friday! I phased from risky solo experiments in Delkfutt, to lucky party invites, to solo'ing less riskily with my NPC on worms, to unlucky party invites (WHM/THF... enough said), to duo'ing with a friend. A nice party this afternoon even gave me a chance to Magic Burst for some very satisfying damage.

A big thank you to my friend Cozmos for helping out a party in Qufim, and to my friend Katella for staying up later than usual and duo'ing bats with me until I got to level 25 and could eat my Aspir and Tractor scrolls. I'm lucky to have such patient and generous companions in Vanadiel ^_^



All in all, despite all the educational solo deaths (each one taught me something different), the experience has been quite pleasant. Even, dare I say, addictive.

On another note, I couldn't resist those red glasses everyone's been wearing, so I joined the pseudo-NM camping fun and got my Fancy Specs. Their red color gave me an idea for an outfit...


Snazzy no?

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Why Frohike hasn't been on much


{Impossible to gauge}!
Aggressive. Detects by Sound+Sight.
Special ability: {Charm}

This little one has required my attention at night lately. Until she's completely weaned from night feedings, yours truly has been the one to console her back to sleep. The process is nearly over, but until then, I can't really do much besides fish... Partying is out of the question, since a WHM who needs to go AFK at a moment's notice probably wouldn't work out so well.

Not that I mind. I'm {charm}ed, remember? ;-)

She's grown quite a bit since the last picture I posted here...

Monday, November 05, 2007

Spend spend spend! /giggle

Um I mean... /laugh maniacally! Ahem...

Between fishing and teleporting, and a parting gift from my friend Lexxi, I've built up a hefty nest egg. I was planning on buying a Lu Shangs when I'd gathered a 300k or so buffer (and live like a pauper while I put the rod to use), but an idle shout from someone selling a Berserker's Axe for 500k (100k below AH price) proved too tempting to resist.

I purchased this and, since the momentum had taken me, I also bought a Pole Strap for 100k. The spending bug had bitten me early last week as well, when I upgraded my Venerer Ring to another Woodsman, and finally ditched the Spike Earring for a Merman's Earring.

Unless I start to work on a haste build or want to tweak some STR here & there, this pretty much completes my purchasable equipment collection for my Warrior.

To Cozmos's delight I'm sure, I'm entertaining the idea of leveling my WHM further. Must... resist... BST!

But for now, I think I'll need some more gil. 1 mil seems respectable, but I'll be more comfortable with 1.5 mil or so before I resume spending activities.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

A great retrospective on

Just came across this on the destructoid feed and found it quite interesting. A video retrospective of each of the Final Fantasy iterations.

Something nice to watch while LFG ^^


Friday, November 02, 2007

So what do you think? Pretty close?


That's me. I had to close my lids a little to look as weary as my avatar, though. XD

Katella of ... Ifrit?!

I haven't been doing much besides fishing lately. There are so many things I could do, but I'm just being lazy, and doing what I like to do which is what this game is mostly about, I suppose. What can I say, I'm an unapologetic fisherman and voracious music listener, two proclivities that complement each other nicely in Vanadiel.

While reeling in another pesky Bluetail, I received an unexpected /tell from a taru whom I didn't recognize:

Ashlynna>> {Hello!} ^^
>>Ashlynna {Hello!}
Ashlynna>> I know you don't know who I am.. lol.. but I read your blog alot.. and I know you've left a couple of
Ashlynna>> comments on mine
Ashlynna>> my main char is Katella, from the Ramuh server

=O !

It turns out that Katella, author of the Katella of Ramuh blog (now alliteratively titled Katella's Corner), is migrating to Ifrit! Yay!

She was scoping things out on Ashlynna and apparently had a good experience, which is good to hear. I hopped out to give her a DarkEden pearl and meet her avatar-to-avatar.


Welcome aboard, Katella. I hope to adventure with you soon ^_^/

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Monday, October 22, 2007

Unexpected accomplishments, and a fond farewell

During my week-long vacation with the parents and my brother, I was able to clock in a few more FFXI hours than usual (we had quite a bit of down time because my parents are a bit... slow to get going). I finally managed to cap my Great Axe skill during a Periquia Assault session with Feon & Cozmos & the gang. I'm still working on unlocking that pesky latent on the Rampager, though.


I also got quite a bit of fishing done, because I was automatically resuming my "limited FFXI time" activities without realizing it (old habits die hard, even on vacation). Cone Calamary skilled me up more quickly than I'd anticipated, and I climbed a couple of skill levels while targeting the money fish (bluetail, nobles), up to 35.


During one of my trips back to Whitegate, I overheard a fellow San D'Orian shouting for a Mission 7-2 party, and of course I joined up while I had the chance. It was a pretty easy fight even with our group of 4.



After ranking up and earning a nice 60k, we picked up a couple more players for Mission 8-1, which was also a pretty straightforward fight especially since we intentionally let Valor despawn before we defeated Honor. We would have gone on to complete 8-2, but needed to wait until 12AM JP time the next day to launch, and I wasn't on the next day. I'm sure the opportunity will come up again later.


On a sad note, my good friend Lexxi is preparing to leave the game at the end of the month and has been selling off her equipment over the course of the past few weeks. As I told her on our LS community board, I'll miss her terribly but will be happy to know that she's finding enjoyment and peace outside of the game. I'm certain our avatars will meet again in another virtual world someday. In the meantime, we'll be lurking each other's blogs ;P.

She needed to get her taru mule from Windy to Jeuno to speed up sales a bit (rather than sending stuff constantly to her main and sitting in Jeuno). So I accompanied her through the Canyon and Sauromugue, chatting the whole time and forgetting to invis her (der):


That mule is the cutest Taru I've ever seen, by the way. Pity she didn't level it more ^_^.

My most recent session was comprised of a relatively quick Sabotender Bailarina camp with Feon and the gang, for Ninjax's Dune Boots.


After this was completed, we made another attempt at the Elvaan for ZM 14 (the last one for Ishmael and me), but were again unsuccessful. Yes, my kiting still sucks, and I still hate that Elvaan with a passion.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Today's Idle Thought on Idle Thoughts

I'm wondering if I'm aberrant in doing this, but since FFXI fills much of my leisure time, I often catch myself daydreaming about certain aspects of the game. This usually happens during down time at work, or browsing the FFXIclopedia during the few moments when the kids are entertaining themselves.

Maybe daydreaming isn't the right word, but something more along the lines of a mental "login"?

It's hard to describe, but it strikes me that I still do this after four years of playing.

My sessions currently consist of:
  • Virtual check-ins with friends. Wondering how their day has gone, what they're up to in RL and Vanadiel.
  • Fishing and crafting plans
  • Estimating X amount of time before getting X amount of gil for X item
So, do you do this as well? If so, what do your virtual sessions in Vana'diel consist of?

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Pirate's Chart... Beginner's luck?

Just as I was preparing to stop fishing up Bhefel Marlins until I skilled up a bit more (I was losing a few due to inadequate stamina depletion), I received the Pirate's Chart on my 4th trade to Zaldon...

For a 3% drop, that's pretty damn impressive. Now if I can successfully complete the fight, I'm guaranteed an Albatross Ring, and of course the slim chance at a Mercurial Kris, which would be as amazing as it is unlikely.

In any case, targeting the Bluetail with a Hume Rod and Minnow on the Ferry was a great way to simultaneously fish up such money makers as Noble Ladies and Cone Calamary (once synthed), but also provided some much needed skillups, bringing me to level 33. I think a couple more levels will make it a bit easier to reel in those Marlins.

I probably won't continue trading the Marlins until I get rid of the chart, since I'd rather not lower my chances of getting either chart on each trade. The items are RA, and it will remain unknown whether possessing one of them "toggles" the other item to drop, or whether it just kills the drop altogether.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Honing the Rampager and Defeating Diabolos

I've continued my usual pattern of skilling my Great Axe (and simultaneously burning the latent on the Rampager), hanging with Feon and the gang for some Assaults, and working on NPC related quests with Lexxi. She and I did a brief run this week to Promy Mea once our NPCs hit the bond level requisite of 33 and finally started talking about "the Emptiness." Getting the Tactics Pearl was pretty painless, although my MH is once again cluttered with 30 cap equipment now.

I've reached level 275 with my Great Axe, 1 level away from cap. Totally lost count on the Rampager WS points, but I figure I'll eventually burn it with enough merit parties.

The fishing bug has bitten me once again, so I'm working on fishing up some bait for Marlins for the Inside the Belly quest, if only to have an excuse to fish & do something interesting with it... with the added possibility of a Pirate's Chart of course. I really want the Lu Shangs and I'm tempted to push my way to 2 million and eventually just buy the rod for 1.5 million, since the cumulative value of the carp I'm fishing up actually exceeds the market cost of the rod, by roughly 1 million.

On a random note, I found someone shouting for a CoP 3-5 run a couple of nights ago and joined up. After waiting for 2 hours for someone who ended up flaking on us (/fume), the leader called an LS favor and brought a 6th member in. Everyone was prepared and the fight went exactly as planned. We pulled Diabolos to the center tile under the ledge and the mages stood on the center tile on the opposite side. Diabolos only managed to pull off one Nightmare, which I'm assuming the mages took care of since it wore off so quickly. We killed him right as he knocked me back into the Diremite pit ^_^.

I can't wait to do this again with the Roughnecks group, now that I'm a little less apprehensive about the fight. We really just need 2 mages and 4 DD, which might take awhile with our fluctuating roster of active players with varying degrees of progress on our last CoP mission (at least one hasn't scaled the mountain yet), but the fight itself is totally feasible for us.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Questage, Crafticism, and some Gilification

While most of the Roughnecks besides myself and Lexxi have been away playing Halo 3 this week, I've been busying myself with miscellaneous activities.

Lexxi and I completed the Past Reflections quest earlier in the week, raising our NPC bond cap to 70. I initially thought this raised the bond level (being unaware of a cap), and assumed we'd be able to do our Tactics Pearl quest, but this would require us to raise the bond by an additional 3 points in order to proceed. This amounts to 1 call and 2 chats minimum, so we put the quest off for another day.

I reached 18 in Smithing and moved on to other crafts to open up the "cross-craft" skillup options. The climb to 5 in Goldsmithing was rather painless, but moving forward meant collecting a bit of Zinc Ore, which I wasn't really in the mood for, so I sought out other diversions.

One of these was my list of jobs. I noticed that I still didn't have SAM unlocked (shut up, Feon), so I ran over to Norg to launch that quest and kill my pseudo-NM's, etc, etc.



On my way back to Norg, I was once again distracted by the thought of camping for my Frog Trousers. Granted, these aren't a huge improvement over the Elvaan RSE, but I enjoy wearing slightly unusual RA/EX equipment on my WHM for some reason.

Not to mention that this would give me yet another excuse to prance around in my WAR AF and fulfill SE's grand vision of the Warrior class in FFXI: half-naked, slinging a Great Axe, and screaming for a Cure IV.

Who am I kidding ... like I need an excuse.


It was an easy camp down in a godforsaken corner of SSG, where only the lost or the treasure chest hunters would wander by. My first NM kill yielded junk drops. Having nothing better to do, I remained there for the subsequent 2 hours to spawn the next one, graced with the kind company of Cozmos.


I unfortunately had to log out about 20 minutes into the pop window... Cozmos later told me she'd killed it about an hour after I left and didn't get the drop. I eventually got it on the next kill, however. So no more ice capades pants for this Elvaan!

Having amassed 19 Eastern Gems, I decided it was time to do some questing. Enter the Venerer Ring quest (Chasing Dreams), which gave Lexxi and me the opportunity to travel around a bit and chat and have fun. I'd forgotten how enjoyable this aspect of the game actually is when you're going through it with a good friend and I hope to make it a regular occasion.

Once we got our rings, we moved on to the subsequent quest, getting as far as farming 2 Copper Keys, but were stymied by the need for a Giant Scale to access the specific area where we would use the key. We were already cutting it close with the Vultures, since my level 40 set was purely DD oriented, so Firedrakes would probably be a bit too challenging for a WHM WAR duo. This put the questline on the back burner for now. Our next activity will probably be the Tactics Pearl, which should be fun.

Last night, Feon invited me to a KSNM Operation Desert Swarm run, which went quite well. Everyone knew what to do and we ploughed through 6 or 7 iterations of the fight, netting us two V Claws and a Pole Strap in money drops. There was some deliberation concerning the claws, leaving us to vote over whether we would gamble and attempt to have both claws crafted into Scorpion Harnesses (by a friend with 100+3 Bonecraft), thereby giving us the chance at an HQ (or 2) for 800k, or sell the unprocessed claws for 240k each and avoid the potential loss. Guess I'll find out tonight!

Time for an epic roll shot:


Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Decisions, decisions

Neither of my LS's have been very active for the past week so I've logged in sporadically to fish up materials. A few hours usually net me enough mats to craft a week's worth of restock for the AH unless the moon phase is particularly bad.

When I do make it back to town, I've been teletaxi'ing while keeping the AH slots full and leveling Smithing. I've been wondering what to take past 60, and haven't been able to make up my mind, so I plan to level as many crafts as possible up to 60 and decide from there. Can't hurt, right? A conversation with my friend Killmer has me thinking about taking Bonecraft as my main.

On the skillup front, my GA is at 272/276. At this point I can probably get away with equipping it in meripo, but I'm saving up my gil to get the Berserker's Axe, rather than the borderline-gimpy Gawain's Axe. The Berserker's currently sells for 500k, which would be roughly half of my fortune at the moment.

I'm almost tempted to bring my Rampager along, but I think I'll work on the latent in skillup parties and Besieged rather than slow a meripo down. 400 Weapon Skill Points will take awhile, unfortunately, but I think it'll definitely be worth the effort, especially if I combine it with the appropriate grip and a decent haste build.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

CoP Prep, Assault, Ark Angels

I've logged in every other night or so for the past couple of weeks, chipping away at various things as best I can, with the help of my friends.

The Roughnecks, to my knowledge, are all ready to fight Diabolos, with the possible exception of Ahmber who I don't believe has a Pso'Xja chip yet. Various time constraints and vacations have kept us from proceeding further, but we should see a Diabolos run sometime soon.

I'm finally close to capping Great Axe (hooray for Besieged!), something I've sorely needed to complete, especially considering the 2-handed weapon adjustment. I'm kicking myself for not having purchased a Berserker's Axe back when they were going for 150k. The update has unfortunately caused a spike in price, 600k now being the going rate. Guess my Gawain's Axe will have to do for now.

Ever happy to bring another DRG into the game, I helped a newcomer to the Roughnecks LS, Rendsoul, in completing his dragon fight.


Other nights have alternated between various Assaults (finally got Private First Class! yay!) and gradual Ark Angel victories with the DarkEden group.





We haven't had too much trouble, with the exception of the Elvaan PLD/WHM who has been regularly wiping the floor with us.


Highlights from the battles include a nasty charm from the Mithra, causing me to kill Feon and Cozmos successively. Fortunately this was merely comedic and not disastrous, since Redwing nuked her to death.


Another priceless moment consisted of me trying to kite the Elvaan when Feon went down. I seriously need more kiting practice. Feon gave me some tips, so I hopefully won't blow it on the next attempt.

Thursday, September 06, 2007


Some puzzling info on the next version update:

[...] The following issues will be addressed:


-All random number calculations for damage amounts are not being calculated properly

-Amount of damage is not being corrected properly when characters are equipped with two-handed weapons

-Both the attack and accuracy of monsters equipped with two-handed weapons are higher than intended.

OK... what the hell? Did someone finally decide to start debugging code? I don't get it. How could damage calculations have been out of whack for this long without being rectified? Or are these issues that were introduced with the last update?

Or do the developers simply want to screw with everyone's PDIF calculations? The world may never know.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

It lives!

I guess my birthday is an appropriate day to assure everyone that I'm still very much alive. My FFXI schedule took a beating this month, mostly because I'm running out of steam as far as the game is concerned, but I do enjoy logging in to spend time with friends. Bioshock claimed a good portion of my time this past week, but I'll be logging on a bit more frequently in the coming weeks.

As a quick recap of occurrences since my last post.

8/11: helped Ahmber get his LB2. Always fun to fight those NMs.

8/12: completed my Attowah Chasm map quest, with Feon's assistance for the Mandy fight at Purgo Isle.

8/18: completed the last leg of the "Road Forks" CoP Mission with the kind help of Feon/Ishy and Coz. Antlion fight, and a nice climb up that mountain at Attowah Chasm. Yes, I fell once -_-

8/21: did some farming in Pso'Xja, but didn't get a chip to drop. Did however get a chest key and a Florid Stone, so my time wasn't entirely wasted.

8/22 until last night: Bioshock, Bioshock, and some more Bioshock.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Roughnecks beat the Mammets and Frohike visits... Sky?!

It's been a rough & busy week, and I haven't logged in much except at appointed times for certain activities. I've been focussed on getting the Roughnecks through the 40-cap CoP missions before our static moves on through the 40's and into the 50's.


Our first attempt at at 2-5 back on the 29th didn't go as planned, mostly due to critical miscommunications and the "Mammets! /panic!" factor. I won't go into detail, but we ended up farming a couple more Giant Scales and calling it a night.

Our subsequent attempt this past Friday night initially went as planned, until our first Mammet pull decided to remain in nuking form for some reason and didn't go down before I and several others died. It was a wipe. Lexxi reraised and we scrambled back into formation to at least try to complete the BC before the time ran out. I made a lame attempt at kiting in full Royal Squire's gear to allow Ahmber, our THF/NIN kiter, to reraise and head back to the entrance, but... I pretty much kited like a brick wall and went down quickly. That BC was a bust.

The second attempt of the night went...perfectly! Ahmber now had some practice kiting and had become a pro. Murrdoc (RDM/NIN) kept him healed nicely. Our killing party (Quan BLU/NIN [puller], Maloc PLD/WAR, myself WAR/NIN, Lexxi WHM/BLM) quickly turned during Transmogrifications, and the first Mammet thankfully switched to Polearm early in the fight, enabling me to spam Yellow Liquid to keep him in that form. That one died pretty quickly, and we expected to die in turn on the second Mammet, but didn't.

As the second one went down, we had basically won the BC, since we still had a healthy HP and MP pool and Doc and Ahmber now joined the fray. Even if we had died, we would have had sufficient time to reraise and dispose of the final Mammet. However, everyone remained alive until the very end, when yours truly died swinging... as usual.


A huge congratulations to the Roughnecks for toughing this one out. I know these missions can be discouraging, but they're a big part of the game experience and, in my opinion, much more fun that the EXP grind. There's nothing quite like doing this with close friends too. On to Diabolos!

In other news, Feon/Ishy kindly helped me with the last leg of the ZM journey to Sky: the magic pot fight.


While we were spelunking the Quicksand Caves, we assisted his friend in getting the Ancient Salt drop for her Opo Opo Crown, which didn't take as long as expected, so we headed to the Temple of Uggalepih to try for the Fish Bones, but weren't as lucky on that attempt.

We did, however, encounter Sozu Sarberry, unclaimed. We killed him rather quickly, but he didn't produce the money drop. Fun fight, nonetheless.


Before the Roughneck re-attempts at the Mammets, I finished up the CS busywork and made my way to Sky for some screenshots. Maybe I'll see some action there someday.

Here's a cool quote from the CS leading up to my first entry into Tu'Lia:

But as one bright star shines through the clouds at night
And as one song rings clear above the roar of beasts
We hold to one hope in these darkest of times.
And someday, that hope will become our dreams... our prayers...

Hello, Sky. Didn't think I'd actually get to see you...


Thursday, July 26, 2007

Zilart Mission 8 complete, Minotaur Re-redux

I haven't focussed on EXP'ing much this past week, and have even taken the past two nights "off", but the week contained enough events to constitute a good time.

Last Friday, Feon and posse (Cozmos, Ishy) kindly offered assistance with ZM8, which was completed pretty quickly although I managed to pull hate off of Feon at a rather inopportune time and died to Kam'lanaut's Light Blade move. Fortunately Kam was near death, so Feon was able to Mijin Gakure away the rest of his HP.


The Pallas pop item dropped while we'd had been killing our way to the BC, so we killed that NM on the way out of Delkfutt. No bracelets, though. -_-


I set up a CoP 2-3 run for the Roughnecks on Monday, which would be my third time completing this mission, and it still retained the fun factor!

Out of curiosity, I decided to be the person who runs solo to the Minotaur & draws the rest of the party in. Although the path is straightforward, the run certainly was an exciting exercise in dodging True Sight agro from the Steg/Taurus mobs.

A dry run (sans Roughnecks) had taught me a valuable lesson that I hadn't learned in my prior completions of this mission: Steg/Taurus line of sight extends upward, meaning they will agro you from he bottom of a ladder if you stand too close to the edge. Unfortunately, this makes it really difficult to gauge the direction of the mob's sight when it stands directly under the ladder unless a tail is sticking out to provide some indication.

My "real" attempt went more smoothly although I still agro'd a Taurus around G-7 on the second map (sometimes they just turn at the worst times). Refusing to start the whole thing over, I decided to just... run my ass off to see what would happen. My shadows were eventually stripped and I took 2-3 hits, but I managed to get up the next ladder without interruption and ran a bit more. Apparently the ladder slowed the mob's pursuit, resulting in enough distance for a despawn. This was definitely a heart-thumping moment, so I had to compose myself at K-5, and the final stretch eventually cleared.

The Minotaur fight itself went smoothly, although Ahmber faced Mortal Ray and was Doomed... apparently without Holy Water since he died at the conclusion of the fight. A few more people died to Mortal Ray that night, due to the same reason, which leads me to believe that, despite reading walkthroughs and warnings, people will just never really look for the move nor bring the curative item until it actually happens to them at least once (and no, I can't say I'm an exception to this... see my recounting of my own CoP 2-3 run ^_^;).

The rest of the mission was completed without a hitch. Rather than farm the Bronze Key, Ahmber had brought his THF and a Skeleton Key (or several, I'm not sure) and managed to pick the lock on the first attempt, which saved us a ton of time.

All in all it was a fun mission, even though there were moments where I just had to telegraph or bark instructions to prevent mishaps or to just enable me to focus on where I was going but simultaneously direct/inform the group. I might have inherited this style from a friend of mine, who shall remain nameless, but I'll try to make more of an attempt to be a bit more respectful with my orders. Hard to do in the heat of the moment sometimes, though.



Friday, July 20, 2007

To blog or not to blog

Another long pause between posts. My free time is really dwindling, to the point where even lunch at work consists of stuffing my face as I continue coding. So...I'm running out of places in the day to compose my thoughts and type something up.

Blogging about FFXI is becoming part of the opportunity cost when I decide to log on and actually play FFXI rather than blog about it. That said, I'll put up a quick entry while my kids are getting ready for bed.

I've accomplished quite a few things this week, some solo, some with the help of my friends.

Feon and his group assisted me in completing ZM6, which was a fun fight, excepting the part where I ate an Eagle Eye Shot when my shadows were down, and died on the next strike. Hooray for no EXP loss in ZM BC fights!



A couple of evenings later, Feon invited me to participate in the slaying of the Quadav king: Za'Dha Adamantking. It was a longish fight, mostly because Za'Dha is a WHM and used Benediction at one point, later followed by high Cure spam. But we eventually took him down and got our title, albeit no 10-million-gil-club dropped.



With the assistance of the Roughnecks, I've reached level 42 on my WHM. Although this was my initial goal for the job, I'm seriously considering a longer WHM career, if only for the fun of it. I do enjoy the job, I won't lie.


On the solo front, I completed my Blessed Hammer quest, then went on to kill many of Marchelute's cousins in Fei'Yin for a relatively quick key drop (about 1.5 to 2 hours) and eventual completion of my Teleport-Vahzl quest. Yes, I'm now a full fledged teleport monkey!


Thursday, July 12, 2007

This Just In: Powerleveling still sucks

For some godforsaken reason, I neglected to go /anon when I logged in last night and, on a whim, accepted an invitation to party in the Crawler's Nest.

I was on a bit early, and I figured it would be a good way to play EXP-catchup with the Roughnecks static. Of course, both Lexxi and Murrdoc got on earlier than I expected, and within minutes of accepting the invitation, Feon & Coz also invited me on another Titan Prime run.

I made a stupid decision and remained with the party.

When I got out there, I was absolutely stunned to find a powerleveler. We had a Bard, we had decent DD, we had a Paladin. Why this 75 RDM? I was so flustered, I forgot to even buff the party when I got there, not that it would have made a difference. I never got a chance to throw on a decent cure except during the off moments when the PL slipped up. At least I was allowed to remove status ailments, but ... that was about it. I came very, very close to just running in and meleeing the mob out of boredom.

And of course, as with most PL'd parties I've experienced, people died or came close to dying on more than one occasion, and the EXP sucked, for the usual reasons.

A. Overcamping. We were stationed in the 'hidden' chamber. The first pull was an Exoray (our level range was 37-39), which took a good 5 minutes to kill. Subsequent pulls were mostly IT++ Flies which were taking several minutes to kill, with the occasional Crawler (which we should have been targeting exclusively).

B. No communication with the PL. Downtime would suddenly be interrupted by some insane pull hitting the WAR/NIN (sans shadows) for massive HP and no response from the PL (ostensibly AFK) and myself fumbling for the Cure3 and pulling hate, or not being fast enough and watching the puller die.

C. No hate management. The PLD was always in the white and was losing hate to the MNK constantly.

D. Boring the living shit out of the WHM. The status ailments were all that kept me awake, and this boredom would really backfire when the PL would go AFK without announcing it.

So I reached level 39 tonight without earning it. /hurray for powerleveling.

No more pickups for awhile for me...

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

WHM 38, Teletaxi Income, Mammets

Due to a lack of free time, I'll need to keep this entry brief.

Part of the past week was spent leveling WHM to 38 with the Roughnecks. After a slew of nights in the Garlaige Citadel, which from a healer's perspective is a bit dull, I was happy to start EXPing in the Crawler's Nest. I had to keep my eyes constantly glued to the screen to remove Slow & Poison, keep the tank Regen'd & healed, and took whatever chances I could to rest during the fights since the pickup puller was pretty aggressive (and I didn't want to drink away all of my gil). The pace and timing of the work gave me more respect for healers in status-effect heavy areas such as Caedarva Mire.

This level unlocked Teleport-Yhoat and Teleport-Altep for me, which gives me more opportunity to earn tele-taxi gil, and comes in quite handy for a quick hop to those zones when I'm not within easy reach of a Sandy warp. I'm actually surprised at the earning power of teleports, particularly during prime time, especially considering that 1 or 2k is worth quite a bit more than say... a year ago. This leaves me to wonder how long it will take for prices to drop to the old 500 gil standby from days of yore.

A few nights ago, I assisted Lycasdemus with another Minotaur fight. This went much more smoothly than my last one, since everyone was prepared and several of us had completed the mission before.

On the night before last, I rejoined the same group and went through Promathia Mission 2-5. Yes...the Mammets. The group consisted of WHM, RNG, WAR, PLD, SAM, and an additional healer for the journey through Riverne. It took awhile to get the Giant Scales to drop, but nothing monumental, and we dodged Hyppogryph agro without major incident.

At the Mammet fight, we employed the strategy that involves a single kiter (in this case RNG) agroing all targets without hitting them, rendering the kiter healable without the danger of pulling hate. Meanwhile a single puller brings the first Mammet to the entrance and the party goes all out, killing it as quickly as possible and moving on to the second. We managed to kill this one as well right before the party wiped, putting us in an excellent position to finish the battle once reraised. We had about 10 minutes left, I believe, when we completed the mission.

We trudged on through all the cutscenes and I logged out after the Overgrown Ivy fight for some badly needed sleep (it was 2AM). I still need to complete the Windy portion of the story branch, including the Antlion fight, but that will need to wait until another day.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Wow, Lost Odyssey! (Off Topic)

Caught this on the Destructoid feed. Famitsu has released shots & basic info concerning a new RPG titled Lost Odyssey, which will ostensibly be released at the end of the year.

I'm glad the 360 will finally be getting something besides Oblivion and Blue Dragon in the way of RPG's, and this title's pedigree (Hironobu Sakaguchi and Nobuo Uematsu) sounds rather promising.

By the way, am I the only one who isn't that enthused about Blue Dragon? It seems incredibly generic and drab to me, even for an RPG. Maybe my bias against Torayama's style is influencing my appreciation of the "gameplay", but the videos I've seen have been less than impressive, in my opinion.


Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Teleports, Minotaurs, & Hiatuses

I've continued to work on leveling my WHM with the Roughnecks group and even managed to party with them and Feon on one occasion, since he wanted to hang out & get some EXP on his RSE-clad Monk (which of course got some more "compliments" from Lexxi ^_^).


The citadel doesn't leave much for a WHM in the mid 30's to worry about, other than the healing, particularly when a RDM is already handling the enfeebles. But the occasional Erase did come in handy now & then, particularly when Spoil was reducing damage output, or an unintentional tank was suffering from an Evasion Down effect. Links were another matter, but when aren't they?

I'd been preparing for 36 earlier in the week, running to Gusgen Mines for my Teleport-Holla, repurchasing the Teleport-Dem scroll I had quested & sold long ago, and trying my luck with the Teleport-Mea ??? point, which I fortunately found on my first try in the easiest spawn location in the Necropolis.


I dinged 36 a few nights ago and tried my hand at tele-taxi'ing yesterday, which was pretty fun with the exception of a couple of people who randomly tried to sabotage my endeavor. Apparently some asses are still working on getting their hats on Ifrit; that's all I'm going to say.

Anyhow, the requests for Yhoat and Altep were catching my eye, and I decided to prepare for level 38, heading out to Kazahm to begin the Elshimo marble quest for Teleport-Yhoat.


I loathe these types of quests, and hope to see less of them in future MMOs. If you want a player to feel engaged and motivated, you do not hand him/her a couple of 20-sided dice and ask him/her to roll until a 5 comes up. This is what the Tele-Yhoat quest amounted to... killing Ivory Lizards over & over with no changes in odds or any measurable progress.

When I get a quest like this, I read the following in its design: "We the developers, think the quality of your time in our game is worth crap. But thanks for paying your monthly fee, have a nice day, and... good luck!"

Am I insulted? Yeah. Did I still do it? After three or four hours of inanity, yeah I eventually got the drop, and flipped the proverbial bird to SE when I did. Yes, I know there's a lot more of this in FFXI, and I'm well aware of the intention of such design, but it doesn't mean I'll ever respect this particular style of implementation. There are other ways to keep people logged into your game.

I look forward to attempting the Teleport-Altep key item tonight. Wandering around risky zones to a definite goal is a bit more up my alley.

As I was resuming my tele-taxi service last night, I got a /tell from my old friend Gimppy, with whom I've been keeping in touch off & on since we began the game back in 2004. He was accompanying a group of friends on a CoP 2-3 run and invited me out on a whim, assuming I'd actually be further along on my CoP's.

As I hastily purchased a set of level 40 gear for WAR and ran out to the Tavnazian Safehold, I got a series of /tells from Feon who wanted to meet up with me to give me some of his gear for use and safekeeping. And I'm not just talking level 40 gear here...

Feon let me know that Cozmos and he would be away from the game for awhile, which immediately saddened me. It was difficult to process this as the CoP party was gearing up and communicating on logistics, but I did let him know, as I will here, that I'll greatly miss both of them. I trust that their time away will be recuperative, I do hope to see them again soon. I'm really flattered that he's entrusted some of his possessions to me in his absence and, at his request, will indeed put them to good use until he returns rather than stare at them in my Mog Locker (as I'm prone to do when he does such things).

The CoP mission got off to a rough start, when the first Minotaur fight ended in a party wipe (several Mortal Rays killed party members, including myself), requiring everyone to HP to the four corners of Vanadiel and run back to the safehold.


Our second attempt was quite a bit more coordinated and we'd acquired a NIN tank who did an excellent job of avoiding Mortal Ray & staying alive. I also had the pleasure of delivering the killing blow to the Minotaur.


After killing a few Fomors for our key, our NIN decided to come back as THF to pick the gate lock rather than take more time to farm, since the hour was getting late. At some point on our journey to the library, we fought one of the Stegotaurs and I neglected his Mortal Ray, earning me another death for the night. Other than that, the rest of the mission went rather well, and we completed our cutscenes up through 2-4 before passing out.

As a temporary /farewell to Feon, I'll close this entry with a picture that captures him in a nutshell. I give you Feon, solo'ing a Marid (and its Chigoes)... for shits & grins:


See you again soon, my friend.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007


Progress slowed a bit this past week when I fell ill, losing my voice for a couple of days, and taking a concomitant pair of days "off" from FFXI for sleep. WHM is currently at 33 with a healthy buffer, steadily approaching the teleport-enabled 36.

In preparation, I've worked on my reputation in the starter towns, going beyond the requisite level 4 for teleports since the task was quite dull and I wanted to get as much of it completed in one fell swoop as I could. I'm a hero in Windy now (as well as Sandy, of course), and still working on hero status in Bastok (currently level 7).

I've developed a few macro'd "sets" of WHM gear to play around with, rather than going whole hog on the +MP, since this really only benefits me when my MP sits between the base value and the boosted 100% value. Once my MP dips below base, I swap in as much +MND gear as I can afford, which seems to make a barely noticeable difference in Cure potency, but I assume assists in getting enfeebles to "stick" and boosts Bar spells a bit. To Lexxi's delight, I wear several pieces of my RSE, which usually launches her into a series of icescapades jokes.

Quantitative accomplishments and tinkerings aside, I'm encountering a social quandary in FFXI, denoted by the title of my entry. I'm not going to complain about it, but I'll admit that it simultaneously flusters and flatters me; an odd combination of emotions to juggle.

As some of you might have noticed, I have several separate but close circles of friends, and I care about them equally. They're always welcoming, endearing, and special in their own idiosyncracies, dynamics, and goals. I enjoy spending time with these groups, yet sometimes I feel I'm slighting one when favoring another and it becomes difficult to gauge how I'm being perceived by all involved. I don't want to come off as some opportunistic, Machiavellian whore, but I fear this is precisely what I appear to be when I make a decision to "cut over" to another LS for the evening depending upon how much time & energy I have, or what mood I'm in.

I know, most should be so lucky. Again, I'm not going to complain, but I do want to assure the parties involved that I do care about all of you. You're more than an enrichment for me in this game. Without my Vana'diel family, I honestly would have quit FFXI sometime in September of last year, when joyless EXP with strangers and endless solo grinding on crafts and skills were distancing me from the game. I would have missed out on so much if I hadn't been welcomed, almost simultaneously as it turns out, by the Roughnecks and DarkEden. I can't thank you enough.

At the risk of overly extending this entry, I do want to send a /salute to Minusjoker, who decided to quit the game after returning a few nights ago to confirm his feelings and gain a final sense of closure. It was a privilege to game with him. I know he'll continue to be in touch with the Roughneck group through other channels, but he will definitely be missed in Vana'diel. To seal the act, he generously donated his tradeable inventory to the Roughnecks, and gave me his Chivalrous Chain which I'll wear with pride and memory.

Farewell, Minusjoker. I hope you continue to show the same character, humor, and dedication in pursuing your accomplishments in the real world, or future MMOs for that matter. ^_^

Monday, June 18, 2007

WHM 30, Lebros Cavern, Decimation

Raising DocI've continued to progress in leveling WHM since my last update, hitting 30 as of last night. All of the EXP was earned via the hijinks of the RoughnecksUnited group. Surprisingly, I didn't need to use Raise until last night when a Goblin Smithy brought our deathless streak to an end, using some curiously opportunistic AI to go after Murrdoc while the party was slept.

Roughnecks in the JungleThe roster throughout the week usually included Lexxi, Murrdoc, and myself, with a rotating assortment of LS members including Raikoh, Ahmber, Quan, and Maloc.

As entertaining as the larger group was, I think the most comical night of the week was when our core trio partied with a spectacularly gimpy pickup. What made it so funny was partially sleep deprivation, but also the gradual process of discovering the gimpiness, combined with that unmistakable sense of overconfidence that clings to the newbies at these levels.

I'm not going to go into a ton of detail, but a sketch will make things pretty clear. We weren't sure what the BLM was actually doing in the party. He would alternate between overnuking, staring at the mob, repeatedly checking the party, and resting for huge stretches at a time. The WAR was hitting the Mandies like... a Mandy and wasn't using his hate tools all that much, favoring the /emote channel to lay down some Iron Maiden. Yeah.

When we eventually checked the two screwballs, the equipment definitely fit the picture. A /check on the BLM revealed that he wore mostly melee equipment, not a stitch of +MP gear, and sported a set of... Courage Rings.

The WAR/MNK, while seemingly aiming in the right direction with a Moth Axe (hadn't upgraded to a Neckchopper yet) and the right subjob for tanking at this level (which is a rare sight on WAR), decided to leave his Ear, Finger, Back, and Waist slots empty.

I was a little harsh when I told Doc & Lexxi that he seemed to have "purchased his gear from the I Don't Give a Fuck kit at the Warrior Shack", but in a sense it was true. If you bother to google your job (which can't be said for Mr. Courageous BLM), at least go all the way and equip yourself completely, otherwise your research is useless.

The rest of the EXP was accumulated with people who actually knew how to play the game, which was fun in its own right, though not nearly as comical.

During our Mandy-slaying grind, I've been using Barsleepra on the faith that it does... something. Can anyone attest to what this Bar spell actually does? Shorter sleep times? It doesn't seem to really "Bar" anything, but this might be the result of lower Enhancing Magic at these levels. I'll keep using it until someone tells me it's definitely worthless.

Entrance to LebrosOn Thursday night, Feon invited me to an Assault run on Lebros cavern, which went well. They chipped and DoT'd away at the walls, and I cluelessly followed them around, doing the same. At one point, I mistakenly followed Cozmos to the wall that she was supposed to solo DoT, but fortunately my brief error didn't ruin the mission and I came out with 1270 more Assault points. Around 6700 to go until I can buy that Chivalrous Chain.

Yallery BrownAfter the Assault run, Feon, Audessa, Cozmos (piloted by John), and Ishy (piloted by Feon), kindly accompanied me to the Temple of Uggalepih to complete my WSNM fight with Yallery Brown for the Decimation weapon skill. The battle was over quickly and I blew my 2-hour on a final Rampage to kill it off (probably needlessly, but it's not like I was going to actually use Benediction on WHM). Although I technically have the weapon skill unlocked now, I'm ashamed to say I haven't used it yet but I do hope to get a screenshot soon.

"You guys again?! Son of a ...."On the way back from the WSNM, we killed the Goblin Archaeologist once again, but lost the 3 gold coins as we zoned to Jugner. -_-; We then headed to Davoi to kill an Orc NM by the name of Dirtyhanded Gochakzuk for Ishy, which didn't pan out because of some changes made to the area which prevents a straight pull from the fort to the Monastic Cavern zone (you can no longer drop down the ledges on the way there).

Inside Davoi FortWe eventually made a straight attempt with 4 (Feon, Ishy, Audessa, and me) by clearing most of the mobs on the way to the central room, but the fight itself was quite brutal, especially when the NM used Manafont, spammed -ga spells, and was nearly immune to Silence. Subsequent attempts might require Carby pulling the NM out of the central room.

Dirtyhanded Gochakzuk

All in all, a good, productive week, with a little adventure thrown in!

P.S. Yeah, yeah, pics will be up later.