Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Next time, Guivre... Next time

I started out the evening by fishing for more Ogre Eels while waiting for the potential Temple of Uggly coffer run until it became obvious that the event wasn't going to happen (a few key members were absent due to temporary work schedule changes). I got a couple more skillups and could feel the next one coming to give me level 30, but I snapped the line a couple of times on bad bite judgement (one was a rusty bucket, the other was most definitely a Bastore Breamm).

I was getting ready to dejectedly log out when Feon proposed another adventure for the evening. "Want to kill Guivre?"

Hmm, among the other things I would like to do to Guivre, killing is definitely at the top of the list, so I packed up my fishing gear and made my way to Kuftal. I met Ishmael (the currently 2-boxed manifestation of Feon) and waited for others to arrive. We had 7 members total, NIN NIN SAM WAR WHM BRD BRD... at least that's what I think the lineup was.

The initial coordination phase kinda went FUBAR when one of the NIN was screwing around with crabs and got killed by the NM. Another member who joined the group was on his way to the deceased and also caught agro, dying on the spot. Attempts to raise were very tricky, since they had died in Guivre's strolling path.

So for awhile there was lots of dying, herding cats, and curt orders.

But we eventually got it together and planned on pulling the dragon close to the zone and dealing with him there. The pull didn't work due to the Guivre's speed, so we decided to meet the dragon in the main room.

As we were finally grouping and waiting for Guivre to pass by, the NIN who had died earlier began to DC and had to reboot. So it was up to me, Feon, and the SAM to melee this thing and try to stay alive. I failed at that, and managed to miss the skillchain right before doing so (we had planned on Blade:Ten + Steel Cyclone for Darkness). I over-ambitiously pulled hate off of Feon (Voke + Warcry) when his shadows died and I could not shed it. At 300 per hit, I barely had time to take off Berserk and frantically try to get Ni to fire before I dropped dead.

The missing NIN reconnected as the shit was really hitting the fan, and the leader of the other party in the alliance was too busy keeping us alive to get him back on in time.

Yeah, we died.

Cozmos reraised and gave a round of R3's.

I wanted to kill Guivre more than ever, and some of the group wanted to stick around for another attempt... until we noticed the time. 12AM PST. Most of us had stuff to do in the morning, so we decided to call it a night.

But it felt damned good to slice into Guivre with a great axe. I do look forward to trying this again.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

I'm tired of Besieged

That's right.

The event lasts too long, gives too few rewards, lags out the already laggerific Aht Urgan area, and interferes with my chances to party.

A Besieged was in progress as I logged on last night so I hopped in, knowing that 650 people in Al Zahbi would reduce the EXP party pool for awhile. It ended about 20 minutes after I joined, and I got a Great Axe skillup (267) and 500 EXP out of the deal. This would have been fine, I guess, if another Besieged didn't hit immediately afterwards...

It lasted upwards of an hour, and netted me nothing but ISP due to a back to back death, and a Raise that lagged out as the trolls retreated.

Waste of time. Even if I had earned the 1000 EXP, it would have been something I could have earned cumulatively on a single EXP chain in a friggin party. I'll admit it's a mildly fun diversion after doing something useful in the game for a few hours, or if you plan on a 5-6 hour session for the day. But it simply taxes too many resources, is too ambitious, and too chaotic, for people who actually want to get other stuff done in a limited time span.

OK, rant done.

At 10PM, I gave up on getting any further EXP and set out to East Saruta to fish up more Ogre Eels before passing out.

Tonight will consist of Temple of Uggly coffer run with Lifthrasir, which is likely to be quite fun.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Cactrot Rapido and the Pick of Trials

As I logged in on Friday night, Feon greeted me with two questions. Do you have any plans? How do you feel about participating in something that might kill you?

I'd say that's one of the more excellent ways to launch an evening in this game ^_^

He planned on grabbing Cactrot Rapido that evening, but was at first dismayed that the NM wasn't up, which rarely happens on this server. Almost no one goes out of their way to kill this thing.

So we initially changed plans to break my Pick of Trials latent in Kuftal Tunnel, which was also fine by me. As we made our way to the tunnel, however, Feon spotted Rapido and we quickly reverted to the earlier plan. He was two-boxing Ishmael on his Bard.

He wanted to try inflicting as much damage as quickly as possible, which was going to be especially crucial since we didn't have any stunners. Feon lent me his Berserker's Axe, and brought a couple of Icarus Wings. He came on his Warrior and equipped a polearm for Impulse Drive -> Steel Cyclone -> Darkness. The plan was to launch the fight with 300 TP each, hit the L3 skillchain twice, as quickly as possible, and have the 2 mages (Cozmos and Audessa) chainspell nuke the rest of the HP away.

And we almost did it.

It took awhile to claim the thing, since he would never run through the area where we happened to be holding a cactuar captive..but he eventually did and we launched into our plan. Unfortunately 10,000 Needles just hit us too hard, and Feon barely had time to get the 2nd Impulse Drive off before we hit the dirt (along with Ishmael). The mages fended for themselves for a bit, but couldn't get the HP down quickly enough and we wiped. Cozmos re-raised and came back on her WHM to R3 us, and we evaluated the fight.

Our initial damage was nice: Impulse Drive for 843, Steel Cyclone for 1182, Darkness for 1300. Our main problem, I think, was the lack of numbers to spread out the 10k damage; and of course a stun-lock might have worked here, but we didn't have that option. All in all we did a decent job. I'd say with a couple extra bodies, we'll be able to take him down on the next attempt.

We dusted off and went down into Kuftal for a bit to work 50 points off of my latent before calling it a night.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Parade Gorget

I logged in with the intention of taking another stab at Treasures and Tribulations and fishing the rest of the evening. However, as I was headed to Giddeus for the BCNM, Raikoh asked for help with his Parade Gorget NM fight in Oldton Movalpolos. I volunteered and had enough time to complete the BCNM for some decent drops: Quake and a Fencer's Ring. I was hoping for another Astral Ring, but Quake is a very decent consolation prize (90-100k on my server).

Raikoh recruited another 75 WAR, Aryus, and scoured the auction houses and bazaars for Goblin Drinks. Aryus eventually found a couple and we headed out to Gusgen -> Movalpolos.

To kill the time while waiting for them, I fruitlessly camped Stray Mary in the highlands, and came away with 12 sheepskins, and a Rogetsurin from a random NM kill (Bendigeit Vran).

Another party was camping the pop points in Movalpolos, so we stayed at G-13 for a bit, hoping for a pop there, then eventually gave up and checked the other two areas... and found the Scrawled Writing at I-9 (from the southern corner of that position). We popped the Goblin Wolfman, traded hate for an easy fight, and Raikoh got his Parade Gorget on the first try.

Aryus asked if I wanted to try for a gorget as well, since he'd brought two drinks, and I accepted. We built up TP to pass the time while remaining at I-9 to check for a repop. Fifteen minutes later, the Scrawled Writing appeared at the same location, and we both piled on Aggressor, Berserk, Mighty Strikes, and alternated Warcry to plow into the poor NM with 300-TP Rampages at the outset of the fight. Another fast battle, and another Parade Gorget dropped.

Considering the odds I've heard on the drop, I'm stunned.

Another fun way to spend an evening! Certainly more fun than last night's activities -_-; I'll take up Feon's advice and make the second attempt at Ilrussi Atoll on either NIN or a level 1 character, since I really don't want to eat that much EXP loss again.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Ilrussi Atoll. So close. Yet so far away.

I haven't been on much due to RL scheduling issues, but I signed on tonight with the intention of solo'ing the Ilrussi Atoll staging point. I managed to find the Lamia Fang key, which was fairly easy. I navigated to the Arrapago Reef zone nearby at I-6 and found my way across the first reef map without incident.

But I caught Heraldic Imp agro on the second map, in the room where 2-3 of them are fluttering about in the first cave you enter there. Too bad. I thought I was sufficiently sneaky, only to see a nice little Firaga message pop up in my log.

At least I have the path clearly marked, and can easily solo the key again next week. Sort of a fun run; the adrenaline always flows for me when I'm trying to stealth my way to a goal in this game. Haven't felt that charged since my crazy LB3 run.

Guess I'll EXP and craft to pass the time this week...

Not having 6/6 on these Runic Portals is really bugging me though. Must. Get them. Once I get Ilrussi, I'll only be missing the Nyzul Isle staging point, which is a cakewalk.

Saturday, January 20, 2007


I've mostly recovered from Viva Pinata, and have started logging into FFXI with a little more regularity over the past few nights.

I neglected to report on 1/13 that I had participated in a successful run for Minusjoker's DRG AF helm fight in the Temple of Uggalipeh. Yes, yet another Paragon fight!

It went fairly smoothly, with the exception of the moment we walked into the NM room and Minus proceeded to aggro every friggin Tonberry behind the door. That ramboesque "entry method" actually turned out for the best, since we needed to clear the pops before the fight anyway... It just caught a few of us off-guard. Lycas joked that MJ's line could have been something like: " [slam] All right, fuckers! Where's my AF!"

Before the trip to the Temple of Ugly, Murrdoc and I were hanging out with Lexxi and competing over who was the prettiest bishonen Lexxi-lackey. Yes, I do have an embarassing pic:

On the 17th and the 19th, I successfully claimed the Dune Widow... for a grand total of 0/4. Yeah, I think I'm finished with her. There are infinitely better ways to be spending my time, though, to be honest, it was a fun camp.

For the first time last night, I was able to join Lifthrasir in an EXPish party! Murrdoc needed to learn Frenetic Rip, which an imp will purportedly only inflict when someone hits it with a critical attack as it attempts to use its horn. So we formed a party: Lycasdemus (PLD), Atrenore (DRG), Minusjoker (BLM), Zorrandor (RDM), Murrdoc (BLU), and yours truly.

Caedarva was overcrowded, but we chained imps regardless and had an absolute blast. We hit a nice stopping point around midnight when the zone started to clear out, and our camp gradually became a deathtrap as increasingly more imps spawned unclaimed and started to agro-link on the pulls.

We eventually got ourselves into the dreaded scenario: "omg, 3 Imps and we're all silenced and amnesia'd, lmao." Yes, we wiped... hard. And it was funny as hell.

Minusjoker survived because he'd literally fallen asleep. He managed to wake up a couple of minutes after the incident, and raised Atre, Doc, and myself, only to aggro another unfortunate pop, at which point my laughter caused me to lose control of the keyboard.

Doc had warped as soon as he got back up, but Atre and I hung out for some reason. I was mostly inactive because I was laughing too hard to do anything. But I eventually equipped my cudgel and waited to see if he could get Sleepga 2 to stick. When he finally hit the double-digits, I warped my ass out... watching Atrenore drop a second before I dissappeared ; ;

Fun times! And I mean that without a hint of sarcasm. Oh wait, that sounded like sarcasm about being sarcastic. But it wasn't. Honest! It was the most fun I've had in awhile.

Monday, January 15, 2007

{I'm sorry}

Hey, some of you raise overgrown chickens.

I raise... live pinatas, m'kay?

I'll be back in a bit.

Friday, January 12, 2007


Limit points, that is. In a bit over 3.5 hours. Setup: BRD, WHM, WAR, WAR, MNK, NIN

People must have been off doing Salvage or Assault runs, because Caedarva and the Mamool Ja Staging Point were almost entirely deserted, although the thickets took a bit longer to empty out. So we played in both, starting in the mire and moving on to the thickets when people were getting exasperated with Amnesia.

The pulling was a bit chaotic at times, but we managed to hit a chain #20 in the thickets before a Sleepga from a Philosopher stopped us in our tracks.

Due to the endless queue of BRD pulls, I was making heavy use of my /ja "Provoke" <stnpc> to grab hate from soon-to-be-slept mobs without interrupting my own hits on the current mob, and to enable the BRD to run back out into the field without worry of being followed (or losing too much HP while getting Sleep to stick).

That's when I learned that the nifty /ignorepet has it's drawbacks in certain situations, namely with Mamool Ja pets (Wyvern or Raptor) which are usually first in line in the kill queue before the pet's owner.

On the subject of targeting, why does the 'tab sequence' sometimes choose to target a mob behind you, 20 feet away, rather than a mob right in front of you? -_-

All in all, though, it obviously went well. I constantly had that feeling that the party was teetering on the edge of control, but it was a pleasant element of danger. The lack of players was unfamiliar and amplified the pulling to occasional breaking points. The Bard did die a few times; twice in the mire due to awkward pops and Amnesia timing, and once in the thickets because of a linked Skoffin, Pikeman, Seapuk combo. Sometimes, there just aren't enough Vokes to go around...

In Lifthrasir news, the LS was successful in completing Lexxi's Choral Justaucorps quest last night. I was sorry to miss it, but had already been inducted into the aforementioned merit party for about 30 minutes before the rest of the shell signed on. Congratulations, Lexxi, Paragon of Bard Excellence! And a belated congratulations to Maloc, who recently attained Paragon status on his Dragoon. Movin' on up!

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

All over the place

Dune Widow

I spent a couple of evenings in Eastern Altepa Desert as WAR/THF, farming webs for a change and camping the Dune Widow on the off chance that I could get a claim & drop. The Spider Torque currently goes for around 300k on my server, and the camp didn't seem all that painful since I could always run over to the oasis and steal Mythril Beastcoins during the down time. I did eventually get a claim, but the NM only dropped webs (3 of them). Better luck next time.

While I was camping, Atrenore mentioned that she was working on the Sahagin Key quest in preparation for her Impulse Drive WSNM fight. Apparently a few members of the LS had made a prior attempt the night before which had ended badly, and Atrenore wasn't really expecting another attempt that night. When more people started logging in, we threw the idea around some more and decided to give it another go.

An Undying Pledge

While we were sightseeing in Sea Serpent Grotto & waiting for Atre to get her key, we stumbled across the ??? that spawns Glyryvilu, a Sea Monk NM that must be killed to complete the Norg quest. It was a pretty painless battle and we hiked back to Norg to claim our Light Buckler. I'll never use it, so I'll probably just take the measly 3k and run.

Impulse Drive

We all made our way past the Ornamented Door and found the ??? near the entrance to the first room beyond the bridge. We had to pre-emptively clear a few Sahagin and Mindgazers, and decided we would pull the NM into the tunnel to avoid pops.

The Water Leaper Pugil NM had quite a few HP, but with solid tanking, DD, and nuking, we took it down without incident, despite a last-minute Mindgazer link (those things like to roam apparently). One of our cleanest NM fights.

Rank 7

I expected to go meriting on the following night, but instead received an invitation to complete Sandy mission 6-1, Leaute's Last Wishes. We trio'd the fight as WAR, WHM, RDM, and I won't lie... It was a close fight, especially when Sabotender Enamorado's 1000 Needles went into overdrive at the end of the battle. But we pulled through, and made our way back to Sandy for cutscenes.

Since we were on a roll and the night was young, we decided to go for 6-2, Ranperre's Final Rest. Helping Lifthrasir with this fight had been my first event with them and we had killed all 3 mobs without too much fuss, so I wasn't too worried about this run.

We sneak pulled and killed the Warrior NM first, then grabbed a second NM, and the third de-spawned while we were fighting. Voila!

The most annoying thing about this mission was all the running back & forth from Sandy to KRT to Sandy, and back to KRT on the next day (JP time) for another cutscene... aaaand back to Sandy to actually get the Rank. -_-


On the following night, I joined up with a merit party in good old Caedarva Mire. The zone only had a population of about 40 players (icecicles must have started forming somewhere in Ifrit's Cauldron), so keeping a steady stream of pulls was pretty easy. My only challenge lied in keeping the hate off of a MNK named Killmer, an old friend of mine. It was an entirely self-imposed challenge, since we were really supposed to be joint-tanking, but... I'm a WAR. You know how that goes.

At the end of the party, Killmer extemporized a bit about the strengths of the MNK job, making me want to level that as my next DD job when the time comes. But I want to merit the hell out of WAR first, and at least get my WHM up to 37 before thinking about leveling another melee DD job.

I spent a merit on upgrading my Axe skill. The full upgrade path will add 16 to my skill cap, bringing Axe up into the A+ skill rank. I'm not sure what the equation is for determining the Attack boost, but Accuracy would be increased by 14 with this setup (assuming they round down from 14.72). I like those numbers.

Friday, January 05, 2007


I've spent the past few nights basically having fun in FFXI, which is as it should be I suppose.

I fished up Ogre Eels on the first night, turning down a kind invite for more skillups with Feon since I wanted to take it easy and log out for an early rest. I needed the eels to skillup to 62 in Alchemy, and because the fish vendor can be kinda spotty with supply and targeting the eels would also allow me to skillup, I decided to fish them up.

My spot was on the seashore of East Sarutabaruta using a Sinking Minnow. The Finalfishing database listed Peeled Lobster as the best bait for these, so I cast a line hoping for Gold Lobster, which as it turns out bites about as frequently as Gold Carp and is still a bit tricky to reel in at my level. Thankfully, Ogre Eels went for the Sinking Minnow also. There was no advantage to using Peeled Lobster, since it targets the same fish, but I burned some wind crystals on the lobsters and fed them to the eels anyway. Why not? After reeling in a couple of Bastore Bream with entirely too much effort, I started releasing those. I skilled up to 29 in fishing and logged out soon thereafter.

On the following night, I checked in with Feon and he was once again skilling up in Kuftal, so I joined him and his group of friends and chopped away at Ovinniks and Greater Cockatrices for a few hours. It was, as usual, a pleasure to hang out, and the skillups were actually faster that night due to the full moon phase.

At first I suspected the skillups were more likely when I didn't use accuracy food, but soon decided the moon was the most likely cause. Something about skillups in this game lends itself to voodoo theories doesn't it? I still only ate one Sushi, since my accuracy at skill level 262 as sufficient to land most hits. I went from 261 to 266 in that party before sleepiness took over. 10 levels away from having both of my primary weapons capped!

My next weapon-related goal will be to unlock Decimation, even though I'll probably never use it.

Last night's session began with browsing the AH and trying not to buy things, and planning, planning, planning. I did buy a couple of baubles. A Ruby Ring, to fully proc in that 1 fSTR during WS (woo...hoo? -_-). And a Warwolf Belt, for the extra +5 STR on WS if I can afford the hit in accuracy. A better long term solution in that slot will be the Potent Belt, since it offers the best of both worlds: a +3 STR bonus, and +8 accuracy (only a loss of 2 points over the Life Belt).

Sometimes I wonder why I even bother with the STR build, honestly. When you break down the math, you're still just "nickle & diming" a few damage points in the end, for mucho gil I might add. Multi-hit weaponskill damage is another one of those things in FFXI that frustrates me in terms of it's voodoo performance.

The other stuff that I didn't buy is still sitting on my Shopping List, waiting for another day. I'm mostly holding off because I want to make sure I have enough gil to keep skilling Alchemy comfortably, but also because some of those pieces only work in pairs, balancing out each other's weaknesses particularly in the Accuracy department. And most of them are in the 400k range, so buying more than one item would break my bank.

/em hums "If I were a rich man..."

The last part of the night was quite fun, since it consisted of another Lifthrasirian escapade. This time, we were going for an AF NM fight in Castle Oztroja for Quan, an up-and-coming Monk in our group. Feon very kindly lent me his Dusk Gloves to try out the combined 8% haste with my turban for the fight, since accuracy wouldn't be much of an issue.

The shell gathered together in front of the zone around midnight, and I noticed Maloc was now sporting several pieces of the Dragoon AF set. of the aesthetics of that set! I'm sure you all have seen how goofy an Elvaan looks in the Warrior AF.

We got to the ??? spawn point without too much trouble. No one dropped invisibility at inopportune times and we didn't veer off course, though we had to stop and consult the map at one point on the third floor to make sure we were taking the right route. The mages rested to full and we moved in for the kill as Quan traded his Yagudo Drink.

I didn't anticipate how badly this thing would kill my shadows...and my HP, which I should have, considering the NM is a frickin' Monk (duh). Counter kicked my ass, and he countered constantly. And I made the faux pas of landing a 1200ish Rampage a little too early in the fight, and dealing with the hate issues thereafter.

At one point I hit the 'zomg I'm gonna die' macro to put up Defender and all of my AF/DEF pieces. Our Paladin, Lycasdemus, kept Huu Xalmo on a pretty damned good leash, however, and I survived to put on my damage gear again. But I tread on glass after that, particularly with the haste effect. We defeated him in a few minutes, and Quan claimed his Xalmo Feather for the final piece of his AF set.

I realized after the fight was over that Defender was still up. ORZ Why can't I keep a cool analytical head in these fights? Maybe I just need to do more of them.

Anyhow, congratulations to Quan, and a big thank you to the Lifthrasir group, and Feon et. al. for making my days in this fantasy world... quite fantastic. ^_^

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Premature return

It looks like my proclamation of being "back" was premature, as I was apparently announcing this during the calm before the storm. The moving in stage by far superceded the moving out stage in terms of chaos, which combined with holiday relative madness, and some Fresno variant of the holiday flu to create a perfect storm.

My only means of articulating this to the linkshell, as I hastily logged in and out to sell poison potion before passing out from the Nyquil, was:

Sorry I haven't been on much, folks. Life has really been kicking my ass.

Of course they all understood, but I still felt badly about missing out on some of their coffer hunts and AF fights. I spent what meager time I had with the poison potion routine, since prices had climbed to 20k per stack over the holidays. This made for an easy though slow rise from 300k to 800k. I'll consider this gil to be padding for my upcoming Alchemy skillup sessions, and will try not to spend it. [Stares at that Assault Earring on the AH; looks away].

I had a very welcoming return to the game last night. It was uncanny how much I felt restored to my old and true 'self' by just interacting with my old friends. I still felt under the weather, but the feeling of contentment and belonging outweighed the physical discomfort.

My good friend Feon proposed a Great Axe skillup session for me, which turned out to be the perfect way to ease back into the game. I had the fortune of meeting his significant other and several of his good friends. They were a warm group of people, and quite funny in their own idiosyncratic way. It really is a pleasure to stumble into these small groups of close friends in FFXI.

We warped out to Altep, and Feon entertained the idea of taking on Cactrot Rapido who was spewing dust all over us as we made our way to Kuftal, but Audessa elected to defer that challenge to another day. We made our way to an Ovinnik camp, those nasty tiger mobs in the tunnels, one of whom killed me long ago as I was running, lost & mapless, and without invisibility -_-.

Aside from the occasional pop at camp, we didn't have any close brushes with death, and my Great Axe slowly skilled up to 261 (and change). I still have quite a ways to go until I hit the 276 cap, but this was definitely a fun way to spend the evening. I forgot to mention to Feon that this party also refreshed my lost EXP from a death in a prior party earlier in the month, and earned me a few Limit Points in the process.

So...I think I'm actually back this time. Although I will be taking it easy and won't be grinding though 2AM parties as much as I used to, mostly due to health issues that I won't go detail about. It certainly does feel good to be back, though.