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.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Semi Off-Topic

I've been having a hard time keeping up with the Destructoid feed lately, but a preview article for The Darkness immediately caught my eye. After the disappointing reviews for Shadowrun, I'm seriously looking forward to this game as my next "smart" FPS. The gameplay mechanic seems sadistically interesting, the graphics are gorgeous, and ... Mike Patton performs the voice of the "darkness." How friggin' perfect is that?

Monday, June 11, 2007

Progress on WHM, Axe, Sword, Fishing, and Tomfoolery

Here I go feeling like a swiss army knife again.

Progress has been steady on my WHM. In preparation for more Roughneck EXP, I acquired my pair of Mycophile Cuffs on my first Mycophile kill earlier in the week. Hooray for free gear.

Got the cuffs

I reached level 25 a few nights ago with the Roughnecks, giving me the privilege of casting my first Raise on Lexxi (I swear I didn't let her die on purpose, just to try my new spell. No, seriously).

My first Raise

When our EXP session concluded, I indulged a sleep-deprivation-induced whim and ran back to Jeuno to gear up as a "buttersheep", the warrior vernacular for WAR/WHM.

I had to equip my MP earrings & rings, Friar's Rope, and the walmart turban, but I finally had enough MP to raise and toss on a couple of cures. I pictured running around Qufim and horrifying newbies as an elvaan Warrior in artifact armor and a turban, raising & curing random people while spamming the angel-wing fireworks. But it was so late when I got back to the tower that my plans were canceled due to lack of corpses.

No Dead People

Still enamored with the concept of free Sneak (I don't even want to estimate how much I've spent on Silent Oils in this game), I decided to go sneak fishing for shall shells in Cape Terrigan on the following night. The shall shell bite rate has not yet been nerfed in this area, so I decided to give it a shot.

I was greeted by a nicely laid out group of /anon tarutarus led by a female hume.

RMT Symmetry

The taru's rested and got up simultaneously, in 2 sets, and had amazing timing with their nukes, casting them synchronously on every crab. Yeah... /wave RMT party. I thought a GM might be interested in watching the show, so I invited one out.


I'm fairly sure he only decloaked to me and not the RMT, since they continued to do their magic right in front of him. I found this rather humourous on his part.

Anyhow, the fishing went well and I skilled up to 32 and netted about 3 stacks of shells. I probably won't do this again for awhile since I would be better served by other methods of fishing for profit, but I now have a more accurate estimate of profit per hour on shells. And it could be worth diversifying if other markets die or temporarily stagnate.

Feon invited me to more NM hijinks last night, which was a rather pleasant way to spend the evening in Ifrit's Cauldron (of all places). The target was Tyrannic Tunnok, a scorpion NM that occasionally drops a Venemous Claw.

Since we were killing virtually everything on the way to the spawn area, I was able to simultaneously skillup my Sword to 190 (via Joyeuse) and break the latent on my Pick of Trials, clearing the way for an eventual NM fight and the Decimation weaponskill. I and Ninjax also picked up coffer keys in the process... not that I'll be hunting for my map there anytime soon. I also capped out another Merit, which I really need to begin collecting again in light of the recent Combat category adjustments.

Multitasking: Sword Skillup + Latent Breakage

The NM eventually popped, and we approached it with a plan. NinjaX and I would skillchain Light and Feon would call the 2-hours around 50%. We were both primed with TP, but NinjaX whiffed on the first WS... not that it would have mattered if he had connected since I followed with Mistral Axe much too quickly. In the split second between noticing the SNAFU and that 100% of my shadows had been stripped while I WS'd, the scorpion turned to me and performed Death Scissors, adding to my collection of shapshots of myself lying dead on the ground next to a NM.

Death Scissors = uh... Death.

The rest of the party performed fine without me, although Feon eventually died as well, leaving Ninjax as the sole melee to take the rest of the scorpion's HP away. He succeeded but the NM was stingy with the drops, unfortunately.

We ended the night with a Teleport-Holla and what is becoming a regular ritual after our DarkEden adventures: a fight with the Goblin Alchemist, closed with Feon's Mijun Gakure when possible.

The Archaeologist pre-logout ritual

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Magery and Miscellany

I don't have a large amount of news to post, although the past week had a few highlights.

I've been making steady progress on my black & white mage jobs, bringing BLM to 21 and clearing the way for me to level my WHM to the desired 40. I'm currently at level 23 and breathing a bit easier with Regen and a more MP-efficient Cure2. Looking forward to Raise in a few levels.

Quite a bit of my EXP has been earned in the company of RoughnecksUnited members (the formerly retired shell that was the pre-cursor to Lifthrasir and has now been revived). I've found this to be one of the most pleasant ways to level up in this game and really wish I'd met these people sooner. The two pickup parties I joined in the interim were drab & boring in comparison, even with the noob factor to keep things volatile.

Biblical banter

Seconds before we try a Goblin Bounty Hunter

The EXP was interspersed with a couple of last-minute events. I assisted Littoguy and a group of 7 others (which included Audessa and Darkronin) in the WSNM battle for his Asuran Fists. I barely had a chance to take a snapshot of Bodach before he was defeated.

Littoguy gets his Asuran Fists

Last night, I joined a group from IfritsRoyalGuard (Tog's peeps) on an "exploratory" Einherjar run.

Yeah... we died, all 12 of us, then reraised and died again, but it was fun nonetheless. Apparently the mobs in the first room will all link with their family type, regardless of location, if you attack any of them without killing the single Bird mob that pops and despawns periodically. We, of course, discovered this the hard way.

Yay! Einherjar! ... um ... uh ... {Hmm}


Unfortunately we were all dead when the bird popped, with the exception of a few reraised, weakened players who nearly killed it before it despawned. I'm thinking some sort of status effect needs to be in place to prevent the bird from despawning mid-battle, but that's just a theory. Sac pulls may be needed to enable others to find the bird to begin with. But we didn't see quite enough to get any solid strategies yet.

The rest of the evening was spent with Lexxi (MNK), Maloc (PLD), Quan (BLU), and Murrdoc (SMN) and a couple of party guests at Qufim Island where I went from 21 to 23 in what seemed like a short time, although the hours do go by quickly when you're in the company of good friends.

Roughnecks and a couple of guests

P.S. Lexxi, if you're reading this, this was the film I was talking about. And here's the other one.