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.