March 23, 2013

It's different this time...

I came to realize something last night.  Well, I suppose you could say this morning.

I went back to work on making my little popsicle semi-useful by finishing my Itzpapalotl trial.  As I mentioned before, it wasn't nearly as difficult as Glavoid.  I am so glad to be rid of that stupid-ass worm forever.  Of course, I know I'm going to end up fighting it again to help out friends and that doesn't bother me.  They would be the ones feeling the frustration, not me.  As a matter of fact, I happened to notice that I had a little something extra in my belongings, and I'd like to share what I did with it (in the chat log).  While it may seem trivial, it feels so good to know that there is nothing that I will ever need that item for again.  So long Glavoid, you ulgly, cheap-ass, good-for-nothing bastard.  The next time I see you, I'll probably use a brew just on principle.

With that said, I owe many people thanks.  Of course, I said thank you to some when I received the level 80 version of the Twashtar.  It doesn't matter.  People helped me, and I want to thank them.  It was actually kind of funny with the amount of people who came out for Itzpapalotl.  Some were there who honestly didn't need a thing and just wanted to help.  I can never thank you all enough for the kindness.  There are many days that even I struggle to be as selfless as some of you, and it's humbling.  Sometimes, it's even embarrassing.

This marks my 5th functional Empyrean weapon.  As a matter of fact, having five Empyreans is probably laughable by the standards of most high-end linkshells, to include my own.  I never talk about what I have in an LS chat because I know how some people can be.  They'll include a link to the items they have which are better than mine, followed by that horribly sarcastic smiling emote, " :) ".   A constant show of e-peen to let others know that you'll never be as good as they are.  I'm certain some of you have tons more than I do, but that isn't the point I'm making right now. Quite truthfully, this can be a blog post in its own right, so I'll save my thoughts for then.  Back to the subject at hand.

While in Attohwa, I happened to say thanks to the group that was helping me at the time.  What I received were some comments that somewhat surprised me.  LB said thanks for being so cool; Boss said "anytime, babez", and Goddess said it's "cause we love ya."  Even Dier thanked me for being a great friend.  I've been complimented before...many times, in fact.  But last night, those compliments stung a bit.

We had some difficulties getting the last few scales.  Mainly because I was a fool and didn't pay attention to how much time I had left.  So, with several people who came to help out...I timed out in the zone.  I don't think I've been so embarrassed.  Even still, they waited.  They went to play other games or go eat, but they waited.  I felt so bad, but they stayed until the end.  After gathering the items and taking a screenshot for this blog, everyone left to get a good night's rest.  That's when it happened.

There I was, standing in Ru'Lude Gardens with my shiny, and truly useable, popsicle.  I hadn't even used it to see Rudra's Storm for myself.  It doesn't matter how many times you've seen someone else use a weaponskill, it's a different feeling when it's done by you.  Almost immediately after finishing the trial, I began to think about what to do next.  I don't mean in terms of another weapon since we all know that I have several others in my sight.  However, that's exactly what caused this thought.  I realized I wasn't satisfied.  Here I am, sitting pretty with five Empyreans.  I have friends who don't even have one, or just managed to finish their first.  Yet I'm the one who's always down on myself, saying how gimp I am or how little I have.

That's a problem.  A very big problem.  When I signed off, I thought about that for awhile, and I became angry.  Over the years of playing this game, I have let other people define me.  I put aside my own self-worth and let the words of complete strangers dictate how I feel about myself. I've made mention of things like this before, and I promise that this won't be a "woe is me" post or anything like that.  What was different between then and now is that I never bothered to say how I felt after the thought.

What I want to say to everyone, is that I'm sorry.  I am so sorry that I lost sight of myself for all this time.  I have been so busy chasing after others that I've literally left myself (and my friends) behind.  Believing that nothing I do is ever good enough.  I feel like such an idiot right now.  Leferich, you were right.  It's a game, and to those who can't see it and treat this as more or have to show off and put others down to make themselves feel better...well, as you say, "fook 'em".

Don't get me wrong.  This isn't a "I'm quitting" post, and I'm still going to play.  I'll be here in the early hours just like always, but the difference is that I'll be here because I want to be.  Not because I feel that I must validate myself in the eyes of others.  I will finish my weapons, eventually, and continue my little quests to improve.  I realize that I don't have to be good enough for others.  I have to be good enough for me.  Why it has taken me 4 years of playing this game to see that is something I'll have to figure out at some point.

That's why those compliments hurt.  It hurt because people believed in me when I didn't believe in myself.  So to have you tell me such nice things was slightly painful.  Sounds pretty stupid, I know.

I'm going to do something that I haven't done before.  I'm going to post this on Guildwork.  Not to the entire FFXI community, because I'm pretty sure they could give less than a damn on how I feel or what I deal with internally.  However, there are several people who are on my Guildwork list that probably don't ever see this blog.  So, while most of my posts are things that I say just for the hell of it, this is something that I want people to see.  At any rate, there's a Qilin shout that I'm about to join, and I might even get to fight Omega afterwards.  Off I go.

Once again, to everyone...I am sorry, and I thank you.

March 13, 2013

To plug or not to plug?

Where do ethics fit in the context of gaming?  If this is an area where we are here to relax, do we truly need such stringent rules of conduct?

I think I probably take these rules to heart a bit much.  When I buy games, I've never used any plug-ins, game hacks, or even pc mods.  As a general rule, I refuse to even look at a guide, Youtube video, or any other source of assistance until I have finished the game.  It's just a quirk of mine.  I feel that finishing a game with the help of those materials takes away from the overall experience.  There's no surprise or emotional connection when you play with a guide.  Call me weird, that's just how I am.

That carries over to FFXI as well, and it makes me wonder.  Now that I have a computer and the ability to use things such as Spellcast, Cake, and whatever else is out there, am I truly holding my linkshell or other groups down because I refuse to install them?  When I first started, even mentioning those things was considered taboo.  Power leveling was looked at as being lazy, and bot-claimers were the bane of Vana'diel.  I remember how morally conscious players used to be, and I felt at home among them.

It's not the same anymore.  Now, people take screenshots which blatantly show the plug-ins they use.  Claiming Tiamat with a bot and almost proud to show it off.  The entirety of Beaucedine Glacier filled with people using fishing bots to acquire gil.  Running through Nyzul Isle using whatever it is to see through walls and find enemies in seconds and flee-hacking all over the place.  Square-Enix isn't doing anything about it, and the general public seems to be embracing it.

So is it still an ethical no-no, or is it just me being stubborn?  Afraid to step from the pillar of imagined purity that I started on when I first began playing?  What keeps me from using these plug-ins?  Hell, if I use them and get banned, that would actually help break my addiction to this game and maybe I could have a social life again.  I can probably keep playing this game for a few more years, but there's no way in hell that I would start from scratch.  No matter how "easy" this game may be to some, I have emotion and time invested in Jacinda / Carinde.  If she every goes away, that's it for me.

Still, I continue to wonder.  Am I taking the ethics of gameplay too seriously?  If I did the things that so many others are doing, I wouldn't be so stressed out about what I don't have here.  I could have max gil in a matter of weeks.  I could have the most complex macros in the world and let the game nearly play itself based on some conditional statements.  I already have a product key for a second account when I bought my PC version, so I could make a heal-bot and never worry about finding help again.

Is that really the path I want to take though?  I'm tired of feeling like I have to struggle in this game but, is taking the stance of "everyone does it" really enough to justify the action?

Popsicle sticks

Two weeks ago, I was talking about the possibility of not having a job due to America's budget crisis.  Well, it seems that I was able to dodge the bullet, metaphorically speaking, and I'll still be working next week.  Which is awesome for me since I enjoy this little thing we call eating.  It's pretty neat, and lots of fun.

With that bit of stress out of my head (for now), I can get back into the groove of FFXI.  I should stop lying.  I didn't stop playing even while this was going on.  It helped keep my mind off of the possiblity of being unemployed.  Naturally, that didn't save me from my natural stress which is brought on by me simply logging on, but whatever.  Speaking game-induced stress, let's talk about Glavoid.

To hell with Glavoid.

I can't express my hatred for that NM enough.  Maybe it's because I already went through the pain of making an Ukonvasara, so to go back and do a Twashtar is borderline insane.  Then again, we all know I'm pretty insane when it comes to playing this game.  So anyway, it's been roughly two years since I began my quest to get my own little popsicle dagger.  Admittedly, I haven't been 100% focused on it.  That's obvious due to the other Empyreans I've managed to obtain since they were released.  However, this dagger is probably the one weapon I've wanted the most, next to my Gandiva.  Let's get back to my hatred of this damn worm though.

Of all the NMs I've ever fought, Glavoid is the one I can't stand the most.  Nothing but gimmicks.  Absorb damage and all that nonsense.  Plus that stupid-ass Gorge / Disgorge move.  Nothing pisses me off more than being 30 seconds into the fight and it lets loose a 3k Disgorge without even using Gorge to start.  It's got to the point where I just homepoint when I die and hope that I can make it back before another group steals it from the group I'm with.  You know how you become anxious when you're close to a goal?  I've been at less than 20 shells for quite some time.  Bey and Frice either haven't been around, or they've been busy doing their own thing with Ninja.  As much as I want to send little tells and ask them to come fight Glavoid, it would be pretty selfish to do so when I see them having fun doing things for themselves.  So I naturally get frustrated when I can't find others who will help.

Thankfully, I managed to make a couple of friends in the "new" Excellence LS that came to my rescue.  Leferich and Swk came out in force to help me get the shells I needed.  A special appearance by Tyler, Alertih, and Dierdren was made as well, which was very nice to see.  Long story short, I finally have my pretty popsicle and I can feel like I've actually accomplished something.  So to everyone who helped me on yet another Empyrean journey, I truly thank you.

Of course, there's still Itzpapalotl and Orthrus that I have to contend with, but they aren't nearly as annoying as this goddamned worm.

February 25, 2013

It's a Monday

This is going to be a short post.  My day just hasn't been right.

Long story short, I found out that due to all this government budget nonsense that I may not have a job in another week.  That always makes a person feel motivated, you know?

So I come home and get online with the hopes of taking my problems in reality and shoving them to the wayside, at least for a couple of hours.  I see a Provenance shout with Ephexis.  Awesome.  I always enjoy going on runs with him.  They make the alliance and we head out.  Naturally, we have drama.  Two Scholars he tries to invite don't know what Embrava is.

What. the. fuck.

That's really all I can on the matter.  How you're a Scholar and don't know what that is just boggles my mind.  A note to people...learn your shit.  If you can't, change jobs or play a different game.

Anyway we get to Provenance and it's an hour until my event.  We start fighting and the BLMs miss the stuns constantly.  I lose my Mighty Strikes on the first fight.  Not feeling so great about this.  We keep it moving through the next battle and it's much smoother.  The third fight, both Ephexis and I die because of missed stuns and no triggers to replenish items.  This is where it gets sad.  I don't toot my own horn and everyone of you that knows me is aware of it.  However, when the two of us died, it took forever to kill the final two Caturae.  What the hell.  I'm gimp as shit, so why did that happen?

Whatever.  Moving on.  No sooner than we finish that fight, our Corsair jumps right into the Provenance Watcher battlefield.  No resetting our abilities, or even waiting for people to unweaken.  So naturally, people see the BC icon and go inside.  Ephexis and I are wondering what the hell is going on and he gets pissed.  So pissed that he signs off, leaving me as the only Warrior.  We're already here and I've got six minutes to get this done.  We go inside and start the battle.  Guess what?  We died.  Kind of saw that coming, but that's not the half of it.  No one in the alliance had Twilight gear but me.  So I end up zombie tanking.  The alliance unweakens after God knows how long, and they resume the fight.  No good.  We time out.  Fucking awesome.

We'll skip my actual LS event because that went well.  It's Tier III Einherjar.  You can't really screw that up.

Tyler, Lef, and myself then head out to Neo Salvage.  I still don't know all of that and haven't had the time to read about it.  I get asked to go as a Warrior this time.  I'm happy, but nervous.  So nervous, and with my head all screwed up about my job, I mess up left and right.  Caused the entire run to go horribly wrong.  Now we're about to enter Limbus.  I can only imagine what I'm going to fuck up in there.

I need a drink.  Or something.  I don't know what I need, but today is just not a good day for me.

February 24, 2013

Progressive Realizations

Almost two weeks since my last update. Surprisingly, it's not because I haven't been motivated to play. I've actually been online non-stop like a fool. Wake up on the weekend, jump out of the bed, sign on. Check shouts in Port Jeuno and if nothing's happening, go take a shower and get all pretty so I can wait around in Jeuno when I get back to my desk. I am a true FFXI addict. Well, at least I admit it.
I said earlier that I would keep you all informed of my progress on the myriad of goals that I've set for myself. So that's what today's post will be about. With a few pretty pictures, of course.

Ragnarok / Mandau

I'm somewhat torn on this one. Ever since the video release of the merited weaponskills, I've been in love with Resolution. This is before the whole FFXI community jumped on the Ragnarok / Dark Knight bandwagon after the people at BluGartr did their testing and found out that Resolution was the shit that put nearly everything else to shame. I went out and leveled a job that I swore I would never do (Dark Knight), got a Hoarfrost Blade, and even capped my great sword skill after hours upon hours in Abyssea. All so I could swing a big sword around and look pretty doing it. Anyway, I got the weaponskill and I was happy. Life was beautiful, everyone was smiling, flowers blooming and all that cute shit.

Then of course, more testing was done and it was found that a Ragnarok would best a Hoarfrost Blade / Borealis after level 90. I should have known it was coming. With the "ease" of getting relic weapons now and more people able to kill Arch Dynamis Lord, the Ragnaroks started coming out in full force. According to FFXIAH, there are 4,121 Ragnaroks between level 75 and the 99 Afterglow version. By the time you read this, there will probably be an additional 100 more. If you had any other great sword (except the Magian double-attack one...go figure) you were shunned, more or less. People switched to the "Ragnarok or GTFO" mentality. So basically, I had to get the fuck out. Obviously, I didn't like that. Thus began my quest to get this ugly ass relic weapon. Truly, Hoarfrost and Borealis are blue. That should make it better than a Ragnarok all on its own.

Anyway, what I'm torn about is the relic path to take. I've been getting invited to Salvage more and more recently, but not as a Dark Knight. Instead, I've been a Thief. Granted, beyond capped Treasure Hunter, there isn't anything special about the gear I use with that class. Which is part of the issue. Lux Pugio and a Thief's Knife just doesn't cut it for damage. I'm still working on my popsicle, but even that pales in comparison to the Mandau. So what do I do? Go with a dagger so I can stay in Salvage, or stick with the great sword and blend in with the other billion Ragnaroks out there? Truth be told, I'm kind of pissed that Resolution is good and kind of want it be nerfed. Then people will find something else to fawn over and I can go back to happily swinging my Hoarfrost Blade.

Now with that long explanation on why I'm making a Ragnarok out of the way, on with the progress. Currently, I'm almost finished with Stage 2, which is pretty slow in terms of how others do it. I've gone into Dynamis a few times by myself but, I usually wind up dead or I manage to get an awesome total of 40 shells, even with triggers and all time extensions. As THF/DNC, I honestly just don't have the damage output to kill things fast enough and get the currency I need. So, I buy whatever I can find at prices that don't immediately put me in the poor house. Or further in the poor house, I should say. Key's been a tremendous help in that regard, as has Misii, Patchou, and Swk. When I finish this in 3 years, I'll be sure to take a screenshot and send it to whatever game you guys have moved on to.

Popsicle Lovin'

Ah, the Twashtar.  My first attempt at an Empyrean weapon since the initial release.  It's also the one weapon that has been sitting in my Mog House in its incomplete Kartika form since that initial release.  You know how it is when you want to be a White Mage, but have to level Scholar, Red Mage, and possibly even Ninja before you can get everything out of the job you initially wanted?  That's how I feel with this.  I just wanted a pretty knife.  That was it.  This dagger isn't super strong, and there are a lot of options out there to use instead of this.  However, this dagger is damn cute.  Do people not understand that I am all about the cuteness?  None of the other weapons look pretty on Dancers.  The mythic dagger is horrendous and looks like some rejected prop from a Freddy Kreuger movie.

I've been trying forever to get this done. If you look at my profile, you'll notice that I have an Ukonvasara.  That and the Twashtar are on the exact same path, so why didn't I get it when I had the chance?  That's a great question, and the answer is simple.  Stupid, but simple.  Pressure and low self-esteem.  I wanted to be one of the cool kids.  My option of being a Dark Knight was fading without a Ragnarok, and I got tired of always being a Corsair.  Don't get me wrong, I love Corsair.  What I don't love is just standing around, buffing everyone else and can't even get enough TP for myself to use Wildfire before all of the enemies are dead.

The only place that I can even remotely enjoy Corsair is during an event that I don't particularly care for, which is Voidwatch.  I have fun shooting things because the NMs have so much HP and I can spam dusty wings for TP.  Unfortunately, I have to waste the first half of a fight with Chaos and Fighter's Rolls, which do jack-shit for a magic weaponskill such as Wildfire.  So, halfway through the fight (if I'm lucky), I can give myself Wizard's Roll and do more than 400 damage when I fire a round.  Most of the time, if I go to any other event, I'll just run around naked and not even bother attempting to shoot anything.  It's a waste of time and my bullets, and I don't have enough gil to waste either.

So, in order to join the crowd and actually participate in fights, I took Warrior to 99 and made myself a Ukon.  Honestly, it was hard.  I don't mean the trials to get the weapon but, knowing that the chance to make that dagger was right in front of me and I kept passing it up.  However, that's behind me.  I still feel the twinge to have that dagger.  At any rate, I'm back to it.  I'm at 32/50 shells and hopefully I'll be able to get it done within the next month or two.  Then I can move on to Itzpaplotl.  People seem more willing to help with that than Glavoid.  We'll see.

Oh yeah, I hate Glavoid.  Just putting that out there.

Aside from those main two things, I've been learning the ropes in Salvage, Meeble Burrows, and have become a regular in Einherjar again.  Salvage is pretty enjoyable since everyone starts out the same (ie, gimped to hell and back).  Despite my lack of awesomeness in there, I do enjoy it.  I've also had a few lucky runs with Nyzul Isle.  More unlucky than not, but I have scored some cool gear. 

Oh, here's one for the cuteness album.  Key and Detzu invited me to do an old-school Salvage run yesterday.  While fighting a frog, Detzu and I got charmed and chased poor Key around the area.  It's one of those moments where you know that you can kill your friend, but you have to laugh anyway.  It's kind of cool killing an avatar when you're a toad.
Detzu was just a tad close, don't you thnk?

February 10, 2013

On Task (kind of)

We all know I need a plan so I don't stress the hell out while playing this.  The next step is actually making one.  This is where it gets messy, because every class has so many things to do for it.  Simply saying that you're going to "gear up" whichever job is far too vague and could also take months to do.

Naturally, that's exactly what I'm doing because I'm an idiot.

Sometimes, you just have to accept your flaws and keep it moving.  So let's discuss what I'm doing and check my progress.  I figure by telling all three of you that are reading this about what's going on, it will help to keep me focused and maybe even prevent me from losing my mind.  Maybe.

It doesn't exist...

Ah, good old Voidwatch.  Lately, I've been spam-joining groups that I find for Ig-Alima.  Yes, I'm still searching for the ever-elusive Borealis great sword.  The Hoarfrost Blade gets the job done, but I want my shiny death blade.  I've been in the group with Ephexis most of the time, and he always makes an interesting alliance.  Aside from that, the drop rate on this is beyond horrible.  I have seen more Wroth Scythes in this run than all other weapons combined.  Stupid scythe.

Playing with Wyrms

I can only imagine how many lude comments will be made from the above title, but I'll leave that your imagination.  I think I am part of a hopefully dying breed of damage dealers who still don't have the E. Body armor.  Unfortunately, Nidhogg hasn't been to helpful in getting me out of that group.  Instead, he lovingly hands over some scales and other useless nonsense.  Not even a Ridill.  The good news is that once I have it, I can stress myself out over getting the actual cursed armor.  It's good to know what your future holds.  Although it hasn't dropped a damn thing except a load of disappoint for me, Bey was lucky enough to get her first piece of "king's gear," the Dalmatica!

Even though it's old...

With me and my awesome self-esteem issues, I was somewhat thankful when the Empyrean armor came out.  My reasoning?  I never got anything completed in Salvage.  While it sounds like a poor excuse, which it is, it was good to know there was an armor option out there that I finally had access to.  No longer did you have to wear Ares if you wanted to be a damage dealer, or Skadi if you were a thief.  Mages weren't confined to the stigma of being considered pitiful without a Morrigan's Robe.  In a way, it's comforting that some of the "casuals" could finally take part in end game.  Of course, now there are too many casuals who have no clue what the hell they're doing in these types of events, making things harder for many.  I suppose there really isn't a happy medium for this sort of thing.

Anyway, now there is the Level 99 Salvage, commonly referred to as "Neo Salvage."  Adding "Neo" to the name apparently makes it more epic sounding than "Level 99."  As I'm sure you already know, now the original Salvage armor can be augmented to be even more awesome than it was before.  So you know what that means...everyone and thier mother is rushing to get through the original tier.  This also means that I once again have felt the pressure to get this gear.  Well, I don't have a group for it, and since my gear was never really all that awesome originally, it's difficult to convince people to let me in now.  However, Lisamarie and Milhouse have been supportive enough to invite me when they have go in.  It's been an interesting experience, to say the least.  I do want to get better so I don't feel like such a third wheel, but I know that will come in time.

Rush to 100!

Speaking of Neo and remakes, there is also the new Nyzul Isle Uncharted Survey.  Granted, while neither Neo-Salvage or "Neo Nyzul Isle" are actually brand new, they are new as far as I'm concerned.  The Askar, Denali, and Goliard sets have made a triumphant comeback and you can once again see people standing in Port Jeuno with this very pretty armor.  Well, except Goliard.  That was never pretty.  The armor has new names (Phorcys, Thaumus, Nares) and very awesome stats to go with them.  The new Salvage armor can beat out this new gear, but no one is going to look at you in a negative light for showing up with NNI armor.

While the new Salvage is considerably easier than before, that's not the case with NNI.  Square-Enix decided to make this event particularly difficult for the players.  The worst part about NNI is the fact that there are no save points like before.  Now, you have to make it from 1-100 in 30 minutes.  Even with the floor jumps, you are heavily dependent on luck to get you through.  Because of this, players have to bring their A-game every single time.  There truly is no room for screw ups.  Finishing with only seconds to go is far from uncommon.  I've joined a couple of shout groups that went horribly wrong, but luckily Rocko recently invited me to his group and I've been having a lot of fun there.  Hopefully, I can make that a common thing and stick with them.  I'm more or less a standy person at the moment, but it's better than nothing.

Trials, trials, trials

Yeah.  I set myself up for all types of issues with this.  Why I have so many Empyrean trials active is beyond my understanding, but it's what I've done.  So, I'm slowly trying to get through whatever I can when I find the opportunity (and people) to do so.  Bey and Frice have been extremely helpful, and Misiisii / Dierdren have helped out whenever possible as well.  The flavor of the month for now is this Twashtar, since it was the very first Empyrean I ever attempted to complete.  With luck, I'll have my popsicle knife soon.  That would be kind of nifty.

Well, there's more for me to blog about and I have a few more pictures to add, but Swk's on me about going to finish these iron plates. Yes, I'm working on that too. I know....I know.

February 3, 2013

Coming home

Sometimes stuff happens and you find yourself away from the people that you have practically grown up with.  Moving, new jobs, marriage / divorce, and all sorts of other things.  It's a part of life.  One of the awesome feelings you can get is when you not only catch up the people you haven't seen in awhile, but when you can truly return to them as more than just a passerby.

While that scenario is for reality, the same is said for linkshells.  For me, my "homes" would be Epic and ShieldsofValor. This time; however, the post isn't about me.  It's for another friend of mine... Dierdren.

She's very well known around the server, for various reasons.  A former member of Excellence, Dierdren has accomplished many things in game, and several of them were done before the FFXI era that we know now.  Without going into too much detail, Dierdren left Excellence roughly one year ago.  While she was there, she was very devoted to the shell.  I remember her talking about wanting to join when we were back on Hades.  We would stand in Whitegate and she'd talk about how exciting it would be to join a shell like that.  When she finally got in, she was like a kid at Christmas.

Since then, she devoted most (if not all) of her time to the linkshell.  You could tell that she had a lot of pride when it came to the shell.  So when she left, she missed it.  Everyone now and then, we'd chat about things and how she was.  Now that Excellence is rebuilding, she hoped that one day she might be able to return.

Turns out that day was sooner than she thought.  Not only did she miss Excellence, but some people in there missed her as well. You already know where this is going, but Dierdren has been invited back to the place she once called home.  With that said, welcome back Dier!