December 30, 2009

Is it really necessary?

You know what pisses me off more in this game than anything else? Not the long ass spawn times of NMs or the stupidity of some quest lines. Not even Cid's extra big and bright white teeth bother me as much as this one thing that happens constantly in-game.


Yes. The Check feature. I'm sure you all get it, or might be the ones checking. Cut that shit out!! Any half-second glance and you can figure out my approximate level. It's easy enough to see. You can even tell what gear I'm wearing. Sure, you can't see that I'm wearing a Raja's Ring or Brutal Earring, but so what. You know what the items are; does it really matter if I have it or not?

I can just feel the virtual eyes of people scanning me from head to toe, and that bugs the hell out of me. Could you imagine if you got a notification in reality? You're just out on the town, minding your business, and suddenly you get a text message:

**Jason is eye-fucking you.**

If we had a real /bitchslap emote, I'd macro spam that all over Whitegate.

December 29, 2009

What the hell is a skillchain?

I'm no veteran when it comes to playing FFXI. As a matter of fact, I'm far from it. Sure, I've seen my fair share of things, but not nearly as much as some of the long time players. Several strategies of the old days have been replaced by newer and more effective methods. Fights that used to take careful planning and timing are now "zerged" (think Blitzkrieg) and several of the jobs that were once highly desired have now been relegated to an endgame only status.

One of these strategies is the use of a Skillchain and if you just read that link, you might be a bit confused by it. Yeah, it's complex at first glance. For the most part, this technique is hardly ever used now. Most times, the formation of a skillchain during an event or party is accidental. One of those deals where you see it, say "oooh", and then move on. Unless you are doing a latent break, it's safe to say that no one cares about a skillchain.

I don't get this. A skillchain is free damage. Yes, free damage. All you have to do is plan it out. Yes, it requires thought, planning, focus, and communication. As a matter of fact, it requires near constant communication. Now you might wonder why the hell you'd want to put forth all that effort during a party. Two reasons for this:

1. Exp parties are boring as hell, and it's not uncommon for a member to fall asleep during one.
2. Faster kills = greater exp over time.

Let's pretend that we don't give a damn about our fellow players and care less if they fall asleep because we can just boot them and get a replacement. Of course we'd never do that, but we're in "pretend mode" right now. Look at statement #2. Faster kills; greater exp. Do I really need to break that down for anyone?

Now, I understand when people don't want to put out a lot of effort for a short term event. Sure, if you're zerging an enemy, just go in and do it. No need for an immaculate plan with every action mapped out. Just do it, be done, and go to your home point. Exp parties are different though. They are designed to take time. Parties are usually 90 minutes to several hours, so why not make them as effective as possible?

An example of this happened yesterday. I setup a party and went to the Mire yesterday. The party was going to be synced down to 67. Anyone that's ever been there knows that going in at 67 means great exp, but slow kills (unless you have the perfect setup, perfectly geared players, proper star and moon alignment, etc.). Imps are no joke at that level, and are more than capable of wiping a party with ease. I suck at making parties, but I think we had a fairly decent setup. PLD, RDM, WHM, DRG, SAM, THF. Yes, it's heavy on the healing.

We got started and things were going well. We weren't chain pulling yet, but things were fine as far as I was concerned. Now, despite my reluctance to being a mage, I was and always will be a mage at heart. While Bhin served as my mentor during that time, the concept of skillchains and magic bursts were drilled in my head. It's at the point where I can basically quote off a list of applicable skillchains based on a glance of party members' jobs. It's pretty sad, I know.

Eventually, I asked if we could make some skillchains. Yeah, it suddenly meant that everyone had to pay attention. On the bright side, Imps have a nasty tendency to lock your abilities, so you can't weaponskill as freely as you'd like to. In a way, this forces you to pay attention because you need to get those weaponskills off as quickly as possible. So since we've already got to wait with using them, why not make their impact much more devastating?

We experimented for a bit and eventually got our timing down. Before you know it, our little camp became a disco show of Fragmentation and Light skillchains. Kills started going much faster, and though we were at the lowest recommended level for that area, we were killing like we were several levels higher. Exp was great and everyone leveled at least once. Considering some of us were in the 70's, I think we did damned good for everyone in the party to level for the time that we were there.

Now this doesn't mean that I think every single time I go in a party that we need to formulate a skillchain plan, but it does show that the "old ways" aren't quite as antiquated as some might think.

Not to mention, your mages will feel a bit more helpful instead of bored while they spam cure spells. You'd be amazed to see how happy a WHM can be when they actually have a reason to cast Banish or Holy on something.

December 22, 2009

Playing with Fire

It's Purple!

Last week I started leveling Dragoon, and I have to say, it's damned fun. Granted, I'm gimp and all, but when am I not? I've also taken to my digital companion, Sasavi, and having a blast with the emotes. Automatons can go drown; Wyverns have all the style.

Leveling is taking awhile, but I spend a good deal of time doing Fields of Valor or other soloing to keep me busy. After what seems to be forever, I'm finally at 64. My thanks to those East Ronfure [S] invites.

The best part about leveling a new job is the AF quests. I mean, what else is more fun than farming coffer keys, then trying to navigate various areas where the enemies would completely wipe the floor with your tail while you try to open a treasure chest containing armor that you're currently too low to use? Of course, you could always wait until you're high enough to go through the areas solo, but by that time you don't need the armor anymore. Unless you're an RDM. Red Mage AF is forever.

Thankfully, Davik came to the rescue. We headed out to the zones and got the keys with ease. Then it was a matter of me trying to find the coffer and not get myself killed. Surprisingly easy this time around, especially in Ifrit's Cauldron, but that's mainly because Davik and Maximas were leading the way. Regardless, I'm an official Dragoon with all of my cool gear. My new nickname is now "Purple Haze."

Last-Minute Hero

As mentioned before, I'm currently attempting to de-gimp my Samurai class. It's a huge pain, to say the least. Researching sets, making inventory room, trying to get pop items, blah blah blah. Since that usually drives me crazy, I decided to take a chance yesterday and form my own Nyzul Isle party.

To be honest, I was scared. I absolutely hate making parties of any kind. Nyzul and Salvage parties scare the crap out of me. Granted, they can both be fun if done properly. Set up the wrong party and you've just bought yourself an aneurysm. So I went online, took out a life insurance policy, and proceeded to shout for members.

The whole thing took about 45 minutes or so to get a full party. Nyzul 100, locked Askar and everything else was up for grabs. Personally, I didn't think people would go for a locked run, but they did. Most wanted Goliard, but there was one...Tiel...who wanted Denali. It's always a shocker when someone wants Denali gear for some reason. The setup was SAMx3 (myself, Limubai, and Tiel), RDMx2 (Krazykarl and Yokorye), and a THF (Regina). Looking back, I think maybe I like SAM too much. The good thing is that we all had Haguns and Polearms, so there was a little versatility in playstyle even though we had the same jobs.

Things seemed ok at the start, but I ended up being the idiot who forgot sneak tools. Then I got nervous when we had a lamp floor and it was order. We all worked together and got things figured out. Once we got to the final floor, we were greeted by the flaming puppy, Cerberus. No deaths on this run, and surprisingly, a pretty cap dropped. Tiel was happy and we exited. I had four tags and asked if anyone would go again. Everyone agreed, so off we went.

Now it wasn't fun anymore. Lamps, Ninjutsu restrictions, know, the crappy stuff. I end up catching aggro during a lamp floor by a wyvern and die right at the lamp. So now I'm weakened and we're short on DD. The rest of the group takes care of things until I'm good to go and we arrive at the boss. Guess what?

Yeah, Cerberus again. Only this time, we got the 10 minute warning. I didn't panic, but I was certainly nervous. Myself and Lim used our 2 hour on the earlier run, and Karl used his while trying to reset ours with Wild Card. Still, we got TP and went at it.

First, I forgot to use my body boost before the fight. Fail on my part. Everybody is hacking away at this damn dog and I'm trying to use my medicine. I felt so dumb. Then things start to go downhill. Karl pulls too much hate and gets killed. Yoko soon follows. Then the DD begin to drop.

Regina 2hrs and gets a few good hits in. By this time, Cerberus is nearly dead. I got back up and tried to attack. Of course, I kept getting the message "You must wait longer...blah blah" and couldn't do anything. Meditate was down, 70 TP, and no 2 hour. It looked like everything was over.

...and then it happened.

In the distance, Tiel got up. I put up Seigan and Third Eye as Cerberus turned to me. Not like I could live for more than a few seconds, but desperation was all we had left at this point. I see the 2hr animation back where Tiel is. Hot damn, there's still a chance. Granted, all it would take is one hit and Tiel would drop, but we had a chance. I see her coming towards us and at that moment, our puppy has a treat:

Cerberus readies Gates of Hades.


This was one of those moments where everything is in slow motion. I'm standing at Cerberus without enough TP to do anything. Regina is alive, but paralyzed. We're a couple of seconds into the GOH animation, and Tiel is charging in with the only possible hope of winning. I closed my eyes, and then...

I couldn't freaking believe it. Not only did we win, but Askar dropped!! While everyone did an amazing job, Tiel is definitely the hero of that battle. So now I'm 2/3 done with the Askar items I want, and only hands / kitty pants to go!!

A New Friend

Last week I got a little bored. I know, it's hard to believe. I can't remember what the hell I was doing, but I decided to level another job. Or at least to play around with it because I didn't feel like meriting or going to campaign.

So after checking the list of options, my immediate choices were Dancer, Dark Knight, Dragoon, or Monk. This was going to take some time.

First, I love Dancer. It's just all around fun. However, I'm not in the mood to solo, and it's my understanding that DNC is basically the melee equivalent of BLM when it comes to party invites. With that being said, DNC has to wait until the mood strikes me. So next up, Dark Knight.

Hahahahahahahaha. Moving on.

Dragoon. Now this seemed interesting. It would be a job that I didn't have to do too much with in the way of skilling up, so I could take whatever party invites came my way and not worry about a skill up party immediately after. Then again, it's loldrg. Personally, I like the job, but perceptions are hard to break. On top of that, you get a cute wyvern! Still... loldrg.

Looks like Monk is going to be the winner. I do have some gear that will carry over from when I was leveling Samurai, plus I have an Osode for when I hit 75 and a cool pair of face bashers. Still no kitty pants, but more on that later. Monk is also a highly desired job during endgame events. Yeah, yeah, so is DRK. I told you all before, I'm emo enough as it is. Adding to the emo won't benefit anyone. I changed jobs and stepped out of my Mog House but, a thought then came to mind:

It's bad enough that I have lost several units of sanity trying to find a damned Autumnstone to get my kitty pants, but now I'd have to find a way to get items from not 1, not 2, but THREE HNMS? Let's see, am I in an HNMLS? Uh, no. Do I have 3 million to chuck at a shell for each of these items? Once

Dragoon it is.

My new buddy, Sasavi. ^_^ Cute and deadly; that's us!

December 10, 2009

One of those days

I decided to take a break from the sandbox and try a different locale for awhile. Since my Samurai merits are more or less done and kitty pants are on hold, I figured I'd go for what I thought was a less frustrating piece of gear to obtain. Yes, laugh now. I didn't realize the reality until later on.

I am currently on day #4 of severing Gigas testes with my Tomoe in order to get the damned pop item for this stupid NM. I've got lucky after a few hours and have spawned Alkyoneus twice in 4 days. I can hear Davik laughing at me now for not having THF leveled. Bite me Davik.

Castration, {You can have this}

Of course, during both fights, I happened upon a THF in the area who agreed to help me improve my chances. No help with the bracelet, but I now have enough socks to craft a quilt big enough to cover Qufim Island.

I've also seen a few people wipe to Pallas on the level below me. While I do admit that the thought of dropping down and claiming have crossed my mind, that would be pretty damned rude and I'd wind up being the same type of jackass that I despise. If only I were evil.

It would have been so easy too.

I ran into a buddy of mine and his party while farming out there and we decided to try out Autarch for some fun. He whipped our ass.

We regrouped and gave it another shot. We were NIN, THF, MNK, and SAM the first go round, but then we switched MNK and SAM to WAR and RNG while grabbing an RDM friend to see if he could dispel those shock spikes. No luck on the dispel, but we killed the NM fairly easily on round 2. No drop, but anyone surprised?

So, it's back to the tower for another day of farming a super low drop rate item for a piece of gear that I will only use during weaponskills. Why do I do this to myself?

Tales from the Sand

Let's see. What have I been up to this week? Well, I soloed a VT Manticore as SAM/DNC, finally. Not that I couldn't do it before, but I finally worked up enough nerve to try. Nothing major, but I take my victories where I can.

That's right. Bow down.

Lisa and I hung out for a little while and unlocked her Mandalic Stab. ^_^. Then we got brave (read: bored) and decided to give a go at a duo of Tegmine. Then we got aggro during the fight and I started fighting that while she held the NM. Unfortunately, things didn't go so well since she had just made 75 and wasn't really set up for tanking an NM like that.

Congrats Lisa!!

Fear not, after she was raised and unweakened, we gave it another go. Of course, we got outside aggro again. Thankfully, instead of me dealing with crabs and a raptor, I just had a single crab to deal with. The fight was pretty intense near the end because of that stupid bubble shower that nearly killed Lisa a couple of times, but we hung in there and successfully took out the NM as SAM/DNC and THF/NIN. Even got one of those Aptus things. Will I ever use it? Who knows.

I finally finished up the major merit categories for Samurai. Glad to have that out of the way. Unfortunately, I haven't seen Davik around all week and Yoko hasn't really had the time to be on either. So the sky camping has been put on hold for now because I know I'm certainly not geared or merited enough to solo Ullikummi as an RDM right now. Somebody seriously needs to list an Autmnstone in Rolanmart so I can buy it and get my damn kitty pants already.

I have to say, life in the sand hasn't been all that exciting lately.

December 3, 2009

Fun Stuff

It's not late enough in the week for a "Week in Review" post, but I don't feel like waiting until tomorrow because I will more than likely forget to post this. So, let's call this the "nearly end of the week in review".

A Moogle Clusterf....

No, I still haven't started this expansion. I get the thought to and then check wiki, only to see how much running around there is and then I go to Cape Terrigan. I really have no interest in this. Maybe if I find some others who haven't done it, I'll go along with them. By myself though...hell with that.

Anyway, Domie (^_^) asked if I was able to lend a hand to help her out. Sure, why not. A quick trip to the Shadow Lord's place is always fun. The rest of the group was actually doing the expansion, so they had some type of minigame quest to do before coming out. I decided to get some juice and take a nap while I waited.

Then it was strategy time. Apparently, this NM doesn't actually melee you. No, it throws bombs that have a lovely knockback effect. Let me rephrase that. It doesn't throw freakin' spams them. By the time you recover from the 1st knockback, you're being thrown around again by another bomb. After you get its health down, it runs away and spawns 5 BLM Moogles while it gets cured to full health by some WHMs in the background. Needless to say, this fight can suck if things get out of hand.

The good thing is that it takes massive damage from any attack. This is great for e-peen, but when you stop and think about it, the numbers are for show only. Otherwise, a person could solo this. Anyway, long story short is that we didn't win. Lack of communication and unfortunate delays mid-battle ended up making the fight less than ideal. We tried a few more times, but they eventually decided to leave it alone and come back another day.

You dropped the bomb on me, baby! (Probably too young to know that song.)

Fellow Bonding!!

At long last, Karyn is level 70!! /cheer! That doesn't mean much of anything to anybody but me, but whatever.

While she is normally either less than smart or lackluster in fights, once she hit 70, I guess she had something to prove to me. While out in the lovely Cape, suddenly she started using useful weaponskills. Normally, I get excited when I see Tachi: Yukikaze cause then I make a nice chain, and I really get happy to see Tachi: Gekko from her.

Oh but this time, she was fighting those bunnies with a vengeance. On several occasions, I noticed she would break out Tachi: Kasha. I'm so proud of my little Karyn. She's grown so much. *sniffle* Now if I could just get her to stop wasting tp with Tachi: Kagero.

Speed Belt!

Haha, I wish. I did do the run though. Bhin asked if I was free to lend a hand, and it's been awhile since I had some fun in that fight. So off to Jeuno to grab an orb and off I go. This time, I got to go as a Corsair. Yargh!! It was pretty late at night for me, but I stayed for a few fun runs.

I didn't see any of the really big items from the runs I attended. I gave up my shot of going because on the off chance that I got something awesome, I didn't want to just lot and leave. So I'm sure this orb will sit next to my Moon orb that's been gathering dust for several months. Oh well, they can keep each other company.

Of course, it's not a real run unless someone does something stupid. Right at the start of our third run (I think) we got too close to the circle when our PLD went to aggro. We got hit with the Dragon Halitosis and the funk was too strong for us.

We recovered, but in the end we had to give it up. Really sucks to lose 99 Kindred Seals like that. On a related note, they weren't my seals. Still, it sucks.

All in all, I had fun for the times that we did this fight. Hopefully it won't be several months before I get to do this again. Especially now that I solo in the Cape so much. Getting seals isn't such a difficult thing. Oh, in case you're wondering about the picture shifting, I'm currently bored and feel like trying something else out. I'm sure I'll go back to the way it was before. Deal with it for now. It won't hurt to try something new.

Sky Farming!

Seriously, I don't like Sky right now. As I mentioned before, I'm working towards getting Samurai to a respectable state in terms of gear and merits. I've been looking for an LS to help me get my kitty pants, and after being turned down by a few for not having 5 million gil on hand, I found a shell that was willing to help me out.

I ran to Rolanmart and checked every bazaar I could find, hoping to score a nice deal on the Byakko's pop items. No such luck, which was fairly surprising. Then again, now that I want something, of course the mart won't have it.

So let the farming begin. Despot really isn't much of a challenge to get to and fight, so it makes sense to go after Ullikummi to get that Autumnstone. Either that or pay 600k - 1 million if someone actually had the stone to sell. Davik, Yoko, and myself headed out on a mission.

Four hours and a merit or two later...we finally get encumbered with Mythril ore and Light crystal stacks. Not a single diorite to pop Ulli. Meanwhile, an RDM and THF duo managed to farm the pop item and get the kill. Jaci wasn't happy.

I eventually had to go to work, and when I came home I still couldn't find an Autumnstone. So hopefully I'll have better luck next time and get those pants.

Other than that, I did do an ISNM. I didn't get anything of mention other than the Chocobo Egg, which I still believe is proof that dragons and chocobos are related.

Now I'll leave you with some random shots and then sign on. Time for more Fields of Valor, weeee!

Bhin said it would be fun to come out and campaign. Looks really fun, no?

Domie!! ^_^

Even the pimp hat doesn't change how ugly that coat is.

The Road to Ungimpness

I've been mentioning more and more than I need to merit my jobs. This is becoming more apparent as I begin to understand more and more about my jobs. (read: as I compare myself to others.) Not to mention, I've been out of the endgame scene for a bit since my ls is "on break" and it gives me more time to really look at my jobs and how they are laid out.

In short, I'm gimp as hell.

So rather than bitch and bitch like I normally do, I'm on a mission to change all of that. Unfortunately, I have a short attention span when it comes to self-improvement. Rather than focus on one particular aspect of my jobs, I'm working on everything at once. One job at a time of course.

Job 1: Samurai

You knew I would pick this one first. It's a fun job to play, and I like slicing things.

When I first reached 75, I made it a point to campaign and get enough merits to cap Store TP. Then I stopped. I absolutely hate meriting. I'll have to make another post because my thoughts on it are far too long for this one. Anyway, once I had that category capped, I didn't bother with anything else. I turned my attention to gear, thinking that a Kirin Osode and Hagun were going to put me up there with a half-decent SAM.

I was horribly wrong.

The most important thing I have learned about jobs in FFXI is that a single piece of gear doesn't mean a damn thing. This game is all about sets. Everything depends on something else. In my ignorance, I was happy as hell when I got that Hagun. I just knew I was hot stuff then. I was 75, had the best great katana next to a relic weapon, and had my first merit category capped. It's a little different now.

So here's the plan. Obviously, it's time for a gear upgrade. I've been doing a lot of reading about the standard 6-hit tp setup, and I've already got more than enough Store TP for that. Now to remove the excess Store TP gear and replace that with something a bit more helpful. My current targets are these hands and legs. This will give me a nice bit of Haste and Dexterity over what I currently have. Not to mention, they look better. Once I get the Askar helm, that will replace my Walmart Turban. I'll take a picture of my current gear so everyone can point and laugh.

In addition, I've been working on getting the sea gorgets to help out with my weaponskills. The torque is a wet dream for now, but dreams keep you motivated. I've had a few friends help out with the organ harvesting in Al'Taieu, and we even had a go with a couple of jellyfish (Ul'Yovra).

These fights are pretty fun. I do need to work on Scholar merits to be more effective against them. However, that will have to wait or I'll never truly focus on getting Samurai up to speed.

Of course, when I'm not doing Nyzul Isle or farming in sea, I'm meriting. Well, kind of. Basically, I spend my free time in Cape Terrigan and just spam Fields of Valor until I get bored. Or I might campaign if Yoko or Bhin bug me enough. It pales in comparison to a merit party, but I already know people wouldn't let a gimp SAM in one anyway. On a related note, Sush has been kind enough to invite me another merit party and I had a blast as a Corsair.

So far, I am 6/8 on Great Katana, 5/5 Overwhelm and 5/5 Store TP. I will probably merit Shikikoyo, but I'm honestly leaning towards Blade Bash more. People don't seem to care about skillchains unless it's latent time, and I'm not giving up my tp just so you can choose to not chain with me. >.>

I'm sure there's more to work on, but the goal is to be a "decent" SAM, not a godly one.

From gimp to pimp; the journey begins!

December 2, 2009


Who among you likes the RMT? Give a / if you do.

I didn't think so.

However, I think that the RMT tele-bots are a necessary evil. Either that or we just need to stop being so lazy. Here's a comparison: taxi-drivers in New York. Everybody bitches about the "Arabs" taking the jobs and all that. We complain and complain that it's taking away from the people here who want to work but can't because the jobs are gone.

Now apply that to the Tele-bots of Vana'diel. Yeah, it's not exactly the same but I'm sure you get my point. So many people yell and scream about the RMT tele-bot and how we shouldn't use them because we are just supplying them with money to sell on their sites and messing up the game for everyone else. Or that other "honest" people are trying to make money and the tele-bots are getting in the way of that.

Well it seems that the mass of "honest" people got their wish. You'll be hard-pressed to find a tele-bot anywhere on Hades anymore. Used to be that you could shout and you'd have an invite in .2 seconds. The interesting part about this is not only will you have a hard time finding a tele-bot, but you can't find a tele-anything now.

What happened to all the honest, hard-working people who wanted to tele-taxi before? The competition is gone, so where are you now?

You guessed it. They're gone too. Or now that there isn't any competition, there's nothing to motivate people. See, you no longer have to sit in Whitegate or Jeuno with your hand on the keyboard, ready to fill in the rest of the /pcmd add command in order to beat the RMT. Now you can take your time. No more /sea Jac and hope that it pulls up my name first so you can invite me quickly. Now you can be lazy and use /sea and casually scroll down to find me and invite when you get ready.

As a matter of fact, it's at the point now where people are paying ridiculous amounts of money just for a simple teleport because no one actually wants to teleport you anymore. Not long ago, I was in Whitegate waiting to do a Nyzul 60 run to snatch a pair of Askar Manopolas. Of course, we were in the "Shout for Members" process so I still had about 30 minutes of waiting. Meanwhile, someone was shouting for a Tele-Vahzl. I think it was around 2k. I go in my Mog House, change jobs and get all my gear ready. Then I come out and afk for a bit to get some juice and pie. After returning, one of the members leaves (/shocked!) and shortly after the leader decides to disband. Now I'm wondering what the hell to do and I go to the Auction House to check on my sales.

This entire time, that person is still shouting. The price has slowly gone from 2k to 10k now. Yeah, 10k for a teleport to Xarcabard. I was in awe that no one was jumping on this. Finally, I sent a tell saying I'd take them, but not at that price. No sense paying such a price just to get a tele.

Now you might wonder why a person would pay 10k just to go out there. Had to be an NM or something that they didn't want other people to get to first, right? It only makes sense.

Yeah, you see it correctly. She wanted to solo some skeletons for exp.

Next time someone decides to bitch about the RMT, I hope they're ready to put in the same amount of effort that they did while they were here.