December 23, 2010

Why does this continue?

Among you, who likes to repeat themselves? Do you enjoy the sound of your voice as you dictate rules and actions to other people? I can't personally say that I'm a fan of saying the same thing over and over to people. You know what this is about, so let's jump in.

Good old Abyssea.

Bigger should be better, but...

Remember when I said that small groups are better than alliances? I have been waiting, no...praying for someone to prove me wrong. Show me where an alliance just obliterates a small group in every aspect. Since that post, I have yet to see this come to pass.

Outside of Abyssea, this isn't so simple. We're not talking about that though. Recently, I've been doing some late night runs with new acquaintances of mine. We usually go with about 3-4 people consistently, but have seen times when we actually have a full party. When I first started, I was a nervous wreck. I'm just used to alliance-style fighting. Seeing a low-man group attempt things that I've witnessed 18+ people die to just makes me a little uneasy. Though it's only been a couple of weeks, I can now say that I absolutely loathe fighting in large groups.

Honestly, I'm saddened to say such a thing. Because I love having lots of people around. I like being social and having a bunch of friends or random people come together to accomplish a goal. It's supposed to make things more enjoyable, right? Hell no. It makes things infinitely more complex and wasteful than it should be. Does that knowledge not infuriate you?

Why can't people just listen and do as they are asked? Tell me why alliances take forever to trigger atma on NMs? Or why an NM who can absorb damage at specific intervals go from 10% to 60% in a matter of seconds? It's as if people just become stupid when they are part of a large group. See, I told you people that the Rule of 5 is never wrong.

You get a small group and watch things flow like melted butter. Get an alliance together and that shit becomes as smooth as cold molasses mixed with sand. I'll give you an example.

My first successful fight with Glavoid was done with a small group. I was invited to come along as a Corsair and you know I wouldn't pass that up. It was just over a full party, but some were waiting outside just in case things went wrong. It didn't. The fight I had previously didn't go so well due to a lack of time and plain inexperience, but I don't have a problem with that. The time after that (fight #3) was done with another linkshell, and I was going crazy inside.

Anyone who's read about Glavoid knows that it can absorb damage depending on the action it's doing. When it's doing a TP move, it absorbs physical damage. When it's casting a spell, you guessed it, Glavoid absorbs magic. So let's take a quick look at what might happen in an alliance.

[10:30:01] Glavoid readies Dessication
[10:30:02] Player A readies Tachi: Gekko
[10:30:02] Player B readies Sidewinder
[10:30:02] Player C readies Guillotine
[10:30:02] Player D readies Asuran Fists
[10:30:10] Glavoid starts casting Stonega IV
[10:30:11] Player E starts casting Burst II on the Glavoid
[10:30:11] Player F starts casting Blizzard III on the Glavoid

You know this isn't made up. I have a great imagination, but there are some things that I simply just can't fabricate. The sad part about this is that if you take ANY of those same people and put them into a low-man group, they would probably do just fine. Put them in a big group and their mind goes to shit.

Triggering weaknesses in an alliance is a huge pain in the ass too. I don't know what people think when they're fighting. It's a bit counterproductive to constantly beat down the enemy you're trying to trigger a weakness on, but people continue to use the primary NM as their source of TP instead of the enemies in the surrounding area. Why are people still telling others not to TP on the NM? Why do I see these all the time: "Get off the fucking NM!" "Stop TP'ng the NM" "Use the NQ mobs for TP" "DD get off the NM!"

You would think that people knew that stuff already. I mean, weaknesses are nothing new anymore. Still, people don't get it. Or they use the awesome excuse of lag. I call bullshit on that one. Lag will affect you for a couple of seconds. You might do an extra attack round, or maybe even two. Attacking the enemy for over a minute is not lag; it's just stupid.

Reading is hard.

There is something else that absolutely kills me with large groups: reading chat logs.

I cannot tell you how crazy it makes me when you have to repeat things you said only seconds before. It happened outside of Abyssea, but I see it much more often inside now. Say you've just warped to Abyssea - Vunkerl and it's time to do your event. Now that you and the leader are inside, the following occurs:

[18:02:05] Leader: Ok everyone, head to Conflux 3 and start killing so we can build time.
[18:02:15] Player A: /
[18:02:16] Player B: /
[18:02:16] Player C: omw
[18:02:20] Player D: which conflux?
[18:02:23] Leader: Conflux 3
[18:02:26] Player E: Sorry, zoned. Which Conflux?
[18:02:27] Player A: #3
[18:02:29] Player F: Hey guys! Which Conflux?

First offense: Player D. Learn to scroll up and read the goddamn chat log. Chances are that everything you're going to ask has already been answered.

Second offense: Player E. Stop lying. How do you know you missed something if you zoned? Text doesn't appear in the window during the zoning, and if it appears just before you zone, guess where it is? It's in the chat log, so scroll up and read it.

Third offense: Player F. Just because you're friendly doesn't mean you can't be stupid. Coming into the group with a great big smile and a friendly wave doesn't excuse idiocy or laziness when asking a question that's already been answered multiple times. Once again, read the chat log.

Free lot??

This is probably my biggest pet peeve in Abyssea. Lotting. There seems to be a few standard rules that can apply to how drops are handled in Abyssea now: Free Lot; Lot if you have the job; Lot if you can use it while in the party; and Auto Sort.

Truth be told, the only rule I will actually stand by is the second one. It makes sense. If you can use the item, then you should be able to lot it. It drives me crazy to see people lotting on stuff that they have no intention of using and simply want to sell it. Sure, people need gil for things and I get that. At the same time, if there is someone in your party who can really use it, why not let them? Is it really necessary to be that selfish? This goes hand in hand with Rule 3, which is really rarely ever used as it applies to mages more than anything else. Still, if there's an 85 BLM in the party and Aspir II drops, let them have it. It's not going to hurt you to pass on that item so someone else might be able to better themselves. Or Kindred Crests. Damn it people, stop bitching when someone lots those. Who gives a damn, it's a crest. If they need to unlock their next level increase, shut up and let those people lot. Or would you rather that they sit at 80 / 85 for the entire time they're in the party and hope that the seals auto sort to them?

Free Lot just encourages greed. It means that anyone with space can just lot the whole damn treasure pool without regard to anyone. Or the worst part is when you have idiots who random or lot on shit and don't know what it's for. I want to kill those people so badly. They're usually the ones who lot 950+ on items and then say "what does this do?" It's a good thing I don't lead alliances because I would be one kick-happy leader.

Auto Sort. Dear lord I hate auto sort. Let stuff like ingots and zinc ore go to auto sort. I can understand that. Spells should *never* go to auto sort. There is someone in that alliance who can use it. People say that lotting slows the party down. I disagree. Most actions are merely an /assist macro while waiting for 100% TP to do your weaponskill. Healers are the only ones who may not be able to constantly check the treasure pool, but things don't just vanish immediately from there. You want to know what slows parties down? The people who have to go afk for 20 minutes every 15 minutes that they're in the party. Those who always have an emergency whenever they're in the party. The kids who join alliances just before dinner time and then go away for an hour while expecting to be able to leech while they enjoy their meal. That is what slows down a party. Checking a treasure pool to get something you might actually need doesn't.

It feels so good to rant, I tell you.

December 3, 2010

A Day in the Life

Truth be told; it's more like a month in the life. I swear I get all of these awesome blog ideas while I'm playing, then I forget to post it or get caught up in an event. Anyway, enough with the excuses. Stories and pretty pictures incoming!

They make it worthwhile

As you all can probably guess, I really dislike doing things alone. Sure, I can solo a lot of things at this point in my Vana'dielian life, but I choose not to. I didn't come to this place to be by myself, and I certainly don't like it when I am. For those times that I do get to do things with friends, even when they have to drag me out to do it, I appreciate it. So to my friends, thanks. ^^

Git 'er Done!

It's great to actually feel like you are making progress in FFXI. Well, in anything for that matter. Of course, I usually accomplish some small task every time I log on. I get very frustrated to simply sit around and do nothing, so I make it a point to do something productive, even if only get a few merits. Unfortunately, nothing in this realm screams accomplishment like the latest piece of gear or level cap. No matter what's going on underneath the hood, the paint job is what gets people's attention.

With that being said, I've actually picked up some new "paint" for several of my classes, and it does indeed feel good. The upgrade process is still a bitch and the quests are beyond stupid, but I don't believe SE will ever come to understand just how inane the quests they make really are.

This makes it sound like I have never received anything good before, which is far from the truth. Though what makes me notice my accomplishments more is because of one simple thing: Guildwork. I joined the site a short while ago just to see how it is, and I like it so far. What I really like is seeing the live feed of what everyone has recently (in Guildwork time) accomplished. Seeing when people reach that new level or get a new title is just nice. Guildwork doesn't judge the importance of what you get. It simply shows that you got it. I like that. When I feel that I haven't done anything recently, I just look at the site. It quietly reminds me that no matter what I *think*, the fact is that I certainly am moving forward.

On the subject of accomplishments, both myself and my LS have been making some progressive strides recently. I'm finally starting to fight (and defeat) the Abyssea quest NMs, and hopefully I'll be taking on the actual zone bosses very shortly. I've fought more Abyssea NMs that yield Abyssite and Atma upon defeat as well, making me considerably more effective while inside. Aristocrats beat Dyanmis-Qufim awhile back, which now opens up Tavnazia for us all. I've done Tavnazia a couple of times before, so it will be nice to finally go back. Maybe we'll even clear it. I'm in need of a new title.


Nothing ever comes easily, and it seems like I spend more time waiting for a raise than actually fighting or healing. I'm either extremely awesome and just pull way too much hate for anyone to ever take back, or I don't have the slightest clue of what the hell I'm doing and just get myself killed a lot. I prefer to think it's the former, but the end result is always the same.

Oye, I'm tired. I'll see you all later. Looking at myself dead on the ground makes me want to take a nap.

Is it still awesome?

Think back to when Abyssea was first introduced. Let your mind wander to the Magian Trials' introduction and our first level increase.

The game we had come to know and love (or despise but can't leave) was about to be turned upside down and inside-out. The majority of end-game content that we were used to was soon to become obsolete in the eyes of many. The only thing we were missing was an appearance of the Silver Surfer delivering his quote from the Fantastic Four movie.

All that you know, is at an end.

Despite all this, people rejoiced at the perceived rebirth of FFXI. We now had actual new content, and not just a cheap event that people could finish in a day. As time went on, we figured out the key to obtaining never before dreamed of experience points. Jobs were leveled at amazing rates, and everyone loved it.

Then we discovered Abyssites and the NMs within the zones. Yet again, people were overjoyed and championing SE for their efforts. Soon after this, the discovery of Atma was found, and the hunt began. Weeks of research, theory speculation and much to do. Then the second update came, and now there is new Artifact Armor. Once we received the base items, it was discovered that we needed upgrade seals. Etc, etc, etc.

Abyssea has a staggering amount of things for players to do. When you look at everything this new content has to offer, it's mind-blowing. Now, there's even more content coming in just a few days, and we haven't even chewed through the stuff we have. Some of the major linkshells on my server, such as Excellence, Whirling Wind, Teletubbies, and others have managed to make phenomenal progress with Abyssea. How the hell you manage it is something I hope to one day understand. For now, I tip my Tricorne to you. For others; however, Abyssea is becoming a curse. Especially for some LS leaders. Unless you are a shell that is all-out Abyssea, you're going to run into the major problem that this content brings in terms of your members: time.

As Tal said, everyone wants to Get Shit. Everyone also understands that their desire to Get Shit won't always match with the desire of others. Some people will spend days farming AF in Attowha Chasm, while others chase NMs in Misareaux Coast. People are farming seals in Vunkerl Inlet as others are running after the Caturae. When it comes time for events, not everyone has the available time to participate.

The first reaction is to blame the members. If they want in on the event, then they should save the stones. Seems logical, right? Now pair that with the undeniable reality that people are judged based on what they have. Add to the fact that they know their shell simply can't do everything that they want them to do because it's not fair to the other members. Can any one person expect their shell to run out and do an event based primarily on their individual desires?

Of course not. Since I've started, there has always been a certain mentality of FFXI: If you want something, go out and get it. Don't expect your shell to do it for you. You want CoP cleared? Don't wait for an LS event; get out there and shout. You want the Razed Ruins Atma? Join an Atma LS. That awesome body armor you want? There's no telling when your LS will fight that NM, and you certainly aren't guaranteed to get it if they do. This thought process has carried over to the limited timeframe people are given within Abyssea, and it's not always a great result.

Do you take the selfless act and wait for your shell, hoping that the points you've accumulated will be enough to get the things you want? Do you sit back and ignore that shout for the NM you've been dying to kill, when it's not even on your shell's radar? From what I have seen, most people are not waiting. Like I said, I see the major players making progress, but I don't seethat same thing happening for many others. If you guys could share your methods, I imagine so many others could enjoy the happiness that you all have. I doubt that will happen, but it's a nice thought.

So to the LS leaders who have watched your shell crumble and the individuals who have been searching for a way to navigate this content, my question is this:

Is Abyssea still as awesome as you thought?

Let the lulz commence

Just like clockwork, SE has released more notes about the upcoming version update. As expected, it contains quite a few surprises, both good and bad. While I'm always nervous that something will inevitably break or become nerfed, one thing that I can always count on is crying.

Currently, the loudest whiners are the Dark Knights. See why I chose not to level this class? Imagine how emo I'd be right now as opposed to just bitchy. Yes, you got a crappy and ultimately useless job trait. We know you can't parry worth a damn, so a trait that rewards you for something you more or less never do is insulting. I completely agree with your anger. You even got another shitty ability to intimidate arcana, which has been non-existent in Abyssea. Again, useless.

I understand your frustration. I'd be pissed too. What I wouldn't be crying about is this bullshit concept that your class has been put in a grave and can no longer be considered a viable DD option just because Warrior and Monk got some nifty stuff that you didn't. If you couldn't do shit to keep up with them before, don't get pissy about it now. While I'm sure their new abilities are going to be nice and shiny for now, you don't know how they're going to actually be used until the update. For all you know, there might be something else in store for DRK around the corner.

What I find especially amusing, with any class that feels left out, are the people who spent their FFXI lives on a job and then make all these threats to quit. Stop that already. You're only as useless as you make yourself. I remember a DRK in an Abyssea party who bragged non-stop about how he rarely needed to be healed as long as he had haste due to the curative properties of the Catastrophe weaponskill. Going on and on about his awesome damage and whatnot. Now that he got two useless abilities that don't hinder his current performance, he's threatening to quit. Really now. You're going to quit because SE seems to be leaving you in the same state that you're currently in? You'll still do great damage, won't need healing, and can still kick ass...yet you want to quit? Do you guys think about the things you say before you say it?

Cry when things are taken away. Scream and shout when they reduce your effectiveness. Threaten to quit when they take everything good about Dark Knight and reduce it to rubble. But seriously, don't bitch just because you got something you probably won't ever use.

If it makes you feel better, just remember the skillchain bonus trait that Dancers got. Cause you know, everyone wants Dancers to use their TP for weaponskills and not healing / sambas.

November 29, 2010

That special group

You know what I wish I had more than anything else in this game? It's not gear, gil, power, or anything of that sort. What I desire is to have a small group of competent and skilled friends.

Now, I actually do have friends who are very skilled. Extremely skilled, in some cases. However, they are rarely available. Those who are available aren't usually around at consistent times, or I can only find one or two people at any given moment. Because of this, I usually wind up doing a lot of things on my own or with pickup groups if I'm lucky.

I truly don't understand why it seems so difficult for me to find a small group that I fit into. This should not be confused with a feeling of isolation with my current LS; I don't feel that at all. It's quite the opposite. I'm very much at home with this group. Well, when I can access the vent server, at least. Right now, I'm a bit detached from them because of some internet problems, but that's another tale.

What I'm talking about is that group of friends that you run out and do small things with. You know, go fight some NMs, do some quests or missions, farm some items...that sort of thing. That's the kind of group I want to be in, but my friends are always so scattered or already in their established groups. I don't always think about this type of deal, but a recent event brought it to the forefront of my thoughts. Are you ready for a story, my wonderful minions? Here we go.

A couple of posts back, I mentioned I had returned to leveling Summoner. I definitely like the job, but I had more or less retired that class. There's a reason behind everything I do, even when it appears trivial. Remember all the talk about improving some of my primary jobs? Summoner was never on that list, but I've been using that job more often than not lately. The reason behind this is because there are some other items in Abyssea that I am after, and really don't want to bother my LS or other people for. Items that are important to me don't necessarily have that same meaning for anyone else.

Enter the realm of the Iron Giants. I'm sure you've seen shouts for their items in Port Jeuno while you're looking for a party. Well, in my quest to improve, I noticed that these enemies have a few items that would be really useful to me. The first giant on the list for me is Ironclad Severer. I chose this one for multiple reasons. With this one, I could improve 2 jobs that are very useful in Abyssea (BLM / SMN) and there is also an item that would really help me with my melee TP set for Dancer, Corsair, and quite possibly even Ranger.

The next step was figuring out how to beat it. This is where SMN came into play. Could I do it with other jobs more effectively? I actually think I could do it faster as an RDM, but I still don't have wyrmal legs for movement speed. Though I have the Atma of Ambition, I think I'd be cutting just a bit too close for comfort. If I do ever get those pants, I'll certainly give it a shot. So I get SMN leveled, merited, and head off to find this thing. The first fight was not fun. I had no idea what to expect, despite reading wiki. I died multiple times, but I was fortunate enough to be on at a time when no one was camping. I came back each time until I finished the fight. Pitiful as it may seem, this is only the second major NM that I have ever fought on my own; the first being Boompadu a while back.

I remember telling Dierdren when I won. My hands were shaking and I was so excited to realize that I could not only fight this, but I could beat it. Naturally, the first fight took a long time for me. Well over an hour. Chalk it up to being inexperienced and afraid to take risks. Not to mention the whole multiple death and homepoints. Near the end, I did have a bit of help from Jamarn so it wasn't a 100% solo effort. Still, I was more confident to fight this without help now that I had an understanding of what it would do. Along with this win came the first of the upgrades, which went to SMN. While I could've taken the BLM piece too, I wanted Jamarn to have something for coming out and helping.

This was to become the place where I spent most of my solo time online. If I wasn't trying to build time somewhere, I was searching for this NM. When I saw people online who I thought might be willing to help, I'd wait to see if I could get the claim and then ask them to come out. Sometimes they would be able to, but many of the fights were done without them. At times when I arrived and someone was fighting it, I noticed something very different between them and me: They weren't alone. No matter who I met in that area, no one was ever by themselves. If a single person was there and got the claim, it was only a few minutes until an entire party arrived to help them.

So then I started to wonder, why don't I have that? Where's my group? For all the friends I've got on my friend list, why can't I get that small band of people that does stuff like this? I didn't want to beg people to come help me, so I just stuck it out and asked the few people that I saw online.

I think the most disheartening news I received during this whole thing was when I encountered a Japanese THF at the camp one day. I was fighting the giant when I got caught without Stoneskin and died. While there, a WHM was watching. I asked if they wanted an item and was willing to give it to them if they needed it. They said "I'm sorry" and I continued on until I died. At that moment, another Summoner entered. Then more people came, including this THF. He was the reason they all showed up. Turns out he and I were both after the last and most important item from this NM, Taranis's Harness.

There wasn't any expressed hatred from either side. I lost the NM and they claimed it. Fair is fair, I suppose. Miliani did show up to help me, but I more or less figured they would kill it and I just wanted the ToD. Turns out that Ironclad was pretty pissed from all of us messing around with it and it dropped the other group too. We got it back and continued the fight. While it was technically "my" NM since I got it when it first spawned, I felt a little sympathetic towards the other party. So I made a proposal to team up. It took a little while through auto-translate, but he agreed and we made it a team effort. Stupid giant still didn't put out, but now I had a small team to do this faster. He was willing to camp Severer as long as it took, but I had to run for Dynamis before the next spawn. Naturally, I get a tell mid-run. "{Body} GET ! ! ! !" Goddamn Dynamis.

Anyway, when our run was over, I resume the camping. The THF would talk to me in /t, but he was nowhere to be found as far as camping was concerned. He then told me: "You {/no} {Element} WS = {/no} drop." Referring to triggering the weakness of Abyssea NMs, he more or less told me that I was shit out of luck on getting that harness as long I was fighting as a Summoner. There was simply no feasible method for me to trigger the weakness. A part of me hated him for saying that, but he seemed to be right so far. Breathem tried to help me a few times with weaknesses, but it just didn't happen. The thought of not having a group got to me more and more.

People say that it's so easy to get a group of friends and go do things whenever you want. I beg to differ. Then again, maybe it's just me.

November 13, 2010


Why are you people like this?

I'm a nice person, and I think that's going to eventually cause me to explode and hurt someone online. More accurately, I think I'd take out a group of people. Namely men.

I swear on all things holy, you guys are pissing me off by the day. All this bullshit flirting is getting old extremely quick. I have friends who like to call me "hon, sweetie, cutie" and all that good stuff. Those people are fine. It's more a term of endearment than anything else. They might even say some stuff that would normally warrant a slap, but they are my friends and it's ok. To you other guys, cut that shit out. Seriously, it's damn pathetic.

Running up to me in town and staring me down while you say stupid shit just makes you look desperate and idiotic. Perhaps it's all in good fun and a joke to you, but I don't like it and I'd truly appreciate it if you would simply get the fuck out. Go away with your cheesy ass lines and stupid boasting. Knowing that you're pimped out isn't going to make me want to be your virtual girlfriend and brag to everyone about how I get to be with you while you deck me out too. I don't swing on anybody's dick hairs, so stop trying.

"Oooh baby, look at my new AF3+1. I can get it for you too if you hang out with me."
"Damn girl, you are so hot."
/stare /nod /stare /smile.

That's the best you people have? Please get the fuck out.

I might bitch, whine, and complain a lot about what I don't have but I am not that damn desperate to be with anyone or to get gear.

November 8, 2010

Summoner sucks

....when put in Abyssea parties with mages. >.>

I'm not certain if I was just bored or hadn't done anything painful lately, but I decided to go back to leveling my only pet class. Well, I'm a level 3 Beastmaster but I doubt that's going to do me any good during events.

I got my first invite and was ready to go. I'm the first to admit that I'm not a pimped-out Summoner, but I still wanted to contribute whatever damage I could. That was part of my issue. I've always had a dislike for people who consider SMN little more than a support class with a pet, but that just seems to be the mentality of most. I blame it on the /WHM subjob. As luck would have it, I didn't really have to worry about healing anyone. We had plenty of mages and the party was going well.

Until the BLMs started running out of MP.

Confused? Me too. Even without Atmas, there really isn't much of a reason that a BLM should be running out of MP in Abyssea. Still, they were. So what does that mean for me? I was out there to throw out some avatar buffs, get some damage in, and kick ass with that fail of an avatar, Odin. More on that another day. With BLMs running out of mp, I wasn't able to do that. Instead, I got to stand around with Diabolos flapping his damn wings in my face.

I cannot begin to describe how goddamn boring that is.

First off, Diabolos sucks as an offensive summon. He's been a joke of an avatar since his release. I honestly don't know why people put forth the effort to do his battle. Nether Blast? Sure, if you've got several SMNs spamming the ability. Otherwise, I'll pass on that and continue to think of it as a waste of my MP. Now with Avatar's Favor, Diabolos has a bit of redemption in the fact that he can restore a bit of MP after a time. What good does that do for me? Not a damn bit. What it does; however, is put me to sleep. Which I did a few times. Seriously, spamming Dream Shroud is just mind-numbing.

Thankfully, the party either disbanded or I had to leave. My mind was so messed up from boredom that I honestly don't remember the circumstances of my departure. I was 75 when I started, and midway through 76 when I left. All I know is that there was no way in hell that I'd be able to maintain that method of play for 9 more levels.

November 5, 2010


Tidis hit the nail on the head awhile back when it comes to my blogging. I'm not nearly as consistent as I once was. Shocking, I know. When this blog first started it had the format of "A day in the life," with me posting my daily activities and how I felt about it. This is fine and dandy, but you're eventually going to end up posting the same thing over and over and over. Especially if you manage to stick with the same linkshell for an extended period.

Then it went from what I did everyday to the items I obtained. While I have posted some of the things I've picked up since I started here, I never wanted this to become a blog about shiny items. I remember reading a post which pretty much summed up how I felt about the "look at me" types of blogs. Though I think my disdain for them is more or less because I don't boast very often, and I find little interest in doing so.

Of course, most of this blog has now become a repository for the repressed rage that builds up over the course of my playtime. It's therapeutic in a way. It prevents me from going ballistic on people while also keeping me from destroying my home in a fit of anger. Not saying that I want to hurt anyone I game with, but I will say that I have an extremely active and vivid imagination when it comes to methods of dealing discomfort.

Still, it seems that my thoughts and my desire to blog do come to the occasional impasse. I love blogging and I probably should have started it as soon as I began FFXI. I have plenty of things that I want to talk about, but I wonder how much of it is worth reading. Then again, I used to just sign on to this site and talk about whatever was running through my head at the moment. Perhaps I should stick to less thinking, more typing.

October 30, 2010


Ever hear of that site? You might have visited it once or twenty million times in your FFXI lifetime. Good old Wikipedia. It's where everyone goes to find the tried-and-true answers. Once something has been dissected and analyzed, the end results usually find their way to this wonderful website. Scores upon scores of linkshells base their entire strategic existence on the contents of wiki's web pages. Some people refuse to tackle any content until the answer to it has been put online. Quite obviously, wikipedia is a major component in our online world.

As a result, there are some people in FFXI (or any game for that matter) who hold a role of significance above the rest: the pioneers. The ones who figure out the stuff that goes on wiki in the first place. Many days, I try to figure out something enjoyable to do. I usually don't find the answer and end up doing whatever comes to mind, or wait for an event. As always, I am forever frustrated with some portion of Abyssea, but that's usually where I spend my time.

The latest buzz in Abyssea has been figuring out NM weaknesses. You know, the various !! that show above the NM's name after a specific action. There's been a lot of research going into this and each day seems to bring people a bit closer to a definitive solution. As a way of trying to help my LS get into this, I started reading the forums about those weaknesses and the triggers. As I read more and more, I felt myself getting excited. I was intrigued by the unknown, and felt as if I were a part of something bigger. I was silently in the background, working to help find an answer to something that people really want to know.

I couldn't wait to share whatever I learned or read about with everyone else. Even if I had to go back and correct something that I thought was right before, that feeling of discovery kept me motivated. Maybe this is how the others feel? Perhaps they get a rush when they figure something out or discover something new, and that's what keeps them motivated to continue on.

That's where I want to be. Out in front; looking for solutions and trying out new things. Finding those weaknesses and discovering what causes the Caturae to spawn. To be part of the group who discovers NM behavior and patterns. That's where the excitement is. Not just to be the first to get an item, but to find out where that item comes from in the first place.

While it can definitely be frustrating to fight an enemy you know nothing about, I can only imagine how exciting it must be when that same group solidifies their newly formed strategy and comes out with a victory.

Ah, to be a pioneer and blaze my own trail. Dream big, right?

October 21, 2010

Keeping up with the Joneses

There's always the pressure of wanting to stay current with things. Not just for the betterment of yourself, but because this game is fueled by elitists who are quick to point out how inferior you are when you don't perform to the perceived minimum standard.

You can usually tell them to go piss off and still manage to enjoy your time.

However, do you ever feel more pressured to keep up with your friends or associates? You know, the ones who generally accept you exactly as you are, regardless of your gear or skill. The ones who don't really care about all that, yet are somehow phenomenally much farther ahead or better geared than you.

Sure, you might wander about town and see someone with a Masamune and wish you had one, but it doesn't bother you. Hell, you might even see someone out there with the very gear you've been dying to have, but you aren't upset because you don't know them. Then you get a tell from one of your friends who tells you they were randomly invited to a group to kill an NM that you've personally been trying to get help with for ages, and you go into a silent rage. Does this ever happen to you?

Obviously, it happens to me or I wouldn't be talking about it. Truthfully, I feel bad for admitting this. Even worse for actually feeling that way. These are my friends, and I should be congratulating them. I do, but there's always that feeling of "wtf?!" in the back of my head. I should be happy that they went off and got the atma from Eccentric Eve and others with just a pickup group. Cheering them on because they got a random invite to a zone boss just for shits and giggles. I am supposed to be thrilled when they get an Abyssea party that lasts for 10 hours non-stop with drops galore and people leveling left and right. I should be super ecstatic when they send me a tell with nothing more than an item name of their latest drop, followed by a large smile.

Maybe I wouldn't feel this way if I were actually a part of that fun when my friends go out and do things. It would be nice to get included on things other than just events. Jealousy and envy are horrible things to have, especially towards the people who are your friends. Considering that though, it's quite possible that I really don't deserve to be included.

After all, a real friend wouldn't be envious, right?

October 16, 2010

It's not their fault.

I told you I wasn't happy today. No Abyssea, no stones, and not a hell of a lot that I was really motivated to do. That's how my online day was looking. With the exception of one thing later in the evening: Dynamis - Xarcabard.

That was the only thing I looked forward to the entire day. I did things around the house as I sat online, and headed to zone roughly an hour early. Of course, I took a nap when I got there but that really doesn't matter. So 6pm EST arrives. Time to get ready and kick some ass with the hopes of finding an Etoile Casaque for Dancer so I could be extra freaking sexy. So tired of wearing a damn Scorpion / Raparee Harness all the time. I was sitting across from the trail markings and waiting patiently. A few others were there and even more began to trickle in. Things are looking good.

Of course...something had to happen. It just can't ever be easy.

Another LS shows up. Vana'diel's Finest. An odd name considering their history, but we won't delve into that right now. There is one bit of history to take into consideration, yet it's not directly related to them. Remember that server merge from awhile back? Well, it's been the source of a considerable amount of drama between Cerberus and Hades. The lovely Dynamis Calendar. The subject is old and beaten, but never dead. Hades was very attached to that calendar for the most part, but Cerberus never bothered or seemed to care about it. Now that we have become a part of Cerberus, we're still used to the calendar and try to respect those who decide to follow it.

As I'm sure you can guess, VF is not one of those shells that chose to follow it. So let's jump back to the present. They show up, and we make note of it. Cerberus linkshells are notorious for "zone-jacking," as they call it. Doesn't matter if you see a shell gathering at the markings. If they aren't inside and you're ready to go, then they lose. Calendar reservations and polite requests be damned. You move it or lose it. I think that's a pretty shitty and disrespectful approach, but that is the reality the people here choose to abide by.

Naturally, we lost the zone. The single event that I was looking forward to was gone, and I was pissed. We didn't have everyone ready, and we knew what that shell was going to do. Now, what upset me more than anything wasn't the fact that we lost the zone. It's why we lost it. It wasn't VF's fault; it was ours. This wasn't an event borne out of a spontaneous decision. We knew about this since the beginning of the month. It's on our website. Yet when the time came, we weren't ready. It wasn't some bullshit zone like Dynamis - Bastok, it was Xarcabard. People want gear from that place. You can skip out on damn near every other zone, but Iceland gear is nothing to scoff at. Dynamis Lord is in Xarcabard, relic fragments are there, NMs that can drop crazy money are there, and some of the most desirable AF2 is there. Yeah, yeah, AF3 and all that. Whatever, AF3 is a goddamn nightmare right now.

So what can we do for next time? How can we prepare better? For starters, maybe log out near the markings? Save yourself some headache trying to rush out to the place so we can enter. Just take a few minutes before you leave the night before or whenever, and log out by the markings. Oh, but what about the job you'll use? What if they want you to come as something different? Again, think about it. Every one of us pretty much has one or two jobs that we go as during Dynamis events. So gear up as one, and have the other gearset handy if you have to change. If you get called upon to go switch, use the Field Manual by the markings, and swap your stuff out.

One of the problems we encountered was that we didn't have a particular job when it was time to enter. In all honesty, and this may not be the right thing to say, but that's just too bad. Adapt. Maybe I'm making this all too simple in my head, but just because we're missing a job at that exact moment doesn't mean that we should screw ourselves out of a 4 hour event. We've got to be able to adapt to whatever circumstances we're faced with. We are just shit out of luck otherwise.

These other people will not wait for us to put our pants on and get all dolled up for entry. They don't give a damn if they see us standing right on top of the trail markings. Was their entire LS standing there when they went in? It didn't look like it, but they went with what they had. That's what we've got to do. Jump in and get shit done. The rest of our group will catch up. If they don't catch up, then that's unfortunate for them (myself included).

Now it sounds like I'm blaming my LS for what happened. It was our fault for what happened, so in a sense, that's true. Though I do not fault any single individual. Sure, VF pulled a shitty move, but that shouldn't come as a surprise considering where we are now. They've done it to us multiple times, and they'll keep doing it. Still, my point in all of this is that I think we need a reality check. As of this moment, our only safeguard or method of preparation is basically hoping that another group can't get their shit together before we do. If that's the case, then we might as well fill our schedule with Dynamis - San D'Oria runs, because we will lose the other zones...every. single. time.

Why Not?

I'm not happy today. At least not right now.

I'm unhappy because I want to party and level Paladin. I'd like to finish Bard as well, then move on to Summoner. However, I can't do that right now. I don't have enough time, and it's no one's fault but my own.

I haven't spent a lot of time doing seal quests and things like of that nature, so those aren't why I'm out of time. It's not due to the two times I spent fighting NMs with my small group of friends either. So how the hell is it that I now have to sit in my Mog House while I wait on stones to recharge?

Partying. The very thing I want to do is the reason why I don't have enough stones to do what I want to do. Conflicting, no? You see, it's not just parties though. There are instances where some people have partied using the same 3 stones since Abyssea came out and they have over 100 stones just sitting in a vault somewhere. So why am I different? Well, it's because I join bullshit parties that have been killing my time.

I'm a nice person, and that's my problem. I'm considerate and always want to give people a chance, even when I know better. I don't want to be "that person" who sees a party that isn't ideally perfect and jumps ship to find something else. You know, the person who says they have to go when someone else leaves and then say they couldn't find a rep. Of course, you do a quick search and find 20 people that could've filled their spot. If I lead a party, I don't want to be that bitchy person who's shouting and yelling while calling people morons because they are doing obviously stupid shit. Such as fighting Murexs who almost always open with a powerful spell and watching our RDM do nothing to silence them as the entire alliance gets struck with Thundaga III on Lightningsday.

So, because I'm so nice and passive...I end up staying with parties that aren't the greatest and watch as my time slowly dwindles down to nothing and then get upset afterwards. I probably wouldn't be able to bitch about half as much as I do now if I honestly just got up and left when I had a bad feeling about an event or party I was in. Quite possible that I wouldn't be as stressed either. Other people do it all the time; why not me too?

Why not just sign off when I'm bored during an event or don't feel like going to a particular zone for whatever reason? Take a hit on attendance and lose a point or two. No big deal really; random drops are random, and I don't have nearly enough points to outbid anyone on the things I actually want anyway. So I'm last to get it no matter how I look at it.

Why not just bail on parties I get invited to when they aren't the best they can be? There's no rule of loyalty to the person who invites you, so why should I have to stay when people don't get their shit together and the group starts to fall apart? Why should I bother explaining my reason for going or waste my time trying to find a replacement when I can see the party is going downhill? Are they going to stand by me if I made a party and things weren't that great? Would they stick around to help improve it? Of course they won't.

So why do I bother? I believe in giving an honest effort, all the way to the end (or as close as I can comfortably get). I go to zones or events that I don't want to do because it can't always be about me. I try to stand by party leaders in Abyssea because it would be absolutely horrible if everyone did nothing but look out for #1 instead of the person next to them.

I do most of what I do because I like to think that I'm doing the right thing. Even if the end result is me sitting in my Mog House, waiting on a damn stone to recharge.

October 15, 2010

Abyssea Comparison

I notice that I compare things often. Doesn't matter what I'm doing or thinking about, I find a way to compare it to something else in order to relate to it better. After numerous parties in Abyssea, I found the perfect comparison to it:

Remember Bubblicious? Damn that was good gum. Anyway, a new party is has a lot of vigor and determination but needs to get the rhythm established, just like that gum is flavorful even though it's a little hard to chew at first. After awhile in the party, things start to pickup. Chests drop more frequently and the rewards are better. This is the great time in the party. You're getting that amazing exp and chests are all over the place. Everyone is happy and you've got enough time extensions to make up for the initial investment when you arrived. The gum has softened up, and now that flavor is just everywhere.

Eventually, someone has to go. If this doesn't happen in waves, which it normally does, your party can continue without a noticeable interruption. Your gum is still going strong, and life is good. Time goes on and the flavor starts to wane a bit. People are getting tired or have events to go to. Now you have a choice, discard the gum that still has some potential, or add a bit of sugar to keep the flavor going. Adding sugar to gum does the same thing adding new people to lengthy party does: enhances the flavor with the added risk of ruining the gum.

You have to add sugar sparingly. If you add just a bit from time to time, then the gum will last for good while. Dump a tablespoon of sugar in your mouth, and you can kiss that gum (as well as your teeth) goodbye. Same with adding people in parties. Replace one or two at time while you get their lights built up, and the party can last for what seems like forever. When you reach that point where you're replacing entire parties at once, you stand to lose more than you can gain.

The more I party in Abyssea, the more often I realize that there are times when I really just need to make my own party instead of hoping that someone's established party will have a better turnout. Or in gum terms, I should buy my own damn gum instead of chewing the gum of someone else and hoping the flavor will last.

That really sounded bad. Yuck.

October 11, 2010

A Method to their Madness

So I got bored last night and decided to spam a quest for fame in Misareaux Coast. While doing so, I naturally got some seals for a few AF3 pieces. Luckily for me, I'm one of those people that aren't affected so much by the random distribution of seals because I can use nearly all of them. It's more a question of will I bother with them when it's all said and done.

Not everyone is in the same boat as I am though. I notice a lot of people complain about making these quests easier, or increase the drop rate of the seals based on your job, being able to trade them to others, etc. I can imagine the frustration of someone spamming these quests and getting seals for every job except the one they want. That would piss me off too.

While all of those suggestions would be great, what if we're the ones bringing this misery on ourselves? Admittedly, I'm among the first people to call Square-Enix stupid with the things they do, but maybe this isn't one of those things. Well it is, but not in a blatantly obvious way.

Most of these quests are easy. Ridiculously easy. In some cases, it takes more time to actually get to the NPC and activate the quest than it does to complete it. Because these quests are so simple, how much of a reward are we truly entitled to? We already get cruor and fame for virtually nothing, and you can repeat several of these quests too. I checked my fame and am considered the Jewel of Misareaux Coast, yet all I did was repeatedly give a guy some sausage to eat. So when I get some random seals for a job that I don't particularly care about, I can't really bitch about that when everything else I got is taken into consideration.

That still doesn't answer the question of how to obtain the seals we want though. Many people are getting "useless" seals and it frustrates them. Maybe there is another answer, but has little to do with quests. You guessed it; I'm talking about the NMs in the area. Is fighting an NM more difficult than spamming meat delivery quests? I'd imagine so, but think about the rewards. You get experience points, possible gear, atma, key items, AND the chance at seals. Sure, there's always the possibility that seals will drop for a job you don't have or want but, if you take a group with you, maybe someone else can use them.

That method isn't nearly as fast as quest spamming, but it does have greater rewards. On top of that, haven't people realized that Abyssea is a group effort? There's plenty you can do by yourself if you're really that hung up on it, but you simply cannot get everything you want if you do it alone. Maybe you can, but you won't get it quickly from what I've seen. I'm going out on a limb by saying that perhaps SE wants us to realize that as well and look for the more challenging and group-oriented way to obtain these seals. There's always the incredibly high possibility that I'm wrong, but it is something to consider.

October 10, 2010

Ignorance and Curiosity

Humans are naturally ignorant. It's just a fact of life that we really don't know much. The things we believe we know today will change in time and we'll be thrown on our heads as we struggle to cope with the new reality presented to us. Due to that ignorance, we're also very curious. We experiment and test new ideas at almost every available opportunity as we attempt to move from ignorance to enlightenment. This can be a very dangerous thing. As the saying goes, "Curiosity killed the cat."

Or in this case, curiosity killed the alliance.

There I was, remembering how to be a Paladin in Abyssea - Misareaux Coast. As much as I've been putting it off, I figured it's high time to get this class caught up with everything else. I'm not so sure this whole "main assist" thing is for me though. As soon as I target an enemy and get ready to do something, it's dead and I sometimes find myself struggling to target the next enemy amidst a crowd of bloodthirsty adventurers so they can smash it. I'm sure there's probably a macro for selecting the nearest enemy, but I've yet to figure that one out. See, there's some ignorance on display. Now to use my curiosity to find the answer...later.

The target for the day was none other than those damn birds, so I got to kiss my food goodbye and say hello to some facial beaking. It took me a minute to get my groove, but I think I did fairly well for the time we were there. I almost got a level and recapped my time, which is a great thing because I'm insanely low on stones. I really should get my fame up and do that damn abyssite quest. As we were fighting along, dropping bird after bird, I noticed something in the distance. Someone had died, but not by one of the birds we had pulled to camp. No, no...this was different. There was an NM in our midst, and I had no idea how it got there.

At first, I thought it was just going to deaggro and go about its way. Yes, that was a stupid thought. I wasn't certain what we were supposed to do. Then I saw it kill another person and I realized it was just going to wander around and peck the alliance to death. So, I did what any other sacrificial idiot would do: I provoked it.

Now the alliance had no choice but to fight. Someone did the call for help so we wouldn't lose the exp chain, so there goes the chance of any groovy rewards from it. What I didn't realize about this NM was that it copies the buffs of whoever it uses a certain TP move, and that other colibri link with this one as well. This should not have been a problem, but no one was sleeping the links and we ended up having a very bad time with this thing.

Needless to say, people were pissed. How the hell did this thing show up and cause a wipe. I figured it was a timed spawn and we were just in the wrong place at the wrong time. Someone else knew the truth, and that's why he was pissed. Avalerion isn't a timed spawn, it's a pop NM. No one else but people from our alliance were there, but everyone was silent when asked about what happened. Then it happened...

"Oh that's what it was? Lol, I traded the item but didn't think anything was going to happen."

Ignorance and curiosity are a very deadly combination indeed. Our scholar happened to receive the spawn item and just blindly traded it to the nearest ??? he saw because he was curious. Some people said to just get over it and continue, but other people didn't have such a kind reaction to his seemingly innocent action. He tried to say that he's only played for two years and has been to Abyssea a total of four times, with this being his first visit to Misareaux. I want to say something to defend him, but I honestly can't come up with anything. When you are new to an area and by yourself, then feel free to explore and sate your curiosity as much as you like. When you are new and with an entire alliance, the curiosity for later.

An entire alliance, wiped because someone thought it would be funny to randomly trade an NM spawn item in the middle of an exp party without knowing the consequences. Isn't curiosity great?

October 1, 2010

Maybe I was wrong

In a recent post, I talked about some of the changes brought about by level sync / Abyssea and the mass shift of opinion from what was then considered "wrong" to now being generally acceptable.

I also said that I don't think they are what is destroying this game. Maybe that's not quite so accurate. Eldephia mentioned earlier that maybe this is Vana'diel's last hurrah (in one of my comments). If so, then it's very possible that Abyssea really is destroying this game. Not to use destroy in the sense of tearing it apart and completely ruining FFXI, but to say that after Abyssea, there won't be anything left that has meaning.

If you think about it, that's exactly what's happening. With most of the prior content, the one thing that kept it from being completely outdated was that even if you got things from the latest expansion, you could still go back to the former content and get something worthwhile. That's not the case now.

Nothing tops the best Abyssean gear. Absolutely nothing. There are forums overflowing with math equations showing how Abyssean items trump everything else out there. If they don't completely make something worthless now, December is right around the corner. Unless SE breathes new life into the items that existed pre-Abyssea, then there is no point at all in that content. The old stuff is still sitting at level 75 and, in just 10 levels, most everything has been deemed worthless or just idle gear now. Because of this, what reason do people have for doing anything other than Abyssea?

Not much from what I can see. The old events are fading out, and that's causing a lot of frustration for people. Some people's whole reason for being was to enjoy these events with other people. As I read the blogs of others, I can see that they are starting to wonder "what's the point" as well. Some people argue that Abyssea can be fun. It can be until you actually want something out of there. Odd as that sounds, I see it more and more. As you want to get things from the zone, the less enjoyment you have while trying to acquire it. You all know how it works; you're against the clock constantly. Sure, you can explore and go have fun if you want to waste your stones, but who really wants to do that?

It just seems that as more time goes on, maybe Abyssea won't be the event that delivers FFXI into a bright new future, but more the event that finally lays Vana'diel to rest. I guess we'll all find out soon enough.

September 28, 2010

Killing me softly

Apparently, being offline for a week and not blogging for twice that time means I have the urge to blog like there's no tomorrow. I'd apologize, but if you haven't figured out that I talk a lot by now, then shame on you.

I'm sure you're familiar with the expression, "Kill them with kindness." Well, I just happened to get shot with a bullet of kindness a moment ago and felt like sharing the experience. The funny part is, I don't think the guy even realized he did it.

Last night, we did our first event in the Walk of Echoes. I had been there once before, but I was dead roughly 10 seconds after it started and that sums up the experience. Anyway, our run is moving along nicely when we notice someone outside of our LS shows up. A DNC who probably saw us in the zone and decided to tag along. When he came in, he put up his flag. Chatter from all ends were sudden buzzing with "Who is this guy?", "Anyone know him?", "What does he want?", etc. None of us had a clue. So we instantly deemed him a leech. I don't know if anything was said to him or not, but I suddenly heard a lot of laughter in the vent channel. Apparently he was invited to a party, and then given an unexpected Warp II out of the zone.

Given the following reactions, it seemed like a majority of people approved of what just happened. I don't personally think it was necessary, but my opinion is my own. I mean, that's the mechanics of the battlefield, right? Anyone has the right to be there as long as the participant limit allows it. No group can lay claim to the entire zone if there are still slots open. Granted, it might suck because it's not "LS only", but if people come in and put forth the effort to make a successful run, then so be it. If they come in and act like morons and do shit to screw you up, then kick 'em if you can or deal with it the best way possible. Regardless, it happened and that was that.

Now we move forward to this morning. An hour ago, roughly. I was looking for something to do when I saw a shout for a WotG mission I had already done. I was intending to start on Synergy, but WotG is always more exciting for me. So I send a tell and get accepted their party. It was a Taru WHM who needed the help, but I didn't realize that until I already came to the zone as an RDM. However; something caught my eye as I glanced at the party list. That same dancer from last night was here. I highly doubt he recognized me because I didn't interact with him earlier. I just remembered his name and job.

We get on with the mission and I'm watching his actions while things are underway. Being a dancer myself, I was curious to see how he performed. He was a competent guy, and was very helpful to getting the mission done. When it was all over, I realized he and I were the only ones who had done this before and the others were the ones that needed help. The WHM then traded me some gil as thanks for helping. As much as I appreciate it, the gil wasn't necessary. Granted, I could always use it, but I was there more for the sake of being helpful than anything else. Then she traded him. Without saying a word, he simply shook his head. "Keep your money," he said. I already felt bad over what happened last night, but now I felt worse. Great, he's a genuine good guy. The one who comes to help people just because he can. The WHM insisted that he take the gil, so eventually he did.

Is that why he came in the zone while we were there? Was he there to honestly just help us out? Or maybe he wanted the experience points. It's not like he could lay claim to anything he wanted or outperform an entire alliance on his own. We don't know, and we never will because we didn't give him a chance. Yet, we let two others in on the run because they offered to buy items from us. Interestingly enough, one of them was fighting enemies in areas we asked not to, or he'd attempt to solo. At the end of the run, he didn't even have to pay for what he got because he was deemed a "good guy" and only got one coin.

Of course, I didn't personally do anything to this guy. I really don't have to feel bad but, since it was my group who kicked and him laughed, I am just as responsible as anyone else.

Do you normally work this hard?

Videogames are supposed to be relaxing; a way to escape the reality of everyday life for a short time. For the most part, they still are. MMOs however, seem to be a completely different animal. So different, that I wonder if they are even a part of the videogame genre. You would think they are at first glance, but now that I have played two for an extended period (2 years), I'm really not quite so sure that I would call this a "game" in the traditional sense.

MMOs require a substantial time investment if you expect to get anywhere in them. You're not really going to enjoy them if you try to do the casual 1-2 hour per day method. You can easily spend that much time just preparing for an event or waiting around for other people to sign on.

In all honesty, MMOs require commitments similar to what you would find at a real job, or even a relationship. Sounds silly until you've actually experienced one. I am still embarrassed at my /playtime, and now I don't even bother looking at it. I have put more time and effort into this "game" than some of my personal relationships. I could probably be married and living the white-picket fence American dream if I focused this much on finding love instead of finding pop items and NMs.

If I wasn't able to say that I have a job, go to the gym, eat healthy, and am able to look at clock and realize it's time to sign off, I'd say that I was addicted to this game. I've already questioned that once before. Perhaps I'm just a functional addict, if there is such a thing. What's funny is that I still haven't figured out why I spend so much time here. I have honestly spent a lot of time trying to understand my reasons for continuing to stay in Vana'diel. A large portion of it was because of my "friends." I put that in quotes because out of every person I associate with in this game, only three out of thousands have ever associated with me on a truly personal level. Of those three, I have only ever met one. While I do have the phone numbers of a few people, we've never actually talked. Most communication is spent via text message or IMs.

Of course, I do take responsibility for some of that distance. Part of it is due to my hesitation to let people in, and another is because that as awesome as some people are in-game, their real-life persona doesn't always match their in-game awesomeness. Selfish as it may be, there are just some people that I prefer to keep a good opinion of. Anyway, the gap between myself and my digital associates is ever expanding. Server transfers, linkshell schedules, sign-on times, and just the reality of life itself can sometimes make those strong bonds begin to wither away. Maybe that would be different if I were a part of a single linkshell for my entire time and became close with the people there, but that didn't happen for me.

Another reason I play is for the story. I can't say it enough: I'm a sucker for a story, even a cheesy one. XI is no different, and I wanted to do every event solely for the story involved. The quest rewards were nice, but I still haven't collected every reward for the events I've done. I'd much rather enjoy the story than worry about an item. Where's the story now though? The only one left is Wings of the Goddess. As hopeful as I was in the beginning for a new tale with Abyssea, that story doesn't seem exist. Well, it does, but it's hardly what I would consider an interesting tale. The despair of the people and struggle for survival I found while exploring has been overshadowed by restrictive time limits and the urge to get the latest must-have items until the next update renders it useless.

With that being said, why bother? I am the first person to admit that this experience has absolutely frustrated the living hell out of me. Reading this blog is a testament to that fact. I have never bitched this much about anything in my entire life, and that is not an exaggeration. Before I had to leave the game for that week while I worked extra, I posted about my frustration with this last update. For the time that I was gone, I still thought about the game. Not a lot, but I still thought about it. Once I came back, what did I do? I spent my time leveling. Almost all of my jobs are 85 now, and for what? I don't expect to actually do anything anymore. My LS is not going to fight Absolute Virtue or the Pandemonium Warden. I'm not going to be a part of the Excellence linkshell, and all the other things that I had once daydreamed about seem to be things that only I am interested in anymore. Sky has been looked at as old content for quite some time, and now with these latest updates, it's pretty much a dead event. Hell, I was surprised that we even did Walk of Echoes last night.

I ask myself time and time again why I still play this. My friends are few and far between, I've read the lore of this game and realized that the content is no longer in alignment with it, and I really don't do as much endgame content now that I'm a high-level player. So why do I continue? What's my reason for putting all of this time and effort into this game? Why did I even start the relic quest, knowing full well that it will take at least another two years and that's if I did nothing but save gil and shout in Whitegate. Why did I just level my jobs again? Well, I do have a reason for that one at least. That new Corsair hat is the sexiest headpiece in existence. I'm not talking about stats or anything like that; I mean pure aesthetics. It's a crime to look this damn sexy. It's no wonder Corsairs have to carry a loaded gun anywhere they travel to.

In all seriousness though, I imagine that everyone who plays this game is just as successful at life as they are in Vana'diel. With all of the effort and time we put into making ourselves great players, surely we put that same drive and determination into our everyday lives? Right?

I most certainly hope so, but my single life is currently giving me the side-eye as I reach for my controller now. Back to gaming I go.

September 27, 2010

Remember when it wasn't ok?

The fun part about being an observer is the slight chuckle you get when you see people's attitude change as the ostracized minority soon become the accepted majority.

It's become more and more apparent to me ever since level sync was introduced. However, this isn't solely about that. However; like Level Sync before it, Abyssea has now changed the expectation and behavior of the playerbase. Change is the only constant, and sometimes it's a good thing. Just not this time. I feel that this change is showing how FFXI is losing its luster and players are clinging on to frayed strands of hope as they wait for something better that, quite honestly, might never come.

Of course, I can only comment on what I've experienced, so let's start with the sync changes.

When it was first introduced, everyone loved it. Finally, people could make parties and not have to wait hours and hours for that level 54-56 Paladin to show up so they could go level in Wajoam Woodlands. Now the people who might have actually been new to Vana'diel could actually get parties even if veterans were much higher because they could just scale down if they were so inclined. The best reason, according to the advertisements from SE, were that now we could even hang out with friends who weren't the same level and we could still benefit from it.

That's how it was initially presented to us. Something to help bring people together so others weren't left out, regardless if they are the high levels or those just starting out / over. That's not quite what it became though, was it?

As more people used the sync feature, it was quickly discovered that when people who were higher than the sync target leveled, they didn't gain any combat or magic skills. This wasn't something people took too kindly. Leveling became easier, but with a price. So people began to scoff at those who did nothing but sync their levels all the time.

Then something happened. Those same people who were syncing all day found other camps. Better camps that rivaled the exp gain per hour of the standard camps. It started with the dunes, but quickly spread as people searched for ideal level sync spots. The most publicly effective areas being Qufim Island, Behemoth's Dominion, Altepa Desert, and East Ronfure [S]. Now there was no reason to even leave these areas. Just level until the exp gets low, find a new sync target, and keep going. Remember those people who were scoffing before? Well they wanted in on the fast leveling action too. What about those skills that were falling behind though? What would be done for that?

You guessed it. Skill up parties. Before, if people wanted skill up assistance, they were mocked for staying in a synced party for too long. Not anymore. Now there were several people who were in the same boat, and it wasn't looked down upon as much anymore. Gain all the levels you want, and just head to a skill up party to make things current. Usually people were only a few levels behind, so it wasn't a long process to get things back in order.

Then the biggest level sync discovery of all came along or, as some people say, just became public: Korroloka Tunnel and the Astral Burn. The Summoner population was inadvertently given the best reason to exist. They had Astral Flow, and could use that ability to gain levels exponentially faster than even the best level sync party of the same level. Astral Burns became of subject of huge debates for quite some time. You didn't even need a full party to be successful, and this knowledge was used to create a "burn economy," if you will. People would actually sell the empty party slot to players who wanted some quick levels or merits. It wasn't cheap either; sometimes spots sold for 200k or more.

With all this fast leveling, some people became upset that players were reaching 75 far too fast and weren't really learning to mechanics of the jobs they played. In the beginning, most people seemed to agree with that mindset. As more and more people synced their levels, this mindset gradually changed. Some of those same people can now be found saying things like: "get over it; game mechanics aren't hard." "Any idiot can read wiki and know how to be such-and-such job." Which I find interesting because they are the same ones who were willing to call GMs and scream all day about how these sync people were "destroying the game."

Now let's jump to present day and the alternate realm of Abyssea. It's a leveling opportunity like no other before it. Nothing comes remotely close. Campaign, Fields of Valor, and Level Sync seem like archaic methods of leveling in the face of an Abyssea party. You just can't beat it when everything is going right. Even a bad Abyssea party can still net you more exp than a standard exp party. It so good, that people are basically abandoning traditional methods of gaining exp. When's the last time you saw a message in whitegate asking for a PLD in Bhaflau Thickets? Hell, even the merit parties are a thing of the past now. You can go to any camp in existence and find it more or less deserted, save for people who might be doing Magian Trials.

With Abyssea, you can jump from 30-85 without doing a single thing except opening item chests. The same could be done with Astral Burns, but it took a lot longer and you had to constantly look for a new sync target, which meant that you had to pay the group to keep that party slot open for you. Now, all you have to do is buy keys with Cruor, and you can ride the free exp all the way to 85 with a capped buffer and merits by the time you leave (if the group lasts that long and you can stay awake.)

To hell with gimped skills. No one seems to care anymore. Doesn't even matter if you have no clue what your abilities do. As a matter of fact, nothing matters at all. All the people who were shouting and going on about how this fast leveling is hurting FFXI are nowhere to be found. Well that's not true. They're mostly still here, but they're busy leveling in Abyssea.

I won't say that Abyssea is destroying FFXI. I won't even say that level sync did it. I'm certain that pretty much everyone who has played this game is guilty of using level sync too much or possibly been that key person in a party. That would be unfounded and pretty stupid. I compare Abyssea to that extra dungeon in most RPGs. It's where you can go when you've pretty much done all their is to do in the game. You'll get kick ass gear and be the strongest you've ever been but, when it's all said and done, you'll have nothing to use it on. Unless you consider it a worthwhile endeavor to build up millions of cruor for a 3-minute potion so you can kill NMs easily and post some screenshots about it.

The sad part about that though, is some people actually do find that to be worthwhile.

16 Days

That's how long it's been since my last post. Fairly obvious if you bother to look at my posting dates.

First and foremost; I've been working more, so that equates to less playtime. Which is a good thing, to be honest. I do enjoy my monies, and money in reality brings more joy than virtual coin. However, the work was only because someone else was on vacation and I'm their backup. Once that ended, I got sick and have been pretty messed up all week. I'm recovering now and hope to be back to 100% in a couple of days.

So that's enough of my reality, and I'm certain you all were wondering where I was. (wishful thinking) Either way, on to some gaming chatter.

...and yes, I'm making this a separate post because my personal updates are special and deserve their own space. :p

September 11, 2010

You almost did it.

Oh Square-Enix, why must you do this?

You were so close. Ohhhh, you were so close.

When you first introduced Abyssea, there was much joy to be had by all. Granted, there was equally enough to bitch about as there was to celebrate, but that wasn't entirely on your head. With that update, you had broken a curse that took hold of Vana'diel for a long time. Even longer than I had existed in this world.

Mages were welcome and actually sought out in parties...constantly. Alliances of all types were more than willing to bring anyone and everyone along to level and hopefully enjoy the spoils when all was said and done. You introduced the beginnings of what could be the next epic storyline, just as Wings of the Goddess has done.

Now, this next update bring about even more changes. Newly designed armor that actually makes sense for the most part. (Except Puppetmaster...what the fuck were you on? The only one to sport a jester hat and look cool is Harle, and PUP is nowhere near as cool as she was.) We have three more redesigned zones, more weapons, and so much more potential.

Potential which went right out the goddamned window.

Where's the story with Abyssea? What the hell is going on with these alternate dimensions and cavernous maws popping up all over the place? Are WotG and Abyssea intertwined now? I'm guessing so because, for some reason or another, there's a damn Veridical Conflux involved in one of the WotG quests. How the hell did you guys justify that move? Did Atomos swallow Lilisette and spit her ass out in Abyssea-Vunkerl, forcing her to exp and gain enough cruor to activate a conlfux and warp out?

You make these new zones and dangle the AF3 in our face, but naturally you do so with a catch. You couldn't just make shit simple like you did with the Perle, Teal, or Aurore sets, could you? No, we can't just earn all the cruor we need and buy all the base pieces. Of course not. You had to make it so we can buy some pieces, but the rest comes out of golden chests. Can you people please be consistent? Is it really that damn difficult for you?

Let's talk weapons. For years, you gave these relic holders a feeling of accomplishment once they completed their upgrade line. Not only did they have an awesome weapon, but they had a weaponskill that was completely their own. No one else but a relic wielder could use it. That was the whole point of the journey for those people. Not anymore. Congratulations to everyone, now anybody can use the relic weaponskills, provided you meet the latent requirements. While the latent might be ridiculously narrow and situational, I'm willing to bet that they won't be nearly as difficult to fulfill as the previous relic upgrade quest was. Thanks for tossing a big middle finger to everyone who went through that process.

My favorite of all is design. I'm sure I've already bitched about the whole recycling of zones and whatnot, but that's not my issue this time. I'd say it's fairly obvious that it takes a lot longer to create an entire zone than it does to create a new enemy. With that being said, how about something new now? This is supposed to be the second coming of FFXI, right? So why are you still using old ass character models? You've come up with a few new designs, and that's awesome. You know the sad part about it though? No one bothers with them. When's the last time anyone did a Limule or Clionid party? Other than the first time anyone entered the zone, I'm willing to say that answer is never. Know why? Cause you populated the zone with old shit that everyone already knew how to fight.

You took the challenge away before anyone even realized a challenge was there. Why go fight these new, harder enemies when we've got some beefed up lizards a short distance away? Screw Limules and Weepers, we've got Mandies. Why bother with Wyrms when there are bats? It's no wonder that everyone breezed through the first of these expansions. You gave people the easy way, and naturally they took it. Oh but now, my dear friend, you just opened the Pandora's Box of Easy Street.

Abyssea - Miseraux Coast. EP just told me what he saw and I died inside. Literally, I'm dead. This is just my soul manifesting rage through my computer right now. Of all the enemies that exist in Vana'diel, you just had to do it. I am so angry right now I'm depressed.

Why not just hand people levels with the update? Everyone who buys the latest expansion gets an automatic five levels with the download. Could you make this shit any easier? Whoever thought this was a good idea was downright fucking stupid. Ever since the introduction of Colibri, the entire leveling scene has been custom tailored to decimating these birds. Every other camp and enemy type in the world of Vana'diel became completely void as long as there were some Colibri to kill. I don't care how awesome the other enemies were or how pretty a new zone was designed; if Colibri weren't there, then it wasn't worth going to.

For awhile, that mentality was put away. Of course, you just had to go backwards and put these silly ass birds back on the map. I don't know if they cast magic back at you, but it's been confirmed that they're back to eating your food.

Christ, it always one step forward and seven miles back with you guys?

EDIT: Of course, many people don't care about any of this sort of thing. They just see new shiny shit and are more than happy to chase after it while foaming at the mouths. It's no wonder these free online MMOs do so well. Toss out some new shit every now and then and people never stop playing, no matter how stupid the game might be.