July 22, 2010

Abyssea and the bitch within


Lately, I've been on an awesome streak with Abyssea. For the past few days, parties have lasted at least 5+ hours, with the most amazing one being a 15+ hour party right after maintenance. Boring as they may sound, I have a hell of a lot of fun in Abyssea. Exp doesn't immediately start out as awesome, and there's a joy to be found when you can get a bunch of relative strangers working together to achieve these phenomenal results.

So why the /sigh, right?

I was in a party yesterday / last night, and the "nice side" of me snapped. By the end of the run, I had already been called a "royal douchebag," a "cunt," and I was also dealing with the belief that the alliance fell apart because of me. Sounds like a story, yes? Well read on.

So there I was; standing around Jeuno as I had just recently hit 78 Scholar. As I said, I was on a roll with Abyssea and I had just finished RDM the night before and couldn't wait for my next run. Instead of waiting to be invited, I was feeling a bit more confident and figured I'd start asking people already inside if I could join.

After scanning Tahrongi, I found a guy that I did a run with the night before. Just so happened that he was a party leader this time. After chatting with him for a bit, he said to come on out. w00tage. I was certain that I'd have level 80 and this would be an awesome run. It was early in the day and I was ready to turn this into another all-nighter.

I arrive on the scene and immediately get to work. I do find that Scholar is a blast when you aren't forced to constantly swap arts all the time, and Abyssea is great for that. Depending on the aura you're attempting to build, the Scholars can stay as a support role or go as all-out offense whenever the alliance needs it.

A short while in, someone has to go. You kind of expect this. What I didn't expect was being asked to find that person's replacement. I was actually the newest arrival to the group, and you want *me* to get a rep? So I start browsing the list of people and search for someone. I had a few friends online, but I didn't want to pull them into a group when I didn't know how it was going to pan out. This turned out to be a good thing because our party was struggling for awhile.

Auras weren't building up fast and time extensions were few and far between. Some people had mentioned that we were sitting at comparatively low exp for quite some time. One of the hardest things I've learned about Abyssea and parties in general is that it's difficult to get a group of strangers to work together. This also becomes a problem due to what I consider Abyssea's only real flaw: all of the strategies for aura building work.

This is a problem because it allows people to become comfortable with whatever way they've been exposed to. You can go into a party and build up your ruby aura from the start if you want, or have mages get the kill and build azure. Of course, the end goal is always exp and time extensions, but when you have so many paths that lead to the same thing, getting a bunch of strangers to see things your way can be daunting. Especially when you start getting people with the "that's not how it works" complex.

News Flash: Yes it does work that way.

The most common way that I see is the pearl > azure path. Build up the frequency of the chest drops, then work on azure to get time extensions. This way, your group has plenty of time in the zone and gives you flexibility to work on other paths without much worry. While this is great, this usually only works with people who already have an abundance of time because building that pearl light seems to be a challenge. Mages nuking at 40% while you have your DD foaming at the mouth with their weaponskills ready just spells trouble for building a light that's based on a regular attack kill.

I'll have to talk more about paths later but, in short, the path you take should be based on the amount of time you have when entering the zone.

So anyway, back to the main story. I find a replacement and they're on the way. Soon after, another person leaves and it's left up to me to get someone else. As more and more people rotate, I end up becoming the alliance recruiter, key holder, and backup strategist. It got to the point where I was getting requests from people not in the zone or affiliated with anyone already in the alliance to join us. What made them think to ask me was anyone's guess. Mind you, I wasn't the alliance leader when this was going on; just a regular party member.

The pace was picking up and our TEs were coming in steadily and exp was rising. I actually got a few /tell compliments for keeping the alliance alive despite the number of people leaving. Admittedly, that felt really good to see on my screen. Now the entire party was actually asking my permission to bring in their friends. I tried to bring in a few friends of my own, so of course I'd let them bring in theirs. At the same time, I was working to maintain job balance. We started becoming light on the mages and I had to start telling some of future newcomers to hold off until I could re-balance the group. I know it's hard to believe when a stranger says that they will look for you when a spot opens but I truly do my best to remember people and call on them as I can.

Time was passing and the exp was great. A few were at the 550+ mark and I hit level 80 and capped exp / merits. Time to make a switch. I head out and start changing to BLM. Yeah, I know. While changing, I'm still getting tells and trying to find replacements for the people who have to go. I get one message from Key saying "Boy, we need you back here." That is never a good thing to see. He mentions that things are ok, but a couple of people died due to lack of sleeps on pulls. So now I'm rushing to get back.

This is where the trouble starts. With so many people being replaced, it's only natural that the alliance aura begin to fade. From my understanding, you normally don't want the new people getting kill shots due to them having a low or nonexistent aura. What happens when the majority of your group is new though, or returning from a trip to spend merits and change jobs?

You guessed it. You have to start over. In the meantime, the paladin who invited me is getting ready to go and now I have to find a tank as well. The exp is still flowing and things are somewhat stable. One of the members suggests a tank and I get in a chat with him. This was probably the most annoying chat I had. I say annoying because when I ask for a certain job, I ask because I *need* that job. He wanted to come as a Ninja when I asked for Paladin. Granted, he was higher as NIN than PLD, but we were up against mandragoras that have a near constant double-attack rate. Shadows just aren't going to last forever. There was one RDM in his party and no bard because the one we had disconnected and never returned. I didn't want to refuse him, but I had to be firm in my request. Eventually, he decided to come as a paladin.

In the meantime, the PLD we had was ready to go....but he asked the group a favor first. There's an NM there that drops a neat little ammo piece he wanted. The enemy was a Mandy, so we hoped it wouldn't break the chain. Some people were against the idea and disbanded the party to keep their exp chain. Our PLD said he could get it later, but that's not how it ended up. They went on to fight and eventually killed it. Of course, this battle meant less time getting actual exp / chests and people's timers were counting down. He ends up leaving and now we're sitting around waiting on a tank to arrive. My stress level was rising.

One of the people that temporarily disbanded was one of our thieves. He comes back in and the PLD arrives as well. Back to the grindstone. We were basically at "level 1" and had to get in gear quickly before time ran out for some of the people. Suddenly, pulls were going very, very slowly. Kill speed was fine, but we weren't getting enemies to camp like before. I also invited Lisa to the party earlier, so I asked if she'd take over pulling because our original puller went afk after returning to the party.

She happened to be THF/DNC at the time, so I said I'd make sure I'd keep her alive until our main puller returned. He did, but things were weird. He wouldn't pull at all. Just engage the enemy and attack. I sent a tell asking him to take over pulling. No response. A couple of people were getting sleepy / had events and asked for replacements. While I was doing that, the new PLD was getting annoyed with the lack of pulls. I send our THF another tell. Again, no response. Now I'm getting ticked. Don't come to the party and then ignore me when I'm being polite and asking you to do something.

I try to send a tell to one of our WHMs that's in the same party and say that if our THF doesn't pull within the next 5 enemies, drop him and I'd get a replacement. However, I wasn't paying attention and the message went straight to party chat. Oops. Well, I didn't want to make a scene but it was too late now. So I said in the chat that I need him to pull and if he's not going to do as I ask then he can find another party. I meant what I said, but damn I felt like a real bitch. I don't want to treat people like kids or be mean in general. That's just not my nature. At the same time, I had an entire alliance of people that were trying to accomplish a goal, and it required everyone to work together.

Still no response. I watched and counted the enemies. 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. I then had him removed. The mages and Lisa worked together to bring in some enemies to fight, and I also got an unexpected tell from the leader of one of our member's LS saying something about his members not doing as he asked and then requested to join the alliance. That one blindsided me, but we had room and I could definitely use a puller. Now we're back in action. We've got a puller, dd, and plenty of sleepers / healers. We were getting low on time, but I believed we could pull it off.

Then I get another tell a short while later. From the recently removed thief. Not a mean one, mind you, simply "{Invite to Join Party}". I sat there for a moment. Is he serious? I ask multiple times to help the alliance and don't get a single response, and now I'm being asked to rejoin?? I explained why I removed him, and then I found out exactly why he never responded.

It wasn't him playing. It was his 12-yr old cousin.

We still had a spot, so I asked if this was the original person or the 12-yr old. It was neither. Instead, I was now talking to his fiance. Rather than go on and on, I told her that if she can keep a steady pull going, then it's fine with me. Otherwise, I'd have to say no. People were running out of time and I needed everyone on their "A game." After a short pause, she then responds with something along the lines of me being a royal douchebag and that she'd help enforce my decision not to bring him back in. So she warped out.

Back to the party. We're struggling to build those lights and I can see everyone is really trying to get things going. I kept thinking that we should just stop, but how can you tell a group to give up when you see that they are doing their best to keep moving forward? Then I got another tell from someone in the group asking if they could go change jobs. I told him that wouldn't be a good idea because of our aura strength, and we needed to get things stable before I lost more people or tried to add new ones.

Finally, I decided to cut our losses. I felt so bad for doing it, but I didn't want everyone to lose whatever time they managed to build up. I really thought we'd be able to pull it off, but things just weren't happening the way I had hoped.

As I sat in my Mog House, I get yet another tell. From the original thief, stating what a "cunt I was towards his cousin." And here we go... How the hell was I supposed to know a kid suddenly took over the controls in the middle of an event? Did I get a /tell, a statement in party chat...anything? No I didn't. So we talked for a good while and I found out that he wanted skill ups at first and was upset that he died when he first started the group. We had some sleepers that either missed the sleeps or, like our original bard, got constantly resisted. Eventually, he went to lay down and his cousin took over.

When his fiance was talking to me, he was a few feet away and didn't realize the conversation that was taking place. He was under the impression that I wouldn't invite due to him not pulling. Technically, this is true. However, if she would've said that she could maintain a pull, then I would've let her back in. Since that didn't happen, I made a choice not to bring him back. I hate being mean to people or telling them no in this game, but when I have an alliance depending on my choices, the bitch within apparently wins out.

This is why I really don't like leading parties. >.>


CidBahamut said...

Wow you got suckered into leading a party there chief.

I wouldn't stress over it too much, it sounds like you actually did a pretty good job of holding things together, even as they were falling apart. It's pretty amazing that folks can coordinate party logistics on top of covering everything else. I don't know how you people do it.

That thief sounds like a /blist candidate for sure though. You don't just hand off your controller to various family members in the middle of a party, it's just poor form.

Jacinda said...

Truth be told, I don't how anyone does it either. You get put in a situation and you just react to it.

For me, it really bothers me to see a party fail. Event or exp, it doesn't matter. So I always try to keep things going, both for myself and everyone else involved.

I don't profess to be an expert with party logistics or tactics, but I do give it an honest effort.

Dizzmal said...

From everything I read, you did a good job. Leading parties can be a pain in the ass, but it's the really good ones that make you feel good when you have to lead them.

What you expereince is what every linkshell leader, or event leader has to expereince. You will never make everyone 100% happy. Also you can't be afraid to put your douchehat on and let it fly. Anyone that knows me well, knows that I'll kick a crappy player in a heartbeat and wont feel bad about it. Don't like it? Don't suck. that's my motto.

Evilpaul said...

Stupid people in FFXI are lucky you can't kill dudes with your mind. ^^;

Jacinda said...

You are funny EP. I'll let you know when I can mind-kill someone. It will be my next goal after capping my jobs.

@Dizzmal: It was a challenge, and I'm finding myself being a bit more vocal in these parties now. Not being bossy, but I'm not as hesitant to offer suggestions or point out when something can use improvement.

...and yes, I am learning to rock the hat.

Dizzmal said...

The hat is boss when needed. As someone else pointed out, I don't take much shit in these Abyssea parties. I guess that's because you don't know if you can count on the other players.

Sotel said...

Lol sounds like it went well except for the TEs, but that's just how that area of Abyssea usually goes.

As for Leadership should try telling people what to do while also being the chest openner! god that is truly stressful lol, having to pay attention to chests while either Telling the DD or the BLMs in party chat to ONLY kill the mob a certain way lol. I try to keep my cool in-game and warn them they will run out of time and get booted (which generally works lol) but in reality I feel I want to murder some one lol xD.