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.

September 9, 2010

Only in Vana'diel

I glanced over some of the new items from yesterday's update. A lot of it looks very nice. The +2 armor versions seem to be much better than anything we currently have. So much better, in fact, that it looks as if people are going to need to completely redo all of their armor setups.

All of the weeks, months, and years of effort that some people have put into what they currently have is essentially being made obsolete with items from this update and the last. Hell, even some of the items from last update are already antiquated from yesterday's download.

The overwhelming player response to this?

2. OMG, Best update ever!
3. Holy shit, I'm going to have to redo everything from scratch. I'm so excited!!
4. Lol, all my shit is outdated now. Man, this is awesome. Go Square-Enix!!

I'm all for progress and I understand that gear eventually has to give way to something better, but really? You'd figure after putting forth all the effort to get the best items, they'd do something to make the best...a bit better. Not make it obsolete in the face of new gear that you will undoubtedly have to go to ridiculous lengths to acquire. Especially since that so-called useless gear took so long to get in the first place.

Personally, this stuff doesn't affect me much. I don't have that awesome gear to begin with. It's just surprising that people are actually excited to more or less start everything over.

September 7, 2010

Don't just dream the impossible...

I've been in Vana'diel for nearly two years now. That's a long time. Two years of friendships, arguments, accomplishments, dissapointment, laughter, and so many other things that I've experienced. I have to say that while the time spent here isn't exactly doing much for my actual life, I've enjoyed the time that I spent here.

However, I've become a bit restless over the past few months. There are tons of things that I can do while here, and many that I probably should do. The gobbiebag quests come to mind, as an example. Usually, these get sidetracked due to lack of motivation. Mind you, I'm far from lazy, but if my heart isn't in something then I simply don't bother with it.

I've done a lot in this game. Maybe not everything but, in two years time, I've got a decent resume of accomplishments. Still, there are times when I just feel...well, empty. Today I was in an Abyssea party, and something struck me in a way that's given me the burst I needed to try the hardest thing I've ever imagined.

I'm fairly sure most of you can guess where this is going and are probably thinking that I'm out of my mind. Truth is, I probably am. However, I've been looking for something. A purpose; a reason to be in Vana'diel. The level caps and the new updates truly aren't enough of a reason. Like all new content, we will rush through it within a day or two and then just worry about fine tuning the tactics we discover. Everyone will be scurrying about to find out where AF3 comes from, and those that figure it out first will be selling it at 20 million to the desperate people wanting to be able to claim that they got something before the masses.

I think I will put my focus elsewhere. Of course, I'll still be doing normal things like events and all that, but I have a personal goal now. So, crazy as it sounds for someone like myself, my goal is this:

Yep. The Relic Archery weapon. I know it's going to be hard as hell for me to do this, or even come close. I am forever broke, and making gil is something that royally tries my patience. Worse still, FFXI is in its twighlight years, and there's really no telling if the game will even be around much longer. Even if it is, XIV is coming in a couple of weeks, and while many say they are staying, I have a feeling that several of my friends will move on. With me being on the FailBox / PS3, I will not be able to join them until later next year, if at all.

Thinking of doing this now might seem silly. Is it even worth it to try? That's something I can only answer when it's over. This will take everything I have and more, and I know this. Maybe the quest will burn me out so much that I'll end up quitting FF online for good, and I'll find myself on the list of relic "quitters" at Bluegartr. Then again, perhaps it will invigorate me to do things that I've never thought possible.

The longest journey begins with a single step, and today's the day I start walking.

September 5, 2010

Today was a good day, but...

It started off like any normal day. I wake up in Windurst, look around the area, and think of what I want to do. I usually never have an actual plan when I first sign on, but it doesn't take long when I look at my laundry list of things that I can do. It's just a matter of motivation.

I felt like hitting the sandbox for some stress free fun, and since I was currently a Ranger, it was in my best interest to bring Karyn along with me. Not that she's a healer, but probably one of my reliable skillchain partners. Besides, NPCs run out of MP too quickly.

As soon as I arrive, I run into Keyoku, who has been gone for well over a month. Every time we would run into each other there, we'd team up and have a bit of fun. He was actually one of the people who taught me a lot about being a Dancer. So the three of us beat the daylights out of some rabbits and then he had to head out. While I was there, I got a message from Sisen (Epic). This was surprising, mainly because I don't normally recieve "Hello" tells out of the blue from most of my friends.

As it turns out, she had a little proposition for me. Their Salvage static was in a need of one other, and she sought my assistance. First off, I was flattered. I've seen some of the people she hangs with, and they are definitely in top form. I really enjoyed Salvage the few times I went with Dominik. For whatever reason, he stopped going for a bit, but then restarted and took a friend of mine instead. Eh, such is life. Still, this was a chance to possibly get back into Salvage and do something with the mismatch armor I kept thinking about trashing. There was one catch to my joining the group: they wanted a Black Mage.

Yeah...not happening. Well, I didn't personally want to. However, it's Salvage, so I said if they needed a BLM, then I could do it. Of course, I mentioned that it's a personal preference to go as a Scholar instead, if at all possible. I headed to Whitegate and waited for their answer. They said SCH was fine and that made me quite happy. After a short while, we all went inside and got started. The last time I did Bhaflau Remnants (I believe this was zone), we ended up wiping with the Chariot at a rather low percentage. Not so for this run. We went in and kicked ass. I was seriously surprised at how smoothly the run went. The Usu 25's dropped that I needed, but went to another person who had been there longer. Fine by me, because I see the potential of the group and know I'll get mine in time.

We did an assault to get some points for Epic, then we went to Silver Sea Remnants. This one seemed a lot simpler than Bhaflau. We went 1/1 on this fight as well. Unfortunately, nothing notable dropped. Meh, I'm just glad I seem to have found a solid Salvage group. Who knows, maybe I'll be able to get some gear just as it becomes obsolete with the stuff in the new updates. We shall see.

Next stop was Dynamis - San D'Oria. This is taking some getting used to for me with the way my Dyna LS does things. They do a lot of city runs. With me being new, I tend not to voice my opinion about things much. I get inside, a few minutes late due to Salvage, and get to work. Still in a very pleased mood from the Salvage run, I find myself extremely giddy and joking with everyone. I was actually tempted to use my mic in Vent, but decided against it. We had tons of fun during the run. We had a good 20 minutes or so left in the zone after doing what we needed to do, but then went after the Mega Boss for giggles and more coins. The mood for everyone was just really pleasant. I couldn't believe that I involved myself in some conversations that had a sexual tone with the LS. Get your minds out of the gutter, I don't mean cybering. People were talking about lesbians, orgies, and parses. How parses find their way into sexual conversations is beyond me, but this is Final Fantasy after all. Shit doesn't always make sense.

We had payday and everyone got in the welfare line to get our monies. This was my first full month of being with Aristocrats, and I have to say that I was exceptionally pleased. I now understand the reason for the city runs. Man it feels good to be able to buy something at the auction house and not cringe each time I spend more than 5k.

That was going to be the end of the day for me, and like I said, it was a good day. Since I was still wide awake, you now what I had to do next. If you don't know, I had to bother Tidis. About what, you wonder? None other than our favorite Abyssean turtle, Chukwa. Here's where the good day started to become a not-so-good day. Although, not for the reason you may think.

I grab 100 minutes worth of time and get buffed up. Tidis finds a group fighting Chukwa and have it to 54%. Eh, it sucks, but at least we'd have a ToD and could plan accordingly. I catch up to him and watch the group. A few minutes pass, and Chukwa's health bar barely moves. We watch their strategy, and wonder why the hell they are casting for so little damage. Seriously, it was bad even by my standards. Time passes, and they just can't kill this turtle. Tidis and I agreed that we would not attempt to steal it, no matter what. Even if it went unclaimed, we'd only take it if the entire group wiped. We had our dealings with the jackasses of Armada and don't want to follow in their example. So we watch.

A BLM dies...
An RDM falls...
They're raised.
The THF gets stomped on.
BLM dies.

This goes on for quite some time, and Chukwa's losing only slivers of health as we watch. I get a 60 minute warning and am puzzled by what's going on. When it was just Tidis, Caldar, and myself, it didn't nearly as long to drop Chukwa to much lower, so why is a group of 2 RDMs, a BLM, and a THF taking so long? Fifty-three minutes later, we realized exactly why. Chukwa was raged, and this group was doing everything they could to keep it claimed and whittle away.

Unlike other NMs, Chukwas rage does not equate to "instant bitch slap of death" to whomever's fighting it. Instead, it just gains a huge resistance but can still be put down if you follow the same tactic as normal. In the hour that we watched, we had many chances to claim and kill it ourselves. We both held true to the agreement. No stealing, no matter what. Granted, I was getting frustrated. I just wanted them to kill the damn thing or completely wipe. That was the problem. With 3/4 of the group being able to raise, someone could always get up and keep the fight going. That's exactly what they did. Around 20%, we noticed some BSTs in the area. Great, now if the group did actually wipe, we'd have to compete with the BSTs as well.

This group ended up fighting the normal turtles in the area. We kept an eye on them, but watched the main group more closely. If opportunity did present itself, we needed to be ready even faster now. One of the BSTs was brought into the main group to help kill. Deep down, I was disappointed because it looked like we wouldn't get a chance to fight, but at least now they'd actually win. Or so I thought.

Around 5%, most of the party wiped except for one RDM. Remember when I said I was a carebear? You would've seen proof of it here. One of the fallen members asked Tidis for a raise. When he told me, I let out a sigh. Yes, we were there to take Chukwa if they failed. They had one person left and there was no way he'd be able to win on his own. If we ignored their request, we'd surely have taken claim, but we'd also be pretty damn rude. It's one thing to watch when they don't ask you to help, but when you see a group that needs help and they flat out ask you for a raise...what can you do? From Dark Arts to Light Arts I go, and I raised them. Will they remember that? I doubt it. Should Tidis and I find ourselves in a similar situation, will they help us the way we helped them? My gut reaction says no, but the optimist within hopes that perhaps they will remember.

With most of them weakened, I volunteer to help them. They couldn't win. They had to know this by now. Chukwa was at 1, maybe 2%. Raged, and 75% of their group was weakened. They didn't respond, and even Tidis offered to help. Just then, we saw another group show up. Fancy a guess?

That's right folks. Armada showed up.

Knowing the other groups situation, I asked them again to invite us. I knew Armada would snatch the fight away the second they had the chance, and I didn't want to give them that moment. We just raised the group that we were hoping would wipe. We watched for over 60 minutes while Chukwa turned yellow time and time again, with us not so much as turning in its direction to steal claim. If you can't see two genuinely honest people in front of you after that, then I don't know what to say. I came flat out and told them, "We will help you. We're not going to steal anything. "

Based on the actions of Armada last time, I knew they wouldn't be as cordial. Sure enough, Chukwa started killing them again, and went unclaimed. I wanted to cast on it so badly and take it. In no time at all, Armada snatched Chukwa and killed it shortly thereafter.

I don't know what burned me up most. The group ignoring my offer to help after we were kind and respectful to them, or the fact that Armada got Chukwa and killed it 1%. More than likely the latter. In truth, they did exactly what I wanted to do. The difference is that I consulted my conscience first and decided against it.

Despite the Abyssea mess of watching a group fight a 20-30 minute lowman NM for over an hour, today was still quite a fun day. I wish I could have more days like this in Vana'diel.