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.