March 23, 2013

It's different this time...

I came to realize something last night.  Well, I suppose you could say this morning.

I went back to work on making my little popsicle semi-useful by finishing my Itzpapalotl trial.  As I mentioned before, it wasn't nearly as difficult as Glavoid.  I am so glad to be rid of that stupid-ass worm forever.  Of course, I know I'm going to end up fighting it again to help out friends and that doesn't bother me.  They would be the ones feeling the frustration, not me.  As a matter of fact, I happened to notice that I had a little something extra in my belongings, and I'd like to share what I did with it (in the chat log).  While it may seem trivial, it feels so good to know that there is nothing that I will ever need that item for again.  So long Glavoid, you ulgly, cheap-ass, good-for-nothing bastard.  The next time I see you, I'll probably use a brew just on principle.

With that said, I owe many people thanks.  Of course, I said thank you to some when I received the level 80 version of the Twashtar.  It doesn't matter.  People helped me, and I want to thank them.  It was actually kind of funny with the amount of people who came out for Itzpapalotl.  Some were there who honestly didn't need a thing and just wanted to help.  I can never thank you all enough for the kindness.  There are many days that even I struggle to be as selfless as some of you, and it's humbling.  Sometimes, it's even embarrassing.

This marks my 5th functional Empyrean weapon.  As a matter of fact, having five Empyreans is probably laughable by the standards of most high-end linkshells, to include my own.  I never talk about what I have in an LS chat because I know how some people can be.  They'll include a link to the items they have which are better than mine, followed by that horribly sarcastic smiling emote, " :) ".   A constant show of e-peen to let others know that you'll never be as good as they are.  I'm certain some of you have tons more than I do, but that isn't the point I'm making right now. Quite truthfully, this can be a blog post in its own right, so I'll save my thoughts for then.  Back to the subject at hand.

While in Attohwa, I happened to say thanks to the group that was helping me at the time.  What I received were some comments that somewhat surprised me.  LB said thanks for being so cool; Boss said "anytime, babez", and Goddess said it's "cause we love ya."  Even Dier thanked me for being a great friend.  I've been complimented before...many times, in fact.  But last night, those compliments stung a bit.

We had some difficulties getting the last few scales.  Mainly because I was a fool and didn't pay attention to how much time I had left.  So, with several people who came to help out...I timed out in the zone.  I don't think I've been so embarrassed.  Even still, they waited.  They went to play other games or go eat, but they waited.  I felt so bad, but they stayed until the end.  After gathering the items and taking a screenshot for this blog, everyone left to get a good night's rest.  That's when it happened.

There I was, standing in Ru'Lude Gardens with my shiny, and truly useable, popsicle.  I hadn't even used it to see Rudra's Storm for myself.  It doesn't matter how many times you've seen someone else use a weaponskill, it's a different feeling when it's done by you.  Almost immediately after finishing the trial, I began to think about what to do next.  I don't mean in terms of another weapon since we all know that I have several others in my sight.  However, that's exactly what caused this thought.  I realized I wasn't satisfied.  Here I am, sitting pretty with five Empyreans.  I have friends who don't even have one, or just managed to finish their first.  Yet I'm the one who's always down on myself, saying how gimp I am or how little I have.

That's a problem.  A very big problem.  When I signed off, I thought about that for awhile, and I became angry.  Over the years of playing this game, I have let other people define me.  I put aside my own self-worth and let the words of complete strangers dictate how I feel about myself. I've made mention of things like this before, and I promise that this won't be a "woe is me" post or anything like that.  What was different between then and now is that I never bothered to say how I felt after the thought.

What I want to say to everyone, is that I'm sorry.  I am so sorry that I lost sight of myself for all this time.  I have been so busy chasing after others that I've literally left myself (and my friends) behind.  Believing that nothing I do is ever good enough.  I feel like such an idiot right now.  Leferich, you were right.  It's a game, and to those who can't see it and treat this as more or have to show off and put others down to make themselves feel better...well, as you say, "fook 'em".

Don't get me wrong.  This isn't a "I'm quitting" post, and I'm still going to play.  I'll be here in the early hours just like always, but the difference is that I'll be here because I want to be.  Not because I feel that I must validate myself in the eyes of others.  I will finish my weapons, eventually, and continue my little quests to improve.  I realize that I don't have to be good enough for others.  I have to be good enough for me.  Why it has taken me 4 years of playing this game to see that is something I'll have to figure out at some point.

That's why those compliments hurt.  It hurt because people believed in me when I didn't believe in myself.  So to have you tell me such nice things was slightly painful.  Sounds pretty stupid, I know.

I'm going to do something that I haven't done before.  I'm going to post this on Guildwork.  Not to the entire FFXI community, because I'm pretty sure they could give less than a damn on how I feel or what I deal with internally.  However, there are several people who are on my Guildwork list that probably don't ever see this blog.  So, while most of my posts are things that I say just for the hell of it, this is something that I want people to see.  At any rate, there's a Qilin shout that I'm about to join, and I might even get to fight Omega afterwards.  Off I go.

Once again, to everyone...I am sorry, and I thank you.

March 13, 2013

To plug or not to plug?

Where do ethics fit in the context of gaming?  If this is an area where we are here to relax, do we truly need such stringent rules of conduct?

I think I probably take these rules to heart a bit much.  When I buy games, I've never used any plug-ins, game hacks, or even pc mods.  As a general rule, I refuse to even look at a guide, Youtube video, or any other source of assistance until I have finished the game.  It's just a quirk of mine.  I feel that finishing a game with the help of those materials takes away from the overall experience.  There's no surprise or emotional connection when you play with a guide.  Call me weird, that's just how I am.

That carries over to FFXI as well, and it makes me wonder.  Now that I have a computer and the ability to use things such as Spellcast, Cake, and whatever else is out there, am I truly holding my linkshell or other groups down because I refuse to install them?  When I first started, even mentioning those things was considered taboo.  Power leveling was looked at as being lazy, and bot-claimers were the bane of Vana'diel.  I remember how morally conscious players used to be, and I felt at home among them.

It's not the same anymore.  Now, people take screenshots which blatantly show the plug-ins they use.  Claiming Tiamat with a bot and almost proud to show it off.  The entirety of Beaucedine Glacier filled with people using fishing bots to acquire gil.  Running through Nyzul Isle using whatever it is to see through walls and find enemies in seconds and flee-hacking all over the place.  Square-Enix isn't doing anything about it, and the general public seems to be embracing it.

So is it still an ethical no-no, or is it just me being stubborn?  Afraid to step from the pillar of imagined purity that I started on when I first began playing?  What keeps me from using these plug-ins?  Hell, if I use them and get banned, that would actually help break my addiction to this game and maybe I could have a social life again.  I can probably keep playing this game for a few more years, but there's no way in hell that I would start from scratch.  No matter how "easy" this game may be to some, I have emotion and time invested in Jacinda / Carinde.  If she every goes away, that's it for me.

Still, I continue to wonder.  Am I taking the ethics of gameplay too seriously?  If I did the things that so many others are doing, I wouldn't be so stressed out about what I don't have here.  I could have max gil in a matter of weeks.  I could have the most complex macros in the world and let the game nearly play itself based on some conditional statements.  I already have a product key for a second account when I bought my PC version, so I could make a heal-bot and never worry about finding help again.

Is that really the path I want to take though?  I'm tired of feeling like I have to struggle in this game but, is taking the stance of "everyone does it" really enough to justify the action?

Popsicle sticks

Two weeks ago, I was talking about the possibility of not having a job due to America's budget crisis.  Well, it seems that I was able to dodge the bullet, metaphorically speaking, and I'll still be working next week.  Which is awesome for me since I enjoy this little thing we call eating.  It's pretty neat, and lots of fun.

With that bit of stress out of my head (for now), I can get back into the groove of FFXI.  I should stop lying.  I didn't stop playing even while this was going on.  It helped keep my mind off of the possiblity of being unemployed.  Naturally, that didn't save me from my natural stress which is brought on by me simply logging on, but whatever.  Speaking game-induced stress, let's talk about Glavoid.

To hell with Glavoid.

I can't express my hatred for that NM enough.  Maybe it's because I already went through the pain of making an Ukonvasara, so to go back and do a Twashtar is borderline insane.  Then again, we all know I'm pretty insane when it comes to playing this game.  So anyway, it's been roughly two years since I began my quest to get my own little popsicle dagger.  Admittedly, I haven't been 100% focused on it.  That's obvious due to the other Empyreans I've managed to obtain since they were released.  However, this dagger is probably the one weapon I've wanted the most, next to my Gandiva.  Let's get back to my hatred of this damn worm though.

Of all the NMs I've ever fought, Glavoid is the one I can't stand the most.  Nothing but gimmicks.  Absorb damage and all that nonsense.  Plus that stupid-ass Gorge / Disgorge move.  Nothing pisses me off more than being 30 seconds into the fight and it lets loose a 3k Disgorge without even using Gorge to start.  It's got to the point where I just homepoint when I die and hope that I can make it back before another group steals it from the group I'm with.  You know how you become anxious when you're close to a goal?  I've been at less than 20 shells for quite some time.  Bey and Frice either haven't been around, or they've been busy doing their own thing with Ninja.  As much as I want to send little tells and ask them to come fight Glavoid, it would be pretty selfish to do so when I see them having fun doing things for themselves.  So I naturally get frustrated when I can't find others who will help.

Thankfully, I managed to make a couple of friends in the "new" Excellence LS that came to my rescue.  Leferich and Swk came out in force to help me get the shells I needed.  A special appearance by Tyler, Alertih, and Dierdren was made as well, which was very nice to see.  Long story short, I finally have my pretty popsicle and I can feel like I've actually accomplished something.  So to everyone who helped me on yet another Empyrean journey, I truly thank you.

Of course, there's still Itzpapalotl and Orthrus that I have to contend with, but they aren't nearly as annoying as this goddamned worm.

February 25, 2013

It's a Monday

This is going to be a short post.  My day just hasn't been right.

Long story short, I found out that due to all this government budget nonsense that I may not have a job in another week.  That always makes a person feel motivated, you know?

So I come home and get online with the hopes of taking my problems in reality and shoving them to the wayside, at least for a couple of hours.  I see a Provenance shout with Ephexis.  Awesome.  I always enjoy going on runs with him.  They make the alliance and we head out.  Naturally, we have drama.  Two Scholars he tries to invite don't know what Embrava is.

What. the. fuck.

That's really all I can on the matter.  How you're a Scholar and don't know what that is just boggles my mind.  A note to people...learn your shit.  If you can't, change jobs or play a different game.

Anyway we get to Provenance and it's an hour until my event.  We start fighting and the BLMs miss the stuns constantly.  I lose my Mighty Strikes on the first fight.  Not feeling so great about this.  We keep it moving through the next battle and it's much smoother.  The third fight, both Ephexis and I die because of missed stuns and no triggers to replenish items.  This is where it gets sad.  I don't toot my own horn and everyone of you that knows me is aware of it.  However, when the two of us died, it took forever to kill the final two Caturae.  What the hell.  I'm gimp as shit, so why did that happen?

Whatever.  Moving on.  No sooner than we finish that fight, our Corsair jumps right into the Provenance Watcher battlefield.  No resetting our abilities, or even waiting for people to unweaken.  So naturally, people see the BC icon and go inside.  Ephexis and I are wondering what the hell is going on and he gets pissed.  So pissed that he signs off, leaving me as the only Warrior.  We're already here and I've got six minutes to get this done.  We go inside and start the battle.  Guess what?  We died.  Kind of saw that coming, but that's not the half of it.  No one in the alliance had Twilight gear but me.  So I end up zombie tanking.  The alliance unweakens after God knows how long, and they resume the fight.  No good.  We time out.  Fucking awesome.

We'll skip my actual LS event because that went well.  It's Tier III Einherjar.  You can't really screw that up.

Tyler, Lef, and myself then head out to Neo Salvage.  I still don't know all of that and haven't had the time to read about it.  I get asked to go as a Warrior this time.  I'm happy, but nervous.  So nervous, and with my head all screwed up about my job, I mess up left and right.  Caused the entire run to go horribly wrong.  Now we're about to enter Limbus.  I can only imagine what I'm going to fuck up in there.

I need a drink.  Or something.  I don't know what I need, but today is just not a good day for me.

February 24, 2013

Progressive Realizations

Almost two weeks since my last update. Surprisingly, it's not because I haven't been motivated to play. I've actually been online non-stop like a fool. Wake up on the weekend, jump out of the bed, sign on. Check shouts in Port Jeuno and if nothing's happening, go take a shower and get all pretty so I can wait around in Jeuno when I get back to my desk. I am a true FFXI addict. Well, at least I admit it.
I said earlier that I would keep you all informed of my progress on the myriad of goals that I've set for myself. So that's what today's post will be about. With a few pretty pictures, of course.

Ragnarok / Mandau

I'm somewhat torn on this one. Ever since the video release of the merited weaponskills, I've been in love with Resolution. This is before the whole FFXI community jumped on the Ragnarok / Dark Knight bandwagon after the people at BluGartr did their testing and found out that Resolution was the shit that put nearly everything else to shame. I went out and leveled a job that I swore I would never do (Dark Knight), got a Hoarfrost Blade, and even capped my great sword skill after hours upon hours in Abyssea. All so I could swing a big sword around and look pretty doing it. Anyway, I got the weaponskill and I was happy. Life was beautiful, everyone was smiling, flowers blooming and all that cute shit.

Then of course, more testing was done and it was found that a Ragnarok would best a Hoarfrost Blade / Borealis after level 90. I should have known it was coming. With the "ease" of getting relic weapons now and more people able to kill Arch Dynamis Lord, the Ragnaroks started coming out in full force. According to FFXIAH, there are 4,121 Ragnaroks between level 75 and the 99 Afterglow version. By the time you read this, there will probably be an additional 100 more. If you had any other great sword (except the Magian double-attack one...go figure) you were shunned, more or less. People switched to the "Ragnarok or GTFO" mentality. So basically, I had to get the fuck out. Obviously, I didn't like that. Thus began my quest to get this ugly ass relic weapon. Truly, Hoarfrost and Borealis are blue. That should make it better than a Ragnarok all on its own.

Anyway, what I'm torn about is the relic path to take. I've been getting invited to Salvage more and more recently, but not as a Dark Knight. Instead, I've been a Thief. Granted, beyond capped Treasure Hunter, there isn't anything special about the gear I use with that class. Which is part of the issue. Lux Pugio and a Thief's Knife just doesn't cut it for damage. I'm still working on my popsicle, but even that pales in comparison to the Mandau. So what do I do? Go with a dagger so I can stay in Salvage, or stick with the great sword and blend in with the other billion Ragnaroks out there? Truth be told, I'm kind of pissed that Resolution is good and kind of want it be nerfed. Then people will find something else to fawn over and I can go back to happily swinging my Hoarfrost Blade.

Now with that long explanation on why I'm making a Ragnarok out of the way, on with the progress. Currently, I'm almost finished with Stage 2, which is pretty slow in terms of how others do it. I've gone into Dynamis a few times by myself but, I usually wind up dead or I manage to get an awesome total of 40 shells, even with triggers and all time extensions. As THF/DNC, I honestly just don't have the damage output to kill things fast enough and get the currency I need. So, I buy whatever I can find at prices that don't immediately put me in the poor house. Or further in the poor house, I should say. Key's been a tremendous help in that regard, as has Misii, Patchou, and Swk. When I finish this in 3 years, I'll be sure to take a screenshot and send it to whatever game you guys have moved on to.

Popsicle Lovin'

Ah, the Twashtar.  My first attempt at an Empyrean weapon since the initial release.  It's also the one weapon that has been sitting in my Mog House in its incomplete Kartika form since that initial release.  You know how it is when you want to be a White Mage, but have to level Scholar, Red Mage, and possibly even Ninja before you can get everything out of the job you initially wanted?  That's how I feel with this.  I just wanted a pretty knife.  That was it.  This dagger isn't super strong, and there are a lot of options out there to use instead of this.  However, this dagger is damn cute.  Do people not understand that I am all about the cuteness?  None of the other weapons look pretty on Dancers.  The mythic dagger is horrendous and looks like some rejected prop from a Freddy Kreuger movie.

I've been trying forever to get this done. If you look at my profile, you'll notice that I have an Ukonvasara.  That and the Twashtar are on the exact same path, so why didn't I get it when I had the chance?  That's a great question, and the answer is simple.  Stupid, but simple.  Pressure and low self-esteem.  I wanted to be one of the cool kids.  My option of being a Dark Knight was fading without a Ragnarok, and I got tired of always being a Corsair.  Don't get me wrong, I love Corsair.  What I don't love is just standing around, buffing everyone else and can't even get enough TP for myself to use Wildfire before all of the enemies are dead.

The only place that I can even remotely enjoy Corsair is during an event that I don't particularly care for, which is Voidwatch.  I have fun shooting things because the NMs have so much HP and I can spam dusty wings for TP.  Unfortunately, I have to waste the first half of a fight with Chaos and Fighter's Rolls, which do jack-shit for a magic weaponskill such as Wildfire.  So, halfway through the fight (if I'm lucky), I can give myself Wizard's Roll and do more than 400 damage when I fire a round.  Most of the time, if I go to any other event, I'll just run around naked and not even bother attempting to shoot anything.  It's a waste of time and my bullets, and I don't have enough gil to waste either.

So, in order to join the crowd and actually participate in fights, I took Warrior to 99 and made myself a Ukon.  Honestly, it was hard.  I don't mean the trials to get the weapon but, knowing that the chance to make that dagger was right in front of me and I kept passing it up.  However, that's behind me.  I still feel the twinge to have that dagger.  At any rate, I'm back to it.  I'm at 32/50 shells and hopefully I'll be able to get it done within the next month or two.  Then I can move on to Itzpaplotl.  People seem more willing to help with that than Glavoid.  We'll see.

Oh yeah, I hate Glavoid.  Just putting that out there.

Aside from those main two things, I've been learning the ropes in Salvage, Meeble Burrows, and have become a regular in Einherjar again.  Salvage is pretty enjoyable since everyone starts out the same (ie, gimped to hell and back).  Despite my lack of awesomeness in there, I do enjoy it.  I've also had a few lucky runs with Nyzul Isle.  More unlucky than not, but I have scored some cool gear. 

Oh, here's one for the cuteness album.  Key and Detzu invited me to do an old-school Salvage run yesterday.  While fighting a frog, Detzu and I got charmed and chased poor Key around the area.  It's one of those moments where you know that you can kill your friend, but you have to laugh anyway.  It's kind of cool killing an avatar when you're a toad.
Detzu was just a tad close, don't you thnk?

February 10, 2013

On Task (kind of)

We all know I need a plan so I don't stress the hell out while playing this.  The next step is actually making one.  This is where it gets messy, because every class has so many things to do for it.  Simply saying that you're going to "gear up" whichever job is far too vague and could also take months to do.

Naturally, that's exactly what I'm doing because I'm an idiot.

Sometimes, you just have to accept your flaws and keep it moving.  So let's discuss what I'm doing and check my progress.  I figure by telling all three of you that are reading this about what's going on, it will help to keep me focused and maybe even prevent me from losing my mind.  Maybe.

It doesn't exist...

Ah, good old Voidwatch.  Lately, I've been spam-joining groups that I find for Ig-Alima.  Yes, I'm still searching for the ever-elusive Borealis great sword.  The Hoarfrost Blade gets the job done, but I want my shiny death blade.  I've been in the group with Ephexis most of the time, and he always makes an interesting alliance.  Aside from that, the drop rate on this is beyond horrible.  I have seen more Wroth Scythes in this run than all other weapons combined.  Stupid scythe.

Playing with Wyrms

I can only imagine how many lude comments will be made from the above title, but I'll leave that your imagination.  I think I am part of a hopefully dying breed of damage dealers who still don't have the E. Body armor.  Unfortunately, Nidhogg hasn't been to helpful in getting me out of that group.  Instead, he lovingly hands over some scales and other useless nonsense.  Not even a Ridill.  The good news is that once I have it, I can stress myself out over getting the actual cursed armor.  It's good to know what your future holds.  Although it hasn't dropped a damn thing except a load of disappoint for me, Bey was lucky enough to get her first piece of "king's gear," the Dalmatica!

Even though it's old...

With me and my awesome self-esteem issues, I was somewhat thankful when the Empyrean armor came out.  My reasoning?  I never got anything completed in Salvage.  While it sounds like a poor excuse, which it is, it was good to know there was an armor option out there that I finally had access to.  No longer did you have to wear Ares if you wanted to be a damage dealer, or Skadi if you were a thief.  Mages weren't confined to the stigma of being considered pitiful without a Morrigan's Robe.  In a way, it's comforting that some of the "casuals" could finally take part in end game.  Of course, now there are too many casuals who have no clue what the hell they're doing in these types of events, making things harder for many.  I suppose there really isn't a happy medium for this sort of thing.

Anyway, now there is the Level 99 Salvage, commonly referred to as "Neo Salvage."  Adding "Neo" to the name apparently makes it more epic sounding than "Level 99."  As I'm sure you already know, now the original Salvage armor can be augmented to be even more awesome than it was before.  So you know what that means...everyone and thier mother is rushing to get through the original tier.  This also means that I once again have felt the pressure to get this gear.  Well, I don't have a group for it, and since my gear was never really all that awesome originally, it's difficult to convince people to let me in now.  However, Lisamarie and Milhouse have been supportive enough to invite me when they have go in.  It's been an interesting experience, to say the least.  I do want to get better so I don't feel like such a third wheel, but I know that will come in time.

Rush to 100!

Speaking of Neo and remakes, there is also the new Nyzul Isle Uncharted Survey.  Granted, while neither Neo-Salvage or "Neo Nyzul Isle" are actually brand new, they are new as far as I'm concerned.  The Askar, Denali, and Goliard sets have made a triumphant comeback and you can once again see people standing in Port Jeuno with this very pretty armor.  Well, except Goliard.  That was never pretty.  The armor has new names (Phorcys, Thaumus, Nares) and very awesome stats to go with them.  The new Salvage armor can beat out this new gear, but no one is going to look at you in a negative light for showing up with NNI armor.

While the new Salvage is considerably easier than before, that's not the case with NNI.  Square-Enix decided to make this event particularly difficult for the players.  The worst part about NNI is the fact that there are no save points like before.  Now, you have to make it from 1-100 in 30 minutes.  Even with the floor jumps, you are heavily dependent on luck to get you through.  Because of this, players have to bring their A-game every single time.  There truly is no room for screw ups.  Finishing with only seconds to go is far from uncommon.  I've joined a couple of shout groups that went horribly wrong, but luckily Rocko recently invited me to his group and I've been having a lot of fun there.  Hopefully, I can make that a common thing and stick with them.  I'm more or less a standy person at the moment, but it's better than nothing.

Trials, trials, trials

Yeah.  I set myself up for all types of issues with this.  Why I have so many Empyrean trials active is beyond my understanding, but it's what I've done.  So, I'm slowly trying to get through whatever I can when I find the opportunity (and people) to do so.  Bey and Frice have been extremely helpful, and Misiisii / Dierdren have helped out whenever possible as well.  The flavor of the month for now is this Twashtar, since it was the very first Empyrean I ever attempted to complete.  With luck, I'll have my popsicle knife soon.  That would be kind of nifty.

Well, there's more for me to blog about and I have a few more pictures to add, but Swk's on me about going to finish these iron plates. Yes, I'm working on that too. I know....I know.

February 3, 2013

Coming home

Sometimes stuff happens and you find yourself away from the people that you have practically grown up with.  Moving, new jobs, marriage / divorce, and all sorts of other things.  It's a part of life.  One of the awesome feelings you can get is when you not only catch up the people you haven't seen in awhile, but when you can truly return to them as more than just a passerby.

While that scenario is for reality, the same is said for linkshells.  For me, my "homes" would be Epic and ShieldsofValor. This time; however, the post isn't about me.  It's for another friend of mine... Dierdren.

She's very well known around the server, for various reasons.  A former member of Excellence, Dierdren has accomplished many things in game, and several of them were done before the FFXI era that we know now.  Without going into too much detail, Dierdren left Excellence roughly one year ago.  While she was there, she was very devoted to the shell.  I remember her talking about wanting to join when we were back on Hades.  We would stand in Whitegate and she'd talk about how exciting it would be to join a shell like that.  When she finally got in, she was like a kid at Christmas.

Since then, she devoted most (if not all) of her time to the linkshell.  You could tell that she had a lot of pride when it came to the shell.  So when she left, she missed it.  Everyone now and then, we'd chat about things and how she was.  Now that Excellence is rebuilding, she hoped that one day she might be able to return.

Turns out that day was sooner than she thought.  Not only did she miss Excellence, but some people in there missed her as well. You already know where this is going, but Dierdren has been invited back to the place she once called home.  With that said, welcome back Dier!


As anyone who has read more than two blogs here can tell, I get stressed easily by this game.  Which is funny when you consider my line of work requires me to have a calm disposition and analyze / solve problems.  Great at my job, horrible at this game.  Well, whatever.

A conversation a few days ago put me on this huge thinking path.  I was just bitching (well, whining) to one of my friends about things here, and he asked me a very simple question that I couldn't directly answer.

"What's your goal?"

Damn you, Swk.  Making me think so much.  Honestly, I couldn't tell him.  You know how you have people that are experts in certain aspects?  They can work magic in any one thing, which makes them seem like they can do anything.  That's not me.  I'm no expert in anything, but I can do some of everything.  I realize I'm that way in life as well as this game.  However, that doesn't work so well for FFXI as it does in reality. 

He asked me what I was working on, and I started listing several things.  I have partial currency for a relic, items for 5 Empyrean weapons, a plethora of +2 items, all sorts of abjurations, and various sorts of other things that aren't done.  The first thing he told me, after saying "wow", was "focus".  That has always been my issue, and I believe it could also be the source of my stress.

I'm too scattered.  My fear of being inadequate for linkshells and groups has put me on this path to improve without focusing on what I want to improve on.  When it comes down to it, you can spend your entire time in FFXI working on one single class.  Me?  I'm working on everything that a person could ask me to change to.  Stressing out over getting a Tessera Saio, or my Enhancing magic capped, or pissy because I haven't got an Armada Hauberk yet.  Upset over my perceived lack of usefulness due to not having level 99 weapons.  All this stuff can make you crazy.

So now, I realize what I need is a plan.  This is harder than it sounds, because planning means I have to do something I am definitely not comfortable with: asking for help.  Most of what I do is by myself, which is also what leads to me being so scattered.  I do what I can by myself, and then switch to something else until someone happens to be available to help me with what I was doing before.  Of course, since I won't ask for help, I end up moving on to several projects by the time someone is available.  Then I stress out because I don't have inventory space and all these unfinished projects that I've obligated myself to do.  It's a vicious circle, and I understand that it's my doing.

The next question is, "What do I do to fix it?"  Well, I'm not going to just trash everything that I've done and promise to do things one at a time because that would be stupid.  I'm going to need some help, both with getting projects done and also keeping myself from getting into this position in the first place.  Easier said than done for me, but it has to be done.  I know I'm not going to stick to a single project because I'll get bored if I can't work on it constantly. So I'll do a few things and leave it at that.  Truly, just a few things.

One other thing that I've been having difficulty with is money.  Not only in making it, but spending it.  Granted, I don't have the umpteen bazillion gil that I see many of these others with, but I can afford to spend some money on a few upgrades.  Which is exactly what I started doing.  Part of improving requires some purchases.  Sure, there are better options out there which are r/ex, but until I can get that, I have to get at least something.  Small upgrades here and there, but they will all help out in the long run.  Not to mention, it's hard to be taken seriously if you're too afraid to put in effort or risk being broke just so you can make yourself better.

Speaking of scattered, I'm trying to write this blog while doing Voidwatch.  I really need to stop multi-tasking so much.

January 30, 2013

Changing Perceptions

Another day of not being able to go to work.  This is getting frustrating.

Since I've nothing else going on besides taking medication and paying bills while eating my soup, it's time for more FFXI.  Early morning gaming is always a challenge because most of my friends aren't here and the people who are around are Japanese.  This is why I should really use my Rosetta Stone more often.

I hopped on a Jeuno III Voidwatch clear just for giggles.  Not as if I actually need the clears, but that Phasmida Belt from Kaggen eludes me to this day.  So what the hell.  I figured this would beat standing around while Vipooo (however many o's his name has now) shouts for yet another leech party in [A]-Altepa.  Naturally, Kaggen didn't give up the goods.  I did get several metal plates, so that was nice.  Poor as I am, I could use the gil.  Of course, I could also save the plates and one day upgrade a weapon to 95.  I'll more than likely sell it, because I like having monies.

Just as my run was nearing its end, I caught sight of a shout for Odin v2.  I was definitely curious and was thinking of trying it out.  Then I saw a comment in the LS chatter: "that shout is going to be a disaster."  There was no following conversation about how the person shouting was a horrible newbie or awful player.  Just a standard assumption that they would fail because it's a pickup group.  I have to wonder, with so many people walking around with level 99 Relics and Empyreans, how is it that pickup groups with these same people are immediately dismissed as failures?

I somewhat understand the stigma they carried in past years.  People didn't have all the stuff they have now, and most who did the shouting were unable to get into linkshells who had the skill / strength needed to achieve victory.  But now?  I was amazed the first time I saw someone with a level 99 Empyrean, and now they're more or less commonplace.  99 Twashtars, Mandaus, Ragnaroks, Apocalypse, and everything under the sun.  They're everywhere.  The amount of gil people have nowadays is staggering.  I see Salvage, Nyzul, augmented Dynamis gear, and Voidwatch armor all over the place.  Sure, I still see some Perle and the occasional person wearing a Scorpion Harness, but they are few and far between compared to years ago.

So, if practically the entire server is geared to the teeth, how is it that a pickup group of random people with superior gear still destined to fail?  Now my next statement is a bit tongue-in-cheek, but truly...remember when people on the forums would say that gear isn't everything and they were immediately razed by the high-end players about gear making the player, and the "skill > gear" argument was only made by those incapable of getting good equipment?

If so many have finally increased their gear, but the stigma of pickup groups with these well-equipped players still remains, could it be that the "skill > gear" argument was actually valid?  Could those people have been right all along?

Things that make you go..."lol".

Oh!  I took a screenshot.  Shut up about my gear.  I'm working on it. >.>

I'm cute; I know this. 
Also, make comments, damn it!  I can tell that I'm not the only one reading my blogs, so say something!

January 29, 2013


Back into things.  Get your minds out of the gutter.

So I was sent home again today.  I'm fine as long as I don't try talking too much or exerting myself with actions such as walking up / down stairs.  I tell you, being sick is not fun in the slightest.  So, after coming home, taking medicine, and making myself go to sleep for awhile...I signed on.  Not surprising, eh?

Anyway, things started off pretty slowly as I stood around Port Jeuno.  I searched through my inventory and found some +2 items that I could turn in and free up a bit of space.  After that, I started reading FFXIAH and looking at various forum posts while checking the shouts to see if there was anything I'd be up for joining.  As it turns out, Keyoku happened to be in the midst of a Meeble Burrows shout.  I had seen a couple of them and decided to pass since I had already done the Adjunct level before I left.  Little did I know, because I didn't read, that the new Batallia Downs edition also had an Adjunct level, which is what people had been shouting for.  Fail on my part.

So I hopped into Key's party and off we went.  For the most part, I enjoy Meeble Burrows.  It's fairly quick, with each mission only giving you 15 minutes. I'm thankful that the party I was with didn't make me wait forever while they gathered and they weren't slow while completing the objectives.  We did have a couple of objectives that were just flat out stupid, such as this deal where you have to run around the map, mine one stupid piece of ore, then run all the way back to the entrance to hand it to an NPC.  All while avoiding enemies because you're penalized if you aggro anything.  Of course, your party has to turn in 9 of these ores in order to fully complete the objective.  Sometimes, I think SE just puts together bullshit missions because they don't know what else to do.

I also got a chance to taste the new Embrava nerf.  Sure, we weren't getting the awesome TP boost that we got before, but it honestly didn't keep us from winning the fight either.  I might be speaking ahead of myself, but it really doesn't seem that bad.  I think we have just become too depedent on the easy-mode button that Embrava has given us.  Yes, I'm speaking blasphemy by suggesting such a thing, but I don't give a damn.  I don't feel well and I'm tired.  Two reasons to basically not give a shit.  It's awesome.

After the fun with the Meebles, I had a couple of NM sets on me that I could use for my latest Empyreans.  Key was more than willing to help out with getting those done, and we may even team up to duo the rest.  That would be nice.  We didn't stay out there for long, but I did manage to get a few more items, and I even have a Glavoid set ready to go.  To end the night, I happened to see a shout by Ephexis for Ig-Alima.  I have no idea how useful it is, but I am still hoping to one day own a Borealis.  The name sound cool, and the sword glows.  If it's pretty, I'm interested.  Enough said.

My hopes are that my time here in Vana'diel are as productive (or at least as eventful) as today.  If so, then coming back might not be so bad after all.  I'll keep my fingers crossed!

Also, I need to take some screenshots.  This blog isn't nearly as pretty without pictures. =/

Where is Home?

According to the old saying, it's where the heart is.  Sounds nice, and I can see that applying here after a time.  However, in terms of linkshells...what makes a good home?

Now that I've returned, I have the awesome challenge of choosing a linkshell.  I truly am thankful for having the option, as I still see people in Port Jeuno shouting to be let into a shell.  So my challenge is choosing one that will best fit me, my playstyle, and my goals.  So let's take a look at my current options.

The Hate (

This is the last established shell I was in before I left.  Led by Shanian / Virgil, the shell is comprised of a mixture between former Infinita and Excellence members.  The schedule is aimed towards European players (usually right around 3pm my time).  They have fairly high requirements for players, and while they take on the stance of a social shell at times, they have done some high end events.  The core members formed a little group that they do the majority of side missions with, which leaves the rest to either solo or dual box to get the things they need.  In terms of helpfulness, they do give advice and from time to time they are willing to give a breakdown of what you need to improve.  For the most part, they are an advanced group who already expects you to know what is needed.  Some will come through for you in a clutch when you really need it.

Excellence (

If you were once on Hades, this LS needs no introduction.  I would say the same for Cerberus, but times have changed.  EX was known as the top-tier linkshell on Hades.  Originally led by Stanislav, creator of Guildwork, the shell has made a name for themselves as the best of the best.  The players always had the best gear and were known for getting things done that others could not.  Things took a change when we arrived on Cerberus, and while they are still known among the best, reality and time took its toll on the shell.  Unfortunately, some internal drama caused the LS to virtually fall apart last year and most people left the shell.  Recently, I've noticed the LS is rebuilding and I am one of the members who never destroyed the pearl.  After some conversation with Stan (not the original Stan), it looks as if I can still return to the shell.  Their playtime is 8pm - midnight EST, which is my time zone.  Of course, that time is a bit on the late side for me because I wake up for work at 4am everyday and am usually asleep by 11pm.  In terms of helpfulness, I don't know how this "Neo-Excellence" will turn out.  I only know what they were, and if you could get in their group, you were usually set and able to get whatever you needed.  Though you pretty much already had that if you were even to be considered let in to start with.


I don't know if they have a website or not.  Led by Misiisii (or at least, he's the voice most often heard), they are a mixed bag of players from all walks.  Many of them are newly leveled members who are looking to have fun and get things.  There are some veteran players who have taken a more casual approach to the game as well. Those players seem to have formed a small group of their own, but they still attend events when needed.  The shell has stated that they will help whoever needs it and they do Empyrean item farming regularly.  From what I can see, the LS is a generally nice group.  Everyone has said hello upon entry, and they are met with a greeting in return.  Admittedly, this is very nice because it's never fun to enter a shell full of mules and people who are afk.  I don't know where this LS plans to head in the future, but I do know that they want to do more end-game events as the members are built up and groomed for them.


I don't know anything about this LS, other than it's a social shell that my friend Dierdren is in.  While I can't say anything about the shell, I do know Dierdren.  I'm sure many of you have heard of her as well.  She is a very accomplished player, with a lot of gear to her name.  In terms of skill, I know her to be a great White Mage and Bard.  She spends most of her time running around as a Dark Knight as of late, but that's not a class that I have witnessed her in action with.  Regardless, Dierdren has a knack for being a very sociable and likeable person.  There was some drama last year where she was in the center of some mess, but I think that time has passed and people don't pay as much attention to it now.

So, those are my options.  While it should always be a simple choice, I feel that choosing an LS is an important one.  You are judge according to who you hang with, after all.

What do you all think (those who bother still reading this)?  Where would you go?

January 28, 2013

That didn't take long

What day did I come back here?  Saturday, I think.  So it's Monday morning and I'm already having panic attacks.  Damn this game, I swear.

Last night, I was invited to hang out and help with The Hills Are Alive KSNM.  As luck would have it, I also needed the egg from that fight and just happened to have exactly 99 Kindred Seals left to my name.  So I switched to Dark Knight in order to help out with skillchains (Samurai would've been better, but I was lazy) and headed to the battlefield.  We didn't do many fights...4 total, I think, but we ended up going 2/4 with the eggs.  As it turns out, I was one of the two lucky winners.  So now I have all three items to get a black belt for my Monk class that I have sorely neglected.  Yay me!

Hoping to skip past the nonsense of the purple and brown belt quests, I borrowed a brown belt from Bey and ran to Neptune's Spire.  Of course it couldn't be that easy.  Head held down, I walked out of the spire and looked up where all these stupid NMs spawn.  Due to my packrat nature, I had most of what I needed for both belts.  I was just missing Nue's Fang, Malborger's Vine, and a Rampaging Horn.  Off to Nue I go, I suppose.

I didn't spend much time out there before it spawned, and I was lucky to go 1/1 with it.  That made me happy.  So next up was that damn Marlboro.  After spending what seemed like an hour just to reach the spawn location, I was somewhat thankful in the knowledge that no one could possibly stumble upon this NM by accident and kill it out of boredom.  To reach this thing, you have to want to find it.  I arrive at the spawn location and notice it isn't around.  Son of a bitch.  Who the hell thought it was a good idea to come kill this thing when I want to do my quest?  People are so inconsiderate.  Looking at the spawn conditions, I realize this isn't something I'm just going to sit and wait for.  21-24 hour timed spawn.  Yeah, screw that.  However!  It was 10am and we had an impending update coming.  I figured maybe we'd have a server reset and the NM would spawn when they came back up.  I let myself time out there during maintenance and hopped on as soon as the servers were back.  To my dismay, no NM.  So I'm back to being flustered.  Next I decide to run out and find this Rampaging Ram.  Naturally, I've been out here for 2.5 hours with no spawn.

The frustration level was rising, and I'm already recovering from the flu.  Added stress isn't something I should be pursuing.  While doing all this, I'm watching some chatter in an LS that I'm visiting (I don't consider myself a memeber right now).  Of course, by no fault of their own, it's the usual "x event is so easy, I can solo such-and-such NM, look at all my shinies" conversation that takes places everywhere I try to avoid.  Chatter like that directly hits my self-esteem for whatever reason, and compound that with the frustration over this quest and I began to feel myself slipping away into that void of self-doubt that I seem to find myself in more often than not.

Before I let myself go completely, I zoned out for a moment.  I have to stop doing this to myself.  The reality of it is that I truly am trying too damn hard to keep up with people.  That's where I'm wrong.  I don't have to keep up.  What I have to do is be me.  That is what got me to the point where I am today as a player.  Of course, this doesn't mean that I will give up my desire to have nice things.  That's stupid.  I am still going to work on my Empyreans, and one day, I will have a relic.  I want to join a Neo-Nyzul Isle static and get awesome gear from there, as well as do the new Einherjar and Limbus.  By no means is this is a declaration of living contently with what I have no and relinquish all desire to improve.  It is; however, a realization that if I don't stop swatting the ghost of my own iniquity, that I am going to cause myself serious pain.

Over time, I have come to develop that elitist mentality, and I am worse off for it.  I have a saying in my bazaar, "You are what you believe yourself to be."  It's true, and I am becoming a victim of such thoughts.  I believe that I am not a good enough player to be considered among the upper echelon of people.  I have had numerous people say things to the contrary, but my self-esteem doesn't allow me to believe them.  I've run parses and have come out on top or within the top 3 during several fights.  I am not some incompetent person who operates without a clue and just "lols" through every screw up.  I learn from my mistakes and always strive to improve.  I have blogs written about me by my friends.  I don't know what I've done, but I must have done "something" right in my time here.

Sure, my name my never appear in the FFXIAH listing, and I might live my entire FFXI life without more than a handful of people who know who I am.  However, those who do know me have stated many times that they enjoy my presence.  Hell, some of them even adore me, and I adore them.  That means something.  Will I ever reach the ranks of the top-end players?  Probably not, and I have to learn to be ok with that.  Chasing the love of those who don't know me while shunning the love of those next to me will inevitably leave me a very lonely and isolated well as a person.

So, I'll continue my farming of these stupid ass NMs and slowly make my way to having another Empyrean weapon.  I'll work on the rest of my projects and finish what I can in the time that I can afford to give them.  If hanging out with my friends means that I don't get whatever awesome item is out at the exact moment of release, that's ok too.  What matters is that I don't lose myself in the process, and that I keep those precious few friends of mine close.  Ranking be damned.

Of course, saying this is easy.  Making myself believe it and stick to it will be the challenge.  I can do it, right?

January 27, 2013

I don't even know what to say...


I did it.  Again.  Again.

Heaven only knows why.  Actually, I think I might know too.  History says this will be a short return, but whatever.  So I've been away from here, living this thing called life.  Working more hours, doing instruction, bought a car, etc, etc.  Played some different games and have been generally enjoying myself.  Well, not really.  Still stuck in the single life, which is a whole different brand of depressing, but truly...I play videogames and have a personal blog about it.  Even E-Harmony couldn't find a match.  Another story for another time.

So here I am...back in Vana'diel.  All I can say is...what...the...fuck.  Why?  Why the hell am I here?????  I signed on last night after realizing my time with Borderlands has become nothing more than farming and fighting the same damn boss over and over again in the hopes of getting a rare weapon that will let me kill another boss over and over and over again.  Of course, I miss my friends in Vana'diel, but it's not as if coming back here is suddenly going to make them all gravitate to me and want to hang out.

I saw some familiar faces, and was even greeted with excitement by a few.  Several "Welcome Backs" and even got flirted with a bit.  Oh, I was also told to write about how awesome Swk is, so...let everyone know that Swk is awesome because I'm saying so.  Don't argue with my words.

It was great to see Regan, Lillie, Alerith, Garn, Dierdren, Swk, Darkdestroyer, Keyoku, Doccan, and several others.  I even got invited to a pick up group for Neo-Nyzul Isle.  You know I was excited to do that because I couldn't get that even when I was in a top-tier linkshell.

Anyway, back to why I'm here.  I don't know.  Nothing has changed.  Drop rates still suck; people still dual-box the hell out of NMs and apparently not having a relic means you're a shitty player and should live a life of shame.  Granted, I've only been here for a few hours since last night, but I haven't seen anything that makes me think Vana'diel is any different from several months ago.

They say the definition of insanity is repeating the same action under the exact same conditions while expecting a different outcome.

I suppose that means two things.  I either need to change the way I view and play this game so I can enjoy it like so many high-end players, or just accept the fact that I must be insane and continue to drive myself to boredom and insanity while standing around Port Jeuno...hoping for something different.

The third option would be to just walk away from this game, but we've seen how well that worked out.