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.