Thursday, June 28, 2007

Imitating Life.

Consider a situation in which things are running smoothly in general. Sure there are problems, but by and large they are swept under the rug, deftly sidestepped and ignored, or jumped over like a hurdle and left on the track. As time goes by, existence within this arena becomes more and more trying, with the details and the unsolved issues rolling downhill, picking up steam as they snowball together. No one involved realizes it, but the previously disregarded difficulties are now full-fledged crises.

Before you know it, the force of this phantom you thought would fade away is now crashing into you like a tidal wave. It overtakes your world without a chance to counter. After this catastrophe, you are left with the remains of a seemingly lost chapter in time. Your mind struggles to grasp and ponder the past, present, and future. What went wrong? What should and should not have been done? Where are you now? Where do you start? What do you even want?

Welcome to my reality... or at least the expressed textual form. We all sit at the table while life deals us the hand each time. We evaluate our cards, attribute value to the quality and quantity of the chips in our pile, then we are forced to place our bets. It's the way the game is played, and there is no getting around it. You toss in the chips you're comfortable risking, and you hope for the best. "Luck be a lady," "know when to fold 'em," the list of trite phrases is lengthy when perpetuating this analogy of life's game.

How do we know how to play? A fair portion can be attributed to luck, as well as the people around us, the talents we possess, and the experience within the game itself. This is where I am: at the table, having been dealt a new hand that could go either way. Evaluation of the chips in my pile, the other players at the table, and of the odds provided by the deck itself is the task I am shouldering.

Needless to say, fun has been an afterthought. FFXI pales in challenge to the trepidations of our real lives. I'm at a crossroad and a standstill. I'm simultaneously puzzled, shocked, disappointed, worried, devastated, and frustrated. Some of us seem to dwell in chaos, to thrive upon the very challenges of our imperfect lives. This isn't an easy way to live, but perhaps more thrilling in a way. We extinguish the fires as we go, staring desperation in the face only to strike it down.

As I've always done, I'm seeing my life from many varying viewpoints. I have examined it all myself, I've turned to friends & family for their perspective, and I've stood back and taken a second, broader look. Over-analyzing things, in my experience, can at times exacerbate rather than alleviate the problem. I'm trying to grow throughout life, finding the balance that exists between the extreme ends of the spectrum in all situations.

Success can be defined differently by each person you ask. Of course it can also vary depending on the event in question. For me right now it's a matter of short-term versus long-term. What I want in my farsighted goal may well be taken away soon. The swamp of my present predicaments can be waded through in the short-term, perhaps not giving me what I feel I want but preparing me to have such things in the future. Patience, diligence, and effort are required right now, and I'm at no lack of these traits.

I've obviously spared the details of exactly what my situation is, but such dramatic difficulties and changes to life are generally universal. It's not hard to guess what the two factors are. We've all likely seen one or the other before, and hopefully not both at the same time, as is the case with me now. However, I've never given up on a crisis before and I do not intend to break that trend.

Perhaps it is faith, perhaps force of will, or even a bit of fate if you choose to believe in such a concept. I subscribe to the notion that we all aspire to be what we want to, and to do what we feel is "right" at the time we have to make the choice. Sometimes it works out, sometimes we mess it up, but we must always dust ourselves off and see that there is a definitive path we walk.

Where I am in life is directly resulted by each and every single action, circumstance, and occurrence that has ever taken place within it. I can look back and say I wish things had gone differently, that I didn't have to see or go through certain things, but what of the consequences of those wishes? Where would I be, nay, who would I be if I could unravel the fabric of my life, to undo things, to change the very things that have brought me to the point I exist today?

Regret is a human frailty. I understand and even participate in it from time to time, but in the scheme of things regret is something to be avoided. You must live without fear of regret, without feeling that the opportunities you take are lost causes. Every single step you have ever taken has brought you to this very moment in time, to be the exact person you are. Accept those things, look back at them only to learn and use the experience for the step in front of you. Take the fork in the path if it suits you, and know that the main road always exists if you have to abandon the road less traveled.

I may be feeling unhappy and almost defeated right now, but it is only temporary. I am proud of my life, for the simple reason that I did what I felt I had to do at each point, to take the path I thought was correct at each turn. I have demolished walls, I have evaded traps, I have sailed over gorges. So it has been and so it will be. I will hunker down, walk straight into the wind if need be, and press forth in everything I do.

Will I get where I'm going? Absolutely. I'm not sure it matters if I know where that'll be just yet.

Friday, June 22, 2007

The Melting Pot of Decision-Making.

Random Picture of the Day: Eternal Ice in U. Range

Dynamis-San d'Oria went well this week. I got the win I needed and picked up my Wyrm Greaves and Relic Lance. Essentially Sandy is finished with until my BRD gets high enough to wear the Relic hat.

Been working on getting Liabelle (my NPC) a new outfit. She's been wearing a Scorpion Harness for way too long. Fighting in beastmen-controlled areas can eventually give her a Demon's Harness, which'll be a decent change. Unsure which leg armor I'll do yet. Perhaps some haidate for the time being. Anyway, while slaying Goblins in Oldton I did this:
Always fun.

Server migration has been implemented by Square-Enix. I'm ambivalent on the idea as of yet. I can see it being a good thing, but possibly causing a few problems as well. I am automatically suspect of someone who wants to change servers, simply because I don't know the reason they left the one they had. Could be any number of valid, innocent reasons, but it could also be that the person was run off from their server due to poor behavior. We'll see.

One thing is fairly assured: Odin (my server) will see another return of its laughably pathetic troll, Feiwong. I don't want to give ol' Fei another 15 mins of fame in my life, nor this post, except to say that if and when he purchases/steals another account and comes to Odin with it, there will be comedy. His vulgar behavior, arbitrary antics, and self-absorbed paranoid delusions create a melting-pot psychosis that is almost interesting to watch. I'd prefer to be able to sedate him and put him in a mental hospital for observation though, rather than the world allowing him to run amok amongst regular citizens and FFXI players.

Still on the agenda: Aht Urghan missions, CoP (I'm redoing the Promyvions on Sunday), Ose NM drop, and make a little money to purchase a few things for whichever next job I focus on. Paladin and Dragoon are finished leveling (meriting when there's free time), Bard and Thief are 65+ and randomly climbing (most gear acquired or is cheap), and I have quite a few jobs lying in wait. When I get some time, I'll sort out what to do next. Let's take a look:

I do intend to get Beastmaster up a bit, hopefully in a duo. The idea since as far back as I remember was to duo BST with Encino. We've done a really, really bad job of getting that done. I ended up moving mine to 18 and he's trying to pick it up since his return. He needs to catch up a few levels, which will likely mean I powerlevel him the rest of the way.

Samurai was actually going to be one of my next jobs, decided after I got it to 37 for DRG sub. However, Sodako is currently working on SAM, and Encino has expressed interest in taking it up again. Having other Samurai in the LS doesn't stop me from anything, of course, but I tend to like to have something different going on than those in my surroundings if possible. This keeps us from comparing our advancement in that job, as well as gives me personally some variety in what I see and hear about in LS chat. Furthermore, and most importantly, I realized a more direct reason I didn't want to take up Samurai just yet: since using DRG/SAM so much, I'd essentially be playing the same job again when playing SAM main. Two-handed weapon, Skillchain starter, TP-hound DD. Not sure I need to go through that again just yet.

Warrior could be a viable next option, since it's a damage dealer I enjoy and would also be a somewhat easy and cheap job class to level. (Cheap and easy, just how I like it.) Only 6 levels off doing yet another set of AF, though I'd only need a couple pieces of it more than likely, due to the myriad of gear I own already. I'd be able to play with Great Axe or Dual Wield Axes with Ninja subjob. This'd be a little different than the Distortion-crazy SAM or DRG days.

Monk is something I'd probably play at some point, but I'd want to do it well. Since there aren't many options as far as Job Abilities or play styles, that's gonna mean I need good gear. O-kote NM being hateful to me (another run on Thursday for 6hrs or so went fruitless) and a 500K Brown Belt kinda put that off for now. Those two items are in the current levels with MNK, and until I want to spend the money to get them (roughly 1.4Mil if I never get the NM drop), I think it'll go on hold.

White and Red Mage are both 50 and will move probably in LS static form only. Black Mage kinda sucks as an Elvaan due to low INT and MP natively, and it's not a favorite job of mine anyway (though I did enjoy the 30s when taking it up for subjob). Unless the event occurs that I need to beat Maat with BLM for a Maat's Cap, BLM will probably never go further.

Dark Knight is essentially in the same boat as Warrior, though for some reason I'm gravitating toward WAR more strongly.

Ranger is an expensive job to level, which is okay. I'm not really hurting for money so much as thinking "Why throw it away when I could use it for something else?" I'd like to get RNG up to 37 at the least, for a subjob possibility (either for NM camping or maybe actual use).

Corsair is a job I'd probably level for either of the following two reasons:
1) I was really bored and wanted to blitz through a job that would get good invites.
2) LS party assistance, due to Corsair's buffing ability.
Neither of these two things is going on at the moment, so COR is on the shelf.

Blue Mage and Summoner are jobs I'd maybe level sometime, but they've never exactly been a hot topic to me. Bother require some pre-usage spell acquisition. SMN actually has most of the Avatars already, missing three if memory serves. BLU requires near-constant trips into the wild to boringly stare at monsters while they daintily decide whether they'd like to use their magic skills on you. Not my idea of fun right now. Both jobs are strong in their own ways, but more along the lines of having them as an ally rather than actually being either.

I'm not willing to stipulate that lolPUP is worth a second thought right now. Puppetmaster is a weak job option from my standpoint, and that's all there is to it. I'm open-minded and more than willing to see a PUP in action to prove its usefulness. I'm more than willing to learn. I just have had very little positive experience with lolPUP, and until that changes I have zero desire to degrade myself and waste my time leveling it.

Last up is Ninja, a job that would be an interesting prospect, if nothing else. Seems like everyone is a NIN these days, since it's a definite bandwagon mindset to minimize MP and hastily cut through XP mobs. Sad part is that so few Ninjas are actually good enough to offset the hate-holding weakness, as well as the disastrous occurrences when a NIN loses its shadows and gets dropped like a bag of dirt. I'm certain I could play NIN well, but this is another job that requires money loss, as Ranger does. I've already got a 75PLD, so I can tank. Ninja would be a departure from Paladin style, and might be entertaining. It's going to require a willingness to burn gil and probably a couple friends to coax me into taking NIN further.

That narrows it down, doesn't it? Decision-making is always a lovely chore, but in FFXI it's so much more fun to mull over. Off to work with me; until next time~

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Phat Kicks.

After hitting 75, I've so far gained a total of three merit points. This isn't much. In fact, quite the contrary. However, the third came much easier than the first two. I was playing a game on Xbox 360 while sitting in Al Zahbi with my party flag up. Being that I've got two options for a merit party, I got invited to a group as Paladin.

This party went to Caedarva Mire, and I got to see the real merit party form in full effect. I'd previously only seen maybe a chain 8 in XP parties up to this point. That would have been on Colibri, which are damned easy birds which can be chained in the low 60s when they check as Tough to Very Tough, for a nice gain. This merit party however was moving at a quicker clip. We played a total of 40-45 minutes before disband (a tragedy, really) with a gain of around 9K. The second chain of the party was a chain 20, more than twice what I'd seen. I thought this was pretty cool, until the very next chain topped off at 30!

Needless to say, I enjoyed the pace & gain of this party, and on the second-to-last kill, I got my Merit Point.

Also newsworthy: I finally managed to organize a raid to acquire my Rutter Sabatons. This pleased me, and ended up quite cool for a couple main reasons. Firstly, they're among the nicest DD boots in the higher levels. Secondly, for my Dragoon, the Rutters actually go with my ensemble better than I thought they would. I'd like to thank Kasuma, Supergirl, Noodles, Galbatorix, Sodako, and Zooted for making the trip with me and killin' the NM. Here's a pic of the new boots, Encino with me for some NPC-leveling:

Now, my week wouldn't have a dark cloud still looming over it if for one thing. It's unrelated to FFXI, but it's certainly affecting me. My girlfriend bought a Microsoft Zune. This is cool and all, and I'm excited to see how it works. As of now, it's not working yet. To clarify, it's not the Zune that doesn't work, but the PC itself. Microsoft's a little silly in this regard, perhaps, but they insist you download the newest updates for Windows. Well, Windows XP Service Pack 2 has been out for a little while now, but I never bothered to download it. Kind of one of those "if it ain't broke..." scenarios. I update when I need to update, not when they tell me to do so.

Needless to say, trying to install the Zune necessitated Microsoft's little update. No problem, just a little patience to download everything. Wrong. After SP2 was installed, it wreaked havoc on my computer. My PC with SP2 installed reboots every few minutes. This is infuriating after a while, let me tell you. I tried a few ideas and messed around with settings, but to no avail. I ended up booting into Safe Mode and removing Service Pack 2 until such time as a solution can be found. Irritating situation.

Such is technology, I suppose.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Meat Shield Capped.

It was a long time in coming, but I finally did it. Paladin had been my first love, my main job for as long as I can remember. Despite Dragoon coming into the picture and passing Paladin up, I've always been a tank at heart. Sunday night, it finally came to partial conclusion. I dinged 75PLD and the world was taken aback. I suppose that's the reason fate decided to even things out by giving me what seemed to be my first migraine. Yeah, that sucked. I spent the night with a skull that felt as though it was caving in. Happyfuntimes.

Rewind to Sunday morning. My cellphone rings at around 9AM. I'm not awake that early most Sundays, but I was happy to receive news that my good friend Encino was returning to the game at last. Encino's a Tarutaru, BLM72 main job, so he fit right into our plans for 70s static that day.

We started off with the idea of doing Uleguerand Range, hoping to find King Buffalo. Well, we never did find the target we wanted, and ended up with a camp fighting Kindred demons. These mobs are among the tougher mobs to XP on, and it showed. Our party really should be 74-75 before we try them again. All in due time. We got crappy XP gain, and after a while Encino and our THF had to go. Caedarva Mire it is, just to make up for lost ground.

The Mire is a place that not everyone likes. I've come to enjoy it, due to the fast pace and of course the easy XP gain. My girlfriend seems to love it, so that's always a bonus. We gained about 23K before it was finally quitting time for the day.

Since the last post, I've tried Ose again (which didn't yield anything), partied THF and got to 65, and finished my WHM and RDM Artifact armor sets. Picture time!

Here's THF party, with Thazienne on RDM and his brother & friends.

Here's a conga line randomly started by bored players waiting for Besieged to begin.

And finally, here's me traveling around doing quests, taking a moment out to look at the nice graphical backgrounds in this game.

Until next time~

Wednesday, June 13, 2007


The NMs being mean, stingy, and downright disrespectful, the lack of any real intimacy between my moogle and me... It's all just... slurping up my heart and spirit like so much Jell-O. I confess: It was a long night. However, I'm not really going emo, like the title suggests. Frustrated, but not emo (yet).

I had my girlfriend suggest to the linkies that we might static party this evening, since I was out and about this afternoon. They agreed and suited up. When I arrived, I checked around and found that two friends were also seeking in our level range.

Me: PLD74/WAR37
Galbatorix: DRG72/SAM31
Dungeonwhipper: RDM72/BLM31
Sodako: WHM70/BLM35
Raikoh: SAM70/WAR35
Silentmobius: DRK74/THF37

Sounds like a lot of fun, having a nice party setup and all being friends, right? Well, Caedarva Mire was looking pretty packed. Though that's not really a favorite place to party due to the sheer irritation of the mobs, it's still good for XP. We decided to use the alternative: Mamool Ja Staging Point. Five of us made it to camp.

My g/f didn't have the Runic Portal. This is an oversight by myself, not so much her. She's a casual player in general and pretty much follows whatever I or her friends recommend for her. Due mainly to forgetting about it, we've not acquired all her Staging Points yet. No time like the present, right?

We have her head to the zone she has to sneak through to get to the Staging Point. Mamook is a dump. I really detest this zone, and I am simultaneously glad I have my staging point and saddened that I'm having to help get it for her. Sodako and I head to meet her.

An aside to this, relevant in a moment: the new frog monsters called Poroggo are cheeky little bastards. I seriously hate them, and I think adding them was the worst update SE has unleashed upon us. They are True Hearing, which is to say there is no avoiding them without running past them at far enough distance that they cannot hear you. True Hearing = Sneak spell obsolete. Poroggos cast high level magic, deadly in its own right, and they like to Charm you so you can fight your friends. The worst part of a Poroggo? They're placed directly in the path of where you have to go. There is no running around them, because the path is a narrow bridge. The frogs are on or right in front of said bridges. This is a rotten design choice, if you ask me.

Long story short, I take a death, we escape from Mamook, and it's time to relocate to Caedarva Mire. We head through the Nyzul Isle portal for the higher-end side of the Mire. And this lovely location is where one can and undoubtedly will run into Soulflayers. They're nasty, they're ugly, and they ate us for dinner.

Soulflayers are True Hearing as well. Again, magic-casters. But these particular nasties are also undead. This means they aggro sound and low HP. Add on one more fun trait, aggro to Job Abilities, and you've got a monster that just begs to be left alone. We didn't heed such a request. Our puller aggro'd Soulflayer twice at least, and with the way travel was all evening, the death count was racking up faster than we deserved.

At the end of the night, we were up about 13K EXP. Not terribly impressive, but Sodako did hit 71, so it was at least something. My Paladin rests halfway through 74, with 21K to 75. Next static session will be better thought-out, assuredly. Felt less like the Word mock-up above and more like this kid:
Like it's possible to make progress, but it sucks enough you want to spontaneously combust. Oh well, phases come and go.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Team Spirit.

Mee Deggi the Punisher is an NM in "the Bird Cage" who drops the Ochimusha Kote. This is an important, shall I say pivotal piece of gear for Monk, Samurai, and Ninja. Hunting this NM isn't terribly difficult. He pops every hour pretty much, and the placeholder mobs are easy to spot. He's even easy to kill, being a relatively low-level NM for the reward. Why then, do I have such a hard time getting my O-kote? Because Mee Deggi is also a real asshole. Claim after claim, kill after kill, hour after hour, Mee Deggi refuses to just let me off the hook. One of these days...

Sodako and I were somewhat bored the other night, and headed into Bhaflau Thickets to kill some colibri for light XP/LP. I gained a merit, then posed for the camera in some armor I don't normally wear, just to see the color setup:

In other news, I was referred to a Dynamis LS by a couple old friends. I needed to go through what is similar to an interview with the leading members of the shell, to see if I was well-suited for them. They asked me a few questions, and I asked many more. After a little consideration, I accepted the offer and joined SpiritsofEvolution. Turned out, when I equipped the linkshell, I know approximately half the members already. That was a nice surprise. Within a couple hours, it was already time to tackle our first Dynamis run.

Dynamis-Bastok was set to be the order of the day. Due to being away from the game for an hour or so on business, I almost didn't make it to Bastok in time to zone in to the event. Fmtwo, a good friend of mine, was serving as my alliance's main tank, for which I was thankful. We were wiping out groups of Quadav creeps in short order.

The sheer chaos that is Dynamis really gets me going. I like this endgame event better than most alternatives. There is a limit to how often you can even go, which cuts down on the commitment to a videogame, it's a fun setup pitting numerous players against numerous tough monsters, and the the rewards can be quite cool. My first run with the shell is designed as a trial of sorts. By rule, new members are not allowed to receive Relic drops on their first run with the group. However... a pair of Wyrm Brais dropped.

None of SoE's members had DRG relic on priority, and Fmtwo asked the leader if I could lot it, since the only other Dragoon present at the time already had all five Relics. LS leader put it to the shell, and the members were nice enough to vote that I could take it despite being the new kid. I was happy with that, not so much because I wanted the armor (honestly I didn't very much), but because I walked into this LS and so far everyone's been very cool.

The boss NM for Dynamis-Bastok was quite handily dispatched without me even realizing it was the boss, and I had my first Dynamis win. We still had 75 minutes on the timer available to farm Relics and money. The members thinned out with those who had to sleep or go do other things taking off for the evening. I had nowhere to be yet, so I was happy to stay since I was enjoying myself. Quite a few Relics dropped this run, including SAM, MNK x3-4, BLM, RDM, THF, and of course my DRG. It was a very successful run, and we came so close to clearing 100% of the mobs.

After Dynamis I was watching Lost DVDs and leveling my NPC-companion in Oldton Movalpolos, a Goblin haven. It's a semi-fun place to hang out. Usually pretty quiet in there, and there are plenty of targets to kill. Being that Movalpolos is controlled by beastmen in this week's Vana'diel conquest, it also suited for my Liabelle wardrobe project. I called her all five times for max number of kills, and also happened to run into another NM.

Bugbear Strongman drops a pair of pants for MNK, a pair of pants for SAM, and apparently, he also drops big piles of forget-it-Draco-I'm-not-giving-you-shit. The last two times I've been down here, I've hunted around the Strongman spawn area, claimed him three times, and have received nada. Neither armor drop, not even the basic bugbear drop (Bugbear mask). What's my reward been? 31 Gil. Gee, thanks.

NMs: Not on my good side right now.

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Small Update: Pictures.

I have some shots from recent activities to share, with minimal textual interference.

This first pic is from the high 40s-50 static group. The location is Quicksand Caves.

Here is my girlfriend, the Dark Knight with butterfly wings.

Here's Galbatorix and I farming his Sea Serpent Grotto coffer key, killing the fish-like Sahagin.

This is from a party I was in @65 Bard. Tyock is a Japanese Paladin, and I do not know why she was dressed like this. The body piece is Haubergeon, with -20 Evasion. I dunno about her, but when I tank, I like to not force myself to get beat up if I don't have to...

This is a random Dragoon I saw in Aht Urghan. The body armor is a new piece they just recently added, and I liked the look of it. The blue helmet is Dragoon Relic, the Wyrm Armet.

And finally, before I head off for the day, I'll share what I bought a day or two ago. This is something I've wanted for a while, and the price used to be sky-high. In recent months, it's been deflating. I have been sitting quite a bit of savings for a while, unsure what to do with it. I skimmed through my jobs and found that I really have little need for gil at the moment, due to owning lots of property as it is. Thus, I started bidding as low as I could on the Barone body armor, and finally got it for a reasonable, affordable price for my wallet.

This piece is going to be the alternative with the Assault Jerkin I've been hunting. In regular XP parties, I'll often be using the AJ, because +18 attack and +3 accuracy is better than the +13 attack. Obviously I don't particularly want Enmity (monster aggression) on me, so with a Ninja tank I'd somewhat avoid the Barone as well.

However, in soloing, Barone is great. I solo with DRG/WHM, which has 1HP/3sec Regenerative effect. Add in the 2HP/3sec from Barone, and I'm set. The defense rating is good as well.

The "Jump TP Bonus" is another factor altogether. For DRG/WHM, it helps add a couple more TP to help make up for the slower TP gain usually associated with mage subjob. For DRG/SAM (which is my current favorite DD subjob), I'm gaining TP pretty fast as it is. SAM has a Job Trait of Store TP which makes my melee swings gain 15TP each. Add in the Job Ability "Meditate" which gives me 60TP in a matter of seconds, and I'll be able to Weaponskill quickly. Then we get to Jump TP Bonus, which is on two of my gear pieces, the Barone body and Barone legs. Each gives 2 extra TP, and on DRG/SAM I get 20TP per jump. Assuming I land both Jump abilities, that leaves me with a 40TP gain and a 60TP gain in between Weaponskills.

I split these when I play in XP parties, and am able to Skillchain with two party members if applicable, or to simply add in more damage over time (DoT) when solo-WS'ing. In short, I love this piece, and it was well worth the purchase. It doesn't hurt my feelings any that it's damn gorgeous, either.

That's all for now. Until next time~

Friday, June 8, 2007

Almost Too Easy.

Thursday evening, most of the linkies were partying with various jobs and levels. This gave me the opportunity to work on some of these AF quests piling up. Galb logged on and we talked briefly about the overall list, then started prioritizing a few things to be able to cross them off one by one.

First one we decided on was Galb's NIN AF boots, which give him faster movement speed at night. That's a fun piece, so we headed to Sea Serpent's Grotto to kill stuff en masse. Galb accidentally popped an NM he didn't know was there. I had run ahead, and dropped to a lower section of the Grotto, unable to assist. After dying and waiting on a Raise 3 from Sorjorn, we re-popped & killed the NM, and got back on task.

We wandered a bit in the Grotto to find which area the coffer key-dropping mobs were, and then we got to work. They were easy kills, so the usual PLD & DRG combo worked well. I pulled some nice Vorpal Blade numbers, which has been becoming more frequent as my gear and level are reaching peaks of late. After about 45 minutes, the coffer key dropped.

I needed to go AFK for a little while, so I parked Drac in a corner whilst Galb hunted up his coffer. He acquired his Ninja Kyahan and thus one list item was complete.

Next up, I figured we could hit the Bird Cage (Castle O) for my RDM body armor. The Yags there are something of a pain in the ass at times, so together we could pull it off. I went DRG75 and Galb went BLM75. We both had lost our buffer (buffer= enough EXP to keep from de-leveling if you die) due to raids and Dynamis, so killing some higher-level mobs could win that back. We didn't get the chance.

I called my Adventuring Fellow, Liabelle, on the first mob. Galb followed suit. I like having a little extra firepower, and Liabelle has been leveled to 63 thus far. She hits pretty hard, and skillchains nicely using Polearm Weaponskills. Unfortunately for Lia, but great for us, the coffer key dropped on the second kill. For those who don't know, Castle O never seems to drop a key that easily, at least in my experience, and I've been here many a time.

Went ahead and pulled a few more, being that we had our NPCs (the Adventuring Fellows) out. Next thing I know, a Beastmaster level 58 was pointing at a Treasure Coffer repeatedly. Seems he was trying to draw our attention that direction so we could open the big door for him. He was doing Genkai 3, and needed past all these Yags. We obliged, killing the mobs in the way and opening the door. Sure enough, the coffer was just sitting there untouched. A quick Warp 2 from Galb and I was swapping to Red Mage.

Fast forward about 20 mins of travel time, and I was back at the top of the castle. A few mobs now in the way again, so we went with a strategy of Sleepga, open the box, and both Warp. It worked, though Galb did get smacked around a few times, and lost a lot of HP before narrowly escaping. Warlock's Tabard acquired, and the list grows shorter.

I changed back to Dragoon again, and we made for Ifrit's Cauldron. IC is a volcanic nightmare some days, due to some fairly unpredictable mobs, who can be lethal when they're in a bad mood. Bomb-type mobs who Self-Destruct, crippling your HP and usually leaving you dead, bees who use a suicidal Final Sting in a last-ditch effort to take you with them, and all the magma you can shake a stick at. Fun place.

Galb and I ended up teleporting to two different spots in the jungle leading to IC, so I made it there before he did. I ran into a couple old friends and spoke with them while waiting for Galb to catch up. He zoned in far away from me, so I just crossed my fingers and impatiently started soloing a few monsters. I had Super Jump to escape Self-Destruct, and I wasn't going to try any bees.

Penta Thrust, my five-hit Weaponskill, does anywhere from 1100 to 1400-plus on Bombs, which is a treat. Unfortunately for my e-peen, but great for us, the coffer key dropped on the third kill. Hmm, that's interesting. That just doesn't happen in Ifrit's Cauldron much, if at all. Hell, we hadn't even met up yet, and I already had his key. He got the key and found the coffer while I walked out of IC, and he Warp 2'd me home once more. That's three items nixed. (But another NPC call wasted. Sorry, Liabelle.)

By this point it was time for Galb to retire for the night, so he logged off and I headed to the Crawler's Nest. I was perhaps getting sleepy or just had been too long, but I couldn't seem to find where the coffer key-droppers were located. Took me a good half hour or more of wandering before I finally saw some that were alive. Seems I was being tricked somewhat by two groups who were killing them all off. That's why I couldn't find them. I laughed at myself a bit and prepared to drudge through some soloing. Once again, the coffer key dropped on the third kill. "What a stroke of luck," I thought to myself.

I ran back to Jeuno, which took a short while, but I didn't want to Warp back to San d'Oria just yet. I set my Home Point in Jeuno and swapped to White Mage. Upon entering Crawler's Nest again, I found the coffer at the last of the roughly 8 places it could be. That might sound like it'd annoy me, but it's actually the easiest place for the coffer to be, because no mobs spawn near it to aggro you while you receive your treasure. Healer's Pantaloons acquired.

The night held one more possibility for me to do alone. My RDM AF gloves are located in the Eldieme Necropolis, a dreadful-sounding place that can certainly live up to its name. Growing up a Paladin, however, my undead-killing nature has left me with little fear of the afterlife-dwellers. For Artifact gloves, there is a fun advantage I have, which applies to every job I get gloves for: the "Old Gauntlets" you have to find in the coffer are a Key Item, which means I don't have to be on RDM to open the box. While for many this means farming a key and opening the coffer without having to warp, for me it meant "change to Thief."

I headed to what some of us players call "Helldieme" for obvious reasons, and knew that this could be tricky. You see, there are walls that are on a patterned arrangement, meaning someone else in your party has to flip a switch in order to alternate the doorways being open and closed for clear passage through the Necropolis. Without people in the zone, I feared I would be stuck for the evening and have to come back when I had assistance. Nevertheless, I took a quick run around the outer portion of the zone, taking whichever doorways were unobstructed.

Sure enough, in the very first coffer spawn of the first open area I came to, I see the Treasure Coffer. At this point I'm thinking to myself, "This is almost too easy." One Dark Stalker mob was meandering around the room, so I cast Sneak on myself and stood next to the box. The mob walked a few steps out of aggro range, and I proceeded to pick the coffer (great Thief skill by the way). First try, Draconum receives the Old Gauntlets key item.

By this time, I'm figuring I'd better log off quick, before some strange force of fate or balance in the universe realizes I'm having a terrific night and drops a comet on my head or some such nonsense. I'd just completed what sometimes can take a few days in a matter of a few hours. I'm quite pleased.

Friday brings more to do, and I can hardly wait.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Busy Bees in the Beehive.

Well, we came off a slow-ish week to having a lot on our plates. The next week or two will be busy and chaotic for the LS.

The following AF sets need completed quests/coffers:
Galbatorix: NIN
Sodako: THF
Dungeonwhipper: DRK
Noodles: WHM
Me: WHM and RDM

That alone is quite a bit to do. Then I've got Treasures of Aht Urghan missions I'm working on, Dynamis LS to join and soon be raiding with, Chains of Promathia missions to do, Sky access mission to complete, and some NMs to hunt for a few good items.

Yeah, that's a lot. And it's gonna be interesting.

So far personally, I've done my boots for both mage jobs. I'm still on the hunt for Ose and my Assault Jerkin, and have added a Minstrel's coat to the list.

That'll be nice for Bard. Wind Instrument skill is killer, usually expensive to buy pieces to enhance.

The next thing I'm going to hunt, which shouldn't be much difficulty, is Bugbear Matman, who drops Rutter Sabatons.

These are for DRG in particular, but PLD can also wear them for raids. I'll later have done Assault events for better boots, but these'll do nicely until then. Well, better get to work! Cheers~

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

June Update Day, 2007.

Monday night my girlfriend was watching movies with her sister in the living room. So, I half-watched while partying with Bard65. Got around 26K XP in the all-Japanese group. They weren't the best party I've had lately, but pretty good. Got 66 (can Reraise now with WHM subjob) and we split at around 4-5am.

Tuesday morning I slept through almost all the maintenance for Update Day. Did the update as everyone else was doing, checked out the article detailing the changes, and logged in.

Of the new armor/weapon additions, I am intrigued by one piece in particular. It is a Rare/Exclusive (meaning Non-price-gouge-compatible) polearm for my Dragoon. It's got high damage, decent delay, and a couple great bonuses. Double Attack and Store TP. These are components that make me giddy. There are also a couple sets of armor, one for WAR/PLD/DRK and one for mage jobs. Definitely nice stuff, but not really on my radar right now.

We partied the 50~ish group Tuesday afternoon. Nothing amazing to report, though I did die twice during the session. Everyone gained a level, Galb leading the pack at NIN51. We'll be doing quite a few AF quests this week, I suspect.

I did my RDM AF boot quest and the new transport quest for San d'Oria. I can now set my Home Point in Sandy and be able to teleport to Aht Urghan Whitegate for a nominal 300G fee. I'm all about transportation options, being that this game is so time-consuming. Best part: avoidance of Whitegate lag, which is extreme most days.

Rest of the week is pretty much quest blitz. Should be entertaining.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007


The first weekend of June was, as the this entry's title suggests, slow and sticky. From the time Thaz and I struck out with Ose Thursday night, I didn't play much FFXI until Sunday afternoon.

Sunday brought us a fun, if chaotic, session of EXP. Many of the linkies were preoccupied or logged off much of the day. However, my girlfriend and I were looking to make things dead. Par for the course, Galbatorix was willing to follow us through any possible perils, to share in the rewards yielded. That convoluted sentence is my frivolous way of saying we partied. For six hours, in fact.

Me: PLD73/WAR36
Dungeonwhipper: RDM71/BLM35
Galbatorix: DRG71/SAM35

Sodako's 70~ish WHM was unavailable, so we filled with the following:

Edgh: WHM/BLM (Japanese)
Tenderloin: THF/NIN (Japanese)
Shady: DRK/THF

We partied in Caedarva Mire, fighting Imps and other filler for chains. Imps, who have area attacks of Silence and Amnesia, are both a blessing and a curse to us players. Blessing in that they are some of the easiest-to-kill monsters at this level, for many levels (can start camping here at 68~ish and go to 75/merit). Curse in that they can require extra attention, and that a WHM or at least WHM subjob is essential.

Edgh, with whom I'm previously familiar due to his apparently high-level crafting status, is an excellent White Mage. He was amazingly quick on the draw with Silena, assisting me greatly in keeping hate as well as keeping alive. With the near-constant lack of Job Abilities and Weaponskills due to Amnesia, spells are important for my Paladin.

Our THF performed adequately, though going largely unnoticed. Shady, on the other hand, routinely made his presence known. His Dark Magic is all but useless against the dark imps, he relied on his terrific gear setup and good timing. Sneak Attack / Trick Attack + Spiral Hell or Spinning Slash (depending on weapon of choice) was simply obliterating the little shits.

Edgh and Tenderloin parted ways with us after a few hours, when Edgh had to go to work. Shady stuck with us the whole nine innings, for which I was thankful. I replaced our missing members with a RDM/WHM (for the Silena duty and more healing) and Motherconfessor, a WAR/NIN.

The second half of this party was a bit less efficient, to be sure, but arguably more entertaining. The WAR started with pulling, but she may not have enough experience with this camp's landscape. My Sweets, DW, on the other hand, can pull quite well darn near anywhere.

DW kept a steady stream of mobs coming at us for the next few hours, with just barely enough time to breathe. We kept the pace up even against multiple parties coming and going, trying to usurp our camp. DW was having none of that, and would keep us amply supplied with targets throughout.

Fresh off her triumphant defeat of Maat-RDM on her second try (a battle loathed and feared by many a RDM who go 0/10+ and give up), Sweets attained 72. Galb and I both leveled, 72 and 74, respectively. We even got nice buffers all around before we finally had to call it quits. Typical of a Solonavi party: fun, chaotic, and fruitful. We did over 45k XP or so, but I lost track.

Monday afternoon, we were all bored. Galbatorix got his first piece of Ninja Artifact armor. We needed more to do, and only 3 people were in the Labyrinth of Onzozo. So, we headed down to kill Toramas en masse in hopes Ose would show its face. Sure enough, we got it and killed it. And once again, no drop. It's a bit frustrating, but that's life.

Everyone else logged off and so forth whilst I headed to Davoi to do my RDM AF1, a prerequisite for my Artifact Armor. The weapon is the Fencing degen, which as you can see in this picture, I wasn't terribly impressed to receive (forgive the poor quality):

Tuesday, June 5th is an Update Day, which is sometimes entertaining. Thousands of people trying to connect to a server to download an update and check out the new features... all at once. Good times.

Friday, June 1, 2007

Another No-Drop by Ose.

Thazienne, being the swell kinda guy he is, took another shot at camping the NM who has made me fairly irritable of late. Ose the torama NM who drops this:

Well, Ose theoretically drops the Assault Jerkin. I'd like to see proof first-hand.