Thursday, August 30, 2007

Besieged: Time for Work!

I'd like to bring up Besieged, because it has been a fairly big part of what I do in FFXI since the release of the Treasures of Aht Urghan expansion pack. For the sake of clarity, Besieged is a large-scale battle waged against Beastmen within the walls of the city of Al Zahbi. Most of my friends (and probably many strangers) know that I am a Besieged junkie. I'm almost always there defending the realm, so to speak.

Upon the release of ToAU, my girlfriend (Dungeonwhipper) and I liked the idea of Besieged right away. We would attend nearly every battle even when it occurred late at night. In fact, we would check the Besieged Map often, and if the Beastmen were preparing an attack, we'd head to Al Zahbi and wait for hours sometimes. It got to the point that she and I would set an alarm to wake us up in a couple hours, knowing the Besieged was going to start at that time. Afterward, we'd go back to sleep and get up for work soon after.

For those who have participated in Besieged, it usually is a love-hate relationship. You either can't stand the negative aspects, or you find it enthralling enough that you just can't resist the kill-or-be-killed nature. The enemies who breach Al Zahbi's walls during Besieged are of high level and must be attacked by many players at once. Up to 700 players can cram into the zone at once; any stragglers who show up late are de-zoned to nearby Aht Urghan Whitegate. The players get into parties & alliances, and the shouting begins. There's almost always someone who starts the silliness, and many will follow (including myself on days I'm feeling ornery). Smack-talking, insult fights with other players, internet meme rehash, movie quotes, cliches all over the place... you name it.

Actual combat proceedings in Besieged are extremely laggy, which is a generally accepted fact to most but always seems to surprise a portion of the audience through either inexperience or stupidity (or both?). The monsters are tough, many of them have Area-of-Effect attacks which wipe out many of us at once, and our medics are given more than their fair share of work to do. People drop like flies out there, with massive damage inflicted before many of us even know what happened. It can be an exercise in patience just to get a Raise and manage to escape from the fray long enough to recover before continuing.

Besieged would last anywhere from an hour to three hours, sometimes the entire operation would last the better part of an afternoon. This has been modified in a version update, however. The maximum allotted time for a Besieged attack is now one hour real-time. Why does all this chaos occur? Because no one likes to share the Ass Candy, of course! Al Zahbi has a special chamber called the Hall of Binding, in which the Astral Candescence is housed & protected. The Beastmen want it, and we want to keep it. The story dictates that the Candescence is essentially the governing force behind everything in Aht Urghan.

The players who participate receive Imperial Standing (a numerical value representing your "worth" to the Empire) and EXP for their efforts, upon successfully repelling the Beastmen forces. If we fail, the Astral Candescence is taken to the Beastmen stronghold and a crew of us must brave the dangers to retrieve it. Players like to possess the Ass Candy because we get bonus EXP and some other available bonuses from it. The Beastmen want the Ass Candy because they know it annoys me. Okay, that's probably not why they want it but who really cares why? They're trespassing and they need a good beating now and again. Reason enough for a call to arms if you ask me.

Overall, Besieged has been a lot of fun. It is indeed frustrating at times and doesn't always feel worth the long time investments (again, the time factor was just recently changed) but there's something about this event that just gets my blood pumping. Standing toe-to-toe with devastating enemies alongside hundreds of friends and strangers alike... makes me want to share pictures!

Shield Bash the Troll NM, just to show it whose city this is:

Galbatorix and I caught napping on the job in the streets of Al Zahbi:

Generally not a good sign when your city is full of pissed-off dragons.

The Undead Swarm's queen of nastiness herself: Medusa. Bad, bad news.

The tubby, mummy/zombie thing next to me is a Qutrub. I really, really like killing them.

Sometimes Besieged keeps us waiting. During times of crisis, we conga.


Sodako said...

the conga line seems so old now, was still wearing my WHM AF pants. . . I ought to break them out just for old time's sake some time

Anonymous said...

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