Sunday, September 30, 2007

"Tarutaru Panic!"

Since starting Final Fantasy XI, I have had a great list of friends and many more acquaintances. Of these friends, some come and go of course. Some quit the game, some find new crews to hang out with, etc. Then there are the friends that stay with you forever. These are the people who keep me playing FFXI.

This past weekend, I had the opportunity to meet up with two of my oldest FFXI friends, Fmtwo and Valion. FM lives in Minnesota, a fact I've known for quite some time. Upon my return to the Land of 10,000 Lakes, it became apparent that getting together would be awesome. Valion, living a decent distance away, had to drive a ways to get to us.

Saturday was one of the best days I've had in a long time. We ate some great food, watched a demolition derby (more on that in a moment), played some multiplayer videogames, and spent hours and hours talking. It was a lot of fun.

Fmtwo is no stranger to demo derbies. In fact he's also a demo driver. Valion and I had never been to a derby, so that became the main purpose of the trip. The cars were loud, the carnage was frantic, and the energy was high. I enjoyed the afternoon quite a bit, and will likely find myself going to more demos in the future.

This was funny, found posted at the grandstands:

In the evening, we played some racing games to start with. Another FFXI player and friend of FM's, Hatchetman, also came over to enjoy pizza and participate in the chaos. FM & Hatch of course teamed up against Val and me, obliterating us whenever they had the chance (which was often). Racing games aren't generally my forte, but I think Val and I held our own. We also rotated in some James Bond first-person shooting, which was fun. I liked the game pretty well other than the analog sticks being not set up the way I'm accustomed. Once I got used to the controls, I started killing efficiently.

Possibly the most fun of all was the constant dialogue between us. We had personality and comedy to spare, and we laughed so hard I could barely think straight. It was also cool to be able to discuss the game with a couple guys who were of like mind. After Hatchetman went home and FM's girlfriend had gone to sleep, we stayed up until 5 in the morning just chatting about anything and everything. With internet memes, FFXI cliches, and individual silliness abound, the time just flew.

When Sunday came, we had some lunch and headed back on the road in our separate directions. We had been late and were tired, but it still felt like it was over too quickly. I think we all had a great time, and it definitely reminded me how cool my friends are. In a weird way, it also motivated me to get some stuff done in the game, so we'll see where that leads. It was a great weekend and I intend to repeat it whenever possible.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

What's in a Name?

My Linkshell, TheSolonavi, was founded on July 24th, 2004 shortly after I created Draconum. I have had many inquiries as to the origin of these names. It just so happens that both monikers were lifted from a tabletop game called Mage Knight.

MK was played with dice, a 12-inch measuring tape, and plastic miniatures of different characters, which stood on a small rotating dial. On this dial, or base, there were numbers printed regarding the character's statistics for battle. Two players would move their characters around the playing field, taking shots at each other until someone is defeated.

The Draconum were actually a race of dragon-like creatures. I always had an affinity for these pieces due to their miniatures' aesthetic and strength of combat skill. My previous characters were named various, random things (Rydell, Bloodreign, and others). When I finally settled on what type of character I wanted to be for the long term, I needed a name I could live with. I knew I wanted something that would be fairly easy to remember/recognize for those who played with me. I either wanted a short name or one that could be shortened to a feasible 3-5 letter combination that could be "pronounced" as a name. (In other words, I didn't want to name myself something that started with Sne or Bha or something you can't "say.") Thus, Drac/Draco was born. It was a throwback to a game I used to enjoy, as well as being shortened to something easy-to-type and livable.

The Linkshell was the next step. Again, I looked to Mage Knight for ideas, because I didn't want to name the group something too generic or easily recognizable as a pop culture reference. "AngelsofDeath" or "TheCrimsonFury" or "TheJediKnights" are the kinds of names I'd be a little embarrassed to carry around, personally. (And no, none of those names were actually considered. I pulled them arbitrarily just now.) The Solonavi are yet another race of creatures in Mage Knight. At the time, Solonavi were relatively new pieces, as well. They are a race of bluish-green alien creatures, generally with wings. If memory serves, originally there were only about five unique Solonavi, each with specialized powers related to the game. These details fit along with the fantasy of FFXI well enough to work out. I colored the Linkshell a bluish-green and TheSolonavi came to be.

There it is; the origin of my character and LS names. I have grown to like them pretty well, and they're generally pretty recognizable and well-received. TheSolonavi has given me a few laughs when people guess what the name is. I've heard "Navi was the fairy in Legend of Zelda" and "I thought it had to do with soloing" among other far-fetched ideas. The 'Navi has been around over three years now without hideous drama destroying it or any other such nonsense. I'm proud of that, because there aren't many Linkshells left that can say the same.

As for my character himself, I like the Drac or Draco moniker. To nitpick at all, I'd say that I could do without the many names I've seen that are close to mine. Various spellings don't surprise me however, because it is a relatively well-known and widely-used common idea. If I had it to do all over again, I might have created something wholly original, but I won't complain.

Bonus fact to close this entry: The original name I tried to get for this character was Alucard (Dracula's half-vampire, half-human son in the CastleVania series), but it was taken thankfully. I can say now I would not have liked that name over the years.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

IDK... my BFF, CHK?

For this entry, two things are relevant:
1. The new expansion brings new jobs, and in my opinion one of them must be a tank for the sake of us all. (I personally would love to tank 75 levels again.)
2. I have wanted Chocobo Knight to be one of the new jobs since forever. It's perfect for San d'Oria anyhow so it makes sense.

This is how you get Draco to buy Wings of the Goddess. Need I say more?

Please be Chocobo Knight, please be Chocobo Knight...

Monday, September 24, 2007

Half-Live Via Satellite.

It's been nearly a month since my last entry, and with good reason. I've been a very busy guy, of course. Work has dominated most of my time lately, with some outdoorsy extracurricular activity interspersed. I am chased around by a young "adventurer" of sorts, in the form of my little 4-year old brother. I also have a teenage sister who was quick to latch onto me and not let me far from her sight.

I have taken a liking to ATV (a.k.a. four-wheeler/quad) riding. I drive like a bat outta hell, zooming all over the place. It probably isn't safe to act the way I do on it, but y'know... "boys and their toys" right?

On the digital entertainment front, I have once again reactivated my FFXI account having canceled it at the beginning of September. My connection was simply too awful to run the game and it wasn't worth paying for if I was unable to use it. However, I upgraded the satellite ISP account in mid-September and gave it another go. Now I'm back (again) and able to play normally.

The update has sunk in to the community, and has indeed modified the way people are treating the game (as expected). I haven't really done anything substantial yet, but it's been nice to visit with people and kill random things for no reason. Violence is always appropriate, right? Of course!
Toward the end of August, the LS static and I decided to give my weak connection a test drive. Just so happened that Iferion, Valion, and Tasmia were getting ready to party as well. They also had jobs that complemented us quite well. We did decent XP, and I dinged 58WHM. At last I could wear my Healer's Briault and look like a real White Mage.

In other FFXI news, my brother has decided to restart an account after roughly a year of not playing. His old account (character Teepo) was inactive, and he no longer owns the PS2 he played on. Thus, I purchased a copy of the all-expansions-inclusive FFXI for Windows. He's all installed, created his new character Anacalius, and has begun the process of getting back into the action. He was an almost-60 Dragoon when he left, and his new job is undecided. I suggested he start with Monk to more easily make his way to 18 for his subjob, and he has heeded the advice. Hopefully I'll find a job I can enjoy partying with him. We used to tear a swath through Vana'diel, and now that I've long since arrived at the plateau of my FFXI career, I could use a new form of entertainment.

New agenda is as yet unclear, as I haven't put much thought into the game in recent weeks. However, I'd like to get back into some of the usual LS events. We have a static or two on hold, we've got an NM or two in need of death, and Dynamis still looms. Add to that a few jobs I have already spent money gearing up, and I could once again have a full plate in no time. Beastmaster in and of itself, post-update, is a definite choice for its utility and solo-capable fun.

In TheSolonavi, Galbatorix capped his Red Mage off to 75 whilst I was away, Dungeonwhipper has all but quit FFXI (she started an account on World of Warcraft), Sodako has edged his way closer to 75SAM in-between college classes, and we've taken in a few new members and returning faces. Aerroenu and her boyfriend Xiahou, both friends of mine for quite a while, have been given linkpearls and provide excellent laughs and companionship. Iaito, a long-time friend of mine, returned to the game this month and is building his way back to normal:

That's all for now. Hopefully there shall be more to report soon as we get something done (sic). Until next time~