As the days go by, I'm getting a little more into FFXI. Sodako and I have had some conversations regarding where I might be headed game-wise (ever the plotting duo, we are). It's been mostly positive, with the exception being my possibly-discouraging views on endgame. I'll save the details of that particular topic for now, but in essence, I'm having a hard time caring about anything other than Dynamis where endgame is concerned.
The static (Galb-Ninja, Soda-Thief, and Drac-WHM) ran on Sunday, and went quite well. Certainly better than our last outing. To start, we brought along a Corsair & Thief combo who were friends, and added in a Japanese Blue Mage to round it out. Despite my general feeling that two Thieves isn't that great a plan, it worked well. They used their SATA back and forth and we were killing with an efficiency everyone hopes for with each party. No one left the party or even went AFK for quite some time, but when the BLU had to head out to work, we temporarily disbanded and took a break. Upon resuming, we invited a Monk, a Samurai, and ... something else. All I remember is that the Samurai sucked and made Sodako pretty angry. By the end of the day, we did somewhere in the neighborhood of 37K EXP and all three of us hit 60. I started out barely into 58 and ended dinging 60 as seen here:
That was my fifth job 60+ and my 700th level. As noted by Soda: "Which is more disturbing: that it was your 700th level or that you're so aware of it?" Hmm...
My next party was with an old friend named Dyce. He's a very cool guy, and probably one of the more silly and humorous fellas I know. Dyce leveled Paladin first, and has been the recipient of quite a bit of Draco scolding. He's not a bad player by any means. Dyce is simply the kind of guy who doesn't particularly care about status quo or what others think of him, and is more than willing to try crazy things. Over the years, Dyce and I have had some crazy parties, one of the more notable being a "PLD burn." Yes, that's a party full of Paladins. And you know what? It worked.
Thus, when Dyce started Corsair, he has dragged me along on more than a few occasions. Currently, he's in range of my Bard and incidentally, Sodako's Samurai. On Tuesday we decided to make a go of it. Dyce couldn't find a "real" tank, but he did invite two Warriors. One of these Warriors was Darkwolf, who is also an acquaintance of mine. Dyce-COR, Drac-BRD, Dark-WAR, Soda-SAM, Japanese WAR, Japanese WHM. For the sake of props alone, Jinryu was a quality WHM. Now comes the interesting part.
The initial plan was to have the two Warriors bounce hate back and forth, which should work adequately. We were at Mamool Ja Staging Point, and our target was the dragonfly-like Puks (who absorb wind and have a few AoE attacks, including knocking everyone back 20ft). Puks generally die easier than a target such as Crabs or Crawlers who have high defense, but they are indeed quick and vicious. The two-WAR-tank approach worked decently to start, and we grabbed a couple thousand XP. Unfortunately, Dyce made a misstep and linked an extra Puk on a pull. He had to eat a death and get Raised, so this struck Soda and me with the idea of trying out an "alternative" idea.
Sodako and I, during the aforementioned endless plotting, have tossed around the idea of making a Samurai tank setup. It had essentially been left at being something he'd gear up once he's 75 and has some time/money to throw at it, then test it out. Well, as the saying goes, "There's no time like the present." When Dyce bit the bullet, Sodapop and I headed back to town to pick up some tank-oriented items. He grabbed his AF (which curiously has Enmity+ all over it) and I grabbed some of my PLD items with Vitality and such.
Now, to hear the story of how well this worked, you could come across conflicting reports. Soda seems to feel he did poorly. Darkwolf appeared to enjoy the idea, but that could be because he had a rare form of selective amnesia that prevented him from knowing how to use his innate Job Ability (Provoke). Neither of the two Japanese members complained nor did they appear frustrated. Dyce and I both had fun with the setup simply because it wasn't the status quo, it was a fun idea, and it was working essentially just as smoothly as a "normal" tanking job. I've partied at this camp with both Paladin and Ninja tanks, and I've had worse incidents with players of both jobs as opposed to the work my little kitty friend did here.
We came, we saw, we slaughtered. After a while we grew weary of partying and called it quits, but not before I made an obvious verbal jab at the lack of Provoke from anyone but the SAM. I leveled up to 67BRD, bringing me close enough be comfortable with Barding in merit parties with friends to get the rest of my XP.
It was another "Dyce and Draco" party, to be sure, but it was fun. If only it had been recorded on video, maybe the rest of the community would be more apt to try things that break the mold.