Thursday, December 27, 2007

Christmas Aftermath.

The holidays have caused some stumbling for ol' Drac-man. Between playtime and perhaps other factors, I haven't gotten much done with him. Hell, even trying to track down a female Elvaan Paladin who is level 38 or higher has proven difficult. This Starlight Celebration wants very specific traits on a character, in order to complete the quest and obtain my prize. I'm hoping before the year's end, I'll get my full set of "Dream" (read: Santa) clothes.

Monk has been at a standstill. I've tried partying with no results, both from seeking and from being in actual parties that went nowhere. I also tried soloing some but it got pretty dull. This partly being because I'm not sure what to kill at 47 that I can do solo without much annoyance and for a fair EXP gain. Then two of the linkies and I went out to the desert to take on Tough-to-Very-Tough beetles at Revelation Rock. We did them well, but one of the guys got tired and I disconnected, which kinda nixed the evening.

I have held off on Dancer a bit, both to get back in the mood for it and because I may be duoing with someone and I'd rather wait. It's 10 levels away from being a full subjob, which is all I want right now. Puppetmaster has been using the Dancer subjob and PUP remains my main pastime during the last couple weeks.

It's time to end this year. I've had quite enough of it! On to the screenshots...

San d'Oria is so purdy with all its decorations and trees! I'm a sucker for Christmastime, so here are a couple shots of the city I see so often, now looking different:

I was in Bastok briefly, and got to see only a couple small areas at the time. One of these being what is in my opinion a very cool-looking tree placed at the Port Bastok fountain:

Back home, I ran into LS member Clunkety, and we sat down for a chat-session until we realized our day was quickly disappearing:

Remember this holiday season: Every time a bell rings, a Tarutaru gets its wings.

My favorite Moogle-that-doesn't-belong returned to Southern San d'Oria the other day. Here he is, floating around like he owns the joint.

It is a law of the FFXI universe that if Encino and I try to go do something, death will result. This time, it was his Beastmaster and my Puppetmaster killing things. Ourselves, mostly.

My PUP has, however, reached 14 on its own accord. I can now wear a couple pieces of gear that will propel me toward the 20 range.

Since I will and already have been asked many times already: my Christmas experience was not too bad at all. I divested myself of cash to buy gifts for people (my two smallest siblings, mostly). There wasn't any of the typical family-coming-together drama. No baby-mama drama, nothin'. I ate a lot, which isn't really characteristic of me. In fact, I gave myself a stomachache on Christmas day, because I ate lunch and then a big dinner. Orz.

It is something of a tradition around my family to make tacos and so forth on Christmas Eve. We did so this year, which was nice for me since I was gone the last couple years. I ate quite a bit of it, just because I like it, which isn't a very good practice but I made an exception. Christmas day we had prime rib, twice-baked potatoes, glazed carrots, deviled eggs (a personal favorite), and a bunch of other stuff I can't hardly remember.

As for activity, it mostly consisted of opening my little brother's toy packaging, installing batteries and assembling various things, and watching The Office. I got hooked like a fish on this show. It's probably coming close to a second-place spot on my favorite show list, behind oft-touted Sports Night. The characters, dialog, and crazy circumstances/situations of The Office get me laughing so hard I can barely see straight. This is rare, for me, because it generally takes a lot to get me going. I pretty much used every free waking hour as viewing time (which amounts to me staying up all night watching episodes).

Overall, it's been a nice little Christmas. Nothing spectacularly good or shockingly bad happened, so it ended up being very relaxed. And believe me, I'm okay with that. Until next time~

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Feliz Navidad, and Other Great Music.

My brother clearly likes to march to the beat of a different drum. Read into that however you please, I'm not his PR guy. For the sake of this journal entry, this translates to a weird glitch that caused Cali to run strangely... or dance... or whatever the hell it is he's doing here.
We were heading out to Castle Zvahl to kill Dark Spark, for Cali's Warrior AF hands. He comes running up the hill and I notice something is "off" while he's still in the distance. By the time he got close to me, I was laughing so hard I could barely get the screenshots.

Puppetmaster-slash-Dancer has been going about as well as I could have expected. The Dancer subjob I started using has given Calcobrena and I a workout. Drain Samba adds to my damage output, as well as being a constant HP-regain, obviously. I have parts equipped on my Automaton that adds an HP Regen effect when I use Light Maneuver.

This ends up being a pretty steady stream of fighting, and since I'm using my Empress Band each time I go out, the EXP flows pretty well. I don't play for long periods of time with it, so by the time the ring's effect wears off, I'm ready to stop anyhow. I'm level 12 as of this writing.

Llewelyn needed a hand with his Samurai Artifact armor, with the target being a bird NM in Labyrinth of Onzozo. I remember doing this thing a few times, so I wasn't afraid. Saruka came out on Thief since we'd been running around a little beforehand. Ewe was on his SAM, a mere handful of XP away from hitting 61. He happened to ding that level while we cleared the aggro monsters out of the area. The NM went off without a hitch. It's a Bard-type, which really only amounts to it using Horde Lullaby and trying to keep us asleep. My DRG/WHM was able to keep up with waking the fellas and any needed curing. One more kill to tally on the cell wall.

Christmas has come and the aftermath is in effect. I hope everyone's day was at least as good as mine. I ate, a bunch, as usual. I'm not used to consuming so much in one day, but it's all in good fun. I happen to like this time of year, but not for the weather I assure you. "White Christmas" looks swell but I don't get much out of it anymore. Cold can totally kiss my ass, too. But, I'm a good sport. At least these days. I whine a little when my bones are numb but other than that it's a great season. I'd also like to note that Christmas music is awesome. End of story.
Above is my mule, Jinnai, in Bastok Mines. He's something of a photographer for me.

I celebrate Christmas and it's good stuff. I was happy to be able to spend it with family this year. My last couple were elsewhere, though interesting in their own right. I find this time of year is a nice little recharge for remembering to be nice to people. Y'know, 'cause sometimes we get pretty caught up in ourselves and all. A brand new year is now just around the corner, and I can't wait!

Merry Christmas (and days after) to everyone!

P.S. Current music artists redoing old Christmas classics... very cool, I'm all for it. Please stop butchering the songs, though. Just sing them. I'm looking at you, Beyonce.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

The Booger Campaign.

Why yes... I am indeed an adult who used the word "booger" in a title. I'm aware of the implications. As always, it'll make more sense by the end. Just go with it.

We start off with another instance of dubious honor: making the blog by dying! Fmtwo was using PLD/BST to skillup, or whatever it was he was doing. Ran into a little trouble, apparently, and I was already on WHM so I headed out for the Raise II. I'm hoping Raise III is around the corner for me, but we'll see.

In somewhat-Fmtwo-related news, I took my PUP08 out for a short run the other night. FM has leveled Puppetmaster a bit, reaching 40+ so far. I have disregarded PUP altogether up until now, for many reasons I won't get into now. However, three factors have brought it into play:
  1. Fmtwo has the uncanny ability to make me interested in whatever he's doing. He takes something and does it with logic and skill, while making it look fun.
  2. After playing Dancer, I soon theorized that DNC would make a good PUP subjob. I want to see what a PUP/DNC can accomplish.
  3. I've been spending quite a bit of time doing things by myself recently. PUP can be a soloable job, and particularly when combined with DNC it could be great.
I purchased myself some slops (love that for style points), a pair of claws to fight with, and headed out to Ghelsba Outpost. My automaton is named Calcobrena, and it's a pretty decent fighter in its own right. My fighting strategy was to "Deploy" Calcobrena toward one enemy, an easy prey or decent challenge at worst, while I fought a separate target. We'd get maybe 30-40 per kill, but simultaneously. The kills were fast, and the EXP totaled 80ish every... what, maybe thirty seconds. It wasn't an amazing pace, and it wasn't all that pretty, but the gain was very efficient. Level 9 and 10 came with ease.

Level 10 makes a level 05 subjob, which is when DNC gets Drain Samba. Thus, the next time I'm bored/crazy enough to take PUP out, I'll be able to toy with the effects of HP drain on each Hand-to-Hand swing.

Sorjorn and Supergirl, two long-time friends on FFXI, have recently begun logging in again after a little hiatus. They've picked up the expansion and have been spending time together doing Campaign Battles. Since I like to butt in on everything my linkies do, I showed up to WHM for them in ye olde Rolanberry Fields.

I didn't take any action shots, 'cause we were fairly busy beating up and getting beaten up by Quadav soldiers. In-between battles, the sun came out in spectacularly bright fashion, thus I declared it was time to sunbathe. The linkies followed suit and we were working on our tans happily. I got a couple laughs out of them, so it made the otherwise-tedious battle that day worth the trip.

The three of us were getting antsy and were teasing each other quite a bit this particular evening. Supes made a comment about Sorjorn's hair color being that of "Tarutaru boogers," which got us all laughing and fueled the fire of silly behavior. Here's a shot of the hair in question, a close-up of "The Prof":
Tarutaru boogers? You be the judge. After I made Supes take off her hat to compare hair color, Sorjorn retorted with a pithy quote: "Shit brown." I couldn't help but laugh. I'm glad my orange hair is usually compared to fire or San d'Orian carrots.

Moving on... The Starlight Celebration has begun! In earth terms that amounts to "Christmastime" but hey, whatever works, right? I have been told Jeuno got some silly holiday music, while the three home nations have their halls decked out with lavish decor. In addition to previous years' event items (Dream hat & coat, which are Santa clothes), this year brings Dream boots. Also, we get furnishings that look like the traditional Christmas stockings, as well (one for each nation's color scheme).

The first couple years I played FFXI, I was on break each holiday season and thus did not get to have a Dream hat. Last year I did get the holiday hat for my mule, but this year I'll go all-out and acquire all the goodies. For now, I'm off to do some work. Until next time~

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Party Hardy.

Ahh, the insatiable need to gain levels. I cannot escape it. I have a feeling most other objectives shall fall by the wayside as I add more notches to my belt. And so it went...

I hopped on Bard, seeking for a while. I disconnected about four times in a row, which irritated me. This led to me deciding I'd just read a book and stay logged in for LS chatter (a common thing for me to do). I didn't want to get into a party if I was not going to have a stable connection.

I hung around by where my brother was leveling. After a little while of not having my party flag up, I got a tell asking me if I'd be interested in some XP. This prompted me to take note of the fact that the game hadn't disconnected in a while, so I accepted. Turned out to be a group of five friends who just needed a support job to fill the group. We camped at Mamool Ja Staging Point, fighting Puks and the occasional "Spaniard" (a.k.a. Mamool Ja).

I realized that one of the party members was a regular poster on a forum I frequent, so that was kinda cool. We partied for a few hours, though it didn't seem tedious since the whole time there were jokes and entertaining anecdotes being spread around. It reminded me of why I usually leave my jobs static with my own linkies. The EXP grind of FFXI just isn't nearly as annoying when you have familiar people around. I didn't level, but that was because the levels are looooong at this point and I wasn't terribly far into 69 when I started.

Partying Monk is quite simple, to the point of making me feel lazy. I'm not really a viable puller unless we have no other option, so I just stand there at camp. I have a macro that handles pretty much everything and I only have a few Job Abilities that are worth using. I have actually found myself reading a book while partying, and thankfully the parties were good enough that I didn't have any crises to deal with.

I was 42 earlier this week, and was invited while I was soloing with Dancer subjob. DNC is a pretty good option for this, by the way, but I won't get into that topic at the moment. The invitation was from a Japanese player, which I assumed was going to mean I'd be ignored the moment he found out I was in fact, English. I was pleasantly surprised to find that I had run across some of the excellent, fun Japanese players as opposed to what has become the norm for me lately.

We headed out to the Altepa Desert to fight Beetles at a place on the map called "Revelation Rock." I happen to love this camp, by the way. As long as you have Dispel for the Evasion Bonus the beetles do, they're quite manageable. They repop pretty quickly for a non-ToAU camp and there are enough to support a couple parties if need be.

There was plenty of emotes and silly comments for the duration (including me using the little Japanese I know along with some phrases made up, translated, and romanized for the party's enjoyment). On to the action shots~

I was 44 at the end of this party, and it really got me in the mood to keep going. My damage right away impressed me, and any time you end up in a party that goes smoothly it seems to spark your interest for more of the same.

Thus, I partied again the next day, this time with plain ol' North Americans. Crawlers' Nest was the order of the day, and it went pretty well throughout. I gained another two levels with this crew.

Here I'm seeing colors:

Two Dancers in one party is probably inefficient, but I still leveled.

During a break in the action, I got some free Mithra lap-time.
Leveled again!

Later on, I got a second party, this time with a Japanese and English mix. The tank was a Ninja from the Land of the Rising Sun, and she performed adequately. However, it was readily apparent to me immediately that the Paladins from the previous two parties had spoiled me. Now I had to remember I'd be damaged more often after using Weapon Skills. I can't really complain; Raging Fists was doing pretty heavy damage.

I felt a little guilty after this party. The reason is, I was reading my book, no big deal. But as the party went on into the evening, I became complacent. I was hitting a matter of maybe three different macros every so often and not really needing to do anything else. I would look up at the screen when the movement told me the next mob was at camp, and keep reading. I wasn't reading the text at all, so that meant anyone who sent me tells as well as any LS chat was completely lost on me.

This is not like me to do, but I was enjoying the multi-tasking. All the sudden, I look up and the party was ending. I see Warp cudgels going off left and right, so I head to my Equipment screen to equip mine. I hit the wrong option and it went to Status instead, where I found I was level 47 and hadn't realized it. Too easy? Perhaps.

And no, the party didn't end due to my lack of paying much attention. (I checked...) The leader was falling asleep at this PC.

I'm not sure why, but this little shack out in the middle of Rolanberry Fields puzzled me.
I don't know if they added this somewhere along the lines, if I have never run past it before, or if I'm just plain crazy. Regardless, I could not for the life of me remember this structure being here. I wandered around it for a few minutes and then moved on to more pressing matters, like cookies. That's all for today~

Monday, December 17, 2007


I spent the latter half of my week out of town, enjoying myself. It was a nice little reprieve and now I'm back to the daily grind. I've been exploring a bit more in the expansion areas, but nothing too shocking to report just yet. They have indeed added the acquisition of the new equipment, which was nice. I will pick it up soon, I'm sure. On to the photo-trail.

This is Eldieme's little magic barrier apparently placed just to keep us corralled...

Here's a Pixie giving me a Cure as I run by. It's always nice to be soloing something, expect to rest up a bit, and be thrown a little magic from a passerby.

In Campaign, I've taken Dragoon a couple times now.
Here are a couple shots of my Wheeling Thrust making sparks fly:

My brother's Samurai was my level on Dancer, so I decided to show him first-hand just how much fun Dancer can be. Without need for any other party members, we tore through the mobs. After fighting in a duo for a while, his friend came out to join in on the action.

Dancer dings Lv.25, learning three new abilities.
Spectral Jig: Gives me the effects of Sneak and Invisible for zero TP cost, every 30 seconds.
Divine Waltz: Pretty much just like Curing Waltz only it works on the party.
Aspir Samba: Works like my Drain Samba, but gives MP drains instead of HP.

We died not long after.

After Cali and Zzir left, I soloed a little bit. Undead aggro got me killed, which is always reassuring. I didn't really mind, and I stared at my dead body for around 40 minutes while I was chatting in the LS. Finally I made note of my 20 remaining minutes as a joke, which prompted Saruka to come Raise.

Level 25 also brings my Shade harness, for style points, and Parrying knives, which are +10 Parrying skill. Clearly these are entertaining to a Parry-obsessed fella such as your truly.
I tried some partying in Yuhtunga Jungle, with hopes of gaining a bit quicker than I do soloing.
This is the part where you imagine me sighing to myself.

I think we all shop at the same store.

Lastly, the entry's namesake: hitting 25 on Dancer happened to also be Draconum's 750th total level. Somewhat of a milestone, this is, mostly because of all the ways players measure their success and their worth of playtime, I measure by EXP. I've always enjoyed being a jack-of-all-trades, and having both the utility and experience in as many jobs as possible. So for the purpose of both vanity and for later progress-tracking, I'm going to list a few pieces of level-related information.

  • I've got every job except Scholar unlocked, which will be done soon.
  • I have two jobs capped at 75. (Dragoon, Paladin)
  • My Adventuring Fellow is capped at 65.
  • Three more jobs follow close behind in the 65+ range. (Bard, Thief, White Mage)
  • I also have two jobs in the 50+ range. (Warrior, Red Mage)
  • In accordance, I have completed Artifact Armor sets for every job 50+ except Warrior, which has its first and most important piece only.
  • Three jobs have been leveled 40+ after their subjob-worthy 37. (Monk, Dark Knight, Samurai)
  • Nearly every job which is useful as a subjob is 37 or higher. Possible exceptions are Dancer, Summoner, and Ranger.
  • Merit points thus far total to 25.
Now if you'll excuse me, I have monsters to kill.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Warning: Contains Puns. Bad Ones.

Dancer died and dinged a few more times. I flew solo until 20, at which point I was about ready to join up with the other lifeforms and try a party or two. I ended up at 22 after the partying. I headed off to solo more until I got to 24. Gear is getting a little better as I rise, which is encouraging. At 25 I'll be wearing my Shade harness, signed by departed-from-FFXI friend, Lordmonkey. Battle gloves, Beetle earrings, Leaping boots, Empress hairpin... The overall setup is pretty good for a support class, which is what Dancer is being declared to be.
Oh, and the third picture there is good friend Sorjorn multi-tasking: Simultaneously giving me a Raise and Taru-humping my leg. Go figure.

On my way back from the first Dancer party in Qufim Island, I happened upon linkies Enyae and Jiaye. A few emote-dances later, it was time for a surprise maintenance from Square Enix. We chit-chatted for the last twenty minutes, then logged out for the night. Here are a couple pics of WilyKat and WilyKit along with Allouette, the Automaton. (Not to be confused with a poorly-dressed Tarutaru.)

In San d'Oria, I often bump into friends who are fellow countrymen. Lordlotuskiller happens to be an acquaintance of mine who happens to have recently completed the Relic Shield, Aegis. Besides looking so very unique, the Aegis also packs quite the stalwart defense. According to LLK, he blocks practically every other hit, giving him quite a bit of TP. With some nice magic damage % mitigating gear, his Paladin is a defensive powerhouse. I'd love to be able to toy around with all the equipment LLK owns, 'cause I'm already a fan of soloing in general, not to mention the ability to do so with ease on PLD.

On to the action! Wings of the Goddess has been a little hit-or-miss so far, but then again I can say that about nearly any aspect of this game. The Campaign Ops are little mini-missions that are arranged similarly to how Assault was in Treasures of Aht Urghan. These are all-too-easy but still qualify as a diversion. There are only a couple quests and missions available in the new (olde) towns, so that's not much help. I've already completed the map acquisition quests for the three actual new zones (Grauberg, Vunkert Inlet, and Fort Karugo). Those were actually easy as pie, too. The only substantive content is the two new jobs and Campaign Battle.

I've obviously had some fun with Dancer so far, and Scholar looks pretty slick as well. Campaign Battle is a bit of a mixed bag, but it packs some punch. Essentially how it works is: Beastmen forces versus Allied forces... all over the (olde) world, all the time (bad pun). There are outposts in each zone where you speak to an NPC to begin your participation. Hordes of monsters come out of the woodwork, and you battle them. In addition, a slew of friendly NPCs pretend to help.

These battles are happening pretty much at random all day long. It's possible to use the (very handy) NPC warping feature (for a slight cost of Allied Notes, more on them in a moment) to travel from one battle to the next. Campaign is actually good at keeping a person very busy when consumed by boredom and/or bloodlust. There is a map which tracks where the battles are currently taking place, though this could possibly be a little clearer in order to be at the right place at the right time. The mobs are pretty fair, with a balance of difficulty that allows regular parties and even lone wolves to get in on the action without being utterly obliterated. The NMs tend to have more powerful abilities and some pretty devastating attacks, which adds to the danger and in my opinion, the fun.

After each skirmish, you receive EXP and Allied Notes. AN are equivalent to Conquest Points or Imperial Standing of yore. It's fairly simple to amass AN right now, but unfortunately there is not much on which to spend or use them. I did spend 3000 Allied Notes to acquire an Iron Ram Shield, which is a cool piece seemingly designed with my style in mind.

So far these Campaign Battles remind me of Besieged but a bit more refined. Less waiting around (if you know how to read the Campaign map), relatively less server lag, better difficulty curve for participation, etc.

My biggest personal problem with Campaign so far is related to the players, not the game. I tend to show up as PLD, by myself, and start tanking mobs. Sadly, it's almost completely unpredictable and random whether anyone helps me out or not. Earlier today I started in on an enemy, got some cures and a few melee helpers. The very next mob I provoked raked me across the forest floor. No one threw a Cure, no one else even touched the situation. That's life. Guess I'll just start bringing friends with me, like we used to with Besieged.

Animal invited me out here, and I think it was just to see me get killed:

Conqueror Bakgodek, complete with Mickey Mouse headdress:

Deathlord Rojgnoj, complete with unpronounceable name and Hannibal Lecter mask:

In other news, Monday night saw some Bard partying. Saruka had devoted his day to Thief, and I joined him to the tune (pun number two) of 20K EXP or so. I dinged 69BRD while getting to watch a higher-level Dancer bust some moves. This made me almost want to keep Dancer going after subjob-worthy 37, so we'll see how it develops. This particular guy had a Joyeuse in his offhand, which would be lovely assuming I owned one.

I didn't take pictures of anything because I was already battling an extreme headache. The party and moreover the linkshell chatter kept me distracted until it was over. Worked out rather conveniently that as my headache got worse, the internet disconnected me a few times, coaxing me to bed. This didn't stop me from doing a couple Artifact objectives with Sicfreak and Saruka before I headed out. We got an Ifrit's Cauldron coffer key and killed Sahagin for his body piece. Both went very smoothly, but again, no pics. (By the way, Sic cast Warp II on the wrong person, i.e. me, after the key dropped. One of these days he'll put an eye out slinging magic around without looking, like that.)

On Wednesday, I'm going outta town for a couple days to hang out with Fmtwo again. Should be a good time, and I'll enjoy the couple days away from my typical routine I've been stuck in lately. December is going by quickly it seems. Christmas is already right around the corner. In-game goals aside, I've got a lot to do as the end of the year comes up. For now, sleep! Until next time~