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~