Thursday, July 24, 2008

Happy Anniversary!

I can barely believe it's already been a year since I wrote "Three Years Running." That makes it four years of FFXI, and it's been a blast. I wish I'd made a progress report last year, but for my own use I'm going to jot down a few notes of Draconum's status.

Drac has 800 total levels now, spread across every job except Scholar (which remains the only job as-yet-unlocked). I've got two jobs capped at 75: Dragoon and Paladin. Three more jobs have reached the higher levels (65+) with a fourth, Monk, well on its way. I have complete Artifact Armor sets for Paladin, Dragoon, Bard, Thief, White Mage, Red Mage, and Monk along with 2/5 Warrior pieces. For Relic I have 3/5 Paladin, 3/5 Dragoon, and 2/5 for Beastmaster.

Summoner 08 was my 800th level:

As a citizen of San d'Oria, I attained Rank 10 quite some time ago. I don't have any plans to swap nations like many players do in order to rank in those missions as well. It'd certainly give me something to do but I'd feel too icky working for the 'other guys'.

The Rise of the Zilart expansion has its own set of missions. I have not completed all of the ZMs but I do have access to the area known as "Sky."

In Chains of Promathia, I am on the mission called "The Savage" which I have failed to defeat yet. I have to kill an Earth Dragon named Ouryu. I'm planning to work on CoP missions soon, incidentally.

As for Treasures of Aht Urghan, missions are fairly simple by comparison so far. I have recently defeated the "Black Coffin" mission; a few of my linkies and I are planning to run a mission or two each week until completion.

Wings of the Goddess apparently has some fairly interesting cutscenes related to its mission set, but I have yet to get very far into it. I ran into the Cait Sith creature and pretty much left off there. In Campaign Ops, I have completed two or three of the first tier of missions, but haven't put much work into it.

I can still recall with clarity the beginning days of my FFXI career. I was certainly apprehensive about an online Final Fantasy, but once I got on I was hooked quickly. I made friends right away while I was on my first couple of characters. I definitely recall Darion, Viagra, and a few others being in my first full party and running around learning the ropes. Before long, I met Debbie and Malachi, who were essentially my partners-in-crime for some time. To this day we keep in touch but they have moved on to other things.

My brother and I spent a few weeks of getting the hang of FFXI and then we decided we'd go at it full-force. We set up a second account for him under the character name Teepo and on July 24, 2004 I created Draconum and purchased a Linkshell, to be named TheSolonavi. We gathered many friends and had a lot of fun learning and growing with the whole crew.

Today, I have a solid team of members, most of which I have known for a couple years now. Former linkies like Ladyshy, Wilya, Dungeonwhipper, Sicfreak, Jared, and more are always missed but we try to enjoy the game and the social situation for what it is. I've known Encino, Galbatorix, Imacdeath, Sodako, Sorjorn, Supergirl, Valion, Fmtwo, Saruka, and a few others for years now. We know each other well and have a lot of laughs playing and helping each other out.

It's awesome how close I've become with people who live so far away from me, but FFXI definitely has a knack for its community aspect. I've played with the linkies for years and they are what keeps me in Vana'diel. I'm glad we can explore and adventure together and I hope it continues for some time to come.

I have been very relaxed with my goals, sticking to mostly leveling jobs. This upcoming year, however, will see more progress in other areas than I have seen for the most part. I've already leveled most of the jobs I really wanted to be, and I've got little else to do now other than missions and quests for the lackluster storyline. Should be interesting, and fun if all goes according to plan.


Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Black Coffin.

Closing in on Draconum and TheSolonavi's anniversary within FFXI. Closing in on 800 total levels which is sorta fun. Assault's going decent so far. I'm trying to spam Mamool but the allowed seven runs per week is too few, too frustrating, and quite a disappointment considering how much fun Assault is. I'm about 8000 AP into my 20000 goal for Amir Boots now.

I've been looking at Linkshells for endgame as well, this week. Still trying to figure out what exactly I'll be able to accomplish with a fairly non-FFXI-compatible schedule. I have a few friends who actually run or are co-leaders of shells. Then there is Omoikitte's shell, Versus, which I had all but decided on as the best choice about a year ago. However I wasn't feeling quite ready to tackle the events back then. I will be harassing Omoi again soon, I think.

That's all the talk for this entry. On to the pics!

Randomly saw Skeelo wearing Askar gear in Whitegate.
I started dancing and soon we both were.

Random slaughter of random, unlucky NM, Skewer Sam:

We tried to do an Assault against a bunch of Undead.

We probably should have paid more attention to what we were doing.
Lesson learned. I died.

Oh, and Valion died too. Notice Soda's comment:

Prepping for Treasures of Aht Urghan mission called "The Black Coffin" with the right kind of crew - Dragoons and a Popstar:

Some shots of the Black Coffin battle:

Draco versus the Captain of these corsairs:

And just to prove we didn't fail, here's a shot of the cutscene afterward:

Beastmaster x2 and Dancer crew reaches 30 and 31, respectively:

Not funny:

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Mithra Magnet Man.

I'm a (fake) chick magnet. Saruka's neighborhood friend also plays FFXI and thus a new member of TheSolonavi is borne. Kidari is a Monk main, Mithra character. Our cat content is rising. So far I get along well with Kid. He's got a good sense of humor (a must for our shell) and even shares my affinity for the /dance4 animation. We ended up partying our Monks together through the mid-50s along with some other linkies. It was pretty enjoyable and we got some good XP gain as well.

When Kidari hit 55 and there was an opportunity for a break in the action, we swapped jobs and headed to Xarcabard for Genkai-2 (the quest that allows him to level past 55). Everyone in FFXI knows that G2 is an opportunity to see some big Weapon Skill numbers with one of the three required NMs, the Boreal Hound. None of us really prepared ourselves to break out big numbers, but nonetheless it's still fun to do.

Soda was trying to remember which NMs had which weakness, which opened the door for Saruka to make a simple-yet-funny comment after we killed the Coeurl (big cat-thing):

Won and done. Back to town to regroup the party and get 57 so we could wear Scorpion Harnesses. The SH is pretty much standard Monk gear for quite a while until the Rare/Ex endgame-quality gear is acquired.

Mithra time again. I randomly sent a /tell to Darex, whom I have known for a very long time but haven't been in contact with for a good while now. Just so happens he was up for becoming an initiate into the 'Navi LS. He had been playing Dancer as of late, at level 24. Incidentally, Soda and I had left off our Beastmasters at 24 (see earlier entry). Thus another small static party was formed. We headed to Qufim Island and kicked stuff around for a couple levels before hitting the sack.

Taking a few minutes of time-out after work with Popstar in my Mog House. Kinky. He had reached 58 on Red Mage and has all his Artifact Armor now except the hat, which we'll go get for him when we've got six hours to run across Fei'Yin to get to the first NM.

Lastly for today's update: Friday night I got home planning to run our BST, BST, DNC trio with Soda and Darex, but someone (not to mention any names) had difficulty reading a clock. No biggie, we adapted and the three of us instead joined Fmtwo, Clunkety, and Valion in the 37-40 range to have a full 'Navi party. I went Dancer, Soda tanked with Paladin, and Darex hopped on Warrior. I got 40 on Dancer which allows me to get my Artifact weapon (a throwing disc in this case, which should be helpful) and gives me two new abilities: Stutter Step which lowers magic resistance, and Reverse Flourish which converts my Finishing Moves to TP. Reverse is a nice move because it essentially allows me to enfeeble the monster using TP and then earn Finishing Moves to convert right back into TP. Seemed fun so far.

So, two new Mithra members to play with (that's also a sexual reference) and the job levels climbing. I like to see both. I'll be at work and so forth for the next 40 hours or so. Monday I have some other work to do that I really don't want to but if I finish it I can go see The Dark Knight Batman sequel and then Monday night is Assault night in Mamool for another chunk of my Amir boots AP. So, yours truly is pretty booked for a while. Fun stuff. Until next time~

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Reubin Sangwich.

I recently got my coffer for my Warrior AF hands. This is the second trip we did. The first time I had to spend a long time in Eldieme searching for coffers. However the second time it was in the first room I checked. Thank goodness.

I wish I hadn't even bothered opening the Warrior AF quest because it's honestly a waste of inventory space, except for one piece: the boots. My boots give me Double Attack bonus, while most of the rest of the AF does little to nothing I'm actually going to use with the added problem of Enmity+ all over it. The hands, which to date is the only other piece I've acquired, would be second-most useful due to its STR and Shield Skill +10 (useful perhaps if I'm tanking or soloing).

NecessaryForce LS has taken to Assault once again. Mamool-spam was the order of the day Monday night, which is to say we did four straight runs of the same mission. We're trying to get enough points for my Amir boots and... well, whatever it is the boys want.

Sodako took point (as he may be doing on many/most of these Assault runs) and guided us around the zone picking out and pulling our targets. Each run was easily handled and other than a couple times when one of us fell into the bottom section before we planned to, everything went flawlessly.

Everyone's favorite ambiguous Hume, Reubin, gets into a dance-off with yours truly:

Later we were partying and took some time out to boogie down:

Soda resting by a crew of cloned gilseller Tarutarus who moved in near us:

Violence as usual, with Valion on Warrior, Sodako on Red Mage, myself on Monk, Reubin on Dancer, some Thief named Bajin, and a very... "interesting" Paladin named Mikeyco. I may be misleading you a bit here. Mike wasn't so much interesting as he was terrible. I could rant for a while about him and Paladins in general pissing me off, but here are some highlights:
  • Sitting at full or near-full MP as a Paladin is a no-no. Actually more like a hell-no-no.
  • Upon remembering (realizing?) a Paladin can heal himself, he should stick to that plan.
  • Flash is nice. I'm glad you use it. It's Divine Magic. It's useful. You know what is NOT a useful Divine Magic spell? Banish.
  • Oh, and while we're on the topic: NEITHER IS BANISH 2, YOU FUCK.
  • Hi, I'm your Job Ability list. I contain many useful skills such as PROVOKE!

Despite the shortcomings, we did make a little progress. Valion was thankfully around to bail us out in the tanking department. Sodako did well keeping us alive and patched up. I did my best with two pieces of Crow gear (less enmity) to not take hate much or long enough to be a damage sponge. I leveled, eventually the party broke, and much relief was felt.

The effort to push Monk to 75 is well underway and since level 50 it's been a rocky road. Hopefully things will turn around as ToAU camps open up the XP gain.

Thursday, July 10, 2008


Short update: my Wednesday was quite uneventful until the evening. I spent the day outside and then later looking up gear online. I started planning out what items I may be shooting for in the future as my gear becomes more important to me and endgame possibly rolls around.

Wednesday night, however, we had ToD on Kreutzet. This is a big, dumb bird in Cape Teriggan that only pops during wind weather. Sodako on WHM, myself on BRD, and Saruka on THF waited for the spawn. Sure enough we claimed and destroyed this NM handily. Congrats to Saruka, who deserves his new toy, the Sirocco Kukri!

As far as the topic of my gear is concerned... I've got a few pipe dreams at the very least. I was mainly browsing through things that would be best for Dragoon, despite the fact that I rarely use DRG in parties. However, I do use DRG a lot for soloing, events, etc. Thus I would like to heighten its efficacy, even though I'm pretty happy with it right now.

My motivational factors in gear are not necessarily what would be considered typical. Then again I am not sure what is typical anymore, since people change and the population of FFXI becomes enthralled with a new theory so often. I'm not a bandwagon kind of player, and thus I'm usually not following whichever trend is currently king. That said, I would like to have some Rare/Exclusive gear that is usable by more than one of my jobs. Pieces that are only useful to one job are not as important to me because I play so many jobs I can't afford to eat up a lot of inventory with gear I can't send to storage characters.

Disclaimer: My ideas and choices on gear do not stem from a complete lack of understanding of what the "best" statistical choices are. I like gear for my own reasons, and I'm not (yet) into endgame a ton nor am I looking at making the "best" setup. I am not trying to outparse anyone nor prove anything. I play my game the way I play my game. Thank you.

First up is the Askar Korazin. This is a Nyzul Isle Assault drop that may prove difficult to acquire. However it's one of my favorite body armors in the game for both my Dragoon and Paladin. Warrior, Dark Knight, Samurai, and Beastmaster can also equip this korazin and each of those jobs are conceivably ones that I would level to 75 if I get around to it. So in theory this body piece could be quite useful to me all around.

I like the fairly high defense along with the evasion for both tanking and soloing and +12 to each is pretty huge. My Dragoon wears +13 with the Barone Corazza as of this writing. Then there's the Double Attack +2% which I love. DA is one of the best job traits for a melee job in this game. I have a Pole Grip right now that adds 2% DA so stacking more will be nice wherever I can. Store TP +5 is a nice addition as well. I sub Samurai on my Dragoon more often than not, so I'm used to getting pretty darn good TP return for each swing as well as Weapon Skills. In my opinion, Store TP is not a make-or-break stat, but it's akin to shaving seconds off a lap time. Every little bit helps.

Sticking with the same set for a moment, the Askar Dirs. These pants are also a useful tool for PLD and DRG. This piece happens to have additions to Elvaan's three main weaknesses: MP, DEX, and INT. The Intelligence boost isn't important for PLD or DRG but if Dark Knight does get high enough, all three of those weaker stats are useful. HP and MP are always welcome, and the more MP I have on DRG/WHM when soloing, the longer I can last. And we're talking approximately 250 HP recovered for the cost of a 7 MP Dia spell, so that's a damn long time. Then of course anyone who knows DD jobs in FFXI knows that Accuracy and Attack are key to success, so a 5-point bonus to each on one slot is pretty nice. My wyvern will appreciate +10 defense, I suppose, but it's hard to know whether that's a very noticeable boost.

Perhaps as important as the stats, the Askar gear looks awesome. I love style pieces, which is one reason I love my Barone body & leg gear right now. I have to stare at my character for long periods of time, so having kickass-looking armor doesn't hurt my feelings one bit. The black is very cool and the purple accents here and there are nice as well as appropriate considering NecessaryForce (our sister-LS for events) is purple.

Moving down the legs to feet, we find Amir boots which will likely be the first of these goal pieces to acquire. It comes from Mamool Ja Assaults, and the tier 2 Mamool is easy enough that I can rack up points if I put in the effort. Not a lot needs to be said here. Accuracy +6 and Attack +5 are good boosts for any armor piece, but boots especially. The feet slot is generally unimpressive but this is a cut above. HP recovered while healing +1 is only worth mentioning because it almost makes me laugh. Such a silly stat to put only +1 for an otherwise great piece.

Yet another Assault piece, the Pahluwan Qalansuwa is maybe less important to me than the previous three but when added to the rest will be quite nice. Draco likes Accuracy and Attack gear. I'm growing a new affinity for HP bonuses. Gee whiz, take a look at that. Possible buzzkill with the fact that it's a possibly silly-looking cloth hat but we'll see. Sadly PLD can't use the qalansuwa but then, I like to wear my coronet with PLD and forgo covering my head when I play that job. (Don't know why exactly.) However, DRG and MNK can both use this and while it's marginally better than the Optical Hat's +10 Accuracy and Evasion or the +5% Haste that everyone likes from the Wal(mart) Turban, I still just prefer plain-jane Acc and Att bonuses. Call me crazy.

I'm not really interested in any particular hand armor just yet. People seem to love Dusk gloves but I'm not a big nut about Haste gear in general and there aren't many options for Dragoon in this armor slot. I own Spiked Finger Gauntlets which are Attack +12 and that may be the most effective piece I find, really. My Wyrm gauntlets I acquired from Dynamis are Accuracy +5 which is also decent but neither of those pieces really match the wow-factor of my other armor slots. Time will tell, I suppose.

I blabbed enough for now. I'll give my fingers a rest and get to harassing my Linkshell for scheduling out some events for gear acquisition. Until next time~