a.k.a. "Late Post Regarding Late Update."
Square-Enix is a very interesting company. Say what you will about the love(hate) relationship we FFXI players enjoy(endure) with SE. Regardless of their mistakes or oversights, they do have a pretty good hold on us. Kinda like that girl you've dated a while, even though she's not the prettiest girl you know, and she's kinda psycho and isn't very good at relationships... Ok, yes, this comparison is a little strange. The point being, SE has its first MMORPG in its sixth year of play, and despite losing a large portion of its players, it's still one of the best on the market in many people's eyes. Including mine.
Now, the SE team working on FFXI has been trying to keep us hooked with new content, such as areas, jobs, missions, monsters, etc., as well as changes to the core gameplay. This is a good news / bad news situation in my book. Anyone who plays is aware that we've received quite a few great updates in the past year or so. These bits of new content and modifications are great for those of us who are still subscribed. However, SE has been sitting on some of the same issues/problems for years now and they've lost countless players who might've stayed around if things had changed sooner. Yeah, I'm whining a bit, but I'm focusing on the fact that many of my good friends have left the game and most of them could still be here now if SE had made more changes to the playability.
Enough of that. Let's move on to what's actually going on. It's been a good while since I posted and that's largely due to my lack of putting much time into FFXI during that period. Summertime is busier for me, and I don't do as much gaming in general. Plus, I've been diverting to Xbox 360 games, playing a variety of genres to keep myself from being bored. My work schedule for the summer (and as of this writing, remains my current schedule) has been incompatible with FFXI with regards to getting much done. Dynamis runs with Dark Tower LS (run by long-time-friend Elminster) are Sunday and Thursday, which 9/10 times I can't attend. Versus is my other endgame shell and they do various things on different days, but since I only have Sky access at present, it's difficult because their Sky run has to fall on one of my days off that I'm actually home.
These factors added up to me canceling my account for a break during September. Well, I don't intend to write the same redundant post about Level Sync that everyone and their mother has already written. However I do want to say that roughly a day after the September Version Update, I was back online once again. Level Sync is quite simply the best update-that-came-five-years-too-late I've ever seen. But that alone didn't bait me back into Vana'diel. No, the kicker to me was that they increased the EXP gain from Easy Prey and Decent Challenge monsters. It might not seem like much on the surface and might not affect many players nearly as much as it affects me. Simply put, I solo/duo a lot. One of the main things I enjoy is just random-killing things for small chunks of EXP and gil. This update has roughly doubled the XP gains from the very targets I have spent innumerable hours slaying.
All alone, without need for job selections, a seeking pool, or moron-filters, I can make 3-4K per hour. Hell, I could easily spend time getting into a party and getting everyone transported to a camp and then set up for battle and make 5K/hr some days. For that matter, some parties never really hit a stride and you might spend 2-3 hours trying to hit a rhythm and average out to less than 4K/hr by the time it's all said and done. Yes, ladies and gents, I much prefer the ability to just enjoy the game itself without need for organizing random people. And even if I have a friend or acquaintance who joins me, we still make enough XP to be worth it and it's so much more relaxed and fun (usually) that it's better than having a party. At this point in my FFXI 'career' I don't need the maximum XP gain. I've seen 800-plus level-ups and I'm in no hurry anymore. I want to feel I'm making progress while... brace yourselves... enjoying the ride.
All that being said, I do intend to put more time into the game during the winter. See, Draco hates the cold. Draco hibernates. Draco speak like caveman and make fire to stay warm. Draco play games. Draco no like snow.
I've made my post about some current gear goals (right here) so I don't need to speak on that other than to say that I do intend to get back to that. I had come to the conclusion in August this year that after 800 levels I was pretty much done with simply leveling for leveling's sake. However, I do hope that with Level Sync and the XP boost soloing, I'm able to round out even more jobs. I do really enjoy having many jobs to choose from and having experience in a bit of everything. Again, once my schedule at work is rearranged a bit, I'll be able to get into some more endgame. It doesn't need to be said necessarily but I'm going to point out my hope that with the Level Sync feature, capped missions (like my much-desired CoP) should be slightly easier to get help for since you wouldn't have to own all the capped gear to attend. Increased drop rates and halved cost of Dynamis means an event I love is going to be more easy to handle and profit from in the future.
I do have plenty more to say and would like to get back into the swing of posting again, but this is getting to be a long-winded entry as-is. I have lots of screenshots I'll sift through as well, and post them perhaps this weekend.
One last thing before I leave for work... To certain friends of mine who may or may not be considering or already enacting FFXI retirement or breaks... Do realize that I might not make a big deal out of it in conversation, but TheSolonavi LS and in particular a handful of the closest friends have made the last few years awesome for me. I won't ever ask any of you to stay in the game simply because I'd miss having you all around, because life > game, of course. Just... None of you better delete anything 'cause if this game survives and the servers are still running, I wanna see you goofballs in the future if things change.
Peacin' out for now. Until next time~