Thursday, May 31, 2007

What is going on with SE?

I don't really understand what is happening.

I think SE has gone off the deep end.

SE is a Japanese game company, not known for its flexibility, but in the last couple of updates SE has made some changes to the game that, although are not major changes to the game overall, have radically improved the game. Is this a new trend in forward thinking? I don't think so because the changes have been needed for a long time, but it is the first recognition that the game had some major problems and they needed to be addressed. It is also a recognition, and here is the most important part, that the oldest content needed adjustments because it was getting old. Fixes to Ullikummi spawning and changing Rare/Ex drops of high-dollar items are just the most obvious fixes. But looking forward, the recognition of the problems with the economy and adjusting prices of for Limbus is more evidence. This would have, in the past, taken a year for SE to fix. Here is the thing, I think they are recognizing that it is not the content aspects of the game that make the player base upset. It is the annoying little things, e.g. Limbus is a drain on the wallet of the normal player, so adjust it until the economy stabilizes. Big additions to the game are the shock and awe of updates, the things that stand out like in the most recent updates, Salvage, Nyzul Isle and now Einherjar, but the things that please the players are things that they can do anytime, like letting people get Ullikummi, O's Kote, E bow's; and things that just make it easier to play, like storage of more gear, the Sky warp quest, etc. So what is SE thinking? I have a thought.

Originally, when FFXI was created it was the first second-generation MMORPG. It looked at the problems of the first-generation of games (EQ for example) and started by making a game that didn't have those problems, but that just opened the door for new problems. And those problems were fixed by third-generation games like EQ2 and WoW. For a long time it appeared that SE didn't want to look at what WoW and EQ2 were doing correctly and wanted to forge their own path. The problem with this was that the game was still falling behind. The beginning of the end of the this kind of thought happened with the introduction of ToA. I think the first and most obvious change that SE made to recognize that others were doing good things in other games and they should adopt them was the introduction of instanced zones. Assault, although still used in a slight flawed manner in that I believe it could have been better instituted and more accessible, maybe with better rewards, but technically fine, was the first step in this. Salvage was the second, and Nyzul Isle, although technically still an assault, added something new: variation in design within an instanced zone. We will have to see how Einherjar is implemented but it appears to be more like Limbus, where you pick a zone and it locks others out just from the discription, but it is a larger event than say Assault or Salvage so I think they are approaching it with that as the intent, anyway.

Where does that leave the players? Much better off thats for sure. The last few updates have been completely packed with new additions and very few changes that people have not liked. Sure, you will have the occasional psycho who doesn't like improvements, or the player that enjoyed the exclusivity of an item that is now more available, but one has to wonder if the exclusivity of the items that the players had enjoyed was really because of item rarity or because of RMT, or actual perceived worth that was not true. Thief Knife for example, was it really as great as people made it out to be? SE is pretty good at determining if the player base should have certain items, even if needy players (I am talking about gear obsessive people, not owners of exclusive items) can't recognize that, and maybe TH +1 isn't as great as players had hoped. SE is definitely opposed to breaking their own game, even though they do regularly do it on accident, LOL, but in this case it was an intentional decision they made to increase an items availability. Maybe it was to offset the major profits that RMT were making on the Thief Knife, anything thing is possible, but for the majority of players this was a good move. Greatest good for the greatest number maybe? Very utilitarian, but changes like this will definitely please a good number of players.

Why this dissertation on the way SE has been doing things? Well, the next update is coming and it is chalk-full of yumminess for the players, and because, well, all I did yesterday was Dynamis-Valkurm which we lost and got no drops from, and though it may have seemed like it just wasn't our day, I don't think the attention level was that high for the run, it just seemed that we shouldn't have had as many problems as we did. And another problem I am having is that people that don't show up to CoP Dynamis runs actually end up costing me gil. The cost for CoP Dynamis runs are split between the members, and when people no-show they actually increase the cost for those that do go, all the while holding a place on the sign-up usually preventing people from going because they are already on another run. After Valkurm, I just harvested until I died from some aggro and just went to bed. It was nice to actually get some sleep. :) But it left me without much to report for today, and no pictures. I have already gone over everything from the update that has been released so far, and I guess I only have one more thing I would like to speculate on...

I think that there is an opportunity in the new expansion to open up Time Magic for the game. And here is the reasoning, first their are already time related spells in the game, that could be used. Slow and Haste being the most obvious, but there are other time related things that are not in the game but available in other FF games that could be use. For example, Slow and Haste effect recast and weapon delay, but only Fast Cast effects spell casting time. Slow Cast could be an offensive spell that could be used to slow spell casting time. Or maybe a spell that delayed the use of JA's? Or sped them up? Other obvious things come to mind, like Stop which could be a more powerful very of stun, or what about other spells that effected things time related? I could see the old spell Confuse being introduced here, bending time to throw off your victim. There is more available here, more AoE versions of spells already available, etc. I am hoping for more jobs from the coming expansion, and not just more DD's. I think that there are still a variety of directions that SE has yet to explore, like more buff/debuff jobs, and especially a new tanking job. They are only limited by themselves.

Thats it for today, see you tomorrow. :)

Edit: Ailee has pointed out that Stun and Flash are 45, so a level cap raise to 80 wouldn't effect them, and I also checked on my own and Ninjustsu enfeebles are at the lowest 44 and Refresh is level 41. This would only become an issue at level 90, making level 80 cap that much more feasible.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

What is on the horizon.

The first thing I want to note today is that an Earth Staff is next to worthless on Kirin. I haven't kited Kirin in a long while, but I used to use an Earth Staff the few times I have done it in the past, but this time right after the mini-god's I switched over to an Ice Staff to deal with Great Whirlwind, and I cut my damage taken by a whole lot. In general, you will get decent resist rates on Kirin anyway, without doing anything in particular to decrease the damage, but with an Ice Staff, resists become pretty common and the damage taken in general is reduced. Since it is a kited fight, and Kirin only uses TP moves, it is very easy to keep shadows up, so the main goal is to decrease the damage that shadows can't stop. Great Sandstorm is bad, but compared to Great Whirlwind it is not as bad. Heat Breath isn't bad enough to worry about, and with a Bomb Queen Ring on, getting resists will be near impossible. I have been using my regular -dmg/HP set up on Kirin but I am definitely going to tweak it in the near future.

Main: Ice Staff/Aquilo's Staff
Ranged: Ungur Boomerang
Head: Genbu's Kabuto
Neck: Evasion Torque (Going to get a Harmonia Torque)
Ear1: Eris' Earring
Ear2: Eris' Earring
Body: Arhat's Gi
Hands: Seiryu's Kote
Ring1: Bomb Queen Ring
Ring2: Mermaid's Ring
Back: High Breath Mantle
Waist: Warwolf Belt
Legs: Koga Hakama
Feet: Suzaku's Sune-ate or Fuma Sune-ate (Ninja Kyahan +1 at night)

The major difference here is that I am basically dumping all of my Haste gear for HP or defense. Haste is a lesser concern in this fight, so the focusing on HP and Enmity is a better idea. I started putting this idea together when I saw Aable show up to the fight with his Koga Hakama on, which made me consider what else could be changed to make things more efficient for a fight that is not straight tanked. The feet slot is something I am still considering because Fuma have a slight HP bonus over Suzaku's but Suzaku's have more defense. I will probably go with Fuma because as noted before, you don't get hit by very much direct physical damage so more HP is never bad. I am definitely not concerned with a wind resist set up because Great Whirlwind is not bad enough to justify it, definitely not going to one-shot me, but since the Earth Staff is near useless, it is definitely an added benefit for direct damage reduction.

Kirin itself was pretty run of the mill, and the drops were horrible. It would be nice to get some decent drops, maybe next week. The best thing we got out of the whole thing was a cute and cuddly pic with Elfaria. ^.^/
Now, on to game related issues. Honestly, I got up this morning and checked the POL site because I still needed to upload the pictures from last night, and none of the new information that was available was up at the time, and lo and behold when I get to work, there are updates! :) Ok, so the version update will happen on Monday, June 4th, which is a lot sooner than I expected. I don't really get what is going on with SE right now... giving players what they want... new events... new ways to get gear we all want... and now this? Confirmation of the new merits and the new weapon/magic merit caps? What is the world coming to?

In the soon-to-be released version update, we plan to introduce "Group 2" abilities for the blue mage, corsair, and puppetmaster jobs. We will also be increasing the maximum limit for point allocation in the "Combat Skills" and "Magic Skills" merit point categories for all jobs.

New Merit Point Category for Blue Mage, Corsair, and Puppetmaster

In the upcoming version update, we will be adding the "Group 2" merit point category for blue mages, corsairs, and puppetmasters.
Each of these jobs will gain access to four new job abilities and traits that should prove invaluable in a variety of situations. See the tables below for a description of each ability.

*Convergence will also increase the power of blue magic spells that are originally single target effects.

Maximum Point Allocation for Combat Skills and Magic Skills

The maximum limit for point allocation in the "Combat Skills" and "Magic Skills" merit point categories will be increased for all jobs.

"Combat Skills" maximum total ability increases:
12 > 20

"Magic Skills" maximum total ability increases:
8 > 16

*The maximum limit for each of the abilities within these categories will remain unchanged.

Further adjustments will be announced on the day of the version update.
Like the AF for the new jobs, these new merits look a lot more thought out than those for the old jobs. BLU's get an obvious boost with their merits and it will probably be difficult to decide what to merit, because they all have definite benefits for the job. Probably more Blue Magic allocation points being the most obvious one to merit. COR has a wider arrangement of options but still all generally good, and PUP probably have a good set too, but I don't know much about the job to make a definite statement. The more intriguing thing to me though is the new cap to weapon and magic merits. 20 merits will now allow for two fully merited weapons, which I am sure is pleasing the Axe/Ridill WAR's of the world, but hey they were already broken, so its not like it going to break them much more than they already have been. But it will let me put merits into Marksmanship, or Great Katana, or Polearm, or maybe even Axe. I think the 4 left over merits are probably going to go into Evasion. I am still not positive about all that yet, but the opportunity is now available and I am quite pleased with the situation. :) Looking forward to next Monday, that is for sure.

Oh and I forgot to mention that SE is going to be at some anime event at the end of the June into July. Usually, even from these kinds of events we get more information, and at least an interview or two. Hopefully, some more information will trickle out of the event about the new expansion... I am starting to put some thought into this new expansion and their mention of new magic and spells. I will have to read exactly what they said again, and see if they meant new spells for the jobs that already exist or if they mean a new class of magic. The more than I think about it, the more that I think that Time based magic might be a viable option. I think I will go into that more tomorrow.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Back from vacation.

Vacation was nice, had fun, drank a ton. And now on with the show.

There is a lot to go over but I think I can cover it all today. So lets get started.

Leveling has been a bit of a chore on WAR lately, I can't seem to get any parties started in under an hour. >.< Ahh well, that happens sometimes, but I did finally manage to get in a full day of leveling, and eeked out level 67 on WAR (actually getting pretty close to level 68). Somehow I missed the level up shot, even though I didn't change gear or anything to kill the animation. No idea how I did that. It may have been because I wasn't on my desktop BECAUSE IT COMPLETELY MELTED DOWN. ; ; I know next to nothing about computers but I do know that the ethernet ports both died, and they are integrated into the motherboard and so I am getting a new motherboard and hard drive under warranty. But that didn't mean I didn't spend a day wasted with tech support people telling me they knew what was wrong with my computer but having to run a hundred worthless tests just to prove it. Anyway, 67 is basically nothing new for my WAR, but I am considering end-game pieces now because of how fast I can get XP with my parties now able to shift over to the Mire. Imps are so ridiculously easy to kill for mobs that are way higher level than what you would normally kill at the same level, prior to the expansion (e.g. Dhalmels and Gobs). Dusk hands and feet look like gear that I should pick up, but the expense is high, so I would have to give up leveling *gasp* and actually farm for a while for that stuff. I have some ideas on how to get the money in a reasonable amount of time, but my level of concentration may not support it. Although, I probably sound consider that the next job I am leveling probably wont require a large infusion of gil for many levels, so it may be worth it. XP is good on WAR, really good. Chain 7 at level 66 on Magma Eruca good. I was kinda surprised how fast we were tearing through these mobs.

I would like to shortly go over my recent experience with Nyzul Isle and some of the progress we have made. Our first approach to Nyzul Isle was to just rush through as quickly as possible, which is obviously beneficial for time, but considering our set up is not completely balanced, tended to put us in a world of hurt when it came to crunch time. Just to note, our set up is usually NIN, WAR, DRG, BLU or BLM, BLM and WHM, which leaves us without a refresher/enfeebler/dispeller, which is quite a bit more difficult than you might think with some of the stupid mobs that you have to deal with here. But we did finally make it to a save on floor 5 after we changed our approach a bit; we slowed down. Considering the fact that rushing only caused us to die and not advance more quickly, we just took the time to rest to full on big fights. So we figured it was better to rest, take the time and maybe risk not finishing a set of floors and at least get out with some tokens. This worked much better for us, considering our set up. In another related note, we ran into a bunch of NM's this time around and boy they are not fun to deal with, but I have noticed a trend in some of these mobs and I have been adding them to the FFXI wiki to provide the information to others. For example, we ran into Mokke Now this little Imp loves to spam Abrasive Tantra, so much so that it didn't use any other TP move. Now this fits in with our previous experience of the Poroggos that only used one TP move like Water Bomb or Frog Song. I suspect that the third Poroggo NM only uses Magic Hammer but I have no confirmation of that as of yet. I have yet to figure out what moves the Psycheflayers do that are exclusive to each mob, but I will be more observant next time through. I have already changed my filters for when we do Nyzul so that I can gather more information on this. Speaking of Psycheflayer NM's we ran into Vile Yabeewa who turned out to be a lot less annoying than his brother Vile Wahdaha. We also ran into the Shielded Chariot which wasn't much of a pain either. I do have to say that we probably got pretty lucky yesterday on some of the mobs we had to fight, but it was fun and we are working hard at getting to higher levels.

After we were done with Nyzul, those of us that didn't go to bed helped Hellzfury and Pb to beat Promathia. The fight was a lot easier than I remember it being, and Hellz, the DRG, pulled hate and got Cometed in the second phase, and was the only person to die the whole time. I was able to use my new NIN AF+1 boots for the fight which made kiting a whole lot easier. And everyone was doing a ton of damage in general with just melee attacks, because our set up was NIN, WAR, DRK, DRG, RDM, WHM, rather melee-heavy. Jess managed to finish off like the last 10% of Promathia with a 300% Spiral Hell. LOL Well, Hellz and Pb can finally get their CoP rings, and we can start doing Apocalypse Nigh.

That is my short weekend, but I do have a lot to cover that SE has released since I was on vacation. Lets start with the mundane things. CoP missions are being adjusted down. Now, I don't really have a problem with this, because hey I can claim that I did CoP uphill, both ways, with no shoes, etc, but I just don't think they need to be adjusted. I think that the barrier for most people getting CoP done was that they just bandwagoned onto what other people did instead of thinking for themselves. Each time I have done the CoP missions, and have I have done each one multiple times, I have found they just get easier and easier. The gear available gets better and better and people have done them so many times that it is easy to find a truly good strategy, not just AM the mob and pray. I do like the idea of no XP loss and now XP gained from the battlefields just as an incentive to get people to go and help. New assault missions are being added and a new mercenary rank will be available.

A new mercenary officer rank will be awarded to players that complete the new promotion quest to be added in the upcoming version update.

What unusual trials await as you strive to enter the upper hierarchy of Salaheem's Sentinels?

New Assault Missions

We plan to introduce five new missions to challenge players who have entered the mercenary officer ranks.
Here's a sneak preview of what lies in store:

- Wake the Puppet
During a previous mission to eliminate the Undead Swarm presence from Periqia, the Imperial forces were forced to abandon a valuable automaton upon their retreat. You are to infiltrate the area, locate the machine, and return it to Al Zahbi.

- Red Versus Blue
Joint battle exercises are to be carried out between the Immortals (blue) and the Inexorables (red). You have been assigned to assist the blue team. The first side to defeat the leader of the other will be declared victor.

These new Assault missions will provide an interesting and difficult challenge for even the most experienced mercenary!

Report to the Commissions Agency for duty!
More of the same it appears, but some of the missions seem to have more information about the storyline in them, and I think I have some interest in pursuing more goals in the area of Assault, being that there is some pretty good gear for BRD endgame in there and I need to get to a higher rank because they are actually adding some new items to the higher rank Imperial Standing rewards, like Eternalpain definitely needs to get his rank up to get a Perdu Hanger for his BLU. So, I will be focusing a bit here in the future, I think. And finally some definitive information about Einherjar was recently provided:
A new, massively multiplayer battlefield is in the works for the upcoming version update.
The following is a brief outline on the new, multi-faceted feature:

Concept

Einherjar is an ever-changing multiplayer battlefield based in the Hazhalm Training Grounds. Because the monsters appearing in the dungeons will differ with each visit, a balanced party consisting of skilled, high-level players is recommended to clear these challenging missions.

Participation
6 to 36 players, level 60 and above, can enter each chamber of the Hazhalm Testing Grounds. An item similar to the hourglass used for Dynamis will allow parties to reserve one of the multiple areas, and will be required for entry. No previous Aht Urhgan missions need to be completed before participating.

Battles

After a party chooses a room, they will have 30 minutes to wipe out all the enemies before being teleported back out of the area. This time limit cannot be extended. Each area consists of a large room filled with several weak monsters, and one powerful boss monster. Parties must eliminate all the monsters in the area for the mission to be considered complete. Clearing all the chambers will grant players access to the final area where they will finally learn the secrets that lie deep in the bowels of Hazhalm.

Rewards

An Assault-like system is planned, where points earned in the Training Grounds can be used to purchase various items. The monsters lurking within Hazhalm will also drop rare items that cannot be obtained anywhere else in Vana'diel.
This seems to be pretty perfectly sized for Versus to do but honestly, we already have a ton on our plate with Sky, Sea, Limbus and other events. I suppose it will depend on what the rewards are in Einherjar to ultimately determine if it is worth it. We gave up on Salvage for that very reason, we had the people but the reward-to-time-spent payoff was not efficient at all for such a large group. I am hoping this is something different, something more doable, with decent rewards available inside and out of the zone. It appears that you can buy items outside of Einherjar with the points you earn inside, I am thinking that the abjurations that SE was speaking about becoming available elsewhere will be from this method, and then all new items available as drops from within the Einherjar zone. The update is mere days away, and although it would seem reasonable for them to have the update next week, I can see it being the second week of June easily, because there are several POL updates that haven't happened yet, and that they have to post about before they actually announce the date of the update. Here's hoping I am wrong about that. ^.^/

Friday, May 18, 2007

Simple days.

Sky, Limbus, XP. A simple day. I wish I could have stayed up later to XP longer but I was just exhausted and I leave for vacation on Saturday, so I didn't want to stay up all night anyway. I just wish I had more time to XP, but we have a pretty busy schedule in Versus, and since I am doing Dynamis full time again, I don't seem to have a lot of time for XP. Omoi, Izman and I all got a good amount of XP, already almost 24, and hopefully the next time we XP, we will be able to get away from Qufim and can move down to the Jungles. 13 more, relatively quick levels. And if Glacian comes next time we should be able move even faster.

I just have a few random commentaries about the upcoming update, because it appears to be really good. I can't wait for them to lower the cost of Limbus, I know that it is stretch several of our members thin to make sure they have the money, and with today's economy that is actually a big hit. Limbus is something we should be doing all the time if we want to be doing it, seriously cost should not be a prohibition on an event for an individual. Also, they have announced that they are making CoP missions easier, which I think is pretty cool, and you get XP from doing the events, which is even more cool. This should make it easier on a lot of people that don't have Sea and are more importantly having a hard time getting people to help them. A few other things were mentioned and the English translation of the recent developer interviews provided a bit more insight into some things. Like for Salvage, they mentioned not only that cells will drop more often but also that you will be starting with some cells, and that for Nyzul there will be items you can buy to use in the assault. Specifically for Salvage:

The following adjustments to Salvage are planned for the June version update:
* The drop rate for imbued items will be raised
* Players will now receive several items upon entry to the area.
and for Nyzul Isle:
The following adjustments to Salvage are planned for the June version update:
* The drop rate for imbued items will be raised
* Players will now receive several items upon entry to the area.
The following adjustments are planned for Nyzul Isle:
* Difficulty level will be adjusted in five-floor increments
* Temporary item vendor will be available (tokens can be used to purchase items)
* Record will no longer be erased when reaching the boss, but only after defeating him.
The secret of what type of weapons can be obtained from Nyzul Isle will come to light soon...
Now that last line I find very interesting because those weapons are quite the enigma right now. I am really looking forward to this coming update. :)

I am posting this now, I don't know if I will add anything else today, as the last couple of entries have been really good, but I have to do a lot of things at work to get ready for vacation. Maybe I will post some more tonight, maybe not.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

I win Dynamis.

Yesterday, in a stroke of brilliance I won Dynamis-Jueno. Now, you may be asking how one person, standing alone can win, single-handedly, an entire Dynamis. And to you, my bright-eyed reader, I say it can be done and I will show you how! Almost the entire alliance wipes to a nasty Astral Flow (two in the last two runs... not really a good sign) and then I solo the rest of the Necromancer, while it and it's avatar are still trying to beat on me AND I GOT AF TO DROP! I WIN! WOOHOO!

Sorry about that bit of grand standing, but LOL you know I had to say it! I am King of Dynamis!

LOL, Anyway... Dynamis-Jueno was nice, got some decent drops. And I died about a thousand times. Maybe I should hold back a bit, but I don't know I also feel I should be trying my hardest. I am definitely going to start using Seigan before WS's though... especially on RNG mobs. Dynamis as usual was quite a long event, so I didn't have much time after it to doing anything specific, so Omoi and I finished up our ToA missions, and man were they awesome!

The point at which we last left off put us on a mission to the Ashu Talif to find Aphmau, but she wasn't there and we were sent to Periqia to find out more information there. This is a mission assault, which buggles my mind as to why they don't use assaults more often in these missions. Its essentially a BCNM without the limitations of a BCNM, you can set tasks, you can have multiple different enemies, you can use strategies, its just perfect for missions and yet so far they haven't used it for almost anything. Anyway, this mission was ridiculously easy if you can pull without links, and I will explain how you can do that without much effort. Omoikitte and I duoed this assault. Omoi came as WHM/SMN because the mobs are grouped so that they are basically impossible to pull without links, so a Carby pull is necessary, but even with this it is very easy to still get links, because even after Carby dies and initial linking mobs delink others can link off of the initially pulled mob once its hate is on the SMN. We had this happen at least twice, once causing us to have to wipe from three different mobs on us. It may be difficult to make out from that picture but the way we pulled them was relatively simple, and made it so that even if we got a link from pulling, Omoi would just die and reraise, and I would voke the intially pulled mob and bring it away to fight it. The room that you pull to is one of the spiral rooms in Periqia, where there is an entrance at the top, then a left spiral down to the room on the right where the Lamia are located. The simple way to pull is to have the voker stand on the upper ledge and have the puller use Carby to pull one of the mobs, once it is the camp room, just voke the mob up to the upper ledge, this will work whether there are links or not. If there are links, just have the puller die and reraise, then fight the mob. After three mobs are dead, you get one of the best CS's I have ever seen in the game, and yes, I have seen every single CoP CS which are just amazing. Shall we discuss? Lets. Aphmau and the automatons where still on the Ashu Talif with Lazuf and the plot begins to unveil itself. As the Ashu Talif lands in Periqia we are greated by the Grand Vizer and the Empire's alchemists and their pet Lamia! O.O; Well, that was a twist, but not even the largest twist we will see, but I don't want to give away everything. :) Lets just say that Lazuf was not pleased with this turn of events, that is for sure. Events unfold, and we then had to return to Naja to find out what the Grand Vizer is up to, and how he plans on doing it. Although, as usual, the motives are still hidden, but the plan of action is unfolding and that plan is Alexander. The real question is why? Why activate something destroyed the old empire? What happened the last time the last rider came to Al Zahbi? Where is all of this going? Well, that is all well and good, but I wont be able to find out until the next update, but I am very intrigued to see what is going to happen next.

In other news, I finally turned in my items to upgrade my NIN AF feet. Now, you may ask why am I doing this when I was so set and determined that I was going to do SAM hands? Well the easy answer is that I thought I had the Scarlet Odoshi as the second part of the upgrade, but it turns out that I do not... I could have sworn that I had that item, but I searched everywhere and it wasn't in my MH or even my storage. So, I had to go with something else. And I figured that this was the best way, because I hardly ever take my NIN feet with me to events; they are always in storage because I don't have the space to carry them around. At least this way, I will have them and have an excuse to always be using them to get around. I just need to replace them with a SSG coffer now, so I can store the set again.

Finally, I wanted to talk about the direction of the game and the size of new events that SE is releasing. Obviously SE still supports major HNM LS's but at this point there are so many alternatives to HNM's for smaller, self-supporting LS's, one has to wonder if the major HNM LS is on its way out, and smaller more focused LS's are the future of the game. Dynamis would be the only exception to this, obviously, but it is just that, an exception. It requires and has the benefits of having larger number of characters in the zone at one time. But what about Limbus? Salvage? The new event? SE has been gradually limiting the number of players to do the new events, so fewer people are needed than were needed before, even Sky and Sea require fewer people than they have in the past. I remember when we wouldn't do Byakko with less than 25 people, now it is far easier. So, this leaves me wondering, what is the proper size for an end-game LS? I personally don't know, but my guess with the way things are right now that 36 is probably the best maximum LS size at this point. I have seen several larger HNM LS's break down because they get too big and the rewards get too far away for the members to justify staying. The only reason I mention this is because I saw one of the largest HNM's on Odin just recently shouting for new members... this is an LS that has beaten Absolute Virtue. With SE's announcement that abjurations will now be available through alternative methods, will the HNM LS's be willing to camp HNM's for Ridills and Black Belt items only, when there are alternatives to getting the abjurations? Yes, they probably will because it will still be a source of those super-rare abjurations, but will people be willing to stay in line for those abjurations when they could get it in other places? Probably not. So the "do everything" LS is probably a thing of the past. Some of the best gear now comes from an event that is limited to 18 people and is best done with 8-10 people. Maybe we have gotten to the point where it is too difficult to do all of the events in the game at the same time, and now we have to pick and choose. Some events are still staple; Sky, Sea, HNM, but other events are optional. Limbus? Salvage? The new event? Dynamis? I am sure that the larger HNM LS's will stay around, but honestly they are not required as much as they once were, and having 50+ members just isn't needed for events anymore. Mid-sized LS's now seem to be the focus, and even smaller LS's might be the future of the game. I am kind of distracted today, so this topic isn't as focused as I hope it might be, but it is worthy of considering. Are the line of a huge HNM LS worth it anymore? I just don't know if they are.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

The inevitable.

With all of the announcements from the SE party over the weekend, we knew the new version update information would be coming soon and here it is: This update does not deliver like the one from the SE party. LOL Not even close. This what they have listed:

The following is just a handful of the additions and adjustments planned for the next version update:

New Missions

The next episode in the Treasures of Aht Urhgan mystery is about to unfold. What role does the "mystery knight" play in this epic tale?

Chocobo Raising & Racing

Issues with text display during chocobo races will be addressed. In addition, players will now be able to receive condensed updates from trainers, as well as give multiple servings of feed to their chocobos at once.

Transportation

- Aht Urhgan
New NPCs have been stationed in Bastok, San d'Oria, and Windurst offering teleportation to Aht Urhgan Whitegate. A small fee is planned for the service.

- Choco-gals
Choco-gals will now offer chocobo rentals from the teleport crystals in the Eastern Altepa desert and the Yhoator Jungle, as well as from the leypoint in the WaENom Woodlands

- Outpost Teleportation
The level restriction on players allowed to use the outpost teleportation services located in Bastok, Windurst, and San d'Oria will be lowered. In conjunction with this change, a fee adjustment is also being considered.


New missions are always nice, but I do need to finish up the last few missions from the last update. I have not felt compelled to them because there really is no need, and I am sure there will be a reward at the end of the rainbow, but its not like any of the missions would take me more than an afternoon to finish. I have been hoping for something more, but I doubt it is coming. The last BCNM in the Jade Sepulcher was a little bit tougher but still not something I needed to worry about.

Chocobo racing and raising are virtually no existent to me, so I am not even going to bother with what they are saying there.

Now the new transportation has people raving, but to me its just a small improvement. I am always going to set my home point in the major city, Jeuno or Aht Urhgan or whatever, its just more convenient if more laggy, but to many others it is a way to avoid the massive congestion of Whitegate. It will definitely help getting around more, and allow people to set their home points in the starter cities.

In general, I am waiting for a beefier update, and I would very much like to see the patch notes when this update comes out. Thats it for pertinent information from this little bit. I wanted to WAR gear soon but I didn't take a picture of my WAR gear so that is right out. Lets see what else don't I have. LOL A subject for this post? That is for sure. I could talk about "camping" Faust now, which sucks, but definitely not as much as camping Ulli. Every time I want to complain about something in Sky, I just say to myself; "Hey Self, at least its not as bad as Ulli!" and then I smile a little. Faust is the only NM that sucks camping right now, MG would be bad if we couldn't farm Water while waiting on it. LOL But now I will focus on something, and that is the use of subjobs in end-game XP parties, and what two-handed weapon-users should be using.

I see this too often and it makes me cry, in end-game XP parties there are several different legitimate options for two-handed weapon-users, and none of those options are NIN. And especially for DRK, that option is not NIN dual-wielding axes. In general, NIN used to be a decent sub-job because it included damage mitigation, but offered just about nothing else for two-handed weapon-users. It was still demanded by many parties just to reduce the amount of healing that was required in XP parties. This was an acceptable option until SE introduced Seigan for SAM, and in the process SE completely gimped NIN for two-handed weapon-users. At this point, I believe that there are several decent subjobs available for this group of characters.
*WAR: Provides the ultimate benefit of Berserk and Double Attack, lacks the ability to reduce damage outside of Defender.
*SAM: Provides Hasso which when subbed gives 10% Haste on weapon speed, +10 Accuracy and +5 STR, also provides Seigan for damage mitigation. In addition, you get two Store TP traits, giving you the equivalent of Store TP +25, and you get Zanshin, which is a nice little boost since you are lacking Double Attack.
*THF: Provides SATA for pining hate on someone else, and not much else.
I generally think for end-game XP parties that SAM is the best option, you have control over yourself and the damage you take in general. WAR is nice but it can make you an MP sponge and that is just bad news for an XP party that usually involves a limited amount of healing magic. So, go level your SAM sub, not having it is just as gimp as not having WAR or THF sub leveled.

As for yesterday, it was pretty generic, except for a little ENM run. Lets see Sky was mostly Faust and Diorite camping. Got Faust, even though RMT were there and tried to claim, and got Diorite which was nice. Did another Genbu because we have been getting a lot of Zip as of late, but we have a bunch of other gem sets just waiting to be spawned that we had to pass on because it was so late after camping Faust for most of our time in Sky. Then after Sky Omoi arranged for a bunch of us to go do an ENM to try to get me a Maneater! ^.^/ It was the Eft ENM in Boneyard Gully and was ridiculously easy with 6 people. LOL We were two seconds off of the record after slaughtering it, and we were off to pop the Treasure Chest. Which was filled with just about absolutely nothing! LOL
After we did the ENM, our Nyzul semi-static group tried again, and were unsuccessful again to get through 5 levels again. The first run we got killing all enemies, light lamps in order, and kill all enemies and just ran out of time after having to deal with a Dahak. The second run was kill all enemies, kill one enemy and we did this in less than 5 minutes, then the third floor was kill the Enemy Leader and we got another frog and because of not waiting for some things to move and aggroing like half of the zone we had almost no MP when we engaged it. So things did not go well. As much as I want to rush through these areas, it is sometimes much easier to just kill things to get them out of the way. I think we will definitely be trying that and pulling things to camp rather than fighting them and risking aggroing everything. We will work this out eventually, but I am a bit frustrated with Nyzul and Salvage I must say, we just seem to get no luck with them at all.

This entry is a little shorter than normal, but give me a break, the last two were huge. LOL See you tomorrow.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

A whole lot to do.

Ok, three seperate sections to this post. A review of the information about the June update, a review of a very easy/difficult Limbus run and suggestions to make it easier, a review of the weekend and yesterday. And I have 70 minutes to get as much done before the lunch post. Might as well just start at the beginning, information about the June update.

This may seem out of order but it just is a reporting of answers from a question and answer session from the SE Party. BST are getting some kind of buff in the next update, SE recognizes the problem (which as much as BST's will want to hunt me down and kill me for this, but I didn't think it was much of a problem, rather a balancing of the BST job. I don't really feel sympathy for BST's that were getting Chain 5 for insane XP just because they could hold 3 pets in the same spot and could rotate through them, but I am not a BST so I will probably be mentality stabbed by all the BST's out there. :P) and are planning on doing something about it in June. They didn't mention the specific nature of what they were doing at all, just that they were doing something. At this point some not to bright person asked if they were going to add more RDM spells, yeah, because RDM's need more spells, :/ but at least we got something interesting out of the developers when they were dealing with this question; the developers said that in the expansion that RDM's and other jobs would be getting more spells, add this onto what they said about the expansion having a whole new form of magic, this appears to be something worth remembering. Next, they mentioned the PUP's will be getting a BLM and WHM head for the mage frame, I really don't know anything about PUP at all but I hope this is significant for them. From here I am just going to tick off the bits of information that have been provided because it doesn't really follow any order, and I will just add my comments as I list them.

*There will not be AF2 for the new jobs yet.
Comment: I don't think they have a good idea on how to implement this yet, so they are struggling with a place to put them into the game, same with AF +1.

*People complained about CoP missions so they are adding more items to weaken the BCNM's and allowing people to gain XP in CoP mission fights.
Huh? CoP is easy if you take the time to find out how to do the fights properly and would take a lot less time to do if, instead of wasting time doing fights over and over, people just properly prepared for the fights.

*They are addressing Salvage and Nyzul by adding more cells to Salvage, and more rewards for Nyzul. This I think is needed for Salvage, when it is very hard for people to get to the bosses to begin with, you either need to give some leeway to have more people by having more cells, or make the enemies easier. More cells allows people to bring more people without being time pressed to equip everyone. The reason people do Salvage so short-manned is just to save time, if more cells are available earlier then more people can come and more can be accomplished in that amount of time. As for Nyzul, I am interested to see what the new rewards are going to be, as we have been having fun doing Nyzul but haven't seen much of a reward out of it. I am eagerly watching the development of both of these event areas.

*Divine Might will be opened for reactivation for new earrings, and they mentioned that other things related to this are on the way. This isn't a bad thing or a good thing per se, I don't mind that people can redo Divine Might to get their items changed, Divine Might is no joke to begin with, but their is something lost by making it repeatable, the uniqueness of the fight and the reward is gone. This will be something, I will mention in one of my "back in the day" posts. LOL

*They are adding an additional (and annoying LOL) way to get abjurations in the June update. The obvious answer is that it will be added to the new battlefield area, but I get ahead of myself. I will say that if people think that getting M. Body, E. Body or any of the other incredibly hard to get abjurations then they are just deluding themselves, it just means that instead of waiting weeks and months in Dragon's Aery, you are going to be farming weeks and months in another place. Lets be serious here for a moment OK? E. Body is game-breaking, they are NOT going to just hand it out or make the alternative easier to get, I mean how often does an E. Body drop on a server? Once a month? Don't expect E. Body to come more than once a month for everyone on the Server from this new event. You can't have everyone, and you still wont be able to get a Ridill or the other items from the HNM's (which they might want to consider beefing up to make sure people still camp those mobs instead of the alternative).

*Worthy of mentioning even if it is not coming in June, is that they are planning on adding something for two-handed weapon users in the Sub slot, likely some kind of enhancement to balance two-handed weapon users with dual-wielders. I really like this as two of my jobs are two-handed weapon users.

*The Pit will be opening in June. You use monsters to fight other monsters. It sounds like Chocobo Racing and Ballista to me; stuff that other people do. LOL

*Now for the big bad meat of the next update. The coming of Einherjar! (This shot was shameless stolen from people that shamelessly stole it from other people.) Taking place in Hazhalm Testing Grounds, this new battle appears to be something like Dynamis, in that there will be multiple high-level enemies you have to deal with, but the spawn locations will change every time and you will have to think on your feet with how to deal with all of the mobs. I would like to try this with Versus sometime, and if it really is an alternative to getting abjurations that only drop from HNM's then this would basically be the last thing that Versus members would have to worry about because we do not do HNM's, I suppose the Ridill and Defending Ring would still be out of reach, but for some LS's this is still out of reach for people in HNM's. Anyway, the description given was that Einherjar will be an "unpredictable multi-player battlefield." The area will hold from 6-36 people, my guess with the discription that the more the better and since you get no detriments to start that need to be ungimped with cells there should be no limitations based on time besides being able to kill as many mobs as possible as fast as possible. Apparently, you get to choose the room you wish to clear in the depths of Hazhalm and you have 30 minutes to clear the room. Obviously, this is were the new Vampire mobs will first appear, and I am very interested in getting more information on these mobs, I will have my filters off when we fight them to figure out what their TP moves they use and their general strength. It appears that there is equipment that comes from the zone and equipment that you can get from points from the zone. I am very intrigued.
Here is another shot of the entrance to Hazhalm just to give you an idea of the size of the smaller entrance rooms, its even larger than the rooms in Den of Rancor that it resembles.

*June will also see the merit cap for weapons and magic increased in general, no specific information has been presented yet, but I am thinking it could be up to 16 total points at least, if not more, and hopefully they will split offensive and defensive merits into different categories. That would make me very happy.

*In June, we will also see the Tier 2 merit abilities added for the new jobs. I will just present what Elmer the Pointy has already translated since I don't have any of these jobs, so I find it had to comment on them. Some are obviously good, and some of them are very interesting, but none of them appear to be as bad as say Aggressive Aim. LOL


# Blue Mage
- For magical Blue Magic, forego the AoE effect for a Power Up of the spell (ABILITY)
- Make a self-target support spell, such as Cocoon, into AoE (ABILITY) (Proper wording confirmed!)
- Add a TP Bonus to Chain Affinity (TRAIT)
- Raise the cap on magic set points (TRAIT)

# Corsair
- Make the next roll a 1 (ABILITY)
- Erase a roll cast on yourself, works on a BUST (ABILITY)
- Extend the duration of Phantom Roll (TRAIT)
- Percentage of success for Random Deal UP. Will prioritize commands that are used. (TRAIT)

# Puppetmaster
- (Kuroko Change) Exchange HP between the Master and Automaton (ABILITY)
- (Ventriloquism) Exchange enmity from target monster between the Master and Automaton (ABILITY)
- (Fine Tuning) Automaton Accuracy (+ Ranged), Evasion, Magic Defense UP (TRAIT)
- (Optimization) Automaton Attack (+ Ranged), Defense, Magic Attack UP (TRAIT)
Very neat I must say and good balancing for the ToA expansion jobs.

*World Migration is coming, it appears sometime soon after the June update. I have my reservations about World Migration, and I highly doubt that Versus will be accepting anyone that server transfers, just because there are basically two people that server transfer. People that actually have friends on another server which wouldn't effect us because they would be joining their friends LS's and then people that I would say are having the "Gorokai effect" meaning they have burned all possible bridges on the server they are on and have to switch servers to get a fresh start to burn bridges on different server. The limitations are decent, $25 per switch and you can only switch once every 90 days. Sure, this means that Feiwong is going to buy characters on other servers then transfer them around, but he manages to get banned in less than 90 days away so the limitations wouldn't even matter to him anyway.

*Reduction in Outpost Teleport and Limbus cost and other gil related issues. This is great and greatly needed. With the direction the economy has turned it is of dire need to reduce the static costs of Limbus, because it is something that people do with regularity. The cost was introduced when the game was in massive inflation, now that it is in massive deflation and it is more and more difficult to create income because of RMT crafters it is time that it was adjusted. They also stated that they are looking for more static ways to increase gil for players, but I dont know how they would do this without making an opportunity for RMT to cash in. We will see.

And I think that is all there was worth mentioning, it was incredibly insightful and I think SE in the last couple of updates has done more to improve and fix the game than any time in the past. They have stopped trying to get the players to play the game they want it played and are focusing on giving the players a game they will enjoy even if they don't give the players everything they want immidiately.

Interestingly, Iceblazek said something very interesting in yesterday's comments. He is not as interested in new jobs or other content, but the storyline and as a player he has grown to the point where he can appreciate it over other bells and whistles. I think that is a good perspective that he is developing, and is the reason that I love the CoP storyline over just about anything else. Even the ToA storyline is amazing but the missions are just too easy and don't even take much planning to do them correctly. I wish that the ToA missions were something that I needed to plan to do, instead of just going and doing. Even the RoZ mission required more planning than these new missions. It looks like the content for the new expansion is much more story-based even if just by default as they will have to explain time travel and all. :)

Now, onto last night's Limbus run, which I thought would have more information provided on FFXIclopedia but it is rather limited outside of the matching pairs. Yes, we did Temenos Central Floor 1, or the matched pairs runs. This involves pulling pairs of mobs together and killing them as close together as possible if not exactly at the same time. Usually it is better to have something like 3-4 BLM's for this run, because you will want to -ga spell the mobs to get them to die together, in our experience as long as the pot doesn't have Magic Barrier up you can usually wipe both of the mobs at the same time even if they have about 20% of their HP left. Now, the reason I wanted to mention this one is because there are some very specific notes that should be regarded to do this the most efficiently. Obviously getting the pairs correct is the most important, but the easiest to mess up (as I have learned to my our regret LOL), and since pulling the pairs to a common place where mages can stand unharmed by AoE's the mobs use, by using the level difference of the large ramps. As illustrated here, this is the best place to camp for the entire run, besides preventing people from moving around a lot and potentially aggroing something, it provides defense from Body Slam which could wreck some mages. The important thing to remember for each pair of mobs is that they need to be kept alive, and although we often say to hold them at 5%, we usually don't try to risk it and actually just hold them at 10-15%. The bad thing about this is their potential regen which seems to be upbalanced in certain pairs, but I digress. Lets focus on the first pull. The first mob that should be pulled is the Enhanced Dragon, its probably the toughest non-super mob, so its easiest to deal with it first. It is also relatively easy to sleep and all mages will have ES ready to stack with Sleepga. Now the reason that I suggest pulling to the room closest to the Dragon even though the Enhanced Ahriman is farther away, it is also farther away from aggroing other people in the party, caution is the better part of valor. After the Dragon is held at 10%, pull the eye and knock it down also, then just time nuke them both with -ga spells when the Eye is at 10%. My suggestion is that when the Eye is at 10% the spells should start, then the melee should switch to the Dragon because it will have Regened to something like 20% or higher, and the extra damage will help to keep it below the max damage -ga needs to do to kill them both. This we did perfectly last night, both dying at the same exact time. Next, I would pull the ghost and the pot. Now, this might sound strange but I would suggest pulling the Pot first. I know you might have issues if it puts up magic barrier but honestly there is a reason for this, and that is because the ghost (Airi) has a huge amount of regen, the highest for any mob in the zone. When we fought the ghost we took it down to 11% and by the time we had the Pot down to 10% the ghost was already back up to 61%. This basically made us have to refight the ghost all the way back down 10% before nuking. Conversely, the pot has almost no Regen, so even if it does get Magic Barrier up at some point it will be down by the time it needs to be nuked because there will be no need to reengage it to knock down some of its HP for the timed nuke. Finally, pull the skeleton and the weapon. But of which are annoying but appear to have balanced Regen, and can be held decently with Sleep. These are the least difficult mobs to fight. Ultimately, this can be the easiest and the hardest Temenos runs at the same time. The mobs when their opposite is killed are just insane to fight, but when killed at the same time are very easy.

And now, for yesterday's update. LOL God, I am doing a lot today and getting it done pretty quickly. :) Ok, lets go over my ToA mission update, because I got some really cool cut scenes while I was helping Kirameki get her last two staging points. Aphmau and the automatons now appear to be on the Ashu Talif. A small amount of information is disclosed regarding the Dark Rider and Alzadaal Undersea Ruins, regarding the mystery painting that we have all been wondering about. Enter stage left Captain Lazuf and his conjecture regarding the explosion of the Gordius in a time that may even predate the creation of the Mother Crystal. Lazuf appears to have plans within plans but the machinations are still shrouded in conspiracy. And since Aphmau was not the focus of the abuduction but one of the automatons, she isn't even the considerations of Lazuf. It is all very interesting, I just wish there was a bit more conflict in between these very good storylines. :) Along the way to Arrapaggo Reef, we saw the loneliest NM in the world, poor little Peallaidh, the sheep no one loves.
It literally is not worth the time to even kill this NM. It is pretty tough, spawns Chigoes and drops a pretty much completely worthless item. It is usually up for days at a time.

And now for some rapid fire things that happened this weekend. Well, I definitely got my Anniversary Ring, which is just sex on wheels. Huge XP bonus and I can use it Anniversary Ring, Empress Band, Anniversary Ring. LOL I caught up to and past Kirameki using this to finally get to WAR 66 this weekend. I will likely be using this mostly on WAR because Kirameki has one and only really has BRD to worry about for now, and maybe that last level on WHM ^.^/ It should allow us to get to 70 pretty quickly when we will be able to move to a burn camp like the Mire and just burn our way to 75. :)

Also this weekend, a couple of us helped Lilkathy, Crlmsonking and Ashhhhh to beat Diabolos. Sadly I don't have any screenshots of this even though I thought I did take one of the Diabolos BC which is actually very cool looking on the inside. But before the fight we had to run up the mountain and I got to have Lilkathy follow me because it is very difficult to get up the mountain on a keyboard, believe me I have done it, and its not that fun. Cool scenery shot from up there for sure. Anyway, after this we did the fight and it was easy-peasy, even with two landed Nightmares, because the mages were placed outside of its AoE. And now LK, CK and Ashhhhh are on Ouryu, another pretty easy fight and the first of the 50 capped fights.

Finally, from this week, turn out was a little low in Sky because of Mother's Day, only about 18 people available, and it was a straight farming day since we needed Diorite and Water more than anything else, but we did fight a Genbu and in the middle of the fight we got light weather and in Sky that causes the Borealis to appear, and I was able to get this pretty cool screenshot in the middle of a Genbu fight. Its just one of those shots that makes your appreciate the grandeur of the game.

Now that I have the weekend finished, I can now go onto yesterday which was also very hectic. LOL I have already discribed the Limbus run that we did in great detail, and we only got a WAR upgrade item for that, so it's not that anything else was worth mentioning, so onto Sea. The main goal today was to pop Jailer of Faith, and we were quite successful with that. Izman had to spawn it even though I was supposed to be the spawner because I had gotten owned moments before by a Ghrah Blizzaga III when I was checking the room for the ??? LOL. Oh well, Izman did a great job in this fight, way better than me. He never died and almost always had hate. Izman is totally a beast. Faith is basically a kited fight for us, I have heard that it can be easier if you just hold Faith in one place and use big WS's to interrupt Stonega III, but we didn't want to risk it. We just simple kited it around the room and dealt with things as they came. Most of the time you can easily get out of range of all of the AoE spells like Breakga and Stonega. Our melee and mages were pretty balanced on damage, and next time we will definitely be making skillchains on it like we do with Fortitude, it will make the fight even faster than it already was, definitely faster than the Fortitude fight. LOL The drops were the Third Virtue and the Faith Baghnakhs which went to Aable because Glacian didn't choose to lot, still no Torque drops in Sea. We already have a full set to pop Jailer of Hope and getting close to multiple half sets for popping the other outside Jailers. We can easily do the pop Sea Gods, now we just have to camp the spawn ones like Jailer of Temperance, Ix'Drk and Ix'Drg. I can't wait to start moving to the outside spawned Sea Gods, the fights look very interesting and fun. :) Immidiately after doing Faith, Pb and Hellz came with Izman, Omoikitte, Aable and I to finish CoP 8-2, the four pot fight. Before we did this though, we went outside to test and make sure that our three tier skillchain was going to work for the fight, but while we were doing this Izman managed to get hate, but no one was really paying much attention and he ended up getting killed by the test mob. LOL And it was only at 4% left, XD all either of would have had to do is voke or WS or Jump or LOL anything, but Izman died and we molested the body. We were then off to fight the pots. ^.^/ This fight isn't as hard as people make it out to be (much like a lot of CoP), basically two BLM pots and two RDM pots. Kill the BLM pots first, then the RDM pots, usually wiping after first two BLM pots are dead, getting the first RDM pot down as much as you can before just wiping. Then you just get up, kill the last two pots and its over before it even began. Now they just have to do the Promathia fight and a bunch of CS's for their CoP Rings. :)

After this mission, we went and xped for a while, and even though I was doing good damage, it was just one of those nights where I was going to die no matter what. I do have to apologize to Gawayne and Qtipus who were xping in the same area we were because we were running about claiming just about anything we could find but this was because we had a camp then another party just came and camped directly on top of us, and we were just attempting to get mobs as the spawned from the party that so rudely camped on us. Aable got to test out his brand new Faith Baghnahks which he said would be much better with WAR as sub because it would help to make up for the lower damage and the double attack which stacks with the Sea weapon's proc. Also in this party I got what I believe is my highest Jin ever, but several people said I was wrong and there may have been higher ones. I don't really check on my damage all that often so I might miss better ones. It was a fun and silly party, but I didn't even get a merit in it because I died like three times. LOL Finally, I wanted to mention that Elfaria got the BLM AF2 belt recently! It looks really cool, and the additional HP is great for the tiny Tarutaru HP base. LOL Congratulations Elfie! And see everyone tomorrow. Sorry if this was a bit long. LOL

Monday, May 14, 2007

In Awe.

First, if you haven't seen this, just go and watch it now. You probably have, because I don't know anyone that reads my blog that wouldn't have already checked the POL website. But if by some miracle you haven't seen it, check it out at theFinal Fantasy XI Official Web Site. Wings of the Goddess is apparently the semi-official title which can still change. Obvious bits of information from the video: Many references to time and fate and important historical events in the game. Many pictures of alternatives (obviously past) locales in the game, including Batallia Downs, Sauromugue Champaign, Sarutabaruta, Gustaberg, and perhaps one shot of Meriphataud Mountains or maybe even Castle Oztroja. There is actually very little new screenshots, but the ones that are there are quite impressive. So this is the obvious big news of the weekend, but there is actually a ton more, and of course SE announces this information on a weekend that I am home to actually do a lot of things making this entry for the blog already huge. So, I am going to split it up over two days. Today I will be going over news of the expansion, which luckily is very limited, because I did a lot in game this weekend that I would like to go over.

So, expansion news first, obvious first bit of information is the release date of Winter 2007, pretty much exactly on the release schedule for FFXI expansions. It is very interesting to watch the development of FFXI, because unlike many other MMO's it is not entering the decline phase of the MMO cycle, in fact my guess (and this is just a completely rough estimate from random /sea all so completely inaccurate) is that the game has stabilized without the initial loss of players. I think you can look a couple of different factors that may cause this for FFXI over other games. First, is that is appears on multiple platforms and his continued to be released for new platforms as they come on on-line. This means that new customers are always being added with the new platforms and SE gets new shelf space in retailers every time a new system comes out. Second, is the nature of FFXI itself, much more involved and complicated than many of the newer MMO's, this was once seen as a bad thing about MMO's, thus the rather easy nature of WoW and newer games, but ultimately it is something that ties people to the game, and even after some leave for greener pasture, a large number return, like my friend Forsaken, now playing Karumeth (I might have messed the spelling up). Third, it appears that FFXI actually attracts an older, and thus sometimes (though not always) more mature crowd. As older people tend to stay with one thing longer, rather than having a short attention span, they tend to stay with this one game longer than other people with say WoW or another game. Ahh, another digression.

Before I go further almost all of the information I have gathered is from translations of the presentations from the SE Party in Japan over the weekend, the translations are by Elmer the Pointy of the Blue Gartr forums. He did an awesome job, and I just wanted to state plainly that he was the one that was doing the translation and give him credit.

Now, as much as the promotional video sent chills through my body, I do have to express a certain amount of remorse. I think that many of us wanted to see an expansion surrounding the Far East and its conflict with the Near East and how it is dealing with the spread of the Emptiness. But this was expressly excluded from this expansion, "Director Ogawa said, 'This will not be about the East or the West,'" also "FFXI producer Tanaka Hiromichi, who gathered our questions. Concerning 'Wings of the Goddess,' he gleefully dashed speculation by stating, 'This title also will not involve the East.'" I don't know why he is so gleeful because I was very interested in the Far East, and I know Glacian was too. ^.^/ Anyway, Wings of the Goddess will focus on the time before FFXI was released, and the obvious point here is that it will be about the time before, leading up to and during the Crystal War. This gives me freaking chills, this was an epic time in the history of Vana'diel, and it will be awesome to go back and see all of this. So even though we did not get what we expected, we got something that is perhaps even more exciting!

Now more on Wings of the Goddess itself, here are some sweet quotes.

The Ancients were descendants of the gods who were destroyed, followed by the emergence of Altana, the Goddess of Dawn and Promathia, the God of Twilight who bore life into the world once again. In ancient times they quarreled, and from this was spawned hordes of beastmen who ravaged the earth. In recent times, the remaining three nations of people united together to fight against the mighty Shadow Lord during the "Crystal War." It is a long, long history.
The video only basically shows Crystal War era locales, but this seems to suggest that things could go very much further back in dealing with the history of Vana'diel. I just have the feeling this will add a plethora of story's and will breathe new life into many older quests and events that are lightly passed over now as mere unimportant back stories. Also the potential battlefields are just amazing. The siege of Garliage Citadel? The fall of the elvaan city that became Davoi? The rise of the Quadav's in Beadeux? The historic battle of Xarcabard? The mind recoils at all of the potential battles and scenarios.

Content? Yes, please. The statements were extremely vague but certainly exciting. First, "Battle Director Matsui only confirmed 'new magic will be added.'" Very interesting, we already have White, Black and Blue magic so far. Historically, I believe that the only other form of magic that isn't included in the game that has been included in other Final Fantasy is Green Magic, which although my history here isn't very good, is involved with geologically/environmental based. Now, to me, that sounds far to close to the current BLM spells, so I am thinking that it could just be a new form of magic that isn't based on the colored magic system, like how songs and ninjutsu is considered magic, but not in the colored magic system. They have said there will be more fun things like Chocobo Raising/Racing and Assault. Assault good, Chocobo Raising, meh, don't care either way. But small/solo events for the masses is never a bad thing. I wish the Assault system was more conducive to doing multiple events like Salvage, Nyzul and Assaults. I hope they fix this soon. The developers avoided discussion of new jobs, which I think is a good sign for new jobs while others think it is a bad sign. I do have to say, when a developer leaves something open like this, I usually take a positive look at it, because it would be much easier to say just that there would be no new jobs, but in reality not saying something is just not saying anything. LOL Meaning, it could mean anything and I am probably reading to much into it. They did mention that new content will have a huge influence on how the game is played, so even if there are not new jobs, there could be something else major. Level cap rise? New tiers for jobs? Specialization? Could be anything.

That is basically it about the expansion as straight information goes. I have already gone into my own speculations, so that will be all I am covering for today. I am sure my mind will run rampant with new ideas and gleaning every little bit of information I can find to post here. Tomorrow I will focus on the June update which has some very heavy hitting information, but it would be too much to go over that AND the expansion in one day. I would never get any work done here. LOL

So, now that the expansion is covered, it is time for my very busy weekend. Lets start with XPing. I got my WAR to level 66. Which I believe is quite the accomplishment because it is just hard to find time to level it for more than an hour or two at a time. Kira and I have been xping with a plethora of people, including Glacian, Hellz and Thazienne, and we also would like to pick up Izman too for a party. Now, mid-levels for WAR are not very exciting. >.< I just hit my Rampage macro over and over LOL. Not much in the way of gear upgrades. At 67, I get Rutter Sabatons for Rampage. At 68, I get Acha d'Armas, so at least the dual beast style axes will be gone. LOL Then, its a slow progression to 70 where I actually get a bunch of gear to 70. I have a decent haste set up to start, with a Wahlara Turban, Byakko's Haidate and Swift Belt. I will need to consider Dusk Gloves and Unicorn or Dusk Feet, but before that I will need to get a Maneater and a Woodsville's Axe. I am going dual axes obviously, no Joyeuse and no Ridill with no intention of getting either of them so no need to worry about anything else in that set-up, it lets me not have to focus so much on Accuracy because of the lower sword skill and with the new merit update... oops, getting ahead of myself. ^.^/ I will be doing a WAR update soon, so I get to obsess over gear some more. While I was leveling my WAR I got my highest Rampage, I believe so far, if not highest, then the best in a long time. I didn't even notice it, another person in the party mentioned it, so I screenshot it after that.

On Saturday Versus did 4 successful Rostrum Pump runs. Alastor Antlion is an incredibly annoying NM, lots of spawns, lots of links and annoying to kite, but we got some Rostrum Pumps for people that needed them. Not one of the more fun fights I have done, because people are everywhere and its not very well coordinated. Looks like we are going to do Shen next which should be a lot more fun, and we really need to be coordinated for that to work.

I had a very long meeting at work and wasn't able to finish this today, I will have more of a weekend review, June update information and more, tomorrow.

Friday, May 11, 2007

I didn't know you could get up there.

A very good day in Sky. Not as good as a full run, but you know, those are rare. 6/8 pop items is a good day, though we didn't double up on anything, could have come close on Despot, but the timing was off. In general Versus does not collect gems and pop gods like other LS's. Most other LS's will horde gems for while then use them all at once on one day. I can definitely see the efficiency those kinds of systems, but they usually require point systems, and point systems are generally overly complicated and overwrought. The sole exception I have experienced is the bidding system used by Obsidian, it is efficient and since Dynamis is limited in the times people can attend, prevents lop-sided point accumulation, and allows people to pay the amount of points they believe the item is worth. There are issues with sniping, but outside of the occasional douchebag it works amazingly well. Unless you have a bidding system like Obsidian has on their website, I believe that point systems generally fail, because there are many ways to abuse them. Now that was a bit of a tangent, and wasn't even the locus of my original divergence from the thesis.

Anyway, I was going to say that Versus tends to spawn gods everyday, this means that people will always show up to try to get the rewards, and that people that have lots of points wont just show up on days that gods are spawned relying on the work of those with lower points to just farm for them. Some might say that older members with more points deserve to have newer members with less points farm for them, but I think this does several detrimental things to a linkshell, as newer members will resent older members whether or not their is a points difference, and in general this will cause morale to suffer. Popping gods routinely ensures that people are always at runs, that people interested in what is going on daily, and that rewards are distributed quite often. Even on a day like yesterday, where even though we got a lot of triggers we had limited time to spawn gods and only spawned a Seiryu, people were still just impressed with the amount of spawn items we pulled in in one day. I know that many people don't like Sky because it is repetitive and difficult at times, but they are happy to stare at darters for three hours to risk a chance at a claim once a day when its in their time zone. I have to say that the fight involved in many HNMs is very intriguing but the consistant nature of Sky, Sea, Limbus, Nyzul Isle and Dynamis have much more appeal to my kind of personality. We do what we think is best, and then if we are not satisfied we bash that which we do not do, to make ourselves feel better about our choices. Well, definitely not everyone, but some people do, and that is sad. Ultimately, we would be a lot more happy in this game and in the world in general if we just spent more time doing things to make ourselves happy, rather than drawing happiness from making other people feel worse than ourselves. :)

I've got that PMA. 10 gil to anyone that can tell me where that line comes from with a Google search. :)

Anyway, so SC, MG, Despot, Water/Olla, Curtana and Diorite/Ulli make for a good set of pops for one day, and after TPing up for gods and waiting while another LS is on the island and their leader is apparently taking a shower leads to some interesting screenshots. Before I saw Rygar up in these bushes yesterday I didn't even know you could get up there. LOL I look pretty silly in all my HP gear. :) And this is the view you get from this position. I just thought this was one of those cool little quirks in the game, like running on the edge of the airship or running around in the ocean in Valkurm Dunes.

Anyway, after Sky we did another Apollyon run, netting a good chunk of coins, two RDM AF+1 pieces, BST, WAR and DRG. Omoi is going to kill me if I don't start upgrading some AF pieces soon, and since my SAM is incomplete (and I SWEAR I thought I had that Scarlet Odoshi for a long time and it is no where to be seen) I am going to upgrade something for NIN, probably feet, because I never use my feet now because carrying around 5 NIN items just doesn't work just to have the feet. Hands are an outside optional but they don't really work with the way I have my NIN xp macros set up. It would be a really nice piece though... /sigh. Anyway, while we were in Limbus, my secret plot to assassinate Glacian failed, and I was even poisoned so I couldn't be slept and I still couldn't through to him and he even countered me! *sob* After Dynamis, Hellzfury, Omoi and I leveled again. Another really good party, getting to 64 on WAR finally. If I get more parties like this I will be 75 faster than I thought I would be and with the Anniversary Ring now available... should be fun catching up to Glacian. :)