Friday, August 31, 2007

Well Wishing.

Finally a moment of peace.

First, I want to mention Aable. He is going in for his last surgery today and I and everyone will miss him until he returns. So, send him a PoL message or something, and maybe after this last surgery he will be able to finally poop like everyone else. :)

Now, about the game. When I said there was a problem yesterday, I didn't know how right I was. Apparently, almost all of the damage calculations in the game right now appear to be, at some fundamental level, broken. There is the obvious problem with two handed weapon users doing too much damage, but also the problem of dual-wielders having issues of hitting a too low pDIF cap. Also, some mobs appear to be having this issue, and also there appears to be and issue with resist rates or the skill level of certain monsters in the game.

My guess is that this may take a couple of days to fix, but that when it is fixed is the first time we will really understand what SE's true intention was for the two-handed weapon update.

So, for now, I am not really going to take this as reality. Sure, I will XP on my SAM instead of my NIN for a while, but I am not going to buy any gear or change my set up in anyway to take advantage of something that will most likely be changed in the near future, and even after they change the damage calculation I am going to wait a few days because I want to make sure they get it right first. LOL I mean, for example, we were doing Temenos, the first tier one with the beastmen, and I got this one one of the seventh fllor goblins: No crit, no double attack. That is just straight up regular damage with Hasso and Berserk up. It just doesn't feel right, like I didn't earn it our something. LOL Well, it does help with meriting though. Last night we had an XP party with NIN, SAM, SAM, DRG, SMN, WHM. The NIN was having problems I think, he rarely voked and just let everyone else tank it seemed. :/ They were 73 anyway and I don't think they were going to be able to keep hate for more than a second or two, but the other SAM (Svool, who had a sweet Maat's Cap) and I were using Soboros for most of the time and that meant that were WS so often that the NIN didn't even get to WS until the 3 mob we fought. I just don't think a 40 base damage weapon should be hitting for 1300+ with Seigan up. Just doesn't seem fair at all. I will update information as soon as they fix all these issues.

Also in Limbus last night we got BLM, NIN and THF and very much desired items for AF upgrades. The BLM went to Lilkathy that is probably going to use it for her BLM hat. :) We also finished another first tier set for Ultima, so we should be doing another Ultima within two weeks. After Limbus, a couple of us went out to help Borin and Izman to get some of their ToAU missions completed. This fight was really easy and quick. I remember it being a little more difficult but not much, the added damage probably just made the fight go more quickly. As those that needed them headed out to finished up some CS's, we headed to Dvucca Isle and met up and did the Assault mission with the Lamias. It went very quickly and very well, and everyone got up to the point where they needed to wait for a JP midnight. Depending on what time we get started tonight, we may try to get all of the missions complete for ToAU and get our new rings, flags and Glory Crown. The rewards you might ask?

Ulthalam's Ring Jalzahn's Ring and Balrahn's Ring Now, you may have probably guessed by now but I will be getting the melee ring, Ulthalam's Ring. This is for a couple of reasons. 1. I am not overly concerned with accuracy on my two-handed weapon jobs right now (even though it might change, but I have reason to believe that the statistics enhancements will not be what is changing) and I generally use sushi on my dual-wield jobs anyway. In both cases I am overaccurate, so losing one accuracy for 4 attack is a good trade off. Also, for Assault and Salvage this ring appears to have the absolute best stats. I would use definitely use it full time for those events, instead of using my Flame Ring. This is because for NIN the Jin modifiers are very high, for my WAR which always dual-wields and uses Rampage, it, in essence, has +4 STR, +6 Attack and +6 Accuracy for those events, and for my two-hander jobs it has +4 STR, +4 DEX, +8 Attack and +8 Accuracy, and that is before I even consider the Regen bonus. Jalzahn's Ring would be pretty good, because its hard to find ranged accuracy and ranged attack in the same place, but honestly I can't see picking this over the melee ring, and the in Assault/Salvage bonus is just pretty much crap compared to the melee ring. Finally, the mage ring is probably extremely good for Assault and Salvage, but is of greatly less importance outside of that. I have heard it mentioned that it is fantastic for BRD's because they lack magic accuracy gear, but I don't know if that is true or not as I don't know much about BRD. Ultimately, these rings are a bit of a let down compared to how good the rewards are from Divine Might and CoP. CoP are pretty much the best reward items, while Divine Might have a couple of good ones and a couple that are pretty poor. Overall, I think its weird that they made a RNG/COR-only ring basically, but it does have better base stats than the other rings even if the Assault bonuses aren't nearly as good.

After Borin went to bed and Izman d/c'ed (;_;) Hellz and I went to XP as mentioned before, I only got about a merit or so while XP because it was late and I could only last about an hour and the fact that our first NIN went AFK, then when they finally came back informed us that he needed to take the Ferry to Nashmau because he did not have the Azouph Isle Staging Point. o.o; Yes, a year after the expansion was released there are still people that don't have their Staging Points, not only that but they don't have the easiest Staging Point to get to. How did this guy even get to this level? Anyway, after he informed us of this fact, AFTER being AFK with everyone else waiting on him for over 20 minutes, we just dumped him and picked up a nice JP NIN that didn't really want to voke. LOL How do these people get past level 50? Now, I can understand a new player under say level 60 not having any of their Staging Points, although I would never let that happen myself, but to not at very least have the common XP Staging Points above level 70 is just stupid. Why not instead of standing around in Aht Urhgan, you take a quick run out to the places that EVERYONE XP's at? It's annoying and its rude. >.< Anyway, the party was great, but I had to end up pulling because we didn't really have a puller, or more like just a voker, because the NIN wasn't doing it. And this was fine until I voked a fly that was too closer to another one, then a Jnun spawned next to me, Seigan doesn't do much when you have three mobs on you and it does down after about 15 seconds. Still had fun playing with this broken damage on my Katana, and I will continue to enjoy it until they fix it. :)

Get healed up Aable, can't wait for you to return!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Ninja or Defense?

Houston, we have a problem.

Now, I was one of the first to say that there was a massive disparity before the update between dual-wielders and two-handers, and that it really needed to be addressed. SE has addressed it, but have they gone too far? Now, I am not digging people that are whining about not being top DD's anymore because honestly, we all needed to be a ton closer, and the disparity before was so large that it pretty much excluded a huge set of jobs from merit parties. And those DD's were usually the ones that perpetuated the disparity between the two DD types. But I am wondering if this is all too much. Any number of the improvements would have been enough but all of them together may be a bit much.

I stand to gain much from this update, with my Haste set-up and my Soboro I can WS three times per XP mob. With a lucky Seigan I can solo VT mobs, and that is with /WAR. I could probably do much more with /NIN. Now, a MNK or WAR could have probably done the same before the update, but it just seems weird to me. I don't know if I like it yet, it seems much was given but it was not because of my own efforts. Perhaps it is to make up for literally years of imbalance, and if one thinks about it that way, then it may not be so bad.

Anyway, here is the point of this post. I take way too much damage now. I used to be able to go SAM/WAR and leave Hasso up most of the time, only switching to Seigan when I pulled hate. Now, I have to leave Seigan up full time and I still take a ridiculous amount of damage. This is not so bad when Omoi is doing the healing full time, but I do not think that a RDM could keep up with the damage without liberal use of Cure IV (I will comment about how this update might actually have an effect on party set-ups later). I can say that I have yet to XP with a RDM as main healer since the update, but even with Seigan used full time by both myself and Hellzfury in a party with Borin (NIN), Izman (WAR/NIN), Hellz (DRG/SAM), and I (SAM/WAR), we were rapidly depleting Omoi's MP supply. The question for me then becomes is Berserk worth it? Yes, it will increase my damage but it will also increase the take I take. MNK's have pretty much over the years figured out that /NIN was the only way for them to go, and they actually had more to lose from subbing NIN that I do because I have been using and liking Soboro so the Double Attack buff is irrelevant to me (this is assuming that Soboro attacks evenly across all of its potential procs, which I believe that it does) because DA procs before the Soboro does so it would only increase the number of 2 swing attacks which would have zero effect on the total number of attacks because 2 swings would already be the average number of attacks. It would be more consistent but would not affect the average at all. The problem with /NIN is that I would not be able to use Hasso or Seigan essentially, because they double the casting time and recast of Ninjutsu spells. So, I would end up only losing Berserk while gaining survivability, since I can not even use Hasso right now as it is. I suppose that I will also lose the other extraneous /WAR benefits like Defense Boost and what ever marginal difference in stats between /WAR and /NIN. Now, I can not remember if you can click off Hasso and Seigan but if you can, the /NIN may make it so that I can use Hasso for a limited time. I could put up shadows, pop on Hasso until I needed to case shadows again, click it off, put up the shadows then put up Hasso again in a minute. This has all be rolling around in my head, but the other option may be a bit more expensive.

What about a defense set up? Now, I can't say that this was solely my idea, and I have no problem gleaning good ideas off of other people, but there is another SAM Rukenshin (really good player, you should read his never updated LiveJournal) that instead of worrying about shadows, or I supposed Seigan as much, just switches in a very well thought out damage reduction set. Now, the best thing with stealing other people's good ideas is that you can put a twist on them call it all new, patent it and make a fortune. LOL That is not what I am trying to do here, the main difference is that he actually uses his defense set for tanking, and I am just going to use mine for "HOLY SHIT! MAKE THE MOB STOP PUNCHING ME IN THE FACE!" situations. So I will be much less worried about things like Max HP or MP to HP gear and much more focused on sheer Def/VIT/Damage redcution. I am still working on this idea, but here is what I was thinking of with the gear I have right now.

Head: Genbu's Kabuto
Neck: Haven't come up with anything yet.
Earring1: Haven't come up with anything yet.
Earring2: Haven't come up with anything yet.
Body: Arhat's Gi +1
Hands: Seiryu's Kote
Ring1: Jelly Ring
Ring2: Maybe Bomb Queen Ring, but HP isn't going to matter much I think.
Back: Haven't come up with anything yet.
Waist: Warwolf Belt
Legs: Byakko's Haidate
Feet: Suzaku Sune-ate

Rukenshin also mentioned Hydra Gear which I like the idea of the additional damage reduction, but I don't remember the damage being all that great, we will have to see.

But this may all go out the window tonight because SE just announced this: So maybe I wont be doing all that damage now and getting my face pounded in. If they return to the old universal pDIF limitation then my max damage will go down and Crit hits will matter again, but I will still be doing a ton more damage than I was in the past. Besides, I am really liking my SAM, its a nice change of pace from my other jobs, so the defense set-up is something that I might look into anyway.

I got home late last night, so I just pretty much XPed for a while. The first party I made and it was horrible, the BRD didn't do anything but die, and the WHM couldn't keep up even as a Taru. I didn't even get a merit in that party. Later I grabbed Borin, Izman, Omoikitte, the NIN from the previous party and a cute little Taru COR and we went to fight Trolls on the west side of Mount Zhaylom. It was a decent party but too slow because we didn't really have a puller, but I did manage to net this Tachi: Gekko I liked it especially considering that was with a 40 damage weapon... o.o; well, I think that is what they are fixing today. The NIN in our party refused to use Blade: Jin and Borin questioned why, and the nice NIN informed us that Blade: Ku was the better weaponskill, which caused Borin and Omoikitte to politely protest, to which the nice NIN took umbrage. /sigh I don't understand why it is so hard for people to take constructive criticism, I mean this guy was a 74 NIN in a party with three 75 NIN's that are very well equipped and knowledgeable. We were not condescending nor rude, just making a suggestion. After they decide they knew better, we just let it drop basically, but it was upsetting and disturbing to have to play with people that are so ignorant about the game they play. >.<

I wanted to add something quickly and that is how I believe this update may change how parties are formed. I believe that by increasing everyones damage without having to, or being unable to sub NIN, we going to hit two different walls in XP. They are both related to how much more damage the two-handers will be doing now. First, the need for a first voker will become more important for survivability and strangely enough will become less important for damage. From my observations, mobs are dying at an increased rate now, and the importance of the tank to try to hold the mob for as long as possible is increased, in turn as the damage of two-handers is improved, the damage of NIN is relatively reduced. Will it drop to the point that their damage input is marginal in an XP party allowing a PLD to be introduced into the party in their stead? I don't know about that but it does make PLD a much more viable tank for burn parties if for no other reason that extra support that will be needed to help out those jobs that are not going to sub NIN, like SAM, DRG and DRK. Second, the need for more healing may become important, so that parties may become something more like Tank, DD, DD, healer, sub-healer/support, buffer. For example, NIN, DRG, SAM, WHM, RDM, BRD. With the increased damage taken this may become necessary to sustain the MP of the party and could be done without worry of not killing fast enough because even in the most mob-crowded camps mobs are dying too quickly, but players are taking tons of damage.

Again this may all change with the announced fixes but I wanted to mention it because of I thought of it before the fix. >.<

Anyway, Fuzzball found me this little gem. Enjoy it in all its glory.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Reevaluating spent time.

This is going to be an example thread, a small slice of the new update, and then will we discuss the woe this has caused my brain to spiral through. Versus did 4 Byakko's yesterday, with zero, yes, zero Haidate drops. This is ridiculous, we seriously have a completely aweful drop rate on the Haidate. I was making me furious last night. We did get two N. Hands, a D. Legs, an E. Feet and A. Head along with some decent crafting materials, but the lack of Haidate was just infuriating. Also, SE has changed Despot so that it now spawns after the placeholder Doll has been killed and will spawn claimed to you, which is neither here nor their but it appears they have also massively increased the pop time on Despot, which is just stupid. After finally fixing the bottleneck that was Ullikummi they add a new one. It's just stupid and worthless. I literally got angry when I found this out. Not only does this slow everyone's progression again artifically, but it also allows the RMT to have more control over Sky again. They can now mass pull the statues and BLM -ga them all... luckily we will be able to help them out with this process by lowering the defense of their unclaimed mobs. It just seems so ridiculous to do this. Honestly, if they wanted to do this they could have just originally done it with Ullikummi instead of fixing Ullikummi then just screwing with Despot. Well, I feel better now. Hopefully it wont be much of an issue...

Now, onto my personal issues, these are of much these concern overall to my LS, but much more concern when it comes to what I do about my jobs and how I merit. As I have mentioned I had already put 8 levels of Hand to Hand from merits... and now after the update, I am having a twinge of regret. This was the first time I have ever dumped merits into a job before getting it to 75. I wish I has waited, LOL. My SAM is now a beast, as I have said it is my second best equipped job after my NIN, and with the update should my merits go there? Since I would like to increase my focus on Salvage should I just keep my Hand to Hand and continue to level my MNK? I think as of now I am going to put my four (three + my 1 Archery merit) into Great Katana at least. I will start there. Now for some examples of damage. First, on Byakko this was as SAM/THF. My first comment is that SA does still stack with Tachi: Gekko, you just can't see it on mobs that you can cap your pDIF on because the new cap is the same as the Critical hit cap, so it may look like they are not stacking but they still are. This was with a Hagun. Apparently, besides buffing two-handed weapons, the adjustments that were made to the high level Tachi weaponskills were also very large. Now instead of receiving a 1.50, 2.0 and 2.5 damage modifier at 100, 200 and 300 TP levels respectively, the modifiers have been bumped up to 2.0, 2.5 and 3.0, it may even be 2.5, 3.0, 3.25 (3.5?). This is just amazing, LOL. Before this update I would struggle to get to 600-700 on SATA WS like Byakko. Another thing that I noticed was that even when I didn't use food on Byakko I was able to still get a decent accuracy rate. I would say a little above 50%, and this was in all of my haste gear set on, which leaves out many different accuracy pieces. Now, does this make SAM unbalanced? I don't know, because on mobs like Kirin it used to be that NIN, MNK and WAR would only be used to TP burn it because of the damage they could do. The reason I mention Kirin is only because that is where I have decent evidence to use for this example, but the point is that those jobs would get lower WS numbers but they would be able to WS much more often than other jobs that could get higher WS numbers in general. This is the reason that SE adjusted the damage of two-handers... and now its too close for some.

After Sky we did three Operation: Desert Swarm runs, my run of course netted absolute crap. Izman's run netted exactly what he was looking for, a Claymore Grip. And Omoi's run netted some amazing drops, including a Sword Strap and a Serket's Ring! Congratulations Omoi, normally it would have been sell and split, but because Omoi could actually use the Serket's Ring there and then she just kept it. We were just there for the new grips anyway. LOL Omoi let me borrow the Sword Strap for my SAM, and I got to test it out. Of course its not incredibly noticeable, especially when using the Soboro, but I am sure that it makes a pretty good difference. This KSNM is very easy to do with a regular party, and I have no idea why people get BLM to burn it for them. The mobs are very weak and don't hit hard at all. I was tanking for some of the time and I had Hagun and Berserk up for most of the fights. The first one was a little dicey because of a resisted sleep but outside of that the fights were incredibly easy. I used Soboro on these fights and it was a blast. That was /WAR, with a 40 base damage weapon with Hasso and Berserk up. I liked it a lot. Speaking of other numbers, we went XPing in the Mire after we had gotten these new grips to test them out and test out the new damage from the two-handers we had with us. This was not an irregular WS damage amount: I know, I know, it was on a Jnun, but it was the only SS I took, because I was so busy killing stuff, LOL. It was not uncommon to see that kind of damage with Seigan and Berserk up on Flies and Imps. It seems with the increase in WS modifier damage that though the Hagun is still probably the best for straight up WS damage at 100TP the other options have moved up in relevance. An Onimaru can probably parse much closer than it used to, and other options might be viable. I am going to try to XP again tonight, and see what I can do, maybe test out some other camps and test out some other GKTs but honestly Soboro is just amazing as it is right now. I am doing more than I used to do with my Hagun in the same parties.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Dogs and cats sleeping together...

Hubris exposed and laid bare. This is what the update yesterday did. It used to be that no matter what a DRK or SAM or DRG did to make themselves the best they could be, great gear, merits, food, etc. they could never get to what an average WAR/NIN could be. MNK, NIN and WAR/NIN were so dominant that the other jobs could not keep up. It appears now appears that this has been balanced. I need to do tests. Lots and lots of tests. But I like what they did.

In the past, an AH WAR/NIN/MNK could easily and greatly outdo even the most decked out SAM/DRG/DRK. There was nothing that the two-handed users could do to keep up because of the rate of TP gain. The balance, where speed could not be used to improve the rate of attack, was to increase the damage of the weapons, and this is just what they did.

This has of course set some people into a tizzy. They believe that they, for some reason besides choosing to level up one of the old uber jobs, deserved this feeling of righteous privilege over the masses. The social psychological implications are mind-boggling really. LOL In the end, they were equalized, and their privilege was "stripped" from them. In reality, they weren't really hurt at all. I do not weep for their loss, as I don't weep for my own. I accept and move on.

This new track that SE is following is generally much better than the nerfing they have done in the past. People have begged SE since the RNG nerf to stop nerfing jobs and just buff the rest of the jobs to make things equal. I think that some people are being a bit disingenuous when they say that they are upset by this when this is exactly what they have been asking for. For example, what would have been the reaction if, instead of buffing two-handed weapons, they nerfed dual-wield to make the jobs more even. It would have essentially had the same effect, but the outcry would have been heard on Mars. We asked for a two-handed weapon fix, we asked they do it through buffs. They listened.

Just from the parses I have seen so far, things are actually pretty well balanced. Ridill WARs are still king, and MNKs are still awesome. The difference is that everyone is much closer. I have heard the suggestion that people are now upset that an AH SAM/DRG/DRK can now keep closer with a decked MNK/NIN/WAR, but think about it in the opposite direction. For literally years now, decked two-handed users have watched as all their effort has shown to be for naught compared to an AH WAR/MNK/NIN.

Ultimately, good players should be rewarded irrelevent of the job. A great DRG with great gear should be just as capable as a great WAR with great gear. This update ultimately benefits what we all want rewarded the most: good players.

I am quite pleased.

Here is the rudimentary information I have so far. For two-handed weapon use:
* 1 STR = 1 Att
* 1 DEX = 1 Acc
* pDIF has been changed for all weapons. A cap of 2.0 is now applied to single handed weapons, and a cap of 3.0 now applies for two-handed weapons. It appears that they have changed the cap on Critical Hits too, but that is still unclear at this time.
* Several WS's have had base damage and stat modifiers adjusted, but the extent of which is still being tested.

This is all fine and good, but I don't really understand why they changed the DEX to Acc calculation just for two-handed weapons. This radically changes gear options. Now, instead of Kirin's Osode being off situational usage before this update it is now close to being on par with a Haubergeon. I thought that this change was a bit much, but we will see how it all works out in the future.

After the game was back up a couple of us spent a little time camping KA, with the rest of the server. LOL We did not get claim, it was claimed by a duo pair. While we were waiting around Omoi fished up a mob for me and I got to test the new damage caps for dual-wielded weapons. It was really kind of weird to see numbers completely consistent like that. It is definitely part of the consternation for many dual-wielders because it is now much easier for them to hit the damage cap, which means they will need to change some of their gear away from attack to STR I believe.

After that we went off to do some Assaults to help Borin get to Rank 5. It wasn't a normal run because we didn't even have enough people on for two parties, but it was quick and we got some decent points from it. After that I hopped on my SAM to test it out now. I did not get a Tachi: Gekko or Kasha to hit for less than 1k in damage, with or without buffs. Nothing radical or insane damage-wise but still very impressive. You can see the improvement in attack in this screenshot:

There is still a ton of information I need to learn about this update, so I am going to spend today working on that then report what I find tomorrow.

Have fun with the update.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Why hello there Mr. Alexander.

Stolen from people that data mined this on BG.

Wishes granted?

Oh god, this is going to be difficult. I had a very busy weekend, have a ton of pics to go over and its update day. So quickly, the first thing to go over is the banning of the RMT. Another 6960 accounts banned and 2.6 billion gil out of the economy. They said they are now focusing on crafting bots as well as their normal round up of hackers and cheaters. Very nice to hear, especially for my crafting friends! That is just a minor detail today though, because RMT has become less and less of an issue for the game with all the measures that they are taking, and because today is update day! Yay! No word on the update notes yet, but I will cover them when they pop up. Luckily this lets me go over my busy weekend.

Alright, first thing is my final Assault Rank up to Second Lieutenant, which was achieved at the end of our Assault run on Friday night. We had a very successful run on Friday night, getting a bunch of new rank ups for people and new missions completed. We were going to have to do Apkallu Seizure for Sholo, which is just a hard mission, but he fell asleep so we got to do some other missions like Azure Experiments which was pretty fun, and we even got a ??? ring, but it wasn't a Divisor Ring. :(

The rank up mission was not very difficult but it was really long and funny. First, we had to go to officer training, which actually took place in the area that will be used for the Pit when it is released. The school was run by what appeared to be a relative of Naja Salaheem, LOL. She was barking orders with what appeared to be Hellzfury's twin in sunglasses too... (That's him in the background, LOL). Anyway, we were introduced to the new Drill Sergeant Rongelouts. In classic drill sergeant fashion Rongelouts yells a lot, calls people maggots, and you eventually earn his stubborn respect. I thought there was a bit of interesting detail in this mission as they mention a character from the southern continent, likely an assassin, which is interesting because in the last expansion they offered up some slight details about the expansion in previous updates, like how the Limbus gear came from the Near East, etc. I wonder if this has any importance for the future at all. Anyway, a lot of the missions focused on you meeting the drill sergeants grueling tasks with the laughable back drop of Falzum's incompetence. The first mission had to do with a simple memory game with baby Chocobos. It was very simple, and I completed it very quickly even without taking screenshots. More silliness followed with the corralling of the dangerous enemy forces afterward. There was even a sick little baby Chocobo that was identified by one of the other recruits, a San d'Orian noble. And they were all taken care of by the Galka that carried you off to your training everyday. And that was just the first day of training. LOL The next day was much less complex. I just had to bring in a beastman item from a ToAU area, and that was quickly dispatched. Finally, we moved onto the last day of training where I was instructed to remember details about previous missions. Now, of course I had the answers already, but I would have to say that I would have remembered at least a couple of the answers even if I hadn't peaked on the Wiki for the answers. LOL With that done, I completed my rank up mission, and headed straight over to the gate guard to get my Perdu Blade. Man, the Perdu Blade is awesome, I swing ridiculously fast now. I just love this thing. With haste and marches, I can almost break the animation just with normal non-double attacked swings, and even without marches I can break the animation with just on double attack. The delay is incredibly low on the Perdu Blade which makes me wonder if I should consider changing my TP build set up and it will be something that I be considering in a future blog post. Also, the look of the Perdu Blade is just great, and I like the main-hand/off-hand design difference, main-hand focused on damage and the off-hand focused on speed. I would have to parse the difference between a couple of different set-ups to see which is best, but again that will be the subject of a different post. I also need to pick up a parser.

Anyway, on with the rest of the weekend. I did some major meriting this weekend, and little leveling of my MNK. I figured it was time to catch up a little, and my MNK has gotten a lot of focus as of late, also I wanted to test out my spiffy new Perdu Blade. :) It was fun and I got something on the order of ten more merit points I believe. I finished up Overwhelm for my SAM, and I added two more levels of Double Attack for my WAR. I really should focus on one or the other but I don't feel massively compelled to either way. I think once I finish up Double Attack I am going to do one level of Shikikoyo so that I at least have that, then I will focus on Meditate recast down. It was a good weekend for merits, and I am glad I got to invest some time into it. While meriting I got this Blade: Jin which I believe to be my highest yet, but I am not positive. It was a 14 TP return, so probably two double attacks during the WS. There is some debate on whether you can double attack twice on a WS, but I am pretty sure that you can. Also, while meriting I was provided with evidence that HP merits are really worth it, as opposed to what some people say:
For events, we had a quick Hakutaku run to get two people Optical Hats, which went extremely well and very rapidly. We had a very pleased Galka thief on our hands. LOL After that we went and did CoP 8-2 for Ashhhhh and Crlmsonking while trying to pop Jailer of Temperance along the way. Sadly, it didn't pop and we have been having a bit of difficulty trying to get some of the pop NM's in Sea to spawn which is a bit disappointing, but we will keep trying. We also completed Hellz's Retribution NM so that he can finally start working on his NM again, because he needed to complete Retribution to open Asuran Fists and he has already gotten a bunch of WS points for that already apparently. Finally, Omoi and I did a little bit of farming for pop items for the Gigas in Upper Delkfutt's Tower with little luck, but we weren't there for long and there was a bunch of competition. Ah well, its hard to find time to squeeze it in. That is it for the weekend, but this post is only half done, just waiting on the update news now. :)

Oh, on a belated side note, Versus did 2 Kirin's on Sunday which I had to miss. We got a total of 3 N. Bodies and an Osode of note. So Congrats to everyone on a good day, one without any D. Bodies! (Still would have been nice to get a set of W. Legs for Izman >.<)

Update addendum: Very Interesting. Slightly concerning. First off, there is one thing I just did not like about the update.

The party that defeats the monster required to cause “Despot” to appear will now automatically claim the NM.
This can easily be abused by RMT just claiming the entire wall of dolls and then sleep nuking them. This would really be an injustice, especially considering camping Despot before wasn't all that bad. I mean sometimes you would get an RMT or a sniper soloer, or someone that was trying to take a Despot when you were the one killing all the statues. That all was much better than the risk involved with the RMT just stealing all of the spawns. That just freaking sucks. We will have to see what this looks like but I hope its not like their first Ullikummi "fix" which just allowed the RMT to take over Sky.

Ok, now for the blah, blah stuff. New missions, blah, blah; new assaults blah, blah; new Chocobo stuff, blah, blah; new Besieged stuff, blah, blah.

A quick preface on the new items: All the information was stolen from Taj's data mining which was original posted on BG forums.

Now onto the good stuff. Can't find anything about grips except for a little bit of information put up on BG for a couple of minutes. Looks like they were either low level, or just that the data miners haven't gotten to them all.
Platinum Grip
Add. Effect Stun


Pole Strap
Double attack+2%
Now I have no idea what level this stuff is, whether you can buy it or its crafted, or whatever. It's a nice little bonus over having nothing, but they aren't providing much in the way of groundbreaking bonuses.

In regards to Assault, there appears to be some decent rewards for not only getting First Lieutenant but also for completing every single Assault that is available. This means that I will need to go back and do Lebros Supplies, but the rest appear to be doable. I would like to have that extra tag for getting more Assault Points and for building up Assault Points to be able to do Salvage more often. They also minor tweaked Einherjar and Nyzul too.

Now, onto the two-handed weapon changes. They didn't say anything new about the weapons themselves, just what they already reported in the teaser notes. But they did have this to say about the WS's.
The following weapon skills have been adjusted:
Howling Fist/Dragon Kick/Raging Rush/Cross Reaper/Penta Thrust/Skewer/ Yukikaze/Gekko/Kasha/Empyreal Arrow/Detonator
Now, as I will get to in a minute, they didn't make any specific mention of this change, they just said they have been adjusted. Likely they will be adjustments to the WS stat modifiers and base damage during the WS, the reason I say that is because they mention this right afterward:
Several weapon skills have had the effects of TP adjusted in the following manner:

- Raging Rush
Damage varies with TP >> Chance of critical hit varies with TP

- Penta Thrust
Damage varies with TP >> Accuracy varies with TP

- Skewer
Accuracy varies with TP >> Chance of critical hit varies with TP

Penta Thrust, ok, thats neat, but not really that relevant because it will actually probably decrease the total damage of a higher TP Penta Thrusts as it exists now, but for 100TP Penta Thrusts it may be better depending on how SE has changed the base damage calculation for that WS. Some people will complain that they didn't give Crit Hit to Penta Thrust, but honestly that would be like Rampage with a 93 damage weapon. Skewer was the right WS to give that too, it is like a Blade: Jin with a 93 damage weapon now. :) Very, very nice. The same applies for Raging Rush. These sound give good incentive for people to use two-handed weapons I believe.

Job changes: More good news for our less desired jobs. Shield and Weapon Bash got a boost, now increased chance to stun. Dragoon gets a nice Accuracy bonus trait which was a bit unexpected. Corsairs have had Phantom Roll improved and tweaked, and Fold did exactly what I said it would do which is remove a Bust first instead of removing the Roll with the most time left on it. Beastmasters got the boost that SE had already mentioned to pets and along with making the availability of jug pets a little higher apparently. Finally, Puppetmaster got their new heads.

Finally, the added a new function called /translate which appears to let you add any item to your auto-translate buffer just by typing it in, also you will be able to see the foreign language version of the word you are typing. Interesting indeed.

Thats it, enjoy your update.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Even I succumb to the anticipation.

Monday should be a very good update. The problem with knowing that there is a very good update coming means that there is little surprise come the day of the update. Like I have said before, the best update ever was the one in which SE fixed Sky and many of the NM's that RMT used to monopolize were given R/E alternative drops. The best part about this was that there was no anticipation of the fix, it was just delivered the day of the update, like manna from heaven. This lack of anticipation actually made the surprise better. Like on Christmas as a child, you have a list you expect Santa Claus to bring, and if he brings your exact list then you are pleased, but a bit of the magic is lost. Where is the splendor in knowing exactly what is coming? It's not like the do surprise nerfs much anymore so we don't have much to fear. I am glad that they have left much open in this update. What are the grips going to be like? What are the changes being made to two-handed weapons? What about the adjusted weaponskills? These are the unanswered questions that I enjoy reading about on update day. I remember the update after the best update ever was also very good, but SE showed their hand a bit too much removing some of the surprise on update day and I was left a bit unfulfilled. And so with great anticipation I await Monday and its sweet fruits, but will they be sweet? Or will I have already tasted the unique fruits with the update notes and thus tasted are no longer unique on the day of delivery?

Ah, well, such is speculation and speculation about anticipation maybe as esoteric as one can get. POL will be down for much of the update day so data mining will not be available, and I will only have the update notes that SE provides to provide solace on that cold and deathly day without FFXI. I will of course pour over them, and then pride you with the best of the best.

Yesterday was a fun day if not a bit unfocused. It is hard to focus for hours on end just farming for Diorite, especially when one half of the LS is clearly more effective at getting Diorite to drop than the other. XD
Three Diorite were collected over several hours of work, all the while earning several merit points for Versus members. We spawned our three Ullikummis and during the wait competed with the other half of the LS for spawns in Ullikummi's room. Accusations flew from both sides about botting claims and RMT associations. LOL All in all, a light day in Sky, with Faust being our only NM claim as the half of the LS that was farming near the Celestial Nexus moved to Ullikummi's room to use their three Diorites. We now have four complete Byakko sets and at some point we will be doing a marathon Byakko day, and hopefully we will at least get one pair of Haidate for members that are waiting on the treasured pants.

After Sky we had a non-split Temenos West run. Relatively simple if not unlucky in that every treasure chest that was opened resulted in a Mystic Avatar. Seems strange that the last floor in Temenos is Fenrir instead of Carbuncle, the double light weather actually makes Fenrir the easiest of the Avatars to defeat. Like I said we got all the Avatars we could get from the treasure chests and Leviathan decided to kill Hellz, and Hellz was left in a quite awkward position. Poor headless Hellz. LOL We got some decent drops from the chests, including a PLD piece for Iz.

Well, thats pretty much until the big update post on Monday. I will make my normal post if the information isn't available in a decent amount of time, then make another post about the update notes if it works out that way. Finally, in closing, its pretty apparent that some people are not as macro dependent as others. And that those people may never clean up their old macros. :)

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Comprehending Competition.

I have now been writing this blog for exactly one year. It's pretty impressive actually, for me, as I generally will let something like this just go after a while. I do have to say part of that continuity stems from the support I get from friends and strangers alike that read the blog and urge me to post more and more often. In the span of a year I have gotten more jobs to level 75 than I had total before that time. My SAM, RNG and WAR all went from some odd level to 75, and I have also been able to gear them well in that time. In that same year RMT have gone from controlling much of the game to being near complete destruction. Sure they are still around, but many fixes have come and gone in the span of a year that have massively reduced their influence on the game, en toto. Versus went through a closed entry phase and has reopened its doors to the public, even expanding its operations to include Sea and Limbus to complement Sky, we also do Assault and Salvage now through Omoi's social LS, with Versus members. In that year, my NIN has come very close to exactly what I want it to be, a few marginal tweaks can still be made, but it is merited and very well equipped for DD, and is only slightly less well set for tanking. My SAM is also pretty dead on to where I want it to be and after I complete my D. Legs I will have it exactly where I want it outside of Salvage gear. I am still deciding on Haub +1 vs. D. Body but that is not a decision that pains me. My RNG is well equipped even if its not uber, and the recent addition of my Kirin's Osode makes it feel like I am moving closer to completion, and although my gear is competent it doesn't feel as close to perfection as some of my other jobs. My WAR was just recently complemented but I have to say that much of the gear is borrowed and further, since I do not do Kings, the opportunity to get the pinnacle of WAR gear may be out of reach.

In a year, much has changed personally as well. People have come and gone from Versus, but we are still here. We are actually one of the oldest continually existing end-game LS's on the server. I have made many new friends in a years time, and I have lost some people that I thought were friends. At times it has been bittersweet, but we have persevered. Versus to this day continues to expand and may be even larger than it was before the RMT even came to Sky. A while back we were even "accused" of camping Despot with 40 people, to which everyone in the LS got a good chuckle out of considering we have never even come close to that number of people in the LS, but it does speak well that we have a good group of people that are consistent and supportive. Versus is not as high profile as other end-game LS's because honestly we don't try to put ourselves out there, we have the experience and tempering of players that can do what they do very well and have done it for some time. In that time, I have lost a lot of the awe I had for some end-game players, and I have gained respect for some others. There is so much offered in the end-game arena right now that it is becoming increasingly difficult to do them all, and to pace them well and consider that people like the ones we have in Versus also like to have their free time outside of end-game events. Versus takes it all in stride, and looks forward to whatever may come.

It is very interesting that this year of writing has been bracketed by two expansions, one came right before I started this blog and one will come in the near future. This year has seen many shifts in game play. The move toward TP burning, and away from the MB in XP parties. The introduction of new game play styles, like the NIN/DRK and PLD/NIN now reigning supreme over almost all other tanks, except another equal, depending on the fight, of RDM/NIN. New equipment has shifted the focus of much of the end-game community, emphasizing haste and swing speed for many jobs over higher accuracy and damage ratings. Sure, arrow burning lead to TP burning which all existed before Treasures but it was perfected during that expansion with its XP bonuses and relatively easier mobs to XP on.

So where will we be next year? I can't even guess, but with the actions of SE over the past year I have reasons to hope. SE has fixed much of the RMT problem, with forced spawns on mobs that were easy for RMT to monopolize and becoming much more vigilant about riding the game of RMT. They appear to have changed the way that they adjust jobs, listening to players and buffing instead of nerfing. SE has also been supplying some pretty decent content, like Assault and Salvage that are fun to do and pretty to very rewarding. Will I be playing a new job when the expansion comes out? Will we be doing some new end-game event? What kind of gear is in store for us? Time will only tell.

SE must have known that it was the year anniversary of my blog because they added another update about job changes so that I can something else to talk about today.

August will see adjustments to two-handed weapon wielding and several jobs.
If you missed our description of grips and two-handed weapons, be sure to check it out in the August 14th edition of Topics. In this edition, we will be covering job enhancements.


The duration for which a beastmaster can maintain a pet invoked with the "Call Beast" ability will be extended. The new length of time, though varying depending on the type of pet brought forth, may be up to 90 minutes.
Additionally, when not engaged in combat, pet healing will be possible through use of the "Stay" ability. Finally, the experience penalty previously incurred by a beastmaster while using a charmed monster will be done away with.


After the version update, corsairs across Vana'diel will be the happy recipients of several job enhancements.
For starters, the effect of Phantom Roll will be augmented so that the effects can be felt even when neither a large nor Lucky Roll is made. To make a comparison, the efficacy of a corsair's roll will generally exceed that of a bard's song. Should a corsair roll an 11, the efficacy will, for the most part, exceed that of two bard's songs.

The length of immobility a corsair suffers during their rolls has also been shortened. In addition, the merit point-accessible ability "Fold" will function to reduce the likelihood of busting, as well as modifying the effect of rolls.

We will also be adding new gear that will further increase the range of Phantom Roll. When using the roll and this gear in tandem, even players engaged in combat at some distance from the corsair will fall within the area of effect. And as if that weren't enough, players can even expect new ammunition with rather enticing damage ratings.


The update also brings with it two all-new heads to supplement the puppetmaster's arsenal of automaton accoutrements.
The primary purpose of both heads is to grant magic bonuses: one for healing, and the other, elemental. For example, equipping the "healing" head will cause an automaton to undergo a healing magic power enhancement. As a result, subsequent cure spells will encompass all party members, rather than the puppetmaster alone.

Careful reconsideration has led us to raise the current skill limits for automatons as well. With these increases, puppetmasters can expect to see improved performance from their automata in such areas as attack power and accuracy, magic accuracy, and more!

Look forward to the release of even more details on the day of the update!

Now, I have to start by saying that I don't have any of these jobs leveled very far, and with Beastmaster, I don't even have the job unlocked. But I do have experience with the game and what other people say about their jobs. So starting with BST I think this is definitely a move in the right direction. Some of the jug pets can get to be very expensive and having them only for a short period of time can become quite a drain on the gil of a BST. Lengthening the time that they can be held onto will help BST's out and hopefully will allow them to use more expensive and better jug pets because of the reduction in cost. The "stay" command allowing pets to heal could be a marginal to great improvement depending on how fast they regain their HP. It will at least let BST's hold charmed mobs outside of their spawn range for much longer. Finally, probably the most important change is that you will now be able to hold a pet while killing a mob without having to release and thus lose your pet while you kill your mob. There is some debate about what exactly this will include, but at the very least it will mean that a BST can hold onto a pet without the frustration of it despawning every time you want to kill a mob. Outside of that does it mean that mob level will still be factored in when killing a mob? Like will a Tough pet still be considered with its level when fighting a mob? Or will the pet be treated like other pets in that they will be considered outside of the party and thus not effecting XP at all. Even if it is the former it will still massively improve a BST's ability to solo.

For Corsair the improvements to Phatom Roll appear to be quite impressive, and I believe this much better balances them with BRDs. BRDs have very consistent and strong buffs while CORs have buffs that can get close to BRD's buffs but only at their peak of luck. In general, on most rolls CORs will have weaker buffs than BRDs, so this buff puts them on a more equal playing field. Now some might say that this hurts BRDs but honestly this just makes the equal in the buffing department, BRDs will still have the advantage of being able to give March, Elegy, Carols, Etudes, Lullaby as well as other and this is all besides the fact that they have consistent buffs. Ultimately, it would be best if bad rolls were worse than BRD songs and the good rolls were better. Now, it would look like, instead of the dual BRD party, the BRD and COR party might become dominant. Double March, Fighter's Roll and Rogue's Roll might be stronger than other BRD song pairings. Even better, the strengthen of all of these buffs might make other buffs more usable like Hunter's and Chaos Rolls. The best part is that it wont hurt BRD at all, it will just move COR to be an alternative to them when a BRD isn't available, likely a BRD will still be the best considering the consistency of their buffs. Also mentioned was the strengthening of the Fold merit ability. Now the translation for this line doesn't appear to be dead on, but I think the change being made is that when Fold is used, instead of removing the last roll that was made, it will remove the worst roll that has been made. For example, instead of removing the last roll, you could have two rolls up, one that is good and one that is crappy and you could just use Fold to ditch the bad one then roll again. I don't really see what Fold will do if you take the English statement on face, because I can't see how it can be used to reduce the risk of busting. Anyway, CORs are also supposed to get some new bullets that should help the increase their damage output.

Finally, the job that I honestly know the least about is PUP. It appears that the BLM head will allow the Automaton to cast higher level nukes and the WHM head will allow the Automaton to increase its healing ability and cast upon other members of the party. This appears to be a major buff for them, and may move PUP into another different end-game role, either for damage or support. Also the Automatons will have their skill level caps increased, improving accuracy, damage and magical abilties. I don't know if this is something they necessarily needed, but it will definitely increase PUPs share in the total damage pie.

The update is on Monday, but there is also a POL maintenance that day so the data miners will not have much of an opportunity to get to the information before I have to post the blog. The best I will likely have is information from the update notes. I will have them best parts posted as soon as I can on Monday, but I do have a meeting in the afternoon that day, so hope for the best.

I want to make a comment here about job competition. Everyone in this game yells and screams for buffs and laments and cries about nerfs to their jobs. And ultimately this is justified by the way the game allocates space within the party and alliance structure. SE has created inherent competition between several different groups of jobs like tanks, DD, buffers/debuffers and healers. In many cases these roles can overlap, increasing the competition between jobs. In some cases, the jobs are even interchangeable and sometimes they are each individually required. The point is that SE needs to be careful about creating too level of a playing field, because without individual benefits for a job type they are just grouped in with the others and then ranked on the ability of each job to do the requirement. This is most evident in the field of DD's where there are many jobs that can fill the same exact role. Some excel like WAR and MNK and some fall behind like DRK and DRG. Now in some cases the other DD's are better for SATA WS or Skillchains but that doesn't help them to get their XP parties. For this upcoming update and its adjustment to two-handed weapons this might shift closer together, where there is less difference between the DD jobs, but ultimately there will be winners and losers. One job will still be able to do the most damage over a certain period of time. I am not saying that the two-handed weapon update is bad or even that it is not desperately needed, what I am saying is that it will make it even more difficult to differentiate between the DD's without removing the problem of damage prioritization. Meaning that people will still build their parties to get them most XP in the least amount of time so people will still invite the highest DD's first then move on down the list. I think something that SE should consider implementing would be changing jobs so that they are more differentiated by job abilities and traits instead of by damage. I don't know how they would do that exactly LOL but that is what I would do. Competition is always good, but competition where one job can't pull ahead of another job isn't really competition, instead it is more of a rigged game where those that are behind have no way to catch up. Variation in jobs by changing their abilities to make them more useful in a wider variety of situations and scenarios recreates this competition without having to adjust their damage.

Now, for my day. LOL I had to go out for a while yesterday, so I wasn't able to do very much, but we did manage to do CoP mission 8-1 and 8-2 for Potpressure, Kingscissom and Lucella. The fights outside in Al'Taieu and inside the Grand Palace of Hu'Xzoi all went very smoothly. We just killed everything along the way to the NM fight at the end of mission 8-2, netting us quite a few ghrah M chips so we can spawn Fortitude in the future. We also tried to spawn Temperance on the why with no luck. Later this week we will be finishing up these missions, and then we will have to do it again during Brit friendly times for Crlmsonking and Ashhhhh. :) No matter, the XP is good and it gives us a chance to farm for pop items.

Shortly after doing these missions I got an invite to an XP party, and Omoikitte decided to come along too. It was NIN, WAR, MNK, BRD, BRD, RDM at Mamool Ja staging point, we got some pretty decent chains (40+). Omoi and the MNK did get some nasty Fang Rush's at times, but the party was very good and I got two merits and almost a third in the short time we were there. I am now sitting on three merits, and we are only farming for Diorite today in sky. Hopefully I will be able to get two more merits in Sky today and then I can put it into my final level of Overwhelm for my SAM.

That was it for my day, and that puts the wraps on my first year blogging. I hope that you all have enjoyed reading my blog and that you stick around for another year!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

The communication process.

Sorry, this might be a little late today, blogger was down for a while.

Yesterday there was a line to wait to do Kirin. RMT were fighting and taking forever while Versus, LifeandDeathAngels and LimitBreak were waiting to also do Kirin. Since LimitBreak was last in line they just decided to go, and while we were waiting Eraphie and Omoikitte randomed to see who would go first and we won so Eraphie's LS helped with the mini's to get things moving faster and so that we could pretty much straight tank it through the entire fight. We then returned the favor, and helped them kill their mini's. While all this was going on and we were waiting for the RMT to finish up, Eraphie and Frozenx tossed out the idea of joining up for TP burns. Neither of our LS's have the perfect set up for a TP burn but together we have more than enough resources to do so. Omoi didn't say yes or no to the idea but did sound rather excited about the prospect. I think it would be great fun to do. :) Anyway, our Kirin netted a Pole, Raise 3, and a D. Body. Yes, another D. Body. At least it went to someone that actually wanted it. We haven't wasted a D. Body yet, but at this rate we are really going to LOL.

Its nice to be able to work with other LS's like that, lets both of us get things done with much more efficiency.

Outside of Kirin, we did an ENM and only netted a crafting item which I won the lot on. :) Then we did some more fruitless subligar farming. It's getting a bit frustrating that is for sure. >.< Borin and Pb both need them. I am insisting before we go next time that we clear our Fomor hate, because I have heard that it can improve the droprate. At this point I am willing to try anything to finally get those subligar to drop.

SE has announced that the update will be on Monday all day, and we still haven't heard about the job update. The funniest thing I have seen though is the people that have been complaining about the last update. They were actually complaining that the Chocobo Racing update wasn't better or about something different. That is how addicted they have become, they actually are so obsessed that an update about the update isn't about something that they want to hear about. I do have to say that SE has been rather slow about giving us information about this update and about the expansion. In fact, I am guessing that we should be getting an expansion update pretty soon, maybe even the announcement about the first new job.

I think that SE could do a better job of giving us information, but I know they are generally tight-lipped about new information, and only dole it out as they choose.

Tomorrow is the one year anniversary of this blog, I will have some nice recaps for that. :)

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Apkallu Attack.

Well, I guess I will start with the bad news. We lost out first Ultima yesterday because both of our PLD tanks DC'ed during the fight, LOL. Never seen anything like that happen before. Basically, we had only one tank for almost all of the fight, and we still got it to 12%. Also, we learned a ton about the fight and we would have easily won without such mass confusion. We had decided to make 10% the zerg point, but I think next time we will make it after the first Citadel Buster. The thing that really screwed us was not the Citadel Buster, but the Armor Buster that it used right after the first Citadel Buster, which was targeted on a mage and wiped most of the alliance. It would have been stunned normally if we had any tank up at that time. LOL Ah well, considering the insane circumstances we did incredibly well, and I was just really massively impressed with how well everyone dealt with the situation. I also liked the fact that Elfaria was pissed that we didn't win, that is a great attitude to have honestly, because we should be able to win during any fight, no matter the circumstances. BTW BLU for this fight is totally cheating, like 90% of Ashhhhh's stuns landed... LOL We will definitely win next time, and we did all this with one of our best players, Eternalpain, who could have come PLD/NIN or BLM, on vacation. The actual fight was fine, very few people died through out 88% of the fight, although we could have been better at the start with stunning Antimatter. Once we got going though the stunning was mostly great, but I think we will shift to pairs of stuns so that one person isn't locked into doing nothing just waiting for the next move especially considering most of our stuns are RDM's which are busy as hell during this fight. RDM's make a huge difference in this fight because Slow 2 and Paralyze 2 slow Ultima down to nothing, and stacked with Elegy our PLD/NIN's had no problem in general keeping shadows up and having a death grip on hate before they DC'ed LOL. One hilarious moment was during Lucella's DC when she couldn't act and Mirra was trying to fix hate, and finally pulled hate, after it hit Mirra once, it turned back to Lucella because she had so much hate still while DCing LOL. Anyway, the fight went on with only one tank and Jess and I were lucky enough to get some Holy II's and I finally died from a late Equalizer. But we got back up and started fighting again, we also found that before 19% when it starts using Citadel Buster it is very easy to just hold it, not give it much TP and wait if you need to for someone to come back from a DC or unweaken.

Anyway, enough with Ultima, and the silliness around it. I got my MNK to 57 in a decent party yesterday. I can finally wear my Scorpion Harness and I like the boost in accuracy even though I look like an idiot now with the SH and RSE legs. I really feel that I should be moving more quickly through some of these levels, but I haven't been. I think it might be because I haven't been able to find a good time to XP on my MNK, or maybe that I haven't felt compelled to deal with making a party for it. Meh, I still like it a whole lot, and hopefully this weekend I will get some free time to level it for more than an hour or two. Once MNK is done I think I will focus a long while on meriting so that I can start making my end-game jobs more complete. I hate the feeling that I don't have a lot of the things I want merited on my end-game jobs especially because I believe that our mages should have certain things merited for a lot of our fights. It isn't really fair. So I am going to resolve that.

After Ultima, we had our normal Monday Assault runs. Before the runs I finished up my Rank 8 quest and got to see Hellz/Abquhbah playing strangely with Naja's Morning Star and even more strangely Naja getting a little too frisky with her Morning Star...
My group managed to get three more wins for ranking up putting me only two wins from the final rank an my Perdu Blade. Apkallu Seizure was a very close race to get some Apkallu back to the Prof. This one was kind of annoying, because leading the birds aren't that difficult, but getting them to take the fish and start off is a lot more complicated that it sounds on the Wikipedia. Also they tend to move in a strange fashion and sometimes the birds will turn and you will need to quickly run around behind them which is hard to see, especially since they have turned only 45 to 90 degrees and they kind of do it without warning. But we won that one and will only be doing it again to get people to people wins. In a change of pace from that one we did Apkallu Breeding which was much less difficult and much more fun. We basically got 7 pairs out of the 8 before we ended it which was a decent chunk of points. And the silly Apkallu were all cure when they feel in love. Finally, we did Stop the Bloodshed and although there was a little bit of death from aggroing some of the Chiqoe Breeders we managed to win pretty quickly. I really wanted to be able to get rank 9 before this next update and I should be able to get them on Friday then do the rank up quest. I may hold off on getting my Perdu Blade until after the update just to see if the rank 10 items will be worth the 56k in ISP they will likely cost, but I already have over 100k in ISP, so I don't think it will be that much of a concern.

Finally, I want to mention the new update notes, about Chocobo Racing. I don't really care at all, but some of you might so here they are:

For months now, the denizens of Vana'diel have been racing the chocobos they have lovingly reared. Starting this month, the new Chocobo Circuit will allow adventurers to join teams and vie in direct competition for points, bragging rights, and items. Players will also get the chance to put their money where their mouth is with the introduction of chocobets.

What is the Chocobo Circuit?

By popular demand of breeders from all corners of the world wishing to prove the superiority of their birds, the Chocobo Circuit has opened at last. By now, many adventurers have gotten a taste of how fun and challenging chocobo racing can be. This will be the last major update to chocobo racing. Any future changes will only be minor modifications.

After painstakingly raising chocobos from the shell to the stables, breeders can now enter them in races against other adventurers from around Vana'diel. In addition, both breeders and common spectators alike can now enjoy a day at the races, complete with chocobets which allow you to lay down gil on the birds of your choice! These features will make the Circuit an enjoyable pastime not only for those already hooked on chocobo racing, but also for those who have yet to try their hand at it.

Adventurer Races

Adventurer Races will follow the same basic format as current chocobo races.
The main difference is that players may now compete against other players. Players will be able to earn gil, as well as accumulate points that will unlock other races and items.

Below is an explanation of some of the points of difference between current chocobo racing and the new Adventurer Races:

- Race Participation
Unlike current NPC races, Adventurer Races will allow a large number of PC participants to compete against one another, much like Ballista.
After participating in a race, players will be required to undergo a waiting period before being eligible to race again. This is to prevent some players from monopolizing the race system (and to give chocobos their much-needed rest!).

- Victory Points
In addition to being awarded gil and chocobucks, players can also amass Victory Points for their triumphs at the races. The winner of a race will receive a certain number of Solo Victory Points, and the team with which they are affiliated at the time will be granted Team Victory Points as well.

- Solo Victory Points
Accumulating a certain number of Solo Victory Points will give players access to higher-grade races. In such races the stakes are much greater, as participants will be fighting for more prestigious titles, larger purses, and better prizes.

- Team Victory Points
The three officially recognized racing teams of San d'Oria, Bastok, and Windurst will acquire Team Victory Points every time one of their members wins a race. These points will be tallied in the same manner as Conquest Points to determine weekly standings.
The first place team will have unique items available for chocobuck purchase, as well as offer its members other benefits at the track.


A chocobet is a gil wager made on an Adventurer Race. When placed, a player picks the two chocobos that they believe will finish in first and second place.
Winning bets will pay back an amount determined by the size of the bet and the odds for that race.

The details of chocobetting are described below.

- Placing a chocobet
All racetracks have a Chocobet Center where players can purchase Chocobet Tickets. The value of the ticket is determined by the number of quills the player would like to buy (1 quill = 100 gil). A single Chocobet Ticket can contain up to 999 quills.
Because of the nature of the betting system, direct control in races will be prohibited to prevent any misappropriation of gil.

- Odds
Odds determine how much gil a player can win per quill. They may be different for any given race, and for any two-chocobo pairing you select. The final amount of a player's winnings is calculated based on the number of quills on the Chocobet Ticket and the odds.
When a chocobo pairing is not favored to win, and consequently has few bets placed on it, the odds for that pairing will be relatively high. Players stand to win more money, should they bet on such a pairing and win. Conversely, well-known chocobos with a good chance of finishing in the top two will generally be the pick of many Chocobet Tickets. These pairings will therefore have relatively lower odds, resulting in less gil per quill. Of course, should a player lose, they will receive no gil, regardless of any odds.
While we hope that players will enjoy the new racing and betting system, we also ask that they understand the risks involved and act responsibly.

That's it, Kirin today, then some time to XP I think.