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!


Anonymous said...

Happy 1 year anniversary! I play on Valefor and I've been reading your blog through, you have some great insights and analysis, and cool looking screen shots too. I will definitely stay tuned!

iceblazek said...

grats man