Friday, July 31, 2009

POL News: Dance Your Heart Out.

Looks like Sunbreeze is bringing the dance to you again. Vana'diel is definitely not the setting for Footloose. If you didn't get that joke you are too young and probably think that Transformers is a movie that was made by Michael Bay and that Bumblebee is a POS Chevy instead of a German rustbucket.

Wow, of on a tangent there. Anyway, the new event looks to be a little more interesting than the last time around. There is some mention of a new scantily-clad dancer, and a special, "more advanced" quest involved in the event. Meh, I say! MEH! I really need to get someone on staff that actually cares about these kind of things. Anyone out there that actually wants to write about these things? If you are interested send me an e-mail at tweiner1 at gmu dot edu.

Anyway, if you want the full write up check after the cut. Beware the huge poster for this event.

"Hi everyone! My name's Mumor!
How are you all? I've been feeling just fantastic, thank you! My live performance at this year's Sunbreeze Festival is about to begin, you see. All the fans have already begun lining up and—huh? Where in the world did everyone go...?

What's with the commotion over there? A crowd of people seems to have gathered.
But...something doesn't smell right here..."

This summer, a fearsome new menace has come to wreak havoc on festivals and smiles of happiness—the very things our winsome superheroine, Fantastic Fraulein Mumor, has sworn to protect. Only with your spirited show of support can Mumor hope to prevail in her latest battle against evil!
All together now: "Shining Summer Samba!!!"

Proceed here to learn how you can help Fantastic Fraulein Mumor purge Vana'diel of this latest threat casting its shadow over the realm!

*The Sunbreeze Festival will commence on Tuesday, August 4, 2009 at 1:00 a.m. (PDT) and run until Monday, August 17 at 1:00 a.m. (PDT).
And here is the rest of it.

A long, long time ago, a lone meteor came hurtling through the heavens, finally coming to rest in a long forgotten corner of Vana’diel. From the core of this extraterrestrial rock emerged a being of pure evil: the self-proclaimed demon king, Ullegore. With unrelenting singleness of mind, Ullegore set forth to instigate his diabolical plot to sow the seeds of boredom the world over, finding festivals—the predominant source of fun and excitement in the realm of mortals—as the preferred targets for his insatiable thirst for tedium.

However, the arrival of this entity of darkness did not escape the notice of Professor Sarmoega, genius inventor and head of the Research Institute for Paranormal Phenomenon (RIPP). Realizing the dire implication of Ullegore’s appearance, the professor made it his life’s mission to prepare his only daughter, Mumor, to become she who would restore smiles and laughter to the world in its hour of need. As years of intensive training went by, this unlikely savior of Vana’diel matured to be known and loved by her fans as “Fantastic Fraulein Mumor,” the superpower-imbued defender of all that is good and fun.

Last year’s Sunbreeze Festival saw the two nemeses, Mumor and Ullegore, finally come face to face in an epic battle that will forever have a place in Vana’diel’s history books.

Despite having conceded the upper hand to her demonic adversary early in the encounter, with sheer tenacity and the power of her fan-fueled super-ability, the Dancing Force, in full swing, Mumor succeeded in banishing the demon king back to his rancorous realm...or so it was thought.

This summer, a fearsome new menace—the mysterious Mithra, Uka—has arrived to threaten the very existence of the Sunbreeze Festival. With the stakes so high, will Fantastic Fraulein Mumor be able to again stay the hand of evil and keep all the things she has sworn to protect safe from harm?

You, too, have a decisive role to play in this battle of fun versus boredom!
All together now: “Shining Summer Samba!!!”

Event Period

Tuesday, August 4, 2009 at 1:00 a.m. (PDT) until Monday, August 17 at 1:00 a.m. (PDT).

Sunbreeze Festival Venue

Fireworks displays, Sunbreeze dances, and other festivities will commence each day at nightfall in the following locations:
West Ronfaure / East Ronfaure
Southern San d'Oria / Northern San d'Oria / Port San d'Oria
North Gustaberg / South Gustaberg
Bastok Mines / Bastok Markets / Port Bastok
East Sarutabaruta / West Sarutabaruta
Windurst Waters / Windurst Walls / Windurst Woods / Port Windurst
Eastern Altepa Desert / Western Altepa Desert

Superheroine Stage Show

Only with your spirited show of support can Mumor hope to prevail in her latest battle against evil! Find out more about how you can lend a hand to our irresistibly adorable superheroine by speaking to a moogle posted near to the show's venues at the following locations:
Northern San d’Oria (D-8) / Bastok Markets (G-8) / Windurst Waters (F-5)

Fun and Frolic

Not content to merely soak up the ambiance? Fear not, for the locations below will feature delightful games with a chance to win exclusive Sunbreeze Festival prizes!
Southern San d'Oria (H-9) / Port Bastok (K-8) / Windurst Woods (K-12)

*Fancy yourself a mini-game master? This year we have a special treat for you! Earn yourself a HQ yukata during the festival, then participate in a mini-game while decked out in your new duds, and you'll qualify for an advanced mode offering increased challenge and reward!

Piscine Pursuits

It just wouldn't be a Sunbreeze Festival without everyone's favorite event—the thoroughly gratifying goldfish scoop! Players may test their skills of aquan acquisition at the following locations:
West Ronfaure (G-11) / South Gustaberg (E-8) / East Sarutabaruta (H-8) / Rabao (F-7)
Trade your catch to vendors and you'll accrue points—commensurate with the variety of fish you've snagged—that can be redeemed for a veritable host of valuable prizes!

Moogle Teleportation Service

Adventurers attired in either the Otokoeshi Yukata or Ominaeshi Yukata—festival-exclusive items acquirable as prizes from participating in the Superheroine Stage Show—are granted the privilege of teleporting between the three nations at will. Simply seek out and speak with one of the moogles posted at the following locations to be whisked away to further your festive endeavors to a new backdrop!

Item Vendors

Did you miss last year's Sunbreeze festival? Are you dying to get your hands on a stylish yukata to complete your collection? Just pay a visit to one of the vendors in the areas below!
Northern San d'Oria (D-8) / Port Bastok (L-8) / Windurst Waters (G-10)
This is a rare opportunity to acquire items you may have missed in past events—don't pass it up!

Morning in Vana'diel: Sunbreeze Makes Me Feel Fine.

Morning in Vana'diel is your daily dose of FFXI and all things Vana'diel. Give us your thoughts on the interesting topics of the day! Sunbreeze is here, and I love the music for it even if you hate it!

I love the Sunbreeze Festival. Don't get me wrong, I never actually do any of the events involved with in-game holidays, but I still love the music in and around the Sunbreeze zones. It's very cheerful and it breaks up the repetition of the music you get the rest of the year. The Sunbreeze music is second only to the Christmas music in Jeuno in making me happy and cheery the whole time I am there listening to it.

Now I know that a lot of people don't like it for some reason. I believe these people have small, black hearts made mostly of coal, but I am not one to judge. :) I just wish that SE would have the balls to actually expand the events into the newer areas of the game like Aht Urhgan or the Wings cities. They could do a lot more with the events if they didn't just repeat them over and over and instead developed them and tweaked them for the newer areas.

SE seems to be afraid to have anything new added to the game that doesn't directly connect with the original zones of the game in some manner. Treasures went through Mhaura when the boat in Norg seemed like the natural choice. All of the Wings zones connect directly to the original zones. I think it may have more to do with the design philosophy of trying to make sure everyone has "access" to these new zones, but it doesn't make a lot of sense when these are higher level zones and when you have to have installed all of the previous expansions to get the newest ones to work, except for the mini-scenarios. But they just further prove my point of only accessing things from the old zones.

Wouldn't you like to see where the boat in Norg goes? What about all the interesting little areas that are just dead ends but seem like they should go somewhere littered through out the world? Leave a comment and tell us what you think!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Play Better, Suck Less: Spellcast Part 3 - Sets You Need and Sets You Can't Have.

Play Better, Suck Less is a column dedicated to getting the most out of your FFXI experience in game and out. Whether Windower improvements, new game-play techniques, sweet strats or new tech, it will all be covered here! In our continuing saga, we take a look at what you can and can't do with Spellcast.

After last week, I think we know how to make a Spellcast macro set. You can make as many different macro sets you want by putting those sets in set tags and just adding them to the list. Make sure you give them individual names like "Standing" or "Idle" or "Elemental" or "Gekko" or whatever so that you can assign them to events in the rules portion of your macro document.

And now for the huge list of exceptions and problems and rules and things to remember so that you can understand what Spellcast can and can not do. Spellcast, as much as I wish it was, is not psychic. It can only react to things you do in the game, and it can not react to things in the game just because they are there. It doesn't look around and see if you need to use a WS to close a skillchain. It doesn't see them mob casting and tell you that you need to stun it. It doesn't know what you are trying to do except when you tell it what you are doing.

Before we get started today my first suggestion is to go ahead and get Spellcast 2.3. It is much easier to use than the old version and apparently lets you do a bunch of new things too. You can get the new version here.

The first thing to do when you are creating gear sets is make sure they have an event that they are responding to. This can be a spell, a type of spell, resting, engaging or doing a WS, but they all have to be something that you input into the game. This means that you can't really have swapped in gear sets for things like defense and non-full time elemental resist sets. Those you will still have to swap in manually.

Now one of the neat things about Windower is that you don't really have to remake every set of gear, you can "inherit" an older set of gear and then just change the set that you want. Basically, you are going to make a basic set of gear that you will stand around in. You will want to call it your "idle" or "standing" set of gear. Once you create that set you can create another set of gear for being engaged on a mob or some other condition, or you can just assign Spellcast to look at your base set (BaseSet) and then just swap in some different gear when you are engaged. A good example of why this is useful is the use of Dusk Gloves. You would not want to have Dusk Gloves on when you are just running around because they would slow you down, but you would want to have them when you are in combat. So you would not have the Dusk Gloves in your BaseSet, but you would want to have them in the set you would use to melee. So you would create a new set of gear, and call it "Fight" or "Engaged" or anything you want so long as you know what it is. Since the only thing that you are really going to want to change in this case is your Dusk Gloves you can and a tag after your new set name that just says BaseSet="Standing". It will "inherit" all of your gear from your Standing set except for the gear you tell it in this "Engaged" set.

Sounds complicated? It's not. And this is a programming idiot telling you this. Once you have set up all of your gear sets you can then tell Spellcast when you should use them. The first thing to do is look under the rules section and look at the first two lines there. One will say equip when=Idle and the second one will say equip when=Engaged. You will want to assign your "Standing" gear to the Idle set, and your "Fight" gear to your Engaged set. Once you have done that you have set up your initial gear sets and are ready for some more complicated rules.

And we will get to those rules next week! If you have any question, just leave a comment and I will be sure to cover them.

Morning in Vana'diel: I'm Quitting! See you in 2 months.

Morning in Vana'diel is your daily dose of FFXI and all things Vana'diel. Give us your thoughts on the interesting topics of the day! Do people ever really let go of Final Fantasy and the experience?

Through the rumour mill it would appear that a certain Ace tank has had his interest piqued enough to want to return back to the sunny shores of FFXI for I think.. the 4th time now? Which got me to ruminating.

One of the most common things you see in the people who "quit" is a declaration, "This is it guys, I'm leaving" followed by the obligatory dispersal of gear to the AH or various friends who you can either use as a repository for your gear while you are MIA or just because you are feeling generous.

Of those that actually do make a decided departure from the game, a good number of them end up returning, maybe not as intensively as they used to or even as consistently, but more often than not it seems as though the "I am quitting the game" is followed by the inevitable rejoinder of "Yeah yeah, see you in a month when you get bored/split with your girlfriend/realise that hanging around with us is really THAT much more fun".

I don't know if I would say it is necessarily an addiction, but great company and experiences is a lure that is extremely inviting, why is it so strange to consider that FFXI might have replay value? I mean, it isn't that uncommon for people to go back to single player games and replay them over and over. Sure, single player is far easier to put down. Its a once time-through thrill and then you go back, pick up every single last health pack you missed the first time around for that 100% completion score that merely proves your anal retentiveness, that apparently is latent in all gamers to some degree.

So what is it about FFXI that makes us that much more uptight about it when people quit, and the sheer shiver of delight that gets you dancing with glee at the return of a player? The human connection and interraction is an aspect of uncharted and dangerous territory that we sign into every single day when we spam through the Yes-yes-just-let-me-get-into-the-game-life?-that-happens-to-other-people menus, could that possibly be the answer to this line of thought? Dangerous ground to go on, no-one wants to admit to emotions any more, for fear of being called emo or frigid, or any middle ground between that.

But at the end of the day, its the people you hang out with every day that make FFXI fun, not the game right? LoL who said school was fun, it was the joking around with your mates that made the days swim by. Everything else was just a frame to hang that on.

What are your thoughts on the quit/unquit sagas that take place. Are you a drama queen who posts on every forum to announce you are leaving or do you just vanish into the ether never to be heard from again? Leave a comment and let us know your opinions!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Thin Black Line- On Beastmaster Pets

The Thin Black Line is here to protect you! Tuufless, our resident cute Taru (every site needs one!) is here to tell you all there is about magic and mages of all colors, especially Black. So much potency in such a small package, delivered straight to you! Today, we'll explore beastmen pets in light of the glory that is Xarcabard [S].

Ever since Treasures of Aht Urhgan shunned Black Mages from parties, Black Mages around Vana'diel were forced to find other ways of getting experience points, which led to the development of leveling off Beastmen pets. Since then, beastmen pets have long been the favorite of aspiring nukers and is now the de-facto route for those who aspire to wear the pointed hat.

With the recent July version update introducing at least one excellent pet camp in Xarcabard [S], which I have been obsessing over lately, I figured I might as well talk about leveling off pets for the time being.

What is it?
As the name suggests, your target xp mobs are beastmen pets. Essentially, you are looking for a Beastman whose job is either BST or SMN, and taking their pet as your xp mob. Oftentimes, people either solo or duo pets, but there have been entire 6-man parties that set out to kill pets.

For now, I’m going to refer to both Beastmaster pets and Summoner elementals as just beastmen pets, regardless of which it actually is.

Why does it work?
Beastmen pets have one very interesting characteristic- they have abnormally low HP for their level. Technically, any job can get solo xp through killing pets, but the task favours mages for two reasons.

First, mage attacks are ranged, which makes pulling very convenient. However, the important factor is that mages specialize in dealing burst damage—that is to say, only mages can deal lots of damage out of nowhere. Melee jobs have to build TP before they can use a weaponskill, while mages can stand up from resting and immediately deal a 1000-damage nuke.

That is not to say that other jobs cannot enjoy the perks that come with pets— player-controlled Beastmasters can also level off beastmen pets, using their own pet to mitigate the damage dealt by the beastman’s. However, melee will struggle a little more, because they cannot kill the pet as quickly as mages can, and may need some outside assistance, like a powerleveler to see them through safely.

What do I need?
Level 24 is an important level because you get both Utsusemi: Ichi from /NIN and get to wear Reraise Earrings. Level 42 gives you Gravity from /RDM. Which you use will depend on personal preference, although as a general rule, /NIN favours camps that are cramped or involve pets that move faster than normal, while /RDM is better for more open camps.

You will also need to keep up to date with all your spells and gear, as this is a solo task, you will only have yourself to rely on. As advance warning, you will die a lot, especially if you are just starting out. Remember your Reraise!

How do I start?
There are lists scattered around the internet that can tell you where to find pets appropriate to your level. I personally use this one over on FFXIclopedia.

Before you start, you will need to know the basics about mob behaviour. First, the pet will always assist the beastmaster, but the Beastmaster will only assist the pet if it sees the pet engaged. This means that when you need to pull the pet from behind or at least from the side of the Beastmaster, so the Beastmaster does not see the pet.

You will also have to be mindful of the terrain, as mobs have erratic pathing when it comes to uneven terrain. Usually, this is a good thing, especially when it comes to soloing NMs, but in this case, it means the pet might illogically run in front of its master and cause it to link if you try pulling it from the side and there's a slope involved.

Next, all pets do not link with other mobs of the same family. However, outside mobs will still link with the pet, so you will need to exercise caution when dealing with pets that come from linking families, like Leeches and Rabbits, especially when there are other family members around.

If the beastmaster in question is actually a Summoner, there are two things additional things to keep in mind—first, summoner elementals have more HP than beastmaster pets, though still within a manageable range. More importantly, elementals will always start to cast a spell immediately upon aggro. The problem here is that elementals will stand still and will not follow you immediately once you pull, so there is a very real possibility of the Summoner turning around and linking with the elemental, especially if the elemental opens with Ancient Magic.

Once you get there, your xp/hr rate will depend on the following few factors:

First, how quickly you can kill the mob? This is the most obvious one, but still bears mention. This is the part where nukers outshine melee jobs, because they are able to quickly deliver damage whenever it is needed.

Secondly, how open is the camp? Camps that are in small, cramped places generally see lower xp/hr rates because you may be forced to just wait long periods of time for the Beastmaster to turn around before you can pull. Essentially, the more directions you can pull from, the better your xp/hr rate will be. Camps that are in open give you lots of freedom to move around, so instead of waiting for the Beastmaster to turn around, you can move to a good location yourself.

There is an exception to this rule, and that applies to Black Mages and Ancient Magic. Normally shunned because of their inefficient use of MP, Ancient Magic spells have much higher base damage for their level range and are single-target. This means that Black Mages are able to one-shot pets until around level 60, depending on how well they are geared. Black Mages that can one-shot pets will see their xp/hr will skyrocket as they are freed from the restriction of having to wait for the Beastmaster to turn its back—if the pet dies in one-shot, the beastmaster will not link, even if the pet dies in front of it.

Finally, how many Beastmasters are around? Typically, with one Beastmaster, you can expect to get Chain #3 consistently. Two or more Beastmasters let you go up to Chain #5 or possibly even Chain #6.

Xarcabard [S]
With that in mind, I’d like to conclude by introducing the inspiration for this post- the new pet camps in Xarcabard [S].

This camp has everything a pet soloist could ask for- it is very accessible, literally right where you teleport into Xarcabard [S]. It is open, which means a lot of room to maneuver into good positions, and lastly, I counted up to five Beastmasters (Gigas Floggers) in the area. The picture you see above shows you what one can do with a camp like this.

For those who have yet to try this way of leveling, I highly encourage you to do so. Best of luck!

Mr. QQ Says: No More Chargeback Bans?

Mr. QQ Says is a column detailing information on FFXI technical issues, server issues and other minor SE issues.

It looks like SE has changed their policy to deal with the chargebacks they have been getting (presumably by RMT people that never intending to pay in the first place) that have accidentally gotten a few people banned. There are two statements recently released. The first one is a notification that SE is going to use the verification provided by Visa and Mastercard for the next payment cycle. The second one was just an outline of the new POL rules governing this.

What does this mean? If you already bank online then probably nothing, and if you have a decent CC or bank card or whatever, again probably nothing. My bank makes this process part of online banking automatically. If you are using your parents card or someone else's card you should check with them and make sure they have updated it. If you can't do anything else at all, you should call SE. I know, what a wonderful experience, but at least they have thought ahead to allow some kind of recourse for those that just don't have the option to do this verification.

Check below the cut for the full POL details of both SE announcements.

The first post:

We would like to take this opportunity to inform you that we will soon implement a security feature for your protection known as The Payer Authentication Service (3-D Secure). This will be implemented on July 29 at around 2:00 (PDT) after the scheduled registration server maintenance. You can activate these services now at the below URLs:

Visa customers:
MasterCard customers:

All customers are encouraged to activate the appropriate service beforehand to avoid any issues once the services are implemented. Anyone updating their payment information after July 29 will need to register with the appropriate service before the change can be made.

* Please be sure to check with your credit card company if you are not sure if this service is supported.

* If you are a current PlayOnline member and your credit card company does not support this service, please contact the Information Center for further assistance. Be sure to have the payment method ready when you contact the Information Center.

If you have any questions about these new services, we encourage you to visit the above URLs. Also, the PlayOnline Information Center can be contacted at the below times for further assistance.

We hope you will find additional peace of mind with these security features.

PlayOnline Information Center
Monday through Friday
9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Pacific Time

The second post:
Changes to PlayOnline Member Agreement

The following section will be added to the PlayOnline Member Agreement under Article 5 "User Responsibilities" and will take effect as of Jul. 29, 2009:

5.2(e) Credit Card Authentication.
For your protection, SEI now requires that all new credit cards used for Fees be registered with either Verified by Visa(R) or MasterCard SecureCode(R). Please go to or to register your credit cards. If you do not register your cards on one of these sites, or if your credit card issuing bank has not signed up with either service, you will not be able to access the PlayOnline services. In such case, please contact your place of purchase for return, refund, or exchange subject to the return and exchange policy of the retailer. If:
(1) your place of purchase is unwilling to accept returns or exchanges of opened software AND
(2) you are unable or unwilling to register with Verified by Visa or MasterCard SecureCard AND
(3) it has been less than 30 days since you purchased the software, AND
(4) you are located in the United States or Canada, THEN you may contact PlayOnline Information Center at (858) 790-PLAY (7529) and request a full refund of your purchase price for the Licensed Software, not including shipping and handling charges. Please note that any refund is discretionary and will be contingent upon SEI's receipt of the complete Licensed Software package and confirmation that your credit card is not compatible with either system.

The PlayOnline Member Agreement can be found under "Rules & Policies" on the FINAL FANTASY XI official website or from "Rules & Policies" within "Service & Support" on the PlayOnline Viewer. Please read them carefully and make sure you understand them before you play the game.

Latent Effect: Ares Great Axe?

Latent Effect is our newest column from Samuraisoldier, as he sets out an aim to challenge your preconceptions about what you can and can't do with your character and choices in gear in the world of Vana diel. Sam is doing his best Ahnuld impression today.

Well, well, well. You're a main WAR and you just finished upgrading all those juicy Salvage pieces at the expense of your Haub+1, seemingly endless amounts of hours, and all of your friends gil too! Now, with all that time and money invested, you sure as hell want to be contributing to your groups efforts as much as possible.

Before I begin, lets take a look at the most integral and important Ares armor which makes this post possible: Ares Cuirass. As a pure attack piece, this might be the cream of the crop. Lets talk about the stats! Defense 55 - not bad for a Warrior's body piece. HP & MP +3% - always good to have extra HP and MP in any piece of gear. STR + 12?!? Sign me up! VIT + 12 - great for Steel Cyclone, however most end-game WARs will use Raging Rush or King's Justice. Attack + 24 - beaten only by the Shadow Breastplate dropped in Einherjar, however the added STR on Ares will bring it up to pace. Adds Refresh Effect - Why the hell would a WAR want that? Well, aside from the Refresh bonus on this awesome body armor, everything seems beautiful for WAR, however, we want to be able to use every stat we can on our gear. Since I am discussing Ares great axe WARs, lets first discuss the two options warriors have in the Great Axe slot: Perdu Voulge vs. Rune Chopper.

"WTF!! Rune Chopper? Latent Effects? No thanks."
Lets look at some stats please.

The Perdu Voulge. The great axe EVERYONE uses (bar relic). And, if you have the Assault Rank to obtain this bad boy, and the Imperial Standing points, you are probably on your way to getting one for your WAR. Even Ringthree did a post on this great Great Axe. Base damage 96 while under 100% TP and during weapon skills - the highest damage GAxe (great axe), again, barring relic. All other times, damage 91. Hidden effects: Accuracy +5 - always good to have extra accuracy during the TP phase, and great for multi-hit weapon skills. Attack +10 - more attack equals more damage, sounds great.

The Rune Chopper. Damage 88 - quite low for an end-game GAxe. On to the goodies! Latent Effect: Accuracy +5 - same as the Perdu. Haste +9% - how can I get my hands on some of that? Great for Utsusemi recasts which means it will help you out if you have to tank. And, normally, the more times you chop at a mob, the more damage you'll do over time. Unlocking the latent effect of this weapon is the fun part to all of this. We need 3 MP per tick for the latent effect to go off, meaning, if at any point we have over three MP, we are getting the Acc +5, and the Haste +9%. Unfortunately, we will need our Red Mage's refresh to keep our MP > 3, but with the addition of our Ares Cuirass and Sanction/Sigil refresh, the Rune Chopper will only take off 1MP/tick, leaving us time to get our desired refresh from our Red Mages.

"Where will a WAR get any MP Sammy?"

The best bet is to put at least one merit in MP. The added stats on some of the Ares gear will only boost your MP a bit more. There is plenty of other gear out there available to get some MP, but we dont want to lose the stats of our other slots, so, hopefully you'll invest, or have already invested, in at least a single MP merit. (There ARE other jobs in the game btw ^^) Another viable option is to wear your Turban. HP and MP +30, Haste +5%...not bad! Before any of you decide to read too far ahead, if you are one of those E. Body WAR's, wearing a Turban, Dusk gloves +1, Velocious belt, Byakko's Haidate, Unicorn Leggings +1, and a Blitz Ring, (25% haste, - 1% off the actual haste cap) Congratulations! You have officially beaten FFXI, stop reading this post, and go get a tan. Oh, keep wearing that Perdu GAxe. For us "normal" players with Ares (lol), hitting the haste cap, or close to it, means you're sacrificing quite a bit of accuracy (even with a Sniper ring, Peacock charm, and Fire Bomblet) if you decide to wear your Ares Cuirass during your TPing phase. A typical WAR will TP in a Haubergeon/Hauberk (+1), giving them an added 10-12 accuracy (not including DEX=ACC) but then you lose all the sexy stats on that Ares body that just cost you a crap ton of money. So, lets see how we can keep our Ares Cuirass on, increase our overall attack, increase our haste, and maintain, if not increase our accuracy while wielding a Rune Chopper.

A quick look at what Warrior's at end game will wear.

Askar Zucchetto or Turban, Haub (+1), Dusk gloves, Sniper's ring or Blitz ring, Swift belt, B. Haidate, Aurum Sabatons/Unicorn leggings. (I am only mentioning the gear that we will discuss swapping out to favor our Ares pieces. The second ring on most end-game damage dealers will almost always be Rajas.) At the most, we get 21% haste out of these possible combinations. At the least, we have 16% haste. Aside from the added STR = ATT stats, we have +17 attack, and that is including a Haubergeon/Hauberk +1. Subtract 5 attack if you plan on wearing Unicorn feet over Aurum. Accuracy stats (aside from Dex = ACC) we receive +25 accuracy at most, again, with a +1 body piece. Only +13 Acc at the least. Lets see some possible combinations of gear we can wear while keeping these stats up and wearing our Ares Cuirass.

Start with the head piece, which is my favorite piece to swap out. Take off your Askar Zucchetto or Walmart Turban, and wear your Ares Mask. Accuracy/Attack +12, HP/MP +2%. Our current WAR setup with Ares body and mask, and a Rune Chopper, will give us an added 4-5% haste, +41 attack [giving us +14 attack over our old Hauby+1 setup (don't forget the 10 attack on Perdu GAxe)] and the similar +41 Acc. A quick look at our WAR now:

Added gear swaps for more accuracy/more haste/more attack? Take off your Sniper's Ring and add a Blitz ring (vice versa for more Acc). Take off your Aurum Sabatons, and add Unicorn Feet. Hell, if you really want to, take off your Dusk gloves too, subtract 3% haste, which STILL leaves us 1-2% more haste than our original setup, and add 10 accuracy, +4 STR/VIT, and +1% HP/MP, by adding our Ares Gauntles. Don't need the +10 Acc on the gloves? Wear your Adaman Muffler's, Acc +4, Att +10. Another favorable option is to leave all our Turban on, giving us our desired 30MP for the latent, take off our Swift Belts (Acc +3, Att -5, Haste +4%) and add in a Cuchulain's Belt (15 HP, DEX6, Att +10). With this current setup, we have 24% haste.

If we want, we can remove one or two haste pieces in our sets, add a lot of attack, and some accuracy, and maintain our haste, just by adding a Rune Chopper.

Don't be shy to try some new setups out. With some tweaking, lets look at some final Haste, Accuracy, and Attack numbers with each weapon (using to obtain stats): Perdu Voulge - Haste +19%, Attack 411, accuracy 388. Rune Chopper - Haste +20%, Attack 434, Accuracy 387. It's a game...have fun with it! Will all these added stats equate to the damage output you'll be getting out of a Perdu GAxe? My bet, over time, sure. Again, more chops of the axe, more damage done. More attack - more damage done. Will the added haste enable you to do a better job tanking? My bet, yes. However, in the time of Bards, Corsairs, and zerg setups, you will probably see more damage with the Perdu Voulge. The higher base damage, all the added haste, attack, and double attack you get from the buffs, your Perdu weapon will do more damage. That said, not everyone runs around and zergs every mob they attack, shit, even Salvage boss runs aren't zerged (too much HP).

What do you think? Think there is no reason for a WAR to even consider a Rune Chopper? Have you tested out some of these setups and have some information you want to share? Think I'm a dumb-dumb for thinking anything will beat out a Perdu Voulge? Well, when I pick up some more end-game pieces for my WAR, I'll sure as hell try some different setups out. I hope you do too. ^.^

Next time, I will discuss the Treasures of Aht Urhgan rings, and why everyone should pick this ring. I also hope to learn how to place links in my page, and even some pictures!

Morning in Vana'diel: Fairy's on Fire.

Morning in Vana'diel is your daily dose of FFXI and all things Vana'diel. Give us your thoughts on the interesting topics of the day! One end of the Augments is FoV, but the other end is even better.

I have to say that I really like the Fey Weapon fights. They are quick, but they are repeatable which makes them a little better than most things that SE cooks up. The base weapons are really cheap to come by and they will get even more cheap and easy to get as people do more and more campaign. The Augments for some items are great and some are mediocre and some of them make me question if there are just a bunch of monkeys programming this game, but in general you can get a pretty powerful combination of stats... after a while.

I have already gone over what I thought about the Rindomaru. I think it is very good if you don't have a Hagun and in some cases it will even beat the Hagun, but for the most part you are going to go with the Hagun in important fights. There are other things like the PLD sword that has neat bonuses like enmity and Magic Defense Bonus. And then there are things like the NIN Katana which doesn't have any of those things.

It is definitely a really random system, and I think that is something that a lot of players are finding more and more obnoxious. The randomness in trying to get the item you want is ok because that is what keeps the event going. But when the augments are random between jobs then it gets to be annoying. Really, in this day, does NIN really need more Subtle Blow when they are trying to tank? Where is the Magic Defense Down for NIN? Where are the stats for the COR weapon? Is there really a combination that will beat Destroyers for MNK?

Do you like the new Fey Weapon system? Is it time that SE get their house in order when it comes to properly itemizing gear? Leave a comment and tell us what you think!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

You Are Not Your Walahra Turban.

You are not your... is a series of articles dedicated to profiling a variety of equipment. Brought to you every Monday, this series will discuss why it is a good piece of gear, why it fills your needs, why you should get it or any other reason it could be useful. It could be something obvious, or it could be something off the beaten path, but it will always be useful in some way or another. Today's column is a history lesson in FFXI gearing, the Walahra Turban helped to start the time of the cheap haste builds and fundamental changed melee builds forever after.

Ahh, old reliable. The Walahra Turban was the most exciting find the day of the Treasures of Aht Urhgan release. It helped to ring in for all an era that had already begun with certain jobs, the era of the haste build. Once introduced it was possible for pretty much all jobs to have access to a decent haste build from one source or another.

The Stats: In appearance the Walahra Turban was nothing more than a plain looking dark gray/black turban with a white feather, modeled after the Nashira Turban from Limbus. The stats were quite remarkable for the time and are still quite good for some jobs and builds today. The HP and MP bonuses made it viable for both melee and mage classes and the +5% Haste is still the most you can get in the head slot, thought you can build a +5% Haste head piece from the final reward from A Moogle Kupo d’Etat.

The quality of the Walahra Turban is largely dependent on how many other Haste buffs you are getting and your other stats. In high accuracy, high Haste situations, the Walahra Turban is still more effective than almost any other head piece available. As those conditions decrease other items like the Askar Zuchetto come into play with there increase in STR and DEX. Now of course there will be people on both sides that demand that one is better than the other and say you are stupid for picking one over the other, but in like so many places in FFXI it’s just not that cut and dry. The Ace’s Helm is considered to be more effective than the Walahra Turban in almost any circumstance because of the added stats on it.

If we have learned anything from FFXI it is that people that scream and yell about gear are almost always exaggerating to make people believe that their gear selection is the only possible gear selection, and that they are almost never correct. The corollary to that and probably the only iron law of FFXI is that “shit is situational”, a meme created from the Blue Gartr forums that pretty much describes any gear choice in the game. What you can know that is the Walahra turban does you good for a whole lot of jobs and you should have one when you get to 75 because almost every job can get use out of it at some time or another.

The Get: This one is definitely more interesting than most gear quests in the game. And if it wasn’t for .dat mining it might have been a lot longer before people actually found out how to get one. There is an NPC in Al Zhabi that you can give Imperial Bronze Pieces to that will use the funds to increase the defenses of Al Zhabi against Beastmen attacks. If you give 1000 of the Imperial Bronze Pieces to Gajaad he will give you a turban all for your own and before that for every 100 coins you give him he will give you an additional Walahra Water which is a decent little bonus.

Critical Break: Guild Points and Items Part 2.

Critical Break is our crafting and economics column written by Qtipus. Q is an experienced crafter and also well versed in using the Auction House to turn a decent profit. Enough so that he was able to fund his own relic, Gungnir. Every Tuesday you will find Q's rants, raves and good crafting practices here. Qtipus is continuing his coverage on Guild Point Items this week.

As mentioned in my last post, I mentioned I would be going over the various bits of gear and whatnot you can buy with Guild Points and when you should buy them. Every craft has a set of Key Items, Gear and Furnishings available to purchase. A couple weeks ago, I went over the pros and cons (there are none...) of getting your respective craft's ring and making sure it was a priority.

So what about the rest of the stuff? Is it worth the time and money to pick them up for your craft?

Every piece of gear and furnishing can be broken down into the following:

- 70k piece (Usually a headpiece or some gloves)
- 80k piece (Ring)
- 100k piece (Body Piece)
- 150k piece (Furnishing that gives Craft Skill+1)
- 200k piece (Furnishing that minimizes the impact of a break)

They're also broken down by craft rank. You can't even start building points for these until you're at Novice or higher (28+). This is where you have to start building points though. You won't have many options for guild points in general at this stage, but there are still a few items you can turn in each week and be ready to pick up your first item. The order these should be picked up in are:

- Ring (80k, Craftsman)
- Headpiece/Gloves (70k, Journeyman)
- Body Piece (100k, Artisan)

By level 88, you should have spent 250k GP. The financial difficulty in getting from 60-100 varies by craft obviously, so make sure you take that into account before you burn your way up to 100. Having 3 items that add +2 to your current level along with giving you the option to avoid those HQ and success issues becomes significant in the skillup process.

Level 88 is a good place to make sure you're all set with these items as well as it opens up the door for every set of GP items you can make for your craft. Once you have those three pieces, pick up your other two based on whatever you feel comfortable doing. There are solid arguments for picking up your 200k item before your 150k item since you can minimize your risk of material loss, but there are also those who will look at their 150k and say "I already have the points and the +1 skill will likely have same effect as the signboard anyway...".

Your crafting Key Items are a different beast altogether. With the exception of Fishing, most of the key items range from 10k-40k guild points. Relatively cheap compared to your gear and furnishings price tags. The main thing about these items is that they aren't always necessary. They can generally be broken down into:

- Mass Production
- Black Magic infusion (Ensorcellment)
- White Magic infusion (Purification)

Bone Ensorcellment ,for example, has a series of synths that have absolutely no value whatsoever. Bone Purification on the other hand, is a very useful synth for both skilling up and making money. Filing falls into this category too, but it's so damn cheap to get that it's almost ridiculous if a bonecrafter doesn't have it.

The key here is to look at what the money producers and good skillup items are in your respective crafts. Purification and Mass Production are awesome for Bonecrafting (in that order), but Mass Production and Ensorcellment are better for Woodworking. Some crafts (like Alchemy and Cooking) will likely need all of the key items, but others (like Smithing) may get along just fine by simply picking up the Mass Production key items.

In conclusion, pay attention. Don't just blindly start picking up your GP items or blowing all sorts of gil on Guild Points. There's usually a very solid and cost-efficient way of obtaining these things that will actually make you money down the road.

And that's what you're leveling a craft for anyway...right?


POL News: When Moogles Attack!

SE has delivered on another idea that is about 5 years too late. The concept with the new event is that you can play your own in game events, control the positioning of moogles (that can transform into other things) and set up your own design for the event. You can place these moogle/objects by using the Pendant Compass to determine their locations. I believe in this case other people will have to use their imagination for what they can do because mine isn't really coming up with much.

It is a pretty original design and something I haven't seem in many MMO's up to date, but I have definitely not experienced them all. The only problem so far? Well, I believe that part of the page for selecting the items that you want to place is glitched at the moment. Also, I have no idea how easy it is to sign up for this event, get an event approved or how successful the event will be.

To those that are going to test it, good luck! I am going to be hiding in my Mog House. Check below the cut for the full details.

Player Event Support is a service that allows players to have moogles added to their events through a simple application process.

Much of the charm in player events comes from the diversity found in the many different players’ plans and event details.

Even veterans who have traversed every square foot of Vana’diel and defeated the most powerful enemies can be shocked and thrilled by an event they have never experienced before.
Likewise, beginners who have yet to experience the depth of the world of Vana’diel can make their names heard far and abroad with their ingenious event planning ideas.

An example of player events that are being conducted now would be the games, quizzes, and dramatic performances that players from across the Worlds conduct for their fellow adventurers.
These kinds of events were born from free-thinking players’ ideas, which have been widely accepted among the player community, and are now regularly conducted throughout Vana’diel.

Player Event Support isn’t just limited to large-scale events, but is also used by players for things such as unique weddings that don’t use the Wedding Support service or chocobo races that span players’ favorite backdrops. Whether just a small meeting between linkshell members, a celebration of an anniversary with friends, or a lecture for beginner adventurers, the opportunities are truly endless.

Any player’s idea can blossom into a new and amazing event!

We in the Operations Team strongly believe that events like these are essential to the growth of the FINAL FANTASY XI community.
These player-run events have established a whole new way of enjoying life in Vana’diel and we wish from the bottom of our hearts that, through them, you can enjoy FINAL FANTASY XI more deeply and richly than ever before.

For all of you who have thought "I’d like to experience an event where..." or "This event could be so much better if...", we present the Player Event Support service!

Support Availability

Possible Date of Support

Every day except Tuesday

*If you would like to hold an event that occurs over several days, please apply for each day separately. Make sure that the same person applies for each day. If a different person applies for the same event, the applications may be rejected.

*If an event cannot be held due to emergency maintenance, the host will be contacted to discuss the event’s rescheduling.

Time of Support

Players can designate the following times for moogle placement and removal

US (Daylight Saving Time)
4:00pm – 12:00am (PDT)
Moogle Placement: 4:00pm – 11:00pm
Moogle Removal: From 1 hour after the time of placement until 12:00am

US (Standard Time)
3:00pm – 11:00pm (PST)
Moogle Placement: 3:00pm – 10:00pm
Moogle Removal: From 1 hour after the time of placement until 11:00pm


Hosts can set appearance, placement area, and dialogue for the miraculous shape-shifting moogles.
The following can be configured.

Moogle Appearance

Appearances can be selected from the menu on the application form.

Placement Area

The following areas can be selected.

Carpenters' Landing Bibiki Bay Uleguerand Range Bearclaw Pinnacle
Attohwa Chasm Lufaise Meadows Misareaux Coast Wajaom Woodlands
Bhaflau Thickets Nashmau West Ronfaure East Ronfaure
La Theine Plateau Valkurm Dunes Jugner Forest Batallia Downs
North Gustaberg South Gustaberg Konschtat Highlands Pashhow Marshlands
Rolanberry Fields Beaucedine Glacier Xarcabard Cape Teriggan
Eastern Altepa Desert West Sarutabaruta East Sarutabaruta Tahrongi Canyon
Buburimu Peninsula Meriphataud Mountains Sauromugue Champaign Sanctuary of Zi'Tah
Ro'Maeve Yuhtunga Jungle Yhoator Jungle Western Altepa Desert
Qufim Island Southern San d'Oria Northern San d'Oria Port San d'Oria
Chateau d'Oraguille Bastok Mines Bastok Markets Port Bastok
Metalworks Windurst Waters Windurst Walls Port Windurst
Windurst Woods Ru'Lude Gardens Upper Jeuno Lower Jeuno
Port Jeuno Rabao Selbina Mhaura
Kazham Norg

The Pendant Compass, which is used to obtain the coordinates, cannot be used in areas where moogles cannot be placed.

[ The Pendant Compass ]
Pendant Compasses can be purchased from the NPCs selling linkshells in San d’Oria, Bastok, and Windurst.

[ Obtaining Coordinates ]
Equipping a Pendant Compass and using it will display your coordinates as seen in the following image.

Please enter the coordinates displayed in the chat log window on your event support application.

*If the coordinates are entered incorrectly, your application may be rejected. Please be aware that, depending on the coordinates you have chosen, we may slightly alter the placement location or angle of your moogles.

[ Number of Moogles ]
A maximum of 4 moogles can be placed for a single event.
Moogles can be placed across multiple areas, but in general, they are limited to the area where the event is being held.

[ Message Settings ]
The moogles' messages can be entered within 106 bytes.
If you do not enter a message, whether in your native language or in any foreign languages, the following auto-translator message will automatically be displayed to players in their respective languages.

"This object has been placed for use in Player Event Support."

Receiving Support

If you would like to receive player event support, please carefully read the guidelines and apply using the application form.
If there are multiple qualifying event applications for the same date, the events to receive support will be decided by lottery.

[ Step 1 ]
First of all, we have to plan an event that everyone can enjoy!

[ Step 2 ]
To make the event even better, apply for player event support!

[ Step 3 ]
The Operations Team will review the details of your application.
In the event that multiple qualifying applications are scheduled for the same date, the event to take place will be determined via a draw. An application may be rejected if the event details deviate from the guidelines. In both cases, you will be contacted, and we encourage you to re-apply after changing the date of the event or altering the event details.

[ Step 4 ]
If there are no problems with the event details or the desired date, your support will be approved! The Operations Team will work on the requested object placement to help enhance your event experience.
We hope that you will experience events that will remain in your memories forever.

The Operations Team will review your event details before deciding whether you qualify for support. If there are multiple event applications for the same date or it is decided that your event details deviate from the guidelines, your application may be rejected.

Support Availability

Player Event Support is a service that allows players to have moogles added to their events through a simple application process.

As a general rule, the Operations Team does not provide support other than moogle setting and placement.
Event planning and progress, as well as management during the day of the event, is to be handled by the player(s) holding the event.

*If during the event, it is decided that non-participants’ gameplay is being hindered due to congestion or disorder caused by the event, the Operations Team may intervene to rectify the situation. In such a situation, please follow GM instructions immediately.


Please make sure the event’s host applies for Player Event Support.

The host must possess an account that can be logged into FINAL FANTASY XI from the time that the event starts until the time that the event ends.

The Operations Team will be in charge of all contact with the host from the time that the event has been approved until the time that the event ends. Please be aware that an event may be cancelled if the host cannot be reached.

The desired date for holding an event can be selected from 14 to 7 days before the date of the event.
After this submission period has ended, the applications will be reviewed in the order they were received and, if necessary, selected via a draw.

The host will be contacted by e-mail regarding the results of the review/draw and whether or not the event was approved. The host will be contacted if the event cannot be held for any reason.

*After altering the event details and date/time, you can re-apply for an event any number of times.

Holding an Event

Please be aware that support will be canceled if the event host does not log in on the day of the event.

If for any reason, holding the event is difficult for the host, please contact us by the day before the event by replying to the e-mail notifying that your event was approved.

Support Time Period

The times for the event will be decided by the event host, but moogles can only be placed between 4:00pm and 11:00pm(PDT)/3:00pm – 10:00pm(PST) and moogles can be removed from 1 hour after they have been placed until 12:00am(PDT)/11:00pm(PST).

Once a specific time has been reached or the event has ended, the moogles will be removed. Please be aware that the host will not be contacted about this.

Applications for support over several days will follow the same moogle placement rules described above for each of the days.

Moogles (Objects)

An event will not be approved if we are unable to verify the locations where the moogles are to be placed. Please be careful to correctly enter the coordinates obtained with your Pendant Compass when applying.

If you would like to change the moogles’ message, placement locations, or appearances, please contact the Operations Team by e-mail up until the day before the event.
Once a moogle has been placed, its message, placement location, and appearance cannot be changed.

The moogle message entered in the application will be used as-is unless there is a significant problem with the service. Please apply after you have carefully decided on your message.

*The Operations Team will not translate or correct any of the non-English messages that have been set. We recommend that the host confirms that the text being used is correct and appropriate.

Event Details

Events may not qualify for support if they:

Contain content that may be considered harmful to the FINAL FANTASY XI theme and setting.

Contain content that is considered offensive to public order and morals.

Contain content that criticizes specific individuals, groups, or organizations.

Are being held for money-making or other commercial purposes.

Have a real-money reward for winning the event.

Discriminate against any specific player by forbidding their participation in the event.

Require Player Event Support without requiring innovation or organization on the part of the requesting player.

Morning in Vana'diel: Risk vs. Reward.

Morning in Vana'diel is your daily dose of FFXI and all things Vana'diel. Give us your thoughts on the interesting topics of the day! Is the gamble worth the bet?

Risk vs. Reward has always been something for crafters to me. Most of the things in this game are time sinks, but eventually if you do something long enough you will get the items that you really want. If you camp something long enough you will get the claim. If you kill something often enough you will get the drop. I am fine with that and I accept it as part of the time-sink in the game. I am undecided if I like the new FoV system.

Now, I don't have a problem with it upsetting the balance of the gear universe. People that can't except that there gear is inevitably going to be obsoleted are playing the wrong game. Hell, they are playing the wrong genre of games. I am more concerned with the risk in trading in high-dollar items just to get a crappy or even detrimental Augment. Now, you could be Izman and get the item you see above, or you could be me and get -1 AGI, -1 INT and +2 MND on your Warwolf Belt.

As I have written here in the past, I know that this new system is good for crafters. The items are always consumed irrelevant of the quality of the Augment, and unlike the new Fey weapon Augments you only get one chance. It basically makes items that once were rather saturated on the AH into consumables like food. This is especially true of items that have good NQs and the Augments make it possible to surpass the HQ. So crafters get a more stable source of income while I either get to risk some high value item or just upgrade some cheap stuff.

Do you like gambling with your gear? Or are you more of the conservative type? Leave a comment and tell us what you think!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Hagun vs. "Perfect" Rindomaru

With the appearance of the new "Fey" weapons there has been a great gnashing of teeth about it's comparison to the Hagun and if something besides a relic or an AV drop could finally dethrone the King of Great Katanas. I decided to take a closer look at the issue and try to figure it out.

I wanted to create a "perfect" Rindomaru to compare it to a Hagun because I wanted to see how go it really was in a situation that favored it. The Rindomaru I used for my calculations, as far as I know, does not exist. The best I have seen is the one that you see in this post. But to make sure that things worked perfectly and most favored Rindomaru, I used Store TP +15, Accuracy +5 and WS DMG +4%. Any more Store TP would not really help, +5 Accuracy prevents a loss compared to Hagun builds, and that WS DMG is necessary to keep up with Hagun in general.

So without further ado I give you Rindomaru with Store TP +15, Accuracy +5 and Weaponskill Damage +4% vs. Hagun.

Here is a gear comparison. I did this with basically my gear set up, but the only slots that are really going to matter are those that change trying to get to the 5-hit build. I also tried to maintain full Usukane for these sets. Mix and match may results in different results.

Hagun gear for TP
Hagun gear for WS

Total delay from zero = 2619
Total delay after WS = 2183

Rindomaru gear for TP
Rindomaru gear for WS

Total delay from zero = 2250
Total delay from WS = 1800

From zero TP to ten WS it should take Hagun 22266 delay and Rindomaru 18450. So, assume no interruptions, no meditate, and a perfect world in the time it takes Hagun to get 10 WS, Rindomaru would get 12 WS. This is just an observation, for the following calculations I am just assuming you start with a WS because almost all SAM's are going to meditate before they start anything. All WS are assumed to be Tachi: Gekko also.

A few observations about delay here. First, without the sword strap there is a 20% increase in speed to the next WS going from a 6-hit build to a 5-hit build, and this is assuming you are starting after a WS (the difference is 16.7% when not starting from a WS). Second, with a sword strap on Hagun there is a 17.5% increase in speed to the next WS going from a 6-hit build to a 5-hit build, again assuming you are starting after a WS.

I am not going to get into the pDIF details because they are too complicated and too much for me right now. If someone else wanted to take this info and add the pDIF calculations I would really appreciate it.

In this scenario there is not much different in TP stats:

Rindomaru has 2 more base damage, 1 less DEX and 4 less Attack (it also has 3% more delay but I handled that above) compared to Hagun.

For WS the difference is larger:

Rindomaru has 2 more base damage, 6 less STR, 9 less Attack, and ~3.5 DEX related Accuracy but it does have 4% WS damage (depending on when this procs can make a big difference).

Here is the difference in WS calculations:

For Hagun, D = 75, fSTR2 = 37, WSC = 79 and fTP = 1.825. This gives a damage value of 358 * pDIF.

For Rindomaru, D = 77, fSTR2 = 34, WSC = 76 and fTP = 1.5625. This gives a damage value of 292 * pDIF. But also remember that Rindomaru is going to have a 4% increase in (assumed) total WS damage.

Also, we need to consider the 19% damage increase from Overwhelm. In this perfect example we will consider all WS to benefit from Overwhelm.

I absolutely HATE doing this but I am going to use Greater Colibri because of their known values for the next set of assumptions. If you have the value of better mobs to check this on then please feel free to add them. Greater Colibri are especially bad because both weapons are going to have their max pDIF capped, which will not happen on just about any mob that is more difficult. Also, all of this is completely wrong anyway because the old formulas have been proven to be inaccurate and I don't think we have definitive new calculations.

So for Hagun we have Damage = (358 * 2) * 1.19 = 852

And for Rindomaru we have Damage = ((292 * 2) * 1.19) * 1.04) = 722

Moving on, to get an exact equal amount of WS in the same amount of time, you have to go out to 2183 WS for Rindomaru and 1800 WS for Hagun.

So for Hagun you get 852 * 1800 = 1533600

And for Rindomaru you get 722 * 2183 = 1576126

In the end, in this perfect situation you should see a 2.77% increase in damage over that time. Haste should not make a difference in this calculation.

So that means you should run out and get a Store TP +15, Accuracy +5 and WS Dmg +4% Rindomaru, right? RIGHT?

Not so fast. This is the perfect scenario for Rindomaru with a perfect Rindomaru. As accuracy falls (this scenario assumed perfect accuracy) and especially as mob strength increases (this is especially important because Greater Colibri are one of the weakest common opponents in the game and Rindomaru was just barely capped with Tachi: Gekko) this will very quickly revert to Hagun being the dominant GKT again.

Another issue is that all of this operates on the assumption (a very flawed one) that the second you hit 100TP, you WS without any time consumed and immediately have 20 and immediately swing again. This can never happen. And the more delay both weapons have the less comparative speed the Rindomaru gets over the Hagun.

In full disclosure, I will be keeping my Hagun, and I might try to pick up a Rindomaru, but I don't think I will use it for much of anything. As I have said before, I do not gear myself for XP parties, I gear myself for important mobs. If you are the kind of person that has a polearm build for your SAM then a Rindomaru might be right for you. But then again, a Rindomaru isn't going to beat a polearm build on Greater Colibri, so that is kind of self-defeating. On anything of more difficulty than a Greater Colibri though, the Hagun is still the right choice.

If anyone has a problem with the builds I used, my calculations, or any of my assumptions just let me know and I will try to fix them.

Morning in Vana'diel: Raincloud

Morning in Vana'diel is your daily dose of FFXI and all things Vana'diel. Give us your thoughts on the interesting topics of the day! Today, Omoikitte wonders why?

So, Ring is elbow deep in a long post about "something" and I am currently lounging around at work waiting for the pre-concert buzz that invariably accompanies the start of any performance at Wigmore Hall. Since he is so mired in this other post he has asked me to write the morning topic today, although I am at a bit of a loss as to know why.

I am not even logging on to FFXI for around a month since the bureaucracy of dealing with BT over here is mindnumbing and slow and as a direct consequence I get screwed out of any internet connection for around a month, do I sound bitter? Good. Because I feel it.

I feel so out of it and disconnected at the moment it really seems as though I am staring at it through a very poorly made glass lens that makes objects appear much further away than they really are. A version update has been and gone, events still happen and the longer my absence is prolonged the less anyone will even need me back other than as a bard or a whm that shows up all the time. It is funny really, a month in real life is not particularly long, a month in game terms is a veritable eon.

*rambles on*

Being in this interesting position does allow me to reflect on what it is that the majority of us do online. How much we let it become part of our lives, the level of involvement and the attachments we net ourselves into. I can and always have appreciated that there are those who pursue an active real life with a game life intermingled, but certainly for myself there is very little else I do. If I wasn't playing FFXI, I would be playing some other PC game or console game. So I am not particularly worried that it is all I do.

After all it is what I do to fill in the hours of entertainment, I certainly do OTHER things, my days aren't completely immersed in gaming, but it is pretty much the biggest aspect of entertainment I garner. FFXI merely added depth to my gaming experience that I never really noticed was missing till I had to go without.

I don't particularly miss FFXI, after all it is a lot of the same old same old now after 5 years, but I DO miss the interactions with the friends I have made along the way. The humour on Vent, the sly innuendos and jokes in the linkshell as we mingle at our linkshell events. The shared triumphs and glories as well as the supportive moments where things are not entirely going your way. It really does become a complex social interaction, and I definitely feel bereft of it for my enforced month's seclusion due to some ridiculous system error.

What do you find lures you back to FFXI day after day?

Thursday, July 23, 2009

The Math of Sword and Spell: Spectacles +1

Every Thursday Araelus is bringing the science to FFXI. 

The Math of Sword and Spell is dedicated not only to the hardcore calculations and statistics of FFXI, but more importantly to helping you use that math without confusing you. You may not know why you are playing better, but rest assured you will be playing better.

This week's edition is part of a series called "Occasionally Replies Two to Eight Times" focusing on reader questions and more in-depth analysis of previous concepts or interesting game features.

"Could you do a blog post on improving your graphics? For some reason my computer hates it when I go double background resolution."

First of all, “double background resolution”?
That sounds like a hack, man, and that will get you banned.
How dare you alter the game in that manner?!
This question is wholly inappropriate!!!

Morning in Vana'diel: Is Ninja a Legitimate Tank Again?

Morning in Vana'diel is your daily dose of FFXI and all things Vana'diel. Give us your thoughts on the interesting topics of the day! Today, Ring takes a good look at what whether Yonin can make Ninja a good tank again.

NIN is my neglected friend. I loved NIN for so long, but it gradually had more an more problems and got left behind for other more suitable jobs as our PLDs got stronger and stronger. Before the most recent update NIN was in the same basic place it was since it started moving up the tanking food chain. But it never evolved to keep up with the changes that PLD has experienced. And then came Yonin.

Yonin, as you might already know, is a JA that increases enmity and Ninja Tool Expertise (which is glitched at the moment), while decreasing Accuracy. It also improves Evasion and decreases Enemy Critical Hit Rate when in front of the target (which is really all that matters, because there are only a few mobs where you would care about the Evasion and Enemy Critical Hit when you are behind it). Kaeko's testing shows that the enmity gain is +30 at the start and then degrades to +10 over time. This is a big bonus to enmity for NIN, but it still doesn't get them up to where PLD can get on most gear. An additional nice benefit of Yonin is that it provides a decent amount of hate just from using the JA.

Does Yonin get NIN to where PLD is now? No, it doesn't. NIN still has a myriad of other issues before they get back to where PLD is now. They are missing a good amount of damage mitigation compared to PLD, and sub job selection has a much great effect on damage mitigation vs. hate generation than PLD. NIN/DRK is great at building and maintaining hate, but it is much more dependent on support and has little to protect it when shadows are down. This doesn't matter as much in large groups or with a settled mob, but PLDs are able to do all aspects of tanking from holding to doing damage (and how strange is that?). In a higher damage/damage mitigation situation, NIN falls behind because they have to give up their Katanas, and even if they did not they don't have a WS that is as viable as Atonement for maintaining good WS damage. I will expand on this further in another post on how to fix NIN, but for now I think that Yonin is a great start, but isn't enough to even get NIN back to equal with PLD.

What do you think about NIN tanks? Is Yonin going to encourage you to bring a NIN out of retirement? Do you think NIN even needed a boost? Leave a comment and tell us what you think!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Play Better, Suck Less: Spellcast Part 2: Going Back to the Beginning.

Play Better, Suck Less is a column dedicated to getting the most out of your FFXI experience in game and out. Whether Windower improvements, new game-play techniques, sweet strats or new tech, it will all be covered here! After last weeks bitching, Ringthree gets down to business and tries to figure out how all of this works. The cake is a lie.

You might remember that last week I complained a lot about how Spellcast is for geeks and not nerds like me. Sure, the geeks get it, but man, trying to figure out code is about the moral equivalent to shoving white hot pokers into my ears for me. But for you guys, I am willing to do it (I will be forwarding the doctor's bills to you too). The most important part in all of this is that we find a place to start, and basically all I told you last week was to download Spellcast. So unless you are really lazy we can at least get that out of the way. Well, now that the update has come you will want to get the newest version of Spellcast (if it is even up yet) so that all the new gear will be entered into it (at least I think that is what needs to be fixed). Also while you are over at the Windower site you might want to pick up a few other helpful plug-ins like Cancel, Text and Autoexec. You don't really need to know why you are getting them right now, just know they make Spellcast run better right now.

Now to dive into all of that code, right? Well, not quite. I also mentioned that Aikar's BLM Spellcast XML is a great place to start for BLM last week. Spellcast was originally created to help BLM with the myriad of things that they need to do while casting that are nearly impossible to do by hand or in the archaic macro system. So BLM is probably the best job to start a discussion about Spellcast. Everyone else can stop freaking out though, because there are Spellcast XML files for nearly every job and even though most of this discussion is BLM related you can apply it to any job and role very easily.

Ok, so go download Aikar's BLM Spellcast XML file.

Go on.

Stop reading and go get it. I'll wait.

Did you get it?

Ok, great.

Now, lets take a look at all this. I know it looks intimidating, but Aikar did a great job of adding explanations to each area of the XML document. Now don't be intimidated by "XML" or anything like that. It's just a notepad file, and if you have made a windower macro before you have dealt with this kind of file before. Go ahead and open the file and look at it as we go through it.

The introduction is nice and soothing for those in fear about the whole operation. Once you move through that we go to the first line of explanation, which are the automatic sleep timer notifications. You can turn these on by leaving a 1 on that line and you can turn them off by selecting 0. The next three lines deal with optional BLM gear, and again use a 1 to indicate you have the gear and 0 to indicate that Spellcast shouldn't consider using the gear. After those you can set the HP level you need to activate your Sorcerer's Ring if you have one. If you selected 0 for Sorcerer's Ring already then you don't need to worry about this area.

Now we move into the gear options area. This is pretty easy to understand, but the important thing to remember is that these are "rules" that are set up to pick gear for certain situations. It doesn't mean that Spellcast will always use this gear, but if you tell it to use a certain type of gear it will check to see if you have this gear then use it. That may have sounded a bit complicated, but basically Spellcast just needs to know what you have so it can use it if you tell it to. The first set of gear are the Elemental Grips, and again this is just a 1 for yes, and a 0 for no. The second set of gear is a little more complicated but not much. Basically Spellcast is set up to call all of your staffs by one name for simplicity's sake. So "IceStaff" is used anytime you want to use an Ice Staff or an Aquilo's Staff. Just put in the name of the staff you are using and whenever Spellcast looks for the name of that kind of staff it will use the one that you picked. The next group of gear are the Elemental Obi's and like grips you just indicate if you have them or not.

Now we move onto the gear sets. The first gear set is called "Main" and it is your standing gear set. This set is going to use any gear you have with Refresh on it, and any Defensive gear you might use like an Earth Staff or an Umbra Cape, and any movement speed gear you might like having on. You are never really going to cast in this gear, just stand there or get your face beaten in. The next set is Fast Cast, which obviously is just your Fast Cast gear. Resting is next, and it should be relatively easy to figure out what you need to put into the list. Some of the slots might be missing but they can easily be added if you want to put something into them. Also, not every slot needs to be added for this to work, it will use something from another set. For example, if you are casting a Fast Cast spell it will use your normal casting gear and then place the Fast Cast gear in last. So there is no need to always reconstruct your list of gear if the right circumstances are in effect. If you don't know what those circumstances are then you might want to fill in all of your gear if you are concerned Spellcast won't know what to use.

The next set is Minus HP which is just for activating a Sorcerer's Ring latent effect, if you don't have one don't worry about this, if you do have one then you already know the gear you need to swap to make it work. Finally, you have your Full Damage set. This is what will be used when you want your biggest nukes with no real fear of resists. Don't worry if you are fighting mobs that could resist you because the next set, High Resist, will put on your Skill and Accuracy gear when you are cast on mobs that are in the High Resist list which we will get to later. The Mid Resist set is next, and you can back down some of your resistance gear here. After that there is the Light Resist set which you can adjust as you need. You will notice that it says that it will use Full Damage as your base set. This is were Spellcast will look first to pick gear, then it will go to the these sets to put on the gear you need for these specific Resist situations. The next sets of gear are Dark, Enfeebling, Healing, Divine and Enhancing. You can fill these in with the appropriate gear.

Once you have filled in all of your appropriate gear you are basically done. After that the gear sets are the rules that Spellcast uses for pretty much all situations. We will go over these next week, and we might even talk about how to how to make our own rules, but I am not promising anything.

Morning in Vana'diel: To the Pinnacle and Back.

Morning in Vana'diel is your daily dose of FFXI and all things Vana'diel. Give us your thoughts on the interesting topics of the day! Today, Ring remembers back to a better time, when adventure was still pure, fights were still hard, and you got excited about the game.

The Airship fight is pretty old now. Gear has gotten better, there is the Level Sync ability to use any gear when level capped. There are more merits, more items, more stuff in general to help with this fight. Back in the day though, this was the hardest fight in the game. It is still pretty hard, but back then it was a fight that people actually feared. People gave up on the game because they couldn't beat this fight. I never did, and I have helped many different people beat it proving that it was possible even in a pick-up group. But the fight was still very hard and very draining, and in the past it could be very expensive. And even after all this time I still love this fight.

The Airship fight is the pinnacle of all of FFXI. It is a timed fight, actually three fights in one. It was possible to wipe and still win and often times wiping was near inevitable. It often took many attempts, not just because it was so hard but also because you had to learn how to deal with three very different fights with the people that were with you. It was hard, but very enjoyable. There is nothing left in FFXI like the Airship fight from CoP. I wish there was. Promathia and Alexander are both relatively difficult, but nothing like the Airship. The Airship tested you. You went in unsure if you were going to win every time you went in to try. And so many times people would get close and time out or wipe in one last heroic attempt to take Ultima down.

I liked the Airship because of it's difficult, but it was before it's time, and SE has changed the game so much that there is likely to be nothing like it again. Missions are no longer that difficult, the fights don't require much preparation, and the rewards are not new zones but cutscenes, wonderful cutscenes, but cutscenes none the less. I understand this. SE wants everyone to be able to experience all of the Missions and storylines, which is a good design choice. But it doesn't make me miss the difficulty of the Airship fight any less.

Did you like the Airship fight? Or did you just find it frustrating? Do you think that there needs to be more challenge in the game? Or do you think FFXI needs to be even more casual friendly? Leave a comment and tell us what you think!

POL News: Yonin Not So Perfect.

SE has put up a Current Known Issues post on the POL website. Yonin's almost 100% Ninja Tool Expertise is noted as not working as intended. Some of the GM comments about this issue were pretty hilarious indicating that there wasn't a problem, there was a problem, and even some so stupid as to suggest to not use Yonin or you will get banned. The standard of quality of your GM may vary during gameplay. LOL Also the additional effect of Catastrophe is not working properly because the additional Drain effect is not functioning. There is also mention that the number of items isn't being displayed for your Mog Safe, Locker and Storage if you are outside your Mog House. Expect another Emergency Maintenance today or tomorrow to get these fixed.

Check after the break for the entire POL message.

As of Jul. 22, 2009, we have confirmed the following issues.
Investigation and recovery work is currently underway. We ask for your patience in this matter until the issues have been resolved.

[Current Known Issues]

- Upon the use of weapon skill "Catastrophe," the additional effect will not exert properly.

- While job ability "Yonin" is in effect, Ninja Tools will not be spent upon the use of Ninjutsu.

- Other than inside the Mog House, the number of items stored in Mog Safe, Mog Locker and Storage will not be displayed.

We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Critical Break: Guild Points and Items Part 1.

Critical Break is our crafting and economics column written by Qtipus. Q is an experienced crafter and also well versed in using the Auction House to turn a decent profit. Enough so that he was able to fund his own relic, Gungnir. Every Tuesday you will find Q's rants, raves and good crafting practices here. Today Qtipus starts looking at the Guild Items and how to get them most out of your Guild Points.

Guild Points and Guild Items are a pain in the ass to get. Not necessarily because they're expensive at times, but mostly because they're insanely time consuming to get. Picking up all your Guild Gear/Guild Furnishings will generally cost you around 600,000 Guild Points. That's a ton of points and a ton of time that's well worth the investment, but really sucks if you're impatient like me or don't really have the desire to log in every day to do these things.

So what's the best way to build up your points in a cost effective manner?

First you need to understand the concept of a simple ratio. This ratio is known as Gil/Point or how much gil you're spending against how many points you're earning. The lower this ratio is, the better. is nice enough to show us this ratio. You can view it in their Guild Pattern section. As with anything that's shown on FFXIAH aside from the sales history, this should only be used as a reference point if you're just going to buy the mats off the AH.

Second, you need to understand that sometimes it's really easy to simply farm up the materials you need for your item that particular day. There's also the option to buy your mats from an NPC to lower this ratio. I realize time isn't always available to put the farming time in, but then again, neither are the materials for some of these things since the AH generally gets cleared out very early in the day.

A good example of ratio manipulation would be the Hornet Fleuret. FFXIAH has it listed with a ratio of 5+ gil for every point you've earned. That's not as high as some, but when you consider that 3 of the 5 materials are easily farmable/NPC Buyable (giant stinger, brass ingot and giant femur), you're looking at a cost of 3k/synth. Since you need 2 of them to max your points that day, your ratio is actually looking more like 1.1 gil/point as opposed to 5.21 gil/point. Even if you buy all the mats off the AH, your gil/point ratio is still half of just buying the finished product off the AH.

Lastly, try to set yourself up on a budget for these items. Typically speaking, I try not to spend more than 10-15k per set of points. This is a number I set based on the fact I can spend 30 minutes farming whatever and make this amount of gil w/o even trying. There will be some items that have an obvious price tag of "Yeah I'll pass", but there will be some that are right on the border of comfortable spending.

Next week...which GP Gear, Furnishings and Key Items should you target?