Monday, August 31, 2009

Morning in Vana'diel: Goodbye Mr. Booboo.

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! When someone leaves, its a moment to self reflect.

People quit, its the normal cycle of any game. Its a funny thing that we consider a single player game the end of a natural cycle of game play, but in an MMO, someone is "quitting", or giving up is the implication we attach to it.

If you really examine the context of how you feel when someone leaves the game, invariably its from your own perspective, not theirs. You still have things you want to do, goals you wish to achieve and people you want to talk to.

It is hardly unreasonable therefore to want to end your tenure of FFXI if you feel you have reached the targets, or really just don't have the drive and motivation any longer to keep investing the level of time and effort into the game that you have previously.

Even Ringthree has cycles where, with very little new content to get his game buds pulsing, ends up with a waning interest because there are no larger goals he feels he can commit to. That is what the expansions needed to do, but instead they offered a momentary fancy. Perhaps that is the lure that will bring peopel to FFXIV. The thrill of something new to explore. Uncharted shores of adventure and all the new experience that comes with it.

So Mrbooboo is leaving FFXI. He has reached every goal he wanted to reach, the people worth talking to will still keep in contact with him after he leaves, those that are not will fade into a memory that is both bittersweet and happy. I have never been one of those people to cling to your leg if you tell me you are going to leave. I just accept that it is what you want to do. Of course I will miss you, I enjoy your company, or the chats we have. I do however think it is good to know when you have reached your limit.

I wish Mrbooboo all the best with whatever it is he does from now on, he certainly lives an exciting life, if he isn't scaling Everest, he's off on some other trek or another. I hope that he remembers FFXI in a good frame of mind, without the bitterness that some people can take with them, and I applaud him taking this step.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Morning in Vana'diel: Not Wasting Time.

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! Keeping busy in Vana'diel.

So after having a rather interesting and very productive weekend last weekend, I am looking to try to squeeze in another one this weekend. Some weekends are better than others, but we have really reinvigorated our off event time with some ZNM action. Even Omoi the hater of all things Zeni related is getting into the action even if it is just because she gets to watch her cute skeleton pet getting it's brains bashed in.

I got to use my Sarameya pop set last weekend, as did a couple of us, and we are all work to get our next set of pops. It's actually pretty easy to do a low man Sarameya if you have the gear to deal with it and some good healers. Sarameya doesn't hit that hard and the spells can be dealt with pretty easily if you are prepared. It's a difficult fight to deal with if you aren't prepared, and it is still challenging and fun when you are prepared. Hopefully next time we will get some better drops (well, I will get some better drops, Izman already rocked out with his drops).

I really like doing ZNM because it is something I can do pick-up with a couple of friends, and outside of our second Sarameya which we delayed because our first attempt didn't go so well, it is something you can really do at the drop of a hat. There is very little in FFXI that you can do at the drop of a hat. SE has been getting better and better at implementing things that are enjoy and more importantly can be done without a massive amount of time spent collecting people and preparing.

What is your favorite in game event?

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Morning in Vana'diel: Chop, Chop, Stab, Stab.

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 everyone dead?

Yes, it has been a little slow here as of late. It's the time of year when work picks up for me, but that doesn't mean that I don't have things to post, just not the time to do it as much as I would like. Enough of my personal failings, lets get on with the show.

I have noticed a trend in gear for my most beloved set of jobs: nothing is changing. Honestly, there may be an item here or there than steps up to take a slot or two from a previous King, but in the end there hasn't been a major shake up in gearing since the introduction of Salvage. There may be variations in play style for some jobs, but in the end those variations have been the same for a year or more. Samurai either use full Usukane or a mix and match set. Dragoon and Dark Knight may pick different body pieces but the best gear for the rest of the slots is pretty much the same. Warrior... well they haven't changed since Zilart really. LOL

Our mage friends have seen a lot of differences and there is a lot of variation based on what they are fighting and what they are doing. There best in slot gear varies from job to job and from event to event. Their best gear includes stuff from the most recent update all the way back to Zilart. This is probably because they have to do far more different things that a melee does. But I ask you, melee brethren, is it our fault that we are just so good at the chopping and the stabbing?

So, even though melee have done nothing wrong their gear still looks like it is circa 2004 a lot of the time. Then again, those poor mages have been using those elemental staffs since the beginning of time. Now that is something to complain about.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Morning in Vana'diel: On the left...

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! A little bit of a new look, and more to come?

If you take a look to your left you will see the new name plates for the staff writers here. Well, they are actually pretty hard to miss unless you are trying. These new name plates also link directly to any article that they have written or been mentioned in. So for example if you don't like me, but you love Qtipus, you can just click on his link and it will take you to all the articles that Q has written or been mentioned in. This should help you dear reader to sort through all of the posts here.

We will slowly be adding more and more of these kinds of name plates for the different writers and also for the different columns here. For example, if you are looking for a certain column just click it's name plate and you will get every column in that series. I know this isn't anything ground-breaking but I think it will help people locate some older but still relevant content, and new people looking for new stuff. :)

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Critical Break: 0-60 Series: Bonecraft

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. This week, Q starts a series of do-it-yourself guides that update how to go from 0-60 in various crafts.

While digging through Wikipedia the other day, I ran across some guides again that I haven't looked at in a while. Some of them are rather outdated given the rather seismic shift in the economy since they were written. Because of this, I have decided to write up a series of crafting guides to get all your crafts to 60 as cheap as possible.

Before I get started though, I need to point out that I tried to stick with items you could farm up with relative ease to actually ease the cost of burning a craft to 60. I also need to point out that what may be "burning" to some people is not necessarily "burning" to me. My definition of burning a craft combines the all out mauling of game critters in conjunction with AH purchases and the synthing process itself.

In short...the cheapest and fastest way to your goal.

So without further adieu...Bonecraft, 0-60.

Bonecrafting is one of the easiest and cheapest crafts to get to 60. If you spend the time farming up bone chips (especially for the first 17 levels and middle-end 30-50ish...), it will cost you virtually nothing sans crystal costs. Even then, there are enough creatures floating around that simply leveling a job from 1-10 will net you a good portion of the wind crystals you will end up using. Should you not want to do that, buy your wind crystals in Windurst from the AH conveniently located next to the guild. Buying them off the Jeuno AH will usually mean you're spending twice as much.

Phase 1: Bone-Chip-A-Palooza

For this phase, you will be spending a lot of time farming in Gusgen Mines.

Some guides suggest using shell powder to level 3. That's perfectly fine and all, but I found if you pick up your bone chips for less than 1k/stack or farm them up, it works out to be about the same. The true advantage to doing shell powder instead of this relies on guild prices being cheap enough to justify it and AH prices for a stack of sea shells being in line as well. NPC the results of either for break even or profit if you farmed up the chips.

Recipe: Wind Crystal + 1x Bone Chip
Cap: Level 4

Same deal as the Hairpins. Farm up your bone chips or buy them off the AH for 1k/stack or less. You'll lose a little gil here if you bought solely off the AH, but not much. Certainly little enough that you can go maul a few gigas in Xarc to make up for it.

Recipe: Wind Crystal + 2x Bone Chip
Cap: Level 9

Turn in a Shell Ring and welcome to the next level.

This is the only recipe that I will list that requires a sub craft. Don't be dumb and buy your Brass Ingots off the AH. It will literally only cost you about 500-600/ingot if you take the time to buy zinc ores off the AH and the copper ores from guild or Denvihr (inside the Airship Dock). You're going to have to level the Goldsmithing sub at some point anyway too, so make yourself 2ish stacks of these ingots and go to town making the earrings. AH the results in the starter cities as they're relatively popular earrings for leveling new jobs.

Recipe: Wind Crystal, 1x Brass Ingot, 2x Bone Chip
Cap: Level 12

Spend some time in Konschtat Highlands mauling sheep. Having 3-4 stacks of sheep teeth should be enough for the 5 levels you're about to cover. If farming isn't your thing, buy off the AH for relatively cheap or buy from the guild. Either way, as long as you buy the bone chips and the teeth for 1k/stack or less each, then you can NPC the results for pretty close to break even. Save one of these for your rank item when you hit 18 during the next synth.

Recipe: Wind Crystal, 1x Bone Chip, 1x Sheep Tooth.
Cap: Level 17

Phase 2: Beetle-Parts-Palooza

Pick your favorite spot to maul beetles. I found the ones in Crawler's Nest to be the most friendly when it came to the beetle jaw portions. Most beetles have friendly shell drop rates, so picking a spot where respawns happen in 5 minutes would be most beneficial. Jugner Forest tends to be the best spot for the shells since there's an area in the central-north region that beetles seem to be present in spades. Save those insect wings too, you'll be using them in the Clothcraft burn.

Take some wind crystals with you and just farm the shells for these. The shells are cheap on the AH as well, but the drop rate is such that there really isn't a need to buy them unless you're just in a hurry. Carapace powder really only has one use, so AH'ing your results here will be a slow and painful process. Buying shells off AH will usually result in a net loss of 1k or more and given you have 4 levels to cover here, that can add up pretty quick if you NPC the results.

Recipe: Wind Crystal, 2x Beetle Shell
Cap: Level 21

Popular among the lower level rangers and pretty doggone cheap to make to boot. Farm up your beetle jaws and AH the results for 1k or more unless you get lucky with an HQ.

Recipe: Wind Crystal, 1x Beetle Jaw
Cap: Level 25

Need more beetle jaws for this portion too. These actually sell faster than the beetle rings on the AH. It's entirely possible to skip the rings entirely and just go straight to this, but I opted to put those in there due to the fact that there's more risk of loss should you bust a synth. Buy your silver earrings from Adelflete in the Lower Jeuno shop called "Gems by Kshama." These sell as fast as they do for two reasons:

1. They're damn good for the level, especially the HQs.
2. Bonecrafters making a living on these will buy them to desynth for silver ingots.

Again, skip the beetle rings altogether if you want as there is risk of loss trying to cover 6 levels here. Save one for your guild item. Hopefully your fame is high enough in Jeuno to take advantage of the lower earring prices.

Recipe: Wind Crystal, 1x Beetle Jaw, 1x Silver Earring
Cap: Level 27

You're going to lose a little money here if you buy all the horns off the AH, but farming the ram horns themselves are a pain too. Skip to Beetle Arrowheads if you want here, but it probably wouldn't hurt to bridge the gap as Beetle Arrowheads are a loss as well unless you've farmed up all of the mats.

Recipe: Wind Crystal, 1x Ram Horn
Cap: Level 29

Phase 3: Arrowheads-A-Palooza

Once you get to 30, you can start taking advantage of synthesis support and picking up key items. Picking up the Filing key item here allegedly makes skilling up through this section go faster, but given I was already well beyond this point when Filing actually came out, I have no way to really verify it.

Farm up tons of Bone Chips yet again, you're going to need them.

Popular arrow for skilling up Woodworking as well as for leveling up jobs that can actually use it. Unfortunately, they sell for a loss per stack if you buy up your mats off the AH.

Recipe: Wind Crystal, 1x Bone Chip, 1x Beetle Jaw
Cap: Level 33

Same deal as the Beetle Arrowheads, only they don't sell as fast and sell for even more of a loss. Good news is that the fangs are easier to farm up than the jaws.

Recipe: Wind Crystal, 1x Bone Chip, 1x Black Tiger Fang
Cap: Level 38

Pick up a horn ring off the AH or make one and turn it in to reach level 4.

Same boat as the Fang Arrowheads. Not very useful to many people and slow sellers. They will sell though, so have patience.

Recipe: Wind Crystal, 1x Bone Chip, 1x Ram Horn
Cap: Level 43

Hopefully you still have some beetle jaws laying around and some ram horns. Some will consider this synth optional and go straight for scorpion arrowheads due to the ease of farming. If you do nothing but farm your mats, I say go for it, but if you want to use a bit of a bridge synth, this is best way to go.

Recipe: Wind Crystal, 1x Ram Horn, 1x Beetle Jaw
Cap: Level 47

Here's where it gets easy. The vast majority of scorpions have a very high drop rate on their claws. Some of them in Crawler's Nest have a 100% drop rate on a claw, but their 16 minute respawn and limited number of spawns make it a bit of a nuisance to deal with. Should you pick up scorpion shells as well (and you'll pick up a few for sure), save them for a later synth.

Recipe: Wind Crystal, 1x Scorpion Claw, 1x Bone Chip
Cap: Level 53

Turn in a Carapace Gorget to reach the final level of this burn when you hit 48.

Phase 4: Almost There...

I have no idea why a level 1 piece of gear is a level 57 synth, but such is life. It's also such that this is a very cheap synth. Farm up some Yagudo Bead Necklaces and turn them into grass thread (part of the clothcraft burn). Farm up some Giant Femurs from the Dhalmels in Buburimu Peninsula and either go farm up fiend blood or buy it off the AH. AH the results for 1k or so in the starter cities. There isn't much of anything available at level 1 for the waist slot, but most people don't care about that slot at that level anyway. Use this as a bridge synth mostly.

Recipe: Wind Crystal, 1x Fiend Blood, 1x Grass Thread, 1x Giant Femur
Cap: Level 57

Due to drop rates being not-so-great on the shells, I recommend doing as little of this synth as possible due to the annoyance factor. This is why I listed the Blood Stone. There's also the option of the Beetle Knife to 59 as the materials for it are readily available and not so hard to farm up. However, given the fact that these shells make their appearance on the AH rather frequently and are priced anywhere from 1-2k generally, it's a mostly reasonable synth to deal with. Farming up the shells can be pain-staking work at times, but if you stick with it and farm up all you need, then you're not going to really spend anything other than crystal costs. These sell somewhat decently for close to cost on the AH. These will take you to 60 as well.

Recipe: Wind Crystal, 1x Scorpion Shell
Cap: Level 60


This is the first of this 0-60 Series. Most crafts aren't all that expensive to get to 60, even if you buy all your mats off the AH and can recover the gil lost from it relatively easy through other means. However, gil-burning a craft to 60 (or even 100 in some cases) often times will wreck the market for certain items. Bonecrafting (up to 60) is fortunate enough to have a rather unwavering set of recipes that only require you to spend a lot of time farming 2-3 certain items that are used in nearly every one of them if you don't want to waste a lot of money. On top of that, they're rather common items to boot and are readily available through farming or the AH.

Next up: Clothcraft

Monday, August 24, 2009

Morning in Vana'diel: Lady Luck.

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! Lady luck was on our side this weekend.

Everyone hopes to make that big score, we spend a considerable amount of time slaving away at the same thing over and over hoping that we might get that 1 golden drop that we have been yearning for.

Be it a pair of Byakko's haidate, or that ever elusive 35 from Salvage that just simply refuses to ever drop no matter how many times you kill that blasted notorious monster, everyone has their achilles heel.

The funny part of it all is when people look into other player's lives like a little window and wish they had the luck of player X. Luck comes in cycles, it comes to everyone eventually. Darkdawn was definately a guy who wanted a lot of things but constantly rolled low and lost every lot he tried for until I had to lock items specifically to him JUST to ensure that he finally got what he needed for his jobs.

Everyone goes through dry patches, where everything goes wrong, you die 7 times to 1 mob on BST trying to get 120exp, but your charm keeps failing and that marid is definately looking at you the wrong way. I guess that is why when everything finally does go your way, it feels really good. When it goes your way in a REALLY spectacular fashion you attract a lot of attention for it, which is ok to a certain extent, but for those not really that comfortable for such scrutiny it can be as much a trial as it is something to bask in.

Izman is definately on the fence about his notoriety at the moment, we had a very successful weekend, finally mastering a good setup for a low-man Sarameya which netted us 2 Oracle Caps, a PW drop and the coveted Hachiryu Haidate for Izman. This was followed up by an equally successful foray into Big Bomb territory where I think the yield for the night came to around 7mil although I had long since retired before seeing any reward, *shakes a fist at 5hour time differences*

It is a lot of fun to hang around with friends, and it is great to see them get ahead, particularly when they do so well for themselves. Lady luck is a fickle mistress however, she may smile on you today, but tomorrow you can just as easily be lying face down in the mud with a bunny gloating over your corpse.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Latent Effect: Wyvern Earring

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. Sammy is as Sammy does. You can't stop him, you can only hope to contain his love of gear that he still needs to get.

Ding! Level 30! Finally! What does this mean? Well, for start-up players, they can finally go obtain the advanced job they are interested in leveling all the way to 75. For some of us, we will already be leveling what will become our third or fourth or tenth level 75 job!

All that great gear and awesome abilities to look forward to, you feel stuck in the repetitiveness of level 30, and are looking for a great way to speed up your low level experience point parties. You know that leveling a heavy damage dealing job is in your future, but still unsure of what to pick let alone gear selections, and sub-jobs. There are quite a few options but today, we will discuss a great low level sub-job for damage dealers level 30+, and one of the best latent effect earrings for damage dealers for the levels to come.

The Wyvern Earring - level 30 - Latent Effect: Haste +5%. Eh? 5% Haste on an earring? That's right! All that lovely haste at such a low level will allow ANY DD (damage dealer) to do their job a bit better. How to activate the latent effect? Set your support job to Dragoon (I know a few people who want to say set your main job to Dragoon) and wear this earring and shazam! +5% Haste!

Now. The next question is, does setting our support jobs to Dragoon, and adding 5% haste in one of our earring slots, increase our damage output over subbing the more popular Warrior or Samurai sub-jobs?

While /WAR may be the sub-job most low level parties want you to show up as, some parties really could care less. They might just need a heavy DD. And while at level 30+, Berserk, a level 15 ability of Warriors, will boost your attack significantly for a 3 minute period, subbing DRG (Dragoon), will give you an Attack Bonus job trait, which is always active. Couple that with the use of Jump, a 90 second ability we can obtain at level 10 DRG which is an instant, free attack round, and the Haste +5% on our earrings, and any Two-Hander will definitely pull some extra hate. Be careful though, pulling hate will sometimes put a strain on your mages, so make sure you have a way to defend yourself.

Let us fast forward a bit to level 50. Our /WAR now gives us Defender, which increases defense while decreasing attack, and the ever popular Double Attack job trait. Subbing SAM adds Hasso to our lineup of attack bonus job abilities, which increases STR, accuracy, and attack speed. Sounds to good to pass up eh? Well, at level 50+ we start seeing some haste gear in our setups, and like many other bonuses, the more haste you have, the more noticeable it is. Almost everyone will be adding a Swift belt (haste +4%, ACC +3, ATT -5) to their setups at 50, some lucky players may even add a Velocious belt (haste +6%) at 55. SAMs get the Fuma/Sarutobi Kyahan (haste +3%) at level 39 as well. WAR's and DRK's get a Blitz ring (haste +1%) With the extra 5% haste on the earring, along with say, a Swift belt and Sarutobi Kyahan for your SAM, youll have 12% haste at level 50, an extra attack round in Jump, Meditate from your main job, Hasso. . . See where I'm going? All this attack will increase your MP sponginess (a real word) so again, make sure you have some way to defend yourself. SAMs get Seigan and Third eye, the abilities to anticipate physical attacks. DRKs get Weapon Bash and Stun, both which stun the target, giving your party members time to help your dying behind. WARs only get Defender, so don't spam your abilities unless you enjoy tanking with your face. (This method of tanking usually ends up with someone in the dirt.)

Past level 60 is where this earring and sub-job lose some of their flare. Most heavy DD's will start to sub SAM for Meditate, a DD's dream job ability. More instant TP at a 3 minute recast, coupled with Hasso, will make you the MP sponge you've always wanted to be. Prepare to pull hate while subbing SAM. While subbing DRG, we receive an Accuracy bonus trait which is very nice for any DD. As for /WAR, we gain an Attack bonus trait. Unless your main job is SAM, /SAM gives us the best bonus at 60+ to deal some serious damage.

At 70+, /SAM is almost always the best bet for a heavy DD. The biggest advantage you get from subbing SAM is at level 70, is from the ability Seigan, allowing you to anticipate some attacks, and not die as much. Subbing DRG at 70 is a very nice alternative though. ATT and ACC bonus traits which are always active. With Jump at a 90 second recast, and High Jump at a three minute recast, we receive 3 attack rounds (two Jump, one High Jump) in 3 minutes. Again, those extra damage rounds, along with haste +5% on the earring, will most definitely pull some serious hate.

Sammy says:

Get this earring for all your two-handers at their lower levels. Haste +5% is a really big stat bonus to pass up, and /DRG is a really powerful sub-job until Meditate on /SAM becomes available. Even closer to 75, the Jump and High Jump abilities, along with the Haste, will help your character burn through mobs a bit faster, and make your mages burn some more of their precious MP on you!

My favorite job for this earring? SAM/DRG. Meditate, Hasso, Weapon Skill, Jump, High Jump, Weapon Skill, Seigan, Third Eye? Seems unbeatable to me.

My favorite SAM/DRG setup?

Want to poke birds on your SAM? (Note to Ringthree: =Þ)

Have fun with your player, and make yourself as useful as possible to every party you join. No one likes to be gimp, but everyone LOVES to pull hate. Find any useful information here? Think I'm a dum-dum? Leave a comment! Next week, I am going to discuss the ever popular Square Enix Security Token, and its latent effects. Until then, Happy Hunting!

Morning in Vana'diel: Freeze Up.

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! I hate days like today, too many things to talk about and I can't decide on just one. I just freeze up and barely get anything done.

So, lets see, we have a ton of FFXIV information coming out. We have a great late night story about Izman. We have some needs/wants lists for Ring. We have several days of missing columns because of travel and personal sickness. And we potentially have a contest...

That's right, I am in discussions (with myself) about having a contest here at YANYOK... and it isn't going to be about coming up with a new name for whatever we have here, but I probably should consider that at some time. LOL Once I talk to a few more people about this but it should be coming down the pipe pretty soon so be on the look out.

As for FFXIV, there has been a flood of information about it in recent days and we will have a review of that today or tomorrow, but lets just say that it looks absolutely gorgeous and potentially has the updates we have all been looking for from FFXI. I think this is a good time to make a comparison to other games both out now and coming down the pipe. So look forward to that soon.

For me, I hardly ever post about just me and what I want from FFXI anymore because of the way we have changed this site, but I think it is time for one of those personal posts so I can list out what I am doing in case anyone cares.

Finally, Izman is on a roll like no other right now. Not only is he the King of FoV but last night he got even more lucky. We were farming organs in Sea and decided to give Ix'DRK a try. Iz got the animosity on the first kill, and we popped it. There was a little bit of confusion on how to pull it from the Qn's, but once that was settled and a few friends showed up and we killed it 6 times, it dropped the cape. So Iz is now official 1/1 on Ix'DRK's cape. LOL

It's Iz's world, we are all just playing in it.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Critical Break: To Keep HQs or Not...

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. This week, Q looks at crafting for strangers which might be slightly better than taking candy from them.... maybe.

There are a lot of different philosophies floating around about what to do when some random person you've never spoken to asks you to synth a rather high level synth for them. Every serious crafter knows the feeling I'm referring to...

It's that feeling of dread knowing that this person who you'll probably never speak to again is about to take advantage of the time and gil you've put into your craft and end up with an HQ you're currently 0/1,782 on. Generally speaking, most crafters just enjoy the opportunity to make something for someone. It's only when someone comes to you with materials to make something you'd otherwise make money on where it becomes a little contentious.

It's hard to get some people to understand the sheer amount of time and gil you've invested in your craft and subcrafts unless they're a crafter themselves sometimes. Most of your average non-crafters just see you spending 2-3 minutes selecting items from your inventory and melting them together and not the actual process that leads up you being able to make a cursed whatever for them.

What's the best way to handle it? Is one way better than the other?

As I mentioned before, there are several different trains of thought that go into this. Here are some of the more common ones in no particular order:

"HQ is mine, I'll buy you an NQ"

This is the first of a few times that I'll be using the phrase "Make sure this is agreed to in chat before doing. Assume nothing." As it's name implies, this is where you essentially tell someone if you HQ it, tough shit, I'm keeping it and I'll buy you the NQ.

Amazingly, people agree to this all the time. The problem comes when there's nothing documented in the chat log. There are a few douchebags out there who will GM you if you don't give them the results of their actual synth. This means the HQ if you managed to HQ it. Make absolutely sure you get verbal confirmation in chat before you synth.

Personal Opinion: I'll only get someone to agree to this if I have never spoken to them before. I don't prefer this method to anything else, but will use it from time to time on big ticket items like Unicorn Leggings +1.


Charge a percentage of the HQ value if it HQs or charge a flat rate. Again, make sure this is something that's agreed to up front and keep the item until the money is given to you in the event the customer's stuff HQs.

This may seem unreasonable, but keep in mind if they're getting a Genie Weskit for 1.5 mil instead of buying it off the AH for 3 mil, they're still getting a good deal.

Personal Opinion: What's a fair percentage? That's obviously subjective to both parties involved. I tend to lean towards a reverse tier system percentage. (T0 - 3-5%, T1 - 10%, T2 - 25%, T3 - 50%). Meaning if someone comes to me with a T0 synth and it HQs, I'm going to charge 50% of the AH value for it and I don't even bother charging for HQs if it's a T3 synth or better as they're probably not worth much money anyway and I could HQ them all day long if I wanted to. I tend use this approach, again with people I don't know, on some of the more commonly spammed HQ items like Genie Weskits or Scorpion Harnesses.

I Know You or A Friend Knows You

This isn't a tough one. Use how well you know someone for this. Good friend? Don't charge. Especially if they've leveled a craft you can take advantage of later in return. Friend of a friend? Discount it.

Personal Opinion: Name-dropping doesn't go very far with me. I still go by the likelihood of ever speaking to you again. If it's a great chance, here's your free HQ (if you're lucky). If it's not, see the previous section with a slight discount (or increase depending on who's name you dropped).

I Have A Force-NQ Ring, Fuck Your HQ.

Some people you can just tell are going to argue with having to pay you if you HQ from the way they introduce themselves asking you to synth an item. It's pretty easy to tell them no right off the bat and /blist them, but sometimes you can't tell until you're already in a conversation with them about it.

Personal Opinion: Save yourself the drama, be a bastard and put that ring on if you have it.

I'm Trying To Skill Up And Want To Take Advantage Of Your Level To HQ Materials

Or to make materials I can't make yet.

This one is, again, pretty much what it describes. There's a crafter trying to build his/her way up in the world that's trying to save a few gil during the skill up process. Some common consumables like arrowheads, bolt heads, lumber etc will be asked about here.

Personal Opinion: Give the guy a bone and help out. Odds are your work isn't going to be profitable to them and you know just how much it sucked getting through those levels anyway. As long as they're not expecting something entirely unreasonable like...60 synths worth of work, HQ some arrowheads or bolt heads and be on your way.

Always remember that it was your time and money that got you to where you're at in terms of crafting. There are a lot of people who will want to take advantage of your work for nothing and some aren't opposed to giving away their work for free (to each their own). Each situation is unique, but as long as you remember to get your verbal agreement in text (in case you get GM'd), every thing's good and you'll probably make a little bit of money along the way.

Morning in Vana'diel: Left out of the Level 40 Fun.

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! SAM has 18 million JAs and BLM has two. Where is the love?

I think everyone should have level 40(ish) abilities, and I think that SE is moving that way from the last couple of update. WHM, RDM and NIN have gotten a few things tossed in for level 40 that have really changed and improved their jobs especially for NIN and RDM. There are still some jobs that are lacking these abilities, and there are some jobs that have abilities around this level that are these kinds of defining abilities. In the end, there really should be these kind of alternating or “stance” abilities for all jobs. It surprisingly adds a lot of flavor to the jobs and are more buttons to push which most people like.

Like I said some jobs get these abilities around level 40 instead of at level 40. WAR and RNG get really nice abilities around this level even though it is not exactly at level 40. SAM gets them a lot lower because they were intended to be used as a subjob too, but SAM gets a level 60 ability that is also kind of nice. SAM has a bunch of other nice little toys that makes up for it so it’s not so bad for them.

But there are some jobs that have gotten the shaft in the backside from SE when it comes to job adjustments. Yes, BLM I am talking about you! You have gotten screwed and you really need something to help you out. WHM really needed something to make it stand out from RDM and SMN and SCH when it came to healing and that was in the form of the level 40 JAs. Now BLM needs something that makes it better than SCH for nuking. They really need something that either improves their MP efficiency or damage potential or both. I think a set of alternating JAs would be helpful here for BLM.

I think it is probably coming for BLM, probably in the next update in fact (probably in October when I am out of town). It is something that BLM really needs to be competitive in their pretty much sole role as a nuking DD. It’s time that SE hands out a little JA love to the BLM.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Morning in Vana'diel: According to our records...

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! Who keeps these records, where are they kept and why!?

I am notoriously well know in my group of friends for never taking a chocobo if I don't need to. Honestly I don't always see the point. If I am not in a rush to get anywhere I am quite happy to walk and I save myself some gil, if I am in a rush, invariably there are faster ways to travel to where I am going.

Of course a lot of my behaviour stems from when crag chocobos were a very expensive commodity. The reactive shrinking of the prices between individual usage took a much longer period of time and so it was not uncommon to be renting a chocobo for 1-2k in gil each hiring, which I just refused to do on principle of the fact that I liked my gil in my own pockets and not in the coffers of the Chocobo Union.

Of course, there are exemptions to this rule, I always get a chocobo if I am going to go raise someone, after all time is of the essence at that point. I will also always get a chocobo if I am heading to a party, after all it is just polite to make sure you get there as expediently as possible. You are not just bumbling around on your own at that point, you are affecting 5 other people.

I am aware that this selectivity causes a huge amount of frustration and amusement in equal measures in certain people around me *cough* Ringthree *cough* although I still think it is irrational, even with the affordability of chocobos now. Movement around Vana'diel has become far more comprehensive than ever before, with a bit of effort on your part, you can avail yourself to Outpost warps, leaps through to Whitegate via the Wildcat registration scheme, a plethora of rings and devices to transfer the player from point A to B, and if all else fails, a desperate /sh in a busy district of Jeuno or Whitegate to attract the attention of a good samaritan willing to teleport/recall/warp or trace you around the world, whether for free or a bit of remuneration.

Vana'diel has never been more accessible than it is now, finding the quickest route around is not always as obvious as you would think, but like those escapes to Bastok from Korroloka its fun finding out and doing a bit of exploration on the way.

Beholder's Eye: Castle Oztroja

Welcome to Beholder’s Eye, a column dedicated to the beautiful vistas and interesting events in FFXI. This column brings us pictures from all over Vana’diel, from the people of Vana’diel. From the most mundane spots to the most inaccessible places, there will be pictures of it all. If you have a great picture then send it to us and we will use it!

If you travel through the savanna lands of Meriphataud Mountains, through the dust filled landscape of chasms, gullys and hidden dips till you reach the end of Drogaroga's Spine far to the east, rising up from the mountain wall is the yawning maw and spires of the Yagudo stronghold in Vana'diel.

Of the strongholds, perhaps one of the more sophisticated constructions accessible to the battle-hardened traveller than the more elusive and secretive world of the Moblins, this vast fortress with its sprawling network of corridors, secret contraptions and trapdoors for the unwary is as much a temple of worship designed to protect the holiest of the Yagudo prophets deep in the core of the castle, as it is a rallying symbol of Yagudo might in Vana'diel.

A race deeply motivated by religion and adhering to a strict social hierarchy within its avian ranks, these warlike creatures have been know to pop up as both adversary and ally in the unlikeliest of places, intelligent and territorial, only the most foolish of adventurers would venture into their nest unprepared.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Morning in Vana'diel: Quests to care about.

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! Love them or hate them, there are still some quests still worth looking at in FFXI.

Some people love doing every single quest in FFXI, however menial or boring it can be, and sure there are some quests that are tedious, run here, talk to 1 person, run half way around the world via X point to talk to another person before running back again. Etc etc.

However, there are a few nuggets of gold hidden in the general monotony of most quests, at least FFXi rises above WoW in terms of tedium and sheer repetativeness when it comes to what you need to do for each task. There are the quests that everyone does sheerly for the money/reward/effort over cheapness. Such as Sleepga II, Warp and Utsusemi-Ni to mention a few.

After all a bit of running around for a free scroll is considerably better than forking out a large sum of your hard earned gil for the item (unless of course you are one of those who went down the "pfft never leveling THAT job" route, did the quest, sold it, and 6months later are "leveling THAT job" you said you never would, you KNOW what I am talking about.)

Hidden amongst the dross there ARE some quests that maybe don't have a great reward, but the storyline is GREAT. The Serpent General quests fit into this category, its obvious someone actually cared about these stories when they were being created, as the interest reflects in the quality of the quest itself. Another hidden gem is a seldom done San d'Orian quest which grants the title Obsidian Storm. Not everything questy is tedium incarnate, some will and do capture your imagination and sweep you up in the grand storyline behind it.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Morning in Vana'diel: Hijack!

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! Where are they now?

I've been going through all the old Versus archives recently, which means flicking through musty bits of paper dating from the middle of June 2005 when the linkshell first started. I actually didn't keep any official records until August and BOY was I a messy archivist back then, LOL I've spent some time looking at what I recorded going.. umm.. what was I REALLY aiming for here.

Maybe not a perfect advertisement for my record-keeping, although it has VASTLY improved since then with inclusions of different bits of data, although this was birthed through necessity when Devious quit and I had to look after the ls bank. Payment details require detailed records to back it up, AS does the lotting systems. As soon as they became my responsibility my information explodes.

The most fascinating part of all this is undoubtedly looking back at all those old players and wondering where they are now?! Butcher was one of the original leadership team in Versus and the first member to get haidate from Byakko. Still playing and branching out, it is with some amusement I look at his much wider variety of jobs as he used to SWEAR that MP would never go above 0 on any of his jobs, he lives in BBQ now. Jokerr another former leader now seen rattling around in Limit Break.

The lists go on and on, those who have quit, those who still play, the good, the bad and the intriguing. It is a wonderful snapshot of a bygone age of Versus and a study in how we have progressed, evolved and changed into what we are now. Versus so much has been used as a stepping stone for a lot of people into HNM shells, which is the only thing we won't do.

Similarly we provided a refuge for those who no longer wanted to be in the angst-ridden world of HNM camping. It is fun to be nostalgic for a little while, it really can give you a bit of perspective on what you have achieved, and how far you have come in the game. Memories are after all what en-rich us both in real life or online.

Don't Break the Shadowbind! The Joys of Pizza.

Don't Break the Shadowbind! is our Wed-weekly column brought to you by Omoikitte. Endgame isn't just killing mobs and splitting up the drops, that is the easy part. Omoikitte will provide her insight on how to do the hard part: the administration and planning of events, deciding on how to divvy up the drops, and how to deal with that one whiny LS member that just won't shut up about their abjuration. Today, tantalising tastebuds mmmmmm.

I was strolling home the other day thinking about HOW good pizza is. Its so great it even gets a +1 in FFXI with Marinara Pizza +1, a pizza that provides vast amusement to myself as it is a fish pizza, or as I like to think of it a Tuna fish pizza which apparently most Americans seem to think is a travesty of a pizza, but personally I think is delicious.

Feeling hungry yet? The perfect pizza should have a light fluffy golden crust that is does not cling to the roof of your mouth and is infact crisp with olive oil to give it just the right amount of moisture without creating an overpowered flavour to enhance the topping.

This should be a lightly smeared tomato sauce to ensure the base doesn't dry out and to give your toppings something to adhere to in cooking, and what a wealth of toppings you can choose from. Whether you prefer simplicity itself in the margarita pizza of mere cheese, or extravagantly experiment with the heady delights of alternative flavours and tastes, onion, extra cheese, olives, anchovies to name but a few of the more traditional toppings.

When we went to the Fan Fest in Hollywood, CA this year, Ring, Iz and I ate out at the California Pizza Kitchen which as a pizza chain I very much enjoy when I am in the states. The pizzas are cooked to perfection and they offer a large selection of more avant garde flavours and options to whet your appetite to a fine edge. An even better option would be to go with many people and order selections and share, then everyone can dip into an assault of giddy heights on the tastebuds.

It used to be a while back, that you could buy ready frozen bases from the supermarkets here, and you could then add on your own toppings, I used to LOVE doing this. A small pot of tomato sauce usually reserved for eating with pasta, a tin of sweetcorn and half a block of cheese. It was gooey, it was overload but it was soooooooo yummy, unfortunately the business of selling their own "home made" pizzas took over and the bases vanished from the shelves, I suppose I could make them myself but that is a fairly intimidating prospect.

The best way to cook a pizza at home, whether frozen or fresh made is on one of those aerated baking trays, that lets the base cook without just being sat on a circle of heat, much better flavour and less chance of drying out the base, which is so easy to do with frozen pizza. Mostly frozen pizzas fall down on the base preparation, but if you hunt around you can find some that can be nearly as nice as that fresh out of the oven feel in a pizzaria.

At this point I am sure you are wondering what does this have to do with end game, leadership, linkshells or any/all of the above. Other than possibly as a menu guide to what the typical gamer eats when engrossed in that fight against X monster. However in reality it has nothing at ALL to do with FFXI, or end game, or linkshells or membership problems or and of the other minutae that build up around running an end game ls.

THAT IS THE POINT! Let go, remember life isn't only about your linkshell, relax your grip and keep perspective, you will enjoy it and so will your membership.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Critical Break: July Update - Weapons

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, Q is poking around to see if he can find anything of value in the July Update.

In July's update, SE released a number of new weapons and crafting ingredients for the various crafts. While they typically will release a number of new crafting items in each update, it's not all that often they actually release something useful.

On top of that, it's not all that often they actually release something that's not only useful, but affordable. Most of these require one or two subs that should already be leveled to some degree if you're serious about making money in the crafting market. A lot of them won't be in high demand due to the lack of people that either A) Don't have the job leveled or B) Don't see anything particularly appealing about the weapons. Some of them will be though. Particularly the 1h weapons where the Dancers, Blue Mages et al of the world will be subbing NIN more often than not.

The money and demand portions of these are not why I'm writing about them though. Keep reading to see why I'm hyped about these.

First, a run down of the items themselves:

Crafting Materials

Dweomer Steel Ingot(Smithing 67)
Ruszor Leather(Leather 83ish)
Feyweald Lumber(Woodworking 67)
Oberon's Gold Ingot(Goldsmithing 69)
Oberon's Gold Sheet(Goldsmithing cap unknown, but probably within a couple levels of the ingot)

New Weapons

Fay Crozier (Woodworking 63)
Fay Gendawa (Woodworking 70, Bone ??)
Fay Lance (Woodworking 67, Smithing ??)
Fay Staff (Woodworking 63)
Fane Baselard (Smithing ~64)
Fane Hexagun (Smithing ~67)
Oberon's Sainti (Goldsmithing 64, Woodworking ??, Smithing ??)
Oberon's Rapier (Goldsmithing 69, Smithing ??)
Oberon's Knuckles (Goldsmithing 64, Smithing ~53, Woodworking ??)
Ogre Jambiya (Bonecraft 64, Smithing 52, Goldsmithing ~30)
Ogre Sickle (Bonecraft ~67, Smthing ~52, Woodworking ??)
Dweomer Knife (Smithing ~64)
Dweomer Scythe (Smithing ~64, Alchemy ??, Woodworking ??)
Dweomer Maul (Smithing ~64)
Erlking's Blade (Smithing 61)
Erlkings's Tabar (Smithing ~66, Woodworking ??)
Erlking's Kheten (Smithing 74, Woodworking ??)
Erlking's Sword (Smithing ~67)
Rindomaru (Smithing ~64, Leathercraft ~52, Woodworking ??)
Tsukomo (Smithing ~70, Goldsmithing ~54)

The pattern I want you to notice here are the level ranges for the crafts involved. For most of these crafts, 60-75ish is a veritable sinkhole of gil. Obviously some can argue anything above 20 for Goldsmithing is a sinkhole, but to that I just say these synths become even more important. At least for the time being. SE adding these in this range gives a player some very solid options for skill up and a little profit along the way.

The other thing to notice here are the sub-crafts on these weapons. It's not all that often that we run into crafts where the sub is nearly the same level as the main. This will generally discourage a lot of people from making these as they're usually too lazy to level their subs to begin with.

Depending on how much gil one wants to sink into that "perfect augment", these things shouldn't drop below the break-even point for at least a couple months. If you're at the latter points in skilling up subcrafts (like I am with Smithing and Goldsmithing), give these items a good look. Odds are, you can make a little gil and finish off your subs at the same time. That's particularly difficult to say for some of these crafts. Smithing obviously got the lion's share when it comes to these new items (and it was sorely needed as this is as close to a "consumable" as smithing will probably ever get).

The last thing to note here is that these weapons do drop from union spoils in campaign. Some may choose to take their chances there instead of buying off the AH. This will also add to the influx of weapons on the AH for sale.

A Review of the New Campaign Items.

Enough time has passed since the update to get a fair look back on the number of things that were added as Campaign Items you can purchase with Allied Notes. It is time to take a second look at these items because while none of them stood out as game-breaking items, many of them are definitely beneficial to many jobs and some are even brilliant for certain situations. All of these items can be obtained with 30k Allied Note in your home nation in the past or XK from other nations if you are of the medals Campaign rank. Truth in advertising: I have not yet gotten my Medals Campaign rank so I haven’t yet been able to personally test these out. Most of the items are really straight forward though so it’s not like any major testing is going to make much of a difference in the usefulness of these items. Also, these items have absolutely HUGE campaign bonuses and I will definitely make mention of these, but since the bonuses are not universal, I will just mention them. So if you are a Campaign whore then you will love these items even more than the normal person.

Let’s start with the San d’Orian items.

Rose Strap:

The Rose Strap can be a very good piece of gear if you need it. The +4 Store TP lets many people get back a lot of the utility they had in slots that they had to give up for more Store TP. People that had to use Chivalrous Chains and Ecphoria Rings to maintain their build can now make a different trade off and get some of those lost bonuses back. If you are a melee, you will likely be losing the +2 Double Attack on the Pole Grip, but that probably isn’t much of a loss and probably a comparative gain for the people that are giving up gear to maintain their x-hit build now. For RNG, it is especially nice because it means that for most people they don’t have to worry about using a Mekki Shakki instead of a Fire/Vulcan’s Staff or even better for those that couldn’t get to the next rung of an x-hit build they can now add this to their totals and they might be able to kill themselves just as well as their the rest of us x-hit build RNGs. (It really is just a death warrant).

Of course in Campaign this item gives a huge amount of Store TP which might radically change your plans for what you want to do with your x-hit build.

Crimson Belt:

Another very nice situational piece, and this time situational doesn’t mean “Hey I am fighting a mob I fight 5 times a year so let me grab that one random piece of gear that I probably forgot I even had but kept around because I might use it for this one time”. This time situational piece means you will be using it for some different situations. This isn’t like one of those elemental magic accuracy pieces which are nice, but aren’t really the true skill. This sucker is the real McCoy, +2 Dark Magic Skill. That means you will actually get some benefit for your Drain and Aspir spells, and also Bio, Stun and other spells depending on what else you have going on and what tier of Dark Magic you are at. So, BLM, WHM, SCH and even RDM should definitely think about picking this baby up.

In Campaign this is one hell of a boost to those same spells, much better than anything else you will see. But then again I am pretty sure that Campaign mobs tend to resist a lot more, but I never go to Campaign on a mage job so I am not positive.

Temple Earring:

Well, not everything can be totally awesome, but even this not-completely-awesome earring isn’t totally unawesome either. While +1 to Light Elemental Accuracy isn’t spectacular, it is something that some certain jobs can use because they really don’t have much else in those slots. Those jobs? WHM, BRD and COR with those light-based sleeps. I know that on my WHM I get resisted a lot on Repose (that is mostly because my Divine Skill is horribly underleveled, but let’s keep that between you and me) and this will help in that regard, not much, but more than the nothing that my other earrings are doing.

As for Campaign? +15 should be a lot right? Well, it would be if most of the Campaign mobs didn’t resist the hell out of sleep no matter what kind it is. Maybe this big boost in accuracy will help get you over the hump to sleep them, maybe it won’t, but you can certainly give it a try.

Fox Earring:

Likely named for the Silver Fox regiment of the San d’Orian archers, this earring has a little bit of Ranged Attack on it. I believe this is another one of those items from the update where it is a rare/unique stat for the slot. I don’t think that most RNG or COR are going to be too bugged by this item because they probably already have their +2 Ranged Accuracy or +2 STR earrings. Even though I do play RNG and enjoy it, I am not that up on the math between Ranged Attack and STR and which one you are going to want to use if you can balance them out. I will guess that some people will use this for sure, but I just don’t know how much. It definitely isn’t a stand out item, but it is definitely a different choice from the things that are already available.

For Campaign, while it looks like a huge increase in damage I have found that ranged damage and accuracy in Campaign doesn’t really justify the loss of gil, when you could just melee on another job. So unless you really have nothing else to use for Campaign this item isn’t going to be a must-have.

Patronus Ring:

Conjuring up images of Harry Potter and the Dementors, the Patronus Ring does provide some protection for people that pick it up. Physical Damage down gear is pretty rare for some jobs to get their hands, and even for those that have it available it is still pretty good. Now this doesn’t give a huge increase in Physical Damage down but it is better than nothing, and for tanks it can be a life saver when you are trying to get shadows back up. For my NIN it has to be better than the silly Mermaid Ring that I still wear because there really isn’t anything else good for that slot. Now PLD does have more options than NIN, but still Physical Damage down can help out a PLD from time to time also. Do I think it is the best thing available? No way, but it’s good, and since most people don’t have a Defending Ring, they can always use a little Physical Damage down from time to time.

This is the first item that you really could justify getting just for Campaign. The -10% Physical Damage does really get it pretty close to a Defending Ring in Campaign. Sure, magic damage will still rape you, but the real XP/AN is gained through doing damage and taking damage to heal yourself. If you are subbing DNC or a PLD/RDM or something then this ring will help you take a little less damage and maybe focus on doing some more damage or tanking a couple more mobs at one time.

And now for some of the Bastokan items.

Sturm’s Report:

This is actually a rather interesting ranged item because it isn’t a ranged item, it’s a book. You can definitely throw books, and if you do enough bad things sometimes you will get the book thrown at you. But this is a book you will probably want to keep and no just throw at people (besides the fact that in some cultures book-chucking is considered to be rather rude). The stats are also quite unique for this slot; it is rather rare (unique?) to find Magic Accuracy in the ranged slot and +2 is not something to scoff at. While the stats are not going to make or break you, and there are generally better INT items you can use here, for enfeebles and dark magic there really isn’t much that is better. So if you want a little bit of help helping make sure that Paralyze or Slow sticks, or if you believe that INT doesn’t do anything for those dark magic spells like Drain and Aspir then this may be a book you will want to snuggle up with.

In Campaign this item is really great for nuking, enfeebling or whatever you may be doing on a mage job. There is absolutely nothing in the ammo slot, let alone almost all slots that are going to net you +15 Magic Accuracy. So if you are in Campaign and on a offensive mage job just set it and forget it.

Shield Collar:

This is one of those items where I don’t know if SE is being stupid and thinking that people really care about VIT for tanking things still, or if it is a sly nod to those jobs that have VIT WS modifiers like WAR and MNK. Either way this isn’t an outstanding piece for the neck if you want to tank anything, so let’s get that out of the way, there are much better pieces that have HP, Enmity and other good stats. For WS it isn’t that great because there are much better pieces for the neck that have STR, Accuracy or both. Now for MNK, it IS a good piece for Chakra if you don’t have the Sea Torque with VIT on it. So, this is more situational than most pieces, but it is something you might want to pick up if you are a completionist.

For Campaign, now it really begins to shine for those MNK and WAR VIT based weapon skills, and if you want to get really crazy Chakra numbers then there is nothing better at all. It must be said though, that even if you have a VIT based WS you might still want to pick up the next piece.

Bull Necklace:

Depending on your gear and WS accuracy this piece might actually be something that you want. For SAM and DRG who naturally have a lot of accuracy for their WS because of gear or traits it is definitely a damage improvement over the Chivalrous Chain just because of the obvious increase in STR. This definitely isn’t an end of the road piece by any means, but if you are still farming for those Sea organs for the In the Name of Science quest or still waiting for that Jailor Torque then this isn’t that bad.

In Campaign this item really fits it’s name, strong like bull! I don’t think that 25 STR for any job is going to be beaten in pure WS damage. So if you Campaign a lot then this is definitely a must have piece. More STR, more damage, more AN, and more XP.

Sonia’s Plectrum:

Bastok really gives you some really fine pieces named for the Republic’s heroines. This ranged slot item may look like a just another tathlum but it is supposed to be a pick for harp or guitar or something. Now, I don’t really know anything about DNC gear, but I can tell you that increasing your curing potency is always a great deal for DNC especially at higher levels. For people that are subbing dancer it is only going to be like 1 or 2 HP per Waltz, so it’s not really that great for non-main DNC. This stacks well with other cure potency gear for DNC and I don’t think it trades off with other amazing DNC gear.

If you are a Campaign melee and you like to sub DNC then this is an absolute must have piece. Seriously, this is going give you a decent boost to all of your dances and it can even be switched out for just when you need it, and you can keep your other good ammo gear. I am even seriously considering picking up this piece for my SAM/DNC, and I think Campaign specific gear is stupid.

Arrestor Mantle:

While Bastok offers you some very obviously good pieces, this piece doesn’t shine as well as its brethren but it still has its uses. There is not much that the back piece offers in terms of enfeebling outside of rare drop Sea capes, so this can definitely be an improvement. Then again there are +5 stat capes that are available for the respective kinds of enfeebles. A mage can probably tell you which one is going to be better but for a situation where you need to land Gravity when you are soloing or need a Slow or Paralyze to stick for a low man situation, then this isn’t that bad of a choice.

For Campaign, like the Sturm’s Report this item will definitely be better for landing enfeebles than anything else available. But unlike Sturm’s Report it only helps with enfeebling and not your nukes in general. So if you need to enfeeble a Campaign mob then get this, but for the most part this just isn’t the best of the best like some of the other items available.

Finally, the Windurstan Warlocks have a few more items.

Capricornian Robe (Rope):

Despite being misspelled, this item is still pretty neat. While the belt slot is generally considered to be an MP slot for WHM and other Cure casting jobs, this could be a decent trade off considering what other gear, merits and subjobs you have available. You are probably going to get a cut in max MP, but depending on the situation you might want to get a faster cure off. Cures are already pretty quick so 1% isn’t going to make or break you, especially for a WHM… or RDM… or SCH for that matter. But stacking it up is definitely an option, and it is like haste in that the more you have you will get an exponential increase in speed, but there is likely a cap on the cast speed anyway. If you are an Elvaan then you might want to pass this piece up, but if you are a Taru this might be something you want to pick up.

For Campaign this item is pretty interesting. If you are a non-melee mage (any mage that is not RDM) then you already know that curing is going to be the main way that you are going to be getting your XP and AN, so the faster you can cast those cures then the faster you will be able to get that XP and AN. The problem? It doesn’t decrease your recast time, and that is going to be the real limit on your casting.

Earthly Belt:

Ok, so this is one of those too specific items. Look, if you are a BLM then you are never going to use this because Stone nukes suck. If you are a RDM you are never going to use this because there are better belts for Slow for potency, and if you are another job then maybe you will use this for Slow, but for situational gear that is really situational. This is definitely like a SCH’s perfectionist item. The 3 Earth Magic Accuracy is nice, but you will need to make the decision if you think this worth the inventory space.

While definitely more useful in Campaign than out of it, the Earthly Belt again is going to be for only very limited situations. You should get it if you think you can benefit from it, but be ready for your friends to think you are a little bit odd to have so much extra inventory space.

Cougar Pendant:

Interesting, very interesting. HP is not the preeminent stat of tanking or melee, but it definitely not an unworthy stat. For Taru more HP is never scoffed at, and while there are definitely better neckpieces for HP like the Ritter Gorget – the Cougar Pendant actually has more HP – but this is way easier for most people to get. That makes it like several other pieces in this list; they are in between pieces outside of Campaign, something you get knowing it is relatively cheap and you will probably be getting something better soon.

For Campaign the Cougar Pendant turns a Taru into a Hume, a Hume into a Galka and a PLD into a MNK. This one is a nice straightforward survivability bonus. There is nothing in the neck that is going to make it so that you will have less chance of being one-shot. Sure max HP isn’t everything, but 200 HP gives everyone a little more breathing room in Campaign.

Crocodile Collar:

Some stats don’t do much for people, but some do. AGI pretty much effects a larger group of players than say VIT, so this might get more use than the Shield Collar. RNG, THF, NIN and COR stand out as those that could drool over this piece. For RNG, it is both a slight increase in accuracy as well as damage for most WS. But, and there is a big BUT here, there are a lot of better pieces for RNG in the neck slot. THF is almost the same way but the AGI modifies Trick Attack instead, but then again most THF don’t solo TA’s as much as stack them. If a THF is going to solo a JA it is usually Sneak Attack (if I am wrong on this all those THF out there please let me know!) NIN will get some benefit out of this for soloing evasion which AGI modifies, but it also modifies (and I am pretty sure on this one but again if I am wrong, let me know!) Parrying which is a great stat for a soloing NIN. Finally CORs will love this piece for the AGI which is an accuracy modifier for their Quick Draw shots as well as a little bit of accuracy for their regular ranged attacks and WS too.

Now for Campaign, like the Bull Necklace, this piece becomes much more impressive in Campaign. While for RNG and COR the damage modifier for WS still isn’t that great it is a definite improvement, but the accuracy is where this will really shine, especially for Quick Draw. For THF, this is a huge boost to stacked TA WS damage. And for NIN this probably is a huge benefit if you are the kind of person to sneak off with your own mob and solo it. Just make sure you don’t drag out the Campaign while everyone else is waiting for their Union rewards!

Ariesian Grip:

Last but certainly not least is this nice little resting MP piece. There is nothing much for mages in the Grip slot, and certainly nothing with resting MP on it. You might lose a little bit of max MP when you get back up which really isn’t an issue for some races, jobs and gear sets. It might be a little more tenuous if you are low on Max MP but then again even with the highest boosts in MP you aren’t going to be losing that much MP just from that slot (besides, you could just rest one or two more ticks in your standing/Max MP gear). Since people will kill flowers in hours for more resting MP this is probably something that a lot of people are going to want to get.

In Campaign, this is a must have for any job that uses MP and needs to rest at all. +20 resting MP is like a couple of Clear Mind traits. It is a huge difference maker. So if you use MP at all in Campaign, then you should probably pick one of these sexy babies up.


This list of items is pretty comprehensive, but I didn’t include the new bodies mostly because they speak for themselves. Most of the time items you get from a world conflict system (Conquest, Besieged, and Campaign) barely have much of a use and are very poorly itemized. While in the past there have been one or two good sets of items (Conquest ammos and Besieged weapons) this time there are a plethora of good items at the medal level. They are definitely going to be inventory hogs because they are either situational or alternatives but they are in general upgrades instead of more sidegrades. As much as I complain about SE’s current level of attentiveness toward the game in general, I have to admit that these items must have required at least a modicum of thought into the stats they give for their slots.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Morning in Vana'diel: The Most Interesting Man in the World.

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! Izman doesn't always drink beer, but when he does he prefers Dos Equis.

Izman is the most interesting man in the world. When he talks, people listen. He once augmented a Iqgira Weskit just so that he could have multiple amazingly augmented pieces from FoV. Yes, the man that brought you such hits as Dusk Gloves, +2 STR and Amemet Mantle +1, +5 Accuracy is back again to bring you the next installment of the most awesome augments in the world. Yes, Izman, the man, the myth, the legend got +6 INT on his Weskit. That means basically that Izman rules the world of augments and FoV. If you are a melee, you want to be Iz. If you are a BLM, you want to be Iz.

Now don’t get me wrong, Iz deserves this stuff. After years of frustration with lots and no drops, this is Izman’s true come-uppance. This is karma actually finally coming around again as Iz has been screwed out of some stuff and some stuff has just taken forever to drop for him. Iz is pretty mild mannered about these things, but I know he does like FoV far more than most people especially myself who has gotten nothing but crap from it so far.

Iz is just one of those deserving people that when they get something really nice or get really lucky, you don’t get jealous, you are just pleased that favor shined on them that day. There are not that many people that are truly cool like Izman in the game. If there were there would be a lot less frustration out there in Vana’diel. The most interesting man in the world does not concern himself with the petty nature of scoundrels, for he is the most magnificent bastard in all the world.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

On Paranoia, Anger and Empty Retribution.

The recent trend on all of the big FFXI forums has been to whine about anything that SE does. Emergency maintenance? Whine! Mistaken gardening RMT bans? Whine! Credit card verification? Whine! Some of it is almost legitimate, but for the most part this whining is some of the most paranoid and delusional crap I have ever heard.

You might have noticed that lately I have voiced some concerns over [i]the game[/i] that we play. I want more of everything, and I want more development time spent on new things. I want a real expansion, and not these mini-expansions. I want new gear models, I want more merits, I want more gil, I want more mobs, zones and rewards. I want a lot of things.

Am I a hypocrite? No, because there is a very large difference in wanting more out of the game that we play and finding evil in every one of SE’s action. I am not paranoid about my demands from the game. I think everyone wants things similar to what I want. No one is ever going to say they don’t want more things in game. But I stop at the waters edge. I do not delve into the paranoid machinations of many of the commentators and posters in FFXI world.

I have gone over my feelings about emergency maintenances. FFXI players are not unique in this regard. Every game will always have their complainers anytime there is any maintenance at all, no matter how short or how important. These people are so self-absorbed that they can not even think for a moment outside of themselves to consider the reason that these maintenances are important for the game and even themselves. If coding a game was as easy as the people on forums think it was then those people would be coding games instead of posting on forums.

The mistaken gardening bans? Yes, there is definitely room for legitimate complaints here, especially for those that got hit and especially because SE never said anything about it at all. But it was a mistake and for the most part (except for Ryskar from what I can see) it has been reversed. Mistakes happen, I am not really as concerned that it happened but more that it wasn’t acknowledged and openly fixed. But even in this case where there is definitely a place for legitimate complaint, some people take things way too far. Some assert that it was an attempt by SE to force people out of the game to get them to play FFXIV, or that SE doesn’t want these people to play, or that it was part of a greater plan by SE to sabotage FFXI overall. Keep in mind these were likely the same people that used to say that SE worked with the RMT.

Finally, we have the credit card verification complaints. This is the one that really sends me on tilt not because it may be a hassle for a handful of people, but because this is one of those “people will complain about anything” issues. SE is trying to change its policy, likely to stop having to ban people that are doing charge backs on their CCs because of their own failures because that is how RMTs have been screwing SE over themselves. This is a good policy, and it is very likely that Blizzard, other MMO companies, and many online stores will adopt this policy. SE even has a way to resolve this issue for most people if they can’t get verification. And this only applies to people that sign up with a new credit card or re-sign up for the game. The funniest thing about these people is there insistence that they refuse to give SE anymore money because SE isn’t letting them give their money.

And there we have a perfect illustration of the irony of the situation.

Some people just need to take a deep breath, slide back from the monitor and get a freaking grip.