Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Critical Break: 0-60 Series: Cooking

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 continues his 0-60 series with the sixth installment: Cooking.

If you hated clothcraft (like me...), you're going to despise Cooking. Fortunately, Cooking is virtually a stand alone craft with very few synths actually needing it for anything on their recipe list. So why level it at all? It comes in handy while leveling other jobs to make items like Yag drinks and whatnot so your entire inventory isn't eaten up by the drinks themselves. It also comes in handy if you ever plan on leveling Beastmaster as you can easily make all of your own supplies for the most part.

(LOLBST! I know...)

The only other reason anyone would have to level cooking if they aren't planning to take it to 100 is to simply be a completionist. I think I've used Cooking twice since I got it to 60 a year or so ago. It's pretty safe to say that if you have no intention of taking it to 100 and you don't care about having an entire list of ranks colored blue, then you can probably ignore this guide for now.

If you do want that blue Journeyman line, then read on.

Phase 1: Fisherman's Breakfast and Bait

A few things to keep in mind here:

First is you need to become familiar with Distilled Water and Rock Salt vendors. They are used in the majority of the items I have listed in this guide.

Second is that you will be running back and forth...a LOT.

Third is that there are no huge stretches or level gaps between these synths. This means you will have a wide variety of items on you the majority of the time while you're leveling these.

Fourth and lastly, have Wiki or BG or Alla open to find various ingredients. I will do my best in this guide to link the various ingredients to where they can be purchased at and where the seller actually is, but there's probably not enough room for all of that information in this guide or my brain.

Park yourself in Crawler's Nest with 3-4 stacks of Fire Crystals and 3-4 stacks of water and kill Lizards for a while. They can drop a ton of eggs at once and it takes very little time to amass the number of eggs required to cap here. You can turn around and sell the tails and skins on the AH for money as well.

Recipe: Fire Crystal, 1x Lizard Egg, 1x Distilled Water
Cap: Level 4

Same recipe as the previous synth, only with a bird egg instead of a lizard egg. These don't drop with the frequency that the lizard eggs do, but they're relatively cheap on the AH if you can catch them and usually a little cheaper from the guild or vendors in the airship docks as long as the respective nation is in first or second place.

Recipe: Fire Crystal, 1x Bird Egg, 1x Distilled Water
Cap: Level 6

Juices are a staple of cooking and one of the most commonly crafted items out there. Nab a few stacks of water crystals and park yourself in front of Baehu-Faehu for the oranges as long as Windurst controls Saruta. You'll lose a little bit of gil NPC'ing the results as Orange Juice isn't exactly a great seller on the AH, but you should already be ahead of the game with the lizard skins you picked up. Buy a Salmon Sub from the guild (cheaper) for your first rank up.

Recipe: Water Crystal, 4x Saruta Orange
Cap: Level 10

Sliced Cod is a semi-popular fish bait that sells decently on the AH. The tiger cod used to make it is usually up in decent supply as well on my server for 2-3k/stack. Each synth will make you half a stack of cod meaning if you have no breaks, you should end up with 6 stacks to sell at 1k ea. on the AH. Cap on these, then AH the results.

You can also fish up the cod rather easily if your fishing skill is around 25-30.

Recipe: Wind Crystal, 1x Tiger Cod
Cap: Level 13

Same deal as the Sliced Cod prior to this synth only a little more expensive. Bluetails are regularly up on the AH for around 10k/stack with each synth making you 1/3 of a stack. With no breaks, you should end up with 4 stacks that AH for around 3k ea.

Recipe: Wind Crystal, 1x Bluetail
Cap: Level 15

America's Candy Bar. Take a few stacks of rock salt and a few stacks of ice crystals out to Selbina and park yourself in front of Dohdjuma. Save the results for later synths. Odds are we're going to use it all up. Turn in a bowl of Pea Soup (buy it from Guild...not cheaper, but a lot more time efficient) for your next rank.

Recipe: Ice Crystal, 1x Selbina Milk, 1x Rock Salt
Cap: Level 20

Phase 2: Meat, Balls, and Pet Food

Time to use up a bit of that Selbina Butter you just made. Your inventory probably thanks you for it too. Baehu-Faehu gets to spend some quality time with you again as he sells the popotos for cheap. The guild also sells them, but it's just easier to sit at this midget and avoid the whole guild hours thing. Just NPC the results wherever you feel like. You should be close to break even here.

Recipe: Fire Crystal, 1x Popoto, 1x Selbina Butter
Cap: Level 22

This is one of the few meat synths we'll be doing. Farm your sheep meat up by visiting the highlands again. It shouldn't take too long to farm up a few stacks as the meat drops rather frequently. If you don't want to spend the time farming, find whoever controls the Zulkheim region and buy it from there or just buy it from the guild. It should run you between 450-650 gil/stack. The Dried Marjoram can be picked up from the same Zulkheim vendor or the guild for very cheap as well. You're going to lose a little money here capping if you didn't farm, so you may opt to just get a couple levels, then move onto Insect Balls. NPC your results.

Recipe: Fire Crystal, 1x Giant Sheep Meat, 1x Rock Salt, 1x Dried Marjoram
Cap: Level 26

A very common bait used for catching moat carp. With 3 levels or more to cap, it could take a bit to move all of these, but if you bazaar them next to the fountain in Windurst Woods or other popular Moat Carp fishing spots, they'll move. Buy your little worms from Ensasa and your Millioncorn from whereever and make these to cap. Turn in a bowl of Vegetable Gruel for your rank up.

Recipe: Earth Crystal, 1x Millioncorn, 1x Little Worm, 1x Distilled Water
Cap: Level 29

More balls! If the fishing guild has the Bastore Sardines for cheap, (less than 100gil ea.), pick them up from there. If not, just go fishing. They don't sell on the AH for very much or very frequently as they aren't used too often. If beastmen control the Aragoneu region, you can buy the Horo Flour from Pawkrix in Lower Jeuno. Make to cap, NPC the results.

Recipe: Earth Crystal, 1x Bastore Sardine, 1x Horo Flour, 1x Distilled Water
Cap: Level 31

The Rye Flour for this can be bought relatively cheap in a number of places. Nothing too spectacular here otherwise. NPC the results for a slight profit.

Recipe: Fire Crystal, 1x Rye Flour, 1x Rock Salt, 1x Distilled Water
Cap: Level 34

Three of the four ingredients here can be bought from NPC for relatively cheap. The land crab meat can be farmed up relatively easy or bought off the AH. As long as you buy off the AH for less than 5k/stack, you can NPC the results for a slight profit. Turn in a meat mithkabob for your rank up.

Recipe: Earth Crystal, 1x Rye Flour, 1x Land Crab Meat, 1x Bird Egg, 1x Distilled Water
Cap: Level 39

Phase 3: Just Desserts

Time to use up more of that Selbina Butter you made 20ish levels ago. The San d'Orian Flour can be bought for cheap from various NPCs. Make these to cap and save them for later synths. You might consider making a few extra stacks as well.

Recipe: Water Crystal, 1x San d'Orian Flour, 1x Rock Salt, 1x Selbina Butter
Cap: Level 42

I put this here as a bridge synth mostly to the next two synths. Also because you likely haven't made enough pie dough to cover 8 total levels. Fish up your Bluetail (or any other variation of this that's at 45) to cut your costs down as you will be losing about 1-1.2k/synth here if you NPC the results. AH them to recover most of your costs as BSTs tend to buy these things up pretty quickly.

Recipe: Water Crystal, 2x Bluetail
Cap: Level 45

And here's where it gets annoying. There are a lot of ingredients here. The ease of purchase depends on your affiliation and San d'Oria's place in the conquest rankings (needs to be first). Benaige in Raimbroy's Grocery will be your best friend for the next 5 levels. Buy your Cinnamon (if you can), Faerie Apples and Maple Sugar from her. Use up your pie dough and go farm up a few stacks of lizard eggs. Turn one in for your final rank up.

Recipe: Fire Crystal, 1x Faerie Apple, 1x Cinnamon, 1x Maple Sugar, 1x Pie Dough, 1x Lizard Egg
Cap: Level 48

Wut? Pies again? Same deal as previous synth only you need bird eggs this time. Odds are you're still in San d'Oria, so head over to the airship dock and buy them from Albinie as long as Sandy is in 1st or 2nd place. Sell your results on the AH for about break even.

Recipe: Fire Crystal, 1x Faerie Apple, 1x Cinnamon, 1x Maple Sugar, 1x Pie Dough, 1x Bird Egg
Cap: Level 50

Phase 4: Almost Iron Chef

You can buy the crayfish for cheap from Kulh Amariyo in Whitegate. You'll want to craft these in front of NPCs that sell San d'Orian Flour since the flour doesn't stack. NPC your results for about break even.

Recipe: Earth Crystal, 3x Crayfish, 1x Distilled Water, 1x San d'Orian Flour
Cap: Level 52

Time to finish off the rest of that Selbina Butter if you still have any. Hopefully a nation owns the Fauregandi region as the cooking guild seems to be a little more expensive than the regional merchants for the Beaugreens. As long as you pick those up for 120ish gil or less, you should break even NPCing your results.

Recipe: Fire Crystal, 1x Beaugreens, 1x Selbina Butter
Cap: Level 55

These things sell like hotcakes on the AH between 5-6k/stack. Coeurl Meat is relatively easy to farm up if you spend some time in the Sanctuary of Zi'Tah. There's a nice heavy concentration of Coeurls roaming around in the NW area of the map. By now you should know where to farm up heaps of lizard eggs in a relatively short period of time. These are a good money maker and will easily make up any gil you've lost along the way up to this point. Having to sit in front of a San d'Orian Flour vendor is a drag again, but a necessary evil.

Recipe: Fire Crystal, 1x Lizard Egg, 1x Coeurl Meat, 1x Distilled Water, 1x San d'Orian Flour
Cap: Level 59

Very popular drink. I wouldn't expect to make these unless a nation controls the Kolshushu region. If one does, you can just park yourself at whatever NPC sells Kolshushu goods with some Dark Crystals and go to town. Hopefully it won't take many to cap. AH your results for a slight profit.

Recipe: Dark Crystal, 1x Yagudo Cherry, 3x Buburimu Grapes
Cap: Level 60

Congrats! If you've been following my guides, this should be your sixth craft to 60. As you can see from the various recipes here, Cooking involves a lot of legwork and a lot of consumable synths. Like any other craft, most of it's money makers rely on your ability to HQ, but with by far the largest number of synths available to any craft, there's sill some money to be made even at 60 if one dedicates the time to do it. But as is the case with anything good and easy, everyone's got it done.

Next week: Smithing

Monday, September 28, 2009

FFXIV News: Beta Information Released?

The internet is a serious of tubes and if you line up all those tubes you sometimes get some decent information. This beta information comes via several different sources, but it is originally from a Gamewatch interview with Tanaka, the head honcho.

The beta tests are going to go in stages, starting with closed limited, then closed less limited, then closed unlimited, then closed stress test, then open. That may sound a little overwrought but they seem to have very specific goals for each stage. Tanaka also said that testing was coming along well and he thought that they could aim for a release next summer. I think that is way earlier than most people had considered.

Corinth posted the information, and presumably handled the translation because she is cool like that. You can check out all of the information here.

Morning in Vana'diel: I Can't Wait for You to Shut Me 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 really, really, really want more developer contact... or do I?

Hmmm, so I guess I should explain my disappearance during one of the busiest weeks for FFXI news. The only problem is that there isn't much of an explanation besides the fact that I was busy which in turn made me lazy. There is much to cover from the week that has passed and I plan to try to handle that today if I can. If I can't I will die trying. Or at least sprain my pinky or something.

There might be quite a few posts today because of this, so if it's too much too read... well fucking deal. :)

Speaking about talking too much, I wanted to bring something up from a different game that has nothing to do with FFXI... or does it? I know, by now anyone that plays FFXI has at least a bit of a problem with WoW in some form or another. But I don't want to focus on that, I wanted to talk about the cautionary tale that can be learned from events that have happened on the WoW forums.

You might or might not know this but WoW has official forums and in those forums the lead developer (Ghostcrawler is his name on the forums, his real name is Greg Street) is known for posting about the design concepts and the direction of the development team. To a FFXI player this might seem like the promised land, a game that actually has direct contact with the developers? But as they say, the grass is always greener on the other side of the street.

While FFXI players often beg for more developer contact, this might be a place where we should reconsider what we are wishing for because we just might get it. While more developer contact seems like it could have no bad outcome, there may be a reason that SE doesn't do it more often. And that reason is us, the players.

Ghostcrawler recently posted on the WoW forums that he is going to be cutting back on how much he posts because two things happens whenever he posts explanations of in-game content. The first is that while some people understand what he is saying, a lot of people (and usually the most vocal) break down what he is saying taking things out of context or not keeping perspective about the post. The second thing that happens is that the criticism of the post turns personal, questioning his understanding of the game or knowledge of a class. Yes, the players actually believe they understand the game better from their incredibly limited personal anecdotes than the guy that has access to the data from everyone in the game and the knowledge of the entire game.

You might notice that this sounds familiar. That is because it is. You can see that happen on any FFXI forum. "The developers don't understand the game!" "Why are they nerfing/Why aren't they buffing my class?" "The developers want us to quit!" The similarities between the complaints that people make on FFXI forums compared to the ones made on the WoW forums would be funny if it wasn't so striking. I have literally seen the same exact wordings in the "threats" made by the players of both games.

What does that tell me about the benefit of developer contact? That it doesn't make one lick of difference to player's enjoyment of the game. The whiners will always whine, threaten to quit, scream at the developers whether they are listening or not, and will blame everyone else for their problems. Hey, sounds like life really, doesn't it? In the end, does developer contact change anything at all? While it feels like we may be disconnected from the developers is that because we feel like they are not "listening to us" when they aren't going to listen to us anyway? Even if FFXI's developers were listening and posting and talking to us, would it change anything at all? They know where the game is going months out, they know how they want things balanced, and as much as we critique would it really change anything? Should it change anything?

I know I don't want FFXI run by some of the forum posters I have seen. The term "Monty Hall" comes to mind.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Critical Break: 0-60 Series: Alchemy

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 continues his 0-60 series with the fifth installment: Alchemy.

Alchemy is easy. It's so easy in fact, I'm not real sure why a guide has to be written for it. Damn near everything up to 20 is break even or better even when buying from the AH or NPCs. Even past 20, it's relatively easy to break even or make money from it.

The primary reasons for leveling this aside from it being completely easy and cheap is that it's a decently common subcraft that's used in conjunction with a lot of consumable items. This means your Chefs and Woodworking experts of the FFXI world will likely need to have this at 60 before they even attempt to make their way to 100 on their respective main crafts.

This particular guide tries to again focus on things you can farm up should the AH be too expensive or stuff you can pick up from NPCs, craft and resell for what amounts to a free skilling up session. This also tries to simply include items you can sell back on the AH reasonably quick if the NPCs are being cheap bastards. The primary downside to skilling this craft up is there's a ton of running around for the various parts you need. Not as bad as cooking mind you, but based on who controls what region and what place your respective nation is in, it makes for a lot of leg work.

You bring the time and a reasonable amount of gil and you'll make it all back and then some...

Phase 1: Double, Double Toil and Trouble

Get familiar with Distilled Water vendors. You'll be using it in a lot of the synths.

Everyone buys these from NPC or the AH as long as they're around 6k/stack. Make 'em, cap on 'em and either keep them knowing you're going to use them yourself one day or sell 'em on the AH to recoup your money. Buy Wijnruits from the flowershop in Upper Jeuno and buy the San d'Orian Grapes from the Cooking Guild in Windurst or from Aveline in Southern San d'Oria. Shouldn't take more than 2 stacks of mats to cap on these.

Recipe: Water Crystal, 1x Distilled Water, 1x San d'Orian Grape, 1x Wijnruit
Cap: Level 3

Most Alchemy guides suggest starting on this synth first due to how cheap it is. I don't entirely disagree, but I listed these second because I'm not a huge fan of synthing further away than a 5 level gap if there are other good alternatives. Park yourself in front of Komalata with a bunch of ice crystals. Farm up the ice crystals in Xarc since there are always elementals roaming about. You can buy the rest of your materials needed for this from the NPC, then turn around and sell the results back to her for a slight profit if you didn't break. Even more profit if you farmed the ice crystals.

Recipe: Ice Crystal, 2x Distilled Water, 1x Rock Salt
Cap: Level 6

You can go the Yellow Globe or Giant Stinger route with this synth. Giant Stinger synth will cap at 11 and the Yellow Globe synth will cap at 12. You will likely find that Yellow Globes are cheaper and easier to obtain than the Giant Stingers though. Hold onto your results for a later synth. Turn in some Animal Glue once you hit 8 to rank up.

Recipe 1: Lightning Crystal, 2x Giant Stinger
Cap: Level 11

Recipe 2: Lightning Crystal, 2x Yellow Globe
Cap: Level 12

Yet another fish synth. Starting to see a bit of a pattern? Most alchemy synths will consist of using ingredients from NPCs or from Fishing. Mercury is a common item used in a large number of synths. Fish up your Colbalt Jellyfish (super easy) or buy off the AH if you want to lose a little money. Hold onto your results for the next synth.

Recipe: Lightning Crystal, 4x Colbalt Jellyfish
Cap: Level 16

Phase 2: Wax of Bees, Sage of NPC, Wood of...Log?

Commonly used potion for avoiding Sleep and stronger poison spells. Use your previously made poison dust and mercury to make these to cap. Sell on AH for break even or profit depending on how you obtained your materials in the first place. Turn one in once you hit cap to rank up.

Recipe: Water Crystal, 1x Mercury, 1x Poison Dust
Cap: Level 18

These are commonly bought from NPC, but if you put stacks up around the cost of buying from NPC, they will sell rather fast on the AH. The Sage and Honey can both be picked up from NPCs. Try to keep your cost down to < 500 gil/synth. Make to cap.

Weird observation: Echo Drops cure silence effect. Presumably, you're drinking this tonic to cure said effect. Has anyone ever had a mouthful of honey and been able to speak?

Recipe: Water Crystal, 1x Distilled Water, 1x Sage, 1x Honey
Cap: Level 20

This would be one of the staples of money making in Alchemy. Since you're at T1 HQ level for beeswax, you can opt to make your own, but preferably, you find someone with Alchemy at 60 or higher to make you a few stacks out of beehive chips you buy off the AH. Beeswax itself is usually ridiculously overpriced due to it's demand. Cap on these, sell and break even or better.

Recipe: Water Crystal, 1x Distilled Water, 2x Beeswax
Cap: Level 24

Not a real useful item unless someone is using it to make blind bolts or to force the evasion effect from some earrings. This is primarily a bridge synth to close the gap a couple levels before making the next synths. Buy a couple stacks of crying mustard from the guild and then park yourself in front of Pawkrix. Bring a couple stacks of sleepshrooms you hopefully farmed up too. Buy Poison flower from Pawkrix then synth these for a couple levels. Save one for your rank up item.

Recipe: Water Crystal, 1x Crying Mustard, 1x Poison Flour, 1x Sleepshroom
Cap: Level 27

I mentioned this synth in my Woodworking guide. There is no HQ version of this synth, so there is no reason for people to list the NQs at a loss from the cost of the mats off the AH. Use this knowledge to your advantage and cap on these. Hopefully you won't break any. Buy the Moko Grass from NPC. It's possible to get the Elm Logs for cheap as well if they've been left alone in the guild for a while. Try to keep your costs here below 3500/synth and you will make money selling the results on the AH.

Recipe: Lightning Crystal, 1x Elm Log, 1x Moko Grass, 1x Distilled Water
Cap: Level 29

Should the AH be out of Elm Logs, this is a decent alternative. Farming up Ahriman Tears isn't took difficult with some time spent in Xarcabard, Beaucedine Glacier or Castle Zvahl Baileys, plus you can save the Ahriman lenses you pick up for a later synth. Buy the Chamomile from the flower shop in Upper Jeuno. Sell the results on the AH for good money if you farmed up the Ahriman Tears.

Recipe: Water Crystal, 1x Chamomile, 1x Ahriman Tears, 1x Distilled Water
Cap: Level 30.

Phase 3: Fiber of Glass, Sand of Fire, Powder of Invisibility

This is the first part that will hurt your wallet a bit. For whatever reason, SE decided that an ingredient for a level 34 synth should be a level 61 synth of the same craft. This means you either have to get someone that's got alchemy high enough to make the glass fibers for you or you have to buy them off the AH. Why the trouble for this? Because no matter which route you decide, you will likely make money from it on one of the next synths. They don't stack though, so be prepared to mule a number of these.

Recipe: Fire Crystal, 2x Glass Fiber
Cap: Level 34

Yet another staple of money-making in Alchemy. Go spend some time out in Xarc farming Ahriman Lenses up. Yes this means you'll have a supply of Artificial and Ahriman Lenses to deal with. Fortunately, if you brought crystals and glass fiber with you, you can break the Ahriman Lenses down the second you get them. Make to cap and sell, sell, sell.

Recipe: Light Crystal, 2x Glass Fiber, 1x Ahriman Lens
Cap: Level 36

Depending on how many Artificial Lenses you made, you'll likely want to skill up a couple levels on this. Firesand is used in a number of recipes. You can farm up the bomb ash required for it from virtually any bomb and the sulfur is usually super cheap on the AH to boot. I'd recommend making these to 38, turning one in for your rank up, then moving onto the next synth.

Recipe: Earth Crystal, 2x Bomb Ash, 1x Sulfur
Cap: Level 40

Wait, you already listed this one. Yes, I did, but this is a different recipe and one with a much higher cap than the previous one. It's time to burn up all those artificial lenses you made and to make more money. Obtain your glass fibers again from the AH or from a buddy who can make them for you, then sell the results. Make these to cap.

Recipe: Light Crystal, 1x Artificial Lens, 2x Glass Fiber
Cap: Level 41

Used in a number of synths. This requires bomb ash again. I wouldn't make to cap as the next synth is so ridiculously cheap to make that it's one of the rare times I would suggest forgetting about level gaps.

Recipe: Lightning Crystal, 4x Bomb Ash
Cap: Level 45

Phase 4: Something Wicked This Way Comes

Skillups slow down quite a bit from here on out.

Ridiculously cheap. Too good to be true. Go maul a few Light Elementals in sky. Park yourself at your favorite Distilled Water vendor and just go to town. Turn in a Fire Sword when you hit 48 for your final rank up. Make these to cap.

Recipe: Light Crystal, 1x Distilled Water.
Cap: Level 51

Not as good as the previous synth, but still rather cheap. Up until this point, I went with items that didn't have a subcraft requirement. This one is optional, but seeing as you already have a ton of holy water and it's possible you have smithing at 14ish, it doesn't hurt to suggest it. Bronze Ingots are usually super cheap from the guild. These sell somewhat decently on the AH.

Recipe: Wind Crystal, 1x Bronze Ingot, 2x Holy Water
Cap: Level 53

Commonly used potion for building TP in conjunction with the Opo-Opo Necklace. Also relatively cheap to make. If the recipe seems familiar to you, that's because it is. It's the exact same recipe used for Blinding Potions, only without the crying mustard. Repeat what you did for that potion here and make these to cap. Sell your results on the AH. You should break or make money as long as you don't bust too many.

Recipe: Water Crystal, 1x Chamomile, 1x Poison Flour, 1x Sleepshroom.
Cap: Level 56

The final synth in this guide is a bit of a pain. There are a few options past 60 like a porcelain flowerpot or even glass fiber, but either way you look at it, you're likely going to be losing money on this synth. Venom Dust is a good option too, especially the scorpion claw version of it since it's easy to get the claws. I found farming Ochus in Rolanberry Fields was sufficient enough to almost balance out buying malboro vines from the AH with NPC'ing the results, but I probably still lost 200-300 gil/synth. Not a good way to end an otherwise easy craft, but compared to some of the other synths at this level in other crafts, this is a relatively cheap loss. Buy your sage from the same NPC you have this whole time and git 'r done.

Recipe: Water Crystal, 2x Sage, 1x Distilled Water, 1x Malboro Vine
Cap: Level 60

Yet another guide finished. There's three more guides left in the 0-60 series. In order of appearance (and financial loss...):

Cooking - Smithing - Goldsmithing

See you next week.

Monday, September 21, 2009

POL News: Why Buffalo?

Never had a really good understanding for this event, but it is pretty silly and reasonably fun. The Buffalo round-up is back, and it looks like we are being sent to rustle up these "feral bovine" and bring them back to the Moogles. The Buffalo Blitz doesn't seem to have much of any connection to a real life event, so I don't know why the put it in the schedule here. Maybe it will be as fun as the old "send you flying to Jeuno" event, at least I am hoping. I may actually give this one a try.

Below are the event specifics and below the cut you can find the entire event storyline.

Event Schedule

Buffalo Blitz 2009 will come stampeding into the three nations on Friday, September 25 at 1:00 a.m. (PDT), and mosey off into the sunset on Monday, October 5 at the same hour.

How to Participate

During the event, herds of wild buffalo will be released into the areas listed below. Observe their patterns of behavior and skillfully lead them to the moogles stationed in the vicinity, and rich rewards await you! For detailed instructions, simply speak to the moogles at the following locations:

West Ronfaure (I-6) / East Ronfaure (G-6)
North Gustaberg (L-8) / South Gustaberg (L-8)
West Sarutabaruta (J-8) / East Sarutabaruta (G-11)

It's time once more for that most breathtaking and bewildering of Vana'diel's annual observances—the Buffalo Blitz! Why do otherwise sensible individuals risk life and limb by intentionally incurring the ire of these belligerent bovine beasts? The answer might not be what you expect...

This vast world of ours positively abounds with creatures so curious, relics so remarkable, and events so extraordinary as to exhort even the cleverest among us to point a finger in their direction and pose the all-important question, "Why?"
Take heart, for it is the duty of your humble scribe to let not a single such query go unanswered!
So begins the prologue to "The Whys and Wherefores of Vana'diel," a large, leather-bound volume presented to me by my dear grandmother, a wise woman who wanted nothing more than to see her grandchildren grow up with a healthy curiosity about the world around them.

The weighty tome became my constant companion during the long and chill San d'Orian winters, warming my heart and mind with its fantastic tales of monsters, myths, and legends. So many nights did I peruse those pages that I can recite the details of my favorite entries from memory even today. Of these, perhaps that which left the deepest mark on my impressionable young mind was the tale revealing the origin of that most peculiar of festivals...

The feral bovine, or buffalo, was known to our ancestors merely as the most ferocious and ill-tempered of beasts.
This comes as no surprise—it was rare for the average townsperson in those days to travel further than a neighboring village, let alone to the bleak northern habitats these creatures call home.
Their monstrous head crowned with two mighty horns like to swords, they boast a gargantuan frame rivaling in size even the largest specimens of giant ram found roaming Konschtat and La Theine. Each ponderous step taken is filled with such force as would cause earthquakes and avalanches. Even a playful charge from one of these brutes would carry the clout of a champion jouster blessed with the wind at his back.
With little else known—and none brave enough to investigate further—tales of their ferocity spread far and wide.
Then, one day, a company of San d'Orian knights on patrol in the Northlands espied an extraordinary sight. As a herd of the fearsome monsters lumbered menacingly across the snowswept plain, a contingent of armored Orcish warriors came suddenly upon them. They hunted the beasts with alarming tenacity, even as many among them fell, skewered and gored.
For what purpose would the Orcs engage in such a foolhardy and rewardless endeavor?
Nowadays, it is of course widely known that buffalo meat is in fact quite palatable and nutritious, and serves as a staple food of the Orcish diet. At the time, though, the knights could only surmise that this was a barbaric ritual carried out by bloodthirsty savages.
Even still, the commanding officer spoke of being strangely enthralled by the spectacle of it all. A veritable legion of Orcs brandishing axes and spears, bounding across the snowcapped crags of Uleguerand, roaring and screaming as if possessed, with no apparent regard for their own well-being. His account reads, "Having emerged victorious—albeit at no small cost—the Orcs raised their bloodied fists to the heavens and let out a triumphant roar that rose above even the bellowing winds. Mindless barbarians they may be, but at that moment, they seemed to us as heroes, and not a man that day stood unmoved by their single-minded display of bravery."

Reading those words and gazing at the vivid illustration of the scene—the Orcs pressing onward, undaunted, even as their comrades lay trampled and broken—I soon found myself moved much as the knights must have been.
The tale continued on. In the aftermath, while the Orcs were left bloody and battered, the awestruck San d'Orians, too, found themselves with their pride mightily bruised, as if they had just been bested by their detested foes in battle. "If the beastmen cower not before these ferocious beasts," they avowed, "then from this day forward, neither shall the Red Lion!"
And so it was that this band came to hold the inaugural buffalo hunt, an event that would evolve through the years into the unique celebration of courage and derring-do that it is today.

Morning in Vana'diel: The Chocobo Revolution Has Begun!

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! Apparently, it's all a ruse by the Chocobo Liberation Front.

Apparently, I raised someone's ire with my belief in the fundamental goodness and cuteness of all Chocobo. While I would like to believe that they are nothing more than our awesome companions that require no maintenance and are just there for our riding pleasure, there is an undercurrent of resentment and revolt building.

Our Eye in Einherjar provides this exclusive report:

Chocobos are not cute, they are the opposite of cute. They sit there looking so fucking innocent but you just watch...one of these days they will turn on us all! They can only take so much chauffeuring your lazy asses around, and then one day someone will be cruising along la-di-da and then bam! The chocobo will stop and you go flying into a huge fucking tree...the chocobo then bashes your face in with it's beak and eats your brains!

The chocobo revolution has begun. Next thing you know there are chocobos with swords and shit all up in Jeuno and Whitegate just killin bitches not looking back! Stomping little bitch ass tarus...hangin mithras up by their tails...ignoring the humes cause seriously who would role play a hume lul...chopping off those fucking pointy elvaan ears and running around pretending to be Spock...Gutting those fat ass galka bitches and wearing them as fur coats...when it's all said and done we'll be the ones waiting at the tele crystals and at the gates waiting to take the chocobos wherever they need to be.

Our reporter just left a cryptic signature "B to the G", likely because he is afraid that his expose will make him one of the first targets of the Chocobo Revolution™.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

POL News: Buy My Product!

Ok, see I would never get that silly silver name tag. Not only did I balk at the price, but it's not really for me. I can't speak for other people that like silly jewelery and such, but even though I thought it was quite pricey it does fit in the price range for jewelry like this. The detail is pretty damn high and the quality definitely is better than something you would get out of a gum ball machine. So I am going to pass on the silver dog tags. I probably won't be passing on the other stuff that SE is peddling to us this week though. Ok, seriously, you can't play FFXI and not love chocobos. Even the most hardcore and cynical player looks at a baby chocobo and just melts. Even though it may look like nothing more than a little plastic toy that chirps, it's still stupidly cute and more importantly it comes with an even more stupidly cute stuffed chocobo in-game. I believe there is an internet term for this item: DO WANT! Ok, so you have the bling and the cute, but you need something for the collector (also called the nerd) and today SE is working to oblige. The second most cute thing in all of FFXI after a baby Chocobo is any kind of Taru. Taru are inherently cute (and in observing baby Taru they get more cute the older they get) and they have some pretty impressive heroes which are now coming in action figure form. Taru may be cute but did you know they were pretty oppressive and obnoxious for a good portion of their history? Yeah, wicked little cute things! The figures are going to come as a set of 4 for a decent $25 price tag. Included will be Yoble-kanoble or whatever that dude is from the past that is all bandaged up and looks freaky but also pretty kick ass, the Star Sybil who is the least relevant Taru to anyone NOT from Windurst, Shantotto who is the most kick ass Taru in existence, and that other Taru that I am sure Omoi is going to yell at me for not knowning who they are but I am sure they suck and no one cares. :)

Anyway, these products for the most part are definitely in the "not suck" category and I am probably going to pick up at least one of them considering they are pretty cheap for what you are getting.

Morning in Vana'diel: The Enticement of the Treasure Chest.

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! They flourish in abundance as the mythical wardens of hard earned treasure and reward, the treasure chest is an Icon of Final Fantasy events.

Everyone is familiar with the treasure chest, its a concept that has existed from the very first Final Fantasy game. The sophistication behind it has evolved a great deal since then of course. No longer is it a specific item only in 1 place, but a reel of choices that can spawn, a lottery of goodies to either engender delight or despair.

When FFXI first came out chests were fairly limited in where you would find them, at the center of BC's awaiting your touch to give you the sphene you've been waiting for so much, or that ever elusive vial of mercury you just couldn't quite find to finish the stack.

Then Chains of Promathia came out and mimics suddenly became a menace to everyone, not just the fumble-fingered thief who failed to pick a lock or a random BC that no-one wants to do. I don't know about you but Mimics are EVIL, I can't stand that floor in Limbus Apollyon with oodles of them scattered around grinning at you in that toothy, trampled-by-cows-fence look.

With the introduction of Fields of Valor (FoV), the treasure chest evolved yet again with the tempting blue and brown bound chests that now drop from the gullets of creatures slain in battle, although how a chest that side came out from a Tunnel Worm, I am intrigued to know. Putting logic aside for a moment, I find these chests an intrigue.

When the blue ones appear, its always worth a quick rummage through them to see if there is anything decent to store up while you are running around in those lower levels exping on your own or in a smallish party. The BROWN ones however are the devilment themselves. They spawn and look so innocent and cryptic. You can chose to ignore them, or you can spend 3 mins trying to unlock it.

I have discovered that if I fail to unlock it, I am always out by 1 digit, as if it plans the key as I fail in a smug kind of condescension that says nearly but no cigar. If you DO manage to break into these secretive vaults, it doesn't matter what is contained there within, you TAKE it, as if to say HA! Mine now!" Of course, you then drop it on the floor because its a piece of dross 9times out of 10, but STILL, its the satisfaction that you managed to get in for a change rather than being 1 digit out.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Critical Break: 0-60 Series: Leathercraft

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 continues his 0-60 series with the fourth installment: Leathercraft.

Leathercraft is a craft that's got a ton of options to skill up with until about 40. It's also a craft you can make a little gil from as you skill since most of the stuff you'll be skilling up on has a purpose in a later synth or a purpose to a higher level crafter you can make some money off of.

This guide will mostly cover the synths that are relatively easy to farm up materials for. Unlike my last guide (Woodworking), the vast majority of these synths I'll be having you rely on farming up your materials.

Don't be too concerned though. Most of the synth materials have excellent drop rates. Become familiar with a favorite location to pick up distilled water and windurstian tea leaves as a lot of synths will require them.

Phase 1: Sheep, Rabbits and Lizards Oh My

Not exactly the fiercest critters in the world of FFXI. Fortunately, all three of these mobs have spots you can just maul them pretty much non-stop.

Sheep leather has so many purposes it's beyond ridiculous. This means that demand and pricing for it are relatively high compared to the amount of work put in to make a stack or two. Definitely cap on these and then some. With so many synths that use this, it's pretty obvious that there will be synths later on in this guide where you'll need it. Due to this (and the sheer amount of "(animal name) leather" synths you will be doing, strongly consider the Tanning key item when you're able to start turning in GP for it.

Recipe: Dark Crystal, 1x Sheepskin, 1x Distilled Water, 1x Windurstian Tea Leaves
Cap: Level 2

If you paid attention to my Clothcraft guide, you'll note that around level 30, these become rather handy to skill up with. You don't have to do this synth really, but having clothcraft to a point where you can make your own wool thread will be very handy in coming synths. Skill up on this either way and then either turn it into wool thread or sell it.

Recipe: Wind Crystal, 2x Sheepskin
Cap: Level 4

I put this entry here because I hate rabbits and the less time I'm dealing with them, the better. Since you can make your own sheep leather now, make a stack, then just cap on these and NPC them.

Recipe: Wind Crystal, 1x Sheep Leather
Cap: Level 5

Farm up a few Yagudo necklaces, make a couple stacks of grass thread, then get ready to go spend some serious time with the bunnies. I hate bunnies and needing 5 of their hides for one synth just makes things worse. Good news is that the hides are usually up on the AH in spades and are sold from the guild for relatively cheap if you don't want to fool around with farming. Sell off a few of the mantles on the AH (pretty much only mantle anyone can get prior to the mid-teen levels) to recover your losses and NPC the rest. Also, don't forget to save one to turn in for your first rank up.

Recipe: Earth Crystal, 1x Grass Thread, 5x Rabbit Hide
Cap: Level 7

I only listed these because they're in virtually every guide out there, with good reason. The synth is easy to farm up mats for and you've actually got a decent gap you can cover level-wise if you choose to cap on it. However, there's a better synth that's come along since a lot of those guides were written. Nab a couple levels off these if you want, NPC the results, then move to the next synth.

Recipe: Wind Crystal, 2x Sheep Leather
Cap: Level 11

Anything with lizard skins in the synth I'm generally going to be a fan of. Why? Because the lizards in Crawler's Nest drop skins like nobody's business. It really isn't uncommon to walk out of that place with 4-6 stacks of skins in about an hour of farming. Should be more than enough to cap on this synth. AH or NPC the results for a little gil and be on your way.

Recipe: Wind Crystal, 2x Lizard Skin
Cap: Level 12

I chose this synth mostly to close the gap between the previous synth and the next one. I also chose it because it doesn't require you to camp the AH for lizard molts and because you can buy leather gloves from an NPC for 200-300gil or so. These also sell decently well on starter city AH's, so you can recover a bit of your loss very easily and then some.

Recipe: Earth Crystal, 1x Leather Gloves, 1x Lizard Skin
Cap: Level 16

Phase 2: Elvaans and Galkas...er...Dhalmel and Bugards

If you noticed so far, there hasn't really been a large gap for you to just get out and run with your skillups. You pretty much change synths every 2-3 levels. The trend will continue here.

This has a lot of uses just like sheep leather. Not as many, but still enough to be in consistent demand and to actually sell for a bit more at times than sheep leather. You can farm up the hides rather easily in Buburimu Penisula or Tahrongi Canyon. I found Buburimu easier to farm though. Definitely cap on these and AH your results. Turn in a pair of Lizard Cesti once you hit 18.

Recipe: Dark Crystal, 1x Dhalmel Hide, 1x Distilled Water, 1x Windurstian Tea Leaves
Cap: Level 21

This is purely a bridge synth. Farm the hides up in Lufaise Meadows or Misareaux Coast. They don't really have much of a use for anyone unless they're making bugard straps (which are decent in their own right), but you can AH the results for a little money. If you make these to cap, you'll cut down the amount of time (or money) you'll be spending on the next synth.

Recipe: Dark Crystal, 1x Bugard Hide, 1x Distilled Water, 1x Windurstian Tea Leaves
Cap: Level 24

Remember that sheep wool you made earlier? If you turned it into wool thread, you're going to save yourself a lot of headache and money. Save one for your rank up item. You may have some luck selling a few of these in a starter city, but I woudln't hold my breath.

Recipe: Ice Crystal, 1x Dhalmel Hide, 1x Wool Thread
Cap: Level 27

Phase 3: The Oddities

This is about where it starts getting tough and where it starts spreading the level gaps out a bit.

Remember all that sheep leather you made earlier? Time to use it. If you can catch gold dust on the AH (or make your own since it's a level 47 goldsmithing synth), this sells pretty decently and for a profit. It's used the SCH job quest and the Retrace quest. Rolanberries can be bought from a couple Jeuno NPCs and the cooking guild for 120ish ea.

Recipe: Dark Crystal, 1x Gold Dust, 1x Sheep Leather, 1x Rolanberry
Cap: Level 31

If you don't want to mess with the gold dust (or can't), this is pretty much the exact same synth. Along with a few quests, it's also used in various recipes whereas Vellum is not. I'd recommend going with this over Vellum unless you want to try to make a little more money off your products.

Recipe: Dark Crystal, 1x Sheep Leather, 1x Rolanberry
Cap: Level 31

This is here for a pure money-making synth. If you get your wolf hides from the guild or the AH for < 700 ea., you can NPC the mantle for around ~1.1-1.2k. The hides sell for as low as 480ish gil from Guild. If you farm up the hides (which aren't entirely difficult to do, but definitely not as easy as sheep or dhalmel), that's even more money for you. This is also another synth where I'm gonna tell you "I told you so" in regards to the wool thread. Definitely make these to cap.

Recipe: Ice Crystal, 1x Wolf Hide, 1x Wool thread
Cap: Level 33

This is a bit of an oddball synth. This will be the only time I instruct you to use the willow log recipe. I normally hate using the log recipe due to the fact that the logs aren't stackable like the tea leaves, but since you'll be using the leather in a later synth, take advantage of it and keep going.

Farming the ram skins up is relatively easy since the rams in the highlands and plateau area drop between 0-6 at a time (go go TH), but for some odd reason, SE figured it'd be good to cap one ram leather recipe at 35 and another at 36.

Recipe 1: Dark Crystal, 1x Ram Skin, 1x Distilled Water, 1x Windurstian Tea Leaves
Cap: Level 35

Recipe 2: Dark Crystal, 1x Ram Skin, 1x Distilled Water, 1x Willow Log
Cap: Level 36

Catch the wolf hides cheap on the AH or through the guild, make some cotton thread, cap on these and NPC the results. If you catch the price of the hides at 500gil or less and you made your own cotton thread, you'll break even. Turn in a magic belt when you hit 38.

Recipe: Earth Crystal, 1x Cotton Thread, 1x Wolf Hide
Cap: Level 39

Hopefully you made enough ram leather to get you through this part. Easy enough synth, has little to no value anywhere else other than to NPC. They do NPC for anywhere from 1.7-2.5k though, so you will make some decent money off it. Just be careful how much you pay for ram skins if you elect not to go out farming the rest of what you need to cap here. Definitely do cap here, you'll need every cheap level you can get.

Recipe: Wind Crystal, 2x Ram Leather, 1x Grass Thread
Cap: Level 43

This is the last synth you'll have that's "easy". The mantles NPC for around 1k. If you farmed up your skins and your thread, you're in good shape, but you're going to need A LOT of them. A six level gap is painful to say the least with this synth, but at least you're not going to be losing tons of gil. Again, cap your skill on these. Turn in a Cuir Bouilli for your final test item in this guide when you hit 48.

Recipe: Ice Crystal, 1x Ram Skin, 1x Wool Thread
Cap: Level 49

Phase 4: The Slow March Home

You've got a choice here. You can go straight to tiger leather or you can bridge the gap a bit. Tiger leather actually caps at 61. The hides are usually cheap and the tigers are easy enough to farm, but for this guide's purposes, an 11 level gap means slow skillups and lots of breaks. Ultimately, you will make money off the tiger leather, but it will be a slow and painful process.

Most guides I've seen list a raptor mantle here instead of the strap. This is due to the fact that the strap wasn't around when those guides were written. If you're going to use 2 raptor skins in the mantle synth anyway, you may as well eliminate the whole grass thread portion of it and just deal with the skins. Cap on these if you choose. It's not easy to farm the skins and the skins aren't super cheap off the AH in comparison to how much the results sell for on the AH or to NPC.

Recipe: Wind Crystal, 2x Raptor Skin
Cap: Level 53

Get ready to hate tigers. Most places that have them usually don't have them together in bunches like lizards or sheep. Glacier or Jugner tend to offer up the easiest farming opportunities and you can even mix it up by killing off Smilodon from the WotG areas. Regardless of where you choose to farm, try to avoid buying hides off the AH or from the guild until you're around 55-56. It's at this point where you won't have as many breaks and losses. Fortunately, tiger leather has a ton of purposes and sells for a pretty good chunk of gil. This will ultimately be your main money maker as you skill this craft up, but it will also be the longest 7-11 levels you've encountered so far in any craft.

Recipe: Dark Crystal, 1x Tiger/Smilodon Hide, 1x Distilled Water, 1x Windurstian Tea Leaves
Cap: Level 61, but level 60 for this guide's purposes.

Congrats! Your leathercraft is now 60 and a completely useful sub. It's one of the more common subcrafts that are used among all the crafts. I found this to be rather easy to skill up except for the final stretch. The variety of synths available early on make this appealing to a lot of beginning crafters as there really aren't any synths that are ridiculously hard to farm the materials up for. The variety also helps out in the entertainment arena as it gets completely boring to just sit on one synth for levels on end.

The good thing about leathercraft though is that once you get the tanning key item, running out to farm up enough skins for a few stacks of leather becomes a decent money maker. It's definitely one of the few crafts that don't entirely rely on your ability to HQ it's "consumables" for money.

Next week: I haven't decided. Only Smithing, Goldsmithing, Cooking and Alchemy left at this point in the series. :)