Monday, August 30, 2010

SE Gives More But Do We Really Need It?

Yes, of course they are beautiful new weapon skills. Yes, everyone loves new and shiny stuff. But the question I have to ask is this: Do we really need more WS?

We got new WS in the last update, and for the most part they kind of sucked. Some were interesting but most were complete busts. I am left wondering after years and years of wishing that SE would give us more meaningful updates and just more stuff if we have gotten to the point where we don't need a whole lot more stuff. What we need is refinement, and we got a lot of that in the Job Adjustments update notes, but outside of the absolute beauty of these new weaponskills, is there anything substantial to them? The question boils down to this: Is it going to beat the WS I use right now?

What SE needs to show is a little less flash and a little more finesse. What is compelling about these new WS? After looking at a couple WS worth of butterflies, I haven't used Tachi: Ageha outside of testing and goofing-off. The problem is that the level of commitment in testing and figuring things out just isn't as high as it used to be. If there are any little tricks to these new WS then most people aren't that willing to put a ton of work into finding them out. I would like for SE to look over old WS's to make sure they were all usable, even if just situationally.

So, I guess what I am saying is that we have matured past candy and sweets and what we really want is meat and potatoes level improvements. The move to increase the level cap was a meat and potatoes improvement. New Job Abilities (as long as they are useful) are meat and potatoes improvements. New WS are just sugar and spice and everything nice, but they won't sustain you. At this point, a lot of new WS are all flash and no substance. Keep giving us meat and potatoes improvements. Give better ways to move around, give us more storage, give us more JA's (that don't share timers), don't give us more pretty stuff we are never going to use.

I am getting too used to SE giving us good content. I feel like I am looking a gift horse in the mouth.

Friday, August 27, 2010

SE Drops More Bombs: Job Abilities.

The update notes on Wednesday were vanilla. I don't know if they rushed something out to make sure we had a decent teaser, or if they enjoy teasing us, but Wednesday left me a little flat.

Friday, gave me a raging hard-on.

Let's get down to business.

Job Abilities:
The quality of new Job Abilities now runs the gamut from interesting to jaw-dropping.

1. Divine Caress - Interesting, but probably of limited usefulness. This is probably only really helpful if it completely prevents the enfeeble from landing. If you use Divine Caress before removing paralyze or slow and it prevents them from landing again, then it is great. If it just increases resistance like a normal job trait then it isn't really useful at all because you will still need to remove the enfeeble. You are not often in a position where you would not remove a enfeeble because you know that it will wear earlier than a full strength one.

2. Saboteur - Jaw-dropping, but dependent on potency. If this ability helps RDM to increase their potency enough then they can use more skill and accuracy to make sure they land. If this ability increases the duration enough then it can be used with Elemental Seal. If this ability increases the potency over current effect caps then it will just be incredibly strong. That is a lot of if's.

3. Spur - Interesting. My guess is that this will be nice, but it will really depend on the strength of the pet's attack and how much the extra TP can benefit it.

4. Tenuto - Standard of Living. Bards will finally be able to give themselves the songs that they want instead of constantly overwriting their own songs. The delay and duration look like they match Pianissimo.

5. Soul Jump - Interesting. Shares a timer with High Jump. Has the same effect as High Jump. Looks like this is just the same thing as Spirit Jump and Jump. This one is kind of vanilla unless the effect provided by the Wyvern is huge.

6. Blood Pact: Ward "Earthen Armor" - Interesting to Jaw-dropping. This really depends on if it is a mini-Perfect Defense, or if it is just a bit of damage reduction. The wording gives me hope that it is used against something like Meteor or 10,000,000 Needles or whatever.

7. Blood Pact: Ward "Tidal Roar" - Interesting. Attack down is something that is handed out left and right by SE. This may have it's uses especially with how well effects seem to scale for Summoners now. Right now, it just sounds like any other attack down effect.

8. Efflux - Who cares. It's a Blue Mage JA. No one cares. At least no one should care. I suppose it is one more thing to stack on before Cannonball. :)

9. Courser's Roll - Jaw-dropping. Increase "Snapshot", which for the uninformed is Ranged Attack haste. Sounds awesome, but also probably the death knell for many a Ranger out there. More speed, more damage, more hate, more death. Thank god for Animus Minuo.

10. Blitzer's Roll - Jaw-dropping... or not. Decreases swing delay. This could be amazing if it doesn't cause a decrease in TP per swing. Hopefully it is like Hasso and Haste Samba and not like Sword Strap.

11. Feather Step - Interesting. This has to be pretty strong to be of interest, especially considering not a lot of people put DNC on high level mobs. DNC already has a lot to do, so I don't know if this is going to be of much interest at all.

That is it for today, more on the spells and traits soon.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

On It's Feet!

This is an illustration of when ingrained learning kicks in. :)

I love Abyssea. It is really fun. There seem to be so many aspects to it. So many things we can't even really explain yet. Like, why did Turul and Ovni start aggroing all of a sudden? Are the "!!" really random? How do all the Abyssite drop? At some point though, all of this information just gets to be overwhelming. Why are there so many questions that remain unanswered? What are we supposed to do to try to figure all of this out? Why can't SE just give us some straight forward content.

I am not saying that there is something wrong with Abyssea itself. As I have already said it is challenge and rewarding content. I am just concerned that instead of content we are getting randomness. One of the reasons that I liked Salvage so much was that it was a riddle but it was one that we could figure out. Sure there was the normal drop rate issue, but it felt like if you did it long enough it would all average out in the end.

I look at Abyssea and I see a huge jumble of events. A little Limbus, a splash of Salvage, the old Sky/Sea combo, finished with a dash of Kings. It's very interesting and fun, but it seems all a bit scatter brained (not like I am one to criticize, my posts can end up rambling on forever). The tiers don't seem symmetrical. It seems more like a hodge-podge of previous end-game content mixed with something all new.

It's not bad at all, it can just get confusing sometimes. Sometimes it's nice to have content with some obvious solution to it. There is some comfort to be found standing on a dragon's feet. It's a whole new world, but that doesn't mean that SE has to steal my security blankie. :)

Monday, August 16, 2010

Words That Have No Meaning.

Soloing, Low-manning, efficiency. It seems to me that these words have lost all meaning. Soloing doesn't mean soloing anymore. Today it means finding a slow, glitchy or bindable mob, and then casting Poison and Bio II for hours at a time. That's not soloing. That doesn't take skill. It just takes an anti-social personality type and a lot of patience. I respect people that solo things as a test of skill. Soloing Limbus back in the day. Soloing anything where if a spell fails to land you are pretty much dead. That takes skill in my eyes. Boring a mob to death is not skill. Stop acting like it is skill.

If you take longer to kill a mob than it's respawn time, then you suck. There is nothing more to it. You don't suck at playing the game. You suck at soloing. Soloing used to be about efficiency. After the test of skill, the reason people soloed Limbus was to collect coins faster than with a group. That doesn't apply to Chukwa. If you are soloing Chukwa, then you are just wasting time. You don't have proper TH. You don't have friends.

Yes, yes, there are always exceptions. You work nights and don't have any JP friends. You just changed servers (though it does beg the question). You really are testing your skills. These are all fine exceptions. And everyone uses them as an excuse, but I think for the most part these are just covers for two things: Greed and Anti-social behavior.

Here is my real issue with soloing a lot of things now: You aren't just fucking other people (you obviously don't care about them already if you are taking 50 minutes to kill Chukwa), you are fucking yourself over. If you just ask a couple of your friends (if you have any), you can kill most mobs ten times faster, with a much higher drop rate, if you just agree to do the same thing for your friends.

Maybe I am just lucky and have amazing friends. Friends that don't just want to do stuff with our LS, but also want to do things just as a group. Friends that are just as happy when I get gear as they are when they get gear. I do have amazing friends, but I don't think it is a special circumstance. I think many people can have friends if they want them. But greed leads to anti-social behavior, and that is what soloing means to me now (with the previously mentioned exceptions). Soloing is about greed plain and simple.

Anything that can be soloed can be done far more efficiently with a small group. And anything that can be done with a small group can be done more efficiently with a larger group. Yes, there is absolutely a point where having more people becomes less efficient when it comes to gear, but I don't think most people that "solo" are even close to that balance.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Do NM's Cry When You Kill Them?

I have never really wondered what NM's think when I kill them. They usually have stuff I or my friends want, and we aren't going to let them get in between us and our most desired bling. I still don't really care, but after killing a few Minhocao and Chukwa's to get some gear I started to almost few bad for them. I mean how would you feel if you were tortured by some gimp RDM "soloing" you for hours on end? I would just be wishing for a quick end by an alliance that could actually kill me in a reasonable amount of time. I pictured their feelings would be hurt at the very least. I think there needs to be a new rule, if "soloing" a mob takes longer than the respawn of that mob, then you need to get a new hobby.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

A Few Things That I (Still) Don't Understand.

I might have mentioned that I don't understand some people. Ok, so I talk about it all the time. Some people get so obsessed with some gear that they don't know when to give up on it's pursuit. Some people get so used to doing events that they don't realize when it's time to move on. Some people don't realize that just because they have the gear from an event already doesn't mean that everyone does, and that sometimes you need to do things you don't want to do anymore to get people to help you. These things can even contradict. One person's treasure is another person's trash. But none of this is what I really want to talk about today. Today I want to talk about Magian weapons.

A common topic? Yes, definitely. I have talked a lot about Magian weapons, but I don't think that some people even get the point right now. I think the problem may stem from the lack of difference there really was from level 75 to 80. The problem is that you can't just look at a Magian weapon and say "Well damn, I have to have that or I am gimp" because the increase in damage is just the next step up, it's not a paradign shift in game mechanics. I think most people (myself included) thought that the jump in level from 75 to 80 was going to be accompanied by the same jump up in stats that happens from 1 to 75. That wasn't to be the case. The only really consistent increase came in the form of skill increases (which arguably is even more important than raw stats but that is a discussion for another day). Instead of the exponential increase in damage most people expected to see from a higher damage weapon and 5 additional levels, it instead turned out to be more of a linear increase in damage. Nothing ground breaking, and a lot of time that is the only thing that will get people out of their rut.

I think there are more than a few reasons to move on Magian weapons now, instead of later.

1. With the rare expection, they really are the best weapons in the game. Outside of a very few number of weapons, there is nothing that can beat a Magian weapon. All jobs now have access to weapons that have higher damage or more attacks per round than anything else available. Relics and Mythics generally excepted, I believe that Ridill is the only weapon that still can make a claim to being overpowered. And that is arguable...

2. Outside of Mythics and Relics, Magians will definitively be the best weapons in the game after the next update. While one could argue that we still don't know what is coming for upgrading weapons in the future, we can look at the end-point Empyrean weapons and say that they are obviously not complete. Also, it is undeniable that the base damage has to increase as the level cap increases. All of the old weapons just can't keep up with the march of progress.

3. You are going to have to do more work to upgrade your weapons in the future. If you fall behind now, you just have more work to do in the future. It's not like the trials are going to get easier. SE is just going to add more and more trials onto the end of the ones that already exist. And they are going to make Magian weapons even stronger. When the next update comes, are you going to want to be killing Treants in Grauberg? Or are you going to want to finish off your Indra Staff to get the next step in Lightning Damage Potency?

4. If you aren't working on upgrading your Magian weapons then you really are gimp. This is one of my unapologetically elitist moments, but in the end it's not elitist at all. Up to the penultimate Empyrean stage and up to the final stage of the rest of the weapons they trials just aren't that hard. Sure getting some of the 20 drops for the high damage OAT weapons can be a bit of trouble, but there is nothing that is stopping you from doing it besides yourself. The problem might be that for almost the entirety of FFXI people had to work with other people to get the best gear, but instead of working as a motivating factor this actually just encourages people to be free-riders. But now, when faced with a set of quests that require individual action for the most part, the free-riders are left out in the cold. And they should be.

I might be an elitist dick, but this isn't about criticizing gear because it's hard to get or because it takes a lot of time to get. In this case, I am not the elitist dick, other people are just lazy dicks. And I would much rather be just about any kind of dick than a lazy dick. :)