Saturday, 31 January 2009

In Demand

There are days when you do nothing at all. Time trickles by a drop at a time and you find you've spent the entire day on your own, with barely a peep out of the ls. Invariably on those days you are sat wondering what to do barely able to motivate yourself at all to do anything even though you know there are about 10 different things you COULD be doing none stimulate you enough to actually make the effort and go out and do it.

Then there are those days where you just can't get a second at all to yourself. LoL not that this is a bad thing, but quite unexpected and a bit of a pain in the neck if you have set up to do something fairly complicated and inventory dependant, such as crafting.

Last Wednesday was one such day. Having nothing to do I had decided to embark on a bit of crafting, in my spare time between events I had accumulated 5 stacks of bone chips to turn into scorpion arrowheads, all I needed was the time, motivation and a lot of on-site crafting as scorpion claws do not stack.

I cleaned out all my inventory and wandered off to the Crawler's Nest as DRG/WHM. Iz and his friend even came out to help, I was there for all of 30mins before I got a /t from Samuraisoldier asking if I would be interested in doing a Nyzul Isle run floor 95-100. Pondering I was, SURE why not! Lets go. At that point he didn't have the 6 people required for the run, so I thought cool, I can stick around and do more crafting. Nooooo.

3mins after the /t from Sam, I get a /t from Coejus saying would I be interested in a quick BC fight. Considering I thought it would take a little while for Sam to get the 6 people together for Nyzul I agreed, only to slope back to town and empty my inventory from crafting. So much for THAT idea! LOL

One quick Superman style change and voila! I am WHM.

1 hour later, voila BRD for Nyzul.

3 full job changes in less than 2 hours. It's exhausting! The more jobs you have at lvl 75 the worse your congestion in your storage spaces becomes. I am maxed out in my moghouse, my mogstorage, my moglocker and my gobbie bag. I don't even comprehend those who haven't upgraded their gobbie bag to 70. It would drive me insane. I am struggling as it is currently and I only have about 9 slots free!

Quotes out of Context - 6 & 7
These two compliment each other so well I just couldn't bring myself to separate them, I am so bad. Teeheehee. Of course, in keeping with the theme of being out of context they are not related AT all.

But I digress! LoL
Back to the matter at hand. Zipping off the the bc which I found to be The Buried God out in Beadeaux_S, I thought it would be a breeze. Error, Error! Never ever assume anything will be quick in Final Fantasy unless it's your death, in which case it will come far swifter than you desire.

I felt terribly embarassed that I held up the Nyzul group for an entire hour doing this bc with Coejus! Of course, I have to turn down Coejus for a lot of things when he asks, either the timing is just not right or I am knee deep at events. This is one of the few times I could say yes and so I did.

This is Coejus! His hobbies are hat collecting and sitting in people's laps. He is a really really cool guy, although beware his mewp mewps !! They are addictive and will ensnare you in their cuteness before you are aware of it. His tarutaru-ness will inviegle it's way into your concious mind and you will be forever addicted.

As a side note, I have to say going in the past is one of the few times I enjoy taking Chocobos. They are not expensive and very easy to obtain with Allied notes which are equally easy to earn. Plus! They look SUPER cool!

This Past SCNM fight is not one I have done before, I was quite pleased to be experiencing it first hand I thought it would be great to get some relevant action experience for when I took Versus to do the fight.

It is a very small BC zone, with a super shiny Quadav, and his 4 minions 2 BLM and 2 WHM. The set up was predominatenly mages, with SMN, RNG and BLM being the main damage dealers, a BARD, SCH and WHM as the main healers, 2 PLD and I think maybe 2 DD? I can't remember, I remember Coejus being there SAM lol as he had to peel an imp off me as we were huddling against the corroded gate.

It is extremely easy to kite the main NM in this fight around a small patch of wall at the top and on the left of the bc area, while everyone else takes out the Quadavs in Supertank mode. Meaning you have your PLD aggro everything and kill things one at a time while they all beat on him, it really was not hard to keep Aable alive and once they were dead even the main NM wasn't hard as a straight tank fight.

Hate was re-established pretty quickly after each reset and it was just whittled down until death. As it appears with all these fights, once the "aura" of each NM vanishes, they actually become very easy. The auras are often incredibly debilitating, gravity from the Yagudo, slow from the Quadav and flash from the Orc, along with a huge boost to its defense.

Most of the fights seem to be endurance and survivability until you can get rid of the aura then bring out the big guns and mow down the mob before it reapplies its aura.

This was a very successful run with the silly hat and the GA dropping. Some very satisfied customers left LOL and I got a new snazzy title to boot. I can't wait to do this with Versus, I think we should be able to handle it quite easily.

Friday, 23 January 2009

Controversial Conflictions

Quotes out of Context - 4

My journey to work in the mornings is fairly simple. Considering my habits in game, my work life is really compatabile with my virtual existance on EST instead of GMT. I set off around 11:30am, and work till 9pm, get home and log on, it works out brilliantly.

Today was one of those days that just makes me roll my eyes. This is pretty indicitive of every single weekend I work at the moment (and I work all of them), it drives me insane, so finding it happening on weekdays is less than thrilling.

I have to take 2 trains to get to work most of the time. An overland train from The Back of Beyond to The Outskirts of Civilization, and then I switch to the Underground to get into central London and into work. All in all takes about 45mins if the trains are being kind. Today I reached the change in my journey only to find that "The Jubilee line has been suspended between Waterloo and Finchley Road" apparently due to a power failure at Green Park. Much grumbling ensued, LoL fortunately it is very easy to correct my journey at that point, and I just hopped on the District line for two changes to the same destination.

While waiting for the train, an announcement boomed over the tannoy explaining that the line had been suspended due to... a signal failure. Ok. Story has changed again.

Board the train, and get yet a different reason "A serious passenger incident". So three different reasons as to why the line is closed and there are delays, possibly correlated, possibly not. Who knows which is the truth and what the bigger picture is here, all we are getting is a series of confusing and potentially conflicting dribbles of information that affect your journey.

I am sure after regailing you with the facinating tribulations of trying to get into work, you are starting to wonder, umm.. whats the point? HA there is a point, it's sharp and stabbity and finely honed.

Well, maybe not! But I can relate it to the furore that has been going on in game over the weekend. I am speaking of course about the rather direct action taken by SE over the now infamous "duping" ploy in certain end game bc's.

For the uninitiated, although honestly I don't know why now considering how much gossip there has been on the topic, the duping ploy was a method of duplicated ANY drop, be it a humble water crystal or a piece of 35 gear from Salvage. The three zones affected were Salvage, Nyzul and the Sandworm bc's. Through a rather complicated system of disbanding and reforming the parties you could trick the game mechanics into replicating gear, cells and treasure drops which has been monopolised by the end game community under a veil of secrecy so that SE wouldn't find out and fix it.

Well, I say a veil of secrecy, it had purportedly been reported to SE, but I am sure it was one of those "yeah, there's this.. thing.. that's wrong with the thing" kind of reports, where you aren't entirely sure. If you have ever worked in IT you know exactly what I am talking about. Those calls that you dread where someone calls and is as generic as possible for a problem that could be 1,001 things, and you end those conversations with an irrational desire to poke the eyes out of kittens.

So, operating under some supercilious moral imperative that "if you know then you should do, and if you don't then you obviously aren't deserving" whether through a desire to just fast-track getting gear or in an effort to gain a large amount of money, many end-game players used this kink in the programming to their own benefit.

Now a lot of the furore over this has been particularly virilent. We have the Holier-than-thou crowd that you would usually associate with religious santimony, who are quite happy to crow and laugh as the mighty are felled by SE for cheating. Then on the other side you have those who got caught and burned decrying SE for being poor programmers, opening loopholes that obviously should be exploited if they are there and it wasn't my fault, it was their's for not forseeing this kind of attitude. Personally I think both are as bad as each other, there are no black and whites in situations like this.

SE seem to have been fairly indescriminate in their bans, selecting those who they can dicernably recognize as exploiting the loophole and then assigning a punishment dictated by what ever arbitary conditions they have set amongst themselves.

Yes as a community this is shocking, but one can't help but feel that is the point. If you are going for a particular aim, you start with an object lesson and let the fear from that become a forerunner for you, enabling you to exploit that. In the case of SE, this is a very direct object lesson on cheating. These are not RMT, they are the people you know day in day out, they come to your events, you talk to them, you heckle them at the AH. They are your friends and fellow adventerers and now they are gone.

Now, my feelings tend to be, if you cheated you shouldn't be surprised if this happens, but it is such a grey area, complicated by the fact that 2 people who I think the world of got caught up in it for experimenting with the glitch on a water crystal. They didn't get permanent bans, but they did get a 3 day suspension for it which was upsetting.

I can rationalise why it happened, but I don't have to like it, I also don't think that SE are unjustified in their actions on this matter, this was a fairly clear cut case of the players exploiting a glitch that is inevitable in a programming project on the scale of an MMO, in a way that was unfair and exploitary rather than coming clean about it.

It is all about how much information you know about something, it alters your perspective every time. It changes how you think, feel and react to a situation. London Underground have a passenger charter that states if your journey is delayed for 60mins or more, you are entitled to a refund for your trip. A passenger incident is outside their domain of control and therefore null and voids that agreement, but a signal failure is entirely their own fault.

Shifting the blame after getting caught is a childish response, over reactions are inevitable but just as despicable in either extremes, gloating over someone losing their access to FFXI is not funny even if what they did was wrong, and for those who wish to say "It's SE's fault for not making it me proof", grow up.

On to brighter things!

Ring and Iz have been leveling their Black Mages together, kind of. LoL, it seems a more comical affair rather than any really productive leveling effort, whereby they have come together maybe twice that I can think of to gain meaningful exp, rather than just death or disaster in one form or another. It is quite entertaining.

I was invited along, but honestly, I don't really want to level BLM right now, I am quite happy to leave it at lvl 40 for the time being. I could have gone along as RDM, and up till level 40 I did tag along on one of their runs, but again by the time I hit 40 any urge to level RDM had somewhat dwindled and I was back to wondering whether I should save up for the next stage in Gungnir, my Marduk imperial wootz ingots finally, or could I possibly entertain the notion of leveling another job.

Running around farming on my various jobs, which I do quite a lot, I was struck by the ridiculousness of not having THF to do this on. To all accounts and purposes it would be certainly more productive of my time BUT and this was a fairly big stumble in my thinking, I didn't enjoy leveling thief. I got it to lvl 15 under duress simply because I had decided I needed some form of TH in my farming, but I left it there 50exp from lvl 16 quite happy to abandon t he job.

So it is with some puzzlement that I have taken it up again. LoL and am kind of surprised to find that I am enjoying it as well. I don't know why, logically nothing has changed, just my attitude and I again, don't know why. It isn't like I have had an ephiphany of understanding or any dawning of great wisdom. Most peculiar.

I am lvl 26 now, lol I have been running around with ThazCat in various zones and a variety of jobs for Kitty level syncing down to my level. We tried out Fields of Valour, a first for Thazienne and a fantastic way to level up if you can spend the time and effort getting a page.

LoL we have had somewhat mixed results, the chests proving a deadly temptation as I failed to notice Thaz dying as I lay entranced by the appearance of a brown casket OOPS. Heheh. Although generally it has been quite successful and a LOT of fun in the process it is slower than some of the jobs I have leveled, and I do spend a great deal of my time soloing on the job more than being in a party.

Saturday, 17 January 2009


A lot of the arguements and conversations that go on over at the BG forums seem to revolve around a cyclic repetition of "you are wrong, I am right" that sucks the intelligence out of you just for reading it, never mind engaging it.

Some people just will not be told, regardless of how right or wrong they are there is nothing else but their opinion and there is no room at all in their way of thinking for anything else at all.

I find these kinds of people extremely frustrating to deal with. Although I also know better than to try and argue with them as well, you might as well be dripping water from a pipette to put out a furnace than explain rational and reasoned thinking to these types of people. The former would be far more productive.

Now, I can understand the notion of doing something one way because you know it works. Experimentation is a difficult thing to know when to do and when to play it safe, as an Ls Leader my own whims suddenly become subject to the fact that I am also responsible for everyone else as well. Questions need to be addressed before you just plunge in. Can we do it, do we have the man-power, or the technical skills to pull this off, can we afford the exp loss, is it worth our time.

I tend to err on the side of caution a lot of the times because I am not just toying with my own exp and time, but everyone elses as well, which means that when it comes to the linkshell, I will be more conservative MOST of the time. I have been know to throw caution to the wind and just trust in blind faith that the ls can carry it through. Winging it like that is so exciting, the ls pulls together because you have the trust that they will unite behind you and achieve the goals you have set out.

Now we have been doing End Game for a long time, the same fights over and over in the same way pretty much with some tweaks here and there. When we first started I was 1 WHM and we had PLD/WAR on Byakko. Now its PLD/NIN and NIN/DRK and far more cure back up, lol I wouldn't ever want to put that much stress on 1 mage for a fight like that, I know it was mind numbing when I did it, but it DOES hone your skills.

MP Conservation, timing and judgement brought together to win. It is when you start becoming blase and casual about things that you lose, when you really really REALLY shouldn't be doing. There is little excuse for people these days to fail fights against certain end game mobs, it isn't hard to research out the basics of the fight, and while nothing can beat raw experience you should be able to adapt fast enough to a changing battlefield to cope with the quirks of a fight that you never read about.

You do need a strong leader for that, it is too easy to lose a fight with 20 voices all chiming in contradictory information turning your ls into a Push-me-pull-you that unravels at the seams and you are suddenly all dead and your WHM is having to home-point to come raise everyone.

There is more to running a linkshell than just throwing your members at a mob, it is a multi-faceted role that requires you to be patient, durable and innovative. It also requires you to be a rock regardless of the turn of events. You are in a position where people will hate you and idolise you. Neither of which are an easy mantle to wear both as damaging and open to chiping away at your humanity to make you vulnerable and bring you low.

Wednesday, 7 January 2009


So, today is only going to be all about the Moblin Maze Mongers which I had a chance to (very briefly) try out at Fan Fest '08, and slightly more time to try out in game now they have finally gotten over most of the speed bumps that let players use it with any degree of regularity.

BUT, before I digress! Since I have two for you today, I am going to start with this beauty!

Quotes out of Context - 02

OK, now that is out of the way *grin* (Q manages to provide both of the quotes for today LoL)

On to the MMMmmmmmm's. So! Moblin Maze Mongers. New ingame event introduced by SE to tantalise our tastebuds. The trial of it at the Fan Fest was lukewarm at best. About 5mins of effort for a bit of a confusion with a weird selection of jobs to achive the target, which was to kill 1 nm.

The live demonstration was hilarious for all the wrong reasons. First off it broke when they were trying to zone in, so it took about 15mins of surreptitious fiddling to finally get into the maze, with a fantastic "The hand of darkness is preventing you from entering" which sadly they have lost for the general release.

Then the PLD they had walking around doing the demonstration took on a triffid and got flattened, so they got to talk about the remainder of the demonstration with a dead hume in the foreground. LOL a resounding success.

So after that rather limp introduction, my enthusiasm for it was also equally limp. But, as is inevitable with these new additions to the game, someone in the Hive wants to try it out, and I get roped in along the way LOL! Not entirely unreluctantly I have to add ^.^

If you have never started it before you have to go have a natter with 2 goblins in Muckvitz's Junk Shop in Lower Jeuno. Goldagrik and his/her/it's companion Chatnachoq. Goldagrik will provide you with your first maze pouch, and a few basic runes to kick things off with and have a little bit of a play with which SE have had the blessed intelligence to make a key item and NOT something hogging even more space in your inventory.

Having used your precious items and stashed them in your key item pouch, you are just left with the Maze Tabular, which is your building board for creating your maze. As it currently stands there are only 3 voucher types. These dictate the specific goals of your maze, 01 being OBLITERATE ALL to win, 04 is a synthesis run and 07 is an NM run. The numbering suggests there is plenty of room for SE to add a variety of different objectives and goals to the mazes if they want to. After selecting the goal of your maze, you move onto what is IN your maze and this is where the runes come into play. There are 100's of these as far as I can tell, as drops from the chest at the end, or purchasable from Chatnachoq for marbles gained from completing your objectives, like a finite game of tetris you can squash as many or as few of these runes into your tabular as you can squeeeze onto the board to make your maze like a walk in West Ronfaure or an attempt to solo Einherjar Tier III as a lvl 10 THF.

After you have spent 10mins going... "But how do I rotate the pieces?" you can take your completed tabular to the pothole that serves as the Moblin Maze shopfront bizzarely set in the floor of the chocobo stables in Lower Jeuno. First thing that struck me when they announced this was, "wait.. this is .. a tunnel, underground... and under Lower Jeuno is definately Port Jeuno.. so where is this tunnel leading to?" Followed rapidly by the realisation that while other servers may not be particularly busy, Odin has a thriving populous and so the lag in doing anything around this one single target is going to be horrendous.

I am not wrong. You have to spam trade your item to the pothole constantly to get anywhere, and you get tantalised with it negotiating only to find out someone was half a second faster and beat you to it. Since it is a very slow loading time it is kind of frustrating and you do tend to stand around for 10mins twiddling your thumbs while the party leader attempts to get you in.

Once in, your timer starts immediately, you have the chance to fiddle around in a rather pleasant open grotto airly lit and actually rather idyllic in tone. In one corner lurks the moblins who will take you into the maze or sell you temporary items.

It is worth remembering that you only have 30mins to complete the objectives in here just like with Nyzul, and equally just like with Nyzul it is prudent to get your items and get started without gawping too much at the pretty scenery or you are likely to run out of time and fail your objective, particularly with some of the harder settings for the maze.

Even with 6 people it can be quite a challenge on the harder settings. We did a few on the basic settings killing T mobs for about 30exp. They seem squishier than regular mobs to be honest, except the elementals who seem infinately more resiliant. I have not seen how they fare versus magic damage though so I don't have a definitive opinion on this. But just from watching them take down Manticore and greater birds, it is easy to see that these usually high HP mob types were taken down a lot easier than you would have expected for something of the equivalent difficulty outside of the maze. I did win a rune that made everything in the zone IT to the party, and we tried that out. The mobs were considerably harder and we did end up running out of time.

So after getting buffed up and ready to go in, you visit this chap who sends you deeper into the maze and you can begin to wander around. It's the same well lit, airy open cave type inside the maze, and lets be clear here. Maze is a VERY loose term for this. LoL it's not a maze in the traditional "hedge maze" sense with winding paths and booby traps and dead ends, false corners and changing walls.

LoL, I only remembered to take a SS of the first map, but this is what the zone looks like in the first arc.

It is just an inside zone with a series of challenges to overcome peppered with mobs along the way. There is a LOT of space inside between the mobs, I have to say I thought when I watched the demo at fan fest the zone looked different to what I remember seeing in the maze. So possibly there will be different zones coming up? But for now it seems to be the same map and area. There is a passage to a second map on the far East side in the little wriggle that looks like a colon, but that is just a large circular room filled with even more mobs.

If you do get elementals, it will be the elemental corresponding to the day you went into the maze, but it is not always guaranteed you will get them, it can be just two mob types as well. Since we weren't specifying what exactly we wanted in the maze I presume you just have a preset basic list that the maze can generate from. It is MUCH easier when you don't get elementals LOL I have to add.

I love how everything is called the same in this particular tab, we only did the kill everything in your path setup, which is full of "Maze Lurkers" which is the default name of any mob you get in the zone. Lurking with INTENT! *giggle*

*elevator music*

Quotes Out of Context - 03

Q on top form in the last few days *chuckle*

One of the grand delights of doing events is hanging around with your friends, having a laugh (usually at someone else's expense, we heckle a LOT in Versus, if you aren't getting heckled it is more than likely you are not fitting in) as well as doing our events. Events have just started up again in Versus, as I gave the ls 2 weeks off over Christmas.

Now, I know this is a bit unusual, most ls' don't suspend their events or give their members "half-terms" or "ls holidays". But I think it is a productive incentive. It keeps people interested and eager to come to events, you don't feel beaten down because you get a refresher every now and then, and remember how much you enjoy doing events lol and it lets me do something else OTHER than events.

I love hanging out with my ls! It is SO much fun. Hilarity ensues with great regularity, particularly if you happen to send a classic mis-tell to party chat in the middle of Limbus /grin!