Alliance, Horde, and a Return Home to Vana’diel

About a year ago, I decided to quit FFXI for WoW, like a lot of Vana’diel veterans, then quit that not too long afterwards after a very bad run in the Pit of Saron, went MMO-less for a couple of months, then went back to Vana’diel for a short while. That was very short-lived as at that point I wasn’t ready to mess with Abyssea, even though I acquired a Stone Gorget for myself.

I then went back to Azeroth and played WoW until late October when a minor change in life coupled with Patch 4.0.1 made me rethink what I was doing with my time. Fortunately, the day before, I acquired [The Horseman’s Reins] and had a horse that galloped through the sky if I decided to return, and sure enough I did a few weeks later.

A friend of mine had moved his characters to Shadowsong and changed to Horde for Cataclysm. I had adjusted to 4.0.3’s version of Protection Paladin and had fun questing to 85. Then came running instances. I will definitely say that Wrath’s instance model was a lot easier: grab everything and AoE it down. Cata’s reliance on crowd-control and the small number of instances to run is just plain irritating, and I still haven’t done a Heroic.

Then came one thing I had sort of secretly been hoping to hear from this same friend: he was considering going back to Vana’diel. I like WoW, but I also like the relative simplicity of FFXI vs. WoW’s ludicrious “you must have a thousand addons and one that yells at you to be good.” Another friend of mine said it pretty well: “WoW is fun half the time, but FFXI is halfway fun all the time.” I think I like the latter better because there’s usually something fun to figure out in XI.

Magian trials haven’t driven me completely nuts yet: I need about 100 more elementals to die on lightsday to get to Surya’s Staff, then another 175 of the same for the +1, and 15 light geodes (easily acquired from the AH) for the +2. I’m still trying to decide if I want to make an Almace (which would require joining an endgame linkshell) or Badelaire +2 for my “final” mainhand sword. The only good thing about this is that the STR Shamshir +2 is easily done, as will be the remaining damage staves.

I do have a lot of work to do on support jobs, however. WHM was already 49 from my time over the summer, and BLM is close, hitting 43 last night, but beyond that, the melee subs will be painful, but I can do FoV + /DNC to make those easy, and of course the remaining mage sub of SCH will suck hardcore as it is a mere 10.

All in all, I probably shouldn’t have departed Vana’diel back last March, but it was probably best at the time. I will probably play this game until the servers are switched off, and perhaps at 99 a new “full” expansion will come out to solidify a true “endgame” area for the “true” max level. Abyssea feels too much like a “farming” area once you’ve hit 90 and capped all your merits and such as opposed to a true “endgame” area like Sky or Sea or a “raid” like Dynamis or Limbus. But enough banter, now we get to the real meat of this entry.

As one who has long considered Red Mage to be his main job, I would always check patch notes when a new one occurred to see what RDM got or didn’t get. The lack of Cure V as of now kind of sucks, but getting Regen II again was rather nice. Additionally, access to the Tier 4 elemental nukes is amazing, and we are sure to get Thunder IV in the next update. The removal of caps on Enhancing Magic is crazy. By my calculations, at 400 skill, which should be relatively easy to accomplish, I will have a Phalanx that absorbs 38 and a 25-damage Enspell. Furthermore, with capped enhancing at 90, I can cap Stoneskin with any support job naked. Haste/Fast Cast ahoy! I am happy with this paradigm shift of 100% curebot to backline support with enfeebles, though I’m not sure where RDM’s place in a party is in Abyssea with ridiculous Refresh available from Atmas and a lot of the awesome things RDM brings to other party members directly is available as /RDM. Refresh II is nice, though probably somewhat redundant, and apparently people don’t like enfeebles anymore? I can’t imagine why. When a BLM will soon be able to Haste and Refresh himself, I’m not sure that RDM will really have a slot in a party. Maybe I’m just seeing an unfortunate shift of RDM to how it originally was back when the game first came out: a job without a party slot so long as one of the “specialists” were available.

Maybe some amazing thing will happen in the next update to allow RDM to have a guaranteed party slot once more. RDM is still the strongest soloist, but is that relevant in a world of lowmanned things where a WHM can Refresh himself and heal many times better and a MNK tanks? I still love RDM, but I’m not sure I like this brave new world. But hey, none of this is relevant until I get my other support jobs up to 49 and decide which job(s) I want to take to 90 as well, right?

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