2009’s FFXI 10大ニュース (Big 10 News)

Last year, JPButton asked FFXI players to submit their 「10大ニュース」”10-Dai News” or “Big 10 News” of the previous year. I didn’t do this last year and was looking forward to contributing this year, but Elmer and Corinth didn’t post an official post about it.

… I’ll list mine anyway.

Quoting Elmer’s post from last year:

What is 「10大ニュース」?

10大ニュース (juu dai nyuusu), is literally a list of 10 big(大) bits of news(ニュース) or events that have happened to you over the past year.

In Japan, the end of the year is filled with parties and drinking, much more so than the beginning of a new one. As the next year fast approaches, people will hold a 忘年会 (bou-nen-kai) , or a gathering (会) to forget (忘) the current year (年). This is accomplished through copious amounts of alcohol, and often times, the telling of one’s 10大ニュース. It’s like a personal Top-10 list.

This list can contain any 10 events that you feel have affected you deeply, most often in a positive way. As we all close another year here on Earth, (and thus another 25 years in Vana’diel), I felt it would be fun to combine a little bit of Japanese culture with the community’s penchant for touting in-game accomplishments. Everyone likes sharing their success, so here’s a perfect chance!

Here’s an example of what a list might look like:

You can include equipment you’ve gotten:

10. Acquired Dancer AF Attire

9. Completed all Automaton attachments

You can include things that were special to you.

8. Got promoted to Sackholder in my LS

7. Convinced my friend to sign up for the game

Maybe you conquered some personal challenges, however big or small.

6. Beat all the Level-20 Avatar quests

5. Solo’d all my Scholar Artifact quests

Perhaps endgame is more your thing.

4. Completed Relic Weapon: Claustrum

Or e-peen.

3. SOLO tanked Cerb against ally of DD’s

The more creative of you out there could write from your character’s point of view.

2. Teamed up with Lilisette to catch Cait Sith

And game-related stuff is okay too

1. Opened a new website and received amazing support from the best MMO community in the world.
What’s your 10大ニュース?

10. Becoming a Multi-75
In January, my PLD hit 75, then as the year went on, BRD hit 75 as did DRK, so after sitting idle as just RDM75 for a very long time, I broke free and now have more jobs at 75. While it’s made inventory management not very fun, it’s made me a more versatile player. And fortunately, I have other useful jobs so I’m not pigeonholed into being BRD for everything like I’d feared.

9. Becoming a Leader of 3 Endgame LS
I eventually gave in to the temptation and went back to doing Dynamis, which led to eventually becoming a leader in the LS. Additionally, I helped start a new Sky shell and was privileged with leadership in a new Einherjar shell as well. I’m very grateful to my fellow leaders for putting enough faith in me to let me lead alongside them!

8. Finally Acquiring Crimson Cuisses
I’ve made a few posts about my “Three Old Sagas” regarding equipment I should have had by that point but didn’t due to quitting at the top of several lists. Being able to run 12% faster on 3 of my 4 jobs is quite nice for getting to places and getting out of bad situations!

7. Acquired a Runic Key
Climbed to the top of Nyzul Isle with a pretty well set up static. Only 250 WS points for Mythic WS ftw!

6. 6/6 Paladin Relic within 6 Months
Fortunately, the line for Paladin relic pieces in my Dynamis LS is rather short. But the real awesome is how I got my Valor Cape: a ludicrous Valkurm that dropped three of the things.

5. 6/6 Dark Knight Relic
This completed last night. Yay for inventory +5 and finally being able to feasibly work pieces into macros.

4. Bard’s Roundlet +1
Whitebox ftw. Also the best non-Salvage headpiece for a Bard. Doesn’t get used nearly enough, heheh.

3. Finally Got Into Doing Limbus
After a couple of false starts over the years, I finally got into doing Limbus on a regular basis. All I’ve gotten from Omega or Ultima is Homam Manopolas, but I’m sure I’ll get the rest of that set in due time. Nashira, though, not counting on it.

2. Got to Souleater+Blood Weapon Kraken Club Bahamut
This was just pure awesome. I need to get one of my own at some point!

1. Duelist’s Chapeau
Rightly considered to be one of, if not the, best drop from Dynamis, this item had eluded me for quite a while. Between not doing Dynamis for a very long time, the item refusing to drop period when I was at the top of the list years ago, and the line in my present LS being quite long with people leveling Red Mage and jumping ahead in line. Admittedly, I did spent a fair amount of points collecting other relic armor, but in the end, my spot didn’t really change too much for the hat. Finally having this drop to me just under two months ago was such a great day. Now I need to get a Dalmatica to finish the Old Sagas.

Happy New Year, Vana’diel!
あけましておめでとう、ヴァナ・ディール!

Set Parties and Level Sync

One common thought on leveling jobs up is to use a “set” or “static” party. I find this to be the most efficient, provided the group can meet more than one or two days per week, since the time spent finding members is removed completely if the set is six members. Additionally, knowing who the members are lets the leader pick out a camp ahead of time.

I’ve read several accounts of successful set parties and participated in several over the years. But with the advent of Level Sync and the removal of the restriction that all members must be within x levels of one another, are set parties really so necessary anymore? I believe so. Why do I say this? Is it an old bias against the general population of Vana’diel? I will tell you.

First of all, the removal of the wait for x job to pop on seek and pray you get them is a godsend. While Level Sync alleviated this slightly, the fact that a healer, or tank, or a Bard or Corsair may never pop still stifles the “awesome” parties. A very efficient set includes a Bard or a Corsair, so the lack of one being on seek alleviates that problem.

Secondly, familiarity with the party members works wonders for picking out a camp. Some camps in the game are just too out of the way or dangerous even to consider bringing a party consisting entirely of pick-up members to. Case in point is one of the older camps: bones in Gustav Tunnel in the late 60s. Another good example is Dragon’s Aery around 70. Having to walk through the entirety of The Boyahda Tree to reach this camp creates many opportunities for aggro. Aht Urhgan’s Runic Portal system alleviated this issue somewhat, but many camps exist before the Aht Urhgan levels that present this problem.

Finally, with the advent of Level Sync, the requirement that members could not do anything on their “party” job for fear of going too far ahead of the others no longer limits set parties. Did someone get an invite and get a level or two? Just sync them to the person with the most exp to level and go with it.

In general, I still find a set to be the most efficient way to level from 10-75. Provided you can find someone in your circle of friends to take up Bard or Corsair or a healing job, you can pretty much work your way up without too much difficulty. Of the four jobs I’ve levelled, three of them have been, at least in part, in sets. I had a set early on on Red Mage to get to 37, then later in the 60s got one with the same people. Bard was in a semi-set from 10 all the way to 75 and Dark Knight from 40 onwards to 75.

I suppose the vast disparity in party quality I’ve had on various jobs leads me to believe this. Flagging for a pickup really is leaving yourself to the masses. On some jobs, that is a very scary proposition.

Tonight is Dynamis-Bastok (/doze). I hope at least one pair of Abyss Sollerets and Saotome Kote drop. I need the sollerets to complete Dark Knight relic 6/6, and a good friend of mine needs the Saotome Kote for his SAM. Maybe multiple kote will drop and I can pay for them for my up-and-coming SAM. Hit 47 Monday evening in a party that ended badly. Ah well, such is life.

And now, we return to the grind of daily work.

Nostalgia: My Genesis of Endgame ’til Now

Today and tomorrow mark the Fourth Anniversary of my obtaining Sky access and entering into endgame officially. On November 16, 2005, I spent two hours in Lower Jeuno shouting to form a party to finish Zilart Missions 6 through 12. The following day I was pearled for the now-defunct ObscuraNox endgame linkshell.

That decision changed my viewpoint on the game forever. Was it for the best? At the time, probably. I’d long wanted to experience endgame, but it burned me out after 7 months. I guess one can only spend so much time in The Aery never fighting anything before he decides he wants no part of it.

Do I consider myself an endgame player? Ringthree of “You Are Not Your O’s Kote” describes an endgame player in his “On the Cheap” series as the following:

You have to really be an end-game player. I am not expecting you to have every title in the game, and have done ever mission everywhere, but I do expect you to have done main story-line content. This should be a goal of an end-game player at the very least. Zilart should be finished up to at very least Sky, CoP should be finished up until the end, and Aht Urhgan up until the end. If you don’t have these, or at least most of it and trying to get to the end, then you aren’t an end-game player, you are just lazy or your are just making pretend.

By that definition I am one. I also do Dynamis twice a week, Limbus once a week, have a Nyzul Isle static, a Sky LS, an Einherjar LS, and have done Salvage in the past. My social LS also does some sort of endgame-related content on Sunday mornings. My inventory is also clogged with various rare/ex items that drop from Internet Dragons and the like.

So why do I continue to gravitate towards endgame content? Because there really is no end to it. EXP and merit parties do have a means to an end: achieving x level or x amount of merits. While one can always level all jobs to 75 and spend the entire rest of his life reconfiguring their merits, eventually he’ll end up 43,999/44,000 EXP and 10/10 merits and 9,999/10,000 limits on all jobs with the max amount of merit points spent. At that point, what can they do? Events ranging from campaign battles (/shudder), Dynamis, sky, sea, and all the other endgame content that will usually result in at least one death, thus producing the need to continue building up EXP.

I guess I’ll always have the lingering feeling to do endgame as long as I play FFXI. Do I consider myself “better” than those who don’t? Probably one on level. But I do respect those who exist in the game without doing any sort of endgame. Different things to different people.

As for me, though, I will continue doing endgame things while leveling jobs to increase the versatility of my role in endgame.

Bushido: A Feasibility Analysis

I’ve gotten the 2 best pieces of relic for Blue Mage in the body and the back; however, the learning spells thing kinda still sticks with me as to whether or not I want to take it to 75 right now. I’d feel a bit left behind if I did a bunch of Level Sync parties and got way behind on spells, having to go back and get them again instead of going at my own pace and FoV/soloing them where I could.

This sort of thing got me thinking the other morning about some of the gear I’ve picked up in recent months: Gnadbhod’s Helm, Byakko’s Haidate… haidate… haidate… At present, the only job I have that can use the coveted haidate is Bard. While it’s awesome for Lullaby recasts, the recast timer on Ballads for Pianissimo, and for achieving a large amount of haste for solo, it’s still through-and-through a “DD first” piece in numerous cases. The ugly WS hat isn’t too huge as my existing jobs all use it for weaponskills, but DRK, PLD, and BRD all can equip the prized Hecatomb Cap for weapon skills, which may eventually find its way into my inventory. So, that would bring me down to using it for Death Blossom and physical BLU spells. But what other job can benefit most largely from Gnadbhod’s Helm? The only one that immediately comes to mind is Samurai. Yukikaze, Gekko, and Kasha are single-hit weaponskills, and the Shura Zunari Kabuto only has 5 STR and 5 accuracy on it compared to 6 STR, 4 DEX, and 8 attack. Not to mention that 2 of the SAMs in my LS give me grief in good spirits for having it, lol.

While SAM is very much the present bandwagon job, I have long thought it would be a fun job to level solely based on the high TP gain it possesses. While I first considered it back in the old dual-wield era, the dark age when Hagun was cheap, now having taken it to 37 and played around as DRK/SAM a lot and been around several for most events, I rather like it. I’m mostly prepared support job-wise, just lacking 12 levels on DRG and 36 on RNG.

I think part of the reasoning for wanting SAM as my “heavy DD” vs. DRK is that for the things I use DRK for (Nyzul Isle, occasional Dynamis), I’m always /NIN, which slows TP gain from the incredibly high-delay weapons. SAM, however, can go /NIN without sacrificing Hasso and Seigan, which is quite nice.

I already have a fairly decent WS build for great sword WS on DRK and PLD, so migrating it to SAM shouldn’t be difficult. The only thing that might not be fun is a lack of Polearm merits for Penta spam. Ah well, thus is life ’til SE raises the cap on combat merits. At least I can skill Polearm to 200 as PLD fairly easily.

Of course, the real sticking point that may not be one is the two Yagudo NM drops: Ochimusha Kote and Sarutobi Kyahan. I could buy Ochiudo’s Kote and Fuma Kyahan in place of them, but those’re quite expensive and I like rare/ex shinies. I think that I could go without the kote and get Horomusha Kote instead for a whole 5 less attack, but 3% haste on the feet combined with Hasso is quite nice. Maybe I should bide my time in Castle O. instead of Korroloka hunting random rare/ex NM drops…

Once I get off my duff and buy an appropriate GK and get my SAM gear off a mule, I may head out into the wilds of FoV as SAM/DNC to see how far I can get. If I can get to 50 easily, I’ll hold it there ’til my LS does another Soboro run. Or I’ll do Penta spam til 60, then skill GK back up and pick up a Daihannya and Yuki everything in my path til Gekko and Kasha.

All seriousness aside, I think part of my reasoning for wanting to do SAM now is all the accuracy gear I’ve accrued, the fact I switched to Rajas from Tamas, and the fact that I’ve been interested in Samurai history for a very very long time. Now just to figure out how to wedge its gear in my mog safe…

Red vs. Blue (Not the Assault)

Ever since I learned way back in early 2006 that Blue Mage would have A- sword skill and access to its EX weapon skills natively, I have resented that “slap in the face” to Red Mages who like to melee. I resented it so much to the point that if a BLU were seeking party, if another option were there, I would shun the BLU. This way of thinking is probably due to the fact that BLU is an extremely popular job, and as such, tends to have less-than-skilled people playing it.

Is this a bad way of thinking? Probably. I’ve partied with BLUs, done events with BLUs, and came to the conclusion that Head Butt is the most broken spell in the game, Diamondhide is nice, but at the same time, I wouldn’t go out of my way to get one in my merit party. But a great BLU is a large asset to events such as Dynamis and Limbus, mostly due to Head Butt.

So in a huge moment of boredom, I started leveling it past the 10 it sat at for a long while. While the hardcore “flag up when not doing events” leveling of another job to 75 is presently on hold, I figure just goofing around leveling BLU in my spare time might be a useful investment.

Thus far, I’ve actually had some fun with it. I was milling around La Theine doing FoV last night when I chanced upon the FallenEgg, which I clicked and was promptly ambushed by the NM, Nihniknoovi. I was BLU15/DNC7 and had a few meds from caskets, in addition to Regen and Refresh from FoV, so I basically did Sprout Smack then alternated Head Butt and Pollen, eventually felling it and getting a Van Pendant for my troubles. I was quite surprised that I was able to solo it at such a low level.

Needless to say, while learning spells can be a bit of a pain, I’ve got some LS mates that say they’ll help if I need it, so it shouldn’t be too bad.

I’m starting to think that BLU is more of a “magic fencer” than RDM is. BLUs are actually allowed to be engaged to mobs in parties, their main source of attack comes from spells, and they have better proficiency in swords than RDMs do. That thought unnerves me slightly, but with some of the gear I have and my eventual merit layout, I should be rather effective as BLU.

If anything, by the time I am able to equip it, I should have the rank for a Perdu Hanger, Ifrit is a joke, and I may be able to score a Hofud easily. I can always solo Cheese Horder for another Beast Slayer (tossed the one I had…), and I’ll take the next Wightslayer I see drop in Nyzul.

So far, now that I’m over the hell of getting spells, I think I should have a ball with BLU. Soloing it through Fields of Valor and duoing or trioing with friends will be excellent.

Now if Cargo Crab Colin will just drop a Nadrs for me, lol.

What was this again…?

Hmm, I forgot to update this regularly, orz.

Since the last post, I’ve made some progress!
DRK is now 75 and needs merits, I acquired Homam Manopolas from a recent Omega, and yesterday the LS did a La Vaule SCNM, which dropped Gnadbhod’s Helm, which I won the lot for. Universal WS head, gooooo.

I also got to use my DRK to zerg both Bahamut V2 and DL, heheh. Luckily, one of my friends is made of money and has a mercurial kris, and some of my LS mates have a KC that I got to borrow yesterday morning for Bahamut. … I think I need to research soloing Up In Arms and do that more. ._.

Sadly at this point, I still need a few more pieces of equipment (aside from my own multi-hit) to get my DRK to the point I want it for zerging (as well as finish its merits). The presently missing are as follows:

1. Homam Cosciales
2. Homam Gambieras
3. Cassie Earring
4. Bloodbead Ring
5. Gigant Mantle
6. Januwiyah +1 (though the NQ is probably fine)
7. Wyvern Earring (and DRG to 37)
8. Velocious Belt (yeah right, lol)

Bahamut’s Zaghnal would be nice, but I’d rather get the Mask from BV2 for my PLD and pass the Zaghnal to the DRK main in the LS, plus I’m not a Galka to take advantage of ridiculously high HP. Although when I finish meriting HP and have the rest of that gear, I should be able to push my HP rather high. In my present gear I have around 1600 for zerging, after using Carbonara.

I also started doing Nyzul Isle again with some LS mates on Sunday evenings after Dynamis. Luckily, we all have runic keys, so we are just farming boss floors for gear. So far I’ve gotten Askar Gambieras, but floor 80 refuses to drop the Goliard Saio for me. One of these days my BRD haste build will be perfected, in addition to further increasing RDM’s.

The last 3 Dynamis-Xarcabards have seen Duke Berith drop Duelist’s Chapeaus, none of which have been for me. But the line ahead of me is now complete, and assuming I can make the runs, the next hat should drop to me. I say should because Fate is a cruel mistress and something will probably go wrong, lol. But hey, I’m hoping the system works to my advantage soon. That will take care of old saga #2.

Additionally, my PLD now has 321 shield skill in full skill gear, as I broke down and bought the last coins I needed for Boxer’s Mantle. Makes a difference when /war, though I think the Valhalla gear would do better for taking hits to the face directly. One day maybe, heh.

Speaking of Odin drops… He continues to drop aquarian bodies, so one day I may get mine, and I don’t have to fuss over not having n.head since I got Gnadbhod’s Helm. 2nd item hadean body, go?

I spent some time last week getting all my macros in order, and I did a good job of it. BRD was by far the most complex as some songs I want pure haste/fast cast, others pure skill, others pure CHR, and others a mix of the three. I also started work on a Stoneskin macro for it, but I’m not sure if I’ll be able to make a 350 without sacrificing too many inventory slots. It works fine for now, so I’m not too worried about it. I also twinked out my WS builds for PLD and DRK both, even going so far as to make ones for Spinning Slash/Ground Strike, Black Halo and Retribution/Full Swing for PLD. Yeah, I was incredibly bored one day.

On the non-FFXI front, I got back into playing Dissidia between events, and unlocked Shantotto and Gabranth. Still a very fun game.

Oh well, back to work…

Chasing Ghosts

When I quit FFXI “never to return” three years and one month ago, I thought that if I ever returned, I wouldn’t do endgame of any sort. That held true for a few months after I opted to play more towards the end of 2006, did some endgame with the new version of my old LS, took another couple months off, then went back to playing in the summer of 2007, finishing up DRK sub finally and joining a restructured LS then quitting for a short while before a friend and I decided to shift to Seraph in August ’07. He shifted to join an endgame LS; I quit to join him on the server and later joined the LS for… 48 hours before deactivating until March 2008 when I shifted to Phoenix, which brings us to today.

Ever since I quit in 2006 at the top of the list for both Duelist’s Chapeau and Dalmatica, and extremely high on the list for Wyrmal Abjuration: Legs, I’ve been chasing ghosts in three three-year-old sagas. While in the long run it was best that I quit back then, the fact that I returned knowing that whichever LS I joined, I’d be at the bottom of the list for those three coveted items, seemed not to bother me that much as I still enjoyed the game.

But, I have finally caught one of those ghosts. Yesterday morning, my social did three Kirins. The first two dropped the “red legs,” and I was fortunate enough to be gifted with one of them.

After that we had a double run of Dynamis-Tavnazia. I went on the first run and was first up for the hat. My heart began beating so fast when we got to the top floor and the demons: I so very wanted the hat to drop to catch the second in one day. The week before we did Dynamis-Xarcabard: two hats dropped, and if a third had, it would have fallen to me.

But, my luck didn’t hold true for Dynamis. We are doing a lot of Xarcabard and Tavnazia soon, so perhaps I can catch the second one soon.

This brings me to the final and most elusive ghost: the coveted Aquarian Abjuration: Body. While a near impossibility to obtain without either a huge sum of gil or selling one’s soul to an HNMLS, I begin to see some sense of possibility with this item: I am trying to keep a hold on the ToD for Adamantoise using my other account in the vain hope that it ends up on a day Aspid could pop when my LS would be able to assist in felling the beast. Additionally, I’ve joined an Einherjar shell a friend of mine has continually pestered me about, and we are preparing to do our first Odin soon. Perhaps in the not-too-distant future I will catch the third.

Looking back on my spent points for Dynamis, if I hadn’t blown points on 6/6 Valor Armor and a few other random items, I would be higher on the list. But, honestly, equipping my Paladin in such a manner is a worthy trade off for being at the top of the Chapeau list. I’m sure I will appreciate it even more when it finally does drop for me.

Even if I am unable to lot on A.body soon in the Einherjar shell, I can spend ampoules on more shinies like Morgana’s Choker (for MND build and Cure Cheat), Ritter Gorget (for PLD and DRK zerg), Iota Ring (random meleeing), Aslan Cape (MND build), and materials for a Cursed Coat for my BRD. I would hope the H.body list isn’t too long.

In the year or so I’ve been on Phoenix, I’ve been very fortunate with where I’ve ended up. I can only hope my further adventures are as successful!