The Jungle, Experience Party Dynamics, and Power Levels

Over the weekend, I joined in an LS party as my Level 26 Samurai. I’m somewhat kitted to the hilt, having empress hairpin and bounding boots, along with a myriad of other important pre-37 gears. I also seem to have developed a skill for pulling, at least in the jungle.  Which brings us to the party that took me from 26 to 32.

It’s rather well-known that before Refresh, a party is frequently unable to make constant Chain 5 without a power-level, especially with a Paladin tank. While I think Paladin is a better tank overall than Ninja before Utsusemi: Ni, the downtime a Paladin brings to a party before Refresh/Ballad/Auto Refresh certainly puts a damper on the flow of exp. The use of a Bard from Level 25 onward to alleviate the MP problem Paladins have with Ballad I is nice, but the tight formation needed to ensure that Ballad isn’t overwritten by Madrigal or Minuet for the melees oftentimes is impractical or unable to occur. And thus, parties choose to put up with downtime and yell at pullers to slow down.

However, the party over the weekend did neither of those. When I joined the party, the setup was 2 Samurai, a Warrior/Ninja, a Thief, a White Mage, and a Red Mage. The combination of Hasso, quite a bit of +DEX, and the overall brokenness of Samurai from the 2-handed weapon buff caused exp to skyrocket, especially once the Thief left and I became the puller. The Warrior had to leave and was replaced with a Paladin. In addition, the White Mage had to leave, so we got a Bard to replace them.

At that point we moved from Yuhtunga to Yhoator.  Due to no competition in the camp we had, I managed to peak us at 9k/hr without exp ring. The Red Mage and Paladin both eventually left and were replaced by a Samurai and Black Mage, respectively. With Tachi: Enpi going off left and right, we moved further and further along in exp, bringing myself to Level 31 with 30 minutes remaining. At that point, I used my emperor band to see if I could hit 32 within that amount of time.

Because we had two power levels most of the time, I relentlessly pulled one mob after the other. With the exp ring on, we peaked at 12k/hr, a number usually reserved only for Aht Urhgan areas or merit parties. In the end, I hit 32 within about 25 minutes or so.

It’s weird how it seems the "best" parties at low levels are completely unorthodox setups: this party ended up having 4 Samurai, and the first truly awesome party I had way back in ’04 before I had a subjob had 3 Red Mages in it.

Of course, the next destination would be either Altepa or Garlaige. Sadly neither offer the terribly weak mobs the jungles do, but I’m sure I’ll cope with whatever party I end up with on the run to get various jobs to 37 to use as subs.

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