Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Happy days are here again...

...makes me feel like a corrupt New Orleans political candidate in the 1890's, where did I come up with thatsong?!!!

I’ve been having difficulties with leveling caused in part by my in-game finances and partly by not finding people I’m comfortable partying with. Firstly the finances… bard songs are not free, shehei are not free if I need to /ninja to pull, food is not free, even getting to and from battlefields costs some money and it does add up. I can craft shehei to save a little money (although not that much), but the materials are often hard to find; for the rest I’m at the mercy of the server economy. As to finding people I’m comfortable partying with, I’ve spent too much time solo to have a good group of party buddies to draw on. As I posted a couple ago, I’ve also dropped confidence in some of my social LS members (those that haven’t been with us that long). Granted, I’m not willing to be driven ragged as a bard unless it is for good friends and we are showing results, so I might not be the bard you want to party with.

That being said, things are changing some in game for me. 1st off, Dynamis has actually been kind to me of late. As I mentioned a couple posts ago, I finally got my bard pants (probably the best bard pants in the game to date, outside of situational changes) after over a year of waiting. Well Monday I got my thief gloves-we had 2 drop and the only person in-line ahead of me wasn’t there so I got them, despite my thief only being 61. I will be leveling thief as soon as bard and beast are 80, so I was legitimately in-line for them. This means that as the levels come I will have my full treasure hunter bonuses (and until then I can store the full set on the relic NPC).

Last night I got a late start on XPing. It’s the summer, and so everyone has this stupid idea that it’s nice out. I don’t agree; if I’m quite literally drenched in sweat, smell, and am dehydrated 90% of the time it is NOT nice out. In any event, I get volunteered for a lot of family stuff and it cuts into both my playing and my real life free time (I live alone so if the housework is gonna get done I’ll be the one doing it, I won’t be doing it if I’ve been volunteered elsewhere though). Whatever, suffice it to say my game time is being severely curtailed (about 12-15 hours less per week than normal).

SE has a feature in game called a “friend list” that needs a bit of work. I check it when I 1st log in to see if any of them are on and want to do something (success increasing greatly with people you know, trust and genuinely like), but that is usually it. If SE is looking for elements to improve play they might want to consider a notice that a friend has just logged in. Otherwise I don’t know until I see a post from them or I just trip over them.

So I thought I might farm scorp shells, but Xolotol decided to eat my face. So I decide to Campaign battle. Hard to find a battle, but I eventually land on one in Grauberg. Decent XP, but a lot of downtime between waves now with the level cap raise. So, while waiting for wave 2 I get a tell from Mousie (making me happy) asking me to come XP on my bard. Naturally, I finish my battle and head out (with a stop to change subs and regear). XP was good—not great—but I got about 30k, leaving me 12k short of level 77, which I hope to knock-out tonight!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Good day Sunshine...

Much has happened my faithful few fans in the weeks since my last post, but I just have been unable to find the time to put things into words. After all, playing the game is supposed to be more fun than writing about playing it… Still, you deserve to get your dose of dish so here we go.

Dynamis has been… interesting of late. Most important, a pair of bard pants is mine! Absolutely butt-ugly but the stat boosts are awesome. This of course means we have done a Dynamis Xarc (farming run, without a shitload of luck a win is out of the question with our current line-up only). I am now 5/5 on beast and bard and the only relic I still need is thief hands (also from Xarc), which are one of the most sought after items in the game due to their bonus to treasure hunter. I’m way down on that list and my thief is still my alternate lot until I get it to 65, I think. Checking with the Dynamis LS on the rules there.

The biggest thing is that they finally got around to announcing the update that was done on Monday, including the size of the 1st level cap increase, level 80 this go round. This defined the minimum I needed to finish leveling my subs to be ready for it. My leveling of white mage had already gotten me to 41 so I could put it off a bit. I worked dancer 1st, then ninja to 40. I didn’t worry about keeping my skills up as I leveled as I usually would because while they 1st announced the size of the increase they left the date unfilled for a few days. Limited inventory space confined me to 1 lower job at a time and I just powered through as best I could, 8 days as best I can recall working around Dynamis days and such.

Outside of leveling the subs to 40 minimum I went back to taking white mage to 42, with the eventual goal of 49-50. SE is raising the level cap to 99 eventually, so all subs will need to get to 49 eventually anyway, and white mage is my primary bard sub. I may want to do red mage soon though as at 82 bard that would leave me with 2 forms of refresh and another fast cast, weakened raise and reraise options though, hmm…

Started into a static group doing Nyzul climb, a form of assault that gives some good weapons and armor (if you are lucky). Not sure if the weapons will remain viable to the new levels, although they can be augmented as a trial weapon and they are one of the current 2 Uber weapons (mythic, the other being relic) that SE planned. Let’s just say some are more uber than others…

My biggest problem is money (why should the game be any different than real life, eh?). I don’t even have enough to cover the 3 bard songs I get with the current increase, and there is no gil in the areas most parties level so going forward this is going to be a problem methinks. If I get lucky, I can party with Mousie because she is cool with farming with me, but she has limits to her playing time so she is not often available. Of course I can always drag my beast out to farm/level, but that takes me away from the bard that benefits my Dynamis LS… Life will be so much easier when I can get back to working my thief. I do have plenty of stuff I can craft or fish or make supplies with if I take the time away from leveling, but I want to hit 80 ASAP so I am as useful as possible.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

C'mon baby, don't fear the reaper...

So I'm on last night trying to unlock 76, and I'm about to go out and solo it on beast (needing only 31 XP to cap XP) when Tigerelf from SK mentions he's in an LS party that's 5/6 72 level sync at Mamool. I had checked Unsocial out 1st but the only one on was Usul in regular Xarc, not where you want to XP at 75 you know? So I figure what the hell and decide to join the SK party. I decide to switch to bard tho’ as it works better in parties, they don’t have a healer, and a little voice in the back of my brain is saying 6 /dancer ain’t gonna get it done. Good idea.

From the start I have reasons for misgivings. Turns out our sync is actually AFK for the entire time he’s there getting XP on a free ride. I don’t mind that if I know that I’m carrying someone before I come out, but it seems rude not to mention it before I join, at least to me. Despite having 4 active guys /dancer Drain Samba isn’t up half the time, a major no-no unless you are XPing off undead. Guys actually die while I’m changing gear to bard melee gear (relic body). Yes, I know I’m /white mage and should have healed them but I was told when I came out that they were taking care of it and I could have come melee so I just wasn’t watching that close; and I’m not that good of a healer on /whm due to low MP and low spells at 75 since mobs can 1 hit for more than Cure III can recover. The samurai/dancer was pulling, ok, he DOES have the bow and all…

Shortly after I get there (maybe an hour?) the sync disconnects and we are now 75, but 5 manning. We had to 5-man entirely too much. When we got our 6th (Krazytrane) he pulled an NM and we wiped. Dorm refused to get up without a Raise III so we had to 5-man with him down, slowing our XP. We managed to get enough XP to more than cover the hit he would have taken from the Raise 1.5 Hymnus gives in the almost 60 minutes he stayed down, and had he been up he probably would have been enough to add 12-1500 XP through his damage output during that time. Whatever, I’m a big believer in taking whatever raise is available and getting more XP, you are earning 0 XP, gil, skill-ups or whatever you are after while you lie there waiting to save 8-1600 XP.

The tank leaves and we get a 2nd bard. Fine with me, 2 bard parties are usually fast. I end up taking over pulling when the samurai leaves and things go wrong. Someone else zoned a bunch of mamool and our party grabbed one that I hadn’t pulled so we had too many mobs, another wipe. I go back to WG to change to /ninja as I’m more comfortable that way when I’m pulling. Turns out the other bard had come /nin (I didn’t know since the taru had MP comparable to mine) so now we had no healer (I did mention our /dancer guys weren’t keeping drain up).

I suppose I should mention that the area was tremendously overcrowded and I was forced to pull Wyverns as the only prey available. We were there before all of them, so courtesy should have had the other groups moving out of our area but courtesy took a flying leap from the game years ago… I spent more time fighting for pulls than I care to.

In any event, I changed to /nin, and the other bard changes to /whm, pulling goes much faster and the XP finally starts to flow. So now Usul shows up with a couple friends of mine in tow that I KNOW are good players (my party was not playing reliably, unannounced AFK, no sambas, lack of consistency, etc.). Rather than moving deeper into the zone they decide to set up shop right on top of us and the other party I’ve been competing with for a couple of hours for mobs. Now we have 3 parties in an area that is strained to support 2. At this point the more charming side of my personality comes out. I am very civil usually, so lack of common courtesy infuriates me. When I’ve been putting up with it for 2.5 hours on top of dealing with a weak party I let it out, getting into a verbal shouting match with Usul (who you may remember from earlier posts is a bud).

Let’s put it this way, when I 1st came out my bard needed 7k XP to cap and another 7k to get the merit I need to unlock 76. In 2.5 hours I have 12k, that’s with using a charge on an emporer’s band and a charge from my anniversary ring. In this same area with a decent party I would have had about 35k (without XP rings) considering I had to compete with another pt for desireable enemies. I get invited to change groups and I’m tempted. However, my pt is all SK which is my social shell and I don’t want to create ill will there, and by the time I get the invite I only need 700 points to get that merit I need and I plan to log after. So I stay put, take care of business, unlock 76 and log out needing 1 XP to get my new level.

Hopefully, I can get together with Usul’s group tonite. If nothing else it’s got to be better for my blood pressure…

Monday, June 7, 2010

I have become comfortably numb...

Sorry, been too long since my last post.

I've been leveling on several jobs as I work on the subs for the new level cap due sometime this month (at least the 1st stage). There's alot of speculation as to how this will be handled in game, but SE has been able to keep it pretty quiet so far, and not confirming anything that's been rumored, so most of what you are hearing is speculation.

I've gotten both black and red mage to 25 last week preperatory to leveling white mage. I guess this is a good time to talk about the mechanics of XPing. XP is gained whenever you kill an XP-elligible enemy (one that isn't "too weak to be worthwhile"). You can also get XP scrolls as rewards for specific quest or as drops in Dynamis Xarcaband or for participating in Beseiged and Campaign battles and certain quests/battlefields. You also lose XP if you die (in most areas outside certain battlefields). Gain sufficient XP and you gain a level, lose too much and goodbye level. Simple.

Now as most people know you can get XP solo or in groups. Technically, even solo is a party-a party of one-but you get the idea. As you've probably realized different jobs have different abilities; because of that their survival potential varies, meaning some jobs almost have to level in groups. As an example, my bard doesn't solo very well, but my beastmaster is probably the best solo job in the game. Conversely, my bard is one of the best party support jobs in the game, while my beastmaster can be slow to act in a fast-moving party because I have to get my pet on to the correct target before I join the fight as my pet does much more damage than my beastmaster.

Party invites have gotten heavily tainted by what goes on in end-game. Because killing Greater Colibri has become the way to level and merit and black mages are a liability against birds, they don't get party invites much anymore. Pretty stupid actualy, as against almost anything else in game black mage is the best single source of all-around damage there is. On the other hand, red mage gets invites all the time to be main healer/buffer because they are so good end-game, but before level 41 white mage is clearly superior as healer/buffer because they can make better use of their MP with AoE buffs, and they are still the best way of saving XP throughout the game due to their superior raises. But people get caught in the trap of conventional thinking...

In any event, I didn't get my 1st party invite on black mage until level 21. However, we cruised from 21-25 in 4 hours and would have gone quicker except for having a revolving door on party members. My red mage 1st sought a party at 20 and got one in 7 minutes, an invite to main heal in a 19 level sync. This party only really moved because we had a power level as I kept running out of MP. Elvaan rdm are only out-sucked by Galka rdm on the MP front. I was actually more effective in the party as a DD (and silencing worms while we did those), plus using barwatera (from my whm sub) and dia on crabs and pugils. Regardless, I eventually got both jobs to 25.

Now that I had my sub-jobs in place it was time to break my white mage back out. Now I haven't played whm main in about 2 years, but the red mage leveling has gotten me a little bit back in practice. Unfortunately, some time in the last 2 years I've become a party snob and so I hate pick-up parties. Maybe it's because for the most part I've only partied up for difficult things (ASA Final fight comes to mind) and so I don't really trust people I don't know. Whatever. What I do know is that this is going to hurt me leveling white mage, at least in terms of speed.

Before I start in on the white mage however we are supposed to do Dynamis on Friday. Ends up not happening. Although we had enough bodies to low-man a city, the job mix left something to be desired. We claimed blm shortage, but 3 blm is actually our usual. We claimed a DD shortage, but we had enough of that too. What we were actually short was healers, and those are very important, especially since heavy DD love to ignore hate control in Dynamis. It's actually a point of pride amongst some DD to be able to take hate from the tank or whatever, but the point of having a tank is that heavy DD don't take hits as well, meaning their healers have to pull massive ammounts of hate keeping these guys alive. Regardless, we had to cancel.

So we tried to do something else and help a guy with a CoP mission. Unfortunately, he had NOT progressed to where he thought he was, and had alot of prereqs to finish. By the time he was getting caught up people willing to help were logging due to the hour (the sun was coming up for Peenut) and it was just too late to realistically continue. So the fight was postponed to a time to be determined later.

I raided all of my mules for white mage spells that I already had and then I had to go shopping (like I had any $$$), so I taxed all my mules for a total of about 110k. Spells have eaten most of that, joy. So I go out and solo, starting against beastmen so I could get some $$$, working in Davoi and the basement of Delfkutts. But XP against DC and the like is slow and the tower at least is high traffic by duos working on their trial weapons or (I suspect) paid power levels, making my XPing damn near impossible. So Once I hit 38 I moved to East Altep (using my handy-dandy new Tele-Altep that has been sitting on a mule for 3 years) to do FoV on spiders.

Drop rates have been crappy, so no $ coming, but I manage to slowly improve my XP. Eventually Woochekitty comes out to join me, leveling her ninja with my whm. After some time Doncado also joins us, but he has to leave very shortly due to RL stuff. I call it a night shortly after that as I haven't been sleeping well lately and would like to catch up.

Sunday I finish up getting to level 40 on the whm, killing bats and leeches in SSG. I also farm up my scroll of Cura (saving myself about 6k tyvm); I had previously just NPC'd them as the drop rate is quite high and I had no immediate need of them. I'm actually going to have to do the same thing for flash down the road a bit as I'm told spamming Flash (and Repose) are the best ways of skilling up Divine magic. However, I've been playing alot and need to get a bunch of RL stuff done so I log shortly after.

Monday is Dynamis again, this time Jeuno. We actually had a decent run although the lag is getting to be a considerable problem. We lost 2 players during the run to disconnects that simply never came back. Personally, I suspect SE of pulling servers for retasking or simply for sale. We ran pretty well until after the win, but then people got sloppy (as frequently happens), losing focus, not obeying commands, etc. I hadn't died at all until after the win, but after that I died 3 or 4 times in rapid succession. Not fun. Oh well, now you are up to date.