Sunday, December 31, 2006

More Aht Urghan

I started the evening off with a check of the Alchemy Guild to see what the guild item was. Turns out it was a Cutlass. Since this has a 46 Smithing sub, it was a no go for me for now.

While I was preparing to go to Aht Urghan, I got a random /tell. Turns out someone named Crave wanted to join my LS after noticing on Alla that I was recruiting. Turns out is a level 75 PLD on the Quetzalcoatl server. Just that he got tired of the lack of end game activity for PLD and his friends have been leaving. So he wanted to try out a new server. We'll see how he works out.

After getting Crave his pearl it was off to the Empire. Pretty quickly it was time to get together the essentials. In the case of a Salvage run, this means getting the following in preparation: 1 stack of Echo Drops, 1 stack of Silent Oils, 1 stack of Prism Powders, and as many hi-potions as you have saved up/purchased as practicable. For mages/support jobs, you'll be putting them up on your bazaar for 1 gil a piece so the DD/Tanks can grab em quickly (don't put em up till you're actually IN the Salvage run though).

For this trial run we decided to go as a single party. No intention of getting to the boss. Just go and get experience and don't wipe. On that front, it was a successful run. We managed to get plenty of kills and although we had a few deaths (mainly at the last fight), we never wiped. My advice is that anyone wanting to try salvage out should get their feet wet in single party runs. They are less confusing than full alliance runs and allow you to learn the lay of the land. Strangely enough we had maps for the new areas.

As you know, you start off the run totally gimped. No weapons, no armor, no job abilities, no sub-job, stats at -30, HP and MP at 1/2 normal. We did our run in Bhaflau Remnants. The party consisted of the usual suspects: Thundar(MNK), Isyan(BLU), Scab(BRD), Devious(BRD) and myself(RDM), with a random pickup for the actual run: Darkblade(RDM) (I think - I really do need to get better at snapping pictures during the action). Thundar went as MNK of course. A good progression for a single party seems to be: Get 2 weapons, get some armor (2-3 kills worth), get max HP on fighters, get some magic on a healer. Then go and back fill the rest of the party till everyone is un-gimped

Thundar is feeling the breeze

Bifrons: weapons
Wamouracamps: armor
Trolls: various
Flying wamouras: magic and job abilities
Flan: magic

Now we were taking it pretty easy on this first run for most of us. Isyan had a few runs under his belt. Darkblade had 1 run, the rest of us this was our first run.

My advice for any mage: bring a melee load out and cap your melee skills. Yes your there for magic. But your magic is probably going to be unlocked much later in the run than you would wish. Your weapons will probably be unlocked before your magic. Equip accordingly. This will not be as good as a party made up of a mix of 4 MNK/WAR/PUP and support (which should just burn through things and get a great head start on the whole thing). But initial speed is important. And the initial mobs are weak enough that you'll be getting decent damage even as a mage. As a red mage I was getting in about 50-60% of the damage of the monk. Remember till he unlocks his JA a DD doesn't have the nice damage spike so it's pure DOT. Yes mages damage things slower than a pure DD but it's better than nothing. The whole thing about the first stage is speed killing. So every little bit helps.

After the run, we decided to go help Scab with his Windy 7-1 mission. The hardest thing about this was the trek out to the canal. 4 Hinge Oils and assorted bats up, 4 Hinge Oils and assorted bats down.

Then we decided to go to the Navukgo Execution Chamber and get the Shield of Diplomacy mission done (Although Diplomacy may not be Shantotto's forte). Well we managed to find the perfect way to keep Shantotto alive and in the fight the whole time. Sic Thundar on the Khimaira 13 he manged to do enough damage to keep hate from AMII spam-ing Shantotto. I had originally been assigned the job of keeping her alive while the rest of the party kept Thundar alive. a quarter of the way into the fight I notice that my assigned role is totally moot. Spam AMII all she want Shantotto couldn't rip hate off of Thundar. So I slip into party healing mode and simply keep an eye on Shantotto just in case. By the end of it the entire party was almost at full health. The Khimaira didn't even breath in her direction. Probably one of the easiest mission fights we've had in a while. The black coffin fight was tougher.

Shantotto and a King Cardian

She may call herself Karababa but do not be decieved, she's Dr. Shantotto at her psychotic best. Man, Shantotto is da shiznitz. Anyone who can piss Naja off that effectively is all right in my books.

I then logged for the night.

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Saturday, December 30, 2006


Oh my god... There's nothing like Dr. Shantotto to stir up the mix. She is the incarnation of Chaos. She is proof positive that messing with windurstian ministers is not something for the faint at heart. Man! I love that psychopathic black mage. Poor Gessho still gets no respect. A quite honorable and upright Yagudo he may be. But Shantotto is a windurstian minister who's usual hair trigger reaction is to nuke first and sift through the ashes latter (man I've got to see if I can find the event re-play so I can record Gessho getting zapped). For some reason whenever I'm around her, I always end up fried and on the floor (luckily in a cut scene so no exp loss).

Comparing notes with Gessho

Oh and Naja still has my crown...

Blinking Thief

Needless to say I spent most of last evening getting my Aht Urghan missions progressed. I managed to do:
  • Passing Glory
  • Sweets for the Soul
  • Teahouse Tumult
  • Finders Keepers
And I'm now on:
  • Shield of Diplomacy
That took up most of the evening.

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Thursday, December 28, 2006

Long day but good day

Started out the day early. I decided to skillup cooking. I managed to get from 51 to 56 so only 4 more points to go and I will cap cooking at 60. Needless to say this took quite a while. While this was going on my warp cudgels final sold so I needed to do another batch. Typical mid week warp cudgel market. managed to sell 3 for 40k a piece.

Took a break then got back for the evening assault runs. We got 3 done. Two times the Ilrusi Atoll in parties of 3. This consisted mainly of running around following Thundar and keeping refresh on him. This is because the main tactic here is using Carbuncle to take care of the mimic while we move on to the next chest.

Ready for the mimics

Once the Leujaoam Sanctum one. This time with more firepower (literally since Thundar came in as RNG for this one). I've now been successful with 3 separate assaults. 2 more different ones or 7-8 more of the ones I've one and I'll be able to get to PFC.

Zoning into an assault

Then while the others went and got their coins for the Black Coffin mission, I headed directly there to wait for em. Eventually they got there. Devious had the mandatory death along the way.

The party is gathered a 2nd time

Then it was into the mission. The mission got done finally. The fight was nothing special this time. Darn mobs are horribly resistant to any form of sleep but it's all cool. I manage to keep alive while the boys kill the captain. Sleepga is great for grabbing hate even if you don't sleep the formor. This time it was a success. The Black Coffin sure is an ominous ship. Cool though.

The Black Coffin

The captain

We also get to see more of Gessho. He's the Yagudo NPC involved in the various missions in the expansion.


Poor Gessho though, he gets no respect for being the coolest Yagudo around.

Poor Gessho gets no respect

Then it was off to do the BLU AF hat fight for Devious. Again, no big problem, although the soulflayer is one funky mob.

The usual suspects

Then it was a matter of progressing through the various missions as far as possible. Which means dealing with her spikiness. The following picture should explain why we call this mithra "Her Spikiness".

Her Spikiness

I'm now able to go on Salvage runs should I wish to. I also got my pass for my first salvage run. I also had to pick up so new gear to get thru the mission. I can now look like a real hippy.

Hippy Strangeone

In parting, my only comment is that her spikiness, Naja, is a total whack job.


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Len back in the day

While skilling up cooking, there was a comment that len's old gifs were no longer available on the internet. A hue and cry was raised that this injustice must be corrected. Without further adieu, I present Len and Carbuncle:

WARNING! the following images may disturb the young and impressionalble and overly emo, not to mention the older and bible thumping prudes. View at your own risk

Len and carbie

Len and carbie redux

Needless to say we were tired...

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Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Crafting followed by Avatar runs

I started off the day crafting quite a bit. I got to 80 alchemy. Worked on my cooking skill and got 51. Noticed a level 2 besieged was about to start. Just made it there in time to start the besieged. Went well, only got .1 dagger skillup but did get 400 exp/is.

For the few who turn in and don't know all the details of how FFXI works, the above statement will seem quite chuck full of jargon. It is, it is. Here's a little explanation on the content of the above paragraph:

Crafting is an activity that exists in most MMORPGs. This usually involves the combining of various in game items in order to produce a new desired in game item. See the post a few days ago about making warp clubs as an example. In FFXI's case the recipe's are fixed but the results can vary. Also in FFXI a synonym for crafting is Synthing. Since the act of crafting in FFXI is called Synthesis. So when people talk about synthing, synthesis and stuff like that they are referring to crafting.

Now crafting is usually divided up into various crafts. For example: woodworking or smithing. In the game every player character has a skill in these crafts. it starts at 0 and can go up to 100. However you can only have 40 points spread amongst all your crafts that are above 60 points. So you could have 2 crafts at 80 and the rest would have to be 60 or bellow (fishing is the exception it's allowed to go to 100 independent of the rest of the crafts).

Having established that there is a stat associated with a particular craft you would want to know about getting that stat up. In each craft there is a progression of synths that are successively more difficult. This is indicated by their "cap". The cap on a synth is the skill level you must match or be higher than in order not to get "skill-ups" doing that synth. The idea being that in order to progress a crafting skill, you must actually craft. You can only attempt to craft items who's caps are at most 10 points higher than your current skill. Each time you do so you are given a chance at getting fractions of a skill point.

This leads us to two different types of crafting activities: "Skill-up" crafting and "For Profit" crafting. You would normally only craft things you could make a profit crafting. Or because the item isn't available any other way. But in order to get to the specific synths that can result in lots of profit, you usually need to raise your crafting skill as far above that synth's cap as practicable. This raises the chances that you will 'HQ' the synth, thus getting an even more desirable item, or greater quantities of the item (depends on the specific synth). Since the raising of these stats is for the most part a permanent change, most people are willing to spend a bit of gill in order to raise their skill. So a lot of the crafting on the way to whatever level you're going for in a particular craft is done at a loss. also note that at levels 51 and 81 things get much harder to progress.

This same "stat" system is used to control weapon usage. Each weapon type in the game has an associated skill. Each job class can progress at different rates and to different values of these stats. In my case my dagger skill tops out at 240 at level 73 on my Red Mage (RDM) job. In the game parlance we say that RDM has a B skill level in Dagger. Looking this up in various published tables will allow us to find out that at level 73 the maximum value I could get for the Dagger stat when playing RDM is 240. I'm somewhere in the 237's as we speak. You'll notice I was happy to get a +0.1... You'll ask yourself: Why bother? the answer is that being able to hit things is calculated based upon a a relation between your calculated attach value and the monster's calculated defense value. You'll also note that we tend to fight monsters that are significantly higher in level than we are.

This means that to even HIT the damn mobs we go after we need all the stats we can get and usually equip special equipment to boost our chances to hit things. But maxing out your skill is a free way to increase your ability to hit things so you want to do it for the weapons you use most frequently. Now most damage dealer type jobs (DD) tend to get to their cap as part and parcel of their exp'ing activities. Not so with Red Mage. Those of us who pursue that calling tend to have to get our combat skills while pursuing other activities (Since those whinny DD's tend to get prissy if you actually fight as a Red Mage in an experience party).

Besieged is an activity that happens every so often where beastmen (a type of intelligent monster race) try to attack the district of Al Zahbi in Aht Urghan to gain possession of something called the Astral Candescence. Follow the links for detailed explanation of besieged. All that's important to understand is that as a level 73 character who has un-capped stats the most important thing for me is skilling up my combat skills during a besieged event. Once they get capped I'll worry about joining a party/alliance and actively try to win a besieged.

Later on I organized two avatar runs. They both went very well. Scab, Devious, Thundar, Isyan and I were the people involved. Both runs went well although Isyan did buy it during the fight with Garuda. It was wind day when we did that fight. I am once again awesomely impressed by the powers of bar- spells. When the avatar 2h's I usually don't even loose my stoneskin.

Once that was done with, we planned out some Assaults tGoing to visit Ms Garuda

Once that was done with, we planned out some Assaults tomorrow. Then I went and got my Moon Bauble. I'm only one fight away from getting Fluffy!

Moon Bauble

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Shuffle style evening

The mid winter break over with (a good time was had at the family's), it was time to get to work during this holiday season, while the free time is plentiful.

I got on wanting to get some avatars done. No go, everyone was too busy doing stuff already. We'll try to do that tomorrow. Mainly the entire time was spent doing the item shuffle and a bit of production crafting and AH'ing stuff. Got the GP points for the day (Poison Cesti x 5).

Decided to retire AmberStorm as there was no real progress on the stats front of any type. This will make place for another chocobo to be raised in the future. Going to try for a green bird by mating Amber with a green chocobo. But not for a while. We'll see how it goes. Weirdly enough got a 2nd plaque as well as the expected VCS card for AmberStorm. Don't know if they give a plaque for every chocobo, or if it's due to having raised both chocobos in different stables.

On my way to Windurst

2nd Chocobo Plaque

Ended up logging for the evening in windy after putting the latest plaque in the mog house.

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Sunday, December 24, 2006

NPCs have limit breaks too

Started off the evening caring for my Chocobo. The dude who lost the chick's name starts with an A. Checked the Guild item. A water tank. I decided it was more trouble than it was worth. Then it was on to Jeuno.

My NPC dinged 51 a while back. And I had started the next quest related to NPCs. So I decided to go finish it off. A quick check in with Luto and it was off to Qufim. Killed a pretty easy Gigas NM. Then it was back to the various cut scenes and finishing off the quest. Yawawa is now clear to level to 60.

I decided to then go to The Boyahda Tree. On my way there I used 8 stacks of greens digging with the rental chocobo. The results were:
  1. x 8
  2. x 5
  3. x 3
  4. x 2
  5. x 1
  6. x 1
  7. x 1
  8. x 1

Chocobo Digging

The idea was to do two things at once: Skill Chain with Yawawa and get Yawawa some exp at her max rate. This went as planned but I didn't get max kills for her session since we're hitting mobs that last longer now. And she can stay out for more mobs than she used to.

Skillchaining with Yawawa

Then it was off to Caedarva Mire to get my coin for the next try at the Black Coffin mission.

That done I decided to try an Assault. Went with Isyan and two others I didn't know to do the PSC Assault at Azouph Staging Point in the Mire. We got to the last 3 mobs before running out of time. One more DD and we would have been fine. Oh well.

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Saturday, December 23, 2006

Link to the new equipment requirements

SE has some new godlike equipment with this new update: Follow the linky.

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Events, DRG 20 and Thundar

There are two day's of things to relate. So here we go:


Friday was simply the day I completed the Event for this year's Starlight celebration. It started off by doing a lot of cheering at Treant.

Cheering the Twinkling Treant

But after lots of cheering, running around, going from city to city, giving kids gifts and fireworks and getting all the loot, I was able to say I got all the loot. A not for people doing this: Upstairs at the school in windy waters is a great place to unload a stack of fireworks as there is a high concentration of kids and you can unload in one spot.

Strangeone in HQ Dreamgiver wear

While doing this of course I had to snap shots of various bot fishers. Actually Buwake, I'm not so sure about. Usually a name like that is the sign of a mule. Someone has some 'splaining to do. Probably to a GM once they get reported.

Buwake? humm.... what if I change the w to a k?

RMT Bot clone

At least two more clones


Saturday morning was spent doing the big materials craft. I am a purveyor of fine Warp Cudgels in this fine land of Vanadiel. Which means I craft warp clubs and sell them in bulk on the Jeuno/Aht Urghan AH. To do so I need to craft massive amounts of Oak Lumber (to make Oak Cudgels) and Ethereal Oak Lumber (to turn the cudgels into the warp variant). To save space I usually craft 6 stacks of each and stuff those on a mule. That usually lasts me about a month. Note: This means I buy 144 Oak Logs at a shot. When was the last time you saw 144 Oak Logs on sale on the AH? Right, I didn't think so. So the only two other options are: The woodworkers guild (usually slightly cheaper but in limited quantities) or the windy port duty free (slightly more expensive but in unlimited quantities). Windy it is.

Synthing away

Oak Logs cost 5751 gil a pop. Loosely translated this means I spend 828,144 gil on Oak Logs alone. The rest of the materials for a Warp Cudgel cost an order of magnitude less per cudgel mind you. Final cost per cudgel works out to 16-17k depending on how you got your anima and clusters. Now undercutters come out on the weekends. They usualy sell for about 20-22k Which is find for the pure volume market. I tend to sell more during the week and avoid the weekends. My minimum price is 25k a cudgel. This mean my minimum sales for a run this size are: 1,800,000 gil. For those interested the synths are:

Dark Anima x 1

Wind Anima x 1

Ice Anima x 1

Oak Log x 1

Wind Crystal for the synth

Gives Ethereal Oak Lumber

And for the Oak Lumber I use the Lumberjack synth:

Bundling Twine x 1

Oak Log x 3

Wind Crystal for the synth

Gives Oak Lumber

Then I took care of AmberStorm. Having done that I headed off to the dunes to try and complete my DRG job. Whoa Nelly! Newbie party. Slow as molasses. We spent more time getting people Sub-job drops than concentrating on getting experience. People came, got disgusted and left. No wonder newbies thing the dunes are hell. No one wants to help the newbies get their items for the sub-job quest. Bleeding crimps. So I spent 6 hours with the newbies and a) managed to get 2 guys 4 out of the 5 items they needed. b) no one died. So not too bad. Puller was a little slow mind you. But he was one of the newbies so that was to be expected. Oh well.
Newbies in the dunes, who'da thunk?

Then to wash the taste of the slow party from my mouth, I PL'ed Autumnal a bit (she had to deal with RL stuff after a few kills). So I went off to help Jelley. I though Autumnal logged while she was AFK, but no, I find out later she left her character in an unsafe are -.-; Evidently she has not been through the dunes often enough to realize that the corner she was in was not safe...

Autumnal WHMing in the dunes

Jelley was the trying to get her last teleport scroll. So I decided to help out. We met up in Xarcabard. Got her crystal so she can port to the right point once she gets the scroll. Then off to Fei'Yin with her abbreviated party. We get two keys in the first batch of shadows (there are like 6-8 pairs of two). Blink Blink, that was quick. And then the minute we start looking for the chest, she finds it! On the first spawn spot we look at. Had a Pat Morita moment of disgust there. Beginners Luck.

Well that was quick. So I decide to head out to see Thundar in Aht Urghan and try to get my Black Coffin mission done.

At the Black Coffin Mission battlefield point.

Of course Thundar who's a bit rusty from being away from the game so long, ends up needing to go back for his coin.

Waiting on Thundar

We find out empirically that we need one more dd/tank or at least one more RDM. The three of us managed to get the captain below 50% health. Yes, we're a bit suicidal that way. It was a lot of fun mind you.
Black Coffin wipe

At that point I decided bed was a good idea, so back to my mog house I went.

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