FFXIV - Five Months In

Overview

Instead of having a post focus on a single topic like I would normally do, I decided to expand this to a number of topics.  I realize the vast majority of readers that still follow me know me from XI and have either quit or not tried XIV, so this post will also be geared towards those players as well.  I hope to cover a couple of basic points about the game from the perspective of a 50/50 Conjurer/Thaumaturge as well as just my honest view of the game in general for those interested in possibly trying or retrying this game.

I want this post to be mainly three things -
   - Informative to those players that are playing XIV, especially those leveling both Conjurer and Thaumaturge
   - Honest and as unbiased as possible for those wanting to know the state of the game from a level 50's perspective
   - NOT a bitch / whine post that offers no suggestions or room for discussion

To outline this post, I want to first start with my overall view of the game thus far from the perspective of someone with multiple level 50 jobs.  I want to be open about the experience - about both the positives and of course the numerous negatives littering the forums.  For those interested in the game, I'll go over some general tips and resources to focus in on.  For those already enveloped in the game and happen to play DoM, especially Thaumaturge, I'll go over some of the things I've personally found about the job, as well as showcase some solos.

This post is screenshot heavy.  Some of the pics are pretty randomly placed, especially at the beginning.


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Conclusions

To review some of the topics covered in this post as concisely as possible, I'm going to split it up, again, depending on the audience - basically how much experience you have with XIV.

To those that have never played:
The game's not ready yet.  It's free and has hope simply because it has a second release.  If you do decide to play, you will likely level very quickly until 20, and then hit a wall unless you happen to have a good group to do static partying using the Leve-Linking system.  SE knows that SP gain is a big issue in game currently and I would look for updates regarding that.  Content is also currently an issue, and one that may take longer to fix.  There are things to do right now, but overall you better find leveling fun or it won't be worth your while.

To those that quit and may come back:
It depends on why you quit.  If you quit because you couldn't level, then you need to wait for drastic SP changes and check forums for review of any changes to the system.  If you quit because of lack of content at upper levels, then you may need to wait a bit longer.  If you quit because you couldn't find a good group to play with, then I would try various forums to see if you can find a more established group.  There are plenty of them if you know where to look despite the grim outlook you'll generally see on ZAM forums.

To those that do play:
In addition to the SP issue and lack of content, there are some very key imbalances among the DoW/DoM jobs right now.  The DoM jobs just horribly outclass the other jobs in nearly every aspect outside of pure max HP right now, and if you happen to have a character with both DoM jobs at 50, you become incredibly broken.  50/50 DoMs can really solo much of the endgame content with limited strategy at this point.  I only talked about solo aspects this post, but the imbalance is similar when talking about NM and group play.  Most stats/attributes are worthless or offer hardly noticeable gains, resulting in a max VIT build being almost universally the best build for all fighting jobs.  Balance is a big issue noticeable at 50, but the other issues of leveling walls and content will likely (and should) take priority on SE's "to do" list.

For me personally, I've had a great time since starting XIV.  The poor reviews at XIV's release are admittedly well deserved, but the game is still quite fun for me; it's very similar to my experience starting XI.  It's honestly not as bad as most forum complaints will lead you to believe, but it does need quite a bit of work.  If anyone wants to know more about how the game plays right now, feel free to post back or PM me at BG forums. 

Until next time!


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Strongest Abilities in Early FFXIV

Overview

Given that FFXIV is still in its infancy, having just started a month ago, I'm going to refrain from writing anything resembling a guide or a 'how-to' at this point since that would be rather arrogant on my part.  To make the comparison, it would be like writing a BLM guide in FFXI based solely on party experiences up to Qufim Island.  What we can see, even this early on, however, are certain abilities which are just clearly overpowered or stronger than most.  I want to focus on that in this first real FFXIV post here.

Having either directly tested or played with all the DoM and DoW jobs up to about 25, I feel like this list is fairly balanced.  I'm going to go countdown style, but this will only comprise abilities and traits up to 25 since that's all I can really comment on.  Given FFXIV's system of cross-class abilities, I think that this list is both useful from a meta-game understanding as well as for everyone's personal character in general.  Once the list is complete, I'll go over my personal opinion on the state of the game in general and maybe some safe predictions on job tweaks.

I hope you find these FFXIV posts useful.  Enjoy!


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Conclusion

I should stress that this post only refers to things up to level 25, which is only half of the current cap, which is going to be raised multiple times in the coming years.  It is hard to predict what this game will transform into even within the next 6 months, so all I can comment on is now.  I feel that the game has incredible potential, with the only fault (and a major one at that) that it was released way too early.  I feel that in March '11 with PS3 release, we will finally see what this game was truly meant to be released as.  Until then, I am personally enjoying myself a great deal online.  It's interesting to note the progression of the game from its infancy, something I wish I could have witnessed in FFXI.

I can understand the "outrage" and definitely understand the poor reviews that the game universally received at its release.  This game should work for everyone, not just the hardcore players like myself.  This game, especially in its current form is not casual-friendly (or really even "friendly" in general).  Its grind exp curve is much harsher than 11's ever was even at its beginning.  But there are a number of very fresh concepts that I feel can be built on.  I just hope that SE can build the game up to a "playable" level for the casual player by March.  Regarding this post, I think it is evident that there are a number of game balance issues that need to be fixed (after the UI fixes of course).  If I had to list the top 5 things that need to be fixed from a purely balance standpoint (ignoring things like UI, lack of AH, lag, etc.)...

     (1)  Fix or balance Firm Conviction. 

It's too strong, and makes shields and all shield abilities completely pointless.  Again, the damage reduction is much stronger than blocks and much more consistent.  Since you cannot have shield block up while casting, you have to choose.  Right now, it is to your benefit to cast, not block.  Without a fix, SE will have a huge portion of the game (the entire shield class and a number of gladiator moves) be completely useless.

     (2)  Feint needs to nerfed (TP increase, stamina increase, recast increase, etc.). 


The concept behind this move is similar to a trait you could get on SAM in FFXI, but the strength is just incredible right now.  It is actually to your benefit to miss... a lot.  As it is currently implemented, the DEX and accuracy stats are not only not useful, but are actually counter-productive to increase.  1 move should not completely and globally out-class 2 entire stats.

     (3)  Reduce the effectiveness of shell. 


You cannot have a level 16 spell reduce 60-75% magic damage globally.  To compare, in FFXI, magic damage % cuts are capped at -50%.  Shell V capped at about 28%.  It's a good, classic spell, it just needs a potency decrease.  How strong is shell 2 supposed to be right now?

     (4)  Tweak Punishing Barbs to either have a damage cap, or just reduce the effectiveness. 


If this is not done by endgame introduction, you will be seeing a lot of high level PUGs suiciding HNMs with Barbs.  As mentioned in the body, this move provides a huge damage source that crosses level differences.  Couple this with the fact that there's really no long-term penalty to dying repeatedly and this is just a meta-game disaster waiting to happen.  Just cap the damage or scale it with level difference.

     (5)  Adjust the strength of spikes abilities


Both spikes abilities are incredibly potent right now.  Stygian spikes completely fixes MP issues with grinding alone on any job while Shock spikes is probably the best defensive spell in the game right now.  They will likely face nerfs in the future.


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Pics

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Request to FF14 Beta Players

Overview

Sorry for the lack of updates the last few months!  I haven't really touched FFXI in awhile and did not feel a need to still make posts unless I felt I had something unique to say.  Regarding the question I've been getting more and more often lately, I will indeed be moving to FF14 when it comes out.  To those that have tried to recruit me to your no-doubt outstanding LSs, it has been extremely flattering; however, I probably will not have the free time to immerse myself in endgame to the degree I did for 11.  Despite decreased playtime, I still look forward to providing a unique, and most importantly, helpful commentary on 14's meta-game when it comes out.  Of course, my "specialty" is the dissection of 11's enmity system and I look foward to giving my best effort on 14's system as well.

I would just like to hear people's input on the hate/enmity system. If you have experience with the beta and could take the time to reply with just stories and anecdotes on how the enmity system works I would greatly appreciate it. I'm not looking for in depth analysis necessarily. Just your experiences are great.
Feel free to ramble or give your own opinions - I'll read everything.

Some basic questions:

In general, how do you feel 14 compares to 11's enmity system?

Do you feel mobs have a "memory system" (similar to AION where the more often you kill something the more hate you receive for the same actions the next time around)?

How are party dynamics with regards to holding hate for tanks, and avoiding hate for DD/backline?

What jobs have you seen tanking? What are people using to maintain hate?

For mages, are there any actions you find that draw attention to you more than others?

If you've tried running away from battle, what were your experiences regarding the mobs' ability to track you?

Overall general impressions or stories are great.

Regarding the future of FFXI and specifically my own, I will try to make a dedicated post on the last 7 years in Vana'diel at a later time. 

Thanks in advance for the feedback and happy gaming!


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Update Thoughts on RDM

Quick Update and Thoughts

I don't have the time to write a full-thought out post, but I wanted to just share my thoughts on the recent patch - particularly regarding the change to the RDM spells Bind, Blind, Blind II, Sleep, Sleep II, and Dispel.  For those that haven't been able to look around, all these spells were changed to 1 CE / 300 VE.  I've already changed these on my tables.  The old values I have still written on the main table page in case anyone just wanted to compare.


Is RDM Tanking Dead?

My personal opinion is that it is.  I'm a pretty open minded person when it comes to strategy, but if you take a look at all the possible enmity generators for RDM, it has absolutely no CE gainers anymore outside cures and damage.  The closest thing to CE gain is Enspell II at 80 CE / 240 VE.  That's like asking a NIN to build CE with just ninjitsu.  Damage is not a reliable source of CE for a mage since it will be MP based and most things worth non-melee tanking are resistant to magic. 

Cures would be a fairly significant source of CE still; however, cures are only "MP efficient" when it comes to VE gain.  For instance, if we take a 75 character that self-cures himself (aka the "cure cheat") for a full 410 cure IV, he'll generate a whopping 1788 VE before any enmity enhancements.  That's like a provoke.  But he'll only generate 298 CE - for 88 MP, or a ratio of 3.4.  Compare this to Dispel, which used to have a ratio of 12.8, or Sleep II with a ratio of 16.6.  You just can't generate a sufficient amount of CE without having a huge net-loss of MP here.  Also, remember that the cure formula is based on your level - the hate generated by cures goes down as your level increases.  So as SE raises the level cap, curing becomes less and less efficient a hate tool.  So it will actually become less efficient as SE gets closer to the 99 level cap.


RDM's Replacement?

If I had to point to other possible "unconventional" tanks I would take a closer look at WHM.  This is excluding your melee tanks, which already have great uses and doesn't need to be talked about.  WHM in particular seems like a good option now since Repose is essentially old Sleep II - exact same timer, cost, and CE/VE.  Plus you get Flash.  If you're lucky enough to have Yagrush, your VE gain is completely covered by AoE -na spells.  All these things were present before, but if you consider the addition of increasing Stoneskin cap and more gear options, I think it could actually still give PLD a run for its money.  Here are just some things off the top of my head:

- Yagrush -na spells basically give you a Provoke for 5 MP and free spammable - not required but a god-tier item.
- More and more Fast Cast gear that can be gear swapped in.
- Already very strong haste gear.  Blessed gear is insanely strong - just make sure you gear swap out
- More gear choices in the future - hopefully some with + enmity that a WHM can use.
- Increasing Stoneskin cap.  This is hugely efficient considering the HP increases past 75 don't seem that great.
- Strongest innate magic defense bonuses.  Plus you always have Shell V as a WHM tank.

I think it could be pretty workable.  There's really a lot of similarities to old RDM here so I don't think anyone's breaking too much new ground with this.  But with RDM tanking taking such a huge hit, WHM tanking may become more prevalent.

UPDATE: nvm they changed WHM repose in a patch like 2 days after I wrote this.  It's 1CE/300VE now too.



PLD...

It's common to joke that SE loves PLD, with all the update's it's gotten over the last few years.  Back around 2006-07, around the height of the NIN/DRK craze, PLD was a pretty average tank.  But throughout the years it's been repeatedly buffed - Sentinel changing from useless to a top-3 hate move, auto-refresh, non-aegis shields going from useless to essential, Atonement, etc.  I think this recent patch just seals the deal that SE does expect PLD to tank and be the consensus best at tanking.  My personal belief was it already was (I base "who is the best" on who tanks the best on the hardest mob - this being AV), but you could make the argument for RDM.

I think a lot of RDMs want to QQ over this and I can sympathize since I've found RDM tanking to be quite fun over the past few months, but I look at it in a different way.  This is a game within a game.  The creators (SE) have their own ideas on how the game "should" be played; we as players are the innovators and we sometimes popularize things they never intended to see happen (RDM tanking certainly being one of them).  I think one of the most rewarding things you can do is to take something that wasn't supposed to be any good, and not only make it work, but rival the best.  SE nerfing this only cements the success of the non-conventional tank.  I don't know how to explain the SE AV video where their main tank was a RDM though lol.

Happy gaming guys


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Yacumama and Capricornus Solos

Overview

I chose to bunch these 2 VNM solos together since they are really very similar and spawn in the same zones (part of the Blue Abyssite Krabkatoa path).  Unlike the previous VNM solos outlined here, I'm going to offer multiple zone strategies for these 2 NMs, which have good fighting spots in Jugner [S], East Ronfaure, and East Ronfaure [S] (three of the four possible spawning zones, the other one being Jugner in the present).  All three of these zones have fairly good pinning obstacles, all built around fences, but as I'll go over in this post, East Ronfaure [S] has by far the best pinning obstacle.

It has been awhile since I posted, and I know that some of these pinning spots have become really popular already.  You may find some of these areas, most notably the East Ronfaure [S] location crowded or already being used.  I encourage you to learn at least one other location (East Ronfaure is my personal second choice) in case you find the best spot taken or being overused.




Not as many screenshots this time, but this is probably the most useful post in the series yet.

Enjoy!


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Conclusion

Considering the popularity of the Krabkatoa path, it's good that you have 3 possible options to solo for Blue Abyssite.  If possible I would always try to do your solos in East Ronfaure [S], since it has the best pinning obstacle and is located in a friendly part of the zone.  Jugner [S] and East Ronfaure present-day also have decent spots; however, the Jugner [S] pulls may be difficult due to the 1-way nature of the fences, and the East Ronfaure fence is a somewhat weak pinning obstacle.  Still, with some experience, all 3 be used quite effectively.  Given the popularly of the East Ronfaure [S] fence, it may be worthwhile to learn at least one other zone.

There has been some discussion lately as to whether or not the "pinning" technique is in fact an illegal use of terrain exploitation.  A fellow player on Odin server was recently jailed and given a "warning" for using the technique in Xarcabard on Feueurunke and various forums have also had some complaints.  As the person who has really promoted this technique (even naming it way back when I first used this on Jailer of Temperance), I do not want to see anyone get in trouble over this.  I urge you to use caution when you think you are being GM'd (GMs do not randomly spy on you, if you get in trouble for this, it is because one was called on you).  This is really a 'gray area' and depending on the GM's personal views and knowledge, you may or may not get in trouble if you come face to face with one.  

As to the "morality" of using this technique, my personal view is that I have openly preached this technique for at least 3 years.  I have never seen or heard of anyone having an issue with it until VNM came out and this old technique became applicable on more worthwhile NMs.  You are still clearly in danger, the mob can still easily reach you, and there is at least some semblance of strategy (especially to find some of these glitch points).  I don't really see this being any different than kiting; however, remember that the only opinion that actually matters is SE's.  Basically, use at your own risk.


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Pic of the Day


Robe!

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Drama Thread of the Day

FFXIV Alpha Musical Score Leaked

This is already over a month old, but I figured it's still worth a mention.  I don't want to directly break any laws so I'm only going to link the BG thread on this.  It should not take more more than a couple seconds to search and find for the score download yourself though.  Personally, I thought it was good, but nothing amazing like say the FFIX score.


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Erebus Solo

Overview

Erebus is an undead bones Tier II VNM part of the Lord Ruthven (Purple Abyssite) path.  Overall, this is one of the fastest solos, and part of a very highly sought after path, so I'm hoping that this VNM solo post is one of the more useful in this series.  This post is going to have some redundant information from the previous post on Feuerunke since the pinning obstacle is the same, but with a little more added to it due to the added complexity of having to avoid -Ga3 spells.  This NM is a bit trickier than the others with some awkward mechanics, but once you get it down, it's really fast and easy.





I posted full logs of my first kill on this one, so it's very screenshot heavy. 

Enjoy!


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Conclusion

Overall, this solo has a slightly steeper learning curve than the previous ones I've outlined, but after a couple attempts, it should become your fastest solo without 2HR and very consistent.  This NM was actually solo'd very early on after VNMs were introduced using a more classical kiting strategy along with a strong Magic Damage Taken (-MDT%) set.  I chose not to go into specifics regarding the -MDT% set here in order to focus more on the kiting strategy and to highlight the idea that this set should not be necessary to complete this solo with ease (though it is still helpful if a -Ga3 gets off).  In future solo posts, this -MDT% set will become necessary for survival and it is really a crucial part of high end RDM soloing.

Because the Lord Ruthven path is so highly sought after, it may also be useful to learn this solo in Beaucedine; however, I don't really have enough experience of the area to write a guide for that zone at this time.


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Pics of the Day


More elemental resist sets!


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Drama Thread of the Day

w1zbot user list RESPONSE

Not sure what the OP was thinking posting this, but it makes for good drama.


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Feuerunke Solo

Overview

We've already established the idea beyond the terrain usage we are employing on these NMs (see previous posts here and here), so I'll try to keep this one more specific to the NM in question.  Feuerunke is the Doomed Teir II VNM that pops in Glacier, Xarcabard, and their past-zone counterparts.  Compared to the previous two solos covered on VNMs, I would consider this one probably the easiest due to the strength of the obstacles we are using to pin the mob.  Since it has a bit more HP than the others, it may take a bit longer though.

Before beginning, I want to point out that this solo explanation is going to focus on fighting Feuerunke in present-day Xarcabard.  Keichan has a great post on how you would go about fighting this NM in present-day Beaucedine using similar tactics, so you really have multiple options when doing this NM.  Beaucedine is more flexible since it has multiple spots to pin the NM unlike the one I'm about to show you (makes for easier pulls), but the Xarcabard spot is stronger and can be used for easy Erebus solos as well.  I'd recommend trying both out and seeing which you prefer.

Similar to previous posts, this is screenshot heavy.

Enjoy!


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Conclusion

I feel that this is probably one of the most useful solos since Lord Ruth has such a good loot pool (for both mages and melee).  Although Feuerunke has a bit more HP so your solo may take ~10 minutes longer than the others, it's a very easy solo once you reach the location after a few minutes of practice.  In addition, you can attempt this NM in multiple zones solo easily unlike the others (check out Keichan's post linked in the intro).  

In the next post, I'll be going over Erebus, the bones NM that also pops in the same zones as Feuerunke.  The solo uses similar tactics, but has a tad more complexity and cannot be easily solo'd in Glacier as far as I know.





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Pic of the Day

Progress!


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Drama Thread of the Day

W1zBot User List

Not quite Taj-level drama but drama nonetheless.


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Jyeshtha Solo

Overview

Continuing with the idea of "pinning" and the new Voidwalker NM system, this post outlines how to solo the Orcus path Tier II Scorpion VNM Jyeshtha.  If you have not read the previous post on soloing Lamprey Lord, I encourage you to read that first.  Unlike the first solo on Lamprey Lord where I basically lucked into a great pinning spot, this time I actually set out to find one.  At first I thought it would be rather difficult to intentionally find a pathing glitch; however, it was actually quite easy.  The pathing system in FFXI as it turns out is even more flawed than I had previously thought and I could almost predict where and how the glitches will occur now.

Similar to the previous post, I'll outline where to pull Jyeshtha as well as the precise mechanics around the pinning obstacle.  At the end of the post I will also post the complete log of my first Jyeshtha solo in case anyone wants additional details for whatever reason.  I would personally consider this solo much harder than Lamprey Lord since fast cast Break automatically ends your attempt if it lands; however, overall, this should not be a difficult solo - you just cannot screw up.




Once again, this post is very screenshot heavy.

Enjoy!


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Conclusions

The nice thing about this solo using this method is the speed of the kill.  The change rate on Colorful Abyssite to Tier III triggers is pretty bad, so in order to make soloing for pop items viable, these need to be relatively quick and easy kills.  Though the attempt outlined here took 20 minutes with Chainspell, with more experience, I'm sure I could get it down to 15 minutes with Chainspell.  Again, the pinning method plays a significant, if not the key role, in the strategy.  In the next post, I'll continue with more of these NMs and how finding proper pinning obstacles makes the NM possible or easier.

Another thing to note is that I am doing these solos with +12% movement speed.  I really don't think the movement speed is still required to pull this off (given that you are taking so few baby steps), but it certainly does help, especially when you screw up the pin.  But outside of movement speed, my gear is fairly average.  Due to the type of strategy we are employing on these NMs, gear is not really an important factor, which is not necessarily true in more classical RDM solos, which rely heavily on a very strong MND and Haste set.


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Pic of the Day

Trying to augment elemental resist sets!


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Drama Thread of the Day


Black Abyssite Dupe

So, it's not really a "dupe" since you get the key item out of nowhere but close enough. 


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Lamprey Lord Solo

Overview

VNM (Voidwalker Notorious Monsters) were introduced in the latest March '10 version update as a new tiered NM system.  While each NM has its own quirky mechanics, there are 4 things that they all seem to have in common: (1) they all run extremely fast, maybe 150% run speed, (2) they are all immune to bind, (3) they are all immune to gravity, and (4) they all automatically despawn if they are a certain distance away from their target. 

In what was probably blind luck, I happened upon an old strategy I onced coined as "pinning" years back in this post while fighting the Tier II leech NM "Lamprey Lord".  While SE did seem to purposely add a bunch of anti-kiting measures on these NMs, they did allow them to pop in any number of large zones as well as allow them to be moved.  This gives players a great chance to take advantage of terrain.  In this post, I want to quickly go over the "pinning" technique again, and then apply them particularly to the Tier II VNM Lamprey Lord, which I believe is not soloable without using this technique.




This post is very screenshot heavy.

Enjoy!


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Conclusions

I found this particular solo interesting since you can take a solo that seems impossible and bring it down to a ~15 (20 to 25 without Chainspell) minute kill with just terrain abuse.  The success of this solo is based solely on the obstacle you choose to use and how badly it tricks the AI's pathing.  Regardless of how much further this strategy can be taken and applied to other VNMs, at the very least, this is a very efficient and fast way to attempt solo Tier III Orange Abyssite, in addition to soloing for Hirudinea Earring.

I would consider myself still a novice in RDM solos, so attempting solos of these Tier II VNMs provide good challenges and learning experiences for me.  I hope to post about some other VNM Tier II solos in the near future, though some of them have already been solo'd with more conventional RDM strategies such as Slow II straight tank with TP limitation or just a normal kite.  Either way, I hope to improve my own solo technique on these very interesting NMs.


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Pics of the Day

First week back on Odin! 

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Drama Thread of the Day

Black Belt!

This isn't really a drama thread, but a good story with a happy ending.


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Coming Home

Overview

With the introduction of the March update, servers were merged and Bahamut / Odin reopened.  I've had a great time in game over the last year, but I feel that it's time to come home.  After being banned over about 15 months ago, I was offered a number of existing accounts, but eventually chose to recreate from scratch hoping to play anonymously and as a more "normal" player.  In many ways I feel that I have achieved this.  But right before returning, I want to dedicate this post to the last year and the people I've met.

As a quick overview, I rerolled randomly onto Bahamut Server, which immediately closed 3 days later.  I was unable to get an Odin mule with about 30M worth in gil onto the server, so I actually ended up playing for 3 months really from scratch with gil.  I stopped playing after 2-3 months to work on AV (Modus Veritas burn) on Odin, but restarted January '10 after moving to Siren.  I joined "Cloak and Dagger" led by Milkman (the 1UP writer) after talking to Kimiko via BG and have been there the last 3ish months.  Since the March update, I have been waiting for the 90 days to retransfer to be up, and moved back about a week ago.

Lots of screenshots!


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Conclusions

I'm glad to have restarted alone the way I did.  I feel that it brought back a lot of nostalgia for myself, and it certainly has made me appreciate what I had for so many years on Odin.  That being said, I'm so happy to be back where I belong and I look forward to posting about anything interesting I find.  FFXI may be on it's last leg, but it's still enjoyable, if not more so to me now.  To all my friends on Siren, I wish you all the best!




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