Sunday, December 28, 2008

A late entry, it looks like...

And it was a real struggle too...

Not in the sense that it was necessarily hard, but our Dynamis shell was kinda struggling a bit -- and then I had to leave (scheduled -- my friend with her Internet broadcasts, and I have no problem with that)...

But there is a new entry in the top 10, sorta... (and it'll be added for the purposes of the list for those who read the list only)

10A. LATE ENTRY: First relic gear Just kinda one of those things which you just add to it, because it's another one of those things that kinda just takes you another step "up the ladder". I didn't even talk about my new Dynamis LS, Lengendary, and its tireless leader, Kiana.

So, I'm building up attendance points by attending a Dynamis-Bastok run that I know I'm not going to be able to finish because my friend and roommate is going to be broadcasting in the afternoon of the last Sunday of the year (as she has for most recent Sundays).

And, let's be frank: We're struggling a bit. Kiana is recruiting new members (and I'm not *that* far into the process myself), and I'm sucking the joint out for some odd reason. I Dynamis, for the time being, as a 75 BST/37 DNC, to secondary heal the party to allow the main healer to keep MP up.

Problem was, my pet wasn't in as much check as I should. It was basically causing trouble with the AoE effects forcing it into fights I wasn't wanting it in. So the LS was struggling. (They did eventually get the win, but I'll have to grab that some Wednesday night sometime when we do Bastok and I can finish it.)

I do get admonished about it, and I wasn't mad -- but there was a silver lining.

3 small currencies, another Infinity Core...

and a Monster Jackcoat. That BST relic gear was free lot (and the rule is that you can free lot without attendance point cost if no one else spends their attendance points to gain a preferred lot -- and you have to be 65+ in the job which the gear you're lotting for is in), and only one other player lotted (and was easily beaten, but I could've been too).

So, I have a Monster Jackcoat now to aid in Charming stuff when I solo big stuff. It's an achievement -- but I just wish I could be better than I was today.

Friday, December 26, 2008

My Top Ten for 2008

Well, I like the idea I saw on JP Button (which they've put to all the other Premiere Sites and some of us bloggers too... ;) )-- basically, having a lot of players put out their top 10 FFXI events for 2008. Kinda a "long weekend achievement thread", in a way -- as I heard one put it.

A second edit: Since I'm about to put this into the lurch for others to see it, Elmer the Pointy, the erstwhile head of JP Button, asks us all to put this explanation into what the idea actually is:

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?

End quote.

So I decided to do it. Kinda do the obvious top end first, and then head down from there:

1. My first 75. 14 months ago, I was easily getting burned out by FFXI, I changed from Monk to Beastmaster (partially because I don't trust a lot of partying, and still don't). Sometime in the summer of 2008, I finally "graduated" to 75 status. It was so thrilling to finally do it.

I remember last year's Fan Festival. And I got an idea, at least in my mind, as to how lame of a player I seemed to be because my highest level, at the time, was about 44. Now, I have 3 60+'s and a 57. Still gotta work on some of it, but, you know...

2. Defeating Maat for the first time. I love hyper-excitement in my Final Fantasy -- and that's why I really enjoy the 1-on-1 showdown with Maat for GK5. Took in my Beastmaster, and it took three attempts to best him. Got it done, though -- and very highly satisfied in so doing.

3. Gaining access to the past and Campaign. One of the real frustrations I had before doing Beastmaster to 75 was the inability to access most of the expansion content (based for higher-level players).

Once I actually was able (with my heart in my throat) to run about the first four areas to actually get to a city of past allegiance, then I could start opening maws, utilizing Fortification warps in the past, and actually gaining a nice shortcut to get from Present City A to Present City B (other than Jeuno and Aht Urhgan), a real upgrade to where I was...

Not to mention the storyline. Problem is that damn Adelheid mission.

4. My first Besieged. Kinda the same type of frustrations I had with Campaign, though I was looking forward to Besieged even more. Just a very exciting game dynamic which allows for many different players (and different types of players) to gain XP in an intense setting, which I like.

The only reason I rank gaining Campaign access higher than Besieged access is just some of the frustrations I've put in previous posts about Besieged players going into business for themselves.

5. Which leads to my move to Leviathan. Previously addressed in another blog post (Last Night Was My Last Night on Asura). There's still some chicanery (and, hence, a growing /blist) on Leviathan, but it's clear the players here give a darn about the greater good (to which the personal rewards will come). I heal and raise and enfeeble and DoT the bastards to help us win -- and, then, guess what?? I get XP, IS, and advance my Red Mage toward 60 and beyond. What a concept!!

6. Discovering the Promies as a source of fun and profit... Probably the most important one for me gear- and gil-wise... Almost found this out by accident -- was going through Promyvion-Mea once a week for my Tactics Pearl. All of a sudden, I synthesize the animas for small profit...

But the Radiant Memories at about 12-15K a stack and the Somber Memories at 60K??? WOO HOO!!! Hello to lots of new gear for my jobs. Hello to a decent bank account, finally...

7. Sharlene, my Adventuring Fellow Going through this process actually not only gives me a little boost in having something along which can bang opponents and heal me (and allow me to help where I was having a couple of ruts in my advancement (40s DNC and the like), but it also gives me a quest each week to get to the Promies, where I learned how to make lots of gil, and take my bank account from ~400K to ~1.4M.

8. Fields of Valor Only been out a couple weeks, but I like the concept, a lot!! It gives you the opportunity to take some jobs out of retirement (or augment the secondary ones you have to 61 or so before the last of them runs out), make up some of the difference for when you break out your Adventuring Fellow, or simply make tabs that will help you in various aspects of your adventuring, even when you do party.

8A/9. Treasure Caskets What do I say about these wondrous creations? Not only can they get you temporary items for in the field, but, on occasion, a nice little number mini-game to gain some actual stuff, including some decent gear. Just a nice little surprise to break up the monotony which can get into any Final Fantasy game (just go out there, kill a bunch of baddies, rinse, lather, repeat, repeat, repeat... and eventually you get to a decent level).

10. Opening up all 20 jobs and getting them to level 10. OK, maybe a small fry, but, still, they're all there to be raised up if needed. :)

10A. LATE ENTRY: First relic gear Just kinda one of those things which you just add to it, because it's another one of those things that kinda just takes you another step "up the ladder". I didn't even talk about my new Dynamis LS, Lengendary, and its tireless leader, Kiana.

So, I'm building up attendance points by attending a Dynamis-Bastok run that I know I'm not going to be able to finish because my friend and roommate is going to be broadcasting in the afternoon of the last Sunday of the year (as she has for most recent Sundays).

And, let's be frank: We're struggling a bit. Kiana is recruiting new members (and I'm not *that* far into the process myself), and I'm sucking the joint out for some odd reason. I Dynamis, for the time being, as a 75 BST/37 DNC, to secondary heal the party to allow the main healer to keep MP up.

My pet was being drawn into too many fights, and we were struggling a bit, but, when I left, this was the take:

3 small currencies, another Infinity Core...

and a Monster Jackcoat.

That BST relic gear was free lot (and the rule is that you can free lot without attendance point cost if no one else spends their attendance points to gain a preferred lot -- and you have to be 65+ in the job which the gear you're lotting for is in), and only one other player lotted (and was easily beaten, but I could've been too).

So, I have a Monster Jackcoat now to aid in Charming stuff when I solo big stuff. It's an achievement -- but I just wish I could be better than I was on that day.

So there's my Top 10 in-game. Might do another one FOR the game itself, IMODO. Let you know on that one.

Another rough week...

Started out with such promise too... And my friend got the most wonderful Christmas present I can think imagineable -- and then her glasses broke and I had to talk her off the ledge again. *dammit -- can't the world just lay the fuck off my friend for several millenia now??? PLEASE??*

Well, not much play this week:

Both Dynamis days didn't go off. They did Dynamis-Beaucedine on Sunday, and Wednesday, everyone was nestled with visions of sugarplums.

Then, I get in league with a couple of dicks in Moblin Maze Mongers, and then promptly get my Dynamis LS leader killed in another maze. *dammit again*

At that point, I took a couple days off FF11 and played some FF12.

Now, some promy runs and a double Besieged tonight, and hopefully a lot of rest for a weary friend.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Not a good week, sadly...

And next week probably isn't going to be much better.  Jury Duty (though with a wireless connection -- FFXI at the courthouse??  :) ), Holiday Burnout (can someone please tell both me and my roommate when the holiday season is over?  Seriously, the way we're going, we might not make it!), and all the other stuff has kinda drowned out FFXI.

But, here's how the week went:

Sunday:  Part of Dynamis-Windurst.  Not a bad run -- not sure if they won or not, but had to leave before my friend's broadcast.  Promy animas were dead on the Auction House all week until they finally appeared to clean out today.

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday:  Haven't had three so blah days in a long while.  First MMM run:  Bleh.  Basically cycled Fields of Valor-Xarcabard to 61 Dancer (and eventually 60 Dragoon).

Wednesday Dynamis:  People need to show up on time.  Period.  We're lucky we're not losing zones to RMT or something with how late we get.  Not enough DD = no chance at Bastok.  Sunday might just be an attendance day (and, if it isn't, it's probably Dynamis-Xarcabard anyway).  Probably taking a week off to get more people on the Dynamis LS.

Thursday:  Another online idiot sends my friend to the edge for the sixth time in three weeks (as if the Post Office isn't fucking around enough).  If this shit don't stop, someone is going to get f-ed up seriously.  And if these punks online want to take that as a threat from me, go right the fuck ahead.

I've had it.  I've had enough of watching this world get taken over by a bunch of fucking punks who would more likely punch a homeless man on a bench (and that's happened to me too!!) than help anybody.  It's all about being more bad-ass than anybody.

Straight outta Rikers, punks.  Straight outta Rikers.  You don't want none.  I've taken far worse than any of you.  And it's only by the grace of God I'm still here to help my friend.

There's a reason I call anything talking about my friend's experience (or mine) which bring us both to the breaking point "Those Who Fight Further".  It's getting there.  And, if they keep pushing, and I ever get into that space that I was in on Memorial Day of 2007 (don't ask), pray I still have something to lose, like I did then.

Friday:  Group of 5 runs at MMM.  I win 2 runes in my Lootbox.  Woo hoo...

Saturday:  A Besieged gets me close to 57 Red Mage.  Farming in the Promies.

Next week:  God only knows...

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Well, at least the update went smoothly... (or did it??)

Before I begin...  (Warning:  There will be foul language in this post.)

I don't know who the rat-fuckers are at the local post office, but either this shit stops, or I'm looking for a new place to live.

About two weeks ago, I used one of my rewards programs to "purchase" a decent set of headphones for the computer I use.  (I have them on right now.)  But the package was clearly damaged (and marked as such) by the United States Postal Service en route.  Fortunately, the outer box was far too big for the actual shipment, and the headphones came OK.  The box that it was shipped in, however, looks like someone kicked it with a steel-toed boot.

But that's nothing compared to the crap my roommate has been through this month (and that's over and above the grieving the holiday season causes her).

First, as I remarked earlier in this blog, her check (when it clearly says on the envelope to send it on the third) came on the fourth, as if the postal dorks decided they wanted to send it whenever they damned well felt like it!

Then, there's a small matter of an order that my friend had sent from New York (it's not that important as to what it is, as she has had various other orders either damaged or basically outright destroyed by the USPS).  That order was scanned "Received" by the USPS on December the 10th.  (She got the shipping number when she contacted the company she ordered from.)

My friend has not received it, and probably will not receive it -- she is out over $60 on an order that she now has to replace.  All this while she's trying to save money to go to Puerto Rico in February!!!

Needless to say, too much more of this, and my roommate will have had it.  If that happens, I wish to go on public record to say that I will not be held responsible for what happens, because I don't even want to think about what's going to happen if my friend finally loses it for good.  I love my friend as a friend, but she can only be expected to take so God-damned much.  My friend only has a very small sliver of life left in her, and I don't want the rest to go now.  She still has that trip to take in February, which means everything to her right now.

Formal complaints have been filed with the post office (one for the package, several more for the attitudes of the people she's had to deal with!), but neither of us expects that to go very far.  My friend got word this morning that, with the company she orders from, apparently there have been quite the number of complaints similar to this with the shipping of these orders through the USPS, which has led us to but one conclusion:

We know that the USPS is laying off workers due to the economy.  We're beginning to get the very sick impression that the United States Postal Service is full of people who are stealing whatever they damned well feel like from people's mail, and damaging whatever they don't feel like stealing.  I'd suggest anyone shipping Christmas presents find another way to ship it, or track your packages very damned carefully.

(And now we both have to wonder what's going to happen with next month's checks for my friend...  If she doesn't go to Puerto Rico, for whatever reason, I'm done here, because she's done -- period.  This shit stops.)


Had to get that off my chest, because apparently the update didn't go so well...

I had actually begun this to actually say the update had gone smoothly.  It was not that large of an update, and Moblin Maze Mongers was in the game for about 2 1/2 hours.

The actual physical update of what they put in the game this morning went OK.

From there, complete cluster....

Basically, this is how it works:

-- You go to Lower Jeuno, to Muckvix' Junk Shop (some may know this as the location of the Gobbiebag expansion quests) and talk to the Moblin Goldagrik.  He will give you a rundamentary Tabula, a Maze Voucher, and two Runes.

You can only do one maze every 24 hours, real time.

-- You then use the Voucher on the Tabula to mark the Tabula.  At that point, you place runes on the Tabula to set up the parameters of the maze.

-- Once satisfied, you walk over to the Chocobo Stables (in Lower Jeuno), and trade the tabula to the shopfront.  At that point, you will be asked to confirm the tabula, and pay a construction fee (in my case, 100 gil).

-- At that point, request for entry is considered, and might take a while if a lot of people are trying it out.

-- Once inside, you have 30 minutes to set up and complete any and all objectives to win a treasure chest with XP, maybe some items, and Moblin Marbles (used to buy runes, Tabulae, music sets, what have you...).  You can talk to one Moblin to buy some support items (if you set the rune for _that_) and to set what music you will use in the maze.

-- Talking to the other Moblin there starts the maze itself, and, from there...

-- I died rather quickly, because Square Enix, though it says it wants to allow solo play in the mazes, doesn't want people to solo in this game, so everything in the maze was about five levels above what I sent in there (luckily, I changed my mind at the last moment and sent my level 18 Ninja rather than my level 58 Dragoon).

-- ... because you can and will lose XP in the maze if you die.

That was bad enough.  What made it worse was what I saw about 30 minutes afterward, after I Home Pointed, changed to Dragoon, and went to Fields of Valor-Xarcabard (again):

A system message.

Moblin Maze Mongers has been suspended due to technical difficulties.  See the Information for more details.

What the Hell is this???  You've had a year to get this ready, you've already delayed the release once.  It's clear this thing still appears buggy as all get-out.

I know we're impatient, but at least give us a timeline, for God's sake...

Sorry, been a long day already.  Hopefully Dynamis will go a little better tonight...

Monday, December 15, 2008

Sounds like MMM wait is almost over...

Nice blank post I almost put there...

Log on today to find another maintenance and update on Wednesday (the 17th). Also, from the Update episode on Pet Food Alpha, we find out that the FFXI people knew that Moblin Maze Mongers was going to be delayed -- and "word is" that this update will get us that gameplay.

Why didn't they tell us last Saturday?!?!?!??

Anyhow, didn't see anyone posting on it, so I thought I would throw it in.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

End of Week Generic Blah-Blah-Blah...

Well, the update is almost a week old, no word at all on the time-frame of MMM, and life continues to go on in ways I don't like, but not badly enough for any inclusion here. Basically, I'm well but not that happy...

Anyhow, so what did I do this week in game?

Monday: Update. Lots of wiki-work. Two levels on my MNK that I retired, and soloed my MNK AF weapon fight.

Tuesday: More wiki-work. Farming, etc.

Wednesday: My first Dynamis (Sandy) with my Dynamis LS -- Lengendary. Nice leader, knows what he's doing, and we won _rather easily_. See post below for more. Loot: 8 O. Coins, an Infinity Core, and a skin. A Besieged after that.

Thursday: Farming to get the gil back from the 25K -- my share of the Hourglass, and Campaign to get back the XP to retake 75 BST and to get a buffer for Sunday's Dynamis. (or at least the part I will be able to do before I have to leave at 1:30)

Friday: Basically discovered Fields of Valor-Xarcabard as a good levelling spot for my Dancer and the Adventuring Fellow -- replaces Kuzotz (which cannot do FoV, since it is not from original FFXI). Doubleheader Besieged. Farming in the promies.

Saturday: More levelling in Xarcabard Fields of Valor (both DNC and DRG) and farming in the promies.

Basically, with my 75 BST, I now have a 60 DNC, a 57 DRG, a 56 RDM, and a 46 MNK. 2 DNC levels, a DRG level, a RDM level, and 2 MNK levels. Not a bad week.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

My First Dynamis

So how'd it go??

Well, will need to get some XP back to get my BST back to 75, but, otherwise, it rocked!!

We won Dynamis Sandy, with only about 20 people... We got a bit of a late start (so Sundays will be an issue, with my friend doing Internet broadcasts), but I was given instructions which were very clear (assist the DD leader, don't melee the Orc NM's, and watch the pet).

It went basically as smoothly as it could, except for a few deaths when the DD leader disconnected and a few after we had won and continued to farm. But, all in all, a real fun experience. Can't wait to do more!!

Can't remember too many of the relic armor drops (didn't really matter, since I couldn't lot on them anyway (had no LS points to bid for BST drops, and have no other 65's for the "free lot" relics no one bids on)... Still, several of the beastcoins, an infinity core, a good skin... I'll take that -- and a fun experience.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

I think yesterday made several things very clear...

I'll start with this one, and get to more as time goes on today... But, before I do:

I guess I'm finally getting into end-game. :) Someone actually recruited me, almost sight-unseen, for a Dynamis linkshell. We'll see how it goes. I just hope I can do well for them, and at least learn about this. Baby steps, one step at a time.

OK, now to the part of the update (other than the postponement of Moblin Maze Mongers) which has everyone up in arms:

Square-Enix, in their continuing fight against RMT, has decided to cut (significantly) the NPC prices of several items which were used as farming items for players to put gil into the system.

And a lot of players are pissed, and probably should be.

Here's the thing: RMT has gotten more and more and more desperate over the course of the last few months -- going so far, in some cases, as to hack into accounts and steal passwords and the like. I think it's becoming clear that, in the eyes of Square-Enix, it is becoming necessary to cut off the flow of "incoming gil" -- that is, gil created by the game (by selling to NPC's).

Consider the amount of work that the Special Task Force has done vs. RMT, and know that they have to have tried to figure out which methods the cheaters were using to get their gil. I think it's clear that they don't want to continue to see gil coming into the system as much as they used to.

Consider another thing they put into this update: The Treasure Caskets. They seem to drop quite a bit more than 1/10. I think Square is actually trying to put a lot of these items, more, into "temporary" usage, rather than permanent items, probably not only to lessen the amount of gil passing through the system, but to help with storage issues. (At least for lower and mid-level players...)

This is not going to go quietly. I could see more than a few accounts leave play because of this -- I'm ambivalent on it, but I can see the consternation.


Edit: Another thing that it makes clear -- they don't want everybody finishing WotG missions.

Bastok especially.

You see, to get to the set in this update, you have to finish all missions and quests (in the mission line) up to one called "Fire in the Hole". Adelheid is a Scholar. A very immature and stupid one.

You are supposed to keep her alive through several waves of Quadav so she can blow up a Turret deep in the mines near Pashhow and Rolanberry in the Shadowrealm.

With as stupid as she is and as frail as she is -- good -- freaking -- luck.

And, if you want the next missions, you have to beat her, and you can only get other Bastokans (or those who have done FitH) to help you.

Nah, they don't want us seeing the story...

Monday, December 8, 2008

Version Update Thoughts

Will be updated throughout the day...

Rats, rats, rats!! The Moblin Maze Mongers got delayed. Rats again.

Was going to try out Fields of Valor, but the Tactics Manual doesn't "spawn" in North Gustaberg for me. I was able to check out a couple of the others by changing to my 75 Beastmaster, and here's what I found.

Each zone has 5 different objectives, and the further into the book you go (you can do any of the 5 at any time), the harder they get. You get monsters to kill and a recommended level set. Succeeding gets you XP and "Marks" to spend for effects like reraises and the like. Cool.

Treasure caskets could be VERY abused. It looks like the down time between casket openings is not more than a couple minutes, and "Too Weak To Be Worthwhile" monsters CAN drop chests. The puzzle for the combination chests is actually quite interesting.

3:40 PM: In my first Training Regimen for Fields of Valor after picking up my Monk AF weapon. Finally broke my 44 MNK out of retirement to take it to Beaucedine Glacier and try all that out. First page: 9 Tundra Tigers, 2 Goblins. This isn't as easy as it looks. Remember, a lot of agg stuff up here. Let you know how it goes later. This is FUN!

And the Treasure Caskets rule too!! :)

8:30 PM: Fields of Valor in Beaudecine is helping my 45 (now) MNK become 46 pretty quick. Got Iron Mittens (L35 handwear -- not great, but not meh) from a brown Treasure Casket (4/5 on opening the combination locks... They can be nasty on the numerical puzzles, so watch out. Lots of wiki updating, etc.

ALERT: Last-Second Removal of Moblin Maze Mongers from 12/8 Update

I know that you don't come here for the news, but, since this posts to The Tarutaru Times Online, I figure some might see it there first.

They've pulled Moblin Maze Mongers from this update, to extend the "Quality Assurance Period". They'll let us know about a release schedule, but it sounds like it's going to be a little while.

Source: (it's right at the end)

Yes, MAJOR disappointment. However, if you read my FanFest reactions blog and scroll down to the Moblin Maze Mongers presentation, it sounds as if they had some major problems during the mass presentation, and I can only think there were so many problems that they could not handle this and all the other issues that an update like this brings at the same time. I'd be surprised if they get this out before the first of the year, now.

Also read in another Tarutaru Times Online blog that some at FanFest had major issues with the MMM demo. If you tried to Tractor someone, all the computers in the party locked. And the problems that the mass demo had were not unique. It seemed like the game would only let you in when it felt like it. Not good this close to the release, Square.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

FanFest reactions blog...

OK, so here's the FanFest thread. I won't have put it up til you see it Saturday morning, but I am gleaning some Friday night stuff while reading the PFA/FFXIclopedia blog and others I can find, while I finish off getting all my jobs to level 10 and get ready for the version update on Monday.

Yes, the update with Moblin Maze Mongers and Fields of Valor is Monday.

So, on with the comments (all info is being grabbed, for now, from the FFXIclopedia/Pet Food Alpha blog):

7:58 PM: FanFest is over.

Not that much news. They gave away prizes to some wonderful artwork and cosplayers (one cute wittle baby as a moogle got some headphones he or she will never use), and then the same pianist who came over last year did another seven-song set.

Certainly an understated event. It seemed like it was more thrown-together than anything, but the fans are probably going home happy (except that the blog basically said that the reviews on the Dev Panel were "mixed", for the same reason I put at the end of my Dev Panel thoughts).

Anyhow, that's it for me til Monday and the version update here on the blog. I can take comments -- just not adspam or the like... In fact, I usually check for a few... Keep your eyes open on Monday as I take my first look at the new stuff. Til then...

Development Panel (3:30-4:30 PM): Well, here it is. Main Event time for any news from the show. Let's see what the Dev Panel has for us this year.

-- Level Sync: They heard about people having trouble forming Level Sync parties, so, in addition to what you've already heard, they plan on making higher-level equipment a bit more valuable in Level Sync and Level Restricted areas.

Be careful on this one, Square-Enix. You don't want the Dunes overrun with Level Sync-ed 75's meriting in the Dunes with overpowered AF and the like. I like the idea behind this, but be careful.

-- Making the process of gaining levels easier: This is where "Fields of Valor" comes in on Monday. Last update, they significantly upgraded the amount of XP for monsters commonly farmed either side of an Even Match (DC <-> EP). Now, they add Fields of Valor to help players along. One thing they have not said in the past: 30 minute time limit to any "training regimen" undertaken in the Fields of Valor.

Let's hope it helps as much as the upgraded XP table has. I look forward to trying it out on Monday. Time limit is probably a good idea. The harder ones might well have to be scaled such that they can barely be defeated in the 30 minutes (remember, once you get to checking "Too Weak to be Worthwhile" on your mobs, you can't just plow through them and have them count for your objective).

Also, "Treasure Caskets". (Also previously announced.) Basically, players will be able, on rare occasion (announced today as 1 chance in 10 -- for every 10 kills you get, you'll get 1 Treasure Casket, on average) to get either an open casket (blue, with temporary items to help out in the field) or a numerical combination locked casket (brown, which might have some decent gear for that area/level). For the combination locks, you get only 4-6 shots to come up with a two-digit number from 10-99. Sounds like it plays like "Clock Game". You give a number, it tells you higher or lower, and you have a set number of picks to get it right or it goes away.

Oh, this can rule the universe for players like me!! I like to kinda grind out and farm a bit in some areas (the promies nor Kuzotz will have this to start, just the _original_ FFXI areas to start), and basically getting 1 of these for every 10 kills (on average) will rule for someone like me who isn't afraid to take 2 hours and kill 60-80-100 EP monsters. YES!! And combine this with Fields of Valor regimens??? WHOO-HOO!!! (That's why I got all 20 jobs to level 10 before this update.)

-- New "Wings of the Goddess" missions: Sounds like, after a long wait, a large expansion in the storyline in this update, so get caught up on your WotG missions through "In the Name of the Father", at the very least. (Whether you have to complete the quests from the last update, though, is not clear.)

If so, get Adelheid to SLOW DOWN FOR ME!!

Sounds like there might be some Jeuno stuff, but whether you gain any real access to Jeuno in the Shadowrealm is not known. Sounds like at least one Campaign reward, but it does not appear to be a new set of ranks or any new real gear.

-- Wedding-related stuff: New Tuxedo. (Can be bought by previously married players.)

Sounds like, with small additions, this is basically the stuff they covered in Japan already. Of course, for those of us on the Net, we knew about a lot of this from the VanaFest coverage.

-- Dancer and Scholar Updates (Dancer Level 2 Merits here): They are going through the Scholar ones they already said in Japan (increasing accuracy for next black or white spell, decreasing emnity for next black or white spell, Enlightenment as a one shot Tabula Rosa, and Stormsurge to help storm effects), but the Dancer ones are new and exclusive to the North American FanFest. I have a level 58 Dancer now, so this should be very interesting.

Here's the new Dancer stuff:

Saber Dance: Increases the probability of Double Attack, however, renders Waltzes useless.

Ouch. That's probably to give them more of a DD feel. Not sure I'd use that too much unless the situation demanded it.

Fan Dance: Reduces physical damage, but not only renders Sambas useless, but also increases emnity.

Look for Raven/Crow gear, which reduces emnity, to be worth a lot after this update.

No Foot Rise: Instantly grants finishing moves to the dancer.

Gotta be a catch to that, as we already have the Steps to do that. That plus the first Flourish could be sick. Might be that it gives you the maximum five in one shot.

Closed Position: + ACC and + EVA when facing the enemy.

That's good too!

Special Task Force: 82,000 accounts banned in the last year, 33.4 billion gil taken out of circulation. They've banned more accounts, with less gil, this year.

For the record, the "street value" of that gil would be somewhere in the neighborhood of about $1,300,000. This probably means they've been able to catch RMT quicker, or the RMTers are trying to come back with new accounts, and getting re-banned.

LOL: The RMT-PWNER!!!! (v. 1.337) Basically tracks the gil -- as they said in the VanaFest thing, they can track it from the person who farms the gil to the "bank" in which they put it to a possibly bigger "bank" account, and so forth... The mechanism, once it identifies the entire tree as RMT, can take ALL THE ACCOUNTS IN THE TREE down at once.

Gotta like that. :)

Fishing restrictions, and, apparently, some fishing of their own, too.

I still don't like that they sic those agg Goblin Bounty Hunters on the rest of us, though. Thanks, you RMT bastards!

Hmmm... "Do not pass Go. Do not collect 200 gil." This is probably the jail functions. Word from VanaFest is that they wanted to do automatic jail functions, but haven't gotten to the point that innocent victims have been taken out of that jail function just yet.

POL RMT spam: Still looking into it.

Future Version Updates: Next Adventurer Appreciation Campaign (7th anniversary of FFXI is 5/16/2009) will have some very nice furniture stuff, as was announced at VanaFest (cardians and Shadow Lord are under consideration).

Not really a big furniture hawk, but, if it has a big enough effect...

Next year's Mog Bonanza (Lottery): Going to be some changes (legal concerns). Going to try to get it to come back, but not until it clears "Legal".

I was wondering if this year's Mog Bonanza completely was up to legal snuff. Sounds like it "may or may not have been".

Campaign issues: The new areas and last tier of medals look to be coming in the future updates.

Waiting for those. Basically maxed out my medal a long time ago!

New Campaign content which depends on control of the area (influence) is coming in future updates.

Was wondering when that might come into play a bit more! Might get some more people to play Campaign to take areas.

Salvage: No large-scale changes planned. Drop rates being looked at.

You're encouraging the cheating bastards, Dev Team. Don't deal with the drop rates until you correct the damage already done.

Player questions:

You should already know what question 1 is...

1) New avatars?

Not until a few patches are put in, but 2 "LARGE NEW SUMMONS" are only a few patches away.

Sounds to me like this is a game balance issue, at this point. But if they can get to the point where game balance isn't completely nerfed, sounds like the wait will be worth it for Summoners with bated breath.

2) More storage space??

*cough* Please hurry with it... *cough*

Sounds like the 80-item cap is a memory issue when they originally put the memory on these items. (Probably the limit they could put into, say, a 512-part situation or somesuch...) They'll look into new ideas.

3) Red mage frontline?? (Discussed a year ago at FanFest)

Lots of job adjustments in the Spring (March 2009?) update. RDM and WHM to get a lot of help.

Could use a little more oomph on my RDM. :)

4) Repops on ??? situations...

Some will get addressed upon examination.

5) An item for finishing the Wings of the Goddess storyline (like the ring you get for finishing Chains of Promathia)?

Still a ways off, because they haven't finished the storyline yet, but they are looking into that too.

6) Treasure Coffer -- making keys into key items rather than regular items which take up inventory slots.

They're looking into that, but the way the chests and coffers are designed might make that an issue.

Having to drop something nice to keep your coffer key while you are on a coffer hunt can get VERY annoying. So I'm glad they're looking into this.

7) Dynamis -- look at the event timers.

Being considered.

Panel over.

Hate to say it: But that's _IT_???

80% of this material was already covered at VanaFest in Japan, so anyone with a reasoned Internet presence in the FFXI Internet community would already have known most of this info. We do get the Dancer Level 2 Merits and some more info on a couple things, but I am disappointed the STF is not taking a long look into MAJOR changes in Salvage, since (without a whole ton of ban-hammers) all real balance in Salvage has been blown apart.

The Premier sites will be posting their interviews. I'll glean anything interesting once I get home. See you soon.

2:30 PM: All right. Back on after I left to let my roommate do an event this afternoon. I'll probably have a brief interruption about the time the development panel starts, but will get to that as I can.

Anyway, let's see what's happened in the 2 hours since I left. (Not much for the rest of the morning I was on...)

Players got to play in The Swarm with the pretty relics and the like. Lucky dogs...

MMM: A Maze Compass (don't know if you get one automatically) is what you use to exit any maze quickly, if necessary. XP and the like is given only in a chest at the end of the maze run.

Pictures (as best they can get) are up in the live blog at FFXIclopedia and

11:40 AM: I stand corrected on the Swarm battlefield. That's only for play in FanFest (and some nice toys the characters get to play with too -- relics, Krakens, etc. :P). Thought that might be a Rolanberry (S) thing for the next set of WotG missions to come out on Monday.

Moblin Maze Mongers presentation: Nothing earth-shattering in the opening ceremonies, so the first development presentation was on the new (and promised last year at FanFest) "user-created dungeons" from the Moblin Maze Mongers which go online Monday.

You need a Maze Tablet (a starter one will be provided upon first trying out MMM in the game), a Maze Voucher (to identify the theme of the maze -- I assume these will be instanced (of course, this could lead to crowding problems come Monday if I'm right), and runes for each square of the 5X5 tablet (identifying types of monsters (by type, size, whether they are aggressive, element) -- some runes can take more than one square).

Hopefully they will be giving us the ability to do solo mazes (as well as parties) at the start -- the demo, apparently, was also a solo one.

Absolute ROTFL moment!!!! The demo was supposed to begin, and they were going down the well to head to the maze, and, all of a sudden: "The hands of darkness prevent you from entering." They got denied to their own demo maze!!!! ROTFLMMFAO!!! They can't do a live demo of the MMM for the audience, so they'll have to PowerPoint it now. Ouch!!! I hope that doesn't give indications of what's going to happen on Monday. I really would like to try this out upon release. (Sounds like they got hit by their own cool-down -- you can only do the maze every so often and they didn't take that into account in their demo maze... :) )

They finally got it loaded up. Pays to be Square-Enix in cases like that.

I like this: You can set your own background music for the maze you are about to play. Apparently, there are quite a few options (at least on the demo).

ROTFL moment #2: He's going to die on the first monster of the demo maze!! Not what you want to do if you want to encourage players to play it! He died!! Oh no... How hard are these mazes going to be, guys? You have a PLD in AF1 dying to the first monster in the maze! Sounds like they put a solo player into a group maze. Square is not on the ball this morning.

Of course, neither am I in-game. While doing all this, I'm in Kuzotz, as I said. 58 DNC/MNK (so sue me, OK?) and 58 Sharlene (Stalwart Shield). Because I'm not paying attention, I have a train of FIVE goblins (two Robbers, three Poachers -- and a sixth linked in later) on my ass, and am working on it.

And then an Antican decided to say hello too. This was meant to be a safe time-killer, so I was fine. Now offing a few more Anticans in retaliation.

On edit: Thought for a minute that MMM _may_ require Wings of the Goddess access (even though it is accessed in *present* Jeuno), since it sounds like it is possible that the zone they used to MMM was a Wings battlefield -- but has been taken by the MMM for use in the present after the Shadowrealm fell, sounds like...

10:10 AM: First small bit of news (most of the beginning is about the new mini-expansions). One of my ideas gets shot out: The new expansions just add storyline. No new areas. No past Jeuno, no past Tavnazia. Everything else said so far appears to be the same stuff that was said in Japan at VanaFest, so those keeping up with that coverage on the Net already know most of it, so I'll can the stuff here.

Saturday morning: OK, now the show is about to begin. I'm posting this just before they start the show at 10 AM. My pick for the most sloshed may or may not have won. :) Looks like everyone is just filing in and getting ready, but the news should start coming hard and heavy pretty quick. I'll be here for most of it (though a couple of computer and Net change interruptions will be apparent early- and mid-afternoon) with reactions. Me? Off to Kuzotz with Sharlene to level her and my 57 Dancer. Show is just about to start.


Friday night: One of the first things I noticed (as I was catching up on the first two hours of live-blogging) was that they had made a comment that this Fan Festival was about half the size of last year's. (About 1000 participants, rather than the 2000 they had in 2007.) Also, the main in-game (demo) stuff was going to be trying out not only Moblin Maze Mongers, but a new battlefield called “The Swarm” (apparently accessible from Rolanberry Fields in the Shadowrealm). Hmmm...

Basically, not much Friday night, so I'm working on my goals of finishing off all 20 jobs to level 10 (so I can teleport with any job to, say, North Gustaberg's outpost – the outposts are where you start “Fields of Valor”) and a doubleheader Besieged on Leviathan, as well as more Promy farming.

Sounds like PFA's Fusionx and I are going to have to agree to disagree on one thing: He told me (in the live blog) that he felt the Special Task Force wasn't going to do that much against the players for the Salvage exploit because he believes it to have been Square's fault. As I said, we agree to disagree.

Most of the Friday night live blog questions are either administrivia or silly about a poll as to who gets drunk the worst tonight. Fusionx is, erm... losing. I picked Ganiman of FFXIclopedia.

8:18 PM Friday: Near end of first half of doubleheader... Gere falls to the Leviathan Mercenaries. First Mega-Boss to go down in my sight. I love it when someone actually cares.

The rest of Friday night: Second half of doubleheader ended badly personally... That Nemean Lion has a mean AoE attack. Died twice to it right at the retreat. Ow. Finished leveling the last of my 20 jobs to 10. Put some stuff on the auction house and got to bed.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Some thoughts about FanFest...

First, a memo to the US Postal Service, Southern California Division:

When it clearly says on the envelope to deliver my roommate's check on the 3rd, that does not mean the check is sent to our post office at our zip code here at that point. It means it's in our box on the 3rd!!

Thank you for your consideration.

With that out of the way, some thoughts on the event Saturday:

-- First, I will be making a post of my thoughts on FanFest, and keeping up with the different blogs as the event goes along (at least minus a break for my roommate to do an event online mid-afternoon). All of the FFXI Premiere Sites probably will have live blogs on the event, but you can also come here to see what I think, should you care. (Of course, this might not be a continuous update if the TaruTaru Online stuff ends up making a new post for every update I make. That would *not* be pretty.)

-- Second, someone still has to try to explain to me why tickets literally sold out within 12 hours (if not within about 3) for this year's show, and I could still walk up and get a ticket for last year the night before. (Not everyone who was there in line to do that could, mind you, but I had waited about two hours in line to do it, plus the length of time it took them to get through us.) If the new venue in Hollywood is _that much_ smaller, then tell us. I'm not saying Square Enix is pulling one on us, but it's just odd.

-- And now, my predictions for the event. (I'd call them some particular name I heard on the radio, but Mike and Mike would send Golic to squish me. :) )

1) There will be, right away, one BIG announcement that everyone will have waited a long time for (not counting anything already said at VanaFest in Japan). Last year, it was Windowed Mode. (And if you don't believe me, download the Day 1 Limit Breaking News from Limit Break Radio's coverage of last year's event -- iTunes would probably be best, but I'm sure it can also be found at Listen for the ovation when it becomes clear exactly what they had put in the "Live Vana'diel" section of their official site on the screen in front.) I think this would have to be even bigger than the new avatar_s_ they promised us. Exactly what? I don't have that much of a clue as of writing, but I'm sure that it would be something very obvious.

2) About the new avatar_s_: Either we'll see at least one of them in the December update (which _should be_ next Monday or so), or else someone's going to ask pointedly at this year's dev panel and the like.

3) I would expect the Special Task Force, as I said before, to take a much more active role -- I would expect a first set of announcements as to how, exactly, they might wish to combat the Salvage exploits of the last several months, the RMT POL message spam, and other problems under their purview.

4) Dancer Lvl 2 Merits? Probably increasing the amount of healing done by waltzes or the intensity of effects of Sambas or something to that effect.

If I come up with any more, I'll edit this post. I'm sure I'll come up with more Predictions Sure to...

*Mike Golic runs into the room to squish me!*

See you later!! *runs*