Sunday, April 29, 2012

On the highway to... where???

Well, the FFXI team has posted (at least) a (partial) road-map to their 2012 work on the game.

And all I have to say is this:  We know there are supposed to be some "surprise announcements" at the VanaFest in Japan in 60 days.  (BTW, the coverage for us in the States is largely going to be the same as the event two years ago, except this one is more like the US Fan Festivals (two days, during the day) than VanaFest 2010.)

So let's look at bit at all this:

The roadmap takes three parts.

The first part is Job-Related Updates.

One of the biggest pieces of news is that, in June and July, there will be new 2-hour abilities (and, later in the year, the ability through merits to enhance 2-hour effects.

I don't play with the 2-hours that much.  I always see it as an "OH SHIT!" moment that you need to do it as a last-ditch effort to go from 20% to 0 on an NM or a group of mobs who would otherwise wipe you.  But it will be interesting to see what the devs come up with.

Later in the summer, a new summon out of Wings of the Goddess:  Cait Sith.  I guess I never saw a problem with them considering Atomos (at least one of the other Caits actually summons Atomos (which looks like the Cavernous Maws) in one of the mission BC's), but Cait Sith is what SMN gets.

The second part is Battle Content.

Limbus is getting a rewrite, Einherjar is getting a rewrite, and so is Salvage.

As of about VanaFest, it appears we are getting a Dungeon Crawl system, which will then be enhanced as time goes forward.  No further current details.

End of the year, and we might be able to play as a monster, not just have it's costume.  Ooooh...  Kee....

The third part is Miscellaneous Updates, and the Windower crew is screaming.

They may finally, with a number of UI updates, be about to obsolete Windower.  It'll be interesting to see how (and if) it works.

But I get the sense that they better have held something back for VanaFest.  If 2010 is any indication, they probably have.

We already know that there appears to be a 6-on-6 PvP battlefield available (it has been advertised for VanaFest), at least on the test server.

I would like a 99 Expansion -- you have to be 99 to play it.  Far East, Mithra Homeland...

But I'm not fooling myself:  This game is ten years old, and this is Square-Enix we are talking about.

Friday, April 20, 2012

So a new exploit has been found...

One severe enough, apparently, that it has gotten a general information post on the official site:

Recently, we have confirmed an issue wherein players in Grauberg (S) will leave their summoned avatars out while they’re AFK and let the avatars attack monsters by using the auto-counter attack system. Also, we have confirmed that these players have gained experience points and items through this act.

Not only does this act upset the game balance, it may interrupt the game play of other players. Any players caught performing the act by a Game Master (GM) may see disciplinary action taken against their accounts. Therefore, we ask that you please refrain yourself from performing this act.

Now, with the stuff which Square-Enix has been found to allow (griefing, content denial, etc. and so forth), it is rather puzzling to think they'd go after this, except when you put the puzzle pieces together.

First, this means they are actually addressing something which is going on in a lot of Grauberg (S) campaign battles:  There will always be one asshole who will take one of the subordinate campaign mobs (and, at 99, this is even easier to do now), and will run a significant distance away from the Fortification and solo the mob to needlessly extend the battle -- not only tying up the process for the remaining players, but also tying up the in-game storyline resources of the nation should the nation have opted to send troops to Grauberg (S).

But that has been going on forever - and I've been wanting GM action on these idiots for a long time.

What I think finally motivated them to do it (on a limited basis) is that this basically is showing evidence of botting and scripting battles such that you not only disrupt the other players, but you're basically botting the process on top of it.  It's basically the bot-bards, all over again -- except they've figured out how to do it and (technically) participate.

According to  This also appears to be something they are doing with Chigoes in Grauberg to try to farm the (very expensive) Breeze Geodes.

Look:  The game literally shits Allied Notes at you -- 2K Allied Notes = 20,000 gil for a Voiddust, if not more.

Deadplaything on Cerebrus makes a good point:  What about the Abyssea leechers?  One of the most popular power-levelling techniques is the Fell Cleave party -- about 4-5 people go out to a zone and start the marathon Abyssea parties we all knew and loved (I remember the first time when a party I was in literally went all the way around the clock -- for 24 hours!!).  The rest?  All leeching, at 100K gil/hour, 3 hour minimum.

So, on top of "game balance", do you have RMT involved as well?  Is this the new Chinese RMT?  I don't know.

Of course, things could REALLY get stupid:  You could basically have GM intervention on anybody going AFK, especially in Grauberg (S), in campaign battle or the like...

Maybe if the fuckers wouldn't try to short-circuit the rules at every opportunity, Square-Enix wouldn't be so anal when they DO decide to look at something...

Monday, April 9, 2012

Impressions of my first week back...

No, I didn't think I'd ever do it either.  Especially with BG-Lite on the official forums and all that stuff.

(And as for all this Clipper stuff with respect to Neo-Nyzul:  Square-Enix, what the fuck were you thinking?  You're literally asking for 20 floor clears in a 30-minute run to get to 100, on average?

Doesn't excuse the cheating shits, but your $12.95 only gets you the right to log on.

Anyhoo, after going Genkai 9, I have DNC, DRG, and BST to 95 and 1 TNL.  Have unlocked the Genkai 10 fight -- just farming the three items needed to make it a touch easier.

Actually did a day of Voidwatch, clearing the Windurst city win.  And a ring.  Love the "drop" system, in that all pyrixes are separate!

Got back in with Lengendary, or what's left of it now that Neo-Dynamis has taken hold.

And got the Tavnazia win for the last win of the entire regular set -- plus a DNC relic legs +1 for my troubles.

Relic polearm will be L3 once I can get a high-level woodworker to earn some salary from me.

15K a Besieged?  9K for a tag for Campaign??  That'll work!!

Also, skillups in Abyssea are far easier than they used to be!

Also got my L95 Weaponskill Magian dagger done -- the "attacks multiple times" one is about 1/3 finished.

More later -- back to farming that second stone.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Ain't No Grave Can Hold My Body Down

(A fan-fiction partially inspired by true events, plus inspired by events copyrighted by Johnny Cash and by WWE.)

It had seemed like one day had melted into another.  It must've been years since I felt I had been lifted from the chaos that was Port Jeuno for what I could've sworn was the last time.

I was in meditation.  Contented...  meditation.  I had built a shrine to every evil and destructive force I could think of.  At that point, I felt it was going to be the last time that I ever did much heavy lifting before I went to cleanse my mind of years of adventuring.

But, one day, I heard a bell.  A deep, resonating noise.  It disconcerted me the first time, in the middle of my meditation on the damage I'd like to do.

But then, the old Galka began to hear it every day.  Then a second, then a third.  I began to pace nervously, as I tried to figure out the source.

Then, one dark night on my mountain sanctuary, I began to hear a voice.  It wasn't Altana, and at first, I thought it was going to be Promathia or somesuch.

It was...  Johnny Cash??

"Ain't no grave can hold my body down...
 There ain't no grave can hold my body down..."

I tried to grasp at it, to find out what was causing it...

"When I hear that trumpet sound,
 I'm going to rise right out of the ground...
Ain't no grave can hold my body down..."

At that point, I walked outside my makeshift sanctuary.  The night was clear as a bell, and, yet, I felt rain.

I looked up, hearing a second voice:

"Starcade...  Go back..."

At that point, I thought I had taken one too many shots to the head.

Forget that, about 10,000 too many...

I had but one response:

"But I have been condemned..."

At that point, I felt it, clear as day.  Altana's Tear.

"No.  Maybe for a time...  You must not sin any more.  You cannot let them take you."

The drum, the call to march, grew louder...

"But they will scorn...", was an interrupted response.

"Scorn they shall, and their presence is required to keep Vana'diel whole.  But so is yours...", was the last I heard of the voice.

I meditated for weeks on that thought.  Then, I heard another verse from The Man in Black, and it was settled:

"Well, look way down the river
 And what do you think I see
 I see a band of angels
 and they're coming after me
 Ain't no grave can hold my body down..."

At that, I gathered my robes and began to slowly descend.  I did turn around once, but one final meditation convinced me that, even if eventually smote by Altana herself, that it was right...  for Starcade.

So I came down off the mountain and slowly walked across the plains of Batallia Downs...

Back to Jeuno, where it all ended.

The chaos was evident.  Pies were even flying through the air.

I walked through, swearing someone was going to notice me and begin it immediately.  Thankfully, if they had, my filters against such noise were still intact.

I made it back to my old mog house.  I hugged my Moogle tightly, and eventually ran over to Aht Urghan to procure enough currency to maintain the old mog locker.

At that, I set out to work on catching up.  There had been changes made, but, at the end of the day, through the call for that Yagudo Caulk, Joachim's notification that I had enough traverser stones to start a factory, etc., came that voice...

"Ain't no grave can hold my body down..."

I looked up and said audibly, "You are sure?"

"Today is the day to fight for you.  Good luck.", came Altana's response.

Is it April Fools' Day?

Or will the joke be on Vana'diel?

Watch this space...