Stating the Obvious

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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Yay Update!

With the September update having come and gone, and with some time to settle into the new world SE has created for us, it's time for me to start putting it all together.


We've got new gear, new zones, new skills, new spells, new all kinds of shit, but the most important change with this update was not something SE had any say over and that's the Obsidain Linkshell. Before the update we were seeing a drop in attendance for Dynamis and it was becoming clear to us that people were losing interest (interest has been declining for some time, but recently it's turned into an avalanche), hell I was losing interest. Fact is Dynamis is a big commitment, twice a week, 7 hours of playing time minimum and there is so much new content and stuff to do from the last two updates, most folks are opting to go with the new and say to hell with the old. This is understandable, especially since much of the gear just got bitchslapped by the Empyrean Armor (I'll get into that another day), the only motivation for most people to do Dynamis is to hang out with friends.

So with that in mind, about two weeks ago we had a sackholder summit and laid out the direction Obsidian would be going forward with. The biggest change is a massive one, our focus is switching from Dynamis to Abyssea. For those of you unfamiliar with Obsidian this may not seem like a big deal, but Obsidian has been a Dynamis shell for almost 6 years (some knowledge for you courtesy of Qtipus and Kaeko: Obsidian's Origin and Old School Dynamis), and that's a lot of history to walk way from. We'll still do Dynamis, but we're scaling it back to once a week and only focusing on Xarcabard and the CoP zones. Even with this shift in focus, the sign-ups for the CoP zones are disconcerting, 20 for Qufim, 20 for Valkrum and 9 (yes, fucking NINE!) for Buburimu. Hey, I know we're all level 85 and shit, but those bosses don't kill themselves... At any rate, there is so much to do in Abyssea, that we had to adapt or watch the shell die.

It also doesn't stop with Abyssea, we also still have Einherjar, VNMs, Sky and Dynamis in our event schedules and we're doing so much stuff all the time, I've given up and just use Obsidian as my social shell also.

Job Changes


So it turns out I was way offbase with Yurin and Myoshu, both of them are essentially Subtle Blow as opposed to the Silence and Defense Down spells I was hoping for. Yurin is a debuff that "Inhibits TP" gain for a mob, while Myoshu is a buff that is "Subtle Blow Plus", and both are very nice for soloing. The thing to note here is that Yurin is easily the more useful of the two tools for a group event, especially when fighting an NM. The reason for this is Yurin helps the group as a whole, it's inflicted on the mob, Myoshu on the other hand is only on the caster, it's solo only and even then, if you are near the Subtle Blow cap (it's 50), it may not be helpful at all. So not total fail, in fact Yurin is something I can cast with Aisha that gives me two debuffs only a NIN can use to help the cause.

The damage increase for elemental ninjutsu has been disappointing, it appears Ichi got roughly a 25% increase and San got around a 10% increase, however, as near as anyone can tell, Ni spells seem to have LOST about 10% of their damage. I can't personally verify these numbers, but I can say the numbers are marginal at best, there was no significant increase.

The one thing I can say about the Skillchain Bonus is it's real, and it seems to generate enmity. I've actually got to test this one quite a bit with Atma farming when I've self skillchained Blade: To > Blade: Chi (creates Impaction) and I've been pulling hate with that. Now anyone who knows much about Katana Weapon Skills can tell you, they don't do much damage, in fact a single two-hand weapon skill will out-damage both the weapon skills and scillchain combined, so to be pulling hate from doing this seems odd to me (especially with Innin up). It might be my imagination, or the fact I'm piling in multiple hits and the game mechanics dictate more hate generation, or the way we are fighting the mobs, I simply don't know.

Dual Wield V, say what? My initial thoughts on this were, no, SE would have put that in the update notes, but now I'm not so sure. Many jobs are reporting tier increases in their job traits and SE was mum about those also. Is it noticeable? I haven't been able to tell, I hit so damn fast already so it's hard to say. Plus, I'm not one of those people that understands how to test and confirm it, so all I have is rumor.

Black Mage

As I stated in a previous post, BLM didn't get much in this update except new spells, it seems most people still feel BLM didn't get much. Break is probably the one that has most folks irritated. On the surface it's a great spell, lasts about 30 seconds and stops the mob cold. That is, if it lands. For some dumb ass reason, SE decided to make this a spell that relies on Enfeebling Magic, which BLM has a C+ rating in. This means a typical BLM has to put a ton of work in just to get decent Enfeebling Skill, and even then, against high level mobs there a good chance it will get resisted. It also has a 4 second cast, which is middle ground casting, but if you are hoping to get this off like Stun and give yourself time to run away, then you better hope the mob doesn't interrupt you. I can live with the casting time, but why Break isn't Dark Magic is beyond me, would be tons more useful if it was.

The -ja spells, as it turns out, are indeed like Cura, going up 5% in damage after each successful cast, however, there seems to be a time limit for casting so it's not a permanent increase. They are also AoE spells, so they seem to be the next tier of -ga spells as well. However, like Stone V and Water V before them, most BLMs don't have merits in either element so the interest in them has been marginal.

BLM also got two new traits, one we knew about, the other we found out about. The first is Occult Acumen, this grants TP applicable to a spell's MP cost (elemental and dark magic only) and was first introduced for DRK and SCH in the last update, now it's BLM's turn. On the surface this seems rather intriguing, the return is 2.5% of the MP cost (I have no idea if Conserve MP or Clear Mind affect this, btw), so if you cast Thunder IV, you'll get 4.275 TP, Burst II will give you 7.175 TP. Seems cool, but then...when does BLM ever melee that they need TP?! It's almost exclusively a solo thing, so meh, it has its uses, but most of the time no one will give a shit. The other trait is Magic Attack Bonus V, like Dual Wield V above, SE didn't mention BLM was getting this and in fact no one was expecting it until level 90, but it's been confirmed that BLM does in fact have MAB V at level 81.

That should be enough for today, there's a lot more stuff to cover, gear, AF3, Abyssea, etc., but that's for another day...

Friday, September 3, 2010

September Update Thoughts: NIN & BLM

So the with the September update just a few days away, it's looking like this update will be job centric, with additional content if one purchases the second Abyssea expansion. This is fine with me as I have plenty to do as is, if someone needs more then they need a better fucking hobby.


I never look at the BG forums as they are mostly filled with immature elitist assholes, plus I hate looking for things there, it just doesn't work for me. Instead I tend to focus on the Alla discussions, which also have immature elitist assholes, but there isn't nearly as many (aside from the BLM forum, that one is full of fuckwads). Why do I bring this up and what does it have to do with the update? Well NIN has been getting shit on daily at Alla, led by the Jerk Ass Rog (ThePhsycoticOne), who has declared NIN useless, him and his minions karma bomb anyone who dares state otherwise. Folks there are demanding that SE make NIN a top tier DD or it will be branded the next BST. Meanwhile, Rog himself is a RDM (though he says NIN was his first 75, thus, apparently giving him the right to bitch and moan like a fucking asshole all he pleases), and if anyone has been paying attention they will note that RDM and NIN are becoming similar jobs with slightly different approaches. Neither are the best at anything, but both are in the top five of everything, so I find his bullshit to be that much more annoying because he comes off as a smug little hypocrite to me.

The worst part of all of this nonsense is his constant barrage of bullshit has somehow convinced otherwise smart people to think like him and QQ over the death of NIN. You fucking morons! NIN is just as good today as it was a year ago, it's a great DoT DD, a great tank, a great puller and a great kiter, not the best at any of those, but far from useless. Some want it to be a better DD, but to make it on par with SAM you need to buff one-hand damage and add an epic WS, which would be nice, but probably not necessary. Others think it's dead as a tank, and these special little shitflakes think this because of the nerf to RDM hate spells. WTF?! You dumbasses were supposed to be subbing DRK for a fucking reason, i.e. Weapon Bash and Last Resort (you open the fight with these abilities shit for brains) and then spam Stun and NIN enfeebles, RDM was always the better option for kiting! Idiots. The only thing lacking for NIN tanks is a native hate generating ability like Flash or Provoke (Yonin is good for holding hate, but not generating it), as a tank it can still embarrass a PLD when one tries.

At any rate SE responded by...not changing any of that, which is fine with me, I think NIN is a great and versatile job that doesn't need any serious changes. What SE has decided to do was shore up the major weakness in NIN by addressing Ninjutsu, specifically adding more debuffs (or are they buffs?) and adjusting the damage to the elementals. Sure the aforementioned shit for brain message board saps may think this is bad (as witnessed by the near immediate karma rating of someone who did like it), but Drakus is excited (yes, I just referred to myself in the third person). I'm stoked by the idea of higher damage Ninjutsu, especially if it means Ni = Tier III and San = Tier IV, nuking is the best part of being a BLM and I always enjoyed it on NIN (I even carry around tools just in case I feel like nuking shit), so if my Nis can do a minimum of 200 damage and Sans start at 500 then I'll be a happy NIN. Think about the damage that can be inflicted in a short period of time, running through a Ni wheel will net 1,200 damage in around 30 seconds, while a San will do 3,000 damage in under a minute. Sure, BLM and maybe SCH or RDM can top that, but I won't be out of MP or have used up my two-hour to do it. As for the two new spells themselves, I'm not as bent out of shape this time, sure I'd prefer my Ni tier be finished, but if my hunches are correct, I'll be happy.

Yurin: Ichi

Yurin apparently means deep woods. Initially I took this debuff to mean defense down to collaborate with attack down, but after seeing the animation (found here at 0:37) I'm thinking something altogether different. There is no sound after the spell is cast, thus I'm thinking it's Silence. This makes sense when you consider the translation, that deep woods, are thought of as a quiet darkness, i.e. silence.

Myoshu: Ichi

Myoshu means something along the lines an extraordinary, excellent, or magnificent move. Unlike the above one which makes sense as a debuff, this translation sounds more like a buff, to be more specific, it sounds like Accuracy. However when I see the animation (it's right after the one in the link above) I'm reminded of the RDM Sword WS Death Blossom, that WS gives RDM an aftermath effect of Magic Accuracy and Magic Attack. Again, it seems more like a buff. That said, aside from Shadows, Sneak and Invisible, NINs have never been given a buff spell and this is why I go back to my original speculation of it being Evasion Down. I think the translation is rather telling that it involves Accuracy and the debuff for that is Evasion Down. We'll know what both of these do in around a week, in the meantime, it's been kinda fun to conjecture.

Blade: Hi

Could this be the WS I mentioned that will put an end to Jin? Somehow I doubt it, but fuck if it ain't a cool animation (found here at 1:47). There's some speculation over the translation (could mean fire or secret), but the animation seems pretty clear to me it's a fire based attack that probably deals fire elemental damage and if that's the case then it's not gonna beat Jin (Shell and MND come into play with elemental WS).


I imagine BLMs were a bit disappointed with today's update one sheet, unlike most jobs BLM is getting no new abilities, traits or tweaks, instead they get five new spells. When one considers the spells though, I think it all evens out in the end.

Aero V

This was to be expected, some people were expecting Fire V, but it looks like they are giving us V spells every three levels which means we can expect Fire V at 86, Blizzard V at 89 and Thunder V at 92. That aside, just like Stone V and Water V (neither of which I've bothered to get yet), Aero V doesn't bring much since merits are in Blizzard and Thunder, will be nice for Kirin, but beyond that I don't think it will see much use when I do get around to getting it.

Aspir II

Fucking win. This is a fantastic addition to the job, even better than Convert imo, couple this with Aspir and you're pulling back around 400 MP and you aren't risking death to do it.


These two spells have led to a lot of speculation as to what they are. It's clear they are AoE spells, but they are not the expected -Ga IV spells, even though those spells are in the game and used by mobs. My guess is instead of divided damage, these spells will do the same damage to all mobs within range. For example, say a -ga spell does 1,000 damage to a single mob, if there are three mobs, each receives 333 damage, -ja on the other hand may deliver 1,000 damage to each mob whether there is one or 20 of them. Maybe, who knows?


Another potentially cool spell. If you've ever fought that fucking turtle and his pieste pets in Pashhow (S) you have an idea of what this spell can do, here's hoping it's our Stun II spell.

I'm excited about this update, in addition to the above we are getting Armor Trials, the first half of our AF3 (BLM is gonna be fucking awesome, NIN is a wait and see), more WotG and more Abyssea, lots to do!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


Revenge of the Air Conditioning

This summer has been a hot one in Memphis; I don't know whether or not it has been the hottest summer since I've lived here, but between the news and walking back and forth to my car, it wouldn't surprise me. We had triple digit heat for nearly four straight weeks with the heat index reaching as high as 130 degrees, simply put, it's been fucking hot (today it will only be 90 degrees, perhaps I should have broke out my winter coat). So with that going on, the air conditioning breaking anywhere will make for some miserable times (the Memphis area has reported 18 heat-related deaths, almost one a day due to the heat). My problems started on the way back from the BBQ, I was about halfway between Memphis and Nashville when I noticed I wasn't getting A/C, I figured I was just pushing the car too hard and tried to fiddle with the dash to no avail. At any rate, it was nighttime by this point and I was driving 90 down the interstate so I just rolled the windows down and went on my merry way. Once I rolled into Memphis and was going at a slower speed the A/C seemed to kick back in and I didn't think anything more about it.

The next day, which I took off, I had some errands to run. Once again the A/C seemed ok; I was getting cold air at any rate, so I proceeded to run my errands, get groceries, etc. My last stop was Taco Hell; I had just spent time in the grocery and was hungry, so naturally fast food. While I'm sitting there I can hear the car in front of my making a squealing noise...or at least I thought it was the car in front of me, as it turned out, that was my car. At this point I start to panic, my engine has always been a fairly quiet one and I wasn't getting a check engine light, but something was clearly wrong. I noticed the A/C starting going out again, so I played with the dash dial a bit and the noise went away went I turned the heat on (oh the irony). So at this point I'm starting to think there is an issue with the A/C, I can get cool air and the check engine light isn't on, so it must not a critical issue, I'll get it checked out when I get paid again. Fast forward a week and I get to work only to observe smoke coming from my engine, now I really freak the fuck out. So I pop the hood and sure enough, the smoke is coming from the area my A/C is located in. I wasn't entirely certain what the problem was, as it could have been a few things, but one thing was clear, my belt system was connected to the A/C unit and if that was locking up, then my belt might snap while I was driving. I couldn't ignore the issue any longer and at lunch I drove it to my mechanic, during this drive the check engine light finally came on.

I get the car there and tell them what's going on, they suspect the A/C compressor has locked up but they decided to run a diagnostic to be certain (i.e., we're gonna make some kind of money off this guy). Since I didn't care what the issue was, I wasn't getting in the car again until it was fixed I had them take me home. When I got home I pulled up AutoZone's website to get a general idea what a new compressor might cost, for my car, the prices were coming in around $200, I cringed, but things could be worse. I got a call about two hours later and it was indeed a locked A/C compressor, it was at this point things got worse. The mechanic told me the price of a new compressor would be $439 and he was going to have to overnight it (talk about a price mark up, cha-ching!), and because of where the unit was in my car, they were going to have to take half the front end apart to get to it, labor $500, I also had to pay for the diagnostic, new freon and some sort of disposal of old freon, final estimate $1,200. Oh, and they wouldn't be done until the next day. Fuck. Next day rolls around and I get a call, started out great, the mechanic says he quoted me too high on the compressor, it was $419. /facepalm At any rate, I got there, everything was fixed (the check engine light remained on, was 3-4 days later when it went off) and I had A/C again, but my bank account was pissed. Obviously this was going to happen eventually, but fuck, it was about the worst timing possible.

XP Bitches!

Moving on, one of the things that came out of the BBQ was a need for the Obsidian to start taking Abyssea seriously as reports were starting to surface that folks were not only XPing there, but that the XP/HR was blowing everything out of the water. Our first attempt to do an Obsidian XP party was during the BBQ and sadly it didn't go very well, seems there was more to it than showing up and killing mobs for an hour. We tried to kill Crapaudy (or Crapdaddys as I like to refer to them), and it just wasn't working as we didn't know enough about the system to make things happen.

Our second and subsequent attempts have been infinitely better, most of us have capped out 4-5 jobs (just two for me) and we've only done 6 of these XP runs. The key to it all is getting the lights, our strategy is to mix magic and normal attack kills at the start to cap out azure and pearl light. Azure light is easy to get to 30, you just need to have nukers with a sense of timing. Pearl light is a bit trickier as it's not 100%, this one you simply have to have patience with because it may take up to an hour to get the 30 lights needed to cap. Once capped it's an all out offensive where we focus on kill speed and managing diminishing lights.

We have tried our hand at Ruby and Amber lights, but trying to force these lights seems to cut into efficiency. Our last run we just focused on killing quickly and over the course of 3.5 hours I pulled in 15 merits. Saturday's run would ultimately see me finish the day getting 17 merits, but the last two were earned while we hunted for NMs to work on quests.

Gearing Up

I love getting XP this way, I've always hated meriting, but at the end of the day I want the gear in Abyssea more and there is simply an amazing collection of gear to be had. Some of it is easy to get, some of it absurdly hard, but a lot of it is just flat out better than most other gears.


Ninja got a ton of customization out of the new gear, more -PDT gear, more MDB gear, more Evasion gear, more Ranged gear and more Enmity gear.

For most of the new weapons, if they weren't involved with the Magian Trials, then there wasn't much to see, however katana was one of the exceptions. The Hochomasamune has a slightly higher DPS than a completed Sekka, but five more points of base damage, so it would be a main hand weapon. That DEX +10 is simply sick and will allow a NIN to change up their WS gear a bit (I'll get into more detail in a moment). Early testing on the Fast Cast has shown it to knock off about 3 seconds from Ni recast which is pretty significant if it's found to be factual.

The Iga Erimaki neckpiece isn't awe-inspiring as some of the other new items, but it is a NIN only piece and it would work great in an evasion tank set-up which often suffers from lack of accuracy.

Juogi and Anguinus Belt in a WS build are just insanely awesome pieces, add in a Hochomasamune and NIN WS will go from "lulz" to "eh, not so bad", which is a huge step up. The drawback here is you lose 10 STR (and 10 DEX if you don't have the katana), and there's no way to really make up for this loss. I suspect there will be a large increase in damage despite that, but until I have all three pieces (or ever have), I can't say for certain.

The Ocelot Gloves replace Dusk Gloves and I can't get these soon enough, I hate having decreased movement speed. The Ocelot Trousers make a fantastic addition to Enmity and Evasion tank build and giving those builds some DD ability with the ACC and Haste.

If nothing else, the Missile Boots have a cool name, but they actually do have more, especially in a slot that NIN doesn't have a ton of Ranged options for.

The Terebellum Mantle is a Gunner's Mantle without the negative stats and makes a fantastic addition to Ranged sets.

Black Mage

Unlike NIN, the new gear for BLM wasn't really about customizing, it was about maximizing.

The Augur's set is like Nashira +1, and any piece would be nice, but the feet really jump out at me, they are just an outstanding piece for BLM.

If your MACC is solid then you would have to be a complete idiot to pass a Yhel Jacket up. I'm salivating just looking at that pic, that's just an insane amount of boost to nukes!

Once the BLM community started seeing this piece, those without it immediately became gimp. Now I won't pretend to be one of those preening, prissy little BLMs and call folks without it gimp, but it is an outstanding piece and not overly difficult to get, so not having one is kind of silly.

The Goetia Chain is the BLM specific piece offered in this expansion and it should be a fantastic piece for when your BLM is having MACC issues.

I may have to prostitute my mom to get a Hirudinea Earring, but it will be worth it. Having an Aspir/Drain piece in an earring slot is awesome as you won't lose anything there on Dark Magic if you macro it in.

Outside of body pieces, there hasn't been much standing gear when it comes to refresh, the Serpentes pieces help resolve this issue some by offering a tic in the hands/feet slots.

Actually Getting Things Done

One of the things I had resolved to do with this update was tackle some things I had been putting off, mainly missions and maps. The maps were all CoP maps and for obvious reasons they had never been worth the trouble (level capped areas that I never go to and would require help to get said maps). With the level restriction taken off the CoP areas, getting these maps suddenly became very easy. I now have all the maps in the game except two of the Sea maps (which I will get in the next update), it's a silly goal, but I've always wanted to have a complete map set for some reason and I'm almost there.

The missions were a different type of beast because I was going to need help. Like the Prommy maps, I was putting off Apocalypse Nigh until I could safely move through those zones. So a couple of weeks ago I talked a bunch of people into helping me get this done (along with Tammyrose who had not beat it either), fight wasn't a smooth as I was hoping it would be, but we prevailed and set the record. So Magnetic Earring mine.

A few days before completing AN, Rues sent me a tell about one of the ToAU fights (that fucking Yag NIN). I was reluctant at first as I had wanted to put an Obsidian group together to finish this, but I never got the impression those who needed it were serious about completing the storyline, so I agreed and joined up with them. We burned through the missions, 5 levels really do make a difference. On the same day I finished AN we also did the Alexander fight and went 1/1 on it with a couple major assists courtesy of Mav and Jess. So Jalzahn's Ring mine.

With ToAU beat I could move onto the Odin Prime and Alexander Prime SMN fights. Last night was my first run on Odin and now Aesir Torque mine.

I still need to finish the Moogle and Shantotto expansions as well as the most recent WotG city quests. Not too particular if I finish the expansion missions before the update, but I really want to get the WotG quests done so we're ready to go when the update arrives.

Magian Trials

As I mentioned in my last blog post I worked on Magian Trials during the BBQ, the one I spent the most time on was for the Eva Sekka. I had finished all but one trial on the -PDT katana before the BBQ, but I needed level 80 to wield a Sekka, so there was no rush to complete this. It would take an XP run in Abyssea before I dinged 80 and once that happened I spent the following weekend in the Necropolis laying waste to Skeletons. While there I also did the first two trials on Uzura.

During the BBQ I mostly worked on one trial and that was the Dragon portion of the Eva Sekka, which I must say was a general bitch to complete since I decided to go off the beaten path and work alone in Riverne. Not the best of ideas as I could have just teamed up and killed Puks in the Woodlands in a fraction of the time, ah well. At any rate, I had planned to do the next two Trials with Q since he would be killing vermin for his last Relic trial. I figured we could kill diremites until I got 200 and then we'd move to a place with more abundant vermin. What I learned about diremite is that they are a bottleneck trial. You see there are only two places in the game where they pop for XP, Pso'Xja, which has no wind weather, and Aydeewa, which does have wind weather. Oh, and their repop times are 16 minutes to boot. Because of this, diremite are overcamped, which is great for a mob of ninjas killing them en masse, but sucks for Q as he needed TP+killshots. So that part of the plan wasn't going to work and we parted ways. Finishing the diremite took three Windsdays and some wind weather; there were always people down there and on the trial so it went quick. My next step was to head out to Attohwa Chasm where Q was pillaging and join him in the slaughter. I headed out there Saturday and was by myself for a bit, Kreoss joined me on Firesday since he also had vermin on his dagger trial and we knocked out a huge chunk of his trial and some of mine (wind weather). We then went to Abyssea and proceeded to get a massive amount of XP. After that it was almost Windsday again and this time I pulled and Q killed, when all was said and done, I needed 18 more kills. The last trial was colibri and this was nothing short of crazy. You see, like the diremite, there aren't a lot of place to kill colibri, but there sure are quite a few trials requiring them, so teaming up was the only practical course of action. Because of this teaming up, it took me two Windsdays to know out this trial, the first one we killed 149 colibri, the second one I only needed 88 colibri and got that with 8 game hours left on the clock still.

So there you have it, two Sekka complete. It's like have an Earth Staff and a Wind Staff rolled into one, while still having an awesome DPS. I think my next Sekka will focus on the INT/MAB katanas because they are going to be stupid easy to complete and I want to give myself a bit of a break before going down the MDB path. That said, no more trials until subjobs are leveled.

Nature is Weird

What you are seeing there is a photo taken of Saturn's North Pole. Yes, folks, that is a natural hexagon swirling around the polar cap of a giant gas planet. The center of that is large enough to fit the Earth comfortably inside the walls of the hexagon. It's as bizarre as it is cool.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Running Down a Dream

So I haven't updated my blog since the BBQ, partly because I've actually been busy at work since the my last update and partly because so much has happened in that time frame I'm not sure where to begin. I'll begin with my quick rundown of the BBQ itself (yes more shit happened that I'm not covering and yes I had a blast).

Obsidian BBQ

What can I say that Qtipus didn't already cover in his blog? Well...for the most pair my hair didn't do anything batshit crazy the whole time, not sure what it is about the way I sleep, but more often than not I wake up looking like I belong in a punk band. Also, the drive there was literally a 42 hour marathon. It started on Tuesday, I woke up around 10:30 AM my time, showered, packed, watered the banana tree (and one of the cats by mistake), checked to make sure I had my token maybe 50 times, etc. and I left a little after noon to meet up with Qtipus. Now I knew we'd be driving most of the night, but I figured we'd be there and sleeping within 24 hours at the very worst, what I didn't count on was just how many stops at Wal-Mart we'd make (and subsequently all the Mudflaps we'd find). For me a road trip is all about how fast I can make it, an eight-hour drive for me consists of one stop: gas, food and a piss break, I go into robot mode, Q looks for robots lol! At any rate, we arrived at our destination around 2PM local time, Q had managed to get some sleep (at a rest stop while the sun was coming up), Kreoss got quite a bit of sleep, and me...well I dozed off a few times, but my body won't let me sleep for very long in a moving vehicle (god forbid I ever decide to go to Japan or something). So when we got there I was dog tired, but, as one might expect, meeting up with everyone got the adrenaline flowing and it was another nine hours before I was too tired to continue functioning.

The next day I was the last to get up (I think), someone made breakfast, pancakes I think, but I'm not a morning person and that includes eating, so I can't say what went on for the first hour or two I was up. When I did get up, I noticed it was Earthsday in the game, thus I found myself killing dragons for my Magian trial, and this would inadvertently be a running joke all weekend. Most of the day was spent playing video games, chit-chatting, etc. One would think a summit of the Obsidian leaders would lead to long, drawn out discussions about Final Fantasy XI and how to best run events and such, but one would be wrong. We did talk about our characters, in-game goals and Obsidian related goals, but for the most part, FFXI was more about something we all had in common not something we obsessed over. That evening we ate at a Japanese Steakhouse, and let me say, the food was fucking awesome, especially the rice, that could have been all I had to eat and I would have been happy. When we got back to Mt. Cranky it was almost Earthsday again, most everyone went outside to look at the stars (for those who don't know me, my original ambition in life was to be an astrophysicist), but the Magian trials were calling and the sky being unlikely to yield anything new, I stayed inside. Thirty minutes into Earthsday and Q decided he'd had enough of me and my damn trials by demanding I join everyone outside. I figured it was best to not be anti-social and dejectedly put the controller down.

Saturday was our one and only LS event, it was an Odin Einherjar run. It's a bit different doing something like that with living, breathing people in the room, which was kind of cool and I wish we had done something larger (like a CoP Dyna run or something). After Einherjar we left for Baltimore to go watch the Orioles lose...ahem, play. For the most part this was a fun time, except the asshole sitting on my right (not Kaelis, he was on my left), fucking jackass kept leaning forward and blocking my view! By the 8th inning I was getting vocal about this, but even though the jerkoff was trying to lean back (I'm assuming to avoid any confrontation), he kept creeping forward until he was blocking my view again. I know the seats were kind of small, but ffs, sit your ass down like a normal human and not the fucking Hunchback of Notre Dame! You jackass!

On Sunday we had the actual BBQ, which once again I found myself doing Magian trials (now before you give me shit, please observe, Kaylea went to Dynamis). Unknowingly, being inside was probably a good thing given that everyone else came in with a sunburn. During this time inside I received a few tells about the BLMs making a mess of things, being the micromanaging asshole that I apparently am, I decided to investigate and find out what the problem was. Turns out some people had suggested they do things differently without me there, this pissed me off. It still pisses me off. Did I mention this shit pissed me off? While it essentially reinforced what I've been saying all along (i.e. BLMs multi-tasking is not the best way to go about things), it also showed that left to their own devices, people won't stick to the plan and that's what upset me the most. Simply put, I don't give a shit how it was done in the past, when it comes to playing BLM in Obsidian these days, it's my way or the motherfucking highway. For those of you who like to bitch about the way I run my ship (and should you be reading this blog), you're not in charge (and thus free of taking the blame for anything that goes wrong) and you're way has been outdated for a long fucking time now, just give it a rest already because shit ain't changing!

Monday was the last day everyone was together, and it wasn't for long as half of us were leaving at noon. Kreoss and Kaylea were flying out, while Kaelis and Erimentha were hitting the road. Because of this, I drew the short straw and had to stay behind and guard the fort (ok, I volunteered to stay), needless to say I did virtually nothing, even in FFXI all I really did was chat. By the time Qtipus and Suraph got back, I was bored out of my skull. We started the evening out watching Monday Night Raw, but that morphed into three hours of South Park Tower Defense, which was a hilariously fun game. When done, we packed our shit and got ready to depart in the morning.

Tuesday promised to be another marathon drive, but it wasn't nearly as long, myself and Qtipus covered the same amount of ground in about half the time (and actually found the Transformers we were looking for). Unfortunately we didn't cover it fast enough and I knowingly put my character in the hands of Qtipus so I wouldn't miss Einherjar. Now, needless to say, I expected things to be fucked with and they were (Q sent my gil to my mules, rearranged my furniture, changed my HP to Raboa, moved gear and items all over the place and he even found time to log into every mule and clear my inboxes forcing me to walk each mule back to the delivery box to return my main character's gil), but the thing that he managed to fuck with me the most about was actually nothing at all. You see Q made a casual reference that some of my gear had been hidden on my mules, this in turn led me to look at each of the mules, which eyeballing them yielded nothing out of place. Me being too obsessive to let this rest (and failing to recognize Q really was fucking with me), I pulled up my Altana Cubby and proceeded to run down my inventory list (which I update weekly with my inventory and what character it's on) and verify everything was where it should be. All told, I spent about three hours looking for shit that was never out of place to begin with. Thanks Q, I could have been doing Magian Trials...

At any rate, more stuff has happened since then, some of it I'm very happy about, some of it is shit only I could care about, but that's for a different day. And yeah, the title has nothing to do with this post, I just like the song.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Trial of the Magians

Those of you who know me, know that I've been actively working on the Trials since they were introduced, I seemed to be one of the early adopters of the system as it was quite clear to me I could get far better katanas than what was currently available in the game.  The BLM Staves (before the update) showed promise, but because they all had the same name I wasn't crazy about going after them.  I had a hard time understanding why folks weren't all over this (I found them exciting and couldn't wait to get things done, tedious though they were), but since the update the Odin server seems to have flocked to the Magians like bugs to lightbulbs.  Who knows why this is, and while I'm happy to see my fellow server mates getting in on the fun, the side-effect is there has been a ton of whining.  I don't plan to get into it so I'll just say this, it called the "Trial" of the Magians, not "Giveittomenowbecauseiwantit!" of the Magians, you gotta fucking work for your supper, so shut up and do it (unless BST are taking over your camp, then you have my permission to piss and moan).

Ninja Trials

While others went directly for the High Damage and Occasionally Attack Twice katanas, I personally took a different route.  You see for me, while those katanas looked like great DD weapons, I saw something altogether more amazing in the Elemental Trials.  The reason here is because NIN can equip two katanas, so anything in the Elemental paths could be doubled.  This meant NIN could get things like STR+8, Attack+24, or AGI+8, Evasion +24, without sacrificing any other gear slots.  Top that off with Kuinas are the highest DoT katanas your average player can get a hold of (they have higher DPS than either Senju or Fudo) and you got something special for Ninja.  With the update SE upped the ante by giving us Sekka, with even better stats!  The update also brought us the Empyrean Kannagi path, this path was part of the High Damage path, which means I will have to camp NMs at some point, whether I like it or not.  We also got what looks like the first stage of Weapon Skill trials, if this is indeed the first stage then there's a lot of reason to be excited here also.


I've come to accept I may never get a Kikoru or Nagi, however a base Kannagi is very obtainable, the only drawback here is the VNM kills, getting the abyssite (and kills) for this will require time help from other people, and I hate asking for help on things that only benefit me.  At any rate, I still plan to do this, but I'm holding off until the September update because I want to see what the Kannagi augments are, and I'm curious about the next stage of requirements.


This is the Weapon Skill path, currently there are three initial trials with a fork after the third.  I plan to do this up to the fork (and given the simplistic requirements, these first three should only take a day or two to complete), the reason I am stopping at the fork is I will only be using one of these katanas in my DD build (the other katana will be a Sekka) and I want to see if they are going to add more weapon skills.  Currently the first fork produces a result of DPS 12.22 and Blade: Ku Damage +10%, which is kinda meh as I rarely use anything outside Jin and Kamu.  The second path has a DPS 11.94 and Store TP +8, this is the path I'll take if no other Weapon Skills are added (which is possible, the next tier may simply end with a 15% increase on Ku, which still won't beat Jin).  If we get Jin +10%, then it's entirely possible my head will explode from the excitement.


The Elemental trials have a ton of customization to offer.  For me I'm looking at acquiring 8 of these.  Two each of Evasion, Physical Damage Down and Magic Defense Bonus for tanking and then a combo of the Attack and Accuracy for DDing, though these will likely be the last two I go after based on how the Kannagi and Uzura paths unfold.  The tanking ones are obvious winners to me, a set of -PDT will give me VIT+12 and PDT - 16%, a set of MDB will give me MND+12 and MDB+16, the Evasion set would give me AGI+12 and Evasion +32 (which is also very nice for pulling or kiting).  I feel like having those six katana will give me a ton of flexibility when tanking/pulling/kiting/soloing.  As it stands I'm on the last trial for the first -PDT katana and I'm in the middle stages of the first Evasion katana.  For Ninjas who like to tank you NEED to be getting on these trials now, otherwise you're going to have a hard time justifying yourself in endgame events as PLD is the ever increasing preference.  Further, a pair of these are better than any previous combination of katanas in pure damage alone, you have to be fucking daft to hold onto the old stuff (though I did shed a tear when I put Senju away and removed it from my macros).

Black Mage Trials

Before the update I was looking at getting only one Teiwaz (Thunder path) and just getting an HQ Ice Staff.  The reason for this wasn't because the Teiwaz weren't awesome staves, but they all had the same name which makes them impossible to macro in and out.  However, with the update SE had the good sense to give the final upgrades unique names so my interest in getting these has increased dramatically.


This is the Empyrean weapon for BLM, and if it does nothing else, it's still a beast for DD BLM (which I love to do), DMG 87 and Delay 390 for a DPS of 13.38 just blows anything previously available for DD out of the water.  Currently I have a Somnus Signa which is DMG 62 Delay 402 for a DPS of 9.25 (which was at the top of the food chain after Relic), it's nice, but I might be willing to prostitute my mom just to get my hands on Hvergelmir.  I highly doubt this is the much touted Rainbow Staff (the eight elemental staves combined into one), but I am very curious as to where SE plans to go with this in future updates.

Elemental Staves

Put simply you are now gimp without these.  Base testing has already shown they blow the current HQ Elemental Staves out of the water.  The only catch here is actually killing the mobs without getting yourself killed in the process.  BLM is not exactly the king of melee, so a certain amount of teamwork goes into finishing these, even worse is it's counterproductive to team up with other BLMs because of the kill objectives.  What I like about them, at least from a BLM perspective is you can start and stop whenever as the trial objectives are not based on the day or weather, but what elemental spell you kill the mob with.  When I initially looked at this path I chose Magic Damage +4 for all eight staves, however, it occurred to me that logic wasn't entirely practical.  I don't use light and dark magic to do damage as much as I use that magic to land DoTs or add buffs; so the sensible solution here is to get Magic Accuracy +4 for those two paths.

For me, I'm in fucking heaven doing these trials, yeah weather it's a bitch to wait on, and it's easy to get distracted, but the Trials fill in big holes with my free time much in the way Campaign does.  In other words, I'm actually accomplishing something every single day and not just staring aimlessly at the screen waiting for something to happen.  Thank you SE, and fuck off to the complainers.