Stating the Obvious

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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.

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