Monday, June 29, 2009
Anyone who has followed this blog knows that I wasn't a big fan of the first expansion scenario, A Crystalline Prophecy. I, like most everyone else, rushed to buy it the second they could. I was rather let down by the fact that SE continues to think that level-capped missions are fun as well as the fact that SE believes creating scenarios that create huge amounts of competition to simply get a quest finished is fun too.
In the same manner as the previous announcement for these add-on scenarios followed, we got the end-rewards for completing it shown to us today. SE may have just outdone themselves a bit. It irritates me to no end though. I want to dig my heels in the sand and give the middle finger to the expansion scenario until I see what the missions involve, but seeing some of the stats on these hats that are available has me wanting to just eat crow over all my previous musings about these things and get it today.
This hat has a number of nice augments that have the potential to be useful in pretty much any scenario. For starters, a WHM can dump the "MND+4, Cure Potency +3%" augment onto it in combination with some Fast Cast or whatever else comes to mind and get that Cure Potency rounded out to +30% with Roundel Earring, Aristocrat's Coat and a Templar Mace/Light Staff/Druid Staff. The only downside I see to this is...there's only so much HP that a person has. Boosting this stat even more just means unnecessary HP healing (i.e. Cure V for 800HP when target was missing 650...). In a situation like that, you could load up on Haste augments, but even then, you'll still end up with a pointy Wal-mart turban as far as WHM is concerned. The other augments like "Magical Critical Hit Rate+10%" may prove to be far more useful to the other jobs that can wear it.
I don't have any jobs that can wear this hat leveled, but...I can see some of the augments being rather useful. I'll be the first to admit that I have no idea what's available in a head slot for these jobs, but for the pet-based jobs listed like PUP and BST, adding haste to a pet is something you can't go wrong with. Leveling PUP or BST is just wrong to begin with though, but that's another story for another day.
And since I'm the career Dragoon, here's the hat that obviously got my attention first. This is not a hat that I would replace an Askar Helm, Wal-Mart Turban or Ace's Helm in a TP build set, but the combination of "STR+4 Weapon Skill Accuracy +15" and either the "AGI+4 Increases Weapon Skill damage (+2%) or "Accuracy +10 Attack +5" got my attention for a WS build. A Dragoon's two main WS (Penta Thrust and Drakesbane) need all the Accuracy help they can get when you consider that even at accuracy cap, the remaining hits in each WS have a cumulative lower chance of hitting. (95% first hit, 90% second hit, 86% third hit, 81% fourth hit, etc). If those augments actually increase the chance of those rear hits landing, you can't argue with it at all, even for Anwig hat. I'll definitely include this hat when I get ready to do my WS head slot comparison.
Here are all the augments for the hat in case you missed it. They also make a point of saying that the stats are cumulative, so if you choose two haste augments, you end up with the total of the haste.
SE definitely put some really attractive augments here and I know I'll get the expansion eventually, but I'm not going to sit around competing for level 20-30 mobs to kill for key items and I'm not going to sit around trying to trade or initiate said key items to broken/poorly troubleshot ???s all in the name of a hat that looks like they ripped it straight off the head of Marvin the Martian.
Kaelis had the awesome idea of making it an entry requirement to Obsidian for Tarutaru to have this hat and run around searching for the Eludium Explosive Space Modulator. They just need to equip this hat, a Wonder Kaftan and some Tarutaru Braccae.
Look for the jokes to commence the second you see a Taru wearing said getup.
I'm at a bit of a crossroads concerning this event. I can tell a lot of our guys are getting bored with showing up as the same thing to most of the runs, but the success really can't be denied (with the exception of the two most recent Odin stumbles, one of which I take full responsibility for). So some members go out and level new jobs and obviously want to come try 'em out in Einherjar.
The problem with this is that Einherjar requires the best of what you've got. I want people to have a lot of fun participating in this event, but it's hard to tell someone "change to this" cause I know "this" is stronger for what we're trying to accomplish. I've almost run out of ways to explain how it's detrimental to the team for someone to show up as their newly minted 75 DRK when they've got a fully merited 75 SAM.
On Tier 1, I don't give a shit. It's so hard to lose Tier 1 that we could seriously show up with 36 people on level 65 jobs and probably still win. Tier 2 I care about more since it can still throw out the randomly horrible monster sets to deal with (*cough*Dahak Boss*cough*) and Tier 3 is obviously a whole other ball game.
I don't want to say "don't come as X job if you got another job that's merited". It's a rather consistent formula that I use for our party set ups, so it's not like there's huge surprises there in how I'm going to arrange things, but at the same time, you want people to have fun and the idea of "fun" is about as subjective as what someone wants to eat from the McDonald's drive-thru. Unfortunately, it's also a lot less fun if we're losing.
It's been a long time since we've lost a room due to some fundamental mistake and I know we have wiggle room at times to do some experimentation with various set ups or to allow some members to come as something they don't normally come as. We still have a lot to learn about various things like...where WHMs are supposed to stand now that they have these new super powers. I just have a problem finding that balance where a few members can show up as a more 'fun' job instead of the 'critical' job from time to time.
On top of that, there's the perception by a few that wanting to come as a new job is considered detrimental to the team or outright lazy/not caring. In some cases, that would be correct.
Trying to show up as DRG/DRK for example while hoping that a sack fails to notice would be one of those instances. Sucking up an MP Pool all in the name of boosting your e-peen (or e-cooch in this case...) just kills the chance the rest of the members of your party potentially stay alive. Kudos for breaking 2.5k on that Drakesbane. Fuck you for sucking up half the party healer's MP Pool while the rest of the party members can't get healed. (For reference, there is no game-breaking usefulness in this, just 100% selfishness).
However, showing up as a new 75 job w/o any merits would not be one of those instances depending on the job. It's not lazy or a lack of caring about teammates. There are pros and cons to each and every job. Obviously a job like BST or PUP has a far longer list of cons than they do pros, but nitpicking a parse result because someone showed up as a DRG instead of a SAM isn't going to make a huge difference. There are a ton of other factors that go into that result. Some players play on crap connections and end up seeing a dead monster before they have a chance to engage. Others have similar results by playing on crap hardware (PS2, XBox360...celeron-based PCs). We can't make it an entry requirement that everyone be playing on a top of the line PC or PS3. Some people don't have 4-8 hours to invest every night into their characters for that top of the line gear. The list goes on. These aren't excuses, these are simple facts of MMO Life.
If I see people w/o meds ('specially if they're asking for said -na), then this argument holds water as generally not giving a shit, but getting outparsed because they didn't come as a fully merited 75 SAM isn't always a reason to blanket-bitch-bomb the linkshell. I'm willing to bet that a fully merited 75SAM on a crap connection or crap hardware will get trounced by nearly anyone in a parse.
The bigger point is...it's 100% necessary to know the story before starting to bitch and as I've stated throughout this blog...if you're unwilling to teach, you have no room to bitch. There comes a point where it is just making excuses, but it's never that at the start.
I really need to get those strats redone for Obsidian. We're in a bit of a transitional phase looking for a couple new sackholders as a couple of us have stepped down due to real life issues. I gave them a shout out on the forums, but I still feel it's necessary to do it here too.
Brizzy and Ludaca, no matter what anyone thinks of their leading abilities, have both given far more time than the average player can fathom in helping to lead and organize a linkshell over the past 3.5 years.
I've always maintained that a linkshell starts and stays the course by having a sackholder crew that's consistent and by having a membership crew that buys into what they're selling. It's almost unheard of for a sackholder crew to have as many people as Obsidian has stay together for as long as they have. The past 3.5 years, we've had Kaylea, Gawayne, Geddoe, Brizzy, Ludaca, Yoteo and myself present with some rather long term time investments from guys like Kreoss, Suraph, Glacian, Kittkatt, etc.
It started becoming rather obvious to me that the the burden of running the shell was being put on 3 of us. It's always the elephant in the room to ask this, but as a sack, you always want to know what the other sacks are up to if you're having to shoulder more of the burden. In my case, it's not that I mind, but a heads up or an idea of how long I'll have to shoulder more of the burden is always nice to know. Unfortunately the answers I got weren't good in terms of how long and I already knew I wasn't going to be able to take care of a larger burden for a very long time, so the quest began to replace a couple of sacks.
That's not to say Brizzy and Ludaca were bad at what they did. They were awesome, especially in the most important area of being a sackholder. They always gave their opinions. Opinions are what make decisions complete. We didn't always see eye to eye on various things, but the fact we didn't and expressed we didn't went a long way towards what the end results showed and that was a lot of stability and fair decisions for the memberbase.
So with that said, I have to say thank you again to these two and the door is left wide open for them to be a sackholder again once they get their real lives sorted out.
Thursday, June 25, 2009
...Then they transitioned to Beast Wars and I was done for a long while. Not that I had issues with the whole beast-bot thing, I just couldn't get into it. And that doesn't mean I'm saying you suck if you liked Beast Wars. To each their own.
About 12ish years ago, I ran across some Transformers figures at a Walgreens. These had a rather odd aesthetic to them. They were Grimlock, Prowl, Sideburn and a 4th one I can't remember. I picked them up and then, upon realizing that Grimlock was part of a combiner team, I went hunting for the rest. In that hunt, I had managed to rekindle my childhood facination with these toys. That line was the R.I.D. line. Since then, I've picked up the entire Armada, Energon, Cybertron, Classics, Movie1, Com.Series (G1 reissues), Classics v.2 and Animated lines.
The point of all that? Just to illustrate the extent of one of my hobbies and to show a little background on my thoughts of this movie.
There are spoilers from this point on. Don't read if you don't like spoilers.
Prior to viewing this movie, I had read a lot of "leaked" news and a number of the reviews from various critics (most of which just bashed the film completely). I felt like I had a pretty good idea what to expect...
...and yet I still felt let down after the movie was done.
I also felt like I had my ass kicked by a group of thugs in the middle of the night.
Don't get me wrong. I'm not yelling things like "MICHAEL BAY RUINED MY CHILDHOOD" or "GEE-ONE OR ELSE". I appreciate new and different spins on the various characters from Transformers lore as it keeps the series fresh and keeps attracting new fans. I can sum this movie up by saying one thing.
Steven Spielberg apparently had no input on the final product.
What do I mean by that? In the first movie, Spielberg and Bay's fingerprints were both all over it. In a way, I felt this worked as a bit of a leash on Bay. Spielberg is the master at bringing the audience into the world he's creating through connection to character. Bay is the master of oiling women up, showing off their cleavage bouncing in slow motion, and blowing shit up. On paper, this looks like a near perfect marriage for Transformers. The characters of the bots, the imagination behind their ability to transform and the often times epic battles that take place screamed Spielberg + Bay. In this sequel, it's clear from the very start that it's Bay's world, we're just spectators and he's going to beat us senseless with action until we start liking his stuff. The leash had been removed. It's a shame too because the writers Bay has for this movie are very talented and proved it with their revitalization of the Star Trek franchise (Orci and Kurtzman).
The story of this movie has several arcs. We see them detail some of the Transformers' ancient history diving into the original Transformers, their life source (energon), and the matrix of leadership. We see the relationship between the Autobots and the humans develop more. We see a few loose ends from the first movie get tied up by the appearance of various characters like Agent Simmons. We're also introduced to a number of "new" characters from Transformers lore. The story itself is not something that's hard to wrap your mind around or requires a ton of thought, but it's a very neat concept that's generally overshadowed by...baysplosions. Keep in mind that the vast majority of the Transformers cartoons aren't built around a solid story (Beast Wars and Animated are pretty much the only exceptions). Their stories are generally built around some dastardly Decepticon shenanigans and the Autobots fighting to stop them with some character development in between.
The Good Guys (Bots)
Optimus Prime - You can't have a Transformers movie w/o him. Peter Cullen returning to voice him gives me chills everytime I hear him. His death scene in this movie could have been something people would talk about for ages. It was rather brutal, but ruined by Power Ranger-esque explosions. Most of the movie is spent showing that Sam and The Fallen/Decepticons are after the same thing, but for different reasons. They're both after the Matrix. Sam wants it to revive Prime while the Decepticons want it to activate their sun-destroying machine. In the first movie, there were really only two fight scenes involving Prime. One he kicked some ass for about a minute, and the other, he got his ass handed to him by Megatron. He's apparently been studying and buffing up since then because in this movie, he beats the shit out of damn near everything that comes in front of him.
Ironhide - Pretty much same role as first movie. Weapons expert, minimal speaking parts. Yells at Sam to "get to..." something again. I still can't get into the voice they have for him. I wish they'd get something that sounded more gruff. As it stands, he sounds like this nasally bureaucrat with a British accent.
Bumblebee - They go to rather great lengths this time to develop the relationship between Bumblebee and Sam further, which I liked. The only thing I didn't like was that they still had him communicating through his radio. The gimmick would have still worked in some scenes, but really...he spoke perfectly fine at the end of the first movie, why couldn't he here. He also tears the shit out of some Decepticons.
Sideswipe - New character for movie purposes. Love his design and his attitude, but didn't like his minimal screen time. I'm looking for him to be more of an impact player in the third movie.
Rachet - Only two scenes with him in it. Wasn't too overly disappointed in this, but would like to see him more if possible. He's always been a rather intriguing character.
Skids/Mudflap - The "Twins". They had their funny moments. "OW THAT HURT", "IT'S AN ASSKICKING, IT'S SUPPOSED TO HURT!" is an example. Throughout the entire movie, these two are bickering and talking junk. It gets tiresome, but overall I thought they were effective.
Arcee/Chromia/Third Bike - No character development here, but none was really needed. Anyone who's followed the series knows who Arcee is. Chromia is a bit obscure even to some die-hard fans. Big props to getting Arcee's orginal voice in there (Susan Blu) even though it was just two lines. We don't know if Arcee bit the dust, but we do know she took some rather heavy fire and some parts got blown off her towards the end of the movie.
Wheelie - If there's one character they nailed in this movie it's this one. Wheelie's TF history is that of an annoying and overly-pointless robot. I actually liked him up until he started humping Mikaela's leg. Good thing he disappeared after that...
Jetfire - This was the one new bot I was most excited to see and he didn't fail to deliver. He's a completely different spin on what most people think of when they think of Jetfire, but it's a good spin. His sacrifice at the end of the movie was really cool, but I wish it had been acknowledged a little more by Prime instead of Prime just shrugging off Jetfire's parts when the battle is done.
The Good Guys (Humans)
Sam Witwicky - Shia plays this same basic character in every movie he's in, but he's good at it. As always, he's the difference between the Autobots winning and losing.
Mikaela Banes - Someone needs to off this character. Plenty of movies have succeeded without having some oiled up, fake breasted, cleavage bouncing, dirt-smudged female lead running in slow motion from something exploding behind her. That's nothing against Megan Fox personally, I just don't see her point in this film. There's nothing wrong with Sam having a love interest in this movie and this character is just fine for that, but really...did she do anything other than pester Sam to tell her the L word and run away from crap in this movie? She captured Wheelie and somehow turned him into this horny robot that humped her leg.
Leo - GOOD LORD KILL HIM. HE'S MORE POINTLESS THAN MIKAELA. He seriously added nothing to this film. Jar Jar Binks had more relevance to the new Star Wars movies than Leo did to Transformers.
Agent Simmons - I was happy to see him return. I felt he stole the show in the first movie. I could have done w/o seeing him in a thong though. (For those of you keeping track at home...Simmons has gone from being shown in Sector Seven boxers to a Sector Seven thong. Care to guess what's coming in the third movie?)
Captain Lennox - I didn't like his character much in the first movie, but I liked what they did in this one. He felt rather random in the first one, but in this one he had a rather clear role and purpose.
Sergeant Epps - Kind of the same feeling as Lennox. The orange smoke scene was great though. "It wasn't one of my better tosses Ok?" Really makes you wonder if that stuff actually happens on real battlefields.
Ron Witwicky - Kevin Dunn plays the father role so fkn good. I liked him in the first movie and thought we were going to get more of the same in this one, but I was wrong. After the Decepticons use Ron and Judy Witwicky as bait to lure Sam out, I was really impressed by Dunn's portrayal of this character in the middle of the battle.
Judy Witwicky - She was a crazy mom in the first movie, but someone decided to crank up the craziness to full blast. I didn't like that much. It made me glad she fell off the map as far as spoken lines are concerned after the campus scene. Don't get me wrong...the character is good and does a lot to add to Sam's character development (especially if you're that 17-19 y.o. guy with the over protective, overly sentimental mother...), but I could have done w/o the whole reefer eating scene.
The Bad Guys (Bots)
The Fallen - Interesting background. Interesting abilities. Nice pick up of obscure Transformers lore. More on him in a bit cause I can't really explain w/o dragging some other characters into it.
Megatron - Same boat as Prime. You really can't have a Transformers anything without this guy. I felt like they improved him A LOT in this movie save one fact: making him a servant of the Fallen. Megatron has never served anyone. There's some speculation over Megatron being a descendant of the original 13 Primes like Optimus is (since Optimus called him "brother" at the end of the first movie) and that his 'servitude' to Fallen is all merely a ruse. I could get behind that because that's something Megatron would do, but if that's not the case, then the writers need to go back to the drawing board and review their history of Megatron. Aside from that, Megatron is brutal, coniving and vindictively vengeful in this movie with a lot more dialogue. That was very welcome.
Starscream - They also made some very drastic improvements to this character from the first one. The whole Megatron/Starscream dynamic was in full swing here which was very welcome as well.
Soundwave - I knew going in his role would be minimal, but I didn't think it'd be limited to 3 lines and staying in space. Kudos for Frank Welker getting to voice him as well as even including him in the movie though.
Ravage - Had a lot more airtime than Soundwave. His eventual fate I thought was rather quick and poorly done, but he did what Ravage does. He created a lot of havoc.
Constructicons - Mixmaster, Demolishor, Long Haul and Rampage made their debut. While they didn't really have any speaking parts, just the fact they were there and were destroying shit was great to see.
Devastator - This was a different spin on this character that I'm still undecided about. Originally, the 6 constructicons would merge to form Devastator. They kept the whole merging thing in tact, except it seemed like Devastator was put together out of some random construction vehicles and not the Constructicons themselves. He was massive and did exactly what his name implies, but he went out rather...weakly.
Blackout/Grindor - Seems like he was put in purely as an excuse for Hasbro to repaint his toy and put him back out on the shelf. He was the helicoptor that was killed in the first movie by Capt. Lennox. Plays a small role in capturing Sam, but does nothing else except get his face ripped apart by Prime. Every movie has to have fodder and that's what this guy's main purpose is this time around.
The Doctor/Scalpel - I still don't know what to make of this guy. He played a couple good bit parts, then just fell off the map after Sam was rescued by the Autobots. I assume he was destroyed in all that mayhem, but I think it would have been funny to see a Wheelie vs. Doctor fight or something.
Alice - What purpose did this character really serve other than to get more boobs and ass shots in this movie? Don't get me wrong, she's attractive, but pointless. This felt ripped straight out of Terminator. Her scenes could have easily be done with something else and taken nothing away from the movie.
A lot of critics are bashing this movie for racism. Don't buy into it. The characters of Skids and Mudflap (voiced by Tom Kenny) plays up a few stereotypes, but it's no worse than what you see animated or produced on a daily basis on a normal TV show. I have to agree with Bay on this one that it's all in good fun with no malice directed at any one group at all.
I'm completely expecting to be called a hypocrite for saying this, but there was way too much perversion in this movie. Toilet humor, Devastator had balls, humans landing in awkward sexual positions, dogs humping, porn references and tasers to male junk all over the place. I'm all for some jokes like these if they're well timed and whatnot, but when you go to see a Transformers anything...the last thing you expect is for Agent Simmons to be standing under Devastator with a pair of wrecking balls dangling down from his groin.
It should say a lot about the overall plot arc of this movie if I'm saying there's too much perverted stuff.
I did leave the theater a little disappointed and there was one main reason why. Lack of decent dialogue. I didn't like feeling bludgeoned through the whole movie (which is 2.5 hours long) with non-stop explosions and felt they missed an opportunity to really lure some new fans into the Transformers universe by developing the characters a little more. Even spending 15 minutes less blowing shit up and using it to develop a character a new person could connect with and perhaps be enticed to buy when they see the figure on a store shelf would have gone a long way with me. I realize this isn't the Michael Bay formula though and people going to see this movie should expect nothing more or less than what Michael Bay has constantly delivered throughout his career.
There were a lot of improvements in this film and a number of steps backwards. It's definitely worth going to see in theaters perhaps multiple times, just don't expect to have to do any thinking. Just sit back and watch stuff blow up in slow motion.
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Obviously, the purpose of any relationship is to reach that whole "til death do us part" part of life. In order to reach that, there has to be some element of realness to it and I'm not just referring to actually meeting, talking on the phone etc. I'm referring to being realistic about the odds of an online relationship transcending the online world to begin with.
I was inspired to post about this by a subject who I'll leave nameless since even speaking her name would attract her to my blog and give her what she wants (attention). How I came to be aware of this person's blog (we'll call her "Dumb Racist Slut") was via post she made on BG with a link to it. Reading her blog is seriously like watching a train wreck unfold before you at 1 frame per second. Combine the ignorance she possesses with her adjective selection along with her seemingly infinite capacity for attentional need (good and bad) and you basically have FFXI's version of a Jerry Springer subject to entertain you (or piss you off...).
Anyway, a few weeks ago, the announcement is made that the love of her life dumped her. This is after she spent some time gushing about how this love of her life was the love of her life yada yada. A couple weeks later, we find that...through a singles ad placed somewhere, she finds another girl. And this girl is now the love of her life.
I'm all for people finding happiness...but really now...two weeks? Online? After being dumped?
Can anyone else smell the rebound here?
That's the simple part to see. The part that actually amuses/irritates me the most is what I like to call...
Most people with any amount of common sense can see this particular example is now 99.99999999% doomed for failure, but it's this sort of relationship that is actually rather common in the MMO dating scene. I've been in several online/long-distance relationships myself, but again, it really doesn't take that sort of experience to see the delusion in this.
Y'see...the vast majority of people who invest a lot of time in video games have one or more of the following issues (NOTE I SAID THE VAST MAJORITY, NOT EVERYONE):
1. Low self-esteem.
2. Poor social skills.
4. Lazy/Lack of motivation.
(If you truly don't have any of those 4 things, then congratulations, you have a very nice, secure livelihood, can pass Go and collect $200).
Dumb Racist Slut is a classic example of a combination of 1 and 2. That combination often times will lead to the inability to actually leave the house to do anything other than go to work. Because of this...and because of our subject's attention whore mentality...we find various acts like pictures of her anatomy being posted in various forums and extreme opinions voiced with extreme words. She just wants you to listen to her speak and she wants to feel like her opinions actually matter.
So, enter the first person after getting dumped. At the first sign of attraction, Desperate Dumb Racist Slut will clamp on tighter than a pair of camel-toe revealing spandex. +10 to tightness if target actually returns signs of affection. This is NOT the way to go about developing an online relationship. It's a temporary band-aid for an emotional wound at best. The problem with temporary band-aids for emotional wounds is that unless both sides understand that it's exactly a temporary band-aid for an emotional, that wound isn't going to heal thus sending our subject spiraling further down into the depths of desperation.
We then start to see questions like:
WHY DOES NO ONE LOVE ME?!??!
(read your own blog and posts...the answer is there, I promise)
AM I UNATTRACTIVE??!?!?!
(read your own blog and posts...the answer is there, I promise)
WHY DO I HAVE NO FRIENDS?!??!?!
(read your own blog and posts...the answer is there, I promise)
WHY DO I HAVE TO PAY PEOPLE TO DO THINGS WITH ME IN GAME?!??!!
(read your own blog and posts...the answer is there, I promise)
And the list goes on...
It isn't practical at all to fall head over heels for someone so quickly in a long distance relationship. If you speak over the phone, great. If you feel a connection, great. But for God's sake, at least spend a couple months getting to know someone or at least meet them face to face before you invest your emotions completely in one person.
"But I can't help how I feel and I want to express it to them!"
...uh-huh. Self-control already isn't Desperate Dumb Racist Slut's strong point so I guess this only fits the pattern.
There is no help for our subject today. Dumb Racist Slut is unfortunately the type of societal member that is best compared to that family member no one wants at weddings and family reunions, but manages to show up anyway completely unaware that they weren't invited. Inbred would probably try to hook up with her if she were related, but even he would be turned off the second she opened her mouth and spoke.
(Cause odds are...the first words out of her mouth if any form of attraction was shown to her would be "I love you".)
Unfortunately, she's the perfect example of why reality TV shows are successful.
People love train wrecks. You put some abs or some boobs on someone that's even remotely attractive, have them shown off as much as possible, let their natural stupidity take over in the various situations they're placed and voila! Ratings! Entertainment!
- This has been Dr. Q. Tip Us and I'm glad I could help. :)
Thursday, June 18, 2009
About a month and a half ago, I got to looking at my finances and realized...wow...for the first time in nearly 4 years, I have most of hands out of the proverbial cookie jar and most of my business debt under control.
(recap: made lots of mistakes learning how to run a business, was staring $150,000 in debt in the face at the beginning of 2005 across approx 18 debtors, yada yada).
Thanks in large part to a new "job" I picked up in Jan. of this year, I've managed to knock said debt down to about $75k and 3 debtors (2 of which are due to have their hands removed by the end of July/August). To celebrate, I decided I'd treat myself to a baseball game involving the team I grew up watching with my grandmother, the Atlanta Braves. This isn't to say I believe that I've conquered my debt or that I don't have a lot of work left to do, but the halfway mark is a HUGE milestone for me.
So I went looking around for Braves tickets. Atlanta is about 5 hours from me. I figured that was probably out of the question since that would involve hotel stays and whatnot. Looking at their schedule, I saw they were visiting the Reds from June 16th-18th. And...it just so happens I have a pair of friends living in the Reds' hometown.
After a little discussion over arrangements, the day finally came for me to make the 3.5 hour trip to Cincinnatti, OH to visit Kaelis and Erimentha and to take in a baseball game. Evening starts off with a quick dinner at Penn Station (toasted sub sandwich joint for those of you unfamiliar) and then onto the ballpark we go!
It's been 15+ years since I've been to a baseball game...and this is what greeted us on the field.
Eri apparently snapped a picture of Kaelis and I w/o our being aware of it. I don't recall being annoyed by anything during the entire game, but she apparently caught me with the scowl I usually make when I'm annoyed...
That or she just caught me squinting due to bright lights or something. And that would also be Kaelis' "I'm almost amused" face.
Now that I think about it...this might've been when they started blaring some Ricky Martin music over the speakers...
This was the view from our seats. I managed to snag tickets that were about 10 rows behind and just to the right of home plate. I had figured since both the Reds and the Braves were hovering around .500 and not super close to contending for their respective division titles that tickets would be rather easy to come by, but I didn't really expect to get tickets this close for the price that I paid.
PLAY BALL! /joy /excitement
[mancrush]Chipper Jones managed to get to first base. This is a guy I've wanted to see play for a long time.[/mancrush]
Fireworks after the turning point in the game. Braves were up 2-1 and their pitcher (Javier Vasquez) was cruising along. The Reds' pitcher (Owings) came up to bat and Vasquez I guess figured he could just overpower the guy. He got cocky and served up a fastball right over the middle of the plate and naturally, the PITCHER deposited a three-run bomb into the right field seats. Vasquez actually pitched the entire game for the Braves as he had been efficient all night long (didn't even throw 100 pitches for the game against Owens' 110 pitches by the end of the FIFTH inning). That's what I love about baseball though...one little mistake like that can turn a game completely around in a heartbeat.
Final scoreboard. Last Braves' run came in on a couple wild pitches by a Reds' reliever. Braves left 8 or 9 men on base this entire game, so it wasn't like the Reds' pitchers were dominating them. Braves just couldn't clutch up and knock a couple more runs in.
I have to hang my head in shame and let the camera flash make it look like I'm entirely bald. ENJOY YOUR VICTOLY FOR NOW KAELIS.
In all seriousness though, this was a good night for me. To me, it marks a turning point in what has been the story of my life the past 5-6 years as a struggling business owner (2-3 before that as a mostly successful one). While I know there's a lot more work that I need to do and the pace that I'm accelerating at in paying these things off thanks to some good fortune in business and with that "job" opportunity, it was very nice to be able to get out of the house and go to enjoy something like this knowing things are well under control and knowing that in doing so, I won't have to work for 3 weeks straight just to recoup what I spent in getting to this game.
I'm hoping to do this again sometime soon though, but first I have to turn my sights Northeastward by about 1100 miles in three weeks for the upcoming annual BBQ with Girlfriend, Kaelis, Mrs. Kaelis, Canuck, King Cranky Cat and...Girlfriend's parents. :)
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
There are many theories and variables out there about how damage is calculated based on observations and on parsed numbers. It has been stated numerous times that these formulas have been changed since SE "fixed" two-handed weapon calculations so as stated before, Please take these calculations for what they are, a general, ball park idea.
Time for part 4 of my WS Gear Comparisons. Today's line up includes a piece of gear that I've been after for a while, but haven't felt it was worth paying the AH price for it. Will the numbers justify my thoughts?
I have to admit I did this post with a bit of trepidation considering the sheer amount of gushing I did over a Cuchulain's Mantle in this post. I knew at the time of that post, it really came down to a question of just how much Attack figures played in the end result of a weapon skill. I also knew that I was relatively close to capping my attack figures against your typical meripo target and that finding a way to cap my fSTR w/o sacrificing too much attack would be the way to go. I also felt (well before I piled on +9 DEX with Hecatomb Subligar +1) that I had some WS accuracy issues and as most know, if you can't hit your target, the amount of offense you have is pointless.
This is also a matter of your belief in the formulas that have been created through various means and have become accepted as the norm.
The lineup today includes:
1. Cuchulain's Mantle
2. Forager's Mantle
3. Amemet Mantle +1
4. Cerberus Mantle
5. Cerberus Mantle +1
6. Psilos Mantle (wut?)
For those of you too lazy to click the links above, here are the stats of each:
Here's what each piece will do to my current set up:
Here's what each piece will do to my basic numbers against that poor pink bird:
Here's what the estimated Drakesbane numbers will look like:
Pretty significant difference in the wrong direction for that Cuchulain's mantle isn't it? This was rather surprising to me. I had a feeling it would come up short since you really just can't overcome what amounts to losing nearly 15 attack. Sure it caps my fSTR and raises my Acc% to cap, but as I previously mentioned, I was already at or over those caps to begin with. This might prove to be completely different against something with a much higher evasion, but given the pricepoint of a Cuchulain's Mantle currently against the rest of this line up (except for the Cerb Mantle +1), it's really not worth it for a Dragoon. Even that Psilos Mantle kills it.
Also, some have asked to compare Penta Thrust numbers with this mantle since it's widely considered to be better for Penta Thrust.
Now before I go further, I want to point something out here...
Penta Thrust's ACCURACY is modified by your TP. They changed this a while back. You're going to be getting little boosts of Accuracy as your TP gauge climbs. Also note that there are no definitive numbers that I've seen showing how Accuracy is calculated in regards to TP and Penta Thrust. Also, please read this post in regards to my thoughts on Penta Thrust vs. Drakesbane in a meripo.
The results are the generally the same. Penta Thrust barely gains any ground on any of the other pieces. Using a Cuchulain's mantle drops my pDIF rather significantly and since I was already at or near the Accuracy cap, that's just too much to give up. Especially for 3.5 mil.
The Cerberus Mantle +1 is the winner here if you go strictly by the fSTR and pDIF values. However, the fact that a Forager's Mantle and an Amemet Mantle are as close they are was a little surprising to me. Note that the difference between these latter two pieces show up in the WSC value due to how STR is calculated for both Drakesbane and Penta Thrust.
If you take the alleged fSTR cap of 18 into account, there is no difference between any of these mantles unless you have a relic. However, since WSC will take 50% of your STR value and basically dump it straight into a variable, more STR = better and that's where Cerb Mantle +1 wins out...barely.
Stick with Forager's or Amemet+1 if you feel like 15+ mil is a little much for what amounts to +1 STR...
Monday, June 15, 2009
Last time I got excited about anything that was related to dynamis currencies was when SE announced they would be cutting Dynamis costs in half. I was pretty stoked at the notion of currencies dropping in price as a result. At the time, I had Limbus currency as solid reasoning. When SE dropped Limbus prices from 50k to 30k (god that seems like so long ago), Ancient Beastcoins followed suit.
Yeah well, people are dumbasses and kept buying up currencies at super inflated prices. Prices have actually gone up since the cost of Dynamis was cut in half. Logically, half-priced dynamis should have encouraged more groups to go, thus filling the market with more coins causing increase in supply. I would have expected an increase in demand as well given a lot of people looked at Dynamis prices and thought "ZOMG FIVE HUNDRED K FOR MORE THAN ONE ONE HUNDRED?!?!?!", but I figured the supply would have far outweighed the demand.
What actually did my theory in here was the fact that SE increased the drop rates in the northlands and CoP. Dynamis by nature is a long, boring event. Especially when the zones are being stingy. In reality, unless you're specifically after currency, there is no point in doing cities anymore. You can target different monster sets in the various CoP zones and get, what appears to be, a much higher chance of picking up a city's AF2. Dynamis-Qufim, for example, has Obsidian seeing 6-7 normal AF2 drops just on our normal path and we kill 20ish turtles and 5ish statues.
Couple that with AF2 dropping on average in double digits in the northlands, and you have yourself a recipe for FEWER coins on the market due to the lower time limit in CoP and the generally lower drop rate in Xarcabard due to fewer kills. Also dump people getting what they want and not doing Dynamis anymore on top of all that and you kill the supply even more.
I'm not going to get my hopes up until I actually see this implemented. I do know that increasing supply of something will generally cause prices to go down and this is apparently directed towards that. If it turns out to be along the scale of the ANNM drops, I wouldn't look for prices to drop at all, but if SE actually manages to make it worth people's time to do Union, go-go Wal-mart priced coins.
Regardless of how many coins are infused into the game through this, it still doesn't take away from just how idiotic some upgraders are in buying coins for near triple the cost of just putting a 12 man group together and going to the zone you need. I get some people are already commited to doing Dynamis with certain groups, but there are plenty of other start up groups out there that are likely looking for sponsors...they just don't know it yet.
Obsidian had T3 and T2 this week. Normally I would post and rant about some things that went wrong or observations that I had...
...and nothing is really going to change about that...
...but I wanted to take the chance first to point out that with a T1 win tomorrow, Obsidian will have done something that it hasn't done since we started doing Einherjar. They will have won T3-T2-T1 in succession for the first time ever. To some of the more hardcore gamers, that may invoke thoughts of "Yay? We do that all the time...". To those who don't see the pattern I had set up for the rooms initially based on being aware of what Obsidian is made up of, it'll probably invoke thoughts of "Wow...they've come a long way." And they have.
After the first 3-4 months of spamming a specific tier to get our mules set up (yes T2 and T3 were brutal to us while we were finding what worked best for our group), I set us up for doing Odin every 7th run day. There were two reasons for this. The first was that I knew we had people that could only make it on Saturday and we had people that could only make it on Tuesday. Having Odin on odd run days means I'm alternating the days and giving people fair shots at doing Odin. The second was that I wasn't super confident in our group's ability to win those 3 runs in succession and I wanted them to have multiple chances to do so between Odins. I felt that if we were winning consistently enough, I could eventually drop Odin down to every 5th run day.
The crew eventually did start showing they could win consistently, but never 3 in a row across all 3 tiers. Prior to my dropping Odin down to every 5th day, we would generally win 3 out of every 4. It got to a point where I could mostly chalk those losses up to bad luck. Those of you real familiar with Einherjar and how it works will know that sometimes it's just going to sodomize you w/o lube and there's nothing any amount of skill, gear or talent can do about it. The same pattern generally applied once I changed the pattern too. Something would trip us up and we'd have to use that 4th run to make up for it. To their credit so far, they have yet to fail and cause me to reschedule Odin.
I'm not going to gush with pride and whatnot at this achievement. I've felt it was long overdue and that's not to say we won't get tripped up anymore. It could happen between our upcoming Odin and the one after it, but I will say that I finally feel like a lot of the time and energy I put into this event is coming full circle. Leaders like to see the people under their direction have success and a lot of it. While I'm the first to admit I certainly have my moments and some people prefer other leaders to myself, I hope that everyone truly understands it's never been about drops for me (drops are a side effect of anyone's success). I had a huge chip on my shoulder that got mostly knocked off after our first Odin win. The chip wasn't related to my specific nature or abilities so much as it was related to knocks a linkshell I've helped to build over the years has taken (some legit, some ignorant).
I've been asked several times why I'm still associated with Obsidian. I'm first to admit I've considered leaving several times with most of the reasons behind said consideration being real life circumstances. Generally though, when this question is asked to me, it's asked by leaders/members of linkshells people would consider upper tier or in some cases, by people who would consider themselves upper tier, but are merely fooling themselves. Some have asked me from a "What else do you have to prove?" standpoint. Others have asked me from a "Why would someone as accomplished as you are associate with so many noobs?" standpoint.
That last question, in and of itself, is exactly why I've stayed with Obsidian. We were all noobs once. We all had to work for our gear and we all have to start somewhere. The difference though is that the vast majority of the time, those "noobs" are far more grounded in reality than most of the elitist jackasses could ever hope to be. Judging a group of people by their in-game accomplishments is petty and shallow. If you can show they're super lazy, by all means judge away, but if someone's going to judge because they don't have a full salvage set, all their OPs etc cause they spend 40-50 hours/week working and taking care of children, then said someone really needs to go experience the real world for a few years.
I've said repeatedly through this blog that "If you aren't willing to teach, you have no room to bitch." Not everyone has memorized ffxi-wiki or reads BG on a daily basis to keep up to the minute on every single thing possible in this game. To some people, the fun of logging into the game just to chat it up with others is all that's necessary. To others, it's a matter of being the go-to guy for information or a matter of making sure you have the absolute best gear you can have. To each their own. Obsidian's membership is made up of people you can actually have real life conversations with and I'm willing to bet this doesn't extend to many linkshells who can do what Obsidian does consistently.
Back on point though...Einherjar is what it is. There aren't many groups that can win across the board consistently. You either have to be super geared with moderate numbers (20-24ish) or you have to be modestly gear with large numbers (34-36) or somewhere in between. Obsidian is probably somewhere in between. We have a group of people that would find their way into most end-game shells rather easily on gear alone and we have a group of people that need to do some serious work (but they still effort and that's all anyone can ask). Hopefully this is something we've managed to build that will last for a long time to come.
The Return of Mr. and Mrs. Pun
So two years ago, a few of us started a bit of an annual event. I don't know who's idea it was originally, but I do know it's been something I've been looking forward to each year. The event is a get-together and a cook-out. We've yet to name the event (we need to do that so I can call it something other than 'the event'), but the original group that got together were Kaelis, Erimentha (Kae's wife), Sirinity, Looco (Sirinity's wife :P), Girlfriend and myself. We all convened at Kaelis' house for some tasty burgers and mango shenanigans.
The next year was at Siri/Looco's house. Same 6 of us showed up and we had a guest appearance by Lakroost. While there, we were talking about where the one this year should be. Kay suggested at her folk's house in Maine. Now for those of you that are geographically challenged...where Maine sits in relation to where Kaelis/Eri and Siri/Loo live is about 20 hours away by car. Her folk's house would be perfect for an event like this, but the haul would be long and flying there is too expensive (nearest airport is an hour away and no major commercial liners go there for cheap). Anyway, long story short...we're doing that up there this year and this serves as the platform for which I tell the rest of this story.
About a year ago, Kaelis/Eri had to leave FFXI for a number of real life reasons. No one can knock anyone for that and it takes a good understanding of reality to make a decision like that. Some can look at the first sentence of this paragraph and say "They all come back", which I agree with, but the general consensus among us was that if there was any person that could quit cold turkey, it was Kaelis.
Over the course of said year w/o Kaelis/Eri, I've visited them a couple times on my trips to visit the Girlfriend. I came to several realizations during that time that led me to believe I could convince them to come back to FFXI. While I didn't have too many online interactions with Eri, Kaelis was a part of a static group of friends I had made during my time in Obsidian. Certain friendships you develop in game eventually transcend the online world completely. Before you know it, you have one of those friends you didn't even have to effort to make. Given the info about the event I laid out and the number of times I've visited since, one can assume that since Kaelis left FFXI, there was obviously a hole in several parties that were made by our collective clique.
After coming to the realizations that I did, I started talking to Kaelis about returning rather seriously, even if it was just for a temporary and mostly selfish reason.
Y'see...I had this big idea where when we get together early next month for our annual event, that all of us who are there will be able to log into FFXI on Saturday morning and fight Odin together. I didn't want only a few of us to do it and the others who weren't active in FFXI to feel left out. Time was of the essence then given the requirements to fight Odin.
And conversate I did. I felt like the realizations I had would allow Kaelis/Eri to make their return w/o really changing their real lives. I felt for them to do so, he needed to learn to do two things. The first was how to say no. It happens to most of us where parts of our real lives become neglected because of an innate pressure to make people you care about happy. That means staying up late to help finish something or over commiting yourself to a series of events that particular week. Which leads to the second...don't overcommit yourself. I felt hopeful after my conversation that Kaelis would return...
...and the Girlfriend felt like Kaelis was just humoring me as he's been known to do several times in the past.
And later that night I got to rub it into the Girlfriend's face. The return of Mr. and Mrs. Pun had happened. While I don't anticipate that they'll be in game as much as they used to be, the fact that our clique is one step closer to being full circle again is exciting all by itself. Over the weekend, I spent some time farming up some projects for a couple weeks down the road that Eri's BLM will need along with introducing Kaelis to a lot of stuff that was implemented since he's left. I didn't realize just how much this game had changed in favor of the casual player over the past year until Kaelis started asking me "wtf are these treasure caskets all over the place for..."
So with a huge WELCOME THE FUCK BACK YOU TWO, look for linkshell channels to be littered with puns.
The Return of King Cranky Cat
This year's annual event also includes a few potential new guests as well. Siri and Looco are on the invite list, but likely aren't going to make it due to Siri being 7 months preggers. (Face it...would you want to drive 20+ hours with that sitting on your bladder?). So that leaves Kay, Kaelis, Eri and myself as the regulars that are going to be there for sure. We also have confirmation that Canuck will be there fresh off a 40 hour drive from the murder capital of the world.
Then in looking at my MSN list a few days ago, I remembered that another old friend of mine who has had several on again, off again love affairs with FFXI and most notably the original website moderator for Obsidian was in the vicinity of Maine and quite possibly right along the way up there.
So I extended the invite to Suraph...a.k.a. King Cranky Cat.
For those of you that don't know Suraph, his advil consumption during his Obsidian sackholder days were legendary along with his bear-trap of a mouth whenever he was particularly annoyed.
Much to my glee, he accepted and returned to FFXI himself. While I anticipate that he'll be spending less time in game than Kaelis and Eri, the fact that he'll be able to do Odin with us potentially when we're all gathered together in Maine is very exciting. And since he returned, I figure now is as good a time as any to bust out the King Cranky theme song as a welcome back. If you know the Green Acres theme song, this fits it.
KIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIING CRANKY IS THE KING FOR ME!
AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAS CRANKY AS HE CAN BE!
Eh...fuck it, I'll just make him a trading card...(mainly cause it was his b-day over the weekend and I can't remember the rest of the song...).
Here you go!
So yeah, I managed to get 3 good friends to come back to FFXI (albeit temporarily) between my last blog post and this one. Now I'm super excited about the BBQ coming up early next month :)
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
And without further adieu...Qtipus Cards series 1.
Feel free to create your own and send them or your ideas to me. I'll post them up at random intervals.
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
- The person blocking traffic in a parking lot for 10 minutes waiting on a car to pull out when there was an empty space 3 spaces before it they could have parked in and walked into the store by the time the car they waited on pulled out. No wonder people look at our country as fat. WALK THE EXTRA TEN STEPS FUCKERS.
- Walking down a main aisleway in a big-box store only to have my normal pace slowed down to a crawl by a family deciding to walk 6-wide and block the whole damn aisle while they talk on their cell phones. GTFO OF THE WAY.
- The guy that orders $40 worth of food in the Taco Bell drive thru (or any drive-thru for that matter). GO IN AND GET THAT SHIT.
- And on that note, the guy/gal that puts the drive-thru 'on hold' while they call up someone to find out what they want to order. HELPS TO KNOW THAT SHIT BEFORE PULLING INTO THE DRIVE-THRU ASSHOLES.
- The asshole doing 1mph over the speed limit in the passing lane w/o passing anyone. REALLY GOT THE PEDAL TO THE METAL THERE CHUMP.
- The customer who feels like getting me to fix their malware-infested computer requires me to know their entire life story while other customers are trying to reach me. DAMN IT DUDE! I'M A COMPUTER TECH, NOT A PSYCHIATRIST.
- The person taking 157 items into the 20 items or less 'express' lane. Nothing I say in caps here will express just how much this pisses me off.
- The person on the highway that can't figure out how fast they want to go, but won't let you pass them. ISN'T CRUISE CONTROL STANDARD BY NOW?!?!?
- Being asked "Would you like anything else?" more than once by a drive-thru operator. "THAT'S ALL" AND "NO" AREN'T ENOUGH OF AN ANSWER FOR YOU??! STOP BABBLING TO YOUR CO-WORKER AND PAY ATTENTION.
- Drink spillage on the side of a cup. WHY CAN'T YOU WIPE THAT OFF BEFORE YOU HAND IT TO ME YOU FUCKING TOOL?!??! DO I LOOK LIKE I KEEP A RAG OR EXTRA NAPKINS AROUND IN MY CAR FOR THIS?!?!
- The hidden grease pocket/condiments spill. Nothing like taking a bite out of my sandwich only to have it's guts spew out the other end onto my shirt or pants.
- Over-filled drink cup that spills all over the place when you put your straw in. THANKS FOR THE EXTRA DRINK, BUT MY CUPHOLDER AND CUP LID WEREN'T THIRSTY.
- And while on drinks from fast food places, nothing like the employee who is apparently unable to put a lid on said cup correctly resulting in the first tip of of the cup causing you to dribble your drink down your shirt. LIDS USUALLY SNAP IN PLACE AND...I DON'T KNOW...LOOK LEVEL WHEN THEY'RE PLACED ON CORRECTLY.
- The DSL internet service sales call at 6:30 in the morning when I already have DSL service. PERFECT WAY TO START OFF MY DAY. YOU MADE MY DECISION TO SWITCH TO CABLE A HELL OF A LOT EASIER.
- The party with two bards camping on top of a party with one bard (Omoikitte) that has Izman, Ringthree and myself in it. DO YOU NOT SEE THE HUGE BLUE WEAPON ON MY BACK. DO YOU NOT SEE THE FULL/NEAR SETS OF SALVAGE GEAR. DO YOU NOT SEE THE GUY WHO IS MAN ENOUGH TO WEAR AN ANUS TICKLER ON HIS HEAD? YOU WILL NOT KILL FASTER THAN US JUST BECAUSE YOU HAVE TWO BARDS. (this one is especially true when I see said 2 bard party showing up with PUP and a PLD...)
- The guy who likes to fight over anything. Can usually be found mouthing off at someone who accidentally bumped into him. BIG MUSCLES ARE NOT ALWAYS BETTER THAN COMMON SENSE.
- Little old ladies giving me the middle finger for no reason whatsoever. For some reason, this has happened twice while I was driving and all I did was flash my lights to get them to move over out of the fast lane they were going "10mph under the speed limit fast" in. Nothing I say in caps will really have any effect on this since seeing two 80+ year old ladies giving the middle finger to me is just flat fkn hilarious in it's own right...but irritating cause you know there's nothing you can really do to respond to that. Also...isn't the middle finger far less effective to give to someone when you're over the age of 60?
- Empty construction zones. THANKS FOR SLOWING ME DOWN FOR NO REASON WHATSOEVER.
- Speaking of construction zones, tractor trailers passing me in said zone, but I get pulled over for going 5mph over shortly after I've been passed and are clearly falling behind said tractor trailer. LOVE OUR MEN IN BLUE SOMETIMES.
- Lastly, the guy who pulls up next to you at a stop light and wants to race. Floors it when the light changes green and probably feels great about leaving a 4-door sedan in the dust not knowing the driver of said 4-door sedan doesn't give a rat's ass about his 0-60 time making him stain his pants. DRIVE SAFELY ASSHOLE. RACE ON A RACETRACK.
If anyone has any of these, feel free to post 'em. In addition to a column like this from time to time, I'm going to start up a work stories column where I tell stories about my various interactions with some of my more memorable customers.
Monday, June 8, 2009
1. Cuchulain's Belt
2. Wyrm Belt
3. Warwolf Belt
4. Sword Belt+1 (Didn't do the NQ cause the HQ is so cheap. STOP BEING CHEAP FUCKERS!)
5. Vanguard Belt
6. Potent Belt (Per Inbred's request).
And in case you don't feel like clicking links to remind yourself of the stats for each of those pieces, here's the breakdown:
The great thing about all of these belts is that they are rather easy to obtain. Warwolf Belt is probably the most common belt used out of all of these simply because it drops in a KS30 that gets spammed almost daily. It offers a great balance of STR and DEX, but will it stack up to raw attack? Potent Belts can be picked up for free if you spend a little time doing Leujaoam Sanctum assaults (6 tags should do it if you trio spam Red vs. Blue). Vanguard Belts are probably one of the more difficult ones to get in an ENM40 called Bad Seed. Swordbelts are commonly crafted by Leathercrafters (72 synth...can reach T2 HQ if you bother to get all the gear). Wyrm Belts come from CoP Dynamis areas (Buburimu and Qufim specifically) and are Dragoon only. Lastly, Cuchulain's Belt comes from Plucking Wings, which is only available when Castle Oztroja [S] is under Allied Forces control and your rank is Iron Emblem or higher. This one is probably the most difficult one to obtain, hence the price tag of 1-1.5 mil. Again though...will the most expensive belt be the best for Dragoon?
So let's get started. Here are my stats with each of these pieces of gear equipped:
Here are my calculated stats against our friendly level 82 colibri that I obliterated a ton of over the weekend:
And finally, here are the estimated Drakesbane numbers against said pink, feathery bags o' experience points should all four Drake-pokes connect:
There are a couple things to notice here. First is the accuracy percentages. With my gear set up the way that it is currently, the only two pieces of gear I would hit the accuracy cap with would be the Wyrm Belt and the Potent Belt. A Warwolf or Cuchulain's belt would have me a couple accuracy points short of the cap, but the damage range between these two belts and a Wyrm Belt are not all that different.
Second thing to notice here is what is actually making a difference in the damage range. Due to the combination of Ares body, Amemet Mantle +1 and Hecatomb Subligar +1, I'm well over my pDIF cap. This means the only thing left that has a direct effect on increasing my weapon skill damage would be that fSTR rating. Even then, I'm not that far off from the cap. Remember that for 2h weapons, fSTR caps at 18. Relic weapons allegedly have a cap of 19. (This may apply for 1h weapons too, but I haven't bothered to look it up).
Should I think a little more realistically around what most casual players would have, if you replace the Ares Body and Hecatomb Subligar+1 with say...Askar Body and Conte Cosciales (a difference of 29ish attack, 4 STR and 9 DEX in those two slots alone), a Warwolf Belt is still a viable option, but the extra attack and accuracy on a Wyrm Belt starts to have a little more of an impact overall.
The only two belts I could go wrong with in my current set up would be the Vanguard Belt and the Swordbelt+1. Even though the Swordbelt+1 offers up the highest floor damage of any of the belts, that issue with accuracy would bite me in the ass more often than not. I would need to find another 8 acc in a different slot in order to cap myself out. In order to do that, I'd need to replace my Askar Zucchetto with a Hecatomb Cap (on the list anyway), my Pole Grip with a Platinum Grip +1, and my Olibanum Sachet with a Black Tathlum.
The kicker is this though. It wouldn't make a bit of difference against this Colibri. My pDIF is already capped. If we're talking against much higher level monsters with a much higher defensive rating or evasion rating, then yeah, I might consider adding a Black Tathlum anyway, but I still wouldn't use the Swordbelt due to my accuracy being crap against said higher level monsters.
Wyrm Belt, Warwolf Belt, Cuchulain's Belt are your best options overall with Wyrm Belt getting the edge in my opinion if you're not pDIF capped or Accuracy Capped. You're not going to go wrong with the other two. A Potent Belt is good if you're fighting something particularly evasive, but if that's the case, you probably have a Life Belt laying around somewhere collecting dust. A Swordbelt+1, while offering the highest damage floor, does not offer any form of Accuracy and when considering the ceiling, why would you choose this over something that has the same floor/ceiling combo AND higher accuracy to boot (Cuchulain's Belt)?
If Wyrm Belts aren't readily available to you cause you hate Dynamis, get a Warwolf Belt. If you're rich and can't get a Wyrm Belt, get a Cuchulain's Belt. If you don't give a crap about accuracy and just want the eye-popping numbers, get a Warwolf Belt/Swordbelt+1/Vanguard Belt. If you have accuracy issues, Potent Belt. At least that way you're still increasing your attack and accuracy numbers instead of just your accuracy with the Life Belt.
Thursday, June 4, 2009
11:18 Running a bit late, guys. Waiting to go in.
11:18 Blogging from my iPhone outside the room.
11:19 Hoping for more on Final Fantasy XIV
11:20 Also, Square Enix isn't allowing cameras so this will be a live blog
11:21 Fun fact: I saw Itagaki here at the show. It's unclear if he's here for meetings or announcing something with Square or Konami, which both have press conferences today.
11:22 Itagaki being the creator of Ninja Gaiden.
11:23 I hope there are a lot of comments, but I can't see them on the iPhone version of this software.
11:24 Also, if you didn't catch our late story last night, FFXIV will also be released on the PC.
11:24 Being developed by the primary team behind FFXI
11:25 I just hope it's less grindy!
11:27 Looks like we're going in soon. Still running late. I think the localization team for FFXIII is running this event.
11:30 I'm really hoping for some Chris Taylor action. Square is publishing Supreme Commander II.
11:32 Been hearing that there could be a major announcement here, but that might have been FFXIV yesterday.
11:34 Just got moved to the VIP line. Bling.
11:42 Still in line. Just more VIP'ier. Be patient, y'all.
11:45 Okay, inside now! I can see your comments now.
11:45 For those just joining us, no video :( Square-Enix isn't allowing it, but I'm here to live blog all the news for you guys.
11:46 The chair is super comfortable!
11:46 As always, I won't be publishing your comments, but can see them all and might
respond to some ;)
11:46 As far as I know, this is a straight press conference. Don't know about a Q&A yet, but if there is, I'll ask you guys for questions.
11:47 For those interested in the Konami conference later today, there will be video tonight. We can't live stream it based on the room it's being held in :( But we are filming it for later.
11:48 I really want to see more of FFXIII, not just what was in the Japanese demo or cinematics. Kupo!
11:48 FFXIV is an MMO so expect a fee on both PC and PS3. Nothing concrete has been announced for pricing as far as I know.
11:49 If they give FFXIV details, you'll get them. Or I could make stuff up if you really need something now?
11:50 That "confirmation" of FFXIV being Free 2 Play seems shaky, but I could believe it if the game was based around a paid "premium" experience or micro-transactions.
11:51 Ok, here's some made up stuff for FFXIV: It takes place entirely underwater and those flying drones in the cinematic trailer were actually Mutalisks from StarCraft.
11:52 People are still filing in, but we should be starting soon.
11:53 This just in, I see name placards for the two leads on FFXIV.
11:53 And away we go!
11:53 This is Brian Leahy from TheFeed.
11:54 It seems like this is very much about FFXIV.
11:54 Update on exclusivity confusion.
11:55 Please be patient as this is going to be translated from Japanese.
11:56 FFXIV will be coming to the PS3 & PC. They are currently considering other hardware (including Microsoft hardware!)
11:56 Q: What are the ties to Final Fantasy XI, if any?
11:58 A: While you may have noticed that some of the same type of races appeared in the trailer, the world of FFXIV is different from FFXI. The reason that we made the races similar to the FFXI races is so FFXI players could choose a similar type of race in the new game. For example, in movies, you might have an actor that plays many different roles. Please, think of it that way.
11:59 Q: What happens to Final Fantasy XI now that we're moving to FFXIV? Are you going to phase it out or continue to publish new content for XI? How will the development team be split?
11:59 XIV does not take place in Vana'deil.
12:00 A: The development for FFXIV started 4 or 5 years ago with primary ideas. Development started a few years ago, while FFXI was still being supported. FFXI will continue to be supported. There is another year of content planned. There are no plans for the near future to stop development on FFXI.
12:01 Q: What influence have games like World of WarCraft have on the development of FFXIV?
12:02 A: As with WoW, we want to aim a bit for the casual user. However, we don't want to make a copy of WoW. We believe we will have things that are unique and will stand out from that game.
12:02 Q: Will combat be more action oriented or turn-based?
12:02 A: We cannot talk about the battle system at this time.
12:03 Q: FFXI has evolved a lot over the years, especially in the areas of player accessibility and the ability to solo. Will you carry over features like level sync and other features to FFXIV?
12:04 A: Yes. All of the knowledge and experience we gained from FFXI will be used in
the development of FFXIV. At the launch, we intend to have content for solo players as well as large-scale battles. We want a wide-variety from the start.
12:04 Q: Are you planning a simultaneous worldwide release or will it be released in Japan first?12:05 A: Yes. At the launch, this will be a worldwide simultaneous launch on PS3 and Windows PC. English, Japanese, German, and French versions released at launch.
12:05 Q: Will all servers be worldwide or split by territory?
12:07 A: The current plans are to have worldwide servers that are cross-platform and cross-region. We will do a beta test and look at the balance and player experience. We want to look for a good balance between region and cross-region play.
12:07 There's your beta!
12:08 Q: Will you be taking feedback from your FFXI users?
12:08 A: Yes, we still get a lot of feedback from our FFXI players and will continue to take feedback as we move into beta. The game will change as it goes.
12:09 Q: Will you try to move players from XI to XIV or will they be separate communities?
12:09 (I'm on my laptop + 3G now ;) )
12:10 A: It's up to the community themselves. We envision users that will hopefully play XI one day and XIV another. They will be independent, but users are free to play both.
12:10 Q: Are there plans to localize the game in Spanish?
12:11 A: Currently, there is no Spanish version in development. We'll consider it if enough Spanish-speaking users demand it from us. Getting good translators in Japan is hard, but if there's enough demand we will consider it.
12:11 Q: How can users transmit this demand?
12:12 A: We will conduct marketing research.
12:12 Q: Is there any special element in the MMO genre that you will improve with this game?
12:13 A: Our plan from the beginning was to make the best Final Fantasy game available. That is our vision for XIV. Then we thought, how can we make the best FF game and we came to the conclusion that it would be an MMORPG. It was decided to make the best FF first, then led to the decision to make it an MMORG and use that genre.
12:13 A: However, we are trying to implement a lot of new systems that other MMO's haven't used in the past.
12:14 Q: Why did you decide to make a new game rather than continue to evolve FFXI?
12:16 A: It all comes down to, originally, FFXI was designed for the PS2. It then moved to PC and Xbox 360. A lot of people have asked for a port to the PS3. With an MMORPG of this size, you have to develop new content. Porting to a new technology would take a lot of effort. Instead, we decided to use that time to make something new.
12:17 Q: Yesterday's trailer that was shown, was that running of a console or was it pre-rendered?
12:18 A: There were parts that were pre-rendered and parts that were running on the in-game engine.
12:18 Q: Is that the quality you're aiming for? The scene with the Galka fighting, is that what you're aiming for?
12:19 A: Yes, that is the part that was running in-engine.
12:19 Q: In that scene, we saw many parties and many enemies. Is this the new focus: many parties fighting many enemies?
12:20 A: I cannot say too much, but we hope to have battles that are many vs. many and many vs. one.
12:20 This is a Q&A for FFXIV, not a press conference. It was added at the last minute. FFXIV will be the only title discussed.
12:20 Q: What would you like to emphasize with this game? What is different from FFXI?
12:21 We're asking questions, but they are currently going through the international and Japanese press.
12:22 A: For FFXIV, the keyword that we've been using is "The Growth and Development of the Character." We will have the same type of storytelling and high-quality graphics. We also want to expand and create new in-game systems. The player can grow & develop in a more natural way without putting too much weight on the player. We will expand the job system to make it fairly different from the one in FFXI.
12:23 A: Another very important concept that takes a different direction from FFXI, for FFXIV we want to make it so the player can choose to play solo, in a party, 40 minutes, all-day... there will be content for ALL of those play styles and systems for all of those play styles.
12:24 Q: On the beta process, will current XI players get in?
12:25 A: As with the actual release date of the game, we don't have a concrete beta schedule yet. We will have a beta and look forward to more information about then shortly.
12:25 Q: Will FFXI characters be portable to XIV in any way?
12:26 A: The game is completely different. There will not be any XI character transfers to XIV. However, the character design is familiar and XI players will be able to create a similar character.
12:26 A: We will NOT be using PlayOnline, but friend lists will transfer over.
12:27 Q: If I'm new to the MMO genre, why would I choose FFXIV over other games?
12:27 A: We believe that players will fall in love with the world & story that we have created.
12:31 Q: I've been seeing information that the title is free to play, is this
12:31 A: No pricing has been decided at this time. It is still TBD.
12:33 That wraps it up for the Q&A. Thank you all for following along and I hope you had some of your questions answered. That last one about pricing was mine, by the way.
12:34 Remember to come back later for Konami's press conference. I'm guessing they will reveal what the "Mask" game is that is being teased on Kojima's site.
So yeah, there's some pretty important tidbits of information to absorb here. I'll break it down with my thoughts on the matter.
They specifically state that the fight scene with the Galka on the ship is rendered by the game-engine itself. While they say that they hope to achieve that level for in-game activities, do not be fooled by the quality of that footage. A lot of games use a combination of pre-rendered footage and game-engine rendered footage for their cutscenes and the FF series is no different. I would expect in-game footage that eventually shows up to look a little less...stellar. Especially on the PS3 and lower-mid ranged PCs. If the upper end gaming rigs can achieve that level of fluidity and detail, then holy shit, SE's really outdone themselves, but that's something I don't really expect people to go and spend upwards of $2000+ to get to.
Let the rampant speculation begin. They offered no concrete facts about the job system in this Q&A other than it will be different from FFXI.
The thing that makes FFXI so popular is that you can really grow attached to your character. You don't have to create new characters every time you want to level a new job. Despite the limitations a Job/Subjob combination can impose as far as actual usefulness to the overall picture (re: /nin or /sam for damn near every melee now is the only way to go), the amount of time spent making your own character better is astounding.
In other MMO's, once you reach max level, that's mostly it. Go get your end-game gear, participate in a few raids, then done. You end up being known by MANY names for the various characters you level. In FFXI, I am Qtipus. I've never been anyone else (unless I'm ferreting an account for mule purposes or as a favor). Most know me as a Dragoon, but instead of having Qtipusjr the WHM or Qtipusthethird as PLD, I have all these on one character and can change to fill a need or I can level another job. That is simply more time I've put into this one character. Which leads me to the next critical point...
No Character Transfers
I griped a little bit yesterday about the potential of having to start from scratch again after investing so much time in this one character. I'm not going to go into full blown rage after the confirmation of this yesterday, but I will say the following...
If SE expects me to "play FFXI one day and play FFXIV the next", they better damn well make sure the games are so drastically different that I can justify paying them potentially twice the amount of money I'm currently paying them for their services. If FFXIV turns out to be rehash of FFXI, I'll be sticking with FFXI no matter how shiny FFXIV turns out to be. After 6+ years, I've made a ton of friends, acquired a ton of items and turned Qtipus into a character that can generally participate in more than effectively in any event this game has to offer.
This is the caveat though. This is what lures people back to this game after they've spent a substantial amount of time with it or what makes it so hard to quit. Your character in this game is not something you simply throw by the wayside once you hit 75. You go do it again 19 more times with another job. You participate in various events as various jobs lending a ton of variety to your game play (whether you like the job or not...). You can continue to make your character stronger through the merit system. The list goes on. Some will say they come back to this game cause their friends play. That's awesome and all, but don't be naive to think that this is the only reason they come back. There is a level of attachment to these characters unlike any other MMO out there and if SE fails to recognize this, they just might be in for a rude awakening when it comes to FFXIV.
I get that the MMO market is a business and SE is looking to capitalize on what I term as "burst income" from players paying for FFXI and FFXIV at the same time. SE has a chance to do something truly unique though. If FFXIV is going to be truly different from FFXI in almost every way, I get that transferring characters from one game to the other would be detrimental in facilitating this. However, offering up a fee-based service for select items to be transferred from FFXI to FFXIV would likely be a boon for business just as a simple thank you to the people who truly made FFXI successful would likely help SE gain what they truly want. Which is multiple people paying for multiple subscriptions.
PS3 and PC. That's all that's confirmed at this time. SE needs to get this game on the XBox or the Wii as well. The PS3's installed base (as of March 2009) is approx 7.5 million units compared to the XBox's installed base of 14.9 million and the Wii's installed base of a rather astonishing 19.6 million units. Compare this to the near TWENTY MILLION install PS2 units at the NA launch of FFXI and it's pretty easy to see that SE likely isn't going to come close to their initial FFXI numbers.
Worldwide numbers are a little different, but still in the same pattern. As of March 2009, Wii's world wide base exceeds 50 million units. As of Jan 2009, Xbox360's installed base world wide is 28 million and as of Dec 2008, PS3's worldwide installed base is 21 million. Compared to the Sept 2003 (month before NA FFXI launch) PS2 installed base of 60 million, SE's decision to stick with the PS3 in the short term looks...short sighted.
All it takes, obviously, is a small fraction of those PS3 owners to at least give FFXIV a try, but the PS3's pricepoint makes it far less likely that someone is going to go out and buy this unit specifically for FFXIV. Nintendo's Wii price point and rather unique approach to gaming is what's causing the huge installed base numbers for it and the XBox360's numbers are what they are because of how long the thing has been out (5 years now?). If Sony drops the price of the PS3 down to the same price range as the XBox360 is currently, look the hell out, but Sony is going to have to figure out how to cut the costs of what basically amounts to a netbook in a shiny box.
With SE moving towards digital media downloads for all their content, having copies of FFXIV on store shelves likely won't have as dramatic an effect on sales as placing the software up for download in the online shopping malls provided by each system. I don't know what numbers SE is looking to gain from simply offering it up on the PS3 and the PC initially, but if they truly want to make something that's going bring in a veritable fuckton of money, they need to get it ported to one of the cheaper consoles. This game will not sell PS3s. SE says they're looking into other hardware naming "Microsoft hardware" specifically, which is mostly smart, but if the lessons of FFXI are truly learned, they'll figure out a way ahead of time to avoid using the phrase that's ultimately become the catchphrase of FFXI...
Go for the Wii SE. Go for the Wii.
I'm not particularly excited or disappointed with the news that came out yesterday. I'm still waiting to see and experience some in-game footage before I really form an opinion. The fact that they want to keep FFXI and FFXIV characters completely separate bugs me and lowers the chance that I'll dive into FFXIV in the same way that I did FFXI, but I'm certainly going to give FFXIV a try to see if it's worth it.
I know SE is a business and it's all about making as many people happy as possible, but it would be nice if some form of a nod was given to the people who put them in this position in the first place as a bit of an enticement.
Expand the platforms definitively, entice your FFXI playerbase to switch with more than "we hope that our fans will play FFXI one day and FFXIV the next cause our story and world we created is awesome" and make sure the ability to stick with one character remains and FFXIV could easily become a juggernaut in the MMO world.