Monday, August 31, 2009

Mrbooboo Exits Stage Crocodile

Just wanted to put a quick blurb up about the retirement of an old friend. Mrbooboo informed us last week that it was time for him to move on from FFXI. For those of you that don't know, he was mostly famous for deleveling during dynamis. When PLD actually became a great tanking job and xp was easier to get, he wasn't as active as he was in the days where picking up PLD xp was about as easy as trying to solo the Dynamis Lord.

He and I have certainly had our differences over the years, but as we've both grown to understand each other, a friendship developed. In the 5+ years I've been helping run Obsidian, there hasn't really been anyone I've pulled for harder to finish their relic than him. Not even my own girlfriend at the time. He never asked, but he was one person I had specifically in mind when I went to the rest of the sacks with the sponsoring idea. I helped him nab crafting materials to make money off of as well as learned a few things from him. While he certainly did the vast majority of the work in obtaining his Aegis, he was one person I didn't mind sharing the amount of available time I had to watch the AH with him since he didn't.

He went on vacation to climb Mt. Everest with his dad (who beat him in distance climbed...guessing Mrbooboo deleveled about halfway up...) for a couple months back in March and April. As is the case with most prolonged absences, forced or voluntary, most realize how much of a time sink this game really is and aren't in too much of a hurry to get back. I felt this would be the case with Mrbooboo the second I saw him say "gone for a couple months".

While I suspect he'll be back before we know it, just in case he's not, I'll see you in FFXIV Boobs. Keep deleveling. :)

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Sister vs. Transformers

As most of you know, I collect Transformers. I started collecting them about 12ish years ago. This mostly stems from my fascination with them as a child.

For about the past year-ish, my niece has come over and wanted to play with the Transformers. Last Christmas, I thought I would get her introduced to them by getting her Bumblebee from the Bumper Battler series that was aimed at kids 3+. The toy looked like this:

When she first sees it, she looks at it apprehensively. For whatever reason, she had developed this slight fear of toys that make sounds. Although this is kind of cute in a weird sort of way, we do have to be a little careful with showing new toys with her or it'll be tantrum city and she'll not want anything to do with that toy for a long while.

Bumblebee wasn't any different. Pretty much everything it does has a sound associated with it. She shied away from it after the first accidental noise went off. After a couple weeks, I got down on the floor and started playing with her with this toy and she warmed up to it (as long as the switch for the sounds was turned off).

This started a downward spiral my sister was hoping to avoid. My niece had already been showing some strong signs of being a tomboy. There wasn't a dirt pile or a wrestling match she was afraid of. Obviously with her Uncle Chompa Chompa introducing her to Transformers, this tomboy stuff was being taken to a new level. For a few months, I let that particular toy be the only Transformer she could have on her own.

Then a couple weeks ago, she comes into my room and asks:

"See Bumblebee?"

I thought she was referring to her Bumper Battler, so I went to get it for her.


"See Bumblebee?"
"That is Bumblebee."
"No! See Bumblebee?"

...and then she points to the shelf I keep some of my transformers on. She had correctly identified Bumblebee's actual figure from the Transformers: Animated line.

Seeing this as a little odd, I pulled Bumblebee down off the shelf and instructed her to be careful since she has a penchant for seeing how far she could throw anything that made it into her hands at times. Happy that she got what she wanted, she goes running off down the hallway squealing and saying various phrases I didn't understand entirely other than the word "Bumblebee" in it. I followed her out so I could watch her and make sure she wasn't going to rip any parts off of him. The toy was designed for ages 5+ and given she's just on the north side of 3, I didn't want her accidentally swallowing a part.

When she had gotten into the living room, she set Bumblebee down on the floor on his feet. She then proceeded to crawl around him and study him. Was one of the cutest things I've seen her do. She'd pick him up and start trying to move his various parts seeing what they did. She was seriously analyzing everything she could about this toy.

Seeing this, I went to get a couple other figures for her to mess with.



She gave them the same sort of treatment. She placed them on the floor, then crawled around them analyzing them. She'd then pick them up and move their various parts. Having those three toys out there literally entertained her for an hour. I'm guessing anyone with kids that young probably understands if you get a kid to be entertained for that long, it's a godsend.

A few days later, she comes back over. While my sister is out doing her workout routine, my niece comes up to the child gate at my door and proceeds to recite the following:

"See Bumblebee?"
"See Blurr?"
"See Jazz?"

This all was in rapid succession. I handed her one at a time and she did the same thing. My sister comes back in and sees this and then asks out of curiosity if she can come into my room and look at the rest. I didn't mind, so my sister gets niece to look at her and she says:

"We're going to go into Uncle Chompa's room. You sit on the bed and don't get down. We'll bring transformers to you, but if you get off the bed, we'll leave the room."


Onto the bed she goes. She started pointing at various Transformers she wanted to see. When handed to her, she'd look over it for a few minutes, then lay it down in a rather comically gentle fashion and point to the next one she wanted. My sister and I both took note of the way she was analyzing each figure. We also took note of the fact that when I'd say the name of the figure, she'd repeat it as best she could.

"This is Optimus Prime"
"Potimus Prime"

"This is Wreck-Gar"

"This is Bulkhead"

"This is Grimlock"

"This is Ultra Magnus"

"This is Megatron"
*stares blankly*

Funniest one though was...

"This is Starscream"
"Fart Steam"

...and so on.

When the bed was running out of room, I went to move some of the figures back to the shelf and was greeted with:


This whole scenario went on for about 2 hours up until it was time for her to get her nap. As you might imagine...she wasn't exactly wanting to take a nap with all these toys around her, so we got to listen to a tantrum again. After her nap, my sister took her home while she was groggy so she wouldn't realize the Transformers were still there.

A couple days later, my sister calls me.

"I hate you."
"What'd I do now?"
"You got my daughter hooked on transformers."

And I shit you not...the second she said Transformers, I hear my niece in the background:

"See Bumblebee?"
"See Blurr?"
"See Jazz?"
"See Prowl?"
"See Ratchet?"

All in rapid fire succession. I cracked up. This had to be one of my proudest moments as an uncle. Here was my almost 3-year old niece tossing aside all her Disney Princess dolls (Ariel, Belle, Jasmine etc), Disney Cartoon dolls (Mickey, Minnie, Daisy etc), and her Little Einstein stuff wanting to play with Transformers.

Given that, I figured if she had a couple of them to play with while she was at her house, she'd be fine. I ran out to Toys R' Us the next day and found Bumblebee and Blurr on clearance and picked them up. I took them over there while she was napping and when she woke up to see those two figures on the couch, she went joyously ballistic. Keep in mind, my sister didn't want me to buy 'em for her. Mainly because she knew eventually that my niece would figure out that those figures turn into something else and she didn't want to spend hours on end transforming them back and forth for her. The main reason I got them for her was because of how engaged she was in trying to figure them out. Seriously...I don't have a kid of my own obviously, but from what I do know...if a child that age latches onto something that engages their imaginations, you see where it goes.

The next trip out to the house a couple days later saw my sister bringing the new toys I got for her out too. The notion was that she'd leave them over here for her to specifically play with while she was being babysat since they seemed to entertain her for such a long time. While I'm talking about it with my sister, we hear:


And the sound of rapidly approaching baby feet clomping down the hall. She brought me Bumblebee with a piece of his leg that had snapped off. So I held out the broken Bumblebee in front of her, snapped it back into place and handed it back to her.

She stared at the piece for a bit, turned it from side to side while staring and what I had suspected originally about her fascination with these toys seemed to manifest itself a bit with her next exclamation:

"OH I GET IT!" /runsdownhallway

Kids really do say the damnedest things.

As they're getting ready to leave, I busted my sister trying to distract my niece from the Transformers long enough so that they could be left there. "She's got enough toys at home, they're rated for childen 5+, and I don't want to spend all day transforming them." So naturally...being the ass that I am at times...

"You want to take Bumblebee and Blurr home with you?"
Sister: /sigh

(And yes, I took off all the small pieces to these things before I left them.)

A couple days later (yesterday), my sister seems to have relented. She sent me a text message saying that my niece had been asking about Jazz every now and then the past couple days. I went to pick Jazz up while my niece was napping again and dropped it off. I couldn't stay to see how she reacted to it, but according to my sister, it was the same sort of joyful ballisticness (is that even a word?) that she did before.

She did get a measure of revenge on me though.

As I'm bragging about how much my niece loves Transformers, my sister points out that my niece also likes to dress said Transformers up with the dresses that belong to the Disney princess dolls...

So close... >.<

It's not a flawless victory, but it's still a victory for Transformers and me. :)

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Rumblings, Grumblings, Stumblings, Bumblings...

Been a bit since I've posted. This is mostly due to not having much to talk about since I've been super busy with work projects the past week or so. Another reason is that I've been working on getting ahead of the game a bit in regards to my commitment to the Critical Break column since Girlfriend is going to be here late next week and into the following week. I'm two weeks ahead of schedule at the moment and I may write the fourth installment at some point this weekend for the 0-60 series. Once all of those are published, I'll put them into my blog as well in their own section.


A few days ago, Girlfriend is doing something out in Xarcabard while I was fishing in Nashmau. We see the usual linkshell message that pops up whenever an NM is up, but 9/10, that NM is claimed and in the process of being killed. As she's out there, she kills Shadow Dragon and then...

(Kaylea) Biast
(Qtipus) Claimed?
(Kaylea) No
(Gawayne) omw
(Kreoss) omw
(Qtipus) omw

Takes the 3 of us about 5 mins to get out there. She's kept it slept the whole time with the occasional Biast bitchslap breaking her stoneskin. Screenshots pretty much say the rest.

So yeah, after rumbling with Biast, I picked up a piece of gear I wanted to get for DRK. I am in the process of starting to prepare leveling it, so this piece will likely go a long way towards speeding that process up for me.

At least until I can wear my Askar hat again.


Going into SSR this past Sunday saw me pick this up in a free lot battle. They would have normally gone to Omoikitte as she's had prio on these for a while. This is the second set I've seen her miss, but if I had to guess, there's probably a couple more.

This makes me 4/5 on the Marduk set. Inventory is starting to get cramped, so I'm going to start turning in the cheaper pieces over the course of the next week hopefully. In the mean time, I get to deal with Omoi grumbling at me and trying to stab me across the Atlantic with a very sharp pair of dagger-eyes.


A few stumblings the past week or so. Project: Catch Up hasn't happened very much due to not being able to get everyone online at the same time that are at the same points in various storylines. Obsidian's dynamis runs have also taken a pretty significant hit the past couple weeks as well. I'm going to chalk most of this up to the time of year with school and whatnot starting back up along with some people probably burned out of FFXI or trying to cram in their vacations before summer is over. Hopefully things pick up soon on both fronts.


The AH history fooled me. Seeing my Goldsmithing level at 55 while the rest of my crafts were 60 or higher just bugs me. In my frugal search for a way to get it to 60 without losing my ass, I saw that Gold Rings seemed to be popular. Guy by the name of Nonochin cleared the AH out between the 12th-15th and the synth itself was really only a 2-4k loss.

This is what being a little impatient will do for you. I bought up 8 stacks of gold ingots, turned them all into gold rings and pretty much since the 15th, only 2 rings have sold. Nothing like having 48 gold rings eating up inventory space on 2 mules. Sure I got goldsmithing to 57.5 in the process, but I'm guessing it'll be a while before these rings sell. The rest of the synths that look reasonable at this level are too much of a loss for me to stomach. I may just end up making the goldsmithing weapons that cap at 64 now that I'm 57. I imagine once I hit 58 and utilize goldsmithing support, I"ll probably be in decent shape from a breaks standpoint.

So yeah..go go me blowing 1.7 mil on gold ingots and having to sit on them for months. :)

Hopefully another post or two before Girlfriend gets here, but that depends largely on my workload. In the mean time, enjoy this picture of my most recent object of scorn...

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Bored Out Of My Skull

Right now I'm in the middle of an online Shoretel class. Most of the stuff being covered at the moment is stuff that I picked up while I was troubleshooting/updating the system at various points in time.

Few random thoughts to type out while I'm trying to avoid going to sleep...

- Dad was diagnosed with a case of diverticulitis. He was released from the hospital last night after two days of hospitality. Couple weeks on some antibiotics and a change in his diet will fix him right up. Gogo Colon Blow.

- Fishing is moving right along. Skillups are super streaky though. I went from 54-60 in a matter of 4-5 hours thanks to the Pelican Ring and some really awesome luck, but that luck is now balancing out as I'm now only 65 a week later.

- Skillups in fishing are streaky enough that it makes me wonder if there's a way to tell a good time to use the ring itself. The charges are limited and one would hope you could stretch it out until you get to 100, but I'm already 55 charges down and have more or less only picked up 11 levels while using it. If the laws of averages are any indication, that's 5 charges/level. I still have 125 charges left and 35 levels to go. This basically means I'd need a total of 175 charges to finish it off before the ring is done. Double skillups are a lot of fun to see though (forgive the crap quality, I play in full screen mode and can't take screenshots of this):

- Lost Einherjar on Tuesday. Snapped a win streak of 9 in a row. Wasn't real happy that we lost, but it was more due to some bad luck from Behemoth's stunga spam than it was anything else. Couple things I wasn't happy about was our WHM buffs dropping right as we started charging the boss, a couple no-shows and a few of us being unprepared, but again...was more due to bad luck than anything else.

- Thanks to the Einherjar loss, I had to move Odin back one run day. Normally we have that extra day to get that tier's feather, but our mule needs two T3 wins. This is due to a combination of real life and SE's new billing crap that caused the mule in the rotation to miss a T3 he'd normally already have.

- FFXIV is looking really good. Waiting for beta version to come out if it's not already.

- Dynamis attendance has been weak lately. I'm thinking again that this is due to the time of year, but even Xarc and Glacier have had issues with numbers lately. Part of me suspects that most of our memberbase has the majority of what they want and Dynamis is just boring now instead of "boring + omfg please drop".

- Erimentha hit 75 finally. This will open up a lot of doors for her game-wise. 'Grats.

- After a relatively quiet week from "work", it never fails that once I'm getting ready to take a class, a network worm rears it's head and starts spreading around the building. EVERYBODY PANIC!

(Actually...everyone STFU. /baninternetusewhileinclass)

- Hoping to get a good chunk of Project: Catch Up completed Friday or Saturday. Got a chunk of us at the same general ToAU mission spot. Maybe even finish up MKE for Eri if time permits.

- Ingot-Hoarder Smithiroon got a pair of Neptunal Abjuration: Legs from Nidhogg yesterday. This was pretty much the last major piece he was missing for his THF. For those of you that don't know, Blaize is one of the rare THFs that can actually keep up with me in a meripo parse. Look for Blaize vs. Qtipus coming soon to a Meripo Parse near you. Congrats on legs, super rare drop it would seem.

- Damn, back to paying attention now. He's going over stuff I'm not familiar with.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Scarred For Life

This post isn't FFXI-related. Probably shouldn't read it unless you're just interested in getting to know me better. :)

Yesterday started off rather normal. I get to "work" (consultation gig I do Mon-Fri from 8AM-Noon), get settled in and start doing some maintenance. A couple hours go by and my cell phone rings.

It's Mom and Dad.

Normally, when I see the number on the caller ID, I always assume it's Mom. Y'see, Mom has a habit of calling me at oddball times of the day to pick up odds and ends for her or to tell me I got a package or something that could have otherwise waited for me to get home to tell me.

This time, it was Dad. Dad rarely calls anyone. I've mentioned before, he's hard of hearing, so talking on the phone with him isn't always the best form of communication. What he asked me tends to worry me as he rarely asks it and only asks it when it's serious.

He asked me to take him to the hospital.

Now why couldn't he drive himself or why couldn't Mom drive him? That takes explaining that Mom doesn't drive due to health issues and Dad was apparently in enough pain that he didn't want to risk it. The last time Dad asked me to take him to the doc, he had taken a spill and jammed his shoulder. This time it was for some severe abdominal pains. Mentioned before, Dad doesn't usually talk about his every day aches and pains, so this kind of blindsided me.

As I'm driving home to get Dad, a train of thought had crept back into my head that I had been giving a lot of thought to the past year or so since Dad retired. Mom and Dad are both at the age where their health is going to start becoming more and more of an issue. Insurance will obviously take care of a lot of the expenses involved, but it doesn't really take care of the time and home care involved. The past year or so, I've been wondering if I'm at that point where the transition from "parents take care of kids" to "kids take care of parents" has begun.

I really don't know how one would prepare for this emotionally. You obviously set aside some money for emergencies and you try to provide as much time as you can. You also set up some emergency plans in the event the the bad happens and you obviously prepare for the worst. It's a grim topic, I hate thinking or even talking about it but I know it's something I have to prepare for.

So today I approached this issue with all of that in mind. I had a feeling that whatever approach I took, it needed to involve humor. There's always room for humor. I've known for a long time that laughter is the best medicine. Naturally, as I get Dad and have him explain what's wrong, I started in on the "old people sex" jokes and the very obvious toilet jokes. Jokes that are forced though aren't anywhere near as funny as the ones that just come naturally. It's hard for me to make jokes when I had that weighing on my mind. I decided, for the time being, it was just better to listen to Dad talk.

We get to the hospital and naturally have a wait before we can see his doc. We're sitting out in the waiting room and Dad is talking. A lot. I swear I've never heard Dad talk this much. I'm not getting annoyed or anything. Dad's hearing loss has resulted in a slight speech impediment. He can speak english a lot better than most people, but he's completely aware of the impediment and usually doesn't speak for very long periods of time due to it. Getting him to talk for any length of time is usually a treat. Most of his normal conversation pieces are one-liners at someone's expense or simply an answer to a question that's been asked to him.

For the time being, I just let him talk. I got the feeling letting him talk was probably taking his mind off his pain more than my trying to make him laugh.

When it came time for him to go into the exam room, I went in with him. Normally, this is Mom's role. Their family doc (I'll call him Dr. Accent), was involved in the scouting program with Dad and I when I was a kid. Dr. Accent's wife and his son were the ones that were involved more so than Dr. Accent himself, but Dr. Accent wasn't completely absent from the activities.

The purpose of my being in the exam room was simple. I was the guy translating what Dr. Accent said to Dad. Foreign accent + soft voice + hard of hearing = communications train wreck. Dad can read lips pretty decently and understand Dr. Accent well enough, but sometimes he'll have difficulty understanding him and look to Mom (or me in this case) to repeat what the Doc said. Sometimes Dad won't hear Dr. Accent begin to speak and continue to speak over him. That will require Mom or myself to slap Dad on the arm to get him to stop talking for a minute.

At this point in this story, you're probably asking why I titled this post "Scarred For Life". Well...

Up on the exam room table Dad goes. Dr. Accent has Dad remove his shirt and starts poking around his belly and back trying to find the tender spots. He's going through the normal breathing routines and being asked questions, but then the unthinkable happens.

I have no idea how this happened so fast, but I kid you not. Within five seconds, Dad was on his side, pants around knees, and Dr. Accent had suddenly become a blue-latex-gloved Dr. Jellyfinger.

Dad is not a small man. I never knew he could move that fast. Dr. Accent is not a young man. He's 10 years older than my Dad. I am a young man (by their standards). I am also the son of the patient.

In short...

There are some things a son should never see his Dad subjected to. Having a lubed up, blue latex covered finger or two shoved up your Dad's (bleep) would be at the top (or very near the top) of that list. At least buy him dinner or something...

In telling this story to Kay, Lect and a couple of others on the phone earlier, I started it off by asking the following question:

"On a scale of 1-10, how difficult do you think it is to stun me into a state of speechlessness?"

Kay: Impossible
Lect: 2 (Tried to explain his logic, but I don't think he thought this out.)
Suraph: 9

As soon as I realized what was going on, I turned around and faced the corner of the exam room. I tried very hard to burn the image of this out of my brain. Hearing Dr. Accent say things like:

"I usually don't find the right spot on the first try."
"Press down like you're trying to have a bowel movement."
"Well he's not screaming, so I guess he's not in pain."

("Screaming" might have been "Squirming" and misunderstood by me due to the accent.)

And my personal "favorite"...

"Hmm. No stool sample yet, one more try."

I seriously almost lost the contents of my stomach listening to him. When he was done, Dad got dressed and, apparently noticing I'm pale and speechless...decides that's a good moment to explain the fact that getting older means your privacy is going to get invaded a lot.

I know when people reach a certain age, the idea of humility and humbleness just simply goes out the window in regards to health care. A doc or a nurse seeing a patient in all their glory is not uncommon, regardless of age. That's why you go to a doctor to begin with. I looked at Dr. Accent after I realized he was laughing at me. The only words I could muster were...

"Give me a warning next time."

Is this what I'm in store for when it comes to taking care of my parents? Am I going to have to accept that some jokes I have made are going to end up becoming reality in terms of their day to day health care in the future? The notion of something along those lines is a lot easier to fathom when it comes to a child of my own or a spouse. Definitely not a family member. Man you talk about karma.

After being unsatisfied with the physical exam, Dr. Accent sent Dad down to have an array of tests done. Chest X-Ray, Urinalysis, Blood Work, etc. The one test that would have probably told him everything else he wanted to know couldn't be performed due to Dad having eaten within the 8 hours prior to that visit. So Dad is currently laying in a hospital bed with Mom at his side waiting for mid-morning to come around so he can have a CT Scan done on his abdominal area. All of the other tests came back fine. No blood in places there shouldn't be blood and Dad's appetite being normal are all things that pleased Dr. Accent, but being worried about the pain getting progressively worse, he opted to keep Dad overnight until the digestive system was empty and they could do the scan he really wanted.

For the time being, I'm sitting at my desk wondering what the future holds. This doesn't look like anything serious, but it certainly opens my eyes up to the sorts of things I'm going to end up having to prepare for in the long run. I owe a lot to my folks. I'm not speaking from a "cause they raised me" standpoint, but rather from a "they put everything on the line" for me standpoint. I never asked, they just did it, without thinking and without doubting. This is in reference to my computer business getting in trouble financially and Dad's decision to bail me out. I have no doubt about my ability to help, I just wish there was some sort of manual I could read about the various things to look for and how to react accordingly to further my ability to help along.

At least wondering what the future holds is a far better mental process than being unable to get the Dr. Jellyfinger image out of my head...

Thursday, August 13, 2009


A couple of months ago, I looked at my crafting levels to see the following:

Smithing - Journeyman - (55)
Clothcraft - Journeyman - (60)
Alchemy - Journeyman - (60)
Woodworking - Journeyman - (60)
Goldsmithing - Journeyman - (52)
Leathercrafting - Journeyman - (60)
Bonecraft - Veteran - (100)
Cooking - Journeyman - (60)
Fishing - Novice - (27)

A lot of people would look at that list and be more than happy with it. The typical pattern a crafter will follow be to burn their way to 100 for their main, then burn up a couple sub crafts specifically related to the item they want to produce and make money off of. Those items are typically of the cursed or JSE variety.

I wasn't particularly happy with that list. Some of the same ideals I used in running my own small business applied to my approach with crafting. Meaning that if I saw a glaring weakness in my ability to make money, I would try to fix it. Another part being if I had to rely completely on other crafters for the stuff that I could make money on, then I was limiting myself to their own schedule and in some cases, their own idiocy.

In keeping with this logic, that "Fishing - Novice (27)" just glared out at me. I saw a number of money-making opportunities in relation to Bonecrafting that, if I had Fishing at 100, would likely see heaps of gil pouring in. In researching this, I found that Fishing pretty much impacted every single craft to some degree.

This was mostly related to the volume selling items though. For Bonecrafting, reraise hairpins require pearls and black pearls, both of which come from Shall Shells or Istiridyes. For Alchemy, Black Ink comes from an assortment of fish, most notably Nebimonites. Alchemy has a ton of other fish-related synths as well. Cooking likely relies on fishing the heaviest. Woodworking, while it doesn't rely directly on fishing, the aforementioned Black Ink from Alchemy is a direct part of a Woodworker's Shihei manufacturing process. Smithing and Goldsmithing aren't exactly in the same boat as the rest, but a number of lower-demand synths require items like mercury.

Having made up my mind to start leveling fishing and continuing the research mentioned above, I ran across this nifty little item:

At the time I had made the decision and upon discovering the information about this ring, I had just missed the Fish Ranking entry period altogether.

Fish Ranking is a bit of an odd event that SE implemented. It spends two weeks accepting entries and then two weeks dishing out rewards. This means there are 12 total chances each year to get one of these rings. In order to get one of these rings, you have to make the top 20 entries based on whatever it is they're looking for.

When it came time for the next round, they were wanting the lightest Tricorns. I found a guy to buy 3 from that was reasonable (unlike some of the other price gougers). The notion here was I was trying to get a ring for Kaelis, Kaylea and myself. I had a feeling the ones I bought weren't going to win, but there wasn't much else I could do about it given the facts that I was about to be gone for 10 of the 14 days entries were being accepted, that I didn't have the frog fishing key item or the skill to catch those and the fact that there are really some colossal douchebags out there who like to sell their previously ranked/marked entries on the AH to some unwitting soul.

Nothing like cockblocking someone from making an entry and making money of the people you cockblocked eh?

Anyway, yeah first round we lost, not by much though. Close only counts in horse shoes and hand grenades however. When it came time for the next entry period, this is what they were wanting:

Unlike the Tricorn, the Cave Cherax had a lot more information about it. While Wiki isn't always right, they're usually not too far off in most repects. The way to win this round was to turn in the longest lobster. There were no boats involved, no aggroing monsters or anything. I knew what the max reported size was and knew that if I got relatively close to it, that I'd likely get one of these rings. This proved to be far more helpful than the Tricorn stuff.

Unfortunately, time hadn't allowed me to get my fishing skill high enough to yoink these in at all. My fishing skill, simply off Istiridyes in Nashmau was sitting at 46. Based on the dozen or so that I had bite my line, I could get their stamina down to 0 with some difficulty, but no matter what, the line would break. I knew I needed to get someone with a bit higher skill to pull these out.


King Cranky.

Suraph's fishing skill was 68ish. I asked him to come out and try fishing these up to see if I needed anyone higher. I also asked figuring if he was able to fish them up, he'd be able to skill up on them a bit and potentially,get himself a Pelican Ring and make a little money as well. Giving into his demands, I played the...

I filled him in on what were targeting and away he fished. Over the course of the next week, he burned through ~14 stacks of meatballs in the name of a pelican ring. He was even nice enough to give me the longest one he had fished up at the time. Hindsight being what it is, we both should have waited until we were sure we weren't fishing anymore before turning them in though. I turned in one that was 219Im about a week before the ranking results were announced. Suraph fished up another one that was 223 and gave it to me. Had I kept the 219Im one out, that would have been 2 pelican rings he would have fished up. So yeah, /facepalm.

At any rate, I placed 10th in this particular entry. Suraph's 216Im placed 23rd. Had it been 217, he would have a ring. Not that he's particularly after one since he plays off and on, but still would have been nice. None of the others he fished up would have won though.

Needless to say, away I go to Fishing: 100. I'm hoping with some free time dedicated to it, I can be there within the next month, but really just depends on what happens on a day to day basis.

I do need to say though that compared to my initial go round with Fishing (before they made it a lot more interactive...), I find it a lot more enjoyable and relaxing than I did back then. Once I finish up the Boneworker's Signboard I'm currently working on (120k/200k atm), I'll start the process of getting an Ebisu Fishing Rod so I can return Omoikitte's Lu Shangs back to her. (Not that she needs it...apparently when people she's befriended quit the game, they give her a Lu Shangs. She's got 4 of them laying around...).

Many thanks to King Cranky for spending his time fishing to help me get this ring though. He picked up 3 levels of fishing and made about ~75k NPCing the fish, so it wasn't a complete waste of time for him thankfully. Hopefully in a couple weeks, I'll be around 75 or so (50 currently) and can help Kaelis, Eri, Kaylea and Sur all pick up a ring as well since Fishing is a decent way to make some money if you hate AH competition.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Cookout Stories 2009, Vol 5

The fifth and final volume! This will encompass the trip back from Maine to Hartford and the trip back from Hartford to Cinci.

Sunday morning rolled around and all of us got to feast on a huge breakfast again. Was more typical than the previous two breakfasts in the sense it was "just" scrambled eggs, bacon, biscuits, donuts etc. Unlike the previous breakfast that had bacon served, I managed to get down to the kitchen and nab some before Yot absorbed it all. Once breakfast had settled in, it was time to clean and pack.

American and Canadian Underwear...Forever Linked by Laundry Detergent

I had done a little of my packing the night before. Usually the night before I go soemwhere, I'll get the clothes and whatnot into my bag, then stuff all the toiletries in the day I'm leaving. I looked at my pile of clothes the night before and decided to do some laundry. Yoteo needed to do some too, so we just tossed it all in together. This is also why you see me wearing that blue t-shirt 2 separate days out of the 3 total we were there. (We were there over 4 days, 2 half days bookened the trip.)

Unbeknownst to us at the time, we apparently wear very similar underwear. Boxer-briefs. While most of the undies we knew belonged to who, there were a couple we were scratching our heads about a bit. Yes, everyone picture Yoteo and myself standing over a load of laundry trying to figure out who's underwear is who's. To top it all off, I got my laundry washed with Yoteo's "I'm not touching American soil" towel. This would be a towel that had the Canadian flag screened on it. Yot would use this to sit on everywhere. Truck beds, picnic table benches, etc. I don't know where he kept that thing stored, but it really wouldn't surprise me if it was an instrument used in his collection of Rest Stop Ass Symphonies.

...and my laundry was done in the same load as this towel. :)

Packing and Cleaning

Packing didn't take too long. We travelled up there pretty lightly. The largest items were mine in the form of two desktop computers we had hauled up there. Kaelis, Eri and Yot all played FFXI on their Netbooks and Suraph had brought his XBox360. Getting loaded up took all of about 30 minutes. Cleaning up the Nerd Cave didn't take as long as expected either. With 6 people pitching in, it was rather clean in about 10 minutes.

After some picture-taking (some of which I still need to get from Kay's parents), we piled into our cars and left. Most of the pictures you see in Volume 2 are pictures we had taken on Sunday prior to leaving.

Seating arrangements were the same as always. Yoteo, Cranky and myself in Cranky's car. Kaylea, Eri and Kaelis in Eri's car.

Speaking of Eri's car...there was still the matter of getting a replacement tire.

Tire Shopping and GameStop FFXI'ers from Fairy

Since no places were open in Lincoln for a tire, we were left with no choice but to ride the spare down to Bangor (bout an hour away) to get one. The closest place I could think of was Sears at the Bangor Mall. A one-hour, uneventful drive later, we arrive and drop the car off. A brief inspection and a forty-five minute quote later, we learn that there were two tires that needed replacing. I don't recall how the other one was damaged though, so part of me suspects it wasn't as damaged as the sales rep said, but the other part of me suspects it probably got damaged in all the hoopla around the campsite.

While the car is being fixed, we go roaming around the mall. I had been here a few times before and knew the general layout. We found a Gamestop and, being gamers, we stopped in the Gamestop.

Kay starts looking for the full version of FFXI for her XBox360 she got for her birthday. You see, Kay does a lot of these surveys online. Over the course of the year or so that she's been doing them, she's amassed a veritable fortune in Gamestop gift cards. One of the employees overheard her talking about FFXI and started talking to us about it. The conversation encompassed which servers we were on and the fact that anyone who plays FFXI in Bangor is on Fairy server.

We didn't think of it until after we had left, but we wondered if Poof was infamous enough for her to be remembered by random Gamestop employees who just happened to play FFXI. From what we understand, Poof made her start on Fairy and well...the rest is history.

Wondering around the mall a bit more to kill some time had us spending some time in a book store and picking up various knick-knacks. When it came time to go pick up the car, we were unpleasantly surprised by the fact it took longer for us to actually pay for the repairs than the repair itself took. Apparently Sears management wasn't anticipating a huge crowd on a late Sunday morning/early afternoon. When the tab was finally settled, we ended up having to unpack the car almost completely so we could put the spare tire where it was supposed to go (instead of the backseat like the Sears employee thought). Now it was lunch time...

Almost Poutine

We weren't particularly hungry when we decided this, but we thought it was a good idea to get it out of the way while we were there. We ultimately decided to go to Longhorn Steakhouse across the road.

Naturally, we had a little fun at our waitress' expense, but she was surprisingly good natured and ribbed back as well. The first of the jokes came about from Suraph's apparent ability to drink like a fish. If I'm ever stranded in the Atlantic, I want that guy there to dry the ocean up. He'd down a glass of water within seconds and our poor waitress didn't catch on until her third trip out there how fast he was drinking it. So everytime she came back out, she'd leave him 2 glasses.

This was before we even ordered our appetizers...

When it came time to order, I ordered up some firecracker chicken wraps. Yot naturally asked if they had poutine or cheese curds and our waitress didn't have a clue what he was talking about. So I suggested he get their cheese fries since they're covered in bacon and the fries could basically be substitute cheese curds as they were covered in cheese anyway.

First words out of Yoteo's mouth after he says "Cheese fries"?

"More Bacon Please."

While it's almost poutine, don't let these pictures fool you. This would be the Canadian caught eating his almost natural, habitual food.

Step 1: Stab food.

Step 2: Open mouth and lift up stabbing utensil.

Step 3: Place food in mouth, chew and look insanely happy.

As for me, I was happily eating my firecracker chicken wraps. Note the one spot on my forehead I missed with sunscreen.

As for Kaelis, he was happily making fun of the metric system while Yoteo's mouth was full of instant heart attack and couldn't retort.

This was pretty much how the rest of lunch went. Lots of food and lots of Canadian jokes...

King Cranky's Departure and Back in Hartford

With lunch finished, car mostly fixed and back on the road, the next event to happen was going to be stopping off in N.H. to part ways with Suraph. This was still about 3-4 hours away. Nothing super noteworthy happened here other than a few more Canadian jokes and a number of jokes mixed in at King Cranky's food pickyness expense (BLAND FOOD ONRY! KING CRANKY DEMANDS IT!) Pulled off at a gas station to dump Yoteo and myself back into the Eriwagon along with some of our luggage (not much, just a backpack and a couple odds and ends).

The Eriwagon is rather comfy when four people are in it. Place a 5th and it's cramped. Suraph's car was pretty much a godsend for all of us as it meant we only had to be crammed into the car for 2-2.5 hours of the trip each way between Hartford and Maine. We had considered bringing a second car up from Cincinnati, but ultimately decided against it when all of our stuff fit nicely in said wagon. Even though he had been going that way anyway, we certainly appreciated the use of his car as it saved us some money on gassing up a third car. Given the issues we had along the way with the Eriwagon, that saved gas money was put to good use. :)

(Plus why waste that much gas in this 'don't waste your gas' world atm...)

Before we took off for the rest of the trip, I made sure to ask about the engine temperature as we hadn't fixed the cooling system problem yet. Same deal...if the car was moving it was fine, but if we were in idle traffic, it got up pretty toasty. As luck would have it, we didn't get too caught up in any heavy stuff. Was one point where it was basically stop and go along the interstate, but that didn't last too long.

Once we got back to Kay's place, we uh...remembered that we had left the sushi that was brought up from Cinci 4 days earlier on Kay's counter. Good thing it was sealed...

Rest of the evening was spent mostly lounging around. I had turned in earlier than most of the others given the thought that I was going to end up driving a good portion of the way back to Cincinnati.

The Twelve(?) Hour Drive Back and Highway Construction

Given we weren't driving in the middle of the night like we did on the way up, Kaelis had decided we should go get the cooling system flushed before we go back. Back to Sears we went about 9:30 in the morning. While the car was in a Sears shop for the third and final time of this trip, we went wandering around the shopping center this Sears was located in. Most of the time was spent in Best Buy just goofing around.

Going back to get the car, the Sears employee informed us that due to the color of the goop that came out, it's possible that something was cracked in the engine and causing oil to leak into the cooling system. I want to say he said "Head Gasket", but my own head isn't on straight this morning as I write this and I can't remember. I do remember thinking "awesome" as he's explaining this and I do remember talking to Kaelis about what it could possibly mean, but for the life of me, I cannot remember the part name.

Wasn't really anything we could do about it at that point as the Sears guy explained that getting that part fixed meant new engine. He wasn't sure himself if it was even cracked, but recommended that when we get the oil changed again, to have them double check the cooling system fluid to see if anything leaked in. This reassured me that the car would make it back to Cincinnati at the very least. About 10:30AM eastern time, we finally got back on the road to Cincinnati and the conclusion of our 2009 Cookout was drawing near.

Most of the trip back was relatively uneventful and boring. We made several driving changes and rest stops along the way. At one point on I-80 though, we came to a dead stop. The entire way up to this point, the Eriwagon's temperature had behaved itself, even in idle traffic. It was here that we started noticing the engine temperature climbing back up towards the red again. It didn't quite make it there, making it only to the 3/4 mark on the temperature gauge, but it was still enough to cause us a little concern.

Before I tell what happened here, I have to rant about one thing. I hate highway construction. I know it's necessary and I know the way things have to get done aren't always the most convenient in the world, but for fuck's sake...CAN'T YOU MOTHER FUCKERS JUST DO ONE GODDAMN HIGHWAY AT A TIME?!??! WHY IN THE HELL MUST YOU TEAR UP EVERY MAJOR HIGHWAY ACROSS THE STATE AT THE SAME TIME?!?!? ISN'T A FOUR HUNDRED MILE STRETCH OF HIGHWAY ENOUGH FOR ALL OF YOU TO WORK ON AT THE SAME TIME?!?!? THERE'S NO DAMN REASON WHATSOEVER TO TEAR UP I-84, I-81, I-80, AND I-76 ALL AT THE SAME TIME!! ..!..(>.<)..!..

Anyway, yeah. The rant should be a clue about why we had to stop. We were literally stopped or going 1-2mph for about 45 minutes...and we still had to take a detour. Good thing we had 3G there or we probably would still be sitting along that damn highway. Once we got around the I-80 stupidity, we stopped off at a rest stop shortly before we entered Ohio. It was about 8:30 and we hadn't eaten dinner. This rest stop happened to include a bit of a home-cooking restaurant, so we opted to go sit down and eat instead of grabbing food to go. We all ended up with steak and shrimp...which was all right, but nothing spectacular.

Piling back into the car, we proceed the rest of the way home. We ended up getting back to Kaelis' house about 1:30-2AM. So thanks to all the rest stops and the highway construction, a twelve hour drive ended up turning into a near 14 hour drive. Yoteo and I were halfway expecting our cars to be covered in various tree bits and bird poop due to where we had parked in Kaelis' driveway, but much to our surprise...our cars looked just fine.

Needless to say, it's damn good that the rest of us didn't have to work on Tuesday. We all got to sleep in. Well I guess most of us did since Canuck doesn't do much sleeping at all anyway. The next day saw Yoteo and I visit the Creationist Museum and I was back home 3-3.5 hours later.


This is the third year in a row that we've done this. The first two years had Kaelis, Eri, Kay, Sirinity, Looco and I participating and obviously this year we were sans the two midgets (due to incoming baby) and had King Cranky and Yoteo in their place. Each year, these seem to get more and more fun.

Next year I'm hoping that I'm back out in my own place and can host it here. I'm not sure if that will come to fruition yet, but we've already got two other places volunteered verbally at the moment. Suraph has volunteered his parent's river-side house in West Virginia for next summer's cookout (obviously pending permission from his parents who apparently don't occupy said house) and Kaelis has volunteered to let us use his house again should my plans or Suraph's plans fall through.

The fact that I can write 5 blog posts about all of the stuff that happened in a week and knowing I probably missed a number of things that happened that didn't involve me should tell you just how much fun this event has become. Hopefully next year, we end up with Sirinity and Looco back along with possibly adding a few new people to the fold as well. :)

Monday, August 10, 2009

Busy Weekend Is Busy

I don't know if I've mentioned this yet in any of my blog posts, but my schedule each week pretty much goes like this:

Monday: Nothing
Tuesday: Einherjar (8:30PM start time)
Wednesday: Dynamis (6:30PM start time)
Thursday: Salvage (approx 8:30-9PM start time)
Friday: Salvage (approx 8PM start time)
Saturday: Einherjar (10AM start time)
Sunday: Dynamis (Noon Start time), Salvage (8:30-9PM start time)

When you take into account that I'm usually working up until 5-6PM during the weekdays, more often times than not, it's hard for me to do anything that commits a huge chunk of my time without skipping one or more of the events listed above. Sometimes the work I pick up over the course of a couple days will bleed heavily into the night and I'll end up working until 11PM or later.

I usually look forward to Mondays since I have the ability to do something there that will advance my character or to just fuck off entirely if I wanted. Saturday afternoons are usually spent napping and then filling in various events like ENMs (more on that in a bit), Splitting Heirs, ANNMs, etc. That's not to say I don't have free time at all, just not as much as one would initially suspect.

This past weekend was busier than most. I still got my naps in, so it wasn't completely flooded, but Project: Catch Up saw a good chunk of the people involved finish up their mini-expansions.

A Crystalline Prophecy

When I did this mini-expansion originally, I did not have PLD at 75. My options for the end fight at the time were DRG (LOL right?) and WHM. With the returns of Mr. and Mrs. Pun, Suraph and Lectrikelion, I found myself involved in this scenario again. Both the Fei'Yin fight and the Stellar Fulcrum fights were needed for all 4 of them obviously and to no one's surprise...

...this mini expansion still sucks. It's story still makes no sense and the fights are ridculously stupid. The Fei'Yin fight, for example, you have very little ability to control anything. Hate is shared (theory at the moment is with whatever target has the most hate on anything...), the crowd can't be controlled/slept, so basically when you enter, it's a crapshoot on how many Seed Beastmen you'll kill before you have to wipe. These Seed Beastmen don't hit ridiculously hard, but if you have 4 of them dogpiling you, your HP isn't going to last too long. Some might see this sort of chaotic fight as fun, but without a way to establish some sort of order/control other than which critters to kill first, I didn't find it much fun at all. At least we don't lose XP...

Still the same gripes about the final fight in this mini-expansion as well. Doing this as PLD pretty much just reinforced my initial thoughts on it. Generally speaking, if you're not some form of a healer, tank or ranged attacker, good luck finishing this thing. You may get lucky in a zerg attempt, but a couple Seed of Judgements or Seed of Deferences in a row and so much for that.

All in all, the fights went as smooth as could be expected. With the help of Kay, Milie and Rifu, we saw Lectrikelion and Suraph finish up this mini-expansion Saturday night. Then on Sunday with the help of Yoteo, Milie and Rifu, we saw Kaelis and Erimentha finish this up.

A Moogle Kupo d'Etat

Lect gets a pre-fight {ball}{bag}{money} shot.

Friday night saw me skipping Salvage in order to help some people finish this up as well. First we needed to get Milie and Rifu through the Roar! BC. While Milie and Rifu aren't categorized as "returning players" for Project: Catch Up purposes, Rifu did loan us his time when I initially went through this. Anyone who's read my blog knows that if someone's commiting themselves to help me with something, I'm obligated to return the favor and it was time to do so.

That fight gets easier and easier everytime I do it. After it's trashed, it's off to fight Riko Kupenreich with Kay, Milie, Rifu, Kauna and Suraph. We followed the same standard set up that we had before. Suraph and Kay on BLM, Milie on RDM, Rifu and Kauna as DD (SAM and DRK respectively) and myself on WHM. Unfortunately, we lost due to a little bit of bad positioning and timing during the third phase. The BLMs were going to have their hands full having nuked Riko down from 100-50%, so Milie was primary sleeper for when the henchmen popped and I was back up sleeper. We both got stunned and then the henchmen made short work of us. We died in some rather bad positions due to being unable to move thanks to that stun.

Tip: Dying on the stairs is still too close to reraise. Need to be on the platform itself or against the door.

The next day though saw us clear Milie, Rifu, Kay and Suraph. We still need to get clears for Kauna and Erimentha though. Shouldn't be too difficult now that most of us completely understand how that fight shakes out. Essentially in a 4 day period, we cleared MKE for 10 people and ACP for 4.


Mentioned before that I've had to skip a couple Salvage runs while Project: Catch Up is still going on. Managed to get in some fantastic Silver Sea Remnants and Zhaylom Remnants runs. Eight-manned, start to finish SSR killing Hammerblow, Dekka, Gyroscopic Gear, Gyroscopic Gears, Citadel Turtle AND boss. Also Eight-manned ZR killing 4 frogs and the boss...even entering on lightning day. Nothing noteworthy dropped that I can remember. So to keep you excited, here's a redneck-esque photo of me standing over a 4-point wyvern that I killed in SSR:

Now I just need to figure out how to stuff it and mount it on my wall.


I've probably griped about this somewhere else in this blog before, but Saturday's Einherjar run saw a 13 man shift in signups. This irritates me to no end. Why?

For starters, it's irresponsible. I get it when people have last minute stuff that comes up and they sincerely can't help but miss. This rant isn't directed at them in any way. I may not like that they have to miss, but no one will ever hear me complain or gripe about them having to miss. Certain people I know are more prone to being dragged away from the PC than others. Likewise, certain people who occupy roster spots on the signup sheet have a tendency to oversleep thanks to late night xp sessions or whatever or they have a tendency to no-show due to something better coming along.

These are the people this rant is directed at.

Einherjar can become rather mundane. It's odd that the one event in this game that offers the most variety can have that said about it, but it's true. I say this because it lends itself to the thought process behind the people I'm targeting. While it's entirely possible to have success with lower numbers, and Obsidian has had success with lower numbers, the odds of succeeding increase drastically the more people you have (as long as they follow the order). My job as a sack is to put our group in the best possible position to win. When I see people being irresponsible, it irritates me. Late night drinking binges are fine (in Mrbooboo's case), just don't be signed up for the run. If someone is bored with Einherjar, so be it, don't occupy a roster spot then turn off your alarm when it's time to get up to do it. If you think you're not going to feel like going to Einherjar, don't occupy a roster spot. Instead check to see if there's a spot available on the day of. It's a relatively simple concept to follow.

You see, when the wait list gets to a certain length, people have a tendency not to sign up. If you're occupying a roster spot and there's a good chance you're not going to come? You probably just cost someone else a spot since they figured they wouldn't get in anyway. I've gone out of my way to make sure people needing wins on certain tiers got into the run. Often times, this meant that I would go 7-8 deep on the wait list and likely could have gone further if necessary, but out of those 7-8 people, 4 or so would usually be because someone no-showed the run altogether.

Saturdays seem to be the worst about this. I know it's early by west coast standards and it may sound like I'm being an old man in saying this, but it's certainly not early by east coast standards. It is if you work 2nd or 3rd shift somewhere, but for the vast majority of us in the Eastern and Central time zones, an 11AM eastern start time is not early. Einherjar is positioned here on Saturdays for a reason. That reason is that the vast majority of Obsidian members have other commitments to take care of usually starting around Noon. I know the gamer crowd is generally nocturnal to begin with, but sometimes this just gets ridiculous. I shouldn't have to ask 2-3 people every Saturday run to call a certain 2-3 people to wake them up because they went out and got shitfaced the night before or stayed up doing God knows what when they know they're prone to oversleeping.

As much as I hate to even think about it, especially considering the success Obsidian has had thusfar, the trend of Saturday holes is starting to become an issue. Moving the start time elsewhere will pretty much eliminate the whole "shit i overslept" excuse, but what ends up being the resulting damage in terms of who can't make it then? If we move it to 2:00, for example, who do we lose and who do we gain? Core members? Fringe members? There's a lot to take into account. At this time, I'd say it's very unlikely the starting time would be moved, but it is something I would consider getting feedback about within the next couple weeks if the trend continues. I shouldn't be catering to this sort of behavior by considering this to begin with, but there are a number of other people as well who are usually busy in the morning time-frame that this event takes place.

We'll see...

Seriously makes me feel as crazy as I look in this picture:


Did our 5th Windurst in a month and a half on Sunday. Why so many Windursts lately? Well for starters, Oniken was sponsoring (Gjallarhorn) and we try to cater to that as best we can. Secondly, other members upgrading relic need Jades as well and they're easily the most in-demand coin we need. Lastly, one of the runs we ended up getting run-jacked and had to switch.

Dynamis-Windurst is probably the second hardest Zilart dynamis there is behind Xarc. Combine some mega-spread out extensions with very few places to spread out along with crows that love to spam silencega and the only zone with statues that like to cast some rather stupid AoEs (Manifest Icons and slowga, paralyga, dispelga, etc...) and you end up with a lot of nonsense.

The Yagudo themselves are not much harder than their Orc, Quadav or Goblin counterparts (with the exception of Sweep spam), but the added element of statue douchebaggery always means you're at greater risk to wipe than normal. During the course of a run, there are usually 2 main trouble spots. The first is the SMN House. A SMN NM + 4 SMNs + BLMs + WHMs (think 2-3 of each) means the likelihood of a wipe is huge due to Astral Flow. BLMs will already be taxed due to a ton of statues running around. This is a spot that almost always wipes us, but this past Sunday, the team of 30 we went in with plowed right through it.

That wasn't the part that was shocking though.

What got me is that usually before we pull this house, we give some instructions. They aren't difficult to follow. They consist of:

"RDMs and BLMs use single target sleeps, do not Sleepga."
"Let the kiter haul the statues away while everyone else deals with the SMNs."

And inevitably, someone will say they didn't see the instructions and sleepga anyway, then proceed to start trying to nuke down statues.

This time, we didn't say anything. We just completely "SURPRISE COCKFAGS"-d everyone. They handled that better than nearly any group I've ever seen. I've seen 60+ man groups wipe to that area multiple times. Same thing with the other danger-house, the BLM house. We just pulled it right on top of everyone and let them have at it.

The other thing that was odd about this run too was that I was on PLD instead of my typical DRG. PLDs were in short order at the start, so I asked Yoteo if he wanted me to do that. He says yes, then I ask Geddoe and Callistra if they minded if I main-tanked the run to get more experience in doing so. They didn't, so main-tanking I went. I had a great support team for this run. I didn't die at all even though I came close on a couple of occasions where I mis-timed sentinel and ended up eating 6-10/100 fists at full strength from a couple monks.

BLMs are becoming a bit more of an issue. I blame rat-leveling for it. We may need to send some of them back to BLM school for how to deal with statues and the correct mentality to use while in dynamis.

Sleep first - nuke second.

Then while nuking a don't have to dump AM2 into it. A T4 followed by a T3 and possibly a drain will be more than enough. Three T3s will be plenty. Remembering you can aspir the statues etc. I see them die way too much for it to be any form of fun to come to dynamis. It really seems a lot of them simply fail to understand the concept of:

Nuke - run - Nuke/aspir - run - nuke/drain - run etc.

Note the "run" part that's in there after every other action. This is the part they seem to forget preferring instead to just nuke nuke nuke and pray the statue doesn't break stoneskin or blink while they get that second nuke off. Because of this, I opted to actually melee a few statues. Looks dumb on the surface, but in the end, it kept our BLMs more alive than normal. We had enough melee that the statues never really had a chance to get any TP moves off, so it might be something we consider doing in the future as least until some of the BLMs show they're capable of staying alive/unweaked for more than 3 pulls.

The other part they don't seem to pick up on especially is that when they die, it puts more of a strain on the other BLMs. This pretty much leads to their death as well. Statues are generally slow and stupid. It's easy to get out of their spell casting range or cast stun if you know you can't. Kiting isn't difficult, but it seems like the concept of actually running around escapes them.

Not from the Windurst run, but from some Sandy run that I can't remember when. Here is a picture of my favorite past time.


Ran across this picture the other day:

Made me think that I need to get Kay and Canuck and start doing these things again. We had a rotation of these down to a science. We would essentially spend our "free" time getting the items, then sometime between Saturday and Monday, go do the ENMs themselves. The cycle went from Brothers - Pulling the Plug - Sheep in Antlion's Clothing - Bionic Bug. Not necessarily in that order, but those were the 4 we did. We got extremely lucky the first 2 times we did this nabbing a Toreador's Ring both times, but other than that, not a whole lot of luck. Was a nice way to rebuffer a job or pick up a little spending money though.

Plus I get to see scenery like this:

Project: Catch Up

Now that the vast majority of us have finished the mini-expansions, the next part of Project: Catch Up will likely focus around the WotG missions. There are still some ToAU and CoP missions to do for a few of them, but from a vast majority standpoint, everyone involved in this project is nowhere near current on WotG. On top of that, getting current means they're 3/4 of the way to finishing up their Gobbiebags. Having a bunch of inventory space should prove to be a lot more helpful as we go through the CoP and ToAU stuff again.

Return of Mighty Midget

After a 4-5 month hiatus, my favorite midget healer returned: Ruheibenbai. I had a feeling he would as he tends to leave FFXI and switch to another MMO when he's pissed off about something. This time he apparently got pissed off at his ability to heal competently in WoW and came back to FFXI. Given my experiences with Ruh, I have no idea how he could have ever come to that conclusion, but he did and thus he is back.

As usual though...his timing is impeccable. Good thing the BCs for MKE is generally easy to party up for, but ACP will likely find him having to wait a bit if a couple ranged DDs aren't around. I'm not sure if this is something he particularly wants to focus on at all and I'm certainly not going to force it down his throat, just saying he has a knack for showing up right after we've finished something he could have taken part in. :)

In honor of his return, here's a picture of me scrubbin' my teabag on Izman's hat for future Mighty Midget teabaggings:

Welcome back Ruh!~

Friday, August 7, 2009

Linkshell Membership - The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

In snooping around last night on the internet, I ran across a few opinions on how to rate linkshell members. It got me thinking about how I go about watching the various people I associate with and the members of Obsidian as well.

Now Obsidian is a bit of an aberration. When it was created, we only wanted it to be filled up with people on Dynamis days. We weren't too worried back then about actually creating an overly social environment. Dynamis, at the time, was probably one of the hardest events to organize and actually succeed in consistently without large numbers. With the addition of the merit system and a large number of job adjustments, it's obviously cake now and can be low-manned very effectively.

Back then, Obsidian did something that I believe set a standard. It was essentially a melting pot of the largest end-game shells on the server with large portions of LB, BBQ, and TK present along with good chunks of what I termed "fringe big end-game shell" like Unsent, Resu etc. We didn't have their entire shells combined into Obsidian mind you, there were those who disliked the guys organizing it and vice versa, but when you look at the combined attempts of things like AV (Awesomeland KC Zerg), it looks a lot like what Obsidian did in it's early days.

That being said, Obsidian suffered from a lot of drama. There wasn't really any sort of comraderie between the various groups that joined up. We had made a very blunt point of making sure that any drama that wasn't dynamis-related gets left at the door, but that didn't always happen. When it was go time, there wasn't really a whole lot of drama going on, but after hours...let's just say the forums weren't really ever quiet like they are now. It was during this time period that I really started learning about the types of players that are out there.

The Good

These will be the people that make up your core of your linkshell. They aren't always the best geared, but they're always the ones that pay attention and attend everything they can. These are the people that have their priorities straight, understand that anything in FFXI takes time to get and have the patience for it. They also understand and accept the system that's put in place and will also challenge the leadership if they feel a poor decision was made in regards to system changes.

Wait...challenging leadership is a "good" characteristic?

Yes it is. You see, any leader, at any given point in time, can make a bad decision. Just like it's good for the leader to be able to stand up and say "You know, I screwed up. I'm sorry." to the masses, it's good for some members to tell said leader they screwed up. Why is that?

Sometimes the leader will not know they screwed up. Leaders are not perfect. Decisions they make are based on the information they have handy along with their own personal ideals. A good linkshell member will say (paraphrasing) "You screwed up, here's why." in a manner that doesn't cause the leader to draw a line in the sand. In the leader's position, they are hopefully listening to the member and weighing what's being said against the overall benefit to the linkshell. The good member will also be thinking of this as well.

The Bad

These aren't really bad people per se, these are people who aren't as commited/active as the Good due to various circumstances like work, school, etc. The chance to get to know them online isn't as great, so knowing where they stand on various issues is often times hard to gauge.

Drama tends to start in this category unfortunately. There are often times conflicts between The Good and The Bad (that pun wasn't intentional...I swear) over a perceived sense of entitlement. The system that's in place for your linkshell can often times diffuse these sorts of scenarios, but what gets asked a lot of times to leadership is "I put in 10x more time than he does and he's going to get byakko's haidate before me?"

(The short answer to that is to look at everything the person asking the question has spent points on and point that out. 10x more active doesn't mean you're entitled to 10x more loot.)

There are some that would look at this group and just instantly want to kick them from the linkshell without ever really making an attempt to get to know them. Can't make all the events and you're trying to get something before one of our more dedicated members? /breaklinkshell target (name).

Wrong approach.

Every linkshell is going to end up with these sorts of players. They're absolutely required. Just because they can't make every single event and a number of months down the road, they happen to have more points for ONE item than a far more active member doesn't mean they don't deserve it. They've worked within the system you have created. As long as they have a good attitude, follow the rules and generally show up when they can (meaning you don't see them out xp'ing when linkshell events are going on...see 'The Ugly' section), who really cares if they make 100% of the events or 25%?

Unless one of your rules is "you have to make at least 50% of the events to be eligible to lot" or something to that effect. On top of that, most of these guys will have the foresight to actually tell you on their application what type of play time they're capable of putting in...especially if you have that question on whatever linkshell application you use.

Again, these are generally just good people with far less time to commit than most. A leader's job is to make attempts at getting to know these people. The more you know, the better you feel about their presence in the linkshell overall.

The Ugly

These are your members that rarely make it past the trial period. They're usually in the "catastrophically-leveled socially inept" category of human beings. They generally will have no concept of time, commitments or teamwork.

A lot of the times, an application or an interview will not tell you these things. You generally have to pick it up during the course of events. Are they logged in the game but not at the event? Are they AFK while the event is going on? Are they out XP'ing while the event is going on?

That's not to say people aren't allowed to go do some other things while an event is going on, but if they're online 'doing other things' while events are going on the vast majority of the time, then it's pretty clear where their loyalties lie and it's rather safe to boot them from the linkshell.

These are also people who like to alienate themselves and split bonds apart among other members. Usually too scared to have a one on one discussion with whoever their issue is with and preferring to just talk about it with anyone else other than the actual subject the discussion is about. If you somehow end up with someone like this in leadership, get ready for the drama to be magnified ten fold. It's like I've always said...Absolute power corrupts absolutely and Absolute power is often absolutely abused by significant others.

In Obsidian, it's pretty easy to tell who will fall into this category. During the interview process, we go over the primary points of the linkshell. Points like the schedule, the bidding system and some basic do's and don'ts of the specific job they applied with. Said interviewee will usually state they understand, but promptly fail to show up for the first 4 runs they've signed up for and they're off in sea somewhere doing god knows what. When asked about it "Oh I didn't know the schedule."

Yeah, {See you again!}.

These are also people who can't have a serious, one on one discussion about issues bugging them in a mature manner. I know I'm prone to some rather poorly verbalized responses to various issues, but these guys will generally make me look like a seasoned politician when it comes to vocalization.

The rifts they can cause along with the irritation they can create just leaves a leader no other choice but to get rid of them...and of course they usually won't go quietly.

Next week (hopefully), another leadership discussion, Cookout Stories, Vol. 5 (final volume), and some more math. In the mean time, here's a picture of me stabbing a rat:

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

A Moogle Kupo d'Etat

Now that I've finished this mini-expansion, I'm going give a start-to-finish review of it in comparison with it's predecessor, A Crystalline Prophecy. I wasn't in any sort of hurry to finish this add-on scenario due to the horrible taste ACP left in my mouth. I've bitched before about level-capped stuff. Even if level capped things are done right, they suck. SE's implementation of level sync (and with it, the level-adjusted gear) has made level-capped stuff mildly bearable to me, but it's still stupid.

Missions and Story

The story arc itself plays out rather similar to ACP. After the first cutscene, you're sent out on a fetch quest to find items your moogle can use to repair your leaky roof. Who knew a roof leak could be repaired with a turtle...scale?, orc armor and yagudo caulk.

SE appeared to have learned a bit of a lesson on this mission though. Unlike ACP, there were actually multiple locations someone could go to get the items they needed and the drop rate wasn't anywhere near as horrendous. I was rather happy to find this out. I'm sure when it initially came out, all of the places were still over-crowded, but if the drop rates were actually improved (meaning...I just didn't get lucky with mine), then people generally got in, got out, and got on with life. Which is how any fetch quest should be.

Turning in the requested items got a couple of cutscenes and...another fetch quest. At least they utilized every mining, logging and harvesting point in the zilart areas instead of confining it to one or two zones. It wasn't too bad as long as you didn't get caught up in the initial hoopla about it, but it still wasn't exactly my idea of fun. After mining up a sturdy metal strip, logging some rugged tree bark, and harvesting a savory lamb roast(especially since I'm in the practice of burying my food...), we've now successfully repaired someone ELSE's mog house and we've apparently trapped our moogle in some sort of a Shantoto curse cube.

Thank god. I beat the expansion! I got rid of my Moogle!

Damn thing just spinning around all fkn day not doing anything at all other than trying to look cute, sound squeaky and blurbing out "PS2 limitations" when I bitch about the lack of space in my mog house. Fuck off moogle.

No really, I thought about just dropping the entire story right there. That alone was worth $10 to me.

Then I zoned back into my Mog House and found my moogle still spinning joyfully...Damn.

So now we're sent to find out how to uncurse our idiotic, white, fat bag with wings. Shantotto is the one we're sent to. She'll obviously fix our problem for gil, but she needs some sort of a starfruit that's apparently hoarded by Cardians...

This next part was really the only part that got close to thoroughly annoying me. Mauling Cardians (or anything) is fun, especially cause of the noises they make when they die, but mauling Cardians for key items that apparently have a rather horrendous drop rate AND will screw up your ability to dish damage if you don't have the right one is just ridiculous. On top of that, wtf is so important about this stupid fruit that the Cardians are guarding it in this manner. I spent about an hour killing Cardians with Oldive and a BRD friend of his who's name I can't remember near the ??? spawn. This fight is similar to the first fight in ACP. Click the ???, kill everything that spawns. Only problem is...instead of 3-4 waves of mandragora, you're going to have 5-20 Cardians beating down on you depending on how much time you decided to spend farming the key items. They're susceptible to sleepga and all, but they're surprisingly accurate and hit harder than one might suspect. It wasn't too much of an issue for a DRK, a DRG and a BRD to take 'em down, but...yeah...spending an hour farming this stuff up and then killing this was making me think SE didn't learn anything after all.

Fruit in hand, back to Shantotto we go. She removes her curse on the mog house and as a result, we finally meet the primary antagonist in this whole scenario. The verbally challenged, Toto Kupeliaure. If it's one thing SE has always been great at, it's their ability to play on words. This is very apparent in their ability to tell stories, but like Sammy Sosa, when it comes to do anything important outside of their main skillset, their ability to verbalize things properly just goes down the shitter.

Apparently Toto has sent the Godfather Moogle on a "cruise" to Tavnazia and has taken over the Rent-A-Room empire. He also expects us to pay back "rent". Since our Moogle is apparently out of pocket, we're sent to dig up his buried life-savings via Chocobo.

Brief recap: SE has now managed to incorporate Logging, Harvesting, Mining and Chocobo Digging into the missions. I'm betting we're going to see something Fishing-related and Clamming-related for the last of these mini-expansions. They've also likely made you spend around 8-10k gil by this point too.

After running all over Tahrongi Canyon (it's a random zone for everyone), I found my moogle's moldy, worm-eaten chest. Still not enough in there to cover the astronomical price tag Toto is asking for, so our moogle does what anyone else in debt would do...

...he goes to the Mafia.

Er...he sends me to visit the Mafia to take out a loan.

And on top of that, here's another 5-10k you're going to spend just to get to the area you need to go. This is where I have to start applauding SE's sick sense of accomplishment though. Haven't done the sahagin key quest? You just won yourself a grand tour of Sea Serpent Grotto.

Securing the "loan" from the resident moogle mafia loan shark, Riko Kupenreich, my moogle is overly joyed that he won't be evicted. The joy doesn't last too long as I apparently didn't read the fine print on the loan agreement. Three goblin henchmen decide to barge in and rain on our parade...also informing us that they've apparently moogle-napped my moogle's bride-to-be, Kupiruru.

Now it's on. Y'see...I thoroughly dislike my moogle and I do enjoy any misfortune that gets dumped on his fat fkn head, but you don't mess with anyone's woman. Especially if I haven't figure out how the hell they have sex.

Kupiruru is apparently being held in yet another minimially-used arena, the Chamber of Oracles. To get there though, you have to find 9 ???s that are scattered through out Quicksands caves. To a level 75 character, the vast majority of this area is safe to travel through without having to worry about aggro. Having a teleport-altep or an escape handy helps speed things up dramatically. That part I mentioned earlier about having to applaud SE? For this particular leg, if you don't have a map of the Quicksands Caves, guess what you're doing before you can even sniff the ???s out?

You're doing something you should have done a long time ago. Farming up coffer keys, finding the coffer and getting your map. This would be something I used to bitch about all the time when I was organizing events. I really hate it when people get lost. I really hate it more when people are online more than I am, don't bother to get their maps and get lost. In other words...


Can anyone else tell this is a serious pet peeve of mine?

(And this has nothing to do with Erimentha not having a map as we got to this point. She doesn't play anywhere near as much as I do even before Mr. and Mrs. Kaelis left FFXI a year ago.)

Once you get your key item, it's time for a throw-down. I went over this BC in this post. This mini-expansion is starting to get pretty good at this point. We've rescued Kupiruru, so now I can try to voyeur my moogle and try to figure out how they hunka-chunka. In mid-celebration, a invitation/apology comes along that wants us to put everything in the past to attend this fantastic new Moogle Festival in...Castle Zvahl Baileys...


See why I want to beat the shit out of my moogle?

Onto what I assumed would be every bit as bad as the Delkfutt crawl from ACP. Turns out it's far better than the Delkfutt crawl. It's not level capped, the games actually make you think for a few seconds and it doesn't take but maybe 20 minutes to do. Sure you get the grand tour of Xarc, Glacier, Castle Zvahl Bailey's and Castle Zvahl Keep, but since the BC is at the throne room anyway, you were going to have to follow the exact same path for the latter two anyway. Even the level 1 run from zone line to zone line isn't an issue as they actually provide a long lasting sneak/inviz/deodorize for you. You just simply need to be familiar with how to get to the Keep and you have more than enough time to get there.

Oh btw? You need do get the map of the northlands before you can do this. <3 SE.

After running through the mini-games, we find out that Riko Kupenreich was apparently behind the whole sceme to begin with and was using Toto as a pawn. On top of that, Riko has apparently tried to eat a crystal through the front of his stomach, the result of which has made him grow 10x his normal size.

Talk about indigestion.

Wait...he's...targetable...and I can draw my weapon...

The Final Battle! Kupocalpyse and Kupogedden Averted!

I have to admit. This battle is fun. Unlike ACP, a lot of combinations of jobs can take it out. Some combinations have an easier time than others obviously, but the fact that you aren't limited to zerg parties or parties built around ranged damage like the ACP fight was welcome indeed. In addition, this whole fight is absolutely nuts. This is the sort of imagination that I love from SE. The fight isn't overly difficult as long as you know specific things to look for, but for anyone doing this for the first time (especially if it's the first time for the entire party), expect to lose. There's nothing in the form of a write up that can really prepare you for the shenanigans that go on in here. A quick run down of what you're generally going to need will be:

- 2 nukers. This is for when Riko is running around throwing bombs at people. A pair of BLMs or a pair of SCHs work great here, but you can also use RDMs or even a pair of DDs. The reason you'll want the mages though has to do with Stoneskin and Drain as it's simply the most efficient way for the rest of the party to stay off the hate list until a little later in the fight.

- 2 mostly strong DDs. Any combination will work, but having Meditate or at least a way to build TP quickly is rather necessary. This can be achieved by being SAM (which most prefer) or by subbing SAM. Being able to avoid most of the normal melee attacks from the henchmen will be very helpful too.

- A main healer and a Sleeper/backup healer/kiter. Main healer is for the melee. When Riko pops out his henchmen, they use a lot of mildly damaging TP moves along with casting T4 and -ga 3 nukes. The Sleeper/backup healer/kiter is a rather obvious job choice (RDM), but a BLM or SCH would work as well. For your main healer, WHM, RDM or SCH will work fine, though most will prefer WHM/SCH for this role due to it's mp conservation.

It took us two attempts to beat this. We lost the first time with Lect(RDM), Kay(WHM), Kaelis(BLU), Eri(BLM), Brizzy(BLM) and myself on DRG. As always, the first attempt is a learning experience if you lose, mostly lucky if you win. We made one critical mistake that had been hinted at, but never actually pointed out in any of the BG or Wiki strats that I read. That mistake was positioning in regards to Riko re-entering the battle for his next phases.

You see, once he hits 50%, he pops out 5 henchmen, then retreats to a corner you can't reach him and gets Cure V spammed on him by a couple other henchmen. Each volley of Cure V seems to give him 5% HP or so back. The critical part of this is that your nukers HAVE to be in between your melee (who are likely clearing off the henchmen) and Riko. The reason for this is you really only want 2-3 of your party members on the hate list after he gets to 100%. His Crystalline Flare move draws in anyone on the hate list, hits them for about 400-800 damage and stuns them for 10+ seconds.

During the first attempt, I was aggro'd by Riko at the start of his second phase. Kay trying to heal me obviously put her on the hate list. The BLMs trying to get him off put them both on the hate list and since Lect was trying to keep them alive, he was on the hate list as well. This made Crystalline Flare especially painful and we ended up wiping in some rather bad positions.

Now aside from the positioning issue, we had a couple other minor issues to work out. The combination of BLU/NIN and DRG/SAM was strong, but limited by Kaelis' MP pool in terms of damage output, espcially when things get out of hand like they did due to our positioning. On top of that, Erimentha is level 72 and the nuke damage difference, merits aside, between Brizzy and Eri was rather large. This isn't to say it can't be won with a 72BLM in the fold, there are just other things that have to be set up. For this BC's purposes, Eri being 73 gets her access to some of the better nuking equipment (BLM JSE) and she's not all that far from it. I suspect that gap will be closed quite a bit once she hits 73 and the gap will be rather minimal if/when she hits 75 before doing this BC again.

The second attempt saw us go in with Yoteo (SAM), Kay (WHM), Lect (RDM), Kaelis(BLM), Brizzy (BLM), and myself on DRG again. We made a point of stressing the following keys this time around:

- Positioning. BLMs needed to be ready to nab Riko as soon as he regen'd to 100%.

- Secondary sleeps. The first attempt had us only utilizing Lect for sleeps on henchmen. Having one of the BLMs toss out a Sleepga II shortly after the initial sleepga landed helped out tremendously.

- "Holding" Riko. Understanding that while being knocked around is indeed frustrating, it's not all that hard to actually hold Riko off to one side of the arena. We didn't pick up on this until the third phase, but having Lect basically kite/hold Riko allowed our BLMs the opportunity to recover all their MP for that final push. There was really no imminent danger of death while this was going on.

After a little bit of a mistimed start, Brizzy and Kaelis managed to learn the trick to holding/kiting Riko around. It normally takes 3ish bombs before stoneskin breaks. Even when it does break, Drain is so powerful on him, that they can pretty much siphon off half their HP bar or more from Riko.

The henchmen still went down around the same pace as they did when Kaelis was on BLU and I was on DRG. The other thing I noticed was that I was getting a little lucky on the 2.5x multipliers from Gungnir. After the 75% mark, I crit hit Riko for 1982 damage. The same sort of number showed up on 2 of the henchmen too. Even one of my jumps cleared 2k. I don't know if I just didn't see it during the first attempt, but I was rather baffled at the sheer number of times the relic multiplier kicked in. There were at least 10 swings I saw on the henchmen alone where it kicked in.

Yot, in typical taru fashion, managed to get himself killed during the 2nd wave of Henchmen due to the fact he didn't assist me and went to his own target. The combination of Mog Shrapnel and Blizzaga III was enough to do him in while I was left standing with approx. 250HP left.


Once those 3 key points are realized and you get past all the theatrics involved from Riko and his henchmen throwing bombs, washtubs, gil and flower pots at you, this BC is not all that difficult. There is a lot going on, especially during the henchmen phase of the fight and even moreso if Riko re-enters before you are done with the henchmen. Nukes, Weapon Skills and crit hits seem to do double damage no matter what, so utilizing a skillchain (if feasible) is a good way to knock HUGE chunks of HP off Riko or his henchmen. A DRG and a SAM aren't the best in terms of setting up strong Light and Darkness skillchains, but even fragmentation was doing over 2k.

Bottom line about this BC's crazy. It's accessible to many different party combination and above all, it's actually fun.

And I just need to mention...LOLGirlfriendforgettingtofinishherkeyitembeforeentering.

Overall Thoughts

I'm not sure where MKE was in terms of production when ACP was released, but I have to certainly looks like SE learned some hard lessons from ACP. I found this expansion to be well worth the $10 I chucked out for it. While certain parts of it annoyed me, I'm not expecting perfection. If it leaves out the long, drawn out level capped crap, makes the items necessary to move forward accessible to even mass herds of players and makes the fights winnable with a wide array of job combinations, I'm going to be happy with it.

On top of all that, the story was surprising light-hearted and fun. I can poke fun at various parts of it that just simply didn't make sense (like why in the hell do all mog houses apparently have Flintstones-esque meat-on-bones hidden in their attic that only fall out when it's being fixed...), but compared to SE's typical expansion story lines that pretty much mean the end of the world if you don't succeed, this one was simply a fun story. I'm even more than happy to go redo some of the key item quests prior to the BCs as they aren't a huge time-sink and aren't "stupid-level-capped-require-you-to-click-a-target-in-the-middle-of-a-pack-of-monsters-you-could-obliterate-at-75-bullshit".

Fun, entertaining and well worth $10. SE seems to have redeemed themselves from the pile of processed compost they released with ACP. Hopefully this is an indication of things to come when A Shantotto Ascension comes down the pipe.

The Reward

As for what I chose...

I already knew I was going to get the STR+4/WS-Acc+15 option. I had mentioned before that I was a little torn between Eva+10/Store-TP+4 and Acc+10/Att+5. After giving it some thought, I decided that I wasn't going to be TP'ing in this hat, so Eva+10/Store-TP+4 was almost pointless for me. This piece basically become arguably the best head slot you can get for a WS set. There are those that will argue N.Head is better and I don't disagree, but if you're already capped or near capped on fSTR, this is a VERY close second to the N.Head in terms of overall attack. Dump in the additional accuracy and it's very likely this combination will likely out-parse the N.head altogether. Doesn't mean I don't want N.Head anymore though. I've got 4/5 of the N.pieces and I'm a completionist.

N.Head+1 will add: STR+12(+9 Att) and DEX+6(Acc+4ish).
C.Galea will add: STR+4(+3 Att), Attack+5, Acc+10, WS Acc+15.

When it comes down to it, there's basically a difference of 2 fSTR and 1 attack from a raw damage standpoint. The difference in accuracy is enormous though and impossible to ignore. This also replaces Ace's Helm for weapon skills entirely, but it's still one of, if not the best head piece for TP'ing with Askar hat a close second.

Qtipus' Information

FFXI subscriber since NA release.