Monday, November 23, 2009

The Many Faces of Ansley...

Newborns apparently have very expressive faces...



The Thinker.



I am sirius biznez.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

A Shantotto Ascension Fin.

Ok so in this post and this post, I ended up ripping the piss out of this mini-expansion. I mentioned in the latter post that I felt only a really good ending could make this expansion feel like it was worth $10.

Well I'm mostly glad to announce that SE has given me an entire humble pie and shoved it down my throat.

Why am I glad?

Unlike a good portion of the population, I still believe SE will develop solid content for this MMO well into FFXIV's existence. I felt like if ASA fell short of expectations, it would just be another feather in the cap of the naysayers and FFXI Doomsday Prophets.

Yes, the vast majority of this mini-expansion pissed me off. The final BC sucks to beat. (If you're a BLM, you're fucked. Sorry, go level another job.) We made a slight change to the strat we used.

For starters, distance.

Yes you can stand at max cast range and avoid AoE stuff. This was a primary issue in our previous 4 attempts. Esuna, on paper, looks like a good idea, but it's not. Mages at max casting range at all times.

Secondly, timing.

Start with her rages. From what I can gather, each Shantotto has 3 rage "charges". The use of one significantly boosts her defense and causes the other one to come assist her. These "charges" are used every 25% and last what appears to be a minute each.

Technically, you could zerg her down before she ever uses all 3, but the problem is that most people aren't capable of doing that. Some also believe that if you knock Shantotto down past her next "rage" %, she ends up losing her "charge". This is not the case. She will use all 3 at some point if she lives long enough to use them.

You can have all melee back off except the one with hate and let the mages concentrate on keeping them alive during the rage while another person is dedicated to trying to pull the other Shantotto off (which you can do after the rage period is done).

We inadvertently did this. Prior to Domina Shantotto's first rage, I ended up building up a ton of hate. When she raged, the plan was for Jess to DRK Zerg her down. Jess did zerg, but hate was stuck with me and Super Jump got paralyzed. After a short bit, I ended up dying because the mages were concentrating on Jess (per my instructions, Jess' high HP = damage).

At 50%, each Shantotto gets access to a special weapon skill that dumps a few enfeebles on you. Domina Shantotto gets Salvation Scythe and Belle Shantotto gets Divine Malison.

Other timing issues were the use of Angon and Benedictions. I was using Angon to actually pull hate off Gaw's RNG in a couple of the attempts and I was using it at the start of the first two attempts basically attempting to allow us to knock off as much of her HP as possible before she hit 50%. It's better to dump Angon on when she rages to help keep damage constant (if you're going in with a DRG that is).

Thirdly, subjobs.

Melees sub NIN. No ifs, ands or buts. This alone allowed for our healing battery to keep up with the cures.

/BLM, /RDM, or /SCH is fine for mages.

Lect subbing BLM was a test.

Lastly, Meds.

Come prepared. Project Shantottofication is not meant for fucking around. Get Remedies. Get Antidotes. Get Echo Drops. Get an Icarus Wing. Bring a couple fast use Reraise items. Also bring a vile elixir or two for recovering from the wipe.

So ok, start to finish, here's what happened in our fight:


Gawayne (Excalibur PLD/NIN)
Lectrikelion (RDM/BLM - testing ES Dispel during rage for defense boost)
Cealy (WHM/SCH)
Kaylea (WHM/BLM)
Jess (DRK/NIN)
Qtipus (Gungnir DRG/NIN)

Upon entry, we buffed. Gawayne ran in to aggro both Shantottos while Lect pulled Domina Shantotto to the door. Our positioning was this:

Door|-D.Shantotto-Melees-----------------Mages--------Gaw fucking around.

Gawayne was actually busy soloing B.Shantotto while Jess and I were tearing down D.Shantotto. Our game plan was for Jess to Zerg at 50% to help push her down during her second rage. Didn't go quite according to plan as I ended up dying right as she used her 2nd rage. Jess got his zerg done and my death actually ended up helping us gain control over the fight as the mages really could focus solely on Jess.

After the third rage, I had it set up so that I RR'd as Gaw got B.Shantotto's hate back and one of the WHM's Benedictioned. Jess ended up going down as D.Shantotto was 1-2% and we managed to finish her off and start taking down B.Shantotto.

VERY IMPORTANT NOTE: While I'm unsure if this is 100% fact, we do know for certain that when we attempted to kill B.Shantotto first, she started spamming Meteor.

B.Shantotto is definitely squishier than her counterpart. Same rage rules applied. After 50%, she started spamming -ga I spells (which somehow did more damage than her -ga III spells). We knew we still had a wipe in us and plenty of time to recover, so we weren't too worried about potentially being taken down.

Before we knew it however, she was already down to 25%. Why wipe when you're that close right? We kept beating and wailing away on her.

I went down.
Gawayne went down.
Cealy went down.
Lect went down.

Fuck Bella Shantotto is whipping our asses good.

Just Jess and Kay standing with B.Shantotto at 5% or less. Jess had ~550HP. One -ga later, he had less than 100HP. Kay was out of MP and no 2 hour.

Jess uses Souleater.
Jess readies Guillotine.
Jess uses Guillotine.
Shantotto takes 987 points of damage.
Jess defeats Shantotto.


Not exactly as planned, but a win is a win. Obviously that doesn't happen if Jess doesn't have TP and remember, we did still have time to wipe and recover. Still though, that was clutch and completely unexpected, which added to the overall rush of actually beating this thing for the first time.

A Shantotto Ascension - Ending

There are a few spoilers here, so skip this section if you don't want them.

The ACP and MKE endings left something to be desired. A short conversation followed up with a "Thank you, you saved the world/mog house! Kupo~!". I was expecting something on par with this.

Damn SE pulled out all the stops. Those of you up to this point might have noticed the humongous Shantottos in the trailer that have yet to make an appearance in this mini-expansion thusfar.

Domina Shantotto's curse has spread anyway despite her defeat. This curse has turned the protocrystals into giant, Stay-Puff Marshmallow Man-sized Shantottos. Their effects on Vanadiel is turning it's entire population into Shantotto clones.

We failed?

Not so fast. This whole time we've been thinking Shantotto herself was split into two when in fact, the actual Shantotto's spell that went awry was some sort of inter-dimensional traveling spell that transplanted our Shantotto with another dimension's Shantotto. That other dimension's Shantotto was split in the process while our Shantotto remained in one piece.

Confused yet?

Yeah well our Shantotto shows back up as the curse is spreading and, before explaining anything, proceeds to start working her magic to undo it.

We're treated to movies of gigantic Shantotto's duking it out. An entire assortment of wrestling maneuvers are pulled off. The airplane. A drop kick. A head lock. Even a Dragon Ball Z-esque charge up and final punch.

This part alone made the $10 worth it. The entire ending eats up about 15-20 minutes (I fkn missed House fighting the last BC and watching this ending). Hopefully you can stand the rhyming tarus that long.

My final thoughts are that since Shantotto is the legend she is in the FFXI universe, the more I think about it, the more I'm glad SE decided to make a battle with her as difficult as they did. While I feel kind of sorry for the BLM-only crowd out there, this BC is flexible in the types of combinations you can take in. Plus, it only seems logical (in a completely illogical sequence of events) that the game's most powerful BLM would have a built in resistance to...BLMs. It would seem though that SMN Parties are the best way to go with this BC.

Did I come away feeling satisfied? Yes, I did. I absolutely hated the trip to get to that point though. Best thing I can compare it to is:

This expansion is like driving behind a dump truck full of shit on the highway for 30 miles at 10mph only for it to take an exit and have you get stuck behind a truck full of naked {insert your gender preference/fantasy people here} doing the speed limit for 10 miles.

Gear Selection

I ended up choosing the Blitzer Poleyn piece with Haste+3 and Double Attack+2 on them with some reservations. Doing this essentially made this piece somewhat DRG only. WAR or SAM wouldn't use these pants most likely in place of Byakko's Haidate. A DRK would probably opt for Homam pants over this combination due to the additional Accuracy bonus and extra MP. Since I'm leveling DRK, I have this stuff to think about now.

The crew that defeated two Shantottos with Aldo rightfully hiding his face in shame due to his lack of contribution.

Just as a heads up to anyone else thinking of asking me to do this BC again.


You'll understand once you win. :)

Monday, November 16, 2009

A Shantotto Ascension (Part 2?)

I really don't mean to be doing my best Nintendo Nerd impression of this mini expansion, but damn. In the last post about this expansion, I had pretty much done everything up to the point where I was supposed to collect a Black Book. I'm going to go mission/quest by mission/quest and give my thoughts on this starting with the quest directly after the aforementioned, piece of shit quest involving the farmable items.

Sugar Coated Directive

Now that you've turned in your crafting kit, you're sent to install these seals onto the protocrystals. Yeah, those protocrystals that don't get visited very often (theme of all these expansions). The good thing here is that SE gave you the option of only doing 3. Another good thing here that's double up with a completely bad thing is if you do all 6, you get 50k at the expense of a ton of time wasted traveling around to the far corners of Vanadiel.

The fights themselves are beyond easy. For those of you who haven't actually seen the various avatar two hour animations, you're in for a treat. For those of you who don't give a shit about them (like me), you get to watch them over and over again and wonder how the hell they haven't had an aneurysm from how strained they look.

Mundane and boring, but you'll want that 50k right?

SE is hoping so.

Enemy of the Empire (I)

Apparently, those Soultrappers aren't being used enough despite the fact that the ZNM system was implemented. Here's a quest for you to go run around Sea Serpent Grotto to take pictures of 3 randomly chosen critters.

Oh, and the camera doesn't work while sneak is up.

And you'll probably be heading behind one of the coin doors.

At least SE lets you buy the camera and soulplates from the NPC that gives the quest.

Enemy of the Empire (II)

A fight!

I won't say this was fun, but it was unique. Your fight is against 3 Tenshodo Agents who cast Utsusemi: Ni. No biggie.

Whoops. Those shadows actually come out to start fighting.

Bring some AoE and the fight is cake. Maybe the horrible part of this expansion is over with and the fun begins?

Shantotto In Chains

Quick! Run off to Ro'Maeve to save the "Good" Shantotto!


So if I were Domina Shantotto sealing away my "Good" half, would I:

A) Keep the key to said door on my persons at all times


B) Break the key into 6 pieces and feed them to 6 different NMs who can only take one type of damage spread out across the SAME GENERAL, FUCKING AREA THAT THE DOOR IT UNLOCKS IS IN.

Personally, I would have gone with Option A, but this being SE and their impressive track record for stupidity in this particular mini-expansion, the answer is actually B.

So now you're charged with hunting 6 NMs that are spread across Ro'Maeve and Zi'Tah. To make matters worse, the ones in Zi'Tah only show up between 17:00-7:00. Here's a break down:


Steely Weapon - Ranged damage only.
Lode Golem - Magic damage only (preferably on the dark side of the spectrum)
Fired Urn - Slashing damage only.


Blest Bones - Magic damage only (preferably on the light side of the spectrum)
Holey Horror - Piercing damage only.
Skeleton Scuffler - Blunt damage only.

This is SE assuming everyone in this game either has the ability to perform these forms of damage themselves (before they get killed) or assuming everyone has access to this form of damage.

The only good things SE did here was gave these NMs 3 spawns, insanely low respawn times, and moderate drop rates, but it still begs the question...

Why the hell do you put in 3 of each new specific NM and you don't give them a 100% drop rate? Intentional time sink? Yes, I do think so.

Fountain of Trouble

If you're not good and pissed off by this point, you're a more patient person than I am, but you still haven't done the mandatory "glowing doohickey fetch quest" that's been present in each of these mini-expansions thus far.

In another display of lack of storytelling that's dominated this mini-expansion so far, we're sent to the Full Moon Fountain to confront Domina Shantotto, but for some reason we're not told, we have to collect these stupid elemental sap crystals all over Toraimarai Canal.

(SE is really going overboard with the whole 'let's use this zone since no one uses it much' schtick).

The idea here is that you don't have to collect all of them (Thank God), but you will want them to significantly reduce the Astral Flow damage each of Domina Shantotto's minions will use. Essentially, you can pick up just the first one and go do the next quest.

The big kicker to this is...

Don't get used to the ???s being in one spot. They move around in patterns.

Battaru Royale

The first BC in this whole string of senselessness is easy if you've bothered to get all 8 of the elemental saps. Bring a couple sleepers and just whittle away at the fomor midgets.

I'd recommend getting rid of Dark and Light first (appropriately named), then Wind.

Generally fun fight, but not the challenge that the first BC in ACP had and definitely doesn't make up for the sheer amount of shit you've had to go through just to get to this point.

Then watch your work in freeing "Good" Shantotto go for naught as she joins forces with Domina Shantotto.

Sisters in Arms

Yeah, SE wasn't done with the "glowing doohickey fetch quests" yet. Now with more glowing doohickey, you get to run around, yet again with no storyline reasoning, Temple of Uggalepih and Den of Rancor.

This follows the same line of thought as the previous fetch quest where you don't actually have to get all SIXTEEN of the hexes that are laying around. Each of the hexes do something different, so you can technically just focus on getting 4 or 5 of them that you want, then proceed to the final BC.

Oh wait...Unlit Lanterns weren't getting used enough, let's put the final BC in the Sacrificial Chamber.


If your crew is smart, they've all already got lanterns and will remember to light them as they enter the Den of Rancor, but odds are...they aren't smart.

Project: Shantottofication

Here it is, the final show down!

Domina Shantotto and Shantotto vs. You and your friends.

The best way I can describe this BC is:

Think of the CoP Mithra BC where the Mithra just skillchain the piss out of you.

Then toss in the fact that both Shantottos like to magic burst AM2.

When you enter this BC, if you've collected all the Hexes, you will be surprised to see that your HP/MP have been multiplied by 3 and your Elemental Resistances and Stats have all received a bonus of +150. You'll even have a reraise that lets you get up unweakened.


Not so fast...

You just did enough to be brought up to Shantotto's level. You're not going to be dumping out any eye popping numbers. You're not going to become this invincible super character that just has to point at Shantotto, say 'Booyah' and have her fall over.

No, you're going to get skillchained on. You're going to get hit with every single status in the book. You're going to become the victim of rages. You're going to get your ass handed to you in every way possible.

Here's the break down:

1st Attempt:

Gawayne (Excalibur PLD/DNC)
Jess (DRK/SAM)
Qtipus (Gungnir DRG/SAM)
Lectrikelion (RDM/BLM)
Kaylea (WHM/BLM)
Cealy (WHM/SCH)

Lost with Domina Shantotto at 4%.

2nd Attempt:

Gawayne (Excalibur PLD/NIN)
Jess (DRK/SAM)
Qtipus (Gungnir DRG/SAM)
Lectrikelion (RDM/NIN)
Kaylea (WHM/BLM)
Cealy (WHM/SCH)

Lost with Domina Shantotto at 25%

3rd Attempt:

Gawayne (RNG/NIN)
Jess (DRK/SAM)
Qtipus (Gungnir DRG/SAM)
Lectrikelion (RDM/NIN)
Kaylea (WHM/BLM)
Cealy (WHM/SCH)

Lost with Shantotto at 5% (Tried her first this time. Spammed Meteor after 25%)

4th Attempt:

Gawayne (RNG/NIN)
Jess (DRK/SAM)
Qtipus (Gungnir DRG/SAM)
Lectrikelion (RDM/NIN)
Kaylea (WHM/BLM)
Cealy (WHM/SCH)

Lost with Domina Shantotto at 5%.

Yes, a grand total of 0 wins and 4 losses so far.

Now why do we keep losing?

It's either because of a lack of damage, lack of curing or improper timing for a few JAs. When either Shantotto gains access to their unique weapon skills (50% or below), they also pick up a massive defensive boost. Getting either Shantotto down to 50% was cake for Gaw, Jess and I. Once that defensive boost hit (before and after the rages were done), we either ran out of HP before we could push through it or we ran out of MP.

The key to winning this BC is to get one of the Shantottos down before you wipe, or wipe early enough so that the recovery (with that much MP) doesn't take up that much of the clock.

I'm sure we'll figure it out at some point.

I have to say I like the challenge of this fight, but at the same time, there's a lot of bullshit that goes on it that makes me suspect it's glitched or broken. Particularly with the 'shared hate' period.

This mini expansion better have a damn good ending for all the shit SE puts you through. The rewards are already meh.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Double Dipping

I don't normally discuss sackholder matters by name and openly like this w/o some sort of provocation. I haven't been provoked directly, but there are enough rumblings that to address the parts of this individually would be a colossal waste of everyone's time involved trying to have multiple /tell conversations about it. Nor do I want to spend my weekend repeating myself endlessly to people who are sticking their nose in business that doesn't concern them.

What I hope to achieve in posting this is to provide both sides of a story and how the decision that was made came to be.

What I also hope to accomplish here is for people to understand that my job (and any of the sackholder jobs) are to enforce rules and to separate the actions from the person. This means if someone screws up badly enough, they get punished/kicked, but the sacks still treat said person as a human being.

Obsidian has had a long standing rule since it's inception in 2005. The rule states:

The rules of Obsidian state that you are not permitted to be in another Dynamis LS while you are a member of Obsidian. There is only one exception to this. That exception is helping a non-Obsidian member obtain an attestation or a fragment.

Be sure to ask a sackholder for permission before taking another Dynamis pearl to make sure there is no miscommunication. Anyone caught in another Dynamis linkshell without a pearlsack's consent will face severe restrictions, if not outright banishment from Obsidian.

If you happen to obtain a piece of AF2 in the run that you attend, an amount equal to the average Obsidian cost (at that time) for that item will be subtracted from your points. If you have less points than required, your points will be reset to 0. Anyone found to be abusing this rule will be kicked from Obsidian.

Yes, a little archaic and yes, it doesn't say Einherjar specifically. The spirit of the rule is what matters here. Damn near every linkshell is going to have a rule similar to this in regards to their events. No one likes it when someone double dips. The spirit of this rule is we don't want you trying to circumvent the systems we put into place to get ahead of others. We don't literally mean "you can't be in another shell that does dynamis". We simply mean "if you do dynamis (or einherjar) with us, you can't do it with anyone else (with very few exceptions)."

This is easily the most serious offense someone can pull in Obsidian. When we see someone break this rule (or even attempt to), we just ban. We feel this is something your average player should be familiar with and because it's such a widespread rule, it's comparable to understanding something as simple as stealing. Most people understand what that is and that it is wrong. (That's not saying stealing occurred here. It is saying that the vast majority of society understands it's wrong.)

Which brings me to the primary subject of this post.

Normally, I look at the signups for Einherjar on a daily basis. Primarily to see the length of the waiting list. A few days before the Nov. 3rd run, I had noticed Iceblazek's name on the roster. I didn't think much of it as I had recently reactivated his account in Obsidian for Dynamis. When Nov. 3rd got here and I made parties, I sent a tell to Omoi to make sure she reminded Ced and Ice about the start time for the run. I do this the first few times I see new people on the roster because it's inevitable that someone will sign up and forget they signed up to a new event.

The reply I got from Omoi set off some warning bells related to the aforementioned rule.

Apparently Ice had announced his intentions over Vent in regards to Einherjar a couple days prior. His stated intentions were to get his tier clears with Obsidian and to do Odins with BBQ.

Mistake #1: Ice trying to double dip.

For those of you that don't know, Omoi is a sackholder on the Einherjar side of Obsidian. Ice's intentions irritated me. Omoi not saying something sooner irritated me as well, although I could understand why she didn't since she had just come back from a 2 week+ vacation. What I'm getting at is that this could have been stopped earlier before I had him in the party lists and forced us to essentially cockblock someone at the door. It wasn't just Omoi that heard it. There were others on vent as well that probably could have pointed out " should probably talk to one of the sacks about it before you try that". Was it their responsibility to do so? Not really, no, but I'm just saying they probably could have.

At this point, there's one of two scenarios that play out:

1. I deal with Ice myself and ultimately make Omoi look like a rat right from the getgo.
2. Omoi deals with Ice (since she was the one that actually heard the stated intentions themselves) and then just reports to me what happened.

Wait, both scenarios make Omoi look like a rat.

No, actually both scenarios make Omoi look like she's fulfilling the responsibilities she accepted when she became a sackholder in Obsidian.

Doing what's right sometimes involves taking a hit to your cyber-street cred.

Ok, so now we're at a point where Ice has been told he either commits to Obsidian entirely or he's not doing Einherjar. Ice opts for the latter explaining he thought it was all right since it's apparently common practice for linkshells to consistently share members for their Einherjar runs.

(It is? News to me.)

Mistake #2: Assuming the rules of other linkshells apply to the rules of Obsidian.

How the decision to ban him was made:

When something of this nature occurs, the sacks are to report it to the other sacks. I did this. The response from the other sackholders was swift and to the point.


Just to illustrate how fast this took place. I can put up a poll asking a simple yes or no question and it might take 2 weeks or more for all 11 sacks to actually vote in it. There was no poll posted in regards to Ice, I simply wanted to know if I was over-reacting by getting as irritated as I did.

Responses from all 11 sacks happened within 24 hours. Unanimous decision.

Some of the points made by sacks in regards to banning him:

- Between May 2006 and March 2009, Ice attended 130+ dynamis runs with Obsidian. For you non-math people out there, that's nearly 3 years of activity at 50%+ attendance. How did he not know of that rule?

- What would have happened the first time we saw him in Odin with BBQ after having leeched wins from us?

- He's come to me in the past with questions regarding the rules. What was different this time?

- Did he actually know Omoi was a sack? Not many people do as she's the only sack we have that's "Einherjar Only". Omoi says he didn't. Ice says he did. Ice had only been back in Obsidian less than a month. While it's certainly possible he did know, if Omoi didn't respond to his stated intentions initially, he probably should have followed up.

- Would he have made the comment about Einherjar if he had known Omoi had the authority to block him from attending? The general feeling is likely not.

- Would BBQ leaders like it if their members started leeching wins off them and doing Odins with us? Hard to imagine so. Even if they swap members with other shells consistently to get clears so Odins can take place, odds are the leaders of the respective shells have discussed it. In some cases, the members will act as the go-between, but those are usually reserved for one-time cases or once every now and then cases.

(Example being Lguapo missing an Obsidian Odin and asking if he could help BBQ with one of their tier rooms. I approved him doing that with the understanding that it wouldn't happen very frequently and -really important aspect here- because he asked.)

- Would we view this any differently had it been cut off days before parties were made? Possibly, but the intent was made clear from the actual act of signing up.

This led us to this conclusion:

He signed up for the run in question 4 days before the run was scheduled. He had previously shown a capacity to ask sackholders a question if he didn't understand a rule. He didn't do so this time depending on who you believe between Ice and Omoi about his knowledge of her sackholder status in Obsidian.

His stated intentions made it clear this wasn't going to be one of those "once in a blue moon" occasions where he might've missed a room BBQ did and was looking for a way to make it up so he could get to their next Odin.

Ultimately, we felt like there was too much shadiness going on here to allow membership to continue. While some may look at this decision as a doctrine on Iceblazek personally, I suggest you don't. I simply view as someone fucked up and got banned.


No one likes getting banned. I fully expected something to be said when I either told him or when he found out. The problem with a banning like this is that it unfortunately effects things outside of Obsidian since Ice and a number of other Obsidian members do Salvage together. I need to clear up a few misunderstandings:

"Half the sacks don't like him anyway, that's why Ice got banned."

If half the sacks disliked Ice, he wouldn't have been reactivated after being gone for 6 months or he would have been banned before his hiatus. Ice wouldn't have been reactivated after having been seen in BBQ's dynamis runs (allegedly someone else playing his character) if we didn't give him the benefit of the doubt on why he had been seen there.

"Omoikitte dislikes Ice and used that to get Ice banned."

No, Omoikitte did what she was supposed to do, prevented a rule from being broken and prevented Obsidian's membership from being taken advantage of. She would have done the same thing in Versus with anyone breaking her rules and she would have done the same thing with any other member of Obsidian. The problem here is that the name of the person happens to be "Iceblazek" and there's a history there. If she dislikes you enough to report your intentions to the Obsidian sackholders, why would she waste her time trying to find ways to rid you from her life when she's willingly letting you get on Vent?

What did she really hope to gain by getting Ice banned from Obsidian? She comes to maybe 1 or 2 dynamis runs a month. She manages to make about half the Einherjar runs a month. There is more time on vent spent with Ice and Omoi together than there is in Obsidian. There is more time in Salvage spent with Ice and Omoi together than there is in Obsidian.

Yeah, they're not going to send each other Christmas cards, but the point is if Omoi really, truly wanted to rid Ice from her life, she'd either stop doing Obsidian/Salvage/Vent events or she'd ban Ice altogether from Vent and Salvage.

Place blame where blame is due. The blame goes on Ice's actions and the reaction of the people with the authority to ban him. Omoikitte is not one of those 11 people.

"Obsidian sacks are over-reacting. Ice really didn't know the rules and actually didn't break any since he didn't make it to the Einherjar run itself."

To us, the fact he didn't make it into the Einherjar run itself isn't important. It's the fact that there's relatively clear intention not to tell anyone what was up aside from one comment over Vent that can be broken down.


The decision won't be overturned. I put Ice's side of the story up for the leaders and it was greeted with skepticism by two sackholders and a rather deafening silence from the other 8 (excluding me). Omoi has nothing to do with the decision making process unless her side of the story suddenly changes in a rather drastic fashion. Even if her side of the story did change in a rather drastic fashion, it would mean Ice's side of the story would have to change too as both of their stories had the same general points.

Anyone fighting this decision needs to understand that there are three sides to every story and I've done my best to treat this situation as such. Fighting for one side or the other is useless and pointless.

Sorry Ice got banned, but rules are rules. It doesn't mean he's earned a permanent place on my black list (as some I've banned in the past have) nor does it mean I'm going to go out of my way to avoid him. It does, however, mean that he screwed up and, despite his protestations, there are at least 10 other people who don't believe or like his version of the story and banned him for it. Those 11 people happen to be running the shell he was banned from.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

More Baby Pictures

Dozing in Daddy's arms...

More dozing...

Older sister meets younger sister...

Although you don't see it in this picture, Breanna was actually saying "Sister pretty!" and "I like sister!" when I was taking this.

So far, Ansley (yes I keep butchering the spelling of her name) seems a lot more laid back than Breanna was. If you put something cold on her (like a nurse with a thermometer...) she'll let out a shriek and then she'll just go right back to sleep or start looking around again. Breanna would gripe for a while before she finally stopped crying when she was that age.

We think they're starting to look different too now that some of the swelling has gone down and whatnot. I think one of my next blog posts, I'll show Breanna's progression over the first three years of her life (since her b-day is coming up) just to illustrate how much and fast they change.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


Ansley Brook!

Six pounds, nine and a half ounce baby girl.

Nineteen and a 3/4 inches long.

She looks exactly like her older sister born 3 years ago.

Comparison shots:

Sister and baby are both fine and cranky. I'll post better shots in a day or so.

A Shantotto Ascension (Part 1?)

The third and final mini-expansion is here. Given the improvements of A Moogle Kupo d'Etat over A Crystalline Prophecy, I had some rather high hopes for A Shantotto Ascension.

Boy did Square-Enix crush those right from the getgo.

I'm not talking your regular old head shot either. I'm talking a testicle-stomping followed up by your heart being ripped out and then shot in the head while while you're staring at your own heart.

I really dislike fetch quests. I bitched about them to no end in ACP. MKE was better than ACP because you didn't really have to fight for level 20 critters that don't have a great drop rate on what you need. Yes, I know the mining/harvesting/logging stuff wasn't the most fun in the world, but at least you could fill up your inventory and still get the key item anyway w/o having to kill someone else's chance.

Going into ASA, I expected that it wouldn't be any worse than ACP. Even though I had a hard time tolerating the fetch quests in that one, I still trudged through it because I wanted that damn body piece. SE couldn't possibly make something that's worse than that, right?


Not only did they make something worse, they made something worse than what they made worse. Not only do you get to the fetch quests, now you get to park your ass in Gusgen Mines and Ordelle's Cave and collect MULTIPLE drops for this kit you have to synth together. You need 5 drops total.

Wait synth?

No biggie, I got every craft maxed. I expect the usual price jacking to occur since the materials you need for said synths are 2x Bast Parchment, 2x Parchment, 2x Black Ink.

Bast Parchment Synth - Bust. Lost Elm Log.
Parchment Synth - Bust. Lost Sheep Leather.
Black Ink Synth - Bust. Lost Gigant Squid.
Fine Parchment Synth - Bust. Lost Pumice Stone. (YAY BACK TO THE FUCKING MINES AGAIN!)
Enfeebling Kit: Blindness Synth - Bust. Nothing lost except sanity.

Keeping score?

I have every craft at 60. I have Bonecraft at 100. Yet I failed that list of synths. There's seriously something broken about the crafting system (which is usually the case after the servers go down). A quick rundown of BG shows crit-breaks of the kit synth itself all over the place along with an entire plethora of breaks involving the fetch items.

In short:

- SE gives us more fetch quests.
- SE gives us fetch quests that make you farm up more than one of each item.
- SE gives us fetch quests that have non-Rare/EX items. Gogo 50k Pumice Stones from money grubbers.
- SE forces everyone to start synthing. While the caps for the various items are unknown (like 5 or below), SE thought it would apparently be funny to toss in a 50% break formula for all synths.
- And to top it all off. You can't have a friend make the final kit for you. Really fucking awesome of SE to make every one of the ingredients tradeable, but not the final product.


I get that once the madness to get it completed dies down, it won't be as trivial to go farm up the materials for this. I also get (for the SE loyalists out there) that I paid for the content and SE is likely taking that as a sign that I actually LIKE wasting my time doing this sort of shit.

Let's get one thing really clear. I paid for this expansion (and the monthly service fees) for bits and pieces of content. I realize there are going to be things that I won't like and that the things I do like are the reasons I keep paying, but how in the bloody hell do the designers of this pathetic piece of shit expansion (thusfar) think that the conditions they have created for us to "enjoy" are actually enjoyable? You can't fucking sum up something like this with "Well you're paying for it, so you must enjoy all of it." I don't expect perfection. Doing so means I'm ultimately let down.

But even this pitiful excuse for an expansion lets down my already low expectations.

You're fucking better than this SE.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Dear Square-Enix,

Why do you think making 2000+ people camp 31 level 25 crawlers for an item with a shitty drop rate is fun?



Friday, November 6, 2009

Rather Stark Realization...

My playing time is looking like it's going to be drastically reduced for the next few months. Here's a run down of what's going to be happening:

  • My sister is due to have a c-section on the 16th. Who knows what it'll be or what the schedule will be like (although I suspect my sister will be saying GTFO! a lot to various people...)
  • Kay's coming to visit Nov. 21st-Dec 1st for Thanksgiving.
  • In that same time period that Kay is here, 6 b-days will happen. (Won't be parties for them all, but visitations, etc will eat up time)
  • I'll be spending Dec 2nd-Dec 18th working as hard as I can to build up money because...
  • Dec 19th-Jan 3rd, I'll be at a combination of Kay's and Kay's parents for Christmas/New Year's stuff.
  • Jan-Mar is generally the busiest time of year for me business-wise (tax season). While I'm obviously uncertain at how this time period will play out, it's entirely possible I'll be MIA for long periods of time in this time frame.
Funny how you make plans and then all of a sudden, all of your plans seem to come bumrushing you when you least expect it...

I'll still be in game, just expect a Qtipus with a lot more AFK time. :)

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Evolith System

So we have some new update news today...

The Latest Evolution in Equipment—Announcing the Evolith System! (11/04/2009)

We're pleased to announce a new system that promises to offer adventurers unprecedented customization options for their equipment! Named the "Evolith" system for the curious stones whose powers must be harnessed to reap the benefits, it will be introduced in a version update coming as early as late November.

Introducing Evolith

Little more than nondescript rocks at first glance, the substance known as evolith has long escaped the notice of the inhabitants of Vana'diel. Closer investigation, however, has revealed that these ancient stones harbor elemental power to rival that of crystals. With advances in the emerging discipline of synergy*, the time has come that their latent potential may at long last be tapped...

*Synergy is a new form of synthesis conducted using a "synergy furnace."
This system will be introduced in detail in a future Topics article.

With each piece of evolith possessing unique properties (*see example screenshots), adventurers may mix and match them in various combinations to bolster compatible equipment with the exact combination of attributes they desire.

*Development screenshot—subject to change.

Evolith 101
Adventurers may enhance their equipment with evolith through the following procedure:

1. Acquire evolith
- Evolith can be obtained by completing new NM hunting regimes accessible from "Hunt Registries" that will be introduced to certain areas alongside the Evolith system.
- Note that each piece of evolith is defined by a unique shape, size and elemental affinity.

2. Choose the base equipment you wish to enhance
- A vast assortment of equipment will support evolith, from several hundred existing items spanning a wide range of levels to new equipment slated to be introduced alongside the Evolith system.
- You may check whether or not a particular piece of equipment supports evolith by trading it to one of the "Synergy Engineer" NPCs that will be dispatched to certain cities.

3. Prepare your equipment
- A maximum of three evolith-holding "slots" may be etched into a given piece of equipment via synergy.
Note that each slot will have its own shape, size, and elemental affinity, to correspond with the evolith itself.
- The etching process will require the use of dedicated items.
- Similar to augmented items, etching evolith slots into a piece of equipment will render it untradeable and unauctionable.

4. Confirm compatibility
- Ensure that the slot is of the same shape and elemental affinity, and is large enough to hold the piece of evolith you wish to attach.

5. Attach evolith
- Evolith may be attached to a compatible piece of equipment via synergy.
- It is possible to outfit a piece of equipment with as many pieces of evolith as slots it contains.

*Development screenshot—subject to change.

The Finished Product

Should your synergy be successful, congratulations! The help window for your newly evolith-enhanced equipment will appear like this:

*Development screenshot—subject to change.

- Evolith Replacement and Slot Removal
Should you wish to replace an attached piece of evolith with one offering different benefits, this may be done at time via synergy. It is also possible to remove evolith slots entirely—thereby returning the equipment to its original state—through synergy using a dedicated item. Note that in both cases, the previously attached piece of evolith will be lost.

With countless varieties of evolith in existence, the possibilities are endless. Seek out the combination that best suits your playing style, and the equipment of your dreams can be yours!

This looks interesting, but like most things SE releases, I'm going to take the "wait and see" approach.

My initial take on it is that it looks like Augments V2.0. I never really got into the augmenting system as I've had other things to invest my gil into. I know there are some rather fantastic augments out there (re: Izman's Acc+6 Forager's Mantle and...Izman's INT+6 Weskit), but the notion of throwing semi-expensive items out the window more or less wasn't something I felt compelled to do.

That's not saying I think the augmenting system is bad. I think it's a neat spin on a lot of different things and this Evolith system is looking pretty similar.

So the questions I have to ask are this:

1. How much of a pain in the ass is it going to be to pick up the Evoliths?

2. Will the "augments" on these rocks be randomly chosen or will they have set patterns?

3. Is this going to make the FoV augmenting system obsolete?

The answer to those questions at the moment we "We don't know."

I like that they've made this so you can remove evoliths from pieces of gear. This essentially means, as long as your rock matches the shape and elemental property, you can keep upgrading rather infinitely. Which is nice.

It seems like every update we get, there's a little gem that pops up like this one that initially looks like a great idea and ends up being really horrible or really cool.

The other thing that I want to point out is this:

The past few updates, we've seen some sort of new "system" put into place. We've gone from ZNM to ANNM to SCNM to FoV to Augments and now apparently to Evoliths. While the updates themselves are things some would consider too little, too late, I have to say SE has seemingly been giving us a lot of new stuff to play with over the course of the past 1-2 years while they're working on FFXIV. I'm not naive enough to believe this will continue as they ramp up for the release of XIV, but I just feel this needed to be pointed out whether you like the systems or not.

Outside of that...did anyone else think of this when you saw this update?

Qtipus' Information

FFXI subscriber since NA release.