Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Random Updates on Past Posts

Figured I'd take the time to update on some random things I've blogged about in the past few posts...

Cat

Apparently Kit got an eleventh hour intervention. About an hour before my sister and her husband were going to load her up in the car to take her down to the humane society and her inevitable euthanization, an organization out of Iowa called Witty Kitties called her up and let her know they had room for her. They did a lot of rescue work and were willing to come here to pick Kit up. The only prerequisite for this was that my sister sponsor Kit until she either found a home or died. The sponsoring fee is $20 a month.

I'm not 100% sure on how the cat is going to get there. Right now, the tentative plans are for me to take her up there in January since my brother-in-law works all kinds of oddball hours. They even offered to meet me on my way to CT for the holidays. That got a resounding "No" out of me because the last thing I need in a car for 16 hours with me are the combination of my parents and a poopy, meowing cat.

At any rate, it appears the cat's life is saved...again. This is one lucky cat and now I'm wondering whether or not it's a good idea for my sister to get rid of her after all...

Dark Knight Merits

Finished up Elemental and Enfeebling magic merits. 46 merits in 8 days are a ton of merits. I'm sure there are other people out there who have done more, so I'm not trying to come off as sounding like this was some sort of record-breaking performance. It's a ton of merits in a short period of time no matter how you look at it though. :)

Still not sure at this point if I want to max out the group 2 merits. Leaning towards no unless I have no other place to put merits. Path is clear for me to start leveling BLM now.



This is a new personal skillchain record for me. Usually when I meripo, birds end up dying too fast for us to sustain a chain for very long. Wivre usually means we're losing chain. This particular party had us killing Wivres like they were the Colibri...

DRG x3, RDM, BRD, COR (Qtipus, Blaize, Lect, Souel/Millenas, Celestria and Mimitsu respectively).

75k XP in about 3 hours.

Critical Break

I'm drawing this to a close on a weekly basis. Having a Tuesday deadline in the midst of everything that's changing in my real life at the moment is going to be tough to handle. I'm not going to stop writing the column completely, but it'll likely make it's appearances once or twice a month instead of every week.

For those of you that missed it on Ring's blog (or can't figure out how to click my name on the left...), I've posted both the entire 0-60 series and the entire 60-100 series on the right side of this blog. I thanked everyone in my semi-final post and I'll thank everyone here too. I really appreciate the comments I've received both on the blog itself and in game.

Einherjar

Looking like my attendance streak will come to an end sometime before the end of this month with the way I'll be traveling around. My streak currently sits at 143 straight runs as I've been to every Einherjar run since Obsidian started doing them. Hoping I can still make the runs while I'm out and about for the holidays, but obviously they're not going to be a priority.

It's kind of funny that I could seriously take an entire month off and there's no one on the list that would pass me in terms of total runs and he's even on a psuedo-hiatus at the moment with work overflowing into his play time (Mav). The next 4 people behind Mav would need a minimum of 2 months to pass me w/o me attending and 3/4 of those are on an extended hiatus or have just recently left the game (Airybreeze, Ceri and Oust).

I really do need to find people to man the mules though in the event I'm not around as Canuck seems to be off doing a bunch of other non-FFXI stuffs (new job, drinking, class, drinking, new games, drinking, concerts, drinking, etc...yes I've been watching your twitter Yot... :P). Logical choice would be Kaelis as he's someone I know who has the gear to man a couple mules if necessary. Lect would be another choice too in the same category, but we're not to that point yet although it's generally a good idea to get out ahead of that stuff.

Skilling Up/Weapon Skills



If only all skilling up were this simple...

Now that DRK is 75, I got a list of shit to skill up suddenly. I knew this going in, but it still doesn't diminish the overwhelming feeling when you look at all those non-blue numbers...


Friends Leaving

Apparently, a couple friends are leaving FFXI for good. Runestar left a while ago, but has apparently made it official as she suggested for Kimi to take over using her account as an Einherjar mule. Hopefully Runie finds some time to play again cause the /rollaround greeting never got old.

(Especially when it was responded to with a /punt.)

The other friend that's leaving is Airybreeze. I actually met Airy and her husband (Vangie) a few years ago in Detroit as I was driving through. We had lunch at a casino up there whose name I can't remember. While I can't really go into the details of her departure, this has the sense it's for good given the sheer amount of time she's been thinking about it and given some of the real life circumstances surrounding her. You never want to say never in regards to returning, but it's probably as close to a sure-fire never as there is. Hopefully things get sorted out and the MT queen does make a return, but if not, thanks for all the time to the both of you. :)

Random Pictures



Dark Knight hitting 75.



The new pants from A Shantotto Ascension apparently have a goblin mask stretched across the crotch and butt. Gives new meaning to "Bomb Toss".

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Kids These Days...

Monday afternoon, I'm at a point in the day where there's about an hour and a half until my last appointment at 6PM. Driving home is a waste of gas since it's 20 minutes away from my final stop, so I called up my sister to see if I could come hang out over there for a bit. She says "Sure, you can come entertain Breanna!~"

This normally translates to:

"My oldest daughter is being a demon child cause she didn't take her nap, so anything that will distract her for a bit is a good thing even if it causes you physical harm!"

My oldest niece is smart. Way too smart for her own good. A good example of how smart she is involves a light switch.

My sister's living room is just like the vast majority of living rooms in the world where the light switch is right next to the entrance. My brother-in-law's favorite chair is sitting along the wall under this switch. This is so when he gets hot, he can reach up, turn on the left switch and the ceiling fan comes on. It's also for turning the lights off when he gets ready to load up Halo.

If you happen to turn one of these switches on or off while Breanna is in the room with you, she takes notice instantly and wants to go play with the switches. What will ensue is a 10-15 minute struggle where she'll pull out every trick in the book to get to that switch.

She'll sneak behind the chair and try to reach it.

(Usually thwarted by grabbing onto her shirt before she makes it behind the chair.)

She'll try to crawl in your lap and over you to reach it.

(Usually thwarted by throwing a blanket over her head or turning her upside down and tickling her.)

But the real sign of intelligence is:

"Breanna give Uncle Pad hug and kiss?"

(I've already mentioned a lot that it's really hard to say no to her.)

I fall for this damn near every time. It's like Lucy pulling the football out from in front of Charlie Brown.



The second you pick her up to give her a hug, she reaches right over you and turns one or both of the switches on or off. It's so darn infuriating, but so insufferably cute, there's not a damn thing you can do about it, even if you know what's coming.

Anyway, I digressed a little. Onto what actually happened.

I'm sitting in said recliner yesterday just killing some time talking to my sister and playing with my niece. I've gone through a lot of the "Uncle Pad" games that Breanna likes to play when I show up already. These games tend to include:

"Boingy" - Tossing her up in the air, catching her, and acting like I'm bouncing her off the couch while saying "BOINGY!~" (Think of the sound sand people from Star Wars make to get an idea of how I'm saying "Boingy").

"Transformers" - Brings me the 3 Transformers I got her a while ago and asks things like, "Bumblebee to car?", "Blurr to car?", "Jazz to robot?" etc.

"Balloon Fetch" - She likes to be picked up so she can reach the strings on various balloons that are around the house for a couple months after her b-day. She'll grab these strings, then tell me which room to take her so she can place the balloon there. "Living Room!" "Princess Room!" "Baby Room!"

"Princess Dolls" - She'll run into the living room doing a fake cry. You're supposed to ask "What's wrong baby {Disney Princess Name}?" If you get the name wrong, you get scolded. Never mind the fact there are 5 baby princess dolls that could be "crying". Get the correct name and then you'll be told what's wrong. "OH NO BABY ARIEL HAS A STINKY BOO DIAPER!" "OH NO BABY BELLE IS HUNGRY" etc...

After all of that, my niece has apparently discovered a new game.

"Wheels On The Bus"

Not just any variation of this game mind you. Normally when someone sees that, the song is stuck in their head and they start cussing a lot.

The wheels on the bus go round and round. Round and round. Round and round.

See? Now that you hate me...

No the variation of this game that she's learned is an app on the iPhone. She's THREE YEARS OLD and she can do the following:

- Turn the phone on
- Slide the bar to unlock it
- Slide the app page around until she finds the icon she wants
- Open the app itself
- And start playing...

My mom can't do that, yet my three year old niece can.

So not only has she figured out how to start this game, she wants whoever is in the vicinity to make sound effects for the various things that happen in it.



First screen is this. You slide your finger left or right to make the bus go forward and backwards. The sound effects you're required to make are:

VROOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOM

and

SCREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEECH



Second screen. Can slide the doors open and shut. You can also poke the pigeon. The required sound effect here is something I can only describe as a "crazy turkey gobble" noise...



Third screen. Poke the bear and he bounces. Touch the paper airplane and it does a loop around the screen. Touch the driver and, besides feeling like a perv, she motions towards the back of the bus. My niece doesn't stay on this screen too long, but she does like the airplane and airplane noises I make while it's sailing around.



Why a chef holding a tray full of cupcakes that are getting licked by a frog and stolen by a monkey is on a school bus is beyond me, but hey, it's not my imagination. This is probably her second favorite page. If you touch the monkey, he reach down and shows he had a cupcake and you have to make a monkeyish noise. If you touch the frog, he sticks his tongue out and licks a cupcake on the tray. You have to make a slurping noise. The chef on the other hand is her favorite on the page. Probably because I like to make fun of Tohmane so much with this guy:



...and my imitation is rather bad of him, but she finds it very funny, which is all that really matters.



This would be her favorite page. Try to stick with me here...

- The fish will blow bubbles if left alone that you can touch and pop.
- The fish will jump out of the bowl if you touch it.
- The crab will pinch his claws together if you touch him.
- If she touches the bubbles, you have to say "poppoppoppoppop"
- If she touches the fish, you have to say "BOINGY~!"
- If she touches the crab, you have to say "PinchyPinchyPinchyPinchy"

It's like whack-a-mole. You don't know what she's going to touch next. Inevitably, it comes off sounding like this:

BOINGYpoppoppoppopBOINGYPinchyPinchyPinchyBOINGYBOINGYPinchyPinchyPinchyPinchypoppoppoppopBOINGYPinchyPinchyPinchy.

This cracks her up to no end. I literally sat there with her making those noises for about 20 minutes straight before she finally changed the page.



The final page in this app. If you touch the sleeping dog, he wakes up and looks at you bug-eyed. If you touch the bone, it flies away and apparently pisses the sleeping dog off enough to wake up. If you touch the dog that can somehow balance an ice cream cone on it's nose, the cone itself flies up on top of his head and makes a pink mess. Touch the dog again and the ice cream cone somehow stands itself back up on the dog's nose.

If she touches the sleeping dog, you have to bark. If she touches the bone, you have to howl. If she touches the ice-cream dog, you have to make a splat noise when the cone lands on it's head. Doing it in reverse means you're making a "dink" noise when the cone lands on the nose.

OI!~

So a brief recap.

My niece is 3. She can operate an iPhone. Not only can she open apps, she can use the pictures my sister has assigned to her address book to call someone.

"Call Nanny?"

(You're lucky if you get asked...)

The Wheels On The Bus app apparently provides hours of amusement for her. (You can buy it at Duck Duck Moose).

After going through all of that with her, I'm reminded again just how much energy this child has...

"Wheels On Bus again?"

/sigh....

Dynamis Shenanigans

I'm pretty sure I've mentioned this several times on this blog, but...

SE really needs to instance Dynamis and Limbus.

I get if it's an overhaul of the code they have in place and it creates too much work. Einherjar isn't instanced, but that's a 30 minute event when you compare Limbus taking up to 1.5 hours or Dynamis taking up to 3.5 hours. The BCNM/KSNM structure is a good way to go about it.

Why am I ranting about this again?

Means that we're having issues with run-jacking obviously.

For the past few months, we've run into this shell called DynamisBunPai that's apparently led by Japanese player named Aatst. Normally when we run dynamis on Sundays, it's ~3AM in Japan. This shell has decided it would be a good idea to start at 11PM Japanese time (or 8AM my time). Normally, this wouldn't be an issue except for the two following things:

1. Most JP shells are starting 2ish hours before this. Guess who's going to be delayed?
2. Even if a zone isn't occupied, guess who fails to start on time?

If you said "DynamisBunPai" to both of those questions, you'd be correct.

After having bumped into them a couple times (re: had to move zone or start upwards of an hour late), it was pretty apparent this group wasn't just some randomly thrown together group (even though Aatst is constantly shouting for members in Whitegate). So I tried to talk to them to see if I could get them to start using the same calendar that we do to schedule their events. It was then that I discovered another problem:

They only do Xarc.

Every single one of my communication attempts with this group failed. They completely ignored me.

[Insert stereotypical Japanese culture comment here.]

I figured since they only did Xarc, we wouldn't have much of an issue except for maybe once a month. So I let it go for the time being.

Until they bumped us out of Glacier.

Until they bumped us out of Windurst.

...and Until they bumped us out of another Xarc.

So now I'm pissed enough to try to talk to them again. Same sort of deal. Completely ignored. Even outside of Dynamis in the early A.M., attempts to talk to Aatst went ignored despite the fact I saw him moving from zone to zone.

Now I'm even more pissed.

Taking matters into my own hands, I took note of the fact that two Sundays ago, our Valk run was full with a waiting list. So I figured an impromptu Xarcabard run conveniently scheduled at the same time Aatst's group was to go in was the best medicine to get their attention.

Standing at the trail markings with the 16 people who volunteered their services, the goal was pretty simple:

Get all the extensions, force Aatst's group to change zones. Getting the extensions with 16 people was something Obsidian had never done before. It was certainly not unheard of, but it was something we weren't exactly prepared to do. Prior to entering though, Aatst took notice of us and the following conversation happened:

(This is off the box I play Q on, which is run in full screen mode...)

Aatst: {Xarcabard}?
Q: Yes
Aatst: me go @ 1h
Q: No you're not.


Ten minutes later...

Aatst: me go Xarc
Q: No
Aatst: me go Xarc
Q: No
Aatst: me go Xarc
Q: No
Aatst: me go Xarc
Q: No
Aatst: me go Xarc
Q: No
Aatst: {/slap}
Aatst: {/slap}
Aatst: {/slap}
Aatst: {/slap}
Aatst: {/slap}
Aatst: {/slap}


I didn't want to harass him verbally until he had given up what I've come to term "JP High Ground" (translates to: GM Favortism). Now that he had done so.../grin

Q: AWWWWWWWWWWWWWWPOORWITTLEMIDGETCANNOTGOTO{XARCABAR D}WWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW


Double-edged comment. Sarcasm and a reference from JP culture that he was sure to understand.

About 10 minutes after that...

Aatst: {/random}{Xarcabard}?
Q: No.
/blist add Aatst


I was done dealing with him. If he wanted Xarc, he was going to have to beat me to breaking the glass. Otherwise, he gets to move his group to a different zone in the same manner that we've had to do a number of times thanks to them.

Now you might be asking why I didn't take that opportunity to actually try to talk to him about using the calendar. For starters, his english is pretty bad if you didn't notice. Secondly, I don't speak Japanese and auto-translate only goes so far. Thirdly, I'm paranoid about writing out web addresses in tells across cultures as GMs seem to have their insta-ban panties in a wad. Lastly, it was pretty clear from the getgo that the guy is a child and likely wouldn't even attempt to use the calendar. If you have to say "me go Xarc" over and over and over again trying to get your way, I get there's a language barrier there, but no language barrier is going to make you repeat yourself constantly trying to get your way and then spam {/slaps} when you don't.

About 10 minutes after he made it to my black list, he packed up his linkshell and moved to Glacier. You could say I won the stare-down, but remember...I'm still pissed.

He moved to Glacier where I had Nirion (Canuck's mule) waiting with another glass.

Aatst: {Dynamis-Beaucedine}?
Nirion: Yes
Aatst examines you.
Aatst sighs dejectedly.


I was forced to make a decision though. The group that was occupying Xarc still had about 30 mins left on their glass. If I hijack the Glacier run, I run the risk of having them come back to Xarc and potentially win the glass-breaking contest. This means I would have dragged 16 people out of bed for essentially nothing. So I figured I'd let Glacier go.

I un-blisted Aatst at that point.

Aatst: {Dynamis-Beaucedine}{Do you need it?}
Qtipus: No.


And he entered very shortly afterwards. The Xarc run itself was kind of sloppy, but that was mostly due to the sheer difference in man-handling lots of demons against trying to finesse your way through to get the extensions. Obsidian isn't a finesse shell yet, though we're taking some long strides to that goal. We picked up I think 5 drops, RDM being the best of them and Kakashibankai (Shitshi)winning the lot war for it. Everyone seemed to have a lot of fun during the run itself too, which is a huge plus.

My dealings with Aatst weren't done yet though. I still felt my point hadn't been made. I checked out Dynamis Calendar and took note of the fact no one had Xarc or Glacier scheduled this past Sunday. Nirion still had a glass. Aatst's group was poised to enter the zone.

Saturday night, I had positioned Nirion at the zoneline into Xarc and unequipped his pearl. Sunday morning when I got up, I took note of a group in Xarc and watched to see when they would exit. Aatst's group was together and waiting at the trail markings for the other group to exit. As soon as I saw them exit, I ran Nirion in, broke the glass and entered the zone.

You can probably imagine there were some pissed off people at the trail markings. If you can't imagine it, then here's proof:



I didn't bother to reply to any of them as I felt it was extremely comical of them to ignore tells when they jack a run, but then all of a sudden manage to grasp their english speaking skills rather quickly when they get jacked.

Anyway, I managed to kill one of the extensions and die a couple times trying to get a second extension. I think if I try this again, I have a better approach to getting the second extension with the resources I had available to me.

Bottom line is this:

Aatst knows who Obsidian is now. I'll wait to see what happens a few Sundays from now to see if they're going to attempt to cockblock us. I suspect they will, so there might be some more of these posts in the near future...

Monday, December 14, 2009

Meripopalooza

I'm sure most people who read this blog have a pile of things on their list to merit. Me? Not so much until recently.

When I got PLD to 75, the only thing I knew for certain that I was going to merit was the following:

Max Shield Bash recast.
Max Sentinel recast.
Level 1 Fealty.
Level 1 Chivalry.

I didn't want to merit any of the magic skills or the weapon skills because I knew the amount of time I spent on PLD would pale in comparison to DRG. On top of that, I just didn't see the benefit in maxing out Fealty or Chivalry as I classify them along the same I do Deep Breathing. I use Deep Breathing whenever I can, but it's overall impact isn't all that much unless I'm soloing. Chivalry is nice for long, drawn out battles, but we all know if there's a long drawn out battle, someone else is going to tank cause I have Gungnir. Those Job Abilities are niche at best with me.

Prior to PLD, I had DRG and WHM max merited even though I rarely used WHM. It drove me nuts to have a job at 75 and not have it maxed out. Might be that I'm getting a little lazy, but that sort of mental insanity just didn't exist when PLD hit 75. Now that I have DRK at 75 though, I'm starting to feel that way again.

So what to merit?

First, I knew since BLM was going to be the next job I took to 75, I needed to max Enfeebling Magic and Elemental Magic. I'm still undecided on whether I want to merit Scythe yet, but I'm leaning towards yes. Out of Group 1 merits, I'm going to max Souleater timer and Last Resort Effect. The thought process behind this is that I hate it when JAs are on different timers and with LR being 5 minutes and SE being 6, that's caused me to get the purple clock when I mashed the macro enough to make me feel like unplugging my modem.

Group 2 merits I'm still a little torn on. I know Desperate Blows will get maxed. I know there will be at least one merit put into Dark Seal. My main questions regarding the rest of Group 2 are:

1. Is Dark Seal really worth max meriting?
2. Is Diabolic Eye worth even putting one merit into even for WS purposes?
3. Is Muted Soul worth it?

I don't really have the answers to those questions yet, but that leaves me with more than enough of a list to get done before I do have them.

For those of you keeping tabs at home, that's:

Enfeebling Magic: 0-8 (21 merits)
Elemental Magic: 0-8 (21 merits)
Last Resort Effect: 0-5 (15 merits)
Souleater Recast: 0-5 (15 merits)
Desperate Blows: 0-5 (22 merits)
Dark Seal: 0-1 (3 merits...for now)

Grand total: 97 merits.

I obviously have a lot of work to do. With that in mind, I dragged Lect's COR out with the intention of him kicking and screaming his way to 75 with my DRG and through the various assemblage of 2 parties, I picked up approx. 8 merits. A couple more meripos after that and I found that 22 of the 97 merits just went away. These promptly found a home in Enfeebling Magic (capped) and the first in Elemental Magic.

With my Christmas trip coming up, I figured a good place to stop would be to cap Elemental Magic. I needed 200k XP in a week. That's not a ton when you manage to xp at a 20-25k/hour clip consistently like I do. I had Saturday off except for a blurb of business in the middle of the day after Einherjar, so I started asking around the night before to see if I could rally up enough people to spend 4-5 hours out on pink birds for a party I called:

"The 109,999 Limit Point Party"

The task was simple. Everyone start as close to 0 as they could and don't leave until they completely capped their merit points. I'm sure the concept of this was nothing new, but it was something I had never done and it's something most of my friends would probably slap me upside the head for thinking of, but to my surprise, a lot of people wanted to come.

The first variation of this party was Kreoss (WAR), Lectrikelion (COR/RNG), Millenas (COR/WHM), Tammyrose (BRD/NIN), Leanaci (RDM/WHM) and myself (DRG/SAM).

The short translation for this is:

That's a shitload of buffs.

2x March, Sam, Fighter, Corsair and Chaos rolls. Bird destruction commenced for about 2.5 hours (with 15 mins of it being spent recovering) and 60k XP picked up. Kreoss had to go due to salvage. Leanaci had to go due to it being very late where she lived. So...

Enter Darkdawn and Rifuburade.

Same set up except Millenas changed to RDM/WHM and Darkdawn came COR/WHM. More bird destruction commenced for another 3 hours (with 30 mins of it being spent swapping people around) and pretty much everyone there except the swaps ended up getting nearly 12 merits worth of XP. I capped merits and ended up putting the rest of the xp into my DRG buffer.

Now the running tally looks like this as of Saturday night:

Enfeebling Magic: Capped
Elemental Magic: Level 5 (5-8, 9 merits)
Last Resort Effect: 0-5 (15 merits)
Souleater Recast: 0-5 (15 merits)
Desperate Blows: 0-5 (22 merits)
Dark Seal: 0-1 (3 merits...for now)

Grand total: 64 merits.

Yes, I managed to knock out about 1/3 of my list in a matter of a few parties, so I'm very happy with that. Another few parties like that and I'll have DRK up to where I want in no time. :)

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The "Good Player" Checklist

I've bitched in the past about how little consideration some people would have for others in their linkshell. Some may think this is just limited to conversation, but it's not. There are actually a number of things you can do to help out your fellow team members and you probably don't even know it. So here today is a checklist for everyone to use.

1. Outpost warps.

You do no one any favors by asking for teleports over linkshell. If your nation hasn't captured a zone in a while, so be it, but your absolute most basic Outposts you should get are Valdeaunia, Tavnazian Safehold, and Qufim. These three alone will provide you access to the most commonly used areas. If you're doing dynamis quite a bit, then you need to add Zulkheim, Fauregandi and Kolshushu to that list. I'm sure anyone can make the case for some of the other zones (like Lil'Telor for sky) and obviously, the more outposts you have the better.

This all builds and leads to one major point:

The faster and more efficiently you can move your ass around, the happier and less bored your LS mates will be.

(That line will be a bit of a theme throughout this checklist).

There really is no excuse outside of a nation simply never controlling a zone for Outposts not to get done. They're free to do. If you have WHM at 42, then you pretty much have a way to get to every single outpost via teleport and chocobo. If not, someone does and ask. Get yourself in the habit of checking conquest results each Sunday and just get them done.

2. Maps

Do you like knowing your way around and having to wait on people that are getting lost?

No.

So don't do it to anyone else. Get your maps and use the marker system if you get lost easily. A lot of maps can simply be purchased while others need quests to get them. Some quests are really simple, others are a gargantuan pain in the ass. Don't complain, just do it. Now.

3. Minimal Effort in Storylines

This part isn't me saying "Get your storylines done." This part is me saying get past Diabolos in CoP. This part is me saying get far enough in ToAU to get your runic portals (YES GET THOSE TOO THEY COUNT AS OUTPOSTS). This part is me saying get Tu'Lia access from the Zilart missions. Just getting that far in those three storylines will open up a TON of options for you in terms of gameplay and allow you to do more with your friends.

Find yourself saying "I don't have access"?

STFU, take initiative and get it done.

There is no point in having a level 75 job if you can't go anywhere of any significance with it.

4. Research

I'm the first to admit that this isn't exactly my best quality, but even the standard I hold myself to in regards to this subject is light years better than some of the people I've run across. This is a primary reason why I don't do any form of a pick up group for anything.

If you're planning an event or planning on participating in one, do everyone else a favor and at LEAST read the wiki page on it before you go. You don't have to understand everything completely, but a very basic understanding of what to expect goes such a long way towards something being successful. If you sit on your ass and let the others do the research for you, then it's probably not going to be long before you aren't invited to anything anymore.

This isn't saying you should have every single formula memorized for every possible WS or Spell that you'd be utilizing, but at least understanding the majority of the time things as simple as "You can't stun Kirin" or "Jailer of Love's regen gets nerfed after 10 sets of 3 spawned critters" will be huge and that sort of information is stuff you can find right off the bat just by typing in the name of the target in Wiki.

5. Whitegate Warps from each city.

Four cities have the ability to warp you directly to Whitegate. Most are content with just having Jeuno and their starter nation done. Get all 4 done because you never know when your travels are going to require you have to haul ass somewhere. It's a far better use of your time to:

Job Change - Exit Mog House - Whitegate

Instead of:

Job Change - Exit Mog House - Warp - Enter Mog House - Job Change - Exit Mog House - Whitegate

6. "Alleyway" Mog House Exits

It's a flower.

That you give to a kid.

You get to exit to any part of a city from your Mog House.

It's really annoying watching someone run in from Sarutabaruta and avoid the Mog House completely cause they haven't done this quest, all the way to the trail markings when they could have just entered the Mog House and exited right there. Not quite as irritating, but just as stupid is the same relative scenario applied to Whitegate/Al Zahbi.

7. Items For All Occasions

Food.
Echo Drops (if you're most commonly something that casts).
Eye Drops (if you're most commmonly something that melees).
Poison Potions.
Antidotes.
Reraise.
Holy Waters.

You get the idea. There's rarely anything you can do in this game that something on that list won't help out with.

8. Fame Quests

Yes these take a little bit of gil and a whole lot of monotony, but maxing your fame out every place you can will prevent you from being cockblocked in several different areas of the game.

Stop sniveling and get them done.

9. Gobbie Bag Quests

The first few of these are super cheap and super easy to do. You need Jeuno fame (see item #8).

Who doesn't like more inventory space? If you're not sure, let me tell you who DOES like more inventory space...

Your wallet.

"Wait, how does my wallet like more inventory space?"

More space to keep stuff for NPC sales or various other gil-acquisition quests.

"What does this have to do with consideration for others??!?!"

No one likes a bum. Max your space. Max your farming capacity. Make money. No one has to loan you money constantly.

If you're cash strapped, put a group together to do various story lines in the game as the rewards from them will yield items necessary for the various upgrades. I'm not saying max your Gobbiebag out, but ffs...don't run around with a 30 item Gobbiebag as a level 75 character asshat.

10. Job Research

Have you really thought about that job you're leveling?

Really?

You're leveling it because you like it right?

Not because you think it looks cool?

(Well ok...it can look cool, but that better not be the only reason...)

Seriously, do some reading or ask around and at least try to point your character in the direction it needs to go. Try to understand fundamental differences like Attack vs. STR or MAcc vs. MAB. Try to get a feel for what gear you should be aiming for and if it's something that's out of your playtime frame to get, try to figure out what is attainable for you or sufficient enough to do the job.

There isn't much effort in doing this nowadays. Most of this game's secrets are completely fleshed out and there's a general blueprint for damn near every job out there. You don't necessarily have to follow said blueprint, but you should at least pay attention to them enough to understand what some people will expect.

Conclusion

There you have it. A checklist you can follow to make yourself a better player and subsequently, make everyone's life around you easier. These aren't super time consuming or all-involving tasks to accomplish, but I've found that a lot of players just simply don't follow some of the most basic things out there and ultimately cost everyone else around them a bunch of time, money, and XP trying to pick up the slack for them.

Don't be that guy.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Cat Giveaway

So in an effort to help my sister out here, I'm going to try this to see what happens.

About 4-5 years ago, my sister happened across a stray kitten somewhere that I don't remember. The typical story ensued where someone feels sorry, takes them home with the intention of taking them down to the humane society the next day, then ends up keeping them.

The first couple years, "Kit" was your regular cat. Sassy at times, lazy the rest. My sister got her spayed, declawed, etc. During this process, it was discovered that she was Feline Leukemia positive which meant some changes had to be made around the house to prevent her other two cats from picking it up (if they hadn't already). Changes were made, happiness was achieved, etc yada etc yada.

About a year after this, my first niece shows up. She was warned by our vet that environment changes may cause issues in cat's acting out. So my sister watched for it. Nothing really changed.

As the 2nd niece is coming along, she did start to change. She started using the bathroom in various spots that didn't have litter in them. This was chalked up to be urinary tract infections (relatively common in any animal). After her uralysis came back clean and the bathroom idiocy didn't stop, we went through retraining thinking she just forgot litter was where she was supposed to poop. Didn't work.

Take her over to my house, she's fine.
Take her over to the in-laws, she's fine.

Take her back home, poop on the floor.

This has gotten progressively worse and worse as time has gone on and the vet is rather convinced this cat is seriously pissed off at something in that house and recommended that we try to find a different home for her.

Most shelters will not take her in because of the leukemia issue. This is not a death sentence for a cat necessarily, but it does mean she needs to be the only cat in the house. Outside of this home, she's a perfectly normal cat, so if anyone reading this blog that lives in the US wants her, I'll be more than happy to drive her to you so I don't have to listen to years of my sister's potential whining about having to have her put down. Please let me know something by Friday morning if you're interested.



(Kit is the tabby).

Obsidian's Origin

Kaeko made this post on his Live Journal today and it got me into a bit of a nostalgic mood. After commenting on his post, I got to thinking more and instead of wall o' texting his blog post, I figured I would dump my thoughts out here.

Obsidian was indeed founded by Wijnand. In late 2004, the social shell that Wij, Gawayne, Lectrikelion, Suraph and myself led (Sirius) was seeing a rather large exodus of members to various end-game shells that were forming. Most of us didn't have any experience in the end-game arena. Come to think of it, most of us didn't actually have a level 75 job. Wijnand was pretty much anti-HNM and anti-elitism. When Kaeko says he half-jokingly referred to this mentality as "Anti-Elitism Elitism", that's pretty much what it was. Sirius was a very large social shell. It bore the typical social shell monikers of doing missions, af quests, level cap stuff (remember when you needed a party of 6 to take down Lichs?) and exping together.

Part of the exodus was due to Wijnand's refusal to subject members to what he considered the typical HNM mentality. So in an effort to curb losing members, Wijnand created Obsidian on the notion that all the HNM stuff is done with that pearl on and all the social stuff is kept in Sirius. Keep in mind, the term "HNM" wasn't really limited to what most would consider to be HNMs today. Serket, Roc, Simurgh, Bune, etc were all monsters that couldn't be taken down with anything less than 2-3 parties at the time.

The very first event that happened in Obsidian was something I wasn't there for. They had managed to claim and kill Bune and get the sword to drop. Back then, this sword was uber expensive and considered the epitome of RDM swords. This was also back when having a million gil meant you were essentially set in FFXI Life.

The question for Wij was, "What do I do with this sword?".

Do I give it to someone who can use it and make our group stronger? Do I sell it and split the money between the people who were there? If there's no one there who can use it, do I just hold onto it until someone can?

The answers to those became a rather harsh lesson in human nature and served as a perfect example for why Wijnand hated the HNM mentality so much. Wij proposed these questions on the forums we had at the time. Let's just say the response was pretty much an entry level novel into how greed can corrupt. What eventually happened to the sword I don't remember, but I do know this:

Wijnand had enough of his HNM Linkshell attempt after one event and a couple months later, Obsidian was turned into a dynamis shell.

At the time, Wijnand talked to a lot more people than I did. I preferred to stay within the confines of Sirius as far as who I would socialize with. Wijnand would talk to anyone and everyone. This worked to his advantage in a great way as he was able to talk to the various leaders of the big shells (LB, Unsent, BBQ) and generate a ton of interest in Dynamis. Most of these shells were probably large enough to handle dynamis on their own, but for whatever reason, they had either tried and didn't do it or they just hadn't tried.

Looking back on it, the sheer size we grew to within the first 3 or 4 months was probably more related to "right place, right time".

Wijnand had turned several of the Sirius sackholders into leaders for Obsidian despite the fact that not a damn one of us really had any end-game experience or a level 75 job. Some of the original sackholders in Sirius were Lectrikelion, Gawayne, Geddoe, Suraph, Catra, myself and a couple others who I wish I could remember, but can't...

You can look at the roster of the first crew we took in here(I wasn't there). It's actually kind of comical looking at that roster considering about 40 of those 63 people no longer play the game. But yeah, think about that for a second. The very first run Obsidian ever did had 63 people show up. That was a fairly consistent number the first couple years of our existence. So much so that we eventually started doing multiple runs on the same day by placing a pseudo-cap of 36 for cities.

Where do I come in? I started doing runs in Feb 2005. The primary reason for this is cause my DRG wasn't even level 65 and couldn't enter anyway. My very first run was Dynamis-San d'Oria where I picked up the relic lance that would ultimately become Gungnir, but that's a story for a different day.

Obsidian's philosophy was simple. We'd give you a shot as long as you leave your drama at the door. If you couldn't leave your drama at the door, then you'd be left at the door. This philosophy caused a huge swelling of the memberbase. As Kaeko states, at one point, we were dealing with 300+ active members. This huge memberbase ultimately led us to changing over our system from a free-lot-as-long-as-you-can-use-it system to the beginnings of our current bidding system. As you probably could expect, this didn't go over well with a lot of people, but this was something we knew was another example in human nature and elected to stay the course.

Why was this an example in human nature?

First you have to understand WHO plays an MMO. While this thought process doesn't apply to everyone, it does apply to most everyone. We knew your average MMO player could be categorized as something along the lines of a "lazy social miscreant". Any leadership group that caters to this mentality is setting itself up for failure (see shout groups...).

Secondly, because of that mentality, this means we knew there would be some who wanted to show up when they wanted (or more specifically, only to runs they stood to gain something from) and have the same chance as the guy who had been to every run. There's a fundamental unfairness about this. Obviously, we were not intending to prioritize the guy who showed up to everything every single time, but we're also not wanting people to basically pick their shots and fuck someone over that had put in 4-5x the amount of time. Naturally, the people who didn't want to show up all the time made a stink about the bidding system and some left the shell.

So now we have the memberbase and we have the beginnings of the organizational structure that's in place today. Now all that's left is for us to establish ourselves as serious players in the dynamis field and that meant taking down the DL.

As Kaeko points out, we weren't exactly the elite of the elite. Truthfully, we probably weren't even the elite of the common man/weekend warrior. Competition tends to bring out the best in people though. There were allegations of Obsidian members being stolen to Obsidian's rival group at the time (GatewayShuffle led by Lillath) and there was definitely a race to see which group could take down the DL first.

If you looked up and down the rosters at the time, GWS definitely had a huge advantage over us from a gear and alleged "skill" standpoint. I wouldn't say that we were consciously aware of being considered the "underdog", especially with as much verbal sparring that went on between Wijnand and Lillath, but the fact that these two linkshells were embroiled in this contest to kill the DL certainly added to the fun of doing dynamis.

Our first few DL attempts, we tried to pull the DL down to the ramp just past the SAM/RNG/DRG tower (right before you hit the northern lights). We never really made a significant dent in his HP. GWS on the other hand was consistently getting him down below 10% before they'd wipe. As Kaeko points out, he did a lot of research and came up with our ultimate strat.

Before I go further, I need to point out that at the time, killing the DL at all costs was the priority. This was back when eating an R1 meant you were losing something like 1.7k XP that would literally take you 30 minutes to get back in an XP party. Nowadays, we either kill him before CS Stun stops or we scrape ourselves up and go back to farming.

Kaeko's hard work preparing everyone for what we were about to do is something that should be credited to no end. However, you can't shortchange the people who actually sacrificed so much to make it happen. Yes, there were literally some people who went from 75 to 73 during that fight. I personally lost 17k XP on DRG...which was probably about as LOL as you could get at the time. Our linkshell probably lost a collective 650k+ XP during that fight.

Wrap your minds around that. We had 64 people and if they lost an average of 10k ea, we managed to lose 65 merits worth of XP in a 20 minute span of glory. The beautiful part is:

There wasn't a single damn person that cared that day. We won. The common man/weekend warrior shell took down something that hadn't been killed on our server by anyone other than maybe one JP shell. Obsidian was now considered legit.

Years later (today), I hadn't verbalized it yet, but Kaeko points out something that I had been thinking about for a while in relation to Obsidian and Odin.

Looking back at how things have played out on Odin Server in the last 5 years, I would even go so far as to say Obsidian is a major reason our server is so well known for team ups and mutual respect.


We had the leaders from most of the major linkshells there for that kill. They weren't LB, BBQ, Unsent or whatever members that day. They were Obsidian members. While we wouldn't have really known it then, I've always felt that if you get someone to shed their linkshell affiliation and just act human, you'd be surprised just how much more can be accomplished in this game. That's not to say linkshell affiliations aren't good, but it is to say that when something is more than a linkshell can handle (i.e. AV), most linkshells would opt not to do anything at all.

Because this actually happened twice a week for a couple of years at the very least thanks to Obsidian, I had always felt that this did indeed pave the way for a lot of the general cooperation among the major linkshells outside of dynamis. One day, I can publish a list of people who have come through Obsidian (or at least applied thinking about coming through) and most people on Odin would probably say..."Wow...that's rather impressive." You could effectively say that Obsidian was Awesomeland before Awesomeland had an AV to kill.

(Awesomeland being the cooperative combination of TK, LB and BBQ that took down AV god knows how many times before SE nerfed it.)

That's not to say we didn't have a ton of drama and growing pains to go through. We did and there are those that still hold some grudges against us for decisions made that didn't favor them. Grudges or no, there's no denying the impact Obsidian has had from an NA/EU socialization standpoint on Odin.

The only part of Kaeko's post that I take exception to is this though:

I am not, nor have never been a "Main" leader in Obsidian. I get that the perception exists I am because I mouth off a lot and have no qualms going toe to toe with anyone doing something stupid (which has earned me a spot on a lot of black lists). Geddoe, Gawayne and I are the "oldest" leaders in Obsidian now, but the leadership by committee that we had set up was designed for all the leaders to have equal say and power (evidenced by some leaders even arguing with each other in front of members). The original sackholders of Obsidian literally had a discussion about leadership perception and the fact that if membership perceives that there are only one or two main leaders, the second those "mains" aren't there, it becomes infinitely more difficult to provide direction. This is largely why I view our website as the "main" sackholder. Without this organizational tool that Suraph and Gawayne worked tirelessly on (Suraph in the beginning, Gawayne the past 3 or so years), Obsidian falls apart within a year and we're not having this discussion. Sackholders do have important roles, but generally anyone can be a sackholder in Obsidian as long as they're willing to do the grunt work with the website before and after a run.

Long post is long....

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Movie Reviews

While Kay was here visiting, we went to see a ton of movies. I'm going to give a brief review of each one in the order we watched them.

The Blind Side

Based on a book covering the upcoming of Michael Oher, an NFL'er currently with the Baltimore Ravens, starring Sandra Bullock, Tim McGraw and a huge guy I've never heard of before that stays quiet through most of the movie.

The movie checks in a little over 2 hours long and is probably going to be the feel-good movie of the season. I haven't read the book it's based on, so I can't really compare what's in the movie vs. what's in the book. The biggest thing that surprised me though was the roster of college football coaches they actually got to make an appearance and/or recite some lines. Some weren't so surprising since they technically are out of a job currently (i.e. Lou Holtz). Others were likely employed when the movie was filmed (Phil Fullmer - Tennessee, Tommy Tuberville - Auburn) and aren't employed at their respective schools anymore. The rest of the coaches that make an appearace are the truly surprising ones. Nick Saban, Houston Nutt and Ed Orgeron. They pretty much picked up every SEC Football coach and had them reprise their roles as the coaches of the schools they were at during the time period of this book.

Story itself is heartwarming although the ending was a little on the anti-climatic side. I get the whole danger behind possible NCAA violations and what it means to a school, but really? If they're going to go for an M.Night Shamalan (sp?) type of twist where the entire efforts of Tuohy family to correct Michael's life were for nothing other than to get him to play football for Ole Miss, they botched it in a big way, but not enough to ruin the overall feel of the film itself.

I give this film 4 out of 5 teabags.

New Moon

Most of you know my opinion of the first one in this series.

Most of you also know that I was pretty adamant about not seeing this film.

So why did I go to see it knowing it was going to be a 2.5 hour overly-hormonal, designed-to-make-teenage-girls-swoon, mind-numbingly-stupid movie?

Answer is pretty simple.

Girlfriend likes the books. Girlfriend liked the first movie. (Really? "Hold on tight spider-monkey?") So while she wasn't exactly dying to see this movie, she was dying to punish me for making her watch Transformers 2. She didn't actually make me go to see it. I just randomly picked up my family and girlfriend and drove to the theater to watch it. The reason for this was so I could turn the tables on them.

Y'see. My sister was already hounding me about taking Kay to see this movie. Kay wasn't hounding me per se, but she was taking her shots at me. By going to see this movie and show her what an absolute shit-fest this thing is, I was able to pick up a ton of fodder at Kay's expense (and my sister's) that will last me for months.

So do the math.

2.5 hours of shit turns into months of jokes at everyone else's expense but my own.

And this movie didn't disappoint in this department.

Seriously. There's 2.5 hours of Edward STILL looking like he has a turd planted sideways in his ass that's full of corn that just won't come out. There are plenty of the "spider-monkey" type lines in there that would probably make even the staunchest of fan-girls blush from embarassment at being seen in the theater watching this movie. Then there's Jacob.

While I can't make fun of his character too much (since he doesn't come off as constipated all the time), I can make fun of his relationship with Bella.

I get he's young, naive and inexperienced in the relationship department, but if the vampires are your mortal enemies and you know she's been "tainted", why the hell are you bothering? There aren't any condoms out there that protect you from emo. There aren't any pills you can take afterwards that will wash the overly-hormonal teenage-drama-queen-bullshit out of your memories.

If he's a werewolf, there are plenty of other holes to doggy-style without the baggage out there.

On top of all this, there's the whole genre raping of vampires and werewolves in general. I'm all for updates and different takes on our mythological/fictional horror movie icons, but if you make it easier for the cosplayers of the world to imitate your product? You're doing a huge disservice to society and the terrorists have won.

Take a look around at the videos from the premieres of various films like Star Wars, Transformers, Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter and even Twilight itself. Do you not see all the douchebags that can't figure out they will NEVER be any of their icons in these movies, yet dress up and act like a retarded version of them anyway in the name of fun?

This is not fun for anyone to have to endure other than the small minority of idiots who likely do not see more than 15 minutes of sunlight a month.

Do society a favor Twilight authors and producers. Stick to the traditional blueprint of vampires and werewolves. Capes and fake pointy teeth and fake blood drools were bad enough. When you add in the "Something-About-Mary" hair-dos, glittery body paint, and people faking constipated looks, you're just asking for your fans to get punched in the face.

The last goddamn thing we need to see is some 350lb, glittery, cummed-up hair-do'd man acting like he's playing baseball during a thunderstorm while waiting for the movie doors to open up.

(That didn't really cover the movie much at all did it...but you get the point).

This movie doesn't even deserve to have a ball-bag that hasn't been cleaned in 3 years dipped into it's mouth. -9000 teabags out of 5.

2012

This movie is LONG. It checks in at just over 2.5 hours. The plot is somewhat feasible, adding to the actual sense of dread here, but it didn't do much to convey the overall sense of it through the plot itself. This movie is built on huge scenes of destruction, which is nothing new.

Would I recommend going to see it in theaters? Yes, if you want to see the world tearing itself apart on a screen bigger than what you can have in your home. No if you've had your fill of it with the bajillion other "world is ending" movies that have come out the past decade.

So that leaves us with the plot. Author gets so tied up in his work he neglects his family. Family moves on to a "better" dad while the old and busted dad struggles to make ends meet and isn't exactly winning brownie points with the family by living his current lifestyle. Along the way, old and busted dad becomes family hero by figuring out what our Govt has been doing the past few years since they figured out our world was going to end.

Hot, new dad gets killed unceremoniously along the way and old and busted dad is now back in his rightful place as family patriarch all the while the world is tearing itself apart around them.

The End.

I give this movie 3.5 out of 5 teabags just for the eye candy.

Old Dogs

Probably not worth seeing in theaters unless you're a fan of Robin Williams, John Travolta, Seth Green and Bernie Mac. This film was obviously done well before Bernie Mac died and well before John Travolta's son died.

It was likely delayed from being released due to those unfortunate events. While it has it's comedic bright spots, most of the humor revolves around old man pills and getting punched in the balls constantly. It's the typical Robin Williams type film, so if you're a fan of it, you should like it.

This movie gets 3 out of 5 teabags. Probably should be lower, but because they're (Travolta and Williams) actually acknowledging that they're old now, I'll give them an extra bag.

I'll likely be seeing a couple more movies before the year is out (Avatar being among them), so look for more of my reviews coming soon :)

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Critical Break: 60-100 Series: Goldsmithing

This article was written by me originally appearing on Ringthree's blog.

Critical Break is our crafting and economics column written by Qtipus. Q is an experienced crafter and also well versed in using the Auction House to turn a decent profit. Enough so that he was able to fund his own relic, Gungnir. Every Tuesday you will find Q's rants, raves and good crafting practices here. This week, Q continues his 60-100 series with the final installment: Goldsmithing. The special guest commentator/contributor is none other than the man who puts the "pooh" into Dutchypoohlicious, Gawayne.

Hooboy. I've had a lot of requests to get this guide published since I started writing this column. Why anyone wants to level this craft is beyond me aside from the fascination behind working with jewelry maybe (even if it is pixellated). Goldsmithing is in serious need of a boost from SE. Something that's an answer to all 3 of my crafting questions would help out greatly. Unfortunately, with FFXIV on the horizon, I'd venture to guess this isn't going to happen. Maybe the new Synergy skill will give it a boost, but I wouldn't hold my breath.

Does Goldsmithing have consumables? This almost falls in line with Smithing in the sense that all of the ingots, sheets, jewels, etc will get bought up rather quickly for larger crafts. It doesn't actually have a true consumable that's worth much of anything unless you count goldsmithing-related arrows such as silver arrows or Hiraishin(who lowers earth resistance or uses NIN for anything of important relevance anymore anyway?). Most items like Gold or Platinum ingots suffer greatly from a huge number of sources that have them available. A "consumable" item that has no HQ-related increase that sells for less than it's material cost has a fundamental problem that relates to too many sources for the product itself or too few methods for the ores to show up to sustain demand.

Gawayne Comment: The only often used “consumable” Goldsmithing item is the Reraise Earring. It sells often, but at a minimal profit (if any). Due to that, I would only recommend making them if the demand is high and there are no idiots on the AH undercutting all the earrings.

Does Goldsmithing have in-demand mid-range gear? Rings. That's about it. NQ rings are a huge loss while HQ rings likely aren't going to be enough to make up for it. Compound an already weak market with players re-selling their rings once they reach the next set and there's really not much room at all in this category to make any money.

Gawayne Comment: Most of the rings that can be made with Goldsmithing have been completely outclassed by the rare/ex rings that have become available over the last few years (CoP, ToAU). The HQ rings are still fairly popular for WS/nuke/cure/enfeeble sets, but the return on investment for HQ rings is too low to be profitable, unless you’re extremely lucky.

Does Goldsmithing have in-demand end-game gear? Yes. The Martial Set is the only cursed set worth noting as parts of it are still decent for most Paladins should they get their hands on the abjuration. Unfortunately, there are a lot of alternatives that can be considered better. Goldsmithing's real end-game set are in the level 72 and 74 rings along with a few odds and ends pieces that go into making other cursed items (i.e. O.Sheet in the Shadow set). Since there aren't a lot of people that actually get Goldsmithing this high (lowest craft above 60 by far on the 2009 Census), the market is generally pretty stable once you do hit 100. Unfortunately, w/o a large selection of items to choose from to begin with, this makes the standard "real money is off HQ" option far less likely.

Gawayne Comment: Over the last few years Goldsmithing has been suffering from the lack of consumables in its assortment. Not only are most of the synths quite pricey, but the market for them has become quite satiated too. Finding the niches on your particular server and playing the Auction House are usually the only ways of still making a decent profit. One important thing to keep in mind with Goldsmithing, is that most of the materials cannot be farmed consistently and will need to be bought off the AH. This means that you should always try to have at least 1 million gil reserve to buy crafting materials. Goldsmithing turns gold into more gold, it won’t create gold out of thin air ;-)

Guide after the jump.


Phase 1: This isn't so bad is it?

The first ~12ish levels of this guide aren't horrendous to your wallet and you can actually make a little bit of money here. Save up a ton of it because the next phase will make you cry. The single biggest thing to remember here is that you will not be able to burn-skill for very long stretches at a time. This should give you plenty of time to pick up your Goldsmithing skill+ items. Also try to make sure you catch "Artisan's Advantage" from the moogle powers to minimize your losses.

Pretty much an extension of where my 0-60 Goldsmithing guide left off. Definitely cap on these. They sell for a little bit of money on most servers. Buy the ingots off the AH as it generally costs more to make your own ingots than it does just to buy them.

Recipe: Fire Crystal, 1x Platinum Ingot
Cap: Level 64

The ingots for this synth are farmed up from Moblin Ashmen and Goblin Freelances in Oldton Movapolos. Meaning there aren't many to kill for these (3 total between the two). The pace will be excruciatingly slow, but this is here mostly as a filler. You can probably find the ingots themselves in various bazaars for relatively cheap and you should hold onto them for the final part of this phase. Definitely cap on these if you're that patient.

Recipe: Fire Crystal, 1x Moblumin Ingot
Cap: Level 69

This would be the burn synth if there was one for this phase. Unfortunately, you're looking at a 5-10k loss/synth. The ingots do sell pretty quickly if you decide to go this route and have the bank roll to back it up. I wouldn't necessarily cap on these, but definitely try to get a couple levels combined out of these and the Moblumin Sheets.

Recipe: Fire Crystal, 3x Gold Ore, 1x Fool's Gold Ore
Cap: Level 69

Another that can be classified as a burn synth due to the availability of the ingots. The rings themselves are usually right around the break-even part, so if that holds true on your server, then you're pretty much just going to lose money on breaks themselves. The only real catch to this is that you're going to be investing more money at once. Turn in a Mythril Breastplate for your Artisan rank.

Recipe: Fire Crystal, 2x Platinum Ingot
Cap: Level 70

While not exactly the fastest selling item in the world, it is the most cost effective. If you have a number of Moblumin Sheets you've farmed up or bought from bazaars, this would be the only place to use them. You'll need Smithing at 31 and Alch at 45. to make these, but those aren't expensive or difficult to reach and you could possibly even use this synth in the skill up process for those anyway.

Recipe: Fire Crystal, 1x Moblin Putty, 1x Moblumin Sheet, 1x Tin Ingot, 1x Beeswax
Cap: Level 73

Gawayne Comment: If you know any people in larger endgame linkshells, see if they’re interested in buying a few of these pop items to get their White Mages their “Haubergeon”. Or just see if you can sell it off to any White Mages directly.

Phase 2: Goldsmithing uses Mug. Goldsmithing steals 999,999,999 million gil from you.

This section is often referred to as "Gold Hell Part Deux: Now With 20x More Hellflames." There is nothing I can say or do here other than to offer my condolences to your wallet.

While you don't have to do the Jadeite Ring specifically, I placed it's picture because it's the one ring here that loses the least gil. Definitely check your server's pricing for the various level 54 rings and most importantly:

DO NOT MAKE HUGE QUANTITIES OF THESE AT A TIME.

The reason for this is that there are people out there buying these and reselling them constantly. The other reason is that gold prices tend to fluctuate quite a bit, so having the ability to be somewhat flexible on the AH is a must. Make sure you look at the cost of the gold rings themselves against the cost of the mats (2x Gold Ingots) and if you have to make the rings, save the HQ rings for later on or sell them (your choice).

Recipe: Fire Crystal, 1x Gold Ring, 1x HQ2 Gem.
Cap: Level 75

Just when you thought it couldn't get any worse, here you go. You might consider skipping these and moving to the next synth to try to partake in "break-synthing" for skill (some will say they saved money doing this). If you don't want to do that, this is the cheapest way up due to it only needing one gold ingot. Alchemy needs to be at least 54 here unless you're wanting to try to break synth, in which case it needs to be at least 39.

To help ease the cost of these too, you might enlist the help of an Alchemy buddy who's got it at 87 or higher (highest possible HQ tier for this) and farm up a wide variety of items that can be used to make these. Doll Shards, Magic Pot Shards, or Golem Shards will be what you're after. Gloves can be bought from NPC for ~350/ea and Mercury is easily farmed up. Your results will be NPC'd. These things just flat do not sell on the AH due to not even being redeemable for guild points.

Recipe: Fire Crystal, 1x Gold Ingot, 2x Leather Gloves, 2x Cermet Chunks, 1x Mercury.
Cap: Level 77

Gawayne Comment: If you’re feeling lucky (and have gil to spare), you can try to desynth the gauntlets. The NQ (Sheep Leather x2) is useless, but the Cermet Chunks (HQ1, HQ2) or Gold Ingot (HQ3) can still be useful later on. You still won’t break even however, so most of the time it’s better to just NPC them.

A little less painful than the previous synth cost-wise and AH-wise. Some would opt to just skip to this synth altogether hoping that when it breaks, it'll leave the gold ingot behind and they end up with a skill up. It's your wallet, so you can decide how you want to approach this. If your smithing is ~36, make your own Targes. You'll end up saving 6-8k vs. the NPC price. Mercury is easily farmable. Take the pace slowly here and resell your results on the AH when the time comes for them to be redeemed for guild points. Turn in a Torque for your next rank.

Recipe: Fire Crystal, 1x Gold Ingot, 1x Targe, 1x Mercury
Cap: Level 80

Phase 3: Is the hard part over?

For the most part yes. Unfortunately, from here on out, the mats for your skillups aren't cheap. They don't sell for losses in most cases and even sell for a decent amount of profit for a successful synth, but it means you're going to be investing literally millions at a time for maybe 5 or 6 synths.

Seven level gap here means you need to have both of your Goldsmithing skill+ items, the ring, and synthesis support. While starting off won't actually get you to the cap (+5 skill total and +1% success w/o HQ chance), it should get you close enough that a break or two every now and then won't hurt you that much. Compared to years ago when these beads were up in the 600k range per bead, most of the ores being down in the 100-150k range is a godsend for 7 levels of this craft. Try to avoid the temptation of clearing the AH out of ores as that only makes the prices go up on the ores and the prices go down on the beads. It's a good practice to limit how much you have invested at a time (try starting off at 500-600k at a time and move it up or down based on how fast they sell).

You may also be able to cut a deal with some woodworkers trying to HQ staves too.

Recipe: Wind Crystal, Elemental Ore
Cap: Level 87

Gawayne Comment: I would suggest starting out with ice ores as they’re generally the cheapest and available in the highest quantity. Once you have reduced the gap enough, you can skill up on the more expensive ores as well. Resist the urge to undercut the beads, as you will only end up cutting yourself in the fingers in the long run. Also try to keep an eye out for optimal HQ staff synthing conditions (especially New Moon), as that is when woodworkers will buy almost all the available beads up at once. If you time your sessions right, you can actually make a little profit here.

These sell fast and for money. So breaks are the only thing that will kill you here. While the ores aren't always in huge supply, they're definitely not available enough to meet demand. Turn in a Colichemarde when you hit 88 for your final rank item.

You can choose to save the ingots you make for the next synth or you can just buy them off the AH again when you're capped here, or you can just skip this altogether and move to the next, money making synth.

Recipe: Fire Crystal, 3x Orichalcum Ore, 1x Platinum Ore
Cap: Level 89

Used in the cursed shadow gear. The implementation of these gave new life to the demand for this item, thus making it a viable skill up. These things sell for nearly 100k above the ingot cost due to the facts that A) not very many people have goldsmithing high enough to make 'em and B) there's a decent demand for them. This is another synth where avoiding the temptation to buy 2-3 stacks of ingots for burn sessions should be avoided as this will only make the ingot costs rise and the resulting competition to cause prices to drop on the sheets.

Recipe: Fire Crystal, 1x Orichalcum Ingot
Cap: Level 90

Same deal with the level 54 rings. Double check which ring loses the least amount of money (or makes some). Make sure you check the cost of Plat. Ingots vs. the cost of the Plat. Rings. And yet again:

DO NOT MAKE HUGE QUANTITIES OF THESE AT A TIME.

Recipe: Fire Crystal, 1x Platinum Ring, 1x HQ3 gem.
Cap: Level 95

Gawayne Comment: Creating your own HQ3 gems is usually more about luck than skill, and not considered a viable option for obtaining the gems for these rings. If there isn’t enough supply of them, find alternative ways of acquiring the HQ3 gems, such as the Ruby Quadav NM in Qulun Dome that drops rubies fairly consistently.

Another chance to make some money thank to the demand created by the addition of a gobbie bag. The luminium ore drops from ISNMs, so there might not always be enough on the AH for more than 1-2 ingots at a time. They do sell for a profit on Odin and probably do on other servers as well.

Recipe: Fire Crystal, 1x Orichalcum Ore, 3x Luminium Ore
Cap: Level 98

Finally the end. While I wish I could tell you that the last synth in this rather excruciating path to 100 was better, it's definitely not as bad as it could be. Some of the rings might make money, but odds are they're a bit of a loss. Mostly the same thing applies here that applied to the level 54 and level 72 rings. Check the cost of the beads against the cost of the results. You're going to be making your own Orichalcum Rings as there's not many people making the rings to put up on the AH since they only have this one good use. The bright side is, these things are now bought a little more frequently due to the augment system that's been put into place. Just for good measure:

DO NOT MAKE HUGE QUANTITIES OF THESE AT A TIME.

Recipe: Fire Crystal, 1x Orichalcum Ring, 1x Elemental Bead
Cap: Level 100

Gawayne Comment: WARNING: If you are making your own orichalcum rings, be SURE to have the Goldsmithing Ring equipped. While not very likely, getting the HQ version of the Orichalcum Ring (Triton Ring) effectively destroys 500k, as the result cannot be used for any synths and has no noteworthy stats at all. Obviously, you will want to create your own beads for these synths at this point as well, saving you about 15k per bead.

Congrats, now you're part of a VERY select group of people to reach this and you'll likely be able to enjoy some profitable times ahead due to the lack of competition for these higher level synths. Goldsmithing is definitely not for the weak of heart.

This concludes my 60-100 series. Please keep in mind that these guides were written as updates to reflect various game changes that have occurred over the past year or so. This means that something better could come along for a certain range at any point in time, so always keep your eyes peeled for other solutions.

Critical Break: 60-100 Series: Smithing

This article was written by me originally appearing on Ringthree's blog.

Critical Break is our crafting and economics column written by Qtipus. Q is an experienced crafter and also well versed in using the Auction House to turn a decent profit. Enough so that he was able to fund his own relic, Gungnir. Every Tuesday you will find Q's rants, raves and good crafting practices here. This week, Q continues his 60-100 series with the seventh installment: Smithing. This week's special guest commentator/contributor is a man who keeps way too many ingots in his inventory for his own good: Blaize.

Let's cut right to the chase, because there's a lot to go over in this guide. Wise Owl has Smithing summed up precisely when you go to him seeking advanced synthesis support.

Alright. Clench your teeth and get ready to feel the power of Wise Owl.


Smithing sucks to level. It's not as bad as Goldsmithing, but it still sucks. This guide is going to cover just how much it sucks in a manner that departs from the norms of my other guides. A run down of the basic crafting questions:

Does it have consumables? Not particularly unless you count a few different arrow heads, ninja tools and bolt heads that aren't used to a great degree. Ingots, sheets, chains and whatnot could be counted as consumables, but not in the traditional sense of the word.

Does it have in-demand mid-range gear? Yes. There's a very wide variety of armor and weapons to choose from. Granted, most of them sell for a loss, but the HQs will make you a little bit of money if you happen to win the HQ lottery. There's a few too many to list here, but generally speaking...if it's a weapon of some sort, it's probably got something to do with Smithing.

Does it have in-demand end-game gear? Yes. This is probably one of Smithing's strong points. The Shadow set and the Adaman set have some of the better pieces in the game for the jobs that can use them. You could also classify Salvage bodies in the "Smithing End-Game Cursed sets" category due to the Imp. Wootz Ingots and cursing at the prices that are required. There's not a lot of money to be made in the cursed sets here, but it's a decently steady income on some of the items and a whole lot of money if you happen to HQ a cursed hauberk or cursed breastplate.

Blaize's Intro: Smithing is definitely one of those crafts that is useful to have, but you can never be quite sure why it is. At times it seems like the only steady income is catching shouts for people with high smithing skill to make them something... especially on a server like Odin that has been closed down for new arrivals for months, and it seems like everyone has everything they need for everything they'll ever level already. But, I don't want to discourage leveling smithing, despite what may seem like very little reason to. One thing you can be sure of: This isn't something for a starving artist to undertake. Make sure you've got a nice-sized bankroll before taking smithing beyond 60. Also, there are stretches that will test your patience in both material availability and speed of sales on AH. In the end though, having 100 smithing will put you in a very select group, and it is quite an accomplishment.

Guide after the jump per usual.


First of all, you need to get Goldsmithing and Woodworking to 60 each. Don't complain, just do it.

Secondly, you won't necessarily need any key items for this guide other than maybe Sheeting for a few of the later synths, but you will need to make sure you have every +1 Smithing Skill item you can get the second you can get it from a level standpoint. Having that extra skill level plus the synthesis support will minimize your breaks by a ton.

Lastly, there are a few stretches where I depart from my usual "Five-level gap or less only" mentality due to the sheer ridiculousness of material costs for anything that could possibly bridge.

Phase 1: This isn't so bad...

The Erlking weapons used for the various Fairy fights are decent alternatives to what I've got listed here. I didn't list them in this guide due to their values changing over time. Pay attention to their resale value and their sales frequency, then make your own decision from there.

A continuation of the 0-60 Smithing guide. Same deal applies. Go farm up your silk threads from Crawler's Nest and make your own Iron Sheets unless the AH has them for 2.8k or less. NPC your results for almost break even.

Recipe: Earth Crystal, 1x Iron Sheet, 1x Silk Thread
Cap: Level 66

Definitely worth looking into if you don't want to spend your time farming silk threads all damn day. Swamp Ores are usually 1k or less on the AH and you can always buy the 3 iron ores you need from the guild. This ingot is used in 10 of the Fairy fight weapon synths, so there's usually decent amount of demand for the ingots themselves.

Recipe: Fire Crystal, 3x Iron ore, 1x Swamp Ore
Cap: Level 67

If you manage to get your Elm Lumber cost under 2k ea and your Darksteel Ingot cost under 10k ea, you can NPC this for close to break even. Getting Elm Lumber at that price isn't always easy. If you have a woodworking buddy at 76 or higher, see if you can get them to make you a few stacks of Elm Lumber for spammage (they do have Lumberjack...right?). Turn in a Bascinet when you hit 68 for your rank up.

Recipe: Fire Crystal, 1x Elm Lumber, 1x Darksteel Ingot
Cap: Level 73


Phase 2: Pain.

A lot of people will normally just skip to Karimata Arrowheads here. They're simply too much of a loss for me want to risk that level gap. You'll want to hold onto your results here for the next synth.

Recipe: Fire Crystal, 2x Copper Ore, 1x Tin Ore, 1x Darksteel Ore
Cap: Level 74

Use your previous results here and sell them on the AH. These are used in the WAR AF+1 and AF2+1 upgrade quests. Certainly not in huge demand, but hopefully you won't have more than a couple stacks of these to go through since you only did one level.

Recipe: Fire Crystal, 1x Dark Bronze Ingot
Cap: Level 75

These suck. A four level gap here is a lot better than a six level gap when you consider the fact that at the bare minimum, your material cost per synth will be nearly 7k/synth buying everything from NPC (making your own Iron Ingots and buying the Tama-Hagane from a Tenshodo guild rep). Since it takes 17 synths to make a stack, your stack cost will end up being just shy of 120k/stack.

The arrowhead stacks sell for 30-40k on Odin currently. Given the alternatives in this level range, just suck it up and plow through it. Personally, I would seek out a friend with Woodworking at 100+ to make Kabura arrows for you (7k/stack on Odin currently). Going this route, you'll end up with a ton of arrows and a friend that probably hates you, but you will offset your financial loss greatly. The Kabura arrows cap at WW 91, so you might even consider finding someone in the process of skilling up WW.

No Arrow Synth = ~80k loss per stack of arrowheads (every 17 synths).

With Arrow Synth (all NQ and assuming one stack of arrowheads = 1 level): 132 stacks of Kabura Arrows meaning you just turned a 320k loss into a ~450k gil profit w/o taking the other materials of the arrow itself into consideration (Ram horn, giant bird fletchings, bamboo stick etc). You're obviously not going to find or be able to carry that many bamboo sticks or ram horns all at once, so you can eat up the investment for now and hopefully your woodworking friend will still log in to help you after the first batch...

Turn in a Bastard Sword when you hit 78 for your next rank.

Recipe: Wind Crystal, 1x Iron Ingot, 1x Tama-Hagane
Cap: Level 79

Blaize Comment: Another good option when you reach ~77, and what I did to get to 82, is Troll Bronze Sheets. Fire Crystal + Troll Bronze Ingot. A steady supply of ingots is available, believe it or not. Troll Pauldrons and Troll Vambraces can be desynthed into Troll Bronze Ingots if you hit HQ on them. The desynths are level 79 smithing, so unfortunately you can't skill up on them if you're 77 or higher at this point. The troll parts are usually 1k apiece on AH and people who spend their time mining in Mount Zhayolm can attest to how often these come up. Don't toss them, put them on AH for some chump leveling smithing to pick up, they'll be grateful. If you end up doing this, send the resulting sheets to a mule for a couple of possible synths using -1 troll items in the 90s.

Phase 3: It Does Get Better Doesn't It...?

Blaize Comment: If you're feeling lucky (and your clothcraft is 49 or higher) this is the point at which you'll reach your highest tier for making Haubergeon +1. You have a 1 in 10 shot of hitting an HQ at this point, and on most servers the +1 will sell for slightly more than 10 times the material cost, so if you've got deep pockets, here's a nice chance of making a decent chunk of change in a short amount of time. Miss, though, and you've got 10 NQ Haubs that you can't even give away to gimp DRKs in Bhaflau Thickets.

For those of you with nothing but time on your hands, a good way to make it through this section is to mine the crap out of Mount Zhayolm. Not only will you pick up some adaman ore that is needed to advance your skill, but every so often you'll hit on the much sought-after Khroma Ore, which you can either save for Imperial Wootz Ingot synthing later on (lol) or sell for 400k+ a pop. Not to mention the countless iron and steel ingots you'll make while waiting for the next "six-letter ore" to appear - this is definitely one of the better ways to go to fund the climb to 100, at the very least.


Purely a bridge synth. These are relatively in demand and will sell for a slight loss. You don't have to do these, but considering breaks on the next synth will be far more painful than breaks on this synth, consider trying to get a level or two out of it before moving on.

Recipe: Earth Crystal, 1x Darksteel Sollerets, 1x Steel Sheet
Cap: Level 83

Do not make your own ingots for this yet and save your results. Buy the ingots off the AH as it is usually cheaper to do this than buying the ores for it. The sheets will hold their value against the ingot sale price usually, so the only real danger here are breaks.

Recipe: Fire Crystal, 1x Adaman Ingot
Cap: Level 85

When I ran across this, I had to do a bit of a double take. Most guides will have you jump to Adaman Ingots at this point in the game. You're more than welcome to do so here if the material cost is less than the ingot cost. However, this ingot has a couple of surprise uses that will help out quite a bit.

First, it's used in a fairy fight weapon that's purchased commonly (albeit at a slight loss on Odin), but you don't want to use it for that.

Second, it's used in the next synth and benefits from a slightly larger level gap going from Ingot-Sheet than most of it's other counter parts. You do want to use it for that. Hold onto your results, you just might've made yourself some money and avoided losing 6 figures potentially doing Adaman Ingots.

Recipe: Fire Crystal, 1x Adaman Ore, 2x Darksteel Ore, 1x Iron Ore
Cap: Level 86

A three level gap that you can cover with a stackable synth that actually sells for a slight profit some days. These are used in every one of the cursed items for the Shadow Set. Even though at this point, you're not a high enough level to make the cursed items in this set, there are plenty of people who are and plenty of people who do. Turn in a Celata for your final rank, make to cap and move onto the final phase.

Recipe: Fire Crystal, 1x Dark Adaman Ingot
Cap: Level 89

Phase 4: High Risk, Zero Reward.

Catching the ores here is the difficult part. The ingots sell for a profit, but it takes a lot of ingots to make up for one critical break. If you're in a linkshell that spams Bahamut V2, Jormy or whatever that new NM in Xarcabard [S] is, you might be able to work a deal out for the ores if they drop. Since the ingots are used in a Gobbie Bag upgrade, their demand has increased exponentially.

Recipe: Fire Crystal, 3x Iron Ore, 1x Molybdenum Ore.
Cap: Level 91

Bridge synth. It sells for about 30k on Odin, but can get as low as 15-20k against a steady ~35k investment. It's not a huge loss compared to some of the other stuff, but probably worth trying to pick up a few skillups on.

Recipe: Fire Crystal, 3x Darksteel Ingot, 1x Steel Ingot, 1x Fiend Blood, 1x Grass Cloth, 1x Yew Lumber
Cap
: Level 94

The price on Relic Iron varies greatly. You can NPC this item for ~5.5k gil, which means you need to get the ingredients relatively cheap. You can definitely hold onto a few on the off chance you catch someone starting to upgrade relic GK or relic Katana, but for the most part, expect a slight loss here and expect to be frustrated by lack of supply. Patience is key here. Set up some deals with some dynamis linkshells (or your own) if you see them doing Windurst or Beaucedine. There's also the option to skip this and move onto the next synth if you happen to be 95 or so.

Recipe: Fire Crystal, 2x Relic Iron
Cap: Level 97

Blaize Comment: I still have a ways to go to reach this point, but I would say definitely do not skip this if you can avoid it. Two levels of 10k/synth (relative peace of mind) or two levels of one million gil per synth (do they have internet in mental hospitals?)... despite the potential for profit, and at -4 to -2, it is pure potential and not a guarantee, this seems like the safer bet.

And here is something that will require you to invest HUGE amounts of gil in order to proceed. You will only lose money if you break (pull out the "No Whammy" chants) and the results will generally sell fast.

Recipe: Fire Crystal, 2x Khroma Ore, 1x Wootz Ore, 1x Iron Ore
Cap: Level 99

These sell for a loss, but I think that's primarily due to no one making the ammo consistently for them. If you have an alchemy buddy who is capable of making the cannon shells, see if you can get them to make a few stacks of the shells to put up while you're listing your Culverins to see if anyone is enticed to buy. These are easily the best thing available for RNG zergs and dish out a veritable fuckton of damage in a really short period of time.

Recipe: Fire Crystal, 1x Adaman Ingot, 2x Darksteel Ingot, 1x Brass Ingot, 1x Mahogany Lumber
Cap: Level 100

Hopefully your wallet came out in decent shape after that. You're now part of a select crowd as Smithers that are higher than ~85 are becoming a rare breed.

Blaize Comment: Maybe one day I will be part of that group as well! 84.2 and counting, and no rush to increase it, although reading through this has definitely stoked the fire a bit. Hopefully Wise Owl doesn't work on an appointment basis only... my teeth are clenched and I'm ready to go.

Qtipus' Information

FFXI subscriber since NA release.