Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Transformers: War For Cybertron Review: Characters Part 1

After pretty much everything you could think of conspired against me, I finally got through the campaign mode. SE releasing an update wasn't enough of a deterrent for me to avoid playing this game, but... recently repaired 360 going kaput was. It's funny really. I've waited since the announcement of that game late last year for it's release and wouldn't you know the 360 that I hadn't had a single issue with since it's repair decided it didn't want to work anymore.

Eh, probably shouldn't say "didn't want to work anymore." Should probably say "worked when it wanted to." After taking it apart again and redoing the heatsinks. It worked long enough for me to get through a couple chapters of TF:WFC. I stopped afterwards because the game is so heavy that I felt bludgeoned over the head.

(I loved every minute of it btw...)

During the break, I leveled DRG. Next day...360 didn't want to work, so back to leveling I went. Next day (Thurs...), it worked and I got through the rest of the Decepticon campaign. Day after that, didn't work. Fuck it, I'm buying a new 360. Anyway, onto the review. This review will actually be split up into several parts. Tenatively, it will look like this:

Characters Part 1: Autobots
Characters Part 2: Decepticons
Overall/Final Thoughts

High Moon Studios and Activision did their home work. I've always felt if someone was going to pick up the franchise, I didn't particularly care if they were true to the lore and the history, but the characters themselves had to have their unmistakable physical traits somewhere that made you say "That's Starscream!" or "That's Megatron!"

The number of playable characters in this game is a huge selling point. The dedication to making them identifiable is very noticeable. Pretty much anyone who grew up watching the original G1 cartoon will be hard pressed to not squeal with glee when they see a lot of their favorite characters in full 1080p and their personalities permeating in everything they do.


Optimus Prime

You can't have a Transformers game without O.P. The game starts before Optimus actually became a Prime though. For you non-lore people out there, "Prime" has taken on the meaning of leader. It's a bit of a far cry from the whole "Orion Pax" story line that was presented in the original G1 cartoon series, but again, revisionist history isn't what's important here. What's important is that they got the character right. They brought in Peter Cullen to do the voice. They gave him his big ass orange axe (even explaining at one point how he's able to use it...). They even went into detail how he became a Prime and how the Matrix of Leadership was created.


Given his prominence in the movies lately, Bumblebee has almost become another required character for any iteration of a Transformers story. True to form, he works as a scout with a few stealth abilities. His personality is rather bubbly in this game despite a war ravaging around him, but in pretty much any continuity, this was the case. He disappeared after the G1 story lines were done and made his on-screen reappearance nearly 20 years later in the first Bayformers movie. Why this was the case, one can only guess given his prominence in the original series.


Gruff, no-nonsense, old-timing, soldier to the core. Ironhide often times is depicted as the old, cantankerous, grumpy friend of Prime's and/or his second in command. He's also depicted as loving huge guns and spoiling for a fight. Aside from the Transformers: Energon incarnation (or abomination depending on your perspective), Ironhide has always been a fan favorite for his "Asskicking first, questions second" approach. Ironhide's design is probably the closest anyone's seen to his G1 version, but then when you look back at the G1 version, it's no wonder Megatron offed him in one shot in the movie. My only gripe with this version of him guys had Peter Cullen right there! Why did you not let him reprise his role? They went so far as to write Ironhide's personality to be similar to the cowboy-ish phrase spewing G1 incarnation, why not just give him his original voice...


Ratchet's had many diff. personalities in the various continuities he's appeared in. His G1 personality was that of a gruff, slightly cranky, medic. The medic part of his character has been his primary identification with fans. These traits were exasperated in the Transformers: Animated series and seemingly non-existent (medic part aside) in his movie portrayals. Overall, he's the go-to bot for repairs and he's no different in this game.


Yeah, talk about a character portrayed in a wide variety of fashions. His original incarnation was that of a scientist and not the bumbling, senile, old geezer that farts parachutes in Bayformers 2. Jetfire's G1 history is portrayed accurately here as we witness his work with Starscream before he turned to the Decepticons. Generally depicted as a humongous jet (heh...get it..."Jet"fire...) with a huge arsenal, he often times just wants to be left alone to study and not be bothered with all the fight stuff. Immersed in a war with the possibility of massive loss of life, Jetfire takes up the Autobot mantle.


This character has always been a bit of an enigma to me. In most versions of his fiction, he's generally a bit of a hot-headed soldier with a lot of skill and a love for being fast and sleek. He's also depicted as being rather inseparable from his brother, Sunstreaker (who isn't present in this game). While there's only one mission that you can use him in, he has a few one-liners that got a chuckle out of me.


This guy's appearance was a bit of a surprise to me. I could see him in a cameo role, but not as a playable character in the main storyline. Not that it was a bad surprise, it's just that Warpath hasn't had a lot of the spotlight put on him. He's always been a bit of a fan favorite given his penchant for verbally onomatopoeia-izing all of his actions (KERPOW! BLAM! SHAZAM!), but never really had the spotlight on him for any real length of time. Pretty much any version of this guy has him with a huge cannon sticking out of his chest and turning into some form of a tank. Same holds true here. The mission he's on in this game is with Ironhide and the dialogue between the two is rather priceless.


Leader of the Aerialbots. Afraid of heights. He was a bit of a surprise as well, but not as much as Warpath. In the G1 series, the Aerialbots (all 5 of them) were sent back in time and had a (in)direct hand in the emergence of Optimus Prime (re: Orion Pax storyline...). The fact he's afraid of heights and is a bot that flies is played up in a bit of a humorous conversation he has at one point. He's one of the characters who's name gets used quite a bit and is usually depicted as some sort of a flying...something. He's pretty much been everything from a Concorde to a Stealth Bomber to...a bald eagle. Most fans will identify him as the gestalt body of Superion when he merges with Air Raid, Fireflight, Skydive and Slingshot. Speaking of...

Air Raid

This guy was probably the biggest surprise of them all. His appearance along with Silverbolt made me think that Superion wasn't far behind, but a las, this is not the case. Fireflight, Skydive and Slingshot are nowhere to be found. Air Raid's name makes it hard for him to be depicted as anything other than some sort of a jet and this holds true. Impulsive to the max, he had one of my favorite mottos of all time: "If you look first, you may not leap." Regardless, he plays a semi-major role in this game which is what made the surprise as large as it was for me given his relative obscurity in the various timelines otherwise.

Omega Supreme

Last and certainly not least. The original trailer showed the big 'bot blowing up a ton of crap (effective marketing 101 to Transformers fans btw). Every incarnation of Omega has him as the last line of defense and speaking very...voice synthesizerish. He's also always been depicted as some sort of a very large transport vessel. Was very happy to see how he was used in this game. I just have to say the last couple chapters of the Decepticon campaign where Omega Supreme is pretty much rampaging to meet his objective of destroying Megatron are about as G1 as you're going to get.

Next post (hopefully): Decepticons.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Upon Closer Inspection...

Dragoon hit 80 last Friday. I didn't really get to toy around with it much until the next day due to level sync and I haven't really put all my thoughts together on how the level cap increase has affected this job aside from a few quick blurbs. Dragoon was a focal point in the update notes from the various job adjustments SE had lined up for it. Many believed it was going to become a TP powerhouse, myself included. I didn't get my hopes up too high though as I knew the changes looked good on paper, but often times, how they play out in game is a completely different matter.

First I'll go over the job adjustments themselves.

Spirit Jump

I'm still not sure what "suppresses enmity" means. I've done a little testing and from what I can tell, strictly from eyeballing, it looks like it does nothing to enmity at all. Granted, I haven't really been able to test that in a better situation like on a Salvage boss or something to that effect, but still, you'd think something would visually clue me in that it does effect enmity somewhere.

The nifty thing about this jump is that it will give you 1.5x your normal TP if your wyvern is out. I didn't notice this when I originally got the Jump. Akeem pointed it out to me a couple days later. I initially thought it was a flat amount of TP instead of a multiplier, but further testing showed otherwise.

The crappy thing about this jump is that it shares the timer with normal Jump. The crappier thing is that it overwrites your Jump merit timers. So now there's a debate. Keep in mind, the debate really hinges on which jump does more damage on average. I still need to do more testing on this facet of it, but it looks like they're about the same regardless of the wyvern being out.

In a 15 minute period, you can get 12 Jumps in against 9 Spirit Jumps if your merit timers are fully merited. While look at 12 vs. 9, it looks like a no-brainer. When you factor in TP gain however...

Jump: 17TP * 3 = 51TP extra gained over a 15 minute period.
Spirit Jump: 9 * 9TP (I hit 17TP/jump, the 50% bonus rounds up I have confirmed). 81TP extra gained over a 15 minute period.

With Carbonara, Spirit Jump basically gives me a free WS over a 15 minute period. Does an extra Drakesbane do more damage than 3 Jumps? Guess it really all depends on what you're fighting. On top of that, there really aren't many battles where a DRG is going to be standing there wailing away for 15 minutes. You get the idea though.

The main reason I bring this up is that there are a number of times where you end up at 99TP just begging for something to hit you or the time between swings and you camping your WS macro just seems to drag on forever. I pretty much view this as allowing a DRG to have a pseudo-5 hit build w/o having to stock up on Store TP gear and that's a good thing.

Now if SE would just fix that whole timer issue...

TP from Spirit Link

Pretty much made the {pettp} function relative to a Dragoon again. As I said in an earlier post, it's pretty much exactly what I thought it'd be. Wyvern usually about 15-20TP when you use it and the master gets half of it. It does work when the Wyvern is at full health and you have Empathy merits as well.

Personally, I would have liked to see them give us basic pet commands outside of "/pet "Dismiss" {me}". Really gets annoying switching targets or having to swing to get the Wyvern to do anything.

Conserve TP

Nice job trait and there's rampant speculation that Dragoon actually has Conserve TP II since level 1 shows up at level 45. I've little to no experience with how this trait actually works, but it's often times compared to Conserve MP.

The thing about this trait is that it's a little irritating. It's nice when it kicks in, but it seems so random in it's values that it's hard to tell when it kicked in and when you missed a WS entirely. In Dynamis the other day, for example. We're fighting a Yagudo Liberator. Typically, on WHM, THF, MNK and PLD beasts, I'll smash my Leg Sweep macro trying to prevent them from 2-houring (or to minimize their effect in the MNK's case...). The Liberator used Perfect Dodge a split second before I hit my macro.

"Qtipus uses Leg Sweep, but missses the Yagudo Liberator."

I was looking at my TP bar when I hit the macro and it returned 16TP like Leg Sweep normally would, but I had missed. This baffled me. I essentially got all of my TP for missing a monster. Not that I'm complaining, but if that's what that trait's capable of, that's awesome. I'm just irritated cause it makes it rather difficult to judge TP return values.

Sonic Thrust

This WS is going to get me in a lot of trouble. Not only is it rather strong, but it's a rather short (guessing 5') front cone AoE. I used it a number of times in Einherjar and Dynamis on crowds of critters and instantly drew an ass-raping, but... crazy as this sounds, I seriously think a group of DRGs and WARs using their spiffy new AoEs could probably wipe out a large number of critters. A well timed sleep or some bouncing hate between shadows and third eye can likely keep people going long enough to prevent any serious damage from occurring.

Onto Subjob-Specifics though...


This was the one that had me losing the most room in my pants. I couldn't wait to use Sekkanoki. True to form, that Job Ability is going to get me in a lot of trouble. Back to back Drakesbanes pretty much destroyed anything that I touched in Dynamis. Back to back Leg Sweeps pretty much neutralized Hundred Fists. Back to back Geirskoguls would obviously produce light and something pretty, but still did less damage than back to back Drakesbanes.

When used in conjunction with Meditate and Jumps, it's rather easy to get 3 WS off in a matter of 5-8 seconds. Unfortunately, 3x Geirskogul doesn't make double light. Unless my timing was just off that is...but 99% sure it doesn't.

Note to self: Make sure Super Jump or High Jump are up before popping Sekkanoki.

Double Note to self: Remember you moved your Super Jump macro down one spot to accommodate Spirit Jump...

Dragoon/White Mage

I wasn't looking as forward to this as I was subbing Samurai. This was partly because I thought Haste was level 42 for WHM. Turns out I was wrong and it's 40. In helping Drakus kill leeches the other night for a Katana trial, I discovered DRG now has access to:

Banishga II

The first 2 spells are absolutely HUGE. Haste lasts the full duration of 3 minutes and appears to be full powered. Stona really needs no explanation. Pretty much anyone subbing WHM just got a spot to help remove statuses against things that like to cast or breath things that petrify you.

(Looking at you Gi'Ghi Rockchopper, Jailer of Temperance and Jailer of Faith!)

The teleports are a nice way to transport around, but too little, too late unless you've not done any FoV's. Cura is rather interesting in the sense that I can pretty much AoE wake people for half the cost now. The rest are just meh. Looking ahead, the rest of the spells from /WHM that I look forward to are Cure IV, Repose and Flash.

Dragoon/Red Mage

I didn't tinker with this subjob much. I mostly just wanted to use convert. Might prove useful if a group is overloaded with melee and not enough support. Nothing really noteworthy in the spell list either between 38-40 unless you like Ice Spikes...

Depending on how they handle the implementation of Refresh from a subjob, this could be the subjob of choice by the time the cap is raised to 99. I may still prefer /WHM to this given the fact that I can remove a lot more of the potential status effects I encounter while out soloing, but it may be that a fully powered Refresh, Haste and Convert from /RDM tips the scales.

Other Subs (BLU, DRK, WAR, SCH, etc)

I've never subscribed to the notion of DRG/BLU. The reasons are A) I'm cheap and don't want to burn an RR item, B) I'm reckless and always need to have RR up, C) Really don't like having to rely on items and TP to remove status effects and D) Really don't think BLU offers anything outside of Cocoon that makes it worth leveling. In short, there really isn't much of anything I've seen out of /BLU that makes me believe it's better than subbing WHM or RDM.

DRG/SCH is pretty much in the same boat to me. Aside from using Accession + -Nas, /WHM and /RDM seemingly do it better. Sublimination was nice until Convert became accessible. DRG/WAR and DRG/DRK just seemingly found faster ways to get themselves killed.

And before anyone asks, DRG/DNC isn't even on my radar.


What I think came out of this update more than anything is that Dragoon simply became a lot more flexible than it used to be. You could effectively say that about most jobs, but from a soloing and role standpoint, Dragoon gained access to a number of useful things that definitely make it easier to fulfill certain points in party setups.

I don't believe Dragoon was put over the top in terms of spike damage output. SAM, WAR and DRK are still the kings of that, but it did close the gap quite a bit by virtue of that extra WS that's gained not only from Sekkanoki, but from the little TP tweaks we got. Having a DRG/WHM around might give your mage a little bit of a breather in low man situations as well.

It's definitely changed how the job is play. Not drastically, but enough for me to feel like I'm learning something new on a daily basis about it again and that's a lot of fun in and of itself.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Relic Acquisition

No big secret. I really dislike SE for the Magian Trials they've put together for Relic holders. While the time involved in picking up a relic is the main issue as it relates to the amount of time the Magian Trials take on top of that, the main focal point I believe a lot of people miss are the different methods used to pick up a relic. You can pretty much sum up the methods by categorizing them into one of three categories. "The Grind", "The Hybrid" and "The Hand-off".

The Grind

Without any concrete numbers, it's hard to say which of the three happen more frequently. Personally, I feel this is the one that happens the majority of the time, but I'm also aware that a lot of the relics Obsidian has created over the years were a product of this method.

The definition of this method is simple. You park your ass somewhere and grind out the money necessary, gil, by gil, by gil until you've acquired all the coins for your relic. There are a lot of creative ways of doing this. Some utilize the crafting market. Some utilize linkshell points to sell items from the bank. Some just spend hours on end farming up various items to make money. Some probably use a combination of all of the above.

In most cases and going strictly out of bazaars, you're looking at maybe picking up 4-5 coins/month on average. Taking out the 30 coins you get as a refund, this means the ~150 coins you need are going to end up taking upwards 2-3 YEARS to grind out. This method is likely the one favored by people who don't have a ton of time to invest each week. And by "ton of time", I mean more than 60 hours/week like some unemployed, basement dwellers have.

The Hand-Off

Simply put, this is when a linkshell just hands you the coins to upgrade a relic. How you earned the distinction is irrelevant. Did you put in a lot of time to earn the trust of the leaders that you'd come as that job to nearly every single event? Does the linkshell feel like you deserve it? Does your LS Bank have a mountain of gil they just don't want to sit on?

The time involved personally isn't a whole lot necessarily. You show up to a couple Glacier and a couple Xarc runs (if necessary) to make sure you get the required drops from there, then you just sit back and let the linkshell do the work for you. That or let them hand you money and you can spend time sifting through bazaars or wheeling n' dealing with other Dynamis groups.

The minimum amount of time necessary here w/o making bazaar purchases is likely along the lines of 3-4 months. At best, we've seen around 300-350 singles from the city zones. Usually we would see 1-2 100s drop. You figure 8 runs a month at around 4-5 coins each and you're going to end up finishing a relic start to finish if you just spam the city you need coins from. This isn't the method typically utilized though. Most of the coins in The Hand-Off are picked up out of bazaars by selling huge money drops from other areas or by facilitating trades with other groups. Realistically, it's 2-3 months unless there's a huge pile of coins already laying around.

The Hybrid

Pretty much what it's name implies. Your linkshell will help you do some of the heavy lifting while the bulk of it is still on your shoulders. This is pretty much what the Obsidian system does. When there isn't a sponsor, we sell coins back to the upgraders for the cost of the month's runs. Total cost of runs divided by number of coins we collected. Toss in a points cost per coin for a bit of a control means (and to keep people participating) and you end up with a means for an upgrader to get coins at a fraction of what the idiots in bazaars sell them for.

(Yes, I know. Supply and Demand...)

This method still requires an upgrader to spend a lot of time making money, but has the potential to knock a lot of time off the upgrade process by virtue more bang for their buck.

How this relates to Magian Trials

A lot of it is perspective. It's blatantly obvious that SE intended for these relic weapons to have a long, arduous process to obtain. While I can see them sitting at a table and trying to map out, on average, how long it should take to get the weapon itself, there is no way they could have foreseen how creative their user base is.

When you look at some players like Warutu and Arrow on Odin or even a number of others across the servers with 4 or 5 or more relics, it's pretty obvious they've figured out a really really good way to make money and make a mockery of SE's "intended time frame" in the process. These are the types of players I believe SE was focused on when they decided how to handle the Magian trials.

In my mind, SE took a look at that and figured they didn't grind enough,'s a bunch of grind quests for you to keep up with. When you look at it from a time invested standpoint, the new Empyrean are on par with the time it takes using "The Hand-Off" method. If SE has data showing most relics are completed in this time-frame, then yeah, I can understand where the logic would dictate the amount of time necessary to reach that stage through the Magian Trials.

However, the key point that SE seems to be missing is:

Relic holders have already gone through the bullshit of a grind quest. There's no real need to put another grind quest on top of it and keep piling on to the extent they have been. Few hundred killshots, ok. Few thousand, not ok. Hell, even toss in some more mat acquisition to upgrade through the VNM process if necessary, just stop with the mindless crap that's being fed to us.

On top of that, there's not much of a justification to keep going through these quests. Most relic holders likely will just cause they don't want what they spent a lot of time obtaining to go completely obsolete, but let's look at it for a minute:

Current Final Form Gungnir: DMG 112, Delay 492, Accuracy +25, Additional Effect: Weakens Defense, "Geirskogul".

Current Final Form Rhongomiant: DMG 111, Delay 492.

Yes, Gungnir has the Accuracy and the hidden damage multiplier that kicks in < 5% of the time. Having the Accuracy isn't as huge a deal as people would like to think since most Acc issues can be overcome with food or even with food, you're nowhere near Acc cap anyway.

While I won't comment just yet on the 2-Leaf Chloris whatever you need 50 of for the final form of the Empyrean polearm, I will say that if the way VNM mats were handled are any indication, it's likely it won't take anywhere near the amount of time it takes to gather all the mats for a relic on average.

Now the question to a relic holder becomes:

Do you want to spend a couple months upgrading a different weapon that amounts to relic-1 or do you want to continue to grind things out?

I spent a couple years upgrading Gungnir. I spent upwards of 60 hours knocking out Trials 1040 and 1041. I'll likely spend upwards of 70 hours knocking out Trial 1850 and 1851. I'm not saying the Empyrean Polearm would beat a fully upgraded Gungnir in a parse every time, but it'd be close and would likely pull out the win from time to time.

To a person considering upgrading a weapon, do you want to...:

A) ...spend upwards of 100 million gil, then follow that up with using the WS 1500 times, then follow that up by using the WS 5000 times to killshot various critters?


B) ...kill rather easy NMs 41 times then start trying to collect 50 VNM items to take a weapon that's simply 1DMG lower than the fully upgraded counterpart.

To the person considering upgrading a weapon, do you..."

A) ...understand the relic trials are likely not over and there's likely more of these asinine killshot quests forthcoming?


B) ...understand the Empyrean trials are definitely not over and there's likely more NM camping and item collection quests down the road?


Since I already have Gungnir, obviously my choice is made. To someone who hasn't quite finished a Relic yet or is considering starting one, the logical choice is pretty obvious from a time vs. result standpoint.

I can say this is not making me want to continue my subscriptions to SE's services. It's just sign of the times, but I simply don't feel like I have the time to continually go through crap like this and there really isn't anything else left for me to accomplish in FFXI. A lot of the games I've missed out on are starting to become a lot more appealing to me.

Yes, I've given feedback on the matter.

Several times.

A lot of good it's done obviously. :)

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

DRG Update Notes

Spirit Jump: Shares timer with normal Jump. You do not get 3 attacking jumps to use. Still uncertain what "suppresses enmity" means as it seemed I neither shed nor slowed the rate I gained enmity against the vultures I was fighting. Might be a bad test subject though. Overrides merits on Jump. I really hope this is a fuckup on SE's end and not how they intended it to work, but somehow, I doubt it is.

Conserve TP: Kicks in a lot more frequently than I thought it would. About every other WS I end up with an extra 4 or 5 TP and I've seen as much as 15. Kind of irritating that I can't tell when all the hits of a WS landed or when I crit most of the time now though...

TP from Spirit Link: Pretty much exactly what I thought. I get ~10 or so with each link. Nothing new to report here.

Sonic Thrust: This is going to get me in trouble. Seems to have Transfixion property, but unsure if anything else is there. Couldn't test thoroughly due to party set up, but I suspect it has Scission properties as well. TP multipliers seem to 100 TP = 1.0, 200 TP = 1.5 300 TP = 2.0, but that's just based off about 10 eyeballs of each. Seems to also have a heavy lean on STR. The Cone AoE seems to be short and narrow as well as I had 4 birds lined up and hit 3.

BTW...nothing has amused me more lately than seeing 3 Seaboard Vultures take 1.2k, 1.2k, and 1.6k damage from a single, one hit WS...

You learn this at 300 skill. Max merits + Love Torque means you can use it after skilling up one polearm level upon hitting 76. Otherwise, if math plays out, you're waiting until 79 to learn it.

Skillcaps: Appears to be an increase of 5 polearm skill per level currently. This should put DRG at a natural cap of 306 when they hit 80. All I have to say is...

/drool @ 329 polearm skill...

Trial 1850: Fuck you SE.

(1500 Geirskogul kill shots on arcana...)

Trial 1851: Fuck you in the ass with a sandpaper covered cock and no lube SE.

(2000 Geirskogul kill shots on vermin...)

Current Conclusion: Not the TP monsters the paperwork originally lead us to believe. A number of nice tweaks, but nothing significant enough to really move us up a notch or two as it relates to the job itself. Looking forward to Sekkanoki, but we pretty much know what that will do.

More later as I progress up the chain of info and digest the rest of the gear that has apparently obsoleted most of what I'm wearing now...

Monday, June 21, 2010

June Update...


So I said a while ago "BRING ON THE UPDATE /flex"...

I probably should have trained harder...

Sifting through everything. No idea when I'll be able to post my thoughts on it as there's this and Transformers: War For Cybertron coming out tomorrow.

Needless to say, I'm glad I went meriting Sunday afternoon...

EDIT: Needless to say also...I got a lot of gear work to do.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Adjustments of the Job Persuasion!

Per usual, SE saved the best update news for last.

Well maybe not so much usual depending on how you like the news they deliver, but at the very least, they delivered what I perceive to be the best news of the update today and something that's been anticipated for a while.

Job adjustments!

With the amount of data they just dumped on us, one has to suspect most of the FFXI community is in a bit of a state of shock. A lot of this is stuff that I wouldn't have anticipated until at least the 2nd level cap increase scheduled for the Sept. update. So this means that the Sept. update will be completely lackluster aside from new spells being added or this is simply a sign of just how refocused SE is on the endgame aspect of FFXI.

I'm not going to spend a lot of time going over all of the job adjustments in detail. Instead, I'm just going to go over how I think the adjustments will impact the jobs I actually have leveled.


On paper, my favorite job looks like it got the most significant boost out of any of the job adjustments. A quick run down:

Spirit Jump: Delivers a short jumping attack on a targeted enemy which suppresses enmity. Effect enhanced when wyvern is present. (Lv.77 Ability)

Conserve TP: Occasionally reduces TP consumption on weaponskills. (Lv.45 Trait)

Spirit Link: When dragoons use the "Spirit Link" ability, half of their wyvern's TP will be transferred to them.(Existed already, Lv.25 Ability)

Sekkanoki: The level requirement for the samurai ability "Sekkanoki" will be reduced from 60 to 40.

Dragoon was already a monster to begin with thanks to SE's decision to change the gear group from light armor to heavy armor, the additions of Hasso and Seigan, and to the 2H weapon update from years ago. A DRG/SAM with a decent gear set up mixing in at least some Askar could spam WS with the best of them and dish out a good chunk of damage to boot.

Meditate combined with the Jumps TP means you essentially have a free weapon skill. Zanshin combined with a DRG's innate accuracy bonus means a DRG isn't missing much. The ability to shed hate via High Jump and Super Jump means that DRGs are often times the last melee standing in various battles, not to mention what that actually does for conserving your support staff's MP pool. Bottom line is, DRG as it is, isn't typically going to win the damage spike trophy, but it's going to be up there consistently.

Now that appears to change. Keep in mind, a lot of this depends on how SE implements this stuff. If Spirit Jump, for example, offers no TP return, then a lot of this is just moot. However, if Spirit Jump gives same TP return as Jump and High Jump, well this means if all timers are up for me and the jumps connect, then I'm pulling down 51 TP from my jumps alone. Couple this with the potential to conserve TP after using a WS, the ability to limit yourself to only using 100TP every 5 minutes and the ability to yanking a little bit of TP off your wyvern and get the idea.

That's what is on paper though. Conserve TP is still a bit of an enigma from what I can gather. I haven't found any solid proof on how often it actually kicks in. Obviously, any extra TP you have left over is a good thing, but if it's only got something like a 2.5% chance of kicking in and you can save a max of 10TP...yeah not something to get overly excited about.

The Spirit Link modification is a little bit of a surprise to me. The biggest problem with that is the wyvern doesn't have TP all that often. A lot of people don't realize that a DRG's wyvern uses it's TP when it uses a healing breath or an offensive/elemental breath. So there aren't a great deal of situations where your wyvern is just sitting on a humongous pile of TP. It's most practical melee/party use is if you're stuck at something like 87TP and are about to miss a SC waiting for that next swing. It's solo use will be a lot more practical as the time between healing breaths in most cases is far greater than the time between your WS in any situation. It's still limited to only being used every 3 mins, but in a zerg situation, every little bit of TP helps... long as the DRG remembers to use Spirit Link now before they use Spirit Surge...

Spirit Jump, potential TP gain aside, perplexes me a bit. Why did DRG need another jump that suppresses it's enmity when we already have one that sheds 50-60% and one that sheds 99%? I'm not complaining, it just doesn't seem all that logical. Realistically, DRG didn't actually need another Jump ability. Shit, as a fully merited DRG/SAM, I've got a JA list a mile long already. Jump, High Jump, Super Jump, Call Wyvern, Spirit Surge, Spirit Link, Hasso, Seigan, Angon, Deep Breathing, Meditate, Ancient Circle, and Warding Circle.

Don't get me wrong, I appreciate the fact that I've got another means of dishing out damage and gaining TP, I just think the effect is a little ill-conceived. It's on a 90 second timer, which likely means it will shed something like 15% of your enmity without your wyvern out and 30% with.

As a side note, it's also going to f**k up my timers. Jump and High Jump timers are max merited. So out of the gate, I have a 75 second jump, a 90 second jump and a 150 second jump. Wasn't too hard to remember that I could use High Jump every other time I used Jump. Spirit Jump just doesn't line up all that well from a timer standpoint, but that could be beneficial depending if you somehow managed to pull hate right after using Super Jump...

Sekkanoki is what I'm most excited about though. There are a number of times where I'm well over 100TP waiting for someone to fire a WS I can chain with or waiting for a move to stun with Leg Sweep. This JA is obviously not just limited to DRG, but with the ability of DRG to gain TP, I'd say this is the one job that would benefit the most from it.


What can I really say here? PLD has become SE's prodigal son and NIN has become more of the red-headed, bastard, step-child.

Divine Emblem: Enhances the accuracy of your next divine magic spell and increases enmity.(Lv.78 Ability)

Crit. Defense Bonus: Improves Defense against critical hits.(Lv.79 Trait)

Shield Defense Bonus: Reduces damage taken when blocking an attack with a shield.(Lv77 Trait)

Shell IV/Phalanx: Self-explanatory (Lv.80 and Lv 77 spells respectively)

I'm the first to admit that I'm not an expert tank. It's only been recently that I've spent a ton of time on the job thanks to the various events Obsidian is expanding in to. My take on these may not be as thorough as someone with a lot more tanking experience.

Divine Emblem seems kind of pointless. How often does a PLD actually use Divine Magic outside of Flash? Not very often. This leads me to believe that this JA was specifically designed for Flash. I guess it depends on what type of enmity it actually adds to flash (if SE decided to go fancy and basically put provoke hate on flash...), but having this ability every 10 minutes just doesn't seem worth it to me. I think this is SE's acknowledgment of PLD/NIN not having very many ways of pulling hate currently. It still doesn't have very many ways of pulling hate though.

Guessing that PLD will get provoke at some point very soon...

Crit. Defense Bonus jury is out on this one until more testing is done. 1-2% reduction = worthless. 5%+ = awesome.

Shield Defense Bonus is probably the 2nd most useful thing to come out of these notes for PLD. Max shield skill already gave a nice reduction in damage and this is only furthered.

Shell IV was obviously coming. Phalanx...not so much. RDMs everywhere are crying now about their Phalanx II merits being a complete waste since they seem to think dumping them on a PLD is the only logical use for it. (There are some that would argue Phalanx II is useless anyway and really became that way once SCH could use Accession and sub RDM...) Personally, it's a welcome change. Now I don't have a reason to sub RDM aside from Haste maybe. PLD/SCH anyone?

Dark Knight

It's pretty obvious SE's focus for DRK was to get them to use their MP a little more. It looks like they just might succeed...

Nether Void: Increases the absorption of your next dark magic spell. (Lv.78 Ability)

Occult Acumen: Grants bonus TP when dealing damage with elemental or dark magic.(Lv.45 Trait)

Aspir II: Self-Explanatory (Lv.78 Spell)

T3 nukes: Self-Explanatory (Lv.76+ spells, Stone and Water for starters)

Nether Void is probably going to be used most commonly before Absorb-TP, Absorb-STR, Absorb-DEX, Drains and Aspirs. That is, if SE actually allows it's use to be extended to the Drains and Aspirs. DRKs can rejoice though. Now they have something to use in tandem with Dark Seal that can potentially absorb copious amounts of whatever they cast...

Occult Acumen baffles me a little. You get TP if you deal damage with elemental or dark magic? Is that what that translates to? I may need a little help understanding exactly what this does, but it seems like they're trying to give DRK the ability to get TP by casting nukes...

Aspir II will probably follow in the same footsteps as Drain II. A more powerful version of the original that potentially increases the max MP cap for any amount of MP you drain over the top of your own. More MP, even if it's temporary, would likely help out given the fact that DRKs are about to get T3 nukes.

T3 nukes surprised me a little bit. I figured SE would likely just add a lot more DRK specific spells along the lines of something like Absorb-STR II as opposed to giving them the ability to nuke. While they still may do that, DRK subbing RDM potentially just became a soloing beast. W.Body just got a lot more popular...

White Mage

If PLD is SE's prodigal son to NIN's red-headed bastard step-child, then WHM is SE's darling to RDM's pimply sibling. Shit, could they possibly buff WHM anymore than they already have? The last round of WHM job adjustments pretty much blew any other mage job out of the water in the healing role. While other jobs like RDM and SCH can still fulfill the role, they can't do it like a WHM can now and SE just opened that gap up a little wider.

Divine Benison: Quickens spellcasting for status ailment recovery magic. Grants a bonus to enmity reduction (Lv.50 Trait)

Protect/Shell V: Self-explanatory. (Lv.76 spell)

Baramnesra: Self-explanatory. (Lv.78 Spell)

Cure VI: Self-explanatory. (Lv.80 Spell)

I'm sure all the WHMs will love having the ability to cast status removal spells faster and the loss of enmity while spamming Esuna and whatnot in the heat of battle will definitely help, but...was it really necessary?

Protect and Shell V have just become #1 and #2 respectively on the most useless WHM spell list if they don't have the potency of a merited Protectra or Shellra V. And if they do...hooboy...pissed off WHMs everywhere.

Baramnesra is a nice little addition. Probably won't amount to much of anything, but it's still nice they seem to acknowledge EVERYONE F**KING HATES AMNESIA. GIVE US A SPELL TO ACTUALLY REMOVE IT.

Cure VI will be interesting to see how it plays out. Cures 1-4 all had a progressively higher level of enmity associated with it and Cure V essentially has the same enmity as cure 3. Did they continue the hate progression of Cure 1-4 or did they just equate the enmity associated with it to something like Cure 4. MP will likely be an issue with this spell as well. I suspect this is meant more to use while subbing RDM and using Convert than anything else.


I mentioned to Old Man earlier that if this year is indeed FFXI's "last hurrah" in regards to significant updates, then SE is dropping update nukes everywhere. I believe that, while most of these things are limited to just being on paper, DRG, DNC and DRK are the top 3 most affected jobs by this update. All of the other jobs typically got stuff that just follows normal progression or gives them a one off that doesn't really affect their playstyle all that much.

MNK will be one to watch out for given they can now guarantee a counter every minute (if you utilize MNK tanks). RNG picking up a forced double damage JA along with Conserve TP and the new True Shot trait will also be another one to watch for. COR may become more of a soloing force now that they have a movement speed roll that has virtually no cast time. I'm also curious to see how Libra is going to be utilized. Will the information provided show enmity levels for party members or just as it relates to the SCH itself?

Either way, a lot of new and fun stuff coming up this Monday. For the first time in a while, I'm really excited about an update. I just hope SE doesn't pull the rug out from under us as they have done a few times in the past.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Trailer Park Trash

I shared this story in linkshell yesterday before the Odin run, so most of you have probably already read some variation of it. Just for content and memory's sake though, I figure I would post it here.

Yesterday, as I was heading to Elizabethtown yet again, I pulled off at a Shell station to fill up my car. It's a rather poorly designed gas station that doesn't have enough room between the side of the store itself and the gas pumps to fit 2 cars. Means if the only pump open is blocked by someone else, you're going to have to back into the open pump.

This was the case yesterday when I pulled into the station. So I position my car and start to back in to get my gas. As I'm doing so, I notice this Toyota truck, probably late 90s, all beat to hell pulling away. Whoever is driving is obviously trying to do something else as they're zig zagging a bit, but they inevitably go around the back of the building.

I finish backing up and get out of the car. As I'm pulling my credit card out of my wallet, I see a black scion pull into the pump on the other side. Only reason this caught my attention was the fact that there was a little dog yapping from it.

A few seconds later, after I've swiped my card and had the pump tell me to start fueling, the Toyota that I had seen zigzagging away comes back and backs up almost to the point of touching the Scion across from me. Out of the truck steps what I can only describe as trailer trash. All the stereotypical signs were there. Greasy, matted hair. Tank top with inappropriate adjective across the chest like "Bootylicious" or "Take a picture". Dirt stained, frayed shorts and mismatching flip-flops.

Within a couple seconds, she's at the driver's side window of the Scion knocking on it. The little old lady in the car had yet to get out to start pumping her gas. She rolls down the window and the next thing I hear is:


At this point, I'm not sure what the old lady did, but it was something that was interpreted as laughing to Trailer Trash. This sets Trailer Trash off on a bit of a tirade, most of which I couldn't understand due to her apparent lack of English speaking skills.

A few seconds of this goes by and, again, Old Lady says something. Whatever she said caused Trailer Trash to start throwing ethnic slurs at her. Things I picked up:

(Note: I have no way of typing out the way she sounded in saying these things, just assume there's a thick southern drawl butchering these words.)

"Ya'll wetbacks shouldn't even be in this country!"
"Need to elect the Arizona Gov. to be the president!"
"My taxes go to pay for your lazy asses."

Now even I'm a little irritated. To her credit, Old Lady just rolled up the window and went to a different pump.

Credit didn't last too long though...

While Old Lady is pulling into the next pump, Trailer Trash is mumbling to herself and looking around almost like she's talked smack and trying to make eye contact with anyone that approves of what she said to bolster her show. When Old Lady parks, she gets out of the car, looks over at Trailer Trash, opens her arms wide and proceeds to say twice:

"THIS FREE COUNTRY! GOD BLESS AMERICA" in an accent that didn't really sound Spanish or Mexican to me...

I knew what type of firestorm that was going to set off. For those of you inexperienced with the Trailer Trash mentality, you don't have to look any further than a lot of the people they find for Reality TV shows. Uneducated Trailer Trash with heaping doses of attitude are exactly the type of people they look for to film. The Trailer Trash that Old Lady had just provoked had all of this in spades.

Now to set this scene up, here's what you need to know:

Old Lady is about 4'10".
Trailer Trash is about 5'5".

(That would be my mom and my sister's height respectively...)

Our 3 cars are currently in an L shape. My car is at the angle of the L. Trailer Trash is on the opposite side of the pump I'm at and Old Lady has parked at the pump adjacent to mine.

Within about 5 seconds, Trailer Trash has made her way over to Old Lady and got right in her face. I watched with a bit of a sense of dread because I knew something really dumb was going to happen if I didn't step in. Trailer Trash's back is to me and she's just yammering away inviting the Old Lady to fight her. Within about 3 seconds...

...Trailer Trash goes from staring down at someone half a foot shorter than her to staring up at someone half a foot taller and about 100lbs heavier. I had positioned myself directly between them.

Trailer Trash seemed a little stunned at my appearance, but in typical Trailer Trash fashion, she overcame that pretty quickly and started jawing at me.


(Bad breath...holy shit...bad breath...)

Q: Your idiocy is hurting my ears and my brain. That makes it my business.


(yes, she said 'a idiot', not 'an idiot' before you grammar nazis out there correct me)

Q: Caught on quick didn't you...


Q: Are you really trying to fight someone twice your age over your own moronic mistake?


She starts to get up in my face and I took a step back not wanting to take another blast of that breath she was wielding...

Q: Do yourself a favor. Just go back to your truck, finish fueling and leave.


Q: No, she pulled up to a pump that looked vacated because you were a moron. Who the hell pays for gas at a pump they're not currently parked at then needs to drive around the entire building before pumping their gas.


Q: Yeah yeah, I get it. You prepaid. Go finish your gas and leave.


Q: Whatever you want to believe lady. You were about to do something dumb before I stepped in and you haven't exactly made yourself look like anything more than a fucking bitch.


Then she ranted for about 2 minutes...

A few years ago, I probably would have tried to out-stupid her or out-shout her, but I let her rant. Mostly because it was entertaining watching her stamp around spouting stuff that my 3.5 year old niece could out-wit. Finally dawned on her that her words were having no effect on me...


Q: You really have no clue how dumb and entertaining you are do you?

Then Trailer Trash burst into tears and this was my chance to go "Q" and really pour salt in the wounds.

Q: See, this is what happens when the bully gets bullied. The bully goes home crying. Here's one of my business cards. Please take it to your crack smoking boyfriend and beg him to come kick my ass. I won't mind getting my ass kicked one bit if it means you get removed from society for a couple years. As a matter of fact, I'll give you a free shot right now. You want to fight so badly? Go ahead, punch me in the face, the balls, wherever you want. Spout more of your reality TV educated filth at me while you do it.

Trailer Trash then proceeded to tear my business card up right there and go back to her truck. During the argument, her gas pump had clicked off (mine as well), so she just yanked the pump out, threw it back in it's stand and sped off. I watched her to make sure she wasn't going to just do a loop around the building then come ram us or something. As she's pulling out onto the main highway, Old Lady puts her hand on my shoulder and says...

"She watch much TV. Needs read book or two."

I looked at my cell phone afterward to see how much time had passed. Seven minutes. All that bullshit took place in 7 minutes. Then I looked around to see if we had attracted a crowd. The car that was on the opposite side of Old Lady's pump had left at some point and I guess no one in the store heard or saw Trailer Trash's mannerisms (or didn't care enough) to come out to check on things.

I asked Old Lady if she was all right. She just simply says "Yes. Idiots not new to me." So I told her to have a better day and went on my merry trip.

I still haven't figured out what nationality she was. She clearly wasn't asian and the accent didn't sound like one from someone who spoke Spanish primarily. The part that surprised me the most out of the whole 7 minute event was that I didn't even get mad or nervous about it. Normally I hate physical confrontation of any sort and it's not uncommon for the heart rate to jump up high and for part of my face to twitch when I feel like I'm getting ready to have to throw fisticuffs.

After sharing the story with Girlfriend and a couple other friends on my way to E-town, I reflected on it a bit more and questioned whether I would have done the same thing if it had been Male Trailer Trash hurling slurs like that and threatening physical confrontation with an Old Lady. I like to think that I would, but until I'm in that situation (and history doesn't suggest that I wouldn't), I won't know for sure.

It just drives me bonkers hearing hate spewed like that because of someone's race or nationality. Joking about it is one thing. Most people understand the stereotypes associated with their race or nationality and can appreciate some good jokes at their expense from time to time. When someone just spouts them because they don't know any better, as much as people just want to say call the cops, it really just comes down to your neighbor helping your neighbor. Neighbors have to teach tolerance. Threats of calling police just build walls. Not saying my approach in that situation was correct, but Trailer Trash is likely not going to be doing idiot stuff like that for at least a little while. Maybe after she gets herself embarrassed a couple more times, it'll sink in...

Monday, June 14, 2010

Tech Stories...

When I get up in the mornings, one of the first things I do is check my schedule. I already knew I had to make a small road trip this afternoon to our sister city, Elizabethtown. I also knew I had to make a stop on the way up or on the way back in Cave City.

So as I'm planning out what equipment I need to take with me and reviewing the reasons I'm actually going up there, I get a phone call from my "boss" at work. Rare that he calls me that early, so naturally, I'm dreading what he has to say.

Boss: "They're having issues over at the other building this morning. Can you stop there first?"

Q: What issues?

Boss: Can't log into the database.

Q: That's not an issue at their building then.

Boss: Ok, just get there a little early and try to figure out what's going on.

Q: On it.

So I rush my shower, fucked up shaving (seriously, I have a huge hairy spot I apparently missed along the side of my adam's apple atm...), brushed my teeth, busted the button off a favorite pair of my shorts (I'M LOSING WEIGHT DAMMIT THAT'S NOT SUPPOSED TO HAPPEN) and then got in my car and headed to work.

Upon arriving at work, I get stopped at the door by a couple of the guys smoking (since they apparently had nothing better to do as the computers were down...) who felt the need to let me know the computers were down.

I stepped inside and promptly got stopped by the front secretary who wanted to let me know the computers were down.

I walked around the corner no further than 10' away from the front secretary's desk and was stopped by a broker who wanted to let me know the computers were down.

15' away from that stop, I got stopped yet again...

(If you guessed it was to let me know the computers were win a cookie.)

That guy was also the guy who pointed out the spot I missed shaving this morning.

So here's the morning tally thusfar:

1x Boss phone call.
1x Button popped off shorts.
1x Missed spot shaving.
5x redundant messages about the computers being down.

How many of you think I'm about to rage at this point?

Fed up with the repeated stoppings, I found the nearest manager's telephone. Pressed the intercom button...


And naturally after that announcement, 3 more jackasses thought it'd be funny to tell me on my way to my office that the servers were down.

So the first thing I did after getting the server back up...

...I killed their accounts.

Then left to go to the other building to fix their issues. The other building was a simple fix. Stupid BIOS on their server was trying to boot from a USB backup drive. They apparently had a power outage over the weekend that lasted long enough for their battery backup to shutdown their phone server. While over there fixing that...

I got the phone call from the main building that a certain 3 employees were unable to log on.

Q: Oh really?

Their Boss: Yeah, they lose money if they aren't on the phone.

Q: Tell them I had my jackass quota for the day and they'll have to wait until tomorrow.

Their Boss: What do you mean?

Q: You heard that big announcement I made over the intercom, right? Specifically the part about not stopping me to tell me the server was down?

Their Boss: Yeah, they stopped you didn't they.

Q: Yep. I'll reactivate their accounts, but I figured I'd cost them some fuckoff time in the process.

Their Boss: Ok. I'll get on their asses too.

And now here I am. Everything's back up. I have 3 pissed off employees at me who apparently didn't realize how, to paraphrase Jim Rome, Unfunny, Uninspired and Unoriginal (UUU) their jokes were and a couple bosses who don't like down time at all.

The grand total of time lost as a company (3 idiots aside...)?

30 minutes.

And now if you'll excuse me, there's a lady Bic in the restroom I need to patch my neck up with.


Friday, June 11, 2010

Transformers: War For Cybertron Demo

It was announced a few days ago that a demo for the forthcoming Transformers: War for Cybertron was going to be released exclusively for XBox Live. Needless to say, I was kind of waiting with rather diminished hopes for this release.

You see, there hasn't been a good Transformers game really ever. There have been movie spin-offs (which brings into question how much you liked the Bayformers). There was a spin-off of the Transformers: Armada series that was decent, but average at best. There was a Transformers: Animated game for the DS that was really nothing more than a Lost Vikings ripoff.

(You couldn't even transform on most levels...)

Beyond that, nothing.

So there's been this franchise more or less sitting there just waiting for someone to take the reigns and make something great out of it for a console. Transformers have been around for 25 years. A lot of different takes on the lore. A lot of different toy lines. A lot of different TV shows.

Also a lot of screaming about what Michael Bay has done to various childhoods that happened in the 80s-early 90s...

Yet nothing for a console worth more than a footnote. Movie-based games have really never been good and always feel like more of a cash grab than something completely original and fresh.

Earlier this year, what most fanboys have been waiting for was announced. A completely original game, original story, original everything pretty much steeped in the history of a 25 year product. Recognizable major characters. Recognizable minor characters. Recognizable premise.

Naturally, I read that announcement with a lot of trepidation and took an "I'll wait and see" approach.

Promised in the game were Co-Op gameplay, multiplayer battles, and one massive story.

When you introduce your game with Omega Supreme blasting the shit out of pretty much everything in front of him, you're gonna get people's attention.

As time wore on and more and more details about this game have emerged, I've gotten more excited. Don't get me wrong, I don't mind revisionist history. Throughout the various cartoon series, you could pretty much tell which character was which through some sort of iconic piece of armor or weapon or physical feature. Almost every series will mix in a couple of new characters. Most people are offended by the way Michael Bay has portrayed the various Transformers and his whole take on the franchise in general.

(Don't blame Bay btw...Hasbro has pretty much just as much say in the designs.)

And now the demo has arrived. Naturally, with it being a demo, there's not much to it, but you can already tell just how many features will be available for it. Right now, the only thing available to play are a couple multiplayer options. You can play as 2 of the 4 available classes of 'bot. Scout and Soldier.

As their class names would indicate, the Scout class are the smaller and stealthier bots available to play. They aren't packing as much firepower, but off the bat, you can choose between a number of different weapons including ones similar to a sniper rifle and a shotgun.

The Soldier class are bigger, beefier, and slower with a lot more firepower. If you want to clear a congested area out, this is who you drop into the middle of the fray. Both classes can currently level to 3 and there are a few customization options available via the character creation process. Options like what weapons to start the battles with. Passive traits (i.e. a trait that does more damage if you tag someone from behind) and active special abilities. "Whirlwind", for example, is simply your Soldier-class bot whipping out a humongous hammer and proceeding to go apeshit in a congested area.

Among the various weapons are melee attacks as well. A Scout will whip out a dagger-esque weapon while a Solder will whip out a hammer or an axe. There are grenades you can throw that don't seem to do any damage, but if you're in the vicinity when it blows, your circuits are scrambled and you can't really tell WTF is going on.

And naturally, it wouldn't be a Transformers game if you couldn't transform. Transformation is seamless and the abilities you have while in vehicle mode are obviously determined by what vehicle you are. Currently there's a Tank and a Car (Soldier and Scout respectively). Right now, the biggest benefit I can see to a vehicular mode is simply to GTFO of a sticky situation.

With the game being built on the Unreal Tournament engine, it's naturally got a UT feel to it. My best description of what multiplayer feels like at the moment is a cross between your typical Over the Shoulder shooter and a Demolition Derby game like Twisted Metal. There is definitely a really good feel to the multiplayer aspect and it gives me a lot of hope for the single player portion of the game.

At any rate, go download this demo and give it a try. High Moon Studios and Activision are doing a kick ass job with this game. Anyone who grew up watching Transformers will notice a lot of nods to the original lore, and that makes this TF fan very happy.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010


Month in Review...

Now that May has come and gone, it's time to look at what I actually got done. I had mentioned several times I was going to refocus a lot of time into FFXI during this month as the impending level cap increase meant I had a lot of subjob leveling to do. The relic trials also meant I had a lot of additional grind time to do as well. All of this on top of my day to day responsibilities in real life and linkshell life.

Trial 1039 and Trial 1040

Trial 1039 and Trial 1040 ate up a lot of time. Approximately 60-65 hours between them. End result is Gungnir's base damage is 107. On top of that, it's pretty clear from the gap in numbers that there's likely going to be at least one more trial added to Gungnir. If it follows the theme of SE's announcement, it'll be WS related and not anything that actually modifies the stats of the weapon itself any further.

They've surprised me before, but the only thing I can think of that they'd logically do would be similar to what the elemental sea gorgets do. Just increase the damage and accuracy by a flat rate.

BTW...if it turns out they lower the requirements for these two trials, I'll probably /ragequit. That or I'll procrastinate even longer about getting them done.


This is what I spent most of the Memorial Day weekend focused on. I put an ERonfaure_S party together Friday when I got off work and went to town to finish up Warrior. Saturday after Einherjar, I put another party together and took NIN from 37-50. Sunday, I skipped Dynamis (mostly cause it was full, it was Valk and I'm trying to get the linkshell used to other leaders) and took RDM from 37-50.

By the time Monday rolled around, needless to say, I was burned out of XP'ing, but I got bored pretty quickly, put a party together and took THF from 37-50.

All of the parties I ended up using Airybreeze's account to PL. I can't remember everyone that I brought along, but between Gawayne and myself, we accounted for 100 job levels alone. My current estimate is that I PL'd approximately 350 subjob levels for Obsidian members.

The final subjob level count over the past week looks like this:

WAR: 37-50
THF: 37-50
RDM: 37-50
NIN: 37-50
SAM: 47-50

Only ones left are ones that I consider to be fringe at best. I have BLM at 40, SCH at 11 and DNC at 37. BLM sub for WHM is probably going to go the way of the dodo after the June update. SCH sub is still arguably the better sub for WHM, but I haven't had the inkling to work on it when RDM is about to get a significant boost in subjob standings for WHM. DNC is one of those subs I leveled originally for shits and giggles and will likely remain that way.

I did utilize some rather odd party setups thanks to having a pretty endless supply of MP handy to keep us alive. Some not so uncommon jobs like SAM/WAR to use for tanks. Some rather uncommon jobs like BLU/BRD or SCH/BRD to make sure we at least had madrigal and probably the oddest combination was the use of SCH/COR at one point to boost XP gained.

Not that I'm going to rush back out there to do that any time soon, but things like this definitely are a lot more fun for me amongst friends rather than the random party invites that tend to result in craptastic parties.

Wyrmal Abjuration: Legs: O

I now have fast pants. I started trying to get these about 4 years ago, stopped trying about 3 years ago due to disputes over how loot distribution was handled and finally picked them up Saturday evening.

It pretty much boils down to preferences for looting systems. The system I previously tried to get these in utilized job priorities. The pro for this is rather obvious. You put the gear that's best for the job on the person that's got the job leveled. The cons for it tend to be along the lines of "that person never comes on that job" or "Newb to the linkshell can get minimum points required and trump someone else who has been there for a long time by virtue of job priority."

The system Obsidian has always used has been "If you can use it, have the points to win it via bidding and meet a minimum level (70+), it's yours". The main pro to this is it levels the playing field almost entirely. While some will laugh at a Bard winning Hecatomb Harness, it's not really a leader's place to control every aspect of how someone spends their points. Is a Hecatomb Harness useful to the Bard? Not really no, but SE put the job on there and those are ultimately the rules that apply. The system for distributing loot is as black and white as we believe it can be.

The main con to using a system like this is it opens the door to some butthurt feelings when people don't win a bid or when someone does something shady (like snipe bidding). In the end though, that's easier to deal with than the butthurt feelings people are going to get when leader's change the rule on the fly to favor those who are in favor with them. From a leader perspective, I'll take someone whining about not winning a bid over whining about a rule that was suddenly changed to favor someone else. At least with this perspective, my credibility as a leader is still in tact and that's what being in that position ultimately comes down to, how credible you are. If you have people questioning your intent with decisions and the questions revolve around favoritism, you're going end up with a pretty rude awakening.

Hindsight is always 20/20 though.

At any rate, this isn't really an item I coveted. It was an item I thought I needed to help with pulling in Dynamis, but I adapted by learning movement patterns of certain pulls and by preparing crowd control for pulls I knew I didn't have much time on. Best way I can describe this item is it's that one item you know you want, but it's not really a high enough priority to take the initiative to get it, yet you twinge a bit every time you see someone wearing them.

If Murphy has anything to do with it, I'll likely die more during pulls now that I have these pants.

Mog Bonanza

Finally got around to buying 100 marbles again. Guarantees me a rank 4 money prize at least to cover the 200k expenses and then some. I picked the same numbers that didn't win anything last year, so hopefully the odds roll around to my favor again like they did in 2007 and I pick up something nice.

I do wish SE would streamline the whole marble purchasing process though. I really hate the "one-at-a-time" approach. I probably could have been done in half the time if I had the option to buy 5 or 10 at a time and just enter the numbers successively.

That's just me though...

Anyway, I am now completely ready for the update. I gots my marbles, I gots my subjobs, I gots my Gungnir+1 and I gots my fast pants. Do your worst SE. :)

(Except for whatever plans you have for relic about cutting us a break for once...)

Qtipus' Information

FFXI subscriber since NA release.