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PuppetShowJustice.com [Jul. 11th, 2012|04:22 pm]
My time in Vana'diel had its ups and downs; but the people I met there are remembered fondly. I started this journal a long time ago intending to document my time with Puppetmaster and have a place to speak my mind on the game. I ended up with something that, today, means a lot more to me. I have great records of my adventures and, more importantly, the friends that I made during them.

I've played a lot of MMOs over the years. But Final Fantasy XI will always hold a special place in my heart. I hated it sometimes, but the game really made us band together. Every time I come here and look over my old entries and screenshots, I tend to see the same handful of names alongside Myrrial.

I know the Vana'diel that I knew is long gone and that the face of the game has changed forever. But I hear news of a coming expansion and I can't help but want to see it and maybe use it as an excuse to explore Vana'diel one more time. So I might just end up doing that in the future.

But regardless, if a single person who used to keep me company on Odin ever happens to read this; I want to say thanks for the adventures and the memories that came with them. They went a long way towards shaping who I am today.

The adventures of myself and Zudz will continue at PuppetShowJustice.com
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An update on where I am now and what I'm doing. [Nov. 28th, 2011|11:49 am]
Apparently this thing still gets traffic aside from the spam bots posting comments.

In case anyone cares I'll give an update. Mep (the guy in charge of the WoW-Achievements site) sold it a long, long time ago and the new management let the site go downhill and got rid of all the original columnists. Those two points are related.

I took a break from my usual MMOs, dabbled in some random things, and ended up heavily involved in this.

I don't want this post to come across purely as a pitch for NEStalgia; but it's a pretty decent game with a pretty good community for fans of early 90s era RPGs. If Dragon Warrior 1 and 2 are your idea of a good time, you could do a whole lot worse than play NEStalgia.

It's an indie MMO so it obviously doesn't have the polish or such of FFXI or one of these super big budget affairs. But the game does see content patches, holiday events, PVP tournaments, character customization, and a lot of really cool upcoming features. Heck, the game is already evolved greatly beyond what that old trailer shows.

Oh, and you can log in and play and not be restricted from any in-game areas (unlike some other free to play MMOs). Although subscriptions do exist for folks who want to support the game. There are a few subscription only classes. But you can play on the same tier as anyone else with a free account. So if you're bored enough or just want to stop by and say hello, feel free. My ID is PuppetShowJustice and I play primarily on the Algol server.
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What are the odds? [Feb. 11th, 2010|06:47 pm]
Partly due to this old journal of mine, I ended up becoming a weekly columnist over at WoW-Achievements.com today. Now I don't really expect anyone to read this. Or care in the slightest if they do.

But I want to take a moment to say something. MMO gaming and writing are my two hobbies. Years ago I combined the two here on LOLPUP and grew a small fan following, met some great people in Vana'diel, and had a ton of fun tossing /tells and e-mails back and forth with people who enjoyed my writing. I got a ton of great practice turning my thoughts into words and as direct result of it I'll now be posting as Aeolyn on a site that gets a thousand times the traffic that this thing ever did.

That is amazing to me. And while I wish I could track everyone who ever supported LOLPUP down and personally thank them for driving me forward towards my goals, I can't. All I can do is post the tip of my hat here and say thank you for believing in me.

I do still feel bad for abandoning my first real love, FFXI. But I hope to spend at least some time in 14 and enjoy writing about my adventures there.

Thanks again everyone. And take care of yourselves.

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You pulled me out of hiding. Just this once. [Aug. 12th, 2009|08:27 pm]
I was surprised to learn today that this thing still gets traffic. In specific I got an angry e-mail from a comment posted here just recently about how I should just quit the game if I'm no longer enjoying it.

NEWSFLASH! I haven't touched FFXI in an eternity. And from what I hear from friends who have kept with the game; I'm glad I'm gone.

I don't regret my time in Vana'diel but I could see when it was ending for me and simply had to move on. I'm still huge into MMOs and the industry. And I got just as excited as anyone else when FF14 was announced.

Some of my old FFXI friends have kept in touch with me and we all plan to gather on one particular server when the game is released. I fully intend to start a new blog for FF14 when it launches and see where my new adventures take me.

If anyone does happen to read this; I hope you're having fun, whoever and wherever you are. This hobby can be a pretty crazy one, eh?

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The Entry That I Forgot to Title [Sep. 9th, 2008|08:16 am]
I had intended to make an FFXI entry regarding the new patch but my connection simply did NOT want to accept the update through PlayOnline, so it'll have to wait until next time. Nyzul changes look solid all around, and I'm thrilled that the 100 floor weapons now drop all over the goddamned place. Making the WS quests actually accessable to people who can't afford to take much time away from Salvage was a smart move on SE's part.

Of course for every step forward SE has taken it seems they also went backwards. XP changes seem really nice but they apparently altered enemy BST pets in what I would guess is an effort to stop people from soloing on them. I never viewed killing BST pets for XP as something that the game makers had intended but I am surprised to see it get adjusted. It seems that now more than ever they want to push the party mentality--especially with the new level sync system. But is having soloing XP as an option such a bad thing that it needs to be stamped out?

Of course theres always Campaign. And apparently it got adjusted again--something that I was 100% sure was going to happen but still laughed when I saw it in the update notes. Oh, and apparently Campaign is also broken and you can lose XP when you die there now; making it pretty much the worst thing ever considering how ultra badass most Campaign NMs are relative to player HP and damage mitigation.

Oh, and apparently AV and PW now depop after having been fought for two hours. Which is absolutely hilarious because AV still spams two-hours like a champ and isn't willing to die in the span of two hours. At least not yet. Maybe. MAYBE someone will figure something out now that he spawns 100% of the time after JoL dies now.

But I'll have to save my attempts at Inferno Claws for later. Damned POL. Oh, speaking of PUP stuff...the PUP relic set has +stats to the Automaton. Thats good but the set overall is kind of all-over-the-place in an effort to provide something to each of the varying frames. Good idea, "meh" execution. Theres literally no situation aside from a nice, fashionable screenshot in which you'd ever want to wear the whole set together; and thats kind of a shame.

I'm also entertained that it apparently took them years to figure out to put Auto-Refresh on BLU specific armor and +pet effects on PUP armor. The playerbase has wanted it for ages. Seriously guys, what took so long?

Ah well, I'll check out the new stuff for myself soon.

As for WoW (again, making an effort to not be too technical and be readable by anyone), I honestly thought I'd grow very bored very quickly once I hit the level cap on my Hunter. I ended up finding a couple really cool players while out questing and they invited me to a guild. Everyone in the guild turned out to be really cool and, shockingly, type in proper English. You have to understand that this is a massive rarity among WoW players.

They were so nice, in fact, that at one point I realized that they were almost certainly not American. Thats kind of a jackass thing for me to say; but all the signs pointed to it. These people had manners, made intelligent conversation, and were generally awesome. Plus they were awake at the same utterly insane hours that I was; so odds are they lived far from me.

When I asked them, it turned out they were almost purely an Australian guild. Theres one other American player aside from myself, and he's a total jackass which is both saddening and kind of hilarious. They're all really cool people and they want me to start raiding with them. But at 7AM in my timezone. I have no idea if I can manage that or not but I'll give it a trial run to see.


I've been mostly unable to get new gear or actually progress in "real game" stuff due to the fact that I'm so badly undergeared and players want high-powered characters in their groups for anything they do. Its kind of bullshit. With the level cap changing soon all existing gear will become useless, just like it did at the release of the last expansion, so I'm not too worried about it. What I -am- doing with my time is collecting various just-for-fun items that will last me forever.

My biggest love is vanity pets. They're tiny creatures that follow around next to your character. They serve no purpose other than to add flavor and to be entertaining. A lot of them are pretty well detailed and have quite a bit of personality. I've made it my goal to collect as many of the useless little buggers as I can. My Australian buddies seem to understand the appeal; but the average WoW player tells me that they're useless because they have no real function.

My view is that the crap that they're collecting (armor and weapons) will become useless in a couple of months anyways in the expansion's release. Although the pet snake that follows me around is functionally useless, there will never be a patch in which my snake needs to be replaced by a snake that offers more defense or does more damage. My snake's value will never diminish. And thats awesome.

My collecting has taken me all over the game world and led me to the above-pictured mess of spiders in which a guildie and I were tracking down pets in a specific dungeon. At last count I had 43 of the little buggers, I think.

The trouble comes in that Blizzard has decided that some pets need to be ultra stupidly rare drops off of small groups of mobs. For example, there are colored whelpling pets that have a 1 in 1000 chance of dropping in specific parts of the game. If you HATE YOURSELF as much as I do then you can spend eight years running in circles killing in whelpings hoping to score one as a pet.

Its stuff like this that makes me wonder why I volunteer to do this kind of thing. I figure that if I can get Macha's Coat to drop then I can get anything to drop, so I give these ultra rare pets my best shots.

Whelpling pets drop from four seperate parts of the game world and come in four seperate flavors. Red, blue, black, and green. I decided to aim for one of them. The red one. I brought four thousand arrows and when I gave up and went to bed I had zero left. Thats AMAZINGLY bad considering that I can two-shot these mobs. A good many of them I would crit and one-shot. I killed a LOT of mobs. And for nothing.

Its this sort of stuff that makes me wonder why I choose to spend my time the way that I do sometimes. Waking up and trying again later (this time for the black whelp), my patience was finally rewarded after about an hour and a half. And that single moment gave such a feeling of accomplishment that it had all been worth it just as soon as I had my very own whelpling fluttering around next to me.


Its a terrible picture, he blends in with the floor too much. Oh well.

I decided that one whelp was good enough for me and that I would go for the holy grail of rare pets: An oozeling. Its pretty much what it sounds like, a little slimeball. While leveling my character I spent an eternity killing the mobs that drop it but had no luck. And I decided to try again to further my growing collection.

I want to explain how bad the odds of getting this pet are stacked against you. You kill the appropriate mobs, who have a small chance of dropping a bag. You then open up the bag and a random item (or, sometimes, a couple of items) will be inside. Your bag -may- contain the pet.

On average I would get one bag per 20-25 mobs I killed. Each bag has a 1% chance of giving me the pet that I want.

Oh. Fucking. Boy.

I finally broke under the long haul of pet collecting. The slime pet would not be mine. The odds were too heavily against me. It simply was NOT going to happen. One random number generation I could handle but just getting a bag was rough and each time I opened a bag only to find useless junk...I died a little inside. Each time I would go to open a bag I'd get that same glimmer of hope I felt the moment just before the Qiqirn Treasure Hunter would die. And then disappointing.

And again. And again.

A guildmate asked me what I was doing and I explained my situation. That I was making an effort to collect every vanity pet that I could but that this one had eluded me for days in total. He mentioned that while he was questing in the area he obtained one of the pets. I asked him how long it took him to get his.

Six kills.

He wasn't even farming for it. He was just trying to get through the area one day and got one by sheer dumb luck. I couldn't help but laugh. Just as I was pondering going to slam my face into a wall he told me that he'd give his slime pet to me.

I want you to understand how generous this offer is. This pet is worth a FORTUNE on the auction house to collectors such as myself. Whats more, is that once a pet is activated it gets bound to that particular player. Which means that this guy got this pet by sheer accident, and then he held onto it. He didn't activate it for the bragging rights of having one of the rarest vanity pets in the game. He didn't even sell it to another player for three thousand gold. He just held onto it. And then, sure enough, he gave it to me.

Dannielle of Gorgonnash. You are simply amazing.


One of the things that makes this pet so valued is that he has a strange constant effect that gives you a debuff. It doesn't actually hurt you but it does damage your defensive stats so you don't want the little guy active while you're in a situation where you could get hit. It also turns you green, which is pretty goddamn awesome. Even better, if you're riding a mount it will turn that green too. Check out my green ram!

The silly things that I do...

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Awesome MMO Stuff [Sep. 6th, 2008|10:05 am]
Lately I've been talking a lot about what I don't like about the MMOs I play (and have played). In particular, what I hate and what I disagree with in regards to the games in question. I thought it would be a refreshing change of pace to look back over some of the cooler concepts and highlight from some of the more fun and unique aspects. Things that really stand out in my mind as "Damn, that was cool."

Firstly, we have EverQuest; which will be the focus of this entry. In some ways, EQ was the dumbest thing ever. It was buggy, its servers were unreliable, and slow-paced. But it was honestly an adventure in its early years before it became Constant Grindfest Online.

I could write about EQ forever; but there are a couple things that I want to touch on today that I always thought were neat.

1) Language Skills

In EverQuest you could turn your active "speech" to be in different in-game languages. Everyone spoke Common so that you could have an understanding of one another and, you know, actually communicate. But each playable race also had its own unique language that could be used and only understood by players of that same race. The Rogue class also had their own unique language. And this was cool because it would appear as gibberish to anyone who didn't have the necessary skill to figure out what the hell you were saying.

There wasn't much practical application for being able to speak in a manner that only part of the population could understand, so 99% of the time everyone just spoke Common. Some weirdos like myself and Zudz would try and learn exotic languages and send each other spam messages through macros; because you could gradually build skill up by communicating in a language that you wanted to further your grasp of---but the person you were talking to also had to have the skill and one player could only gain, I believe, a one point advantage over the other. So skilling up was slow and clumsy. It was silly, but this system allowed you to pick up bits of Gnoll, Faerie, Draconic, or whatever else from the death threats that various beastmen would shout at you. If, for some reason, you wanted your entire guild to speak entirely in Froglok it was possible.

And thats awesome.

2) Status Ailments were scary.

If you look at games like FFXI you have pretty standard status ailments that you would expect to see in a console RPG. Silenced--you can't cast spells. Poisoned--you gradually take a small bit of damage every handful of seconds. Stunned--you can't perform any actions or move. Its not that exciting. In both FFXI and WoW you have a "Blind" ailment. In FFXI your melee accuracy goes down. Yawn. In WoW you lose control of your character and fumble about like an idiot for a few seconds while blinded.

In EverQuest if something blinded you YOUR SCREEN WENT COMPLETELY BLACK. The first time it happened to me I got up and checked the back of my monitor to make sure nothing had come unplugged. It was a scary thing to have happen in a fight. It was chaos-inducing. And it was awesome.

The best part was that, if you were anticipating being blinded, you could make mental notes of your surroundings. Sure, your monitor would be utterly useless for a good ten to twenty seconds but that didn't mean that you couldn't make your escape or keep on fighting if you had a powerful enough awareness of your surrounding prior to the blindness striking. The occurance in the game was actually quite rare. But it was neat because some players could effectively "blindfight" and some would simply cease up and do nothing because they suddenly couldn't find their own toolbars.

There was nothing as awesome as pointing and shouting a mocking "Ha!" when your blindness wears off and the first thing you see is the corpse of whatever it was that had blinded you in the first place.

There were also harmful spells that would polymorph the target. Not the "Pow, you're a sheep and you're out of combat!" WoW sort of thing. I mean you'd get nuked and be turned into a skeleton or something random. It sounds goofy as hell, and it was. But it was a neat idea because different playable races had varying levels of "low-light vision" to allow you to, you guessed it, see in the dark. Some areas of the game were -amazingly- dark. And lots of polymorph effects would ruin your dark vision. There was also the matter of EQ largely being played from first-person perspective and you'd suddenly be shaped and, thus, moving differently. It was disorienting to suddenly be taller and having the camera bob strangely while running because I was suddenly a scarecrow that couldn't keep its head level.

There was a particular dungeon in EQ that would randomly polymorph whatever it wanted into random things. Player character, mob. It didn't matter. At complete and total random you, your friends, or your enemies would change shape for no goddamn reason. The best part was that just because you were an owlbear on your screen and you were fighting a kobold and a gnome alongside your best friend (who is now, say, a tiny dragon whelpling) didn't mean that the rest of your party was seeing the same thing. This made for situations in which a party would go into this dungeon, take screenshots of a couple fights, and then share pictures from the same party that all turned out AMAZINGLY differently depending on which models decided to show up on any given player's machines at the time that any given screenshot was taken. Pure insanity!

There were raid bosses deep inside that zone. My guild only went in there once and it was one of the most confusing experiences of my life. Especially when your frontline fighters all get feared in seperate directions and you get to play "Which one of those random creatures running around over there is our raid tank?"

3) Live Quests

GM events were exceptionally awesome. They were rare; but everyone wanted to get involved and it was the perfect thing to brighten up your day when you were getting bored of the usual stuff. To put it simply, some GM would come up with some silly little storyline to play out in a zone of his choosing and he would make his event happen. The GMs would do pretty much whatever they wanted or needed to aid their own storytelling. They'd always remain in-character, and so roleplaying would crop up as players would try to move the story events along.

GMs didn't show up in GM form like you see in FFXI. They'd spawn as, say, a lost princess who needed a series of riddles to be solved for one reason or another. Sometimes they'd spawn crazy monsters to be defeated or challenge the playerbase directly. At one point a GM event started that featured an evil necromancer running around being a jerk and playing practical jokes (his "thing" was that he was kind of a shitty villian who was hellbent on annoying people.) His favorite tricks included bumping people off the server and blocking off sections of the zone he was, erm, terrorizing. Most players shouted challenges to duel the guy. Sure, thats one way to solve the problem, I guess.

I approached him on my Dark Knight. I had a skeleton pet so I attempted to reason with him that we were sort of kindred spirits (needless to say I was an evil character) and that he would never be taken seriously as a bad guy if his idea of being a bad guy was making people take alternate routes to get to the next zone. After giving him a bit of a pep talk he decided to further his "bad guy cred" by smiting me, a random Druid who was nearby, and then opening some crazy portal that spewed undead out all over the zone. The sky grew dark and there was a pretty heavy feeling that some bad shit was going down.

By the time I got back to him he had been killed by a high level player. The event ended very abruptly but it was really cool while it lasted. And trying to reason with what was effectively a boss mob being played by a real person was really friggin' awesome back in 2001 and is something that I have not seen attempted again since EverQuest.

At any rate, thats all for now. I need to get some rest. I'll pick this up again later.

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Wrath of the Lich King [Sep. 1st, 2008|02:27 pm]
Still awaiting the next version update; but now that its September that hopefully won't be long to go.

I'm glad to be back home. I spent a little time in Vana'diel but it was purely catching up with old friends and seeing how folks are doing. Many seem bored, and a couple of long-time buddies are considering quitting which still saddens me even though I'm in the same boat.

After a week of putting a deck, roof, and some other random house bits together in a town that mostly still relies on dial-up I was very much looking forward to coming back and having access to my treasured MMOs. I came back to WoW but once again found level-grinding in Nagrand to be painfully dull due to its extremely slow pace.

I wanted to play WoW but I didn't want to grind. Maybe I could go and PVP? Maybe I could go and make a new character? But making a lowbie would still be driving me along through the same tired content I've already played through time and time again. I didn't want to level through the same old stuff. Was there a solution?

I fiddled around on the internet checking my favored webcomics, watching the week's Zero Punctuation that I had missed while out-of-town, and finally checking my e-mail which revealed that I had been sent an invitation to the Wrath of the Lich King Beta while I was away.

Thank you, Blizzard. Thank you for directly answering my call of boredom.

I've stated that I don't intend to use this writing space for documenting WoW stuff; which is slowly becoming a lie. Today I've made the decision to completely go against it. The logic ends up being that, given the past couple months of lack of LJ activity, I can seemingly either write nothing or I can write about what I'm doing even if it isn't FFXI related. If people hate WoW they don't have to read it. But I'm making a concious effort to try and make the WoW material accessable and understandable to those who don't play the game.

At any rate, here goes.


I haven't bothered taking any of my existing characters over onto the new continent yet that makes up the bulk of the expansion: I had enough fun running around on my Hunter taming new pets; like the giant scary firefly pictured above. This most recent update (on Beta) has completely revamped the way Hunter pets work, giving you points to invest into being able to upgrade them in a manner of your choosing. In my mind, its sort of like PUP attachments except more of a pain in the ass to remove and adjust. The added level of pet customization is wonderful for those of us who really get a kick out of pet jobs, and I'm loving it.

Up until now most Hunter pets in WoW have been very similiar; seperated only by minor stat growth, some having racial abilities (i.e. a Boar pet can Charge), and cosmetic differences. Now pets are seperated into one of three archetypes that are effectively: Tank, Damage, and Utility--and they have points to spend on customizing them, as I mentioned above. Its all really neat.

In addition, all pets have a racial ability now to give people incentive to try new things. The way the game works on the Live servers currently is every single Hunter in the game is running around with the exact same damned pets and its extremely dull to see your 9th Hunter in a row with a cat following behind him. My firefly (considered a Wasp pet) has the racial ability to Sting, which causes a bit of magic damage, reduces target's armor, and makes the target glow which prevents them from stealthing for a few seconds--which is a big Eff You to Rogues, who I dislike anyways. So there, I've found my favored "I hate Rogues" pet.

They're expanding the number of pets you can have access to from 3 to 5, which is important considering the fact that people will want different pets specced to do different things.


Then therse the new class, Death Knight. Heres mine.

But I don't really want to talk about the Death Knight itself, as my time playing it gave me the "I'm just another frontline job with big scary weapons". It had personality and I'm sure it'll be fun for people who don't have a melee job yet. But it wasn't different enough from a functional standpoint to get all that excited over. Then again this is still Beta and my Death Knight by no means has all of its class abilities yet.

The thing that I do want to talk about is what happens when you make a Death Knight.

You see, all MMO games on their boxes try to convince you that there is a living, ever-changing world within your Norrath, Vana'diel, Azeroth, or wherever else you choose to adventure in. This is technically true when content updates occur but it never really feels like there is a living sense of progression.

The Death Knight starting area is the most "living" MMO content I've ever seen in any game ever.

You create your Death Knight as a level 55 character with the backstory that they were a great hero who fell to the dark side. You are now under the direct command of the expansion's star, The Lich King, and you are introduced to your class's abilities very slowly through what is effectively a series of tutorial quests that teach you what is what and how The Lich King's army gets things done.

This tutorial zone offers one long, solid story in which you bring death and terror to the last remnants of humanity in the regions. As you assault the quiet little towns the people flee, the buildings are burned. Your archers fire volleys of arrows into the town to pin down and trap would-be escapists. And you finish them off.

But the fascinating thing is that as you complete these quests; the damage persists. The charred buildings don't come back. The areas that have been wiped of human life appear to stay that way; and there is a sense of real war occuring when you push whats left of the humans further and further out of their own territory and you get to see them becoming more and more desperate as they lose ground. And your forces will close in for the kill as they gain ground. There are recon quests, sabotage quests, the generic killing quests, and even quests in which you use massive siege weapons on the enemy to wipe out hundreds in a matter of minutes.

Its amazingly well done. And you feel like a genuinely evil person just for being involved in it. At one point I was given the order to go into one of the nearby towns and kill civilians. In specific I was told "Everyone expects soldiers to die, but civilians! THATS what scares people!" So I ride into town and the people attempt to flee from me. I attempted to pull a townsperson by using a ranged attack on him.

Now, anyone who plays MMOs will tell you that if you tag a mob it will fight you. Thats just how it goes. But that isn't what happened here. I hit the runner and charged him. He didn't move forward to engage me. He didn't continue running away either. He put his arms up over his face to cover up his head and he stood there shaking in fear. I stood there for a moment watching the poor guy cry, expecting him to stop at some point and continue pathing around like a mob should. But he didn't. He just shook and sobbed and begged for his digital life to be spared.

It made me hesitate. Silly, I know. But I felt like I was doing something -really- wrong and the feeling inspired by that was a rather powerful one for what should have been killing a mob as I've been doing for a decade. As if Blizzard had planned for player hesitation in such a situation, I was eventually sent a /tell from The Lich King, demanding that I perform the task I was given. I slaughtered the townsfolk and continued on my way.

The tutorial area ends in a large-scale war between the last 300 (heh) fighters defending the church that makes up the last dot of humanity on the map against the Lich King's army of about one thousand badass troops.

I won't spoil exactly what happens. I thought the final outcome was, frankly, silly. But overall everything was really good and then you get dumped back into normal WoW where things don't work like that anymore and the game is business as usual again.

And thats a damned shame.

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AFK: Construction Ahead [Aug. 24th, 2008|01:44 pm]
I'm going away for a week to help build a house so the odds of updates soon are pretty low. I have logged into FFXI a couple of times recently but all I've really done is /danced with Tsukushi in Al Zahbi, talked to friends, and hit random mobs with BLU spells.

In particular, I woke up the other day and -really- wanted to join a merit party. Odd, since I usually hate them--but I understand why the idea was so appealing all of a sudden. See, in FFXI and EQ before it I leveled all my characters and classes by standing in a particular spot with some friends pulling and killing enemies to level. WoW attempts to break away from this with the "questing" system but with varied results.

It isn't that the questing structure in WoW is -bad- but I just hit the biggest of the Burning Crusade zones the other day and when I'm told to ride from one side of the zone to the other to talk to a guy who will ask me to travel for ten minutes to kill one other guy so that I can make the trip back to the first guy for a tiny bit of XP...I don't dig that. Its fine in some of the lower level zones where stuff isn't as amazingly spread out. But now -every- quest in Nagrand is like this. Its 80% travel, 10% combat, and 10% getting killed by level 70s that swoop out of the sky to kill and then camp you. It wouldn't be so bad but every completed quest is some dismal boost towards the next level. Progress through questing is slow but ultimately worthwhile as I can earn XP, gear, and money. Its pacing just seems to have gotten a lot more poor all of a sudden.

When I can get away with it; I will find a group of mobs and just slaughter them for an eternity (yay, firefly pet!). I don't know if its the years of "camping" in other games just being engraved in my mind so heavily but, if I have Rest XP built up, I seriously find it faster (and, honestly, less boring) sometimes to just slaughter everything in my path than to do a lot of these quests. Having to chase my XP down for hours and hours and hours of running back and forth was so blah that the idea of having my XP come to me in the form of cute, pink colibri birds sounded like a great change of pace.

So I arrive in Vana'diel and proceed to not get a party invite. Thats fine, I can make my own. Except there aren't enough 75s around to make a good melee burn (I know, I'm too picky) so then I try and find some other PUPs to have a less serious but more fun "PUP burn" but there aren't enough of those around who want to speak to me because of my being NA and, therefore, too weak. And then I decided to take my BLU to solo imps in the mire but it was already packed with other soloists.

Okay. Well. I could Campaign for XP...

No, no I can't. Campaign puts me to sleep. I'll go back to Azeroth and join an instance group and kill a ton of guys that way. My demands are simple; I want to slaughter things and have a gauge rise as it happens.

I'm a thrilling person.

I saw the notice about the adjustments being made to Pande, AV, and JoL. Thats cool and all. And while I'm glad that they realized how batshit crazy their PW encounter was. Whats sad to me is the fact that after literally years of insisting that we figure out the AV fight on our own they decide that getting bad press is enough to change their minds otherwise. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for adjusting the AV encounter to put it somewhere in the range of doable but why do the voices of the american media get damned near INSTANT results when the collective voice of the playerbase, i.e. the PEOPLE WHO GIVE THEM MONEY MONTHLY, get ignored for years? SE obviously doesn't want bad press being thrown around about their game; and thats understandable. But damn.

If you check any, ANY MMO forum you'll read angry posts about how said game's developers isn't in touch with their playerbase and that they don't care about the people who end up lining their pockets with cash. And while almost any game in the genre gets blamed for this I have to say that SE comes off as being the most guilty one that I've come across thus far.

It angers me. It literally angers me. The fanbase should be glad that I'm not one of these folks who gets to be in the live interviews with the SE Devs because my version of the "Zilart ground kings need adjustment" question wouldn't be be followed by a completely unrelated question after being dismissed. I would press the issue until given a damned good reason WHY they refuse to make them more accessable or hit someone with a folding chair. It would be bad but the transcript would at least be more interesting than what we get now.

At any rate, I have to get going down the road. I have high hopes for the upcoming version update. Going through the notes that have been released for it thus far, I'm sure it won't provide much in the way of new content. But it may shape up to be different; as they tend to keep the "good" notes for later.

At this point, I just want to see the WotG storyline to its end, have saved the world yet again, and then bow out of Vana'diel. At least thats my current stance on things.

Whatever game you play, I wish you fun with it. I have a house to build. Later!

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A Word on the Warden [Aug. 13th, 2008|10:28 am]
Firstly, I want to apologize for my disappearing. I've been feeling unwell and I've been busy with family stuff. I think those two things may be related.

I haven't logged in FFXI literally any so I have no new screenshots to post. I do have a tiny handful of WoW pictures but posting those here probably isn't the best of plans.

I come back and find FFXI in a stranger state than it was when I had left. The powerful effort made against the Pande Warden is shocking to me. Its all been covered better elsewhere, and is spreading like wildfire around the internet now. And I'm glad, honestly. I don't want to go into it too deeply because I'm not involved with this in any way. But seriously. Come on SE.

I get antsy having to sit in my chair and maintain my buff cycle and spin my own gears that make up the working machine of my LS for about one hour against Jailer of Love. One hour. Through normal MMO gameplay I get up and wander around. I do other things to keep myself busy. And people who send me /tells wanting to talk know I'm notorious for not paying attention to my computer monitor even though I spend a vast majority of my free time in the same room as my gaming machine.

Someone on SE's development team made a concious decision that this ZNM boss should change forms a billion times and get progressively worse. The game needs its big badass monsters. But designing an encounter that has to be controlled for such a painfully long period of time isn't the way to go about doing that. Making a fight last forever doesn't make it difficult. It makes it dull, frustrating, and throws up a bunch of red flags about bad game design and stirs up bitter feelings towards SE.

What are they thinking? Again, folks on the BG forums defend it; citing that the fight is being handled improperly and that "there must be some gimmick". Going back to WoW for a moment, there are a lot of really gimmicky and silly boss fights. But its about mastering the gimmick and learning the fight--which is more about figuring out what the enemy does and adjusting to it. If there is a gimmick to AV or the Warden; how will anyone ever discover them if efforts against them are met with the crushing defeat that kills player morale after such a long and powerful investment? People will stop caring. People will regard it as a lost cause and choose not to engage it like we choose not to engage AV if he pops after a JoL kill. We have players who spend a good portion of their concious time in Vana'diel who are choosing not to play content because its viewed as a waste of time. I mean no offense to anyone with that statement. But think about that!

And better yet; the rest of the ZNM system is super casual. Why is the last guy in the line the Destroyer of Worlds? It just. Doesn't. Make. Any. Sense.

I remember my raiding days back in EverQuest my guild (Reavers of Fate on the Terris-Thule server, baby!) raided a zone called Plane of Growth. EQ raids on Growth and Sky could last for days. DAYS. My first (and only) Growth raid happened over the course of a weekend. The entire weekend. I had just transferred to a new highschool at the time and had no friends yet so I was content eating up my whole weekends at these raids. I played all day, deep into the night. And I fell asleep at my chair with my head beside the keyboard with my character, Seifena, still logged in. When I passed out most of us had left and only a skeleton crew remained to continue clearing out the way to the last boss of the zone.

When I awoke the next morning the group had cut a path deeper into the zone; and were still chugging along. I caught up and, amusingly, got an awesome pair of boots that dropped on the first monster I killed after waking up for my Rogue that I wore up until the day I quit the game. We beat the zone that Sunday and the final boss dropped crap. But we had won; and I was proud to have seen it through to the end.

There was another zone, Plane of Sky. These zones were made to take up hours and hours. Days, sometimes. They weren't instanced. And stuff inside them took days to repop; which meant that you could clear part of a zone, call it a night, and then have everyone come back that Wednesday or whatever to pick up where we had left off.

It sounds horrible. But it worked for two reasons that the AV and Warden fights do not work.

1) AV and PW are situations that require constant player attention.
Lets not kid ourselves. A lot of us consider ourselves to be hardcore MMO fans. We've all brought dinner to our keyboard and eaten a hurried meal with one hand while spamming macros with the other when our attention was needed. And thats fine. But it isn't good for you. Eating is one of those things that really shouldn't be rushed. Its also bad for you to sit there and continue plugging away at your Dynamis run and constantly readjusting yourself in your seat because you need to keep pulling or healing or doing whatever when you need to be in the restroom instead.

The reason the old EQ raids worked was because they were done at a fairly relaxed pace where one could take a break. And raid leaders encouraged this regularly. For short duration stuff like Salvage and Limbus its no big deal. But then you get into events like these big boss fights and Dynamis where your attention is needed for hours and there is a serious matter at hand that requires constant player attention or you suffer for it. Dynamis is obviously less at fault here because it doesn't last but for a couple hours.

2) You're fighting forever to kill a single mob.
Old EQ raids (and WoW raids do this too) require you to kill all kinds of stuff. This might sound like a waste of time to keep you away from the boss mobs. And in truth, it is. But these mobs usually served a purpose. In the case of EQ they would drop money or randomly drop nice goodies. You see this occur in Dynamis and it works. In WoW you additionally tend to gain reputation for killing stuff like that, so the slaughter serves a purpose and you get a sense of progression in addition to having lots and lots of tiny chances at seeing an item drop that makes people happy and boosts player morale.

In the cases where you fight and kill only one thing; people get bored. And worse than that, you're left with the painful thought in the back of your head that the boss might not drop anything good and that your efforts will have gone largely wasted. In FFXI this is especially a crime. Going by the rest of the ZNM system and the five years of game that existed previous to PW; I can wager a guess that killing him will likely result in a title, maybe a weapon and armor piece, and about four dark crystals.

I love collecting the rare gear and the sense of accomplishment that comes with seeing Jailer Torques or 35 pieces out of Salvage drop. But what could Pande seriously drop that would make a logical person want to fight him for nearly a day for? The investment versus reward there is screwed up beyond belief even if there WASN'T a random loot table involved. I used to be interested in PW, but after reading the reports from the players who fought him; his drops would pretty much have to either solve my financial problems for a very long time (and I don't mean gil) or have sex with me. Possibly both. And that isn't because I myself am unwilling to do something for hours and hours and hours on an end. I can level my damned Bulbasaur to 100 before reaching the first Gym Leader if I get bored enough. But when I have to convince my friends to come suffer with me then its a dealbreaker.

Shame on you, SE.

Wow. That got a lot longer a lot faster than I thought was going to happen. Sorry about that.

Hope to have regular updates up soonish.

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Eff You, FFXI [Jul. 31st, 2008|01:03 am]

Angry venting entry. Thats my warning.

I'm tired. And my time spent in FFXI feels generally dull and uninteresting. I enjoy helping my friends and seeing them get new things and laughing with them in Vent. But for every minute of that good, warm feeling of LS togetherness theres fifty nine minutes of waiting for folks to gather in Whitegate or waiting for the Zeni camera target to change or waiting for the SC so I can magic burst.

Or just waiting on something interesting to happen.

I can't blame FFXI for that. There is stuff to do, sure. But most of it offers no reward that interests me. The few things that do require more than I'm willing to put forward. Maybe I've simply become lazy. But when I look at the implied things coming up in the next update that will drive me back to Nyzul for a new WS for PUP or back to Dynamis for spending another year or more hoping for relic armor to drop...armor that will do what for me? Make me feel like I've accomplished something when I stand infront of my Moogle with my party flag up for hours on end while I read comics online. Armor to outfit jobs that I don't play?

I don't care that much. Of course I'll wait and see what happens in September before I really worry about it. But I feel so bored and frustrated. I say on the BG forums that the new weaponskills should be more accessable to the general playerbase than requiring a 5% chance drop from the 100th floor of an instance you can only run a max of seven times per week. And I get bombared with hateful statements about me wanting everything handed to me on a silver platter.

I think what I want handed to me is a new adventure. And I won't find that in Nyzul or Dynamis. I won't find that in Salvage or Campaign. Simply put, I won't find that in Vana'diel unless this coming patch does something big. And spending a bajillion gil that I don't have chasing after a "mythic weapon" for my PUP or BLU that doesn't get invited to LS events isn't big. Its simply depressing.

I've been playing MMOs for just shy of ten years now. And when I say that; I pretty much mean ten years straight. Sometimes almost literally 24/7--not quite, but as close to it as I've been able to manage with my free time. I've been spinning my wheels both as a person and a writer. And I think it may soon be time and try and do something more with my life than running digital people around digital worlds.

That ended up being way longer than it was supposed to have been. Here goes business as usual.


We killed Armed Gears today for Izman hoping for the platemail shoes to drop. It was our smoothest and quickest fight against him ever. His mass Rail Cannon still did a crapton of damage and claimed a couple of lives but now that we've gotten into smoothly alternating SCs and MBs to match his elements and I've started paying more attention to putting enfeebles up that are strong to whichever "elemental mode" he takes things have gotten smoother.

There isn't really a whole lot else to say about that. I was hoping the polearm would show up but it didn't. Izman got his shoes though. And dear lord are they ugly.


Ewww shoes. Having taken care of that I finally got to pop the Dea I've been holding onto for weeks. Kallo also brought a pop item and we were both hoping for Enkidu's Subligar. This was an important fight for me because it meant I would finally be ready for the tier4 Hydra ZNM soon as this fight was over. And that was one of few things I was still looking forward to.

While gathering for the fight I mentioned my experiences with Dea doing funny things with his hate when people standing directly in front of the Wivre NM's kiting path. Ringthree dismissed this as utter nonsense. He thought that I had taken that information from a messageboard somewhere or Wiki or something and cited that it was probably bullshit. He didn't know that it was something I had experienced and proposed myself from my own time spent with the mob. I know he didn't mean anything offensive by it but his words irritated me somewhat.


Dea ended up wrecking Izman while he was just standing there. The Black Mages were running him around the "kiting tower" and had hate cemented on them. Iz suggested that maybe I was right about Dea prioritizing people in his running path. I still don't know if Dea does or doesn't do this. The only way to prove it would be to have zero hate on myself and purposefully stand in his path--which isn't something I'm willing to do to prove that he'll kill me. Regardless of what you believe, theres no good reason to stand directly in Dea's movement path anyways so I'd advise against it just in case.

Of course my Enkidu's piece didn't drop either. The gloves and pants have both -repeatedly- failed to drop for me. They did drop for Kallo on his kill and, once again, the armor looks terrible. At least equipped on a male Hume it does. Kallo felt bad that we only got the one drop. At least we got one. But my lack of luck with ZNMs makes me worry about the upcoming Hydra pop. Kallo is going to pop Hydra too. And going with my running theme of ZNM stuffs I will certainly not see an Enkidu Body either and they'll drop just fine on pops that belong to other people.

After that I was tired and irritable. One from lack of sleep and two because fuck ZNMs. My efforts to get enough points to pop my Hydra was ruined by Sanraku changing his mind about the zeni point target during my camera run and picking Dark Elements to be the new thing to go after. That singlehandedly put Hydra off the menu. Thanks, Sanraku. I hate you.

I geared up PUP to kill two Ob for friends. I have a special hatred of Ob for eating up sooo much Zeni when I had to kill him over and over and over and over again for Coiler and Steam Jacket. He decided to drop FOUR attachments tonight; including both the Coiler and the Steam Jacket to get AHed by their pop-item holders. Theres nothing wrong with items dropping. But man I felt like I had got ripped off. Seeing my friends get drops to sell doesn't bug me. But goddamn. The ONE person who can actually USE the fucking PUP drops has to waste HOW much time? And the folks just selling the drops don't even have to break a sweat over it....? Really?

We also ended up killing a skeleton NM in tier1 that spammed -ga spells like crazy. First time fighting him and hopefully the last time since he was a total jackass and a pain to reach.

This Hydra pop is my last visible goal that I have in Vana'diel. I do have others. Finishing out my homam collection, getting more STR on BLU, and getting the Fort. Torque. Theres also the Animator+1 from Einherjar. I just really want to see this damned Enkidu Body drop. Maybe thats dumb considering my interest in Vana'diel is diminishing. Maybe if it does drop I should give it to someone else so that I'd have still "won" and the armor will still go to good use.

I gave Blaize the first chunk of money towards repaying my debt to him. We'll see how I feel once that is over with.

Sorry for being so painfully bleak.


Edit: Wow, I didn't even sign that entry at first I was so blah.
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