Monday, July 5, 2010

My first Astral Burn

It would feel a bit silly posting this if all I wanted to say was that I finally got to Astral Burn successfully. It'd be especially silly because I was the puller and so got no exp and some guy Diaga'd our pull for no apparent reason. I had two things I wanted to find out and it was those two things that really made me want to pull for some WoA members to Astral Flow on.
  1. Is lowered framerate the key to overcoming immobility due to lag and clipping.
  2. Do the number of mobs in the train affect /heal aggro.
The answer to the first question is "yes". From forum posts on the topic of Astral Burning I learned that if you shake the FFXI window you can stand up from /heal and in so doing avoid dying due to lag. Shaking the window sounded as arcane as whacking a television that's on static, but apparently it worked. Some things like blink-casting are helped by lowering your game's frame rate. There are tools to raise your CPU load which will lower your frame rate, but these slow everything else down as well. One day, completely by accident, I discovered that if you open the context menu on FFXI's taskbar item (in windowed-mode obviously) by right-clicking it, you'll severely lower your game's frame rate. I used this during the pull to great effect. Even in the camp when all mobs were gathered in a tiny circle around me, I was able to stand up and reapply Phalanx and then continue resting. It also reduces the amount of clipping checks done while running "through" mobs and players which means you can move around faster. This only works because opening the context menu doesn't stop your keyboard input from being sent to the game. I don't know if this method works for the unofficial Windower, because I don't use that myself. Also, I'm not sure if this method depends on things like your OS version, CPU type/speed and graphics card/drivers.

As for the second question. It arose when discussion of Astral Burning in MMM took place in a BG-forum thread. Some suggested that putting distance between you and the train would solve the problem of some mobs simply not aggroing the puller. This seemed to suggest that too many mobs in close vicinity would hamper eachothers detecting and aggro abilities. They definitely path much much worse with all their buddies around, but as far as I could tell last night, the /heal aggro kept working on jellies which I pulled when I already had a large train. So I don't know why those mobs in MMM would refuse to aggro sometimes or if being far from the rest of the train actually helps.

On Aggro
One thing I accuse people of often is not knowing how aggro and enmity work. While fighting a ZNM I suggested people log off and let the kiter die to reset the rage timer. They then proceeded to log back on immediately before the kiter could die and were taken aback by the fact that they still had hate on the mob. Gaining and losing aggro are not very complex mechanics, but even the basics about it haven't become common knowledge quite yet. I have to admit there are still a few things I need to figure out myself. I've written down some things I'd like to test so that I can better understand some of the seemingly abnormal occurrances.

A long time ago (January 2008) I did some testing solo and in party with Cyrille and Stellina (special thanks to those two) and found out some things for myself. I made a thread about it on BG forum, but it didn't get much attention and only started a discussion about Darters in Dragon's Aery. Here is a link to that thread. Most of what I wrote is still accurate. However, the deaggro timer seems to reset not when an action is taken on you, but when they are able to detect you. I had mentioned both as if they were both a requirement, but it seems only detection plays a part. Also, it seems that water triggering deaggro may still be tied to the timer unlike what I said in that thread. Also, since detection plays a role, the deaggro timer is probably a bit shorter than the 25 seconds I first assumed. You should definitely ignore some of my early replies as I apparently can't read and it's painful to look back on (except that one pwnage post where I disputed what Rena said with proof). I can't truly take credit for discovering anything, but as far as I can tell I was the first person to do such testing and I don't believe the party aggro mechanic was known or understood. I hope I'll be able to continue this line of testing after postponing it for so long.

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