Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Hey! Itzawamoura!

Popped this beauty last night. First mob Atma for myself. Until I get Baying Moon, I'll use this on RDM together with Heavens Atma. Seraph blade terrorized it and made the Atma drop. Boots went to Rayearl. Ray has a ton of weapons skilled up on his WAR which makes it great for trying to proc Red!!. No luck on Blue!! or Yellow!!.

The fight was pretty simple. We started out straight tanking it. I intended to have it kited from the start, but I suppose this made doing weaponskills easier for people that don't know how to range them. The kiting area was a large rock south of the chigoes. Once we started kiting nobody was ever really in danger of dying except the DD's that weren't being cured properly. The tank party was more than capable of kiting/holding it indefinitely. Had Sedna been closer to a rock like this it would have been a lot less chaotic. However, Sedna actually runs faster than normal player running speed. This Wamoura does not.

We killed Tunga and Warbler after Itza[tab], but no luck on key item trigger or abyssite. We should start having someone check Yanei when we next do something in Attohwa.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Weekend update 11

Duelist's Chapeau +1 in the making. I hope I remember to trade the items and coins in on Sunday before JP midnight. Got Valkurm Dynamis win for some folks and fairly decent number of AF drops. It's almost like Treasure Hunter has a level correction! I'm kidding, of course. So that was a good Sunday after a GREAT Saturday. Why great?

First of all, after getting 10 merits in an AF3 farming alliance (that ended in 2 pieces only) I decided to get some people from LS to farm gold boxes in Konschat Highlands. We started out with 4 and a got a fifth for about an hour before he had to leave. Kingcem and I on DD's made short work of bugards. Jinpu is a piece of crap, but it still didn't take too long to cap amber lamps. At one point I managed a 800+ Jinpu, but this was obviously an outlier. The only negative of that farming session was that I wasted 44k EXP from being capped after getting another 10 merits. Aside from that, it was all win. We managed 4/5 on an Eve pop and 3/3 on Kukulkan, which is the only other key item I need for the full Eve set. It's a shame we only managed to get 4 people out there. We could have gotten a lot more pops with two or three more parties. I think people have more confidence in our ability to get things done as a group now that we've merged with another shell. After finally popping a zone boss last week, finishing a pop set for the Attohwa and now this I'm pretty confident myself.

On the last mega gold pyxis Kingcem won the /random for a 5% PDT Dark Ring that obviously should have been mine! After the farming I begged the guys to go check if Khalamari was up and help me kill it if it was. I still needed the helm. Unfortunately it was claimed and nearly dead. I asked if the people killing it if they needed the helm or were going for the necklace (they were 2 DNC's). I didn't get an answer right away, but then this happened:

Now my WS set is a little more awesome. The helm is not hard to get, so it's not an "OMG DROP" item, but I didn't get Abyssea add-ons until Scars came out. There's quite a few more items/mobs I need to "catch up" with.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Einherjar Zweiherjar...

First of what I hope will be many Einherjar runs. I'm hopeful about getting to do Odin again. I've never had the chance to fight it and I would consider it a milestone if we managed to take it down.

It started out with a very long wait. I did a headcount of potential feather mules and we have 3 of them. This is very good if the people they belong to keep showing up. Looking at who has the most feathers, two people now have 6. I'm assuming we'll need to go through all tiers to get everyone access to the Odin fight. I believe we could (in theory) get everyone access plus finish a 9 feather set in 5 runs. After that with the feather mules it will hopefully be faster.

The event itself was smooth. No deaths and an easy boss (Psycheflayer). We cut it close towards the end because the second wave was bats and slimes. Slimes took a bit longer to kill and there were a lot of them. I made the mistake of running deep into the center of the zone after the first wave died. All mobs popped on top of me, but fortunately the regular mobs can't aggro you right away. They have the same passive period that mobs outside of Einherjar have. The boss, however, does not have that passive timeframe which meant it immediately aggro'd and we had to kill it before taking out the second wave. This is similar to how mobs in Dynamis and Walk of Echoes behave.

After Einherjar I helped Pezerton do the final CoP mission. It was nice to fight in Empyreal Paradox again, as that zone is gorgeous. I'm sorry to say it took us 3 tries to get it right with 4 people. The long lasting Mute and Amnesia combined with the physical shield took us by surprise as it seemed none of us read up on the fight beforehand. We all probably thought "at 85 this should be a breeze". Once we started kiting when WHM was silenced or it had physcal shield up, it was notably easier.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Abyssea to-do list

Obviously there's a TON of things to do inside Abyssea zones. I was a bit late to the party and had some catching up to do.

My first priority was to get Celerity abyssites. The first one was achieved by dragging 3-4 people to tonberries after a long LS EXP Alliance. It took us about 20 pulls each to get the Abyssite. Since these are soloable it's not really that big a deal to get these as long as you have the time. So a Konschat EXP Alliance may not be as common as the newer zones, but people still want the key item triggers so I'm sure you can find one. Or... start your own. It's a real pain making a decent alliance.

Second Celerity comes from a quest in Vunkerl. Getting fame high enough for this quest took me 15 trades in the "A ward to end all wards" quest. The pop items that work became cheaper after about 2 weeks of people buying them all up. The supplies quest works too, but takes longer. This is by far the easiest one to get. Since repeating is so fast, you don't need a lot of time to get it done. It'll cost you a bit of gil, but it's worth it.

Second priority is getting Abyssites of Merit. I've only gotten one so far, but this will become a huge help. NM fights are a lot simpler when they simply CANNOT one/two-shot you. Getting all Merit Abyssites and Black Merino Atma will boost your HP by 90%, almost doubling it. Yaanei and Bukhis Atma are a bit harder to and I wonder if the HP boost is capped.

I got the one from "Wanted: Medical Supplies", a quest in Misareaux. I got it without conciously trying. A blue pyxis dropped off the iron giant and I opened it manually because I didn't happen to have any keys on me. It was a pyxis with 400 EXP in it, but it was apparently enough to qualify for the quest.

The Merit from "Playing Paparazzi" will take an evening of work. There is a decently long series prerequisite quests and you need max fame to flag it. However, I'm motivated to get it done now, so I'll give it a go.

Bhumi should be an easy kill. Finding them may be the tricky part. I don't know if subbing RNG on RDM is going to cut it for the fight. It's supposedly very weak so I may as well try.

Warbler is probably the toughest one to get. I hate that it's not 100% because I don't want to fight that thing too often. Since it benefits the whole alliance and it also drops seals, we may as well camp out the Gnats durign an LS event.

This will raise your stats by 10 on top of the nominal Cruor boost. I don't think I need to explain why this is good.

Probably THE most game-changing element of Abyssea. The strong Atmas turn melees into destroyers of worlds. The difference between a melee with Voracious Violet and Razed Ruin Atmas and one that has neither is night and day. The focus has been on the melee orientated Atmas, however there are a pair of Superior INT atmas as well as one with Refresh+10. Something for everyone. Getting the Atmas may prove a bit more difficult than Abyssites, but with the number of players we have now, we should have a good shot at covering the majority of elemental WS.

Sedna #1

Optimistically titled, suggesting we'll be doing many more of these, this entry is all about yesterday's Abyssea Vunkerl. WoA and FcUK teamed up to form a new shell called Facepalm. After a relatively successful Dynamis Buburimu on Sunday I have no regrets about the collaboration. Shyara had the Sea Monk key item and so we only needed the pugil to pop the zone quest boss.

After I saw a lone RDM inching towards Hrosshvalur, I decided to do an emergency sac pull. Total chaos ensued. DD tanks were not able to hold hate off healers and aoe damage started taking people out. It took a second try to get it right, but at least we didn't lose the claim to another group. Key item drops and we get ready for Sedna.

The fight would be similar. Both spam water based attack. Barspell and Carol helped a lot. Not having Carol2 was disappointing. Both have knockback attacks. For the pugil it's his normal attack, while it's a TP ability for the ruszor. However it spams it enough that it doesn't matter. It has potent regain and at low HP would hardly ever melee and just back to back aqua blast. It has silence aura and is immune to magic when it has the bubbles animation up, which is almost full-time at low HP. Magic damage doesn't seem too helpful and melees did well. Due to knockback the whole tank party would regularly have to eat a Waterja, which wasn't too dangerous, but the curing needed did let healers overtake tanks in hate at some point. Better positioning and more plentiful and faster cures would make a world of difference in both this and the pugil fight. The tanks should never have to go down. With high HP and keeping them topped up (and not dwindling at 90%) only the most unlucky sequence of events should be able to take them out. I think I'll bring more healing power next time and assign one to each tank. Drops were not as important to me as getting my first zone quest win and second Lunar Abyssite.

Afterwards we did another Hrosshvalur, Iktomi and Lord Varney. Varney dropped key item which completed Shyara's Bukhis pop set. Since all accounts of Bukhis make it sound like an absolute beast, I've decided to let it wait until this new group gets more comfortable/confident. I need to remember to take pictures of the fights themselves and not just the drops/kills.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Walk of Echoes: chamber 2 wins

After attempting chambers 1 and 3 before the last version update and losing, yesterday's two runs at chamber 2 (which was already the easiest of the first 3) seemed like a walk in the park. The WoE adjustments made mobs easier, as did the 5 extra levels. Also, the longer 45 min time limit makes it much more forgiving. The slimes are the most popular area because they require the least number of mobs to be killed. Also, the mobs themselves don't have any quircky or annoying abilities. Nothing like a hate reset, stripga or extreme poison to deal with.

During the first run we used the vast majority of the 45 minutes we got. I got about 8k EXP and ranked 3rd doing quite a bit of curing and nuking. Our group consisted of a tank party (MNK,WAR,COR,RDM,SMN,WHM) and some assorted DD's (SMN,BLM,DRK). Tillaert and Tipira took care of the sac pulling of bosses. Lordapm (MNK) and Rayearl (WAR) did the vast majority of the damage according to the parse. Second loot pool looked like this:

It's too bad the prices of the items are dropping fast, now that the zone is being cleared regularly.

The strategy was to have the WHM focus on cures while the SMN and RDM took care of erasing slow and hasting one of the DD's each. With meds and refresh2 on the WHM, durability was not an issue. Slow and Paralyze landed easily and Paralyze proc'd regularly. Damage was steady, except for the very first boss where hate was being pulled off melee. People held back longer during the rest of the run and it became more stable. Only melee stand within range, as bosses cast sleepga and also, you don't want to get hit by the AoE abilities. The bosses seemed a bit spammy with their TP abilities.

Runner behavior
The mobs in the crab and antlion areas used to run towards the spot where one of their buddies died at. I haven't been in either area 1 or 3 since the update, but a video I've seen of 3 seems to suggest they still do that. However, the slimes didn't do this. Not exactly, anway. When a mob dies another random mob or two start moving to another random location in the zone. So it COULD come across someone and aggro, but it could also just end up at its destination where it will hang out. In the same way as runners in the Crab zone (pre-patch anyway) they'll stay at their destination until the aggro someone. If that person dies, they will move back to their original starting position.

During our second run, after killing the first boss, a second boss came running towards our location. No other mob was with him, and so it was a clean pull and it sped things up nicely. I'm assuming it was headed for the starting plateau and just happened to find us on the way there. At the end of the first run I went to the SW corner looking for the final boss, but it wasn't there, while 2 of it's little helpers (Grenade Syrups) were. It had moved around and ended up way down at the bottom on the north side of the map, where we had already pulled the third boss from. So, it seems their destination is random and it is just one giant shuffle that can cause you to aggro if you're not camped together with a sac'er watching your back.

I somehow managed to deaggro one of the Morbid Molasses while pulling it off the SMN sac'er. I'm not sure how that's possible since they're supposed to have alliance-wide aggro. I would expect it to at least have one more target after deaggroing me. The fact that it can deaggro at all is also surprising. The explanation I think is most likely is that upon initial aggro, it will 'detect' alliance members in the zone, but if pulled off the sac'er without it going idle/passive it won't do this 'detect' mechanism again. I can't think of a useful application of the deaggro at the moment, but it's semi-interesting. Compared it to regular mob behaviour, it's very similar. The biggest difference is that regular mobs don't detect across an entire zone. The 'detect' range for Dynamis mobs is bigger than regular mobs', but still limited to a certain distance.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Weekend update 10

I was home sick the last two days, which made it a particularly long weekend. I thought I'd use my time to do all kinds of things on FFXI, but I ended up watching movies while chocobo digging and doing the regular LS events. It was relaxing.

I made it a point to finally put together a magic defense set. I had several pieces already, but not an actual macro. I sacrificed my Cure3 macro for it, which is no big deal since I use Cure4 almost exclusively nowadays anyway. It's still unfinished but it's already enough to survive Citadel Buster, which I found out during last night's Ultima. I died anyway, because after the second one I got hit with a Holy2. I was riding out the hate assuming a PLD would pull it off me. They did, but only a fraction of a second too late. Below is what the set looks like now. It carries over my PDT pieces in slots where I haven't got any magic defense pieces yet.

I know Limbus mobs are now DC with the level 85 cap and that any damage on them isn't going to 'wow' or impress most people. However, it was still a shock to me to break 4000 on a Weaponskill. The blobs in SE Appolyon are weak to piercing and so Penta Thrust was always going to do well [Correction: They're not weak to piercing. The crabs are though]. Be that as it may, it was the highest damage I've ever done in a single action on any mob on any job ever. Also, I beat Kingcem's MNK! Hahahaha, I know you're reading this! Woo!

The Gekko damage was also quite pleasing. I sacrificed 2 haste and tp'd in Perle hands and feet. I believe these are pretty reasonable trade-offs with only Haste spell backing you up, but I could be wrong.

On that topic, I recently thought of how Haste often doesn't produce ANY extra benefit. Take the 2% Haste trade-off I was talking about. Let's say in pushed me from 35% down to 33% Haste, which is about a 3% DoT increase. That means that in 97% of fights I will NOT see an extra attack. If you have a single long fight, the 3% means that I'll get an extra swing every 33 hits which is guaranteed. In contrast, the STR and Attack that I gain from wearing Perle hands and feet affect my damage on EVERY melee hit. It's guaranteed benefit versus benefit in the long run. When I look at it that way I'm more willing to sacrifice small amounts of haste when we're not swimming in it. Some would call such a situation suboptimal and that it shouldn't be considered anyway. I think it's me being realistic. Yes, that does mean that Ace's helm does not universally suck.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Enmity Kings

So, if you could choose any job to build hate on something without beating up on it which would you choose? Forget about gear for a second and only look at what enmity generators each job has. Spells that generate hate are usually rated by how much enmity they generate per MP and what type of enmity it is. What I hardly ever see is a comparisson of how much enmity they generate per second.

The recast of magic spells can be halved with enough haste which doubles the enmity generation per second. Paladin, the classic tank, has very limited choice when it comes to enmity spells. We can talk about how enmity gear is more plentiful for Paladins than say Blue mages, and how Sentinel affects enmity over time, but to keep it simple I'll ignore those for the time-being.

Flash and Stun are very similar and rate extremely high in both MP efficiency and Enmity over time. They are the main enmity spells. Compared to Utsusemi, which will be used frequently when blink tanking, as a baseline some spells are very lackluster. They're still used as enmity generators because of the rarity of CE in spells. Much CE is generated through damage dealt to a mob. Absorb spells when spammed (since you have 8 of them) will close the gap between Stun casts. Assuming floored recast times on DRK and PLD, you'll have about 23 seconds to bridge after Stun/Flash. Let's say you cast each Utsusemi once during that gap. That leaves about 15 seconds for other spells. Assume you idle 1/3rd of your time away and you got 10 seconds to build hate some other way. Occasionally that means Job abilities and Weaponskills, but in the case of DRK you have Absorb spells to close the gap. They are not huge enmity generators, nor are they very MP efficient, but use 3 of them and all of a sudden it's like you had a second Stun worth of enmity during that cycle.

BLU is not as easily compared to DRK and PLD, because it has so many different enmity generators. The spell cycles are a bit longer and more complex, but it can still be split up into groups. Put Jettatura, Actinic Burst and Temporal Shift together and you have a "big" enmity spell every 30 seconds (before reductions). The total enmity of these "big" spells and their efficiency are below that of Stun/Flash, but at a lower recast. The big benefit of BLU's gap-filling spells is that the majority of those are beneficial buffs. Things like Battery Charge and Regeneration are useful while tanking, so it's a dual function. The casting time influences how many you can use to fill the gap. Since the gap is smaller it could look something like BIG>BUFF>UTSU>BUFF>BIG. BLU tanks have said they require more support since they run through their MP faster than normal tanks, but looking at the Enmity per MP column it looks like it's worth it.

All these tank classes work with damage: PLD has Atonement, DRK has regular melee and WS, BLU has big damage spells and self SC's. All these classes also have abilities that complement their tanking. PLD has the mother of all enmity abilities in Sentinel as well as Shield Bash. DRK has Souleater, Last Resort and Weapon Bash. BLU has Diffusion which can make them take a gigantic leap in enmity when combined with Exuviation. With some enmity gear and a full party they can nearly reach half of the enmity cap in one spell. It may defeat the purpose of having a second tank, but when that's not a problem, it's an excellent tool.

Quantifying all of this is kind of hard, but to be completely honest, I think BLU wins the contest. It not only has better diversity and choices of enmity spells that have positive effects, they also have a tendency to have better CE generating potential. When a DD tank is appropriate, I personally believe that MNK, SAM and WAR may be better choices. On the topic of durability, BLU has an excellent choice of PDT gear and access to Cocoon and Saline Coat to cover both physical and magical damage. However, that's just my personal opinion, don't take it too seriously.