Monday, November 29, 2010

Farming Abyssea: Blue Mages

After the last entry about abyssea farming I was anxious to try it out. Last Saturday I got my chance and it turned into a very good farming run. Building lights on VNM didn't work out so well. We couldn't find enough of them up, so we just built them the old fashioned way. We had two BLU's and two BLM's to start with. I pulled on RDM then did Accession Phalanx when mobs were slept at camp. I had the BLU's both sub PLD for Sentinel. It did help but later on when Cyrille was the only BLU left, we managed to keep him alive with curespam in between sleepgas after Sentinel wore off. Even though it's not necessary, I'm not sure what other sub would have helped more.

BLM's occasionally threw in nukes, but since we were on frogs they did measly damage. Whirl of rage was the big winner doing some very impressive numbers when buffed with drinks and the like. Tail Slap, despite its description of "area attack", turned out to be a conal attack. So it should be ignored in my previous post on the subject. I wonder how Battle Dance would have done. Some magic AoE BLU spells could work in other situations when your target doesn't resist them as much.

Pulling on RDM I used a setup of 43% physical damage reduction (daytime) with Phalanx and Stoneskin. Had I subbed BLU and left the Accession Phalanx to someone else it would have been much more comfortable. Still, due to them not pathing efficiently around the lake or when the train is large, I didn't have to constantly take hits, which ranged roughly from 10-50 on non-critical hits during daytime (when Umbra Cape's hidden effect was not up). It could have been the frogs themselves being weak, but is seems like any number of jobs could manage pulling the train. Even if you're lacking some gear you could send a healer along for building the train. Since only the initial claimed mob has the puller on hate list, the puller can supertank the rest of the train while being curebombed.

I'm afraid I don't have the parse with me right now, but I'm convinced we were killing mobs faster than any other 'traditional' EXP alliance I've been part of so far. Now maybe that doesn't say much about our speed and more about the general gimpness of pick-up alliances, I still think this can be a much better way to EXP when you're providing it for a bunch of low level jobs that can't contribute beyond opening chests. Especially because we essentially never needed more than 4 people and could lower that number further with some optimizations.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Trouble at the Inlet

"What's that girl? There's a tuarus wreaking havoc at the inlet? Scythes for hands, you say? Eep!"

Popped two of these babies yesterday for a total of 6 stones as we proc'd yellow weakness on both. The second pool actually look like a full drop. Having tanks HP and come back was a good idea. Both fights tanks did go down, despite having Earthern Armor up and huge HP. The max HP down debuff, the cruor buffs dispel combined with the occasionally missed stun meant we couldn't guarantee tanks' survival. However, BST and SMN pets as well as Harl on DRK and Till on THF managed to keep it occupied until the tanks got back. Mages did well with removing paralyze, petrify and doooooom! Magi died to doom about a second after Bukhis went down and got exp but no Atma. Pretty silly that something like that is not instantaneous.

Right, we also did Lacovie and Glavoid. Personally I'm now 5/6 on zone wins and still missing Misareaux.

It took the first 80% of Glavoid before we REALLY buckled down and had melee only WS while it was casting long/slow spells. The fear of messing up a second pop is what pulled us through, I think.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Farming Abyssea

By now most people must have heard about Fell Cleave burn parties. It was only a matter of time, really. Like Cyclone, Aeolian Edge, Earth Crusher and other AoE weaponskills, the damage or accuracy of Fell Cleave does not scale depending on the number of mobs affected. This is similar to how Astral Burns worked, because Astral Flow bloodpacts share this property. In fact, it seems like BLM AoE nukes are more of an exception than the rule. So, looking at how popular Astral Burns were before Abyssea came along and the similar underlying principles, it seems less surprising that such a method would arise after SE introduced the strongest physical AoE weaponskill yet.

It's not just Fell Cleave itself that makes Cleave Burning efficient. There's the surviving all the mobs hitting you as well as being able to kill them within a reasonable time. Retaliation makes it so that getting TP for more weaponskills is a non-issue. Restore boxes allow you to have Mighty Strikes up for many if not all of the pulls, making the time actually fighting the mobs very short. With 2hr up, a pair of good Atmas and a decent WS build 2.000 damage is quite achievable and would kill the majority of mobs in 3 weaponskills. The more mobs hitting the warrior, the quicker he'll get TP from retaliation procs. However, the more mobs the more defensive measures are needed.

For defense I've heard mention of Perfect Defense. I don't have any experience with the buff, so I can't say how effective it actually is. Apparently it gives a lot of breathing room, but there's still a small chance of not getting a restore chest and having to farm for one (or Revitalizer). Albeit a small chance with large enough pulls and only capped Amber and Azure lights, it's something to consider.

Cleave burning without a SMN
What are the alternatives for surviving the train? A "solution" that requires you to sacrifice some efficiency would be to do smaller pulls and cure-bomb the warrior. There is some room for the WAR to use some defensive gear while not requiring a larger number of WS to kill. However, with a smaller number of mobs per pull, you'll have slightly more down time per killed mob and less of a guarantee at restore chests. Without Mighty Strikes up the pull takes longer and that means a greater risk of failure.

Something I haven't seen mentioned before, but seems like a strong alternative: WAR/PLD using Sentinel. If three to four weaponskills is enough to kill the train of mobs and getting 100% TP almost instantly, the effect of Sentinel could be less than half-way over by the time all mobs are dead.

Accessioned Phalanx and Phalanx2, food and other buffs all help you along and there are a lot of options available. At this time I think the most minimalist way of doing a Cleave Burn without depending on restore boxes or meds is a duo of a WAR/PLD and a RDM/SCH.

The mob you're targeting obviously influences your efficiency. The ideal Cleave mob:
  1. Aggros sound and/or links
  2. Has weak or no TP abilities at all
  3. Does not cast magic spells
  4. Has low HP
  5. Has weak normal attacks
  6. Does not give ruby lights
Non-Cleave methods
BLM's have Stoneja and Waterja with the promise of stronger AoE spells come next update. Combine this with one whopper of a defensive ability in Mana Wall, BLM's can down large pulls as easily, though slightly slower than warriors. Mana Wall has an innate 50% PDT. When casting Stoneja the BLM's can be wearing Terra's Staff which boosts their damage while at the same time keeping them alive longer. A RDM puller can sleepga the train in between spells and it shouldn't take more than 6 unresisted nukes to down the train. With two BLM's that's 3 casts a piece. With Phalanx and Stoneskin BLM's can tank extremely well for the duration of Mana Wall and its MP pool. A big benefit of using BLM's is not risking Ruby lights.

With a fantastic selection of PDT gear as well an assortment of defensive spells, BLU can pull and kill its own train. They also have a good assortment of AoE spells like Body Slam, Tail Slap, Frypan and Whirl of Rage. They all cast quickly (1 second) and have a normal recast of approximately 30 seconds. There are some slower casting spells you can use to bridge the gap between these 4. With full TP and Atmas these all deal a good chunk of damage while 3 of them inflict Stun. As with Black magic, Blue magic doesn't risk ruby lights when this is undesirable. At this point my lack of personal experience makes this hearsay and theory. That means I can't give any specifics about subjob, gear choices and buffs needed for the BLU to survive without sleepga and still getting its spells off. Not without it being called into question, anyway.

If you're not necessarily looking to minimize the number of players needed to farm, the more people you have that are able to AoE while surviving the onslaught of angry mobs the more workable combinations you can make. Aeolian Edge by a THF that's using Perfect Dodge fullfills the basic requirements, but needs MANY repetitions to kill a train. Unless you have a way to feed the THF(s) for 10+ Weaponskills this isn't going to work. SAM can do 6 weaponskills in a row with 2hr, Meditate and Sekkanoki, but Sonic Thrust is directional and missing mobs is not really an option. Also, it's not as strong as Fell Cleave.

I've personally tested using RDM/BLM solo and using Fanatic's Drink + Ascetic's Tonic + Chainspell + Stonega2 to down a train of 9 Chigoes with success. With some Bastion Credits in reserve and a Scars' zone you can repeat this as many times as your credits and restore boxes allow. During the three repetitions I did I got a restore everytime and left with more time than when I started even though there's a short walk between confluxes and the Chigoe camp. Physical Shield lasts about as long as Chainspell and I had 5 to 7 seconds left on both after the train died. With Waterga2 incoming after next level raise, many possible imporvements to my nuking setup and better nuking Atmas there's always room for improvement.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Weekend Update 12

Lot of stuff to talk about, but not much to say about them individually. One of the things on my FFXI bucket list was doing Odin. We killed it without all that much time to spare and the tanks going down made it a bit wonky. Kiting the fomor proved a bit challenging and keeping people alive was very MP intensive. Me and Magnumm ran low on MP towards 40%. Having to cure a SAM/THF that tanked after the tanks went down sponged a lot of it. When I got hate, Odin didn't seem to hit all that hard at all. Eating the Blizzaga in my MDT set made me think I could have easily tanked on RDM if I had some way to hold hate.

This was supposed to be a fun and positive achievement for me, but some problems with item distribution kinda blemished the whole thing.

Sunday we had a good Dynamis Jeuno run where we cleared everything before the boss. Post-boss we could have done at least 2 pulls if it wasn't for the fact that people left. I hope we can either start earlier or keep going longer. Monday finished a Glavoid set and popped it. Seemed to go very well with proc'ing red and blue weaknesses. Then around 20% people got reckless and healed it up to 60%. Had been fighting for an hour. It raged and we gave up on it. I hope we all learned a lesson, cus it was quite a waste of a pop and time.

Afterwards we did Briareus which put many of us at 4/6 Abyssea zone quest boss wins. After the fight, which was a total breeze compaired to Glavoid, we called it a night.

Tuesday I logged on to some people holding Sandworm. Killed KA for the first time. I had only ever fought sandworm's doomvoid mob once before (Serket) so it was kind of exciting. Took it out rather easily with 7 people. No drop though. On anything. Zero items.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Refresh prince

Abyssea Vunkerl smells of feet. Camping Div-e Sepid while killing some skulls for Dvalinn pop items turned out to take much longer than I had wanted. We popped two Dvalinn and were missing the imp's key item. Not only did an ugly galka (is there any other kind) just barely beat me on claim (because an aggro'd imp decided to cast Stun of all spells), but we were unable to proc the red weakness on the second pop. Still, we got lucky and got the key item anyway. Before the Imp we also did Lord Varney to finish a second Bukhis pop set and Iktomi who dropped Destiny Abyssite without proc'ing red weakness.

Then came Durinn himself. He was truly non-threatening until way later down the line. Spent a lot of time trying to get the elemental WS done. We need to start keeping better track because we didn't know how many times each one was attempted. It turned out to be Sunburst. Once that was done with we got yellow really fast and had very few blunt weaponskills available to try for blue. So we didn't get that, but it was still a good fight. This mob's Atma is amazing and we are now pretty much set for the mages. Sure, you could use Hadal Satiator's Atma or Baying moon on BLM, but -30 enmity on Allure let's you nuke more before pulling hate. Durinn became a bit of a a-hole at low HP. Thundris Shriek is bad when DD's pull hate and run around with it. Also, its nuke hit unbuffed DD's pretty hard. I left the DD's pretty unprotected choosing to focus on the tank's survival. The tanking wasn't hard, which left us with some surplus healing in the main party. It was partly geared towards killing Bukhis.

We didn't get to Bukhis because of time constraints and our overall performance didn't inspire much confidence that we'd pull it off. Now that we have two pop sets, it's slightly less worrying to potentially lose one. Other than Bukhis this week's goals were achieved without too much hassle. Many of us have the VV/RR and Allure/MM combos, which means we may not have to spend so much time on atma farming anymore and we could focus on getting AF3 upgrade items instead. However, shouldn't forget that the visions zones still offer great rewards and we should aim to balance it out between the areas.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Abyyyysseaaaaa... F*CK YEA!

Another successful Abyssea run ended in the killing of Ironclad Pulverizer and obtaining of its atma. We started out with BLM's killing Ephmeral mobs and a DD party killing colibri for TE's while the third party farmed spheroid plates. After getting a pair of plates I saw Abyssic Cluster up and we got a second "blazing cluster soul" key item. We killed Ironclad Severer for some JSE. Other than a massive DC that saw 6-7 people red dotting, it was a pretty boring fight. Proc'ing blue!! didn't work out and I started dreading our chances at proc'ing red!! on Pulverizer. Heqet and Asanbosam dropped triggers too, which gives us a Cirein-croin and Amhuluk pop set.

It started getting late and so we took out Ironclad Observer. Poc'ing red never took more than 10 minutes on each mob, but with ICP's swings blocking the weakness procs there was no guarantee that we'd pull it off. All my worries about not getting the weakness and having it depop (which multiple groups have had issues with) were unnecessary as we it all went very smoothly. ICP has an ability that weakens everyone within a certain AoE radius. It brought me down to about 350 HP. It lasts about a minute and isn't that huge of an issue as long as it doesn't hit too many people. There were some problems with firegate birds (the area we kited it in), but everyone did a good job sleeping and killing them one by one. It was pretty funny to see ICP fall down and dismantel while its head flew off high into the air. It went through changes between body and head forms before it finally dying and giving us our hard earned reward.

Abyssea is really popular now and I hope we don't have to stop people from joining because of a full alliance. Good job to everyone for a speedy light build-up, gettingt 3-5 TE's, proc'ing weaknesses and general badassery.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

La Theine Picnic

Before we got to any serious mobs we needed to finish our pop sets by killing Adamastor and La Theine Liege. Even the pop items for said mobs needed farming as there werent' any on AH at the time. Fortunately neither took long to drop and using the Red!! weakness we got the key item triggers without needing any extra pops. At this point I have yet to see a key item trigger not drop after exploiting the elemental WS weakness. However, I've heard that triggers and atma are not guaranteed after the weakness. Still, the chances are much better WITH weakness, so it's always worth going for.

After the fly we had a Carabosse pop. The fight itself took longer than I expected. It did benediction around 70%. Even with three people on it, it took about 20 minutes. Some deaths caused by Tornado2, but other than that it wasn't hard with the heigh difference taking care of the AoE's. I dropped the ball on dispelling Regain and so we had a rough patch near 30%. After it was dispelled and re-enfeebled it went back to being timid. We proc'd Red!! and got Atma + trigger.

Dozing Dorian
After Carabosse, the Hadhayosh pop was complete. However, I wanted Ebon Hoof atma to make that fight easier. Tanks would have much less trouble surviving its abilities with 30% extra HP. It took 2 pops to find the Red!! weakness. It had a tendency to do Sheep Charge several times in a row and people TP'ing on it made it hard to proc. There is a distance where you can WS but are still out of melee range. I hope people start using that range or start waiting for mob tp abilities/spells before WS'ing. We're kind of wasting time trying to reproc all the WS.

We popped it and pulled it near a wall to the east to try and get some height difference. It worked a few times but the mob kept moving around and maintaining the position wasn't possible. Quite some time went by before it was decided to move it towards the valley north of the pop area. We fought it on the cliff there. In the future we should move it closer to the ramp that players can take to go back up. We got the Red!! pretty early on and the rest of the fight was a bit slow. The Accursed Armor was a bit scary, dropping tanks down to 600 HP with its curse. The rest of the abilities weren't a big deal, including the meteor TP ability. The paralyze on it wasn't even that strong. Using the height difference really takes the punch out of its most annoying TP abilities: Thunderbolt. Since it can't be outrun and people were reporting getting hit even beyond 30 yalms (34 reported), which is the range of that ability on other behemoth mobs. Some mistakes were made and a tank did go down. Each of them once, I believe. We had a MNK and PLD. When Lordapm gets more merit abyssites his Galka MNK should be able to withstand a lot more damage. Combined with Atma of Allure, it lets mages spam cures more frequently without getting hate and the majority of fights should become easier.

I had intended to do Briarieus after the behemoth, but there was a lot of interest in the LS to do Ovni, so we did that instead. Nothing notable happened and nothing notable dropped. Aside from the Atma and Abyssite! Both of which help our LS as a whole.

Here's a summary of the rewards.

And here is a fashion shot of my new gloves.

Looking at my DRK's melee gear it's missing some big things like a better Haste belt and AF3. Timarli does boost me up a bit over NQ Dusk, but I have a ways to go. Unfortunately, I was back down to 0 stones last night and spamming quests for seals will eat into some valuable visitant time.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Joyful joyful!

Christmas came early this year. Yesterday's Abyssea raid went better than expected. Admittedly my expectations are generally low. The Konschtat key item farming I mentioned in another post netted us a Kukulkan pop set and missing that same NM's key item for an Eve set. Going in I knew there was no guarantee that we'd get an Eve set. My fallback plan was to take out Bloodeye Vileberry and Turul. However, we managed to get the key item, kill Eve AND Bloodeye. The reason why this entry is titled the way it is should be obvious. If it's not, here's a hint:

The nicest one is obviously Eve's Atma. It's considered one of the best melee DD Atma's in the game. I wasn't the only one that was excited. Most people immediately equiped it and marveled at the regain even before engaging anything.

This fight was not very eventful. When kited it really doesn't do much of anything. Our obstacle was the big rock at the north encampment. Where Helga hangs out. Because the rock is so huge. It was sometimes hard to cure tanks and DD's who ran out of range while kiting. Some Wivre's aggro'd, but other than that it was straightforward. Explaining how to time the elemental WS while we're actually fighting doesn't work very well. I thought it'd be clear once we moved on to Eve, but it was the same story.

Eccentric Eve
It actually deaggrod during the long pull. I had used powder boots. Luckily it was in visual range and the tanks got it right away. Paralyze stuck and prc'd often. I was very surprised. It's VERY timid with paralyze on it. Stunners did a very good job on this fight. Not a single Tainted Breath or Extremely Bad Breath got through. It only started using them at lower HP, but Shyara was focussed on stun for the whole fight and did a really well. I was a slight bit worried about stun resist building up, but it wasn't an issue. I understand that if you're at an LS event you WANT to contribute and standing around while two tanks and a melee kill a NM is boring and difficult, but if it works better that way people should be able to deal with it. Everyone listened to instructions, which I'm very pleased with. I think I may come across as bossy and/or pushy when shouting commands (one time in caps) and repeating it multiple times so nobody misses it. I appologize to my LS if that's how it seems, but I believe it's partly necessary.

Lieje and Bloodeye Vileberry
Lieje was very straightforward and barely worth a mention. It's probably duoable by a melee and a mage. I don't see a reason atm why a SMN couldn't solo it either.

Vileberry, on the other hand, was a huge pain. I stressed limiting TP to it. People did seem to hold back but with avatars hitting it at times and it getting melee hits on the tanks it eventaully pulled a rancor and killed each of them several times. The trick to not letting things get out of hand was the avatars and multiple "bodies" to throat stab. With enough people present it just bounces and teleports around and only "nearly" kills people unless they get hit by an -aga3 while weakened or after just having eaten a throat stab. Since it moves around so much, does a lot of TP abilities AND casts, it's hard to get a clean WS on it. Eventually we DID manage to proc the red weakness after some debate over who was doing which. Then we tried to take it down asap cus Harlecin was timing out soon. Made use of Chainspell, revitalizer and mega elixir. Harl didn't make it and Magi was dead when it went down. Other than that it was a good fight. Exciting and challenging, but we still ended it successfully.

What about drops? Here's the summary:

What's next?
Tomorrow is La Theine Plateau time. Hoping to get Carabosse and Dozing Dorian plus their atmas. There's a chance at Hadhayosh and/or Briarieus, but I still have to consider which of those we need most since time is the limiting factor here. There's always a chance we'll do Ovni.