Thursday, January 27, 2011

Indrik and Empousa

I had the pleasure of fighting these two NM's twice each yesterday. We started off trying to multitask and kill Ironclad Triturator while part of the group built lights and did Indrik. That didn't end well.

The big hubbub around Triturator seemed very disproportionate the first time we fought it as we took it out easily. However, the first time we had two WHM's in the tank party and overall more people at the fight. Did some holding of the mob, but it powers up (supposedly after each 2hr). We let it regen to 100%, but it didn't seem to get noticeably weaker. The keys to this fight seem to be more healing power, tanks with a lot of HP, reliable stun for after draw-ins and enough DD to make it a short fight.

Another fight that you want to end as soon as possiple is the one against Indrik. That white unicorn will power up much like Ironclad Triturator. Unfortunately I wasn't paying enough attention to notice exactly what triggers it to be healed by melee, but it has a mode where that happens. It's not a huge issue because it doesn't happen often nor does it last very long. The only issue is Scintillant Lance. It starts doing more and more damage as the fight drags out. I opted for the very indelicate approach of throwing bodies at it. Even double weakened my Gekkos were doing a decent chunk of damage so it "worked" in a certain sense. Atma of Apocalypse kind of changes the ballgame.

It seems to Triple Attack a lot, but it doesn't have super accuracy, so it can be evasion tanked. Seigan tanking worked alright, but you still need a lot of cures if you can't evade its attacks or have someone to bounce it off of. Rotating tanks seems to make the most sense, but they should last at least a minute unless you want to bring out a whole army or zombie it like we did on our last attempt. If the goal is to survive Scintillant lance, I'd use a MNK tank with Indrik's own atma. MNK's have a decent selection of MDT/MDB gear (moreso than NIN). Either that or pick a NIN anyway and have him tank backwards with nukes. Limiting TP usage would make it more low-mannable. I don't know if Absorb-TP lands on it. Since it's a light-based mob, I would think so. Big damage nukes and removing TP whenever possible should limit its lance usage to about 4 or 5 per fight and you could kill it before it starts breaking 3k.

If there's a way to predict/stun/avoid Scintillant Lance, I haven't noticed it. Someone suggested strafing. I tried it, but with all the other melee on it, I kept running into people. I want to give it a go with a more defensive strategy. Indrik's lance damage does seem to reset after it goes idle/regens.

The flying mode is this NM's only catch. It actually doesn't do any normal attacks in the air and just spams TP ablilty x3 followed by a spell and repeats. Someone said a certain amount of damage done to it while flying will make it drop down, but I think there's something more going on there. Since the damage from melee alone seemed to take much longer to bring it back to earth. Either way, WS and melee during the 3 abilities and turn around for the spell. If it's Dread Spikes have it dispelled/finale'd asap and then turn and hit it some more. Landing a spell on it while it's casting a spell of its own may be a bit tricky unless limit your tries to Apocalypse Atma procs (and interrupting the spell if it's not an instant cast). Doing it the normal way it may take a few tries to get the hang of it, but I'm sure once you do it becomes rather easy and it'll go back to its grounded mode quickly.

Defensively there's not much you need to worry about. Just don't have too many people in range when it starts flying. The AoE abilities don't hurt individually but it adds up fast as he spams them. Dark resist atmas is another route to go, but switching atmas takes time you may not want to spend, unless of course Empousa is the only thing you're doing. It's a quick respawn and requires no pop farming. I'd recommend this to anyone looking for stones and cards of Ardor. It's way easier than Indrik.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Leveling Warrior

This job has been getting a lot of love in the last year. It's always been one of strongest melee DD jobs in the game and I'm sure in many situations the strongest one. However, since Abyssea introduced the need for versatility in weapon choices to proc weaknesses and popularity of AoE farming, it's gotten some extra attention. These make it more useful than simply "a job to kill things with". I started leveling it mainly for those two reasons.

I leeched my way from 45 to 70, after which I tried closing the skill gap with a Great Axe on my DRK, which was already at 90. I got it up to the mid 190's from ~160 before breaking down and deciding to level the rest while exp'ing. To my great relief at ~190 skill, the use of decent acc gear, Razed Ruin + Cloak and Dagger + Horned Beast, Sushi and Stalwarts spam compensated for all my Accuracy issues. I wasn't capped at the start but I gradually got to that point, slowly outgrowing the need for Stalwart's and Food (I'm a cheap bastard). In the lower 80's I had jumped to 270 Great Axe skill.

Skilling Up
I joined Enigmas and Cyrille for some skillups on WAR when I got the idea of trying to do it solo with a defensive build and regen atmas. After one attempt I was hooked. When I found them the first time the Orapodiums they were EP-T to me. In 22 PDT from gear and Mounted Champion + Stronghold + Impenetrable I was able to hold two Orapodiums for an extended perdiod of time. The beauty of this is that I was getting more than double the attacks from retaliation as I was getting from regular swings. To be clear, you CAN get skillups from a retaliation attack. On a good Retaliation streak I could self-sc. Since the vast majority of attacks were landing for between 20 and 30 damage, you could hold many more mobs if you had a capped Phalanx on you. Enough that you could start as low as ~70 skill. I say this because to my great surprise I was getting a decent amount of skillups on g.sword at around that level with only 2 mobs on me.

Using this method (sans Phalanx) with DNC sub I could hold 3 mobs indefinitely. A few trips to Misareaux coast leveled my Staff up to 290 (Cataclysm) my g.axe to 300 (Fell Cleave) and finished my WS points for Steel Cyclone, King's Justice and Retribution. During this process my parrying went from ~217 to 230. I'll be going back again for skilling and WS points on Sword, Club, Polearm and Great Sword. For Axe and Scythe I only need the WS points, though I'll probably still do them this way.

Fell Cleave
Last saturday was my first chance to use Fell Cleave on a train of mobs. First we had to build Amber lamps. Fortunately with Cataclysm and the right combination of Atmas I could snipe the last 10-15% of Thalassonins, doing 900-1300 damage. After that we started with a small train. Using Voracious Violet + Razed Ruin + Griffon's Claw, my 2hr'd cleaves hit for mostly 3000-4000 damage, occasionally one-shotting a bat. I was very surprised at this, since my WS set wasn't that good and I was using a Perdu Voulge. They were respawning Easy Prey which made for less exp but easier cleaving. I started using Blood Rage as I leveled into it. Using every damage-increasing buff in the book except Berserk. Though I'm sure I could have gotten away with it. I learned several things through the process:
  1. Two WAR's are better than one, but certainly not needed.
  2. Fell Cleave's AoE is centered around the target.
  3. The range of Fell Cleave at 100 TP (first WS when using Sekkanoki) is deceptively small.
  4. Wait for the mobs to 'settle' around the puller and pick a mob that's somewhere in the center before engaging.
  5. Mobs that are on top/inside of you can't be seen, ws'd or retaliated.
  6. Getting out of the clusterf'ck is easiest by unlocking your current target and holding back (first person view) and spamming your WS macro.
  7. PLD sub is not needed and probably works against you.
  8. Pulling using evasion works better than defense/PDT due to how easy it is to cap evasion rate on regular mobs.

Some mobs (possibly due to certain terrain) have a tendency to get on top of you, making them hard to retaliate but easier to hit with AoE. However, you'll get the "unable to see" message when they're on top you. You'll have to back out of the group before being able to WS. If given a choice I'd stick to small ground-based mob types, because my personal experience is that flying mobs bunch up on top of you more often. If you have two WAR's then that's less of an issue. I saw a group Cataclysm'ing raptors in Misareaux and noticed they used the tunnel to funnel the mobs into a narrow space, putting them all on top of eachother but still in front of the WAR. This is the ideal situation if you can manage it.

Without a restore chest I cycled through, revatilizer, fanatic's drink and powder in order to bridge the gap. It never happened that I didn't have any one of these 4 at my disposal for a pull.

In my first post on AoE farming I mentioned PLD sub, but I'm gonna have to almost fully dismiss it in favor of SAM sub now. The simple fact is that two Cleaves with Mighty Strikes up is upwards of 6k damage (and that's with my sub-optimal gear). That's more than enough to kill most regular mobs. There's no need for the whole ordeal to last for more than 10 seconds after the first cleave, and that's being generous. I've read in many places how Retaliation is almost instant TP, which would put SAM and PLD sub in roughly the same league, however this isn't as great as it sounds. Like I said before, unless you use narrow terrain mobs will move around and end up on top of you, making retaliation usless until you can get out of there. I may change my mind again once I get more experience.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Weekend Update 14

The Facepalm linkshell has been on a good run recently, getting a lot of upgrade items for people. Most of which are going freelot due to a recent DKP change that caused most people to reach 0 points halfway through the month, to the dismay of some. Three Bennu and three Orthrus on our last trip to Altepa meant a bunch of nice Atheling mantles and two Kikugosaku great katanas. Special thanks to Rayearl and Yohko, who both outlotted me but then voluntarily passed for me, because they know how much I heart my SAM.

The two farming runs we did in Visions zones allowed some people to level their subs while we got us some NM triggers. I had leveled WAR to 84 and skilled up staff (Cataclysm) and G.axe (Fell Cleave) for AoE farming (among other things). It took a bit of getting used to but on the Tahrongi run I got the hang of it as well as dinging 90. I think I may do a post on the topic of leveling WAR.

In addition to cleaving loads of bats (upwards of 1500 mobs), we did Iratham twice. One body dropped and I won the freelot food fight. I hope people didn't rage too hard at it going to my relatively gimpy WAR. Until I get Ravager's +1 this is nice for capping haste.

Wings of the Goddess
We finally got around to finishing the WotG missions. It took all of an afternoon and early evening to get through the spitewarden fight, the fetch quest and the final battle. The last fight was epic and tougher than I expected, but it was worth it.

There are only a few WS where I would consider not wearing this piece and that's not just because I lack better options! Maybe a little.

The fight against Lillith's second form tested us to our limits. So much so that we wiped with it DoT'ed and at 2% ticking down to 1%. My reraise attempt was ill-timed and inside aggro range. Thinking we had lost when DoT's wore off, Chaess bravely reraised and high-tailed it out of the center area. With RR1 and Taru HP anything would have killed him and yet... he managed to summon a jug who then took out Lillith in one attack.

We had considered using two BST's instead of a melee tank. Considering how much MP I spent on cures I think that may have been a better option. The AoE Death she can use missed Kingcem because we were running around trying to avoid those summoned contraptions. So we lucked out there, but there's just a lot of damage to recover from with the measly MP pool I had. Abyssea really spoils you. I used a Vile Elixir+1 and Chainspell nuked after the MNK went down. Again, had I had more MP I could have finished it right there with another nuke. Fortunately I had the presence of mind to cast Bio and Poison.

Looking back it was a fun story. The ending is a bit... well... I won't spoil it. All I'll say is that I went from hating the main characters (Sandy missions made me hate the little Griffons) to really wanting to see the conclusion. Perhaps not the most satisfying ending, but how can it ever be? Don't click the below image if you don't want to see snapshots of the mission finale.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Tavnazia win

Another milestone in my FFXI career! I say that non-ironically, cus it IS like a job at times. I wish I had better screenshots, but I wasn't at the actual fight. Many of us weren't. Of the 15 people in attendance last Sunday, only 5 had the pleasure of facing off against Diabolos Spade.

After a decent haul of AF and Hydra junk we went back down to the Umbral Diabolos gauntlet. The first attempt (two weeks prior) we aggro'd 3, I believe. We killed one but AoE destroyed us pretty fast as we were clustered together. Everyone did a good job of crossing this time, aggroing only 1. Magnumm was on SMN to Perfect Defense the melee party, but after 5 people got across one of the Umbrals decided to come very close to the entrance of the tunnel and chill. With an obstructed view of the rest of the tunnel there was no way of making a calculated decision and timing a run. I decided they'd have to do it without PD. Three melees, a BRD and a WHM ended up winning in what seemed a pretty bumpy fight from their HP bars, which is all I had to go by. Two of the three DD bit the dust, but I got the "too far to gain experience" message only 10 or so seconds after I saw them KO. Total fight time is probably under a minute. I wish I could relate more interesting observations, but this is all I have!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Urd solo on SAM/DNC at 90

First let me say that I don't consider this to be some grand achievement. It's odd I feel the need to post such a disclaimer/defense before even starting the contents of this post. It's likely been around forever, but to me it feels like recently there's been an increase in the arrogance and belittling of other people's achievements in FFXI. I dare anyone to go into any sizeable linkshell with an average age of 18 or lower and saying something along the lines of "I'm having problems with X mob" and I wager there will be at least one response along the lines of "That NM is easy!".

So yes, Urd.

I failed the first time and beat it the second. I got help for the rest of the kills so there was no need to go back and fight it solo anymore. Two things that tell me a third try would be much easier. Number one, although I had high evasion rate in the fight, I now have better evasion gear and capped skill. In case I wasn't capped, I would be now. Secondly, I didn't realise until after I beat it that Dancer sub-job at 45 has access to Violent Flourish (stun). Although the accuracy of the stun doesn't seem all that high, it would have certainly helped with what I think is the second most annoying part of the solo: Stoneskin.

I'd rather Urd cure itself for more HP than what SS absorbs, because I can't get TP while hitting for 0. I was using Soboro and Urd's magic spell timer would very often be up a second or two after I broke Stoneskin and it would reapply it and in the meantime I'd have done less than 200 damage to it and worse of all, get no TP to cure myself with. The first time I fought it I WS'd whenever I coudl spare the TP, but the second time around I saved it to WS right after Stoneskin finished casting, this way I'd break it immediately and the next few attack rounds would get me that TP back. Needless to say, the speed difference between the first and second attempts was huge.

Trance was not an issue. Somehow Zephyr arrow only hit me twice during both fights. It seems like an inaccurate attack. When you see trance and start running you can easily outrun Cyclonic Turmoil. once the second TP attack (Lethe Arrow) in the series is canceled because of you being out of range you can stop running, wait for it to recover from the shock and outrun the final, and only really annoying ability: Cyclonic Turmoil. It can use it outside of trance, but there's a lot of abilities to choose from so it's not used very often. Turmoil is a full dispell and losing a fresh Seigan can be annoying. Sambas aren't a bare essential in the fight, so that's not as bad. Seigan and Third Eye, however, are very necessary. Without them you'd be hard-pressed to keep up with the damage taken. Now that I think about it, I'm pretty sure I was not at capped evasion. I clearly remember having a few close calls before the end of the fight due to successive hits when Seigan got dispelled.

You can predict Trance, but it's clear as day once you know what the animation looks like. The point where Trance becomes the #1 most annoying thing about this fight is at low HP. You shouldn't have problems overcoming Urd's Cures and Stoneskin even with measly Soboro hits. However, at low HP it can use Trance an unlimited number of times. This was the reason I lost my first attempt. I saw it use trance a second and third time at low HP, but didn't perceive it as a threat when I went for the kill. After I blew my TP trying to self-SC and swapping to Radenotachi for the kill, I took a decent chunk of damage and had to run away from Trance. I'm not sure if Turmoil connected, but I didn't have the TP to cure myself.

On the second attempt I got it to low HP much faster due to WS'ing through Stoneskin. Since I got impatient the first time I waited longer and slowly took down the HP to around 5%-10%. It starts spamming cures pretty frequently now and here also I could have used Violent Flourish had I known about it. Once I reached that low HP I waited for it to use Trance. Assuming it was on some timer I chose to kill it quickly after outrunning Cyclonic Tumroil. I believe I also go lucky with it choosing to use several long casting spells, but I don't think that was required as long as you blow through asap after the first Trance at low HP. How low? I think anything under 10% is doable.

Grauberg the second time around (Alfard, Azdaja)

Maintenance forced our LS event back a bit, but people logged on pretty fast once servers were up so we still managed to get the NM's we set out for. Those NM's being Amphitrite, Alfard and Azdaja. The triple-A threat! We fought them in that order because it seemed that was the order of difficulty as well.

Zone Boss
Not much to be said about Melo Melo and Amphitrite. It's the same old story of people healing the mob because they're not being careful. This time we DID go for the Atma, because I thought it'd help people do weaponskills for weaknesses without needing a TP mob. It's still a risk, since if you end up doing anything OTHER than proc'ing weaknesses, it'll only get in your way. Melo Melo's atma actually sounds good, but I suspect a very low proc rate. Also, I'm secretly hoping that the damage you absorb is unadjusted by PDT and Phalanx, but that's probably too much to ask for. Some upgrade stuff dropped as well as the RDM sword.

Ningishzida + Alfard
Nothing good dropped! Ok, now that that's out of the way... The info on wiki was right. Tanking from the back guarantees that it will only use Serpentine Tail. While spectating it seemed like it would turn to face tanks everytime after Serpentine Tail. At first I thought this was built-in AI, but then when Nerve Gas went off 3 times and tanks died. I ended up tanking and another reason why it may have turned became apparent. The tail attack has a knockback which will send it running after you and in so doing turn around. So, next time we should try to position it so that tanks can back themselves into a corner while still in range and exactly behind Alfard. If turning around is indeed only caused by it running after you, then this should mean that as long as nobody else pulls hate, the risk of Nerve Gas will be minimized.

Deelgeed + Azdaja
Deelgeed has an Atma! I did not know that going in. Superior Accuracy+ will be nice when I level up WAR with my gimp G.axe skill. Azdaja lived up to its promise of being a tough sob. The plan was to have 3 lines of players like we should have had during Uleguerand fights (Pantokrator+Apademak). The front line consisted of a NIN and a MNK tank. With hate reset two tanks is the minimum. The second line consisted of a WHM, RDM and a BRD support. The final backline consisted of people to wake the second line up from Sleep + everyone else. The role of waking mages was important and it went ok-ish, but with better execution it would probably have meant the tanks survived longer. However, as it was the tanks went down due to a combination of slept support players and Doom. The Wyrm was only down to about 80%-90%. That's when two other DD's and I stepped up and attempted to tank it for the remainder.

Not too long ago I made a decent evasion setup for my Samurai. The motivation was the Urd solo, where my evasion rate was high. Followed by Lamprey Lord fights, where it was not high at all. I realised my evasion skill rating on SAM wasn't so bad, but it needed complimenting. The increasing returns of evasion support this line of thinking. This was the reason why I "for shits and giggles" decided to stack Cloak and Dagger and Siren Shadow atmas. Both have Major Evasion+. Stacked and combined with my evasion gear Azdaja missed... a LOT. I was very surprised at what I was seeing. I was subbing WAR for weaponskills, but with Third Eye I hardly took any regular hits. Of course such a thing can't be relied upon while killing Azdaja because it can dispel the Atmas. It dispelled Atmas on the tanks, but for w/e reason it never did so again.

The three melee tanked it with brave support from weakened mages all the way down to ~20% at which point I died. I HP'd and came back to find it at ~10%. At this point, despite having decent success holding it before, I decided to take it down asap. There were quite a few weakened people around and a single voke got its attention, meaning there hadn't been anyone alive on it for very long. Fanatic's drink, 2hr x2 thanks to a revitalizer did a good chunk of damage. Together with some damage from someone else (I don't recall) it died pretty fast. In the end only 3 or 4 people missed out on the kill and Atma.

The Atma off this seems off-putting at first, due to its innate self-inflicted DoT. However, looking back at the Azdaja fight itself, it seems like it could be useful here for waking people up. The major Damge taken-% is an obvious treat for its big AoE wing attack. Since all its attacks appear to be darkness based and the Dispel magic spell is also dark based, you COULD assume that the dispel effect of its baleful Roar is darkness based. If so, there are two Darkness resist Atmas available that could be stacked to resist its wing, the dispel, the sleep and doom. Before we even bother to try this we need the T3 VNM in Grauberg though.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Pantokrator, Apademak and more

A lot of stuff went down that I haven't posted about. Last La Theine we did 5 Ovni's and got 3 Bullwhip Belts of which I got one (yay). Did a few Cirein-croin, an ICP, Amhuluk and finally Sobek. Gukumatz is rough getting claim on. We got a bunch of Abyssites and I'm now 3/3 on Reaper, and Kismet and go the last Sojourn I needed.

Instead of going into details of fights in Visions and Scars zones on which there is already a lot of info available, I'm going to look back on our recent encounters in Uleguerand range.

Ironclad Triturator
Reports made this thing sound very hard. I must admit I was a bit disappointed. The thing only used draw-in twice and I failed to stun the follow-up TP ability both times. I was lagging pretty bad, because, as I later found out, I had a file download on that I forgot to turn off. Anywho, I dont' know if it's reliably stunnable, but it did seem fast with the lag. The rest of the fight seemed easier than the usual Iron Giants. Maybe we could straight tank them all as easily as this or maybe this one didn't hit as hard, I can't say. Having two WHM's was nice, not in small part due to the bad streak of disconnects we've had recently.

This turned out to be a pretty tough fight. I honestly had skimped on my homework on this mob and knew very little about it. We soon figured out it absorbed damage during WS and magic casting. The first Chainspell made me nervous but curespamming the tanks worked just fine. Hundred Fists was equally overcomable with curespam. I tried helping out the WHM's from outside the tank party, but it didn't feel like it was necessary. It used Colossal Blow twice and since it resets hate a second tank is highly recommended.

So assuming your tanks can hold hate through Hundred Fists and Chainspell and your healers can keep up then what's left is its shield move. I'm afraid I don't recall the name of the ability but it's a large radius paralyze that you can't avoid by standing at maximum casting range. If you can't get paralyze off healers and tanks fast enough there will be trouble. I suppose you can have someone dedicated to paralyna on healers outside of the AoE range. This is something I'd suggest for Apademak as well. Finally, nobody should be standing in conal range of Laser Shower. It's a good chunk of damage and it knocked out a few mages twice or so. It seemed to gain high magic resistance during the shield ability. Stuns were resisted then while they would land normally later on during the fight.

Despite proc'ing blue we didn't get a Zelus Tiara. The Atma is situationally good and the Torero Torque is a nice piece for DNC and NIN looking for an evasion tanking neckpiece that surpasses Evasion Torque. I don't know who got the horn because it went freelot. Seems we have a shortage of 'willing' bards. It's a really nice instrument regardless; upping Lullaby duration by 30% of its base.

We failed to stun its spells pretty early on. The third spell went off and it went south from there. Let's just say we made good use of Apocalypse atma. The level-up doesn't go away after it going idle. This meant even after the tank party recovered we had to deal with Fulmination spam which we weren't ready for at any point. After the sac-fest and an attempt to straight tank it again we got red weakness. The tanks did go down and we proceeded to hold it. I eventually hp'd, got a brew and nuked it down.

Khimaira mobs are usually killed asap with as few stuns as possible so Fulmination can be taken care of when the time comes. Another way of dealing with this is having someone stand out of Fulmination range to paralyna the healer so they can reliably cure the tanks. Fulmination shouldn't kill a tank outright, which gives you time to pull this off as long as the 'outside' mage is told/warned when Fulmination is incoming to speed things up and increase survivability. In the case of Apademak simply eating the Fulmination could become very intensive as it appears to have a decent amount of regain. So much so that it would build enough TP for it between 2 sacs, whcih would be roughly 30 seconds. Maybe it can use it several times in a row or it got tp from other sources while sac'ing that I didn't notice. [I later read that it possibly gets TP or otherwise instantly uses a TP ability after it completes casting on a spell]. Someone mentioned that the height difference at the ramp was enough to nullify Fulmination. We'll try and do this the next time out.