Monday, 28 January 2013

FFXI Leadership style and LS management

So I've been observing many different LS/groups for past 3 years in FFXI, and been slowly collecting data regarding group managing and human behavior in FFXI. I have almost 0 talent at building successful groups in game or irl, while many ppl I met with have such talent. Thus I have to observe and analyze, to improve my group manage ability. So I decided to write this "guide", to help those who decided to start a new group/EGLS for anything in FFXI, or to share thoughts regarding this topic, to see if there are more efficient ways to improve group management. Because 90% players I meet who started a new LS or LS event, they often ended up at failing, and unable to form an efficient/successful group, and a lot of times they couldn't figure out why. But in the end, it's all come down to basic human behavior and human nature.

Most of the FFXI event LS is made with this way: 1 leader and a few friend of his wanted to start an event, such as legion/ADL etc. Then they started to recruit other players to create a bigger group.
And group structure often ended up having "core member"(often LS leader and his trusted friends) and "floating members"(those who needs a group, but never get into core group due to several reasons).
Some groups were successful, some weren't and ended up disbanded shortly.

So several key point to point out regarding LS management and human behavior:

1. LS should be treated as running/investing in a company. Leader and his sacks, need to prepare to invest in a considerable amount of time and effort for group building.

Your leader/sacks have to FULL TIME in that LS, at least during start-up period. And try to keep LS chat active. That's one of the better way to keep new recruits stay in LS. Otherwise you will see ppl only pop(and not everyone pops) on event time, and it will become a loose/weak team like a pile of sand. Well, because if I join a new LS, and don't really know anyone, I will probably change LS if I see chat empty for too long lol!

Start-up period is probably the toughest, when group have to recruit talents and keep the group stick together.

2. There are two reasons a player would join a LS event.

-He needs something, and have a chance to get it.(That means the group have to have a fair lotting system and can't fail too much)

-He has friends in that LS, and enjoys doing event with the LS friends.

Most manager/leaders would probably want member/employees be 2nd type, contribute to the team without much complain and little return. However, a successful manager/leader should try to achieve No.1 as a goal. Because in the end, getting everyone what they wanted and be successful, is most effective way to keep a group together.

Especially if you want to recruit talented/elite players and keep them around.

Thus a leader have to work ass hard to improve quality of the event at all cost, by better group/time management, better use of man power, and more research on forums. Once your event start to fail or spend longer time than others, you will see ppl leave. There may be some ppl doesn't mind, but according to my experience, ppl who doesn't mind failing/wasting time are minority. Majority of the top talents do care.

3. Vicious circle D;

So, as the group starting to do event, there's 1 problem many start-up LS leaders may face.

Leader couldn't get enough talented players, and have to fill up the spot with less skilled/geared players, then the group efficiency decreased, you see more wipe in legion/ADL runs, or you took longer in prov. Then it got harder to get talented players to join because nobody want to join a shit group. Trust me, if your group sucked at ADL/legion/Odin2 runs, words will spread and everyone avoid to join it like plague and vice versa....if your group is successful, you will receive a lot of applications everyday.

Note that you WILL need certain amount of well geared/skilled players if you want to be successful, and those players are probably 5% of player base. They're not ppl you can find by just /shout and drag randoms.

So it became a vicious circle: Failed event------>talented players won't join or leave the group----->replace them with subpar players since subpar players are the only players you can find atm------>failed even more. And eventually group would disband.

1 way to solve this problem is to "set standard", since ppl in this game often only play with like minded players. Ppl who reads BG, min/max gear sets, have a lv 99 relic, brings PDT-/MDT- sets to event and uses spellcast /autoexec will not want to play with ppl who doesn't gear swap and still using 85 empy. However if a group is full of lv 99 relic, min/max players, 0 gimps in the group and super efficient runs, then this group will usually attract plenty of talented players wants to join. By that time it's group pick players instead of players pick groups.

However, as soon as the leaders set "pimp players only" standard, it'd be very hard to get enough in start-up era unless the leader is well connected with the elite player circle. When I said well connected, you need to be SUPER connected if you want to get enough elite for larger scale event as a start-up. Until the group start to get good result, elites won't come. And without elite you can't get good result! Vicious circle again D;

The only way to solve this issue that I can think of, is to jump back to point 1. Invest considerable amount of time in your LS. Invest on newer/subpar geared players with potential. One reason why many leaders(including myself) can't solve this problem is because they want immediate usable members, and unwilling to invest time on newer/subpar gear players to help them improve, then vicious circle came D;

If you can't recruit immediate usable members, but found players with potential to be good and willing to accept advice, invest time on them could be worth it because ppl generally would want to stick together/help out LS if they're helped once.....that's assuming they don't quit after they got their stuff of course!

Who doesn't want their entire LS full of lv 99 R/E/M, every member have 3 R/E/M and 10 jobs well geared with lots of hex -1! That way you can literally clear any content SE tossed at you no matter how hard it is. But Rome isn't built in 1 day, pimp LS full of lv 99 R/E/M won't pop on day 1 without investment!

Remember, the quality of the players you have, will directly affect your group performance, more than anything else.

4. Resource managing/ability to identify player quality.

Before all the anti-elitist hate that comes, let's face 1 very important thing in FFXI. And let's be honest ;)

There are good players and bad players in FFXI.

There just are, don't deny it no matter how much you hate elitism ;)

Good players is smart, motivated, well geared, and when you do events with them your event goes 100x smoother. And they play useful jobs, often have multiple useful jobs. They would have good weapon such as 95~99 R/E/M too, and they don't go super lag on macro clicking.

Bad players are the opposite, when you do event with them it goes worse than it should be D; Some of them main useless jobs and insists to use useless jobs for event, making things harder than it should be too(Afania, I'm looking at you D;)

A good pt leader will have the ability to identify which member is good, which is bad. Which is bad but have the potential to be good with enough advice/help, and which players is good but hard to use.

Most of the groups would have maybe 1~2 good players, rest are bad players. Only a few groups across all servers would have every players elite, they're also probably the group that can kill 20 mobs in Mul and shit out 1 Mythic every month with super efficient ADL runs ;)

Note that sometimes some bad players have the potential to be good if you guide them, or if they're tossed in a good environment for learning and improving.

Having a group of bad players, or more than half of the group are bad players, isn't the end of the world though.

However, if pt leader can't accurately estimate the ability of the group, and adjust strat/goal based on group ability, then it is the end of the world ;)

Things like VW T3, maybe doable with a group of bad players, thus pt lead shouldn't attempt things like prov or Mul if he leads a group of bad players and wipe, and should stick with T3.

Prov/legion T1 is doable with a few good player, thus a group leader can attempt those if his group has enough power to do it.

But if your group does not have enough power to clear harder content and still try it, then after it failed he asked "why everyone sucked so much", then this leader fails because he can't even identify and observe his group ability.

I mean, it's your group, and you can't even tell your ppl sucked, why are you asking "why" your group sucked ._.

There are several ways to identify the problem, parse is 1 most direct way to tell who is good who isn't. As you can see who is procing who isn't, who has shit acc who isn't, who uses food who isn't and who is debuff/healing properly and who always overwrite Dia2 with bio2.

Another way is simply common sense: Lv 99 relic GA WAR isn't supposed to do better dmg than lv 99 Ukon WAR and so on.

My philosophy is that if a group failed at certain VW or event, it's nobody's fault but leaders.

A group failed is not because pt member sucked, but because leader used pt member that sucked. If a leader uses wrong person on the wrong spot, then the leader should take ALL the responsibility with no exception.

A pt lead blamed on member for several reasons after a failed event isn't a good leader, because that means he takes no responsibility for what happened.

If an event failed because WHM forgot echo, then it's pt lead's fault. It happened either because 1. Pt lead forgot to remind the WHM to bring echo before fighting mobs that silences. 2. Pt lead already told the WHM, but WHM won't listen, so it's still pt lead's fault to use a WHM that won't listen.

5. Is it ok if leader is an ass?

According to my experience, I found leaders being hard to deal with or not have no direct relationship with how successful the group is and how hard it is to recruit talent(once again, amount of talent players you have in a group will affect your group performance, so you want to get as many of them as possible) It seems that in the end, whether a member want to stay in a LS or not is still depending on whether he gets stuff he wanted.

I've seen plenty of jack ass leaders still have members tried to join, and they often can tolerate leader's jack ass attitude as long as they got their goal fulfilled. On the other hand, leaders with good manner, if he can't fulfill member's need, members will leave eventually.

So I guess it's safe to say, as long as every member got their goal fulfilled, and get items for your member, your LS won't disband even if everyone hates you.

Of course there can be exceptions, there are always type of players that will leave and go "lol fuck him" if he doesn't like the leader, but this type of the player with huge ego are minority. Unless leader's attitude is really, really, REALLY bad to an untoleratable point, getting items still > all for most players.

I do not encourage leaders free to be a jack ass though, if a member merely stick because he wants items, he will leave right away after he got it or got the resource to do it. Managing relationship in FFXI is also a long time investment.


3(almost 4) years of playing FFXI, I've seen friendly LS leader that doesn't work so well, and vice versa. It can be pretty hard to analyze what type of event LS will succeed and what type will fail, and how to avoid failure. But once a LS passes start-up era, and slowly to gain success in harder event, eventually more and more talented players would join and eventually those players who stick together to overcome the ordeal would become friends, so even if leader quit they will still stick together.

I don't claim I'm best pt lead ever. I failed many part in my life, and I'm super impatient and always wants immediately use-able talents, and I never actually run/manage a LS or group as long term investment. I'm better than avg leaders for resource management, and usually not an ass ._., but that isn't the only aspect to build a successful group.

I believe a successful life in FFXI, is more than just get a lv 99 R/E/M or super elite gears, those items doesn't worth a damn after you quit/server shut down. A successful life in FFXI leaves something behind. Let it be new play style/strat, impressive solo video, or a successful LS/group that continues to exist even after the leader no longer around.

However, there are RARELY anyone talk about tips and tricks to improvement group/LS management on forums, ever. You can find 1000 posts about optimal sets for WAR DRK MNK SAM blah blah, but there are rarely any posts that teaches player to be a better pt lead. And trust me, being a better pt lead, is probably 100x harder than being a better WAR.(Probably the main reason why Afania is a fail pt lead!)

And yet being a successful pt lead, makes 100x bigger difference in terms of farming efficiency. Your super elite WAR accomplishes nothing if you wipe in group event. But super efficient group can gear everyone with every elite gear you can think of.

That's why I see/heard fail pt every day everywhere. Simply because there aren't enough resources to help players run a better group and majority of the pt lead failed to observe pt strength. And FFXI in the end, is an MMORPG, group performance is more important than individual performance unless you're dual boxing.

Thus I decided to write down what I learned in the past, to help out those who have the ambition to build a successful elite LS or successful VW pt. And I hope this post more or less would inspire more ppl who try to become a good LS/pt lead.

There are other tips and tricks to improve efficiency for many particular event by using man power differently, and I don't see a lot of ppl use it. Such as getting skilled BRD to pull or go up(and he have to keep song on 100% of time while pulling) in salvage2 so you can chain kill mobs in same spot and go up without waiting, have BRD or WHM /SCH for firestorm in VW/prov for higher WF dmg and faster kill. Set a policy to encourage ppl pop on time for event to reduce the waiting time to gather together etc. But that's really another topic regarding group management in events.

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Store TP set

After recent MKris melee discussion, I finally decided to sit down and look for a good Mkris TP set.

Epona's ring over Tyrant is almost the same in terms of TP gain speed. Belt is Goading and feet is Cobra(only good STP feet I can find). Head/hand/legs are Skadi+1. Surprisingly regain earring is about equal to STP+2 earring. But I guess that's cuz you can only regain 2 tick with haste buffs starting from 0 TP.

This set should add 2.1 more TP every swing, thus faster TP gain. I took away most of the DA gears such as back piece/twilight belt/thaumas feet.

Now time to grind skadi +1, which I will probably never finish ;( I should get a tactical mantle sometimes too.

For a setup that I only use on prov watcher, which I don't do anymore XDDDDDDDDDDDDDD

Saturday, 12 January 2013

Triple shot testing

Got bored and decided to test whether AF3+2 body needs to be equipped full time for triple shot, or only need to be equipped during activation.

Test method:

Go /ra naked, except Awilda's gun, bronze bullet and movement speed legs.

Pop triple shot naked and shoot.

If the shot only shoot once, and it's kill shot, then that shot doesn't count. In case it's a TS proc but only shoot once since you won't shoot 2nd+ bullet if 1st bullet kills it. Reset or warp back to MH once TS wears.

Result: Out of 35 shots, 12 TS proc. So 34% proc rate.

Then go pop triple shot with AF3+2 body on, remove the body after JA popped, go /ra.

Result: Out of 43 shots, 17 TS proc, so 39% proc rate.

Note that the sample size is too small atm to determine real proc rate of TS with and without body. But I can almost confirmed that AF3+2 doesn't need to be equipped full time to enhance TS, as my TS proc rate seems higher if I pop it with AF3+2 then remove it when I /ra.

I guess I gonna go collect larger sample size to find out the real TS proc rate.

Friday, 11 January 2013

/DNC, or not to /DNC?

Recently I heard ppl saying /DNC is better for zergs(specifically, prov watcher zerg), for extra haste. So I decided to sit down and find out exactly how much increase with haste samba with capped magic haste.

I only tried double march with max bonus(so magic haste capped), because spreadsheet doesn't have 5% haste samba, only has 10%, and my math sucked too much that I can't tell the job output without spreadsheet! With max march tier, 5% or 10% makes no difference.

Using Ejiin's WAR max+TP set, (except changed legs to Avant+1), target Qilin, 25% Chaos and 21% DA roll, max double march, VW temp up. /SAM, RCB.

Without haste samba: 753.944
With haste samba: 796.519

Close to 6% increase.

If there are 3 WARs(since ideal setup with 4 DD pt would be 3 WAR 1 DRK, so you usually get 3 WAR max, in a 5 DD setup COR may not be in DD pt to begin with) , it'd be 18% increase.

Considering how much difference attack makes for last stand zerging, I highly doubt /DNC would lose less than 18% output over /WAR in a zerg, I lose fencer, berserk+war cry, and 15 acc if I /DNC instead of /WAR. It probably makes bigger difference if your BRD don't have max march tier.

If you have SAM DRK in pt, they also gain no advantage from haste samba. Not sure how MNK works because I don't play MNK!

Fun fact, putting Ejiin's Ukon WAR set and his Mythic SAM set on spreadsheet, found WAR with ukon 99 is 3 DPS ahead of Mythic 99 SAM even without haste samba.

With haste samba WAR pulls even further ahead.

Warrior fantasy gogo.

Monday, 7 January 2013

Cerberus Muzzler

A few days ago I heard Cerberus was up, since I've been wanting Cerberus clear for ages for atma+title, and I heard it can be soloed, so I decided to give it a try on BLU.

Since last time I failed at soloing KS99 due to over confidence for BLU's evasion, this time I decided to be extra careful and put together an evasion hybrid set: Evasion sword, Pil ammo, Kaggen belt, Ocelot pants and Athos's feet, plus twilight torque over rancor. I also choose to /NIN for extra cheap shadows, and set magic def bonus, salion coat and magic barrier for Gate of Hades.

2 things I didn't know before I engage it though:

1. It has a para move that killed me on 1st try.

2. It hits very hard without def food/def spells....easily over 300+ dmg a hit.

However, with my evasion hybrid set, I have np capping evasion on it. With /NIN shadows most of the times I don't get hit.

I also bought a stack of Remedy after para killed me, before 50% it's fairly safe to get para'd since it's literally harmless before 50%. After 50% Gate of Hades spam, plus 300+ dmg a hit and para can get very risky. So I used Remedy after 50% whenever I'm para'd just to make my life easier. Also used taco to make my life easier.

With MDB job trait, Salion Coat and magic barrier, Gate of Hades dmg can be reduced to 300ish, and DoT effect can be erased with BLU spell.

I also tried to sudden lunge stun it, but apparently it doesn't land for me, so I just focus on turtling and keeping myself alive ._. 

Anyways, after a lot of heart attack (It spams GoH back to back in the end and kinda scary)

Cerberus Muzzler title, plus atma for this title obtained!

I remember my 1st time fighting this NM, it was with Sinister. I just dinged 75 on COR and just joined EGLS. It was an alliance fight at 75 and even then we still wiped. Then CabelasII took it and killed it.

It was my 1st HNM scene experience, with ppl in LS camping HNM, called LS help when popped, then another LS came and wait for wipe to take the NM etc. It was also my 1st time see how ppl deal with NM and my 1st time seeing BLU cannonball build in action(someone in Cabelas used BLU cannonball on this), and I was like, why a staff with cannonball! Fun time, lol.....err, Noob time I mean!

My 2nd experience with Cerberus was at 85 or 90 cap(I forgot exactly witch, but it's abyssea era), someone /shouting for a pt for Cerberus because it popped. So me, Tavera, Trigue and several others tried to kill it with a pt of PUG players and randomly dragged friends. 

Although it's easier than 75 era and required smaller pt size(our pt size was smaller than Sinister), it was still a wipe! Then the pt disbanded after wipe.

Felt pretty good that at lv 99 I get to solo it and get the title. Also can't help but feel "ah, time flies, we used to need an alliance for this with Cannonball BLU and PLD, now I can solo"

It's weird that after I play FFXI, things changes and the "old days" memory often pop in my head. I remembered alot of things while killing Cerberus, including my gear on lv 75 COR when I did the fight with Sinister, yeah it was all AF1 and AF gun ;)

I guess that's the FFXI magic, or MMORPG magic..... they will never come back no matter how many times I create a new toon, it only exists as memory.

Speaking of which, for some reason I do miss Sinister, although they're not quite as it's used to be. It used to be a pretty hardcore LS full of pimps, now seems pretty casual to me. But then again, there aren't many NALS that can consider hardcore nowadays on this server, lol.

Sunday, 6 January 2013


So after a lot of grinding, I finally passed 15k alexandrite mark.

When I decided to make a Mythic, I planned to spend 5 years to make it, now 2.6 years passed and I'm finally 50% done!

Maybe I can finish in 2013, maybe!

Speaking of New year resolution of 2013, my goal:

1. Play less FFXI ;)

2. Finish Mythic(Kinda contradiction to No.1 though D; )