Saturday, 30 March 2013

SoA first hand impression

After a few hours of SoA adventure, time to write a quick review about this update.

Note that I haven't explore every single area, and I haven't done skirmish. I also haven't done all the current mission. Maybe I'll write a review about those after a couple more weeks/months!

I have to admit, I've been waiting for SoA for months...for past 3 months SoA has been my only salvation in FFXI D; FFXI has been quite boring recently, and besides waiting for SoA there really isn't much exciting going on.

And maybe the higher expectation, the higher disappointment :(

First of all, the way you head to SoA area, is slightly less exciting compare with other areas.

In SoA, you activate a quest, spend 10 min to get a KI, click the new tele in town, and boom next sec you're in New SoA area!

I still remember my 1st time to WG, it was a LONNNNG travel on a ship. Then when I finally arrived, I was like "Oh near east, finally!"

1st time to the past, went through a maw, and went to random place. Then took a while to get back!

And first time to Tavnazian was almost 4 years, but the experience is still in my memory.  We went through a lot in promy, when we finally went to Tavnazian safehold, I feel like I finally see the sunlight after living in a cave for 10 years.

Even to Elshimo region, it was through airship with a friend, and I still remember how we went on the deck to check out scenery together.

Compare with past expansions, click on a waypoint then warp to new region right away without going through anything, is slightly less exciting. Waypoint is convenient, but 1st time to new least be something more different?

(Even that annoying CS in prov before warp is more

Then next few days, I've been trying to unlock new jobs and exploring new areas.

I admit having new aspect to explore in this game made FFXI more interesting. I ended up teaming up with random stranger, run to different maps we never been to, and kill reives on the way. We didn't know how reive work back then, so it was alot of discovery. It felt like my 1st time to WG area, that every map is new.

After you play this game for such a long time and went through every maps, it's nice to feel like an adventurer again.

But eventually we'd get used to it.

I found new town/maps that I've been to so far, are rather lackluster to look at.

FFXI maps has been lackluster to look at for years, but since it's an old game, I can forgive it.

An expansion released in 2013, at least it should be something new?

1. Reives

Then I went on to try 1 of the new content, reives.

I was kinda disappointed that Reives are just nothing but Campaign V2. I mean, it's nearly the same - -

You can join Lair or colonization Reives when you see them, and get Bayld(conquest point/imperial standing in SoA)+EXP. Reives is about the same as Campaign, you attack mobs, and melee jobs with self sustain ability works the best. Only difference is that you also need to work on the object(nest or root) in reives. And so far I haven't seen any crazy NM/siege weapons in Reives. Another difference is the mobs will keep repopping until the main object is dead. And that's really it, it's literally the same as Campaign.

So basically, you job change to a melee job, ideally subbing DNC, engage a mob or root/nest, kill it mindlessly, until you farm enough Bayld for new ex/rare that pwns old endgame content gear :)

/tosses my controller D;

Note that this event seems to revive PLD job, I see PLDs everywhere. Main reason is because PLD has good survive-ability, you can hold a group of mobs while other DDs zerg the main object.

Another good job for reives is BLU(D; Afania's BLU love in power again). BLU can AoE sleep the adds, on the same time deal good dmg and get pretty good bayld. Every other DD job seems to die often if having to deal with multiple mobs at once. I think BLU can probably solo lair reive, or even colonization reive if he can somehow deal with MP issue and have a good evasion set.

Mage job generally gets less bayld, so you see less mages in Reives.

Reives quests are also like campaign Ops, you have several goals to complete, most of them are running around goals and quite annoying. But if you grab a quest for colonization/lair reives before you do them, it's a lot faster to farm bayld that way.

On a weekend night, you'd see hundreds of players in those zones, killing every reives they encounter in a few min, makes it hard to find a reive to do to, especially when you don't know where a reive is up and alive. I often see ppl /shout for reive location, by the time I run there it's dead D;

I kinda expect colonization system is more dynamic.....but I guess it's not realistic to expect a PS2 MMORPG to perform like a current gen MMORPG :(

Personally I don't find Reive fun, mainly because it reminds me campaign in every way. For the past 2 years, SE been making way too many "version 2" events......MMM version 2(meeble), salvage/nyzul/limbus version 2, even VW is kinda Abyssea version 2.....I want something new. (The only new event legion, this world doesn't let me to do it, even though I want to do it :( )

Going to try Skirmish to see if it's fun D;

Anyways, after 2 hours of grinding, new WF legs got!

I sold my soul for my previous WF legs, by making an NNI static and everything. Now I got a replacement for it in hours solo wwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww

2. BR update

I also rushed to BR for my skadi 35, which I wanted it forever but never get drop after countless BR.

Long time ago I thought I'd never get skadi body 35, 1 update I got skadi head/body 35 and marduk legs 35 in 1 BR run.

Now I wonder why I wasted so much time on BR rampart in my life! D; I SE promised to make every gear harder to obtain at first, easier to obtain as time progresses, why bother to get pimp gear when it's out since it takes less time after a while!

3. Attack/defense ratio change

I noticed I took a bit more dmg when I solo dyna, but it may just be my imagination.

I used to be able to hold multiple mobs without AoE sleeping them, now if I don't sleepga them I lose HP a lot faster, and ended up having to use more MP to sleep them. Again, it can be my imagination. Enemy dmg also has fairly wide range. Sometimes an EP hit me for 170+ a hit, sometimes only 59. Before update *I don't think* it hits 170+ a hit that often.

I'm still not sure how new formula works. According to SE's description, we're all gonna take more dmg!

4. Missions

Nothing to write about storyline so far, I haven't done much mission too. I wish it's as well written as WoTG.

If anything, SoA doesn't offer much surprise to me so far, it's just another same old FFXI expansion. I found a lot of "old returning friend" after SoA release, and entire server population is certainly higher than pre-SoA. But if the game doesn't offer anything game changing, I highly doubt the population will stay that high after 3~6 months when everything in SoA being discovered.

Abyssea was a surprising change in FFXI, it introduced new ways to play FFXI, and it tells everyone that "FFXI can work like this!".

Can SoA save FFXI? So far I'd say it still needs a bit more work.

But this isn't the end, enmity/attack ratio change still has potential. Campaign gear making previous generation gear obsolete pretty much tells everyone "We will make something even better in the future, get ready to toss/sell your elite gear now!"

So we'll have to see how much the new producer can do to change the game formula even more.

Btw, after a lot of consideration, I realized I can't really play RUN unless new Nyzul WS for RUN can solve the problem. Atm RUN needs 3 WS to play properly, reso for high attack buff situations, ruinator for low buff, and req for none elemental dmg on certain mobs. There's no way I can get all 3 unless I quit COR. And I don't like to half ass a job, I'd rather don't play it or create another character to play it.

I guess no RUN for me :(

How to balance FFXI and life

Recently when I suggest a LS mate more efficient way to do lowman content, Psyix pissed off and called me elitist when I mentioned specific job/gear/set etc. "You shouldn't suggest ppl to specific jobs  or specific weapons to clear content!"

One of the reason that certain job(namely DRG WAR MNK BLU NIN to be precise) with R/E/M is suggested, because they don't have good ability to deal reasonable dmg without one. As one of my old post stated, current content difficulty is balanced based on the fact that certain amount of player either have DD job powerful enough without R/E/M leveled, or already have R/E/M. For example, if they make a 15 min content(like meeble NM) clear-able with none empy BLU BLU WHM. Then OAT or rag DRK DRK WHM will clear it in 3 min, making the content literally too easy and literally clear-able by all  player. From game design's perspective of view, this is bad. You can make an easy game that only 80% of players can clear and have hardcore players quit, or have a game that only 20% of players can clear and have casual players quit. But it's bad to make a content that 99.999999% of player can clear so that even average(which has largest population) player quits.

I fought back, "Unless you're new or returning player, or unless your main job doesn't need R/E/M, there's no way you can't get a R/E/M if you've been playing for years. You aren't taking your job seriously if you don't have R/E/M and been playing for years."

Then another LS mate said "Maybe they don't have time?"

So time to clear some myth regarding "have time" and making R/E/M in FFXI, and to find some possible solution to help those who have little time to play, and yet still wants to make R/E/M or other progress.

There are way too many players, mainly on SE forum, complained that they can't get R/E/M, their jobs are gimp and they don't get invite. Then next sentence they go "I only have 4~5hr a day to play FFXI, I don't have 12 hours a day and I can't make R/E/M"

Every time I read that I was like lol wut? 4~5hrs a day is literally 2~3 times more than I do. And I know plenty of players play less than me and yet have multiple R/E/M.

The main reason that happens, is because some ppl failed to improve their time management and efficiency.

Let's realistically calculate the amount time a lv 95 relic needs. Atm a lv 95 Rag cost slightly less than 100M, let's say 100M.

So let's assume you're a workaholic or some sort of CEO, have successful business. You spent 12 hours working(this number is probably higher than avg in NA, even in Asia working 12hrs a day everyday is not THAT common). You woke up at 8:30, start working on 9am , came back at 9:30 pm, spent 1hr taking a bath/do w/e you need when you get home, log on on 10:30, log off for bed at 12:30, you have 2hr a day to play FFXI.

Solo dyna 2hr you should be able make 1M+(if you can't, you have to improve solo efficiency somehow). Many ppl claimed to make a lot more, but let's just use low end numbers, counting possibility to have competition or accidently died and exit early.

It takes 100 days of solo to make a lv 95 Rag making avg amount of coins solo in dyna, not counting other ways to make gil for extra income such as ADL/merc nyzul/fishing etc. So 3 months and 10 days. While spending 12hr a day on your job/family.

Unless you're new/returning player(since new/returning player often has to work on SJ/gears etc), how long have you been playing FFXI? 1 year? 3 years? 5 years? My point of  "Unless you're new or returning player, or unless your main job doesn't need R/E/M, there's no way you can't get a R/E/M if you've been playing for years." stands.

Now you will probably argue "But it's completely irrational to work 12 hours a day AND spend 2 more hours in FFXI! Nobody can ever do that without going insane!"

This is true, it's inhuman to ask a player work 14 hours a day, literally. You worked for 12 hours, came home tired and don't want to spend 2 more hours grinding, this is understandable. So you decided to ONLY work on your relic on weekends. Weekdays are your freeday, you use it to watch TV, read newspaper, or log on to FFXI do less intensive stuff such as chating. And you only work on your relic on Sat/Sun.

That's 2M/week, 4 hours a week in FFXI, it takes 50 weeks to make 100M. There are 52 weeks a year, so my point still stands. Even if you're very, very, VERY casual, playing 4 hours a week, there are still no reason not to have a relic if you've been playing for years. I'm pretty sure that at least 90% of current activate FFXI player, plays more than 4 hours a week. If you don't believe me, next time when you log on set stop watch, do that for 7 days to see how many hours a week you spent on FFXI.

Now you're arguing again: "But I really play less than 4 hours a week! I mean, I don't have time for real!"

Or maybe you will argue: "But grinding(or playing a dyna solo job) is just not fun! I just hate it! Even if I have 4 hours a week I still don't want to get a relic! I play the game to have fun, not to work!"

If you really can't get yourself to spend 4 hours a week in a video game, there are no reason to get pissed off if someone else told you you're not taking your job seriously.

If you would rather take rl seriously, don't want to spend 4 hours a week, good for you. And it's not a crime that you don't take a video game seriously. But there are also no reason to get pissed off if someone tell you you're not taking your job seriously because you have no R/E/M. Because it's the path you choose.

This applies to playing a solo job you don't like. I don't like to wake up at 8AM for work :( I don't like to take someone I'm in relationship with to the movies when I'm in bad mood :( But because I take my job/relationship seriously, I have to sacrifice something, to do things I don't really enjoy. That is really what "take things seriously" means. You dedicate certain amount of effort/time on it, if you take things seriously. Sometimes you don't always enjoy it, but that's what taking things seriously means.

If you choose not to dedicate certain amount of time/effort on it so you can dedicate your time on rl stuff, good for you. But if you do choose to take jobs in FFXI seriously, next  problem you will face is how to balance FFXI and life.

IMO, this is hard.

Many players who played for years, simply just quit FFXI after they got a job so they can focus. Trying to get the best out of both world is hard.

However, for ppl that just can't leave FFXI behind, nor want to sacrifice rl for it, there are different ways to improve efficiency, that not everyone may be aware.

IMO, efficiency is important, for many reasons.

Every player make different progress in this game. Some players stand in PJ showing their multiple R/E/M lv 99, some ppl barely have +2 and no R/E/M. Players with multiple R/E/M and HQ gears are like rich ppl irl, they have the status and money. Since FFXI literally have no other goals except gets more shiny, the amount of shines you can get is purely based on the amount of time you have and your efficiency.

The amount of time you have is your resource, you can't change it(I certainly don't encourage anyone to sacrifice rl to play FFXI more) And the amount of time you have is heavily depend on your rl job/life stage etc. Some ppl just has 12 hours a day to play, some ppl has 2 hours, and there are little you can change that. So are there any way for 2 hours a day player to "catch up" to 12 hours a day player? The only way is to improve your efficiency. That way you make more progress with your precious 2 hours.

A lot of players often call some BG users "elitists with no life and no job". But I have to say, the real reason why BG elitists are successful is not because they have no life and plays 12 hours a day. But because they always find more efficient way to use their time, and always try to improve efficiency.
They invest in good gears, invest in mules, dual box/trio box a lot to get more loot/gil. They find most efficient pt setup and uses fastest strat. They improve their gears to get things done faster. They avoid wiping because, wiping just wastes time. That's why they make more progress than average players that doesn't read forum.

And there are different tips and tricks to improve efficiency.

1. Calculate your income per hour and compare the data.

If you want to farm gil, use most efficient method. If your method isn't efficient, change it.
I think this is obvious enough, but I still see many ppl would rather not to >.>

Every time when you find a new way to make gil, calculate your gil/hour. And that should include your gathering time(many ppl often miss this)

So you start an ADL static, your static took 1 hours to gather, you spent 2 hours in dyna xarc and made 3M a run. Your gil/hour is 1M/hour, not 1.5M/hour.

Then use this data, to help you make more gil when comparing with other data.

If you spent 1 hour to gather, and made 1M/hr, by lowering the gathering time to 10 min, your income just increased to close to 1.5M/hour!

Now you found another way to make gil, that is doing Qilin x6 run and sell plates/cell, how much gil you make per hour? If it's less than 1M/hour, you shouldn't do it unless you already used dyna entrance and really nothing else to do.

In fact I'd suggest anyone don't do qilin x6 run for gil. Yeah, I know you just made 4M a run in last 18 runs because pouch just rains, on top of getting a cell. Ok good, you got cell/plate, now STOP doing qilin. You made extra gil because you were lucky in last 18 runs. But if you do next 100 runs and get nothing but ores, you just lose what you've earned.

Qilin is like lottery ticket, your friend will tell you how they make millions in a few runs. And it is certainly possible. But when you do 1000 qilin, your avg gil/hour is less than dyna counting gathering time. Avg qilin x6 pt takes 1+ hour to gather/shout/walk there, do 6x pop, have ppl afk at gold chests and wait for D2 home. Some ally takes longer than 1hour if you start the /shout, or if ppl afk at gold chests for every pop, which happens often.

Don't do Qilin, unless you're really bored and nothing else to do or you just really, really want to kill Qilin for fun. Even if you want a shiny dagger, just don't do qilin :). Buy that dagger. 1 cell costs 5~6M, so about 36M=72 hours of dyna solo(some ppl probably solo faster too) to get that dagger. That means about the time to do 72 qilin x6 pt to get that dagger, aka 432 Qilin kills. If you can get that dagger in less than 432 qilin kill, good for you and you're the lucky minority. But majority of player isn't going to get that dagger 1/432 or less. If you killed more than 432 qilin and still can't get that dagger, you just used a less efficient way to get gear/farm gil when better way exists.

Since majority of player are 0/432+ on Qilin dagger, don't do Qilin for it unless nobody sells cells anymore :)

I've been recording amount of hMP I got with hundreds and hundreds of Qilin kill, and gil/hour is just lower than dyna with no dagger.

2. Eliminate the gathering time.

As previously mentioned, if you made 3M in a 2 hour event but you spent 1 hour gathering together, that lowered your gil/hour to 1M/hour when you could have made 1.3M~1.4M/hour with shorter gathering time.

Try to setup a time and everyone gather on time, try to setup some rules to stop ppl from being late. Use skype/guildwork app to communicate when you're not in FFXI and still outside, so if someone can't pop, you know right away. You can also use it to make sure everyone will pop on time. This just saves time and in the end, your farming efficiency will improve.

3. Get mules, and vicious circle D;

Get 1~2 mules if you can afford. If you want to make Mythic, get 2 mules helps a lot.

Because, well, playing multiple characters at once just helps you to farm stuff faster.

If you have an ADL static of 8 players, with 0 mules it split 8 ways, with 1 mule it split 7 ways, with 2 you share gil with 6 and so on.

If you want to do salvage/assault for Mythic. You need to find 2 other real players to get you in(then the time you spent on gathering lowers your efficiency) If you have 1 mule, you only need to find 1(and you will find out it's much faster to get in if you only need to find 1 person). If you have 2 mules, you have 0 waiting time and that's even faster.

Most ppl probably already know this, but the problem is that not everyone can afford 2~3 characters when each costs 13$ a month.

However, the time you saved by having extra character and get things done faster, you can use the time to make money back irl. So in the end you gain more than you lose.

On the other hand, if you try to save money and ended up spent more time in FFXI, you'd ended up make less money irl too.

And that became a vicious circle D;

Don't have money to afford more character=> spent more time in XI to get things done=> less time irl to make money=> broke in both XI and rl D;

4. Plan your grinding wisely......

I often see conversation like this in chat:

"I want to get a swift belt, anyone want to help?"

Afania: "Why don't you get twilight?"

"I don't have time to get twilight" / "Twilight is too hard"


Or something like this:

"I want to make money for my lv 50 job for gears, where can I farm? Maybe go farm silk thread/sky cluster?"

Afania: "Why don't you get a job to 99 first then farm dyna?"

The thing is, there are always certain way to grind stuff that makes faster progress. Grind gil on a low lv job for gears that'd outdate in 2 more hours of lving, is pointless when it's faster to ding 99 first then farm dyna. Farm a swift belt for twilight belt replacement is slower than going for twilight right away.

And yet I still don't understand, why there are always players intentionally go for slower/inferior choice to slow down the speed to make progress.

Inferior gear choice should only be used if it's REALLY fast and easy to obtain, like much, much faster than optimal choice. If optimal choice doesn't take long, then there are no reason to make it longer.

Get a job to lv 99 doesn't take long, get a twilight doesn't take long. And in the end you will go get a 99 job/twilight one day, so why not do it NOW.


To sum up, there are always better ways to improve efficiency in terms of making progress, and higher efficiency = better gear/faster progress on given character. I remember I used to spent LONG time on making a pt for anything, now I rarely spent more than 10~20 min on making a pt, if I want to do something, I often plan beforehand.

Of course not everyone enjoys such busy FFXI life to calculate everything for max efficiency, but for anyone that do want to be successful, and unable to get more time/resources, the only way to go is to use your resources wisely.

But burning every min you have in this game, certainly isn't the only way to be successful in FFXI.

Thursday, 28 March 2013

Punishment for being hardcore

So the new producer really did it, I didn't expect he'd do it for real, but he sure has the guts to do it....

He made quite a lot of last generation endgame gear completely obsolete again.

Just look at this, old T.abj head HQ, I wanted it to replace Aias bonnet for STR/DEX,

 and new light armor set that can be obtained with new area points:

T.abj HQ costs 40M to make, and new light armor head is better than Bonnet for STR DEX wwwwwwww

Should I thank god I didn't spend 40M on Khepri head? Or should I pity those who did it?

Every other gear pretty much pwned old gears too. Many of endgame gears came from endgame event such as VW got pwned bad.

I guess FFXI is heading back to Abyssea era, when old endgame gear gets obsolete after update, and there are no longer "elite" tier player.

Damn, I fell in love with post Abyssea FFXI, when elite player's effort actually worth a damn, and you can tell the difference between a good party and bad party, because elite player tried to pushed his/her limit in the game.

But now it's all over :(

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

New job

I'm planning to lv a new job again ._. Mainly because recently I completely lost motivation in FFXI, that I no longer find the game fun. I try to look for other games for replacement and no game works. I realized that if I want to continue to have fun in FFXI, I need to take up another job seriously.

I found my old JP job guide again, and suddenly remember how much I used to be interested in BLU and COR when I was new, and how much I want to know more them. I'd do every research about the job. Now that I'm pretty familiar with nearly every job in FFXI, and the game kinda lacked the "oh everything is new" feel and got really boring. Even with new content I don't see myself feel motivated.

Every once a while when I thought about taking up another job, I'd ended up worry too much because realistic side of Afania is too strong :(

"I don't want to lv up a job and spend time on it, and that job ended up being useless"

"I don't want to lv up a job that's too hard to gear or takes too much inventory"

Now that FFXI is no longer new to me, lving up a new job gets a lot less interesting when I already know what a job is capable of most of the time. But now it's probably a good chance to lv up a new job, with SoA releasing soon, and game mechanic changing, nobody knows much about what's coming next. And I can probably lv up a new job without having to deal with realistic side of me.

Jobs I'm (currently)interested in:

PLD, looks cool.......with attack ratio/enmity changing PLD probably will be useful again(oh noes realistic side of Afania revived) I have Req, Almace and Adamas, so I just need to work on heavy armors and +2 lol.

RUN, the moment I saw this job, I know it's "my type" of job. Tank, uses GS, has magical ability(hybrid), pt buff......AF looks awesome too. I have majority of RUN gears, and I planned to finish Skadi set anyways. So this seems like a good choice.

My only problem is that lving RUN means I have to delevel Req for Reso. At least PLD I can just PLD/DNC and DW two swords if I need to DD for some reason :(

GEO looks fun too, but I don't like the AF at all, so screw GEO :p

The best way to get it done, is to get it done before I regret without thinking :<