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Topics - Tenchi-no-Ryu

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Multiplayer RPGs / Black Desert Online
« on: March 07, 2016, 07:39:45 PM »
Didn't see an current posts about it, so I figured I'd start one.
Black Desert Online Official Page
Black Desert Online Launch Trailer

Some basic information about the game - Released earlier last year in Korea, developed by Pearl Abyss and released in NA/EU by Daum Games Europe. BDO is a medieval high fantasy MMORPG that's quite different than the themepark MMOs like WoW and FFXIV. The pricing structure for the game is similar to Guild Wars in that you pay for the client once and you can play as long as you like. There's a cash shop that sells convenience and vanity items, but is completely optional. I've played a bit on the RU servers and preordered for NA release and I have to say that i'm really happy with the game. However, BDO is not your typical MMO, it's entirely sandbox - there are no convenience systems that break immersion (like teleport/shared storage etc.) If you need to get somewhere you get there on foot or horseback. There is a significant de-emphasis on equipment. While there are several tiers of equipment, they can be used by all classes and generally don't alter the look of your characters very much. The vanity items are incredibly well done but VERY expensive. There are no instanced dungeons, and there are no raids. They recently released 2 overworld dungeons and 3 open world bosses ala EQ/FFXI. There is an incredibly robust guild system where land can be aquired and fought over, as guild vs. guild battles are common. There's also siege warfare if that's your bag. PvP is completely optional - you cannot even flag for PvP until level 45. There are also systems in place that completely lock out RMT and general chat spammers. There is no level cap, there is a soft cap of 50, and then less stat increases as you venture on into infinity. Most equipment does not have a level requirement (unless its crafting gear), and the game is incredibly alt friendly. So why play a game that sounds like a massive timesink that doesn't have a loot treadmill or zomg-raids? Because it completely disincentivizes what has become a stale pitfall of the genre and returns you to the basics of what makes these games special - interacting in a virtual world and taking part in the events that shape its future. The story is actually decent, but has some translation issues. But, don't think the game is anywhere near shallow. It's incredibly vast in its gameplay systems.

To give you an example of just how expansive BDO is, check this out....Black Desert Online Bible

For those interested in how fishing works, I even made a little video... Arliman's BDO Fishing Tutorial for Beginners.

The music and visuals are amazing, the game can be played with a controller (with a learning curve), and outside of the limitations of a massive streaming MMO world (texture pop in), its an impressive game. It's depth and scope is amazing, and arguably what ArcAge tried so desperately to be.

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Multiplayer RPGs / FFXIV: Arliman's Crafting Compendium
« on: September 21, 2013, 08:36:36 PM »
So you wanna be a crafter?


A lot of the FC have been asking advice about crafting so I thought it would be best to compile a guide covering the basics and some advanced techniques. This is a comprehensive guide and will probably be a little complicated so please don't try to absorb it all at once. Try to master the basics section before moving onto advanced technique.


Why Craft?


To put it simply, Crafting aka Synthesis, allows a player a certain degree of self sufficiency in the game and affords access to equipment across all level ranges. If used judiciously it can save you a significant amount of money and allow you a modest income by participating in the player driven economy. You will not become an overnight gillionaire through crafting. If you aren't careful it can leave you bankrupt, but more on that later.


Pros:


1. Ability to repair your own gear which is a significant cost savings over time. Level 5 Dark Matter is only 80 Gil per piece vs. 180 Gil per repair at the NPC. Score!


2. Ability to meld Materia to equipment. Requires catalyst obtained through gathering. It's obvious how this benefits the player. I can charge 2-5k per meld in our current market. Some patrons will offer you a bonus for a successful forbidden meld. Your mileage may vary depending on your clientele.


3. Ability to create equipment that can be used for yourself or others. HQ equipment sells for a premium on the Market Board (MB). This is especially useful for hard to fill slots like Jewelry.


Cons:


1. Significant time investment. If you plan on crafting, you require a basic knowledge of multiple crafts. If you intend to play the HQ game you are required to level nearly all crafts to cap.


2. Clogged Armory. While you can create a single set for crafting, realize you will need space for not only your main hand tool, but your offhand. When you get into HQ crafting specialty, you will need to find room for upwards of 6 sets of crafting artifact armor (AF).


3. Total reliance on Disciples of the Hand and War (DoH and DoW) . You cannot create works of art without raw materials. No craft is an island. You will require materials and crystals from mining, botany and spoils from fallen enemies.


4. It's expensive. If you're not willing to dabble in gathering or monster slaying, you will have to purchase raw materials and that can become expensive very quickly. When you begin the HQ game, you will need Materia. A lot of Materia. It's not cheap and if you try to convert your own it will take an incredibly long time.


Scared yet? You should be...



Crafting Basics, Part 1:


At its core, creating an item requires manipulation of two statistics: Progress and Durability.


Progress is the degree of item completion. Reaching 100% Progress means you've succeeded in creating the item. As a general rule components usually require less points in Progress to reach 100%. Finished goods have upwards of 2-6x the points needed in Progress to complete.


Durability is the health (HP as it were) of your synthesis attempt.
Actions that affect Progress or HQ will consume Durability. If Durability reaches ZERO before Progress reaches 100%, your craft will fail and you will loose the crystal and potentially all your other materials. Thankfully, if your synth reaches 100% progress at the same time Durability is depleted, your craft will still succeed.


Crafted components (rivets, lumber, glue etc) will always have 40 Durability. Finished goods that are assembled from these components will have 70-80 Durability. Needless to say components are a lot trickier to make because you have significantly less turns. They are also much harder to HQ.


For now don't worry about the HQ (Quality) bar, we will get to that later.


Statistics:


Now, Crafting is dependent on three statistics; craftsmanship, control and CP (crafting points).


Craftsmanship directly influences how much Progress certain actions can make. Higher Craftsmanship means you get more Progress per action.


Control directly influences how much HQ certain actions can make. Higher Control means you potentially get more HQ per action.


CP is the currency spent on each crafting action. The bigger your CP pool the more actions you can make.


The largest sources of Craftsmanship and Control are your main hand AND offhand tool. Do NOT neglect your offhand tool. It is half of your stat pool.


Got it? Good. Moving on...

Crafting Basics Part 2:


The process of synthesis is using a series of actions in a player determined sequence to achieve a desired result. Each action is considered a Turn. This is important to note because several of the actions you will be using create effects that last a certain number of Turns. Effects with Turn durations will appear in your buff bar with a number next to the icon. When the number drops to ONE (not ZERO), the next Turn will remove that Effect. I cannot stress enough how important knowing your Turn durations are for crafting.


Conditions:


As you synth, your unfinished product will wax and wane between several conditions. Each condition is important because they have a multiplier that influences the effect of each Action. Certain Actions can ONLY be used when a specific condition is active. Here are the Conditions:


Normal - 100% - white glow, always the turn after Poor and Good
Good - 150% - red glow - random, can only proc after Normal
Excellent - 400%- green glow - 50% success rate, random, can only proc after Normal
Poor - 50% - purple glow, black core, Always the turn after Excellent


To explain:


In Good condition, a successful action will be boosted by 150% with a standard failure rate. Good Condition can only appear if the previous Condition is Normal. It will also be followed by Normal Condition. It will not appear after Poor or precede Excellent.


Excellent condition gives any successful action a 4x multiplier but cuts your chance of success in half. Excellent condition may only appear after Normal condition.


Poor Condition always follows Excellent and will cut the effect of any successful action in half.



Before we go on, please make sure you've committed these concepts to memory. As I go into abilities and sequences, you need to understand how these are interrelated.


Getting Started:


Before we go any further, these are the skills you need to become a crafter. You need them all. I highly recommend you start with Alchemist. The sooner you have access to Tricks of the Trade the easier your life as a crafter will be.


Steady Hand: level 9, Any Craft
Improves Action success rate by 20% for 5 Turns.
22 CP


Inner Quiet: level 11, Any Craft
Gives a bonus to Control for every increase in HQ. Last the duration of the synth unless consumed by Rumination or Byregot's Blessing.
18 CP


Observe: level 14, Any Craft
Do nothing for one turn.
14 CP


Tricks of the Trade: 15 Alchemist
Restores 20 CP when the synthesis status is Good. This action does not effect Durability and can proc repeatedly.
Free


Careful Synthesis: 15 Weaver
Increases Progress at 100% Success Rate.
Free


Manipulation: 15 Goldsmith
Recovers 10 Durability each Turn over 3 Turns.
88 CP


Rumination: 15 Carpenter
Converts stacks of Inner Quiet into CP. 6-10 CP per stack.
Free


Hasty Touch: 15 Culinarian
Increases Quality (HQ) at a 50% success rate.
Free


Master's Mend - level 7 any craft.
restores 30 Durability instantly
92 CP


Once you have all these abilities, I'll go over two basic rotations: Basic Standard and Basic HQ Attempt. It is important to know that while synthesis is essentially a static rotation of abilities, there are Situational actions based on CP, HQ and durability deficiencies/needs. I'll try to break it down.


Basic Standard Rotation: This is only if you care about completion and not HQ.


1. Careful Synthesis....repeat until complete or a Situational arises. Yes it's that simple.


Basic HQ Attempt Rotation: This is for attempts for a 100% HQ finished product.


1. Inner Quiet


2. Careful Synthesis x N
(N= number of times needed to get Progress within ONE Careful Synthesis of completion)


Note: Break out the calculator if you must. Your progress points remain the same for each use of Careful Synthesis. Ideally, you should aim to get Progress to within one additional use to reach 100%. It is very easy to overshoot and regular synth the item if you are getting big gains with each Careful Synthesis.


3. Steady Hand x 1


4. Hasty Hand x 5 or until a Situational arises.


5. Repeat Steps 3 and 4, while dealing with a Situational event until HQ is 100%.


6. Careful Synthesis x 1 to Finish.



Situational Actions and Events:


1. Tricks of the Trade every activation to restore 20 CP. Try not to miss this! It can activate as frequently as every other turn.


2. If Durability becomes an issue:


a. Manipulation at any point Durability is below 50/70(80) if you are at a point to recast Hasty Hand, Inner Quiet/Rumination cycle. Remember it requires 3 turns worth of Actions to recoup all 30 Durability. If you aren't at a point where you can use your Turns for buff or CP recomp cycle, use Master's Mend. For Materials use it at 10/40 with the same considerations.

b. Once all 3 turns of Manipulation (or your one turn MM) are over and you are 30 Durability stronger ( and hopefully at least 20 CP richer), continue with Careful Synthesis (regular) or Steady Hand/Hasty Touch (HQ).

Note: When you get into HQ crafting with Effects that last multiple turns it may behoove you to spend the extra CP for the one turn Durability restore than wasting 3 turns of your buff for a modest CP savings. It's all about economy.

Note: While Manipulation's effect is active, actions that would normally consume Durability will consume a single turn of the restoration effect instead. This allows you to use 3 Progress or HQ actions without lowering Durability. However, this will not restore any actual Durability because the net gain is the same. It is extremely important that you do not use any actions that consume Durability if you are already at 10/X. Manipulation only refunds Durability once it is consumed. If your Durability drops to zero, Manipulation cannot refund it. So, if you're using Manipulation to fund Durability neutral actions, don't do it unless you have AT LEAST 20 Durability. Otherwise you will break your synth. This technique is not adviseable for beginners because you will need the Durability restore more than the free actions. Also activated TotT procs during the Manipulation effect will essentially waste the charge if Durability is already full, since TotT doesn't effect Durability.

3. If CP becomes a problem:

a. Use Rumination to refund your successful stacks of Inner Quiet into CP.

Note: Do not rely on TotT to keep your CP pool afloat. A bad streak of no proc's can leave you stranded.

b. Recast Inner Quiet as soon as Durability and CP allow.

Note: Do not waste the CP to recast if you are very low durability. It takes 2 successful Hasty Touch (20 Durability) to refund what you spent to cast Inner Quiet in the first place. Pointless if you only have enough Durability for 1-2 turns and no CP for Manipulation or Master's Mend.

Note: Successfully increasing quality (HQ) while Inner Quiet is active will illuminate Rumination, but there is no visible indicator of how many stacks are stored, so don't blow it too early! Each successful Hasty Touch will increase the stack by one charge. It seems to average 6-10 CP per stack of Inner Quiet.

Saved until the last possible second, Rumination can save your entire attempt at HQ. It can refund enough CP to cast a quick MM or Manipulation. Just don't forget to keep in mind you will need enough CP to recast Steady Hand (and hopefully Inner Quiet) for another few rounds of Hasty Touch. Toss in random TotT proc and you'll be in a much safer position than you started in. Inner Quiet is your get out of fail free card. Save it! The longer its actively stacking Control, it increases potential HQ gain and gives you a bigger CP refund when cashed out via Rumination.


The main point is that as a crafter you have many skills that allow you to better manage your resources to the desired outcome. CP is the fuel for nearly all actions, but its best usage is for durability restoration and buffing success rates of progress and HQ. Used creatively, what looks like an impossible mission at first glance becomes a simple task. You simply have to think ahead. HQ crafting is not unlike playing a card game. There is also an element of luck involved.


Once you've mastered these techniques and the cycle becomes second nature, I will teach you about Advanced Techniques. These are necessary if you hope to HQ any of the one or two star finished goods (ilevel 55-70).

3
So Final Fantasy XI turns its titular 11 this month. As usual SE is having its annual adventurer's appreciation campaign. I got to thinking and that's really an incredible milestone for a subscription MMO in this day and age of F2P. More shockingly I thought, was the fact that I have been playing this game on and off for over a decade. So yes my dear friends, this is a trip down memory lane...

*Yes I know there's a Journal Thread, but this is more of a Nostalgia thread than an achievement one. *

I remember participating in the beta test on PC in the summer of 2002 as a RDM and recreating that character one day before NA launch. I remember spending all day turning in Zehrun soot among the other lowbie repeatable quests just so I could buy our first Linkshell: ZOHAR. I like to think that Arliman was the first "official" NA character on Leviathan, but that's my ego :p Anyway, we populated the Linkshell with mostly RPGFan folks, and about half of our editorial staff at the time. The LS imploded and Dio, Mike and I formed Solaris, which became the home of RPGFan on Leviathan for several years. I still remember the first time we did the mission for the airship pass in an alliance. It was like herding cats with all the sneak/invis wearing, but it was good times. We were among the first group to complete Genkai 1, with the help of a few Japanese players - back when the vast majority of them still wanted to play with westerners.

I remember clearly riding my way to Hall of the Gods, even though I was nowhere close to that progression in Rise of the Zilart, just cause I wanted to see the landmark. Then again when pushing everyone through for sky access. Somewhere around Chapter 5 of Chains of Promathia (pre-nerf) a little game called World of Warcraft and split the group up and for a while a new Solaris thrived in WoW with about half of the old guard, but nothing quite captured the fondness of the times we had in FFXI.  From the chain deaths in Castle Oztraja to stomping all over Kam'lanaut, those were the days. Even after so many other MMOs, XI has still kept its hearth warm. The game has held up well over the years and I'm curious to see this UI revamp they keep talking about, but like always, change in XI is always slow. Maybe that's why it's stood the test of time for so long.

As a longtime MMO player, I long for that magical game to come along that recaptures that special feeling that I had for FFXI so long ago. You know, a place to finally hang my hat and say "I'm home..." I'm hoping FFXIV:ARR can grant that wish, but if it doesn't, FFXI will forever hold a special place in my heart. From the friends I made (who are still friends 11 years later), to the memories we made, Vana'diel will always be a home away from home.

Here's a small portion of my old pics.
Arliman's Pics

Please feel free to share any of your old special memories and pictures from the game.

4
Multiplayer RPGs / Final Fantasy XIV: ARR, a Thread Reborn
« on: April 27, 2013, 03:44:33 AM »
Since the old thread is getting a little long in the tooth, I'd like to start a new one as well as ask the community their option.
 
Beta phase 2 draws to a close this Sunday and with beta phase 3, we will see character import from 1.0 as well as the formal introduction of the PS3 version. The NDA will also be lifted. A few of our editors are in the beta and undoubtedly we will have some impressions, but I'm curious to see what you, our community members and readers would like to see as far as beta/release coverage outside of our usual content. A podcast round table discussion, a panel style first-impression?  Give us a few ideas as well as what aspects of the game you'd find important enough to be a deciding factor for buying FFXIV: ARR and we will do our best to cover all the bases.

Square Enix is doing something quite unprecedented in the industry by recreating FFXIV from the ground up. In fact, it's totally unheard of in the genre. Befitting this somewhat historical sequence of events, I'd like to see us cover the game in a broader sense than just a single individual perspective. Anyway, let us know your ideas and opinions so we can brainstorm something special for when the NDA is lifted.

Thanks for your feedback!

5
Multiplayer RPGs / TERA: Rising Free-to-Play
« on: January 09, 2013, 11:40:14 AM »
Here's the scoop on the story: TERA goes F2P in Feb.
Here's the official page and announcement video. TERA:Rising

I gotta say, i'm really happy they went this route and are enriching the experience for subscribers and not uber-nerfing the game for free accounts. If you haven't tried the game out yet, I highly recommend it. It doesn't really do much in the way of breaking the MMO quest mold, but the combat system and graphics are second to none. I haven't played for a couple months, but I wouldn't be averse to patching up to show people around who were interested in checking it out.


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Multiplayer RPGs / TERA: Argon Queen
« on: July 27, 2012, 05:21:17 AM »
Looks like they finally announced the release date of the second half of the Argon expansion for TERA. The Argon Queen looks to add some much needed endgame content. Shandra Manaya looks fucking vicious too.

TERA: The Argon Queen

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Multiplayer RPGs / Aion 3.0 Truly Free
« on: March 27, 2012, 01:55:46 AM »
We did a press release on this not too long ago, but figured i'd throw it out there since I've always been a fan of the game (not the grind).

Aion 3.0

I gotta say, with the fixes I've seen in the game in the last few months, the merging of servers to maintain an equal population ratio and this new 3.0 content with zero restriction for FREE is pretty fucking cool. If you had a passing interest in the game or quit during the mess of its first 6 months of launch - there's no excuse not to check this out. The new graphics update is pretty nice too - even if CryEngine 1 is dated. Pretty spiffy... now if only I could finish my damned Fenris set >.<

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Multiplayer RPGs / Mmmm... ArcheAge
« on: March 22, 2012, 11:27:55 AM »
Closed Beta 4 Official Trailer

Companies want to talk about revolutionizing the genre - check this shit out. While i'm not a huge fan of the graphics, some of the stuff you can do in this MASSIVE open world is pretty incredible.

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Single-Player RPGs / Chaos Rings II
« on: March 18, 2012, 03:35:15 AM »
Freaking amazing game. Totally worth more than the $18 they're charging on the App Store. My question is why this series isn't on PSN for the Vita!?

I know some folks think mobile gaming isn't legit, but this game has totally outdone my expectations. If you have an iOS device and long for an incredibly polished JRPG experience, this is a no brainer. Trumps both earlier entries hands down. The full VA is awesome, I just hope they give us an English VA update down the line.

Cannot recommend this title enough.

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General Games / Binary Domain - The spiritual successor to Snatcher?
« on: February 15, 2012, 08:01:55 PM »
So I was keeping an eye on this one since it was first announced as the brainchild of Toshihiro Nagoshi, of Yakuza fame. I had no idea it was going to be localized, and so soon. Turns out its going to be be released here on Feb 28th. The demo is available on PSN as well as Xbox Live Gold. The game taps into some pretty excellent themes of human evolution and our relationships with machines. Those of you who loved Snatcher, or raved over Phillip K. Dick's 'Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep' (or watched the movie version known as Blade Runner) will definitely find that same vibe.

Here's the trailer:

Binary Domain Trailer

After playing the demo, I have to say that i'm pretty impressed. Visually, it's a little rough around the edges, but its a pretty solid cover/squad based shooter with voice command recognition that doesn't suck. The voice acting is also pretty top notch as well. This game totally came out of left field, but i'm glad its on my radar.

11
So, this week curiosity got the better of me (and a complete dearth of community play invites) and I got a hold of a Korean retail account for TERA. The game is slated for a NA/EU release in Spring 2012, and with so many high profile MMORPGs coming out before the end of the year, I figured now was a good time to check the game out to see if all the hype was really founded. Mind you, I don't understand Hangul, but there's a billion guides and screenshots from the now defunct english language beta patch. Anyway, my experience thus far in pictures...


This is my Castanic Female Warrior - the Unreal Engine really shows off these character models.




She has a range of standing animations, all of which is extremely fluid, even down to her finger articulation. Definitely motion capped.




Nothing like a nice tail, without, you know... the tail. As you can see, warriors are dual wielders.




Real Action Combat - and this is me playing with my 360 USB controller - it works, even navigating menus (right stick is the mouse pointer).




No skimping on the blood splatter. Wonder how the ESRB is going to handle this...




Some of the ruins found in the starter area. The attention to detail is amazing.




My fairy starter friend - I'm assuming its some kind of noob guide.




Some kind of divine portal. Though you can't see it by the screenshot, the entire thing is constantly moving, catching the sunlight on the metal and jewels embedded in the rings, it's breathtaking.




This massive tree/space ruin is in the middle of the starting island. Again, the entire fragmented core is constantly moving - orbiting the tree itself. The scope is massive.




Upon getting closer to the tree, I find that it's some kind of massive temple.




Here is a view from the top steps of this central temple overlooking the island, which is suspended in mid-air above a crater of waterfalls. Yes, those waterfalls in the back by the broken ships is actually moving. Get close to the edge and you can see and hear them spray into the void.




My impressions thus far are mixed. Visually, the game is stunning. Unreal Engine 3 + crazy Korean character design/art make a blissful mix. There's a bit of screen tearing in the really open areas, but noting V-Sync can't fix. The lighting effects are jaw dropping. Character animation is very fluid as well. Gameplay wise, it seems to follow the WoW formula for questing, though there's some really nice voice acted cutscenes in the game using the graphics engine. It was pretty easy to follow what to do for quests (mob kill ratio, icons, etc.) One nice aspect of quests is that it actually puts a quest marker next to your targets HP bars, so you know that these are the mobs you need to kill for this quest. The UI is pretty utilitarian. The minimap is completely moveable, but for the life of me I couldn't figure out how to resize or close it. Character equipment and skills are pretty much standard fare. There's side by side comparison between gear in inventory and gear that's equipped by using a single mouse over (shows you the calculated differences as well). So far, we have a very pretty game that's obviously taken a page out of the WoW questing playbook, but is pretty polished overall. The real joy of my experience had to be the combat. Starting out fresh the only abilities I had were a single basic attack combo and a forward flip that i'm assuming is a dodge. You also have a standard jump button as well. Playing with the controller, it was really like playing any other combo-based action game - even with the servers being located on the other side of the world, I noticed barely a hint of latency - it was like playing Monster Hunter at home. At first I just kept jamming on the combo button till stuff fell over, but then realized the enemies give you pretty big visual clues as to when they're rearing up attacks. When I started going after the higher level stuff, I found standing around hitting one button got me dead really quickly - so I started actually doding attacks, using my flip move to avoid some of the bigger charge moves - trying to maneuver to a blind spot where I could wail away at stuff. The entire process just felt great. The combat felt really natural for an action game, even with latency. Anyway, hopefully I can find an english guild before too long and check out some of the other content (once I figure out how to get off the island lol).

Anyway, right now, i'm VERY excited to see this game launch here. It emulates most of the concepts from WoW, but the combat is really where this game is going to capture its audience. It's fast, bloody good fun - and I can't remember the last time I actually felt an MMO was "fun."


12
Multiplayer RPGs / FFXIV 2.0 - Holy Shit!?
« on: October 14, 2011, 04:11:15 AM »
http://lodestone.finalfantasyxiv.com/pl/teaser/

Discuss. Flames and flame baiting to a minimum please.

13
Multiplayer RPGs / Final Fantasy XIV Journal
« on: November 19, 2010, 12:22:10 PM »
Since the older general thread has deteriorated into ranting, raving and general tom foolery, I thought I'd start a new one. Since the previous Journal threads seem to be popular it might be nice to start one for FFXIV so people can see what milestones people hit and which content is reached and experienced. Please limit posts in this thread to things you've accomplished in-game and simple theorycrafting questions or helpful nuggets of information. If you feel the need to voice ire, sarcasm or nerd rage - please visit the other thread.


Arliman's Journal - Entry #1

It's been quite an up and down experience since the launch of the FFXIV service. I don't think I need to go into details as its well documented all over the web. The server population of Trabia has diminished but has seemed to have leveled out - not suprisingly the bulk of the playerbase is active in JPN prime-time. I do find it interesting of note that the Japanese this time around are alot more willing to communicate in English than they were in XI. Maybe the trimming of the server population has helped bridge the divide. There isn't much of a sense of JP-onry though I do see the rare post in search comments. Currently i'm linking up with a few other linkshells with active player populations since REUNION is on hiatus - hopefully only temporarily once the fixes and additions are in place. It's pretty nice to be able to follow several linkshell chats at once, though only being able to talk in one at a time without switching active shells is a pain. I gotta tell you though its great for organizing those SP parties.

Speaking of SP, I finally hit level 33 LNC on Wednesday and was really shocked at how fast the Fatigue tiers build once you hit active fatigue. It must have been less than 30 minutes per tier - though some folks were telling me that the Fatigue will reset itself automatically after the 5th or 6th tier, so people just press through it. To be honest the SP loss isn't really all that noticable... not at first. With SP gain on mobs being so sporadic and random its hard to tell what's the penalty and what's not. I've discovered that the SP cap for a grinding party is 500. Guildleves with Guardian's Favor is the only thing that is exempt from that cap - unfortunately getting SP in guildleves after you hit level 20 is pretty much an exercise in futility. So honestly, it's not much different that leveling in XI, only that you get better skill the more people that are in the party and the tighter the level gap. I gotta say having a full party of 15 players is pretty intense, but I do wish folks would pick on mobs other than Efts - but who am I kidding, XI shows how rooted people can be in one activity until someone finally manages to show them there are other ways lol.

So far I managed to finish the level 30 class quest for LNC and the level 30 Ul'dah misson and I wish I had the foresight to take pictures or video capture, because there were some really cool things going down. I really liked having the option of using Parley for diplomacy or just going in lance blazing. I'll have to ask some of my friends who took the route of violence if the cut scene ended up differently. I know of at least one mission where approaching the cutscene location from a different elevation resulted in a longer cutscene, which makes me hope that they add some kind of replay feature, or at least the option to switch nations.

Since i've hit 33 I'm able to do the level 40 guildleves and things are starting to get interesting. Finally some really classic monsters (Arhimans) and some boss-like encounters (the massive Dreamtoad) as well as area defense stuff. They really need to add the variety sooner rather than later. It felt like I was doing the level 20 leves for eons compared to the 30's. I've stuck to my crafting, though I find that I'm now leveling everything other than cooking and alchemy actively. Had to start botany and mining to fuel supply because like every MMO, its always a materials market. It's going along slowly, but consistently. I can't wait until the patch on Wednesday. Getting rid of the +1 and +2 items and 20 more bag and retainer slots will help a ton. Now if only they would hurry and add the delivery system and more retainers I'll be a happy crafter.

Anyway, I've saved the most exciting thing (at least for me) for last. I finally decided to spend a little of my gil stash and got my lance upgraded, my blackened scale mail restored and the rest of my plate updated. Which leaves me with a complete compliment of Rank 41-48 equipment. I was able to buy another lance on the cheap to continue leveling with and I still have my bronze cuirass set, but i'm straight till endgame. I wouldn't dare wear the stuff in combat, though I have promises from the craftsmen in question to be repaired free of charge. At the very least it gets alot of stops and stares. It amuses me to no end to have folks asking me where I bought my gil or if i'm an RMT myself. I like to think of it as being a billboard for some really great crafters - and hey, if they can cut me deals on gear for tossing business their way, how can I refuse?

Anyway I've got a bunch of screenshots to share.










If the gear looks this good now (amazing in different lighting) I can't imagine how it'll look at 99. Anyway, that's all for now. I'll try to get some screengrabs and maybe some video of the Rank 34 Uldah Mission when I get to it. Damn Fatigue ;p

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