Author Topic: FFXI Journal: Prishe Goes Around Annoying the Whole World

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Hathen

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Re: FFXI Journal: Filler Episodes Before Bastok Story Edition
« Reply #45 on: December 27, 2015, 05:06:10 AM »
The Archduke



Old man Maat is constantly paid visits from Adventurers everywhere when they want to break the limits of their training (as in raise their level cap). Rapifafa eventually completes enough tasks for Maat and she is given the hardest task he can think of- to fight a one-on-one battle with an 80 year old man who probably has osteoporosis.



Maat adapts the fighting style of whoever he fights with, so he's a special kind of asshole when fighting as a Red Mage. Aside from being way better at fusticuffs than any Red Mage has a right to, he has access to most of a Red Mage's spells and ability, including their SP Ability Chainspell, which does exactly what you think it does. Basically the only thing that can be done is for Rapifafa to pop Chainspell herself and then see who's better at taking a bunch of Aero IIIs to the face.

When Maat is defeated, he tells Rapifafa a little story. Many decades ago, the town of Jeuno had not been the center of trade it was today, but rather just a simple fishing village. On one fateful day, one of the fishermen (as Maat calls him) had saved two young men from drowning. The two youths gave their names as Kam’lanaut and Eald’narche.



Kam’lanaut was unlike any man the fisherman had met. His past was shrouded in mystery, but he claimed they were pupils of a sage deep in the mountains, where they had studied until his death. With their teacher gone, they had decided to travel to Windurst, but their ship capsized and left them adrift.



Kam’lanaut decided to teach the people of Jeuno the ancient art of crystal synthesis, and soon he became a household name in the city. Kam’lanaut gained many followers and crystal synthesis quickly made Jeuno one of the richest cities on the continent. There were close to not objections when Kam’lanaut was selected to lead Jeuno.

His first action as Archduke was strange- he decided to share the art with the three great cities of San d’Oria, Bastok, and Windurst. While the citizens of Jeuno were displeased with this decision, he took that opportunity to reveal his plan to construct a tower in Jeuno, making the city larger than ever.



When the Shadow Lord rose to power during the Crystal War, the Archduke personally led the charge in several battles. Without him, it’s unlikely the Allied Forces would've been triumphant.



It’s expected that much like how the Archduke's appearance has mysteriously remained almost identical for 50 years, that the city of Jeuno will also continue to prosper.

Hathen

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Re: FFXI Journal: Filler Episodes Before Bastok Story Edition
« Reply #46 on: December 31, 2015, 06:35:11 AM »
A Bard’s Story: The Circle of Time



It’s no surprise that as a rapidly growing city, Jeuno attracts young artists of all kinds, and the Merry Minstrel Meadhouse in Lower Jeuno in particular is a popular spot for fledgling bards to gather.



Though on this particular day, Rapifafa doesn’t sense very much merriment pervading the air.



Rapifafa figures since she’s here, she’ll have a drink so her visit won’t be completely wasted. Thankfully, the bartender at least seems to be friendly enough, telling Rapifafa a story of song runes somewhere on the Buburimu Peninsula which tell the story of two lovers. She probably figures Rapifafa is an adventurer, since she drops a not-so-subtle clue that maybe the lyrics would be able to bring up the mood in the place.



Rapifafa finds the runes on the beach near Mhaura, but she wasn’t alone on this visit. The cloaked man introduces himself as Lewenhart, a wandering bard in the most traditional sense, caring little where his daily meals come from- if they come at all- as long as he is able to let his song be heard at each tavern. Such a life of romance does have a certain allure for Rapifafa, but for now she had a task to do, so she copies down the runes onto a piece of parchment and heads back to Jeuno.



Rapifafa isn’t surprised that a broken heart wouldn't mend so easily, but she would’ve preferred to not be yelled at, either. Thankfully, Lewenhart soon shows up to help Rapifafa get out of this predicament.



Lewenhart gives the younger bard some words of encouragement, but Mertaire would rather wallow in his misery for the time being.



Rapifafa decides to chat up the bartender once again, and she tells Rapifafa about another set of song runes on the opposite beach of the Valkurm Dunes with the opposing set of lyrics.



Apparently on some level, Lewenhart’s speech worked on Mertaire, since he bothered to get off his ass and come visit the Song Rune.



Perhaps Lewenhart knew this would happen as well, but it’s also possible he was also simply here to visit the Song Rune, as he explains that these two song runes encompass everything a Bard is about, and he often comes to visit them when he needs new inspiration. No matter how much time passes, people will never change- the two separated lovers who wrote these lyrics did so wishing for their feelings to cross the sea, and in so doing had their feelings immortalized. He encourages both Mertaire and Rapifafa to simply allow their feelings to guide them in writing songs, and the rest will fall into place. Mertaire is all too happy to accept advice from the legendary bard he had admired since childhood.



Rapifafa and Mertaire both work at improving their skills, and eventually Mertaire asks Rapifafa for a favor- for her to help throw away the bracelet of his lost love. Mertaire wishes for it to be conclusive, so he asks Rapifafa to throw it into the Water of Oblivion in the Ranguemont Pass.



Mertaire arrives just before Rapifafa finishes the job, deciding that it would be best if he was to throw the bracelet away himself. As the bracelet sinks, Mertaire muses about what people a hundred years from now may think if they found the bracelet- was it possible the memories of its past owners would come through just like the song runes? Rapifafa had to restrain herself from telling Mertaire that he was a hack and whoever found it would probably be momentarily disgusted before casting it back into the water.



After some time, the bartender asks for Rapifafa- the bards at the tavern have always taken turns performing a certain task, and now it was her turn. One of the men interred within the Eldieme Necropolis had been a bard in life, but he was executed in San d’Oria for his crimes. The bards had respect for the man, however, and now Rapifafa had to go pay her respects. Visiting the Necropolis was always a frightening experience for Rapifafa, but this time Rapifafa tried to block her fear out by focusing on singing the requiem.



Of course, the song isn’t so effective when a ghost materializes right in front of Rapifafa. Thankfully, the spirit doesn’t seem to be malevolent, and simply gives Rapifafa an old ring before disappearing.



The bartender thanks Rapifafa for performing the praying by giving her a new pair of boots, but isn’t too willing to believe her story about the ghost, thinking Rapifafa might have simply met a graverobber.





Eventually Mertaire tells Rapifafa to simply take the ring to an appraiser instead of lugging the thing around constantly. Rapifafa does so, but the appraiser tells her that the ring is too old, and its best if she washes it off using a special patch of snow in the Northlands.



It’s a long trek, but Rapifafa manages to clean the ring and finds a strange inscription. Upon returning to the appraiser, he tells Rapifafa that the script is in elder San d’Orian, so it may be best if she took it to aElvaan of suitable age in the Chateau d’Oraguille.



Old man Chalvatot is willing to share the tale behind the ring, but asks that Rapifafa keep the story a secret.



The ring belonged to a travelling minstrel whose skills eventually allowed him a private concert for the San d’Orian king of that time. The king was so moved by his music that he did everything in his power to keep the bard in his palace.

Of course, this only allowed the bard to capture the heart of the young queen, who was many years the king's junior and had not married for love. Soon, the king discovered her infidelity, and the bard was put to death by poison.

The queen did not forget her lover, secretly ordering the creation of many San d'Orian ornaments to be buried with him in the Eldieme Necropolis- the tomb was soon picked clean by graverobbers. When the king passed away, the queen left the palace for a convent to spend the rest of her days. Before she left, she had left her own ring to Chalvatot’s forefather, perhaps in the hope that someday an adventurer like Rapifafa would come and reunite the two rings. Chalvatot asks that Rapifafa perform the queen’s final wish and place the two rings upon an altar in the Monastic Cavern under Davoi.



With that, the two lovers may pass into the world beyond together. Chalvatot has little to offer Rapifafa for her service, but decides to give her one of the burial ornaments meant for the bard as it is no longer necessary.



Though perhaps as a bard, another timeless story of star-crossed lovers is more valuable than all the jewels and treasures in the world.


Hathen

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Re: FFXI Journal: "I'm on the Bastok Story now, D" Edition
« Reply #47 on: January 02, 2016, 10:06:55 AM »
A Dark Knight’s Story: The Dark Legacy



On Rapifafa’s trip to Bastok, she had been given a strange sword by the wandering Mythril Musketeer, Zeid. Zeid promised to teach her something of the Galkan Dark Knight arts if she bloodied the blade, so she attempted completing the task on the occasion she felt she could actually lift the thing.



As promised, Zeid met Rapifafa in Beadeaux, and there, he passed onto her some of the knowledge required to be a Dark Knight.



At one point Rapifafa runs into the engineer Raibaht, who wishes to know more about the ancient Galkan methods of darksteel-working, and asks her to find one of the books detailing the process.



Rapifafa decides to ask around the Metalworks of Bastok to see if anyone has information on the book.



One of the other workers in the Metalworks informs Rapifafa that the book in question had been donated to a library somewhere, and no records exist of the donation. No wonder, considering how back then, Bastok built most important things with mythril and any research being done was for the strange material found in several ruins called cermet. Upon hearing the word “library”, however, Rapifafa instantly knew where to check first.



Rapifafa returned home to Windurst and found one of the librarians at the Optistery knew of the book Rapifafa spoke of. But as luck would have it, when he actually got around to reading it, he knew Bastok was the best place to learn more and prepared to travel there with the book. He was attacked by Yagudo as he set off, and he could only assume that the book was in Giddeus now, in the hands of one Vaa Huja.



By asking one of the few harmless Yagudo in Giddeus, Rapifafa is able to find Vaa Huja’s hiding spot, as well as a hint on how she could irritate him into showing himself.



With a Yagudo Cherry, Rapifafa has no trouble smoking Vaa Huja out of his hiding hole.



Rapifafa finds the books amongst the Yagudo's belongings, and returns to Bastok.



Raibaht’s happy to get his book, but his boss and chief engineer of Bastok, Cid, decides to take a peek himself, finding the author’s name, “Gerwitz”, sounding strangely familiar.



The next day, Cid manages to remember where had had once heard the name- Gerwitz was the man who had forged Zeid’s armor. Cid spends a moment reminiscing about the days he fought alongside the now-leader of the Mythril Musketeers Volker and his comrade Zeid, until they are interrupted by Raibaht, who brings up the fact that he has a letter from Zeid.



Zeid’s found some kind of strange phenomenon involving Gerwitz and some of the weapons he had created, but there’s not much that can be done considering how Zeid is not one much for return addresses- Bastokan officials have been unable to bring him back home for decades now. The only thing he can do is ask Rapifafa to help Zeid if she ever runs into him.

Rapifafa returns to her adventures, eventually meeting Zeid in the Ordelle’s Caves.



Aside from making Rapifafa think he really needs to work on his social skills, Zeid also tells her about Evil Weapons- Rapifafa had seen them before, weapons being animated by some cursed magic and enslaving kobolds to take advantage of their telekinetic powers. A popular belief is that they originated from the strange cermet spines they are usually found near. The cursed weapons that have appeared in Ordelle’s Caves in particular seem to be ones made by Gerwitz, bearing his insignia. Zeid attempted to lure them out, but it seems to be avoiding him- Zeid had hoped the letter he sent to Cid would eventually bring Rapifafa here, and now he wishes for her to try finding them.



Gerwitz had left for his journey of reincarnation over 30 years ago, so normally he would’ve already been reborn and be walking around as new Galkan child already, creating new memories. Instead, his spirit stays in Ordelle’s Caves for some reason.



The adventurer that had stumbled across the weapons before had accidentally dropped a darksteel ingot onto the floor, so Rapifafa figured the only way to get anywhere was to try to bait the creature using an ingot, as odd as it felt.





The plan works, and Rapifafa defeats the weapons of Gerwitz, and following the trail she is able to come into contact with the spirit of Gerwitz as well.



Rapifafa hears a voice calling for her as the spirit falls, and upon exiting out to La Thiene Plateau, she is greeted by Gerwitz.



Gerwitz thanks Rapifafa for releasing his soul- he had wanted to move on, but he feared losing his memories, and with it, one of the last craftsman who knew how to work darksteel- his life’s work. His fear turned into rage, even directing it towards his leader, the Talekeeper. His hatred gained a will of its own, and one of his reanimated weapons was travelling the Crystal Line, seeking the source of its power.

Zeid asks Rapifafa to meet him where she had first become a Dark Knight to prepare for the battle ahead, then informs Gerwitz that his spirit had lost track of time- 30 years had already passed, and even the Talekeeper who he so hated was gone from the world. With his rage dissolved, Gerwitz only asks Zeid one final question.



As a final act, he leaves behind one of his last works to help Rapifafa.



As part of her preparation, Rapifafa finds other pieces of Dark Knight’s armor hidden around the world.



With her preparations complete, Rapifafa travels to Beadeaux as instructed by Zeid.



Upon arriving, Zeid informs Rapifafa that coming here was not merely symbolic- the newly formed evil weapon would almost certainly begin seeking blood, and using the blood of one of the Quadav should be able lure the creature out.



With a vial of Quadav Mage Blood, Rapifafa travels to the center of the Crystal Line’s power- Delkfutt’s Tower.



There, she lures out Gerwitz’s cursed weapon.



Rapifafa manages to defeat the blade of evil, but unfortunately it had already taken the lives of two innocents. Perhaps if Zeid told Rapifafa to use blood that didn’t have a god awful drop rate that wouldn’t have happened.

Upon exiting the room, Rapifafa finds a box with a helmet and another one of Zeid’s cryptic messages within.



Rapifafa keeps the helm, but throws away the letter. Rapifafa can’t help but think that if Bastok ever manages to bring the guy back home they’ll be wishing he was wandering the land again 10 minutes later.


Hathen

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Re: FFXI Journal: "I'm on the Bastok Story now, D" Edition
« Reply #48 on: January 07, 2016, 04:42:24 AM »
A Monk’s Story: Ghosts of the Past



Rapifafa has once again arrived in Bastok, and a good place to start seeking information is at the Steaming Sheep, a popular restaurant in the Bastok Port area.



While speaking with some of the patrons, President Karst’s rebellious daughter, Cornelia, bursts through the door, looking for one Oggbi. She has taken an interest in helping the Galka with their problems, and part of that journey has led her to find out more about Cornelia- that is, the former Mythril Musketeer who was lost in the Northlands 30 years ago alongside Raogrimm. Oggbi happened to be Cornelia's former instructor in the bare fistfighting Monks are known for.

The Galka seems a bit bitter about his former student, saying something about her abandoning him. He is unwilling to speak of her until Cornelia finishes the same task his former student had completed- to go deep into the haunted Gusgen Mines and taking a miner’s pendant from the Wandering Ghost. Cornelia is clearly in way over her head, so it's obviously just a way to make her go away, but Rapifafa is curious enough to look into performing the task herself.



The Gusgen Mines was once full of workers, but after several collapses and just about all the ore being mined dry, it is now nothing but a graveyard.



Rapifafa finds Wandering Ghost, and takes its pendant.



Oggbi is shocked Rapifafa actually bothered to get the pendant. After all, even when his student underwent the test over 30 years ago, there were still hundreds of workers in the Gusgen Mines. Cornelia spent 3 days and 3 nights trapped in the mines, looking for the supposed ghost, but the task was a trick question- “Wandering Ghost” was a Hume-given name of one of Oggbi’s friends. Nevertheless, he was impressed with Cornelia’s stubborn attitude, and agreed to train her.

With the pendant in hand, Oggbi asks that Rapifafa allow him some time for himself, so he may drink to his old friend’s memory.



A few days later, Rapifafa sees Oggbi speaking with an Elvaan girl. Upon seeing Rapifafa, Oggbi asks that she help the girl look for her father, who was another one of his students- he apparently traveled north to Fei’Yin.

Rapifafa travels far north to Fei’Yin in the Beaucedine Glacier, where she’s surprised to meet the girl’s “father”.



Dalzakk figures Rapifafa must be a student of Oggbi’s as well, so he asks that she help him finish the task while he goes home to comfort his daughter.

The task involves retrieving a stolen martial arts scroll of some kind from the Orcs in Davoi. Since the Orc base was only a bit of a detour from the road back to Bastok anyway, it’s not as big of a bother as Rapifafa imagined the task would be.



Upon bringing the scroll back to Oggbi, he invites Rapifafa to listen to his tale over a drink. He had once gone on a similar task with Cornelia, but it was at the behest of the former San d’Orian abbey found in Davoi. For a long time, the priests of San d’Oria trained themselves in hand-to-hand fighting skills, and Oggbi accepted the task in the hopes he would learn some of the secrets of those monks himself. These days any who call themselves Monks use a mixed style of fighting, combining San d’Orian styles with those from the Far East. Though perhaps more importantly, it was on this task that Cornelia had her first unpleasant meeting with a certain man.



Soon Oggbi stops reminiscing, and thanks Rapifafa’s willingness to hear an old man’s story with a similar pair of boots he once gave to Cornelia.



With thoughts of the San d’Orian Monks in the back of her mind, Rapifafa figured there had to be some of their treasures hidden around the land.



Rapifafa soon hears of trouble brewing in Castle Oztroja. A certain Yagudo has apparently returned to life, and the Mythril Musketeers need an experienced Monk to challenge him.



Apparently this Yagudo only has an interest in fighting other Monks, and many years ago Cornelia wished to kill this Yagudo herself to avenge the death of her brother. Oggbi was concerned Cornelia’s lust for revenge would put her in great danger, but she ignored her master’s wishes and ran off to Castle Oztroja. Even with her emerging victorious, Oggbi seemed disappointed in her.



Regardless, the Yagudo was returning now, and another Monk is needed to defeat him once again. With Dalzakk off performing tasks of his own, and Oggbi no longer able make the climb himself, the only Monk qualified to challenge him would be Rapifafa.



Rapifafa travels to the top of Castle Oztroja, and places an offering of challenge on the brazier Oggbi pointed her towards.



Huu Xalmo is no pushover in a one-on-one fight, but Rapifafa manages to defeat him, plucking one of his feathers to bring back as proof of her task.



Ayame is impressed with Rapifafa, presenting her with her reward- she had been prepared a different reward beforehand, but Oggbi insisted that she receive this instead. Though there was apparently no need to ask Ayame to hand it out for him, since Oggbi soon appears in person to finish telling Rapifafa Cornelia's story.



When Cornelia returned from defeating Huu Xalmo, Oggbi had asked if she had gained any peace. Cornelia could only reply that she felt the exact opposite- that she felt part of herself dying when she finally avenged her brother.



Soon after, Cornelia joined the ranks of the Musketeers. Oggbi believes that after that day, Cornelia strived to restore that part of herself, up to the day she disappeared in the Northlands. It is not known if Oggbi will ever get over the loss of one of his pupils, but perhaps through sharing this story, he can avoid losing another one.


Hathen

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Re: FFXI Journal: "I'm on the Bastok Story now, D" Edition
« Reply #49 on: January 10, 2016, 08:01:53 AM »
Bastok Part 1: Crisis in the Republic



When Rapifafa last travelled to Bastok, she had learned that the community leader of the Galka, Werei, had suddenly disappeared, leaving the Galkan community in disarray. A young Galka named Gumbah, who had been a friend of Werei’s in one of his past lives, was particularly troubled by his departure, although he didn't seemed to be as panicked as the rest of the community was. Apparently he shared a special understanding of some kind with Werei.

More relevant to Rapifafa's interests was meeting the important personnel of the Republic, namely the Five Mythril Musketeers: Iron Eater, Ayame, Naji, their leader Volker, and the missing Zeid.



Music: Hume Male

She also learned the Chief Engineer of Bastok was doing some research into the strange teleportation crags found around Vana’Diel- the giant constructs she had passed by several times in her adventures.



Rapifafa had sneaked a peek at one of the reports Cid had written.



Near the report was a collection of crystals brought back by adventurers, but unlike most crystals around the world used for crafting, these had been completely drained of their power when they came in contact with the crags.



Now that she returned to Bastok, the rumors of a new Talekeeper appearing amongst the Galka were louder than ever.



Rapifafa travels to the Bastok Mines, where many of the Galka lived. There she meets the supposed new Talekeeper of the Galka.



The young Galka Povall tells the community to cease their search for their leader Werei, as he is the Talekeeper and their rightful leader. He claims that in his previous life, his position as an adventurer allowed him access to the ancient homeland of the Galka in the Altepa Desert, where he completed his rite of rebirth. Upon beginning his new life, he was in possession of an Altepa moonpebble and knew he had to “lead the stray sheep from the land of oppression”. The moonpebbles are found past powerful monsters, so the young man’s story could only be true if he was telling the truth.



Many of the Galka are frustrated with their lot in life and are willing to believe in any chance of the return of their ancient leader, but Iron Eater has his doubts. He requests that Rapifafa go to the Altepa Desert and attempt to find a moonpebble of her own in order to verify the young man’s story.



There are some nasty monsters guarding the spot with the moonpebbles, but Rapifafa has no trouble clearing them out and grabbing one for herself.



The pebble Rapifafa brings back is clearly different than the one Povall is holding, but unfortunately that isn’t quite enough to prove anything- the Galka have always stuck together and they're not ready to believe an outsider. Thankfully, Gumbah arrives to praise the young new "Talekeeper" for his courage- most of them had lived surprisingly short lives due to their position. Gumbah is good enough at spinning his yarn to the point where Povall gets spooked and admits the whole thing was a hoax. With the deception revealed, Iron Eater is able to take care of the rest. Despite the revelation however, it was unlikely the tensions between the Humes and Galka were going to cease so easily- this was only the latest example in a series of disturbances.

Gumbah admits that usually he tried to be level-headed when it comes to this sort of thing, but in this case he wasn't going to sit by while everyone was being told to call off the search for Werei.



The next day, Rapifafa learns from Naji that Ayame has been thinking about returning to the pirate town of Norg to restart her Samurai training. Unlike the other nations, Bastok had a close working relationship with the Tenshodo and the pirates of Norg, so it wouldn't be out of the question for Ayame to get an assignment to travel there. Naji wants a promotion more than anything, but he doesn’t want it to happen because Ayame decided to quit her job, so he asks Rapifafa to help Bastok complete some negotiations in Norg- that way, Ayame will have no excuse.

Just as well, as it was about time Rapifafa travelled to Norg- she had promised Lion some time ago. Rapifafa returns to the Elshimo Islands via airship from Jeuno, then travels south deep into the Yuhtunga Jungle.



At the end of the Jungle was a tunnel into the Sea Serpent Grotto, where the Sahagin made their home.





The Grotto consists of a large number of passageways, but thankfully she’s able to easily reach Norg simply by following the right wall.



It had been some time since Rapifafa had seen Lion, but hopefully she's not off on some adventure of her own yet and they can meet up there as promised.

Hathen

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Re: FFXI Journal: Obligatory FF Evil Prettyboys
« Reply #50 on: January 13, 2016, 08:13:08 AM »


Guess I’ll do a little intro today.

Rize of the Zilart was FFXI’s first expansion, coming out in April 2003, just a bit over a year after the game launched (and just a few weeks after Square officially merged with Enix). As I mentioned a bit before, SE’s release schedule for the RoZ story ran concurrently with the Rank 6+ Missions of the Three Nations (Everything following the defeat of the Shadow Lord) in the Vanilla game, but as the story unfolds it’ll probably be clear that most of the story in it was already planned out before they released the game. Of course, it would take another half a year after the Japanese release of RoZ before English speakers got XI at all, so appropriately enough English-speaking players got to take in the Vanilla game and RoZ as one large package.

Gameplay-wise, the most notable addition was that RoZ added three jobs to FFXI’s already large job list- Ninja, Samurai, and Dragoon. Summoner technically was added during the same patch Zilart service began, but since you could unlock Summoner using just Vanilla areas it generally isn’t really considered a Zilart job- though, if you wanted to be able to summon more than just elementals (which all kinda sucked) and Carbuncle (who has a low MP cost but is generally pretty weak) you needed to have the expansion. With those four jobs added, there were now 15 jobs in the game.

Also starting today I guess I’ll try to have more comments on the game itself, because it seems all I ever post about is the story anymore, and also because starting with the first expansion the boss battles started to become more unique. I’ll stick gameplay comments to the end of my posts in case you don’t want to hear me nerd out about XI’s game mechanics too.

By the way, today’s post is going to be a bit different- you have the option of watching a voiced version of most of it! Famitsu/Dengeki created three videos of important cutscenes in XI as part of the events surrounding the official end of XI’s storyline in 2015, and today is the first one they made. All you need to know is that they got Norio Wakamoto to voice Raogrimm, so if you happened to have a dream of watching Charles zi Britannia voice a Galka, here you go.

Oh yeah, it contains minor spoilers for an upcoming storyline but it’s pretty a really minor one ultimately. Just don’t give yourself the big spoilers by watching the related videos, heh (if you care about that that is).

Rise of the Zilart Part 1: The Warriors of the Crystal



Rapifafa is accosted by one of the Ninjas of Norg as she enters, but she’s quickly saved by a familiar face- Lion’s.



Lion would love to spend time chit-chatting with Rapifafa, but she believes there's no more time to waste, and it's about time that they took care of Kam’lanaut.

Kam'lanaut...Hearing the Archduke’s name stirs memories within Rapifafa’s mind, and the events that transpired at Castle Zvahl came flooding back to her, along with the strange poem Zeid had once recited to her in the ruins of Fei’Yin.



(Famitsu video starts here. Read on if you're not interested.)

Music: Bloody Promises

Quote
It all began with a stone, or so the legend says.

In ages past, a sentient jewel, enormous and beautiful, banished the darkness. Its many-colored light filled the world with life and brought forth mighty gods.

Bathed in that light, the world entered an age of bliss until, after a time, the gods fell into slumber. That world was called Vana'diel.

The legend goes on to say...
 
From the darkest depths of the earth the Warriors of the Crystal rose...

The great bane will devour the fair land of Vana'diel.

The ancient seal will be broken, awakening nightmares of ages past.

The blood of innocents will soak the earth, and the world will fall into fear and despair.

But as one bright star shines through the clouds at night...

And as one song rings clear above the roar of beasts...

We hold to one hope in these darkest of times.

That they will come, with the wisdom of ages and the strength of thousands, to deliver us from our plight.



The Shadow Lord had fallen after a long battle, and Raogrimm temporarily regained a fraction of his sanity. That was when they appeared.



The Archduke of Jeuno, Kam'lanaut, and his brother, Eald'narche, had been waiting for this moment. They had apparently waiting for a long time- they revealed they are survivors of the ancient race known as the Zilart. The Zilart brothers had wished to restore the Crystal Line running to Jeuno and to open the supposed Gate of the Gods, but the "noise" caused by the Shadow Lord’s existence had prevented them from doing so for many years. His defeat 20 years ago in the Great War had weakened it, but it wasn’t until now that the "noise" was completely gone.



Without the "noise" of the Shadow Lord in his way, Eald’narche was able to hear the voices of the Minions of the Crystals calling to him.



They declared that they intend put an end of Vana'diel as it now exists, and as a demonstration of their power, the Zilart brothers used their newfound clarity to call forth the Warriors of legend.



Quote
We await the awakening of the Warriors of the Crystal.





Zeid knew it was the time for action, so he ceased his questions and attacked the Archduke.



Unfortunately, Zeid had little luck striking back at the Zilart brothers, and they soon left Rapifafa and the others to meet their fate at the hands of the warriors from the crystal.







Rapifafa was quickly taken out of the fight, and the Hume-like warrior rushed towards Zeid.



It was clear that this was not a fight they were going to win, and they had to escape.





In his final moments in this world, Raogrimm made a sacrifice to buy time for the group and for Vana'diel.



















As Rapifafa returns to reality, she hears Lion calling her name.



Lion seems to recognize that Rapifafa seems to have a few screws loose at the moment, so she allows her some time to gather herself, telling Rapifafa where to find her when she’s ready.

Rapifafa reorganized her thoughts and proceeded inward to the pirate town of Norg. She knew she had a large task ahead of her.

Gameplay Comments

No battle in today's story, so I guess I'll talk a little bit about some of the core mechanics of the game and how some of the jobs I've posted about already actually play.

If you've ever played FFXII, XI is somewhat similar in how it plays. Battles occur in real time, and your character will autoattack as long as you're engaged onto an enemy. Effectively it's not really any different from an ATB system, it just skips the part where you have to repeatedly press X to select "Attack" on the turns you don't actually want to do anything special. Any input you do is if you want to use a skill or magic spell, but ideally (as in, if you're playing a version of the game that's actually balanced halfway properly) you won't just fire off a skill whenever you want, you have to time them properly. In the case of spellcasters, you want to time your spells so that you won't get hit while casting which would interrupt you, or you want to time your cast so you can hit a Magic Burst. On a physical job you'd want to time your Weapon Skills so that you can create skillchains. Guess I'll get a bit more into Skillchains and Magic Bursts next time since that just talking about that would take a while.

So now some jobs. I'll start with some of the more straightforward jobs. One of the great things about XI is that generally, almost every job in the game would had something unique to contribute. FFXI also had many true hybrid classes, something many MMOs seem to be incredibly scared of creating these days. Many of them have solidified on the holy Tank/Damage/Healer trinity and as a result, classes feel less unique. Granted, XI has never been balanced that well (and probably never will for as long as the game runs), but personally I find myself preferring that over something like FFXIV: ARR which has jobs that are way more balanced, but at the cost of making jobs feel somewhat homogenized.

Monk is the probably the simplest job you can start out as. Punch stuff in the face and shoot kamehamehas. The first noticeable thing about Monk is their huge HP pool and relatively high attack frequency- pretty faithful to Monks from the FF series. Their SP Ability, Hundred Fists, does exactly what it says on the tin. More importantly, Monk was one of the only straight damage classes that regularly dealt blunt damage to enemies, so anytime you had to fight a bunch of skeletons or something Monk was a great choice to take along. Later on in the game Monk offered a rare ability to change their attacks to nonelemental magic damage for a short time. Monk's unique combination of high longevity in a damage class, damage types, and ability to fight barefisted would find them different opportunities in the game's content. Their biggest downside was that their max damage potential was much lower than many other damage classes.

White Mage, as per FF tradition, is the most powerful healing class in the game. However, WHM also had a respectable club skill so if someone really felt like it, they could put on a set of meleeing armor and go to town. They even had a unique Weapon Skill that was much stronger than any other club Weapon Skill at the time. Though this option was mostly limited to mid-level content- you didn't want to be meleeing Fafnir or something. Naturally, even at its worst point in the game White Mage always had a use.

Black Mage probably also needs no introduction- save all your MP until you're at the boss and blow it up in 2 turns! Well, maybe in a single player game, but Black Mages generally had to be pretty conservative with their spells in XI, acting as "artillery" in a party. If they went too wild with their spells they would likely draw attention to themselves and then die horribly. Unfortunately for Black Mage, depending on which version of the game you were playing it ranged from the one of the best damage classes you could have, to a complete waste of a party slot. The playerbase was really creative though, and Black Mages soon found alternate ways to progress, either by killing certain things solo, or by grouping solely with other Black Mages to form manaburn parties. At the time of this writing though, it is without a doubt one of the most powerful jobs in the game. Vivi would be proud.

That ended up a lot longer than I thought it would (Sorry!). Well, until next time!

Hathen

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Re: FFXI Journal: The Totally Original Ancient Advanced Race in an RPG
« Reply #51 on: January 18, 2016, 05:12:22 AM »
Rise of the Zilart Part 2: The Temple of Uggalepih



Appropriately enough, the pirate town of Norg is full of surly locals, so Rapifafa doesn't run into a lot of pleasant conversation.



Following the instructions she had received earlier from Lion, Rapifafa takes the stairs to her right and travels to the end of the hallway, where Lion was waiting to introduce Rapifafa to her father.



Gilgamesh hasn't let his crew sit by idly while Rapifafa was out sorting out the problems of the Three Nations. In fact, he has had suspicions of the Zilart brothers for years, which is why he had sent Lion to travel across the Central Lands for the past few months, gathering information. Whatever the Zilart brothers has planned, it wouldn’t be good for anyone, so Gilgamesh was preparing for a expedition to the Temple of Uggalepih.



Several years ago, Gilgamesh had made his way to the ruins in the hopes of finding treasures left behind in such an ancient structure, but instead he found himself confronted by a strange old woman.



He didn't learn much about the woman before she vanished, but Gilgamesh has a suspicion that perhaps the inhabitants of such an ancient ruin will have some knowledge of the Zilart. Gilgamesh asks Rapifafa to travel to the Chieftainess in Kazham, saying the Mithra should be able to provide some help accessing the Sacrificial Chamber in the heart of the temple. As Rapifafa turns to leave, she spots another familiar face entering the room.



It’s only natural that the leader of the Tenshodo would have connections to Norg, but it seems Aldo isn’t here on a business venture. His sister Verena has disappeared, and it’s likely this is also the work of the Zilart brothers- Rapifafa recalls what Eald’narche had mentioned back when she was gathering Magicite for the Archduke, so she is able to confirm the suspicion. Whatever needed to be done, it was now important that they moved quickly.



The Chieftainess of Kazham is more amused than anything when Rapifafa informs her of their planned expedition to the temple. The name Gilgamesh is enough to convince her however, and Rapifafa receives the key needed to enter the deeper sections of the temple.



In the deeper sections of the temple, Rapifafa finds numerous strange texts, but none of them seemed to be of any importance.



Rapifafa eventually finds herself in a hallway with several paintings lining the wall. After clearing the area of Tonberries, Rapifafa stops for a moment to study the paintings.









While she could not gleam much meaning from them, she was particularly intrigued by one canvas, which was completely blank.



Since its unlikely the Zilart had invented modern art yet, Rapifafa reached into her pockets and pulled out a strange paintbrush she had picked up in another room. As some of the texts she ran into advised, Rapifafa attempted to project an image onto the canvas by focusing her energies into the paintbrush. Soon, a door opened at the end of the hallway, which led to the Den of Rancor underneath the Temple.



Much like the Temple of Uggalepih, the Den of Rancor was filled with Tonberries, and the only way Rapifafa could find her way to the deepest parts of the area was by using one of the Tonberries’ very own lanterns to light several torches.



Soon enough, Rapifafa is able to open the gate leading to the Sacrificial Chamber.





To her dismay, Rapifafa finds herself confronted by who she can only assume is the leader of the Tonberries.



Rapifafa needed to avoid several close encounters with throat stabs from the Tonberries, but she emerges victorious. As the fight ends, the leader of the Tonberries is replaced with a face Rapifafa had seen once before.



Music: Grav’iton

This time the woman formally introduces herself: her name is Grav’iton Berisacci, a scholar of the lost civilization of the Kuluu. She is not an individual, but rather a collective consciousness of what remained of the once great people. She seems to understand what Rapifafa is searching for, and she proceeds to tell the story of her people.

Deep beneath Vana’diel rested five enormous crystals, and the race known as the Zilart wished to tap into this power by constructing the five arks, known to adventurers as the crags.



The strange cermet spines Rapifafa had seen numerous times on her journey which converged onto Jeuno were known as the Crystal Line, the system used to tie the arks together.



The structure known as Delkfutt’s Tower was found at the center of the five arks, and was used by the Zilart to control the flow of this energy.



The Zilart had hoped that with the power of the crystal, they would be able to open the gate to the heavens, transforming the world of Vana’diel into a paradise.



However, the Kuluu, alongside the followers of the Goddess known as the Dawnmaidens were against such a blasphemous plan.



The Zilart deemed their voices unimportant and continued with their work, constructing The Gate of the Gods- a floating islands known as Tu’Lia. With this, the Zilart put their plan into motion.







Energy was drained from the crystals and focused into Tu’Lia- it was then the Kuluu chose to attack the northernmost ark. While the Zilart plot was stopped, the energy released engulfed the world in a blinding light, destroying the Zilart race. Their Zilart homeland sank beneath the sea, while the lands north of San d'Oria were forever scarred to by the power of the crystal, leaving them a frozen wasteland.



The surviving Kuluu escaped to the Elshimo Islands, but as time passed, the mark of the crystal decayed their minds and bodies.



They had become what were now known as the Tonberries.



Grav’iton states that the Kuluu do not regret their actions, and in fact wish for Rapifafa to help them continue- they knew that when they saw the Delkfutt Tower remained unchanged, the fight would continue someday. Grav’iton asks that Rapifafa gather the eight fragments of light found in monuments in remote areas of Vana’Diel and take them to the temple in Zepwell Island. There, Rapifafa will gain further assistance from the Dawnmaidens.



Before Grav’iton once again returns to her slumber, she warns Rapifafa of the elder Zilart brother- his connection with the crystals allows him magic close to that of a God. With that, she bestows the Dark Fragment upon Rapifafa.

Rapifafa now had to find the other seven fragments, but she had no idea where to even begin.

Gameplay Comments

Back when this content was released, a trek through the Temple of Uggalepih was not a safe one. Like in every other FF game they appear as an enemy, Tonberries are incredibly dangerous. This comes in the form of two different attacks, both true to the series' history: Throat Stab, which reduces the target's HP to 5%, and Everyone's Grudge, which does damage based on how many Tonberries the target has killed before. While the former can be dodged as long as the player is paying attention, the latter meant that fighting Tonberries at all had be carefully weighed- was it actually worth killing one and building your Grudge? There were ways around it, of course, but those were figured out later down the line.

Grav'iton in particular has a beefed up version of the move, and it was a bit of a joke amongst XI players to see how high people could pump the number up when they did this mission. The highest I personally ever saw was around 50000 (For reference, a Galkan Monk at the 75 level cap probably had about 1800 HP).
« Last Edit: January 23, 2016, 04:26:18 AM by Hathen »

Hathen

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Re: FFXI Journal: Adults in Children's Bodies Stick Together
« Reply #52 on: January 23, 2016, 04:04:28 AM »
Had a bit of a busy week so didn't update during the weekday this time. And now the continuation!

Bastok Part 2: On My Way



When Rapifafa had spoken to Gilgamesh, he had mentioned wishing to strengthen the working relationship between Bastok and Norg. To this end, he wanted Rapifafa’s help in obtaining a special rock in the Ifrit’s Cauldron none of his men were able to acquire. Upon finishing her expedition into the Temple of Uggalepih, she felt this was as good a time as any to head north of the temple through the Yhoator Jungle to find this stone for Gilgamesh.



Rapifafa finds the spot Gilgamesh had mentioned, where she throws in a chunk of adaman ore as she was instructed to.





She makes quick work of the monsters spawned by the ore and obtains the rock that Gilgamesh asked for. Before she leaves the Cauldron, however, she notices something interesting on her map- she follows her gut instinct, traveling deeper into the Cauldron to finish the task before heading back to Norg. Apparently she hadn't finished her task fast enough, because Ayame had already traveled here as well.



Ayame simply hands Gilgamesh stacks of official papers before blowing off his offer for her to stay- it seems Naji’s concerns were unfounded. Rapifafa had to make it back to Bastok now, so she travels back to Kazham via chocobo. There, she takes an airship back to Jeuno, where she makes a stop to travel to Qufim Island- she had a strange suspicion that she would find something she was seeking here as well. After finishing this task, Rapifafa takes the Jeuno airship back to Bastok.



Rapifafa prepares to go around town learning what had happened with the Galka situation since she was last here, but she's stopped by Cid on her way out of the Metalworks.



Cid wants to know more about the Zilart, so he wishes for Rapifafa to help him find some special reinforced cermet found in the Ro’Meave ruins past the Sanctuary of Zi’Tah. Rapifafa figures any information about the Zilart would be good at this point, so she agrees to the task.

As Rapifafa passed through the Sanctuary of Zi’Tah on the way to the ruins, she once again noticed another strange spot on her map like the one she noticed in Ifrit's Cauldron. After exploring the area, she hurries to Ro’Meave to complete the task Cid gave her.



Rapifafa returns to Bastok to find the Galka in a frenzy- the search for Werei was becoming a larger effort. Rapifafa reports to Cid, where she finds him speaking with the President Karst's daughter, Cornelia.



Cornelia seems to be in a bind of sorts. Like most young people, she is hopelessly idealistic. She’s very much sympathetic to the plight of the Galka in Bastok, but she is unwilling to use her position as a way to help the Galkans gain more power in the Republic, as she thinks it wouldn’t be ethical. When she told Gumbah about this stance, he didn't take it particularly well.



Gumbah apologized for his behavior, but Cornelia continues to be troubled by it. Upon hearing this story, Cid decides to go into full cranky old man mode, telling Cornelia a story of how her father came into power in Bastok.



Cornelia had a lot to think about, but Rapifafa simply shook her head at these ridiculous Hume politics and shoved the cermet Cid asked for into his hands before running off to join the search for Werei.

The guards recognize Rapifafa and direct her back to the Bastok Metalworks, where she meets the Bastokan President, Karst.



Karst briefly explains the situation of the Galka to Rapifafa. Instead of asking her to help directly however, Karst wants Rapifafa to follow rumors that an adventurer had recieved a letter from Werei. To get her search started, Karst takes Rapifafa to ask one of the people closely involved with the Galkan community- his daughter. At first Cornelia is tight-lipped, but some convincing from her father makes her reveal what Rapifafa needs to know- a certain woman named Hilda at the Steaming Sheep Restaurant will know more about the situation. In exchange for this information, Cornelia seeks advice about the conflicting emotions she now feels.



Rapifafa travels to the Restaurant, where she learns that it’s likely that the adventurer she was seeking had traveled to the Palborough Mines.





Rapifafa travels north to the Palborough Mines, and as she enters the upper levels of the mines she hears a scream coming from the Waughroon Shrine.



The Quadav attacking the adventurer are numerous, but aren’t much of a problem for Rapifafa to handle.



Hani thanks Rapifafa for her assistance, but he doesn’t have much to offer at the mention of the name Werei other than a letter he had forgotten to deliver, addressed to Gumbah.

Rapifafa did the only right thing and delivered the letter to its rightful recipient.



Music: Recollection

The letter is enough to let Gumbah know that Werei set out on his journey completely of his own volition, so it’s likely with this letter there could be a convincing reason to call off the search for Werei. Beyond that, however, it seemed Werei knew a lot more about Gumbah than he had suspected.



In his letter, Werei recognizes Gumbah’s autonomy and his decision to avoid responsibility, but simultaneously encourages Gumbah to take up the mantle of the leader of the Galka. It wasn't simply because he had the memories of his people, but also because there were things Gumbah were capable of that others were not. If Gumbah was willing to make this decision, perhaps he could inspire others in the community to take responsibility as well.



Gameplay Comments

Not much to say in terms of the battle as with most of the Nation Mission battles, this one's just a fight against a group of high level Quadav. I'll save talking about the final battles from each Nation when I get to the Bastok one, so I guess I'll pick up where I left off last time, talking about the Skillchains and Magic Bursts.

First, Weapon Skills- when you autoattack in FFXI you gain TP, and you spend TP to use Weapon Skills. So basically, they're kind of like limit breaks, but you use them pretty often so I don't know if that's an appropriate way to describe them. They're also usually not as flashy as a limit break, but don't mistake that to mean they aren't flashy.

If you've ever been in a conversation about XI, it's likely someone at some point will talk/post about a chart that looks like this. Skillchains are probably the most unique thing XI's combat has over other MMOs, though there are similar systems in other games. Contrary to what the chart might suggest, it's actually not that complicated. Skillchains is exactly what it sounds like- most Weapon Skills have an elemental "property" and by chaining properties in a certain order, you would get a special skillchain effect that did extra damage. The damage from the Skillchain is based on the damage done by the person ending the chain, so certain Jobs which had abilities that beefed up their Weapon Skills were way better suited to being closers.

Naturally, since Mages generally weren't using their Weapons, they have a different way to participate in Skillchains. As you probably figured, since skillchains have an elemental property, a magic spell casted at the right time corresponding to the skillchain's element will gain a damage bonus. One nice thing about FFXI is that unlike a lot of MMOs, it kept elemental attributes relevant to gameplay instead of being meaningless fluff stats like many MMOs seem to do now.

Since Weapon Skills take all your TP when used (but the more TP you have, the stronger your WS will be), generally it was difficult to be able to make one on your own, so the Skillchain/Magic Burst system was a nice way to reward party coordination and teamwork. But as is the rule of XI, balance was wonky all throughout its history so there were long stretches of the game where people didn't bother doing it at all. Thankfully that's fixed nowadays- Skillchaining is now key to winning fights quickly (or at all in some cases).

Guess I'll end it there for now, but before I go today, since he appeared again, I feel like talking about FFXI's Cid. Aside from being an important character in much of XI's story, he's notable for being, as far as I know, the only XI model which has really well-defined teeth. I can only assume it's because of Cid that they never really bothered to model teeth in XI characters after him, because his teeth are fucking horrifying.


Hathen

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Re: FFXI Journal: Thou Musteth Gather The Ancient Power Crystals
« Reply #53 on: January 28, 2016, 02:45:20 AM »
Rise of the Zilart Part 3: The Headstone Pilgrimage

When Rapifafa was in the Ifrit's Cauldron, she became curious why many parts of the map had been left unexplored. She soon deduced that it was because several parts of the volcano were blocked off by impassable walls of lava. There are rumors that certain items can be used to pass these walls, but Rapifafa had nothing of the sort on her.



Rapifafa had no choice but to find other paths, but when that wasn't feasible she had to wait for the flow of lava to cease. She soon found herself in an unmapped section of the Cauldron, and there was an exit out to the Jungle above.



She could not recognize what part of the jungle she was in, but after exploring the area, she could see a strange monument off in the distance. Here, she was confronted by two aggressive Opo-opo creatures.



Music: Battle Theme #3

With them defeated, however, Rapifafa could take a closer look at the strange monument, and concluded it had to be one of the cermet headstones Grav’iton had asked her to find.



Aside from obtaining the Fire Fragment, she now knew what the headstones looked like. She had some vague recollection seeing other similar monuments in her travels, so she begins chasing these leads. When Rapifafa returned to Jeuno, Rapifafa took a detour from her return to Bastok to Qufim Island. She had recalled seeing a passage on the island which was unmarked on the map much like the one in Ifrit's Cauldron. Following this passage led her to the Behemoth’s Dominion.



Her gut instinct was correct- there was another headstone here, but like the previous one, it was also being guarded by monsters.



She quickly dispatched the Evil Weapons and obtained her prize- the Lightning Fragment.



After Rapifafa returned to Bastok, she was given a task that sent her past the Sanctuary of Zitah. This area also had unmarked, explored regions on its map, and as suspected, there was another headstone here, as well as another monster to guard it.



With the undead creature defeated, Rapifafa collected the fourth fragment- the Light Fragment.



Rapifafa searched her memories for other unmapped areas of Vana’Diel on her adventures, and remembered one such place in her adventures with the thief Nanaa Mihgo, down in the chasms found in the La Thiene Plateau. She travels back to the continent of Quon to return to this area.



There, she finds the headstone holding the Water Fragment, likely undisturbed for centuries- there were not even any monsters guarding it.



Rapifafa also remembers that she once saw a strange structure during her time as a Summoner, when she had gained Shiva’s powers at the Ice Protocrystal deep under the ruins of Fei'Yin. Rapifafa take the long road back to the Northlands, and her recollection rewards her- this headstone, of course, held the Ice Fragment.



Rapifafa now only had two fragments left to collect, but she could not remember seeing any other similar structures. Since she lacked the Wind and Earth Fragments, she decided to try her luck searching Cape Terrigan, where she had once traveled to gain the powers of Garuda.



Here she finds a hidden passageway unmarked on the map, and a shadow awaited her here.



With it out of the way, she finds her seventh fragment- the Wind Fragment.



With only the Earth Fragment left, Rapifafa had confidence she could find it near where Titan slept- the Altepa Desert. Since Zepwell Island can only be reached by passing through Bastok, she decides that she will be taking a rest stop there- running all over the Central Lands the past few days has made her exhausted.

Gameplay Comments

I'm sure I made it obvious above, but this part of the game is a bit harder to appreciate if you've never played the game back when it came out, since some of that feeling of exploration came from discovering something new in an area you had been to dozens of times before. I should clarify that when I say that these areas were unmarked on the map, that is not me trying to fancy up XI's story- the in-game maps actually did not have these areas mapped out, so the only way you would find them without a guide is by stumbling into them. Bonus points for Ifrit's Cauldron since people really didn't like going there due of how dangerous it was, on top of how inconvenient all the lava spouts in the area are (you could trade a certain item to make them disappear or sit there and wait like 15 minutes).

Most of the area around the headstone were places people didn't really go to because of how inconvenient they were to reach, or because they had little else of interest near them. Well, most of them anyway- the Behemoth's Dominion one had plenty of people running around relatively near it since that was near the place Behemoth appeared. Out of the rest of them though, some of them had people regularly running through them like Cape Terrigan being a common exp area and La Thiene Plateau being an area new players would run through at least once, so it was cool to return to these areas and discover a hidden monument in them.

Rucks

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Re: FFXI Journal: Thou Musteth Gather The Ancient Power Crystals
« Reply #54 on: January 28, 2016, 12:26:58 PM »
what, no gifs?


Hathen

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Re: FFXI Journal: Thou Musteth Gather The Ancient Power Crystals
« Reply #55 on: January 28, 2016, 01:58:31 PM »
Funny you bring that up- I've actually been thinking about doing gifs for this, but first I have to figure out how to actually make them. If I'm getting this right I'd have to record gameplay to get the "raw footage" or whatever, but FFXI is unlike any other PC game (in other words, it has terrible optimization) so I'll have to see if I can do that without my computer exploding. =P

Hathen

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Re: FFXI Journal: Thou Musteth Gather The Ancient Power Crystals
« Reply #56 on: January 31, 2016, 03:55:05 PM »
Alright, figured out the gif thing- might not be using them too often for a while though- already wrote a couple of these out. Though I don't think there's been too many instances so far where things would've been improved much from me using gifs (would've made getting a couple of the screenshots way easier though).

Bastok Part 3: The Chains That Bind Us

An official investigation into the Galkan homeland has finally begun, and Rapifafa is asked to assist in searching the Quicksand Caves. First, she is asked to speak with Iron Eater.



Captain Volker is there as well, and the two Mythril Musketeers reveal why they have chosen now to start an investigation- Iron Eater received an anonymous letter saying that it was time to “unlock the past and step forth into the future”. He might’ve thrown it away if Volker had not recognized the handwriting of the missing Musketeer Zeid. Zeid had asked for Rapifafa by name- Volker would love to tag along as well, but Volker knows Zeid would be a no-show if he goes. Rapifafa makes her preparations and once again travels underground to reach Zepwell Island.



The letter told Rapifafa to find the statue of the Talekeeper, but the Quicksand Caves are a maze of collapsed hallways and one-way falls, so it takes Rapifafa hours to find the elusive statue.



Rapifafa waits for Zeid to arrive, and he soon makes his entry much like he did last time- by skulking up behind Rapifafa and scaring the crap out of her.



Zeid spends some time musing about the Talekeeper’s status among the Galka and the burden of his race’s memory. Zeid wishes for Rapifafa to better understand this burden, so he asks her to meet him again in a mural within the ruins. Thankfully, Zeid gives Rapifafa directions of where to go this time instead of just asking her to wander the hallways aimlessly. Getting there was still a pain though- Rapifafa could not activate the weight-sensitive switches on her own like Zeid could.

The good news was that the murals are hard to miss.



Music: Hidden Truths

Zeid begins to explain the murals that line the wall- they are the history of Altepa, and he explains that while the derelict status of the ruins may lead adventurers to think otherwise, they are not actually ancient. The Galkan city was still in use as recent as three generations ago, but by then the Galka were already fighting a losing battle against the Antica.



The Galka could overpower their foes, but the Antica simply outnumbered them with their amazing reproductive ability.



The next part is the most well-known piece of Galkan folklore- when a Galka sense his death is soon to come, he will embark for a mountain where he awaits his final moments, and will soon be given new life in a burst of magnificent light. Strangely enough, even though it is so well known, the actual event has never been witnessed. All that has ever been seen is a Galka disappearing from a camp, only to be replaced by another child soon after. For all intents and purposes the child is a new individual- except, of course, for the Talekeeper.



Galkan tradition dictates that this individual will be the leader of the Galka, a heavy burden- not a single Talekeeper has ever safely made it to his journey of rebirth. One Talekeeper was completely consumed by his fear that he would lose his memories someday. Another simply could not handle the responsibility and disappeared, never to be seen again. One allowed the rage within the memories to twist his heart until he was reborn as the Shadow Lord.



Zeid asks Rapifafa to send a message to Iron Eater, that the Galka do not need to be chained to this endless cycle. Iron Eater needs to take care of the new Talekeeper, who will soon come forth. When that time comes, the Galka must face their problems with the Humes head-on, and Zeid must face his old comrade, Volker.

Before Rapifafa delivered this message however, there was something more important she needed to take care of.

Gameplay Comments

Once again not much to say on this part, aside from the Quicksand Caves being a real pain in the ass to travel through if you're not playing as a Galka.

Guess I'll talk a little bit about the jobs again- should probably talk a bit about Red Mage since that's what Rapifafa is and all. I've mentioned this before, but Red Mage started off as a mediocre job in XI, being an in-between of White Mage and Black Mage along with some mid-level swordplay, following in the footsteps of its FF1 incarnation. Red Mages also had shorter cast times than other mages to emulate its DoubleCast ability in other games. Over time, Red Mages were given unique spells and its position was solidified- Red Mage kept its flexibility, but also gained the ability to act as an MP battery for other mages and excelled at debuffing.

Thieves have the highest evasion and can backstab enemies, as per rule of fantasy games. They were generally okay for dealing damage, but it was their Treasure Hunter ability that guaranteed them in a spot in almost every event in the game. Having a class exist for the sole purpose of making items drop more often probably wouldn't cross the mind of any sane MMO designer nowadays, but the XI designers were just a bit crazy, I'd guess. Thieves could also pick locked chest and doors, but this was sadly underutilized by the developers.
« Last Edit: January 31, 2016, 03:58:33 PM by Hathen »

Hathen

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Rise of the Zilart Part 4: The Chamber of Oracles

As Rapifafa suspected, the final headstone was in Altepa Desert as well, and she comes across it while traveling through the Lost Galkan Capital.



With the 8 fragments in hand, Rapifafa now had to the Chamber of Oracles as Grav’iton had directed. As she had mentioned, the chamber was found beneath the Galkan city. It was clearly built of the same cermet material as the other Zilart and Kuluu structures, but with how many Antica crawled in the desert above, it seems this place was no exception.



Music: Battle in the Dungeon #3

With the Antica out of the way, Rapifafa finds herself in a strange shrine of some kind.



It was immediately clear to her what she needed to do.





Zeid arrives as well, with his usual impeccable timing.





Images of strange women soon appear on each receptacle of the shrine. They introduce themselves as the Dawnmaidens, servants of the Goddess Altana. Addressing Zeid and Rapifafa as children of the crystals, they explain that much like how the people of Vana’Diel were born from the force of the crystals beneath the surface of Vana'Diel, so too were the Crystal Warriors created by the Zilart to guard their five arks. The five races of Vana’Diel, however, were only exposed to a fraction of the power of the crystals, which had was relased when the Zilart caused the crags to meltdown 10000 years ago. The Crystal Warriors, on the other hand, had far greater exposure to the crystal- in some ways, the purest form of the five races that now walked the world.



At Delkfutt’s Tower, the elder of two Zilart princes made some kind of connection with the crystal. With his powers, he broadcasted a vision of the gods and eternal paradise to the Zilart race.



The vision showed that people had once been cast out of Paradise, but if they harnessed the light of the crystals, they could return to this Paradise.



By joining the lights of the five crystals as one, the Gate of the Gods would open.



The Kuluu of the Northlands and the Dawnmaidens opposed the idea, but the Zilart were already obsessed with it and ignored these pleas.



The Zilart continued their plan, constructing a floating island above one of their temples- this would become their Gate of the Gods.



The Zilart were now putting their plan into motion once again, and if the Gate of the Gods opened, it may mean Vana’diel will be lost forever.



The Dawnmaidens now leave the task of stopping the Zilart Princes to Rapifafa and Zeid. With a burst of light, the Dawnmaidens leave behind a strange prismatic crystal.



Zeid and Rapifafa both take a shard of the crystal, figuring the Dawnmaidens must have left it for a reason. (Also because it's real purty)



They now had to find the Zilart brothers, but they had no idea where to start. Rapifafa figured at this point the only choice is to wait for news from Lion and Aldo, as their resources could find information much faster than either of them could on their own.

Gameplay Comments

Not much to say here either, so here’s some more ranting about jerbs.

For all the different kinds of melee damage jobs in the game, there’s only ever really been one good one for ranged damage- naturally, it’s Ranger. The most notable thing about the job is that for a while, it was easily the most broken damage class in the game, gaining TP incredibly quickly and firing off very powerful weapon skills, at the cost of breaking your bank from all the arrows high level you’d fire off. Then SquareEnix decided to nerf Rangers so hard they became one of the weakest jobs in the game instead. Nowadays Ranger’s a lot better off, but it’s still generally a job you only take along if you really don’t want to get close to something.

Paladin is the premier tanking job in FFXI, and a somewhat different one than I’ve seen some other MMOs do. Naturally, they use a sword and shield, but the most interesting part of playing Paladin was how aggro worked in FFXI- many times simply using the game’s provided taunt moves weren’t enough to hold anything on you, and many times Paladins had a hard time hitting anything, so to compensate Paladins would self-cure a lot of the damage they received instead of relying on whatever mages were in the party. Because of this, Paladins loved having a Red Mage around…or a Bard, but I’ll save that for next time. Gonna stop here before I write a novel for you folks. =P

Hathen

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Re: FFXI Journal: Can You Beat My Ninja Technique
« Reply #58 on: February 04, 2016, 09:27:49 AM »
A Ninja's Story: The Legacy





Kaede wants to use a katana like her big sister, the Mythril Musketeer Ayame. Her father, Ensetsu, is against the idea. Kaede explains to Rapifafa that her father had trained Ayame, but for some reason he does not do the same for her. She knows that her father has recently been visiting Kagetora, who works for the Black Market of Vana'Diel, the Tenshodo. She pleads that Rapifafa help her solve this mystery so that she can become strong like her father and big sister.



Kagetora usually isn’t one to divulge secrets, but he doesn’t seem to care much for Ensetsu, so he reveals that the man has been having some money troubles lately. He also laughs when Rapifafa asks about Ensetsu's combat abilities, saying Ensetsu's about the farthest thing from a warrior there is.



With the cat out of the bag, Ensetsu figures it wouldn’t hurt to ask an adventurer for some help. He wishes to buy back something he sold to the Tenshodo, but since he had no money, he promised a special coral from the Korroloka Tunnel. His claims echo Kagetora's, that he isn’t much of a warrior himself, so he asks Rapifafa to obtain it for him if possible.

Rapifafa agrees and travels down the Korraloka Tunnel, where some leeches stand between Rapifafa and the coral. A few pokes with her sharp stick is enough to send them down.



Ensetsu is thankful for Rapifafa’s help, but asks her for one more favor- to take the coral to Norg and exchange it for his lost item.



Apparently Kagetora wasn’t the only one of the Tenshodo who had a problem with Ensetsu, since Ryoma of Norg decides to spend some time bad mouthing the man before finishing the transaction. With that finished, he asks Rapifafa to help him smack Ensetsu upside the head a few times for him.

The item is a strange one- it’s clearly a eastern styled Tanto, but its blade is stuck inside its sheathe and cannot be removed. Rapifafa brings it back to Ensetsu, who was greatly thankful for her help. He explains he had once sold the sword to support his family, but now realized that his daughter needed it more.

Kaede jumps out from behind the wall, angered that his father bought yet another sword for Ayame. Ensetsu tells his daughter that he had never bought any swords for Ayame, in a tone that suggests that he has gone through this speech multiple times with her. Since he can no longer hide the sword, Ensetsu decides that perhaps now Kaede is old enough to know the truth.



Ensetsu's claim was true- he is no warrior. It was Ayame and Kaede’s mother who was a ninja, and the sealed tanto belonged to her. Ensetsu had always only been a lowly crew member on a pirate ship, but his wife Yomi was a master of ninjutsu. When Yomi discovered she was carrying Ayame, she traveled to Bastok to live a simple life with Ensetsu. Even then, she knew she was not long for this world, and after ten years of a quiet life she gave her life when bringing Kaede into the world.

Ensetsu didn’t want either of his daughters to take up a katana, for fear that they would meet the same end. He reluctantly agreed when Ayame left to learn the way of the Samurai, if only because it meant she would not be a Ninja. Kaede, however, resembled her mother more and more with each day that passed, and Ensetsu felt he needed to protect her. However, he now passes Yomi blade onto Kaede, and tells her that she will decide on her own future.



Ensetsu thanks Rapifafa by presenting her with a scroll of ninja arts left over by Yomi. If Kaede chooses to walk the same path, she will travel to Norg, and will not need the scroll.



With the scroll in hand, Rapifafa begins to learn the ninja arts herself, learning some skills from the few Ninjas in Norg. Soon enough, Rapifafa is asked to test her skills by assisting in the deciphering of an old scroll.



Almost 20 years ago, Yomi had used the scroll on her last job for Norg. She didn’t share her secrets before she left, however, so now the Tenshodo were stuck trying to decipher it on their own. Kagetora suggests that Rapifafa go and rough up Ensetsu a little to learn more about the scroll.



Ensetsu doesn’t have much useful to add. He had taken a glimpse of the deciphered scroll many years ago, and it said to seek out an area where rations were stacked upon another in the desert. Since Yomi had already visited the area however, it was unlikely Rapifafa would find anything there now.



Rapifafa is ambushed by a couple spiders upon reaching the area, and manages to fend them off. Stranger however, was that there was a trick box there- exactly what Ensetsu claimed Yomi had brought back after her final mission. It appears relatively new, however, so perhaps something more was going on. Rapifafa takes it back to Norg to learn more.



Some study of the box tells them that the box looks very similar to the work of Mitsunari the Poisonclaw, one of the greatest pirate inventors who ever lived. The man left Norg over 20 years ago, and was probably dead by now, so the relatively new condition of the trick box made little sense. Once again, the Tenshodo had to go ask the Ensetsu they so loathed.



Ensetsu seems concerned Rapifafa was attacked by poisonous spiders at the location he gave her, as that is exactly what happened to Yomi. Regardless, he has little information left- Yomi received the assistance of Mitsunari’s grandson to decipher the scroll 20 years ago, and he was somewhere in the Altepa Desert.

Rapifafa searched the desert, and finds Mitsunari’s grandson in the village of Rabao.



Leodarion has spent many years trying to master the same skills as his grandfather. He had read through his grandfather’s journal, and discovered that he left behind a trap even stronger than the one that eventually took Yomi’s life- one which could call a spirit of the dead. He helps Rapifafa construct a staff to call forth the spirit, and tells her the trap should be sprung if she travels west on the Bastore Sea.

It’s a long road, but Rapifafa travels back east towards her home, and eventually arrives in Mhaura to take the boat westward towards Selbina. Just as Leodarion decribed, a ghost soon appeared and attacked Rapifafa.



Rapifafa defeats the ghost, but she finds no treasure like Leodarion implied there would be.



Leodarion is already waiting for Rapifafa at the Selbina docks as she arrived. He, too, is confused at the lack of anything left behind by the ghost, but Kagetora and Ensetsu soon arrive with their own explanation.



The Tenshodo had searched the area after Rapifafa defeated the spirit, finding a piece of paper within the leftover rags. In it was Mitsunari’s final message to his grandson.



Mitsunari’s final message makes little sense to Leodarion, but Ensetsu knew exactly what it meant, as the old man had once given the same message to his late wife, Yomi.



Only a few years after that conversation would Yomi meet Ensetsu, soon after which she would give up her way of life to raise her children.

Kagetora’s ready to retch at all the schmaltzy stories flying around, and he assumes Rapifafa’s feels the same way, so he rewards her with something far more practical for all her troubles.



Even so, the search for Mitsunari’s treasure continues.





Ryoma soon has information- some of the Tenshodo’s men had found one of Poisonclaw’s old trick boxes, but they were attacked by Sahagin and had it stolen. It’s unlikely they left Elshimo Island, so Ryoma advises Rapifafa to search the jungle.



Rapifafa soon spots her target, and moves in for the kill.



She takes the old trick box back to Ryoma, but knowing what they do now about Mitsunari’s boxes, they figure its best they take it to the expert to open for them.



Leodarion has no trouble opening the box, but there is nothing to be found within. As he marvels at the box, Leodarion explains that while it was easy to open, its craftsmanship is likely far beyond anything he could accomplish. Ryoma himself is not too amused with the treasure just being some dirty old box, and accuses Leodarion of trying to pull a fast one on him.



Ayame has been following Ryoma for some time now- Bastok keeps a close eye on the activities of its "allies". The family reunion is not a particularly pleasant one, and Ryoma soon storms off.

Since there was no treasure in this box, Leodarion thanks Rapifafa by helping her locate another one of Mitsunari’s boxes, and allows her to take what he finds within.





Gameplay Comments

Most people who played XI would end up choosing one job to focus on mastering- for me, that was Ninja. Rather than bore you with gory details of a metagame you'll probably never play though, I'll instead talk about the more interesting part of Ninjas in XI, which is that it's the prime example of how players of XI could sometimes end up influencing how the designers of the game acted.

Ninja was first designed as another hybrid class in the long list of hybrid classes in XI. In Ninja's case, it was designed to be able to do multiple damage types (slashing damage in melee with dual wield to beef it up, ranged throwing attacks and magic damage from ninjutsu) and debuff enemies. Besides all that, they had shadow copy spells and high evasion- that along with a movement speed bonus on their Job-specific boots built up Ninja to be a great scout/puller.

Of course, that's not how players ended up using the class. Their Shadow Copy spell, Utsusemi, was soon found by players to be ridiculously broken against most enemies, and combining that with their high evasion allowed them to main tank in many parties and almost never take damage (as long as the Ninja knew what he was doing). Instead of relying on self-curing to hold aggro like Paladins did, Ninjas could simply do it by doing moderately high damage through a combination of their damage types as mentioned above. This same strategy was used by Ninjas to solo things in a game where soloing was generally discouraged.

Of course, Ninjas had a weakness- area attacks like -ga spells will just destroy all their shadows at once. Square-Enix probably always intended Ninjas to do some tanking on the side, but they didn't intend for them to be main tanks in parties, so for it while few adjustments were made to help Ninjas. In fact, some were made to make them harder to tank with (along with giving numerous buffs to Paladin), though apparently they didn't find it enough of a problem to just nerf Utsusemi itself or something. Anyway, the players persisted in their behavior, so at some point SE probably just gave up and decided that the players were right, and started creating more tank-centric equipment for Ninjas and designing fights specifically targeted towards Ninja tanks. Instead of the hybrid damage/debuffer role it was formerly, it became more a tank/damage hybrid role.

Funny enough, despite SE's insistence that they still try to make it one, these days Ninja's not a very popular tank due to a combination of factors. They did, however, make some adjustments so that they're more like what Ninjas are usually like in the FF series- specifically, they throw shuriken a lot now. You're not allowed to be called a ninja in fiction unless you're dressed in black 24/7 and throwing kunai and ninja stars, of course.

Hathen

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Re: FFXI Journal: This is Totally Not Another Fetch Quest
« Reply #59 on: February 09, 2016, 01:25:04 AM »
Chinese New Year over the weekend and stuff. Don't worry, I'll make up for it.

Bastok Part 4: The Return

Rapifafa continues assisting the Bastokan investigation into Zepwell Island, and she receives a task from Iron Eater after delivering Zeid’s message to him.



The investigation needs to make some progress soon, as the citizens are getting restless, and rumors of conspiracy travel the streets as the discontent of the Galka grows. Iron Eater wants Rapifafa to travel to the Kuftal Tunnel to find any signs that Werei had been there, and bring it back to Drake Fang.

Rapifafa once again travels back through the Korroloka Tunnel and crosses the Altepa Desert to arrive at the Kuftal Tunnel. She searches through the tunnel, eventually finding an strangely out-of-place piece of driftwood- it was a message from Werei.



In his message, Werei states that the Galkan homeland is one of sorrow- the Galka were driven from their homelands, but they set out for new land searching for a new life. He hopes that his message will find its way to his people, and he advises them not to look back to the past with envy.



Rapifafa hurries back to town with this finding, but it might be too late- a gathering of Galka have forced their way to the entrance of the Zeruhn Mines, and they seem about ready to start rioting.



It’s unlikely that any public announcement would be able to calm the mob now, regardless of its veracity.



Gumbah has finally made his decision. He tells everyone a story that happened 100 years ago, when he and Werei snuck past the guards as children, determined to see the homeland for themselves. There, they found nothing but a ruined city buried in sand and thousands upon thousands of Antica soldiers ready to kill any Galka who returned.



The Galka are shocked silent at the return of their leader, but Gumbah insists that he has not revealed this out of a desire to lead, but simply to guide the Galka on a new path.



Soon, the mob disperses, and the calmed locals return to their homes. Later, Rapifafa goes to visit Gumbah, who tells her things have become a bit strange for him since his announcement- people weren’t really sure how to speak to him. Their conversation is soon interrupted, as one of the Senators has asked for Rapifafa’s help. It’s an odd time to be sending adventurers out on tasks, so Gumbah decides to go see this Senator as well.



Senator Alois isn’t known as a particularly ethical man, and the tasks he asks Rapifafa to do- retrieve a special salt from Vollbow- doesn’t sound as important as important to national security as he makes it seem. Before Iron Eater decides to change the "Iron" in his name into "Flesh", Gumbah arrives to proclaim that it’s an excellent idea, and encourages both Iron Eater and Rapifafa to go along with the task. Gumbah seems to know the salt Alois speaks of- miraclesalt- and they travel to the desert village of Rabao in the Altepa Desert.



Music: Rabao



The groups meets with Dancing Wolf there, and Gumbah explains that he remembers Werei talking about miraclesalt many years ago. It is found in the Gustav Tunnel, and there are rumors it has the ability to extend life. Gumbah himself doesn’t quite believe the Galkan legend tells that Galka used to search for miraclesalt to postpone their rebirth, but he does think that the obsession with this salt is perhaps what led to the Galka’s long history of mineworking. Whatever the case, he was not satisfied with the message on the wood, and wanted to see if he could still find Werei.

Rapifafa travels past the Kuftal Tunnel into Cape Terrigan, where she finds one of the entrances to the Gustav Tunnel.



There, Rapifafa finds a chunk of strange salt in a pool where salt and fresh water meet.



Upon her return, Dancing Wolf recognizes the chunk of salt- he had seen it some time ago, being carried by a child who seemed to have little recollection of anything. As luck would have it, that boy was still in Rabao.



After a short conversation, the young Galka leaves, leaving with the caravan he was travelling with. Whoever this Galka was, he had no plans on staying still- he wanted to travel the world. Even as the boy leaves, Gumbah isn’t completely sure if the boy is Werei or not, but it seems his desire to continue searching has finally died off.



With the search for Werei finally over, the group returns to Bastok. Rapifafa takes the miraclesalt she finds to the Senator’s office, where she finds out what Gumbah’s scheme had been.



There was still lots of work to be done, but it seemed the Galkan Crisis in Bastok had drawn to the close. Iron Eater tells Rapifafa there was still one last loose end, however- and that loose end has recently attacked an adventurer in the Northlands.

Gameplay Comments

Just lots of running around this time, so time to talk about jobs some more.

I promised Bard last time, so I'll talk a bit about it. For almost all of the game's life, Bard was the most powerful job in the game. Not while flying solo or anything, Bards tend to have lots of difficulty going on their own, but it didn't matter because you didn't even need your party-seeking flag up for you to be flooded with tells asking if you wanted a party. Almost every job would be better if there was a bard standing beside them- Bards had a massive spell list containing just about every buff imaginable. Though you may have noted I said "almost all of the game's life"- Bard was eventually taken down from its throne after over a decade of being the most important job in the game. That's a story for later down the line, though.

I'll finish by talking a bit about Dark Knight because there's really not much to say. As the job of choice for people who named their character some misspelled variation of Sephiroth, it followed the example in the rest of the franchise by being a job all about doing lots of damage while sacrificing HP. Dark Knight also had low level elemental magic and a bunch of draining spells which were completely unique to the job, but they generally didn't see much use.
« Last Edit: February 09, 2016, 01:48:47 AM by Hathen »