FFXI Journal – Entry 10 – Taking on Adoulin and Some Tips for New Pioneers

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Rexis here!

I’ve been on a non-stop FFXI binge since I returned and I have accomplished an unbelievable amount of content. To sum it up, I’ve gotten rank 10 in all three starter nations, complete RotZ, CoP, ToAU, WotG, RoV (as far as we can at this point) and A Shantoto Ascension. Someone on Facebook asked how much of the content I’ve been soloing. With the exception of the Siren fight in RoV, all of it has been solo. I just happened to be lower level when I needed to do that fight.

I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed the end of WotG. It is unbelievably long for an expansion, but it is worth it. My favorite story by far and probably just because of Lillisette. Her character is just awesome!

Last night, I finally traveled into Adoulin and began learning the layout. I’ve been there before, but only briefly. I wasn’t ready yet. For someone new to the area, its kind of complicated. There are a lot of mechanics that aren’t taught to us in any other areas that I’ve experienced.

The idea behind Adoulin is pioneering into a new area. One of the first things I learned was that I needed key items that gave me skills, like logging. This is different than logging in Ronfaure. This skill allows me to break down these massive branches that block the path in some areas. There are other skills like crafting and climbing that I am working towards unlocking, though I haven’t discovered what they do just yet. Its very easy to get them, though, and if you click here, you’ll see “Quests of Note.” I am working on these currently.

Why am I doing quests instead of missions? There’s a few reasons. First of all, once you reach “Mission 1-6 Life on the Frontier” you are required to take part in coalition assignment where you need to spend imprimaturs. I haven’t been able to get too deep into this because imprimaturs work a bit like traverser stones from Abyssea. You get them from an NPC and it takes a while before you can get more. After doing enough of these assignments, I’ll be able to move on with the missions.

Another reason to focus on these quests is that the skills are required to do skirmish. I’m not one hundred percent clear on what a skirmish is and I prefer to learn as I go. Look it up on the wiki if you just can’t wait for me to get to it. I know I want to do them and I know I need the skills. That’s enough for me in that regard.

The quests also give you fame in Adoulin and my understanding is that I will need fame at some point in the mission line. I am literally going down the list and just doing the quests since I have a lull in my mission capability.

The quests have given me enough Bayld (a form of currency) to buy all the maps for the surrounding areas. I’ve also unlocked a number of waypoints that make traveling a breeze. If you need kinetic energy to use the waypoints, trade regular old crafting crystals to them.

That’s what I’ve learned so far in my travels. I am enjoying my time in the new area, but the mechanics have a bit of a learning curve. The above info should help you get started. Had I known this stuff, I’d probably be further along by now.

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I unlocked geomancer and rune fencer last night. The quests were very, very easy. I’ve yet to play either job, but I am excited to try them out. I also spent some time on summoner last week and its sitting at 40 now. I just wanted to experience having multiple summoners in a party and my friend Tuchi is good at getting them together. Unlocking the avatars was easy as I was able to solo all of them. Getting Fenrir took me exactly 30 minutes because all of the protocrystals have home points near them now. I also solo’ed Diabolos and Cait Sith. It was good fun!

As far as jobs go, I’ve dabbled in a few of them, but I always come back to beastmaster. I can’t see myself getting anything else to 99 at this point because I don’t have the patience to level a job I’m never going to play. Any time spent on another job is time I could be earning job points for my main. As far as beastmaster goes, I have been thinking of changing up my subjob. I usually go /dnc because I like the versatility, but beastmaster has the fencer job trait that only functions while wielding one non-two handed weapon. Basically, it seems as if I should be wielding as axe and shield combo. I could just use one axe, sure, but I feel like there might be a subjob that offers more. I used to go /whm so I might do that again. I don’t know. I haven’t decided. There’s too many options!

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As for the blog, the Final Fantasy XI Lore section has sort of taken a back seat to a more prominent interest. I’ve actually started writing a book I intend to self-publish on Amazon. Before you start telling me how to do things, know this: If you asked me what I hope to accomplish before I die, I will give you the same answer I gave fifteen years ago – Be a published author. I don’t care about making money. I don’t care if it ever sells a single copy. I just want to see my name on a novel, published. Even if it is on the Amazon book store. When things slow down on the blog, that’s why.

Want to know what the novel is about? I can tell you its dark. Very dark. Like, completely opposite of what this blog offers. And someday, you’ll be able to read it. For now, I just need to get the words on the screen. It practically writes itself. So I’m going to go work on that. See you in game!

The Major Flaw of Corporate Video Game Retailers

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Rexis here!

I was in a popular video game store recently as I am apt to surround myself with video game culture and memorabilia whenever possible, when I overheard the oblivious employee answer the phone to an interesting request. Apparently, some kid’s mother was calling in to ask about the availability of a title called Ark on the XBOX One. This employee tried typing the name of the game into his computer, but to no avail. He had no information to give this woman during her time of desperate need.

Being the avid gamer that I am, I chimed in to tell him that the game is called Ark: Survival Evolved and it hasn’t been released on the XBOX One, not yet anyway. Despite my very clear speech (I don’t have an accent that I know of), he could barely repeat the name of the game to the woman. I had to say it several times. It isn’t that difficult. Keep in mind, this is a big name corporate entity in gaming that I’m sure we are all familiar with. This guy should know his stuff, but he didn’t. He was without clue.

It’s not fair to expect him to know all the video games still in their unreleased stage, but this is no regular game. Ark is breaking the YouTubes. If you want subscribers, play Ark, be mildly entertaining, and they will flock to you. It’s like Minecraft meets dinosaurs! Because that’s literally what it is! I’m just saying that an employee that holds such a prestigious position (is that the right word?) might want to have his finger on the pulse of the gaming community, no?

I was speechless after this encounter with the clueless employee whose only expectations in his job are “know games” and “take money.” He was certainly halfway there. Then again, the actual job description says that video game knowledge is “preferred but not required.” Maybe I’m being a little too harsh. Either way, this is the same company that didn’t call me back when I applied so…. There’s that. Obviously, knowledge in video games amounts to nothing among their ranks.

We are in a revolutionary age in gaming for so many reasons, not the least of them being that indie games have become a viable market. In the past, if there wasn’t a little Nintendo logo on the box, the game could be all out ignored on the shelf. Consumers had to be savvy (arr!) in their purchases or they could end up penniless with nothing more than a copy of Total Recall for the NES to live with. There seems to be two types of games now. First, you have your big franchises that pump out games almost yearly and are just too big to fail like Call of Duty, Madden, and Assassin’s Creed. Second, we have Indie titles like Ark: Survival Evolved, Elite:Dangerous, and Star Citizen. Mobile games aside, do you ever hear about anything else in the mainstream?

There’s nothing inherently wrong with this. In fact, it’s a good thing. There are some great titles coming from the latter mentioned indie developers. Ori and the Blind Forest is one of my favorite games and I’ve seen quite a few impressive, yet to be released games. This cycle allows me to experience some amazing indie stuff during the downtime between my favorite franchises. As an example, I missed the whole Minecraft craze when it first came onto the scene because I was shoulder-deep in Skyrim. After I put Skyrim down, I got into Minecraft, Subnautica, and The Forest. Survival-building games are not my thing, though, so I’ve fallen back into an old favorite recently. With the release of Fallout 4, I’m sure I’ll see a gaming blackout for the better part of 2016. That will probably come to a close with Zelda Wii –U taking its place. By that time, I’m hoping Oculus Rift becomes a reality for me. That will, undoubtedly, open me up to a slew of indie games. And the cycle continues.

That poor, clueless employee has no idea what is coming. He can’t even imagine the requests he’s going to get. He could barely pronounce Ark: Survival Evolved. How is he going to cope with the throngs of people asking for games he’s never heard of? How is he going to be taken seriously when he balks under the pressure? Won’t someone think of the minimum wage retail employees?!

What we enjoy has developed into a culture. Gaming has gone from the stereotype of nerds in a basement akin to Dungeons and Dragons to a multi-billion dollar industry that outshines even the most loved cinema pastimes. We have evolved. We have become main stream. We are the players. And one of the few outlets who claim to give us the power is manned by employees who don’t require any knowledge of video games…

To wrap this up, I want to talk about Ron Jon Surf Shop. Stay with me gamers! There are three of these stores IN THE WORLD! That’s all it takes. If you walk into a Ron Jon Surf Shop, the people speak the lingo. You can discuss pretty much any beach related topics (I have no examples. Surf board brands, I guess? The movie Surf’s Up?) with any employee you encounter. They are knowledgeable and on point. This is culture. This is an image. If you want surfing, they’ve got it. Period. Try this in today’s corporate video game retailers and you’ll get… Ark Evolve? What’s that? Doesn’t anyone see a problem with this?

Sometimes, I can’t even…

FFXI Journal – Entry 9 – Nearing the End of WotG

Dragua!

Dragua!

Rexis here!

Things have been quiet, peeps. Almost too quiet. At this point, I’ve unequipped my linkshell and I’ve been working diligently through Wings of the Goddess. Do not underestimate the length of this expansion! I made the mistake of starting out aligned to Bastok. Do not do this! There is an escort quest that is nigh unsoloable simply because of the sheer number of mobs that automatically agro the scholar NPC. She’s basically a piece of paper, easily shredded. I had to start over with San d’Oria’s quests and I’m finally nearing the end of the storyline. I found the nation’s quest entertaining, but I prefer the missions tenfold. Lillisette is my favorite NPC by far and the story is simply amazing. I’m actually planning to finish this tonight so I can move on to bigger and better things.

I’ve taken a few detours along the way. It gets boring just running from cutscene to cutscene. I unlocked a few jobs and took thief to 52 fairly quickly. I also dabbled on warrior a bit. Aside from that, I’ve been occasionally killing Dragua in Abyssea – Altepa for my Charmer’s Merlin. Its an axe that takes five seconds off my Sic/Ready timer. I’ve had no luck with it and I can’t proc the dragon, so I’ve kind of tabled it for now. I did manage to kill the Battlerigged Chariot that spawns not far from Dragua and got a ferine earring for my reward set. So that’s good! I also managed to knock out A Shantotto Ascension add-on for my desultor tassets. They also take my sic/ready timer down by five seconds. /winning

Escha-Zitah

Escha-Zitah

My corsair is still sitting at level 89 since I found I can wear the corsair empyrean gear as a beastmaster using /lockstyle. I didn’t like corsair and I see no reason to continue leveling it now that I look like a pirate all the time. I am interested in continuing thief at some point though. Thief’s abilities seem to fit the pirate trope more than corsair’s do. I did a little research on getting the best treasure hunter gear and all, but I don’t know if it something I’ll pursue.

With Wings of the Goddess coming to a close, I’ve got my eye on Seekers of Adoulin. Part of me wants to get right into it while another part of me wants to hold off. With the inevitable release of the final chapter of Rhapsodies of Vana’diel right around the corner, I think it might be good to get it done. I also want to finish the other two nation’s rank 10 missions. I hear they increase your capacity point gain by 10% each. If you know any other ways to get your cp gain higher, please let me know!

Aside from that, I’ve picked up Elder Scrolls Online for XBOX One to play with my best friend and Fallout 4 is right around the corner. These things are obviously going to take priority over FFXI. I don’t know that I’ll continue on after I’ve done all the missions in the game. I recently asked reddit what would be required to finish FFXI. I got some mixed replies that helped me put things in perspective. One person said to finish all the jobs to 99 with maxed out job points. Yeah, that’s not for me. I came back to FFXI for three reasons: be a pirate, complete the stories, make some friends. I’ve got the pirate thing down and I already have a new gaming friend from FFXI who will be joining me on Elder Scrolls Online.

Its weird because as I get closer to completing this game, I start to feel more and more like slowing down. Its like watching a good television series and not wanting it to end. I understand that I can keep playing after I’ve done the missions, but it seems pointless to me (just my play style, I guess). The short time I’ve been back has been nothing short of amazing! I love the game and I love where they’ve taken it, but I sometimes miss the days when an achievement was hard won. I’m thinking I’ll find a bit more of this in SoA.

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In the meantime, I’m going to keep on going and having fun! I’ve got my computer situation sorted so I’ll be able to post more often now (yes!). Thanks again to everyone who keeps up with me on here. You guys are awesome! You’re comments, likes, shares, and love have been an absolute inspiration! See you in game! (Rexish on Asura, in case you didn’t know ^^)

Cheating in Video Games

Why would you need to heat a magnifying lens?

Why would you need to heat a magnifying lens?

Rexis here!

Hello, internet. First of all, I want to say this isn’t about Final Fantasy XI, although a conversation I read in game did inspire this post. It’s been a few days since it all happened, but someone in our linkshell (chat group in game, for the uninitiated) admitted to having been banned in the past due to speed hacking. People chimed in with their opinions, but there was one person who was adamantly opposed to any form of cheating, including using the windower program. This program allows you to alt-tab out of the game without crashing it. It also allows for plug ins and add-ons in game, some of which allow easier access to information while others provide some trivial unfair advantages.

Cheats are not new to video games. They’ve been around since the first programmer wrote code that would allow for the simple debugging of a game. It’s a lot easier to test your game when the enemies can’t hurt you. When those types of code are left in the game and the public discovered them, bam, cheat codes. This is how the famous Konami code came to be.

Cheats appealed to people so much that Game Genie and its predecessors became real things. The hit title Goldeneye for N64 even had a list of unlockable cheats that included things like “big head mode.” Even modern titles tend to have cheats from time to time. The appeal is undeniable, regardless of your personal preference. So why the animosity towards cheating?

To be blunt, it’s not fair. My kids could tell you that. When one player has an advantage over another player in a game that was designed to be balanced, there’s a problem. Take the guy with the money gun in Grand Theft Auto V. He has everything and he didn’t acquire it fairly. This takes the value away from what we have or want.  All of a sudden, that piece of armor you’ve been trying to get your hands on becomes less of a status symbol and more of an annoyance. Have you ever had an employer that gave an award to someone who clearly didn’t deserve it? The award loses its value. This is only one way cheating hurts the online community.

Cheaters can suck the fun right out of a game. In a FPS, it’s no fun to die immediately when you spawn over and over again. In an MMORPG, it’s no fun to camp a mob only to have it snagged out from under you by a cheater. When I played GTAV on PS3, some cheater gave me 250 million dollars. I was excited at first because my friend and I had been doing missions to get the finger things in life. Suddenly, I was able to afford anything I wanted. Missions became pointless and I ended up quitting the game (for awhile).

With these examples, it’s easy to see how cheaters can affect our favorite games, whether they’re intentionally trying to cause harm or they believe they’re helping you (like the guy who gave me money). Is it right to condemn the act completely, though? This harkens to reality more than you might realize. Do we condemn religions because of a few extremists? Do we ostracize an entire race because one sect is filled with hatred? What I’m saying is that cheaters, for lack of a less derogatory word, is a group comprised of extremists as well as harmless individuals (like do many real life groups!). Using the FFXI windower program to have a visual display of your experience status is cheating, but who could that possibly harm?

Some people suck. It’s a fact of life. You can’t let that influence your opinion of an entire group. That would be generalizing. I am constantly seeing animosity between fanboys (If you have a preferred gaming console, you’re a fanboy. It’s not a bad thing, but you need to accept it.) and I get attacked by PC and PS3 gamers occasionally, but I remind myself that these guys are the minority and I move on. The guy I mentioned earlier who was banned for speed hacking just didn’t like running slow (it’s pretty slow). It could give him an unfair advantage over other players, but he didn’t utilize it that way. If he’s only doing it to travel from one point to another, it doesn’t bother me. I prefer to play it the vanilla way, but I totally get where he’s coming from.

I’m not trying to defend cheaters with this post. I’m just trying to point out that not all forms of cheating are as harmful as you might believe. Just because someone takes advantage of a particular system doesn’t make them a bad person. You have to draw the line somewhere. If I am directly affected by your actions, we have a problem. If you are breaking the mechanics of the game in a way that ruins my enjoyment, we really have a problem. That’s just my opinion on the subject.

I don’t like generalizing so I try to avoid it as you should, too. It will only lead to you alienating people and avoiding the real problem. We tend to do this in life. We blame guns for violence. We blame drugs for crime. We blame religion for terrorism. Generalizing gives you an easy answer for a difficult question. Is it ok to cheat in a video game? CHEATERS ARE BAD AND MAKE THE GAME BAD! Do they? In every single instance?

FFXI Journal – Entry 8 – The World Would Never Know

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Rexis here!

Sorry for the lack of posts lately! There’s been some complications and I haven’t been able to write. This post is going to lack pictures. Sorry about that! I just needed to get this out haha! It’s more of a story anyway. Special shout outs to Ghanni for my sweet BST axe and Defiantangel for helping get COR to 89. You guys rock! Also wanted to shout out to my awesome LS RevanantWing on Asura because their awesome! On to the entry! (Spoiler alert up to WotG. You’ve been warned.)

Walking the streets of Bastok, he passed familiar faces who simply nodded in acknowledgement of his presence. This was the first city he’d ever known. He had come a long way since first arriving with naught but a dagger in his possession. The people were calm, going about their daily lives around him and they would never know how he saved them.

He made his way to an unnamed tavern where the taste of rum would tend to the aches of his tired muscles. He thought of those days spent in the north lands when he used to command beasts, following in the footsteps of a doomed expedition, how the cold wind seemed to tear open bare skin. He hadn’t seen his friend Zeid in ages. The battle with the Shadow Lord had taught him many lessons, and yet, the people would never know how he saved them.

Lion. He missed her. Her complete disregard for her own safety and reckless nature inspired him when he found himself confronting two of the most dangerous Zilartian princes ever known. She gave her life in that battle. He would have willingly given his own if only for her. They had promised each other that they would sail the world together someday, when all was right once more. The world would never know the names of those princes and they would never know how he saved them.

The rum warmed him on the inside as the crackling flames of the nearby fire warmed his skin. He fingered the brim of his red tri-corne hat with the white feather and his thoughts turned to Prishe. The abhorrent one, they called her. He scoffed at the notion. Foul-mouthed and fool-hearty, sure, but never abhorrent. He had never known anyone to be so dedicated to others and it drew them close. She understood the sacrifices he’d made better than anyone else. Between dragons, war ships, and gods, nothing could stop the pair. Not even Promathia himself. Together, they had destroyed a god, yet, the world would never know how he saved them.

It was shortly after the death of Promathia that Lion was saved from her grim faith. These two heroines who had, at different times, stolen his heart stood side by side and they were all bound by fate. He could never choose between them. He turned his attention away from the lands he knew, forsaking the people who would never know how he saved them.

Aht Urhgan. The magnificent empire across the sea called to him. Their desire for power had doomed their nation. Ragnarok was almost upon them. He wanted to turn away, to let them destroy themselves with their own arrogance. He knew what became of civilizations who lusted for power. It was the empress Nashmau in disguise who swayed him to stay. She wasn’t like Lion or Prishe. She was weak. She truly needed him. The defeat of Alexander and subsequent end of Ragnarok allowed her to take her rightful place on the throne. An empress and an adventurer? The scandal would ruin her. Perhaps if the people knew, but they never know, how he saved them.

His adventure in Aht Urghan was far from over. It was there that he’d met the corsairs and discovered the freedom that comes with the sea. Under their tutelage, he found himself taking up a dagger and hexagun. Several years at sea had molded him and he became a captain in his own right. The magnificent blood red froc and hat struck fear into his enemies.

But it wasn’t enough. His anger raged beneath the surface of his calm demeanor, though he should have known better. He had given so much to the world, yet, received nothing in return. His heart longed for a companion, but found none. He returned to his homeland and began to forsake his hexagun. The corsairs prided themselves on honor, but he wanted more. He turned to a life of thievery.

Many of his prized claims came at the cost of beastmen’s lives. He grew rich from the wonders he found in their holds. However, all the gil and gold in the world meant nothing to him. That is why, when he finally stood before a monstrous cavernous maw, he threw himself in. He was certain he wouldn’t die, but he wasn’t sure he’d be able to return. Somehow, that conforted him.

The world he arrived in was familiar, yet somehow different. The lands were pock marked with cannon blasts and war raged around him. He had traveled to the past, the Crystal War era. He returned to his home nation and found himself involved in an assassination investigation.

A second glass was placed on the table before him. He lifted the rum bottle and filled both. Across the table, a beautiful red haired, half-hume half-elvaan girl joined him. He had met her in pursuit of a pesky feline named Cait-Sith. Lilisette was a dancer, graceful and deadly in combat. She was from the future as well, having traveled through the cavernous maw to save her father from a painful death.

Their time traveling had not only affected their lives, but the rest of the world as well. Cait-Sith needed them to set things right. As they sipped their rum, the light of the fire flickered across her face and he smiled. He felt that he had been lost, but she had found him and gave him reason to carry on. In that moment, he didn’t care whether or not the world knew how he had saved them.