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Talraen, June 12, 2009 3:31 PM (edited 6/12/09 11:31 AM)

The Usual Suspects, Doubled

Mood: Exhausted
Tags: Gaming, Final Fantasy XII, Final Fantasy XI, Rock Band Unplugged, Rock Band 2
Yeah, that list of games is kind of funny. And embarrassing. It's especially amusing that the newcomers are basically single-player spinoffs of the old guard. But hey, who needs variety? Not me! So, let's get with the blogging.

Final Fantasy XII
Final Fantasy XII
For the most part I kept doing what I was doing in my limited time with FFXII: filling out the bestiary and obtaining more bazaar packages. I made the decision to ignore elementals for now, since they're such a pain to spawn, though I still managed to find a few. And I got a few nice items from the bazaar, though my best purchases (three separate ammo sets) came as a result of an expedition into Zodiark's area in the Henne Mines.

I've visited this part of the mines before, and it's scary. There are level 62+ bats all over, and in groups they can take down my party rather quickly. But I made an important discovery early on: they've vulnerable to disable. The other major enemy in the area, Gizamaluks, were not, but they are vulnerable to slow and wither, and have different weakenesses than the bats. WIth that in mind, I set up some gambits specifically for these enemies, and suddenly my trip was a whole lot more pleasant. And then I zoned.

The funny thing is, once of the reasons I wanted to go to the mines was because Hecteyes were the best mob for me to get the silver liquid I needed for the aforementioned bazaar ammo. And, well, I found the hecteyes. And they are nasty. Appearing in groups of two or three, they're flans (and thus very resistant to physical damage) and none of the good crowd control abilities, like immobilize, disable, stop, etc., work on them. I eventually ended up giving Ashe a bubble belt and kiting them around, MMO style, which was a slow but eventually effective process. And I got my silver liquids to boot. I made the mistake of zoning into the next room, though, where I was ambushed by eight bats. They sure love ambushes in small rooms in these mines, judging by the huge slime ambush earlier in the game. I tried to disable them, since it is an AoE, but I couldn't get them all and eventually had to retreat. Healed up and buffed, I hit them with a triple dose of scathe to clear them out. Excessive, but it got the job done. Stupid ambushes.

The only other thing I did was once again re-equip my party. Instead of trying to min-max the tiny stat differences, I went thematic. I made Vaan a rogue with a dagger (or ninja sword), Basch a samurai in full genji armor with the Masamune, Fran an archer, Balthier a gunner, Penelo a mage (with a mace for now, since I was mostly killing easy mobs for the bestiary), and I gave Ashe the all-poweful Zodiac spear. I'm also no longer trying to make one "master" set of gambits, because it just doesn't work. Adapting them to the area is a much better plan. But I haven't gone back to FF12 in a while (basically since my internet got fixed).

Final Fantasy XI
Final Fantasy XI
The theme for this week was solo leveling. In fact, I didn't really do anything else. Since I started leveling red mage, my goal has been to get blue mage and dark knight to 37 (and paladin, but that's more for playing with chaoscat). And so I began with blue mage, which had been sitting at 34.

Blue Mage
This week I developed a new method of solo leveling while doing other things. Since Fields of Valor are available once per Vana'diel day (about an hour), I hit one near the end of the day, finish it, grab the next day's, finish that, then log out until late on the day after that. This worked out quite well, with my XP getting as high as 8k/hour (measured in terms of actual play time). Plus I save on tabs since my buffs last longer - not that I need more tabs. Anyway, I began doing this in Qufim, sticking mostly to crabs and pugils for two reasons. First, they're both Aquans so I could set spells against them. (Though all I had was Helldive and, naturally, Bludgeon is still better anyway.) And second, the higher-level training regimes in Qufim require fighting giants, which are horribly overcamped as a result. And page 5 was right out because I was trying to avoid learning any spells from the leeches. In any case, it didn't take long before I hit level 35 and finished off my emperor band charge.

The next day, I decided to do things a bit differently. With my NPC at the level cap, she was basically only good for helping me solo anyway. But I could also level up her armor at the same time, so I looked up how to do this. Thankfully, it's now really easy since they ditched the crazy obscure system they used to have in the previous patch. Basically, I just need to kill nothing but birds, lizards, and beasts, which covers quite a variety of mobs. I checked the field manual list and found that the best appropriate training regime was tigers in Battalia Downs. I even figured Amerita could (as a healer) cure my paralysis from their annoying roar attack, but the joke was on me, since it's an AoE. Oh well.

Slow but steady, I killed tigers until I hit 37. Ironically, even though blue magic is a lot easier to skill up than summoning or ninjutsu, it is my lowest magic skill at 37. That's what I get for leveling on easy prey using Fields of Valor. Of course, if I wanted to I could just spam pollen all day and cap it, but meh. With blue mage done, it was time to sell off some gear and move on to dark knight.

Dark Knight
Dark knight is one of those jobs I didn't particularly enjoy playing back in the day (though I only leveled it to 13). I had leveled it for the attack bonus to use as my samurai subjob until level 30, until I quit playing samurai. All I remembered about the job was that its spells were useless and its attack rate was horribly slow. So it was with some trepidation that I geared up and set out to play it once again. And it turns out that it was a lot more fun this time, maybe because I have a better understanding of the game now, or maybe because it's just fun to solo. And drain, as it turns out, does not suck.

Keeping with my NPC armor leveling tactics from before, I headed to La Theine Plateau to kill some birds and sheep. This was actually kind of annoying since they appear in different locations, but on the upside they were even matches and tough mobs so the per-kill XP was not bad at all. It only took a few training regimes until I had hit level 15 and figured it was time to try the Valkurm Dunes.

Valkurm, where I was fighting one rabbit and 7 lizards per regime, started off kind of hairy. Every lizard was tough, some several levels higher than me, and they link. I had to rest after most fights, but things didn't get really interesting until I actually got a link. Two tough mobs, against a dark knight, even with an NPC should have spelled my doom. I popped blood weapon, fully understanding that as two-hours go it is not great, and hoped for the best. Miraculously, I hit every time, and even scored a few crits, and managed to survive with just a few dozen hp left. Before long I had hit 16, and things got a bit easier. At 17 I moved to the outpost and started hunting lizards out in the western hills. That plan was met with a combination of tragedy and exhiliration. Tragedy because my NPC was killed after an IT goblin linked, and exhiliration because I finally got a pair of Phlegethon's trousers from a treasure casket. Yay for Mystery Boxes: Bastok! After that I finished my regime, hit 18, and called it a day. Soon I will need to move on to a new training regime, but I'm not sure where it will be. 20 will be a big level because dark knights gets aspir, weapon bash, and bind, not to mention a large number of new subjob possibilities (though I will likely stick with dancer).

Rock Band Unplugged
Rock Band Unplugged
I got Rock Band Unplugged three days ago, and just finished unlocking the full song list last night. Unfortunately, you need to use World Tour mode to do so, which meant playing a few redundant songs, but oh well - it's all good now. I am a fan of RBU, though it's not as awesome as I'd have liked. I do enjoy all the little touches, such as the ability to edit your full band (and not have body types and faces inexplicably locked). But really all that needs to be said already has been in my review.

Rock Band 2
Rock Band 2
Not a whole lot to say this week. They released a dozen Iron Maiden songs, and I played enough of them to get up to The Trooper. I still can't play that main riff. And I stopped there before I hit Run to the Hills and my strumming hand fell off. Freakin' Iron Maiden. But I played plenty of Unplugged, so RB2 will just have to wait.
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