SeraphPDH: Paladin Man!: April 2006

Sunday, April 23, 2006

"...But I don't WANT to be a pirate!"

...and so, the day of deliverence is upon us:

Treasures of Aht Urhgan is officially online, and yes, that is my own personal copy.

Details of the expansion update (there are a lot of them...) can be found here:

I picked up my copy the day after is "officially" hit the store shelves. Took about forty-five minutes to install and update. After that, I got to fire it up and start the initial quest to get to the new expansion "near east" areas.

The initial ToAU quest if fairly straight forward, you need to bring a Tenshido NPC either a specific coffer key, a testimony (a la Maat fight), or a set of subjob quest items. I went with the route of the Quicksands Coffer Key, since it's a common drop, and I can solo the Ants as a PLD72. This amazingly is also the first time I had played since they "fixed" the Paladin job. Paladins now recieve Auto-Refresh at level 35, and the "Shield Mastery" Trait at level 25. Essentially, this causes shield blocks to give the PLD around 4-5 TP instead of the usual 2 TP. Not a huge boost, but nice anyway. Auto-Refresh has proven to be awesome, and now I know why Summoners love it. In addition to the PLD changes, there were some shield changes in general. Shields now block more often, and block more damage per block. Paladins, Red Mages, Blue Mages, and Beastmasters of the world rejoice! Needless to say, I was pleased with this expansion before I even set foot in the new areas.

One coffer key later, and a 15 minute boat ride later from Mhura, I was in the Aht Urhgan Whitegate zone, essentially half of the new city. To be honest, this city finally presents a real rival to Jeuno. The Tavnazian Safehold was cute, but is put to shame by Al Zahbi (the official capital of the new empire). The entire area has a arabic feel to it, instead of the overused asian theme all too common to FFXI recently. Once inside the city, I spent about two hours looking around. My first thought after this was to explore outside, and I quickly discovered that even the easiest monsters were a challenge to defeat even as a PLD72. Clearly, endgame players just got some hot new zones. They look beautiful and are filled with cool (and dangerous) mobs.

After seeing the sights, I decided to try to unlock the new jobs. It took me a little exploring, and a quick quest to grab a map, but after two evenings of running around I unlocked Blue Mage, Corsair, and Puppetmaster. To put it simply, Blue Mages learn enemy skills, Puppetmasters are like Beastmasters but with a new modifiable pet, and Corsairs are a combination of Rangers and Bards with a huge luck factor involved. Honestly, Blue Mage is the only one that really spikes my interest. People seem to be complaining that learning enemy skills (blue magic) is too hard and time consuming, but I think the process would be fun and involved. It seems like a serious possibility for a second job to 75 for me (after Paladin of course).

The Missions and quests so far in the expansion are quite good. I am currently done with all of the current missions (there are eight so far) and I am really looking forward to doing more. A friendly face also makes himself known in the new plotline:

I won't spoil everything, but let's just say you have probably seen him before...

The new quests are also fun. I have probably spent a good 250K in sneak oils and prism powders, but I think it's worth it for the new items and adventure. I currently have some eastern currency, a teleport ring to transport me to the woods outside the new city (similiar to the Tavnazian Ring: one teleport each twenty hours), and a:

Quite a nice Paladin item from levels 60-70, and it is just one of many new awesome items waiting to be had...

However, all this questing using oils and powders just makes it all the more urgent for me to get RDM to 37 so I can go out adventuring as a PLD/RDM and have Inviz. and Sneak spells at my disposal, instead of having to pop items when I want to go anywhere new. Realistically, my new prioroties are PLD73, BLM10, WHM20, RDM37, and even BLU75?. We shall see how long my resolve to follow the path of the mage lasts though, since I generally don't like being a mage, I am more of a melee/knight kinda guy.

To sum it all up quickly, Treasures of Aht Urhgan is definately worth the $32.09 I spent on it. This is just the first of three huge content updates, and I feel as if I am already getting my money's worth. Three new jobs, eight new missions, Assult, new zones, new monsters, new city, and the list goes on and on.

It seems as if there is a very good blend of new (red) and old (blue) in this update, missions and all. (If you don't get the item references, pick up the expansion and complete the San d'Oria line of missions...) I just hope that even after the "new toy" factor wears off of the expansion for most people, the content still stays enjoyable to everyone...

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Bombs Away: Look Out Below!

So, to make a long story short, let's take a quick look at two images that describe my last week:

Ah yes, for those of you that don't understand, let's review.

I had a very long week. After our two failed attempts at the Snoll Czar on Wednesday (I was too pissed off and tired to write up a post, see for details. ^^) I warped to Jeuno and logged out immediately, both frustrated and tired, knowing I was going to be spending more hours driving on Thursday home, then I was going to be getting in sleep. I managed to drive home with few problems. As a little note, I rented a small car to drive home, not owning my own car and all. When i get there the only car they DO have was a brand new Silverado pickup truck. O_o

It isn't exactly fuel efficient, but it was no extra charge, and a beauty to drive. It was like buying a new truck (it had 160 miles on it) without dropping $30,000. Anyway, I digress...

So, I was gone for most of Thursday and all of Friday. I got back to school early Saturday morning, and promptly fell asleep. Waking up about an hour before Dynamis-Bastok was about to start, I log in and run to Bastok. I find out that another linkshell was going to go inside before us, so it was decided to do Dynamis-Jeuno instead. I was cool with that, I still needed clears in Dynamis-Jeuno, and Dynamis-Sandy.

After a quick shower, we began the run. I'll just say it once, I got totally shafted with drops. I got two currency drops, which total a little less than 100K. I almost lost money on the run, and it only hurts because the drops were SO FRICKEN GOOD, that apparently my luck wasn't working today. However, we got the clear this time, as seen above in the second picture, so now I only need to clear Dynamis-Sandy and I'm good for all the starting cities.

My bad luck continued when I discovered that while gone, TrueRune had decided to do a Snoll Czar run again that night, and I had already told my Sky LS FuriousX that I would be in sky to kill gods. With the two gods I needed drops from still not defeated, I had to put TR on hold for a few hours while I slaved away curing in sky. Luckly, they were busy farming clusters for the fight, and Tumble was still puting the finishing EXP on his 59 BLM, so that bought me some time.

Let me briefly describe my sky experience. I was three minutes late to bidding on the drop i need to make my Koening Helm, so the bid went to someone else for 20 points, and got locked in for ALL the fights, and of course it dropped. I decided to be nice on Genbu and only lot the Martial Hands drop, not the W feet drop. Two turtles, two W feet drops. No drops for Seraph. /cry However, I am now left with over 90 points, and with Kirin today, that W legs drop is looking PRETTY DAMN GOOD right now, with me sitting on level 72. The stats as seen from are as follows:

Movement Speed +12%. Better Defense than my AF. HP and MP +25. And half of the resistances +20. These things are a tanks dream legs. The last one went to a PLD with a trump bid of 100, so I think I stand a chance of winning the bidding with 90+. With 2 Kirin fights, there is a good chance of them dropping too...

So, sky gets out, and I am really tired. For the last hour, I have had the worst........lets just say I had eaten some leftovers from the trip and had what I now believe to be some mild food poisoning. Aparently, food doesnt keep well for 7 hours in a warm truck...

Tuufless was getting progress reports from me about my sky progress, and the combination of my aweful luck, and my raging stomach made me a little cranky. I agreed to go, but under protest we should wait until Firesday. Tired. Pissed. Stomach hurts. What could one more crappy Snoll Czar run add to the pile, huh?

So, there were a few differences this time. We decided to try out a little PLD, SAM, SMN, BLM, BLM, BLM action. Tuufless covers the details very well here:

So, we start as usual, except this time I had to Protect 3 and Shell 3 myself, since we had no WHM or RDM available. I go to rest, put on my dark staff, rest to full, get up and use my Icarus Wing.....before switching out my Dark Staff. @#&$*!!! I can already tell things aren't going well.

As a little personal tanking note, this time I changed my build from a Defense tank to a HP + Enmity tank. With three BLMs, hate was a little more of an issue, especially with Tuufless and his maxed out stats competing with me for hate control. Also, the bomb hits hard, so defense seemed to be doing no good, so I put in +HP instead of +VIT. I knew I was going to recieve almost no healing so I was essentially relying entirely on Flash, Shield Bash, and Invinvible to save me. did! O_O The BLMs worked wonderfully, everything seemed to go exactly as planned, all three salts were used in order, with perfect timing. The bomb got stuck in its 'melting phase' and never even made it to its last form, the one before it blows up. I estimate we had a good 25 seconds more before the fight would have ended. I tried to finish it off with a Holy nuke, but i went off too soon, and Saoirse (one of our BLMs) got the kill blow. Congratulations!

As a little side note, the only person who died was Tuufless, but not during the fight. The DoT Frost he had on killed him outside the BC while we were in shock of winning. Seeing this, and my current HP, I quickly warped to Jeuno to run into my Mog House, not remembering that Chummy had Erase once outside the BCNM's level 60 restriction. I got erased during my warp animation. Oh well, it gave me a little chuckle...

So, feeling better, and having a few seconds after warping out to take some RL medicine, I felt a little better, my sprits were up, so I decided to do the Snoll Czar followup cutscenes, and do all the legwork preping for the Airship fight. Yes, the so called "hardest BCNM in the game". I have some reservations about this fight, since I hear its REALLY hard with a PLD tank, but with Akanea almost at NIN 60, perhaps we can dual tank it? It's a possiblilty for sure. We will have plenty of time to plan, since we need to farm up some CCB Polymers to use against the Weapons. Ultima and Omega, here we come...