Thursday, August 7, 2008

Getting Around in Vana'diel - Part 1

If there is some sort of awesome quote out there in the world about how to traverse things and getting to places faster... I'd put it here. One important thing to know about getting anywhere in Final Fantasy XI is to simply know how to get to places faster and using whatever abilities you have to get to those places faster. I'm going to mention a few things that you should consider looking into but there are many ways to get to places and it all depends on how much you're willing to spend, to do, and really if you really care for it at all.

Teleport Spells

First thing's first are the teleport spells. There are 6 teleport spells (not counting the recently added recall spells):

"Teleport - Mea" - Tahrongi Canyon (I-6)
"Teleport - Holla" - La Theine Plateau (K-8)
"Teleport - Dem" - Konschtat Highlands (I-6)

"Teleport - Vahzl" - Xarcabard (H-8)
"Teleport - Altep" - Eastern Altepa Desert (G-7)
"Teleport - Yhoat" - Yhoator Jungle (F-9)

The first three spells can be learned at WHM level 36, whereas Altep/Yhoat are learned at 38 and Vahzl at 42. However, simply getting these spells by themselves won't get you to where you want to go, you'll need to obtain a key item at each of these telepoints in order to teleport to those areas. In case you're wondering: What happens if you have the teleport spell casted on you but you don't have the key item? Simply: It won't have an effect and you won't get teleported while everyone else hit with the spell will. All you will need to do is simply click on the telepoint crystal at the coordinates mentioned above and you will be fine.

Note that the three mainland teleports are level 36, which means it can be subbed at level 72. Something to note about if you want to quickly reach these areas. Not only can you reach these areas pretty fast but it can be a quick shortcut to the Sea and Sky areas... But, that's for another post.


Black mage, at level 18 and 40, can learn Warp and Warp II respectively. Warp sends you straight to your Home Point, while Warp II allows you to send any party member to their respective home point. Leveling your BLM to at least 18 is very nice when you want a quick way to get back to your Home Point from any other nation or places with Nomad Moogles.

If you manage to get to level 40 or so, you might notice some people saying "D2 please." What the heck is a D2? In the Japanese client of FFXI, the spell is called "De-zone II" and D2 is the shorthand of the spell. It has been generally accepted that saying D2 automatically means Warp II and players of all languages understand that.

Black Mage also learns a spell called Retrace at level 55. Retrace is tied to Campaign in the past. Retrace can send yourself or another party member to the nation that they are allied to in the past. If they aren't allied to any nation, it will simply have no effect.

Outpost Warps

All throughout the mainland of Vana'diel, there are outposts. Each region has an outpost and with a few exceptions, you can teleport to those outposts under certain conditions.

First off, you must do a supply quest to an outpost that you want to teleport to. Once you do it once, you'll have it forever (unless you change nations but it'll be saved once you change back). However, to do a supply quest, your nation must have control of that area. Once you decided what area you want to do the supply quest to, go to any NPC that gives you Signet in your home nation and request to do a supply quest to that outpost. After you get the package, simply go to the outpost and talk to the NPC to finish the quest. You get a few Conquest Points and now it'll be unlocked for teleportation.

Once you unlock a region, you can teleport to there from your nation's Outpost Teleporter NPC:

Bastok - Conrad - Metalworks @ F-8
San d'Oria - Jeanvirgaud - Northern San d'Oria @ D-9
Windurst - Rottata - Port Windurst @ D-5

You can teleport to those regions whenever you want, even if your nation loses control of that region. However, teleporting back is a different story. You can teleport back from those regions back to your home nation but you will be unable to if the beastmen take over the region.

There are also Return Rings and Homing Rings you can buy with Conquest Points from the Signet NPC. All these do will simply teleport you to the outpost of the region that your nation has control over. These items aren't really that great and unless your home point is in Jeuno or something, it won't be that useful at all.

So, there are some small basic ways to get around faster. There's more to cover though, but that's for next time.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Campaign Part 1 - Starting Out

It has been awhile folks. As I have noted on my personal blog, I pretty much have some hurting wrists to deal with, which prevented me from being able to write up posts. I should be okay now and I'd like to reward some your patience with a bit of info on Campaign.

In the Wings of the Goddess expansion, players are placed into the past where the Crystal War took place. During this period, armies are constantly attacking each other in the attempt to take over regions and nations. There are many aspects to Campaign, though most will refer it to "Campaign Battles," which are battles that involve defending or attacking a fortification in an area.

However, this guide will hope to expand the reader's knowledge on Campaign as a whole, as many of these things offer a lot of opportunities for players to dive right in and help out their nation without the repetition of constant Campaign battles, though that aspect will be covered as well.

First's thing's first: Requirements

In order to partake in the Crystal War and do Campaign related material, you will first need to buy a copy of the Wings of the Goddess Expansion.

Final Fantasy XI Online: Wings of the Goddess Expansion Pack For PC
Final Fantasy XI: Wings of the Goddess Expansion Pack For PS2
Final Fantasy XI Online: Wings of the Goddess Expansion Pack For Xbox 360

Once you have that, all you need to do is activate the right quests and do a few things.

I strongly suggest that before you tackle on the new content in Wings of the Goddess that you have a job that can cast Sneak/Invis, as there will be a lot of walking required the first time you go through the new areas. WHM/SCH/RDM/NIN/DNC are all able to self Sneak/Invis themselves. You can also do this by carrying Silent Oil and Prism/Rainbow Powders as well, however, it is a more expensive route and again, there is a LOT of walking involved. Also, give yourself ample time as well but you can divide each section up and come back to it if you want to take it one step at a time.

Starting Out: Maws

Upon registering your expansion, you will need to enter a Cavernous Maw. These are the gates that will send you back to the past. However, the first Maw you enter must be from either:

Batallia Downs H-5
Rolanberry Fields H-6
Sauromugue Campaign K-9*

*This requires going through the banishing gates.

Once you go to one of those three maws, a cutscene will play and you'll end up in the past... However...

Take note of what zone you entered in the past.

This is important because when you go into one of those three maws for the first time, you can be spit out of any of those three maws at random. The maw/zone that you end up getting spit out of will be the only maw that you can use (at that time) to go back to the past in. I say this because if you were to take, for example, the Batallia Maw and end up in Sauromugue and you decide to warp out or home point, that means you need to go through the Sauromugue Maw and that requires going through the banishing gates which need multiple people. Don't put yourself in this situation.

From this point forward, any maw that you interact with in the past will become usable in the future. So again, if you were spit out of Sauromugue Maw, run to Batallia or Rolanberry and activate those maws. There are nine maws in total, here are their locations:

Batallia Downs H-5
Rolanberry Fields H-6
Sauromugue Campaign K-9
Jugner Forest H-11
Pashhow Marshlands K-8
East Ronfaure H-5
North Gustaburg K-7
West Sarutabaruta H-9

Note again: You must activate these in the past in order to use them in the present.

Starting Out: Campaign Affiliation

Before going around and beating campaign mobs up for EXP, you need to be affiliated with a nation in the past. Note that this has nothing to do with your current affiliation to a nation in the present. You can be Windurst in the present and San d'Orian in the past. First, you will need to get a letter of recommendation from an NPC. You can get one from the following NPCs for the following nations (Note that all zones are refering to the past):

Bastok: Turbulent Storm @ Eldieme J-9
San d'Oria: Randecque @ Garlaige I-6
Windurst: Kalsu-Kalasu @ Crawlers L-8

It is important to have one of these letters of recommendations as it would incur a lot of sorrow and frustration if one didn't take the time to enter these zones and take one. It is required to be affliated to a nation and also required to do Campaign. Once you get the letter key item, now it is time to take the long trek to a nation.

Starting Out: Journey to Home

Again, I would like to point out that you should have a job that can constantly sneak/invis themselves as this will require a bit of walking. Even having a level 75 job is not enough to avoid aggro from certain mobs. I also suggest having a map from Vana'diel Atlas at the ready, as the map that you have in-game does not point out the new zones and barricades that exist.

Here are the paths you should take when walking to a nation. Note that in order to access all the areas, you will need to take all three routes. Thankfully there is an NPC that can teleport you inside each nation's walls and NPCs at fortifications that can teleport you back into those nations. Lets start walking!

If you're going to Windurst:

- Start in Sauromugue Campaign and zone to Meriphataud @ K-11
- In Meriphataud, zone to Fort K-N (new area) @ C-6 or C-8
- In Fort K-N, walk to F-8, your map will change
- In the new map, walk to F-11, your map will change again
- Zone to West Sarutabaruta @ D-14
- In Saruta, zone to Windurst @ J-9

If you're going to Bastok:

- Start in Rolanberry and zone to Pashhow @ H-14
- In Pashhow, zone to Grauberg (new area) @ F-11
- In Grauberg, zone to North Gustaberg @ C-14
- In Gustaberg, go up the ramp at F-9 and zone to Bastok @ J-9

If you're going to San d'Oria:

- Start in Batallia and zone to Jugner @ F-9
- In Jugner, zone to Vunkerl Inlet (new area) @ L-6
- In Vunkerl, zone to Jugner @ D-10
- In Jugner, zone to East Ronfaure @ F-5
- In Ronfaure, zone to San d'Oria @ G-6

Along the way, try to activate the maws. Once you make it to the nation and submit your letter of recommendation, you will need to do a quick quest which is different per nation:

Windurst: Snakes on the Plains
Bastok: The Fighting Fourth
San d'Oria: Steamed Rams

Upon completing the associated quest: Congrats! You can now do Campaign related operations and battles.

Stay tuned for part 2! I'll be covering Campaign battles and Campaign Ops. For the mean time, go ahead and try to get the rest of the zones sorted out and unlock each area. Explore your nation a bit too and get to know the NPCs. Until next time.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Tanking 101

In Final Fantasy XI parties, you will find that there is a certain "build" as to how a party is constructed. You will need your damage dealers, you will need support and healing mages, and finally, you will need a "tank".

A "tank" is a position in a party that requires that member to maintain the attention of the monster being fought so that damage is focused solely on that person. It can also be used as a verb, such as "to tank the monster." The actions that you do, be it damaging the monster or healing yourself, will increase your "enmity" (Square-Enix Term) or "hate" (common fan term) towards the monster. The idea behind this is to have the highest amount of hate on the monster compared to the rest of your party members. There are a few basic key things to know, and thus that will be the purpose of this post today.

The Very Basics

Before you can really tank a monster, you obviously will need to be able to take the hits and hold the hate. Because of this, certain jobs at certain levels can only tank a monster reliably enough. Due to the nature of this being a beginner's guide on the subject, I'll only be covering the early levels. Later on though, tanking gets a bit more open and there are a ton of different options.

Any job can tank depending on situation. The idea here though is to tank effectively to the benefit of the party. Just because I said any job can tank doesn't mean that any job can tank in all situations. With this in mind, please note that if you have a somewhat undesired job for the situation for tanking, take that into consideration as that can decide if you get XP or no XP at all. I'll cover XP group mentality later but for right now, avoid trying to bring in something that won't work.

Throughout the levels, you will see that PLD and NIN are the most preferred jobs for tanking in an XP party. There are also some other options like SAM and WAR but it will be PLD and NIN that will tend to be the best at the mid-levels. Regardless, mostly all tanks will sub WAR for their subjob. Why? Because of the WAR's ability "Provoke."

Provoke: A Tank's Friend... but a big misconception too

So, what does provoke do? Well, it's a level 5 ability that you learn on WAR and it is an action that doesn't do damage or debuffs or anything. What provoke does is give you a large amount of hate. So, you provoke once, you have that large amount of hate, and you're set, right?


That seems to be one of the biggest problems that I see with upcoming tanks. They assume that provoke...

A. Make the monster instantly come to you, no matter what the situation.
B. Has a huge amount of hate that will keep you at top of the hate list forever.
C. Is only used to pull hate off of the mages and that's it.

Without getting into technicalities, the best way to use provoke is to use it every time you can. The recast on provoke is 30 seconds so you should be provoking every 30 seconds. Why? Lets go into the technical stuff!

After years and years of research and figuring out the huge enimga that is enmity and hate, we have discovered that hate has two values which are then summed up into your total hate. Those two values are "Cumulative Enmity" and "Volatile Enmity."

Cumulative Enmity (CE)

CE can be best described as actions that build up slowly but only goes down when you take damage. Stuff that can build up slowly would including healing and damage from attacks or spells. This number will constantly go up and down based how much the mob is hitting you to the ratio of how much damage or how much curing you're doing. There's a little more to it such as debuffing and such but this is the bare basics of that.

Volatile Enmity (VE)

VE can be best described as actions that spike up your hate to a large level but the value decreases greatly over time. The only real influence to how fast this drains is time. As time goes on, the enmity effects of the ability or spell you did will decrease until you add more to this value or it hits zero. Unlike CE, taking damage doesn't do anything to this. Provoke is an example of an ability that increases your VE.

With that in mind, you'd want to keep provoking to keep your VE up. Especially at lower levels because all you will have for VE is Provoke, the rest will come out of your CE.

Now that I covered that, lets look at what options each individual job has for tanking.


Warrior can tank... but they also "can't" tank at the same time. What I mean by that is that WAR can tank things and it can get the job done at lower levels (again, I want to reemphasize that this isn't touching merit parties or anything). However, they end up being a huge sink on MP and unless a party is set to really help the WAR tank or if the WAR isn't properly geared for tanking, chances are that XP will be very slow. However, it can be possible for a WAR to be a great tank if the situation is right.

Tank has two major hate tools: Provoke and its own damage. Provoke, again, is VE that is on a 30 second recast timer. Abuse that, it helps. Next is that it has damage to back up any sort of CE required. I would suggest having a Great Axe for this situation.


SAM is on the same boat as WAR... at least until 35. Before then, avoid being the tank for the party as it will be very difficult. Once you hit 35 though, you get an ability called "Seigan." Seigan is a stance like ability where you can only have Hasso (which increases your stats) or Seigan up, not both. Seigan gives you an upgraded "Third Eye" ability, which SAMs use to anticipate attacks and negate or counter it. Third Eye may block more than one attack with Seigan up. However, it could be 1 hit... it could be 20 hits... it is completely random. Third Eye is on a 30 second timer when Seigan effect is up. If the first hit takes out Third Eye, you will have nothing to protect you for awhile. If you get hate or you're tanking something that does a lot of damage and you're not prepared for it, it can be fatal.


PLD has many tools that it can use to get hate. Not only do you have Provoke from /WAR, you also have Flash, Sentinel, Shield Bash, Rampart, and the ability to cure yourself and along with other things. PLD is a straight forward job and it is all a matter of balancing out your abilities so that you can keep your VE up constantly and build up your CE while you're at it. They also have many defensive traits such as using a shield to negate a percentage of damage.


I'm not gonna lie: NIN is a hard and expensive job to tank with. Pre-37, NIN will have a hard time tanking. Not only do they lack a second shadow spell (Utsusemi), they also get hit hard when they get hit. However, once a NIN hits 37, tanking becomes so much easier as now the defensive option is more reliable and at 40, NIN gets some new spells to help keep hate better. Adding onto the fact that NIN can do a bit of damage themselves, NIN can be a great tank but it will be a huge gil-sink considering that each spell requires a ninja tool to use. While cheap, you will need a LOT of them.

Now, there are other jobs that could tank pretty "ok" such as DNC or BLU, but from what I've experienced, none of the other jobs really did that much better compared to these jobs. So, I wouldn't recommend them but don't be afraid to try them out as long as you know what you're doing and not getting in the way of other people's progress, as I'm sure you'd want them to do the same to you.

That about wraps it up, I hope most of you out there had a great 4th of July. Talking about fireworks though... I believe there's a summer event coming soon in FFXI, take a good look out for that one!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Sites of Interest

In Final Fantasy XI, you're going to rely on other people a lot. This often requires interaction outside of the game and because of that, there are community websites and so on that will help you on your journey in Vana'diel.

First off, lets talk about the most important website: The PlayOnline FFXI Website

The PlayOnline (POL) website is where official news and information can be found. Any sort of patch notices or maintenance can be found here. I often find people asking me "what was in the update?" and so on. Honestly, the way that FFXI updates (which is once every two months most of the time), they add SO many new things that I cannot even hope to tell you everything in just one line. Do me a favor and do your other LS members or friends a favor and just read the website. Bookmark it and read it once a day, just a quick 30 second skim if there's anything new.

Next, you want to have some sort of database of information. Sorta like having a strategy guide but on hand with you at a browser's reach. For this, I suggest FFXIclopedia

The FFXIclopedia has information about everything in the game and it is updated by the players of the game. Sometimes information can be inaccurate but most of the time it is not the case. Much like any Wikipedia out there, you too can make edits to the pages but please make sure the information is correct before doing any sort of edits.

As for a community of players to communicate to. I suggest either Allakhazam or Dreams in Vana'diel. They're both forum ran and being a member in both would be beneficial to meet other players in your server and also to learn more about your jobs. Certainly, a great way to get into FFXI is to find others who play it.

Along with that, I also suggest these other alternative websites. Note that some of them are more meant for higher level players but you'll get the idea when you look at these links and find what you need.

Order of the Blue Gartr
- Forum focused on FFXI's Endgame
Killing Ifrit - Another community forum
Campsitarus - A blog detailing all possible camps for EXP in FFXI.
Vana'diel Atlas - A website that has marked maps for FFXI to help with navigation.
FFXI Auction House - All Jeuno Auction House records can be found here, great for browsing the Auction House from a web browser.

Of course there are other websites out there that can help you in your FFXI life. However, one thing I will point out is that much like everything else out in the internet, your FFXI account, credit card information, and any other sensitive material on your computer can be stolen if you don't surf the web safe.

I suggest looking at a few of these programs as they can help make your internet surfing a lot safer.

- Firefox
PLEASE use this. I cannot stress this enough. Not is it not as exploitive as Internet Explorer, it also has a lot of extra functionality for easier usage and safety.

- NoScript - A Firefox Plugin
With this, you can disable javascript from running on webpages that you go to. You can choose to ad websites as a trusted website with just a few clicks. With this, you can prevent malicious code that can be used to steal your account information

- PeerGuardian 2
This program will prevent certain IPs to steal information from you. This, by default, blocks out Square-Enix's IP so you will need to manually edit that out to play FFXI properly (why? I don't know).

- Sygate Personal Firewall
With this software, you will know what is going in and going out of your computer. Very useful and I highly recommend this over the Window's Default Firewall as you will actually have control over this.

- AVG - Anti-Virus by Grisoft
It is a virus scanner that is free, not intrusive and won't annoy you as much as Norton does.

So, please check those sites out and those programs out and be safe and smart when browsing the internet and when playing Final Fantasy XI.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Final Fantasy Mentality

Before you can play the game Final Fantasy XI, you should know why you're playing the game and what drives you to play that game. For me, I needed something to do to fill in my evening hours between school and sleep. Of course, over the years, I've had other things introduced into my life that made my game time less and less but I am still able to enjoy this game quite a bit even with a limited time schedule.

That is one of the hardest things to do in this game: being able to enjoy it with the limit time we have. It is a bit funny too. People have always thought that end-game is a huge time sink and you have to devote your entire life to it and so on and so forth. I beg to differ here. In my LS, we do quite a bit of end game and spend a lot of effort into it. However, a good chunk of our members work a 9-5 job, occasionally go out every so often and live normal social lives. It is a bit ironic too because I see a lot of people who do spend a lot of time playing this game end up saying that end game is too much for them to handle in their lives. However, I'm not gonna continue stating my opinion of others on that aspect. I will try to help players who don't have time be able to properly make the time to play this game.

First thing is that one of your main goals in FFXI when you first start off is to be able to hit level 75 on a job. This can be a bit rough in the beginning, especially when there is sort of a period in our early FFXI lives, called the "newb" period. Now, yes we all start off as newer players into the game and well, we need to adjust. So do many others and also, many people can click in really well or they take a bit of time to get better. Either way, this s an issue that you will face as you will be forced to party for XP for quite a duration of time. Later on, the process of this can be changed but it requires a bit of leveling subs and so on to be able to solo by yourself. This is probably the only real time sink you'll encounter in FFXI. There are ways to make this easier for yourself though and this requires knowing a few people.

Linkshells are very important. Much like guilds but not as exclusive, Linkshells allow you to connect to a network of other FFXI players who can help you or at least entertain your eyes. Make some friends and try to find some people of identical level. Once you do, you can actually do an EXP party with less than 6 people if you know what you're doing. A lot of people that do pick up parties will opt for 6 members. However, if you remove that restriction and have a few friends that can work something out, you can get guite a bit of EXP and maybe even some nice stories to tell. Just remember, Signet helps you a lot as EXP is slightly increased with a party of 2-5. You can completely negate the entire 2 hour party search this way if you know a few friends.

However, I'm sure there are some anti-social people out there who have a hard time making connections. Trust me, being able to be friends with people is a great way to enjoy this game. Anyways, there are some options for you as a soloing player. Note that with how the game is now, you can probably solo from 1 to 75. However, it would be a process that can take quite a bit of time but lets what your options are. Also, this can apply to any player out there and you can do this to help you with things as well.

Goblin Pets. They are the key to soloing at certain levels. By doing a bit of research, you can find some pets that you can take down easily and earn EXP that way. Note that this can be hard to do for certain jobs. I'll let that for you to experiment and decide (as that is what half the fun in FFXI is).

ENMs. Some of them can be soloed but you can only do this once every week and also, you need to get a group to even get you to some of these in the first place. ENMs are much like BCNMs, in the sense that they are closed battle fields where you fight a monster or group of monsters. When you win, you get a good chunk of EXP and also even some items that you can sell. It is a good deal indeed.

Campaigns. You can do these completely solo and if you had the patience, you can probably do them for a good chunk of experience. What is also cool is that it is widely acceptable to look for party while taking part in campaign. Definately something you can do while looking for an EXP party.

Certain jobs have the ability to solo mobs that certain other jobs can't. THF is a good example of this. BST can practically solo from 1 to 75, PUP can do quite a bit of soloing themselves.

What I really want to poiint out though is that with all of these things, it will take time but some of these things can be just "your time" and you can stop whenever you want. That is kind of a nice thing isn't it? You go to school, you're restricted to the professor's lecture time. You go work and you're restricted to the hours you were assigned to. FFXI doesn't need to be that way and a lot of people sometimes treat it as so and they get burned out easily.

So, now that you realize that you have more control over your time than you think, lets talk about ways to make your time playing FFXI from being too boring. A grind is a grind no matter how you look at it... but lets try to find ways to reduce that. It is much like trying to go through your day job and trying to kill the few minutes until your shift is over. Except you have your whole house to yourself so you should have more... options, right? Some don't do this for whatever reason and there will be times in FFXI where it can get slow.

First, do you have a Gameboy? A Nintendo DS? A Playstation Portable? Some sort of handheld game? If so, try some games that you can play during the periods that you have to wait or if you want to take a quick break. Short and quick games work well but it all depends on what type of gamer are you. Oh, but you're not really a "gamer?" Well, there are quite a bit of things on the Nintendo DS and PSP that doesn't require "twitch" reaction to play or anything of that sort. Sudoku... Tetris... Nintendogs. The list goes on. Try looking at a list of games for the DS or the PSP. I consider myself fairly knowledged about video games in general so feel free to even drop me a line as to what games I think you would enjoy a lot.

Aside from that, take a few steps away from your computer or console and just simply walk around for a bit, get that blood flow going and get some water. Come back fresh, heck, bring a sandwich with you too.

Also, try to see if your linkshell has a Ventrilo/TeamSpeak server. It can help a lot with the long grind if you have someone to talk to that you can also relate to in the game. Talking makes time fly by fast so it helps a lot.

Find out what works for you and go for it. It'll help you enjoy the game more.

And as for that... keep your spirits high. Even though things may be hard to grasp in this game, it is much like real life. Strive to keep your eye on what you want most and work as hard as you can to get it. Don't think "Oh man, I can't afford it." Instead, think "What do I need to do to get this?"

You will be surprised.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Money makes the world go 'round

Gil will get you a lot of things in Final Fantasy XI. Eventually, down your career in FFXI, you will need to spend your hard earned gil on some really expensive items. For example, as a Samurai, I had to purchase things up towards a good 5 million or so gil. Something as high as that can be discouraging but there are ways to get around this and "farming" (the act of going out in the field and killing monsters for gil or a sellable product) isn't just the only way.

Lets start at lower levels and habits to develop. At lower levels, your demand for gil isn't so high. You need a million gil off the bat but you will need quite a bit to get your spells and early gear going. It would be pretty difficult for even a new player to start getting their fancy gear going and trying to maintain that gil for later on is going to be rough. So, what can you do? At lower levels, there isn't too much of an option from 1-10. However, think about it as this: "How much gear do you really need to hit level 10?" Not many and in all reality, you can hit level 10 with just your RSE gear and maybe at least upgrade your weapon. So, if you don't really need to, don't bother spending the extra gil for items that you don't really need...

HOWEVER ... Once you hit a party environment, it would be very unwise to stay in your weakest gear as there might be other things that can benefit you greatly and allow you to kill more efficiently. After all, if you think you can hit 75 with just your RSE level 1 gear, that kinda negates the point I'm making here. So, lets try to be frugal here but not gimp yourself where you'll be a walking paper bag that can't do anything. First off, lets actually try making some gil here...

You would be surprised what you can make some good pocket change with at a lower level. When you get to a higher enough level to walk around Giddeus/Ghelsba Outpost/Gusgen Mines, try bringing out some Sickles, Hatchets, or Pickaxes and do some harvesting, logging, and mining. Some of those things end up being cheap and should be NPCed or even tossed at times but quite a few things can net quite a bit of gil. It can be a long and tedious moment but also try to keep yourself occupied. Make it a game, like it's supposed to be. Just try to think about how fast you can hit each point and move on to the next one so you can constantly pull the resources out of them.

If you want to spend a little time and set yourself up a bit for the future, fishing might be up your alley as well. If you level up your cooking a bit to around 29 and make yourself Insect Balls, you can fish up a lot of moat carp within your nation's walls. Granted, you would be limited by the fishing limitation they placed (200 some fish I believe the cap is), but if you choose not to do the associated quest with it, that's about 50k a day you can fish up depending on price and the demand for moat carp is pretty high. Fishing in general can even get you some nice money if you're not doing much of anything.

Now, if you want to try your luck, you can go into the Chocobo Circuit and bet gil on the best two chocobos in a race. However, it can end up being very random and difficult to predict. Alternatively, you can raise your chocobo and compete against these chocobos for some gil as well. If one were to win the C1 Race, that's 100k gil per day with a 10k bet. Not too bad if I say so myself.

These are all just a few alternatives you can do to get some gil in your wallet. Of course you can always farm but please make sure you research what you're farming and try to get more gil out of it with every second you spend out there. Time is money so try to make the best of it and don't spend too much time going out there for nothing.

Now as for habits, lets list a few:

1. If there is a significantly close or equal item equipment that you can get at a later level, save your gil and wait for then.

2. If you're a mage, don't even worry about too much about any equipment that has only defense on them. Sure, you can argue that you'll need it to stay alive if a mob hits you... but if you don't make the mob hit you, you would have no problem, right?

3. While food makes your character powerful, try to be light on it if you can. There are food out there that don't cost a ton but will make your character efficient. Likewise, there are food out there that are pretty expensive but they don't suit what you're doing. Would be pointless to use something like a Carbonara if you're not even /SAM or tanking something in a merit party, for example. For the 75 people out there, just don't use food at Bird Camp. I mean it's great for killing things faster and all but if you're the only one using it, you're constantly eating them down. Maybe it works if you have all the people using food and keeping up with the hate but that's money saved regardless.

4. Avoid using Whitegate to sell your items. Go to Jeuno or Tavnazia and save the precious little bits of gil for the transaction fee. If anything, bazaar your item outside of Jeuno if the item is a few hundred grand or million.

5. Use up your Imperial Standing as a mid-high leveler. Sell of your Gold Coins as they are always in demand for certain items in Aht Urhgan.

6. If you have nothing better to do, Besieged or Campaign when you have the chance. Besieged gets you some Imperial Standing and allows you to skill up and kill some stuff. Campaign doesn't really net you a lot of gil with Allied Notes (but it can if you look around a bit) but you gain XP without having to jump into a party and you don't have to worry about consuming food or spending much money to get to where you need to go.

7. After every update, research new items. If you get the jump on things, people usually buy things at ridiculously high prices. Don't feel bad about the people, feel good about the money you're making due to another person's impatience.

8. Overall, just keep a note at what is hot, what is cold and what hidden things you can find that people can take a bit of an advantage of.

Of course, you can forgo all that and buy gil... but, that's up to you. I won't say it is a bad thing or say it is a good thing, I will say that it is against Square Enix and PlayOnline's Terms of Service to involve real money trade with the items in game. So, if you do buy gil, you know the risk.

In a later post: More gil making options and maybe a little light on some Chocobo Racing!

Oh, and I would like to make a quick reference to my personal blog for Campaigning. It is a little guide to figure out how to get the most out of Campaign for jobs that can't really do those battles that well for EXP. However, it can be used if you want to be a little bit lazy but don't try to do it too much, after all, the fate of Vana'diel's past does lie in your hands.

The post can be found here: Campaign Battles and Earning XP

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Leveling 1-10

It is now time to go out to the wild world of Vana'diel and kill some things. Here are some things you'll notice that is in your inventory; you have some items to start you out. Depending on what job you pick will depend on what items you start with. You should have the level 1 Race Specific Armor (or RSE) that is for your selected race, you should also have a spell scroll depending if you have a mage job and you will have a weapon or a belt if you're a MNK.

By the way, I suggest getting used to the terminology as most players will describe each job by their 3 letter initials.

Now, you will have very little gil (the currency in the game) and there's a little quest that you can do from the start with a coupon that will get you a little more. Here's where you might be a bit frustrated as you might end up with next to no new equipment if you don't look around a bit. I'll be covering how to get some gil on you in a later post. For right now, I want to concentrate on just leveling your character.

Very important thing: Before you venture outside and kill things randomly, get Signet. There are gate guard NPCs that can give you Signet and it'll help you in various ways:

1. It gives you Conquest Points based on EXP earned. Those Conquest Points can be traded in for new equipment or items that you can sell.
2. When fighting a monster that checks as "Even Match" or lower, you will get a boost to your defense and evasion.
3. When you heal (when your character kneels/sits down to recover HP/MP), your HP will heal significantly faster than if you don't have Signet.
4. Under certain circumstances, you will get more EXP based on the number of party members you have.

Pretty much, its a free enhancement (or buff) that you can get that will only benefit you. There's more to it as we move on to later expansions but for right now, this is all you should be concerned about.

Now that you're outside, here are some general guidelines.

1. When you attack a monster, you will make it go into a "claimed" state. No one outside of you/party/alliance can interact with it.

2. You can "Check" monsters to see what its relative level is at.

Too Weak to be Worthwhile = The monster will net you no XP if you kill it.
Easy Prey = The monster is at a level significantly lower than you but it can still kill you if you're not careful.
Decent Challenge = The monster is just under your level.
Even Match = The monster is your level... but this doesn't mean this is an "even match..."
Tough = The level is slightly higher than your level
Very Tough = And higher...
Incredibly Tough = The monster is to the point where you cannot decern it from high or low level as this is the highest ranking. It can be 30 levels higher from your level or 80 levels higher.

Occasionally, you amy check a monster and it'll say "Impossible to Gauge." Usually these monsters are of the "Notorious Monster" variety. Those types of monsters con drop some rare items but they can be rare themselves. Some of them may only be for story/quest purposes as well and do not drop a single thing.

From level 1-10, you will want to fight things along the "Even Match" area but you will often find yourself killing a lot of "Easy Prey" as you progress higher.

3. In the latest patch, you can now Auto-Sort your inventory. Use this to your advantage and try to keep some of the items on you. Use this to get yourself gil. (This point will be emphasized in a later post).

4. Dying is a bad thing as you can lose EXP. Avoid dying but try to understand how monsters interact with you and so on. Some can aggro (term used for when they attack you without provacation), some can link (term used when a monster assists a monster of the same type) and some won't do anything until you attack them.

5. Avoid partying at this point as it can make the process take longer.

Well, lets get into the job specifics:

Taking WAR from 1 to 10 can be a very easy experience. Stick to the beginner areas (Saruta/Ronfaure/Gusta) and just kill things relative to your level. You won't learn anything interesting from 1 to 10. At level 5 you will get an ability called "Provoke" and you can start weapon skilling around level 4-6 depending on your skill development. "Provoke" helps you get the attention of the monster you use it on. There's more to "Provoke" but that is for party situations (which will be explained in a later post). If you can, get the Bronze Gear set from the NPC Armor shop in your nation or Auction House. It may be look disturbing to wear but it will help you take hits better. Also, use either a one handed axe or a two handed great axe and try not to use your sword as soon as you can. While WAR can use swords rather well, axes and great axes just dominate the sword in the long run. Get the leather equipment at level 7.

WAR's 2-Hour Ability (called that since you can only use it once every two real earth hours) is "Mighty Strikes." This makes all of your attacks a critical hit for a duration of time. If you use this to try to save yourself, use it early. If you can't really hit the mob before using this, it isn't going to save you for the most part.

MNK is really no different from WAR at 1-10. You learn the ability "Boost" at level 5. What "Boost" will do is increase the attack damage on your next attack, which then it will wear off. "Boost" can stack on itself, which means if you keep doing Boost again and again and not attack, you will gradually increase that damage. This is very nice to squeeze in some extra damage on your weapon skills.

MNK's 2-Hour Ability is "Hundred Fists." This ability will grant you a large level of attack speed and lets you attack at a much rapid pace. This ability can get you out of a tight spot when you need to unleash a lot of damage at one time.

THF will probably have a little bit of a rough time getting from 1 to 10, especially with a dagger. If you can, switch up with a sword for the mean time and use that for awhile. Don't forget to switch in your dagger at some point as you will want to have some skill for later monsters. You will get the ability "Steal" at level 5. It is pretty self explanitory as to what it does, just make sure you have inventory space for it.

THF's 2-Hour Ability is "Perfect Dodge." You will dodge every single physical attack done to you. However, you're still vunerable to ranged attacks (arrows, gunshots) and magic damage (elemental, enfeeble). This is great for getting away when you need to run from a losing fight.

WHM will probably have the hardest time of the six jobs. However, you are able to keep yourself alive and you have some tools to help you survive a bit. Here are the spells you'll learn as WHM:

Level - Spell

1 - Cure
3 - Dia
4 - Paralyze
5 - Banish
5 - Barstonra
6 - Poisona
7 - Barsleepra
7 - Protect (and Protectra)
9 - Barwatera
9 - Paralyna
10 - Aquaviel
10 - Barpoisonra

Cure will heal you for around 20-30HP intially. Dia an enfeebling spell that will deal some damage itself, damage over time and weakens the monster's defense. This is a great spell to cast as a WHM to the monster as it will make your life a lot easier, solo or party. Paralyze also helps as it can randomly cause the monster to skip their next attack. Banish deals direct damage but honestly, its not worth using in most situations.

I want to take this time to discuss spell terminology, mainly the prefixes and suffixes.

Bar- = Gives resistance to the element or ailment
-ra = The enhancement will target nearby party members
-na = The spell will heal the ailment
-ga = The spell will target multiple nearby enemies

The rest of the spells are self explainitory and the game will tell you what they will do. Note that if you're really strapped for gil, at least get Cure, Dia and Paralyze.

WHM's 2hr ability is "Benediction." This will restore everyone's HP to max and cure any status ailments on them. However, this will give that WHM a lot of hate from the monster and it can lead to the death of that WHM. Use with caution.

BLM has it pretty decent here. This is also a good time to practice timing your spells. In Final Fantasy XI, if you get hit hard enough, you can be interupted in your spell casting. You also must be standing still as well. Try to time your spells between the monster's attacks and you should be fine.

Black Mage gets the following spells from 1-10:

1 - Stone
3 - Poison
4 - Blind
5 - Water
7 - Bind
9 - Aero
10 - Bio
10 - Blaze Spikes

Bind is your friend. Bind will hold the monster in place while you can do whatever you want to them. However, if you hit them hard enough, they may break out of bind. Bio is like Dia but instead of lowered defense on the monster, it's lowered attack. Blaze Spikes is a spell that is cool on paper but ultimately is one of the least important spells you'll cast in a party environment.

BLM's 2hr ability is "Manafont." You will have unlimited MP and you cannot be interupted by physical hits. Use this when you run out of MP or if you need to land that one final nuke to survive.

RDM is generally like how THF would work out at 1-10 except they have a bit of WHM and a bit of BLM tossed in. Here are their spells:

1 - Dia
3 - Cure
4 - Stone
5 - Barstone
5 - Poison
6 - Paralyze
7 - Barsleep
7 - Protect
8 - Blind
9 - Barwater
9 - Water
10 - Barpoison
10 - Bio

RDM's 2hr ability is "Chainspell." This will remove the casting time and recast time of your spells for the duration of this ability, allowing you to rapidly cast spells. Very handy when you want to overwhelm the monster or need to be fast on the curing. Note that you do use up MP so make sure you have some MP on you before using this.

And that pretty much covers leveling from 1-10. This all just beginner newbie stuff but I want to get this foundation off the ground first. Feel free to spread this post around to newbies to the game. I'll cover some gil making ideas at lower levels and maybe even the older players might find something of value there. Eventually I'll start covering some more advanced things and that should be a good read for players that have been playing for more than 3 years.

Anyways, I hope you learned a few things from this post. Again, feel free to post this around and also leave any comments you might have for any new players. It would help them start in this game and would hopefully lead to more players running around longer.