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.