Thief, FFXI, and other unimportant matters

Shamaya, Asura

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Alliance EXP in Abyssea
Don't know about you guys, but I've been having a great time with this.  I guess it's SE's way of going out with a bang before XIV.
Anyhoo Rayix on Asura (formerly Ryx) wrote a pretty decent guide on how to manage EXP alliance runs, and I thought I'd share it here.

EXP'ing in Abyssea - A Guide by Rayix of Asura
Okay, now we've all heard the stories, of massive, long exp grinds in Abyssea. This isn't hard, but it isn't easy either. It does require some strategy & tact, but it's not dependent on gear/merit quality, it's all in the setup.

You want to find easy monsters to fight. Abyssea is wonderful in that sense, that monsters are grouped together by family, so if you go to mandragoras, which are popular, you'll be fighting mandies & only mandies. Coeurls are another popular one, but you've got to have very attentive healers when it comes to paralyze/silence spam (think Onzozo 2.0). General rule is to avoid monsters with nasty AoE TP moves, as you'll be giving monsters a LOT of TP. (Crapaudy) Frogs in La Theine, near Conflux #6, should also be WONDERFUL, seeing as how they literally DO NOT HAVE TP MOVES.

A big part of the emphasis here, is once you decide on what you're going to fight, settle in, because you're going to be fighting those mobs, and nothing BUT those mobs until you're done exping. There are no recorded chains, as in normal experit parties, where you keep chain # by kill speed, but an invisible chain, based on monster. Think Final Fantasy XII on that one, if you've never played it, owell, easy enough concept. The more you kill a given mob, you build up a 'family chain' which increases your exp/cruor yield per kill. Breaking this chain, by killing any other kind of monster (including the notorious monster of that family group) will break the chain, and you'll have to start over.

Important note: If you should happen to pull another monster by mistake, chain can be preserved by Calling For Help on the irregular monster.

Monsters have a soft cap on exp, in the 350~/kill region, but this can be multiplied by lights. We'd already been noting these effects, but thanks to a recent interview with Square-Enix, we were given a cut & dry list of what each of the lights do.

Pearlescent (Melee kill): All sturdy pyxides will appear with greater frequency.
Azure (Magic Kill): Blue pyxides will appear with greater frequency and yield superior spoils.
Ruby (Physical Weapon Skill Kill): Red pyxides will appear with greater frequency and yield superior spoils.
Amber (Magic Weapon Skill kill): Gold pyxides will appear with greater frequency and yield superior spoils.
Golden: The adventurer will gain experience at an increased rate.
Silvery: The adventurer will obtain cruor at an increased rate.
Ebon: A small bonus will be granted to all colored light effects.

Each of the lights is independent in its level, and will build up indepdent of one another without conflict, working together to achieve greater overall efficiency within Abyssea. And that brings me to...

There are three kinds of "Boxes" or "Pyxis" that appear within Abyssea.
Red Pyxis: Contain lights, see above ^
Blue Pyxis: Contain Temp items, Cruor, Exp, Time Extensions, or restore 2-hour + fill hp/mp/tp
Gold Pyxis: Contain sellable items, augmented equipment, very GOOD temp items, or pop items.

You want 2~3 people (armed with forbidden keys, in case they run into trouble) handling chests in an exp alliance. Make sure they aren't relied upon to do any other jobs, tho it does help if they're something that can contribute between boxes, like a corsair. Boxes advance in tier as your chain builds up, and the better lights (Gold/Silver/Ebon), Time Extensions, and profit/higher tier pop items only come from higher tier boxes.

With each box, you are given the option to "Peer" inside the box, and find out what's inside. Gold chests will tell you exactly what's inside, red boxes will tell you what color light, and blue boxes will give you a coded message about what's inside. "...strangely familiar stone fragment" is a time extension, if you see these, make absolute CERTAIN they get opened. It's why you keep the failsafe of the Forbidden keys (bought with Cruor from the conflux prospector). You are allowed two failed guesses, a third fail will loose the box, and you need a total of six correct guesses to open it. Some people are very good at these, and can do them quickly & efficiently, without needing to use many keys, but the fact is: It's also luck-based, and when it comes to Time Extensions, which are the very blood of the sustained exp grind, you absolutely HAVE to have the keys there as a back-up. If they see their second failed guess, they will pop a forbidden key.

Handling boxes, or "Box bitching" as I call it, is both a priveledge & a responsibility.
They are responsible for maintaining the very alliance within Abyssea, providing time extensions, the bulk of Cruor earned, large chunks of experience, the various lights, including the ones that boost the cap on exp/cruor per kill.
They are priveledged, in that their job as a box bitch, has very little to do with their actual job, and in the heat of a good ally, simply won't have time between boxes to actively "do their job" for whatever they may be on. Corsair's Wild Cart & Summoner's Astral flow abilities can benefit greatly from the restore chests, but overall, box bitches are to be left alone.

These are just some guidelines, and don't *have* to be followed to the letter, will have the safest, smoothest results.

Party 1:
Healer (Rdm, Whm, or Sch)

Party 2:

Party 3:
Black Mage
Black Mage
Black Mage
Red Mage
Corsair (Doubles as Box bitch)
Box Bitch

I personally recommend having bard/ninja for the melee party supports, as they can do buffs between rapid fire pulls.
Provokes are nice to have, to get them off the pullers, give the healer someone to focus on, and keep the mob from going strait for the Blms after a single drain.
Corsair in the Black Mage party should do Wizard's & Evoker's Rolls, you want your Blms (or Schs work too, but Blms are the Pros) nuking hard & frequently, getting as many killshots as possible, especially early on, to build up the Azure light for blue boxes.
Red Mage does Accession refresh, can even flip into Dark Arts to help with Tier IV nuking.
Healers - White Mage or Red Mage is preferred, Scholar sub (should be mandatory, this is 2010). Scholar main is 'okay', but they can also double as black mage / support (what blm doesn't love a 5/5 Stormsurge Hailstorm? :P)
Melee should be on offensive subs, the objective is to kill mobs as fast as possible, and they typically wno't have to do damage (especially against mandies, which can strip shadows in a single attack round, but c'mon, that's noobie level stuff, shadows get raped by monk mobs)
Dragoons can also sub white mage, for the additional support of healing breaths. Red mage or Blue mage sub is cute, but leave the amateurs at home, white mage (aka: THE PRIMARY MAGE SUB) is the most appropriate.
Puppetmasters can go to hell, they aren't a job. Box bitch job doesn't matter, but the puzzles require wit, which is something all pups are devoid of.
Paladin makes a nice first voke, so does Warrior or Ninja, but the Paladin needs to play like a tank, not an ornament. I'm personally in debate about Atonement with a Justice/Joyeuse vs. Vorpal Blade with Company Sword. Fights are very short, like Dynamis, and the time to build hate for Atonement isn't there, so you can only get a couple hundred damage out of it at most (where as I've pulled over 800 dmg on a Vorpal blade against an IT Coeurl, with regular numbers in the 400~500 range).
Summoners make nifty additions to the Black Mage party, specifically as a box bitch if they have Odin. Odin's Zantetsuken can take out multiple monsters at once (recommend about 4~5), and by popping the restore chests (these are fairly common), they can do it somewhat frequently.

Important things to Note:
Re-entry: With all the exp earned, it's by no means uncommon for several players to cap not only their exp, but earn a full ten merit points, and cap limit points. The one-hour penalty only applies to those who leave Abyssea with less than five minutes on the clock, or get timed-out. The only drawbacks to leaving & coming back are that their lights are reset, their chain is reset, and any time over one-hundred and twenty minutes will be capped at such upon reentry. Ex: If you leave with 140 on the clock, you'll be capped at 120 when you come back.
Confluxes: After your first major Abyssea grind, you'll have a mountain of Cruor to play with, I strongly recommend taking the time to go through each of the three zones, activate all eight confluxes, as they will cut travel time to almost nothing. Each conflux takes 50 * Conflux # Cruor to active, so #1 costs 50, #8 costs 400, and the rest are staggered between those.
Key items: Maps & Ivory Abyssites, Maps are nice to have, you have more Cruor than you know what to do with, buy it. Abyssites are listed under temporary, but are permanent key items that affect your time in Abyssea.

Ivory Abyssite of Sojourn - extends your time per Traverser Stone, adding three minutes for each stone.
Ivory Abyssite of Confluence - Reduces cost of using Confluxes, it'll more than pay for itself in the long haul, especially when doing repeatable quests.
Ivory Abyssite of Expertise - Reduces reuse time for Martellos. Martellos are essentially batteries, that are free to use, can be used to recharge your HP, MP, or cure yourself of status ailments. If you camp near one, you're encouraged to use them, as not only will you benefit directly, but other people will then have room to refill them, as part of a quest, earning Cruor and possibly Fame.

In addition, there are various other Abyssite key items, that come from NMs, Empherial Mobs, or quests within Abyssea. Just to name a few:
[From NM's]
Azure Abyssite of Celerity - Reduces recharge time of Traverser Stones
Viridian Abyssite of Avarice - Increases Limit of Traverser Stones held (on you) from 3 to 4.
Scarlet Abyssite of Sojourn - Increases time per Traverser Stone
Scarlet Abyssite of Kismet - Bonus to drop rate of Blue Treasure Caskets

Useful tidbits of advice from the (in)famous Asuran DRG.  I have a couple things to add.  For one, if you get aggro or someone 'accidentally' engages an NM or ephymeral mob, you can (and should) CFH the mob in order to prevent the loss of an EXP chain.  Even if you CFH one of your exp mobs, don't worry--it won't reset/cut your EXP. And something else that I wrote on BG that I'll copypasta here.

Just got my BLM from 59-80 in a single alliance off of only 1 traverser stone. I'm sure EXP has been talked-to-death about, but I wanted to emphasize a couple things.

Orchestrating the Alliance (lights)
One of the most valuable things you can have in a pickup alliance is a good leader or at least someone "orchestrating" the flow of things properly. In marathon exp alliances, other than opening boxes and having enough keys to do so, the most important thing you can do to keep it alive is to dictate which lights to farm and when. Like many others, I go in the order of Azure -> Pearlescent -> Ruby -> (Amber, if this is possible). You're going to do this in cycles. When you've gotten about ~2-3 DD reps, that's a good time to restart the cycle. Don't want your new people, or old people that only started with 30-60 minutes, to time out.

Knowing when and decisively calling this is the key to longevity. You want to start farming azure and pearl again before it becomes a problem; i.e. before a 'TE drought' happens. TE drought usually starts to happen after you get a series of reps at once, including couple DD's. Killspeed slows down at first. People become lazy and you have to get on their asses and kick/rep people that have fallen asleep and chastise people for general fuckery (afk'ing, engaging slow, WS/magic killing when they're not supposed to, not voking, not /assist'ing, poor CC; general stuff). If you're not prepared, what will happen is that you suddenly get a bunch of new reps, things slow wayyyy down, and when they start to pick up again you experience the drought as box/TE rate is garbage for a good 30-45 minutes. Unfortunately if you don't switch from Red back to Azure light promptly when you see signs of this happening, you'll run a big risk of having several people time out, potentially killing your alliance.

Managing Reps
It's probably pretty nerdy, but when I lead something with pickups I always write down the alliance setup with names/jobs on wordpad so I can have a clear idea of it at all times. If someone is repping someone I scribble the name of the rep next to the person being repped. If someone DC's I mark their name so I don't forget.
Heals - flowooo --- Rayix
DD - preet
DD - Cyleena
DD - raiviont**
Brd - Dalik ---
Cor - skymeck
So this would mean that Rayix is on the way to rep flowooo. The --- next to Dalik means he needs a rep but we haven't found one. I've got the **'s next to Raiviont, indicating he DC'ed. Since when I make a pickup alliance, I have to do all the work when it comes to reps and such, having this all written down (from the very beginning) is extremely helpful. I'd advise anyone leading a run to do it ;X

People know about this. But I just wanted to add that I heard the max amount of mobs you could kill with a single zantetsuken is 4-5. That is pretty awesome, considering restore chests drop all the damn time. I haven't verified if it is true but if it is I do think Smn makes a rather good chest bitch >.>

I'm really lovin this alliance exp. It may be a little too good though ;/. I think some people are irked that a difficult to level job can be leveled from 37-80 in a weekend. Hell, my Blm is naked, has no AF, and I have ~70 elemental magic skill. Thinkin maybe I'll do Pld next. The great think about making your own pickup abyssea runs is that nobody can question you. It's a damn lot of work but if you wanna make urself box bitch on a useless level 37 job, nobody is gonna stop you :3

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As one that had to level BLM to 75+ the hard way, all I have to say is, you suck, gtfo my job, thanks! :P That said, go work on fixing those low skills, kthx! Even my AF burned SMN never had SMN skill that low. In fact, it's that of a level 77. =p

That said, I'm also happy about abyssea, as if it weren't for that, I'd still have 2-3 level 80s, and I have 6 at this point, 4 with capped buffers.

Joking aside, plus the fact I couldn't resist typing that about BLM, I wouldn't mind doing that on my 37 Ninja (just to the point where it isn't gimp level wise). I can't STAND the job, and need to ungimp it as a subjob. A reason I haven't, is simply because /NIN37 and /NIN40 offer the same thing to me as a mage class player, aside from one making me look lazy. Ni nukes? Big deal. Long story short, NIN's one of those jobs I just don't care about, and only originally leveled it due to having BRD leveled.


All of that said; abyssea is definitely insane. I like it but as you've said it's quite a grind. I was on Scholar for like 6.5 hours or so, and Red Mage a couple hours previously. It's fun exp, and doesn't make me want to facepalm (aka: half the exp parties I had on Red Mage).

Lol I was so relieved every time we got a batch of reps that finally settled in and I didn't have to rep anyone for an hour, and I could really enjoy the exp. But most of the 12+ hours in that alliance for me was just looking for reps on a literally constant basis, while struggling to keep up with boxes and make sure everyone was doing everything correctly, and not leeching. TBH it was actually a bit stressful, especially if it's having to be done in 2 languages >,<. But that stress comes rewarded though. If I wanted to waste my summer vacation I imagine I could have a maat's cap in the next month; pre-abyssea it would have taken like a year. In my personal opinion, as much as I love new content and exploiting updates, I feel that making previously really difficult-to-obtain items a cinch to obtain is a mistake. AV should be killable, but I feel he will be too-killable in times to come. Similarly, it's not quite "fair" I suppose, to people that may have invested countless months to get their jobs up, or to get a maat's cap (many of whom got it just recently I'm sure), to dumb down EXP to this extent.

Aye, I can imagine it's not fun as the group leader.

Concerning EXP...

I feel as long as once does their research into the job, knows how to do it, and does it efficiently, I could care less how it's leveled to an extent. It makes me jealous in a way, but that's about it. I've seen people AF burn jobs and be damn good at them, and I've seen people level to 75+ naturally and well... be crap.

Of course, neither is guaranteed, and I'd definitely recommend people to level the 'normal' way to make sure they learn what they don't know yet, etc.

The quickest job I've leveled was my Summoner. Yeah, it was quicker than my Bard, just because of Astral Flow burns. I felt the EXP was harder to get than skilling up is, and in a lot of cases, that's definitely true (and as I type this my SMN skill is 285!).

I'm one of those players that won't just settle for any EXP (I've heard "exp is exp" so many times). Getting ~70 exp off a mob in a party where I can get 200+ elsewhere (kill speed's the same)? What's the one I'm more likely to do? :P

That said, I honestly feel that SE made a step in the right direction with Abyssea. It still takes good geared DD to do decent damage, and good nukers to ensure killshots with magic are done correctly, and on some mobs the healers definitely need to pay more attention (as Rayix said, coeurls)... Gave me memories of Onzozo, because that was a pleasant experience. The EXP wasn't omgwtfawesome, but the ability to react faster to TP moves was the bigger reward. Now, at 75+, I don't really need to be "tested", therefore, I want bigger exp, and that's what made abyssea so appealing to me.

That said, I wonder what the best approach for me'd be if I wanted to join a group to focus on being a "box bitch" to get my non-80s some EXP (as drk63 is my 2nd highest job, w). I'd honestly rather do that on my 37 Ninja than to re-buy all its gear (I don't play a job cheap. I'd get okote, fuma, etc. for the job... but I don't care to try) just for a few levels, considering how well I think of the job (lol). Suggestions on that?

I don't know how much time I'll be able to put towards Abyssea exp. I just joined a weekend JP group that goes to do NM farming, so I gotta figure out a way to keep up my time and maybe get some exp in there. Though I'm not sure how much EXP I should be doing. Every time I think about doing something to improve my thief, I pursue it with probably too much tenacity. Every time I think about leveling another job, I ask myself what I could be better spending my life.

I think asking people if you can leech a job is certainly worth doing. But since everyone wants to do it, and since there's only really room for 1 leecher (box bitch) in an efficiently put-together EXP alliance, it's going to be hit or miss. So I put up on my ffxiah that I would pay 200k/hr for anyone who wanted to let me leech. Given that it took about 12-13 hours once inside the zone, to get from 59 to 80, I would have ended up paying 2.6m. I actually thought it would be cheaper than that. But if you consider 37-75 instead of 59-80, you might be looking at paying 3m to get most of the way there. That is, roughly 3m to level a sub to 75 in a very long EXP alliance or two. That's worth it, to me. So I was gonna do that.

But instead I thought, if I make my own alliance, nobody can question me. I can make myself the box bitch, a valid spot for a leecher. And just make sure nobody else in the alliance is on a leech job, and we'll still be running at max efficiency. Seems to work perfectly. People are always looking for EXP alliances. You don't need relic jobs to pull it off, just good leadership skill. So that being said, time permitting, I know that I have a limitless means of weekend-burning any jobs of my choosing from 37-80, should I desire it.

That's a comforting thought, in a way. So there are 3 choices: (1)Ask to leech and hope the answer is yes (it probably won't be), (2)Expect to pay several million (maybe less, depending on the person) to a 'benevolent' alliance leader in order to convince them to let you leech, or (3)Make yourself an alliance.

Since I'm a control freak, frugal, and don't like leaving things to chance, the answer for me is (3).

That's what I thought. Considering I'm not exactly loaded in gil when it comes to something like that, as I'd rather use gil I have on new gear/alexandrite for my Yagrush, making the ally sounds more appealing.

In case some people were wondering, I often have very different views regarding jobs & gear, from Ryx. I do not endorse his views on Pup or Sch for one, and who knows what else xP

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