Partying it up in the Valkurm Dunes

Since some people actually seemed to like reading about my starting adventures in Final Fantasy XI, I shall once again update you with what’s been going on since last time. To be honest, I do both enjoy writing about it and giving DFTM a bit of a focus. Previously I’ve been all over the place, but I’ll try to keep a bit calmer from now on. It is my personal blog, no one tells me what to write or when to write it, but lately I’ve started to realise that there’s actually people out there who reads what I write here. With them in mind I will try not to let my mind run totally wild and all over the place.

First of all, and this was a major breakthrough from me – a fishing pole dropped from a goblin fisher outside Windurst. Great happiness! I guess I could have bought one, but the few gil I have I want to reserve for scrolls and the odd piece of armor. I also managed to fish up my first piece of furniture for my mog house, a rusty bucket I caught while waiting for the boat in Selbina. Even greater happiness! I haven’t seen what it looks like yet, but I guess it looks pretty much like a rusty bucket.

Annoyingly enough, Square Enix has set a very small limit for the amount of fishes you can catch when you are below level 20, probably as an anti-gil farmer measure. I have enjoyed the odd fishing I’ve done so far, so I am looking forward to being able to fish properly. I went back to the Valkurm Dunes, once again bored with East and West Sarutabaruta, and decided to stick with it and find groups to help me level instead of going at it solo.

Either I’ve been lucky or groups are plentiful in the Dunes, but I had much less trouble finding people to party up with than I thought I would. Level sync works wonders and no one seemed to complain to level sync down to my level (12 when we started). But grouping in the Dunes, even though effective for gaining quick experience, has so far been pretty underwhelming.

Here’s the thing. First you need to find party members, hopefully including a white mage for healing or a so-called “PL” (power leveler, a character outside the party that heals everyone while they fight). This can take ages, since the party members you actually find quickly has a nasty tendency to suddenly go AFK, or remember they have to eat, or pick their noses or whatever they have to do. Then you find a spot, a “camp”, that’s hopefully not already taken by another group. Then you have to decide who will go “fishing” for monsters, which is the same as pulling. This particular player will probably remember that he or she has forgotten to bring arrows. This will take a few minutes to sort out, with a new “fisher” being chosen. We are now nearing 30 – 60 minutes and not a single mob has been killed by your party.

Then it’s time to choose a tank. That’s not easy, it seems, even though you have two viable characters in your party. The merits of the warrior must be measured against the merits of the ninja. No one listens to anyone else. The black mage in the background, i.e. yours truly, is already boiling but he keeps his mouth shut because he doesn’t want to be kicked from the group. This goes on for a while until the fisher, who just like everyone else hasn’t listened to a word anyone else has said, decides to pull a mob to the camp. There are a few seconds of chaos, then the ninja will grab aggro and thus settling the discussion about who is going to be the tank.

The mob is then, hopefully, killed. The fisher grabs another mob. Repeat this until someone suddenly goes AFK again. The only one noticing is the black mage, because after a pull or two, the tank will ask why one of the party members isn’t doing anything. The black mage points out why, the tank answers “kk” and the fisher goes to pull another mob. Kill the mob. Repeat. Someone insults someone else in the party. The insulted member will become angry. That is sorted out miraculously, since no one is actually paying any attention to what the other players are saying. Another mob is fetched, the tank remembers that his nose is unpicked, the white mage has to eat (since he couldn’t plan that ahead of time) and the group disbands. The black mage wants to crush his 360 controller with his face, but still keeps his mouth shut since he wants the other members of the group to invite him next time. And, after all, it wasn’t all that bad. Killing mobs together was kinda fun and the XP was good.

Today I logged in and took the boat back to Mhaura. I have to see if I can gain the four levels I have left until I hit level 20 on my own, with some help from Fields of Valor. I need a break from grouping. I could also need a good linkshell (kinda like a guild/chat channel) before I try it again in any serious way. I’ve had PuGs in World of Warcraft that’s been much worse than these, but since you are more or less forced to group in Final Fantasy XI to attain more or less anything, it becomes so much more annoying when you keep running into asshats.

(Note to self – figure out a good tag for these posts.)

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5 comments

  1. Lolz it’s so true. But don’t worry… you’ll find a group that isn’t full of nose picking. You just have to give it some time. It’s like WoW in that regard… PuGs can be a pain at early levels until you hit Qufim, then things begin to pick up. People start playing a bit more seriously, but they still have fun while doing it.

    Damn, I really want to play with you. :( But by the time I’m playing, you’re sleeping.

  2. Longasc says:

    Did you ever have the tank go AFK while fighting? This once happened to me in DAOC, we noticed it as we moved on and he was still standing there.

    Don’t post maps of MMO areas, it makes me want to explore them. Even if I do not particularly care for the MMO. Tomorrow I will try to get as far as possible in Aion, to get a personal impression of the Abyss PvP. I already organized myself two fellow companions, so that it does not become a corpse run event… :>

  3. Petter says:

    Things always seem to “pick up” at a later point, Sera. ;) But I’ll stick with it for a while longer. After all, I’m still having fun most of the time. It is disturbingly addictive! And yes, it seems like our time zones are highly incompatible. Truly sucks.

    And wow, Longasc – that must have been one hell of a tank if he could keep aggro while AFK. Good luck on hitting the PvP areas in Aion, personally I wait for launch but keep us all updated on how it is!

  4. KillTrash says:

    Welcome to the Dunes! Well, these are the sort of horror stories people always hear about in the Dunes. I was lucky on my first run there. I think I was over level 18 in two nights with 2 solid XP parties. Oh, and it does get better on later zones.

  5. Petter says:

    Thanks, KillTrash! Yeah, I suppose I’ve just been unlucky. But it did scare me a bit from grouping more for the time being. I should be able to grind out 16 – 20 on my own somewhere else. At least I like to think that I will.

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