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Holiday Cheer [Dec. 16th, 2010|07:37 pm]
brandson
Nothing to report on FFXIV, although I did vote for it in the Gamespot polls for some cheeky year end awards.

On an unrelated note, at work in the lobby of my building there has been a conservatively-dressed middle-aged woman playing a harp during the day all week long. She started out playing traditional Christmas music using a CD as accompaniment, and she's pretty good. Today when buying my lunch I noticed she had veered away from the ordinary festive music repertoire and was playing Aerosmith's "Dream On". On a harp. It was good, but very weird. Merry Christmas everyone.
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Leves [Dec. 9th, 2010|10:27 am]
brandson
I was thinking the other day why am I still playing FFXIV. I am at physical 40 and have a couple of jobs over r20 now and leveling them is still extremely lacking in fun and I hear it gets much worse over r30. So I figure once I get all my crafts and harvesting jobs to r20, I'd have nothing left to do and quit. Upon realizing that, I decided to save myself some trouble and stop playing now.

This and only this is what's needed to keep me playing:
(1) unlimited battlecraft, fieldcraft, and local leves with NO reset timer, instead of a 36 hours reset timer;
(2) permanent guardian's favour on all leves; and
(3) either 0 anima cost to cities and favoured destinations or chocobos for fast travel to leve camps.

Gil and item rewards from leves can be on a 36 hour cooldown. I don't care about those, but being able to efficiently level exclusively on leves is the only thing that could save this game.
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ffxiv patch [Nov. 26th, 2010|11:41 am]
brandson
Although I've been too busy with work to try the patch yet, it sounds like soloing to r30 has been made a lot easier/faster but grouping for sp has been significantly nerfed. Maybe by the time the average player has reached r30 (by February or March), the game will be patched to make ranking above 30 easier/faster. I guess I'll be working on taking all my jobs to r30 until then.

And for next time SE announces they will change the SP/rank, it's best to get your jobs as close to ranking up as possible without actually ranking. If you were 19999/20000 pre-patch and they drop the sp required to 15000, you'd end up 4999 sp into the next rank. But if you ranked up and were 1 sp into the next rank pre-patch, you'd still just be 1 sp into that rank post-patch, losing about 5k sp in this example. Very lame SE. They should have added up all sp obtained on each job and determine your new rank based on the new rules. If that means you gain multiple ranks immediately I don't think any players would mind.

Saturday Edit: Tried the game this morning and it is a massive improvement. UI lag is reduced to the point that it's no longer an issue. Inventory sorting is nice. Getting SP is much better soloing on leves (haven't tried soloing on regular mobs yet). Ranking up shield is WAY easier now (got a whole rank in a few minutes on leves). The game seems to run much more smoothly on my ATI 5870. I can run it at higher background resolution than before and it's super smooth, so my game got a huge graphical boost from this patch.

Some things I don't like about the patch:
1) My con21 lost about 150hp and mp. That was totally uncalled for.
2) Running in passive mode seems to be about 20% slower. Again, totally unnecessary change.
3) Botany seems to be a little messed up. I'm getting grade 1 items from grade 3 trees. Chopping trees also seems to be about 10% more laggy than before. The sweet spots when chopping trees seem to be much smaller than before too. Hopefully these are just bugs to be patched.
4) I'm getting +1 and +2 items from Botany still. They need to change those to only NQ and +3 from gathering jobs too.
5) Shock spikes seems to not last as long.
6) Item durability is now listed on a hidden tab. So when browsing your inventory, you have to select the item, then click on an arrow to see durability. It's actually worse than before.
7) Battle lag is mostly unchanged. It still takes far too many seconds for my character to act when I attack or cast a spell.
8) Cotton Bolls are still in stacks of 12 instead of 99. All materials should be 99.

Overall the patch is awesome, but the hp/mp and run speed changes suck hard.
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SP Trouble [Nov. 16th, 2010|09:53 am]
brandson
I need some help with FFXIV. I have leveled to physical 36 mainly by crafting and my conjurer and thaumaturge are r21 and r19, respectively. Other players on my server, Figaro, tell me I need to solo to r25 before I can get any parties. Unfortunately soloing at 2-3k sp/hr is utterly soul destroying and I don't think I can take it anymore. I so far haven't gotten any sp parties other than a handful of 2-man parties with LS friends. The people in my LS who are still playing are much higher than me now though, and everyone near my rank or lower all quit a month ago.

Other than shouting for parties, does anyone have any suggestions where I should be hanging out to find a sp party at r19-21 and what should I be doing when I get there? Is there some magical sp party-making LS on Figaro I just don't know about? Help me out! I've been playing for almost two months and haven't found a sp party yet. FFXIV can't be intended to be this hard.
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So long Rubicon :( [Nov. 11th, 2010|06:59 pm]
brandson
My favourite show on tv was cancelled today: http://watching-tv.ew.com/2010/11/11/rubicon-cancelled-amc/. Such a shame. TV companies need to start figuring out new ways to monetize content, especially the slow-burning intelligently written kind, since AMC clearly failed at profiting off of this amazing show. Rubicon was great at developing a slightly unnerving but very authentic feel, which is a very rare achievement for television. It's not boring, it's just more contemplative and far less flashy than something like 24, or a Michael Bay movie. It certainly moves along infinitely faster than FFXIV, for example. If you haven't watched it, the last episode resolved a number of the major plot points so you won't feel ripped off by investing the time to watch it now. It's really excellent.

Oh and Square-Enix decided to announce that they will be lowering the skill point requirements to get to rank 20 in FFXIV in the November patch: http://lodestone.finalfantasyxiv.com/pl/topics/detail?id=cb4dc09784bc24b4fde2e45de9f018ec5fb504d2.

Unfortunately they neglected to mention when the patch is coming or what I'm supposed to be doing in FFXIV until the patch since I'm only skilling up jobs sub-rank 20. I'm not that keen on wasting my time grinding out skill points that will just get wiped out or rendered pointless in a few weeks. I'm hoping Gran Turismo 5 really comes out next week as rumored so I can play that while waiting for the patch.
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FFXIV Begins! [Sep. 21st, 2010|12:37 pm]
brandson
[Tags|]

Hi to anyone who might still have me listed as a friend on Livejournal. Luckily I managed to remember my password after 2 years. Sorry for missing any comments or messages sent to my LJ account as I hadn't logged in to check since 2008.

I am planning on trying out Final Fantasy XIV casually soon, as I have a real job now and everything, and was wondering who else from FFXI is going to FFXIV too. I'm open to suggestions on choice of server, but I think there might be a lalafell conjurer in my future.
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Iconswap for FFXI Icon DAT Updating [Nov. 2nd, 2008|01:39 am]
brandson
IMPORTANT NOTE: For the latest UI DAT updates for Final Fantasy XI, please see Emiko's FFXIStyle.

Back when I was still playing FFXI and updating the UI DAT files, I wrote myself a little program called iconswap to make it easier for me to update the icon dat files every patch. It is a textmode program. To run it, either make a batch file or run it from the command prompt in Windows. Here is the batch file I used for the last UI update I did last year:

iconswap 57.DAT ROM\119\57.DAT.NOV28 ROM\119\57.DAT
iconswap 57-SE-utsusemi.DAT ROM\119\57.DAT.NOV28 ROM\119\57-se-utsusemi.DAT
iconswap 57.DAT ROM\0\12.DAT.NOV28 ROM\0\12.DAT
iconswap 57-SE-utsusemi.DAT ROM\0\12.DAT.NOV28 ROM\0\12-se-utsusemi.DAT
iconswap 57.DAT ROM\176\107.DAT.NOV28 ROM\176\107.DAT
iconswap 57-SE-utsusemi.DAT ROM\176\107.DAT.NOV28 ROM\176\107-se-utsusemi.DAT
iconswap 57.DAT ROM\178\46.DAT.NOV28 ROM\178\46.DAT
iconswap 57-SE-utsusemi.DAT ROM\178\46.DAT.NOV28 ROM\178\46-se-utsusemi.DAT

The first file in the command, "57.DAT", should contain all your latest custom icon graphics. The next file, "ROM\119\57.DAT.NOV28" should be the latest UI dat file from SE. The last file "ROM\119\57.DAT" is the file that will be created by running iconswap. I have a command for each language UI file and also for versions using the alternate utsusemi graphic. So I ran iconswap in a directory with my source 57.DAT file in it, and then subdirectories for ROM\119, ROM\0, ROM\176, and ROM\178.

Note, you may need to have Cygwin installed in order to run my program. I only wrote it for my own use and I may have deleted my source code. I never expected to be giving it to anyone, so there is a high likelihood that it won't work at all, or won't work for you. Also, if SE changed the icon dat file format since I last played, then iconswap may not work properly anymore. If SE is still using the same file formats, then the only work you still have to do is to get all of the icon graphics you want in the right locations into your source "57.DAT" file. That requires some understanding of hex editing and the icon formats, which I don't plan on explaining. If you know where the icon graphics should be, you just have to copy any new icon graphics from a new SE dat file into your pre-patch 57.DAT file, then rebuild. The whole thing usually took me 5-10 minutes after a new patch was released.

I haven't played FFXI in a while and won't be returning so this program will be unsupported forever.

Download iconswap here: iconswap.zip.
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Brandson's FFXI Projects [Oct. 31st, 2008|03:06 pm]
brandson
I have made some DAT file modifications for the MMORPG Final Fantasy XI, particularly to modify the default user interface. To make my FFXI projects easier to keep track of, here is a list of all of the modifications I've worked on and will be updated as new versions are released.

Fonts, Icons, and Windows: FFXI UI Mods 0.13
Maps: FFXI Maps 1.4
Models: FFXI Models 0.01

In addition to my work, the UI pack also includes status icons by Faranim and Lazureus, and other icons by Gizmo. The map pack includes maps from ffxi-atlas.com, some assault maps by Coren, and Alzadaal and Remnants maps from Sean's map pack and ffxiclopedia.org.

If you'd like info on how you can make custom modifications to FFXI DAT files yourself, see this old post I made from June 2006: Quick and Dirty DAT Editing.

Updates:
December 2, 2007: released FFXI UI Mods 0.13
November 19, 2007: released FFXI UI Mods 0.12 and FFXI Maps 1.4
August 27, 2007: released FFXI UI Mods 0.11b
June 5, 2007: released FFXI UI Mods 0.11a
October 22, 2006: released FFXI Models 0.01
May 27, 2006: released FFXI Maps 1.3.3 with some updated TAU maps
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Original DAT Files Needed [Mar. 10th, 2008|10:46 pm]
brandson
I hear FFXI was patched today. I cancelled my account a few months ago so I have no access to source DAT files anymore. If someone wants to carry on keeping the UI mods working that would be awesome. If not, I could get to it at some point this week but I'll need someone to send me the following original (unmodified) DAT files from today's patch:

ROM\0\12.DAT status icons (JP)
ROM\91\15.DAT user interface (JP)
ROM\119\51.DAT user interface (NA)
ROM\119\57.DAT status icons (NA)
ROM\176\75.DAT user interface (German)
ROM\176\107.DAT status icons (German)
ROM\178\14.DAT user interface (French)
ROM\178\46.DAT status icons (French)

Zip up those files and upload them somewhere for me to grab then post the download link for me to get them. If someone can do that for me, then I'll see about getting the DATs updated on Thursday (the next day when I'll have a few free hours at night). Thanks.
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Cool Plasma Design from CES [Jan. 12th, 2008|07:36 pm]
brandson
Panasonic just took over as the king of tv design with the TH-PZ800 series announced at CES. See here for pics: http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?p=12709470#post12709470 or http://panasonic.co.jp/pavc/global/viera/design_concept/.

Who knows if it's any good but it sure looks nice. Sony's new designs from CES are all boring and cheap looking, nothing like the current XBRs.

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