Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Same old house, new address...

Some of you who still check the forum might have noticed that it hasn't been available for a couple of weeks now. That's because I've let the domain name expire and shifted the web account to host my professional portfolio.

The forum never actually went away, it just has a new address:, see you there!

Friday, February 02, 2007

Tale of the Infamous Harem at an end?

I haven't exactly been a frequent contributor to this on-going story of Arislan, so it feels a bit wrong to just suddenly come in here out of the blue and announce that it's all over, but that's exactly what I'm going to do.

It has felt like forever since I picked up this game on a lark and became hopelessly hooked to the online experience... just trying to imagine all the countless hours I've spent taking little Arislan from lvl. 1 to the horrible multi-jobbed monstrosity that he has become makes me feel a bit nauseous.

Sometimes I feel like I've wasted a lot of time on this game. Performing repetitive task after repetitive task. Meeting nice people just to have them keep disappearing into the ether time and time again. Always thinking in terms of how to keep Valor afloat, day in and day out, logging in just so there would be at least a warm body in there. Exhausting.

But when I pause and think about how the past 4-years on FFXI could be considered less as time playing a game and more as time engaging in a massive social experiment, I feel like maybe I even learned a thing or two about systems and organization, more about the mysterious tendencies of my fellow man, and a bit more about myself. I've learned to lead, and through that I've learned how best to follow. I've also confirmed my sneaking suspicions that most people just don't give a damn, but that made me further appreciate the few who did. I've learned patience and persistence. I've learned to be kind when I felt like being unkind, and learned to smile when it was best for those around me but not for myself. I'll take those things with me long after I'm gone.

FFXI found me as I was most vulnerable: fresh out of school, having moved to an unfamiliar city, in a new apartment, my buddies all far away, and my girlfriend gone all day while I was working from home... the people I met on FF became my 'co-workers', people I chatted up while killing time between projects or avoiding work altogether. In a free-form profession with no binding schedule, the stuff on FFXI like event days and limbuses were a way to orient myself throughout the week. FF gave me some structure.

I felt like I played this game much differently than most others. I mostly stayed out of the race for items and equipment, opting to carve a little niche for myself and the friends I met along the way. Maybe we shared some common human values. Maybe we really didn't. Maybe we were all just unmotivated. Whatever we had in common, I tried to foster that and build a community from it. There was a time when I had imagined that Valor would be my lasting legacy to FFXI, leaving the online game world better than I had first found it. However successful Valor ultimately was at achieving that, I will never know. At the very least, I know I gave it my best for my friends.

I'm not surprised that I have been logging on months after I had already felt that playing the game had become exceedingly meaningless ('no passion' as Les would say...) and after most of my friends had already quit long ago... I've invested so much thought, effort and passion into this game and Valor, and now I can hardly log on anymore without being overwhelmed by the empty feeling born from seeing everything we've built together fall into disuse, and the places occupied by those I we loved unceremoniously deserted.

It's become a bit self-destructive and meaningless for me to continue to be a part of this game. I have nothing left to offer to anyone here anymore, and that feeling is more than a clear enough signal to me that it is my time to leave this game behind.

Thank you to all the people that I have met along the way, I hope I have enriched your lives as much as you have enriched mine. Very special thanks and much love to Lestath, Knivezz, Tilanna and Nightxade in particular... true friends, I will remember your kindness and integrity always.

{See you again.}


Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Taking the Us out of Limbus

Well since nobody but me decided to show up to Limbusters Wednesday Limbus today, I said what the hell and geared up the old BLM to try my hand at solo'ing Temenos East.

I set my expectations pretty low, considering how much trouble Limbusters had as a group with avatars popping out of chests and picking the right armoury crates, I figured if I could just get 1 coin I'll have made a profit and it would have all been worth it.

After a quick 4-spell drubbing of the card-carrying flower, I tentatively stepped up to the portal mechanism, sent up a little prayer of hope, and a short humming noise later I was inside Temenos East. Just past the first doorway I spied the first Fire Elemental sitting quietly in the middle of the room, looking rather sinister. Rolling up my sleeves and practically going cross-eyed from focus, I readied my sneak attack...

Thunder IV 680 (50% resist, how wonderful)
Water IV 520 (hmmm, maybe they resist everything 50%...)
Sleep II

After about 10x of the above cycle without a hint of danger, it was dead. Lucky for me it dropped the 1st of 2 item crates. I repeated everything again on the elemental in the adjoining chamber. The second item crate! My my, looked like my lucky star was up today.

Well, now was the true moment of truth.

The classic Temenos East dilemma -- coins and items or a big mean avatar ready to Astral Flow your face. You can pick either chest, and if you get the avatar you have to kill it to grab the real item chest. And since I was flying solo with 5minutes left to go, I think killing the avatar was going to be out of the question...

I did a /random in front of each chest and relinquished all decision making (and thus any possible regrets) to the game. Once the randoming was done, I braced myself for the fiery inferno that was sure to come...


I wince, open one eye... no fire... I check my hands and feet to see if they're missing any fingers or toes, they're all there... I blink a couple of times before the following comes up in the chat window:

/jawdrop ^^

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

The Cordeilia Incident (I <3 Tilanna)

Well a couple of weeks ago, I made a critical error at the auction house. Feeling positively indulgent, I stepped up to the AH in Whitegate to try to get a deal on a Noble's Tunic. Not being respectful of the the lag in Whitegate at all and not even being particularly careful with the buttons I was pressing, I began to put in my usual quick series of bids to try to win the Noble's at minimum cost. After about 8 failed attempts and with the entire screen reading "You were unable to buy the Noble's Tunic for ### gil" I started to get impatient. And whether it was the lag in Whitegate that caused the AH to malfunction, or if it was me being totally careless and hitting the worst combination of buttons possible, on the next bid I managed to pull off the following...

Yeah, for those of you keeping score, that's a Silk Cloak, not a Noble's... needless to say I was pretty frantic and began to search for this Cordeilia but even after not being able to get into contact with her, I was still feeling confident that things would turn out ok. So to get the ball rolling, I sent her back the Silk Cloak and began to wait.

This wasn't the first time I've experienced mis-adventures at the auction house. The first time I put an extra zero at the end of a +1 Katana for NIN and thankfully the guy who sold it to me was online. He was very courteous, was quick to offer a reversal of my mistake, and refused all my crass attempts to pay twice the price of the item once he had given my money back. There were also a couple of times where people had grossly overbid for an item that I had placed on the AH, and in both instances I tracked down those people and returned their gil without hesistation. No way things could turn out differently this time, right?


After about a week of me waiting for Cordeilia to come online (I even macro'd "/sea all Cord") and everybody in LS being extremely concerned for me and doing the same (love you guys!), we discovered that she was a lvl1 mule in Lower Jeuno. A few days later, I finally I got a reply from Cordeilia after repeated unreciprocated /tells from me... it wasn't exactly what I was looking for however...

Well she was probably fed up with being accosted with /tells everytime she logged her mule so I suppose this was her idea of an olive branch or cease fire. And in true morality tale fashion I now had a choice to make: 1) do everything in my power and use every resource I had at my disposal to find out just who this person was and then make her life a living hell, or 2) just own up to the fact that this was my mistake and just be Buddhist about it and let go of it all. Not wanting to invite Karmic retribution or catastrophe, I chose the latter and tried to stop worrying about Cordeilia and her unforgiveable nature.

Well, last night, after getting a PM from Tilanna on the forums to to come online for more Dr. Phil, I logged on before running out to Trader Joe's to discover that he had instead done something extraordinarily thoughtful and good-hearted:

I was absolutely floored by this. Such a genuine and honest display of love and friendship. Of caring and sensitivity. I'm still pretty speachless about it-- that Til thinks enough of me to do something this outrageous and kind blows me away. Luckily he was online when I got back home and I was reassured of the following: 1) this wasn't a parting gift and he wasn't going to kill his character off, 2) he had not gone stark-raving mad. I told him I couldn't accept the Noble's in good conscience, but he called me an idiot and told me to shut up... soooo Til ;)

In the end, good and caring friends are more than up to the task of off-setting the thousands of shady Cordeilias out there. I will be forever thankful for the level of consideration and thought that went into this gesture, and when I wear the Noble's I will always be reminded that in this game I have wonderful friends, not least of whom is my wonderful friend Tilanna. *sniff* /weep *sniff*

Thank you Til!!!!!

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

The real stars of this show... (part II)

In the past 4 months, while I've been trying to update this weblog, I've really come to a realization on a few key points: writing about mundane everyday FFXI things bores the hell out of me, reading about the inane things that I do while on FF would probably bore the hell out you, and, if you can believe it, Arislan finds it much more entertaining to write vignettes about his friends than to blah blah blah endlessly about himself (true in-game, not so in RL I'm afraid! XD).

So without further adieu, here is the second installment of the definitive Arislan friends-list tribute, and this time in reverse alphabetical order with no cheaters... :D

And oh yeah, Part I is here if you missed it.

Tilanna (aka 'The Piece of Ass')
Job(s): Black Mage, Ninja

I remember the first time I had the unfortunate pleasure to run into Til was in a Valkurm Dunes party only a couple of months into the game. I actually think he was a DRK at the time (:O) and I was doing the dual-job thing getting WHM caught up with PLD. Even today, it would be strange to find a DRK in a noob party with enough know-how to dispense pointers to the WHM healing him, but Til wasn't hesitant to drop-kick my ego without remorse and proceeded to feverishly un-train me in the ways of the Gauln School of Magery of which I had been an unfortunate student. And Til and I have been fast friends ever since, getting to 75 together, trouncing monsters left and right, me trouncing his delectable ass left and right, and him being sensei to my work-in-progress BLM.

Although he has moved on to WoW (1 more letter and it would be a 4-letter word), Til still manages to accost me from time to time for Dr. Phil-esque advice on his RL. Ironic how he was always giving me FFXI pointers and now it's me he turns to for help with the RL game of amore... who's the noob now!?!? XD

Nightxade (aka 'XXX', 'XieXie', 'Mom II')
Job(s): Red Mage, Superhero Pornstar

What can I say... Xade is hot!

From the first time I met her through Niyte, I couldn't take my eyes off those luscious stems. And then, on hearing that her name had been unceremoniously and presumptuously added to the Harem's List, she responded by telling me that it was I who was now in her harem! :O Needless to say, I was totally smitten with her from that moment on and we stalked each other until we had developed a scandalous reputation of being co-conspirators in the plot to bring down the FFXI endgame.

And now, after a few Maid of Honor/Master of Ceremonies trists later, we're still fast friends and I think she and I are kindred spirits when it comes to how we approach the game: help your friends, do it the hard/fun way, and try not to do anything evil. What's not to love about her? :)

Mitru (aka 'Can of Beans', 'The New')
Job(s): Thief, White Mage, Black Mage, Red Mage

If there's one thing that I can take away from Limbusters (besides the mountain of gold from the coins...) it would be my meeting a new and wonderful friend in Mitru. Not only is he an outstanding player who can make merit parties and 3-kings extravaganzas approach the fun-factor of zen-like bliss, but he loves to laugh and be laughed at... and that is really something that I feel is truly precious and I am thankful to him for. Mitru is somebody who will do nice things for others and then will act like it was no trouble at all... that's greatness as a friend.

Not to mention he basically built the bridge between the denizens of Turkey and the wild-childs in Valor, which I feel has been a most enjoyable and entertaining arrangement for everybody involved. And did I mention that Limbusters pile of gold? :D

Knivezz (aka 'K', 'The last PLD on FF')
Job(s): Paladin

When K took his long break from FF, the spirit of Valor dipped in turn. I think there is no single person who is as responsible for keeping the LS loose and functioning like Knivezz. He's a huge part of the lifeblood of not only his LS, but his friends. If K had a trademark or a motto, it would be: Nobody doesn't like a Knivezz. He's the consummate LS-mate and co-leader and friend. People aspire to be like Knivezz. I wish I could be like him. He is a constant reminder to those around him of how the game should be played: friends-first, community-always. He diffuses drama left and right with his cool demeanor and his warm heart, and he leaves no drama in his own wake which is pretty much a monumental achievement in this game full of neurotic social-infants. If FFXI were a great big ship, Knivezz would be the rudder... keeping everything on-course and the boat from keeling over. He is always above the fray, guiding others to the high-road. He is simply a god-send.

And of course, we can't forget to mention that he's one of the finest PLDs that you will ever meet, and after the rest of us have fallen off that bandwagon, he still champions the PLD cause with pride and vigor and we all can't help but be inspired to maybe strap on the armor once again... :)

Ave (aka 'The Stalker')
Job(s): Dark Knight, Ninja, etc

Ave, quit stalking me! Contrary to what you might have heard, I don't want to have your babies. Seriously. I'm tired of you emoting questionable things to me everytime I walk by.... frankly, I think there must be something wrong with you. Your marvelously chiseled features and endlessly-long legs have no effect on me whatsoever I can assure you... And your ass... I've really seen better... really.


FYI, I did appreciate the X-mas greeting. I guess there was an upside to that nefarious friends-list request of yours, afterall. But I think you took my courteous reply the wrong way and now have redoubled your stalking efforts... I'm calling the police and hopefully getting a court-order against your constant incursions into my personal space. You can quit hiding in the bushes anytime now... :)

Ok, even I have to admit that last one was ridiculuous. XD See you guys in a few months, hopefully by then I will have even more fun stories to tell about more friends... heck, maybe there will be some exciting new names to add?

Cheers to all of you!

Saturday, March 11, 2006

V is for Valor

In a game where membership is fleeting and fluid, Valor is the place where I hang my hat.

What is Valor? It's a linkshell. A very small one at that. I think most of the FF community would find it rather underwhelming and boring, but those who 'get it' love it, and those who don't probably weren't meant to anyway. ;D At the heart of Valor, is a small group of long-time friends, who have gotten so used to being around each other day after day that they naturally and easily coalesced into a milky-white-pearled gang of a little over a dozen or so.

To most it seemed that Valor happened quite out of the blue, but Les and I had been batting around the idea of a linkshell for some time. We were unhappy with KoS and all the fall-out that resulted from Gauln's mismanagement, so we wanted to really make a place where the good friends we had could just be themselves and feel at home. Seeking a third accomplice, we pitched the idea to Phantoma and that very day, in South San d'Oria just inside the Tanner's Guild, Valor was conceived by three eager and hopeful parents. I'm sure some of you have wondered about this so we might as well let the cat out of the bag: the wonderful off-white color was Les' idea and I lobbied hard for Valor as the name and got my way. XD

The first days of Valor were really exciting, as we shot pearls to everybody that we loved. Ari, Dark, Debo, Fab, Kaih, Les, Mits, Phan & Til were the first inductees, setting the tone for what would forever be the Valor-spirit. Shortly thereafter, the original group was followed by many more of our cherished friends and the linkshell truly blossomed into the f-list orgy that we had hoped it would become.

The LS has matured in it's almost 2-years of existence, and when thinking back I'm pleased that I am able to easily recall so many fond memories of things the LS has done together, and also wonderful and personal moments that I've shared with every member individually. We're grown so much since those first days, welcomed so many good friends into the fold, and have waved goodbye to many good friends who have moved on to other things... their spirits live on in the LS and stay with us as Valor moves forward. I'm really very proud of what we were, what we continue to be, and the statement that we make to the rest of the server that friends are the most important thing during our short stay on Vana'diel.

As time has gone by, and as things have whirled and changed around Arislan, Valor remains my rock to hold on to through it all, the thing that keeps me coming back to FFXI. I am inextricably tied to Valor and all its members, and I couldn't imagine life on Vana'diel any other way. To me, Valor is forever.

Monday, January 30, 2006

The real stars of this show...

So I've told you that this journal is going to be the story of Arislan's life-- so let's begin by meeting and getting to know some of the wonderful characters that will feature prominantly in my past and future adventures (in alphabetical order, except for Mr. Italy because he's a cheater):

LESTATH (aka 'The Bro')
Job(s): Paladin, Ranger, Black Mage, Dark Knight

He really is the consummate best friend, always ready with a dirty joke or a generous laugh-- who could ask for a better companion. He and I have been inseperable since we met in that hole named Crawlers Nest when we both were not-so-amateur Paladins in an amateur's world and having great fun while getting pissed on by caterpillars. Through it all, we've been white bros (PLD), black bros (BLM), started a linkshell together (Valor), and have terrorized all the real and fake women of Vana'diel in our never-ending harem's quest and have left some serious collateral damage in our wake. ^^

As you can imagine, to have two people who spend this many hours together day-to-day, to be partners in countless static parties and to manage a linkshell together, and after all this time still being able to get along so well is a real sign of a lasting and genuine friendship. Lestath is really a big part of the reason why Vana'diel has been so enjoyable and fun for me, and I really owe him a debt of gratitude (or at least some 0.14 with my mules) for making it so fun that I look forward to logging on everyday. ^^

DEBO (aka 'The Noob')
Job(s): Samurai, Warrior

AF-static team member, thrice static-party team member, and welcomed LS-mate, even though Debo doesn't make it online very much he's still a static part of our online lives and we always have a hell of a good time when he's around-- maybe because we have a hell of a good time giving him a hard time. ^^ Whatever it is that makes this mysterious kid so fun, it's probably the same thing that is responsible for him being the hands-down biggest noob of anybody around. Cheers to Debo, don't ever change! ^^

I believe I first bumped into the noob in Valkurm Dunes, then kept bumping into him as our jobs kept pace into the AF levels where we formed what would be the core of our little circle of friends. While I was still a Paladin, we formed what would be Arislan's first static party and we reached the summit of 75 together, along with 4 other friends.

KRUEMEL (aka 'Her Highness')
Job(s): White Mage, Black Mage, Summoner, Bard

Although I had met Krue the last of anybody here, the most memorable thing about us is that we literally 'met' in real-life when she flew into town for a week and we spent an afternoon of blisters and books-- the former being my fault, the latter being hers. ^^ I first came across Krue in a 3-day static-party with Teddyweddy and Tilanna, and I could tell instantly that she, although small in stature and weight, was going to be a force to be reckoned with. ^^ 2x Freeze just to see Til's hate go up in thin-air was a sign of good things to come. Since then, she's been stalking me in order to recruit me for her harem (elvaan man-sluts only apparently) and I have been happily stalked since, with /tell Kruemel almost macro'd into my fingers. ^^

MENELWA (aka 'My Herooooooo')
Job(s): Summoner, White Mage

I had the unusual privelege of first meeting Mene while being dead (taken down by a monsterous crab ^^;), and from that day Mene has been saving my butt and being my perpetual hero ever since-- I must owe a few levels worth of experience points to his mighty RB3 magic at least. Since then, Mene has been a wonderful ls-mate, a dependable and sweet friend, a great CoP companion, and the very best SMN/THF to ever go into Monarch Linn ENM. And I've even managed to get White Mage to 70 just so I could return the favor and RB Mene a few times too. Forget that ugly little Carbuncle, Mene, I'll be your pet anyday!! ^^

TSP (aka 'don't call me teaspoon!')
Job(s): THF+1

I used to see T all the time while farming Cockatrices in Sauramogue, and I would always see this little green blur beating me to every pop. Let's just say I didn't exactly expect to become good friends with this elusive fellow, but somehow we managed to do all right in the end. ^^ For the past 18 months, he has been one of the most enjoyable and dependable friends anybody could expect to encounter-- we've finished CoP together, took on countless challenges at each other's side... and he's even got a sexy tail and ass to boot! ^^ Talk about a friend with benefits! ^^

VEROHAWKE (aka 'Veve')
Job(s): Red Mage, Ninja

What can I say about Veve, other than the fact that she has the most patience with me out of anybody outside of my gf-- believe me, I bring the BS! On-again-off-again, we've been together for over a year and we've had some really tender moments (think Purgonorgo Isle), some really grand moments (think Wedding in Chateau d'Oraguille), and we've also had our share of not-so-happy moments where we drive each other crazy, but like any marriage, it's a process...

Outside of us being officially intertwined, Veve has always been a nice ls-mate and a fun influence on everybody around her, and always willing to lend a hand where a hand is needed (mmm sounds dirty... /slap Les). It's really very hard to fight the smile that comes across your face when she saunters by because she really is just that charming. ^^

Not to be Forgotten: Til (my lovely piece of hume ass, oh how I resent WoW for taking you from me!), Phan (aka 'Moms'), Xadie (aka 'Xiexie' 'Mom da Sequel') & and many more that are near and dear to my heart but I've run out of nicknames so I'll stop the list here. ^^