Character Name: Melphina
Character Race: Mithra
Character Job(s): Thief
Real World Location: Pennsylvania
Employment Industry: Retail
Hobbies: FFXI, Bowling, Movies, Surfing the Internet, Anime, Video Games, Reading, Sun Bathing and whatever else sounds fun at the time.
Besides Final Fantasy XI, what other MMORPGs have you played and how do they compare to Final Fantasy XI?
My first MMO I played was Everquest, and I was an Erudite Wizard. When I first started the game it was a lot of fun, but as I progressed in it the fun became harder to find due to flaws in game design. Between the corpse retrieval, faction, dual zones, encumbrance of simple things such as coin, being KOS (kill on sight) everywhere you go, harsh exp penalties on death (and dying over and over again on corpse runs further worsened this) amidst other things, the game became more of a job. I left Everquest to play FFXI upon its release in 2003, and haven't looked back since..
I also tried out World of Warcraft for a short period of time in 2005. I played a Gnomish Mage to level 21, but by this time I had put forth too much effort into Melphina to let her go, so I returned to FFXI. The player base of World of Warcraft was too immature for my tastes, and while I enjoyed it more than Everquest, FFXI is still the MMO for me.
How did you find out about Final Fantasy XI, and when did you begin playing?
I began playing FFXI in November of 2003, shortly after its NA release. Honestly I don't even remember where I heard about it first, possibly from online forms or just reading the upcoming release titles. All I remember is picking up a copy of the game at Best Buy during the Christmas season, and after playing it a while I enjoyed it so much I haven't left since.
Do you know anyone in real life who plays Final Fantasy XI?
None of my real life friends or relatives play FFXI.
How did you come up with your main character's name?
I began playing FFXI shortly after watching my favorite Anime series "Outlaw Star." My favorite character was Aisha Clanclan of the Ctrl Ctrl Empire, because I love cats and her personality was really cool. The Ctrl Ctrl are a race of superhumanoid feline creatures with the power to transform into an invincible Werebeast form that derives its power from the light of the planets moons, so when I began playing FFXI I knew the Mithra race was the one I was going to play. I wanted to name her Aisha but every variant of the name was taken, from Aisha to Ayisha to Asyha to Aiysha, so rather than create another variance of an already overused name I drew upon another character from the anime. Melfina, the “Maiden of the Leyline” was a mysterious android with the ability to pilot the starship “The Outlaw Star”, and was closest to "Gene Starwind", the main hero. The spelling of “Melfina” was displeasing to me aesthetically, so I altered it a bit and thus Melphina was born. The rest is history.
What is your favorite job and why?
My favorite job? That's a no brainer. Thief!!! When I began playing I set a goal that rather than play many different jobs I wanted to master only one. I hit level 75 on thief in 2006, and since then I have spent the past 3 years working to fulfill this goal. I have continuously worked to gather only the best equipment and hone my skills at the job. I'm proud of how far I've come and everything I've accomplished with it, and the rewards show that the effort I put into it were worth it. Since it's so powerful and so well equipped, and because all of my friends experiences and memories come from it, as well as having explored the entirety of vana'diel on it, Thief is the one job that will always be my favorite.
Which forum(s) do you frequent the most?
I usually frequent the thief forms and == 10, with an oddball post on one of the other job forms now and again, depending on what I'm doing at the time.
About how often do you play Final Fantasy XI and how long is a typical playing session for you?
I play FFXI every night, although playing sessions vary. On the weekends (especially if it's a big ballista weekend) I can spend the entire day on FFXI, on weekdays or work days I'll only put a few hours into it. It all depends on what else I have planned for myself. Life >> FFXI so I have no set playtime.
How do you spend your time in game?
I used to be big on the end game and HNM scene, but with a new full time job as well as having gotten most of the things I wanted out of it I left most major events. Today I like to play ballista, craft, merit or farm. The only events I attend are Einherjar and Salvage plus the oddball assault, but I like it that way. I'm saving up for my Relic weapon upgrade too, but since I'm self funding it I have no idea when or if I'll ever finish it. Still, I love what I do, and I do what I love. What more could I ask for?
Do you craft? If so, what are your skill levels?
Do I craft you ask? That's a good one! Yes, I craft, and have been crafting since 2004. In my first social shell there was a tarutaru that was leveling Goldsmithing who taught me my love of the crystal, telling me how awesome it was at high levels. I took up crafting myself shortly thereafter, and followed in his footsteps and chose Goldsmithing too.. Looking back on it that wasn't the smartest decision at the time, because leveling it was more of a challenge than I could have ever imagined it to be, but it gave me something to focus my energies to. Over the next 3 years I continued to level my Goldsmithing, getting it to level 100 was a passion I would not give up on, and I finally hit level 100 in March of 2007, over 3 and a half years later. It really was the hardest thing I ever did, but the feeling of satisfaction was so worth it. I did this on a mule, and have since leveled Bonecraft to 100 on Melphina. I originally wanted to level all 8 crafts to 100, but I don't know if I could stomach the time requirement to do that. Still, I'm currently leveling Smithing as my third run to 100. Only time will tell if I can ever finish all of them.
Approximately how much of Vana'diel have you experienced?
I've experienced almost everything there is to experience. I've completed the Zilart and CoP storylines, almost finished ToAU storyline, defeated all the big baddies that anyone actually cares about, and crafted my way to 100 twice. However I have not done much in WoTG because I like to wait until the storyline is complete before undertaking it. I don't like the thought of doing a few missions then waiting two to three months to do a few more.. I'd rather be able to go straight from start to finish so I can enjoy it without worrying about forgetting what's happened up to this point in the story. When the WoTG story is completed, you can be sure I'll be running those missions as well.
What is your favorite expansion?
My favorite expansion is a toss up between Chains of Promathia and Treasuures of Aht Urghan. I finished CoP back before any of it was dummied down with my first social shell, BastokUNITE on the Unicorn server. Some of my fondest memories come from there, and the friendships I made will never be forgotten. I like ToAU for different reasons. I like the fast paced TP burn mentality introduced, it keeps me on my toes and my wits about me. In addition Salvage and Einherjar are awesome events. They're short and to the point, which is exactly what I like. Salvage in particular is a unique event unlike any other because of the dynamics of cells, and with the other things added I rate ToAU favorably.
What is your least favorite expansion?
My least favorite expansion is currently WoTG, but only because it's unfinished. I touched on this earlier. I don't like only being able to do small portions of something at a time. WoTG shows a great deal of potential though, from MMM to the future additions of campaign, and the zones are just so awesome. When WoTG is finished I'm sure I'll enjoy it just as much as I do the previous expansions.
How far have you progressed in missions?
I am Rank 10 in Bastok, CoP and Zilart are completed with my Apocalypse Nigh earring attained, my Mercenary Rank is First Lieutenant, working towards Captain and my ToAU mission is currently 35, “Legacy of the Lost”. I'm only on the second WoTG mission “Back to the Beginning” for reasons stated in previous answers.
What is your favorite zone?
Without question The Empyreal Paradox!! That is the most awesome area ever conceived. From the music to the background to the aura and mystique, the crystals to the battles you fight there, it is without a doubt my favorite zone. If only I could merit in there…
Who is your NPC hero and why?
My NPC hero? That would have to be Selh'teus. There is just something about him that makes him stand out from the crowd. It probably has to do with the latter CoP missions and his appearance in the cutscenes and during Apocalypse Nigh, but going into too much detail would just be giving plot spoilers, and we can't have that now can we?
If Shantotto was your mom, give a good excuse for coming home 6 hours after curfew.
I wouldn't have any excuses; I'd just present my will and prepare myself for the great beyond.
Describe your most memorable moment or proudest accomplishment in game.
This is a tricky one because there are so many of them. I'm particularly fond of the time I soloed Serket in Garlaige Citadel as well as when I crafted my Cursed Cap -1 and uncursed it into the extremely rare Hecatomb Cap +1. But I have so many other memorable moments that could fill this space that to list them all would take up too much room, so I'll just go with those.
What is the largest amount of gil you have ever had at one time, and how did you go about accumulating it?
The largest amount of gil I had was around the time of the first RMT mass banning that removed 300 billion gil from circulation around the end of 2005/early 2006. I had 58 million gil, which came from a few lucky breaks. At the time I was hard at work in leveling both my thief as well as my goldsmithing. My goldsmithing was in the high 70's and capable of HQing tier 3 gemstones. The bard JSE had recently come out, the Shikaree Manteel, and one of its ingredients was the sapphire. Blue rocks were going for 40k on auction house, and Sapphires were 2-2.5 million. I lucked out and got 3 of them in a week's time, selling them for 7 million gil. The other break came in the form of the recently added Mercurial Kris. I had gotten one from the fight for my thief which I sold in Batallia Downs for 50 million gil, and between that and the sapphires and a few other things I made, that was my largest sum of money ever.
What are some things you would change or implement in order to improve Final Fantasy XI?
Dynamis!! It's too darn long. Three and a half hours twice a week is too much to expect a player to devote for anything. In the time it takes me to do two dynamis runs I can do seven full salvages, fourteen full einherjars, and I bet 8-10 full limbuses. There is no reason I can foresee to have an event last for that long. Due to the mechanics of the way dynamis works if you don't stay the entire run you usually get shut out on drops to people with more time to devote. Granted this a result of the player base and the point systems devised, but I blame the design of the event over the players. After entering dynamis the first hour is fun, the second hour is ok, then after that I just want OUT and lose my energy to continue. The monotony of it gets to you after a while, and it's the one event I don't ever intend to return to. I got my set of thief relic armor, and even with increased droprates of the northlands the duration turns me off. I won't be returning.
However, other than dynamis it's hard to say. PvP could use a few tweaks, but it's difficult for me to come up with any ideas on how to do it. I don't have many other complaints with the game as it is. As long as no events are added with a time limit like that again, I like things just the way they are.
If you were stranded on Purgonorgo Isle what 5 items would you most want to have with you?
A box of catnip, my squeaky mousie, my summer swimsuit +1 armor to dig around in the sand with, a cluster of crystals to synthesize whatever I dig up, and a big blanket to fall asleep on when I'm done playing..
How do you describe Final Fantasy XI to your coworkers or computer-illiterate friends?
I don't even bother, since most of them wouldn't understand it. Besides, since I work in retail telling people who have no idea what the heck I'm talking about that “my job is a thief” would just sound awkward. I really don't think I could explain THAT even if I tried, so I just avoid it all together. It's probably for the best that way.
What is next for you in the world of Final Fantasy XI?
Tonight I'm going to be attending Salvage. I'm also leveling Ranger as my second job to 75 to help with Odin in my Einherjar shell. I also predict a lot more crafting and ballista in the future. After that, it's anybody's guess.
I'd like to thank all of my friends both in game and on the boards who helped me get to where I am today, as I could never have accomplished what I have without you. I began my journey in FFXI alone and unheard of. It was my friendships and experiences intertwined that allowed me to grow and become what I am today. I remember back when I was a newbie thief asking all the questions, when I didn't even understand Viper Bite, let alone know what Dancing Edge even was. I had a great deal of support from my social shells and my end game shells, and all the helpful people of Allakhazam who gave me advice from having been there before me. To try and name names would be unfair because I would leave too many of them out or end up with a list that would take too long to read, so I'll just say this.
Thank you to everyone in all of my linkshells who has ever helped me, supported me, given me ideas and advice, or even put me in my place if it had to be done. And thank you to all the Allakhazam posters I have ever interacted with, both positively as well as negatively, because each one of you has somehow impacted the way I view and react to things. My current state of being is a result of not only the good times I experienced, but the trials and hardships I encountered as well. If I could do it all again I wouldn't want to change a thing, because you never know what I may have missed out on.
With that said, I look forward to all the experiences the future holds. Here's to hoping for many more years of fun between all of us before we finally part ways.