Saturday, 16 June 2007

A Puppet's Slumber

Now this is a story all about how my life got flipped, turned upside down. I'd like to take a minute just sit right there, I'll tell you how I became the prince of a capital called Aht Urhgan:

The Puppetmaster job quest was incredibly enjoyable. I loved it. Instantly upon unlocking, I bought some level 1 gear and headed out to Ronfaure to do some soloing with my brand new Automaton, E100.

Why the name E100? Inspired by the Sonic series' E-100 type robots, I was instantly drawn to the name. I hope one day E100 will also become sentient and develop feelings of love to everyone around him!

But first, down to brass tacks. After some friendly chit chat, me and E100 got down to work!

Rabbits. As always I hate this part of a new job. However, with E100 spamming Dia, cure, and leaving all the punching to me, it was more than bearable. It was, for once, fun! Once I hit level 10, I headed back to Nashmau to pick up all the Tier I Attachments. I was amazed at how much power I could control once I had them all equipped...

The first frame I upgraded was Valoredge. Using Strobe, Flashbulb and Shock Absorber, I didn't even bother with making a party in Valkurm or Qufim. Yes, me and E100 duo'd all the way through those areas, all the way to level 25 and beyond. I think I got one or two Kazham parties, but even then, I would spend most of my time in Buburimu, either eating Bomb Tosses, or soft white sand. Lovely.

At level 20, I unlocked the Sharpshop frame. I skilled up its Ranged skill on those pesky rabbits, and when it was 10 levels before the cap, I used it in exp parties. Alternating between the Valoredge frame in order to keep those two skills capped!

At level 30, I finally unlocked my Stormwaker frame. The original Harlequin now lacking in melee and magical skill, I rotated between the three upgraded frames on my journey to level 35. Beetles in Sauromugue gave amazing exp and skillups while soloing. We even made some new friends, well, before plucking their transparent wings and showering them with Blizzard!

Being able to solo right outside Jeuno while looking for a group was always impossible for me. Until the Deactivate-Activate-Deploy (DAD) trick was discovered among the PUP community. Deactivating an Automaton at full HP reset Activate's timer, allow you to reactivate your automaton again with full MP, resulting in limitless MP and zero downtime for cures, a trick I still use to this day!

Level 45. I remember how boring these levels were on DRK, On PUP though, that wasn't the case. however, with soloing becoming near impossible with the Valoredge frame, I decided to start making my own parties. From level 45 onwards, we journeyed through Altepa and explored the Quicksand Caves, making loads of new friends along the way. Once I hit level 50, it was time to take the job one step further...

With no Artifact Armour quests for any of the three new jobs, we had to slog it out in Auction House equipment in Kuftal and Boyada. These places were our home until level 57, when the exp got a little dry, and party invites started to drop like flies. Maybe it was finally time to take E100 back to his roots and move to the new areas in and around Aht Urhgan?

From 55-65, E100 and I slowly uncovered the mysterious Wajoam Woodlands. Colibri, Tigers, Crawlers, and even Trolls fell to our combined power! Nothing could stop us!

Achieving level 60 was a huge accomplishment. During this time, Puppetmaster AF was finally introduced! The equipment came bundled huge improvements on Job Specific abilities and a whole bunch of Automaton bonuses. Things were really started heating up!

Sadly, the community wasn't having any of it. PUP's lack of Hand to hand skill, STR equipment, and massive Martial Arts delay meant it was an awful job to bring to exp parties. But I never let that stop me. Other players didn't - and to this day, still don't - realise PUP's full potential as both a solo and party job!

Much like BST and DRG, one has to combine both Pet and master damage to see the full picture, and at level 70, that picture was a pretty one. With a plethora of new attachments, PUP was capable of soloing even the toughest of battlefields. Including the new ENM60 areas.

Don't get me wrong, on my first try, I failed miserably. But, practice makes perfect. Heck, I won easily and even got the new Drum Magazine attachment to drop on my third attempt!

Using PUP for events such as NM camping for Fortei, coffer key grabbing for LS members, or even just running errands, me and E100 were inseparable. To quote a certain Taru: "You look stupid as hell, but, that AF and your abilities are beginning to grow on me...".

Even convincing one other player PUP was a great job pushed me to get level 75 faster than ever before.

At 72, I came back to where it all began in Bastok, in order to test my skills by taking on the level 70 limit break battle. Since I beat Maat already on DRK, I didn't need to do this, but wanted to prove to myself that I, and E100, could!

With one win under my belt, the road to 75 was straight ahead. Burning one or two levels a day, and counting down the remaining days until my summer holidays were over, me and E100 travelled the world and took in all the beautiful sights Aht Urhgan had to offer; Caedavra Mire, Mamook, Halvung, heck, we even paid our good old friends Cerberus and Jaded Jody a little visit!

With Accuracy, Attack and STR gear now equippable, and the Target Marker attachment working overtime to raise E100's incredibly poor accuracy, me and my automaton were on fire. Every level taught me something new about each frame; Valoredge could pull, tank, and even stun TP moves with Shield Bash. Stormwaker kept me buffed and kept the enemies enfeebled, and Sharpshot made sure nothing lived longer than 15 seconds.

Heck, E100 could even land hits on mobs that even my DRK would miss, though that isn't saying much.

Before long, all our hard work paid off. Earlier today, I finally hit 75 and got myself Dragon Kick. All that's left is to cap all of E100's skills one last time, and upgrade him to his fullest potential with the newly introduced merits.

In a way, I'm pretty sad it's over. But you can't keep levelling forever, right? Sure you've reached the end, but at the end of the day, it's just a bunch of numbers. There's lots of more things for us to learn and experience, they journey has just begun!

In closing, I'm proud of myself for getting this job to 75 in such a short time, especially with all the negativity spiralling around it. people need to chill out. PUP is a fun job, and in a videogame, fun is all the matters.

...and we really had a lot of fun, didn't we, E100? Here's to the future, and beyond!