I can remember one time in particular, involving a fight to the death with everyone's favorite summon from FFVIII, Diabolos, where I spent every class wanting nothing more than to go home and turn the game back on. By the time I was back home, I was already rummaging through the names of my friends list to see if anyone was online, only to find the man responsible for perhaps one of the greatest stories I have yet to tell.
“Dude, Ark, that shit was crazy last night!”
“…What are you talking about?”
“The Diabolos fight. You saved us. We set a server record!”
“…Man I was so high last night. What happened?”
I played Final Fantasy XI for 4 years, since the beginning of its PS2 launch (Asura server, a level 75 Samurai named Bunnie – yes, Bunnie, it’s a long story). I had the PS2 HDD, mainly for the SOCOM II maps that you had to hunt down on a disc that came with OPM, and to install Resident Evil: Outbreak, hoping it’d make the game at least a little more bearable (hint: it didn’t). I dropped over 530 days worth of play time before I gave up the game, back during when it was a son of a bitch that spat upon anybody carrying on them notions of “going alone” or “having fun” while playing it. The fun of the game came from being ground up and tossed about – if you could survive it, then that was where the fun came. It was a hard, stupid game that made you work for everything. At the same time, you also appreciated everything, and it made all the high, end-level stuff more prestigious than soloing for it like in other MMOs.
I spent a lot of time with a Red Mage by the name of Arkan. We both were pretty active in the end game scene, and were rather top players in our respective jobs (if I may say so myself). We also got along great. We’d hop from Linkshell to Linkshell, joining different guilds but always ending up together and spending our free time doing shit. His real name was very similar to that of a certain fast food personality, and we used to call him Cheddar Bacon just for laughs.
On top of being an awesome guy and an astounding Red Mage, he was also one of the biggest potheads I have ever met. By the age of 25, he sounded like Louis Armstrong with a pretzel caught in his throat. The man couldn’t cook anything for his life unless he was putting weed into it. But he was hilarious nonetheless, and I always enjoyed his antics.
I also enjoyed how he became a fucking God whenever he was high as a kite. As someone who has never smoked marijuana before, and really has never had an interest in partaking in recreational drugs, I must say: that shit honed him like a Tibetan monk. You would think it’d be the opposite, but it turned him into Luke Skywalker when it came time to get things done.
A lot of people criticized FFXI for its grueling leveling, its harsh exp penalties, and its forced group play. One thing it doesn’t get a lot of credit for are its story and its missions. They’re not just WoW-like quests where you talk to some NPC, fetch some crap, and then get some gold – they’re full-fledged cutscenes with recurring characters and plot arcs. It has a Final Fantasy-caliber plot, and if I am allowed to say so: the greatest Final Fantasy story ever told (though this is an unfair accolade as its plot is gigantic and ever expanding). Its missions are elaborate and theatric, with fights aboard airships against Ultima and Omega one moment to even duking it out with Bahamut himself the next.
One includes Diabolos. Who is an asshole. He can randomly absorb a certain amount of damage from time to time, and he can cast an array of dark magic such as bio and blind. He has a move called Nightmare, with puts everyone around him to sleep while also eating away at their HP. You fight him atop a floating plane with segments that randomly fall out from under you. He packs an additional move called Camisado, which can knock you off and instantly kill you. He’ll also drain everyone’s HP around him if he’s feeling a little thirsty from all the ass whipping he’s dealing out.
The key to beating him is being able to spot when he’s about to belt out something wicked, and stunning him accordingly. This requires near perfection, as it only takes one Nightmare to end the whole charade as he then picks off your team one by one.
Suffice to say, me and my party didn’t exactly nail it on our first try.
Or our second. Or our third. Or our ninth.
So we called Arkan for some help. We went back and escorted him through the proceeding dungeon, until we had regrouped at the chamber to face off against the prick for the 10th straight time. Long story short: shit hit the fan right as Diabolos was about to die. We either had people dead asleep or dead on the floor below.
Except Cheddar Bacon.
I can get into the details of just what he did, but only the people stupid enough to play FFXI for more than a day would understand what I was saying. Simply put: he managed to stun and evade every attack that came his way while jumping and dodging each evaporating tile in a sadistic game of Twister long enough to cut his balls off and feed them back to the thing.
All while we were either in a dying slumber or strewn along the floor underneath him like a kicked rug.
Suddenly, the fighting stopped. Everyone put away their weapons, the screen turned black, and a new cutscene played. The chat log then filled with a jubilant fanfare of OMG’s, WTF’s, and enough Yeses to put a porn star to shame. We then left the arena, quickly healed ourselves of all the damage and status ailments, and huddled about outside for a good 5 or 10 minutes talking about what we just saw. It was a long night – longer than I should have been awake for, once again. The energy was still pumping in us though. Why stop now? Let’s go do more missions! To which the conversation then turned to Arkan:
“Nah…I think I’m gonna go smoke another bowl. I’ll catch you guys tomorrow.”
We stood and stared at each other for a few moments after he signed off, somewhat unsure if we’d make it without him, but more unsure of what had happened.
Until we realized he single handily won that fight while stoned off his ass.
can cause it. You can fix it by adding *.disqus.com to your whitelists.