First off, I made a merchant account just for having overcharge and discount, mainly for selling stuff. While in the middle of rummaging through all of my stuff I accidentally opened the halter lead rental box for Shia, so I randomly had a fancy big mount that I didn't do anything with, lol.
So I finally had enough skill points to not only get spell fist lvl 10, but also get all of the prereqs and finally get to summon ventus! Unfortunately, in order to summon the elementals, you need specific catalysts. Fortunately, they're not too bad to farm at all -- for the Wind of Verdure catalyst, simply go outside the kiel dungeon and farm some Grand Pecos -- they drop them pretty often, and I'm able to one-shot them with spellfist.
So now I've got a lvl 1 Ventus summon following me around! It may not look like much, but Ventus at lvl 1 actually provides some VERY nice buffs to you:
In passive mode, it gives +5 ASPD, decreases your fixed cast time by 1 second, and increases lightning bolt damage. That +5 ASPD might not seem like much, but together with the buffs from Canterlot (Hinamizawa's priest slave) as well as concentration/awakening potions, I get to hit 192 ASPD (almost capped), so I attack REALLY fast.
In defensive mode, it gives a whopping +100% movement speed, AND a whopping +50% flee!
I was previously having a ton of trouble with the Scarabas that we needed to hunt 400 of as part of the next tier of Gramps quests. You need some 430 flee or something in order to have a 95% dodge rate against these guys, and even with maxing out my AGI at 130 I only had ~350 or so, so not really enough to save me from getting whacked a bunch and dying real fast.
BUT, with lvl 1 Ventus toggled on defensive mode, not only do I run around like sonic, but the +50% flee means I can actually just dodge most of their attacks! I still have to be careful as there seem to be some skills that hit anyways (plus there's always that 5% chance of hitting), but it was much, much, much more doable now.
So we spent some time finishing up hunting the Scarabas and Nagas for the Gramps quest. It went relatively quickly, even though every once in a while I'd die, usually due to Ventus running out of SP for defensive mode, or having died or expired, or some other random reason. Still, though, with this new asset in my arsenal, this was going way faster than the previous Gramps quest.
After all that I had hit lvl 133, and I decided to take a break from questing to go do some fashioning. I hadn't really looked through the color palettes since I had ascended to being a sorcerer, so I decided to try and see if I could find something that really looked nice. Unfortunately the sage outfit is kinda.....not super great for this just due to its design, but there's still a couple of pretty reasonable options.
I thought I'd go for something teal-ish at first, kind of like what I already had. I also found this strikingly neon blue hairstyle:
In the end, though, I actually figured out that having reddish-orange hair, combined with purple for the outfit, seemed to really work, especially considering the golden feathers on my headgear. I dressed up Shia to match:
To celebrate my new color scheme, I decided to go on a hunt for a good spot to do a nice photo shoot. I ended up finding this place, at @go 30, which had a great complementary color scheme. Shia looks especially cute here:
And here's a photo of our entire group.
In the meantime, Hinamizawa had actually gotten an "Elemental Origins" book from his Rough Ridge quest farming. This is actually one of the best books for my build, as it increases the damage of bolt spells (and thus, both autocast and spellfist damage) by a percentage amount (even more if refined to a high level). I wanted to refine that a bit, as well as some of my armor, just for some extra stats. Unfortunately I needed more Oridecon, so I went off to Magma Dungeon F1 to go hunt for some rough oridecon drops. I've heard that the other drops from Magma Dungeon sell for reasonable prices as well.
And here's my shiny new +5 Elemental Origin!
Next we decided to tackle the Airship Assault instance. This is a quest where you go aboard an Airship, fight a bunch of monsters, and then a miniboss and boss at the end. We had no idea how easy or hard it was going to be, but we knew that the airship armor set is really good for us, providing some nice bonuses, so we wanted to try it. It's also a daily repeatable quest.
The mobs actually turned out to be pretty easy and straightforward here, and even the miniboss was pretty trivial to take down.
Actually, the MVP boss himself was kind of trivial here as well. I don't think he even really did any damage to us, though I'm not sure if maybe that's just because I was too busy dodging all of his shots while pummeling him to death with books and bolts.
Unfortunately we didn't manage to get any of the drops we're looking for (they have a low % chance drop rate from each enemy killed) so we'll have to go and try this again.
In the meantime we decided to poke around at some other instance quests, like Old Glast Heim:
Here in the first section there's a bunch of these undead knight things that spawn. If you wait a while the NPC just kills them all for you, but supposedly it's better to take them down yourself so that you get better drops. Unfortunately, they were way too strong for us...so the NPC came and eliminated them all instead...
We were doing fine proceeding through with the normal enemies on the quest...then you go to this section on the right where there's a bunch of dead bodies lying on the floor. The idea here is that you need to avoid stepping near the dead bodies, otherwise you get swarmed by a bunch of maggot enemies. Unfortunately with Hinamizawa not actually understanding this mechanic, and with both my slave and my summon autofollowing me around, a mistake was bound to happen, and.....
Swarm of maggots.
Last thing we decided to try was the Geffen magic tournament. I didn't have too high hopes for this one, as the equips take a LONG time to grind out (you have to do the quest a lot of times...), but I did want to see how fast it would be / how difficult, just in case. One of the rewards is a neat book that you can actually wield as a =shield= (how cool would that be, whacking someone with a book while blocking with another book?).
After sitting through this lengthy cutscene just to get a magic buff (don't know if worth.....), it was onto the actual tournament...
The tournament is a series of 1 on 1 fights. My build is a lot stronger now, but unfortunately my FLEE-based defense wasn't always cutting it. Specifically, against anything magic, I can't just dodge storm gusts and cold bolts, for example. I'm not actually tanky at all besides my physical dodge rate, so anything that =does= hit me actually chunks me quite a bit. To make matters worse, most of these enemies are quite tanky.
Specifically, this Crusader in round 6, takes forever to get down, and also uses Grand Cross, which was my downfall.
All that and I only got 11 magic tournament coins (you need 900), so......yeah, probably not.
Good questing sessions, and I'm feeling happier than ever about my build. It's quite fun watching dozens of fire bolts rain down from the sky as I whack people for 5k damage with my book really really fast.
I haven't actually tried the level 3 Ventus summon, as it's actually LESS good for defense, but it is better for DPS as in addition to the 5 ASPD it also offers a random chance to cast lightning bolts (on top of everything else that's already being autocasted). Nice.
I was pretty doubtful at first about how effective this weird build would be, but it looks like it's actually all coming together now!