There comes a time in every Adventurer's life when the Final Fantasy storyline MUST be completed. This gruelling and unfortunate experience is one of the many arduous necessities of the game that must be completed in order for your character to become anything in FFXI. So this week, the focus will be Chains of Promathia (often abbreviated CoP, or PM). This expansion was released in the United States in Fall 2004, being the second expansion in the existence of FFXI. Though no new jobs were added to the game, a new endgame area called Al'Taieu, or Sea was premiered in this expansion, which is home to quite possibly the most difficult HNM to defeat in the entire game, Absolute Virtue.
Sadly, just like almost everything else featured in FFXI, completing CoP, to acquire Sea, and all of the other goodies is going to take hard work, time, and many other resources that hardly seem worth it for all you people out there just starting up the missions. The unfortunate (or fortunate, depending on youe perspective) truth is that all of the hard work, effort, sweat, tears, etc, is worth it, and any player that doesn't take the time to complete CoP will regret not having access to the endgame delights of Sea. This is where I come in; not to give you a meticulous step-by-step walkthrough of each mission, complete with exact details straight down to the appropriate time to take a bathroom break, or to wipe the sweat off your forehead (a wonderful website called FFXIclopedia will do a better job than I ever could, anyways), I'm here to give you some useful information that you need, and some helpful tips needed to help you grind down and man your way through CoP!
First, make sure you have Chains of Promathia installed and registered on your account. Okay, I'm going to give you the benefit of the doubt, and assume that your brain has the mental capabilities to understand and complete this step without further expansion on the topic.
Okay, so more seriously now, the first and most important tip I can give you is to have a steady foundation and an established character before even attempting to complete CoP, or any set of missions, for that matter. If you don't have at least one job to 75, I advise you stop reading right now, get on the game, play until you do, and then come back. Seriously, CoP is filled with complex and demanding missions that pretty much require you to have at least one 75 job, if not more. Not just for the maturity, and skill for the game that you develop subconsciously through countless EXP parties, but also by providing your party with versatility needed to meet the constant demands that each and every mission brings, plus, already having a 75 job prevents the constant interruptions that would occur when the level cap raises, and you're left with the task of levelling your job up in order to catch up with everyone else.
Now, there are primarily two ways to complete CoP: Either stand in Whitegate for hours upon hours shouting, at the mercy of other people to help you, or, the more viable solution, create a static. You can either create a static, or join one, though I like to make sure things work correctly, and if you're anything like me, you'll just end up making one too. So you've never made a static before, and you're obviously scared, not knowing if you'll do a good job or sink completely? Don't worry, I'm still here for you, and I'll list a couple of things to consider when creating a static to ensure that it dominates CoP with authority.
First, when recruiting people, make sure that they have a viable schedule that corresponds with yours; your best friend in the whole wide world may be on the same exact mission as you, and you guys want to static together, however, if your schedules are too conflicting, and a weekly time cannot be established, then it is best to leave your friend for someone else with a more available schedule. It sounds harsh, and probably is, but the truth is that if you want to get done with CoP without frustration and complete at least one mission on a weekly basis, then it is best to pick static-mates that have similar schedules to you.
Another equally important factor is the language barrier that exists in Final Fantasy, and the importance of being able to understand each other in a static. Be sure to recruit members that fluently speak the same language as you. Be it Portuguese, French, or Pig-Latin, it is imperative that everyone speaks the same language. If not, obvious flaws are immediately detected. As expected of yourself, make sure that members of your static have multiple 75 jobs, for versatility, and make sure that you have a defined tank, healer, etc from the start. Exchanging phone numbers is also very practical, not for prank calling, but to keep in contact with people, and to be able to call them if they happen to miss/skip a mission. It is also a good idea to either use an empty Linkshell, or create your own CoP static shell, which allows you to /lsmes the established times, with any side notes; items people will need to bring, list possible time changes and/or cancellations in the static for that particular week, that kind of thing.
The last bit of advice that I can give you is to be heartless, yet fair. It's unfair and the static as a whole suffers if one person consistently skips your static for something else. You need to show people that you're serious about finishing CoP, and warn them about their absences, and if that particular player still decides to ditch your sessions, then don't think twice about kicking him from your static. There are plenty of people out there willing to fill his/her spot in order to finish CoP. As a little last note, remember not to be too hard on yourself. FFXI is a game full of hits or misses, and your static will have its share of misses, trust me. Don't worry about this, and more importantly, don't yell at people, as this will only make them upset. If and when you fail, remember that you failed as a team, so get up, dust yourself off, and succeed as a team.
Completing CoP missions is going to be very time consuming and difficult. Did you just get laid off of your job? Good, then this is a perfect time to start up your static! Just remember to set aside a chunk of your Gil dedicated solely to completing CoP, as there are many small items you'll need to pickup along the way. Also, if possible, try not to sell your lower-level gear, as you'll just end up re-purchasing it for all of the level-capped BCNM and Boss fights. Now it's time to take in all that I've told you, breathe a deep-breath, and login to FFXI, knowing that you are ready to take on this massive feat.