Lots of updates.
For last couple weeks, I've been saving up and spending my money on getting my character access to sky. ZM 4 and 5 were long but ZM6, 8, and 12 were push overs.
Few tips. Bring your patience and time for all the missions. Be forgiving if someone makes a mistake. Lastly, Bring Echo drops for all the fights.
Before you begin, try to get most of the outpost warps donw as soon as possible. I would say level 60+ can solo all of this no problem.
ZM4 - Try to gather a full alliance to travel down here. I was lucky enough to hear a /shout in Jeuno to get into this party. I was lucky enough for 2 Expert players to light all 4 torches. Ever since that run, I've managed to open the Gates to BCNM area with just 2-3 lanterns when people were thinking it was hopeless. BTW, the flames on the first map is the only one able to open the gate. The Crimson or other colour flames will make your unlit lantern useless. NMs are easy. Just need AoE sleep and tank need to grab hate as much as possible for all 3 NMs.
ZM5 - Solo the ones you can. You can save Quicksand Caves until NM fights. Try to avoid join last minute shout parties unless there are more than 6 people. I would have to say Ifrit's Hell is hardest place to get through. About 20-40 min travel time. Requires at least 2 stacks of invisble and silent oils for melees. Mages should bring at least a stack, because the bombs in the area aggro by magic. The big room with the wyverns sometimes have the NM in there. It uses a move called Draw In often, which sucks you in from even far distance to right where the NM is.
Once you get to the NM fights, be patient and if you are fighting in small party, use sneak and pull with a range method.
ZM6 - Echo drops are a must for magic/ninjutsus/sing/summon casters. AoE Sleeper is a must. 3 NMs have jobs and may use the 2HR matching the job. Takes about 4-5 min to kill each nm.
There is a move that petrifies you. WHM should cast stona on the Tank ASAP.
ZM8 - I've heard horror stories about this NM. But really a push over. It has dispelga and some AoE stuff, but most dangerous thing is the hate reset move. I've had the NM run to mages 3 times, everytime right after the hate reset move. As a PLD, I tried to save my vokes and Flash as much as possible and relied on my cures and enmity to grab onto my hate.
ZM12 - This dude wasn't easy as people mentioned. Maybe I was tanking him wrong ><. Casted Tier 3 magics 3 times in a row to bring me down to the red. But I had high potions, flash and spaming cures as much as possible. Didn't take long, but only NM that brought me down to red HP in the run upto Sky. Sky is a sweet play ground. Try to avoid use magic and avoid weapons as much as possible when you first get here. Now I need to find a HNMLS that will take a meat shield. CoP 2-3 was a great run. About half the alliance died, but it wasn't a total wipe and it wasn't as hard as people mentioned. Best thing I got from this run is the Pisces Subligar. My character looked like he was wearing briefs.
Anyways, the item can be traded in for a JSE. I chose Parade Cuirass.
It's going to come in handy for level 50 cap event in later CoP missions.
I'll post some pics I've got.
These images were taken from FFXI.ALLAKHAZAM.COM, good place to research for items and crafting.