Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Back into the grind

I decided to level Dark Knight not too long ago. The reason was my sudden interest in DD tanking. Even though I have SAM, the recent examples of people tanking on DRK using Absorb TP to limit mobs' TP usage got me very excited. The thought of holding hate with damage and Job Abilities and spells that would normally get you killed if your intention was NOT to get hate, putting shadows back up with the help of Stun spell and Weapon Bash, these all attracted me to the job. Unfortunately, as I am leveling the job I'm starting to doubt my decision.

What situations does a DRK tank shine in? First of all I'd say a DD tank is only really necessary or smart if you're trying to optimize a setup to lower numbers. You put two tasks on one player, freeing up a spot for another. Secondly and more specific to DRK itself, even if fully debuffed for slow attack speed, DRK will probably need a co-tank for when it takes damage and needs to put shadows back up. What's the preferred co-tank? Another DRK I would say. Only very frequent usage of Absorb TP will produce the result you're looking for when it comes to TP ability restriction. Everytime you hit the mob with a scythe you're going to give it your TP + 3 which for a scythe is a pretty big chunk per hit (though still better than low delay weapons). Even though it'll take about 20-30 seconds for the mob to get more than 100 TP, you won't be able to spam Absorb TP as soon as it's up everytime. Since you can't absorb more than 50% of the target's TP you're looking at a decrease in totale time to 100 TP. Assuming 2 melees which spend some time casting spells, I think an average of 20 seconds per 50 TP gained is pretty decent estimate. So that means two well buffed (haste) DRK's or you're not getting the full benefit. Thirdly, DRK tank only works on something that doesn't need high survivability and can me meleed reliably. The fact that I don't know any other DRK that would like to undertake this challenge/experiment coupled with the fact that the groups I do things with generally have the same people tanking each time makes me think I jumped the gun on deciding to level this job. Overall I've enjoyed playing DRK though.

The grind itselt is a pain and I wish it would be over faster. I'm sitting at 61 now and the last party I had didn't break 8k per hour. Fighting Colibri or with a RDM lets me use spells a lot which makes DRK a lot more enjoyable and exp'ing a LOT less boring. Mobs usually get 2 TP moves off before 25% where they spam TP moves as soon as they have enough TP. It's a risk to wait but if you get Absorb TP off right before they think of using it can get you 50-70 TP which totally makes up for the melee time lost using spells. Stun when healer gets hate and weapon bash to put up Ichi. All these things keep you busy in ways that spamming WS macro can not.

I know that making an LS party or making your own party is always better than LFP'ing for an eternity. I know this and yet I still do the latter purely out of laziness. The last random invite I got had a pt disbanding as I got there and after using my EXP band. Needless to say I was pissed. Made my own pt with a SCH from my LS and salvaged what would have otherwise been a shitty afternoon. Also, I pt'd with several Japanese this weekend and even though I had a very hard time communicating when we were looking for a camp, it all worked out. Japanese players have always kind of intimidated me because I hate those awkward situations where you have no idea how to use Auto-translate to say what you want to say. In the end unless something out of the ordinary happens, everyone knows what to do (you hope) so there's no real reason to be scared of inviting them to join your party. If you can't handle the occasional screw-up then you shouldn't be leading. More importantly, if you can't control your own playtimes or ask how long people are staying before getting a replacement, you should never ever make exp parties.

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