Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Physical damage reduction and Soulsaber

I started a sword trial (of the Magians) because I wanted to eventually get my hands on the -5% physical damage taken (pdt) Soulsaber. Between work and events I don't see myself having time to finish this any time soon, but I'll get there eventually. I was convinced this sword would add a lot to my style of play. However, I started doubting my decision yesterday as I finally finished the first trial (164) killing leeches under weather effects outside Nashmau. What does 5% pdt mean in the grand scheme of things, and what does it mean for my personalized style of play?

For PLD there is disagreement as to how useful it is. How much is 1% pdt worth? That depends on how much you get hit for and how much pdt you had before adding that 1%. PLD's these days seem to go for Ninja sub in most situations where there is only one target to be tanked. Of course it varies, but I'd say you can assume you get hit with physical hits at least half as often as you would without shadows. If the difference is smaller then I'd wager Ninja sub isn't the optimal sub for that situation. So, 5% really becomes ~2%. Add to that the fact that on anything you can melee, you're giving up damage and enmity from more frequent Atonement usage if you own a Joyeuse. However, if you're on Paladin tanking multiple mobs it becomes way more interesting. Like negative enmity, magic damage taken and haste, every point you add is worth slightly more than the previous. So, pdt Soulsaber's optimal usage would be shadowless tanking (think campaign, or fast hitting mobs) with an already decent pdt set. My Paladin can't really get a lot of pdt outside Campaign Battle (only Jelly Ring and no Valhalla or Defending Ring), so I wouldn't get much use out of it as I also prefer to go to Campaign on Red Mage. Which brings me to what the sword would add for me personally.

I LOVE pdt. Currently it only plays a part in how I play Red Mage. I find it comforting to know I can swap it in for emergencies or when kiting. The main thing that attracted me to the pdt Soulsaber is the fact that it can be equipped by a RDM, while the only comparable sword (Hauteclaire) can not. I see it as a way to put away my Terra's Staff in exchange for melee damage and shield procs while at the same time only giving up 5% pdt (Genbu's Shield = 10% pdt). What does this change? For damage taken overall there are several things to consider besides the 5% pdt. Shield proc's mitigate damage and 2 handed weapons supposedly get a parry proc rate boost. For damage dealt there is just too much to consider, most of which has to do with the target mob and your party's setup.

As I try to justify these time consuming trials I realize "blood" tanking has become quite better over time with additions to gear and after the introduction of Blue Mage (Cocoon). There's an extreme example of a PLD/RDM soloing Voluptuous Vivian, a level 80 NM. A slightly less pimped out Paladin could solo Operation Desert Swarm (KSNM30 with 6 scorpions). I'm sure if you spent some time in Campaign Battles you've seen a Paladin tanking a whole train of mobs indefinitely. If you are impressed by these things (some will immidiately aggro such a topic with arguments as "it's all gear, no skill") you realize it's not something any job can do "out of the box". Since I've already spent the time and gil on a pdt set for Red Mage, I'm willing to go that extra bit further to open up new possibilities in how I play this game.

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