Monday, September 13, 2010

The world after "AF3": Samurai

Version update came around 5 days ago and introduced the Empyrean Armor which everyone is referring to as AF3 (as that is what someone from the dev team called it in an interview). The moment DAT miners found the stats on these people's minds have been continually blown. I'm trying to make sense of the implications as it's now pretty clear how attainable these new pieces of armor are.

Like many people I've been spamming the Cookbook quest in Abyssea Misareaux for seals. I've gotten the base armor pieces from the Bastion (Legs) and Cruor (Head) NPC's and started the Magian trials on both. Feet base pieces come from Gold Pyxis in the zones where those jobs' other pieces are purchasable, meaning SAM feet base armor comes from Vunkerl. After about 12 or 13 repetitions of the cookbook quest (can be repeated in 3 to 4 minutes) I ended up with 3 WHM, 3 THF, 2 BST and 1 SAM. People seemed to think there are patterns, but I believe it's completely random. As a result I think SAM legs +1 are just a matter of time and perseverance. I have yet to see SAM head seals reported from a quest in Attohwa, but at least we know that's where they come form. Seals from quests are grouped into 4 jobs per quest regardless of zone and one equipment slot per Scars zone (Misa: legs, Atto: head, Vunk: feet). Killing NM's is going to give better results when doing it in a group. Jewels and such come from higher tier NM's in Scars areas, which means there's little chance of doing them solo.

Double Rainbow. What does it mean?
Well, the Unkai+1 (Samurai) pieces are good enough as is that they make new and more optimal setups possible. Both Store TP and Haste on head and leg armor pieces is something we clearly haven't had before and it makes for great TP pieces. Together with a 5 Store TP jump on the Magian weapon makes a 5-hit trivial to attain. So far I've been rocking Hachiman body and gloves, which is pretty good in low buff situations where accuracy isn't an issue.

At 464 delay you need a total of 64 Store TP to get 20 TP per hit. You can use this tool I made for other situations. Twenty is needed every swing to get 100 in 5 hits. You can check the math! Now any SAM that cares about strengthening their job will have or be working on maxing Store TP merits, which will put them at 35 Store TP from the Job Trait alone. Add a Rajas, which is almost standard issue nowadays and you're left with 24 Store TP to make up. Store TP Magian weapon now gives 10 Store TP and the head and legs Unkai+1 add up to another 10 and Brutal (which is both a good WS and TP piece) give 1 Store TP. This leaves 3 Store TP to complete the 5-hit. If you are aiming for the Unkai+2 (and don't care about the meantime) or have Usukane feet, you can skip the next part.

Completing the 5-hit
The easiest and simplest way to finish the 5-hit would be a Rose Strap, but there are other options like a Goading Belt, a pair of Ace's Sabatons, Askar Korazin, Hachiman Domaru, Hachiman Sun-ate. Some of these aren't very good at all, but I'm trying make a point. My point is that there are a lot of possible 5-hit builds depending on what's available to you. Also, don't forget to factor in how much Store TP you want to WS in. You can drop below 64 Store TP as long as you make up the difference in the 4 TP swings.

If NO gear is out of the question
When you're counting Store TP of your gear and are easily surpassing 64 because you are 1337 and have amazing gear, then I hate you! Your options to 5-hit are not limited to the Store TP Magian weapon. With Unkai+2 head/legs and Usukane body/feet you're looking at 28 Store TP from those slots alone. With another 11 you can even 5-hit a 450 delay weapon. However, if you're this decked out you would likely be interested in 5-hitting the "Occasionally Attacks Twice" Magian weapon, which is now so easy you don't even need Rajas.

How about a 437 GK? Masamune's low delay is amazing for it's melee DPS. It would be unfortunate to give up WS DPS by taking longer to build 100 TP. The same thing goes for the STR Great Katana. The crazy thing is that with the proper gear and possibly Carbonara the 81 Store TP needed to 5-hit it is actually already available. I'm going to refrain from doing the math on this extreme situation since it's likely to be refined in future updates and involves too many changes in stats which is likely to mess up the accuracy of my calculation.

Weapsonskill Damage Keitonotachi+1
A 5-hit is all well and good, but there ARE sacrifices in WS damage and accuracy and haste during the TP phase. Add to that the fact that the WS damage counterpart of Keitonotachi now has a generic boost of 10% to ALL weaponskills, then the 5-hit option for the average Samurai loses much of its shine. When fighting tough mobs the sacrifice of accuracy in giving up is costly. When fighting tough mobs while hasted by magic spells, sambas and Hasso the sacrifice of Haste on gear is even more costly. The Weaponskill damage +10% option is trivial to 6-hit, leaving room for as much accuracy and haste as you can find including the use of Pole Grip. When fighting tough mobs this weapon seems to take the lead.

Fire/STR Hyogugusarinotachi+1
It's considered the second best non-"relic" option after OAT Great Katana. I recently parsed it and it lost to a 5-hit Keito build in a capped acc low-buff situation. However, that comparisson doesn't really do it justice. A 6-hit build with this weapon (437 delay) should come at little sacrifice with the new Unkai+1 pieces.

That's all fine, but what should I pick?
Backed up with my trusty Damage Calculation spreadsheet and a hypothetical situation and guesstimations of pdif and gear stats I'd rank the easily obtainable weapons as follows:

6-hit STR Hyogugu+1 and 6-hit WS+10% Keito+1 are too close to call
Both allow for the same amount of Haste while the higher accuracy of the Keito build can let it outparse the STR weapon when you're uncapped. When your accuracy IS capped, the STR GK wins on paper.

The 5-hit Store TP Keito is the clear loser in any uncapped and buffed situation
Its sacrifice in Haste and accuracy are what do it in. Why then did my last entry said it won a parse. The short answer is: "I'm not entirely sure". The long answer is that the increased Meditate efficiency is very strong, but when plugging in my adjusted WS-Rates into my spreadsheet the difference is small but STILL in favor of the STR Great Katana. So, something in practice is different than my assumptions and estimations in the spreadsheet. I have yet to figure out exactly which factors are causing this relatively large discrepancy. I say "large" because even when messing around with my fSTR and pdif numbers the STR GK should never lose according to my own calculations. Perhaps the increased Meditate efficiency when I "discovered" it made me pay better attention to the timer as well as my gear swaps and general playstyle. This could have skewed it enough to make the GK win. I'm starting to see why people disapprove of parses as "evidence", but it's still worth confirming your hunches.

This is what the numbers vaguely look like. I'd like to add that I find any difference smaller than 2% to be too-close-to-call.

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