Monday, November 22, 2010

Farming Abyssea

By now most people must have heard about Fell Cleave burn parties. It was only a matter of time, really. Like Cyclone, Aeolian Edge, Earth Crusher and other AoE weaponskills, the damage or accuracy of Fell Cleave does not scale depending on the number of mobs affected. This is similar to how Astral Burns worked, because Astral Flow bloodpacts share this property. In fact, it seems like BLM AoE nukes are more of an exception than the rule. So, looking at how popular Astral Burns were before Abyssea came along and the similar underlying principles, it seems less surprising that such a method would arise after SE introduced the strongest physical AoE weaponskill yet.

It's not just Fell Cleave itself that makes Cleave Burning efficient. There's the surviving all the mobs hitting you as well as being able to kill them within a reasonable time. Retaliation makes it so that getting TP for more weaponskills is a non-issue. Restore boxes allow you to have Mighty Strikes up for many if not all of the pulls, making the time actually fighting the mobs very short. With 2hr up, a pair of good Atmas and a decent WS build 2.000 damage is quite achievable and would kill the majority of mobs in 3 weaponskills. The more mobs hitting the warrior, the quicker he'll get TP from retaliation procs. However, the more mobs the more defensive measures are needed.

For defense I've heard mention of Perfect Defense. I don't have any experience with the buff, so I can't say how effective it actually is. Apparently it gives a lot of breathing room, but there's still a small chance of not getting a restore chest and having to farm for one (or Revitalizer). Albeit a small chance with large enough pulls and only capped Amber and Azure lights, it's something to consider.

Cleave burning without a SMN
What are the alternatives for surviving the train? A "solution" that requires you to sacrifice some efficiency would be to do smaller pulls and cure-bomb the warrior. There is some room for the WAR to use some defensive gear while not requiring a larger number of WS to kill. However, with a smaller number of mobs per pull, you'll have slightly more down time per killed mob and less of a guarantee at restore chests. Without Mighty Strikes up the pull takes longer and that means a greater risk of failure.

Something I haven't seen mentioned before, but seems like a strong alternative: WAR/PLD using Sentinel. If three to four weaponskills is enough to kill the train of mobs and getting 100% TP almost instantly, the effect of Sentinel could be less than half-way over by the time all mobs are dead.

Accessioned Phalanx and Phalanx2, food and other buffs all help you along and there are a lot of options available. At this time I think the most minimalist way of doing a Cleave Burn without depending on restore boxes or meds is a duo of a WAR/PLD and a RDM/SCH.

The mob you're targeting obviously influences your efficiency. The ideal Cleave mob:
  1. Aggros sound and/or links
  2. Has weak or no TP abilities at all
  3. Does not cast magic spells
  4. Has low HP
  5. Has weak normal attacks
  6. Does not give ruby lights
Non-Cleave methods
BLM's have Stoneja and Waterja with the promise of stronger AoE spells come next update. Combine this with one whopper of a defensive ability in Mana Wall, BLM's can down large pulls as easily, though slightly slower than warriors. Mana Wall has an innate 50% PDT. When casting Stoneja the BLM's can be wearing Terra's Staff which boosts their damage while at the same time keeping them alive longer. A RDM puller can sleepga the train in between spells and it shouldn't take more than 6 unresisted nukes to down the train. With two BLM's that's 3 casts a piece. With Phalanx and Stoneskin BLM's can tank extremely well for the duration of Mana Wall and its MP pool. A big benefit of using BLM's is not risking Ruby lights.

With a fantastic selection of PDT gear as well an assortment of defensive spells, BLU can pull and kill its own train. They also have a good assortment of AoE spells like Body Slam, Tail Slap, Frypan and Whirl of Rage. They all cast quickly (1 second) and have a normal recast of approximately 30 seconds. There are some slower casting spells you can use to bridge the gap between these 4. With full TP and Atmas these all deal a good chunk of damage while 3 of them inflict Stun. As with Black magic, Blue magic doesn't risk ruby lights when this is undesirable. At this point my lack of personal experience makes this hearsay and theory. That means I can't give any specifics about subjob, gear choices and buffs needed for the BLU to survive without sleepga and still getting its spells off. Not without it being called into question, anyway.

If you're not necessarily looking to minimize the number of players needed to farm, the more people you have that are able to AoE while surviving the onslaught of angry mobs the more workable combinations you can make. Aeolian Edge by a THF that's using Perfect Dodge fullfills the basic requirements, but needs MANY repetitions to kill a train. Unless you have a way to feed the THF(s) for 10+ Weaponskills this isn't going to work. SAM can do 6 weaponskills in a row with 2hr, Meditate and Sekkanoki, but Sonic Thrust is directional and missing mobs is not really an option. Also, it's not as strong as Fell Cleave.

I've personally tested using RDM/BLM solo and using Fanatic's Drink + Ascetic's Tonic + Chainspell + Stonega2 to down a train of 9 Chigoes with success. With some Bastion Credits in reserve and a Scars' zone you can repeat this as many times as your credits and restore boxes allow. During the three repetitions I did I got a restore everytime and left with more time than when I started even though there's a short walk between confluxes and the Chigoe camp. Physical Shield lasts about as long as Chainspell and I had 5 to 7 seconds left on both after the train died. With Waterga2 incoming after next level raise, many possible imporvements to my nuking setup and better nuking Atmas there's always room for improvement.

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