Monday, January 24, 2011

Leveling Warrior

This job has been getting a lot of love in the last year. It's always been one of strongest melee DD jobs in the game and I'm sure in many situations the strongest one. However, since Abyssea introduced the need for versatility in weapon choices to proc weaknesses and popularity of AoE farming, it's gotten some extra attention. These make it more useful than simply "a job to kill things with". I started leveling it mainly for those two reasons.

I leeched my way from 45 to 70, after which I tried closing the skill gap with a Great Axe on my DRK, which was already at 90. I got it up to the mid 190's from ~160 before breaking down and deciding to level the rest while exp'ing. To my great relief at ~190 skill, the use of decent acc gear, Razed Ruin + Cloak and Dagger + Horned Beast, Sushi and Stalwarts spam compensated for all my Accuracy issues. I wasn't capped at the start but I gradually got to that point, slowly outgrowing the need for Stalwart's and Food (I'm a cheap bastard). In the lower 80's I had jumped to 270 Great Axe skill.

Skilling Up
I joined Enigmas and Cyrille for some skillups on WAR when I got the idea of trying to do it solo with a defensive build and regen atmas. After one attempt I was hooked. When I found them the first time the Orapodiums they were EP-T to me. In 22 PDT from gear and Mounted Champion + Stronghold + Impenetrable I was able to hold two Orapodiums for an extended perdiod of time. The beauty of this is that I was getting more than double the attacks from retaliation as I was getting from regular swings. To be clear, you CAN get skillups from a retaliation attack. On a good Retaliation streak I could self-sc. Since the vast majority of attacks were landing for between 20 and 30 damage, you could hold many more mobs if you had a capped Phalanx on you. Enough that you could start as low as ~70 skill. I say this because to my great surprise I was getting a decent amount of skillups on g.sword at around that level with only 2 mobs on me.

Using this method (sans Phalanx) with DNC sub I could hold 3 mobs indefinitely. A few trips to Misareaux coast leveled my Staff up to 290 (Cataclysm) my g.axe to 300 (Fell Cleave) and finished my WS points for Steel Cyclone, King's Justice and Retribution. During this process my parrying went from ~217 to 230. I'll be going back again for skilling and WS points on Sword, Club, Polearm and Great Sword. For Axe and Scythe I only need the WS points, though I'll probably still do them this way.

Fell Cleave
Last saturday was my first chance to use Fell Cleave on a train of mobs. First we had to build Amber lamps. Fortunately with Cataclysm and the right combination of Atmas I could snipe the last 10-15% of Thalassonins, doing 900-1300 damage. After that we started with a small train. Using Voracious Violet + Razed Ruin + Griffon's Claw, my 2hr'd cleaves hit for mostly 3000-4000 damage, occasionally one-shotting a bat. I was very surprised at this, since my WS set wasn't that good and I was using a Perdu Voulge. They were respawning Easy Prey which made for less exp but easier cleaving. I started using Blood Rage as I leveled into it. Using every damage-increasing buff in the book except Berserk. Though I'm sure I could have gotten away with it. I learned several things through the process:
  1. Two WAR's are better than one, but certainly not needed.
  2. Fell Cleave's AoE is centered around the target.
  3. The range of Fell Cleave at 100 TP (first WS when using Sekkanoki) is deceptively small.
  4. Wait for the mobs to 'settle' around the puller and pick a mob that's somewhere in the center before engaging.
  5. Mobs that are on top/inside of you can't be seen, ws'd or retaliated.
  6. Getting out of the clusterf'ck is easiest by unlocking your current target and holding back (first person view) and spamming your WS macro.
  7. PLD sub is not needed and probably works against you.
  8. Pulling using evasion works better than defense/PDT due to how easy it is to cap evasion rate on regular mobs.

Some mobs (possibly due to certain terrain) have a tendency to get on top of you, making them hard to retaliate but easier to hit with AoE. However, you'll get the "unable to see" message when they're on top you. You'll have to back out of the group before being able to WS. If given a choice I'd stick to small ground-based mob types, because my personal experience is that flying mobs bunch up on top of you more often. If you have two WAR's then that's less of an issue. I saw a group Cataclysm'ing raptors in Misareaux and noticed they used the tunnel to funnel the mobs into a narrow space, putting them all on top of eachother but still in front of the WAR. This is the ideal situation if you can manage it.

Without a restore chest I cycled through, revatilizer, fanatic's drink and powder in order to bridge the gap. It never happened that I didn't have any one of these 4 at my disposal for a pull.

In my first post on AoE farming I mentioned PLD sub, but I'm gonna have to almost fully dismiss it in favor of SAM sub now. The simple fact is that two Cleaves with Mighty Strikes up is upwards of 6k damage (and that's with my sub-optimal gear). That's more than enough to kill most regular mobs. There's no need for the whole ordeal to last for more than 10 seconds after the first cleave, and that's being generous. I've read in many places how Retaliation is almost instant TP, which would put SAM and PLD sub in roughly the same league, however this isn't as great as it sounds. Like I said before, unless you use narrow terrain mobs will move around and end up on top of you, making retaliation usless until you can get out of there. I may change my mind again once I get more experience.

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