Thursday, February 24, 2011

Pantrokrator and Apademak revisited

I noticed a lot of people ended up on this blog looking for Apademak and Pantokrator info (mostly Apademak) and I'm sure most of them were disappointed at the amount of actually useful advice. For this reason (but mostly because we recently did another pair of these) I'll go over the mobs once more and try to compress some of the info I've found more than just relaying what we did or didn't do.

The first thing that comes up when you look for advice on this mob is stopping it from leveling up. Taking lightning damage causes it to level up and supposedly so does it killing someone. I used to think it casting any spell caused the level up, but on our second fight I stuck around more and saw several single target spells going off on the tanks that weren't followed by level-ups. So stunning self-targeted spells is what you want to do. Self targeted spells could be missed if you have certain filters on, so you should check that out beforehand. It's easiest to just Stun all its spells.

Does it build Stun resistance? According to several accounts it does. However, with two BLM's alternating stuns they continued to land long into the fight and the only resist I remember seeing (I wasn't looking at all of them, admittedly) was of a WHM/BLM casting. I'm estimating 20 Stuns in, the BLM's were still able to land it.

Unfortunately we ended up missing a stun and I can't vouch for it not using Fulmination until after it levels up at least once. From what I read, it is a very tame and simple mob before it levels up. Dedicated stunners being as important as they are, it's worth using some haste and fast-cast to reduce the Stun recast timer as much as possible. At maximum reduction you're still looking at a 22 seconds recast. This looks like it would be short enough in for most spells, but it's not a guarantee.

When it levels up it follows up with a TP ability. Usually Fulmination, but also Lithic breath. Lithic breath inflicts a weakness. A second tank should be standing out of breath cone to take hate off the weakened tank. I read something interesting on BG about avoiding the breath attack. Apparently, despite the ability being instant and unstunnable (on reaction), as long as you're strafing around the mob (moving sideways while locked on to the target) you'll avoid the breath attack. Credit to Arthars for figuring that out and posting it. Someone added that the same thing can be done with Tyrannic Tusk on Sobek, which afaik is also conal.

In my personal opinion, gearing for lightning resistance doesn't pay off. Tanks will take too much of a hit with regards to damage output that it'll make the fight noticeably longer. Also, with barspell and lightning resist atma, the tanks still took considerable damage. I can't be exactly sure if they were 1/2 resists or full damage. In any case, the magic accuracy of Fulmination seems rather high.

Its evasion and defense go up very noticeably as it levels up. So if you plan on doing this with a small group and without a brew, then stopping it from leveling up is not only important, it's THE most important aspect of the fight. Evasion tanking it works fine. Both NIN and DNC at the last fight were doing well holding it. Damaging it became the biggest challenge at that point and we ended up brewing it after we got Blue weakness on it. No dagger drop though.

Pantokrator's 2hr's are the most annoying part about the mob. After learning that (much like the tiger NM in Uleg) the "chance" of it 2hr'ing is influenced by how much you heal it. While it TP's and casts. The 3 or 4 times it 2hr'd this last fight were all triggered by WS'ing during or otherwise doing a lot of damage while it's in "damage absorption" mode. It doesn't "prove" that that's how it worked, but it definitely seems consistent. If you fail to limit 2hr's, Fool's drink is fantastic for neutralizing Chainspell, and Fanatic's for Hundred Fists. If you have neither, throw in some stuns and don't try to kite it is all I can think of.

Towards the end Colossal Blow can make things rough if you currently only have one tank on it. It looks like its defense does go down as its HP goes down. I managed a 'normal' 2.5k Raging Rush on it when it was nearly dead, while early on I couldn't break 1k. DD's should limit their interaction with Panto to WS only. If you're using NIN tanks and its HP isn't below 25% then you have enough room for error to WS after a TP ability has gone off. As long as its magic casting timer isn't up. Tanks can take it down fast enough, so it's not an essential part of the strategy.

Of these two mobs, Panto is the easier one. It fits the pop-pattern of Caturae in Uleguerand (since there's no Caturae in that zone) and with Triturators different class compared to Smiter and Sunderer, you'd expect a much harder fight. However imho, Apademak takes the cake for most annoying mob in Heroes zones. Even Azdaja has become unimpressive since we tried and succeeded (after a shaky start) at tanking it from behind. I'm positive that making Apademak smooth is also a matter of getting the hang of it. The difference is that Apademak's leveling up and its increase in defense and strength are irreversible and so there's no forgiveness for mistakes.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Gearing Thief for Speed (Haste and Dual Wield)

Raider's Bonnet +2 versus Zelus Tiara
It's not always fair to make a straight comparisson like this without taking into account the context. In this case I'll try to consider the extreme situations. The haste difference is 2% between the two. The benefit of Zelus if you got the full benefit of that 2% at the highest possible Haste values (going from 78% to 80%) you'd see a benefit of 10% to your melee DoT. However, this situation is unrealistic because you have DW that will guarantee that you reach the delay reduction cap before 78% haste. If you assume 33% DW (I'll get back to that later) then you'd cap at 70% haste so we'd need to consider going from 68% to 70%.

(1/0.3) / (1/0.32) = ~1.07

So roughly a 7% melee DoT increase. Now I don't know about you, but I'm not Dboxing my own mage and BRD nor do I have the support to get to that 70% haste. With only haste spell the 2% haste scales down to only 3% DoT increase. So from 10% in an unrealistic situation all the way down to 3% depending on my own personal common situation. That just goes to show how your playstyle and assumptions factor in to how good any one stat is.

AF3's 3% Triple Attack would almost immediately seem like the winner. To be sure, let's assume a very high multi-attack rate with 3% quad attack, 33% triple (traits, Apoc atma, triplus) and 15% double (VV, Brutal). Now adding 3% triple attack to a setup that has an average of 1.9 attacks per swing is

1.96/1.9 = 1.03

So 3% versus 3% in a situation that greatly reduces Triple Attack's value. Outside of Abyssea this would be less of a contest and AF3 seems like the better overall piece.

Nusku's Sash versus Twilight Belt
This question actually has a context for me. I'm namely comparing these two setups.

It's hard to see because Nusku's and Twilight have the same Icon, but the first setup is capped haste using Loki's and Twilight Belt, and the second setup is 23% haste using AF3+2 body With Nusku's Sash.

Now these setups boil down to a rather subtle difference of:
Dagger skill +5 and Dual Wield +5
DEX+1, Store TP +7, Haste +3, Dbl. Atk +2, Crit hit damage +5%

Time to make some assumptions. Let's scrap 1 DEX. Let's assume Haste spell only. Assuming the 25% haste cap and going from 23% to 26% in gear is a 5% increase in melee DoT. The small extra step need to truly cap haste which you wouldn't with just 25% in gear is explained in Kirschy's post on BG which I linked to in the right side of this Blog's layout. Double attack varies a lot, but I'd like to put it at 1.5% DoT increase to keep things simple.

Now Critical hit-rate will influence Loki's boost to your Crit damage. A critical hit's contribution to your melee damage is greatly influenced by how high your p-dif is. If you were low in atk/def ratio and p-dif was around 0.5 then a critical hit would be a whopping 300% boost to that hit's damage. Again, an assumption is needed. Let's stick to p-dif = 1 because this makes things easy and it's not that far removed from common situations. Given my SAM's p-dif on Abyssea mobs, I think it's fair to say THF's would be a tad lower around 1. With this assumption your boost to melee DoT (without damage boost) would be approximated with 1 + crit-rate * 1. Easy, yes? Add to this damage boost of RR and you're looking at crit-rate * 1.3 . Now the 5% is starting to look a bit "meh". Crit-rate parses around 65% for me usually, so that'd make my 5% damage boost stacked on top of 30% from RR and 5% from job trait (possibly 8%) contribute this much:

(1 + 0.65 * 1.40) / (1 + 0.65 * 1.35) = 1.017

So less than a 2% damage boost. Since they're all seperate and multiplicative, setup with Loki's would be a 1.05 * 1.015 * 1.017 = 1.08 boost to melee DoT. Store TP factors in to WS frequency, but this is dragging out enough already!

Now setup with AF3+2 body has 5 ATK (assuming the skill does nothing for Acc) which would do anywhere from 1.2% to 0.9% extra damage assuming my low ATK on THF.

The big thing is of course "Is Nusku's worth it?". Well, I'm currently at 33% DW before Nusku's from Suppa, Raider's Boomerang and /NIN traits at 90. This means Nusku's alone will boost my damage by 8%. The great thing about this is that the two setups turn out to be very close given my assumptions. When is one better than the other? Well the variables such as which atmas you're using (if any) and how much Haste you're getting from Samba and spells will influence things in too many ways for me to want to redo the calculations.

The Verdict
Go for the 23% haste + Nusku's setup when you're often solo or otherwise low on buffs. Why? Because if you're soloing the Subtle Blow and evasion matter. Not only that, but due to not having a lot of haste, your DoT is also higher with this setup. When you're highly buffed you'll most likley be delay reduction capped anyway while Crit dmg boost as well as Dbl. Atk. will keep their value. In a situation like this, you'll end up getting more out of the Loki's setup.

Awesome music tip #2

Monday, February 7, 2011

Weekend update 15

Still no pictures. Gotten into the bad habit of not taking screenshots again. I don't turn on Fraps until I need to take an attendance picture. I just hope this entry isn't too boring.

Samurai WS set
I recently got Heafoc Mitts and Unkai Sune-Ate +2 for a nice +6 STR to my WS equipment. I've held back on buying a Pyrosoul Ring, because I don't think (looking at my current funds) 1 STR should cost 800k compared ot the second best option (1.1M vs 300k Vulcan Rings). However, soon it may be the cheapest buyable upgrade, since prices will drop and I doubt I'll save up and buy a Hachiryu Haidate even if I am able to keep a 5-hit with Kikugosaku. Due to Twilight Mail being optimal in more situations than Byrnie +1 for Tachi: Fudo and always better for Gekko, I currently don't have any plans to buy one.

Recently we did a Sky run where I averaged over 1k for Gekko damage. The WS damage outside Abyssea is a lot more predictable since you're not overloaded with DA/TA which can pump out some pretty crazy WS numbers. This is what I've been aiming for and I'm only two items away:

Masamune progress
I've avoided mentioning Masamune on this blog and in genereal, because despite having worked on trials for a while I don't want to give it too much attention in case I give up on it. However, I'm now almost certain that I've gotten beyond that point. I didn't start any prep work on trophy stages so I started pretty much from scratch two/three weeks ago. I've averaged 5 Carabosse gems per weekend since we started, while sharing drops with two LS mates. I estimate I'll be done with La Theine in 7 weeks time.

Farming pops solo has turned out to be very simple. I didn't do much research on Baba Yaga or La Theine Lieje, but both pose no threat to THF/DNC. With TH the trigger items drop consistently and so it's just a matter of spamming them until you get the drop. I've done it as THF/NIN a few times after we did a few Cara, and even then it's easy to stop Lieje's spell by WS'ign through it. It may even be more consistent than Violent Flourish. I hope that getting a few pops solo during the week will speed it up a bit and maybe cut it down 5 or 6 Saturdays of farming.

We recently got loads of Bullwhip Belts. We may be done with those for a while. It seems like there's little reason to go back to La Theine as a Linkshell now. Perhaps some Timarli Dastanas and Nusku's Sashes would interest people.

Got Ground Strike and Spiral Hell recently. Still quite a few weapons to go on WAR. In the process I learned Herculean Slash. Damage is constant with TP so it's easy to do some mod testing on it, and yet I didn't work it out precisely. Turns out it has a very strong VIT mod (not posted on Wiki). With Beyond+Ultimate+Mounted Champion and no other VIT from gear or MAB it did 1553 damage. When I swapped out MC for Griffon's Claw it only beat it by about 20 points of damage. So if GC is indeed 20% damage then the VIT mod is considerable. It doesn't have a STR mod at all. I didn't test INT or MND though. Since it's much more consistent than Jinpu it looks like an ideal Amber lights WS. I'm sure that with Ascetic's and proper gear 2k should be easily obtainable.

Awesome music tip #1