Friday, March 11, 2011

Samurai Part 3 - The Conclusion.

I have been going on for two days now about how Samurai is complicated and piecing together a 5-hit build with Masamune is quite difficult, but I haven't said what those sets are. So lets finally get down to it.

My current best possible haste/Store TP build:

Main: Masamune
Sub: Rose Strap
Ammo: Thew Bomblet
Head: Unkai Kabuto +2
Neck: Unkai Nodowa
Left Ear: Bushinomimi
Right Ear: Brutal Earring
Body: Unkai Domaru +2
Hands: Ace's Mufflers
Left Ring: Rajas Ring
Right Ring: Hoard Ring
Back: Athling Mantle
Waist: Goading Belt
Legs: Unkai Haidate +2
Feet: Ace's Sabatons

That is a build that will give me a total of 83 Store TP which, if my math is to be trusted, should give me 20.3 TP per hit. This will give me 81.2 TP for the 4 melee hits, and leaving me still needing 18.8 TP on my WS.

And now the sacrifices come... lets take a look my WS build.

Main: Masamune
Sub: Rose Strap
Ammo: Thew Bomblet
Head: Twilight Helm
Neck: Unkai Nodowa
Left Ear: Bushinomimi
Right Ear: Brutal Earring
Body: Usukane Haramaki
Hands: Hachiman Kote +1
Left Ring: Rajas Ring
Right Ring: Flame Ring
Back: Athling Mantle
Waist: Sentry Belt
Legs: Unkai Haidate +2
Feet: Unkai Sune-ate +2

This set-up is going to give me 18.8 TP on my WS with only a few major sacrifices to be able to maintain this set-up.

I have to mention that I have not done the math to exactly prove that getting to a WS one swing faster with slightly weaker gear will do more damage than a stronger WS a little more often. I am going to try a perfect 6-hit build with Masamune (which will make it a lot more "perfect" because you don't have to make any sacrifices in gear because your best gear already has tons of Store TP on it anyway) and see how that parses against the "perfect" 5-hit build.

The problem is that ultimately you can swap around about 10 different pieces to get varies amount of Store TP in your TP and WS sets. I think this is pretty much optimal for me for now, and considering the fact that SE has been handing out Store TP on SAM gear like crazy lately, I am beginning to think that I may not have to worry too much about making sacrifices if there are some new pieces with Store TP, especially on WS gear.

Ok, that is all for SAM for now, I promise. Next week, we will have some discussion on some other jobs, or hopefully some more news about the coming update!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Samurai flexibility.

First things first, yesterday I was wrong about the amount of Store TP you need for a 5-hit build with a Masamune or Amanomurakumo. I multiplied when I should have added.

When you are putting together your gear for your 5 or 6-hit build, the best place to start is with your WS set. This is because your WS set is almost always going to have less Store TP than your melee set, and it is important to know how much extra Store TP you are going to need to make up for the deficit. Lets take a quick look at my current WS set up. It has not been perfected, and having perfect gear doesn't really matter all the much when it comes to learning how to create your build.

Well, let's not because Photofucket is failing again. Just take my word for it that I have 61 total Store TP on during a WS and that give me 17.8 TP return on a regular WS. That means to get to a 5-hit build I will need at least 20.6 (rounded up, of course) to make sure I get to 100. That means I will need to get a whooping 86 Store TP. Of course, 35 of that Store TP will come from traits and merits, but that still means I will need to come up with 51 Store TP from gear.

A few critical pieces of gear:

Rajas Ring: The goto for SAM's ever since the X-hit builds were created. I would be nice if it continued to scale, but it is still great even though it doesn't.

Rose Strap: Obviously not the best for the slot when it comes to pure damage output, but it is usually critical for getting to that max Store TP build. Take the hit to your damage so that you can WS a lot faster.

Unkai Nodowa: Another piece that is a sacrifice in damage for more Store TP. It doesn't hurt as much if you think of Store TP as Haste. You like haste right? Then just grin and bear it.

Getting these pieces will be critical to any Store TP build for a SAM, but they are not enough. You will need several more pieces of Unkai +2, and you will still need old Usukane gear if you really want that perfect set. If you have any suggestions for more critical pieces, be sure to include them in the comments.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

My favorite subject.

Samurai is still my favorite job. I may have been doing a lot more on MNK, WHM or BLM recent, none of them have the inherent mathematical appeal that SAM has. There are certain considerations that are available to SAM that just aren't as available to other jobs. Sure other jobs need to take Store TP into consideration to make sure they are getting the best TP per swing, but no other job has the flexibility that Samurai does, and no other job can make decisions about haste like SAM does.

Last night, I finally got my level 80 Masamune, and while I am not going to use it yet because I already have a crappy WoE Fudo-stick, I am going to look at the current state of my gear, and the current and future state of my Store TP build.

To start, let me say that while I like the actual design of many of the AF3 sets and I like the concept for the art on the new SAM AF3, I don't like the bulky look of many of the items in the SAM set. The head piece is really big compared to Usukane and the shoulders on the body are freaking huge. I think they may be the only body piece that has shoulders that are that big and separated from the actual body piece. This is the first time I have ever really been concerned with how I look outside of my melee gear, but now that I use spellcast and I have it swap in my Danzo Sune-ate anyway, I have just started sporting a "town" set or really more of a "I prefer the look of Usukane anyway" set.

Now for the fun part! The math behind the Store TP build for a Masamune! The first think to know about the Masamune is that it has a lower delay than most normal Great Katana. 437 is the same as Amanomurakumo and it requires a higher amount of Store TP to maintain the proper 5-hit build that is now an option for most decent SAMs. 437 gives you a standard unmodified TP per hit of 11.1. 11.1 per hit for a SAM with full Store TP merits gives you an adjusted TP per hit of 14.9. This means you will need [i]at least[/i] 35 store TP to get to 20 TP per hit in your melee gear. How much you specifically need is largely dependent on how much Store TP you do your WS's in. Remember, there are now many different competing options for how to get that Store TP.

Photobucket is being a shitbucket today, so I don't have any pictures for this post. Tomorrow, I will have some pictures of different equipment sets so we can go over different options for Store TP gear.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

And so it begins...

The new FFXI and FFXIV forums opened today, and I have to say it is a lot better and worse than I expected.

Better: It is very comprehensive. General discussion forums, update information and even job forums. It should be easy for people to see where they want to post and post the correct information.

Worse: It's going to be a huge cluster fuck. People are going to whine 100% of the time, and beg for stupid shit like forcing people to go back to old XP parties and buffing the hell out of PUP.

On-balance: It is for the good. Even with all the idiots out there that just don't understand that some (most, if not all) people like the game the way it is right now, I believe that the NA community leaders are quite capable of ignoring what they know to be bad for the game.

I don't think it is going replace other forums like BG or even some of the smaller forums, but it is a new place for some people to contribute and some people to whine like children. And since the whiners care about posting most often than the people that want to contribute, the official forums will sometimes be a shit fest. Though, that doesn't mean that their won't be good threads too. While BG is obviously for more advanced players, it can still be rather off putting to even me at times. There are certain players, some thankfully banned, that would posit nearly insane damage calculations and scream down anyone that didn't agree. Hopefully, this situation will be less likely to occur on the official forums.

More stupidity for less negativity? It's a trade off and it is definitely the reason I believe that places like BG will be largely unaffected by the new official forums.

The thing that I really want to see is SE letting Matt Hilton and the guys on the NA community team actually make comments about the state of the game, planned updates and bug fixes. I don't expect them to be as active as say Blizzards moderators, but actually responding to a post instead of just adding a new post to the announcement forum would at least provide the perception that they are actually participating, even if they aren't in reality.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Effect of Atma on the Balance of Damage Dealing Classes.

Yadda, yadda, yadda, I'm not dead, etc.

Since the introduction of the Abyssea expansions, Atma have been of increasing interest and importance to all of the damage dealing classes. Perhaps more importantly (and maybe unsettling to some) Atmas may be completely realigning years old beliefs and understanding about the balancing of all the DD classes. Atmas are not the only thing factoring into these changes, of course, there are the new Empyrean weaponskills, the huge step up in the quality of the stats from the AF3 +2 gear, and even all of the new job abilties and spells that all classes have been receiving. Atmas, though, are one of the most obvious examples of the new world order that has appeared after Abyssea was launched.

Throughout much of FFXI's history the DD classes have been split into two camps: the dual-wielders and the two-handers. Dual-wielders have the tendency toward low swings speeds and multi-hit weaponskills (often with critical hit modifiers), while two-handers have leaned toward higher swing speeds matched with lots of Store TP to boost their TP per swing and reduce their number of swings to get to the next weaponskill. Dual-wielders tend to have a larger portion of their damage come from their regular melee swings, while weaponskills tend to make up a proportionally larger part of two-hander damage. This was in the past, though, and times are changing.

There are now several new Atma that have come available that have given a big boost to dual-wielders. This is a boost that dual-wielders have needed ever since the big two-handed buff from several years ago. The reason these new Atma are so good is that they modify what dual-wielders do best, melee damage and critical hit weaponskills. While there are very good Atma to help the damage of two-handers, like Voracious Violet (STR+:Superior, "Double Attack"+:Minor, "Regain":Minor), and two-handers can still use the Atma that the dual-wielders use, comparatively they just don't stand up to the huge buffs gain by dual-wielders. The first and most important Atma for dual-wielders (and it's so good that it is a top tier one for two-handers too) is Razed Ruins (DEX:Superior, Critical Hit Rate:Major, Critical Hit Damage:Major) which is the new main damage boost to dual-wielders. Razed Ruin massively increases the frequency of critical hits and then also increases the damage of those critical hits. Basically, it modifies it's own damage modifiers creating incredible internal synergy (and I am not just using that as a buzz word).

Speaking of synergy, second on the list of great dual-wielder Atmas is the Sanguine Scythe (HP+: Major, Critical Hit Damage+: Major, Enmity+: Minor). This atma has less straight forward damage boosts as it only has a major increase in Critical Hit Damage, but the HP and Enmity are excellent boosts to any dual-wielder that is considering tanking. MNK's could find this very useful, but NIN are really going to shine with this one. NIN with a huge boost to Critical Hit Rate and Damage can easily pull enough hate with damage that they are competitive with PLD. It is important to note though that the cap on the bonus to Critical Hit Damage modification is an additional 50%. Once you get past 50% Critical Hit Damage bonus, you are just wasting it. That means if you are wearing Critical Hit Damage bonus items, and can get to 20% before using Razed Ruin, then it will be better to go with a different Atma than Sanguine Scythe.

Third, is the Gnarled Horn Atma (Counter+: Minor, Critical Hit Rate:Minor, AGI+:Major). The modifications on this is a little different than Sanguine Scythe, and those differences can effect your choice for which to go with for your second Atma. There are still debates on which is better, but it looks like it can get to be pretty job specific when deciding which to use. If you do not need the increase in Critical Hit Damage then this is definite the right Atma to use. There have been reports of up to 80% Critical Hit Rates using this and Razed Ruin. Additionally, the new NIN WS Blade: Hi has a modifier of AGI, and it is a massive damage WS (and looks freaking awesome). The additional counter can also be very good for tanking or melee NIN.

In the end, the boost to dual-wielders has been huge and will likely get even larger after the next update when we likely get access to a third Lunar Abyssite. Of course, these Atmas boost the damage of two-handers but definitely to a lesser extent because a smaller proportion of their damage comes from the melee hits that are most modified by the Critical Hit boosting Atmas. The Critical Hit Rate Atmas in fact will likely be capped on two-handed WS that can Critical Hit. And my poor SAM doesn't even get a Critical Hit WS (though it does get Blade: Fudo which is still incredibly awesome).

Debates have already erupted about who is the new king of DD's. Have dual-wielders passed two-handers already? Does one of the dual-wielders stand above the rest? What about the other non-Atma factors like the new Weaponskills? The honest truth, despite the protests of the screamers and fan boys, is that the jury is still out and the jury will remain hung until things have settled after the last Abyssea expansion is released next month, at the very least. The balance only just started to tip toward Critical Hits after the launch of Scars. Things can and will radically change once we can get a third Atma, and even further once we get to the final level cap. Only once we hit the final level cap and things have stabilized for some time will we really even get a glimpse of what the damage dealing landscape really looks like.

Friday, September 03, 2010

Samurai 5-hit Build: My Gear.

I think the primer yesterday about SAM 5-hit builds was too vague, so I am going to use my own character as a model to show just how you would create a good 5-hit build with a 464 delay Great Katana and what different options you have available.

These sets use gear I currently have or have relatively easy access to. It may require work for some people, and it may be gimp to other people. The point is that there are many different paths you can choose. Let's take a lot at what I can use right now to get to a 5-hit build.

Cheap and easy:

This is the set-up I could use today without spending anything or doing anything different.

Main: Kokushitsunotachi
Sub: Rose Strap
Ammo: Goblin Cracker
Head: Walahra Turban
Neck: Unkai Nobowa
Earring: Bushinomimi
Earring: Brutal Earring
Body: Usukane Haramaki
Hands: Hachiman Kote
Ring: Rajas Ring
Ring: Adler Ring
Back: Forager's Mantle
Waist: Swift Belt
Legs: Byakko's Haidate
Feet: Usukane Sune-ate

Main: Kokushitsunotachi
Sub: Rose Strap
Ammo: Thew Bomblet
Head: Varangian Helm
Neck: WS Gorget
Earring: Bushinomimi
Earring: Brutal Earring
Body: Usukane Haramaki
Hands: Myochin Kote +1
Ring: Rajas Ring
Ring: Flame Ring
Back: Forager's Mantle
Waist: Sentry Belt
Legs: Usukane Hizayoroi
Feet: Perle Solerets

Under TP build I have +34 Store TP from gear which gives me 20.6 TP per swing, and for WS I have +16 Store TP from gear which is 18.4 TP per swing. That is 100.8 and more than enough for what I need.

Of course this is not optimal. It gives up a bit of haste in the hands for the huge bump in haste from dropping an entire attack round to get to the next WS. There are other ways that this can be approached as well as using the Store TP +5 Keitonotachi. This is just the most simple route for me at this time.

I would actually suggest that people get both the Kokushitsunotachi and the Keitonotachi. The Koku is used for situations in which TP spam is ok, but the Keitonotachi is essentially the new Hagun, the main new go-to GKT. This is simply because while it is lower base damage, it will let you get to 5-hit very easily and it has a high base damage.

My Koku is almost complete and I will be working on my Keitonotachi soon. Next week before the update I will be going over some alternative 5-hit builds and look at some other GKT. And then I will cry as it all changes again after the next update.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Samurai in the New Abyssea Order.

It has come to my attention that there are several viable options for 5-hit builds with several of the Magian Great Katanas. In general, these are only possible with a few requirements. The Great Katana needs to be of at least 464 delay and you are going to make some new trade offs to get to the Store TP required. Assuming you have all of the necessary merits, you will require an additional 29 in Store TP. The problem for doing this is not that the gear doesn't exist, but that there are a lot of ways to get to the goal of +29 Store TP and almost all of them require giving up additional gear.

Now, I know the knee jerk reaction to this statement is why would I ever want to give up good stats for Store TP? The answer is simple, you don't UNLESS you can save a swing in getting to the next WS. For SAM (and for almost all jobs) a WS is always to going to be the most damaging attack you can do. This means that the more WS you get the more damage you will do. The reason people use Haste is to do the same exact thing. If you swing faster, you will get to the next WS faster. The problem is that people don't think of Store TP as Haste, but they should. It just comes in huge big chunks of Haste, rather than small slivers of Haste. Everyone should know the value of Haste by now. It has a multiplicative effect on your damage, which means that every bit of Haste you can get and use effectively will be of more and more value.

The options that I have found so far the Kokushitsunotachi and the Keitonotachi. There are obviously different approaches for each considering the Keitonotachi has +5 Store TP of it's own, making it easier, but still requiring trade offs. In general, you are going to need to keep your normal Store TP gear that you are currently using. Things like Rajas Ring, Usukane Sune-ate and a Store TP body like Usukane Haramaki or even Askar body are acceptable options. After that the trade off's start coming. Rose Strap is an obvious first pick because it replaces a relatively unimportant slot and has a big chunk of Store TP on it. The new Unkai Nodowa is a good option for the neck piece because the next closest option is Chivalrous Chain and it doesn't give nearly as much. White Tathlum is another option, it makes me cringe because it doesn't do much at all to help out with anything else besides the Store TP. After this point you need to start thinking about big sacrifices. Hachiman gear has a lot of Store TP on it. The hands can be used for TP and the feet can be used for WS. These should be your last resort options, but they may be necessary depending on your gearing.

The one shining light out there is the Goading Belt. While this may not seem like the best possible option compared to the Bullwhip Belt, you need to look at the differences in terms of total Haste. A Bullwhip Belt has 2% more Haste, but if a Goading Belt helps you keep other gear you want to be using like say Dusk Gloves or a good WS piece then you could actually gain more from using the Goading Belt than from the Bullwhip Belt. It's a tough balancing act that requires a complete look at all of your gear and options, but it is worth the effort because the difference between a 6 hit build and a 5 hit build is about 17% haste. There is no piece of gear that gives you that much haste.