Monday, May 07, 2007

The Benefits and Detriments.

I have started using DRK sub for NIN more and more in Sky and other events. For straight tanking things, I prefer it for a couple of reasons. First, the extra stun is nice. I know thats pretty obvious to begin with, but over the course of a fight it is quite a bit of extra time that is saved up by just having a few extra random stuns tossed in. Second, there are extra hate-gets. With WAR as a subjob, when this go sideways, you only have Warcry in the case of an emergency. With DRK you get Soul Eater, Last Resort and even Weapon Bash, and they do seem to do a good bit to get hate back onto you after it has been moved off. Third, you just don't lose hate as often. Now this is a little more intricate and multi-faceted than it my first seem, but I believe there is a reason to go /DRK even in cases where the defense bonuses from /WAR might have in the past been better, or at least make it a viable compared to /WAR in those situations. This is all sounding rather obtuse, so let me clarify.

I, in general, believe that /DRK moves NIN back close to equal with PLD/NIN for maintenance of hate generation. Now, my PLD friends have that screaming voice in the back of their heads at this point, and I will agree, in a comparison of hate-get situations (situations in which one person tries to pile on as much hate as possible) a PLD will always win hands down. But that is not the point of the discussion here. A good tank, especially in most cases when multiple tanks are used for larger enemies, will be able to maintain a high level of hate, while equalizing it with the other tank. Now, once hate is on the tanks, there are really only two ways to lose hate. Getting hit enough to drop down the hate list, and having someone jump up past them on the hate list. A rather simple statement for a rather dynamic system but it generally holds true. Now, as much as SE claims they have nerfed it, a monster hitting a shadow does not have the same enmity reduction as the monster doing damage to the tank. Now, a PLD can actually use this to their advantage by being able to heal themselves, gaining hate from the hate that is lost by the hit. NIN's can not use this, of course, thus they need a constant source of hate generation. Before /DRK became common place this was usually in the form of SATA, which can be unreliable. As a side note, trying to determine the original of any practice in a MMORPG, especially one like FFXI, where trends and acceptable combinations are always in flux, but I believe that the use of PLD/NIN came about before the origin of NIN/DRK and may even have necessitated the use of NIN/DRK to balance hate with PLD/NIN. PLD/NIN actually gain the hate maintenance of decreased hate loss from losing shadows instead of getting hit, and the only think that is lost is Provoke and Defender, as Provoke is not a permanent gain in enmity as magic can be, and as Defender only adds to an amount of defense that is already reaching the point of diminishing returns these losses are minimal. NIN/WAR, unlike PLD, had no other way to gain and sustain hate outside of Provoke and Warcry (and Ninjutsu which does little to gain hate comparatively to a PLD/NIN), so another subjob was needed to balance the fantastic enmity maintenance of PLD/NIN. NIN/DRK essentially operates in the same way that PLD/NIN does, which might sound strange at first, but ultimately makes sense.

In this case, we need to consider that there are essentially two different types of enmity. Of course this is all speculation, but essentially there are several kind of enmity and they dissipate at different rates. Provoke, for example, only increases enmity for a short period of time and after a while, the focus of the mob will shift to someone else doing something else, so Provoke is a decent way to gain hate but perhaps not the best way to maintain hate. Magic, on the other hand, creates enmity that dissipates slower than something like Provoke, or for that case any kind of ability like Warcry, etc. Thus we are left with the reason why PLD is so dominant in gaining hate over all other jobs, and even why in the origin of the game WAR/WHM was seen as a viable tank, because they could take a few hits and still heal themselves, thus maintaining hate. NIN/DRK actually works in the same way as PLD/NIN, in that they use magic which does not have the same hate dissipating effects that job abilities have to maintain hate. In this case, that hate comes from offensive spells rather than from self-curing. Again, PLD wins in the hate department, because a NIN can still lose hate from taking normal hits that a PLD would be able to use to generate hate, but the pairing of NIN/DRK and PLD/NIN is still on a much more balanced level because a PLD/NIN would have to find someone to heal to maintain hate while a NIN/DRK can maintain hate based on a rotation of the same spells ad infinitum. And thus we are left in a situation where the advent of a good job choice (PLD/NIN) to make up for the faults of the old (PLD/WAR) actually forced the creation of a new job choice elsewhere (DRK/NIN).

So with all the theory understood, where does that leave us in practice? Well, for dual tanked mobs, this leaves both PLD/NIN and NIN/DRK pretty well balanced, with PLD/NIN generally having the ability to gain hate faster and spike hate if needed, but NIN/DRK being able to stay very high on the hate list and trade off with a PLD/NIN where they would not be able to do in the past. This makes things easier on the tanks, support and healers. Speaking of support, it also helps to equalize support for both jobs. Whereas a NIN/WAR would general ask for Haste or Evasion, a PLD/WAR would ask for double MP Regen, with these new jobs, a split of Haste and MP Regen (March and Ballad) is perfect for both, and can easily be switched to double March or double Ballad as the need arises. Interestingly enough, the more Haste that a NIN/DRK gets the better they are able to maintain hate because they would be able to cast more and have shadows ready more, which could actually act to unbalance hate if a PLD/NIN has no one to cure to gain hate. The balancing act between these two jobs is very interesting.

And what do I do? Well, I find for places like Sky and Sea, in general, /DRK sucks. LOL Let me explain. In general for Sky and Sea, it is just generally running around looking for triggers or doing smaller mob fights where a good provoke is all that is needed to maintain hate long enough for the mob to die, also Provoke is just generally better for claims and such. This also applies for PLD/NIN. Now for tanking I much prefer /DRK, because I feel I have much better control on where hate goes between the two tanks, rather than hoping that my Provoke will pull hate and then having to basically wait another 30 second for a decent hate spike. With /DRK, if I need to gain hate, I will cast my full compliment of spells and ninjutsu to get hate onto me, and if I need to loosen hate so the other tank can take some, I can just skip a stun or sleep in my rotation to let them catch up.

Where does RDM/NIN fit into all of this? That is a question for another day. ^.^/ Ultimately, PLD/NIN may complain of not being the hate kings anymore, but having the most hate is not always good, but being able to maintain hate with the other tanks while still letting the other jobs do their thing without worry of losing hate is a major benefit to everyone.

Here is an interesting situation we ran into yesterday with Mother Globe. We were first to MG, but others were coming quickly, and one member of another LS actually tried to rush the pull but was destroyed and actually let us pull more easily. On the pull, I got a stun off and Izman got a provoke or two. I think by the time we switch from Izman tanking MG to Aable and I tanking MG (Izman as PLD/WAR, Aable and I as NIN/DRK) Izman got a couple of provokes off and maybe a cure or two, but it still took Aable and I our entire MP pool and some rest to get MG off of Izman while he has doing nothing and getting cured at the same time. This should have been massively reducing his enmity level but it appeared to be doing nothing. Finally, after quite some time Aable and I were able to get hate back, and Izman took over on the Slaves, but again at the end of the fight a Burst II was used to quickly kill MG but didn't quite finish it off and Aable and I both lost hate to the BLM, which again was weird because we had used everything in our arsenals to get hate off of Izman. Ahh well, still and interesting fight and worth mentioning, considering today's topic.

After Sky, a few of us helped Pidion, a new MNK in Versus to do the three NM's that come before the Tenzen fight in CoP. This was quick and easy but limited the amount of time we could do Nyzul Isle, which just didn't go well anyway. We went with 5 because Eternalpain had already gone to bed and on the first floor without our normal stunner we got Vile Yabeewa.
It didn't go well... :( We were ok, even though it was taking a lot of time, but then we got a Thundaga III and no way to avoid it. Izman and Hellzfury went down from that, and we it was just a matter of time for a wipe after that. As we were limited on tags and time, this was the only run we could do last night.

Thazienne, Omoikitte and I also did a couple of very unrewarding Under Observation runs.
Not even a Utsusemi: Ni scroll, not even an Erase scroll. 40 Beastman Seals right down the drain. LOL We are looking at doing another run, and hopefully that will be much more successful.

I am peeking at which job I want to level after WAR is finished up, but things are very busy right now so I don't even know when I would have time to level it, but something solo friendly might be nice, and I don't mean BST. LOL


Izman said...

Don't be a sissy la la Ring BST is a great job! Besides by the time your'e done with WAR you will have BSt gear for it. Also you don't have to solo BST you can allways exp it. They dont do as much dmg as WAR because of the lack of att bonus and berserk but you can pull IT mobs with charm use two axes and not just the same axes as WAR but the best hand axes in the game and also BST AF looks cool besides the belly button thing wich kinda looks well... ghey.

iceblazek said...

i like my nins like i like my woman.. /war

Anonymous said...

I like my woman like I like... well I'm not going there.

Ringthree said...

LOL, quality comment Ice :)

Hellzfury said...

pfft, we went down to a blizzaga thank you very much.... ice resist- on scorpion harness ftw

Anonymous said...

it all depends on the setup and gear you use,
in my current Sky LS a nin/DRK stole and kept hate from my PLD/war.

/DRK doesn't seem like such a bad concept,
I have /drk available I might try it as a sub for PLD in sky sometime.

(but I'll have to go write new macros and need some gear adjustment for it aswell...