Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Kings are dead! Long live Kings!

There is an undeniable truth about FFXI. No matter how much someone complains about a system to get gear, unless it is amazingly less time and effort than the previous way then people will reject it out of hand. People have been complaining about Kings for years now, but if you look around there is very little left from Kings that is unique enough to justify the disturbing obsession that many players have for them. Now, let me say this, I do not do Kings. So this is an "outsiders" perspective, and that is always the first line of defense for the "If you don't do Kings, you aren't doing end-game" people. The problem is that the "insiders" that actually believe this are the same people that complain about Kings but don't look at the alternatives. An "outsiders" perspective is necessary to view Kings through an unbiased lens. Einherjar presents an alternative that drops significantly the need for the almost religious camping of Kings. Now Einherjar does not drop Ridills or Defending Rings, so those are still legitimate reason to camp Kings, and I also have no problem with people pursuing multiple paths for gear. The problem that I do have is when people say that Kings suck and they hate doing it, but then reject Einherjar out of hand. The real problem is that they complain that Einherjar takes more time and effort than camping Kings which is ridiculous.

Lets take a look at the effort scale. Einherjar is a 30 minute event twice a week, and sure it has prep time but so do all events, and lets be realistic here, prep time is at least busy time, not standing around for 15 minutes between windows. Now, I know that Einherjar won't get you a Ridill as I have said, so I am not saying don't camp them, but it can get you the Nidhogg abjurations, which is one of the reasons that it was implemented. Lets say you have 4 competitive HNM LS on your server, and you get a Nidhogg spawn say every 5 days. With the largely farcical assumption that there are no bots, or at least with a little more realistic one that all of the bots that those 4 LS's have are about the same, you should get a Nidhogg about once every 20 days. In that same time, assuming wins in all of your chambers, which now appears to be relatively doable with a largish LS, you can clear 6 chambers of Einherjar. Getting to an Odin fight should take about 5 weeks or 35 days. Then it comes down to drops, and that is anyone's guess. Now, assuming even a very generous hour of prep for Einherjar and again another very generous, though in the opposite direction, 90 minute average of window watching, then the average daily time spent for these events is about the same. But you camp Kings daily while you only do Einherjar once a week. Now the counter to this is of course that you get other things from Fafnir when you are waiting for Nidhogg, but you get other things from Einherjar too. Arguably better things, in some cases.

My point here is not that people should stop camping Kings, or even that Einherjar is a replacement for Kings. My point is that there is an alternative, and if you hate camping Kings so much, then do the alternative. But in the end since people "know" Kings it will take a long time to adopt an alternative especially if that alternative takes any kind of work. Again, there is another problem here. The unspoken corollary to the "fix Kings" line of thought is that the gear you get from Kings should be easier to get from the alternative. But this borders on vapidity. One would have to be brain dead to think that SE would just toss something out that would completely replace Kings. This is the WoW mentality that some FFXI players have. They love the idea of progression, until it really happens. Meaning, they want gear improvements that makes everything in the game obsolete until they realize that by doing so, they have just "wasted" all of their time getting other gear up to that point. As I have stated in previous posts, I am not opposed to well planned progression. Some short sighted people believe that Salvage gear in general is a side-grade from current gear, but that is only if you do individual piece comparisons. If you take a look at how the different pieces work together then it is clear that different groups of the gear can replace other groups. For example on my MNK, my Usukane Hirayoroi and Sune-ate replaced my Byakko's Haidate and Dune Boots, but alone I could not justify replacing Byakko's Haidate for my Usukane Hirayoroi in most circumstances.

It is the old "We fear change!" thought-process played out in a video-game. Those that don't embrace change or new events get left behind, and even if they lament their time wasted camping Kings, they fear doing something new more. Familiarity is comfort, and doing something new may expose themselves to personal flaws in ability, and that fear is much more likely to cause a vocal negative response to new events. It is the same as the people that stand behind PLD/WAR, they do not want to do something new, it is just a different example. They might make changes if they see the reason to improve, but in the end it has to be a rather strong shove to overcome their own personal inertia.

So stop blaming the game, and start blaming yourself.

Anyway, on with the show. Time for some math. I was talking to Qtipus last night about the difference between the Mezraq and the Thalassocrat. I believe there is next to no difference in the real damage done that you would see on a parse, but since that has never really stopped me from engaging in the useless and esoteric I see no reason to stop now. We need a test subject, how about Elvaan DRG75/SAM37 with 5 STR merits and 8 Polearm merits and the following gear:

Merzaq or Thalassocrat
Pole Strap
Tiphia Sting
Walahra Turban
Chivalrous Chain
Brutal Earring
Assault Earring
Assault Jerkin
Dusk Gloves
Rajas Ring
Ulthalam's Ring
Amemet Mantle +1
Swift Belt
Barone Cosciales
Homam Gambieras

This is Omoikitte's current TP build gear, which does still need some work obviously [wouldn't be so bad if she didn't pass on just about everything and we have to make her lot] but was still enough to cause this little comment: Anyway...

Lets look at the regular damage from a normal melee swing. Back to equations!

Damage = Base Damage x pDIF
Now I am not going to go back over all of this, but if you need a reference just read the February blog posts. Ok, so Base Damage is just Weapon Base Damage + fSTR. In the Omoikitte example, we start with 75 base STR and add 5 for Merits, then for TP build gear we have +12 not counting the Mezraq and +14 with the Mezraq, for a total of 92 and 94 base strength. So using our Greater Colibri example from before (VIT: 67 and Def: 322) we have a fSTR of 7 from both weapons, and a Base Damage of 100 for Mezraq and 101 for Thalassocrat. It should be noted that if Omoi used one more STR for this set up it would raise her fSTR to 8 and would make for equal Base Damage of 101, but we will go with the unequal Base Damage for now. Now, for the pDIF side I am just going to give you the numbers because it's the side with the mind melting math, for the Merzaq the multiplier is 1.242 and the Thalassocrat is 1.238. Taking this all together, the highest damage you can hit is 124 with the Merzaq and the highest damage you can hit with the Thalassocrat is 125. But remember this is just max damage, and would be slightly balanced by the fact that the increase in Attack would increase your median damage, so even if the peak damage is higher with Thalassocrat it doesn't necessarily mean that it's damage over a parse will be higher. Also the minimum damage 74 will be the same for both weapons. The real problem is that for two-handed weapons the pDIF has changed and this is based on the old calculation, so take it with a grain of salt.

Now, just to show how close they are lets add one imaginary STR to Omoi's set up. That will make the Weapon Damage both 101 and it will make the pDIF for Merzaq 1.245 and the Thalassocrat 1.238, equaling out their max damage at 125. Adding more fSTR will continue to improve the Merzaq's advantage if fSTR is the same and even if it is not, then the Merzaq will behind by less. There is a graph of what the damages look like as STR increases. I was wrong that the Mezraq will catch up, but it will remain infinitesimally behind Thalassocrat for normal melee and for Penta thrust. For all other WS's the better weapon is the Mezraq, because they do not have equal DEX modifiers.

Anyway, the ultimate point is that they are so close as to be irrelevant. Debating between them is ultimately useless, because the difference is so small you will never notice.

I got home late from my meeting yesterday, but I did get to tank Genbu on SAM/WAR with no defense down gear. :) I lasted until it was to about 60% and it was fun. After that Omoi and I did a Bhaflau Remnants run with Rakuen, which was ok but Mad Bomber wasn't up and wind weather was up on the fourth floor, and poor Blaize aggroed one from 19 away. It really sucked because we were going to do the Rampart for his Skadi body. Well, since we aggroed one, we just ran to the middle of the floor and killed the Archaic Chariot there. These chariots are known to have some nerfing effect on Low-Bowed Chariot, and in this case it appeared to be a reduction in defense and evasion because I was eating Coeurl Sub and had no accuracy problems at all and I was hitting for 60-80 on a normal 1 Minuet punch. The dance around LBC was fun, and it only got one Homing Missile off at 4%, then promptly died without killing anyone. I believe when Versus goes again we will take the time to pull the fourth floor Chariot, because it massive reduces the kill time for LBC. While Omoi and I were in Salvage, Izman and Potpressure went to spawn the Bloodlicker again and after the second kill the got the drop! So Potty now has some nice new DD gloves for his Scholar! Finally, we all got together and did the Brother ENM. Crappy drops as usual. :( Ahh well.


leana said...

my DRG is 74 atm closing in to 75,

Since mithras have more use for STR then Dex
I've been leaning more towards getting a Mezraq then a Thelassocrat,

Ringthree said...

Racial attributes are not really that important to this calculation because they will be consistent.

Anonymous said...

So many people seem to think Einherjar is an acceptable replacement for kings. It is no such thing. I've personally gone twice a week since the event was released, I own one of the 15000 ampoule items, and I've seen a grand total of one abjuration drop. What a colossal waste of time.

Ringthree said...

1. Never said it was a replacement, just that the people that whine about Kings are the first to reject the alternatives.

2. Have you beaten Odin? Did you check out the comparison in time tables? You don't do Einherjar for the regular zone drops. You do it for the Odin drop.

Myrna said...

In Omoi's setup, does pole strap make a decent impact? Looking at it again i'll probably get it for leveling but I was never really sold on it.

leana said...

Racial attributes are not really that important to this calculation because they will be consistent.

Constant it might be, Race at endgame in some instances mattters a lot lol
(think PLD on mithra and PLD on elvaan, both (should) build differently to what needs some extra (mithras case VIT)
I'm not saying one is better then the other, I'm just looking from my own perspective ;P

the difference between Str and Dex on a mithra at 74 DRG/sam is 6 points: Base: 71 Dex & 65 Str(I don't have Stat Merits yet)

so I'm more inclined to go grab some str for a little more Ooompf for my WS ;)

mind you if I were an elvaan I'd go for some dex (no offence intended I'm just looking stat wise for each thing compared to what I need more )

Ringthree said...

leana, the point you are missing is that racial differences are irrelevant when comparing gear. You can not change your stats so using one or the other because of those stats wont make any difference besides the stats on the weapon. Using the Mezraq because you have lower STR will not change the calculations, they will still have the same outcome, just at a different STR level.

Ringthree said...

Myrna, the pole strap is probably the best strap available. The Claymore is nice but you can't crit a non-crit WS without SATA. Sword Strap would be nice if it didn't decrease TP per swing killing most 6-hit set-ups. Thus by default Pole Strap is the best.