Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Thin Black Line- On Beastmaster Pets

The Thin Black Line is here to protect you! Tuufless, our resident cute Taru (every site needs one!) is here to tell you all there is about magic and mages of all colors, especially Black. So much potency in such a small package, delivered straight to you! Today, we'll explore beastmen pets in light of the glory that is Xarcabard [S].

Ever since Treasures of Aht Urhgan shunned Black Mages from parties, Black Mages around Vana'diel were forced to find other ways of getting experience points, which led to the development of leveling off Beastmen pets. Since then, beastmen pets have long been the favorite of aspiring nukers and is now the de-facto route for those who aspire to wear the pointed hat.

With the recent July version update introducing at least one excellent pet camp in Xarcabard [S], which I have been obsessing over lately, I figured I might as well talk about leveling off pets for the time being.

What is it?
As the name suggests, your target xp mobs are beastmen pets. Essentially, you are looking for a Beastman whose job is either BST or SMN, and taking their pet as your xp mob. Oftentimes, people either solo or duo pets, but there have been entire 6-man parties that set out to kill pets.

For now, I’m going to refer to both Beastmaster pets and Summoner elementals as just beastmen pets, regardless of which it actually is.

Why does it work?
Beastmen pets have one very interesting characteristic- they have abnormally low HP for their level. Technically, any job can get solo xp through killing pets, but the task favours mages for two reasons.

First, mage attacks are ranged, which makes pulling very convenient. However, the important factor is that mages specialize in dealing burst damage—that is to say, only mages can deal lots of damage out of nowhere. Melee jobs have to build TP before they can use a weaponskill, while mages can stand up from resting and immediately deal a 1000-damage nuke.

That is not to say that other jobs cannot enjoy the perks that come with pets— player-controlled Beastmasters can also level off beastmen pets, using their own pet to mitigate the damage dealt by the beastman’s. However, melee will struggle a little more, because they cannot kill the pet as quickly as mages can, and may need some outside assistance, like a powerleveler to see them through safely.

What do I need?
Level 24 is an important level because you get both Utsusemi: Ichi from /NIN and get to wear Reraise Earrings. Level 42 gives you Gravity from /RDM. Which you use will depend on personal preference, although as a general rule, /NIN favours camps that are cramped or involve pets that move faster than normal, while /RDM is better for more open camps.

You will also need to keep up to date with all your spells and gear, as this is a solo task, you will only have yourself to rely on. As advance warning, you will die a lot, especially if you are just starting out. Remember your Reraise!

How do I start?
There are lists scattered around the internet that can tell you where to find pets appropriate to your level. I personally use this one over on FFXIclopedia.

Before you start, you will need to know the basics about mob behaviour. First, the pet will always assist the beastmaster, but the Beastmaster will only assist the pet if it sees the pet engaged. This means that when you need to pull the pet from behind or at least from the side of the Beastmaster, so the Beastmaster does not see the pet.

You will also have to be mindful of the terrain, as mobs have erratic pathing when it comes to uneven terrain. Usually, this is a good thing, especially when it comes to soloing NMs, but in this case, it means the pet might illogically run in front of its master and cause it to link if you try pulling it from the side and there's a slope involved.

Next, all pets do not link with other mobs of the same family. However, outside mobs will still link with the pet, so you will need to exercise caution when dealing with pets that come from linking families, like Leeches and Rabbits, especially when there are other family members around.

If the beastmaster in question is actually a Summoner, there are two things additional things to keep in mind—first, summoner elementals have more HP than beastmaster pets, though still within a manageable range. More importantly, elementals will always start to cast a spell immediately upon aggro. The problem here is that elementals will stand still and will not follow you immediately once you pull, so there is a very real possibility of the Summoner turning around and linking with the elemental, especially if the elemental opens with Ancient Magic.

Once you get there, your xp/hr rate will depend on the following few factors:

First, how quickly you can kill the mob? This is the most obvious one, but still bears mention. This is the part where nukers outshine melee jobs, because they are able to quickly deliver damage whenever it is needed.

Secondly, how open is the camp? Camps that are in small, cramped places generally see lower xp/hr rates because you may be forced to just wait long periods of time for the Beastmaster to turn around before you can pull. Essentially, the more directions you can pull from, the better your xp/hr rate will be. Camps that are in open give you lots of freedom to move around, so instead of waiting for the Beastmaster to turn around, you can move to a good location yourself.

There is an exception to this rule, and that applies to Black Mages and Ancient Magic. Normally shunned because of their inefficient use of MP, Ancient Magic spells have much higher base damage for their level range and are single-target. This means that Black Mages are able to one-shot pets until around level 60, depending on how well they are geared. Black Mages that can one-shot pets will see their xp/hr will skyrocket as they are freed from the restriction of having to wait for the Beastmaster to turn its back—if the pet dies in one-shot, the beastmaster will not link, even if the pet dies in front of it.

Finally, how many Beastmasters are around? Typically, with one Beastmaster, you can expect to get Chain #3 consistently. Two or more Beastmasters let you go up to Chain #5 or possibly even Chain #6.

Xarcabard [S]
With that in mind, I’d like to conclude by introducing the inspiration for this post- the new pet camps in Xarcabard [S].

This camp has everything a pet soloist could ask for- it is very accessible, literally right where you teleport into Xarcabard [S]. It is open, which means a lot of room to maneuver into good positions, and lastly, I counted up to five Beastmasters (Gigas Floggers) in the area. The picture you see above shows you what one can do with a camp like this.

For those who have yet to try this way of leveling, I highly encourage you to do so. Best of luck!


Araelus said...

Looks fun for recapping BLM after Dynamis :) Thanks for the camp info, Tuufless!

Thazienne said...

Thanks Tuuf, great info and of course an amazing video. I'll be sure to check it out, I miss the days of pet xpin anyway, lol.