Friday, May 07, 2010

Sub-Routine: Ninja

The level cap increase is coming! Are you prepared? This is the first in a series of articles that are going to look at all the potential sub jobs and the benefits that are going to come out of them as the level cap increases. Now, you might be wondering why I am going to go over sub jobs instead of main jobs, and there are a couple of answers. First, sub jobs have been generally designed around the level 75 cap for about 5 years now. SE has been adding abilities just above the level cap for sub jobs that are now going to become available. Second, we don't really know what is coming for main jobs. We do have SE's traditionally vague pronouncement of changes, but outside of SAM having Sekkanoki being bumped down to be available for sub jobs there really isn't much to go on for direct information. Third, while you know what you are generally getting out of a main job, sub jobs can alter, sometimes radically you play style for that job, so it is a good idea to know what is coming so you can maximize the potential of your main job.

Let's start with Ninja. Why? Well, because I think it is something that everyone is going to level anyway for the shadows so we might as well find out what else we are getting out of it.

1. Tier 2 Elemental Ninjutsu @ 40.
No. Just no. You don't have the skill, you don't have the MAB, you don't have the inventory space. Yes, there is going to be that random BLM out there that is going to try this out on a level 40 crab and they are going to say "it totally works" and then they will be attacked by a hundred psychopathic monkeys with nothing by terrorism and murder by anal rape on their minds... or maybe that is just what I hope happens to them.

2. Yonin/Innin @ 40.
Ok, so I have heard people say that SE is going to change this and move them up out of sub job range, but I have seen absolutely no evidence of this. First of all, if SE doesn't give this at sub job level then there is going to almost no reason to use NIN as a sub (ok, so there really isn't a whole lot of reasons besides shadows right now either). Other jobs are going to be handing out some pretty nice buffs as the level cap increases, why can't NIN? Second, Yonin and Innin aren't god-like abilities. I mean freaking /WAR is going to get Aggressor... I think /NIN is ok giving THF a little more accuracy and crit hit rate (which THF doesn't really need a huge boost in anyway) from behind.

Yonin is going to give more enmity production, save people a few Shihei, improve evasion which isn't going to matter to anyone besides THF and decrease incoming crits which is definitely nice. More specifically Yonin will continue to make PLD the only tanking job in the game. I suppose that maybe some of the concern for giving these abilities through the sub job is that it will just make PLD stronger. NEWS FLASH: PLD is the only tank in the game right now! Everything else is just a DD/NIN. NIN can hold hate really well, but in the end, they are nowhere close to PLD even when they have exclusive access to Yonin. There are only three tanking situations in FFXI; you need a real tank and you bring a PLD, you don't need a real tank and you sub NIN or SAM, you are fighting Tiamat. Tank imbalance in FFXI doesn't really matter because so many people have PLD leveled.

Innin is what I think most people are going to care about because it is an offensive boost for DD jobs. Evasion doesn't mean anything really to jobs that are used to wearing Haubs or pinning hate on someone else. The enmity reduction is going to be very nice for some jobs like RNG, who already have major hate issues and finding it very easy to quickly move up the hate list. It is also pretty good for keeping yourself alive in a Dynamis type situation where you want to share hate more than you keep it. SAM's are still going to hate /NIN because all the real offensive bonuses are going to come from being behind the mob, and that is a no-no for SAM damage production. On the other end of the spectrum THF is going to love Innin, since they already stand behind mobs a good portion of the time. That is going to be a good boost in accuracy for a dual wield job like THF as well as the previously mentioned and perhaps not all that relevant boost to critical hit rate. MNK might also benefit from this boost, but it might take some adjusting to get used to standing behind mobs on MNK.

3. Dual Wield III @ 45.
Here is the make or break for the future of /NIN. THFs are already going to be drooling over subbing NIN but this might cause the return of WAR/NIN if you have the gear to support it. Right now a really well geared and well played WAR/NIN can still beat out a Great Axe WAR/SAM, but it is much easier for the WAR/NIN to go /SAM and do better too. The really important aspect of this is that this is a pretty big step up in swing speed as Dual Wield III is a 10% decrease in weapon delay. The question then becomes is 10% swing speed improvement and Innin enough to beat out /SAM which as I will cover later isn't really getting a whole lot more with the increase in the level cap? I am thinking that it just might be what be needed to see a return of WAR/NIN. And the new Magian weapons might add another factor into the equation. I am not sure, but I am holding out hope.

4. Subtle Blow III @ 45.
Another nice bonus, but I don't think that it is going to be a real consideration for picking a subjob. Less TP given almost always means less damage taken, but that is what we have healers for.

Overall, I give the Ninja sub job at least a B+ when it comes to the improvements the sub job is going to get as the level cap increases. It will still have shadows, but it will finally have the offensive potential that is needed to help it even be considered with /SAM. It has at least two different jobs that might be able to greatly benefit from the improvements (THF and WAR) and there are always hidden benefits that we might not even know about right now. I would say the future looks really bright for Ninja as a sub job.

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