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- 1 Introduction
- 2 TANKS A LOT
- 3 THE KNEE-SHOOTERS, aka DD’s
- 4 IT LIFTS, SEPARATES AND ADDS DEFINITION…
- 5 JUST YANKIN’ YOUR CHAIN
- 6 ATYPICAL PARTIES
- 7 COMMON PARTY NOTES
- 8 Closing
Why a guide?
Damn good question. The 1st couple reasons are purely personal. I wrote a soloing guide, “My Way: A Solo's Strategy Guide” which you can find on the wiki, so this seemed like a logical companion, especially as I do make reference to partying in it. Then there’s also the fact I just happen to like writing. I also enjoy helping others.
As to reasons that aren’t personal, there are several. 1st off, this information isn’t really collected in one place, at least not in any manner I enjoy reading. You can sometimes find the information linked off an individual job’s page, but often you can’t; additionally, a guide to blink tanking off the ninja page doesn’t really help the dancer/ninja looking on the dancer page for the information. Another biggie for me is that I believe most jobs can do several things in a party and I wanted to address that element of play more than a purpose-built guide to healing as a white mage generally does. I’m also a big believer in breaking the cookie cutter molds, so I thought a guide that doesn’t say that only a white mage can be your healer might be of some use to the red mages and scholars saying “Cures here, hello McFly?!” as an example. The biggest reason though is that most of the resources out there haven’t been updated in years, or to put it more succinctly, they stop at level 75, the game currently stops at 119, I thought that leaves a little gap, but maybe that’s just me…
Is this guide definitive? Not at all, and if you only play the one job I encourage you to read the guides to play off the individual job’s page-actually, read those as well regardless. If you have the skill as writer and the knowledge as a player of that job I even encourage you to write an updated “how to…” as well, we really could use them. But my guide is also meant to help with chemistry within the party as well, so I encourage you all to read it, and critique to your heart’s content on the talk page, I’ll revise as necessary and time permits.
OK, you have a job, a sub-job, a race and gear and you JUST got a party invite, what do you do now? You ask “what’s my job in the party?” if you are concerned with doing things right. See, there’s a second set of jobs in the game, which I’ll differentiate by calling them “roles”. They are generally called Tank, DD and Support, but I prefer to break them down further. Tank I define by HOW they tank so Punching Bag, Blink and Eva tank are what I call them. DD are usually Melee, but I add Nukers and Ranged. Support roles are Buffers, Healers and Back-up healers. There is also 1 extra category that can be filled by anyone in the original 3, and that is “Puller”.
So, which is which and how do you do it? Well that’s what we are going to work on here.
The effects of "ilevel"
For long-time players the biggest change to the game is the ilevel system. A system limitation in the code restricts maximum level to 99 (to be more accurate, we were offered an option of an ilevel system for all jobs OR a max level of 100 for 1 job only, the players voted for ilevel), and it must be at a fairly fundamental level as the game was hard-capped at 99. Enter ilevel, a system that simulates leveling with augments on gear (which is often further augmented via some playsystem analogous to Magian trials but not called that), rendering an "ilevel"-presumably the "i" is exactly like its use to denote an imaginary number in algebra, because it's imaginary. As you can imagine, this has led to complications as well as benefits.
The benefits are easy, we hit harder and for greater numbers. Old content is ridiculously easy for the most part, excepting those with artificial bottlenecks, like respawn/conversion rates for VNMs used in making empyrean gear, as my Gjallerhorn shows. Note SE's tendency to occasionally redo old content-Walk of Echos was just redone today as an example so pay attention when entering, you might be in for a much harder fight than you imagined. From a developer's standpoint it allows for the addition of new content with rewards that are not all side-grade; it also accommodates a change in the thrust of players at the 75 cap from reaching level and beating lore content to acquisition of harder to get gear, but with a pathway for casual players to do so as well, just taking more time.
The complications however are myriad. The biggest of course is a software nightmare as your abilities are now all relative but with a far greater variation in the modifiers that have to be checked to determine your melee accuracy as an example; now imagine doing that with every combat check for every stat for every player involved, not easy. The 2nd is what I call the "relative ilevel", people aren't wearing uniform gear sets, they've got a level 119 weapon/ammo and a couple 119 armor pieces, some 117, some 115, some 113, some 110, some still 99 and even a rajas ring that hasn't moved since level 75, and almost all of it may have individual augmentations so it isn't a stock set; so is the player 119 or some in-between average? From a design standpoint-both by the developer and the player-it's a nightmare, and further complicated if the player is gear-swapping, especially with the new additions of mog wardrobe and gear sets.
More complications effect other jobs, as they are near and dear to my heart I'll talk pet jobs 1st. SE chose to afflict all pet jobs with the 1-2 level gap they always had on jug pets for beast (which could always only be bridged through the use of relic gloves), coupled with some serious irregularities in how the ilevel augments are scaled to each individual pet for all pet jobs. Your pet's ilevel (excepting charmed pets) is set by a specific item of gear, main-hand weapon for dragoon and beastmaster, an ammo piece for summoner and your animator for puppetmaster-for charmed beast pets they seem to just add a delay to their attacks and a drop to their accuracy in comparison to their stats just before they were charmed and the artificial delay to TP moves that has always been on beast. However, even if you HAVE the corresponding ilevel 119 set piece the ability modifiers for the levels are set abysmally low, which basically means slow attacks that can't hit anyway and if they do hit do miserable damage numbers; ex. my summoner does more per melee hit than my avatars, WITH some physical attack merits for avatar and hits more often and I do not have good melee gear on my summoner (not like there is that much summoner melee gear in the game). SE is "working on" this problem, but they have been for 2 years, and they are talking about forcing us to spend job points instead of fixing the native problem with pets, so we won't be able to improve our job, just play catch-up, meaning we'll be behind other jobs that used their job points anyways after we are done.
Other job effects are too many to count but almost all stem from the 99 cap on job abilities, spells and the like. The easiest example is cures. Before the introduction of ilevel and the hard-cap of level 99 Cure 6 seemed overpowered and even Cure 5 was often more than you needed. However, with the introduction of level 119+ enemies even Cure 6 often has trouble keeping up-and it sucks up MP like a black hole. Paladin hate controls are all relics from level 99 or lower and cannot keep pace with ilevel 119 damage outputs from the rest of the party. You see, SE doesn't want to add new JA/Spells to level 99 because it would make us overpowered if playing at level 99 content, but they also don't want to make specific items REQUIRED to play certain jobs so they do not wish to add post-level 99 JA/spells to ilevel gear-and even if they did there is a hard and fast limit of 16 gear slots to work with which may be needed for other augmentations, like a weapon that provides sufficient magic accuracy to hit anything, etc.
What all of the above boils down to is that playstyles need to change to accommodate the changing game environment AND the level of accomplishment of your fellow players. Also, as always certain jobs have been treated well by SE and so the guys making cookie-cutter end-game strategies have decided to exclude any other jobs outside a capacity points/X-LP party. Current jobs permitted to play in end-game content are Monk, Ranger, Bard, Corsair (if you can't get a bard), Samurai IF fully 119 (and a 119 relic or mythic great katana) and you don't have a monk or a ranger, an Aegis/Ochain Paladin, White Mage, Scholar but only on specific battles requiring a stunner, and only in parties where rangers are your primary DD source Red Mage is allowed to play for the 1st time in 44 levels and 3.5 years. All other players are expected to level to one of the above, solo or confine your gameplay to your social LS.
TANKS A LOT
1st, tanking in general. Your job as a tank is to eat damage so the rest of the party doesn’t have to. Sounds easy? It isn’t. See, your prey has a mind of its own and will go after whoever has pissed it off the most. The in game term is “hate control” and a tank better have a grasp of it if he wants to keep getting parties.
Now, the most obvious method of keeping hate is to hurt the mob, but here’s the problem, the other people in your party. With a few rare moves as the exception, all of the DD are going to be hurting the prey more than you because none of the tank jobs hit particularly hard. And it’s gotten pretty rare for any DD to worry about pulling hate off the tank, just ask any healer. And that’s how healers get hate, having to cure jobs that can’t take a hit when they get hate. But who cares, right? The DPS parser is maxed, that’s all that counts, isn’t it? Well, if you didn’t live through the fight and get a win, apparently not.
So, since tanks don’t hit hard enough to hold hate how do they work at all? Well, it depends on the job and it’s method of tanking, but for the most part it’s a combination of Job Abilities and Magic use-regardless, it's a lot harder than it used to be. We’ll delve in to that in the sections below.
Ok, beyond level 30 this is pretty much exclusively paladin territory, prior to that War can also tank. Additionally, SE insists Rune is a tank and this is apparently the type they expect it to be, but as things stand Rune really can’t tank much except heavy 1-2 element magic users with limited physical damage-so it ain’t much of a tank, supposedly they are working on this but the last person holding his breath waiting on it passed out 10 months ago.
In any event, the common trait for these types of tanks is their ability to take a hit-which is why war is off the list at level 30 and rune is only mentioned here. Now, the warrior job abilities that matter here are, well, all of them to be honest, including the boost to attack that adds a little to damage-generated enmity. (FYI, there are big discussions of hate and decay rates and the like on other sites as well as wiki with lots of math and graphs and other stuff which are far too much for a discussion of roles like this, feel free to reference them, but I’m simply going to discuss net observed results, you know, the shit on the screen.) Provoke is the single best hate tool in the game and is why /war is so common, all it does is generate a butt load of enmity, and it may be used by all 3 types of tanks for just that reason. Berserk and war cry increase damage, defender isn’t that useful but it MIGHT keep you alive if you need to wait on a healer for MP or want to lose hate on purpose, and Aggressor to increase accuracy.
Other sub-jobs bring other things to the table, like Sam which adds TP mostly and an Eva move, Nin for Shadows and dual wield, thief adds several traits but read up on thief in the special section, and mage jobs for healing and incidental goodies. And then there is /dnc; /dnc is, like war, an amazingly useful sub and it may also be used by any tanking character except dnc main. Self heals, a samba buff which adds haste, healing or Aspir and several flourishes including a mini provoke, and steps that do a mini debuff with each application, plus dual wield again if you want to use 2 weapons, and its very own stealth move, however it is generally not necessary in a party as someone else-usually a DD-will be using it.
This leaves the native abilities of a Paladin. Pretty much every paladin JA is also a hate control tool. Cover is especially useful, particularly when playing with DD who won’t respect hate control. Other abilities do give hate spikes but read them off the pld page; they may be best used in certain situations, especially with recast timers to worry about. And this leaves paladin magic. Cures help ALOT with hate control, and Flash is almost as good as provoke for a short hate spike.
So, what to do as a punching bag? Well, there are more in-depth guides off the jobs’ pages, but basically you spam your hate generating abilities as much as possible to hold hate as much as possible, doing as much damage as you can and WS when able-note that the WS might be dictated if trying for a skillchain, ask the party leader if that is in the works. You are probably the only job in the game as it presently stands that will be concerned with defensive gear; in fact in end-game top paladins are expected to have both an Aegis and an Ochain, both shields, leveled to end-game levels.
Now, one tanking technique-that only works with top gear by the way-is what I call the "nyah-nyah" method. Basically, max your defensive gear, especially -pdt and/or -mdt depending on what the mob does. Now, make absolutely sure that you are 1st to engage and max out all possible enmity, unless you REALLY stink 2-3 attack rounds coupled with a Provoke ought to do it. If you had swapped any gear go to that defensive set I mentioned and just stay engaged on the mob and LET IT HIT YOU--for no damage. See, until the mob can do anything significant to your HP you will stay at the top of the hate list. Incidentally, you must cure yourself from every little bit of that damage but Rune regen is sufficient so certainly paladin cures or dancer waltzes will get the job done, the point is to do it immediately with a cure 1 or 2/curing/divine waltz 1 but do not have the healer heal you unless this isn't working, as (s)he will pull hate. It's the equivalent of a RL boxer sticking his tongue out at his opponent after his best shot, the proper answer is an uppercut to the jaw before he can get the tongue back in but if he can't hit... well, you get the point. Cure anyone else with your spare time and use voke when it's up but you may not need to.
This basically means ninja, although any of the Eva Tanks and the occasional pld/nin may play more like this. The key is Utsusemi-ninja’s “Shadows” spell. Ninja mains also have the advantage of Migwari as well, basically a special shadow that eats damage that would 1-shot the ninja. Oh, and they are also dodgy enough that they could likely eva tank even without the shadows.
Blink tanks generally have fewer tools than Pld for holding hate, they make up for it with slightly higher damage as they tend to hit a bit harder and much faster. Nin also has a JA to help with hate, and the smart nins may insist on a thief in the party-we’ll get to thief later. They also could use ninjitsu to help hold hate, it’s not major damage but it tends to cast fast.
Now, gear… tanking nins gear different than those soloing, they tend to focus on evasion-and don’t worry about parry, despite excellent skill parry is capped at working 5% of the time- in their armor, and damage, by any means, in their weapons. One trait ninja often look for is Fast Cast. Shadows are quick to cast but as a tank you may still be getting hit frequently and thus be interrupted. Not to mention prey with the ability love to paralyze and/or silence ninja. Which reminds me, a nin without echo drops is an idiot.
Now, sub-jobs, any of those mentioned for paladin are viable choices, but with ninja I really like dancer most. All of those dancer abilities mentioned above are helpful but the real helpers are the Waltzes. Once shadows go down nin do not take hits well at all, a waltz can keep you alive, wake an entire party at once if slept-assuming you were holding hate you will be the 1st awake-and even erase something your healer wasn’t able to in time. And all that curing will help keep more hate, too.
Now, a word about blink tanks in end-game. You have it rough. Almost all the boss mobs are AoE happy, certainly with TP abilities and frequently with spells as well, and those can strip all your shadows at once as well. Add in the fact they also TP quickly and you may spend a lot of time waiting on recast timers to get your shadows back up. So, a blink tank that is still viable against boss mobs is indeed very very good at his job. In a regular XP-ish party blink tanks work about as well as they ever have.
CAN’T TOUCH THIS
EVA tanks, EVA is short for evasion in case you didn’t know by the way. This is a form of tanking that basically emerged simultaneous with the release of Abyssea and involves the use of former DD only jobs-and in fact any of these jobs may be in your party in a different role and rotate into tanking as needed (i.e. death, so I guess they CAN touch this). Several jobs are in this category, albeit some marginally, but the big 3 would be monk, dancer and thief (yes, thief).
Now, hate control is all over the map as all the jobs work differently. As a rule, all of the EVA tank jobs are lighter DD jobs that tend to hit very fast (and are usually hasted to boot), so their damage is a “punches in bunches” kind of thing. Sub-job abilities play a huge part as well, monks and thieves usually subbing dancer or ninja, dancer mains almost always subbing ninja, as the shadows can be a help as well-I recommend any that chose to eva tank /nin read the blink tank section as well.
Now, monk is popular as an eva tank because it’s cumulative damage is in the class of the big DD jobs, it has a truckload of HP, some modest abilities for hate control (boost, etc.) and a couple other unique goodies like counter and formless strikes, plus chakra and an eva boost. This allows it to generally hold hate even if the DD are going all out themselves. A monk might gear with a bit of extra eva instead of damage, but they may just go with their pure damage/TP builds as well, it depends on the prey. Sub-job use is as mentioned in the paladin section.
Dancer has a multitude of tools. All of those mentioned for use as a sub-job are viable, but generally work better coming from a dnc main. In addition, they have a great ability called Fan Dance that knocks their damage taken WAY down, but it kills Sambas-no problem, just have one of the DD /dnc and your sambas are back in business for the party. They don’t hit very hard but they accumulate TP so fast that they can almost always still WS, and self skillchain, while still back-up curing, debuffing and buffing the party. One little Easter egg bonus as well, caster mobs may waste effort silencing a dancer even if they have no casting on them, like a dnc/war or /thf.
Thief-ok, I told you thief is going to have a special section, and it will. The mention here is that their utility is limited as an EVA tank and I strongly suggest you have 2 in the party, with the thief as the back-up tank. They CAN eva tank as needed but their JA are actually geared more to making other tanks better, with less utility on themselves. When you DO need to tank I strongly recommend a focus on gear that adds to Triple attack rate, daggers don’t hit that hard, but when you are hitting 2-3 times as often as everyone else, it adds up. Haste is also a great choice. Thief is the most evasive job in the game, have fun.
ODD JOB (DID ANYONE SEE A HAT COME THROUGH HERE?)
(I managed a Connery Bond reference in an FFXI guide, I'm so proud) Yep, other jobs can occasionally tank, and may even be beneficial to do so in certain instances. A brief summary of those jobs and the tactics involved follow.
Beastmaster-this only applies to jug pets by the way. Build as much hate as possible onto the beastmaster player as fast as possible, have the beast unleash a heavy weaponskill, then immediately Snarl to put all that hate onto the pet. The advantages are two-fold, 1st beast pets have HP that puts even monks to shame (by like 3 times as much) and 2nd is that beast players have gear that can significantly reduce damage taken by pets-this peaked in Abyssea with a hard-capped 87.5% reduction to physical damage. It’s not nearly as high with ilevel gear but it still doesn’t suck. And when the pet dies, it isn’t a party member and you can call another once your recall timer is up.
Puppetmaster-same as beastmaster except that the job ability used is Ventriloquy, and your autos aren’t nearly as durable as a beast pet. Still, with the proper attachments Valoredge in particular is designed to be a tank (it failed, but that was the intent) and he can take a pounding. And when your auto dies your recall timer is only 1 minute, unlike a beast’s base 5 minute (albeit with your auto’s HP and MP in the toilet). In addition, Puppetmaster is quite evasive, with a rdm or whm auto it can stay alive quite awhile with its own buffer/healer and the right sub-jobs but damage output by the player to hold hate is an issue-the right sub-job can let pup tank a bit longer.
Rune-especially against casters who only use 1-2 elements-commonly worms, elementals and avatar-type mobs-is able to tank fairly effectively. Hate control is an issue, requiring near constant spam of JA but they can be near immune to magic damage played properly and they don’t need an Aegis/Ochain to do it. Physical damage-even with all the dmg reduction gear available-is still a major problem for a rune, but in a party with a healer that can be overcome and rune can help himself a bit as well with his own casting.
Any other DD-harking back to the old days where blink tanking was much more common, any DD may have needed to hold hate for awhile to allow a nin to put shadows back up or a pld to get healed after some particularly heavy damage and the like. The situation can still occur and any good DD should be prepared for that. In addition, with the tendency of many DD to completely ignore a tank’s efforts at hate control they may have hate regardless. Almost all DD have a defensive ability-often not in keeping with the rest of the job build-and these occasions are why. So, have your Third Eye or Dread Spikes or whatnot macroed so you can use them in a hurry.
This is that thief section I was telling you was coming. Although not as often played for this role, especially with players ignoring tanks as they frequently do, one of the things thief is best at is managing party hate. They have abilities like Accomplice to steal hate from a player to themselves, Conspirator to sort of freeze it in place, Sneak Attack to make the next attack from behind the mob do MAJOR damage-especially when coupled to a weapon skill, and Trick Attack to add some damage and transfer all the hate of such attack to whoever is standing between the thief and the mob; doing accomplice on a player with a lot of hate, then stacking Sneak Attack, Trick Attack and a Weaponskill on a tank when the monster is facing away then Conspirator to somewhat lock it is usually good for keeping hate on the tank for a good long time. You get the ideas.
The other job that can do this is Ranger with Decoy Shot. Put up Decoy Shot, then from behind the tank attack as if you had no worries ever about hate, because while it lasts, you don’t. And let me tell you, Weapon Skill|Sharpshot|Barrage|Weaponskill with an ilevel 119 gun has few rivals for damage-generated hate. Decoy shot means the tank gets all of that hate.
The other use of both is when you are trying to party using a tank and one player insists on stealing hate despite repeated warnings, you can do either/both of the above to give him all of the hate he was asking for. Keep in mind, the better a job is equipped to take hate, the worse it usually is about taking a hit. In other words, you just MPK’d a party member. Remember to show your appreciation for his efforts by booting his ass, getting a replacement and NOT raising him.
I HATE EVERYTHING ABOUT YOU
ok, SE has been toying with the hate mechanics for some time now and are likely on their last major change. This effects tanking in a major way for every type of tank so until I can revise each section I'm just going to do a collected note here.
Changes in calculation, what we are talking about primarily is what is called on some sites "volatile enmity", i.e. the stuff that changes rapidly. Basically, damage inflicted has had its hate generation severely nerfed. Damage still inflicts enmity but it is in much smaller numbers. The enmity cap has also been tripled. No other changes have been made but nonetheless the effect is VERY profound. Punching bag tanks are thus back in vogue, and EVA tanks are not near as effective, DD tanks are almost non-existent. Here's why: there is an enmity decrease for damage you receive which is much higher than the enmity you generate inflicting damage. Therefore your Sam while putting up substantial damage isn't generating as much hate, but you don't have the damage resistance of a paladin so you take more damage from mob attacks, meaning a faster decay on the lesser enmity you had generated. If you get a cure from your healer that will almost always pull hate to them, but healing doesn't generate as much enmity as the dedicated hate tools of the designated tank and/or hate control jobs do, meaning the paladin|rune|ninja|dancer in tank mode is much more effective getting and keeping hate, especially if self-curing. The thief hate shifting abilities are much more effective now, but only if you allow the tank to get hate initially-SATA is very difficult when the mob is spinning like a top. The bard songs are effective for this but are never used because of the greater utility of other songs, and Scherzo, Mambo and Minne can actually help the tank retain hate from less damage taken, although their use is situational-Carols are handy in the same way against heavy elemental damage dealers, as are rune's defensive measures.
Blink tanking is still less effective than the punching bags-SE hasn't toned down the AoE in the least so shadows still don't last-but it is superior to EVA tanks who were dependent on their damage generated to get/hold hate.
Pet jobs, only viable without seriously specialized play when soloing as a tank, but hate can be held by your pets now if you play/gear that way, i.e. boost the pet's output and limit what you do to primarily damage infliction. For Beasts using jug pets judicious use of Snarl is helpful, pups are less useful using Ventriloquy/Role Reversal but still better than they've been the last couple years.
Rangers unfortunately cannot pile as much hate as you were onto the tank using Decoy Shot but conversely are less likely to pull hate when Decoy is down.
Trusts, Gessho can't tank worth a flip now, Amchuchu and all your paladin tanks are much more effective now. Warriors however are dangerous as they will Provoke, generally have bad defense and the Provoke hate does NOT decay quickly, this leads to healer trusts (or you) spamming cures and can end up with your healers as your tank, and that's bad news as your healers don't take damage well. Your dancer trusts don't use Animated Flourish as a rule, rarely heal and frankly don't hit that much or hard so their tanking isn't that viable unless you are playing bard or some other buffer.
Your NPC Fellow, if set to Shield/Stalwart Shield they are actually pretty viable tanking now IF you are even level with them and don't go over the top on your enmity generation.
THE KNEE-SHOOTERS, aka DD’s
So, what do these jobs have in common? Well, you are there to lay the hurt on a mob but you can’t take it on yourself. In a nutshell, that’s it. By Default, DDs are any job that isn’t a dedicated tank or a dedicated support job, i.e. pld, brd, etc. I’m going to step on some toes here, to an “elite” about the only DD jobs are Sam, Drk, War and a Mnk who isn’t tanking; that’s a load of horse shit and so take that advice the way you would a plate full of it. Granted, that is in part because they consider nukers to be a separate role, I don’t because their job is still to lay the hurt on the mob, just using magic or otherwise from a distance. And they completely ignore pet jobs, seeming to think they should just be deleted from the game, despite pet jobs performing excellently.
At any rate, the other term used for DDs is “MP sponge”. You’ll hear that term from healers/sleepers who play honest and don’t pull their punches in discussions when a DD bitches at them for letting him die, despite him pulling hate off the tank with a mob he isn’t strong enough to handle, even though the healer is out of MP and the other support guys are tied up dealing with the total cluster fark the DD has created by not sticking with the party plan.
OK, so I have issues with bad DDs, I’m usually a brd/whm in parties and also the puller, want to make something of it?
Yep, this is the melees. I’m actually going to divide the melees into 2 groups, the heavy and the light… because I can, I’m writing this! Heavy Melee can generally be recognized by the two-handed weapon most of them are carrying and the fact they aren’t standing back with the nukers and healers. Their armor tends to be heavier as well, but as with all things SE there are exceptions. Light Melee tend to be using one-handed weapons-frequently dual-wielding them-and lighter armor, and they tend to do other roles in addition to just wailing on the mob. In any event, to the in-depth descriptions.
Your heavy melee jobs are Sam, War, Dark, Monk and Dragoon. An honorable mention goes to Rune here as it is almost never played as a tank so with that Greatsword it falls here by default. In addition, this is where I put both Beast and Pup, as to properly gauge their DPS you have to add the master’s damage to the pet’s damage (which may be very high or low depending what kind of auto a pup is using); in truth you do this for all jobs when evaluating DPS, the difference is that for any non-pet job the pet’s damage is 0.
Sam-well, what to say? Whack stuff a lot, very hard, weapon skill and Skillchain almost continuously. Sam tends to have bad armor in terms of defense and builds mostly for Store TP and/or haste to keep the weapon skills coming. They’re actually quite good with bows as well but over half of those you see aren’t even carrying one so they can get a bonus stat booster in the ranged and/or ammo slot. In a party they can sub almost anything, basically depending on what the party needs.
War-the advantage to war is the variety of weapons they can wield to great effect, it’s a very adaptable job. The disadvantage-ilevel 119 weapons are hard to come by so war may not HAVE that much in the arsenal at end-game levels, especially if your regular group is trying to get everyone to at least 1 119 weapon. Gear for haste, TP or attack, all will help. Sub what you like, but if you want to see happy healers /nin or /dnc will make you some friends.
Dark-you hit almost as hard as a Sam, but at a VERY slow rate. You do have magic though and you could help the party a great deal if you will use it. Absorb ACC or TP are wonderful aids to the party, Drain 1 and 2 will make the healers smile whenever you use them, Aspir will make YOU smile when you need less down time, and stun, sleep and tractor for when it all hits the fan (as things occasionally do). Gear for haste, then a little more haste and when you are done with that some haste would be good. Got your gear? Good, weapon skill with it, you have some of the nastiest in the game. Dark subs are generally chosen to add to damage, so /sam, /war and /thf are all pretty wicked.
Monk-you look like a light melee, dress like a light melee, fight like a light melee, why aren’t you a light melee? Damage-we call it “punches in bunches”-in the time it took a Sam to get off 1 hit for 320 damage, there’s a very good chance you’ve gotten off 3-4 for 80-100 damage each, and that’s heavy DD numbers. Now, your armor sucks, guard almost never works, counter is unreliable, why do we like you so much? Oh yeah, even with your lousy armor you take a hit almost like a paladin, at least in terms of the HP left after you get hit, you have a TON of HP. I would gear for back-up tanking, even if you aren’t tasked for it you can do it when necessary (like your paladin needing to AFK to drop a deuce), and quite frankly you aren’t losing much, if anything. Choose your sub the same way.
Dragoon-you’ve got an 8 foot long sharpened stick wrapped in steel and a dragon backing you up, what are we supposed to call you, a pastry chef? Just remember, the pointy end goes in the BAD guy, frequently we hope. Then jump when the hate gets too hairy for you to lose it. Gear for haste and a bit of Refresh. I would still sub with healing breath in mind, or at least the in-between subs that allow both healing and offensive breath, it will help the healers out a lot and is the most MP/TP efficient healing in the game outside Paeon. Just remember to keep your little lizard topped up on HP, your recall timer sucks (still, better than when calling the wyvern was your 2-hour…).
Rune-you’re flailing away with a 6 foot butter knife and you can’t take a hit, what else can you be? You can’t cast enough for support roles, you can’t even use a ranged weapon, you have no nuking spells and you are too slow-even with max haste-to be a light melee, so welcome to the club. Hit hard as often as possible, use runes to maximize your damage and/or minimize your prey’s. Gear for haste and damage reduction-maybe if you ever get enough they’ll let you tank something. Sub what you like, I prefer to sub whm to back-up heal, but you can also sub to back-up tank, you have enough HP to take 1-2 hits to let the real tank get their shit back together. Oh, and you can pull, we’ll get to that.
Beast-2 axes, heavy armor and a pissed-off sheep at your side all night, what more could a guy in smelly furs and leather ask for? THAT is why I’m a career beast, and I don’t even live in Scotland or New Zealand. PETA be damned. So, send in the sheep (or whatever you’re packing), break out the axes and try to make some filets of prey for after the party. Gear, well gear appropriately, either pet buffs, damage reduction or Charm+ if you want to use the surrounding freebies. Unless you need to proc something I would be /dnc, let’s you do more for the rest of the party and despite what you and your little love slave are doing for damage each round the other DD are going to claim it’s inadequate, even if your combined damage is greater than theirs.
Pup-you have a freaking ROBOT subject to your every whim, it’s the ultimate dream. you are wide open, you do the damage of a light melee personally, but you will have a little helper who may be melee DD, ranged DD, nuker DD, a hybrid Nuker/support or a damn good back-up healer so your DPS or your other contributions make you quite valuable in parties. Gear yourself either for damage or pet buffs. Sub kind-of the same way you chose robots, by what the party is short. Pup is one of the ultimate utility jobs in FFXI.
LOVE TAP, PIMP SLAP, WHATEVAH WORKS
Light melee, all I’m going to include here are Ninja, Thief and Dancer. As I said, you are likely doing other jobs as well.
Ninja-if you aren’t tanking you are here by default. You hit fairly hard and you make up the difference with weapon skills and the other stuff you bring to the table. I would still gear with tanking in mind because you are there if it all turns sour. Gear as in blink tanking and sub accordingly. Make sure you have plenty of tools, especially for Utsu, considering the lack of hate control and the AoE spam end-game you’ll need them.
Thief-ok, you could be the worst player in the history of this or any other server… but you have Treasure Hunter, which means goodies, so we’ll all at least ACT like we love you, thanks for buying our friendship. Haste, TP, and/or Attack+, unless you think you’ll have to pull or back-up tank, in which case you might want to gear evasion, but full-time your TH gear unless fighting evil weapons or something with no drops or guaranteed drops; SE is on record that the chances of building TH are higher the higher your base TH, capped at 8 from gear/job trait. Subs, usually nin or dnc these days. Do NOT forget a ranged weapon.
Dancer-congrats on getting a party, it’s a freaking miracle. Gear like thief, play like thief but no TH for you. Haste, TP, Attack or Evasion gear is your best bet. Dancer has to default to light DD, but you are expected to be a utility player, you just need to do damage to get the TP to fuel your utility role. Be ready to pull, back-up tank, back-up heal, all of that and some enfeebs on the mobs, too. Sub-job is almost always going to be nin, but if the party doesn’t have a thief you might want to do that for TH, but check with them, as rng, blu and even bst might be providing it… actually, even a big DD or even a nin might be doing it already.
OK, MINSC IS TOAST!
Nukers, these used to be a mainstay of the game before everyone went zerg crazy, they still work just fine, they may even be preferred on some mobs. Now, realize that there is a lot of overlap with the support role jobs here, but I’m putting the jobs in here because they can all-if they wish-do some significant magic damage. Jobs here are black mage, blue mage, summoner and sometimes red mage and scholar depending on the party build. All but blue mage usually play from the backline. Oh, almost all nukers’ defense generally sucks, that is WHY you are on the back-line.
Black mage-this job used to define nuking and it’s still the best, although scholar can approach it if done well, AND not needed in a more support fashion. Before “zerg uber alles” blm used to be the job that was always pulling hate off the tank. They still can, but it’s not as common, nor do they keep it as long. Keep steady damage on the mob, nothing overwhelming unless you are going for a kill shot. IF the party is doing planned skillchains try to Magic Burst, the numbers are very much worth it. Your big worries are managing your MP, and keeping the mob from whacking you, as you are quite squishy. Crowd control is also in your purview, sleeping adds. You have a number of damage types, use them. Also, you have the most AoE damage amongst player jobs, this isn’t commonly used in a party, but it’s not unheard of. Gear varies a bit by level, but magic attack, magic accuracy, refresh and +MP recovered while healing are all good choices, and I personally like -spell interruption rate. Sub-jobs are commonly red or scholar if not needed much for back-up heals, white if you will be.
Blue mage-some people might question blue as a nuker, but it’s kind of the only slot where I can make it fit. Yes, blue IS going to melee, probably light melee class, but blue is using ALOT more magic than any light melee (unless you have some seriously unusual light melee anyway), it can also buff, but it isn’t casting almost exclusively in a support capacity so I call it a DD, and that means nukers. Now, blue plays weird for a mage as it will be meleeing outside a few specific fights, it will even be self-skillchaining and occasionally Bursting. Since blue has to set its spells before the fight, while it has wide potential utility, that utility is narrowed once the spells are set, like pup with its auto. Within those confines it can be quite powerful. In a party however, the kill speed is usually too fast to allow you to reset spells during downtime. Gear will vary a bit based on what the party wants you to do, but usually Haste and/or refresh/MP recovery are good, as is anything that just boosts blue magic skill or magic accuracy. Sub-jobs, well nin is popular but any melee job sub is common, other mage jobs are rare but not unheard of, I would ask.
Summoner-the magic pet-job. While the other 3 pet jobs might melee with their pets, summoner hardly ever does, especially in a party. Sometimes thought of more as a buffer in parties, that’s only when things are going bad. Summoner is quite capable of dealing significant damage or defending/healing from its avatar with its Bloodpacts given the opportunity. Between pacts summoner’s avatar is dealing some light melee damage (which helps if using bloodpacts affected by TP) while the summoner himself is doing something else, usually back-up healing. Because summoner hardly ever is on the mob, gear is a bit unusual as you do anything to either boost the pet (generally bloodpacts recast time-, or the rare effect+ piece) OR keep your MP up-either via refresh or –avatar perpetuation cost. Sub-jobs, usually /rdm or /sch, but there are a few /whm out there, back-up healing being expected from a smn.
Red Mage-if healing is under control by others then rdm can take a break from its busy schedule of hasting and refreshing to get off a few nukes, although enfeebles are likely the better-and more MP efficient-choice for spending your time. Still, enfeebles are also offensive casting and some like Dia, Bio and Poison even do damage, but all can be useful, and NEVER forget dispel. Now, rdm has fallen somewhat off the radar for nuking, mostly because your nukes cap at tier 4 and do significantly less than a comparably leveled/skilled blm, sch or even geo, but they aren’t nothing and you stay in MP longer than those others. Gear, for a party they are going to expect you in back-line caster stuff, even though you are a decent melee, so expect to gear the same as a blm would, although possibly with some healing boosts in your gear as well. I’d say MACC is priority as landing enfeebs on tougher mobs is quite hard, but you know your success rate (and what you can afford). Sub-jobs, I’d say default these days is white mage, but DO ask, blm and even dark have a use as well for Stun or an AoE sleep. Scholar is an occasional choice, but it’s a sore point for rdms-scholar has stolen most roles rdm USED to do so well.
Scholar-like red mage if not forced to cast almost exclusively in a support role scholar can nuke almost as well as a full black mage, especially with Dark arts up; primarily sch lacks AoE nukes which generally are not used in a party. But they have AoE buffing that rdm doesn’t have, higher tier nukes, cures and raises than rdm, more MP than rdm and almost all the spells of rdm, but better; small wonder rdms are pissed eh? The trade-off is a rdm can melee, good luck being allowed to. Gear for any of the usual mage goodies, use your weather spells to help. Sub-jobs, well probably whm as you’ll likely be expected to back-up heal.
Geo-while I generally consider this a support role job because the auras that are your primary job trait are also the hardest to manage because of your serious issues with party positioning, you can only do 2 and they are fairly long duration. Spells from your main job are like blm, but capping at tier 4 like rdm-although you do a bit more damage, presumably from more native elemental skill/stats-, however you also have somewhat weaker AoE nukes as well, ex. Fira. You will most likely want to gear with your auras in mind, so hand bell/geomancy skill are great, anything adding damage resist to the luopan, and if there are any slots left over the usual blm goodies. Sub, probably any of the dedicated mages although you will likely be wanting to back-up heal as needed, so /rdm or /whm may be the winners here. Don’t forget your sleep spells, you’ll be wanted to take care of adds as well.
MAILING IT IN-AND I DON’T MEAN LEECHING…
Ranged attacks, these are a bit like nukers, but all their damage is single target, it doesn’t use MP (unless for a sub-job), and it does use consumable ammo. SE just recently beefed up Recycle and Scavenge, and the parties and dancing for joy were quite memorable, in a very real way they revived ranged damage jobs because they used to be cost-prohibitive to play. The jobs I’m including here are ranger and corsair, although pup with a sharpshot auto could be included I guess and blue mage on the Cannonball-spam fights, but that is too rare to categorize them here.
Ranger-what’s in a name? Yes rangers have melee weapons, and they can even use them fairly well. However, rangers have complete shit for defense. My advice is to stay away from the mob, not get hit, and do your damage from the “sweet spot”, UNLESS you are fighting prey that can 1-shot you with an AoE, then just fight from max range. Stay moderate on damage unless under the effect of Decoy Shot, you cannot take the hits if you pull hate. Weapon-the consensus is use a gun, but I’m going to play devil’s advocate here because I like to. Your other choices are bow-long or short-and crossbow. While gun wins the DPS battle, the difference between it and the other 2 types is really pretty small because of the higher attack speed (a crossbow is actually your fastest weapon, the exact opposite of real life), and there are more additional effects to play with than bullets, not to mention bullets are the most expensive ammo items. Also, gun damage makes huge hate spikes, the others less so because the damage isn’t all in 1 hit, so it’s interspersed with what everyone else is doing. Subs, most rangers sub nin for the shadows and sometimes to dual-wield for the bonuses off weapons, but your melee weapon is usually chosen to boost your ranged stats, not for actual use. Your armor is also generally chosen for the same reason. You can also sub dnc for heals, and subbing war for additional damage is not uncommon either, subbing sam is rare but not unheard of either.
Corsair-I expect a lot of argument here that Cor should be with the support roles and they do have a point, it’s designed with party buffs in mind. However, cor can also do very good damage, especially if using his gun a lot, cor’s primary weapon. I’m also influenced by the fact I party with an awesome cor who does good melee damage and uses his gun to great effect over and above his buffing role which frankly only takes up about 10% of his time in the party. It’s expensive to play that way, likely why so many cor players are seen as buffers who really do little to nothing between buffs-except using Wildfire weaponskill. To those cors I would say, how are you getting the TP for it? Well, shouldn’t you make those hits worth something to the party? Gear-get a good gun. My cor buddy laments the lack of really good melee weapons a cor can use at 119, but do the best you can. Armor, anything to boost your gun is good, so AGI and MACC are both useful so you can hit your quick draws. And like nin, load up on tools. On that subject, your sub-jobs, best choices are nin, dnc and war or sam, but many cors just sub white mage, thus back-up healing, which I consider to be sort of mailing it in, but whatever.
IT LIFTS, SEPARATES AND ADDS DEFINITION…
Yeah, I could just as easily have used a jock strap reference for support jobs but I have no desire to see someone in a jock strap…
Support roles are also sometimes grouped as buffers or healers (main and back-up), but this is my guide so I call it support, deal with it. However, that IS what support roles do, buff and heal the party, the reason I group that all as support is that the good ones are doing both. This is the most essential part of a party build, because it is these guys who are going to keep you alive or recover if you wipe (I know, keeping you alive is the tank’s job, but who is keeping HIM alive? Gotcha…). There are 3 support roles but the jobs I put in Support roles-primarily White mage, Bard and Geomancer-are doing all of those so there will be no separate listing of them. Other jobs MAY be there in a support role, especially red mage, scholar and corsair and sometimes summoner.
White mage-well, you are the job DESIGNED from the get-go as the best healer in the game, you are obvious. In addition, you are the best job at status removal. Now, you are also quite good at buffing, so assuming the damage isn’t coming that fast you are likely also buffing. I’d look for help on that though, you likely have MP worries and you may need the time between cures to work on MP. Obviously, your job is to cure and remove ailments, and buff as you can. Check with your tank about when he wants cures as some use self-curing as part of their hate management routine, and some of the DD may be at least in part covering themselves, so find their threshold and work with it. Gear, if a whm in a party is meleeing it’s because everything hit the fan, it’s that rare, so just gear for curing potency, buffing potency is a lower priority and anything with benefits to MP management and recovery. Subs, my fave is rdm, but blm and scholar are both viable as well.
Bard-well, if whm are the dead obvious healers, bard is the obvious buffer. I mean seriously, we only have 6 songs to use on enemies, Requiem, threnody, elegy, lullaby, nocturne and finale, and lullaby is generally only useful for adds unless you are trying to work a proc or something. In addition, our melee damage isn’t especially useful so we usually don’t melee in a party thus we are generally more useful subbing something appropriate and back-up healing, as our MP is too low to do it as a main. But our songs are generally AoE buffs, with JA use to single target, of reasonable duration and generally not interruptible-only silence, para, sleep, stun and knockback can do it, but not a melee hit like other casters. Still, party positioning helps a great deal to target the right buffs on the right people. So, 1st and foremost, buff your party, then any debuffs that are useful on the enemy, but especially lullaby adds and finale mob buffs. In any remaining time before rebuffing heal the injured, but break off what you are doing at any time to heal those in the red HP. Gear, well, anything to boost the songs is best, then fast cast, then MACC (for our debuffs) and lastly MP to help with back-up healing. Sub-jobs, basically red or white mage, your choice, red helps with casting time and refreshing + more sleeps and a 2nd dispel, white with reraise and status removal. Scholar works as well. Other subs are situational, nin or dnc are nice if you are pulling, etc.
Geo-I seriously considered putting this in with the nukers the way I did Cor with the range. Like Cor, geo’s primary job characteristic is a support element, specifically auras on caster and luopan (a bit like a pet, but it does nothing except hold a place for the buff most of the time), but the rest of its arsenal is basically offensive casting, like a rdm but with some AoE options and like rdm capping at tier 4. The reason I kept it in support is that the party positioning is even more of a factor than it is for brd (as the luopan cannot move) and the damage numbers are fairly low compared to blm or an offensive sch, and while we nuke better than a comparably skilled rdm we don’t bring the enfeebling element to the table that they do, so fewer options. The reason this was a hard choice is geo essentially has no native healing at all and can only have 2 (de)buffs out at a time. Therefore I generally find geo more useful as a back-up healer, with a lot more MP than brd/whm, although you can clearly nuke if time permits, and you have sleep to help with adds (so avoid geo-poison). Gear-like most mages you concentrate on geo/handbell 1st or anything that specifically boosts the effectiveness of your auras, but equally important is anything adding to the durability of your luopan, beyond that is the usual mage goodies, macc, MP, etc. Sub-job, I like rdm but whm works as well, especially with the rdm spell overlaps, but I find the refresh more useful (that might change as I get my geo casting skills up, refresh aura is fairly high when capped).
Red mage-during the several transformations the rdm has gotten over the years in party roles, support has been the most common. It is capable of being a main healer-although not likely in boss fights, but will need to cast a bit more often than whm due to healing capping at tier 4. Support role rdms are generally the most overworked job in the game as the party expects you to buff them, debuff the prey, sleep adds and keep everyone alive, so I would avoid having to be the main healer or require the DD to /dnc if they have no native healing of their own to help you fill all those roles, even with refresh 2 and convert your MP is not limitless. Gear for refresh or MP+, healing +, or support for your buffs and/or debuffs if back-up casting. Subs, likely whm as the status removal is better.
Scholar-as mentioned above this is the sore point for red mages. Scholar under the right arts has raise3 and RR3 and Regen 5, and the ability to make those and their other buffs AoE. In addition, they have a TP regain spell, compared to rdm having raise 2, no rr, regen 2 and no TP spell, but they do have Refresh 2, scholars do have their own MP regain. In a zerg environment scholar will generally get the nod. That being said, if rdm can be a decent support role job then scholar can clearly be a better one. Gear and sub as mentioned under nukers. Scholars are capable of main healing, especially if they are religious about reapplying Regen 5,and generally have more utility than whm, but whm have Arise (a big help) and Cure 5 and 6, a big help against foes capable of bigger hits. Which is why having whm AND scholar is popular in end-game.
Summoner-although I tend to consider partys dependent on summoner to be a buffer/back-up curer as their primary role to be a poor build they are nonetheless common, and in fact summoners have trouble getting PUGs in any role other than support. In any event, summoner’s bloodpacts-especially the wards-are generally useful in a support capacity, but I don’t like depending on them due to the LONG recast timers. However, it DOES tend to be more MP efficient. In addition, you as the player have a huge MP pool and thus can do quite a bit of casting yourself, making you a capable back-up healer, although I tend to think main healing is a bit much. Know your bloodpacts as names don’t always indicate what a BP does. Gear as mentioned under nukers as the same thing works here. Subs also as mentioned under nukers.
Cor, by those who choose not to use their damage abilities, end here by default. I guess sub whm, use buff roles when needed, cure, erase, use your gun to sleep adds and dispel the main target and pop the occasional Wildfire as TP allows. But really cors, TRY something else, the job is capable of SO much more if you choose to play it better. You can do all your buffs, enfeebs and still put up good damage and there are better sources of healing than a job with no native MP.
JUST YANKIN’ YOUR CHAIN
Pulling, it’s a tremendously important job for partys but it’s also generally just a sub-role. It can be done by any job, although all have varying methods to do it, and generally some are better than others. It dictates the all-important XP/Rewards per hour/run for the party. Doing it well is literally the difference between success and repeated wipes. And it’s a basic skill that all players should try to cultivate as it even has a place soloing.
You’ll have to excuse me if I get a bit preachy, pulling is one of the things I do best in the game so naturally I feel doing it well is very important.
The idea of pulling comes from two of the oldest and wisest maxims in military science, “pick your ground” and “pick your battles”. Picking your ground is to choose the right camp (although there are also roaming parties, I’ll get to that). The right camp for a standard party is one that allows players to take the right positioning-DD/Tanks at one point with ranged, nukers and support at some location out of AoE range but still able to contribute and with few if any spawns IN camp. Picking your battles means to control the type, number and pacing of your prey for maximum success and survivability with minimal downtime. There’s also an element of aiming for the proper rewards in there.
Now, the basic idea is to pull the mob(s) you want-and ONLY the mob(s) you want-back to your waiting killers to do their thing, easier said than done. Some mobs are aggressive, and to different things at that, some link with anything that has hate on you, and some just ignore you, but regardless, there is a chance to “bite off more than you can chew”. The key then is two-fold, to get the target you want and to deal with the unwanted ones. How you do that varies based on who and what you have in your party and what they are doing. We’ll get to that, too.
As a general rule, pulling is usually tasked to a light DD, or to a support player, tanks or heavy DD are usually tasked with getting the mob off the puller so he can go get another one and/or do a little something 1st.
As I mentioned above, all players in a party are likely doing something IN ADDITION to their primary role in the party. There are minor sub-roles in addition to puller sometimes mentioned, like “sleeper”, “voker”, “stunner”, etc., and pulling is when they mostly come out to play. When prey is brought to camp it may be slept if the DD aren’t done with the last one, or it may be provoked off the puller if they are ready. And certainly adds are generally slept.
Jobs that are commonly tasked with pulling. Well, thief is a perennial favorite in that role, but dancer and nin do it just as well and by generally identical methods. Another favorite is bard, especially when doing “staged pulls”. All of the pet jobs excepting drg are good pullers using their pets, as it brings another method above sleeping to shed adds. The other jobs are less likely to be useful pulling and/or have better things to do between pulls-like recover MP and the like to be good choices.
Now, 1 thing you never want to do (unless solo on a job with a group sleep) is pull with DoT, because you may need to sleep the mob when it reaches camp. Therefore you want to restrict your pulling to ranged weapons (without any DoT additional effects, like poison bolts have), direct damage spells, enfeebles, Job Abilities, pets, and if you are REALLY desperate, melee attacks. You also do not want to pull with a sleep, outside a roaming party with staged pulling.
Know your prey too. Aggro types and the range at which they do it are very important to a puller. Certain behavior issues, chiefly nuking and ranged attack are good to know-mobs that do either won’t approach the group until they have taken 30%ish of their HP in damage, so if you want to maintain the positioning to keep your support folks happy run to the back line so the mob lands approximately on the tank and DDs. This will also help prevent links with anything that comes near before that 30% of HP comes off.
Thief, Dancer and Ninja-all of these are likely going to be pulling with a ranged weapon. The best choices are generally throwing weapons with some beneficial bonuses to you as a player that “returns”. You don’t need good damage-actually low damage will make it easier for whoever needs to get it off you-and in fact the only time you would need damage is if someone in another party is trying to claim the same mob at the exact same time as you, as the higher hate wins the mob. Thief and ninja can both use marksmanship weapons but the bonuses (and savings from no ammo) are better with throwing weapons, or ninja can also pull with a ninjitsu spell that has no DoT component. Dancer can use Animated Flourish instead of a weapon, but I personally prefer to save my steps for other things as needed, like your stun flourish.
Bards-generally, I pull with Elegy, Nocturne if a caster or Finale if I just saw a buff go on the mob. The advantage of a bard puller is in addition to the mob showing up with an enfeeble (or at least 1 less buff) is we can deal with our own adds or do staged pulling by sleeping the pull/adds when we return to camp. Also, the timing works out well for our buff cycle, generally you rebuff the DD after 1 pull, and the mages after the next and then just repeat that the whole party. My personal preference if pulling bard is to sub ninja, survival buffs off other subs take too long unless your fast cast from /rdm is hitting on almost every spell, but you can’t depend on that. The shadows mean your healer doesn’t have to spend as long getting your HP back between pulls.
Pet jobs (sans drg)-all pet pulls work the same way, you command your pet to attack your chosen mob, then to come back to you as you run back to the party. If your pet gets adds you either release it or let it die (releasing works better) which should leave you with only the original mob you tried to pull and no adds-unless something links AFTER the release. I suggest beasts-unless in an instance-use charmed pets for this tactic as it will save you a lot of money. Note to pups, only the Spiritreaver, Sharpshot and Valoredge heads are good for pulling, the others may all try to buff you instead of acting on the mob you want, and that’s a timewaster, as well as being likely to be a dirty pull from mobs moving during the interval.
Other jobs-while not generally recommended to pull for a party you may have to regardless. So, whoever least needs the recovery time for HP/MP get out there. Now, if you have ranged weapon capability pulling is why, use 1, you get hate even off a miss. Runes and paladins can pull quite well with Flash. Provoke works for anyone with war main or sub, animated flourish for the same reason with dancer main or sub, ninjitsu for anyone main or sub ninja, or some low level direct damage spell i.e. Stone for anyone sub mage.
Things to watch for: do not pull with magic-excepting bard songs or ninjitsu-around magic agro mobs. Never let your puller move without white HP in areas with undead. You aren’t pulling worms, you go to them! Keeping the chain alive is less important than keeping the party alive. Your magey types will want to have MP, especially if you want them to do their jobs, watch it, and hold pulls if recovery is needed, downtime beats dead time any day. If you expect your thief to keep the chain alive you might just want to cut him some slack for not building TH 12 on the mob, he’s busy. A dancer who is out of range grabbing the next mob cannot heal you, deal with it. Continually pulling large numbers of prey can over task healers in a hurry, especially if they need MP to sleep. Brd sleep only lasts 45 seconds, generates A LOT of hate, and bards are squishy. If the vokers/sleepers did NOT get the mob off the puller then the mob is following the puller, and happily linking whatever it can while following the puller, so make sure you are clean. If you sleep a mob near other mobs on the pull there’s a good chance when he finally DOES come he’s bringing friends with bad intentions, and he may even send them ahead. If you pull with a DoT and rely on a sleeper the DoT is waking the mob up, and likely killing your sleeper. Shit happens, pullers can die and sometimes in bad spots, bring someone with tractor and raise if the camp is in a tough place to get to, like past a colonization reive.
Other party types may vary some roles or the need for them. Briefly they are :
Roaming party-unless you have a brd or sleeper doing staged pulls you don’t really need a puller as you are going to the mobs, but having a sleeper is advised as you may go to several mobs at once.
MP Burn-likely several back-up healers, likely a main isn’t needed. If you bounce hate (typical) a tank isn’t needed either (although still possibly a good thing depending on the prey). Watch your positioning, especially now that geo is a viable member of an MP burn. At least one of you should be /whm or /sch (if none are main) for RR and Raise.
Pet Party-if all you are doing is throwing pets at prey you likely need nothing but pet jobs. Have one sub white or red mage, things can always hit the fan.
Zerg parties-may dispense with the tank and puller, just roam and bring a 2nd healer to deal with damage issues and so they can spell each other for MP recovery, brd/mage, rdm/any and geo/whm are all good choices, a good smn is also an alternative, and you could bring a scholar as well.
Bones parties-this is monks or someone with blunt damage on skeletons. I suggest at least 1 raiser who can do some healing, all the monks sub dnc to cure with waltzes and a light based AoE sleeper in case of blood agro, usually a brd.
Ranged burn-never actually seen one, but piercing prey, either roam or rotate pulling, bring a raiser, the ranged jobs are on the squishy side. Do NOT forget to scavenge BEFORE you move, even with new recycle traits ammo isn’t cheap.
COMMON PARTY NOTES
Everyone is responsible for their own stealth, have potions and powders on you even if the mages will be nice and stealth when they can. This includes mages as well, or did you miss my reference to magic agro mobs before?
A courteous player brings a means of RR. You don’t HAVE to, but you will be remembered and invited back if you are 1 less guy for your healer to worry about when a wipe happens. Double brownie points if your bring RR as a puller.
Have your own warp with you. Blm, or even /blm is much less common than the old days, and your whm may be teleing, but those are only to the old areas.
Consumables-bring plenty of your own. Extra brownie points if you are a crafter and you bring stuff to make on site, especially if one of the materials drops from your prey. This means ammo, food, meds, nin tools and bst jugs. You have 4 storage slots accessable in the field now, there is no excuse not to have your angons, arrows, silent oils, etc. to hand in the field now. AND NEVER FORGET YOUR ECHO DROPS.
Arguing over drops is bad, as is lotting if not told to do so. If you are after something in particular ASK before the party starts in on the prey, and abide by the leader’s decision, ninja lotting will get you banned and blisted faster than just about anything in the game.
Do not commit to a party unless you have some time, generally at least an hour unless we are talking instanced battles in which case it is number of runs you can do, generally 3 minimum. Also, do not go to a party if you are going to have to AFK a lot unless it is leech-friendly (note, there is no such thing as leech-friendly if you are the puller, sleeper or healer). Not everyone will do it, but I personally will boot your ass so fast you’ll bounce when you land 3 zones away. Actually, that’s a lie, I’ll leave you alone in a bad spot, boot you from the party and let the mobs KO you, preventing that is why we pay attention when we play.
Leave the attitude at home. Being funny is all fine and good, even appreciated. Putting down other players, trying to run things when you aren’t the leader, worrying about yourself instead of the party, all those things will make you unpopular and reputations DO get around, especially with server populations dropping. Example, unless a player asks, don’t try to tell them how to play their jobs-unless you are the leader, then lead; this is a game, and people are here to have fun, it’s the leaders job to see that they don’t waste everyone’s time, not yours. If you have a criticism take it to the leader, in “tell”, (s)he will decide how best to handle it. Ex. the most common criticism I get is that I don’t pull fast enough, however, I’m watching the healer’s MP like a hawk, and to a lesser extent both my HP and likely the time left on other slept mobs, and if I’m also buffing the time left on songs; a good leader who receives a complaint will watch all those things (after I say that’s what I’m pacing off of) and decide whether or not to pick up the pace. Above all, don’t whine, and no drama, both are party killers.
Never criticize a thief you don’t know about drop rates. Some are very sensitive about that, especially if they know they are playing right. SE rolls the dice, not the thief.
Need to AFK? 1st, keep it to a minimum. Second, announce it in advance. Unless you are a DD an unscheduled AFK can be disasterous for the party, and even a DD will affect the pacing. Always keep in mind that an AFK is as contagious as a yawn, this leads to partys breaking up earlier than they should. As a leader consider telling everyone to take 5, that might keep things together.
Be dependable and know your job. That means not just what your job should be doing but what it CAN do. I was pulling in a party in old dynamis and died in a bad spot on a trap pull quicker than usual so I only got half the mobs to the party, the rest were standing on me. It took us 4 minutes to get the dark to remember that he had tractor, which he should have known off the top of his head (and we had no blms, this was a low man farming run). So, you should have an idea say how long you can tank in an emergency to let the low HP nin get his shadows back and a cure or 2 on him, be able to jump in to pull a mob off your dead puller’s body to allow a raise, that even though you only subbed war for some extra damage you can still voke the mob off your healer when she gets hate, etc.
Above all, have fun, this is a game, save the misery for real life, we’re all here to get away from real life.
this guide is a work in progress. I welcome any participation, directly editing the guide as to links, via the talk page as to content.
However, wholesale edits, deletions and the like WILL be removed. This is in an effort to maintain some degree of organization and flow, even (perish the thought) some internal consistency. There is a talk page and I actually want you to use it.
I have been playing FFXI since shortly after the NA debut. My main character on Ragnarok-originally Caitsith-is Glamdring. I took a bit over 5 years getting Beastmaster to 75, entirely solo as Beastmaster/Bard. I currently have Beastmaster, Bard, Puppetmaster, Thief, Ranger and Dancer, Rune, Red Mage, Black Mage, Geomancer, Summoner, and Monk at level 99; I intend to work on other jobs eventually, but I have much to do on gear upgrades and skill-ups, first. For those that wonder, the delay in leveling jobs is because I haven't found a steady income stream in the game, not a lack of talent (although my beast/bard spent a great deal of time re-earning XP). I don’t claim to be an elite player, but I am very good on the jobs I have leveled (ranger is in dire need of skill-ups [DAMN YOU ABY BURNS!!!]). All of the above is from my personal observations and I am FAR from infallible. The one thing that has characterized my entire playing career is that I do not simply follow the tried and true safe path, nor do I accept that things can only be done in 1 way (as the bst/brd leveling shows), although I do believe that people may not have figured out YET how to do them a different way; hence the title of this guide.