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Bear with me, still changing a word document to WIKI guide
Notes on BLM Guide to Elemental Staves, or
SE Hates You and Here’s the Proof
By Ctownwoody of Asura
The first page of this guide is for the very general considerations and the overall pattern of this work. I'll be throwing out general tips for the work. Page 2 is more specific for each trial based on what I've done or plan to do. The essence of this guide is for BLMs trying to work on their elemental damage staves. They cast faster and the nukes land harder, if slightly less accurate. Other jobs, such as SCH or RDM can certainly follow along on this guide, but I wrote it for BLMs since they are the hardest nukers who can get the most out of the staves. For those worried about MACC, there are atmas to compensate for magical accuracy. However, MACC has a ceiling (95%) whereas magical damage does not have such a limit.
Step One: Select from the 6 (and one half) Routes
There are six and a half staves that you can select from for your staves. The six are fire, thunder, air, earth, water, ice. The half is darkness. Technically, it enhances Drain, Aspir, and, Bio but it is very difficult to complete due to the damage-based kills required, unless you use weaponskills. Also, Sleep, Blind, and non-darkness damage spells would still need the HQ elemental stave. Ice and Thunder are the most common staves that people get, little surprise there, as they are the two most powerful nukes. I would add that Fire and Air need special consideration as well because several of the +2 item/Emperyean Weapon NMs are weak to Fire and Air and are ones especially hard to kill without magic damage(Bukhis and Ulandashi, specifically).
Step Two: Rally Your Forces/Blackmail Your Friends
BLMs were not, BST pets and worms aside, were not meant to solo kill much. Additionally, the killing blow of X damage requires that you use a staff weak than your current HQ staff. Having a tank and/or DD along for the ride is an immense help. SMNs can duo the first 5 trials (of 9 involving kills) and other BLMs are, of course, going through what you are as well. Finally, several trials “double-back” by requiring you kill the same family or type of mob as you did on an earlier trial (Vermin/Beetles for thunder, e.g.), so getting (or giving, be generous now) help to someone else on an earlier/later trial is useful for easing the workload.
Step Three: Start the Base Trials
The first trial on each staff is the same: treants or sapling in any type of weather. I suggest Grauberg [S] as the best spot, especially if you have a group. Weather there is pretty constant, plenty of treants with a fast respawn, and, when weather isn’t up, harvesting points that can yield very valuable Dried Chigoes. Only downside is the regular chigoes hidden among the bushes that will kill ambush you and kill you. Be warned. The second trial for Fire/Thunder/Air is killing Spiders in fire/thunder/air/light weather. My bad luck aside, Boyhada Tree is renowned for thunder weather. Wajaom and Bhaflau also feature spiders and wind weather, and are easier to reach, but the weather is briefer and more fitful. The second trial for Ice/Earth/Water/Dark is slimes in ice/earth/water/dark weather, and that doesn’t include clots or puddings, sadly. The place I used (x4) was Caedarva Mire. Two sets of 2 slimes, near Nashmau’s north and east exits, which only 1 treant and 3 chigoe between them. Get Water or Dark weather and go nuts.
Step Four: The Weather/Day Paths
Now you get to the element-specific trials. These are the group efforts that you can team up with some hard-core DDs, Abyssea groups, etc. Kill-type doesn’t matter, only as long as it on the matching day or during the matching weather. Not all weathers are made equal (I’m looking at your, Fire!), so you might not want to get hung up on finding weather, even though it is worth five times as much as day. The first trial of the two weather/day paths involving any type of mob, and is generally easy, especially with some good pet camps. Find ones with rotating weather effects to give yourself some options (generally, weather should take priority). The second trial is a broad family, such Amorphs, Beasts, etc. These require planning as 75 kills in one day will require helpers (note the plural) or the weather could be problematic. Several trials, if done during a particular day, will give you the opportunity to test out some exotic pet camps. The other alternative is to find an Abyssea party (or make a low-man) and go nuts. Weather patterns are, from hardest to easiest: Fire, Dark, Water, Air, Earth, Thunder, Ice. The middle three are very close and depend on what type of mob you need. Fire is only from Altepa and Elshimo, for purposes of finding mobs, and then rarely. Dark and Ice are the two weather conditions in the Northlands, where there are some great Gigas pet camps that actually make these trials go fast (and Dynamis is 100% dark now). Water is also Caedarva and a few other spots that can make these trials go fast. Air and Thunder are the dominant weather conditions in Vunkerl and Grauberg, where there are, again, some great camps and team up opportunities. Earth is common in a number of zones, including some with pet camps. Of these seven, I only had issues with Fire.
Step Five: The General Pain Begins
The next trial for all mage-type staffs will be a trial to kill 150 mobs of a general family with 50 points of the staff’s type of magical damage. This is the last trial that MACC, Avatar Perp., and MAB staves share in common. Also, there is no bonus for weather, so that is a straight 150 kills. This is where the boys become separated from the men, the girls from the women, and the Tarus from the Ewoks. Let’s face it: BLMs don’t solo kill anything but BST pets well. Now, because you only have to do the final blow with the damage, you can use a DD friend to wear down the mobs. In which case, you’ll want a non-dungeon setting as it allows for faster respawns. If operating solo and there’s not a good BST pet camp, I recommend Abyssea. Magic kills give Azure lights, which yields XP (which is no longer a worry for any serious BLM), Cruor, and Time Extensions. You really just need a source of pearlescent lights…which is DDs killing or skilling on specific mobs. A good team-up opportunity. Also, the additional MAB, MACC, and Refresh atmas of Abyssea let you nuke harder and longer with rests. However, mobs will respawn at higher and higher levels, meaning that solo really can’t cut as well as outside, particularly given Abyssea’s time-limit.
Step Six: MAB-only Trials
This is where the true pain begins. Four trials per staff of 200, 200, 250, and 250 kills with increasing damage required per kill (900 per staff). You have also gone from general families to specific species, such as Lizards, Spiders, Slimes, etc. These are where identifying either BST pet camps or having a crew comes in handy because 250 kills still takes time, even as fast as 1/minute is still in the 4-5 hour range. Now, the good news. Your staff now has Affinity +1, which makes it equivalent to a NQ staff (Ice Staff aside due to INT and elemental skill). After the first trial, where you are now aiming down the MAB path, your staff will have MAB Affinity +3, which makes it more powerful than the HQ staff, if less accurate. Additionally, the number of kills required per trial means that there are more and more people stuck in your trial, making for increasing team up opportunities.