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CAUTION!
This article is only a guide. Information expressed in a guide is usually more opinion than fact and should be taken as such. Guides are written by players, based upon their experiences, successes and mistakes, and are meant to aid other players. However, there may be differing opinions than those expressed in a guide.
Strategies and information in guides may not work for everyone.


I'd like to preface this guide by stating that I have simply copied a guide I wrote for my LS on our LS forum. As such, this was considered a work in progress when copied, and I will try to add to it as I add to my LS guide. I'm also going to try to edit out the references I made to various players.

What is Brenner?

Brenner is a new form of Conflict that has been introduced to Final Fantasy XI. I've described it to some people as Ballista meets Capture the Flag. It is a PvP match in which the object is for your team to earn the highest score by stealing the opponent's Flamme from their Flaming-Brenners and bringing it to your own team's Unlit-Brenners.

What do I have to do to be able to play? (Prerequisites)

Unlike Ballista, it is easy to qualify for Brenner. You must have both Rise of the Zilart and Chains of Promathia installed to participate. Other than that you need to talk to Afdeen (H-9/I-9) in Upper Jeuno and view a relatively lengthy cutscene about the reintroduction of Brenner. That's it, you're all ready to join Brenner!

What do I do next? (How do I get there?)

Well, to enter Abdhaljs Isle-Purgonorgo you need to speak with Afdeen again. If there is a match going on that you can participate in he will warp you to the Island for a fee that varies with the level cap. (It was 300 for the 30 cap today) Once there you must speak to the Herald on the beach. (the other npc will warp you back to Jeuno) The Herald has a few conversation options, but you should choose to apply for entry. Then, you just need to wait for the match to start. Meanwhile you can browse through the various changable game rules and read about what they do.

I'm here, but how do I play Brenner?

At a fixed time "Briefing" will begin. All players who have entered the competition will be lined up with opposite teams facing each other. The current match settings will scroll across the screen. It is important to note for casting jobs that you can buff yourself and heal during the briefing and they will stay in place for the start of the Brenner match.

Basic Description

A game begins with a score of 20-20. Each team will be assigned a number of lit and unlit Brenner. (All the matches I have entered have had 2 lit and 2 unlit per team) The objective of the game is to capture all the Flamme (flame from inside the lit Brenner) and hold them for a certain amount of time. (My matches have been completed by holding them for 3 minutes) Failing this within the time period, the team with the most points wins.

Capturing Flamme

In order to capture another team's Flamme you must "kill" an opposing team's Brenner. When it's health is reduced to 0 a Brenner will open, allowing you to remove the Flamme. A player carrying a Flamme will have his team flag replaced by a red triangle. Removing a Flamme from a Brenner will score your team 1 point and reduce the opposing team's score by 10 points. If the person who picked up the Flamme manages to carry it to an unlit Brenner they own their team scores 10 points.

/sprint and /quarry

For those of you who have played Ballista these commands are familiar. The /sprint command allows you to run very fast for a short period of time. If you are carrying any petras or Flamme you may not use /sprint. /quarry allows you to dig around for temporary items. The only real difference between Ballista and Brenner in this regard is petras. If you find a petra, you may talk to your team's Pursuivant and he will restore some of your HP/MP.

Band and Shovel

In another crossover from Ballista there are two key items you can get from the Marshal in Upper Jeuno near Afdeen. A Brenner Band gives you the option to drop petras when you /quarry one. This is great for those who don't want their /sprint to be stopped by having a petra. A Brenner Shovel makes you automatically pick up items when you /quarry. The usefulness of this is you don't waste time deciding whether to keep that Barblizzard Ointment you found. I find it's much easier to have a Brenner Shovel and to just periodically drop the items you find which you don't want.

Death

Death in Brenner means almost nothing. In fact, as Black Mage I have been known to try to be killed in order to have fully restored HP/MP. If you die you will respawn after 5 seconds. Once respawned, you will appear invisible and be unable to cast spells, attack, /sprint or /quarry. The duration of the "preparing for battle" is related to how many times you have died. I've found that it usually wears off before I can get back to where the battle rages. The only real thing you need to be aware of is that you do not always respawn facing the right direction. I usually wait for my compass to load on my screen, then head North. (I assume this only applies to layout B, discussed later)

Penalty

If you make an equipment change you are "penalized." There may be ways to make the changes without penalty, and there may be other ways to be penalized, but I have only experienced in when I forgot to change my sword to one below the cap, then I realized I was bare handed. When penalized you cannot move, attack or cast spells. It appeared to me that being penalized is basically like being stunned. My penalty lasted for about 20-30 seconds.

What's that floating ball by the Brenner?

In addition to the member of your team, your Brenner are defended by floating balls called Posten. These Posten cast various spells, within the level cap, and can Provoke members of the other team. They can be killed but respawn after a certain period of time.

How do my job abilities work?

Certain job abilities work differently in Brenner than in the rest of the game.

Provoke

Provoke causes the target to be unable to attack or cast spells on anyone but the Provoker. This ability is not fool proof as it may miss.

Steal and Mug

While I have not used these abilities personally, I have read on their effects. These abilities allow you to steal petras from other players. They may be able to steal other temporary item as well, but I don't know for sure.

Charm

I actually have no idea what this does. I just know that others have had a BST use it on them. Keep an eye out for someone using it, or if you're a BST and your jug went bye-bye, try for yourself. I'm quite interested.

Well I played a match, and I got my *** handed to me, got any tips?

I feel I've learned a few basic strategies from my limited play, and I'll add more as I discover them.

First of all, just because you CAN kill that BLM over there, doesn't mean you should. Before attacking another player, think about whether they pose enough of a threat to deserve more attention than that Brenner that's at 10%. Who knows, maybe that mage you were going to tear through doesn't even have any MP left and is trying to get killed so they can get full MP for free.

Be prepared for sub-jobs to be disabled. This is the option most frequently locked in Brenner. If you're going to go as a WAR/NIN, better bring along that Great Axe or shield. Don't be stuck depending upon /NIN. I like to toss in a sub-job disability once every 3 matches.

Bind and Sleep. These are great. Mnk keep running up and beating on your Brenner? Bind him. Blm keep tossing those firaga at your friend? Sleep him. The flip side of this of course is everyone else is going to try to do this to you. Might be a good idea to stack up that dark resistance for sleep or ice resistance for bind.

Don't be a hero. Often the best tactic is to grab a bunch of teammates and gang up on some of the other team. Running off by yourself is a good way to get killed.

Don't party. If I'm tossing Firaga at you and you partied with that foolish BLM on your team you'll soon realize why Taru's don't fare as well as BLM in this game. If you declined his invite you'd still get pounded, but the AoE would leave that fragile BLM alone as it only affects people in your party.

Know your job. This is something that's making me yearn for a melee job to be high enough for at least 30 cap. Sure it's great that I'm a RDM and can do a little bit of everything, but I'm best left back in a support role. If you're a WHM, don't be running around swinging that club while your teammate tries to run back the Flamme, get over there and cure him.

Get lucky. Seriously. It doesn't matter how good you are, as I said earlier this all depends on teamwork. You need a little luck to not be stuck facing all those Blinks and BLM while your team runs around like a bunch of chickens with their heads cut off.

Someone grab your Flamme? Remember to use bind/shadowbind/stun/stun ws/sleep/gravity, anything that will stop them from waltzing back to their camp, and allow you team members to drop some heavy hits on them.

Your teammate grabbed the Flamme. You have a few choices here, but if the guy with the Flamme is hurt/closely followed cure him. Do anything you can to get in the pursuit's way. /sprint and stand in front of them so they have to run around, or lag through you. Sleepga, if they didn't listen to my advice and refrain from parties. Every second is precious.

The Flamme carrier on your team got a clear shot? Pick offense or defense. Chances are, if someone took a Flamme, a decent number of people on the other team are after him, and not attacking your Brenner, yet, or defending their own. You can either take the opportunity to start beating on their Brenner, or try to pick them off as they attack yours.

Kill the Posten. Not being a melee myself, and noting the ridiculous magic defense on these things, this is just something I've learned from observing teammates. Sure they can take a bit to kill sometimes, but it sure beats having it drop a Quake on you when you make a run for it with the Flamme. They do respawn after a while, but take longer than any player does. It is important to note that Posten are completely immune to all enfeebles, and cannot be dispelled.

Don't give up. Sure things look hopeless. It's 43-1 and the other team needs only 1 more minute of control to win. Wake up and grab that Flamme. Touch any Flamme and complete status is lost. If you die, the timer still resets. I've seen the score change from 43-1 to 13-4 in moments, sure they got one of the Flamme back, but it still ended up with my team leading 24-23.

Know your enemy's job. If you can, it is incredibly useful to know what job your opponent is. Do a /sea while "preparing for battle" and try to remember what people are. Running after a guy and want to know if he has shadows? Check him. I always use compact keyboard so the shortcuts are very kind to me. Ctrl-C will check him, and joining Brenner forces /anon to be turned off.

Coordinate with your team. Want the best chance of bringing back that Flamme from the furthest Brenner? Maybe you should bring all the other Brenner down to 10% HP and then coordinate a three prong attack, opening all three at the same time. You're almost guarrenteed that at least one person will make it back in the confusion.

Have fun. So you lost. So your team sucked. So you feel like you didn't do anything right. But hey, you got revenge on that pesky DRK that kept going after you everytime you saw him didn't you? That was great wasn't it? How about that big purple dinosaured DRG. That silly DRG, thinking just because you're a RDM you can't lay the smack down when needed. ^^ It's a lot of fun taking that Penta Thrust to the face only to sleep him, enfeeble his butt, and drain his life back to your own. ^^

I'm doing better, but what job should I be?

I don't claim to be the all-knowing expert about Brenner, I just know a little bit more than the guy next to me, but I'm going to try to introduce a job by job run down of some ideas to go with some general suggestions.

/NIN

OMG <3. If you're a melee of any sort consider this. Shadows are your best friend. If you're really into the stealthy approach, you could even use that Tonko to move around a little less conspicuously.

BLM

After some more play, I've decided to retract my previous position on /SMN. I haven't gotten to test around yet, but I think that /RDM will be best. You lose some mp, but if you keep /quarrying you'll get those ethers eventually. I swear, they'll come. Oh yeah, don't use the pro-ether though, gives you medicated status. But I digress. /RDM gives you the best spell ever for dealing with other mages, silence. Silence is the best for any mage fight, but you might want to still open with a -ga. Blink doesn't always stop silence, but it does about 90% of the time, so if that RDM or WHM could have blink up, hit the -ga.

You got silenced? You have 3 choices, remove it, wait for it to wear, or die. I'd strongly reccommend removing it. Use your /quarry and head generally toward your team's pursuivant until you find a cathotier, remedy, or echo drop. Grab a petra on the way? Toss it at that pursuivant you're next to now to get some of that MP back too.

I've found that BLM in lower level caps are often better suited for assaulting members of the other team rather than hitting the Brenner directly. Use standard BLM soloing tactics to isolate and kill enemies. I always go for the other BLM first, then any NIN or lower HP /NIN jobs, but avoid RDM and WHM.

BST

From observing a BST that has participated in many ot the matches I've entered. Use your jug pet, send him after that mage over there. Walk him in first to distract that Posten and pull it back to where it can be beaten down safely by your team. It's been quite frantic, but watching the pet selection, I might have to suggest the tiger for it's extra speed in running down those pesky BLM.

RDM

I've found that RDM can take a few different roles in Brenner, unfortunately I'm not equipped to be an attacker, but I imagine a RDM/NIN with dual Wise Wizard Anelace's could lay down the damage like a melee.

Buff up. An unbuffed RDM will fall over pretty quick. Unbuffed a DRK came up and started swinging at me, his weakest hit was for 125. Of all the buffs, Blink is the best. This will give you the edge when you run into another mage. I'm pretty sure that Blink always activates when a spell is cast on you, even though it only sometimes activates when you are hit physically. Ice spikes is great too, so 3 people jumped out of nowhere and beat you down, now they're all stuck with the most effective and annoying paralyze in the game.

Silence every mage you see. Watch your log, if that mage you silenced uses a remedy, follow them around and hit them with Silence again.

Drop those /NIN. Assuming you've subbed BLM to remain balanced, you are one of the best weapons against blinks. In 60 cap matches 2 Firaga's and an Aeroga were more than enough to drop a NIN, and throw out another Aeroga and Firaga and any WAR/NIN will fall too. Sounds like a lot of casting, but it's a heck of a lot faster than letting melee's whiff at them while they put shadows back up with little difficutly.

Defense. RDM defense comes first in the form of enfeebles. If possible, bind any melee outside of range of your Brenner. Make sure to silence any mages that run up. Be warned that WHM and RDM may have Blink up. Hit all melee's you aren't going to sleep with Bio. Slow, blind, paralyze helps too, but mostly Bio. Once enfeebled, Aspir any DRK, PLD or BLM and start nuking. While RDM nukes in XP parties are nothing to be proud of, Blizzard II will still do over 200 regardless if it's cast by a BLM or RDM.

Support offense. Haste is Utsusemi's best friend. Haste all those teammates you're attacking with whenever you can. If you're gonna start swinging your sword around, make sure you have an en-spell up. Protect helps your teammates too. Be conservative with your cures. You don't want to waste all your MP curing someone who isn't doing much to aid the assualt. You're going to get hit, and you're most likely going to die. Stoneskin, Blink, Phalanx, Ice Spikes are all very good ideas. Shell is great if you're going up against people who might silence you. When mages come up to stop your team move to debuffing them. Sure, you might not be doing too much to help, but you can fully stop that other RDM from doing anything at all.

One last note, Gravity does not work right. I have not noticed any movement status effect when casting this on other people, even though it reports "XXX receives the effect of Gravity." However, when going RDM vs. RDM with a friend, he successfully hit me with a gravity, which included the movement speed penalty. I suspect this ust means that it is possible to resist the movement penalty of Gravity.

I've been doing great! But what are all those options I get after I've registered?

Each match has a set of rules that are introduced during the briefing. Each player has the opportunity to select 1 rule per match. Certain rules and any rule that has been selected by a player are "Fixed." This simply means that it cannot be changed for this match.

I'll cover some options that I can remember and will add more later. Remember you can see a brief description of any option by selecting it and choosing "Information."

Layout

This determines the boundaries and placement of the match and the Brenners.

Sub-Jobs

This option allows you to enable/disable the use of sub-jobs for the match.

Time Options

These options include: setting the amount of time after capturing all Brenner before victory, duration of a match (1~20 minute match or 2~10 minute matches), and the length of briefing.

Temporary Item Settings

This allows you to choose the maximum temporary items held at one time and whether items are given to everyone at the beginning of the match.

Well do I get anything for playing?

The short answer? Not really. You will receive a small amount of experience after any Official Match, pratice or otherwise, but other than that, nothing really. I don't know how the amount of xp is determined, but I received 450 per match on my 60 RDM and 300 per match on my 38 BLM. If I recall properly someone else got 500 on his 75 SAM so I would assume it's based upon your character's level.

This guide is a work in progress. I just thought I'd get started on it and get it down. If you feel there's anything missing just post it in the thread and I'll try to get it into the guide. If you have any strategies you'd like me to add, just post those too. I'd love to hear about different job roles and configurations. If you don't want people to see what you're suggesting, but have something you think I should add, feel free to send me a message. Every time I update the guide I'll bump the thread.