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Strategies and information in guides may not work for everyone.
Whenever I talk about the subject, the subject is always met with a substantial amount of controversy. Personally, however, I think that every job is close enough to the others that, with few exceptions, any job can perform any duty to a certain extent. The trick is to get the right gear and know how to do what you want to do. I experimented for quite a while with DRK solo gear until I settled on what I use now. Best of all, you can use a lot of gear that you may already have for DoT or Weapon Skills, but even if you don't have those certain pieces of gear, you can get some decent solo gear on a budget. The overall goal of this guide will be to give you an idea of how to solo as a Dark Knight with minimal gil expenditure.
The concepts of Dark Knight soloing are pretty straight-forward, so a lot of soloing relies on your gear choices. Don't worry, though. The gear for DRK soloing can be fairly cheap.
First of all, your weapon should be a Scythe. Great Axe and Great Sword Weapon Skills available to DRK are generally best when stacked with Sneak Attack, so Guillotine is going to be your best bet. If you're subbing NIN rather than SAM (we'll get into Sub Jobs later), I would still recommend Scythe/Platinum Grip +1 combo (the Stun is a nice extra bit), though Dual Axes can be fairly effective as well. However, I'll always prefer Scythe. As far as shields go, don't even bother. While DRK can equip some of the better shields in FFXI, they have no natural Shield Skill, so you'll very rarely be blocking.
For the rest of your gear, don't rely on Evasion. A DRK's Evasion Skill is far too low to make any real difference, even against DC mobs. However, it's a good idea to try and get Parrying and Evasion wherever you can, provided you're optimizing your Defense and VIT stats.
Why VIT/Defense? Well, a DRK's VIT is actually a lot higher than you might think. In fact, DRK actually has higher VIT than WAR, and the defense shouldn't be much of an issue if you wear enough decent Defense gear.
While you should focus on VIT/Defense, don't forget about DoT. After all, a good offense is the best defense, so make sure to wear any DoT gear that provides decent defense or some other defensive stat.
Now that may seem kind of difficult, but it's really not. In fact, there's a lot of gear you can get for very little gil, or from NMs that aren't very heavily camped. Two good ones to get are the Bibiki Seashell, and Jelly Ring. Also, take a look at your AF legs. Maybe when you got them, you told yourself, "pfft parrying and evasion? I'll never use that..." and buried them in the back of your mind and your Mog House. Well it's time to dig them out. They're free, and they're probably the best soloing legs you can wear on DRK. They have no stats that are detrimental to offense, and the Parrying +10 and Evasion +5 can actually be fairly helpful. It's also a good idea to level Parrying, since you'll Parry a lot more often than you might imagine.
As for the rest of your gear, you can suit up pretty cheaply. Don't worry about the standard solo gear like Optical Hat (the lack of defense hurts a lot more than the evasion helps) and Scorpion Harness. Instead, I opt for the Demon Helm (combination of Parrying Skill +5 and high Defense) and the Narasimha's Vest (some evasion, accuracy, STR, and VIT -- a good mix of offensive and defensive capabilities). Both items are great for soloing, and really cheap.
My gear set up:
Main Weapon: Orichalcum Scythe
Sub-weapon: Platinum Grip +1
Ammunition: Bibiki Seashell
Head: Demon Helm
Neck: Fortified Chain
Left Ear 1: Drone Earring
Right Ear 2: Fowling Earring
Body: Narasimha's Vest
Hands: Dusk Gloves
Right Hand Ring: Robust Ring
Left Hand Ring: Jelly Ring
Back: Corse Cape
Waist: Warwolf Belt
Legs: Chaos Flanchard
Feet: Dusk Ledelsens
Notice how there's a nice mix of evasion, parrying, VIT, defense, and offensive skills. Make sure you have your solo gear in a gear swap macro (use more than one if you have to) so you can switch between it and Weapon Skill gear easily. It's important to use a Weapon Skill set, because DRKs need to kill relatively quickly to solo effectively. I'd say if you can take a mob down in 5 minutes, you can solo it as DRK. If you can't afford some of the more expensive items (Dusk hands/feet, Corse Cape, Robust Ring, etc.) then below are some cheaper alternatives.
Garden Bangles -- sometimes I still wear these in lieu of my Dusk Gloves. The Regen is only 1hp/tick but it helps more than you might think. Plus the defense is decent, and the +2 VIT certainly helps.
Unyielding Ring -- Resist Charm really isn't that useful, but it never hurts to have an extra resist. The VIT+3 is useful, as well as the Defense +7. In fact, if you can't get a Robust Ring (I got mine by pure luck. If you can't get your hands on one, that's perfectly understandable, but don't get a Topaz Ring instead. I'd say the hierarchy is something like Robust Ring > Unyielding Ring > Topaz Ring). The DEX also helps your offensive capabilities slightly.
Get yourself some Amir Boots. They come from the Mamool Ja Assault for 20,000 Assault Points. I use them for Guillotine, and before I got Dusk Ledelsens, I used them for soloing and DoT. If you don't have these, get them. They'll be useful far beyond just soloing, but they're certainly good for it.
If you don't like any of the above suggestions, then just do some bargain shopping if you're on a budget. It's usually pretty easy to get cheap VIT gear for DRKs.
Sub Job Selection
Your Sub Job selection is somewhat limited. The two obvious ones are /SAM and /NIN. I like /SAM most, despite the extended recasts on magic. It gives you Third Eye, which is really better than Utsusemi if you ask me, plus you get Store TP, Meditate, and more STR than /nin. Also, when you have Dread Spikes active, you can toss up Hasso for added damage, then put Seigan/Third Eye back up when it wears.
With DRK's proficiency in two-handed weapons, a NIN Sub's main advantage is that you don't have increased recast times on magic. However, I don't recommend using Absorbs before fights if you're soloing several mobs in a row. The MP expenditure would be too high to be efficient, so I'd save the MP for Drain and Drain II, which is where the increased recasts can really hurt.
/WHM and /RDM are slightly less obvious, but you probably still guessed that they'd be here. /WHM offers the --na line of spells as well as Erase and some enfeebles. If you have capped Enfeebling, Paralyze and Slow can be incredibly useful. Protect and Shell certainly don't hurt either. Stoneskin on its own isn't very useful, and not worth the cast time/MP in my opinion. /RDM offers enfeebles as well but with a wider array, as well as Phalanx, which makes Stoneskin a lot more useful. /RDM also offers similar buffs to WHM, but /RDM lacks the --na spells. However, Dispel could come in handy depending on the mob you're fighting.
/PLD was probably not something that struck you immediately as a useful sub for DRK, but it can certainly be very useful if you're fighting fast-attacking, light-hitting mobs such as MNKs. This is the go-to subjob for Galka or Elvaan is a solo situation. It may not seem useful as a sub, but it actually provides some very useful abilities that you can't gain from any other sub. You get Defense Bonus which is nice, and Sentinel, and even though its diluted with PLD as a sub, it still reduces damage taken by a substantial amount. You also get Flash, temporarily blinding enemies. Finally, /PLD is the only Sub Job that offers both Cures AND Auto Refresh from just the Sub, meaning you can replenish your MP more easily, and not have to rely solely on Drains for HP regeneration.
I'm not really going to get into tactics, since it's pretty straight-forward. Just keep Third Eye or Utsusemi or whatever up, and kill whatever you're fighting as fast as you can without sacrificing defensive ability. It may take a little practice, but once you get it down, I think you might be surprised at DRK's solo capability.
That's it for the guide. If you have any questions, contact me in-game if you're on the Odin Server or E-Mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I hope this was somehow useful to you.
I'm Cravion, saying "Good luck and happy soloing!"