|This article is a personal guide. Information expressed in this guide is one player's opinion and may be more opinion than fact. Strategies and information contained herein may not work for everyone.|
No non-minor changes should be made without consulting the author. Changes or questions should be discussed on the talk page.
I've noticed a lot of people posting pages listing what the 'ideal' gear is for endgame PLD. While that's all well and good, what use is it? If you've been a 75 PLD long enough to talk an endgame LS into getting you Aegis, obviously, you know that you're supposed to wear that instead of a Kaiser Shield. PLD is a tough first job at 75. It's great for the run up, but once you get to 75, what do you wear? Gear guides all point you to awesome rare/ex stuff that you can only get from endgame events, or gear that's upwards of a mil to get on the AH. What can you do? You have to join an endgame LS and start working your way up the food chain.
But what do you wear in the meantime? This guide will outline the absolute minimum gear you can wear and not get laughed out the door when looking for endgame LSes. (And any that do laugh you out the door are not the kinds of people you want to be in competition for lotting rights against anyway)
For the most part, all you need is WAR. I highly recommend you level NIN, because PLD with Utsusemi Ichi and Ni is the next best thing to immortality. RDM and DNC are also useful subjobs, RDM for pure damage reduction with Stoneskin and Phalanx, and DNC for Campaign Battles to keep your exp total above level 74, but really WAR is all you can be reasonably expected to have if you just hit 75.
First of all, meriting on PLD is hard. At about 70, NIN gets a lot of great +evasion and +Haste gear, and can tank pretty much indefinitely while doing okay damage, and can generally get exp chains of upwards of 100 mobs, while you're still shackled to your MP total, and generally can't output much damage. I recommend using Campaign to get a reasonable exp buffer, and then to get merit points.
Most other jobs benefit heavily from merits, and if you plan on doing other things than PLD, merits can be tricky. PLD can benefit most from meriting Chivalry, Shield Skill, +Enmity, and lowered recasts on Shield Bash and/or Sentinel. However, +Enmity will make leveling as anything other than PLD or NIN painfully impractical, and Shield Skill will elbow yourself out of meriting up skills for weapons or magic for other jobs, as only PLD really uses shields. So, here's what you can do: Chivalry is a must, and should be your first purchase. You can cap out the recast reduction if you want, but just having it is too important to pass up. +Critical Hit Rate is a fantastic DD merit, and having it will increase your own damage output, which can help balance out not having +Enmity merited. +Crit is usually 1st priority for melee DD jobs, too, so while it isn't vital, most everyone should be pretty cool about having that instead of +Enmity. You can put points into Parrying skill or Evasion skill and not be too bad off. Most jobs can parry and evade, so the merits will usually benefit you, if they aren't exactly ideal for either DD or for PLD. Lowered recasts on Shield Bash and Sentinel are great tools for hate management, but you'll be fine without them. Meriting HP and MP is also a good call. If you put a few merits into MP, then you can wear Convert MP to HP gear on non-mage jobs, and get the full benefits of the item and your merits. Also, if you're not a taru, it can take some tricky gear choices to be able to cast Raise when weakened, and meriting MP can alleviate some of that. Meriting HP is usually a more solid choice, though, as all jobs benefit from having more HP.
As a PLD, your overall target gear has a lot of DEF, VIT, and +Enmity, without neglecting AGI, plus anything that gives Shield, Evasion, or Parry is great, but not (completely) necessary. Magic Defense Bonus is the same deal: awesome if you can get a little, but not completely vital 75% of the time. Here are your limitations: VIT caps at 100. That is to say you won't benefit from having more VIT if you already have 100. Tavnazian Taco gives +6 VIT, so already you only need 94 VIT to be capped. If you merit VIT you can get +5 more, if PLD is the only job you really care about, which brings the total you'd need to have on your gear at 75 down to 89. As you can see on the page for Vitality, you already have at least 60 VIT naturally from just level 75 PLD, not even counting your subjob. So basically, if you have about +30 VIT from gear, you're good. If you have more than that, then you're wasting your gear. You could be wearing a piece that gives more Enmity, or a piece that helps your DD for hate management. Or any number of other useful things. Enmity caps at 100, but honestly, if you can get a gear set with over +100 Enmity, you don't need my help to put together your gear. DEF is not too important; that is to say that you should not turn down a piece of gear because it has less DEF than what you're wearing, however, a significant loss in DEF can lead to a significant loss of life. AGI affects your evasion, parry, and shield block, as well as the chance of getting hit with a Critical Hit. Don't neglect AGI, but don't freak out over getting a lot of it. Usually, your base AGI from your race is fine. If you find you get Critical Hit a lot, or hardly ever parry or dodge, then maybe think about looking up the price of Drone Earrings. Otherwise, don't panic.
The primary show of your gear is your Head, Body, Hands, Legs, and Feet. For this, there are four sets you need to be aware of:
Adaman Cuirass Set has some of the best tanking stats in the game for gear that you can buy off the AH for a reasonable price.
Iron Ram Hauberk Set has fantastic +Enmity and +HP, and the +Magic Defense Bonus is great against magic-using mobs. While it can't be bought off the AH, you will probably do a lot of Campaign in order to get merits, and a reasonable exp buffer. Join up with San d'Oria and you can get a few good pieces of this set with a couple of months of doing Campaign once every two or three days.
Gallant Armor Set is your AF, and while some of the pieces aren't so hot, a couple of pieces are better than most other gear. You should have gotten this stuff for free already, so why not get some more use out of it?
Sipahi Jawshan Set is a set that you should probably NOT wear for endgame. However, a couple of the pieces are comparable to, if not better than, AF. You may be able to fill any holes in your gear (Garlaige coffers are a pain to get to, I know.) with pieces of this set, at least temporarily while you campaign towards Iron Ram.
Let's start by looking at your AF. The Body and Feet specifically can last all the way to 75 no sweat. The only piece that compares is Adaman with +5 def and +1 Enmity on the body. And nothing beats your AF boots as long as you have a shield on your arm. For your other pieces, the AF head has great DEF for a headpiece, while MND and +Enmity are great, too. The hands and legs have GOT to go, though, and could potentially be replaced by pieces of the Sipahi set. The headpiece is debatable, but if you're a cheapskate or in a hurry, you can keep AF if you've got it. While leveling, Sipahi pieces can be a tolerable alternative to some AF if your AF coffers are eluding you. But if you're at endgame, you need to spend some money and upgrade.
The ideal gear set from these pieces would be a mix of Adaman and Iron Ram, with your AF Boots. The reason to mix them up is that the Iron Ram set gives no Vitality, which can clutter up other slots trying to compensate, while the Adaman set gives -INT, which makes magic attacks against you hurt a lot more. The +VIT from Adaman and the +Magic Defense Bonus from Iron Ram makes whatever combination you're comfortable with a great choice. The body pieces can be a challenge to afford, but you can wear your AF body instead while you save up your Gil or Allied Notes. I advise that you get multiples for overlap between the two sets. If you're fighting a magic-casting mob, you would do well to be wearing primarily Iron Ram gear, and no Adaman, while when fighting hard-hitting melee mobs, the VIT of Adaman might serve you best. But having a full set of both is a hefty goal.
Additionally, the Walahra Turban is an easy to get piece that is great for either a +MP while weakened piece, or for the +Haste to speed up your casting and sword-swinging. You can probably use this while tanking in endgame, but the lack of DEF can hurt if you're missing some on other pieces, and without more +Haste gear, just the 5% from this isn't going to be life-changing.
TOOLS OF THE TRADE
Macuahuitl +1 is the best tanking sword on the AH. Hands down. While other swords may have better stats for survivability, or have better DD, the +4 Enmity from this sword is the end-all be-all of affordable, easy-to-get tanking weapons.
Koenig Shield is a shield you just NEED to get. No one will ever respect you as a PLD if you don't have one. Pony up the cash. Just do it.
Alternate tools include:
Company Sword has the highest DMG for any AH sword. It's also pretty cheap, and looks really pretty. The hidden effect make this sword preferable during parties and missions, if you're confident you don't need Macu's +Enmity. I personally use this for Farming, too, for the higher damage. (Also, because it doesn't look like an ancient Aztec chainsaw)
Durandal has a lot of VIT, and +1 Enmity, and it's ridiculously cheap. If you're lacking VIT in your other gear, (For example, in full Iron Ram) and don't need more Enmity, think about picking this up.
Dark Staff is a nifty tool you should just have laying around. The +10 HMP is fantastically useful. Make a Rest and Stand macro swapping this in and out, and you won't be sorry.
Joyeuse is fan-freaking-tastic. For some reason, every other PLD, RDM, WAR, and DRG on my server has one of these damned things and I can't figure out why I can't get a group together to go get one. If you figure out the secret, and can get your hands on one of these, this is a fantastic piece of gear.
Warwolf Belt gives great stats, and some enmity. Nothing beats this, unless you're going for a haste build.
Bibiki Seashell is free. It gives some great VIT for a range pieces, and the Aquan Killer is a must for camping Joyeuse, or the K-Club BCNM.
High Breath Mantle is a great piece of gear for tanking. The +Enmity enchantment is great. It can get pricey to keep one of these around and ready, but it is worth it if you can afford the periodic expense.
Lamia Mantle +1 is a great couple to a primarily Adaman gear setup. It gives Magic Defense Bonus, and a bunch of MP to boot! If you're tired of shelling out for Breath Mantles, consider getting one of these when you can. The NQ is just fine, also.
Knightly Mantle is a great couple to a primarily Iron Ram gear setup. It gives a bit of DEF, and a great chunk of VIT. If you don't want to keep buying Breath Mantles, and need the VIT, this can be a good alternative.
Parade Gorget is not to be missed. Get one. It's great for farming, and it's fantastic in endgame if you're /NIN and are more frequently in white HP.
Fortified Chain is a pricy item still has some great stats for a neck piece.
Shield Torque is about the same price as Fort chain, but is much rarer. I'd recommend a shield torque first, but if there are none available, Fort chain is a great choice, too.
Chivalrous Chain is a more than viable alternative to Fort chain, if you can afford it. Chiv is also used by most DD jobs, so if you were going to level SAM or DRG, you're likely to use this again.
Hercules' Ring is a must. The latent effect is great, and the +Enmity is always active. Get one, and you won't regret it.
Unyielding Ring is possibly the best off-ring to use, giving good VIT and a helping of DEX for landing hits to keep hate.
Garrulous Ring is actually pretty spiffy. The STR is good for doing a little more damage to keep hate, while the AGI boosts your chances of evading, parrying, or shield blocking. And unlike the Unyielding, the status resist on this, Resist Silence, is a lot more useful, however little it may actually affect your game. They're also a lot cheaper than most other fare.
Verve Ring is still usable, even for endgame, if you don't have 100 VIT from gear, and can't get an Unyielding. However, if you have plenty of VIT, these should probably be the first pieces of VIT gear to go.
Phalanx Ring is a good alternative to Verve if you've got the VIT down. The +DEF is surprisingly effective, but not worth more than an Unyielding's other benefits.
Arete del Sol is surprisingly a good choice, if you can get one. They're pretty cheap, but are rare to see. Snatch it if you can, and wear it whenever you're kiting something that can cast.
Insomnia Earring is a classic. The +HP and +MP is useful, and the Resist Sleep bonus can save you or your party.
Antivenom Earring is another classic. +MP and +HMP is useful.
Buckler Earring I'm only including this because I got one when I was about level 30 from some joker who undercut too much. The skill bonus is still useful even in endgame. If you got one early on, you can still keep it around, but it depends on what else you're wearing.
Mercenary's Earring can be used if you're /WAR, but only if you're lacking VIT. Make sure that if you have this earring, have three different earrings around, in case you're ever /NIN or something else.
Now you're set. If PLD was your first job, or if you haven't done enough endgame to be able to get any good endgame PLD stuff, you can set yourself up just fine to get started on the road to better gear, with just a level 75 job for farming and a lot of time. I've managed to get PLD relatively well-geared off of this list with only a fishing rod and the recipe for Poison Potions. I do not intend for this to be limiting or inhibiting. The gear listed here is more or less the baseline. If you can find something you think is better, then please, wear it. I tried not to list a lot of rare/ex options, or items worth over 100K each, so don't use this guide as a "You need this" and more as a "You need something that is as good as or better than this."
As always, keep a small supply of Silent Oil, Prism Powder, Echo Drops and Tavnazian Tacos, as well as Poison Potion, Holy Water, and Antidotes if the situation requires it. Be ready for anything, and you'll find that having good gear isn't even half the battle. Having the right medicines, and knowing how to play your job are more important than having an Avalon Breastplate, no matter what anyone else tells you.
Not that I'm bitter or anything, ~Inept of Cerberus, 75PLD