|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.
There are 6 complete groups of 8 attachments which represent each of the elements. There is also an incomplete group as of April 2007. This group has 4 other attachments , for a total of 52 attachments in all. Furthermore, there are seven basic types of attachments. Standard, Horological, Transpositional, Ability, Trait, Rejuvenative, and Correlational attachments. Many of these are passive and will generate a bonus whether or not you have any maneuvers up, but several of them will require a maneuver that corresponds with its elemental base in order to grant any bonus or activate an associated ability.
- Standard Attachments
- These attachments augment your Automaton in steady increments based on the number of maneuvers that are active that correspond with their elemental value. Some of these will grant a minor base effect if no maneuvers are up that correspond with its elemental base.
- Ability Attachments
- These attachments will grant your Automaton a Job Ability. Unlike typical job abilities, some of these may be an effect that would normally require a spell to be cast.
- Trait Attachments
- There are a couple of attachments that will grant your Automaton a Job Trait if equipped. If there are maneuvers corresponding with attachments elemental base, the trait may become even more effective.
- Rejuvenative Attachments
- There are two attachments that grant your Automaton the effect of Regen and two more that grant the effect of Refresh. While the Regen and Refresh effects require maneuvers to activate, all four of these Attachments also provide a passive bonus your Automaton's base HP and MP.
- Correlational Attachments
- There a few attachments that grant bonuses that cause a variance, usually detrimental, to another particular stat.
- Transpositional Attachments
- These attachments allow you to transpose one or all of your current maneuvers in exchange for a particular event.
- Horological Attachments
- These mysterious attachments grant bonuses to your Automaton that improve over time.
Also, note that you will have to permanently attach them to your Automaton's Inventory. You've probably noticed that attachments are stackable but this is for crafting purposes only and there is no reason for you to acquire more than one. If your Automaton has received a specific Attachment into its inventory, it can not receive another. Your Automaton will have to have the attachments attached via an NPC in the Automaton shop. Once attached, it will become permanently a part of your Automaton and will show up in their inventory which is separate from yours. Thankfully, they have their own inventory and don't require you to carry around all those attachments!
Collect 'em all!
You'll definitely want to collect all 50 of the attachments to maximize your Automaton's versatility, so start collecting as soon as you are financially capable. Below is an outline discussing the attachments and their effects.
You can buy the first 16 attachments and it's a good idea to go ahead and do so. Make the trip to Nashmau to save yourself some gil because the Auction House tends to list these for twice what they are worth. You can purchase all 16 for a total of 118,920 gil from Yoyoroon or wind up paying double that if you try to buy them from the Auction House.
Alchemy and Goldsmithing
The ENM will be your biggest challenge because they can only be acquired when a level 60 Puppetmaster wins the ENM battle Pulling the Strings. On top of that, most level 60 Puppetmasters are likely to immediately equip an attachment they don't have if it drops. When these attachments are posted on the Auction House, it tends to reflect a situation where the Puppetmaster has acquired a duplicate of an attachment they already own. Another catch to the ENM is it can only be attempted once every five real-life days, win or lose, and the attachment only has a chance to drop on top of the reward of 2000 Experience Points.
These attachments are valuable at any level, though, and can take some time to collect. If you have the gil, start collecting early by snatching them off the Auction House. Look for opportunities when more than one are listed to possibly get a better price.
- With the expansion of the The Chocobo Hot and Cold Game into the Altepa Deserts and the Elshimo Jungles, the Pulling the Strings attachments are now also available in VCS crates for participants who possess the Desert chocograph or the Jungle chocograph.
Targeting the Captain (One of the Ashu Talif BCNM fights)
In-Depth Review of Attachments
The Basic 16
The first 16 attachments cover basic behavior and status enhancements. They are easily acquired for a total of 118,920 gil from Yoyoroon in Nashmau. If you don't have that much gil on you, then just focus on the attachments that you think will best suit your playing style until you can afford the rest. While information on these attachments already exists, I've decided that some may find it useful if I went beyond the basic descriptions by explaining them in further detail and offering recommendations for their usage.
- Tension Spring (Standard)
- The increase to your puppet's attack is useful for all frame combinations, though too much attack may give your puppet unwanted hate. When using a mage setup in solo play, you may prefer tanking while your puppet heals you, but an early Slapstick from your mage puppet may cause it to get unwantedly smacked around a bit.
- Loudspeaker (Standard)
- This attachment can wait until you get the the Stormwaker frame, but that doesn't mean it's useless for getting started with your new Harlequin frame.
- Accelerator (Standard)
- This attachment can wait until you get the Sharpshot because until you get that frame or obtain a Turbo Charger you'll probably never have Wind Maneuvers up. The evasion is nice when farming with your Sharpshot to keep it from getting hit if the prey you are sniping doesn't die quickly. Due to the damage output of the Sharpshot in solo play, you are likely to see your Sharpshot dropped fast by a monster that can land decent attacks on it.
- Armor Plate (Standard)
- A good piece to have on any of the frames, especially at lower levels, but most useful for the Valoredge so it doesn't have to be a priority unless you feel your puppet pulls hate too often and takes too much damage.
- Stabilizer (Standard)
- This attachment should be an undebated priority. Accuracy is one of the most expensive stats in the game. Fortunately, it's much easier to acquire accuracy for your Automaton.
- Mana Jammer (Standard)
- There is little use for this attachment unless the monsters you are fighting like to use -ga elemental spells. Think of this attachment like you would the spell Shell and how often you really need the Shell buff. However, this attachment and its Tier II version can be vital in soloing an Avatar battle.
- Auto-Repair Kit (Rejuvenative)
- Consider getting this attachment from the start; it's very useful in maximizing uptime when you are soloing your way to a level high enough to get a group in Valkurm Dunes.
- Mana Tank (Rejuvenative)
- A great starter attachment for your first frame and also very useful with the Stormwaker frame. Combined with the Tier II version, your Automaton will be able to regenerate MP at a rate that would make any Red Mage jealous.
- Inhibitor (Standard)
- This attachment has its uses for any frame at any level, so go ahead and pick it up right away. It will encourage your Automaton to hold its TP until you have TP or until a Skillchain is opened that it can close. It's very useful in parties because your Automaton will constantly try to close Skillchains with other party members as well as you.
- Mana Booster (Standard)
- This is another nice attachment to start out with because it can be useful on the Harlequin frame.
- Scope (Standard)
- There is no reason to get this attachment until you obtain the Sharpshot frame. Since many people choose the Sharpshot first, you may want to plan ahead and obtain it if you have the gil. Unless you are sniping very weak monsters and farming their drops, you'll always want this equipped on your Sharpshot frame.
- Shock Absorber (Ability)
- This attachment is required to trigger the Stoneskin ability for your puppet and it is very useful when fighting monsters that have AOE type attacks as well as just plain soloing and keeping your repair time down to a minimum. A definite grab for the new Puppetmaster.
- Volt Gun (Trait)
- Though not very popular because it requires two thunder elements to equip, I like this attachment. I used it quite a bit when starting out to zap all the crabs and fish that are the typical prey until the jungles at around level 25. Unless you bought and planned to fill up your thunder elements with the Stabilizer attachments, go ahead and grab this one.
- Stealth Screen (Standard)
- This is a decent attachment for soloing, but once you start collecting a lot of attachments you'll probably see this one start to collect dust. Not a bad grab for the early Puppetmaster if you don't mind using Water Maneuver to keep it from getting hate and getting pummeled. This attachment can be a nice companion to other water-based attachments that you would be more likely to use the water maneuvers for.
- Damage Gauge (Standard)
- Though an absolute must for mid-level to high-level solo play, getting this attachment from the very beginning isn't a bad idea either. The Harlequin is able to cast Cure and may save your life with it.
- Mana Conserver (Trait)
- This is a great companion to the Mana Tank, Mana Tank II, and Mana Converter for the Harlequin and Stormwaker frames. Unlike the Black Mage Job Trait, which activates randomly, this attachment will consistently reduce the amount of MP a spell consumes in direct relation to the number of Dark Maneuvers that are active.
The Advanced 16
The attachments divided into two more groups of 8 that represent each element. All of them may be crafted with Alchemy or Goldsmithing, but the second group of 8 can also drop from Hilltroll Puppetmaster. The first group of these attachments focus more on controlling your Automaton's behavior such as using Provoke or Flash. The second group consist of Tier II attachments of the original eight. These Tier II attachments can be stacked with the first Tier attachments for a combined bonus.
- Strobe (Ability)
- The only frame that you'll ever seriously use this on is the Valoredge, however, grabbing it when you are just starting out isn't a bad idea either. If you run into trouble, you can toss up a Fire Maneuver and make your Harlequin frame provoke and hold the mob while you make a clean getaway. Later on, when you get Repair, you can put even more distance between you and the mob by invoking the Repair ability on top of the Fire Maneuver that makes your puppet provoke allowing it to stay alive longer while you run to the zone. Of course, this will usually sacrifice your puppet and you'll have to wait till Activate if the timer isn't ready.
- Scanner (Trait)
- This attachment was a complete waste until the December 2006 update which dramatically improved its usefulness. This is very nice to have right away for the Harlequin and will continue to prove its usefulness on the Stormwaker.
- Pattern Reader (Horological)
- I like this attachment because it only costs one wind element to equip but as with the rest of the evasion attachments, it can wait until you have the gil to burn on it because of its limited, situational use.
- Analyzer (Ability)
- The analyzer directly reduces the damage of a move, according to the number of earth maneuvers active. It works on all special attacks, regardless of damage type (physical, magical, breath, etc). It will not "count" a move unless the puppet is harmed.
- The analyzer can only keep track of one move at a time. If the puppet is hit by a different move, all memory of the previous will be lost. Thus, this is only effective when the puppet is hit repeatedly by one, and only one move. The count is independent of which mob used the move, and the puppet does not have to be deployed. Memory persists across multiple mobs, but will reset upon zoning or reactivation.
- Heat Seeker (Horological)
- This is a nice Accuracy enhancing attachment that only costs a single Thunder Maneuver. Accuracy is never a bad thing and any of the frames can make use of it so grab it right away, if you can. Stack it with Stabilizer and/or Target Marker and toss up Thunder Maneuvers to really see it shine.
- Heatsink (Correlational)
- This attachment is very useful when you are pouring on Fire Maneuvers and don't want to Overload. You probably won't start spamming Fire Maneuvers until the Valoredge so this little doohickey can wait, if you want to preserve gil. A nice way to use it is to do a set of Double Water Maneuvers in between a serious string of Fire Maneuvers. Do your own testing to find a nice balance.
- Flashbulb (Ability)
- This little beauty has an effect similar to the Flash spell and activates when a Light Maneuver is up. With practice, you can use it during a mob's special attack and make it miss! Don't start leveling without this gem!
- Mana Converter (Standard)
- Without this attachment, Puppetmaster would lose an incredible amount of its viability as a solo artist. Get this attachment as soon as possible and don't even think of getting the Stormwaker frame if you haven't obtained this yet.
- Tension Spring II (Standard)
- As far as Tier II attachments go, this one should be at the top of your list. It has a use for virtually every frame and head combination, so get it as soon as you can.
- Loudspeaker II (Standard)
- This can wait until you get the Stormwaker frame and it compliments the frame very well. I wouldn't suggest waiting too long to get it after you obtain the Stormwaker or you might find yourself largely disappointed with the frame's performance without this attachment.
- Accelerator II (Standard)
- Another evasion attachment that has limited situational use and can easily wait until you just have gil to burn.
- Armor Plate II (Standard)
- This little wonder is useful for any frame and helps increase your Automaton's survivability. Get it as soon as you can, especially for your Valoredge frame.
- Stabilizer II (Standard)
- Another accuracy enhancing attachment that's probably worth its weight in gold. Missing is equal to zero damage.
- Mana Jammer II (Standard)
- This attachment grants your puppet a Magic Defense Bonus similar to shell and has limited situational use. Feel free to put this one off until you have gil to burn.
- Auto-Repair Kit II (Rejuvenative)
- This is a fun attachment to stack with the Auto-Repair Kit for some incredible Auto Regen. Any time you are fighting mobs with AOE abilities you are going to find it much more economical to activate these attachments than burn a bunch of Automaton Oil. At Melee Skill level 150 when your Valoredge gets Cannibal Blade, you won't really need to worry about having these attached and can use the slots for something else.
- Mana Tank II (Rejuvenative)
- A great attachment for your Harlequin frame to start out with if you can afford it. The Harlequin has a small MP pool and this will help relieve that as well as add a more potent Refresh effect than the Mana Tank. Don't forget though, this attachment can stack with Mana Tank as well and having both of them for your Stormwaker frame is invaluable.
The ENM 8
The rarest of the attachments, and therefore the most expensive. These attachments are acquired from the ENM Pulling the Strings. I purchased all of these before I was eligible to do the BCNM and have found them to be priceless. Depending on your server, the price may be somewhat affordable to outrageously expensive. Though, not required to perform well, you'll definitely want to grab them as soon as you can. The drop rate in the ENM is random and not 100% so you may end up with duplicates that you can use to sell and try to purchase attachments you haven't obtained. However, getting 8 drops, regardless if they are duplicates or not, can prove to be quite a chore. You can only do this battle once very 5 earth days, the battle itself, can be difficult to win, and you may just end up with 2000 Experience Points and a handful of Worm Mulch and no attachment.
- Attuner (Standard)
- This Attuner ignores a percentage of defense based on the number of Fire Maneuvers up. In other words, this attachment will focus on keeping your puppet's attacks at the higher end of the calculated damage curve of its attacks versus the defense of the mob you are fighting.
- Drum Magazine (Correlational)
- This attachment sacrifices Accuracy for speed in Ranged Attacks. You can help offset the loss in Accuracy with other attachments. While you may not want to equip this attachment 100% of the time, its nice to have on if you plan to hit Overdrive with the Sharpshot frame.
- Equalizer (Standard)
- This attachment outright reduces the actual physical damage being done to your Automaton by a percentage, in respect to the the calculations between the attack directed at it and your puppet's defense and vitality. In other words, if your puppet's vitality returns a curve of 50-100 and its defense is checked on an attack that returns a value of 65 points of damage, this attachment will reduce the number 65 by a fixed percentage based on the number of Earth Maneuvers that are active. This attachment is phenomenal for any frame, especially a tanking Valoredge!
- Target Marker (Standard)
- The Target Marker is another priceless gem that makes your puppet a force to be reckoned with when paired with the Attuner. This attachment will allow your puppet to greatly ignore a percentage of a mob's evasion in relation to the number of Thunder Maneuvers that are active.
- Mana Channeler (Correlational)
- This attachment is a very nice compliment to the your Stormwaker frame, especially if you have the Tactical Processor equipped. The indirect, and often unforeseen, result of this attachment is that your puppet will do more damage per point of MP and will also prevent it from nuking its MP too quickly.
- Eraser (Transpositional)
- This attachment will remove all maneuvers, providing one of them is a Light Maneuver, and remove a bad status effect on you or your puppet. If you both have a bad status effect, the puppet will prioritize itself over you. I like this attachment when fighting stuff that has silence or paralyze attacks that can quickly sour what would typically be an easy battle. For example, if you are fighting an Antican and it silences you both, but you need your puppet to cure you, this attachment allows your puppet to erase the Silence effect off itself so it can continue to keep you alive.
- Smoke Screen (Correlational)
- This is a good attachment for your a variety of frame combinations for many different situations. I like to use it with the Valoredge when I'm using it to tank while soloing because Dark Maneuver also helps trigger Cannibal Blade if I have other maneuvers up.
- Tactical Processor (Correlational)
- This is a beautiful companion to the Mana Channeler and priceless for your Stormwaker frame. If you are a big fan of the Stormwaker, get this one as soon as you can.
The Crazy 8
These attachments were released in the October and December 2006 updates and focus on adding major enhancements and trickeries to your Automaton. You'll find some of them situational, and depending on your playing style, the sooner you acquire these, the better.
- Dynamo (Standard)
- Increase your critical hits with this delicious attachment and get it as soon as you can possibly afford it.
- Turbo Charger (Standard)
- This attachment only affects melee attacks which are great for seeing your puppet perform weaponskills more often. I especially like to put this on the Sharpshot because I always have Wind Maneuvers up.
- Reactive Shield (Ability)
- This is a great attachment for your Valoredge, or any frame you'd want to use in Ballista. With just one Fire Maneuver, your puppet engages a very nasty Blaze Spikes that causes quite a sting to anything or anyone that hits it.
- Optic Fiber (Standard)
- This attachment is pure genius and you should grab it as soon as you can. As its description suggest it helps enhance any attachments that you have equipped. However, it can't be used to trigger the abilities granted with some attachments such as Blaze Spikes or Stoneskin; you'll need to put up a Fire Maneuver or Earth Maneuver, respectively, to activate those.
- Tranquilizer (Standard)
- A wonderful companion to your ice-based attachments for your Stormwaker and Harlequin frame, this attachment helps you achieve more consistent numbers with your Automaton's spells.
- Schurzen (Transpositional)
- A great attachment for the Valoredge, this attachment may allow an Earth Maneuver to blink the effect of an attack that would have caused substantial damage to your puppet.
- Condenser (Transpositional)
- A nice addition to any frame, especially those you like to setup with many attachments of the same element. Your automaton may sacrifice a Water Maneuver instead of overloading, with the Condenser equipped.
- Economizer (Transpositional)
- This attachment erases dark maneuvers to restore MP when your Automaton is running low. It has become one of my personal favorites, particularly when soloing with my Healer puppet. You probably won't find much use for it until after level 50 when your Automaton has Cure IV, but if you plan on soloing after you reach that point, this is a must have if you want to maximize your potential.
The 4 Down and 4 more to Go!
SquareEnix tossed a couple new attachments in the March 2007 update which hints that there will be 6 more to come to complete the elemental set. These attachments are also relatively easy to obtain because they are crafted and the yield can satisfy the needs of 12 hungry puppetmasters. They are cheap and useful, particularly Flame Holder for your experience parties, so be sure to pick them up when you can.
- Flame Holder (Transpositional)
- This fancy, new toy will transpose all of your fire maneuvers to increase the attack of your weapon skills. The more Fire Maneuvers you have up at the time of transposition, the more damage the weapon skill can do! I particularly like to put this on the Sharpshot at any stage and the Valoredge before it obtains Cannibal Blade. If you have Attuner and both of the tension springs, the addition to Cannibal Blade isn't really noticeable enough to sacrifice DoT and there will be many instances where you'll have to put up a Dark Maneuver and not have a Fire Maneuver up before the Weapon Skill triggers. If you don't have Attuner yet, definitely slip this on!
- Ice Maker (Transpositional)
- This attachment is similar to the Flame Holder only it doesn't require you to build up 100% TP. It does, however, require you to be careful not to overload. A must equip for the Stormwaker frame but it even has its uses on the Harlequin!
- Steam Jacket
Maneuvering your Automaton
Elemental Maneuvers have a direct and immediate effect on attachments, that are equipped, whose base element corresponds to the element of the maneuver. In most cases, the more maneuvers you have up for the same element, the bigger the enhancement for attachments that are based on that element. The exception, thus far, is the Optic Fiber, which increases the efficiency of all attachments regardless. However it seems to require a Light Maneuver either to be active, or to have a noticeable effect. Also, note that all the maneuvers share the same ten-second recast.
The more maneuvers you use of a particular element, the more fatigue you accumulate for that element. There are Attachments like the Heatsink that can help lower your fatigue on Fire Maneuver by countering it with Water Maneuver, but other than that, you'll have to just pace yourself and pay attention to what Maneuvers you are using; with practice you'll develop a keen second-nature instinct of what your limits are and be able to "sense" when your fatigue for a particular maneuver is high.
This status effect is the result of becoming overburdened in any particular element. The only cure is to wait a few moment's for it to wear off. The time it takes to wear off seems to depend on the level of burden associated with it. For example, try to imagine that each maneuver as a percentage scale and at 100% or higher you'll reach an overload. As you use maneuvers to build to the 100% that will cause an overload, you'll also have some of the burden because fatigue decreases as time passes; this is why the length of time in Overload will be a little random. If your burden for a maneuver was around 99% and the next maneuver for that element pushed it way over 100%, your wait will be longer. If your burden was around 85% and the next maneuver caused an overload, your wait will be shorter. In theory, the Puppetmaster's Overdrive job ability will increase the rate of dissension for the burden associated with maneuvers; because of this, if you used Overdrive while you were overloaded, you may recover more quickly from the overload status.
|Standard Attachments||Normal||¤||¤ ¤||¤ ¤ ¤||Overdrive||¤||¤ ¤||¤ ¤ ¤|
Armor Plate II
Mana Jammer II
Tension Spring II
Master's HP% Trigger
Automaton's MP% Trigger
Job Ability: Shield Bash
This attachment's effect is not 100% proven, and is also thought to possibly be a horological attachment that reduces damage over time.
Job Ability: Flash
Job Ability: Blaze Spikes
|Blaze Spikes||00:??||01:05||Blaze Spikes||00:??||01:05|
Job Ability: Stoneskin
Job Ability: Provoke
|Correlational Attachments||Normal||¤||¤ ¤||¤ ¤ ¤||Overdrive||¤||¤ ¤||¤ ¤ ¤|
R.Atk Delay / -Accuracy%
%M.A.B. / +Recast
|10% / +???||20% / +???||30% / +???||40% / +???||??||??||??||??|
|Smoke Screen||5% / +???||15% / +???||30% / +???||45% / +???||??||??||??||??|
|Horological Attachments||Normal||¤||¤ ¤||¤ ¤ ¤||Overdrive||¤||¤ ¤||¤ ¤ ¤|
|Rejuvenative Attachments||Normal||¤||¤ ¤||¤ ¤ ¤||Overdrive||¤||¤ ¤||¤ ¤ ¤|
|Auto-Repair Kit II|
Mana Tank II
|Trait Attachments||Normal||¤||¤ ¤||¤ ¤ ¤||Overdrive||¤||¤ ¤||¤ ¤ ¤|
Job Trait: Conserve MP
Job Trait: Scan
Job Trait: Enthunder
|Condenser||Invoked Maneuver would have caused Overload||1 Water Maneuver||00:??|
|Eraser||Detrimental Status Effect on Master or Automaton|
|Economizer||~50% MP or less||All Dark Maneuvers||00:??|
|Flame Holder||Usage of any Weapon Skill||All Fire Maneuvers||100% TP or higher|
|Ice Maker||Casting of an Elemental Spell||All Ice Maneuvers||When Recast is ready|
|Schurzen||Damage = ??% of Automaton's MAX HP||1 Earth Maneuver||00:??|
Automaton Spells and Elemental Bases with Magic Skill and Automaton Level Requirements
|Spell (Type)||Magic Skill||Harlequin||Stormwaker||Spell (Type)||Magic Skill||Harlequin||Stormwaker|
|Dia (Enfeebling)||1||1||1||Cure III (Healing)||81||29||28|
|Cure (Healing)||12||4||4||Thunder (Elemental)||90||32||31|
|Stone (Elemental)||15||5||5||Dia II (Enfeebling)||96||34||33|
|Poison (Elemental)||18||6||6||Stone II (Elemental)||108||38||37|
|Paralyze (Enfeebling)||21||7||7||Bio II (Dark)||111||39||38|
|Blind (Enfeebling)||27||9||9||Water II (Elemental)||123||44||42|
|Water (Elemental)||30||10||10||Aero II (Elemental)||138||49||47|
|Bio (Dark)||33||11||11||Cure IV (Healing)||147||52||50|
|Slow (Enfeebling)||42||15||14||Fire II (Elemental)||153||53||52|
|Cure II (Healing)||45||16||14||Blizzard II (Elemental)||178||58||57|
|Aero (Elemental)||45||16||15||Thunder II (Elemental)||203||66||63|
|Silence (Enfeebling)||57||20||19||Stone III (Elemental)||227||--||72|
|Fire (Elemental)||60||21||20||Water III (Elemental)||236||--||74|
|Blizzard (Elemental)||75||26||25||Aero III (Elemental)||246||--||75 (Merited)|
Tactics and Playing Styles
Even after a year since the release of the Aht Urhgan expansion and the introduction of the Puppetmaster job, the sub-job issue is still hotly debated. Part of the issue is because of the misunderstanding of why and when certain sub-jobs are viable. For example, Ninja is absolutely useless in an Experience Party because it does absolutely nothing to enhance damage output and does little to mitigate damage received because Puppemasters don't generate a lot of enmity since their damage output, thus enmity gain, is largely split between them and their Automaton. Some people try to take advantage of the mage gear and take up a support role but traditional support role jobs will perform much better. A similar issue with PUP tanking can also be argued that a traditional tank will work better because of the gear it can equip and it's core design revolving around damage mitigation. In the end, we're left with the damage dealing option being the most viable in an Experience Party and well-equipped and attentive Puppetmasters who sincerely focus on their maneuvers and damage output will do extremely well in this aspect. Damage mitigation is an issue that's typical in solo play and Ninja, Red Mage, and White Mage will make more sense in many of those types of situations.
Damage Dealing Support Jobs
You'll typically use DD sub-jobs when in an experience party or when engaging in something where damage mitigation isn't extremely necessary. Depending on your level, these primarily include Warrior, Monk, and Dragoon.
- The undisputed sub-job for dealing the most amount of damage, especially after level 60 where you'll pick up an Attack Bonus job trait. You'll get Berserk at level 30 and Double Attack at level 50. At level 70, you'll get Warcry. You'll even gain a Defense Bonus at level 20 and Defender at level 50 which will have situational use. However, Warrior starts off as a relatively weak sub-job. At level 10 you'll get Provoke which isn't all that useful until later when you may be asked to help set up a SATA. In most cases, it won't be strong enough to pull hate in emergency situations because a Puppetmaster doesn't build up Enmity like other DD jobs since it damage output is largely split with its Automaton. Because of this, I wouldn't really recommend it until level 30 if you have Monk and Dragoon as options until then.
- A great starting sub-job for the Puppetmaster. This will grant a nearly 17% decrease in weapon delay by dropping the base delay of Hand-to-Hand from 480 to 400 with Martial Arts. Puppetmaster doesn't get this trait until Level 25, but a Monk gets it at level 1. At level 5 you'll get Boost which is much more useful than Provoke and will also increase your damage output. However, at level 25 when Puppetmaster gets the Martial Arts trait, Monk loses alot of its flare. At level 30, unless you acquire a Cestus Belt and a Wrestler's Mantle, it becomes completely worthless compared to Dragoon or Warrior and even with these two items you will still be doing considerably less damage. The Martial Arts traits do not stack, however Monk acquires higher tier Martial Arts traits at much lower levels. With a Wrestler's Mantle this can substantially decrease weapon delay enough to offset the advantages of Dragoon and Warrior. At level 32, weapon delay with the Wrestler's Mantle and second tier Martial Arts Trait would be down to 360, and at level 62 it would be down to 340. However, by level 50, Puppetmaster will have acquired its own second tier Martial Arts trait dropping the base delay down to 380 and would be able to gain significant advantages with Berserk and Double Attack, making the Monk sub-job option seem a little silly at this stage.
- A fun sub-job nonetheless and quite viable from the levels 25-50; some even use it until 60 because it is so much fun and can still compete with Warrior. You'll get the Dragoon Attack Bonus at level 20, but Monk is still a better choice until level 25 as this is when Puppetmaster is able to achieve the 400 base Weapon Delay with its own Martial Arts trait which does not stack with the Martial Arts trait with Monk sub-job. At level 30, the Dragoon sub-job is only worth keeping if you acquire a Wyvern Mantle and a Wyvern Earring. The latents are activated when Dragoon is the subjob and allows the Dragoon to compete with the Berserk ability you'd get at level 30 with Warrior as your sub-job. In regards to the Dragoon as a sub-job versus Monk as a sub-job I would also like to note that at level 30 the Wyvern Earring will drop a base delay of 400 down to 372, whereas the Monk sub-job with Wrestler's Mantle will only drop it down to 380. Coupled with the Attack+16 (including the Wyvern Mantle bonus) of the Dragoon sub-job compared to the Attack +5 of Cestus Belt, Dragoon will still have a clear advantage. The added damage potential of Jump will also offset the added potential damage of Boost.
Defensive / Supportive Sub Jobs
- Unless you have an insatiable desire to Dual Wield daggers at level 20, this sub-job has absolutely no use until you can cast Utsusemi: Ichi at level 24. At this point it is a great sub-job for damage mitigation while soloing or farming. Also, you may find uses for it in situational multi-player events where the shadows can be used to mitigate certain types of area attacks. At level 74, you'll have Utsusemi: Ni at your disposal which can make you virtually invincible in solo play if you have your puppet set to healer (especially with an adequately leveled NPC fellow). The Ninja sub-job option can also be quite useful in Ballista
- White Mage
- Typically, this is only useful in solo situations where you may wish to have the ability to remove status ailments. Having your own adventuring fellow properly leveled or equipping Eraser to your Automaton can offer the same benefit. At higher levels, you'll also have Stoneskin and Blink
- Red Mage
- A better option for damage mitigation than White Mage (because of Phalanx), plus you'll have enspells at your disposal at early levels. Your MP pool will be a little lower, but like White Mage the highest cure spell you'll have at your disposal is only Cure III. At level 50, your Automaton will already have Cure IV. Again, it is still fun and useful and can be used in conjunction with the healer puppet to mitigate damage received without hurting your damage output as much as Ninja would if it were your sub-job.
- There's virtually no benefit to this sub-job outside of Ballista, but with the ability to cure yourself and use Sentinel after level 60 and Flash after level 74, this is becoming a popular sub-job for PvP and Puppetmaster is no exception.
- Blue Mage
- Like Paladin, you'll find the usefulness of applying Blue Mage as a subjob to be limited to Ballista. This sub-job shines particularly during the lower to mid-level capped Ballistas where you can equip yourself with Cocoon, Metallic Body, Chaotic Eye, and Wild Carrot. (Side note: /Blu is also quite viable for solo play, 5-30, especially at 24 once Head Butt becomes available if your using the Valoredge frame.
- Black Mage
- This is worth mentioning because of how it can make you a dangerous target in Ballista because of the high activate rate of Paralyze from Ice Spikes which you'll have at level 40. At first, I was skeptical until I saw it in action. Ice Spikes can turn two-handed weapon wielders like Samurais, Dragoons, and Dark Knights into Easy Prey.
This will be your frame of choice, when it is viable. Prioritize your attack and accuracy attachments and be sure to put on your Scope. Because you'll typically always have Wind Maneuver up, I'd also suggest the Turbo Charger to increase the rate of TP gain. Under most circumstances, Drum Magazine is viable when equipped along side the scope to offset the minus to accuracy. Position your puppet close enough to the monster so that it can melee in between shots and gain TP quickly. Try to ask your tank to stay in one place to make positioning easier.
Arcuballista is great, but at 150 skill you'll want to stick with Daze. Be sure to have a Thunder Maneuver up at all times, especially when your pet is close to 100% TP. Don't equip Inhibitor at this point or your puppet will most likely try to skillchain with others and close worthless level 1 skillchains with the much weaker Arcuballista weapon skill. A fire maneuver up can boost the damage a noticeable amount if you have your Flame Holder equipped, as well.
This frame sacrifices damage mitigation for damage output. Damselflies, Goblins, Imps, and Puks are just a few of the mobs that can tear this frame up. Crabs and Fish are viable but try to keep Stoneskin up with the Shock Absorber.
Ninjas may have a problem keeping hate off of this frame, especially while using Daze on Lesser Colibri. Consider the Stealth Screen and whatever else you can think of to keep hate off your pet because it can be easily killed by the birds. If it becomes a problem, switch to the Valoredge until you get a better tank.
This is one tough puppet, and after it acquires Cannibal Blade it becomes virtually indestructible from AOE attacks. After you stack attack and accuracy, be sure to load on adequate defense, based on the type of AOE you plan to be dealing with. Also, try to make sure you stick the Analyzer on. I've had this repeatedly stun everything from Bomb Toss to that annoying AOE from the imps that cause amnesia.
Try to watch your pet's TP and slip up a Dark Maneuver at around 70% or so. You want to make sure the maneuver is up to force Cannibal Blade. Be sure not to have two thunder or fire maneuvers up or you'll trigger one of the other two weaponskills even if you have a Dark Maneuver up. Your puppet will also use Cannibal Blade if it has no maneuvers up or just unrelated maneuvers such as the Earth Maneuver.
Again, avoid the Inhibitor if you don't want your pet wasting TP on weaponskills other than Cannibal Blade.
This puppet isn't a personal favorite of mine for experience parties but it does have usage on HNMs so I'll go ahead and go into some detail about it since that involves a party. I will not completely deny it having it any situational use in experience parties, but when you encounter enough of the problems you've seen me mention that you'll have, you'll see why it is the least popular. Also, if you parse your puppet, you'll notice that once this one starts relying on MP regeneration just to get a spell off, its DoT drops and it loses a lot of its efficiency. Reactivating it to recharge its MP can be ridiculously annoying and it will still parse considerable lower unless you are fighting monsters that are specifically resistant to physical damage.
This puppet requires MP. Even with all of the MP enhancing attachments your puppet can still simply run out unless you use oils to regenerate the HP it converts rather than allowing it to cure itself instead. For grinding, your puppet's MP will dwindle down to where you are running at minimum output on each fight. This puppet also lacks any serious defense and can waste MP just trying to cure itself in the event of an AOE attack. On monsters that don't AOE, such as Colibri, you'll have a problem with high elemental resists, and later on the the higher level colibri will just reflect the magic back on to your party.
During endgame type battles this puppet may be your primary choice. For starters, it will keep its distance and not feed TP that these types of mobs can use for dangerous weaponskills. Furthermore, you will probably be able to keep its MP at a decent level during the duration of the fight. Using oils to regenerate the MP from convert will seem to be a more reasonable and practical investment than the amount of oils you'd need to burn through in a long level grinding session on monsters that have wide-range radial AOE attacks.
Note: The Dec. 2006 version update added a new Weaponskill for each automaton frame (Harlequin/Stormwaker share the same new Weaponskill). The Valoredge frame received the Cannibal Blade weaponskill, the Sharpshot frame received the Daze weaponskill, and the Harlequin/Stormwaker frame received the Knockout weaponskill. These weaponskills are supposedly obtained at a melee/ranged (depending on frame) skill of 150.
Info not available atm.
Food and Equipment
Weapons and Armor
Puppetmasters have native combat skill in Hand-to-Hand, Dagger, and Throwing Skill as well as complimentary defensive skill in Parrying and Guard; you'll need to have Hand-to-Hand type weapons equipped in order for your Guard skill to take effect, and Dagger for your Parrying skill to be checked. Oddly enough, Throwing Skill is our highest combat skill but there aren't any Throwing-type weapons that we can equip, minus the rare/ex level 70 chakrams that anyone can wield. Of course, that would require us to unequip our Animator and Automaton Oil as well as reset our TP to zero in order to equip any of those worthless weapons. Perhaps SquareEnix has something in store for us, yet!
- Cerise Doublet
- Lv: 50 DEF: 28 Accuracy +3 Attack +3
- Acquired when completing the quest Brygid the Stylist Returns by trading in the Libra Subligar that drops off Fomor Bard in Phomiuna Aqueducts. The Fomor Bard could be relatively easily duoed by two skillful puppetmasters! This is the best piece of body gear for the Puppetmaster until the Puppetry Tobe, the Artifact body armor, at level 58. For most races, this armor upgrade is a relief from the RSE body piece that many Puppetmasters are stuck with since level 33. This Armor can also be used by BLU, RDM, & BRD and also great in any areas with a level 50 cap.
Meals and Drinks
A versatile job like Puppetmaster isn't typically restricted to a single, preferable type of Food or Drink. In a typical experience points party, you'll probably want to stick to the popular sushi diet such as Sole Sushi or Sole Sushi +1. During solo play, however, you may prefer a food that can compliment your Evasion Bonus and provide a boost in your melee accuracy such as the Jack-o'-Lantern; this food can also offset the detrimental effects of accuracy that lowers your resistance to Darkness such as the Peacock Charm or Sniper's Ring. If the situation calls for it you may want to focus on something a little defensive such as a Tavnazian Taco or similar food. Finally, if accuracy isn't a problem, and you aren't worried about your defense or evasion, you might want to consider the raw power that comes from eating Carbonara or Carbonara +1.
Your subjob will probably reflect the type of Drinks you'll want to have on you. If you are using a mage subjob such as Red Mage for Phalanx, Blink, Stoneskin, and Enspells, you might want to be prepared with any of the variety of MP refreshing juices such as a Yagudo Drink. On the other hand, if have no use for MP, a particular variety of milk such as Persikos au Lait might be something you'll have a need for. Vampire Juice has the ability to rejuvenate both HP and MP if you feel the need will arise for such an occasion.
As you can see, there's quite a bit of versatility in what a Puppetmaster may want to snack on while in the field. Do your own experimenting with your race and gear to see what particular diet best suits your needs.
Framesets and Behavior
The head of a frame seems to decide most of the behavior of the Automaton particularly where it positions itself in battle. The body is responsible for most of what your puppet is capable of doing. While most of what an Automaton's behavior may be relatively expected while experimenting with different head and body combinations, some yield surprising and powerful results.
- Sharpshot head & Sharpshot body
- The head of this combination tends to keep the puppet at a distance until certain conditions are met since the body is capable of using ranged attack. You may find yourself using Retrieve fairly often in parties that have tanks who aren't very good at holding the mob in one place because you'll typically want the puppet to be right next to the mob; this will allow your puppet to melee in between ranged attacks. There are some cases where you may actually prefer your puppet to keep it's distance to avoid AOE attacks and this is a good frame for doing just that. The Sharpshot body is the only way to skill up Ranged Attack and will execute a piercing-type damage.
- Stormwaker head Stormwaker body
- Like the Ranger, the head of this setup tends to keep the puppet at a distance unless its deployed next to the mob you are fighting. The melee skill is a little weak and the Slapstick weaponskill is quite inferior to the nukes that your puppet is capable of, so you'll probably find yourself not really worried about its positioning unless you want it as far away as possible to avoid area-based attacks. The Stormwaker body, like the Harlequin body, is the part of the frame that grants you the ability to cast spells and is responsible for your MP pool as well. The body of the Stormwaker can skill up your melee skill, but not as well as the Sharpshot or Valoredge can, and it executes a form of blunt-type damage.
- Valoredge head Valoredge body
- The most durable setup and a lot of fun if you are just in the mood to go kick some butt. This combination, with the right attachments, can actually tank pretty well for you and will Provoke and Shield Bash. You can even use Analyzer attachment to encourage your Automaton to stun a mob while it tries to execute special attacks or cast spells! This Valoredge body is capable of the highest melee skill and executes a form of slashing-type damage.
- Valoredge head Stormwaker body
- Commonly referred to as the "Healer Puppet", this combination, with the right attachments, becomes an extremely powerful ally. Due to the Valoredge's head behavior, the puppet will remain by your side as usual, but when paired with the Stormwaker body, you get an interesting result. Your puppet will have a decent MP pool but without the intelligence to cast any of the enfeebles or nukes. However, it is perfectly capable of casting all of the Cure spells, up to Cure IV if needed. Equipping your Automaton with a Damage Gauge and a Mana Converter will turn it into a healing machine with virtually limitless MP. Once you are level 50, you can skill your puppet's magic high enough to grant it Cure IV and open up a whole new world of Puppetmaster for you both.
- Valoredge head Sharpshot body
- One of the issues with the Sharpshot is that it likes to keep its distance, unless you deploy it right beside the mob. Equipping it with the Valoredge head will give it more of a melee instinct and the puppet will position itself alongside the monster. This allows for melee attacks in between ranged attacks, and your puppet will also skill up both of the skills. This isn't the greatest solution to an Experience Points party because of the sacrifice in skill but its really nice for farming when you want your puppet to just deal out the damage.
- Harlequin head Stormwaker body
- This combination might actually be better then the Valoredge/Stormwaker combo. It's very similar in behavior, but will cast enfeebles and will cast with a much lower delay. It will stop casting enfeebles when the mob reaches 50% HP, but will prioritize cures over enfeebles. It's a very good solo combination, or personal healer in a party.
Configuring your Automaton
Equipping attachments to your Automaton is similar to equipping your own character with equipment and will have substantial impact on their effectiveness and behavior. At first, you may not have or be able to afford all of the more powerful attachments, but there are ways to make up for that with what's available.
Harlequin isn't as widely used as it probably should be. Equipped with an Economizer it's a sturdy frame capable of decent damage output and damage mitigation that will virtually always have MP for the basic enfeebles or emergency healing. When soloing monsters, either use both tension springs or equip the Tension Spring II with the Flame Holder and Inhibitor for quicker TP gain if you plan on trying to set up a Skillchain. After you acquire Knockout at 150 melee skill, you may want to consider dropping the Inhibitor if you don't want to worry about unwanted Slapsticks trying to close worthless skillchains. If you plan on your pet taking hate, or actually want it to, slip on Reactive Shield and if desired, the Strobe to encourage Provoke. This can be a particularly effective setup during the lower levels. Personally, I like to set it up with the Mana Tank along with the Economizer but the Economizer may be a rare item on your server. At least be sure to acquire a Mana Converter, Mana Tank, Mana Tank II and Mana Conserver. You only have three dark slots, which the Mana Tank II will completely occupy. At low levels when that much MP Refresh can mean a lot, this isn't such a bad idea, especially if you are worried about the Mana Converter dropping your Automaton's HP and putting you both in danger. The Mana Conserver can also work well when just combined with the Mana Tank. In the defense department, stick with both the Armor Plate and Armor Plate II unless you have an Equalizer to substitute for the Armor Plate. The Armor Plate, Shock Absorber and Equalizer, if you have it, are nice when dealing with monsters with unavoidable AOE. When filling up your ice lots, try to compliment the Harlequin's low MP by encouraging it to cast enfeebles with the Scanner and increase your magical accuracy with the Tranquilizer. You can add the Ice Maker if you want to make the MP for elemental spells go a little further. I like to stick with accuracy enhancing attachments for the thunder slots, but I also tend to have fun with the Volt Gun and Dynamo. The Stabilizer II with the Target Marker can be effective, and you can substitute either one with the Dynamo if accuracy isn't much of an issue. If you don't have either or neither, just use both of the stabilizers or the combine one of them with the Volt Gun. Condenser is nice, if you have it, to prevent overloads, especially prior to being able to wear the AF hands, and the rest of the slots can largely vary on the situation. The Flashbulb along with the Damage Gauge is a popular combination, and if you have an Eraser you can use that instead of the Flashbulb when dealing with monsters that like to give you unwanted status effects. Optic Fiber isn't so bad, especially if you plan on using light maneuvers to enhance it, and even the Auto-Repair Kit or Auto-Repair Kit II can be useful in mitigating your downtime for monsters that directly or indirectly damage your Automaton.
Hopefully, for your own sake, this frame was your first choice. If not, just skip to the section that pertains to you. For starters, you have to get your Ranged skill up to par, or this frame will prove to be completely worthless. If you got this frame at level 10, it means you at least have a level 30 job that you can switch to so that you may quickly reach the skill cap for your level 10 Puppetmaster. Your Automaton, providing that it's skill level is low enough in comparison to the monsters you are fighting, will be able to skill up when Puppetmaster is set as your Support Job. Take your pet outside of any of the three nations and find a monster around level 2 or 3 that won't use AOE attacks and hurt your puppet. Claim it and hold hate without hurting it; Provoke and Flash work terrific. Position your puppet at a distance so it will only used Ranged Attack because the melee attacks will just require you to find more monsters. You won't be able to use maneuvers, but you'll get the base ranged accuracy enhancement with a Scope so be sure it is equipped. Let your puppet shoot until the skill ups slow down and then go hunt down some monsters that are a little higher in level. When your skill is high enough, consider jumping to one of the next zones over to finish capping it. When you are all done, you are ready to effectively use and enjoy your Sharpshot in a party.
You'll want your puppet close enough to the monster to melee it in between ranged attacks to increase your TP gain. Don't bother trying to set it away from the monster to avoid AOE attacks; it will still almost always get hit and TP gain will be too slow. If AOE attacks are a problem, you are using the wrong frame for the situation. Try to have your tank work with you by not moving too far from the spot he was standing when he provoked the mob. Then all you have to do is set the puppet somewhere near him and have it engage when the monster is at camp. Furthermore, your puppet can't be a SATA partner, so don't bother trying it and don't worry about people with Trick Attack trying to get your puppet killed. Finally, if your tank fidgets at the start of battles, wait a moment after Provoke and swing around to the opposite side of the monster to sort of draw your puppet in between your target and you before you Deploy; while being sure to try and avoid getting smacked with Trick Attack while you position your puppet.
When in an EXP party with my Sharpshot, I prefer the Attuner, Tension Spring II, and Flame Holder to fill up these slots. Replace the Attuner with the Tension Spring if you don't have it or if you are fighting weaker monsters for farming and such. Before you acquire the Daze weaponskill at 150, you may want to try the Inhibitor with the Tension Spring, Flame Holder, and Attuner if you have it. This frame is primarily low defense, high attack, and should be treated as such to maximize its effectiveness.
The Scope is a must. If you don't have it, stop using this frame until you do. Just plain stop, as there is no other viable solution. Combine it with the Drum Magazine if you have it unless you are having a lot of difficulty with your ranged attacks missing, especially on high evasion monsters capable of buffing their evasion even more. Be sure to fill all six thunder slots with as much melee accuracy as possible. The more you hit, the more TP you gain, the more weaponskills you do and the more damage you output. If you have it, use Target Marker along with Stabilizer II and Heat Seeker work fine. Otherwise, replace Target Marker with the Stabilizer. Do not worry about the Dynamo because the Sharpshot's melee skill is too low to sacrifice the accuracy and the rate of TP gain.
Be sure to maximize attack and accuracy before you worry about defense. When you've covered everything else, put on your Shock Absorber with as much additional defense as possible. If you are fighting monsters that don't use AOE, you won't have to worry much if you have a good tank and you can relax and just focus on your damage output. On monsters with mild AOE such as the crab's Bubble Shower, the Shock Absorber can mitigate that damage pretty well, and cheap oils can keep you operational until your Activate timer is up again. If aren't able to keep the Automaton alive because of a lousy tank or too much AOE, you'll probably need to switch to the Valoredge or Harlequin.
Your main objective is damage output, which can be further enhanced with the Optic Fiber, so try to keep a slot free for that if you have it. The Stealth Screen might be able to keep hate off your pet if you have a lousy tank, so toss it on if you think it'll work. The Eraser has its uses on particular mobs, if you have it, as well. Finally, the Turbo Charger, if you have it, will compliment your constant wind maneuvers and increase your TP gain. It only effects the melee attacks, however, and not the ranged attacks. You'll need to use to use the Drum Magazine to speed those up.
Wind, Fire, Thunder, at all times, with the exception of substituting the Wind or Fire maneuvers with an Earth maneuver for Stoneskin. If you are going to sacrifice all of your maneuvers to activate Eraser try not to overburden your puppet. After you reach skill 150, try not to lose your Thunder maneuver before you weaponskill (unless you are just using Wind maneuvers for some reason like Overdrive), and be sure not to have 2 Fire maneuvers up prior to weaponskill or you'll force Arcuballista regardless. Under ideal circumstances, Wind, Fire, Thunder, will suffice. Keep an eye on your pet's TP and be prepared to restore the Fire Maneuver that's transposed after your Weapon Skill if you have a Flame Holder attached.
The Meripo system for Puppetmaster isn't as straight forward as it is with many jobs because of various ways anyone can go about playing Puppetmaster. I'm hoping this section will help people make informed decisions about the pros and cons of their many meripo options to further strengthen their particular playing style. Before I begin, I'd like to remind everyone that this section assumes that Puppetmaster is your primary job with unconditional meriting goals. In other words, you'll see references to the universal Meripo categories and these may or may not apply to you because you have chosen to focus on enhancing another job.
Universal Meripo Categories
To put it bluntly, it depends if you like soloing or not. If soloing is never or hardly ever something you do, then only consider maxing out your HP because you'll most likely never be using a mage support job. If you love to solo and you find a lot of joy in being a powerful solo class, you'll most likely want to consider MP because of the popularity of mage support jobs such as Paladin, Red Mage, and Blue Mage.
As it stands, the most popular WS for PUP is Raging Fists, which mods on DEX and STR. You can go either way or a combination of both. If you never or hardly ever solo, you probably just want to consider plus five to strength. There are no real pros and cons for pups that like to solo and even meriting vitality to plus five is understandable if you just wanted a little more defense. The choice is up to you, or you can wait to see if Puppetmaster ever gets another Weaponskill and focus on the mods for that.
Hand-to-Hand is a given, of course, and you should merit this completely as soon as possible. If you love to solo, also consider maxing out your evasion merits and even your guard merits. If you like to use daggers for some strange reason, you can skip over guard and completely merit your dagger skill instead.
Puppetmaster has no native magic skills, however, these merits apply if you have a mage support job. Unfortunately, you'll have to level a job that natively has the magic skill of your choice if you wish to merit anything in this category. The most viable options are Enfeebling Magic, Enhancing Magic, Blue Magic and Ninjutsu.
- If your Enfeebling is high enough, you can actually debuff some Easy Prey monsters, however this can wear down your MP pool fast. The only Enfeebling spell I really found useful is Dispel but it can be resisted often on monsters closer to my level.
- Enhancing Magic will effect both your enspell damage and your Phalanx so don't completely overlook this as an option.
- Blue Magic of course, can assist you with the effectiveness of your Blue Magic spells. I'm particularly fond of Blue Mage as a support job when fighting monsters with the ability to cast magic; Head Butt is such a great spell for interrupting them. At level 75 you would have 130 instead of the normal 114 skill.
- Ninjutsu enfeebles such as Jubaku can actually stick on Easy Prey, so meriting this and macroing +Ninjutsu skill might actually be something you want to consider. If you really tried, you could have +16 in merits and +15 in Ninjutsu skill equipment for a total of +31. This will put you at about 145 as a PUP75/NIN37.
If you don't solo at all, then the only option here that really applies to you is the Critical Hit Rate increase. If you love to solo, you should consider getting this anyways because it is really one of the best options in this category. I merited this one to +4%. Also, I merited Enemy Critical Hit Rate down and the improvement is very noticeable and I have absolutely no regrets. Spell Interruption Rate Down seems appealing, but the truth is, even -8% isn't that great unless stacked with additional enhancements to this trait, including Aquaveil. Enmity Increase can slightly assist you on keeping enmity off of your Automaton, but a PUP that likes to solo will most likely have Ventriloquy at their disposal, so the reasons for meriting this will quickly diminish. In parties, puppetmasters never really have a problem taking hate, and in solo the enmity decrease doesn't have any value either, so that option can be overlooked.
- Automaton Melee Skill
- I went 5/5 on this because it is something that benefits every frame. The only time I'm not benefiting from these merits is when I keep Stormwaker at a distance to avoid AoE attacks, and that isn't very often. This skill effects accuracy, attack, and base damage.
- Automaton Ranged Skill
- I didn't merit this at all, but that' doesn't mean its a bad choice. One of the most powerful frames to use in a party situation is the Sharpshot, so this option would most likely apply to people who never or hardly ever solo. The only time I use Sharpshot when soloing is on EP or lower and I know I can keep her alive between Activate recasts. Regarding EP, I only use it if they are particularly weak to piercing because Daze can easily do over 1000 points of damage in those situations. If you never use or simply dislike the Stormwaker or Harlequin frames, consider meriting this instead of Automaton Magic Skill.
- Automaton Magic Skill
- People have mixed views on just how powerful meriting this really is. The fact is, this is a powerful skill for both the solo PUP and people who use PUP in end-game. Unlike traditional magic skills that have to be merited individually, Automaton Magic skill effects every type of magic skill your puppet is capable of. In other words, if you fully merit this, you'll have +10 Healing Magic Skill, +10 Enfeebling Magic Skill, +10 Dark Magic Skill, +10 Elemental Magic Skill. It's also possible that this gives +10 to Enhancing and Divine skills, however, the Automaton doesn't currently cast anything in these categories. Also, your Automaton will gain access to the spell Fire IV if you place at least 6 merits into this for a total of 281 skill and Blizzard IV if you place 10 into this category. Solo puppetmasters will love the noticeable additional HP from the cures.
- Activate Recast
- Fully merited, this will take your recast down from 20 minutes to 16 minutes and 40 seconds. It is extremely rare for an Automaton to die in this 3 minute and 20 second window and therefore this would only apply to extreme situational benefit. Personally, I don't find this worth meriting for any playing style, especially, when there are much better options. The only reason I can see anyone taking this seriously is if they only use Puppetmaster in Ballista and they want to get a new puppet a few minutes sooner.
- Repair Recast
- Another option that I wouldn't really favor over the other available choices. To be of any use, you'd have to merit completely to drop your recast timer from 3 minutes to 2½ minutes. Also, spamming Repair that often can be costly. I think someone would take advantage of this in Ballista more than anywhere else. Another viable use for this may be a Puppetmaster who would keep Stormwaker at a distance to avoid AoE and have little use for the additional melee skill; coupled with Role-Reversal, this could keep the HP of Automaton and Master up a little more than 3 minute recast. However, this purely situational use will likely not benefit a PUP as much as the additional accuracy and attack added to the Stormwaker's melee, on top of the benefits achieved when using any of the other frames as well.
- Role Reversal
- This is an extremely beneficial ability that has uses for both solo players and those who like to use their puppetmaster in end-game. There's not much of a reason to merit this more than once. For solo, you can use this quickly take HP from your Stormwaker if its running behind on a cure, or convert your HP to your Automaton and cure yourself in between battles with your mage support job. In end-game you can use this to keep your Automaton alive along with Repair while you hang back and keep your maneuvers up. It's usually not ideal for Puppetmasters to actually directly attack many of the mega-bosses that make up the end-game arena.
- This really only applies to solo puppetmasters. If you don't solo at all, you'll most likely have little-to-no use for this. I put one merit into it and I use it quite often when soloing. If your Automaton weaponskills at the start of the fight, you can capitalize on this by converting enmity at this point. You can also set your puppet to start off a battle with a strategic Provoke and then converting the enmity at this point to yourself. If a battle goes awry, you can convert the enmity you have to your puppet and let it hold the monster while you make your escape. There are plenty of situations where you'll find a use for this if you love to solo. If you don't like this ability, or feel you don't use it enough to keep it, you can always get rid of it and merit something else.
- This is a wonderful trait that you should at least merit one time. If you skipped over Ventriloquy because you never solo, put the other point here. Some puppetmasters even skip over Role Reversal so that they can max this option, however, I believe there are enough accuracy enhancing attachments that meriting this twice is more than sufficient.
- This is the ideal option to max in the group 2 section. One of the first things you'll notice is your automaton's increased durability with the +15% defense. The Attack Bonus and Magic Attack Bonus are welcome enhancements as well to puppetmasters who only play in groups or those that love to solo as well.