DRG/Mage soloing is very nervy and dangerous until you get the Drachen Armet. Walking that line of 33% HP, including the 3 second wait for a healing breath leaves you in a very bad place. I don't recommend it. At least, not on a Mithra, and not at low levels (40-). Multipurpose with its 25% HP level is obviously even more dangerous.
Of course, in that band between 40 and 60, it gets better. And at 61 with a Drachen Armet, you can Chain 4 Lesser Colibri outside of Al Zhabi for around 3-5k an hour with little effort. Chain 5s are possible, if you get lucky.
With DRG/DNC, you do get some healing, but the weapon delay and lost TP curing yourself may break the deal. I'm still not happy with it at level 60. I've had much more luck soloing on straight RDM, however.
RDM/DNC, at least in the low 30s, is an absolute beast. Your MP pool doesn't support a massive amount of casting, so giving yourself a weak, TP fed Cure II is a beautiful thing. I've accidentially brought down 6 Yagudo easy preys on myself on 32 RDM/DNC and stood toe to toe with them until the last one fell. The number of hits I was taking should have guaranteed interupts. It's also done well in a 30-cap Garrison for pulling off a mob and tanking it while NPCs are attacking. Some day I'd love to try it in an experience party situation with friends. It seems like it should cut a fine compromise between the Pink Mage which I loathe, and the Red Melee which is my true love. I recommend it for the curious.
A Case Against Sarashi
The waist item Sarashi has always confused me a little. It reduces your delay by 1%. So lets crunch some numbers to put that in perspective using a level 30 Dancer/Ninja. I'm using a Federation Knife and Parrying Knife to make it easier for me to get shadows up in a pinch, since my Ninjutsu skill is still low. Delay of 180 and 195 respectively.
((Knife 1 Delay + Knife 2 Delay) ÷ 2) × 0.9 to get the delay after Dual Wield I.
180+195=375, 375÷2 = 187.5
187×0.9 = 168.3
Not a bad delay after all is said and done. Keep in mind that while most calculations in FFXI seem to round down, in this case is would be adventageous to round down, so they may actually round up.
Now lets try that with Sarashi.
((180+195)÷2)×0.89 = 166.43
Delay = seconds between attacks × 60. So Sarashi comes out saving you two sixtieths (.0333 repeating) of a second per attack. So in 30 attacks, you've saved 1 second. And at 2.6 repeating seconds per attack, that's 1 second saved out of every 80 seconds in combat. So in 3 minutes 28 seconds you'll get an extra attack. Not sure about other servers, but that just doesn't merit 10k on Fairy to me. Additionally, keep in mind that you're suffering reductions in TP per hit because of that reduced delay as well, so it's not really helping there, either.
- Food to tastes
- Icarus Wing(s)
- Paladin uses Protect III walks in, Shield Bash, Sentinel, Flash, Provoke. One or both Dragoons use their Icarus Wing and Penta Thrust. Paladin uses Invincible when necessary to survive. With only one wing used, we set a 2:08 record, neither Dragoon got enough TP to Penta after the first.
- Bringing a DRG/WHM for Raise and healing/buffs might not be a bad idea. A PLD+DRG duo just barely doesn't cut it, so the lost DD power may not be a deal breaker.
- DRG/SAM can arguably keep up with /WAR, using Hasso and Store TP to get off more Penta Thrusts.
- Use of a 2hr and Icarus Wing (2 hours logged in Medicated) make this a difficult strategy for repeated runs. We tried without the wing and Invincible, only one DRG survived.
Properly Gearing Your DD
I've seen a lot of DDs lately who "don't get it." So here's a cliff-notes on how to gear yourself properly so that you don't look like a fool to anyone watching. Most of this applies to the 50+ range, since lower levels are.. well, lol.
Rule #1 - There's no single right answer to gear. Everything is situational. However, there are WRONG answers. Every time God sees a SAM wearing Hachiman Domaruuuu, he cries. There are pieces like Haubergeon that are just unbeatable for their slot. Worse, Haubergeon's price is comparable to Domaruuuu. Hagun and Scorpion Harness are also two pieces that are unbeatable for their level.
Rule #2 - Swap. Don't just buy one piece of gear for every slot and call it good. On Dragoon, about the only pieces that never change are my weapon/grip, ammo (unless throwing an Angon,) earrings, and back. And an argument can be made for me to swap the back and earrings too, I'm just too cheap to get the pieces. Do not sit there wearing one set and thinking you're the best. At the very least have a TP set (acc+haste) and a WS set (weapon skill mods.) When God sees a DRG TP in Wyvern Helm or WS in Walmart Turban, kittens die. Lots of kittens.
Rule #3 - Read some guides. Swing through your job's page on wiki, cruise BlueGartr, hit up KillingIfrit, check the forums at the wiki or FFXIAH. See what people are talking about, see how things work. You can pick up a lot of information this way even without knowing the finer difference between wearing 3 AGI or 2 evasion.
Rule #4 - Know your job, know your gear. Drachen Greaves add +10% attack when equipped during Jump. That's impossible to beat in the feet slot, hands down. That's about +45 atk for me. Suffice to say, I swap in my greaves on Jump. Drachen Brais add time to Ancient Circle. I may not use Ancient Circle often, but when I do, AF panties go on. Learn the tricks of the trade to make the most of what you've got.
Rule #5 - You are not your f***ing O's Kote. Sorry Ringthree, had to steal that. Over the course of a month, I added about 15 STR to my WS set. Did my numbers go up all that much? Not really. So while I did make myself stronger, going to all that work wasn't an absolute deal breaker. So remember that even though you should aspire to get the absolute best gear out there and be all that you can be, it isn't necessary to still kick some ass (and out-parse level 80 Hagun SAMs with a 75 DRG/SAM.) Skill > gear, but part of skill is knowing what gear to use.