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27 June 2009 @ 04:14 pm
Tier III Einherjar

Overview

Now I find that more and more these days, people are asking me about strategies for Einherjar, as it is a very popular event and one of the most liked in the game.  Tier I and II are usually always manageable, but the majority of people come to me to ask about Tier III.  When we stopped doing Einherjar in ApkalluVendetta, we had 14 Odin's under our belt and we had become highly efficient when it came to clearing zones most people would consider difficult. 

Whilest I can't offer you specific strategy to win every time, I can offer general advice, setups and boss tips that should give you the edge when it comes to Tier III Einherjar.  Let us begin our magical journey through the Einherjar world.

Pulling

This is the most basic question when it comes to any Einherjar.  Who should pull?  Most people assume a PLD should pull.  While this is a solid choice, you don't need it to be a PLD.  Most of the time, PLD isn't necessary AT ALL in Einherjar.  The only time somebody should come PLD is if they don't have any other useful jobs.  If you do have a PLD available, make sure he isn't as dumb as a rock and he can pull.  

If you don't have a PLD, the next best thing is a RDM.  Preferably one who doesn't have to worry about curing an entire party of DD's.  Bringing a RDM/DRK and putting them in a BLM PT is nominal here.  The RDM/DRK can pull.  Sometimes he'll die, but if he does it's not that big of a deal, since he only really has to Refresh BLMs anyway.  If he does happen to die, send a BRD to pull while the RDM breaks weakness.

Pulls have to be fast and furious.  Not saying you should go out there trying to link every mob you can.  Keep the groups of mobs manageable.  When the DD's and BLM's are fighting the last one or two, go pull some more.  There should be very little downtime (None if possible) between pulls.

As always, I recommend getting somebody you TRUST to pull.  One mistake can easily screw up a perfectly manageable clear.  I know because I've messed up before.  Don't take pulling lightly.  It makes or breaks a run.

Setup

This is the bane of many LS's existance.  They go in with a subpar setup.  Having the proper setup can faciliate a run in ways you've never imagined.  No, strategies like "All melee" or "All mage" don't work.  A nice mix is essential to getting consistant clears.  The ideal 30-36 person run should look similar to this.

Melee Party #1

WAR/SAM
WAR/SAM
WAR/NIN
BRD/WHM
COR/WHM
WHM/SCH

Melee Party #2
SAM/WAR
SAM/WAR
DRK/SAM
BRD/WHM
COR/WHM
WHM/SCH

Melee Party #3
WAR/NIN
WAR/NIN
DRG/SAM
WAR/SAM
WHM/SCH
BRD/WHM

Black Mage Party #1
BLM/WHM
BLM/WHM
BLM/WHM
BLM/WHM
BRD/WHM
COR/WHM

Black Mage Party #2
BLM/WHM
BLM/WHM
BLM/WHM
BLM/WHM
RDM/DRK
BRD/WHM

Black Mage Party #3
BLM/WHM
BLM/WHM
BLM/WHM
BLM/WHM
COR/WHM
BRD/WHM

If you ever managed to get this near perfect setup, you should feel VERY comfortable.  Of course, common sense applies here.  Most support jobs in all 6 parties can be interchanged.  The only thing I would highly recommend is having 3 healers/support jobs in the melee parties.  I find that one healer and one support can run out of MP really fast, especially if you get an unlucky set of mobs. 

While I realize most people are never going to get this close to a perfect setup, it's still very possible to clear on a consistant basis with fewer people. For these situations, I recommend 2 BLM PTs and 2 Melee parties at least.  Any less than that and you might be in trouble if you are looking for a decent success rate.  The overall key is to keep it balanced.

General Advice

Refreshs in the BLM PT's can be interchanged as well, depending on what you have.  I highly urge you to keep a RDM/DRK in one of them though, as they come in handy for the Khim/Cerb/Hydra bosses.

Obviously, I suggest using your BEST MELEES.  Don't be putting some WAR/SAM in there that doesn't know how to play their damn job.  DRG is nice for Angon, but it can be neglected if you don't have a suitable DRG that doesn't suck.  

Use one of the WAR/NIN's as the /assist.  Have them Provoke so the WAR/SAM's dont have to do it and Seigan tank. 

BLM's should be nuking proverbial balls after mobs are put to sleep, only resting when they need MP.  With a powerhouse setup like this,  all or most of the mobs should be dead before the first Sleepga wears off.  Sub for BLM doesn't really matter.  I like them to have Reraise though, so I tell them /WHM.  One BLM in each party can be exchanged for a SCH if they are available.

The most common mistake is telling all your melee to sub NIN.  It really is a waste, especially since SAMs and /SAMs can Seigan if they really need to.  You will also have 3 healers/support jobs in each melee party to keep everybody cured and status ailment free.  You are losing so much power telling everybody to sub NIN.  Keep a few WAR/NINs to be assist and backup but that should be it. 

The question I get more often than not is whether or not BRDs should rotate.  My answer is usually this:  If you find that you can do it WITHOUT constant mistake, go for it.  If you keep messing up the order and/or the BRD's cant focus on sleeping mobs (Especially mobs that can only be light slept), just save the rotation for the boss.  We have never had to rotate BRD's for normal mobs in Einherjar, it is not necessary in any way to be consistantly successful in Tier III.  However, we ALWAYS rotate 3 BRD's with Soul Voice/Troubador for the boss.  You should prepare for rotating 3 BRDs for the boss at the very least.

Use ONE /assist.  You don't need two and it creates a headache, especially if you get some spammy mobs.  You'll clear the mobs just as fast using one assist.  If you manage to get even close to the mentioned 36 person setup, mobs should die in seconds.  Just hope you have a fast assist to keep the pace up.

Try to seperate mages from melee.  Don't all try to crowd in the corner leaving all 36 of you to get hit with a stupid AoE move.  There is PLENTY of room to spread out along the wall (So long as you actually hug the wall).  Try to limit the amount of people getting hit with AoE's, it is a huge MP saver and you can focus on killing, rather than not dying.   I find that most people need constant reminders of this, especially since mobs will run to mages a lot.  If you find that everybody gets grouped up again after a few mobs, yell at them to get the hell away from each other. 

BLM's should stun as often as possible.  You should have at least 6 BLM's, regardless of how many people you have total.  Tell them to stun everytime it is up.  With 9 BLMs and a DRK stunning everytime it is up, you will really limit the amount of TP moves a mob will use.  I don't think I need to tell you why that is important.  Like the last bit of advice I gave you, I find that people need reminded of this pretty frequently.  If you find that nobody is stunning anymore, just say something about it in LS.  They'll start doing it again.

In my experiences, I have found that BRD's are a little more squishy than BLM's.  If BRD's are the only thing that can sleep a particular group of mobs, KEEP THEM ALIVE. Keeping them alive is priority.  

No, bombs aren't immune to Stun.  Stun lands 50% of the time.  Don't abandon stunning Self Destruction because it WILL end up in failure.  Have everybody and their mother try and stun that shit and you will survive.  Usually Bombs only last long enough to ready one or two TP moves.  Just have to hope stun timers are back up by the time another Self Destruction comes around. 

Going along with the same theme, you may run into mobs that resist Sleepga AND lullaby.  I usually find that again, the resist rate is about 50% for both.  Keep trying and you should be able to land it.  Repose and Light Shots can come in handy here as well, utilize them.  Wolfs and single/triple Bombs are notorious for this.  

Quick thinking is a must.  If a highly undesireable set of mobs pops, just don't stand there and shit your pants thinking of what to do.  Get out there and pull those bastards.  Remember, the more mobs that pop, the less HP they have.  You CAN do it.  Just don't give up because you get a shitty group of mobs.  Keep pulling and keep killing and you will be surprised.  There have been a few times where we have gotten the max amount of mobs possible and we cleared the entire chamber with more than 5 minutes left.   It's not hard, just tell everybody to keep their cool.


Boss Strategies

Vampyr Jarl

Probably one of the easiest bosses here.  Rotate 3 Soul Voiced BRD's and zerg the piss out of him.  Have somebody keep track of the time, because 2 minutes after engaging, he will split into either a bunch of bats or hounds.  The RDM/DRK can Chainspell and Stun at the 1:45 mark to prevent him from splitting.  Usually he will die really fast, especially with powerhouse melee's zerging his ass. 

If you can't manage to finish him off in the alloted amount of time, he will change into a bunch of bats or hounds.  You have to kill the right one for him to change back into the Vampyr.  It's random which one it is, just keep killing until he changes back.  Finish him off after this.  I'm not sure if the bats or hounds can be slept.  I think they just run around hitting random people.  If I remember correctly, they aren't THAT threatening anyway.

Easy.

Freke, Gorgimera & Stoorworm

A step up in difficulty from the Vampyr, but still pretty easy.  Same basic strategy applies when taking them on.  Rotate 3 BRDs and zerg the piss out of them.  They have all the standards abilities that their normal counterparts have.  With 3 parties worth of heavy DD and 3 parties worth of BLM ripping them a new asshole, they should die within minutes.  When it comes time for their respective "Rage" moves, have the RDM/DRK Chainspell and camp Gates/Fulmination/Nerve Gas.  Don't spam Stun, as they will build resist.  Just stun the Rage moves.  The purpose of Chainspell is so that you can recast it if they decide to use these moves in quick succession. 

Things can get out of hand if several of their more damaging TP moves get off in a short period of time.  Have the WHM's ready to Benediction if it comes to that, although it usually doesn't.  A good strategy for healers is to spam /as on Freke, Gorgimera or Stoorworm.  This will give them the target with hate so they can focus their cures on that person, instead of having to guess or worse, turn filters off  to see who is getting hit.  Keep status ailments off the melee!  You have 3 people capable of curing/erasing in each melee party for a reason.

Dendainsonne

The pissed off King Behemoth mob.  This is where things start to get difficult.   SE designed this to be an Anti-Zerg mob.  The more people you have hitting it, the more often it will cast and spam Meteor.  The flaw of this, is that it still has a recast time on Meteor.  The only time people zerging this run into trouble is when it decides to use Thunderbolt every TP move.   Keep Barthunder up to reduce Stun length and thunder damage.  If Dendainsonne is less than 50%, WHM's can freely cast Curaga IV and Benediction without getting hate probably.  I recommend everybody being in semi close.  Meteor and Thunderbolt will hit everybody in a large radius, so there is no reason for mages to be over 20 away like they usually are.  Don't have everybody attack from front, and don't have anybody attack from the back.  Kickout still sucks.  Just another basic zerg strategy with a twist.  People are likely to die, but that actually makes it kind of easier because you have less people hitting it, meaning it won't meteor as much.  

RDM's Chainspell curing can help as well.  RDM/DRK is essentially worthless here for stunning purposes, as it can't be stunned.  

No, Meteor isn't fire based, dont try to Fire Carol or Barfira.

Motsognir

Your favorite, my favorite, everybody loves Mister Motsognir.  He floats around in a chair with a shit eating grin on his face along with his 12 demon buddies.   While he may be the hardest Tier III boss, there is a plus side to getting him as your boss.  That plus being that you will only have 1 wave of mobs before Motsognir pops.  Motsognir will ALWAYS pop with his 12 demon friends on the second wave.   Meaning you will probably have ample time to fight him.  If you do happen to wipe, there is also possibility that you can reraise and finish him off as well.  Those are the two plus sides to getting him as a boss.

The objective is to kill the 12 demons.  Killing each demon will take a % of Motsognirs health off...He cannot be harmed otherwise.  While it may sound easy, it can get messy REAL fast.  He will use Hellsnap TP move to wake up all the demons left alive AND stun everybody in range.  Meaning if he uses it close to BLMs, they will be stunned while getting raped from the Demons that just woke up.  He also has several other TP moves, but nothing as serious as Hellsnap.  It is a good idea for the BLMs and BRDs to NOT stay together, to avoid everybody being stunned at once.  Need to Sleepga the Demons ASAP after they wake up, or they will just cause havoc.  Keeping the Demon's asleep is probably the most important thing in this fight.  

I suggest having the RDM/DRK keeping trying to run Motsognir away from the group.  The RDM/DRK can zombie if need be, but as long as the BLM's and melee's arent getting stunned every 10 seconds, you should be alright.  

As for the Demons, you'll definitely want to Soul Voice and rotate 3 BRD's.   There are 4 BLM mobs, 4 DRK mobs and 4 WAR mobs.  BLM's need to go first, they wield wands so they are easily identified.  Tell BLM's to Stun as often as possible.  After the BLM Demons are dead, you can finish off the other 8 in any order.  Keep stunning, their TP moves aren't very forgiving (Quadrastrike and Condemnation).  The fight gets easier the more of them you kill, obviously. 

Motsognir can also cast -ga3's which is a pain.  But like I said, try and keep him away from the action.  Be warned he does have Draw-In if you get too far away. 

Keep chipping away at the Demons and don't stay directly in the middle of the chamber.  Try to be semi-close to a wall so if you do happen to wipe, you can get back up and finish the last couple demons.  You should have time remaining, because remember you only had one wave of mobs before this!  Motsognir cannot regen HP due to the nature of the fight.

--


Hope this guide helps those who are having difficulty in Tier III.

If you have questions or comments you can contact me on AIM @ Belkinator14 or MWHQB36.

 
 
05 September 2008 @ 01:13 pm
Ix'Aern Dragoon

Overview

The last remaining Ix'Aern is also the easiest. I have only recently decided to try it because of claims of it "being impossible" due to them changing the portal glitch. Let me assure you, it is still REALLY easy.

What You Need

- Enough patience to actually pop it.

What Helps

- Capped Bio III

Getting There

If you are trying this, you should probably have some idea how to get to the general area. If you don't know, go look it up somewhere. But to attempt this, I highly recommend you use the 2 northern most rooms with teleporter mists in them. I'm not 100% sure, but I believe it is the only way to solo this. Ix'Aern also has to pop at one of those rooms, you cannot drag it from the southern rooms to the teleport mists.

Popping

The worst part, especially solo. You have to kill Aerns in the northern rooms until it pops. Sometimes it takes 1 aern, other times it takes literally over 3 hours. More random sea bullshit. They are quite tedious to solo on RDM. Decent resist rates and the ability to Reraise when you have no MP or Convert are the killers (Although you can simply take the teleport mist if things get bad). Not to mention random jobs...You have a DRG, NIN and SMN in the 2 northern rooms with their annoying pets and Utsusemi. If you can manage to tough out soloing these bastards until Ix'Aern pops, you made it past the difficult part!


Pulling & The Fight

Fighting in the northern most rooms gives you the advantage of the teleporter mists, as I mentioned. As soon as you hit one of these, it deaggro's and returns to its spawn place a stones throw away. However, like all other mobs, the DoTs such as Poison and Bio remain even after it deaggro's you. Whenever it settles down in its resting place, Bio III it and run. Often times you'll have 3 normal Aerns, 3 wynavs and Ix'DRG on your ass as soon as you finish casting. Horde Lullaby and Medusa Javelin from Ix'DRG can quickly end your attempt if you aren't careful. That is why I recommend only casting Poison II along with Bio III if you don't link ALL of the aerns around. Bio III is the most important thing to keep on because it has a set duration. If you were to cast Poison II, it has the potential to wear off immediately or while you are zoning back and forth. If you don't see the message that it wears off, it will probably regen chunks at a time when it has no DoTs on. A capped Bio III will last long enough for you to zone, then zone back, rebuff, then rest a few ticks of MP. When it wears off, repeat the same procedure.

Beware of TP moves Medusa Javelin (Petrify) and Depuration (Full erase). If you get Depuration, make sure you reapply at least one DoT before you zone, or it's going to regen to full HP. It also has Aurorial Wind and Impact Stream, but most of the time you'll be too far away for those to even hit you.

Remember it goes unclaimed everytime you zone, make sure you don't have some creepers breathing down your back waiting to take it.



The last few % of his HP are crucial as well. You obviously can't let it die unclaimed or you just wasted all that time for nothing. So to ensure you can finish it off without the use of DoT, make sure your nuke setup is up to par and make sure you have Convert and Chainspell available. When it gets to about 2%, Convert so you have full MP (If necessary), make sure you are fully buffed and pop Chainspell and Blizzard III it to death. Make sure some sort of DoT is on while you are preparing or else it will regen and you'll be shit out of luck.


Estimated Time : 45 Minutes - 1:30 hours (Depends on how often you apply Poison and if you mess up by letting it Regen a tick)
Difficulty : *
 
 
27 February 2008 @ 03:10 am
I've done tanking guides for RDM and NIN, but have yet do write one for my one true love. PLD was the only job I had at 75 for about 3 years, I have watched it evolve before my very eyes. From the days of PLD/WAR tanking sky gods,  to the birth of mainstream PLD/NIN. I have been through all the game changes and all the gear revolutions. PLD was the first true tank. It is also the only tank that can't double as something else. So you better be good at it, or you are leveling another job.

PLD/NIN


Overview & History: The oldest tank in the book. Before NIN was discovered, before TP burns, before manaburns, you NEEDED a PLD tank in your EXP party. It started out simple and PLDs were incredibly dependent on support. Shield skill lacked usefulness, there was no such thing as Auto Refresh, Sanction Refresh or Parade Gorget, Sentinel only added defense, Rampart didn't have a Magic Shield and Shield Bash didn't always stun. Believe me when I say old school PLD's had it a lot harder than PLD's do today.

There are two main play styles for endgame PLD tanking. The first being a somewhat dated PLD/WAR strategy that involves SMN's or /SMN's to spam Aerial Armor. Although rarely employed, there are some servers that only know this method. Fortunately, for you the reader, I don't do that crap. The other style is PLD/NIN, which I'm sure most LS's have turned to by now. It has all the necessary tools to generate extreme enmity in a quick and efficient manner. It also has Shield Skill, Utsusemi and straight defense working to keep you alive.

Note: I know there are several different ways to play PLD/NIN and I know some people get really defensive when you don't do it their way. But there are multiple ways to be successful as PLD/NIN. I will try to cover all of them without "offending" too many people.


Merit Distribution: Like all jobs, there are few merits you just shouldn't go without. PLD can go a couple different directions, which can heavily depend on what kind of gear you have.

HP: 4
MP: 4
Shield Skill: 4
Sword Skill: 8
Parrying Skill: 4
Enmity Increase: 4
Enemy Critical Hit Rate: 4
Sentinel Recast: 5
Shield Bash Recast: ??
Cover Length: ??
Rampart Recast: ??
Chivalry: 5
Fealty: 1
Guardian: 4

HP & MP is pretty standard, it's nice to have a mix of both. Adjust according to race. Shield Skill is a no brainer, if you plan on doing a good bit of tanking on PLD, CAP SHIELD SKILL MERITS. If you rarely play PLD and have a lot of melee jobs you need to cap merits for, I could see you skipping the Combat Skills section, but if you are PLD main, there is NO reason you shouldn't have this capped. Sword Skill & Parrying Skill are filler if you don't have any melee jobs that need attention. With capped Sword Skill, you will be able to get 300 TP faster for Chivalry or Spirits Within (Which ultimately can lead to you doing incredible damage over the course of the fight). Parrying is just kind of there, helpful and quite often clutch, but also not necessary. Enmity Increase duh. Enemy Critical Hit Rate is what I would prefer over Spell Interruption Rate, personal preference, you could mix the two if you really wanted. Chivalry is a pretty neat ability that can come in handy when you are in an MP bind. No reason you shouldn't cap this, as the other Group Two merits are kinda meh. Fealty should at least get one merit, due to its random usefulness. It DRASTICALLY reduces all non elemental magic damage and makes you resist every enfeeble (Except Bio and Dia) under the sun. Non elemental magic includes things like Mijin Gakure and Meteor (Yes, they are non elemental magic, both of them, THEY ARE NOT FIRE BASED). So it can definitely save you from EXP loss when fighting KS99 Behemoth or NIN mobs in dynamis. You will literally take less than 200 damage from KS99 Behemoths final Meteor. I have also resisted Vrtra's charm repeatedly when Fealty is applied, that is how strong it is. Guardian is the last thing you will probably merit on PLD. They came up with the concept before they beefed up Sentinel and didn't bother changing it, but it is better than Iron Will or nothing. Does exactly what the description says.

Now the last few are where you can take different courses. Definitely cap Sentinel as it is an amazing job ability. Increased Enmity from all actions while it is up AND you take piddly damage at the same time. Why you wouldn't cap this is beyond me. Your other choices are Shield Bash Recast, Cover Length & Rampart Recast. The first question you may ask is "Cover Length? What the hell for?" and the answer is Valor Surcoat. Valor Surcoat's Cover Effect against Jormugand, Wyrm, Ouryu and Tiamat is incredibly overpowered. You can get full MP back in a few hits when they are in the air, then use that full MP to cure yourself to full HP then have some MP left over. If you have a Valor Surcoat and plan on tanking aforementioned Wyrms, definitely take a look at Cover Length merits. If not, you can split merits between Shield Bash and Rampart. Of course Shield Bash is nearly 100% chance of stunning now, so I am immediately attracted to that. On the other hand, a free Stoneskin when Wyrm's fly is always nice. In the end, it comes down to if you are going to be tanking a lot of Wyrms or just some beginner mobs.

Gear: Probably the part most of you are anxious to read and probably where I will receive the most criticism.

There are 3 very basic gear sets you are going to be looking for. They include Haste, Enmity and Shield. Any self respecting PLD will have these 3 gear setups. I also use combinations of the 3 builds, as well as some completely different builds for certain situations.

I will offer the most practical gear advice I can. I will also tell you when you should use the sets of gear.

Flash


SlotItemModModMod
HeadWalahra Turban+5% Haste  
NeckRitter Gorget+3 Enmity  
BackCerberus Mantle+3 Enmity  
BodyNuevo CoseleteSpellcasting Time -5%Spell Recast Time -2%+5 Enmity
HandsHomam Manopolas+3% Haste+3 Enmity 
LegsHomam Cosciales+3% HasteSpellcasting Time -2%Spell Recast Time -1%
FeetHomam Gambieras+3% Haste  
WaistSwift Belt+4% Haste  
Earring 1Loquacious EarringSpellcasting Time -2%Spell Recast Time -1% 
Earring 2Hades Earring +1+2 Enmity  
Ring 1Sattva Ring+3 Enmity  
Ring 2Hercules' Ring+3 Enmity  


This set is custom made for Flash. Due to haste's drastic reduction of recast on longer recast spells like Flash, I urge you to use as much haste as you can (With the exception of Blitz ring, I wouldn't give up 3 enmity for 1 haste in a ring slot) in your Flash macro. Another reason that Flash should be cast in Haste gear as oppose to full out Enmity, is that during longer fights, you are going to cap your enmity level within a matter of minutes. Of course you are bound to lose hate through getting shadows taken or getting hit, but one Flash will put you right back at cap (And you could recast Flash faster with Haste gear). It's useful to keep the hate balanced between your co-tanks. You also have enough Enmity gear in this setup to put some hate behind the Flash too (+26 Enmity with merits) - So you aren't completely neglecting Enmity either.


Utsusemi: Ni

Head: Walahra Turban                              +5% Haste
Neck: Shield Torque                                 +7 Shield Skill
Hands: Homam Manopolas                       +3% Haste
Legs: Homam Cosciales                          +3% Haste,
Spellcasting Time -2%, Spell Recast Time -1%
Feet: Homam Gambieras                         +3% Haste
Waist: Swift Belt                                      +4% Haste
Back: Boxer's Mantle                              +10 Shield Skill
Ear: Buckler Earring                                +3 Shield Skill
Ear: Loquacious Earring                          
Spellcasting Time -2%, Spell Recast Time -1%

This equipment should be swapped in whenever you are casting Utsusemi: Ni. It is still the full Haste setup to shorten that lengthy Ni timer, but it equips Shield gear any place it can just in case a mob gets in a hit in during that short period of time you are casting.

Shield

Head:
Koenig Schaller                             +5 Shield Skill
Neck: Shield Torque                                +7 Shield Skill
Back: Boxer's Mantle                              +10 Shield Skill
Feet: Gallant Leggings +1                        +12 Shield Skill
Ear: Buckler Earring                                 +3 Shield Skill

Your Utsusemi: Ichi macro. The longer cast time leaves you vulnerable to more attacks and chances of getting interrupted (duh). So this is a nice way to combat the long casting time. Of course you are missing the haste from gear, but Ichi timer is already pretty low, especially since you will have the Haste spell and maybe even a March or two most of the time.

This can also be used when no timers are up and you are about to get pummeled. Aside from Utsusemi, Shield skill is most reliable thing you have.

Of course in any of the shield builds, you can use Knight's Earring instead of Buckler Earring (Like I do because I'm gangster like that).

Enmity

This is a set that can really vary gear wise. Some of the gear being a lot more difficult to attain than others. I will list what I use, then I will list what can be used as alternatives (Both better and worse).

Head: Bahamut's Mask                        +8 Enmity
Neck: Ritter Gorget                              +3 Enmity
Ear: Hades Earring +1                          +2 Enmity
Ear: Hades Earring +1                          +2 Enmity
Body: Valor Surcoat                             +4 Enmity
Hands: Homam Manopolas                   +3 Enmity
Ring: Sattva Ring                                 +3 Enmity
Ring: Hercules' Ring                             +3 Enmity
Back: Valor Cape                                 +3 Enmity
Waist: Trance Belt                                +4 Enmity
Legs: Valor Breeches                           +3 Enmity
Feet: Askar Gambieras                         +2 Enmity

Use this set of gear for ALL cures, Sentinel (Change Askar Boots to Valor Leggings for Sentinel) and Shield Bash. Pretty simple concept because Haste doesn't effect Job Abilities at all and wearing Haste gear to minimize Cure recast times is a joke. With Haste spell you are already at the lowest recast time for Cures anyway. So put all you got into them.

You can also use this set for Rampart if you aren't looking to up the Stoneskin maximum damage. (Some instances, the magical stoneskin just isn't really that useful.)

This may be as close to perfect as many will get. To better it, you would need to be extremely lucky in Dynamis - Tavnazia and get every piece of the Hydra Haubert set. You could replace the Valor Cape with a Cerberus Mantle +1 also.

Downgrades would be as follow

Head: Aegishjalmr, Valor Coronet, Gallant Coronet
Neck: Harmonia's Torque
Ear: Hades Earring
Body: Gallant Surcoat, Adaman Cuirass
Hands: Valor Gauntlets, Gallant Gauntlets
Ring: Mermaid Ring
Back: Cerberus Mantle, Resentment Cape
Waist: Warwolf's Belt
Legs: Adaman Cuisses, Gallant Leggings
Feet: Valor Leggings, Adaman Sabatons

I think most of the item's on the downgrade list are possible to get for just about anybody (Especially if they are on the endgame scene...)

No shame in having to resort to the downgraded items, at least you are on the right track.

Standing

Not everybody will have one of these and sometimes the gear in it will vary, but it is a nice addition, especially if you have some of the gear I list.

Head: Walahra Turban                              +5% Haste
Neck: Parade Gorget                                Refresh Effect
Body: Ares's Cuirass                                Refresh Effect +24 Attack
Hands: Homam Manopolas                       +3% Haste, +4 Accuracy
Legs: Homam Cosciales                          +3% Haste,
+3 Accuracy
Feet: Homam Gambieras                         +3% Haste, +6 Accuracy
Back: Cerberus Mantle                             +12 Attack
Waist: Swift Belt                                      +4% Haste, +3 Accuracy
Ear: Ethereal Earring                                +5 Attack, 3% Damage Converted to MP

A mix of the haste gear for meleeing and refresh for extra MP. After every action (Yeah I know thats a lot, just get in the habit and it will become like second nature) just hit this macro. You'll get TP for Spirits or Chivalry pretty fast, especially if you capped Sword merits and use Dorado Sushi (Accuracy and Enmity in one food, hurray). Sometimes I will switch out Parade Gorget for Fortitude Torque if I have accuracy problems (I am lucky enough to have a Gjallarhorn keeping me close to full MP most of the time anyway). With this setup, you should be doing decent damage, getting 2 ticks of refresh from gear a lone AND getting back bits of MP if you get smacked around with a magical attack.

Although I do encourage engaging mobs, I do not recommend it for Tiamat. He has super ninja counter skills that will bug you the entire fight and engaging will do more harm than good.

I hate to neglect the stellar item known as Defending Ring, but this would probably be the gear set it goes with.

Barfire

I don't have one of these for my PLD, although I probably should. If you need to see what gear to use for this, you can scroll down until you find the NIN tanking guide and just piece together what both PLD and NIN can use. Fill in whatever doesn't match with the next best thing.

Weapons/Shield/Ranged

There are a couple choices for a weapon. The most obvious being
Macuahuitl +1. I recommend every PLD have one, as there are only 2-3 weapons as useful as this. You can't go wrong with 4 Enmity in a slot with not much else to offer.

Although Macuahuitl +1 is rarely trumped, Hauteclaire is the second weapon option and arguably better in most instances. It is the highest Damage Per Second weapon a PLD can use besides Excalibur, it has the accuracy to improve your TP gain and the heralded -7% physical damage.  Due to my firm belief in PLD being able to put up some respectable numbers on HNM parses (As evident with Stanislav), I rarely take Hauteclaire off.

The final weapon choice is Templar Mace. A weapon good in low man HNM fights where Enmity isn't as important as staying alive. It is a nice change up to the Hauteclaire where it is impractical to melee (Tiamat, Vrtra, Jormungand, King Behemoth).

Shields is a topic a lot of PLD's ask about since the release of Wivre Shield. The thing that looks stupid but has 5 Enmity on it. Honestly, you don't need the extra 2 enmity, it isn't doing much and the Wivre Shield probably costs more money. But if you REALLY like seeing high Enmity numbers, go for it.

The tried and true shield is of course Koenig Shield. Got the 3 enmity, 5 VIT (10 damage on Rampart Stoneskin) and the Beast Killer effect which kicks in on Kirin, Byakko, and King Behemoth. The HQ is even better.

Aegis is a dream. The granddaddy of them all. I need not explain why this is the best shield in the game.

There are only one thing I would suggest for the Ranged slot and that would be Lamian Kaman for the MP and Magic Defense Bonus that will always be there. Got HQ? Great!

I would not suggest changing any Weapons/Shield/Ranged item mid fight because you'll lose TP. If you don't need TP for fights like Tiamat, you could switch weapons and such for a Barfire setup.

Tips:

- Sentinel is arguably your best job ability, but the uses can vary depending on the fight and the number of people you have.

If you have enough support and damage, spam it every time it is up. Try to use it right before you cast Flash to boost its maximum Enmity output.

If you are in a low man situation where damage is slow and steady without much threat of hate getting stolen, use it for emergency situations only. If you are down to 300 HP or less, just crank out a Sentinel while you get your shit together.

- Cure bomb anybody that isn't full HP. Look down the alliance list and just cure anybody to full if you don't have timers up for enmity generating abilities. Look for those BRD's running in and out to buff, as they are subject to AoE as they are doing it.

- If you are fighting Jormungand, Ouryu or Tiamat, save Rampart for when it flies. The magic stoneskin will probably be wasted if you use it on the ground. If you aren't fighting any of the listed mobs, just spam it every time its up. It is a good amount of enmity.

- Khimaira and Cerberus TP moves are annoying (To say the least), but a good PLD will be able to Shield Bash them if his timer is up. Dreadstorm, Tourbillion and Fulmination are Shield Bash targets for Khimaira. Lavaspit and Gates of Hades for Cerberus. Anything else you can either use it when you are in trouble and need a second to cast Utsusemi, or just spam it for hate.

- If you are looking to increase the Stoneskin from Rampart, equip all the VIT gear you can (Probably varies greatly for different people, Koenig is ideal.) The formula is believed to be VIT * 2 = Maximum damage absorbed.

- Some people like to spam the Enfeebling Ninjutsu Ichi spells for hate. It does work, but you shouldn't really need to do it. If you are in need of hate that badly every time you tank something, try making an HP macro, curing yourself to full with Cure IV, then taking all the HP gear off so you are back where you started. Repeat the HP macro and continue curing yourself. It's a cheap way to get hate, but it works and it's better than wasting your money spamming slow casting Ichi spells.

- Will all these gear swapping you will Blink Gear....A LOT. Make sure your support doesn't try to cure your from a macro or you could get put in sticky situations. /ma "Cure V" Yourname ...Have your mages make a macro that says that or they better start typing it out.

- Of course, with Windower Macros and Spellcast (The plugin), you can do amazing things with macros. You could even go as far as starting with one set of gear (Lets say Shield) for the beginning of the cast...then end the last .005 second of the casting with another set of gear (Haste). Anybody that feels obligated to put that much work into it can certainly do so. I choose not too because trying to time macros to work that way is next to impossible due to lag. Even the tiniest server lag that you cannot prevent could throw it the timing of the macro off, making it rather useless.

Conclusion:

Haste is not the key, Enmity is not the key, Shield is not the key. It is how you use them all when the situation calls for it. Are you going to be the best you can be by just using one of these sets? No. You can get a lot more out of yourself if you just invest some time and effort into these gear sets and your macros.



If you see any mistakes, let me know and I'll fix them as soon as possible.

AIM: BELKINATOR14
Email: altfan28@yahoo.com


 
 
13 January 2008 @ 10:46 pm


Charybdis

Overview

You certainly have gotten yourself into a mess if you are trying this. You can't exactly solo it per say, you need somebody to kill the add in the room for you. It's not going to be easy, it's not going to be fun, it will probably go unclaimed a few times and you will probably get really frustrated. But like a lot of things, it is possible.

The fight alone without the adds or people trying to steal it is pretty difficult too by the way. One of the harder mobs to solo.

What You Need

- Slow II (Capped, preferably)
- Great Bind setup
- Ice/Wind Accuracy merits
- 350 Damage Stoneskin Setup
- Somebody to kill the Manta in the room when it pops.

What Helps

- Refresh gear
- Bio III (Capped)
- Crimson Cuisses

Pulling

Well, not much you can do about the area. You can't exactly pull it to the zone safely or efficiently without somebody trying to steal it as soon as it goes yellow. So the only other option is fighting it in this piece of shit room. I will probably express my displeasure with this room multiple times throughout this post, but it is for good reason. You have many obstacles in this room that seem to not affect Charybdis in the least. You got a bunch of rocks and stuff sticking out of the ground you have to run around and make you "Unable to see target". This is totally unfair because Charybdis flies right through or just hits you through them if you are standing close to it. So you are already at a handicap because of bull crap like that. Another thing you have to worry about is the Manta that pops in the room every 16 minutes. Hopefully you have a friend there to kill that or you pretty much have no chance.

Your friend should just be solo to kill the mantas. If he is the one getting the sword, invite him at about 5%. If he is in a party with you and you Bind Charybdis close to him, he is going to get raped.

The Fight

"God dammit" is a phrase that sums up this fight.

 He can attack 2-6 times (I think) per round, which can easily eat 3 Utsusemi shadows and a full Stoneskin in like 2 seconds. I strongly urge you to keep Protect IV and Phalanx up at all times for this fight. I guess you could throw on a Shell IV for it's TP moves if you want to feel safer (Although after it uses a TP move, it just stands around for 1-2 seconds, kind of like Gration.)

You will notice I have never really suggested using Slow II on anything solo, but this is the time to do it. You can notice a huge difference in his delay between attack rounds with Slow II on. This gives you ample time to Bind or Gravity before it can get the next attack round off.

Bind is sort of...random on Chary. My usually very dependable Binds would sometimes wear off in a few seconds. Strange because my Bind doesn't even wear off that fast on Seiryu. But you'll have to make due, especially with Gravity when Bind is blowing. That is why I suggest capped Wind Accuracy for this fight, so you can get unresisted Gravities longer than you normally would. Like always, make sure you have yourself hasted at all times so your Bind timers are at their lowest. Although it isn't as reliable as it usually is, Bind is still your best defense here.

Bio III and Poison II are your main offensive weapons. Make sure both are on at all times and Charybdis will lose about 1% HP per minute. You can toss a Blizzard III if you have MP to spare, it will usually take off 2% HP, speeding up the fight
substantially.

Sometimes it will do a Regen TP move, just dispel that quickly and it is no problem.

Like I mentioned before, the terrain definitely does not work in your favor here. Often times, you will find yourself running up the ramp to get separation. You can do this, but be advised -- On your way back down you WILL get hit. Make sure you have 3 Shadows and Stoneskin up before you make the trip back down the ramp. I usually Bind it at the top of the ramp, then run down to the Sahagin at the bottom and wait. Bind it when it gets close to the Sahagin, then go to the top. Sometimes I'll take a detour around the rocks sticking out of the ground, but it really doesn't help, Charybdis runs right through them most of the time (Sometimes it doesn't for some unknown reason, I wouldn't try and rely on that too much).

The first 20% takes some getting used to, but it gets easier after that in my opinion. If you learn and adjust to how it attacks, you will be much better off. Time your Bind's and spells so they start casting after he starts his first attack round, so they land during his high delay (Much higher with Slow II). Note that you can be getting hit by his first attack round and still be casting and uninterrupted as long as you started casting AFTER he started his attack round (Hard to explain/word what I'm talking about, but you'll see).

Aside from the random TP moves that occur every 10-25%, you should be able to read this fickle mob like a book by the end of the fight.

If you get anxious in the last 10%, you can Gravity -> Bind -> Convert (If needed) -> Chainspell -> Blizzard III until its dead. You should have enough MP when you are at full to get off 5 nukes. Just make sure you have all your buffs up while you are doing this. If you want to feel extra safe while doing this, just throw out a Bind after each Blizzard III. Chainspell lasts for 1 minute so you should have more than enough time to get off 5 nukes/binds.

I did mention this before, but in my experiences, it likes to randomly deaggro. I'm not really sure how to combat this, as it almost always has DoTs on it and it still goes yellow. A quick way to reclaim it is to cast Blind on it because it offers a lot of enmity for a short amount of time. If you have somebody provoking it away from you but its still yellow, do Blind -> Dispel -> Blind. It should be reclaimed to you at this point. If that does happen, Charybdis will randomly run to whoever provoked it throughout the fight, essentially MPKing them. Serves them right for trying to steal it.

Estimated Time: 2 Hours
Difficulty: * * * *





 
 
First off let me say that pulling Ix'Aern MNK and DRK is pretty brutal without the aid of a friend. There is too much junk in between the area where they pop and a safe area to pull it. Suiciding or a "decoy" is almost always necessary to pull either. Although with practice, patience and wit, you may be able to pull them effectively by yourself (I'm getting the hang of it). I will post the strategies I have found to work for pulling and fighting both Ix'Aerns whether you are solo or with a friend.


Ix'Aern Monk

What You Need

- Reraise item
- Some HQ Aern Organs

What Helps

- Crimson Cuisses
- Bio 3 with 211 Dark Magic Skill
- Dalmatica or Duelist's Chapeau (Solo)

Getting There

This is a tough one, as it can be very time consuming just getting to the basement of the palace. I have drawn over maps from Wiki to show the way you should travel to get through the ground floor, into the basement and to the spawn point.




With those maps, you can see the western route is far more easy. You don't have to guide any Quislumins and you can cut through the Ebon Panel room in the basement so you don't have to dodge Ghrah's and Pots like you do on the east side. The east side you have to guide 2 Quislumins which can be a real big pain, as you will probably have to kill mobs that aggro its slow moving ass. Getting to the ??? can take longer than the actual fight, especially if it isn't on the side you first look because the ??? doesn't move until it's popped.

Pulling - Duo

A simple suicide pull is required to get the Ix'Aern to the Ebon Panel rooms which are clearly labeled on the map above. Once in the Ebon Panel room, you are safe from all possible Aerns, Ghrahs and Pots. Drop your party so both of you are solo and make sure the one who is doing the suicide pull has Reraise (You both should have it anyway). Have the suicider pop it and run toward the Ebon Panel room, linking everything in his way (Ghrahs included). The person who is not suiciding should follow behind closely BEHIND him. As long as the suicider can aggro the last Ghrah in the hallway leading to the Ebon Panel room, he did his job perfectly. It is them safe for him to die. All mobs that linked will depop within a few seconds while Ix'Aern remains. The second RDM can then safely grab the NM and begin kiting it around the room. The suicide puller can reraise and rest OUTSIDE of party until unweakened (If they are in party, Ix'Mnk will try to pot shot them when he runs around because hate is razor thin).

Pulling - Solo

The same basic idea as before...only you are solo and you have to do both parts by yourself. Pop it and run to the nearest Ebon Panel room. Make sure you die in the far side of the room. As soon as you die, get back up via Reraise (Ix'Aern doesn't aggro). Cast Stoneskin, Utsusemi, Refresh and cure yourself to full. Immediately after doing that, cast Bio on Ix'Aern from as far away as you can. After that, you just need to RUN. With Crimson Cuisses he will never catch you as long as you just run (Do NOT stop and try to cast something on yourself unless it is Utsusemi Ni). You can do this for 5 minutes while you break weakness. You can gradually nurse yourself back to full health and HP with perfectly timed refreshes and cures. I recommend casting both Refresh, Stoneskin Cure IV, and Bio in AF1 Hat/AF 2 Body because it really does reduce the casting time drastically which is a Godsend for this fight.

The Fight - Duo

Bind and Gravity DO NOT WORK!

Another day in the life of an NM slaying RDM. Bio 3 and Poison 2 work like a charm as usual. You can divide the DoT duties between two people which is nice and can save some time. I suggest having somebody with 211+ Dark Magic Skill cast the Bio 3 and the other person do Poison 2. It's not really hard at all unless it gets a fluke Impact Stream off and you get stunned and butt raped. Use the terrain to gain some distance at first, then you can just kite it around the outside until you need to cast something. With constant Bio/Poison, it dies in 30-40 minutes. If one of the RDM's has solid hate, the other can stop and cast Blizzard III to speed up the fight a bit. It uses Hundred Fists once...not really a problem but if you really want to be safe, just run and skip casting for about a minute and it will never catch you.

The Fight - Solo

Bind and Gravity DO NOT WORK!

A good deal harder than if you were with a friend, but still manageable. The reason I say it is harder is because the only time it will stop chasing you is to use TP (Doesn't cast magic, obviously). So you really gotta cast and go. There can be no hesitation in between. Like I mentioned in the solo pulling portion, macro in Fast Cast gear to everything to give yourself a few seconds. The offensive strategy doesn't change, Bio and Poison. Although you will never get enough time to cast an elemental spell, so that is out the window. It can attack 2-4 times which is annoying, but I usually just keep Utsusemi up and Stoneskin is kind of last on the list of things to do. If it hits you once, you can just keep running and it will get left behind. When you get a good distance between yourself, recast Utsusemi. Keep yourself in white HP whenever possible. When it uses Hundred Fists, you just need to run and skip casting for a minute. It can only use it once so I'd rather stay alive than risk dying to cast Bio or something. The fact that you are solo and have to cast both DoT's while trying to stay alive will probably add about 15 minutes to your total time (Not to mention the fact you have about 10 minutes at the beginning of just trying to stay alive) but it's still a relatively short fight compared to some other things.

Estimated Time - Duo: 35 Minutes
Estimated Time - Solo: 1 Hour
Difficulty - Duo: *
Difficulty - Solo: * * *


Ix'Aern Dark Knight

What You Need

- To not kill yourself while trying to pop it
- To not kill yourself while fighting it
- To not kill yourself when it doesn't drop the cape
- Reraise
- Chainspell (You NEED this to pull if you are solo)

What Helps

- Crimson Cuisses
- Dalmatica or Duelist's Chapeau
- Capped Bio 3 with 211 Dark Magic Skill

Getting There

Alright, well you have to stalk down the ??? that moves every 45-60 minutes. If you don't know where it can pop, just go check out FFXIwiki. I assume when you find it, you will only be able to kill a few Aerns in the room before it moves so you have to work fast.

Pulling - Duo

First we should really talk about popping. You need to kill the Aern's in the room until one of you gets the message "You are enveloped in sheer animosity." which is completely random. You could get the message the first Aern, or it could take you over THREE HOURS -- like I said, completely random. After you get the message, you have 10 minutes to examine the ??? to pop Ix'Aern. So take your time, get rested up and make sure both of you know what it is you are doing.

Now, for pulling. I will assume there are 2 Aw'Aerns still alive in the room.
Have the person that didn't get the message drop PT.  Whoever got the message, pop it and the Ix'Aern will be claimed to them, but the two Qn'Aern helpers will not be. The outside person Chainspell Gravity the two Qn'Aerns and whatever Aw'Aerns are left in the room and take them to the zone to the Palace. The person with Ix'Aern will head the opposite direction to the Jailer of Fortitude pop location closest to where Ix'Aern popped. Use the map below to help.



Proceed kiting in the square rooms circled on the map. Be warned though, there are 2 mobs that will aggro on the way to these rooms. One ghrah and one pot. You can easily dodge the pop if you know which eye doesn't aggro and you've had practice. But sometimes you can't avoid the ghrah. You will probably have to hold out with the ghrah and NM on you at the same time until your partner gets back at which time you can sleep the adds and log off and your friend can take over kiting the NM.

Pulling - Solo

Ok, this is very similar to the Ix'MNK strategy for pulling except that this time, the Aern has two helpers. When you pop it, use Chainspell and Gravity the two Qn'Aerns and head to the nearest square room. When you get there, head to the "back" of the room and you need to die ASAP so the Qn's are left far behind with gravity. Get up, buff and cast on the NM before it can migrate back and you will get it without his little helpers because they are so far away and won't link. Kite it while weakened until you can nurse yourself back to full HP/MP which is easier than Ix'MNK because it stops to cast stupid little DRK spells which means you can get greater separation.

The Fight - Duo

Bind, Gravity and Poison DO NOT WORK!

Easier to fight than Ix'MNK, but it has more HP and it can reraise as many times as it wants. You could potentially be sitting here for HOURS. Make sure Bio is on at all times, as it is the only source of DoT for this fight. Blizzard III greatly speeds up the fight. Have one person kite around the room and one person remain stationary. Have the stationary person cast Blizzard III as Ix'Aern runs by him. By the time he finishes casting, Ix'Aern will be a good distance away and will have to turn around. The RDM that just nuked is now the kiter and the other RDM should get ready to nuke when the NM runs by him. You can repeat this strategy indefinitely without any real problems and it is probably the most efficient way to handle this NM with 2 RDMs. If it doesn't drop anything when it dies, that means it is going to Reraise. When it drops Deed of Moderation or Vice of Avarice, it is done for good.

The Fight - Solo

Bind, Gravity and Poison DO NOT WORK!

Honestly, I don't know why you would WANT to do this, but it is possible. Bio 3 only takes an incredibly long time, probably over an hour to kill it once. Pair that with the fact that it can Reraise however many times it wants and you could be sitting here for OVER 10 HOURS. Of course nobody has that kind of time, but you could always get lucky and it only reraises once and you get a Vice. So I'll give you the strategy anyway.

Bio 3 and run like usual. He will stop and cast tier 2 nukes, this is when you would want to cast Blizzard III on it (Making sure you have 3 shadows up because he will probably catch up and hit you a couple times before you can move). Unresisted Blizzard III's take off 3-4% of his health so that GREATLY increases the speed of the fight. Make sure you run away from Blood Weapon. I know it doesn't sound too threatening, but he gets speed and attack bonuses when his Blood Weapon is on which is EXTREMELY noticeable. Oh ya and he gets about 1-2% HP back every time he hits you with it. So just run and skip casting for a minute. He can use it multiple times per life. Not much else to say, pretty standard RDM/NIN solo fight. Just can't use Bind, Gravity or Poison....

If you get fed up with the reraises, just ask some friends to come help.

Estimated Time - Duo: ???
Estimated Time - Solo: ???
Difficulty - Duo: *
Difficulty - Solo: * *
 
 
 
03 December 2007 @ 07:16 pm

Gration

What You NEED

- Nothing

What Helps

- Crimson Cuisses
- Bio 3

Pulling

The immediate surrounding area is littered with various Gigas that will link and just give you a headache. My suggestion is to walk it up toward Riverne in the area with lots of trees, some malboros and some flytraps. That area will give you ample space and the fence and the shack can prove to be quite handy in the kiting process. But you shouldn't just pop it and take off toward Riverne, leaving Gration in the dust, he can completely lose aggro and just return to spawn point at, what seems to be, random.

The Fight

This fight is like...frustrating stacked on top of boring. Hell, it isn't even really that challenging, especially if you are sporting Crimson Cuisses. Bio 3, Poison 2 and run around the area. Occasionally to speed things up I'll toss a Bind on it, then Blizzard 3. This will usually knock 1-2% off if it doesn't get resisted. I almost recommend casting Bio 3 with at least 211 Dark Magic, as it will make Bio 3 do 8 damage per tic instead of 6 if you are under 211 Dark Magic Skill. I guess I forgot to mention his intimidation thing. There is no secret to avoiding this, you are going to get intimidated over and over when trying to cast and it WILL get frustrating. Also, his intimidation rate is near 95% when he is casting spells so you might as well not even try. You should rebuff yourself whenever it is casting instead. I keep Utsusemi, Stoneskin and Refresh up at all times, other buffs such as Protect and Shell are opinion, seeing as you shouldn't really be getting hit that often. His Grand Slam move can take 2-3 shadows, but it leaves him "stuck" for about 3 seconds where he will just stand there looking like a dumb ass.

The last thing to note is that you do NOT want him getting Burst, Thundaga 3 or Thunder IV off in any occasion. Move safely out of range (Over 32 on Distance Plugin is safe) and wait for him to stop casting. The reason being is because he CAN run out of MP and it would make the soloing process incredibly hard because he will never stop to cast and he will just chase you all day and he will more than likely kill you at this point unless he gets stuck on some of the kiting terrain or something.

I think in each of the times I've soloed this, he has hit me maybe once or twice the entire fight. With an HQ shield, he will stop and cast more often, essentially making the fight easier because all you do is just move out of range. With an NQ shield, his spell recast time is about 20 seconds (HQ is about 10 or 15). Although it doesn't effect the fight that much, it is noticeable.

I strongly urge you to only do this when you get an HQ pop item crafted. Just go farm the materials and get it crafted on a full moon and you are almost assured an HQ. I've done it several times with an NQ pop item and when Tatami Shield doesn't drop after close to 2 hours of kiting and getting intimidated, you want to go kick a baby chipmunk.

Estimated Time: 1 Hour and 45 Minutes
Difficulty: * 
 
 
24 October 2007 @ 03:05 am
Steam Cleaner

Overview

All this is really is a condensed version of the Olla fight. Same style, different kiting area. A lot easier in my opinion

What You NEED

- Nothing

What Helps

- Crimson Cuisses
- Duelist's Chapeau or Dalmatica
- Capped Bio 3
- Capped Wind Accuracy Merits

Pulling

I've only ever soloed this a few times so I am not 100% sure on if this popping and pulling method works all the time. The way I have done it both times is aggro one of the detectors in the basement and immediately run to the zone. I rotate the camera around so I am looking behind me while still running up the stairs and toward the zone. If it summons Steam Cleaner, it will probably stop and cast something, leaving it pretty far behind. When you get to the stairs that lead to the zone, stop and get rid of the detector. Steam Cleaner will follow and there you go. If it does NOT pop from the first detector, just zone both of them, go back down to the basement and grab the other one. Steam Cleaner has always popped for me at this point. If it still does not pop, you could keep trying and zoning them if it doesn't pop Steam Cleaner, but what I think you should do is kill both of the detectors and come back in about an hour.

The Fight

As previously mentioned, a shortened version of the Olla trio, but this time you have the advantage of a wider area to kite and cast at the same time. Bio 3, Poison 2, run around. It can use Spectral Barrier, but I have noticed it doesn't use it as often as Olla does, making the fight considerably easier. If he does use Spectral Barrier, tough it out until it wears off. It stops to cast a lot, so you should get some pretty good distance.

Estimated Time: 40 Minutes
Difficulty: *


Seiryu

Overview

Basically, the culmination of everything you've done in sky. It's like Faust, only longer and a higher level.

What You NEED

- Duelist's Chapeau or Dalmatica (I have both, I'm not sure what the situation is like if you are missing one of these items)
- Capped Ice Accuracy Merits
- Capped Bio 3 Merits
- Capped Enfeebling Magic Skill/Merits/Gear
- 350 Damage Stoneskin Setup
- Haste gear for Utsusemi
- The BEST Bind setup humanly possible
- Capped Elemental Magic Skill/Merits/Gear
- Aquilo's Staff
- Capped INT Merits
- At least 2 stacks of Remedies
- A stack of Echo Drops

What Helps

- Crimson Cuisses
- A Bible.

Pulling

Pop and run.

The Fight

If you had a hard time with Faust, you won't be able to hang with Seiryu. He is the baddest of the bad, the hardest NM you will ever solo as RDM/NIN. This is the fruits of your labor, if you can beat this, consider yourself one of the best solo RDM's server wide. Ok, here we go.

Defensive

Your main defense is once again Bind. Basically, stack as much enfeebling magic gear as you can (I get up to 334), then INT and Magic Accuracy in every other slot available. The ideal Bind setup is as follows:

Weapon: Aquilo's Staff
Sub: Bugard Strap +1
Ammo: Phantom Tathlum
Head: Duelist's Chapeau
Neck: Enfeebling Torque
Ear1: Enfeebling Earring
Ear2: Phantom Earring +1
Body: Warlock's Tabard
Hands: Morrigan's Cuffs
Ring1: Snow Ring
Ring2: Snow Ring
Back: Altruistic Cape
Waist: Penitent's Rope
Legs: Nashira Seraweels
Boots: Goliard Clogs

This build will get you a nice blend of potency (INT) and accuracy (Enfeebling Magic Skill and Magic Accuracy). You HAVE to make Bind work consistently or you stand no chance. Gravity is not an option, as Seiryu is wind based. Your only defense is a nice Utsusemi setup, a 350 damage Stoneskin setup and the best Bind setup imaginable. Bind, run to the other side of the island as far away as you can so you can prepare yourself and rebuff. He hits pretty much like Faust, only with an En-Aero on top of it. And if that wasn't bad enough, he has TP regen unlike Genbu. Be prepared for Deadly Drive or Fang Rush as soon as it gets to you, Utsusemi ASAP, Bind after that, worry about Stoneskin when you get away from it.

Hundred Fists is another problem you may encounter. What you can do to avoid being completely MAULED by this, is to use Chainspell Bind. Just use Chainspell and cast Bind when it starts charging at you. Move away, wait for Bind to break and cast it again. He shouldn't get to you because you are instant casting it and the good thing about Chainspell is, it lasts as long as Hundred Fists does.

He can also use Dread Shriek, use a Remedy ASAP to get rid of that paralyze. Another TP move is Radiant Breath, use an Echo Drop.

I have given you all the necessary information for your survival, the rest is up to you.

Offensive

Capped Bio 3 and Poison 2 all day baby. I recommend casting Bio 3 in gear that brings you to 211 Dark Magic Skill so it will take 8 HP per tick (Which is equal to a 291+ Dark Magic Skill Bio 2). From Bio 3 alone, it should be losing 1% HP every minute. Stack that with Poison 2 and you are looking at maybe 2% HP gone every minute. If I did the math correctly, that would mean he has about 16,000 HP.

One thing to take into consideration is the fact that he can cast Blink on himself, meaning a shadow could catch Bio, Poison or even worse, Bind. What I did to combat this was a Diaga macro'd in with Duelist's Tabard and Warlock's Chapeau (It's got a long spellcasting time).

Another viable option is Blizzard III if your Bind's are lasting long enough and you are decent with MP management. Not only will you be casting in +10 Elemental Magic Skill from Aquilo's Staff, Seiryu is weak to ice. So it's basically like double prizes with Blizzard III. Just make sure you are stacking all the Elemental Magic Skill gear you can, as it is better to get unresisted every time than to see bigger numbers once or twice.

Other

Since it is impossible to solo Mother Globe, I have resorted to either asking friends for help with it or just buying the Springstone. If you somehow (I doubt it) find a way to defeat Mother Globe solo, let me know!

Estimated Time: 1 Hour and 30 Minutes of Hell.
Difficulty: Near Impossible.


Brigandish Blade

I do not have enough solo experience with Brigandish Blade to give you reliable information. I do know that Bind, Gravity and Nukes are all fairly unresisted. It is also a challenge to pop and pull it solo, but again, is it possible. But what is impossible, however, is killing it. RDM cannot use the dagger used to land the final blow. Find a friend if you really want to do this.
 
 
19 October 2007 @ 03:01 pm
Despot

Overview

One of the more annoying NM's in sky to pop, but also one of the easier ones. If you have no trouble popping him, you should have no trouble killing him.

What You NEED

- Nothing really

What Helps

- Capped Elemental Skill/Merits (For soloing the placeholders)
- Crimson Cuisses
- Capped Bio 3
- Duelist's Chapeau or Dalmatica

Pulling

He pops much like Biast if you have ever seen that. But after the placeholder is dead, Despot pops in his place a few seconds afterward. I recommend getting the Groundskeeper to 1-10%, then resting to full, then finishing it off so you are prepared for Despot. If it pops, you can Gravity it and head south through the gauntlet of dolls and to the little pond type thing around I-10. If you don't know where I am talking about, here is a picture of what it looks like.



The Fight

Defensive

There are two things you can here. What I always do is just run around this pond usually since he almost never catches you with Crimson Cuisses. Another option is to throw some Gravity on that bitch. Making it incredibly easy to outrun him, thus making it possible to get a few nukes in. I haven't really experimented with Bind, as I have never needed too, but I'm pretty sure it works if you want to go that route. It also seems that Dolls are prone to super strong Binds, meaning you can nuke a few times before it breaks. I don't know if that transfers over to Despot or not, but something to keep in mind perhaps. His main attack is Panzerfaust which is a long range attack that takes shadows, so try to keep 3 shadows up whenever you can. He does not use Meltdown.

Offensive

More of the same here. Bio and Poison whenever you reach the southern end of the pond. If you Gravity or Bind it, nuke it a couple times. Your nukes shouldn't be resisted too much, as Despot is one of the weaker NM's up here. Not much else you can do besides that. Kind of a boring fight but to get more Byakko's Haidate, I'm all for it.

Other

Soloing the Groundskeepers is a warm-up to soloing Aura Statues. I like to pull them to the main entrance of the shrine, like everybody else does I'm sure. There you can Blizzard 3 -> Thunder 3 -> Bind/Sleep and repeat when your recast timers are ready. Your nukes should take off 12-13% of its HP. You will run out of MP around 20-40% depending on what race you. Rest until you have enough MP to take it down to 1-10%, Sleep II it and rest to full. Finish it off with a tier 2 or tier 3 (Depending on how much HP is left) and wait 5 seconds to see if Despot pops. If not, rest to full and go pull again. You get 100-150 EXP per kill usually. It takes about 5 minutes to solo a Groundskeeper.

Estimated Time: 30 Minutes
Difficulty: * *


Ullikummi

Overview

A fairly simple NM with a lot of HP. You can do it but it's going to take significantly longer than Zipacna or Despot. Getting the pop item is no easy task either, you could be spending literally hours farming the pop item and then another hour killing Ullikummi.

What You NEED

- Capped Elemental Magic Skill/Merits/Gear (Highly recommended they are all capped for soloing Aura Statues)

What Helps

- Duelist's Chapeau or Dalmatica
- Crimson Cuisses
- Capped Bio 3

Pulling

Pop it and run north to the room with the teleporter. The Aura Statues are easy to dodge, they have piss poor aggro range so don't worry about trying to clear a path before popping it. And even if you do aggro one, you can kite it around the Teleporter along with Ullikummi and it will deaggro eventually.

The Fight

The small space allows little room for error, but get used to it, as probably the hardest fight in all of sky occurs in a room similar to this one. Luckily his spells aren't that devastating, at least not to the point where you go "oh shit". He will cast Diaga, Flash, and Banishga 3. If you have Stoneskin up, you'll laugh at Banishga, the other spells are just for the lulz too. Just Bio, Poison and run around the teleporter. You can Gravity it if you want, but it builds resistance pretty fast. Just be patient with it because a LOT of your nuke are going to be fully resisted, essentially making them a waste of MP. Bio, Poison, and run, those are you keys to success here. His TP move of choice is Heavy Strike, which upon getting hit, you are knocked back (or forward since you are running away) and you lose a massive amount of enmity. Which really isn't a problem cause you are by yourself. This move will take 1 shadow and it's not really anything to worry about. His offense if very lacking.

Other

Soloing Aura Statues is a son of a bitch, but is pretty easy once you get the hang of it. They have a very high resistance to magic, meaning you need to have capped skill at LEAST if you want this to go smoothly. Merit's and Aquilo's Staff help too. The way I do it is just cast Blizzard 3 then Sleep 1, wait until Blizzard 3 recast is up and do it again. When you run out of MP, Sleep 2 it. You should get around 350-450 MP via resting before it wakes up. At which point you can continue nuking again, or Sleep it again and rest to full. Soloing Aura Statues takes about 7-8 minutes and you get 300 EXP per kill.

Estimated Time: 1 Hour and 30 Minutes
Difficulty: * *


Faust

Overview

Pray for your life. This is going to suck. I honestly don't recommend trying this unless you have incredible gear, merits and solo experience.

What You NEED

- Hermes Quencher or Powder Boots
- Capped Enfeebling Magic Skill/Merits
- A GOOD INT setup for Bind
- Capped Ice/Wind Accuracy Merits
- Capped Bio 3
- Aquilo's Staff
- Crimson Cuisses
- Dalmatica or Duelist's Chapeau
- 350 Damage Stoneskin setup

What Helps

- Capped Elemental Skill/Merits/Gear
- Haste setup for casting Utsusemi
- Luck

Pulling

Pop your flee item (Hermes Quencher or Powder Boots) and aggro him, run to the open teleporter room. Don't stop running, I guarantee he is right on your ass and he WILL kill the shit out of you if you stop.

The Fight

Defensive

This is the hardest thing I've maybe ever done in this game. He runs at flee speed, he hits like a truck, he spams AoE that takes 2-3 shadows. If you don't have shadows up, your 350 Stoneskin gets ripped in one Typhoon. It is just NOT a pleasant experience. So let's look at the brighter side shall we? He has relatively low HP, comparable to Zipacna. The fight will only take about 45 minutes. He is susceptible to Bind AND Gravity. So your main defensive tool is Bind, naturally. Hit Bind, run to the opposite side of the teleporter, cast 1-2 buffs, then wait. He comes running and will usually get 1 Typhoon and 1 regular hit in before you have a chance to move. Utsusemi and Stoneskin should be the first things you put up when rebuffing. Haste is also a huge difference maker. Refresh should come last. If Stoneskin was damaged at all, I usually recast it. Sometimes your Bind's will last some piddly amount of time, like 2-4 seconds compared to the standard 20+, DO NOT PANIC. Use Gravity and ride that out for about 40 seconds. After 40 seconds it is usually time to throw Bind back on, because Gravity will wear off soon and he will be right on your ass. Rebuff whatever you lost. Something else to note, when breaking Bind with Blizzard III or Bio 3, there is no pause like there is with normal mobs. IE: "The Groundskeeper is no longer bound." then it stands there for a second like its still bound. It will immediately charge you, leaving little time to react. ALWAYS HAVE THREE SHADOWS UP FOR THIS FIGHT.

Offensive

Bio 3 and Poison 2. Don't short change yourself and try to use Bio 2, it will take a lot longer and you don't need to drag this fight out any longer than it already is. If your Bind recast is at 6-7 seconds and he still hasn't broken Bind, cast Blizzard III. It takes 5-6 seconds to cast so you can immediately cast Bind right after. Use nukes sparingly because they are often times resisted and MP is hard to come by in this fight. Nothing else to say about your attack strategy, it's more of the same, just hope you are on your "A game" when it comes to defense.

Other

This is the only NM I've beaten but still consistently get my ass beat by. He is no joke and like I said, you should not even attempt this unless you have the best gear, the best merits and a good amount of solo experience. I tap my foot the duration of the fight because I get so nervous. Just keep your cool because there will be many moments during the fight where you just want to scream out obscenities because something didn't go right. If you panic, you are probably going to lose. You will probably die to this NM at least 5 times before you beat it.

Estimated Time: 45 Minutes
Difficulty: * * * * *
 
 
17 October 2007 @ 07:13 pm
It has been a while since I've posted anything really. I figured since I have got a lot of comments on the various guides I post, I will do one on where I spend a lot of my time soloing on RDM.

This guide will eventually cover every NM you can solo in sky. This includes the following:

Zipacna
Olla Grande
Faust
Brigandish Blade
Ullikummi
Despot
Steam Cleaner
Genbu
Seiryu

You may be thinking to yourself "Some of these NM's seem pretty hard, Belkin!" and yes, I know. They are some of the most challenging things I have ever done in this game, but with the right gear, merits, skill and patience, they are very possible. Let us start our journey.

Zipacna

Overview

This is one of the more challenging NM's you'll face as RDM in sky. He is fast and strong, but of course, like most mobs, has a weakness. His weakness happens to be his rather low HP and crappy resistance to magic compared to other NM's you'll face. Don't let the low HP fool you, as he can kill you faster than you can say "oops".

What You NEED

- Capped Enfeebling Magic merits
- Capped Ice Accuracy merits
- Decent INT gear setup
- Aquilo's Staff

What Helps

- Duelist's Chapeau or Dalmatica
- Capped Elemental Magic skill/merits
- Haste setup for casting Utsusemi
- Capped Wind Accuracy merits
- 350 damage Stoneskin setup
- Crimson Cuisses
- Windower with Distance and Recast Plug-ins (I know it's ILLEGAL but it's incredibly useful)
- Capped Bio 3 merits

Pulling

First of all, you will need to get rid of the detector at the bottom of the first stairwell. One Blizzard3 kills it no problem. Next step is to go toward the second set of stairs down to the basement. There is usually a spot in between the circular room and the Enkidu's on the stairs where you shouldn't magic aggro anything, go there. Wait for Zipacna to go down into the basement and on his way back up, throw a Bind on him and head toward the stairs next to the zone. You will fight there.

The Fight

Defensive

You will need to keep Haste, Refresh, Stoneskin, Utsusemi and Shell IV on at all times. Your main defense is not Utsusemi or Stoneskin, but Bind. You absolutely NEED a good INT/Enfeebling Magic mix. If your Binds fail you, you stand no chance. I cast Bind in 66+38 INT and 334 Enfeebling Skill and Bind usually sticks for 20 seconds or so, this is what you need to aim for. Gravity is your safety blanket if Bind fails. Be warned that Gravity builds resist after about 5 uses. It's duration decreases rapidly after the 5th one until the point it is 100% resisted, use it sparingly. Bind on the other hand, builds no resistance whatsoever. You will get some Binds that last 5-10 seconds and sometimes they are 100% resisted, but that is just the luck of the draw unfortunately and you need to deal with it and minimize the chances of it happening. When running by it with Bind on, it will get 1-2 melee attacks in which SHOULD be eaten by shadows. When you get a safe distance past it, recast Utsusemi and Stoneskin (If it was damaged). It may also have a tendency to use Crystal Rain which strips shadows no matter how many of them you have and does damage through them. Recast Utsusemi and Stoneskin immediately when you are in safe position to do so. Your defensive strategy is highly important for this fight.

Offensive

Your main method of doing damage is Bio and Poison. If you have a capped Bio 3, that will be what you use. If you do not have a CAPPED Bio 3, just use Bio 2, as it will last longer and be more MP efficient. Casting Bio will break your Bind 95% of the time. Casting Poison 2 will never break Bind. If your elemental magic is capped and merited, it is possible to cast Blizzard III if your Bind recast is close to being ready. It will do around 550 unresisted, which takes a chunk of time off the fight. If you do not have at least one auto refresh item (Dalmatica or Duelist's Chapeau), the use of Blizzard III becomes very limited, as MP is certainly an issue in this fight. When breaking Bind with a Bio or Blizzard, you should try to be 20 units away (Windower). It is a generally a good idea to train him to the very top near the zone, Bio/Poison and Bind him there, then run back down to the bottom of the stairs and wait for him to chase you. You want to get as much distance between Zipacna and yourself as you can, as it gives you time to rebuff and prepare for the next Bind. If you have Convert and Chainspell when he is at 15%, you can use Gravity, then Chainspell cast Blizzard III to finish him. Unresisted nukes takes off about 3-4% each. If you don't have faith in your elemental magic or it is Firesday, you should just finish him out with Bio/Poison and not chance it.

Estimated Time: 1 Hour
Difficulty: * * * *


Olla Grande

Overview

This is more a test of patience than anything. There are several things that make this fight a headache. First is that there are very few places you can stop and cast because of the surrounding pots. Second is that pots are pretty resistant to magic to begin with. Lastly is that its basically 3 fights back to back to back without getting a chance to rest. Even with the things I listed, it is still the easier of the two of Genbu's pop items.

What You NEED

- Incredible patience

What Helps

- Duelist's Chapeau or Dalmatica
- Crimson Cuisses
- Capped Bio 3

Pulling

Pop it and run.

The Fight

This fight can be incredibly mind numbing. All you do is kite it around until you get to the teleporter with the gate open and head to the back of the room. Rebuff yourself if needed with Stoneskin and Utsusemi. Wait for it's slow pot ass to get to you then Bio 3 and Poison 2 it, run around and out of the teleporter room. Kite it around the whole floor until you get back to the teleporter room and repeat the above process. Now sometimes it will use this annoying little TP move called Spectral Barrier which makes it immune to magic, meaning you can't even land a DoT on it until it wears off. This TP move can increase the duration of the fight immensely if it uses it consecutively, but it is something you cannot prevent so you have to deal with it. If you get locked in one of the teleporter rooms, you gotta tough it out and run around the circle as it attempts to spam magic on you. Hope you have a good Stoneskin setup for -Aga3! If you are trapped in the room for too long your chance of surviving decreases greatly, so it is best to do your business in the teleport room, throw some DoT's on him and get out as soon as possible. If you really want to speed up the fight, make sure he doesn't have spectral barrier on, then you can toss a Blizzard 3.

Estimated Time: Varies
Difficulty: * *


Genbu

Overview

The payoff from Zipacna and Olla is the ALMIGHTY Genbu. He is actually a hell of a lot easier than Zipacna but maybe a step up from Olla in terms of difficulty. Although it takes more than double the time it takes to kill Zipacna, it is a very manageable fight.

What You NEED

- Nothing really, any RDM/NIN can do this

What Helps

- Duelist's Chapeau or Dalmatica
- Capped Bio 3 merits
- Capped Elemental Magic Skill/Merits/Gear
- Crimson Cuisses
- 350 Damage Stoneskin setup
- Reraise Item

Pulling

Pop it and run.

The Fight

Defensive

Unlike the previous two fights, Bind is relatively useless. Even with 334 Enfeebling Magic you have a 50/50 shot of landing it, thus making it unreliable. But luckily, it is Genbu and it takes it about a minute to get across the whole island teleport to teleport. Your main defense is to RUN AWAY. If you are in need of some rest, you can try Binding it and running to the complete other side. Other than that, just keep Utsusemi, Shell IV and 350 Stoneskin on at all times. That about sums up defensive strategies for Genbu.

Offensive

This is a little harder than the others. It is highly resistant to Elemental Magic because of its absurdly high level. It also is water based and resists Poison, throwing another form of damage out the door. Bio is virtually the only way you are going to down this turtle. With a full elemental magic skill setup you may get a few unresisted nukes that 2-3% of his health away which greatly speeds up the fight, but usually it will do less than 50 damage and you will just waste your MP.  So unless you have extreme faith in your nuking setup, I would use it sparingly (IE: When Convert is up and you have enough MP to nuke).  Just run back and forth casting Bio3 when it wears off. Not much else you can do.

Although technically it wouldn't be "solo", I recommend at least 2 boxing a THF or asking one to come up. They can stay outside party until 1% at which time they can join and hit it once for Treasure Hunter. The drops without Treasure Hunter are painfully dull, usually resulting in no money drops whatsoever which is kind of upsetting, seeing as you have undoubtedly spent countless hours soloing to get to this point.

Estimated Time: 2 Hours
Difficulty: * *
 
 
06 September 2007 @ 09:34 pm
Although I do most of my tanking on RDM or PLD, most people forget that I have a NIN that deserves some attention every now and again. This guide will give you insight on how to get the most out of NIN/DRK in the HNM tanking realm.

Overview & History: Although the NIN/DRK fad has come and gone all within the span of a few months, it is still a very efficient tank, especially for low number Wyrms. I believe the art was perfected by Rukenshin of Seraph, as he developed effective methods of solo tanking everything from Tiamat to Bahamut v2. A good NIN/DRK utilizes at LEAST 5 sets of gear, if not more. You cannot short change yourself on NIN as you can afford to do on PLD or RDM. You have to be extremely skilled at what you do as a NIN. Macro's need to be perfected, timing flawless, gear nothing short of stellar. It is not an easy task, but if you can get comfortable with it, you can have a lot of fun. You may be asking yourself "Why not just sub WAR?"...The answer is simple: NIN/DRK can generate more long term enmity than a NIN/WAR can. Not to mention you have Stun, which besides being one of the main sources of hate, can be used to give yourself a much needed break in the action to pull yourself together. The two other spells you will be taking advantage of are Bind and Sleep, which both generate Cumulative Hate rather than Volatile Hate. Kurayami, Hojo and Jubaki are also Cumulative Hate, which means as a NIN/DRK you have no means of getting "quick hate" (Aside from a trick attacked weapon skill). Depending on how you look at it, it isn't that big of a deal. Just have everybody back off for a minute or two while you collect hate. Five minutes of spamming spells and ninjutsu will keep solid hate on you throughout even the longest fights, barring a freak occurrence where you take over 1000 damage in a few seconds.

Merit Distribution:
I understand that most everybody has another job to consider when distributing merits. Keep in mind that this would be the ideal setup of merits for a NIN/DRK tank.

HP: 4
MP: 4
Parrying Skill: 4
Evasion Skill: 4
Enmity Increase: 4
Enemy Critical Hit: 4
Ninja Tool Expertise: 3

There is not much variation you can get as a NIN/DRK. HP & MP you can adjust accordingly to fit your race. Galka being higher on the MP end, Tarutaru being higher on the HP end. Parrying Skill is something every NIN/DRK should max out, when it is capped, it can easily save your shadows and maybe even your life. Evasion Skill is something most NIN's neglect nowadays. Even if you aren't wearing evasion gear, NIN evasion is pretty good. Giving it a boost certainly wouldn't hurt. Enmity Increase is pretty obvious. Allows you to be able to switch some of your Enmity gear for Haste or MP gear. Enemy Critical Hit would probably be the last thing to merit on NIN/DRK, as you won't often get hit by physical attacks. But if you do manage to get hit, a critical would knock your hate level down marginally. Something we definitely need to avoid. Ninja Tool Expertise just means you get to save some money and perhaps not need to use a Toolbag at a clutch moment in the fight...Oh yeah and all the other options in both Ninja Group 1 & 2 are garbage for our purposes.

Gear: One of the most crucial parts of playing the job is knowing what gear to use in what situations. Some of the basic gear setups include: Haste, Enmity, Defense, Evasion, Elemental Resist, and Magic Defense. Some gear sets can be combined (Namely, Haste and Enmity) because you can get the full effect of both at the same time. Whereas gear sets such as Elemental Resist are stand alone sets.

As like any tanking job, it is important that if you are duo or trio tanking, you should keep levels of enmity similar to your partners'. If not it kind of defeats the point, as one tank will have hate the whole time and be solo tanking until they eventually take massive damage and lose chunks of enmity at a time. A good number of enmity for any occasion is 25. This is a higher number than a RDM tank should need, as you don't have Sleep2, Cures, or Dispel at your disposal. So you can make up for the lack of those spells with an extra 10 enmity.

The following is the ideal equipment setups for a variety of situations.

Haste

Hands:
Dusk Gloves               +3% Haste
Legs: Byakko Haidate             +5% Haste
Feet: Fuma Sune-Ate              +3% Haste
Waist: Swift Belt                     +4% Haste
Earring: Loquacious Earring   
Spellcasting Time -2%, Spell Recast Time -1%

With this setup and Double March/Haste Spell, you can achieve the lowest possible Utsusemi recast timers. The Loquacious Earring isn't necessary to meet this requirement, it just makes you cast Utsusemi a bit faster than normal. The only piece that might be readily accessible is the Byakko Haidate. This can be replaced with:

Head: Walahra Turban            +5% Haste

The only reason I suggest Byakko Haidate over the Turban to begin with is because you can use Arhat's Jinpachi+1 for some Enmity full time. Whichever you chose, the total amount of haste adds up to +15%. With Double March and Haste spell, you need no more (As it does nothing) and no less (As you won't reach minimum recast timers). 

The above set can be loosely tied into the next set.

Enmity

Head:
Arhat's Jinpachi +1         Enmity +2
Body: Arhat's Gi +1                 Enmity +4
Ring 1: Sattva Ring                 Enmity +3
Ring 2: Mermaid Ring             Enmity +2
Earring 1: Eris Earring            Enmity +2
Earring 2: Eris Earring            Enmity +2
Back: Cerberus Mantle            Enmity +3
Neck: Harmonia's Torque         Enmity +3
Range: Nokizaru Shuriken       Enmity +2

The above setup gives you +23 Enmity, include merits and you are sitting at +27 total. The above setup can achieve the maximum amount of enmity you need, while still incorporating every part of the Haste setup except for the Loquacious Earring (Which isn't needed except for making your Utsusemi fire a split second faster). So basically you can pile your Enmity and Haste gear into one quick, effective macro. If you are using Walahra Turban instead of Byakko Haidate, you can use Arhat Hakama+1 for additional Enmity.

Defense

Head: Arhat's Jinpachi +1         -6% Physical Damage Taken, DEF: 20
Body: Arhat's Gi +1                  -9% Physical Damage Taken, DEF: 39
Hands: Seiryu's Kote                +15 AGI, +50 HP, DEF: 29
Legs: Byakko's Haidate             DEF: 42
Feet: Suzaku's Sune-Ate          +15 MND, DEF: 30
Ring 1: Sattva Ring                  +5 VIT, +5 AGI, +30 HP
Ring 2: Jelly Ring                     -5% Physical Damage Taken
Neck: Parrying Torque              +7 Parrying Skill        
Waist: Warwolf Belt                  +5 VIT, DEF: 6
Back: Shadow Mantle               Occasionally Annuls Physical Damage, DEF:15, +20 VIT (Darksday)

This is your "Oh shit." macro for whenever you get fast attacking mobs like Ouryu or Bahamut v2. If you know you are about to take an ass whooping, throw this gear on. It will drastically reduce the amount of physical damage you take, which means two things: First is that you stay alive longer, second is that you lose less enmity per hit you take. The AGI helps with reducing Critical Hits and also helps Parrying, which is extremely valuable when it is capped on NIN. Now I know Shadow Mantle isn't exactly easily attainable, so a good substitute would be Gigant Mantle for the HP it gives. But of course you could always stick to a Cerberus Mantle, as it gives 12 DEF or Boxer's Mantle for the Parrying and Evasion boost.

Evasion

Head: Optical Hat                           +10 Evasion
Body: Scorpion Harness +1             +12 Evasion
Hands: Hanzo Tekko                       +6 Evasion
Legs: Koga Hakama                        +10 Evasion (Nighttime only)
Feet: Dance shoes +1                     +7 Evasion
Ring 1: Sattva Ring                          +5 AGI
Ring 2: Breeze Ring                        +5 AGI
Neck: Evasion Torque                      +7 Evasion Skill
Waist: Scouters Rope                      +10 Evasion, +4 AGI
Back: Boxer's Mantle                       +7 Evasion Skill
Earring 1: Evasion Earring               +3 Evasion Skill
Earring 2: Elusive Earring                +5 Evasion
Range: Ungur Boomerang               +8 Evasion
Weapon: Auster's Staff                   +10 Evasion, +5 AGI

The lost art of evasion tanking. Often underestimated because it hasn't been seen in over 2 years by pretty much anybody. This setup gives a whooping +68 Evasion (+58 during the daytime), +20 Evasion Skill and +19 AGI (Which translates to about 9 evasion and also helps with Parrying and Enemy Criticals). With capped Evasion Skill merits and the above gear, you will have 297 Evasion Skill. Throw on double Mambo and have a RDM use Blind II and you would be surprised what you could evasion tank. If you are tanking something new, tell your BRD to give you double Mambo, tell your RDM to Blind or Blind II the mob and throw on this gear set. If you evade more than 50% of the attacks, I would say stick evasion tanking the mob. You lose no enmity whenever a mob misses you. Not to mention with Haste and another BRD singing double March, your recasts are usually pretty low and you won't need to switch to Enmity/Haste because you aren't getting your shadows ripped apart. But like I said, try using this setup for the first few minutes. If it doesn't work, fall back on Enmity/Haste/Defense setups.

Elemental Resistance

Fire

Head: Black Ribbon                     +12 Fire Resist
Body: Legionarre's Harness           +5 Fire Resist
Hands: Hanzo Tekko                     +6 Fire Resist
Legs: Dino Trousers                      +4 Fire Resist
Feet: Suzaku's Sune-Ate              +50 Fire Resist
Ring 1: Malflame Ring                   +10 Fire Resist
Ring 2: Ruby Ring                         +9 Fire Resist
Neck: Buburimu Gorget                 +10 Fire Resist
Waist: Water Belt                         +20 Fire Resist
Back: Cerberus Mantle                  +10 Fire Resist
Earring 1: Triumph Earring            +11 Fire Resist
Earring 2: Triumph Earring            +11 Fire Resist
Main: Neptune's Staff                    +20 Fire Resist

Total:                                          +178 Fire Resist

Earth

Head: Black Ribbon                        +12 Earth Resist
Body: Beak Jerkin +1                      +7 Earth Resist
Hands: Beak Gloves +1                   +4 Earth Resist
Legs: Beak Trousers +1                   +7 Earth Resist
Feet: Mercenary Kyahan                  +6 Earth Resist
Ring 1: Maldust Ring                       +10 Earth Resist
Ring 2: Topaz Ring                          +9 Earth Resist
Neck: Clay Amulet                           +11 Earth Resist
Waist: Wind Belt                             +20 Earth Resist
Back: Beak Mantle +1                     +7 Earth Resist
Earring 1: Emerald Earring               +10 Earth Resist
Earring 2: Emerald Earring               +10 Earth Resist
Food: Steamed Catfish                     +10 Earth Resist
Main: Auster's Staff                          +20 Earth Resist

Total:                                             +143 Earth Resist

Ice

Head: Black Ribbon                          +12 Ice Resist
Body: Tundra Jerkin                          +7 Ice Resist
Hands: Hailstorm Tekko +1               +12 Ice Resist
Legs: Feral Trousers                          +6 Ice Resist
Feet: Feral Ledesens                         +4 Ice Resist
Ring 1: Malfrost Ring                         +10 Ice Resist
Ring 2: Diamond Ring                        +9 Ice Resist
Neck: Jeweled Collar                          +10 Ice Resist
Waist: Fire Belt                                 +20 Ice Resist
Back: Aurora Mantle +1                     +8 Ice Resist
Earring 1: Triumph Earring                 +11 Ice Resist
Earring 2: Triumph Earring                 +11 Ice Resist
Main: Vulcan's Staff                           +20 Ice Resist

Total:                                             +140 Ice Resist

The heralded Elemental Resistance gear. One of the essentials to being a successful NIN/DRK tank against some mobs. Although it is quite a hassle to carry around such a large amount of gear, let me tell you from experience, it is worth it. Get a Barspell and Carol of the element you want to resist, along with the above mentioned gear and anything based on that elemental is completely void and useless. Everything from Elemental Based TP attacks, to -ga3's, to enfeebles of the element. Resisted out the ass. These resist gear setups are incredibly overpowered for things such as Tiamat or Ouryu, where when they fly, they use attacks solely based on their elemental. Basically that means everything they throw at you does 100 damage or less, usually being on the low end around 15-20 damage. This means two things, first that you don't need cured as much to stay alive, second is that you don't lose a chunk of hate every time you get hit with an elemental attack, which usually are the most lethal had it not be for the resist gear. If you need elemental resist gear for another element, which I don't really think you'll need to, it is not hard to find. The only mob that I have found to be generally bad ass enough to laugh at elemental resistance gear is Bahamut himself. Bahamut (Version 2 only) and Jailer of Love are the sole reason you should have this next set of gear.

Magic Defense Bonus

Ring 1: Merman's Ring               -4% Magic Damage Taken
Ring 2: Merman's Ring               -4% Magic Damage Taken
Earring 1: Merman's Earring       -2% Magic Damage Taken
Earring 2: Merman's Earring       -2% Magic Damage Taken
Waist: Resolute Belt                   +2 Magic Def. Bonus
Back: Resentment Cape             -5% Magic Damage Taken
Range: Lamia Kaman +1            +2 Magic Def. Bonus

To understand the importance of this set, you must first understand the difference between Magic Defense and Elemental Resist. Elemental Resistance gear lowers the chance of you getting hit for full damage by a spell. It's pretty much the Magic Accuracy of the mob against the Resistance of the player. Most mobs have pretty decent Magic Accuracy, but with all the bar/carol/elemental resistance you have, they stand no chance of landing anything effectively. Bahamut on the other hand, is unworldly in many aspects and you guessed it, one of those aspects is Magic Accuracy. Even with all that fire resistance, his Flares will get through unresisted about 70% of the time, leaving you with your thumb up your butt (Not to mention red HP or death). So to combat his magic accuracy, you need Magic Defense and Magic Damage Reduction gear. His Magic Accuracy can do nothing to either of these stats, as they work much like Shell. In fact, all Shell really is is a big Magic Def. Bonus. This gear setup reduces 17% of all magic damage, which when you think about it in terms of Bahamut, is pretty significant. A 1000 damage Megaflare will be reduce to 830 damage. You can use the remaining slots to fit in fire elemental resistance gear for a chance to resist one of his Flares. Jailer of Love is another story. You could effectively use elemental resistance gear on him, but he cycles through every element in the game. It is impossible to fit more than 1 elemental resistance setup in your inventory at a time. So a quick fix and all around defense is Magic Defense Bonus.

Like my previous guide to RDM/NIN tanking, I would like to close the equipment section with a word about Weapons. There are a few choices available. First and foremost being the ever reliable Earth/Terra Staff. This is my weapon of choice over all else. As two handed weapons get a parrying bonus on top of NIN's already incredibly high parrying skill. Not to mention the -20% physical damage taken for times when you get caught with no shadows. You could also go the Hades Sainti route, which I don't really recommend because as I stated earlier, you don't really need any more enmity aside from the gear I listed. Some might even use the Tutelary/Imanotsuragi path for the HP, defense and enmity. Again, I don't really commend it, as you don't really need the HP and enmity over what Earth Staff has to offer.

Tips:

- Capped Parrying skill is extremely beneficial. Make sure you ALWAYS engage the enemy you are fighting. Parrying does not proc otherwise.
- Your hate cycle should be similar to: Stun > Kurayami: Ni > Hojo: Ni > Sleep > Bind. By the time you finish Bind, Stun will be up.
- Always have at least 2 stacks of shihei ready to be used. When you solo tank, you will rip through them and be out before you know it. If you get caught with "You do not have the tools to cast Utsusemi", you are gonna get hurt.
- You will blink gear...A LOT. Have your WHM's or healers make /ma "Cure V" <tank> macro's for sticky situations where you are in the middle of blinking gear with low HP.
- Don't forget to use the /DRK sub abilities, as they generate decent amounts of hate.
- Anticipate attacks and don't count on enemies missing unless you are using Evasion Gear.

Conclusion: Through experience, I believe a well geared, NIN/DRK with a decent amount of experience may be the best tank for low number and maybe even normal number situations. It is probably my favorite tanking job even though I don't use it often. Honestly, a good RDM/NIN against a good NIN/DRK, I don't know who would win. All I know is that NIN/DRK with the right gear and skill can be a solo tanking genius.