Thief, FFXI, and other unimportant matters

Shamaya, Asura

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Gearing for WS
Mamimi
shamayaasura
So, for some of the people that check here, they'll think "finally", and maybe wonder why I've never written any advice/math on gearing WS's before.  I've had a couple replies, and a bunch of PM's and /tell's asking how to gear for thief WS's, or if the hardened-out SA/TA numbers could be applied to WS's.  My answer to that is--absolutely, they cannot.

WS is an entirely different ballgame than unstacked SA/TA. And the reason I haven't written anything in particular on it was because I didn't feel much need. Comparing WS math to weapon comparisons and the SA/TA thing and even TP builds is like comparing pre-algebra to calculus.  Well, I've never used calculus in FFXI, God forbid. Thankfully, cuz I'm not that good at math; only at reason.  If anyone wants to really badly know how to gear for a particular WS, either in general or according to the gear they (can) have available, my advice is to go to the forums. If it's about thief, these forums will get the job done. If it's another job, I'd go to BG's random question thread because I can't vouch for the quality of other job forums. Since the WS math is easy, a forum vet can nip up your question and get you a good answer. That's kind of why I've avoided such things here.

But, since I've been asked to before, I'll go ahead and post something anyway. Unfortunately, I don't have the time to create stat-by-stat or gear-by-gear comparisons like I did with the SA/TA post. Instead, I'm going to give general advice, twofold: 

(1)When to use a certain WS over another one
(2)How to gear for that WS

I'm not sure if parts of this might sound strange, because I wrote this as a PM response to someone; It wasn't intended as a guide. But in the name of efficiency and laziness, I will copypasta.



In some cases, it's better to get your gear together and then work what you do around that. But definitely in this case, concerning WS's, what ya gotta do first is choose your WS and /then/ build your set around that.

How do you choose your WS? Based on the situation.
Here are 3 different example situations:
-Greater Colibri merit party
-MMM Boss
-Genbu

MMM bosses have higher defense and evasion than a Greater Colibri. Genbu has higher defense and evasion than most of those bosses, I think.
Generally here's what you want to use,
-TW/EP/DC/EM -> Dancing Edge
-T/VT/IT -> Dancing Edge or Evisceration
-IT+/IT++/StrongNM's -> Shark Bite
-Very Strong NM's -> Mandalic Stab

The reason for this is the following. TW->EM mobs, your crit rate is probably very high or capped, but the enemy's defense is not particularly strong in comparison to your attack. When this is the case, crits aren't as important for dmg, and Dancing Edge has a decisive advantage over Evisceration (this could change with CritDmg+ equip). In addition, accuracy isn't a problem on these mobs, so multi-hit WS's are very good.

As you get into T->IT range, mobs start having more defense. Your crit rate starts to be lower, but in order to make evisceration good, you need to have a good evisceration set with lots of dex while also still having accuracy. With such a good set, your crit should be capped on these mobs, or at least close (close isn't good enough if you can help it). Since these mobs have higher defense, crits do more damage relative to normal hits. And evisceration (either with X's or the new crit trait) can become better than DE.

If your mobs are seriously evasive but don't have overwhelming amounts of defense, it's time to change out of the multi-hits. Shark Bite is almost always stronger than Mandalic Stab. You'll want to use that here. Examples of such mobs are Greater Colibri when you are not using crab sushi or don't have a madrigal or hunter's roll. You should have either of these though. But if you don't, I recall SB doing better than DE. Another example would be Mamool Ja Lurker (thf), maybe Infiltrator (nin). Such mobs. You'll know them when you encounter them, even out of a merit party, based on your hit rate and such.

Once you get to fighting really evasive and really high defense mobs (Genbu, Dark Ixion, Jailer of Love, etc), Mandalic Stab becomes the best. SB and Mandalic are great because when you have low accuracy, it doesn't matter because sa/ta gaurantee the first /two/ hits when dual-wielding and the first hit when single-wielding. But the reason Mandalic Stab excells on very high defense mobs is because it increases your attack value. If the mobs defense is high enough, shark bites extra hit and stat mods will not be as important as this attack boost.

Ok, I've chosen my WS. What stats should I focus on.. ?
After knowing when to use which WS, it helps to know how to gear them. For dancing edge, a variety of stats are important. Dex, acc, attack, str. Chr is important but there are almost no good pieces with chr on them. Agi is not very good for TA+DE, but the AF+1 gloves (which enhance total agi%) are still the best hands you can wear for this. Generally aim for a lot of dex. But there's a balance between how much dex to choose over attack. You should not use an AF2 cape (4dex, 4agi) over an AmemetMantle+1. I can't really say how much dex = how much attack. Perhaps most important of all, you have to make sure you have enough accuracy to hit your target consistently. Aim for close to capped acc.

For Evisceration it's imperative that you cap crit or else it's not worth it. So you must stack dex at all costs. Accuracy is also crucial. And you might want to sprinkle in a bit of attack/str if there's room.

For SB, you want to stack as much Dex as possible. Don't worry at all about accuracy. Then, stack as much attack as possible. Str is not important. Str is more important for the multi-hit WS's. Agi is also good, but it is hard to say when a agi piece is good enough to use over an alternative. I rarely use SB anymore because of mercy stroke, so some of the thieves a the thf forums would probably be able to help with gearing SB better than I.

I have Mandalic Stab, but I've never used it and don't have a lot of experience analyzing it. But I believe you want to stack as much dex as possible for SA+MS obviously. However for TA+MS, it seems that Agi actually is better than all of the other stats. And then dex after that. Then a sprinkling of attack if you have room. Str unimportant. Acc not impt at all. I wonder if on some targets, going with attack instead of dex is better (Jailer of Love has ridiculous def). But most veteran thieves that use it seem to feel that because of the attack boost it has, additional attack is unimportant because it will do less.

One last thing. It's not just about gear. It's about style.
So, know when to use each WS, and how to gear each WS.
The general style for IT++ fights is to never WS without SA/TA. The major exception is if you have feint up, and the enemy doesn't have ridiculous defense, you'll be fine to use a multi-hit WS without SA/TA.

For most "burn style" fights as I call them, with mobs that are of similar level and go down as fast as merit mobs, you want to have a different style. Your style should be to essentially WS whenever you have 100% TP, with or without SA/TA. And SA/TA when your timers hit 0, with or without a WS attached. Generally, if you get 100TP and your sa/ta timer is 5 seconds away (10 is pushing it), you are better off waiting and stacking the WS. If your JA hits 0 and your TP is almost at 100; Say 80-90, you might be better off stacking. Gotta use your own judgment, really. Good judgment when using this style is one of the fundamental things that separates a good DD thief from a bad one.
Of course, this doesn't so much apply if you have a Mandau.



Some Final things to remember:
-These recommendations do not apply to using SA/TA without a WS
-The SA/TA math does not apply here
-This includes haste/slow. Don't worry about these stats when you WS; they have no effect.
-If I mentioned 'agi' above, I was only talking about TA+WS.

Personal Updates
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-Starcraft 2 ownz.
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-I'm level 80 and stuffz. Exp alliances are.. sexy. Picking new dagger combos is hard. New, low-mannable content makes me feel <3 and ヽ(´ー`)ノ.


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Question #1: you mention "The general style for IT++ fights is to never WS without SA/TA." Are you suggesting we stack both SA and TA for every WS, or pick and choose based on circumstances and solo the other job ability? The latter option seems more reasonable to me simply because of flexibility in positioning.

Question #2: you may or may not have noticed I have a guide on ffxiwiki under the THF page. You may or may not have noticed I practically cribbed all of your suggestions from this and other posts of yours. You may or may not have noticed the e-mail I sent before writing the guide asking if you were OK with this. So... do you care? If you do, is there something you would like me to do in the guide to attribute you more?

Thanks!

He's referring to splitting up your SA and TA, you of course could stack, but he means never use a weapon skill without using either Sa, Ta or both on an IT++ mob.

Yeah, as lights said, I don't mean that you shouldn't SA/TA without a WS. After all, your TP could take a minute to build up depending on the enemy and how many (or few) buffs you have on you. So you could always SA and then save up for a TA+WS, and repeat that for example. However, I wouldn't really WS without SA/TA if you can avoid it. If you were to fight a Mamool Ja Lurker at level 75 without madrigals, and do an unstacked DE, you're probably going to miss a bunch of hits and the DMG won't be stellar. Obviously unstacked SB or MS are big no-no's. By IT++ I mean a mob that would check "high evasion and defense" even in your best TP equipment, possibly even after you've eaten food. That would indicate that your WS will do very mediocre dmg unstacked.
Of course there are always exceptions. I was tanking the Thew Bomblet NM recently and there was nobody to SA/TA, so I had to do unstacked DE's for like 400dmg, even with just about the best possible equip (though in reality there is a lot of high-acc, high-atk, low WSC mod equipment that has come out recently, which would probably be great to use in such situations). However if I wasn't in danger of killing the Drg/Whm with me, I would prefer to TA+WS him as much as possible. So yeah, there is of course room for flexibility with using WS, but as you said, there is especially room for SA/TA flexibility.

Also that is a really nice guide. Yeah I don't mind at all, you can take whatever info you want. Very considerate of you to e-mail and let me know; TBH I hardly check that e-mail address anymore so I never got it. You've reminded me that I need to do that ^^;. You've also given me the idea that I should probably use Wiki guides to help me understand/gear my new Cor80 & Blm80, since I just abyssea burned them and have never actually geared them or had them in a real party since the 30's.

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