28 July, 2009

BLM solo in Xarcabard [S]- a.k.a. "1400 damage or GTFO!"

New personal record: Chain #41!

Okay, I know the actual picture says Chain #40, but I but forgot to take a screenshot of the Chain #41 kill. Of course, I finally got a resist on the next tiger and lost the chain there without a screenshot of that new personal record. Go figure. -_-

As you might be able to tell, I've been obsessing over this camp as of late. Not because the camp is good, although that certainly helps, but because this camp just feels like it has so much potential.

The actual meriting process is very simple- walk up to a Gigas’ Tiger and nuke. Parsimony whenever it is up, saving the other charge for Alacrity in case of emergencies. Rest for one or two ticks, depending on how far your next mob is, before continuing.

So, just how good is this camp? Tigers here are level 75-76, which is 100-130 base xp, which goes up to 150-195xp/kill once you're past Chain #4, or an average of 172.5xp/kill.

So, if you kill one mob every minute, your xp/hr will be about 172.5 x 60 minutes = 10,350xp/hr. Not too bad.

But in reality, I was killing one tiger every 50 seconds on average. 3600 seconds/50 seconds per kill = 72 kills = 172.5 x 72 = 12,420xp/hr!

So this camp is very, very good. You want in. So, what do I need?

Minimum standards

The entire camp revolves around being able to one-shot a Gigas's Tiger. This creates a very interesting bar to entry and I am very curious if the development team actually took this into consideration (though I think that’s giving them too much credit).

I think I’ve shown by now that this camp surpasses Puddings in terms of xp/hr, but note that is only applies to Black Mages that meet the minimum standard, so here it is:

The minimum standard: To deal 1400 damage on an unresisted nuke consistently.

If you cannot do this, your xp/hr rate literally plummets to the point where you would probably be better off sticking to Ebony Puddings. This number is a lot easier to meet with frequent ice weather and day bonuses, but such things are inconsistent- to truly benefit from this camp, you would want to be able to come here at any time.

Why one-shot? The obvious reason why is that two nukes obviously take longer to fire off, especially if you need to Bind or Sleep in the middle.

Secondly, one common speed bump in pet camps is that you have to wait for the mob to turn its back to you, or navigate your way around the camp until you are behind the mob so that the master does not see its pet coming after you.

However, if you can one-shot the pet, you can nuke from any direction because the master will not link with a dead pet.

Together, those two reasons result in immense time savings, which become invaluable when you need to meet the 60-second time limit for everything beyond Chain #5 and still rest sufficient mana to continue the chain.

To give the reader just what kind of standard is required, this is my current nuking set for neutral day/weather:

As a Taru with full Elemental skill merits and full INT merits, I nuke with 133INT and +29MAB in gear. I also have maximum Lightning potency merits.

Yet, my neutral Thunder IVs land for just 1369 damage, off my estimated minimum requirement by 31 damage, so I still have to wait for Ice/Lightningsday to come around before I can merit in this camp! >_<

For BLMs who would like something more familiar to compare against, I use the same gear setup, to nuke Ebony Puddings with a /RDM subjob for 1515 damage without food, 1540 damage with.


Today, /RDM has become the default subjob of choice for Black Mages everywhere, and it's not difficult to see why. Here's what you get from /RDM:
  • Fast Cast II
  • Dispel
  • Gravity
  • Phalanx
  • Stoneskin
  • Blink
Of these, the most valuable are Stoneskin, Blink and Gravity. These are all defensive in nature, and provide Black Mage with the survivability required to function effectively.

However, if you can one-shot pets, there is no need for defense!

Your concern shifts from survivability to one wholly focused on pure mana conservation, which is where /SCH shines. This is what /SCH has to offer:
  • -10% mp costs through Dark Arts.
  • -10% cast time and recast time.
  • -50% mp cost through Parsimony (using one charge.)
  • -50% cast time through Alacrity (using one charge.)
You are most interested in the mana conservation through Dark Arts and Parsimony, whose effects add up immensely:

Let's say that with a cooldown of two minutes, you would Parsimony every third nuke. Thunder IV costs 154mp under Dark Arts, and 77mp under Parsimony.

Thus, you consume 385mp in total for every set of three nukes, in the following cycle:

Thunder IV → Rest two ticks → Thunder IV → Rest two ticks → Parsimony → Thunder IV → Rest two ticks → Repeat.

With Clear Mind V and +24hMP in my healing set, I get back 51mp on the first tick, and 54mp on the second tick for a total of 105mp restored through resting in between nukes, for a total of 315mp restored through healing per cycle.

If I nuke every 50 seconds, the whole cycle will take 2:30. With 1mp restored every three seconds from Sigil, Sigil restores 50mp in that time.

Thus, the total mana restored per cycle is 365mp.

Therefore, you have a net mana consumption of just 20mp every three nukes!

Camp orientation

Now that I've talked a little bit about the mechanics of the camp, one important final part is actual knowledge of the camp and its surroundings. First, you will never stay at one stationary spot. You will keep moving around, depending on several factors.

In total, I counted five Gigas Floggers in the area. One of them is to the far west, the other towards the eastern tundra. The other three are all clustered very close to each other in the center, and it is these three that you want to focus on.

However, you only need two Beastmasters to recur, so a good idea would be to just alternate between the two Beastmasters until one of them moves into an unfavourable location.

I'll be frank- this camp is very mentally taxing. Because you are /SCH, you have very little defense should something go wrong, other than perhaps Alacrity-Sleepga. Once you reach Chain #5 and above, pressure is constantly on you to keep the chain, which means you have to be able to answer the following questions quickly:
  • Where is your next tiger? How far is it?
  • Do I have to stand up early to get to the tiger in time?
  • Where are the surrounding Gigas?
  • Where are the Greater Amphipteres?
  • How close should I stand when I nuke to avoid the pet moving out of range mid-cast?
  • How far should I stand when I nuke to avoid aggro from the beastmaster?
As a rough gauge, if you have the Distance plugin on the unofficial Windower, a player character moves at a base speed of 4.0 yalms per second, so you can use that to decide whether you should stand up early to move to your next tiger.


It’s still a bit of a bummer that so far, my chain is completely dependent on not getting resisted. Theoretically, you can still keep the chain by timing an Alacrity-Tier III nuke in between tiger swings, but there are two problems to this.

One is more focused on player skill. Because resists are so unexpected, when they do occur, I find myself in a sudden state of panic even though I planned for such contingencies. With experience, I ought to be able to react accordingly and maintain a smooth flow.

The other, bigger issue is that if you nuked the pet in front of the beastmaster and your nuke was resisted, the beastmaster will see the pet and link, thus ending your chain even though you manage to kill the pet in time.

Yes, you could maneuver around the beastmaster to set yourself up for an ideal nuking spot, but if you focus too much on that, you forgo one large benefit of being able to one-shot pets. All I can say is that at least the Xarcabard [S] camp here has the benefit of choice, and with multiple Gigas Floggers around, at least you have the luxury of picking and choosing from the tigers available.

If, unfortunately you're forced into one particular tiger and you get resisted, well, that's life Final Fantasy XI. Just Sleepga, finish off the pet, curse, Retrace, and come back to start anew. :(


Anonymous said...

How do you have 137 INT? Is this when using food and HQ ice staff for iceday? or am I missing something else?

Anonymous said...

Oh I forgot to add thanks for the camp info.

Tuufless said...

Whoops, I accidentally saw my gear when wearing two INT rings, instead of Tamas + Sorcerer's.

The correct INT value should be 133.

Base INT (/SCH): 80
Merits: 5
Cream Puff: 7
Bugard strap +1: 1
Phantom Tathlum: 2
Wzd Petasos +1: 5
Prudence torque: 5
Abyssal Earring: 2
Tamas Ring: 5
Prism Cape: 4
Sorc. Belt: 6
Mahatma Slops: 8
Yigit Crack: 3

Anonymous said...

I could one shot these as SCH/RDM (115INT, 31MAB, 4Stormsurge, Ebullience). I hit 1398 a couple times (natural dark weather+iceday?), which isn't quite enough for the tougher tigers. I try to keep myself in Uggy Pendant range to avoid dipping below 1400. Hit 1669 with double ice weather+iceday and Uggy latent.

This is pretty much a solo only camp. Tried duoing this with a BLM and the exp split just wasn't enough, but it does make the camp a little less stressful.

They seriously need to fix that outpost. Had that damn dragon land on top of me last night, barely 5 feet from the C.A. Got imp agro just a few feet west of the C.A. The only saving grace of the camp is that it is on a hill. If the terrain were flat, you would be getting gigas agro, too.

Tuufless said...

The problem with SCH solo'ing here is that you really don't want to rely on Ebullience to have to one-shot the tigers.

You would still be using charges faster than you replenish them if you kill a tiger every 50 seconds, which means that you won't be able to Ebullience every nuke in the long run, and also gives you no room for Parsimony, unfortunately.

It's still a decent camp for SCH though- I solo'ed my SCH72-74 here with a Chain #9 in the process.

Anonymous said...

After upgrading my SCH gear, I was able to overkill the tigers without Ebullience on Iceday with natural ice weather plus my own 5/5 Stormsurge Hailstorm. On a neutral day with Hailstorm and Ebullience, Blizzard IV deals 1399 damage, which is just short. That's 70+3+40 INT (hume) and 20+23 MAB (Aquilo's and sea obi). An extra INT merit or eating cheap INT food would push me over 1400.

Tuufless said...

Nice! :D Only problem though, after a bit more toying around, I placed the Lv76 Tiger's HP to be between 1404-1408 hp instead, so it's just a _wee_ bit harder than I previously thought. :P

As always though, the problem is trying to make this camp work for you regardless of the day/weather, even though Ice weather's so frequent up there.

Anonymous said...

On days other then iceday/thunderday you can strtill solo decent exp on blm/sch with parsimony and 3-4 seperate am2, I sometimes even pop sublimation and do chain3 without rest. Expect chain9-10, -Masa[siren]