I know it has been a while since my last actual content post, but I have simply been busy enjoying the game and with real life. Hopefully, this doesn't deter anyone from coming to this blog to checkout ideas and express opinions.
Disclaimer: This post shall serve as my take on endgame Paladin in FFXIV: ARR. The content will stretch between things every Paladin must do and what I personally do to maximize -my- play. Anytime you are playing an MMO it comes down to the method you are comfortable with doing things while still fulfilling your role (an example being a LOT of healers I know love mouseover macros, some healers don't, it comes down to personal preference and their ability to use mouseover skills without error).
Keyboard and Mouse
Starting with the bars I use for every class;
Bar 3, the only things raid relevant here are the potions, ethers, and antidotes, obviously useful for sparse situations but worth having.
Bar 7, Job changes followed by my town PLD gear and my DPS PLD gear (lulz).
1-5 easily accessible, abilities you should be using the most.
6 a bit of a stretch for my hands so it is nice for my mount as I use ~ for another feature.
ZXCVFR looking at the keyboard this is a nice wrap around the movement keys WASDQE, a lot of people will also replace QE strafing for other things, while I use these keys very seldom as I tend to mix between mouse and keyboard movement, or a hybrid there of, I just leave them be mostly out of my own muscle memory.
I use a shift modifier for this row, other than that the explanations are the same, in WoW I also used an alt modifier for a third row of abilities; however, that isn't good for healing in that game because using ALT+ a heal will cast it on yourself, thus I have weened off that configuration.
Cross hotbar (Controller)
I've actually been playing quite a bit on PS3, it's relaxing and great for doing easy content. For the time being, I am using 3 cross hotbar pages for Paladin, and one of those is just my general bar.
Please note I used the "Mixed" mode for the triggers, meaning I can just tap R2/L2 to lock the bar or hold them for any time greater than 1 seconds so that they disappear when I release. It just means I get to lock the bar I am using without having to double tap it to close it so long as I hold for 1 second or more (great for mounting or getting to menus).
Pretty simple, I tap R2 and then have access to most of Paladin's direct damage skills, Halone combo easy to get to, Shield Swipe on same side since it is one of your most valuable abilities (will go over this later), on the other side we have the abilities we use for hate or interrupting.
This is what I was using for speed run situations, if you notice the right side, it has Sprint, defensive CDs, and hate grabbing tools. The left Side is for overflow abilities to use during training mobs and the stances to swap between.
Just what I use to access menus, travel, and pull out my battleboco.
While I don't claim to maximize the Cross Hotbar system, these set ups let me do any content I could want while leisurely sitting on my couch in the evening. And yes, these are PC pictures; however, I always opt for KB/M on PC.
Fast Blade > Savage Blade > Rage of Halone
The enmity combo, pretty self explanatory, very nice that we have a STR down debuff on rage of Halone but I wish we had a combo to put slashing debuff on mobs like Warrior. Really nothing else to say, this is your bread and butter.
Fast Blade > Riot Blade
Honestly, I don't even use it enough anymore to keep Riot Blade on my Bars (it actually isn't on my Cross Hotbar setup). Restores a bit of MP, but we shouldn't ever MP floor unless we are picking up an ungodly amount of adds with Flash.
This is an ability that many Paladins don't seem to be aware of and this makes me incredibly sad since it is the KEY to having TP over the long course of a fight. Shield Swipe is on the GCD, decent potency, a pacification effect (stops skills from being used), and USES 40 TP. Oh, and not to mention that it doesn't disrupt your Rage of Halone combo and you can easily fit in 2 Shield Swipes before the combo will timeout. This ability is the only thing that keeps Paladin off the TP Floor during long fights or when they have to stun repeatedly. I can NOT stress its importance enough.
Minimal AOE threat per cast. A lot of Paladins are using this after Circle of Scorn to watch the timer and make sure they always get the full duration. A lot of Paladins seem to forget this is a blind that hits pretty much any mob or boss. Use it as such, it is part of your mitigation. For trash pulls, 3 of these or so at the start will give solid hate as long as you are using your off the GCD abilities on the primary target so the DPS don't take hate. Use at regular intervals to make sure healers don't taste dirt if you cant cycle the Rage of Halone skill on the secondary mobs while killing the primary (will discuss more later).
Provoke and Shield Lob
Threat at a distance. Provoke puts you at highest enmity+1, literally, +1, not 10%, not even 1%, just 1. Luckily Provoke is off the GCD so a quick Shield Lob for ranged threat and you are good!
If you aren't saving this for silence then use it on CD, it is off the GCD, free damage and threat. If you know you aren't going to be topped off soon just blow it anyways, delaying the ability to wait for health for max potency isnt worth losing a use or two of this ability through the course of a long fight.
Circle of Scorn
AOE hit and a DOT. Also off the GCD, I usually weave it in as soon as I can.
Not going to bother going into these (except 1) in detail as they are pretty self explanatory and I am sure you have read about them a hundred times already.
As I discussed Shield Swipe earlier we now have a secodary use for Bulwark. Use this ability when you are low on TP and wish to refill a bit.
Cross Class Skills
Ok, first off, CURE. IS. BAD. Thre I've said it. Your measly 200-250 cures are a waste of MP and not going to save you. Now, STONESKIN. IS. GOOD. Unlike Cure, Stoneskin scales with your gear and level. Get that Conjurer up to 34 and learn this ability, creating a 500-580 shield on yourself can really alleviate the healer's worry on some big fights. Use Stoneskin whenever you can't be attack the boss or the extra boost could save your ass.
Foresight is not what you think it is (this applies to probably 80% or more of people), read it again, it is not Rampart for Warriors. Foresight increases DEFENSE by 20%, it is not a 20% reduction in damage taken. This greatly deflates the abilities value but really, we don't have a lot to choose from. I will pair Foresight with Bulwark a lot of the time in order to pretend they are both actually a cooldown.
Fracture is a DPS gain for Paladin, I don't currently have it on my bars but admittedly should.
Bloodbath not a cooldown I would use to save myself from death, but a little bit of damage helps, especially paired with Flight or Flight.
Raise and Protect are things I use when doing DF dungeons, Raise was nice in case healer got aggro but insta casted a rez on you before death. Both have minimal uses in parties.
Skull Sunder no.
Mercy Stroke an off the GCD move that heals you if you get the killshot. Not great, not awful, useful for maximizing DPS if that is a concern. (When I have it equipped it replaces Riot Blade on my bar.)
VIT, maximize it. If you are thinking, "but Ventus, I never die, I could go STR and help do more damage!" Yes, you are right, but if you are thinking this you are obviously not in The Binding Coil of Bahamut. I will concede it might be worth sacrificing a VERY small amount of VIT if it will hit a new parry/block mitigation tier by getting some STR.
STR, second primary stat. More damage (threat) and the Parry/Block Mitigation amounts. Feel free to gear for it in accessories if you are overgearing the content, do NOT switch out your primary armor pieces though as you will lose DEF/MDEF and probably be a significant strain on the healers.
DEX, Shield Block Rate seems to work a lot like Evasion in FFXI. Think of the Block Rate listed on your shield as the size of your drinking glass and DEX as the amount of water you put in that glass. Once that glass is full then adding more water does nothing. Additionally, I am at a loss to find the link, but it appears that you get enough natural DEX to max or almost max your shield block rate. lolcritrate people.
MND, Cure potency! This isn't WoW. No.
INT, Who needs to be smart when you are valorous? No.
PIE, Riot Blade (lolcontradictions).
Parry Comes on a lot of tank gear, not sure if it reduces your Block Rate by having more or if they do not interact with one another.
Accuracy I have never seen a miss on a Primal or anything I have noticed in Coil. I don't know if we just get too much of this or we have enough naturally. I see no use for it myself.
Determination I don't know how the rumor started that it effect the damage you take. It doesn't. This boosts our damage/threat at a minimal outcome but we don't have a lot of choice in tank stats.
Skill Speed I don't mind that, proper play and Shield Swipe should keep us off TP Floor. Don't materia for it or anything, but it isn't shit other than the low low point to percentage ratio.
Crit My favorite stat after Parry. Our best DPS/threat increase.
Spell Speed More Flashes and Cures DAWG! No.
Opening Combat Against a Single Target
This is how I open combat against something like a Primal or other boss or even a single trash mob like the Dullahans in AK.
1. Pre-pop Fight or Flight
2. Shield Lob
3. Spirits Within if in Range
4. Fast Blade
5. Circle of Scorn if Spirits Within was used
6. Savage Blade
7. Blow Defensive CD if deemed necessary
8. Rage of Halone
Now, please not that 1, 3, 5, and 7 are all OFF the GCD. So I have just gotten in 8 abilities in 4 GCDs or roughly 10 seconds. Yay optimization! This set will get you solid initial threat on top of having your DPS CD started, your off the GCD skills recharging, and the option to pop a Sentinel/Rampart/whatever if your healers are sluggish.
Opening Combat Against Multiple Targets
Now this can vary depends on a couple factors: speed of the mobs, layout of the room/space you are in, special mechanics (like the gargoyle spawns in AK delaying/being triggered), etc.
Generally I will open and go through the fight as such:
1. Pre-pop Fight or Flight
2. Shield Lob 1 mob if I am pulling them back or running in and Flashing
3. Spirits Within if only 1 mob is near, Circle of Skorn if mobs are stacked
5. SW main target if I used CoS prior, CoS if I used SW prior
7. Possibly Off GCD Defensive CD
8. Fast Blade main target
9. Savage Blade main target
10. Rage of Halone non-main target
The key here is in step 10, you want to Rage of Halone the non main targets in order to lock thread down on them hard. Fast Blade > Savage blade on top of your already SW, CoS, and Flashes should not allow DPS to pull threat off you unless they were doing something silly like a BLM prenuking on pull.
This is not intended as a rant on the Paladin master race or mudslinging on Warriors. I am going to explain the patterns I have seen and then my reasonings for them.
The Difference Been the Two Tanks
Let me show you some math that shows, as far as Effective Health is concerned (disregarding Parry and Block!), Warrior and Paladin are on equal footing to start with.
Defiance, +25% HP. -0% Damage Received.
Shield Oath, +0% HP, -20% Damage Received.
Conclusion: Assuming that no blocks, parries, dodges, or misses occur, no cooldowns used, and that both have the same Defense Value, then a Paladin or a Warrior can take the exact same amount of damage before dying because they have the same effective heatlh.
Avoidance: Paladin and Warrior both get Parry from Gear, Dodge and Miss naturally depending on blinds etc. We can Disregard these.
Mitigation: Paladins have a Shield, Warriors have Self-Healing. In an Ideal world Warriors would heal a little more than we block, I will explain why we want them to do it more in a bit. A Paladin with Relic Shield seems to have a respectable block rate and 26-28% reduction depending on his STR, Warriors do not mitigate this much through constant healing. Notably, Warriors should be setting at maximum Wrath for the 10% crit and 15% healing helping balance them a bit.
The Big Problem, Cooldowns: As we went over previously Foresight is pretty shit, Bloodbath is better on Warrior than Paladin but still not a good "oh shit" button. Warriors have The Thrill of Battle (+20% HP, 10s) and Infuriate (Max Wrath Stacks). Infuriate essentially lets you use a Wrath-Spender (usually Inner Beast for a nice heal) and instantly have your +15% healing buff again. Match these up against Paladin (Rampart, Convalescence, Sentinel, Bulwark, Foresight, Tempured Will, lolAwareness, and of course Hallowed Ground) and Warrior is just going to be taking pretty much full damage all the time where a Paladin can Rotate Cooldowns for a good couple minutes of solid mitigation boosting.
Not Done Yet: The problem isn't over yet folks. We have to consider the healers. Now, mana can be made a non-issue depending on group setup of course, and it should be obvious that Paladins take less damage so they require less healing to be topped off, so what are we really looking at here? The Global Cooldown. The GCD is a limiting factor on the throughput for healers. Warriors, despite their +15% heals taken are going to need a little less than 25% more healing that Paladins. This means it is a lot easier for the Warrior to get whittled down or float at a lower HP point and get killed by an ability+autoattack combo than a Paladin would.
Paladins are the superior tank for Coil content and probably raid content once it is released (although 1 Warrior will be necessary for slash debuff). Paladins take less damage, require less healer resources (mana and GCD), and have cooldowns that Warriors seriously need in order to be effective.
Shield Oath, Sword Oath, and the Enmity Problem
Me and a few Company Mates/Friends have been trying to figure out how much enmity Shield Oath actually provides. This has led to a lot of confusion and headaches, so I am just going to present the data we have; however, before that, I want to dispel a serious problem with a table on http://valk.dancing-mad.com/?page_id=231.
Let me show you the Table I have an issue with:
First off, the above table has some problem because it isn't explaining the whole picture.
So you're a Paladin in Shield Oath, cool, -20% damage given/taken and according to this table x2 enmity. Let's first realize something as a community about the potency of your skills.
Looking at this table you would think:
Rage of Halone (in combo) is awesome, it is 260 potency x5 enmity from the skill (this has been verified) and woot x2 enmity from Shield Oath. That should be 2600 potencies worth of enmity for that single skill, 4100 for the full combo.
There is a fundamental flaw here that the above table does not account for and that I think people have just missed. You have a -20% damage dealth penalty on, this effectlive limits your potency buff considerably.
For the same of ease let us consider a 100 potency attack, and we will play with the idea that Shield Oath actually gives x2 enmity.
100 potency *0.8 *2 = 160 potency
So, going from no buff to Shield Oath does NOT give you 200 potency worth of threat, it only gives you 160 potency worth of threat because of the damage nerf.
This is why DPS can actually keep up with tanks on threat from a potency standpoint. Now on to the Main Show, Shield Oath testing...
Above you will find myself and Taggerung Jaskarath, on of our tanks in <RELIC>, he is wearing a 4 str ring to match my STR. These tests have also been performed with Jahaudant Rivea who is the same race/side as me.
As you can see by the buffs I have no stance and Tagg is in Shield Oath (decreasing the potency of his Flash by 20%) and look at that, I have more threat than him. Quite interesting.
Tested again, and again, and again. This was really quite interesting for us. We both have Curtana+1 and HS+1, we even upped his VIT with accessories to see if that had any bearing (it didn't).
So we thought, maybe the enmity bonus works on actual damaging attacks, let's do Shield Lob so the monster does not get auto attacked.
Oh look, different ability, same story. And we tested again, and again, and again... Next, we thought let's try Spirits Within since it does more damage, but we had to try several times so no one auto attacked to give accurate readings. Our first few have Autoattack hits because we had to figure out how to get the attack off without it triggering (a weird movement plus timing on SW).
This attempt shows the auto attack and the SW damage, notice the threat:
So why not just test auto attack?
So, we wanted to get a baseline (no buffs on) to check and see what was up. Note that almost all our stats are identical or the are a 1% difference (same determination, same STR, etc), so it is useless that things that small are making this large a difference, a 1% difference in STR (we always both had equivalent STR to this point). Here is what our baseline showed us:
Look at these 2 closely.
I even have more hate when I do less damage.
At this point all we could say is What The Fuck.
Again, we have the same STR, determination, attack potency, magic potency, same weapon, same shield. We can NOT figure this out. Our only real difference is that Azemya is my god and Halone is his, oh and his race. Maybe Male Miqo'te are just hated more by everyone...
So, to continue testing we pumped up Tagg's STR with accessories...
In the above photo Tagg is at 55 STR to my 234 and we take pretty much the exact same threat. So now we have the same baseline, let's try Shield Oath!
In the above picture we had Tagg wait a moment in order to see the change in enmity. I take the hit because of this delay, but as you can see in the party window, Tagg has hate, just just a little bit. So we went back to flash, the no damage potency trial.
Oh, pretty much the same difference in threat as the Shield Lob test.
Please note we did switch it up between either of us Shield Lobbing first, Flashing first, who had Shield Oath on. I realize most of these pictures show Tagg with Shield Oath on, they were just the ones that came out best, and additionally, if he had Shield Oath, should I have EVER beaten him on any threat test? My answer is no.
Conclusions on Enmity, Shield Oath, and Sword Oath
Unless I am missing something obvious it seems Square Enix has seen fit to give people hidden enmity values. I don't know if this is based on race, god choice, RNG, whatever, but with near identical stats accross the whole board I pull a considerable amount of threat more than Tagg does. We had to pump him to 21 STR higher than my base just so he got a little more enmity from Flash and Shield Lob than myself.
Eyeballing is never a good method of measure, but it unfortunately all we have with that threat meter SE has given us. When our baseline matched (me at 234 STR, tagg at 255 STR) we were able to see that Shield Oath DID in fact provide additional threat over no buff; however, it is not even close to being double. The flash test is good for this since it does no damage; however, I suspect it might have a damage range similar to any skill that actually does damage.
Take time, look at the numbers and the threat levels on the above screenshots. Shield Oath or Enmity in general is BROKEN and needs to be addressed very soon.
We did test Sword Oath; however, it seems to have no effect on enmity other than the bonus autoattack damage.
Summary or TL;DNR
Setting up your Hotkeys/Keybinds or Cross Hotbar is paramount in order to maximize your individual effectiveness as a tank.
We went over different skills sans Defensive Cooldowns.
We went over how to get great threat against single and multiple target pulls and maintain it.
Warriors need work, badly!
Enmity is broken as hell.
The threat table posted on http://valk.dancing-mad.com/?page_id=231 is misleading as fuck.
Shield Oath is no where near double enmity, maybe +50% at the absolutely seeable maximum from my testing.
Still use Shield Oath for -20% damage taken in hard content, Sword Oath if you overgear or need DPS.
I hope this post revitalizes interest in this blog and helps the level of knowledge in our community grow, as well as helps out anyone who can find something to learn from in here.
IF I have made a giant mistake in my theorycrafting on Enmity and Shield Oath CALL ME OUT. If you can find an error here it would make me feel better, because that would mean that SE are not complete fuckups.
<RELIC> of Sargatanas
P.S. If you are a hardcore experienced player looking for a FC with a more casual raid schedule check out my FC <RELIC> relicfc.guildwork.com/recruitment