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Scholar Guide (Part I)


The update to Scholar in the March 2008 patch has really made Scholar an incredibly strong job - in many ways infringing on the expertises of other standard mage jobs such as Black Mage and White Mage.  Scholar is quite unique among "mage" or "support" jobs in that it actively and constantly uses both abilities and spells.  This leads to obvious difficulties such as macro space, but also less well known issues such as issues dealing with spell lock and ability lock and how these two negatives affect each other and overlap.

Similar to how the Black Mage Guide started here was run, I want to continue, but instead of using Black Mage, use Scholar (sorry to all you guys looking for more Black Mage updates!).  Much of the tactics described in the sections of the guide for BLM actually apply for SCH as well, and in certain cases, are even more important for Scholar than Black Mage (Part III in particular).  I will be writing this with the expectation that some of the more basic concepts such as the "Standing Setup" are already known, so it may help to look back at those old posts, even if they were meant for another job.


The overall goal of a "Scholar Guide" is not to necessarily "show how great Scholar is", although that would certainly be nice.  More so, I would like to show how to turn the great potential of Scholar into benefits in team play or solo in actual practice.  Similar to the main stresses of the Black Mage Guide, this will still focus on flexibility, fluidity, and the ability to survive in difficult solo situations.

Part 1 will focus on purely macros!

Scholar Guide (Part II)
Scholar Guilde (Part III)
Scholar Guide (Part IV)
Scholar Guide (Part V)


Ability and Spell "Animation Lock"

In my opinion, this is single most important concept when dealing with Scholar.  "Animation Lock" is just when your character is completing an ability or spell and the game prevents your character from moving until the duration of the animation has completed.  The dangers of this issue are most noticeable when kiting; however, even in normal situations, this sort of delay can really hinger your play and your general ability to control where you character goes.

I stressed this idea and the trick known as "Blink Casting" earlier in the Black Mage Guide, but it was more of as a cheesy trick to use in difficult solos on spell casts.  You can essentially bypass these "animation locks" through this trick; however, it is difficult to use and time on spells, making it only marginally useful on a job like Black Mage, which few abilities.  This all changes with Scholar, which is extremely reliant on abilities.


How to "Blink Cast"

I'm sure a lot of players have done this accidently actually.  When you switch equipment, there is a short period of time where your character disappears from the screen (on both your's and other's screen).  Typically this is a bad thing to most people - great example here is the WHM getting pissed off at his tank for changing equipment, which forces the WHM to retarget.  

Well, when you "blink" after an equipment change, you are still allowed to perform actions like normal; however, any animations that are supposed to occur will be 100% bypassed

This simple game mechanics flaw is the idea behind the entire technique.  

(Examples of what the "Blink" Effect looks like - the character disappears momentarily from the screen)

If you time your actions to occur while your character has momentarily become "invisible" due to an equipment change, you will always bypass any animation that is supposed to occur on your screen, preventing that annoying movement "lock-up" from ever happening.  This really does let you kite and perform actions like Provoke essentially without ever having to stop.  For anyone who has a lot of kiting experience, this technique is really an invaluable tool for safety and player efficiency. 


Macro Setup for Abilities

There is really no excuse for not using "Blink Casting" on any ability for Scholar - be in Sublimation, Stratagems, Arts, etc.  The concept of this technique is that it does not require any sort of timing on the player's part if the action is instant (which all abilities are).  Taking advantage of this technique is purely a product of macro preparation and requires no actual timing or thought when in play.

I will try to go over some simple step-by-step methods on how to convert your ability macros to auto-"Blink Cast" for you.  The only rule to doing this (which in my opinion, must never be broken when playing Scholar) is to never, NEVER, use abilities or stratagems from Menu.  Make sure they are all in the form of macros somewhere.  This is because it is impossible to avoid the lock when using menu.

Here are some simple steps...

      1)  Pick any combination of Body, Legs, or Hands gear which does not "make sense" to use together...

                -  Royal Cloak & Genie Gages & Scholar's Pants
                -  Royal Cloak & Vicious Mufflers & Scholar's Pants

I gave 2 quick examples of what I mean by this.  In both gear choice examples, you would logically never macro these 2 combinations of Body, Legs, and Hands together.  Royal Cloak is used only for Standing Setup purposes (Refresh), while the 2 hands gear are used for Resting/Elemental, and Attack.  The purpose of this is to force a "Blink" or gear switch regardless of the current setup, since this combination of gear cannot appear in any of your other possible gear sets.

      2)  Pick 2 of these combinations and macro them in order just before the JA usage (not Stratagems)...

                /equip body "Royal Cloak"
                /equip hands "Genie Gages"
                /equip hands "Vicious Mufflers"
                /ja "Dark Arts" <me>
                /recast "Dark Arts"

You have basically just added only 3 lines just prior to all your JA macros.  What will happen is using this macro once will equip the second pair of hands and the cloak (a combination which cannot occur normally in any other gear set), force a "Blink" just prior to the JA, and allow you to bypass the JA animation.  Someone else looking at you will still see your JA animation, but you will appear to be moving while performing it.

The reasoning behind using 2 gear switches of the same type in the same macro is to account for the off chance you use the same ability twice in succession (Sublimation for example).  Most commonly, I use this with Dark Arts or Light Arts followed by Addendum.

      3)  For Stratagems, designate 1 piece of equipment for each of the 4 types...

                Parsimony >> Royal Cloak & Garden Bangles & Druid's Slops
                Alacrity >> Royal Cloak & Garden Bangles & Yigit Seraweels
                Ebullience >> Royal Cloak & Garden Bangles & Mahatma Slops

                /equip body "Royal Cloak"
                /equip hands "Garden Bangles"
                /equip legs "Druid's Slops"
                /ja "Parsimony" <me>
                /recast "Parsimony"

It is important that you pick a different equipment slot than the one you used for JAs. 
This is to ensure you force a "Blink" when using a JA immediately followed by a Stratagem.  In addition, the hands equip is still changed, just not varied to account for possible JA to Stratagem use.  Just try to think about the ordering of macro presses and it should be obvious why you need to do this.  In my case, me JAs are matched with Hand equip changes while my Stratagems are matched with Legs equip changes.


Going through this macro preparation process can take quite awhile.  When you are finished, test them by simply running then attempting to use your abilities or stratagems on the run.  If you stop (and see the animation), then the macro has failed.  If you do not see it but it still works, then you have successfully added an automated "Blink Cast" to your ability or stratagem.

Scholar abilities look really cool, but you shouldn't ever see them when you play...  Every time you see this, your character will be "locked" in place until the animation is completed.  Instead death if you're kiting.


Scholar Standing Macro

This sort of standing setup is pretty common now and there is really nothing out of the ordinary here.  I would recommend reading Part I of the BLM Guide for more information on why this setup is so important.  The only oddity in this setup is the pair of Garden Bangles in hands (Regen during the day-time).  This is sort of a minor improvement, but a combination of lack of gear choice along with the fact that Sublimation is -2 HP/tick and 2 regen pieces would offset this make this choice a bit more useful.


MainTerra's StaffDamage Taken -20%
SubBugard Strap +1 
RangedPhantom Tathlum 
BodyRoyal CloakAuto-Refresh
HandsGarden Bangles
Auto-Regen (Daytime) 
LegsScholar's Pants
FeetHerald's GaitersMovement Speed +12%
BackUmbra CapeDamage Taken -6%
WaistQiqirn Sash +1
NeckOrochi Nodowa
Ear 1Loquacious Earring 
Ear 2Magnetic Earring

Ring 1Tamas Ring 
Ring 2Balrahn's Ring
Auto-Refresh (Assault/Salvage) 

There really isn't too much to say on making your own setup.  Definitely include Refresh Cloak and Terra's Staff.  I would also highly recommend Orochi Nodowa for Regen and Umbra Cape for additional damage down.  If you are lucky enough to have Herald's Gaiters, obviously use them.

It should be noted that to revert all pieces of gear, you need access to Windower.  I really don't have any suggestions to those that do not have access to this other than to keep the most vital pieces of gear -  Terra's Staff, Herald's Gaiters, Refresh Cloak, and Umbra Cape - on such a macro.  In addition to switching these pieces, I would also recommend keeping recasts on Stratagems on the standing macro as well...

                /equip body "Royal Cloak"
                /equip hands "Garden Bangles"
                .... etc. ....
                /equip legs "Druid's Slops"
                /recast "Addendum: White"
                /recast "Addendum: Black"

This type of standing macro will not only revert gear, but also tell you which art form (if any) you are in, and how many general stratagems you have remaining.


Arts to Addendum Macro

A growing theme that I personally found with my Scholar and its macros is the idea of macro space conservation.  There are just so many things that need to be macro'd and so little space - any trick to save space is incredibly helpful.  One easy, but extremely useful trick is to place the Art and Addendum JA into the same macro.  Summoners are probably very familiar with this sort of macro.

                /equip body "Royal Cloak"
                /equip hands "Genie Gages"
                /equip hands "Vicious Mufflers"
                /ja "Addendum: White" <me>
                /ja "Light Arts" <me>
                /recast "Light Arts"
                /recast "Addendum: White"

Note that this does require more than 6 lines to do correctly unless you want to forgo the recast lines in the macro.  The purpose of this type of macro is you can press the same macro for 2 entirely different effects without them overlapping each other.  There are 3 possible scenarios when pressing this macro and this order accounts for all of them.  Try to run each of these in your head and you'll see they make sense logically.

      1)  Currently in neither Art form, Dark Arts, or Addendum: Black.

The equip will be switched, allowing you to avoid any potential animation lock as discussed in the previous section.  Because you are not in Light Arts, Addendum: White will not fire.  The game then attempts the next JA on the list, which is Light Arts, which fires.


      2)  Currently in Light Arts and there is a Stratagem Charge available.

Equip is switched to avoid animation lock just like before.  Because you are in Light Arts and have an available charge, Addendum: White (which occurs first in the macro) will fire.  The next line, which attempts to fire Light Arts is bypassed by the game (try this yourself, game mechanics oddity).


      3)  Currently in Addendum: White, or in Light Arts but no Stratagem Charge available.

Equip is switched.  Addendum: White will not fire because no Stratagem is available or you are already in it.  You'll either receive an "already active" message in yellow or a "not enough charges" message which shows the recast in purple text.  Basically, nothing happens.


As you can see, in every case, this macro functions.  This saves you at least 2 potential macro slots.  In addition, it makes macro presses a bit easier if you are trying to switch Addendums, since you can achieve this with 2 presses of the same macro, limiting hand movement.  Note that when you do this macro, you MUST place the call for Addendum before Arts, or it will not function correctly.

This sort of idea can be applied to a number of Scholar ability sets since many Scholar abilities cannot be active at the same time - for instance, Parsimony and Penury.  Similar macros can be set for those if that is how you choose to make your macro sets.



I kept this post considerably shorter than previous posts, especially the ones regarding Scholars.  I did this in order to try to place more weight on the importance of these basic macro techniques.  I cannot stress enough how important these basic macros are, especially if you are attempting a soloist Scholar.  I'll try to summarize the 3 major points in the post...

      1)  Learn to set up all Scholar abilities and stratagems macros to automatically bypass Animations.

This is done through the process of setting up equipment macros prior to the use of the ability in macro form.  I would highly suggest never using abilities or stratagems without the use of this type of macro.  Getting in this "bad habit" can really kill you if you ever get into a tight solo situation.  More information on the importance of doing this and how this game mechanic works can be found here.

      2)  Set up a "Standing Macro" for your Scholar.

Again, this is quite a basic concept, which really applies to any mage job.  It provides maximum safety as well as Regen and Refresh bonuses.  The idea behind this "standing macro" set is first discussed here.

      3)  Simplify macro presses and save macro space by creating multi-use macros.

I gave an example using a macro setup that allowed for a single macro to both use an Art and its associated Addendum in any situation.  This can really be applied similarly to other things such as Light vs. Dark Arts stratagems - basically anything where you have 2 JAs which cannot be fired at the same time (e.g. Alacrity vs. Celerity).

I feel that the "learning curve" to playing a flexible and fluid Scholar is much steeper than that of a Black Mage. While essentially all of the concepts in this post are old and known, I feel that these are not simply tricks, but vital to improving play when it comes to Scholar.  Scholar is the only caster which essentially also spams abilities, making the level of complexion incredibly high.  


Before getting into things like solos, nuking, etc. (which I'm sure people find more interesting) I feel that it is really essential to amply prepare all macro sets to be as effective as possible.  The level of macro preparation complexion is actually much higher than just the ideas in this post.  In the next post, I will probably get into the concept of macro book switching, which becomes especially useful when trying to maximize Tabula Rasa, the Scholar two-hour.


Pic of the Day

Random assortment of pics this time...

No comment required...

As with other pictures that have things blacked out, don't fill in the blank if you know what's in there.

Saku asking when she can pick her finished Skadi Legs.

A random joke we play a lot is acting like something has popped on a window when it really didn't.  You have to spell the mob correclty though Saku!

Drama Thread of the Day


Can Paralyze proc on a Weapon Skill?

Such a simple question can cause so much drama.




( 30 comments — Leave a comment )
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May. 12th, 2008 01:52 pm (UTC)
Seeing that you use Windower macros and all, have you ever considered using Windower's Spellcast plugin, Kaeko? I know a lot of people are hesitant to use the plugin because of all the written XML and pre-planning involved, but it seems like someone such as yourself that has a need for a lot of little tricks, even moreso when you talk about needing to conserve macro space due to all the spells, and even switching macro books for the 2hour section. D: I've kept up with it for the most part since the beginning and it just seems like the automation of everything would help you out a lot.

Most people tend to sway to either full-on spellcast, or sticking with windower scripts in their macros, but I've found mixing them into each other is much more beneficial, as even some things are just too complicated to use with Spellcast, as just writing the XML would just take awhile. Rambling now, great guide! /woosh
May. 12th, 2008 07:21 pm (UTC)
I chose not to use any more new windower plugins after distance and extended .txt macros. I honestly don't even know what spellcast does. I would encourage anyone that does choose to use this to use any tricks you can to conserve macro space, but I wouldn't personally be able to show anyone any tricks on this.

Also, when switching macro books, the complexity lies in the planning of the macro switches, not actually pulling them off - that's just repetition.
May. 12th, 2008 02:14 pm (UTC)
I've been waiting for you to write about Scholar for a looooooong time!
May. 12th, 2008 04:29 pm (UTC)
on the standing macro, if one doesn't have Herald's Gaiters, would Desert Boots still be a viable option or no? I figure they would if Sandstorm is up, but otherwise I would also assume that other MP+ or Fast Cast like Rostrum's would also be an alternative if one doesn't have these shoes.
May. 12th, 2008 07:27 pm (UTC)
I would probably keep desert boots on in this case.

The problem with desert boots is they really only help you get to a location faster, not help you in actual situations. You cannot really afford to use sandstorm every 3 minutes in these sorts of situations.

So the boots really wouldn't help you in fight situations and macroing them in standing or not doesn't really matter too much in fights, but it is a decent convinience for outside fights.
May. 12th, 2008 06:59 pm (UTC)
How does your double-up Arts/Addendum macro work with blinking? It seems like you'd get stuck in the animation for the Addendum when you fired the macro a second time.

Or is this one of those 'I need to try it and see' sort of things?
May. 12th, 2008 07:24 pm (UTC)
If you press really quickly twice, you will actually get locked up the 2nd press since you will have just come out of blinking and cannot re-blink that quickly. If you delay half a second before the 2nd press it works fine. This issue is not a product of the macro though, but would fail just because you cannot blink twice due to equip swap that quickly.
(no subject) - (Anonymous) - May. 13th, 2008 05:02 am (UTC) - Expand
May. 13th, 2008 11:53 am (UTC)
Oh, hell, disregard that. I completely missed the double hands swap. *cough* >.>
May. 13th, 2008 06:52 pm (UTC)

Awesome info as always, man. Despite not playing Blm or Sch myself(Im a hybrid melee kinda guy. Blu ftw!) parts of your posts can often be used in other aspects of the game as well. With our 0.5 cast times on DD spells the Blink Cast is pretty useful, and it's also made SA and TA on my THF way more efficient(bypass animation lock so I can keep running to front/back of mob) :)

I had a question if'n ya dont mind. Im an Elvaan, so obviously INT and MP arent my specialty. Despite this every time I look at SCH there's a giant "LOK WANT" going through my brain. Will my racial stats hold me back from being a useful SCH, or will decent equipment and skill allow me to overcome these? Probably going to focus on the support aspects of Sch anyways, but when needed I want to be able to contribute any way I can.
May. 13th, 2008 09:48 pm (UTC)
Re: -
Racial "stats" never matter in my opinion. Only HP and MP bases matter.

That being said, Scholar is an MP efficient job, so you will not feel it quite as badly as you would if you tried to play BLM.
Re: - - (Anonymous) - May. 14th, 2008 02:30 am (UTC) - Expand
May. 13th, 2008 06:52 pm (UTC)
Meant to leave my name. Lokyar of Fenrir^
May. 14th, 2008 03:26 am (UTC)
I can't wait for you to finish the rest of this! I'm lvling Sch atm to duo with my friend who has 75 Blm. This is my first real job and this guide has helped me fix my macros already ^^;
May. 15th, 2008 05:44 am (UTC)
saku is not a racist!
May. 15th, 2008 12:59 pm (UTC)
Very nice info as always Kaeko!
My name is Amunaptra from Fairy server i'm a 73 SCH atm and looking forward to try it solo wise once 75, what i'm curios about it's how you manage your macroes, i really having problems to organize them in the best way.
There are too many spell/ability that i need fast access to and can't physically put all in my main macro set. For example when using TabulaRasa i need to have Ebullience+Rapture+Parsimony and my tier4 nukes all together so i can spam all 3 stratagems + nukes without losing time swapping sets, but i also need here fast access to spells like sleep1 & 2, bind, gravity, cures, Accession and Arts. At the moment i'm leaving Drain & Aspir out of my main set but not really happy with it

Speaking of TabulaRase I experienced a little problem with my BlinkCasting macro, in all my blinkmacroes i usually just use 2 lines where in both i swap a hand or feet equipment (so if one is on the other will swap) but when i spam stratagems during 2hr i noticed like there is a little delay between one blink and the other and sometimes 1 animation will still go off. Does this ever happens to you? do you have a special macro for TabulaRasa spamming stratagems?

Awesome work, keep it going^^
May. 16th, 2008 02:45 am (UTC)
re: Tabula Rasa macro
An idea I pitched to a friend just starting SCH when it was released was this. Two macro sets. A 'Light Arts' set and a 'Dark Arts' set. Each one has a macro, presumably in the same space(let's say Alt-1) that switches to the other.
In set 1's Alt1:
/ja "Dark Arts"
/macro set 2

In set 2's Alt1:
/ja "Light Arts"
/macro set 1

Expanding on this, if you have a Tabula Rasa macro you could follow it with /macro set 3(and possible have both a Light and Dark Tabula Rasa set for switching on the fly there as well, so the TR macro from 1 would go to 3, and the TR from 2 would go to 4, and 3/4 would switch between themselves)

re: Blink cast issue
The post mentions how there is a slight delay after one 'blink' before another one can occur.

--Lokyar of Fenrir--
(no subject) - kanican - May. 17th, 2008 05:28 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: About Drain and Aspir - wunjo_on_ramuh - May. 22nd, 2008 12:08 am (UTC) - Expand
May. 16th, 2008 09:17 pm (UTC)
this one time i was xping in aydeewa subteranne and a crawler totally had a weaponskill paralyzed. so i think it can happen, albeit very very rarely
May. 17th, 2008 04:39 am (UTC)
resting blinking?
Is it possible to blink in and out of /healing? That's not really a necessary for practical reasons sort of thing like it can be with spells/JAs, but that wait can be annoying.
May. 17th, 2008 05:28 am (UTC)
Re: resting blinking?
Yea you can do this. I generally don't think too much about this though since if you're resting, you probably aren't in a dire situation where you need to bypass animations to run.
May. 17th, 2008 11:19 am (UTC)
if you are using windower you can have multi use macros by assigning them to call an alias that would be determined by a different macro or bound key.
For example:
alias Dark.Arts input /recast "Dark Arts";input /ja "Dark Arts" ;a1;
alias Add.Black input /recast "Addendum: Black";input /ja "Addendum: Black" ;
alias Light.Arts input /recast "Light Arts";input /ja "Light Arts" ;a2;
alias ALT.10 Dark.Arts;
alias a1 alias ALT.10 Add.Black;
alias a2 alias ALT.10 Add.Black;

your physical macro would look like:

just two lines long. the name is obvoiosly what you name your Alt 10 macro on your pallet, the // indicates that the command is going to windower comand line and executes the alias. depending on which position your in that will execute one of two different alias resulting in less spam from you cannot use this ability.

you can also have your alias' call text files instead of being completely written as such, where you include the /recast, /ja etc. and whatever gear swaps you would like to use giving you a bit esier understanding with formating.
For example:
alias Dark.Arts exec Scholar\Arts\DarkArts.txt; //Scholar\Arts\DarkArts.txt is the file path within your windower scripts folder

input /recast "Dark Arts";
input /ja "Dark Arts" ;
alias ALT.10 Add.Black;
input /equip *slot* *item // this can also call a scripted gear alias

i'm sure for most people who use windower and Macropal or Spellcast this might seem a little more than is needed just it does help limit some of the spam that will end up on your screen
Jun. 9th, 2008 08:29 pm (UTC)
instead of messing around with off-the-wall gear swaps, can't you just do a "/equip hands" without specifying an item to unequip your current hands? You can then follow that up with the hands you want to equip (incase you aren't wearing hands ATM).
Jun. 16th, 2008 02:09 am (UTC)
Hi all!

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