Kanican (kanican) wrote,

Scholar Guide (Part IV)

EDIT: In this post, I talk about the idea that 1 Elemental Skill possibly equals either 1 MACC at all skill levels, or 0.9 MACC above 200 skill (similar to melee skills).  At the time of this post, there was no conclusive evidence to reject either, hence my post mentions either could be true.  In a post by Robonsto, weeks after this post was originally opened, he was able to show with reasonable statistical significance that 1 Elemental Skill DOES equal 1 MACC at all levels, UNLIKE melee skills.  I repeat, unlike melee skills, 1 Elemental Skill equals 1 MACC at all skill levels.


In the previous sections, I've gone over some basic macroing strategies, an introduction into SCH solo in Dark Arts, and a look at SCH in Light Arts focusing on the -50 enmity set.  In this post, I hope to go over specifically how Scholar fairs relative to BLM concerning magical resistance rates in elemental magic.  As you should know by now, Scholar is given strong, but not ideal skill ratings of B+ in essentially all categories of magic.  This post will tell you how to maximize your magical accuracy specifically for elemental magic in addition to how the lower base skill of SCH compares to the "ideal" elemental magic DD, BLM.

Before beginning, I feel like any job that relies on magic should read this post as it takes a look at properly maximizing your magical accuracy using new data which is not anecdotal, but statistically based.  Some of the concepts here were quite new to me as of a month ago, and I suspect a good portion of the community has not caught on to these new set of tests.  Special thanks to both the person originally conducting the test, who I will refer to as Lodeguy in this post, and the translator, Robonosto.  Much of this data collection and analysis is still ongoing, so please keep this in mind when reading.

Finally, near the end of this post, I will be discussing the state of Scholar in terms of balance relative to the Black Mage job.  By the end of this analysis on resistance rates, it should become clear that a Dark Arts SCH is not only more MP efficient, self-reliant, and versatile than BLM, but also nearly equal in terms of resistance rates on most resistant type mobs.  As a player that basically specializes in both these jobs, I will try to make my case as to why and how much SCH is imbalanced relative to BLM.

I know many of you have been looking forward to another SCH post, so I hope this doesn't disappoint.


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


How Resistance Rates Work

Before delving into Scholar in this post, It is important to first understand just what the new testing by Lodeguy is, why it is so much more reliable than previous axioms of resistance rates, and what his results are.  Many of you have heard things like the 320/120 rule or the "super INT" build.  It should be clear why strategies like this work in certain instances now.

The "high school" version of why the results of Lodeguy's tests are reliable is that he does everything in a "by the book" manner statistically.  He lays out confidence intervals (95% chosen), which essentially mean that there is a 95% chance that his range encompasses the true value.  It's all done in a very similar fashion that would be used in the real world for everything from drug trials to doing polls.  My statistics is not nearly as strong as the original poster or the translator, but most of the general concepts are based on just using a large number of trials, using chi squared comparsions, and in the case of INT, also using regression models.

If you're interested in the actual testing methodology or how they reached their conclusions, I highly recommend reading through Robonosto's posts (or Lodeguy's if you are fluent in Japanese).  For the purposes of this post, however, I really only intend to use the results of the testing.  Again, though, keep in mind that it is still ongoing.

This is a summary of what you need to know for this:


Summary of Conclusions

1)  +1 MACC ("Magic Accuracy" the stat) is equivalent to +1 Skill

There is some debate as to whether 1 skill really equates to 0.9 magic accuracy over 200 base skill (as is the case for melee skills).  Statistically it is incredibly hard to tell the difference between 1.0 and 0.9 without a massive number of trials, so the current testing is unable to support or refute this idea.  For the purposes of this post, I will consider them equivalent unless future testing suggests otherwise.

EDIT: See Edit info, 1 MACC is 1 Skill (proven after this post was first made by Robonosto

2)  +1 MACC increases the chance to land the spell successfully by 0.5% if the chance to land successfully is below 50%.  If the chance to land successfully is above 50%, +1 MACC increases the chance to land the spell successfully by 1.0%.

This makes no reference to any "base magical accuracy" stat.  It only states that if you add +1 MACC the chance to land the spell unresisted will increase by 0.5% or 1.0% depending on the land rate prior to adding the +1 MACC.

3)  HQ Elemental Staves grant roughly a 20 to 30 MACC bonus.

It should be noted that this 20 to 30 number has long been assumed on JP Wiki.

4)  +1 INT is equivalent to +1 MACC when the difference between the caster's and target's INT is at or below +10.  +1 INT is equivalent to +0.5 MACC when the difference is above +10.  It is currently unknown if there is another "tier".

This is meant in the context of spells that are based on an INT to INT check, which is true for say Elemental Magic.  Other moves like Paralyze rely on a MND to MND check.  Even still more complex, the stats of the mob and player don't always have to be the same.  Certain Weapon Skills such as COR's Leaden Salute are based on an INT to AGI check.  It depends on the individual move in question, but the general concept is likely to be the same.

5)  The chance to successfully land a magic spell unresisted is dependent on the level difference between the caster and the target.

A similar penalty is imposed for melee accuracy.



The 320/120 Build

Prior to this data, it was generally accepted that for elemental magic nukes, the 'rule' for resistances was that you wanted to balance Skill and INT instead of just straight stacking Skill in what was called the 320/120 build.  The results of these tests back this up quite well as every INT you add prior to reaching +10 INT over the target is the exact same thing as +1 Skill.  Considering INT is generally much easier to obtain than Skill, I think that this build is only re-enforced by this testing.

For those that don't really understand the meaning behind the 320/120 build, it is NOT a sort of "tier" where your resist rates suddenly drop or floor upon reaching it.  The 320/120 build really refers only to a specific set of HNM mobs, namely Wyrms and lesser sky gods - it does not encompass every single resistant HNM in the game, but it does encompass a good chunk of resistant mobs fought in endgame.

For the purposes of this post, I'll be referring back to this old 320/120 build.  This is because the testing done by Lodeguy does not tell you how much INT and Skill you need to reach a certain resist rate on a mob - it can only tell you the relative increases in accuracy per stat added.  This is extremely important, and things like the 320/120 axiom are still important in determining how much of what you need on a particular mob.


The "Super INT" Build

This is a much lesser known build which basically states that you want to stack as much INT as possible and generally disregard Elemental Skill when nuking.  It is generally not that well accepted and really the only mob I've ever heard of this build working on in an ideal situation is Kirin. 

This build can again be reasoned out by the new testing.  Remember that prior to reaching +10 INT difference between the caster and target, every additional point to INT is the equivalent of 1 Skill.  For mobs with extremely high amounts of INT, the returns on stacking INT generally will not decrease.  For a mob like Kirin, which is known to have extremely high amounts of INT stat, the "super INT" build definitely works.  If you want to see just how high Kirin's INT is, you can try a Helix on Kirin and watch it get floored to 0.

For this post, I generally won't refer to this build, but it should be taken into consideration if you know you are fighting a mob of extremely high INT stat.  Kirin and Jormungand are good candidates.  Generally speaking, though, the 320/120 build will encompass far more situations and resistant endgame mobs because INT values generally don't go past 110 for most HNMs.



Elemental Magic Resistance Set

Now that we know how various stats like MACC, INT, and Elemental Magic Skill affect resistance rates, we can go about building the ideal resist set. I'll start by giving you my current "ideal" elemental magic resist setup; note that it's not the highest it can be - some trade-offs aren't worth it to me.  I haven't obtained some of the newer equipment like Argute's Belt, but I have what is essentially an impossible item in Aureole.

MainElemental Staves
Potency +15%, Hidden MACC
SubBugard Strap +1INT +1
HeadArgute Morterboard
Skill +7
BodyScholar's Gown +1
INT +3, Skill +15
HandsGenie GagesSkill +8
LegsMahatma SlopsINT +8
FeetGoliard Clogs
INT +4, MACC +2
BackMerciful Cape
Skill +5
WaistArgute Belt
INT +5, MACC +2
NeckElemental Torque
Skill +7
Ear 1Novio EarringMAB +7
Ear 2Moldavite EarringMAB +5
Ring 1Tamas RingINT +5
Ring 2Snow RingINT +5

Given Elemental Magic Merits, INT Merits, and a Tarutaru SCH/RDM, this comes to...

      -  314 Elemental Magic Skill
      -  12 additional Magic Accuracy
      -  113 INT

Given that MACC is equivalent to Elemental Magic Skill for nukes, this comes to 326 "Skill" and 113 INT.  Adding in a simple Cream Puff (+7 INT) will bring this to 326/120, just barely covering 320/120 rule.  In addition, Stormsurge Hailstorm merits can increase the INT stat by an additional 7 INT.  While this build above is at 326 "Skill", a more reasonable build probably wil not include an Aureole, so replacing it with the more standard Phantom Tathlum, you are more likely to get 318/122 with food without use of the weapon slot.  There are numerous ways to add to this set since it is not actually an "ideal" listing.  For instance, using an Omega Ring will hit the 320/120 rule without using an Aureole.  Other changes exist as well.

Scholar is able to satisfy the 320/120 rule, although it is considerably more difficult than for a Black Mage.  Remember that this rule is not all-encompassing - but it will satisfy general resist for the vast majority of HNMs worth nuking on.  If you are able to attain this 320/120 number, hopefully surpass it, your SCH will fair extremely well on most HNMs without the use of buffs like Klimaform.

I want to stress again that you do NOT want to just hit this 320/120 number then stop!  You ideally are going to want more in the range of 330/130.  As a comparison, my BLM uses a 334/131 set with food.  You pretty much will not see any resist on HNMs with the exception of ToAU NMs with a 334/131.



Cheap Scholar Elemental Resist Set

As my gear is probably not easy to mimic, I'll try to discuss the easy the obtain options you can use as a Scholar to build your Elemental Resist Set.  If you have a Black Mage geared for endgame, this exercise should be very easy for you.  I would consider this set below a sort of "HQ AH gear" set - it should be the absolute minimum in terms of what you need to make this set work and includes a couple of common HQ AH items and no rare/ex.

MainElemental Staves
Potency +15%, Hidden MACC
SubBugard Strap +1INT +1
AmmoPhantom Tathlum
INT +2
HeadElite Beret +1
Skill +5
BodyScholar's Gown
INT +1, Skill +15
HandsGenie GagesSkill +8
LegsMahatma SlopsINT +8
FeetMountain Gaiters
INT +2
BackPrism Cape
INT +4
WaistPenitent's Rope
INT +5
NeckElemental Torque
Skill +7
Ear 1Morion Earring
INT +1
Ear 2Elemental Earring
Skill +3
Ring 1Snow Ring
INT +5
Ring 2Snow RingINT +5

Given Elemental Magic Merits, no INT Merits, and a Tarutaru SCH/RDM, this comes to...

      -  310 Elemental Magic Skill
      -  111 INT

With Cream Puffs this comes to a 310/118 set.  This is still significantly weaker than the first set (mine) that I outlined and is about 17% less 'accurate'.  It should be noted that a Black Mage using similar AH gear fairs significantly better, and is even able to reach 320/120 for general HNM use.  This stresses how much more reliant SCH is on rare pieces of gear when it comes to the Elemental Magic Resistant set.

Without getting into too many specifics, here is a list of good RARE/EX items to take a look at if you happen to have access to them that will improve the set above, and hopefully work you closer to the 320/120 mark.  They range from fairly easy to get to extremely rare.

      -  Argute Morterboard
      -  Scholar's Gown +1
      -  Numerist Pumps
      -  Goliard Clogs
      -  Balrahn's Ring
      -  Omega's Ring
      -  Merciful Cape
      -  Argute's Belt
      -  Aureole

This list is rather small and should again illustrate the lack of gear choices SCH has.  In the future, more gear will likely be added that can help, but for now this is all I can really see being significantly useful in building upon the base set of AH gear outside of a few +1 INT differences.



Black Mage VS Scholar

As mentioned many times in some of my previous posts on the subject, Scholar is a much more MP efficient nuker than BLM due to the use of Parsimony charges as well as the innate Dark Arts bonus.  Although BLM can deal more damage when given only a short period of time, over time, a SCH has the potential to deal out more much damage in the long run given equal resist rates.

The fact that BLM can nuke harder in short spurts is really not a benefit in most HNM fights since you're not looking for strong spurts of magical damage typically (such spurts are generally for melee damage, while magical damage is used for "control" fights).  Really the only thing BLM has as an advantage over SCH when it comes to long duration HNM fights is their higher base magic accuracy - a base difference of +20 Skill and +2 INT.  Long story short:

If a Scholar can attain the same magical accuracy on elemental damage as Black Mage, it will be superior to Black Mage as a magical DD in every meaningful way - MP efficiency, enmity control, and overall damage output.

If you are a Scholar, your goal is really to do this.  Endgame is about efficiency - the efficient get spots in the alliance, the inefficient generally would/should not.  The question is, is this possible now?  In the future?



Magic Accuracy Cutoffs

The answer to the question of will Scholar ever be able to match the resistance rate of a Black Mage, and essentially become superior to Black Mage at magical DD, can really be answered by knowing where the resist rate cuts off for a particular HNMRemember that accuracy in this game is capped at 95%.  Once you reach this cap, adding more accuracy or stats affecting accuracy will do nothing.

There are HNMs such as Dark Ixion or Hydra which are just considered inefficient to use magical DD on - I exclude these situations as both Scholar and Black Mage would be equally inefficient to nuke on them.  Black Mage can generally reach the 95% accuracy cap on worthwhile nuking targets already given it's strong base skill and very generous equipment choices.  Scholar is getting closer and closer with each patch and equipment upgrade.

The issue here is that given enough eventual gear updates, Scholar must inevitably reach the same resist rates as a Black Mage (95% cap), thus overtaking it as the superior endgame magical DD job.  This is because SCH and BLM are not directly competing over resist rates - they are both just trying to reach a certain number independently; once this value is reached, resistance is a non-issue, and the fact that SCH is inherently more efficient will make it superior.

This is the huge issue right now for Black Mage in my opinion.  If you exclude resistances, Scholar is inherently a stronger nuking job for HNM fights due to its incredible MP efficiency.  Black Mage has already generally reached the point of resistances not mattering given correct gear - the addition of "better" resistance gear doesn't change anything for it as a job since it has already reached the cap.  The introduction of better "resistance gear" can only benefit Scholar, not Black Mage at this point.  Considering how close Scholar is already, this is inevitable.

If we look at the current numbers I mentioned earlier, my ideal Scholar elemental resistance gear is a 326/120 set.  My current Black Mage resistance set, which generates essentially a capped magical accuracy of 95% on essentially all endgame worthwhile nuking targets is a 334/131.  This is only an 8 skill, 11 INT difference.  This doesn't even include specific Scholar buffs such as Klimaform, the fact Scholar can self-buff weather, Stormsurge Hailstorm, or Focalization.

At this point, Black Mage is in desperate need of an update to its nuking arsenal.  The issue is not equipment or the way Black Mage is currently used - it has everything to do with the fact that Scholar is inherently more efficient.  No gear change can fix this.  Something about the Black Mage job and it's nuking abilities or spells has to be changed to inherently make it competitive to Scholar in magical DD.  Though Black Mage still has significant use in events (Sleepga crowd control, Stun, AoE magical damage), it does seem slightly ridiculous that it would not be the strongest magical DD in FFXI.

If you are a Scholar, you probably like hearing this.  Basically, if you gear yourself properly, you will be the strongest and most efficient magical DD job in the game.  This will essentially ensure you a spot in anything you use nukes on.  All this while maintaining excellent versatility in the ability to switch to Light Arts as well as using Scholar unique AoE enfeebles.




This post contains links and summaries of some amazingly well conducted magic accuracy tests.  I highly suggest that anyone interested in maxing out their mage jobs to read at least the summaries and to build their magic sets around it.  While the focus of this post is elemental magic, you can easily apply the information to other sets such as Enfeebling and Dark Magic.

In this post, I made the case that Scholar is the ideal magical DD in FFXI endgame given ideal gear for both Black Mage and Scholar jobs due to a much higher inherent MP efficiency.  The only thing that can potentially hold Scholar back is the elemental magic resistance rate - an issue which is becoming increasingly less noticeable as equipment and job updates increase.  Given this, a Scholar with the proper resistance and nuking sets truly is the strongest magical DD in the game - a situation which should be alarming in terms of game balance considering it's a hybrid job, but very cool if you are a Scholar.

While some of the equipment needed to compete with the Black Mage job on resistant NMs is currently hard to obtain - ranging from difficult (e.g. Argute's Belt) to essentially impossible (e.g. Aureole), remember that any equipment update can only benefit Scholar and not Black Mage since it is already capped in terms of resistances.  I encourage any Scholar serious about the job to take a careful look at the best options for elemental resistance sets and strive to attain them.  A Scholar's lack of equipment would be the only thing holding it back from being the strongest magical DD.  While resistance gear is much easier to attain for BLM, given ideal gear, a SCH is better.  At this point, Scholar is truly a compete job as it has received its AF2, AF1+1, and both Merit categories.  While obviously meant to be a sort of hybrid job, to me it is clearly no longer the case when given ideal gear and builds. 

While I have been extremely hard on the current state of the Black Mage job, I will point out that I do still use Black Mage over Scholar for most mid-level to difficult soloing - this post only really shows that it is inferior to Scholar in group play and HNMs.  Why?  The issue deals with "fatigue" and the Scholar charge recast - an important limitation that prevents the job from being completely outright broken.




Instead of a typical set of pics, I decided to post my own personal 十大ニュース, which basically an activity started by ElmerThePointy where you list out the top 10 things or events for you in the past calender year in FFXI.

(10)  Beating Odin

(9)  Discovering Marduk's Shalwar had a hidden enmity stat, then SE actually fixing it

(8)  Beating Einherjar Tier 3 KB

(7)  Successfully soloing Apollyon NW 10 times in a row (still current)

(6)  6-manning Sarameya

(5)  7-manning Guivre Sandworm version

(4)  Soloing Bhaflau Remnants

(3)  Completing all major formulas for Enmity

(2)  Leveling Scholar to 75

(1)  Killing Absolute Virtue YEA (Awsomeland!!!)

Drama Thread of the Day

Really?  Seriously?


Tags: scholar!, solo!
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