Friday, September 18, 2009

Elegy Duration - Part Two

Went out and did some quick tests on Wild Rabbits in E.Ronfaure.


Elegy duration in normal gear with Horn+1: ~212 seconds (so at or a little over 3:30)

Predicted duration of night/troub elegy: ~420 seconds (about 7mins).
Actual duration: ~429 seconds



I saw some questions about log messages regarding a non-JA elegy landing when a JA-elegy was already up on a mob. I started by casting Night/Troub Elegy on the rabbit, letting the JA's wear off, then checking the log again when casting with a normal elegy.

Final elegy duration when casting in the first half (first 200-212s) of the elegy window: 275s (4:30)

Conclusion: Non-Night/Troub elegy overwrites Night/Troub elegy (otherwise I'd have seen the longer 7:00min duration rather than the shorter 4:30 duration) -- at least if it comes from the same bard. o-o!


In theory, this should not happen.

A shorter-duration elegy shouldn't overwrite a longer-duration elegy, if debuff priority works the same way that buff priority does. So, I tried the test again -- this time enlisting the help of a fellow bard.

Predicted duration: ~4:30 (270s)
Actual elegy duration: ~4:44 (314s)

: Any bard can overwrite any other bard's elegy, regardless of remaining duration.

And then I got another friend to come out to join us, this time to test Soul Voice.

Predicted duration: ~4:30 (270s)
Actual duration: ~4:56 (296s)
Note: For this test, non-SV'd bards got 'no effect' messages against his SV'd elegy. However, he was able to overwrite his own SV Night/Troub'd Elegy with a non-Night/Troub'd (but still SV'd) elegy.

Conclusion: Soul Voice'd Elegy has priority over any other elegy, regardless of duration. However, Troub+SV elegy can be overwritten by just a normal SV elegy. Casting elegy while an SV elegy is up will result in a 'no effect' message.


Why This is Important

Debuff duration priority does not work the same way that buff duration priority does! A shorter duration song -- and presumably a less potent one -- can overwrite a longer duration song.

Casting elegy after someone else has, and not getting resisted, does not mean that the previous elegy was either resisted or any less potent. It just means that your elegy landed and overwrote the previous elegy. So!

To answer the question posed here:

Casting random elegies at Khimaira is probably a bad idea.

People should just be taking turns, and letting the other bards know when they get a "Khimaira's Elegy wears off" message. This ensures that only Night/Troub'd elegies (hopefully with ES!) will stay on. The last thing you want is to land an elegy that wears off 1:30 later ... when your ES/Night/Troub bard's elegy has only been on for about :30.

IMPORTANT: At the moment, I have not yet had the opportunity to test that this effect is also true on HNMs. However, I don't believe that I'll see any difference.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Links of Interest

Because it's best to read many different opinions. These are circa 2008ish, but still mostly correct on the very old M.Acc vs. Skill vs. CHR debate.

The whole LJ blogroll, for your entertainment (and there are some funny situations and pictures in there).

The notes on Paralyze aren't new and aren't groundbreaking.

Next post: The history of the Skill vs. M.Acc vs. Stat debate.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Why is my Lullaby resisted?

Common question! Here's a fun way to find the answer:

1. Are you using a horn or a harp? If horn, go to (2). If harp, go to (10).
2. Is your combined wind+singing skill more than 450? Lower than or equal to 450, go to (3), higher than 450, go to (4).
3. You probably need more +Skill. I suggest Choral Cuffs/Cannions (NQ or +1), Bard's Roundlet/Marduk Tiara, Wind Torque, Nereid Ringsx2, or Oracle's Pigaches. If you still get resists, and your combined skill is above 470 or so, go to (4) -- otherwise keep adding any skill gear.
4. Are you using a Light Staff or an Apollo's Staff? Light, go to (5), Apollo's, go to (6).
5. Get an Apollo's staff. If you're still seeing resists, go to (6).
6. Check your CHR stat. Is it in the ballpark of 110-120? If yes, go to (8), if no, go to (7).
7. Equip some more CHR gear. Kirin's Osode or Errant body is good for this. As is Gleeman's Belt, Jester's Cape +1, and the Omega Ring. If you still get resists, go to (8), if not go to (9).
8. Congratulations, you have all the gear and the stats ... but the mob is probably resistant or immune to lullaby. D: Resistant things tend to take very high levels of skill and/or CHR to lullaby reliably (480-500+ skill, roughly). Try your best!
9. Congratulations, problem solved! :D
10. Is your combined string+singing skill more than 450? Lower than or equal to 450, go to (11), higher than 450, go to (4).
11. Try adding some String skill gear. The String Torque is cheap. If you still get resists, go to (13), if not, go to (9).
12. You probably need more +Skill. I suggest stacking singing where possible. Choral Cuffs (NQ or +1) and Bard's Roundlet/Marduk Tiara offer the weightiest bonuses. If you still get resists, go to (8). If you rarely get resists now, go to (9).
13. Check your CHR stat. Is it in the ballpark of 110-120? If yes, go to (8), if no, go to (7).

Note: M.Acc isn't included much in the key. But it's also helpful on resist rates. Buying an Apollo's Staff has a very noticeable effect on how often your Lullaby is resisted. I always suggest upgrading to the HQ before buying any other gear.

Sometime in the future:
BRD on a Budget - or - What to buy if you don't buy anything else.

Foe Requiem

I saw some questions about this, and very few answers.

This is the wiki's take.

Not very informative, is it?

Let me begin by asserting that I have no concrete numbers to back up my assumptions -- but I can compare with other tiered songs. For example -- singing Army's Paeon V produces a 5-tick regen effect. Singing it with a +2 Paeon instrument produces a 7-tick regen. I assume that Foe Requiem's damage is calculated in a similar fashion. Thus:

FR I = -1 (-3)
FR II = -2 (-4)
FR VI = -6 (-8)
*Numbers in parentheses represent the effect of using a +2 Instrument.

It's reasonable to assume that Requiem works in this fashion. I am fairly confident that Soul Voice doubles the effect of Requiem (it is particularly useful to halt the regen of unclaimed Poroggo Madames, does a fair bit of damage to Salvage chariot bosses, and has applications in Limbus/Nyzul Isle with an active Korin Obi).

Assume that landing Requiem is a lot like landing Elegy. Use an HQ staff if you have it -- they're the best gear money can buy for resists -- and use a combination of Skill, M.Acc, and CHR where available. The effect of Skill tends to be more noticeable than the effect of CHR, and I don't have enough M.Acc to comment. With the +32 of merits, I can reliably land Requiem on targets that are neither light resistant nor immune*. If you have trouble landing Requiem, try putting on more Skill or M.Acc gear.

BRD has no natural enfeebling skill, so it's safe to assume that Enfeebling Magic Skill has nothing to do with songs. M.Attk is known to affect BLM nukes, but there's no evidence that ties it to the effectiveness of an enfeebling song like Requiem.

Bard song effects tend to be constant, anyway -- with the notable exception of Etudes, whose effects decay over time.

*My stick rate on Poroggo Madames tends to suffer if I haven't unlocked my Apollo's Staff, for example.


Additional Reading:
Discussion on BG

The "Snowflake Argument"

It is less of an argument and more of a line of reasoning (such as it is).

The original saying (or some variant) is this: "Every person is as unique as a snowflake."

This reasoning is often used to justify claims or positions that have little practical validity when they are rigorously examined. These claims also tend to be based on little or no evidence, little or no experience, and little or no research.

Unfortunately, the popularity of the "snowflake argument" has devolved into the equally pernicious "snowflake rebuttal."

It looks something like this:
You are not a beautiful and unique snowflake. You are the same decaying organic matter as everyone else, and we are all part of the same compost pile. ~Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club, Chapter 17

Unfortunately, Palahniuk's powerful words are often adopted to belittle and discourage reasonable ideas and discourse. This "snowflake rebuttal" presupposes or assumes that someone is irrational, ignorant, stupid, or a combination of all three. It has become a catchall rebuttal for those who prefer to respond not with reason, but with contempt.

I need not explain how this attitude discourages rational discussion.


Why is this important?
The prevalence of the snowflake argument/rebuttal reflects an unhealthy and unreasoning community. It is fundamentally "bad" rhetoric because it encourages compliance and discourages disagreement with the prevailing opinion.

Consensus is an important part of the decision-making process, but it should not be the sacred 'truth' by which all other opinions are measured.


How does this apply to XI?
The snowflake argument tends to overshadow practical results and encourage conformity to a set standard. It discourages innovation or rational inquiry in all forms. Innovators tend to be belittled before being lauded -- or even reasoned with!

This bothers me more than it should, but the conformist attitude runs rampant in this most common and unproductive of questions: How much CHR do I need?

What's wrong with this approach:
1. It assumes there is a set amount.
2. It assumes that once the 'quota' is met, no further reasoning is necessary.
3. It assumes that it is desirable to achieve this quota at all times and in all situations.
4. It creates an atmosphere in which general hedging overwhelms good, concise, specific discussion.

Summary: Everyone gives their opinion and no one learns much about how much CHR they need -- which is to say very little in some situations, and a moderate amount in others.


Ideally Speaking
In an ideal world people would use good judgment, test the advice they're given, and make informed decisions without being afraid to ask questions or to take unusual paths to improve their personal performance.

In reality?

People use the snowflake argument without thinking ... and move on.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Merit Parties: Pulling /RDM

/RDM appeals to people who feel that they are singing too slowly. It can be done well with very little investment in gear or gil, although -- like most things -- the more you spend on it, the more you'll be rewarded. People who have trouble pulling high chains while /NIN may also experience more success as /RDM.

/RDM will not make you a better puller, but it will decrease the amount of time you spend singing songs.

Greater Colibri -- Nyzul Isle side of Bhaflau Thickets.

NB: I strongly suggest /NIN for Mamool Ja and/or Skoffins. Although /WHM can work at Mamool, it is usually not a pleasant experience. Trying to "Terra's Staff Tank" these can feel like being eaten alive.


Party styles (my two favorites; there are many variations):
BRD-COR-RDM-DDx3 (strong DD)
BRD-RDM-DDx4 (compensating for weaker DD)

I prefer to have a RDM to Refresh me, but there's nothing keeping you from getting a WHM or a SCH. I just end up more cautious with my MP.

I restrict DDx3 parties to people I already know. DDx4 parties are for LSmembers lvl'ing a job to 75, or to compensate for DD who wouldn't be strong/consistent enough in the x3 setup.

Use that format as a guideline. Most of the bad parties I've been in were due to poor choices of job and/or a failure to outline expectations in advance (i.e. 'you mean I was supposed to /war?').

I'm not going to say anything new here -- friendlist people you want to party with. Make mental notes about good and bad DD, Corsairs, and support. People will remember you when your parties consistently perform well.

The real nuts-and-bolts of how this works -- and works so well and so consistently that it's easy to get high chains with average joe melee.

You will need Tavnazian Tacos and an Earth/Terra's Staff. The tacos are optional but very, very helpful. The elemental staff is required. When you arrive at camp, get the highest tier protect your healer has to offer.

Edit: Since I wrote this, I've had more time to use my Lamiabane as a ranged pulling tool. It's great for micromanaging a party's pacing. If the group is exceptionally fast, it's a fun way to have a bird at camp without waiting for it to reflect a song.

Some of this depends on party preference. If you feel your party is not performing with a specific combination, it's your duty to try things until one of them works! That said -- I prefer Marchx2*.

*Note: Corsair's love this! Many of the best DD-COR's I know dual-wield knives for TP.

If you have a RNG, consider giving them Herculean Etude. This is especially effective with someone who has lower quality gear, although even experienced RNGs may be surprised at the uptick in their numbers.

Techniques Specific to /RDM
1. Don't use Lullaby (except on links / in emergencies).
2. Don't "stage" pulls in the traditional sense of the term (see rule 1).
3. Don't idle (feel free to use idle gear like dalm or ixion cloak if you have it).

DO wear Earth/Terra's Staff full time. DO cure yourself and others (swap in your Light/Apollo's for this). DO get Sanction Refresh. DO ask for Refresh when your mp is low.

The most common reasons for a BRD to /NIN at Colibri are to (1)blink reflected songs and (2)blink damage. Rule number one negates the first, while rule number two and rule number three negates the second.

BRD can easily "Terra's Staff Tank" Colibri because they don't hit that hard to begin with! ProtectIV + Terra's Staff + Tavnazian Tacos = ~70-80DMG per hit, barring criticals. This is well within an acceptable tanking range. Mileage will vary based on gear.

If you're going to pull BRD/RDM, commit to pulling like a BRD/RDM and don't try to be a BRD/NIN. Stoneskin, Blink, and Phalanx should be last resorts. Rely on CureIII and -- sometimes -- Regen.

/RDM Pulling Routine
Sing melee buffs. Pull bird with elegy (i.e. pull, run to camp, let bird beat on you). Pianissimo Ballad Mage (one or both ballads, depending on how much time you have between pulls). Pull bird with elegy, run to camp, let bird beat on you while melee finish off the first bird -- but start singing your next set of buffs as soon as you reach camp. This is where, with experience, you can gain a huge edge on pulling speed.

In this scenario, the bard is constantly in motion -- singing, curing, or pulling and returning to camp. My DD gradually figure out that it's better not to chase the colibri, because it's chasing ME. They stand on me to get the next Colibri, and I never have to worry about them straying away from buffs.

There's nothing new about this routine, other than cutting out Lullaby and the technique of staged pulling (using Lullaby to sleep a bird at camp). What /RDM does -- or should do -- is something more like staggered pulling: one bird at a time, for as long as the party lasts. Use your good judgment when it comes to pulling. Allow time for the bird to reflect elegy onto you and fly to camp. Discourage your healer from using Erase -- encourage them to Haste you, instead.

RDM's Fast Cast trait, combined with Marchx2, combined with Haste ... makes it very unlikely that you'll suffer any penalty from being Elegy'd throughout the EXP party.

I also find that melee are more focused both when chains are high and when they feel that another party member (i.e. the Bard) is in danger if they don't hurry up and kill their bird. I like to believe that BRD/RDM takes advantage of the 'protect the support player!' mentality ... but I can't say for sure.


A note on Skill and CHR in merits
You don't need much of either to pull Colibri effectively. Elegy is not often resisted. What you need to wear to be comfortable will depend on your merits and your financial means. Try to find the minimum amount of Skill, M.Acc, and CHR that you need to be consistent -- then wear the minimum and put Fast Cast and MP everywhere else.


Full disclosure
My ninja subjob is at lvl23. It is slowly getting experience through CampaignOps and rare bits of soloing over the weekend. My bard career is broken up with breaks of between 2-13months when life catches up with me.


If you have specific questions about gear or technique, feel free to email me for a more personalized answer.