Monday, August 11, 2008

Scholar 75: A Post-mortem

I hit 75 Scholar a few days ago, re-wrote my macros to make them useful for SCH/RDM soloing and group activities (outside Cure IV spamming in bad parties). And I decided to go have a little solo fun earlier today.
My tiny EXP buffer may have had something to do with the reason I was out soloing.

I popped the last of my Anniversary Ring charges (and later an Emperor Band charge) and started messing around with some Wamoura Princes. They aren't as good solo EXP as Ebony Puddings, but the camp is rarely taken so I like it just as much.
Just losing Chain #4

Sometimes when you cast a Fire-elemental spell on a monster, it stays a lit up orange-red color. Possibly due to gear swapping, but I'm not 100% sure why. Ionohelix (the thunder-based helix spell) turns mobs black.This happened pretty consistently as well. I'll have to try it on something that is not so dark colored to start with to better illustrate it later.

But more what I was curious about was this: Can Scholar solo things that I consider too dangerous to mess with on Black Mage more safely? Answer, is "yes", because of this:I was wearing my Elemental Torque instead of my Enfeebling one in the picture, but with 294 skill my sleep, gravity, and bind are accurate enough and casting speed high enough that tougher solos as Black Mage are a breeze as Scholar.While a Dahak is by no means the toughest S.O.B. in all of Vanadiel, they are too strong for most jobs to handle solo. I'll have to try some solo Diorite farming tommorow as Scholar too. As Black Mage my enfeebles resisted too frequently resulting in near (or actual) death.

Getting to the point...

Which brings me finally, to my overall point. The differences, both strengths and weaknesses of SCH/RDM compared to BLM/RDM.
  • Higher Enfeebling Magic Skill

  • Free Reraise 2

  • Protect IV & Shell IV

  • "Free" Weather-based Movement+12%

  • Lack of Escape/Warp/Tractor
First, scholar's higher enfeebling magic and adequate elemental magic makes low ITs that would kill a Black Mage who has less than perfect luck with an enfeeble landing much less threatening.

I killed multiple Dahaks and had 0 close calls. Going from 279 -> 294 Enfeebling magic skill makes a huge difference. Red Mages, of course, can get much higher skill but lack the firepower and MP efficiency to kill in a reasonable amount of time.

Second, free Reraise II makes attempting harder solos more relaxed than they would be otherwise. Reraise Hairpins are expensive and the cost of such consumables adds up fast. Switching to Addendum: Light once an hour costs but a few moments.

Third, Protect & Shell IV are available to Scholar while Black Mage only has the second tiers. Shell is probably the most under appreciated buff in the game. With high INT, Shell IV, and capped Stoneskin Thundaga III will barely break 300 damage as its single target. It significantly reduces other TP move magic AoEs as well turning them from significantly damaging into something Regen II can take care of.

Fourth, the existence of Desert Boots and the Sandstorm spell provide an excellent and cheap alternative to the wildly expensive Herald's Gaiters. Being able to outrun something you're fighting or kiting is very useful. It's also nice for just running from place to place. (Particularly due to the next point.)

Fifth, Scholar suffers from a serious lack of transport spells.
  • /BLM provides Warp, Tractor, and Escape but little else of value. No defensive buffs make it nearly pointless to sub for any sort of event.

  • /WHM provides the level 36 Teleports and Blink and Stoneskin, but no Bind, Gravity or MAB trait makes it lack severely offensively.

  • /RDM provides the necessary buffs and debuffs, but provides no magey way of getting around quickly. So, it's either walk or bring a Warp Cudgel.
Outside of Red Mage mains using /NIN or /DRK at an event, basically every other mage job provides some magic-based way of getting around. Not having one is pretty annoying. Hopefully merits or other additions will allow /BLM to work in the future or give Scholars a transport spell of their own.

Conclusions

From what I've tried so far, Scholar delivers as promised. A great job that's only going to become more versatile as SE continues to tweak and add things to it. It expands BLM/RDM soloing in a slightly different way (accurate enfeebles with a free safety net), and has AoE enfeebles for effective crowd control at events like Dynamis and Einherjar. It also really could use a spell or two for getting around quickly whether from the main job or by making Black Mage a useable subjob.

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