II. GENERAL INFORMATION
This section will address the general abilities of the PLD, including subjobs and abilities, and how those choices relate to DD PLD. The Inherent PLD
PLD has a lot of tools that make it a great tank. First and foremost, it should be pointed out that a PLD is a PLD regardless of subjob selection. A subjob is only a means to helping a PLD in his goal for many of the events that the PLD participates in. As abilities and spells are listed, they will be accompanied with Volatile Enmity (VE) and Cumulative Enmity (CE) results, as found listed on Kaeko's Blog
. VE and CE will be discussed in Section III. Job Abilities
Invincible (1) - Invincible allows a PLD to ignore most physical damage for the space of 30 seconds. Magic damage and ranged attacks can bypass this resistance so the PLD isn't truly Invincible while using this ability. Because it is a 2 Hour ability, however, the cool down stops most PLDs from using this ability until it is truly desperate. As a rule of thumb, regardless of type of PLD, a PLD who dies to normal attacks and had this ability unused should have used it to prolong the fight by up to 30 more seconds, allowing the mob to be finished. This is, of course, not true if other activities (end game) will require the use of your 2 hour ability. Invincible generates 1 CE and 7200 VE.
Holy Circle (5) - Gives everyone in the party the chance to intimidate undead.
The only time to use this ability is really when you're fighting Undead and lose hate to someone for an extended period of time. PLD already has Undead Killer, so they don't need this trait to intimidate Undead. Holy Circle generates 1 CE and 20 VE. This is NOT an effective hate tool.
Shield Bash (15) - Our first reliable stun. The chance of stunning is directly affected by the difference between the PLD's level and the target's level. This makes it effective for PLD but not so much for /PLD. Damage is also dealt to the mob. It generates 1 CE and 900 VE.
Sentinel (30) - Sentinel is a sort of mini-Invincible. Damage taken is greatly reduced, starting at 90% damage reduction at first and slowly decreasing to 40% damage reduction. This alone greatly affects the levels of enmity by reducing the amount of enmity lost. In addition to this, it generates 1 CE and 1800 VE in use and maximizes out the Enmity modifier of everything the PLD does so that every action taken within the 30 second window of Sentinel generates double the CE and VE.
Cover (35) - As mentioned in the introduction, there are times when another party member will pull hate on the mob and the PLD will be left standing there. This ability allows the PLD to still take the damage despite not having hate. It takes proper placement - the PLD must be directly between the target (who should have hate) and the mob. Only physical damage is taken by the PLD during Cover. Cover is unique among PLD abilities in that it generates no VE.
Rampart (62) - Rampart increases the defense and applies a special magical damage stoneskin effect on all party members in range. It can also overwrite certain Defense Up and Defense Down effects. Rampart generates 1 CE and 300 VE per party member effected. The use of Rampart depends on the party set up and target mobs. If a mob has a lot of magic damage effects, Rampart can be saved to counter them to a limited extent. If a mob does not, it can be used to quickly generate VE.
For completion's sake, Merit Abilities will also be included.
Fealty (75 - Category II Merit) - Fealty blocks status ailments from affecting the PLD during it's minute duration. Damage will still be taken, but any slow, paralyze, blind, or other ailments will fail to take effect. Essentially, this is a specialized form of invincibility that allows a PLD's support line to worry more about hp than status effects removal. The draw back is a long recast ranging from 10 minutes (fully merited) to 20 minutes (unlocked). It generates 1 CE and 300 VE.
Chivalry (75 - Category II Merit) - Chivalry uses all of a PLD's TP and changes it into MP, specifically at a rate of TP * (0.5 + 0.015 * MND). Essentially, this allows a PLD to recharge one of the critical pieces in his tanking set: his MP. Again, the recast can be a small problem, ranging from 10 minutes to 20 minutes depending on merits spent. Chivarly generates 1 CE and 300 VE. Job Traits
Undead Killer (5) - Allows for a small chance that an Undead mob attacking the PLD may become intimidated. The activation rate appears to be ~10%. A nifty trait but since Undead are generally bad mobs to XP on, this ability should see little use while leveling PLD.
Defense Bonus (10) - Increases the Defense value of the PLD. This trait does not stack with any other traits from other sources (such as a WAR). This trait is also one of the reasons that a PLD does not benefit from having a high defense from gear. The trait is tiered: +10 at 10, +22 at 30, +35 at 50, +48 at 70. Refer to Section III for a discussion on the decreasing returns of Defense.
Resist Sleep (20) - This trait gives PLDs an increased chance of resisting sleep effects. Due to the fact that most PLDs are tanking, however, they should wake up long before this trait would see any real use. Again, a nifty trait but one that won't see regular use. This is why PLD mobs are harder to sleep, however.
Shield Mastery (25) - This trait is what defines the PLD and his signature piece of equipment, the shield. Shield Mastery grants the PLD an increase in TP gained from an enemy's attack if a shield block occurs. As an added bonus, it also prevents a spell being cast from being interrupted by an enemy's attack.
Auto-Refresh (35) - A PLD gains 1 mp/tick, allowing them to regain mp over the course of a battle. It does stack with Refresh gained from spells and from gear but it does not stack with other Auto-Refresh traits.
Again, for completion's sake, merits will be included in this discussion.
Guardian (75 - Category II Merit) - This trait is only active while Sentinel is active. It reduces the amount of CE lost for whatever cause CE is reduced. Each merit reduces the loss by 19%.
Iron Will (75 - Category II Merit) - This trait is only active while Rampart is active. It adds a Spell Interruption Rate Down effect to Rampart. Each merit increases the Rate Down by 19%. Spells
Cure (I, II, III, IV) - These spells are the first bread and butter hate tools available to a PLD. Every time hp is restored, CE and VE are generated. The formulas for this will be discussed in Section III.
Banish (I, II) - Banish spells are useful in only a small portion of the game. Certain undead resistances can be reduced by casting banish on them. There is also a small of amount of damage that is dealt. These spells are usually not worth the effort for a PLD to cast, however.
Protect (I, II, III, IV)/Shell (I, II, III) - Spells which raise the Defense or Magic Defense of the target. Useful for solo work and when a WHM, RDM, or SCH is not available as a Support character. These spells also generate a small amount of VE (80 per spell).
Flash (37) - Flash is PLD's Provoke. While it doesn't generate the total enmity that Provoke does, it does generate 180 CE and 1280 VE. It also blinds the target which may result in a decrease of damage taken. It has a longer initial recast than Provoke but, due to Enmity and Haste modifiers, it can be much more efficient in the long run.
Holy (55) - Same as Banish without any hidden effects on mobs. Due to a long recast and a large mp cost, this spell has very situational use.
Reprisal (61) - Reprisal increases the chance of blocking with a shield. The rate is still being tested but is visibly noticeable. It also reflects a portion of the damage taken back upon the attacker. Subjobs
The subjob that a PLD chooses plays a big role in her ability to maintain her first priority - controlling enmity. WARRIOR
Ideal Level Use: 10-75
The bread and butter sub of PLD since the first PLD attempted to tank. WAR has all of the abilities and traits that a PLD wants most - good HP, good STR, good VIT, an ability to generate enmity quickly, and more. As it turns out, /WAR is the go to sub for both DD PLD and Turtle PLD although for slightly different reasons.
The traditional style of PLD used Defender to increase defense and lower the amount of damage taken. He also used Provoke to generate a large amount of VE quickly. Warcry could be used for a similar reason but suffers from a longer casting time. Berserk was mostly unheard of in this style as it causes a noticeable increase in damage taken. Warcry can be used for a quick enmity spike when it is available.
DD PLD, on the other hand, uses /WAR for its more offensive capabilities. Most DD jobs above 30 recognize the benefits of using /WAR as a sub and PLD is no exception. Provoke still proves a highly useful hate generating ability. Double Attack increases the number of swings that a PLD will take with his sword. Berserk increases damage output. Berserk, though, can not often be taken for its full duration because of the increase in damage taken. Instead, it can be used to quickly boost attack for a WS before either being canceled (pre 35), user while Sentinel is up then canceled (35-50), or used while Sentinel is up then negated by using Defender then becoming active again (canceling Defender) just in time to WS and then cancel Berserk. Warcry can be used to enhance a WS as well as a good source of VE if used constantly during the party. In addition to this, /WAR provides an attack bonus to the PLD, increasing their attack if only by a small amount.
Regardless of the style the PLD wishes to pursue, /WAR is a vital sub to have available. NINJA
Ideal Level Use: 74-75 (50-75 with proper setup)
Ninja is the go to sub for most jobs seeking to reduce damage taken. It also aids jobs using one-handed weapons by providing more options in offensive equipment in the form of a second weapon in the Sub equipment slot and an increased attack rate when using both weapons. Utsusemi is an incredibly useful spell which negates certain attacks in their entirety. If NIN had a built in Enmity creation tool, it could easily become the sub of choice for PLD. But, due to balance issues, this will never be the case.
In terms of the traditional PLD, /NIN sees most use after Utsusemi: Ni becomes available (74). The quick casting time of Ni and the (relative) fast casting time of Ichi allow a PLD to avoid the blood tanking aspect of tanking. Other guides have addressed this approach (with or without DD set in), particularly ScarShiva's post on the subject. [To do: Find link to this post]
The DD PLD can benefit from Dual Wield and from Utsusemi as well but due to the lack of shadows and hate tools prior to 74, it becomes a lack luster sub for solo tanking. In a co-tank situation, a PLD/NIN can bounce hate through judicious use of spells and abilities. In essense, Dual Wield and Ichi do not make up for the loss of a shield or Provoke. From 50 on, when Dual Wield II kicks in, a party can use a TP Burn mentality and allow hate to bounce around the DDs a little more. A PLD in these circumstances who is geared correctly can work as a first "voke" as well as provide healing support while dealing damage. RDM
Ideal Level Use: 68-75
Red Mage has a slew of traits and spells that allow a PLD to tank effectively. However, the best of these abilities is not gained until much later in the PLD's leveling career, namely, those that reduce the damage that a PLD takes. By using Phalanx, which reduces damage by a fixed amount per hit, and Stoneskin, which absorbs damage up to a certain limit, a PLD/RDM reduces the amount of CE lost from taking damage. In addition to this, several RDM spells produce large amounts of Enmity at low mp cost, allowing the Auto-Refresh of a PLD/RDM to make the most of his mp. Specifically, Blind (1 CE & 640 VE for 5 mp at 10 second recast), Bind (1 CE and 640 VE for 8 mp and 30 second recast), Poison (1 CE and 320 VE for 5 mp and 5 second recast), and Sleep (320 CE and 320 VE for 19 MP and 30 second recast) allow for higher VE and CE than /WAR.
It should be noted that for DD PLD, /RDM also adds Enspells, which add a small amount of hate free damage, and the damage reduction makes gear selection less of a point, allowing the PLD/RDM to "get away" with the gear a lot easier. However, the constant casting of spells will greatly impact the PLD's ability to deal damage, thus making this particular sub fall more in the range of the Turtle PLD. DANCER
Ideal Level Usage: 20-75
Wings of the Goddess introduced Dancer, the only job besides WAR with a Provoke like job ability (i.e., intended to pull the attention of the mob as it's primary purpose). Many thought that there was finally another sub that would work for PLD. Some proponents of this subjob welcomed the addition, but by and large, the PLD community was disappointed in the results. This is not to say that this is completely accurate, however.
/DNC provides the PLD with several key features that benefit a DD style. Waltzes provide an alternative to cures, allowing the PLD a further way to keep themselves alive. Waltzes also provide the ability to erase several effects through the use of Healing Waltz. The subjob has an Accuracy Bonus which becomes active for the PLD, allowing him to up his hit rate. Steps allow the PLD to inflict various status effects on the opponent (defense down and evasion down being the only two available to PLD/DNC) and build up Finishing Moves for use with Flourishes. Animated Flourish functions similar to Provoke, generating 1 CE and 1500 VE for two finishing moves. If only one move is available, the expected VE generated is 750. Each samba also generates 1 CE and 300 VE, making for a very small boost to enmity totals while also providing either a drain effect or an aspir effect to melee damage.
But, at its heart, the real draw back for PLD/DNC in terms of DD PLD is that many of its abilities require the use of TP in order to activate them. TP serves as a second source of MP, in essence, and limits the PLDs ability to WS, reducing his over all damage. In fact, it could be said that DD PLD benefits /DNC more than /DNC benefits DD PLD. For the purposes of tanking, however, this is of little concern - it can be made to work and should be considered as an option. BLUE MAGE
Ideal Level Usage: 16-75 with diminishing returns at higher levels, useful at 75 for Super Tank strategies
Blue Mage has access to several spells that help a great deal in tanking. Some of these spells are accessible as a sub job due to their lower level. /BLU also has the added benefit of adding job traits to the PLD, such as Auto-Regen, without compromising either his offensive or defensive capabilities.
Both styles of PLD gain the use of job traits such as Auto-Regen and Clear Mind as well as spells such as Cocoon (a spell that raises their defense rating by 50%). They benefit from a higher base mp and gain use to Head Butt, which at lower levels seems to proc often enough to be worthwhile to use as a sub. It also adds to their offensive capability at lower levels. However, the lack of any really effective Enmity tools (no blind/bind/poison equivalents), this sub has a harder time holding hate than other subs.
This sub really shines in situations where the PLD needs all the survival tools he can get but can't perform actions on the mobs on which he is facing. Further discussion will take place in later sections of the guide. DARK KNIGHT
Ideal Level Usage: 75
Dark Knight provides a host of tools that provide a quick jump in enmity. Job abilities such as Last Resort (1 CE and 1300 VE) and Souleater (1 CE and 1300 VE) can quickly lift a PLD's VE level. However, each of these abilities is countered by lowering Defense or lowering HP upon a successful hit. As such, they are most often canceled after use to remove the negative aspects. A PLD also gains access to Poison, Bind, and Sleep for quick boosts to VE similar to a RDM. He would also gain access to Stun which can be used to both generate hate and stop a big move from completing. The quick generation of VE can make /DRK great for a zerg situation or one in which the PLD needs to quickly get the attention of a lot of mobs. SAMURAI
Ideal Level Usage: 70+
SAM provides a DD PLD wishing to use a two handed weapon the edge they need. The two handed update allowed the disparity between two handed weapons and one handed weapons to be seen in greater detail. PLDs only have native skill is Great Swords and Staves and of the Staves, they have limited selection in damaging staves, making Great Swords the way to go for two-handed action. /SAM provides Hasso (Haste + STR increase while active) and Seigan (Reduced recast time for Third Eye, chance to counter, and a chance to keep Third Eye up even after use) for alternating offensive and defensive styles. It also provides Meditate, which provides the PLD with 60 free TP every 3 minutes. This sub will allow a PLD to get the most DD from his Great Sword while also maintaining a level of Defense. However, due to a lack of high enmity tools and penalties to recasts while using Hasso or Seigan, it is hard to tank as PLD/SAM and as such, this is mostly a toy for two-handed builds and not a viable XP sub. MONK
Ideal Level Usage: 24-30
There is an argument that WAR/MNK is the greatest tank for the duration of the Kazham levels (refer to section VI) because of the mobs being fought. Mandragoras have a high attack rate but hit weekly per hit and are relatively weak defensively. A WAR/MNK using a Great Axe has a chance of countering each attack from the Mandragora for high amounts of damage, using his defense to further fuel his enmity levels. PLD/MNK would attempt to emulate this fact but it has to do so without the aid of Provoke, Flash, or Sentinel, as the PLD would be too low of a level for some of these and would not have the remaining available. As such, a PLD would have to grab attention using Boosts (1 CE, 300 VE) every 15 seconds to attempt to maintain hate on the Mandragora. Once hate was established, it would be a little easier to begin holding it, but because of the way Boost works, hate would already have to be established on the mob before the boosting cycle continued. Two boosts in 30 seconds also only generates 600 VE which is only 1/3 of the amount generated by Provoke in the same amount of time. While an interesting thought process, the numbers just don't add up for this sub to be useful all that often. This sub would also work better with a DD PLD style than a Turtle Style, as counter is directly influenced by accuracy and enmity by damage dealt. PUPPETMASTER
Ideal Level Usage: 1-10
Puppetmaster brings one thing to the job - a separate entity that can provide either healing or dd support. However, it lacks any real abilities for generating hate and a subbed puppet makes a horrible tank (whether or not a main PUP's automaton can tank is a separate debate). As such, this job gets better use as an aid to leveling low level jobs. An automaton has full access to frames, heads, and attachments from level 1 and has access to spells according to how high their magic skill is. A soulsoother automaton can main heal quite easily in the levels before level 10. Once a PLD starts partying, however, it's time to pack the automaton away. WHITE MAGE, BLACK MAGE, and SCHOLAR
These jobs add very little to a PLD. Stoneskin is gained from WHM earlier but it has no Phalanx to back it up. The PLD already has access to cure spells, so little is gained here. Status affliction removal spells have little to show in the way of VE. With few hate tools not already gained by being a PLD, these jobs fail to serve any vital function for Turtle or DD PLD. They are mostly used for travel or utility. THIEF
Thief's normal role in a party is to help someone else have hate. As such, very few of their abilities work well for a PLD. While Sneak Attack would increase the damage of an attack, a PLD shouldn't be willing to rely on it since it requires attacking the back of the mob - she shouldn't be willing to face that back long enough to make use of consistent Sneak Attacks! Treasure Hunter increases drop rates, however, and flee can be used to help cover large distances more quickly, so PLD/THF has a place farming and traveling but not in XP. DRAGOON and RANGER
Many DD classes chose to use Dragoon or Ranger as a subjob. Dragoon gains an attack bonus early, increasing the users ability to do damage at a level when attack means more than accuracy. Ranger gains an accuracy bonus earlier on. The bonus, when first gained, is even more than the coveted Peacock Charm. Dragoon also provides Jump and High Jump, abilities which grant "free" attacks according to their timers. Certain subjob items also grant significant Haste increases. However, both jobs lack key hate tools, making these either solo subjobs (of which there are better choices) or situational subjobs. They sees little action, if any. BEAST MASTER
Beast Master grants the ability to charm mobs and use them to fight other mobs. In a Solo situation, /BST is great as it allows for more damage to be generated quickly against a single target from having two attackers. In a Party Situation, the extra DD generated fails to out weigh the primary reason PLDs are invited to parties - there are no decent hate tools from /BST. There is also the catch that the level of the PLD's BST is vital to what it can and can't charm. BARD and CORSAIR
While Bard and Corsair are great support jobs for a party, they add few hate tools and have long cast or recast times. In order to use the songs as hate tools, the PLD has to wait a large number of seconds to get the hate - time that the PLD isn't swinging, casting, or using job abilities. Add to this the fact that a /BRD can only have one song active and /COR can only have one roll active, and PLD/BRD or PLD/COR are never seen in a tanking situation. SUMMONER
Summoner has nothing remotely useful to PLD trying to maintain hate. Auto Refresh traits do not stack, making the traits useless. Although /SMN would provide more MP than any other sub, the PLD is still limited to their original selection of spells or avatars which are barely half as effective as a main SMN's avatars would be. TL; DR: A PLD's place is to tank in an xp party. As such, their abilities are designed to generate a lot of VE. The subjobs of choice, depending on the situation, are /WAR, /NIN, /RDM, /DNC, /BLU, and /DRK. Each sub provides different benefits to a DD PLD. Edited, Mar 7th 2009 10:10am by Dracoth