For starters I wont go into everything that has already been said about how this update affected BSTs all over the worlds of Vana'diel, we all know what has happened to this certain job. This post is more of a way to explain how BST worked before and how it might work after the update.
I were also devastated about what happened to my BST but my opinions on that matter I have already said in the forums elsewhere, I also did send my formal complaint to the official sources so you don't have to remind about doing that since it is already done. Go to the source of the problem now whine in a public forum whenever possible.
My thoughts on the subject however is that BST should get their ability back. I also support SE's ability to stop MPK from happening on a regular basis. Just wanted to make my thoughts clear on that subject but don't let those thoughts of mine cloud you and not read this post.
This post is an observation on experience points parties towards the end-game and level 75, it is not an observation on how well a Beastmaster works outside of experience points parties or in level 75 merit parties.
This is for the BST that chose to party with others, and also for the parties that choose to invite BSTs. Now let my small essay begin.
The Beastmaster, Party and You
Now we'll start to see what a BST will offer you in an experience party environment, as well as the pro's and con's about this. Not many have exp'ed with a BST before and doesn't know what they possibly could offer an experience party. I will not try and draw up BST as the dream-job for a party since it mostly likely isn't in all instances. I'll just try and state blunt facts about them from my observations as both a BST and WAR.
The Beastmaster is an Axe wielding Warrior that can never get Berserk, Double Attack, Attack Bonus I or Defender unless we of course sub WAR like other melee jobs have to do. We have the same Axe skill as a Warrior (A-) and therefore uses the same party/skillchain slot as a Warrior that has chosen to wield and Axe in a party. We get access to all the weaponskills of the Axe so if you could invite a WAR with Axes you can invite a BST. Scythe is not a preferred choice since BST doesn't have an A rating in this weapon, nor access to Ex weaponskills with Scythe.
However a Warrior has the upper hand on BST in this slot in weapon choice. BST has A- rating in Axe and B- rating in Scythe, these are our highest ratings in any weapons rest is; C+ (Dagger), D (Club) and E (Sword). Now we compare this to a Warriors utility in weapons with; A+ (Greataxe), A- (Axe), B+ (Greatsword and Scythe), B (Sword and Scythe), B- (Dagger and Spear) and D (Hand to Hand, Archery, Marksmanship and Throwing). The Warrior has the upper hand in the weapon choice department over the BST, he either has the same or greater skill in all weapons a BST can use which clearly favors the Warrior in this respect.
Now for our melee DD slot in a party, as a BST we can never match the physical attributes of a Warrior even if we sub Warrior we cannot be on par with a Warrior in an experience points party. We will be at a STR disadvantage over the WAR which means our max damage with melee hits will be around 20-30% lower then of a Warrior of the same level and our average weaponskill damage will also be lower due to this (since STR heavily influence Axe weaponskills).
To say a BST should make up for this in gear is a moot point since WAR and BST can wear basically all the same gear, short of a few Tabar and Bone type Axes that BST have exclusive rights to. These axes cannot bump us on par with a similarly kitted WAR they can at best make the gap between us less wide.
A BST can fill a party spot in place of a Warrior, but as a Beastmaster I am sad to say a Warrior will always fill it better. A BST is a good choice for this slot if you need a party member with Axe and you cannot see any Warrior currently looking for party.
The Beastmasters Subjobs of choice
This is the sub that will improve us the most, Berserk(30) and Double Attack(50) are the things that will do the most for us. We can increase our damage to only be slightly less then that of a Warrior hit per hit (the difference in melee output would still favor the WAR by 10-15% I will not deny that). Up to level 45 we will function like a Axe-wielding Warrior with this sub, and also function well together with another WAR/THF that wield Great Axe (Smash Axe > Sturmwind > Fragmentation).
Berserk at 30 for BST will increase your overall damage since it boost Atk by 25% (boost from equips and food will also be increased while using Berserk). At 50 we get access to Double Attack which is good for extra dot damage while building TP but will also increase our weaponskill damage (Double Attack can fire on a weaponskill thus increasing the weaponskills damage).
After 45 the WAR will again gain the upper hand on us when it comes to Axe's since they get access to Aggressor and can keep a +25~ Accuracy Bonus up 60% of the time in an experience party environment. A BST will never be able to obtain this enhancement and from 45 onwards a WAR main has the upper hand on BST in this respect.
I personally do not recommend this until level 48/50 myself since the only thing you will gain from it is Utsusemi and Dual-wield I before level 50. While using the NIN subjob you give up a lot since you do not get access to that a WAR sub offers you. The pro's of this sub is that all weaponskills get an additional hit while dual-wielding thus increasing the overall weaponskill damage (most noticeably at 55 with Rampage which turn s 5-hitter into a 6-hitter).
A BST with a /NIN subjob will mostly only benefit from Duel-wield which is why I say it isn't really viable until 48/50, we don't have provoke so we cannot reliably tank. We could use Charm to get hate spikes but I doubt the exp party would be happy about it if the BST actually would Charm the mob we're fighting and break the experience points chain. Shadows will mostly be for when we draw hate and lessen the healers role so we take less damage.
However a WAR can and will also sub NIN in these instances and get the full benefit from both Warrior and Ninja. With a NIN subjob a WAR can turn Rampage into a 8-hitter weaponskill (if double attack fires twice, which happens more often then one might suspect I have to say from experience).
The same is for Raging Axe which is a 2-hitter normally but with /NIN turns into a 3-hitter (the maximum a BST can obtain) a WAR/NIN can boost this up to a 5-hitter if Double Attack fires twice on the WS (a BST can never do this, neither with NIN or WAR sub).
The Thief subjob doesn't favor the BST, we don't have Meditate from a SAM so we can Sneak Attack a decent weapon skill every few minutes. We cannot wield two-handed weapons like a DRG, DRK, SAM or WAR to increase a weaponskill damage by a lot through the use of Sneak Attack. The same goes to say about Trick Attack we have a low Scythe skill and not access to any Ex weaponskill like a DRK do so we can trick a big chunk of damage and hate onto the tank.
For a BST the THF subjob is a farming sub and will stay at that even after this update and I personally don't see it as a viable party sub.
Samurai subjob can work after 60, but we also give up the power from a WAR sub by doing so. After 60 a WAR or SAM job is essentially a toss-up in power in best case and will in most cases favor the WAR subjob. Meditate is nice, but we only get 60% TP from it, give up on Double Attack and Berserk which does a whole lot to our overall damage.
A BST is best of with a Warrior subjob in almost all cases in order to reach up to other melees damage output and validate a party slot, in some cases a SAM subjob can be situational but is generally no the preferred choice in a party enviroment.
The Beastmasters and Call Beast
From 23 onwards a BST gets access to jugs, and can through their ability Call Beast summon beasts to fight by their and their friends side and aid them in battle.
A jugpet is a nice addition but against the prey parties chose to fight against (VT, IT) a jug will not have a decent accuracy (30-65% depending on con of the mob). Damage hit for hit will be lower or on par with the BST himself, but will still not be enough to get them on par with another melee DD when you include weaponskills in the formula.
Jugpet damage are increased on mobs weak to blunt damage, in these cases a BST + jug will increase their damage to be on par or beyond other melees (MNK excluded of course since they have this bonus as well). The jug accuracy will of course still be lower as usual, but the damage inflicted will be increased by around 50 to 75 percent which is quite substantial.
Pet special attacks an our Sic command grants us the ability to command a pet to do a special move when they have acquired 100 TP. We do not have the ability to control which ability the pet choose to use and in some cases this is counter-productive for a BST to use (AoE moves in an area filled with non-aggro but linking mobs). A jugpet specials are not something in the extreme damage region but can do decent numbers. I'll explain here below some of the most used jugpets utility and special moves. I will not include any of the jugs included in the last update since I haven't had to much time to play around with them.
Funguar Jug (Seedbed Soil)
The Seedbed Soil is available at level 33 and calls the FunguarFamiliar, they have double attack a decent staying power but suffers from a low hp and mediocre defense, They are the quintessential DD jug from 33 to level 65 for a BST (they cap out at level 65 and will not improve in ability after that). This jug is unsynthable and called Seebed Soil and therefore has no HQ, bought in Kazham from the Toji Mumosulah NPC for around 700 gil/each (8400 gil/stack).
They can use such offensive special such as Frogkick (critical damage), Dark Spore (Conical AoE damage and Blind) and Silence Gas (Conical AoE damage and Silence).
Dark Spore and Silence Gas inflict decent but no special damage against a VT/IT mob (in the 90-200 region, more often then not in the lower spectrum) if it is used in a cramped area with a lot of other mobs they will hit other mobs in its area of effect.
Frogkick is in the same damage region as Dark Spore and Silence Gas but has a low accuracy and will more mostly miss a VT/IT mob.
A FunguarFamilar also has a number of de buffing Specials that can Paralyze, Disease and Sleep a mob, These de buffs will seldom stick on a VT/IT mob, but when they do the effects are very potent (Paralyze for example kicks in at least 1/3 of the time the mob tries to do an action against the party).
Tiger Jugs (Meat Broth, Warm Meat Broth)
These have double attack and a very fast attack speed, they are a decent DD in a party they still suffer from the same accuracy problems as other jugs do on VT/IT mobs sadly. Tiger jugs are available in 2 shapes Meat Broth and Warm Meat Broth. A tiger jug also has permanent Flee ability and is useful for pulling fast moving mobs and has the ability to kite mobs with ease if the hands of a skillful BST.
The Meat Broth is available at level 28 and calls the TigerFamilar, their life span is however fairly short since they cap out at level 40, but is a useful alternative to the Seedbed Soil jug pet in this level range if they can be acquired cheaper then the Seedbed Soil's at AH or in Bazaar's. This jug is only synthable and not available from any NPC.
Warm Meat Broth
The Meat Broth is available at level 51 and calls SaberSivade, just like their NQ counterpart Meat Broth their life span is fairly short since they cap out at level 63, but is a useful alternative to the Seedbed Soil jug pet in this level range if they can be acquired cheaper then the Seedbed Soil's at AH or in Bazaar's. This jug is only synthable and not available from any NPC. This jug is the HQ result of a meat broth synthesis.
They have access to three special moves Claw Cyclone (inflicts double normal damage), Razor Fang (inflicts critical damage) and Roar (AoE Paralyze).
Crab Jugs (Fish Broth, Fish Oil Broth)
These jugs have a slow attack speed, no double attack but high defense and high hit points total they can tank an VT/IT mob for 15-30 seconds if they have to in case you get a link. They have limited DD ability compared to other jugs but is usually a lot cheaper then other jugs and is a good choice in case there is a shortage of DD jugs. Crab jugs are available in 2 shapes Fish Broth and Fish Oil Broth. Before level 56 there is no real difference between a Fish Broth or Fish Oil Broth in stats or hp, they works exactly the same until Fish Broth caps out.
The Fish Broth is available at level 23 and calls the CrabFamiliar, their life span is fairly long and will finally cap out at level 55, this is usually the cheapest and most readily available jug in the 23-55 level range since it is both synthable and available from the Toji Mumosulah NPC for around 170 gil/each (2100gil/stack).
Fish Oil Broth
The Fish Oil Broth is available at level 23 and calls a CourierCarrie (CC), just like their NQ counterpart Fish Broth their life span is very long since they are uncapped and continue to improve in ability all the way to 75, This jug is only synthable and not available from any NPC since it is a HQ result of the Fish Broth synthesis.
They have access to five special moves Big Scissors (inflicts critical damage), Bubble Curtain (gives the effect of shell, effectiveness varies with jug level), Metallic Body (gives the jug around 30-50 points worth of stoneskin), Scissor Guard (gives Def up status) and Bubble Curtain (deals damage to all mobs within AoE range and inflicts STR down status).
Sheep Jugs (Herbal Broth, Singing Herbal Broth)
These jugs have decent attack speed and double attack, they are a decent DD but suffer from accuracy problems against all VT/IT mobs like other jugs. During the times they do manage to activate Rage and gain the effect of Berserk their damage will match that of another DD in a party (but still with lower accuracy of course). Sheep jugs are available in 2 shapes Herbal Broth and Singing Herbal Broth. Sheep have better deffense then a Tiger jug and slightly more hit points but is not on par with a crab jug of the same level in this area.
The Herbal Broth is available at level 23 and calls the SheepFamilar, they have a decent lifespan and will cap out at 35, this is usually the second cheapest available jug in the 23-35 level range next to the Fish Broth since it is both synthable and avialable from the Ferdoulemiont, Generoit, Mamerie (Kazham), Neigepance and Quesse NPC's for around 290gil/each (2500gil/stack).
Singing Herbal Broth
The Singing Herbal Broth is available at level 43 and calls a LullabyMelodia (CC), just like their NQ counterpart Herbal Broth their life span is decent and will cap out at level 55, This jug is only synthable and not available from any NPC since it is a HQ result of the Herbal Broth synthesis.
They have access to three special moves Rage (grants pet Berserk status), Sheep Charge (inflicts critical damage) and Sheep Song (AoE Sleep).
Jug pets are decent or sub-par DD, their accuracy and total damage dealt will never match another melee, but they can and will help a BST to keep up with the other melee's in an experience point party. A BST have to take great care when they decide to use a Special move of a pet since it might link other mobs onto the jug. If this happens only the jug will have hate and the BST have to let the jugpet die to clear aggro (the aggro mobs will not link onto the BST or his party afterwards).
Damage Output and Attribute Difference
This is an observation done by me from when I have been playing BST against VT/IT mobs. My damage with Axes is around 30-40 (40-55 while Berserked), a Funguar pet hits for around 25-40 as well (but with a lot lower accuracy then the BST itself). A Funguar pets damage will increase if you fight mobs that are weak to blunt damage damage of course (such as bones and pots).
My Rampages with BST59 are around 180-300 on average (with peaks up to 500-600's), and Funguar jug Special Moves will inflict around 90-200 damage. But since we cannot control which one they do in their repertoire and if we have other mobs nearby and it chose to do an AoE. A jugpets damage can be erreatic from fight to fight if it oes goes into a streak of not using any heavy damaging Specials (think of it like you're doing a random WS every time you get 100% TP, not the one you want or have to do)
I have myself never experinced having a BRD around when I exp BST so I do not know how much it will improve my BST melee performance. I will however it will assume it will increase my damage output and accuracy by around 25-50% as it does for me when I have played my WAR.
If you wonder about the slightly lower damage on melee hits and weaponskills for BST compared to other melee jobs it is due to the very sad fact that out STR are just slightly higher then that of a mage and not comparable to a melee DD, Basically our damage is capped much lower due to our low STR. I'll give you a comparison below for you to see for yourself using BST, DRK, WAR, SAM, WHM and RDM at level 60 with fully levelled subs as an example (all as Hume).
(note the WHM and RDM is just included as a comparison to show how a BST attributes are equal to a mages when using the same sub)
HP MP STR DEX VIT AGI INT MND CHA BST/WAR 1070 0 55 57 52 46 47 47 62 BST/NIN 1040 0 53 58 53 47 49 46 61 DRK/WAR 1070 257 66 57 56 53 54 40 41 DRK/THF 1040 257 63 59 56 54 57 39 39 WAR/THF 1100 0 63 59 52 58 46 42 46 WAR/NIN 1100 0 64 58 53 58 45 42 47 SAM/WAR 1130 0 59 57 56 50 50 50 51 SAM/THF 1100 0 56 59 56 51 53 49 49 WHM/WAR 920 441 55 46 52 50 47 61 55 WHM/NIN 890 441 53 47 53 51 49 60 54 RDM/WAR 980 380 55 53 49 50 54 54 51 RDM/NIN 950 380 53 54 50 51 56 53 50
A BST stats are closer to that of a RDM if we were to use the same sub and doesn't reach the numbers a WAR or DRK does in STR. This doesn't make a Beastmaster useless but you shouldn't expect to see the damage numbers you normally see from a WAR or DRK in a weaponskill since a BST is limited in their persformance by their lower STR score.
The WAR and BST occupy the same weapon and weaponskill slots in a party so it is to assume they compete against the same type of DD spot in all parties. Due to a WAR outperforming an BST in almost all cases. Excpetions to this are;
#1 If the jugpet gets a lucky streak and hits the same accuracy as the BST himself, and then will be able to match a WARs output in that particular fight.
#2 When fighting mobs weak to blunt damage your jug pets performance increase due to the extra 50-75% damage bonus the jug pet is granted. This will aloow to the BST+jug to be on par or in some cases pass a WARs damage output.
Even if the BST can match a WARs damage performance thru Food and Tweaks the WAR always have Aggressor to increase his accuracy 60% of the time. So in conclusion the Warrior will win the overall weapons, weaponskilla and melee damage department.
In addition a BST does not have the stats to be able to pump out as much raw damage as a WAR or DRK can do. They have stats similar to that of a SAM, but the SAM still has Meditate and the ability to get out weaponskill more often then BST, as well as the options of doing more skillchains possible.
BST might not be the first choice in a party slot, but can fill in for a WAR if they have to. I am not going to lie and say they are better then a WAR in this slot, at best they can match a WAR performance in optimal conditions.
Well that is that for now, I'll update this further if you find something inaccurate/unclear and also appreciate input and feedback in order to keep this as correct as possible.
Updated: 2005-12-15 10:40 GMT+1
Editted: 2005-12-15 13:23 GMT+1 (found some errors, and some stupid mistake my spellchecker missed)
Edited, Thu Dec 15 07:26:14 2005 by Liquidedust