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Let's go skill-up, shall we?Follow

#1 May 15 2006 at 4:26 AM Rating: Excellent
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I was in a skillup party tonight, and after analyzing the different players and what they were doing, I suddenly realized that some people have no idea how a skill party works or how it differs from a EXP party. I want to share some of this knowledge with you.

I have skilled up several weapons. I have nine weapons over 200 skill currently, and I have completed five WSNM quests. I won't consider myself an authority on skilling, but since my DRK had a real hard time getting invites, I had alot of skill parties double as mediocre EXP parties, so I kinda have enough experience to know what works and what doesn't.

I'm not going to tell you WHERE to skill up. That's for another post. I'm simply going to explain concepts of what to do in skill parties to get the most skill with the least hassle.

Assembling your group
One of the biggest and most common mistakes I see is a group that is ill-made. You can't just throw a bunch of random jobs together and skill effectively. Skill parties need certain jobs to function at their best, and subjobs tend to be a little different than normal.

Proper Skill: The #1 thing to remember is that not everyone knows what skill levels Steelshells are good for. If you get a RDM and they have a weapon with 100 skill they want to use on Steelshells, they will get discouraged when they get no skill in 5 fights and they will leave. That's bad. Make sure your party understands the approximate skill levels that you are going for. 100-150, 150-200, 200+, whatever. Make sure you understand what skill levels certain mobs cap at, and what levels are too low. Shouting for "boyahda tree" is vague since there's a wide range of skill levels there. Make sure your shout includes the approximate skill range.

Location: Make sure your planned spot isn't too busy. Steelshell camps at the waterfall and tree can support two parties comfortably, a third can sorta squeeze in, but not more. Be aware of alternate camps you can find the mobs you want to skill on (drop down the waterfall when you first enter the tree room, there's usually Steelshells down there all over the place!) and don't be afraid to send /tells to people at the zones you want to go to and find out what the situation is.

Numbers: One problem I see alot is skill parties that are too big or too small. 14 people do not make a good skill group. The rule of thumb is to keep the party small but functional. If the mobs last 30 seconds, it's no good. If they are almost killing people every fight because there's no healing, that's no good either.

DD's: The root of a skill party, you're bound to have any number of WAR's, DRK's, MNK's, whatever. Warriors can skill up many different weapons to WSNM levels, and Dark Knights can level a surprising number as well. In most cases, DD's should be subbing /NIN, unless there's some special case why they can't. The key to quick skilling is to reduce downtime from not taking damage and with /NIN you can wield two weapons for increased skill potential! Some people may like DD's to sub /WHM, which can be ok if you are skilling a 2-handed weapon or otherwise feel the curing potential is better than what you'd get with /NIN.

Mages: One overlooked skill party faux pas is expecting mages to be..well.. mages. In EXP parties the WHM hides in the back and cures and dias and paralyzes and all that good stuff. In skill parties they are in fact DD's and they are up close and personal right alongside the Warriors and Monks. Mages are in skill parties *usually* to level up weapons like staves and clubs, so they don't want to spend 90% of every fight healing. Ironically it's best to overload skill parties with mages, so you can reduce their individual healing responsibilities so they can use their weapons more.

Tanks: Tanks are.. tanks. They still need to tank, so they still need to be ready to flash or cure or provoke or whatever. While the mobs may not be particularly deadly to anyone in the short term, keeping hate on the person with highest DEF will reduce downtime. Skill parties need tanks, please don't try to make the DRK be the tank cuz they will look at you like this: o.O and then I will leave.. er.. *they* will leave.

Levels: Skill parties are often fighting stuff that is lower than Incredibly Tough to a L75. Still, you don't want to go in underlevelled. A L52 Warrior won't be able to contribute much against say, Steelshells. They also become a big liability since they will take more damage from AoE that would otherwise barely dent a L75. Make sure you understand the mobs your skill party will be facing, and only take people who have the job and skill levels to be fighting those mobs.

Gear: Skilling is one place where pride in your gear has to go out the window. I've been in many skill parties where L75's are sporting all their regular EXP gear, and the DD's just plow through mobs in 30 seconds because they are wearing +40 STR and +60 attack gear. You don't want to do this! The entire idea of skilling is for the mob to last AS LONG AS POSSIBLE. The longer the mob lasts, the less mobs you need to find, and the more skill you can get in crowded areas. Mages should concentrate on mild amounts of attack bonuses, so they can get more than 0 points on a hit (can't get skill on 0 damage attacks anymore) and DD's should keep their attack even lower. One place to invest heavily is accuracy. You WANT accuracy, tons of it. You simply can't have enough. Every swing should hit and count so you can get skillups. Weapons are another point here. You want moderate weapons with low delay and low damage, with any accuracy bonuses possible.

My DRK profile in my sig is a fairly good setup for skilling. I really should replace the hauberk with a scorpion harness, I just haven't made that investment yet.

One point here is if you have the inventory space, bring a couple of pieces of your better gear "just incase".. There are times when you get a link or something you can't really handle in gimpy skilling gear, and it's good to be able to bust out some better firepower if needed.

ETC: Oils, powders, warp item, shihei, juices, whatever. Skill party downtime is usually minimal if done right, but it's good to be able to keep it moving and to not overburden the mages. Remember: if someone feels they are not getting skill, they will leave. You don't want this to be a crucial member of the group.

At the battlefield

One key point when fighting is to understand every player's needs. Some people are skilling, some are doing trial weapons or those "unlockable latent" weapons like Destroyers. These people will have skillchain needs, and you should try to accomodate them as best as possible.

One good thing to do is to find a low-damage skillchain. If you can get away with L2 chains like Fusion or Gravitation, you can usually find a chain that looks crappy on the surface but that's exactly what you want. Burning Blade > Flat Blade sounds horrible in EXP parties, but it makes Fusion and does little damage. If the mob is alive long enough to do this 2-3 times in a fight, you get very good value from each monster. A L2 chain is a L2 chain whether it does 30 damage or 900. You want the 30. If your group is doing L3 chains, it may do alot more damage, but the points may be worth it to you. If possible, arrange the L3 chain so it does the least damage possible.

For skilling or solo WS's, find a balance. If your attack is low enough, use a good multi-hit WS to get the most potential skill. If your skill is going up and you're doing more damage, try WS's that do the least amount of damage, like stunning skills (flat blade, smash axe) and non-DoT type status effect ones (Shield Break, Nightmare Scythe). These WS's generally do little damage, but can hinder the mob in a way that will help your group.

Spellcasters should use magic that simply enfeebles without DoT. Blind, Slow, Paralyze, Absorb-AGI.. reducing he mob to a harmless punching bag is a great way to keep the party moving smoothly. Bards should focus on HP/MP regen and madrigal. Minuet - {no thanks}.

Don't use Berserk, Last Resort, Souleater, Warcry (only for hate control, disable the effect ASAP), Boost, or any of that nonsense. They have no place in skill parties. Only abilities that boost accuracy or survivability should be used.

That's all I can really think of. Believe it or not, I ran into just about everything that goes against my guide over the past couple of weeks, and that's why I felt I had to post. I enjoy skilling parties and I want everyone else to as well. They are time-consuming and a bit annoying but as long as they move smoothly the skill will come and it will be beneficial.
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#2 May 15 2006 at 4:37 AM Rating: Good
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Rating you up for an excellent guide. Thank you for noting that mages like to skill up in a skill-up party too (I think that's why they're called that); there is nothing we dread more than hearing, "Haste, please!" when we're trying to cap that club or staff skill. No one needs Haste in a skill-up party.

Thank you, too, for inspiring me to get off my butt and work on my staff skill now that I finally have my club capped. :)



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#3 May 15 2006 at 4:39 AM Rating: Decent
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Good job! I remember skilling up club and staff as a mage in skill up parties, and it does suck sometimes for mages. DRK's using Souleater (MPeater in this case) and other DDs doing everything in their power to show off and kill the mob as fast as possible....

I only have 2 WSNMs done- Black Halo and Retribution. I too am far from claiming to be an expert on skill-up parties, but everything I've noticed and learned you pretty much summed up in your post. Rate up!

*side note* Thank Goodness I'm done with that nightmare!
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#4 May 15 2006 at 4:56 AM Rating: Good
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Thanks for guide, I honestly never realised I was doing so much wrong.

Thanks for pointing out failures.
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#5 May 15 2006 at 5:22 AM Rating: Decent
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One thing you left out of the mages part, Haste. Unless you are a nin or /nin and the tank, I will not give it to you. Don't waste your time asking, you aren't getting it, move along.
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#6 May 15 2006 at 5:36 AM Rating: Decent
Rate up^^.I practically skilled dagger alone because of people not knowing how skill up parties work.I hope lots of people read this.
#7 May 15 2006 at 6:25 AM Rating: Decent
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lol, rate up for you for helping other people out ^^ but i dunno if it's just you, but pretty much everyone on Seraph Skill PTs does 9/10 of those things anyway.

had no idea that there were BAD skill pts O o;
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#8 May 15 2006 at 6:29 AM Rating: Good
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There is nothing more annoying than a DD trying to flex their
E-peen during a skill up party.

JAs like Zerk and Souleater should be banned from skill-up parties.


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#9 May 15 2006 at 6:44 AM Rating: Good
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You might want to add something about brds in skill up parties. BRD songs take so long to cast that even just casting 2-4 per fight can really reduce the number of swings are BRD gets in a skill up party. It doesn't sound like much but 2-8 second songs takes 16 seconds. Do this 4 times and then you've gone a minute without swinging.

Just like was said above, don't expect the mages to support the DDs like in a regular party.
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#10 May 15 2006 at 6:46 AM Rating: Good
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Yeah, but thats why all the -songcasting and +haste equips are so sweet for bards.

If not then just sing Mad and Ballad only.

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#11 May 15 2006 at 7:00 AM Rating: Good
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Haste does not increase casting times, it reduces recasts.

Also, you want to contribute to buying me a manteel just so you can get madrigal during that skillup pt?


Fixed: said exp pt

Edited, Tue May 16 08:12:46 2006 by FaffyOfDiabolos
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#12 May 15 2006 at 7:03 AM Rating: Good
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Very nice concise guide. Rate up.

@Pgobb: Great points. My main is BRD and I nearly lost my mind trying to skillup sword for my Maat fight. I ended up in way too many skillup PTs where the PLD was shrieking for 2x Ballad and the melees for March/Madrigal, while all of them were stood on top of each other.

In the end I used march/madrigal almost exclusively. If one ran out mid-fight, tough luck, I just kept fighting and recast the song at the start of the next fight. I'd use Ballad between fights from time to time to stop the mages running dry. A few people whined about this setup, but then again I'd say 90% of the people I met while skilling up were the most detestable morons I have ever had the misfortunate to meet in game. =.=

In the end I managed to grab a good in game friend and we used our NPCs to make a few ad-hoc skillup PTs. Although we had a few close escapes and things could sometimes be slow, I found it preferable to what had gone before!
#13 May 15 2006 at 8:22 AM Rating: Decent
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SSubZero wrote:
Numbers: One problem I see alot is skill parties that are too big or too small. 14 people do not make a good skill group. The rule of thumb is to keep the party small but functional. If the mobs last 30 seconds, it's no good. If they are almost killing people every fight because there's no healing, that's no good either.


Yeah. The numbers. God I hate when people fail to think of this. I went in a few skillup parties which would leave me getting maybe 2 staff swings in per battle because some nimrod thinks 10 people beating on EP/DC mobs is a good idea. Yeah. Kuftal Tunnel has roughly 6 billion Robber Crabs, but we still managed to deplete the supply.

I formed some skillup parties last week. First to do Enfeebling Magic on WHM (I sat back and spammed Dia on crabbies, worked very well) then after that was capped to work on staff and club (I skill them up concurrently, in increments of 10). I remember one which bloated to 10 people, and the skillup rate was horrible. After that, I vowed to make it 6 person max. One guy though.... The second I invited him, he immediately started inviting a number of his friends, insisted we ally, and when we got to camp used a lot of his strongest techniques. Booted him soon enough, and my skills went up a lot faster as the crabbies lasted longer.
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#14 May 15 2006 at 8:26 AM Rating: Good
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Overall an excellent guide.

I do have one thing to add 'tho. Along with using low-DMG or stunning weapon skills also use MP recovery ones. If you have access to pt MP recovery all the better.

My last skillup pt the PLD was able to keep himself mostly healed just from the 3 or so people using Moonlight. Whenever he needed some extra healing the MP recovered from Moonlight for the other mages was able to take care of the needed healing. I've also managed to tank skillup pts as MNK/WHM with no additional healing required due to Spirit Taker.

While I very much feel that mages shouldn't have to be full-time healers doing some is always nice. When there are other players (specifially melee) who are going /mage to help with healing a Refresh is nice now and again as well as a Regen on the tank. I don't expect mages to do all the healing, but I don't expect them to do none either.
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#15 May 15 2006 at 8:37 AM Rating: Decent
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a note on the mages in skillup, namely whm and rdm, who dislike throwing the occasion heal, remember that every time you heal there's a chance you'll see a nice skillup in it. I still wish I knew how the heal skillups were calculated...near impossible to get my skill capped now...
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#16 May 15 2006 at 9:02 AM Rating: Decent
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SSubZero wrote:
One place to invest heavily is accuracy. You WANT accuracy, tons of it. You simply can't have enough. Every swing should hit and count so you can get skillups.

I would actually like to question this. Although I don't have nearly your experience in skill parties I did take my club from about 100 to 255 in a "static" skill group of a couple people. One thing we all noticed was that our skillup rate seemed to vary with our accuracy vs. the mob's evasion. We would take off and put on gear to get varying levels of accuracy to find the skilling sweet spots for a particular mob, and sometimes this would be with no accuracy gear at all!

We never did any scientific tests regarding this, but there were serveral times when I went from no skillups at all over a ten minute period to consistent skillups for an hour by taking off some accuracy gear.
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#17 May 15 2006 at 9:04 AM Rating: Good
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<3 this guide. Especially the part about subbing nin or whm.

I only have staff 200+ (Was capped at 74..). I've skilled dagger and club to 185 and scythe to 148 solo mostly. Few times I joined a skill up party it did not end well.
I've started telling certain people that if they want me to skill up with them, I'm coming blm/war -.-;
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#18 May 15 2006 at 11:44 AM Rating: Decent
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Just a note to the RDM's that refuse to give the PLD thas tanking refresh or a cure.

You may not want to do your "job" in a skill-up party because your there to skillup your weapon. Well guess what, that PLD dosent want to tank, they want to skill-up their weapon to. But does anyone help that PLD out? Someone else tank? No, they are expected to.

So to you RDM's that tell PLD's to "STFU im not here to skill magic" when they ask for refresh, STFU yourself.

I guess its not hard to tell I have ran into this situation more times than I care to.

Edited, Mon May 15 12:52:11 2006 by Alrefie
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#19 May 15 2006 at 12:01 PM Rating: Decent
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Dimmauk wrote:
...JAs like Zerk and Souleater should be banned from skill-up parties.
QFT

I actually keep Defender up, except on Steelshells. Mob stays alive longer, and I'm less of a liability if/when I'm waiting on shadow timers.
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#20 May 15 2006 at 12:40 PM Rating: Decent
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Quote:
a note on the mages in skillup, namely whm and rdm, who dislike throwing the occasion heal, remember that every time you heal there's a chance you'll see a nice skillup in it. I still wish I knew how the heal skillups were calculated...near impossible to get my skill capped now...


Thats not quite the point. In a skill up party I (Maybe I'm the only one) Like to spend more time skilling up my weapons more then main healing/haste/debuff/enfeeble & end up fully resting after every battle because some ****** is wearing his DD gear and riping hate off the tank who's trying to skill up on Staff...
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#21 May 15 2006 at 12:53 PM Rating: Decent
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Mages: One overlooked skill party faux pas is expecting mages to be..well.. mages. In EXP parties the WHM hides in the back and cures and dias and paralyzes and all that good stuff. In skill parties they are in fact DD's and they are up close and personal right alongside the Warriors and Monks. Mages are in skill parties *usually* to level up weapons like staves and clubs, so they don't want to spend 90% of every fight healing. Ironically it's best to overload skill parties with mages, so you can reduce their individual healing responsibilities so they can use their weapons more.


Thank you for including this. I don't think DDs realize that you must get consecutive hits to get any skill ups. Getting in a hit here and there in between casts doesn't do it. I have pretty much given up on skill up ptys because it seems I am only there for support.

I don't mind throwing in a few cures and refreshes, but I usually end up having to disengage from the mob and do nothing but casting. As you can guess, it is pretty discouraging.

This is a real shame, as mages don't get to use their weapons in battle like the DDs. Skill up ptys are pretty much the only way they can ever get good skill ups.
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#22 May 15 2006 at 2:02 PM Rating: Decent
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Great guide, I wish everyone who's trying to make a skill up party would read it.

I really hate those skill up "parties" where there's 10+ people, DDs completely decked out in their party gear, and have to use their biggest ws, with zerk, last resort, soul eater etc, anything just to get big numbers, usually by the time I'm done slamming para, slow, blind and gravity on the mob (so that tank can concentrate on skilling more than curing themselves/recasting shadows), it's dead. And then everyone's demanding refresh and cures and haste, argh. Of course I give tanking pld refresh (if they'd actually cure themselves, seen plenty who just spam banish line and leave curing to me) and tanking nin haste, but anyone else, NO! Unless you're whm who will cast lots of regens on people that I don't have to cure.

Another gripe I have is people randomly spamming ws in the middle of planned SC when someone's trying to break their trial weapon, it's so annoying.

Pet peeve of mine, which isn't mentioned in the guide as it's pretty small and specific, is when you shout for tank for Kuftal, and I feel like being nice and coming for parry and shield skill (rdm/war), if you say that you have 3-4 lvl 60-65 people when I ask and I agree on that, don't suddenly get a bunch of 75s I can't possibly keep hate against without killing the mob you're trying to skill up on! And still expect me to come dispense refreshes and hastes and cures on your lvl 75 buddies.

By the way, am I the only one who finds the shouts of "{Skill} {Up} {Party}, {Healing magic} {Can I have it?}" funny in a pathetic way? :P

EDIT: Another note, if you have skill up party on steelshells, don't try and make the party take goobbues "because they have good drops". >_< And then when someone mentiones they do AoE silence, tell the mages to stay back and silena everyone who needs it.

Edited, Mon May 15 15:04:53 2006 by Sharain
#23 May 15 2006 at 2:37 PM Rating: Good
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Nyruu the Braindead wrote:
Thank you for including this. I don't think DDs realize that you must get consecutive hits to get any skill ups. Getting in a hit here and there in between casts doesn't do it. I have pretty much given up on skill up ptys because it seems I am only there for support.


That's not true. As far as I can tell any hit has a chance to give skill up.

Of course, that doesn't change the fact that you will need lots and lots of hits to skill effectively, so being distracted by casting magic will slow you down.
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#24 May 15 2006 at 2:49 PM Rating: Decent
I'd like to add one thing too, although this is highly situational.

When I was skilling up my sword on my 75 rdm, I partied a few times with tanks who were in their mid-lvl 60s, and they would provoke decent challenge mobs to get hate back from me.

What happened was I had to burn through my mana pool to keep the tank alive... had he just let the mob hit me, I would have taken zero damage because of stoneskin and phalanx... while skilling up my shield and parrying in the process (evasion is capped already).

So, to all you tanks out there, just make sure the rest of the party actually wants you to tank before hitting your provoke macro... just because some skillup parties can be so unusual.
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#25 May 15 2006 at 3:05 PM Rating: Default
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I'm a RDM, if you don't like how often I decide to cast Refresh, boot me.

I can skill up, solo on T-VT crabs, anyway. X^P

In a related story, I've never been booted from a party.

Don't forget the -stat gear that can help you isolate a particular skill. Wearing -eva gear might help shield and parry activate more often. I can't confirm this, but I believe the game checks defensive traits in the order of: evasion, shield, parry, guard. I base this order on the relative difficulty in skilling up each trait. So, for example, a MNK leveling guard might want to wear a lot of -eva gear to improve the frequency with which guard procs. Likewise, to level parry a RDM might consider -eva gear and going dual wield or, at least, unequipping their shield. Of course in both cases the player must have the party's cooperation to allow them to tank (unless they are playing solo).

In fact, it might even be helpful to bring -skill gear to extend the effective levels you can skill up on a given mob. I'm not sure if this is correct, but wouldn't equipping, say -sword skill gear after reaching the skill cap on a particular mob allow us to continue getting skill ups from that mob?

Just a thought.

EDIT: Heh, just noticed this was my 600th post. w00t!

LOL!

8^D

Edited, Mon May 15 16:14:38 2006 by Pitlourde
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#26 May 15 2006 at 5:49 PM Rating: Decent
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Quote:
That's not true. As far as I can tell any hit has a chance to give skill up.


Interesting.

Even under RDM favorable conditions, I have noticed skill ups don't start right away. It's as if you need a "warm up" period or something for them to kick in.

New question:

What kind of ratio is optimal for skill ups in reference to job lvl/weapon skill/weapon lvl/mob lvl?

For instance, if I am soloing (70 RDM) on EP mobs with a dagger skill of 185, what lvl of weapon would I want? One that is closest to my lvl, the mobs lvl, or farther away? Will a lower lvl weapon give me more skill ups, or a higher one? Or does the weapon lvl even matter?

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