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Pinning Guide - Part 2 - Konschtat Highlands

Foreword: The legitimacy of this technique is unclear. Perform these manoeuvres at your own risk.

See Part 1 for more information.





Location #1 : Nothing but air
Strength: ★★★
Distance: ★★
Accessibility: ★
You can make the monster go pretty far with this spot, which is 2 lines in total, but it's right out in the open which makes it a little tricky due to monsters (Morboling).




Location #2: Two Trees
Strength: ★★★
Distance: ★★
Accessibility: ★★
A nice amount of distance to be had with this spot, the monster will under no circumstances go between the two trees, so you can use and abuse that to make it performs circles around it or figure-8s. Near some Clionid and Limule however so it may be risky.


Location #3: Between a Flower and a hard place
Strength: ★★★
Distance: ★★★
Accessibility: ★★
A fantastic pinning spot, the monster goes really far and remains in cast range the majority of the time. Watch out for goobbues though.


Location #4: Flowers in the middle of nowhere
Strength: ★★
Distance: ★★
Accessibility: ★★★
Being by a camp makes it very handy; this spot is free of monsters but the distance isn't as fantastic as some other places. You need to make the monster cross the line in some cases if it gets too close, so it can be tricky to make it turn.


Location #5: Flower Division
Strength: ★★★
Distance: ★★★
Accessibility: ★★
Another incredible spot, the AI just fails really badly on the slopes of the highlands. Watch out for Slugs. Stays in magic cast range most of the time, it does venture a little too far out at one point but it's not too bad.


Location #6: Four Lines, Two Trees
Strength: ★★
Distance: ★★
Accessibility: ★★
This spot is an odd one, but one professional pinners will love. There's 4 lines in total which can be seen as changes in the vertices on the terrain. The one in purple is the desired one as it will make the monster go the farthest. With some ingenuity, you can stagger crossing the line and get some nice distance.

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Pinning Guide - Part 1 - La Theine Plateau

Foreword: The legitimacy of this technique is unclear. Perform these manoeuvres at your own risk.

Greetings again. Pinning, a technique first described in Kanican's LJ for Jailer of Temperance, was put to good use by him for VNMs. Now the tactic is gaining popularity as a way to solo. Here I am going to outline various pinning areas in La Theine Plateau, as well as briefly cover just what it is. I am doing La Theine Plateau for a purpose, namely Abyssea. Since the map is almost the same, it makes finding locations very easy.

What is 'pinning'?

In short, pinning is a method of making the monster run around 'invisible' walls to get to you. Technically, the AI incorrectly thinks that a certain path is the quickest way to get to you. Using this, you can then avoid the monster hitting you at all by forcing it to effectively run endlessly to try to hit you. There are various positions where you can pin, some of which are stronger than others. I will classify pinning locations based on three criteria:

Strength: How strong the pinning location is in terms of forcing the monster to walk around the invisible line.
☆ - Poor; moving across the line will only make the monster run if it is not hitting you.
☆☆ - Moderately strong; moving across the line will most of the time make the monster run, but may not always.
☆☆☆ - Very strong; moving across the line will always make the monster run.

Distance: How far the monster will run before it'll get to the other side.
☆ - Not very far but enough for say Bio II.
☆☆ - Quite far, enough for some quick casting spells like Phalanx.
☆☆☆ - Far, enough for Stoneskin and the like, possibly even more.

Accessibility: How easy it is to get to the pinning spot in relation to Abyssea NMs in the area.
☆ - In the middle of nowhere; not close to confluxes, not easy to get to; not near any NMs, possibly in an aggressive area.
☆☆ - So-so, may be close to a conflux or easy to get to, but not near NMs for example.
☆☆☆ - Excellent; you couldn't wish for a more convenient location.

Because locations are often difficult to describe, I'll be including a large amount of pictures as well as blue lines to show where the monster will go and a red line which is the line you must cross.


All Locations marked on map.


Location #1 : Trees beside the Lake
Strength: ★★★
Distance: ★
Accessibility: ★★★
Easy to get to from Confluxes #4 and #3, not by any aggressive monsters either. The downfall is the distance is pretty short, down the slopes and around the tree nearby. Will always work however. If you hug the cliff there you can occasionally make it go slightly further and get a bit more distance, but it won't always happen; depending where you stand.


Location #2: Trees beside the Crevasse
Strength: ★★★
Distance: ★
Accessibility: ★★
An alright pinning area, will always force the monster to turn, distance is similar to Location #1. Near aggressive Gigas though.


Location #3: Two Trees and a Wall
Strength: ★★
Distance: ★★
Accessibility: ★★
This spot is mainly useful when you need that extra distance (say for a spell casting monster) and don't mind taking the odd hit. Think of the trees and wall as one big entity, allowing you to jump from one side to the other by going between the wall and tree. The monster can hit you through the wall, so if this happens just go behind the tree. If the monster hits you when you're by the tree, just go between the tree and wall. When you do either of those, the monster will run around to the other side (the short way around) meaning you'll need to do a bit of running to go to the opposite end and lengthen the pin.




Location #4: The Cliff to Valkurm
Strength: ★★★
Distance: ★★★
Accessibility: ★★
A very nice pinning spot, the monster will run for miles around a tree and around some invisible point whenever you cross; even if it's hitting you. The distance isn't mega-huge, but definitely enough for Stoneskin and the like, plus the monster remains in range for spells the entire time which is a nice bonus. Near to Conflux #5 but apart from Nguruvilu and Lugarhoo, it remains a little isolated since the spot is surrounded by aggressive puks on one side and gnoles on the other. The location itself is free from aggro; but the odd Puk may wander close.




Location #5: Two Trees and a Trunk
Strength: ★★
Distance: ★★
Accessibility: ★
This spot is close to Jugner Forest, it's actually two smaller pinning spots together. The aim is to cross both lines forcing the monster to go running for quite a long way. Due to this, if you don't go all the way across the line you can be caught out. I'm unsure if this near any aggressive monsters, but suffice to say, there's few NMs you can use this spot on short of Dozing Dorian and even then it's quite a way due to the cliff.

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Enough maths, time for some solos. BLU's main strengths lie in it's sheer devastatingly quick spells, coupled with an arsenal of weird of wonderful status enhancements/enfeebles, which can be combined to allow BLUs to do some pretty cool stuff. Very little BLU soloing involves physical spells, with many solos like Fenrir Prime and Scialtis opting for the magical route. That being said, this solo involves some sword+physical spell love.



The Basics
Pretty simple concept. There's 6 Scorpions you need to kill. The strategy is to simply sleep them all and take down as many as you can before running out of MP. The easiest way to do that is to kill 2 scorpions, die, rr, kill 2 scorpions, die, rr, kill 2 scorpions = win. That was the same strategy used by a certain MNK/DNC in order to solo ODS, and it's served BLUs rather well here too.



What you need
Subjob was /DNC. You'll need a solid physical build (alkys, magus+1 jubbah, rajas/flame, etc...) and a solid PDT-% build (umbra, genbu's, jelly+patronus etc...) to take some hits. I used 3x Tavnazian Tacos for food, which I think was probably a good idea. I brought along 2x Yagudo Drinks which served me well when MP was getting rather low. Since the strategy involves planned wipes, you'll need 2x Reraise Charges as well. Other than that, not a lot is needed equipment/food wise. Spell wise, I had the following set:
-Head Butt (mainly for the last two scorpions which hit hard, stuns still work no problem on them)
-Frenetic Rip / Hysteric Barrage / Disseverment (big three)
- Refueling (I argue whether or not this was worth it, I was mainly spell spamming so the main use from this was for recasts)
-Metallic Body (good pre-fight buff, be sure to macro in blue skill gear)
-Cocoon (vital)
-Filamented Hold (mainly for the last scorpion)
-Actinic Burst + Plasma Charge (Auto-Refresh and flashga which was nice to quickly use before landing more sleeps)
-Yawn + Soporific (Mainly used Soporific since it's cheaper and the duration's the same, used Yawn when Soph's recast was down)
-Seedspray (okay damage and DEF Down which does stick on them, this was used before the big 3)

Optional (2 points remaining):
-Chaotic Eye (For Conserve MP) or:
-Regurgitation (for Bind as a last resort if Sleeps fail; should only happen when 1-2 scorps are up anyway) with 1 spare point.



How you do it
Go in, buff up, aggro them all and Soporific them immediately. Pull the one you've been targeting (and have subsequently hit) away from the rest down the slope and begin with Seedspray+Big Three. By then it'll be nearly dead, either melee finish or wait for recast for one final Frenetic or Hysteric. After it dies, the other scorpions will still be asleep. Time remaining: ~27:00

Target any other one (or whichever one woke up first if they resisted slightly) and again start killing it with Seedspray+Big Three. Half way through the others will wake up, resleep them with Soph or Yawn if Soph's recast isn't up and finish the 2nd one. By now you'll be low on MP, around 50-100 I'd say. At this point you should wipe, after killing the 2nd scorpion, by the BC entrance. Time remaining: ~25:00

RR up and wait out weakened, then do exactly the same thing again. Start using head butt when there's 4 left, and when there's 2 left you should also try to slow them with Filamented Hold. Other than that, it's really that easy.

After first weakened wears : Time remaining: ~19:00
After you kill 4 scorpions total: Time remaining: ~15:00
After second weakened wears: Time remaining: ~9:00
After all 6 are dead: Time remaining: ~5:00



Drops? Rubbish. 24k from the chest is nice though!

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A shameless rip from my thread on Allakhazam, which I've been using more of a blog which I really shouldn't do! The aim of all this testing is simple:
-What is the PDIF max absolute cap for avatars? [SOLVED]
-Is there an fSTR for avatars? If so, how does it work? [SOLVED]
-Do avatars have a 'base D' (e.g. DMG: weapon)? How is that calculated? [SOLVED]
-What is the attack penalty to Avatar's Favor?
-What is the Ratio cap? (AvatarAttack/MonsterDefence) [SOLVED]
-How much attack does Carbuncle have?
-How much attack does Fenrir have? [SOLVED]
-How much attack do the Celestial Avatars have? [SOLVED]
-Just what does 'Enhances Avatar Attack' do? Does it work for melee hits or just BPs? How much of an attack bonus? [PARTLY SOLVED]
-Redefine Blood Pact 'M' values and re-do all of the formulas with the knowledge obtained above.


==========================================

A few simple tests were in order firstly. I went out to Sarutabaruta and whacked on Lv0 monsters (Bees/Mandys) and obtained a spread of damage from my avatar:

Garuda (No buffs except Karura) spread: 212-226
Garuda (Beast Roll (IV-Lucky) as /COR) spread: 212-226
Garuda (With favor on) spread: 212-226
Fenrir (With favor on) spread: 212-226
Fenrir (Favor + Ecliptic Growl (STR+7) spread: 220-235
Fenrir (Favor + Ecliptic Growl (STR+6) spread: 220-231
Fenrir (Favor + Ecliptic Growl (STR+5) spread: 216-231
Fenrir (Favor + Ecliptic Growl (STR+3) spread: 216-231
Fenrir (Favor + Ecliptic Growl (STR+2) spread: 216-226
Fenrir (Favor + Ecliptic Growl (STR+1) spread: 212-226
Carbuncle (Favor +mitts+EvkPig) spread: 192-201

Observations
There is a cap to PDIF for avatars, at which point adding more Attack does nothing (Beast Roll did nothing).

Avatar's Favor does not reduce the max amount of potential damage; no reduction in D or fSTR. It may reduce Attack since Atk/Def is capped in these tests.

Critical Hits were landed in these tests but did the same amount of damage as non-critical hits, indicating that, with enough attack, every single avatar's attack can be treated as a critical hit; there is no special "bonus damage" associated with criticals for avatars,  in the traditional sense.

The fSTR cap has not been reached on Lv0 monsters (STR+ improved results), pretty much showing there is no upper cap to fSTR for avatars.

(Caution: Haven't formatted this yet!)

Lesser Colibri Parses
[i]With: EvkPig+1 RoyRed(Dbl/Crit) SmnSpt+1 EvkRing SmnHorn NashGag FayCroz(BP/perp/Macc+1) SmnTrq SmnBlt SmnCape[/i]
[pre]
WITH AVATAR'S FAVOR

Lesser Colibri Lv63 (DEF:231 EVA:243 VIT:52 AGI:52)
Melee Damage
Player Melee Dmg Melee % Hit/Miss M.Acc % M.Low/Hi M.Avg #Crit C.Low/Hi C.Avg Crit%
Kegsay 24345 92.73 % 349/21 94.32 % 43/88 63.98 38 91/144 117.00 10.89 %
Fenrir 50077 71.54 % 431/21 95.35 % 92/136 110.99 51 137/172 154.90 11.83 %

Melee Damage Taken
Player Melee Dmg Melee % Hit/Miss M.Low/Hi M.Avg #Crit C.Low/Hi C.Avg Crit%
Kegsay 573 100.00 % 9/3 52/76 63.67 0 0/0 0.00 0.00 %
Fenrir 7131 88.87 % 226/377 15/36 30.26 10 51/73 59.40 4.42 %
================================================================================================================
Lesser Colibri Lv64 (DEF:235 EVA:247 VIT:52 AGI:52)
Melee Damage
Player Melee Dmg Melee % Hit/Miss M.Acc % M.Low/Hi M.Avg #Crit C.Low/Hi C.Avg Crit%
Kegsay 21459 86.77 % 312/18 94.55 % 43/86 63.04 32 92/140 119.03 10.26 %
Fenrir 39917 59.21 % 358/20 94.71 % 88/126 107.06 36 138/165 151.19 10.06 %

Melee Damage Taken
Player Melee Dmg Melee % Hit/Miss M.Low/Hi M.Avg #Crit C.Low/Hi C.Avg Crit%
Kegsay 866 100.00 % 13/3 53/77 66.62 0 0/0 0.00 0.00 %
Fenrir 7179 89.52 % 220/326 21/37 30.77 13 48/76 62.31 5.91 %
=================================================================================================================
Lesser Colibri Lv65 (DEF:241 EVA:253 VIT:55 AGI:55)
Melee Damage
Player Melee Dmg Melee % Hit/Miss M.Acc % M.Low/Hi M.Avg #Crit C.Low/Hi C.Avg Crit%
Kegsay 17635 89.27 % 267/8 97.09 % 42/83 61.71 22 96/134 114.36 8.24 %
Fenrir 34696 61.39 % 329/13 96.20 % 82/117 99.58 44 129/159 143.55 13.37 %

Melee Damage Taken
Player Melee Dmg Melee % Hit/Miss M.Low/Hi M.Avg #Crit C.Low/Hi C.Avg Crit%
Kegsay 494 100.00 % 7/1 61/78 70.57 0 0/0 0.00 0.00 %
Fenrir 7771 90.32 % 231/266 21/39 31.60 15 51/75 63.00 6.49 %

========================================================
========================================================

WITHOUT AVATAR'S FAVOR

Lesser Colibri Lv63 (DEF:231 EVA:243 VIT:52 AGI:52)
Melee Damage
Player Melee Dmg Melee % Hit/Miss M.Acc % M.Low/Hi M.Avg #Crit C.Low/Hi C.Avg Crit%
Kegsay 14251 87.47 % 201/8 96.17 % 43/88 64.13 23 87/140 123.30 11.44 %
Fenrir 32382 68.52 % 266/13 95.34 % 93/140 116.78 33 137/179 156.76 12.41 %

Melee Damage Taken
Player Melee Dmg Melee % Hit/Miss M.Low/Hi M.Avg #Crit C.Low/Hi C.Avg Crit%
Kegsay 450 100.00 % 7/2 48/72 64.29 0 0/0 0.00 0.00 %
Fenrir 5017 90.46 % 159/228 15/36 29.16 13 45/73 58.38 8.18 %
==========================================================================================================
Lesser Colibri Lv64 (DEF:235 EVA:247 VIT:52 AGI:52)
Melee Damage
Player Melee Dmg Melee % Hit/Miss M.Acc % M.Low/Hi M.Avg #Crit C.Low/Hi C.Avg Crit%
Kegsay 22230 85.91 % 331/18 94.84 % 43/86 62.24 27 97/140 122.59 8.16 %
Fenrir 46608 60.41 % 404/29 93.30 % 88/137 110.57 43 138/177 155.65 10.64 %

Melee Damage Taken
Player Melee Dmg Melee % Hit/Miss M.Low/Hi M.Avg #Crit C.Low/Hi C.Avg Crit%
Kegsay 953 100.00 % 14/4 56/77 68.07 0 0/0 0.00 0.00 %
Fenrir 7965 91.67 % 260/351 16/37 29.15 12 48/76 61.33 4.62 %
===========================================================================================================
Lesser Colibri Lv65 (DEF:241 EVA:253 VIT:55 AGI:55)
Melee Damage
Player Melee Dmg Melee % Hit/Miss M.Acc % M.Low/Hi M.Avg #Crit C.Low/Hi C.Avg Crit%
Kegsay 17971 88.44 % 275/15 94.83 % 42/83 61.22 22 82/141 112.82 8.00 %
Fenrir 38336 64.18 % 347/18 95.07 % 82/130 105.89 38 129/172 147.79 10.95 %

Melee Damage Taken
Player Melee Dmg Melee % Hit/Miss M.Low/Hi M.Avg #Crit C.Low/Hi C.Avg Crit%
Kegsay 823 100.00 % 12/2 53/80 68.58 0 0/0 0.00 0.00 %
Fenrir 7669 87.84 % 240/300 17/39 30.04 15 46/75 60.60 6.25 %

(I need to re-do this, but I'm leaving it in this format for now m(._.)m)

Observations
This comfortably proves that Avatar's Favor does inflict an attack penalty, even on normal melee hits. All results on the Non-Favor tests show higher overall spread and higher average damage. Critical hit rate seems unaffected. Defence seems unaffected.

Hypotheses
Enhances Attack gear did nothing for improving the spread, showing it does truly just add attack. Clearly there is a PDIF cap as indicating by Beast Roll not improving the spread at all. The fact that there's no fSTR cap is surprising. Perhaps dSTR (Avatar STR - Monster VIT) is used completely differently than normal characters. Perhaps this completely replaces a base D (DMG: weapon) in order to scale effectively as the summoner levels (but no new "weapons" are given to the avatar). What this means is there is a hard-cap for melee/bp physical damage which cannot be exceeded, except by levelling up.

-Analysing fSTR

A very very important thing to note is that "step-up" improvement of damage for the STR+ spreads.

What this is getting at exactly is still unknown, but with more samples, a formula will hopefully be able to be made. Why is this strange you ask? The normal melee damage formula:
Damage = (D + fSTR)*PDIF
-PDIF is related to atk/def, capped in these cases, and the extremes (read: constants PDIF_min and PDIF_max) remain. These are constant throughout the STR tests.
-D. This doesn't change, except by levelling up (assumed). For PCs, this is done by getting a better weapon with higher DMG:
-fSTR. The only modifier for this equation being tested. But wait, this makes no sense:

Assume, for example, PDIF_min=1.5 PDIF_max=2 D=50 and fSTR=15. Look what happens with the SPREAD of damage:
[pre]
fSTR Equation Min Max
15 (65)*PDIF 97.5 130
16 (66)*PDIF 99 132
17 (67)*PDIF 100.5 134
[/pre]

Key point --- Min and Max raise AT THE SAME TIME AS fSTR INCREASES!
This is NOT the case for avatars as illustrated above!

My assumption now is that PDIF_min and PDIF_max do not use fSTR in them, after all, it would negate the whole point of it in the equation if it did. That means fSTR must itself have 2 variables, fSTR_min and fSTR_max which is used respectively in PDIF_min and PDIF_max. Knowing this, using our data table (and abusing the fact that it increases in increments of 4) and the fact that fSTR_max lags -behind- fSTR_min:

fSTR_min = dSTR/4 + 0.5
fSTR_max = dSTR/4 + 0.25


This matches the criteria of increasing fSTR by 1 every 4 dSTR (as suggested) as well as the "lag factor" of fSTR_max. In most cases, these two values will match:

dSTR=51
fSTR_min = 51/4 + 0.5 = 13.25 (truncated to 13)
fSTR_max = 51/4 + 0.25 = 13

However, after increasing dSTR a certain amount, the observed effect is [b]fSTR_min jumps up a level whilst fSTR_max does not (it needs 1 more STR)[/b] which is observed now:

dSTR=54
fSTR_min = 54/4 + 0.5 = 14
fSTR_max = 54/4 + 0.25 = 13.75 (truncated to 13)

This can clearly be seen in the table above, whereby the lower value always increases FIRST, then 1 STR later, the max value increases.

-Analysing D

Firstly, is there a D? What evidence is there that supports a hypothetical D? 'D' for Players is the DMG: rating on a weapon. Avatars have no weapons. If, however, there was no D, how is base damage calculated? Using just STR? If that was the case, you would expect damage to increase dramatically as STR is packed on, but this has never been observed. The only other variable for D therefore, is Level. So now my question is, how does Level relate to 'D'?

So I went out on a loljob combination of COR/SMN and hashed out some more numbers, the results weren't too surprising:
COR/SMN : No attack bonus; Fenrir
Spread:103-113
COR/SMN : Beast Roll Value:X (10)
Spread:103-113

So once again, attack has no effect on the spread, probably because it was capped already, even as Lv37 SMN. The spread is also not surprising, almost exactly half of the Lv75 value, showing linear scaling (fantastic!). This gives strong evidence for D scaling with level.

//more coming soon here!

The first major milestone has been reached. Utilising all of the spread information, specifically max spread information, I've been able to create a simple brute-force java program which went through all the possible generic BASE*PDIF values. Whilst BASE is split up into D and fSTR and PDIF involves some unknown calculations, we know the following:
BASE*PDIF = 226
(BASE+1)*PDIF = 231
(BASE+2)*PDIF = 235
Starting from BASE=30 up to 250 and PDIF=1.00 to PDIF=5.00 the program went through, listing any matches which meet ALL criteria. The following results were obtained:
=================
Match D: 49 pdif:4.62
Match D: 50 pdif:4.53
Match D: 51 pdif:4.45
Match D: 52 pdif:4.36
Match D: 53 pdif:4.28
Match D: 54 pdif:4.2
=================
First off, wow. The PDIF value is incredibly large, and the D value so incredibly small, could this really be the correct results? I then start plugging in D values for the other bits of data we have (Carby max (D:48), Lv37 avatar max, etc...) and only 1 value matched: PDIF:4.2

What does this imply? This means the MAX PDIF of an avatar is capped at 4.2, and D+fSTR=54 at level 75 vs Lv0 monsters.

Avatar Level D+fSTR
Fenrir 75 54
Carbuncle 75 48
Fenrir  37 27

Allow me to stress at this point that PDIF:4.2 might not be the one big number we're looking for. Avatar's get -50% physical damage taken as an innate trait. It's worth being open minded that they might get a 50% physical damage bonus as well. After plugging the numbers in again, accounting for this, the 'real' PDIF would be 2.8, with the 1.5x bonus added on afterwards. Please keep this in mind for higher level monsters (PDIF really borks at higher levels, which I have been unable to explain up to this point).

Min PDIF was slightly funny, since there is an fSTR_min and fSTR_max, so the D+fSTR values were off by about 1. The min value reached though was around 4.00 (if Carbuncle's fSTR_min didn't change) or 3.8 (if Lv37 Fenrir's fSTR_min didn't change).

For the sake of purpose, a few generalisations are going to be made in order to provide a rough estimation of how much base damage your avatar has:

Avatar base damage = (AVATAR LEVEL x 0.74) - (Monster VIT/4)

Example: Lesser Colibri = 75*0.72 - 52/4 = 41 BASE DAMAGE
Example: Greater Colibri = 75*0.72 - 67/4 = 37 BASE DAMAGE

This assumes fSTR has no lower cap. As for how PDIF is calculated, I still need to do more tests, but rest assured it is on the way. Max PDIF possible is 4.2. Min PDIF (when Ratio is capped) is either 3.8 or 4.0. There may or may not be a 50% bonus to damage being applied here, in which case divide all the PDIF's by 1.5 to get the 'actual' PDIF.

------------------------------

PDIF testing

Methodology is pretty complicated since we can't alter attack easily, nor know the attack value. The general idea is to fight progressively harder monsters until the formula MAX DMG = 4.2 * BASE DAMAGE no longer applies, it will be less, e.g. 4.1 or 3.8. When this occurs, we can deduce that Ratio is now uncapped. For PCs, this occurs when Attack/Defence is greater than 2. For avatars though, this could be anything. Back of the envelope calculations suggest Lesser Colibri PDIF_max is around ~3.3. Using Studio Gobli's DEF calculations, along with the Melee Damage Spreadsheet Calculator (primarily used for melees), I can slowly increase the DEF rating by fighting different monsters until Ratio becomes uncapped (doesn't abide by 4.2*BaseDamage). At this point, I still will not know if the cap is 2.0, 3.0 or what, I'll just know it is uncapped. I can then use minor Pet:Attack+ modifiers to hopefully prove this. After that, I can put on Avatar's Favor and quantify the actual attack penalty. That is my goal at this time.

Death Jackets
I went out to Mis.Coast and targeted Death Jackets. I went SMN/WAR for Defender and used a loldagger in order to get my Attack low. I swapped gear in and out until they checked Low Defence in order to work out their DEF Level and VIT, which were as follows:

---------------------------------------
All tests done with Fenrir.

@177, check low def -ETHEREAL+SWIFT
@176, does not check low def
=>141.6DEF = Lv34, VIT37

@181 low def -ETHEREAL
@180 not low def -ETHEREAL ERRANT RAJAS
=>144.8DEF = Lv35, VIT37

@187, low def - orochi/ethereal/rajas
@186, not low def - orochi/ethereal
=>149.6DEF = Lv36, VIT40
---------------------------------
(Ignore the gear notation, that's to remind me which gear I need to equip to get that Attack value)

Most of the bees were of levels 34 and 35, there were a few 37s but I didn't need to include them since my aim is only to compare 2 different bee types. I chose to compare the Lv34 bee and the Lv35 bee. The difference in DEF is 3. My results:

Lv 34 Death Jacket - 141 DEF 37 VIT
Spread: 184-193
Criticals did same damage as regular hits, just like Lv0s.

Lv 35 Death Jacket - 144 DEF 37 VIT
Spread: 184-193
Criticals did same damage as regular hits, just like Lv0s.

Identical spreads, but is this spread still capped (with PDIF_max=4.2 and PDIF_min=3.8 or 4)? I plugged in some numbers:

193(.2) = 4.2 * 46
184 = 4 * 46
174(.8) = 3.8 * 46

This comfortably pushes 3.8 off the spot for PDIF_min, as only PDIF_min=4.0 works for the data set we have. This also indicates Ratio is still capped on these monsters. This also allows me to further refine my "avatar base damage" estimation, I changed it from 0.72* to 0.74*. Tried out a few more combinations:

AvatarLvl of BeeMin DamageMax DamageFavor?Ratio Capped?DEF of BeeVIT Offset (37)
Fenrir34184193YY1410
Fenrir35184193NY1440
Fenrir35184193YY1440
Fenrir36180193NY1493
Fenrir36180193YY1493
Fenrir37179193NN1523
Fenrir37180*193YN1523
Carbuncle34164172NY1410
Carbuncle34157*172YN1410
Carbuncle35164172NY1440
Carbuncle35151*172YN1440
Carbuncle36155*168NN1493
Carbuncle37153*168NN1523
Garuda34184193YY1410
Garuda35181*193YN1440
Garuda36178*193YN1493
Garuda37176*193YN1523
Garuda34184193NY1410
Garuda35183*193NN1440
Garuda36183*193NN1493
Garuda37176*193NN1523

* = Min value may not have been reached.

Fenrir behaves in a capped (Ratio) manner throughout the tests, except the final one. With a D+fSTR value of 46, the values match perfectly with the model. When the VIT offset increases by 3, note how fSTR_min is penalised but fSTR_max isn't, much like the ecliptic growl tests but in reverse. This gives a D+fSTR_min value of 45, but it still behaves in a capped manner (45*4=180). Even with Favor, Fenrir holds strong, except in the last test, where an anomaly of 179 cannot be explained without Ratio being uncapped.

Carbuncle on the other hand does not. Initially on Lv34/35 monsters without Favor, he behaves in a capped manner (D+fSTR value of 41, 41*4=164, 41*4.2=172(.2)), however when Favor is activated, the lower bound is violated; the numbers drop down to 150s. Also note on Lv36 monsters, without favor, this violation starts to occur, indicating that Carbuncle's Ratio is sadly, no longer capped. Do note that the upper bound still applies, the VIT offset is correctly applied, but even if you apply the offset to the lower bound, the numbers are just too low to be accounted for by just fSTR changing. This proves Carbuncle has a lower attack value compared to Fenrir, in addition to a lower D+fSTR value shown from earlier tests. I did a final test with Lv36 Bees, coupled with Pet:Attack+5. This did not recap Ratio. Therefore, presuming Ratio caps at 2, Carbuncle has between 288 and 292 inclusive attack. Tossing in Summoner's Pigaches did nothing, so assuming that the pigaches add more than 4 attack, it can be safely assumed they do not work on melee hits.

Garuda's results are some of the most surprising. It appears firstly that Garuda has less attack than Carbuncle (Carby passed his Lv35/No Favor test, Garuda did not), Secondly, outlined in red are when caps are in effect, but then immediately, the next value up for BOTH Favor/No Favor are uncapped. I have tried desperately to show Lv34 Favor test is not capped, but it's not happening, it seems to really be. This will be very helpful for determining the Ratio cap and actual attack value of an avatar (in this case Garuda), as this is such a strange occurrence that can only happen in certain circumstances.

Several more tests will now be done on weaker monsters, specifically with Carbuncle, in order to get a quantifiable value for Avatar's Favor attack penalty. As a sidenote, I tried using a Beak Necklace with Pet:Atk+5 and Summoner's Pigaches, but the results were just as grim:

Carbuncle
Lv35 Bee without Favor = 164-172
Lv35 Bee with Favor only = 151-172
Lv35 Bee with Favor AND Pet:Attack+5 = 151-172
Lv35 Bee with Favor AND Summoner's Pigaches = 152-172 (note this may go to 151, I didn't test this much.)

The point here is that, individually, the items were not enough to counter-act the Attack Penalty by Avatar's Favor.

Massive problems with calculating PDIF. For PCs, If you do not meet the cap of 2.0 Ratio, you can't get the max damage (ignoring criticals for now). For avatars, as outlined in the graphs above, you can still hit max potential even without capping Ratio. This is most clearly seen on Carbuncle VS Lv37 Bees, the upper bound still clearly meets the model for capped Ratio. What this indicates possibly is that there is a STATIC amount added to Ratio prior to capping. E.g. CapAtTwo[Ratio+0.2]. This is extremely important, mainly because, I ask a simple question:

Have you ever seen your avatar hit for 0? (when there isn't Stoneskin/Immunities) This static amount would give a strong case to explain this.

I have attempted to plug in the results into another brute force Java program (with a cap of 4.2 on ratio cap), but with less success:
Cap:1.8 Attack:254
 Cap:1.9 Attack:268
 Cap:2.0 Attack:282
 Cap:2.1 Attack:297
 Cap:2.2 Attack:311
 Cap:2.3 Attack:325
 Cap:2.3 Attack:326
 etc...
 Cap:3.9 Attack:555
 Cap:3.9 Attack:556
Cap:4.0 Attack:566
 Cap:4.0 Attack:567
 Cap:4.0 Attack:568
 Cap:4.1 Attack:581
 Cap:4.1 Attack:582
 Cap:4.1 Attack:583
 Cap:4.2 Attack:595
 Cap:4.2 Attack:596
 Cap:4.2 Attack:597
Total: 87

It's worth noting Crimson Howl has had little impact (actually none) on the spread of damage, as I've outlined below:
Avatar
Level of BeeEnhancementMinDMGMaxDMG
Ifrit34Nothing.184193
Ifrit35Nothing.183
193
Ifrit36Nothing.183193
Ifrit37Nothing.179193
Ifrit35Pet:Attack+5183193
Ifrit36Pet:Attack+5178193
Ifrit37Pet:Attack+5177
193
Ifrit35Crimson Howl (23/256)182193
Ifrit36Crimson Howl (23/256)184*193
Ifrit37Crimson Howl (23/256) + Pet:Attack+5176193
* = Presumed failure, stopped testing before I could show this to be uncapped.
All purple results are uncapped.

Plugging all these values into the program yields no results, so either Crimson Howl calculations are wrong, I'm missing a value of attack decreasing (e.g. dSTR playing a role in attack), or Lv34 Bee with nothing on is uncapped. Good thing to note is that Ifrit follows Garuda's lead, suggesting they have the same attack value.

So I went and tossed another merit into Avatar Physical Attack (+2) and redid the Lv35 test with Pet:Atk+5:
Ifrit vs Lv35 Bee with +7Atk Spread: 183-193.

I then took away both merits (-2 offset) and repeated on Lv34 Bee which was previously capped:
Spread: 184-193

This indicates that Attack for avatars must be pretty high. Accounting for this quartered my program output:

 Cap:3.3 Attack:468
 Cap:3.4 Attack:482
 Cap:3.5 Attack:496
 Cap:3.6 Attack:510
 Cap:3.6 Attack:511
 Cap:3.7 Attack:524
 Cap:3.7 Attack:525
 Cap:3.8 Attack:538
 Cap:3.8 Attack:539
 Cap:3.8 Attack:540
 Cap:3.9 Attack:552
 Cap:3.9 Attack:553
 Cap:3.9 Attack:554
 Cap:4.0 Attack:566
 Cap:4.0 Attack:567
 Cap:4.0 Attack:568
 Cap:4.1 Attack:581
 Cap:4.1 Attack:582
 Cap:4.1 Attack:583
 Cap:4.2 Attack:595
 Cap:4.2 Attack:596
 Cap:4.2 Attack:597
Total: 22

Getting pretty high then. However, you then expect Crimson Howl to have had a notable effect, but this was not the case. Perhaps Crimson Howl doesn't work for melee hits, or is calculated differently for Ifrit? Perhaps there's a cap on the amount of bonus attack?

The implications of these 13 results are startling. Avatars have a ton of attack. But that's not all. This puts into perspective several augments. Pet:Attack+5 only adds ~1% to your attack, a hardly worthy amount. Furthermore, Attack+15 is just 3%. Do not this excludes 'Enhances Avatar Attack' gear, since this only works on Blood Pacts and needs more testing to quantify. Also, this means that you needn't worry about capping attack on harder level monsters, with caps of 3+, you'd need 999+ attack (most likely not possible due to caps on attack value?) to cap on any monster with over 333 DEF. This also means the merits in Avatar Physical Attack are completely and utterly worthless. With 5 merits you'd have Attack+10, equivalent to 2% increase in attack. This also means that DEF is very important for ratio. Consider:

Attack=500
DEF=200
Ratio = 2.5
Decrease DEF by just 10:
Ratio = 2.631
An increase of about 0.13, which would alter PDIF by at least that much, probably more.

Attack=500
DEF=200
Increase ATK by 10:
Ratio = 2.55
An increase of about 0.05.

What I'm trying to say is:

If you wish to increase your damage with avatars, it's far better to lower the monster's defence than it is to raise your avatar's attack.

Dia ftw?

How does Ratio feed PDIF?

I'm starting to think that perhaps Ratio is used more directly in PDIF than it is for PCs, as in, perhaps Ratio is used by itself followed with a static addition/subtraction to form PDIF_min and PDIF_max? The cap on Ratio is getting so high, it can actually meet 4.0 and 4.2 after all. My theory is as follows:

PDIF_max = Cap@4.2[Ratio + SOME_CONSTANT]

This would account for why you can still hit max numbers even if Ratio is uncapped. This would also account for why critical hits do the same damage as normal hits (for PCs, 1.0 is added to Ratio to form a critical hit. For avatars, this would be negated by the cap!) An alternative form would be:

PDIF_max = 4.2Cap[ SomeCap[Ratio] + CONSTANT]

This seems needlessly complicated though, so I suggest the former. After all, PC PDIF max is calculated (in laymens terms, prior to the 5% static randomiser):

PDIF_max = 1.2 * Cap@2.0[Ratio]

Since the Ratio cap is getting so high now, it's made me doubt there is a multiplier being applied to Ratio. Instead I think there is a static addition, which would explain why Avatars do well on high level monsters, since the poor Ratio value isn't being enhanced further by multiplying. As for 'Is there a cRatio'? I don't know. I haven't seen any evidence to prove there is, so I will have to tackle that at some point. To work out what this constant might be, I will have to fight tougher monsters, until the Max PDIF cap is no longer applied. Once I know this, I can look at the difference between when the min PDIF cap was violated and when the max pdif cap was violated, and hopefully obtain some difference which can be equated using Ratio. PDIF_min clearly does not get an addition when Ratio drops below cap, but it might get a subtraction in order to get the 4.0 cap:

PDIF_min = Cap@4.0[ Ratio - CONSTANT]

If this were true, Ratio would have to cap higher than 4.0, perhaps 4.2? The PDIF min for PCs is:

PDIF_min = 1.2 x cRatio - 0.8

In other words, identical to max but with a constant taken away. We know there must be some addition for PDIF_max (not multiplication, else max potential would still drop in relation to Ratio, see PC Max PDIF) due to avatars still hitting the upper cap when Ratio isn't capped, which is then capped at 4.2, but what could it be? The generic model to fill is:

PDIF max = MULTIPLIER * Ratio + CONSTANT
PDIF min = MULTIPLIER2 * Ratio - CONSTANT

Multiplier may be 1, Constant may be 0. PDIF_max *must* have a constant added to it.

But before we do that, it's reasonable to ask 'But Kegs, what's to say attack affects melee hits at all? In all of your tests, you've failed to shift ratio back up to the cap! Will adding attack really boost melee hits?' So I did a test on COR/SMN on Lv34 Death Jackets. The results? Yes, it works:

Ifrit [COR/SMN] - No Attack Bonuses.
Lv34 - frac/alky/ethereal
18-30

Ifrit [COR/SMN] - Lucky IV Beast Roll.
Lv34 - frac/alky/ethereal
20-34
c56

A modest improvement. However, does this mean Pet:Attack+ gear have an effect? Let's see:

Ifrit [COR/SMN] - Pet:Attack+5.
Lv34 - frac/alky/ethereal
19-30
c44
c37
c42
c50
(more critical hits due to larger sample, as I wanted to be sure on this.)

By the looks of it, yes, Pet:Attack+ gear does indeed work on normal melee hits. As expected, the amount it works is laughable, but hey, least it confirms that gear can increase PDIF.

Went and tested Ifrit on higher level monsters in Gustav Tunnel. Finally, the upper PDIF cap has been violated:

Hawkers in Gustav Tunnel
@210 - lowdef
@209 - notlowdef
=168DEF
Ifrit:
157-189 (c189)
Max PDIF capped on this monster.

@214 = low def
@213 = not low def
=171DEF
Ifrit:
156-189 (180-189c)
Max PDIF capped on this monster.

@217 = lowdef
@216 = notlowdef
=173DEF
Ifrit: CAP @ 184.8
149-184 (177-181c)
Max PDIF capped on this monster.

@221 = lowdef
@220 = notlowdef
=176DEF
Ifrit: CAP @ 184.8
146-184 (177-184c)
Max PDIF capped on this monster.

Labyrinth Lizard in Gustav Tunnel
@224 - lowdef
@223 - notlowdef
=179DEF
Ifrit: CAP @ 189
146-186 (180-189c)
This one was tested to death with samples to ensure accuracy.

So the magic number before the cap no longer applies for PDIF_max is 179DEF and for PDIF_min is 144DEF. I'll write more on this in the morning! Do note that there may be +-2DEF in accuracy here, since I can't exactly tweak the monster's defence and re-test. This is pretty accurate though, with no more than 2DEF out.

Hilltroll Paladins:

Lv83=450DEF, 109VIT (Incr.Tough), Ifrit D=~28
Ifrit:
12-32
crits:
32-60

It's also worth a note that PDIF max still remains above 1 for the massive 450 DEF value of Hilltroll Paladins. I highly doubt PDIF max will be allowed to drop below 1. However, this does seem to confirm the massive attack value of avatars. Another note are the critical hits, which actually are overlapping (or may not be, e.g. 32.1 and 32.9). Either way, this will be important in determining the value a critical hit adds to PDIF, so all in all, good testing. How did I kill the troll you ask? SMN/NIN! Ohoho.

I've come a long way since first starting this mammoth testing of PDIF, but the end is nearly in sight. An attack value for celestial avatars will soon be ready. In the mean time, here's the  graph with all known values plotted:


Various monsters tested: (continually updated)
All in respect to the blue line (PDIF_min):
-Hawkers (4 points at PDIF=3.5)
-Lesser Colibri (The 3 points at PDIF=2)
-Colibri (The 3 points at PDIF=~1.2)
-Flamingo (The 3 points at PDIF=1)
-Greater Colibri (needs re-testing; PDIF=~0.75)
-Hilltroll Paladin (PDIF=~0.4)

PDIF values were calculated using my Avatar Damage calculation to find D+fSTR, then simply doing MinDMG/(D+fSTR) and MaxDMG/(D+fSTR). Note that when a critical hit occurs, PDIF is increased by 1.0 just like for players. Also note that at very high DEF levels (read: last row), this rule is broken by more than what can be associated to by lack of sample size. This most likely is due to the constant which is added/subtracted from PDIF min. Do note that 1.14-0.43 = 0.71, very close to that common recurring constant, 0.75.

This graph looks very similar to how PDIF scales for Players. Allow me to quickly show you the Player calculations roughly, specifically the minimum values:

0 <= cRatio <= 1.25
fMin(cRatio) = 1.2 * cRatio - 0.5. If Result is less than 0, cap at 0.

1.25 <= cRatio <= 1.5
fMin(cRatio) = 1

1.5 <= cRatio <= 2
fMin(cRatio) = 1.2 * cRatio -0.8

This appears to be highly related since very clearly you can see that PDIF min hits 1.0 and stays there for a certain amount of DEF before swapping to another equation. Therefore I can conclude that just like Players, Avatars have 3 equations for PDIF which vary based on Ratio. As for just where the boundaries are for these equations, I have to still work out. However, if it's anything like Players, it should only be a few DEF higher.

A major problem which I can see with the graph is the painfully straight line from when PDIF_min is uncapped to when it reaches PDIF min=1, if the formula really involves Ratio (Attack / Defence) then it should be a curve (500/1=500, 500/2=250, 500/3=166 etc...) but this is not the case. The only other way I can think of therefore is that instead of there being a 'Ratio', there's actually a dAttack (Attack - Defence) instead. At least, at lower levels (sub ~280DEF). Tested this on Lesser Colibri (Adding 5 attack should be the same as subtracting 5 DEF) and the results were the same as the baseline test. Myth busted.

Estimations for PDIF

Did a test with extremely low levels of Ratio (Lv37 Ifrit VS Lesser Colibri), my model predicts D=13, though I highly suspect D=15:

L65 - DEF241, D=~13
5-15
c20-30
min=0.461
max=1.153
critmax=2.307
critmin=1.538

If D=15:
min=0.333
max=1
crit_min=1.33333
crit_max=2

As you can see, D=13 doesn't quite match up with Crit=1.0 bonus, but put in D=15 and it matches perfectly, so I suspect the discrepancy is model error. This appears to hold true on higher level monsters as well, indicating there's a hardcap of 0.333 and 1 when Ratio is extremely low.

Final Graph:


If for whatever reason this graph picture goes down, the formulas on it are:
DEF = 0~140 ---> pdif_min=4 ||| pdif_max=4.2
DEF = 141~280 ---> pdif_min=-0.022*DEF+7.116 ||| pdif_max=-0.0184*DEF+7.115
DEF = 280~315 ---> pdif_min=1 ||| pdif_max=~1.8
DEF = 316~500 ---> pdif_min=-0.0027*DEF+1.645 ||| pdif_max=-0.0018*DEF+1.95
DEF = 500+ ---> pdif_min=0.333 ||| pdif_max=1

Avatar PDIF Formula

Created a working model based on these results+graph. Celestial avatars have 504 attack.

0 <= Ratio <= 1 then:
PDIF max = 1
PDIF min = 0.333

1 < Ratio < 1.6 then:
PDIF max = Ratio*4/6 + 2/6
PDIF min = Ratio*7/9 - 4/9

1.6 <= Ratio <= 1.8 then:
PDIF max =
1.8
PDIF min = 1

1.8 < Ratio < 3.6 then:
PDIF max = 2.4 * Ratio - 2.52
PDIF min = 5/3 * Ratio - 2

Ratio > 3.6 then:
PDIF max = 4.2
PDIF min = 4


- There is a hard cap of 4.2 for PDIF. This cannot ever be exceeded.
- Critical hits add 1.0 to PDIF, but they cannot break the hard cap.


Summary on PDIF - What you should know

Fenrir has the most attack.
Carbuncle (!) is next.
Celestial avatars have the least attack.
You wouldn't think this though, since Carbuncle has a much lower D value.

Celestial Avatars have more than 468 attack. Working model suggest 504 attack. No ratio cap on Avatars has been discovered.

From the graph outlined above, several things should become obvious:
1. Attack+ gear has a varying effect on the damage potential of your avatar, sometimes it'll shift PDIF up more, other times not.
2. The weaker the monster, the more attack boosts PDIF, and the more damage you'll do per unit Attack.
3. The stronger the monster, the less attack boosts PDIF, and the less damage you'll do per unit Attack.
4. There are 2 sets of caps:
PDIF max must be between 1 and 4.2.
PDIF min must be between 0.333 and 4.
5. Because of #3, Attack (precisely Pet:Attack+) on anything of HNM-level is useless. Enhances Avatar Attack has yet to be re-examined since it only applies to blood pacts.

Side note: Previous tests on Enhances Avatar Attack came to the same conclusion (Attack improves PDIF at varying amount for different DEF values) hinting that Blood Pacts do indeed follow these calculations.

Final Few Questions

- How does Attack scale with level?
- How do Blood Pacts fit in with this?
- How much Attack do Carbuncle and Fenrir have?
- How much of an Attack penalty does Avatar's Favor give? Is this straight Attack- or a penalty directly to PDIF?

Fenrir Attack
Simply reverse engineered my own formula, using data from Lesser Colibri parses right at the start:
DEF231 Colibri says: 566~584 attack
DEF235 Colibri says: 566~577 attack
Therefore, I estimate that Fenrir has around 570 attack.

Conclusions

Fenrir + Celestial Avatar base damage = (AVATAR LEVEL x 0.74) - (Monster VIT/4)

Carbuncle base damage = (AVATAR LEVEL x 2/3) - (Monster VIT/4)


Celestial Avatars have 504 attack at Level 75. Carbuncle has more. Fenrir even more.

0 <= Ratio <= 1 then:
PDIF max = 1
PDIF min = 0.333

1 < Ratio < 1.6 then:
PDIF max = Ratio*4/6 + 2/6
PDIF min = Ratio*7/9 - 4/9

1.6 <= Ratio <= 1.8 then:
PDIF max =
1.8
PDIF min = 1

1.8 < Ratio < 3.6 then:
PDIF max = 2.4 * Ratio - 2.52
PDIF min = 5/3 * Ratio - 2

Ratio > 3.6 then:
PDIF max = 4.2
PDIF min = 4

- There is a hard cap of 4.2 for PDIF. This cannot ever be exceeded.
- Critical hits add 1.0 to PDIF, but they cannot break the hard cap.


Blood Pacts follow these PDIF calculations as well, but the M values may change from section to section, more testing is needed to define how it changes.
All M values should work for 1.8<Ratio<3.6 section.

Enhances Avatar Attack gear does NOT work on melee hits!

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2 comments or Leave a comment
Considering this is a blog, it's about time I put some of my own thoughts on it in addition to document things I've done in-game. Here I'm going to talk about the major shockers from Vanafest, and the possible implications of what is to come.

Summoner - Odin & Alexander

Highly disappointing that they can only be used during Astral Flow, but nonetheless we finally got something new, which re-invents our 2hr which at 75 is nothing more than a refresh JA. The usefulness will depend on the accuracy of Zantetsuken, but bear in mind SE are basically giving Summoners death. How fricking cool is that, even if they can't be used on NMs?



Alexander's Perfect Defense seems to be a special form of -% damage taken by the wording, coupled with resist status traits. Nice, but not groundbreaking. Could be useful on things like Absolute Virtue or in "oshi" moments. Of course, this all also depends on the duration of said effects.



The Level Cap

A lot of RAAAAAAGE about this one from some people on BG/Alla, the cap rise will affect every aspect of play. But just what do we stand to gain from this?

Breaking this down into each cap rise, slowly showing the release of potential (or lack thereof). The key thing to remember is:

"Support job abilities that are not expected to steal the limelight from main jobs as a result of the level cap increase will be allowed to come into play."

This means I highly doubt we will see highly-specific job actions (Yonnin,Innin,Afflatus,etc). When I say "Nothing" or miss out some JAs/Spells, it's because they are for the most part, useless (E.g. Resist Gravity II on /thf).

Each additional level will award (or rather, remove the penalty) of 0.05 cRatio. Mages do not get a level bonus as such, other than the increased INT, and possibly less of a penalty on resist rates (there is no firm equation for how level relates to resist rates).

This in general equates to an average increase of 1.2*0.05 or
6% more melee damage per level.
It also equates to a bonus of 4 accuracy per level on fighting monsters 75+,
and a "bonus" of 4 evasion per level on fighting monsters below 75.



Raising the cap to 80/40
Melee damage +30%
Melee Accuracy (vs 80+) +20
Evasion (vs 75-) +20

/whm - Stona, Teleport-Altep/Yhoat, Haste, Afflatus
Possible that /whm will not get Afflatus.

/rdm - Convert, MAB II, Raise, Ice Spikes

/nin - Yonin, Innin, :ni Elemental Wheel
Possible that /nin will not get Yonin/Innin.

/cor - Quick Draw, Evoker's Roll
Possible that /cor will not get Quick Draw.

/blu - Chain Affinity, Blank Gaze
Possible that /blu will not get Chain Affinity.

/sch - Accession, Erase

/dnc - Stutter Step, Reverse Flourish
Possible that /dnc will not get Reverse Flourish.

/war - Nothing.
/mnk - Nothing.
/blm - Warp II.
/thf - Nothing.
/pld - Nothing.
/bst - Enhanced Widescan.
/rng - Enhanced Widescan, Shadowbind
/drk - Bio II.
/pup - Nothing.
/brd - Battlefield Elegy
/sam - Nothing.
/drg - Nothing.
/smn - Crimson Howl (Ifrit)

Raising the cap to 85/42
Melee damage +60%
Melee Accuracy (vs 80+) +40
Evasion (vs 75-) +40

/whm - Cure IV, Teleport-Vahzl
/rdm - Refresh
/sch - Sandstorm (yay Desert Boots?)

/smn - Lightning Armor (Ramuh)
/drk - Nothing
/war - Nothing.
/mnk - Chi Blast
/thf - Nothing.
/blu - MP Drainkiss.
/blm - Sleep II
/pld - Nothing.
/brd - Nothing.
/bst - Nothing.
/rng - Nothing.
/drg - Nothing.
/sam - Nothing.
/nin - Nothing.
/pup - Nothing.
/cor - Nothing.
/dnc - Nothing.

Raising the cap to 90/45

Melee damage +90%
Melee Accuracy (vs 80+) +60
Evasion (vs 75-) +60

/thf - Hide, Treasure Hunter II (crowd goes wild)
/blm - Poison II, Stun
/drk - Absorb-TP
/rng - Velocity Shot
/nin - Dual Wield III, Kurayami:Ni
/cor - Rogue's Roll
/dnc - Haste Samba, Violent Flourish
/sch - Rain/Windstorm

/bst - Snarl
/smn - Ecliptic Growl, Glittering Ruby
/whm - Flash, Regen II
/blu - Nothing.
/pld - Nothing.
/war - Aggressor
/mnk - Counterstance.
/rdm - Nothing.
/brd - Pianissimo
/sam - Nothing.
/drg - Nothing.
/pup - Nothing.

Raising the cap to 95/47
Melee damage +120%
Melee Accuracy (vs 80+) +80
Evasion (vs 75-) +80

/rdm - Protect III, Poison II, Sleep II
/smn - Earthen Ward, Spring Water
/cor - Warlock's Roll
/sch - Klimaform, Firestorm

/drk - Poison II
/bst - Nothing.
/war - Nothing.
/mnk - Martial Arts IV
/thf - Nothing.
/whm - Protect[ra] III
/blm - Nothing.
/pld - Nothing.
/brd - Nothing.
/drg - Nothing.
/rng - Nothing.
/sam - Nothing.
/nin - Nothing.
/blu - Nothing.
/pup - Nothing.
/dnc - Nothing.

Raising the cap to 99/49
Melee damage +150% (!)
Melee Accuracy (vs 80+) +100
Evasion (vs 75-) +100

/rdm - Cure IV, Haste
/smn - Hastega, Noctoshield
/blu - Refueling
/cor - Fighter's Roll
/sch - Hailstorm

/nin - Hojo:Ni
/war - Nothing.
/mnk - Nothing
/whm - Repose.
/blm - Nothing.
/thf - Nothing.
/pld - Nothing.
/drk - Nothing.
/sam - Nothing.
/brd - Nothing.
/bst - Nothing.
/rng - Nothing.
/pup - Nothing.
/drg - Nothing.
/dnc - Nothing.

Summary

Overall, the biggest things from all this can be shortlisted to Convert, Refresh, Accession, Haste, TH2.

Melee damage benefits kindly and will arguably be the big breaker from the level cap rise. +150% damage on most monsters is pretty epic. This is ignoring any new gear/JAs/Attribute bonuses/new merits. Melees will be that much more powerful, whilst mages will remain in the dark a bit unless SE pulls out some new spells (which seems likely, after all there are 24 levels between 75 and 99).

Is this really ground-breaking enough to destroy the game as a whole? Really? Personally, once you lay all the cards on the table, you'll see it really isn't that big of a deal.

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The final major NM addition relevant to Summoner's interest is Lizardtrap, an orctrap NM in Aydeewa which drops Fenrir's Crown. The crown has a unique trait of enhancing Fenrir's accuracy. But how would you as a SMN go about obtaining it?

How to pop



Pretty easy position to get to from Al Zahbi, just a very short chocobo ride to Aydeewa and a short walk once you're inside. Lizardtrap is a timed pop every 2 hours ~ 2 hours 15 minutes pretty damn reliably. So reliable, I did for many occasions (at least ten) note the ToD, logout and come back 1h 55m later, and it would always pop within 20 minutes. It will not aggro or link with any of the monsters in that room (there's three other orctraps usually). Note how I said "on many occasions", that is because the drop rate on this guy is terrible. I would put it around ~10%. If there's other people there camping against you, do watch out for the small pillars in the room as they may lead to an "unable to see" message.

Gearing your Summoner

Very simple to gear, just bring your normal sets (perp cost and BP) and you can kill the NM within 10 minutes. Like with the chigoe NM, this NM can be BPed to death, Sublimation helps for MP but is not required. Subjob wise I recommend anything, though really you may want /THF to help for the drop. Avatars to use should be Fenrir and/or Garuda, depending on your gear.

How to kill

I'm making this NM out to be pretty easy, and that's a small lie. He doesn't have a lot of HP, being a BLM type monster, but his spells hurt. A lot. As in, if just one Blizzard IV gets through or Blizzaga III, you will be one-shotted. Blizzard IV deals ~900, Blizzaga III deals ~1100, shell helps cut 100 or so off this but it's still incredibly dangerous. There's a number of common mistakes which I did during my time down there that I shall share later on. To kill it, just BP with Fenrir or Garuda, physical pacts being the key here, and it'll drop pretty quickly. Eclipse Bite did ~10%, whilst Predator Claws did ~15% for 700 and 1000 ish damage respectively. It moves at normal speed and tends to stop often to cast, with no fast cast, meaning you can easily get out of the way of any spells provided you are not nearby (~10") to start off with. Speaking of distance, the Distance plugin makes this so much easier to solo, since you can immediately tell when you are out of spell range (30"+). Blizzard IV and Blizzaga III are one-shotters for you and your avatar. Even with both you and avatar in range, a Blizzaga III will still do ~700-800 damage. The NM also uses Paralyga (which has the shortest cast time, about as long as phalanx?) but the proc rate is pretty weak, though it could mean death if your summoning is paralyzed. For this reason, perhaps you should go /WHM or /SCH. Another note, he doesn't use any weapon skills.



Common Mistakes

A few mistakes got me killed several times whilst fighting this NM. They are as follows:
* When it casts Blizzaga or Blizzard, get out of range and stay out of range until the NM hits your avatar. Make sure you follow this or you might accidentally go out of range during the cast time then go back in range (thinking the spell is over) only for it to finish casting and death ensues.
* Always make sure you leave room to run further away when you resummon. This includes the bend by the zoneline! This is why I marked a red ending line on the map above, because if you go further than that, you can still be in range of spells as you are effectively going back on yourself!
* Make sure you don't stray into aggro territory. This is less of an issue, but try not to aggro the slimes or worms.

Odds are you'll read this and think "psssh yeah Kegs, I know I know. Honestly." and you'll get taken out once or twice, I know I did. Enough times that I de-levelled once >_< The main reason for my deaths was because of the first two points.



Final Thoughts

A tough NM if you get too cocky, his health is low, his melee hits are weak, and it spams lolParalyga on your avatar. Get too caught up though and you'll make a mistake, and just one mistake will wipe you (usually eating a Blizzard spell). Treat this NM with respect, always play it on the safe side if you can. Also, try not to get too downhearted if the crown doesn't drop, his drop rate really is atrocious.



Best of luck.

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The recent new additions of NMs to almost every zone in FFXI has its fair share of spoils. One for the Summoners is Morana's Pigaches which has the nifty trait of Shiva: Enhances Magic Accuracy. Here I will tell you how to solo this NM, as well as its mechanics.

How to pop

The NM appears to be a timed pop with a repop time of around 3 hours 30 minutes (could be less or more, this was the repop time for myself). The area the NM pops in is not consistent, some reports given at G10, whilst my pop was at H10. The easiest way to check to see if the NM is up is to simply walk around with sneak and invisible up, and look at the chigoe. If there are three of them in a group, one of them is the NM. Simply enough. Try to aggro them one at a time or you could find yourself in a sticky spot. I've made a small map which should help you out. Be aware of groups of chigoe, it may look like there's three, but really there's four (two groups very close). I may have missed out one or two groups of chigoe, so only use this as a reference.


My pop was at H10, people on BG have reported a G10 pop. Each chigoe icon means there are TWO chigoe there.

How to gear

I did this as SMN/NIN, for Utsusemi against Fire III and Flare. That way, it didn't matter that it was casting on me, I could still Blood Pact against it. Oh yes, that is worth mentioning. The chigoe doesn't exactly have a lot of health, I'd pin it at around 10,000HP max. This means you can comfortably Blood Pact the NM to death. I used a mixture of Fenrir, Leviathan and Garuda, to try to find which would do the best damage. This eventually settled on Fenrir, for the free perpetuations and consistent ~800 Eclipse Bites. Garuda completely missed her Predator Claws, which seemed unusual. Leviathan was also very good, consistently doing ~1000 Spinning Dives. Just be warned that the NM will often run for you when you BP, so make sure you are in range. I brought two yagudo drinks as well as used Astral Flow for MP conservation. It was well worth it, as I ended up with ~150 MP left (Hume MP).



What to watch out for

The NM will not depop/deaggro when performing normal summoner kiting procedures, it only seems to deaggro if you're out of range of Flare. Flare will one shot your avatar, so be wary of that. Other than that, this NM is pretty easy to handle with /NIN, as the only thing you have to worry about is Firaga III which you can outrun. However, if you do not have distance on this NM, it could very easily wipe you, which is probably the biggest risk, since it does kill avatars rather quickly, even on normal hits (though enough to get away, plus when it casts it gives your avatars a new lease of life).The NM appears to cast a spell every ~20 seconds.



Final Thoughts

One of the few monsters a SMN can literally burn down with Lv70 Blood Pacts, a quick fight (for once) lasting around ten minutes. Just be sure to use /NIN to avoid most of the nasties, as well as avoid the potentially aggressive monsters nearby, including normal chigoe!

Best of luck fellow Summoners.

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Yet another maths-based post, this one focuses on Accuracy of avatars. For more in-depth details and raw test data, please visit my thread on Allakhazam:

http://ffxi.allakhazam.com/db/jobs.html?fjob=15;mid=125556209657891137;page=1#m1255589757259021145

Basically I did several tests on Greater Colibri in order to identify the accuracy of three things:
1 - The base accuracy of avatars
2 - The bonus accuracy granted by having SMN Skill over the cap
3 - Enhances avatar accuracy gear


The results were surprising.

Base Accuracy

This has been calculated to be ~307 accuracy at level 75. In light of comments I've received I may very well be tweaking my formula for attack, and since attack and accuracy are so closely related (based off the same skill) it will be interesting to see how these tests will affect later ones.

It should be noted that avatars get an accuracy bonus natively for Blood Pacts already. This has been pinned down to a +10~15 bonus, or there is a lower accuracy cap of 70% (i.e. Avatar accuracy cannot drop below 70% for BP). Which one it is will need to be investigated further.

Summoning Skill over Cap

This was calculated to be approximately 1 skill over cap = 1 accuracy, as suspected by many Summoners. The effect does not seem to degrade with more skill, but the accuracy bonus granted only applies to blood pacts.

Enhances Avatar Accuracy

The big one in this test, both because its bonus was mysteriously elusive and because the results were surprisingly awesome. This grants Accuracy+14 which is a huge increase, and it does stack (i.e. Accuracy+28 with Summoner's Bracers and Evoker's Spats). This accuracy bonus is applied for normal hits as well as blood pacts.

Summary

Enhances avatar accuracy gear is surprisingly good, only being matched if you have a whopping Summoning Magic Skill+14, and even then that would only apply to blood pacts not normal melee hits. The native accuracy bonus for Blood Pacts needs some more research into, so stay tuned for more news on that. Other than that, there isn't much else for me to cover in the wonderful world of avatars.

Now watch SE change the melee system for avatars in the next update, =(

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Head over to Allakhazam to read my latest post on Physical Blood Pact damage. I will very briefly touch over the key points here.

http://ffxi.allakhazam.com/db/jobs.html?fjob=15;mid=1254863299247793724;page=1#m1255044188308454532


The Formula

All Physical Blood Pacts (minus Rock Throw and Megalith Throw, those are Ranged!) go by the following formula:

Damage = (D+fSTR) * M * PDIF


Where D = Base DMG Rating of the "weapon" (Avatars technically have no weapon, see below!)
fSTR = (Avatar STR - Monster VIT + somearbitarynumber) / 4 -- See Wiki for more info.
PDIF = Avatar Attack / Monster Defense, and then some equations applied to it -- See Wiki for more info.
    -Note: Avatars do not have any level correction. This is why they are so good on Wyrms!
M = Multiplier
 -Note: This varies for each blood pact, and is why Claw does ~300 and Predator Claws does 1600+


M Values

Blood Pacts in italics are tentative M values.


Leviathan
Barracuda Dive --- M=3.5
Tail Whip --- M=5
Spinning Dive --- M=12

Titan
Rock Buster --- M=4
Mountain Buster --- M=12

Ifrit
Punch --- M=3.5
Double Punch -- M=?

Garuda
Claw --- M=3.5
Predator Claws = M=10?, subsequent hits M=2.

Ramuh
Shock Strike --- M=3.5
Chaotic Strike = M=9?, subsequent hits M=2.

Shiva
Axe Kick --- M=3.5
Double Slap = M=6, subsequent hit M=2.
Rush = M=5, subsequent hits M=2?


Extra Information

IGNORE RESULTS HERE, THESE ASSUME AVATARS FOLLOW NORMAL PLAYER PDIF FORMULAS WHICH THEY DON'T!

Further testing on a variety of things was done, the results are below:

-fSTR caps are -1 and 8, meaning Avatars have no weapon rank.
-Enhances Avatar Attack gear does not alter the M value in any way, it just adds Attack to the PDIF calculation. How much is still unknown.
-Celestial Avatars have 460-485 attack at level 75.
-Celestial Avatars have a base DMG rating of 47~49.
-Celestial Avatars have around 48 STR.
-Notice how the first hit is the damaging one when it comes to Predator Claws and many other multi-hit blood pacts. This means that if that first hit misses, you'll do 250 damage instead of 1400.

What this all means

As for what all this maths shows; nothing the summoner community didn't know already, Predator Claws rocks. But it does highlight several interesting things:
 -Monster VIT does not alter Blood Pact damage by a lot, even when the monster has tons and tons of VIT.
 -The only reliable way to increase damage is to use "Enhances Avatar Attack" gear.
 -Critical Hit Rate+% will occasionally spike your damage yes, but the critical hit must land on the first hit of multi-hit blood pacts, which is unlikely.

Chart

IGNORE RESULTS HERE, THESE ASSUME AVATARS FOLLOW NORMAL PLAYER PDIF FORMULAS WHICH THEY DON'T!

The following chart illustrates 4 blood pacts against five fictional monsters, given suitable latin names. A mixture of conditions are applied and damage is output. I will hopefully make a spreadsheet eventually which will calculate your damage range on any monster.




That's all for this entry, I hope I have cleared a few issues with our mysterious physical blood pacts. What for the next post? Will Kegs continue to go on about all this maths?! What happened to all of the soloing?! Well, I have a few things planned in that category, so stay tuned.

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Not quite what you'd expect to see on a soloing blog, right? Summoner soloing (and most soloing) is mainly about repetition, endurance and paying attention to the fine detail, but for this entry, I decided to exercise my brain a little bit. Several Summoner Blood Pacts were tested, and the results are laid out here.

Things to know about avatars

Avatars all have jobs, which can be broken down into the following:
Celestial Avatars = BLM/???
Carbuncle = WHM/???
Fenrir = ???/???
Diabolos = BLM/???

As such, they all obtain their respective job traits at the normal levels (e.g. Auto-Regen at level 25 for Carbuncle, Magic Attack Bonus for BLMs). Another little tidbit, all avatars have a delay of 320 (8.3 TP/hit) except Fenrir who has a delay of 280 (7.4 TP/hit).


Nether Blast



The "spirits within" blood pact for summoners has a formula that ignores.. well, pretty much everything. In fact, the only thing that it takes into consideration is the monster's Magic Defence Bonus.

(5 x Avatar's Level + 10) * MAB(of avatar)/MDB(of monster) * Day/Weather

With the new augmenting system, there are plenty of items which will increase Diabolos' MAB, which is the only way to increase damage that you can control (At Lv75 that is). Testing can be found at http://ffxi.allakhazam.com/db/jobs.html?fjob=15&mid=1249859980117828533&num=12&page=1

Meteorite



A common BP to use if you're doing campaign, this radioactive ferret relies on INT to do damage. However, since Carbuncle is a white mage, you'll never get spectacular results with this spell. It also seems there may be a level correction factor involved:

Note: this formula is not 100% accurate
(500 + (Carbuncle INT - Monster INT) * 1.5 + TP/2) * MAB * Day/Weather

Using Glittering Ruby to boost Carbuncle's INT (which is a shot in the dark to raise as it is) will increases damage by a lot, but TP is still your best bet for those really high numbers. Testing can be found at http://ffxi.allakhazam.com/db/jobs.html?fjob=15&mid=1249859980117828533&num=12&page=1

Merit Blood Pacts (Lv75 Magical)

Saving the best till last, this will be the formula you'll be most likely to use if you want to truly maximise damage. INT , TP and MAB all play a role in determining the damage from this spell.

(floor[512+1.72*(TP+1)] + floor[(Avatar's INT - Monster's INT) * 1.5]) * MAB/MDB * Day/Weather

Note that floor[] means after you calculate within the square brackets, you strip off the decimal leaving just the integer. The formula is the same for every Merit BP. This formula will generally get to within 1 point of the actual damage, because the decimal in TP is included in calculations (e.g. 8.3%TP). Testing can be found at http://ffxi.allakhazam.com/db/jobs.html?fjob=15&mid=1249969202287542102&num=7&page=1



Assuming the same monster, with 60INT and no MDB:

1 merit: Just the JA (0% TP) = 720
2 merits (40%) = 811
3 merits (80%) = 902
4 merits (120%) = 993
5 merits (160%) = 1083
-----------------------------
1 merit in Avatar Magical Attack: 731 (MAB 1.34)
2 merits in Avatar Magical Attack: 742 (MAB 1.36)
3 merits in Avatar Magical Attack: 753 (MAB 1.38)
4 merits in Avatar Magical Attack: 764 (MAB 1.40)
5 merits in Avatar Magical Attack: 775 (MAB 1.42)
-----------------------------
Max Merits in both: 1165


Selenian Cap Testing

Before you augment your MKE headpiece, be forewarned, the Regen effect is only 1HP/tick. The Damage Taken-10% is calculated after the avatar's innate -50% physical damage. Avatars take full damage from magical spells except those they are strong/same to, but with the Damage Taken augment, this does apply to magic so they will only take 90% damage.


And that's it. See you next time.



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