+ Introduction + Frequently Asked Questions - Why /RDM or /BLM? - When is this combination effective? - How does it work? - Why would I play this combination over /WAR? - Can NIN/BLM|RDM tank by dealing massive damage? - How can I increase my damage with this combination? - Does equipment with +Elemental Skill help :Ni nuke damage? - What race is best for this combination? - Which is better, /RDM or /BLM? - How expensive in this class combination? + Equipment + Strategy
This guide exists to serve as a central point of information for NIN/RDM|BLM. The same questions are asked over and over again, and since not many Ninjas have any practical experience with this combination, sometimes the wrong information is passed on. The guide is part FAQ, part shopping list, and part playbook: my intention is to include anything that a starry-eyed NIN-mage needs to be successful. It will be updated with new questions/gear/strategy as required.
Q: Why /RDM or /BLM?
A: Both /RDM and /BLM give the Magic Attack Bonus trait, which passively adds 20% to the damage of all spells (for the first level of the trait). When it was discovered that MAB increases the damage of Ninjutsu as well as regular nukes, this combination was born. For example, if your nukes deal ~100 damage as NIN/WAR, they will deal ~120 as NIN/RDM|BLM.
Q: When is this combination effective?
A: This combination is not worth it until level 40, when you acquire the :Ni level elemental Ninjutsu. The level 15 :Ichi Ninjutsu is too weak and slow-casting, and you can't get MAB from a subjob until main NIN30 anyway (NIN40 for /RDM).
Q: How does it work?
A: In brief, you cast the :Ni level elemental Ninjutsu in a specific order, in such a way that you're always weakening the mob to the element of the next nuke. For example, Raiton: Ni deals lightning elemental damage, and lowers the mob's resistance to earth. Doton: Ni deals earth damage, and lowers resistance to wind. So you'd use Raiton first, followed by Doton, to ensure maximum effect. This is called the "elemental wheel", and it looks something like this:
Raiton -> Doton -> Huton -> Hyoton -> Katon -> Suiton -> Raiton -> etc
Notice how you can jump in at any point in the "wheel". For example, there is no reason why you couldn't start with Katon and cycle right into Suiton, continuing around until you arrive at Katon again.
Q: Why would I play this combination over /WAR?
A: Put simply, because of personal playstyle choice. This combination is not better or worse than /WAR, but it does place you in a different party role than a normal /WAR-subbing Ninja. This leads into the next question, which is:
Q: Can NIN/BLM|RDM tank by dealing massive damage?
A: No, not really. If you look at all the tanks in this game (NIN, PLD, WAR, etc), they all have one thing in common -- Provoke. PLD and WAR tanks also have additional tools such as Flash, Warcry, Shieldbash, etc. All of these skills generate "spike hate", which is a lot of hate in a short period of time. Provoke is the best and most effective of these spike hate skills: it's free, recycles quickly, and cannot ever be resisted.
Spike hate is important because the job of a tank is to keep the mob away from the squishy mages and DDs. Low-level NINs and PLDs in particular are not able to compete with DDs for hate strictly by damage, so they use these skills to stay ahead. For example, if a BLM lands a 1300 damage Freeze MB on a Distortion skillchain, the tank has to generate a LOT of hate in a short period of time to keep the mob away from the BLM. Ditto for Rampage, Sidewinder, etc. NIN/BLM|RDM have no way to spike hate, and :Ni nukes can be resisted, so we are unequipped for the rigors of classic tanking.
However, NIN-mages deal such a huge amount of damage that we can temporarily (sometimes for extended periods of time) rip hate away from the main tank. Because we have Utsusemi, we can leverage it to take the heat off the tank for some time, and save MP for the healers. This is not the same thing as "tanking", but the ability to bounce hate to a job that has a lot of damage mitigation (Ninja) is a powerful strategy in an XP party. We are among the only DDs that can deal damage without holding back in a standard party, because we have the best chance to avoid taking hits.
Q: How can I increase my damage with this combination?
A: This is a complex answer. You can increase the raw damage that the nukes do to boost damage per hit, and you can reduce the rate of partial/full resists to increase damage over time.
Like MP-based nukes, the base damage for :Ni elemental Ninjutsu is fixed and doesn't change. However, there are three ways to modify it:
- INT - the damage dealt is modifed by a function of your INT compared to the enemy's INT. Every point of INT that you have adds roughly +1 damage to every nuke.
- MAB - in addition to the basic MAB trait from /RDM and /BLM, you can augment this stat directly by using gear with +MAB on it, like the Moldavite Earring or the Uggalepih Pendant. In the case of the earring, +5 MAB means +5% MAB, added directly to your existing score. So, if you have 20% from the MAB trait, and put on the earring, your final MAB is +25%.
- Elemental Staves - these are available starting at level 51, and have a hidden effect that boosts the damage of a co-aligned nuke by 10% (15% for HQ staves), as well as increasing the accuracy of the nuke. This is the biggest way to boost damage, outside of MAB.
For reducing resists, you need elemental staves (note that they do both raw damage and resists, which is why they are so good), and gear with +Ninjutsu. Ninjutsu skill does not increase damage directly, but it works similar to spell-based skills (such as Elemental Magic or Enfeebling) in reducing resists. Also, be sure to follow the order of the wheel: remember to always debuff the element of the next nuke that you will be using.
Q: Does equipment with +Elemental Skill help :Ni nuke damage?
A: No. Although :Ni nukes do elemental damage, they are not tied to the Elemental Skill, they are tied to Ninjutsu. As a NIN/RDM|BLM, your Elemental Skill will only be used for mage-type nukes, and since those are useless at half-level, you don't need this type of equipment.
The only things that increase :Ni damage directly are INT and MAB.
Q: What race is best for this combination?
A: Since the damage that this job combination does is influenced by INT (and MP total somewhat for /RDM), certain races have an advantage in that department. Here's a brief chart with INT milestones for various race combinations, from highest to lowest:
/RDM40 /BLM40 /RDM50 /BLM50 /RDM60 /BLM60 Taru 45 47 55 57 64 66 Hume 37 39 46 48 53 55 Mithra 37 39 46 48 53 53 Galka 35 37 43 45 50 52 Elvaan 32 34 40 42 46 48
As you can see, there is a difference of 13INT between Taru and Elvaan (highest and lowest) at level 40, which expands to 18INT by level 60. Since INT adds roughly 1 damage per point, that's a difference of approximately 78-108 damage for an entire unresisted wheel (depending on level). On a nuke where an Elvaan hits for ~110 unresisted at level 40, a Taru with the same gear will hit for ~123. The Taru is doing roughly 11% more damage, which is significant difference but not insurmountable for the the Elvaan. All races are viable, in this case, but some have clear advantages.
Q: Which is better, /RDM or /BLM?
A: For raw damage purposes, /BLM provides the best damage per hit. BLM has A-rated INT, so it will always be a couple points ahead of RDM, and /BLM also gains MAB II at 60+ (24% instead of 20%) where /RDM never gets that 4% upgrade. However, /BLM is severely lacking in utility, there isn't much you can do with your MP pool other than Warp, Tractor, and Escape. Having half-level spell skills means that regular nukes, enfeebles, Drain/Aspir, etc, will hardly ever stick on XP-level mobs.
For utility, /RDM is more versatile. You also have half-level skills from /RDM, but for some skills (like Healing) it doesn't matter very much. Some spells from /RDM that are particularly useful:
- Aquaveil - reduces the chance of interruption when you get hit. Extremely useful spell.
- Cure - You get up to Cure III in this line, which makes you a very handy spot-healer with a Refresh from the RDM or Ballad from the BRD.
- Barspells - they are half-effectiveness and self-only, but still useful in a pinch.
- Dia - you will get Dia I and II, and this spell can't be resisted, so you can take this duty from the WHM or RDM if needed.
- Diaga - cheap AOE spell that will strip all shadows from the mob.
- Sneak/Invis - self explanatory.
- Regen - only costs 15MP, and heals 125HP.
- Blink - useful for when both shadow timers are down, has a fast recast timer as well.
- Dispel - can be used even half-level, is not often resisted.
- Stoneskin - gained late, but extra insurance vs. AOEs and stray hits past shadows.
RDM also gives you Fast Cast I & II as a subjob, which decreases the casting time of all spells by 10% and 15% respectively, as well as reducing the /recast timers on all spells (including Utsusemi and the :Ni nukes). Finally, RDM gives you Magic Defense Up, which cuts all magic damage by 10% for the first level (similiar to having two full upgrades to Shell).
In general, /RDM is a more useful subjob from 40-59 because of equal MAB and more utility, with /BLM being a possible alternative for superior damage at 60+, but both will work at 40+ without incident.
Q: How expensive in this class combination?
A: Without sugar-coating it, this is extremely expensive. NIN/RDM|BLM is more or less highest-DOT damage dealer for a very long time, and we pay for the privilege. The cost depends on the price of tools on your server, usually they range from 9k for the cheaper tools to 22k+ for the more expensive ones. Expect to "lose" at least 150gil every time you press the nuke button (an average of almost 1k every time you spin the wheel), and anticipate using at least two stacks of every tool in a 2-3 hour party (subject to variation based on how fast you can pull). Don't forget Utsusemi.
You also have normal equipment expenses, mostly in the form of top-tier +INT equipment, and the elemental staves at 51. If you're going to buy the HQ elemental staves (a huge benefit over the NQ staves), expect to spend multiple millions of gil to get them.
If that sounds like a lot of money, this job combo is not for you.
In general, equipment for NIN/RDM|BLM aims to boost damage to the maximum, in the form of INT, MAB, and +Ninjutsu. You may want to keep a set of +evasion gear or other defensive considerations (like -%interruption) if you know you'll be psuedo-tanking for an extended period of time, but that is beyond the scope of this guide. Listed below are some suggestion gears for specific slots. RSE is not included as it varies from race to race.
Ammo: Morion/Phantom Tathlum - you basically keep this forever.
Back: Federal Army Mantle (level 55, +2INT) or Gramary Cape (level 50, +1 m.acc)
Body: Brigandine +1, Black/Blue Cotehardie, Yasha Samue - no low-level options
Ear: Cunning/Morion earring (+INT), Ninjutsu Earring (+skill), Moldavite Earring (+MAB)
Ring: any level-approriate +INT rings
Feet: Garrison boots, Mannequin pumps, Mountain Gaiters, Yasha Sune-Ate
Hands: Garrison gloves or Sennight Bangles (and not much else)
Head: Erudite's Headband, Ninja Hatsuburi (for +skill), Yasha Jinpachi
Legs: Yasha Hakama - nothing low-level for this slot, this is a good place for +evasion
Neck: Intellect Torque, Ninjutsu Torque
Waist: Druid's Rope (+INT and -interruption), R.K. Belt
Weapon: option for dual Crimson Blade at 49, staves at 51+, katanas everywhere else.
Here are some general tips and tricks to squeezing the most you can out of your NIN/RDM|BLM:
- Use the elemental debuffing properties of the :Ni nukes to your advantage to stick regular enfeebles like Hojo and Jubaku. Also consider opening with a nuke the mob is strong to, it's more likely to resist it anyway and you can have a debuff ready for a normal nuke.
- Use food with a lot of +INT, and get MP and hMP if you are /RDM. Melon Pie +1 is probably the most effective good choice.
- Count your shadows. A NIN geared up to nuke isn't as good at taking damage as a NIN/WAR, and your shadows won't last as long with +evasion. Don't get stuck without shadows, and having only :Ichi availible.
- Haste is your friend, even though you are not tanking. With Haste's 15% recast reduction, you can spin the wheel out faster. This also goes for %haste gear if you can't find good +INT for that slot (Fuma, for example).
- You don't need to be facing the mob to hit them with spells: it's entirely possible to "tank" mobs backwards using :Ni nukes and avoid line-of-sight attacks like Petrify.
- As added crowd control, a NIN/BLM|RDM can usually keep a link busy long enough with shadows, debuffs and nukes to have it mostly dead in time for the party to deal with it.
- If you are subbing /RDM, abuse Cures to the fullest extent between battles or in emergencies. A 40MP Refresh from an RDM is three Cure III's from you (almost 600HP worth of healing), and will save the mages a great deal of MP.
More to come as I think of it.
Edited, Dec 14th 2006 9:50am by MargavineLiselle