Regarding maximizing exp/hr, I think the following could be used as a good order of priority:
That is, make sure your party has what it takes to survive fights and long/infinite chains. Then make sure your party can kill as fast as possible. Assuming your party can kill fast, then make sure the pulls keep coming in without delay.
(Also, I see there's already a "how cor should be played" thread up from JP-button, but I didn't come here to participate in that thread)
Something that's always irritated me is at how self-righteous many Cors can be. They're just about quicker than any other job class to point the finger and say "you're doing it wrong." I think what's always irked me about this is that I could very very rarely find a Cor (even if they seem to come off as one of 'the best of the best') that could do what I asked them to as party leader, in the best interest of the party, as well as in the interests of that Cor's exp/hr. That is, pulling. I'm not talking about poor or mediocre parties having the cor pull. I'm sure there are times where in some party formations, the cor is the best person for the job (as could be said of my main job class, Thief) of pulling. But there's usually someone else there (preferably a bard) who can do that job for them.
I'm not talking about those parties though, I'm talking about peaked parties. With how long this game has been out, it is now not uncommon to build a party that can quote-unquote "cap" exp/hr at common merit camps. I'd even go so far to say that it doesn't even take a "great" party to be able to achieve this; "mediocre" parties can too. With a single, skilled bard puller, pulling all the available traditional mobs within the radius of their camp, the cap seems to be somewhere around 20-22k/hr+ without corsair's roll. But since merit parties are supposed to be about exp/hr I almost never merit without Brd+Cor anymore; I like my exp roll.
The problem is that this "cap" that I'm talking about is kind of an illusion. And the reason that it is so is because the mob supply at most merit camps (MMJ south and north, Birds mid and maybe lower) can be larger than most parties realize. Perhaps talking theoretically isn't as good as giving a solid example, so I'll get to the point and do that instead.
Let's take a great party setup. Outside heals if they're available, but that's unconventional and unnecessary (unless there is no "haster" within the party). Let's say mid bird camp. Let's say the healer is either a Dnc 5/5HasteSamba or Sch (accession+erase wivres) w/ outside heals, or a contemporary Rdm or even a Whm. Obviously we'll need a Brd/Nin. And of course 3 of the best "relic level" DD's you can get. I'm talking War/Sam, Mnk/War, assorted relics, Sam's with good pole builds, or w/e. The best of the best isn't even close to necessary to get well over 25k/hr, but let's say we've got that. Now we obviously need a cor for our exp roll (the main reason I put Cors in my pt).
So here's the meat of the issue. How should the Cor play? Straight DD? Support role? DD extra support? Well obviously given the topic of the thread, there's my preference: puller. One might say "ah, but there's already a bard." Decent point, but there's a very good reason why I would like a Cor to pull as well. That reason: the bard can't keep up with the pulls. This is more fact than opinion, and I know it first hand since I am a (pretty decent) bard. Even if your bard knows the camp perfectly, plays well, and has a chakram to pull with (which every bard bring for bird merits just in case it is required), it's not easy for them to keep up with regular 5-15 second kills and with no mobs up within their visual range.
There are two ways to amend this problem: 1.Increase the mob supply, and 2.Increase the pull rate. Mid birds is now my favorite camp because it seems the easiest for increasing mob supply. First, there are 3 wivres. Secondly, there's a whole floor of birds (and more wivres) next to you, and very many of them within 25' firing range. If that weren't enough, there's a floor of pullable mamools above you, and sometimes you can pull up to 5+ at a time (not necessarily a bad thing).
The problem is that it's very hard for a single bard to keep up w/ all these pulls and leave no downtime between fights. Ideally, if possible, a party should aim for 0 downtime between fights. If a mob dies, another one should be within melee range (not usually possible, but let's aim for that). For a bard trying to keep up 2-4 songs and travel up to 50' each way for another mob, 5-15 second fights may be too fast for this goal. This is where the cor comes in. I understand that you can't roll whenever you want to, but the rolls last a long time. If anything, let's keep it simple and say you just have to sing an exp roll and a dd roll. That leaves plenty of time to pull. With the kill rate given, /rng isn't going to help a whole lot. Our kill rate already exceeds our pull rate. Mp is fine, so support role isn't needed. The problem is the pull rate.
Corsairs can wear these. I frequently hear about corsairs saying they can't help pull because their guns are too slow. That's usually just their convenient excuse to say "I'd rather DD." But if gun speed is really a problem, darts are readily available and cheap. If a mob needs to be slept, dispelled, or light-shotted to enhance dia (wivres/lurkers), nothing is stopping the cor from making a macro to swap in the gun and ammo before the ability. Then they can swap back to darts and continue pulling.
I've had a few (rare) wonderful cors who have helped pull for my parties before (though never with darts). Cors, I guarantee you that if you get one of these calibur parties, co-pulling in the aforementioned way for the aforementioned reasons will increase your exp/hr (up to 35k/hr+, no fibs). And it should hopefully be fun too.
I'm interested to see what the cor community's thoughts are on this potentially perceivably outlandish proposal, especially since the caliber party I outlined above isn't even necessary to "cap" exp at most camps, and the easiest way to increase exp/hr from that "cap" will always be to add another puller (given the need for exp roll in an optimal party, this means it has to be the corsair). Also I am talking from experience as well; I have co-pulled on my sub-70 cor at mid birds before.
Edited, May 10th 2009 9:39pm by Shamaya