In such a situation SS is nice but it will make it harder for you to keep him alive because of the huge spikes, but it's undeniable it provides a good damage output. Where it loses a bit it's in synergy, since you can't really use a set of atma which is the best for both you and your automaton at the same time, need to accept compromises. (altough honestly even if you just get Atmas for yourself, AS still works kinda good)
The same isn't true for Valoredege. VV/RR/Apoc or GH/RR/Apoc are possibly the best DD combinations the Master can get, and they are incredibly awesome for your automaton as well. So that's a full synergy, and I like this a lot.
How does SS not benefit from those same atma combinations? I'd argue that overall, either of those two common atma sets you mentioned benefit SS MORE than they benefit VE.
1) Apoc gives both VE and SS triple attack, which is honestly more useful for SS than VE. Faster TP = more WS, and SS benefits more than VE from more frequent WS.
2) RR - maybe slightly tilted in VE's favor due to stronger melee crit strikes, but probably not enough to outweigh the significant advantage in damage from WS that SS enjoys. The atma also certainly helps SS quite a bit with all the DEX for melee accuracy while building TP, since SS needs more help to cap melee acc than VE does - so I'd say that aspect is more helpful to SS than to VE. Overall, the atma certainly helps both frames though.
3a) VV - same thing as Apoc, SS probably benefits more than VE from the Regain and DA giving faster TP generation and more frequent WS. STR+50 helps both frames with stronger hits.
3b) GH - I believe dustinfoley found that AGI is the sole modifier for Armor Shatterer, and AGI+50 is a huge chunk. Offensively, that makes GH more useful for SS than increased crit rate which helps both frames, even if that aspect does benefit VE a little more than SS. Defensively, the AGI/evasion and counter help both frames, but (unless you're using VE to tank) those benefits are probably are more helpful to SS since it has more potential to momentarily pull hate due to a WS damage spike.
Plus the new Valoredge WS may not be as nice as Armor Shatterer, but it is a really nice WS per se and VE needed it. Cannibal Blade does sh*t damage and so does Bone Crusher. New WS can provide kinda awesome numbers, especially with the atma combination above.
I have no disagreement that String Shredder is far better for damage than previously existing VE weaponskills. But it's still clearly inferior to SS's damage with Armor Shatterer (plus AS's added effect helping the entire group), so still a second rate choice. Really VE's only argument here is "still not as good as SS, but it could be even WORSE if we didn't have this WS"
Put another way, a BRD with a Mandau and DD gear is certainly a better DD compared to a BRD without that stuff. But if you're looking for a DD, you're still better off picking a well geared DD job instead of a pimped out BRD.
Survivability is way less of an issue for VE than it is for SS in general, and even more because of the inferior spikes of enmity.
Who cares about survivability when we have DEA on a 60 second timer? Even going all out and pulling hate, how often are you losing SS without either of DEA/Activate up? If you do lose it, you'll have a new DEA puppet back up very soon - and if you're doing THAT much damage to pull hate that quickly that you're having puppets dying in under 60 seconds, I would imagine your impressive overall DD from SS still exceeds VE's even with a little bit of downtime with no puppet while waiting on DEA.
So imho, for such situations, VE is still an excellent choice if you ask me.
For what situations?
- SS seems to clearly win to me for any DD situation.
- Survivability shouldn't be a realistic issue with DEA.
- Inside/outside Abyssea doesn't matter really, it's the same story in both.
So VE is really just the winner for:
- Odd situations where you need the puppet to chase mobs - hate bouncing all over the place, some sort of kiting strategy, etc
- Tanking something, probably requiring Ducal Guard and all the pet DT- gear you can get your hands on (but VE tanking got a severe hit with the Burt nerf, so I'd have to see big changes to make it a viable tank for a lot of stuff)
- Maybe you need slashing damage for some unusual reason
I can't see myself using the little guy very much. It's gonna be SS as the general DD frame, Spiritreaver when nukes are more effective (and for DD ability where melee is unwanted), and Soulsoother when its cures/support are needed. Edited, May 31st 2011 4:41pm by Anza