If we are talking about campaign (which is about the only place I would recommend RDM melee...)
Ok I'll just go ahead and state you're already on shaky ground with me with that statement, (If anyone knows me they know why.) but that's not what I want to talk about it. The venomous hatred towards anything RDM melee is a cold and dead subject to me.
I've been pretty teed off with how horrible Red Mages have been playing in campaign and you've just hit some things I want to comment on.
* Sell the martial knife and just use the joyeuse.
You can main hand Joy and shield if you wish but do not get rid of Martial until you have Blau. With /nin Energy drain is just far too much if a life saver when you're straining your mana (And if you're contributing enough, Mana does become an issue in the long haul.)
* Use Genbu's Shield or Sentinel Shield depending on how confident you are of your defense survivability
You seriously won't miss 1% haste in campaign. The +12 attack from Valk's Shield beats out the damage difference performance wise and assists in your weapon skills. If you insist in single wielding, it's Genbu's and Valk
* Sub Warrior and spam Vorpal Blade
If you want to eat dirt constantly and have your sub pretty much wind up being worthless, sub Warrior. In the end Defender, offers very very little to the table compared to Cocoon. Provoke isn't needed or really desired. DA does little when using Joyeuse.
For Vorpral Spamming, sub Blue Mage. It has better survivability as you gain cheap heals in addition to a better defense buff, as well as Auto Regen and the ability to equip Undead Killer for those times Shadowhand shows up.
Alternately you can also sub Paladin to much the same effect. Plus flash for focused evasion and some hate gathering.
An interesting trick, if you're wanting to attract less attention to yourself yet still provide a strong impact, is to sub Dancer. Dia III + Box Step really cranks up the overall damage, and can be done quickly. Enspell II line works well with Joyuse and a Samba of your choice (even more so in a party.) and the TP related cures work much in the same way Energy Drain would for Mana return and conservation to larger effect.
* Using phalanx and Stoneskin you can tank any of the NQ mobs found in campaign
I personally however sub Ninja most of the time. The ability to focus evade most attacks, including magic. Is incredibly helpful. It can provide the breath you need to regain you stoneskin in tight situations, and can easily allow you to tank certain bosses and off-take others, making you the ideal paladin partner. To say nothing in how it extends your Stoneskin longevity.
It also allows you to main hand a dagger if you so wish, providing you with Evisceration and Energy Drain both for usage in which both in terms of spike damage and utility in Mana restoration.
But it's costly in terms of Shihei. So unless you have a pocket crafter or like spending money on consumables, I don't recommend it to everyone. But there is something to be said for chainspell-shadows when you're in a tight spot and low on mana.
* Aim for max haste
In the end it's plainly apparent you were going for a DD build, which really isn't the point of Red Mage in campaign, IMO. Granted, you can do whatever you want, but you contribute the most simply by being a survivalist and taking control of the battlefield. 2-3 Red Mages playing this way can easily turn the tables on almost any Campaign fight. (2-3 RDMs and a Survivalist WHM is ideal.)
To that point, there's just better survivability options to Warrior, especially when you intend on sleep/grav/binding additional targets when you're dealing damage on one. That tends to attract some attention your way. And sub Warrior just doesn't hold up in those situations in my experience. Edited, Jan 12th 2010 1:57am by Hyrist