Just a few distinctions I wanna point out.
It's of my opinion that full timing Ares simply because it has 1 a tic (again, as most have stated), seems to be a silly option. I've always stressed how awesome Verm was for the cost that it was. I feel Ares is beyond the return for the time investment.
I don't think cost has an impact on how good a piece is. Something being expensive doesn't make it bad, the same way it being cheap doesn't make it good. At some point we all get to a point where there is nothing more than little upgrades and we shouldn't hold the price of these small upgrades against a piece of gear.
If the rest of someone's gear is sub-par obviously they should spend that gil on upgrading their other pieces before they upgrade an ares body. But this doesn't make ares body a bad piece. It's value in helping you tank is the same no matter if it is free or if it costs 100 million gil. The order in which you upgrade things is influenced by its cost, but I don't think the value itself is. Ideally we'll the most cost effective things first, but at some point it's all lots of gil for minor upgrades.
If you're eating sushi because thats what else your equipment is setup for then I will cede it is a decent piece. I think you can skip the sushi, drop 20k in MP meds if its an important fight, keep the enmity on for your cures and if you are wearing accuracy gear and hitting ok, but not hitting enough, why not eat meat? I think the 12 str and 24 attack doesnt out-weigh the other options, point-blank. (Options in this case being, wearing accuracy in gear and eating attack food)
A+ with merits shouldn't need much accuracy to hit decently.
This is incorrect for meleeing HNMs. For merits you can get a Acc heavy setup and eat meat, this will better your DoT which increases your overall damage. The focus for a DD Paladin in a merit party or limbus is DoT because that's where the majority of our damage comes from. So eating meat and taking a small hit to acc is ok, because we more than make up that loss with increased damage on our DoT which is the majority of our damage. The trade off here is worth it.
For HNMs this is not the case, we say DD but the method in which we do it very diferent from how we do it on XP mobs. In a melee HNM situations DoT is going to be very very minor part of our damage and WS is be the vast majority of it, this is the complete opposite of meleeing in a merit party or in something like Nyzul Isle. As such taking a huge hit to acc we cannot make up for thru gear options is not the best choice. When meleeing a HNM my only concern is TP gain with no consideration for my actually DoT damage. My only concern in terms of DoT damage is not hitting zero so I get TP.
The second important thing is you cannot wear Acc gear and eat meat while maintaining a decent hit rate on HNMs. I have +47 Acc in gear in addition to full sword merits and while eatting sushi I still hit around only 90% which is not capped acc. Sushi gives far more Acc than you can get thru gear.
Eatting meat and wearing Acc works for Merit parties because the mobs are lower level and sushi itself will be over kill on Acc with a good Acc setup. On level 90-95 mobs this isn't the case.
Even if I could stack enough acc gear to allow me to eat meat, it would only boosts my DoT and DoT isn't what increases my hate holding ability.. The WSs do so the focus is that.
1MP a tic is all some of you had, that doesn't cut it. You're talking to a guy who spends most of my free gil on Meds. As should most players.
I carry meds, and they are great in an emergency. Things like the refresh on ares body is something that makes those emergencies occur less often. If you telling me you do run into MP issues, then you should understand how valuable the refresh is. The more MP i have commign in the less likely I am to run into MP problems. Besides just because you have an ares body doesn't mean you don't carry meds and having meds doesn't mean you won't benefit from the refresh on an ares body. There is no reason why you cannot have ares body and carry meds. Neither one means you shouldn't have the other.
Then from a practical standpoint, the times I am going to need MP meds is something like the 8 man Tiamat we did the other day, and in a situation like that how many meds can you really carry? For that tiamat I was already 67/70 with my fire resist and my standard med load out. This fight took us hours, there is no way I could have carried enough meds to make up for all the MP I got from my Ares body.
Ares body like just about ever other piece of gear is an upgrade you can do without. There is nothing you can't tank in AF if you have proper support and know how to tank, but it doesn't mean we discount other gear options.
What these small upgrades do is make your life easier, make the fights safer, or allow you do it with less people. The cost may be prohibitive to you, and that's perfectly acceptable, but once again the cost has nothing to do with how good the item in question is.
Aegis is very expensive, and there is nothing I need an Aegis to do, but I still want one, I am working on one, and I don't consider it a bad piece of gear just because it cost an obscene amount of gil and doesn't allow me to do anything I couldn't do before or has cheaper options that aren't as good.
At the end of the day, I guess I don't idle as much as others, perhaps thats a fault of my own. I sometimes run into MP issues quite often, but I can usually fix them in a pinch if needed.
I really think you should try it. You would be surprised at how little MP you really need to keep your hate capped once you get there. Then you won't need your meds as often and you'll even kick in some damage as well to speed up kills. This opens the door to more small man kills. If you can combine a tank/Main healer/DD into one slot there is a lot of things you can do with a much smaller amount of people.
For me that's the big draw of pushing the limits of my gear sets. I don't need a great tank set to tank Cerberus in an alliance, with a full alliance we have had Dark Knights tank him. I push my gear sets cause sometimes we want to claim/kill with 6. These are the situations where all the gil and work our members put into these minor upgrades for their gear sets really gets a chance to shine and make a difference in what we can accomplish.