Apocalypse is currently laughable....to put it into perspective Redemption easily trumps it, and Redemption is one of the weakest Empyreans. Not to mention, the Haste from the Aftermath is "gear" (no idea why) and it's virtually impossible not to cap Haste via gear nowadays. Also, the WS damage sucks.
I'm fully aware of how Apoc's haste works. The benefit of the haste comes in the tradeoff. Needing 10% less haste to cap means I can stack more ACC/ATK/STR/DA/TA type gear. The +35ACC on the weapon itself is also nice if you do new stuff, that actually requires ACC. You could make an argument against Cata's sh*tty WSC mods, but new gear has really started to kill that that one. Notable Catastrophe upgrade pieces released since Abyssea, like Twilight Helm, Twilight Mail, Bale Sollerets +2, and Soil belt, have really gone a long way in putting Cata gear in better shape.
Saying the WS Damage sucks must be some kinda joke seeing as the 90 Apoc's Catastrophe is stronger than any other Scythe WS at 100TP. With some magical hastes, Apoc also makes you nigh invulnerable unless the mob has retarded defense or has an OHsh*t TP move.
I know DRKs with both weapons, and nobody in their right mind would use Apoc over Redemption. Which is sad considering you could probably upgrade a Redemption in a week or so.
Apocalypse (90) has the more powerful WS, the better dps, alters gear options, and has the unique ability to cure you for upwards of 500-2,000+ hp. It just loses handily in DoT to Redemption in most situations due to the odd aftermath.
Which brings me to my next point. Yes, a DRK can compete with a non-Empyrean melee. The problem is, non-Empyrean melee are no longer the standard. You could get Empyrean GKT, Katana, or Greatsword in under a week. I know, because we've done it. Or, you could get the NQ Walk of Echoes version in 1-3 days.
Empyreans are not the standard. The current standard is almost half naked losers failing miserably, leeching off of the 2-4 people actually putting effort in. Now if you want to say it's more common to encounter empyreans in an organized event group or shell, then yes.
And for the record Tachi: Fudo is better than Quietus, despite both SAM and DRK being "lol-worthy". Our new WS is on the low end, of the low end. If we got Quietus 3-4 years ago it would be one of the best WS in the game. But like I said, the standard is different now.
Fudo is better in almost all situations, not because the WS itself is that much better, but because Overwhelm is @#%^ing boss.
That said, Torcleaver, properly built, rapes Fudo if you're going for BNS pleasing WSes. It has a significantly larger fTP, better base damage on weapon, and DRK's Vit gear has gotten a lot better over the last year.
As far as Abyssea, it's not going anywhere. It hasn't even been a year since it ended. Sky, Sea, Limbus, Einherjar, Salvage, etc. still remained popular years after they were introduced. People still do Dynamis, to this day. So the idea that Abyssea will somehow become unpopular over the next 6ish months, simply because of a level cap raise, is kinda silly. Especially considering the fastest way to EXP is still Fell Cleave, and you still need 175 HNM drops to even upgrade Empyrean to level 90. Also, AF3+2. SE never replaces it's new "high end" gear quickly.
The fact it's not going anywhere is the point. It's over. The ease of abyssea will only kill it faster. I came back from a long break, starting just after visions, and got leveled all my jobs 75/80-90, got all the important atmas, all wins, shin kill, had 5/5 AF3+2 for all my jobs, leveled a new job from 37, got its 5/5 AF3+2, and completed an empyrean in just a month. There's nothing really left for me personally in abyssea, and I'm sure there will be a lot more like me, especially since Abyssea will only get EVEN EASIER as the level caps rise, new gear comes out, and adjustments to jobs and the areas themselves are implemented (Gold Boxing sh*tty NM KIs is a perfect example).
There's going to be 9 new levels of gear, at least one new event (well continuation of a new event), and revamps of CoP Dynamis, Salvage, and Limbus at very least. SE has already added ways to make old gear almost as good as or, in some cases, better than AF3+2. Not only that, but those Empyreans you hold in such high regard, will more than likely need to be upgraded in some event outside of abyssea now for 95-99 upgrades, possibly only for the 99 upgrade as they could make Shin kills count as one upgrade.
Using EXP as a reason people won't move on from abyssea is just plain stupid. It's like those old players counting exp/merit parties as end game. It will be popular for that yes, but it won't be THE Endgame that it currently is, by combination of the things I've said.
Abyssea can only go downhill from here. Edited, Jul 7th 2011 4:03pm by Return1