Bradygames has consistently misinformed the FFXI community about how BST works, so I am attempting to help correct that here.
Please take this into account before you pass over them:
- BST broth pets do not cut into party exp, only the BST's exp.
- If the BST uses pets stronger than the party (T- con to the highest level) then the party's exp will be affected. Most BSTs understand this and stick with EM/DC or broth pets only. Sometimes emergencies require a VT/IT be charmed and led away from the party, but as I stated, that should be emergency only.
- While many BSTs solo, and can solo well at most levels, BST is not a "solo only" job.
If you are wondering just what they can do for you or what use they might be in a party, here's a bit more info:
- BST often solo with the WHM (or RDM) subjob. Really, soloing 30,000+ exp per level who would want anything but? That being said, however, any melee job can fill that sub slot pretty well with the exact same benefits. I seek and have THF and WAR subs available, but usually have seek turned on while I'm soloing waiting (hoping) for an invite. So if you get nervous about the utility of a /WHM sub, remember that a BST seeking to party in most cases should have alternate subs to choose from, much like any job.
- The roles for which BST can be considered would be DD and crowd control. In my opinion (61BST so far, don't know everything but I know a few things), a BST in a party acting as DD would be optimally equipped with the same +gear you would expect on other melees (generous combination of +atk and +acc), but would also be using Jug pets for every fight possible. (We can summon one every 5 minutes.) As a stand-alone fighter without jug pets (or local DC/EM mobs), BSTs aren't giving everything they can to a party
The jug pet cuts the BST's personal exp reward by 30%, but that's considered to be part of the job. Ninjas burn gil on shihei, Rangers on arrows, and BSTs burn exp and some gil on jug pets. Any BST with consideration for their party understands this.
- One role for which BST works perfectly is in providing a trick partner for THF and tank players, much in the same way Summoners do. Pet-pull the mob and let the THF and tank position behind the mob. You basically have a SATA partner for no cost at all to the party in terms of healing, or risking death if your THF happens to be slow initiating SATA.
- BST can pull from a linked pack just like summoners can. Take Knight Crawlers as example. 5 Knights are sharing space trying to make Crawler Eggs and you need to pull one. Send in pet, all 5 jump pet. Stand out of detection range of the other 4 and release the pet... and only one mob comes. There you have instant pull, link-free.
- BST is the only job in this game that can reset hate on charmable creatures. By reset hate, I mean we can charm it, lead it away from the party, and release it.. and it's as though the mob never knew anyone was there. This works well in zones like CN, Temple of Uggalepih, Onzozo, Sea Grotto, and so forth. In being able to do this, it's also possible in many cases for BST to move further into dangerous areas without sneak/invis as they can just charm and release whatever bothers them.
- If you have a link while fighting no-charm mobs, then naturally you'll need to have someone in the party sleep the thing, or occupy it elsewhere. BST in this situation can put their pet on the link and, if nothing else, keep it busier for a lot longer than it would be if sleep failed to stick.
- BST are A+ axe and A- scythe. Notable WS we get are Rampage, Mistral Axe, Decimation (I think). Basically we get every Axe WS there is, and a variety of the scythe skills.
Should you decide to invite a BST into your party:
- If/when you check their gear and see little to no combat enhancement equipment (accuracy, atk, str, etc.), ask if they have two sets of equipment. Lots of us have a "charm suit" and a "fight suit" and switch back and forth as needed. Don't just assume they're entering each combat with Hope Rings on. ^^ If they do not have any combat enhancing gear, and engaged combat is where you'll want them to be... well, they're underequipped. NIN without Utsusemi gets no groups, DRKs without some kind of accuracy bonus gets no groups (or should get no groups, anyway), BSTs not equipped for their assigned task also do not belong.
- Going with the above point, if there are no pets near camp they can use (A party fighting Torama in Onzozo can have a BST who charms a Manta or Mushussu pet), they need to have a generous supply of broths. If the BST isn't using pets at all, they aren't doing their job.
- Don't expect the BST to pop out 4-digit numbers on light/dark skillchains. If you want to measure them, measure the total damage per fight from them + their pet, and unless something is very wrong, I doubt you'll find anything negative in those results.
- BST can widescan, so if you lack a RNG then have the BST pull.
As for BST roles in other specialized functions, like Promyvion, HNMs, Dynamis, etc.. I'm only a 61BST so I can't really speak to their role here. I can tell you that BSTs are perfect in BCNM fights with charmables (rabbits, mandragoras, sons of anansi), we can solo multiple coffer key mobs (crawler nest, garlaige, sea grotto, kuftal, boyahda, more), we're exceptionally nice to have around for anything in the Temple of Uggelapih to keep the Wespes and Toramas off the party, and I'm sure there are other good places as well.
I've not yet been to any promyvions, but as I've heard it's usually a distance-damage+mage party there I'll probably go as BLM. I'm not so naive as to think BST is perfect in every situation, but I've yet to see or hear of any 6-person exp party or mission event (rank 1-10, zilart) where BST can't be a welcome addition.
If anyone has anything to add, please do so. I originally posted this on Midgarsormr forum, but I'm going to put it elsewhere as well. Who knows, it might help correct some misperceptions.