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The Armoury System: Marauder

The Marauder (MRD) is something of the anti-hero. He (or she) is the berserker on the field of battle, the blood soaked fighter that resists falling from sure passion and rage. They do not seem much like a tank but in fact they are incredibly proficient at it since the update to both MRD and WAR. They are combat specialists who have particular skill with Greataxes, massive two-handed axes that hail from the early days of the pirates of Limsa Lominsa when the best tool a ship crew could have was a large two-handed axe. Originally used for felling wood to repair ships and use for a variety of other purposes, they were adapted to fighting other ships, as they were highly effective and also useful for fighting those on dry land. As such a formal discipline grew up around the use of a large axe utilizing the Greataxe and an utmost ferocity of brute force, relying on the massive strength it takes to wield such a gargantuan weapon. Because of this they’re highly sought after, due to their ability to not only deal damage but tank exceptionally well. MRDs are skillful and can take a lot of DPS capabilities from other Classes in order to become a good deal stronger and they are often used like this in PvP where a MRD’s high HP, defensive skills, and strong damage potential make them a threat that cannot be easily ignored. A MRD properly equipped and played well with a good support from a team can easily kill any one of the other team members without much assistance, and they’re good at defending themselves if they need to, far more than any other Job or Class aside from PLD. Except with PLD, they have no real choice but to turtle effectively and as such they run around the field chasing people but not ever dealing too much damage, while a MRD can deal far more damage than even a WAR could.

But MRD’s utility often stops around here, as WAR offers far too many boons to resist them in favor for a slightly more DPS oriented Class. Not to mention that several good pieces of equipment are WAR only. While PLD has a Shield to help them block, there is a bit of a downside in that Shields, though they block stronger than a Parry, often don’t block at the same rate as a Parry. And because they have a high priority, that of one over Parry, they will proc instead of a Parry, which isn’t a bad thing because Shield Blocks by themselves are more useful and stronger by a good margin. Except it means that they end up parrying less because a Shield Block happens when a parry might have, this means they get less utility from the stat Parry than a WAR would, as a WAR can only parry to reduce damage and while it’s more of an afterthought with a WAR, it does add up and makes a significant difference in total damage taken through the course of a fight. Honestly, only with a WAR could something as significant as increasing your Parry Rate be considered an “afterthought” as a lot of PLD revolves around having the best Shield and having as much Parry stat as possible in an effort to increase your overall mitigation. Except a WAR can do far more than just mitigate and they have so much to do, so many variables to juggle together that they often don’t rely on Parry or realize it’s doing much for them when it truly is.

WARs offer some of the strongest Tanks, with the ability to recover large chunks of HP, resist great amounts of damage and have the HP pool to weather even the most powerful of attacks in the game without any defensive ability available. Not that doing so is advised, but it *is* possible and that alone speaks volumes when a PLD would often die 9 times out of 10 to Death Sentence or Raven’s Beak when they did not have a significant damage reduction skill active besides Shield Oath. Whereas a WAR would take maybe 8,000 to 10,000 damage, but would survive with up to 3,000 HP afterwards without any further assistance.

While MRD is useful, WAR is all the things that MRD is and far more refined as well, there are a slew of abilities that WAR provides that makes all of MRDs default skills that much stronger and more potent as a result. The Synergy that a WAR has with their abilities and even those like GLA’s Convalescence and PGL’s Internal Release and Second Wind is so strong as to make the skills greater through use on WAR than their own respective classes, with the exception of Internal Release. A Berserked Second Wind is actually stronger than PGL’s own “Third Wind” which is the enhanced version of Second Wind which gives them 650 Healing Potency versus 450 Healing Potency that a WAR gains access to. This is because it has a good synergy with Berserk which increases Attack Power by 50%, which essentially is like giving them a full 20 seconds (once enhanced) of damage that while capable of Critical Hitting, has the same damage range of that a normal Critical Hit would, without having to rely on the RNG to achieve it. This is how a WAR can hit 2,000 damage Inner Beasts and 1,400 Butcher Blocks under Defiance and while tanking some of the most deadly bosses in the entire game.

Skills are gained about every two levels in FFXIV: ARR, MRD is no exception to this and below you’ll see the cadence of their abilities as they’re gained. As one would expect, they gain Enmity abilities relatively soon and at lower levels PLD is better, if not equivalent to WAR, the same going for GLA and MRD as the two names for each are practically interchangeable, as is the case with most Classes and their respective Jobs because the Jobs make them what they are. Very few people use Classes except in niche scenarios (like the PvP one mentioned above) and there’s good reason for that. A single look at the bonus stats and extra five abilities that a Job allows completely changes the way that Class would be played and makes them far more dangerous to their foes.

Heavy Swing

  • Type: Weapon Skill
  • Level Acquired: Level 1
  • Description: Delivers an attack with a potency of 150.
  • Casting Time: Animation (Fast)
  • Duration: N/A
  • Recast Time: GCD
  • Cost: 70 TP
  • Combo Bonus: N/A
  • Notes: This is your first Weapon Skill and the basis of all three trees of your combo lines. As such it’s the highest TP for your combo skills and it’s the weakest of them all since it doesn’t need to be part of a combo bonus to make it stronger. This skill hits faster than the others due to its shorter animation which comes in handy when we’re talking about PvP or a mob that simply likes to move around a lot causing a bit of lag between yourself and the server. By having a shorter animation and thus a faster attack the server can more easily confirm that you actually hit the mob before it moved out of range, or out of your line of sight, whichever would first cause you to be unable to land that hit.

The above issue is particularly prevalent in PvP where players like to hop around to try and get away from you and as a WAR or MRD in PvP you will be spending A LOT of time chasing down people and trying to stun lock them, or just dealing out damage and hassling their healer for maximum effectiveness. Whatever your duties, you’ll learn pretty quickly that doing your highest damage combo (Enmity Combo) of Heavy Swing, Skull Sunder and Butcher’s Block results in a 70% or higher miss rate of Butcher’s Block due to the obscenely long (by video game standards) animation length which delays the actual “hit” sent to the servers. Because of that delay, by the time the animation finishes and your computer sends the “hit” packet, the server will have judged that your target has either moved out of your line of sight or moved slightly passed you and deny the ability, usually stopping you mid-animation to make you start over again. This is the result of our relatively imperfect net architecture, while SE does a fairly good job of it; the truth is our architecture is much more beleaguered than many would like to admit here in the United States.

As a result, instead of a relatively smooth update vs. update where the server is able to track that you are closing in, or staying at a constant distance behind or near your target, it updates in sporadic spurts and tries its best (server side) to “estimate” or “guess” where you’ll be next based on your last packets and the direction you were last moving in. Because of this when updates are sent the packets are more than not out of sync which causes you and your target to be out of reach for a small fraction of a second. This is enough time, and occurs just at the wrong moment for the game to send back “no, you did not hit” for any number of reasons stated above.

Since this is not something SE or anybody except at a LAN event where the servers and the clients (your computer as a player) are in such close proximity that the delay between packets being sent or received is so minimal as to be imperceptible, SE’s devs had to get creative. This is done a number of ways but the most common are referred to as “packet prediction” and “animation smoothing” these two work together to plot where the server thinks you’ll be based on your last packets, and tries to assume where you’re most likely to be based off your previous speed and direction. By doing so you’re able to see your movement and animation updated in real time, though when you try to do something that often requires a very accurate check on position vs. position you’ll find that you fail more often than not.

That is because the server does not estimate when it requires an accurate check, and instead goes on your last known position versus the last known position of your target. So while it LOOKS like you’re right on top of your target, spamming your action keys to hit it, the game is seeing your packets come in slightly behind those of your targets (if they’re a real player and in PvP) or that your packets are updating your movement slightly out of reach of where the server says your target’s speed is taking it.

Either way, you end up with animations that look better and nicer, but it fools you into believing that things are updated more accurately and swiftly than they really are. And is one of the main reasons why in PvP or trying to secure Snap Enmity on a new mob or set of mobs you want to use the abilities that have the shortest animation or delay to actually working and enforcing that packet to trigger. Waiting for an animation is often ill advised because you’re just delaying the packet being sent out which allows the mob and server to act like you’re sitting around doing nothing. If the packets were instead sent BEFORE the animations, then the entire game would feel smoother but likely look odd as you see damage numbers and such things occur BEFORE the animation, like in games like FFXI.

While it may not look exactly as smooth, it is far more accurate but we as players must learn to live within the confines of the game we play, not wish for something that is not. And so, the advice stays the same, utilize this knowledge and the delay lengths on Casting Time to properly outfit yourself with awareness. By doing so you’ll be able to designate when you should use a quicker, but weaker or lesser enmity ability versus securing more hate at the cost of a few more fractions of a second. As you get to know FFXIV: ARR and understand its idiosyncrasies, you’ll come to understand just how valuable those fractions are when you’re pursuing the completion of endgame events.

Foresight

  • Type: Ability
  • Level Acquired: Level 2
  • Description: Increases defense by 20%.
  • Casting Time: Animation
  • Duration: 20s
  • Recast Time: 120s (2 Minutes)
  • Cost: N/A
  • Combo Bonus: N/A
  • Notes: Foresight, as mentioned in the GLA/PLD page is a buff to your DEF. WAR and PLD have the same amount of DEF as they wear the same exact gear and Shields impart no additional DEF. Because of this Foresight is a relatively good ability, particularly once Enhanced Foresight is obtained. Though the reduction of damage at current DEF values is pretty low - only about ~2% reduction in physical damage - the ability will scale nicely, if incredibly slowly, with the raising of DEF. As such, Foresight will remain a useful ability and of course good for WAR or MRD since they have it naturally. And unlike GLA or PLD, have a lot more options as far as their additional five Cross Class skills go, with the choices often resulting in a few skills having to be left out unless particularly needed or in a certain event that would dictate their use to be superior. But we’ll go over the Cross Class skills below in the WAR section of the same name.

For now, suffice to say that Foresight is going to be used as WAR quite often, but it’s not really powerful enough by itself to justify being a singular ability used to brace for a big hit and it is best off being paired with one or more other weaker abilities. Some people like to use Foresight and Awareness together; others like to pair it with Convalescence or Featherfoot. The choice is entirely up to you and the situation at hand but generally it is paired with Awareness due to the additional benefit of receiving zero critical hits and their duration isn’t drastically different from one another. Though pairing it with Convalescence may seem like a good idea, Thrill of Battle and Convalescence make a much better and more potent synergistic pairing than Foresight and Convalescence, which we’ll discuss further down in the appropriate area.

When Enhanced Foresight comes into play as a Level 14 trait, Foresight will be able to be used even more liberally as it gets a quarter of its recast timer shaved off. While it may not seem like a lot, having 2% less physical damage taken with only a downtime of 70 seconds is relatively good. Such a time being if you deduct the 20 seconds of Foresight’s uptime away from its 90 seconds of downtime.

Skull Sunder

  • Type: Weapon Skill
  • Level Acquired: Level 4
  • Description: Delivers an attack with a potency of 100. Additional Effect: Increased Enmity (x3).
  • Casting Time: Animation (Short)
  • Duration: (Wrath) 30s
  • Recast Time: GCD
  • Cost: 60 TP
  • Combo Bonus: (Heavy Swing -> Skull Sunder) 200 Potency. Grants Wrath when used with Defiance.
  • Notes: Remember when we were discussing server lag and packets in Heavy Swing? This is one of those abilities that comes back into play with that. Skull Sunder is an ability that has a triple enmity modifier. What that means is that it takes the damage you deal with Skull Sunder, in or out of a combo it doesn’t matter, and multiplies that by three to get your total Enmity for this ability. So assuming you deal 100 damage, you’ll gain 300 Enmity. And because Skull Sunder is such a faster animation than Butcher’s Block, it’s often best to use to grab quick single target Enmity fast, before the mob can run off and hit a healer or anybody else who has managed to gain Enmity on it. In doing so the x3 Enmity Modifier becomes more useful and more powerful than the x5 Enmity Modifier of Butcher’s Block due to the lack of a lengthy animation and the speed of which that Enmity is actually applied to the mob and how fast the server recognizes it as happening.

Again, if things were mildly different and the client were to send the packet for a “hit” first, then all of this would be avoided and we’d be able to use Butcher’s Block as the highest single-target Snap Enmity ability in the game (in combo). Without worrying about which animation is longer or at what point does the game recognize your action versus the animation. Such as Brutal Swing being instant, with the packet obviously being sent before or at the start of the animation instead of at the end. This practice for Brutal Swing makes plenty of sense since the ability to stun quickly is absolutely paramount and that Brutal Swing’s animation is much longer than PLD’s Shield Bash and they could not realistically speed up Brutal Swing’s animation anymore lest it look completely ridiculous. So they made the best choice based on their priorities. Even though in doing so they have shown that they clearly could do that for all abilities to take this issue entirely off the table.

Often what you’ll want to do is to do something we call “pre-charge” which is to use Heavy Swing on another mob before you know that you’ll need to run to another location to pick up yet another mob. In doing so you’re able to get an even more potent Skull Sunder, utilizing its x3 Enmity Modifier with a 200 Potency attack instead of half that, which in effect would halve the Enmity Modifier in a way as well compared to the full powered version. Either way, by pre-charging this, and other abilities like Butcher’s Block, you’re able to make it so that you start off your new mob with a hard hitting, full Enmity ability. In doing so you allow your DPS and Healers to not worry about their Enmity or anything of that sort and focus instead on their jobs and roles therein.

And so, because of Skull Sunder’s faster animation, it is often best to pre-charge it in order to grab a new mob as it comes out or appears on the field because you can quickly secure hate and as you’ve just executed the second part of the Butcher’s Block Enmity Combo, you can follow it up with the much more potent Butcher’s Block and in a very short time frame you’ve gained more Enmity than if you were to have started with a pre-charged Butcher’s Block. We’ll see this below.

Assuming your GCD is nothing special at the default of 2.5s (in order to make this easier, any faster GCD or Skill Speed will of course yield superior Enmity : Time ratios) and you start with a pre-charged Skull-Sunder that deals the same damage as its listed potency again, in order to make things easier to calculate, this value will change but potencies are a reflection of % damage done over the stats relevant for damage and so will remain proportionate to one another despite not using real values. If we also assume the same of Butcher’s Block and Heavy Swing we come to the following:

<pre> 200 x 3 = 600 Enmity for Pre-Charged Skull Sunder @ 0s </pre>

<pre> 280 x 5 = 1400 Enmity for Butcher’s Block @ 2.5s </pre>

<pre> 600 + 1400 = 2,000 Enmity for 2.5s </pre>

Compare this to leading with a pre-charged Butcher’s Block and you get the following:

<pre> 280 x 5 = 1,400 Enmity for Pre-Charged Butcher’s Block @ 0s </pre>

<pre> 150 Enmity for Heavy Swing @ 2.5s </pre>

<pre> 1,400 + 150 = 1,550 Enmity for 2.5s </pre>

And you can see, even in the scenario where you’re starting off with Skull Sunder, you end up with more overall Enmity in the shortest period of time, even when you don’t include the longer animation of Butcher’s Block being relatively unsuitable to downright irresponsible for use in claiming a new mob. Every ability used after the first set will continue to have more Enmity than the latter set of expressions and it would have grabbed hate faster as well, resulting in less “yo-yoing” which is where the mob runs off a bit, then runs back to you as your packet for Butcher’s Block gets sent out, then runs away again as you try to use another ability to secure hate, until it eventually gets glued to you and you maintain the Enmity level you’re supposed to.

So in short, always lead off with Skull Sunder if you’re able to pre-charge, because there will NEVER be a scenario where Butcher’s Block’s longer animation but larger Enmity Modifier is going to win out. If you need to be sure that you claim with a high Enmity Value then you’re going to be worrying about Initial Enmity anyways, which makes Butcher’s Block a poor choice regardless. If you’re not worrying about Initial Enmity, then there’s no reason to risk Butcher’s Block first because Skull Sunder to Butcher’s Block gives you the highest Enmity Combo start because you’re not wasting 2.5s on expending Heavy Swing and then waiting to use your next ability. By eliminating that 2.5s and Heavy Swing therein you’re able to make it into a more efficient, high Enmity combo where you’ll always be about 600 Enmity higher than any other, 2,000 Enmity more if you had to start with Heavy Swing.

Fracture

  • Type: Weapon Skill
  • Level Acquired: Level 6
  • Description: Delivers an attack with a potency of 100. Additional Effect: Damage over time, 20 Potency.
  • Casting Time: Animation
  • Duration: 18s
  • Recast Time: GCD
  • Cost: 80 TP
  • Combo Bonus: N/A
  • Notes: Fracture, like was mentioned in the Cross Class skills for GLA and PLD here the ability is good for increasing damage but isn’t that excellent by itself. Except, MRD and WAR get the Enhanced Fracture trait which gives 12 additional seconds to Fracture’s DOT which is equal to four more ticks on average. This isn’t exactly the way it is because for some odd reason the DOT ticks (every ~3 seconds) is based on the SERVER and not the CLIENT which is your computer.

By doing this, the server keeps its own unique countdown and depending on where you are when your DOT is on, it’ll either tick a DOT at 2 seconds left, and miss a DOT entirely, or it’ll trigger a DOT tick at 3s then again just as it fades away, so because of this it’s also very hard to “clip” or overwrite your DOTs before they’re about to fall off to keep them constantly ticking. In a way it makes clipping more important to keep the DOT constantly ticking in the event that the DOT timer and the Server’s own internal timer (which you have no access to and have no idea when it will occur) so there’s less of an issue of clipping a DOT off and missing the alignment of your DOT and the Server’s countdown for DOT ticks.

Fracture is, however useful for WAR for a number of reasons. One, WAR has more access to powerful offensive buffs like Berserk, Maim, Storm’s Eye, Unchained and Internal Release, all of which are capable of increasing WAR’s damage output substantially compared to a PLD. In doing so Fracture becomes capable of doing quite a large amount of damage when under the influence of all WAR’s buffs, the main being Maim and Storm’s Eye which apply a +20% damage boost to WAR’s damage, and a -10% Slashing Resist debuff to the mob, which is equivalent to saying +11% damage dealt. However DOTs do not count as Slashing damage (or any damage type for that matter) and so they cannot count for the additional 11%, but the initial hit of Fracture does count.

Due to the above Fracture is more valuable than on PLD by far, but it’s still not something you should be recklessly expending your TP on. Normally a WAR when properly tanking and utilizing their Inner Beast will be able to float the TP towards Fracture and keep it up as it’s technically more TP efficient than on any other class because it lasts 30 seconds rather than the initial 18 other Classes and Jobs get because they lack the Enhanced Fracture trait that WAR and MRD get. So instead of an equivalent of 4.44 TP per second expended, it’s 2.66 TP per second, a little more than half the amount, making it not only much easier to keep up, but easier to fully buff with Maim, Berserk, a High Quality Max Potion of STR and Internal Release and keep that damage ticking for longer.

All of these things make Fracture much more appealing and useful for WAR, it’s entirely plausible and a good practice to keep it constantly ticking, for the reasons mentioned above due to the way DOTs are, and for how much more effective Fracture is on WAR in general. All the buffs available plus the extended time that the DOT is up make it incredibly easy to keep up, having only need to trigger it twice a minute, more or less. So unless you’re not expressly Tanking, and thus aren’t able to really utilize Inner Beast, your TP shouldn’t suffer. The only other option is if you’re AOE Tanking or “mobbing” which is taking a bunch of mobs together and Tanking them in large groups. Without the excessive use of Overpower which is a massive drain on TP, Fracture should be easy to keep up without too much trouble and for all intents and purposes, should be kept up. WAR is not like PLD, they are capable of dealing strong amounts of damage and in many cases can wear STR oriented gear and accessories to finish a fight faster to avoid the extra damage that dragging out a fight longer would incur, and thus actually take less damage overall compared to using a more traditional VIT setup.

Enhanced Vitality

  • Type: Trait
  • Level Acquired: Level 8
  • Description: Increases vitality by 2.
  • Casting Time: N/A
  • Duration: N/A
  • Recast Time: N/A
  • Cost: N/A
  • Combo Bonus: N/A
  • Notes: This adds 2 VIT base to your MRD or WAR. There’s not much to say here, normally it adds a total of 29 HP, but as a WAR under Defiance it adds 36.25 HP. It may not seem significant, but over time as VIT builds up you’ll see a massive amount of difference by adding VIT while under Defiance compared to without.

Bloodbath

  • Type: Ability
  • Level Acquired: Level 8
  • Description: Converts 25% of physical damage dealt into HP.
  • Casting Time: Animation
  • Duration: 15s
  • Recast Time: 90s (1 minute 30 seconds)
  • Cost: N/A
  • Combo Bonus: N/A
  • Notes: An excellent ability that makes WAR function in an interesting, more self sufficient manner than PLD does, which is odd considering that PLD is typically lauded as the White Magic melded with Swordplay and Knighthood, which typically means they’re able to utilize White Magic (and thus Curing) effectively enough to stand on their own. But as was outlined in the PLD page, that isn’t one bit true for FFXIV: ARR.

On its own Bloodbath is a good skill, leveraging WAR’s capacity to deal a good chunk of damage, sometimes catching up to lower tier DPS even with proper STR oriented gear and equipped with proper knowledge of how to squeeze the most out of the Job. However with the trait Bloodshower, it doubles the efficacy of Bloodbath by doubling its effective duration from 15 seconds to 30 seconds. With Enhanced Berserk, the two abilities work amazingly well together. Berserk on its own is essentially like WAR’s “Special Ability or 2 Hour” back in FFXI, which was called Mighty Strikes and allowed WAR a limited time of 100% Critical Hit Rate. Since Critical Hits in FFXIV are a +50% bonus (1.5x Damage Multiplier) without any way of increasing the damage that a Critical Hit can do, Berserk’s +50% attack power equates to the same exact thing, as you’ll soon notice.

Which means for instance, that pairing Bloodbath and Berserk together, you’ll get the most out of the ability and by having Maim and Storm’s Eye active Bloodbath should be returning close to a hundred or so HP per weapon skill, more when you get a hard hitting Butcher’s Block that manages to Critical Hit as well, which can easily result in a whopping 1,400 Butcher’s Block, 25% of which would be equal to 350 HP restored. Even higher damage can be done with Berserk, all of WAR’s offensive buffs and Inner Beast which can near 2,000 damage or more depending on your buffs and setup. This can be a problem even when a WAR is not in Defiance as Butcher’s Block has a 5x Enmity Modifier and hitting with a 1,400 Butcher’s Block incurs a mammoth 7,000 Enmity, which, even the best PLDs would be hard pressed to be able to counter within the first few minutes of an encounter.

Either way, with half a minute of recovery and your WAR capable of dishing out tremendous damage you’ll find Bloodbath should be kept on Cool Down and should be routinely utilized to help shore up your defenses. You’ll heal more than a PLD could if they did nothing but spammed Cure on themselves and in doing so remain fully capable of incurring high damage and gaining high Enmity all the while. This is part why many people feel WAR is slightly broken, or favored compared to WAR and I would be inclined to agree. A simple and easy fix would be to apply an additional 5% damage reduction to Shield Oath and allow PLD to heal themselves with Cures that are at least 500-600 HP worth.

One last note, Bloodbath, while it doesn’t exactly stack with Inner Beast, you still are capable of reaping both types of healing at the same time. So, for example you deal a 2,000 Inner Beast, due to how Inner Beast works you’d recover 2,000 HP, but you’d also trigger Bloodbath’s 25% damage converted to HP, meaning that you’d get two heals, one for 2,000 and then another immediately on the heels of the first for 500 HP, for a combined total of 2,500 HP healed, which if you were properly geared should be in the neighborhood of 20% of your total HP, received in a single shot without any need for healing. That’s pretty massive I’d say.

What this does is it begins to paint a picture of a somewhat self sufficient nature as WAR has. While it cannot go entirely without Healing, WAR can go a lot longer than PLD can without it and still heal themselves with their various forms of recovery, namely Bloodbath stacked with Offensive Buffs, Inner Beast which can hit for 2,000 damage and utilizing Infuriate to double down on Inner Beast not only healing for up to nearly half your total HP if luck favors you but also applying a 20% damage reduction (like having Shield Oath on or Rampart) for a combined total of twelve seconds. As if that wasn’t enough, WAR also has Thrill of Battle which increases Maximum HP by 20% (with Enhanced Thrill of Battle trait) and heals for the same amount.

All of these things give WAR the capacity to stand on their own when the chips are down and prevent them from buckling without support the way a PLD would. Which, in my honest opinion simply doesn’t seem fair. PLD can mitigate a lot of damage but they’re still taking damage and have little to no way to slow or recover from damage already taken. Which is why I mentioned in the PLD page that PLD itself is more proactive, once damage has already been dealt they cannot do anything about it, whereas WAR is far more reactive and they adapt to the battle as it unfolds, allowing them to recover instead of just mitigate, and that, I will take any day of the week over stronger mitigation.

Brutal Swing

  • Type: Ability
  • Level Acquired: Level 10
  • Description: Delivers an attack with a potency of 100. Additional Effect: Stun.
  • Casting Time: Instant
  • Duration: 3s
  • Recast Time: 20s
  • Cost: N/A
  • Combo Bonus: N/A
  • Notes: Brutal Swing is WAR’s Stun, initially it’s relatively weak with only 3 seconds of stun, but it later gets an Enhanced trait that gives it a boost to 5 seconds, the recast remains at 20s which isn’t short enough to be used in instances where you’re trying to stun lock a mob or an add, like in The Binding Coil of Bahamut, Turn 5 when the Dreadknights come down and need to be stun locked, that’s still best left to a PLD, though with the gear in the game currently it’s probably doable by a WAR regardless. Either way, Brutal Swing inflicts a little bit of damage and it can be difficult to get into the habit of holding Brutal Swing when you’ll grow used to opening with it, giving you the chance to capture Enmity without having to really work at it.

Because, when a mob is stunned it doesn’t move or do anything, preventing it from moving to a person who has ripped hate from you, and also preventing it from doing any sort of damage to you. Because of this WARs generally tend to lead with Brutal Swing after opening with Heavy Swing, assuming they haven’t had a chance to pre-charge Maim or Skull Sunder. Additionally, using Brutal Swing allows you to lead out with your Damage Buff Combo of Heavy Swing -> Maim -> Storm’s Eye, giving you maximum damage potential and then letting your Enmity Combo deal more damage and therein incur more Enmity. If you do it properly after Heavy Swing, waiting just until somebody is about to pull hate from you, you can relatively easily keep it stunned through both Maim and Storm’s Eye, and if you’re in Defiance you’ll still have a slight lead on Enmity while you lead into Skull Sunder and Butcher’s Block, reclaiming the Enmity and having your maximum damage potential already unlocked, as well as having two stacks of Wrath at your back.

It’s this great utility for skilled WARs that makes it somewhat of an annoyance to hold back in fights where it’s necessary to stun the boss. Most of the game, save for that single Twintania fight (which is designed for two Tanks) every encounter that requires stunning gives you enough time for the 20 second recast to come off cool down and for you to have a handful of seconds to breathe before needing to use it again.

One of the major benefits of Brutal Swing is that it doesn’t cost a whopping 150 TP like PLD’s Shield Bash does, and it doesn’t interrupt your combo, again unlike PLD’s Shield Bash. This is the benefit of having an off GCD ability, and its drawback is that it stuns for one second less, five seconds versus PLD’s six, and it has twenty seconds to its recast while PLD can spam Shield Bash to routinely stun a mob for a much longer time (which worked well in PvP until Stun was reduced to 3 seconds max). Still, PLD can use Stun, inflict a 6 second stun, then do it again to inflict a three second stun, and then one last time for a single second stun making a total of ten seconds, provided they do nothing but attempt to stun lock a single mob. This takes timing and precision but it’s also double that of what WAR is capable of and so we should be aware of WAR’s limitations in this regard.

However, as mentioned, in PvP Stun was updated to be a maximum duration of 3 seconds, meaning that PLD can only extend it by at most 2 seconds through the use of two more Shield Bashes. But this is doubtful whether or not it would be useful because that’s a total expenditure of 450 TP, a little less than half your total TP, for five total seconds of stun, or thereabout. Whereas a WAR would utilize Brutal Swing once, expend zero additional TP and have to deal with two seconds less of stun. However due to GCD being over two seconds still despite the addition of a copious amount of Skill Speed, the additional stuns would give the target a full second to run out of range or retaliate, making it relatively useless for a PLD to do so. They could only stun twice in a row at best before the DR reduced to one second and the PLD would still be on GCD while the target was able to move after being stunned.

However you see it, the two abilities are relatively well balanced all things considered. I’d say that PLD deserves to have their Shield Bash be only 100 TP instead of 150 but, in my honest view PLD needs some help from the devs to make up its ability. It should be able to stun more mobs as well, which doesn’t seem much of a possibility unless they’re trash mobs or there’s a mechanic to stun. That’s just one of the many failings however of having a game absolutely riddled with mechanics though, they have to give abilities that are relatively strong and could change strategies such drastically and provide players with more chances to shine with greater skill, a use and only a use for specific events and then be useless otherwise. If you could stun Twintania, even if it was at a 50% DR to begin with, it’d make a relatively big difference and you could truly show your own skill in the fights. Instead we’re alerted when a boss CAN be stunned or silenced, that the mechanics of the fight are going to dictate that we as the player and Tank must stun or silence some devastating mechanic.

Overpower

  • Type: Weapon Skill
  • Level Acquired: Level 12
  • Description: Delivers an attack with a potency of 120 to all enemies in a cone before you. Additional Effect: Increased Enmity (x4).
  • Casting Time: Animation (Fast)
  • Duration: N/A
  • Recast Time: GCD
  • Cost: 130 TP
  • Combo Bonus: N/A
  • Notes: Overpower if one of those ridiculously good skills that you can’t really believe is as good as it seems until you try it out. It’s so unfair that PLD only has Flash, while, yes you can recover MP easier than TP, and it hits a circle around and behind where you’re not looking, Overpower had the capacity to shorten the lifespan of all mobs. More than that, it allows you to recover a large amount of HP as well. Overpower is your go to skill for AOE Enmity and is the best generator in the game, though Steel Cyclone has a 6x Enmity Modifier, it cannot be spammed like Overpower and that makes a big difference.

Overpower is best used with all offensive buffs up, and preferably defensive ones as well, at the least Vengeance for the 50 potency “spikes” effect, and for the reduced damage. This was touched on in Snap Enmity over on the GLA and PLD page. The Enmity capacity of WAR for quick and powerful Enmity is unsurpassed by any Class or Job currently in the game.

Not only is Overpower a quadruple Enmity Modifier (x8 with Defiance!) but it’s also a relative beefy 120 Potency. Considering that if it hits more than two mobs, it’s actually more total DPS and overall damage to use Overpower than your highest damaging Enmity Combo, that speaks volumes for how powerful this skill is. One could almost say Overpower is, “overpowered” in itself. With all your Offensive Buffs up, and Bloodbath activated you can stand against a large horde and recover a surprisingly large amount of HP back as each hit nets you anywhere between 30 to 65 HP. As you can imagine, having five or more mobs on you, even though they’re hitting you fairly hard, you’re recovering anywhere between 150 to 400 HP every swing of Overpower. And while that’s not enough to survive on your own, unless you’re facing lower level or solo oriented mobs, it’s enough that your healer can deal quite a lot of damage and not have to worry about how they’re going to need to keep spamming you just to keep you within an inch of knocking on Death’s door.

Overpower is best used like the above, with Unchained as well. Steel Cyclone ignores Defiance’s 25% reduction to damage and at 200 Potency with a x6 Modifier it has an Enmity Potency of 1,200 Enmity, this is done to every mob in range in a radius around the player at a relatively large distance (more than Flash), but it’s still more than capable to miss mobs due to their range, the odd pathing that the game sometimes employs or the mob collision that makes them so infuriating to gather up effectively in Mythology Tome runs.

Either way, if you’ve managed to be efficient in your pulls and have Maim active, as well as Fury active (5 stacks of wrath) with Infuriate off Cool Down already, you have two choices for high Enmity. One, you can easily spin up Steel Cyclone (with Berserk and Bloodbath up, and watch that HP pour back in!) and then pop Infuriate and do it again, or if the mobs are going to take a little longer to die and you want to deal the most damage and the most overall Enmity, then you’d want to pop Steel Cyclone -> Infuriate -> Unchained and then begin spamming Overpower, making sure to line up the mobs as best as you can to assure they’re all hit. The below will help to illustrate the Enmity Potential of both:

  • Steel Cyclone to Steel Cyclone

<pre>

5 Seconds:1,200 E + 1,200 E = 2,400 E

7.5 Seconds: + 360 E = 2,760 E

10 Seconds: + 360 E = 3,120 E

12.5 Seconds: + 360 E = 3,480 E

15 Seconds: + 360 E = 3,840 E

17.5 Seconds: + 360 E = 4,200 E

20 Seconds: + 360 E = 4,560 E

22.5 Seconds: + 360 E = 4,920 E

</pre>

  • Steel Cyclone to Overpower Spam

<pre>

5 Seconds: 1,200 E + 480 E = 1,680 E

7.5 Seconds: + 480 E = 2,160 E

10 Seconds: + 480 E =2,640 E

12.5 Seconds: + 480 E = 3,120 E

15 Seconds: + 480 E = 3,600 E

17.5 Seconds: + 480 E =4,080 E

20 Seconds: + 480 E = 4,560 E

22.5 Seconds: + 480 E = 5,040 E

</pre>

As you can see, the Enmity potential of Unchained and Overpower are roughly equivalent, but with Overpower edging out, of course with Berserk and such abilities, that increase damage by a flat percentage, Steel Cyclone and Unchained Overpower Spam begin to lead quite a lot, as the 20% additional damage from Maim raises 480 E to 576 E per and 360 to 432, widening the gap from 120 to 144 Enmity per use. When the effect of Berserk is calculated in, this is further compounded and the Steel Cyclone with Unchained Overpower Spam becomes the best, but only if you’re able to utilize the full portion of Unchained’s duration. If you’re unable to do so, then it becomes better to double down on Steel Cyclone.

The major take away from this is that if the fight is going to last more than twenty seconds, then it would be best to use Steel Cyclone plus Overpower Spam with Unchained. Else, if the fight is going to take less than twenty seconds, it’s best to double up on Steel Cyclone and then make do with Overpower as it is, this method will use slightly less TP, but in the end it shouldn’t matter much as Berserk’s Pacification will kick in towards the end of Unchained either way, depending on how you timed it. Damage is another thing altogether, with Unchained Overpower Spam being quite a bit better than the Enmity equivalent in reality. Keep this information in mind when you’re deciding which would be best, though it looks complex just remember; if the group is going to last longer than twenty seconds, which is about eight GCDs, then use Steel Cyclone and Unchained with Overpower, and if not then double down on Steel Cyclone.

Enhanced Foresight

  • Type: Trait
  • Level Acquired: Level 14
  • Description: Shortens Foresight recast time to 90 seconds.
  • Casting Time: N/A
  • Duration: N/A
  • Recast Time: N/A
  • Cost: N/A
  • Combo Bonus: N/A
  • Notes: Though it doesn’t seem like a great amount, this trait allows you to use Foresight 25% as often, and though Foresight itself isn’t very powerful, this trait allows it to be used more often so that it can be utilized fully. Not much more to say about this trait honestly, it’s a welcome addition and it makes an ability you get naturally a little bit better.

Tomahawk

  • Type: Weapon Skill
  • Level Acquired: Level 15
  • Description: Delivers a ranged attack with a potency of 130. Additional Effect: Increased Enmity (x2).
  • Casting Time: Animation (When ranged animation hits target)
  • Duration: N/A
  • Recast Time: GCD
  • Cost: 120
  • Combo Bonus: N/A
  • Notes: WAR and MRD’s ranged Enmity attack. Every Job and Class gets a ranged attack with the exception of MNK, though it does get Shoulder Tackle which could be seen as an improved version of a ranged attack. Either way Tomahawk is a slightly better version of PLD’s Shield Lob due to its enhanced 10 potency. It’s not much more but it’s enough to make a difference in Enmity between the two. If you’re looking for information regarding its use and best case abilities and scenarios then just refer to what was said in the GLA page here and avail yourself of the knowledge therein. It doesn’t bear repeating or rehashing here.

For those of you who do not want to click the link and learn what’s already been written, then this little bit of advice should suffice. Tomahawk is best used to open when you’re newly engaging content or a boss of some sort. You run at it and while you’re charging your buffs you toss one or two Tomahawks its way, giving you the ability to close the gap by bringing the boss partly to you or luring it away to position it properly. Aside from trying to grab mobs that are running - which is always a bad idea but something necessary - Tomahawk isn’t that useful. It has a high TP cost, low Potency and its Enmity Modifier is weak compared to every other Enmity Weapon Skill or Ability in the game. So, use it to pull and try not to let the mob lose hate to begin with so it doesn’t force you to use Tomahawk because the animation delay on it is horrendous and the further the mob is the worse it gets.

Enhanced Vitality II

  • Type: Trait
  • Level Acquired: Level 16
  • Description: Increases vitality by 4.
  • Casting Time: N/A
  • Duration: N/A
  • Recast Time: N/A
  • Cost: N/A
  • Combo Bonus: N/A
  • Notes: Another small boost to VIT, doubling the previous 2 VIT boost. This increases the total amount of added VIT and is not additive with the previous trait. This normally adds 58 HP or 72.5 HP under Defiance. Be thankful for it, but try not to think about how little it really makes a difference, nor how it’d be nicer to have STR instead. You could go mad that way.

Maim

  • Type: Weapon Skill
  • Level Acquired: Level 18
  • Description: Delivers an attack with a potency of 100.
  • Casting Time: Animation
  • Duration: 18s
  • Recast Time: GCD
  • Cost: 60 TP
  • Combo Bonus: (Heavy Swing -> Maim) 190 Potency. Increases damage dealt by 20%.
  • Notes: Here we come to our first “wow” skill for WAR and MRD. Maim has only ten less potency than the enmity combo but adds a whopping 20% damage dealt, negating 20 out of 25 percent of the Defiance detriment. This means that instead of getting a constant -25% damage penalty as PLD does, the average WAR is only going to get a 5% damage penalty which is often completely negated when a WAR follows Maim with Storm’s Eye which provides a 10% debuff to Slashing damage on the mob, granting, in effect, 11% additional damage dealt by all Slashing weapons. Because of the fact that WAR can easily keep both Maim and Storm’s Eye up at all times even doing their Enmity Combos, a WAR under Defiance has the benefit of both 25% more HP, 20% more curing received, their Critical Hit Rate bonus per Wrath Stack AND a net gain of 6% damage over their base.

Of course, if WAR was not in Defiance they’d have +31% damage towards the particular mob in question and it would help them to deal quite a bit of extra damage, which is why WARs when properly geared and maintained by a skillful hand can encroach on DPS territory with relative ease compared to any other Class or Job in the game that is firmly entrenched in another role. It would be nice if PLD in Sword Stance were capable of this sort of devastation and damage, but that’s simply not possible and for whatever reason SE seems to find this balanced. I cannot say I agree but that’s just my opinion, perhaps they know something the rest of the player base does not.

Maim should be used all the time and should always be kept up, it’s such an easy buff to maintain that there should be no reason to drop it. It helps speed up kills, it grants more HP returned with Bloodbath and it increases Enmity proportionally as well. Generally a skilled WAR can keep up both Maim and Storm’s Eye combo along with Storm’s Path, allowing themselves to have both the damage buffs and the damage reduction debuff placed on the mob. This makes WAR incredibly potent when played right and fully understood, not only do they get access to 25% more HP and all the other perks of Defiance, but they can completely negate their Defiance damage penalty and additionally keep up a constant 10% damage reduction on any singular mob. Doing it to more than one mob is difficult, not impossible but it does take quite a bit of skill. Doing so on Garuda and one of her Twins is a good idea and makes a big difference for your Healers in that encounter.

Maim’s capacity to increase WAR’s effectiveness should not be underestimated by any stretch of the imagination. This ability is a godsend to WARs and should be used consistently, even when you consider the difference in Potencies between the Enmity Combo and the Buff Combo lines, the Buff line allows for additional damage done, which without that being applied the following hits are much weaker. Let’s take for example two uses when you’re looking for the highest damage:

  • Opening With Storm’s Eye Combo

<pre>

Heavy Swing: 150 Potency

Maim: 190 Potency +20% Damage Buff Applied

Storm’s Eye: 324 Potency -10% Target’s Slashing Resistance

Total Potency: 664

</pre>

  • Opening With Butcher’s Block Combo

<pre>

Heavy Swing: 150 Potency

Skull Sunder: 200 Potency

Butcher’s Block: 280 Potency

Total Potency: 630 Potency

</pre>

This is magnified greater by showing the difference in damage upon moving into your Butcher’s Block Combo. This is because Heavy Swing changes to 199.8 Potency, Skull Sunder changes to 266.4 Potency and Butcher’s Block turns into a whopping 372.96 Potency. With appropriate skill usage and proper methodology of your abilities, you *may* be capable of utilizing two Butcher’s Block combos to one Storm’s Eye Combo, but I find that to be fairly random and unfortunately timed, because if you need to use an ability or cannot instantly hit your abilities or don’t have an exact minimum amount of Skill Speed (or the Fairy buff which is just temporary) you end up making Storm’s Eye debuff fall off.

This is incredibly annoying as every WAR buff or debuff lasts at least 20 seconds except this one. Odds are this was done with a level cap raise in mind, which is why Storm’s Eye, being obtained at Level 50 doesn’t have any additional Enhanced version which it will more than likely will get that will increase its duration to 20 or 24 seconds more than not. Though Storm’s Path is the same way and it has a five second longer duration. If Storm’s Eye also had the same duration it would be incredibly easy to keep all buffs up at the same time without any need for a specific amount of Skill Speed. But since you cannot, sometimes you will find Storm’s Eye falling off at the wrong moment when you need to reposition or use an ability that has a longer animation than you would like.

So the best way to combat this is to make sure when you’re looking to deal the highest amount of damage to alternate between the two, then you’re free to use Inner Beast and any extra abilities for greater control of the battle and over your own damage while also making sure to keep both your Enmity and Storm’s Eye Combos at full power. If you try to add Storm’s Path to the juggle, without a sufficient amount of Skill Speed and a keen knowledge of where and when you can use abilities to prevent one of the abilities from falling off, you’ll start failing to keep one or more of the debuffs operational and eventually lose out compared to focusing on just one or the other.

The General rule of thumb is that if you want to boost your damage but want to do it in the shortest time possible without committing too much, you only need to keep Maim’s combo up since it is the largest bonus to your general damage. It also applies to DOTs and the like, while Storm’s Eye does not, due to the non-classified nature of DOTs, they are neither Slashing, Piercing nor Blunt. This goes for all Classes and Jobs that have their buffs split between a debuff to the mob of their specific weapon type, and a self buff that increases their damage directly.

Regardless, Maim is easy to keep up and during dungeon runs or the like you can hit groups of mobs as you run up to them and sight aggro when you’re doing a large pull, and chain Heavy Swing -> Maim -> Storm’s Path or Storm’s Eye if you like to not only keep up your Wrath Stacks (or build new ones) but to buff up your damage for when you’ll be using Steel Cyclone and Overpower or some combination therein. This is because Storm’s Eye, while useful is only a debuff on a single mob and doesn’t help as much as a blanket 20% boost to damage that you output rather than a single mob.

Bloodshower

  • Type: Trait
  • Level Acquired: Level 20
  • Description: Extends Bloodbath duration to 30 seconds.
  • Casting Time: N/A
  • Duration: N/A
  • Recast Time: N/A
  • Cost: N/A
  • Combo Bonus: N/A
  • Notes: Doubling of an ability that already gives you 25% of damage back as HP is a monumental improvement. Bloodbath is already useful and its 90 second recast lines up perfectly with Berserk making the two of them practically soul mates. Without this buff, Berserk would outlast the buff of Bloodbath which would be quite unfortunate as Berserk adds the greatest amount of healing power back to Bloodbath. But with this, even with the 5 second Pacification to Berserk (which really should be removed), you have two GCDs that you can use afterwards and still reap the benefits of Bloodbath, not to mention the auto attacks that are off GCD and still execute while Pacified.

Berserk

  • Type: Ability
  • Level Acquired: Level 22
  • Description: Increases attack power by 50%. Unable to use Weapon Skills for 5 seconds after effect ends (Pacification, Erasable).
  • Casting Time: Animation
  • Duration: 15s
  • Recast Time: 90s (1 Minute, 30 Seconds)
  • Cost: N/A
  • Combo Bonus: N/A
  • Notes: Hands down the most incredible and yet infuriating ability that WAR and MRD have access to. By itself it effectively is no different than giving you a 100% Critical Hit Rate since that would be a 1.5x damage multiplier, and a 50% increase in Attack Power is pretty much that by all means and standards. Additionally, it’s like having a 50% buff to STR for twenty seconds (with the Enhanced Berserk trait). Because this ability is so powerful, SE thought they needed to give WAR some form of downside. Berserk is about 10% stronger than PLD’s Fight or Flight when you factor in that Fight or Flight is 20% weaker in terms of flat damage boost, but has a duration 33% longer (10 seconds, for a total of 30 seconds) than Berserk. So naturally, they thought it should make perfect sense that WAR would be unable to deal any weapon skills until after five seconds of Pacification were up at the end of Berserk.

This is annoying for a number of reasons, the most of which is that it cannot easily be erased. Because of how FFXIV: ARR works, you cannot pre-cast an erase in anticipation, which means that you cannot have your WAR tell you that their Berserk is about to end and they’re about to get Pacification. In which your Healer could expertly begin casting Erase or Leeches, and land it roughly the same time that your Pacification hits. The game doesn’t allow this to happen, instead you have to START casting AFTER any particular debuff is applied to another character. It’s an incredibly, and wholly annoying change that gimps player skill and makes people at the mercy of the game mechanics, because by the time a Healer can get around to Erasing your Pacification there would only be one or two seconds remaining anyways, which makes it completely worthless to do and so most Healers won’t even bother with it and just let it stay on.

The second part of the annoyance is that it prevents you from executing your Enmity Combos and if a mob happens to pop at the exact time your Berserk wears off and you’re Pacified, you and your group are screwed and you’ll have to get incredibly creative to find a way to pull hate for five seconds and cling to it like a life raft. This is difficult to do and feels a lot like trying to grasp a greasy thread and hold onto it with all your might but it just keeps slipping through your fingers.

However, because of this you can generally plan around Berserk’s Pacification and make sure that nothing significant is happening in that period when you’re unable to commit Weapon Skills to the battle. Though, the number of times I’ve been unable to finish off somebody in PvP who had barely any HP left because I was Pacified is by this point, beyond counting. Still, Berserk is the single strongest buff to attack the entire game has, and it’s given to a Tank, how’s that for irony? Either way, a good WAR can make excellent use of Berserk to burst their Enmity to insane heights by stacking as many buffs as possible and dealing incredibly high damage. Under Defiance and properly geared and buffed a WAR can hit 1,400 Butcher Block’s which is equivalent to 14,000 Enmity, an absolutely obscene amount. As mentioned above, this isn’t the sort of thing to engage in lightly if you’re dual tanking with another, especially a PLD as they don’t have the same raw capacity to deal such damage and therefore such Enmity, you’ll rip hate from them as if you’d used Provoke, and they won’t be sure to appreciate it unless it was time for a swap. So keep that in mind.

Enhanced Vitality III

  • Type: Trait
  • Level Acquired: Level 24
  • Description: Increases vitality by 6.
  • Casting Time: N/A
  • Duration: N/A
  • Recast Time: N/A
  • Cost: N/A
  • Combo Bonus: N/A
  • Notes: Another two points of VIT, totaling 87 HP normally and 108.75 HP under Defiance. The last bit of extra HP we get from traits, so savor it while it’s here.

Mercy Stroke

  • Type: Ability
  • Level Acquired: Level 26
  • Description: Delivers an attack with a potency of 200. Can only be executed when target's HP is below 20%. If delivered as the killing blow, up to 20% of your maximum HP will be restored.
  • Casting Time: Animation
  • Duration: N/A
  • Recast Time: 90s (1 Minute, 30 Seconds)
  • Cost: N/A
  • Combo Bonus: N/A
  • Notes: While most Classes and Jobs utilize Mercy Stroke for an extra burst of 200 Potency damage every 90 seconds, WAR and MRD get an Enhanced Mercy Stroke trait that reduces that to an absolutely astounding 40 seconds instead. For WAR this makes it a good tool to dish out a bit of extra damage, but it also means with their additional damage capacities that they - unlike PLD - can *realistically* use Mercy Stroke as a killing blow without requiring the DPS to hold back at all, and in doing so every group of mobs a WAR could relatively easily regain 20% HP with such a short recast of 40 seconds.

While this is good, and completely viable if you’re skilled and have proper timing, it *still* isn’t incredibly useful. Healers should be able to top you off and keep you that way in almost every sort of content and those types that you’re fighting against groups of mobs are not going to be difficult enough for you or your Healer to require you to use Mercy Stroke at the right time. So, what’s a WAR to do? Why, bind Mercy Stroke to most of your abilities of course! In doing so, whenever a mob’s HP drops below 20% you’ll hit it with Mercy Stroke without having to try. As you execute each of your abilities you normally would for damage, buffs or enmity, you’ll additionally throw out a Mercy Stroke as the recast allows. This increases your DPS without really making you need to worry about the mob’s HP, or to factor in when you should use Mercy Stroke. Instead that decision is completely removed from you, and it just adds to your total damage, allowing you to increase your DPS without changing anything you’d normally do and as a result Mercy Stroke is taken off your bar and you don’t need to worry about something that would hardly make any difference anyways.

Doing so is particularly useful in boss fights where they remain at under 20% pretty consistently and that additional boost of damage is enough that can decide the fate of the entire party and said encounter. Below you’ll find the macros to use:

<pre>

/micon "Heavy Swing" /ac "Mercy Stroke" <t> /ac "Heavy Swing" <t>

</pre>

<pre>

/micon "Skull Sunder" /ac "Mercy Stroke" <t> /ac "Skull Sunder" <t>

</pre>

<pre>

/micon "Butcher's Block" /ac "Mercy Stroke" <t> /ac "Butcher's Block" <t>

</pre>

<pre>

/micon "Overpower" /ac "Mercy Stroke" <t> /ac "Overpower" <t>

</pre>

<pre>

/micon "Maim" /ac "Mercy Stroke" <t> /ac "Maim" <t>

</pre>

<pre>

/micon "Storm's Eye" /ac "Mercy Stroke" <t> /ac "Storm's Eye" <t>

</pre>

<pre>

/micon "Storm's Path" /ac "Mercy Stroke" <t> /ac "Storm's Path" <t>

</pre>

By organizing your macros like this you’ll still get the same macro icon and all that as you would normally, as well as seeing the macro’s cool down, but you’ll execute Mercy Stroke whenever it’s up first instead.

Enhanced Fracture

  • Type: Trait
  • Level Acquired: Level 28
  • Description: Extends Fracture duration to 30 seconds.
  • Casting Time: N/A
  • Duration: N/A
  • Recast Time: N/A
  • Cost: N/A
  • Combo Bonus: N/A
  • Notes: This is the trait that makes Fracture so very worthwhile for MRD and WAR. If you want to get any further information on Fracture and you happened to miss it the first time around, go back to here to catch up on how Fracture fits into the tapestry that is WAR and MRD.

Butcher’s Block

  • Type: Weapon Skill
  • Level Acquired: Level 30
  • Description: Delivers an attack with a potency of 100. Additional Effect: Increased Enmity (x5).
  • Casting Time: Animation (Long)
  • Duration: (Wrath) 30s
  • Recast Time: GCD
  • Cost: 60 TP
  • Combo Bonus: (Heavy Swing -> Skull Sunder -> Butcher’s Block) Potency: 280. Grants Wrath when used with Defiance.
  • Notes: The single, strongest Enmity ability in the entire game, especially when properly buffed and maintained by a WAR who understands their Job and their capacity as a role. This ability is also one of the strongest that WAR gets, barring of course Inner Beast, which is for all intents and purposes the strongest skill WAR gets, it is much rarer to use and so it’s relegated to something slightly less because of it. Make no mistake, Inner Beast is absolutely fantastic without any real downsides, but it cannot be executed as often or frequently as Butcher’s Block and so that costs it something intangible.

Butcher’s Block, just like Rage of Halone has an obscenely, almost sickeningly long ‘cast time’. It’s animation is very long, nearly a full second or so, slightly less than Hallowed Ground and Benediction but still long enough that it’s not useful to initiate combat. Additionally, as we went over with Skull Sunder opening a fight with Butcher’s Block, pre-charged or otherwise is not a wise thing to do as you lose out on Enmity overall and open yourself up to the annoyances of animation and forced delay. I still don’t understand why it’s like that, but there’s no way around it and so we must compensate. Butcher’s Block, while a great and strong ability is only so because it’s part of something greater.

Care needs to be taken however when utilizing it because of the long animation, if Enmity is hurting it can sometimes cause the mob to turn or wander around for a fraction of a second before returning to you when the game sends the packet for hitting after the animation finishes playing. However, it’s pretty rare to happen during normal gameplay and even less common when you consider that you’re pretty much spending all your time doing that combo over and over. It’s a good ability to use on its own when you’re fighting a small group of mobs and you’re using your Enmity Combo efficiently (two to three mobs max, anymore and Overpower becomes vastly better) to secure hate on all mobs present. By doing Butcher’s Block to a single mob you can switch back to the other and use Heavy Swing -> Skull Sunder and not worry about that particular mob losing Enmity because of how much is gained from using Butcher’s Block.

It’s simply not a good idea however to focus the entire Enmity Combo on one mob when you’re not using Flash or Overpower to try and secure Enmity on multiple mobs. Of course, this only applies for two to three mobs, any more and Overpower and Flash become much better tools for Enmity Generation, and of course Steel Cyclone cannot be forgotten for its sheer utility for generating a large chunk of Enmity without the restrictions of Defiance nor the conal nature of Overpower.

By spreading out the use of Butcher’s Block you’re able to spread out your Enmity across multiple targets, securing them all without committing yourself too strong to a particular one. By doing that you make sure that your Enmity isn’t hooked into one particular mob and if one of your DPS decides to attack something else that isn’t the mob you’re mainly focusing on, it won’t rip hate from you and cause them to get hurt. This at first is often confusing to many DPS as they try to target what you are and when you’re switching targets around they might get confused and wonder why. A simple explanation should help clear everything up without worrying your DPS or Healers and allowing them all to go all out as much as possible. The main reason this is done, besides gung ho DPS who like to AOE or attack mobs that you’re not focusing on as a Tank (as they usually should) is to provide the Healers with the ability to not worry about pulling hate from the mobs that are not being focused.

Because each Heal is divided equally into each of the mobs on the Enmity List, a single Cure netting 1,000 HP healed is going to be split into 166 Enmity to each mob, and though nobody is attacking the other mobs, after enough heals even if you occasionally use Overpower or Flash, the Healer is going to pull hate from you and will get hit. But by spreading out your Enmity Combo by rotating Butcher’s Block on each mob in turn, then using Heavy Swing on the mob that had Butcher’s Block, then Skull Sunder on the mob that had neither you’ll spread out enough DPS but not tank your TP from using Overpower, when you might need that TP for an upcoming sprint or something of the sort. Since WAR is excellent for speed running tomes and the like, you’ll more than not get a great amount of practice in this area and it’s a good idea to know what’s going on and what you should be doing before you go in blind.

Enhanced Brutal Swing

  • Type: Trait
  • Level Acquired: Level 32
  • Description: Extends Brutal Swing duration to 5 seconds.
  • Casting Time: N/A
  • Duration: N/A
  • Recast Time: N/A
  • Cost: N/A
  • Combo Bonus: N/A
  • Notes: This ability increases the utility of Brutal Swing, but not an incredible amount because it’s still bound by its relatively long 20 second recast. It’s not really a make or break sort of deal, but at least this trait puts the Cool Down time at 15 seconds after factoring in the five second stun time. A good trait and incredibly useful to a well equipped and knowledge WAR. Much less effective in PvP than it once was, but it retains a lot of its potency for WAR while PLD got severely gimped as a result of the Stun DR, taking it from a maximum of 6 seconds down to half that at 3 in PvP.

Thrill of Battle

  • Type: Ability
  • Level Acquired: Level 34
  • Description: Increases maximum HP by 10% and restores the amount increased.
  • Casting Time: Animation
  • Duration: 20s
  • Recast Time: 120s (2 Minutes)
  • Cost: N/A
  • Combo Bonus:
  • Notes: Remember when I said that WAR was more reactionary and capable of healing itself far more than PLD could ever dream of? This ability plays a massive role in that. Normally at this level, Thrill of Battle increases your Maximum HP by 10%, but at Level 44 you get Enhanced Thrill of Battle that gives you an extra 10% doubling your HP increase to 20% over your max. It also heals for the same amount, so for a WAR in Defiance with decent gear hovering around 11,000 HP, you’ll get about 2,200 extra HP, which as a skilled WAR you’ll realize also heals you for the same amount, meaning that at that HP you can use Thrill of Battle as an emergency Heal or, better yet use it when you know you’re going to take a large hit and need that extra HP pool in order to weather the coming storm. With it activated there’s no ability in the game that should be able to kill you (except the ones that automatically one shot you due to an unrecoverable mechanic) if your Healers are properly keeping you topped off.

This ability has a very high Synergy with Convalescence and they even have the same Cool Down, making them absolutely perfect for each other! WAR with Defiance naturally gets a 20% boost to healing effects received, turning a 1,000 HP cure into a 1,200 HP cure and so on. With Convalescence this turns into a 40% total boost to healing effects, and with the larger HP pool presented by Thrill of Battle your Healers will have an easier time keeping you at full HP without expending any additional MP. In fact they’ll expend even less MP than they normally would, and Thrill of Battle makes Stoneskin drastically more effective. Giving nearly 400 HP more barrier to a WHM’s Stoneskin.

The best thing about Thrill of Battle and Convalescence is how much your Healers will rave about their Cures, and Adloquiums. Both will be increased to nearly Critical Hit levels and any additional Critical Hits will seem astounding. It’s not uncommon to see 3,000 or higher Cures with Critical Hit. Anything that makes your Healers more interested and engaged in their Job, the better for you as a Tank since they’ll pay more attention to you. And even though a PLD mitigates roughly the same amount as a WAR has in extra HP, a Healer will generally feel much differently between the two Jobs.

Healers often are happy to have a WAR, because as a Healer they very rarely get the opportunity to see high numbers like the DPS do, and it gives them something more to strive for and helps combat some of the boredom of being stuck in a Job or Role that they may not fully love or just are slightly tired from constantly playing. While this doesn’t expressly revolve around Thrill of Battle and the synergistic use of Convalescence as well, it is a fair point to raise and bears mentioning only because it helps you the Tank as well. Anything that makes it easier on your Healer makes it easier on you as well and both lives are bettered for it.

Thrill of Battle is usually best saved for when you need to recover HP fast and are concerned over the ability of your Healers to catch your HP before it hits zero, or when you expect a bit hit and have nothing to mitigate it. This last event is usually a result of user error because so far in the game every “big hit” that comes from a boss can be anticipated with enough knowledge and experience in the fight. These abilities are countered by utilizing Inner Beast immediately before or during the charge up period of the move, inflicting yourself with a 6 second -20% Damage Taken buff that makes it a simple affair to survive even the most devastating attacks like Twintania’s Death Sentence or Nael’s Raven’s Beak or Raven’s Ascent.

Thrill of Battle should *not* be used on Cool Down however, it should have a spot in your rotation but it should be used when it’s best to be used, rather than whenever it’s up. There are many cases in several encounters where Thrill of Battle is useful (always, ALWAYS pair it with Convalescence!) to use, but depending on your gear, skill and the aforementioned of your party members you may be able to eschew Thrill of Battle at specific times and use it as an emergency backup plan as Holmgang suffers a similar animation lag to Hallowed Ground and it also doesn’t do anything to keep your HP up. In fact it often will leave you very near 1 HP because your Healers would have been unable to do much to help you. If you need to however, pairing the three abilities can do wonders if you’re able to get help in time. By doing Holmgang first, and then letting your buff timer run down to two seconds or your HP down to 1, then popping both Thrill of Battle and Convalescence you’ll be able to recover from something that would have killed lesser men (or women).

Pairing them up in that way allows you to hold out until help can arrive and then when you use Thrill of Battle and Convalescence together it’ll help your Healers who are going to be frantically spamming you with cures to pull you back up to full HP much faster and easier than if you were to do otherwise. Even if you had used Vengeance instead, a Healer cannot heal you when you hit zero and if you don’t have the HP to weather the coming damage, reducing that incoming damage does nothing to prevent you from dropping to a stray attack. While the HP boost of Thrill of Battle will help you to take that extra hit, giving your Healers enough time to turn their attention to you and save you from falling and you in turn prevent the boss from rampaging through your ranks and wiping your group. All in all it’s a pretty good strategy that can save a bad chain of events but it won’t help every time, and it’s important to remember that sometimes there’s just nothing that can be done to prevent a wipe. Try as you might to do everything right, you cannot control the actions of every party member and as such you’ll likely end up a few times doing your role perfectly only to find that you wipe due to somebody else.

Enhanced Berserk

  • Type: Trait
  • Level Acquired: Level 36
  • Description: Extends Berserk duration to 20 seconds.
  • Casting Time: N/A
  • Duration: N/A
  • Recast Time: N/A
  • Cost: N/A
  • Combo Bonus: N/A
  • Notes: This buff to Berserk makes it more useful, but the increase is only 33%, a five second addition onto the default fifteen seconds. While it doesn’t seem like a lot, it’s still a very welcome buff as Berserk is the strongest single buff in the entire game, even beyond the power of the Echo Buff, unless you’re counting survivability. Berserk should be utilized when it’s best to use, not exactly on Cool Down but as often as you’re able without finding yourself mired in Pacification, hands stuffed into your pockets as adds pop or some mechanic requires you to act with a Weapon Skill. Keep in mind that this extension means your timing for Pacification is going to be off if you were training and familiarizing yourself with the old 15 second duration of Berserk. After long enough working with this trait enabled you’ll eventually get it down like you had before (assuming you did) and if you didn’t you’ll be able to feel in each particular encounter when you’ll basically screw yourself by using Berserk or not.

Always remember that you can right click off Berserk’s buff to end it early and enact Pacification on yourself at your own control. This is obviously less than ideal, but it’s useful to know that you can do this because it allows you to control a flubbed use of Berserk. In doing so if you popped it a little too late, you can cut it short a few seconds so that you’re in Pacification during the period of time *just before* a mechanic arrives or an add pops that requires your Weapon Skills. This is an advanced tactic for WARs and it takes a lot of getting used to the game and the flow of battle to be able to do this and fluidly respond to the rest of the mechanics as you’re supposed to.

It is of course better to do less than more, meaning that it’s better to properly time Berserk so you don’t need to gimp yourself by cancelling it early, but if you have to always do it. It’s not worth a little extra damage to be totally useless for five whole seconds at the wrong time. Bear this in mind when trying to learn when to place Berserk and Bloodbath for maximum efficacy. This tactic allows you to trial out placements and essentially “pull the ripcord” early in the event that it’s not lining up properly. Repeatedly doing this during trial runs or when you’re working to get your timing down is a good practice until you can perfect your timing. Even when you do, there are multiple factors that arise that you have absolutely no control over, and it’s always good to be ready to cancel Berserk early if you have to in order to stay in the flow of combat when you’re needed.

A good example is in Turn 7 when the Lamia Adds are spawned, if you realize that they’re about to pop and you used Berserk but it’s still got a fair bit of time left, you can forcibly cancel it early and be recovering from Pacification as the first add spawns and you’re able to grab it and tank it properly as you should despite your mistake. If you did not do that, you’d find yourself floundering unable to do anything but abilities, and the only ability you’d have to use would be Provoke which wouldn’t help you very much. It could be chained into Flash but that again is not strong enough to secure hate properly and you’ll be letting your mob bounce around between healers and DPS as you frantically spam your Weapon Skill keys hoping that you can use a Weapon Skill yet. In a period like that five seconds can wipe your entire party by killing key members and causing Enmity to get completely out of center. Furthermore, it can waste precious time or resources which could come back later to destroy the group.

Storm’s Path

  • Type: Weapon Skill
  • Level Acquired: Level 38
  • Description: Delivers an attack with a potency of 100.
  • Casting Time: Animation
  • Duration: (Damage Down) 20s | (Wrath) 30s
  • Recast Time: GCD
  • Cost: 60 TP
  • Combo Bonus: (Heavy Swing -> Maim -> Storm’s Path) Potency: 250. Absorbs 50% of damage dealt as HP and lowers the target's damage dealt by 10%. Grants Wrath when used with Defiance.
  • Notes: Storm’s Path is an amazing Weapon Skill, it’s one of the major reasons that WAR is better than PLD and it’s one of the more advanced methods for becoming the best Tank currently in the game. Storm’s Path inflicts a -10% damage debuff to one particular mob, making it do less damage to yourself an anybody else that it may be targeting regardless of who that is. Keeping this debuff up is paramount when you’re new to an event and whether you’re Main Tanking or Off Tanking this should always be applied to the boss unless your group is so well versed in the fight that they’d prefer the extra 11% damage by yourself and the other Tank, as both PLD and WAR utilize Slashing damage.

Storm’s Path works well with Rage of Halone’s STR debuff, cutting damage considerably for physical attacks, while Storm’s Path works well to reduce overall damage from all sources. Interesting to note, Storm’s Path used to just regenerate HP, more than it does now, and it used to cost more TP as well. The 10% debuff to a mob’s damage used to be exclusive to BRD and since the Weapon Skill that used it was not part of BRD’s normal rotation, it was rarely ever constantly inflicted on the mob or boss and so it meant that fights were, in a way slightly more difficult.

With WAR having this ability they’re able to control he battlefield more. While PLD may be able to proactively judge the field and use their abilities as they’re needed, a WAR can manipulate the field to suit them, and react as it needs like a true commander. A PLD can shield themselves from further damage but a WAR can direct the battle the way that benefits them the most. By keeping Storm’s Path up, a WAR Main Tank is capable of having a constant 10% reduction to damage, as well as to every single party member close enough to receive damage from the boss from either avoidable or unavoidable mechanics and abilities. This benefits the whole party and is more useful than a buff to the WAR themselves, it helps the Healers to have less to deal with and with FFXIV: ARR every single boss in the game does some nasty sort of unavoidable AOE that is meant to be a Heal Check or something of the sort and in applying (and keeping it applied) Storm’s Path, a WAR can lessen the burden on the Healers, allowing them to focus more on the Tank.

Though Storm’s Path is relatively weak, its animation isn’t overly long and it’s not so weak as to be completely inconsequential. However it did used to be 100% damage as HP, but of course with Inner Beast being changed from 300% to 100% this ability had to change as well. In the end it’s pretty well balanced and you use the ability for the 10% reduction debuff, and the 50% damage as HP absorb is just a nice little bonus. Like Inner Beast the HP absorb from Storm’s Path sort of works together with Bloodbath, not directly increasing the total absorbed but allowing both to be counted for the same Weapon Skill. This is a nice little boost that helps a decent amount when the chips are down and every bit of added HP is welcome.

Storm’s Path is however, never used just for the HP recovery, it’s far too weak to make any sense to use over anything else, the difference would be minimal in all but the rarest of scenarios which makes this ability one that was rarely used before the update to give it a 10% damage reduction debuff to the mob.

Now with all that the Weapon Skill has, it’s incredibly useful to be properly applied, and with a good WAR it can be kept up indefinitely, easing the burden on the Healers and allowing a WAR to take far less overall damage than a PLD would in the same case. This case is especially true when adding in the 20% damage reduction applied to the WAR from Inner Beast. Unlike PLD’s abilities which are multiplicative against one another, WAR does not apply both buffs to itself and instead doesn’t run into the same effect of annoying Diminishing Returns (DR) that PLD does when it tries to stack Shield Oath and Rampart and Sentinel or the like. Instead WAR gets the full benefit of Inner Beast (-20% Damage Taken) and the debuff applied to the mob (-10% Damage Dealt) for a total reduction of -30% Damage Taken to the WAR.

Storm’s Path should be used on any boss or monster that has a strong ability, even if it’s not going to be around for a long time it’s better to be safe than sorry and end up wasting your group’s time by wiping and having to restart. A really good example is in The Howling Eye (Extreme) when you face off against Garuda and her two Twins Suparna and Chirada. The Main Tank typically takes both Garuda and one of the Sisters, depending on your particular strategy and how your group is comfortable handling this. Because both Sisters deal heavy damaging attacks, it is wisest to inflict both with Storm’s Path and keep it up on both. Enmity would be a slight bit trickier to do because the duration of Storm’s Path debuff is only 20 seconds and you’d need to apply the full combo to both Sisters, but it’ll be well worth it when they execute a powerful attack and you’re able to resist the damage done because you decreased the damage both do by 10% which is very similar to having a total of 20% damage reduction. While that’s not quite *accurate* it’s very similar because if both Chirada and Garuda do 3,000 damage a piece, then your 10% reduction from Storm’s Path will reduce their damage by 300 each, or a total of 600 reduction which seems similar to a 20% reduction though it’s not. The reason is because the damage total you’re actually getting is 6,000 and a 10% reduction is, of course 600. Though if you had failed to apply Storm’s Path to one of them, you’d only reduce 300 of that 600 total damage, and it could be the difference between life and death.

Enhanced Mercy Stroke

  • Type: Trait
  • Level Acquired: Level 40
  • Description: Shortens Mercy Stroke recast time to 40 seconds.
  • Casting Time: N/A
  • Duration: N/A
  • Recast Time: N/A
  • Cost: N/A
  • Combo Bonus: N/a
  • Notes: Most of what’s important to know about Mercy Stroke was covered up above under the actual ability. However, this trait is absolutely paramount to how useful Mercy Stroke becomes, as it more than halves the recast time of Mercy Stroke from 90 seconds to 40 seconds, making it plausible to use in multiple scenarios where you wouldn’t normally be able to as any other Class or Job. However, as was stated up above, the difference - though major - does not expressly mean that it’s going to be the best for you to use it after every mob that you come into contact with. Of course with the added damaging capacity of WAR and MRD, and the fact that it has a much shorter recast you *could* try to use it multiple times to try and get a kill shot in. But it’s often best to just macro it into other abilities as listed above, which makes it a non-issue. You no longer have to worry about the mob’s HP or if you should hold back a few seconds to wait to use Mercy Stroke, stopping your combo so you’re not in the middle of an animation when the opportunity to use Mercy Stroke as a kill shot opens.

Like was said above, it’s best not to do that as it distracts and often doesn’t make a massive difference so long as your Healer is alive. If, however the rare event occurs and your Healer is dead and you’re able to survive, then definitely utilize Mercy Stroke in such a manner in order to get your HP restored. However, more often than not you’ll die either way or killing the mob(s) faster will make a larger difference towards your total survivability, but in such a situation only you, as the Tank can make that call. A lot of FFXIV: ARR is like that, you can learn and practice all you want, but you can’t ever be certain that that training is going to be the right way to go when a situation unfolds in front of you. In the end it will always be up to your personal discretion to make the final call on what you do and how you go about doing it.

With understanding and armed with experience you’ll more than often make the right call, but so long as you learn from the mistakes you should be fine. Even the best rules can be suspended for those rare occurrences when the events of the situation make the rules and established thoughts fuzzy. In events like that you need to make a call on what you feel is best to do, and there’s no rule or training that can prepare you for making that decision - which is rarely ever prompted by the same event twice - and sticking with it. After you have enough knowledge of how WAR works and how the game is built, all you need is experience to help fill in the gaps and you should be more than capable of making your own decisions.

Holmgang

  • Type: Ability
  • Level Acquired: Level 42
  • Description: Draws target towards caster, and binds both. Additional Effect: Most attacks cannot reduce your HP to less than 1.
  • Casting Time:
  • Duration: 6s
  • Recast Time: 180s (3 Minutes)
  • Cost: N/A
  • Combo Bonus: N/A
  • Notes: This ability was relatively useless before the update gave it the ability to stay at 1 HP regardless of almost any attack. It has the same capacity as Hallowed Ground in that regard, anything that would go through Hallowed Ground’s invincibility will go through Holmgang and kill you as well, these include Astral Flow abilities from the avatars and other mechanics that are designed to kill if not properly countered in some form or fashion.

Holmgang itself is useful in a relatively wide array of settings, for example, passing through a mob and using Holmgang before it turns around will cause it to face away from you, unable to deal any damage at all. This is nearly impossible on bosses however as it doesn’t bind them in place unfortunately. Still, it’ll give you six seconds of life more than you might normally have. However the animation is fairly long, not quite as long as Hallowed Ground or Benediction, but closer to the likes of Butcher’s Block and Rage of Halone. Because of this you need to use it slightly before the hit that would normally kill you comes at you.

The damage will then only bring you to 1 HP instead of killing you as the animation goes off. This is incredibly useful when your party has a catastrophic event taking place, one that you cannot easily withstand without the Healer(s) having to let you fend for yourself for a short period of time. This could be as simple as one of the Healers being dead and the other getting Jailed by the Dread Knight in Turn 5 of The Binding Coil of Bahamut or one of the Healers simply being dead and the other having to make sure your party is able to survive a major coming AOE and instead has to split their focus off of you as the Tank and onto your group who would otherwise fail the mechanic check. In moments like this it’s best to rely upon yourself for all your capacity to withstand and recover from devastating attacks than to think that the Healer should have done a better job or worked harder to keep you alive. They’re human too and they have to make decisions that they don’t like just as you do, and they don’t like leaving you alone to fend for yourself any better than you do.

In a case such as above, Holmgang is quite useful to stay alive, weathering for around 4 to 5 seconds where you’d have 1 to 2 seconds left on Holmgang. In doing so you’re able to spare enough time for a round of Thrill of Battle and Convalescence and any other abilities that will help pull your HP back from Critical and up to a place where even without a heal coming your way, you could reasonably survive an attack or two coming your way. Usually this will be enough time for your Healer(s) to be able to focus their attentions back on you. But the problem often is, as with Hallowed Ground and Benediction that by the time you actually NEED to use Holmgang, the animation is just too long to let it occur instantly when you’re in need.

This is more of an issue for Holmgang as dropping to 1 HP is never very useful for a Healer because they still have to heal all that HP back up and you’ll likely just die if they aren’t incredibly fast on recovering your HP a second or two before the timer runs out. This makes Holmgang in practice, significantly more unwieldy as you cannot easily use it in preparation for a large hit unless you’re relatively sure you’re going to die from it. As well, you’re completely immobilized for the time being as well, which is problematic in places where you’re likely going to need to move. In Turns 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and even 9 - pretty much all turns but the first one - there are moments where Holmgang will either flat out kill you, or wipe your group due to its binding effect on you, leaving you in a really bad location once it wears off, allowing you to get hit full force by something you should have easily been able to avoid.

In Turn 2 it’s the circular AOE and line beam AOE from the ADS that can and often will kill you with the debuffs applied that give you additional physical damage taken. Turn 4 requires regular and constant movement between mob groups and often requires them to be moved to specific areas of the arena in a timely manner and held or otherwise dealt with. This makes it really hard for Holmgang to work as it will often be towards one of the ends of a Phase where the enemies in the arena are swapped out for new ones, and you’d be left stuck for several seconds, more than long enough for the new arrivals to tear into your group as they stand around undefended since you’re bound by an unerasable Holmgang.

Turn 5 has some areas, though not quite as many if you’re Main Tanking, using it when you need to move Twintania is a definitively bad idea because your group needs to quickly set up at the next Collar location and in not moving, besides blowing your Holmgang very early in the fight, you make it impossible to move and so they’re stuck trying to wait between Conflagrations and that can always be extremely risky to do, resulting in multiple deaths very easily. Additionally when the Snakes spawn, they need to be quickly gathered and then moved and kited around as Twintania starts with her Divebomb phase. Because of this, if you managed to use Holmgang at any point during running, or at any point too close to that phase or immediately after, you’ll likely wipe the whole group by dying to a Divebomb or being in the wrong area, and then the mobs will more than likely run to your Healers, killing them and forcing your group to redo the previous phases after restarting the fight.

Turn 6 requires positioning of the Tanks to move back and forth in a circle around the center of the arena based on where the thorns are located and what’s coming out in the form of additional mobs. Additionally if you use Holmgang when you need to Tank Swap, you’ll be in the Tanking Spot when your Tanking Partner comes in to relieve you, and very well could end up getting hit by the swipe move that stacks vulnerability onto you. Though Turn 6 is a little less demanding and the issues of Holmgang aren’t quite as pressing here as in other turns, it still exists in a few locations and should be noted and you should always be cognizant of your location relative to the pace of the fight and when it should, or should not be safe for you to use Holmgang in the event you’ll need it. Of course, if you’re going to die anyways, it’s best to use Holmgang regardless just to make sure you survive. It’s best to have a slim but poor chance of surviving the encounter than to be assuredly dead. Don’t wait to use Holmgang to save your life if it’s going to be your only way out, even if you have to screw up some of the mechanics following in order to get it done.

Turn 7 requires a lot of moving and switching and turning around, Holmgang binds you looking in one direction and if you’re hit with Voice at the wrong time and use Holmgang but don’t turn away from the mob or face away from your group, you’ll end up petrifying many of them, if not at least a few of them, drastically hurting your chances of succeeding. Turn 7 is a very finicky fight with a lot of mechanics that are completely unrecoverable from the slightest slips or mistakes and so it is one of the turns worst suited to being immobilized as at any moment you can get hit with Cursed Voice, or be in the wrong location when the flooring lights up, or even be in range of Petrifaction or the voice that lands on one member and needs to be moved behind a petrified Cyclops. In situations like this it’s best to try and not use Holmgang at all unless you’re absolutely sure you’re going to die, using or saving other abilities is often best, or use it immediately following a Voice where you’re not hit if you need to, as you can make sure it’ll wear off long before you might have to move, letting you maneuver as you need since you aren’t required to turn away from your group.

Turn 8 is particularly useful for Holmgang as several really hard hitting abilities come out, but with a WAR Main Tank often solo tanking this battle, it makes it difficult for them to counter all mechanics at the same time and really pushes your ability as a WAR to deal with the limitations of the game and to press your skills as far as they can go. This fight will often display what’s wrong with you or your group in terms of skill or capacity to understand and execute mechanically driven strategies, while at the same time dealing with random events that may pop up due to issues of various people in your party or something happening at a slightly different time than you imagine would happen. However, as Main Tank you’ll also have to take care of the mines as they appear and if you manage to Holmgang before they spawn, you’ll be absolutely stuck and the mines will likely explode while you’re waiting for your bind to wear off, wiping your entire party.

Turn 9 has a lot of movement, particularly later in the phases and just like the previous ones, any time you need to use Holmgang at that point and end up needing to move there’s a 80% and higher chance that you’ll end up wiping your entire group. Sometimes though as I mentioned before you just have to take that chance. If you die as Main Tank your group dies 90% of the time regardless, so anything that keeps you alive if you’re absolutely sure you’ll die without it, then it is in your best, and your group’s best interest to do that.

Enhanced Thrill of Battle

  • Type: Trait
  • Level Acquired: Level 44
  • Description: Improves the HP increase granted by Thrill of Battle to 20%.
  • Casting Time: N/A
  • Duration: N/A
  • Recast Time: N/A
  • Cost: N/A
  • Combo Bonus: N/A
  • Notes: This trait doubles the efficacy of Thrill of Battle making it 20% from just 10%. This is an excellent heal equivalent to that of SCH’s Lustrate. For uses and best case scenarios consult the actual ability entry: Thrill of Battle

Vengeance

  • Type: Ability
  • Level Acquired: Level 46
  • Description: Reduces damage taken by 30% and delivers an attack with a potency of 50 every time you suffer physical damage.
  • Casting Time: Animation
  • Duration: 15s
  • Recast Time: 120s (2 Minutes)
  • Cost: N/A
  • Combo Bonus: N/A
  • Notes: Vengeance is WAR’s only true mitigating ability that doesn’t have any strings attached to it, and while you can utilize Inner Beast multiple times before Vengeance’s recast is up, it still has the requirement of needing five stacks of wrath and it requires that you hit a mob with Inner Beast as well. Vengeance is useful for those periods where you don’t have access to a mob to hit, and need a form of mitigation. Good uses are at the start of an encounter, and in areas when you’re required to move but are either pulling the boss to a specific area or are otherwise incapable of doing Inner Beast or gathering any sort of Wrath normally.

Vengeance is strong in that it’s 30% and duration actually makes it more potent than Sentinel over the course of a fight. While it’s weaker it lasts 50% longer and has a much shorter cool down, all in all giving it more utility and overall potency than the strongest single mitigation ability in the game. Additionally, while it may not matter too much, the 50 Potency counter attacks add up and are exceptionally useful for doing speed runs and anything where as a WAR you’re Tanking multiple mobs in succession as the damage really spreads around to each of them as the enemies often hit quite fast and deal back damage to themselves without any further input from you.

Vengeance, like most relatively strong defensive abilities is good to do at the start of most, if not all boss fights or endgame encounters. The few examples where you wouldn’t are when the boss is well known to do some very potent or powerful attack every set period of time and that you’ll need Vengeance specifically for that ability. However, if you know you’ll have two minutes until that from the start of the fight then you’re best off using it. This is done mostly to help give your Healers a bit of a break. By taking very reduced damage at the start of a fight they can focus on lending a bit of a helping hand to damage, and can further rely upon your strength to not suddenly fall at the first few volleys as they move into position.

Having a Healer heal less in the beginning also prevents the rare but possible chance of them pulling Enmity away from you by curing too much, which is often the case in battles where the Healer needs to heal multiple people at once and large amounts of HP are cured. By having less HP required to be healed in the beginning you’ll be able to spare them some of the Enmity that accounts with it and the chance will be significantly reduced.

This ability is best used when you know an attack is coming, like most damage reduction skills it’s best used in the same manner that PLD uses their abilities, knowing when it’ll be most useful and employing it right before an attack that will cause significant damage is about to connect. Doing so before allows the most damage to be reduced, but it can also be done afterwards to prevent follow up attacks from killing you and for your Healers to bring you back up to a safe level of HP. Vengeance’s 15 seconds of duration is a middle point, just as it’s damage reduction between Rampart and Sentinel, but is a fair bit stronger than both. By being 10% weaker but lasting 50% longer it has an effective overall potency of 45% damage reduction, adding to that, we also find that it’s cool down is 33% less, at two minutes rather than three, this makes its overall potency even higher for the whole of the battle and being that much more effective than Sentinel at preventing total damage. While Sentinel is stronger in and of itself for the short ten second duration, it’s trumped by Vengeance’s five extra seconds per use, and full minute less recast causing it to be used 33% as much and 50% longer than Sentinel could be utilized, severely cutting into its 10% lead which inevitably falls quite short of Vengeance’s overall capabilities.

When paired with Inner Beast and Storm’s Path a WAR is capable of having 54% total reduction in incoming damage. Pairing this with their already massive HP, WAR’s are able to stand up to incredible amounts of punishment that would quail the weaker PLD. Why this is the case I cannot say as a PLD, when maximizing all of their natural abilities and blocking can only reach around 76% total damage reduction. The difference between the two being a mere 22% reduction in damage, which the WAR technically “wins” at because on top of that 54% reduction not including a Parry which would bring the total to 68% for a 25% Parry, it also doesn’t include that Storm’s Path is capable of always being in effect, and Vengeance is 5 seconds longer than Sentinel and Inner Beast can be chained back to back for 12 seconds of use. If all of that wasn’t enough to give WAR a winning edge in this contest of Tanking capability, WAR also has a 25% boost to HP. Even if we were not to include Parrying into the mix for WAR but somehow allow PLD to count their Shield Blocking, a WAR with Defiance would additionally have 25% more HP, making that 22% in damage reduction 3% shy of equaling WARs survivability, and yet still having no way to surpass it. With that Parry included, WAR far outstrips PLD’s ability when stacking defensive abilities. Sure, they take more overall damage than a PLD by a set amount, but their HP is so much more massive that those hits don’t hardly dent their massive HP pool.

Vengeance helps significantly in this regard, but just like with PLD, you don’t want to stack your abilities unless you truly must. While PLD often will have no choice but to stack at least two abilities together, WAR has more options, Storm’s Path for one doesn’t suffer from the multiplicative nature since it’s a debuff applied to the mob instead of a buff that gets multiplied against the others that are already active on your person. Thrill of Battle, Bloodbath and Inner Beast all provide extra avenues of WAR to shore up their defenses without having to reduce themselves to the less than powerful option of stacking different defensive skills which would force its hand to effectively weakening itself but having no other option if they wanted to weather a particularly punishing move coming at them.

Enhanced Maim

  • Type: Trait
  • Level Acquired: Level 48
  • Description: Extends Maim duration to 24 seconds.
  • Casting Time: N/A
  • Duration: N/A
  • Recast Time: N/A
  • Cost: N/A
  • Combo Bonus: N/a
  • Notes: Enhanced Maim helps to make it an easy to use ability. Having it part of both Offensive and Defensive combos makes this almost an afterthought. Even if the buff were 15 seconds long you would find it relatively easy to keep it up at all times. However with the extension it’s even easier and you can decide to focus purely on the ability to keep Maim up instead of going through the entire combo, though that is highly foolish as just one more combo would give you that extra 11% damage or -10% damage received from a particular mob, and not doing it would waste the combo and also refrain from giving you another stack of Wrath, which is absolutely integral to WAR to continually build Wrath as fast as possible to push as many Inner Beasts out to help recover some HP, and most importantly to keep up the 20% damage reduction from Inner Beast as long as possible.

Storm’s Eye

  • Type: Weapon Skill
  • Level Acquired: Level 50
  • Description: Delivers an attack with a potency of 100.
  • Casting Time: Animation (Long)
  • Duration: (Slashing Resist Down) 15s | (Wrath) 30s
  • Recast Time: GCD
  • Cost: 60 TP
  • Combo Bonus: (Heavy Swing -> Maim -> Storm’s Eye) Potency: 270. Decreases target's slashing resistance by 10% and HP recovery via healing magic by 20%. Grants Wrath when used with Defiance.
  • Notes: This ability brings one of the most useful but annoying abilities of WAR’s entire arsenal. The fact that it gives WAR a way to supersede the damage penalty of Defiance is not to be underestimated, especially when trying to maximize Enmity quickly or trying to catch up. This fact alone makes it an incredibly useful ability that can always be found a place in your line up. However, it should be noted that the duration is the shortest of all of these sorts of abilities for WAR, at five seconds less than that of the twenty second Storm’s Path. If it were not for that this ability would be absolutely wonderful without any known drawbacks.

The issue stems from the fact that there just isn’t enough Skill Speed yet to make it possible to keep up Storm’s Eye, Storm’s Path and to do your Enmity Combo, cycling back through them all to keep them all up and stay fully buffed and keep Enmity as high as possible. While it can be done in some instances it requires a specific build or specific buffs like SCH’s Skill Speed buff from Selene. But that’s not something that can be relied upon and in fact it really shouldn’t.

The point of this is that even going back and forth between Storm’s Eye combo and Butcher’s Block combo is the only way to keep Storm’s Eye constantly on while keeping Butcher’s Block functioning properly. By doing two rounds of Butcher’s Block, you’ll drop Storm’s Eye and you’ll lose out on damage and Enmity you’d get otherwise by trying to get it back. Assuming your GCD is 2.45 seconds, as isn’t too odd for a fully geared WAR, you’re looking at 6 Weapon Skills you can get off in that time frame. Assuming you start off with Heavy Swing it, by itself won’t take any time so we’ll only start counting at Maim and we’ll be assuming you’re starting combat fresh, so let’s illustrate this below:

  • 0 Seconds: (Heavy Swing) 150 Potency
  • 2.45 Seconds: (Maim) 190 Potency
  • 4.90 Seconds: (Storm’s Eye) 324 Potency
  • Maim Buff Time Remaining: 21.55 Seconds
  • 7.35 Seconds: (Heavy Swing) 199.8 Potency
  • Maim Buff Time Remaining: 19.1 Seconds
  • Storm’s Eye Debuff Time Remaining: 12.55 Seconds
  • 9.8 Seconds: (Skull Sunder) 266.4 Potency [799.2 Enmity]
  • Maim Buff Time Remaining: 16.65 Seconds
  • Storm’s Eye Debuff Time Remaining: 10.1 Seconds
  • 12.25 Seconds: (Butcher’s Block) 372.96 Potency [1,864.8 Enmity]
  • Maim Buff Time Remaining: 14.2 Seconds
  • Storm’s Eye Debuff Time Remainng: 7.65 Seconds
  • 14.7 Seconds: (Heavy Swing) 199.8 Potency
  • Maim Buff Time Remaining: 11.75 Seconds
  • Storm’s Eye Debuff Time Remaining: 5.2 Seconds
  • 17.15 Seconds: (Skull Sunder) 266.4 Potency [799.2 Enmity]
  • Maim Buff Time Remaining: 9.3 Seconds
  • Storm’s Eye Debuff Time Remaining: 2.75 Seconds
  • 19.6 Seconds: (Butcher’s Block) 372.96 Potency [1,864.8 Enmity]
  • Maim Buff Time Remaining: 6.85 Seconds
  • Storm’s Eye Debuff Time Remaining: 0.3 Seconds

As we can see, you can create a 2 to 1 ratio of Butcher’s Block to Storm’s Eye Combo for the highest Enmity you can get, but the problem is that Enmity is such a trivial, easy matter that it really isn’t an issue at all. Instead you’re losing damage, which while it may not mean all that much to a WAR looking to maintain complete Tanking authority (in which case you’d be working on keeping Storm’s Path up 100%) it’s good to know that when you deal more damage you’re able to summarily reduce the amount of damage YOU receive by helping to kill the mob that much sooner.

If, for example you’re fighting a boss that has a normal auto attack of 2,000 Damage (fairly normal for high end fights) and like most mobs in the game, has a normal auto attack rate of 2.5 seconds, you’re taking 800 Damage per Second, or 800 iDPS which stands for Incurred DPS, or what you’re getting inflicted upon yourself from the enemy. Which means, for every second you kill the mob faster, you’re taking 800 damage less, and so if you’re keeping Storm’s Path up for example fulltime then each hit is being reduced by 200 Damage. To equal the efficacy of killing the mob a single second faster you would need to keep Storm’s Path up for four full attacks, which would total 7,200 total incurred damage to equate to a 800 reduction in damage from having Storm’s Path up.

And so, here you can see just how important it is to kill faster than to increase the amount of defensive capacity you have. While it’s important to be sure to have enough defensive abilities to suffer through the damaging abilities inflicted upon you, it’s also important that going into what’s known as “Turtle” mode, is severely frowned upon. Not so much by the community, but the game itself will reward your added damage with a faster kill, even if by seconds, those seconds will add up to a fairly large amount of damage avoided overall and that’s less work for you and less work for your Healers.

Of course, this applies another entirely different problem. While you’re able to progress through phases and kill the mob faster overall, you’re more exposed during those phases and odds are they won’t be *significantly* faster enough to make your abilities and uses of Inner Beast more potent by comparison. A few seconds doesn’t really make those that much stronger because you don’t shorten the fight to the point that the recasts are cut by the end of the fight, so that when you review the entire fight your ratio of defensive abilities to neutral are slightly more skewed in the favor of the defensive abilities.

That last point might be hard to understand, so allow me to give an example. Say you have a 10 minute fight, and of those 10 minutes you’ve got say 4 minutes of defensive abilities, as in any time you had any defensive ability triggered, that time was added together for as long as those abilities were active. If you reduce the fight by a full minute by dealing more damage or whatever the case it, now you’re at a 9 minute fight, but since you cannot do anything about recasts you’ve still got the same amount of time for defensive abilities at 4 minutes. Therefore your ratio is now skewed more favorably, having had your defensive abilities ostensibly “up” for longer, even though in reality you just shortened the fight so that the time were you’d normally be waiting on cool downs was reduced. By doing this you’re able to drastically reduce the amount of damage you take, not just by skewing the above, but every second that you’re not taking damage by killing the mob faster, is another second your Healers don’t have to worry about it and another second that something or somebody won’t cause a wipe or massive catastrophe that could wipe you or make the final moments of a fight a real struggle to complete.

This is good to keep in mind for more advanced tactics and like-minded WARs who are looking for that extra edge to make their time more interesting while at the same time not really pushing their group much harder. It’s something that, unfortunately PLD cannot do to the same effect. Sure, you can change gear sets but WAR can focus more on damage than PLD can and that’s mostly due to WARs offensively minded abilities compared to PLD’s more defensively minded ones. This results in a bit of a problem once your group is beginning to “farm” your endgame because at that point you all know the mechanics well enough not to die from them, and you’re able to fully realize your potentials and do things you couldn’t do before. But if you’re still focusing all on defense when you don’t really need to that’s just wasting time that you could be focusing on something else. So after something is on farm the priority turns from being able to possibly complete the event, to completing it as fast as possible so you can get on with your day. And because of this, WAR truly shines in being able to make farming runs go faster and better.

This is one of the major issues with heavy mechanic fights like exist in FFXIV: ARR, because once you do understand the methodology of the fight and understand how to deal with the mechanics, it all becomes about the same as any other turn or event. Everything blends together and it becomes relatively boring, with wipes being caused from boredom or lack of focus, often to the ire of the group blaming the person who would normally be encouraged when the group was learning the fight.

Warrior

Understanding Wrath

Wrath, is WAR’s “thing” like every Job has effectively. Many of them are somewhat obscured or not as well known, but every Job in FFXIV: ARR has a specific mechanic, or play style that they are imparted with. WAR is the generation of Wrath, which stacks up to 5 and each stack applies a straight 2% bonus to Critical Hit Rate, it doesn’t increase the stat but the raw percentage rate that controls your likelihood of having a Critical Hit. PLD is about managing their abilities properly to proactively deflect damage and to use their Shield Swipe now and again, but overall they have control of their abilities with greater cognizance. MNK for example has their various forms, where one Weapon Skill will only be available in one form, and then switch you to another form after executing it, every Job has some sort of gimmick that makes them feel uniquely different than another, apart from the wildly different skills and abilities that they have.

Wrath by itself is useful but not incredibly potent like you might expect of such a central concept to a Job; except the point of Wrath is not to gather it and hold it, but instead to use it wisely to execute one of three unique skills; Inner Beast, Steel Cyclone or Unchained. Each of these abilities is incredibly potent on their own and only usable while “Infuriated” which is basically a way of saying “you have 5 stacks of Wrath” and should not be confused with Infuriate, the ability that applies the Infuriated status. It’s a little bit confusing I’ll admit, but you’ll get the hang of it pretty quick.

Now, most things do generate Wrath, and once you have 5 stacks of Wrath you cannot get anymore so using an ability that generates it will be a waste and you should always use a Fury Ability before using that skill, though you don’t have a choice all the time, especially if you’re trying to hold your Inner Beast use for an upcoming attack in a few seconds, and it’s better to waste a Wrath generation than to just stand there doing nothing, waiting to use Inner Beast. Every skill that does generate Wrath only generates a single unit with the exception of Infuriate which instantly grants 5 stacks of Wrath every 60 seconds when used, and it can be used to great effect by a skilled and experienced WAR to do all sorts of insane things that have helped crown them the King of Tanks.

While WAR does get a lot of useful tools and toys, of each Weapon Skill Combo only two attacks are going to generate your Wrath, this I suppose was a way to balance the trait so that WAR wouldn’t be more overpowered than it already was. If you think about it, it makes plenty of sense since Heavy Swing is a basic attack and additionally it has to be used with each of the three different types of combos. By not including it in the Wrath generation they made it so you have to do two full combos and then two attacks in order to get a full Wrath effect, rather than doing a full combo and two attacks, which would make WAR capable of practically spamming Inner Beast and the others. This could have been avoided by increasing the amount of Wrath needed to cap out, but that would add complexity that the game shuns against. Despite some very interesting mechanics and gimmicks to each Job, the game is remarkably “vanilla” pushing against more complex possibilities that a lot of other games embrace to give them depth and more interest by gamers.

Wrath and its proper generation thereof is the most important aspect to WAR, capable of using the skills required afterwards is another part of what it takes to make a good WAR, but both should come - in time - with enough experience and practice on the Job itself. There are two abilities that can also generate Wrath and you’ll use them, particularly one all the time with only a cool down of 90 seconds it can be used frequently and you’ll find it’s always getting put on cool down for its major boost in efficacy. To make it easy, here’s a list of skills and abilities that give Wrath:

  • Maim
  • Storm’s Eye
  • Storm’s Path
  • Skull Sunder
  • Butcher’s Block
  • Vengeance
  • Berserk

Each of these skills generates a single Unit of Wrath, Berserk and Vegeance each provide one, while the others all need to be “warmed up” so to speak to be able to start generating Wrath. Keep in mind that you can only generate wrath while in Defiance and you cannot stop Defiance and then start it up again and keep the same Wrath. Additionally Wrath only lasts for 30 seconds before it wears off completely, meaning if you have 4 stacks of Wrath and you allow 30 seconds to pass you’ll have no stacks of Wrath left, so be sure to keep an eye on that count down.

Infuriate, an ability you get at Level 50 gives you an instant Infuriated status, which essentially gives you 5 stacks of Wrath at once. It’s usable every minute and it takes roughly 25 seconds to hit 5 stacks of Wrath normally without excessive use of Berserk and Vengeance for the sole purpose of generating Wrath. In doing so you’re able to augment your Wrath generation every two natural cycles to provide a third, much faster one. This is often used by accomplished WARs to extend Inner Beast’s -20% damage reduction from 6 seconds to 12 seconds, making it twice as potent, as well as getting a double taste of the HP absorb.

The additional benefit is that all skills tied to Wrath completely ignore the damage penalty of Defiance, something that, somewhat unfortunately, PLD does not get access to. While WAR has a harsher damage penalty, they make up for it by having stronger abilities with higher potencies, and atop that they have two skills that they can easily keep up throughout an entire fight giving them a total of 31% additional damage, overcoming the -25% damage penalty from Defiance without working hard to do so. When Inner Beast and Steel Cyclone remove the damage penalty of Defiance these abilities change from putting WAR’s damage at 106% up to 131%. Unchained by itself is essentially the same as providing another 25% boost to your damage, but it’s more potent than that because while doing so it gives you the full value of the Enmity modifier on Defiance.

If you’ve got a decent amount of Skill Speed you’ll likely be somewhere in the area of 2.45 GCD. This unfortunately does not mean that increasing your Skill Speed by any amount that is usable currently (or will be in the near future) will significantly affect the increase of Inner Beast or any Wrath generation to a level that you’ll readily notice it. Adding Skill Speed for the simple sake of increasing your ability to generate Wrath or more importantly to a WAR, keeping Inner Beast up longer by way of being able to trigger it more often to reduce its downtime. Let’s look at the capacity to do this and see just how much GCD we’d need to make a noticeable difference on both Inner Beast uptime over the course of a 10 minute fight and how fast we can generate 5 stacks of Wrath. For this exercise we’re going to assume that the “first hit” will not be “free” in the sense that your GCD is already ready when you initially engage a mob, as it’ll slightly skew the results and in an effort to make everything as obvious and fair as possible we’ll make the first attack subject to the 2.45 GCD. For the same reason, we’re going to exclude the use of Berserk or Vengeance to gain additional bursts of Wrath, only because the difference in GCD doesn’t make any impact on the recast time of abilities, and so they add a variable that’s better left out since either the 2.5 GCD or shorter variants can use them to the same effect and it won’t change the rate at which the faster WAR setups would be able to gain Wrath.

In the following illustrations we’re going to show how fast it takes to get 5 stacks of Wrath and the differences between what GCDs would allow you to reach. In doing so this should help illustrate the differences and how much Skill Speed (hundreds, which is not available now or in the near future) that you’ll need to reduce the GCD to a rate at which you can appreciably use Inner Beast more frequently than the base rate.

Base 2.5 Global Cool Down

  • 2.5 Seconds: Heavy Swing [0 Wrath]
  • 5 Seconds: Maim / Skull Sunder [1 Wrath]
  • 7.5 Seconds: Storm’s Eye / Storm’s Path / Butcher’s Block [2 Wrath]
  • 10 Seconds: Heavy Swing [2 Wrath]
  • 12.5 Seconds: Maim / Skull Sunder [3 Wrath]
  • 15 Seconds: Storm’s Eye / Storm’s Path / Butcher’s Block [4 Wrath]
  • 17.5 Seconds: Heavy Swing [4 Wrath]
  • 20 Seconds: Maim / Skull Sunder [5 Wrath]

As we can see above, it’ll take - in the best case scenario where you’re not using any abilities or having to move or do anything else other than focus on your rotation - 20 seconds in order to hit 5 stacks of Wrath and therefore be able to utilize Inner Beast. Inner Beast lasts for 6 seconds and so the down time of Inner Beast is 14 seconds for every 20 seconds. This gives Inner Beast an average up time of 42% meaning that 42% of the time you’ll be able to have Inner Beast active, reducing your damage by 20%.

Of course if you combine these two to get an overall damage reduction, assuming both stay static (which won’t happen since reality is often messy and even ‘clean’ looking fights have variables that make it so we cannot expertly execute our rotation the millisecond the Weapon Skill becomes available to use) in a vacuum without any real world issues coming up such as needing to hold Inner Beast, or somehow needing to move or any other issues, we come to a total overall Damage Reduction of: 8.56%.

Coupled with being able to keep Storm’s Path up 100% of the time, we arrive at a total Damage Reduction for WAR at: 18.56% not counting Parry rate and the reduction therein, which would likely bump us up past 20%. Without doing so, we find that WAR without the use of Parry or additional skills that PLD has access to, can practically match the overall damage reduction of PLD’s Shield Oath simply through their normal course of events. Now, below we’ll do another set, each set will be reduced by 0.05 GCD, which takes about ~45 Skill Speed. I’ll denote the amount of Skill Speed required to hit the GCD per examination. Keep in mind that Skill Speed defaults at 341, so to find the added amount of Skill Speed required to achieve that level of GCD just subtract 341 from the value listed in the title of that examination.

2.45 Global Cool Down (386 Skill Speed)

  • 2.45 Seconds: Heavy Swing [0 Wrath]
  • 4.9 Seconds: Maim / Skull Sunder [1 Wrath]
  • 7.35 Seconds: Storm’s Eye / Storm’s Path / Butcher’s Block [2 Wrath]
  • 9.8 Seconds: Heavy Swing [2 Wrath]
  • 12.25 Seconds: Maim / Skull Sunder [3 Wrath]
  • 14.7 Seconds: Storm’s Eye / Storm’s Path / Butcher’s Block [4 Wrath]
  • 17.15 Seconds: Heavy Swing [4 Wrath]
  • 19.6 Seconds: Maim / Skull Sunder [5 Wrath]

From this we can see that a reduction of 0.05 GCD affords us with 5 stacks of Wrath 0.4 seconds faster than we otherwise could. This gives Inner Beast a downtime of 13.6 seconds instead of 14, giving a total Inner Beast uptime of 44% and a total Damage Reduction of 8.82%. This is an increase of uptime by 2% and an increase in Damage Reduction by 0.26%. Nothing significantly major but the upside is that these abilities will go off a slight amount faster, which allows for a slight increase in damage, but still it’s not very much and not particularly noticeable either, which is what we’re looking for.

2.40 Global Cool Down (439 Skill Speed)

  • 2.40 Seconds: Heavy Swing [0 Wrath]
  • 4.8 Seconds: Maim / Skull Sunder [1 Wrath]
  • 7.2 Seconds: Storm’s Eye / Storm’s Path / Butcher’s Block [2 Wrath]
  • 9.6 Seconds: Heavy Swing [2 Wrath]
  • 12 Seconds: Maim / Skull Sunder [3 Wrath]
  • 14.40 Seconds: Storm’s Eye / Storm’s Path / Butcher’s Block [4 Wrath]
  • 16.80 Seconds: Heavy Swing [4 Wrath]
  • 19.2 Seconds: Maim / Skull Sunder [5 Wrath]
  • Inner Beast Uptime: 45.45%
  • Total Damage Reduction: 9.09%

Now we’re almost at a full second faster Inner Beast, though it’s still not fast enough to let us see this and we’re at 98 total added Skill Speed (which is about the limits of what a WAR can add when pushing everything as far as they can go). In doing so we’re getting close to what the game will allow us to do with current pieces of gear. For our next few tests we’ll go by 0.10 GCD until we arrive at 2.00 GCD. Which even MNK has some difficulty hitting with their Greased Lightning capability.

2.30 Global Cool Down (544 Skill Speed)

  • 2.30 Seconds: Heavy Swing [0 Wrath]
  • 4.6 Seconds: Maim / Skull Sunder [1 Wrath]
  • 6.9 Seconds: Storm’s Eye / Storm’s Path / Butcher’s Block [2 Wrath]
  • 9.2 Seconds: Heavy Swing [2 Wrath]
  • 11.5 Seconds: Maim / Skull Sunder [3 Wrath]
  • 13.8 Seconds: Storm’s Eye / Storm’s Path / Butcher’s Block [4 Wrath]
  • 16.10 Seconds: Heavy Swing [4 Wrath]
  • 18.4 Seconds: Maim / Skull Sunder [5 Wrath]
  • Inner Beast Uptime: 48.38%
  • Total Damage Reduction: 9.67%

As can be seen here, the uptime of Inner Beast is approaching 50% which will make the Total Damage Reduction 10%, coupled with Storm’s Path this would make WAR equal the power of Shield Oath, all the while keeping the 25% additional HP from Defiance. But as we can also see, it takes a massive amount of Skill Speed, even with food and a full load out of Skill Speed it is impossible to hit with current gear and still focus on tanking to any degree, as the amount totals 103 extra Skill Speed.

2.20 Global Cool Down (649 Skill Speed)

  • 2.40 Seconds: Heavy Swing [0 Wrath]
  • 4.4 Seconds: Maim / Skull Sunder [1 Wrath]
  • 6.6 Seconds: Storm’s Eye / Storm’s Path / Butcher’s Block [2 Wrath]
  • 8.8 Seconds: Heavy Swing [2 Wrath]
  • 11 Seconds: Maim / Skull Sunder [3 Wrath]
  • 13.20 Seconds: Storm’s Eye / Storm’s Path / Butcher’s Block [4 Wrath]
  • 15.40 Seconds: Heavy Swing [4 Wrath]
  • 17.60 Seconds: Maim / Skull Sunder [5 Wrath]
  • Inner Beast Uptime: 51.72%
  • Total Damage Reduction: 10.34%

Here we begin to reach into the zone of impossibility no matter which way you press yourself, there’s absolutely no way to get 208 Skill Speed, the amount required to hit 2.2s GCD. I doubt that even in a year or more it’ll be possible, and yet this is the first time that Inner Beast has an uptime of 50% or greater. Just for curiosity’s sake, we’ll do the two following just to see the difference, but already we can see that achieving any appreciable affect is nigh impossible and causes too much to be lost.

2.10 Global Cool Down (754 Skill Speed)

  • 2.10 Seconds: Heavy Swing [0 Wrath]
  • 4.20 Seconds: Maim / Skull Sunder [1 Wrath]
  • 6.30 Seconds: Storm’s Eye / Storm’s Path / Butcher’s Block [2 Wrath]
  • 8.40 Seconds: Heavy Swing [2 Wrath]
  • 10.50 Seconds: Maim / Skull Sunder [3 Wrath]
  • 12.60 Seconds: Storm’s Eye / Storm’s Path / Butcher’s Block [4 Wrath]
  • 14.70 Seconds: Heavy Swing [4 Wrath]
  • 16.80 Seconds: Maim / Skull Sunder [5 Wrath]
  • Inner Beast Uptime: 55.55%
  • Total Damage Reduction: 11.11%

2.00 Global Cool Down (859 Skill Speed)

  • 2 Seconds: Heavy Swing [0 Wrath]
  • 4 Seconds: Maim / Skull Sunder [1 Wrath]
  • 6 Seconds: Storm’s Eye / Storm’s Path / Butcher’s Block [2 Wrath]
  • 8 Seconds: Heavy Swing [2 Wrath]
  • 10 Seconds: Maim / Skull Sunder [3 Wrath]
  • 12 Seconds: Storm’s Eye / Storm’s Path / Butcher’s Block [4 Wrath]
  • 14 Seconds: Heavy Swing [4 Wrath]
  • 16 Seconds: Maim / Skull Sunder [5 Wrath]
  • Inner Beast Uptime: 60%
  • Total Damage Reduction: 12%

Finally we come to the end, where Inner Beast is up 60% of the time, and the total Damage Reduction is 12% giving WAR a 22% Damage Reduction when we factor in Storm’s Path. All this for the exorbitant (and totally impossible) cost of 518 Skill Speed! As we can see, if we could apply extreme amounts of Skill Speed we can get a good boost to Wrath Generation, taking it down a total of four seconds per five stacks of Wrath once we get down to a 2 second GCD. Of course as already stated, that’s completely impossible, but it’s interesting to see just how much we’d need to reach something so appreciable. Even a second or two would be appreciable and to get to those levels we’d need more than we have available in the game to reach it. While Skill Speed shouldn’t be shunned, there are better options such as DTR and Critical Hit Rate, both of which increase damage substantially more than Skill Speed does and in doing so you’ll kill your targets faster than with a lot of Skill Speed and end the fight that much sooner. So while some people might think it’s a good idea, and go about stacking all the Skill Speed they can, keep in mind that while they’re battling to squeeze out an extra 0.8% total damage reduced, you’ll be able to reduce far more by killing a mob faster just by a few mere seconds, which will be a lot more plausible by outfitting yourself in STR gear and pushing for more damage.

Damage Versus Defense

Unlike PLD, WAR is uniquely positioned to be able to take advantage of dealing more damage rather than increasing their defensive measures as a way to increase their survivability and as a manner to reduce total damage taken. This has been touched on in other parts of the article but I’m going to add just a few points here as well because this is an important concept to be aware of. Primarily, the biggest difference is that you don’t really have the same capacity for defense like a PLD does, atop of their natural mitigation through Shield Oath, they also have both a Shield and a Sword which means they can Block and Parry, while WAR can just Parry. Though WAR is by no means weak and overall actually has more mitigation and survivability than PLD, they end up killing what feels like fairly slowly if they build for max VIT and Parry.

There’s another way, instead of doing this a well-equipped and knowledgeable WAR can outfit themselves while focusing on STR accessories that provide the greatest boosts to damage. As of Patch 2.3 the Stat Weights are as follows for WAR:

<pre>

   Weapon Damage: 8.732
   Strength: 1
   Critical Hit Rate: 0.204
   Determination: 0.325
   Skill Speed: 0.178

</pre>

From this is you can adjust your gear accordingly to have enough accuracy to hit 100% and then move onto equipping the gear which has the most weight to it. Keep in mind that you can use food to shore up your accuracy or use it instead to increase DTR, CRIT, or SKS. The choice is yours to make based on your personal equipment choices and those of what food you have access to. This is accomplished by taking the stats on the gear and multiplying them by these values. Weapon Damage of course is just as it is and you can pretty much ignore that, as well as STR since your accessories should be Item Level 110 and all have the same amount of STR. So you’re left mostly with ACC, CRIT, STR, DTR and SKS. Balancing all of these is what you’ll need to do to find your greatest STR equivalence. In doing so you’ll inflict the greatest amount of damage possible.

The problem with WAR doing this however is that during the shorter battle, they are a bit more exposed and it requires a skilled WAR to pull this off, with healers who are aware of what’s happening. However often times the healers in question are unaware of any major difference except that the fight itself is going faster, there are less deaths because the fight’s mechanics have less time to enact their unruly vengeance on the party and if they’re parsing they’ll see that your DPS is quite a lot higher and may even be approaching some of your underachieving DPS. The downside is pretty much that, and that alone, while the upsides are much more varied and weighty.

Even in fights where you take a lot of damage like Twintania or Turn 9, you can still pull a STR setup if you’re aware of the mechanics and how to appropriately counter them. I’ll place a quick example to get an understanding on how to compare two pieces of gear, of course you need to make sure that you’re hitting the right accuracy cap, so we’ll say that we already are hitting the right accuracy cap, or that we can make it up somewhere else without switching gear stats around aside from these two pieces. Keep in mind as well, that WAR can only wear Tank Gear for their body slots, there’s no getting around that unfortunately as far as I’m aware and every WAR has to deal with this when they venture down this path. That means that the only things they can really do to get more STR is to either get crafted gear and meld STR or the like onto it, or they can get STR accessories from Coil or elsewhere that have appropriate Item Level 110 stats on them.

By doing so they cut out some HP, but WAR already has so much VIT and HP that it shouldn’t matter if you’re aware of your lesser HP status and how to move around that. You’ll have less of a buffer so you’ll need to be on your game, paying attention to what’s going on so you don’t have to worry about needing that little safety bumper of HP. With proper execution of skills the loss of HP from accessories (Two Rings, Necklace, Earrings, Belt and Bracelets) won’t make any difference to you once you’ve gotten a handle on the fight. It’s paramount to remember that this should mostly be done after you’ve grown comfortable and familiar with a fight. Going into a more difficult fight where you lack the capacity to easily beat it can make things more difficult rather than easier as you need to have near perfect timing to not need that extra bit of HP.

Let’s get on with the example then:

  • Gloam Choker

<pre>

Strength 18

Determination 9

Skill Speed 19

</pre>

In this case we have the same STR in each piece so we can throw that out and we’re left with 9 DTR and 9 SKS. We know from the above weights that DTR is worth 0.325 STR per point, and that Skill Speed is worth 0.178 STR per point while Critical Hit Rate is worth 0.204 STR per point. Using these weights we can calculate that the DTR value is worth 2.925 STR, while the Skill Speed is worth 3.382 STR. Giving us a combined STR equivalent of 6.307 STR. Now we take that value and compare it to the next piece of equipment, and whichever has the higher value is what we take. From a quick glance we can tell the Gloam Choker is going to win in this instance because the only value of STR equivalence that the High Allagan Choker of Slaying has is Critical Hit Rate, which won’t be enough to combat both DTR and SKS from the Gloam Choker.

  • High Allagan Choker of Slaying

<pre>

Strength 18

Accuracy 13

Critical Hit Rate 19

</pre>

Once we math out the amount that Critical Hit Rate equals in STR we can find out how much Gloam Choker takes the lead, with the High Allagan piece at 3.876 STR equivalence there’s a difference of 2.431 STR in favor of the Gloam Choker. And so, in a very short comparison you’ll easily be able to tell the difference of each piece and tally them up to a simple amount to determine which is best and which should be replaced by what. Using this you can increase your DPS and kill speed considerably, and by doing *that* you’ll incur less damage and your party will have a higher chance of evading the more annoying mechanics. Phases that are a true annoyance will fly by faster and you’ll be able to skip some phases in particular fights like the Avatar fight so you can avoid having to deal with some of the more annoying and cumbersome mechanics.

Defiance

  • Type: Ability
  • Level Acquired: Level 30
  • Description: Increases maximum HP by 25%, while lowering damage dealt by 25% and increasing enmity. Increases HP recovery via healing magic by 20% for self. Effect ends upon reuse. Using certain actions while under the effect of Defiance will grant Wrath. Each unit of Wrath increases critical hit rate by 2%. When five units are stacked, you will become Infuriated. All Wrath is lost when Defiance ends.
  • Casting Time: Animation
  • Duration: Persists through Death. Use Defiance again to deactivate.
  • Recast Time: 10s
  • Cost: N/A
  • Combo Bonus: N/A
  • Notes: Defiance is WAR’s entire reason for existing, it turns them into a proper Tank, that statistically is better than PLD, though in practice it entirely depends on the person and in some cases the level of support the player receives. Mostly, WAR is considered to be more complex and difficult to play with a lot of variables to juggle and execute at the right moments giving it a wide range of skill levels that a player is capable of falling between at any given moment. A PLD on the other hand has less variables and so they have a narrower range of which a player can exact their skill, they start off higher than a WAR so a mediocre PLD is going to be better than a mediocre WAR, but once you start getting to the upper levels a WAR beats a PLD since the PLD is unfortunately bound by the restrictions of their Job.

Defiance has a lot to do with how WAR is a better Tank. This is because the 25% increase to HP is good, but the 20% boost to heals received is absolutely incredible. It means that Defiance is pretty much equivalent to reducing the amount of damage taken by 25% with Healers only having a 5% reduction in their healing prowess comparatively. So for every heal they don’t have to expend any more MP than they expressly need to recover a WAR’s HP. On top of this, it provides WAR with a really large MP pool, increasing the effectiveness of Stoneskin by a wide margin and making it seem like a WAR is heartier because of their larger HP pool. The bonus to Critical Hit Rate per Wrath stack is a nice addition and helps WAR to deal more damage, giving every Inner Beast an equivalent of 10% Critical Hit Rate boost, which is always welcome, but at this point it is mostly just icing on top of an already very decadent cake.

Defiance with a recent update persists through death and one of the most important things to note about it, is that it has a 10 second recast, it’s not tied to the GCD but at the same time it does not interrupt combos like Sword or Shield Oath do for PLD. It also takes no MP or TP to execute and can easily be done immediately after raising. This makes it very possible for a skilled WAR to drop in and out of Defiance to take advantage of their greater damage potential when it’s not needed for them to Tank, and then swap back to Defiance a little before they’re needed as a Tank swap or whatever the case is. As they do not mess up any combos by doing so they can pre-charge any number of attacks and then switch to Defiance to execute a high Enmity combo without skipping a beat.

Obviously this ability is only really useful when you’re Tanking or looking to absorb more damage, but it’s also useful if you want to secure Enmity then swap back out of it. For example in dungeon runs where your focus is speed running you can keep Defiance on, gather up 5 stacks of Wrath and use Unchained on one of the mini bosses of the dungeon, then execute your attacks as you usually would, up to and including particularly using your Butcher’s Block combo. You’ll do the same amount of damage as if you weren’t under Defiance for 20 seconds and be able to accrue a great deal of Enmity in a short period of time. If you have Infuriate off cool down you can pop Unchained, immediately roll into Infuriate again and either use Inner Beast to reduce your incoming damage or Steel Cyclone to gain even more Enmity. Though, unless the boss is going to be moving around oddly and your DPS are somehow vastly better geared than you, this is completely unnecessary and Inner Beast is best to reduce your demand on your Healer, letting them focus on DPSing the boss to get it down faster. You should be able to get 5 stacks of Wrath again before or just as Unchained ends, and then end it with another Inner Beast before dropping out of Defiance and laying into the boss with as much damage as you can do.

By doing the above boss fights will be drastically shortened but you won’t be overly reliant on a Healer to keep you alive, and even better Enmity won’t be even the slightest bit of a concern. This is only possible with WAR because of its unique abilities that allow it to bypass the damage penalty while reaping the HP, Curative, Critical Hit Rate and Enmity benefits of Defiance. It really seems like to counter this SE should give a more potent buff to PLD’s Sword Oath, but as of yet we’ve seen no inclination this is going to happen.

Inner Beast

  • Type: Ability
  • Level Acquired: Level 35
  • Description: Delivers an attack with a potency of 300. Ignores the damage penalty inflicted by Defiance. Can only be executed when Infuriated. All Wrath is lost when used. Additional Effect: Absorb 100% of damage dealt as HP. Additional Effect: Reduces damage taken by 20%
  • Casting Time: Animation (Moderate)
  • Duration: 6s
  • Recast Time: GCD (Requires 5 Stacks of Wrath)
  • Cost: 5 Stacks of Wrath
  • Combo Bonus: N/A
  • Notes: Absolutely one of the most broken skills WAR gains access to. As you can read, it has a relatively massive amount of buffs to it, not only is its potency incredibly high but it also natively ignores the damage penalty of Defiance, and all of the damage you deal goes to restoring your HP. It also applies a 20% damage taken down buff to you for six full seconds, giving you the same sort of defense Shield Oath gets and allows you to place it wherever you need it or use it consistently to try and keep it up as much as possible (not recommended).

Inner Beast is, simply beastly for lack of a better word. It can easily reach 2,000 damage with proper buffs and use of skills which gives you a huge heal and lays into the mob with a good chunk of damage comparable to top tier DPS. Of course you won’t be doing that sort of damage commonly, but it isn’t completely unheard of and it can happen if you know how to build your WAR properly as WAR can benefit greatly from STR focus and such accessories.

In truth, it’s best to use Inner Beast as a Defensive Buff in preparation for a big hit coming your way. You can use it on lesser bosses whenever you want however as you don’t need to really worry about deflecting a large chunk of a 10,000 damage or greater move like you would with larger bosses like Twintania and Nael Deus Darnus. You’re able to get Wrath easily enough within thirty seconds, even utilizing buffs and taking your time, and no boss so far has a high damage move that is executed any faster than that. So, by timing your Inner Beast’s properly you’re able to always have that 20% damage reduction (along with the 10% from Storm’s Path if you’re using it too) for every major damaging hit that comes your way. In doing so you’re able to take less damage by far than a PLD for the same attacks, because not only do you have a 25% boost to your HP but you also have a -30% damage taken on every major attack because you’re able to utilize your skills properly to build Wrath fast.

It’d be a good idea to consult the “Understanding Wrath” section above to get an idea on what’s the best way for building Wrath and how you can build it up to five stacks really fast by blowing a few of your abilities alongside using your Weapon Skills appropriately. It’s also a good idea to use Infuriate as you can, because it’s short cool down of 60 seconds allows you to basically get an extra Infuriate in every other attack, which are usually around 30 seconds apart for most of the larger bosses in the game, of which there are only two so far.

Inner Beast can also be used offensively since it ignores the damage penalty and you can utilize Infuriate to help you get Inner Beast quickly, attack with it for the higher potency and damage, then immediately drop Defiance to go back to dealing the highest damage you can. This of course only works if you’re *already in* Defiance. Due to its 10 second recast time, you can’t jump into Defiance, pop Infuriate, hit Inner Beast, then drop Defiance because you can’t right click the icon to turn it off, you have to use the ability again which by that point would still have at most a 6 second recast on it and so you’d be stuck doing two or so weapon skills that were weakened with Defiance’s damage penalty compared to without. SO keep that in mind.

You can however pop Defiance while you’re running to the mob(s) in question and have it ready or nearly off cool down by the time you reach your target(s) and use Steel Cyclone, or Inner Beast as you want or need (as Steel Cyclone is the highest damaging AOE you have, and also ignores the damage penalty) before dropping out of Defiance instantly before your GCD is back up and you’re free to use other abilities or weapon skills at that time.

Unchained

  • Type: Ability
  • Level Acquired: Level 40
  • Description: Nullifies the damage penalty inflicted by Defiance. Can only be executed when Infuriated. All Wrath is lost when used. Effect is canceled if Defiance ends.
  • Casting Time: Animation (Moderate)
  • Duration: 20s
  • Recast Time: 120s (2 Minutes)
  • Cost: 5 Stacks of Wrath
  • Combo Bonus: N/A
  • Notes: This ability gives a great amount flexibility to a WAR, allowing them to absolutely boost their Enmity and damage potential by using this under Defiance and with full damaging buffs, giving them a huge lead on Enmity within a very short period of time. It effectively gives a 25% boost to both damage and Enmity as a result of removing the 25% penalty. As mentioned above, it allows a WAR to use Unchained and Defiance to open up a fight such as those in dungeons used to farm tomes, instead of staying in Defiance the entire time and having a damage penalty where the fight takes longer, you can use Unchained to gain the benefit of Defiance in terms of the defensive and Enmity buffs, and still deal full damage as if you were not in Defiance. And then when you finally wear down Unchained, you can remove Defiance and not worry about the possible issues with Enmity as you’ve already secured yourself a mighty lead and any problems arising are going to be miniscule compared to the lead you already gave yourself.

Because you not only double your Enmity from being in Defiance, you also increase it further by 25% with Unchained because it removes the damage penalty. In a way, Defiance naturally (compared to no Defiance) gives only 1.5x Enmity based on the damage done because it takes the 0.75 DMG modifier and multiplies it by 2, giving you 1.5x Enmity. However with Unchained that damage penalty is removed and you get the full value that you wouldn’t be able to get any other way, except when applying both Maim and Storm’s Eye to get a slight 6% boost over the baseline. With those, you’d get an extra 31% damage boost and still be in Defiance giving a large, meaty gain to damage and in doing so give an even bigger net gain to Enmity.

Learning to utilize Unchained in such a way takes time and practice, but it allows you to skirt the boundaries of what a Tank is capable of and allowed to do, while not losing the damage or Enmity potential of a full blown WAR. By using STR accessories and gear designed for the best damage output possible you’re going to be increasing your kill speed and every second when you’re constantly doing the same dungeon over and over is worth its weight in gold after the umpteenth time of going through that same dungeon. Cutting time is always valuable because eventually it’ll net you more free time doing what you want. And as we all know, an MMO often requires you to spend a significant portion of your time doing something you don’t particularly want to do in order to do or get something that you do want. By cutting that time utilizing tricks with Unchained and Defiance you’re able to better exploit that and get more of your time back while spending less on things you don’t want to do. Like weekly tome capping, or spamming dungeons in order to get more alexandrite.

Steel Cyclone

  • Type: Ability
  • Level Acquired: Level 45
  • Description: Delivers an attack with a potency of 200 to all nearby enemies. Ignores the 25% damage penalty inflicted by Defiance. Can only be executed when Infuriated. All Wrath is lost when used. Additional Effect: Increased Enmity. (x6)
  • Casting Time: Animation (Moderate)
  • Duration: N/A
  • Recast Time: GCD (Requires 5 Stacks of Wrath)
  • Cost: 5 Stacks of Wrath
  • Combo Bonus: N/A
  • Notes: The strongest AOE ability that WAR has, in both Enmity and damage. Steel Cyclone is a relatively large circular AOE in a radius from the user and has a nice animation reminiscent from version 1.0 years ago. The ability is one of the most intense ways to gain Snap Enmity and there’s no ability or way in the game that beats this. When properly buffed it can easily do 500+ damage per enemy and with the default x6 Enmity Modifier, under Defiance this becomes x12 and the 500 Damage per mob becomes an Enmity Value of a staggering 6,000.

As you can see, the Enmity Potential of Steel Cyclone is quite a lot higher than most abilities but it’s weaker potency makes it less useful for things like single target tanking where Butcher’s Block additional 80 Potency makes up for its slightly less multiplier. As was mentioned above with Overpower, when mobbing, or group tanking you’ll want to use Steel Cyclone *at least once* in order to take advantage of it’s incredible AOE Enmity Generation and damage abilities, and then depending entirely on how long those mobs will stay alive you’ll either use Unchained (if it’s off cool down) and start working as many Overpowers into the mix as possible, or you’ll use Steel Cyclone again (assuming Infuriate is available) and go back to using Overpower normally. The decision completely rests, as stated above in Overpower on how long the mobs are going to live. If they’re going to survive for around 20 seconds or so, it’d be best to double up on Steel Cyclone as it gives you the greatest Enmity and damage, every GCD after 20 seconds the Unchained and Overpower combination begins to lead ahead, but not by a considerable margin even around 25 seconds. It’s once it goes further that it makes a larger impact and so if your fight is going to last a good bit longer than 25 seconds you should use Unchained and Overpower after that first Steel Cyclone.

Infuriate

  • Type: Ability
  • Level Acquired: Level 50
  • Description: Instantly grants five units of Wrath, changing status to Infuriated. Can only be used when Defiance is active.
  • Casting Time: Animation
  • Duration: 30s
  • Recast Time: 60s (1 Minute)
  • Cost: N/A
  • Combo Bonus: N/A
  • Notes: One of my favorite abilities that WAR has, while a lot of them are really good or fun to use, Infuriate is probably one of my favorite tank oriented skills because of what it can do. Every sixty seconds it gives you an instant Infuriated status, which is equivalent to getting 5 stacks of Wrath. This allows you to use any of the three abilities that you can with Infuriate active; Inner Beast, Unchained or Steel Cyclone. This is where WAR’s skill and capacity for thinking on their feet and being reactive comes into play. Depending on how you’re fighting and what you’re doing, how your group is proceeding you can completely change your strategy to fit your needs. You aren’t pushed into a particular pattern like PLD who can only proactively defend, you can instead push against the mechanics that are constantly pressing at you and your party, it may not be particular effective but at least it’s an *option* something that PLD isn’t even given and one that I hope the next tank coming later this year has.

Infuriate should be used at the start of every battle while your party buffs and prepares for the encounter, this gives you enough time for the recast to tick down, as Wrath lasts for thirty seconds make sure to do it as close, but not threatening to fall over that time limit, you need to make sure you make contact with your enemy within those thirty seconds or use an ability before your Infuriated status resets due to the timer. This will start the fight off not only with you having a powerful ability but it will also give you a half recast on Infuriate for quick use again.

On average it takes about 20 to 30 seconds to obtain 5 stacks of Wrath depending on what avenue you take and if you’ve used Vengeance or Berserk and what your Skill Speed it and the like. But either way it’ll still fall between those two values for quite some time to come until we get Haste or something that completely changes the way the GCD is. I doubt that’ll come anytime soon and so we’re left with the values above, 20 seconds being the fastest and 30 seconds generally being the slowest you’ll gain 5 stacks of Wrath. This means that every other time you get 5 stacks of Wrath you’ll have Infuriate to work with. Which means you can use Unchained every two Infuriate recasts, or double up on Inner Beast by chaining it after a few seconds so that you can extend the 6 second 20% damage reduction up to 12 seconds, all the while you’re still gaining more Wrath, shortening the downtime of the skill and increasing your survivability for a short period of time substantially. Additionally the HP recovery of Inner Beast will help you to recover a bit of HP in the meantime.

When everything is said and done, Infuriate really ends up being one of the strongest skills, giving you instant access to your most potent tanking skills, there’s really no other ability that matches it and I for one am very glad we got a faster recast ability like this rather than one like Hallowed Ground where you’re afraid to use it at the wrong time and waste it. Instead Infuriate can be used liberally and in doing so you become more familiar with the intricacies of WAR and learn how to grow into that lumbering axe that they carry.

Cross Class Skills

WAR benefits far more than PLD for example from Cross Class Skills, as they help (dramatically) to shore up the various gaps WAR has in their skillset. Because of this though, it often feels like WAR is far superior (and certainly appears that way) because they can use Cross Class Skills to make up for the shortcomings they have, rather than having a complete set of skills and then using Cross Class Skills to add to that, like most other Jobs do. Either way, there are too many Cross Class Skills below for you to be able to equip them all, the difference between PLD and WAR makes this a bit more difficult to choose 5 specific skills that never need to be removed like PLD has.

A quick list is provided if you don’t want to read a run down on each skill or understand how they’re best used or in what manner they’re useful compared to other skills or how to pair them with other skills. The list is separated into three lists, and I’m only going to include the skills that are *necessary* for that specific list, so in the case of the Solo list, you’ll find there aren’t 5 abilities there, that’s because you don’t need the others and you can add whatever you feel like for that list and it’ll be just as useful as it was before for the same category.

Solo List

  • Featherfoot
  • Second Wind
  • Awareness
  • Internal Release

Party (Defensive) List

  • Flash
  • Provoke
  • Convalescence
  • Second Wind
  • Awareness (Where Applicable)
  • Mantra (Where Awareness is not usable)

Party (Offensive) List

  • Flash
  • Provoke
  • Internal Release
  • Convalescence
  • Awareness (Where Applicable)
  • Second Wind (Where Awareness does not work)

These lists should help you get a quick idea of what you should or shouldn’t use in what case. Of course, each is specific to a type of play style, with the latter also being able to be used in a more neutral or balanced approach. Solo doesn’t really need some of the defensive buffs but they work just as well there as they would anywhere else, and Awareness works all the time while solo though the damage difference really doesn’t matter.

Flash

  • Type: Spell
  • Level Acquired: Level 8 GLA
  • Description: Increases enmity in all nearby enemies.
  • Casting Time: Animation
  • Duration: N/A
  • Recast Time: GCD
  • Cost: 8 MP (Base MP)
  • Combo Bonus: N/A
  • Notes: While many might not really think Flash is that useful, considering we have Overpower and Steel Cyclone to back us up, it still has its uses. Our MP is very limited as WAR so we cannot spam it like PLD does, it also lacks the Blind enhancement which makes it more effective at lowering damage taken by reducing the accuracy of the afflicted mobs. However a WAR can still make great use of Flash by weaving it in when they’re trying to gather mobs up for AOEing or just trying to secure Enmity on them.

Where this really plays a large role is when you’re low on TP, which is going to be relatively rare if you’re well versed in how WAR plays and the pacing of how you do your abilities whilst in Defiance. If you are unaware or overuse Fracture when you should not, then this may be a place you find yourself in, and it feels like a very special brand of Hell. After enough use and practice as WAR you’ll find yourself there less and less and so it should eventually never be an issue unless you or your group is chaining large pulls and you’re not adjusting your TP expenditure proportionally.

It also plays an absolutely massive role when you’re Pacified. And it remains the main, if not only reason I keep it on my bar when I’m tanking or doing any group work on WAR. When you’re Pacified you are completely unable to do any Weapon Skill for a total of 5 seconds, and while it may seem like a short period of time, it isn’t and it’s a time in which mobs can easily be roving around and rolling over your friends like they’re bales of hay. You CAN however use Spells and Abilities while Pacified, and while you lack any ability that lets you garner Enmity in the way you’d need, unless you consider Provoke, which really wouldn’t help you in this situation, you do have access to Flash.

Flash is a spell that provides a set amount of Enmity based on your weapon’s damage, your STR and your DTR in that order of importance. The formula is the same for any Class or Job utilizing the spell regardless of level so the ability is just as strong for WAR as it is for PLD, often times it’s a bit stronger for WAR since their stats are often tuned a bit more towards STR. However without the MP to back it up, there’s only a few flashes in any WAR at any given time and without any easy way to restore MP reliably like PLD’s Riot Blade, you’re stuck keeping it in reserve for the moments you need it.

So, back to the point; when you’re Pacified you’re able to use Flash to generate Enmity instead of letting it slide away as your Healers heal you and your party, and your other party members blister and blitz your enemies into the void. You’ll be able to get off two Flashes, which should be more than enough to continually secure hate to yourself amid all the chaos of battle, keeping yourself fully in control of the mobs and without the worry that Pacification normally brings.

This is also useful in some other scenarios when you’re Pacified, even if there is only one mob, using Flash to keep Enmity up while you’re unable to do anything else of merit will help greatly, especially in areas like Turn 7 where you might use Berserk to increase your damage and Enmity output on one of the first sets of adds, when you’re Pacified and your group is focusing on that add it can be possible for them to pull Enmity away from you. A few Flashes tossed into the mix while you’re Pacified can completely prevent this from happening and it works better the more enemies there are.

A good example of Flash being useful outside of Pacification is in an instance where you’re Main Tanking The Binding Coil of Bahamut Turn 8, also known as “The Second Binding Coil of Bahamut, Turn 3” though most people just stick with the Turn 8 moniker because they feel they all should be stacked together. Regardless of the moniker, this is a good Turn that utilizes a lot of WARs capabilities and allows them to solo tank a fight that was meant to be dual tanked and swapped back and forth. However a good WAR can easily do this fight in gear as weak as Item Level 85 and still succeed with very high chances. The more gear and better equipped they are with experience the more likely they are to do just fine as any other WAR could possibly do.

Against the Avatar, you will eventually get Brainjacked, which is a throwback to FFXI’s Chariots from Salvage and the like. In getting Brainjacked you’re essentially “Confused” in standard MMO speak, or you’re “Charmed” in a limited way. Instead of going out and attacking your entire party or whomever the boss denotes, you attack whomever is closest to you. Because you’ll be out of commission for around 10 seconds and be unable to continue a combo (unable to pre-charge here is a big pain in the neck) when you see it casting Brainjack you have a very small window to act. If you’ve already got an Enmity Combo pre-charged then you can get it off, but if you’re going to start on Heavy Swing or if you’re doing your buff rotation, Flash can help by applying a bit of Enmity where otherwise you wouldn’t have anything that specifically increases Enmity in such a way.

It’s a small thing but when you’re out of commission for so long over the course of that section of the fight, you’ll easily notice a lot of people’s Enmity bars creeping upwards towards you. If you don’t work in all the little tricks you can think of, you’ll end up taking a heavy beating on the Enmity front and it may be possible for people to steal Enmity from you. And yes, while I know that they should be watching their Enmity, they often don’t and furthermore they have plenty of mechanics to worry about and counter and may not have the time or wherewithal to do so at the appropriate time. And if the Avatar turns around, it’s almost always a wipe unless it’s so fast that he doesn’t get Diffusion Beam off, which causes a massive bleeding effect and heavy damage. That coupled with an auto attack, or any of the mechanics of the fight like the Dreadnaught coming down, the mines blowing up, or either of the many AOE damaging abilities that are completely unblockable, will more often than not cause at least a single death if not wipe everybody on the field save for you, the tank who let hate slip away from them.

Convalescence

  • Type: Ability
  • Level Acquired: Level 10 GLA
  • Description: Increases HP recovery via healing magic by 20% for self.
  • Casting Time: Animation
  • Duration: 20s
  • Recast Time: 120s (2 Minutes)
  • Cost: N/A
  • Combo Bonus: N/A
  • Notes: This ability is the second of Cross Class Skills which should never leave your bar unless you’re not tanking, and only in that situation. However, there’s not much else to put in its place and there are other abilities that can be swapped out so you don’t accidentally forget to put this back. However, in most cases it’s always best to just turn to another Job or Class that can deal better or more damage. However, as WAR, there’s little more in the way of combined survivability and primary damage output, making WAR an oddly excellent choice for soloing. Especially doing Beast Tribe Dailies where you’re mobbed left and right by large groups and which can kill other Classes or Jobs if they’re not careful. A WAR on the other hand will be able to gather them all up and demolish an entire group of mobs without much more than a few scratches and nicks, no real harm to their survivability. This is particularly useful and notable on the Sahagin tribes where they have an entire boat filled with aggroable mobs that just love to aggro you as soon as you get to your item or objective and interrupt you. Many times the best course of action is simply to wipe the whole deck of mobs in order to prevent any issues from arising. Doing this will also earn you the praise of several other Jobs or Classes that are having an annoying time constantly getting aggroed and having to deal with it.

However, the skill itself is useful for WAR as they already have a 20% bonus to healing received, this skill allows them to double that to 40% (a bit more due to the multiplicative nature of the game) and gain even more healing power for the same amount of spells, letting them pull their HP up from Critical to Safe in a matter of a cast or two instead of more, and we we’re well aware a single cast worth of time can make or break a run.

Convalescence is best paired with Thrill of Battle, as was mentioned up above in the actual skill’s description. By pairing them you’re allowing your Healers the ability to put you up to full HP faster and easier, since you have more HP than usual but won’t have any additional curing power you’ll be able make up for that by utilizing Convalescence. With the two combined you actually have more healing power than if you were to gain the equivalent of what Defiance provides. What I mean by this is that Defiance adds a 25% boost to Maximum HP, while allotting a 20% boost to received curing spells, Thrill of Battle gives you a 20% boost to Maximum HP and Convalescence gives you another 20% boost to healing power, making it a more potent increase in healing compared to the HP boost.

One good benefit of this combined with Thrill of Battle, is the ability to get Stoneskin and Adloq placed on you, both will be supercharged by the two abilities working in concert and be far stronger than they would otherwise, giving your healers a chance to recover a bit of MP and have something of a breather. This also allows you to forego using defensive abilities and in lieu of them you’re able to use these two together in much the same way a PLD would use Awareness and Foresight together, despite the two instances being incredibly unlike each other in reality, the similarity remains there. In this instance because you have more HP it’s essentially like having 20% less damage taken provided your healers are able to keep you up at full HP, and because they probably will have no issue with it from pairing it with Convalescence you’re able to hold Inner Beast and Vengeance back for when you need it. Or, should your healers need to recover a bit of MP and you want to give them some time to recover, you can easily pair this with Inner Beast, which in many ways would be best to keep using anyways despite having Thrill of Battle on in order to quickly get your HP back up and to lessen the amount of damage done.

It’s these unique and somewhat odd pairings that give WAR the edge in Tanking. In the above case you’re increasing your HP a further 20% which is similar to having Rampart active, but by also activating Inner Beast you create an even greater synergy because the larger HP pool will be harder to keep full and thus Inner Beast will be able to better fill it, and the damage reduction works well with the added Max HP without interfering and causing Diminishing Returns. It’s this sort of organic synergy that makes WAR such a great Tank and something that should be worked on for PLD.

Provoke

  • Type: Ability
  • Level Acquired: Level 22 GLA
  • Description: Gesture threateningly, increasing enmity in target.
  • Casting Time: Animation (Short)
  • Duration: N/A
  • Recast Time: 40s
  • Cost: N/A
  • Combo Bonus: N/A
  • Notes: Provoke is pretty much a necessity for tanking in FFXIV: ARR, particularly when you’re required (as is often the case) to tank swap with another. Provoke by its very nature is made for tank swapping. What it does is pretty simple and easy to understand however. By using it, it gives you the same Enmity as whomever has the highest, and then gives you one additional point of Enmity. So if for example the highest Enmity value of your entire group was 15,000, using Provoke at that time would give you 15,001 Enmity, and so the mob would turn to you. Of course the first moment that the person or people at that Enmity Value do any other action before you can do another, the mob will turn right back to them, so it’s not meant to secure Enmity, but rather to take it back or to switch tanks seamlessly and easily without having to work together in concert to make sure both tanks are accruing Enmity at a similar rate, as would be the case in games like FFXI.

While this may make it seem to be easy for tanking, it’s not as much as you’d think. Its main use is to take a mob back from somebody who is running away from the mob usually and not in a position to get any additional Enmity and you are likely out of range for Shield Lob or they have gained so much Enmity that you simply cannot regain it easily without the use of Provoke. Either way, Provoke is a good tool but it’s highly limited, if you take out the aspect of tank swapping, which the ability was seemingly made for, then you’re looking at then it’s uses become quite niche. Many people thought to use PLD’s ability of Cover to accrue a large amount of Enmity at the start of a fight, by Covering a person who can accumulate a lot of Enmity, and letting them do as much damage as they can in the beginning, which would give them a great deal of Enmity and the Cover would prevent them from taking any physical damage. Then with a second or two left on Cover’s effect, the PLD would use Provoke to give them all that Enmity and they’d start their Enmity rotation then to stay ahead. This doesn’t work as well as people thought and so the idea was largely abandoned because in the same time period a PLD with Shield Oath can easily keep up and outpace the Enmity gain from the damage the DPS is inflicting.

Provoke is best used when you’re going to be out of range for a Shield Lob or able to take hate back immediately in any other way, such as a boss that managed to kill the other tank, or another add that killed your off tank and is not making a beeline for your mages. These scenarios make Provoke highly useful and its range makes it all the more useful because of it. Additionally, Provoke helps to get a ‘claim’ on a mob quickly and reduces the time you have to run to the mob. While that may not seem like much use, in speed runs where you’re trying to minimize the amount of time you’re running, or the amount of time you’re doing *anything* really, it can be helpful.

Usually you tank a boss in a speed run right up against the first opening barrier to block out the groups of mobs you’re going to be locking out (more on this and how to do a speed run later). And usually the boss is idling in the center of the arena of the fight zone, because of this you’d normally have to run up and shield lob, well past the barrier, making the mobs you had glued to your back passing through the area that will become the barrier and so you’d have to trail back through the barrier a ways to get them back behind said barrier. By doing this you waste more time and it’s annoying to boot. However many bosses are close enough to use Provoke from either before the barrier or just inside, and in those instances you can run up just past the line so the mobs are on the *other side* of that barrier line on the ground (purple squiggly looking thing). Once you Provoke the boss makes its way towards you, and as you’re usually the first one there, you’ll start the countdown to the barrier being erected for the boss fight, and based on your timing and your group’s, you’ll likely get a lock out barrier to pop up a few seconds after your entire party has passed through where the barrier is.

Awareness

  • Type: Ability
  • Level Acquired: Level 34 GLA
  • Description: Nullifies chance of suffering critical damage.
  • Casting Time: Animation
  • Duration: 15s
  • Recast Time: 120s (2 Minutes)
  • Cost: N/A
  • Combo Bonus: N/A
  • Notes: Awareness used to be a useless skill, not only did it used to only reduce Critical Hit Chance by 25% but once it was changed to completely annul Critical Hit Chance, it was bugged so that heals also never Critical Hit, and so the reduction in curing power was not worth the tradeoff. However they had recently adjusted and fixed the ability so that this is a non-issue. Now, it’s a good thing to keep in mind that a Critical Hit is a static 1.5x damage boost to any character or NPC in the game, and this is unchangeable. You cannot simply add a stat that gives you 1.55x damage for a Critical Hit, so far it just doesn’t exist, which means you can easily see the utility of canceling the possibility of any Critical Hits. Of course, this is a bit more useful in PvP or in areas where you’re fighting something or somebody that can alter their Critical Hit Rate.

Except, almost every boss in the game does not Critical Hit, and the instances are so rare that their Critical Hit Rate is probably around 10% or less, making this skill all the more weaker and less of a candidate. To realize this, we’ll say a boss deals 2,000 damage every 2.5 seconds, which is a good metric for most bosses, their ‘auto attack’ is pretty strong in this regard, and their Abilities or Weapon Skills are generally every 10 or 15 seconds. So let’s say that you’re highly unlucky and during the 15 seconds of Awareness duration the boss you’re fighting hits you just as you trigger it, giving them an extra hit in, from the normal 6 to 7. Also say that they land both a powerful ability and weapon skill that can Critical Hit. This gives them a total of 9 attacks. If we assume that an ability does 4,000 damage, and a Weapon Skill does 5,000 damage, when we look at the frequency compared to the usual Critical Hit Rate of these bosses being around 10% it means that our chances of receiving a single Critical Hit are relatively high. If we assume that we’re incredibly unlucky and the Weapon Skill manages to crit, we’ll take an additional 2,500 damage, effectively the same as taking another auto attack and then some. This is not so much damage that a good pair of healers cannot out perform, but the point of being a Tank is to try and reduce the amount of damage you receive and in this case having Awareness active would have a high chance of reducing anywhere from 1,000 to 2,500 damage, depending on how lucky you were. Of course it’s entirely possible that it’ll do nothing and you can get a Critical Hit immediately before you activate Awareness and another as soon as it wears off, these things are subject to random chance and that’s just how it is.

However, it should be noted that FFXIV: ARR has a very poor RNG engine or algorithm and instead tends to “string” things that should be statistically improbable, and it does this very commonly. Making Critical Hits often string together in what feels like a “streak” of luck rather than a 10% Critical Hit Rate happening on average once every 10 hits, it would instead streak together for three or four, and then for a very long time you’d get no more Critical Hits. And then again later on it’d deal multiple in a row again. This is an oddity that anybody who has done any crafting or the like in FFXIV: ARR can attest to. So while Awareness has a good chance of reducing at least 1,000 damage over the course of its duration, it’s very possible it’ll reduce more, or nothing at all depending entirely on how the RNG (Random Number Generator) happens to be playing out, and there’s nothing that can determine where it’s at to help you choose the best time to activate Awareness.

In the end it’s hard to tell how much Awareness actually helps, as it doesn’t tell you when exactly you’ve avoided a Critical Hit, unlike all other abilities they let you know how much damage was reduced, and things like Parries and Shield Blocks alert you to their proc and how much damage they reduce. Awareness on the other hand makes itself unknown and as Critical Hit Rate of bosses is quite low already as they do more than enough damage without factoring in Critical Hits, the utility of this ability becomes somewhat dubious, especially when you consider that there are other abilities you might want to put into its place. Yet, the capacity to reduce damage is there and as long as you’re aware that it only works on bosses that can Critical Hit (and not all of them can, only a small fraction can in fact) it is a good Defensive ability to put forth for WAR’s use and should be used. So far that puts us at 3 out of 5 slots recommended to keep for Tanking definitively, and a 4th to be used in events where you know you’ll get Critical Hit. This is also the last recommended GLA ability to use, the rest come from PGL and though it probably is obvious, most of the GLA abilities will be more useful than the PGL alternatives.

Featherfoot

  • Type: Ability
  • Level Acquired: Level 4 PGL
  • Description: Increases evasion by 15%.
  • Casting Time: Animation (Short)
  • Duration: 15s
  • Recast Time: 90s (1 Minute, 30 Seconds)
  • Cost: N/A
  • Combo Bonus: N/A
  • Notes: A 15% chance to completely Evade an attack is incredibly good, if you were to assume that it gives you a flat bonus to your Evasion rate. Which is not the case in any way, shape or manner. What it does instead is it increases your current Evasion rating, this is 341 at Level 50, as all stats that aren’t your primaries (STR, DEX, DTR, INT, etc.) are normalized at this rate, your Accuracy and Evasion are for example, though Evasion isn’t listed as it’s not a direct stat you can alter for some reason (which has never made much sense for me). Even if it added a 15% chance to dodge an ability, if we were to go back to our previous account above where during a 15 second window a boss was able to hit you 9 times (one ability, one weapon skill, seven auto attacks) you’d have a chance of dodging ~1.6 attacks, giving you an even higher potential for damage reduction than even Awareness gives by nearly a factor of two. Unfortunately that isn’t the case, and it doesn’t flatly give you a 15% chance to evade any attack.

Either way, this is a rough increase of about 51 Evasion, which by normal means might seem like a lot but only is decent against trash mobs or things that don’t necessarily matter. In those instances Featherfoot is useful for WAR and can be made to work. However for any boss in the game, their Accuracy is pumped to such a ridiculous manner that even a fully buffed Featherfoot on MNK cannot dodge a single attack. Flash, which used to be useful to blind Titan and other mobs to reduce their accuracy and make it possible for them to miss (as was the case in FFXI and was a useful mitigation tool because of it) thus making it possible to avoid the most damaging “Table Toss” ability of Mountain Buster.

At some point however SE found this unfair to let players exercise their skill to make such things happen and have instead made it impossible by raising any and all bosses past that update to realms of accuracy that were so high they never missed a single attack regardless if they were blinded or the player had Featherfoot on, or even both combined which should have been more than enough to make even one dodge in dozens of runs. Instead however, you’ve got what used to be a useful ability now degraded to something pretty useless and only good for speed runs or the like where the enemies aren’t ridiculously overly accurate and can be avoided by Featherfoot decently. Avoiding all damage is better than healing a bit back, or reducing some of it, and so in cases where you’re surrounded by mobs in a speed run it can help to reduce your total incoming damage by quite a large amount, though it’ll be easy to forget that it’s really helping you that much, instead it’ll materialize as a bit less healing required when in use.

As such, I can not wholly recommend this ability to be slotted. If you want to use it for Dungeons or Speed Runs, you are more than welcome to it, but there is currently no end game boss or primal in the entire game that you can dodge and so equipping Featherfoot is a complete waste of a slot and using it is a waste of time you could be spending on an ability or skill that will actually help you.

Second Wind

  • Type: Ability
  • Level Acquired: Level 8 PGL
  • Description: Instantly restores own HP. Cure Potency: 450. Cure potency varies with current attack power.
  • Casting Time: Animation (Short)
  • Duration: N/A
  • Recast Time: 120s (2 Minutes)
  • Cost: N/A
  • Combo Bonus: N/A
  • Notes: Second Wind is a good self-heal that doesn’t require TP or MP and as such is held to a recast of 2 minutes. It’s not terribly long, but neither is it incredibly powerful in itself. At Level 50 with decent gear Second Wind can recover on average of 580 HP, but utilizing it with Berserk, as the curative power is related to the amount of Attack Power you have, and is further augmented from Internal Releases Critical Hit Rate boost, it can spike quite a bit higher. While in Berserk for example Second Wind heals an average of 800 HP instead, a decent increase, but still not even equal to a single Cure. While it seems like it might be useful, the capacity for it to do much good is somewhat small, mostly reserved to shoring up your HP to the point that you can absorb one more hit.

While there are often times that you’re surviving by less than a 1,000 HP, the chances are somewhat slim. Regardless of that fact however, you’ve got only one or two slots at best to use and while you can try to reserve Second Wind for exclusive use with Berserk there are going to be times where you simply have not the time to trigger both or Berserk will be on cool down (as it often should be) and you’ll be forced to use a 580 heal, which is a decent amount weaker. It’s still enough that can save your life if your healers are quick to pick you up after you nearly die and get pushed down to Critical HP. But there’s no way to know if they’ll be able to pick your HP up to a reasonable level, so it’s difficult to tell whether or not you’ll still survive because usually if you’re allowed to drop that low to begin with, there’s a greater problem at fault than you not having Second Wind to heal yourself.

That being said, Second Wind is good for solo or low man stuff where you have a slight amount of capacity to heal yourself. Coupled with Thrill of Battle, Inner Beast and Bloodbath you can get a good chunk of your HP back in a relatively short time without having to worry too much about a healer pulling you out of the fire, so to speak. But in instances and end game events where you’re taking 2,000 damage every auto attack and 6,000+ damage every weapon skill or major ability, 580 HP just seems like next to nothing against such staggering odds where your healers are already going to be pressing as much curing power into your body as they can, often over curing you at times and thus making Second Wind likelier, when used on cool down, to make them over cure.

However, for the times that it has saved my life, and can save yours as well, it’d recommend keeping it and using it, as there’s no ability out there aside from Thrill of Battle that gives you the ability to directly regenerate HP instantly without having to worry about a cost. Second Wind’s only cost is, unfortunately, the relatively long recast. If it were halved to a minute per recast I would wholeheartedly endorse Second Wind as deserving a reserved slot for both solo and party play. Except, as it stands it just isn’t clear cut, so I’ll give a tentative recommendation that if you feel you can use its ability properly and you won’t have your healers over curing yourself every step of the way, then it might be best to keep Second Wind on hand so you can have a slight amount of self-reliance.

Internal Release

  • Type: Ability
  • Level Acquired: Level 12 PGL
  • Description: Increases Critical Hit Rate by 10%.
  • Casting Time: N/A
  • Duration: 15s
  • Recast Time: 60s (1 Minute)
  • Cost: N/A
  • Combo Bonus: N/A
  • Notes: Internal Release gives a good 10% boost to your Critical Hit Rate, this however as with most things is not known that if you have a 5% Critical Hit Rate, that it’ll give you 15% Critical Hit Rate. Like most things in this game it’s unsure if it affects the stat itself or Critical Hit Rate as a whole. The more Critical Hit stat you have the better it seems to work due to SE’s use of a flawed RNG system, giving you larger streaks of Critical Hits rather than sparsely spreading them out as you would come to expect. It’s currently unconfirmed if it only affects the difference above 341 Critical Hit Rate, meaning it’d be weaker than initially perceived. Since every 12-15 Critical Hit over the base of 341 is equal to a single increase of 1% Critical Hit Rate if Internal Release were to increase everything, that’d be a 2% effective increase to Critical Hit Rate, which is likely to be true. This means every single point of Critical Hit that you stack through weapon or material or gear, gives you more with Internal Release.

There is also the possible, but very rare chance that it applies directly to your Critical Hit Rate, as seems the case with Defiance’s Wrath Stacks, which provide you with a 10% increase to Critical Hit Rate and appear to be straight additions to the total Critical Hit Rate you possess at that time. Meaning if you’re floored at a 5% Critical Hit Rate, then with 5 stacks of Wrath you’d have 15% Critical Hit Rate when you used Inner Beast or simple auto attacked with those 5 stacks active.

If we assume Internal Releases works this way - which it reasonably seems to be, even though the testing it unconfirmed - we can see the merit of using Internal Release. WAR naturally has a fair bit of Critical Hit Rate on its equipment and WAR itself is naturally geared towards more damage. With Wrath bonuses and Internal Release WAR has a minimum Critical Hit Rate of 25% for its major abilities, and with Berserk acting like an effective Critical Hit (due to the same 1.5x attack power that Critical Hits do) that can also Critical Hit, you can hit startlingly high damage with everything stacked up appropriately.

Because Inner Release extends to Second Wind, it can make it more useful as well, turning its usual 580 HP Heal into a 870 HP Heal and a Berserked Second Wind into a 1,200 HP Heal. Because of this and its general utility for WAR and their unique stance as a Tank that can deal a respectable amount of damage, I’d highly suggest using Internal Release as it’s useful for both solo and party play, as well as affecting all aspects of WAR. Because it’s only a minute recast it lines up perfectly with Infuriate, which allows every other Inner Beast, Unchained or Steel Clone to benefit from a total of 25% Critical Hit Rate. Though it’s usually not warranted or done, you could gather 5 stacks of Wrath, use Unchained and then Berserk, Internal Release and Bloodbath coupled with using Infuriate. In doing so you’d have a constant 25% minimum Critical Hit Rate during the entirety of Unchained, both increasing your damage potentially dramatically but also increasing your healing power with Bloodbath as well.

Overall, this ability is a great addition to any WAR who knows how to put it to good use. For those that don’t, you can easily find one for it. It’s unfortunate it’s not stronger, but even still 10% more Critical Hit Rate added to WAR’s relatively high Critical Hit Rate already (among non-DPS at least) every 60 seconds for a 15 second duration is pretty strong. When you think about it, Internal Release’s down time is only 45 seconds, which isn’t very long to wait at all, and can almost be applied to every 5 stacks of Wrath gained naturally. As it is, you can skillfully use Internal Release so that it can extend to two Inner Beasts, Steel Cyclones or a use of Unchained without having to use Infuriate to get there. So keep this ability on hand at all times, you’ll never want to take it off your bar.

Mantra

  • Type: Ability
  • Level Acquired: Level 42 PGL
  • Description: Increases HP recovery via curing magic by 5% for self and nearby party members.
  • Casting Time: Animation (Short)
  • Duration: 15s
  • Recast Time: 120s (2 Minutes)
  • Cost: N/A
  • Combo Bonus: N/A
  • Notes: While the HP boost is relatively small, its main use is in groups where everybody is huddled up. This is a very niche ability as it increases the curing power very weakly compared to what a MNK gets, which is a 20%. If the party has a MNK in it for that specific encounter then it’s safe to drop Mantra entirely from your bar and let them use their ability as it’s four times as strong as yours, and they’ll likely be grouped up with the other DPS as well.

In instances that you do not have a MNK or PGL on hand, and you’re going to be grouped up with the rest of your party every two minutes or so, enough to make this work properly then there’s use for this on your bar. Keep in mind the distance isn’t very big, if a boss is between you and your group, odds are high that you won’t hit them with it and its effectiveness will be drastically reduced. As a result this is only useful in sparing moments when your group is able to gather up close enough to you to get the benefit of Mantra and your healers are going to need to AOE heal quite a lot. Assuming that your healers recover 1,000 HP per person, then Mantra will increase their heals by 50 HP a piece. Multiply this by the 8 people in your party that it hits and you get 400 HP extra for every single one of those heals. While this seems like it could be good, it’s a relative small boost applied to many, several of which likely won’t need the healing or not need as much, reducing the efficacy further.

Only in very rare cases should you use Mantra, Leviathan and such fights where you can group up reasonably might be useful but in most events you won’t be able to use Mantra on cool down to any great effect. Keep in mind that it has the same exact recast as Second Wind and if you were to compare their healing powers at peak efficiency, you’re looking at an 800 HP heal to a single, important party member whose capacity to stay alive is paramount to the success of the encounter. Compared to granting an extra 50 or so HP to the entire party, which would require two heals of that rate to be able to equal the total HP healed, and the limits of having to be so close and an AOE heal following it are so much more difficult to meet consistently every two minutes that I can’t say it’s a good idea to keep Mantra on your bar all the time.

As it is, I have a difficult time recommending it entirely even if you’re capable of doing that, as Second Wind would be arguably more potent and useful for you as a Tank. It does, however retain a utility if you’re willing to go drop something like Internal Release for Mantra. Though Internal Release can, at times give more HP back than Second Wind or Mantra through the added chance for Critical Hit Rate, it may not be worth the loss of a more party centric and healing oriented skill like Mantra. This however, revolves entirely up to you and your group and how they play. In my personal experiences, Mantra is nearly useless for WAR as a MNK is pretty commonly in most groups and furthermore, gathering every two minutes to give the Mantra buff is usually pretty hard as a WAR is tasked with enough that they’re kept both busy and usually pretty far away from the group at the same time, making the effective use of Mantra a real challenge.

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