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Armoury System - Archer

The skilled Hunters and Huntresses who are more than capable of killing before being seen. Archer’s (ARC) and their related Job Bard (BRD) are the only physical ranged classification so far in FFXIV: ARR. As such, they’re incredibly unique, that is at least until some other physical ranged comes along, like the long awaited Musketeer Class and its associated Job, whatever that may be. Regardless of the future, ARC is incredibly useful in that it’s one of the very few Classes that can actually be used *as* a Class and get some benefits from it.

While BRD is a relatively strong Job, so much so that it was once nerfed and we generally can take that as an affirmative as the Job was stronger than the devs wanted it to be. Despite that BRD can still put up some really strong numbers in terms of DPS and total damage dealt over the course of a fight. However, ARC gets access to *more* damaging capabilities than BRD allows. However there’s a trade off (isn’t there always?) which is that you can’t buff your party members with those nice BRD exclusive songs, you only have access to the movement speed song which isn’t going to help anybody deal more damage in the middle of an event or instance really.

Depending on your setup, and your faith in your group but most importantly depending on the event you’re currently under there may or may not be a reason to go ARC over BRD. These cases are somewhat slim and are usually when the entire group is focusing on maximizing your overall kill speed and time so that they can get whatever they’re after. Be it grinding out for that drop from a Primal or doing multiple runs for the weekly token accumulation. Whatever the case is, in those events an ARC brings more to the table, particularly under low man fights of a 4 man Light Party. Because there are less people to benefit from the buffs they’re going to get more overall boost (the whole party’s damage that is) if the ARC is capable of putting out a lot more damage, than if they were to get a song that affected two people at most.

However, under normal conditions a BRD is always going to be better (as is any Job really) in a Full Party setup that will gain the most use out of their unique skillsets. BRD in particular will be able to raise multiple people’s damage up to the point that it’ll far eclipse anything BRD could naturally get on their own with swapping to ARC and equipping as many additional previously restricted Class Actions.

Still, your main attraction is the ability to deal damage from range, cutting you out of the vast majority of damage and annoying mechanics that the rest of the physical DPS have to put up with. Additionally you have all your skills pretty much as macros in your general rotation so there’s very little for you to do but watch and pay attention to what’s going on. In this sense ARC and by extension BRDs have a great view of the battle, as you would expect from an archery focused Class that should be able to survey the entire battle. As a result a BRD or ARC are generally going to be excellent at calling out or telling when certain mechanics are going to come because they have a macro view of the battlefield compared to the generally micro view most people have when they’re battling as 80% of the Jobs in the game are going to be much closer than BRD or ARC are going to be.

And that’s not to mention that you’re going to be only using a few buttons, namely two for the majority of your stay as an ARC. Straight Shot and Heavy Shot are going to be the majority of the button presses you’ll be doing aside from an ability here or there on cool down and the general buffing situation when it arises. But the vast majority you’ll be using Straight Shot for the Critical Hit buff, and then you’ll spam Heavy Shot until you get a proc for a critical hit on Straight Shot, which augments its 140 Potency to 210 Potency from the forced critical attack. This, overall is what makes BRD an incredibly easy Job to play compared to pretty much everything else out there, and it’s less contested generally because it doesn’t share gear with any other Class or Job out there, and even after Rogue and Ninja are in the game in 2.4 it *still* will be uncontested, while the DPS melee slots only grow more fierce in terms of competition. Any gear that had DEX on it will generally be yours instantly unless there’s another BRD or ARC in your group which, while it isn’t rare it’s not exactly common either. Because of this you’ll often find yourself lotting against one person at most whereas most DPS will be lotting at multiple in general because people tend to be or want to roll on melee DPS gear with STR on it because of its utility.

Of course there are restricted pieces of gear. Namely the armors in the game which help to separate this issue a bit but in the end there are still a lot of accessories that are freely transferrable to a relatively wide array of Jobs and Classes out there, and it’ll quite often be contested. BRD and ARC both get around this issue, similar to how perhaps a SCH or WHM might. Except there is always two Healers present in any Full Party raid or event and so they’re pretty much always lotting against each other with the sole benefit that SCH and WHM (when the players know how to properly gear themselves and play their Jobs right) generally use entirely different gear even on accessories that are stat weighted completely differently, which we’ll go over in detail over on the WHM and SCH pages when they’re created.

A Quick Note About Article Formatting

I’ll be changing the way that I format the articles from this point forward. It’ll be effective on all articles that I can in the past and doing so without breaking any links that I can manage. Instead of having exceptionally large, long to load pages I’ll be trying to break them up into sections and parts so that all the information is more easily digestible and isn’t quite such a shock to the system to see all this text and information on one page. Instead you’ll be able to go to the page you want based on what you want to know or learn. Anyways, I just wanted to get that out there so the formatting of this page and all others doesn’t take you by surprise. You’ll be able to use the navigation menu I have placed at the bottom of the page to easily navigate around the pages back and forth.

’Dem DOTs

As I’ve previously said on multiple other pages, DOTs are relatively unique in the world of FFXIV: ARR, and as such a Class or even Job that revolves entirely around DOTs is going to have some interesting mechanics to go along with it. ARC is not different as it’s ‘gimmick’ is unique to DOTs in themselves. This revolves entirely around the Level 48 ARC skill River of Blood, which grants a 50% chance that a Critical Hit by either Venomous Bite’s or Windbite’s DOT will cause the recast of Bloodletter to reset.

Now, while MNK has their forms, DRG has their Jumps and WAR has its Wrath, ARC (and BRD by proxy) have their DOTs. Bloodletter is a Level 12 ARC ability that has its own independent recast of 15 seconds. By itself Bloodletter isn’t particularly strong, clocking in at only 150 Potency, comparable to any other “Combo Starter” Weapon Skill by any other physical Class or Job. Where it gets interesting is that every Critical Hit by a DOT of either Venomous Bite or Windbite will cause that to reset, allowing you to spam Bloodletter as mind boggling rates.

This effect gets so intense that you end up having to macro Bloodletter into every action you do because it tends to reset so often and so much that you’re better off tying it into every major action so that no matter what you’ll fire off Bloodletter whenever it’s off recast. This gives the added benefit of making it a “dumb” macro and the game will simply go through the unique mechanics of ARC and BRD for you, without you having to constantly wonder if your Bloodletter is up, wasting a few seconds here or there, or worse taking your eyes away from the screen and thus the action, very likely getting yourself killed.

Because of this you’re going to want to pump as much Critical Hit Rate before you apply any of your DOTs, because as we previously discussed FFXIV: ARR takes a “snapshot” of your stats at the time you inflict a DOT. This means if you have +50% Critical Hit Rate when you apply Windbite you’re going to get that benefit for the *entire duration* of Windbite’s DOT. This makes it all the more important to keep Straight Shot (+10% Critical Hit Rate buff after use) as well as Internal Release and to generally eat Critical Hit Rate food instead of the normal Determination or Skill Speed setup some other Jobs go for. By doing this you maximize your Critical Hit Chance and therefore capitalize on the gains that River of Blood provides. While it may not seem like a lot, “Chance of Success” types in FFXIV: ARR trigger in streaks more often than not and this’ll be the case for Bloodletter as well. Some times you can go for quite a long while without ever seeing a proc, other times you can go just a few seconds and already have five Bloodletters gone off. This gives BRD the potential for a high burst DPS because of their somewhat random nature in terms of damage.

Furthermore, *every time* you Critical Hit from either those two skills you have that 50% chance. What this means is that if you have Venomous Bite and Windbite up on multiple mobs you have an exponentially higher rate of triggering Bloodletter to instantly recast. This is essentially “stacking the odds in your favor” type of deal, which allows you to use it on adds and the main boss all the while getting a rather high rate of triggers, thereby increasing your damage. But all the while you’re just doing your standard rotation and using your abilities as needed. Because of this ARC is among, if not the easiest Class and Job setup to play in the entire game. BRD only adds a few abilities, most of which are songs and the only thing really needed to know about songs is that you need to play them at specific times. Usually, despite already knowing you’ll be told (quite vocally usually) when somebody or a group of somebodies needs a song and what song they need, so in essence they’ll do a large part of your job for you.

Heavy Shot

  • Type: Weapon Skill
  • Level Acquired: Level 1
  • Description: Delivers an attack with a potency of 150.
  • Casting Time: Animation (Short)
  • Duration: N/A
  • Recast Time: GCD
  • Cost: 60 TP
  • Combo Bonus: N/A
  • Notes: Heavy Shot is going to be your general go to skill, it’s going to take up the vast majority of your TP and overall the most button you’ll press, so make sure to bind it in a position on your gamepad or keyboard that you’ll be comfortable constantly hitting it. Because, as mentioned it’s going to be used a lot and you’ll want to be able to use it easily while running and moving around (one of the main benefits of BRD) so you don’t want to be stretching your hand or fingers to be able to reach a button that’s relatively far. Keep in mind though that because you’ll be using so few of your actual actions independently (we’ll wrap them up into a really awesome macro that I’ll show at the end of the abilities!) you won’t need to worry about having a slew of buttons and free spaces open for eventual skills and abilities because you won’t need them. It is quite true that BRD only uses a few skills and a handful of abilities in any given encounter making them incredibly space conscious and very good for people who prefer to play on controllers or otherwise would like to not use specialized keyboards or mice and yet don’t want to be at a severe disadvantage either.

Heavy shot by itself has a pretty normal potency, later on it’ll get a buff that gives you a chance when using Heavy Shot to make the next Straight Shot (within the buff’s duration) to be a guaranteed Critical Hit, boosting Straight Shot’s 140 Potency to an equivalent 210. Not bad considering you’ll be spending 80% of your time pressing a single button, huh? Seeing as you’ll only use Straight Shot, mostly whenever you’ve got a proc on that Heavier Shot buff you won’t ever really have to worry about using Straight Shot to be able to trigger the buff except in the very beginning of your rotation where you’ll want that 10% right off the bat to increase your overall DPS without really doing much of anything. So, get used to Heavy Shot’s animation, you’ll be seeing *a lot of it*.

Here’s the macro for using Heavy Shot alongside your general BRD rotation and being able to ignore using Bloodletter and Misery’s End so that you can just continue with your rotation as per usual:

/micon "Heavy Shot"
/ac "Misery's End" <t>
/ac "Bloodletter" <t>
/ac "Heavy Shot" <t>

Straight Shot

  • Type: Weapon Skill
  • Level Acquired: Level 2
  • Description: Delivers an attack with a potency of 140. Additional Effect: Increases Critical Hit Rate by 10%.
  • Casting Time: Animation (Short)
  • Duration: 20s
  • Recast Time: GCD
  • Cost: 60 TP
  • Combo Bonus: N/A
  • Notes: Straight shot is good as your initial volley because it automatically applies that nice 10% boost to your Critical Hit Rate, which in itself is really good, equivalent to an Internal Release and it easily (and readily!) stacks with it for a total of 20% of easy Critical Hit boosts. Of course later on when Heavier Shot becomes a thing you get to force a Critical Hit Straight Shot which boosts its 140 Potency to a much stronger equivalent potency of 210. While it may not seem like a huge deal it’s pretty good considering *you’re going to be using the ability all the time anyways*. So why not enjoy the added bonus?

By itself Straight Shot is well worth the cost and time it takes to cast it, but after that initial cast unless you’re not attacking anything for a prolonged period of time, you’re going to pretty much never need to pay attention to your buff. This is because Heavier Shot gives a chance for Heavy Shot to force the next Straight Shot to be a Critical Hit, and every time that happens - and it’ll happen fairly frequently as you’ll be using Heavy Shot whenever you haven’t triggered the buff or you’re not using a defensive or offensive buff, or one of the few abilities you have on cool down - you’ll refresh the Critical Hit buff and because of that it’ll almost always be active unless, as mentioned you’re not attacking *anything*. This is part of what makes BRD so good, you don’t really need to keep track of very much. As long as you keep track of both your DOTs, Windbite and Venomous Bite you’ll go very far.

It’s this very same reason that BRD is an excellent starting position for somebody looking to not only get into FFXIV: ARR but also who wants to play a DPS but doesn’t want all the complexity or the burden of having to dodge everything under the sun as a melee DPS has to. BRD helps to ease you into the role and gives you both the tools and the environment to get used to the game and all its quirky, often infuriatingly unfair unrecoverable mechanics that will no doubt be killing your party over and over every 4 to 6 months when another “major” patch hits. Major standing for the “even” patches that provide an improvement to the endgame of FFXIV: ARR and offer more Item Levels beyond what are currently in existence. This provides the players with a sort of “do over” allowing them to shed all their old best gear because it’s now useless and acquire all the new shiny gear they can, only to repeat this process again in another 4 to 6 months when the next even patch hits. These are (technically for the first one because 2.0 gave all new item levels beyond what 1.0 saw possible) 2.0, 2.2 (Second Coil of Bahamut) and the upcoming 2.4.

That tangent aside, BRD is great for all players who aren’t looking for a heavy commitment, want to be part of a group without having to be extremely good or experienced to compete against others, and in general wants to play as a DPS without having to figure out complex rotations or learn how to dodge really fast and do the general “dance” that each and every encounter entails for you like some sort of weird online Square Dancing. It simply cannot be recommended enough just how easy it is to play as BRD and essentially do everything that other DPS do but without all the penalties. Whereas they cannot move and attack at the same time, every time they dodge they have to time it perfectly to maximize their DPS, a BRD can shoot and move at the same time making the most of their distance and mobility. This makes it almost unfairly easy for a BRD to dodge all sorts of unrecoverable mechanics that Tanks, Healers and melee DPS are going to have a relatively difficult time with because they have to stay pretty close to the boss or bosses in the game without running away too soon or too late to prevent damage or a potential wipe. BRD meanwhile can run around the entire arena so long as they stay within effective range of their bow and still deal really good damage (not exactly top damage, but close enough) without having to worry about all the things everybody else does. And while a Mage can attack from afar, they have a particularly hard time dealing with moving *and* attacking.

This is why BRD reigns supreme in terms of mobility and it allows them to get a sort of “one up” on the other DPS because while your DRGs and MNKs are running out of range of a melee oriented attack, the BRD is standing still or running about dodging *their own mechanics* but still dealing damage. It’s that downtime that a MNK or DRG tries very, very hard to minimize, using all their tricks and understanding of the game and its mechanics. That very same downtime is what allows a BRDs otherwise lackluster damage to shine because unless they simply cannot attack the boss they are always capable of dealing damage. And to specify, being unable to attack the boss means something like getting Gaoled in Titan, or when any of the bosses in the game (pick one, they all do it except for Crystal Tower bosses) jumps up into the air and disappears or becomes completely untargetable for any number of reasons.

This is a trope with the FFXIV: ARR bosses and for some reason continues to be used time and time again to slow down the fight or make it ‘harder’ by not allowing Jobs that really need to keep attacking to maintain a stack or some buff like WAR or MNK. It makes up for their poor planning of TP and Skill Speed which as a result of how it works and the game works makes TP use even more of an issue than it was before when constantly attacking. This sort of glaring flaw in the design is realized and gets an effective spotlight shone upon it when doing an event like Turn 8 of The Second Binding Coil of Bahamut because for the majority of the fight your DPS are going to be able to continually fight as the boss doesn’t move or disappear or become untargetable, thought there may be small breaks where they have to run into a Tower to trigger it, or eat a bomb or something like that, they can generally maintain their DPS pretty well and as a result you begin to see just how much BRD lags behind when compared to other Jobs that can actually deal damage most if not all of the time like a BRD can.

Included below is a simple macro that will make your job as BRD or ARC so drastically easier. It’s even better if you have a mouse or keyboard that repeatedly presses the button if you hold it down so that instead of waiting for your GCD to be up you can simply hold it down in between cool downs so that you are able to immediately use Bloodletter or Misery’s End as soon as they come up, and it also gets rid of that pesky delay when macroing multiple actions together. Doing so gets rid of the game’s internal ‘queue’ but by spamming it you circumvent the possible delay of executing your macro and you’re able to fire it off just as fast as another person who has the queuing enabled.

/micon "Straight Shot"
/ac "Straight Shot" <t>
/ac "Misery's End" <t>
/ac "Bloodletter" <t>

Raging Strike

  • Type: Ability
  • Level Acquired: Level 4
  • Description: Increases damage dealt by 20%.
  • Casting Time: Animation (Short)
  • Duration: 20s
  • Recast Time: 180s (3 Minutes)
  • Cost: N/A
  • Combo Bonus: N/A
  • Notes: Still one of the strongest abilities in the game for offensive buffs and it’s usable by ARC at such a low point in their career. Unfortunately they don’t necessarily get a buff by way of the Enhanced Raging Strikes as most other Jobs would, instead they get a full minute knocked off their timer, taking it down from a relatively hefty 3 minutes (180 seconds) down to 2 minutes (120 seconds) which is a pretty big buff. It’d be effectively giving it about 33% more damage dealt. That is, 20 + 33% not 20% + 33% = 53%. In this case it’d be equivalent to having Raging Strikes at the same cool down and duration but instead of a 20% damage buff it’s 26.6%. Not as big a difference I know as many other Jobs get with their Enhanced traits but it’s useful nonetheless because it allows BRDs to access it a third faster than any other Class or Job gets access to it, which in this case is unfortunately only mages really who get such a nice boost.

That being said, Raging Strikes is still really good and as an ability on its own a 20% boost is nothing to scoff at. Of course, BRD being able to access the reduced timer makes a pretty marked impact on their DPS and when Enhanced Raging Strikes rolls around it makes the ability that much more useful which is good for a Potency starved Job such as BRD.

Here is a simplified stacked version of the buff macro I use to cut down on clutter and overall button mashes. This allows you to use one ability at a time, or you can hold down a macro button to repeatedly apply buff after buff to quickly get into your completed and buffed state within record time. All without having to press a menagerie of buttons, simply hold down one.

/micon "Raging Strikes"
/ac "Raging Strikes" <me>
/ac "Blood for Blood" <me>
/ac "Hawk's Eye" <me>
/ac "Internal Release" <me>
/ac "Barrage" <me>

Venomous Bite

  • Type: Weapon Skill
  • Level Acquired: Level 6
  • Description: Delivers an attack with a potency of 100. Additional Effect: Venom with a potency of 35.
  • Casting Time: Animation (Short)
  • Duration: 9s
  • Recast Time: GCD
  • Cost: 70 TP
  • Combo Bonus: N/A
  • Notes: The first of their two DOTs, Venomous Bite is relatively strong in terms of potency particularly when you consider the level it’s attained at. When adding the damage together with the initial potency we get a total average potency for Venomous Bite at 205 Potency, which is about par for the course as most melee DPS get for their second main combo weapon skill, which averages around 200 Potency. Though the DOT by itself allows the player to double up on their easier spamming of Heavy Shot compared to the more complex rotations of other Jobs. That being said, as BRD with pretty much everything macroed together, there’s no real reason not to be able to easily pay attention to the duration of a DOT and the short 9 second effect of Venomous Bite does good to train new BRDs to looking and paying attention to when a DOT is up or down.

As a BRD, considering a lot of your damage comes from DOTs, it is often best to clip them so that the DOTs remain constantly active without any lapse or downtime. You don’t want to wait until the timer falls to 0 and ends the DOT like most games because FFXIV: ARR’s gameplay doesn’t work like that. It doesn’t go by your 3 second “Tick” it goes by a constantly moving internal server “Tick” and it applies DOTs and other mechanics as necessary every 3 internal seconds by the server, not your computer or client. This means that if your DOT is active during that “Tick” it’ll get a DOT damage, but if it isn’t, even if 3 seconds have passed since you first applied it, there will be no DOT damage because that “Tick” did not yet get broadcasted from the server to each of the players and the effects won’t get put into play.

Additionally, as a BRD you have to make sure to understand that your Critical Hit Rate and general state of buffs is going to play a very large impact on your DOTs, so much so that it is often best to overwrite your DOTs earlier if your buffs are about to fall off before your DOTs are close to expiring. This allows you to overwrite your DOTs (which you can only do if your buffs are equal to or stronger than the DOTs currently applied) and give them the maximum total uptime with the most total damage per tick. Of course this also means you won’t be able to easily overwrite them and you’ll have to wait until they drop which takes a keen eye to be aware of when they fall off so you can quickly reapply them without having the issue of not being buffed enough. If you’re not under the same or equal strength in terms of buffs when applying your DOT it won’t get overwritten which is a waste of a weapon skill because each of your other skills are vastly stronger for their initial hit.

Below you’ll find the included macro for using Bloodletter and Misery’s End so that you’ll always use them as soon as they’re up.

/micon "Venomous Bite"
/ac "Misery's End" <t>
/ac "Bloodletter" <t>
/ac "Venomous Bite" <t>

Heavier Shot

  • Type: Trait
  • Level Acquired: Level 8
  • Description: Adds to Heavy Shot a 20% chance that your next Straight Shot will deal critical damage.
  • Casting Time: N/A
  • Duration: N/A
  • Recast Time: N/A
  • Cost: N/A
  • Combo Bonus: N/A
  • Notes: This single ability will drastically change the method by which you operate your standard rotation, no more will you need to refresh Straight Shot’s critical buff, instead Heavier Shot will proc 90% of the time before it wears off and give you higher DPS while also freeing you from needing to constantly keep a wary eye on your timers. This frees you up to observe the battlefield and how the fight is going, and furthermore keeps you focused on your other more important timers such as your Venomous Bite and Windbite. By freeing you from this additional observational requirement you’re able to better pay attention to the other parts of the fight and your DOTs so that they’re always up. This ability paired with the Level 48 River of Blood is incredibly useful for being able to completely change the way you play BRD, to how the devs actually planned for it to be played.

It’s pretty much this ability here, or trait rather if you want to be technical, and River of Blood that gives you the ability to play BRD without constantly monitoring every little thing and keeping your DPS high by resetting Bloodletter over and over. Unfortunately that means until you’re Level 48 you’re playing an entirely different Class / Job than you would normally be playing at endgame. Of course there are balance concerns I’m sure at lower level, but it still should be known that you won’t be playing BRD or ARC if you choose, in the best or truest capacity until you’re basically at endgame already. SO keep in mind how you’re playing it up until Level 48 you’re going to need to change your style once you get River of Blood.

By changing your style however, I mean that you just need to be sure to macro your abilities together so you don’t have to worry quite so much about monitoring all these various timers. Of course you don’t have to wait until you’re level 48 as you get plenty of chances prior to use these macros in everything and thereby get completely comfortable in their use. It’s more accurate to say that after Level 48 your job becomes massively easier because a lot of what you do becomes more or less automated and your damage potential goes up significantly because of your constant use of Bloodletter, which consequently makes it seem like your normal GCD is much shorter because while your GCD is cooling down you’re able to fire off a Bloodletter or two which means you’re constantly dealing damage instead of every time your GCD is back up. This helps to offset the relatively low potency that all of BRD’s attacks have.

Misery’s End

  • Type: Ability
  • Level Acquired: Level 8
  • Description: Delivers an attack with a potency of 190. Can only be executed if target’s HP is below 20%.
  • Casting Time: Animation (Moderate)
  • Duration: N/A
  • Recast Time: 12s
  • Cost: N/A
  • Combo Bonus: N/A
  • Notes: Misery’s End is similar to Mercy Stroke except the recast is quite a lot faster, at 12 seconds it’s even faster than Bloodletter but it’s not able to reset and only is available at 20% HP or less. However on bosses and the like it’s a high damage ability that can be used every 12 seconds, and at 190 potency it’s much stronger than anything else BRD has access to. However, as with Bloodletter you’re going to be tying this together with every other skill meaning that if you’re able to use it it’ll automatically be used. This is similar to some of the other macros that have been created on this wiki for the express purpose of binding multiple actions to a single macro so that you can execute everything that goes off at the right time. Even doing this over your DOTs is useful in a sense because you’ll be able to deal higher damage than the second or two of DOT action you’ll get. While it’s not terrible to cut off your DOTs for a second or two to deal a 190 potency attack, or deal a 150 Bloodletter, there are times you might not want to do that so the option is really up to you.

But bear in mind that you’ll be more efficient and have to do less work overall than if you were to keep it off because you’ll either miss on doing Bloodletter and therein you may get another Critical Hit shortly after. Which means you could be potentially trading 300 or more Potency for the one or two ticks of DOT damage which won’t even match up to a single Bloodletter much less two. So keep that in mind if you are going to try and split them up.

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Final Fantasy XIV - Armoury System Armoury System Sub Article
Final Fantasy XIV Armoury - Archer Archer Part 1 Armoury Article
Final Fantasy XIV Armoury - Archer Part 2 Archer Part 2 Armoury Article
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Article By: Penguin Writer


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