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Archer Part 3

In this section we’ll go over the majority of the best weapon skills and abilities that BRD gets access to and we’ll see just how to use them appropriately. Additionally we’ll finally see access to Bloodletter spam that has been talked about up until now, giving us a really nice change of pace. More than that however is the dramatic change that River of Blood is going to give to BRD’s play style, completely turning it upside down on its head.

Windbite

  • Type: Weapon Skill
  • Level Acquired: Level 30
  • Description: Deals wind damage with a potency of 60. Additional Effect: Wind damage over time with potency of 45. Additional Effect: When damage over time is critical, there is a 20% chance Bloodletter cooldown will reset.
  • Casting Time: Animation (Moderate)
  • Duration: 18s
  • Recast Time: GCD
  • Cost: 70 TP
  • Combo Bonus: N/A
  • Notes: Windbite is BRD’s strongest DOT, with a whopping 45 potency and initial potency of 60 for a duration of 18 seconds that’s a combined total potency of 330 not including their passive action damage up traits which give them a great deal more damage. With their full trait this turns into nearly 400 potency at 396 potency.

Windbite is obviously the more important of the two DOTs to make sure you always have. Not to mention the fact that it’s TP is less than Venomous Bite, but also that it’s damage is significantly higher giving you more total damage for the same time period but for less TP. Overall Windbite should be kept prioritized over Venomous Bite at all costs because you’ll get more mileage from using Windbite and making sure it stays applied. So remember to always use Windbite before using Venomous Bite, because you never know what might go wrong. If something happens and you’re forced to run out of range or you can’t get to the boss for some reason at least you’ll have your strongest DOT ticking down on it instead of your weaker one.

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

Enhanced Dexterity III

{{}}

  • Type: Trait
  • Level Acquired: Level 32
  • Description: Increases Dexterity by 6.
  • Casting Time: N/A
  • Duration: N/A
  • Recast Time: N/A
  • Cost: N/A
  • Combo Bonus: N/A
  • Notes: Not much to say about this, it’s currently the last trait of its kind. That kind being “free damage for being you,” but regardless of that it’s likely we’ll see another trait when the level cap gets raised.

Quelling Strikes

  • Type: Ability
  • Level Acquired: Level 34
  • Description: Reduces enmity generated by each attack (-50% Enmity Generation).
  • Casting Time: Animation (Moderate)
  • Duration: 15s
  • Recast Time: 120s (2 Minutes)
  • Cost: N/A
  • Combo Bonus: N/A
  • Notes: Quelling strikes is pretty useful, particularly for a BRD who has good gear as their initial volleys can pull a significant amount of hate, especially if they get a quick bloodletter proc, allowing them to lump a lot of their damage into a very short time period. Quelling strikes basically acts like you deal half the damage you actually do, because as a BRD the main amount of your Enmity is going to come directly from damage and as one point of damage equals one point of Enmity that’s the best way to describe what’s going on. Of course it bears mentioning that this is only on any action done while Quelling Strikes is active, and it’s only active for 15 seconds or about 5 GCD actions at best, more than likely a total of around 8 to 12 actions depending on Misery’s End procing or how often Bloodletter resets.

That aside, Quelling strikes is particularly crucial on hate resets and when engaging any new mob(s). Keep in mind that using it should be done before you fire the first volley or at the very worst in the GCD cool down after your first attack but before your second. This is why Quelling Strikes isn’t listed in the macro that binds up a lot of buffs, that’s because you want the freedom to use it when you need it. Also remember that if there are no additional adds, or the boss doesn’t hate reset that you should definitely use Quelling Strikes at every recast so that your Enmity is never an issue. Of course almost every major fight has adds to *some* degree and because of this it’ll likely be best for you to save and use it for this specific instances.

The reasoning behind that is that a Tank’s enmity accumulation is always lowest and weakest in the beginning because unless they fully anticipate the add coming and precast through their combo so that they’re sitting on a triggered combo skill of either the second or third of the set so that they have their +Enmity weapon skill ready to go and as soon as that add pops they can apply it. If done right you shouldn’t have to worry about Enmity because they’ll have solidified a burst of Enmity early on and then follow it up (preferably) with their third combo hit which will give them a one, two style of stacking Enmity to make sure the mob doesn’t immediately wander off the moment you give it a dirty look.

Enhanced Quick Nock

  • Type: Trait
  • Level Acquired: Level 36
  • Description: Extends Quick Nock range to 12 yalms.
  • Casting Time: N/A
  • Duration: N/A
  • Recast Time: N/A
  • Cost: N/A
  • Combo Bonus: N/A
  • Notes: Nothing particularly major about this, Quick Nock’s range gets extended outwards more which means you can hit larger groups of mobs in front of you without worrying that they’ll be out of range when directly in front. Of course you can easily fix this by just getting closer, but as we mentioned in the Quick Nock ability you don’t want to do that as the angle gets less the closer you are which means more mobs are hit easily. The further away you are the wider the angle and the easier it is to hit all mobs from various angles and sides. In doing so you allow yourself to hit the widest group of targets without having to specifically line up or try. This trait helps you to accomplish that.

Barrage

  • Type: Ability
  • Level Acquired: Level 38
  • Description: Increases the number of strikes per auto attack to 2.
  • Casting Time: Animation (Moderate)
  • Duration: 10s
  • Recast Time: 180s (3 Minutes)
  • Cost: N/A
  • Combo Bonus: N/A
  • Notes: Barrage effectively doubles your auto attack damage for the duration, and later further increases it. Considering that normal auto attack damage is somewhere in the 80 potency range for BRD this gives them a 160 potency auto attack that simply adds to their damage regardless of what they do, as abilities and weapon skills do not hinder the accruement of auto attacks. The only downside to Barrage is that you have to stay within range to auto attack, so if you’re running about you would be best to leave Barrage off the table, this is why in the above macro under Raging Strikes I put Barrage at the bottom. This will allow you to use all your other buffs as you see the need and get out of range if you want, then get back into range and use Barrage.

Ultimately Barrage is pretty weak, it only applies a second and later a third hit to your total auto attack damage, but unlike in FFXI where a RNG’s auto attacks were relatively potent and overall added to a large portion of your overall damage auto attacking in FFXIV: ARR is quite anemic, amounting to at best 30% of a powerful DPS’s total damage. As if that weren’t enough that the ability buffs the weakest possible ability in existence to a DPS, it also is only active for a very short period of time, ten total seconds. If we take a look at the average auto attack delay (which is listed on every weapon) for a BRD we see BRD’s fire at a rate of 3.2 seconds, this gives BRD at best 3 shots turning Barrage into a 6 shot ability more or less over the course of those ten seconds, that is if you as the BRD manage to stay in range the entire time and the boss doesn’t jump, go invulnerable or something of the sort.

So as we can see while it’s a relatively nice seeming ability it just doesn’t pull off that much additional damage. It really wouldn’t be so bad if the recast was something more reasonable, closer to 45 seconds to 60 seconds instead of 180 seconds. A full three minutes for a relatively meager ability that doesn’t last long, requires you to constantly be in range for its duration *and* is only buffing the weakest possible ability that any DPS has in their arsenal.

Increased Action Damage II

  • Type: Trait
  • Level Acquired: Level 40
  • Description: Increases base action damage by 20%.
  • Casting Time: N/A
  • Duration: N/A
  • Recast Time: N/A
  • Cost: N/A
  • Combo Bonus: N/A
  • Notes: This bonus is action wide, including auto attacks and all abilities or weapon skills, effectively raising the potency of all abilities by 20%. In effect Heavy Shot goes from 150% to 180 potency. And while the damage doesn’t seem like a lot (Bloodletter gets the same 30 potency buff) it adds up over time and makes a large difference with BRD who has such low potency attacks and really needs all the boosts they can get to help stack up to other DPS. It’s not that BRD in itself is weak as a DPS, because they’re more of a hybrid support and DPS and they aren’t meant to do the high amounts of DPS that a lot of people require or want them to do and don’t realize they aren’t built specifically for it. That is not to say that they’re *incapable* of outputting such damage, as they certainly are but they have to work a bit harder for it because they weren’t designed for it. In fact they were nerfed because they were too strong for their role, being able to buff the party and give strong, potent songs to everybody and deal high damage was too much for their role and they were retuned to be a bit more in line with what SE wants from them.

Blunt Arrow

  • Type: Ability
  • Level Acquired: Level 42
  • Description: Delivers an attack with a potency of 50. Additional Effect: Silence
  • Casting Time: Animation (Short)
  • Duration: 1s
  • Recast Time: 30s
  • Cost: N/A
  • Combo Bonus: N/A
  • Notes: Blunt Arrow is BRD’s Spirits Within, giving them the capacity to shoot off a stunning silence to prevent something very bad from happening. As previously mentioned under Spirits Within this is only going to work on a boss that the mechanic is specifically designed for. Meaning if you do it on a boss and they resist or otherwise don’t actively show any signs of it making a difference, then you can be safe in the knowledge that you won’t need to stun anything and you can then use Blunt Arrow for off GCD damage purposes. Of course if you can stun something, then that needs to be stunned every time as it’s very likely tied to an unrecoverable mechanic. At the very least it’ll be a really nasty surprise to everybody who gets hit by it provided you don’t stun it or don’t have a stun order. I say stun, but I mean silence, as stunning spells and such like that aren’t used in the endgame portion of FFXIV: ARR because it’d be too overpowered. If a boss was not immune to stunning a PLD could shield bash and keep themselves from taking any damage for nearly 10 full seconds, at the same time that’d allow all their party members to avoid any type of AOE damage and everything would be particularly easy compared to how it is now. Which is to say even easier than the game is currently.

That aside, you’ll want to test your Blunt Arrow on any new content you’re going to be experiencing because you’ll need to know fairly quickly if you’re going to need to use it to stun or not, and the best way to do it is to try using it on an ability that isn’t instant cast. For example the AOE lightning move that the ADS nodes use in Turn 2 is a very good example of a slower cast skill that needs to be stunned to avoid a very easy wipe.

Enhanced Barrage

  • Type: Trait
  • Level Acquired: Level 44
  • Description: Increases number of strikes per auto attack for Barrage to three.
  • Casting Time: N/A
  • Duration: N/A
  • Recast Time: N/A
  • Cost: N/A
  • Combo Bonus: N/A
  • Notes: Adding an additional strike makes Barrage slightly more useful, tripling the damage you’d normally do in the same ten seconds by giving you 9 auto attacks in 10 seconds rather than 3 without any barrage.

Flaming Arrow

  • Type: Ability
  • Level Acquired: Level 46
  • Description: Sets the ground ablaze, delivering damage with a potency of 35 to enemies that enter the flames.
  • Casting Time: Animation (Short) Plus time to set ground target.
  • Duration: 30s
  • Recast Time: 60s (1 Minute)
  • Cost: N/A
  • Combo Bonus: N/A
  • Notes: Flaming Arrow is an interesting type of DOT, in that it only affects the ground and isn’t capable of being up at all times so long as you time it properly. Instead it’s got a recast of 60 seconds giving it a 50% uptime at best if properly utilized. There are some glitches too in some fights that make it so your Flaming Arrow won’t work if it’s too close to the edge. This event happens particularly in Turn 9. If it wasn’t already obvious by now, BRD likes DOTs and though Flaming Arrow cannot be used at all times, the AOE is large enough and easy enough to set down and hit all your enemies that it isn’t particularly hard to maintain a 50% upkeep on the ability.

That being said, the overall potency is a base of 350, more than any of the total damage of either of the other DOTs that BRD has. Unfortunately the Critical Hits while under Flaming Arrow don’t count towards River of Blood and they will not reset Bloodletter’s recast. While it would be nice, it just isn’t in the cards it seems for BRD. However, keep Flaming Arrow up at all times, there’s really no reason to hold it as any adds that will pop typically die within the thirty second duration and therefore it’d be best served on a stronger boss that won’t die quite so fast.

River of Blood

  • Type: Trait
  • Level Acquired: Level 48
  • Description: Grants a 50% chance that damage over time inflicted by Venomous Bite or Windbite will reset the Bloodletter recast timer.
  • Casting Time: N/A
  • Duration: N/A
  • Recast Time: N/A
  • Cost: N/A
  • Combo Bonus: N/A
  • Notes: Now we finally get to the best trait that BRD has, potentially one of the best traits in the game even. River of Blood allows BRD to change up their rotation and game completely. While before they always had to wait 15 seconds to use Bloodletter again now they can get it reset 50% of the time if they crit either on Windbite or Venomous Bite. This gives BRD a very high chance to push Critical Hit Rate and therefore reap major benefits of DPS compared to any other damage dealer currently in the game.

As it is, BRD isn’t particularly strong, but with River of Blood they become significantly stronger, enough so that they’re able to stand on their own as more than just a hybrid support. They won’t do top DPS above a similarly geared MNK or DRG but they’ll not lag so far behind that a Tank can out damage them. They’re in quite a safe spot as they’re desperately needed for support (as every single strategy so far requires the use of a BRD) and the DPS they do at range allows the Healers to focus on others without worrying if the BRD is going to be added to their “heal plz” list when something goes wrong. Sure, it still happens but BRDs being out of range of most things makes it worlds easier for a Healer to keep them alive without constantly fretting over every little HP bar on their party frame.

With all the resets that BRD will get on Bloodletter it’ll make the macro posted above even more important, to recap an example of the macro (leaving out the initial ability) is below:

/icon “Insert Ability Name”
/ac "Misery's End" <t>
/ac "Bloodletter" <t>
/ac “Insert Ability Name” <t>

By doing the above you’ll use Misery’s End whenever it’s up. As it’s the strongest ability and can be fired once every 12 seconds it takes priority over Bloodletter, which is immediately followed. After that the actual Weapon Skill can be used giving you the ability to bind it to every major Weapon Skill in your rotation. By doing so you give yourself full leverage against either Misery’s End or Bloodletter coming off cool down and giving you the ability to quickly (and most of all easily!) monopolize on the event. All you need to do is keep pressing that single button, without ever worrying about it you can spam Bloodletter and never need to press any other key but Heavy Shot while your DOTs are ticking away. Apply the same thing to Straight Shot and both of your DOTs and suddenly you’re firing off Bloodletters left and right without ever having to pay attention to the duration of its cool down or how much time is left until it is off recast. Instead you just press your normal buttons (preferably with an MMO keyboard or mouse that supports the holding down of a key to equal rapid fire pressing) and you’ll always hit them as soon as they’re available. That means you don’t ever need to watch for a crit and hope that you’ll get a refresh on Bloodletter!

Wide Volley

  • Type: Weapon Skill
  • Level Acquired: Level 50
  • Description: Delivers an attack with a potency of 110 to target and all enemies near it. Additional Effect: 15% chance next Rain of Death will cost no TP
  • Casting Time: Animation (Moderate)
  • Duration: 10s
  • Recast Time: GCD
  • Cost: 160 TP
  • Combo Bonus: N/A
  • Notes: Wide Volley is the AOE ability that most BRDs end up using, primarily because it does the same damage that Quick Nock does but instead of being conal it’s a circular AOE around the target. Meaning that you can be away from the mobs and still hit them easily because the mobs themselves are gathered around your target. Of course you cannot use friendly targets, which would make it a lot easier because you could just instead target your Tank and be done with it. Instead you’ll need to make sure not to target an outer edge enemy as you won’t hit every mob in the group that way.

That being said, there do arise some instances where Wide Volley is actually more appropriate to use than Quick Nock, but not many. The most important and crucial thing is to pick your target carefully as no differentiation in your stance is going to change how other mobs are going to get hit. Quick Nock at least allows you to alter your distance and orientation to the point that you can exclude or include as many enemies as you like without any dramatic issue. Quick Nock is also less TP, however even if you include the chance to reset Rain of Death for BRD the TP usage is still pretty heavily in favor of Quick Nock spam. As they’re both the same amount of potency there isn’t any real issue aside from TP loss and if you’re AOEing a lot of various targets like on a normal dungeon or especially on a speed run you’ll want to quickly finish them and you don’t want to be waiting for TP to regenerate or have to sing Paeon (provided you’re on BRD!) just to give yourself TP.

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Article By: Penguin Writer


Games | Role Playing Game


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