Corsair: How to maximize your DPS
Hey, do you enjoy drinking, gambling, and....hitting stuff?
In FFXI, COR is classified as support/buff job in game, and it's not a mainstream support job compare with BRD pre-2014 and GEO nowadays. Most players play this job or build party to use this job as a support job only.
But in fact, we are support/DD hybrid job.
Playing COR with "COR is a support job" mindset instead of "COR is a support/DD hybrid" will often give very bad result because COR's buff are mostly not as potent as GEO nowadays. It's like playing MNK that only TP but doesn't WS, more than half of the job's potential goes to waste. In fact, in certain situations, COR is one of the better DD job in this game. It's certainly worth the effort to gear and play more offensively on this job.
Unfortunately, due to the complicity of the job, COR is a very hard job to hit the DPS ceiling in this game.....in my opinion, at least. You have to deal with tons of choice when choosing which WS to use, or different ways to deal damage in different party setup. You have to deal with timing JAs and chain them together to minimize auto-attack lose, you need to know how much TP you gain from Quick Draw to chain JA into WS effectively, and you have to switch between melee/ranged attack mode depending on JA cool down and situation. You also have to understand which DD roll to prioritize to get the most out of it.
Making any of the choice wrong will result getting further away from DPS ceiling.
But hey, you're a gambler. You take risks, are motivated by a challenge, not intimidated.
This is the purpose of this guide. To help every aspiring Corsairs to maximize their DPS and get as close to DPS ceiling as possible.
This guide is for players with some FFXI knowlege about one hand or ranged attack DD jobs, but looking into getting more COR specific tips and tricks to push the DPS higher. It's written for newer CORs, but I wish long time COR veterans can also obtain some useful information from the guide as well.
Please note that because this is a "Maximize your DPS" guide, not a COR general play guide. Thus I will only cover topics that improves COR DPS, and won't write about other aspect of playing COR as much. So if you're wondering why I didn't talk about pet buffs, COR/WHM playstyle, or any other support aspect of the job, that's because they're not relevant to the topic, not because I encourage people never play support COR! This is a very versatile job with multiple playstyle, and DPS is just one of them.
Version History/Creator's note
Majority of the information are done! Currently trying to think of a way to make better layout.
Some players gave tons of advice when I wrote this guide, I will credit them once everything is done.
Section 0: Knowledge is everything
In my 7+ years of being a pirate, I have never get in a situation that I walk into a completely new content, knowing nothing about the content and hit close to DPS ceiling. In other words, it's not possible to maximize DPS nor even come close to it unless you know the content. The first step of doing more damage, is to learn about the content as much as possible and make plans to get the most damage out of it.
How much accuracy do you need for this content? What kind of weakness does this NM has? Is it weak against piercing? Does it take good Skill chain damage? Does it take darkness damage? Is it melee friendly?
Then based on the information you gather, you have the ability to plan the best way to DPS on COR. Adjust the TP set to match NM accuracy cap, not more and not less. If the NM takes good damage from darkness damage, consider leaden salute darkness SC as main source of DPS. If the NM is weak against piercing, use last stand, and the list goes on.
Learn the NM, plan the WS, plan the SC, adjust the gear set. There are no other ways to maximize DPS before you know anything about the content!
Section 1: Choosing the WS
COR is extremely versatile when it comes to dealing damage. We can utilize both melee and ranged attack. We have access to piercing, slashing, magic damage and none elemental damage and we do all 4 types of damage pretty well. We can also gain TP without ever need to hit the mob. Besides the lack of blunt damage type, we can do damage in pretty much every situation.
That being said, to utilize these abilities to deal damage, knowledge is more important than everything else. COR is a WS heavy DD, we have access to some of the best WS in game, we heavily rely on big number WS when we deal damage. Therefore, knowing the strength and the weakness of each WS is the key to push dps high because majority of the DPS came from WS.
Here are the list of high damage COR weapon skills, and the strength and weakness of each WS. Since this is a guide about min-maxing dps, I've skipped all the "debuff WS" that not strong enough for damage dealing, such as Exenterator(blind) and Numbing Shot(paralyze).
Additionally, I also listed some important stats, tips and tricks to buff each WS. After all, an unbuffed WS won't do very good damage, in order to maximize DPS, buffs are sometimes more important than gears.
This is our darkness elemental WS. It's one of our strongest WS, due to how easily it could be buffed with GEO spell Malaise and SCH spell voidstorm, it's possible to pop pretty crazy WS damage from this WS when buffed with mage buffs. Additionally, this WS damage scales up with more TP, and it creates darkness SC with many mainstream WS, such as Chant du Cygne, Rudra's Storm and Tachi: Fudo. Closing a big fat darkness SC with leaden salute at high TP has became a very good way to deal lots of damage in a very short time, especially in Escha, with soldier's drink.
Since this WS damage scales up with more TP, it's not so much of a big deal to over TP when using this WS. Depending on situation, you may want to time your WS so it generates more damage via darkness SC.
Tips to maximize DPS: Utilize SC!
This is our fire elemental WS, so it works well against anything that's weak against fire. This used to be one of the strongest WS in game, nowadays it's no longer on top of the WS hierarchy. Unlike leaden salute, which can do pretty good damage without malaise, this WS pretty much needs malaise to do good damage.
That being said, with malaise it's still pretty strong, especially against high evasion/high defense targets. Fire shot + empy feet boosts this WS, therefore it's very important to use fireshot before WF to maximize DPS.
This WS does not scale up past 1000 TP, avoid over TP at all costs.
Tips to maximize DPS: Remember to do Fire shot with AF3 feet for damage +25% before using this WS!
This is our ranged piercing physical WS. It's usually weaker than equally geared Savage Blade as a physical WS, and often requires very high attack buff to do good damage. But it works great against birds or anything weak against piercing, additionally this WS can be used outside of AoE, and can be boosted with True Shot bonus.
With Aeonic weapon Fomalhaut, this WS can SC with itself, producing higher overall damage than savage blade spam with additional dps from SC. Without Aeonic it's still possible to produce light with savage > Last stand or the other way around.
Tips to maximize DPS: Ranged WS gets damage boost from true shot bonus. Although it's not practical most of the time, try to WS at an appropriate distance as much as possible. Always get as much attack buffs as possible when considering using last stand.
With TP bonus +1250 from gears and an ilvl 119 sword, this is one of our strongest physical WS for melee COR due to it's high ftp at 2000+ TP. This WS also scales up with more TP, therefore it's not so much of a big deal to over TP. Avoid WS at 1750+ TP though, TP bonus gears aren't adding anymore damage to WS past 1750+ TP.
Tips to maximize DPS: This WS doesn't SC with itself and there aren't many options to self SC when using TP bonus magian, so one of the good way to get the most out of it is to have someone else open SC, or use this WS to open SC if your SC partner has higher WS average.
When using TP bonus magian, quick draw won't be doing much damage in full MAB set, thus it's more ideal to use Quick Draw STP set instead of MAB set to push TP gain higher.
This is our wind elemental WS, it's also our AoE WS. Useful for cleaving adds or fodder.
This is our crit-hit WS, it's also useful for SC.
This is our none elemental WS, useful on Caturae for breaking shields.
Nowadays most of the DPS came from skill chains, here are the list of some of the skill chains that COR can use to increase damage. Always keep Skillchains in mind when trying to maximize DPS!
Section 2: Party Setup
Dealing damage in FFXI is all about building a party setup that pushes the DD's dps as high as possible. Here is a list of party setup that makes COR a stronger DD.
Leaden Salute SC setup
RUN(Tenebrae gambit/rayke), GEO(Malaise/acument entrust AGI), COR(samurai or regain/allies or wizards), SC opener(a DD with distortion WS access or SCH), RDM(frazzle III/inundation), BLM
The purpose of this setup is to push leaden salute's damage as high as possible, with Gambit/rayke from RUN and malaise/acument from GEO. Then have a job that can do distortion WS open SC, and have COR close a big fat leaden salute and darkness. The darkness damage can be further enhanced by Allies roll and Inundation.
If you have a BLM with Death access in the party, the BLM can magic burst Death after darkness SC.
Section 3: All about your DD rolls
Since COR is a primary a support role, using DD rolls to boost party is part of the job. Thus choosing the correct DD roll to use and prioritize the best DD roll is another key aspect to maximizing DPS.
Below are some of the frequently used DD rolls in this game:
What is prioritizing DD rolls?
When doing roll rotations, job ability Crooked Card, Snake Eye and Fold will always be up on the first roll, however since you may use some of the JA on the first roll, your second roll in roll cycle will ended up having weaker average potency, even if you save crooked card on 2nd roll. With all 3 JA up mathematically it's possibly to get the best buff potency on first roll when doing roll rotations.
Because certain rolls has higher DPS increase than another, it's often a better choice to do rolls with higher DPS potency first. In pDIF uncapped situations, the prioritize order should be
Chaos roll > Samurai's roll > others
If your pDIF is close to capped then Samurai's roll should be prioritized instead.
Using Trusts to boost your roll potency
Because Phantom rolls gain increased potency with right jobs in party(job bonus), a good way to increase buff potency is to summon trusts on certain jobs to force proc job bonus, then unsummon them after rolls are used. For example, summoning Zeid will enhance Chaos roll potency, since this trust is pretty useless most of the time, a good idea is to unsummon it after Chaos rolls are used.
Here are the job list of Trusts for enhancing common DD buffs:
Iroha I/II Tenzen I/II Ayame/Ayame UC
Ajido-Marujido Domina Shantotto Robel-Akbel Rosulatia
Section 4: Melee mode and JA/WS chaining
Since COR become a Dual Wield job when with /NIN and /DNC meleeing, it's a good idea to aim for capped delay reduction depending on amount of haste buff received.
Below is a table that will shows how much gear DW you will need with your current job's DW Tier and how much Haste you are receiving. Values listed are for capped gear haste.
Job Ability Delay
In FFXI, there's a mechanic called Forced Delay, which prevents players doing any action after using a job ability or WS.
COR is a very JA centered DD job, due to having an offensive job ability Quick Draw that needs to be used constantly. Additionally, since DNC is one of a more popular melee sub, using this SJ will result even more JA that needs to be used mid-battle.
With that many JA needs to be used, and Forced Delay mechanics, if a player just randomly use JA and not considering Forced Delay, they will lose DPS.
Thus, one of the key aspect of playing COR is to learn how to chain JA and WS together to minimize DPS lose.
How JA and WS delay works
Because the 2nd phase of JA delay allows you to use other JA and WS, but not auto attack, when you absolutely need to use a JA, it's more ideal to use all of them together.
For example, if you need to use 2 JA(such as 1 samba and 1 QD) and 1 WS within 1 WS cycle.
If you don't chain JA together: JA1(2 sec delay) JA2 (2 sec delay) WS(2 sec delay). You lose 6 sec of auto attack DPS in this round of WS.
If you chain JA together and use 1 JA right after next, and WS right after 2nd JA is used: JA1(1 sec delay) JA2 (1 sec delay) WS(2 sec delay). You lose 4 sec of auto attack DPS in this round of WS.
Because it's often less of DPS lose to chain JA and WS together, one of the key as of aspect of playing melee COR is to learn how to do them effectively. Some of COR's JA gains TP, some JA uses TP, your goal is to have 1000 TP after using every single JA that you need in this WS cycle. You definitely can't ended up having less than 1000 TP after finishing your JA chains, otherwise you can't finish your JA chain with WS and will suffer 1 sec of auto attack DPS lose. And you may want to avoid having more than 1000 TP if using a WS that dmg doesn't scale up with more TP, such as wildfire.
Here is one example of how this works. Assuming your QD gains 300 TP(number varies depending on sets and SAM roll numbers), and the JA you want to use is haste samba, which costs 350 TP.
You can use haste samba at 1050 TP, which put you at 700 TP, then you can use QD for another 300 TP, which put you at 1000 TP and allow you to WS right away after 2 JAs are used.
If you miscalculate the amount of TP you use/gain from each JA and start chaining JA when your TP isn't 1050, it'll be DPS lose.
Doing haste samba > 300 TP QD at 1000 TP put you at 950 TP after JA are used, thus you can't chain JA into WS and result DPS lose.
Doing haste samba > 300 TP QD at 1200 TP put you at 1150 TP after JA are used, resulting DPS lose if using Wildfire(less of an issue if using other WS such as leaden salute)
Because DNC JAs has static TP cost, it's not so tough to do precise calculation for 1000 TP. On the other hand, TP gain/QD varies based on sets and buffs, so it's a lot more important to learn how to calculate TP gain per QD. Here is how to calculate your TP gain with STP rolls and gears:
TP/hit = floor( Base TP/hit × (100 + Store TP Total)÷100 , 1)
Section 5: Ranged attack mode and hit-builds
Section 6: Utilize your sub job
Below is a list of abilities that each COR DD SJ has access to, and able to improve DPS, use them!
Burn: Casting Elemental Seal Burn on the target reduces target INT. Since Leaden salute and Wildfire has dINT check it's a good idea to cast them!
Occult Acument gears + Bio II or Thundaga:
Stutter Step: Lowers target magic evasion for magical WS.
Box Step: Lowers target defense for -13% defense total at level 5. Very useful for physical WS.
Quickstep: Level 1 removes 8 evasion, each additional level removes 4 evasion up to a total of 24 evasion removed. Very useful for physical WS and TP.
Haste Samba: Provides 5% JA haste. Since /DNC only has 15% Dual wield keeping samba up is mandatory to use more optimal TP sets.
Skill Chain Bonus:
Storm spells: Use Voidstorm to boost leaden salute, Firestorm to boost Wildfire, and other elemental storms to boost Quick Draw damage when applicable.