Sunday, April 17, 2016

Final Fantasy Record Keeper 5-Star Ability Advice

Fun fact: I play Final Fantasy Record Keeper. I wrote out this email to a friend, and realized, I should share it.

I was looking for the best 5-star abilities [excluding Full Break which is slowly becoming more and more mandatory], and I made this to help me visualize orb usage. Thought it would be useful. The # of usable characters is based off of my roster, which is missing some cores who don't matter, Ingus, Fusoya, Bartz, Gau, Locke, Aerith, Squall, Yshtola and Thancred. Don't worry, there's a TL;DR at the bottom.

Assumptions: We are trying to enable the most characters who do NOT have a Unique Soul Break. A character with a Unique Soul Break does not need a 5-star ability to be valuable. In addition, we're mainly focused on the NOW, not on upcoming 5-star abilities.

Full Break: Enables 13 characters and mandatory for most high difficulty fights to let your characters do reasonable damage AND keep them alive. You will always be bringing a 5-star support in difficult content (Difficulty 90+), so there's no real arguing. You'll need it eventually, even if you get soul breaks for your supports [unless you want to wait to until Break Dance is released [or whatever they are calling it] and use a Dancer 5 as your full breaker instead.]

Barrage: Highest availability and possibly the highest single non-soul break damage/action ratio if you can get high attack against a single enemy. With 32 characters able to use, and every realm having a character with Combat 5 to use it, save FF14, it might be the best ability to craft after Full Break [only downside being competing for Power orbs] if you are solely looking to enable Realm Synergy characters. I'm pretty sure after I hone Full Break to R2, this is my next goal.

Saint Cross: Most characters who can Saint Cross can Barrage as well, think Golbez is the only exception. Saint Cross is an amazing ability, and I ranked it up to R2 without doing this comparison. It's good because you'll almost always want a knight, plus Banishing Strike is really powerful and will let you slot +Holy Damage as an RM if you have it to leave your +WeaponDamage open for other characters. For raw damage, against enemies with Holy Weakness, probably outdoes Barrage; multitarget fights will almost always be better since damage won't get spread.

Flare/Meteor: These two only compete with Exploding Fist and each other for Fire orbs, so you should only pick one. The -aga/-aja spells will do enough hitting weaknesses for single target, so I think I prefer Meteor to Flare. Another mark against Flare: Barrage/Saint Cross/Thief's Revenge should give you enough single target damage. So, we want our mages to bring AoE clearing power, especially for later story dungeons that have trash waves before bosses. Both enable 16 characters. One last reason to prefer Meteor to Flare: Like Flare Strike below, on single target fights, you'll want your mages going with Exploit Weakness -Aga/Aja and Drainga if possible once you have enough orbs, so you really don't need Flare.

Bahamut: If you take Meteor, Bahamut's value drops since the only people who can use it but not Meteor are Yuna, Eiko, Garnet, Arc -- maybe one of the people I don't have listed above. The common denominator among all those people? They don't need a high damage action to be useful to your party. The biggest upside for Bahamut is that Dark only really conflicts with Thief's Revenge, and I'm not a fan of Odin, so Summoning doesn't conflict with anything. Nonelemental conflicts directly with Flashing Blade and Meteor, so you're picking this or Meteor. I'd say go with Meteor.

Sky Grinder: I like Dragoons, but unfortunately all three orbs conflict with more valuable abilities. Also, Kain & Fang can both use Barrage, meaning that really, the only characters you're enabling are Freya, Ricard, Kimhari and Cid -- none are particularly that great. Elemental Jumps and Support 3 doesn't save this group since there are lots of Combat 5/Spellblade 3s that can go Barrage/Exploit Weakness Spellblade skill -- here are just a few:  Steiner, Agrias, Balthier, Lightning, Cloud, Zack, Tyro, Luneth. Sky Grinder is probably the worst 5-star because of this, even if it IS AoE, you can just take Meteor instead and free up valuable orbs for things like Full Break/Barrage.

Thief's Revenge: High damage output option, but has the same problems as Sky Grinder in low availability. However, it is also a self heal, so even with a Soul Break, Thief's Revenge maintains a lot of its value. In addition, Dark Orbs don't have much competition, especially now that lots of 3-star elemental summons hit twice, so Bahamut isn't as required to break damage cap/action for summoners.

Holy is incredibly niche. Unless you have two White Mage relics, I see no reason to craft this. Even then, you'd be setting up one character as a Holy Nova with Protectga/Shellga or an ability from their second school, and a dedicated healer still. Might be nice if you had a +Holy staff. Even still, Holy is only usable by about 13 people -- and almost all 13 of those are perfectly usable WITHOUT a 5-star ability or relic, compared to the Knights who need a high damage skill to compete, and therefore your Holy orbs really need to go to Saint Cross over Holy.

Exploding Fist:  Lots of orb conflicting problems. But, the biggest hit against it? All 10 people who can use Exploding Fist can ALSO use Barrage. Exploding Fist can do more damage than barrage, but it enables fewer people, and Fire orb requirements delays getting Meteor for AoE, while Power orb requirements delay Barrage. Exploding Fist is a pretty bad orb investment for our purposes [enabling the most characters.]

Flashing Blade/Doppleblade: Similar to Exploding Fist, these both have a very narrow character pool. Flashing Blade may be worse since I think all the characters who can use that can also Barrage. None of the Dopplebladers can Barrage, but you're committing to an ability that only about 4 people can use [plus maybe Thancred?] Plus, you're taking Dark Orbs away from Bahamut/Thief's Revenge.

I didn't include 5-star abilities I think are useless. For the following reasons:

Entrust [Just Lifesiphon -- plus, Support 5 means it competes with Full Break]

Arise [Just s/l to avoid early deaths in the "mitigation not up yet" phase of fights]

Mug Time [Competes with Thief's Revenge and sucks]

Odin [Competes with Bahamut and instant KOs are bad]

Quick Hit [Celerity 5 users can get Tempo Flurry/Dismissal, so no real value]

Flare Strike [Think only Squall, Celes and Bartz can use and elemental spellsword attacks will be nearing capped damage anyway; if it hit twice, would be worth considering. Also: Spellswords will eventually want to run Spellsword that Exploits Weakness/Drain Strike, so there's no real room for Flare Strike].



Final Summation: Full Break --> Meteor/Barrage --> Whatever


Anyway, Chart:

5-star abilityOrb 1Orb 2Orb 3Orb 4# Usable By
Full BreakPowerIceLightning13
Sky GrinderIceLightningWind7
Exploding FistPowerFireLightning10
Thief's RevengeLightningWindDark7
Saint CrossEarthWindHoly12
Flashing BladePowerNonelementalIce5

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