Battle Mage?

Got around to creating second and third characters and chose Force for #3. So far....I am severely underwhelmed. Now, maybe it's just because I've only used it in the prologue so far, and I went through on "Hardcore" just to see if I can bump up the XP gains right off the bat, so maybe it's just coincidence and/or the result of only just getting the feet wet, but it's just really, really feeling weak and useless. 370+ damage on charged magic attacks, sure, but only 20-40 on a melee hit. I actually gave up and swapped to Gunblade (when is this thing getting buffed to not be a completely useless gimmick?) just because as pathetic as the weapon is right now it was still more effective than going "pure mage." I know that's sort of the "standard" for mage classes. Physically frail in both attack and defense, limited mobility, dependent almost entirely on their magic (and the character is a Newman, so physical weakness is compounded by that), but is there a way to turn that around at all?

I'm looking for recommendations on how to build a proper "battle mage." High-damage, quick strikes, mob-clearing, as long range as possible while still being able to hold its own at melee range (since all the best Techs/PAs in the game aren't worth a hill of beans without PP), and as mobile as possible (I hate being a sitting duck). I want to be able to really stick-and-move like I can with my Ranger, only staying still when I've got a safe distance buffer, and not worry about getting killed instantly when I have to recharge PP.

But there are so many questions and I don't know if it's lackluster translations or what but the in-game info is anything but intuitive. Virtually no useful or practical information at all.

Can it be done? Or is this just not something a Force is capable of? Is it more or less a "support only" class? Should I be looking to swap to Techer as soon as possible? Would that really be an improvement at all (not really sure what the difference between them is)? Is the approach for any Tech/Magic/whatever-based class for PP recovery just to run around and wait for it to recharge on its own? Can the Talis type weapons be "buffed" enough to be useful on their own (not expecting them to be Assault Rifles, just want to have decent ranged damage)? Are there any all-class/multi-class weapons that can be snuck in there to break away from the norm but still let me use Techs? Did I completely screw myself picking Newman and should go back and pick a different race?

I know I'm dumping a buttload of questions here and looking like a total n00b here but, quite frankly that's what I am. I'm not one of the "long-time faithful" who learned Japanese or ran some kind of translator program to play this game when it first came out all those years ago. It's been maybe a week, week and a half at most, since I first started playing and I went straight to Ranger with my first character strictly because I figured it would be the most minimal "culture shock" in comparison to Destiny and Halo that has dominated most of my gaming for the majority of the last several years.

I guess the "tl;dr" version for anyone familiar with Destiny is can I use Force to make a Warlock, would Techer work better, or do I simply need to bite the proverbial bullet and settle in to completely adjusting my entire play style?

Force is just a straight up long range "Magic" class, you will not be doing any Melee damage with it at all; any Normal Attacks are strictly because you didn't manage your PP properly and need to refill it. The thing about Force it that it relies heavily on its Skill Tree modifiers, which are extremely powerful.

A Force/Tecther can have near limitless PP due to a combination of Skills that both allow PP to continue to fill when you are charging a Tech and kick PP recovery into high-gear, especially when standing completely still. Your defense can also be bolstered by Techter's Deband Cut Skill, which reduces all damage by 20%, and with a Tech Parry Ring, which gives you i-frames while charging a Tech.

The closest thing to the "battle mage" we currently have would be a Techter build with a Fighter, Braver, or Summoner subclass; this is mostly Melee (with no PAs) and the ability to do not-completely-terrible Tech damage.

Eventually, I think the class that might be closer to what you want is Phantom, whenever it gets released.

@AndrlCh Not gonna lie most of the technical speak goes right over my head as I'm still learning the ins and outs, the "shorthand," and just the general terminology of the game. Not to mention there are still items I have no earthly idea what the heck they are or do.

Weapon-wise the primary difference between Techer and Force is Wand vs Rod, with both having access to Talis and Gunblade (a universal weapon that's fundamentally useless and cannot utilize Techs or "magic" at all), right? Wands being slightly better at melee damage and Rods having better Tech performance?

For the "battle mage" approach, would it make more sense to do a Force main with Techer sub, or Techer main with Force sub? Or if I go for Techer as a main is there a better subclass option or does the synergy between Techer and Force still make it the best pairing?

@zaffy2005 This is all a very rough explanation.

Techter and Force have completely different styles.

Techter is pretty much a Melee class that can somewhat use Techs. It's primary function is to buff other players through the use of Support Techs, and is great at mobbing after rounding up enemies with Zondeel. In general, Force is a poor subclass for Techter since you lose access to Force's main Skill "Elemental Conversion" and it doesn't have anything to boost your Melee, so you would typically want to go with Fighter, Braver, or (maybe) Summoner if you want some Tech multipliers in addition to your Melee multipliers, or with Hunter if you want to primarily focus on Melee and tankiness at the expense of Tech damage.

Force is the go-to class for Techs, but don't expect to do any Melee with it. It is pretty much just a nuke-things-from-a-distance class thanks to the high Tech damage multiplier you get from the "Elemental Conversion" Skill. Techter is pretty much the only non-niche subclass for Force due to its "Element Precision Hit" and PP recovery Skills.

Wands are primarily a Melee weapon. With Techter's "Wand Focus" and "Wand Lovers" Skills you can use a normal Sidestep and your Normal Attacks also create a TEC-Pwr-based explosion that matches your Wand's Element. There is a Left Ring that changes the Element on your Wand when you charge a Tech and this synergizes with Techter's "Element Precision Hit" Skill. Currently, Wand's only PA is not available in the NA version.

Talis is technically the strongest Tech weapon, but only when you have the Force Skill "Talis Tech Bonus." It does have a bit of a learning curve since that Skill only activates when you are casting from a thrown Talis.

Rod is the "standard" Tech weapon that you would expect for a "magic" class. Force has a Skill named "Rod Shoot" that creates a MEL-Pwr-based homing projectile with a Rod's Normal Attack, but it is primarily for recovering PP from a distance and not for damage.

@AndrlCh So if I'm following this right, Force-Techer is a decent option, Techer-Force would be a waste of time and no subclass options will turn a Techer into the "battle mage" I'm looking for so I'm better off looking into what works best with Force to make it more durable?

And for the weapons, Wands can technically use Techs but aren't spec'd for it, while Rods and Talis are better suited for Tech usage, and are basically melee and range sides of the same coin with neither one ever really being an effective "weapon" on base attack power alone and will rely primarily on Techs for damage either way?

Are there any other weapons that a Force can use while still having full access to Techs, or are Techs more or less solely "channeled" through the weapon? I know Gunblades are useless (which sucks because I've loved the idea of them since I first played FF8 so long ago) but there are a handful of specific "all class" weapons out there. So while I know it's possible to have a Force who uses Jet Boots, a Partisan, and/or an Assault Rifle, will using literally any other weapon type that isn't a Wand, Rod, or Talis block off all Tech use? Just want to know if it's worth trying to build up Melee or Ranged proficiency or to just focus everything on Technique and maybe Dexterity (still don't know exactly what that affects, only that certain weapons and units require it to be a certain level).

Thanks for giving me the time to pick your brain on all this. Seems this game is going to require a lot more deep thinking and careful planning than what I'm use to. Pretty much any other game I've played over the years has been pretty forgiving towards the "just wing it and make adjustments as I go" approach. Seems PSO can get quite costly if you need to backtrack and make adjustments at all, particularly with the Skill Trees. Heh, it ain't Skyrim, can't just keep grinding and grab every single perk whether it's conducive or not.

@zaffy2005 said in Battle Mage?:

Wands can technically use Techs but aren't spec'd for it

And they cannot be used by force anyway. Unless it's an all-class wand. You might want to wait for a Scion/Successor class that can use techs. I forgot which one it was. (Not Etoile.)

@coldreactive Yea, I was just doing a comparison of Techer vs Force "signature weapons" and running either as a main class. Wands and Rod both do melee damage and both have access to Techs, but as far as the "balance" Wands favor Melee utility while Rods excel at Tech damage, is what I was saying.

@zaffy2005

  • Basically, yeah that is the gist.
  • Pretty much.
  • You can use Techs with any Weapon and Element Convert will still apply (assuming the Weapon is a Multi-/All-Class that can be equipped by Force), but in order for them to be of any effect, they must have TEC-Pwr on them. Also keep in mind that if you are not using the class that the Weapon is meant to go with as your subclass, you cannot use the PAs for that Weapon (ex. JBs on a Fo/Te can only be used for their Normal Attack and casting Techs).
  • As a Force, you will mostly just be focused on increase Tech damage, so that means primarily raising TEC-Pwr, then HP and PP. As a Tecther, you would focus on both MEL and TEC since Wand uses both due to the explosions from Wand Focus.
    • DEX reduces the variance between your minimum damage and your maximum (critical) damage, but only when using 1☆-6☆ Weapons. 7☆ and higher Weapons (with the exception of the Red series) have a bonus to them that makes that variance only ~10%, which basically renders DEX mostly pointless beyond equipment requirements. (It technically also effects Enemy damage variance by checking your DEX versus the enemy's DEX, but it is mostly unnoticeable with natural DEX levels)

@AndrlCh So then would it be possible to run Force-Ranger with an "all class" assault rifle and still be able to use both Techs and Rifle PAs or would that only work if the Rifle has a tech stat (which, I assume would in turn affect the potency of those techs)?

For example (and just spit-balling numbers because I have literally no idea how the actual in-game math works) say I've got a Rod with 160 Tech Power. I use it to cast Resta, say, level 4 which only requires 35 Tech stat points, and it gives me 400 HP. I swap to an all-class Assault Rifle that has a Tech Power stat of 40. If I understand this right (and assuming I have Ranger as my subclass), I could equip however high a level of AR-PA as my RNG/Dex/Whatever required stat I could manage allows and the same tier Resta (because the 40 TP on the AR is still above the 35 requirement)? But on the downside because the Tech stat of that Rifle is only 1/4 that of the Rod, casting Resta at that same level would only yield 100 HP? Again the numbers are just thrown out there for the sake of establishing proportions and it might not come out exactly that way but do I have the general sense of it correct? And because Force doesn't really focus on RNG power (aside from Talis) obviously the AR wouldn't be as effective as it would be in the hands of a pure Ranger but it would still give me that option of long-range attack/PP recovery but at the cost of Techs not being as potent as they would be if I stuck with a Tech Power focused weapon like a Rod or Talis?

Or am I trying to over-simplify this and there's a lot more involved than just whether or not any given weapon has any points in a certain stat?

T-ATK/ Tech Stat is what's used to give your Tech/spells their power. The Rifle would have to have that. You'd have to also make your mag be pure Tech (which could cause you to have issues with getting late game units.) Keep in mind, what's shown on the weapon in the shop list is its "Dominant stat" meaning whatever is shown in a list of equipment, is the piece of equipment's highest stat.

Let's say the rifle has the little gun icon for its shown stat with 200, this means that R-ATK/Range/whatever is its biggest stat.

@coldreactive So let's say I have an all-class Rifle that has 240RNG, 0MEL, and 60TEC, and a Rod that has 120TEC, 0RNG, and 60MEL, The Rifle's Tec stat would allow me to use Techs, but the effectiveness of those Techs would only be half of what they would be if I used that Rod, e.g. a restoration Tech that would give me 200HP with the Rod will only give me 100HP with the Rifle, because the Rifle only has half the Tec Power as the Rod, is that right?

@zaffy2005 said in Battle Mage?:

@coldreactive So let's say I have an all-class Rifle that has 240RNG, 0MEL, and 60TEC, and a Rod that has 120TEC, 0RNG, and 60MEL, The Rifle's Tec stat would allow me to use Techs, but the effectiveness of those Techs would only be half of what they would be if I used that Rod, e.g. a restoration Tech that would give me 200HP with the Rod will only give me 100HP with the Rifle, because the Rifle only has half the Tec Power as the Rod, is that right?

Thisd epends on your TEC power as a whole, not just the weapon, but if we're going solely on the power of the weapon, ignoring base stats and everything, then yes.

@coldreactive Ye, kinda figured it was an oversimplification, it was just a matter of removing a variable that wouldn't be changing form one example to the other. The main meat of the question was just is it possible to use a "non-Tech-focused" weapon and still be able to use Techs and it seems I have my answer that yes, it is possible, just that it sacrifices effectiveness overall.

Does open up some new questions, like would using a tech-enabled ranged weapon (Rifle, Launcher, Gunblade, TMG, etc.) have the same effect as using a Talis as far as being able to "remote cast" compatible Techs? And so long as it's an "all-class" weapon do I have to use that weapon's associated Subclass (e.g. Gunner for TMG, Ranger for Assault Rifle/Launcher) and how does that work with a "universal" weapon like Gunblade (which near as I can tell any class can already use)? If I went with a tech-enabled Gunblade would that mean I could pick any subclass?

And if so, are there any Gunblades with a TEC stat and is it possible to add a stat to a weapon that doesn't "naturally" have it? IF I were to revise my "Battle Mage" idea to a "Gunwizard" or Gunblade-wielding "Spellsword" would I have any practical options to do so or would it just be a fun but ultimately short-lived little gimmick that won't survive into the endgame content?

@zaffy2005 To simplify it all, let me put it this way: the whole game is more about a combination of multipliers/modifiers and raw stats.

You also need to know that Melee, Range, and Tech damage/proficiency do not necessarily correlate directly to MEL-, RNG-, and TEC-Pwr or to the animation type.

For example, you brought up Talis; despite the fact that its Normal Attack is "ranged" in animation, it is only modified by Tech proficiency modifiers and scales solely from TEC-Pwr. Then you have a weapon like Jet Boots whose PAs and Normal Attacks are modified by Melee proficiency modifiers, but scale from TEC-Pwr.

The thing about most Rifles is that the modifiers of their Potentials only effects Ranged proficiency, so that means that the biggest damage lost whe using Techs is not just from the lack of TEC-Pwr, but also from receiving no Tech proficiency modifiers from the Rifle itself.

Let's go back to your example. Lets say you have a base TEC-Pwr of 700, and have a Rod and a Rifle that both have 1200 TEC and 60% Light element, but the Rod has a Tech modifier of 12% while the Rifle has a Damage modifier of 20% but that only applies to Ranged proficiency. With all other factors equal, let's assume you are attacking with a 1000 Tech power charged single-hit Light Tech; the Rod would do ~8400 damage and the Rifle would do ~7500. If the Rifle instead has 0 TEC-Pwr, but a general damage modifier of 12%, it would do ~2000 damage. In reality, there are few Rifles that are multi-/all-class and that have anywhere near that much TEC-Pwr, even if they have general damage modifiers.

Put simply, aside from some niche class combos that are more about certain utilities, you want to make sure that the modifiers of your Skills and Potentials are compatible between your main and sub class.

@AndrlCh So it more or less boils down to "This could be an amusing gimmick and an interesting challenge to build, but for all practical purposes it would be essentially useless and wildly ineffective," right? Short of there being some outlier weapon somehow specifically tailored to a build the devs likely never intended for us to make, it's just not going to work.