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CAUTION!
This article is only a guide. Information expressed in a guide is usually more opinion than fact and should be taken as such. Guides are written by players, based upon their experiences, successes and mistakes, and are meant to aid other players. However, there may be differing opinions than those expressed in a guide.
Strategies and information in guides may not work for everyone.

(Posted with permission from Akirus, taken from the PLD forums at allakhazam.com)
The most recent version of this guide can be found at this link.

About this Guide

This guide is basically everything I wish someone had told me when I started playing Paladin. It is an accumulation of all the things I've learned from my experiences leveling so far, and all the information I have gathered from various message boards and from fellow Paladins in-game. It should provide you with all the information needed to be an effective Paladin, and should answer many of the questions that come up frequently on Paladin forums.


A Paladin's Role

A Paladin's job is to maintain consistent hate while taking as little damage as possible, and you should hold your priorities in that order. Your primary concern as a Paladin is to keep the mob securely focused on you so that it does not directly attack the other members of your party. All the best +Def, +Vit, +Agi, +HP, and -DMG% gear in the game will not matter if you are not the one getting hit. Once you can comfortably maintain consistent hate, you can begin focusing on taking as little damage as possible.

A comparison between Paladins and other tanks

Admin. note: See Talk:Paladin: Guide by Akirus for opposing viewpoints.
Paladins are not the only tanks in this game. However, of the three most common or viable end game tanking classes, War/Nin, Nin/War, and Pal/War, they are capable of generating and managing the most hate. War/Nin specializes in damage output through Dual Wield, damaging Axe weapon skills, and specific pieces of equipment geared toward damage dealing, Nin/War specializes in taking little (or in many cases no) damage through the use of +Evasion equipment and the Utsusemi line of Ninjutsu, and a Paladin specializes in hate through spells and job abilities that generate hate, and emergency job abilities like Cover and Shield Bash that allow a Paladin to manage hate and protect the other members of the party.

Paladin's specialization in hate management is evident from the fact that they have the tools at their disposal to generate and manage hate as the only tank in the party from levels 10-75, whereas other tanking classes will most likely struggle with hate management until the later levels.

War/Nin, for example, do not have many hate tools at their disposal in the early levels, and since they rely primarily on damage output as a means of hate control, most will likely struggle with hate management until level 50+, at which point this class becomes a major damage dealer. As Quor points out in his Warrior guide, at 50 War/Nin receive a Dual Wield upgrade which significantly improves the damage over time (DOT) dealt by one handed Axes, and by this point they are able to equip two Viking Axes (49) and a Lifebelt (48) for a total of +30 Accuracy. At 52 War/Nin get their AF boots, which significantly improve the activation rate of the job trait Double Attack, and at 55 they gain access to the weapon skill Rampage, which becomes a major damage dealer and significantly improves hate management. In the mid to late 50s War/Nin also benefit from the hefty +Enmity bonus provided by the Warrior AF set (+15 total). For the rest of the game War/Nin deal out enough damage to effectively maintain hate, but before they have access to the improved DOT and TP generation resulting from the tier two Dual Wield upgrade, the +Accuracy bonuses from the Lifebelt and dual Viking Axes, and high damage weapon skills like Spinning Axe (49) and Rampage (55), they will most likely struggle with hate management. For this reason most Warriors recommend subbing /Mnk for tanking and /Thf for damage dealing pre-50.

Nin/War also suffer from a lack of hate tools in the early and mid levels. Nin/War rely primarily on enfeebling and elemental Ninjutsu spells to generate hate, but while the first (Ichi) line of enfeebling spells such as Kurayami (Blind), Hojo (Slow), and Jubaku (Paralyze), do generate hate, these spells are rarely by IT++ mobs with a capped Ninjutsu skill level, resisted spells generate equal amount of hate. The Ichi line of offensive elemental Ninjutsu spells such as Suiton (Water) and Doton (Earth) deal little damage and should be used sparingly. Most low level Nin/War cast Hyoton:Ichi at least once a fight, but they do so only to keep their Ninjutsu skill capped for when the second (Ni) level elemental spells become available and because the powder required for casting Hyoton is cheaper than that required for the other elements. The Ni elemental spells, on the other hand, deal a significant amount of damage comparable with many Blm spells, and as a result they generate a substantial amount of hate, the Ni line of elemental magic is available at level 40. During this period, NIN/BLM is available SJ for both tanking and Damage Dealing, as BLM's Magic Attack Bonus enhances a NIN's dmg output between 10-30% higher. The only other option for pre-Utsu:Ni Nin/War in terms of generating hate is throwing weapons such as Shuriken. However, at an average server price of 10k per stack for the level 18 Shuriken, they are extremely expensive. Holding hate by means of throwing weapons is a prohibitively expensive strategy to a new player. It's advised to play Ninja only once you have a secure means of income whether from NM hunting, BCNMs, farming, etc.

Here are some quotes I gathered while browsing through the Nin/War and War/Nin forums that further highlight Paladin's unique specialization in hate management:

"I made lv32 yesterday, I am holding hate OK unless the Blm went nuts spamming Firaga and other spell OR a ranger doing the barrage thing. Its true that pass 30 is kinda harder to hold hate, I am looking for other way too."

"You really don't have a lot of options when it comes to holding hate at that level. My best advice is to find a good backup tank and split the aggro."

"As you go up the levels you'll realize that it's pretty tough to hold hate well all on your own without the help of a thief."

"However, without Utsusemi: 2, I wouldn't really try to be the one-and-only- tank. That's the strategy for levels 40 and above. Things go much smoother if your party has a backup tank or alternating tank for the time when you lose hate."

"Remember, every time you get hit, you lose hate. And you will get hit at level 30 because you don't have Utsusemi: 2."

"NIN is better at reducing downtime, PLD is better at building hate so your dmg dealers can do more. A good NIN never has downtime and rarely looses hate. A good PLD never looses hate and rarely has downtime. "

"Ninjas cant tank by themselves before lvl 37. they need a backup provoker."

"You won't be an effective main tank, so you need at least another voker in your party "

"fact: ninja is a very efficient tank. fact: paladin is by far the best overall tank. paladin is a tank for any situations where ninja is slightly more of a situational tank." -67 Nin

While any tank requires the cooperation of the other members of the party, Nin/War requires a specific party makeup including a backup or secondary tank before level 37 when Utsusemi: Ni becomes available, and both Nin/War and War/Nin require the damage dealers to hold back a little more without a level 30+ Thief in the party for Sneak Attack + Trick Attack.

Which is the "best" tank?

I am not arguing that Nin/War and War/Nin are not as good at tanking as Paladins. I am simply attempting to highlight the fact that Paladins specialize in hate management, but this is only one aspect of tanking. In many situations Nin/War and War/Nin will actually allow the party to gain far more exp/hour than a Paladin given the drastic reduction in downtime that results from Utsusemi tanks taking little to no damage. However, there are certain situations and mobs that prevent the successful use of Utsusemi. Mobs that double attack or use AOE spells/abilities frequently will usually eat through too many shadows too quickly, preventing successful blink tanking. In these situations against these mobs a Paladin tank is a more reliable choice, though again, there are many mobs that can be successfully blink tanked, and parties that fight these mobs with a Nin/War or War/Nin tank will generally gain more exp/hour on average than if the same party fought these mobs with a Pal/War tank, and for this reason many players prefer blink tanks.

In summary, of the 3 most common or viable end game tanking classes, War/Nin, Nin/War, and Pld/War, each benefits the party in different ways, be it through increased damage dealt, decreased damage received, or heightened hate management, each is more suitable in specific circumstances at certain levels against certain mobs, and each requires a different play style.

To argue about which one is "better" than the others is a waste of time. All 3 have their purpose, all 3 have their place, and given the drastic lack of viable tanks in this game, all 3 will get frequent party invites.

Your attitude as a Paladin

Given your role, as a Paladin you should be prepared to protect the other members of the party, even at the expense of your own life. In other words you should be prepared to be the first member of your party to be KO'd. While there is no reason to get yourself KO'd if you can avoid defeat, you should be the last member of your party to zone, and sometimes you will be required to hold the mob while the other members of your party escape to safety. This means that you will end up spending a lot of time, especially in the earliest and latest levels, lying face down (or face up if you are Elvaan). As a Paladin what you do when you are dead is almost as important as what you do when you are alive. If you take your deaths in stride, realizing it is an unfortunate part of the job, you will develop a good reputation, and how many invites you get when playing this job in the later levels depends almost entirely on your reputation.


How to maintain consistent hate

As a Paladin you maintain hate through damage dealt, and the use of hate generating job abilities and spells.

Hate related terms and their application

Square-Enix has not provided detailed information regarding the nature of hate and exactly how it works, but many Paladins have reached a kind of general consensus given their own experience and that of other players.

First of all, in order to generate mob hate, you must first be on that mob's Hate List. Each mob keeps a Hate list, or a record of every player that has done something the mob hates. There are several ways to get onto a mob's Hate List:

-Negatively affecting the mob. This includes damaging the mob through physical attacks, spells, or job abilities, hindering or debuffing the mob through spells like Slow that decrease its performance, and "bothering" the mob by walking where it can see or hear you or by healing or sitting near it. -Positively affecting someone the mob hates. This includes healing or buffing someone on the mob's hate list.

Each mob seems to have a Hate Meter that measures the level of hate generated by each individual on their Hate List. It is important to note the effect of Hate Decay: the hate you generate decays, wears off, or decreases in intensity over time. Hate decays even more frequently as the mob hits you for damage as this allows the mob to release some of the hate you have built up.

Once you have made it onto the mob's Hate List and have been assigned a Hate Meter, you can begin to generate hate. The experience of most Paladins seems to indicate that there are two types of hate: Instantaneous or Spiked Hate, and Constant or Gradual Hate.

Instantaneous/Spiked Hate is generated suddenly by certain job abilities like Provoke or Shield Bash. While these job abilities seem to create a high amount of hate which is usually powerful enough to immediately grab the mob's attention, the intensity of this type of hate seems to decay or wear off more quickly than that of Constant or Gradual Hate.

Constant or Gradual Hate is generated by damage dealt, and by spells like Cure and Flash. While Constant/Gradual Hate will not usually generate as much instant aggro as Instantaneous/Spiked Hate, it appears to decay or wear off at a much slower rate, and is therefore considered more reliable. However, the increased reliability of Constant/Gradual hate comes at a high cost as it requires you to use your MP, which is a valuable and limited resource to generate.

Given the two different types of hate, most Paladins attempt to keep both Instantaneous/Spiked Hate and Constant/Gradual Hate as high as possible at all times in spite of the set timers on job abilities and their limited MP. This is accomplished by developing a Hate Routine that alternates between abilities and spells that generate Instantaneous/Spiked Hate and Constant/Gradual hate. An example of a common Hate Routine is:

Flash -> wait -> Provoke -> wait -> Cure II/III -> wait -> Provoke -> wait -> Sentinel -> wait -> etc

Using a Hate Routine like this allows you to generate significant amounts of both Instantaneous/Spiked Hate and Constant/Gradual Hate, and keep this hate at a high or constant level, and the fact that you alternate between the two and space them out saves you MP and does not force you to wait exclusively on any of the recast timers for your job abilities.

Using this kind of Hate Routine allows you to set a high Hate Threshold, which is the total amount of hate you have generated up to a certain point on a given mob. The amount of damage the members of your party can successfully deal without grabbing aggro depends on how high you have set the Hate Threshold.

Hate management in a party

Hate management is not merely the responsibility of the Paladin, but depends on the cooperation of the entire party, especially in the lower levels before you have access to all your hate tools and especially pre-Refresh.

If the damage dealers or mages in your party want hate from you, they can pretty much get it at any level. It takes skilled party members to not only recognize where you have set the Hate Threshold, but know how not to cross it. You should have the mindset of generating as much hate as possible without burning up too much of your MP or job abilities and slowing down the exp/hour, and your party members should have the mindset of dealing as much damage as possible without drawing hate, taking too much damage, and slowing down the exp/hour.

Unfortunately you may have a hard time finding a full party of members with this mindset in the lower levels, but things do get better. Eventually the Rangers or Black Mages in your party will realize it is actually more beneficial in terms of exp/hour for them to hold back a little than to go all out and soak up the White Mage's MP. Until then, if you are having hate management problems, hang in there, you will likely gain access to new hate tools in a few levels, and your fellow party members will become more successful at controlling their own hate output.

Should Paladins ever lose hate?

There are certain circumstances in which it is actually beneficial for the Paladin to yield hate to another member of the party. These include:

-Partying with a Ninja: Pre-37 A Ninja tank relies on a backup or secondary voke (be it from another Nin/War, a War/xxx, a xxx/War, or a Pal/War) due to the long recast timer of Utsusemi: Ichi and the unavailability of Utsusemi: Ni at this level. A Ninja can cast Utsusemi:Ichi for 3 shadows before the pull, then once the puller returns and the fight starts the Ninja will Provoke and then absorb 2 hits before recasting Utsusemi: Ichi, so that as the 3rd shadow absorbs the mob's attack the Ninja gets 3 more shadows. This will allow the Ninja to avoid 6 attacks, possibly more if the mob is blinded, slowed, or paralyzed, or if the Ninja has good +Evasion gear and eats +Evasion/+Agi food. However, once the shadows disappear, the Ninja needs the secondary voker to Provoke and tank until the recast timer on Utsusemi is up again, or if it is up already, until the Ninja can recast it without being interrupted by a mob attack. If the Ninja attempts to tank during this time, or the backup tank is too late with the Provoke, he will take significantly more damage than a Paladin, negating the damage absorbed by the first 6 shadows. A single Provoke from the secondary tank should turn the mob away from the Ninja. Usually the mob will be defeated before the recast timer on Utsusemi is up, if not, the Ninja will Provoke once the shadows are in place and absorb 3 more hits.

Post-37 a Ninja can solo tank once they obtain Utsusemi: Ni because they can alternate casting the Ichi and Ni versions of Utsusemi without the need for a backup or secondary voke, and chances are you will never party with a Ninja after this point (I never have).

Basically Pre-37 if you are willing to work together and co-tank with a Ninja, you will be rewarded with far more exp/hour than you could ever get tanking alone due to the reduced downtime. Learn how to work with a Ninja in your party, and be glad when you have one.

Post-37 don't worry about it, a Paladin/Ninja party past this level is so inefficient that you will likely never find yourself in one.

-Setting up Sneak Attack + Trick Attack: Post level 30 Thieves (and level 60+ classes that sub Thief) have the unique ability to stack Sneak Attack (which guarantees a critical hit) and Trick Attack (which "tricks" the mob into assigning hate to another member of the party). If performed correctly this strong attack can transfer a significant amount of hate onto you, allowing you to maintain hate with less MP and fewer job abilities for faster chains, or allowing you to set the Hate Threshold significantly higher, which allows the damage dealers in your party to deal more damage for faster mob kills.

Usually the Thief pulls a mob, and on the way back to camp readies Sneak Attack + Trick Attack (also known as Fuidama or SATA). The "trick partner" (any member of the party except the Paladin who has access to Provoke) Provokes the mob. The Paladin lines up with the Trick Partner but stands directly behind the mob, and when everyone is in position the Thief moves directly behind the Paladin, unsheathes his daggers, and attacks the mob with SATA through the Paladin, tricking the mob into assigning all the hate from the attack to the Paladin, not the Thief.

When viewed from above using a Mnk/War as a trick partner, it looks like this:

................................................................................
.....<rdm>>..............................................................
..<whm>>...........<mnk>>..<<mob>..<<pld>..<<thf>....................
...........<blm>>........................................................
................................................................................

-Using Sneak Attack + Trick Attack + Weapon Skill in the Skill chain: Another application of SATA is incorporating it into a skill chain. For example, in a party with a Rng and Thf Skill chaining Slugshot + SATA + Viperbite, the players assume the same position mentioned above (Rng in place of Mnk), except the Paladin begins the fight with Provoke and possibly follows with a Flash a few seconds later but does not use any additional job abilities or spells in order to set a low hate threshold. The Ranger opens the Skill chain with Slugshot, and hopefully grabs aggro. The mob turns its back on the Paladin to face the Ranger just in time for the Thief to land SATA + Viperbite, dealing massive damage as it completes the skill chain and securing massive hate on the Paladin. Ideally the Ranger will have a Ninja sub for Utsusemi so that he takes no damage in between the weapon skills. The Paladin will have so much hate at this point that he will most likely be able to "coast" through the rest of the fight using very few hate resources, and by the time the mob falls the Ranger and Thief should have enough TP to skill chain again toward the beginning of the next fight. With a Black Mage to burst this is one of the most efficient standard party formations.

There are several other instances in which a Paladin should yield aggro, but they are far less common. Chances are, if another member of your party asks you to let them gain hate, they are doing it for a reason. As long as they are not merely attempting to raise their Evasion Skill, you will most likely benefit the party by cooperating.

A note on +Enmity equipment

Many Paladins describe +Enmity as a "hate multiplier", which means that all actions that generate hate such as damage you deal, spells you cast, and job abilities you use are awarded a hate bonus with +Enmity gear equipped, allowing these actions to generate significantly more hate than they would without it.

It is a common misconception that +Enmity gear is for Paladins with hate management problems. I personally never wore any +Enmity gear until Paladin AF. I have found however, that the good damage dealers in this game have the mindset of dealing as much damage as possible without grabbing hate and taking damage, and they will usually use the first few fights to determine exactly how much damage they can deal given the Hate Threshold.

What this means is that in a skilled party, the increased hate you could generate with +Enmity gear will allow the damage dealers to do more damage since you can set the Hate Threshold higher. So +Enmity gear is less about correcting your inablity to hold hate, and more about generating as much hate as possible, allowing the damage dealers in your party to do more damage for faster kills and more exp/hour.


How to take as little damage as possible

As a Paladin you take as little damage as possible by wearing equipment, eating food, and using job abilities that increase your Defense, Vitality, and Agility.

Def and Vit

Defense determines the mob's chance of hitting you at the low end of your potential damage received curve, while Vit lowers the curve itself. So Vit determines your potential minimum damage received each hit, Defense determines how often you reach that potential.

For example, if you would normally get hit for anywhere from 70-150 points of damage, adding a substantial amount of Vit will lower that overall curve to say 60-140, while Defense will determine how often you actually get hit at the low end of that curve, for say 60-70 points of damage.

General calculation for damage received

How much damage you take with each hit is determined by comparing the mob's Str vs your Vit, and the mob's Attack modifier vs your Defense modifier. There are other variables involved, so this is a simplified version of the damage received equation, but it will still tell you what you need to know.

Def or Vit, which should you focus on?

Generally, you should focus on Vit until 50, when you will briefly switch over and focus on +Def until level 55 or 56. After 55 or 56 you will want to start focusing on +Vit again.

Pre 50 even though Def and Vit are both important in the equation, you will get a lot more out of adding +Vit, especially since Defense increasing job abilities and food like Fish Mithkabobs are available. The basic reason why 1 or 2 points of Vit will almost always be more beneficial than a few points of Def is that adding Vit almost always results in a larger percent increase than adding Def, and so results in a greater improvement to your character. You can see this by looking at the number totals themselves. While you should have hundreds of points of Defense thanks to your passive Defense Boosts, your other gear, and your job abilities that boost Defense, you will have less than a hundred Vit given the fact that you receive no passive Vit boosts or Vit boosting job abilities. Just looking at the percentage increases, a boost of 10 Def to say 300 Def total is less significant (only a 3% increase) than a boost of 6 Vit to 60 Vit total (a 10% increase), so that adding Vit represents a more significant boost to your character in terms of reducing damage received.

After 50 the mobs just seem to hit a lot harder due to a higher Attack Modifier. You will notice this in the Boyahda Tree fighting Bark Spiders and later Robber Crabs. Since the mob's Attack Modifier is compared with your Defense when determining damage received, most Paladins try to counteract this higher Attack Modifier by increasing their own Defense Modifier with Phalanx Rings (+10 Def each) and by continuing to focus on foods that offer the largest Defense bonus. Even though the percentage increase from the +20 Def provided by the Phalanx Rings is slightly less than the percentage increase provided by the +3 Vit Chrysoberyl or Verve rings, you will most likely benefit more from focusing on +Def in your ring slots at this level based on the mobs you will face in exp parties.

Post 55 or 56 your high natural Defense plus food neutralizes the mob's high Attack Modifier a little, and since the mob will already have a very high chance of hitting the low end of your damage received curve, adding additional defense beyond this point wont do as much to reduce overall damage, and so results in a diminishing return. At this point you should focus on reducing that potential minimum itself by adding Vit again. So after 55 or 56 most Paladins go with Chrysoberyl Rings (+3 Vit each) or, if they shelled out the extra gil for Verve Rings early on, put those on again. The other option at this point is Vigor Rings for +4 Vit each, but they are extremely rare and expensive: my Vigor Rings cost me 469k each on Shiva, and very few have ever sold, so its not an option for everyone. As far as food goes post 55 or 56 most Paladins switch over to foods that offer the most +Vit.

Aside from this general guideline, if you take a consistent amount of medium damage from a specific exp mob, then you are most likely hitting the low end of your damage curve frequently, which means you should most likely focus on lowering that damage received curve itself by adding Vit. If you take inconsistent damage from an exp mob, occasionally getting hit for high damage, occasionally for low, then you are not reaching your potential minimum damage received very often, and should focus on hitting the low end of your potential damage received curve more often by adding Defense. However, given the inaccurate nature of casual observation in game, you should parse the log results of an exp session in order to get the most accurate information.

Primary Paladin stats

The primary stats for Paladin are Vit, HP, and Agi. These are important stats for Paladin because they directly determine our ability to take damage, which is one of the two key aspects of this job.

-Vit: The primary Paladin stat. Except for a few rare or level specific circumstances, boosting Vit is more directly beneficial than boosting any other Paladin stat, and Vit will therefore be the top priority in selecting gear for the majority of the game. Adding Vit directly reduces damage received by lowering our overall potential-damage-received curve.
-HP: Another very important stat for Paladins as it determines the maximum amount of damage we can sustain. A dead tank is of little use to a party, and adding HP directly improves our survivability, especially endgame situations when facing HNM or doing Dynamis runs, at which point this becomes the primary Paladin stat, with Vit remaining a close second. When you get hit with a 50-HP-per-tick poison while fighting a HNM or have multiple links in Dynamis any additional HP can provide the Whm with precious additional seconds to land a critical Cure. In these endgame situations even a few extra HP will frequently make the difference between a death and a close call.
-Agi: Another stat that reduces overall damage received. However, unlike Vit, Agi reduces damage received indirectly. Adding Agi increases your chance to block/parry/evade an attack, which also increases your chance to raise these skills, while lowering the mob's chance of scoring a critical hit.

Secondary Paladin stats

These stats determine the effectiveness of many aspects of each character, but they are not considered as important for Paladins as Vit, HP, or Agi because they do not directly improve our ability to take damage.

-Mnd: Perhaps the most overrated stat for Paladins in the game. While Mnd determines our resistance to enemy status ailments, Paladins should not focus on boosting Mnd above Vit, HP, or Agi because doing so would be of little benefit in terms of actual play. Anytime you are hit by a status altering spell, your Whm will remove it in a matter of seconds, long before it would wear off naturally due to your high Mnd. Also, the chance of actually resisting a spell from an I.T. mob, regardless of how much Mnd you have, is virtually zero. Mnd also determines how much our Cure spells heal for, but only in the lowest levels before the soft cap comes into effect. By the time you reach level 20 your Healing Skill will play a far greater role, and your Cures should heal for the soft cap limits anyway. Mnd is simply not important or beneficial enough to be focused on above Vit, HP, or Agi for Paladins. Believe me, I am an Elvaan Paladin, I have the highest Mnd in the game, and I'm telling you Mnd is virtually worthless for Paladins.

-Str: Plays an important role in calculating damage dealt. However, Paladins will simply never have the same damage output of any other melée class given our specialization in one handed Swords, which are inherently low-DMG weapons, and weapon DMG plays a far greater role in determining damage output than Str and Attack. In other words, don't expect adding Str or Attack to dramatically improve your damage output as long as you wield a one handed Sword. In addition, just as it takes a significant amount of both Vit and Defense in order to reduce damage received, it takes a significant amount of both Str and Attack to increase damage dealt, and Paladins have a naturally low Attack score and are not able to wear many pieces of +Attack equipment since this type of gear usually offers very little in terms of +Vit, +HP, or +Agi. Also, +Str gear will do very little to increase your damage output if you cannot connect with the mob frequently. Most melée struggle with accuracy even though they equip many pieces of +Accuracy equipment, and so Paladins with very few pieces of +Accuracy gear should expect to miss I.T. mobs frequently, further reducing the benefits of +Str. Since Paladins wield low DMG weapons, are not able to equip much +Attack gear, and miss frequently, if you would like to increase your hate potential you would be much better off boosting it directly with +Enmity gear, which multiplies the amount of hate generated by every action you take, than by trying to increase your damage output by boosting Str.

When you are invited to a party they will be far more concerned with the damage you take than the damage you deal, and since Paladins were not intended to be damage dealers, you will be better off focusing on fulfilling your role as a tank by boosting Vit, HP, and Agi.

-Dex: While Dex is important for increasing accuracy, +Dex and +Accuracy equipment usually offer nothing in terms of +Vit, +Def, +HP, or +Agi, and so Paladins are unable to wear as much of this type of equipment as other melée who do not need to worry about getting hit frequently. However, if you are really concerned about your accuracy as a Paladin you will be far better off boosting it directly through +Accuracy equipment than attempting to raise it by adding Dex.

-Int: Does very little for Paladins given our specialization in White Magic. Some have speculated that increased Int can decrease the damage received from enemy Black Magic, but whatever benefits would result from adding +Int gear if this is even true would pale in comparison to the direct benefits resulting from adding +Vit, +HP, or +Agi.

-Chr: The effects of Chr are still debatable. According to an interview with "someone" from SE, "The Charisma attribute score does not affect hate or enmity(aggro). It does, however, affect how a bard's songs and a Beast Master's charm ability are not only used but also resisted. There are also weapon skills that are greatly affected by Charisma."

source: http://ffxi.crgaming.com/interviews/viewinterview.asp?Id=272 second to last question.

Some discount this interview since it does not provide the specific name or job title of the person allegedly representing SE, and cite the enormous Chr boost from Koenig gear and personal experiences as evidence that Chr does in fact effect hate.

While the actual role of Chr is still somewhat uncertain, it is perfectly clear that Paladins would be better off focusing on their primary stats than on one that is still so misunderstood. In other words, if you are faced with an equipment decision between +Vit or +Chr, go with +Vit.

A guideline for choosing equipment

Generally as a Paladin you should purchase the pieces of equipment that offer the most Vit, HP, and Agi available for your level. You should not buy a piece of equipment that boosts your secondary stats unless it also boosts a primary stat, or unless no gear that boosts a primary stat is available in that slot.

The only real exception to this general guideline of focusing exclusively on equipment that reduces your damage received is equipment that increases your hate potential. This includes +Enmity, +MP, and after a certain level, +Accuracy equipment. Some specific examples of this type of equipment are the Mermaid Ring (level 43, +2 Enmity), Astral Rings/Electrum Rings (level 10/40, +25/+20 MP each) or RSE gloves (which usually provide a significant MP boost), and the Lifebelt (level 48, +10 Accuracy).

A few recommended pieces of equipment

I generally do not like providing specific equipment paths from 1-75 because they discourage individuality and experimentation, and also because one of the best parts of this job is scouring the Auction House for the latest piece of tanking gear while you are standing around Looking For Party in Lower Jeuno. If you are interested in one of these comprehensive equipment guides there are many available in various FAQs and on the Paladin boards (see Links section).

There are however, a few great pieces of Paladin gear that you should be sure not to miss:

-Warrior's Belt +1, level 15 (Def: 2 HP: 4 VIT: 3) This is a fantastic belt, and can be seen on Paladins as high as level 75 in certain circumstances, which is remarkable considering you can equip it at level 15. This piece is definitely worth picking up as early as possible.

-Power Sandals, level 18 (Def: 3 VIT: 3 Vs. Fire: 7) These are the basic equivalent of Leaping Boots for Paladins, except you don't have to pay 300k or wait for a heavily over-camped NM to spawn. You can obtain them by doing, but not completing, the Test My Mettle quest (see Links section). Given the fact that some Paladins wear these until AF (while some upgrade to Kampfschuhs at level 29 for the same +Vit but 3 additional Def), they are definitely worth the effort.

-Eisen/Kampf Sets, Level 29. These armor sets provide such large Vit and Agi boosts for their level that many Paladins end up wearing pieces of this gear into the 40s or 50s, and some decide to keep the boots equipped until AF.

-Drone Earring, level 35 (AGI: 3 Vs. Wind: 6) With +6 total Agi they are a great purchase for Elvaan and Galka Paladins, and will make a dramatic difference in shield blocks/parries/evades and will also help you raise these skills significantly. Equip them as early as possible.

-Verve Ring, level 36 (VIT: 3 Vs. Earth: 6) They may be expensive for their level, but you have to wait until level 54 for Vigor Rings (+4 Vit each) before you will be able to get more +Vit out of this slot, and Vigor Rings cost 450k+ each, assuming you can even find them. These are the best Paladin rings for BCNM 40, which is the main source of income for many mid level players.

-Life Belt, level 48 (Accuracy: +10) A great belt that can drastically improve hate management. At 55 you get the weapon skill Spirits Within, which hits for 1/2 your current HP at 300 TP. The ability to deal out 500-600 points of instant damage and the aggro it generates becomes a major hate tool, but without the +10 Accuracy from the Lifebelt you will miss far too often to use Spirits Within frequently. In addition, as you continue to collect your AF pieces with +Enmity bonuses, connecting frequently with the mob can generate significant hate given the effect of the "hate multiplier", even if you are not hitting for high damage. But without a Lifebelt, you will miss far too frequently to take full advantage of your AF.

-Gluttony Sword, level 57 (Dmg: 44 Dly: 295 STR: -1 DEX: -1 VIT: 7 AGI: -1 INT: -1 MND: -1 CHR: -1) I cannot stress how huge +7 Vit is for Paladins. This weapon is the single largest source of Vit in the game until level 73 (at which point you can equip the Koenig gear, which is notoriously difficult to obtain). The ring slot is the bread and butter Vit slot for Paladins, but this single sword offers more Vit than both ring slots combined until level 54, at which point you can equip Vigor Rings, but again, you will have to camp the Auction House for weeks, spend just under a million gil, and use two slots combined in order to get more Vit than the Gluttony Sword offers in a single slot.

The lifespan of the Gluttony sword is just as impressive as the +7 Vit. Most Paladins use the Gluttony sword for 9 full levels (57-66), which is a long life span for a single weapon, especially considering this 9 level span occurs in the 60s. The experience required to level from 60-65 is greater than the experience required to level a job 1-40. Even if you only use the sword 57-66, that is a very long time in terms of actual play, and many Paladins use it all the way until level 75. If you consider that level 63 is the half way point in terms of total experience required to level 1-75, some Paladins end up wielding this sword for almost half the game.

There is only one reason not to buy this sword: you don't have enough gil, and you just don't want to farm/mine/craft/quest for it. And if that is the case, I can assure you that given its huge increase to the primary Paladin stat, as well as its long lifespan, the Gluttony Sword is definitely worth the effort.

-Paladin AF The other equipment that you need to pick up is your Artifact Armor, which offers dramatic boosts to Vit, HP, Agi, and Shield Skill, and will greatly improve your tanking ability. If you take the time to obtain each piece as soon as it is available, you will have a much more enjoyable leveling experience 50-60. Paladin AF, like the Gluttony Sword, has an extremely long lifespan, and there are many circumstances in which Paladins will wear several pieces of AF until level 75. There have already been several helpful posts detailing the requirements for obtaining this armor (see the Links section) so I won't go into that in this guide.

Should Paladins use Greatswords?

Greatswords are viable weapons in exp parties, even for tanking Paladins. However, the drawbacks of using a Greatsword in an exp party outweigh the benefits. Specifically:

Pros:
-Increased damage output.
-Increased style/individuality points.

Cons:
-Increased damage received due to loss of +Def bonus from Shield.
-Increased damage received due to inability to block attacks with your Shield.
-Reduces chance of raising Shield Skill to 0. This skill is hard enough to raise as it is, and should you ever decide to switch back to Shield your skill will be severely under-leveled. An under-leveled Shield Skill is a very dangerous thing because how often you block with Shield is entirely dependent on your Shield Skill, which in turn determines how often you can get skill-ups. What this means is that with an under-leveled Shield Skill, you will block less often, which further reduces your chance of gaining skill-ups, which will further reduce your chance to block.
-Loss of +stats from Shield.
-Loss of +stats from one-handed Sword. This is significant considering the many excellent Paladin Swords available 57-75. Using a Greatsword instead of a one-handed Sword will cost you +7 Vit during levels 57-66, for example, when most Paladins opt for the Gluttony Sword. At 70 wielding a Greatsword will prevent you from taking advantage of the frequent Double Attacks offered by the Joyeuse, and at level 71 you will again miss out on +7 Vit, this time offered by the Durandal and accompanied by +1 Enmity.
-Loss of Shield Bash, which generates a significant amount of instant hate should you lose aggro and need to reclaim it immediately. Technically you could macro a change to Shield for Shield Bash, but switching weapons eliminates all accumulated TP, and less weapon skills due to TP loss further reduces the benefit of using a Greatsword.
-Inability to use Spirits Within at level 55, which hits for 1/2 your current HP at 300 TP and becomes a major hate tool.
-Decreased accuracy resulting from Paladin's "B" skill in Greatsword vs their "A+" in one-handed Sword, which will result in more frequent misses, and considering the long delay of Greatswords these misses will be more costly.

Fact: You will miss more often using a Greatsword than if you use a one-handed Sword given Paladins "B" rating in Greatsword and "A+" rating in one-handed Sword. These increased misses will offset the increased damage per hit slightly.

Fact: You will end up taking more damage long term while tanking with a Greatsword due to the fact that you only have 2 means/chances of completely avoiding damage (Parry, Evade), compared with a one-handed Sword and Shield Paladin who has 3 means/chances of completely avoiding damage (Shield Block, Parry, Evade). Given Paladins "A+" rating in Shield compared with the "C" ratings in Parry/Evade, the loss of the ability to block attacks with your Shield is significant as it eliminates your most likely means of completely avoiding damage.

Greatswords are fun for solo, farming, or helping others with quests or missions. For exp parties, if you are concerned about being the most efficient and effective Paladin possible, stick with a one-handed Sword and Shield.

Should Paladins use Staves?

In my opinion tanking with a Staff in an exp party is highly situational, and is only truly viable from levels 51-55, and post 63.

Pre-50: No Staff justifies the loss of the ability to block an attack with your Shield, and the resulting inability to raise your Shield Skill. This skill raises painfully slowly even with a Shield equipped from levels 1-75, so missing out on the chance to raise it on these early to mid level mobs is simply not worth whatever benefit might result from using a Staff.

Levels 51-55: At level 51 you are able to equip the Earth Staff, which reduces physical damage received by -20%.

I personally tanked with an Earth Staff for a few levels in the early 50s while partying in the Boyahda Tree. The -20% damage reduction makes a significant difference against the Robber Crabs and Knight Crawlers, which will most likely hit you for significantly more damage than you are used to.

However, while you gain a -20% damage reduction with the Earth Staff, you miss out on the chance to block an attack with your Shield, which is essentially a damage reduction of -100%. Technically you would need to block 1 out of every 5 attacks with your Shield in order to achieve the same damage reduction offered by the Earth Staff, and while you will not be able to block this often, since your chance to block is based on your Shield Skill, should you ever opt for the Sword and Shield combo later in the game, your Shield Skill will be lower than it would be had you never used a Staff, which will result in fewer blocks and more damage received in the long run, diminishing the total return of using a Staff.

Basically by using the Earth Staff in the early 50's I reduced the total damage I received during that time. But now I take slightly more damage than I would had I never used the Earth Staff due to my lower Shield Skill level, which results in fewer blocks, and more importantly fewer chances to raise my Shield Skill further. So in the long run it is not clear if using the Earth Staff during this time will actually reduce the total amount of damage you receive when you consider things in the long term.

Levels 55-63: By the mid 50s the damage you take from exp mobs will even out a little, reducing your need for the Earth Staff. And at level 55 you gain access to Spirit's Within, which in my experience is simply too good to pass up, even for the -20% in damage reduction offered by the Earth Staff. In addition, using the Earth Staff, which offers 4 Vit, prevents you from wielding a Gluttony Sword post 57, which offers 7 Vit.

Post 63: At level 63 you gain access to the Staff weapon skill Spirit Taker, which recovers a certain amount of MP based on how much TP you have when you use the weapon skill and how much damage it deals. Recovering over 100 MP provides you with a significant amount of hate potential as it allows you to cast Flash and Cure II/III more often than you would be able to relying exclusively on juice/Refresh/Ballad.

However, wielding a Staff post 63 also reduces your hate potential a little given the loss of Spirits Within, Paladin's lower natural accuracy with Staff resulting from our lower grade rating (A-) than one handed Sword (A+), and the lower DMG/DLY ratio of Staves compared with Swords of the same level. So here again the benefits and drawbacks in terms of hate potential may even out in the long run.

Staves are a viable alternative to a Sword and Shield in exp parties, but only at certain levels of the game and with a maxed Staff Skill, and even then there are specific drawbacks resulting from wielding a Staff that might ultimately outweigh the benefits. It is also important to note that one-handed Swords are excellent weapons in terms of opening and closing skill chains, and for this reason many parties may need you to use a one-handed Sword instead of a Staff in order to participate in the skill chain.

For these reasons many Paladins recommend using Staves exclusively in endgame scenarios such as Dynamis runs or while facing HNM.

Please Do Not Use a Royal Knight's Belt

While the Warrior's Belt +1 is clearly the belt of choice for the first half of the game, at around level 50 and beyond Paladins are faced with a few alternatives depending on specific situations and which aspect of tanking they decide to focus on. Certain belts increase hate management by providing additional accuracy, Enmity, or MP, others reduce damage received by offering Defense or Vit, and others improve survivability by increasing total HP, which becomes critical end game when doing Dynamis runs or when facing HNM.

Yet at mid game many Paladins opt for the Royal Knight's Belt (Level 50, Def: 5 STR: 2 DEX: 2 VIT: 2 AGI: 2 INT: 2 MND: 2 CHR: 2). Please, please do not use this belt. Regardless of which aspect of tanking you decide to focus on or which specific situation you find yourself in, there is always a better piece of equipment for this slot.

Given that a Paladin's job is to 1) maintain consistent hate 2) while taking as little damage as possible:

1) A Lifebelt will help you generate more hate than a Royal Knight's Belt post 55. At 55 you get the weapon skill Spirits Within, which hits for 1/2 your current HP at 300 TP. The ability to deal out 500-600 points of instant damage and the aggro it generates becomes a major hate tool, but without the +10 Accuracy from the Lifebelt you will miss far too often to use Spirits Within frequently. In addition, as you continue to collect your AF pieces with +Enmity bonuses, it becomes possible to generate a significant amount of hate through damage dealt. While you will never hit very hard as a Paladin, many Paladin's describe +Enmity as a "hate multiplier", so that actions such as spells, job abilities, and damage dealt end up creating significantly more hate than they would without +Enmity gear. With the +Enmity from Paladin AF, connecting frequently with the mob can generate significant hate, even if you are not hitting for high damage. Without a Lifebelt, you will miss far too frequently to take full advantage of your AF.

    • Outsider's note: post 55 you are hopefully fighting a lot of Colibri, meaning you will get feather tickled multiple times per battle, bringing your TP right back to 0 after reaching 100. You won't find a chance to get even 200% TP. You may want to use Flat Blade instead to counter Pecking Flurry, which saves someone in your party from the 88 MP used to Cure IV you back to safe HP. In this scenario, I assume you are in a low-damage party and are able to keep hate on Colibri. Having a Bard who can land elegy on the Bird is absolutely priceless in helping you keep hate.
    • However, you also want to consider the scenario in which Dragoons and Samurai using Polearm, Warriors using Rampage/Raging Rush, or Rangers using Sidewinder are in your party. These jobs deal very strong damage per hit, and top it off with a huge spike damage weapon skill. You may not be able to take hate back, or if the mob dies too quickly, you may not want to waste your Provoke/Flash and save for the next pull instead. In this case, you should instead use a pure vit/def set of equipment in order to save as much MP as possible, before the melees take over and finish the mob.

2) A Warrior's Belt +1 will help you take less damage than the Royal Knight's Belt, because for Paladins +3 Vit, the primary Paladin stat, is far more beneficial and will more directly reduce damage received than 3 or 4 additional points of Def and +2 to several secondary stats.

Even in the end game scenarios in which improving hate management or reducing damage received becomes secondary to improving your survivability itself, the many race specific HP boosting belts will do more to increase your effectiveness as a Paladin than the Royal Knight's Belt, which will not provide the healers with a larger window to land critical Cures while you face extremely hard hitting mobs in the same way that these +HP belts will.

Again, the Royal Knight's Belt is by far the third or last best choice. Any time you see a Paladin wearing a Royal Knight's Belt they are either 1) broke and saving up for either a Warriors Belt +1, a Lifebelt, a Warwolf Belt, or one of the specific +HP belts or 2) don't really understand a few important mechanics of the game.

Do yourself a favor and improve your effectiveness as a Paladin by equipping something other than a Royal Knight's Belt in this slot.

Paladin Food

The early December update dramatically changed the effects and duration of many of the foods commonly used by Paladins. While the information below may not yet be 100% accurate, it should provide you with enough information to decide which food will be most beneficial given your level and the specific situation in which you will use it.

Here is a list of the food most commonly used by Paladins and their respective effects:

|Food                  | HP | MP | Vit | Dex | Mnd | Chr | Agi | Int | Def Cap@Def Total | Def % | Duration
|Boiled Crab           |    |    |  2  |     |     |     |     |     |      50@186       |   27% |  30 Min
|Steamed Crab          |    |    |  3  |     |     |     |     |     |      65@241       |   27% |  60 Min
|Fish Mithkabob        |    |    |  2  |  1  | -1  |     |     |     |      90@360       |   25% |  30 Min
|Fish Cheifkabob       |    |    |  2  |     |  1  |  1  |     |     |      95@380       |   25% |  60 Min
|Shallops Tropicale    |    | 20 |  4  |  1  |     |     |     |  1  |     100@400       |   25% | 180 Min
|Seafood Stew          | 20 |    |  5  |  1  |     |     |     |     |     120@480       |   25% | 180 Min
|Black Curry           |+4WH|+2WH|  5  |  3  |     |     |  1  |  2  |     144@720       |   20% | 180 Min
|Tavnazian Salad       | 20 | 20 |  6  |  4  |     |  4  |  4  |     |     150@600       |   25% | 180 Min
|Tavnazian Taco        | 20 | 20 |  6  |  4  |     |  4  |  3  |     |     150@600       |   25% |  30 Min

Since the effects of these foods vary according to level, it seems that for EXP parties, in terms of budget food, Steamed Crab will most likely be the most beneficial option for lower to mid level Paladins until the +Def cap comes into effect, at which point they should switch to Fish Chiefkabobs. For higher level Paladins Seafood Stew or Shallops Tropicale appear to be the best options for EXP parties, though the higher cost and duration will likely be wasted when doing Dynamis runs or facing HNMs due to frequent deaths. In endgame situations in which deaths are likely, Fish Chiefkabobs seem to be the budget food of choice. If Gil is no object, Tavnazian Taco remains the best Paladin food in the game.

Paladin Traits, Job Abilities, Spells, and Weapon Skills

While comprehensive lists of traits, job abilities, spells, and weapon skills are available on many websites (see the Links section), a few are the subject of frequent discussion and debate.

A general Macro suggestion: /recast

Paladins have so many great spells and job abilities at their disposal that it can be tempting to make a /party chat line for all of them. However, there are two serious problems with this: First, all that party spam can greatly irritate the other members of your party, and secondly, it can cause them to miss important information such as TP%, status ailment removal requests, skillchain notices, etc. In my opinion, for every job ability and spell you would be better off inserting a /recast "job ability/spell name" as the second line of the macro instead of a /party line. This not only keeps the party spam to a minimum, but if, for example, you set your Provoke Macro to Line1: /ja "Provoke" <t> Line2: /recast "Provoke", you can hit the macro every few seconds and it will either fire off Provoke, or tell you exactly how long you must wait until you can use it again, without flooding the party chat.

Of the many Paladin job abilities/spells, In my opinion Cover, Provoke, and Invincible are the only three for which a /party line is justified, and in many cases a party line for Provoke is not needed.

Cover

What Cover does: When you activate Cover (you must select a target to use it on), the mob will attempt to hit the target, but you will "Cover" them, and take the damage in their place, provided you are directly in between the mob and the person the mob is trying to hit. Covering a Ranger looks like this when viewed directly from above:

.........................................................
......................<<Whitemage>.......................
..<Thief>>..<Mob>>..<<Paladin>..<<Ranger>................
.....<Darknight>>.........<<Redmage>.....................
.........................................................

When to use Cover: You should activate Cover only when 1) another party member gains aggro and 2) you are directly in between that party member and the mob. Activating Cover before you are in position wastes valuable Cover time provided you are unable to regain aggro before Cover wears off, at which point the mob would resume beating the Blm or Rng to death. Activating Cover before the member has aggro wastes Cover time as well, and could be unnecessary if they do not end up drawing hate. Up to the mid September patch, Cover had a 5 min recast timer, which means Paladins had to save it for when we really needed it. Since the patch Cover has a significantly shorter 3 minute recast timer, which means you don't have to wait as long for it to come back up, and can use it less sparingly.

How to know when Cover is working: Check the damage log, you will see:

Cover! The Robber Crab hits (Your name) for xx points of damage. Instead of: The Robber Crab hits Legolassz12 for xxx points of damage. Legolassz12 was defeated by the Robber Crab.

Most experienced Blm/Rng will know when they are about to need Cover, and will get in position behind you before casting Freeze or unloading Barrage. Unfortunately, if they don't get behind you, you are responsible for running up in front of them, and positioning yourself in between them and the mob.

Cover Macros: /ja "Cover" <stpc> /party {Cover} <lastst>

Hitting this macro brings up an arrow by the party list, allowing you to select which party member to use Cover on by pressing the F keys and Enter.

/ja "Cover" <p1> /party {Cover} <p1>

This is the second way to macro cover. This will automatically Cover the first person in your party list besides yourself (you are <p0>, your party members are <p1-5>). Macroing Cover this way means it activates immediatly, and saves you the trouble of fumbling with the F keys and Enter while trying to position yourself. However, you lose a little versatility when you Macro Cover this way since you are banking on one specific party member grabbing hate. If another party member draws aggro unexpectedly, you will have to Cover them manually, which can be risky given how fast higher level mobs can take out mages or low Defense melées. Also, if you set up the macro like this, you will have to edit the

for either the Blm or Rng at the beginning of each new party since they will move slots (takes about 5 seconds). You will most likely not need to use Cover until sometime in the 50s when the Blm begin bursting Ancient Magic and the Rng and other damage dealers get their second or third tier accuracy or attack upgrades, access to damaging weapon skills and job abilities, impressive offensive gear, etc.

Defender

Defender increases your Defense at the expensive of your Attack. Many Paladins wonder if they should always, sometimes, or never use Defender.

In reality, it's entirely situational. A tank's job is to consistently maintain hate while taking as little damage as possible. Some Paladins decide to focus strictly on taking as little damage as possible, and use Defender constantly, while some decide to focus more on generating hate, and never use Defender since it can result in your hits landing for 0 damage, which results in 0 TP gain for Spirits Within, and negates the +Enmity bonuses from your AF.

ITIKUO'S OPINION!: Um Spirits Within sure is nice but at lvl 71 when you get Savage Blade. It completely makes for more DoT than Spirits Within. Even if you do 300% TP for 600 dmg. Savage blade is 200-300 dmg per 100%. And fighting Colibri this is def way better to use. Itikuo (July 10, 2009)

Which strategy is most beneficial, given the situation and which aspect of tanking you decide to focus on, is entirely up to you, but generally you will want to keep Defender up almost constantly in the early 50s, and will begin to use it less often as you progress into the mid to late 50's, since hitting for 0 gives you no TP for Spirits Within and does not activate the +Enmity bonuses on your AF. Post-60, you will begin to notice the diminishing returns of Defense and will most likely end up leaving Defender unused until you begin facing HNM or doing Dynamis runs endgame.

d. Shield Bash Since Shield Bash not only deals a minor amount of damage to the mob, but also has a small chance to stun, many Paladins attempt to interrupt mob enemy special attacks like Bomb Toss by Shield Bashing. However, the stun effect does not process every time, and as you begin fighting higher level mobs, it rarely takes effect. Shield Bash always generates a large hate spike, however, so most Paladins "save" it for those rare moments in which they temporarily lose aggro and need to regain it immediately. Since the stun effect is random, leave it to the Blm or Drk to interrupt a mob attack by casting their Stun spell, and leave it to the Whm to make sure Barfire is up when fighting gobs to reduce the damage if a Bomb Toss does go off.

Flash

This spell becomes your second most reliable means of generating hate after Provoke. Not only does this spell create hate, it blinds the enemy, resulting in up to 3+ missed attacks, which prevents the mob from releasing any of the hate you have built up by inflicting damage, and also saves the Whm additional MP since they do not have to Cure you as frequently. In the later levels you will cast this spell every time its 45 second recast timer is up given the fact that, in my experience, it generates as much hate as a Cure III but costs 20 MP less, and due to its incredibly short casting time, it is almost never interrupted.

Spirits Within

Those 55 levels of hitting for less than 50 damage are about to pay off. At level 55 you are granted access to Spirits Within, which hits for about 1/2 your current HP at 300 TP (the actual percentage is 45%HP). The ability to deal out 500-600 points of instant damage, and the aggro it generates, makes for a major hate tool. With Haste from a Whm you will swing frequently, and with a Lifebelt for +10 Accuracy, those swings will connect for TP, allowing you to utilize this weapon skill every 2 to 3 fights. Spirits Within does not interrupt skillchains, never misses, cannot be resisted, and the damage is calculated independant of mob type/defense/resistence/evasion etc. It is important to note that Spirits Within is not worth using at 100 TP.

Paladin subjob choices

There are many viable subjob choices for Paladins in terms of Quests, Missions, and helping other players. However, for experience parties, the only truly viable subjob for Paladins is Warrior.

Warrior

If you compare the three most common or viable end game tanking classes, War/Nin, Nin/War, Pal/War, and even some of the less conventional or level specific options such as War/Mnk or Mnk/War, you will notice that every single one of them has access to the job ability Provoke. And there is a reason for this: Provoke is simply the most effecient and effective means of generating and maintaining hate in terms of exp parties in the game. If you are going to be an efficient tank, Provoke is mandatory. I have personally tanked as a War/Mnk, War/Nin, Nin/War, and Pal/War using Provoke, and even at the lowest levels it is quite apparant that hate management would be extremely difficult without it.

You can successfully act as the main tank without Provoke in an exp party, but you will have more hate management issues, and your party will not be capable of dealing as much damage, killing mobs as quickly, chaining as efficiently, and getting as much exp/hour, and in the later levels of this game it is all about the exp/hour. In terms of actual play, whatever theoretical benefits you could get from the spells or job abilities provided by other subjobs will contribute less to your efficiency as a tank than Provoke, which unlike spells, is an unlimited resource.

If you are somewhat resentful of the fact that /War is mandatory for Paladins in exp party settings, keep in mind that /War also provides us with excellent Vit and HP boosts, a Passive Attack boost, Double Attack, and many helpful job abilities such as Defender and Warcry. Chances are, even if Provoke was not mandatory, which it is, many Paladins would still choose a War sub for these reasons.


Ninja

Ninja SJ is a Advanced SJ choice for the HNM tanking PLD. The several reasons being, Provoke being a gradually decreasing hate unlike that of spells; Double Attack being useless on a Lv.80-95 HNM as you'll be focusing on DEF and +VIT foods; Warcry being marginalised a 5 min ability as opposed to 6 Ichi ninjutsu spells; HNMs typically hit harder and faster than most IT+ mobs.

Dual Wield is not used at all, either using your sword and shield, assuming shield skill is appropriately levelled (for another hate-generating tool, Shield Bash), but most exclusively, Wind staff (+10 evasion) while having shadows, and Earth staff (-20% damage) while taking hits.

Two equipment macros are required: 1) Haste/Enmity while Utsusemi is up, 2) VIT/DEF while Utsusemi is down.

Your focus of hate generation would be mainly spells from both PLD and NIN and help from Trick Attack. Adequet haste gear is required to push Utsusemi Ni's recast into the 30+s range to minimise the damage taken. Reserve Flash and Cures during the open window of Ut: Ni's recast time. Hate generating JAs are to be used while your four shadows from Utsu: Ni are up.

The optimum usage of Cures are during: 1) Flash after taking some damage enough to cure yourself fully. 2) Utsusemi: Ni after taking some damage to cure yourself fully.

PLD/NIN is tricky; untimely intervention by alliance's healers, can rob you of your cure-based hate generation, creating an unruly NM running amok. Practice is needed on both parties, that they can cure you enough to keep you out of mortal danger, but not too much as to rob you the chance to generate hate from your own cures.

Good luck and Good hunting. --Kageryu 01:26, 5 October 2006 (EDT)

Paladin racial choices

This is a very sensitive subject on the boards. The first and most important thing to realize when looking at the different racial choices is:

PLAYER SKILL + EQUIPMENT > RACE

Any race can play any job at any level given enough skill and the right gear, and Paladin is no exception.

That being said, certain races such as Galka or Elvaan have natural advantages in terms of the primary Paladin stats Vit and HP. However, these races also have natural disadvantages in terms of total MP for generating hate, and total Agi for damage avoidance through blocked/parried/evaded attacks and reduced critical hits. Tarutaru, Mithra, and Hume Paladins on the other hand, have natural advantages in MP and Agi, but natural disadvantages in HP and Vit.

Each race should take note of their natural disadvantages, and purchase equipment that compensates for them. Again, every race is viable for Paladin, even if they each require different gear choices and a different playstyle.

Basically, on the one hand you can't really ignore that the important base Paladin stats for Galka and Elvaan are higher than those for Hume/Mithra/Tarutaru, but on the other hand it is important not to overstate how much of an advantage those higher stats provide.

Paladin stats according to race at level 59

For general reference, here are the base stats of the 5 races for a level 59 Paladin/29 Warrior. I am currently working on collecting the stats for each race at level 75, but the stat calculator becomes innacurate post 60. Here are the 59 stats in the meantime:

Galka
HP: 1249 MP: 97  Str: 66 Dex: 50 Vit: 74 Agi: 40 Int: 37 Mnd: 54 Chr: 48

Elvaan
HP: 1130 MP: 188 Str: 69 Dex: 47 Vit: 67 Agi: 36 Int: 33 Mnd: 61 Chr: 55

Hume
HP: 1041 MP: 248 Str: 62 Dex: 50 Vit: 63 Agi: 43 Int: 40 Mnd: 54 Chr: 55

Mithra
HP: 1041 MP: 248 Str: 59 Dex: 61 Vit: 60 Agi: 50 Int: 40 Mnd: 51 Chr: 48

Tarutaru
HP: 863  MP: 428 Str: 55 Dex: 50 Vit: 60 Agi: 47 Int: 51 Mnd: 51 Chr: 55

Paladin Tips and Tricks

Here are a few of the tips and tricks I've picked up from my own experiences and that of other Paladins.

Avoid the Vit loss from wearing +MP rings

If you are a Galka or Elvaan Paladin you may struggle a little with MP before level 41, at which point Redmages get Refresh and MP conservation becomes a little less stressful. If this is the case, I recommend picking up your RSE gloves and a pair of Astral/Electrum Rings depending on gil/level. However, many Paladins are afraid to do so due to the Vit loss that results from wearing +MP instead of +Vit rings. Fortunately there is a way to bypass this problem.

You can equip your +MP gear via a macro and rest to full MP in between pulls. Once the fight starts, cast Flash or Cure II/III as normal until you have used the additional MP provided by your +MP gear, then switch back to +Vit Rings via another macro. If you have used the 40/50 additional MP from Electrum/Astral Rings, your maximum MP will go down after the gear switch but now your MP bar will be full, and you can wear your +Vit rings for the remainder of the fight.

If you ever have any questions regarding the specific commands for this kind of equipment change macro, use the general formula:

/equip LOCATION "ITEM NAME"

and type: "/? equip" while in game for the list of locations. The macro for switching rings would look like:

/equip R.ring "Astral Ring" /equip L.ring "Astral Ring"

and vice versa for the change back to +Vit rings. Please note that the item name in quotes in your macro must be identical to how that item name appears in your inventory.

Avoid AOE Paralysis/Petrify/Silence

Certain mobs have AOE Paralyze, Petrify, or Silence abilities that can throw off your hate routine. However, many of these AOE attacks are Line of Sight based and do not effect you when you are not facing the mob. When you see Lizards ready their Gaze attack, for example, simply press the * button to unlock, tap down once to turn around, and wait for the Lizard to use its ability. Once it has, tap up and hit * again to resume target lock. If you time things correctly, you can avoid getting Paralyzed, Petrified, or Silenced. This also works on Sand Cockatrices in Cape Teriggan, which have a Line of Sight Petrify attack, and Toramas in the Labyrinth of Onzozo, which are notorious for Silencing and Paralyzing Paladins simultaneously. Toramas are an absolute nightmare to fight without a skilled Whitemage backing you up since it is essential to the safety of your party members that these status ailments be removed immediately. While it is unlikely that you will be able to successfully avoid every single attack of this type, you will find that anything helps.

Target mobs the easy way

One of the most irritating things low level Paladins do is frantically tab through all the enemies in range attempting to target the mob the puller just brought back to camp. Once they have the correct mob targeted they then wait to pull their sword out before Provoking while the mob smacks the other party members around.

Instead of doing this, make a macro for "/target <bt>" and press it once the puller is within sight to quickly target the mob your party is fighting. This allows you to lock on and draw your sword long before the mob reaches camp. This is especially important fighting in crowded areas with mobs that link, but are generally never attacked. In the Crawlers Nest, for example, many parties in close proximity fight Crawlers, but avoid fighting the Lizards because they link and tend to stand close to each other. The same is true of Moss Eaters in the Boyahda Tree, which are usually avoided in favor of Robber Crabs or Knight Crawlers. Without /target <bt>, it is possible to Provoke or Flash the wrong mob type, linking the entire area, and killing not only your entire party, but the entire room. This happens to almost everyone at some point in time. Don't learn the importance of /target <bt> the hard way.

Useful Paladin Links to Quests and General Information

Paladin Forums:
http://ffxi.allakhazam.com/db/jobs.html?fjob=5
http://vnboards.ign.com/board.asp?brd=22539
http://www.killingifrit.com/forums.php?m=topics&s=12
Unlocking the Paladin Job:
http://ffxi.allakhazam.com/db/quests.html?realm=&fquest=95
Paladin Job Traits and Abilities:
http://ffvault.ign.com/?dir=jobs&content=paladindescription
Paladin Spells:
http://ffvault.ign.com/View.php?view=Jobs.List&category_select_id=8
Warrior Job Traits and Abilities:
http://ffvault.ign.com/?dir=jobs&content=warriordescription
Whren's Guide to Paladin Job Abilities and When/How to Use Them (Excellent):
http://ffxi.allakhazam.com/db/jobs.html?fjob=5&mid=1097946181306116155&num=6
Paladin Grade Ratings:
http://www.ausystem.org/~aushacho/gbox/ff/skill-e.html#3
Test My Mettle Quest (for Power Sandals):
http://ffxi.allakhazam.com/db/quests.html?realm=&fquest=253
Guide to Paladin AF Quests:
http://ffxi.allakhazam.com/db/jobs.html?fjob=5&mid=1076608002967882892&num=102
http://www.killingifrit.com/forums.php?m=posts&q=14059
Jelly Ring Walkthrough:
http://ffxi.allakhazam.com/db/jobs.html?fjob=5&mid=110681857496863145&num=1
Genkai 5/Maat Guide by Dankthetank:
http://ffxi.allakhazam.com/db/jobs.html?fjob=5&mid=1106672944154723365&num=5
Whren's Guide to Dynamis (Excellent Guide):
http://ffxi.allakhazam.com/db/jobs.html?fjob=5&mid=110387230996069526
Whren's Guide to HNM (Excellent Guide):
http://ffxi.allakhazam.com/db/jobs.html?fjob=5&mid=109431411011408587&num=80
You Know You've Been a Paladin Too Long When...:
http://ffxi.allakhazam.com/db/jobs.html?fjob=5&mid=10868711959521955&num=107

Good luck^^


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