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Final Fantasy XI: Black Mage Guide (English)

The 30-Minute Black Mage Guide

by Engrish of Midgardsormr



=============

Introduction

=============



At the time of writing this guide, I'm a Level 55 BLM/WHM on the Midgardsormr

server. I played during beta, although not that much. I don't claim to be an

expert of the class, but I'm writing this guide for two reasons. One,

honestly, I see a lot of bad players who don't know how to play their class,

and this is my contribution to curbing that. Two, there's many things I've

learned playing through the game I wish I'd known on my way through leveling up

to where I am now. This guide's short and sweet, and is designed to teach

someone in thirty minutes how to play a reasonably effective Black Mage.



The Ever-Short Table of Contents:

I. The Basics

a. Why Should I Play a Black Mage?

b. What Difficulties Should I Be Aware Of?

II. Designing Your Black Mage

a. Race

b. Hometown

c. Selecting a Subjob

III. Types of Magic

IV. How To Fight

a. Resistances

b. Magic Bursts

c. Timing Ancient Magic Bursts

d. Aggro Management

V. Leveling

a. Early Leveling (1-20)

b. Intermediate Leveling (21-30)

c. Advanced Leveling (31-50)

VI. Spell and Skill Listing

a. Magic Spells by Level

b. Job Skills by Level

c. Which Spells Should I Get?

VII. Contact Info





=============

I - The Basics

=============



The Basics - Why Should I Play a Black Mage?




If you like blowing things up, pretty sparkles, and watching large chunks of HP

slip away from monsters, Black Mage might be the class for you. Black Mages

are an almost purely damage dealing class. They make things blow up, and do it

well. Only Rangers can reasonably, sustainably match a Black Mage in damage,

and Rangers do so at a high price (litterally) as well as a lack of many

support functions within the Black Mage and his or her subclass. Black Mage is

an exciting, explosive way to go.





The Basics - What Difficulties Should I Be Aware Of?




Black Mages have low HP and armor, this makes them extremely vulnerable if

caught unprepared by even a much weaker monster. Soloing is also a much more

time consuming process for a Black Mage, however, they can accomplish more than

most classes can by themselves (which really isn't much, by later levels).

Money will also be a major problem until you reach the 50s. Store bought

spells are extremely expensive, and you need a lot of them. Fortunately, once

you hit 50, your spells are dropped, and this creates a surplus due to a

minimal demand. But, Black Mages are very welcome in any group, and this is a

strength.







=============

II - Designing your Black Mage

=============



Designing your Black Mage - Race




From worst to best -

Elvann: Too little MP to work with, worst evasion, lowest int.

Galka: Worst MP, way to little to be an effective BLM. Some will claim RSE

(Race Specific Armor) counter-balances this, which it *can* to an extent, but

you still have to get to the early 30s to use that armor. And then, you're

screwed when you want to wear better armor...

Hume: Best non-taru MP, best non-taru INT, decent evasion. ~25% more HP than a

taru.

Mithra: Same as Hume, but better evasion. Slightly lower magic resistance, but

probably worth the evasion.

Tarutaru: Absolutely the best race for BLMs. Highest evasion besides Mithra,

40% or so more MP than Hume/Mithras, and easily the highest INT (resists and

spell damage).



In summary, playing a Galka or an Elvann BLM is worthless unless you just feel

like being original (hell, they're only even on here for completeness' sake,

either are a joke as a BLM). Humes and Mithra are so similar it doesn't matter

much which you pick. They're definitely not Taru, but the extra HP (and thus

survivability) is kinda nice. Tarutaru are hands down the best BLM race, to

the point that I've had people tell me they were blowing off other BLMs so they

could take me instead, based of my race.





Designing your Black Mage - Hometown




You really can do what you want here. Kingdoms determine two things; rings and

conquest. Rings is a simple thing, if you start in the hometown of your race,

you'll get a pretty nifty +stats ring that's Lv1 usable. Conquest is where you

get points (CP) for killing monsters that you can trade for items later. The

items you get are based on your kingdom.



I suggest Windurst because Windurst has a lot of caster CP gear later on

(although none early-on, annoyingly). You also get a good caster ring, if

you're a Mithra or Taru. But it really doesn't matter, you can always play

Bastok, sell your CP gear for cash, and buy Windurst gear with that.





Designing your Black Mage - Selecting a Subjob




There's very few subjobs that compliment a Black Mage. Anything melee oriented

is bad, period, among other reasons because nearly all melee classes have no

MP. Don't bother asking, no. I'll list the viable combinations I know of here:



BLM/DRK - Some MP, pretty good INT. Not the best choice, but not awful.

BLM/THF - I know I said no melees, but subbing thief has some decent rewards.

Thieves actually get moderately high INT (higher than any class except BLM,

RDM, SMN, DRK). Taru have enough MP that you can get away with the MP loss in

some situations. A group trying to get quest or cash items might really

appreciate your Treasure Hunter class abilities.

BLM/BRD - Bards are pretty damn cool, but bard is pretty nerfed as a sub. Plus

you'll have to get to 50 as a BLM to be able to play mana regen song. Also,

the int is iffy, and you don't get much MP at all.

BLM/RDM - Great INT, extra magic atk boost. MP is a little less than other

caster classes. Spells are an issue though: You'll get some spells later than

you would if you subbed WHM, and miss some important ones entirely. It limits

your solo survivability too. (Did I forget to mention you get Blink also?

Huge plus.)

BLM/SMN - Awesome INT, great MP boost, and auto-refresh later on. However,

summons really kinda.. suck, especially since, as american players, we don't

really have access to the better summons. And not having spells like Cure,

Raise, and Blink is a pain in the ass. Still, it may be worth it for the MP,

especially if you choose a non-taru race.

BLM/WHM - Really the best and most common choice. INT isn't too great, but you

get a pretty good MP boost, as well as magic defense. Most of all, you get a

wonderful selection of spells to back up your black magery. Depending on your

level, a BLM/WHM can go so far as to act as the main healer of your group.

This is one of the best choices, and the most respected. And yes, you get

Blink, and you get it earliest this way.





=============

III - Types of Magic

=============



Types of Magic - Damage




These are your nukes. These will fall under Elemental Magic. Not much else to

say, make stuff go boom.



Types of Magic - Area Effect Damage




These are the same as normal nukes but hit all monsters in a certain radius.

In addition, they do higher damage than their equivalent, standard nukes, but

at a much higher MP cost. Damage also seems to be reduced among higher numbers

of targets. A spell doing 250 to a single target might only do 160 each to 7

targets.



Types of Magic - Buff




We don't really get buffs, at least from our base class. These are simply

enhancing spells. The only ones we get are Blaze/Ice/Thunder Spikes, which are

pretty useless. I wouldn't bother buying them.



Types of Magic - Debuff




These weaken enemies. Black Mages get Bio and Blind, which reduce enemies'

damage and accuracy.



Types of Magic - Damage Over Time




Black Mages also get a wide variety of "damage over time" debuff spells.

However, with the exception of Bio, these spells never upgrade beyond their

basic levels, and thus are extremely ineffective. I wouldn't even waste my

money buying them, and most Black Mages shun them. These spells are: Shock,

Rasp, Choke, Frost, Burn, and Drown



Types of Magic - Crowd Control




Black mages can often avert dangerous situations of multiple monsters attacking

through their crowd control spells. Bind holds enemies in place, while Sleep

spells (such as Sleep, Sleep II, Sleepga, etc) can immobilize them entirely.



Types of Magic - Teleportation




Black Mages can return themselves to their home point (Warp), others to their

respective home points (Warp II), or evacuate parties to the entrance of a

Dungeon (Escape). Warp and Warp II are really convenience things, but as

difficult as running away can be in FFXI, Escape is an invaluable tool.



Types of Magic - Draining




Not really sure what else to call these. Drain and Aspir... one steals HP, one

steals MP. Aspir is a nice way to supplement your MP when fighting mobs who

have it, drain is a nice way to still do damage and heal yourself at the same

time. Both, however, have long recast timers.



Types of Magic - Ancient




"Ancient" magic (as most call it) is a set of spells from level 50 to 60.

These spells have extreme mana costs, long (19 second) cast times, and very

high damage. They also debuff the monster to the opposite element. For

example, casting Freeze will lower a monster's resistance to Fire. The Ancient

spells are Freeze, Tornado, Quake, Burst, Flood, and Flare





=============

IV - How to Fight

=============



How to Fight - Resistances




Whereas early on you can just use your best nukes, once you hit 20 or so it

begins to become increasingly important to use spells which your foes are weak

against. For example, water enemies (crabs, pugils) tend to be weak against

Thunder. Here is a minor listing of monster resistances (no, I didn't make it

myself). However, this list is very incomplete, and doesn't include expansion

areas:



Ahrimans - None

Bats - Wind, Light

Bees - Ice

Beetles - Ice, Light

Birds - Ice

Bombs - Fire

Cardians - Variable

Cockatrice - Ice, Wind

Coeurl - Earth

Crabs - Ice, Lightning

Crawlers - Ice, Lightning, Dark

Demons - Light

Dhalmels - Wind, Lightning

Dolls - Lightning

Dragons - Variable

Elementals - Whatever that Element is weak versus

Evil Weapons - Fire, Light

Flies - Ice

Fungus (Mushrooms) - Light

Gigas/Giants - None

Goblins - Light

Golems - None

Gobbues - None

Hecteyes - None

Hounds - Fire, Light

Leeches - Light

Lizards - Ice, Wind

Magic Pots - None

Mandragoras - Fire, Ice, Wind, Lightning, Dark

Morbol - Fire

Orcs - Water

Pugils - Ice, Lightning

Quadavs - Lightning

Rabbits - Lightning, Water, Dark

Rams - None

Raptors - Water

Saplings - Fire, Dark

Scorpions - Ice, Light

Sheep - LIghtning, Ice

Slime - Fire

Tigers - Fire, Lightning

Treants - Fire, Dark

Undead - Fire, Light

Worms - Wind, Light

Wyverns - Dark

Yagudo - Ice



Please note that the more difficult to cast (higher level) elements are

generally more effective. Virtually nothing is weak to earth, and very little

is weak to water or air. In contrast, lots of creatures are weak versus Fire,

Ice, and Thunder. That said, buying spells like Water II is something you can

get away with skipping, whereas not buying Blizzard II (particularily since

most of the monsters in Crawler's Nest and Altepa are weak to Ice) is a serious

mistake.





How to Fight - Magic Bursts




GameFaqs has a pretty good Renkei guide, I also reccomend the chart in Prima's

Official Strategy Guide. I won't plagarize their charts and all that, so just

examine those for the actual lists of which skills chain into what.



Renkei, or skillchains, are combinations of weaponskills done in a certain

order, which are typically followed by Magic Bursts. Magic Bursts are your

friend, because they allow your spells to do more damage for the same mana, as

well as (at least it seems like) be marginally less resistable. As far as

timing your Magic Burst (which some people have difficulty learning), it's

pretty simple, just start casting your spell right after your group member

prepares the follow-up attack. For example (note this "log" isn't quite

realistic because lag between your computer and the server really affects when

messages are shown).



Dragoon prepares Raiden Thrust.

Dragoon hits for 150 points of damage.

Paladin prepares Seraph Blade. (begin casting IMMEDIATELY)

Engrish begins to cast Waterga II.

Paladin hits for 120 points of damage.

Skillchain: Distortion

A Helm Beetle takes 30 points of damage.

Engrish casts Waterga II.

Magic Burst! A Helm Beetle takes 427 points of damage.



Waterga II hit for 427 points instead of 310 or so.



This can also be done multiple times in a complicated skillchain. Your window

to burst is increased after the first skillchain. Here is an example of a more

complicated skillchain:



Monk prepares Combo.

Monk hits for 80 damage.

Warrior prepares Raging Axe. (cast immediately)

Engrish begins to cast Aero.

Warrior hits for 100 damage.

Skillchain: Detonation

A Nasty Monster takes 15 points of damage.

Engrish casts Aero.

Magic Burst! A Nasty Monster takes 70 points of damage.

Thief prepares Viper Bite. (cast immediately)

Engrish begins to cast Stone II.

Thief hits for 200 points of damage.

Skillchain: Scission

A Nasty Monster takes 50 points of damage.

Engrish casts Stone II.

Magic Burst! A Nasty Monster takes 130 points of damage.



Note the multiple magic bursts. To be a skilled black mage, you should be able

to do this regularily. This timing scheme should work fine up until Ancient

Magic.





How to Fight - Timing Ancient Magic Bursts




Now, Ancient magic is a bit trickier to burst, since it has a 19 second cast

time. Usually, you'll have 2 person skillchains, and what I suggest is this

macro:

/magic "Freeze"

/p Casting Freeze in 19 seconds.

/wait 6

/p Freeze landing in 13 seconds, start 2-man skillchain now!



Hopefully it'll end up something like:

(Engrish) Casting Freeze in 19 seconds.

Engrish begins to cast Freeze.

Melee hits The Cactaur.

Melee hits The Cactaur.

(Engrish) Freeze landing in 13 seconds, start 2-man skillchain now!

(Ranger) Starting skillchain in 1 sec.

Ranger prepares Piercing Arrow.

Ranger hits for 250 points of damage.

Paladin prepares Seraph Blade.

Paladin hits for 150 points of damage.

Skillchain: Distortion

The Cactaur takes 60 points of damage.

Engrish casts Freeze.

Magic Burst! The Cactaur takes 990 points of damage.



Freeze hit for 990 instead of 740 or so.



Of course, this timing is variable. Try your macro once, see how melees

respond, and if they're landing too fast or slow, then change your second

message (the skillchain start) appropriately. Not everyone does their

weaponskills the same.





How to Fight - Aggro Management




I admit, I feel weird writing about this because I'm not too good at aggro

control myself. But then again, there are some *seriously* bad Black Mages out

there when it comes to aggro management. Essentially, it comes down these

points:



1) Choose your tank wisely. Try to group with Paladins whenever possible, it's

hard to nuke much without a Paladin tank's aggro.

2) Know your tanks' aggro. If you're not lucky enough to have a Paladin tank,

don't fire away like you do. Try to let the tanks, er, tank, even if that

means slower killing.

3) Refrain from pissing things off in other ways. Don't fire off a heal unless

you really need to, let the WHM handle that.

4) Blink is your friend. Once you're high enough to cast Blink from a subjob

(Lv38 BLM / Lv 19 WHM) you should pretty much always have it on. Blink is your

insurance in case you do overaggro. Careful though, casting Blink after you've

engaged a monster will stack more aggro on you (although, not so much).

5) Try to stay away from the mob. This can avoid AE attacks and spells, but

also gives your tank a couple seconds to notice the monster's newfound love for

his small mage friend; hopefully, your tank will have a provoke or Flash or

something up.





=============

V - Leveling

=============



Early Leveling




I'm not going to go into a whole lot of detail here. Just zap stuff and melee.

To get spells off while in melee range (attacks by enemies interrupts

spellcasting), start casting the moment you see their animation for their

attack start, with the time it takes the message for the spell being activated

to go to the server, your spell should go off uninterrupted.



You will also probably want to macro your spells. Go to your big menu ( - key

on the numpad), scroll to Macros, then edit them. To make a spellcasting

macro, in the main macro window, type: /magic "spellname" . If you want to

target yourself, do /magic "spellname" .



The best enemies for you to fight are worms (permanently held in place, no fear

of melee attacks), and ones where you can use your terrain to your advantage.

This goes back into starting at Windurst. The Horuhoto (I hope I spelled that

right) ruins are really the best place for leveling from 5-10 as a BLM.

There's several entrances to the Horuhoto ruins around Sarubaruta. In some of

these, there are platforms you can stand on and rain magical death upon your

foes as they try to walk around the platforms to you, leaving them decimated by

the time they finally reach you.



Once you hit 10 or so, you can go to Tahrongi Canyon (exit NE from East

Sarubaruta) and group there, and perhaps the Maze of Shakhrami. You'll really

want to group at this point - FFXI absolutely isn't a soloing game (unless you

play a BST, but that's something else). The Maze is full of worms, so you can

make 100% mage groups.



At 15 or 16, you'll want to go to Valkurm and start working on collecting items

for the Subjob quest. To get to Selbina and Valkurm, go east from Tahrongi

into Bururimu, then south to Mhaura port. Please note, this walk is anything

but safe. Take the boat to Selbina, makes sure to set your home point, and

head out looking for a group.



I'm not going to detail the subjob quest, you can get that elsewhere. Simply

put, kill Clippers for a Crab Apron, kill Damselflies for the Worm, and kill

Ghouls for a Magicked Skull. Turn these in to an NPC by the water in Selbina

at Level 18, and you'll gain the ability to have a Subjob.



Beyond this, I'd stay in Valkurm fighting Pugils until 20.





Intermediate Leveling




The options at this point are pretty limited. You'll probably want to start

either in Qufim Island (north of Jueno, exit from Port Jueno), or Korroloka

Tunnel (off of the Zehrun Mines in Bastok). Qufim is the most popular

typically, and as such, the most crowded, but it's really your best bet until

at least the mid-late twenties. At this point you can try the surrounding

areas of Jueno, namely, Batallia Downs, Saromogue Champaign, Rolanberry Fields,

and Delkuft's Tower (I'm sure I misspelled some of those).



Contrary to popular rumor, at least on Midgardsormr, Batallia Downs is not a

good leveling area. In fact, it sucks, things aren't worth the exp, and are

very dangerous. Bomb Tosses, monsters that will always outrun you, etc. I

really reccomend against it. As much as I know I'm contributing to the

overcrowding of Qufim, I'd stay there and hunt Acrophies.





Advanced Leveling




Please take this to heart when I say that Altepa is haven to all those 30+.

There's Davoi, Oztroja, and Beadeaux, but they really aren't worth the trouble.

Lots of link pulls... it's a mess. Altepa is your friend, full of nice spread

out beetles and mostly unaggressive critters, and is eassily accessible through

the Korroloka Tunnel. You can ride Altepa and its surrounding areas (West

Altepa, Quicksand Caves) all the way to 50 if you really want to.



Of course, places get crowded. Good alternate areas are Garliage Citadel for

low 30s and mid 40s, and of course the ever-popular Crawlers Nest works for

35-50 (although nowhere near as fast). After this, you're on your own!

Perhaps I'll update later... but probably not. By now, you will hopefully be a

skilled Black Mage who knows what to do and how to do it.



=============

VI - Spell and Skill Listing

=============



Magic Spells by Level




This list has incomplete data, as MP costs for AE spells were apparently

changed at some point. I'm afraid I haven't been able to find this info, so

I'm just filling it in as I get the spells. Also, I don't have the 65+ spells,

I just saw too much conflicting information on them.



Lv Magic MP Effect

1 Stone 9 Earth DD

3 Poison 5 Water DOT

4 Blind 5 Accuracy down debuff

5 Water 13 Water DD

7 Bind 8 Immobilizes an enemy

9 Aero 18 Wind DD

10 Bio 22 Darkness DOT and ATK down

10 Blaze Spikes 8 Deals fire damage to attackers

12 Drain 21 Drains HP and restores your own

13 Fire 24 Fire DD

15 Stonega 37 Earth area effect DD

16 Shock 25 Lightning DOT and MND down

17 Blizzard 30 Ice DD

17 Warp 100 Teleport self to Home Point

18 Rasp 25 Earth DOT and DEX down

19 Waterga 47 Water area effect DD

20 Choke 25 Wind DOT and VIT down

20 Ice Spikes 16 Deals ice damage to attackers

20 Sleep 19 Puts target to sleep

21 Thunder 37 Lightning DD

22 Frost 25 Ice DOT and AGI down

23 Aeroga 57 Wind area effect DD

24 Burn 25 Fire DOT and INT down

24 Poisonga 44 Area effect darkness DOT

25 Aspir 10 Drains MP and restores your own

25 Tractor 26 Summons a corpse to your location

26 Stone II 43 Earth DD

27 Drown 25 Water DOT and STR down

28 Firaga 71 Fire area effect DD

29 Escape 125 Teleports the party out of dungeons

30 Shock Spikes 24 Deals lightning damage to attackers

30 Water II 51 Water DD

31 Sleepga 38 Area effect Sleep spell

32 Blizzaga 82 Ice area effect DD

34 Aero II 59 Wind DD

35 Bio II 66 Darkness DOT and ATK down

36 Thunderga 95 Thunder area effect DD

38 Fire II 68 Fire DD

40 Stonega II 109 Earth area effect DD

40 Warp II 150 Sends target to his/her Home Point

41 Sleep II 29 Puts target to sleep

42 Blizzard II 77 Ice DD

43 Poison II 38 Water DOT

44 Waterga II 123 Water area effect DD

45 Stun 25 Momentarily stuns a target

46 Thunder II 86 Thunder DD

48 Aeroga II 138 Wind area effect DD

50 Freeze 307 Ice ancient magic DD, Fire debuff

51 Stone III 95 Earth DD

52 Tornado 322 Wind ancient magic DD, Ice debuff

53 Firaga II 158 Fire area effect DD

54 Quake 337 Earth ancient magic DD, Wind debuff

55 Water III 104 Water DD

56 Burst 352 Lightning ancient magic DD, Earth debuff

57 Blizzaga II 175 Ice area effect DD

58 Flood 368 Water ancient magic DD, Thunder debuff

59 Aero III 115 Wind DD

60 Flare 383 Fire ancient magic DD, Water debuff

61 Thundaga II 193 Lightning area effect DD

62 Fire III 113 Fire DD

63 Stonega III 211 Earth area effect DD

64 Blizzard III 120 Ice DD

65 Waterga III 231 Water area effect DD

67 Aeroga III 252 Wind area effect DD

68 Stone IV 138 Stone DD

69 Firaga III 277 Fire area effect DD

70 Water IV 144 Water DD

71 Blizzaga III 299 Ice area effect DD

72 Aero IV 150 Wind DD

73 Fire IV 157 Fire DD

73 Thundaga III 322 Lightning area effect DD

74 Blizzard IV 164 Ice DD

75 Thunder IV 171 Lightning DD



Data acquired from: www.pbase.com/maxyi/



And because everyone asks, no, there is no Meteo, Ultima, Meteor, etc.

However, "Meteor" is actually coded, just not available (in fact, I think the

MP cost is currently one). Maybe in the future? Then again, spells like

Poison V, Flare II, and Aeroga V (571 MP!), and Summon Fenrir are also coded.

I guess we'll see!





Job Skills by Level




Lv Skill Timer Effect

1 Manafont 2:00:00 All spells cost 0 for 1 minute

10 Magic Atk Up Passive Increases spell damage

15 Elemental Seal 0:10:00 Makes next spell very difficult to resist

15 Clear Mind Passive Increases MP regen while healing

20 Conserve MP Passive Randomly cuts MP cost of spells

30 Magic Atk Up Passive Increases spell damage

50 Magic Atk Up Passive Increases spell damage





Which Spells Should I Get?




As mentioned earlier, be sure to get the less resistable element attack spells.

Get Escape by level 30 if you want to be worth anything... Escape is one of

the most valuable spells a BLM has, since running away with a group is very

difficult in FFXI. Don't bother with the DOT spells except for the Bio line,

they're just a drain of money... if you REALLY want to toy with them, just buy

the first one, it's a lot cheaper. Area effect spells are fun but definitely

NOT necessary to be an effective BLM. Tractor is probably a good idea also,

and it's not expensive. Damage shields are useless, don't bother. Warp II is

probably a good spell to get, while not necessary, but it saves groupmates

time. Lastly, ancient magics, I'd buy them. They're great for a lot of

things. Good luck getting a copy of Flare, though.





=============

VII - Contact Info

=============



Okay, before contacting me, read this. I don't want to be contacted over how I

mispelled a word in section 3 paragraph 2 or whatever. I really don't care! =)

I really don't want to be contacted for most things honestly. Once, I wrote

another guide, and it just meant a spam filled e-mail box with hundreds of

inane questions. So, if you REALLY want to contact me, message me as Engrish

on Midgardsormr, or email my POL box at chibiendy@pol.com, but if it's a flame

or anal criticism, don't bother. =) Good comments and positive, constructive,

helpful comments are appreciated.



You may also e-mail me to ask to put my guide on your website. This guide

should otherwise ONLY be found on GameFAQs.

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