Bow Guide

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Bow Guide
March 4th, 2013, 12:55 pm

What you'll see below is what I feel is best based on my experience. Details below are based on my overall mentality to optimize stats and actions, or in essence do what produces the most mathematically-effective result.


GENERAL NOTES

The bow is more geared toward supporting than attacking, but at the right times can be effective attacking. Bows can rapidly gain AC, and with all supporting abilities only requiring 1 AC, easily maintain AC. Also, potions are 50% more effective for bows, which is great for healing. If you're more attack-oriented, this should not be your primary class, but is a great sub-class to have for various situations, such as item farming. In contrast, if you're primarily a bow, it's very easy to have any melee as a sub-class.


SKILLS

[+] SKILLS
pre-GR26

If you wish to use a bow in your final setup, you will need the star in bow (so spend all 200SP on bow skills) to use some of the top-notch bows. Furthermore, pre-GR26 gear is not friendly for having elemental weapons in your storage. The bow has a set of skills based on every element, and this can be your answer to not having an elemental weapon. These skills can quickly flood a command bar, but you can mix and match based on the needs of a quest, or become efficient at switching between 2 command bars. At lower levels your damage output will always be very low, so exploiting elemental weaknesses is certainly helpful.

post-GR26

If you want to use another class in addition to bow, you only need to spend about 133 skill points in the bow class. You achieve this by skipping all the elemental skills and having 4 elemental bows, in addition to your non-elemental. If you plan to only be a bow, then it's optional to get some or all of th elemental skills.

As with any class, you need divine skills, and in the divine tree I always recommend the minimum path to divine lore, along with the favors and + versions of healing factor, fortify, and mana barrier (~165 skill points). Be sure to get all stat-passive abilities from short sword, long sword, spear, and axe. With any remaining skill points, grab the first MP passive from staff and/or elemental (see gamefaqs.com forum for a guide on getting all stat passives).

Specific to the bow skill tree, I recommend skipping angel's hymn, sleep tip, mute tip, hunter's sense, and camouflage. Decoy is optional, I find it difficult to use properly and you can be more effective overall doing other things.


COMMAND BAR

[+] COMMAND BAR
Below is my exact command bar, which does not contain elemental skills. Raise is there should you run out of revive items, and heal IV should you run out of heal pots. Poison tip could be replaced with something else to your liking.

sting - double knock - triple knock - spirits hymn - blast salvo - burst tip - angels wing
dark shot - conceal - +judgement - +hurricane song - raise - holy light - heal IV
stun tip - poison tip - slow - fatigue - mollify - fates favor - angels favor

Note that I have the free attack, 10mp, and 20mp attack abilities. If you exclusively use your 20mp abilities, you will chew through MP like none other. Using cheaper attacks, especially when they do enough damage, helps to conserve your MP.


STATS/GEAR

[+] STATS-GEAR
In general your most important stat is dex. Bows have the 2nd worst hit rate, and you will not reach your max hit rate (or chance to hit) until 163 dex. In the early game, the next most important stat is MP, and in the late game agi is just as important as MP. Str should be last priority, in the late game.

pre-GR26

It's difficult to gain stats until you approach GR26, but whatever stats you do seek should involve dex and MP. In general stick to armor weight equivalent to 4 medium pieces. Aim for 4 medium, or 1 heavy, 1 light, 2 medium for example.
The most important stat to get is dex.

For gear, ideas include the shambhala stuff at lv 65, and shura's gear at level 66. A couple of the polkan pieces are viable options too. At GR23 it's recommended to start making Robin's Mail 2, and at GR24 it's recommended to pick up ashura gloves/boots.

post-GR26

Now is when the doors swing wide open for a bow. There are 4 elemental bows available to make (1 you can buy in guild shop), and if you started any GR22-25 "blue item" gear, they can finally be enhanced beyond +5. Now that it's possible to get good dual-stat items, you can work on the delicate balance between dex, MP, agi, and str. A recommend armor/accessory set is:

Robin's Mail 2 (str/agi)
ashura vambraces (dex/agi)
sensui pants (mp/dex)
ashura tabi (dex/agi)
breaker ring (str/dex)
archmage rainment

Of course, start working on your lux bow, but if a true king bow is in your plans, stop your lux bow at +19.

Final setup

If it's in your plan, get your true king's bow at GR30, and put an elemental stone into your lux bow (any but fire). I recommend maintaining the salamander's bow as your fire bow due to the stun bonus. I then recommend you make lux bows for your other 3 elements.

For a final gear set, the following is very effective (but, of course, is not the only solution):

True King bow +13 (see below)
Spectral Mail (see below)
Ashura Vambraces
Sensui Pants
Ashura Tabi
Breaker Ring
Archmage Rainment

The TK bow and Spectral Mail require vessels. It "only" takes 6 vessels of truth to reach TK+13, and that is a good spot to keep your bow. The mail will require a total of 2 rare geostones to make, then 23 vessels of freedom (23 more rare geostones) to enhance. I recommend getting and fully enhancing the spectral mail over further enhancing the true king's bow because the same number of rare geostones required to get spectral mail+20 will only only get your TK bow from 13 to 15. Prior to using the spectral, robin's mail is a good choice (and relatively easy to enhance).

The above armor set gives you 1 heavy, 1 light, and 2 medium armor pieces. This is the same attack speed as 4 medium pieces, with some added knockdown resistance thanks to the heavy piece. With TK+13 and all armors at +20, along with all passives, you will have the following for stats:

1062 HP
398 MP
550 ATK
863 DEF
281 RES
188 STR
183 DEX
192 AGI


ARK

[+] ARK
It is my belief that an ark should only serve 2 purposes: buffing and barrier crushing. I consider this setup mandatory for a bow because you can easily ark to buff, revert, use a potion, and be back in regular action with your bow abilities in relatively short order. You can even work up enough AC to ark buff again if the battle wears on.

Based on the above, ark equipment would be a weapon with barrier crush (most hammers and a couple swords have this ability), sage's grace, queen's grace, dragonlord's grace, saint's grace, champion's grace, knightlord's awakening, queen's awakening. A good time to ark up for buffing is after the initial set of buffs wear off, or after a dragon or some other enemy does their move to eliminate all your buffs. Immediately revert, use a mana potion on yourself, and you're back in action.


GENERAL PLAY

[+] GENERAL PLAY
Once you have the expertise abilities, make sure the following items/potions are always in your inv when you begin a quest:

10 mana III
10 mana IV
10 heal IV
10 goddess IV
10 panacea
3 revival herb
3 elixir

First and foremost within a quest, you want to build up some AC. You can do this quickly and easily just using sting on a few enemies. At the start of any large enemy fight, use hurricane song to haste your party, followed by dark shot on the enemy. Then comes the option to debilitate your enemy.

Stun works on non-bounty spiders, elemental doggies, giants, trolls, greavers, ahwahnees, and bipedal gigas.

If you carry poison tip, that will work on non-bounty elemental wyverns, elemental dragons, elemental doggies, trolls, giants, spiders, and bipedal gigas.

When can bows be effective attackers? With the right elemental bow equipped, you can do fair damage to strike- or thrust-weak enemies with the elemental weakness. With a lux or TK bow on, you do good damage against arks. If you are in position to focus on attacking, realize you will very quickly use your MP.

The most important thing to remember: items are faster and more effective than spells, thanks to the expertise skills in the bow tree. In critical fights, always use items for HP/MP recovery. When there are low level players in the party, using even a cheap mana2 or 3 potion is MUCH more effective than spirits hymn. In non-critical situations though, you can opt for spirit hymn to conserve your MP pots for critical situations. Otherwise, for support, maintain your hurricane song, dark shot, and debuff/debilitation. Use slow, fatigue, mollify if other melee classes are not present to use their corresponding debuffs. A common mistake people make is not re-applying said effects when they wear off, so be sure to maintain everything you apply. When you maintain everything, fights go very smoothly.


TANKING

[+] TANKING
Yes, bow is very effective for tanking physical attacks. The dark shot and conceal combination, with high agi, makes it almost impossible for physical attacks to hit you. Tanking as a bow is best done with multiple enemies in the fight. Everybody else focuses on 1 enemy, you then keep another (or 2 other, but this is VERY difficult) focused on you by attacking them, then drawing them away from the party. It's important to maintain your dark shot and conceal, and keep attacking to keep the aggro. An enemy may lose interest when you do 2 non-attacking moves in a row, so at all times have your next 2-3 moves planned out when it comes time to recover MP. You never want to conceal and recover MP in back to back turns.
Last edited by Haggar on March 11th, 2013, 3:39 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Bow Guide
March 4th, 2013, 1:39 pm

Thanks Bertha, nice guide. I'm sure that many will find it useful, and perhaps even add some notes in their own posts.

Personally with Bow, I don't include Sting as an attack, and like to keep heal 3 + on my bar since the Bow healing skill is only a single target heal. the status modifying attacks are useful, and as you say Poison and Stun are probably the two most effective and often used status attacks.

I'll post my Sword guide, though it's not nearly complete, so people will have to forgive it being a work in progress since I am at work and can't really devote much more time to it today...
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Re: Bow Guide
March 4th, 2013, 1:56 pm

I'd add various notes to the guide too as they get hashed out... like stated this isn't the only way to do things. I don't acknowledge lower levels very well in there either, should do that too.

Regarding the +heal3 and healing ability comment: goddess potion IV is the answer. In the time you can cast 1 +heal3 to recover about 300hp each, you can throw 2 goddess pots to heal for a total of 720. The only time you're in danger of running out is if you have an underpowered party for a given quest. But, I will admit I have +heal3 on a sub bar just in case.

Regarding the attacks... MP is a big problem with bows, so having the free attack (sting) and 10mp attacks helps. In many cases with a fully developed bow, the 10mp attacks are good enough for running around... and of course, when on a low level quest, why waste your MP when the free attack will do the trick? Sting also has a faster refresh rate, so it's good for getting that quick 3-4 AC at the start of a quest.
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Re: Bow Guide
March 4th, 2013, 2:06 pm

I'm still learning Bow, so I'll try out the suggestions here to augment what I do.

I do think that it's important that anyone reading the guides realize that these are our opinions based on experience of what works, and that sometimes we make choices based on how we like to play rather than what has the mathematically best chance of success. Not to mention that as always there is no specific right way for every player. I'm saying this because I've seen so many arguments start when people start contradicting advice from a skill guide and treating the guide as if it's some set in stone rule-set to follow.

All that said, thanks, this is a really good guide to bow.
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Re: Bow Guide
March 4th, 2013, 2:34 pm

KOSMOS wrote:I do think that it's important that anyone reading the guides realize that these are our opinions based on experience of what works, and that sometimes we make choices based on how we like to play rather than what has the mathematically best chance of success


Dually noted... hopefully everybody catches this same idea in my first sentence of the guide. I am one to min/max things in general, so my focus is always on optimizing the numbers and doing what mathematically makes sense. That's probably a result of the scientist in me :p That's also where my ark comments come from. I see somebody ark and think "yay buff time!" only to be let down when nothing happens... lol
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Re: Bow Guide
March 4th, 2013, 2:38 pm

I can give some info about lower levelled bow players. Fawn was brought up on bow :).

I actually find the elemental attacks very useful at lower ranks. The reason is that most archers pre-gr26 only make one weapon. You only have to look at the binding post to find that the game doesn't encourage elemental weapons before gr26. Of course, with the availability of Lightwings, you can buy 5 ans enhance them. The problem I had with Fawn was that she was ranking up faster than I could gear her. Having the elemental attacks allowed me to focus on armor, and still do decent damage against all foes. The barrages work well against slash weak, elemental enemies like hounds and wyverns. Even though it is a thrust attack, the element overrides it. It's a stronger attack than angel wing, and costs much less than triple nock (a mere 6mp... and we all know that mp isn't the easiest thing to come by at lower ranks). Missiles are costly (24 mp), but effective against elemental, strike weak enemies like dragons. Then you have the volleys, which are your elemental AOE attack, effective against fish and other small mobs weak to an element. I often added these for seasonal travel and graveyard rift.

Most of the support advise for higher GR will apply to lower, however Spirit Hymn should be used carefully so that you don't spend your entire quest singing. When someone is only gaining 40-50 mp per hymn (happens often with lower GR players), it is far better to support with mana pots. If you're low GR and can't afford them, don't be ashamed to ask for handouts. myself and others are happy to hand out pots to new or poor players.
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Re: Bow Guide
March 4th, 2013, 3:04 pm

Thanks for that input. I didn't really know what I was doing myself as a bow until after GR26. Even as a high level player, if you are not trying to use any other class besides bow, then sure load up on the elemental moves as well. I'll get this info into the guide... I'm starting to see several of the sections getting divided into pre-gr26 and post gr-26 subsections.
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Re: Bow Guide
March 11th, 2013, 3:40 pm

made use of our new spoiler option so the main guide isn't a massive wall of text any more, you can expand/collapse sections as you see fit.
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Re: Bow Guide
March 11th, 2013, 4:14 pm

Looks cool. The new spoiler tag works nicely.
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Re: Bow Guide
March 12th, 2013, 7:31 pm

My command bar is set for having spirit hymn central to the bar:

Angels wing, Burst tip, Triple Knock, Sting, +pierce, +Judgement, Dark shot
Silence, Holy Light, Healers Hymn, Spirit Hymn, Conceal, Decoy, Stun Tip
Refresh, +heal3, Heal4, Raise, +hurricane Siong, Angels Favr, Fates Favor.

The reason i have decoy there is that it allows to take aggro quickly to give somebody a quick recoup if needed. also my agi is high enough to allow me to tank easily while not using my spear.
Its mostly a support build but works great for holding the enemy when needed :)
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Re: Bow Guide
March 13th, 2013, 10:51 am

Generally my bow commands are;

double nock, triple nock, blast salvo, burst tip, +Judgement, Angels Wing, Darkshot
Conceal, Camouflage, EagleEye, poison tip, stun tip, hurricane song, Slow
Healers Hymn, Spirit Hymn, Angels Hymn, Heal3+, Refresh, +Fortify, +ManaBarrier

But last RB I took the elemental attacks up to and including the missiles. My alternate bow set looks more like this

triple nock, burst tip, +Judgement, Angels Wing, Darkshot, Conceal, EagleEye,
Fire Missile, Ice Missile, Wind Missile, Earth Missile, stun tip, hurricane song, Slow
Healers Hymn, Spirit Hymn, Angels Hymn, Heal3+, Refresh, +Fortify, +ManaBarrier

However, I'm not 100% certain I like the elemental attacks. I took the elements in both Sword and Bow this time, and dropped my Spear tanking skills. It's fun to have the elemental attacks, but I am not sure they are any better for damage, or more efficient than the neutral attacks. If I can't see a decent difference there I may respec again and remove the elements from both SS and Bow, and go back to putting points into the tanking skills again.

Open question to all. How do the elemental attacks on Bow actually work? Is their damage purely based on the same calculations that a non-elemental attack is, except that they are modified by the elemental strength/weakness of the enemy. So if you use fire missile on a Wyvern Rex, you're using a strike attack based in fire on an enemy that's strong against both strike and fire, so your damage is horrible. Fire missile against a Direspider is a fire based strike against an enemy that's neither strong against, or weak to either the attack type or element, an the damage is still poor. But fire missile against a Fenrir does better as Fenrir is weak to fire, but neutral to strike. Finally Fire missile against an Iron Golem hits both weaknesses of the Golem and your damage is great.

So in the first example, the attack is counteracted by the strengths of the opponent, and damage is modified down based on the strengths. In the second example, it's a wash because there are no weaknesses or strengths that apply, so only base damage is done. In the third example the elemental weakness is exploited, but not the physical weakness, and damage is modified up by the elemental nature of the attack. Finally the last example, both the physical and elemental weakness come into play and the base damage is modified upwards twice.

However taking that final example and comparing Fire Missile (24MP) against Burst Tip (20MP) how much better does Fire Missile do vs a tier 4 Iron Golem than Burst Tip? Is it worth the extra 4MP and the SP to get the skill? More than that, are the elemental attacks boosted by the player's Intelligence score or MAG score? The TK Bow has that +50 MAG enhancement on it. If you put on a piece of INT armor and/or an INT/MAG accessory, does it boost the elemental attacks?
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Re: Bow Guide
March 13th, 2013, 2:28 pm

Blaz from neoseeker proved that strength is better than int for the elemental attacks. The thing to think about is: would you rather wear full int armor, giving you poor stats in dex and agi, or have higher defense, increased dex and str? Int and mag add power to the missiles, but so does strength.
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Re: Bow Guide
March 13th, 2013, 2:52 pm

personally i find the ele skills were not really needed as the ele bows provided the same benefits. also it allowed me to gain other skills from other trees. its all personal preference really, i just preferred use the standard skills as it suited my build better.
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Re: Bow Guide
April 15th, 2013, 12:29 pm

Since putting together the guide, I've finished my TK bow and changed out the gloves with MP/STR gloves, and I like the end result. I really don't notice the AGI loss, but do see a little impact from having lower DEX. However, added MP is a huge benefit, and more STR for basic attacking helps too. I'll have to build in those details when I'm home and I'm in the game.... and remember to do this :D
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