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. Information in guides may not work for everyone.
Few can escape the undying power of the ultimate Black Mage. Reigning from the back of the party, charging up his ultimate Thundaga III, then finally releasing the explosive power and annihilating its target. Heck, even at Lv.1, its spells are by far the most powerful things you’re going to see. Magic bursting is where Black Mages really shine. After a party pulls-off a skillchain (assuming they do one, since not a lot of people do anymore), you wait until the skillchain’s animation stops, and then BOOM! Magic accuracy, magic attack, both boosted. Black Mage also gets some pretty awesome other spells like its elemental enfeebles, Warp, Warp II (which can be cast on other party members), Escape (to save a party in need or just save them from walking), Drain, Aspir, and a load of other devious and otherworldly spells. They didn’t teach you this stuff in school.
Please note: This is only a guide. Please add anything if it is needed, and take away anything that is either untrue or not needed.
Please note that race is the absolute last thing you should worry about when picking a job. Anything said here is seriously exaggerated. A single piece of gear can often make up for a race's negligible lack in a stat. Every race also gets "Race Specific Equipment", or "RSE", that will boost a race's stats to equal, or possibly even surpass other races.
- As with all jobs, Humes enjoy a healthy balance of stats. You won’t have to worry as much about over-casting, since you have an average MP pool and intelligence. And if you do pull hate, you can usually survive a fair amount with some decent agility, vitality, and HP. You’ll definitely love your race-specific legs and feet for this job.
- Elvaan Black Mages may not have very high MP or intelligence, but at least they won’t get one-shot KO’d by even the weakest monsters. As an Elvaan, you won’t have to worry about picking up where the job drops off. Instead, you can focus more on building-up your spells to deal devastating damage to the opposition. And unlike other races who have to buy their equipment, all four pieces of your race-specific equipment are great for Black Mage. With the right amount of gil, or a passion for quests, you can pit your Elvaan Black Mage against any Hume, but do not be an Elvaan Black Mage if you don't want to work hard for it.
- Often seen as the Black Mages to end all Black Mages, Tarutaru fill in the role of nuker amazingly. Just be careful not to overshoot yourself and grab too much attention. One hit and you may be going down. Black Mages and Tarutaru are a dangerous mix in terms of survivability. That doesn’t mean go out and buy vitality-enhancing gear, though. It just means you have to be careful with your vast MP pool and unreal intelligence level. Please don’t go out wearing your race-specific equipment just so you can survive a few more hits, heh.
- Mithra share a nice, balanced MP pool with intelligence like Humes. Combining powerful spells with a high agility stat lets Mithra nuke a fair bit while also enjoying higher survivability. Their lower stats including vitality and strength don't take any major toll on a Black Mage. However, if one would care to solo or the like, having a decent amount of dexterity can make-up for any detriments in raw attack power.
- Just don’t tell this bad boy to stop casting out of line and you might live another day. Your friendly neighbourhood Galka boasts high survivability and average intelligence, plus the highest HP and vitality to boot. Meaning you can outlast most people and still deal amazing feats of damage. Though you may not like how it looks, Galka’s race-specific equipment is the best thing a Black Mage could have until artifact armor and possibly even further. Bringing in a massive 96 MP and a beautiful 6 intelligence, and coupled with Astral Rings, you could easily out-do any other race in terms of MP, and possibly even brain-power. And guess what? You have the HP to convert that MP too! (And not worry about being one-hit KO’d.)
- Staff. Yep, just that one word and you’ll be cool the rest of your game. Staff. You cannot go wrong with those long wooden things. They boost your MP, your HP, and later, your other stats with the help of grips. And by Lv.51, you’ll never exchange your weapons again. For Lv.1 to Lv.4, I’d suggest going with maybe a Maple Wand, and then after that, pick-up an Ash Pole. When you go to Valkurm and party, get yourself a nice Legionnaire's Staff, which should last you until at least Lv.20. And by Lv.30, you get your first grip, which can increase your HP and MP both by 10 if you get the better version. On the other hand, from Lv.10 to Lv.30, getting a Wand is another decent course of action. Having more INT+ from that can increase the damage of your spells, but at the expense of having more MP for both nukes and Cures. The biggest benefit from Wands this early on is the use of the Pilgrim's Wand, which would let you swap in and out without losing any HP or MP. After Lv.30, though, get anything to increase your MP, and if you’re lucky, get something for intelligence too. And you remember what I said about Lv.51? Well, by that level, you can get your all-powerful Elemental Staves! Who can go wrong with +10% potency (+15% with HQ) for your nukes, +10 MP recovered while healing, and +10 “Cure” potency for helping your party?
- Black Mage is slightly more limited to armor choice than White Mage, but don’t let that get you down. You’re not really missing out not being able to equip White Mage armor anyway. You definitely aren’t going to be wearing any plate, scale, harness, or leather stuff. Nope, you get to wear cloaks, robes, and everything in between. Just not doublet stuff. That being said, remember, you should always go for intelligence and MP over anything else at low levels. If there’s nothing better for you, pick up some survivability-enhancing equipment like defense, vitality, or best yet, HP. Until you reach the 70's, MP is not a concern; Intelligence, Elemental Skill, and Magic Attack Bonus matter. Elvaan and Galka get great RSE, and Mithra and Humes get a few pieces that’ll help you too. And in all cases, your AF armor will definitely suffice until Lv.75, when you can get relic armor or armor from Salvage (Morrigan's Robe Set). Some suggestions are Errant Slops or HQ Mahatma Slops, Errant Houppelande for resting mp, Gleeman's Cape from Einherjar, Yigit Crackows from assault, Igqira Weskit until Morrigan's Robe or until you can afford a Genie Weskit, Tamas Ring from CoP missions, Moldavite Earring in early 50's, Novio Earring from Sea, Zenith Mitts or other similar hands, etc. Get armor that can give the most Intelligence, Magic Attack Bonus, and elemental skill. After hitting 75, most Black Mages use their AF for enfeebling.
Soloing 1 to 10
- Like I said under ‘weapons’, pick-up a nice club or something from Lv.1 to Lv.4, and then buy yourself a pole for Lv.5. A Pole +1 is loads better, so you might even want to pick one of those up if you can afford it. Don’t worry about keeping your skill high, though (unless you already did), since you’re rarely, if ever going to engage battle after these. Pick-off some nice monsters that have low intelligence and use Stone (or Water, or Aero, depending on your level) and pull them to you. Poison can help too. Blind is really inaccurate, so don’t even bother with it. Though for all other jobs, I’d say go for worms, for Black Mage, go for anything else. Don’t forget, your spells are elemental, and so are most monsters. You can use that to your advantage and get more bang for your MP, or you may screw-up and hit the monster for 2 points of damage, consuming 24 MP. Just be smart. Final Fantasy XI made it so monsters are weak against what they look like they’re weak against. Cast Fire on plant mobs, and cast Lightning against water mobs. Make habit of grabbing Signet before you go outside. Not only will it make soloing a lot easier through defense and evasion bonuses, but it will also allow you to rest HP and MP without losing TP, and will also earn you conquest points with which to spend on items.
- You start to party between Lv.9 and Lv.11. As a mage, you’re really hoping it’s the first of the two, since you’re probably sick to tears of soloing. Go out there and nuke! Maybe a nice enfeeble here, and a cure there (assuming you have a support job, and hoping you’re subbing White Mage). One thing I can’t stress enough for any newcomer to Black Mage is to learn the hate threshold and don’t ever try to cross it unless for some reason it’s necessary. Seriously, Black Mage is by far the weakest defensive-wise job in the game. Especially if you’re not Galka or Elvaan, you may even be one-hit KO’d in these levels. Do not, and I repeat, do not over-nuke. A lot of people think it’s smartest to use Fire, Bio, Aero, Fire, Aero, Fire… But that’s simply not true. Not only will that waste your MP, it also gives you too much unwanted enmity, and it also gives the monster a serious build-up of resistances. Using too many spells too fast is just plainly MP-inefficient, and you’ll only be dealing between 6% and 50% of your normal spell damage. So please, cast the highest-tier spell that the target monster is weakest to. Use Fire, then wait, Fire, then wait, Fire, then wait. Even if you just wait until its recast is back to 0, that’s plenty. Just don’t over-nuke! Anyway, Lv.15 is a nice change for you, since you not only get Elemental Seal, which increases accuracy (for enfeebles like Sleep, and also for not getting resisted for damaging spells), but you also get your first area-effect elemental spell. It’s not just a spell that deals the normal spell’s damage to monsters in range, it deals a LOT more damage too. Stonega I is more powerful than even Fire. For its MP cost, it better be, too. Unfortunately; in general it is not worth using -ga spells except for magic bursts, or when you need something dead fast, because of the low damage per mp. Additionally, being area-effect, they’re dangerous and should be used with caution. Only use it when you know for a fact there’s nothing around you. I can’t stress this enough either! Be careful or you’ll put you and the whole party in jeopardy! Oh yeah, and at Lv.17, you get Warp. Easily one of the most useful time-and-money-saving spells in the game.
- Now hopefully you know the do’s and don’ts of Black Mage, so taking it through these levels is a lot nicer. Lv.20 you get Sleep, which can save your party from links and aggro if used properly (as in using Elemental Seal prior to Sleep). Also, at Lv.20, you get a job trait called Conserve MP, which from time-to-time can save you loads of MP (I know one time I cast Warp, and it conserved 86 of my MP, making me only use 14). From now-on, you’re basically just getting higher-tier versions of spells you already get. Except at Lv.29 when you get Escape, which is amazing for getting your party out of bad situations if timed properly. At Lv.40, you get Warp II, which can be cast on other members of your party, saving them from using their Warp Cudgels or Scroll of Instant-Warp items. Now you’re good to get…
- Remember what I said about you using staves from Lv.5 until Lv.75? Well, that’s still true, even though your AF weapon is a wand. Yes, it’s useless. Especially with the addition of grips. 20 MP holds nothing to 22 MP and 3 Dark Magic skill from the Dusky Staff, especially with a Lizard Strap +1 giving you +10 more MP. I strongly advise you to still get it, however, since you need it done to get your other AF.
- Enter Heavens Tower via Windurst Walls and go talk to the NPC Chumimi. You will be given a choice of who to side with. It makes no difference except you will get a different title. Afterwards, grab a high-level friend and any element crystal and head to Xarcabard. Trade a crystal to the telepoint and then head to E-8 and find a ??? in a gorge, surrounded by the lights. Trade your newly-acquired Faded Crystal to the ??? and kill the elemental that will appear. The Chaos Elemental drops a Glowstone. Bring that back to Chumimi, and you’re done your first AF quest. Congratulations!
Mid-High Levels 40-60
- With your AF weapon tossed out the window, you can go back to partying (though the party invites are a lot less common between level 50 and 65). You continue to do the same stuff you’ve been doing from Lv.10 to Lv.40, but at Lv.45 and 50 you start getting new spells that you haven’t seen before. Lv.45 is Stun, which gives you a fair chunk of hate, but can instantly stop your target monster from casting any spells or performing any attacks (or TP moves). This works well with monsters casting significant spells, or using attacks like Bomb Toss. Lv.50 is your first line of “Ancient Magic”. Freeze. It’s big, it’s powerful, it consumes a lot of MP, and yes, it has a really, really long casting time. With a whopping three hundred and seven MP, and a casting time of almost eighteen seconds, you have to have some amazing timing and foresight. And if you want to try magic bursting with it, you have to make a macro that actually tells your melee fighters when to start and when to close. Also, if you cast that spell, you’d better hope it’s the last one you’re going to cast. It’s so powerful, often even the best tanks can’t steal hate off of an Ancient-happy Black Mage. Every two levels right up until Lv.60, you’ll get a new Ancient Magic. Just perfect to go with your new pieces of equipment every two levels starting at 52. These pieces of equipment? Why, they’re…
- Like all mage jobs, your first piece of equipment is your boots. These are really good boots and should last you until your relic stuff. Acquired at Lv.52, and giving you a nice boost to MP and agility (for dodging). Plus, it lowers your spell interruption rate by 1/5th and gives you less enmity per spell by 1. Next are your AF gloves at 54. With an MP boost, another enmity-down, and a whopping 15 Elemental Magic Skill for magic accuracy, you’ll never toss these aside. Next are your Lv.56 pants, which are also very useful. They give you a pretty fancy boost to MP, evasion, and another enmity-down by 1. What’s really significant is the Dark Magic Skill +15, meaning your Drain, Aspir, and Bio all get a very handy boost. At Lv.58 you get one of your less-impressive pieces. Your AF body gives nice MP and a whopping 3 enmity-down, but five vitality, and only ten Enfeebling skill makes it less of a boost than your other pieces. It’s still nice to have, though, especially for casting Sleep. Finally your end-all, be-all piece, your Lv.60 AF hat. With a stunning 25 MP, 4 intelligence, and -4 enmity, you’re gonna wear it until the cows come home (hurray for weird, cheesy lines!).
High Levels 60-75
- Your last fifteen levels are no different from the previous fifty, except now everyone’s got their AF (or better), and you have all your Ancient Magic. By now, you’ve hopefully mastered using all your different spells, and with all your enmity-down, you can widen your damage-dealing by a bit. Yes, it’s all smooth-sailing from here. Just have to get your limit breaking quests finished and Maat defeated, and you’re good.
- Most people do not desire Black Mage in their typical parties in the Aht Urhgan areas, so meriting and getting buffer is more often than not a solo deal (depending on your server, manaburn parties can be extremely common, or virtually non-existent). There are numerous camps for this. Black Puddings in Mount Zhayolm are the most notorious. Gravity, and nuke them down. Be careful, as these sludges can cast nukes of their own. Almost all soloing situations calls for BLM/RDM. Or more precisely, Gravity and Fast Cast.
- BLM are still loved for their ability to deal damage against the gods of Vana'diel. Be it Sea, Sky, Limbus, it doesn't matter. A Black Mage fills the role of "Hurt the monster" quite nicely.
- Your main support job through the early portions of the game. Though with Scholar, it’s a lot less needed. White Mage is a great support job for any Black Mage at any time. It gives you a nice boost to your MP, gives you Auto-Regen at Lv.50, and gives you useful spells like Curaga, Protectra, Raise, and even Reraise. Even with all those other support jobs out there, there’s always room for a White Mage support job in my books.
- I wouldn’t suggest subbing this unless you always find yourself seriously strapped for MP. If anything, it takes away a lot of spells that White Mage would give, so you can focus more on your Black Magic. And with its Max MP Boost, high base MP, and later on, Auto-Refresh, it can pass for something if done right. Just make sure it’s not the only sub you have, or you may have a hard time finding parties.
- Most people don’t see the potential of BLM/NIN, and only see it as a way of over-nuking without getting into too much trouble. Me, I see it as a nice opportunity. This job is for people who prefer lethal damage to MP. First of all, you can use dual wands to give you the intelligence boost you’d be missing from subbing, say, Scholar or Red Mage. It also gives access to the elemental Ninjutsu, which can be used to weaken a target monster to a specific element before blasting it to Timbuktu. Finally, the shadows acquired through Utsusemi are definitely a nice bonus. Don’t over-nuke, though. It’s just there as a precaution if something goes wrong and you have to cast a lot of spells. One further use of Ninja as a Black Mage’s support job is monster radar. Ninja has the widest-range monster radar out of all the jobs in the game, and with it, you can be way more assured of how close other monsters are to you, which can really help with area-effect spells. In most party scenarios, I would strongly suggest subbing White Mage, Scholar, or Red Mage, but there may be the occasional party where this may be an exception.
Just a little addition to the guide, (which is awesome by the way), for many BLM like me who took it most of the way to 75 soloing pets, subbing NIN really helps keep you alive when your spell is resisted, or if you have to cast a 2nd or 3rd spell on a pet to finish it off. Utsusemi: Ichi is far more reliable than Blink, and many of the pet's you will solo in the early levels have masters who aggro to sight, and Tonko: Ichi allows you to save that much needed mp to get into a good position to safely pull your pet without aggro. After level 50 and 51, subbing NIN becomes less desirable as you gain access to Ancient Magic and Elemental Staves, and your goal becomes to one-shot pets, so WHM or RDM maybe a better choice for the MP boost. If you are soloing pets as BLM/NIN while looking for party, make sure your seacom reflects your ability to sub whm or rdm!
- You may not get anything special out of it spell-wise except a few White Magic spells, but where it really shines is the boosts it gives to your spells already. Being able to use Dark Arts and rarely, if ever, switching to Light Arts is a seriously nice bonus. You can get a cut to your MP cost and casting time (as well as recasting time) for all of your spells, making up for a loss in Fast Cast from /RDM and MP from /WHM or /SMN. You can lower MP consumption or casting time of any spell to half with your Stratagems, which recharge once every two to four minutes. If timed properly, it can be incredibly nice to have. You also get access to Regen earlier than subbing White Mage, and can even get Regen II out of subbing Scholar, unlike when subbing White Mage or Red Mage. You can also get Raise at Lv.70. That’s always a bonus. Finally, Dark Arts will also increase your Enfeebling Magic Skill to "B" level for early-fight use; this is useful as it will increase your overall magic accuracy. Scholar also provides a wicked job ability for when you hit Lv.70 called Sublimation. This ability will convert your HP into a side-pool of MP, which can be consumed any time you wish. The major downside to this spell is the lack of beneficial spells like Reraise, Stoneskin, Blink, etc, which are typically Black Mage’s salvation.
- Red Mage support job can replace White Mage as a support job sometimes. It gives less MP, but more INT. And instead of Auto-Regen and more spells, it gives you Fast Cast, which can be just as good in some cases. It’s especially noticeable pre-50 when White Mage support job gives Raise and Auto-Regen. I suggest subbing Red Mage for soloing, situational times for more damage, Enfeebling Magic, Dispelling, Gravity, and for more Intelligence.
Black Mage as a Support Job
- Black Mage isn't a very useful support job early on, only providing a little MP. However, later on it can be a useful alternative to White Mage for jobs like Red Mage and Scholar. This job as a support job provides MP and a few useful traits like "Conserve MP" and "Clear Mind". It also gives Warp for Lv.34 and Escape for Lv.58. The intelligence it provides is also nice for mages who want a little boost to their spell damage.
Overview of Job Abilities, Traits, and Spells
- Manafont is a really cool job ability. It lets you cast any magic for ZERO MP cost for thirty seconds, allowing you to heal your party, Escape your party, or spam spells at the target until it dies, and not have to worry about how much MP it’s taking up. Manafont certainly has a number of uses, and I suggest saving it for either right before you call it a night, or in sticky situations. Don’t let no MP cost give you the false impression that you can and should over-cast. You still should be careful, because it doesn’t make you invincible, and you’re still a fragile Black Mage. Black Mages while under the effect of their two-hour manafont cannot be interrupted during spell casting by melee attacks. Therefore it is sometimes used to ensure the success of Warp and Escape while under attack. However, other actions that normally interrupt spells, such as movement (including knockback), Stun, Sleep, Silence, will still stop spell casting.
- Elemental Seal Is a very useful job ability that can seriously help your party out of sticky situations. What it does is increases the accuracy of your next spell. This means you can land enfeebles or any other spell with a lot more assurance of no resists. Though, since it has a ten-minute cool-down timer, I suggest saving it for Sleep or using it to finish off a powerful monster with a powerful spell. Remember, no resists means more damage. That’s all you want is for an Ancient Magic spell to deal 1/16th of the damage it normally does.
- Mana Wall Is the Black Mage's safety net job ability that they get very late in the game. While it is active a Black Mage cannot lose hp at all. All forms of damage a Black Mage takes is converted into mp loss (2hp=1mp). This is great for surivablity due to black mages's normaly low hp and defence. Keep in mind this is a buff so it can be dispelled my monsters. It only last 5 minutes (with a 10 minute cool-down timer) or untill your mp hits 0 due to attacks. By most it is only used as a last resort due to black mages need of mp to act in battle. A great combo to use with Manafont to spam nukes on a monster while the said monster will have a hard time killing you (The monster has to go though both your mp and your hp to kill you unless mana wall is dispelled). Also a great skill to use while recovering from Weakness.
- Magic Attack Bonus is first acquired at Lv.10, and increases your magic spell damage by 20%. You get up to a fourth tier of this job trait at Lv.70, which will give you +32% magic damage by the end. That’s almost a whole third of your damage in increase. Meaning if you deal 1000 damage with a spell without it, you’ll deal 1320 with it! That’s a huge boost to damage if you ask me. There’s a lot of equipment out there to increase it, too, so you should pick them up.
- Clear Mind is a trait all mages share, and it’s a trait all mages love. You get your first tier of it at Lv.15, and get a lot of them. Unlike the mage jobs with less MP like White Mage and Red Mage, you get all of them. The same case is for Summoner. What Clear Mind does is increases the MP recovered while healing per tic. Without Clear Mind, the amount of MP restored every ten seconds is minimal. With Clear Mind, it increases substantially, alleviating a ton of downtime. Without it, you get 12 MP at first, and then it increases by 1, so 13, 14, 15... With the final Clear Mind (fifth) you get 27 at first, and it increases by 3, so 30, 33, 36, 39...
- Conserve MP is your final job trait, which actually doesn’t have any tiers. However, there is a few pieces of equipment to increase its proc rate. It does exactly as the name implies, conserves you MP occasionally. It’s always random when it will actually happen, and how much it saves is random too. Any gear that enhances it will just make it happen more frequently. Sometimes it can save you as little as 1 MP, but it can also save you upwards of 100-200 MP just for one spell. If you ask me, this trait alone is worth subbing Black Mage for. Especially since it’s acquired at Lv.20, as opposed to Summoner’s Lv.25 Auto-Refresh.
- Elemental ‘Nuking’ Spells are simply Black Mage’s thing. (Just be careful, as the more power you hit a mob with, the more "hate" it is going to have toward you, and you could get killed.) If you started off as Black Mage, you’ll be given your Onion Staff and a spell. That spell is Stone, the first in a line of six different elemental spells that tier four times each. You’ll notice that Stone can take a Decent Challenge or Even Match monster at Lv.1 down between one-third to one-half of their max health. That’s a lot of damage. And that’s Black Mage’s entire role in a party is to deal tons of damage (while avoiding getting too much hate). Your first tier of elemental nuking magic begins at Lv.1 with Stone, then Water, Aero (wind), Fire, Blizzard, and finally Thunder at Lv.21. After that, the cycle starts over again and you get Stone II at Lv.26. As you can imagine, using the right elemental spells against monsters can really lay the hurt down on them. Of course, using wrong ones will just waste your MP. Even if you just learned Water, don’t go out and start spamming it on crabs, pugils, and Quadavs. They’re resistant to it. Almost every monster in the game has a weakness, and likewise have a resistance. It’s best to either look into the monsters you’re fighting on Gamer Escape's FFXI Wiki, or the helpful, yet old, official guide. While you'll never see "<enemy> resisted your spell!" with Elemental Magic, they can still be resisted, and when they are will deal significantly less damage (usually around 50% or even sometimes as little as 6%!). Every Skillchain you’ll ever see has at least one element associated with it. If you see a party member use a weapon skill, don’t cast anything. If a second one joins in and suddenly you see Fusion, lay a Fire down on it and you’ll get extra damage and accuracy out of it. You’ll eventually see a lot of Distortion, which is both Water and Ice elemental. It’s great because Water and Blizzard are very polar, and it’s almost guaranteed you recently learned one of them. Also, it’s great because monsters are usually weak against one of the two elements, no matter where you’re partying. Remember to cast that spell where it hurts and kick some serious rear.
- Enfeebles (Since Black Mage’s role hardly revolves around enfeebling, I’ll talk about them in general. If you do want to listen to a more in-depth talk about Enfeebling Magic, visit my How-To Guide: Red Mage.) Enfeebles for Black Mage aren’t all that useful, not until the Elemental ones which I’ll talk about in a bit. Starting at the early level of 3, Black Mage gets Poison, which has limited usefulness. Yes, it drains the monster every three seconds, but for soloing it’s a lot better just to use Stone or Water when you learn it. You get Blind one level later, and it also doesn’t help much. Monsters are cheap in a lot of ways, and hitting just as accurately with Blind on as without it on is one of them. That’s also assuming Blind lands, which is also infrequent. Yet, when you’re blinded, you miss nine out of ten shots. At Lv.7 you get Bind, which is like “Immobilize” in other Final Fantasies. For soloing, this job has a lot of uses. Cast it, and then some nice damaging spells. Though, don’t completely rely on it, since it doesn’t always land, and sometimes it wears off in almost no time at all. When you get into the party levels, use Poison and try to land Blind at the start of every fight. And if something bad happens, Bind can usually help you out. Remember, though, if Blind doesn’t work, don’t keep trying to make it land. Like I said, it’s hardly worth it. If your tank is a Ninja, it might be a good idea to try 2-3 times, but after that, don’t bother. Lv.10 is your first of only two really good enfeebling magic spells. Bio. Bio not only hits the monster for a fair load of damage, it also takes of HP per tic like Poison, and lowers its attack rating, but the best part of all is it can never miss unless it’s a Bio-resistant notorious monster or boss. Not only that, but it also has a really short cast time and re-cast time. However, never use it on monsters you want to end-up Sleeping later. Which brings me to the last non-elemental enfeeble, Sleep. Sleep has a number of uses, such as casting it to save your party from a link or aggro, or stopping its actions for a second or two, or even when soloing a really hard monster, and you need to rest MP. Sleep works great in conjunction with your Lv.15 job ability, Elemental Seal.
- Spikes are your self-defense magic in the game. They’re only really useful for dealing damage and/or enfeebling any monster that attacks you. Blaze Spikes, learned at 10, deal the most damage of the three you’ll learn. Ice Spikes at 20 can Paralyze the target monster and make it harder to hit you. Shock Spikes at 30 Stuns the monster on contact, making it take even longer to attack you the next time. Though they’re different level and cost different MP, they’re all equally useful in the end. Personally, I rarely, if ever, use them, but they can be useful in sticky situations or for soloing with no Stoneskin or Blink active (from White Mage or Red Mage support job).
- Drain and Aspir are really convenient spells for Black Mage. Since you pull hate and have low defense, casting Drain can deal a lot of damage and simultaneously restore a fair bit of your health. Aspir is similar. For only 10 MP, you can steal some of your target’s and replenish that 10 plus more. The only problem with Aspir is its limited use, meaning it can only be cast on monsters that have MP to steal. Also, it can be resisted, leading to a loss in MP rather than a gain. Just keep your INT and Dark Magic Skill high. At higher levels, Drain has potential to give the most HP return per MP in the game, even higher than White Mage’s Regen I with full merits. Drain and Aspir never say how much damage they deal, but rather how much they restore of your own. So if you have full HP and cast Drain to deal 100 damage, it will say that you drain 0 HP.
- Elemental Area-Effect ‘Nukes’ are super high-powered versions of your single-target elemental nukes. Basically, they get way more bang for way more buck. And as an added twist, are similarly far harder to use because of their area-effect clause. They can deal tons of damage, but for every target they hit, they deal even less. Just be careful of any close monsters and you should be okay. I suggest using them only in camps that don’t have any of surrounding monsters. You wind-up getting three tiers of these spells by 75.
- Elemental Enfeebles are very neat spells that you’ll use until 75. They not only deal damage over time like Poison, but also lower one of the target’s stats, depending on which spell. Rasp, for example, lowers its dexterity. Burn lowers intelligence (for landing nukes better). Unfortunately, these spells can be resisted, and can’t all be cast at once. Having any of the elemental ailments on the target already will make it so two others cannot be cast on it. Since water beats fire, and fire beats ice, you can’t cast Drown, Burn, and Frost on the monster. You can, however, cast Rasp, Frost, and Drown to lower the target’s dexterity, agility, and strength. Or you can lower its mind, intelligence, and vitality with the other three. You just can’t have all of them at the same time.
- Warp, Warp II, Escape, and Retrace are a Black Mage’s main mode of locomotion and own native way to help parties. Warp simply saves you the trouble of a trip back to wherever you came from by teleporting you straight to your Home Point. This certainly saves money on Warp Cudgels. It’s learned at Lv.17, and personally one of three of my favourite spells (Invisible and Sneak being the other two). Escape is learned at Lv.29, and helps you and your party by warping everyone in the area effect right outside a dungeon. It has several uses. One is in case someone pulls a link. While the tanks do everything they can to keep hate and the healers cure, you tell everyone to gather together and warp them out of there. Unfortunately, it has a really long casting time, so has to be used promptly. It can also be used to save people a lot of running after parties before anyone else can warp home. Also, in Garlaige Citadel, sometimes people fall into the cracks when they don’t want to, and you can easily fall down there yourself and Escape them, saving everyone time and the poor party member some experience points. Warp II (known to both English and Japanese-speaking players as D2, short for Dezone2) is something that a lot of people really like. Now, I remember when I was a newcomer to the game and always wondering “what could give Warp a higher tier?” and then I partied at that level and found out that Warp II actually can be cast on other party members! This is a really good way to help friends out that can’t Warp or anything of the sort. Retrace sends a party member to his or her nation in the past. Also, all three of these spells count towards enhancing magic skill-ups, yet aren’t affected at all by it except for interruption rate.
- Tractor is learned at 25 and has one purpose-- to drag fallen party members to you so it’s easier for the White Mage to resuscitate them. It’s especially useful for areas with undead in them, and if you were to Raise the fallen team mate, they would all aggro. Though I used it for fun once and dragged my friend through Ranguemont Pass so he could get his Summoner quest completed. He kept running into aggro and never telling me his Sneak or Invisible were wearing. Good times, though.
- Ancient Magic is fearsome magic that simply takes forever to get off, and consumes your MP right down to the bone (especially when you first level it at 50). With a whopping average of 18.4 seconds of casting time and average of 345 MP consumption, you can expect some serious damage out of it. And you’d be completely right. In order to perform a magic burst with it, you have to start casting it with a macro, and then in /party chat tell the melee players to begin the skillchain after a few seconds. Though you’d better hope that spell’s the last one you’ll have to cast, because if the target’s still alive, it’s going to go after you until one of you two falls, especially if your tank isn’t a Paladin. It’s also one of the coolest-looking sets of spells in the game, and has an additional effect of lowering its target’s resistance to the element after it in the elemental wheel. You can get a second tier of these spells at 75 with merits. These of course, cast faster (10 seconds per cast), consume less MP (all 287 MP), and deal more damage (about 1200-2500 depending on gear and merits). They are something you cannot live without meriting at some point or another. They also come in quite handy for soloing additional merits and Magic Bursting Gods and NM's. They are however considerably less MP effcient than tierIV nukes, so don't over use them in meriting or you'll find yourself out of MP too fast to keep chain going. Also, don't be a "hero" in the middle of a party with an Ancient Magic spell. Often times they drain your MP, give you all of the hate, and cause you and also your party to fall. AM spells are best saved for soloing pets, one-shotting monsters, and manaburn parties.
The How-To Guides are user created guides editable by anyone. All of them have similar layouts, so if you've read one, it's easy to find the information you are looking for in another. And if you are a newcomer to this game, the Beginner guide may teach you a few things you didn't already know.