~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Black Mage Equipment guide (1-60)~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Layout and design inspired by the Paladin Equipment guide, which was so nice I just had to copy it for this and my WHM equipment guides.
Credit to Fisban for his thoughtful layout and organization.
The Law: Always upgrade your spells before you upgrade any armor. All the +INT and miscellaneous bonuses in the world do nothing for a BLM with gaps in his main nuke line. Never sacrifice your spellcasting ability for some shiny bauble. You are disservicing your job if you do so.
Matters of cost
The gear listed here is all-purpose gear, but it is largely tailored for the exp-earning Black Mage. Anything that is relatively expensive for the level listed is marked with orange stars, like so: *** . It's rare that I'll recommend this kind of equip before level 40, so I explain myself next to each such instance.
Whenever a piece of equipment can be had without spending any gil (CP-bought gear, quests/missions), I will provide the link to the quest. There's little reason to spend money on equipment you can have for free. On that note, I DO NOT list rare/ex NM drops that require you either get a lot of help or be far and above the equipment level to solo the mob that drops it (*cough* Moldavite *cough). This guide is focusing on things which can either be quested for easily or purchased.
After level 50 you will see some very expensive equipment show up on the list. 50 is a real breaking point for any exp-earning job. Mobs get tougher, fights longer, and everyone gains new and stronger abilities from their main and sub jobs. You equipment should follow suit. Consider this: Your AF eqiuipment is a free upgrade that lasts pretty much through the next 15 or so levels. Anything you buy during this time will be exclusively accessories, and accessories last a very long time.
Your choice of race plays a big part in your optimal equipment. Where possible I list the gear that is designed to help any stat gaps caused by your racial choice (see below). As a rule, however, Galka BLMs need more +MP equipment and Elvaan BLMs need both that and additional +INT equip. This often comes with a hefty price tag. Be prepared.
HQ eqipment is largely left of the list for 2 reasons. The first is readability. The other is this: You never NEED to buy HQ equipment. You can get by fine without any of it. Not to say that they're worthless; HQ items tend to keep their value at resale, but the money is almost always better saved for upgrading your spells. I will almost never recommend HQ equipment in the guide, with a few exceptions (see below).
Important to Note: The most expensive upgrades in the game are jewelry. This guide tries to ease some of the pain but I won't sugar-coat it. There is very little in terms of inexpensive jewelry.
What to look for
Balance MP boosts with INT boosts, but tend to favor +INT equipment. Pay special attention to what your race needs (see below). Past level 50 other bonuses become evident on armor, such as healing MP regeneration, elemental skill bonus and Magic Attack Bonus. These are luxury items but a few of them ARE affordable. Give them a try.
Your choice for soloing purposes is a Staff. It is our best combat weapon (B- rating) and staves often boost both +HP and +MP, which are both great for soloing.
For all other purposes, Wands give excellent +MND/+INT bonuses so for partying they are an outstanding choice. Post 50 you will be asked to buy an Ice Staff. This replaces your need to buy any future wands.
Scythes have not yet proven effective for anything other than idle skillup. And the ones equippable by a BLM are terribly expensive. There is a new update coming later this month, so we shall see if our weapon selection broadens any at that point.
Matters of Race
BLM is kind of a spendy job. Simply keeping up with your spells after level 50 can drive you crazy. So spending a lot of equip is not a pleasure for the job. The bad news for Galka and Elvaan BLMs is that they will find themselves hamstrung by their lack of MP in general, and Elvaan by their lack of INT in particular. This guide will recommend equipment for them that is significantly more expensive than what they may be used to paying for other jobs. It is not 100% absolutely critical that they buy this gear, but if you don't you are going to have to make up for the deficiencies somehow (HQ pies, for example) and be a Jedi Master of MP and Nuke conservation. You have a steep hill to climb. Don't give up. ^^
RSE from levels 29-33 play a big part in making up for those deficiencies, but also look to the level 50 and 70 RSE Belts (big ticket) and level 62 RSE Gloves/Boots (also big ticket) for some relief on the matter (although losing the +elemental skill on your AF gloves will hurt).
18 Cotton Cape (quest)
32 Black Cape You will basically be keeping this cape forever, or at least until 71.
43 Red Cape Optional. The benefit is to your /WHM or /RDM, and it's a marginal benefit at most. I bought this cape because I don't like to keep separate capes for my other mage jobs. ^^
55 Federal Army Mantle Rank 6 Windurstian, 24000 CP. This is perfect for Galka/Elvaan BLMs. Everyone else can be content with the Black/Red Cape, since 6MP is not that big of a deal at these levels.
1 Robe (quest)
12 Linen Robe (quest) The reason to prefer this over the +1 INT tunic is that at these formative levels MP is more vital to your success than INT. Wearing this permits you to wear a +MP Hairpin.
29 Seer's Robe *** Ok, still not that cheap. RSE is strictly better for most cases. However, the +hmp on this equip is not seen again on a body piece until the level 72 Errant gear. So buy this knowing that it will last you 43 levels.
33 Elder's Surcoat (quest) Galka only. Keep until AF
33 Magna bodice/Magna jerkin (quest) Elvaan only. Keep until AF
58 Wizard's Coat Monastic Cavern Coffer. Elvaan BLMs see below.
58 Justaucorps This isn't anywhere near as expensive as the Black Cotehardie, so it's for budget-minded Elvaan. Every other race gets more out of the Wizard's Coat, however.
59 Black Cotehardie *** Elvaan only. AF/RSE is good enough for everyone else. Your Ice Staff should come first. But +2 INT and +25 MP is much better than Elvaan RSE. Wear this for general nuking, and switch to AF for the -enmity during a big MB.
8 Solea During your soloing levels, every bit of DEF helps
12 Holly Clogs
20 Mage's Sandals Not that expensive, and not bad for +3MP. These will hold you for another 8-ish levels.
29 Seer's Pumps Taru/Mithra Only. See below.
29 Custom Boots (quest) Hume only
29 Elder's Sandals (quest) Galka only
29 Magna Ledelsens (quest) Elvaan only. As you can see, much of RSE is superior to our AF boots, safe for the -enmity.
52 Wizard's Sabots (quest) Elvaan/Galka/Hume BLMs may be tempted to hang onto their RSE for their main nuking. Use these only for the -enmity, in that case.
12 Linen Cuffs
27 Custom gloves (quest) Hume only
27 Elder's bracers (quest) Galka only
27 Magna Gauntlets/Magna Gloves (quest) Elvaan only
27 Savage gauntlets (quest) Mithra only
27 Wonnder mitts (quest) Tarutaru only
29 Seer's mitts Elvaan/Galka BLMs should hang on to their RSE gloves, as those offer better bonuses.
54 Wizard's Gloves (quest) These are good forever. The only upgrades that can really replace these are Rare/EX loot from NMs or Dynamis drops.
1 Copper Hairpin Hairpins because +INT doesn't come affordably on headgear for a long while
10 Brass Hairpin
20 Silver Hairpin
29 Seer's Crown Galka/Elvaan BLMs may wish to continue with their hairpins, simply for MP reasons.
60 Wizard's Petasos This will also keep forever, much like your AF gloves.
10 Freesword's Slops Windurstian, 1000CP, Windurst 2nd place or better. Not a bad pair of pants, if you have that many CP by the time you hit 10.
12 Linen Slops Alternative to Freesword's Slops. You really shouldn't have to worry that much about DEF once you get into parties, though.
20 Black Slacks Only if you can't stand to be wearing level 12 armor until you hit 29-31. ^^
29 Seer's Slacks
31 Elder's Braguette (quest) Galka only. Mithran and Hume legs add nice amounts of MP, but neither of those races really needs that much of a boost, making the +1 INT from the Seer's slacks preferable. Elvaan legs only add 3mp over Seer's, but no INT, so it's a toss-up.
56 Wizard's Tonban Compared to how awesome our other AF is, the legs are kind of a let-down. Still, -enmity is nice.
8 Heko Obi (quest)
14 Friar's Rope (quest) Free, and it's +MP. Not shabby.
28 Shaman's Belt OPTIONAL. Jolly Green isn't the most camped of NMs, so this can be a little scarce (and pricey) on your server as a result. Check your prices then consider waiting until 30 for the Merc. Capt. Belt.
30 Mercenary Captain's Belt Windurstian Rank 3+, 4000CP, Windurst in 1st place. Hard to beat.
40 Druid's Rope Often cheaper (by a lot) than the Mercenary Captain's Belt. Spell Interruption Down shouldn't be an issue outside of bad parties, BCNM or soloing, but it's a good bonus overall.
7 Justice badge (quest) Free +MP upgrades, yay!
20 Black Silk Neckerchief (quest) This NM is pretty easy, which makes buying this at the AH pretty cheap if you can't kill the thing yourself. This is actually it for your neckwear until you can afford one of the 500K+ bits of neckwear that give +2 (Intellect Torque) or +3 (Philomath Stole) INT. But if +INT isn't your bag, you can always save for the outrageously priced Elemental Torque at 65, but that's outside the scope of this guide.
1 Ash Staff It's a lot better than the onion equip you're given to start, so buy it when you've sold your first few crystals at the AH.
5 Ash Pole You're sacrificing some HP/MP, but this is more than double the damage of the staff, so it's worth it.
9 Willow wand You can very much get into a party at this level, so equip this for when you're in a party. Otherwise, keep on soling with your staff.
10 Legionnaire's Staff Bastokan, 1000 CP, Bastok 2nd place or better. A BARGAIN for such a good staff. This will probably be your last staff for a while, since after this point you should start getting into parties, where your priorities change from soloing damage to job-relevant benefits.
13 Hermit's Wand This NM is camped more for the Priest's Robe that he drops, so the price on this isn't so high. Excellent wand.
18 Yew Wand
28 Eremite's Wand Be careful of the supply/demand on this item, as it fluctuates a lot as people power themselves through Promyvion raids and will pay any price for a low-level loaner.
28 Yew Wand +1 I offer the HQ Yew Wand as an alternative to the Eremite's Wand if it is too expensive. If you buy this, you don't need to buy a Chestnut at 32. Good investment!
32 Chestnut wand
48 Rose Wand Think of it as a bridge for the next 3 levels. That +int has to come from somewhere.
51 Ice Staff Ah, now we're talking. +10 Elemental Skill makes this your last weapon pretty much ever. Maybe you'll want an HQ when you're a multimillionaire level 75, but this is pretty much it for the rest of your levelling career. And it's now 1/3 of the price I paid for my staff 2 months ago.
51 Dark Staff *** Substantially more expensive than the Ice Staff, so consider this 'optional' but put it very high on your 'to buy' list. Clear Mind is great, but +10 hMP is even greater.
*** From this point on, it is tempting to spend for a full set of elemental staves. I don't list them in the guide since it's perfectly possible to just get by with the Ice and Dark staves. By the time you are 75 you will want all 8. However, since this guide covers only to 60 I'm going to say it's a better idea to save your money for later so you can properly budget between their acquisition and upgrading your increasingly expensive nuke line***
10 Onyx earring 2 of them. They'll keep a long time
29 Cunning earring (quest) Awesome! +1 INT from jewelry, and it's CHEAP. The quest is so easy it shouldn't be hard to buy a 2nd earring. If for some reason this earring is more than 10K, just keep the one, it's good enough.
30 Morion Earring *** OUCH. Incredibly expensive. I strongly recommend against buying this unless you are Elvaan or Galka and need every bit of +MP you can get. Cunning earrings are good enough for everyone else.
60 Phantom Earring *** The thought of paying 200K for a +8MP upgrade should very much offend you. Galka/Elvaan onry. Seriously.
1 Nation's Ring. Windurstians get the best ring at this level
1 Hermit's Ring Buy one and keep your nation's rings. You're only 9 levels away from a pair of much better rings, anyway.
10 Eremite's Ring All BLMs should sport a pair of these for a loooong time.
10 Astral Ring *** Galka/Elvaan only. These have more than doubled in price since they removed Astrals from Oztroja coffers, so I'm going to stop recommending the purchase of a pair of these. Buy one and hang onto the Eremite's. BLMs really don't need that much MP, anyway.
54 Zircon Ring *** I'm calling these 'expensive' because I really wasn't very rich when I was level 54 on my first job, and a pair of level 54 rings was outside of my reach. It is also to call attention to the fact that a pair of these should be put up in front of the perhaps long list of items you wish to upgrade to when you breach level 50, after of course buying an Ice Staff and a Dark Staff. These will keep for a very long time.
Suggestions/corrections are welcome. Just remember my main requirement for including anything in this guide: It must be obtainable. This means it has to be either easily bought from NPCs, inexpensively bought at the AH, or freely obtained via quests/CP expenses that are realistic at or near the level of the equipment in question. If it isn't, then the cost must be justified in the context of racial balance (i.e. Galka/Elvaan exclusives) If you come to me with rare/ex loot from level 80 HNMs, I'm going to just quote this paragraph at you until you get it. :D
I'm keenly interested in input from Galka/Elvaan BLMs. Unfortunately, it seems this game wants you to be multimillionaires before you hit 50. Any input regarding the equipment you wore to bridge the racial gap is highly valued.
Hope this was useful. Cheers.
Edit: Added Justaucorps for Elvaan, and Druid's Rope as per suggestions made a day after I posted this. Also corrected a typo on the Black Cotehardie's level. ^^
Edit2: Rewrote my spiel about the remaining 6 Elemental Staves, as I think people got the wrong impression from the first revision.
Edited, Fri Feb 4 07:50:49 2005 by Cesium