Note (4-7-2008)- An update to this guide is forthcoming, Keep your eyes here for a complete revamp of the COR guide for the WotG generation. It should be up withing the next week or two
What is Corsair?
COR is best described as the FFXI version of the Gambler Class (Setzer, Cait Sith, Selphie, Wakka, Lady Luck from FFX-2). We AoE buff like bards, but we gamble as we do so via our Phantom Rolls. Each Phantom Roll is based off a Job Trait another job possess and when that job is present in our PT, a bonus is granted to that roll.
Here's a list of each Phantom Roll and the effects they grant to your PT, even if you don't have the job trait in your main or subjob, you still get to enjoy a fraction of that job trait and if you do have the job trait, these buffs stack with them. Its kinda like free merits when you think about it
Level 5 - Corsair's Roll (COR) - EXP Bonus - Lucky #5 Unlucky #9
Level 8 - Ninja Roll (NIN) - Evasion Bonus - Lucky #4 Unlucky #8
Level 11 - Hunter's Roll (RNG) - Ranged/Melee Accuracy Bonus - Lucky #4 Unlucky #8
Level 14 - Chaos Roll (DRK) - Ranged/Melee Attack Bonus - Lucky #4 Unlucky #8
Level 17 - Magus Roll (BLU) - Magic Defense Bonus
Level 20 - Healer's Roll (WHM) - Increases +hMP recovery - Lucky #3 Unlucky #7
Level 23 - Puppet Roll (PUP) - Pet Accuracy Bonus - Lucky #4 Unlucky #8
Level 26 - Choral Roll (BRD) - Aquaveil Effect - Lucky #2 Unlucky #6
Level 31 - Monk Roll (MNK) - Subtle Blow bonus - Lucky #3 Unlucky #7
Level 34 - Beast Roll (BST) - Pet attack bonus - Lucky #4 Unlucky #8
Level 37 - Samurai Roll (SAM) - Increase to TP gain - Lucky #2 Unlucky #6
Level 40 - Evoker's Roll (SMN) - Gradually restores MP - Lucky #5 Unlucky #7
Level 43 - Rouge's Roll (THF) - Increases Critical Hit rate - Lucky #5 Unlucky #9
Level 46 - Warlock's Roll (RDM) - Magic Accuracy Bonus - Lucky #4 Unlucky #8
Level 49 - Fighter's Roll (WAR) - Improves Double Attack Rate - Lucky #5, Unlucky #9
Level 52 - Drachen Roll (DRG) - Pet Magic Attack/Accuracy bonus - Lucky #3 Unlucky #7
Level 55 - Gallant Roll (PLD) - Blaze Spike effect - Lucky #3 Unlucky #7
Level 58 - Wizard's Roll (BLM) - Magic Attack Bonus - Lucky #5 Unlucky #9
Click any of the links above to see the buff potency of each value within each roll.
To see how Phantom Rolls work and the odds of Phantom Roll refer to the links posted at the end of this thread (credit to Karinya and Spider-Dan for that info).
Where to get Phantom Rolls
CORs are fortunate in that we don't have to worry about questing or relying on mob/NM drops to learn our abilities (yet), All can be obtained by NPC.
Chayaya - Al'Zahbi (J-8)
This little tarutaru sells all basic and all original advanced job dice, if the job didn't appear in an expansion pack, she won't sell the dice. Chayaya also carries and assortment of low level ammunition, including darts, which CORs can also use.
It should be noted, however, that she is one of the NPCs that can be captured in Besieged. So buy the dice when you see her, you never know when she'll be rescued. If you don't have the dice, need them and she's not there, its time to mount a rescue operation.
Jajaroon - Nashmau (G-7)
If the job was introduced in Rise of the Zilart (SMN, DRG, SAM, NIN) or Treasures of Aht'Urghan (PUP, COR, BLU) Jajaroon has the dice for them. Jajaroon also carries another important tool for Corsairs, the elemental cards used for Quick Draw. Jajaroon highly suggests yooo have want of his dice, yes? Never buy them from the AH. Brr, brr.
You can also purchase elemental cards on the ferry between Aht'Urghan Whitegate and Nashmau.
Basic Phantom Roll explanation
Lucky numbers, in addition to 11s produce the best effects for each roll. Unlucky numbers yield the weakest possible buff. In either case, when a job that compliments the Roll in your PT that's generally for the best, but as of the August 2007 update, COR's no longer have to lean on that philosophy as much as they once did.
Phantom rolls scale in power from 1 to 11, which the exception of Lucky and Unlucky numbers. So they higher you get to 11, the better the buff. 11 is the best buff you can possibly achieve, our "blackjack," the jackpot.
To put it in perspective, an 11 is like having two BRD songs on you, but perhaps a little bit stronger. Having the job that compliments the buff in PT will add a huge bonus that essentially blows the two comparable songs away.
When you roll unlucky with a job in PT, the buff is ... a buff, but not much of one. Unlucky is like rolling a 1 and not doubling up at all... and who would want to keep that?
SE took some liberties with some Phantom Rolls, as BRD and NIN don't really have job traits that were applied to buffs, but each buff allows you to enjoy some benefits other jobs already enjoy.
Differences between COR and other support classes
(1) Some COR buffs are based on percentages, stacking with other job traits and trait gear bonuses, which the exception of Evoker's Roll which - just like Refresh and Ballad - is purely based on duration and the value you land on. BRD's buffs are based on wind, string and singing skill so, much like healing skill, their buffs are fixed bonuses based on those skills, they grow in power over time. CORs buffs are the same from the start, its just the other jobs scale up with them.
(2) COR has a load of Magic and Pet buffs BRD never got.
With Healer's Roll and Evoker's active, we're talking some nice MP recovery. Warlock and Wizard's Roll are also excellent. So we have more options to offer mages. And if you're a pet job, we have nice buffs for your pets as well, SMNs just light up when I give them BST roll.
(3) This is worth repeating: If the job that compliments the roll is present in PT, a bonus is granted to that roll. So Chaos Roll is better just for having a DRK in your PT. Even an unlucky roll is improved just for that job being present. So Phantom Rolls give you the chance to highlight the talents of your PT members. And buffs like Samurai, Rouge's, Healer's and Evoker's Roll are still quite acceptable without those jobs present.
(4) Phantom Roll is a Job Ability, not a spell. So if your COR is subbing /RNG, WHMs, do not waste Silena on them, they cannot be silenced; do not Haste them, for job abilities and ranged attacks cannot be hasted.
If you go over 11, you bust. This removes the effects of a buff on allies still in AoE range and reverses the intended effect of the buff on the COR himself. Busts are bad, but sometimes unavoidable.
Two busts are worse, because if you get Double Bust status, then you can't buff at all until one of the busts wears off.
That said, if you end up with one bust, its time to play a little more conservatively and not overdo the next roll, but if you feel the current bust is about to wear and want to risk another double up, it sometimes works out.
Just remember, one bust isn't the end of the world, but two is something you want to avoid. Don't live in fear of busting once because you'll never keep good, respectable buff cycles if you do. Remember, we're gamblers, there's always going to be a risk. This isn't a job for those that seek safety.
COR and ailments
Corsairs are very susceptible to Paralyze and Amnesia, in the case of Paralyze, they should be next in line for Paralyna right after the tank. Paralyze is costly to COR since it can disrupt a job ability, but reset a JA timer anyway. This means a Phantom Roll can possibly be blocked out for a full minute if paralyze does take effect.
Amnesia can be worked around by staying outside of AoE range.
Quick Draws are something else unique to COR and are learned at level 40. You could say they're like a BRD's Threnody or a NIN elemental Debuff, but that's not entirely accurate. They're different - instead of lowering resistance to elemental magic, they enhance the effects of enfeebles. The Earth, Wind, Fire, Water, Ice and Thunder Shots can allow you to deal elemental damage and it can enhance the effects of an existing debuff on a mob.
Slow by itself can make Utsusemi Ni's 45 second recast a 53 second recast. Slow is of the earth element, so when Earth shot is applied the recast of Utsu: Ni would be extended to 58 seconds
So, it doesn't matter it is White Magic, Black Magic or Ninjutsu enfeebles, if the enfeeble has already landed, a Quick Draw can enhance the effects of that spell. It doesn't affect the handful of BRD enfeebles and debuffs, nor does it affect Blue Magic enfeebles, however. You can click this link for more information on the effects of Quick Draw.
Light and Dark Shot work much in the same way, but with the December update, Light now Sleeps a mob and Dark Shot now Dispels the mob. Neither Shot does damage anymore, but te other effects still remain so if you performed Light Shot after Dia II, the effect would still be enhanced.
Additionally, COR's Quick Draw has a number of modifiers. When Quick Draw is performed, an elemental card is substituted for the bullet in the gun. The base DMG of the bullet and gun, along with magic attack gear and staves can potentially enhance the damage of Quick Draw, while AGI lowers the chances of a quick draw seeing resists.
If a Light Shot or Dark Shot is resisted, its counted as a miss just like a missed melee shot. Kinda weird, but w/e, its logged that way.
Random Deal and Wild Card
The Final job-specific aspects of COR are Random Deal (learned at level 50) and Wild Card, our two hour ability. COR is unique to FFXI in that it can reset Job Ability timers. Random Deal resets random job abilities for random PT members in area of effect. Main job JAs have a higher chance of being reset with this ability, its possible to reset a SJ JA, but less likely. If allies haven't used any JAs, they'll "evade" Random Deal.
Wild Card resets all Job Abilities for the party and grants various other effects and is peformed similar to Phantom Roll. The effects are as follows:
I & II - Just job abilities are reset.
III - 100% TP bonus, job abilities are reset.
IV - 300% TP bonus, job abilities are reset.
V - 50% of MP is restored, job abilities and two hours are reset.
VI - 100% of MP is restored, job abilities and two hours are reset.
Corsair Merit Abilities
Recently added as of May 2007 update were the COR merit abilities and traits. These are only available to level 75 CORs by earning merit points, but I'll give you an idea of how these merits work
Snake Eye is the Ace up your sleeve. Its used to tweak out your Phantom Rolls to a more favorable value. No one wants a 9 on Evoker's Roll, that's 1 MP a tick, so using Snake Eye can nudge it to 10, giving you 2 MP a tick. Or if you had already landed a 10, you could use Snake Eye to bump it up to 11, granting 4 MP a tick (all this, of course, not factoring the bonus of a SMN's presence).
Snake Eye's Recast is 15 minutes and can be lowered 2 mins and 30 seconds per merit.
Fold is used to clear a buff. This can be used in a few ways. The most obvious would be when you bust, a second bust would prevent you from rolling at all for up to four minutes. We don't want that, so we'd use Fold. You could also use it to reroll due to an unlucky number or if you missed some wandering BLMs in alliance play.
Fold also has a 15 min recast, same recast reduction per merit.
Winning Streak adds 20 additional seconds to Phantom Rolls per merit.
Loaded Deck improves the chances of Job Abilities being reset by Random Deal by 10% and always will reset one JA if two are used. Before Loaded Deck merits, Random Deal will seldom recognize your subjob's JAs over your main job's JAs, but Loaded Deck will increase the chances of you resetting subjob abilities.
Basically, it means you could potentially crank out up to four barrages in less than a minute with /RNG if you got really lucky with Random Deal and Wild Card. So it makes some subjobs like RNG and WHM really shine and just imagine what the AoE effect of Random Deal will now do for other jobs if manipulated properly.
Those aspects aside, COR uses a gun to dish out damage and typically serves as a melee role in PT. The support aspect is still the core of the job, but COR's damage is nothing to sneeze at either.
Subjobs CORs generally use are as follows:
/RNG - for Sharpshot, Barrage and Accuracy Bonus I & II. Highest accuracy potential and best possible Damage over Time.
/NIN - for Dual Wield and Utsusemi, mostly used for high level pulling, missions and BCNMs
/WHM - for Divine Seal, cures and status cures. A good sub for a more pure support function.
/BLU - for Magic Attack Bonus, Wild Carrot, Healing Breeze, AGI/MP from set spells. Best QD Accuracy subjob, but curing spells are party-only, they can't be used on allies out of PT, placing it behind /RDM and /WHM for curing somewhat.
/RDM - for comparable MAB to /BLU, Cures and Dispel. Another solid support subjob.
/BLM - Superior MAB to RDM and BLU, Best QD Damage sub, but it offers nothing else to the job than QD damage, unfortunately.
/BRD - For additional buffs if you feel they're needed, some manaburn potential, but it can't take the same risks in manaburn /NIN does.
/WAR - Highest possible ranged damage, but offers little in the way of supporting COR's accuracy needs.'
/DRK - this is purely for being part of a stun order in endgame situations. There really isn't much else to it, but since COR can renew their own MP with other mages, this gives them added utility for situations where stuns are important.
I consider COR/RNG to be the best sub for the core of EXP levels, while /NIN I usually reserved for mission situations and TP/Manaburn at high levels. /WHM is just a situational as /NIN, but has its place in some early PT setups and endgame functions. For the bulk of EXP levels, however, /RNG and /NIN offer COR the most.
/WHM is nice for early levels where you don't have to worry about a huge leap in mob defense or evasion, so don't be afraid to use MP gear if you want to. You won't have access to guns til 15 and the better bullets start at 22. You pick up your first Accuracy Bonus from /RNG at 20, but it doesn't really get felt until Noct armor and archer's knives become available to you, so /WHM is good to 30 at the very least.
That aside, mage subs can be used well for missions, in addition to the NIN subjob for that as well. Mage subjobs also make a viable return at high levels, mostly for endgame, mission and other functions outside of EXP and Merits.
COR and Pulling
I already made huge thread about this. The short of it is that while our guns put us at a disadvantage with a 480 delay, its still possible and practical to pull in many situations, especially so at merit levels. Here' the link to that thread.
Limit Break Radio podcast commentary on COR
Hosted by Aniero and Kallo of Odin. Special guest is me ^^ of Titan and guest host Tigerfury of Pheonix.
Click the Banner to go right to streaming or click here to download the MP3.
Updates still to come:
Gun and Equipment info
How to prepare for COR as a beginning player.
Unlocking the job -Ayrlie
How Phantom Roll works -Spider-Dan
In-Depth Quick Draw test - Spider-Dan
Phantom Roll: Knowing the odds -Karinya
"Guns and Dice" banner by Selphiie of the Odin server.
"Guns and Dice" episode from Limit Break Radio
Some subjob insight added by Kahodiho of Odin
*4-12-07 - Some errors in QD information corrected, another post referenced.
*4-13-07 - Additional QD corrections.
*7-10-07 - Expanded subjob section, Added Bust advice, Merit Ability information and added link to LBR's COR podcast
*7-24-07 - Added advice on how to integrate a COR into a PT.
*8-21-07 - Revisions made, job levels for abilities added, some links and information added from FFXIclopediaWild Card and further Phantom Roll information added. Locations of dice NPC vendors also added.
*8-29-07 - Phantom Roll explanation updated.