Been awhile since I continued this project, so now that I'm back at leveling pld again, I thought I would share some things.
PLD/sam with a staff isnt as great as I had hoped. The shellcrusher ws beefs the other dps fairly well, and with an easy to get battle staff accuracy isn't a problem. The real problem is tp gain. Just can't get tp fast enough to debuff mob def fast enough to make a real contribution. Which kind of nerfs the idea of /sam. However /sam with a mercurial sword is pretty fun, not great dps but fun spamming ws.
PLD/nin dual wielding is ok, vorpals hit a little stronger, and you have ichi for not getting hit after flashing the pull. Problem here is that flash is all you have, and your dps isn't coming close to any other dps with similar gear. Felt like being carried.... I don't like that feeling. Even PL/Solo it's ok but seems to lose out compared to /war.
PLD/war I have tried 3 versions of this recently. This seems to be the best for exp, even solo.
1st I tried a mercurial sword, the multi hits, and tp spam do an excellent job at maintaining aggro through building CE faster than you get hit, and VE faster than decay, but you will get hit alot harder like this, and will still need your standard cd rotations to maintain aggro. The problem here is each hit you land is weak, having a smn for rolling thunder can really help the dps output. Accuracy is the key ingredient also, if you can't cap accuracy don't even speculate this as useful. Attack isn't very useful here, which really undercuts having a brd in party, reason is the base dmg is so low that attack just doesnt help. Expect your best ws sickle moon or spinning slash to hit for like 400.... Joyeuse at 70 kills mercurial sword btw.
Then I tried the tanky setup, 1h / shield in af and such, it did as well as expected, just like any other pld does. Problem here is mp on a galka isn't really sustainable when curing for aggro in quick fights. The idea to curing for aggro is swapping atk for defense, so that your CE isn't bottoming out on getting hit for more than you build. Reducing incoming dmg, and being able to achieve a positive gain over that, is pretty mp intensive. It's almost neccesary to stay in defender to keep ur defense above the tgreshold, yet again killing the effectiveness of having a brd in party. You can expect to minimally sustain aggro past 65 using this formula. It works, and it's an affordable build for anyone playing pld as their 1st job. Not recommended for seasoned parties though.
Then I tried the dps build with 1h + shield and have been playing it ever since. Mostly solo with my whm alt PL, or doing 2-3 player parties with 1 rdm and 1 dps friend and achieving great results. Basically you play it like you played warrior in the dunes except you have more tricks at your disposal. There's a couple things I don't recommend, which seems to be overlooked a bit. 1st is voyager sallet, it has decent dps stats for a pld but it has 0 defense which is detrimental to gaining aggro. A great alternative is Shadow Mask from the shade NMs in the sewers, +2 str +10 mp and only -2 vit which takes its 20 def down to 19, for a pld that plans to take the hits, it's a far superior choice at lv.62. Another thing is sniper rings, they're -10 def each, which is as well a bad choice for tanking, with voyager sallet and 2x snipers you're losing 40 defense, pretty substantial in maintaining emnity. A good alternative is the Jaeger Ring, acc+4 without any loss to defense, if you're able to pair it with a Raja or Sattva, or if you were lucky enough to get a blood ring from chigre back in the znm kills, all are pretty solid options that are far superior to snipers for a pld. Something else that seems overlooked is Master Shield, pre 73 anyways. I've seen alot of viking shields, and alot of wivre shields, both are decent choices but I didn't like either of them myself. I went with master shield, paired with af boots to give me a solid +20 shield skill, going to copypasta this from retail wiki
"Shield block rate is similar to Summoning magic skill in that the player receives a bonus to block % based on the amount of Shield Skill they have ABOVE their level's natural shield skill."
I've been told it's not the same on nasomi, and shield mastery was broken for tp gain and.... Well alot of things that I can't confirm really, but what I can confirm is when using a wivre shield I could barely cast cure 2 without being interrupted, viking shield added about 3 dmg to the high end of my attacks and about 20 to the high end of my vorpals, while master shield has added an extreme boost to shield blocks, reducing incoming dmg thus helping with aggro and spell interrupts. Another thing is main weapon damage, pld gets some nice swords to play with, so far I prefer higher base dmg than anything else, reason being it seems to have the most potent effect on ws damage. I'm currently level 71, and using the level 66 espadon because of base dmg. I tried the mac+1 and while I'm keeping it to crutch myself into sky/sea/limbus tanking at 75, the +emnity just doesn't stack up fast enough in exp, the low base dmg and -acc kills my vorpals also. I will likely pass on joyeuse for the same reason in exp, I do not currently have a joyeuse but from playing with other swords I'm sure the -8 base dmg will have the same effect in nerfing my vorpals. I never got a hrotti back when I was participating in HNMs but seems like it would do the trick nicely at 70. I haven't had any reliable source confirm the hidden effect on company sword either, so I'm reluctant to buy one. I may check it out if I ever get out there and get a drop of my own. Another thing I've noticed is blinking gear swaps is a big thing. I've since removed all of my equipsets because I was blinking way too often, which was killing my ability to get haste and refresh in party it lead to many mistakes in parties where the rdm would refresh the wrong person or whm would haste someone twice because I blinkd my gear at the wrong time, so to make things smoother I just devised a gear set to cover what I needed and left it alone.
My equipset for exp is this (for 71)
Espadon / Master Shield / Lightning Bow+1
Shadow Mask / PCA / Spike earring+1 x2
Hauby / RK mitts / jaeger ring / sattva ring
Ammy / Vbelt / RK hose / gallant boots
Using just a basic pizza and without a brd I'm touching 1k on vorpals fairly consistantly. My highest vorpals without brd have been 1300 on vt and it mobs with berserk or warcry and without brd. Which brings me to my final observation, which is cd rotations for exp. I see alot just hitting berserk and going ham, which works fine for dps, but you're losing aggro from not being mitigated. (Idk if this is the best rotation or not but this is what has worked best for me) if you look, berserk, rampart, and sentinel are on the same 5min cd, shield bash is on a 3min cd, so to offset the -def from berserk, I will use rampart 1st immediately followed by berserk followed by ws ofc, this gives 30s of almost no reduction in def from berserk, I try not to use it at the end of a mob so I don't waste the mitigation plus it's better for cementing aggro to open with a 1k vorpal. After rampart wears off I'll toss a flash or hit a shield bash or both to clutch for a few more seconds if it's needed. When a new mob is pulled under berserk ( typically there's 3 mobs for 1 berserk in a decent pt) I'll pop sentinel to ride another 30s of berserk then some more flashes to ride a bit more, and I generally don't use warcry with berserk, I've hit full vorpals with just berserk and with berserk + warcry and haven't noticed a useful difference to burning them both at once, it was like 1310 with just berserk and like 1360 with both, which leaves me to believe using both is overkilling the pdif. Using warcry after berserk wears to give a boosted in between ws helps alot more, normally in between berserks you'll also have a shield bash you can pair with a cure 4 to keep the aggro coming at ya, the point here is don't just ride berserk without mitigation or you'll lose more aggro than you gain.
Fk me I've typed alot.... Well.... Good luck reading it all
!!! Surprise !!!
~not a noob~