Red Mage Guide




This guide is ideal for level 70 red mages who are starting to get into raids and are looking to improve their damage output. The guide focuses on improving single target spell usage in a raid environment. Gear, raid food and dungeons are not covered. This guide is undergoing an overhaul, so stay tuned. A more detailed guide can be found here

Disclaimer

The calculations in this guide are ballpark estimates. Certain assumptions might be made or certain factors might deliberately not be taken into account to simplify the calculations. I do my best to state those assumptions or excluded factor. If you feel that an assumption or an excluded factor is causing a significant skew in the numbers feel free to leave a comment with a correction. Numbers regarding the % of the total damage a certain spell constitutes are based on a manual aggregation of small number of the publicly available Red Mage parses such as this one. 

Rotation Spells

You are probably already familiar with the basic red mage spell rotation, which is explained in details in various guides and is eloquently summarized here:
More notes on how to improve your ranged spell rotation and balance your mana gauge can be found in the Mana Gauge Optimization section

oGCDs

After using a dualcast, there's room to weave in 2 spells that are off the global cooldown (oGCD) during the ranged rotation and 1 spell during the melee combo without slowing down your rotation. The exceptions are Displacement and Intelligence Potion, both of which need to be weaved separately due to their long animation time.

oGCDs to use on cooldown

Using these spells on cooldown goes a long way in maximizing your total damage output.

Being able to use the spells immediately as they're available is not easy and might need some practice. One thing that could help is putting them on a hotbar that is in the middle of the screen where they're much more visible.




Fleche

Always use Fleche as soon as it is off cooldown. Due to its high potency, Fleche accounts for up to 11% of your total damage when used on cooldown, so keeping it off cooldown even for 1 global cooldown repeatedly could cause an overall 1% dps loss*. Fleche (and other oGCDs) can be weaved into your melee combo without causing a loss of the combo proc.

* In a 600 seconds fight, Fleche can theoretically be used up to 600 / 25 = 24 times. Even if practically we can use it 22 times, a delay of 2-3 seconds between uses could add up to a total of 40-60 seconds where the spell is unused, which is enough time to cast it up to 2 more times in a fight. Since 22 casts can constitute up to 11% of the total damage, 20 casts could constitute up to 20 / 22 * 11% = 10%, which is 1% less damage. Those calculations were done at iLvl 330 with direct hit focused melds.

Contre Sixe

Everything that was said about Fleche can be said about Contre Sixe with some tweaks to the numbers. If used on cooldown, Contre-Sixe would account for ~4% of a your total damage.

Corps-a-Corps / Displacement

If you’re keeping Corps-a-Corps / Displacement exclusively for mobility you might be missing out on 3% of your damage, so be aware of this trade-off. If you decide to use them on cooldown to maximize dps, keep in mind that their cooldowns are reset when casting Manafication. Even though Displacement has a lower cooldown than Corps-a-Corps, practically you might end up using it just as often since using Displacement at the wrong time could lead to death or a party wipe.

Acceleration

Acceleration is a bit overrated since it constitutes ~0.27% of your overall damage* even if used on cooldown, but every bit of damage still counts.

Don't hesitate to use Acceleration when casting Verstone / Verfire even if you have both Verstone Ready / Verfire Ready. The only time where acceleration needs to be timed is when it comes off cooldown during the melee combo. Since the acceleration buff lasts for 10 seconds, it should be safe to use it after Zwerchhau, the second spell in the melee combo. This allows saving 7-8 seconds of its cooldown compared to waiting till the melee combo is over. Please note that if the mana gauge is balanced properly such that the next cast of Verholy / Verflare has a 100% chance to proc Verstone Ready / Verfire Ready, the acceleration buff will NOT be consumed and will be available for the next Veraero / Verthunder. If your mana gauge is not balanced properly and the next cast of Verholy / Verflare would only have a 20% chance of proccing Verstone Ready / Verfire Ready, the acceleration buff will be consumed and Verstone Ready / Verfire Ready will get procced. When trying to consume the acceleration buff through Verflare / Verholy, it is safe to use acceleration right before Enchanted Riposte, the first spell of the melee combo.

* Acceleration guarantees a Verstone / Verfire cast, without which we'd be forced to use Jolt II. The value of Acceleration is essentially based on the additional damage provided by Verstone / Verfire over Jolt II. 1 use of Jolt II accounts for 0.26% of the total damage and gives 6 total mana. 1 use of Verstone / Verfire: accounts of 0.29% of the total damage and gives 9 total mana. According to the calculations in the Manafication section, each point of black / white mana is valued at 0.00275% of the total damage, making the total damage contribution of a use of Jolt II adjusted for the mana it provides 0.26 + 0.00275 * 6 = 0.276%, and that of a use of Verstone / Verfire = 0.29 + 0.00275 * 9 = 0.314%. This means that Verstone / Verfire is ~13.7% more effective than Jolt II. In a 600 seconds fight where 60 uses of Verstone / Verfire constitute 18% of the damage and 15 of them come from Acceleration, 15 / 60 = 25% of the Verstones / Verfires would've been Jolts if it weren't for Acceleration. This means that 25% * 18% = 4.5% of the damage would've been 13.7% weaker, thus Acceleration is contributing 4.5 - 4.5 / 1.1375 = ~0.54%. Since without acceleration we have a 50% change of getting the same gains, on average, Acceleration provides 0.54% * 0.5 = ~0.27% of the overall damage. Those calculations assume that all of the acceleration buffs are consumed by Veraero / Verthunder and disregards Impactful procs.

Swiftcast

Swiftcasting Veraero / Verthunder on cooldown could improve your damage by up to 0.35%*. Even though Swiftcast has a longer cooldown, it provides a better overall value than Acceleration.

There's no point keeping Swiftcast for an emergency Verraise since Dualcast can take care of that. If both Verstone Ready / Verfire Ready are procced, it is better to wait on Swiftcast till one of them is consumed. If you're about to get to a part of the fight that needs mobility, waiting might also be a good option. Unlike Fleche, Waiting a few seconds on Swiftcast will not affect the overall damage output **.

* This can be done by calculating what the damage would've been if we used 9 less Swiftcasts in a 600 seconds raid fight. The exact calculations can be found in this spreadsheet. This assumes that the number of melee combos are the same with and without Swiftcast and ignores the potential extra mana provided by Veraero / Verthunder compared to other spells.

**Swiftcast can be used 9 times in a 600 seconds boss fight, leaving a total wait time of 60 second, or an average of 6 seconds per cast.

Auto Attack

Making a habit of staying in melee range could boost your damage by up to 0.3% from auto attacks. 

Timed oGCDs

Proper timing of those spells goes a long way in helping your team and maximizing your total damage output.

Embolden

If you're trying to use Embolden to improve your own damage, a good way to do so is use it with the melee combo, in which case it would constitute up to 1.1% of your overall damage*.

While embolden does not amplify the normal melee spells, it does amplify their enchanted version since they're considered magic damage. The hardest hitting spells in the combo are Verholy / Verflare and Enchanted Redoublement, so we'd like to cast both spells within the first 4 seconds of embolden to make use of the full 10% damage amplification**. Since the melee combo has a fixed recast time (1.5s / 1.5s / 2.5s) that is unaffected by spell speed, using Embolden after Enchanted Zwerchhau (the 2nd spell of the melee combo) is the safest way to guarantee that. Fleche and Contre Sixe deal physical damage and will not be amplified by Embolden, so no point trying to synchronize them.

Embolden increases the physical damage of the party as well, so if you feel that your party can get a better value out of Embolden by synchronizing it with the cooldowns of the melee dps instead of your own cooldowns feel free to do that.

* In a 600 seconds fight, embolden can be used 5 times, so it is up for 20 * 5 = 100 seconds or 100 / 600 = ~17% of the fight. On average, embolden increases our damage by 6% for its duration, so it increases our overall damage by 17% * 6% = 1%. Since we're synchronizing it with our hardest hitters, bumping this number up to 1.1% is not too farfetched

** Enchanted Riposte (210 potency) and Enchanted Zwerchhau (290 potency) have a lower total potency than Verstone / Verfire (270) and Veraero / Verthunder (300), so it's better to have embolden overlap with the ranged spells instead of the first 2 spells of the melee combo

Intelligence Potion

Using an Infusion of Intelligence HQ on cooldown in a raid could boost your damage by up to 0.9%*.

Similar to Embolden, an intelligence potion is best used with the melee combo. If both Embolden and the intelligence potion are up, it might be preferable to use the potion after Enchanted Riposte separately due to its slow animation. If you have a normal quality potion, you will likely get a chance to use it only twice in a raid encounter. If you're really short on DPS, consider using it immediately after pull so you get a chance to use it 3 times. If you're using a HQ potion, you have the luxury of synchronizing its 3 uses with 3 of the melee combos. If you're using an Infusion of Intelligence, getting your mana close to 100 / 100 with Manafication up before starting the melee combo could allow you to use your melee combo twice during a single potion use.

If you're too poor to afford using an Infusion of Intelligence, you can buy X-Potions of Intelligence from Hyakuyaku in Kugane Dori Markets for 1,330 gil a piece. Even though X-Potion is a level 50 item, it is ~33% (42% for HQ) as effective as an Infusion of Intelligence for a red mage**. Depending on your server, you might find it in HQ at a similar price on the Marketboard. Even a HQ Mega-Potion of intelligence might still be worth using, but obviously the higher grade the potion, the better. Searching for the string "of intelligence" on the Marketboard will display all available types of intelligence potions.

* This is the roughest calculation in this guide. At ilvl 330, a Red Mage will have about 2400 intelligence. Infusion of Intelligence (HQ) boosts your intelligence by 137 for 30 seconds. In a 600 seconds raid encounter where we get to use the potion 3 times, we'd have (2400 + 137) / 2400 = ~5.7% extra intelligence for 30 * 3 / 600 = ~15% of the fight. If we take a leap and assume that 1% extra int is equivalent to 1% extra damage, we'd get an extra 5.7% * 15% = ~0.85%. This leap isn't completely arbitrary, some testing on the practice dummy shows a direct linear correlation between intelligence and spell damage. At 660 intelligence (a naked Red Mage), Jolt II hits for about ~1300. At 2419 intelligence (ilvl 330), Jolt II hits for ~5200. This means that when controlling for weapon damage, increasing intelligence 4 times roughly increases the damage from Jolt II by 4 times, so the 1% int =~ 1% dps estimate might not be too far from reality. This calculation doesn't take into account that the potion use will be synchornized with the melee combo, but according to the calculations below, it might be reasonable to bump it up to 0.9%.

** Infusion of Intelligence gives a 110 boost to intelligence for 30 seconds, while X-Potion of Intelligence gives 67 for 15 seconds, so it's effectiveness is 67 * 15 / 110 * 30 = ~30% that of an Infusion of Intelligence. Since we're synchronizing is with the melee combo, and according to our calculations in the Manafication section, the melee combo is ~33% more effective than the ranged combo, the overall effectiveness of X-Potion becomes (1.33 * 67 * 10 + 67 * 5) / (1.33 * 110  * 10 + 110 * 20) = 33% that of an Infusion of Intelligence. For the HQ version, the effectiveness is (1.33 * 84 * 10 + 84 * 5) / (1.33 * 110 * 10 + 110 * 20) = ~42%.

Manafication

The closer your mana is to 50/50 the better the value you get out of Manafication. While it might be tempting to use it at 40/40 and start your melee combo, being closer to 50/50 gives an extra +20/20 per use (since you'd end up closer to 100/100 instead of 80/80). Doing that consistently could boost your damage up by extra 0.5%*.

Keep in mind that Manafication resets the cooldowns on Corps-a-Corps and Displacement, so, when possible, make sure they're on cooldown before using Manafication. See the Mana Gauge Optimization section for more details on how to further optimize Manafication.
* In a 600 seconds fight where you'd get a change to use Manafication 5 times, en extra +16/16 per use could account for an extra +80/80 which is an extra melee combo. The melee combo can be used ~15 times and it accounts for 25% of the total damage. It consists of 4 global cooldowns, meaning you'll spend 60 global cooldowns executing your melee combo during the fight, averaging 25% / 60 = 0.41% of your total damage per global cooldown. The ranged combo (Jolt, Impact, Verfire, Verstone, Veraero, Verthunder) accounts for ~55% of the total damage. You'll spend ~180 global cooldowns executing your ranged combo, averaging 55% / 180 = 0.3% of your total damage per cast. Executing an additional melee combo means replacing 4 spells that average 0.3% of the total damage with 4 spells that average 0.41% of the damage, giving 0.44% extra damage. This also means that 1 point of mana is worth 0.44 / 160 = 0.00275% of the total damage. Those calculations were done at iLvl 330 with spellspeed that corresponds to a 2.33 sec global cooldown and ignore the fact that the melee spells have a fixed cooldown of 2.5 sec.

Mana Shift

Your healers will love you if you use Mana Shift to give them mana. Due to its long cooldown, Mana Shift can practically be used only 3 times in a raid.

Lucid Dreaming

As a red mage, you should not run into mana problems if you use Lucid Dreaming. While the first use of Lucid Dreaming can be used with Mana Shift, subsequent uses do not have to. Using Lucid Dreaming on cooldown after the first use will allow you to use it 4 times in a raid encounter, giving you enough mana for all the Mana Shifts and maybe even a Verraise if your party needs it. Even though Lucid Dreaming reduces enmity, it's not worth saving the cooldown for when you draw aggro. Timing Diversion is the best way to stay safe.

Diversion

The obvious use of diversion is during the opener, but it can also be useful during boss fights where adds spawn. For example, during Omega v3s (Halicarnassus) a good time to use diversion is right after she spawns White Flame, Great Dragon or other adds.

Addle

Useful when used before hard hitting AOEs such as Omega v1s (Alte Roite) Twin Bolt, Omega v2s (Catastrophe) Gravitaional Wave, Omega v3s (Halicarnassus) Dimensional Wave, etc...

Mana Gauge Optimization

While there's some damage gains to be had by being more careful about balancing the mana gauge, this is the highest effort to gain ratio method for achieving those gains. You're advised to approach the information here from a "knowing for fun" angle. A few notes:
  • The contribution of 1 use of Impact to your overall damage is almost the the same as the contribution of 1 use of Verstone / Verfire. Unless you have both Verstone Ready / Verfire Ready, make sure you don't lose your Impactful buff. Feel free to use it to gain an advantage in balancing the mana gauge even if one of Verstone Ready / Verfire Ready is up.
  • You have a buffer of 30 points of difference between the white mana and the black mana before the penalty is applied, so whenever possible, use the Veraero / Verthunder whose corresponding Vertsone Ready / Verfire Ready proc is not up even if you have more of this type mana.
  • 11 points of mana is worth about as much as a Verfire Ready / Verstone Ready proc from Verholy / Verflare*
* According to the calculations in the Manafication section, 1 point of mana is worth 0.00275% of the overall damage. Similar to Acceleration, a Verstone Ready / Verfire Ready proc from Verholy / Verflare replaces 1 use of Jolt II (0.26% overall damage) with 1 use of Verstone / Verfire (0.3% overall damage) against a baseline of 20%, for a total of 0.8 * (0.3 - 0.26) = ~0.03% overall damage per proc. 11 points of mana is worth 11 * 0.00275 = ~0.03%.
To put them in action, here are some scenarios that you may encounter and suggestions on how to best react to them. This is not to suggest that those specific scenarios need to be memorized, but rather that the suggestions on how to handle them could provide insights on how to deal with similar ones.

Scenario 1

Suggested Solution

Rationale: If we compare that to starting with Manafication, we'd be trading a Verfire Ready / Verstone Ready proc from Verholy / Verflare for 17 points of mana; a worthy trade.

Scenario 2

Suggested Solution

Rational: Starting with the Melee combo would make us miss out on the 100% proc from Verholy / Verflare. Using Verthunder instead of Veraero would be more wasteful to our mana.

Scenario 3

Suggested Solution

Rationale: Since we already have Verfire ready, using Verflare can not proc anything. While it might be tempting to use Verflare since black mana is lower, using Verholy is still safe since 40 / 15 (a difference of 25) does not put your mana out of balance. The advantage of using Verholy over Verflare is to make use of the 20% chance that it might proc Verstone Ready.


Scenario 4

Suggested Solution

Rationale: other options (starting with Verstone or Manafication) will leave us either with less mana or without a 100% chance to proc Verstone Ready / Verfire Ready from Verholy / Verflare.

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