Those of you who know me, know that I've been actively working on the Trials since they were introduced, I seemed to be one of the early adopters of the system as it was quite clear to me I could get far better katanas than what was currently available in the game. The BLM Staves (before the update) showed promise, but because they all had the same name I wasn't crazy about going after them. I had a hard time understanding why folks weren't all over this (I found them exciting and couldn't wait to get things done, tedious though they were), but since the update the Odin server seems to have flocked to the Magians like bugs to lightbulbs. Who knows why this is, and while I'm happy to see my fellow server mates getting in on the fun, the side-effect is there has been a ton of whining. I don't plan to get into it so I'll just say this, it called the "Trial" of the Magians, not "Giveittomenowbecauseiwantit!" of the Magians, you gotta fucking work for your supper, so shut up and do it (unless BST are taking over your camp, then you have my permission to piss and moan).
While others went directly for the High Damage and Occasionally Attack Twice katanas, I personally took a different route. You see for me, while those katanas looked like great DD weapons, I saw something altogether more amazing in the Elemental Trials. The reason here is because NIN can equip two katanas, so anything in the Elemental paths could be doubled. This meant NIN could get things like STR+8, Attack+24, or AGI+8, Evasion +24, without sacrificing any other gear slots. Top that off with Kuinas are the highest DoT katanas your average player can get a hold of (they have higher DPS than either Senju or Fudo) and you got something special for Ninja. With the update SE upped the ante by giving us Sekka, with even better stats! The update also brought us the Empyrean Kannagi path, this path was part of the High Damage path, which means I will have to camp NMs at some point, whether I like it or not. We also got what looks like the first stage of Weapon Skill trials, if this is indeed the first stage then there's a lot of reason to be excited here also.
I've come to accept I may never get a Kikoru or Nagi, however a base Kannagi is very obtainable, the only drawback here is the VNM kills, getting the abyssite (and kills) for this will require time help from other people, and I hate asking for help on things that only benefit me. At any rate, I still plan to do this, but I'm holding off until the September update because I want to see what the Kannagi augments are, and I'm curious about the next stage of requirements.
This is the Weapon Skill path, currently there are three initial trials with a fork after the third. I plan to do this up to the fork (and given the simplistic requirements, these first three should only take a day or two to complete), the reason I am stopping at the fork is I will only be using one of these katanas in my DD build (the other katana will be a Sekka) and I want to see if they are going to add more weapon skills. Currently the first fork produces a result of DPS 12.22 and Blade: Ku Damage +10%, which is kinda meh as I rarely use anything outside Jin and Kamu. The second path has a DPS 11.94 and Store TP +8, this is the path I'll take if no other Weapon Skills are added (which is possible, the next tier may simply end with a 15% increase on Ku, which still won't beat Jin). If we get Jin +10%, then it's entirely possible my head will explode from the excitement.
The Elemental trials have a ton of customization to offer. For me I'm looking at acquiring 8 of these. Two each of Evasion, Physical Damage Down and Magic Defense Bonus for tanking and then a combo of the Attack and Accuracy for DDing, though these will likely be the last two I go after based on how the Kannagi and Uzura paths unfold. The tanking ones are obvious winners to me, a set of -PDT will give me VIT+12 and PDT - 16%, a set of MDB will give me MND+12 and MDB+16, the Evasion set would give me AGI+12 and Evasion +32 (which is also very nice for pulling or kiting). I feel like having those six katana will give me a ton of flexibility when tanking/pulling/kiting/soloing. As it stands I'm on the last trial for the first -PDT katana and I'm in the middle stages of the first Evasion katana. For Ninjas who like to tank you NEED to be getting on these trials now, otherwise you're going to have a hard time justifying yourself in endgame events as PLD is the ever increasing preference. Further, a pair of these are better than any previous combination of katanas in pure damage alone, you have to be fucking daft to hold onto the old stuff (though I did shed a tear when I put Senju away and removed it from my macros).
Black Mage Trials
Before the update I was looking at getting only one Teiwaz (Thunder path) and just getting an HQ Ice Staff. The reason for this wasn't because the Teiwaz weren't awesome staves, but they all had the same name which makes them impossible to macro in and out. However, with the update SE had the good sense to give the final upgrades unique names so my interest in getting these has increased dramatically.
This is the Empyrean weapon for BLM, and if it does nothing else, it's still a beast for DD BLM (which I love to do), DMG 87 and Delay 390 for a DPS of 13.38 just blows anything previously available for DD out of the water. Currently I have a Somnus Signa which is DMG 62 Delay 402 for a DPS of 9.25 (which was at the top of the food chain after Relic), it's nice, but I might be willing to prostitute my mom just to get my hands on Hvergelmir. I highly doubt this is the much touted Rainbow Staff (the eight elemental staves combined into one), but I am very curious as to where SE plans to go with this in future updates.
Put simply you are now gimp without these. Base testing has already shown they blow the current HQ Elemental Staves out of the water. The only catch here is actually killing the mobs without getting yourself killed in the process. BLM is not exactly the king of melee, so a certain amount of teamwork goes into finishing these, even worse is it's counterproductive to team up with other BLMs because of the kill objectives. What I like about them, at least from a BLM perspective is you can start and stop whenever as the trial objectives are not based on the day or weather, but what elemental spell you kill the mob with. When I initially looked at this path I chose Magic Damage +4 for all eight staves, however, it occurred to me that logic wasn't entirely practical. I don't use light and dark magic to do damage as much as I use that magic to land DoTs or add buffs; so the sensible solution here is to get Magic Accuracy +4 for those two paths.
For me, I'm in fucking heaven doing these trials, yeah weather it's a bitch to wait on, and it's easy to get distracted, but the Trials fill in big holes with my free time much in the way Campaign does. In other words, I'm actually accomplishing something every single day and not just staring aimlessly at the screen waiting for something to happen. Thank you SE, and fuck off to the complainers.