Tsu Shi's Bowling Bash Guide
Bowling Bash is the most potent of all sword knight skills. It is used in a way similar to Brandish Spear, it is not as simple to use, but it has a higher damage potential. When mastered it is comparable to the best area effect skills of any other class, and a great asset in every arena. It requires a good deal of skill points, and patience to master. Together with the nature of attacking mobs, the apparent unpredictability of Bowling Bash tends to give it a reputation of being unreliable and risky as a primary attack. Most of the risks are mitigated by a knowledge of the skill, the remainder of the risks can be managed by practice and Priestly support. Once mastered, Bowling Bash can be relied upon to deal devastating blows to multiple targets.
Building & Carrying
Building a mob of aggressive critters is often a simple matter of walking into them. Building a mob of non-aggressive critters usually entails provoking or hitting them. Sometimes a mob will appear, sometimes you will need to create one. Mob building isn't complicated when you solo. It is clear, you attract a critter, it moves toward you, you stay just ahead of it, dragging it along and discovering more critters until you have as many as you want. It helps to be able to move quickly using a Pecopeco or being buffed with Agility-Up.
Carrying and building a mob is more difficult when other people get involved. In the case of non-party members, wanting the mob for yourself you will need to destroy your unfinished mob, it is extremely rude to dump them on others. In the case of other party members, they will need to gauge the distances, movement rates, and the power of the attraction of your mob, as well as you do, and either avoid pulling critters off of you, or take on the duty of carrying them around for you until you decide to exterminate them. There is a challenge in all of that; if you are near each other the mob will usually break into two or more parts.
Unlike the case of supporting a Grand Cross Crusader you don't want your support standing near you because then you cannot move without dumping some or all of the mob on them, and you do want to move, otherwise you cannot refine the mob.
One strategy is to run forward of the party and collect or discover a mob, then to return a bit towards the party, and once they arrive, to turn and destroy the mob. This way the party doesn't interfere with mob building and is on the spot when you start getting hit. If your FS can handle it, or if you have another mob-builder in the party, some other options become viable, including using the other as a tank to set mobs up for you, however movement speed is usually the advantage of the Pecopeco rider.
Apart from Gutter Line effects, the other reason for a failure of Bowling Bash is a loose mob. In general the optimum mob is a set of Monsters sitting on a single cell. This rarely happens. You must deliberately refine your mob to bring them close to each other. This is simply enough achieved. If you have a group of creatures around you in a disorderly fashion take a few steps and they will converge behind you. I liken this to gently pulling a string taut. Once you start attacking several different things can happen, but with a refined mob to begin with, usually you can let loose a series of blows effecting the entire mob. Refining is a skill you need to make Bowling Bash effective and anyone in your party who doesn't know how to refine may be a liability. Being attacked by a mob makes you vulnerable by reducing your FLEE, while attacking with Bowling Bash reduces your DEF, in as much as attacking an unrefined mob usually results in only partially killing the mob, refining is a necessary survival skill. The Endure skill can be very useful in this regard.
If a mob breaks, generally it ends up breaking up between everyone present. So if 4 people are there you wind up with 4 separated mobs. Rubbing is when one person with a critter moves past another person dumping the critter on the other person. Virtual-Rubbing is a lesser solution, it doesn't work as often, to go and stand by the other person, creating a looser but sometimes viable mob. Critter behavior varies, some critters are easily rubbed off, others are not. Experience will inform you. One typical problem here is that if everyone tries to move toward each other, you wind up with the same problem, broken mobs, only now standing in different places. It seems feasible to designate a 'mover' and a 'stayer'.
Mob-Training is legal within limits, please be considerate of others. Ethical behavior in leveling allows us to be proud of our progress. To get banned for mobbing will require failing at mobbing properly resulting in dumping mobs on others while also being callous enough to cause people to bother with reporting you.
June 15 2007