I initially said this wasn't a guide, but I think it's evolved into one at this point... So, here you go: I took the plunge early this morning and started an Astrologer, and wanted to give some early insight based on the FIRST things you can do as an AST. Hopefully anyone wanting to jump into the class can read these and make an educated decision based on them. First and foremost: If you play WHM, you'll be able to ease right into AST. In fact, I'm (VERY SLIGHTLY) miffed that it was so easy. As soon as I read my tooltips I ended up nearly rebuilding my WHM skill bar all over again. Granted, that's not a bad thing - the skills transfer over really well. I even cross classed Protect, Swiftcast, and Stoneskin and was able to just do my Low Level Roulette like I'd normally do as a WHM/CNJ. So, here are the skills and their WHM counterparts (if there is one) to help ease the transition: These are not in any order, but more grouped together based on purpose Healing: Benefic: Cure 1 - use this often Benefic II: Cure 2 - use less often, but don't be stingy! Helios: a burst AoE cure. Basically, Medica. Ascend: Rez Plz Essential Dignity: This one's a bit different than Benediction, but you get it SUPER early comparatively. It's a "rubber band" heal - the more HP is missing, the more potent it is. It has a base potency of 400, but i don't know what the "max hp" would be to just have the 400. Exalted Detriment: Leeches / Esuna. Removes a debuff. Lightspeed: Sort of like Presence of Mind, but with a cost - your potency is reduced by 50%. Luminiferous Aether: Shroud of Saints - reduces hate and regains MP Damage: Malefic: Unaspected damage. Think more SCH here than WHM, but it's basically your bread-and-butter damage spell Combust: Aero. Does a DoT of unaspected damage. Stella: Stone. Does damage and adds Heavy +40% (20s duration) Know these, and learn to live with them WITHOUT your cards, because if you're running low level dungeons, CARD DRAWING IS LEVEL SYNC'D OUT UNTIL 30. Haukke is the first dungeon you'll be able to run with card buffs; everything else will just be your skills. Now, onto the cards: Basically, Draw works by picking a card at random from a deck. Once you have it, you can then apply it to your teammates. (the following skills apply for 15s) Balance: Damage increase by 10%. Your DPS will love you, but don't be afraid to use it on yourself if you can pull the weight. Bole: Reduce damage by 10%. Tanks will love this, but will also work if a DPS is getting targeted more often than they should be. Arrow: Increases Attack Speed by 10% (the following skills apply for 20s) Spear: Reduces ACTION recast time by 20%. I believe this applies only to GCD abilities, but I could be wrong. Ewer: Reduces MP cost. DRK tanks love it, as do other healers (and yourself). The BLM could use it but they have SO much mana potential already it seems like it'd be better used elsewhere (I still love you BLMs) Spire: Reduces TP cost of weapon skills. Your non-DRK tank will love you. You'll also pick up the Diurnal Set skill, but it won't really apply until level 34. At 34 you pick up "Aspected Benefic"- it's half the potency of Benefic, but if you have the Diurnal Aspect turned on, it adds a 100 potency regen - basically it's a one-shot Medica II - a cure at the front half, but regen on the back half. Level 35 brings Royal Road, and that's where the card tricks start to get interesting! Royal Road allows you to burn your card in exchange for a buff on the next card you draw. The effects: Bole and Balance: the next card will be 150% potency Arrow and Spear: 50% potency, AoE to other players Ewer and Spire: Double Duration (15s turns into 30s) I personally kept using Royal Road on my Arrows and Spears and drawing the AoE cards to very good success in Qarn last night - giving everyone in the party at 5% attack buff was pretty darn fun. You'll have to make sure everyone stacks up, but it's not any harder than AoE healing them. At 38 you'll pick up Disable. Disable lowers the potency of the target's next single action by 5s. This has the potential to be a very strong skill, but it's best saved for boss mechanics or one-shot options you know you can't avoid (Qarn's Temple Bee's, for example - if you can't burn it down for final sting, Disable it and make Final Sting do less damage). Level 40 brings Spread, which allows you to stash a card for later use. Although it can only be used in combat, this is good if there's a certain card you want to keep for later. Alternatively you can stash a card, bring up Royal Road until you get the desired effect, and then utilize it, so it's a way to control the card usage (a slight bit) better! At 42 you get Aspected Helios. With your Diurnal Sect you get a Regen that lasts for 30s as well as a lesser AoE heal - sort of like Medica II 45 gets you shuffle - which makes your card drawing infinitely more useful. Between Shuffle and Spread, you can have a chance to get the cards you need much quicker. Level 46 brings Combust II - it's basically Aero II - a longer duration, longer cast time, and harder hitting DoT. Chain with combust for maximum benefit. And, Level 50! The Nocturnal Sect - the skill that bridges the gap between the SCH and the WHM. You'll notice a huge increase in your healing potency with your aspected skills in this mode. Also, instead of adding Regens, Noctural Sect adds a nullifying shield to your Aspected Helios and Aspected Benefic. The bad news: It doesn't stack with Adloquium. Level 50 also brings Synestry. Synestry lets you choose a target, and any healing NOT done to that target will ALSO heal that target for 50%. My recommendation? Chain up to your main tank during battles with AoE and watch as he stays topped up as you bring up the rest of the party. Level 52 brings Gravity. If you've missed Holy, this will be a great substitute. It has a high mana cost, but the 200 potency damage will finally let you keep up with the mobs in HW. Malefic II shows up at level 54. Same potency as Gravity, but with a smaller mana cost and only single targeting. I'd use Malefic II more than gravity, personally, but Gravity IS good if you've got a huge mob of minions you'd like dealt with and can spare the mana. Time Dilation shows up at 56. It adds 15 seconds onto any beneficial effects YOU CAST onto the target. Cards? Regen? Both count. I love mixing this with Enhanced Draw and giving someone a double potency, double duration buff (or mixing it with Extended Draw to give a 45s card buff). The next skill is Collective Unconscious. To be honest... this skill has its drawbacks. It's a channeled skill - you can't move while it's being cast. The damage reduction is 10% in Nocturnal Sect and a 150 potency 18s Regen while in Diurnal Sect... Not being able to move or do other skills is limiting, and there are only a few instances where the regen would be useful. The damage reduction isn't worth the lack of other actions, in my opinion. Still, it's a fun effect to see, and I encourage you to try to work it in if you find a need for it. I just haven't found one yet. Ah, level 60 - congrats, you've made it to the big leagues! And for your effort: an AoE Stun (Celestial Opposition). However, it also extends *any* beneficial skills by 5s (according to the tooltip). That means any and all things cast on you (and any party members arond you) that help you get a 5s boost. Not bad, but a 150s recast time means that you have to be selective about casting it. === Here's what I recommend as far as Full Party makeup going into trials: AST/WHM: Be in Nocturnal Sect AST/SCH: Be in Diurnal Sect AST/AST: One of each Since the Regen effect doesn't stack, having one of each will allow you to take advantage of both sects and the advantages of both.