Skillchains exist in Final Fantasy XI, called Renkei by the Japanese playing community; and, at their simplest, they basically involve two characters performing a Weapon Skill in quick succession. This causes an additional effect which grants extra damage, as well as focusing (to some extent) the damaging effects of the second Weapon skill, so even on a very basic level, the advantages to a skillchain become quickly apparent.
Once a skillchain is executed, a brief window of opportunity arises for allied players to cast spells with an element in correspondence to the skillchain type; if cast with proper timing, this spell will gain a (sometimes very significant) boost in its power, called a Magic Burst, which returns a unique message in the dialogue box. The type of spell cast is irrelevant—elemental magic will increase in damage, bard songs will have raised potency, even ninjutsu can be affected by Magic Burst.
There are three different tiers of skillchain. Level 1 skillchains involve only one elemental type, and produce the weakest bonus damage on element. Level 2 skillchains involve two different elements working in tandem, and produce a stronger damage bonus than Level 1 skillchains. Level 3 skillchains involve four elements, and are used widely by the endgame community in the vanquishing of powerful foes where spiked damage is favored over copious, stable damage-over-time. For example, the Lightning element, for whatever reason, is the strongest elemental type; it is customary to instigate a Level 3 "Light" skillchain on an enemy, and for a battalion of Black Mages to simultaneously send a volley of Burst II spells (the strongest Lightning-elemental offensive magic spell available to players) to take advantage of the Magic Burst.
Possible skillchains are listed below:
|Name||Level||First Weapon Skill||Second Weapon Skill||Magic Burst|
|Ice or Water Magic|
|Lightning or Wind Magic|
|Light or Fire Magic|
|Dark or Earth Magic|
|Dark, Earth, Water, or Ice Magic|
|Light, Fire, Lightning, or Wind Magic|
Though the vast majority of skillchains are created with the use of only two Weapon Skills, multiple Weapon Skills can be used in succession to create stronger skillchains. In fact, it is theoretically possible to continue Level 1 and Level 2 skillchains indefinitely by further executing Weapon Skills of the proper type. Under normal circumstances, the appearance of a Level 3 skillchain will end the chain of Weapon Skills, and spellcasting allies will be forced to attempt their Magic Burst at such a time. However, with the inclusion of special Weapon Skills available only to wielders of Relic Weapons (generally each job's strongest weapon), it is possible to extend the sequence by one additional Level 3 skillchain.
The damage of the a skillchain is often affected directly by the amount of damage inflicted by the second player's Weapon Skill as well as the recipient foe's capabilities to resist the type of elemental damage in question. Level 1 and 2 skillchains, unresisted, will result in skillchain damage equaling exactly half the damage of the second Weapon Skill in the sequence.
- Player 1 uses the "Raging Rush" Weapon Skill for 450 points of damage.
- Player 2 uses the "Raging Rush" Weapon Skill for 1050 points of damage.
- Skillchain: Fragmentation.
- The foe takes 525 points of damage.
The resulting Fragmentation damage was exactly half of the damage inflicted by Player 2's Raging Rush, because the foe showed weak elemental resistance to the Wind or Lightning elements.
Level 3 skillchains, though, have the possibility to match the damage dealt by the second Weapon Skill:
- Player 1 uses the "Spinning Slash" Weapon Skill for 850 points of damage.
- Player 2 uses the "Tachi: Kasha" Weapon Skill for 1220 points of damage.
- Skillchain: Light.
- The foe takes 1220 points of damage.
In most cases, though, strong monsters (in excess of level 80) will resist skillchain damage in some respect, especially considering that the Level 3 skillchains (used more often than the rest) have a possibility of resisting four different elements, and therefore a full damage return from skillchain damage alone is rather uncommon, often prompting players to point out an unresisted skillchain to companions.
Skillchain fundamentals such as these are taught to players early on in their adventuring careers, generally as soon as they have their first foray into an experience points party as early as Level 10. Inability to properly execute skillchains and Magic Bursts is heavily frowned upon in the community, and shows a great lack of understanding of general combat principles.
It should be noted that Blue Mages have the ability to skillchain alone, as well as create a Magic Burst, by using the abilities Chain Affinity and Burst Affinity, respectively. Chain Affinity allows the Blue Mage to enchant their next "physical" Blue Magic spell to have skillchain properties, and Burst Affinity allows the next "magical" Blue Magic spell the Blue Mage casts to have magic burst properties. Previously, only level 2 skillchains were able to be created by the Blue Mage alone. However, with the advent of the level cap increase, new spells have been released that carry the "Light" and "Darkness" skillchain properties, allowing the Blue Mage to create level 3 skillchains alone.
Previously, only Samurai and Blue Mages were capable of creating skillchains alone without the help of an item like an Icarus Wing. However, with the level cap increase, anyone with a Samurai Support Job can create skillchains on their own.
"Skillchain: Fusion" is Shantotto's EX Burst. She uses the Full Swing and Howling Fist Weapon Skills, initiating a Magic Burst in which she casts Flare, Flood, Burst, Quake, Tornado and Freeze in succession.
Alongside Shantotto's EX Burst, Prishe can use Skillchains as Bravery Attack combo finishers by equipping specific attack combo sets to perform one of eight Skillchains (Liquefaction, Detonation, Reverberation, Impaction, Compression, Transfixion, Fusion, or Gravitation) for bonus damage. The bonus effects in a given Skillchain are determined by the second attack.