It was once a hot discussion topics within the Ranger community. As far as I remember, there were mainly two types of people who argued back then, the ones who were upgrading Yoichinoyumi, and the ones who were upgrading Annihilator. It was pretty fun seeing how they tried to convince the others that their choice of weapon was the best, without taking into account that the interest of the others may be totally different. It was then all down to taste, i.e everyone walked out of the discussion room accepting that they chose to upgrade their choice of weapon because they liked to.
I think it is partially true. Anything in this game (bar Absolute Virtue) can be done without the help of Relic Weapon. The facts that someone possesses a Relic Weapon may only speed the fights up in some ways, or make life easier for some people. Instead of a 2hrs fight, you may get now a 1hr fight, for example. So unless you are sponsored by your LS totally, there is no reason that you should not upgrade the weapon of your choice. Be it Gun or Bow, it will eventually have some kind of uses that can be meaningful.
However, if we go really into details (well, many people are really picky, like me, so it can’t be helped! :D), then the analysis of Bow and Gun can be further enhanced technically.
First of all, what everyone tends to base their choice of upgrade on is the Weapon Skill and the added effect that the Weapon Skill gives. Coronach is a rather cool Weapon skill in the sense that it can erase all your hate, so you should not be worried about pulling hate and die. But given the advanced tanking system nowadays, where NIN/DRK, PLD/NIN, RDM/NIN can virtually hold hate forever (NIN/BRD before if you would like), and can steal hate back very quickly if someone accidentally pulls hate, Coronach kind of lose its shiny attribute. On the other hand, given SE patch (which many people claimed nerf ~_~), Namas Arrow will never really lose its attribute. The ranged accuracy given by the Weapon Skill is quite significant, it helps landing Barrage much more easily, and the weapon skill itself is almost 0 enmity.
Secondly, people will most likely base their choice of upgrade on the usefulness of the Weapon. I think, in this case, no one would argue against the facts that Bow will win, simply because it can be utilized by not only Ranger, but also Samurai, which makes it more valuable than the Gun.
Third and lastly, people will care about the actual damage of the Weapon, taking Relic weapon skill aside. Now, this is the funny part.
You can either use Annihilator to shoot, or use it to Kraken Club XP.
For the second part, it will just be a waste of money in many senses, because you don’t need Annihilator to be effective with Kraken Club XP. In facts, if your PT is good, Hellfire +1 will do just fine.
For the first part: considering Yoichinoyumi and Annihilator total delay and TP return
– Yoichinoyumi + Kabura Arrows: Delay 524 + 90 = 614
TP : 14.5 + (614-530)*3.5/470 = 15.1
– Annihilator + Silver Bullet: Delay 582 + 240 = 822
TP : 14.5 + (822-530)*3.5/470 = 16.7
It will take roughly 9 Annihilator shoots for Yoichinoyumi to shoot 10 times, w/o Rapid Shot etc: 582 x 9 = 5238 v.s 10 x 524 = 5240;
Total TP return on Annihilator would be 9 x 16.7 = 145.8 = 150.3, on Yoichinoyumi would be 15.1 x 10 = 151.
So TP return on both Annihilator and Yoichinoyumi would be the same in the long run, but Yoichinoyumi benefit from one extra shot than Annihilator – which will negate any extra damage than Annihilator may have from stronger shot.
Consider the damage per shot: Given the same gears, Annihilator + Silver Bullet has 9 more Base Damage than Yoichinoyumi + Kabura Arrows. Taking average pDiF to be 2, that is 18 damage more per shot, which accounts for 162 damage more per 9 shots. So if Yoichinoyumi can hit for higher than 162 per shot (which should be the case with pDiF = 2), then the Bow will actually do more damage than the Gun in the long run, with shooting only.
Considering Weapon Skill: Annihilator + Silver Bullet has 9 more Base Damage than Yoichinoyumi + Kabura Arrows. fSTR2 and pDiF should be the same for both Slug Shot and Sidewinders, since the mods on the Relic Weapons are the same, and we are considering a same character build.
Taking for example, my Mithra STR in WS mode is 115, AGI is 112:
- Sidewinders: WSC = floor(floor(0.16 x 115 + 0.25 x 112)x0.83) = 38
- Slugshots : WSC = floor(floor(0.3 x 112)) x 0.83) = 27
So Sidewinders’ WSC is 11 more than Slugshots’ WSC, which brings total Base Damage in WS mode of Yoichinoyumi to be actually higher by 2. Not considering damage penalty from distance, then Yoichinoyumi is supposed to do more damage than Annihilator in WS mode (which I found to be a bit true PTing with Bey – my Sidewinders were doing less, equal and more depending on distance I stand).
Also, fSTR2 cap on the gun is lower than the bow, since Yoichinoyumi is the highest ranked Ranged Weapon – rank 9, while Annihilator only has rank 5; this helps Yoichinoyumi achieves a better Weapon Skill damage in the case Delta STR is really high.
What I have been thinking for a long time is that SE should increase the Base Damage on Annihilator like they did to Mandau. Taking everything into consideration, I chose Bow over Gun. Putting my preference aside (I am a Bow Ranger for life), nothing in Gun can outweigh the benefits you can receive from the Bow. The lack of damage, lack of usefulness, lack of elemental debuffs (Demon Arrows can be quite helpful for tank than you may have thought) make Gun less attractive than Bow. If you want high damage spike, go for Culverin, or even Hellfire +1 can do – It is only 5 base damage less than Annihilator, and arguably only 0.6 seconds more delay, and much cheaper.
However, if it is your preference to get a Gun, by no means you should hold yourself back. It is still a good weapon, and it is still a pride every Ranger would like to acquire. Even if the Gun is better than the Bow, I would still get the Bow. Not only because it is beautiful, but it is exactly what a Ranger should use. Being a Ranger (Hunter in Japanese) is being with your Bow, forever.