With the recent expansion I decided to change my veno from HA to AA. Desdi has pointed out that with titles/meridians there is very little point to having an HA veno because the 90% pdef reduction (about 34k pdef) is reachable by r9t3 venos also (although not really G16 venos). Plus the +magic stats of meridians and titles go a much further distance with 600 magic instead of 450, and rebirth would make those numbers near 700 vs 550.
But then I thought "Wait, HA venos are getting some very decent boosts here." First is the obvious boost to a stat starved build. It's not hard to wind up with over 100+ stats after 2 reawakenings. This means HAs are no longer gear dependant to find the 5.5 stats per level needed for HA armor and AA weapon. Also, the ratio of magic an endgame veno has becomes smaller; 100-150 magic stats means less when you have 8 multipliers instead of only 6. One bonus of HA is we are freer to wear -channeling ornaments, since our pdef doesn't hinge on our ornies. When the difference between an HA build and an AA build drop to only about 10-15% dph (skill+bonus makeup a chunk) than HA almost has an advantage with faster channeling.
The other huge reason I'm considering keeping my HA build is the defense caps were raised to (I think) 95% reduction. This means we can potentially take 50% less damage than the previous 90% reduction cap. Only issue is.... it's sort of dependant on reaching the 70k pdef mark. Whether that's possible with meridians, titles, and avatars I dunno yet. The point is HA can now reach a higher pdef mark than AA r9t3.
Those are my two main considerations, the increase in stat points and the increase in def reduction. There are many other things I'm considering. For instance,
1. The avatars are class based and a veno avatar will give "AA stats" like higher mdef. I see this as an advantage though, since that makes up for the difference between AA and HA.
2. When RAing aoe grinding is huge. Fox form still lacks a decent aoe.
3. I am more focused on pve but I'll make mention that in PvP caster dph has always been massively important. It kills HAs (something I'd need to fear) and its what you need to kill others (something I'd lack).
4. +phys damage from titles doesn't get multiplied as much in a 255 strength build where each +mag stat is multiplied 6-8 times. Not to mention it takes 1.5 stats to increase melee damage 1% while it only takes 1 stat to inc melee damage for magic attack (for all classes).
So, just wanted to revisit this with the latest expansion. Going to reawaken now. Figured I'd stat to 500 magic then decide if i want to go HA or AA so I have a few days to decide.
Edit: Thanks Kossy, came back to edit in that I was hoping to leave r9t3 out of the equation and you'd beat me to mentioning it. The beauty of G16 is you can share HA with 3 other class and AA with 5 other classes. While r9t3 costs have dropped significantly, sharding and refining has only gone up. This was more an inquiry for those of us who never plan on r9ing a veno. They'd be my 6th choice of classes I'd r9, and I doubt I'll ever afford 6 sets of refined r9t3, and many other people have similar priorities or just plain can't afford it. I'd rather have 1 well refined and sharded set of G16 for many classes than 1 set of r9t3 moderately sharded/refined.