Wisdom of Nym: The skills on the chopping block in Final Fantasy XIV

When Stormblood launches, Final Fantasy XIV will be changing some pretty big mechanical aspects. First of all, we’re going to be waving goodbye to our existing set of cross-class skills and having a completely different set of actions to deal with; second of all, we’re going to be losing some skills outright. Naoki Yoshida has said before that we should have about the same number of skills at 70 as we have at 60, and that means that some of our tricks need to go away.

Personally, I’m happy about this. I don’t have a single job without two full hotbars, one partially-full hotbar, and various side widgets. I can’t fit another four abilities into anything. But the question remains about what we are losing, and how it’s going to affect gameplay.

We should have a reasonably clear picture as we get closer, but what I want to do for a couple of weeks is look at the stuff that we’re likely to lose. I can’t speculate about what we’ll gain, and I’m reluctant to draw too many conclusions about the cross-class system before it’s live or detailed, but I think we can look at the game and say “yeah, this is probably going away.”

The philosophy of removal

Cull without reluctance.Before I start diving into the tangled mess of all the various combat abilities, I wanted to start by explaining my philosophy vis-a-vis what I speculate will be removed.

1. Abilities that do less are highest on the chopping block. If an ability does pretty much nothing useful, it’s an obvious target. If it has situational usage, that makes it a bit more likely to stick around. I tend to look first and foremost at abilities which already sort of just hang around on the fringes rather than being nearly vital.

2. Level-up abilities are easier to remove than quested abilities. Barring some major structural changes, you are still going to have job and class quests at the same levels in Stormblood. Those quests need to reward something, and thus I’m more likely to say that those abilities are likely to stick around, all else being equal. That having been said, the first rule takes priority here.

3. Cross-class systems deserve consideration. This is hard to say for sure because I’m reluctant to say “we will lose this ability but gain it in cross-class form.” Sure, that seems pretty clear in some cases (Provoke) but more ambiguous in others, and it’s not something to universally assume. All the same, I tend to assume something that’s mostly a cross-class ability anyway is likely to get yanked.

4. We should have roughly the same number of abilities on our bars. So I figure each job is losing between 4-6 abilities. We’ve got four job quests, but there’s some wiggle room for traits, new cross-class stuff, and so forth. I’m not sure how many of the new job quests will reward traits rather than abilities, which I feel is a real possibility, but I try to assume that each job needs at least four candidates for removal.

That’s a good core to work from, yes? Let’s move on from there.

Good is relative.

Paladin

Rampart: There are already hints that Rampart might be getting yoinked and made into a cross-class tank skill, along with Shadowskin and perhaps Foresight. I say “hints” because it’s based largely on fan translations of other translations, so it’s a bit ambiguous. Regardless, Rampart isn’t currently a cross-class skill, but it’s general enough that it could be, so I’m including it in the list.

Provoke: Kind of the quintessential this-is-a-cross-class-skill right there, yes? Every tank needs it, and so it makes more sense to just make it available to all tanks and take it out of a Paladin’s specific rotation.

Awareness: This is the poster child for an ability that has a very narrow usage but generally just takes up space. I’m sure it can be used to great effect, and it is a damage-reduction cooldown, but it’s one that doesn’t really prompt much in the way of interesting gameplay and one that fights aren’t really designed around. Losing it would have relatively little impact.

Tempered Will: I see this as a really cool ability that, unfortunately, doesn’t work very well. Tempered Will doesn’t work against a lot of knockback effects where you want it to, and thus it becomes a worthless guessing game of “will it actually have an effect?” It’d make a better trait that just prevents a Paladin from getting bumped around, since then you find out from experience where it does or doesn’t work.

Cover: Yes, I don’t want to lean heavily on removing quest rewards, but this is a special case. Cover is an ability that makes a lot of thematic sense, but it also has virtually no practical purpose. It doesn’t really work in any specific case. Again, a trait could work here to simply have Paladins absorb some damage by being near party members to get that same flavor without the current uncomfortable implementation.

Mind if I axe you a question?

Warrior

Foresight: See Rampart above.

Fracture: Back in the very earliest days of the game’s relaunch, Fracture had a use as a DPS cross-class skill. As it stands now, it’s… well, it’s a button to hit at lower levels? But it doesn’t really do much of impact and it’s not even great damage; a WAR dealing damage as an off-tank is going to use other combo abilities and stuff like Fel Cleave. Fracture would not be missed.

Berserk: This probably strikes people as a “wait, what?!” possibility, but hear me out. Berserk made sense when it was introduced; it gave Warrior a nice sense of contrast with Paladin. It also had the “strength with drawback” aspect to sell it; you could get a notable power boost, but when it wore off you were useless for a bit. The problem is, however, that at this point it’s mostly a healer coordination check, and at this point it contributes to the insane amount of attack power Warriors can stack up. Far better to make this a trait of some sort to deliver the flavor (perhaps a chance to go Berserk on a critical hit, for example).

Mercy Stroke: Wait, everyone uses this skill, right? And it’s true! Which means it may as well be a cross-class skill to begin with, yes? Warrior doesn’t need it specifically.

Storm’s Eye: This, more than anything, is another balance negotiation and filling out a list of five potential skills to remove. But Warrior is the only job that can apply its own damage-boost debuff, so perhaps that ought to change. (I should note that WAR should have a branching DPS combo just the same, though, so this is the weakest candidate for removal here.)

Bloodbath: Another good cross-class option, although Warrior’s traits to boost it do make it rather distinct.

We turned out all right.

Dark Knight

Shadowskin: See Rampart above.

Dark Mind: While I like the whole split between Dark Dance and Dark Mind, the reality is that they’re basically the same ability with a different type of damage. This becomes quite annoying when dealing with abilities that might be subject to either rule or stuff that can’t be parried but isn’t magical; it makes more sense to roll them together.

Scourge: It’s basically just Fracture But Dark Knight Flavored, so it can go away just as readily as Fracture.

Blood Weapon: I’m really torn on this one. Blood Weapon is actually a great ability, but when I look at it I see something which could, in fact, be cut; I just also don’t know how to do so in a way that preserves enough of its functionality. I think it’s a neat ability that works nicely with Dark Knight doing damage, and I think there are ways to trait it up when Grit is off, but nothing springs to mind. Even so, I feel it deserves a note.

Of course, all of this is still speculative; I have no idea how close I am to the mark. Probably not very, although we’ll find out. I’ll continue to speculate over the next few weeks, but for now, feel free to leave your own speculation – on these jobs or others – in the comments or via mail to eliot@massivelyop.com.

The Nymian civilization hosted an immense amount of knowledge and learning, but so much of it has been lost to the people of Eorzea. That doesn’t stop Eliot Lefebvre from scrutinizing Final Fantasy XIV each week in Wisdom of Nym, hosting guides, discussion, and opinions without so much as a trace of rancor.
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18 Comments on "Wisdom of Nym: The skills on the chopping block in Final Fantasy XIV"

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Manastu Utakata

Ability pruning…where Yoshi P takes Blizz’s poison pill. :(

dorian_greyvault
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dorian_greyvault

“But Warrior is the only job that can apply its own damage-boost debuff, so perhaps that ought to change.”

Among the Tank Jobs, you are correct in that Warrior is the only one with the ability to apply its own damage-boosting debuff. However, the wording utilized in doing so makes it seem as if it is the only job that can do such.

In contrast to this, there are:

  • Monk’s “Dragon Kick”, which lowers blunt resistance (of which only Monk currently benefits)
  • Dragoon’s “Disembowel”, which lowers piercing resistance.
  • Ninja’s “Dancing Edge”, which lowers slashing resistance.
  • One particular edge-case would be Machinist and their Rook Autoturret’s Offensive Mode “Hypercharge”, which lowers all physical resistance.

    As far as speculation goes, and I must stress that these are my personal thoughts on the matter, I will be listing abilities that I believe will be made into shared job actions or outright removed (Note that I will not be touching on the three Tanks):

    [Dragoon]

  • Feint – Sparsely utilized, and primarily as a cross-class by Bards or Machinists in PvP. Might be made into a shared job action.
  • Piercing Talon – Sees very little usage, primarily utilized in pulling enemies from groups in open-world questing or hunting. I can see it being removed entirely.
  • Invigorate – While obviously not a candidate for removal, this is almost a certainty for a shared job action. Now, if only Tanks could use it…
  • Keen Flurry – This will likely become a shared job action, despite its niche usage. While not particularly useful in end-game content, it is still somewhat useful in leveling and open-world content.
  • [Monk]

  • Featherfoot – Much like Keen Flurry, this will likely become a shared job action for the same reasons.
  • Internal Release – This will almost certainly become a shared job action due to frequency of usage on the myriad jobs that can currently utilize it.
  • Mantra – While not a candidate for removal, it will likely become a shared job action for the sake of utility.
  • Second Wind – This one is more or less a no-brainer for a shared job action. It can be a vital tool for survival in all content.
  • Haymaker – While it sees niche usage in PvP, Haymaker is often regarded as a waste in PvE content. I can see it being removed entirely.
  • I’m not putting “One Ilm Punch” on this list, as it has far more usage in PvP than most other niche abilities.

    [Bard]

  • Quelling Strikes – While many joke it is useless in the face of gear or critical hits (which can be true. Looking at YOU, Black Mages.), it is still highly utilized as a cross-class ability and can be the thin line that keeps a DPS from becoming a Tank.
  • Hawk’s Eye – I see this becoming a shared job action due to the overlap with Machinist. Additionally, it can prove beneficial for countering blinding effects or situations in which someone is lacking proper accuracy to hit. Caveat: Depending on how accuracy is changed in Stormblood, this may become a moot point.
  • Raging Strikes – This is more or less a no-brainer for a shared job action. It sees great usage with every job that can currently utilize it for better or worse.
  • [Arcanist (Summoner/Scholar)]

  • Eye for an Eye – Niche usage, but a common ability for White Mages to utilize. I believe it will likely become a shared job action.
  • Virus – A common ability utilized in raiding content, it can be a saving grace in some situations. It will likely become a shared job action due to frequent usage.
  • [Ninja]

  • Throwing Dagger – For much the same reasons as Piercing Talon above, I can see this ability being removed. It sees little usage in PvE and PvP, but is outclassed by both Fuma Shuriken and Raiton.
  • I would personally like to see Kiss of the Wasp and Kiss of the Viper rolled into a single ability, since they perform the same damage-boosting function and their additional effects apply to two different abilities. Wishful thinking on my part, perhaps.

    [Machinist]

  • Rend Mind / Dismantle – Reaching a bit, but they are outclassed by similar abilities. While otherwise struggling to find abilities to alter or remove, these two are more likely in my mind.
  • Turret Retrieval – While thematically fitting, it serves little purpose when you can re-position by utilizing the base skill again. In addition, as Turrets do not draw aggro unless you attack and vanish on their own once you are out of range, I do not personally see much use for this particular ability.
  • [Black Mage]

  • Surecast – While I personally do not see much in this ability, I recognize that it can sometimes save lives and runs. As such, despite what I view as niche usage, I can see it becoming a shared job action.
  • Swiftcast – This is more or less a no-brainer for a shared job action due to high usage and utility.
  • [White Mage]

  • Cleric Stance – This is more or less a no-brainer for a shared job action due to its high usage and utility. For as long as Healers are required to DPS, it will exist.
  • Protect – This is more or less a no-brainer for a shared job action due to its high usage and utility. I could see them potentially removing Paladin’s ability to utilize it.
  • Stoneskin – This is more or less a no-brainer for a shared job action due to its high usage and utility. I could see them potentially removing Paladin’s ability to utilize it, but personally view that as a bad idea. I cannot count the times Stoneskin has saved my skin or that of a party member’s in raid content.
  • [Astrologian]

  • Stella – This is reaching, but after examining Astrologian’s abilities it is the only one I could feasibly believe would be removed. While it has minor usage in PvP and exceedingly niche usage in open-world content, the “Heavy” debuff does not have much in the way of utility.
  • These are just my thoughts on the matter, and only time will tell if any of this speculation proves fruitful. My apologies for the exceedingly long-winded nature of this post, the varying degree of detail in the listings, and for any formatting errors.

    ‘Tis my first time posting here, and while I was initially prompted to comment by the quoted text at the top, I greatly enjoyed detailing my thoughts on the potential ability changes coming in Stormblood.

    Reader
    kidwithknife

    So am I correct in thinking this game is still going to require a ton of hotkeys in order to play effectively? I gave it a try, but once I saw the monster bar bloat in players’ screenshots I decided maybe it wasn’t for me. I’m not a fan of more than one hotbar, and just plain will not play a game that requires more than two.

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    Lights and Music

    So am I correct in thinking this game is still going to require a ton of hotkeys in order to play effectively?

    Yes, for better or worse, that’s pretty accurate. I don’t mind, but I have two full hotbars and a third with some odds-and-ends.

    Saebira
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    Saebira

    I remember somewhere it was said that they want to keep the same number of abilities as now, so you’re probably correct.
    The other problem is they keep calling it a “combat rework”, which is being too hyped. A lot of people, myself included, thought rework meant a possible shorter GCD and/or fewer buttons.
    It doesn’t sound like they plan to do either thing and the theme of the xpack doesn’t interest me, so ended up changing my mind about the game.

    Reader
    Albert Guzman

    To be honest, I find myself questioning the effectiveness of this pruning altogether. Yoshida stated that when we hit 70 we’ll have the same number of abilities as we do now. So… is he just gonna replace our less-useful powers for more useful ones? Will any job actually be simpler once the new powers are added in? Sounds a little like ‘shuffling’ instead of simplifying to me. What do you think?

    bereman99
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    bereman99

    It’s mostly a preventative measure to avoid the abilities becoming even more crowded with the next expansion by way of some long needed refinement of various abilities or ability systems (like cross class).

    It was never meant to be a pruning the way WoW did their pruning (or any other mmo that has done larger scale ability pruning), just some assumed it would be along the same lines.

    The simplification part is more about changing how some of the rotations work in general, not about reducing the amount of buttons to press.

    Reader
    Sorenthaz

    Honestly they need to whittle down the ridiculous complexity of Monks imo. They’re an example of a DPS rotation that has way too much going on.

    Also tanks having to rely too heavily on self-buffs with sizable cooldowns isn’t fun or engaging, really.

    Reader
    Matt Redding

    Other than Protect when soloing, Fracture is about the most useful cross-class skill for every melee class below 30. Fracture does solid damage and lasts a long time. (It has higher potency and longer duration than venomous shot for instance). You can use it and then move on to your class’s preferred weapon combos, so it adds a DoT without interfering with you actually doing your class’s preferred weapon skills. It’s available for every fight as opposed to a short damage buff like Raging Strikes which of course is great when it’s up. While leveling Rogue I really enjoyed dropping it and Mutilate together on every mob and watched the damage rip them apart while I cycled through my regular weapon attacks after.

    Reader
    A Dad Supreme

    I always thought Sleep was the most worthless skill in FFXIV which, contrary to FFXI, was one of the most useful.
    Pretty sure I only able to use Sleep rarely while soloing and never during any group play in FFXIV.
    They should put Sleep to sleep.

    Reader
    Chris Brown-DeMoreno

    Sleep was made useless by the sheer amount of healing power and survivability we have. I actually miss the old days when an undergeared tank would pull a group and barely be able to survive. I could sleep a mob or two and we pick them down one by one. It sounds far less efficient but it was actually more fun. That it was more difficult gave everyone something more to think about besides where to stand while the tank soaks and the healer heals. It’s just gotten too easy.

    Reader
    Matt Redding

    I’ve seen it used in dungeons by some players but I felt it wasn’t helpful. I main summoner and of course I’m going to DOT everything. It’s freaking annoying in PvP though.

    Reader
    Leviathonlx

    I’m hoping they remove a lot of abilities that really serve no purpose but to bloat the bars. For example on Dragoons they could remove Heavy Thrust and nothing of value would be lost.

    bereman99
    Reader
    bereman99

    If you think any ability is there arbitrarily then you’re misunderstanding their current design.

    It’s a case of over-specialization, which is a different issue. Everything has a purpose, they just (generally) have a single ability for every purpose.

    Reader
    Leviathonlx

    My issues are typically with abilities that do nothing but ‘increase damage of x for y seconds’. It’s just bloat to make you have more buttons that could be made baseline. Or how it seems they’ve given every single melee some sort of bleed dot since they seem to have a thing with making classes mirror each other a bit too much.

    bereman99
    Reader
    bereman99

    So I main Bard and I’ve been pondering which abilities we are going to outright lose or that will have their effect baked into another ability that isn’t a cross class skill.

    Cross-class is easier to figure out because it’s largely damage buffs or self-heals…exactly the kind of thing that will get a generic version.

    Raging Strikes and Hawk’s Eye I can see being rolled into one and the result intended to replace the two and Blood for Blood…so that’s two turned to one that may also free up two total hotbar spots. If Internal Release gets baked in as well then that’s three open slots but I don’t see that merging with the others.

    Quelling Strikes is likely to end up as another role based ability but that won’t free up any slots.

    Quick Knock and Wide Volley might get merged…they do the same damage but one is a circle around the target and has a higher cost while the other is cheaper while being a cone in front of the Bard. Nearly redundant skills in my opinion.

    Shadowbind…seems useful in PvP but I’ve not used it in PvE in ages. Could lose it or see it baked into another skill though I’ve no idea where it would really fit.

    That really leaves Bards with 2-3 abilty slots to still free up if it’s an even trade on the amount we end up with at 70…and I’ve no idea what could really be cut beyond what I listed above that feels likely. Pretty much every other ability feels like it has its place.

    Only other thing I can think of is merging the two dots into one and removing Iron Jaws since it would no longer be needed but I don’t think that a likely course of action.

    Reader
    Wolfyseyes

    I haven’t off-tanked as a DRK very often, but Blood Weapon was always a part of my rotation. Not quite as frequently as Blood Price is whilst tanking, but enough to make it missed.

    Personally I’d rather they axe either Lone Survivor or Reprisal. I’d also be fine with Living Dead being chopped, but that’s probably more something that can be adjusted as opposed to outright culled.

    Reader
    bigangry

    I’ve been doing a LOT of PVP as PLD, and Cover’s pretty much indispensable for when healers are starting to get focused and you want to make sure that they can get a few heals off in peace without worrying about their health.

    wpDiscuz