Wisdom of Nym: Actual mechanical issues for jobs in Final Fantasy XIV, part one

There are a lot of people who are quick to complain about issues with their personal favorite jobs in Final Fantasy XIV. No matter what job you’re playing, there are people that will eagerly point out all of the screamingly wrong things with the job whilst completely ignoring how well the jobs actually do work together. When you can seriously clear stuff with anything, someone is doing something right, and that’s why a lot of the complaints come down to “well, I don’t like it, so it’s bad.”

However, that doesn’t mean that the game’s jobs are devoid of mechanical issues. They’re pretty well balanced at the moment (not perfectly, but acceptably so), but each job does have certain mechanical issues that are probably going to need to wait until the next expansion to really be properly fixed up. So, while that next expansion is probably a bit more than a year away now (June 2019, I’d imagine), let’s take a look at the actual mechanical issues facing all 15 jobs.

Not that there's no fun to be had here.Paladin: The big problem with the Paladin job gauge is that more than any other job, it just doesn’t work. There’s not enough stuff going on that actually makes a difference when it comes to the Oath Gauge. You have two abilities tied to it, one of which is your use of the gauge 90% of the time (and used to just be a cooldown ability), the other of which is highly situational. And much of the time, there’s just… no real use for it. It’s a power you accumulate without any real major benefit.

Obviously, it makes sense that there’s not some potent Paladin attack being unleashed with it, but especially when it comes to being an off-tank in an Alliance Raid it’s just plain not useful. There are only two abilities tied to it, and it really does smack of being a gauge simply for the purpose of giving the job a gauge of some kind.

Warrior: As with so many games, Warrior is a job that’s always kind of reliant on gear. When everyone’s gear is bad, Warriors are the most reckless tanks with the least defense to bolster that recklessness. When your gear is great, Warriors can charge forward with abandon and basically completely eschew defense in favor of relentless aggression. And none of the many changes made in Stormblood actually address this gap. They’re largely in a solid place, but that transition can be messy.

The other issue they face is really one of player perception; as a strongly modal job swapping between two types of gameplay, there’s a staggering number of people who aren’t clear on how to manage the balance between DPS stance and tank stance. That’s not really a mechanical issue, but it’s made harder by the job’s very strict ability division.

Dark Knight: Blackest Night really needs to work more like Excogitation does, where it still triggers its results in combat if it just wears off. Beyond that, though, Dark Knight has gotten a little shafted with Warrior’s rework to Shake It Off. Rather than being in the middle ground between party utility and damage between Paladin and Warrior, it’s now kind of an odd reflection of both. It doesn’t help that Blood Gauge accumulation varies so wildly while you level up, going from glacial to slow to fast and forcing a big rethink on some of your tools when you’re already at the cap.

Dragoon: The biggest problem Dragoon has had since the start is that it takes a long while to get up to speed. With its four-hit combos and the whole Life of the Dragon mechanic, it makes sense, but it also means that bad timing about unleashing its biggest attacks can really cripple your overall rotation. Mirage Dive in general feels like an extra button to hit without really needing a lot of extra thought, but far more pressing is the way that Dragoons can just wind up lagging behind due to timing.

Long build-up is part of the job’s identity, of course, but it’s so easy to lose chunks of time with bad timing or a death that you can feel kind of useless if the stars align properly.

YWhat helps me here is never having cared much about Monk.Monk: The core rotation for Monk hasn’t really changed since the reboot. The whole concept of having a never-ending combo has always caused problems, and maintaining Greased Lightning is the same as it has ever been. Most Monk improvements since launch have just been about giving Monks new or better things to do during downtime, not actually trimming up or improving the core rotation all that much.

In fact, at this point the game is so built on “never lose Greased Lightning” as a mechanic that you almost don’t want Tornado Kick, which was meant to spend your stacks when you were about to lose it anyhow. The job has a strong identity, but Greased Lightning in particular feels as if it’s due for a rework. It’s also still doing a weak job of justifying the three different Fists stances, since at best you have another stance for two seconds before swapping back to Fire.

Ninja: It’s interesting to me at this point that Ninja has basically turned into the inverse of Red Mage, a hybrid melee/spellcaster that emphasiszes the melee side. Unfortunately, the Ninki gauge stuff that’s been added accordingly is not terribly compelling, despite being functional; you have minimal control over your Ninki gauge accumulation, the abilities have lengthy cooldowns to make the more universally relevant, and Ten Chi Jin is already awkward due to its movement restrictions. There’s also the general issue that Raiton winds up getting hit badly by clipping issues.

None of this, again, is to say that Ninja is hitting major mechanical issues. Rather, it just seems to be getting a little bit shoved about by other forces without having an easy time maintaining a distinct identity. It still works really well, but those clipping issues hurt.

Samurai: As one of the two jobs designed specifically with Stormblood, Samurai is pretty solid for play at level 70, but it does wind up having some notable TP issues across the board. Your Kenki abilities help significantly, but AoE situations in general allow Samurai to both shine and then run out of TP pretty darn quickly.

Machinist: Machinist gets to feel great for about 10 seconds every minute. Everything else is based around balancing those Wildfire moments, and because of how Wildfire is structured, being slightly wrong in your timing there basically kills your overall damage. Wildfire is ultimately working as intended, but the job’s mechanics wind up asking you to never use Flamethrower except to overheat and then have a moment of awesome in exchange for a much longer period of coasting. The spike-and-trough setup could use another pass or two.

Really, the problem here is twofold, and half it is that Wildfire is a conceptually good ability that just doesn’t tend to work out well in actual play. The other is that the heat gauge basically discourages management except in the broadest sense; you don’t want to maintain, you want to overheat at the right time. Both aspects contribute to making the job very much about picking the right window to actually do anything. It balances numerically all right, but only if you know the exact right timing on every fight.

Obviously, this isn’t all of the jobs in the game; it’s just about half. (Not exactly half, since any way I divided that up would be weird.) So next week, it’s on to the second half of the jobs. Until then, you can feel free to leave feedback down below or send it by mail to eliot@massivelyop.com. Remember, though, that “I don’t find this fun” is not in and of itself a mechanical issue.

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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10 Comments on "Wisdom of Nym: Actual mechanical issues for jobs in Final Fantasy XIV, part one"

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Nathan Aldana

seriously, the way machinist is built is why i stopped playing the class.

The coasting for long periods followed by 10 seconds of heroic thing feels unfun and makes heated shots just feel like flash with no substance


Can’t speak on every class… but with Monk it’s definitely an awkward duck. You have the ki build-up ability that… builds up ki for what? One attack? Sure you can click it on the move and in down-time, but its for one attack that should be waited on until your greased lightning is maxed and you got your buffs up and the strike debuff on the boss. Otherwise… what’s the point? The Ki mechanic should of been built into the skills themselves, so as you go through your basic string it builds up, either for that one attack or to serve as a buff for something else.

Then you got the stances… Now, Earth has some uses. In early dungeons with bad or non-existent tanks (and before the skill revamp) I had my monk built up for some survivability and in worst case scenarios could switch to earth to tank and keep pressure off healers–same as I would with Dragoon in bad cases. But wind? It’s a speed buff… and that’s it. It doesn’t boost attack speed and reduce GCD… it makes you run a bit faster, like what Ninja’s get naturally.

And there’s the fix. Make it a trait, have it buff Sprint and turn it into something more effective–especially since it is no longer tied to your TP like before. Everywhere else you see monks move incredibly fast in sudden bursts, and having that buff Sprint’s movement increase could be a decent way of tweaking that and giving a bit of needed flavor without having us waste the movement buff on a stance.


The other headache with Monk is the Job’s HEAVY reliance on positional damage boosts. The 10 potency reduction pretty much across the board on Monk attacks in Stormblood didn’t help either. Yes, if you don’t mind carpal tunnel, you can put out decent DPS; but it takes constant work and on long fights with a variety of avoid and other mechanics, it gets really hectic at times.

Danny Smith

One that probably can’t easily be fixed but i hate how i will disengage from fencing as RDM back to casting at range and still take damage from a big hit like a minotaur swing when you would think hitting the button already has sent information to the server that the character is relocating from point A to B.

Granted its not as bad as Titan HM back when we had to use bloody canadian servers and learn a straight up waltz timing to move because visual ques didnt load in fast enough for plumes but still. Annoying.


When it comes to DRGs (and Survival Hunter in WoW, for that matter), I feel like I experience this situation a lot: A boss fight will start and I’ll build up to my big, devastating attacks .. just in time for some sort of phase shift where the boss is invulnerable or temporarily out of reach just long enough for all of my important cooldowns and stuff to wear off.

It probably doesn’t happen as often as I think it does, but still ..

I really only play DRG and RDM (technically PLD and DRK, too, until I wuss out when it comes time to raid), but I enjoy reading about what other Jobs do well or where they need improvement or tweaking. Your state-of-the-Job articles are some of my favorites in the Wisdom of Nym column.


Yeah as a RDM that can happen at times too which is frustrating, esp. since RDM is lacking in DPS compared to its other magic counterparts, and all due to chain-casting Verraise.

Danny Smith

“and all due to chain-casting Verraise.”

We gotta get that pug group through Kefka somehow :p