jobs

Wisdom of Nym: The numbers game in Final Fantasy XIV

It’s not really hard to figure out the best stats for melding in order to do the maximum damage in Final Fantasy XIV. You have, ultimately, only a few real options, and with the removal of Accuracy as an option, none of them is actually going to make or break important points. The problem is that asking “what can I meld to do maximum damage” is perhaps not always the right question to ask.

The matter of stat weights and best-in-slot gear has already been attracting ferocious debate in various parts of the community, and you know the debate has gotten to a fever pitch when Yoshida actually addresses one of the stupider new customs in a live letter. (That would be tanks wearing 270 STR accessories, for the record.) So I think it’s well past the point to talk about the issue of tank damage, tank scaling, and numbers in general. They may not carry the allure of story sequences, but they’re still important.

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Final Fantasy XIV Stormblood preview: The healers

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Healers! You need them in Final Fantasy XIV. Seriously, they’re vital, and not just to make sure the tank doesn’t enjoy a new experience with several new unscheduled puncture holes. Everyone needs healers, and the three existing healer jobs will have to work overtime in Stormblood to be as flashy and fun as the new DPS jobs. Even though Square-Enix is pretty certain that anyone who has signed up to be a healer at this point is pretty well committed.

The healer role is also the hardest one to test out and get a feel for without a group, which means that my impressions of the healers is also perhaps the least in-depth out of all three. This isn’t because I don’t love healers, just because there’s only so much you can glean from not playing a healer in dungeons. But I did still get a chance to play around with the relevant tools, and I think it’s safe to say that if you’re already fond of playing a healer, it’s going to be both easier and more engaging in Stormblood.

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Final Fantasy XIV Stormblood preview: Ranged DPS jobs

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I have to say that the Live Letter was a wee bit frustrating in places. How great would it have been to reveal that there are no more cast bars for ranged DPS in the expansion? I mean, probably about as great as it actually was for Final Fantasy XIV players, but I would have been the one to do it. Ah, well.

Much like melee DPS, ranged DPS is near and dear to my heart simply because one of my main jobs is ranged DPS. I play a lot of Machinist, although part of that admittedly derives from the period when no one could tell the difference between a good Machinist and a bad one. I was looking forward to Stormblood just because I wanted to see what was coming next.

The answer, in short, is that ranged DPS has probably received the biggest overhaul of all the roles in the game. Rather than having its support role kind of cobbled together based on what players should want, it now has a whole lot of abilities players actually will want to use. And all of the fun gun-or-bow action you’ve come to love regardless.

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Final Fantasy XIV Stormblood preview: Caster DPS jobs

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If there’s one field of jobs that’s never really locked me in during previous Final Fantasy XIV content, it’s caster DPS. I can understand the appeal on an academic level, but the reality is that I just never felt like it was all that cool. It didn’t help that our options were Black Mage or Summoner only for quite some time, and since roleplaying hadn’t dictated that those particular jobs matched any of my characters… well, that made it easier to step away from the role altogether.

Things are changing in Stormblood, though. For one thing, there’s obviously the simple fact that caster DPS options are getting expanded to include Red Mage, although I detail that in another piece as part of this same series. The extant caster jobs have also undergone some pretty significant changes, though, so even veteran players of Summoner and Black Mage should see their jobs feel… similar, but not quite the same. And, mercifully, far less reliant on being trigger-happy and rushing through everything.

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Final Fantasy XIV Stormblood preview: Melee DPS jobs

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Oh, melee DPS, you matter to me. You matter to a lot of people, in fact. There is something fundamentally satisfying to the human brain inherent in running up to things and smacking them with sharp weaponry. And this expansion continues making melee the bulkiest category of the DPS options, with four different jobs dealing damage in the paint and another job lunging in and out of melee range. Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood is not a game about snipers.

Considering that one of my main jobs in the game is a melee DPS (Ninja), I was rather interested to see how this role shook out. I was also at least a little bit anxious, as the abilities that we saw didn’t exactly light me on fire just yet. However, I’m happy to say that the overall impression I walked away with was a positive one. There are changes here, yes, but they’re good all around.

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Final Fantasy XIV Stormblood preview: Tank jobs

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I really wanted Samurai to be a tank. There’s not a lot of specific reasoning for this; I can point to reasons why Samurai could have been a tank in Stormblood, but I suppose some of it just comes down to wanting a new healer and a new tank in the latest Final Fantasy XIV expansion. However, that’s the last I want to talk about it, unlike the legion of people still complaining about the fact that Dark Knight is a tank.

Instead of new tanks, we get a refinement of the existing tanks in the game’s second expansion. By and large, they should feel pretty familiar to players, but the subtle changes made here and there definitely up the jobs in my estimation. I already play these jobs on various characters, but I’m looking forward to the new tools they’re getting in the expansion. Even if none of them get to include a katana; I’ve moved past that now.

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Final Fantasy XIV Stormblood preview: Samurai and Red Mage impressions

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It should come as pretty much no surprise that one of my first focal points when getting hands-on time with Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood was learning the new jobs. For one thing, I have characters who I want to use these as main jobs; for another thing, these are new jobs, and thus they’ve got new mechanics and all sorts of new stuff. Refinement and a quintet of new abilities just can’t compare to a whole 70 levels of new abilities, after all.

Beyond that, I was curious about how they were going to manage the mechanics in general. Red Mage needed to feel like a hybrid melee and caster damage dealer that didn’t exactly mirror anything in the game but still felt related to Black Mage and White Mage both, and Samurai needed to carve a distinct space for itself in the niche of melee damage. So there were question marks.

I’m happy to say that I walked away from both eager to play more, however. Both of the new jobs feel like responsive damage dealers with very different tricks, feeling no more powerful than existing jobs but definitely feeling very unique. They fill niches which heretofore had not been filled, and while they may not be exactly what you’re looking for, they deliver on the promise of their names.

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Carbine Studios is hiring for an unspecified new project

The general consensus for WildStar has been that the game is running on borrowed time for several reasons. That’s a sad conclusion, but an understandable one. And so that probably also means curtains for Carbine Studios, and… wait, the studio is hiring people? For a new team to work on a new project of some sort? They’re not just sitting around and waiting for things to come crashing down?

All right, if one of you wished for this on a monkey’s paw, you need to tell someone now before the consequences shock and horrify everyone.

The listed positions are for Concept Art, Graphics Engineering, Tools Engineering, and Combat Design, which… could mean lots of things. If not for the fact that the listings state this is part of a new team for a new project, it’d be easy to assume this was an attempt to shore up WildStar, but the fact that it is for a new project is enough to light one’s imagination on fire. What happens next? We don’t know, but we sure are excited to find out.

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Wisdom of Nym: Speculating on the healer skills Final Fantasy XIV could delete

Tomorrow, we’re getting the end of the Heavensward story quests in Final Fantasy XIV, which means I need to start looking at Heavensward as a whole. For now, however, we can look forward to Stormblood and ask ourselves what we’re not going to be using any longer as healers. And this wrapped up just before the final story patch, so I feel rather satisfied about how that timing worked out.

I’d say “all according to plan” if I remembered actually planning it this way.

As with previous installments, I’d advise you to take a look back through past articles in this series; the first one has tanks and the general philosophy, while the second column tackles melee damage and the third tackles ranged damage of all flavors. Today, we’re finishing things off with healers. That’s kind of a tangled mess with every option other than White Mage, but we’ll plot a course.

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Wisdom of Nym: Final Fantasy XIV’s removed skills, Ranged/Caster edition

Well, folks, by all reasonable estimation we’re going to have the final story patch of Heavensward next week. Why? Because there’s no more March for it to exist in after that. So it seems like a reasonable prediction, and it also gives me just enough time to finish up with these Final Fantasy XIV skill predictions before I want to move on to reviewing the expansion in hindsight anyhow. So everybody wins, if I double up today.

The first installment is all about tanks, while the second installment is all about melee DPS. As always, the usual disclaimer applies that this is all speculation, not absolute fact; I don’t have a clearer picture than you do about how abilities are actually being arranged. If you think I’m wrong? I might very well be wrong! All I can do is justify what I say and make my case. Let’s move on.

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Wisdom of Nym: Abilitiy revisions for Final Fantasy XIV: Melee edition

I had really hoped for something a touch more substantial about Stormblood from this weekend’s event, but we got what we got. Thus we are still, to some extent, in the dark about ability revisions in Final Fantasy XIV, which does mean I get to speculate about stuff that’s being removed or changed a bit longer, since last week I managed to get through the tanks and nothing else.

Look, the jobs in the game are rather extensive. And numerous.

If you didn’t catch last week’s column, I go over the general philosophy behind what abilities seem most likely to be turned into traits or outright removed right there, so that should be relevant. Worth noting before we go too far into it, of course, is that on pretty much every single job I’m trying to list more stuff than what will likely be changed. If you think that I’ve got an awful lot of candidates for removal in place, you’re right! That’s literally the point because some of them will no doubt remain unchanged.

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Wisdom of Nym: Jobs we are unlikely to ever see in Final Fantasy XIV

We all have jobs that we want to see in Final Fantasy XIV. Some of them are pretty much definitively going to happen (I would be very surprised if we didn’t see Samurai, especially since every game in the franchise with jobs bar Final Fantasy III has it). Others are possible, but part of the grand morass of possibility without any certainty. And some of them are just plain pie-in-the-sky thinking, like my desire to see Enhancement Shaman Only In FFXIV And Hopefully With A Shorter Name Than This.

But then there are the jobs that have the series pedigree to show up and all the reason in the world to be there… but probably won’t ever be added to the game. Today, it’s that list that I want to tackle. If you’re holding out hope for one of these to be added to the game, I don’t want to tell you it’s never going to happen, but I would advise you to acquire some slightly more realistic hopes. It doesn’t look good.

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The Daily Grind: What’s the least effective character you’ve played in an MMO?

Red Mage is pretty unambiguously the worst class in Final Fantasy XI right now. The old trick of the class (enfeebling magic) is now pretty much useless, and everything else that the class could do is done better by another job. This goes doubly for melee, where the job lacks sufficient accuracy to hit things past a certain point and generally has to waste a lengthy period of time buffing itself into being somewhat useful despite its lackluster nature. So why was a melee-oriented Red Mage my first job to the level cap?

Well, it looked cool.

I never had any misunderstandings about the job’s utility; I knew I was picking the worst way to play the worst possible job, so I harbor no real ill will. There are a lot of characters that I’ve played knowing full well that I was playing to less than the full potential – Necromancer/Warrior in Guild Wars, Engineering captain in a Tactical ship in Star Trek Online, every single character build I ever made in The Secret World. But what about you, dear readers? What’s the least effective character you’ve played in an MMO? Was it intentional, and if so, why?

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