Wisdom of Nym: Final Fantasy XIV and the unknown expansion skills

    
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Going back.
If you’ve been paying attention the last few weeks, you’ve doubtlessly heard a fair bit about the new skills that the various classes and jobs will be getting when Heavensward launches. You also probably don’t know half as much about them as you might think.

On some level, this is a bit of a complaint because we have not gotten a straightforward listing of skills and their effects along the lines of what Ninja got, and I don’t know why the Final Fantasy XIV developers would think that we don’t want one. But on another level, even a full and precise listing might not actually fix things. There’s going to be ambiguity no matter what because let’s be real here: I know what an array of the new skills are supposed to be, but I don’t know them. I don’t know how they play. And at the end of the day, a listing of skills is just a pile of data. Important data, sure, but not a prime source of figuring out how I’ll be playing my characters when the expansion launches.

Hit them with the sharp part! Revolutionary!Those of you who read this column on the regular know that my main character mainlines Ninja, primarily for roleplaying reasons, which is intensely relevant when you consider the new skills. What we’ve been told thus far is that there might be new positionals involved for Ninja, that there will be a skill to control enmity, that you can extend Huton through an attack, and perhaps one or two other tricks. It’s all relevant information, but it’s also information that doesn’t really tell me much of anything.

Ninja priorities and activities are on a pretty short leash. There are very few times when the job isn’t active and juggling priorities. Will having positionals affect that badly? How will we work in our enmity control? How long does an attack extend the Huton effect?

More importantly, how does it all feel?

I mean, I’ve had months to get used to my Ninja rotation as it exists now, but I haven’t gotten used to a new one. I don’t know yet if it’s going to feel elegant or not, I don’t have my hotbars set up for it (wow, is that ever going to be a fun chore), and I don’t know about animation locks or any of that.

That’s not counting the fact that we’re getting a new set of dungeons, raids, and so forth that have very different requirements. You might not think that’s a big deal, and you’d be right insofar as the game is balanced around all the jobs that currently exists, but certain abilities matter more based on circumstances. What if Silence becomes more commonly useful than Stun as an interrupt, for example?

I don’t know the answers to all of these questions. I’m willing to bet that you don’t know the answers either. And at the risk of being an intense letdown, I think the only way you really can get the answers to these questions is by playing these jobs for months, getting accustomed to how they work, and understanding the intended priorities when in a fight.

There are going to be new crafting recipes, there will be new materials and new crafting actions. Gathering is going to be different. Except for fishing, presumably, but fishing is always kind of in that territory. All we can do at this point is speculate, and even with some idea about what those new actions will be the speculation is pretty far into arbitrary territory.

Perhaps I’m just overly cynical and refuse to get excited by things I have to wait nearly three weeks longer to experience. Anything is possible.

Looking at it the setup in the abstract, I think the biggest changes are the things that haven’t changed. There are no new egis for Summoners, for example, which makes perfect sense with just a moment’s thought – there aren’t many more slots for a pet to realistically fit. (I do like the idea of an Egi glamour system and vote for a Ruby Carbuncle for ranged DPS.) There’s also a definite sense of weaknesses being addressed, but not actual strengths, avoiding the sort of overt homogenization that’s always a threat.

Case in point: Dragoon will still be about precisely timing and consuming single-shot buffs, as it has been. Black Mage is still about the back-and-forth between cycles. Bard is still about disappointing your party by not singing useful support songs, and when you have the time you can also wait for attack procs. All of these jobs have weaknesses of their own, but the new abilities look to expand on strengths and make the gameplay more interesting rather than just, say, outright removing the need for timing brief cooldowns on Dragoon.

Bismarck bed. Make it happen, guys.I’m also very intrigued by the addition of dedicated damage specs for all three tanks and the idea that we should be able to smoothly switch stances in fights. Perhaps Strength will start being a more attractive choice for stats as a better-geared tank after all; a lot of Warriors already slip over to it, and it might make for a better off-tank if you’ve got stacked damage instead of health.

Cross-class abilities, as they currently stand, do not look to be very interesting. Dark Knights will almost certainly want Bloodbath, Flash, Provoke, Foresight, and Mercy Stroke. Machinist will want Raging Strikes, Hawk’s Eye, Quelling Strikes, Blood for Blood, and Invigorate. In other words, all of the old standbys. Unless some lower-level skills suddenly become cross-class when they weren’t before, I simply don’t see this aspect of the game becoming very interesting or different.

We also really need to hear something about changes vis-a-vis our hotbars because speaking for myself I either need to start making some in-depth macros to free up space or need more hotbars than I currently have on basically everything. Tanks would be served well by having skills automatically shift based on stances, but by and large I think we’re getting into mild bloat territory.

And there’s not much more time to speculate about this; there are two more columns between now and early access, which of course you all know that I’m going to be there for in all of its server-destroying glory. If there are new systems or new hotkeys or whatever to quickly shift between bars, we need to hear about them pretty soon. I would rather not be juggling three bars on a regular basis, but if I need to, I’d at least like to know about it now rather than in two weeks.

Ultimately, though, while I’m happy to know at least a little bit about all the new abilities and stances and what-not, I can’t really know about any of them until the launch has happened and I have a little space to really start playing around with this stuff. Until then, it’s just data, and not particularly useful data. I can guess at how the changes will play, but I’d rather actually find out.

Feedback, disagreement, shouted expressions of excitement — all are welcome in the comments down below or via mail to eliot@massivelyop.com. Next week, I’m going to go ahead and make some longer-term lore predictions about the expansion, and the week after that I want to fire off a sort of primer for everyone going into the expansion. Onward to Coerthas!

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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xania
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xania

I’m just as anxious as you – I play SMN and from what I’ve seen the job looks to be extremely different. The new tri-disaster, bahamut mode, and sudden usefulness of spellspeed means the opening rotation and ruin spam of SMN will be different (which is the entire job basically. Bless.)

I feel like it’s going to take as much work to get my SMN skills back up to par as is it to learn one of the new jobs.

Kougeru
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Kougeru

This post made me laugh, honestly. I understand you have the right to your own opinion but two things really made me laugh. First, was the thing about your hotbar/rotation set up. Months to fix? Try a few day, tops. And adding positional is not a bad thing at all. Less boring IMO.
The big thing though, is…Are you serious? You want to know EVERYTHING before the game is even out? Where’s the fun in that? A huge part of new expansions and games in general is learning new things, not having it handed to you straight up. Experimeting with the new things is both fun, and it’s how we learn. Numbers and words on a screen are never 100% useful. People always read patch notes and say crap like “omg my class is gonna be TERRIBLE” and it turns out that the changes were not as bad as the “math” suggested. 
Most importantly, there’s not even gonna be a raid until a month after release, so knowing EVERYTHING before release wouldn’t even really help you. 1-2 days to get main class to 60xhowever many class you really care about. If you really care about endgame that will be one or two classes tops. So less than a week to get them to 60. That leaves you with 3 weeks to learn them well enough to the raid. If that’s not enough time to learn everything on your own, then you probably are not really capable of end-game without other people’s guides to hold your hand…in which case you’d have to wait a few more days/weeks for anyway.

FreyrPrime
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FreyrPrime

Halaegus I think positionals are a small price to pay for being able to keep Huton rolling. I mean, we don’t really know, but it’s probably safe to assume you’ll be able to squeeze in additional damage Ninjutsu depending on how easy it is to extend the duration of Huton. It really should result in a net DPS gain as well as ease the problem of Mudra Lag and Bunny Hats :)

FreyrPrime
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FreyrPrime

zyrusticae I think its reasonable to assume that the added complexity will drastically hinder some players. It’s already common to see people in full Augmented Ironworks pulling sub 300 dps in WoD. So I think any further complexity will only widen the gap between good players and.. Let’s be frank, bad players.

FreyrPrime
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FreyrPrime

I’m just not used to going into an expansion almost completely blind like this.. I’ve played every major MMO to hit the market since UO, but I really cut my teeth on WoW, and I’m a bit spoiled with the level of access we had to various class changes prior to each xpac.

I main Monk, and I gotta admit I’m pretty excited to with the changes to GL interaction, Chakra, a real AoE etc etc.. BUT! It’s almost all speculation at this point..

Whats the cool down on Tornado Kick? If it’s low enough is it worth burning GL3 for Tornado Kick on CD? Is Chakra off the GCD? How does Elixir Drive work?

Monks rotation is reasonably complicated as it stands, and the addition of a secondary resource PLUS the interaction between GL and Tornado Kick should add another layer of complexity to the rotation, which I’m excited for.. I just wish I knew more going forward.

Halaegus
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Halaegus

I cried into a pillow when they announced ninja was going going to become a positional class. Cried all night.

ManastuUtakata
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ManastuUtakata

Eamil ManastuUtakata 
Don’t own anything from Steam. So I am okays there! And thanks! :)

Eamil
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Eamil

ManastuUtakata There is a box version. I have the physical Collector’s Edition on order, because I am a sucker. :P
The only catch is if you own the game on Steam, you have to buy the expansion from Steam. Keys from other sources can’t be registered to your PC game account if you bought through Steam.

ManastuUtakata
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ManastuUtakata

Silly question time: Is there a box version of Heavensward? Or is it strictly DLC? :(

Eliot_Lefebvre
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Eliot_Lefebvre

camelotcrusade She’s swapping to Dark Knight as soon as the expansion drops, so she’s as like as not going to do nothing with it.