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.
Feint: Ah, the poster child for an ability no one uses, what a pleasant surprise! Feint has some use as a cross-class skill, but no Dragoon ever uses it. It’d work fine as a trait to just offer a chance at slowing targets vulnerable to Slow, if indeed it needs to be preserved in some form.
Keen Flurry: It’s not that Keen Flurry is useless, it’s that as a safety cooldown it’s sub-par. Most of the incoming damage for DPS jobs is not something you can parry in the first place, so having this on your ability list feel more or less entirely unnecessary. Again, a flat trait increasing parry chance would probably do the trick.
Blood for Blood: Oh, no, this won’t be removed from the game. It’s just an obvious candidate for a cross-role skill, just like Rampart and other suspects.
Doom Spike: The problem with Doom Spike is that while it’s a strictly better AoE for Dragoon in most situations compared to Ring of Thorns, it’s not the one that actually gets used most of the time. More to the point, it gets functionally replaced by Geirskogul, which has the same targeting profile. A trait could certainly serve to make it serve duty as both itself and Geirskogul, but if I had to pick one to be removed? This would be it.
Blood of the Dragon: I’m surprised that Black Mage players won’t stop asking about Enochian changes but Blood of the Dragon hasn’t come up as much. Regardless, it seems like the sort of thing that will fall into the category of being turned into a trait, just like Enochian; the general move seems to be that you shouldn’t be in a situation where you can’t use some of your abilities.
Fang and Claw/Wheeling Thrust: The current problem is that these are the most useless pair of abilities in the game. They’re identical in every respect except where you should be standing for the damage bonus, and you can easily macro them on to the same button without any loss of DPS or ability. (I have my setup so that the button lights up when it’s Fang and Claw, simply because I’m normally going for behind.) One of them could easily be removed, or we could get traits to differentiate the two in some way; the point is that they’re redundant right now, and a prime example of abilities that introduce arbitrary skill tests to the rotation.
Haymaker: By being on the GCD and not very useful to Monks in general, Haymaker is a prime candidate for removal. It’s not necessary; go ahead and kill it. Or make it a cross-role skill for tanks, that works too.
Internal Release: Much like Blood for Blood, this is an ability that seems just made for cross-role interaction. Saves a bit of punching space.
Mantra: See above, with the added benefit that pretty much no one likes having to level Monk for Mantra. It’s a real hassle, and it’s an advantageous skill in the right contexts, so it’ll probably just be tossed into the cross-class lineup.
Perfect Balance: Perfect Balance has always been a bit of an odd ability. It’s a useful one, to be sure; since Monk is so tied to specific forms and a specific progression, Perfect Balance can give you the chance to bust out all of your “utility” skills in short order and force up your Greased Lightning counter as necessary. It’s the hardest skill to justify outright removing, and it doesn’t work well as a trait. That having been said, Monk also has more control over its forms with the Heavensward ability lineup, so I can see Perfect Balance being just too much of the same thing.
One Ilm Punch: One Ilm Punch is one of those cool abilities in search of a utility. It’s useful in PvP, as several things are, but that doesn’t justify not making it a PvP-only ability. For most of the game, it has no targets it can actually work on, making it surplus to requirements all around. This is also partly because it’s something only Monk can do, so mechanics aren’t designed around it. I like it, but it doesn’t seem like a very strong addition to a Monk’s arsenal.
Kiss of the Wasp/Viper: I like the whole added secondary effect, but the reality is that both of these poisons are practically the same thing. The only functional difference is choosing whether Jugulate is a stun or a silence. It would be much, much easier to have these in trait form, either to have one thing you turned on or off or just have both forms as traits. As much as I like the mechanical implication, I can count on one hand the number of times that I’ve cared about having a silence instead of a stun on Ninja, and I play a lot of Ninja.
Mug: Removing this is a hard sell insofar as it’s a very Rogue/Thief ability, but in terms of actual game functionality? Mug is basically just an off-GCD attack a la Jump, but we already have a better option in Dream Within a Dream. And Mug’s additional effects are fairly worthless, to boot. It seems like the sort of thing that could be better used as a trait of some sort, maybe with a small chance of triggering a mug on weapon skill use.
Sneak Attack: Fun with positioning, that’s cool, but that’s also about all it does. You aren’t engaging enemies with Hide up most of the time (seriously, it’s not useful in group content), and since it shares a timer with Trick Attack you’re further disinclined to use it. A trait that makes your first weapon skill out of stealth more damaging might have a similar effect, but I can really live without it altogether.
Shukuchi: The idea behind this one seems to be that it’s a gap-closing tool a la Shoulder Tackle and Spineshatter Dive, but you can target it where you want. The problem is twofold. First of all, targeting it freely slows it down significantly, making it less useful for gap-closing purposes. Second, the lengthy windup on it means that it’s more or less useless for that purpose anyhow. It’s more or less unnecessary, and that means it’s something easy to remove.
Smoke Screen: Leaving aside the fact that threat generation is easy enough for most tanks that this is rarely necessary, Shadewalker more or less obsoletes this. Why cut someone else’s threat when you could just jack up the tank’s threat effectively? This would also make a fine trait addition somewhere along the line, too, so it becomes even less necessary.
As always, your speculation is welcome in the comments or via mail to firstname.lastname@example.org as the speculation train rolls on. If you missed this weekend’s coverage of PAX East, I recommend checking it out, as I got some pretty good questions in for Naoki Yoshida.