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.
Misery’s End: It makes more sense to just have one cross-class “finisher” skill, like Mercy Stroke. (Yes, this should have also been noted under Assassinate; that has a particularly unique animation, but it slipped my mind. The point stands.)
Raging Strikes: Another fine candidate to be lost from a specific skillset and added as a cross-class skill, since this is a pretty ubiquitous damage up skill that applies to every ranged combatant.
Shadowbind: This is up there with Feint as something that’s theoretically useful but rarely actually has a use; it’s best removed, or relegated to PvP-only.
Swiftsong: If you’re looking for buttons to turn into traits, this one is an obvious removal. You could do this without making any functional changes to the job whatsoever, so it’s a net benefit.
Hawk’s Eye: Same rationale as Raging Strikes, really.
Wanderer’s Minuet: This is a prime candidate for making a passive trait rather than an active ability, and part of the reason for that is that currently it makes a big difference as an active ability. Weaving this ability on and off depending on movement phases is actually relevant, and it can contribute to your DPS substantially. So why would removing it be a good thing? Because that’s also the sort of high-end skill-based metric that Yoshida has said he specifically wants to remove, by and large. It affects your bottom line, but it mostly serves to create a bigger gap between skilled and novice players. Better to make it perpetual.
Gauss Barrel: Same basic philosophy as Wanderer’s Minuet, with the added benefit that no one has ever liked the actual Gauss Barrel look. Yes, I’ll miss using it to weave in and out as necessary, but the benefits outweigh the drawbacks.
Leg Graze: I get why so many different ranged jobs have the ability to Heavy things in PvE. It’s just not actually useful most of the time. Losing it would not be unwelcome.
Foot Graze: We also have another bind here? Yeah, we can lose that.
Dismantle/Rend Mind: Under no circumstances should we lose both of these abilities; they’re a great way of adding utility and support to the job. But we don’t need both of them turning every big incoming attack into a guessing game of “is this physical or mental.” Considering that they share a cooldown anyhow, just rolling them into one ability makes much more sense.
Heartbreak: See above vis-a-vis finishing blows.
Thunder II/III: It’s already been heavily hinted that the Thunder line will be rolled into one spell improved by traits, and frankly that makes the most sense. You can downrank for minor benefits, yes, but that’s still in the lineup of “arbitrary skill gate” from above, so better to remove the option.
Enochian: At this point, we know Enochian is going to become passive to some extent, so I feel comfortable putting this on here. Exactly how it’s going to work remains to be seen, but it’ll tie in with the Black Mage rotation, and seeing as how Fire IV/Blizzard IV have become so vital, it remains to be seen how it’ll all play off of itself.
Blizzard II: While this fills out an otherwise unsightly gap, Blizzard II lacks the utility of Fire II and mostly sees use in PvP or for early AoE while spamming FATEs for leveling. Replacing it with a proper targeted AoE like Fire II would be a better option, or just relegating it to cross-class magical classes in general.
Surecast: Has anyone ever used this ability outside of PvP? Probably not.
Swiftcast: The spell that ensures every single healer needs to spend a lengthy time on THM, this is definitely being moved into cross-class skills. It’s a great skill, but it’s something that is nigh-on fundamental to any caster class.
Manaward/Manawall: Essentially, the complaints here are the same as about Rend Mind and Dismantle; the guessing game involved makes these abilities less useful, not more. It’d make more sense to roll them together as a general-purpose cooldown.
Tri-bind: This one at least lost the “Tri-Disaster” name, which was a cool spell name for what long served as a very underwhelming actual ability. But it still has little to no actual use in most of the game, so it’s best removed and left alone.
Ruin II: This is an odd one. In the strictest sense, Ruin II is a functional spell. It’s not actually worse than Ruin; in some ways, it’s arguably better. (It costs a tiny bit more MP, but it’s instant and adds Blind, both of which are good.) But it doesn’t actually have any new impact. Either you can functionally replace Ruin with Ruin II or you just ignore that it exists, and neither one makes for an interesting spell. It’s the sort of thing that could easily be rolled into a trait.
Spur: Rouse-but-more would make more sense as an added trait for Rouse. Useful? Yes. In desperate need of its own button? No.
Miasma II: This one I’m pretty iffy on, because Miasma II does have some utility. It’s just that the game tacitly acknowledges that it’s not really part of the core rotation for your debuffs, with stuff like Fester and Bane ignoring its presence. While I think it’s a cool spell, I also think it’s something that could be removed without much impact on Summoner’s damage capacity, mostly ensuring that you didn’t need to run into melee range just to apply this one debuff (if you even bother).
Energy Drain: I kind of like Energy Drain, don’t get me wrong, but it really just serves as something to spend your Aetherflow stacks on until you get abilities like Bane, Fester, and Painflare. Removing it would have a slight impact on lower levels, but you could get over it.
Eye for an Eye: This is of mixed utility anyway, but it makes more sense in the cross-class pool. A power buff of some kind would be nice, too.
Agree? Disagree? Have your own speculation? Let me know down in the comments, folks, or mail your thoughts along to email@example.com. Next week, I’ll be wrapping up this series, and I fully expect we’ll be getting a patch on Tuesday. Let’s see how right that prediction is.