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.
Stone II/Stone III: Much like the Thunder line for Black Mage, this could easily be compressed down into traits. The big “functional” difference is that the first rank has a Heavy effect, but the reality is that pretty much no one uses it for that Heavy outside of PvP; it might as well be universal across ranks. This one seems pretty straightforward.
Cleric Stance: Consider this under “obvious cross-class skills” once again; Cleric Stance might as well be universal instead of native to White Mage, much like Rampart for tanks.
Protect: See above.
Stoneskin/Stoneskin II: See above once again, although I think the White Mage traits for the spell make it a bit murkier. Stoneskin II should definitely be reduced to a trait to change the spell’s behavior out of combat, since that’s all it functionally does. Stoneskin itself, though, is already functionally a “default” healer cross-class; it may as well become universal.
Repose: The interesting thing about White Mage and Black Mage is that they both have several spells with similar functionality but slight differences, and Repose kind of plays off of that; it’s not as potent as Sleep with its lack of AoE, but it still works like Sleep. Of course, the problem is that no one uses Sleep in PvE content anyhow, so Repose is a strictly worse spell that no one uses. It’s easy enough to remove it.
Eye for an Eye: I talked about this briefly with Summoner, but this is one of those effects that seems best made into a cross-class skill by default. The hope – although it’s largely based off of speculation – would be that making effects like this cross-class would also change how things such as Deployment Tactics work; it’d be nice if instead of that ability just spreading two sorts of buffs, it spreads your cross-class buffs as well. Hello, easy party buffing with Stoneskin!
Ruin II: Again, discussed with Summoner; this would be easy enough to make into a trait rather than a separate spell.
Miasma II: While Summoner could probably live without Miasma II, I’d go so far as to say it’s almost actively harmful to Scholar; it encourages running into harm’s way, which is a bad idea for a squishy DPS but a very bad idea for a healer. Scholar losing this would still have tons of solid options for spreading damage over time throughout the enemy groups, so it’s not really much of a loss.
Virus: Another skill that should probably just go into the cross-class bucket for everyone, possibly while retaining traits to make it more potent on Scholar.
Dissipation: Ugh, Dissipation. This isn’t just a not-great ability, it’s an actively bad one. It’s an ability that actually limits a Scholar’s ability to play, and it does so without providing much in the way of benefit, trading one panic situation for another. Heck, I’d argue that most of the time on Scholar, it’s worse when you don’t have your fairy out than when you run out of Aetherflow. You don’t want either, but you can sustain your group longer without Lustrate than you can without Embrace, so to speak.
This one could be redesigned to be a pretty decent trait, though; imagine if when your fairy died you got the benefits of Dissipation with an internal cooldown. That means that if you’re in a crisis situation, you have tools to recover from it; you can heal people up and resummon your fairy once your healing buff is off. It’s still not great, but it feels like a benefit rather than a hindrance.
Stella: Why does this spell exist? Because every other healer has a means of inflicting Heavy, so Astrologian needs it as well. But no one cares about inflicting Heavy, so why not just remove the button? Easy.
Malefic II: Another spell that can easily be replaced with a trait that has the same effect, as it just functionally replaces Malefic once it comes along (far too late).
Time Dilation: This is actually a really cool effect that I think has every reason to exist and serves a useful purpose. I’m not singling it out for that, but for the fact that Celestial Opposition has nearly the same effect, and we’re looking at reducing the number of buttons on one’s bar. Making Time Dilation into a trait of some kind would probably work; say, every critical heal has the same effect. It’s not an elegant solution, though, it’s just one of the few cases where a useful ability is still a bit on the button-bloat side.
Redraw: Again, we’re talking about button bloat here. While Redraw is a useful trick to have in an Astrologian’s arsenal, it’s also piling a bit more RNG on a process that’s already been pretty random up to this point. A trait preventing you from getting the same card twice in a row would help a bit here, but then, part of the problem is that Astrologian is a pretty tightly-designed class with a lot of layers running through it, so it’s not exactly an easy fix.
And to wrap up, a disclaimer
Obviously, I do not work on FFXIV. I am not the person who makes these decisions. Everything here is pure speculation fueled by logic and what evidence we have, which in most cases is not a whole heck of a lot.
I’d also like to say that as I said with the first installment, this is an attempt to speculate about what could be removed, not what will be removed. I can quite easily see yoinking, say, two AST skills and then having AST gain two new skills and two new traits in Stormblood. Nothing we’ve been told indicates that won’t happen. It’s entirely within the realm of possibility! We just don’t know yet, and we’ll have to see once we get more information.
For now, feel free to leave your own speculation and feedback in the comments below, or mail it along to firstname.lastname@example.org. Next week, we’ve seen the end of the story… so let’s start looking back at Heavensward, one step at a time. But not one patch at a time.