Wisdom of Nym: The ‘problem jobs’ of Final Fantasy XIV’s Shadowbringers

    
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Speaking!

When Final Fantasy XIV launched Shadowbringers, every job had issues, but most of them were fairly minor. That was not universally the case, to the point that four jobs were pretty obviously problems in some way. But now we’re (slowly) approaching patch 5.3, and it feels like all of these jobs have seen… well, changes. Not all of them have been the changes people wanted, and in many cases they’re more about balance than anything.

Of course, I think everyone’s going to have a different definition of “problem jobs.” I’ve seen people upset that Machinist doesn’t have higher DPS, for example, which seems like asking for a chocolate sundae with hot fudge to have more chocolate. The point is that this is based wholly on my own personal perception of the jobs in the roughest place at the expansion launch that have also seen some substantial changes, and at least two of them I think everyone can agree left a lot to be desired at launch.

This is not Eureka.

Ninja

When the expansion launched, I described playing Ninja as working twice as hard as any other job to do half the damage. And it was only halfway an exaggeration.

Ninja wasn’t just annoying to play but nigh-on impossible. You had inconvenient and non-overlapping cooldown windows to manage, far too much double-weaving for length Ninjutsu sequences, and positioning issues that made it very easy to get screwed out of large parts of your damage just due to normal mechanics. That was bad enough in and of itself, but your reward for playing well was… doing terrible damage. We were neck-and-neck with Dancer.

This one hurt a lot because I’ve been playing Ninja relentlessly since it was added to the game midway through the first patch series. This was bad enough that it made me start to consider just… not playing Ninja. It wasn’t fun and it wasn’t helpful.

Fortunately, Ninja got a lot of big changes, most notably finally changing Ninjutsu to no longer be something woven between GCDs but a cooldown of its own. And the result has been outstanding. The job feels like it has leaned a bit more into being a melee/spellcasting hybrid, but damage numbers are up again and solid, and the cooldowns and playstyle feels useful instead of janky and unbalanced.

It’s still not perfect; there are still some abilities that feel more situational than they’re worth, and not all of the cooldowns line up very smoothly even with the changes. But all told, the job is now back in its proper spot by being a high-skill job that rewards good play with solid damage and utility – which is what we always wanted.

go BOOM

Summoner

No, Summoner is still a mess, sorry. Or… well, it’s functional, but that’s not the same as solid.

I don’t mean to be anything less than fond of Summoner mains. It’s not that Summoner doesn’t work at this point. The rotation that it has is functional, and its damage numbers are solid enough. The problem is that Summoner isn’t just a high-skill job, it’s a high-skill job that feels wildly counterintuitve, and worse yet it’s a job that has an entire rotational change that happens four times through leveling. Dreadwyrm Trance completely changes how you play, then Bahamut completely changes it again, then you get another trance that changes everything, then it changes again at the level cap.

The biggest issue is just that while putting pet abilities on the GCD fixes one issue (numerical balancing), it also causes another issue wherein the job’s various abilities don’t seem to play nicely any longer. While removing double-weaving issues, it instead makes the spec a bloated mess that has four different play phases to cycle through, none of which flow particularly well into one another.

I think this one might almost require a full Machinist-style redesign in the next expansion, simply because between two separate Trances and summoning Bahamut, Summoner has just gotten overburdened with too many different things happening at once. Something has to give and be put away. And while it’s playable now, it’s… still really messy.

Hire a samurai.

Samurai

The biggest problem Samurai had at the start of the expansion was the fact that its big show-stopper ability was functionally almost never worth using, since you had to stand still and use Meditate for a long while to even activate it. The other problem was that in order to close off the problem of getting your best DPS by not using Iaiajutsu when your Sen gauge was full, the designers removed an ability that had a valuable secondary use for fixing uneven rotation cycles.

Tweaking the earning of Meditation stacks fixed one of these issues. Returning the old ability to allow you to consume Sen without it being something you wanted to do regularly fixed the other. But is Samurai working as intended otherwise? Well… sort of.

Samurai is in an interesting place because on the one hand it really needs the least in the way of new tricks. It’s the “selfish” melee DPS, providing no real buffs but making up for it with high damage. At the same time, no one really wants to play a job that doesn’t get any new abilities. This means that there’s a persistent sense of… adding new things without ever changing much.

Really, I think Samurai’s biggest problem right now isn’t numeric so much as having a lot of fights thus far that really do punish melee DPS; lots of things that either feature heavy movement or point-blank damage. It’s something to be addressed in the future, but it also means that right now it’s hard to tell if Samurai isn’t tuned well enough or if it’s just… a victim of circumstance.

The stars, they lie.

Astrologian

There are kind of two lines of discontent on Astrologian. The first is that the job’s card system has been made vastly less ornate, which is true, but it also isn’t going to change and probably shouldn’t. This means that you’re no longer fishing for the same couple of cards every time (and folks, we all know that was the case). This part hasn’t changed. What has changed is a lot of Astrologian potencies and skills, usually in more helpful directions.

Of course, this also speaks to the nature of what makes the job a “problem” in that regard. It’s not that Astrologian doesn’t work, or at least, not that it doesn’t work now. It’s more about feeling that the art of fishing for one of the three cards you actually wanted was more interesting than this version, which is much more about matching the right card with the right member of your party. It also means you’ve lost party-wide buffs in exchange for more directed ones… but this was always going to happen without the need for resource recovery.

Astrologian certainly works better than it did before. Whether or not it works the way you would prefer it to work is a different story.

As always, feedback is welcome in the comments down below or via mail to eliot@massivelyop.com. Next week, let’s talk a little bit about role quests, from what worked to what didn’t, and whether or not they fulfilled the purpose they were added for.

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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Tyrone Lamoureux

This might sound out of left field but the biggest problem about Samurai is that it isn’t a tank.

Too many DPS classes, not enough interesting tanks.
Sam was a tank in 11, it would have made sense.

I would have been interested in actually tanking.

gtsgunner
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gtsgunner

Sam was a Dps in 11. What are you smoking thinking it was a tank? I played from the start of NA all the way through adoulin. Sam was never a tank. The closest Sam was to a tank is like ff14 drg getting tankier gear. SE may have had it in mind to make them a tank but in actuality it never happened. It’s like calling Ninja’s Dps in 11 when they were primarily tanks for most of the game. Sam literally only had third eye and later seigan. But neither was enough to use it as a tank over paladin or warrior or ninja. Most warriors didn’t tank that much either later in the game. Sam was all about meditate self skill chains for big dick magic bursts of skill chains and later on just pure burn parties because of their rediculous to gain pre abysea.

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bungledess

Honestly Summoner is in a great spot right now. I miss a lot of the double weaving skills and the happy accident of having Ruination spreading along with Bane. But really, the change in rotation makes it a far more manageable class than used to be.
I am loving how they put Ruin IV on GCD, just because it’s no longer a use it or lose it ability, whether it stacked 3 times or not. It still has so much more mobility than it used to, which is saying a lot considering the draw WAS it’s mobility. But you’re no longer relying on Ruin III spam unless everything else is on GCD, and even then it’s used maybe 2-4 times, with an incorporated Swiftcast, and then you can start back up again.
The only thing I feel Smn is lacking is an AoE equivalent to Ruin IV.

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Axetwin .

The changes to Summoner/Scholar is why i decided not to even buy Shadowbrings/renew my sub.

Yani
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Yani

As a former Nin main that dropped it with the latest changes, I strongly disagree on those changes being “outstanding.” Nearly everyone hated Shadowfang simplification. A lot of people hate GCD Ninjutsus because it slowed down the class and now it’s a burst class with barely anything to do but 123 combos outside of burst.
Big ninjutsus now go boom so not everyone is mad but only people who don’t enjoy weaving are happy.
This is a problem because it’s the equivalent of BLM getting changed to an instant cast class because some people (like me) hate casting load time. But I don’t mind if BLM stays the same because I understand it caters to someone else’s playstyle. Nin lost a chunk of it’s uniqueness without it’s double weaving.

Finally, the most problematic classes are Monk, Scholar and Warrior, according to recent polls on Reddit.

I have almost all dps at 80 and Monk is the only one that feels like a hot mess. Bootshine doesn’t even light up like other classes do, too many useless abilities (TK and Six Sided Star even cancel each other out) and it’s not smooth like BLM.

I mean, Imagine if you needed 3 or 4 stacks of Enochian to use Xenoglossy and lose the stacks, having to run around pressing Umbral Soul/ Transpose 3 times every time you want to refresh stacks on a dungeon.

Another messy class is Bard, Apex Arrow takes too long to charge and would better be off on oGCD and usable at 50/100. Another problem is the mediocre aoe rotation. SMN has Bane and 2 floor placement dots while Bard has 0 or anything interesting to make up for it. Maybe fixing Apex A would help.

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bungledess

Scholar isn’t as DPS-y as it used to be, which I sorely miss. They took away a DoT, took Selene’s DPS abilities away, removed Bane and Shadowflare. It’s still a lot busier than Whm, which I’m thankful for, but it’s gotten boring comparatively. Ast seems to be the new hotness as far as healers go now, and with how much utility the class brings to the table, it’s no wonder why.

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Seenanfb

Nail was hit on the head with Ninja. After NIN drops its burst, it’s just 123 until TA is back up and the rotation can happen again…other than the occasional Raiton or Bha while Ninjutsu and the gauge recharges, assuming a singular boss.

I’d wanna see more unique ways to use some of the spells or weaponskills other than a big burst every ~60-180 seconds personally. Think BLM where they have a fairly consistent dps cycle even after the initial ‘burst’ cycle.
As well, I think ninjutsus should be able to queue up so ping is less of a factor in doing top dps (if you cast Ninjutsu, you have a chance to drop the cast or cast the wrong thing simply according to how well your ping is and how fast you’re inputting). They did well with the charge based Ninjutsu though.

Yani
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Yani

Agree with the ninjutsu charges. If they had just done that and the TenchiJin changes, most people would have been happy.

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CPTGLORIOUSBEARD

Laughs in dancer, cries in blue mage

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Switchie Console-tan

I like how nobody mentions monk as a job that has problems when it’s gone nearly 2 expansions worth of getting a job ui that’s not only very rng dependent when you crit(Chakra) but fist stances that conflict with the way its played until the moment you hit 78. (fist of wind adding gl4)

And even then, your original job ui of greased lighting management gets killed off by lvl the minute you learn tornado kick at lvl 60, nuking your gl stacks, and with no breakaway. If they made tk breakaway like dragoon’s elusive jump, we could talk.

And I also love how nobodies talking about warrior or dark knight feeling like minor carbon copies of one another now. Like square is saying “your the off tanks, deal with it.” Having most of there more interesting skills neutered and gutted to make anyone unskilled feel they can pull half a dungeons worth of mobs and not die… But they do.. A lot. I’ve been that healer looking at it and seeing the difference between the tanks that know and don’t. Just heal full parties and alliances now thanks to that shit.

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Tikiwiki

Scholar and the buggier than ever pet is a huge problem having cds get eaten is the most frustrating thing I’ve experienced in xiv.

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Bruno Brito

The fact this game lacks any kind of character customization whatsoever build-wise, makes me think that any changes makes you a hostage to however the developers thinks you should play the class.

Being able to change classes is not enough compensation. This game really isn’t for me.

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Haxton

As oppose to what other kind of game? Even WoW you’re being dictated on how to play a class.

JonBuck
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JonBuck

I leveled everything to 80 on my main, now I’m doing the same on my alt on another DC. I ended up gravitating to NIN, DNC, and RDM for DPS, and Gunbreaker for tank.

I can’t get used to BLM because of the long cast times. SMN’s dots are a pain to keep up and balance Aetherflow. BRD feels too…one-button at times. I mained WAR through Stormblood, but the changes put me off the rhythm I’d developed for the Job. I haven’t gotten it back yet. DRK I also enjoy.

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bungledess

In general, DoTs are a pain to keep up no matter your class. I think the only “Set it and forget it” DoT is SAM with a 60s Higanbana lol

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Matt Redding

I really hate it when MMOs rework classes over and over. The situation with Summoner … is exactly what I expected to happen and I noped out after Stormblood was released and underwhelmed me.

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Jon Camp

In ARR I mained Black Mage. In HW, BLM felt punished for leveling past 50, but the previously-boring Summoner got all kinds of fun new toys, and so was my new main. Stormblood released RDM, so I unlocked that and used it up until 70, and it was fine but didn’t quite “do it” for me, so I went back to SMN and… it was fine, but … off. I ended up leveling everything to 70 and found that tanking as a Paladin was now “my thing.” Now in Shadowbringers I’ve got everything to 80 and I’m still struggling to pick a main. I’m leaning toward Bard as my DPS now, and Gunbreaker as my tank, but even those are more of “least annoying to play” in my mind rather than “oh, this really ‘clicks’ with me” anymore.