Wisdom of Nym: Reactions to Final Fantasy XIV’s job changes from the live letter

    
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Oh, right.

One of the things that excites me every time about Final Fantasy XIV is the way that the game can tell you up-front exactly what it’s going to be revealing to the point that you know the reveals beyond a shadow of a doubt going in… and yet at the same time it can still manage to keep you excited and interested and feel like a rush of new information. That definitely seems to be the case with the most recent live letter, which was just hype as hell unless, I guess, you were hoping for some grand new changes to Scholar.

If that was the case, you are less than hyped.

There’s a lot to unpack from this particular letter, a lot that we’re not going to know until later, and a lot more stuff that’s going to need time for analysis. And somewhat to my edification, this time I’m looking at all of this from the same perspective as everyone, as the media tour has not happened yet. Some I’m going to do what I frequently do with these topics and just put together my thoughts in the order that they present themselves to me, hopefully in an entertaining fashion.

First and foremost, we have two totally new jobs on display from the live letter (Sage and Reaper) and two largely changed jobs on display (Monk and Summoner). Unfortunately, while Yoshi-P did his best to explain the Monk changes with a demonstration, the fact is that the explanation just… did not make sense, at least to me. Monk is getting a new resource and mechanical elements, but it’s not really clear to me how that’s supposed to work in rotation, so I think it’s going to just have to be something we see in action for a better explanation.

Note that I don’t exactly blame anyone here. It’s just hard to explain all of this stuff in a few minutes while also translating live. That’s a tricky problem to solve; it’s just complicated enough that the explanation didn’t make much sense this time, unfortunately.

On the bright side, Summoner was far more straightforward, and what a set of changes. Gone are most of the pet elements, replaced almost completely with a series of what amounts to Trances that can be staggered in multiple orders and allow for what looks like a more traditional summoning experience for the series. On the one hand, this means that whereas the job previously had four phases to cycle through it now has five and that isn’t necessarily an improvement; on the other hand, those cycles also have the advantage of no longer prioritizing different rotations but just offering different twists on the spells you’re already casting.

Sage, meanwhile, seems to be tailor-made to address the core disparity of healing jobs. Every job needs something to keep up with healing while it’s doing damage, based on the nature of how healing works in FFXIV. Scholars have the fairy, White Mages and Astrologians keep up regen effects, so how does Sage manage it? By healing through dealing damage. It’s an elegant solution, and it definitely looks like an interesting and involved but unique job.

It also seems to have what amounts to Dark Arts as a central job mechanic with its whole swapping between modes of spells, so that’s going to be interesting to play around with.

Last and certainly not least, we have Reaper, and contrary to my prior speculation, it’s actually leaning more toward pure DPS… but it’s also buffing and enhancing party members to some extent, so that’s going to be interesting to see in action. Its teleportation mechanic looks interesting as a way to alter your trajectory, especially when moving in or out of mechanics as needed, and while it’s not totally clear just yet how the rotation works with its job gauge there’s definitely some interesting after-effects with the job gauge and using avatar skills. I’m intrigued by this one and look forward to playing it.

And again, those are just the jobs that are either new or majorly revamped. That’s a lot even within those parameters, and it’s not counting the jobs that are by Yoshi-P’s own estimation in a decent place and moving forward more or less intact.

Laser needles.Of course, I’d be remiss not to note that Scholars are not happy with the announcements, and to an extent I get that; Scholar has definitely lagged behind Astrologian and White Mage for this expansion, and it doesn’t seem to be getting all of the new hot tools that Sage has as a barrier healer. What seems to be getting missed is that the two roles will be strongly advocated for both existing in Savage groups, which possibly shakes up the dynamics a bit further. It also notes that the job is getting new skills and most of the discussion was about changes to existing skills, which is a little bit different.

That’s not to say that Scholars are wrong to feel a bit neglected, just that you’re going to have to wait until the media tour and people start talking about how it actually plays before declaring the job outright dead. Give it a little more time to see what works and what doesn’t, you know?

I’m a bit surprised that it looks like Paladin is getting an overall extension of its casting phase, although it means that there’s likely to be less dead space as the job moves from casting to weapon rotations. In general, there do seem to be more skills that are meant to be used in AoE or single-target rotation than was the case in Shadowbringers, possibly as a response to some of the underwhelming rotational bits some jobs had for AoE. There’s also an interesting trend of removing positionals from some jobs, mentioned in a couple of places; there might be more excised than we know about.

Part of me is kind of sad about Astrologian losing its sect mechanics. It did feel pretty likely, even though I was cautioning against assuming that would be the case without confirmation; now we know it’s the case. For the vast majority of AST players it’s going to be not much of a functional change, but it does mean finally losing that unique sense of flipping between sects as needed, which could pay dividends in dungeon runs.

Last but not least, I find the whole “timing” aspect of defensive cooldowns for tanks to be an interesting added skill test for the role. I have no doubt that this will be an unnecessary thing; I don’t think that players who successfully hit these cooldowns on the right time intervals will be the only way to tank with the game’s usual dungeon philosophy, for example. Rather, it’ll probably be the difference between an acceptable tank and a good one, often making runs that much faster when the rotation is handled just right.

Honestly, I have more thoughts on what we learned, but at a certain point you have to just acknowledge that there’s a lot of neat stuff to look forward to and then move on. Feedback, of course, can be left in the comments down below or mailed to eliot@massivelyop.com; next week, we’re going to talk about what the removal of HQ gathered items might mean for crafting and gathering.

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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GHR0
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GHR0

The only thing I’m worried about is this new 1 regular and 1 shield healer matching for raid’s. They should of focused on balancing shields stacking with each other like regens do to avoid a high shield healer queue.

As for SCH it might be time to wipe the slate like SMN and make the fairy do nothing without a button press. They just can’t seem to figure out what to do with that fairy auto healing.

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Bereman99

It seems like trying to balance two barriers stacking with each other either leads to OP shielding or feeling like only have one shield based class is lackluster, or requires weird work arounds.

Also, healer queues – expansion spikes right at launch notwithstanding – are rarely high, and I suspect this won’t change even with the direct/shield designation.

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Danny Smith

Something neat i noticed but haven’t seen anyone comment on: it looks like the Sages job gauge is actually the classic final fantasy active time battle gauge.

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Ryan Allgood

On the Sage “Dark Arts” comparison: I don’t think it’ll be nearly the issue DA was. You had to use that like almost every single GCD. This will be more situational.

They showed that it makes your main single target nuke apply a DoT (so probably only need that once every 30 seconds or so). It converted their single target heal into a lesser heal that also added shielding. Same for their AoE. Those are likewise things you’re unlikely to spam back to back since barriers don’t stack up.

I thought it was a beautiful way to reduce how many actions need to be on your action bar while still having some variety to their effect and usage.

On Summoner: I’m so so so glad they’re actually a Summoner now, instead of a knock-off WoW Warlock! I feel like ever since WoW, every time an MMO has something pet themed and caster themed, they’re like “okay it has to be DoT focused”.

I think SMN looks so amazing that I’m having a hard time justifying not maining it, and I’m a healer main. Speaking of…

On Scholar: I do agree that we should wait until the media tour, but it still rubs me the wrong way that they explicitly said “Oh there’s nothing we can do to improve it.”

I thought maybe it was just a Western thing that people were dissatisfied with SCH, but I asked some friends that can read Japanese and who visit their discussion sites, and they seem to also feel that SCH isn’t in a good place.

Honestly, if they’ve fixed the pet issues caused by Shadowbringers (which the video seems like they might have), then all they really need to do is give back their DoTs. They took them off SMN.

Just give SCH back at least one more DoT to manage (with a separate timer so it’s more dynamic), bring back Shadowflare in some capacity (it even feels like a dark counterpart to Sacred Soil), give them Bane, and maybe do something better with Ruin 2 (since the reduced Broil cast time will make it less important as is).

Obviously all this while adjusting potencies of course so they don’t suddenly have crazy DPS. But as is, it’s looking like SCH will have the least attacks out of the healers (not counting Ruin 2 unless they give it a better niche), which is crazy since they used to be the most offensive feeling in ARR/HW and even Stormblood. They’ll have 4 attacks, while WHM will have at least 5, AST looks to have at least 6 (with the addition of the new Lord of Crowns attack and that Meteor rain looking attack), and SGE also seems to have at least 6.

WayTooLateTV
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WayTooLateTV

Some SERIOUS decision-making needs be done in the WayTooHousehold in what job I’m going to be running through Endwalker on for my Main, Ceilidh (80s on everything), and my alt, Pufufu (select 80s).

Ceilidh will be, from the strength of the job trailer *AND* the fact that my best friend is going PLD, as he is PLD 4 LYFE in everything he does, going MCH once again for Endwalker. You can’t steer me wrong with buzzsaws, folks. It just can’t be done.

Pufufu, on the other hand, will likely be going Summoner, or POSSIBLY Red Mage. Both of those looked strong as h-e-double-k’s on the Job video. SMN for obvious reasons, RDM getting the defensive bubble, the 50-mana melee combos, Verholy, Verflare, and Scorch all becoming AOEs, and that straight shot column AOE after Scorch lookin’ all fine as hell.

Eliot, if you have decided, what are you running through EW on first? Or if you’ve narrowed it down, what have you narrowed it down TO?

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jealouspirate

As a WoW “refugee” and relative FFXIV newbie, I find all of this very interesting. I’m quite interested to see how FFXIV manages jobs and levels going into the next couple expansions, because that’s when Blizzard really started to have trouble making it all work. Legion was WoW’s 6th expansion and the first time they went all-in on borrowed power. Endwalker is the 5th expansion, so we’re starting to get into the same territory.

I bring this up because it’s easy to see some evidence of WoW’s problems happening in FFXIV as well. Summoner seems to be a good example of the class design pitfalls Blizzard has gotten into: Stacking new stuff each expansion on top of the old stuff, but it never fully jives, and eventually you just have an over-complicated class that doesn’t work and needs to be completely redesigned.

I noticed Endwalker is bringing a stat squish. The first for the game as far as I can tell? Something WoW has had to do a couple times now. I wonder when they’ll do a level squish as well. Seems inevitable. In my opinion as a new player, it’s well past time for that. As someone who has just leveled a couple jobs to 60, I can tell you most of those levels are pretty dead. The gaps between new abilities are too large, and jobs are too top-heavy. As far as I can tell this is a side effect of taking old abilities and removing it/making it passive in order to make room for new abilities each expansion. The need to support controller players puts a pretty hard limit on the amount of skills any job can have, so each time they add something it must be accompanied by removal of other things.

I’m also quite curious how long they can keep adding 2 new jobs per expansion and have them all feel both unique and balanced. I already see a lot of people complaining that the 4 tanks are fairly homogenous.

P.S. Sage looks quite cool, looking forward to that. Glad to see they’re finally going for the “your dps gives healing” route, which is something I recommended here a couple months ago.

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Rick Mills

Good observations – I also am awaiting to see if the devs here are able to better job with expansions than Wow. Somehow I think what Wow did is inevitable as everything bows to the law of diminishing returns…

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Bereman99

Any future possible level squish definitely comes with its own set of challenges compared to when WoW did it.

Much of that comes down to I don’t see them taking the same approach and having the content across an entire expansion scale to the level of the player, which is half the reason WoW was able to do it. The other half is that they just went and made every expansion except the latest one an optional experience – another approach I’m not sure we will see from the FFXIV devs. They had to basically break the game to a degree to do their level squish. For all intents and purposes, WoW right now is Exile’d Reach, Battle for Azeroth, and Shadowlands…with everything else being obsolete content you can visit if you want.

It would mean rebalancing a lot of content for a smaller level range, along with redoing stats and stuff for gear (again). Since grouping for content is an integral part of the MSQ and the game in general, it would be even more important to get that part right.

Given the amount of things they’d have to solve or change significantly, I actually don’t think a level squish is inevitable, and we will see other solutions instead (possibly including switching to horizontal progression instead of new levels, etc).

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Ruby Lancer

Aside from the usual upgrades, Scholar didn’t have much on show that was just obvious as being completely new outside of the defensive run speed buff, and a new barrier (so help me this thing BETTER BE INSTANT CAST!). Oh, and Fey Blessing not costing Fairy Gauge now meaning that at this point only Fey Union/Fairy Tether is the only thing that uses it. Even the tanks had better showings and they showed 85 to 90% old abilities, just because the new abilities (and changes) we did see were fairly obvious!

Scholar isn’t dead yet, there’s still stuff that can come up next month after the Media Tour’s over that will give us the full list of new abilities (I don’t bother with potency numbers until live really), but it doesn’t feel like Scholar got anything it was really asking for.

The additional AoE stuff is interesting as it is, as it does seem like they’re being more okay with how players are running dungeons. It certainly felt like back in Stormblood they were trying to curtail that some with the AoE changes back then, and a few of the way pulls work in some of the more recent dungeons feels like they’re a bit more punishing of doing big pulls. But what they talked about makes it feel like they’re becoming more okay with it.

The way I see the new AoEs are basically falling into one of two categories: Either put in to add a new element to a job’s AoE rotation, or being put in to fill a gap in a job’s AoE rotation. Dragoon’s AoE rotation is, for the most part, fine outside of a QoL change or two needed, so its new AoE addition is more in the first category. Meanwhile, Red Mage’s additions are certainly being done to fill a gap, as it could really use a “finisher” in line with its ST rotation. The fact that its the same skills as its ST one is just a QoL thing to make it simple to understand.

I’m still kind of shaking my head at folks on the Summoner changes. There have been so many acting like “WE’RE FINALLY SUMMONERS!” and I’m like “No… no you aren’t. You’re devolving back to more Caller/Evoker mechanics with a dash of channeling powers.” Don’t get me wrong, as I’m fine with the direction they’re going in with things. I just find it silly that everyone’s acting like they’re actually getting what they wanted when they really aren’t (and lore wise you -REALLY- don’t want, plus the whole Eden thing with us and actually summoning… its just a whole thing.)

I’m also concerned about the Summoner’s opener, as it does seem like they… don’t have anything that’s instant cast without using resources, beyond Summon Bahamut or the basic Summon. So yeah, hoping they show more at the Media Tour that would mean that Summoner won’t have to clip horribly in the opener.

I do want to talk about the stat squish some as well, at least given what information they have given, but that can wait I guess, since my own comment is getting a bit long. At base, it looks like it’ll work out and feeling hopeful that balance is maintained, as it is not so much right now at those lower levels.

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IronSalamander8 .

They’re removing HQ stuff from gathering? I totally missed that! That’s going to save storage space for sure, but I’m currently on some gathering quests that need HQ items to complete and had to stop working on them as post 50, they get MUCH more difficult to get them and my gear on my gatherers is not great. I’ve been pausing on them to get my crafters caught up to make my own gear instead of spending money on the market, but with fishing at 70 thanks to levemeets, mining and botany at 54 each, and my highest crafting is 40 as I cycle through all of them in increments of 5 to get to the quests, it’s not coming soon, wonder how that will change coming up?

I love that the tank ranged attack will no longer break our combos, which is really annoying when you have to move out of an AoE, as they add a little DPS and a little enmity so that’s good news. Not sure how the timing for defensive cooldowns will play out until I see more, I tend to spread them around when I have that option on higher level content, and use them a lot on bosses. I play tank a lot, was my main role for a long time, but am mostly DPS these days as we have a friend who tanks even more than I do, but have never tried healer much as I didn’t like it at the time. Will have to try it again.

MCH looks to be in good shape. I’ve just started tooling around with Dancer and it’s really fun so will try that more as well, but didn’t see much about what’s new in the love letter as I don’t know the class well yet. Reaper and Sage both sound interesting, maybe Sage will get me to heal more often.

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Scott Leyes

Regarding the Crafting changes:

While the Live Letter didn’t address things specifically, this is just another move in a series of attempts to make crafting/gathering less complicated and intimidating for players.

If you know any job history, you know it has been a long road. Those strange gathering Mini-games upstairs in the Gold Saucer? Those are how players USED to gather wood and ore. Crafting jobs used to have cross-class abilities, so you would have to level Culinarian (for example) to get a CP regen skill, etc., etc.

The last round of crafting changes removed a lot of HQ requirements from quests and turn-ins, so this will just be more of the same. Frankly, it’s so easy now to level crafting/gathering jobs that HQ items become largely irrelevant, simply because you can overwhelm things by out-leveling them.

For me, the last BIG change we need is the ability to access higher-level tomestone and scrip gear without having to level thru an expansion; it’s annoying to have a level 70 job but no level 70 gear because you haven’t opened up Rhalgar’s Reach yet.

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WayTooLateTV

Yoshi-P did say that in place of what WOULD have been HQ strikes as BTN/MIN, you’d be getting increased yield strikes, so you’d get 1-3 extra yield of the item instead of an HQ in Endwalker. I BELIEVE that he said for Fishing, you’d get a larger-sized fish, but not entirely sure on that one.

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IronSalamander8 .

Interesting. I just started crafting/gathering a couple weeks ago as I really want 70 to get that tank from the dwarves! So I have no experience of it beforehand, I just know that my gathering % for HQ at my 53 quests is 1% and they want 10 of them, and I don’t have many GP so decided to break off from that for now.

I did play a bit when combat jobs required cross classing though. Like I only had Gladiator/Paladin at 34 because I needed provoke to play my Warrior back then!

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slohara

There’s a couple skills you can use to bring that HQ% up to something a little more acceptable.

Even at 15 or 20% you’ll get the 10 items in less than 30 minutes.

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IronSalamander8 .

I don’t have many GP so I use them a couple times and out of points. My plan is to craft my own gear to get better perception, gathering, and GP and then go back, or wait till the expansion hits and then gather for the quests instead.