So I’m not going to lie to you here: If you’re happy with your tank job of choice in Shadowbringers, you’re going to be happy with it in Endwalker. If not, then you may want to consider switching before the next Final Fantasy XIV expansion arrives. That’s a bit glib, but it also speaks to the simple reality of the way that the jobs break down. None of the tanks has undergone any serious redesigns, all four of them work more or less the same way, and the minor additions that they’ve each gotten make them feel a bit more like themselves and more fun to play but also won’t wildly re-orient anything that isn’t already the case.
This is not what I would consider a bad thing. Indeed, it’s kind of a sign of how well the overall patterns of these particular jobs worked through most of the last expansion. It’s just a thing, and the extra toys you get should serve as more than enough incentive to keep enjoying what already made these jobs fun while mixing in some new toys and new benefits to timing.
All right. We’ve all seen the job action trailer in which Paladin gets to summon all the swords to stab the heck out of things. What’s easy to overlook is that Paladin actually becomes even more self-sustaining and awesome in this expansion. Like, you could tell that this was a Paladin marquee expansion just from looking at all the fun tricks Paladins get on top of their existing lineup.
Oh, you like the way those sword attacks look? Do you know that they’re an AoE DoT that saves you having to apply Goring Blade with the final hit while also restoring your MP? You’re welcome. Oh, look, your upgraded Shelltron not only reduces damage when it first activates (which rewards you for timing your activation just before a tankbuster) but also has a regen effect. Holy Spirit and Holy Circle? They also restore your health now. Divine Veil? Gets a heal effect. Want an AoE replacement for Spirits Within? You got it.
Seriously, the amount of Paladin sustain here is going to be absolutely nuts, and it’s going to help encourage Paladins to chain-pull things and keep going through a lot of punishment. It makes the job absolutely one of the hardiest and most recovery-heavy jobs available. About the only thing it doesn’t get is a raise ability, and with all of its tools to keep itself going and let the healer focus on other things, it barely needs it. What an amazing set of updates. Even aside from the cool factor of summoning spectral swords.
In some ways, it might seem as if Dark Knight got a little bit shafted by not having more mechanics to claw back health, but it certainly isn’t lacking in new aggressive options. The big marquee abilities it gets for this particular expansion are a new straight-line AoE ability that can be executed while Darkside is active and a new AoE pulse to go along with Salted Earth. Both are Abilities, to boot, so they’ll give Dark Knights more to do when they’re pumping out other ability and add some more fun in the job’s rotation.
Delirium has been slightly reworked; rather than having a timer, it grants you three charges that give you a free use of Quietus or Bloodspiller each, freeing you from some timing windows there. You’ve also got a new targeted ability with two charges to reduce the damage taken by yourself or an ally by 10%, which can serve both as a backup when Blackest Night isn’t available for a tankbuster or as another tool to help support the other tank when relevant. Also, your ranged attacks now help recharge Plunge, giving Dark Knight a bit of extra mobility.
Ultimately, the tweaks are minor ones but should help the job play a little bit faster while keeping its exceptionally useful damage mitigation with Blackest Night and its overall MP-management playstyle intact. It’s probably not enough to wildly upset the tank DPS rankings, but it should make Dark Knight feel more aggressive, which it definitely did not feel during Shadowbringers.
Inner Release is changing to work the same way Delirium does, but it’s also cheating with the marquee new Warrior ability, Primal Rend. Activate Inner Release and you can unleash Primal Rend, which is a direct critical hit and looks boss as hell but also doesn’t use up a charge of Inner Release. The purpose of a Warrior is to get really angry and smash everything, it seems.
Upheaval is no longer going to cost Beast Gauge to use and has a new multi-target equivalent, Orogeny, which is the big circular punch shown off in the benchmark trailer. There’s also a tweak added to the upgraded form of Raw Intuition, now called Bloodwhetting, which has the same extra damage reduction effect right on activation as well as erecting a barrier that will absorb some damage when used. I should note that these changes and the addition of healing make these abilities more useful to pop while chain-pulling as well; there’s a much greater boost to durability and it helps you all along the path between bosses in addition to buffering against tankbusters.
Ironically, I feel like the biggest thing that’s changing for Warrior is simply that the job is trying to shift to be less about just spamming Fell Cleave over and over, but that’s still an important and relevant way to play. You definitely have a very kinetic opener and a lot to justify your aggression right off the bat, and Bloodwhetting is going to be a great tool for increasing your durability mid-pull. And yes, Nascent Flash now offers the same benefits when you target the other tank.
Heart of Stone gets changed to my absolute favorite new tankbuster mitigation tool, Heart of Corundum. Why is it my favorite? Well, for one thing, it has a massive 30% damage cut if timed properly, which helps make up for Gunbreaker’s general fragility and need for mitigation cooldowns. That’s fun. But it also has what amounts to a mini-Excogitation on it, restoring your health if you drop below 50% or when it expires… and it lasts for just as long as it takes to cool down, giving you every reason to pop that as soon as you’ve finished pulling a batch of enemies. Fun for the whole family, assuming the family enjoys cutting edges that explode.
Beyond that, Gunbreaker’s only two new abilities are a new Continuation option following Blasting Zone and a new marquee attack, Double Down, which uses two powder charges and serves as a nice AoE or single-target damage burst. It won’t massively change your rotation in any way, but it makes use of the fact you now have three charges and can unleash even more explosive damage when needed (especially as Bloodfest stores a full three). You also get two charges of Aurora, which is a nice additional bit of security as you run.
Like the other tanks, Gunbreaker remains the most risky high-octane tank job that it always has been without major changes moving into Endwalker. And that’s just fine. I was hoping for maybe a few more changes for hype moments, but I think its base setup was solid enough that it didn’t need a whole lot, and its additions give it a bit more punch without wildly altering that fact.