First things first: I’m going to be writing this column in something of a whirlwind. It would have been nice if we had gotten these full patch notes on Sunday instead of today, so we could know all of the changes coming to Final Fantasy XIV a little bit earlier. I’m not even sure why we didn’t beyond tradition; I get why Square-Enix doesn’t tend to release new item lists ahead of time to avoid market boards going nuts on speculation, but it’s not like people were going to level or not level a job on Sunday based on what the patch notes said, right?
Alas, we’re in this situation, and since there’s really no way to just briefly touch upon all of these changes without doing an incompetent job, I have to write the entire thing today on a rather tight deadline. That’s the obstacle course that’s been set up for me. So let’s take a look at all of the changes that have been made to the jobs, including some rather surprising ones when you get right down to it. Hey, let’s even start with some of the surprise.
You know, a lot of the predictions I had seen about Ninja were centered around the idea that it would inevitably get a potency drop with this patch, simply because it seemed unlikely in the extreme that it would get some sort of buff now that it was going to have even more damage buffs. Instead, Ninja has actually had a lot of increases across the board. Doton deals more damage (and lasts for less time, but we’ll analyze that in a moment). Your main weaponskills do more damage, which will add up over time. You even get two different vulnerability buffs that are going to be a pretty sizable overall buff during your burst windows, which will make a big difference.
Now, there are some notable changes that will impact how Ninja tends to play. The first is that Doton can no longer be set up before using Hide to reset your ninjutsu. This was useful when you could pull it off to start the fight with some extra Doton damage with the tank pulling the boss into your pain puddle. That was nice when it happened, but it required a cooperative tank and wasn’t even usable with certain bosses; I don’t consider this a real loss. The drop in potency for Bhavacakra is fairly notable as it’s your primary oGCD weave for most of a fight, but overall your damage profile during openers should look either similar or a bit higher as a result of these particular changes.
I’m definitely surprised; I didn’t think that Ninja was basically going to get all the same power with an additional buff to damage, but it looks like it did. Your burst windows are going to get even more bursty. Burst-tacular? There’s not really a form for that.
There are a couple of notable changes here. The Blood Weapon change is… important, but not particularly effectual in the way that Dark Knights will ultimately use the ability. At least to my experience, it’s not even going to substantially impact the job’s DPS. A drop to Flood of Darkness is important, but since you’re not using that on boss pulls anyway (which is where the most important fights happen), it’s largely immaterial to the job’s overall ranking on DPS.
But hey, the big change is that now Living Dead actually works.
I joke, but the problem Living Dead has always had is one that will be familiar to Dark Knights everywhere: If your healer is having a hard time healing you, Living Dead functionally kills you if it actually makes you invulnerable. Now, it gives you an actual window to be useful. It’s still not the most powerful invulnerability effect, since you have to do some massaging to get the actual meatiest effect out of the ability, but it no longer feels like you’re hitting a button to slightly stall death and like you might actually come out of this alive. That’s a nice change!
All right, Overpower now works the same as every other tank AoE ability. That’s nice. But did you change the animation at all, or are you now doing a frontal cone that isn’t actually a frontal cone at all? I feel like an animation change would have been noted, but it also feels really weird to just change the area and nothing else.
There’s nothing much to be said; this is just a straight quality-of-life buff for Warriors, but that animation is going to stick in my mind. Sorry.
So I was talking with our own Chris about this, and he noted how it’s odd that a lot of Samurai abilities actually hit weaker now. This, however, is not unintentional because most of those abilities are now auto-criticals, which means they’re naturally going to hit harder because they will also scale with your critical hit damage. That’s a pretty big balance change, and it’s one I’m always a touch worried about because… well, it’s hard to properly scale damage when you know it’s going to be a critical hit.
Critical hit, as a stat, has enjoyed a particularly big boost in utility throughout Endwalker so far. In Stormblood and Shadowbringers the stat was generally only worth melding for on a lot of jobs once you reached a certain level of gear; early on it didn’t provide quite as much pain per point as Direct Hit did. It wasn’t a huge change, but it was there. In Endwalker, however, you have enough automatic crits and enough critical hit to start with that it’s almost immediately worthwhile to treat Critical Hit as the best stat to meld to cap right away; Direct Hit has taken the spot of “worst meld” that was once held by Determination.
Is this a problem? Eh… only insofar as Critical Hit provides some scaling issues, as noted. It’s going to definitely provide some different stat priority needs for Samurai, and I think it’s going to be interesting to see how the job’s damage scales once we get more gear and more item tiers.
There’s not enough space to discuss all of the job changes in one column, but at least one important note: While the added sustain for Paladin is nice, the way the patch notes are phrased make the changes to Requiescat sound more significant than they really are. The way it worked before was that Conefiteor comboed directly into your sword storm abilities. Now, however, your sword storm starts up when Requiescat ends… which also happens as soon as you use Conefiteor. So it’s really more of a way to make sure you’re not using the sword storm while Requiescat is up. It’s an odd change, but probably more related to backend stuff than anything.
Exciting changes! Lots of buffs across the board, very few downsides! Except for you, Scholars. Sorry your AoE sprint is no longer as long-lasting.
Feedback, as always, is welcome in the comments down below or via mail to email@example.com. Next week, as per tradition, I’m going to be talking about the content side of patch 6.1 while leaving the story for the future. I may wind up spoiling the name of the new dungeon we’re getting, though. If that’s going to be a big spoiler for you, well… be warned.