Wisdom of Nym: Speculating on new job abilities for Final Fantasy XIV Dawntrail

Trans rights city.

I’m not going to lie: It feels as if Dawntrail kind of leaped into action with the Final Fantasy XIV fandom. The fan festival felt a little muted, and we all had different things to focus on after it happened, and then in March we actually got a date for the expansion release. Now it feels like we’ve gone full-tilt toward the release with very little preamble, and not only are we likely to find out about most or all of the job actions on Thursday of this week, but the media tour kicks off shortly thereafter.

Prior expansions have often seen me speculating wildly about what new abilities will be unlocked for each individual job, but this time around I really have not had the spare time to do so, and it’s objectively too late to start doing a series of weekly columns about this. Nor do I really want to go frame-by-frame in the benchmark to pick out new abilities or upgrades to old ones. Instead, I just want to speculate a bit on each role about some things that would be interesting to see and would make some amount of sense.

So many swords.


The first thing that jumps out to be about Gunbreaker is that there are still two charge abilities that don’t have Continuation procs, both of which are AoEs. I wouldn’t be surprised if one gets a proc this expansion and we also get a separate single-target two-charge ability aside from Double Down.

Paladins seem to be due for some sort of buff to throwing their shields; there’s currently not much reason to use that once you have access to an instant holy zap. Similarly, the Dark Knight’s Bloodspiller actions are still pretty limited in terms of actual utility beyond just giving a single-target or AoE spam ability to use. I suspect both of those will get a bit of an upgrade, while Warrior might get a few more range-control abilities. It also feels like at least one tank is overdue for a melee backstep, something a lot of melee DPS gets but tanks currently lack across the board.

Also, it wouldn’t surprise me if tank sustain gets a little weaker; both Paladin and Warrior currently have pretty insane self-sustain maneuvers, so that might get drawn back a little. Not horribly, just so that you can no longer auto-push through everything.

Dare to be stupid!

Melee DPS

A lot here is going to depend on where Viper falls in terms of damage vs. utility, but it seems to me like Monk is going to need some movement in a solid direction. Right now, the DPS ranking seems to be set up with Samurai as the highest melee DPS, followed by Reaper, then Monk, then Dragoon, and finally Ninja… but Ninja pulls far ahead in terms of raid-wide DPS effect. Monk is kind of firmly in the middle of the pack and lacks the strengths of Samurai or Reaper, the simplicity of Dragoon, or the utility of Ninja, and it needs something to boost it up.

Dragoon has also been slated as needing some love, which tracks; it’s really not significantly above Ninja while having substantially less utility for a group. My gut instinct is that Dragoon is going to get some new useful oGCDs to weave in and move higher in the ratings, while Monk expands its party-wide buff abilities. Ninja gets some additional utility for itself, Viper winds up either being just above or just below Reaper, and Samurai gets some new melee strikes to keep being selfish as heck.


Ranged DPS

Machinist needs utility. It has gotten some, and that’s good, but I think it spent Endwalker being the least satisfied in its role; it’s selfish DPS for a category where that doesn’t mean much. My suspicion is that it’ll get more debuffs to help tank mitigation or improve damage types, which will generally make it more useful across the board.

Dancer is probably going to get a few more flourishes, and Bard will likely have another attack, since Bard’s new abilities in the last expansion leaned more toward passive buffs and tilted it somewhat more along the lines of support. It’d also be kinda neat if Bard got something to call back some of Oschon’s attacks in Thaleia; it was a very Bard-based fight, and that would be a fun reference.


Magical DPS

Who’s still laughing at people who were certain our new magical DPS would be Green Mage? Couldn’t be me. Anyway, I think Pictomancer might actually come in as being even more utility-oriented than Red Mage, but it’ll at least be adjacent. We know it’s not going to have a raise, of course, but that’s hardly the only form of utility; I’m expecting a lot of debuffs anyway, so these will probably go hand-in-hand. Could it have a vuln-up debuff? There’s a possibility.

Black Mage will almost certainly get another elemental balance spell, and I expect Summoner might finally get some new summon options after all these years now that egi are less important. It’s actually Red Mage I’m sort of worried about here. Red Mage is in a weird place because it has nearly the perfect rotation, and while new things have been added, it’s hard to add on too much without making the big combo too long. I think we’re at that limit now, but what else can you even add to make it feel more powerful instead of more supportive?

Statice got a gun.


Just give Selene a gun. Done.

All right, we can add a little more than that. This expansion definitely favored Sage and White Mage pretty heavily, but Scholar wasn’t too far behind; Astrologian didn’t really get as much to make it stand apart, but we’ve got a new set of levels to refine its identity as a regen healer. That doesn’t mean it won’t still be the most supportive of the various healers, though.

In general, my biggest hope for this expansion healer-wise is that healers get a more effective AoE toolkit. The thing about healing rotations doing damage isn’t that they’re ineffective, but most jobs have a really simple one; Sage is the job with the widest breadth of AoE damage options, and during trash pulls is when healers can spend the most time not healing. It’s kind of ironic. Aero 2 for White Mages at least gave them another button to hit during each pull, and at least a little more involvement there is something that would both up the pace of combat and help with any feelings of boredom.

Of course, we’ll have more information this week about what the various roles are actually getting, but it’ll also be too early to really be sure about the utility just yet. Remember, when the job abilities were revealed for Endwalker, everyone was clowning on the idea that Scholars got a run speed buff. That sure didn’t turn out to be useless, did it?

Feedback, as always, is welcome in the comments down below or via mail to eliot@massivelyop.com. Next week, I’ll be laying out my reactions to what was revealed. You have to earmark this stuff in advance, after all.

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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