Final Fantasy XIV producer Naoki Yoshida has been teasing some screenshots from Stormblood showing new abilities for the game’s many jobs. It’s already been stated that Square Enix want to reduce the number of useless skills — like Feign and Featherfoot — but the overall amount probably won’t go down too much, so everyone should have a few extra tools by the time they hit level 70.
Some of the pictures are super interesting. This, for example, seems to show Astrologian with an extra card:
All of this got me thinking what I’d like to see from the expansion. I’m pretty lucky in that when it comes to hardcore content (Savage and so on) I play Bard, which was fairly recently rebalanced and is in a pretty good state. But there’s a few jobs that need a little love, and some others that have been loved too much. Where would, say, a new card or a new healer action fit into that?
Info is slowly making its way over to us. But now is a good time to review what we do know – and, indeed, a great time to speculate about what we might get. If nothing else, it’s probably one of the last moment’s we’ll have to dream about a world in which every job has what it wants. So let’s speculate!
Monk’s in a troubled position, but I’d be pretty excited if I actually mained the job given that it’s due an overhaul. Monk has always been super fun to play, but it’s lacking in a couple of really crucial areas.
For starters, the inability to reduce your own aggro is a pain and essentially makes managing hate without party support almost impossible. Couple that with the fact that you can’t boost the DPS of your party members (the way, say, Ninja’s Dancing Edge can) unless they happen to be Monks.
Beyond that, though, there are some abilities that are genuinely useful — but that aren’t useful enough to make Monk in any way essential. Mantra, which boosts healing done, can make all the difference in the world. However, it pales in comparison to abilities held by other classes. Take all the above together and you pretty easily see why a lot of serious teams leave Monks at home — and, indeed, why there’s a ‘delete monk’ meme floating around implying that the only way to fix the job would be to delete it entirely.
Jokes aside, Monk could be really good — and fit in without disrupting other jobs outright — if certain abilities were retooled. If Featherfoot reduced aggro, that would change everything. But what if we thought bigger? What if Mantra was a continuous cast, a bit like a Bard’s song, that drained MP for its duration?
Given how Yoshi-P seems to dislike healers using Cleric stance, we could see more heal-intensive fights in the expansion. What better way to make Monk a key part of a team than to make it a healer’s best friend? And on that note...
Physician, heal thyself
I mentioned last week that something might be happening to Cleric Stance, the ability that lets healers DPS, thanks to a cryptic developer blog. Now the initial shock has worn off, I guess it wouldn’t be the end of the world if healers lost the ability to do DPS — depending on how fights are designed, of course.
But that’s not particularly likely. Given that solo content will always require you to do some damage and a lot of people only play a healer, I expect what will happen instead is that Cleric Stance will be removed and damage spells and healing spells will share the same stats. This would make healer DPS much easier, because you wouldn’t have to manage the stance dance, and it’d also satisfy Yoshi-P and everybody else who dislikes the fact it exists in the first place.
One of the things that makes being a good healer such a pain is learning how to use Cleric Stance effectively, so you’re not stuck in the wrong stance when your tank is in desperate need of help. It’s not hard, but it can be seriously daunting. If you didn’t need to enter the stance at all, then what excuse would there be for not throwing the odd Aero at a boss?
Of course, the worst-case scenario would be making Cleric Stance something you couldn’t switch between during combat, like an Astrologian’s sects. But they wouldn’t do that, right? ...Right? (I hope I don’t have to revisit this column and say my fears were realized.)
Something that hasn’t been made 100% clear is how Yoshi and crew intend to make classes like Black Mage and Dragoon easier. For example, using Enochian (and Fire IV) means you do way, way more damage than Black Mages who don’t, yet some people just aren’t skilled enough to pull it off in a fight (or aren’t willing to). The same is true for Blood of the Dragon and a few other skills across all classes; there’s stuff that can result in big gains that a lot of casual players just don’t use.
It seems classes are getting tweaked so not using these skills won’t leave you looking feeble compared to your party members. The question is how; we already know Enochian will become a permanent buff, but let’s say that you can do a full BLM rotation without juggling Enochian or whatever — what does that mean for the people that went the extra mile before, and how much of a gap will there be between good and bad players post Stormblood? We also don’t know what’s going to happen to Dragoon’s Blood of the Dragon — there are a lot of rumors that it’ll change because of how often it comes up on Live Letters and at Fanfests, but how and why are complete mysteries.
I’d love to be able to play Black Mage without worrying about Enochian. I used to be able to do the rotation just fine, but once I fell out of practice, I just felt unable to play the class to a reasonable standard so I’ve barely touched it since. With that in mind, I’m really looking forward to how things change. But I’m also worried for everyone that spent hours smacking training dummies under the old regime, if only because it took a lot of dedication to maximize how much damage you could do. Where’s that energy going to go if the skill ceiling is lowered, or if there’s less reason to reach for it?
But what do you want?
For my sins, I play a lot of Paladin — it’s not nearly as good as Dark Knight or Warrior, really, but I love it all the same, and I’ve got loads of good memories with it. It’s the job I reached Floor 200 of Palace of the Dead with, after all.
I’m actually okay with the fact Flash doesn’t do damage. But I want to feel useful and important, and for as cool as having a sword and shield looks, I can’t help but feel like I’m not the best option. I’d like to see Paladin in Stormblood be something other than a HP balloon. I don’t really know what it’d look like, and I don’t just want it to turn into a Dark Knight.
But what would you like to see change in Stormblood? Granted, switching between jobs is so easy that it almost doesn’t matter if things aren’t perfect on whatever you main right now — but I know that everybody has something that’s especially close to their heart.
Leave your suggestions in the comments — after all, it’s not long now until we see how things are going to change...