I had an amazing time at Final Fantasy FanFest 2017 in Frankfurt, Germany. I was able to walk the floor early and see all the festivities planned for the revelers before the show opened to the general public. From the hundreds of computers set up for the duty roulettes and the PvP tournament to the giant Magitech Armor Square Enix really knows how to put on a show.
The most exciting part of the event was the keynote the morning of the first day, but the Fat Chocobo during the cosplay contest was definitely a close second.
It was at that keynote that Square Enix unveiled the second and final class for Stormblood their upcoming Final Fantasy XIV expansion. Unfortunately the decision to create two damage classes will only increase stress on the player base and their dependence on tanks and healers.
The Red Mage and Samurai could have been designed to serve as a healer and tank respectfully helping to alleviating the log jam of damage classes. Instead Producer Naoki Yoshida stated they had data to support that during the last expansion players that were already playing as tanks continued to play tanks. Damage class players didn’t migrate to tanking jobs with Heavensward and the introduction of the Dark Knight. That's not surprising with how similar the Dark Knight played to the Paladin and Warrior. While I don’t disagree with the data, I do question the choice they made.
Don’t stop making tanks. Make a new type of tank.
Instead of remaking heavily armored brutes in the same vein as the Paladin, Warrior, and Dark Knight with Stormblood Square Enix could have shown some off their old innovation present in Final Fantasy XI. They should have done something novel and Introduce an avoidance tank. The Ninja in FFXI was truly one of a kind compared to contemporary MMORPGs. While the Ninja is currently in FFXIV as a damage class, and that’s fine, no one said FFXIV had to ape all the classes from XI; they could have chosen something like a dancer. Maybe even use a pet class. Make tanking fun for those who otherwise wouldn’t do it. Yoshida is 100% correct when he thinks rehashing old tanks won’t work. So don’t not make tanks, make an original style of one.
There are two other things to look at to help alleviate the pain and suffering of tanks and healers.
One of the only questions I was able to ask Yoshida at FanFest was about the time to kill and if they planned on addressing it. He responded that they had noticed they had got long in Heavensward and hoped they would go down in Stormblood. While that’s not a non answer it’s not a very good one either. It sounds like incidentally they should but it wasn’t something they were strategically planning on. I do play a tank and time to kill is killing me. I love the aesthetics of Final Fantasy XIV. I dig most of the franchise, but the time to kill inconsequential monsters had just gotten out of hand. I’m bored after 30 minutes of play. The game doesn’t have to completely redesign combat but reigning this in is another way to get players to play a Healing or Tank class.
Don’t hope the problem fixes itself. Actively seek to fix it.
And this is my hail mary.
Move to five player parties. Please? This will be a lot of work. I’m not trying to make light of it. I think this is a moonshot idea we will never see. Regardless I thought it was silly of FFXIV to go from 6 player parties to 4 player parties with A Realm Reborn when I originally reviewed it and I think it’s a bad idea now. Dropping from a party requiring 25% healers and 25% tanks to 20% healers and 20% tanks will go a long way to improving queue times.
What do you currently think of the tank and healing situation in Final Fantasy XIV? What would you suggest Squre Enix do to address it going forward? Sound off in the comments below.
- MMO: ESO
- Non MMO: Breath of the Wild (Switch)