Written by the Morbid Play Staff 20th July 2017

With each expansion the playing field for Final Fantasy XIV’s jobs has seen some shifting, but how do they fare now with 4.0, Stormblood and the combat overhaul affecting our beloved classes? With a major streamlining, retooling and rebalancing across the board, here’s what the Morbid Play staff had to say.

Please note some of these are based off the game before the 4.05 update.

Stormblood has introduced some big changes to the Tank classes, while also making them in higher demand than ever, with everyone and their mother wanting to give the Samurai a go. Things have been switched up pretty substantially. The Warrior is a real “Fallen From Grace” story right now. Previously it boasted some of the highest DPS of all tanks, while still maintaining a fair bit of tankiness. Right now, it’s a rare sight. Having lost their Damage Dealt debuff, losing their Damage over Time and having some of their best abilities gated behind their “Beast Gauge”, some people even think they’ve lost some of their identity. Swapping stances between your Tanking stance and your Damage stance even loses you some of your Beast Gauge, so Stance Dancing is all the harder. Warrior has been further harmed by the changes to how Tanks prioritize their stats. While Strength now weighs on how much damage a Tank will do, there are no accessories at higher levels that increase Strength for tanks. Some have taken to wearing older accessories purely for the Strength they give. The result is, if a Warrior wants to pump out as much DPS as they can, they have to give up around about 10,000 HP! Warrior feels less dynamic, less useful, and overall in a particularly bad place right now.

The Paladin, on the other hand, is the polar opposite. While always a strong choice for those wanting to feel no pain and never lose aggro, it was sometimes trumped in the Main Tank role by Dark Knight since it couldn’t deal with being assailed with magic quite so well, and the Dark Knight did far more damage than Paladin. Paladins can now block Magic attacks. This is really important not just for the decreased damage you’ll get from random chance blocks, but also means that Shelltron, the Paladins guaranteed block ability, can be used on pretty much every Tank buster in the game! With the ability to create a huge shield that decreases damage taken by anyone behind it, Paladins can really live out their “I am the shield for my team!” fantasy. Expect to see many Reinhardt quotes macroed to that particular ability. Paladins also received substantial damage buffs. Their AoE was improved by a spinning slash move acquired relatively early on, but once you breach the loftier levels, the Paladin evolves from a simple sword and board tank to a veritable Mage Tank. Holy Spirit is a new spell for Paladins with a beefy potency that can be buffed even higher with Requiescat, another new ability. More than ever, the Paladin is a Holy Protector, and an excellent addition to any team.

Last of all, we come to the Dark Knight. As a self-proclaimed Edgelord, the Dark Knight has been my main role since unlocking it. When I saw the changes made, I was definitely a little concerned. Much like Warrior, Dark Knight lost its Damage over Time ability, while also losing one of their combos. I wasn’t so worried that Dark Knight would still be strong, as it always tends to occupy a middle-of-the-road approach, being perfectly capable of being a Main Tank or an Off Tank. I was more concerned that the Dark Knight wouldn’t be as fun, with less to do. Rest assured, the Dark Knight definitely doesn’t suffer from this. With Mana management being less important than previous, now you’ll be looking to maximise your Blood Gauge. Once filled, it grants access to some extremely powerful abilities, including the highest damage ability available to Tanks, and a shield to apply to yourself or your allies. Stance dancing is all the more vital now, as two important methods of acquiring Blood Gauge are Blood Price and Blood Weapon. Blood Price will accrue gauge whenever you get hit, while Blood Weapon builds up when you hit your opponent. However, Blood Price can only be used while in your Tank stance, while Blood Weapon can only be used while out of it. Unlike the Warrior, the Dark Knight is rewarded for stance dancing, and as a result feels so much more fluid and fun.

While back in Heavensward people were starting to think that the Tank Meta needed a bit of a shake up, with Warrior being top dog among Tanks, I fear that Stormblood might’ve changed things a bit too much. While Dark Knight is fine, and Paladin is the new king, Warrior is suffering particularly badly right now. My hope is that rather than nerfing Paladin, the Warrior and Dark Knight can become as effective as the Paladin, giving players all 3 to choose from and still feel as strong as their peers.

Stormblood introduced two new DPS Jobs to Final Fantasy XIV but it also gave us some interesting changes to our old favourites. Before Stormblood’s release I had levelled two DPS classes to max, those being the ranged Summoner and the melee Ninja. With Stormblood’s release all Jobs got reworked in some way as well as gaining new abilities for the ten additional levels so let's take a look on how these tried and tested Jobs got changed.

Let's start with one of the more disappointing reworks, Summoner. Summoner is a ranged magic class that specialises in pet management and damage over time effects. The changes in Stormblood have irrefutably made Summoner weaker and some are even saying it's now one of the worst DPS Jobs available. The area of effect damage for Summoners has been severely hindered with the changes to Bane which originally spread all your Damage over Time effects on one target to every target in the area. It still does that now but it reduces the power of every effect by 20% for each enemy hit meaning its barely worth doing. They also removed Miasma II and halved the duration of Shadowflare meaning big mobs are a pain to fight.

There were a lot of changes as well that stripped down the micromanagement that made Summoner fun to play with the removal of certain abilities such as Bio. One of the strangest removals was for Sustain, an ability that healed your pet. Now your pets seem to die all the time and need to be constantly re-summoned, especially Titan-Egi which was only good as a tank for solo content but now can't even do that. The biggest addition was the Demi-Bahamut summon which looks cool but isn't all that fun to use as it just kind of does its own thing while you just repeatedly hit your Ruin spell. It doesn't even feel all that powerful, it should be a hard hitting nuke but it feels more like firecracker and gets severely outdamaged by the other mages.

Ninja is one of the shining stars of the changes, going from its support DPS role in Heavensward to one of the hardest hitting DPSes in the game. One of the biggest issues with Ninja pre-Stormblood was how much you had to keep track of with it's multitude of damage over time effects, it's Mudra cooldowns and the Huton upkeep. Stormblood stripped away a lot of the damage over time effects and moved the power to other areas instead which makes it much less stressful to play. One of my favourite changes is making Hide reset your Mudra cooldown out of combat meaning you don't have to try and guess when to use your abilities for the next pull.

The new abilities on offer are great additions. The are paid for by the new Ninki gauge and are off global cooldown skills. Hellfrog Medium is a 400 potency area of effect attack that helps bolster the Ninjas group damage while Bhavacakra is a 600 potency single target attack. One of the more interesting additions is the level 70 skill Ten Chi Jin which makes it so you can cast Ninjutsu without consuming your Mudra cooldown at the cost of not being able to move or do any other abilities. It's awkward at first but once you get the hang of it you can output a ridiculous amount of damage.

With a major overhaul of any system, be it weapon types, character rosters or in this case, player classes, the shift in both conceived and actual meta will inevitably cause ripples for the playerbase to feel for quite sometime. While I’ll confess I’m at best a casual visitor to Eorzea, I have a been visiting since 2.0’s launch and it has been interesting to see the waves rise and settle especially amongst the healer duo turn trifecta with Heavensward.

It’s a shame really though, when there was just Scholar and White Mage it just made sense to employ one of each in large parties to get the best of both worlds with utility and sustainability.

Ever since the card dealing Astrologian entered the stage it’s been an awkward balancing act, where the star reader was just sorta there, after several buffs they now settle a bit more in party compositions and the Job UI streamlines keeping track of their card draw mechanic. Their level 62 ability, Earthly Star comes across as insanely useful (and the tooltip feels like a crash course science lesson with how much there is to take in). An AOE spell that you set in place then cast again to activate, Earthly star deals 150 potency of damage to any foes in range while healing allies for 675. However should the Astrologian leave the placed AOE alone for 10 seconds, it gains the Giant Dominance effect. Activating Earthly Star with Giant Dominance in effect, the damage and healing potency are boosted to 200 and 900 respectively, I believe making it one of the best AOE heals in the game (especially with White Mage’s new Planetary Indulgence already receiving the nerf hammer). It takes a little more mastering in terms of a one button emergency unf*ck a boss maneuver but with some good timing it will likely prove to be an excellent addition to their toolkit. The Astrologian can now also mulligan their cards thanks to Sleeve draw, where upon activation you execute a Draw, Royal Road, Spread and Minor Arcana, filling your Job UI with each card. I’ve not played around with it all that much but being able to stack the deck every two minutes sounds super useful.

Scholar and White Mage however have seen rather disappointing changes overall, Scholar still serves as an off-healer but it feels like they’ve been dethroned in terms of utility by the Astrologions. From the perspective of a White Mage main, the Scholar doesn’t seem to excel at anything anymore. Scholars more than ever seem more dependent upon on their pets, and are now the least effective healer, even being beaten by Astrologion in healing factor alone. These may have changed with 4.05 as they’ve regained one of their DoTs but they do seem to have be knocked down to third place for the time being. White Mage’s suffer from a different set of issues though.

Firstly, while it’s a good change for the healer role as a whole, a lot of White Mage’s kit has been gutted out and rerolled into the Role Actions for either healers and/or casters. Shroud of Saints has been retooled as Lucid Dreaming for all casters, Divine Blessing has received a bit of a hefty nerf and reworked as Largesse, now available at all your local healer classes (also what is it with FFXIV spell names being ludicrously weird to pronounce?). Cleric Stance is no longer a stance, but a 90 second cooldown ability that buffs attack magic potency by 5% for 15 seconds, which is just rather uninspiring in all honesty. Perhaps this is a bit of a “I don’t want to share my toys” scenario, but White Mage feels like they’ve been mugged for the equality between healers or the ‘Greater Good’ as seen in Hot Fuzz. Then there are Lilies, White Mage’s tacked on Job UI gimmick. While every other class’s Job UI looks flashy and offers varying degrees of streamlining their unique mechanics, White Mage’s just feel like such an afterthought. The lilies don’t really seem to fit their theme and before the latest update, seemed so inconsistent and worthless.

Unlocked at level 52, White Mage’s gain Secret of the Lily upon where casting Cure and Cure II on a party member has a chance of granting a Lily. Based on how many Lilies one has stacked, the recast time on the next Asylum, Assize, Divine Benison or Tetragrammaton casted is reduced up to 20%, seemingly allowing White Mages to burst heal more easily and likewise, be able to switch to damaging more often. With the latest 4.05 update, lilies are now guaranteed upon casting Cure on a party member making them far more consistent than previously, upped from a megre 20% to a far more reliable 100% chance rate. Overall honestly in spite of all this, the White Mage feels perfectly fine, their new gimmick is uninspiring but they still exceed at offering excellent sustainability for parties (a godsend for random parties and high challenge Dungeons/Raids). Not to mention their new spell, Thin Air with it’s 12 seconds of 0 cost spells allows for fantastic burst heals... or the return of the fabled Holy spam.

So how do you feel about the changes brought to the jobs of FFXIV, perhaps one of the classes we didn’t mention is now your new main, or are you now looking for a change in career?

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