Written by Whistler 8th July 2017

If there’s ever an MMO that I’ll return to time and time again, it’s Final Fantasy XIV, and here we are with the release of Stormblood, the latest expansion bringing with it a plethora of content and a slew of changes.

Many veterans and newcomers alike may find the changes Stormblood and 4.0 with it brings, so I’m here to help demystify these changes and perhaps even garner some interest in joining the adventures to be had in Eorzea.

Picking up right where Heavensward’s latest update left off, Stormblood sees players traveling to the region of Gyr Abania located in Eastern Aldenard and Othard. While I’ll avoid spoiling the tales to be had in the expansion, know that it involves liberating city states, more dungeons to loot and more raids to venture on.

Two new signature jobs, the spellblade hybrid Red Mage and the skilled Samurai, join Final Fantasy XIV’s roster, both offering two distinctly different styles of play. The Red Mage has access to the trait Dualcast, whereupon casting a spell, they can then follow it up with another instantaneously and by balancing both Black and White Magicks they can build up their Job Gauge to unleash a flurry of swordplay to devastate foes. The Samurai, playing somewhat reminiscent of 2.4’s Ninja, will have players rotating between various combos to ignite three emblems allowing them to lay down their devastating signature move, Midare Setsugekka. We’ll be going into both jobs in far more detail in later articles, but know that both Red Mage and Samurai are an absolute blast to play, fitting neatly into the roster of Jobs.

Along with the inclusion of Red Mage and Samurai, all classes have seen minor and major overhauls in order to streamline and rebalance the combat systems. Each job now has their own unique GUI Job Guage offering a greater clarity to classes key mechanics and now represent some of the overhauls to certain class mechanics like the Blood/Life of the Dragon or the Ninki and Huton Gauges.

Now this is where it get’s a little foggier, with 4.0 there has been a seemingly massive wave of changes across all classes in an attempt to rebalance the collective ‘meta’ between their respective roles independently and in conjunction with one another. Before we cover that though it should be noted that now picking up a job has been ironed out, no longer requiring you level two classes in order to access the job, a much welcome change we’ll all agree.

Now many key job specific abilities have been rolled up and reworked into cross-class Role Actions seeing White Mage’s Shroud of Saints retooled as Lucid Dreaming, and Black Mage’s Swift Cast shared across all casters at lv24 and lv32 respectively.

Likewise all Tank jobs gain access to a single target damage debuff, previously exclusive to the Dark Knight, and Low Blow serving as a universal 0 damage stun ability. Interestingly enough the Warrior’s Cross Class ability Bloobath has also been blood donated, okay that was terrible, ahem, retooled for all melee based DPS jobs with an added 5 second duration. These changes barely scratch the surface on the even bigger changes across the board such as Monks added party synergy or Bard’s entire rework but they certainly help paint a picture of how the meta will be moving forward. Granted though there are some changes within the job meta that we’ll certainly be giving our thoughts on later.

Needless to say Bad Demoman isn’t too happy about Dark Knight losing his beloved Bloodbath and I’ve got some choice words about how I feel White Mage now fairs in the late game Healer meta.

The reworked combat also covers a now revamped PVP with massive tweaks that are now, not only more enjoyable, but a great source of XP adding more variety to both leveling up and just enjoying more content in general. Finally what new land to discover is complete without a new method of travel, as Heavensward took players to the sky (which in all the time I’ve played Heavensward he’s still to fly anywhere), Stormblood now sees us dive the blue depths.

So there’s some nice tasty bite sized chunks to whet your appetite, excited to jump back into Eorzea, or perhaps to finally test the waters for the first time? Are the changes to the Job System putting you off, or have they sparked new motivation to try out jobs you hadn’t previously considered?

Well be sure to keep an eye on this space as we continue to dive deeper into Stormblood’s content, give our take on the changes, try our hand at the way of the Samurai and review Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood.

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