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The jobs in the middle of the road in Final Fantasy XIV

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The jobs in the middle of the road in Final Fantasy XIV

Post by TheHidden01 on Tue Aug 22, 2017 8:32 am


The first time, it was all about the jobs everyone thinks are garbage now. The second time, it was all about the jobs everyone thinks are great now. And this timeÖ well, itís about the Final Fantasy XIV jobs no one seems to think about much at all. Or theyíre in the middle of simultaneously called spectacular and awful so that it all averages out into the middle. In other words, these are the jobs that tend to escape the notice of players.

That makes these jobs a little harder to talk about, because theyíre not in the midst of any sort of perception shift. In at least one case, we have jobs that have basically just maintained their position in the gameís overall makeup across expansions, yet they havenít seemed to change enough for people to really notice what theyíre doing now. Are they good? Bad? Neutral? Whatís going on with these jobs? Letís talk about it.

Dark Knight



The biggest problem facing Dark Knight isnít that it doesnít work or has major mechanical failings; itís that Blackblood, as a gauge, really changes once you have your level 70 ability. It goes from being something nice when you have it to being both plentiful and controllable in its deployment; thatís a little late in the game to suddenly get a major ability. But through all of that, Dark Knight remains a pretty solid tank, still offering what it always has while adding a few new wrinkles to resource management as you bleed and defend.

Dark Knight still is a much more ďselfishĒ tank than Paladin, but Blackest Night does offer some group functionality and it has space to be useful as an off-tank as well. Ultimately, thatís enough to split the difference, making the job still a very capable tank without feeling as if itís dropped in relative power like Warrior does. So itís very much like it was in Heavensward.

Astrologian

ďWait a minute, Astrologian is probably the strongest healer in the game right now,Ē you protest. And itís true! It even has more fun toys for being a healer, which I like. But it winds up in this category because perception of it has not changed in the least. You join a group as an Astrologian and people still look at the job the same as they did in Heavensward. Itís a great, flexible healer with lots of tools balanced by some randomness and lighter direct damage options.

Thatís why it winds up here; because while White Mage has gone from ďweak healerĒ to ďgreat healing/DPS hybridĒ and Scholar has wound up tumbling hard, Astrologian has remained more or less the same. At least the changes mean that Earthly Star has its full effects, which is a fun ability if one that doesnít seem to exactly patch a major hole in the jobís ability layout. Itís fun dropping healing bombs, as it turns out.

I think weíre due for a little more revision on the job before weíre done, to be fair; two expansions is a long while to be situated as the most reliable healer. But perhaps that will change when we get more healing options.



Summoner

Summoner is a prime example of a job thatís received as many huge positive changes as negative ones. On the plus side, suddenly you can summon Bahamut, you have new toys available, Ruin spam has more interesting things happen, and so forth. On the down sideÖ fewer DoT effects, no more using Aetherflow abilities during Dreadwyrm Trance, and you have a flow now with much more exacting and punishing timing. Which one will dominate your feelings on the job depends a lot on how much you liked the job before and whether the flow or the cool elements are more important to you.

Itís definitely a job that suffers from a slower build-up phase that can easily be knocked askew by some mistaken timing, perhaps more than any other job. And just as with prior Summoner changes, it requires a rework of thinking about the job and what itís supposed to be doing, which is also a problem. Hence how it winds up at the middle, splitting its time between ďugh, Summoner is such a mess right nowĒ and ďoh, guys, I get to summon Bahamut this time around!Ē

Ultimately, that makes the job more fun for clearing things where you know how everything works than for trying to do things that youíve never attempted. Maybe itíll be better once we get more egi glamour options.

Ninja



Functionally, everything is peachy in Ninja-land. The job still parses well and provides the same group utility it always has; tools like True North make it easier to provide that group-wide damage buff, and diminished debuff management makes it easier to play efficiently. All well and good. If you donít mind the sudden croaking appearance of Japanese mythology in the midst of your ability layouts, youíll probably be happy with all of your new tools.

Are there problems? Well, yes, but theyíre minor. Having your entire melee combo consist of the same two hits and a different finisher is a bit monotonous (fortunately, youíre doing a lot of other things as well). The Ninki gauge doesnít feel great, chiefly because you arenít doing much beyond waiting for it to fill. Shukuchi has more use now, but itís still rather awkward as a movement tool. You still have Ninjutsu abilities that you never use sharing space with ones you use all the time, and even if it has a logical place within your flow Ten Chi Jin feels a little awkward in use.

As someone whoís been playing the job since its addition, I feel like it could just a bit more of a pass on the next expansion; weíve currently got a number of buttons that are saddled without much in the way of interesting choices. (Thereís only one way to use Duality, for example.) But where we are right now is what matters most, and itís in a good place, so I canít really complain.

Black Mage

More than perhaps any other job, Black Mage has benefited from the addition of the job gauges. The overall mechanics of the job were never insanely complex, but they required juggling a lot in your head at once; the job gauge simplifies it very slightly by tying Enochian into your usual elemental rotation, and everything else follows naturally. Itís easier than ever before to understand what youíre supposed to be doing and how that will impact your overall pattern, and while youíve still got some build-up to worry about itís reliant much less upon long cooldowns.

Beyond that? Itís more or less the same job itís always been. Cast a big spell and make something go boom. For all the arcane nonsense that goes into that, itís remarkably straightforward.

Some Black Mages are not going to be as fond of the losses of precise timing and weaving that was maintaining a proper Enochian buff before, but at this point I think thatís sort of the wrong hill to die upon; the job has become more playable, which is ultimately a good thing. Freeze still feels a bit irrelevant and thereís still some weirdness with the job, but itís ultimately received a mostly functional update that makes it easier to understand in play. So thatís all good.

Feedback, like always, is welcome in the comments or via mail to eliot@massivelyop.com. Next week, well, itís anniversary time once again; letís do what we always do for the gameís anniversary. No, not the drinking party.

---

TH

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The Dragoon King;



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