It is fair to say that I was slow out of the gate when it comes to FFXIV. I initially made a go of it about 18 months ago, got my character to level 10 and thought it wasn’t for me. The combat was very different than what I was used to, and the interface felt a lot like FFXII, which I’m not afraid to say was a game I never actually completed (don’t @ me). So when my other half picked it up in November last year I didn’t have the most faith in starting again. Fast forward to now and I’m now in the second expansion (Heavensward), we have a party stream each week, and the game is becoming a real draw for my time, which is pretty brilliant.
Having seen the address from the director and watched all the footage I can, here’s a rundown of the major changes being brought in with the upcoming expansion, Stormblood.
Why don’t you get a job?
The first notable change is the introduction of two additional classes: Gunbreaker & Dancer.
The Gunbreaker will be a tank class, with a shared armour palette with Warrior, Dark Knight & Paladin; nice to know your warrior of light won’t be stuck in standard issue scrubs, or walking around in their tightie-whities. Initial aggro-ing will also happen in a similar fashion to WAR & PLD, with swift, slick combos. The interesting mechanic around Gunbreaker is likely to be the ammo system, though. Successfully landing combos will load a cartridge into your weapon of choice, which can then be used as an AoE damage attack, or a potent, mildly explosive slap at a single enemy.
While this does look incredibly impressive, and will allow you to channel your inner Squall to your heart’s content, it shouldn’t handle too differently from the other tank classes. Aside from the neat-o damage reduction abilities on offer, this does seem like a “pick up and play” class if you’re already tanking, which is pretty fantastic.
As a “stand in the distance and throw shit” kind of guy, I’m pretty much built for ranged DPS (currently maining Summoner & Bard, so no surprises there). With that in mind, Dancer seems right up my street. In terms of equipment, it is expected that Dancer will share the ‘aiming’ palette with Bard & Machinist, and the main weapon being two chakrams (it is all very Xena: Warrior Princess, so I’m definitely sold).
In terms of game play, it is seems to take a similar approach to Bard, with a neat balance of party-aiding buffs and ranged damage through getting to an “espirit” phase. The introduction of the “dance partner” mechanic is also really cool. During play you are able to select another member of your party to be your “dance partner”; they also gain “espirit” phase to soup you up, along with a delicious increase to the damage they’re able to dish out.
The Trust System: bring on the NPCs!
The trust system has the potential to be game-changing in terms of completing story instances. As a pretty new player, plus being a DPS, I often found myself in a painfully long wait to get enough party members together to keep the story going. The implementation of the trust system will (hopefully) alleviate some of that delay, with NPCs from the Scions now accompanying you into dungeons should you want them to. Taking on the dungeons with these comrades is going to be a little less efficient than taking it on with other players, but this is intentional; while it is a bold move by SqEx, ensuring that the best experience is had with other active players is definitely in the best interest of the game as a whole.
On the off chance you’re wondering, the characters and their roles are here;
Alphinaud – Healer
Alisaie/Minfilia – DPS
Thancred – Tank
So altogether not too surprising!
Muscle-kitties and bun-buns.
Lastly, we’ve got the introduction of two new races; the Viera and Hrothgar. They’ve kept to the lore for each of these, with Viera being playable only as female, and Hrothgar as male. While I’m altogether unlikely to neck my delightful Fantasia potion to make the change, the designs for these are stunning – see below!
Thoughts? Let me know in the comments, or via firstname.lastname@example.org!