So Endwalker has been out for a month. (Well, a month for people who managed to sneak past the year-long line these queues have become.) And there’s a ton of stuff to talk about! From the interesting storyline direction to the amazing new cosmetics, everyone’s going to find a reason to fall in love with Final Fantasy XIV’s newest expansion.
But I’m not here to look at the flavor. No, I’m here for the nutrients. Let’s talk about the classes of Final Fantasy XIV and put my game design degree to work!
Final Fantasy XIV Class Wishlist
This class wishlist was written for 6.08. I am also far from the best player in the world. Please feel free to use the comment section of this article to discuss issues you have with those classes or anything I say here! I want this to be (another) place where the team can look at feedback, and then buff Reaper for some reason.
Oh, and really quick; if I say “1-2” or “1-2-3”, I am referring to the basic combo that the class has. For instance, the Dancer’s “1-2” is Cascade into Fountain. The Warrior’s “1-2-3” is Heavy Swing, Maim, and Storm’s Path or Storm’s Eye.
I’m a tank player, I love these guys. So, I want them to be as close to perfection as possible.
In general, I love the feel of tanks in FFXIV. They suffer from quite a bit of “same-ism,” but that’s likely a result of wanting to keep them all in the same realm. Still, I would love the FFXIV team to slowly start moving mechanics around so the tanks’ rotations don’t feel quite the same as one another. Right now, Dark Knight and Warrior feel pretty similar to one another, and Gunbreaker and Paladin have a similar gameplan. That’s not a bad thing, but it could be better.
And, speak of the edgelord…
The Dark Knight has fallen into a weird spot. Right now, it is theoretically the highest damage dealing tank in the game. However, with how much healing the other tanks have, you’re dealing your massive damage… and then just dying right after. The numbers of Dark Knight are at a cost, and that cost is the DPS of your healers. And that terrifies me. I’m legitimately worried that the team is going to see the Dark Knight’s numbers and say that the class is fine.
There are multiple potential solutions to this problem. You can give Carve And Spit a 800 potency heal, you can apply a big heal when the Blackest Night pops, or a heal over time. You can have a very small lifesteal effect to Edge and Flood of Shadow… There are options here! None of them have to step on toes either.
I personally prefer either having Edge and Flood of Shadow have a heal or a shield attached. Alternatively, you can give them a heal or shield once your Blackest Night pops to reward you for using that cooldown correctly. Anything to make the class feel like it negates damage consistently, rather than just once.
Making the Dark Knight a shield-based tank is a fun idea, but there needs to be multiple ways to apply a shield! Otherwise, you get your shield every now and then without any real way to block smaller hits.
Oh, I also think the Blood Gauge is a major sin. The Dark Knight is so cool! Why does it have to steal the Warrior’s mechanic with the Gauge and Delirium? Maybe it can get a “drain your own life to deal damage” mechanic instead, like in Dark Knight’s past. That would kind of go against my suggested solution to the Dark Knight feeling weak, but blood magic feels like it should be a larger part of the class.
It’s way too late to be asking for major mechanic changes, but… still. This class has such a cool legacy. It’s a shame to see it used on something like the Rage Gauge.
Actually perfect. I love how the Gunbreaker feels. It’s new Double Down rotation feels natural and fun to play around with. Heart of Corundum makes you feel beefy without needing many other cooldowns. It’s good! Right where I’d want tanks to be.
Paladin feels great as well, though it runs into some issues. Right now, its big issue is damage. In single target rotations, you have a bit of a slowdown.
I think it would be great if they decided to boost the damage of the physical damage rotations. That is, Atonement and Goring Blade. While the Paladin is about 50% magic right now, the physical half of its damage is rough. Maybe bumping Atonement to 450 or maybe even 480 would allow it to keep up?
Alternatively, Fight or Flight could get a buff! Maybe at the same level they get Melee Mastery, Fight or Flight can bump to 30-35%. That way, the Paladin’s physical rotation could be based on your buff, rather than generic numbers.
However, we got buffs to the bigger sword, and I imagine that Magic is the direction that the Paladin will be moving in from now on. I think that’s a shame.
Warrior’s in a pretty great spot as well! I’d love for Inner Release to provide a damage buff to your next three rage spenders, at the cost of minor damage reduction to your 1-2-3. It’s weird that the Warrior’s basic attacks deal so much damage compared to Fell Cleave and Decimate.
However, the Area of Effect healing that Warrior can have is… insane. I’m unsure if they plan on nerfing that. If they do, I hope they don’t end up hitting Warrior’s single-target too hard. The extra healing is a nice buffer for the 20% damage reduction on Bloodletting, since other tanks get a slightly better damage reduction deal from their low-cooldown damage reduction effect.
If they do nerf the healing in general, I hope there’s a way to guarantee critical healing, such as while under the effects of Inner Release.
I know Bunshin has a lower potency for Area of Effect. Perhaps a similar coding strategy could be used to halve the healing that the Warrior gets from Area of Effect? That way healers could wake up during dungeons without Warriors losing all of their allure.
Healers are fine. I love three of them. And the last one has a few fun abilities that make it tolerable. Thankfully, they’re all viable and all help in a fight in different ways.
Astro’s in a weird spot. It’s healing is absurd and feels great. Two stacks of shields and Essential Dignity, a great DR source, a low-cooldown raidwide DR, Neutral Sect, so much AoE healing without spending your GCD… Love this tarot-reading fella!
However, it is suffering a touch on the damage side, which is… kind of funny. As the healer that buffs damage, it is falling behind on taking people down. And when you check the numbers, this becomes obvious. The Astro no longer buffs single targets by 8%, which means that your garbage Malefic and Combustion no longer can keep up.
I’d suggest just making Malefic 265 and Combust 60 per tick. The Astro is hectic, and deserves a good reward for players who can weave cards and their basic spells. It’ll still not hit nearly as hard as other healers, but the ability to hand out cards should be rewarded slightly more than I believe it is currently.
Sage is walking out of its debut like the movie star people were hoping for. Great healing, fantastic cooldowns, and extremely good damage.
Personally, I would prefer some damage taken off of Dosis and added to its cooler tools, like Toxicon II and Pneuma. Right now, both of those abilities do the same damage as Dosis which is… kind of lame. Your reward for shielding someone is just a Swiftcast Dosis while in a normal fight. During multi-pulls, it is a tiny, tiny bit stronger than a single cast of Dyskrasia. So, not great. Shifting power to those abilities would make Sage a bit less “spam one ability” and allow them to think a bit more during endgame boss fights.
Hopefully, though, the Sage becomes the bar that the other healers reach for.
…I’m bad at Scholar. And I’m about to blame the class for it for a page and a half.
However, I want to compare the design philosophy of the Scholar to the Sage for a moment.
Scholar and Sage both have intentionally similar kits. They are “shield healers,” meaning they primarily use high-cost spells that give extra health to compensate for poorer base healing. Because of that, they are balanced similarly. They gain a resource (Addersgall for Sage, Aetherflow for Scholar) that can allow them to cast quick healing spells. Right now, these resources are essentially the same level in terms of balance… though the Sage has better DR and single-target, 45 second abilities in Kerachole and Terachole respectively. Sacred Soil and Excog just cannot keep up with that flexibility.
So, I want to discuss the other healing abilities these two classes have.
Scholar’s list of healing is… interesting.
- Whispering Dawn, an AoE regeneration for 80. 80?! Per tick. Totals to 490.
- Fey Blessing, an AoE nuke for… 320. Nice.
- Fey Union, an awkward regeneration effect that requires you to have spent Aetherflow before using.
- Seraph, a 120 second cooldown that heals a decent amount and gives you 2 AoE shields.
- Recitation, which still makes you hard-cast an ability, but lets you cast some Resource-spenders without actively spending a resource. Can be nice for an emergency Indom.
- Fey Illumination and Expediency is just DR, which does reduce damage. Kind of like healing?
Sage, on the other hand…
- Soteria, which is just another 85 potency heal per attack.
- Zoe, which improves the efficiency of the next spell, a la Recitation.
- Physis, an AoE regeneration for 130 per tick which also improves your healing on the party by 10%. Totals to 650, before the 10% healing for the first 3 ticks.
- Haima, a small shield that can refresh itself up to 5 times on one character.
- Panhaima, a smaller shield for the whole party, refreshing up to 5 times.
- Holos, a 300 potency HP nuke heal for the party with 20 seconds of DR. On top of the heal.
- Pneuma, a 600 potency heal for the whole party which also doesn’t sacrifice damage to the boss.
Three more healing answers for the boss. And Whispering Dawn hardly counts because it can barely heal the same amount as just hard-casting Succor.
What Scholar gets in return is Chain Stratagem, which boosts damage for the party briefly, and Expediency, a 10% DR buff that gives your party a free Sprint buff. Both of these abilities are great! However, the Scholar doesn’t get more damage from Chain Stratagem because Broil is so much weaker than Dosis or Glare. Stratagem is great, but the Scholar was already nerfed because it is starting off weaker. And then they just didn’t give Scholar nearly as many healing tools as the Sage. Making Scholar feel like it’s there for Expediency and that’s… kind of it.
My issues with Scholar are probably solved with just a damage buff, or some way to nuke heal the party with Whispering Dawn that doesn’t make me hate my fairy. Embrace heals for just a bit more than Sage’s Kardia heals, but the fairy has a longer cooldown. Whispering Dawn needs a healing buff to 120 to make it more viable in the quick Arena-wide combos that are introduced in higher-end content, and I would love an alternative to Fey Union that allows for healing faster at a reduced efficiency. Maybe spending 50 Faerie Gauge for 1,000 potency worth of heal? Fey Miracle or something? I’m unsure. Just something to keep the scholar as a viable main healer, at least to the same level as Sage.
The Scholar feels like it has a ton of missed opportunities that Endwalker never capitalizes on. And, because of the perceived—and proven—strength of Expediency in high-end content, this is probably where the Scholar is going to stay. Just two 120 second cooldowns with awkward healing efficiency. And that sucks.
At least Art of War hits hard?
Quick break. White Mage feels fine. With Glare being improved, and Holy getting a buff, Blood Lily feels weaker than ever. Giving that a 1,000 or even 1,100 potency blast is probably viable since Glare spam is technically significantly better. Otherwise its healing feels fine, and it is close to the damage of Sage without feeling overtuned.
Reaper’s starting out strong by setting the bar for all other melee mongrels to gun for. I think four of the melees have hit the mark, and the last one seems to be experimenting quite a bit with how its own rotation works. Clearly, the devs are paying close attention here… But let’s take a sneak peak. No Scholar essays here.
It seems like Dragoon is in the right spot. Good damage, especially in Area of Effect fights. It’s also the best Melee for party-buffing, which is pretty cool. Since the Dragoon is one of the few classes to get a legitimate potency buff in 6.05, and a huge one in 6.08, I assume they’re looking at the class very closely. Great! It should be close to Reaper’s power level, and the stats seem to line up well.
I appreciate the shift towards Stardiver in terms of raw damage, though I hope the other Jumps can be buffed in the future if necessary. Thank god Heavens’ Thrust hits hard again!
I won’t talk about how it feels too much here. I was never a fan of Dragoon, and I think it’ll feel just right for people who like it.
Monk’s new Blitz system is frankly superb, and I couldn’t be happier. FF6 is one of my personal favorites, so seeing the Blitz system come back was… Touching. I wish it could have (somehow) kept Suplex.
That would have been so annoying. And amazing.
I’m unsure if I like what direction the class is going by focusing so hard on the blitzes. So far that’s where the buffs have been going, and I think I would have preferred the class to land harder punches. Bootshine feels abysmal right now! It’s buffed form has less potency than Dragon Kick for crying out loud.
Ninja is my favorite melee DPS, and it still is. Despite how awkward its new rotations are.
Ninja has seemingly suffered from the Scholar treatment, in that Trick Attack is an incredibly strong move… And so Square Enix is afraid of giving them anything else.
This isn’t completely true. The introduction of the Raiju system seems to trip up balancing a touch. The issue with the ability is twofold; it is replacing a good melee combo with a decent melee blast, and its return of Ninki gauge isn’t much. This awkward buffering can lead to the Raijus feeling weird to weave in.
I think making the Raijus a ranged attack might make things a little bit easier, and also making the stacks not disappear if you think about doing a non-Raiju move right after. They could replicate this by throwing the Bunshin form of Raiju at the boss. This’d look weird with Bunshin active and you throw two shadow clones, but I think that’d be fine.
I’m happy with the Bunshin changes, though I think Raiten might deserve the 700 potency over it’s current 650. We’ll see how Ninja adapts into the near future.
No issues here. Reaper feels fantastic to play, does great damage, has stellar flow… There’s nothing wrong with them. Other than maybe the edge? The edgy cowl covers my character’s pompadour, which is a minor issue.
Samurai is close to the top, and I don’t think that’s going to slide. Samurai is the only melee character with a cast bar, and thus is kind of stiff to play. This is fine; the damage and animations make it feel great. However, for the highest level content, this is gonna be an issue. The current Savages are rough to stand still in for a long time. They should be rewarded with better damage, especially if they can’t stand away from the enemies.
This can likely be set in stone through minor damage buffs to Iaijutsu or the basic combos. Samurai don’t get the Melee Mastery perk or any buffs to their combos, which seems wrong. They just got a minor damage peak, which is fine. Though its early game dominance was already pretty huge.
Excited to see the direction the devs decide to take, and I do hope it is only a minor improvement. Dragoon and Monk deserve their time in the sun for a bit!
As usual, Ranged Physical feel like they’re in a very, very weird place. I adore them all, but I understand their limits. That doesn’t mean they don’t deserve better.
I’m glad that they have their niche as a 1% damage boost for everyone, and their fantastic Raidwide 10% DR. That is not good enough.
Bard’s in the best spot right now, which is… actually really cool. The buffs and quality of life changes that the Bard received are incredible. The class feels so much more cohesive than it did just a few months ago. Blast Arrow feels fantastic, even if the 10 second uptime feels restrictive compared to other buffs that Bard received. Straight Shot and Refulgent Arrow finally feel like legitimate upgrades over Heavy Shot and Burst Shot. And the song system… Holy crap, what a nice change! I would have preferred a version with no RNG instead of a ⅕ chance to screw yourself every 3 seconds. And the fact that the bard can listen to their own music is amazing.
That being said, there are still some small buffs that I’d like to see. Mainly, Bloodletter and Rain of Death should get minor damage buffs to compensate for the changes in Mage’s Ballad. Even something as small as 130 potency for Bloodletter and 110 for Rain of Death would make these tools feel significantly meatier without overwhelming the rest of the kit. Right now, Wanderer’s Minuet is the best single-target song. That’s not a bad thing, but it does double the damage of Mage’s Ballad in half the procs. Surely Mage’s should be allowed to catch up just a bit, right?
I’m unsure if Square Enix knows what they want to do with Dancer. It’s been in this rough place since the end of Shadowbringers and Endwalker did nothing good for them. For instance…
- The Flourish change has halved the Dancer’s potential procs, meaning they have to go back to their crappy 1-2 earlier with less chances to proc Fans.
- The single target and AoE Flourishes still hit about as hard as they used to, meaning they barely hit harder than Dancer’s normal stuff. The AoE flourishes are also less fun in single target situations, though that was intentional.
- The Steps got hit with a 30%-ish potency nerf when 20% was the average.
- Improvisation is still just as awkward.
And then, the 80-90…
- Tillana is cute but barely hits harder than throwing your chakrams with no chance to build fans… On a 120 second cooldown.
- The Espirit Gauge buffs are nice, especially with Flourish being the focus of Endwalker, but they are minor and otherwise rely on your 1-2 giving you your procs.
- Fan Dance IV is actually a cool addition, but doesn’t hit too hard for it’s cooldown.
- Starfall Dance… Good lord. It hits for about 756 potency when you factor in all of the buffs that a Dancer normally has. The Warrior’s Primal Rend… Hits for 770 potency with its damage buff. With half the cooldown. The Warrior is a TANK.
All of this comes together to make the Dancer feel like it’s missing something. The only major buffs it got were to Saber Dance, which is now significantly more consistent and didn’t get hit by the potency nerfs too hard. At this point, it feels like Saber Dance is designed to be the core part of the Dancer’s kit, but you only get it once every 30 seconds if you don’t have the debuff. And Saber Dance is luck based. AGAIN.
In the same patch that the Bard got significant improvements to the random aspects of its toolkit, the Dancer got nothing to help. It still has a 12.5% chance to get Fan Dance III, it still needs to hope that its partner lands enough weapon skills that grant the Dancer Espirit, and it needs to get the 50% chances to get the Flourishes.
I think if we boost the Flourishes and Fans to 75%, Dancer would feel much more impactful. Optionally, the Flourishes could guarantee Fans so the coolest part of Dancer is accessed immediately. Or, we can have Tillana or Standard Step grant stacks of guaranteed coin flips to help newer Dancers dance more often.
The Dancer is likely going to be “fixed” with potency buffs, like the ones that came in 6.08. This is fine as long as Dancer players are happy. But I will probably not love the class until the randomness is toned down and the awesome parts of the class are emphasized.
Machinist was my favorite DPS before Endwalker, and I still love it. But they keep bringing Drill to show-and-tell and it’s getting annoying.
By that I mean the Machinist is currently hyper-focused on its 3 high-potency ranged attacks; Drill, Air Anchor, and Chainsaw. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but I am terrified that the next expansion will have a 4th “Drill” with an even longer cooldown.
Machinist is also in a rough place and I’m pretty sure the only change that can be made is potency adjustments. I hope it ends up being for the Machinist’s 1-2-3, but I will accept Wildfire improvements or even improving the Drills to 590—the 570 it was adjusted to was not enough, dangit! Although making Chainsaw or Air Anchor stronger than Drill might incentivize a different playstyle of “should I spend my auto-crit on a weaker move, or save it for my stronger stuff?”
Fun playstyle. It’s like you’re at a desk with three big bright buttons that you press when they glow.
Of all the classes, the Mages have managed to be perhaps the most solid trio of all classes. They feel great, their utility balances out their middling DPS, and their new mechanics have smoothly slipped into their kits. I won’t have much to say here.
Amazing. Paradox feels flawless, Ice now feels like a pretty stellar part of your rotation rather than a valley that you have to slog through. Fire hits like a dump truck on Mars. Hell, even the Triplecast feels perfect.
The only thing I would even consider would be changing Fire 1/Paradox to a 2 second cast time to allow for a middling option for movement during fire rotation.
Like they need that, Xenoglossy has been given a goddamn multiplier in buff patches so far.
Summoner feels awesome. It flows well and gives the player a ton of things to do every rotation.
There are two awkward parts of Summoner. The Carbuncle is out so rarely that it can be hard to weave in its utility without dropping damage. And Fester probably shouldn’t exist anymore, or at least should be renamed or something. Fester was for debuffs! Respect its legacy.
Overall, really fun change with great peaks and valleys.
Red Mage feels… fine? Out of all of the casters, it’s my favorite, so I have a “hate the thing you love” bias.
I despise Resolution. Tacking on another combo to your Sword combo just feels lazy, frankly. I’ll do the combos, but it doesn’t mean I wouldn’t have preferred something more substantial in the center meat of the class.
I’d also like for the basic Sword stuff to get buffed. Riposte, Zwerchhau, and Redoublement have been the same potency for a very long time, despite the basic magic getting buffed. I hope that they will even come close to considering the basic Sword swings for a buff in the future.
What FFXIV Class Changes Would You Like to See?
Agree with my Endwalker analysis? Disagree? Share your thoughts in the comment section below!