Final Fantasy XIV Heavensward Job Report
AST, WHM & SCH in Heavensward
Just a little more information regarding these jobs in the expansion thanks to the folks over at Blue Garter.
Final Fantasy XIV: Heavensward Job Report
During the European media tour, we got a chance to play quite a bit of Final Fantasy XIV: Heavensward. In this article, we'll primarily be discussing Astrologian, which is attracting the attention of healers, as well as introduce the changes for White Mage and Scholars at level 60.
Note that the specific performance and parameters described here may be adjusted and vary in the future. This is intended to give you a rough idea of the main updates for the jobs. The description is based on our experience in May, so please note that effect or ability names may change after implementation.
Astrologian will be an active buffer and healer. Try your luck with the rolls.
Astrologian, introduced in FFXIV Heavensward, was established as a job to perform "astromancy" in northern Sharlayan. By turning the star globe floating in their hand and drawing constellations with arcana, they can alter fate. At this event, we got to play as an Au Ra female Astrologian. At job level 60 we had item level 170, and had about 10,000 each of HP and MP despite being a healer. It seems that 170 is not the upper limit of item levels in Heavensward, either, so the performance of gear will be on another level altogether.
All of the job actions through level 60 were available. One main difference from the past is that since astrologian has no class, if you look under "Actions" where class actions are displayed, nothing is there - all of the actions are under "Job." It took me a while to scroll through everything since it was all in one place. By the way, the additional actions are taken from thaumaturge and conjurer [[Note: originally said arcanist and conjurer, a correction to the article was issued on 5/27 and updated here]].
In addition to the equipment that was provided, macros were also registered for the trial, but because I didn't even know what was attack and what was healing for astrologian, I went to register my own macros from the beginning.
The basis for curing will be "Benefic" [[I'm guessing at English, the JP is benefiku]]. Upon casting, the additional effect that occurs at a certain rate as a proc will be to cast the higher tier "Benefic II" [[again guessing, JP is Benefira]] with no casting time. So the basic pattern will be to cast Benefic until getting a Benefic II proc, then using the Benefic II proc as needed. In a pinch, there is an instant heal ability called "Dignity." This is something to use in an emergency when your target has low HP. Thanks to Dignity and the Benefic procs, I got the impression that you'd be able to help rapidly recover other party members.
That said, I started off in reverse here and probably should have started by explaining Astrologian's stance switching with Diurnal Sect and Nocturnal Sect. From a usage perspective, it can be thought of as the Sword and Shield Oaths on Paladin, but the effects of certain abilities vary depending on which is selected.
Specifically, Diurnal Sect grants a continuous recovery (regen) effect when using recovery actions while Nocturnal Sect puts up barriers to help absorb damage when using recovery actions. Choosing which to use may be choosing one's favorite, or in a full party it might help to select based on the partner healer, whether it's white mage or scholar.
FFXIV AoE recovery actions are also available, with differing effects. The circle-generated type of AoE magic is called "Wheel of Fate" [[or Wheel of Fortune, or Ring of Fate...]]. This will also be augmented with either a sustained regen or a damage barrier depending on the stance. Although I'd like to present the disadvantages, I couldn't find many, although certainly more will become apparent after using it further. Astrologian doesn't have a native regenerative spell, so you'll have to take that into consideration, but I did get the impression that their overall healing ability was quite high.
Then there is the characteristic "Draw" action for Astrologians. With this, they can draw a card, after which it's possible to activate the effect by using the card. In addition to draw, there are other card actions as well. One action allows you to return a card and enhance the effect of the next card, known as "Royal Road," others allow you to return a card and immediately re-draw ("Shuffle") or save a card for later use ("Spread"). The actions may be used at almost any time. In other words, although it seems like luck, it can definitely be controlled to an extent by player skill.
The cards are each representations of gods in Eorzea, such as "Azeyma's Balance" and "Byregot's Tower," each with its own effects. These can be utilized in both solo and party play.
I tried it out several times, and the card drawing is very effective. It seems to be particularly effective in boss battles where high DPS is needed, so its proper utilization may have a major impact depending on the situation. As a side note, you'll need to take care not to forget to draw. It was likely because I wasn't familiar with the job in the time we had to try it out, but I noticed that I frequently forgot to draw because I was so focused on healing and drawing every 30 seconds is quite frequent. However, if you keep up the pace and use it every 30 seconds, you should expect a fairly high buffing effect.
For attacking, you can use Cleric Stance and other additional skills, but there aren't many strong individual actions available, so I got the impression that you cannot expect much DPS from the Astrologian himself. However, by supporting with cards, since the overall party's DPS can be raised, that can effectively be taken into account as additional FFXIV DPS from the Astrologian.
Additionally, Astrologian is equipped with the other necessary functions a healer performs, such as a raise ability (with weakened effect), MP recovery, quickened spell casting ability, an ability to erase debuffs, etc., so it shouldn't be very difficult to play. Astrologian also has unique ability "Celestial Stasis" learned at level 60. The effects are still undergoing final adjustments, but it will be like a Stop Time magic with a cool and flashy effect. It's certainly one of the abilities you'll want to master as an Astrologian.
White mages finally receive new attacks besides Holy, and Scholars see a rise in their healing performance.
For White Mage, the new abilities are easy to understand. The new attack spells Stone III, Aero III, and Assize will be added, along with a new instant recovery ability Tetragrammaton, and "Asylum," which will generate an area on the field where players recover HP. Let's go through them in order.
Stone III will be the strongest earth elemental magic attack, above Stone and Stone II. Aero III is a wind elemental magic attack above Aero and Aero II. Aero III is also an AoE, so it will be possible to do a good amount of DoT from a long distance. The new ability "Assize" not only does powerful damage in its AoE, but can also be used to recover the HP of nearby party members. Since it can also be used instantly, it's a very strong integrated offense and defense spell.
Up until now, white mage's only immediate recovery action was "Benediction," but their instant healing capabilities have been enhanced. The new ability Tetragrammaton is an ability which can be utilized more frequently to recover fewer HP. Asylum is another instant ability that can be used to generate a healing area where players will recover HP over time, which may help to change WHM's ability to fight.
Scholars are unique in their strong abilities to heal, buff, and attack. A new AoE healing ability, Indomitability, has been added as a higher version of Succor. Whereas with Succor the spell is cast by using MP, Indomitability is triggered as an instant ability with a higher recovery value, but Aetherflow will be required. Emergency Tactics is an instant ability which removes the barrier effect of Scholar healing spells and replaces it with additional recovery power, which should likely help out in an... emergency.
In addition, new attack magic dedicated to Scholars will be added. The power won't be so high, but it will be an important component of Scholar's offensive capability.
Deployment Tactics are another ability newly added for Scholars. This ability will extend the effects of Eye for an Eye and Galvanize from one party member to other party members around them, similar to a buffing version of Bane.
A new ability to assist with scholar's healing is called "Dissipation." In this test edition, it was determined that the effect was too strong so adjustments will continue to be carried out prior to release. I gave it a try anyway, and it was very helpful.
So, in addition to its basic recovery ability, by using stance changes and drawing cards, Astrologian can function as both an effective buffer and a healer. However, it's unlikely that white mages and scholars will be deprived of party spots just because of the addition of Astrologian. In addition to their extremely high recovery performance as a pure healer, white mages should also be able to put out significant FFXIV DPS by using Cleric Stance along with some of their new spells. Finally, Scholar will have stronger AoE recovery and see improved performance as a buffer, so, while somewhat technical, with mastery it may have the highest potential.