Final Fantasy XIV : Stormblood Live Letter XXXVI 2017

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With the Stormblood expansion right around the corner, what seems to be the last Live Letter before the expansion hits brings with us many new changes to the game. Do note that these changes are in its final stages of being finalized, so there might be slight altercations before the expansion is released. We’ll be going over them in summary, so sit tight and buckle up as there are many new changes to look forward to come 20 June 2017.
 
Battle System Changes
One of the bigger issues prior to 4.0 is that the Battle System is overly complex since there are too many actions and very limited hotbar space. Not to mention, with Stormblood comes more new actions, this could potentially be an issue for console players. Another problem with the Battle System is that there is overemphasis on status icon management. This forces the player to be constantly staring at their buff timers rather than to actually look at their character or the enemy. Subsequently, the current Battle System creates a severe DPS gap between core and casual players, and that might be an issue when casual players are trying to clear content with other casual players. Finally, there is a lack of synergy between jobs, for example there is good synergy between Ninjas and Warriors but Monk’s Dragon Kick conflicts with Dark Knight’s Delirium, creating friction between the two classes. Hopefully with the changes that Stormblood brings these issues will be lessened or even resolved all together.

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A solution presented in the Live Letter is to Abolish Additional Actions as a whole, and to replace it with Role Actions. This is so that newer players are not as confused when playing a new Role for the first time, and are missing certain skills important to their kit because they have yet to play the class required to learn it. Role Actions will be separated into their respective roles, as suggested by the title, Tank, Healer, Melee DPS, Ranged DPS and Caster will have different role actions.
Another solution implemented is the Automatic Replacement of Upgraded Spells. Actions that are a direct upgrade with no difference in anything other than the action potency being automatically replaced by its upgraded version, so that it will only take up 1 action slot. This also means that should there be a level sync for a lower level content, the action will downgrade accordingly to its highest level available for the content. For example, with the Stormblood expansion, Thunder I and Thunder III are single target spells, while Thunder II and Thunder IV are area of effect (AoE) spells, therefore when your level is appropriate, Thunder I will be replaced by Thunder III in the same action slot, and the same goes for Thunder II and Thunder IV. Upgraded Spells that have different effects will not be replaced.

With the removal of many actions, it should be obvious that the first thing we would all be doing when the game is live after the expansion would not be questing, but to rearrange your hotbar and replace any greyed out actions with some brand new role actions that require you to pick and choose. Do not panic when you find out that many of your skills are greyed out, as not all of them have been removed but rather, they might have been replaced by a different Role Action.
Similar to Additional Actions, Role Actions allow you to select up to 5 actions, and to rearrange them so that the level you can use them is appropriate for the content that you are running.
It would be a good time to point out that Healers will now no longer use INT when calculating their damage, but MIND instead. This, of course, abolishes the skill Cleric Stance, and lowers the skill cap for Healers to deal damage especially for newer or more casual players. The skill, Cleric Stance, has been replaced into a buff that boosts your damage for a fixed amount of time, before it falls off naturally. Sprint now no longer uses TP.
Earlier we mentioned that there was a lack of synergy, especially between Monks and other Melee DPS and because of that, many Raid Groups tend to be selective in picking certain jobs over others. With this upcoming change, it is implied that Role Actions and skill balance would more-or-less even out the different DPS jobs in terms of their damage output.

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To counter the problem of overemphasis on status icon management, a new HUD has been added. Job Gauges are a new Job specific Heads-Up Graphical Display that increases visibility regarding current stance, if applicable, and emphasizes on visual, rather than numerical cues. The stance icons will still be visible, mainly so that party members are able to see if someone is missing a stance or are in the wrong stance.

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Red Mage, a brand new class that comes with Stormblood, has a trait called Chain Spell. What this trait does is when you cast a casting spell, if it takes time to cast your first spell, your second spell will be instantaneous. Therefore, you do not want to use the longer casting spell first, but rather use a short casting time spell first and then get your long casting time spell to be executed instantly. Another thing to take note for Red Mage is that, Red Mages have 2 kinds of mana, Black and White mana. Different spells have different affiliations with each mana, and constant use of either will lower your overall DPS. Raising both mana equally by using their respectively spells will be very important, as it will allow you to execute the action called the Spellblade. Critical hits made by an action that uses the same mana as the previous spell will shorten the cast time of the next spell of the same mana type.
For example: White (Normal Cast) > White (Instant, Crits) > White (Shorten Cast) > White (Instant)
Samurai, the other new class also available with Stormblood, has Sen that requires the player to use certain actions to open up. The Samurai can use different jutsus depending on which Sen is open.
Bards and Machinist have their cast gauge removed, so actions now no longer have a casting gauge. More casual players seem to prefer the Bard over the Machinist, mainly because of the lack of the cast gauge, but even now less and less people chose to play a Bard for the same reason. There is also a massive disparity in terms of DPS, and people who lean more towards the casual playstyle seem to have a hard time keeping up.
Along with the Stormblood expansion, certain attributes have been removed from equipment.
Tanks now no longer get Parry as a parameter on your equipment. Instead, it will now be replaced by an attribute called Tenacity. What Tenacity does is that it raises the damage you do, while reducing your damage taken from enemies. Parry is not completely removed from the game, it is only removed from your equipment, and replaced with Tenacity. Blocks now no longer require you to be facing the enemy head on to have a chance to block an attack, instead the internal calculations for your block rate will be the same from whichever side you’re being attacked from. As of 4.0, tanks’ damage will once again be affected by Strength. However, tanks have their job specific accessories, which will focus on Vitality. Other jobs will also have their job specific accessories with the appropriate attributes.
Accuracy has also been abolished from only your equipment. Your character’s Accuracy is 100% when attacking an enemy of your same level. At flanks and the rear, the Accuracy calculations are raised, for example 110% or 120%. In raids, where your enemies seem to be higher level than your character, don’t panic just yet! The internal level used for Accuracy calculations for the content is the same as your character. There should not be a case where you will need to raise your Accuracy with the use of gear, etc. With that being said, enemies can still blind or debuff you, which lowers your Accuracy, you may miss your attacks, so either remove the debuff quickly or attack from a different side for a buffer for Accuracy drop.
A new attribute, Direct Hit, has been added with the removal of Accuracy and is only available on equipment for DPS jobs. Direct Hit is essentially a mini critical hit. They are more common, although less painful than a Critical hit. However, both may happen at the same time, where your Direct Hits may hit for a Critical, in which case the damage number will have multiple exclamation marks behind it. The Direct Hit attribute also increases the Determination parameter slightly.
The main attribute, Piety, will no longer be a main attribute. What this means is that you will no longer be able to get Piety in your gears, unless you are a healer. Piety is also no longer affected by the race you begin with.

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Mounts will now be increased in speed by up to 2 levels. If you have completed the area’s main quest, your mount speed will increase in 1 level. To unlock the 2nd step there’ll be a special requirement in the area for you to complete, what it is is not mentioned in the Live Letter. As long as you’ve cleared Main Scenario Quest up to patch 3.56, you will already have the 1st level mount speed granted to you.
 
PvP Changes

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Current issues we face for PvP content is that the Level Restrictions are too high. With the Level Restriction currently at 60, which also happens to be the level cap at the moment, it makes it troublesome and tedious for newer players, or even older players who are playing a new job to try out PvP. There are also too many Job Actions, where PvP consists of not only old PvE skills but also new PvP specific skills. It also makes it difficult to make the appropriate adjustments for PvP as both PvP and PvE attributes are combined together. Although it seemed like a good idea to introduce a growth / progress system into PvP, it resulted in the separation of the casual and core players even more. Players who do get into PvP for long enough mentioned that it is enjoyable, but the journey to get to where it actually starts getting fun is not one to look forward to.

In hopes of fixing the current issues, the Level Restriction to PvP will be lowered. Any job over level 30 can participate. PvP Attributes are now Determined by your Job Role, meaning your HP, Mana, Attack, etc. would be the same across all Jobs of the same role. Gears will now affect your appearance only, as compared to before where there were specific PvP gear to help you get better PvP focused attributes. PvP Hotbars for each job will now be separate from PvE Hotbars, this is visible when loading into a PvP map.

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One of the biggest PvP changes are the Action Changes, where now All PvP Actions are not PvP-specific. What this means is that each Job only has 9 actions, with 2 more selectable actions that you can pick from a list given to you. Directional requirements for Melee DPS have been removed, which will make PvP less complicated. Consolidated combos will also free up hotbar space. A consolidated combo is an action slot that you can press constantly to execute a series of skills in its combo chain. What this change hopes to bring is more interaction between party members, for example Melee DPS no longer has Stun so it would be up to the Tanks to stun, or to strategize with the party for when it is best to use a certain damage increase buff.

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Of course, these changes for Stormblood are not permanent as of yet, any feedback you provided to the developers will help them help you.
 
Scenario Shortcut & Job Level-boost Items
Like the title suggests, Final Fantasy XIV will be offering several shortcut items with the upcoming Stormblood release. We’ll go into what these items are before explaining the reasoning behind it.
Main Scenario Shortcut Items

  • Tales of Adventure: A Realm Reborn (Completes all main scenario quests up to patch 2.55’s Before the Dawn)
  • Tales of Adventure: Heavensward (Completes all main scenario quests up to patch 3.56’s The Far Edge of Fate)

These items do not have a Job level restriction to be purchased, and is available on the Mog Station from June 16th. Please take note that this item does not increase your job level.
Prices are as follows:

  • $18.00 / £13.32 / 15.75 € – Tales of Adventure: A Realm Reborn
  • $25.00 / £18.50 / 21.75 €   Tales of Adventure: Heavensward

*  Tales of Adventure: Heavensward also clears all A Realm Reborn Main Scenario Quests.
These items also includes features like:

  • Chocobo Acquisition (randomly generated name given)
  • Grand Company Enrollment (set to starting city-state)
  • Completion of Main Scenario Quests
  • Completion of Select Sidequests
  • The Unending Journey (all cutscenes viewable from your room)

*  Do note that side quests that unlock dungeon instances will be flagged as completed, but the instance itself will still consist of the bonus for clearing it for the first time.
Job Level-boost Items

  • Raises the Level of a Single Job

This item will raise the job of your selection to level 60, and each job will have a different Tales of Adventure meant for it. It will be available on the Mog Station from June 16th, at the price of $25.00 / £18.50 / 21.75 € per job. It is also crucial to note that only 1 job-specific Tales of Adventure will be available per account, at least until patch 4.1. In other words, you can only level-boost one job per service account. Because the items are still a very new concept, the developers want to monitor the item’s usage and make sure it won’t completely break the game from overuse. Of course, the job level-boost item will not be available for Red Mage and Samurai jobs.
This Item will also feature:

  • A full set of level 60 gear (including weapon)
  • All job quests complete
  • All actions learned
  • Hall of the Novice Access Granted

Now you may be wondering, wouldn’t everyone just buy the item to skip to the latest content? Why bother playing old content when it’s irrelevant when you can skip to the new stuff? The main reason behind this item is so that friends and family have the option to join you should they choose to. For example, a friend who plays in a different data center from you wants to join you on your server, but training a new character without grinding it non-stop can take weeks. That’s where the item comes in handy. Family members who are not on the same level of play style as you can buy the item to catch up with you to do content together. Not to mention, people who would utilize an item like this are typically not the players new to the game. This is an option that the player can choose, and there may be some players out there who have not been keeping up with Final Fantasy XIV, this may be a good option to catch up for the expansion.
 
Additional sales will be listed below, feel free to screen grab anything that catches your interest for their relevant information:
Final Fantasy XIV Original Soundtrack

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“Trials of Bahamut” Real Escape Game

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Final Fantasy XIV Heads to E3 2017!

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New Merchandise

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Final Fantasy XIV Projection Mapping

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Final Fantasy XIV Orchestra Concert 2017

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With that said, this has been a really long live letter, and we hope you enjoy the upcoming Stormblood expansion!

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