Letters From the Producer Patches

Letter from the Producer LIVE XXXVI: Stormblood Battle System Changes & New Job Abilities

I haven’t done one of these before, but with today’s Live Letter being all about Stormblood, I figured maybe I should start talking about them (at least the ones I can be around for). We’ve been waiting for substantial information about Stormblood’s class and battle system changes for what feels like an eternity now, and thankfully, the Live Letter did not disappoint. We got information on the new Role Action system, a breakdown of the new Job Gauges, information about new secondary stats, a look at PvP changes, and of course, previews of a lot of the new actions and systems for each job.

Battle System Changes

Yoshida identified some of the issues in the class and combat design at the real “start” of the letter, many of which we’ve heard about before. The team felt the classes had gotten too complex, and of course, hotbar space was becoming an issue for just about everyone. They also wanted to do something about the need to watch timer icons all the time, making them more visible. The overall goal for the changes to the battle system is to reduce some of the disparity between core and casual players.

Current Issues

Job Action Adjustments

As part of these overall adjustments, we’re going to see plenty of changes to Job Actions. Unused/underused actions will sometimes be removed, and it looks like part of the intention of Role Actions (which I’ll get to more soon) is to merge things and reduce overall hotbar needs. Of course, as many guessed already, we’re going to see upgraded spells condensed into single buttons.

Job Action Adjustments

Additional Actions and Role Actions

Additional actions as we know them are going away, and we won’t have to level up secondary classes anymore (they won’t even be necessary to unlock jobs), which we more or less knew already. The new Role Actions will be divided by role (Tank, Healer, Melee DPS, Ranged DPS, and Caster), and you will gain access to them as you gain levels, setting up to 5 at one time. Each role has more than 5 choices (it looked to be around 10), so there’s some room for variation depending on what you’re doing.

Tank Role Actions

Tank role actions include what appears to be Rampart, as well as Convalescence and Provoke. It looks like all tanks are going to have access to a Stun (Dark Knight’s Low Blow) as a Role Action, as well as a Silence. On top of that, Dark Knight’s Reprisal is becoming a Role Action, and it seems we’re getting an Area of Effect Provoke, too, which should be really useful in encounters where waves of adds spawn!

Healer Role Actions

We weren’t given a ton of direct info on specific healer actions, but healers are getting a major change: their damage is going to be based on Mind in 4.0, which means Cleric Stance (one of their Role Actions) is going to change. Instead of being a stance, it’s going to become a DPS cooldown. Of course, Protect and Swiftcast are staying. Esuna will be a role action, and there’s also a new one called Rescue that pulls a party member to the healer.

Melee DPS Role Actions

Melee are keeping Blood for Blood, Second Wind, and Invigorate. It looks like Goad is becoming a Role Action, which will allow all melee to have some of the support previously limited to Ninja. They’re also getting a new Diversion ability that seems to be some sort of Enmity reduction tool. A new cooldown (which was not named) will let melee ignore positional requirements temporarily, too.

Ranged DPS Role Actions

All Ranged DPS will have access to Invigorate, Swiftsong (probably renamed), and Second Wind. It also looks like Mage’s Ballad and Army’s Paeon are going to become role actions (instead of taking up specific abilities for each job). I’d imagine they’ll be renamed, of course. A Stun, Silence, and either a bind or a heavy (judging by one of the icons) will be a Role Action for these too.

Caster Role Actions

The biggest change for Casters is that Raging Strikes is going away, but staples like Virus and Swiftcast are going to stick around. Quelling Strikes is going to be replaced with a new ability called Diversion which should fulfill the same kind of purpose. Going by the icons, it looks like Lethargy (a Thaumaturge action) is going to become a Role Action, and Virus is becoming a new spell called Addle (though we didn’t get any info on what it does). A new Role Action, called Manashift, will let the caster transfer MP to a party member.

Job Gauges & New Abilities

This has been hinted at before, but in Stormblood, each Job is going to have a unique UI element that will keep track of various buffs and timers, as well as various resources for some jobs (like the new “Inner Beast” meter for Warrior). Of course, along with these, we also got to see a bunch of new abilities and got tidbits about how each job will work in the expansion.

Job Gauges

You can check out the new job actions trailer below, which also shows off the Job Gauges for each class.

You can also see all of the Job Gauges here:

Red Mage

Red Mage’s Job Gauge tracks Black and White Mana, with each of their spells increasing one or the other. Gameplay will center around maintaining balance and also Chainspells. Whenever the Red Mage casts a spell, their next spell will be instant cast. Though details were sparse, it seems like successive spells will get faster and faster, and the need to balance Black and White Mana will encourage alternating between the magic types.

Red Mage Gauge

Dragoon

Dragoon won’t be having major rotational changes. Its Job Gauge seems to track Blood of the Dragon, and it looks like a new action called Mirage Dive will open up a status called the Gaze of the First Brood. We didn’t get a lot of details on what that meant, other than that it opens up the use of new actions.

Dark Knight

Information for Dark Knight was unfortunately pretty scarce. Their Job Gauge is centered around Black Blood, which seems to function as a resource that’s built up by some Weaponskills and then expended with other actions.

Bard

Bards can rejoice: in Stormblood, casting times are going away! The Bard’s Job Gauge seems to track which song is active, and it seems they’ll be switching between them more actively in battle. We didn’t get any info on what the songs do (or how Wanderer’s Minuet will change), but the removal of casting times is huge news anyway.

Scholar

Scholar doesn’t look like it’s going to have any major changes, with the focus being on new actions. Their Job Gauge seems to for the most part only track Aetherflow, but Yoshida didn’t mention anything specifically about it. One of Scholar’s new abilities will allow the Faerie to channel a heal on a party member, which is shown in the video.

Ninja

Ninja’s also not going to undergo any major changes to its rotation. It has two Job Gauges, one that tracks Huton (the pinwheel in the video) and another (the scroll, which I think was called Senki) that builds up with auto attacks, allowing the usage of new abilities. Toward the end of the Ninja segment, it looks like there’s a cooldown to rapidfire Ninjutsu, using three very quickly (and with fewer mudra activations than normal, too).

Machinist

Just like Bard, Machinist’s cast times are going away. Gauss Barrel will now add a Heat Gauge to the Machinist’s Job Gauge (which also tracks Ammunition, from the looks of it). The Heat Gauge will increase the power of your attacks and also mean you use different actions, apparently.

Warrior

Warrior seems to be getting a systems overhaul: the current Wrath system is being replaced by Inner Beast, which will build up as the Warrior performs combo actions (similar to how things are now). Then, by spending Inner Beast, the Warrior can use other actions (Fell Cleave being one, which can be used in rapid succession if you have enough Inner Beast). From the looks of it, things aren’t changing too much otherwise. Part of the stream showed off Yoshida playing Warrior, and it seems like Storm’s Eye is becoming a personal buff rather than a debuff. Of course, Warrior is also getting a gap closer ability, which we’ve seen before.

Warrior Job Gauge

Summoner

Summoner looks like it’s going to remain mostly the same, but their Job Gauge now tracks how many times they’ve gone into Dreadwyrm Trance, and once they’ve done so enough times, they can summon Bahamut. I don’t even play Summoner and that was one of the coolest parts of the Live Letter for me, as I’ve always felt Summoner really needed more actual summoning.

White Mage

White Mage won’t be changing much either. Its new abilities will focus on bolstering its role as a “pure healer.” The Job Gauge for White Mage tracks Lillies, which can be used to shorten recast time and also unlock other abilities.

Black Mage

While Black Mage won’t change a lot rotationally, Enochian is undergoing a rework. It will now remain active so long as you maintain either Astral Fire or Umbral Ice (with Yoshida showing off how Transpose refreshes it). By maintaining Enochian for at least 30 seconds, you can use a new spell, though it wasn’t clear exactly what it does. It looks like Black Mage is going to get the ability to teleport to Ley Lines, Thunder II and Thunder IV will be AoE (with Thunder IV replacing Thunder II’s button later).

BLM in action

Astrologian

We didn’t get a lot of information about Astrologian. Its Job Gauge will track which card you have drawn, as well as any Royal Road effects attached to it. From the video it looks like the Astrologian can use cards on enemies or something, too (but I’m just guessing there). The central new thing seems to be the ability to place what looks like a mote or star, and as you perform actions, it gains different effects before it does something after a set amount of time (which you can see in the video above).

Monk

Like the other melee, Monk seems like it’s going to be mostly the same. It’s getting some more party synergy though: with a certain buff active, attacks by a party member (or party members?) will grant the Monk stacks of Chakra, allowing them to gain Chakra during combat without slowing themselves down. Their Job Gauge tracks their Chakras as well as Greased Lightning, of course, and a new ability called Riddle of the Earth will extend the Greased Lightning timer.

Samurai

Unfortunately, the information we got about Samurai was a bit vague. They seem to have two main things to keep track of in their Job Gauge. The first, represented by the sword, builds up as they attack and can be spent to use other abilities. The three symbols, Sen, allow different Iaijutsu attacks to be used.

Paladin

And last but not least, we’ve got Paladin. Their Job Gauge, the Oath Gauge, builds up kind of like Wrath seems to for Warrior and allows them to perform other actions. We got to see a new Area of Effect slashing attack for them. The team also spent a lot of time showing off a new signature ability, Passage of Arms, which reduces damage for all party members behind the Paladin. Additionally, the Paladin will now be able to block magical attacks (which is a long-requested change).

Passage of Arms

PvP System Changes

I won’t go into great detail about PvP changes for now since I am not intimately familiar with the system, but there are some important things to note. Level and stats in PvP are going to be equalized, with gear no longer providing bonuses—they’ll be cosmetic rewards only. Level restrictions are mostly going away, with only level 30 and an unlocked Job being necessary to participate.

DRG PvP UI

We’re going to get PvP specific hotbars, and PvP abilities are being entirely reworked. All classes will have a separate set of around 12 actions to use in PvP, and they won’t need anything else. Two of those actions will be chosen by the player from a list (sort of like the ability choices we have now), with the rest being determined by the Job. For classes with combos, to cut down on button space, all combos will automatically proceed on their own, and as an additional boost for melee, they won’t have to worry about positionals in PvP.

Changes to Sub Stats

As a more general sort of thing, we’re going to see substats reworked in some significant ways. Parry is being reworked as a new stat called Tenacity for tanks, which both increases the tanks damage dealt and reduces the damage they take. Additionally, tank damage will again be calculated solely by Strength, and accessories are going to become locked by role (though it would have been nice to get some more details than we got on this topic).

Accuracy is going away as a substat (with whether or not you hit being determined by position and enemy level, with attacks delivered from the front against monsters of your level or lower having 100% accuracy). On gear, Accuracy is being replaced by a stat called Direct Hit, which seems to be a variant type of critical hit, with a higher chance to happen than Critical Hits but for less damage (and they mentioned off-hand that Direct Hit will also increase Determination values).

Piety is going to be turned into a secondary stat for healer gear only (with the main stat being removed entirely, apparently). Races are going to have their racial stats adjusted to accommodate, but I’m guessing this means Piety values will be the same for all Black Mages now, regardless of race, so that’s noteworthy.

Scenario Shortcut & Job Level-boost Items

The other major news of note is that, starting June 16th, with the beginning of Stormblood Early Access, we’ll be able to purchase items to clear the Main Scenario and level a single job for a character, as was hinted at months ago now. For the Main Scenario, there will be two items, one for the 2.x Main Scenario ($18) and one for the 3.x Main Scenario ($25), which will also clear everything in 2.x. Dungeons for the Main Scenario Quest will be marked as cleared for the character, and side story dungeons will be unlocked but not cleared (so folks can still get Tomestone bonuses).

The Job Level-boost item ($25) will level a single job to level 60 and grant a full set of level 60 gear. All job quests will be cleared, too. At least through Patch 4.1, w’ere only going to be able to buy a single one of these per account, so the team can monitor their effects.

That about covers it for today’s Live Letter. There was a lot of info, so even though I took notes I’m sure I missed some things, but I hope I hit all of the major notes!

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