The embargo on the Stormblood Media Tour ended today, which means we got a tidal wave of new info this morning. We now have detailed information on all of the changes for every class, as well as a lot more information for the two new jobs, Red Mage and Samurai. I’m not going to cover everything here, since I would feel out of my depth really analyzing classes I don’t sink most of my time into. I do want to talk about Ninja, though. You can check out the following brief video from MTQCapture to get a general idea of the changes (and the channel also has corresponding videos for every job, if you’re interested):
As we’ve known for awhile, every job is having actions removed or condensed, and Ninja is no exception.
- Both poisons (Kiss of the Viper and Kiss of the Wasp) are being replaced by a trait called Dripping Blades (with Dripping Blades II replacing the old Enhanced Kiss Traits). Of note: according to tooltips (which may or may not be accurate at this stage), the bonus from Dripping Blade applies to all damage, including magical Ninjutsu damage, which (if true) serves as a reversion of the original A Realm Reborn nerf to Ninja’s poisons.
- Mutilate is gone as I suspected it would be—its effect seems to be more or less baked into Potency increases for Ninja’s main Weaponskills.
- Goad is not gone, per say, but it is being moved to a Role Action, opening up that utility to all Melee DPS.
- Sneak Attack is removed (and Trick Attack is moved down to level 18 so that low level Rogues have something to do with Hide).
- Dancing Edge is gone, too. There’s some conflicting information regarding exactly what’s changing. Shadow Fang is taking its place in the combo chain (moving to post-Gust Slash instead of post-Spinning Edge). The tooltip in the linked video states that the Slashing Debuff formerly on Dancing Edge only applies in PvP areas, but other footage seems to suggest that this also applies in PvE areas.
All in all, this removes five keybinds from Ninja’s button load (right on target for the general guesses) and, if Shadow Fang is indeed adding the Slashing Debuff, also streamlines the rotation while removing Ninja’s dependency on Warrior for its optimal rotation. That’s all very welcome and takes care of how constrained Ninja felt when they weren’t paired with a Warrior.
The removal of Poisons as an Action is welcome too—it won’t have any major gameplay effect, outside of the loss of the ability to alter the effects of Mug and Jugulate, but it means no more forgetting poisons when zoning into level synced content or syncing to FATEs in the open world.
The core of Ninja’s actions are mostly staying the same, outside of the changes brought about by the removal of Dancing Edge mentioned above. There are a few things worth noting, though.
- Gust Slash, Aeolian Edge, and Armor Crush are all getting Potency increases (20 on each), which are more or less meant to make up for the loss of Mutilate.
- Hide now resets the cooldown on Ninjutsu. This is a great quality of life change, int that Ninja will no longer require a 20-second pull timer for its optimal opener. One can simply precast Huton and Hide to reset the Ninjutsu timer allowing for an immediate Suiton. This will also be handy in dungeons—a quick Hide after a Huton to refresh between pulls means you’ll always be ready for a Doton or Katon on AoE packs.
- Mug no longer has an option for HP recovery (though that HP recovery was so minor it won’t be missed). Instead, a trait at 66 will allow Mug to add to the new Ninki gauge (which I’ll get into below).
- Trick Attack isn’t changing in functionality, but it’s coming in at level 18. It’s not going to be hugely useful prior to getting Suiton at level 45 (since the vulnerability portion of it still requires execution from the rear from Hide). This does mean that Ninja has its consistent damage support at 45 instead of 50, though, which is useful for the last two pre-50 dungeons in A Realm Reborn.
- Jugulate is dropping to level 30, which is minor, but welcome, as it unlocks Silence for them as early as Haukke Manor (useful for the succubi there). While the loss of the Stun toggle via Poison is a bit of a loss, Ninja can now set Low Blow as a Role Action if a stun is needed, and this also means that Ninjas won’t inadvertently mess up Stun Resistance when using Jugulate for damage with the wrong Poison.
- As mentioned above, Shadow Fang is taking over for Dancing Edge. It’s unclear whether it will carry the Slashing Debuff (hopefully it does, and judging by comments from Yoshi-P during the recent Live Letter, it seems it will). The duration is being extended as well, for an extra 40 Potency (the last piece meant to make up for Mutilate’s loss Potency-wise).
- Shukuchi itself isn’t changing, but a new Enhanced Shukuchi trait at 64 will reset its cooldown everytime we use certain Ninjutsu. Which Ninjutsu trigger the effect is somewhat unlcear. The tooltip in the linked video says Raiton, Katon, and Hyoton do (all of the two-step Ninjutsu), but other info is saying Suiton, rather than Hyoton does. This will make Ninja a lot more mobile, allowing for gap closes every 20 seconds or so.
- Dream within a Dream is getting a pretty significant Potency increase (+50 per strike of the threefold attack), increasing its overall damage by 50%. Of course, we won’t be using it any more often, but that’s a pretty big boost to our opener.
The two big things here are probably the change to Hide, which actually gives it as purpose (something it was really lacking) and the vastly improved mobility from Enhanced Shukuchi. The rest mostly serve to just streamline things a bit and get rid of extra fluff in the rotation, which is welcome, but not earth shattering.
Somewhat disappointingly, Ninja is only picking up three new abilities past level 60. That’s to be somewhat expected, of course, since if we got five, we’d not really be getting anywhere with button bloat.
- All of Ninja’s new stuff ties into the Shukiho trait, gained at level 62. This allows for the accumulation of the Ninki Gauge, which goes up with every auto attack and also with Enhanced Mug (starting at level 66).
- At 62, Ninja picks up Hellfrog Medium, an instant 400 Potency AoE attack with no cooldown. It costs 80 Ninki to activate, though, so we won’t be able to spam this. In addition to jumping up Ninja’s AoE output, this looks like it will serve as the “filler” Ninki ability, since the other two have coolodowns (assuming we can accumulate it quickly enough to need a filler one, anyway).
- The next ability, Bhavacakra, doesn’t come in until 68, which feels like it’s going to be a long wait for something new. Bhavacakra is another Ninki ability (with a cost of 80, just like Hellfrog Medium), this one a single-target 550 Potency attack, but with a 50 second cooldown.
- Ninja’s final, level 70 ability, Ten Chi Jin, also costs 80 Ninki, and it’s somewhat complicated.
- Its effect reduces the cooldown on Ninjutsu to 1 second for your next two Ninjutsu, allowing for three Ninjutsu in a row in practice.
- Additionally, Mudra aren’t “consumed” while under its effects. So, if you use Ten (for Fuma Shuriken) and then hit Chi, your next Ninjutsu will be Raiton, and then if you hit Jin, you’ll move right into a Suiton. You can do the same to do Fuma > Katon > Doton for AoE as well.
- On top of that, all Ninjutsu Potency is doubled for the effect’s duration.
- Movement does cancel the Ten Chi Jin effect, however, so we’ll have to be careful using it, especially given its 100 second cooldown.
- While in effect, Ten Chi Jin locks out all Weaponskills, and it’s a bit difficult to gauge how that’s going to feel without actually playing the class at level 70.
Overall, Ninja’s new actions serve to boost both its single target and its AoE damage. Unlike we did in Heavensward, we aren’t getting any new utility, but on a personal level, I don’t mind that, as I didn’t care much for all the utility we got in 3.0. I do think I would have liked to see something more exciting than Enhanced Mug at 66 (or at the least, Bhavacakra swapped with it), but I think on the whole I’m tentatively more excited for Ninja’s new stuff past 60 than I was for its post-50 additions.
In the end, I feel like I’m basically in the same place I was for Heavensward with Ninja. Nothing particularly excited me about the job going into 3.0, and my interest was mostly in other classes. In general, Ninja isn’t changing much in Stormblood either, and I suppose that’s to be expected, since going as far back as its introduction in A Realm Reborn, Ninja was probably the most solidly constructed of the melee jobs.
We’re getting some definite quality of life improvements to a number of things, which are all very welcome, but none of them are especially exciting. I mostly feel the same about Ninja’s new abilities, too: Hellfire Medium is more or less Katon II, and while it’s going to hit hard, a buff to Katon would have achieved the same effect. The same goes for Bhavacakra—like Dream within a Dream before it, it’s simply another off-global damage ability we’re going to hit and forget when its available.
Of everything, Ten Chi Jin is the most exciting addition, and Stormblood does have that going for Ninja compared to Heavensward, where our capstone ability was simply a basic off-global DPS cooldown. I think I would have rather seen some new Ninjutsu somehow instead (though admittedly, the logistics of adding them are probably a nightmare).
I feel like the addition of the Ninki Gauge could have been a lot more interesting. Since we don’t have any secondary stats that affect auto-attack speed, it’s not like we’ll be able to build our gearsets to get as much of it as possible or anything like that, and there’s really no interplay with the rest of Ninja’s abilities aside from Mug (which we’re just going to hit on cooldown for the most part anyway). Ninki abilities that buffed Ninjutsu or some of our Weaponskills would have been interesting, but we’re not getting anything like that here. Moving forward into 5.0, there’s potential for Ninki to get really interesting, but for Stormblood, at least, I’m not really hyped for it.
With the addition of Samurai, it’s quite possible my main will be changing, since Ninja’s just not exciting to me at the moment. However, that’s going to depend a lot on how both classes feel in practice—I can only speculate so much about what I’ll want to play based on information without the context of gameplay itself. I don’t think Ninja will in particular be in danger of being unwelcome in parties or anything like that—if anything, the continued existence of Trick Attack will ensure its all-but-guaranteed slot for the next couple of years—but I’m just not all that interested in the class’s direction.
Also, I think Hellfire Medium’s frog is stupid and not in character for Alahra at all, and I have to admit that’s affecting my judgement here.
All that being said, I’m still planning to level Ninja to 70 before I dive into Samurai, and I won’t make any decision about my main job until both of them are at 70, most likely.