Posted in FFXIV, Gaming, MMORPGs

FFXIV Heavensward: Class Conundrum & Cactuar Conversion

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DPS Decisions

While I’m putting a lot of time into leveling Tai and really loving everything about the Heavensward Dragoon, I hesitated on moving forward with Zuri. This is mostly due to all the feedback I’ve heard about Bard and how the class is borked. I was interested in leveling MCH, but I’ve heard so many awful things about it, too!

The 3.01 patch brought some changes to both classes, making Wanderer’s Minuet and Gauss Barrel instant casts with a 10% damage buff, but nerfing the damage of skills like Empyreal Arrow and Sidewinder to make up for it. The FFXIV team is really adamant about keeping support DPS damage down due to high mobility. 😦 I’m just not sure how I feel about that, but it’s a rant that I’ll let other people make.

I spent a good chunk of time last weekend leveling Zuri’s Dragoon to 34 to unlock Blood for Blood. Yes, I’ve been a bad Bard up until now, but I’m making up for it!

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During the process, I spent a good deal of time soul searching and trying to decide what I wanted to do with Zuri for Heavensward. As it is, it seems getting one class to 60 is quite a hurdle. So I knew that whatever I started with in Heavensward, I needed to stick with.

Know Thy Playstyle

I knew that some classes are just not for me – Black Mage, for example. I pondered a bit about Ninja and Monk, but I already have a level 50 Ninja on Tai, and it doesn’t make a lot of sense to re-level all that.

I have a level 48 Summoner, so I even considered that for a bit, spending time reading this very excellent document on Summoner play. However, about halfway through, my mind started swimming at the thought of all the stuff Summoners need to keep up with to perform well, and I decided against it.

ffxiv_06262015_185945I want to share a secret: FFXIV is the first MMO where I’ve invested time in actually learning a rotation. Of course, this is also the first game where I played in PUGs to finish dungeons and raids. I’ve really mostly only soloed or duoed content in games before now. So, I’m trying very hard to learn how to play MMOs better. This includes pressing number keys (most the time) instead of mouse-clicking numbers for skills! Yes, I’ve had to teach myself that while playing FFXIV. XD

Even so, I’ve discovered that my playstyle leans towards classes with less flexibility in their rotations. I know that sounds funny, but sometimes reading about how rotations work just leaves my head swimming – especially mage classes! For example, Bard has just enough stability and repetition, coupled with a bit of RNG, to keep me from feeling overwhelmed.

For the longest time, I really didn’t like Dragoon at all and felt overwhelmed attempting to make sense of the class’ long, long rotation and sometimes brutal playstyle (being all up in the boss’ faces). But after some of the Dragoon changes last years, and a lot of time time spent with the class, I’ve discovered that the rotation just makes sense to me. I’ve come to understand how skills interact and I think I have a fairly good grasp on how to play the class. I’m not the best Dragoon, by far, but I feel pretty comfortable in playing Tai through Heavensward content.

That’s got me to a point where I feel like I may be able to tackle learning other melee classes (Monk and Ninja) with time and practice. However, back to the choice at hand.

Bard, I Choose You

In the end, I decided not to replicate my efforts and stuck with Bard for Zuri. The Bard community has been very vocal about what they feel is wrong with the class and the new skills. Already, this patch has made a move forward to try to help that (while nerfing us), but I still find it a bit annoying that our DPS is being so suppressed simply because we are labeled “support.”

I’ve actually spent more time leveling my gathering classes than I have my Bard with Zuri (and going broke unlocking the Master I books for crafting). The way gathering nodes are distributed in Heavensward certainly gives an advantage to players with flying mounts, so I pushed forward and unlocked flying with Zuri in the first zone. This has made gathering life a lot easier.

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The Cactuar Character

It’s been in the back of my mind that I need to visit my Cactuar character (Aywren) and the folks at <GREY> more often than I have. Working so hard to unlock all my crafting classes and get ready for Heavensward the past few months has kept me from dabbling on my alt there. Since the Aywren on Cactuar was way too similar to Zuri in every way – kitty race, same coloration, Bard class – I knew I wanted to change it up some.

So I went Au’Ra.

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Kitty Before, Au’Ra After

Gosh did it take forever for me to finally decide on a look for this character! I tried all sorts of combinations from the mundane to the exotic. In the end, I’m pretty pleased with how she came out, and I’m really looking forward to playing her!

Despite having 24 levels under my belt as a Bard on this character, I knew I was going to change class as well. Again, I went through all the hoops trying to determine what DPS I wanted to play. Again, I found myself setting on wanting melee DPS. But every class I investigated always told me the same thing: cross class skills require at least level 34 Dragoon to unlock Blood for Blood.

Ugh. At that rate, might just as well level Dragoon again. Soooo… that’s what I decided to do. I can always come back later and explore Monk or Ninja if I like, especially since the cross class skills will be there. But for now, I’m content in busting up the levels to catch up to the point where I can join back into the MQS and see how the level curve has changed for a character moving through it the first time.