I mentioned in yesterday’s post that despite the technical issues that cropped up with Stormblood, I’m far more optimistic about FFXIV than I probably have been in years. This, simply put, is because I think I’ve finally found a job that I love: Red Mage.
All throughout Heavensward, I had a tough time dealing with raids, end game content, and the frustration/exhaustion I felt at the whole thing. Part of it was because the game had become a repetition of Expert Roulettes and Alliance Raids, neither that I was particularly enjoying.
But I started to understand as time went on that part of the reason I didn’t enjoy the content was because I never found a job that really suited me. Therefore, I spent most of Heavensward end game being terribly frustrated no matter how hard I tried.
Bard had been my main job in ARR. I hated the changes that came with Heavensward that transformed them into a bowmage with nerfed damage (until a more recent patch). In fact, I put leveling on hold and spent about a year struggling to find a replacement DPS job.
The closest I came to this was playing Dragoon, which I ended up leveling to 60 twice between my main and my alt. However, Dragoon is a very active job, and gets exhausting for me to maintain good DPS, especially with the whole Blood of the Dragon timer counting down all the time. I was alright at it, and sometimes it was fun, but in more high-end content, it wiped me out.
For the same reasons, Monk and Ninja weren’t for me. I could never wrap my head around Summoner or Machinist, and Black Mage just got frustrating after level 50.
So… really… that left me with leveling Bard, swallowing the changes, and trying to do my best on Dragoon. But neither of these were sparking a feeling of “WOW! This is SO fun and I really want to play this and try it out in all sorts of content!”
Well… all that has changed.
Along Comes Stormblood
Stormblood ushered in some huge class changes, especially for Bard. I appreciate what I’ve seen of it, especially in making songs into actual songs that are something that improves the Bard themselves, not just those around the Bard. There’s a bit of support there, which is nice, but now Bard can stand on its own and buff itself as well.
I haven’t really spent that much time learning Bard, however, because Red Mage has consumed me. I honestly want to play nothing else right now.
It’s been a long time since I’ve felt a draw to a job in an MMO the way I am feeling towards Red Mage. I was hesitant to be too hyped for it at first because I didn’t know how the job was going to feel. But I’ve always loved the idea behind a hybrid caster who uses a cool fencing sword and has an awesome hat.
For the short time I did play FFXI back in the day, Red Mage was my main job. My dream, which was never realized, was to earn the Red Mage artifact armor in that game. It feels like coming full circle here — FFXIV just handed me the AF armor as soon as I unlocked the job!
As of last night, I’ve leveled halfway through 57, and I’m pushing hard to make it surpass my Bard’s level so I can pick it up as my main job.
Why I Love Red Mage
I’ve had people ask me outright what I think of Red Mage, and when I respond with optimism, they ask me what I like about it. It’s really hard to put into words. It’s more than just hype and flair, though I love the visual aspect and aesthetic feel of it.
The biggest thing is that I understand how it works. I know that sounds weird, but I can’t say that for every job I’ve played. I’d watched a few videos from the media release that described the “rotation.” So, when I sat down and set up my bars for the first time, I already had a basic grasp on what I needed to do. I’ve made a few discoveries as I’ve leveled, but overall, the way the job works makes sense to me.
The job doesn’t stress me out, which is huge. I feel like my damage output is strong, I can hold my own solo, and in a group, I contribute well. There’s some thinking to do, however, and a lot of flexibility (especially when you start unlocking Cures and eventually Rezzes).
I prefer a gauge that you’re building up, rather than one that’s constantly counting down. Red Mage’s gauge remains full as long as you don’t zone or use the energy on melee releases. I like that. I think I may be done playing Dragoon, because I can’t bother being stressed by losing BotD buffs for another expansion.
It’s just plain fun to play. This makes me want to do content, rather than struggle through content with a job that isn’t as fun.
Red Mage is about balance. And, for me, balance is a concept that’s super important in RL. In my fantasy writing, things often go wrong without balance. Or… my characters are often seeking to learn to balance something in order to master it. So, a job that focuses on finding a balance really appeals to me, and opens up some Role Play desire.
I’ve already earned commendations with the job, which is more than I tend to get from running Bard or Dragoon. Last night, I was in PotD for leveling with another Red Mage and two Samurai. I think I surprised them when I actually used Cure to keep the party’s health up — I am more than just DPS, and I love it! Though the Cure is never going to rival a real healer, it’s cool to have a dual cast double Cure.
About the only thing I find Red Mage weak in is running Frontlines PvP. Oh, ooops… Running PvP???? ME?
Hahah… yeah, that’s an article for tomorrow. 😉