In the latest "Letter from the Producer Live" for FFXIV, Executive Producer and Director Naoki Yoshida detailed many of the changes coming to the game when the Shadowbringers expansion releases in July.
The stream kicked off with the announcement that FFXIV's online community has now surpassed the 16 million registered user mark, which is up from last year's 14 million player milestone (which the game hit in September 2018, meaning the community grew over 2 million users in about 8 months).
As for the changes being made to the game for the release of the Shadowbringers expansion, Yoshida discussed several new details, but mostly focused on the following:
- Details on battle system changes, including the introduction of the charged action system.
- Updates to the FATE system, side quests, as well the addition of role quests.
- Adjustments to job synergy and rebalancing of jobs
- Various quality of life changes and UI updates
The biggest changes to the job synergy and rebalancing is that all job synergies are down so that all jobs will be more viable in end-game raid meta. So you'll hopefully no longer see Savage raid parties looking for specific jobs over others. Many jobs are getting "Charged actions" which will use the skill's cooldown timer to rack up an extra use of some skills, which can help all jobs with timing their dps a bit better. You can preview the new job actions below.
As for the DPS role balancing changes, Summoner and Bard are getting slight reworks. Bard will see some actions removed in game version 5.0 so that the job is more traditional, focusing more on songs and buffs. Summoner is getting several new abilities to make controlling their pets much easier, so they'll no longer need the clunky pet hotbar getting in the way. The biggest change will come to Mechanist which will no longer be quite as RNG based. Several abilities remain, but their effects have been tweaked to be more regulated. So FFXIV's Mechanist will now feel more, well, mechanical than luck-based.
Healers are being rebalanced to make them work on a more pure healing role, which mostly means that Scholar is being tweaked to have more native healing skills, however their biggest change is the loss of the protect skill. Which will make low-level dungeons a more dodgy proposition than they should be.
Tanks are being rebalanced so that all four tank jobs should be viable. Paladin, Dark Knight, and Warrior are all being heavily tweaked. They're losing their DPS stances, as their tank stances will now no longer come with a damage penalty. They're also losing their enmity rotations, to make it easier for tanks to figure out what skills to be using when. I have plenty of thoughts on this based on my playtesting of the new system, but we'll get to those much later. Like, Wednesday, when I'm able to talk about it and share some capture footage of a dungeon run.
Overall, the biggest changes you'll notice across jobs is the reduction in role skills. Right now, all five roles – tank, healer, ranged physical dps, melee dps, and magical dps – have 10 role skills each. These are being slimmed down to under 6 per role. Which means many jobs are losing skills they tend to rely on. Don't panic, however, as most of the key utility role skills are remaining.
For more details on the battle system, fate, and role quest changes, you can check out the stream below.
Additionally, the FFXIV: Shadowbringers official benchmark software is now available for download. The benchmark software includes all-new Shadowbringers footage, as well as a character creator that allows players to view playable characters as they appear in game—including the new Hrothgar and Viera races. Users who create characters using the benchmark will also be able to carry them into the full game as well. The official benchmark software can be downloaded here.
If you don't play on PC, you can watch the benchmark trailer below.
FFXIV: Shadowbringers will launch on PS4 and PC on July 2, 2019. Early Access for the game is tentatively scheduled to being June 28th.