The developers of Final Fantasy 14 have been very slow to make balance changes. The last patch to make major balance changes before last week was in December of last year, with major Warrior buffs, Summoner nerfs, and quality of life improvements for just about everyone. With Ninjas coming in with patch 2.4, it became clear that there were some balance issues between them and the existing melee DPS Jobs. As I’ve mentioned earlier, Dragoons had a few issues with positional requirements and magic defense that Ninjas and Monks did not share. I expected the patch to address these, and maybe nerf Ninjas a bit. (Ninjas were balanced on the assumption that Ninjutsu is hard, and it sort of isn’t. More on that later.)
What actually happened was beyond the wildest dreams of every Dragoon player I know. Buffs were received in multiple places, addressing both survivability and damage. The required math to figure out where they ended up in relation to the other classes is beyond me, but I have my suspicions.
A few abilities got flat damage increases. Full Thrust went up by 30 potency (and so Life Surge -> Full Thrust became better burst). Both dots (Phlebotomize and Chaos Thrust) went up by 5 potency per tick (for a total of 30 and 50). The direct damage portion of Chaos Thrust also went up by 50 when used from behind; I’m pretty sure at 600 total that’s the highest displayed potency on any single target ability across all classes.
Impulse Drive didn’t get a potency increase, but now has full potency from all sides of the enemy (which incidentally means that it’s the only offensive ability you should use other than heavy thrust before Level 26). To go along with this, the positional requirements on all combo steps have been essentially eliminated (Heavy Thrust and Chaos Thrust still do more damage from the side/rear), and combos can no longer be “missed” by positioning incorrectly.
The Dragoon’s signature Jump ability had its cooldown reduced from 40 seconds to 30 seconds. In addition to the straight damage increase this represents, it also allows it to line up nicely with Power Surge. Life Surge’s cooldown also decreased.
As a related note, I personally think that the way Ninjutsu’s 20 second cooldown aligns nicely with the ninja’s ability set is why that class was not as hard to play as anticipated. A 1-minute long rotation of Huton, Suiton, and Raiton overlays over the “standard” rogue rotation in a mostly predictable way.
The most important change in this patch for Dragoon survivability is that the magic defense on their armor increased to be equal to the amount on comparable Ninja/Monk armor. This change alone means a lot for survivability in boss fights, and it allowed us to use Dragoons as fireball soaks in T5 this past week. In addition, the cooldown that melee like to use at the worst times, Blood for Blood, had the damage taken component reduced for Dragoons only. (Monks and Ninjas can continue to kill themselves with it.) Combined, these might mean that Dragoons survive the boss AOE they’ll inevitably get hit with.
The End of loldrg?
Dragoon is still the melee that is perceived as being the easiest to play, and playing either of the other two optimally requires running it up to 34 anyway (for the aforementioned Blood for Blood). Because of this, there are a lot of potential dragoons, and some of them are still… unfortunate. The past two weeks have taught me that while good dragoon players are amazing, bad dragoon players are still bad, and no amount of patching is likely to fix that.
Maybe next game, guys.