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Wisdom of Nym: Final Fantasy XIV’s Blue Mage is balanced right, even if you don’t like that

Not so different.
Not so different.

This additional this week completely comes from me doing the mental equal of pouring a mix of lemon juice and salt instantly into an open wound. You see, after having fun with the wildly constructive reception for issues at Final Fantasy XIV’s Fan Pageant in Las Vegas and having a grand time, for causes that are nonetheless unknown to me, I made a decision to learn the FFXIV subreddit, which is… let’s simply say not nice at the perfect of occasions. And a contingent of its members have been busy having an epic meltdown similar to Chernobyl over Blue Mage.

There’s rather a lot of actually dangerous logic in that thread, each hoping that the job’s restricted nature will someway be a short lived factor and placing forth actually simply punctured logic about how the job might simply be balanced if the builders simply did X. And because it’s Thanksgiving, now appears like an excellent day to only have a bit of enjoyable puncturing the logic, as mentioned. So let’s speak about why, sure, the event workforce has virtually definitely thought of all of your options and found out that they wouldn’t work.

Let’s begin with the primary an apparent level: “This is a temporary thing! All of these limits are just in place until the level cap gets raised, then it’ll be just like any other job.”

And you’re in all probability proper about half of that! Blue Mage will virtually definitely be as much as 80 through the run of Shadowbringers. However that gained’t make it not a restricted job, as a result of the announcement particularly hit two factors: Restricted job, and preliminary degree cap of 50. These weren’t introduced as linked clauses.

In the event that they have been half of the identical entire, the announcement wouldn’t have said an preliminary cap of 50 and the “limited” job as two separate gadgets. Moreover, a number of of the “limited” restrictions don’t have anything to do with whether or not or not the job has a restricted degree cap. Even if the cap was at 70, the shortage of leveling roulette would nonetheless be there. No, the extent cap being lower than the present cap is solely concerning the distribution for the varied expertise and ensuring that all the things is balanced appropriately, it’s all the time going to be a restricted job.

hey jude

“But it would be so easy to balance! If they’re worried about Level 5 Death, just don’t give that to Blue Mage!”

They, uh, haven’t. Degree 5 Demise is not truly a spell within the recreation proper now. (Degree 150 Demise is, however nobody is actually involved with studying that.) Yoshida was utilizing a selected instance of a talent that we all know is basic to the job however has some fairly particular points, however we will use a special talent with lesser issues: Dangerous Breath.

For these of you who’ve someway by no means been hit by it, Dangerous Breath hits you with a lot of standing illnesses, together with tons of ones that gamers usually don’t get to inflict (Paralyze, HP Down) and different ones that are fairly insanely highly effective (Vulnerability Up). It is a reasonably nasty talent, and for lots of gamers getting tagged with it may possibly seal their doom. We all know that this is an iconic talent for Blue Mage, and we all know Blue Mages get entry to the talent.

“Why not just make all bosses immune to Bad Breath?”

Boy, that’s horrible design, isn’t it? Significantly, that’s giving you a very enjoyable talent after which ensuring that it’s not truly helpful in any of the conditions whereby you’d need it. Positive, it’d work on trash, however that’s not often if ever threatening anyhow and can be higher served with an AoE injury spell.

“All right, but that doesn’t mean that the job can’t enter duty roulettes by itself, does it? Just make a minimum list of skills that Blue Mages have to learn to queue up!”

It type of does, although. See, let’s look at two variations of that “minimum viable skill list.” In a single model, Blue Mages need to know Dangerous Breath to queue up for an obligation roulette. Which suggests we now have to cope with that energy drawback once more; the entire recreation completely needs to be balanced round individuals utilizing Dangerous Breath in roulettes. This is wonderful within the case of video games like Final Fantasy XI, whereby all of these debuffs can be found to gamers usually and the sport is already tuned across the concept that gamers can and doubtless will attempt to interrupt each motion a boss will take, however it’s a reasonably top-down redesign of the sport.

However what if Dangerous Breath isn’t on that minimal record? Then you get Blue Mages being kicked out of events as a result of they don’t have Dangerous Breath. Or Dangerous Breath is ineffective for the stuff you truly need to apply it to, which is additionally actually disagreeable; it’s dangerous follow to stability expertise by working completely totally different in two totally different environments.

“Look, I don’t care about what is or isn’t good balance. Just make all of my powerful blue magic unavailable in roulettes so I can queue normally.”

So what you need then is a caster that hangs again and simply casts spells as ranged DPS, with all of the “weird” Blue Magic spells excised?

That’s Black Mage. You have already got that job. It’s been within the recreation since launch, even. Casting Aqua, Aqua Breath, and Void Thunder (these are speculative expertise, thoughts) is not functionally totally different from casting Hearth, Hearth III, and Blizzard III. It’s simply totally different taste.

Extra to the purpose, it’s in all probability much more boring as a result of all of the roles presently within the recreation have a extremely synergistic design. Black Mage doesn’t simply have a set of spells, it has quite a few spells which work together in distinctive methods by making use of Astral Hearth or Umbral Ice, being castable solely when beneath these states, and so forth. Monster expertise, however, aren’t synergistic; they’re meant to offer particular person distinctive tips for enemies, to not work collectively in an effort to produce an general mechanical id.

It’s attainable or even possible that some of these spells will get synergy from traits, as Blue Mage doesn’t study talents via leveling however might very nicely study traits. However the level right here is that this picture of Blue Mage simply utilizing probably the most bare-bones implementation would most certainly be underpowered and would undoubtedly be boring to truly play.

“However all of this labored in FFXI!“

At the start, it’s necessary to notice that it type of didn’t. Blue Mage is brokenly highly effective at this level, though a lot of that is because of the means expertise work together for brand spanking new traits. So that is probably not the argument to make use of on this specific case.

However extra essential than this is the very fact that FFXI has a really totally different construction than FFXIV, together with an utter dearth of something resembling leveling roulettes and a talent setup that made issues like Dangerous Breath work higher. A Pink Mage in that recreation already had entry to most of the standing results inflicted by Dangerous Breath, together with a number of different spells for wider utility. Blue Mage had tons of versatility, nevertheless it might by no means entry most of it on the similar time; positive, you can simply forged Dangerous Breath as soon as, however that’s a spell slot you can’t use for anything.

Nu Mou are natural Blue Mages, right? Sure.

“I still think you could find some way to set up a default set of skills every Blue Mage has to use in duty roulettes. Maybe you could find the right balance of synergy if you tried, right?”

If we suppose that’s true, for some purpose, let’s take a subsequent step ahead. Let’s say there’s a 24-skill format that’s completely balanced and works properly sufficient for these functions, ignoring all the things else, and let’s even suppose for the sake of argument that it doesn’t simply really feel like Black Mage However Mildly Totally different. What are you going to make use of these different 25 expertise for on this state of affairs?

Even if you someway change all of these different mechanics and make issues work, which appears overly optimistic already, you nonetheless have the issue the place this implies most of your expertise simply aren’t helpful. And as quickly as you cease making it a really fastened set, all of those self same issues rear their ugly heads another time.

“But… look. Why is this the implementation of Blue Mage? Why couldn’t you just, like… have a fixed set of monster skills, and pretend to learn some of them in job quests?”

You’re simply describing Black Mage once more.

“The point is that maybe Blue Mage doesn’t need to have this much of a mechanical identity. They changed Red Mage a lot!”

Mechanical id is all that Blue Mage has that makes it distinct. Pink Mage is truly fairly true to the id it’s all the time had, with two totally different variations of magic and bodily functionality merged in. Even its variations aren’t all that vital, seeing as you nonetheless have a remedy and lift that typically permits for Pink Mage to be the simplest spot-healing DPS.

If you take a look at the historical past of Blue Mages, virtually each single incarnation of the job has concerned the identical primary mechanics. Each time Blue Magic exhibits up, you’re ultimately experiencing a talent after which studying it. The handful of exceptions contain draining the talent earlier than the enemy died (FFX), killing the enemy with a particular talent to study it (FFIX), and studying the talent from an merchandise the enemy drops (FFVIII). In two of these instances the Blue Magic was particularly a restrict break and meant to be extra highly effective than regular spellcasting.

The precise look of Blue Mages has been totally different in each recreation whereby they’ve been current. The mechanical efficacy of Blue Mage has wildly modified between video games, and when Blue Magic has been good it’s all the time as a result of it provides spells that someway break the curve of “normal” magic. The one unifying facet, the one factor that provides Blue Mage its definition and id? Study your spells from monsters.

I am floored.

“I mean… maybe all of this is right. But I wanted this to be added to the game and to be my main.”

It may be! In the identical method that Botanist or Armorer or Fisher could be your primary. You simply don’t have entry to roulettes on it. In reality, that might not even be as big of an obstacle as you assume; it wouldn’t shock me if you can purchase Blue Mage weapons with straight tomestones, since Blue Mage can’t truly enter the raids that would drop tokens for getting endgame weapons. And you can get tomestones from beast tribes, which appears fairly related.

Extra to the purpose, I really feel like it bears highlighting that this is the identical enlargement introducing the necessary new Belief mechanic, so it might not shock me within the least if Blue Mages would be capable of use Trusts to take care of MSQ dungeons. We don’t even understand how far the bounds will stretch; it’s potential that BLU can’t enter regular raids with a pre-formed celebration, and Savage/Excessive in all probability is proper out, however we don’t know simply but.

And let’s return to that Professional roulette, the place you can most definitely use your full vary of expertise. You possibly can’t rush by means of a roulette utilizing Dangerous Breath, Eruption, and different overpowered expertise to make brief work of enemies… however maybe you can type a celebration for that, and perhaps the velocity you can use to clear by way of dungeons will truly outweigh the shortage of a roulette bonus?

Blue Mage is one thing new and one thing totally different, and it’s not being shoehorned right into a setup the place it merely doesn’t match. The builders have doubtlessly been spending quite a bit of time seeing if it might, in reality, be made to work. They usually discovered an answer whereby you get to play Blue Mage in a means that feels like Blue Mage and is designed as Blue Mage. It’s a intelligent workaround for lots of points, and as an alternative of assuming the designers simply didn’t assume of issues, perhaps it’s time to start out having fun with that it’s occurring in any respect.

The Nymian civilization hosted an immense quantity of information and studying, however a lot of it has been misplaced to the individuals of Eorzea. That doesn’t cease Eliot Lefebvre from scrutinizing Final Fantasy XIV every week in Wisdom of Nym, internet hosting guides, dialogue, and opinions with out a lot as a hint of rancor.