Earlier this year, we provided an early look at the first expansion after the reinvention of Final Fantasy 14. Following Square’s PAX East panel, we can reveal even more about Final Fantasy 14: Heavensward. Pre-orders for the expansion begin on March 16, with the expansion releasing for PlayStation 4, PC and Mac (for the first time) on June 23. Early access will be available on June 19, but no details are available as to how you can get into this early access. It’s likely that you’ll need to pre-order, but you may also have to purchase the collector’s edition bundle. We’ll keep you updated on that, but for now, let’s take a close look at what Heavensward will offer.
One of the big talking points of the PAX East panel was that the three new jobs will play differently from the existing set of jobs. We also know that the new jobs will not start at level one. The current rumor states that all three jobs will begin at level 30, but it’s possible they could start at level 15. Either way, we know they won’t start at level one.
Dark Knight is the new tanking job, Astrologian is the new healing job and Machinist is a new ranged damage dealer (DPS) job. There was a time when Samurai was in consideration as the new tank, and Astrologian was going to be a Chemist or carry a gun, but that changed during the course of development. All three new jobs have a unique design, and while we still don’t have a lot of details on how they’ll play, we can take a look at what we know and determine a few things.
The new tanking job is an MP-based tank. When you first read this you may have thought Paladin was an MP-based tank as well. However, when it comes to the Dark Knights, almost all of their abilities will revolve around MP. With a Paladin, Flash is the only spell they use with any kind of frequency. As a Dark Knight, expect to manage your MP pool more so than any other class in the game. Your ability to hold aggro (hate) will depend on how well you manage your MP supply. With Paladin having the Riot Blade combo that replenishes some of their MP, expect Dark Knight to have something similar.
In the past, most notably Final Fantasy 11 (the previous MMORPG), Dark Knight wielded a scythe and used techniques that drained their health in order to inflict more damage. At the moment, the development team has not decided if Dark Knights will have any abilities that drain their HP, and since the job is a tank instead of a DPS, don’t expect too many health-draining abilities, if at all. In addition, the Botanist in Final Fantasy 14 carries a scythe, so Dark Knight will only be able to wield a great sword.
The new healing job seems to have more in common with a White Mage than a Scholar, but is definitely a unique addition to the game. Your healing seems to be primarily centered around the Star Globe, while the Astrologian can offer buffs and/or debuffs using an array of cards. The cards appear similar to the Quick Draw cards Corsair used in Final Fantasy 11. A Light Card would inflict sleep on a target, while a Dark Card would dispel, and various elemental cards would extend the effects of elemental attacks on the target.
It’s too early to determine if the Astrologian’s cards will work similar to the Corsair’s cards, but it would make sense. At the very least, we know the cards offer buffs or debuffs, and the Corsar’s cards are the closest comparison we have at the moment. If that’s the case, it’s likely that Astrologian could play more like a Red Mage than anything else. Red Mages are known for having a rapier or some other sword, but in Final Fantasy 11 they served as a healing class that specialized in enfeebling a target and offering support to the party with spells such as Refresh and Haste.
At the moment, the only ranged DPS jobs in A Realm Reborn are Bard and Black Mage. While Machinist will be unique to these two jobs, it seems to lean more toward Bard than Black Mage. They use a gun that can shoot a variety of shots that have different abilities tied to them. You can even add attachments to your weapon to change the effects of your attacks.
In addition to the gun and the various add-ons for it, the Machinist can summon a turret helper. The turret is what makes Machinist feel more like a Bard than a Black Mage. The turret will offer buffs and/or debuffs similar to what we expect the Astrologian’s cards will do. It’s unlikely there will be much cross-over between the two abilities, meaning both will be good additions to any party.
It’s no surprise that we’re seeing more support options with the new jobs in Heavensward. Players asked for support jobs since the beginning, but the game isn’t really designed for a dedicated support job like in Final Fantasy 11. Instead we get jobs like Bard, which is primarily a DPS job, but has the ability to support the party and even silence enemies. Astrologian and Machinist take that one step further.
For more on Heavensward, check out our first look at the upcoming expansion.