I’m still at the Shadowbringers leg of my alt job journey. I’ve completed all Stormblood group content stuff on my alt too, so this one-time step is off the grid. Like I planned, now I need to bring samurai-monk-dancer and bard-ninja-black mage trios to 80, then I plunge into Endwalker alt’s MSQ and side questing, along with Shadowbringers’ group content.
I also tried several other jobs, but not really playing them and put them off until later. One of the reasons is bag space. For example, I need to keep only two samurai chest pieces – one is a current item and one for glam. And for that I need to level monk too so I can sell all leveling gear 70-79. In a perfect world, which happens by 90, I will have a tanking set, a dragoon/reaper set, a monk/samurai (bard/machinist) set, a caster set and a healer set – 10 items total per slot.
I found it more convenient to take and level one job at a time, as it feels more climactic, more varied and gives a bigger feeling of progress than raising 1-2 levels on all three jobs.
So, mi’qote main:
- Dragoon – 90
- Samurai – 80
- Dancer – 77
- Monk – 75
- Red Mage – 54 (on hold, running a dungeon here and there)
- Sage – 70 (started yesterday, we’ll speak about this experience later in the post)
- Machinist – 82 (and did a Sharlayan city tour)
- Bard – 80
- Black Mage – 80
- Ninja – 75
- Reaper – 71 (on hold)
- Warrior – 43 (on hold, a short session here and there)
My daily pace is this: I pick a job to level, run a current highest level dungeon once, with Trust or with players, then do a roulette, then normally I’m up for the next leveling dungeon which concludes the day. So, basically 5 levels in two days feels like a good progress.
Running dungeons with lore NPCs finally made its way to my heart and leveling practice. The cool things:
- You really can master the dungeons – because there are no Raise saves, and if you die, you wipe. So you need to learn and execute tactics to a T.
- No pressure at all – you can pause before every boss and read a dungeon guide before engaging.
- NPCs tend to execute tactics without flaws. It will be especially precious when I level up tanks and healers, cause I will have to deal only with the inevitable damage, without player mistakes. And DPS may stick to other character and move with them to avoid the boss’ nukes.
- This is important, because tanking and healing in general is more stressful, and you can just go and sate your urge to play tanks and healers and polish your skills by running a Trust rather than – or before – a real player challenge.
- Morning dungeon queues! Less players in general, and my timezone is 2-3 hours earlier than for the most of EU players, so if I start playing at 9 a.m., it’s 6-7 a.m. for them, which makes queues even way longer. Trust effectively takes off this dependence.
The bad things:
- The pace is slower. NPCs tend to wipe sooner than later if you pull in a player-dungeon manner of two packs at a time. This is mitigated to an extent by absense of queues, yes – so a 30-minute run with Trust or 10-15 minute waiting + 15-20 minute player run are about the same. Yet the run itself feels sloggier, and normally you don’t have the pleasure of mowing down a dozen of trash mobs at a time.
- I cannot really think of a good reason to have “Avatar” NPC characters which you need to level. Well, it’s an RPG element of leveling which is satisfying, and you can pick your favorites to accompany you rather than canonical characters, but not that necessary?
- NPCs are sometimes idiots – rarely, but they are. Tank-red (almost an exclusive tank) does not always do a good job, and buried the party to the ground several times, even when I did not pull excessive trash. And the latest example was a noob idiot Alphinaud dying in the first 15% of Mt.Gulg’s final encounter, leaving us healer-less. I managed to down the boss nevertheless, but my, was it stressful, and nothing I could do to raise him with my samurai:
Probably my biggest issue with WoW tanking was keeping aggro during trash fights, often a mob or two may crawl out to harass the other players, I try to catch it back and start losing focus. In FFXIV, this problem is almost non-existent – as I noticed already during DPS runs. A tank might just taunt a pack and do nothing else, just run half a dungeon with it – no matter what healers and DPS do, they won’t rip aggro. The only thing to care about is picking up new adds, otherwise it’s basically keeping your cooldowns running, stepping out of the bad and keeping track of line of sight from healer, which is totally not an issue to me.
Boss encounters – at least throughout ARR – are even less stressful than DPS, you come in, you turn the boss from group and stay put in one place. There are like a LOT less void zones and crap to worry about if you’re a tank, and generally boss doesn’t even hit you that hard to even chip your health bar. Well, of course it’s just starting experience, and all hells will break lose once I start trying raids and crap, then I’ll be jumping on a junk bucket!
But all in all, tanking’s quite fun and exciting so far. Not so with healers.
Yesterday I started Sage as my first healer, and ran two dungeon roulettes – Cutter’s Cry and Sastasha (Hard). Even if I warned the group about being a sprout healer, and they adjusted, my, was it stressful!
Of course, I learned my kit in advance, and assigned all the buttons to be in convenient reach: the damage, the bread-and-butter heals and emergency life saving stuff. Yet it’s such a stress and an extreme focus training!
The overall experience is exactly the opposite from tanking: trash being a breeze and bosses giving you some very hard time. During trash, you need only to keep your tank alive, with an occasional small ploink heal to a dps, and you don’t care about mechanics because there are none except minor void zones. Bosses – well, that’s where things go south.
You need to perform all things DPS do with avoiding all the boss crap, and there’s plenty. You need to damage the boss, while constantly tracking others’ health, and provide an exceptional boss knowledge so you can have your shields and cooldowns ready. Also, DPS are bound to get caught in an avoidable damage (I do too, no one’s perfect), and in FFXIV it’s immediately 80-90% of health bar more often than not, so you need to constantly be prepared for a frantic, stressful save. Basically, it’s three different things to track down and react to (damage dealing, healing and precise execution of unforgiving mechanics), and it’s just insane – especially when you don’t have muscle memory for your spells and need to think with your brain rather than your spine.
Nothing I couldn’t cope with, no – I’m positive that I’m able to become a not perfect, but quite decent healer with enough practice and dungeon runs – especially in a friendly FFXIV atmosphere. Yet it’s nowhere a walk in the park and requires a total concentration on the game – the hardest role so far. Your wife asks you a question and you distract to answer? A DPS kissing the ground on your watch. Podcasts or series on second monitor? Out of question.
Am I discouraged after my first experience? No, not really. I do know that I will never, ever main a healer or run anything too hard on it – if I’m not setting a specific mastery goal. But in general it’s a valid challenge to play with, and I’m eager to level Sage, followed by White Mage and Astrologian. Not Scholar though, because fuck everything with Arcanist allegiance.
If anything, I could cripple up to level 71 and then just perform Trust runs for leisure sakes for healer and tank jobs – and that would be another thing where this system could be applied. Zero stress, just having fun with a job in your own cocoon – without ruining other players’ experience :)