FFXIV Stormblood Role Analysis: Tanks
A couple weeks ago we had the opportunity to get our hands-on with Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood!
In this article, we’ll examine the changes and additions coming to Tanks!
Make sure to also check out our other role analysis articles:
Please note, all tooltips shown are from a development build and are subject to change before final release.
Credit for the tooltips go to: Avalonstar, Reseph, Mr Happy, Mizzteq and Gamer Escape.
The shared role abilities for Tanks are a great collection of mitigation, enmity tools and utility. Just like healers, the only problem might be that you’d want all 10 of them. The first one is Rampart gained at level 8, which is basically unchanged from the version in game now. This includes that Enhanced Rampart trait that makes it a 90 second cooldown with 20 second duration that reduces all damage taken by 20%. At level 12 is the shared stun, Low Blow, which means Paladin gets an off-GCD stun, hooray! Next is a pretty great early game change. Provoke is now shared at level 16 eliminating the annoying start tanks have in those first instances, and ensuring that all Tanks have this tool without having to double back and get it.
At level 20 all Tanks get access to Convalescence minus the Enhanced Convalescence trait. This leaves it as a 120 second cooldown that increases HP recovery by 20% for 20 seconds. Anticipation is a new ability at level 24 that increases your parry rate by 30% for 20 seconds every 60 seconds. At level 32 Tanks get a shared party mitigation buff previously unique to Dark Knight. Reprisal is a 60 second cooldown that lowers the targets damage done by 10% for 5 seconds. Now that is much shorter than it is right now, but as a tradeoff, it can now be used without being triggered by a parry.
Next is the ability Awareness at level 36. Yup, it is Awareness! Including the Enhance Awareness trait so that it becomes a 120 second cooldown 25 second you-can’t-crit-me ability. At level 40 Tanks get Interject an off-GCD silence with a 30 second cooldown. So far, the abilities have been very predictable, but the last two are much more interesting.
Ultimatum is a 90 second cooldown that Provokes all enemies within 5 yalms. AoE provoke is here! Now sure, it probably isn’t an automatic pick, but this is a great idea. Lastly, at level 48, all Tanks get access to Shirk, a 120 second cooldown that diverts 25% of your enmity to another party member. Other than trolling your DPS, this is an interesting tool for tank swaps and also could be used during an opener to ensure that the main tank gets a healthy lead on enmity.
There’s nothing earth-shattering here, but that is to be expected. All of the tanks have their own distinct flavor, especially with the new abilities from Stormblood. Provoke, Rampart, Reprisal, Convalescence, Anticipation and Awareness will probably be on your bars most of the time. Shirk is interesting and a welcome new wrinkle, but most groups don’t need it right now. Low Blow and Interject will be there when you need their crowd control. Ultimatum has some use for sure, but unless we’ll have some AoE tank swaps (please no) it won’t be needed in normal circumstances. Most of the changes here were to ensure that Tanks have the tools they need at all levels, and while not exciting in a bombastic sense, it is good to know that any tank you see won’t forget to pick up Provoke. Equipping it though…
PLD – Requiescat in pace?
Paladin, the oft maligned master of mitigation, finds new life in Stormblood. During the live letter, it was mentioned that Paladin will be able to block magic, which will bring Paladin back to the main tank fold for heavy magic damage fights like A12 and super charge the mitigation of some of its cooldowns like Sheltron.
Rotationally, PLD receives some needed potency buffs for abilities like Goring Blade, and Royal Authority. PLD seems to be embracing the Magic-crusader archetype with the new abilities Requiescat and Holy Spirit. Requiescat is a 350-potency nuke that only deals its max damage at max MP. In addition, using the ability buffs all of your other magic damage and healing for 12s every minute. This should create a MP burn/conserve rotation for paladin damage in which you get as many casts of the other new ability, Holy Spirit as you can. Holy Spirit is a casted nuke with a potency of 430 or around 506 with the Requiescat buff, which is similar to the potency of fell cleave. On top of those Paladin gains something that was sorely missed, a spamable AoE sword strike called Total Eclipse.
On the defense side, PLD gains possibly the flashiest skill in the game with “Passage of Arms” and Oath Gauge spenders in Intervention and Sheltron. Passage of Arms is a channeled 15% damage reduction for your party, and a 100% block rate buff for the caster with a cooldown of two minutes. Besides the obvious “Teraflare/Boss LB” mitigation use, this could be a nice ability to help during multi-hit tank busters to block each hit. Intervention is a cover-like ability that reduces the damage taken by a party member, with an interesting wrinkle in that it gains a bonus if you are currently under the effects of Rampart or Sentinel which gives it a potential max of 25% damage reduction to another party member.
Sheltron has been changed from a long cooldown mitigation tool, to a low cooldown (5 Second) Oath spender which will most likely be an emergency MP regen tool as well as its tried and true mitigation usage. Hopefully the addition of some great offensive options and the continued focus on damage mitigation brings Paladin back into the spotlight. If not… At least Passage of Arms is really, really shiny.
DRK – The Complex Tank?
The live letter and Job ability trailer sort of left Dark Knight without much explanation. In Heavensward, Dark Knight has been a stellar tank as of late, and really rewards good MP management with great mitigation and damage. Stormblood adds a couple new tools including a giant sledgehammer.
Dark Knight gains a new feature in the Blood Gauge. Much like the other jobs with new Gauges, this powers some of the best new abilities. You gain Blood (for the Blood Gauge!) from a few weaponskills and abilities including Souleater, Blood Price and Blood Weapon, which gives 3 points each time you use an auto-attack or weaponskill. Using the gauge on top of managing MP and toggling Grit/Darkside and Dark Arts will be the mark of a great DRK. But, what does the gauge power?
On the offensive side, you have a new cooldown version of Delirium, a new AoE, Quietus and, the aforementioned sledgehammer in Bloodspiller. Delirium costs 50 Blood Gauge but extends the time of Blood Weapon by 8 seconds. Quietus is a AoE boosted by Dark Arts to 210 potency, but also costs 50 points from your gauge. Bloodspiller costs the same amount but, is a single target weaponskill that has a staggering 650 potency while in grit (520 without) and being boosted by Dark Arts.
Defensively, your level 70 ability is The Blackest Night, which seems to be the shielding ability shown in the Job Ability trailer. Unfortunately, we do not have the tooltip for it. Otherwise, as with all tanks, Dark Knight can pick up most of the awesome defensive abilities available in the shared role options like Rampart, Reprisal, Convalescence and Anticipation. Dark Knight is in a great spot as Heavensward draws to a close. Enhancing their damage, while giving them a useful shielding ability just ensures that they’ll be a great option going into Omega, with what we know.
WAR – SIX FELL CLEAVES? End segment.
Are you still reading? Fine. Warrior is in a great spot right now. They have the combination of high DPS, good utility in their slashing debuff and damage dealt debuff, and stellar mitigation. What could you possibly add? Or, more accurately, what did you lose for “Moar Fell Cleaves”? Surprisingly a small drop in utility, a little more emphasis on smart stance dancing, and a shiny new UI element.
Warrior trades in its Wrath stack mechanic for a Beast Gauge. Basically, most abilities that generated a stack now generate an amount of your new Gauge, and skills like Fell Cleave, Unchained, Steel Cyclone and Inner Beast now cost 50 points from this gauge. The biggest change is that swapping stances reduces the current amount of the gauge by half. This probably will incentivize players to spend most of their gauge before swapping stances, unless there is an emergency. But hey… If Fell Cleave costs 50, how could you possibly do six of them? Warriors new ability, Inner Release halves the consumption of the Beast Gauge for 20 seconds enabling you to stuff double the amount of bestial goodness in that time. Coupled with Infuriate’s ability to gain 50 points of your Gauge, that 20 seconds is going to be filled with Fell Cleaves. Especially since there is a trait which reduces the recast of Infuriate by 5 seconds on each Fell cleave cast.
In other changes, Maim and Storm’s Eye’s buffs have been swapped and the damage buff from Maim has been increased from 16 seconds to 24. Berserk, loses the pacification penalty so say goodbye to everyone’s favorite berserk macro. The new triple-punch damage skill Upheaval adds an oGCD burst of 300 potency seemingly made to fit with Berserk because of its 30 second cooldown. The gap closer that we all marveled at during the benchmark is Onslaught a 100 potency, 15 second cooldown attack that costs 20 of your Beast Gauge.
Oh yeah… Warrior is a tank, isn’t it? I guess we can talk about the changes to some defensive abilities and utility. Storm’s path loses its damage dealt debuff which is a big deal, it is replaced with HP drain and boosted Beast Gauge generation. Now, that is welcome since Warrior loses the ability to have Bloodbath, since that is now a Melee Role ability. The damage dealt debuff has been made available to all Tanks in the form of Reprisal so at least it is still selectable. All of the defensive cooldowns that previously added stacks such as Vengeance and Raw Intuition do not increase your Beast Gauge which is also a bummer. Though, Warrior gains the ability Shake it Off which shrugs off most detrimental effects on a 60 second cooldown. While Warrior received some really awesome new pieces, they have lost a little bit of utility. The fact that they gained no new defensive abilities seems to say much about how awesome they already were, and with the shared role abilities, they’ll be able to pick from the best abilities anyway. I don’t see Warrior losing anything from this shake up.