Final Fantasy XIV: Shadowbringers Hands-On with Gunbreaker

A couple of weeks ago we had the chance to sit down with an early build of Final Fantasy XIV: Shadowbringers at the media tour. During our time with the upcoming expansion, we had a chance to check out all of the Job changes.

You can find our master post about the media tour, and a list of links to each job here.

This article is based on play of an in-development build of FINAL FANTASY XIV: Shadowbringers, and content in the final version is subject to change.

Tank Role Actions

Role Actions in Final Fantasy XIV: Shadowbringers will no longer be selectable. Once players obtain the level of the Role Action, it will be automatically unlocked. Depending on the Role, players will have a different number of actions available to them.

Gunbreaker will have the following Role Actions.

Gunbreaker

The time has come to talk about our new Gunblade wielding tank, Gunbreaker! Since this is a brand new job, I will be going a little more in depth with how it feels to play. So far we’ve had Paladin, Warrior and Dark Knight with their own strong identities as blocking, self healing, and anti-magic tanks, so where does Gunbreaker fit in?

Gunbreaker, like all tanks has many defensive abilities to ensure they live long enough to look cool. Most of these are simple buffs on long cooldowns that enhance parry or reduce incoming damage. Their emergency mitigation option; Superbolide lowers their HP to 1, while making them impervious to damage for 8 seconds afterward. Which is an interesting combination of Dark Night and Paladin’s versions. Though in addition to those, they also receive an almost exact replica of White Mage’s Regen. This ability; Aurora can be used on any friendly target, including yourself, with a recast timer of 60 seconds. Regen from a tank? Madness! But it does add some self healing or extra utility as an off tank. Their main means of rotational mitigation comes from their main combo.

The first weaponskill in their main combo, Keen Edge, is a typical combo starter, so.. Yeah. The second weaponskill, Brutal Shell, does damage, grants a moderate sized self heal, and gives the user a barrier, stopping incoming damage equal to the healing amount. Giving the Gunbreaker a self-mitigation option. The last hit of the combo is Solid Barrel, which generates one Cartridge on the Gunbreaker’s Job Gauge that then will be used by the cartridge spending abilities the Job has. Brutal Shell’s barrier seems to be the main mitigation tool for the Gunbreaker so it may be thought of as the “Barrier” tank.

Their second weaponskill combo is where we get an awesome rendition of Squall’s Renzokuken limit break.Before we get into that though, let’s look at their attack; Continuation. This ability can be used after gaining a buff from any attack in the second combo, and will execute a different attack depending on which buff you have. That sounds complicated, I know, but it is much easier than it seems. The first attack; Gnashing Fang, is a very potent single target attack that spends one cartridge from the Job Gauge, and grants the buff: Ready to Rip. Once you have this buff, Continuation becomes the ability Jugular Rip, and after you use that, Continuation will then revert back.

So you can think of Continuation as the “Trigger Press” after using Gnashing Fang. The same goes for Savage Claw which can be followed by Abdomen Tear, and Wicked Talon with Eye Gouge. None of the Continuation abilities will break the combo so it in effect turns the three hit combo into a six hit combo with quick Off the Global Cooldown (OGCD) abilities, enforcing the practice of weaving OGCD abilities between those on the global cooldown and emulating the feeling of pulling a trigger after each slash of the combo and it is satisfying for sure.

Gunbreaker has a few options for spending cartridges from their Job Gauge. The first is Gnashing Fang which we covered above. The others are a single target OGCD: Burst Strike, and an AoE: Fated Circle. Both of these are rather tame “press button, do damage” attacks albeit with great animations. They also have an ability to add two cartridges to their gauge at once every 90 seconds with Bloodfest.

The rest of their abilities are standard inclusions to every tank job.  A charged action that acts as a gap closer, a ranged attack that has increased enmity for pulling, a couple of damage over time abilities, a personal damage buff, and a version of the now standard tank buff that reduces damage taken by a target. That ability Heart of Stone, has an added effect that gives the target a shield akin to Brutal Shell if you are under the effect of it when you cast it. Reinforcing the “barrier” tank idea.

I enjoyed my time with Gunbreaker. It is great to see how they baked the trigger mechanic from Final Fantasy VIII into the Gnashing Fang combo, and I can’t wait to see how it handles higher tier content with its’ barrier and regen gameplay. But I can’t help feeling like there should be a bit more complication.