Final Fantasy XIV: Shadowbringers Hands-On with Dancer

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.

Ranged DPS 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.

Dancer will have the following Role Actions.

Dancer

It is time to express yourself through the medium of Dance! Dancer is the new Ranged DPS Job in Shadowbringers and at first glance, it is complicated. However, it flows very well between supporting your party and doing damage to your enemies while being very easy to understand. As this Job is new I will be going into a little more detail about how it works. Let’s take this a step at a time… Starting with how to grab a partner and dance.

The ability Closed Position is used on a party member and designates them as your dance partner for 30 seconds. This allows you to give yourself and that partner two standalone buffs. Saber Dance is an absolutely mental 30% critical hit rate and direct hit rate buff for 15 seconds. That alone will ensure that every Dancer will have the party fighting over being their dance partner. The second ability Curing Waltz is a  moderate potency heal around you and your dance partner, which sounds tame at first, but keep in mind that if you and your partner are in two separate locations that heal will go off at both and potentially have a much greater range. If you and your partner are stacked together however, that moderate potency is applied to everyone nearby twice, giving the Dancer a great healing burst every 60 seconds. Now that you have your partner and know a couple of quick moves, we’ll talk about how the actual dancing step mechanic works.

To start dancing, you will use either Standard Step or Technical Step. We’ll talk about Standard Step first though. When you activate this ability some of your weaponskills will be transformed into the dance steps: Emboite, Entrechat, Jete, and Pirouette. That is because while dancing in either Standard or Technical Step you can not attack, or walk at all. The only way to move is via an ability En Avant which makes your character dash in the direction that you are facing.

When Standard Step starts, two dance step icons will appear in the Job Gauge showing you which two steps you will need to activate. You must press them in the order that they appear. You’ll also notice that Standard Step is transformed into Standard Finish which is used to end the dance, apply the buffs you have earned through dancing to you and your partner, and do damage to your target. The amount of the buff and damage depends on how many of the two steps you have successfully executed. That’s it… No really! Technical Step differs in that it has a 2 minute cooldown, it requires you to do up to 4 steps for the maximum benefit and when you use Technical Finish it not only buffs you and your dance partner, but the entire party! Well that was easy. So what else do we do?

Dancer has two true combos. One being the Cascade to Fountain single target combo and the other is the AoE skills Windmill and Bladeshower. Two hits is a short combo, but thankfully there are more wrinkles to be found. Each of those four abilities has a 50% chance to give you a buff that allows you to do a harder hitting “Flourishing” version of that ability afterwards. Cascade can activate Reverse Cascade, Windmill will activate Rising Windmill, and so forth. Furthermore, to continue down the proc based rabbit hole, each of those flourishing versions have a 50% chance to grant you a Fourfold Feather which can be seen in your Job Gauge. So to review here. Cascade, Fountain, Windmill, and Bladeshower can activate flourishing versions of themselves which can then grant you feathers. Now, what do we do with those?

Once you gain one Fourfold Feather from the flourishing version of the weaponskills you can activate one of the Fan Dances. Fan Dance I is an Off Global Cooldown (OGCD) attack that affects one target for a moderate amount of damage, while Fan Dance II is an AoE attack with the same attributes. Both of these attacks have, you guessed it, a 50% chance of activating a buff called Flourishing Fan Dance, which allows you to use Fan Dance III, a harder hitting AoE OGCD. It seems underwhelming at first, but with these being able to be weaved between other weaponskills it gives Dancer a way to quickly pile on damage between Standard or Technical Steps.

Outside of those main abilities, Dancer’s Job Gauge also has an Esprit Gauge section. This is filled by you or your Dance Partner using weaponskills or magick attacks, when you use a Standard or Technical Finish or by using the ability Improvisation. That ability locks you in place similarly to Samurai’s Meditation, and stops your auto attack. While you are standing still, Improvisation increases your Esprit Gauge while increasing the healing received by your party members by 10%. Dancer has one Esprit spender called Devilment, which is a very hard hitting 5 yalm AoE that costs half of the entire gauge.

The rest of Dancer’s abilities are comprised of a few buffs Shield Samba and Flourish. Shield Samba is Dancer’s version of the Ranged DPS damage reduction buff, nothing too crazy there. Flourish is like all your namedays have come at once though, as it gives you every buff that allows for the use of flourishing versions of your attacks. All of them, once a minute. This really signposts that in between Standard and Technical Steps, Dancer will be able to cycle through a large number of abilities in very quick succession.

Dancer will be an incredibly busy Job, with all of the attacks that proc other attacks, keeping your dance partners buffed, all while also performing mechanics in high tier content. I can’t wait to see how the community figures out the most optimal usage of all of the support it brings.