Final Fantasy XIV: Endwalker Hands-On with Scholar

We recently had a chance to play a preview build of Final Fantasy XIV: Endwalker as part of the North American Media Tour. During our hands-on time, we had a chance to play with many of the updates coming to each Job. For those that we weren’t able to personally get hands-on with, we still had an opportunity to look at the changes that will be coming when Final Fantasy XIV: Endwalker releases on November 23.

You can see all of the Scholar changes, along with our thoughts below. Additionally, you can view the upcoming changes on our wiki by clicking on the Endwalker tab on the Scholar Job page.

You can also find more coverage of the Endwalker Media Tour here.

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

Alright follow me on this one. Everything is going to be OK… Probably. One of the problems with showing off SCH in Endwalker is that most of the changes are deeper than cosmetics. So let’s dive into the completely not finalized numbers shall we?

Scholar is now a Barrier healer- I mean, it was before… But it is now too-

One of the less obvious changes to Scholar is the potencies for barriers. Adloquium was a 300 potency cure that gave them 125% of that heal as a barrier. Now, the potency is the same, but the shield effect is 180%. Succor receives similar treatment with a boost to 160% of the heal added as a barrier.

Don’t let the stat squish fool you here, that percentage boost will actually equate to more powerful shields as compared with now. Sage also gets that percentage on their barriers but they don’t benefit from Catalyze- The “Critlo” shield doubling effect. Critlos are going to look and feel much better proportionally now. It is, of course, hard to say what that will mean going forward, but keep this in mind as we delve deeper into these changes.

Healers now have a 1.5 second cast time for damaging spells.That helps all healers of course, but SCH is even more dependent on OGCD heal weaving, so you’ll feel a little more of a benefit. We’ll get more into damage later, but this change is one that really needs to be felt and explored to understand all of the benefits.

Let’s get into cooldowns. Deployment Tactics has seen a cooldown reduction to 90 seconds giving you the ability to spread those buffed shields around more often which is nice. Next up is the new single target buff that was mentioned in the Live Letter; Protraction. This is a 60 second cooldown with seemingly boring effects. It increases the target’s max HP by 10% while also increasing the HP recovered by the target from healing effects by 10% for 10 seconds. Yawn? I’m not so sure. This is a really potent force multiplying cooldown.

Using this before your tank casts Shake it off, or the new and improved Divine Veil will supercharge those abilities (and the shields from them) and you can use it with your own Recitation for a super buffed critlo for the main target and a buffed-Deployment Tactics shield for the whole party at the same time. OK, yeah that is a lot of buttons, but with the aforementioned Broil GCD change you can get that set up between Broil spam.

Speaking of Broil spam/Damage, Art of War and Broil receive a new upgrade which will be nice. Ruin II your usual oGCD weaving crutch has also received a small potency buff, but there is even less reason to use it now with the cast time reduction for Broil.

Lastly, we’ll talk about Expedient, your new Sonic roleplaying cooldown. It has already been memed to oblivion so let’s just look at what it actually does. This is a 120 second cooldown that grants two buffs; Expedience and Desperate Measures to party members. Expedience is the go-go juice buff that increases movement speed, and Desperate Measures is a 10% damage reduction. Both of these effects last for 20 seconds which is equivalent of an out of combat sprint. Damage reduction is not as sexy as a new shiny Holy or Starfall, or cosplaying a Gundam but it dovetails nicely with what I believe is Scholar’s true identity.

I’m not forgetting anything right? I feel like… Oh yeah fairies.

They listen a lot better now! So, that’s about it for fairy changes, moving right along… 

I kid. There are also a few potency changes (mostly downward) for the pet abilities. Is this a real nerf? Did they change pet scaling? Will SMN’s rework influence larger pet changes down the road so we never have to think about this again? Who knows? I can definitely say that I don’t think the dev team wants SCH to be the “Fairy healer” that’s for sure. Now we can move along.

I’d like to put forth that classification change for Scholar as “Barrier” healer does tell part of the story of Scholar, but with these changes they have reaffirmed their place as the best damage mitigation healer in the game.  They won’t be great in a pinch compared to the other healers, but no healer can make life easier for their co-healer (Fairies count as a co-healer right?) than Scholar while still pumping out damage and still bringing a damage buff. Is that enough to combat the new hotness of Sage? That, dear reader, remains to be seen.