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Review - Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn

MacstormMacstorm Ysy St.Administrators
edited October 2013 in Latest Updates
After working through the main story, we're ready to share more of our thoughts on A Realm Reborn. Now to get this posted so that we can get back to our party, if they're still alive.

Review
"The universe is already mad. Anything else would be redundant."
Twitter @FinalMacstorm
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Comments

  • DarkRPGMasterDarkRPGMaster A Witness to Destruction Moderators
    edited October 2013
    I approve of this review. I still hate the Duty Finder though...40 minutes to enter a dungeon? It's so BS.
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  • OcelotOcelot is not declawed RPGamer Staff
    edited October 2013
    Every Holy Trinity RPG with a dungeon finder system ever has had that difficulty. Everybody wants to play DPS, nobody wants to tank or heal because it's more responsibility and people yell at you even when they're the ones who messed up. So if you're not playing tank or healer, well, you're going to wait in line a lot more often than if you are. Not much that can be done about that except removing the Holy Trinity from the combat system, which presents its own set of design difficulties and isn't always popular with dedicated MMO players (see: Guild Wars 2... I love the lack of Holy Trinity there, but I know not everyone does).
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  • DarkRPGMasterDarkRPGMaster A Witness to Destruction Moderators
    edited October 2013
    I just don't like how the following occurred. Doing a check, me and 3 friends on FFXIV entered the DF at the same time, all at one of their houses. The tank instantly got a party, the healer had to wait 3-5 minutes, and both of us DPS had to wait 30-40 minutes. We were standing right next to each other in front of the dungeon entrance. I think that alone should tell you the problem with the DF.
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  • lolwhoopslolwhoops Member HalifaxFull Members
    edited October 2013
    there were already people in the dungeon finder in queue. just because you're close to someone else or the dungeon doesn't mean you should be bumped up the queue. It might suck to wait, but all the other damage types are waiting just as long because in MMOs people often just want the simple point-click-kill experience. There are just less tanks and healers playing the game. But that's not necessarily a problem with the dungeon finder as much as it's a problem with the system that requires that set up.
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  • freykinfreykin Member Full Members
    edited October 2013
    I highly agree with this review, having a blast in it so far! Playing mainly as a scholar, with some gathering/crafting on the side. It really captures the Final Fantasy feel to me, hits all the right nostalgia bits while still being it's own new thing.

    The duty finder can be annoying at times, but I understand the problem inherent with those. If you aren't a tank/healer, it's harder to get in since there's so many more DPS classes available, and you need two of them for each dungeon instead of just one tank or healer.

    I view my queuing time as a great time to level another class, since you can just switch back once you get in.
  • TwinBahamutTwinBahamut Staff Healer RPGamer Staff
    edited October 2013
    I think it might also be the case that (and this might be more a theory of mine than anything else), in general, tanks and healers are played more often by the people who enjoy playing with others and teaming up, while DPS characters tend to be played more by solo players. The thing is, more group-oriented players are more likely to join linkshells and free companies and find teammates that way (since it is more reliable for finding good people to play with), while more solo-oriented players will just use the Duty Finder. This is far from being a hard and fast thing, but I think it is another element that makes DPS far more crowded on the random pick-up group side and tanks or healers more scarce.

    At the very least, I've seen a lot of people talking both about how there are no tanks in the Duty Finder, and too many tanks in various Free Companies. Our own Free Company certainly has no lack of tanks or healers, at least (not that I'll ever complain about it!).

    Interestingly, I think the official statistics have indicated that, on the whole, there is pretty much the exact right role balance amongst the entire player base.
  • MacstormMacstorm Ysy St. Administrators
    edited October 2013
    DarkRPGMaster said:
    I just don't like how the following occurred. Doing a check, me and 3 friends on FFXIV entered the DF at the same time, all at one of their houses. The tank instantly got a party, the healer had to wait 3-5 minutes, and both of us DPS had to wait 30-40 minutes. We were standing right next to each other in front of the dungeon entrance. I think that alone should tell you the problem with the DF.
    You do know that you can be in a party when starting the Duty Finder, right? All of you (up to the max allowed in that dungeon) will go in, even if you don't meet the requirements.
    "The universe is already mad. Anything else would be redundant."
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  • DarkRPGMasterDarkRPGMaster A Witness to Destruction Moderators
    edited October 2013
    Macstorm said:
    You do know that you can be in a party when starting the Duty Finder, right? All of you (up to the max allowed in that dungeon) will go in, even if you don't meet the requirements.
    I do. But when I use the DF, it's usually because nobody else is online or willing to go dungeoning with me. I tried yelling for a party in the field where the dungeon's at for about an hour every attempt for a week. I got only 1 hit on the 7th day. It's not worth it IMO, not when I can DF up and get one within that hour.

    I guess my problem with the DF is that it uses queue with each player in it having a specific number in order, whereas I'd prefer one that just looked for people trying to do the dungeon around in your area first BEFORE queuing you up (while allowing those already queued to immediately group up with you). Silly I know when you can ask for it, but you already read why I stopped trying to do that...
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  • TG BarighmTG Barighm Member Full Members
    edited October 2013
    It's funny how everyone wants to DPS. In my experience, DPS is the hardest job. You've got to spend more time preparing and perfecting your combat technique with DPS more than any other job, and DPS rarely has much in way of survivability, so you've got to avoid more attacks than anyone else. At least tanks only need to worry about keeping mobs on them, and the only real hard part about healing is keeping an eye on everyone.

    Anyway, I heard FF14 has a real problem with class balance. The unique FF classes I'd want to play our jobs like dragoon, summoner, and all those special bunch, but I heard it's the standard group of pallies and ninjas who perform the best. At least bards seem to be very powerful. That is contradictory to FF lore, heh, but useful.
  • SeraphimKittenSeraphimKitten President of Soft Paws Full Members
    edited October 2013
    I've had a much different experience with Final Fantasy 14. Not so much that I'd say we were playing different games, but I felt like I was playing a 2 game, not a 4.5 game. I'm still withholding any final judgements, though, until I finish getting my relic weapon completed. At that point I'll have seen everything except the Coils of Bahamut raid. I'd hoped to try levelling a few classes to 50, but I think that's beyond me. Still, the archer class with the bard job is interesting. I'm not sure they're more powerful, but several times I've entered a fight (such as the Dhorme Chimera) where they've said "Okay, one archer only sit there and autoshot and use your interrupt." It seems if interrupts were more plentiful, maybe bards would be less popular?

    We'll see how I feel once I wrap up this Artemis bow-harp thing, though!
  • MacstormMacstorm Ysy St. Administrators
    edited October 2013
    SeraphimKitten said:
    I've had a much different experience with Final Fantasy 14. Not so much that I'd say we were playing different games, but I felt like I was playing a 2 game, not a 4.5 game. I'm still withholding any final judgements, though, until I finish getting my relic weapon completed. At that point I'll have seen everything except the Coils of Bahamut raid. I'd hoped to try levelling a few classes to 50, but I think that's beyond me. Still, the archer class with the bard job is interesting. I'm not sure they're more powerful, but several times I've entered a fight (such as the Dhorme Chimera) where they've said "Okay, one archer only sit there and autoshot and use your interrupt." It seems if interrupts were more plentiful, maybe bards would be less popular?

    We'll see how I feel once I wrap up this Artemis bow-harp thing, though!
    I think I enjoy the game more because I've found the aspects that were fun to me and played them up. Going into a raid where "you must do this, that, and this or else" is not my idea of fun. Leveling Warrior to 50, getting to see all of the main story, going back and getting the fun gladiator quest line to 30, and then starting over again has been where I've had a blast. I'd much rather run Tam Tara, the level 20 dungeon, a 5th time with a group of friends than to run Amdapor Keep for the 50th time with a bunch of impatient and rude strangers.

    That said, you're welcome to play lower level jobs with me any time.
    "The universe is already mad. Anything else would be redundant."
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  • ChickenGodChickenGod Overdosing Heavenly Bliss Moderators
    edited October 2013
    TG Barighm said:
    It's funny how everyone wants to DPS. In my experience, DPS is the hardest job. You've got to spend more time preparing and perfecting your combat technique with DPS more than any other job, and DPS rarely has much in way of survivability, so you've got to avoid more attacks than anyone else. At least tanks only need to worry about keeping mobs on them, and the only real hard part about healing is keeping an eye on everyone.

    Anyway, I heard FF14 has a real problem with class balance. The unique FF classes I'd want to play our jobs like dragoon, summoner, and all those special bunch, but I heard it's the standard group of pallies and ninjas who perform the best. At least bards seem to be very powerful. That is contradictory to FF lore, heh, but useful.
    Theres a couple misconceptions there TG. First off, healers have to dodge attacks in this game the same as everyone else, especially in big boss fights. Its even more difficult on them since they have to stay still to cast, meaning they have to know exactly when to dodge and when to start healing again. Maybe that doesn't sound too bad, but from my experience ARR has a huge focus on dodging attacks compared to contemporaries. Class balance also isn't that big of an issue. Summoner and Dragoon are actually very good DPS. Summoner's DOTs can critical, and DOTs in general are the most powerful attacks for every class. Not to mention the summoner has an instant raise and can potentially bypass enemy's who have magic resistance due to how DOTs work (not sure how true this is). As Dragoon I consistently have the highest DPS with everyone I play in raid with according to a 3rd Party tool. Although not perfect, it shows Dragoon is likely the second best DPS class, especially since they boost the damage of Bards which is a highly demanded class at the moment. They also don't have to move around the enemy as much as Monk, plus they are the hardiest DPS class meaning there is more leeway to get hit by a single attack than others. Warrior is really the only class that has issues at the moment, and they are going to be buffed in the next patch.

    Here's my take on the review: What I am about to say might sound strange since I probably enjoy the game more than our reviewer Macstorm, but I'd probably give it a slightly lower score, especially for the PS3 version. Mainly because the PS3 version seems to struggle at times with one of the key elements of A Realm Reborn: FATEs. But aside from that, I also believe the class customization to be poor. While it's true that I only have experience with 1 Job, I have had to look up how other jobs work to understand how my allies play the game as well. Cross Class skills just seem like such a lost opportunity to me. There are a very limited selection of skills to choose from on your Job, and often the skills one should choose are obvious right from the start. Summoners are going to take Swiftcast and Raise, Bards will take Inner Release and Blood for Blood, and so on. Not to mention the fact that there aren't very many main skills to choose from in the first place. Aside from my gear, I feel like I am a carbon copy of other players when it comes to customization.

    On the plus said, and I've said this many times before, A Realm Reborn has the best online community I've ever had the pleasure of playing with. The people make the game worth playing, and as such its probably the best of the few MMO experiences I've had. Of course, I also agree with many of Mac's points in the review. The soundtrack for example is excellent and compliments the already awesome boss fights. He also points out how beautiful the world is, and indeed, there are some truly stunning points of view you may come across when you least expect it, especially when you factor in weather effects such as sunsets or lightning storms. On the whole, ARR is just a wonderfully crafted game that can seemingly only improve over time with patch content. The issues it does have are minor, which gives one belief that the core gameplay is solid enough to stand the test of time rather than needing a complete overhaul.
    "Looks like Teach just got tenure!" - Teach
  • TwinBahamutTwinBahamut Staff Healer RPGamer Staff
    edited October 2013
    I'll agree with ChickenGod on most points. The game is beautiful, the classes are more balanced than you might expect for a game this young, and it has a great community. That said, character customization is indeed quite bad (the main choice you get in leveling up is which stat to raise, which is probably the single worst choice they could have you make in a class-based game, for all kinds of reasons). Cross-class skills are a really underdeveloped idea, and there is simply not that much choice. I hope the whole thing gets a good overhaul in the next expansion. Right now, the only good choice about how to customize your character is picking which Job to use for your class, and only a single class actually gets to make that choice!

    As I mentioned once, the game really just needs more content. More classes, more jobs, more equipment choices, more crafting recipes, more quests, and so on. This is particularly true for quests. Early in the game you get places like the Silver Bazaar, which is a place untouched by the main story that has a fun self-contained storyline that is unveiled through a series of quests, but that basically disappears once you get past the introductory part of the game.

    Honestly, I have not been liking the story that much so far. It has its high points, but it really feels like a big rush job. Despite its aspirations, it is more Final Fantasy Unlimited than Final Fantasy 6. Just like that ill-fated anime, you know there is a great story and world in there somewhere, but it can really be hard to see through the endless, tedious filler content that you run through all the time. The most interesting elements are treated as minor diversions, while the most pointless elements (I'm looking at you,
    Spoiler:
    Company of Heroes
    ) take the center stage and just waste time. I really wish it was a bit better, since I really like the setting and adore the game's giant cast of great characters.
  • TG BarighmTG Barighm Member Full Members
    edited October 2013
    First off, healers have to dodge attacks in this game the same as everyone else, especially in big boss fights. Its even more difficult on them since they have to stay still to cast, meaning they have to know exactly when to dodge and when to start healing again. Maybe that doesn't sound too bad, but from my experience ARR has a huge focus on dodging attacks compared to contemporaries.
    *shrug* What can I say? Even in the more wild WoW fights, it seems like all I ever had to worry about was the odd unavoidable AoE, but then, I've never struggled with the whole "don't stand in the fire" concept. Granted, WoW isn't all that hard.
    Although not perfect, it shows Dragoon is likely the second best DPS class, especially since they boost the damage of Bards which is a highly demanded class at the moment.
    Bards? What are they doing in this game to make them so great? I mean...bards being major damage classes. In an FF game. Wow. I don't remember hearing all that much about them from FF11.
  • DarkRPGMasterDarkRPGMaster A Witness to Destruction Moderators
    edited October 2013
    TG Barighm said:
    Bards? What are they doing in this game to make them so great? I mean...bards being major damage classes. In an FF game. Wow. I don't remember hearing all that much about them from FF11.
    We use all our archer skills. Constant DPS, we can fire while moving, we have songs which buff the party (some reduce our DPS by 20%), and we can get most offensive boosting cross-class abilities, Blood for Blood for example, which ups our damage output by at least 20% for 20 seconds (cancelling out that song DPS reduction). All that combined with the constant DPS = gamebreaker. We're the most wanted class in instances and dungeons to the point where SE is actually going to nerf us in the next major patch.
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  • MacstormMacstorm Ysy St. Administrators
    edited October 2013
    I love all this talk about classes because that brings up my favorite aspect of the game, and where there's the most variety, and that's being able to pick a different class as you want. I hated being stuck with just one class to play in WoW without an alt, so this feeds my addiction.
    "The universe is already mad. Anything else would be redundant."
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  • DarkRPGMasterDarkRPGMaster A Witness to Destruction Moderators
    edited October 2013
    Same here Mac. I just hate how I have to FATE grind just to level up effectively on other classes (due to no quests around). I still queue up for dungeons while doing it though, just because you never truly know how to play your class until you've had to use it to help the party survive. That first dungeon as a healer was quite hectic.

    But please don't talk to me about the Tam-Tara Deepcroft, I had the worst party experience I've ever had in there as a healer. Sure we beat the dungeon, but the tank couldn't keep aggro, the DPS kept aiming for different enemies, they tried to skip mobs, etc. I was actually the only member of the party to live the entire run, just because of how savvy I was with how things worked in the dungeon along with surviving (Quelling Strikes is a must to help with this). I actually had to DPS to survive in there. The final boss of the place I had to DPS mobs to keep things going, and still managed to keep everybody alive against him (the only time we actually DIDN'T have somebody fall). They luckily didn't try to blame me for their deaths, since they kept standing still in AoE.
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  • TG BarighmTG Barighm Member Full Members
    edited October 2013
    We use all our archer skills.
    Ah. Well, there you go. They're more like archers instead of harp strumming punching bags. I guess the best way to make an FF bard useful is to make them unlike FF bards, heh heh.

    I've still got a sore spot for Bards after FFT. All that effort to raise them and they're SO not worth it. Not anything like, say, a Calculator or Samurai.
  • ChickenGodChickenGod Overdosing Heavenly Bliss Moderators
    edited October 2013
    TG Barighm said:
    *shrug* What can I say? Even in the more wild WoW fights, it seems like all I ever had to worry about was the odd unavoidable AoE, but then, I've never struggled with the whole "don't stand in the fire" concept. Granted, WoW isn't all that hard.
    I played Paladin as a healer sometimes in WoW, and don't seem to remember moving very often. Contrast that to many of the tougher bosses in A Realm Reborn requiring constant movement, and they seem like completely different encounters. Granted, I didn't do all that much raid content in WoW when besides what was available in Vanilla, so my experience is mostly limited to instances.

    Obviously people with a high degree of mastery are going to think almost nothing is difficult, but for the average player I just think that healer is the most difficult to play properly. In ARR, they can't see their aggro unless they target the monster directly, and you'd be surprised how many times I've seen a healer steal aggro and wipe a party. In the end though its probably all a matter of opinion. There are plenty of fights where certain roles are weighted more heavily towards the outcome of victory that it all seems fair in the end.
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  • DarkRPGMasterDarkRPGMaster A Witness to Destruction Moderators
    edited October 2013
    They actually reversed it this time TG. Our songs suck, and we only get 4 of them.

    Swiftsong ups movement speed as long as you're not in battle.
    Mage's Ballad restores MP to the party at the cost of 20% of the Bard's DPS (MP steadily goes down for the Bard).
    Foe's Requiem reduces enemy weaknesses to elements (here's the thing, this ONLY works for Arcanists, Summoners, Thamaturges, and Black Mages, it won't work with the Bard's 3 elemental attacks, and MP steadily goes down for the Bard).
    Army's Paeon restores TP to the party at the cost of 20% of the Bard's DPS (MP steadily goes down for the Bard).

    While Mage's Ballad and Army's Paeon SOUND good on paper, here's the thing...rarely will the DPS classes ever run out of TP. The Mage's Ballad, it's not worth using unless the healers run less than 50% on MP, and only if it's a White Mage whose MP is that low. Scholars can heal their own MP with several moves as well as regen MP for the party with a skill (that does nothing to them), Black Mages have several moves that restore MP, and even Summoners have multiple moves that restore MP.

    Basically, our specialty is mostly useless, we rarely use the songs at all outside of boss fights, and even within them they're rarely used. The final dungeon I only used Mage's Ballad ONCE, despite having 6 boss fights in that place.
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  • freykinfreykin Member Full Members
    edited October 2013
    ChickenGod, you can actually check aggro without having the monster targeted, but it's not as precise as when you have it selected. On the left side of the screen, where it shows the monster's health and such, the little gem next to them changes color as you gain more aggro, going from green to red. Once it's fully red, they're targeting you. Not the most helpful, I know, but it's enough to know when to back off a bit. I've had more of a problem with running out of mana than things going after me for healing too much so far; I tend to over heal more than I should.
  • ChickenGodChickenGod Overdosing Heavenly Bliss Moderators
    edited October 2013
    DarkRPGMaster said:
    They actually reversed it this time TG. Our songs suck, and we only get 4 of them.
    Some are certainly better than others, thats for sure. Mage's Ballad is practically a requirement for Titan Hardmode/Binding Coil, which is one reason Bard's are in such high demand. Silence also takes precedence on interrupt bosses like ADS and Dhorme Chimera, giving Bard excellent utility. Foe's requiem and Battle Voice is also a big boost for the mages on the DPS race that is Turn 4, and also helps against ADS when you let it have Pierce resistance. Of course without more than 1 mage its not all that useful. Swiftsong can be used in speedruns, so there's that. :p

    You're right though, it is unfortunate that it takes so long to see the benefit of certain skills. Dragoon's Jump for example is drastically underutilized until you get to level 50 and acquire Power Surge. It would also be nice if the Bard had a unique limit break instead of just being a carbon copy of the healer's. Party wide buff Limit could be very interesting.

    And I didn't know that freykin, I've always just used the built in aggro meter.

    Edit: Oh you mean the enemy list. Right, I understand now, the enemy list isn't to the left of my screen, so I was confused and thought you meant it was the symbol next to the monster's Level on their health bar.
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  • TheAnimeManTheAnimeMan Member Full Members
    edited October 2013
    Go back to your earlier comment WoW has changed quite a bit many boss fights now require a lot of movement from every class and not just the tanks. This began changing within Wrath
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  • MacstormMacstorm Ysy St. Administrators
    edited October 2013
    As far as bosses goes, the Garuda battle is almost like a dance. Gotta know your steps or get stepped on. Fun stuff, really.
    "The universe is already mad. Anything else would be redundant."
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  • TG BarighmTG Barighm Member Full Members
    edited October 2013
    In ARR, they can't see their aggro unless they target the monster directly, and you'd be surprised how many times I've seen a healer steal aggro and wipe a party. In the end though its probably all a matter of opinion.
    Actually, that sounds like vanilla WoW when instances were actually a challenge. And yeah, newer expansions require more movement, although outside scripted special attacks they're not that hard to avoid. The scripted ones can be a real pain though.

    They actually reversed it this time TG. Our songs suck, and we only get 4 of them.
    Made them unlike bards. That's why they're good. Got it.


    Did someone say something about distributing stat. points? Isn't that a headache waiting to happen? What happens if you don't distribute them properly? And can other players see it? That whole iLevel check period in WoW made life pretty miserable for a while.
  • freykinfreykin Member Full Members
    edited October 2013
    You can get an item to respec the attribute points, and others can't see how you've done it, thankfully.
  • DarkRPGMasterDarkRPGMaster A Witness to Destruction Moderators
    edited October 2013
    The point distribution is minimal at most. The stats in your particular field CAN help (like full STR for Pugilist and Lancer, full DEX for Archer, full MIND for Conjurer, etc), but they're really not that noticeable at endgame.
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  • NefarioCallNefarioCall Member Full Members
    edited October 2013
    I'm very happy with this game and can agree with the 4.5 score.
    Much as it is very polished and generally complete however, i do feel at times as though it's not quite 'complete' yet. In general, that is a fair statement for just about any MMO ever on release, so i wouldn't dock marks for that exactly. Just that housing is going to be such a huge part of this game. Also, having a few more level 50 dungeon options will really do wonders to alleviate the end game cluster going on. Then, 2.1 will also be including the 'own server' duty finder as well which should be really nice. I feel like the game is going to feel much more complete when the patch is released. ... probably more so than the kinda of additions felt by future patches 2.2, 2.3 etc. In any case, the release product has so much content that it's not really a negative.

    I'm having a great time with the game.
  • TwinBahamutTwinBahamut Staff Healer RPGamer Staff
    edited October 2013
    TG Barighm said:
    Ah. Well, there you go. They're more like archers instead of harp strumming punching bags. I guess the best way to make an FF bard useful is to make them unlike FF bards, heh heh.

    I've still got a sore spot for Bards after FFT. All that effort to raise them and they're SO not worth it. Not anything like, say, a Calculator or Samurai.
    Okay, now this I need to challenge. FF Bards are amazing, with the one exception of Edward (and even he isn't so bad in FF4 DS). I guess they might have been weak in FF3 NES, but in FF3 DS they are absolutely broken. They can help protect the whole party from the game's worst attacks, or provide a quick heal to help people live long enough for a Cure spell to go off, and against the final boss they can out-damage summoners spamming Bahamut or Nnjas throwing Shuriken. If the FF3 Bard isn't dealing more than the displayable damage limit in the final dungeon, the enemy is almost dead anyways. FF5 Bards are incredibly powerful too, and if well utilized they can make a lot of very difficult fights much easier. FFT Bards don't have the game breaking abilities of their cousins, but their songs are still quite powerful in a drawn-out battle. I'll admit that I'm less familiar with the FF11 Bards, though.

    Umm... sorry for the diversion. Back to FF14 chat. Archers/Bards are great in that game, though while it is a creative Job/Class mix it does make you wish for a more genuinely support-oriented class like a more classic Bard. Maybe a Dancer someday.
  • MacstormMacstorm Ysy St. Administrators
    edited October 2013
    TwinBahamut said:
    I'll admit that I'm less familiar with the FF11 Bards, though.
    Been years since I played, but they were highly sought after back then. Between them and Red Mages, they were the key to keeping a party going. In FFXI, as in many other FFs, they simply needed to be used to the fullest, not relied on for physical or magical attack power. They tend to be more of a utility class that can be very powerful in the right hands.
    "The universe is already mad. Anything else would be redundant."
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