Hit level 34 as my Conjurer, now White Mage. That’s a healer for those unfamiliar with the FF class structure.
I have a few posts queued up for the game, dealing with the rather interesting mechanics. Crafting in this game is REALLY interesting. This post will deal with a neat aspect I didn’t expect – a skill wall while leveling.
I’ve mentioned a few times now that dying in a game is a good thing, as long as the death is fair. If you can improve to beat the battle, all the better. Being “gamed” sucks – sort of the Blue Shell in Mario Kart effect. FF14 doesn’t have Blue Shells so much as “Oh god, why did I do that?” That’s good.
Per character, there’s a central quest you embark upon that brings you to every corner of the world. In order to progress on this quests you must participate in the dungeons while leveling. I’d say you can miss the central quest but then you’d hit 50 and be locked out of content. This forced grouping (as well as optional grouping all over the place) is great on building skill sets over time. Where games like WoW have extremely odd skill placement while leveling (some classes gets their first stun in the 30s), FF14 seems to have really thought this through. Skill packages are thought out so that a group at a given level is only challenged so far. It won’t ask you to use crowd control before a certain level. 30-35 is where the real fun begins.
I’ve healed in every MMO, though rarely as a primary role. I’m a number cruncher, which is more of a DPS thing. Healing is about patterns. FF14 healing has no patterns until you reach the 30s, since you only have 1 real healing spell. The big dungeon at 32 (Brayflox) is the change. You now have Cure 2, maybe Freecure (for a free cast of the former) and poison all over the place (Esuna to cure). I was able to heal without problem on every single dungeon up until this point. Then I reached what I call skill wall.
My tanks were taking on 2-3 enemies at once and my heals were just covering their health loss. Miss a heal, need to heal another or even cure a poison, and things went bad. The final boss was a dragon that had a front spit, a front cone and a ranged spit attack. The first tank seemed to have PING issues since he wasn’t moving out of the way. He had about 1300 HP and each big attack was around 1000 damage + poison effect. My heals are about 300 each, on a 2.5s cooldown. The math was not in our favor.
I got accused of having crappy gear. I checked at the auction house (gear is crafted/dropped, so if it’s not on the AH, you can only get it in a dungeon) and we’re talking about 3 stat points from optimal at my level (out of 180). Gear isn’t the problem. Actual words from the tank before dropping “the heals are slowing us down”, which if you’ve played FF14, you know is simply not possible. There is no “go go go” mentality, or massive group pulls. The game isn’t designed that way.
So I tried with 2 different groups, with no luck. I got another level, which gave me access to Stoneskin for the next attempt. That’s just a small shield spell for ~140 damage though, nothing that should make a difference. I’ll try some spots of chain healing with Cure2 but I know that will drain my mana pools in a flash. I’m sure I can find the skill to get over this wall.