It’s probably safe to say that the Final Fantasy franchise is on the rise right now. With the hype that the announcement of FFVII caused, the release of the awaited Shadowbringer and all its goodies, with the ever-expanding PC releases of the previously console-locked games – all in all, it’s a good time to be a Final Fantasy fan!
However, as with all great things, there is also another side of the coin. The current adjustments that Square Enix released could be viewed as a double-edged sword, and so now we are here to discuss one such case. This article is meant to discuss the current status of the Astrologians, as well as the changes that FFXIV Astrologian rework brought to the class. For convenience’s sake, every argument has its own section:
- Introduction to Astrologian – the old one
- Overview of the changes
- Are Astrologians still viable?
- Part within the party
- Should you or should you not?
Introduction to Astrologian – the old one
Here’s a quick recap: Astrologian class is a healer, as simple (and complicated) as that! It is your job to keep the team alive and well and make sure they don’t get wiped by some pesky boss. On paper, the task is straightforward. But this is FFXIV we are talking about; thus, every healer has their own gimmick. For Astrologians, it’s their cards, each one giving a buff to the corresponding teammate. To efficiently utilize the kit, you need to be quick and think on your feet. Cards are drawn using RNG, which means there’s no telling what you will get, and so you have to find the most beneficial solution that won’t waste the card for the maximum gain. It was then that FFXIV Astrologian rework came and changed the rules of the game – quite literally.
Overview of the changes
To start with, Astrologian’s cards no longer have the flexibility to them. FFXIV Astrologian rework removed the different effects various cards – 6 of them, to be precise – had and replaced it with one singular buff. Damage. Astrologian now serves as a booster to the DPS class, a bit of a step down compared to the previous skillset, where each of the cards had a separate effect, applicable to different roles within your party. It was harder, but greatly satisfying, as you could boost the defence capabilities of a Tank or restore your own MP faster. In turn, FFXIV Astrologian rework makes the class more accessible to players. The RNG is still there, but ultimately it only determines which person in your party gets the damage buff.
Another thing that came with the changes is the significant alteration to the skills. Many of them revolve around the healing ability, and as a healer class, the Astrologians actually benefit from that (once you get used to the new way things work). The addition that must be covered, though, is the fact that FFXIV Astrologian rework marked each drawn card with a kind of elemental mark – a Seal. There are three Seals in total: Lunar (for Arrow and Ewer cards), Solar (for Balance and Bole) and Celestial (for Spear and Spire). The Seals can be applied to get the additional damage boost.
And last but not least, FFXIV Astrologian rework removed the timer the drawn cards had, as well as the skill to hoard a card you draw, but don’t want to use just yet. Instead, this skill was replaced by the ability to hold any card indefinitely (as long as you do not draw a new one on top of that). So, without a timer going off, some of the stress to perform well – and quickly – was removed. But with this improvement, the ability to increase the efficiency of your cards using Royal Road is also gone. Basically, the timer will no longer take the unused cards away from you, but since all the cards are basically doing the same thing, there’s very little need to play them quickly anyway.
Are Astrologians still viable?
Yes, yes they are. They are altered, but the core of the class remains – you heal the team, thus saving them from the big bad reaper. Therefore, Astrologians will always be in high demand, if only because they belong to a coveted type of characters. On the other hand, Astrologian was never the true definition of a pure healer, leaning more towards the support category. Not to say they cannot heal a group of 4 people! But White Mage can definitely out heal Astrologians. FFXIV Astrologian rework took away some of the flexibility that the class previously had, but in turn gave the players renewed healing abilities, bringing it closer to other healer classes. Whether that’s a good thing, only time will tell.
Part within the party
Heal and boost, that’s about it. As mentioned above, Astrologians used to be more about timing their cards, manging their skills and using the best out of what the RNG gods give them. Now, the task is easier – immeasurably so. Simply draw a card, make sure which DPS – melee or ranged – you should give it to (even though if you choose incorrectly, the card will still boost their damage, only at the lesser degree) and calmly shuffle towards the victory. No fuss or muss!
Square Enix, allegedly, wanted to make the class more accessible to new players, as the class was one of the rarer ones. But in the end, FFXIV Astrologian rework grounded what was special about Astrologian to the concrete and rebuilt a healer to be within the same margins as the other two healing classes. In terms of healing output, Astrologian is still a bit lacking. So, the only gimmick they are left with is the damage boosting. Somehow, this brings back flashbacks to the controversial Mercy rework in Overwatch. We can only hope the void of irrelevancy won’t swallow Astrologian as well.
Should you or should you not?
Finally, let’s discuss whether you should or should not invest your time in Astrologian. Granted, if you had them from the very start, there’s a chance you love your character too much to let it go. But for the new players, they need to keep in mind that Astrologian is the healer with the least advantage. White Mages can proudly flaunt their myriad of healing capabilities – and rightly so, they are great! Scholars can summon a fairy that adds to their own healing, and also supports them while they are casting offensive spells, making sure the character stays alive. One can even surmise that, at that point, Scholar can use two abilities at the same time – healing and offensive – and such teamwork should be praised!
But Astrologian’s one big thing was their cards and various effects they had. So, if you make the character after FFXIV Astrologian rework, you will be delegated to healing and occasional damage boosting. It’s useful, sure, but less flashy or even crucial for the party. Therefore, you have to embrace the fact that other healers might be more versatile or heal better, and you should get the hang of the Seal System as soon as possible since that is the thing that benefits your entire party at once.
Ultimately, Astrologian class is not a bad one, not by a long shot. They need a little bit of adjusting to; but given time and care and some getting used to, the class is still viable in the grand scheme of things. Their buffs are related to damage only, yet in the game filled to the brim with DPS players, that’s not such a terrible thing. FFXIV Astrologian rework took the timing aspect off of the drawn cards, but the management of the said time is now in the hands of the players: many of Astrologian’s skills can be used as an unofficial combo if you time it just right. Therefore, experiment! Draw those cards and see where that takes you.