The lifeblood of any party, the healers of Final Fantasy XIV come in many shapes and sizes. There’s the greedy White Mage, the pet-oriented Scholar and the tarot card reading Astrologian, but now we have a brand new member to the forces: Sage. While White Mage and Scholar don’t receive significant changes outside of their damage dealing GCDs being reduced to 1.5 seconds, Astrologian has received an entire revamp to play similar to how they did in Stormblood, but with more of an emphasis on pure/regen healing. It’s all thanks to Sage, but if you’re looking for those impressions, we have a dedicated article specifically for that job and Reaper.
It should be stated what we got to play was an in-development build of Final Fantasy XIV: Endwalker, and content in the final version is subjected to change. That means we’ll be trying to avoid talking too much about potency numbers. With that said, there are some adjustments that are so great that we can’t just help bring them up.
Surprisingly, while most jobs are getting adjustments to their potencies negatively, White Mage is on the completely other end of the spectrum. The healer’s abilities, at least at level 85 when a new trait is introduced, actually has stronger heals than ever before. Additionally to this, a good number of their attacks such as Afflatus Misery, Dia and Holy remain the same, while Glare gets a minuscule decrease, but this is in preparation for its upgraded version at level 82. Unsurprisingly, White Mage will receive a stronger attack in the form of Glare III (wait, whatever happened to the second Glare?). Even Holy picks up an upgrade that does less than ten percent more damage. These are more vibrant attacks, but arguably not at all necessary.
The biggest change, though, is the universal 1.5 second GCD for healers that primarily affects their base damage attacks. This is different for other skills such as healing, where the Cures are set at 2 seconds and Medica at the standard 2.5 seconds. The decrease in casts will help with weaving, something that White Mages have struggled with a lot in the past, always clipping Assize when no insta-casts are available. Another huge change is Thin Air. Prior, it simply allowed players to cast any spell without using any MP, but that’s no more. Now, the dual charged Thin Air allows for a single spell to be cast without the consumption of MP. This is a massive change that will require White Mage players to reconsider how they approach a situation, but at least the cooldown is reduced to 60 seconds.
While there’s another shield ability at level 86 (Aquaveil) on top of a second stack of Divine Benison, Lilybell is without doubt the main attraction and the most-compelling new ability for White Mage, one that essentially heals for you. Simply place this action down for fifteen seconds and every time you take damage, it will heal 400 potency within 20 yalms upwards of five times. That’s essentially a cast of Medica every pulse. If there’s a mechanic that dishes out consistent damage in the form of multiple raidwides, this becomes a crucial tool. It can only be used once every 180 seconds, but it’s something that will be immensely helpful in Savage and Ultimate fights, especially considering any remaining stacks will heal everyone at half a potency.
White Mage has been a staple of the Final Fantasy series and a go-to healer for a lot of players. In Endwalker, there are only a few meaningful changes. In fact, they’re changing it so little that I believe it to have the least amount of potency adjustments than any other job, most of which are actually beneficial, at least at a certain level. Lilybell is the main attraction, reducing the amount of focus healing that will actually be done; this means even more Glares than ever before. Overall, it’s the decreased cast time on damaging attacks that most players will find the most appealing, with the Thin Air change being concerning.
Considering Summoner received a significant rework, one would think Scholar would get a similar treatment. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. Scholar has received even fewer adjustments than White Mage, to the point where this section will be short. The two adjustments to existing skills, outside of minor potencies, are Deployment Tactics’s cooldown being reduced to 90 seconds at level 88 and Aetherflow now restoring 10% more max MP. And that’s about it. Similar to White Mage, a good portion of the healing spells have increased in potency, along with Adloquium and Succor shielding for even more, but it’s countered by a number of other spells healing less, especially regarding the pet.
Scholar has almost received a carbon copy upgrade of White Mage, as the first two abilities being exactly the same: an upgrade to their base attack (Broil IV) and their AOE (Art of War II). At least the third ability is something different; it’s not a shield but instead increases everyone’s HP and healing actions by 10%. But now let’s talk about what everyone wants to know about: Expedient. With a 120 second cooldown, this skill’s main attraction is its ability to raise a party’s movement speed mid-battle. There’s also a 10% reduction in damage, but let’s be honest, the real reason anyone wants this is to compete in a foot race mid-raid. Jokes aside, the damage reduction is an additional protection for the party and surprisingly the extra move speed isn’t something I realized I wanted until I used it. Obviously, it’d only be useful in obscure or emergencies cases, but we tested its speed and it was just as quick as if you were to use sprint, and it lasts the full 20 seconds in battle. The greed that could be had for us melee.
Unfortunately, Scholar didn’t get much. Minor upgrades and an extra damage reduction spell that’s combined with a party-wide sprint pales in comparison to the practicality of White Mage’s Lilybell. Expedient will be useful, but is it a creative and meaningful improvement for Endwalker? Not even remotely. Scholar will remain a solid shield healer, especially with the new unified 1.5 second GCD for damage, even Sage has more-compelling features.
Look to the stars fellow Astrologians, as this job has received a galactic rework. We knew this was coming for some time now, but we finally were able to get an idea of the changes that have been made. This is now a pure healing job similar to White Mage, but at its core it’s what we’ve been playing for the last two years, with adjustments that make it less focused on shields (goodbye Nocturnal Sect). It doesn’t get the lowered cast times because, well, it already had it. All the other healers have conformed to Astrologian’s standards, being able to weave with ease.
For starters, Divination no longer is something complied with specific seals; instead, it’s simply a 120 second cooldown similar to something like Scholar’s Chain Stratagem and gives the party a base 6% damage increase for 15 seconds. Instead, the cards tie into the brand new Astrodyne system which unlocks at level 50. Here, depending on which seals are stored in the card deck, the player will be granted a 60 potency MP regen, reduced spell casts/recasts/ auto-attack delays by 10%, and increased damage and healing by 5%. The second of the three is by far the most compelling component to this ability, bringing back the old “The Arrow” card effect. This should give Astrologian players even more means of optimizing their class, such as figuring out if it’s a good time to use a seal or to save them for a big burst, especially considering Astrodyne can be used at any time. With that said, as far as we can tell, this will only affect Astrologian and cannot be applied to anyone else, which is disappointing. I would have loved to have affected and potentially thrown off the skill speed of a party members, especially knowing how critical it can be for melee such as Samurai and Dragoon lining up their abilities and buffs.
Outside of that, there are a bunch of smaller changes and removals to ensure Astrologian plays similar yet different. For starters, there’s now only one redraw, Draw only restores 5% MP, on top of the 20% healing potency, Neutral sect simply adds barrier effects to Aspected Benefic and Helios (250% and 125% barriers) and Celestial Intersection has two charges. Interestingly enough, Minor Arcana has been reworked, or rather reverted to a mechanic similar to a past expansion. Prior, you could give players a buffed card, allowing them to do more damage. Instead, pressing the now level 70 Minor Arcana ability will draw a Lords of Crown or Lady of Crowns from the deck, and both do something drastically different. Lord of Crown will deal damage to all enemies within a 20 yalm radius, whereas Lady of Crown will heal everyone with the potency that is equivalent to Helios. It’s a fascinating new alteration, essentially reverting it back to how it was in Stormblood, that will give players more ways to heal and do damage every sixty seconds.
Once more, Astrologian fits in with Scholar and White Mage in receiving a base template for its new abilities: an upgraded based ability (Malefic III) and their AOE (Gravity II), alongside a single target damage reduction spell (Exaltation). Their final new skill, Macrocosmos, deals damage but most particularly is a charged up healing spell. This is the star shower effect you may have seen in the Live Letter, where it will damage enemies and then give a buff for fifteen seconds which will heal for 50% of the damage taken over that time. This fits in perfectly with Astrologian’s delayed-based healing such as Horoscope and Earthly Star, and is a solid new final ability that, if timed right, can save a whole lot of unnecessary healing. It’s only available once every two minutes, but it will get a lot of use in end-game content.
Astrologian’s rework was concerning, changing its core lore to fit more within Square Enix’s healing framework. Overall though, some of the aspects that were done are enjoyable, such as bringing back the increase in spell speed ability, even though it doesn’t seem to apply to anyone outside the Astrologian. Divination being just a cooldown is a smart decision considering how every other job is set up, although it removes some of the fun from the job, despite fighting with RNG. It will take adjusting, but what we got to play has us enthusiastic.