FFXIV – Shadowbringers – Astrologian Revisited

You know, I’ve been hearing a lot of noise about the “state of healing” in FFXIV, especially Scholar and Astrologian. I said something similar myself just a few weeks ago.

The reality is that my opinion has changed quite a bit. For what it’s worth, I’m speaking more to the current end-game state of Astro at level 80 doing 8-man raids and extreme trials. Your mileage may vary. I personally quite like it and see very little that’s wrong with it. This led me to wonder why, if it was working so well for me, and all the other scholars and astros I’ve run with seem to be doing fine too, why does this opinion persist?

My first stop looking into this was FFLogs. I see a lot of accusations flying around about healer balance and I was curious what that looks like for the elite tier players. I started with DPS on both the Eden raids and the Extreme trials, and it looks something like this:

healer rank

Okay, I’ll admit that at maximum performance, White Mage has the highest DPS. At the very least they have more explodey buttons than Astro does. Not hard considering Ast has one nuke and one DoT, possibly a third if you count Earthly Star. In fact, on E1, the first non-Whm on the leaderboard is a Scholar at 303, and the highest ranked Ast was 1471.

Now, I don’t play in that tier. My typical DPS for these fights is like, 2/5 of the highest ranked Ast. I don’t really intend to be that good either. I’m perfectly happy with good enough. On the other hand, I typically have to do a lot more healing than they did. Their partner, a Scholar, did more of the legwork for healing in this fight.

I’ve also seen a lot of people complaining about healing potencies as well, but the data there doesn’t exactly tell the same story. In fact, there are Astros in the top 25 for pretty much all of the fights where healing/sec is concerned. Yeah, they aren’t on top, but it’s a very different story than DPS.

The problem I keep coming back to, though, is that for “normal” duty finder levels of skill my experience with matchmaking groups has shown me to be much more on par with other “normal” healers and we seem to be clearing content just fine. That level of performance really isn’t required. In fact, I dare say it’s nearly impossible to achieve without a really good, coordinated, and consistent static.

I’m just not personally experiencing those problems at the level I’m playing at.

Now, I still see the odd comment about the card changes and I get it, many people don’t like the card system now, but honestly, a lot of people didn’t like it before either. I’ll agree that it’s slightly more generic, but I feel that it still has value and utility, and apparently the people who keep giving me comms feel that way too. It’s not for everyone though. It requires a lot of hands-on micromanagement to be effective and it’s still pretty rng heavy when you need a solar seal to complete your divination and it gives you three straight lunar cards. Maybe it’s because I don’t believe in the heart of the cards, I dunno. I could probably do better with it if I actually used Sleeve Draw.

I also feel that Astro has a pretty versatile toolkit. Aspected helios->Horoscope->party hit by AoE->Helios->Horoscope Helios is an absurdly effective way to deal with raid-wide damage, as is a well-timed earthly star. If you’re still having issues you can use neutral sect before you start and everyone will be shielded on top of it.

Aspected Benefic->Celestial Opposition->tankbuster->Essential Dignity is a great way to handle any tankbuster. You may not even that Essential, it varies somewhat from fight to fight and tank to tank.

I took a quick look at my logs last night after working on Titania EX and I was an atrocious 60-70% overheal and still slightly higher DPS than the other experienced healer that had actually cleared the fight before, who was also averaging around 40% himself. If I had to guess he was probably a little faster on the heals than I was, but I haven’t even seen the whole fight, so part of my attention was on mechanic-ing properly. I also push a lot of group heals in that type of content when I’m in a PUG group. I would rather overheal for 11% MP than lose 24% of my MP on the resurrection.

On the bright side, when it’s time to Res all the people, you can use Lightspeed, which halves mp cost and cast time. It’s great for pumping out two Res’s for the price of one if Swiftcast is on cooldown.

I do feel that Nocturnal sect is still kinda trash though. I quit using it entirely. I really need to test and see if the regens stack, but I’d rather be overwriting each others’ regens than plowing through MP on shields that are only half as effective. Celestial Opposition and Neutral Sect are more than capable of providing any shielding we might possible “need.” This one hurts, cause I liked Nocturnal, but can’t always get what we want.

Okay, uh, I’ll stop ranting now and go sit quietly in the corner. I didn’t like it at first, but now that I’ve used it and geared it through a whole expansion, I feel like it’s really come into its own as long as you’re not one of the super-elite tier players.

Y’all take care, and remember, if you’re at the edge of the platform my group heals aren’t hitting you and you’ll probably be dead before I can switch to you. I’m an Astrologian, not a miracle worker.

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