Now that I’ve had the time to reach and reflect on Dragoon at Lv70, I’d like to discuss my thoughts on the job.
Level 60 – Streamlined
To be fair, it’s more like gutted than streamlined. But I’m trying my best to be positive here!
Anything that really made Dragoon complex at Level 60 is gone now. You don’t have to worry about Phlebtomize anymore–one less DoT to manage. Geirskogul no longer reduces Blood of the Dragon timer–meaning there’s no intricate fight with balancing it. However, Geirskogul is now on a 35s timer as opposed to 10s. We don’t need damage there either, right? Sure your fourth step combo only restores its duration by 10s now instead of 15s, but with no more random factor to which you’ll use it’s super simple.
The loss of Internal Release from PGL and the reduction on Blood for Blood hurts too. Blood for Blood used to be +30% damage dealt with +15% damage suffered for 20s. Now it’s +15% damage dealt with +10% damage suffered for 20s. We also lost access to Ring of Thorns, meaning if we want to AoE we’re even more heavily relying on tanks who can stack mobs closely. (Hint: those are so rare you might as well be the tank instead.) Finally, Disembowel going from 10% piercing resist to 5% piercing resist is a blow felt by DRGs, BRDs, and MCHs everywhere.
On the bright side, overall TP cost reduction leaves Dragoon in a much better place. The risk of bottoming out on your TP reservoir and your DPS shooting down because of it are slim. There was a slight potency boost to most abilities too, leaving Dragoon to be less of a burst DPS and more of a constant flow. The changes made to Dragoon make it much easier to get into–I’d recommend it if you want to try melee DPS but are worried about complexity!
Level 62 – AoE Extended
We start into Stormblood with a new ability called Sonic Thrust. This is a conal similar to Doom Spike, and it combos off of Doom Spike! Before our “Doom Spike” AoE would be 160 TP cost for 160 potency–hardly spammable. Now we’ve got 120 TP cost for 130 potency that leads into 100 TP cost for 170 potency. So as opposed to 320 for 320, we’re spending 220 for 300. A little less burst–but more potential output.
This seems to be SE’s idea for fixing Dragoon now. I’m incredibly bored with it, but we’ll see what happens.
Level 64 – I Heard You Like Combos
At 64 we gain Lance Mastery, which sort of fills the hole left behind by Phlebotomize. Sort of. This allows us to use the “fourth step” of the other combo as a “fifth step” and increases its potency from 290 to 320 when it’s the fifth. Not only does this lower out TP expenditure even more, but it means with each combo we’re restoring our Blood of the Dragon timer by 20s. This makes it super difficult to let BotD fall anymore–mechanics excluded.
As an added bonus, things now tend to die a little faster on the field with your newfound damage boost.
Level 66 – Sight Beyond Sight
Dragoon is no stranger to party buffs, with Disembowel and Battle Litany. With Level 66 we gain Dragon Sight–which is a tether ability. We link ourselves to the target party member (or chocobo, or sometimes NPC) as long as they’re within 6 yalms. While this distance condition is met, our damage is boosted by 10% and their damage is boosted by 5%. The chain won’t break permanently outside of the 20s timer going out. If you move too far–you can move back in and have it restored.
One of the neat things is: if you have multiple Dragoons? They can share the buff for 15% each. Or stack it on someone else to give them 10%. I’m pretty sure no one is supposed to have two eyes of Nidhogg, but hey!
Level 68 – Fixing Geirskogul
Remember all of that damage we lost with Geirskogul? Time to get most of it back! With Level 68 we’re introduced to Mirage Dive. This oGCD becomes active whenever we have “Dive Ready”, a buff that lasts 15s every time we do Jump or Spineshatter Dive. It’s important to not use them back to back–stick a Mirage Dive in there because Dive Ready is consumed each time you use it!
Mirage Dive is 200 potency damage with a 20y range, which is nice as we’re dodging around mechanics. It’s a little something to try and recuperate what we had lost.
Level 70 – Life Restored
Finally at Level 70 we awaken Life of the Dragon. While we’re under the effect of Blood of the Dragon (or Life of the Dragon), each Mirage Dive will increase our Dragon Gaze by one point. Dragon Gaze is only available during either “of the Dragon” affects so if you lose them for whatever reason–you also lose all of your Dragon Gaze stacks. Dragon Gaze only builds up to four points–but using Geirskogul with four active shifts Blood of the Dragon into Life of the Dragon.
Under Life of the Dragon, Geirskogul is switched out for Nastrond. This is a severely upgraded version–320 potency instead of 220 and 10s cooldown instead of 30s. Because these are on a different cooldown, you’ll want at least 21s active on Blood of the Dragon before shifting into Life of the Dragon. There’s that pesky Rule of 21 again! 21s and more will allow you to use three Nastrond for the full effect of Life of the Dragon. Remember too that you can continue building Dragon Gaze during Life–they’ll still be there when its over and shifts back to 15s of Blood of the Dragon!
If there’s a situation where your Blood is about to fall off, you can use BotD again while the buff is active to reset its cooldown to 15s. This gives you nearly 45s max uptime of Blood, which is still not enough time for tanks who aren’t awake to get to the next pull. Be careful not to hit BotD during your Life of the Dragon, because this will force a shift and means you won’t get the full benefit of your Nastronds!
All of My Feels
I’ve been a spear-wielding class in every single online game I’ve ever played, without exception. Dragoon has a special place in my heart from FFXI–I was so excited to be like Freya and Kain! Even now, more than a decade after I became a Dragoon there I still love Dragoon. That said, I don’t much care for any of the play prior to 70. Having my job gutted only to be re-filled is… odd. And any sync content reminds me that this is the “I can watch YouTube while I play!” DPS which DRG never was for me before.
Dragoon doesn’t feel any weaker than it used to, but it also doesn’t feel any stronger. I have only had a few moments of running out of TP and those were during heavy AoE pushes on trash pulls. As I just kind of stared at my other melee in party, waiting for the Goad that never happened. DRG feels much more simple to play at a decent strength now, meaning it’s probably great for new players or those inexperienced to melee play. The only real downfall is losing your Dragon Gaze stacks–given it’ll take another 90s to 120s to fully build them again.