In the first part of my series, I discuss how I would have loved to see Chemist as a healer, as I think it’d spice things up a bit. I also mention how I feel there was a missed opportunity with the skill changes made to jobs in Stormblood. The simplification of the system, in particular. But now it’s time to give some love to the tanks. After all, they didn’t get a new job this expansion either.
While Time Mage probably isn’t one of the first jobs you think of when you ponder about new tanks, I think it could make a great addition. I’ve met my fair share of people who like to only play magic-based jobs, but would really like to tank, and as such leave tanking for their secondary job or even just forgo it altogether. Since Square Enix is always trying to figure out new ways to get more active tanks so that the queue times are more balanced, I think adding a mage tank would prove quite useful.
Currently the closest thing we have to a magic based tank is Dark Knight. While they do indeed use MP for many of their key skills, I find they tend to still favor the physical aspect of things as their main combos still rely on whacking the enemy with a giant sword. Paladin has some spells in their arsenal as well, such as Clemency to heal and Flash to gain AoE aggro, but it’s also still far from being a mage tank.
While classic Time Mage spell Gravity is already being used by the Astrologian, Time Mage could still use some of its other signature attacks for its main source of damage, such as Comet and Demi. Maybe similar to how Red Mage has to fill black and white magic meters in order to use their more powerful attacks, Time Mage could have to fill a Time Magic meter with some variation of Black Mage spells, in order to cast Demi, and Comet.
The attacking aspect wouldn’t have to be anything too fantastic, as that isn’t what tanks focus on anyway. The true beauty would be in how they’d be able to stop some of the incoming damage. Using some of their skill sets from other Final Fantasy games, Time Mage could utilize spells such as Slow; MP Switch; Reflect; and Stop in order to mitigate damage.
Slow could be used right before a hard hitting tank buster, so that the cast time takes awhile longer for the boss to charge up - allowing more time for healers to get everyone's HP up and having other party members prep in whatever way they need, such as if the off tank needs to stack with you to split the damage.
MP Switch could be a high damage reducing cooldown, similar to Dark Knight’s ability Shadow Wall, and the ability Sentinel for Paladin which reduce damage taken by 30% and 40% respectively. However, it could be a higher percentage, such as 50% or even 60%, but in exchange for that large amount of mitigation the amount of HP that is being mitigated would be taken from your MP (so if you mitigate 6,000 HP from an attack dealing 10,000 damage, then you would lose 6,000 MP). This would allow for it to be similar enough to the other tanks, while having some personality of its own. While 50% or 60% may seem high, they would be mages and as such would be relying on their MP, meaning they’d have some downtime afterwards or would have to be able to manage their MP very well.
Reflect is pretty self-explanatory. It could have some slight mitigation effect on it, maybe 15% or so, but also reflect that amount of damage back towards the enemy. Probably with a 15-20 second duration, to be similar to Paladin’s Bulwark ability or the Rampart role skill.
Stop could be their ultimate tank cooldown, such as how Dark Knight has Living Dead, Warrior has Holmgang, and Paladin has Hallowed Ground. All of which provide some sort of invincibility effect on the user. However, Stop could be used in one of two ways.
In order to make it similar enough to the other three, it could be used as a “stop” in time for the tank itself, meaning they wouldn’t be able to take any damage during that period but also wouldn’t be able to move or cast any action.
However, what I think would give things a nice twist and would be more reminiscent of other Final Fantasy games would be to have it stop the enemy for that duration. This way, instead of the user becoming invincible, it would just make it so that the enemy stops all movement and actions for a set period of time. While this may sound a bit overpowered, as it also makes it so that other party members aren’t being damaged or having to avoid AoEs, the trade off would be that you can only use it on one enemy. That way, the boss may be stopped, but all of the adds (or if there are two bosses, such as in the raid: Alexander - The Fist of the Father) would still be going and attacking.
Overall, I feel that Time Mage would make a great addition to the game and could fit perfectly into a tank role. I think it would help alleviate queue times, provide a tanking outlet for mage lovers, as well as provide some new, and much needed refreshing twists to the game and tanking meta and I would love to see it in the game one day.