In my last article, I shared my thoughts on some basic PvP strategies and how to survive the 4v4 Ranked Feast mode. However, thanks to the lovely patch that is 4.06a, there have been a few changes to PvP and so I feel the need to release this article as a follow-up since this is the first time they have ever updated and rebalanced PvP mid-season.
General Strategy Changes
Prior to this patch, the general meta was to harass the healer but not pursue them for a kill the majority of the time. They were just far harder to kill than the DPS were, especially ranged DPS. This made it very popular for them to be stunned or silenced, but with little fear of actually being killed. However, now that every ranged DPS has gotten a hefty HP buff, while many of the melee jobs getting their damage nerfed, marking the healer for death is a more desirable option.
Every match I play now it seems that the DPS on the other team is always just a sliver of HP from death, and then immediately have their health back at full thanks to spells such as Benediction from the White Mage. The mix of health buffs and damage nerfs makes killing any DPS a much more challenging task now, and I often see matches going into tier-three culling several times. Culling is the game’s way of telling you, “Hey, people aren’t dying enough! So everyone takes more damage now until someone finally dies.” As you can imagine, it can be very tedious constantly going to this stage of a match.
However, since the only healer to receive any buffs is Astrologian, which is still mediocre due to its lack of mitigation, targeting the healer is often the fastest way to get first blood. It isn’t a bad strategy now to constantly target the healer until they die over and over again. The only downside to this is that after a few deaths, you can imagine their healers will have very few medals to reward you with upon defeating them. If you can pick off some other members of theirs while their healer is down though, then this can pay off regardless of how many medals the healer themselves are carrying.
This is a two-way street though. I’m sure your team won’t be the only one realizing “Oh hey, the healer’s the best target now!” So, to make the game a little more bearable and less of a “let’s pile on the healer fest,” a good way to win matches is to save your burst for a bit while harassing and interrupting the opposing team’s burst. Let them feel threatened, but don’t let everything go right away. Send some stuns their way, wait until they have to wait for CDs, then move to attack their healer. This should allow an extra safety net for your team’s healer while giving their healer a nasty surprise.
Quick warning, it seems to me that a lot of people are still stuck between the old meta and the new one, and it can easily cause rifts in gameplay. I’ve been in more than my fair share of matches where my team can not make up their mind on what route to go with, so if it gets down to it, be the less stubborn one and just go with what they think is best. I find it’s much better to have everyone on the same page, and following the same strategy rather than using a better strategy where no one is coordinating together.
Warriors are actually viable now, as they were given a two second stun. This may not sound like much, and still isn’t when compared to the ability to stun and silence that both Paladin and Dark Knight have. However, due to their insane damage output they can do quite well now. In fact, the most annoying tank I ever get paired with is always playing Warrior and he just utterly destroys everything and wrecks house. While their CC and overall support is still not the best, the stun gives them just enough that when combined with their raw burst damage, they can make quite the turn around in a match.
I still see many players straying away from it, but I think that’s mostly due to them not knowing how to handle the job now rather than it being bad. Essentially a Warrior just has to use their stun the same way any tank would, such as to interrupt heals or a DPS combo, except instead of focusing on continuing to CC they’ll just let out their burst on the most vulnerable target afterward.
The changes themselves may not sound too crazy on paper, but when put into action it’s enough to change the whole meta around and throw people for a loop. If you weren’t having fun in PvP, it could be worth your time to give it another go to see if it’s more up your ally now. Especially if your issue was dying too fast before because you should be staying alive for ages now.