- Final Fantasy XIV’s latest ultimate raid, The Omega Protocol, has been cleared without a healer. This has raised several eyebrows and the healer debate is in full swing once again.
- The role of healers in general has been simplified ever since Stormblood. Despite this simplification, healer scarcity continues to plague the game for more reasons than one.
- Square Enix should review the situation and improve the role ecosystem as the game moves into its next saga.
The most difficult raid content in Final Fantasy XIV has recently been cleared by a group without a healer. The Omega Protocol (Ultimate) is the second Ultimate raid of the Endwalker expansion following the release of Dragonsong’s Reprise during the 6.1 patch cycle. While it’s a phenomenal achievement for the group, this also raises serious concerns over the state of healers in FFXIV once more.
The Omega Protocol was rolled out in patch 6.31 and players came face-to-face with Omega once more, this time in a what-if encounter. Lore aside, while the raid lived up to the spectacle standard set by previous fights, the reception it got was a full spectrum. One point of commonality happens to be that Final Fantasy XIV players believe the fight to be badly designed, especially when you consider the previous ultimate raid.
Beyond the issues that existed in the fight itself, the main debate within the Final Fantasy XIV community is the butchering of healers and role responsibility. With the release of Stormblood back in 2017, healers have gradually been toned down in terms of difficulty and engagement. Moreover, the balance adjustments for jobs in general lead to healers not even being necessary for several duties sometimes even outside of ultimate content.
Final Fantasy XIV content creator and longtime raider, Xenosys Vex, made a video on this topic in which he discusses the design of this fight along with the achievement itself. Another factor that makes this a problem is that healers are fairly scarce in the game. This was especially evident in the second raid tier of Endwalker. Groups in Party Finder had to wait way more than usual to find a healer in comparison to a tank or a DPS.
It’s true that this achievement with The Omega Protocol is highly impressive and also serves as an exception, not the norm. What makes it crucial is that it accentuates the larger problem with healers and how they are being designed by Square Enix. Players who main the role often state how basic, boring, and redundant the jobs feel despite having one of the, if not the greatest, responsibility out of all roles in Final Fantasy XIV.
Healers at the moment rely on one key for dealing damage while occasionally putting out a skill or two that’s off the global cooldown to restore party members’ HP and apply barriers and mitigation. Furthermore, with how much tanks and DPS jobs have been improved lately, healers continue to grow stale in comparison. This change gets clearer when you review how the role operated in Final Fantasy XIV back in the day.
The Omega Protocol has a reputation for being one of the most annoying fights to progress through due to bad design, an auto-attack bug that proved to be a hindrance, and other factors adding to the artificial difficulty. Ultimate fights in general are designed as a gauntlet of bosses with intricate mechanics that rely on the cooperation of several people to resolve. This alone places a huge burden on groups in more ways than one.
Square Enix should take this into account and perhaps reconsider how healers should operate in Final Fantasy XIV moving forward. With patch 6.4 and a new savage raid tier just around the corner, players are looking forward to the future of this MMO as it builds towards the next saga and a graphical overhaul in 7.0.
Final Fantasy XIV is available for PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, PC, Mac, and Steam.
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