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  1. #1
    Player Xilk's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Main Class
    BST Lv 99

    Incoherance of Beastmaster Design

    Since the January Update, I've had alot of discussions with players from difference perspectives about the Beastmaster job. (obviously my favorite)

    This phrase came up from another player and it struck a nerve.

    That the criticisms and arguments about the job all point to the "Incoherance of Beastmaster Design"

    I think this is accurate. It mirrored my thoughts in a way that I posted a bit ago, again addressing the disatisfaction with the low range for pet commands.

    The central Idea was that beastmaster no longer has a home with other pet jobs in a pet-focused party.

    The "lack of coherance" prompts me to reflect on where the design of beastmaster started and how it got where it is.

    Beastmaster seems to originally been designed as the only Solo job, in a Party-Centered game.

    Central to this design is the charm ability.

    I think the troubles with the beast master design stem from these 2 items.

    Being ABLE to play solo is a wonderful thing. The game has trusts, and faster experience point gain now, so the difficulties playing solo no longer exist like they did many years ago.

    However, Beastmaster had such a strong compensation for playing solo, that in the minds of the players, it COULD NOT play in a group. The experience point penalty to the player and the player's party, let alone they way charmed pets would be hostile when charm wears off, became a TREMENDOUS barrier to playing in a party.

    This resulted in Beastmaster being a SOLO and ONLY SOLO job. End-game content was almost completely locked away from the beastmaster job.

    This is an inherent contradiction in the job design. It contradicts the rest of the game. The entire game requires players to work together to play the highest levels of content. This party-focused design is a wonderful thing. However, beastmaster's design was against the overall game design. I am sure this was an unforeseen consequence.

    The charm ability is wonderfully fun! This is really central to the design concept for the beastmaster. I absolutely loved the challenge of successfully charming a monster and balancing the risks of having it fight another monster when it could turn on me at some point.

    One of my FAVORITE experiences playing FFXI was level syncing to level 67~68 to gain experience fighting Very Difficult Djinn in Vunkerl Inlet (S). We did this in a duo, or trio of beastmasters. the plan was to use crab pets to fight the Djinn. Then stand at maximum distance, casting level 1 elemental magic from our support job (rdm or sch were best) against the Djinn. This would force the djinn to gain TP quickly and use a special move. We could hurry the monster to self-destruct, and only kill the pets, while the masters were out of range.
    It was high-risk, high-reward Experience point farming. It was wonderfully fun. We had to run back and forth alot, and balancing enmity was a challenge, but well worth it.

    This is just 1 example about how much FUN it was to play beastmaster and use the charm ability to great effect. However the Risk and Balance aspects were very well balanced.

    these are my reflections while contemplating the design of the beastmaster job.
    I think the incoherence has existed and continued to fester ever since the charm ability has been nerfed and marginalized.

    I have long speculated about the difficulties surrounding the Charm ability. Every time a new bcnm or new expansion, or new zone is added, there is an extra layer of complex design to consider just for the beastmaster job. Regarding all the other jobs, you only need to compare how strong they are in a fight against players.

    However, for beastmaster, you have to consider how powerful is that monster if it is a weapon in the beastmaster's hand.

    The prime example in my mind of this, was a beastmaster charming a slime-type monster in the Phomiuna Aqueducts when they were still level capped at 40.

    This made it possible for a single beastmaster to tackle content that was challenging for a full party. That slime had great hitpoints and physical defenses. It could efficiently kill several other monsters before it needed to rest. Two beastmasters could reliably kill the boss of the zone.

    Balancing all the monsters in a zone as weapons instead of just enemies is alot harder. Especially since monsters and players are designed differently. The amount of HP, MP, Attack, Defense and other stats are used very differently.

    So, more and more monsters were completely immune to being charmed. This was the beginning of the incoherance of the job. IT has been there for a long time. There has never been a complete solution to this.

    Every struggle in the design adjustments have been to try to resolve the job and overcome the challenges in these 2 aspects of beastmaster that are so contrary to the design of the rest of Final Fantasy XI.

    Having Summoned pets instead of charmed pets, then trying to find the right power level for these pets, is a tremendous challenge. The pets are quickly either too strong or too weak. They do not scale at a balanced pace with players. They match the pace of monsters.

    Monsters do not grow quickly in how much they deal damage. They grow ridiculously quickly with how much their total hit points are. This is an inverse relationship with players.

    With these reflections in mind, I come back to how to make Beastmaster's design more coherent? (and therefore, more fun)

    In General I suggest to balance the number of jobs which can fill different Party roles more. I think there are 17 jobs which all compete for the damage dealer role. The are 3 to 6 jobs which might fill the healer role, though 2 of them have most the tools, but not quite there. There are 3 - 4 jobs securely monopolizing the highly-demanded support and buffing roles. There are 2~3 jobs filling the tanking roles.

    I suggest allowing beastmaster to slide into some niche tanking situtations. I think we only need a few small tools to accomplish this and it would not threaten pld or run or pup in this role, just add another option.

    I am assuming charm was too expensive in development costs to maintain. I think the best design for the job is for charm to be just as viable throughout the entire game as it was in the beginning of the game when it was beastmasters only weapon.

    Without this, I think having alot of jug pets is a pretty good way to cope with the job when charm is not viable. I think having the balance of power between the master and the pet being close to 50/50 is the best way to go. This would mean letting beastmaster play in pet-centric parties, as well as non-pet centric parties.

    The balance between these 2 already exists, except beast had its pet command range nerfed.

    Furthermore for party play, its about balancing master vs pet power while master has alot of buffs and pet cannot. it is either this OR having bst slide into a NON damage-focused role, such as tank, while in a NON-pet party. I prefer the latter.

    Although the changes for pet ready moves to buff master as well as pet are fun, they do nothing to address in the inherent contradictions in the design. I think forcing beastmaster into the playstyle of a Dragoon is not a good option. Continuing to nerf the pet and make the master a clone of other damage dealers is boring and will continue to kill the job. This direction reminds me of what I've heard about World of Warcraft, and how Blizzard killed the fun by making the jobs too much alike each other.
    Choh Moui | Rongo-Nango | Lhu Mhakaracca | Lungo-Nango | Nyumomo
    --Beastmaster Forever--

  2. #2
    Player Gwydion's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Main Class
    THF Lv 1
    True. I think every aspect of the Beastmaster job currently feels incomplete, or unfinished.

    1.) Inability to consistently use Charmed pets.
    2.) Only 2-3 Jug pets are actually usable if pet-buffs for Master are intended to be mainstream
    3.) Melee combat skills for beastmaster are lacking if I'm expected to be frontline DPS.


    1.) Feral Howl and Killer Instinct should be permanent Beastmaster Job abilities.
    2.) Beast Affinity and Beast Killer should also be native Beastmaster JOB TRAITS that increase as we level.
    3.) New Group 2 merits should be as versatile as Red Mage/Blue Mage. Give Beastmaster Pet Diffusion, Reward Potency/Recast, etc.
    4.) Uncap all jug pets to natively match the Master's i-level.
    5.) Unify all killer traits into one trait for Beastmaster.

  3. #3
    Player Beastorizer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2019
    Main Class
    SMN Lv 99
    Yeah, not going for any BST endgame REMA weapons this go round. Why? I feel like I wasted months or weeks on a job that no effort goes into. So why should I waste effort to gear it?