Final Fantasy 14: Dawntrail players are baffled by proposed changes to Viper, a job that's existed for less than week, and honestly so am I

A viper in Final Fantasy 14: Dawntrail looking utterly perplexed, hood down, while stood on a beautiful sunrise overlooking a crystal blue sea.
(Image credit: Square Enix)

Final Fantasy 14: Dawntrail's been out for a week at the time of writing (this is including the Early Access period—which is mostly symbolic and there to split the server load up). In that time, Square Enix has already been quick to promise a glut of job adjustments following player feedback, as posted to its news site yesterday.

Among these changes, game director Naoki Yoshida (Yoshi-P) is investigating what can be done for the poor Viper, one of the new melee combat jobs from the expansion—a vicious warrior that wields twin blades, sometimes glueing them together like Darth Maul.

"We've received feedback pertaining to the busyness of their skill rotation. To that end, we're planning several improvements, including the easing of directional requirements, and changes to the effects of several actions," Yoshi-P writes. "We're aiming to implement these changes in Patch 7.05, though we also intend to make some smaller adjustments to the range of certain abilities in Patch 7.01. It will take a while longer, but we hope to address player concerns as best we can."

For context: As a job, Viper has "positionals"—which cause them to deal extra damage from either the rear or flank of an enemy—on several of its abilities. This means a Viper needs to slide to the left or slide to the right after most of its combos.

But there's a wrinkle—players are, largely, wondering just who the hell actually filed these complaints, as a lot of them (myself included) aren't having trouble at all.

"Seriously guys, Viper is too busy?" writes one player on the games' main subreddit to the tune of 2,000 upvotes. "After 10 years, we can't throw in directionals in the job. Y'all can't just press True North? … It may be hard in the beginning but the euphoria you get when you've finally understood something is one of the best feelings. I hope Viper continues to be a busy job because we need more complicated jobs."

"Seems way too early to make any changes to viper," writes another player on the ffxivdiscussion subreddit in response to the news post. "[It] seems like people aren't taking the time to go hit a dummy for a bit and get comfortable with the job first but [instead] go to the forum to complain."

Turn to the official English forums and there's yet more confusion. "It's easy enough to understand once you get the hang of it while leaving plenty of room to grow. Changing the class this early on in its lifespan feels like overreacting," writes one player. Another thread author suggests that "Perhaps they shouldn't listen to players hot takes about how 'hard' viper is when it hasn't been out one week."

Some complaints suggest this overreaction is due to Square Enix prioritising the feedback of players on the Japanese forums over its English-speaking counterparts—this assumption has one foot in truth and the other in speculation and conjecture.

It's true that, as a developer, Square's had a nasty habit of ignoring non-JP specific issues like the impact of the game's shoddy netcode leading to "clipping" which, oversimplified, essentially means that any ping above 50 can reduce your DPS by locking you into certain animations.

On the other hand, from what I can tell (via machine translation), while there have been some Japanese players discussing the demanding positional requirements of the job before the news announcement, others are as equally confused as their english-speaking counterparts.

The Warrior of Light as the Viper class in Final Fantasy 14.

(Image credit: Square Enix)

Personally speaking, I actually think Viper feels too straightforward right now, and any subsequent dumbing-down would probably see me huck my blades into the abyss. I've been levelling it alongside Ninja while doing the Main Scenario Quest, and its core rotation mainly boils down MMO whack-a-mole.

That being said, players could be reading a bit too much into the announcement. Planning to look into positionals doesn't mean the job will be stripped of all of them. I wonder if "easing" here means simply improving, say, the colour contrast on the hotbar icons, or giving some indication on the job's UI elements which positional's coming up next.

Part of why I'm enjoying myself is because, on my UI, I keep important debuff timers in a transparent hotbar to the left of my character—for Viper, I've actually gone ahead and put its branching combo attacks (which light up to point you in the right direction) there, which is a first for any job in my retinue. Usually that spot's reserved exclusively for important buffs, or abilities I use once every minute.

(Image credit: Square Enix)

Another part of the problem, I think, is that the Viper job quest does—and I mean this with all the kindness in the world—a hilariously bad job of actually teaching you anything. You are completely overwhelmed with completely meaningless technobabble about its branching combos, and the tooltips feel like the ingredients list on the back of a bottle of pills.

(Image credit: Square Enix)

You're probably better off just hitting a target dummy and drawing your own conclusions. Especially since Viper ultimately boils down to "press the buttons the UI tells you to, and occasionally shuffle to hit the flank or the rear". It's incredibly simple.

Either way, I hope Yoshi-P and co. see the immediate question marks flying above players' heads and change course—I agree that it's way too early to commit to any changes based on feedback. It takes more than five days to get comfortable with a new job and, as many players have pointed out, it's not a bad thing even if Viper has a little complexity. Still, I've yet to try Pictomancer out yet, and I see some happy accidents in my future, so if Square Enix massacres my boy I'll probably just give up and become Bob Ross or something.

Harvey Randall
Staff Writer

Harvey's history with games started when he first begged his parents for a World of Warcraft subscription aged 12, though he's since been cursed with Final Fantasy 14-brain and a huge crush on G'raha Tia. He made his start as a freelancer, writing for websites like Techradar, The Escapist, Dicebreaker, The Gamer, Into the Spine—and of course, PC Gamer. He'll sink his teeth into anything that looks interesting, though he has a soft spot for RPGs, soulslikes, roguelikes, deckbuilders, MMOs, and weird indie titles. He also plays a shelf load of TTRPGs in his offline time. Don't ask him what his favourite system is, he has too many.