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I’ve had a long, complicated relationship with Dragoon. The first character I made in ffxi gil — during the 1.0 beta, in fact — was a lancer. Years later, when I returned to the game, I made the same again. Yet for the longest time, I couldn’t really stick to it. I leveled lancer, and then it successor, Dragoon, to 60 when that was the level cap during the Heavensward era, but quickly gave up. Then, when Stormblood was being previewed and the battle system changes were being shown, I said that Dragoon looked like it was going to be a powerhouse. It was already awesome, with party buffs and a piercing debuff that single-handedly defined the optimal DPS composition, and with Dragon Sight, that was only going to get better. I tried once again to like Dragoon, making it one of the first jobs I got to 70 — and this time, I did. Let’s say you’ve never played Dragoon, either in this game or in a previous Final Fantasy. The lore says you’re a dragon-killer, so you can jump really, really high to engage them. These jumps (and, of course, your spear) form the core of your offense. It’s a rigid job that doesn’t allow for much deviation in terms of its rotation, but there’s a lot of oGCD abilities and movement options that make it really dynamic. You’re always pushing buttons, and, thanks to those aforementioned support abilities, you boost your party’s DPS just by being there. It feels fantastic.The job is now my main, usurping Samurai, and having spent a month or two at the helm I can comfortably say it’s probably better than it’s ever been. It’s been a bit of a rocky ride, and not just for me, as the way the job changed in 4.0 was not terribly well-received. A new long-term stack-building mechanic was introduced, Dragon Eyes, and it polarised people. Building eyes up is a major component of your DPS, but it used to take about a minute and a half to max the gauge out — and only seconds to lose it, if you died or ended up being forced to disengage for a long time. It made learning fights demoralising, and Stormblood’s initial offerings, particularly Susano didn’t really seem to accommodate the mechanic very well. But since then Dragoon’s had something of a renaissance. Maxing out eyes is faster, and the range of Dragon Sight — which lets you tether to a friendly target and boost both of your damage — has been boosted so you no longer have to be handcuffed together for it to be fully effective. Its overall DPS has been strengthened, too; it used to be a lot of work to and you’d still be left in the dust by every other melee job, but now, Dragoon pulls its weight and then some. More than that, Omega has so far accommodated Dragoons beautifully. Raiding always has done, really; as long as you need ranged DPS, and taking one along is practically mandatory, it makes sense to have a Dragoon to get the most out of them (piercing damage buffs affect Machinists and Bards). But Dragoon felt like it made sense in the Deltascape. None of the bosses felt like they were designed to spite you (with the exception of Halicarnassus’s escape room, which thankfully doesn’t appear in Savage) and for the most part are fun to optimise. Shinryu, too, was a huge step beyond the extreme trials that came out with Stormblood; it’s nice to not be forced to build your opener and manage your cooldowns with one moment of forced downtime in mind.www.igxe.com