Ability bloat is a term used to describe a scenario in which a class or job has far more abilities than its original form at the beginning of the game’s launch. Before we start describing how this can be a bad thing, it is important to note that during FFXIV Fan Fest it was stated that in Stormblood many classes will see the removal of some older skills. However, it isn’t certain how many skills will be removed or how many new ones will be added, so it is very likely classes could still end up having more skills regardless.
As we’ve said, ability bloat may seem like a good thing. More abilities mean your character is capable of doing more, which gives the player a stronger sense of individual power. But it can also have a devastating effect on an MMO’s battle system. When classes begin to overlap skills and skill effects, they begin to play the same way which can completely negate one’s reason for choosing to play a specific class over another. If both Paladins and Dark Knights rely on damage reduction cooldowns to tank or if Monks and Dragoons both have to complete multiple three and four-tiered combos with side and back positioning to dish out damage, at what point does class choice just become an illusion based purely on aesthetic value? And sure, aesthetics are incredibly important in building player immersion, but eventually, it’ll all catch up and the lack of diversity will surely drive off much of the game’s populace.
Reducing the number of abilities available for each class in Stormblood can help rectify this issue, while also simplifying certain classes’ skill rotations. This means that less complicated skill rotations can actually lead to greater diversity among the game’s jobs. It also means that with players focusing less on which button to hit next in their order, they can focus on bosses designed with far more complex and differing mechanics as well.