Despite my plans I wasn't able to unlock Red Mage last monday. I was only able to do it on thursday. I then took the Job for a spin during the weekend by doing some side quests in Heavensward. I was only able to get it to level 51 though.
Unlike Samurai which I was able to understand pretty fast I had a harder time wrapping my head around the Red Mage. Sure, their concept is simple: some of their spells generate white mana and others generate black mana. You need to keep a balance of both types of mana to power up your special melee attacks. They even have a handy gauge to show how much of each mana you have.
The problem for me was that their best spells to generate either type of mana have a very long casting time. While the ones with a shorter cast time depends on a proc from those long ones to become available. Oh, they also have one spell that have a shorter cast time too that raises both types of mana at the same time. I admit though I was dumb and at first I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. That resulted in a lot of deaths as I tried to figure things out.
It wasn't until I read issue #17 of The Moogle Post which has an article about Red Mages that I finally started to understand the Job playstyle. One of the unique abilities of Red Mages is that after they cast one spell the next one is an instant cast. Now to be fair they try to explain this during the first Job quest but it was in the middle of combat and even after that I didn't really stop to think much about the best way to use it. Like I said, I am dumb. :p
After reading that article I was able to do a much better job at mixing up my spells and only died a couple of times instead of every other 3 fights like I did before. I still get confused easily though in the heat of combat and some times mess up the balance between the types of mana. Hopefully I will get better as I spend time playing Red Mage.
Overall I like how they implemented the Job. It feels very unique and true to the spirit of how they appeared in previous games in the franchise. 🙂
However if I could only choose between Samurai and Red Mage I would still pick Samurai. Nothing against Red Mage per se. It is just that at the end of the day I am a melee guy at heart. It is very rare for me to enjoy playing casters more than melee in MMORPGs. Although Red Mage gets pretty close to it. 🙂