Squads and Trusts

Grand Company Adventurer Squadrons and the Shadowbringers Trust System share some common goals apparently, but each have their own advantages and drawbacks, as well as some common drawbacks. We’ve talked about Trusts here before. Since then I’ve had some more experience with them and have started to use Squadrons. Here are some observations:

Bottom Line:

Maybe Adventurer Squadrons are popular. Only Square Enix knows. Nobody can see your squad members. And nobody can participate with you and them in a dungeon to see how well they are trained. Nice Gear, Mounts, Minions, Glamour and Dye are popular features in all MMO games because they can be seen by other players. I’ll bet that Hidden features like Retainer Glamour, and Squads are not popular because they are completely hidden from others.

Adventurer Squadrons

Members need to be recruited. That doesn’t take as long as I feared. It’s actually pretty quick. A couple of hours doing Fates / Dungeons to complete a few Challenge Log entries after signing up with the intro quests to unlock Challenge Log and Squads then I returned to the Squad room and found I had a recruit or two.

Members need to be trained. Training / or squad missions take a long time – 1 – 18 hours. What a pain. How about 15 min to 30 min. After all why does “Scouting Beast Tribes” take 18 hours? Are these recruits not using teleporting or mounts? LOL

Training is not free form. One time around the town for an hour and then gotta do some Training at the other interface. How about one interface rather than the sergeant and the board. One or the other. Why the complexity and confusion? This whole limit on the number of “points” is way old school. A total of 200 points across all the members of the recruited members? How does that work if I have 5 or 20 [what’s the maximum] number of recruits?

Training and Missions cost a lot of GC Seals. This means lots of time to grinding for seals just to get on with using squads to level Alt jobs or train yourself to do new jobs in dungeons. Grind upon Grind upon Grind makes a game feature less interesting. You grind for rewards – GC Seals, and then spend them on Rewards – Squad Training – and then use Squads to level, which was the whole point anyway. Like Retainers, nobody can see your hard work because you can’t show off your Squad members to anybody.

You must Grind Challenge Logs to have more recruit choices, But you get a limited roster – A total of 8 – , so you have to toss some out. Which is a pain. How about I get to keep all that I recruit? Why such a small limit? Artificial scarcity? Why? Since the behavior is only based on job and stats, have a lot is just a Glamour, like dressing them up. So why limit squads to eight members? Why work hard to grind for new recruits if I have to toss out recruits I’ve spent time training?

Squads are fiddly to set up and use. During a command mission, which is the whole point of Squads, they are fiddly to set up and use. Yet more training for Battle Tactics and then choose them before hand. And Giving Orders during the fight. Trusts don’t need orders, they watch you and they work just fine. How about we retrofit Trust Behavior into Squads and drop that fiddly interface and Battle Tactics nonsense. It is great that the squad members don’t have to be Equipped like Retainers however. Apparently the stats for their equipment are fixed and level with the Recruit level and job.

Squad Command Missions

Shadowbringers Trust System

Trust members are trained out of the box. So not cost or time to recruit or train. I did Mt Gulg level 79 dungeon the first time with people after watching a video guide. But it was easier with Trusts, not because they were better, but because they always know how to avoid the AOE markers. They don’t make mistakes. I failed a couple of times on the last boss because the animations from the boss covered up the Trust members and I couldn’t see where to stand to avoid the shots. After doing many dungeons with Trusts I’ve learned to copy them. Sure you can use trusts to learn to tank or heal in these dungeons. But you can do the dungeons as DPS and follow the other DPS members to know how to avoid the more complicated mechanics. I’m not clear how complex the training for these Trusts is. Whether there is lots of fiddly bits and scripting behind the scenes for each different dungeon or whether there are just some simple rules for each type of mechanic. But as another DPS player with Trusts, the sure way to progress is to follow them when they move.

Trust Leveling? What’s that? Apparently there is some leveling of Trusts after you reach End Game. Not sure what use leveling is if all dungeons are level synched, tho. We’ll see.

Trusts are for Grinding, Apparently. Trusts seem to be the Shadowbringers version of Palace of the Dead or Heaven On High leveling Dungeons. These are popular methods of for Alt Job Leveling, but give cosmetic or materia rewards rather than gear. Trusts allow both leveling and Grinding for Gear on primary and Alt Jobs. Once you reach level 70, and start Shadowbringers with any job, Trusts are available for any job above level 70, and gear drops can be sold for cash, GC Seals or kept for Alt jobs. But at least you don’t have to Grind to train or equip or fiddle with Trust members.

Trust members are completely self powered. There is no interface for Orders and no Battle Tactics. The Trust members know what they are doing. They don’ t require training. They are trained and ready to go as soon as you see the first dungeon where they can be used. It’s almost as if Shadowbringers is designed to be Solo’d. Except for the Trials. For example, I did Mt Gulg, the level 79 MSQ Dungeon with players the first time through, but came back later with Trusts and it worked fine. I failed a couple of times on the last boss because it was hard to see the Trust members due to the boss animations. But when I did follow and stack with them, they always stood in the correct place to avoid the Boss AOE attacks and we succeeded. They always know the best places to stand.

Trusts are not available until you reach level 70+ and start Shadowbringers. It sure would be nice to get them earlier and use them from like level 50ish. Ok, Require purchase of Shadowbringers if you like, but make these smart Trust NPCs available sooner. For all the dungeons once you have them. After all, we’ve met all of them, the only change that occurs between level 50 and 70 is the way they are dressed. Each expansion gives them a new set of clothes. I don’t know how they are to code. I would hope that the scripting is general and easily adapted to other boss mechanics and other dungeons. I’m not looking for a huge roster of Trust members. If you can only have 8 squad members at a time, why have 50 to choose from?

There is no way to glamorize the Trust Members. You can easily dress up your Squadron members anyway you like at the cost of some glamour prisms. It sure would be nice to change the look of the Trust members.

Common Problems

Neither Squads or Trusts can be used with a friend. How about if you visit a squad room or Trusts Duty with a party member or two, you can fill the party with squad / trust members? How about then you can play with your friend and show them the ropes in a dungeon by filling your party with Patient, and Competent NPCs of either type.

Squad and Trusts cannot be used in the Open World. So you can’t use them to help with Fates or Hunts or anything. So not only can you do things with friends in the open world to help you or train them, but nobody can see them in the open world. There is a reason that Glamour and Dye are popular features in MMO games – These can be seen by others in the Open World.

I have some more grinding to do before I can do a dungeon with my squads. Apparently you need to level them to level 20ish before you can do a dungeon. And with 18 hours per mission that’s a few more days to even try them in a dungeon.

No wonder Squads are not a popular feature of the game.

  • Lots of grinding to get to use them.
  • Lots of grinding to train them.
  • Can’t show them off to anyone.
  • Can’t use them to help your friends and you play together.

I’m not surprised it took me this long to even bother with Squads.