With such slow casting times, you’d think that the optimal way to play a Conjurer would be to spam Cures on the tank so he’s always full. That’s what I did in Rift, more-or-less, with the Purifier class. (Prior to Storm Legion, at least.)
Welllllll, see, there’s this thing called ‘threat.’ I may be completely wrong, but in my meager experience so far, I feel like healing generates a lot of threat in FFXIV. At least in the early levels. That means you can’t just keep blasting Cures all over the place unless you want every mob running straight toward you. (It reminds me a lot of the early days of Neverwinter.) So there’s a balancing act of casting just enough Cures to keep the tank alive but not enough to pull threat from him. Which leads to some uncomfortable waiting, knowing your tank is taking damage, but also knowing you can’t cast a heal on him without commiting suicide. If I’m in doubt, I cast the heal anyway and hope that the tank is aware enough to pull the mobs off of me before I get killed. Most of the time that works. Mostly.
Usually the balancing act of healing is manageable and it’s pretty easy to heal through the low-level dungeons. But only if your tank has learned how to maintain threat.
I have not yet tanked any dungeons, and it’s for this exact reason: New tanks in the low-level dungeons often don’t hold threat very well on trash mobs. I feel like it must not be a straightforward process to maintain threat, because apparently not many people know how to do it. And I’m sure the first time I try to tank a dungeon, I will also fail miserably at it and everybody in the group will think I’m a moron. So I’ve been avoiding tanking, even though I really wish there were more tanks in the game.
From the healer’s perspective, here’s what a "problem tank" looks like: The tank runs in, hits a few mobs, then the healer casts one or two heals on him, and suddenly one or more mobs are running straight at the healer. It’s very similar from the Bard perspective. When mobs start running away from the tank, I know a dungeon is going to take a long time, and it’s going to be very stressful. (A conscientious tank will see the problem and attempt to regain threat, while a totally oblivious tank will just stand there wondering where the rest of the mobs went and why the rest of the party is running around like crazy–those latter ones are the really stressful dungeon runs.)
That’s why it’s sometimes a little dicey healing the low-level dungeons.
But one handy trick I discovered is judicious use of the Bard’s ‘Quelling Strikes’ ability, which reduces enmity generation. (Of course, you need a level 34 Archer/Bard first.) When you’re spamming Cure to keep a dying tank alive, and you can see the threat meters turning yellow and about to turn red, hitting Quelling Strikes will give you a little more time before the mobs come for you. Hopefully that gives the DPS that extra bit of time to kill something, or gives the tank a little more time to notice he’s about to lose threat.
P.S. Most of the above threat issues seem to vanish once you get to TotoRak and Haukke.
UPDATE: Oh, you can’t use Bard skills anymore once you become a White Mage. So nevermind about that Quelling Strikes thing.