Power Structure and The Effort of Battle
I played Pugilist for 16 levels and I have to say that I never got tired of the totally awesome sound of the "Bootshine Combo." This 3-hit punch starts nearly every skill combination that I was capable of at that level.
As I went up in level and progressed through the guild quests for the pugilist, I was introduced to more and more abilities. It seems as though this game is set up on a long solo skillchain of button presses a la Sabin from Final Fantasy 6. By level 16, I began my combos with the Bootshine, followed it up with a 1-strike punch called "True Strike" and finished it with a "Snap Punch." Once this Snap Punch landed, I could begin the skill combo anew.
I'm sure I would get more powers later, it was nice to be able to rely on my standard 3 ability combo while I acclimated to the insanely fast battle system. Still, I heard a ton of complaints about players only having 10-12 skills at maximum level so this may be something that will need to be tweaked after the release.
I had no complaints about variety though. I gained a healing ability called Second Wind, an ability that damaged over time that was awarded via a quest, various strength increases, and upgrades to pre-existing skills like Bootshine Combo 2! Or Strength Bonus 2! Eventually, I started to get more interesting skills like the Haymaker. This Haymaker was an ability that I could only use if I dodged an enemy attack. The attack didn't have to be targeted on me so as long as I dodged an AOE from a different monster that at least knew I was nearby. The UI noted (via a dashed box rotating over that button) that I could use this attack as long as I wasn't waiting for a global cool down between abilities.
The Haymaker did something new for me that I hadn't had a chance to experience as a punch-only character. In essence, it now passively forced me to pay attention to the way the monster was attacking. While many of the leveling quest monsters didn't require a very high degree of concentration, I could tell the requirement that I pay attention to this would increase significantly. Even fighting something as routine as a frog or a crab required me to pay attention to long wind-up attacks that had a sizable damage spike and range. I believe this may be a criticism of FF14 but it can also just as easily be a compliment depending on your opinion of current MMO combat trends.