As readers from the Twitterverse may know, I transferred to Balmung last night. Part of that means I’m in the process of selling a lot of stuff I carried over from Diabolos so I can have a comfortable amount of capital again (that 1 million gil limit is a pain in the neck, even when you’ve taken advantage of ways around it like alt characters and such). So, while I’m getting comfortable on my new home, I’m probably not going to do much in the way of glamour this week, so I can avoid splurging on glamour prisms and rare dyes (mostly Jet Blacks) for a little while.
That means I’ll probably be doing some more general posts this week (though I do often end up glamouring when I say I won’t since I can’t help myself, so who knows?), and the biggest thing on my mind right now is what new classes/jobs we’re going to get 4.0. Around this time last year, all I could do was speculate about Ninja, since we knew it was coming in 2.4: would it use Striking Gear? Would it use Aiming Gear? Would it have its own set of gear? and so on. I went back and forth for hours in my main social LS because I love talking about this stuff way too much.
We don’t have anything immediately relevant to talk about class-wise like we did during ARR, though. We’re (very sadly, for me at least) not getting a new class mid-expansion, but with all of my jobs at level 60, I’m really itching for something new to level. I suppose, in a way, speculating like this helps me scratch at least a little bit of that itch.
Of course, there are some caveats in mind. I’m assuming we’re going to get three new jobs like we did with 3.0. We might get one job, two jobs, or even four jobs (I think there’s a small chance we could get four since we “kind of” got four if you include Ninja still being pretty new at the time). I’m also not yet convinced we’ll see a job for all three main roles—I think the team may want the design space to grow a little for healers especially, but also potentially for tanks. I’m going to assume that all future jobs will be “Extra Jobs” in the way DRK, MCH, and AST were, so we probably won’t see any new base classes for whatever we get in 4.0, either.
With those two things in mind, I almost positive we’re going to see Samurai and Red Mage added for 4.0, whether we get anything else. The third job is more of a wild card—we don’t have many juicy tidbits to go off of, whereas we have some pretty strong hints regarding the first two. I suspect it will be a healer or a tank, and while there has been a slightly subtle hint that it could possibly be Blue Mage, I’m not positive we’ll see that just yet (though, if they follow any of the aesthetic style from FFXI’s Blue Mage, I could see it fitting in well with an Ala Mihgo expansion).
Last year during the Rising anniversary event, in-game dialogue had Yoshi-P/The Wandering Minstrel pretty directly hint that we’re going to be getting Samurai and Red Mage. Samurai in particular is probably going to feel a little weird narratively—I assume we’ll see some connection to the Doman clans in some way (likely through Lady Yugiri), since the story seems to be coming back around to many of the plot threads that Heavensward has thus far mostly left up in the air. But despite the narrative awkwardness (ideally, Samurai and Ninja would have been introduced together, as they were in FFXI), the class is too much in demand for them to put it off any longer, if I had to guess.
I fully expect that Samurai will be a melee DPS. Yoshi-P commented sometime before Heavensward that he felt the class should be a DPS, and with Samurai likely being one of the most popular “Final Fantasy” classes alongside Dark Knight, I can’t see them pulling the “let’s make this class people think of as a DPS into a tank” card again so soon. There’s also been something of a looming problem when it comes to raid gearing for a long time: most of the game’s jobs share raid gear (three for Fending, three for Healing, two for Csating, and two for Aiming at present, versus one each for Maiming, Striking, and Scouting).
Thematically, of course, there’s a reason for this, since each of these could be argued to be something of a different “armor class” (though I think the distinction between Scouting and Striking is kind of silly and they should have just kept putting Dexterity on Striking gear for Ninja). But that means right now that melee are kind of “special snowflakes” for their left-side gear, and I suspect the team is going to work on filling the “gaps” in the various “armor classes” over the next couple of expansions, which means Samurai is probably going to share Maiming gear with Dragoon. This also suggests to me we’ll see a Striking class in 5.0, for what it’s worth, if I’m actually right—and I may not be!
As far as Samurai’s Weaponskill system and mechanics go, I can only throw out wild guesses. I do think we’ll see them get a Slashing debuff, which will hopefully allow for some more flexibility in group composition. Ninja is at present a staple in most progression groups, which in turn means Warrior is a staple (though Warrior is largely already a staple, admittedly). Another melee with the Slashing debuff would potentially make Paladin/Dark Knight a more reasonable choice in the future (since Ninja gains DPS by being able to drop Dancing Edge with a Warrior in the party).
My current “wish” for Samurai is that their Weaponskill system works in a manner not unlike Mudra: rather than having rigid combos, I think it would be fun if they instead got to create varied combos that result in different finishing effects based on the order the Actions are executed in. If they go full cool factor, they’d even bring something sort of like the “Skillchain” Effects from FFXI for this, but that’s my nostalgia talking, admittedly.
Red Mage is so hard to pin down. While plenty of folks are worried about the job fitting into FFXIV’s three-role system, I’m not worried about that per say. Historically, throughout the Final Fantasy series, Red Mages have always been able to perform White and Black Magic while wielding swords, but outside of the first title in the series, they’ve never been particularly good at all three at the same time. Normally, they’ve been solid in two of the three, with the third being less effective (most often, the melee aspect is fairly downplayed, but it’s more important in some of the titles, such as the Tactics Advance games). Whatever form Red Mage takes in FFXIV, I suspect its primary role will determine which of the two areas it focuses on.
Because of my thought that the team will work on filling out the “armor classes,” I mostly expect that Red Mage will use Casting gear, and will thus most likely be a DPS class, with some healing abilities. Whether the class is a melee or ranged (primarily, anyway) DPS is up to debate, though. Making Red Mage a melee DPS would probably feel a little strange given the expected emphasis on casting times for any Black or White Magic they have, but it’s possible their unique spells may all be instant-cast to get around that.
I think a case could be made for Red Mage being a healer too, since Casting gear and Healing gear already share models most of the time. This would probably de-emphasize the melee aspects of the class pretty heavily, though, since mechanics that specifically target healers would tend to get pretty messy if Red Mages were expected to be in melee for their “Cleric Stance.” It’s still a possibility, of course (other games, such as WoW, have had melee healers before), but it would potentially constrain encounter design in a way that I’m not sure the development team would like.
There is also a sort of “off-the-wall” case for Red Mage being a tank. They’ve traditionally worn at least moderate armor. In terms of abilities, the tank role in FFXIV actually fits Red Mage quite well: it’s melee-centric, would allow for healing spells and defensive cooldowns like Phalanx and Blink from FFXI, and offensive black magic could be used for AoE threat. However, most Fending gear is a lot heavier than what we traditionally see on Red Mages, so without something weird (such as a trait that increases the armor values of Casting gear), I can’t really see this being likely, because it would probably create all sorts of conflicts for gearing during raid progression.
Since it’s hard to say which role will end up fitting Red Mage, it’s also hard to say what kind of things we’ll see for action and spell wise. I expect we’ll see some emphasis on elemental weapon enhancements (like Rune Fencers in some FF titles or Red Mages in FFXI), and of course we can expect some flashy attack spells. Since they’ll probably use various fencing swords, I expect their animations will end up being very agile as well, and involve a lot of “flair.”
The Wild Card
The last job, assuming we do in fact get three, pretty much completely up in the air. If, as I suspect, we’re going to get two DPS jobs in Samurai and Red Mage, the other job is almost certainly going to be a tank or healer since the team probably remembers how awful wait times for duties were when Ninja was released in 2.4. If we get four jobs, then we’ll probably see both, but I have no idea what a potential fourth job could even be.
I do think Blue Mage is possible—there was a small hint in last year’s Rising event in which a pair of NPCs discussed what would come after “black and red” (that is, Black and Red Mages). One of them decides that “blue” is naturally next (I think the other one said “green,” but it’s been awhile, and Green Mage’s abilities are thematically a bit like Arcanist’s usually). That’s a long shot, though: I’d actually expect it was meant more as a teaser for the far future (as in, 5.0 or later).
Mechanically, “learning” Blue Magic would probably all take place during job quests, each one involving you hunting or finding a rare creature from which to learn your job abilities. Role wise, there have been a number of healing Blue Magic spells throughout Blue Magic’s appearances in various titles in the series, so I suspect Blue Mage will be some sort of healer whenever we do ultimately see it, even if it’s not in 4.0. Though Blue Mage was a competent melee fighter in FFXI, I can’t see that showing up in FFXIV, since it would overlap thematically with Red Mage a lot, and most other appearances of Blue Magic involve caster-types (whether in job-system games or in those with set characters, such as Quistis or Quina from FF8 and FF9, respectively).
Dancer, probably using ribbons as a weapon as they normally have (as opposed to daggers in FFXI) could show up as an evasion-based tank (not likely due to armor concerns, I would think) or (more likely) a healer, or perhaps a “melee support DPS” that would probably use Scouting gear and Aiming gear like Ninja (this would probably only happen if Red Mage were a healer or something though, rather than a DPS). I could see it fitting in with an Ala Mihgan expansion thematically.
But I also suspect at least one of the jobs we get will be a little “unexpected” in the way that Astrologian was. No one was really surprised by Dark Knight, and Yoshi had been talking about a gun-based class for a long time, so Machinist (with its ties to Engineering characters such as Edgar FF6 and Mustadio from FFT) wasn’t really “out of the ordinary.” Astrologian, though, didn’t have a lot of history in the rest of the series, outside of the FFT games outside of the main line of games. The FFT series in particular has a wealth of jobs we could potentially see, but we don’t really have many hints to really guess where they might be going.
So those are, presently anyway, my thoughts on what we’ll see for new classes in 4.0. With the Rising event coming soon, I wouldn’t be surprised if we get some more hints, though, and of course Fan Fest is on the horizon, where we can reasonably expect we’ll get at least one Job announcement!