For the lead-up to the announcement of Stormblood, I waited to talk about my real thoughts for the expansion until we were much closer to that year’s FanFest, but things are different this around. There have been some purported leaks from the development side of FFXIV, and included in those leaks are what may be the new jobs for the game’s next expansion. I don’t have any clue whether or not these leaks are true, but as it happens, the supposed jobs are the same as the ones I’ve been thinking were the most likely possibilities. So, before this is old news, I want to talk about why I think these jobs are likely, and also the forms I think they’ll take in the next expansion (which I am desperately hoping will not actually be given the terribly corny name of Shadowbringers). All that being said, that means this post may contain spoilers, in a sense, so if you want to be surprised, I’d stop reading now!
Although Yoshida has previously mentioned (in an interview that’s fairly old now) that the team wasn’t likely to do three jobs all at once again, it seems we might be getting that for 5.0. If the supposed leaks are accurate, Blue Mage, Dancer, and a third job either called Gunblade or using gunblades (like Gaius’s weapon or those from Final Fantasy VIII) will all be added for the game’s next expansion. It’s suggested that Blue Mage may actually be added to the game before 5.0, much like Ninja was added during the 2.x patch cycle so long ago, too. I don’t know if that’s true or not, but I do think we’ll see three jobs in general. We’re overdue for new healers and tanks because Stormblood didn’t add any new ones, and I suspect any time we see jobs added, we’ll see at least one DPS job added, too. So, here are my thoughts on the potential new jobs!
Blue Mage (BLU)
I’ve thought we’d be getting Blue Mage for a few years now, ever since Yoshida snuck the “jokes” about Red Mage and Samurai into the Rising event following the launch of Heavensward. In the same area where Yoshida’s stand-in was hiding, you could find a pair of NPCs debating the color that should come after red, and one of them insisted that blue was next. Of course, there’s no telling if that was just a silly easter egg or not, but it was enough, in my mind, to suggest that we’d eventually see Blue Mage added to the game—and probably the expansion after the addition of Red Mage.
But what’s Blue Mage going to look like in FFXIV? That’s a tough question, as the class itself has been pretty different in each incarnation it’s had throughout the Final Fantasy series. The only real constant has been that Blue Magic centers around using enemy attacks as magic spells, which are (most often) learned by being hit by the attack in question. In most Final Fantasy titles that include Blue Magic in some way, staple spells have included things like Bad Breath and White Wind, with Blue Mage often functioning as a sort of support caster. But the version of Blue Mage that’s most notorious is the one presented in Final Fantasy XI, where Blue Mages are incredibly versatile sword-wielding melee spellcasters, able to tank, DPS, and heal (though they are generally best at being good, self-sufficient melee damage dealers).
It’s not going to be possible for a game as rigid as FFXIV in terms of class roles and “rotations” to really support something like the FFXI Blue Mage, which could select its available spells from hundreds of them (with combinations of “set” spells also offering various job traits, like better defenses and attacks or the ability to dual wield weapons). But I do think we’re going to see a melee version of Blue Mage again in FFXIV, as there are two melee “armor classes” remaining that only have one class each: Maiming and Scouting. Blue Mages throughout the Final Fantasy series have normally been associated with light and cloth armor, which makes me think we’re going to see Blue Mage take on the role of a Scouting DPS, supporting a raid group much in the way that Ninja does with debuffs of some kind.
In terms of the lore, my current best guess is that Blue Mages are going to be the result of Garlean experiments, using their research into the Echo to create a secretive order of soldiers and assassins that can use their enemies powers against them. Allagan technology may also be involved (since we know the Allagans experimented a lot with splicing different creatures together), and I’d imagine their name comes from Ceruleum (which is blue!) being involved in their creation in some way. I don’t think we’ll be running around learning new spells by letting monsters beat us up for hours the way we did in FFXI. Instead, each job quest for Blue Mage will probably involve being subjected to monster attacks in some way, with the new spell being learned as the quest reward. While I don’t have any real read on what sort of weapons Blue Mages will use, I imagine they’ll dual wield much like Ninja does, and I’m going to make a guess that they’ll use swords or chakrams.
Personally, of the three possible new jobs, I’m most excited for Blue Mage, as I loved the job in FFXI, but there are still two more to talk about, and I’ve already said too much about just one of them, so I think we need to move on!
Like Blue Mage, I’ve suspected we’d see Dancer sooner rather than later for a little while now. In another interview sometime after the launch of Stormblood, Yoshida mentioned the possibility that we might be visiting Thavnair before the end of the 4.x Patch series, and if there is one place that I’m relatively sure the Dancer tradition would come from on Hydaelyn, it’s Thavnair. I wasn’t sure if that meant we’d see it in 5.0 or not, but I was relatively sure we’d be seeing it for 6.0 at the latest if we did in fact go to Thavnair soon. If the leaks are true, I’d guess that we’ll be seeing Thavnair before the end of 4.x now, and we’ll be seeing Dancer soon after in 5.0.
Dancer has generally been something of a supportive class throughout the Final Fantasy series, bringing a variety of buffs and debuffs to support the party in whatever game they show up in. They generally haven’t been frontline combatants (with a major exception being the Dancer of FFXI), and their weapons have usually been long flowing ribbons and cloths, which they use to attack from range. While they used daggers in FFXI, I don’t think that’s likely here in FFXIV, since the game already has a class that dual wields those. I think we’ll see them use some sort of enchanted cloth as a weapon, much as they’ve used in past Final Fantasy games.
And my best guess at this point is that Dancers will use those enchanted cloths and ribbons to heal in some fashion. While we could see Dancer as a melee or ranged DPS, I can’t imagine we won’t get a healer this expansion, and of the three supposed new jobs, neither Blue Mage or a gunblade job seems like a good fit for that role. With its history of support throughout the game series, though, Dancer makes some sense (and they did have various Curing Waltzes in FFXI to boot). I’d imagine we’ll see Dancer, in whatever form it takes, have a mobility actions that let them move around the battlefield quickly, a lot like Red Mage, allowing them to get in and out of position for things like area of effect healing with ease.
Lore-wise, there’s probably not a ton to say about Dancer in terms of specifics. It’s likely that we’ll see them connected to Thavnair in some way, but beyond that they probably won’t need as much explanation as a job like Blue Mage would. Perhaps we’ll see Thavnairians in Garlemald making a living as performers. Another possible in for them is connection to the performance troupe that’s part of the Return to Ivalice storyline that will be wrapping up (presumably) in Patch 4.5. I think the Thavnair connection is the most likely one, though, given how something like the Thavnarian Bustier looks like it could pass for Dancer Artifact Armor already.
“Gunblade” (GUN? GNB?)
It’s been something of a tradition now for FFXIV to tease new jobs through NPCs. Before the release of Rogue and Ninja, we had story segments focusing on Thancred and introducing Yugiri. While the Heavensward jobs weren’t too heavily hinted at, Merlwyb did get a lot of screentime (with her revolvers) in the later stages of A Realm Reborn. Then, toward the end of Heavensward we were introduced to Gosetsu’s Samurai attacks, and Alisae started channeling aether to create a sword, hinting (at least a little bit) toward Red Mage. Stormblood is now continuing that tradition, with the “mysterious” gunblade wielder showing up near the end of Patch 4.3, complete with a combat stance and attacks for a story instance. Based on that, I’d say some sort of Gunblade job is probably the most certain of all possibilities for new jobs in 5.0.
The job will obviously have Garlean origins, given that Gaius used one all the way back in A Realm Reborn‘s initial 2.0 patch. Gaius, of course, also wore heavy armor, and based on that I think it’s most likely that we’ll see a new Gunblade job do the same thing and function as a new tank for FFXIV 5.0. There’s some possibility that they’ll instead be a Maiming job, but that would probably mean no new tank for the expansion, which I think is pretty unlikely. I doubt the Garlean from 4.3 will serve as the class trainer, but he’ll probably at least be connected to the new job in some way.
Beyond that, though, it’s tough to guess what the new job will be like. Gunblades haven’t served as a primary weapon for a Final Fantasy job so far in the series—they’ve normally been used by main characters like Squall (from FFVIII) or Lightning (from FFXIII), meaning there’s not really any classes to look back to for possible weaponskills and other abilities. I’d imagine in terms of aesthetics we’ll see a mix of Gladiator-styled and Machinist-styled weaponskills, with something like wide gunblasts (like Machinist’s Spread Shot or their now-missing Grenado Shot) serving for AoE threat attacks.
But it’s all speculation at this point, anyway! I’m not sure how much I trust the supposed leaks, but they seem to be coming from a source that’s successfully predicted a few other things, which does give them at least a hint of legitimacy. Of course, the writing has often been on the wall for new jobs in FFXIV, and I think we have a lot more in the way of hints this time around than we’ve had before, so even if the leaks aren’t actually real, they’re looking at what information we have and coming to what I think are fair conclusions.
FanFest season isn’t too far away now, though, and we’ll hopefully have more information after the first one in November!