Wisdom of Nym: Speculating on Final Fantasy XIV’s future job from the past of the series
So, for this bit of future speculation, I want to start by talking about the jobs that I imagine are still on the table from the past. I’m leaving out the ones that are almost certainly off the table, either for reasons that I’ve discussed before or because they don’t really work with job mechanics as they stand (don’t hold out hope on getting Onion Knight). From the remaining jobs we could turn to, which ones have some odds of showing up?
I’m putting this right at the top because Geomancer seems not just possible but outright likely; it gets a whole lot of prominence in the Astrologian quests from 60-70. It’s possible to read this as a tacit acknowledgement that the two jobs are too similar to coexist, but it’s also just as possible to read it as an advanced preview of another healer.
Geomancer has some pedigree, having existed in lots of games with jobs; its role has varied wildly, but Final Fantasy XI played it out as a healer with what amounted to totem-style effects in the vein of World of Warcraft’s Shaman. Considering that FFXIV’s use of the job places it in direct contrast to Astrologian, this seems like it’d be the closest comparison to make. You’ve already got some totem effects in the game in Wanderer’s Palace (Hard), so it’s relevant. They also come with a tailor-made weapon of bells and censers.
The two major arguments against it are that aforementioned link to Astrologian (you could argue that Earthly Star is already functionally a Geomancer ability) and the fact that the obvious Geomancer stuff is arguably part of the Conjurer toolkit; making the stones rise up beneath someone is a very Geomancer thing. That doesn’t preclude the job as a healer or DPS by any means (although the former seems more likely), but it’s worth considering in the path to making it distinct.
This is one of those things with lots of little potential pointers that hint at it without ever getting a hard pointer. For one thing, the Castrum Abania Dragoon gear is labeled as “Valerian Rune Knight’s Whatever,” so the concept is definitely in place. For another, there’s a bit of dialogue with Hoary Boulder where he mentions learning the sword techniques of Radz-at-Han, which sounds like the prelude to job abilities (much like how people predicted correctly that Alisaie’s swordplay presaged Red Mage).
The last part is particularly relevant, because in the first appearance of this job it had a particularly Near Eastern feel. Arguably, FFXI’s Blue Mage derives more of its look and identity from Magic/Rune Knights than from pervious Blue Mages (by contrast, FFXI’s Rune Knight seems to take its inspiration from more esoteric spots). There’s enough here to build a physical/magical DPS on the concepts, in short.
On the flip side, the “evidence” I’m citing is admittedly pretty circumstantial, so it’s as easy for it to not be anything as it is to be a point in an important direction. There’s also the question of weapons; the job traditionally uses swords, but at this point we’ve already got four separate jobs using swords as their primary weapon (and that’s if you’re being charitable and ignoring that plenty of Ninja weapons are clearly swords). It’s hard to really see them using something else, but do we truly need another sword job? (A double-ended sword a la Zidane Tribal would work, but you get the idea.)
Gosh, I hated Beastmasters in FFXI. I suppose it wasn’t really their fault that the game thought everyone who wanted to do stuff solo wanted to do so by mostly being a spectator for monster fights, but that’s how it was and so I hated them. And yet despite that personal animosity, the reality is that Beastmasters show up a lot in the franchise, so you can’t really discount the possibility.
Let’s start with the down sides, this time. We know that pet jobs are not exactly beloved by Yoshida, so it’s facing an uphill battle to start with; there’s also the fact that Beastmaster doesn’t have a tremendously clear mechanical identity from game to game. Luckily, there’s ample history of Beastmasters either just summoning monsters or being tied to a specific monster anyway (Final Fantasy X-2), so any problem of taming pets are fairly easily worked through.
From a practical standpoint, Beastmaster would probably fit well as either melee DPS or a tank, and it certainly has some weapons associated with it (one-handed axes and whips, for example). It could also plausibly cross over with the next entry, thematically.
Their love for you is not exactly like a truck. Berserkers seem like a kind of dumb choice to single out, considering that Warriors already use their iconic weapons and literally have the ability “Berserk” available. And the traditional defining trait of Berserkers (forever being uncontrollable in Berserk state) kind of… does not work in an MMO.
That having been said, there’s space to make this work. Dual-wielding one-handed axes, for example, takes care of the weapon problem. And there’s certainly ways to translate the core concept of savage attacks in a different direction.
As I mentioned before, though, this seems like something that would plausibly overlap nicely with Beastmaster; it gives enough thematic overlap and it also provides additional definition beyond “guy with axes.” I tend to doubt we’ll just see a physical damage dealer dubbed Berserker, but it’s not outside of the realm of possibility.
“Don’t we have Alchemist already?” You’re right, we do! Would you like to bring Alchemist into combat? I’m glad we talked.
Chemist usually shows up to make use of mixing various items together for bigger effects. The job winds up being something of an ersatz healer and damage dealer, in essence; it’s restricted by item availability instead of by MP. And sometimes it winds up being able to deal surprisingly good damage with guns, a truism in both Final Fantasy Tactics and FFX-2. That seems like an odd thematic overlap, but it keeps happening.
Of course, the obvious problem here is that pretty much no one really wants to have a job that’s reliant on buying tons of potions just to be effective in combat. (No one’s really thrilled about buying bait as a Fisher, either.) That could certainly be worked around with abilities, but it raises the question of why your job is a Chemist when it’s not, like, actually using items. It also raises questions about mechanical identity; it could be a healer or a ranged damage deal with some plausibility.
I’ve said before that Dancer is incredibly unlikely to show up, and the thing is that when I wrote that – and discussions were all revolving around Dancer as a Rogue offshoot – that was accurate. In fact, I still think it’s fairly unlikely. But Dancer’s problem isn’t one where there’s no possible way to make its mechanics work consistently; it just has to identify a space that’s thematically distinct from other jobs.
As a melee DPS, it has an uphill battle. However, as a ranged DPS or a caster? It absolutely has space for that. And with the changes to role actions and the current structure of the game, there’s space for it to fit into those roles. So I still see it as rather unlikely, but as we’re running out of franchise regulars to adapt into the game, it seems more likely that it’s worth overcoming issues to fit it in.
Hey, that’s the same reason it wound up in FFXI, isn’t it? How amusing.
This one is a long-as-heck shot, because it’s showed up once, it’s a pet job, and it wasn’t actually good at anything in its one appearance (aside from being a neat idea, which doesn’t pay the bills/do damage). It was another solo-capable job that epitomized doing a bit of everything all right without any real specific specialties. But we do have mammets running around all over the place, and if we are heading to the Near East, there’s an obvious thematic link.
Of course, since the job wasn’t traditionally good at anything (sort of the pet equivalent of how FFXI’s Red Mage ended up), it would need to have a role more or less by fiat. It would also need a new weapon. Although if you really wanted to make a melee pet job, this one would also work just as well as Beastmaster… and you could work Berserker in there for fun. Why not, right?
As always, feedback is welcome in the comments down below or via mail to email@example.com. Next week, I’m going to do this exact same thing over again… except this time I’m not using past classes but a different future indicator. Stay tuned.