Wisdom of Nym: Speculating about future Final Fantasy XIV jobs from weapons
Yeah, this analogy falls apart pretty quickly. But the point is that it’s still just as viable as a means of predicting new jobs as looking at past titles, especially as Yoshida has stated on multiple occasions that he’d like to have a job that was unique to FFXIV. So let’s look at some weapons we’ve seen in the game, ones that show up in other titles, and ones that make a certain degree of sense as a prediction method.
This one seems like the most shoo-in entry on this list, because we’ve had hammers in the game since launch. Nero (and later Grynewaht) have both been smacking things with gun-hammers for a long while, and there are various other maces scattered throughout the game. We’ve got a tetsubo for Dark Knights, but by and large we see these bludgeoning weapons without having a job that uses them.
This would be important for a couple of reasons, not the least of which being that bludgeoning damage is the one damage type with only one job that benefits from increasing damage. Ninja, Paladin, Warrior, Dark Knight, and Samurai all benefit from slashing damage; Dragoon, Bard, and Machinist all benefit from piercing; all three caster DPS and all three healers benefit from magic damage. But only Monk hits for bludgeoning damage.
As a slow, ponderous weapon, these seem like they’d be ideal as a tank weapon. There’s no job that has this as a traditional weapon, exactly, so it’d also be ideal for something largely original. I admittedly have my own theories, but I’ll keep them under my hat for the moment; suffice to say that there seem to be a lot of possibilities here.
Yes, technically we already have one-handed axes; they’re called “hatchets” and they’re for Botanists. But one would expect them to be able to do a fair bit more damage than they actually do, for all of that. They’re also one of the obvious holes in the weapon arsenal, even if Final Fantasy as a series has never been particularly clear on whether one-handed axes are weapons or not. (Sometimes all of the axes are two-handers, sometimes only some are, sometimes it doesn’t matter anyway.)
The most iconic usage of one-handed axes I can think of usually comes down to dual-wielding (thanks, Ninja subjob!); it seems unlikely that we’ll get an axe-and-shield combination as more and more jobs move away from shields. That’s not to say it’s impossible; if we actually got Viking as a job, it’d make sense to have an offhand shield with an axe, and we could always get surprised with a different sort of offhand. (There’s a whole lot of axe-and-pistol running through Machinist quests.) And there are a few jobs that could use axes through the game’s history, even if several of them have been compiled into the greater aegis of Warrior.
Plus, hey, you can just quickly rescale every two-handed axe model down to serve as a one-hander. It worked the other way around for Dark Knight!
There are a lot of Final Fantasy games without whips, but whenever they show up, they do tend to be oddly effective. Nor are whips exclusively tied to a handful of jobs, classically; they most frequently show up as weapons to serve as bridging the gap between pure casters and more physical occupations. A whip never does into the hands of a dedicated fighter, but they either make casters more physically effective or wind up in the hands of someone who isn’t quite a dedicated caster, either.
What does all of this means in terms of job? Well, giving a whip to a new Dexterity-based melee job would make a lot of sense; Ninja deserves another job willing to poach its gear, after all. It would also be the sort of weapon that does journeyman service to carving out a different melee niche aside from Ninja. The only question is what sort of job would fit it, as it would have to be something that makes sense with pseudo-caster gear without actually being a caster.
Personally, I’m hoping for something like a repurposing of Juggler. Of course, it could just as easily be Puppetmaster, since there is a certain amount of similarity between whips and the strings holding puppets… if you squint a bit.
A pistol job is FFXIV’s Demon Hunter. It’s been lurking in the background for ages now, everyone’s waiting for it, and yet every single time it seems to be getting close we don’t actually get it. Machinist doesn’t use pistols at all, opting instead for rifles and muskets despite having animations that suggest pistols. And so we wind up still not having access to something that makes up a good chunk of Limsa Lominsa’s guard.
Of course, at this point it’s hard to think of what a pistol-based job could do that would both make sense within the game’s mechanics and not step on Machinist toes, which is a problem for every ranged job but doubly so for this one. Much like Raubahn’s two-sword style for much of the base game, this almost seems like something that could be ignored for the realm of NPCs only… except that Musketeers are so prevalent and so clearly a part of the game, with lots of different quests and story bits referencing them.
Much like two-handed maces, this feels like something that the game is just teasing out as long as possible. I have a feeling we’ll get a pistol job at some point; the question is mostly when.
This one’s a bit of a reach, but it actually occupies a similar spot to whips as a melee caster weapon. Especially in Final Fantasy Tactics, poles were melee weapons that wound up doing appreciable amounts of damage in the hands of casters, making certain jobs like Oracle quite formidable with a mix of medium gear and heavy poke damage. And there’s an element of wish fulfillment here, as I love any time games let me smack people with a quarterstaff.
Of course, the would almost certainly require a job that split the difference between melee and casting much like Red Mage, albeit with an entirely different set of mechanics. And let me tell you, as someone who loves hybrid jobs in general and Red Mage in particular, that I am completely all right with that.
Real talk, boomerangs are not nearly as dangerous in real life as they are in video games. Then again, Final Fantasy games which use them frequently just arbitrarily slap blades and such on a vaguely flight-shaped object and have it return to you because why not, so let’s not split hairs.
Unlike most of the items on this list, there’s really no precedent for this sort of weapon in the game at this point, so we’d need a reason for it to show up; having said that, if we’re going to ever get another ranged job, we need options, and it’s unfair not to list boomerangs among them. I think it’s a fairly long shot, if you’ll excuse the pun, but there’s precedent for it. Perhaps if we get an explanation centered around one of the continents that basically are wholly unknown it would work better.
Thrown weaponry is pretty well constant in the game now, of course; it’s just a secondary or tertiary attack compared to all of your other abilities. But we’ve had jobs that focus largely around darts and other thrown weapons, such as Setzer’s array of cards. And it’s not the worst idea for a specific job to make it distinct from the other ranged options, giving you an armguard full of darts to hurl for ranged attacks like a quiver.
The problems here are twofold. First of all, it feels faintly silly, so work would need to be done to make sure that the job still feels like it gets the cool factor of “here’s your new big two-handed sword.” (Or lance, or gun, or whatever.) Second, it’s a little harder to sell this as something distinct when every single job makes heavy use of throwing weaponry. How is any job with “throw stuff” as its central identity going to be distinct?
Having said all of that, it would make a fair amount of sense for Dancer, wouldn’t it?
And here we have our entry on Not Actually A Weapon Theater, a pair of swords joined in the middle with one long handle. As mentioned, this is not an actual thing, but it still shows up on various characters throughout the series, sometimes as a spear-style weapon and sometimes as a distinct option. They made for the main weapon for Zidane in Final Fantasy IX, so that’s something.
Of course, they’re impractical and weird. But if we need another job to have something close to swords without actually just offering us swords again, this seems like as good an option as any, yes?
Feedback is welcome down below, as it so often is, or via mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Next time around, I’ll be rambling on about Rival Wings and performances, as you would probably expect; let’s see how that develops.