If studio job postings get your blood pumping with the thoughts of what could be, here are a couple of tantalizing tidbits that perhaps hint at future development.
Legends of Aria developer Citadel Studios posted a job listing for both a digital marketing specialist and a game programmer. By the way, if you happen to be testing Aria right now, you should know that the NDA was lifted earlier this week.
Nexon — which you may have heard of — put out a notice with the hopes of recruiting a game director for its Nexon OC Studio. The specific game in question was not mentioned, although the description does ask for candidates that have worked on previous AAA titles.
If that last post sounds a little familiar, perhaps it is because you are remembering that former WildStar and World of Warcraft developer Stephen Frost went to work as a game director at Nexon OC last year.
We regret to inform you that while ArenaNet is definitely hiring a Writer / Narrative Designer for Guild Wars 2
, it is also a job you are probably not qualified for
. (This is in a general sense, mind you; if you’re a regular reader and have shipped two AAA games, by all means, go forth.) But it’s still interesting for those of us who are not qualified for the position, as it offers a hint about how much more writing is going to be coming out of the studio with upcoming patches. (And also that Riot Games just picked up the former holder of that job, Michael Yichao
Obviously, it doesn’t hint at all about the content of those stories, but it’s a senior position that indicates a need for more words, more characters, and more narrative. If that’s your favorite part of the game in the Living World, you have reason to be happy. But you probably don’t need to send off your resume, although if you do, make sure to check out the twitter feeds of ANet’s Bobby Stein and Tom Abernathy, which are stuffed full of advice for aspiring applicants.
The Armoury System places a certain unique burden on Final Fantasy XIV
. Any new job doesn’t just need to have a distinct mechanical identity, it needs to have a distinct weapon. Which worked well for the first expansion and a half or so; after all, there were a lot of obvious weapons that existed in the game in some abundance but didn’t necessarily have jobs associated. A bit of massaging and we had a job for daggers, a job for great swords, a job for… spinny card-balls…
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.
The first time, it was all about the jobs everyone thinks are garbage now. The second time, it was all about the jobs everyone thinks are great now. And this time… well, it’s about the Final Fantasy XIV
jobs no one seems to think about much at all. Or they’re in the middle of simultaneously called spectacular and awful so that it all averages out into the middle. In other words, these are the jobs that tend to escape the notice of players.
That makes these jobs a little harder to talk about, because they’re not in the midst of any sort of perception shift. In at least one case, we have jobs that have basically just maintained their position in the game’s overall makeup across expansions, yet they haven’t seemed to change enough for people to really notice what they’re doing now. Are they good? Bad? Neutral? What’s going on with these jobs? Let’s talk about it.
The biggest problem with jobs in Final Fantasy XIV
isn’t always mechanics. Sometimes it’s a matter of perception. With 15 jobs to play in combat roles, some
of them are bound to be seen as worse than others… and it’s really
easy to see some of them as worse when they’ve actually been brought closer to the middle rather than being horribly undertuned.
I cautioned extensively against people making balance predictions based on early preview mechanics before, and in the case of the jobs most frequently cried about as being dead, that turned out to be right on the money. (Surprise, White Mage isn’t on this list!) Now that we’ve actually been playing the expansion for over a month and have Savage information to look at, we can make a more comprehensive picture of which jobs are seen by the community as being good, which ones are bad, and which ones… just sort of are still there.
But let’s start with the losers. Because that makes a fun headline. Who’s on the downward path, and are they actually bad/worse, or just not as good as before?
It’s not really hard to figure out the best stats for melding in order to do the maximum damage in Final Fantasy XIV
. You have, ultimately, only a few real options, and with the removal of Accuracy as an option, none of them is actually going to make or break important points. The problem is that asking “what can I meld to do maximum damage” is perhaps not always the right question to ask.
The matter of stat weights and best-in-slot gear has already been attracting ferocious debate in various parts of the community, and you know the debate has gotten to a fever pitch when Yoshida actually addresses one of the stupider new customs in a live letter. (That would be tanks wearing 270 STR accessories, for the record.) So I think it’s well past the point to talk about the issue of tank damage, tank scaling, and numbers in general. They may not carry the allure of story sequences, but they’re still important.
Healers! You need them in Final Fantasy XIV.
Seriously, they’re vital, and not just to make sure the tank doesn’t enjoy a new experience with several new unscheduled puncture holes. Everyone needs healers, and the three existing healer jobs will have to work overtime in Stormblood
to be as flashy and fun as the new DPS jobs. Even though Square-Enix
is pretty certain that anyone who has signed up to be a healer at this point is pretty well committed.
The healer role is also the hardest one to test out and get a feel for without a group, which means that my impressions of the healers is also perhaps the least in-depth out of all three. This isn’t because I don’t love healers, just because there’s only so much you can glean from not playing a healer in dungeons. But I did still get a chance to play around with the relevant tools, and I think it’s safe to say that if you’re already fond of playing a healer, it’s going to be both easier and more engaging in Stormblood.
I have to say that the Live Letter was a wee bit frustrating in places. How great would it have been to reveal that there are no more cast bars for ranged DPS in the expansion? I mean, probably about as great as it actually was for Final Fantasy XIV
players, but I would have been the one to do it. Ah, well.
Much like melee DPS, ranged DPS is near and dear to my heart simply because one of my main jobs is ranged DPS. I play a lot of Machinist, although part of that admittedly derives from the period when no one could tell the difference between a good Machinist and a bad one. I was looking forward to Stormblood just because I wanted to see what was coming next.
The answer, in short, is that ranged DPS has probably received the biggest overhaul of all the roles in the game. Rather than having its support role kind of cobbled together based on what players should want, it now has a whole lot of abilities players actually will want to use. And all of the fun gun-or-bow action you’ve come to love regardless.
If there’s one field of jobs that’s never really locked me in during previous Final Fantasy XIV
content, it’s caster DPS. I can understand the appeal on an academic level, but the reality is that I just never felt like it was all that cool
. It didn’t help that our options were Black Mage or Summoner only for quite some time, and since roleplaying hadn’t dictated that those particular jobs matched any of my characters… well, that made it easier to step away from the role altogether.
Things are changing in Stormblood, though. For one thing, there’s obviously the simple fact that caster DPS options are getting expanded to include Red Mage, although I detail that in another piece as part of this same series. The extant caster jobs have also undergone some pretty significant changes, though, so even veteran players of Summoner and Black Mage should see their jobs feel… similar, but not quite the same. And, mercifully, far less reliant on being trigger-happy and rushing through everything.
Oh, melee DPS, you matter to me. You matter to a lot of people, in fact. There is something fundamentally satisfying to the human brain inherent in running up to things and smacking them with sharp weaponry. And this expansion continues making melee the bulkiest category of the DPS options, with four different jobs dealing damage in the paint and another job lunging in and out of melee range. Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood
is not a game about snipers.
Considering that one of my main jobs in the game is a melee DPS (Ninja), I was rather interested to see how this role shook out. I was also at least a little bit anxious, as the abilities that we saw didn’t exactly light me on fire just yet. However, I’m happy to say that the overall impression I walked away with was a positive one. There are changes here, yes, but they’re good all around.
I really wanted Samurai to be a tank. There’s not a lot of specific reasoning for this; I can point to reasons why Samurai could
have been a tank in Stormblood
, but I suppose some of it just comes down to wanting a new healer and a new tank in the latest Final Fantasy XIV
expansion. However, that’s the last I want to talk about it, unlike the legion of people still complaining about the fact that Dark Knight is a tank.
Instead of new tanks, we get a refinement of the existing tanks in the game’s second expansion. By and large, they should feel pretty familiar to players, but the subtle changes made here and there definitely up the jobs in my estimation. I already play these jobs on various characters, but I’m looking forward to the new tools they’re getting in the expansion. Even if none of them get to include a katana; I’ve moved past that now.
It should come as pretty much no surprise that one of my first focal points when getting hands-on time with Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood
was learning the new jobs. For one thing, I have characters who I want to use these as main jobs; for another thing, these are new jobs, and thus they’ve got new mechanics and all sorts of new stuff. Refinement and a quintet of new abilities just can’t compare to a whole 70 levels of new abilities, after all.
Beyond that, I was curious about how they were going to manage the mechanics in general. Red Mage needed to feel like a hybrid melee and caster damage dealer that didn’t exactly mirror anything in the game but still felt related to Black Mage and White Mage both, and Samurai needed to carve a distinct space for itself in the niche of melee damage. So there were question marks.
I’m happy to say that I walked away from both eager to play more, however. Both of the new jobs feel like responsive damage dealers with very different tricks, feeling no more powerful than existing jobs but definitely feeling very unique. They fill niches which heretofore had not been filled, and while they may not be exactly what you’re looking for, they deliver on the promise of their names.
The general consensus for WildStar has been that the game is running on borrowed time for several reasons. That’s a sad conclusion, but an understandable one. And so that probably also means curtains for Carbine Studios, and… wait, the studio is hiring people? For a new team to work on a new project of some sort? They’re not just sitting around and waiting for things to come crashing down?
All right, if one of you wished for this on a monkey’s paw, you need to tell someone now before the consequences shock and horrify everyone.
The listed positions are for Concept Art, Graphics Engineering, Tools Engineering, and Combat Design, which… could mean lots of things. If not for the fact that the listings state this is part of a new team for a new project, it’d be easy to assume this was an attempt to shore up WildStar, but the fact that it is for a new project is enough to light one’s imagination on fire. What happens next? We don’t know, but we sure are excited to find out.