Wisdom of Nym: What can datamining tell us about the next Final Fantasy XIV job?

    
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WHAT AM I?!

The datamining for Final Fantasy XIV is difficult, because the game is remarkably spare when it comes to pointers for the future. Most datamining unveils things that we already knew about or stuff we just hadn’t quite seen yet; it rarely points to something we completely didn’t know about. That being said, people have managed to mine out that there’s an entry for a new job in the game’s database, and it appears to be a magical DPS job.

I say “appears to be” because thus far there’s not much to go on aside from the fact that there’s a space for the entry and tags for armor and cross-role actions. This could mean lots of things. Maybe it is magical DPS. Maybe that’s the auto-fill and the designers will change it later. Maybe someone is playing with new database management tools. We don’t know yet.

Leaving aside any discussion of what this could mean for new jobs (aside from the fact that “more magical DPS” isn’t really something we need right now from a numbers standpoint), let’s instead focus on what this job could possibly be. There are lots of possibilities, all with varying degrees of likelihood. So let’s walk through the list, yes?

It's something you didn't ask for at all!

Something completely new

I put this as the first entry not because it seems like the most likely option but simply because it is, by definition, impossible to predict. If we’re later told “this is the new Sorcerer job” we couldn’t really have predicted that, even if Sorcerer is functionally close to Astrologian (i.e. a spin on an existing job). We’d be guessing blind, especially as we’ve not had any new sorts of casters name-dropped; Astrologians were talked up quite a bit in Ishgard even before the expansion.

I’m also going to include jobs here which might share a name but don’t really have any associated concept to hang predictions upon. As an example, the game could easily have a job named “Evoker” which played completely differently from the old proto-Summoner from Final Fantasy III. That would render the guess kind of pointless.

Geomancer

This expansion sure has pinged a lot of Geomancer stuff, huh? It’s been present in Astrologian quests since the beginning, and much of the content surrounding the Four Lords (including a whole dungeon) have really trafficked on Geomancers. Sure, the Astrologian quests allude to similarities between Geomancers and Astrologians, but the text doesn’t say they’re the same, just based on similar principles.

Of course, my theory has long been that Geomancer would be a healer, but it’s also totally viable (and keeping with series history) to have it serve as a magical DPS instead. No thunder or ice here, definitely – it’s fire, water, wind, and earth, the big four. How it would carve its own niche is another question altogether, but the point here is that it would make sense.

I really want them to keep trolling people asking for Dancer until the end of time, because I am me.

Dancer

Final Fantasy XI’s style of Dancer just isn’t going to work. But Dancer has not, traditionally, held that role; more often the job is based more around debuffs, and it would be a short push to move it more into the job of dealing magical damage. Shades of Primrose from Octopath Traveler, in other words.

It does have the slight downside, of course, that there’s nothing yet actually pointing toward this as an option just yet; we’ve not seen anyone acting like a Dancer or hinting at Dancer. This is not in and of itself damning, of course; we didn’t meet any Dark Knights or Astrologians before Ishgard proper, for example. But we did have hints of the latter, at least. It remains on the player whether this seems more far-fetched or not.

Blue Mage

This one is still a messy issue. There’s player demand, of course, but the central mechanical identity for Blue Mage still doesn’t mesh with FFXIV’s mechanics – and once you get away from “get hit by spell, learn spell” as a conceit, there’s not much else to the job. It has iconic skills, but no really useful one, and not ones that point to an identity. (FFXI dealt with this by basically lifting the aesthetics of Mystic Knight and merging the two identities.)

I see this one being more possible in the same sense that Astrologian is “really” Time Mage; enough of the flavor to check the box without ever pretending to be the full thing. Or maybe the developers came up with something really clever to reconcile incompatible requirements, or perhaps they just went with a really boring implementation that strips out the only thing making actual Blue Mages unique. The last one is the most dreadful option, but it’d be remiss not to acknowledge the possibility.

undead undead undead

Necromancer

I always find this one a little funny, because it’s sort of a perpetual runner-up in the series. There was a Necromancer job added to Final Fantasy V with the Advance remake, and it was originally planned to be in FFXI, but Puppetmaster took over its spot. And that’s a good thing, by my estimation; Puppetmaster was more unique to the setting, and it came out at a time when its main conceptual competition were Necromancers from other games.

Now, though, the obvious contemporaries to FFXIV do not have Necromancers, and it’s hard to not see raising the dead as fitting into the concept of bringing shadows. Assuming, of course, that’s actually what we do. Furthermore, it definitely has some roots in Ul’dahn lore, with even the 1.0 quests discussing the possibility of bringing up an army of the dead to fight against Garlemald. It would be a bit of an unexpected swerve, but it wouldn’t be one without foundation.

Oracle

Really, this one is a matter of preference, and you could arguably stick Arithmetician in its place. Both are either jobs exclusive to Tactics or ones which appear in a couple other places post-dating that game, and both of them are weird little outliers in terms of ability. Oracles in particular were well-loved specifically because they wound up being remarkably capable melee combatants in addition to their role as status machines.

As such, it’d definitely be possible to have Oracle act as a sort of reverse Red Mage, prodding something with a pole before backstepping for a big cast. Whether or not the designers want to make the next magical DPS job functionally the same as the last job but with directions reversed, though… that’s another debate altogether.

Other than the other dozen magic-but-hitting jobs we already have.

Mystic Knight/Rune Fencer

This seems like it’s the other real long shot on the list; especially when we literally have Dragoon-specced gear named after this job. Or, more accurately, the general category of job, since Mystic Knight and points related have generally gotten baked into the same overall morass. We can also include similar jobs in nature like Arc Knight, Magic Knight, and basically anything else with the magic-but-you-have-a-sword archetype.

While this sort of job does have a place in the game, it runs afoul of the main problem being that there aren’t a lot of ways to do this job without it basically being Red Mage again. Of course, this one could be in melee range all the time… but then it becomes debatable if it should be INT-based at all, and we’re circling around. It is, however, still a possibility for the game’s overall style.

So, what can we take away from this? Mostly that there are a lot of plausible options floating around. You can debate which among them is more or less plausible, and I think it’s a worthwhile discussion to have; however, the overall reality is that we’ve got lots of places to go based on the information we have right now. Until November, anyhow.

Feedback, like always, is welcome in the comments down below or via mail to eliot@massivelyop.com. Next week, I want to discuss a topic near and dear to my heart: rewards for content and the Doman reconstruction.

The Nymian civilization hosted an immense amount of knowledge and learning, but so much of it has been lost to the people of Eorzea. That doesn’t stop Eliot Lefebvre from scrutinizing Final Fantasy XIV each week in Wisdom of Nym, hosting guides, discussion, and opinions without so much as a trace of rancor.

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Friend

I want a magic class that can fix the directx11 zone transition bug, and resurrect my wasted sub, also cure my teary eyes for staring the now loading screen for one full day

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Hydlide S

I’ve talked about this in length with FC-mates because, well, we’re all nerds.

Dancer – Melee healer that attacks up close and personal with a bit of healing for each hit. Full “dances” for bigger heals, etc. Think Warhammer’s Disciple of Khaine or Warrior Priest, kinda. I think this would be a super fun job and would get non-healers to potentially pick the healing role more often.

Blue Mage – Strap in. I’ve thought way too much about this one.

Learning skills. This is a tough one because it can be done a few ways. First of all, nothing says they have to “get hit” in order to learn skills. Maybe they get special hunt mark instances in order to learn them, it is a story-driven game after all. And how fun would it be to go around collecting all the spells?

As for the role it’ll take, personally, I think it would awesome if they straight up let you “build” the job to do either tank, healer, or DPS depending on the skills you’ve personally selected. In FFXI, you could only hold a certain number of skills out of a list of hundreds, so maybe they could do a similar thing here. Or maybe once you choose a certain number of role-specific skills it locks you out of certain other skills. Sounds a little wonky, I know. Just some ideas.

They could even make it a bit like Thief in GW2 where you “steal” the skill from the enemy you’re fighting as it’s more “active” ability, enabling you to hold up to 3 to use at a time, until a map change. It would be pretty sweet to steal that sweet blue dragon from Summoners in PVP for a second too.

There’s so much they can do with Blue Mage, but I don’t think the team is willing to build new systems to cater to a new job. Though we need tanks and healers I feel we’ll see it as a melee mage or even another typical ranged mage.

I’d personally like to see a new pet class, like a few have said: Beastmaster. It would fill that glaring physical ranged spot too. There have also been some rumors of a Gunblade job, though I feel like Red Mage kinda already hits that mix of melee/ranged pretty well.

hypefordays
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hypefordays

I’d have to say my top five at the moment (in terms of want and not possibility, and not in any particular order):

Beast Master — Double One-handed Axe with beasts, potential unique tank
Time Mage / Knight — Incredible room for unique design to have fun with
Dancer — Double Kukri
Blue Mage — Melee Staff combat might be interesting, especially with casting. It will likely have to differ from FFXI anyway, so might as go a unique route.
Druid — Shapeshifting is what is missing in most MMOs
Rune Fencer / Mystic Knight — Some interesting possibilities / Maybe Scythe
Necromancer — Potentially Scythe or something else. No idea on how pets would work on it.

As well as Dragoons getting a wyvern pet after the events of Heavensward in a pact of cooperation to bring man and dragon together by training the young and working together to do such.

Gunblades will likely make their appearance sooner or later as well.

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Toy Clown

Give us Dancer or Blue Mage as we move (hopefully) into Thavrain and Garlean.

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Danny Smith

I’m pretty confident we are getting GEO as a magic damage melee dps. Not just the AST storyline in SB but things like the monkeyking dungeon is full of Geomancer stuff and at this point if the end point of an expansion starts inserting stuff you specifically know is related to something not yet in game you can usually see which way the wind is blowing for the art team.

Beyond that i’d love to see Dancer as a new healer/support but i think we are getting something new like Machinist instead. Samurai and Red Mage were about as classic as it gets and i dont think we are getting that twice in a row. The game has a lot of fan service but i imagine just regurgitating the same stuff as other games would feel pretty hollow for the dev team.

Or y’know we could just get PUP like 1% of the userbase has been screaming for for 5 years now.

A-anyday now.

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Sorrior

I have long been thinking of a rune fencer/magic knight concept

And i think have it be melee focused and weave in spells for damage as it builds a melee mana bar. Burst damage is done by either enchancing strikes using mana or blowing it on a straightforward spell. No ranged..ever(mar basic pull spell) and likely would be str based maybe sharing drg gear thus cementing it as a melee dps.

No balancing white and black mana just charge and pummel.

Make the trick be that the more mana you use the larger the burst(so it consumes all in one go) or the longer the buff lasts. So using it at max or halfways depends. Habe it deplete when not near a foe for too long as well should add to the complexity

The other options a tank where spells like stonewall can be instant cast on themselves and enhances there attacks with short term buffs fir extra enmity maybe with aoe skills from enchanted swords(like a temporary lightning buff that grants aoe to all strikes) self heal wise could be more like the warrior then paladin

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David Blair

Rodeo Clown – You’re a ranged tank that keeps enmity while dodging, running, and hiding in barrels.

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Dagget Burmese

Since we may be headed deeper into Garlean territory, how about another pet class, one with magitek-based pets, not summoned ones.

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Pablo Solis

Seems like a lot of good speculation, but as you say difficult to pin-point which one without more information at hand. Yes there are many different things pointing at Geomancer as the possible job, but they might just be teasing us as usual :). Come on Yoshi-P just give us something please!

I left for WoW before Dancer was in the game so I do not know a lot about it other than what I have read, same for a lot of the other jobs that came later.

If anything I like to put my vote in for BST even though it was not technically Magic based. But we can go the route of Pokemon with BST hehe, got to catch them all!

Xotig
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Xotig

Dancer isn’t entirely without precedent, it’s just a very very old tease.

P’molminn, the NPC that gave us one of our first extra dance emotes in 2.2 had this line in her quest, “Help me, Lord of the Dance“:

“I…I…I dare! I will follow–this adventurer! Do you adventure for fun or gain? Do you have to be very good with weapons? Some of those strange moves you make with your arms–is that some fighty thing? I want what you got, darlin’! The way to the grand ball is through quests and dungeons. I’ll learn to slog, I’ll learn to slug…and I’ll learn to dance! Thank you, Master Guillaunaux! I’m off to the Adventurers’ Guild. You’ve taught me so much, and I’ll not forget that dance you showed me!”

It’s not much…like, at all. But it’s the hope I’ve been clinging to for…4 years.

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Danny Smith

There was also a group of Ala Mhigan assassins that were dancers in 1.0 and people assumed when Ala Mhigo was confirmed for Stormblood that they were a safe bet. But those dancers seem to have been forgotten and as far as i can see soft retconned out of existence.

hypefordays
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hypefordays

Was going to mention something similar to this. Earlier she mentioned teaching you more once she learned the art of dance through combat.

Though by that same logic, Iroha also mentioned she’d be back and greet you again either in your world or in Vana’diel during the Rhapsodies of the Maiden event.