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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 email@example.com. Next week, I want to discuss a topic near and dear to my heart: rewards for content and the Doman reconstruction.