Now that we’re done poking holes in bad logic, it’s time to actually get down to brass tacks of predicting the next jobs for Final Fantasy XIV. And it’s actually a pretty wide-open field at the moment, while also being… well, let’s just say that it’s also a complicated field. There’s space to make predictions, we’ve got hints, but we are rather short on much in the way of hard data about what these new jobs might be. The world is ambiguous and strange!
Two jobs or three?
Before the festival happened, I opined that the only way we were getting a new DPS job was if we also got a tank and a healer. We have not gotten a new DPS job. We’ve gotten something that broadly fits into the DPS slot insofar as it uses DPS role actions and gear, but Blue Mage is definitely not a DPS.
So where does it leave us in terms of numbers, though? Might we still get a DPS? I’m going to go ahead and say probably not.
There are, of course, no hard-and-fast rules about what’s coming next. Three new jobs is still entirely plausible and not out of the realm of possibility, especially since we now know that a new inter-patch job is within the realm of possibility. But I think it’s important to note that it’s within the realm of possibility insofar as the new job is specifically meant for a different form of content than other jobs.
Does that make Blue Mage more work than Ninja or less? Hard to be sure. But my gut instinct is to say that we should bank on a new tank and healer before we bank on a new tank, healer, and DPS all together.
The leak, Thancred, and trailer hijinks
One of the fun conversations I had with my fan festival buddy during the weekend was us chatting about the infamous leaks in specific and leaks in general. We both agreed that one of the core missteps a lot of people make is assuming that because a given leak was true about one thing, all of the other elements must be true, or that you can predict everything based on one point being right.
The reality is that having one part of a leak proven right only confirms that part was right, and while it adds plausibility to other claims, those should be evaluated separately. And if you think it lets you make predictions… well, let’s not forget that we got Blue Mage, but not in the way basically anyone was expecting.
Having said all of that, let’s start talking about the leak. For a long time, it was a leak that only covered Blue Mage, with lots of talk about how Blue Mage was coming, that it would be announced at E3 (didn’t happen) or that it would launch as patch content (true at the last possible minute, in fact). At the very end of the leaker’s tenure, there was a mention of a gunblade-wielding Soldier and Dancer as the two new jobs for the expansion, followed by the leaker going quiet.
Then, in the trailer for Shadowbringers, we see Thancred with a gunblade looking like he’s about to go to town. So… is that it? Is that a hint about our next job? Do we know what happens now?
Maybe. But just as possibly maybe not. Thancred with a gunblade isn’t automatically teasing a new job any more than Lyse with a dress was automatically teasing Dancer. I don’t want to say that trailers lie, precisely, but basically every new teaser trailer is cut in such a way to create intentional deception and misdirection.
Remember how Yoshida outright confirmed that we weren’t being told the name of where we’re going for a good reason? I realize we haven’t had this confirmed just yet, but when the presentation specifically starts off by mentioning that it’s time to take the fight to Garlemald and yet we’re not being told “we’re going to Garlemald,” that’s a pretty good sign we are not going to Garlemald. We are being set up to think we are going to Garlemald, but when the first part of 4.5 drops, it seems likely we’re going to be heading in for a conflict and the stakes are going to change. And that alone raises some questions.
For that matter, Yoshida’s statement was not that there’s a hint about the new job in the trailer. It was that maybe there’s a hint there. Maybe. And this was a statement in context of everyone wanting to see the back of Yoshida’s shirt, specifically obscuring that it wasn’t there to tease a job as everyone predicted.
My personal betting odds at this point are for something gunblade-related, yes, but I’m only staking those odds at 60% or so. Evidence seems to be pointing in that direction, but I wouldn’t be surprised in the least if that evidence was spurious and the real answer is off in another direction altogether. The “your princess is in another castle” of job reveals.
But what’s been teased in the game?
Here’s the thing. You could, in broad strokes, claim that Stormblood’s jobs were teased before they were revealed. Certainly we had seen Alisiae doing some rather Red Mage-esque stuff in 3.4, and we knew that Samurai existed from talks with the Doman refugees. And before the Heavensward reveal we… well, we knew that Astrologians existed. And guns. And Dark Knight seemed logical, that was something…
The fact is that a lot of the hints the game tends to give us about these things are kept intentionally vague, to the point that they’re more often clear in hindsight. If you wanted a full list of the game’s hints, there have been hints about something to wield gunblades… along with hints for a hammer-wielding job, Geomancer, some Thavnairian sword techniques, whatever the hell jobs Raubahn and Merlwyb are supposed to have, Puppetmaster, Rune Fencer, and probably at least a half-dozen others that don’t spring to mind at the moment.
While I’ve been of the feeling that a hammer-wielding job and Geomancer feel right based on what we’ve seen thus far, the fact that we’ve seen a lot of hammers being thrown around (including by Nero) and that Geomancer gets a lot of screen time in the Astrologian quests isn’t more than hinting that could go nowhere. It could be hinting that’s not going to pay off until the next expansion… you know, like Doman refugees mentioning Samurai back as soon as they showed up. It could be nothing.
Really, it felt like we had a clearer picture of Stormblood at this point in time than we do of Shadowbringers, but some of that is just story structure. Heavensward wrapped up its main story in 3.3 and thus had all of 3.4 to lay the seeds for the expansion story; Stormblood had the equivalent conclusion in the base game, and 4.4 isn’t revealing its secrets just yet. And that’s fine.
Not that it makes the waiting until February all that much easier. But at least then we can guess at how valuable existing tank players are going to be.
Feedback, as always, is welcome down in the comments or via mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Next week, I want to talk about Viera, the races we know, where we’re going, and what all of this could mean for our overall course.