I don’t mind telling you that I’m looking forward to Blue Mage in Final Fantasy XIV. I’ve said before that it’s almost a new form of open-world content as much as it’s a new job (which isn’t exactly unheard of; Fisher does the same thing), and it opens the door for lots of other jobs in the franchise’s history. There are some jobs that just don’t fit into the game’s main structure, and limited jobs are a great system to give those jobs a place in the game along with some new open-world content.
Yes, we’re starting with the explicit suggestions because Beastmaster opens the possibility for a whole lot of fun gameplay. Starting at level 1, Beastmasters are meant to tame enemies, with beastkin and cloudkin enemies being tameable from the start and other taming options being unlocked over time via job quests. However, Beastmasters do not have the usual pet bar of Summoners; instead, their pets will engage with whatever target the Beastmaster is fighting.
Each individual type of tameable monster learns certain abilities, and the Beastmaster must fight alongside a given beast to learn its abilities. So, for example, you tame an Aldgoat and fight alongside it, learning its abilities; once it’s done training, you can release that Aldgoat, tame a Coeurl, and have it use the Aldgoat abilities (because they’re both beastkin) while you learn the Coeurl-specific abilities. Beastmasters can also use special soups to summon a preferred type of beast to fight alongside them, which will not learn new abilities but can use the abilities of certain families.
Deriving from Final Fantasy XI, the job uses a one-handed axe and a horn in its offhand. It uses melee DPS role actions and wears Dragoon armor.
We’ve been wondering for years if we’re getting a new crafting class, and here it is! Yes, Puppetmaster is a crafter. It is also a limited combat job. You can either buy the low-quality components for crafting your mammet from a vendor and craft its parts, or you can craft them yourself from component materials; either way, you’ll have access to a crafting interface as you build your mammet from legs, arms, head, and body parts.
Your mammet does indeed have the traditional pet bar interface, with four different abilities granted by each of its parts. As you fight alongside your mammet, its pieces become spiritbonded, until eventually a given part is fully bonded and can be broken down into a new ability for the puppeteer. This includes both abilities that are used by the mammet itself and ones that are used by the operator to help the mammet’s performance.
Obviously, the team of puppeteer and mammet can serve as an effective duoing team with complimentary abilities. Puppetmasters use nunchuks as weapons while sharing Ninja gear and crafting gear.
Do you miss FFXIV’s original way of handling abilities? Here you go. The Onion Knight can equip every ability and every piece of armor in the game, and indeed it has to; it never learns any abilities but simply equips traits and skills from everything else.
Of course, this flexibility comes at two costs. First, it can only equip skills and traits you already know, with a new spot for each arriving every other level. Second, you only can equip things up to your level of skill with a given weapon. Yes, your Onion Knight can use Dark Knight skills with abandon, but first you’ll have to smack things with a greatsword for a while until you’ve unlocked the skill.
Obviously, the result is a job you can build yourself; if you want to wield Ninja weapons while rocking a combination of Samurai, Dark Knight, and Scholar abilities, go right ahead. But you don’t have access to all of the traits you do on those jobs right away, and so your roll-your-own job will have to make some compromises to work in practice. At least you don’t need to wonder what sort of gear it can use…
The rule has been established since early days in FFXIV. Ranged jobs are for support DPS rather than maximum damage. This is fine, in and of itself, but there are still people who are fans of the classic Ranger gameplay, with ranged weapons and just shooting the heck out of things. And hey, why not have an option that’s just about high damage, survival, and blowing things away before they reach you? You don’t have to worry about the balance side here, after all.
Rangers can use any sort of ranged weapon, Machinist or Bard (or another ranged job, if/when we get one of those). Just like other limited jobs, however, they don’t learn abilities by leveling up. Rather, they learn their abilities from weaponry; much like in Final Fantasy IX, weapons have abilities on them, and you have to keep shooting with the weapon until you permanently learn what they have to teach you. You can learn everything from crafted/vendor weapons, but dungeon drops and better usually include multiple abilities to be learned at once.
And as long as we’ve already got a crafter limited job, why not a gatherer limited job? Geomancers have traditionally been limited by where they’re fighting, but let’s have a version of the job that gathers fragments of abilities from resonant spots across the planet to assemble into a full ability. The result is a job that is similar to Blue Mage in being able to do nigh-on everything, although you’ll have to do a lot of searching first.
Of course, Geomancers already have an obvious weapon in the form of a bell; they could logically use caster or healer gear, alongside any gathering gear they wanted. It’s hardly the only way Geomancer could be made to work, but it would make sense based on the history of the job and its terrain-based gameplay. (See also Mog from Final Fantasy VI and his Geomancer-esque dances.)
None of these jobs can only be done with limited jobs or are even necessary, of course; the point is that this is fertile ground for expansion and can fit lots of otherwise odd player options in one place. There are jobs that don’t take much to be added into the game’s existing structure, but this format allows even weirder things to be brought into the fold. Although the solo play focus does mean that Mime is probably still out in the cold.
Feedback, as always, is welcome in the comments below or via mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Next week, I want to take on a common critique of the game with which I largely agree… right up until someone makes it clear that they see the game’s regularity of content as a bad thing.