So now’s a good time to start predicting the jobs we’ll be getting in the next Final Fantasy XIV expansion, right? It seems like a great time! We have no material teasing any new jobs whatsoever, no reason to even start guessing about where we’re headed next (aside from the people who will guess Garlemald because they have been guessing Garlemald ever since Heavensward), and haven’t even yet had an announcement that 6.0 will exist at all. This is ideal!
Volume and nature
First and foremost, I think there are a couple of things we can predict with some confidence. There will be possibly three new jobs, but if there are three, one of them will be another limited job. I don’t see the designers really giving up on limited jobs now that the trigger has been pulled on the concept, and I suspect what we’ll see over the Shadowbringers lifespan will be both the expansion of Blue Mage and the introduction of another Limited Job to put paid to the idea that there’s only going to be one.
This is far from certain, of course; it’s just plausible and matches history. I fully expect our second Limited Job to be released similar to Blue Mage, coming in the liminal period between the general wrap-up of the prior expansion and before the release of the next one.
Meanwhile, for the expansion itself, we’re almost certainly getting a healer and a DPS. This is purely pragmatic; the team has stated outright that they’re aware of the player demand for a new healer even with this expansion, and we’ve gone two expansions without a new options for players in that particular role. Adding another tank, on the other hand, can take a little longer and might disrupt the balancing act that was just done with tanks in this expansion even beyond the level cap increase and the very nature of 6.0.
But what about the DPS? Well, that depends a lot on how the team regards our current DPS options. We currently have four melee physical jobs, three ranged physical jobs, and three ranged magical jobs. So which part matters more, the ranged or the physical?
Seriously, that’s a real question. If you count ranged jobs as ranged regardless of other elements, it’s clear that another melee option is needed. If you count physical jobs as being the more important and unifying element, then clearly we need another magical job. And it’s hard to say for certain, even though Shadowbringers clearly came down on the side of all physical jobs counting as the same sort of thing.
So, then, that’s the broad shape of things. One new limited job, one new healer job, and either one new magical DPS or one new melee DPS. But what will they actually be? The best I can do is offer some strong possibilities.
Likely candidates: Beastmaster, Puppetmaster, Onion Knight
The first two here seem pretty obvious, since they were both mentioned by name and thus are probably pretty high on the whiteboard of job ideas for future Limited options. My guess is that it’s more a debate about which one would be more different and/or fit into design time. Onion Knight… well, that one comes solely from me, but I could definitely see a job that can do anything but not as well as its source jobs being an appealing potential project.
Likely candidates: Chemist, Geomancer, Seer/Devout, Bishop, Necromancer
Here’s the big problem with a new healer job. You have to find something that’s got a history in the series that will fit well enough with healing while also providing an identity that’s distinct from the three existing healing jobs, and that’s tricky. Chemist manages that, but it has some overlap with Alchemist as a crafting job. Necromancer would also be distinct, and there’s space to make the job a healing one, but there is a certain degree of weirdness once you get past the idea that technically all Necromancers are just late healers.
Meanwhile, Seer/Devout (it goes by both) and Bishop have some overlap with White Mage, especially as the former is frequently a literal upgrade of White Mage. Geomancer has overlap with both White Mage and Astrologian, casting another twist on things. That’s not to say that any of these can’t be made distinct, though, and the reality is that we’re running a bit lower on new healer jobs that are available in the franchise.
Likely candidates: Rune Knight, Templar, Soldier, Corsair
Remember when the rumors were that the gunblade-wielding job would be a Soldier? That didn’t happen. Fortunately, there is a space for that sort of job, with an established identity of debuffs and weakening opponents, possibly weaving in some flavor of the Knights of Final Fantasy Tactics and the general feel of Final Fantasy XII’s Foebreaker.
Meanwhile, Templar and Rune Knight would both have the feel of being a bit more magic-focused DPS jobs; Templar might make more sense as a future tank if that identity weren’t already functionally taken up by Paladin, and Rune Knight even has an armor set named after it already (with its usual identity of melding magic with melee probably taking another tack than just casting en-spells).
Last but not least, yes, Corsair could definitely be a melee DPS job; give it a swordstaff-esque weapon with a gun for its ranged attack, incorporate some gambling mechanics, and it all hangs together decently well. It doesn’t quite feel like its truest potential incarnation, but it’s still viable.
Likely candidates: Geomancer, Evoker, Memorist/Psychic, Gambler, Necromancer
Yes, Geomancer and Necromancer would make sense here, too! You could easily make Geomancer into a support-oriented DPS job, and Necromancer… well, it probably makes more sense as magical DPS than as a healer, if we’re being honest. You know how this stuff works by now. (It doesn’t have a large series footprint, but it’s there just the same.)
Our other options get… well, weird. Gambler is a job that has been kind of on the outs from the franchise for a long while, but there’s space for making it into a caster all the same. Evoker would be… well, chiefly just the name; it’s a less-powerful Summoner in practice during its one appearance, but you could certainly make the job into a sort of different-style Summoner compared to our current pet job.
And Memorist/Psychic? Hey, psychic powers have never been a very consistent thing in this franchise, but there’s nothing saying that can’t change. It would even make for an interesting twist in exploring a new land. Why had we never seen this before? Because it’s just not very common.
Obviously, we’ll be refining these predictions as we get closer to… I don’t know, actual releases and all that. But it’s fun to speculate, even if I know it’s far too early, and you can leave your own feedback or speculation on same down in the comments or by mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Next week, we’ll have the first 5.1 preview to chew on!