There are eight crafting classes in Final Fantasy XIV, and in all likelihood we’re always going to have eight crafting classes at this point. If we’d gotten an additional crafter or gatherer in Stormblood that would have been possible, but three expansions in and the focus is on giving these jobs more to do rather than giving us new options. So… yeah, I think this is what we’ve got. And that’s fine; the jobs cover a pretty good spread of different concepts.
The list is alphabetical, but it’s kind of appropriate insofar as Alchemist is easily the weakest of the crafting jobs in most respects. All of the crafting jobs produce one of four things, all told: gear, usable items, components of crafts that other crafters need, and furnishings. And Alchemist suffers in all four areas. The only gear it produces are Summoner and Scholar books, it has a very small selection of furnishings (mostly limited to plants), and its usable items are basically unwanted. Only its components are still useful, which also means half the time that things include alchemy items just so that the alchemist has something to do.
The big problem, of course, is that potions are no good. Healing/MP recovery ones are almost never worthwhile, and the stat-boosting ones are mostly worth it if you’re pushing for maximum DPS (which 90% of players don’t have to worry about anyhow). There’s no real advantage to having them, so until potions either start being more useful or we start getting potions with wider-ranging effects, it’s unlikely the finished products of Alchemy will matter much.
One of the big three in the “wearable gear” trifecta, Armorer doesn’t produce much in terms of furnishings or usable items, but it does provide non-decorative metal for other crafts and produces about a third of the game’s gear, along with a few tools. Armorer is doing fine for itself. For a while it was almost mandatory for some heavier jobs and completely irrelevant for others, but expansions and patches have re-allocated some of its functions so it is no longer all about everything tanky.
The biggest issue Armorer has is just that it produces about the same component parts as Blacksmith. For a while it even produced more specialty parts, which seemed kind of wrong. Still, that’s a minor thing.
Blacksmith doesn’t produce equipment outside of weapons, but it produces lots of those. Weapons and tools in abundance. It’s very similar to Armorer in that regard, as mentioned. I’d like to see a few more of those specialty parts come to Blacksmith or even just have some differentiation between the two classes, but neither is really hurting.
Carpenter has a weird place in the overall crafting pantheon. It produces a smattering of wearable gear, but its lumber is useful in lots of places, and the stuff it does produce for wearing – accessories and some weapons – is super-useful. It also produces a lot of furnishings. It always feels like it’s just on the right side of usefulness vs. irrelevance, but it still is on the right side.
It would be cool to have some wood-looking armor, though. Just throwing that out there.
Ironically, I feel like Culinarian has wound up being closer to what Alchemist originally seemed to be. It produces a whole lot of food that’s useful through the levels, but particularly useful either to level up or to make up stats that may be deficient or just make life easier when boosted. And while there are always an assortment of foods available to players just from vendors, it’s cheaper to make them… not to mention that the HQ versions offer notable advantages.
Culinarian can be a bit of a pain to level sometimes, since a lot of its dishes require weird ingredients that can be difficult to farm in bulk or produce things in odd numbers. Despite that, it’s a reliably useful job that makes leveling everything else easier. This makes up for its complete lack of gear and its inability to make dyes or repair anything.
For a long time, Goldsmith was basically the only crafting class that made accessories. That has changed, but it still makes most of them, which makes it intensely valuable for melding and repairs right there. Factor in Goldsmith also making some useful tools and the only source of decorative metals, and you have a craft that is easily one of the most valuable options in the entire game in terms of “if you only level one crafter.”
Ironically, the most annoying part of the class at this point is the fact that gathering gems has become steadily more obnoxious and time-limited for no real reason. Since Goldsmiths need gems to make so many accessories, it feels like an unnecessary bottleneck when compared to the task of acquiring the metal you need, and we no longer really have the split between “general accessories that offer lesser bonuses or a targeted accessory with a gem.” Kind of a bummer, that.
Since we don’t have a job using a whip (yet) it’s no great shock that Leatherworker just makes up another part of the trifecta of wearable gear crafters. It also gets a handful of accessories here and there, its leather is always useful because of course it is, and that’s about all it needs to be relevant.
Leather is unfortunately a bit of a pain, since the only way to acquire it is specifically by farming various critters with the correct skin, and usually you need a fair amount of it to get anywhere. It’d be nice if you could just harvest them, but that makes the exact opposite of logical sense so it hasn’t happened. It can thus be… well, expensive to level the class up. Or slow, depending. It would be nice if it was a little more material efficient, though, based on the sheer volume of skins you might need.
The last in the “wearable gear” set, Weaver thread also tends to be used in a lot of other crafts, but cloth tends to be limited to Weaver crafts. You also get a fair number of furnishings, to boot; not quite as many as Carpenter, but there are lots of curtains and the like to fill out your living space just the same. There are even a few accessories to be crafted along the way!
Much like Armorer, Weaver used to be almost exclusively tied to any casting jobs, but over time that’s ebbed away and there are more cloth offerings for everyone. This is probably for the best.
At the end of the day, the balance is generally all right, but Alchemist suffers a bit more than it should in terms of production, Leatherworker and Goldsmith have troubles with materials, and Culinarian has a bit too many things to keep track of. Armorer and Blacksmith could use a bit more differentiation, to boot. This is, let’s face it, pretty good for the state of the game as a whole.
Feedback, as always, is welcome in the comments down below or via mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Next week, let’s take a walk on the blue side.