Wisdom of Nym: Does Final Fantasy XIV need new jobs?

    
13
Never seen a bluer sky.

We’re all still basically expecting an expansion announcement for Final Fantasy XIV in November. I’ll talk about the weirdness of the world right now and its potential effects upon the game next week, but not right now, and we still are all basically expecting an expansion announcement. Exact timing may vary, but the nature of the announcement does not. And we are also all expecting that the new expansion is going to contain two new jobs with it because every expansion has contained new jobs. Heck, I’ve opined at length about potential new jobs.

Quick question, though… do we need them?

Before you get too anxious about that question, I think it’s important to note and clarify what is actually being asked here, since at a glance it might seem like I’m saying that I don’t like having new jobs added into the game when nothing could be further from the truth. Rather, I think it’s worth asking if new jobs are actually going to add much to the game… and, in the process, offer up a bit of a history lesson along the way.

While FFXIV has never had an expansion without any new jobs, Final Fantasy XI tried it with its second expansion, Chains of Promathia. I’ve seen a few different conflicting reports about why there were no new jobs with the expansion, ranging from the designers feeling that the jobs were in a good place and didn’t need additions to the idea that the there wasn’t enough time to properly balance and test new jobs, but ultimately it doesn’t actually matter. The expansion had new jobs.

And players were… angry. People were angry about a lot of parts of CoP, but one of the reasons was that the lack of new jobs meant that anyone not taking part in the endgame activities had not much to do in the game at that point. It also made the expansion feel a bit more empty, to the point that the designers basically apologized and said the mistake wouldn’t happen again.

This has been reflected in Yoshi-P’s own statements, in which he’s said that having new jobs feel like a core feature of an expansion. You expect new jobs. It’s a major element of expansions.

If you doubted this before, well, don't.

So there’s no real doubt that we will get new jobs. It’s part of the very basic nature of the game and a big chunk of how the game rolls out new content, and it’s not one I personally dislike; indeed, I’d be a bit sad to not get new jobs. No, my question here is about whether or not we need a new job, whether they serve a practical purpose or are ultimately just sort of a core feature of expansions because they’re now expected.

In terms of outright balance, while the game’s current lineup of jobs is not perfectly balanced, it’s certainly balanced within a close enough metric that the differences are pretty minor. This is usually the case in an expansion with some tweaking, but it is noteworthy insofar as adding a new job to any given role would start to disrupt things again. The jobs that don’t offer utility are all doing more damage than the ones with lots of utility and support, and within a role it feels like you are at least on something like an appropriate spectrum.

That would be the biggest argument against getting a new job, essentially – new jobs upend balance. It’s inevitable. Adding new jobs is a bit like slamming a new cup full of marbles onto the table and hoping it doesn’t knock too many out of the existing cups. The designers have spent a lot of time getting very good at making this work, but the point remains that balance gets disrupted when a new job comes in.

More to the point, it also raises the question about what more space there is to explore. Obviously, there is some, but in broad strokes each role definitely has a fair amount of spread. Ranged damage dealers have the mostly support job, the mostly damage job, and the one that sits on the midline. Casters have one for damage-over-time, one for pure casting, and one for casting and melee as a hybrid. Melee has two fast jobs (one positional and one with spell elements), a medium-speed job, and a slow job. Healers have regen, shield, or support flavors. Tanks? Defensive, aggressive, resilient, or supportive. You have options.

So those would be the obvious arguments against a new job. Given all that, what’s the main reason to add something new beyond just novelty? We can’t argue franchise history; most of the obvious big Final Fantasy jobs are in the game at this point, and while there are a few other common additions it’s really cleaning up the fringes. And since FFXIV has made its new jobs almost universally tie into the higher level caps, they’re not really new things for lower-level players.

Hire me.

However… they kind of are because every new job added expands the number of things for players to level, which extends the leveling pool.

New jobs need leveling. In fact, they need more leveling than equivalent main jobs. That means more people running roulettes, and especially toward the start of the expansion it means people in the right level range for duties that cover the prior expansion’s needed dungeons. That’s worth noting.

More importantly, though, new jobs mean that new people might approach a role they previously didn’t care for. Since each job has such a distinct flavor to it, there are players who are going to be much more excited about a new job offering some different twist on the formula. You may not be interested in any of the existing caster jobs, for example… but maybe you’d be interested in one with a different approach, more like rapid-fire casting? Or one that offered a support-like focus akin to Red Mage but without the melee elements?

That’s not even counting the fact that each new job has a distinct place in the world that gives us a glimpse into very different portions of the world. Whatever is added with the next expansion will no doubt give you a different feel above and beyond the simple mechanics. We’ve got a healer that calls on the elements and light, a healer that’s a tactician, and a healer that’s based on time and the stars… what about magical potions? One that’s all about internal focus? Environmental effects and the nature of the land itself?

Last but not least, new jobs also serve to keep the game evolving. One of the big reasons why healer players were a bit miffed about the lack of a new healing job was that healing has, functionally, been based around three jobs since Heavensward. The basic split hasn’t changed at all, nor has the way the jobs play off one another. A new melee job would change how your melee options work, how the melee setup plays off of itself, which jobs can do what, and so forth. It means that gameplay is less static, even if your choice of main jobs doesn’t change.

And… let’s face it, Yoshida’s not wrong. An expansion with nothing but new areas, quests, dungeons, and such? That’d mostly feel like a patch at this point.

Feedback, like always, is welcome in the comments down below or via mail to eliot@massivelyop.com. Next week, let’s talk a little bit about how much the current state of the world will or will not affect FFXIV’s usually rock-solid schedule… which is purely speculative, yes, but we kind of need to speculate here.

The Nymian civilization hosted an immense amount of knowledge and learning, but so much of it has been lost to the people of Eorzea. That doesn’t stop Eliot Lefebvre from scrutinizing Final Fantasy XIV each week in Wisdom of Nym, hosting guides, discussion, and opinions without so much as a trace of rancor.

13
LEAVE A COMMENT

Please Login to comment
  Subscribe  
newest oldest most liked
Subscribe to:
Reader
Vincent Clark

I can’t help but think that the introduction of “limited” jobs is SE’s way of telling us that new, normal jobs will probably not be a thing with each expansion (i.e. from 6.0 on)

With limited jobs they have more “freedom” so balancing isn’t really too much of an issue. To be clear, I’m not a limited job fan but it is what it is.

Who knows…but every time I see people say that person X has done “all of the content” and now has nothing to do but level other jobs…I mean, how we consume the content has to be a part of that argument or it ends up being irrelevant in my opinion.

Random MMO fan
Reader
Random MMO fan

Forgot to mention a practical example. I found a streamer who recently started playing FFXIV. At first, he really enjoyed it, especially the story, and also playing the class, which is Paladin. Then he started to play less of FFXIV and started to play other games more. He did try out other tanks but according to him all of them quickly made him bored, especially the “sameness” of all basic attacks of all tank classes or the lack of different gameplay style where you can sacrifice damage mitigation for more DPS without leveling new job by switching to different stance or different spec. And he is not interesting in playing healers. Or playing ranged DPS classes or melee DPS classes like NIN or SAM. Long story short, he is now streaming Doom instead of FFXIV and he did not even reach Stormblood yet.

I know of another streamer who went through all story content including latest Shadowbringers stuff, he did all optional raids and trials and now all he has left to do is level up extra jobs which do not take very long (once you have your main leveled to at least 70 you can level other jobs in very short time using the XP bonuses from your main character and from consumables) and only a few of which seem interesting to him or grind same dungeons for slightly higher ilvl gear. He also went from streaming FFXIV every day to about once a week and streaming other games instead.

Tell me, Eliot, how would adding a new job enhance a gaming experience of such persons who do not want to level all other jobs or even try some of them but just want existing jobs to be less boring and allow for more flexibility or persons who just want more story continuation and newer dungeons to try instead of grinding same ones over and over even if they will have new job to grind same stuff with?

Reader
Mike McCaa

The FF jobs have been watered down and nerfed so many times it’s not worth playing anymore, they will bring in a new Job and nerf everyone else to make it more balanced knowing people will leave then they will throw out some kind of incentive to try to get them back spending more money.

That’s the only reasons why I hate new jobs.

Reader
Krista Allen

I find BLU to be a waste of development time and money, didn’t touch it. I don’t believe another fluff class would sit will with the healing community when we haven’t had a new healer since HW…. So, no, it would piss me off.

Reader
Mike Fiorino

I would have to agree, if they make beastmaster a limited Job that would annoy me although it would make sense from a gotta catch all mentality but I have some cool ideas to make it a full job

Random MMO fan
Reader
Random MMO fan

Are new jobs needed? Absolutely not. They do not add anything for people who want to stick to a few existing jobs and do not want to play other jobs for many reasons. They also do not add anything to longevity of active population, I have seen plenty of people who quickly leveled new jobs in a couple of weeks after finishing up story on their primary job then log off and cancel their subscription until next content release. Sure, some might say “but I level my job slowly” – how many people play the jobs like you do? I highly doubt that there are a lot of them.

What is needed are the activities to keep people playing game regardless of the job preferences and how quickly they can level new job. As well as variety of styles to play existing jobs – you gave an example of Red Mage but with no melee combat, there is no need for new job for that, it can be done by giving existing Red Mage a different specialization.

Reader
Danny Smith

I think the beauty of the job system being adapted to the mmo format is the freedom to experiment. Maybe they add Puppet Master next expansion and its some wierd tank role where the player hangs back and directs a puppet around to kite and pull stuff and its terrible? well no harm done. You didn’t make a new alt, you didn’t lose anything. Just pop that scholar hat back on nerd, back to ole’ reliable.

The question of course is increasing balance load and how its dealt with. The easy answer of course is ‘more limited jobs so you dont really have to’ but much as i enjoy BLU it really does kind of have a hard plateau where you run out of interesting stuff to do a lot faster than the other jobs.

But there is also something to be said about this creating stuff rather than just bring back things people want. I don’t know about you but i hope this isn’t the last job based Final Fantasy where Astrologian or Machinist shows up in for example.

creationguru
Reader
creationguru

New jobs not 100% nessessary but always welcome and at this point expected in an expac. I love seeing what they come.up with even if I dont like or will play it I am just happy for the variety. Wish they all kind of started at 30 as this would give access to dungeons and with so many ways to level it’s not that hard.

Reader
engineeeeer7

Does it need new jobs? No. The balance is pretty damn phenomenal right now. Healers could use some more damage tools to be less boring and BRD needs a little love but otherwise things are great.

Do I want new jobs soooo bad? Yes. Leveling and learning every job is my favorite part of the game. Heck I would take new jobs over almost anything.

I am worried about them starting later and later though. The last ones started at 60 which means you don’t even touch some of the content with them naturally. It would be nice to integrate jobs with the whole game a little more but likely too resource intensive.

Godnaz
Reader
Godnaz

New jobs are always welcome but FFXIV needs more quality of life updates, some examples would be. No buy orders on the market board what so ever. Cant buy items at certain quantity amount, you have to buy the entire amount listed and then sell back whats not needed. The fact that the market board isn’t tied into your entire shard and you have to travel to other servers for pricing, is just bad economics. Unskippable cutscenes and dialog are annoying. Having more glamour plates to make styles for each job would be a plus. There are 19 combat jobs and only 15 slots. Its a fashion game, right?

I could add more issues and while it certainly does things well, FF could use many QoL updates to make it a less hindering and wasted time.

Dantos
Reader
Dantos

I’d like to see new jobs, but I cant see how they could keep them balanced enough to be welcome in groups at most times or fill needs that aren’t covered by the current classes. It would also keep watering down the weapon drop tables.

devtek
Reader
devtek

The token drops guarantee you a weapon eventually if you can kill the boss. They could also change how drops work like weighted drops for classes that are actually in the kill or drop a token to exchange one for one for the one you want.