Wisdom of Nym: The shirt-based speculation around Final Fantasy XIV’s next melee job

    
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Never seen a bluer sky.

Bad news, folks: We’re going to be waiting a while longer to find out the new melee job for Final Fantasy XIV, and waiting even longer for people to stop whining that we have too many melee jobs (because there are five of them compared to six ranged jobs, but only some of them are casters or use shooty things, so it’s totally different). Specifically, it’s going to be about 82 days or so from the time you read this column until you know for certain.

But we do have a hint. Or more specifically, we have a couple of hints to go on in the form of producer and director Naoki Yoshida’s shirts and the one bit of information we have about the job mechanically (it’ll use Maiming armor). So what is it? Well, I don’t know, but there have been a number of theories about what the job might be, and today, I want to give a nod to the better theories I’ve seen most often, both pro and con.

Walking.

Templar/Rune Fencer

The case for: I’m putting these two together because I’ve basically seen them lumped together as “conceptually” similar. The biggest thing pointing toward Templar is that Yoshida’s shirt referenced The Filth and the Fury, a film directed by a man with the last name of Temple, which is similar to using the Spider-Man shirt to hint at Samurai. Rune Fencer, meanwhile, is literally called out on a piece of armor already in existence; it’s not hard to imagine that the two might basically be merged into one place.

Furthermore, “Templar” does actually have an identity distinct from Paladin in the games where it’s shown up, but with Paladin headlining the expansion there’s definitely space for something similar to show up. And they sure do sound similar, right?

The major weaknesses: The problem is that the identity Templar has doesn’t really lend itself to a clear mechanical identity; it’s showed up only a few times, and it’s generally been a debuffing job of some sort and/or a race-specific version of Paladin. The name comparison worked for Spider-Man, but others have pointed out that the shirt isn’t necessarily a reference specifically to the film in question but instead is a common slogan used for that particular brand of shirt.

More to the point, if it’s just a melee job using magic in some way… well, how is that all that different from Ninja? It needs to have its own mechanical identity, but flavor-wise this seems to push toward “Paladin but DPS” or “Ninja but different.” That’s a bit of a harder sell for a melee role.

Reaper/Necromancer

The case for: Both Yoshida’s shirt for the big reveal and his shirt worn immediately after for the live letter featured a skeletal figure, and the latter literally featured said figure wielding a scythe. When people started guessing “Necromancer” in chat, he played it off with an immediate joke. Furthermore, the promo trailer we have scene features Zenos sitting by a weapon that looks very much like it could be a scythe.

Lest you think there’s no precedent for this, you’d be wrong. There is a character in Final Fantasy Type-0 who wields a scythe as a melee weapon, and Necromancer is an existing job that has showed up on occasion in the franchise.

The major weaknesses: Oh, right… Necromancer has shown up before as a pure caster, not any sort of melee job, and “Reaper” isn’t a thing at all. In fact, Sice’s main mechanic seems to mark her more as that game’s equivalent of a Dark Knight, although that’s a bit of a speculative rule considering that none of the characters really have traditional jobs in the game.

Furthermore, the “Zenos scythe” doesn’t really appear to be clearly a scythe at all, since it looks like what a lot of people saw as the blade is actually part of the chair he’s sitting in and what weapon he has there isn’t entirely clear. It’s not even clear that if he has a scythe it would mean that’s the new job; after all, Gaia has a hammer and that doesn’t appear to have led into our new job, at least from what we know so far.

A hint?

Geomancer

The case for: The big point here is that Yoshida’s first shirt referenced a rock band, and the second one referenced a metal band. That means rock and metal. What’s that tied to? Geomancy, of course! The magic of the earth!

“But Geomancers are always pure casters!” Au contraire; Geomancers in Final Fantasy Tactics were actually pretty fearsome melee units much of the time, and Mog from Final Fantasy VI was arguably a hybrid of Geomancer, Dancer, and Dragoon that had some pretty lethal melee capabilities. So there is some space for this to work…

The major weaknesses: …except for the fact that we already know what Geomancers are in FFXIV, and they’re not that. They’re clearly established as casters and arguably as the Far Eastern equivalent of Conjurers, especially if you read the second lore book. Honestly, it seems more likely that Geomancer would be another healer than another melee DPS at this point, and we already know what our new healer is going to be. (Which is, frankly, a lot more surprising and fun in that regard.)

Now, it’s worth noting this doesn’t mean we can’t be surprised here. But it seems like it’d be a bit more of a shift for a rather tenuous connection between shirts and jobs.

Corsair

The case for: Just because there are skulls doesn’t mean it has to be referencing the power of death. You know what else is associated with skulls, especially when there are crossbones? Pirates. And Corsairs have been occupying that comfortable pirate niche since Final Fantasy XI introduced them in its third expansion – an expansion that went to a Near Eastern city not unlike the hints of Thavnair we’ve seen thus far.

Furthermore, Yoshida has specifically said that a lot of the guesses we’ve seen thus far have been a bit off. That’s all the more reason to consider something outside of the box, and if Corsair has, say, a gun and a sword, that’d explain the increased emphasis on Merlwyb’s gun animations in patch 5.4, wouldn’t it?

The major weaknesses: This would probably be a stronger suggestion if not for the fact that Yoshida confirmed the job in question would use Maiming armor. Corsair sounds like it’d be a shoo-in for Scouting armor if it were some sort of melee gun-user, but having it all using Strength makes it feel a bit off. Especially since, well… we have had plenty of pirates in the game since launch, and the most pirate-associated jobs that we already know of tend to not be anything we haven’t seen yet.

Moreover, there’s not much connection between the idea of a new melee job and Corsair, which is best known for using a gun and being party support.

So what is it? I don’t know! All of these suggestions have some merit and none of them are slam dunks. I’ll just be over here waiting for the next eleven weeks or so like everyone else. For now, feel free to leave your feedback in the comments down below or via mail to eliot@massivelyop.com; next week, I want to examine the subtle brilliance implied by having the Island Sanctuary showing up now.

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.
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bakkahentai2600 .

I could see it being Reaper. Not Necromancer. Reaper would probably be a Job designed to kill Necromancer summonings. A sort of way to have “Dark Knight DPS” aesthetic that people want.

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BlazeVortex4231

I don’t feel like “Ninja is already a magical melee DPS” is a strong enough argument against Mystic Knight/Rune Fencer/the million other names for that job. Mystic Knight’s always been more about imbuing your weapon with magic than raw casting, so that’s already a strong flavor difference.

My current crackpot theory is this: It will be Mystic Knight, but as a scythe user. Because in Final Fantasy XI, Dark Knight was the scythe DPS, while Rune Fencer was the magic-mitigating greatsword tank.

I recognize that this is not even close to evidence in the slightest, but it’d be really amusing if they did swap them like this. And it’s got to be a much more interesting scythe idea than either Dark Knight But Not, or deliberately cribbing from Ran’jit (which is a surprisingly popular one on Reddit). Besides, by the time they do add some sort of Mystic Knight, we already have more than enough swords, so a unique weapon would do well to distinguish them further.

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Erika Do

This is my official guess too! I like the idea that they wanted to add a heavily magic-themed melee user, but already had way too many jobs using swords of various shapes. They could just call it Mystic Knight or Rune Knight, or even call it Rune Reaper or Mystic Reaper.

I’m imagining the gameplay of such a theoretical class could be similar to WoW’s original Death Knights added in Wrath of the Lich King (I haven’t played WoW in years, so can’t draw any conclusions there), creating runes with some abilities in order to spend them on others.

I also want to point out that as the two of them were on stage reacting to people’s guesses about the class, they *laughed* at Necromancer but never actually said no as they did to some of the other guesses.

BTW: Agreed that Ninja isn’t an argument against adding a magical melee, because it’s also got the sneaky assassin thing going on, so a heavy-armored front lines Mage Knight would be a totally different feel.

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Kyle Pred

You’re missing another one, imo. There’s already a melee class that uses a scythe sometimes and is in an MMO: Beastmaster. The caveat is that it wouldn’t wear the same armor type as dragoon, which is basically guaranteed of the new class.

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Kyle Pred

I don’t see geomancer or corsair being a thing since their FFXI gimmicks are already in use by other classesm

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kluaf oz

Btw the Arabic is single letters that are upside down and according to the person I talked to didn’t make any sense..

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wopian

That Arabic is just the stylised logo (for this t-shirt design) of Neighborhood.jp (Nbhd), a clothing company in Japan

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Mars Langley

Is the idea of a hammer-wielding Engineer (hi, Nero) still in the running? I mean Endwalker seems to have a lot of FF4 nods in it, so that might fit (since Engineer was Cid’s job in FF4). I can’t figure out how the shirt fits into that, though, unless Yoshi-P is deliberately throwing a red herring our way. (Or the shirt wasn’t about the new class; Julien Temple’s next film after “The Filth and the Fury” was “Pandaemonium”, which is the name of the 8-man raid series announced shortly after).

I don’t think Necromancer is in the cards, since I think it’s already been nixed on the basis that necromancy is plainly evil and the WoL doesn’t do that. But that doesn’t rule out something scythe-wielding like Beastmaster or “Reaper” (maybe they’ll come up with another name for it; a scythe-wielding edgelord Exorcist whose job it is to put undead back in the ground, for example).

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Danny Smith

I think the lore means we are never seeing necromancer. Like if you dont meticulously read the world building lore and history books and the like its probably just a cool sounding class idea but in game its THE biggest taboo. Its like the hero of a game to use a real world example deciding to be a human trafficker or a serial killer. Its just so against the whole warrior of light deal in this setting in general.

I mean granted we have summoners and in this setting primals have a pretty bad history as brainwashing soul parasites but still necromancy has lead to some of the worst things unrelated to the ascians -that we know of at least- that have ever happened.

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Ruby Lancer

The one thing I’ll point out here is with Geomancer.

We, as players, are using Jobs that aren’t necessarily tied to or the same as ones we were first introduced to as it is. Astrologian is the Sharylian version and not the Ishgardian version that we first see in the game.

Another one is the Paladin. The original ones and the ones we work with are Sultansworn, but we ourselves are Free Paladins, able to go and work beyond the borders of Ul’dah.

In short, just because we have seen the Far Eastern version of Geomancer doesn’t necessarily mean that there isn’t another version that has hereto been unheard of.

Not that I honestly think it would be Geomancer as it is. It still does feel like it leans a bit too much into the magical side of things.

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Bereman99

I think the Astrolgian version is the kind of example that almost works in favor of that argument, but even then the Ishgardian versions we see are more the kind that read the stars for signs and aren’t very well defined beyond that (well, that and also being biased heavily against non-Ishgardian versions). Geomancer gets pretty well-defined in comparison, effectively being a healer/caster type that pulls from the earth instead of the heavens. Interestingly, they also seem to be a little bit related to Conjurer, in that the ones we encounter (in the Ast quest) used Stone, a distinctly Conjurer ability. All in all, though, they’ve been pretty well defined as casters.

It would be a pretty big jump to develop an alternate branch that is a melee dps, certainly a bigger jump than that from Ishgardian Astrologian to Sharlayan Astrologian.

Incidentally, the name is only identical in English, there’s some quirks in the Japanese that allow for a different spelling that is pronounced the same way.

More here if you’re interested in their thought process on that from Koji-Fox himself:

https://forum.square-enix.com/ffxiv/threads/213013-What-s-in-a-Name-%28Astrologian-Ver.%29

As for the Paladin example, you’re trained in the exact same arts as the Sultansworn, you’re just not forced to swear an oath to their organization and serve in their ranks.

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Danny Smith

The scythe thing is odd since a lot of wishful thinking seems to want necromancer for the edgelord aesthetic but we have spent the whole bozja thing dealing with a old man jecht beastmaster who uses a buckler and sickle.

You see folks go “it CAN’T be beastmaster because yoshi made a joke that got translated to it being the next limited job after blue mage AND THATS NOW THE LAW, HE CAN’T MAKE IT A REGULAR JOB THAT WOULD BE ILLEGAL” and much as i would love geo or Mime we straight up have a guy using a unique weapon already that is a dude from a named FF archetype and not some giant oversized boss character to make a reference. Throw in Ranjit to a degree and the possibility of Dragoon getting their Dragonewt pet and yet another summoner and scholar rework looking like its on the cards then it feels like this is the best time to put a pet job in while anything else that summons in some add gets a look over as well.

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Erika Do

A melee pet class would certainly be something new to the game, but I’m having trouble thinking of them as a heavy-armored class, and I feel like it would be a big lost opportunity to have an animal-taming-themed class if you couldn’t then go around the world Blue-Mage-style collecting all of the animals even if they’re bosses.

One of the most fun things about WoW’s hunter class was always being able to collect rare and interesting animals, but at the end of the day it was always a bit disappointing because they’d just shrink down to a normal pet with generic stats like every other pet. Limited jobs give the opportunity to tame huge boss beasts and let you actually use them in combat. That would be wild.