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.
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.
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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org; next week, I want to examine the subtle brilliance implied by having the Island Sanctuary showing up now.