Wisdom of Nym: No new crafting or gathering in Final Fantasy XIV

Obviously silly dances are already universal.

Every new expansion for Final Fantasy XIV has increased the total number of jobs available for players, although the exact numbers have varied from expansion to expansion. (Especially depending on how you count limited jobs.) But there’s one count that has never raised at all: the number of gathering and crafting options available. We’ve had the same eight crafting professions since the game originally launched version 1.0, and while the scope of what the jobs craft has changed over time (mostly for the better to make the various professions more useful), none has been added.

A discussion of why has, of course, been forthcoming; one of the things that Yoshida has said is that considering the scope of Botanist, Fisher, and Miner, there just isn’t a whole lot of room for another gathering profession when you look at the options. It’s not as if having a new kind of gathering job would change things all that much. But that also means looking at how these classes work together – and acknowledging that there are definitely issues even if they’re not crippling ones.

Here’s the trickiest thing to recognize about crafting and gathering jobs: While the systems involved in these jobs is materially significant and differs from job to job, there isn’t really a great reason for us to have eight different crafters or two different non-fishing gatherers. (Fishing is mechanically distinct, so it doesn’t really apply there.)

Back in the day, it used to be the case that each crafting profession got some unique abilities while leveling up that could be used on other crafting professions, but that’s ceased to be a thing as cross-class skills were… well, phased out of the game for good reason. It was a cool idea that did not mesh with the game as it was designed, and so it’s not exactly a bad thing that all eight crafters have access to the same abilities for the same utility.

But that also means that mechanically, there’s not much reason to level just one or two crafters. You might as well play all of them, since they all share the same gear and stat priorities. Crafting is still kept engaging and fun, but the difference between Culinarian and Armorer is purely an aesthetic one in terms of mechanical interaction – which is something that you can’t say about any of the game’s other jobs in combat.

Makin', make make makin'... armor.

It’s for this reason that I don’t find myself exactly distressed that we’re not getting another new crafting profession with this expansion. Oh, sure, there are professions that don’t currently exist that would be neat, but it’d just be the same gameplay as the existing crafters, only with an added new flavor. Also you’d have to gear it up completely separately. That’s not precisely appealing!

The funny thing is that theoretically, this is the role that something like expert crafting could have fulfilled, forcing you to manage different variables that are profession-specific and giving you a different minigame. Instead, it’s just dice-rolling nonsense that isn’t all that fun (I still really dislike expert crafting) and is still the same crafting procedure you’ve always undertaken.

“Oh, so we need to have a complete crafting redesign?” Hell no. FFXIV has an involved crafting game wherein crafting requires skill and consideration to make your end products good. There are sites to math it out, rather than just listing what level you need to make something. Crafting currently works well. In a sea of games where crafting is often an afterthought and usually involves nothing more involved than clicking a button and waiting for a couple of seconds for the craft to finish, FFXIV’s crafting stands as a high-water mark. It’s not an afterthought but an important part of the game.

But… it also does feel like an afterthought, in some ways.

It’s not that crafters don’t get new abilities; they do with every expansion. They get content, and they get new things to craft, they get storylines, they get everything that other jobs do. It’s not even that, say, gatherers are suffering with no upgrades and didn’t get a whole new system to deal with how annoying high-quality items could be or to change how collectables work. There is a constant push and pull of balance to make sure that crafting stays relevant, all crafts have a role to play, and so forth.

But you can also draw a very straight line for crafting content through the last two expansions with only marginal changes. Compare the breadth and depth of changes for crafting to how much time and attention goes into combat jobs, and there is a marked difference. And it’s fair to say that those things aren’t totally comparable (which is true) or to note that there are a lot of games that don’t have entire bespoke new forms of content just for crafters, much less gear sets (which is also true), but I still find myself feeling like the difference is there.


Some of this is also no doubt because the crafting is good. I enjoy crafting. If the crafting were an afterthought or undersupported, I doubt I would care as much; I definitely would not be trying to, say, complete a full set of tools which are mainly going to be there for bragging rights (your Splendorous Tools are useful for crafting basically nothing; if you can craft those, you can craft anything just fine). It’s just that when you spend a lot of time thinking about it, you do wind up starting to notice the ways it could be better, even when the execution isn’t bad or lacking to start with.

And the temptation to keep things surgical is, on some level, a good one. Crafting and managing an economy is tricky. The fact that this is a game where crafted gear is relevant, useful, and desirable is in and of itself something that a tremendous number of games cannot accomplish. There’s no need to go in and muck with the game or make ALC have a wildly different rotation from GSM. Beyond making sure that dependencies are interlinked between crafters, it is valid to say that the next expansion still has one basic crafting job wearing eight different hats.

This is not a call for crafting to finally get some love, which it consistently has over the game’s decade of operation. It has gotten so much love, and I love that about it. Rather, it’s a call that this is an area that can still be examined, expanded, and improved. Not because the current iteration is bad, but just because it’s never necessary to rest on your laurels. And for all I know the social crafting experience within the game is going to address all of this in Dawntrail, but it’s still on my mind as I look forward to the expansion just the same.

Feedback, as always, is welcome in the comments down below or via mail to eliot@massivelyop.com. Next week, I want to talk about support, what the designers use the term to mean in job design, and how important it is to the game overall – as well as where it could use more development.

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.
Previous articleElder Scrolls Online’s Gold Road chapter and Update 42 is now live for PC players
Next articleFinal Fantasy XIV releases its updated Dawntrail benchmark, shares initial details for June 14 Live Letter

No posts to display

Subscribe to:
oldest most liked
Inline Feedback
View all comments