Now that Stormblood, Patch 4.0 of Final Fantasy XIV, has been released for just over a month, I’ve had some time to play around with the new jobs, as well the rather major changes made to the pre-existing ones.
As I was playing around with them, it left me wondering what jobs they could include come 5.0. (I know. It’s a long ways until then and 4.0 just dropped, but I can still wonder, can’t I ?)
Most of this stemmed from my extreme disappointment with the limited changes made. In order to lessen the gap between the skill floor and ceiling, many abilities or roles were removed from the main arsenals of jobs such as dark knight, scholar, and warrior. It was a shock to me when I logged into the game and saw about half of my dark knight’s bars greyed out. I feel the only changes that added any sort of variety or were innovative are the new battle gauges, such as the ninki scroll for ninja where you need to accumulate 80 points on your scroll in order to execute certain abilities, and the lily system for white mage which alters how certain abilities work depending on how many lilies you have built up.
I do find these to be rather fun and a nice twist to the mix, but I think they were hindered when the developers also tried to make everything less complex to close that skill gap.
While I found everything enjoyable, for the most part, I felt as though this was their perfect chance to innovate rather than just streamline everything. While they did to a small degree (such as with the new battle gauges), I was just expecting so much more. Red mage was a step in the right direction, as it’s quite interesting to see the hybrid job at work, but then samurai on the other hand plays very similar to how ninja does and has little personality of its own.
The first job that came to mind that I felt they really missed the target with is chemist. Since both new jobs are DPS, it left many in the tank and healer communities feeling a bit left out, and I think chemist would make a perfect healer. I’ll try to make this with as little bias as possible, since It’s one of my favorite jobs from Final Fantasy Tactics - because I mean who doesn’t love chucking vials full of potent goodness at allies? So here’s my vision of what a chemist class could be:
The main healing abilities I’d want to see for chemist would be some sort of variation between Potion, Hi-Potion, and X-Potion. These have been staples in just about every Final Fantasy game, and would make sense for a chemist to have. Sadly, we already have them in the game as actual items, and since I don’t see FFXIV ever going back to the path of needing consumables for skills, a simple way to go about this could be to just tack on a suffix or prefix to the skill names. This is similar to how red mage is essentially just tacks on ‘Ver’ to the beginning of white mage and black mage spells. So instead of hi-potion, how about we have Verhi-potion? alright, I jest, but for real, they could easily do something along those lines. Maybe Chem-potion, Chemi-Potion, Chemical-X-Potion?
Anyways, Potion could have a potency of about 400, Hi-potion a potency of 600, and X-Potion being a cure 100% of health - similar to white mage’s benediction and an equally long cooldown of three minutes. With these potencies, it wouldn’t be the best in raw potency and healing output (let’s leave that for the white mages), but would make up for it with its support abilities.
But what about AoE heals? White mage, scholar, and astrologian, all have some form of AoE heals, so we do need some for our chemist. This is where the support role comes in. Similar to how astrologian can draw cards from a deck for support abilities, and perhaps even more similar to how ninja combine up to three different mudras in varying orders to perform different ninjutsu, chemist could mix ingredients.
However, instead of only getting support skills from these like astrologian does, this could also be a way to gain some of your main healing abilities - the same way that ninja gets its main DPS combo, since it wouldn’t be rng based like the card system.
This would allow for a way to get creative and allow for the ability to mix things up and create a support skill if the fight isn’t very healing intensive, but could also be used as a main part of your healing kit if you know you’re going to have to let out some AoEs soon.
Since the player would have to constantly choose between healing and supporting on the fly, it would prevent it from being too overpowered, while still allowing for some skills that would otherwise sound overpowered. For example, they could possibly mix together an elixir of sorts that completely restores not only a player's HP, but also their TP and MP. This is something that in the current meta would be completely unheard of, but considering they’d have to give up any form of AoE healing for awhile in order to make this elixir, as well as any other forms of support, would make this much more balanced and viable. It would have its uses, while not being the only reason you bring a chemist.
Likewise, since you’d only be able to cast an AoE heal from mixing, your AoEs could have immense potencies. Maybe make an AoE elixir that cures for 800 potency and has the radius of medica at 25 yalms. Considering Cure III has a radius of six yalms and a potency of 550, this might sound a bit overpowered.
However, since you can, to an extent, spam Cure III, it would be balanced out by having to take the time to mix the ingredients in battle. It would also be a much more tactical skill, since you’d want to be very careful of when you choose to use it since it would take so much effort and time to pull together, and would be harder to recover from a mistake as a result.
Since we’re already down the road of making this a high risk, high reward type of job, I figure why not top it off with tossing in some of the more major astrologian elements into the mix? Since astrologian relies so heavily on its cards, there are multiple ways to redraw a card or to even hold onto a card you drew and save it for a more optimal time in the battle. The UI elements they added in 4.0 make use of these, giving a visible area to see what cards you have held.
The UI element for chemist could be a belt, where you’re able to store your different concoctions into these varying pouches. One may be specifically for holding a healing potion, another for a support potion, and the final to mix up an already mixed potion. Essentially this is where the real OP-esque skills would be born. That super powerful potion I mentioned earlier that would be able to restore HP, TP, and MP? Well, first you’ll have to make a high potency healing item, throw into this special pouch for storage while you then make a high potency support potion that will ultimately mix into that restore all of sorts.
As for attacking abilities, they could just have some base skills like Bomb Toss or Holy Water, and also gain some high potency attack skills from their mixing as well. Maybe give them a separate pouch to store those attack skills. Bomb Toss could have the same potency as Stone III at 210, making for a fairly nice DPS skill while still not overpowering white mage’s Stone IV at 250. Mixing their more powerful damaging skills could be on par with the potency of Assize at 300. This would leave chemists able to do a nice amount of damage, but outdoing white mage healing due to the utility of being able to restore MP and TP.
It would be a very tactical but rewarding job, which would give players fond of scholar another outlet for their healing desires. It also wouldn’t replace scholar, as it’d have minimal to no mitigation capabilities.
Overall, my idea of how a chemist could be in Final Fantasy XIV is similar enough to that of an astrologian and ninja hybrid, but yet it would be able to different enough to not feel like the same old cookie-cutter jobs we’ve been getting so far. This would allow Square Enix to stay in their comfort zone, while also mixing things up for the players. In my next article, I’ll discuss what I think could be an interestingly nice tank to add to the game. So if you enjoyed this article, you can look forward to that.