Make Your Bets For FFXIV’s Next Job Reveal
We’re within a week of the Final Fantasy XIV Digital Fan Fest, where we’ll get a glimpse at the upcoming melee DPS class, plus new Endwalker info! We already know a bit about the new Sage class, but know absolutely nothing about the new melee DPS (other than it’ll probably have heavy armor, according to this Reddit post).
Even if that’s true, we have a ton of different melee DPS options to consider… and I want to start making predictions!
What Will the New Endwalker Melee DPS Class Be?
The following predictions are based on previous Final Fantasy classes. Otherwise, we’d be exploring an infinite number of options outside of the franchise. We’re going to pay extra attention to the Tactics games, since that’s the series Final Fantasy XIV has taken inspiration from for a ton of disciplines so far.
That being said, we have a few classes to look at!
To be perfectly frank, the Templar is a super generic term for “Mage Knight.” Of all of the names of the various Knights in FFT, Templar rings the clearest in my ear. Before you say, “Well, that’s basically Red Mage,” you’re not wrong! However, the flavor of these Knights can be extremely different from our favorite dual-caster.
A Templar can hold a hand-and-a-half sword, called a Knightsword in some translations. The weapon is used to cast devastating spells at opponents, mixed with physical combat. The spells the Templar casts are usually status-affecting spells that crowd control enemies. That’s unlikely to fly in Final Fantasy XIV, since the most complex and consistent crowd control this game has to offer is Stun. Though, Square Enix could give the Templar a Stun and an Interrupt as a reference to its history. Kind of like how the Paladin has Shield Bash, or White Mage has a Blind—er, a Stun—with Holy.
That’s not all we can do for flavor, though. The Templar could be a pseudo-support class, with sword slashes that buff its allies (or its next attack) mixed with some Paladin-esque casting rotations. Square Enix could keep the debuffing spirit of the Templar with some Trick Attack-like effects (maybe boosting Direct Hit?). And the Templar does have buffs, like Faith, which can be used to boost its damage rotations.
These spells are crucial in Tactics, but wouldn’t leave the Templar with a lot of… melee DPS capability. That’s OK; there’s a lot you can do with the Templar’s blade and holy zeal. This could be close to the Samurai’s Iajutsu, where you build up a resource before lashing out. Or, there could be a means of looping in the spellcasting with weapon swings to call them “physical.”
By far the hardest part of this class would be weaving between Red Mage and Paladin, but I don’t think that’d be too difficult. Neither of those classes are focused on weaving between physical and magical; both of them build up a resource and then lash out with the damage type. The Templar would hopefully do a better job mixing magic and buffs with physical attacks, like it did in Tactics.
The Templar also wears heavy armor, so if you believe the Reddit post, this is a pretty realistic choice. We also don’t have a melee class that does anything too support-like; most melee DPS just have their one party-wide (or raid-wide) buff to throw out. Having a support DPS be a melee role might be pretty cool.
That being said, there are way too many classes that follow a similar curve as the Templar. Turns out, the “Spellblade” archetype is quite popular in the Tactics games, and aren’t unpopular in the traditional series. Some other options include:
- Hell Knight
- Heaven Knight
- Divine Knight (different than Templar!)
- Holy Swordsman (different than Templar and Divine Knight!)
- Rune Fencer
And all of these came from Tactics titles!
If we’re choosing between these Spellblade archetype options, I’m convinced the new melee DPS class would be a Knight, just because of the Reddit post. And for the sake of my armory chest.
Please, don’t make me get another set of melee armor, Square.
The Beastmaster is a more niche pick, but it’s my personal choice. The Beastmaster would utilize the aid of various monsters to overcome its enemies, acting as a pseudo-summoner. However, the Beastmaster itself would be no slouch for melee combat, differentiating itself from Summoner by hacking at enemies with an axe or other weapon, making attacks in tandem with its animal.
In FFT, this was primarily a niche Blue Mage job, where controlling monsters was more a fun little gimmick than anything. In fact, this would be a fun limited job (if the devs could make it different from Blue Mage… somehow).
Give the Beastmaster a pair of axes or a big ol’ mallet, and you’ve got yourself a cool melee DPS. However, you’d need to change it quite a bit from the Tactics version. You’d need a basic melee combo, and much more monster interactivity. You’d also probably need a permanent summon, so that the Beastmaster doesn’t rely on grabbing control of Adds or something.
A melee summoner sounds like fun, though. You could have mechanics like baiting a monster to increase your pet’s damage, teleporting to your pet for mobility, having your pet give buffs based on the companion released… There’s a lot there! Whether the pet is a piece of equipment (like an offhand) or a summon (like the different Eidolons), there’s plenty you could unpack. And there are enough skills from Final Fantasy XI’s edition of the class that the developers wouldn’t need to reinvent everything.
While I really want this to work, there isn’t a lot of precedent for the Beastmaster being anything other than a niche class. There’s a fair amount of work to be done to make this a class that fits XIV’s formula. If that wasn’t enough, the heavy armor argument might be a bit of a stretch.
Here’s another class that may fit the Garlean lifestyle, but not many other molds. The Commando is Lightning’s primary paradigm role in XIII, and admittedly isn’t that heavily armored. But, there’s actually quite a bit that you can pull from XIII to make Commando unique.
You can consider adding in mechanics from XIII, like Chain Gauges, specifically for the Commando. This would basically just make the Commando a timing-based class, with rotations dictated by the monster rather than by cooldowns. That could be cool, and incentivize the Commando being aggressive constantly to proc its chain. The chain could be split into sections, and each section could affect what abilities the class can cast, or the potency of said abilities. Maybe throw in Ruin attacks as ranged capabilities, if needed.
Alternatively, the Commando could be produced with XIV in mind, but its original game in spirit. So, you’d be collecting resources, attacking with the resources, and then even collecting more items during the fight. Picture a “Supply Drop” mechanic during the fight, which would keep you on the move while still requiring you to stay in melee range.
This is a massive stretch, but it could be legitimately cool. It’d lose some of its source game material, since the Gunbreaker already uses gunblades. But that’s not a deal-breaker; you can always slap a single dagger on the class, or give it the cool Sansetsukon that Fang uses.
Square Enix Makes One Up
While this might be the least immediately exciting, this is perhaps the most exciting in terms of game design. This means Creative Business Unit III could actively design a class based on environments and inspirations of their choice. The Sage is an example of this, though that’s currently the only class that doesn’t have any real precedent in a Final Fantasy title.
In this case, we could hop into melee in a ton of different ways. Perhaps we stick to high tech, and we get some kind of James Bond-like spy. Or, maybe we get a Magitek Cannoneer, which could pull a little bit from FFV and other titles but add more of a melee/pirate aesthetic to it.
Perhaps we move over to Radz-at-Han. If we go there, then we can reasonably abandon the high tech and look toward Eastern culture. Maybe we hark back to the legend of Giantsgall, and get a David vs. Goliath class… Or, maybe, a class focused on the blood of a giant, and we get to have a melee DPS with a gigantic hammer!
These classes would be completely new territory for Final Fantasy. They’d require more design work, granted, but could be exciting options as we move deeper into the lifecycle of one the most popular MMOs on the market.
What melee DPS class would you like to see from Final Fantasy XIV: Endwalker? Share you hopes and predictions in the comments below.
(Update, 5/14: Square Enix just announced the Reaper as the new Endwalker melee DPS class. Learn more in our Endwalker Reaper class details piece.)