Adding Depth to FFXIV’s Class System

final fantasy pupper master
Puppet Masters are second only to the monk in hand to hand fighting. They can specialize their pets to fill various roles.

I’m level 50 in Final Fantasy XIV.  I’ve started the gearing up process, begun leveling other classes, and started to figure out how I am going to make money to survive.  I’m also starting to think of ways I would begin to improve FFXIV if I was in charge of developing the game further.

One of the big changes I would make is to the class system.   I really like how one character can be all of the classes yet feel like I’m on a different character who kept all of the core progress.   I would have made fewer classes and more jobs though.  I think there should have been a lot more branching off early on leading into a lot more customization. For example, all Marauders becoming Warriors is a missed opportunity.  Why can’t Marauders branch off into Beast Master, Samurai, Warrior, etc.?  They could specialize early on and have those choices determine the availability of jobs.

The level of customization within each job could be taken further.  Instead of every Summoner receiving identical spells at predetermined levels, what if they could specialize into a particular form of summon.  Another example is the Dragoon which received none of the unique frills they had in XI – no wyvern pet, no breath attacks, nothing special about their lance.  The Dragoon is just a melee dps.  I would give every class more flavor.  Again, Dragoons could specialize into breath attacks, polearms, or their wyvern pet, each providing something beneficial and unique to the game.

final fantasy samurai
Samurai could benefit from supporting classes. Take Samurai as a Warrior for more physical damage, or as a NInja for evasion based abilities.

I really like the idea of supporting classes.  Take the Samurai job for example.  What if you could be any number of base classes then become a Samurai.  Being a Warrior would give your Samurai more of a physical attack approach, a Thief could offer sneak attacks, Ninja would mean you could evade more, etc.

Even without a deeper level of customization, simply adding more ways to splinter off than just a straight Marauder to Warrior — even keeping the abilities granted on level — would make for a more ‘diverse’ playing field.

A lot of this can come down the road in expansions.  Like I’ve said before, nothing about the system now is ‘bad’ but it lacks creativity.  The current class system works for a themepark gear treadmill where melee dps, ranged dps, heals, and tanks are needed to get a job done.  I would like it to be more.

  • I don’t really like the idea of “specializing.” I agree that some of the classes could use more flavor, but the way you’ve described specializing is too much like WoW’s (and so many other’s) skill tree. By the end of my tenure in WoW, I really felt like the skill tree system was holding things back far too much, and when I started to see it leak into other games (some that aren’t even online) I got just plain sick of it. I really just don’t want to see it anymore, but especially not in FF XIV.

    A better fit for a Final Fantasy game would be to give players more skills, and then decide which ones they want on their bars. This could let you “specialize,” but in most cases specializing in a Final Fantasy game isn’t the best option. I really enjoyed the stress of deciding things like Cure vs. Cure 2 vs. Cure All in FFXI, and feel like they should really shift some of the focus in that direction. As it is right now, I feel like I’m just going through the motions of several different button combinations in order to do the most damage/keep the most hate/keep people topped off. I hardly look at my mana bar and wonder if I should save the entire party with a Cure All or top off the tank and hope they can keep holding hate.

  • @Cyprus: I’m not suggesting WoW talent trees at all. I’m suggesting exactly what you are: more abilities. You just get access to those abilities when you choose what type of X you want to be. That’s option 1.

    Option 2 is that you get jobs and those jobs benefit from the class you use as the support class. So if I’m a Monk and I become a puppeteer my h2h is better but if I’m a WHM and I go Puppeteer my automatons healing is better. Something like that.

    The problem right now is that people are being defined by their items not their abilities. I see people shout their class + relic and that’s it. Not their role or their resume — their gear. The FFXIV IP is full of amazing jobs/classes that could easily dissolve this gear-centric play.

  • More classes would solve so many issue i have with the game currently.

    They could essentially open up so many more different play styles if they would increase the light party size to 6 and add in all of the classes/jobs from XI.

  • Many people are unfamiliar with the original FFXI, and how it had a tiny world and a few classes.

    One expansion later, the game expanded HUGELY with a large number of classes added on, and that game was what was released in NA.

    I expect the same will happen with FFXIV, as they start to branch out and release more story, world, and class content. “Discovering” where the Samurai come from before unlocking Samurai would make sense for example.