Last week the first limited Job, Blue Mage, has been released on Final Fantasy XIV. Those who had a strong interest on it have already unlocked it, gave it a fair shake and made their opinions about it. Some even already got it to its level cap of 50 and moved on.
As for me, I have been taking my time with it, mixing leveling it and learning monster spells while trying to catch up on level 70 contents. Hence why I am just writing about it now when it is probably of interest to very few people.
Still I though it would be interesting to put my thoughts about this new Job in written form.
So what is Blue Mage?
Well, the short answer is that they are like the magical version of Pokemon. Except that instead of collecting cute monsters you collect their spells to use it yourself.
To learn the spells you have to fight the monster that has it and then kill said beast. Without dying too. Fortunately you don't need to be hit by the spell itself to learn it, just see the monster casting it. You could even just tag the monster another person is fighting and as long as the beast can cast its spell to the end there is a chance to learn it. Personally I find that last option a bit rude but it is something the game allows.
Anyway, there is a certain element of RNG to learning spells. Some monsters we can learn it in the first try while in others it takes quite a few tries. I have been lucky in that I got most of mine in the first try but there were some that took a lot of fighting before I finally learned their spells.
As for how to find which monsters give spells, there is a Blue Mage book that gives a location as a hint. It is up to you to figure which monster and which spell you can learn just from that. To me this kind of info felt too vague, too hard to plan the order to learn them, so I have been relying on this guide from the FFXIV Wiki to make my plans.
On that list what surprised me was how early we get to learn spells from monsters in dungeons. I thought it would be something later in the class leveling. I didn't expect some would come from Extreme Primals either but overall it hasn't been bothered me much.
Another detail that I didn't expect was for the Masked Carnivale to only be available when we hit level 50. I thought it was going to be something available from the start that we could use as another option to get XP. This is a bit of a disappointment but I am still curious to see how it will work. Also, there I heard rumors that depending on the mobs there we may learn certain spells too.
Then there are the Job limitations:
- Can only enter dungeons with a fixed party
- Can't enter the Palace of the Dead
- Can't do dungeons with the Grand Company Squadron
- Level cap is 50
Some people didn't like this, hoping that Square-Enix will change their mind, rebalance the Job and make it into a real one.
Personally, I am fine with the way it is. Yes, it is a bit annoying that we can't use the Duty Finder to just get a group as a Blue Mage. However it is a unfair for a party to not only get a member whose abilities they don't know anything about but also have spells that could completely trivialize the dungeon.
The way it is now if a party is entering a dungeon with a Blue Mage then they know what kind of risks they are taking.
As for the Palace of the Dead I thought this limitation was due to balance issues but as someone pointed in Twitter it is because if they did allow it then we would only have Water Cannon to work with due to how Blue Mages work. And if they allowed the Blue Mage to enter with whatever spells they've learned it would open a completely different can of issues.
Then there are people who find that certain Blue Mage spells are broken... and again, I am fine with that. Blue Mages have always been the oddball class in the Final Fantasy series. I think the way they implemented it in Final Fantasy XIV keeps up with that spirit, overpowered spells and all.
Plus as a friend pointed out, the class currently has a level cap of 50 so they can't do any of the current content. And as I said earlier, if they go to a dungeon with a party then those people know what they are signing up for and if they don't mind the content being trivialized that is their choice. Plus, it isn't any different from a group going unsynced to a dungeon for whatever reason.
With all that said, will I keep playing Blue Mage?
The answer is yes, I will. At least until level 50 to see how the rest of the storyline plays out and to check the Masked Carnivale. Going to try learning all the spells if possible too.
After that? I am not sure, I guess it will depend on what I feel like doing. It is certainly a fun diversion but not something to keep me coming back to the game and that is absolutely fine for me.
EDIT: I should note that despite all the Blue Mage's limitations they gain extra XP from killing mobs in the outer world. In the right spot with the right spells this can mean some very fast leveling.