There are already rumor about SE going to release new expansion, new zones and new storyline few days ago. But they certainly used a bigger move than I expected: New jobs. Of course new area and new storyline is welcomed, and would certainly give some new life to this 10 year old MMORPG. But new jobs, that's a bigger special move than above all else; it's unexpected, hard to execute, and certainly a kill them all desperate but cheap special move, shows dev team's determination to save this dying game.
By releasing new jobs, they're going to face a challenge that they're unable to solve for years: job balance.
For past years, FFXI's player base decreased fairly fast, and every once a while we heard "This game is dying" voice. In 2009 we heard this game is dying, SE's new mini-expansion is unable to save it. So SE used their first special move: New lv cap to lv 99, plus new Abyssea Expansion.
Abyssea not just introduced entirely new game mechanics, but also changed a lot of old FFXI fundamentals that made the game interesting for a while: Super high WS dmg, low man friendly content, fast obtainable gears, invincible brew, crit-hit dmg pwned all etc. But most important of all, it's "Relic for Causals": Empyrean weapons. Empy satisfied causal and average player's dream to obtain a top tier weapon. Golden rule of MMORPG No.1 is, you play if you want an item. For those who is unable, and will never get a relic at 75 era, Empyrean weapon is something made ppl stay a lot longer. For a game that stayed at lv 75 for years, a new lv 99 cap is also interesting, made players wonder what will the game be like at lv 99.
Of course, novelty doesn't stay long. After everyone and their mother got their empy, and tired of Abyssea thing, you see ppl started quitting again. Lv 99 era isn't nearly as exciting as Abyssea era. Although SE been handing out quite a lot of items post Abyssea, such as Dyna revamp and solo-able relic, or Neo Nyzul fix and hand out top tier armor that can be done in weeks, none of those item stop the decrease of population.....and certainly it's not enough to. They tried to come up with new event legion, apparently it was also quite a failure. What are everyone going to do after they obtain all those best gears again? Made more gears to trash old gear? Or just let them stay on top tier so everyone quits after they got them? Any new event, it either has to hand out top tier gear to attract ppl, or they will be unpopular like Legion, new limbus and WoE. Either way it isn't gonna work, unless there's something big, and able to change the game fundamentally, that doesn't rely on handing out items.
In that way, 5th expansion, plus new job seems to be one of the strongest, and yet most risky solution. Just when nobody expect SE to add anymore expansion, let alone new jobs, SE decided to make this move, shows how desperately they are to save this game, that they have to use this cheap move.
I'm always against adding new jobs in this game tbh. This many jobs, it just doesn't work in a MMO, unless SE has the ability to come up with events with more freedom to use different job combo.
At this point of games, only a few, really few jobs that shines in EG group event, and there are some jobs that doesn't have much use in EG, and pretty much are play for fun/solo type of job. EG job is pretty much WAR DRK SCH BRD WHM COR SMN only, with some use of PLD, BLM and THF, every other job is really just play for fun, play for love or play for solo.
In terms of melee DD, WAR DRK dominates the realm of melee DD, with SAM MNK fairly close if player has good gear, and DRG can only catch up if you have Mythic+super elite gears. So we already getting surplus of melee DD jobs, that some job ended up having to sit out unless you're truly dedicated. I rarely invite a DRG to VW, unless it's a pimp DRG that I know of or unless I'm fighting T3, which it will die in 1.5~3 min regardless of setup. I almost never invite it to Prov run though. I also often skip SAM in Prov, seeing majority of SAMs I pt with falls behind DRK WAR in Prov, I stopped caring about it. And I have to admit I mostly invite MNK to prov for proc.....inb4 you just pt with gimp SAM MNK etc, an average geared DRK and 2hr reso WAR is just stronger than average geared SAM and MNK in prov.
The realm of melee DD is just like this, strongest survive. Of course you can argue that each DD has it's own unique aspect, such as MNK has blunt dmg, DRG has piercing etc. But at this point of game, it's just not that relevant.
Adding even more melee DD doesn't really work no? It's either has to be as strong as WAR DRK, or it will become next loldrg, a job nobody want you to play unless you have Mythic.
There are other melee jobs, such as PLD NIN BLU that should take the tank position, but sadly tank is rarely used now and more like "holding" NM nowadays, thanks to the flaw in enmity system.
In terms of ranged DD, we have RNG, and pretty much RNG is best at it.(Pretty certain other ranged or pet job isn't as strong as RNG atm). Not that ranged dmg is that good nowadays, but it's unlikely we'd need another ranged job when melee TP burn>all now.
In terms of mage jobs and support, BLM are best nukers, but nuke dmg is rarely needed nowadays when melee TP burn>all. WHM is best healer, so no point to add another healer and become more subpar healer when we already have RDM and SCH. SCH is there for embrava and stun, and slowly replacing BLM's stun duty and BRD's magic haste duty. RDM is supposed to be the debuff/buff job, but debuff in this game is fairly pointless, and no game breaking RDM buff at all, making RDM one of the most irrelevant job on the job list unless in some rare occasion you need CS. COR is there to buff DDs against higher lv NM if attack uncapped, nothing more, nothing less, every other buffs are irrelevant.
And for pet jobs, ppl use it in WOE the most, rest aren't all that useful besides solo sadly.
Rest of the jobs, especially the hybrids, PUP BLU DNC, are play for fun and replaceable(BLU can proc in VW, so technically it's still a half EG job though)
The problem is, this game has every type of jobs and every role covered. And majority of events already has most optimal setup. With majority of player has multiple job leveled, pretty much everyone already using optimal setup for every event. There are just no room to fit in any new job at all, either it's going to be a new game breaking job and making old job shitty, or become new PUP DNC RDM that no one really care about it. The events in this game, just doesn't have room for different strat when it comes to efficiency.
So why are SE adding new jobs when this game doesn't NEED new jobs?
A cheap move to save the game, obviously.
Adding new job is certainly exciting, and will add more chemistry to the game. It will draw attention, a lot of attention. But in practice, it's mostly a move that is just there to tell the world to come back and play FFXI a bit more, but nothing else. It won't solve the fundamental problem of this game, that everything has an optimal setup, and certain job will be dead or replaced as time progress. I can still see the tragedy of RDM coming, hot mage at 75, slowly become lolRDM when SCH getting more and more mage spot in event. I can see 3 years later with even more new event, some job still get to sit out of the new event, except before it was 10 jobs sitting out, 3 years later it's 12 jobs sitting out. I can see ppl will lv 2 new jobs when they're out, play with them, have fun with them, try them in EG, after a while nothing will change still, EG event will still be dominate by a few jobs. Either new jobs replaced old jobs and become new most optimal setup, or it never get to replace old job and have to sit out.
I call it cheap move because adding new jobs will never solve the fundamental problem of this game, despite it gets ppl's attention. 3 years later I can still see players QQing on official forum; "Fix this job, fix that job, this game sucked I'm quitting".
Are there any way to solve this fundamental problem? Sadly I can't think of any, besides delete some jobs on the job list, or maybe making active event 100 instead of 3, so every job gets a bit of advantage in certain event. But then new problem will occur, players must gear for 5~10+ jobs if they want to do all events, won't have enough inv for all jobs they have, and must abandon elite play style.(Elite play style means only gear 1~2 jobs, has a lot of situational gears, and gear those 1~2 jobs very well with perfect gear every slot and swap situational gears for everything)
Either way, I only see new job creates more problem, more jobs get to sit out, more people get to abandon elite play style due to lack of inv.
However, since SE is unlikely to solve the fundamental problem of this game(and many MMORPG in general), I guess keep going for it is the only way to save this game. Ignore all the job balance, ignore all the so called "lol jobs", and just let it be for the sake of fun......hey, despite ppl lol@ PUP, there are still PUP lovers too.
We already have too many jobs, now we get more.
Isn't it nice?
Or isn't it an nightmare?
Or isn't it an nightmare?