A case of the blues: Why I love FFXIV’s newest caster

A Case of the Blues: Why I Love FFXIV’s Newest Caster-feature

Recently, I started getting back into Final Fantasy XIV after a bit of a break. It’s been an interesting learning experience; I really don’t remember any of my combos for my main classes, and I can’t for the life of me remember to right-click to interact with stuff.

As I was running around Limsa Lominsa, looking more like a lost toddler than a Warrior of Light, I happened to spot a new quest in the main square. Like many other quests, it was wonderfully punny, and I was immediately interested.

Then, I noticed the icon.

See, I knew there were new classes coming to the game—including the iconic blue mage, one of the OG classes in Final Fantasy games—but I thought I was going to have to wait until the expansion to play them. Apparently, I was wrong.

Just for a little background, other than Square Enix’s second attempt at an MMO for its saving-grace franchise, the only real experience I have with Final Fantasy is through World of Final Fantasy. Which, for many hardcore fans, probably doesn’t actually count because it’s more like a Pokemon game with a bit of FF lore thrown in. 

So I actually have no clue whatsoever about the blue mage. 

I knew it was cool, though, and that it was an original class, so I immediately started my journey to blue-mage-hood. I figured it would give me an excuse to be a noob again, at the very least!

And for my fellow blue mage enthusiasts, here’s what I’ve learned about it so far.

It's true to lore—kind of.

The original premise behind the blue mage was that it learns all its magic from the enemies it faces. And FFXIV does a good job of incorporating that premise into its version of the blue mage: essentially, you get a spellbook that’s weirdly reminiscent of the original sightseeing logs, where you have very vague clues about what regions you need to go to in order to learn your spells.

It’s a really cool challenge, and I’m enjoying the mission so far!

But after many, many hours of taking damage to see what spells I could learn, I learned that it’s only a very select group of enemies that the blue mage can actually learn from.

It kind of makes sense, when you consider just how many different enemies there are in FFXIV. Especially compared to how many there would have been in the original games. But it’s very useful to know that ahead of time, before you go beat up a bunch of wharf rats in the low-level part of La Noscea and wonder why you aren’t learning anything fun!

The spells it learns are cool.

When you first start playing the blue mage, it feels a little bit like you’re a water-type Pokemon learning its first moves. You get to stand there while a squid has a one-sided Super Soaker fight with you, and then you learn Water Cannon. It feels a little lame.

But it doesn’t take long for the spell list to get cool, especially when you consider that you can essentially build your own spell list based on your spellbook.

My personal favourite so far (I’m only level 26) is 1000 Needles, that same move used by cactuars to absolutely wreck players. You’ll probably want to be at least close to level 24 to learn it, but once you do, you can do 1000 points of damage to just about everything. 

Which comes in super handy because…

It's designed for solo play.

It might seem a little weird to design a class for an MMO that doesn’t actually require you to party up with other players, but I actually love the limited class idea introduced with the blue mage for two reasons.

One, much like my unwillingness to play League by myself, I have a bit of social anxiety about running FFXIV dungeons on my own. Solo DPS queues take forever, and I’ve seen too many tanks and healers get verbally abused for doing their jobs.

Two, it seems like it’s a lot easier to level in open world with the blue mage than with other classes. I managed to make it to level 26 in a matter of hours just by doing FATEs and going after random spawns, and I really don’t remember it being this easy to level in open world with my paladin!

I suspect they may have actually changed the EXP structure for the class to make up for the fact that if you want to run dungeons, you pretty much have to solo them.

It's surprisingly cheap on mana.

No matter what game you play, casters have an unparalleled knack for blowing through their mana pools. I can consistently run out of mana as a white mage or a summoner, but even as a bard, unless I have buffs and Foe Requiem up, I never do. That’s actually why I never really got into the black mage role, whose spells get more expensive the more you use them.

One of my favourite parts about the blue mage is just how conservative it is when it comes to its mana pool. At level 26, the most expensive spell I have is about 38 MP. 

The cost seems to scale as you level up (at first, Water Cannon is 1 MP, but by 26th it’s 7 MP), but even that is still ridiculously cheap.

It requires you to run some old dungeons.

One of the big issues that games like FFXIV run into is that after a while, when they release new content, players will stop doing legacy content. You know, things like the Coils of Bahamut. Very few players still do those runs regularly, and if you don’t have a pre-made, the queue times are ridiculous.

So I think it’s really cool as a new-ish player that you have to run this content to learn some of the really epic spells for the blue mage. I love that FFXIV is trying to revitalize core content that I’ve never been able to run, but I also think it will be the most annoying part of the blue mage for me, because I honestly can’t imagine being able to solo those runs—or finding enough friends for a pre-made. 

So far, I’m really enjoying the blue mage, and I’m looking forward to the challenge of finding and collecting all my spells! Have you tried the blue mage? What do you think of it?

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