Blue Mage is one of those subjects where the overall community places you in two groups – those that would suck of Yoshida for anything the Final Fantasy XIV development team do or complain about every single thing in great detail but for me there is a middle ground.
Now to be fair when writing up this article I feel it is worth saying something – I quite dislike Blue Mages in every single Final Fantasy game the appeared in. Blue Mages never really felt like a glass cannon or anything but rather just a character or job you have to go out of your way to level and this feeling does carry over to Final Fantasy XIV for me but before we go into that we got to talk about what is Blue Mage in Final Fantasy XIV.
Blue Mage is the first limited job which basically means a job that cannot use Duty Finder (we will get onto this in a bit), capped at level 50 and unable to do current content. The idea behind this is the development team did not want to limit Blue Mage by making it weak (again we will get onto this in a bit) so instead it became a solo job that has its own unique content behind it which you can enter after learning certain skills.
The skills themselves are mostly learnt by watching a target do an attack and then murdering it and if you are lucky you will see the skill learnt. In theory this is a good idea and if you treat Blue Mage as content that should last over time compared to rushing it right away it can be enjoyable. The problem with this however is you always need certain skills to be able to do the Masked Carnival (going into more details about this later) with little actual different ways of doing the fights.
The skills that you can unlock do have different uses such as White Wind for healing and so on but none of them feels overpowered in the slightest and this is something I am currently wondering about Blue Mage due to the original intent. Having played around with Blue Mage and seeing other people discuss the potencies of these skills you would find its already pretty balanced around the other casters at level 50. With the skills potency in mind and the fact so many mobs are immune to so much makes you wonder why Blue Mage isn’t a normal job in the first place and although I have heard about Yoshida’s answer that people would be forced to get certain skills to do jobs – why is that a problem?
The idea behind Blue Mage is for people go out and unlock the skills. If the development team was worried that Blue Mages would be missing certain skills in duties then just make it so they MUST have those skills equipped before allow them to queue up in Duty Finder. It could also be included in the job quests that the player is guided to unlock those skills otherwise they would not be allowed to enter Duty Finder. People who play Blue Mage is well aware of what the job involves and with Blue Mage not being overpowered in the slightest I really do not understand why it was not a normal job. With all that said and done however I did enjoy going around learning the skills and trying to unlock what I could by myself.
The main trick behind Blue Mage however is not just learning the skills and not using them for anything but rather for the new content known as Masked Carnival. The Masked Carnival itself is pretty fun and enjoyable and it is something I can see myself doing weekly even if it is just to get more Allied Seals so I can gear up my squad using the Twin Adder Hunt gear.
The fights in the Masked Carnival range from just killing with brute force, having to make sure you got a certain skill or having to figure it out and see what they are immune against, what debuffs you can use and then create an attack pattern from there but this is where the big problem with the Masked Carnival comes in – pretty much most fights can be won by spamming Drain.
The Masked Carnival, while a good idea, seems to honestly be content that they could have released for ALL jobs such as how the Battle Square in Final Fantasy VII allowed anyone to fight in there regardless how badly you leveled them up. Very few fights in the Masked Carnival could not be done by any other job in the game and even for those that might need extra help there is already a system in place to add random skills – Eureka. I feel Masked Carnival would have been more suited to be released for every single job and while I know certain jobs would be unfairly balanced in there I do feel it should be a shot for people to try.
So now we cycle back around to Blue Mage. Blue Mage itself is an interesting job for those that like the game style but I feel they limited the job for no real reason beyond “we don’t want to make it overpowered” where otherwise they could have balanced it (and seems to already be so) and just make dungeon mobs and above immune to things such as death. This would allow Blue Mage to keep its skill set for solo play and still not be overpowered for the higher level of content.
The Masked Carnival I believe is a missed chance of adding a new style of content to the game for all jobs and that this content would have been better suited in the game form in the gold saucer with Eureka skills if needed.
Overall Blue Mage is pretty fun but I do feel the enjoyment behind the job will disappear quite fast. I have no idea why it is not a normal job as it seems to be balanced well but lets hope that the fans of Blue Mage see their beloved limited job be released as a normal job in the future.