There was a phrase coined by some developer, I think perhaps of Blizzard in relation to some World of Warcraft shit, that went along the lines of:
You think you want it. But you don’t.~some Blizzard developer, probably
And oh, how true those words were.
It is often said by developers that players do not know or understand what they actually want from their games and that, if they had so much as an iota of information about how those things would be implemented, they would probably stop asking for them. I would like to go on the record and state that I think 90% of the time these claims are absolute bullshit, and are used as cop-out excuses behind why a developer just didn’t bother going the extra length to put in a highly desired feature. In fact, I’m willing to bet that a vast majority of the time these developers need to get their metaphorical shit kicked in for being so “holier than thou” about their products, as if they could piss on all of their players and then still expect them to buy their products.
Sod off with that.
However, there are fringe cases where these infamous words actually turn out to be quite true. Final Fantasy XIV’s recently implemented Blue Mage, the first “limited job” of the game, happens to be one such case. Actually, it’s quite an impressive clusterfuck of disappointment and sadness from all sides; there really hasn’t been a victor in this scenario.
It began with the players. “We want a blue mage!” they cried, referencing the class from its XI incarnation specifically and notably not referencing the stoic furry from X or the monster-gobbling terror tutor from VIII. Which, I will say here, is a shame and I feel like our Warriors of Light should absolutely be allowed to swallow a Behemoth whole with no visible repercussion. Clearly, Quistis is the superior Blue Mage – and I’m getting off topic. “We want a blue mage!” the players all demanded, and head developer and captain of the FFXIV ship Yoshi-P responded in kind:
No. You don’t.Yoshi-P, probably.
These aren’t real quotes guys, please roll with the humour.
Actually, he said a bit more than that. The developer told the insistent players that what they were asking for wasn’t something he felt he could implement into the game in a way that was balanced. Quite clearly, he told them why he felt that their demand simply couldn’t be met; not in a way they wanted. Player demand did not cease however, and the question would keep coming back to haunt the man (and if you’ve seen how he shrinks behind tables when asked the same questions years in a row even after giving clear answers, you have to feel bad for the guy.)
Finally, at the Fan Festival in America in 2018, Yoshi-P made a huge announcement together with the CEO of Square Enix itself: they would be adding Blue Mage to the game. Fans the world over cheered. Everybody got excited. Angels sang. Jesus himself wept. It was the news everybody had wanted to hear! And then the announcement continued: it would be a “limited job” – the first of its kind in the game, in fact. Jesus wept a little harder and some of the angels fell suddenly off-key. The job would be a “solo job” and would have a level cap of 50. By this point Jesus was pretty much inconsolable and the choir of angels sounded more like a novice and poorly practised death metal band.
The community became polarised, and there would be scant little else offered from Square to tide over the increasing number of questions. A few held out hope that the job would still be what they wanted, while others began to consider the notion that just perhaps Yoshi-P had been right the first time when he had told them that the BLU they expected to get wouldn’t actually be what they did get.
Lo and behold, BLU has since released and it is a fucking mess.
Players made the mistake of pestering and shouting and yelling for a job while not considering the idea that it wouldn’t be the exact incarnation of it that they wanted. Square, on the other hand, hold equal blame for bumblefucking their way through this situation by deciding to release the class at all, and by falsely advertising it when they decided they would. They promised a “solo class” and the vague nature in which they referenced the skills it could learn, as well as the way in which they kept referring to it as a solo job, promoted an air of mysticism that made the class feel powerful. Players, quite fairly, assumed that a job called a “solo class” that was level capped at 50 – A Realm Reborn content that was at least three to four years old – would be powerful. Perhaps even a little broken. It was, after all, not allowed to play in higher levelled content.
Nope. That assumption was wrong. The Blue Mage is not some ungodly powerhouse and my dreams of being able to consume a live morbol twenty times my character’s size in front of my party and strike fear into the deepest recesses of their little hearts has been utterly crushed. Instead it’s a comparatively weaker DPS, tank and healer when compared to other jobs of the actual role, and getting all of the genuinely powerful skills is a horrific grind that makes even mount farming seem nice by comparison. Worse still, all of the fun combo skills it has access to don’t work on the vast majority of bosses in the game, even in the overworld.
It’s a gimmick class, and the gimmick of that class wears off real fucking fast when you realise how you can’t use the gimmicks anywhere – not even in the level 50 content you do have access to.
So today, if nothing else, let’s all learn a lesson from this absolute tragedy of events. Firstly: sometimes, just sometimes, developers aren’t wrong when they tell you that the thing you’re asking for isn’t something they can provide. Secondly: developers, just sometimes it’s probably not worth giving in to your whiny players just to see if you can get them to shut up. Because they haven’t shut up. Now they’re all whining about how shit this class is and how they think you didn’t bother to develop it and how they wished you hadn’t developed it. See? You’ve solved nothing. You’ve just given them more reason to be whiny.
I’m pretty sure Jesus is still crying.