If you have been circling around the FFXIV communities as of late, a lot of buzz has been generated over a particular image that may or may not feature the addition of a second job: Scholar (a.k.a. SCH). There has been good arguments supporting the plausibility of SCH and some speculating that it is merely AF for the classes themselves.
Now, I wouldn’t be too surprised if SE has decided to hold another card up their sleeve. It would be a great surprise to many of us who have been sitting on our hands waiting for Phase 3, the chance to dabble in the new content, and the opportunity to try out the Arcanist class and Summoner job after release. By having another class and job alongside Arcanist and Summoner, SE would have added another set to increase their class/job combination from a total of sixteen (this is including Arcanist and Summoner to the existing fourteen) to eighteen classes and jobs based on the Disciples of War and Magic alone.
With this new set of classes and jobs, the Disciple of Magic class would now considered to be almost even with the amount of Disciple of War classes/jobs currently available in the game. SCH would also change the way we currently look at PvP right from the start, depending on which iteration of SCH they use or how they decide to handle XIV’s version of SCH. In the Final Fantasy lore, SCH typically has access to both white and black magic but are more commonly known for their ability to analyze and assess their enemy’s weakness with sensory magic. They would also be able to use abilities that would allow them greater potency from items, further enhancing the usability of such items. With this information at hand, groups would be able to identify elemental strengths or weaknesses of a particular opponent or become a secondary support alongside CNJ and WHM.
The skeptical side of me, however, reasons that this may not be the secondary class/job we are hoping for. One of the reasons why I believe this to be so is because Yoshida has insisted upon the game having a low barrier of entry for new MMO players. This is easy to understand when you consider there will be an influx of new players from the PS3 version. The amount of MMOs available on any console is minuscule compared to what is available on the PC market; there is a chance that players trying out Final Fantasy XIV may have never dabbled in Final Fantasy XI, DCUO, or any other MMO title that is available for the console. Having eighteen classes/jobs for just Disciple of Magic and War is daunting enough, but trying to understand the difference between the two, the necessity for each in particular situations, and then tossing Disciple of Land and Hand into the mix? I can imagine that some will find that sort of information to be quite daunting and intimidating; especially if they are wandering through Eorzea for the first time and are trying to make heads or tails of this game.
Another problem I foresee is if we are looking at a 1:1 ratio of classes and jobs, then eventually we will become overburdened by an overwhelming amount of classes and jobs if additions such as Musketeer, Ninja and Samurai are within our distant future. Some have suggested a 1:2 system with classes offering a branched job system. Arcanist, for example, could offer the ability for you to choose between Summoner or Scholar. It would allow more jobs into the mix such as Dark Knight, Musketeer, and more, but then we get back to the same previously mentioned problem with newcomers who are already baffled by the difference of classes and jobs on its own.
Rubicon and I discussed the issues briefly last night, and we agreed that the addition of another job such as SCH would be better suited for an expansion. Veteran players still have a lot of content to wade through with the inclusion of PvP, new quests, areas, raids, FATEs, and ARC and SMN. New players? They will get all of that and more since they will be experiencing XIV: ARR with a fresh set of eyes. What they have at the moment should be more than enough to satiate them until the arrival of a new expansion, and would help them after they have had the chance to dabble in Eorzea for awhile.
Either way, I plan to welcome SCH with open arms. Yoshida has mentioned he wishes to include more roles for the Disciples of Magic to dabble in. Scholar fits that bill and will be a welcome addition if it is released at launch or later in the form of an expansion.