With Final Fantasy XIV returning to storefronts after a six-week absence, you might be planning on getting into Square Enix‘s hugely successful MMO. After four massive expansions, it’s easy to miss some of the content that’s scattered across Eorzea as you make your way to Endwalker. So if you’re a new player or even a returning one, you may want to consider checking out Blue Mage.
One of the game’s greatest strengths is its narrative. Anyone who has played it can probably agree that it’s easy to burn yourself out if you’re just doing story content. I could feel myself on the verge of burnout after finishing up Shadowbringers’ 5.0 content. Thanks to the Endwalker expansion, I was laser-focused on blasting my way through, doing whatever was necessary to reach the latest content. It’s safe to say that I wondered what I was missing out on as I peered at all those blue exclamation marks polluting my map, and I set out to clear them out, using Blue Mage to do it.
A Quick History Lesson The Blue Mage is a class that has been around for a long time and appeared in many different titles throughout the franchise starting with Final Fantasy V on the SNES. The class was unlocked after a certain moment in the game’s story, giving the party the ability to learn specific spells from their enemies in battle. Since then, it’s appeared in almost every major entry in some form. In 7, there’s an enemy skill materia, Quistis’ limit break was Blue Magic and in 9, Quina could learn spells by eating weakened enemies.
The job was also a playable class in the franchise’s previous MMO, Final Fantasy XI, added to the game when Treasures of Aht Urhgan was released. The job filled a variety of roles thanks to their ability to modify their stats when equipping certain monster spells. Needed a tank? With the right spells, Blue Mage had you covered. Sadly though, the “way of the Blue” isn’t quite as useful in Final Fantasy XIV.
Blue Mage in the Context Final Fantasy XIV If you’re new to the game, unlocking the Blue Mage class in Final Fantasy XIV requires players to have reached level 50 with any disciple of war or magic and completed “The Ultimate Weapon” quest. Then you just need to find the Zealous Yellowjacket in Limsa Lominsa’s lower decks to start, “Out of the Blue”. While the goal of a Blue Mage is to master the abilities of their enemies, it’s a bit different in XIV than it was in XI.
For those that don’t know or might not have unlocked the job, Blue Mage, in the context of XIV, is a “limited job”. Being a “limited job” means it doesn’t quite have access to the same content as the others do. Currently, Blue Mage is capped at level 70 and has access to content offered up to the Stormblood expansion. Although players can tweak the settings in the game’s “Duty Finder” to dive into dungeons either solo or with a synchronized party, they can’t participate in the Duty Roulette either. Did I mention that it can’t partake in any of the Main Scenario Quests either? You can check out the job guide on the official website to see what else it can’t do.
When I first learned about Blue Mage’s “limited” status, I dropped it almost as quickly as I picked it up. For years, the Soul Crystal sat in my character’s inventory, sadly gathering a thick coat of dust. Thanks to the game’s “Novice Network”, a channel in the game that encourages mentors to help out new and returning players, I decided to dig out that ol’ Blue Mage crystal. After slapping on some cheap gear, I set out to learn some new spells, and that’s how I discovered just how much I was truly missing.
Welcome to the Masked Carnivale!
One of the tougher aspects of being a Blue Mage is the “Masked Carnivale”. Blue’s whole storyline basically revolves around participation in this unique, solo arena where the players compete for the crowd’s entertainment. There are even portions of the Blue Mage’s quest line that can only be accessed by obtaining specific spells or taking down one of the bosses in the Carnivale.
As stated above, the Masked Carnivale is an arena-based mode where only one player may enter. There are currently 31 events to take part in, most of which contain multiple acts with increasing difficulty. Some of the earlier events can be done by simply blasting your foes with a quick spell but as you progress, they begin to feel more like chaotic little puzzles. The first act becomes more like an introduction to the mechanics you’ll face in the next. Sometimes, enemies may have certain weaknesses that need to be exploited, and one wrong move can end your performance quickly.
Take for instance Carnivale #8, known as “A Bomb-edy of Error”. This event consists of two acts, and your opponents are the franchise’s explosive “Bomb” monsters. You can quickly kill all the bombs with one simple wind-based spell in the first act. In the second act, however, players need to think on their feet as they take on the “Bomb Progenitrix”. A much larger, tougher bomb once known as the “Mom” and “Dad” Bombs in earlier entries in the franchise. You can’t interrupt Progenitrix, but it is susceptible to being frozen, and players need to use the three ice Bombs to their advantage.
See the world they said, achieve power beyond your wildest dreams they said… In order to conquer the Masked Carnivale, though, you’re going to need to scour Eorzea for all manner of spells. Blue Mage becomes a wonderful way to reacquaint yourself with XIV’s old content many players don’t visit anymore. Remember what it was like to do those low-level dungeons in the earlier days? I sure didn’t.
There are currently 104 spells to learn, and some of them are absolutely essential to clearing the Carnivale. Diamondback for instance, is the only spell that will help you survive your enemy’s strongest attacks, attacks that would otherwise kill you in a hit or two. Aetherial Mimicry is another spell that Blue Mages want as it allows them to “mimic” the class of other players. While you won’t become a Reaper or a Paladin, the spell provides a stat buff and enhances certain spells. Blue Mages rolling through dungeons with the “Healer” buff provided by Mimicry makes them near unkillable.
Discover something new After its rebirth in 2013, Final Fantasy XIV has become a massive MMO with a ton of content tucked away in every corner. You’re bound to miss something. A questline, a dungeon, or even a raid, especially if you’re a new player looking to get to Endwalker. That’s where one of the other perks of Blue Mage comes in, as some spells can only be learned from specific monsters.
When I started playing the game, it was some time after the game had made its way to the PS4, and I believe Stormblood was close to being released. By the time I got to Stormblood, we were well into Shadowbringers. I never realized how much I was missing out on until I started playing a Blue Mage. While it’s no secret side quests unlock new dungeons and raid content, there was much of it I had yet to unlock. The first Hildebrand questline alone unlocks two dungeons with exclusive spells to learn from them.
Limitations Are What Make it Great The Blue Mage is a gigantic class, and after having leveled it to 70, I can understand why Square Enix limited it the way they did. The class turns Eorza into its own little playground as it has access to a spellbook full of powerful abilities. After a bit of work, players can simply breeze through much of the content it has access to. Even leveling can be trivialized with the help of a high-level friend or Free Company member.
If there was one change I could request, though, it would be for a duty finder addition that only allowed Blue Mages to access it. You only need to see the spell cast to learn it while in a dungeon, raid, or trial and your party is full, and the content is synced. There is the party finder, but during my time trying to get specific skills, the party finder only worked out once for me. So, it would be nice if meeting up with other Blue Mages was a tad easier. I highly recommend joining the Discord server called “Blue Academy” as well. It’s got a very large, friendly community, including me and we’re all willing to help out other Blue Mages. Blue Academy also has a wonderful youtube channel with some very helpful tips and tricks to master the class.
It took me a long time to see the light, but I am delighted I eventually picked up Blue Mage. Blue Mage is an incredibly powerful class and fun to play. The class revitalized my sense of adventure within the game. Not only was I digging up quests to unlock dungeons for new spells, but I began to do it for fun. There are still things for me to unlock, but otherwise, I have Blue Mage to thank for helping me discover so much more of Eorzea than I previously had before.
Final Fantasy XIV is currently playable on the PS4, PS5, and PC.