When asked about FFXIV, players often regard it as a great MMO; we have the ability to level all classes from one character, craft, gather, such with no limitations. Yoshida and the team have done an unparalleled job maintaining balance compared to many other available games. We, as fans, are eternally grateful for the effort put into the game. However, it is well known also that FFXIV lacks in one department: customization of your class. Prior to 3.2, our only choices of customization were:
*Allocation of 35(30 at lvl50) points
*Cross Class Skills
*Selection of 1 or 2 pieces of equal Ilvl for gear advancement.
The allocation of points is highly worthless to the majority of classes, save tanks pre 3.2, and aside from BLM and MAYBE some healers, the rest of the (non) primary stats are worthless. The Cross Class skills also suffer due to limitations to those available and the necessity of some to perform roles (i.e. provoke). And as of 3.2, the selection of 1 or 2 pieces has been adjusted because we can now put in upto 2 materia, sacrificing one of the stats to gain stats we would choose.
Don’t get me wrong, the ability to choose a small amount (upto 24 points) of a secondary stat is a fantastic addition that allowed players to push items and even alleviate some of the less desirable stats such as Parry and Accuracy on gear, but this is an untapped resource I feel has the greatest potential to give players exactly what they want, choice.
One of the main cited reasons the dev team has not wanted to put some interesting stats and bonuses on gear is balance: If a ilvl 250 boots has +Refresh I (10mp3), and the 270 boots has just raw stats, a player might be hesitant to upgrade, plus, how does the dev team justify itemization? What if the 270 just had +5% Cure I potency, how do they balance? So devs will play it safe and make 250 boots have lower stats than 270 boots. My idea? Use materia!
Materia can easily fill the role. To reference a game that did this well I would like to point out Carbine’s Wildstar; they took WoW’s “Tier Set Bonus” and instead granted it to “runes” or their version of materia. This allowed you to carry that bonus over while getting new gear, speccing your character how you played it. With raid tier 220+ gear all granting Materia, this is something that could be added quite easily and potentially increase value in the Materia Market.
How to do it:
My proposal is to have both ROLE materia and CLASS materia. ROLE materia would be shared for the roles, such as Healer, Tank, Melee, Caster, Ranged, and the CLASS would be, well class specific.
Role Materia could only be equipped into Head, Chest, Gloves, Legs and Boots, whereas Class can only be equipped in Weapon and Soul Crystal. Each piece can only hold one. At that point you release different ways to get them. Role materia would be obtainable as a chance from Lvl 60 (or current end) dungeons complete, and doing your roulletes would grant fragments, allowing a player to collect X amount of Role fragments and trading in say 5 Rank materia for a materia base, allowing them to craft the materia that they want. If they are not able to craft, a new “will not be traded” slot can be added requesting a Meld where a crafter can craft it for them. Class materia on Major raid patches would be similar and drop from 8 man Raid content, with fragments from your clear, and can trade Lore for a Base materia to do the same. With the catch up patches, 24 can drop 2 or 3 fragments as well.
Overall, The materia system has potential, and it would also give reason to love the slot for the Soul Crystal as well. My hope is that by making the potential extra stats separate from gear that we gain, we can balance the materia themselves making it easier and allowing some more customization.
PS, please use the PVP profile as an idea for class customization too, seems like another untapped resource.