Written by Dragoon 14th July 2017

Have you ever wanted a Final Fantasy 14 job with the ability to both cast magic at range and stab monsters in the face up close? If so the latest expansion Stormblood has answered your prayers with the Red Mage’s sophisticated spell slinging swordplay. Try saying that three times fast. Seriously though Red Mage is one of the two new Jobs on offer in Final Fantasy 14’s newest expansion but does it’s finely honed rapier hit the mark?

The Red Mage is one of the Final Fantasy series’ staple Jobs, Jobs being the series version of the traditional RPG class system. Our introduction to it began in the very first Final Fantasy on the NES. While most Jobs have their set role the Red Mage is more of a jack-of-all-trades, giving the user access to physical sword based attacks as well as both damaging and supportive spells. This comes at the price of being weaker at each than the more specialised jobs but the versatility is more than worth it.

The Final Fantasy 14 version keeps true to this fantasy, although it skews more towards the damage side of the role with it being a DPS class. Your goal while playing Red Mage is to fill up two gauges which correspond to white magic or black magic. As you cast spells of each type its respective gauge fills up and you have to try and keep them as equal as possible, if one gets too far ahead it becomes much harder to fill up the other which delays your damage. This comes in the form of your melee attacks which get boosted by using the power in the gauges. Once your gauges are charged the idea is to dash to an enemy with your rapier, unleash a flurry of blows and then leap away to start casting magic again.

Another interesting mechanic is the dual cast system. You use your quicker casting spells to activate dualcast which you can then use to cast a powerful but normally slow casting spell instantly. The thing is you will never cast those spells without dualcast so it's not all that different from the usual combo system, it just allows you to choose which spell to finish your combo with. The Red Mages style of fighting is so satisfying and different from what the other Jobs offer. It's almost like a dance and is very easy to get the hang of, Square Enix did a fantastic job of adapting the classic Red Mage style to fit this MMO offering.

The Red Mages Job story has you learning the ways of Red Magic after witnessing a crimson garbed Mi'qote (Final Fantasy 14s race of cat-like humans) named X'rhun dispatch a group of men single-handedly. From there you learn of a mysterious group who have been kidnapping people and turning them to mindless slaves and set out on a journey to put an end to it in typical Warrior of Light fashion. The story from there is quite a thrilling spectacle which sheds some light on our mysterious Mi'qote teacher’s past as well as introducing us to some new friends.

While the Red Mage may be another DPS Job in an already jam packed roster of them it does more than enough to make the cut. I'm still not letting Square Enix off with the fact that the only new Jobs in this expansion were DPS ones, meaning queues for dungeons are horrendously long since everyone is playing them. Still that doesn't detract from the quality and polish the Red Mage offers and as someone who has played both melee and ranged DPS classes before I can safely say it takes the best from both worlds. Feel free to give it a go and let me know if you agree with me. I'll always be up for crossing rapiers with another Red Mage but until then en garde!

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