The Final Fantasy XIV: Endwalker expansion is almost here, and so is the new Sage class. Like many FFXIV expansions, Endwalker will introduce a new playable job: the Sage, who can heal and buff teammates with powerful shielding spells. There was only one issue: the class icon for the sage had three tightly packed circular openings in it.
This presented a severe problem for players who have trypophobia: a fear of small clusters of holes. Trypophobic players can now rest easy, however, as FFXIV’s director has revealed a much more neutral redesign.
Information comes from the official Final Fantasy XIV website, in a post entitled “Sage Job Icon Design Change.” FFXIV’s producer and director Naoki Yoshida penned the update himself. For those who haven’t played Square Enix’s popular MMORPG, you can choose from a variety of classes, called “jobs,” when creating or refining your character. Each one of these jobs has a different icon associated with it, so that players can easily identify other characters — and their own, as they switch among classes.
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“When we released the new details for sage and reaper on the [Endwalker] site, we also included their icons, not thinking that they were particularly big reveals,” Yoshida wrote. “However, we soon received feedback from players all over the world, who told us that the sage icon made them uncomfortable and fearful.”
For those who didn’t see the old sage icon design, it portrayed a cluster of four small sticks, each one with a diamond-shaped nub at the end. The center of each diamond was a colorless hole. This proved to be an uncomfortable design for many trypophobic players, whose reactions ranged from discomfort to fear.
The new design simply eliminates the holes, leaving the rest of the shapes unchanged. As Yoshida discussed:
“The design concept is unchanged, with the icon being based on the four nouliths [weapons] which form the sage’s armament … To address the problem, the new icon reduces the holes while accentuating the design concept. Now, comparison will inevitably be made, and some of you may prefer the original. But we believe that designs like this are things that grow on you as you play the job, and ask for your understanding as we head into Endwalker.”
In other words: FFXIV’s latest expansion incorporated a design element that made some players feel uncomfortable. The director took their concerns to heart and issued a small, but significant, change to the design. This should hopefully make trypophobic players feel a bit more at ease while preserving the Sage job’s distinctive icon appearance.
As for the Endwalker expansion itself, it will come out on November 23 on the PC, Mac, PS4 and PS5, and cost $40. The game expects that you’ll have completed all the previous expansions, so if you haven’t played FFXIV, now is probably a good time to start. You can play the base game and the Heavensward expansion for free; after that, you’ll have to pay up.