[Warning: Long post and major speculation ahead]
Armory, Disciplines, and Guildleve. How are all of these intertwined? I've been thinking about previous FF games and thought of something.
With it's emphasis on weapons, I think that FFXIV is going to incorporate FFXII's license system via completing guildleve.
Guildleve, this game's system of accepting and completing quests, seems to be largely overlooked so far. But, as anyone who has played an MMORPG knows, questing is an integral part of leveling and improving your character, as well as advancing the story. In some games it is more prominent that in others, but it always exists in some form. Is FFXIV, lacking levels, only going to be using guildleve to advance the story? Or is there more to it? I believe it serves some other purpose.
But we haven't heard what players gain by completing these quests yet.
What restricts us from using more advanced weapons to learn new skills? This wasn't mentioned yet by SE. In most games it's level and/or stats (and in most games characters gain stats by raising their level, either automatically or by distributing them)
But, as we know, FFXIV lacks levels.
I believe the answer is guildleve.
In FFXII there was a license system. You couldn't wear certain armor or equip certain weapons unless you had a 'license' for it.
How can we obtain licenses in FFXIV?
One definition of 'leve': 1. Liberty granted by which restraint or illegality is removed; permission; allowance; license.
(Granted, this could be in reference to allowing permission to venture into resitricted areas...as mentioned on the official website. But it could mean more.)
I believe that when we begin the game we won't be choosing a class at the character creation screen. Rather, our starting 'class' will be chosen by the first guildleve that we complete.
So, say you just completed your first guildleve quest. You're granted a license to use a sword. You equip your new weapon and now you have the ability to learn new skills by using that weapon.
You go out and kill some things to raise your skills or you complete more guildleves for armor licenses, items...or whatever.
Eventually you learn all of the skills that weapon has to offer. Maybe you're just tired of being a swordsman. You want to be a mage instead, but you haven't earned a license for equipping a staff yet.
So you go back to the guild and take a new guildleve...this time it's one to earn a license to equip a staff.
You complete that leve and now you can equip a beginners staff and learn beginner magic skills.
I also think that actually learning the skills permanently will require you to use the weapon several times to actually learn the skill (or use the skill several times), FFIX style.
To learn better magic skills you need a better weapon, which means going to take a guildleve to gain a license to equip one.
I'm also going to wager that weapon related guildleves are
1.) Only available after completing many other guildleves after your last weapon license.
2.) Far more difficult that normal guildleves.
How else can we stop a starting mage from equipping an end-game staff that let's him cast Flare, Ultima, etc? There are no level restrictions.
I think that this kind of system will keep character development smooth, yet open ended. You can choose which leves you want to complete, which weapons you want licenses for, what skills you want to subsequently learn...yet at the same time you can't just go off and equip ANY weapon at any time without first meeting the requirements.
So if you wanted to be a fighter you complete mostly fighter weapon-related quests to use new weapons. But if you want to use just the beginning healing spells, you only need to complete the initial guildleve to wield a staff...rather than needing to do a staff-related guildleve every time you want to learn new skills.
This way, people earn the right to learn more difficult spells. Not just anyone can pick up any staff at any time without first completing a guildleve.
A fighter who has all his fighter skills learned can't go pick up the best mage staff in the game and suddenly learn Holy, Curaga IV, Raise III, or whatever.
But this post wouldn't be complete without mentioning a supposed "see-saw" effect.
Take from the official Final Fantasy XIV website, under guildleves, page 2
"After weighing risks against rewards, fame against fortune, adventurers may then select the leves they feel best suit their needs."
So we'll have several quests to chose from. Will we only be able to choose one, and then the rest will vanish? I doubt it.
I would imagine it will be like...starting off. "You can choose the leve for the figther, sorcerer, gatherer, or craftsman." If you choose fighter, the other 3 will remain there for you to take any time you want, but upon completing the fighter leve you will be opened up to the opportunity to take more 'fighter-related' leves...opening the door to new fighter weapons. (You would also, of course, need to complete leves to get better craftsman and gatherer weapons. Perhaps advanced levels of these leves will only be available upon raising your crafting/gathering skills or by crafting/gathering enough items.)
The same goes for the other three branches when (and should) you decide to take them.