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I was thinking about this game and its Job system, and its place in the series.
FFV's Job system compared to other games
-FFI only had the jobs. FFIII allowed you to change jobs. FFV allowed you to change abilities too.
-FFV is more flexible than III (I was amazed they didn't update III's system for the DS). It was a huge evolution for the job system that would move out of the main series after that. I'll develop the other games later.
For now, I'll just say I find it very well balanced. For its time.
How is it balanced?
-Before V, if a job was bad, it was bad. Nothing you could do. In V, by mixing abilities and equipment, you can not only have fun, but also bring some balance to a few jobs.
-The fact that most magic commands bring up your Magic stat doesn't penalize melee characters for using Magic. A Knight could make a good Summoner if he trained enough.
-It also seems that the balance between Melee and Magic was well done in this game. Magic didn't become obsolete unlike some later games. Dualcast and Quick helped a lot (more on Melee vs. Magic later).
-Since you don't have Limit breaks or other gamebreaking things, you really have to rely on your equipment, commands and spells. You have things like Rapid Fire, but it takes a full command slot, whereas Magic gives you a flexible skillset for one command slot too.
-Jobs come at a regular pace, and give a lot of options for each crystal. This was somehow missed when they did the GBA version, and gave you 4 new jobs a little late, including one well at the very end... Anyway, the fact is that you technically have !Doublecast mid-game (by grinding a lot), whereas in FFVII, it came at a time where Magic was obsolete...
-Also, jobs don't affect stat progression, so there is no penalty to any change mid-game.
*This is a little weird but they also were very careful to not push the characters' background too far. For people who like to make sense of everything, and try to put story and gameplay together, it is nice. For example, each character has a pet in the story (Boko, Wind Drakes and Syldra), so they could be Rangers. Two of the pets even become Summons! The story doesn't give you a sort of "canon" job for the characters (even if Bartz can parry a werewolf's move :p). Some things come naturally (Faris as a thief, Lenna as a White Mage), but it's not forced on you.
(Continued in the next post)
What are the issues?
-Some jobs are weaker than others. You don't have to use them, you can learn things and go back to other jobs. Your aim is Freelancer/Mimic in the end anyway.
-The bonus GBA jobs are a little silly and lack all balance except maybe Cannoneer. Gladiator's abilities are overpowered (!Finisher) or useless (Long Range). !Bladeblitz would have been useful if the job came earlier. Oracle is only mastered for the Magic stat. Necromancer comes too late.
-Some abilities are completely useless. More on this in the next section, but things like !Mineuchi or !Flirt don't last very long.
-The needed ABP is sometimes crazy. Dragoon had 50 for !Jump (they brought it to 10 in the new versions). Samurai's last ability is something like 540 ABP. 400 for some equipment passives. 500 for !Call. Let's not talk about the Monk's HP+ abilities... More in the next section.
-Some jobs lack synergy. Dragoon is a good example. Fortunately, the game has a lot of dragons to exploit Dragon Lances (they are everywhere, seriously, check the logo!)... or just Shinryu? Very situational...
How could it be (or has been) improved?
The Job system has sadly been taken out of the main series. It continued in the Tactics games and later in Four Heroes of Light/Bravely series.
FFT was close to V's system. A main skillset and a subskillset you can change. However, No class like Freelancer. You have to stay in a job. It introduced Reactive and Passive abilities. Same for FFTA/A2.
4 Heroes of Light was very different and closer to III. Apart from one job near the end, you couldn't mix abilities, just spells. However, its successor, Bravely Default, is actually, in my opinion, V's system brought to near-perfection. It has most of the same jobs and abilities, but for those who played it, it avoids V's issues.
-Each job has an advantage and can be played different ways. The Knight, like in V, could be a Two-Handed offensive guy (with a strong move lowering the defense) or a Double shield tank. Some abilities were very strong, but you could always enjoy each job.
-V had a lot of useless abilities for the simple reason your slots were limited. Starting from Tactics, and until Default, abilities go into skillsets. It changes a lot of things: you can have fun with "useless" skills without preventing you from using more efficient ones.
-Each job had more and more useful abilities making the job almost self-sufficient. Mystic Knight could set a passive Osmose blade when he didn't have any Spellblade effect on.
-All skillsets had their use. Freelancer had Analyze and a few interesting passives. Hunter used Anti-Species shots, that you could use together with Spellblade (4x damage).
-Also, passive abilities are in a different category. Most of the ones in Default had their uses. You also could equip 4 or 5 depending on your progress in the game.
-Learning and ABP are scaled accordingly to the enemies you meet. It is balanced (you can't master a job with only 175 ABP when another needs 1159).
-FFV has an excellent system, especially if seeing the games before. It may have weaknesses but they don't make the game less fun to play. Some of these weaknesses end up balancing the game (using a slot for many magic spells, or only for Rapid Fire?).
-It could be improved if they make skillsets like for !Song. Instead, they relied on MP-free random commands (!Dance, !Animals, !Gaia, or even !Call). It is also a form of variety.
-The real improvement would be to be able to put passives in a separate slot. Or the possibility to remove !Item. I realise that since you don't have that many useful commands, the low number of slots isn't a big issue. Having more would maybe make it too easy?
That's all. Sorry it takes this long. I tried to cut it as short as I could. Opinions are welcome, since I may have said stupid things or forgotten important ones.
Some of the jobs are ok, but don't really offer anything much that you'd want to give to other.jobs; there's no real motivation to stick with dragoon for instance since no other job really makes good use of anything dragoon gives you. Except maybe lancet. Maybe. Others have like one good early ability and once you get it you'll basically never touch them again, like geo, chemist, monk (at least they have good stat gains for freelancer I suppose)... by now you would have expected one of the ports to fiddle with AP and those weird filler abilities. Like having geomancers get a !Sing-esque magic set through job levels or something.
oil rape is atrue nub
I think the best use of the job system was in the tactics games. In V we get a rough draft of that idea. The lack of support ability slot really hinders alot of passive skills from being useful. With out them it basically pushes you into using Freelancer or Mime for your final class, since those both get the ability to set more than one skill, and freelancer can use any gear without wasting slots.
I'd like to see the series revisit Jobs and unique character skills from 6. Having the unique job as the freelancer role, but then each character gets the basic jobs, but then their advance classes would be different. Then you'd unlock master jobs, but they'd require a secret combination of jobs to be unlocked and mastered to use as well as story quests completed. I'd also add support jobs that are not for combat that help you in other ways. (Which they'd get exp/Ap for those situations.) Such as characters can be merchants giving you discounts on gear, and unlock better items at stores. A character who is a Diplomat can unlock different story path options and replies. I'd make it so each playthru you only got so many crystals to unlock jobs, making you have to pick choices of what you needed most at the time. You'd keep what you unlocked in Game plus+, so you would have a reason replay the game multiple times. (I'd make it take 3 play thru get everything unlocked.)
I'd want some skills to be passive, and a universal bonus to every job that character is. Say like this character's signature weapon is Rapiers, they could unlock that that on their main job, and it would be a passive skill for every job. (Or a defensive character always is able to equip a shield.)or would be a minor bonus Like Potions are twice as effective, you wouldn't need waste slots on that. Then I'd steal from FF 9, and make support skills work they way they do in that game. Where you get a certain number of points select what ones you want currently active instead of a single slot.
It's just something that was floating around my head since I started going thru all the classic games and their remakes on handheld systems. I went thru FF1, 4, 5, 6. Still need beat 2 and 3.
"Laws only exist when there's someone there to uphold them."
Playing this again, most of the jobs aren't too bad. The only ones that really stick out for being bad is Berserker, Geomancer and to a certain extent Dancer (although you could Lamia Tiara Dance spam for good damage mid-Early late game). And being able to mix and match does help a lot of jobs.
I think the biggest problem is the equipment issues. Some like Dragoon get the shaft because of it, while others like Blue Magic are a bit TOO good because of the raising of the magic stat. Bravely Default (really just second as I don't really like Default too much fixes a lot of the problems I honestly had with the job system).
This is the duty of the Grim Angels.
random doesnt necessarily mean bad, geomancy and dancer are free, berzerker... really is bad,
a problem going from 5 to tactics is chemist went from one of the best classes to one of the worst (guns aside)
random doesnt necessarily mean bad, geomancy and dancer are free, berzerker... really is bad,
No. Random doesn't mean bad necessarily. However, they do have some problems though.
Geomancy in many cases doesn't pack enough damage to do anything noteworthy most of the time, andin some cases, if you run into enemies that are immune to its effects, you run into a unit that can't do much to help in combat. Their bells are okay at some points, but there aren't enough of them to keep the damage up in many instances. Plus, most of their passives are just garbage, so once you get Elemental / Gaia, you're pretty much done with anything you'd truly want from the Geomancer class.
Dancer isn't particularly great because it's a squishy front-line damage dealing class that has weapons that are fairly weak. The ribbon is nice as there are a ton of status dealers going around, and in some instances could even be useful for you white mage to ensure that you'd never have to worry about being down a healer if status effects are running around. However, it's main bulk of duty, damage dealing, is too random. Sword Dance is nice, but the problem is that you have to put equipment on to make it happen more often, and the class itself is so squishy that it pretty much constantly demands having protect on ASAP-- a small drawback I'll admit, but other classes that need this besides thief are either better consistently on the damage front or tankier to live through damage, or like the hunter, attack from the back row. Jitterbug is good for helping with durability, but again, I can't constantly make it happen, and there are enough undead around to make this kind of annoying and a deterrent to spam Dance when undead are around and I'm targeting them. Mystery Tango is nice if you're using a mage dancer but again, reliability is the key here.
Oh, I want some MP? Well too bad, the dancer did Jitterbug. Tempting Tango is just lame by virtue that the other classes that have Confuse can either do it on AoE (Bard), or have better access to abilities over them. Now granted, you can do some killer stuff with dance such as putting it on a ninja, and watching it go to town, but really. The best way to get use of that is to put it on a ninja with the dancing blade, and then Berserk the ninja and if you had equip ribbons, maybe put on dancer equipment to make it get swords dance more often.
Berserker's problem is that it's not the best at dealing damage after awhile and you lose control of your character because of it.
Also, Chemist are weird in tactics, as they aren't the worst class in the game by virtue that they get a long range attack skill, and later can get magical guns which deal decent enough damage. Plus having 4 range for item isn't terrible. It's not a great class, but it's not even close to being as bad as Knight or Thief.
This is the duty of the Grim Angels.
didnt someone do a whole faq on geomancers?
they also run into enemies who are weak to thier abilities, lets not pretend its a one way street. if you boost them with mix, they do better damage, most stronger elemental abilities are limited in some way; you can use geomancy nonstop. and finally, they get better abilities and more variety as they gain levels.
as for dancer, youre making it sound like you never get the ability you want, which happens at least as often as getting something else.
as for berserker, pretty much. doing decent single target damage isnt too appealing when other classes can do the same thing better without losing control
chemists are useless on offence before guns, have the second worst pa growth in the game (only bards are worse) all their stats have lousy growths and modifiers, guns arent very strong without a bunch of rigamarole, and item is mediocre single target short range healing and the only skillset in the game that doesnt benefit from anything. it doesnt even get item lore anymore, and items cant even heal units with something in the way
even thieves have better shortrange offence (their pa and sp are both higher) in addition to being able to steal equipment from the enemy, which leaves them in a weaker state and easier to kill
knights also have better stats overall and thier abilities can be used at long range and knight swords are the strongest weapons in the game
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