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I just want to play through the main story then if there's anything worthwhile in the post-game, I'll do that too. Not sure how I feel about changing classes too much because you start at level 1 every time you do for some stupid reason
TL;DR — Minstrel (hero), one priest and any two others for a relatively comfortable journey.
Warrior: tank, doesn't learn spells
Mage: offensive spells
Martial artist: speedster, cannot equip shields, doesn't learn spells
Thief: utility, cannot equip shields
Firstly, let's clarify the level reset when changing vocations. You do not lose any levels or experience that you earned, but rather you change to a vocation/job/class that didn't have any of that exp. to begin with. You are able to change back to the original vocation you first switched from using the exact same method and all of your base stats and learned spells are restored – heck, the game even re-equips everything you were wearing as that vocation before you changed if that gear is still available (i.e. you haven't sold it, discarded it or put it on someone else). The only way to lose experience is through 'revocation' which is an optional post-game thing you don't need to worry about yet. However, changing vocations is not essential for the main story so long as you cover all your bases with the first ones you choose for your party, as the game is forgiving in that regard at first but starts to attack your weaknesses later on.
Now, to address your question…
It depends on what you are looking for. Almost any combination that includes a decent source of healing and a reasonable damage output should be 'viable' for the story so long as you don't go overboard on one and consequently neglect the other, which means don't expect your hero minstrel to be able to sustain the HP of three warriors or to make up for the lack of attack power of three priests.
Basic vocation breakdown
The minstrel vocation the protagonist defaults to is okay. They can do pretty much anything but don't excel in any one field, so they tend to be good for flexibility and backing up fighters in other main roles, but are not great at replacing them. Just one in the party is enough. Their coup de grâce is a temporary buff that makes them less likely to get hit.
The warrior has good physical attack and good defence but awful speed so you can usually expect them to act last in the round. They learn no spells at all but the 'courage' skill tree has some more supportive abilities, including two that (attempt to) redirect enemies' attacks from allies to themselves instead, potentially saving teammates with lower resilience and HP. Their coup de grâce is a single guaranteed critical hit attack.
The priest is generally pathetic on offence but is great at keeping the party alive or even reviving teammates later on. There are other vocations that learn basic heal spells, but the priest learns them sooner and gets more value out of them because they are boosted by the magical mending stat which increases more per level for the priest than the others. Out of the six basic vocations, the priest is also the only one to learn 'advanced' healing spells, including those that heal the entire party at once. They also have spells to remove specific negative status effects like sleep, confusion and paralysis. Their coup de grâce heals the party and removes all debuffs, including disables and stat reductions (e.g. atk./def. down).
The mage is the obvious magic attacker, but they are so dedicated to that role that they are kind of bad at anything else. Their two key stats are magical might and max. MP, and nearly all of the spells (natural) and abilities (skill points spent in the 'spellcraft' tree) they learn are either direct damage, debuffs that make the enemy take more damage or buffs that make allies do more damage. In my view this makes them fun, varied and useful against bosses but unspectacular against minor enemies as you try to conserve MP. Their coup de grâce temporarily reduces the MP cost of all spells and abilities to zero, allowing you to use your biggest attacks or set up important status effects for free.
The martial artist specialises in strength and agility, but lacks in defence. They also do not learn any spells. They are essentially warriors with the defence and agility stats swapped, and are most likely to act first in a round. However, their ability tree ('focus') is much more selfish as they can't do anything for their teammates directly. Their coup de grâce is a combination of their abilities 'war cry' (stun enemies for one turn) and 'psyche up' (increases a special one-shot stat called 'tension' by one, boosting the damage or healing of the next compatible move) with guaranteed success.
The thief is a less extreme martial artist stat-wise, but they have more deftness (luck) and their abilities are less related to combat. They do learn some spells, but whereas the priest is a hospital and the mage is an artillery battery, the thief is a first aid kit and a motivational speech, respectively. The real draw of the thief is their 'acquisitiveness' skill tree which enables them to steal item drops from enemies in battle and aids in locating treasure on the map outside of battle, as well as filling in more info in the defeated monster list (bestiary). Their coup de grâce guarantees post-fight item drops from targeted enemies when they are defeated.
Variety is the spice of life so I strongly recommend not having more than one of any basic vocation in your party when you are trying to progress through the story.
I highlighted at the start that thieves and martial artists cannot equip shields. This is true in the practical sense of how many skill points you are likely to earn while progressing through the main quest and in the technical sense that you can't put any skill points into shields if you never change vocation away from martial artist or thief, but in reality any vocation can equip a shield or whatever weapon they desire if the skill tree for that item type is maxed out. That is what 'omnivocational [weapon]master' means at the 100 mark.
There are six other 'advanced' vocations which are unlocked via side quests that start appearing around a third of the way into the game. You said you don't want to change at all so I won't bother detailing them yet, but if you're interested then there's much more to consider.
(edited 8 months ago)
I think the previous post broke down really well all the possibilities, so not really much to add in that regard. In my opinion however, the best start would be:
-Minstrel (no other choice there), warrior/MA, mage, priest
-Minstrel, warrior/MA, warrior/MA, priest
If you really want to use magic (which I encourage, just to have more variety), the first choice is better, but I don't really recommend using 2 mages, since they're rather fragile. Physical damage however ends up outclassing magic in most fights, especially later on, so if you feel really confident the second choice is much more effective. Regardless of what you choose, a priest is almost mandatory for the later stages of the game (minstel and thief can't really keep up with all the healing you're gonna need late game).
Also I know you said you didn't want to change vocations but even though you can get through the main story with a minstrel, I really recommend changing it as soon as you can, since despite having really balanced stats overall, they don't excell in anything. Armamentalist and gladiator are the optional vocations you can get the earliest (arm. mission is a little tricky though), and both are better choices than minstrel IMO.
Lastly, I don't really recommend the use of thieves since they fall behind really quickly. They have decent attack damage, but MA and warrior have more. They have pretty good speed, but so do martial artists. They have some healing and support spells, but priests have more. They're basically a worse version of the minstrel, but with more deftness and agility, which as useful as it is for getting items, it isn't gonna win you any boss fight.
Physical damage however ends up outclassing magic in most fights, especially later on,I think that's being unfair to Mages. They are very useful for quickly dispatching mobs with their powerful group-target spells. Or they can still offer support to your physical classes with Oomph.
The best buff you can apply to a Mage is Twocus Pocus. Single-target spells will get the combo bonus, so your second casting will be 20% stronger. A high-end Mage can easily deal 1500 damage to fire-weak bosses.
Granted, if you're going up against Legacy Bosses, the overall frailty of a Mage can be problematic. In that case I'll admit that Gladiators are strictly better.
"Many in harmony surpass one in perfection." - Guildmaster, Etrian Odyssey II
Or they can still offer support to your physical classes with Oomph.I agree, Oomph is really good for your physical attackers, however if you don't particularly like magic (which I am guilty of) you can also change one of your party members to armamentalist, which you can do early on.
And although I do admit that Twocus Pocus is really strong, by the time you get it chances are you're in the post-game already and you are fighting strong grotto bosess. Though these can be dispatched with mages, I think physical attackers can do it faster and safer (again this might just be me being biased, since I really dislike mages lol).
I think that's being unfair to Mages. They are very useful for quickly dispatching mobs with their powerful group-target spells. Or they can still offer support to your physical classes with Oomph.
hey, this looks like one of my posts!
This is what I always go for when first starting out, and it has served me phenomenally:
Minstrel (Hero, Swords)
Martial Artist (Claws)
This is a solid starting team and is what I use in every playthrough (since I often restart halfway through bc my OCD demands that I fix every little mistake I make).
Normally, by the time I get to Bloomingdale, I'll start training the class based skills in all the other vocations to bolster my team with various stat boosts and abilities, with minimal changes made to the actual lineup for the Tyrantula fight.
If I do decide to "permamently" change classes on some of my characters, I usually change my Hero to an Armamentalist (Swords) and my Thief to a Ranger (Axes), keeping the MA and the Priest, however I am considering doing a Tyrantula run with a Minstrel (Fans) instead of a Priest just to see how it goes. Of course you'll probably be around level 24 ish for the fight anyway so both a Priest and a Minstrel would know Zing at that point. Plus the boost to Mending and MP from the Priest class skill to boost the Minstrel's healing power, but until I test it out I won't know for sure if it's viable. Also, there's the difference in their coup-de-graces, and that right there could be a major deciding factor into whether or not Minstrel can be used as a healer instead of Priest, given the proper training of course.
Also, that little jab at Thieves? I'll have you know that my Thief paired with my MA made quite the powerful force. Especially with Propeller Blade + Toxic Dagger on bosses and tough enemies, and if you want to farm materials for strong alchemy items early on, War Cry + Half-Inch is a zero MP cost combo that works fantastically. In fact, my Thief has always been my second strongest attacker, and has saved us more than once as an emergency healer if the Priest is low on health but needs to heal someone else, especially if the Minstrel is unable to act. Also, my Thief generally acts second (after the MA) so if a little buffer of health is needed to keep the Priest alive until she can heal herself, the Thief can come in quicker than the Minstrel and get that mini wall up before the enemy attacks. Pair one with a knife that can paralyze early on and you can sometimes buy yourself a few extra turns, allowing you to survive longer against groups of enemies (since one or more will be unable to act) and giving you a significant edge over single enemies, as well as bosses (though getting status effects to stick on them is a challenge all its own). Plus they can heal poison early on, which is good against the scum of Brigadoom and the Ragin Contagion, and they learn Accelerate too, which can really help to put a slower teammate, such as the Priest or Minstrel higher up in the initiative so they can act faster, perhaps allowing the Minstrel to set up a Pratfall and disable some enemies for a turn or maybe get that killing Metal Slash in on the Metal Slime before it runs, or for the Priest to revive or heal someone quickly to keep them in the fight longer. Thieves are by no means useless in battle. Sure they dont excel, but they can be a veritable secret weapon or hail mary if you know how to use them.
Yes, it's possible to get the Aurora Blade before beating Tyrantula. No, I will not tell you how I did it. If you really wanna know, ask yab.
(edited 6 months ago)
I agree, Oomph is really good for your physical attackers, however if you don't particularly like magic (which I am guilty of) you can also change one of your party members to armamentalist, which you can do early on.Mage get oomph at 33, and are faster than arm. Arm's get it at 39 so by the time you get it you should already have the chance to unlock gritty ditty. I prefer having both up until that point so you can share the buff responsibilities. I also gave my mage fan and the priest scroll to make them a back up healer.
I just started to play this again a few days ago; having forgotten most of my first playthrough back when it came out, here's my personal experience:
Your Priest is essentially baggage when it's not healing; the spells it learns aren't useful in the early or even mid game; buff and insulate can only target one party member and you need to be casting heal too much to cover everyone, so there's little point to them. Snooze is situationally useful, but if you're in a position where your party is so weak that you need to waste MP to put enemies to sleep, you have a deeper problem. The Faith tree is useless because the extra mending isn't useful until you have more HP to play with; I'm level 25 and Midheal is still good enough; by the time it's not good enough, I'll have Moreheal. Wand isn't useful early on either, because you're going to be hitting for 1 damage and the MP boosts, while nice, aren't necessary, especially if you cover out of combat heals with other classes or herbs. Dump your points into spear if you want any kind of respectable damage output or shield if you've given up hope on offense entirely.
Mage is also not that great. Frizz is low damage, only useful extremely early on. Crack is alright, but still pales next to a physical attacker unless the enemy is weak to it. Crackle is good, but I didn't even get it until I already had access to Alltrades. Additionally, the groups in this game seem smaller compared to other titles, especially early game. Groups are usually limited to 1-2 enemies of a single type with maybe 1-2 of some other type mixed in; 3-4 of the same enemy is rarer. So even if I use a group spell, I usually can't hit all the enemies. This makes Bang your bread and butter, but it doesn't have enough punch. Unless the enemy is weak to blast, it's just "alright" and not really great. Using wands as items is even less damaging than the actual spells; too bad the wand tree doesn't actually improve that. My mage feels handicapped until I can get Boom.
Martial Artist is great. This is your best option and if you want to breeze the early game. They don't get to wear the heavy armor, but it hardly matters because they are fast and hit hard. If you take Psyche Up, it's even easier to steamroll the early content.
Warrior is alright. It's not as strong as the martial artist, but it can take a lot more punishment. Viable option, but you might need agility boosting items to keep up with everyone else, unless you don't care about acting last.
Thief is a great starter; their damage can't compare to the Martial Artist or the Warrior, and even your Minstrel might beat him, but they are fast, they can steal (huge benefit, especially early when you are poor), and if you can get at least 3 butterfly wings, you can access the Batterfly Knife very early, which is possibly your strongest weapon until you hit Alltrades and can make Gigasteel, which is when you'd most likely drop the thief anyway. They also get Heal, which is icing on the cake; they are fast enough to rescue the Priest from certain death in many situations.
TL;DR-You're basically stuck with your priest, so suck it up and deal with it unless you do some unconventional strat like go with a full party of minstrels/thieves and alternate healing duty. The other two party members are entirely negotiable. Mage doesn't shine until late game, so change someone later if you want one (I'll probably just use a Sage, myself).
(edited 1 month ago)
I've never used knives as a primary weapon before. I think they got a bad rap on some other threads. But after reading here, I'm going to check them out!
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