Final Fantasy Fundamentals #4: Class It Up (FFXIII, FF XIV: ARR, Bravely Default, and Bravely Second)

Final Fantasy XIII Paradigms

The Paradigms in FFXIII are like a greatest hits collection of Final Fantasy classes. It’s a simple system (perhaps too simple), but has room for several combinations of Paradigms.

The Commando (or COM) specializes in melee damage. They do a great deal of damage to staggered enemies.

Ravagers (or RAV) specializes in magic damage. They are proficient at filling enemies’ stagger gauges.

Medics (or MED) heal allies’ HP, cure status ailments, or revive KO’ed allies.

Sentinels (or SEN) draw attention from enemies away from their allies. SENs are defensive juggernauts that can heal themselves or counterattack enemies.

Synergists (or SYN) buff their allies, while Saboteurs (or SAB) cause ailments and lower enemy stats.

Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn Classes

Astrologians are healers. They can draw a card, which will produce one of six random buffs.

Machinists use guns and turrets. The turret can attack or debuff enemies, or buff allies.

Bravely Default Classes

Arcanists are strange. Their magic can outright kill – an enemy suffers the correct ailment. It takes a while for this class to learn useful skills; plus, the costume looks like this.

Conjurers can restore MP mid-battle; Obliterate enemies 20 levels weaker than the user; increase the power of summon magic (snore); and summon monsters to buff the party’s stats.

BraDef does have a Summoner job, but due to gameplay differences between it and other FF games, the Summoner doesn’t see much use in my playthrough.

The Summoner costume looks pretty good, though

The Merchant can affect the party’s cash flow. More proactively, it can use its bartering skills to make enemies pay for items. They can spend money to increase their own critical hit rate.

The Performer uses songs to buff their allies.

Salve-Makers are basically Chemists/Mixers. They can collect items after battle, automatically heal the ally with the lowest HP at the end of their own turn, revive all KO’ed allies, or double their healing potency.

The Spiritmaster can nullify or absorb elemental damage, increase healing potency at the cost of 25 percent less physical attack power, or double their HP – during battle, that is.

Swordmasters can counter physical attacks, reduce an enemy’s Brave Points (which lets characters perform more actions per turn) by one (harder to use on bosses, of course), follow up regular attacks with an additional attack, increase the damage of counters, increase the power of counters against a particular enemy, and reduce the MP cost of skills to zero. Phew!

Templars can crit on command for one BP or shield the party from physical attacks, which can be mighty convenient.

Vampires are like the ultimate Blue Mages. Like Blue Mages, Vampires can learn certain monster attacks use against them (the in-game encyclopedia tells you if an enemy has a skill that a Vampire can use). They can also absorb HP, MP, or BP. Rather fun.

Valkyries are basically Dragoons. Their jump attacks do more damage, but cost BP.

Bravely Second Classes

Wizards use Spellcraft to affect the attributes of spells. Spellcraft can affect when spells are triggered in a turn, and how many enemies – or allies – are affected.

Charioteers can wield up to three or four weapons in battle, throw weapons, or temporarily raise their weapon proficiency mid-battle.

Bishops can heal with percentage-based spells; kind of like Gravity in other FF games, but with healing.

Catmancers are based on an idea submitted by a fan, kind of like the Festivalist from Final Fantasy X-2 International. These unusual warriors can train kitty-cats to use the abilities of enemies. That sounds fun.

Hawkeyes can imbue their attacks with elements, and ignore an enemy’s physical defense or Default status.

The Hawkeye class originally had the more controversial name of “Tomahawk”. Some people disliked how the class was renamed, but I don’t have a problem with it. 

Patiessiers combine items (kind of like the Salve-Maker) to feed their enemies deadly dishes. They can also prolong their enemies’ ailments.

Exorcists can Undo enemy actions. It’s pretty mind-bending.

The extremely blue Guardian can possess enemies to increase their soul power, which fuels their more unique attacks. They can also learn other methods of gaining soul power.

Kaisers can do damage based on their HP or switch allies’ and enemies’ physical and magical defense. Most of their skills affect all allies and enemies.

Yokai have summoning spells based on the Seven Deadly Sins. The support skill Echo gives them a small chance to repeat their spells at no MP cost.


Throughout the FF series, games without a job system or a freeform character development system still feature some characters whose attributes fall under certain classes. The FF games with the most archetypical characters that are not classes a la FFI are IV, VI, VII, VIII, IX, X, and XIII. These archetypes are made murkier when all of the characters can still do magic, even if their stats and Limit Breaks are not well-suited for the task.

Even if an archetype is not represented within a character, certain abilities are made accessible that fills their void, e.g. the Cover materia from VII in lieu of a character with Knight abilities.

Final Fantasy IV Archetypes

Cecil: Dark Knight, later Paladin (essentially a Knight) → Adelbert Steiner (FFIX) → Snow Villiers and Oerba Yun Fang (FFXIII)

Although everyone in XIII can do a little bit of everything, Snow and Fang seem to be the ones most inclined to be SENs once they join the party.

Kain: Dragoon → Cid Highwind (FFVII) and Freya Crescent (FFIX)

While Cid is not a Dragoon by trade, he uses spears and some of his Limit Breaks involve jumping down on enemies from on high with said spears. Freya, meanwhile, is a Dragon Knight and a Dragoon through-and-through.

Rosa: White Mage → Palom (FFIV) → Mog (FFVI) → Aerith Gainsborough (FFVII) → Eiko Carol and Amarant Coral(FFIX) → Yuna (FFX) → Oerba Dia Vanille and Hope Estheim (FFXIII) → Noel Kreiss (FFXIII-2)

Mog the moogle has special dances. Some of them heal, which makes him more of a combat medic. Aerith’s healing and supportive Limit Breaks make me consider her more of a white mage. While both Eiko and Garnet are summoners/healers, Eiko focuses on it more, and Yunie carries on that tradition. Amarant, Vanille, and Noel fall under the category of combat medic while Hope is more of a dedicated white mage.

Rydia: Summoner → Garnet Til Alexandros XVII/Dagger, Eiko, and Yuna

Since Rydia also has black magic…

Rydia: Black Mage → Porom (FFIV) → Rinoa Heartilly (FFVIII) → Vivi Ornitier (FFIX) → Lulu (FFX) → Vanille

Tellah: Red Mage (his class is Sage, but he can use black and white magic) → Terra Branford (FFVI) → Sazh Katzroy (FFXIII)

Both Terra and Sazh can fight physically and magically. Sazh has stats that are as balanced as possible between magic and strength.

Yang: Monk → Sabin (FFVI) → Tifa Lockhart (FFVII) → Zell Dincht (FFVIII)

Snow is not a monk in terms of skills, but he does fight with his fists.

Edge: Ninja/Thief

Ninja: → Shadow (FFVI) → Yuffie Kisaragi → (FFVII) → Amarant

Thief: → Locke (FFVI) → Zidane (FFIX)

Final Fantasy VI Archetypes

Terra: Magic Knight → Celes Chere (FFVI) → RinoaLightning Farron (FFXIII) → Noel

Gau: Berserker → Umaro (FFVI) → Vincent Valentine (FFVII) → Rinoa

Rinoa has a Limit Break that makes her a magical Berserker.

Berserker characters tend to be unpopular because they can’t be controlled (or controlled after the trigger their Limit Break in Vincent’s case).

Setzer Gabbiani: Gambler → Cait Sith (FFVII)

The reels of the Gambler bleed into Limit Breaks and skills throughout later games in the series. Tifa and Cait Sith have LB’s that involve the spinning of slots. Tifa’s requires getting “Hit!” or “Yeah!” squares to increase the length and/or strength of her melee combo, while Cait Sith’s Slots Limit Break resembles a traditional slot machine more. Getting the right symbols triggers advantageous effects.

Selphie has the Limit Break Slot which allows her to “Do Over” to generate different spells to cast, if you don’t like or need the ones presented to you. These spells can be cast multiple times in a row (from a number that is also generated randomly). If you get really lucky, you’ll get one of her four rare and exclusive spells:

  1. Full-Cure: Heals everyone’s HP

  2. Wall: Casts Protect and Shell upon the party

  3. Rapture: Wings attach to an enemy, which, uh, spirit them away and out of battle

  4. The End: An instant death spell. Works on all enemies and bosses unless they are undead. Is more likely to be generated if Selphie is at a high level and critical HP. I never saw The End in my VIII playthrough.

Finally, Wakka has the Overdrive attack Slots. With Slots, the player spins three different slots which affect the attributes of Wakka’s attack. Wakka has four types of reels: Element, Attack, Status, and Aurochs, as in the Besaid Aurochs, the blitzball team that Wakka plays for. The Aurochs reel combines the effects of the Element and Status reels.

Strago: Blue Mage → Quistis Trepe (FFVIII) → Quina Quen (FFIX) → Kimahri Ronso (FFX)

Quistis uses blue magic for her Limit Break. However, she learns new blue magic by finding and using certain items instead of having spells cast on her.

Less Influential Archetypes

Edward: Spoony Bard

Gogo: Mime

Mog: Dancer

Rikku: Chemist

My Favorite Classes

I actually kind of like Blue Mages for the unique effects of their spells. I can understand why characters such as Quina (for their lack of import to the game’s story, their personality, and for being a Blue Mage) and Kimahri (for not having any specializations) are not as popular as others. Vampires in BraDef are pretty much the ultimate incarnation of the Blue Mage.

The Chemist’s Mix command is surprisingly fun.

Dragoons seem to be pretty powerful, especially in certain games.

I kind of like the randomness of Gadgeteers in Final Fantasy Tactics Advance.

Gamblers are very fun due to the randomness of their slots/reels.

Geomancers are also fun because their magic carries a slight randomness. Their magic can also be powerful.

The Cannoneer is quirky because it can buff allies… with magical cannons!

Ninjas have a lot of power with dual-wielding (they did it before Master Chief) and their unique ninpo (ninja magic).

Pirates are ridiculously powerful in BraDef.

Time Mages can be very useful.

We are done with FF classes for now. Maybe someday I will take a look at classes and/or specializations in other games, but not anytime soon.

What are your most and least favorite classes in FF? Which FF has the best job system? My favorites are in V Advance, X-2, and BraDef.