Picking a Class

Graev and I are playing in the Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn beta.  We’re not even close to a point where we can share our thoughts on the game.  MMOs are a tricky beast, especially when you go as long as I have without playing one; they have a way of being really fun early on, then quickly turning 180 degrees on me.  Playing has reminded me of a topic unrelated to FFXIV: Picking what class to play.

I like the conjuror class.  Conjurors are a caster that can combine with another class and become a White Mage.  Something about the healing in FFXIV feels really good to me.  FFXIV has this old school grouping vibe to it that makes me feel really needed and appreciated as a healer.  I can tell I’m going to really like being a support role.

Okay, so much for waiting to talk about FFXIV.  Now the real point I was trying to make.

When I pick a class I feel like I have to take into account a ton of factors, and simply picking a class I enjoy often plays too small a role in my decision making process.  I worry about picking a class that isn’t overplayed, will be wanted in a group, doesn’t suck, isn’t so strong  that it gets nerfed early on, won’t get boring, etc.

Do any of you lead raids or a group of players?  I am often wracked by the decision of whether or not I can ‘lead’ a raid as a healer.  I feel like people expect the tank to be a person leading the raid, and I’ve had way too many issues finding competent tanks.  Lots of little details pile on me when I think about picking a class.

Maybe that’s why I love skill systems so much, or why FFXIV’s class and job system sound so great: I can be what I want, when I want. If I want to be a White Mage today but a tank tomorrow, I can do that.  I get to level all of the classes on one character as though I were playing alts.  That works for me.

I’ll stop rambling there.  Graev and I will write up some thoughts tomorrow after we play a bit further into the beta.  I’m glad I found a class I enjoy, now to just forget about all of the other things that don’t matter.

  • I have a horrible time picking one class. I tend to just pick whatever sounds interesting or will suit my playstyle, but by the time I get to higher levels I see lots of other classes that also look interesting. I end up with a ton of alts because of it and never really master a single class.

    It’s why I love FFXI and FFXIV’s job system so much. I can stick with a single character, but not be limited to one class the whole game. I feel like I’ll be more inclined to really master one job, since if I get bored I can always try out something new the next day without feeling like I’m neglecting my main character.

  • I am also thinking of playing a healer for FF XIV but I also like the idea that if I find it’s not for me it seems like I can just change jobs.

  • I don’t have a problem chosing a class. My first class in all games is always a tank. I love the tank style of play and my first character is always a matter of seconds. So I picked up a Gladiator and i will go for paladin for sure. Although at some point I always play alts. So I am going to level all jobs after all 🙂

  • I quite strongly dislike the “multiple classes on same character” arrangement. For me it gets in the way of a very substantial part of the appeal of MMOs, one of the key elements that led me to become so invested in the genre to begin with: characters.

    I don’t have “alts”. I have characters. I don’t roleplay them in an old-school way, write backstories for them, all that stuff, but I do see each and every one of them as a discrete individual with a personality, quirks, foibles and idiosyncrasies that develop as I play them. One of the huge advantages of this is that I get to experience the “fun early on” part over and over again in a single MMO.

    I like my characters within a given MMO to feel like a family or a team. When I have more than one account, each account is like an associate of the other, not an extension, adding another layer. Being able to experience multiple classes on a single character usually results in one of two things happening:

    1. I ignore the option, keep each character as whatever class it started and make more characters as and when I want to try the other classes. This is good for keeping my interest in the game at a high level but generally means I am not playing at anything like the optimum efficiency the game expects, which in turn limits how much of the content of the game I can experience. Rift would be an example, where instead of adding more roles to my original Mage when I wanted to try Necro.Warlock instead of Pyro/Chloro I chose to make another character so now I ended up with two max level mages in the first six months.

    2. Go along with the way the system wants me to play and keep adding classes/skills/roles to the same character. This is efficient but I lose interest much more quickly because any new character I make is likely to be retreading old ground. The Secret World fits that bill – I still only have one character there. I tried starting another but couldn’t see the point even after a few sessions.

    I’m also playing the FFXIV beta but so far I don’t even begin to understand how the Job system works so I have no idea whether that’s going to work for me long term or not. It sure is beautiful though.

  • As a regular raid leader over different games, I can say that class has nothing to do with ability to raid lead. It is expected of tanks, but by no means does a tank have to raid lead. I have done it as a healer, although I believe it is overall the most difficult class to raidlead with, as playing wack-a-mole with healthbars makes paying attention to other people more difficult

  • The thing about Final Fantasy MMO’s is that you only have to decide what to level first since you’ll want to level everything to be more useful. It’s not your typical “level 1 class to main raid with” game.

  • To add to the above – I despise alts with a passion. Being able to level every class or job on one character is something i wish every MMO progressed towards. It’s why i played FFXI for so damn long. Back then there was no hiding behind alts. Your name meant something and everyone on your server knew you for your reputation. This is something that has been lost since no one knows who anyone is anymore. Who’s alt is that? Who knows!

  • My favorite classes have always been Melee healers. Oddly they are also some of the most volatile classes. I like how they make you think fast and keep you on your feet. The bear shaman was my favorite but other have done the class well.

    The Mesmer was also my favorite class. Basically any class that is melee oriented but with a twist so its not your generic DPS.

  • This, to me, is one of the key appealing points about GW2. There, your class specifies how you do what you do, not what you do. Any class can tank, can support, can DPS in melee or in range, depending on how you set up your gear, traits, etc. And you can change all that easily. But a warrior doesn’t feel like a mesmer or a ranger doing these things — the class feels distinctive without giving up the ability to accomplish any group need. Overall one of the more appealing things to me about the game.

  • How come we have not seen much in the way of UO style bandage healing? That was my favorite healing system.

  • @Wufiavelli: EQ had a similar system. WoW used bandages back in vanilla. I think modern themepark MMOs have phased it out as part of the overall dumbing down.

  • @Keen I look forward to your impressions of FFXIV, I’ve wanted something to play, subscription or not, ESO looks like it’s going to be more of a multiplayer RPG as opposed to an MMO, so that made me lose interest. Hopefully FFXIV turns into something great, i always wanted to play an FF MMO, but the first one years ago wasn’t my style, and the for incarnation of this current one, was just so disastrous i didn’t even try it, I’m hoping this essential “re-do” helps the game tremendously become what a FF MMO could be.

  • I am doing something odd this time around. I never played FFXIV 1.0 so going to be starting on a new server but a couple friends and I have decided to start the game crafting instead of adventuring in hopes of amassing enough wealth to buy a large housing plot when they finally release housing. So Botanist/Carpentry it is for me.

    Outside of that, I have yet to decide what combat class I will start with but I have it narrowed down to Dragoon or White Mage.

    I have really enjoyed my time in the beta so far, a lot more than I ever thought I would. Someone over on Massively put it perfectly when he said – “Its a very well crafted game that has a slower, more dignified pace than the recent years slew of instant gratification kiddy-fest titles we have been forced to endure. “

  • I dislike the “create one character and play whatever class you like” mechanic. People are still playing WoW many years later to try that class they never had a chance to play. IMO, this mechanic hurt Tabula Rasa too, after a month or so the newbie area was empty, there was no incentive to roll a new class, when you could easily go back to a recent clone. I think this mechanic shortens the lifespan of your MMO.

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