|So many jobs, so many different abilities!|
The “job system” is interesting because it feels a lot like a class system mechanically but does not necessarily feel like one thematically. When I say it has no effect thematically, I mean to say that it has no effect on the character's story. Just because your character is now a Dragoon or a Dancer is irrelevant to the character outside of powers and abilities. The character’s history, background, story, personality, training, and place within the story are completely independent of what job they may have selected. Faris, the pirate captain in Final Fantasy V, can be a Red Mage, a Thief, a Geomancer, or any job you want. The job system is flexible enough that you can even change a character’s job whenever not in combat. Yet, despite whatever class you may choose for her, Faris is still the pirate captain and lost heir of the Kingdom of Tycoon. Whether she be a Black Mage or a Mime, her place within the greater story remains exactly the same. In fact, there are no circumstances whatsoever where a character’s job (or job experience) will impact the story elements.
|So much to master, so little time!|
|Assign abilities as you will, no matter how absurd.|
What is important to understand about the Final Fantasy V job system, as I stated before, was that all of this was independent of the character’s role in the story. The same is true of the system that appeared in Final Fantasy Tactics. Galuf, Lenna, Ramza, or T.G. Cid have no different interactions with the characters, locations, or events within the story based on their currently selected job or any previously trained jobs. It just does not matter at all. This seems peculiar when you consider how much weight people give to class as a definition of character in tabletop role-playing games. Yet, the idea of having character class provide abilities, traits, or powers is not unusual in tabletop games. Examining this kind of job system provides a perspective worth considering when thinking about what the concept of class means within role-playing games.