in which we unnecessarily rank FFV jobs because we’re very cool

full disclosure: in talking with the Irishman last night, i acknowledged that, given my “total lack of anything better to write an update about,” i was going to make a completely unnecessary post rating the various jobs featured in the game Final Fantasy V. and i say “unnecessary” in the sense that NO ONE has asked for this, not in a more general sense, under which ALL of the updates on this site would probably qualify as “unnecessary.”

so if you’re the kind of person who fears this is going to get incredibly nerdy incredibly quickly, well, we’ll see you next week. but if you… uh… think Final Fantasy V is cool (and i am going to be arguing that it is the coolest of all the Final Fantasies), then here we go!

A BRIEF (AND PROBABLY UNNECESSARY) INTRODUCTION

so there are two kinds of people who play role-playing games, and while i could follow that with any number of jokes about sex perverts or turbo-nerds, i’m going to follow it with “dudes that like character classes” and “dudes that don’t.” i’m in the former class for any game that involves some kind of adventuring party. now, while these Final Fantasy games have always been down with the “party of adventurers” concept, they have ranged from “no character classes” to “sort-of character classes” to “classes, but they’re rigidly attached to specific characters” to “character classes”; my argument remains that the best of these games are in the last group, and this includes Final Fantasy V.

now, the games with character classes (I, III, V, Tactics) usually give you some number of options to choose from, but with the job system in V, you get an extreme amount of choices: 26 jobs (or classes) in the version of the game with the most. III had 23 classes under the same standard, which is also awesome, but i played that game sparingly given the fact that it didn’t get imported when i was a kid. whereas i am fully devoted to the awesome of V, which i also recall having light swearing. and i LOVE profanity.

so with all that said, let me get into rating these classes.

summoner, oracle, beastmaster, berserker, cannoneer
apparently, in the cannoneer circumstance, one of your loyal companions is transmogrified into a cannon. nice

26. Summoner
description: “Summoners (召喚士 Shōkanshi) use Summoning Magic, which calls on powerful entities known as … simply Summon Monsters (most other games in the series).”
full disclosure: i hate summoning spells in ALL Final Fantasy games, as they take forever and i don’t like to sit back and watch the pretty graphics. i never use them unless required to by the game. and the Final Fantasy V summoners with their “horn on a headband” look appear to be stupid as fuck, and there’s nothing i want less than looking ridiculous and only being good for casting some bullshit spells i don’t want to cast in the first place. fuck this class.

25. Oracle
description: “Soothsayers who can predict natural disasters – and direct them at foes.”
ah, another class with a stupid-as-hell headband outfit and some vaguely described magical powers. however, what’s really going on with this FFV Advance class is a deal where you COULD get some benefit… but so could your enemies. and frankly, i have little (or no) patience for this “random effect that might not even benefit me” nonsense when i could be ramming an axe down some horse-looking enemy’s gullet. declined!

24. Beastmaster
description: “Beastmaster (also known as Tamer or Trainer) can control or even capture and train monsters.”
a novelty class with a stupid-looking outfit. if you’re bringing one along, it’s 25% of your party sitting there hoping to capture a monster … so that it can be released as some kind of stupid summon later on. as the kids would say, “miss me with that shit.” and any class that has ANOTHER party member weakening monsters so they can catch them to attack things with later seems massively counterproductive. and the name is terrible as well!

23. Berserker
description: “The Berserker is a pure physical class focusing on high strength to defeat their opponents.”
i think the description says it all: terrible. i find myself NEVER in need of a berserker. “yes, let’s see, i need someone who’s very strong and completely out-of-control!” look, we all think the Hulk is cool… in theory. but if you were making up a team of Avengers, you’d never bring the giant psycho who can’t be fully trusted. Berserkers have no job commands because they just attack randomly; it’s a total novelty for random battles and thus it earns my scorn. note: classes dressing up like animals seem to be a sign of novelty lameness in this game.

22. Cannoneer
description: “Tinkerers with the know-how to combine items into weapons both beautiful and destructive.”
so it sounds like something good… but it turns out you’re just a douchebag dressed up like a privateer dicking around with a giant cannon, and your whole job deal is about “random effects.” there’s nothing i like worse than hearing a job is about “random effects.” i’m trying to slay an ogre here, not shoot a cannon and find out if something useful is going to happen. anyway, it’s a FFV Advance only class, so suffering through it is limited to that version alone.

chemist, time mage, geomancer, mime, gladiator
if the time mage DID actually have a clock on his head, he would actually look better than the above-shown mess(es)

21. Chemist
description: “The Alchemist or Chemist class is generally focused on consumable restorative items.”
oh, focused on consumable restorative items? just what i want in an adventurer on an epic quest! pathetic. true, they have cool Middle-Eastern outfits… but that’s about all they bring to the table. i mean, i already have a pile of potions and tents and whatever else, so wouldn’t i rather my party be filled with buff dudes chopping shit in half and wizards casting fireball? who’s thinking “hey, i’ve got a fighter and wizards and a thief, but what i REALLY need is a guy who mixes up potions?” so not necessary.

20. Time Mage
description: “The Time Mage (時魔道士 Tokimadōshi) is a specialized wizard with the ability to manipulate the space-time continuum to speed up, slow down, or completely halt the passage of time; control celestial bodies; or influence the pull of gravity.”
i don’t think i actually hate them the most, but Time Mages ARE my go-to job to mock in this game; when i joke about the number of classes, i always accuse the designers of making up the additional classes randomly: “we’ve got black, white, red, and blue mages… fuck it, put a clock on one of them.” still, all jokes aside, i think the class is lame and i never use them, as with any other “specialized wizard.” they just seem like a waste of my time … get it, time? very funny stuff we’ve got here.

19. Geomancer
description: “Geomancers (風水士 FÅ«suishi) channel the powers of the surrounding environment; therefore, their abilities differ depending on their location.”
see that joke i made about how the Time Mage class was created? so this is a “Geomancer,” and that seems completely necessary. that said, it seems more useful than a Time Mage in practice (maybe that’s just my style of play), even if it DOES mean that some of your characters appear to be cruising around fighting evil and rescuing crystals dressed in their finest star-covered pajamas. still not going to use it, though.

18. Mime
description: “Mimes can replicate the previous action of another party member with the Mimic command.”
not a very helpful description. anyway, Mimes are basically like secret, late-game Freelancers with this “mimic” ability. however, no matter how powerful they supposedly are (and i guess there’s an argument for it, as we’ll see with the Freelancer), there’s absolutely no way i want to play as some ridiculous class whose name brings to mind dudes in face paint and French clothing acting like dickheads in public places. i’m stubborn like that.

17. Gladiator
description: “Skilled Warriors who can master any blade.”
although what it probably SHOULD say for this FFV Advance class is “skilled warriors who are really, really fond of wearing cool masks.” i don’t normally think that masks are that cool, but that’s just me. anyway, i don’t really like the idea of being a gladiator, as it makes me suspect i’ll be poorly-dressed and rocking some kind of Kirk Douglas haircut, but i suppose there are worse things (say, a Time Mage) that you could find yourself being.

necromancer, mystic knight, ranger, bard, blue mage
i enjoy the part where the female blue mages look sort of like half-assed Batgirls

16. Necromancer
description: “The Necromancer (ネクロマンサー Nekuromansā) is a job in Final Fantasy V Advance utilizing Dark Art spells [that are] gained by killing particular enemies.”
the bigger question for me regarding this FFV Advance class is “why are a bunch of wizards who are all about the Dark Arts dressed up in incredibly gaudy purple robes?” and to me, that ruins anything cool there is in talking with the dead or whatever the hell Necromancers do. i gather their magic spells are awesomely powerful in the context of the game, but i just can’t cruise around looking like some Caligula replica. i can’t do it. and the class always seems like a lot of Blue Mage-style work.

15. Mystic Knight
description: “Mystic Knights are warriors that can cast magic on their swords to perform attacks with the power of the spell for several rounds.”
let’s get this right out of the way: Mystic Knight sounds lame, but so do the other options for names (Magic Knights, Mageknights, Sorcerers), so i guess there’s no getting away from it. still, the lameness of the name makes me never want to use this class, even despite the fact that they also have cool Middle-Eastern apparel. i’m sure someone can explain to me why a dude packing a magic sword is a great class, but i simply do not care, and i’m pretty sure my Knight/Fighter/Warrior is running around with Excalibur or Masamune or SOMETHING that sounds magic. top THAT, “Mystic Knight.”

14. Ranger
description: “The Hunter (sometimes called Archer, Ranger or Gunner) is a physical class specializing in long-ranged weapons—such as bows, crossbows and occasionally guns”
let me be honest: if Rangers packed guns in this game, i would probably be telling you the story of why i play this game with four Rangers. the Irishman was telling me about another game we might play co-op wherein there’s a character with guns who’s also a girl, and my response was basically, “i guess i’m playing that game as a girl. my name shall be J-Low.” all that being said… you don’t have guns in this game. you’re a Link-looking goober with a fucking bow. and any time a wiki has to call a job “interesting” is not a good sign. pass.

13. Bard
description: “Bards (吟遊詩人 Gin’yÅ«shijin) use songs to cause effects, often buffing the party or debuffing the opposition via the Sing command. They generally equip harps as weapons.”
now, you’d think a guy who’s been identified as “the bard of Wales” would appreciate a class known as a Bard that’s apparently singing all the time … but then you see that “harps as weapons” thing i threw in there to clue you in on why i am not a huge fan. i generally dislike them in most any game; here i don’t burn with hatred for them, but consider them unnecessary. and why would i need anyone to use the Sing command when i can just make up some nonsense song myself? that’s what i do!

12. Blue Mage
description: “The Blue Mage (青魔道士 Aomadōshi) is a mage who is able to replicate the special attacks of his/her opponents.”
to me, Blue Mage is one of these classes that seems like it SHOULD be excellent, as you can fight a more than a normal wizard can and you learn special magic based on enemies’ attacks. and yet i never really use Blue Mages that much, since the magic they learn seems mediocre compared to the standard black/white stuff. also, the excellence of a “collect all the moves” concept comes with the negative part of me feeling compelled to use the Blue Mage class to collect these moves even when i really don’t want to. i hate feeling compelled to do things due to the (possibly imaginary) whims of Japanese men.

dragoon, samurai, freelancer, red mage, monk
i wouldn’t describe any of those monk outfits as being particularly monastic, but maybe i just have higher standards than most

11. Dragoon
description: “The Dragoon (竜騎士 RyÅ«kishi) (also known as Dragon Knight or Lancer) uses spears and their Jump ability and usually wears heavy armor.”
i will never understand the contradiction between “being the knight class that wears heavy armor” and “being the knight class that soars through the air to attack using their Jump ability.” it literally doesn’t make sense. that being said, i find their Jump ability to be hilariously awesome and they always seem to have some saucy armor. so basically, the class has some serious pros in its favor.

10. Samurai
description: “Samurai (侍 Samurai?) are Japanese-styled fighters who fight primarily with katana.”
to be, this class never really makes sense, since samurai are traditionally basically Japanese knights… and these games already have Knights. then, to make them different, they seem to always give them the ability to hurt people by throwing a handful of cash in their faces, causing the Samurai to enter my list of “classes that i don’t use given their nature, but which i find hilarious thanks to something random they do,” which in this case is defeating foes by hurling gold coins at them. keep it classy, Samurai!

09. Freelancer
description: “The Freelancer (すっぴん Suppin), also localized as Bare or Natural, is usually the default job in the games in which it appears.”
so, like the description says, there isn’t a lot awesome going on with this class. there’s some randomly good things about it in V (something about inheriting stat bonuses and passive abilities in a way that make this class the most powerful by the end of the game, or whatever), but in other games you might end up in your underwear. still, it’s your default (the two sweetest words in the English language) and doesn’t involve some of the ridiculousness other classes do. plus, the class name makes you sound like a cool space pirate!

08. Red Mage
description: “Red Mages (赤魔道士 Akamadōshi) are members of a hybrid class, able to cast spells associated with either Black or White Mages, as well as wield swords.”
same deal as the Blue Mage (less excellent than it should be) because it has the “weaker because i’m a jack-of-all-trades” nature going on… but still more awesome than a Blue Mage because they’ve always got a cool hat with a feather. i personally would have just stuck with the cool hat, but apparently the Red Mage is the “pimped-out” character of the Final Fantasy world. anyway, i always tried playing them and gave up in disgust to flee back to a traditional White Mage/Black Mage combo, but i see how they seem neat.

07. Monk
description: “The Monk (モンク Monku) is a master of martial arts who favors barehanded fighting, sometimes supplemented with claws. In some games, they can use meditative techniques, which improve their power or heal their wounds. They can often counterattack against physical attacks as well.”
Monk is another one of those “sounds better than it is” classes; i also hold a slight grudge for the incredibly nerdy reason of hating the way Third Edition D&D brought back monks and assassins, but only made the former a real class while the latter (which i often played in my youth) was tossed in as some bullshit “prestige class” nonsense. (i warned you that was going to be incredibly nerdy.) additionally, i really miss when this class was called “Black Belt,” as it seemed so out-of-step with the Fighter/Thief/White Wizard/Black Wizard dynamic.

ninja, white mage, black mage, knight, thief
to paraphrase Hank Hill: a ninja is fine, but a thief is a force

06. Ninja
description: “The Ninja is generally both fast and powerful; however, to achieve this level of dexterity, Ninja are unable to wear heavy armor.”
the issue with Ninjas seems clear from the description; while most of these seem descriptive, the Ninja’s seems preoccupied with how AWESOME NINJAS ARE. in actuality, they’re like pirates: once cool outlaw-style until everyone beat the coolness out of them by hyping them to death. still, back in the day when a Thief grew up, they became a Ninja, and they’re still the “fast class with speed and no armor” type of class, so i have to give them some love, even if they couldn’t kill Richard Chamberlain in Shogun.

05. White Mage
description: “A White Mage (白魔道士 Shiromadōshi) uses White Magic, which emphasizes defensive spells such as replenishing party members’ hit points with spells such as Cure, reviving the fallen with spells such as Raise or Life, and curing status conditions with spells such as Esuna.”
White Mages have the problem of being completely necessary (there’s no one better to have as support) while being weak physically (how lame) and completely uncool (also lame). so you drag them along, but you always kind of resent them, so i can’t rank them low (so useful) but can’t rank them THAT high (so lame).
tangent: this dynamic was shown best for me in Dragon Age, where the “white mage” character (Wynne) seems useful as a concept, but was NEVER used by yours truly as i found her infinitely lame. even more lame than ranking FFV jobs on the internet!

04. Black Mage
description: “One of the most iconic classes of the Final Fantasy franchise, the Black Mage (黒魔道士 Kuromadōshi) is a magic user specializing in attack magic, Black Magic.”
yes, this dude and his awesome “robe and giant wizard hat” appearance, and it should be clear such things figure prominently in my rankings. really, there’s nothing bad about a class that allows you to blast your enemies with ridiculous magic, unless you don’t like packing nothing more than a dagger; ultimately someone in every party has to spend time as one and so it’s the kind of class that has get credit for its essential nature. plus you know every nerdy swords-and-sorcery game HAS to have awesome wizards in it somewhere. these are those wizards.

03. Knight
description: “The Warrior (戦士 Senshi), formerly translated as the Fighter, is portrayed as an expert of the sword and/or axe who uses some of the most powerful armors and weaponry. As such, it is a well-rounded physical combatant with high attack and defense statistics.”
V’s version of the Warrior/Fighter deal is the Knight, and there’s nothing wrong with that. to be honest, the Knight gets a lot of credit with me for being this game’s version of the “dude with the crazy shock of hair and the biggest sword chopping the shit out of stuff,” and i think that’s fine. there’s nothing wrong with chopping the shit out of stuff, be it the final boss or some random wasp. and you’re ALWAYS bringing one of these guys along, no matter what game it is.

02. Thief
description: “The Thief (シーフ ShÄ«fu) is generally a nimble and agile physical combatant whose main weapon includes daggers or short swords. They usually have very high speed, accuracy, and evasion but low defense due to light armor. Steal is their trademark ability”
let’s get nerdy again: i hated the way D&D made their thieves into “rogues.” what the fuck is that about? i don’t want to be “roguish,” i want to stab dudes in the back and make wisecracks like a real anti-hero. anyway, this is always the class i play in any game where i have options (as i feel it suits me best on a personal level), and i’ll always bring one along even if i shouldn’t according to some nerd breakdown, so the ranking is what it is. haters are going to hate.

DANCERS
like you didn’t see this coming

01. Dancer
description: “Dancers (踊り子 Odoriko) use special Dances to cause status effects or damage to enemies on a battle field.”
given how much i joke about this class (and i think i once wrote a long-ago update extolling the virtues of it, so i guess you should have seen this coming), you’d have to know it was coming in at #1. and it makes your characters wear the WORST outfits; your main guy looks like he’s not so much about to save the world as he is about to teach your wife (also known as his future lover) the secrets of the forbidden dance. you know, one that will make sex look like a church? it’s the class i know i probably should not play… but cannot resist.

wow, that was … nerdy. anyway, next week may be better. you never know.

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