Job Training Part 5: The Earth Crystal Jobs

The Earth crystal is the last one encountered in the story, and some fairly impressive jobs are a reward for making it this far.



DRGThis is one of my favorite classes, but it’s unfortunately the worst of this lot. It’s not bad by any means, but the other 3 are potentially game breaking and Dragoon is just good. Dragoons have their signature !Jump ability as their innate command. The user leaves for a turn before coming down on an enemy, this does double damage if the user is equipped with a spear. They also have !Lance, which steals HP and MP from a given target. Finally, they learn Equip Spears. Sadly, a fiesta class can’t take this and !Jump.

  • !Jump is very, very useful to avoid damage if you can time it well. It also has the benefit of ignoring row, so you can have a very survivable dragoon still doing the same damage they would in the front.
  • !Lance is based on magic, so it’s more useful on Mage classes than it is on Dragoon. It also helps some of these classes (*cough* Summoner *cough*) with their MP issues.
  • Crystal dragons near the end of the game have the Dragon Lance as a rare steal, which is stronger than the Sealed Weapon spear (Holy Lance). Even if you don’t have a thief, you can get this one with the Thief’s Knife.


SAMThe last of the heavy armor classes, Samurai has a lot going for it. Their innate command is !Zeninage, better known as Gil Toss. This damages all enemies by literally throwing money at them. Their innate passive is Shirahadori, which causes them to sometimes evade melee attacks. They also learn !Mineuchi, which I’ve honestly never found a use for. It’s supposed to paralyze enemies, but it doesn’t thanks to a bug. (I believe the bug is fixed in the Mobile version.) Their final command ability is !Iainuki, which attempts to instantly kill all enemies. Samurais also learn Equip Katanas.

  • Zeninage does damage based on your level and the enemy’s defense, with a very large multiplier. The cost is based on your level and the number of enemies. Because most of the damage comes from the multiplier, it’s fairly ineffective against high-defense enemies unless you level like Belghast.
  • Most katanas have a decent chance to crit, which deals double damage and ignores defense. The Sealed Weapon katana (Masamune) also causes the holder to always act first in battle and casts haste when used as an item. This alone would make Samurai a top-tier class.
  • Iainuki has a base success chance of 85%, but will fail against targets immune to instant death (but not undead). Feel free to perform your Odin impression on as many things as possible.


CHMThe only thing you need to know about chemist is that it can revive the entire party for 0 MP, and that’s not its strongest ability. Chemists have the innate passive of Pharmacology, which doubles the effect of healing items. Their innate command is !Drink, which allows the user to use the drink items for a variety of buffs. The real power in the class in !Mix, which takes two items in your inventory and produces an effect of some kind. Most of these are fairly defensive, but there are some exceptions. There are effects that can’t be duplicated by any other class available to Chemists this way. Their other commands are !Recover, which casts Esuna on the part for free, and !Revive, which casts Raise on the party for free.

  • Keep a mix list handy. There are too many effects here to memorize.
  • Chemists are unfortunately not at all gifted offensively. Caster-like commands can make them more useful in random battles, should you choose to fight them.
  • A lot of the really good mixes require either a Dragon Fang or a Turtle Shell, both of which are only found from enemy drops. Keep an eye out for sources of these.


DNCDancers have low strength, not great agility, and the worst HP in the game, but they’re the fiesta class most likely to do 9999 physical damage, and their unique equipment includes the best defensive item outside of the bonus dungeon. The Dancer innate command is !Dance, which randomly produces one of 4 effects: an attack for x4 damage, hp drain, mp drain, or confusion. Dancers also have !Flirt, which just attempts to confuse an enemy. The final ability dancers learn is Equip Ribbons, which does what it says. Dancers themselves don’t need this ability to use ribbons.

  • While !Dance normally has 4 options, some gear removes the charm in favor of an extra chance to attack. The most useful of these is the Rainbow Dress, because the others cover up a gear slot that could have something more useful in it (like a Ribbon). If you have a thief, you can steal a Lamia’s Tiara (which has this effect) in the floating ruins, well before you’re supposed to have access to it and actually before you even have the dancer job available.
  • Ribbons are headgear that grants immunity to most status effects in addition to a large amount of defense. Don’t ask me how a simple ribbon does this, but it makes Equip ribbons one of the best passives in the game.
  • As mentioned, Dancers have the worst HP in the game, and unlike Bards and Red Mages, need to be in the front row to deal good damage. The drain dance helps with this a little bit, but expect your dancer to die a lot.

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Thanks for sticking with it this long. The Fiesta starts on Monday; I hope you take part. Remember to tweet proof of your victory to @Aggrochat if you finish!

Job Training Part 4: Grab Bag

The nature of the Fire Crystal jobs means that this is a bit of a grab bag. The Fire Crystal is special in that you don’t get all of the jobs associated with it at the same time. Geomancer, Ninja, and Beastmaster appear initially, then you’ll get Bard and Ranger a bit after the Ancient Library.



RNGMaster of the bow and arrow, Ranger has some of the best abilities in the game. Their command, !Aim, delivers an attack that never misses, but it’s disabled while blinded. Their other commands include !Animals, which has a variety of random effects based on your level, and !Rapid Fire, which is potentially the best ability for physical attackers. It delivers 4 attacks at random enemies for half damage, but these attacks never miss and ignore defense. (It’s 1/3 of the traditional power combo.) On a single target, this can more than double your damage output (thanks to the defense ignoring effect) while still allowing shield use, unlike Twohanded or Dual-Wield. Rangers also learn Equip Bows.

  • !Animals has some disappointing damage effects, but Nightingale is a heal that also cures blind and poison on the entire party. If you give !Animals to a caster, it’s even heals for a decent amount.
  • Bows require two hands, but are relatively strong weapons. Ones to note include the Hayate bow in Exdeath’s castle (which will sometimes use Rapid Fire automatically) and the Artemis Bow found in Istory falls, which is more powerful than the Sealed Weapon Yoichi Bow (but unlike the Yoichi bow, doesn’t crit).
  • !Rapid Fire does not trigger additional effects on weapons that have them. This means you can’t critically strike with it, but at the same time you’ll never accidentally run from battle with the Chicken Knife, or heal undead enemies with the Assassin’s dagger.


NINThe purpose of the Ninja is to flip out and kill people. The Ninja command is !Throw, which can fling weapons or certain other items (scrolls and shuriken) at enemies. Their innate passives are Dual-Wield and First Strike. Dual-Wield allows holding a weapon in each hand, and it’s another 1/3 of the game’s traditional power combo (Seriously, they made it Bartz’s EX burst in Dissidia). First Strike causes you to get preemptive attacks more often. Ninjas can also learn !Image, which is identical to the White Mage spell Blink, and gives you two copies that let you avoid physical attacks. Finishing out the list is !Smoke, which guarantees an escape from battle (as long as you are able to run normally).

  • Scrolls deal magic damage when thrown, so giving a ninja a magic ability (or conversely giving !Throw to a mage) can boost the damage done by scrolls significantly.
  • This is a one-shot trick, but Throwing the Excalipoor uses its listed attack power. It’s kind of hilarious to get a few thousand damage out of a weapon that does 1 damage if you swing it normally.
  • The comment I’ve already left for White Mages and Knights applies here too: !Image makes it really hard for things to hit you with physical attacks. Some enemies only use physical attacks. Other enemies can be berserked into only using physical attacks.


BSTBeastmaster is a class that varies in power depending on where you are in the game. Their innate command is !Catch/Release, which can catch an enemy at low health and later unleash it in battle for an effect. Their other commands are !Calm, which Stops “magical beasts” (but also Omega in most versions, for some reason) and !Control, which takes control of an enemy. Berserk/Confused enemies can’t be controlled, and physical attacks will break it. Berserkers and Beastmasters aren’t exactly friends. Beastmasters also learn Equip Whips.

  • The HP Threshold for !Catch and the chance of success for !Control are both made better by equipment. The Korango Gourd can be earned in Quelb (check the well) and the Hypno Crown can be found shortly after that in Drakenvale.
  • In World 1, Sand Bears are one of the best capture options, as they perform a strong physical attack when released.
  • The attacks Blaze, Breath Wing, and Lightning all do 25% Max HP damage to anything not immune to that element. 4 of these will kill (or nearly kill because of rounding) anything with less than 39,996 HP. Yellow Dragons in Exdeath’s castle have Lightning. Exdeath has 32,768 HP. Sadly I’m told this doesn’t work anymore in the mobile version.
  • If you want to get AP early, Skull Eaters in Jachol Cave can be controlled. Winning a Skull Eater encounter gets you 5 AP, just be careful not to use magic on them.


BRDBard is a very strong support class, and I’d actually consider it one of the best. Their innate command is !Sing. There are two types of songs: The first (and more common) type has an effect on either all enemies or all allies. The second causes the user to sing continuously, raising the party’s stats until they either die or take a physical attack. They also learn !Hide, which removes the user from battle until you use Reveal. Bards also learn Equip Harps, which is more useful for passing some speed and magic to another class than for actually equipping harps.

  • Bards come in at #2 on the “Worst HP in the game” list. Keep them in the back row!
  • Most harps do %current health damage, and don’t work on bosses. The Sealed Weapon harp, the Apollo Harp, instead does a decent chunk of non-elemental magic damage, and x8 damage to Undead and Dragons. (For whatever reason, it doesn’t work on Bahamut.)
  • If all of the living members of your party are hiding, and the battle is escapable, it will count as an escape. If the battle isn’t escapable (and you don’t highly value your time) you can run some bosses out of MP by doing this.
  • Bardsongs tend to be quite miss-able. Romeo’s Ballad is in Istory, Alluring Air is in Lix, and Mana’s Paean has a very short acquisition window in the Ancient Library, when you get the quest for the four tablets.
  • One of the best songs requires mastering the piano. Every place that has a Bar has a piano, although these are sometimes well-hidden. Collect your prize (Hero’s Rime) from the minstrel in Crescent.

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If you’re wondering, the third part of that combination I mentioned twice is Spellblade. Tomorrow I’ll be finishing up with the final jobs you’ll receive, the ones from the Earth Crystal. The Fiesta starts on Monday!

Job Training Part 3: The Misfits

Sadly, not all jobs are created equal. The jobs described today aren’t bad, but they need a bit of support from the rest of the party. The exception is Mystic Knight, which is an all-around awesome job that got stuck in here because I’ve grouped the jobs by crystal, and it comes in at the same time as Red Mage and Berserker. It’s still quite unique, but in very good ways.


Mystic Knight

MYSMystic Knight is one of the more unusual jobs in FF5, and it’s one example of a concept that re-appeared in much less powerful forms later in the series. Mystic Knights use their command, !Spellblade, to charge their swords with spells. Elemental spells multiply your physical damage against targets weak to that element, they don’t do anything otherwise. Status spells will always inflict their status on the enemy as long as you hit them and the target isn’t immune. Statuses that can be inflicted with !Spellblade include poison, sleep, silence, and stone (!). Near the end of the game, Flare just provides a large non-elemental damage boost. Mystic Knights also have Magic Shell as an innate passive, which gives them Shell when in critical condition.

  • Break spellblade is an instant kill against anything not immune to stone. Most bosses after you get Break have this immunity, except for Odin, Twintania (when charging Gigaflare), and one of the sections of the final boss.
  • Most available sword magic is Black magic, but Silence and Holy are White. Don’t forget to pick them up.
  • If you need to beat Fork Tower (and with a Mystic Knight you absolutely want to do this) and you don’t have any casters, Omniscient can’t do anything to you if you silence him with every hit.
  • Firaga, Blizzaga, Thundaga, Holy, and Bio will instantly kill things weak to their element, or do 4x damage if the target is immune to that effect. Killing things quickly with this class is just a matter of picking the right spell.

Red Mage

REDHow good it is to get Red Mage depends on if you have any of the four classes I mentioned yesterday, and how willing you are to earn the 999 AP that learning !Dualcast requires. The Red Mage command ability is !Red, which includes the first 3 levels of White and Black magic. This does grant 2nd-tier elemental spells and Cura, but these start to fall off in effectiveness at the end of World 1. FF5 is the first game in the series to give Red Mages their signature !Dualcast ability, which allows casting two White, Black, Time, or Summon spells in a single turn. (The corresponding command ability must also be equipped.) Equipping !Dualcast also grants the ability to cast anything a Red Mage could cast.

  • Red mages don’t have a lot of HP, so be aware that they might need extra attention if you put them in the front row.
  • Red mages might not have much damage, but they do still have Confuse, Silence, and Sleep. These remain useful, even after the -a level spells no longer are.
  • Even without any other casters, a character with !Dualcast can cast Raise twice. This means recovery from unfortunate situations is made quite a bit easier.


BERMy love for you is like a truck. Berserkers are very straightforward: they hit things. As long as they’re alive, they’ll swing their weapon or fists at anything in front of them, and there’s not much you can do about it. Their innate passive is Berserk, you can’t control them so they have no command. Mastering Berserker grants Equip Axes. It’s not all bad news: Berserkers have high strength and are immune to confusion, It’s just that sometimes they have a tendency to make things unpredictable.

  • In most versions, Berserkers attack randomly. In the iOS/Android version, Berserkers are much more predictable and attack the target in front.
  • Axes and hammers ignore a portion of enemy defense, but have a large damage range and tend to be somewhat inaccurate compared to swords. Don’t forget that Berserkers can use Knives to get around this.
  • Harvesters (Found near Crescent Isle) can drop a Death Sickle, an axe that has a chance of inflicting Instant Death. This works on a lot of things, including a few bosses.
  • When you fight the Sandworm, you should kill your Berserker(s). Trust me on this one.


GEOGeomancer varies in quality depending on where you are in the game. Their command, !Gaia, uses a random ability based on the area you’re in and the user’s level, higher levels generally enable more powerful abilities. Some of these are very powerful (Cave In is basically Meteor), but many of the low-level ones are not. Randomness can also make this a bit frustrating. Geomancers have a pair of innate passives: Light Step avoids damage from ground hazards (spikes, lava), and Find Pits causes you to leap back from collapsing floors. A single Geomancer in the party provides these benefits to the party, so there’s not much point in giving these to other classes. As a side note, Geomancer is the fastest class to master.

  • If you’re playing the Mobile version, !Gaia’s randomness no longer has a level component. This means that you can get powerful spells earlier, and the results are weighted a bit towards them, making Geomancers quite a bit better.
  • There’s a section in Drakenvale that requires falling into a pit. Don’t let Geomancer keep you from advancing in the game here.
  • !Gaia is a very good command to give to mages that aren’t doing a lot of damage on their own, like White or Time Mages. It probably does more damage than that measly flail you were thinking of having your White Mage use, anyway.
  • !Gaia mostly deals earth and wind damage, so keep Gaia Gear and Air Knives handy for boosting those elements.

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Tomorrow: Jobs I’m having a hard time of thinking of a good collective description for. Hope to see you at the Fiesta next week!

Job Training Part 2: The Squishy Casters

On to the mages! One thing to note here (because it comes up a few times) is that certain equipment boosts the damage of elemental spells by 50%. Fire/Blizzard/Thunder/Poison rods all boost the power of their matching element when equipped. Gaia Gear boosts Earth, Air Knives boost Wind, and the Sage’s Staff boosts Holy. The Magus Rod includes all of these except Holy. The only remaining element (Water) does not have a potential equipment boost.


White Mage

WHMIn the fiesta, White Mage is all about delayed gratification. It does have healing, but one of the things you may learn during the fiesta is that healing is generally less important than making things dead faster so they stop hitting you. Their innate command is !White, which allows casting of white magic. The only other ability they learn is MP +10% when the job is mastered. White magic includes the healing you’d expect, but also a number of useful buffs and status spells. Protect, Shell, and Blink can help you live a little longer. Confuse and Silence can keep enemies from doing much. Near the end of the game, you get access to Holy, which is the strongest single-target damage spell in the game (when cast with the Sage’s Staff).

  • White Mages struggle a lot if you get them at the start. The Flail is hidden early in the Ship Graveyard and can help a bit. Also, most of the enemies in this area are damaged by Cure, so it’s not a bad spot if you feel like you do need some grinding. On bosses, don’t forget about Protect, and Magissa is vulnerable to Silence.
  • Blink allows the target it’s cast on to evade two physical attacks. Berserk causes enemies to only use physical attacks. This doesn’t work on most bosses, but it does work on Shinryu, one of the bonus bosses.
  • In addition to its expected effect of halving magic damage taken, Shell also halves the hit rate of any spell that doesn’t hit 100% of the time, which includes almost all status spells. In a lot of cases, this is more useful than the damage reduction,
  • In the event that you have White Mage and no other caster, Fork Tower can still be done without too much issue. Omniscient is vulnerable to Silence (and you can Dispel him to improve its hit rate), and your other damage sources can use the brief window this gives you to do damage. Repeat until dead.

Black Mage

BLMBlack Mages cast the spells that make people fall down. They remain good at this throughout the entire game, but they see large power spikes whenever they get a new spell level (especially the -aga spells). Their innate command is !Black, and they have no innate passive. Their spell list includes 3 levels of Fire, Blizzard, and Thunder spells, along with Drain, Bio, and Flare to round out the damage dealing. They also have a few status spells (Sleep, Poison, Toad) and two ways to cause instant death (Death and Break). Mastering Black Mage earns you MP +30%. I suspect any non-mage job would get more MP from equipping !Black.

  • This introduces quite a bit of grinding to a game that normally doesn’t require much (if any), but if you really want, Black Mages can be your primary healers. Flame Rings can be purchased in Istory in World 1, or the Phantom Village in World 3; these cause you to absorb fire spells, making Fire, Fira, and Firaga reasonable substitutes for Cure, Cura, and Curaga. The problem is the price tag: 50k gil each. I recommend the wolves in the forest near Karnak for this money.
  • FF5 is not a game in which status spells are completely useless. Atomos, one of the more difficult bosses in the game for a lot of parties, can be put to sleep. Sleeping targets are not woken by spells, so this can make the fight pretty easy.
  • If you can get reflect on your party, casting a spell on your entire party will do more damage to a single enemy than casting on that target directly. This does inhibit healing with White or Black magic, however.
  • Against most targets, a boosted -aga level elemental spell will do more damage than Flare (which is non-elemental and can’t be boosted). The exception is against certain high-defense targets, since Flare ignores a large portion of magic defense.

Time Mage

TIMTime Mages illustrate that no matter what you’re doing, it’s always better to be able to do it faster. Their command is !Time, which allows casting of Time Magic. Mastering Time Mage grants Equip Rods, which also includes staves. Time Magic is mostly supportive, with a few damage spells thrown in. Haste and Slow are some of the most powerful spells in the game. The Gravity spells mostly don’t work on bosses, but can cripple random encounters. They can do passable damage eventually with Comet, and great damage at endgame with Meteor. Probably their best spell is Quick, which stops time and allows the caster to take 2 actions immediately.

  • It bears repeating that haste and slow are incredibly strong spells, when combined you’ll get about 4 actions for every turn the enemies take. The only time you don’t want to use Slow is when facing Exdeath in his castle, as he’ll counter with Haste on himself.
  • The spell Return, when cast in battle, resets time back to the start of the battle. This is useful if things start going sideways, but you can also use it to reset back attacks.
  • Quick is a good spell, but it’s also the second most expensive spell in the game at 77 MP per cast. Try not to overdo it.


SMNSummoner has a lot of power and utility, but it’s locked up in sidequests. Their command ability is !Summon, which does what you’d expect. Mastering the job gets you !Call, which will use a random summon you’ve learned for no MP cost. The primary effect of most summons is damage, but there are some utility ones: Golem protects the party from physical damage, and Carbuncle casts reflect on all party members. Phoenix does a bit of damage, but also resurrects a party member with full HP and MP. The endgame dragons do quite a lot of damage, but Leviathan lags behind because there’s no way to boost the water element with items.

    • the first 3 summons are store-bought, the rest must be defeated in battle or otherwise acquired. Ifrit and Titan are encountered as part of the story, everything else requires seeking them out.
    • Some summons are missable: Shiva is in the basement of Castle Walse, Ramuh is in the forest near Istory, Catoblepas is in a forest surrounded by mountains in World 2, and Carbuncle is in Exdeath’s castle. Ramuh gives you a second chance in the final dungeon, but he’s not relevant anymore at that point.
    • Phoenix is an absolute pain to acquire (you have to climb the 30-floor Phoenix Tower) and costs 99 MP, but the fact that it restores a character to full HP/MP essentially renders your party immune to anything that doesn’t kill everyone at once.
    • Somewhat large Spoiler: Going to a particular location in World 3 gives you a familiar summon, who is wind-elemental. With an air knife, it does more damage than Leviathan, and almost as much as Bahamut, for a fraction of the MP cost.

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Tomorrow: Some unfortunates (and also Mystic Knight). Hope to see you at the Fiesta next week!

Job Training Part 1: Starting Physical Jobs

This week I’ll be going over the various jobs in FF5, and some things that might be helpful to know if you get them. I’ll be starting with the more physical classes available at the start. The fiesta starts roughly a week from today (sign up right here), and I’ll be going over all 20 jobs, so hopefully someone finds this helpful. If you do, go thank Kodra for the idea. I’ll be following one of the game’s conventions here: Abilities preceded by an exclamation point are command abilities, the others mentioned are passives.



KNIMaster of hitting things with swords, the Knight also has good defense. This is the only fiesta class that can equip Knightswords, which are the strongest weapons near the end of the game. Their innate command, !Guard reduces all physical damage the Knight takes to 0 for a turn. They also have the innate passive Cover, which causes them to take single-target physical attacks directed at low-health teammates. Their most notable other ability is Two-Handed, which allows you to hold a variety of weapons (swords, katanas, axes, and hammers) in two hands, which means you can’t use a shield but attack for roughly double damage. They also have the Equip abilities for shields, armor, and swords, which can be a nice boost for other classes.

  • If you never run from battle, Knights are the only class in the fiesta that can use the Brave Blade, the numerically strongest weapon outside of the bonus dungeon. It’s a long road, but the payoff can be very worth it.
  • !Guard makes knights immune to physical attacks. Cover causes them to take physical attacks for low-health party members. A knight and a trio of low-health allies can therefore be completely immune to physical attacks. Anything that’s berserked will just use physical attacks. Use your imagination here.
  • Two-handed is nice, but don’t forget you can use a shield when defense is more useful. The Aegis Shield grants immunity to petrification and has a 1/3 chance to block most magic attacks, and the (very late game) Genji Shield has 50% evasion by itself. Even if your knight has no use for these, other classes can benefit from Equip Shields.


MNKIn the fiesta, Monk is most notable for tearing the early game to shreds, but falling behind as you get awesome weapons late in the game (unless you level a lot more than is usually necessary). Their innate command, !Kick, is the only one in the game that can’t be given to other jobs. It makes a physical attack on all enemies (ignoring row if you’re playing the mobile version). They have the innate passive of Counter, which causes them to sometimes attack enemies that hit them with physical attacks. Monks can also learn other commands: !Chakra gives a small heal that also cures poison and blind, and !Focus causes the character to charge for a turn before striking for double damage. Finishing off the class gives you a set of HP+ abilities, finishing with HP +30%. Monks already have a lot of HP, but this can be a big help to classes that have unfortunate HP situations, like Bard, Dancer, and Red Mage.

  • Don’t forget that !Chakra cures poison and blind. It’s nice to be able to clear blind and restore a bit of health in the same turn, since blind in FF5 pretty much makes physical classes entirely useless.
  • Monks hit twice, which means that enemies that counter will counter twice. Alternate solutions may be required for enemies that deal most of their damage via counters, like Garula. (Don’t forget that monks can Counter too!)
  • Late in the game, Monks can use the Kaiser Knuckles accessory, which brings their endgame damage up to respectable levels. You can get one of these in the Undersea Trench, and more as a drop from the Steel Fist enemies.
  • The monk passive Barehanded grants the unarmed damage of a monk, and it’s particularly useful on mage classes, to give them an early source of damage output. It doesn’t make them any less squishy, so keep an eye on their HP if you put them in the front row.


THFThief isn’t the strongest class in the game, but it does have a lot going for it. Their most notable feature is their innate command, !Steal, which does what you’d expect. It’s useful for healing items, money-making, and access to a variety of equipment that’s difficult or impossible to get otherwise. They have multiple innate passives: Sprint speeds up movement, Vigilance entirely prevents back attacks, and Find Passages shows hidden passages. Their other learned commands are !Mug, which steals along with an attack, and !Flee, which will instantly run from any battle where you could run normally. Sadly there’s not much here for other classes, as you get the full benefits of all of the thief’s passives with a single thief in the party. The only exception is Artful Dodger, which can grant the thief’s agility (which is the highest in the game) to whoever you equip it on.

  • Poltergeists in the Fire-powered ship have Hi-Potions, well before you can buy them. this is conveniently right before a boss that’s extremely difficult for thieves. Stock up!
  • Elixirs are a rare steal from the Zu enemy, near Karnak. These are kind of annoying to stock up on, but it’s easier than most other methods of getting them.
  • Gilgamesh has 4 pieces of Genji Armor to steal (gloves on the boat, helm in the castle, shield and armor in the final dungeon). This is mostly only useful if you have a job that can wear heavy armor, but Blue Mages can use the shield.
  • The enemy Objet d’Art (found in the basement of Castle Bal) has the Twin Lance as a rare steal, and this is an absurdly powerful weapon for a Thief or Ninja at the point you can get it. It’s reasonably good through the rest of the game, but suffers versus enemies with high defense.

Blue Mage

BLUBlue Magic is one of the best all-around toolboxes in the game, with the obvious downside of having to learn your abilities from enemies. Their innate command is !Blue, which allows casting any blue magic learned by the party. Their innate passive is Learning. As long as a character with Learning is affected by a Blue Magic spell, it will be learned when you win the battle (the character in question does not need to be alive). The other blue magic abilities are !Check, which shows enemy HP, and !Scan, which also shows level, weaknesses, and any status effects. Notable Blue magic spells include the Aero series (damage spells), Vampire (hp absorb based on caster’s missing health), White Wind (party heal based on caster’s current health), Death Claw (reduces an enemy to single-digit HP and causes paralysis), and Level 5 Death (kills all enemies with a level divisible by 5). This is one of my favorite classes in the game.

  • Before you advance the plot near the start, there are 3 Blue magic spells available immediately: Moldwynds in the Wind Shrine have Aero, Black Goblins (also in the Wind Shrine) have Goblin Punch, and Steel Bats in the pirate cave have Vampire.
  • Goblin Punch is similar to attacking normally, except that it never misses and does full damage regardless of position. This mostly means that Blue Mages can still hit things while being back-row casters. As an added bonus, Goblin punch can be used with the Excalipoor to do damage based on its listed attack rating.
  • Learning defensive Blue Magics (most notably White Wind and Mighty Guard) requires some way to charm or confuse the enemies into casting them on you. The jobs that can do this reliably are are Bard, White Mage, Red Mage, and Beastmaster. Dancers have a 25% chance to use confusion when they use !Dance, and any class can do similarly with the Dancing Dagger.
  • Level 5 Death ignores immunity to death and can kill any non-undead enemy with a level divisible by 5. Notable bosses that fall into this category are Adamantoise, the launchers in the Soul Cannon fight, and the revived form of Archeoaevis. It’s also useful for gaining AP from the Objet d’Art enemies in the basement of Castle Bal.

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Tomorrow I’ll be covering the squishy mages. As a reminder, more victories means more money for Child’s Play, so I hope this helps!

On Getting the Party Started

It’s that time again.
Four Job Fiesta 2015
The Final Fantasy 5 Four Job Fiesta is an annual fundraising event that I covered in some detail last year. FF5 is one of my favorite games ever, so I’ve participated every year since 2010.In my attempts to get other people interested, I’ve had a few people ask me how the whole thing works. It is explained on the site, but it’s not exactly easy to find. With that in mind, here’s a guide for getting started.

Four Jobs

The major restriction placed on your party is that instead of having full access to all 20 jobs handed out through the story in FF5, you have access to 4 jobs which will be randomly determined by Gilgabot. These are handed out in a manner corresponding with plot elements in the first part of the game, namely visiting the elemental crystals. When you reach the Wind Crystal, which is normally where you get access to jobs in a normal run through of the game, you will have access to one job. Once you reach this point, you must have all of your characters in one of the jobs assigned to you and all of the jobs assigned to you represented in your party. At the start, this means that everyone will be in whatever job you got assigned, which is kind of a pain if you got White Mage.

Blue Mages
Each new Crystal will mean a new job for you. When you have 2 jobs, you can split them among your party in whatever way you like (3+1 or 2+2) , but you must use both of them. 3 jobs means that you get to choose which one is represented twice. By the time you have 4, you must have one of each job in the party at all times. That doesn’t mean that you have to always have a particular character as a particular job, but you can’t leave one out (unless you’re in one of the situations when your party is reduced to 3 people). A large part of the power of the job system in FF5 is giving abilities learned in one class to others, so switching classes around your party is highly encouraged.


It’s perfectly fine if you’re never played FF5 before to participate in the Fiesta. However, if it is your first time, I strongly suggest registering for a Normal run with no restrictions. This will give you one class picked from each set, where each set comes from one of the elemental crystals. I’m relatively certain that every possible party handed out with this method can beat the game, although they certainly aren’t all created equal.

If you’re a bit more adventurous, #reg750 will get you a team composed of mostly casters. #regNo750 will get you a team with no casters. Both of these are references to the price of elemental rods, useful weapons that boost the damage of their corresponding element in battle, but can be broken to cast a third-tier elemental spell (but only if your class can equip rods). #regRandom picks jobs slightly differently: instead of getting a new one from each set, every time you’re assigned a job one is chosen from the entire list you have available to you. This does mean you’re more likely to get classes from the beginning of the game. New this year is #regChaos, and deatils for how this works are scarce. It seems to be a selection of any of the 20 available jobs 4 times, handed out to you in whatever order Gilgabot thinks is most appropriate.

While a major part of this even is the fundraiser, don’t feel like you have to give something to participate. Plenty of people give based on the number of victors, so even playing through helps out. Like Bel mentioned, this is kind of a thing for me each year, so look for more in the very near future.


It’s interesting to see the level of randomness we’ll accept in our games. This post is somewhat inspired by the running jokes regarding the luck of Bel and Tam.

One of the complaints Tam and I shared about Darkest Dungeon was the tendency toward “cascading failure”. It was my experience that an enemy crit might lead to your entire team getting stressed, which might make one go crazy and start attacking a party member who would then get more stressed and go crazy, until your entire party is dead. This remains a problem even if the enemies aren’t much of a threat otherwise. Darkest dungeon revels in its randomness, and it was a bit much for me. I figured it would be a good opportunity to examine how other games use randomness.

Two Extremes

On one side, we have roguelikes. On the other hand, there are a lot of examples of games with no randomness whatsoever, like Super Mario Brothers. For the purposes of this conversation, I’m ignoring the second category, but there are a lot more of them than you might think at first. Most scrolling shooters, bullet hell or otherwise, have fixed patterns, with the only changes coming from reaction to the player’s position. Most platformers are similar, even modern ones like Rayman, Ori, and Super Meat Boy. (As an aside, Super Meat Boy is such a wonderful example of a lot of game concepts that I’m probably not going to stop comparing things to it until people no longer remember what it is.) Instead of talking about those, let’s start somewhere else familiar.

More Super Meat Boy

Ultimate Illusion

It’s not hard to see where the Final Fantasy series took its original inspiration from, and so it’s not a large surprise that it ended up with random elements to replace the dice rolling that tabletop RPGs use. As a result, there’s turn order, damage variance, spell effectiveness, enemy target selection, enemy attack selection, encounter rate, encounter type, and probably other things that I’m forgetting that are randomly determined. Even with all of this, Final Fantasy is not random enough that it feels unfair. You know that your fighter or monk is going to reliably do a certain amount of damage, enough to kill an enemy in X number of hits. You know that if you use fire spells on undead enemies, most of them will take more damage than usual. You can even have a good idea of how much damage enemies do, so you know when you need to heal. Even though there’s some amount of randomness inherent in all of these things, it isn’t overwhelming.

Final Fantasy 1


Roguelikes (so-named because of the game Rogue) feel like the above does not go far enough. Some of my favorite games fall into this category, like Risk of Rain, the Pokemon Mystery Dungeon series, and Diablo (think about it). Hallmarks here include all of the above, plus random (or semi-random) level design, random items, and getting set back dramatically if you die. The goal in this is to ensure that every time you play the game it’s a little different. The large death penalty also encourages learning, instead of memorization; your growing skill as a player is supposed to be the driving factor behind making further progress. There are enough games calling themselves roguelikes with progression systems that this isn’t always true.

My problem with some games like this is that it’s possible to get an RNG overdose. Using Risk of Rain as an example, if you’re playing one of the close-range characters and don’t have a decent source of healing by about 20 minutes (on normal), you might be doomed due to circumstances that are mostly outside of your control. Likewise if you’re the commando (the character you start with) and haven’t found something that helps you deal with groups, you’re going to have a hard time. Roguelikes in general tend to be somewhat bad about this, it’s possible to have lost and not even know for a period of time. In Risk of Rain in particular, this time is unlikely to be longer than about 10 minutes. In Darkest Dungeon, it sometimes wasn’t as kind. (Ex: “You didn’t bring enough shovels, but you don’t know that yet!”) They also have the problem outlined in the opening, where defeat comes from a series of unlucky rolls in a very short amount of time.

Risk of Rain
Then there’s the engineer, in which case you don’t care about items.

Sliding Scale

This doesn’t seem like an easy problem to solve. In games of this style, things have to vary enough to be interesting, without screwing the player over completely. You might argue that “screwing the player over completely” is the point, but I don’t buy that, and that mentality is why most of these games struggle to expand their audience. I think one of the best solutions is the ability to choose how difficult the game is, but this isn’t perfect. Diablo doesn’t make you play on Hardcore mode, but it’s there as an option. Pokemon Mystery Dungeon only makes you start at square one (Level 1, no items) for the bonus dungeons.

I haven’t given up on roguelikes as a whole, and I’m always interested to see how the next one handles some of these issues. The fact that other people like even the games I think are too random proves that there’s an audience that enjoys that. Steam certainly has plenty to choose from.