The beauty and woe of multi-jobbing.

[Final Fantasy XI] In Final Fantasy XI players are afforded the opportunity to play as multiple jobs on the same character. The idea behind this is a great one, as players can play as any and all jobs that are available to them (some must be unlocked through quests after a certain level has been attained with one of the basic jobs). Players can become attached to one character, instead of playing a job for the life of the character, as is the case with almost all other currently available MMO’s. Another added benefit is that it prevents the game from getting “old.” Meaning that there will always be players that are leveling low level jobs, and since FFXI is almost exclusively based upon partying after level 10 (out of 75) there will always be players that can party in low level areas (well at least for a very long time).

There is a deep beauty in this formula. If one becomes disinterested in the job they are currently playing, they would only need to return to their Mog house and select a new job. This combined with the sub-job system allows players to create combinations that are useful for leveling, farming, soloing, etc. Many people start off playing MMO’s as a job/class because of the external appeal of the job and are unable to switch when they find that they don’t actually enjoy playing that particular job. Instead of the forced choice of pursuing a profession they don’t enjoy or creating a disconnect by having to produce a new character from the beginning, this system creates a level of immersion in the world that they play and creates the attachment that is necessary to keep players within the MMO.

But with the beauty also comes the woe. I currently play a character who’s main job is Dragoon. This is a job that many people are proud to play because it has one of the deepest storylines in the quest to open it. It is a popular class but it also has some weaknesses as the game progresses to the higher levels. This is not a problem for most people that play it, and there is no real deficit in those that play as Dragoons. But for me, the problem of envy arose. I wished to play a job that was much needed and always wanted. This came in two forms, Ranger and Ninja. Respectively, these are the highest damaging job and most sort after (well, equally with Paladin) tanks in the game. The problem with these jobs is that they cost gil. Lots and lots of gil. Playing these two jobs costs twice the lots and lots of gil. I enjoy them both so I have to pay through the nose to maintain them. This is not a problem, per se, with a system that allows players to have multiple jobs, but it does illustrate the harder work that is necessary to maintain them.

I believe that more and more MMO’s will pursue this multi-job tract. The attachment I feel to my FFXI character is definitely deeper than the attachment I have to my World of Warcraft characters. I suppose this may also be because of the “casual gamer” friendliness of WoW, but others have discussed the potential lack of sustainability of “casual gamer” friendly MMO’s. Attachment to MMO’s come from, I believe, attachment to the player’s role in the game. The friends they make, the level of there character, etc. The ability to sustain the same character while not being locked into the same job helps to cement the commitment of players to a particular MMO.

ringthree

6 thoughts on “The beauty and woe of multi-jobbing.”

  1. I agree, the ability to change classes but still use the same toon creates a sort of bond with your character. However, this is really the only thing it does, otherwise it’s exactly like any other class system, considering you start out as a level 1 for any job you’ve never leveled up.

    However, there are two points you didn’t really address.

    The first is whether or not SE intentionally made you able to use the same toon for any job or was it simply because they charge extra for extra characters or, most likely, it’s because of the subjob system. I’m not really sure if you can give props to the people who designed the game, but it’s more of a fluke that it makes you feel more intact with your character.

    Secondly, you didn’t point out that in FFXI you basically HAVE to level up at least two jobs (in many cases three, sometimes four), one to 37 and one to 75 (increases depending on level cap). So while the beauty that comes with keeping the same character is there, it’s easily marred by the fact that you have to play your subjob just to be able to play your main job. I dunno about you, but I hate Ninja and I had to level it up for my Thief when it was my main. This is one reason I quit THF. Leveling up my subjob was semi-expensive and I just hated the job in general (ninja…tank…WTF?). Luckily with my BRD/WHM I was able to enjoy both jobs equally.

    I agree with you though…I felt a stronger bond with my FFXI character. It actually pains me to think about it. I don’t feel the same about my WoW character and I really can’t put my finger on it. Same thing goes with the whole FFXI world. I overall like the FFXI world more than I like WoW’s, but I’m not exactly sure why. FFXI definitely has some awesome landscapes but I didn’t get to visit much of those except in screenshots. So again, there’s just some essence about FFXI I loved but I just can’t put my finger on. However, FFXI just wasn’t fun enough for me, hence why I play WoW now.

  2. I dont think the problem is that I didn’t address your two points, more that I dont know how relevent they are.

    In regards to your first observation, I think you give SE far too little credit. This is a japanese company that served the japanese first (often considering them first) and the japanese style of play is much more based on attachment and community. This is an obvious difference between FFXI and WoW.

    The second is an obvious observation about the leveling system, any system with duel jobs will require leveling something besides your main that you might not enjoy. Its the nature of the beast, but it does give you the option of changing without giving up the character. The price structure for FFXI is enough so that you can have 4 mules and still pay the same as WoW.

  3. Yeah, my little Taru named “Toast” is high on my list of characters I miss. I think back fondly on that fateful day when I ran into another Taru named “Jam”. Good times.

  4. “The price structure for FFXI is enough so that you can have 4 mules and still pay the same as WoW.”

    Huh? Did they lower the price on FFXI or something? That’s also under the assumption that you’re paying the monthly plan for WoW.

    “I think you give SE far too little credit.”

    And my point was that you might be giving them far too much credit. It’s a possibility that you left out in your article.

    “The second is an obvious observation about the leveling system”

    Not exactly. I can imagine some dual-job systems that do not require you to go full fledged into your secondary job. FFXI requires you to fully embrace your subjob…this means equipment, spells, and even subjobs for your subjobs. FFXI requires you to fully play your subjob as if it were your main job. You were discussing the “woe” in such a system, and I thought this was a pretty glaring one. Not to mention the fact that the subjob system in FFXI is nowhere near as open as, say, Guild Wars.

  5. I’m pretty sure FFXI is $12.95 a month and $1 extra per month per character if you want additional characters.

  6. Then I dunno what he was talking about. I can play WoW and have 50 characters and pay LESS than FFXI + 4 mules.

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