We see something of similar essence with BLU's Job Traits, correct?
It's been a while since I've looked over BLU job traits for FFXI but from what a vaguely recall it's somewhat similar. The main difference is that you're still a blue mage with restrictions based on your class. I'll continue with the Last Remnant reference not because I'm convinced that's what SE is going to use, but simply for the sake of an example.
You start off in Eorzea with your shiny new toon, Bob. Bob has attributes that reflect his race, a basic starter shirt and pants, and little bit of gil. Bob finds a vendor who sells weapons and is overjoyed to find that he has more than enough gil to buy any weapon he wants from the vendor, but he can only afford one of them. No problem...Bob decides to buy a sword knowing that he can earn more gil later and come back for something else if he so chooses. Bob stops by another vendor who happens to sell Orb Thingies of Mystic Glee. There is a different orb for each general category of magic (offensive damage, buffing, debuffing, healing, etc.). Bob decides to buy an Orb Thingy of Healing Bliss and uses it. Bob learns Little Healing Spell of Mirth, but more importantly, Bob now has access to the entire school of healing magic.
Bob then heads out into the world and finds a monster. Bob smacks the monster with his sword. Bob is kind of a wimpy guy at this point, so he has to hit the monster 5 times with his sword in order to kill it. Of course, the monster isn't going to take this lying down and fights back. Bob is wounded. Bob decides to heal himself with his nifty new healing magic. To summarize the entire fight "cycle":
Bob used his sword 5 times.
Bob cast his healing spell once.
Each time Bob hits something with his sword, his strength goes up by a tiny amount. Let's say Bob's strength as a brand new toon was 5. And let's say that each time he hits something with his sword, his strength increases by 0.05. After smacking things a total of 20 times with his sword, he gets a notification that his strength has increased by 1. Let's also say that every time Bob casts a spell, the attribute associated with that spell (ie. wisdom for healing) increases by 0.05. Let's say that every time Bob takes damage (ie. "uses" health), the game tracks that as well (with an obscure formula that will keep theorycrafters busy for years o.O) and after a period of time, Bob will get an increase to his HP, with the same concept applied to MP. Finally, let's suppose the game keeps track of how many times Bob has used a particular weapon...in this case, a sword. Once he has used that weapon a certain number of times (with some moderate randomness added for flavor), Bob will learn a new sword skill (ie. WS type of thing). Now, if Bob continues to just smack things with normal sword attacks, he will continue to learn new sword skills as he progresses but he will learn those skills faster if he makes use of the sword skills he has learned along the way.
So if Bob continues the playstyle of smacking things with his sword and healing himself as needed, Bob will develop good melee stats and sword skill and moderate healing skills. Bob begins to resemble a Paladin. Compare that to Jeff who started off playing the game with buddies from work and spends all of his time in a group with his friends. Jeff likes the offensive magic, so that's what he does. He stays out of harm's way and casts a lot of spells. Because he's not "using" his health (aka not taking damage), his HP pool stays low, but he's casting spells all the time so his attributes related to spellcasting (ie. intelligence, MP) have increased a fair amount. Jeff begins to resemble what we know as a Black Mage.
The main difference between that sort of thing and the "traditional" job system is that you're never "locked in" as a particular class. If Bob decides he wants to mess around with offensive magic for a change of pace, he can do so. He doesn't have to change jobs or gear and he isn't slapped with a bunch of coded restrictions because how he's using Fire instead of sword attacks to kill wimpy monsters. Say after one month of playing, Bob has been dabbling in a bit of everything. He still has the potential
to excel in any skill set in the game, but his character isn't going to be nearly so developed in any one area at that point in time as someone who picked one specific area and focused on it for that month.
In that sort of system, you'd still have gear/weapons that are suited to a particular role. You're still going to have gear that is better suited for a healer than a tank based on the attributes on the gear. Rather than saying only X, Y, Z class can equip this gear, it becomes a function of certain attributes. If you want to equip armor suited to tanking...well...it's pretty heavy being made out of metal plates and all, so you need to have your strength at or above a certain point. Sure, Mr. Tank can wear the armor with Int and Wis on it, but it's going to result in a dead tank pretty fast because a tank needs defense, not brains.
Continuing with the trend, and in line with what SE has suggested (continuation of the advanced jobs concept), things like summoning magic, blue magic, songs, whatever...those, too, would require a Orb Thingy of Mystic Glee associated with that particular school of skill/magic, only instead of getting it from a vendor it would be a reward from a quest that isn't available until later in the game. Once you've received the orb from the quest, you use it like any other orb to unlock that school of skills/magic, and then you develop that school by using the abilities in it. Edited, Jun 4th 2009 10:55am by AureliusSir