How about this:
You begin the game after creating your character with no equipment whatsoever. You have no job, just Adventurer in the spot where your job title would be. At this point, you can do nothing but talk to NPCs. There would be certain basic instructional NPCs to get you started, either spread around, or maybe they find you in the opening cutscene, similar to how they do in the beginning of FFXI. They guide you to 1 of 4 NPCs.
NPC1 is a heavy melee NPC. Go this NPC if you want to follow the path of heavy melee.
NPC2 is a mage. Go to them for the mage path.
NPC3 is a light melee. Go to them for the faster, stealthier jobs.
NPC4 is a hybrid. Go to them for the hybrid jobs.
Let's say, for example, you chose NPC1. You want to be a heavy melee. NPC1 gives you an Onion Sword, and tells you some basic things about being a heavy melee: tanking, DD, stuff like that. Now, you have a weapon. On your Onion Sword, you see the following:
Dmg is the damage of the weapon, how much it can damage an enemy. Combines with your STR stat to hurt enemies.
Delay is how often the weapon can be swung.
Provoke is the job ability Provoke. Allows you to taunt an enemy into attacking you, for the purpose of tanking.
0/50 means you have acquired 0 out of 50 AP towards learning Provoke, gained by defeating enemies/accomplishing quests.
Equipping the Onion Sword changes your job title to Warrior. You are now a Warrior, and your stats adjust to reflect this, with STR, VIT, DEX, AGI, INT, MND, CHR, and HPs gaining appropriate adjustments. You have no MP as you cannot use magic, and are not a mage anyway (but you can imagine if you chose a mage path, it would also add MP and adjust it accordingly)
As long as the Onion Sword is equipped, you can use Provoke. Removing the Onion Sword, or replacing it with a different weapon, will cause the ability Provoke to vanish from your command list.
As long as the Onion Sword is equipped, the stat bonuses listed below Provoke will be added to your base stats. Removing the Onion Sword will cause those stats to disappear, as with Provoke.
Unequip the Onion Sword, and your title once again becomes Adventurer, and your stats readjust to reflect the stats of an Adventurer.
Once you have acquired 50 AP, you will learn Provoke. You can now use Provoke at any time, without needing the Onion Sword to be equipped. In addition, the stat bonuses will now be available with the job ability Provoke. However, because Provoke is a Warrior ability, if you unequip the Onion Sword, and do not equip another weapon that makes you a Warrior, such as a newer better sword or other weapon type Warrior can use, you will revert to an adventurer again. The weapon type is your key to the job you want to play.
A new menu will become available upon learning your first ability/spell. The Job Points menu (JP) allows you to allocate your job points to set the abilities and spells you have learned. JP increases with the more abilities and spells you learn, but there is never enough JP to set every ability, so you have to choose carefully.
However, equipping a weapon and setting abilities that change your job name to a particular class will allow you to use all native abilities of that class without requiring JP. For example, if you know Provoke, Berserk, and Defender, all Warrior abilities, you can equip a weapon that will change your Job to Warrior. Provoke, Berserk, Defender, and the stat bonuses that come with them, will all be applied to your stats, and you can use them without having to set them or use any of your JP.
Thus, by learning abilities and spells, you gain more stats and become stronger in this way.
As a particular job, you can use your JP to set abilities or spells that job cannot normally use. Each ability or spell will require a certain amount of JP; generally, the stronger the ability, the more JP it will take to set it. Once set, you can use that ability freely. Spells will add things like INT, MND, and MP, so you will be able to cast even if you are not a mage job or your job has no MP pool of its own.
Your goal for getting stronger becomes to acquire weapons and learn the abilities on them, to increase the stats of your desired job. Changing your weapon, changes your job. If you equip a staff, and set White Magic spells, you will become a White Mage. If you equip a staff, and set Black Magic spells, you become a Black Mage. If you equip a sword and set Black and White Magic spells, you will become a Red Mage. If you equip a Scythe, and set Black Magic spells with abilities like Soul Eater and Last Resort, you will become a Dark Knight. And so on.
Thus: There are no levels. You can equip any weapon type, but changing weapon types may change your job, unless your job has access to multiple weapon types,in that case it would probably depend on the abilities you set. Armor can only be equipped by the appropriate job. Job proficiency is based on the abilities you learn, and the stat bonuses and functions those abilities provide, combined with the strength of the weapon and armor your job can wear to supplement those abilities.
Your job can freely use any ability it has native access to(like if you change to Black Mage, you can use all Black Magic spells you have learned, White Mage can use all White Magic spells you have learned, Warrior can use all Warrior abilities, and so on), and will receive the stat bonuses all of those abilities give without having to set them in the JP menu.
Over time, you learn enough abilities and spells to have many stat boosts, making your job's HP, MP, and all other stats related to your job's performance rise to very high levels, making you stronger and stronger. Setting things in the JP menu will allow your job to use spells and abilities it does not normally have access to, without having to change your job to use them, sort of like a portable version of FFXI's sub job system.
I used Warrior as an example, but if you wanted to be a mage from the beginning, or something else, you can probably imagine how that would go, just substitute Onion Rod or Onion Staff for Onion Sword, and Cure or Stone or some low level spell for Provoke.
Edited, Jun 20th 2009 4:57pm by Faldein