Sigh. Alright, I think I'm going to pass at trying to address every argument. I do notice many people still seem to be thinking of this in the framework of FFXI, and I'm not going to reply to those kinds of comments. It's not analogous.
Then why not just eliminate the job system altogether?
As another poster mentioned, this is (kind of) the direction WoW headed, and it totally ruined any kind of unique role that a person might have in a party. It basically dumbed down any sort of role to DPS, Tank, and healer. (and Pally.)
That's basically all the roles in FFXI as well. And it's a silly system, because it doesn't add any real strategy to the game. It just adds an inconvenience when you can't find the role you need. And I'm not saying that that sort of setup shouldn't work, or even be the best. But it shouldn't be so damned essential to every major fight and most regular ones.
The general problem most of the dissenters seem to be having is that they confuse strategy with party setup. And I blame that on the way FFXI (and other MMOs) ingrained this idea into them.
Strategy should evolve within the battle, but so much of victory and combat in FFXI is decided before the mob even appears. That's not how it should be.
And by making support roles so invaluable, it just reinforces this system of tanks, healers and damagers. Everyone is still basically just one of the three because those are three major tenants of combat: offense, defense, and recovery.
I guess what I'm saying is, if you think it's strategic and fun to have to piecemeal a functional party together, then good for you. There are already a dozen MMOs where you can do that, so by all means, have at them. But some of us would prefer if the strategic elements occurred primarily within the battles themselves, and that REQUIRES that all jobs are proportionately balanced.
And this doesn't subtract teamwork or any other element of gameplay along with it. It doesn't get rid of job roles. All it does is make it so that you can party with whoever the **** you want to regardless of their job role. And if you can't see why this is so, then I'll say again, you're probably stuck in the FFXI mindset (or WoW perhaps).
But I still think one support is always necessary, I mean you wouldnt create a party without anyone that dealt damage right? Something is necessary.
As I've already begun to outline somewhat, all combat can generally be broken down into offense, defense, recovery, and sometimes other support. The thing is, nearly all jobs can have all of these elements within them. You don't need jobs that specifically recover if everyone can recover. It goes without saying that almost all jobs have some level of offense and defense... why can't they all have some level of recovery (not counting kneeling or the ability to use potions)? It's about the way you combine these elements and allow them to manifest that makes a job-- not the role. A job is about style, and in identifying a way in which we can interact with the world.
Is a DRG's role so different from a SAM or a DRK? No, not really. But they have distinctly different styles of doing things. And if a DRK wants to heal through Drains, a SAM focuses his mind, or a DRG's wyvern uses a healing breath... is their identity threatened? No, it isn't. If a WHM has strong Holy magic, does he threaten the role of other DDs?
Jobs will always be present in spite of roles, believe it or not. And even if we balance all jobs, roles will still be present. It's just that certain roles won't be 100% vital. Edited, Jun 21st 2009 1:35am by Kachi