The reality is, team Yoshi inherited what is frankly an inbred system, the Armory system, while it had a promising outlook early on (much like the game overall) fell flat on it's own face under the weight of it's own indecision. "Am I a class system? Am I a classless system? WHO AM I!?"
At some point, I am sure it was suggested that the system be utterly scrapped, and honestly, I wish that they had chosen this method. Likely it was avoided because the idea of trying to port over and retain a player's sense of progress with an entire re-do of this system would be... difficult, bordering on impossible.
With that said, we're now going to be stuck with a "Class System" hitherto known as "Job System" and a "Quasi-Class System" that is the Armory system. Basically, if you drew a vendiagram between the two systems, there's going to be a **** of a lot more overlap than there ought to be for these to feel like "distinct," different systems.
The way items and skills are moving, every day we're getting stricter and stricter rules on what we can and cannot do, can and cannot wear as each class, which is constantly shifting them into becoming more and more distinctly different entities. Which is what Jobs are, entities that have very distinct roles in combat. What's the division point between classes and jobs then? Classes are inherently equipped with more hybrid abilities, and can equip, let's face it, the same abilities any sane person cross-classes, in order to up their survivability?
At what point is that just making jobs feel weak and unimaginative? At what point is that going to just kill any possibility of emergent play in group situations? How the **** are "jobs" like Red Mage, or any traditionally hybridized Final Fantasy job going to fit into this vendiagram?
The old Final Fantasy XIV team wanted to create a system that allowed for player customization, they wanted to make a system that was something more like the class-less systems of FF6/7/8/10/12/13 and adapt that to an MMO. They were indecisive though, something that has bitten this game in the *** in more than a few places. Because they couldn't reconcile the idea of a completely class-less system with MMO design, they decided to make something that was somewhere in the middle.
I know people really like their freedom, but how much freedom do you currently get from the armory system? Sure I could equip a bunch of magic on my Gladiator, a set of really awful magic gear I can manage to wear, stick MP materia in it... I'd just be a really bad caster, with slightly above the caster-norm melee damage.
How exciting! The armory system really is just a grab-bag of situational skills and survivability skills, that require us to go out of our way and level X job to 30, bypassing some large number of useless-to-us skills in order to get one thing we need to survive some boss attack.
This rant has... gone quite long... WRAP IT UP!
Anyway, why would I have rather they totally scrapped the armory system? To give us a truly class-less system, one where we can, freely equip skills, that we learn from weapons and equipment a la Final Fantasy Tactics Advance, or Final Fantasy 9. This free system would be totally disconnected from the Job Systems, jobs would be unlocked by meeting specific ability requirements.
Want to unlock Paladin? Learn Cure II, Cover, Defender, etc. etc. Then complete a quest, and equip/activate the Paladin job, and now you have specific equipment restrictions and skill restrictions and trees that you learn skills from. Or it's just built into the "free system" in a way that when you activate it, it locks out other skills, and improves one within it's restrictions.
The game would benefit greatly from a truly free system for solo and low man, and by having the job system be something totally separate, you could ensure that there was balance, because for end game, you had to chose a specific role to play in most cases. Let us make our plate wearing, magic wielding crazy characters. Build our stats as we chose our skills and equipment. Then give us the job system for the real tough stuff, where we want to have a specific role.
I didn't play FFXI. If that's how it worked, I'm sorry.
I'm not beefing with the requirements. I'm worried about the skill restriction.
If they're going to wipe the slate clean, if you will, with respect to what classes will yield what benefits, and what the consequences of the choices are (i.e. - if i specialize in Dragoon, my CON/THM skills will be inaccessible/go away and be wiped to zero entirely) then I'm OK with it.
I don't want the option for everyone to max out in everything. Not knowing or particularly caring how it worked in XI, I think that's pointless. On the same token, I don't want to waste my time. If I'm sitting here like a goon diddling myself to get 36 Gladiator for no other reason except to get Sentinel for Ifrit, I want to at least know whether or not I'm mostly or completely wasting my time. If my main is Lancer and I want to continue down that path, but I can't find an Ifrit party right now and the plan for LNC is DRG, then why in the name of the seventh umbral era should I be leveling a class which will have no effect long term.
FFXIV is not my life, it's a way to kill a few hours a week when I have the time. Instead of making things a dead end, they should limit specialization of class roles in order to make it, you know, special, then have the decency to let the early adopters what it is beforehand.
If you want people to subsidize an extended beta while you make the game ready for release, then at least be completely transparent with your plan. This dangling the carrot BS gets old after about a week or so of feeling like a chicken with its head cut off.
To respond specifically to you...
I'm not sure what you're saying. But on one hand it seems like you're basically complaining that all your effort leveling for cross-class skills will be wasted in the future? Yeah, that's the case, at least it seems to be in terms of end game.
That's the nature of an MMO though, things change, equipment and skills are depreciated. You'll still have access to those skills when you are a LANCER, but not as a DRAGOON. They intend for you to use Lancer in a party of 1-4 basically, I get the feeling. While Dragoon is more suited for 4-RaidSize. With possible exceptions popping up all over depending on how they balance this.
I understand this entire part of your post... But what I don't understand is you're saying people shouldn't be able to master everything?
I'm confused. If I level Paladin, Monk, White Mage, Black Mage, Warrior and Dragoon to 50, I can only use any of those Job's given skills, when I have my job set to that job. If you only level Dragoon to 50, the only advantage I have over you is that I have the ability to perform those other roles.
I can't perform them all at once, when we're both lv50 Dragoons, our skills are equivalent, I have no advantage over you.
Starting to get the idea? This is how it worked in Final Fantasy XI as well. Leveling more jobs gave you more versatility, you could change jobs from event to event, based on the needs of your group, but in a given battle you can only perform that one role as well as anyone else who had leveled it. What part of this is unfair?
The alternative is, people can still do it, they just have to make a new character, and honestly, that's not very "Job system" considering as long as the job system has been around in FF, it was one that characters could freely swap between jobs in. On top of that it's just a giant pain in the ***, to have to require players to level a whole new character to play a new job, and they'd have to remove the additional fee for characters, or risk totally alienating everyone, because it's just plain stupid to be limited to one class/job per account unless we pay 3$ extra a month. Edited, Oct 26th 2011 7:29pm by RamseySylph