The importance of multi-classing and the Armoury System in Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn
To anyone browsing through the Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn website for the first time, without having any prior knowledge of the game, the importance of the Armoury System will not need long to become apparent.
The Armoury System is the cornerstone of the game, after all, and would be among the top “game features” listed should someone be asked to recite them in a top-5 list.
But is Armoury convenient? Well implemented? Balanced enough? Let’s find out.
As all beta testers already know (and even casual visitors to the FFXIV:ARR website can easily find out), the Armoury System allows a single character to become a “jack of all trades”. The difference is that with the way it works, you can feel quite assured that the “Jack of all trades, master of none” mantra does not apply.
Is the Armoury System well-implemented?
Final Fantasy XI players will be familiar with a similar system; it allowed players to “equip” a secondary class to their primary one and create several “hybrid” character combinations. While the system is different –one would say, more streamlined- than one found in XI, it’s definitely worth discussing in terms of usability, approachability and intuitiveness.
First and foremost, and this should be stressed as it’s a quite positive development, the Armoury System’s minute shortcomings seem to be steadily overcome as time goes by. The introduction of gear sets and several small, but noticeable inventory system enhancements indicate that the system is fine-tuned continuously, based on feedback.
The latest addition to the Armoury Chest, for instance (in case the term does not ring a bell, this is the gear-specific inventory that FFXIV: ARR mercifully has – organizing gear items per slot automagically), has been an indicator on every item displaying whether this can be equipped by the current class of the character, allowing for a quicker overview of gear pieces to wear, instead of having to hover over every single equipment item to ascertain whether your Conjurer can use it, or not.
Changing a class seems to be a quite straightforward experience, from the second time onward. Why the second, you ask? Well, the first time you attempt this (and promptly equip the new class weapon to change into the class you wish), you will briefly be stark naked, since your new class has no gear assigned to it. As several people (yours truly included) painfully found out in Beta Phase 3, it’s not a great idea to instantly sell your level 1 items once you replace them with better ones, since your level 1 class also needs something to wear.
You can certainly run around Eorzea half-naked if you wish, however certain crafted items (from a Weaver, or a Leatherworker or an Armorer, depending on the case at hand) can and will provide you with bonuses, and come in versions wearable at level 1, so you should prepare accordingly for your life as a new class by ensuring you can wear something after changing into it.
Once this minor nuisance is taken care of, the set-up of any class is straightforward enough. A couple of tips, in case you missed those:
- You can “Share” hotbars between your classes (lock them). The option to do that can be found under Character Config > Hotbar Settings > Hotbar Sharing.
- Furthermore, you can assign class-changing actions (equipping of gear sets) on your bars as well. As such, you can easily have an action bar comprising of only “class change” icons, through which you can change to any class you want with a single click or button press.
Overall, the Armoury System seems to be quite well implemented thus far, and some additional options regarding item / inventory sorting and searching will nudge it closer to a perfect implementation. As an overview, especially considering that gathering and crafting classes (also known as “Disciples of the Land” and “Disciples of the Hand”) can have dedicated gear of their own, complete with numerous gathering / crafting bonuses, the system is adequately refined to allow for a quick, and trouble-free, class-switching experience… Provided you take care of your gear sets, of course!