Unless your daddy's rich
You need la, la
An Occupation for you
(How 'bout salesman, huh?)"
A variation of the Class and Level System where instead of a character being locked into a single class for the entire game, the player is free to switch between distinct classes ("jobs") at his leisure, to adapt his character or party to different situations as the game progresses. Most often seen in Eastern RPGs.
The ability to change a character's job is usually accessed through the party's menu outside of battle (though some games may instead require visiting a specific location to change jobs).
Each job has an associated Level independent of the character's own Experience Level, which dictates his proficiency with the assigned job and unlocks new job skills and/or abilities as it levels up. For example, if you've never put a character on Mage duty, they will have a minimum Mage level (and only beginner-rank spells to use), whereas a character who has reached maximum Mage level will have a wide arsenal of magic at his command.
Another common feature is the ability to mix-and-match a limited amount of skills from one job onto another, such as allowing a Warrior to wield White Magic and heal his comrades during battle, or allowing a Mage to equip a sword and shield instead of the usual staff or rod.
Exactly which jobs a character has access to varies: Sometimes the job system is completely freeform and a character can change to any available job, while other times it is hierarchial and more powerful jobs must be unlocked by meeting certain prerequisites (such as mastering a the lesser jobs first).
Skills are generally handled in one of three ways -
- Skills are exclusive to the class - i.e. if a Warrior learns Guard at Level 5, only a character who is a Warrior at Level 5 or higher can use Guard.
- The character can assign the skill to one of his skill slots once they level up the job - i.e. anyone who levels up his Warrior class to Level 5 can assign Guard to his Skill Slots.
- The class must be maxed out before the skill can be assigned to another class - i.e. a Level 5 Warrior can use Guard, but Warrior must be maxed out before the character can use it as a Ranger/Wizard/etc.
Finally, when a character levels up, his current job may have an effect on his statistics — this usually falls into three categories:
- Stats are tied to the class: A level 20 character in the Warrior class will always have the same stats as any other, and the Job Level is used to provide other effects.
- Stat gains are tied to the class, but the actual stats are tied to the character. If a Warrior gains +5 HP, +2 MP, +1 Attack per level-up while the Mage gains +2 HP, +5 MP, and +1 Intelligence per level-up, a character who has been a Warrior for 20 levels before changing to a Mage will be less squishy than another who has been a Mage for the same 20 levels; however, his lower MP and Intelligence will hinder his effectiveness as a Mage compared to the other.
- A character has a set of 'base stats' independent of his job, but the job provides additional bonuses on top of these; such as a Warrior getting a 1.5x boost in attack power while a Mage gets a 1.5x boost to his magic power.
Compare Stance System; the Job System differs in that Stances often can be changed at any time in or out of battle, whereas Jobs can (usually) only be changed outside of battle and/or at a specific location. Also, each character generally has a set of Stances unavailable to other characters, but Jobs are a roster available to any character. See Fantasy Character Classes for some examples of available jobs.
- The MMORPG Dream Of Mirror Online uses Type 1, so different jobs have different stats. But you can use skillsets from other jobs, with some mechanical limitation: you can't use skills that are ten level higher than you current job level, and efficiency is reduced when using skillsets from very different jobs (like spell casting if you are a sword fighter).
- Eden Eternal Has a type 3, with basic classes for the White Mage, Black Mage, etc., plus the various Prestige Classes
- Phantasy Star Online 2 uses Type 1 Skills, with a twist: While Skills are normally restricted to the Class currently being used, by assigning another Class as a Subclass, you can gain the effects of most of the second Class's Skills on top of your current Class, with the exception of Main Class Skills. The game plays Type 1 Stats straight, however. The usage of this system is also Justified in the story as an inherent ability of 3rd Generation ARKS (the players); 2nd Generation ARKS are locked into a single Class and usually suffer in combat ability if they attempt to switch, while 1st Generation ARKS typically have no say in the matter.
- Every character in AdventureQuest Worlds can acquire and max out as many classes as he or she wishes. The character can only use one class at a time and cannot change classes mid-battle, and while there is some overlap of skills between classes, the character is limited to the skills of his or her current class, and cannot pick and choose skills from different classes. Stats are also tied to class, and are modified by Enhancements placed on items. As a result, changing classes often means changing items as well, but considering that there are only a set number of enhancement categories, it's not hard for most players to put together some given "sets" for their general needs.
- Kingdom of Loathing does something similar to type 3. Every time you beat the game and "ascend" you can choose a new class. Each ascension gives you some "karma," which you can spend to keep one or more skills from your current class (or other skills unrelated to classes), making it available permanently for any class (of the normal six, not counting special ones like Avatar of Boris or Zombie Slayer). Many skills are only useful for the class that normally learns them, but "perming" them is often still useful—it makes a skill available at level 1, i.e. as soon as you start a new game, even if you'd normally have to reach a much higher level for that skill to become available for training.
- Final Fantasy
- The Trope Namer here. Games from the main series featuring Job Systems include Final Fantasy III, Final Fantasy V, Final Fantasy X-2 and Final Fantasy XIII. It can also be found in all three of the Final Fantasy Tactics games.
- Statistics-wise: X-2 used the first method; III on the NES used the 2nd system but in the DS remake, it switched to the 1st system for everything except HP; Tactics used the second, and V used the third with the addition of Freelancer's having the highest stat boost for each stat in any of the classes they've mastered. XIII falls under none of the above; characters do not level up, but gain Crystogen Points to be distributed manually.
- Skill-wise: X-2, XIII, and both versions of III used the first scheme; Tactics used the second with the limit that you could only use your current job's skillset in addition to the ones mastered as one other class in addition to a passive ability, a counter ability, and (in the original Tactics) a movement ability; V used the first method, except when you played as Freelancer you had all passive abilities (except Berserk) applied and your choice of any two active skills.
- Final Fantasy XI uses a version of type one, which is interesting seeing as it's an MMORPG and most MMOs tell you flat-out "An Adventurer Is You" and give you no recourse to change your class after you create your character. There are around 20 different jobs, though you only start with 6, and you can change them at any time by going to your Mog House. You can even pick a secondary job to complement your primary one after a certain point in the game.
- Final Fantasy XIV makes this an integral part of its gameplay with the "Armoury System", which allows a character to change classes at any time simply by equipping the appropriate weapon or tool (the various types of Item Crafting each have their own class too, as does the gathering of materials for crafting). The classic Final Fantasy Jobs are utilized as Prestige Classes for the combat disciplines, sacrificing the ability to use as many cross-class skills, and thus versatility, for greater skill in their specific field. Instead of the usual "equip the skillset of a second job" of the series, classes and jobs can select up to 10 and 5 abilities from other classes, respectively, with every class offering a couple of abilities to choose from. Every class and job has stats tied directly to them so there is no risk of leveling up a White Mage (magic based job) and then switching to Warrior (physical based job).
- The system was updated during the 4.0 cycle: now, there are no "cross-class" skills. Instead, some skills that were inherent to a particular class, such as the Gladiator skill "Provoke", were instead assigned as "Role Skills". The more a class was leveled up, the more role skills it could use, up to a maximum of 5 (7 as of 4.0). Role Skills, as the name implies, are intrinsically useful to anyone in that role, allowing any offensive magic user to use crowd control abilities, for example, or allowing a tank to control aggro. The change made each class have a stronger flavornote , while not requiring a player to level up outside their preferred class for important abilities.
- Used in Final Fantasy Dimensions as well.
- Some Dragon Quest games have it too: Dragon Quest III established the basic system, then it was expanded upon for Dragon Quest VI, Dragon Quest VII and Dragon Quest IX. Generally stats are tied to the level of your current class (you may not even have a level separate from class), spells are tied to the class, and non-spell abilities are tied to the character (though skills based on a weapon still require that weapon for use and you have to max skill in a weapon for every class to use it).
- Becomes a complete Game-Breaker in VI, where you keep spells learned from one class to another. Melee classes have high stats but no spells, so taking the White Mage classes until you have full heal and revival spells lets you have a team of Mighty Glaciers that can heal, buff and revive each other whenever their HP finally gets too low.
- In IX, spells don't transfer between classes but skills and stat boosts do. While this isn't as powerful as in VI, it still allows non-spellcasters to have minor healing ability and helps wizards be less squishy.
- Fire Emblem has included reclassing since the 11th title (a remake of the first).
- Blue Dragon is basically Final Fantasy V's job system.
- The Tales of the World spin offs of the Tales Series has them too, an interesting variation, since Tales of the World is an action RPG. Also, several "classes" are main characters from other Tales games.
- The Ogre Battle series, of which Tactics Ogre, Final Fantasy Tactics' Spiritual Predecessor, is a part of, has this.
- Golden Sun's class system, which relies on Mons and the odd Upgrade Artifact, and can end up changing in the middle of a battle if you're not careful with which Djinn you use.
- Wizardry reset your level and stats when you changed class, but not your HP, your spell list or skills, which was all that really mattered for many classes. Also the Trope Codifier and possibly the Ur-Example.
- Bravely Default is strongly reminiscent of Final Fantasy V's system: While each character has slightly different base stats which increase at level up, these are modified by a set amount based on the active job. Additionally, each character can have access to any other class's set of active commands, as well as up to 5 passive skills chosen from those unlocked across all classes.
- Fantasy Life uses a Job System where your selected Life Class determines which stats are boosted, in addition to each class having skills unique to them. The basic functions of each class can be used by any class, though: a Paladin is still capable of fishing like an Angler or crafting like a Blacksmith, for instance.
- In Planescape: Torment, the Nameless One can switch among Fighter, Thief, and Wizard with some training. This represents his numerous past lives. The other characters are fixed.
- Xenoblade Chronicles X: Each character is pre-designated to one of the game's 15 job classes, but your player created avatar is the only one allowed to switch between them. The one you choose determines which weapons you can equip and which Arts you can learn. Once your skill level reaches lvl.10, the class is mastered, allowing you to retain all Arts and Class Skills acquired from it and branch into the advanced subdivisions of that class. Once you fully master a subdivision branch, you can use the weapons/Arts of that branch in any other class.
- Phantasy Star Nova uses Type 2 Skills with Type 1 Stats; just like the game it's based on, Classes are grown individually and have their own stats, but unlike PSO2, once a Skill has been learned by the player, it is learned permanently, and can be installed on the Skill Board to gain its effects. This allows you to freely mix and match any combination of Skills as you see fit.
- Granblue Fantasy uses a Type 2 Skill system for your Player Character, letting you use any skill you unlock as a subskill that can be used regardless of what Class you are. Mastering a class also earns you passive stat bonuses that carry through with your PC while any experience beyond that also earns you Extended Mastery Ranks, which allows you to obtain passive bonuses as well as new skills.
- Breach allows you to level up classes independently of each other and freely switch between them at any time. The game uses a skill system akin to Type 3; a class can share its abilities with other classes at a certain level, but only if those classes are in the same magic school. You can choose a single class at the beginning of the game and gain more over time.
- Octopath Traveler starts each of the eight characters with their own unique job class, and they will have access to that job's stats and abilities for the entirety of the game. As you progress, you can find shrines associated with these eight jobs which allow you to apply their abilities and stat bonuses as sub-jobs to any character in your party. Each job also has a set of passive abilities which are unlocked by learning its skills, and once learned for that character they can be used regardless of what sub-job they have equipped. There are also four advanced classes found in high-level shrines toward the end of the game.
- Dragon's Dogma has "vocations", which the player can switch between at will once they reach the game's main city. You start with three "basic" vocations of the Fighter, Mage, Thief array. Then later on you unlock more specialized "advanced" versions of the same, as well as three hybrid vocations with combined traits and skills from two of the basic vocations (Magick Archer, Assassin, etc). This particularly stands out in a game largely cut in the cloth of a western RPG and developed explicitly for a western audience, with narrative and aesthetic stylings of games like Dragon Age and The Elder Scrolls (made by a Japanese studio, but still).
- Oddly enough, Dungeons & Dragons Third Edition is pretty damn close to being a Job System by this definition. Though the EXP penalties (that most groups don't bother with) are there to keep too much abuse.
- The Chameleon class from Races of Destiny has abilities similar to multiple classes (including combat bonuses, stealth bonuses and multiple types of spellcasting) but can only use one set at once, and requires an extended amount of time to switch between them. Likewise the Binder class from Tome of Magic brushes on this trope due to its central mechanic being summoning entities into its body to gain their skills and powers.
- Pathfinder, with its usual preference for carrot over stick, eliminated experience penalties altogether, replacing them with bonuses for increasing your level in your "favored" class. As with earlier editions of D&D, it's usually better to master one class than spread yourself too thin.
- The Legend System, a d20 RPG created by fans, is based on a kind of Job System. Each character must choose three to four "tracks", with each track representing a self-contained set of abilities. The flexibility is central to the system, and you can mix-and-match tracks (subject to multiclassing rules, but they are pretty flexible themselves, imposing no penalty for doing so) to make lots of different, unique characters.
- Elves in the earliest editions of Dungeons and Dragons could choose, once a day, whether to be a Fighter or a Magic User, with all the abilities and restrictions of each class.
- In Flash Point: Fire Rescue, the players can perform a "crew change", replacing their current specialist gear and skills with any other set that is not yet in play, at any time by returning to the fire engine.
- Wild AR Ms XF
- The Reclass system in Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon allowed for units (except Marth, ballisticians, thieves, and manaketes) to change into other classes, though there are some restrictions like the class selection being limited to three sets of classes based on gender and the unit's initial class, as well as limits as to how many units can be that specific class (How many units that join as that class initially + 1). When (ab)used with certain characters such as Wolf or Sedgar, this has the potential to make the the unit a walking Game-Breaker by inheriting the class's base stats and gains into the units own, eventually leading to certain units with insane stats come endgame.
- Vandal Hearts has each character start as one of four basic classes, Soldier, Archer, Healer and Mage. When they reach level 10 they can choose to become an upgraded form of their current class or switch to a more specialised type. Soldiers can become "Armours", with huge attack and defense but terrible movement and magic defense that makes them useless. Archers can become "Flyers", who move fast, ignore terrain and have high attack at expense of a massive weakness to arrows, and are fairly useful if a bit fragile. Healers and Mages can choose to become a "Monk", with average stats everywhere, the inability to equip good defensive gear and a hodgepodge of middling healing and supportive spells and low level attack spells with a magic power that never really raises above the base class'.
The Hero also has his own unique class, the Hero -> Champion -> Paragon. But obtaining the Seven Holy Prisms (requires at least one flyer) and then completing the Seven Trials of Torroah unlocks his super secret class the Vandalier. It uses unique equipment, has massive stats in every area, knows every spell your team can learn and blocks all attacks from the front and sides. You only get to use it for about three or four fights though.
- Unlike its predecessors, Valkyria Chronicles III allows every character to change class, although each character has two classes that they excel at. This even applies to characters from previous games.
- South Park: The Fractured but Whole has a combination of Type 1 and Type 2, where your main character can take on up to four Classes at once, which lets you mix and match skills from each class.
- In Little Alchemist, you're prompted to select a class for your character at the start of the game — Healer, Enchanter, or Elementalist — which affects your starting deck, but you can freely switch to a different class any time outside of battle.