When you play a Dragon Quest game, whole worlds open up to you. There are plenty of different regions to see, people to meet, and roles to take. The roles part are what we’re going to pay attention to here today. After reaching a specific point in the game, you’ll be able to travel to a landmass that will allow you to restore Alltrades Abbey to the world. This allows you to completely customize your party, adding more strategic elements to the game.
Now first, don’t be alarmed if you feel like it’s taking a long time to reach a point where you can actually assign classes to characters. That’s absolutely normal for Dragon Quest VII: Fragments of the Forgotten Past. I was taking my time with the game and didn’t reach Alltrades Abbey until I was just over 19 hours in. This is a substantial JRPG that has features tied to specific landmasses, which means you will probably have about a fourth of the game finished before the job system appears. If it’s any consolation, the Nintendo 3DS version of the game is more streamlined than the PlayStation One release, so you are getting here a bit faster this time. If you’re wondering how far you are away from there, know that you’ll need to have restored eight landmasses before you get there. Finishing the eighth one’s storyline will open up vocations.
Jobs make all the difference in Dragon Quest VII: Fragments of the Forgotten Past. Yes, it’ll initially mess with your plans. Your party members will have learned skills tied to their neutral states for the first 20 or so hours of the game. However, when they take a job from Alltrades Abbey, they’re going to have new roles to take and skills to learn. Character levels and class levels are separated, with the vocations improving a bit faster here than in the original. You’ll need to experiment with people a bit, leveling up certain base classes to level five to unlock some hybrid classes, to find yourself a good fit. Since anyone can be anything, there’s a lot of freedom to test the waters.
However, there are certain characters who are naturally inclined to specific roles. Our hero, for example, feels like he’s destined to be a Hero. It’s a Master class he can take after reaching level eight in the more advanced classes. For example, if you have your hero master the Gladiator, Monster Masher, and Pirate jobs, then you’ll be able to put cast him as a Hero. Which is for the best. Dragon Quest VII: Fragments of the Forgotten Past only makes the most basic jobs’ vocational skills permanent, as the more advanced jobs have their abilities tied to the role. Since the Hero is an advanced class, I found I had no reason to leave it once I’d unlocked it for my avatar.
Other characters aren’t quite so typecast. You have a bit more freedom with people like Maribel, Ruff, Mervyn, and Aishe. Each one does have a position where they’d really shine. Maribel is a natural when it comes to using magic. You could have her as a fast-paced damage dealer like a thief or ranger. She could work as a supportive jester or luminary. But, I found she worked best for my group as a mage and priest, then eventual sage. Likewise, Ruff is more about brute strength. You could try and put him in a magical role, but you’d do better to try having him as a shepherd thief, sailor, monster masher, and pirate.
Mervyn and Aishe are characters who truly can go in any direction and benefit your party. Each one is physically and mentally strong, though Aishe is slightly better with attacks and Mervyn can be better with magic. Either one can absolutely go either way. I preferred to have Aishe as a master damage dealer. She’s a very adept dancer, but I had her master the warrior and mage roles, then stay as an armamentalist for much of the game. Even though Mervyn was stronger physically, I found he worked as well as a priest and paladin character that mainly looked after the other characters and occasionally attacked.
Then, there are monster classes. The reformed monsters that move into The Haven and tamed monsters in Monster Meadows don’t join your party. However, you can collect monster hearts by level grinding, checking chests, and heading to the casino. These are additional classes a character can take that make them look and “act” like a monster. While it can be significantly harder to collect enough hearts and participate in enough battles to master these classes, the abilities and spells you learn from them are permanently part of that character’s repertoire. You’ll also take on the elemental resistances of that particular creature.
Since monster classes are the best way to build up characters’ magic and skill libraries outside of classes, I recommend befriending as many monsters as possible, sending the ones you like best in groups of three you like best to find a traveler’s tablets in Monster Meadows, and then visiting the randomized dungeons to hopefully get lots of hearts from the three types of monsters that found them. I found it was the best way to really get those permanent skills for party members.
You can put together any kind of party you’d like in Dragon Quest VII: Fragments of the Forgotten Past. Certain characters might be better suited to specific roles, but any one can play any part. Especially if you take the time to master some monster classes and pair their permanent abilities with more specific advanced classes. By the 50 hour mark, your party will be well on its way to becoming an elite group of customized warriors who can handle any situation.
Dragon Quest VII: Fragments of the Forgotten Past will come to the Nintendo 3DS on September 16, 2016.