Thursday, April 10, 2014

Bravely Default's Spell Fencer Job is Cool

This won't fit in a tweet so I'm putting it here.

Yet another way to say I like Bravely Default: all the Nemeses you get encourage different playstyles and party compositions.  Encouraging players to branch out and try new things is never a bad thing.  I'll readily admit that the vast majority of gamers, including myself, get stuck in a rut in terms of the types of games they play and how they play those games.

I myself am on record in a number of places saying that I vastly prefer ranged support classes to melee classes.  By "ranged support", I literally mean everything except melee.  Archers, Sorcerers, Necromancers, Clerics, you name it; if it sits in the back and assists the party from a distance, I have a tendency to prefer it.  You can then understand that I was surprised by how much I've ended up liking the Spell Fencer class in Bravely Default.

The Spell Fencer is a melee mage.  They fight by casting a spell on their sword and then attacking like your normal Fighter, Warrior, or Monk (D&D style martial artist wearing robes, since some RPGs have the Monk as a healing class) might.  The neat thing about a Spell Fencer is that they have pretty solid proficiency in armor.  Compare this to the Black Mage, which doesn't have any armor proficiency to speak of and wears robes and caps instead.  Since a Spell Fencer can equip armor and even a shield, they can actually be pretty tanky.  Combine that with a sword and/or a shield that has an ability when used as an item and you have a pretty solid tank mage support character.

Playing the Spell Fencer takes a little up-front planning since you have to prepare your attack a turn in advance, but the Brave/Default system from which the game takes its name alleviates this by allowing you to imbue your weapon and attack in the same turn.  Also, once you've set yourself up, you're good for the next 10 turns, which in Bravely Default is an eternity.  You can even put a status condition on your sword and attempt to inflict it with every swing, which grants the job a lot of utility.

The job is also very MP-efficient, as you essentially amortize the cost of casting the spell on your weapon over the number of attacks you make before casting something else on the weapon.  At the same time, it doesn't render a Black Mage obsolete, as with a Black Mage you can cast spells on the entire enemy group.

I know this job/class/whatever is referred to elsewhere as a "Spell Sword"...  How many other games have these?  For that matter, is there such a thing as a "Spell Archer"?  How about an entire game where everyone is a mage with a weapon proficiency and armor rather than being the traditional "robes and staff" type of mage?  Has that ever been done well?  And if not, can I get in on making it happen?

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