Other than Final Fantasy III, the original Final Fantasy is the only game in the series that allows players to create a “blank slate” party on which they can imprint their own classes and composition to take through the adventure. However, unlike Final Fantasy III, the choice of class at the outset of the game is permanent and requires players to carefully consider the structure and class distribution of their Warriors of Light. Changing classes in Final Fantasy III is easy by just switching jobs, but a mid-game switch in the original Final Fantasy requires completely starting over.
Thankfully, the simplified class system of Final Fantasy makes it pretty easy to pick any four party members and end up having some success throughout the course of the game’s adventure (unless, of course, you happen to pick 4 White Mages). Each of the starting classes behave similarly to their archetypal counterparts across numerous pen-and-paper and tabletop RPGs, and the ability to evolve the classes roughly midway through Final Fantasy‘s main quest provides a shake-up and powerful upgrade highlighting each of their different strengths.
What are the Class Types in Final Fantasy?
There are 6 starting class types in the original Final Fantasy, each of which roughly falls into one of the two overarching categories — Fighters and Magicians. In the Fighters group, there are the classic Warrior, Thief, and Monk classes, while the Magicians category includes Black, White, and Red Mages. Each of these starting classes has its own pros and cons, and choosing a careful mix of classes is key to success in Final Fantasy‘s main quest. In addition to their various stat and skill bonuses, each of these class types also has an ideal equipment loadout based on the unique equipment available to each of the class types.
How Do I Upgrade My Class?
The original Final Fantasy requires players to find a specific item before they are ready to upgrade/evolve their starting class into their advanced type. Players will need to locate the Rat Tail item within the Citadel of Trials, which requires access to the Airship in order to reach and enter. Once the Rat Tail is in players’ possession, head to Bahamut’s Cave in the Cardia Islands located between the Northeast and Northwest continents. Giving the Rat Tail to Bahamut will evolve each party member’s class to its corresponding advanced form.
The Warrior is one of the best starting classes in Final Fantasy thanks to its generally positive stats and few drawbacks. One of the only negatives to having more than one Warrior in the party is the amount of gil required for equipping each one with the best available gear, and it’s worth noting that the Warrior is incapable of using magic until they evolve into the Knight. Still, every party should arguably have at least one Warrior to place on the front lines and serve as their party’s resident heavy-hitter, especially in the early hours of the game when MP and good magic are hard to come by.
|Hit Points: ★★★★★|
|– Knights gain the ability to use Level 1-3 White Magic|
– Knights can carry additional, more powerful equipment that the Warrior cannot use
- The Warrior and Knight have high HP as well as strong Defense, Strength, and Agility stats.
- Warriors and Knights can equip heavy equipment unavailable to other classes.
- Knights gain the ability to use low-level White magic, enabling them to be emergency healers should the need arise.
- Equipping heavy armor will add Defense but reduce Agility, making Warriors and Knights often the last to attack in battle.
- Both Warriors and Knights are incapable of using any offensive magic.
- Keeping the Warrior and Knight equipped with the best gear requires significant gil.
While not initially as powerful as the Warrior, sufficiently leveling up the Thief allows the class to perform multiple hits in a single attack turn, effectively making them capable of dealing just as much damage. One drawback is that the Thief lacks the enhacements to HP and Defense that the Warrior has, but the superior Agility increases the hit rate and evasion rate of the class, meaning most physical attacks will miss. After the Thief upgrades to the Ninja, the class can utilize lower level Black Magic and becomes the fastest class in all of Final Fantasy.
|Hit Points: ★★★|
|– Ninjas gain the ability to use Level 1-4 Black Magic spells.|
– The Ninja has the highest Agility stat in the game, allowing them to hit multiple times per turn and easily evade most attacks.
- The Thief and Ninja’s best-in-game Luck and Speed stats allow them to quickly get out of otherwise fatal situations, whether that be through having a high chance to flee battles successfully or be the first to attack and wipe out enemies before they can hit the party.
- The Ninja will eventually rival the Knight for dealing the most melee damage in Final Fantasy.
- The Ninja’s ability to use some Black Magic spells makes them incredibly valuable later in the game, especially in terms of casting spells that improve the party’s abilities in combat.
- While the Ninja does rival the Knight in terms of offensive power, their Defense stat can’t match up. Combining this with their inability to equip as heavy armor as the Knight class makes them slightly more fragile in battle.
- The Thief class takes a long time to be viable.
Monks are an interesting class that sit somewhere between the Warrior and Thief in terms of their stat allocation and use in battle. While they have sufficiently high helath pools and typically start with the highest HP in the party, they’re significantly lacking in their defense. One of the greatest benefits to the Monk class is not needing to equip them with a weapon, as eventually they will rival the Warrior in terms of damage output even when unarmed. Additionally, Monks can earn a bonus to their defense by not equipping armor as well, making them very inexpensive to maintain. That said, the upgrade to the Master is the least significant of the three Fighter classes’ evolutions.
|Hit Points: ★★★★|
|– The Master is perhaps the least positive upgrade of any class after gifting Bahamut with the Rat Tail. He has no discernable improvements over the Monk, and actually receives a penalty to Magic Defense with each level gained.|
- The Monk is the best heavy-hitting class of the early game. Their Damage, Speed, and HP make them superior to the Warrior in terms of offensive capability.
- Monks perform best without equipping weapons or armor, making them inexpensive to maintain.
- The Master upgrade is the weakest class evolution in the game and actually makes the Monk class worse.
- The Damage bonus of the Monk/Master is negligible against some of the late-game enemies and bosses.
Black Mage/Black Wizard
The Black Mage is the Magician counterpart to the Fighter group’s Warrior class. In terms of raw destructive potential, no other magic-wielding class comes close to the Black Mage, and many of Final Fantasy‘s most powerful enemies are no match for high-level Black Magic spells. That offensive capability comes at a cost, though, as Black Mages are essentially glass cannons. They have the capability to hit hard but suffer from the lowest Defense and HP pools in the game. Still, a properly leveled Black Mage (and, later, Black Wizard) will do much more damage than either a Knight or a Ninja.
|Hit Points: ★|
|– The Black Wizard evolution enables the Black Mage class to finally equip Final Fantasy‘s most destructive Black Magic spells, making them prime damage-dealers in combat|
– In addition to upgrading the spells that the class can use, the Black Wizard upgrade unlocks the ability to equip weapons exclusive to the class that make them more viable in melee combat.
- The ability of the Black Mage/Black Wizard to use Level 1-8 Black Magic spells makes them formidable in combat.
- Many of the Black Magic spells are capable of wiping out multiple enemies at once, making having a Black Mage ideal for grinding out levels.
- The Black Mage offsets its low Defense by having a respectable Evasion stat, making them harder to hit.
- The Black Mage/Black Wizard has the highest magic power in the game and the strongest Intelligence stat.
- The class can only equip specific weapons and armor, making them practically useless as melee fighters until the late game.
- Black Mages/Black Wizards have the lowest HP pool of any class.
White Mage/White Wizard
White Mages are practically essential in Final Fantasy as the resident healing and protection class. As the name suggests, they are experts at wielding White Magic spells, and outside their healing capabilities they really come in handy through a variety of status-afflicting magic. Additionally, the many undead enemies in Final Fantasy are only weak to the healing and holy spells that are exclusive to the White Mage class. Like their Black Wizard companions, White Mages are fragile party members with low HP pools and lacking Defense and Evasion stats, making them prime candidates for the back row.
|Hit Points: ★★|
|– Like the Black Wizard, the White Wizard is the exclusive caster of the game’s most powerful and restorative White Magic.|
– Also like the Black Wizard, the White Wizard gains the ability to wield certain weapons, with hammers being a particular highlight.
- The White Mage has access to restorative magic that makes reviving and keeping party members in good health much easier.
- In addition to their access to restorative magic, several of the White Magic spells can boost the stats of the party in battle.
- Better HP pool than the Black Mage and the highest MP pool of any class.
- White Mages/White Wizards have some of the lowest Defense and Strength stats of any class, meaning they’re only really useful as healers.
- White Mages only have a handful of offensive spells available.
- The class has the lowest Evasion and Speed stats in Final Fantasy.
Red Mage/Red Wizard
The Red Mage is a perfect middle ground between Fighter and Magician classes, though that flexibility comes at the cost of pure potential and strength. Unlike the White and Black Mages, Red Mages can use both White and Black magic, but can only learn up to Level 7 spells and are restricted from learning Final Fantasy‘s most powerul magics. Similarly, the Red Mage can equip weapons that the White and Black Mages cannot (such as swords), but their attack power pales in comparsion to a Warrior or Thief. That said, having one (or even two) Red Mages in the party provides a lot of versatility that can make the early hours of Final Fantasy much more manageable.
|Hit Points: ★★★|
|– Upgrading to the Red Wizard allows the class to use up to Level 7 White and Black Magic, as well as unlocking previously inaccessible spells to the class exclusive to White or Black Mages.|
– Red Wizards can equip most weapons and armor that are also available to the Ninja or Knight class upgrades.
- Capable of being competent melee fighters as well as reliable healers and spellcasters.
- Red Mages/Red Wizards have great Magic Defense stats and comparable physical Defense to the Fighter classes.
- The class can equip most of the same equipment as the Warrior/Knight, excluding the most powerful weapons.
- Having access to both magic types limits the availability of the most powerful spells of either type.
- Red Mages have less HP than other Fighter classes and less MP than the other Magician classes.
- Red Mages learn magic slower than the other Magician classes.