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A Character class is a gameplay-based method many RPGs use to arbitrate the capabilities of playable characters. In Golden Sun and Golden Sun: The Lost Age, character classes serve just this purpose, dictating enhancements to characters' base statistics and what arrangements and elements of Psynergy they may use.
Unlike many RPGs, such as Final Fantasy, characters in Golden Sun games do not specifically select classes to pursue and develop abilities in; Classes are merely "settings" that can be instantly changed anytime based on what their level of skill in a particular element is. This is determined both by their own innate element, as well as how many and what elements of Djinn are Set onto each character.
Classes serve several important roles from a game-play perspective. Firstly, they add a great deal of diversity to the game, opening up a large number of Psynergy and statistical (and hence strategic) combinations. Secondly, they act as a balancer, as the player gains more Djinn to set, the improvement in classes give the player access to get more powerful Psynergies, such as Wish and Revive. This both serves as an incentive for the player to collect Djinn (and hence complete the associated optional, but more complex, puzzles) and acting to stop the player gaining spells that are too powerful too early on. Because of this, the player's selection of classes can adversely change the outcome of a battle. This is most evident when the Monster Skill Djinn Storm is used on the player. The removal of all Djinn cripples an otherwise strong party by reverting the Adepts to their default classes, which serves to make the battle much more challenging. By extension, this is also a feature that balances the powerful summon sequences, as putting a Djinni on Standby stops it from influencing an Adept's class, hence weakening the party, which in turns creates a tactical dilemma that forces the player to think more carefully about their actions.
It should be noted that the statistic numbers (such as 190% health for Slayer class) are multipliers of a base number each individual adept has. For example, when it says that during a level up Isaac's health increased by 7, but a comparison of his max health shows that it increased by 13, Isaac's base health increased by 7, which was then multiplied by 1.9 resulting in the apparent increase by 13. Example, Isaac, a Slayer has base health of 100, his visible health in combat appears to be 190. He gains 7 health with a level up, now has a base health of 107, his visible health is now 203. Stat modifying items like Apples or Cookies are applied to base, and then multiplied through, hence the reason they sometimes appear to give larger boosts to some and smaller boosts to others.
It should also be noted that this does not influence a character's base growth like it does in some Final Fantasy games (like the Tactics series where having a character develop as a Paladin for some levels will result in high health and high defense, then leveling that same character as Fighter will result in a high attack growth, eventually turning the character into something of a one man wrecking crew). Having someone like Ivan as something like a Tamer to boost his attack and health stats, then switching him to something like a Hermit to give him a hefty PP boost while maintaining the attack of the Tamer class will not work. Base statistic growth is tied to the individual Adept and is constant regardless of class.
In terms of attack and defense, weapons and armor are added to the base before the multiplier. So the attack stat, for example, is (Base Attack + Equipped Weapon and Armor attack bonuses) * Multiplier.
There are four "trees" of classes: Mono-Element, Dual-Element, Tri-Element and Item Dependent (The Lost Age only). The "number" of elements includes the elements of Djinn set to the Adept, as well as the Adept's base element. For example, the tri-elemental Ninja class series for Isaac requires Jupiter and Mars Djinn, but also includes his natural Venus element, thus it is considered "Tri-Elemental".
The Mono-Element classes (also called the "Default" classes) involve having only one element of Djinn to a particular Adept and that element is the element the Adept is aligned with (Water for Mia and Piers, Fire for Garet and Jenna, etc.) and all through the progression of the class, only one type of Element is needed. The classes stem from the base class of the character (EG: Felix and Isaac being Squires follow the Squire class tree.)
Pros of the Mono-Element ClassesEdit
- Simple, straightforward and easy. Sticking to the Mono-Element classes will get the job done without much fanfare.
- Using Djinn and summons in battle do not carry the potential of crippling an Adept with an undesired, and perhaps dangerous, class switch.
- Because only one element of Djinn is required for any given Adept, the elemental power (+5 Power per Djinni set) of that single element is going to be higher than that of other classes, which when augmented by the Adept's naturally higher power (Felix's and Isaac's Venus power, Jenna's and Garet's Mars power, etc.) is very potent.
Cons of the Mono-Element ClassesEdit
- Each one has one or two painful shortcomings, such as terrible stats in one area, (for example, the Guard class series has the worst agility of all the classes, and the second worst PP stat (this is only compounded with expensive Psynergies like Volcano and Liquifier), while the Water Seer class series has lackluster agility and a bad offensive Psynergy lineup).
- Each class has only a single element worth of Psynergy, which can prove annoying when facing enemies who have a high resistance to that particular element.
- Small array of Psynergy at your disposal.
- Difficult to maintain as even a single Djinn of a different element will cause a switch to a Dual-Element class (This is especially true early on in TLA as you rarely have an equal number of Djinn in each element and are missing one adept while still getting his element's Djinn).
- Each player having only one type of Djinn limits the rate of performing higher-level summons. This is somewhat compensated for in TLA with dual-element summons and with two Adepts per element after the Reunion. However, it leaves players at a disadvantage in GS.
The Dual-Element classes require having a majority of Djinn from another element, and one or two Djinn of the Adept's own element for the higher levels. It should be noted that classes that combine symbiotic elements (Earth-Fire, Wind-Water) function slightly differently from the others. See the respective class pages for more information.
Pros of the Dual-Element ClassesEdit
- Fairly easy and straightforward, though not as much as the Mono-Element classes.
- Quite often they will patch up the shortcomings of the Mono-Elements with an improvement to the Mono-Element's strengths with very little sacrificed (IE: Mia to a Hermit).
- Adepts have two elements of Psynergy in their arsenals, allowing them more flexibility against monsters with a high resistance to one element.
- When each Adept has more than one type of Djinn, summons that require more Djinn on Standby become somewhat faster and easier to produce. Djinn recovery rate also increases some. However, these benefits are expressed more in Tri-Elemental classes.
- All things considered, Dual-Elemental partial classes are decent and perhaps stronger than partial classes in Tri-Elemental classes.
Cons of the Dual-Element ClassesEdit
- Some care must be taken when using Djinn and summons so as to not accidentally shift the Adept into an entirely different class tree.
- Almost anything the dual-element classes can do, the tri-elements can do better.
- Classes are widely different, even if they have the same names, and trading one adept into class that is a boon, might be putting another adept into a class that is a detriment. For example, putting Mia or Piers into the Pilgrim class, may end up putting either Garet or Jenna into the Swordsman class, which is a fairly lackluster class compared to the Swordsman class available to Isaac and Felix.
The Tri-Element classes require two different types of Djinn attached to the Adept, neither belonging to that Adept's element. One of those elements is the symbiotic element of the adept in question (Venus and Mars, Mercury and Jupiter) and one other element that is not the Adept's base element. The exception being if you're attempting to use a partial class, in which case six of one of the non-symbiotic elements Djinn and three of the other non-symbiotic element are required. See the individual class pages for more information.
Pros of the Tri-Element ClassesEdit
- Statistically, the Tri-Element classes are the best, and any shortcomings they might have can easily be compensated for by their other stats (such as the Ninja class series's sub-par defense being compensated for with the highest Agility and tied for highest attack).
- Three elements worth of Psynergy in the Adept's arsenal allows for great flexibility against monsters (for the most part).
- Tri-Element class possess some hard hitting Psynergies and quite often have a PP pool to run with it (such as Quick Strike in the Samurai class series, and the Thunderclap Psynergy series in the Ninja class series).
- Despite the challenge of setting and unleashing Djinn while avoiding unwanted class shifts, with the Djinn so spread out, summons can be churned out in fewer turns than say everyone in their mono-element classes. Example: Isaac is a Ninja (3 Jupiter, 3 Mars Djinn), Garet is a Dragoon (3 Mercury, 3 Venus) and Ivan is a Ranger (3 Mercury, 3 Mars). On the first turn, Isaac and Ivan both unleash one of their Mars Djinn. On the second turn, Isaac and Ivan both unleash another Mars Djinni, and with Garet being a Dragoon (bad Agility) he can then summon Meteor in that same second turn, as he will probably take his turn last, thus pulling the summon off in two turns (compared to 5 if he was his Mono-Elemental class). In addition, Djinn that are spread out recover much faster. In the turn after the Meteor summon, two of the Djinn used will recover, and the other two will recover in the turn after that. The benefits of having Djinn spread out can also be used in Dual-Elemental classes, but they are not as effective.
Cons of the Tri-Element ClassesEdit
- The Tri-Element classes are tactically challenging and great care must be taken when using Djinn in battle to avoid an unwanted class change (an all out summon rush is probably going to end in disaster for the Adepts).
- Djinn Storm or similar moves might be more of a death sentence than it already is, especially if you're handling the fight with limited summons, as on their own, the Tri-Elemental classes pack a hard punch.
- Six or seven Djinn are required to get the first tier of the classes, making them unavailable until the later parts of the games.
- Tri-Elemental partial classes are highly demanding (9 djinn are required to put an adept in them), statistically shaky (many of the statistical boons of the Tri-Elements aren't seen until the higher tiers), very frail (9 Djinn is the max any adept can carry, and one lost will push them out of it) and in some cases, inferior to partial Dual Elemental classes.
- The particular Djinn formations required mean that elemental levels will be somewhat low (5/5/4), dampening the efficacy of Psynergy compared to Mono-element (14) and Dual-element (7/7).
The item dependent classes require the item that grants the class to be equipped (Trainer's Whip for Tamer class series, Mysterious Card for Pierrot class series and Tomegathericon for Dark Mage class series) and 1, 2, or 3 (for the 2nd, 3rd and 4th levels) Djinn of each Element that is NOT the Adept's base element.
Pros of the Item-Dependent ClassesEdit
- Possess psynergy from each element allowing unparalleled flexibility.
- Possess psynergies that are unique to each class.
- Statistically sound, strengths make up for weaknesses (the Tamer's dismal PP pool is offset by its incredible attack, and the fact that most of its Psynergies draw on the attack stat when calculating damage).
- Even with all Djinn on standby or recovering, the Adept maintains the first tier of the class (EG: Isaac, equipped with the Mysterious Card, would revert to a Pierrot and not a Squire when all of his Djinn are on standby or recovering).
Cons of the Item-Dependent ClassesEdit
- Only one of each may be present at any time (unless the item duplication glitch is used).
- Requires three elements worth of Djinn.
- The item required for the class must be found first.
One thing to take note of with the Item Dependent classes it that they require three elements worth of Djinn to progress. Even with all 72 Djinn, 8 Adepts, and 3 items, it's still going to leave an awkward amount of Djinn floating around. Normally, when you're trading Djinn around into Dual and/or Tri elemental classes, you have enough Djinn floating around to get everyone to the top level tiers of the classes. When dealing with the Item-Dependent classes, at least one Adept is going to get a little shafted. It is possible, through careful combination of Item, Dual, and Tri-elemental classes, to put each character into the highest class in their series though it will often take a lot of time to set up. One example follows:
- Isaac: Beast Lord
- Garet: Chaos Lord
- Ivan: Sorcerer
- Mia: Guru
- Felix: Necromage
- Jenna: Paladin
- Sheba: Pure Mage
- Piers: Acrobat
When Trading Edit
When trading Djinn around to change classes, it's generally best to pick one tree for one set (One Venus, one Mars, one Jupiter and one Mercury) of Adepts. For example, have Isaac, Garet, Ivan and Mia in Tri-Elemental classes while having Felix, Jenna, Sheba and Piers in Dual-Elemental classes, or both in Tri, or both in Dual. This ensures that there are enough Djinn floating around to get everyone to the top tier of whatever class series you desire the Adepts to be in.
Which to choose?Edit
The classes that you pick for your team of Adepts are based entirely on your personal likes, dislikes, goals, objectives, feelings and preferences. Do you think Jenna seems more "Ninja-ish" than "Samurai-ish"? Or do you think she seems more "Page-ish"? Experiment a bit and see what strikes your fancy.
List of top-level classesEdit
Below is a sortable table of each class series' most developed stage as of Golden Sun: The Lost Age, including the average of all six of their statistics, the average of their statistics when Luck is taken out of the equation, and the average of their statistics when both Luck and PP are taken out of the equation.
|Class name||HP||PP||ATK||DEF||AGI||LCK||Average||w/o LCK||w/o LCK & PP|
|War Adept (Venus Adept)||190%||170%||150%||140%||170%||90%||152%||164%||162.5%|
|War Adept (Mars Adept)||190%||170%||150%||140%||170%||90%||152%||164%||162.5%|
|Oracle (Jupiter Adept)||170%||180%||140%||140%||160%||100%||148%||158%||152.5%|
|Oracle (Mercury Adept)||170%||180%||140%||140%||160%||100%||148%||158%||152.5%|
|Guru (Jupiter Adept)||170%||170%||140%||150%||170%||120%||153%||160%||157.5%|
|Guru (Mercury Adept)||170%||170%||140%||150%||170%||120%||153%||160%||157.5%|