A lot of people come onto this forum and ask which class is the best, or which class is better out of 2 choices. Eg: "Which is better Cleric or Fire Mage?", or "Which is better Bandit or Assassin?".
Since a lot of the regulars that visit these forums have seen these types of posts hundreds of times before, it can actually get annoying for us since the same things keep being said over and over. Each class has been compared to every other class to the point of nausea.
So I made this little guide so that n00bs such as yourself (icon_razz.gif) can know the answer to this eternal question once and for all, and not have to make yet another "which class is better" post.
Firstly, let me explain a process in making a game called "game balancing". When a game is being developed, during the alpha and beta testing phases all aspects of the game are checked to see if the game is fair and balanced. There would be little point making a game which has one class/job which is better than all the rest because if that were the case then EVERYONE would pick that class, since theres no point in picking an inferior class. So what all the alpha and beta testers do is compare the various classes and if one seems to be too good compared to others, it gets nerfed (made weaker) in the next release of the game. Likewise if a class is weaker than the rest, it gets boosted in the next release. This continues until all the testers, developers, and game designers are happy that all the classes are fairly balanced against each other.
You can probably see where I am going with this. What I am trying to say is, THERE IS NO BEST CLASS. The game underwent a heck of a lot of testing to ensure that all classes were balanced against each other!
The ultimate rule of thumb when deciding which class is BEST FOR YOU (not BEST CLASS, just which class YOU will enjoy playing the most) is to try making a couple of different characters, levelling em up a bit to get a feel for it, and see if its your thing. Ultimately the choice is up to you, and asking other people which class THEY think is best is pointless, since they might prefer a different style of play than you do, and so whats best for them might not be whats best for you.
However, I will give a brief rundown of the various classes and list their play styles and what aspects of the class are good, and what aspects are weak.
Warriors - Swordsman
Warriors are "melee only", meaning there is no option of having a ranged attack like all the other classes. This is the primary thing you need to consider before you decide if a Warrior is the class for you. Do you like attacking monsters from up close (melee), or from range? If you prefer range then Warrior is definately not for you. However, if you DO like melee, then maybe you will enjoy Warriors.
Another thing some people wonder about Warriors is whether to go for 1 handed weapons + shield or to use 2 handed weapons. Well again, there is no "better" option. Using 2 handed weapons will give you higher damage, at the expense of some defence. Using 1 handed + shield will give you more defence at the expense of some offense. Also keep in mind that if you are going to be a Spearman you don't have the 1h + shield option at all. Another thing to consider is that 1H weapons tend to have a shorter range, but faster attack speed then the 2H equivalent. The beauty of being a Fighter or Page is you can get BOTH the 2H and 1H version of your favourite weapon and select which one you want to use based on the situation. Some monsters you might be able to 1 Hit KO with a 2H weapon sometimes, but you can't with a 1H weapon, in which case it might pay to fight them with a 2H weapon. In other cases you might find that both the 1H and 2H weapon result in a 1HKO, and so the faster attack speed and better defence of 1H + shield may be the better option. If in doubt, try both and decide for yourself.
* Highest HP and Armor by far compared to other classes means you are a lot less likely to die accidentally. It also means you can try fighting monsters higher level than you and still probably survive, as long as you have enough potions.
* Have very strong, powerful strikes which do big damage to enemies, and can knockback higher level enemies quite effectively.
* Get the choice of using 1 handed weapons + a shield, or 2 handed weapons, meaning theres more choice with equipment than other classes.
* Get to choose from 5 different weapon types (Swords, Axes, Blunt Weapons, Spears, Polearms) which also gives more choice with equipment than other classes.
* Get SlashBlast, which is an attack which can hit multiple enemies, in the 1st job advancement. No other class gets a mass-attack skill until at least 2nd or 3rd job advancement.
* Don't have a ranged attack.
* A lot of their weapons have pretty slow attacks, so although you hit hard, you hit slow as well. This is not always the case however.
* Damage is pretty unstable at first since they don't get Mastery until 2nd job, and their main attacking skill only hit once.
* Never get any skills which increase their movement speed or jump height.
* Tend to have poor accuracy at first meaning some monsters are hard/impossible to hit.
* Tend to have low avoidability so they get hit very often.
Warrior - Fighter
A Fighter is one of the 2nd job advancements a Warrior can choose from. They tend to be very similar to Pages during the 2nd job advancement, the only difference being that Fighters can use Axes, whereas Pages can use Blunt Weapons (but both can use Swords), and one of the skills is different (Fighters get Rage, Pages get Threaten). Fighters are all about warriors who want to concentrate on having the highest HP, and doing the most damage to all enemies in general, and later on (during 3rd job), being very effective 1 on 1 against powerful enemies.
* Fighters get Rage, which is a great offensive skill increasing your damage as though you had a weapon 10 levels higher once its maxed out. This means a Fighters damage tends to be higher once they get Rage than the other warriors.
* Get the most base HP out of the 2nd job Warriors.
* Axes and Axe scrolls tend to be very cheap.
* Rage reduces your defence slightly, so you take a bit more damage.
* Get the least base MP out of the 2nd job Warriors.
* Swords and Sword scrolls tend to be very expensive.
Warrior - Page
Pages are very similar to Fighters during the 2nd job, only difference being Pages can use Blunt Weapons, whereas Fighters can use Axes (although both can use Swords), and Pages get the skill Threaten, whereas Fighters get Rage.
At higher levels (3rd job and beyond) Pages concentrate on getting elemental attacks, which allows the to do extra damage against certain enemies (but less damage against other types of enemies). They will apparently be able to heal themselves in the 4th job (could be an unconfirmed rumor).
* Pages get Threaten, a very defensive skill that can save you a lot of HP by making monsters do less damage to you.
* Get more base MP compared to Fighters.
* Blunt Weapons and BW scrolls tend to be cheap.
* Threaten needs to be constantly recast on new enemies, and its offensive capabilities are negligible.
* Get less base HP compared to Fighters.
* Swords and Sword scrolls tend to be expensive.
Warrior - Spearman
The Spearman is actually a bit different from the other 2 Warrior types. Firstly, they use either spears or Polearms, which are big, slow 2 handed weapons that have the highest maximum damage out of all the Warrior weapons. They also have the lowest minimum damage. Spearmen also get some very handy skills which are quite benefitial to fellow party members. At laster levels (3rd job and beyond) Spearmen get some amazingly powerful skills such as Dragon Roar which can do massive damage to all the enemies on the screen. The drawback is most of the powerful skills tend to have a long cooldown period, and require expensive items which get used up when you use the skill.
* Their weapons have the longest range out of all the Warrior weapons.
* Polearms do the most damage when its "swung", Spears do the most damage when their "stabbed".
* Polearms/Spears have the highest maximum damage out of all the Warrior weapons.
* Have some great party oriented skills.
* Get more base MP than Fighters.
* While using Hyperbody, their HP and MP max is actually the highest out of all the Warriors.
* Slowest attack speed.
* Lowest minimum damage means their damage is the most unstable out of all the Warriors.
* Polearms do poor damage when its "stabbed", Spears do poor damage when its "swung".
* Get less base HP than Fighters.