# The Final Fantasy Tactics Job System: A Combinatorics Approach

One of the biggest draws of Final Fantasy Tactics is its multitude of available jobs that you can mix and match to your heart’s desire. The gist of it is that every character has a job and an associated primary ability, and is able to use a secondary ability, which is the primary ability of another job. For example, you could then have a Ninja that can use White Magic or a Bard that can Jump like a Lancer/Dragoon.

This allows for quite a lot of customization. But, just how much? Let’s see.

# 1 The Job Tree and How to Climb It

## 1.1 Job Levels

Final Fantasy Tactics1 has 20 different, «standard» jobs available to all playable characters. Save for the first two—Squire and Chemist—these must be progressively unlocked by gaining levels of previously attained jobs.

So, how does one level up a job? Simple: just by using its associated abilities. Every time an unit makes an action they gain a number of Job Points (JP) according to the formula:

JP = (8 + (Lj × 2) + (Lx/4)) × M
(1)

Where

Lj
The current Job Level of the ability being used, ranging from 1–8 inclusive
Lx
The current Experience Level of the unit, ranging from 1–99 inclusive
M
Multiplier, depending on which case it is.
If the unit using the ability has JP-Up equipped, then M = 1.5
If the ability was used by another, friendly unit,2 then M = 0.25
In all other cases, M = 1

How is Job Level determined? Simply by the total sum of JP accumulated by the unit. Note that «spending» JP to learn abilities does not decrease this amount.

Job Levels and total JP
Job Level Total JP
1 100–199
2 200–349
3 350–549
4 550–799
5 800–1149
6 1150–1549
7 1550–2099
8 >2100

## 1.2 Job Level Requirements

Once a unit has achieved enough mastery of certain jobs, new ones become available. The following chart maps the level requirements for all jobs, starting from Squire and Chemist, the minimum required level indicated as an integer.

Notice that some jobs have more than one incoming arrow. This means that all previous requirements must be met before unlocking that job.

``````
+------+                                                          +--------+
|Squire+------------------------------+  +------------------------+Chemists|
++----++                              |  |                        +-+----+-+
|    |                               |  |                          |    |
|    |                               |  |                          |    |
|    |                               |  |                          +    +
...          +------+    ...  ...    +------+         ...      |  |   ...       +------+    ...  ...    +------+       ...
.3.----------+Archer+<---.2.  .2.--->+Knight+---------.3.      |  |   .3.-------+Wizard+<---.2.  .2.--->+Priest+-------.3.
...          +----+-+    ...  ...    +-+----+         ...      |  |   ...       +----+-+    ...  ...    +-+----+       ...
|                |                    |               |       |  |    |             |                    |             |
|               ...                  ...              |       |  |    |             |     ...    ...     |             |
|               .2.                  .2.              |       |  |    |             +-----.4.    .4.-----+             |
|               ...                  ...              |       |  |    |                   ...    ...                   |
|                |                    |               |       |  |    |                    |      |                    |
v                v                    v               v       |  |    v                    v      v                    v
+---+-+    ...   +---+-+                +-+--+   ...    +-+-----+ |  | +--+-+      ...       +-+------+-+       ...      +-+----+
|Ninja+<---.4.---+Thief|                |Monk+---.4.--->+Samurai| |  | |Time+------.3.------>+Calculator+<------.3.------+Oracle|
+---+-+    ...   +-----+                +----+   ...    +-+-----+ |  | |Mage|      ...       +----------+       ...      +-+----+
^                   \              /                  ^       |  | +--+-+                                              |
|                    \..        ../                   |       |  |    |                                                |
|                    .3.        .3.                   |       |  |    |                                                |
|                    ..\        /..                   |       |  |    |                                                |
|                       \      /                      |       |  |    |                                                |
|                        \    /                       |       |  |    |                                                |
|                         \  /                        |       |  |    |                                                |
|                          \/                         |       |  |    |                                                |
|                          /\                         |       |  |    |                                                +
...       +---------+      /  \      +------+         ...      |  |   ...    +--------+               +--------+       ...
.2.-------+Geomancer+<----+    +---->+Lancer+---------.2.      |  |   .2.----+Summoner|               |Mediator+-------.2.
...       +----+----+                +----+-+         ...      |  |   ...    +----+---+               +------+-+       ...
|    |                          | |                  |  |          |    |                          | |
|    |                          | |                  |  |          |    |                          | |
|    |                          | |                ...  ...        |    |                          | |
|    |                          | |                .8.  .8.        |    |                          + |
|   ...    +--------------+    ...|                ...  ...        |   ...    +--------------+    ...|
|   .4.--->+    Dancer    +<---.4.|                  |  |          |   .4.--->+     Bard     +<---.4.|
|   ...    |(only females)|    ...|           ...    |  |    ...   |   ...    | (only males) |    ...|
|          +--------------+       |           .4.    v  v    .4.   |          +--------------+       |
|                                 +-----------...-->/----\<--...---+                                 |
|                                                   |Mime|                                           |
+---------------------------------------------...-->\----/<--...-------------------------------------+
.4.            .4.
...            ...``````

# 2 Combining Jobs for fun and profit

## 2.1 Preliminaries

How many different job combinations are possible?3 Before diving in, let’s set some preliminaries:

1. Every unit has:
1. A primary ability determined entirely by its currently equipped job,
2. A secondary ability, which is the primary ability of another job,
3. A reaction ability, which is passive and—as the name suggests—generally triggers after a unit has been attacked or otherwise been targeted by an action,
4. A movement ability, and
5. A support ability
In this writeup I will only focus on the combinatorics of the first two, so as to make this analysis a bit easier.
2. A unit can’t have a single ability set as primary and secondary at the same time.
3. Since jobs affect which weapons and armor a unit can equip—and this in turn affects their stats—the ability pairs are not considered to be commutative.
4. There exist two jobs exclusive to one gender or the other. Only male units can learn the Bard job and abilities; only female units can learn the Dancer job and abilities. These are, then, mutually exclusive
5. Even though it’s a job in and of itself, Mime cannot combine with any other job owning to the fact that the class is all about mimicking other units’ actions and doesn’t take any actions by themselves. For more information on this, refer to Aerostar (2004, sec. 2.8 «Mimic» and A.3 «The Mime Cycle»)

## 2.2 How many possible “job combinations” are there?

FFT has 18 combinable jobs and one non-combinable job. These are:

• Combinable
• Non-combinable

Any one character has then exactly 19 options for its first job ability, but one of them cannot combine further, so it’s best to set it apart for the time being, as it’s a lone case. Then, any one character has exactly 18 options for its first job ability and 17 for the second, for a total of 18 × 17 = 306 possible job combinations for any gender.

However, two of these jobs are gender-exclusive and therefore, they must be counted separately. How many of these are there?

In the 306 job combinations for a female character, exactly 17 of them have Dancing as its primary ability and exactly 17 have it as a secondary ability. Therefore, there are 17 + 17 = 34 job combinations available for females that are essentially different than those for males and 306 − 34 = 272 that are common to both genders.

So the 19 combinable jobs give rise to 272 job combinations common to both genders and 34 + 34 = 68 combinations that are gender-specific.

Adding the lone case of the Mimic job that cannot be combined, we arrive to a total of 272 + 68 + 1 = 341 possible job combinations.

## 2.3 Why are job combinations non-commutative?

Essentially, a job restricts what kind of weapons and armor a unit can equip. Although this can somewhat be alleviated with the appropriate passive ability—like, say, Equip Sword—this writeup only focuses on the main interactions between job abilities.

### 2.3.1 Equipment restrictions

The first and most obvious effect of this restriction comes from the stat changes that equipment brings. Consider these examples:

1. Wizard / Archer
2. Priest / Knight

In example case (1), the unit can use Charge abilities, but cannot use them except at minimum range, since it cannot equip bows. In example case (2) the unit cannot equip Shields, and thus cannot benefit from its physical and magical evasion bonuses.

### 2.3.2 Damage and range calculations

The second effect of equipment restriction is mostly noted in the way abilities dish out damage and effects. Consider the following, mirrored examples:

1. Archer / Knight
2. Knight / Archer

In example case (3), the unit can use Armor Break—a Knight ability— from a distance owning to the fact that they can equip longbows and crossbows. In example case (4) the unit can Charge its physical attacks, but can only attack other units immediately adjacent to them.

In example case (3), the damage formula for a regular attack is:

Dmg = ⌊(PA + S)/2⌋ × WP
(2)

Where

PA
is the unit’s intrinsic Physical Attack
S
is the unit’s intrinsic Speed
WP
is the weapon’s intrinsic Power

Observe that equation 2 depends on two parameters, takes their average and then truncates the result before multiplying it by a constant. This means that Archers using longbows must work to increase both their S and PA stats in order to effectively increase their damage. Compare with the damage calculation for example case (4):

Dmg = PA × WP
(3)

In general terms, equation 3 scales better than equation 2 unless the unit is “powerleveled” to maximize these stats.4

# 3 Conclusions

FFT has one of the most memorable job systems of the whole franchise. The raw number of possible combinations is enough to keep the interested player/munchkin interested for hundreds of hours.

This, with the addition of multiple game mechanics to customize the playable units give rise to a rich field for exploration. The interested player can even rise to the challenge of playing with only Calculators (UltimaterializerX 2005), only Level 1 characters (Shinmen Takezo 2006) or any one of the myriad others that the community has created over the years (Philsov 2002).

Absorb power in the sky and strike! Lightning Stab!

A ReQuested writeup: «A writeup on a node that hasn’t been updated in 10 years »

# Bibliography and resources

Aerostar. 2004. “Final Fantasy Tactics: Battle Mechanics Guide.” November 10, 2004. https://gamefaqs.gamespot.com/ps/197339-final-fantasy-tactics/faqs/3876.

BoardFourSixNineFour. 2004. “Final Fantasy Tactics: FAQ/Walkthrough.” August 14, 2004. https://gamefaqs.gamespot.com/ps/197339-final-fantasy-tactics/faqs/30113.

CirclMastr, and Overated. 2007. “Final Fantasy Tactics: Solo Straight Character Challenge Guide.” October 27, 2007. https://gamefaqs.gamespot.com/ps/197339-final-fantasy-tactics/faqs/27673.

KenpoCoyote. 2004. “Final Fantasy Tactics: Magic Users Challenge Guide.” September 21, 2004. https://gamefaqs.gamespot.com/ps/197339-final-fantasy-tactics/faqs/32474.

MunkiBleedsGreen. 2002. “Final Fantasy Tactics: Straight Character Challenge Faq.” June 2, 2002. https://gamefaqs.gamespot.com/ps/197339-final-fantasy-tactics/faqs/11496.

Philsov. 2002. “Final Fantasy Tactics: Challenge Faq.” May 31, 2002. https://gamefaqs.gamespot.com/ps/197339-final-fantasy-tactics/faqs/15661.

SBishop. 2003. “Final Fantasy Tactics: Solo Ramza Challenge Guide.” May 5, 2003. https://gamefaqs.gamespot.com/ps/197339-final-fantasy-tactics/faqs/23261.

Shinmen Takezo. 2006. “Final Fantasy Tactics: Level 1 Challenge Guide.” December 1, 2006. https://gamefaqs.gamespot.com/ps/197339-final-fantasy-tactics/faqs/45954.

STobias. 2003. “Final Fantasy Tactics: Jobs/Abilities Chart.” August 5, 2003. https://gamefaqs.gamespot.com/ps/197339-final-fantasy-tactics/faqs/3859.

UltimaterializerX. 2005. “Final Fantasy Tactics: Calculator Challenge Faq.” March 8, 2005. https://gamefaqs.gamespot.com/ps/197339-final-fantasy-tactics/faqs/26561.

1. I won’t write about the remake because I’ve never played it.

2. This is a passive way of gaining JP. If unit X uses an ability, JP will «bleed» to its allied units with the caveat that it will only count towards whatever job X is currently holding.

3. This writeup will is not concerned with “ideal” or “best” job combinations. All combinations are counted the same, regardless of their actual in-game usefulness, which is left to the reader as an exercise.

4. Such “powerleveling” is possible in FFT through a lengthy process of careful class change and level up/level down manipulations. The specifics of such a process are outside the scope of this writeup, but can be glimpsed at in the Bibliography.