As you may already know, this Final Fantasy 12 Zodiac Age remaster is based on the Japanese "International Zodiac Job System" version, which differs from the original release in a few key areas.
Most notable, of course, is the overhaul of the Licenses system. Characters now have a choice of permanant class, known as the Zodiac Jobs system, and within those Jobs a License Board is available which holds various upgrades, including new Gambits for your character.
As well as all that, we'll also be taking you through the best Jobs for each character - although it's a lot less important than you think.
It's a lot to digest at first, so we'll be explaining all you need to know on that here on this page. For more Final Fantasy 12 help though, be sure to take a look at our Final Fantasy 12 The Zodiac Age guide and walkthrough, too.
Zodiac Jobs and the License Board explained - which class should you pick?
Once the Zodiac Jobs and Licence system is unlocked in-game, every time a new person joins your party you'll be able to assign them a Job. The game gives you the opportunity to take a look at what's on each board before deciding, but note that once you've assigned one you're stuck with it permanently, so in the early stages of the game you may want to hold off until you've settled on a playstyle.
When a new member joins your party they'll come with armour and weapons that suggest their intended "default" role - Basch has a sword, Fran has a bow, etc. - but you're free to ignore that and give them something else to do. that being said, it's advisable to not stray too far from their intended job - while you can make Basch a White Mage, he has more base HP, so is better suited to a melee character.
That said, when it comes time to add a second license (after defeating Belias to get your first Esper), an argument can be made for assigning people to the "wrong" class as a way of evening out the party and stopping you from relying too heavily one one character: melee-based jobs have more HP bonuses available on their boards which you can use to toughen up your Mages, and adding some magic skills to a melee fighter means they'll still be of some use in situations where physical combat isn't an option. More on that just below/
Theoretically, there are over five trillion combinations available to you when building your party of characters and their various Zodiac Jobs, so we're obviously not going to list them all, but here's a brief overview of each type:
|Job||Attack Type||Armour||Weapons||Best Uses||Suggested Characters|
|Archer||Ranged||Light||Bows||Tackling airborne enemies.||Fran|
|Black Mage||Magic||Mystic||Staffs||Enemies with elemental weaknesses.||Ashe
|Bushi||Melee||Mystic||Katanas||Close-quarters, fast attacks against slow enemies or weak physical defences.||Vaan
|Close-quarters, alternative to a tank with high evasion.||Vaan|
|White Mage||Magic||Mystic||Rods||Healing and defensive magic, at least one is essential for you party.||Ashe
|Uhlan||Melee||Heavy||Spears||Tanking and heavy damage.||Vaan
|Light||Guns for Ranged
Measures for Melee
|Flexibility, with a choice of melee or ranged. Note that weapon damage doesn't scale with stats, but Measures do flat damage regardless of enemy defence stats.||Fran|
|Mystic||Maces||Can only cast low level spells, but useful as a spare support for your White Mage.||Ashe
|Good as a tank or DPS, and good choice for beginners due to survivability.||Vaan|
|Monk||Melee||Light||Poles||High health and evasion means it can serve as a tank. Can fight unarmed.||Vaan
|Time Battlemage||Ranged||Heavy||Crossbows||Both support and damage-dealing spells useful for inflicting status effects and damage over time.||Ashe
|Excellent tanking and works as DPS against high-defence enemies.||Vaan|
The best Zodiac Jobs for each character in Final Fantasy 12
It's a common question, but there are very few aspects which really affect a character's performance when it comes to picking Jobs for each of them, so it's not something to worry about with too much.
Instead, it's more just a case of bearing one or two minor factors in mind, and then building them however you please. The community over on GameFAQs has made a decent job (pun half-intended) of suggesting the best options, but again there really are no hard and fast rules. Bearing all that in mind, here's what to consider when picking jobs for your character:
Characters and Jobs:
- Vaan - A general all-rounder, but highish HP takes him towards tankier Jobs.
- Ashe - High Magic Power (MP), making her suited to the mage Jobs.
- Penelo - like Ashe, high MP means a leaning towards mage suitability.
- Basch - High combo speed points towards melee-based Jobs.
- Balthier - As with Basch, combo speed suggests a melee Job.
- Fran - Slightly weaker stats suggests ranged Jobs like Archer or Machinist.
For more on Final Fantasy 12 be sure to check out our main Final Fantasy 12 The Zodiac Age guide and walkthrough hub, our hidden Espers strategy and locations and Elite Hunts and Marks guides, our guide to farming LP from Jellies, and even how to get the Zodiac Spear with Hunt Club.
How to build the best party in Final Fantasy 12 The Zodiac Age
During the early stages of the game, you'll only have three characters to choose from, but later on you'll get a larger roster of 6 from which you can then assemble a team of three to explore with, and it's important to spread out the different classes so that you can cover all bases. There's no "right" way to do it, and choosing an optimal party is as much an art ten a science, but here are a few tips:
- A White Mage is essential - other classes such as Archer and Red Battlemage can cast a few low-level white magick spells which will get you through the early parts of the game, but as you progress you won't last long without some higher level healing spells, which White Mages are built for.
- Think about assigning the "wrong" class as a secondary one - for classes that can only wear Light or Mystic armour, for example, you may want to consider giving them a second class that can wear heavy armour once it's available, and conversely for those that can only wear heavy or light armour you may want to give them a secondary class that allows for mystic armour. This allows you to prioritise protection against pretty much any type of damage depending on the situation, particularly in boss fights: some of them will pound on you with physical damage so heavy armour is a bonus, and some will focus on magical attacks for which mystic armour is a boon.
- Ranged damage is only for specific circumstances - ranged attacks are of course useful against flying enemies, but they do far less damage than melee or magic against most earthbound enemies, so don't rely on it as your primary source of DPS.
- Wait before adding a Black Mage - in the early stages a Black Mage may not be of much use, but as soon as secondary classes are available later on, you should add one to your party.
- Don't put all your eggs in one basket - at various points in the game you won't be able to use magic, or physical attacks will be out of the question, so it's important to have a little of everything available.
Also note that while you'll probably end up with three "favourites" in your party it's important to give everyone an airing; characters earn LP to unlock new abilities even if you're not using them, but EXP is only gained by active party members so anyone that doesn't get used will end up being a little deficient in the HP stakes and likely to be obliterated immediately if you find you need to call on them later in the game.
The best Licenses to choose from the License Board
There are a lot of things to choose from on each board and it can be a little overwhelming knowing where's best to invest your points, but rather than pinpoint specifics, we'd suggest a general rule of thumb, which is putting a little in everything and keeping the board balanced.
The other major point to note reagarding your choice of Licenses is that, bcause higher level weapons, armour, spells, tactics, and accessories only unlock as you progress through the story, there's no advantage in, say, obtaining the Swords 5 license when shops are still only selling tier 3 weapons.
In that situation, you should instead put those points in something more immediately useful and avoid focusing too heavily on a single type of upgrade.
Gambits and Gambit Licenses explained
Gambits are a list of instructions you can assign to your party members that they'll follow in battle; the list is prioritised from top to bottom, so every time it's their "turn" they'll start at the top until they find a matching condition, and then perform whatever action is specified. In the early stages of the game you'll have limited slots and options available to you, but more conditions can be purchased form merchants around the world and additional slots can be unlocked on the License boards.
For the most part you're free to assign whatever you want, but for some battles you may need to add or remove certain things for safety - for example if you have a Black Mage set to deal fire damage to the nearest visible enemy, and you're fighting a fire-based enemy, you'll want to disable it - otherwise he'll be a hindrance rather than a help.
We'd recommend always having someone in your party who has "Self : Libra" as their first gambit entry to give you an edge in battles and highlight traps as you wander around, and at least one party member needs to have "Ally : Cure/Cura" as their top priority. Where you set the healing threshold for that Gambit depends on how many HP and MP are at stake; casting it too prematurely may waste MP, but leaving it too late may mean that by the time it's been cast the intended recipient is already dead.
That's it for Zodiac Jobs, Licenses, and Gambits, but take a look at our Final Fantasy 12 The Zodiac Age guide and walkthrough for much more!