Final Fantasy III Jobs guide: best job picks, abilities, unlocks for the FF3 Pixel Remaster
Each of the first three FF games introduces something that’d become fundamental to the rest of the series as we know it today. FF2 is story focused. FF1 lays the groundwork for much of the series in general. The remaining game’s contribution? Of course, it’s the Final Fantasy III Job classes system.
Jobs and classes of course appeared in the previous games in a manner of speaking, but at the core of the combat and strategy of FF3 is the player’s ability to unlock, play as and switch between a wide variety of jobs - all of which have unique abilities. It's the core of the experience in Final Fantasy III, with jobs defining the abilities you have, base stats, and the equipment you can use.
The influence of the FF3 Jobs can’t be overstated. This marks the first appearance of Summoners, Dark Knights, Dragoons and others - but also it just leads to a pretty exciting and fun system for players of FF3 to play with. It’s a deep, engaging system, and one later found in Final Fantasy V, Final Fantasy Tactics, Final Fantasy X-2, Final Fantasy XII, and other franchise titles.
In this guide, which covers the original NES/Famicom and Pixel Remaster versions of FF3 rather than the 3D remake, we take a look at the jobs with a full job classes list & unlock explainer, plus offer up some suggestions for the best jobs in FF3. You can use this in combination with our full FF3 walkthrough & guide to navigate the game. Let’s get to it, shall we?
As is tradition on many guides of this ilk, we have two important things to say about the best jobs in Final Fantasy III. First of all: you shouldn’t necessarily try to beeline for the best job classes, but instead try to find something that works for you. Team composition matters as well as individual job choices - so try to find a team balance that fits your play-style. This guide should help with that.
Second, and before we even get into some best job suggestions for FF3, we do have a more general piece of class-related advice for the game. And that is: you shouldn’t get too attached to one job always anyway.
In fact, FF3 is built in a bit of a lock-and-key manner; certain battles will almost require certain jobs to be present to make them bearable - think of it like a puzzle, where switching to the ‘correct’ job for the occasion will unlock an otherwise insurmountable-feeling battle. Basically, you’re meant to be more fluid with your classes and pick the right ones for certain situations.
A key example of this is Garuda, a boss later in the game in Saronia. If you take on Garuda without any Dragoons, you are going to struggle no matter how good your team is otherwise. Our FF3 bosses guide details strategy for several battles like this. Another example is the Mini dungeons, where a handful of times throughout the game you have to go through a dungeon with the Mini status ailment. This makes physical attacks worthless, which means you’ll want at least two black mages to deal magic damage. Geomancer is a good pick for the Cave of the Circle dungeon later for similar reasons.
All of this is noted, and some suggestions for certain battles or dungeons are noted in our complete FF3 walkthrough & guide - but with all this considered, we do have some extremely general suggestions for what we feel are the best jobs in FF3 - so here they are:
- Right from the onset, pick dedicated Mages and evolve them through their particular magic discipline. The stat growth as you move from one magic class to another will pay off later in the game.
- Specifically, you'll want one character learning white magic to be a White Mage, then a Devout, then finally a Sage.
- And then you'll want one character learning black magic to be a Black Mage, followed by a Magus, then a Sage
- Monk is a powerhouse damage dealer that is a little bit of a glass cannon. They naturally should turn into a Black Belt when the option arises. They offer solid damage-dealing throughout the game.
- The Thief can be really good once you find some good equipment - which can happen in the town Amur, specifically. The Black Garb and Black Cowl and any knives that raise agility (like Main Gauche, also in Amur) elevate this class to the next level. The super high agility has them attacking dozens of times per hit, so they do decent damage. Also, they can unlock doors, which is very handy.
- For raw damage and an all-rounder, the Warrior to Knight job progression is solid, but it’s not as high a damage output as Monks - it’s tankier instead.
- The Viking job class can be basically used as a fortress - it’s a heavy-hitting, ultra-tanky class that can be equipped with Shields and used to really soak up damage, if that’s what you need.
- Ninja is a class that you get optionally and really late, but we’d be remiss if we didn’t at least quickly mention how useful using the Throw Command and Shurikens is against the final boss. In fact, it might be the highest damage output in the game.
- The other optional unlockable job, Sage, is absolutely the best magical class in the game. It basically replaces any other magical class - white or black - with one do-everything beast. It’s a must-have.
And some things to note throughout the game progression-wise:
- As mentioned, Dragoons are necessary against one particular boss, Garuda. Otherwise, this class is actually pretty meh in this game despite being iconic later in the series.
- The Scholar class is very helpful against one specific boss enemy, Hein. Otherwise, it’s largely useless.
- While not absolutely required, having some characters set to the Dark Knight class will prove very useful against enemies that split in the later parts of the game, like the Ancient Ruins dungeon.
- You'll want at least one other character with some form of black magic for the Mini sections, when you have to use magic.
- In the very late game for the final boss and some late encounters, you’ll likely want at least two healers; so don’t be afraid to teach some Healing to a second unit as a secondary skill-set.
- The above pieces of advice basically combine to mean that you should try to teach some magic to characters that aren’t mages, perhaps resulting in 2 characters with black magic and two characters with white magic - so you can deploy magic from the non-mages in emergencies.
The jobs of Final Fantasy III basically unlock in four stages - one for each of the crystals around the game’s world that you’ll aim to collect as part of your ongoing adventure. Finally, there’s two extra secret unlockable classes that you can get towards the end of the game by venturing into an optional super-dungeon - and we recommend you get them.
It’s worth noting that the class setup in the original NES version of FF3 and thus the Pixel Remaster version is quite different to that in the Nintendo DS version of the game. This guide covers the original Famicom/NES version of FF3, and thus the FF Pixel Remaster version of the game, too.
Below, we list all of the jobs and describe a little about them in the order they unlock - and paired with our suggestions of the best jobs above, you should be able to use it to build a killer party.
Onion Knight - the starting job
While on the Nintendo DS remake of FF3 the Onion Knight was actually the 'ultimate class', in the original 2D FF3 including the Pixel Remaster, it's actually the basic, starting job, replacing the Freelancer role that often starts players off.
The Onion Knight can use a small collection of basic gear, and doesn't have access to any major magic. However, with the right equipment it can still be a powerful class that can take a lot of punishment and even dish out some pain - but to get to that point, it's very difficult. Rare enemies late in the game can drop powerful Onion Knight equipment that can only be wielded by onion knights, but collecting a full set of equipment is a dedicated task in its own right.
The Classic Classes: Wind Crystal Unlocks
Your first set of FF3 classes will unlock after you complete Alter Cave, the first dungeon in FF3, and get the Wind Crystal. You'll have to complete this dungeon as Onion Knights - but once it's over you'll be able to switch jobs to five basic jobs.
If you've played the first game in the series they'll be familiar, as they're five of the six starting job classes in FF1, albeit updated for FF3 Here they are:
- Warrior: Warriors are there to be your first physically-focused damage dealer that's also an all-rounder. They can equip a wide variety of weapons, but don't get any magic. When compared to Monks, they don't do as much damage, but they're more survivable, which is a fair trade-off to make them a team anchor. As in FF1, the Warrior is effectively replaced by the Knight class once that is unlocked.
- Monk: renamed from FF1’s Black Belt, the Monk is all about physically attacking with no weapon equipped - though they can also work with nunchaku. They’re incredible damage dealers, but are far more vulnerable than Warriors. They’re eventually like-for-like replaced by the Black Belt job.
- White Mage: as you’d expect, the White Mage specializes in healing and status adjusting, but it does have access to one type of offensive spell. You’ll want at least one dedicated healer, so set a character on this path and then send them to the Devout job later, which effectively replaces the White Mage.
- Black Mage: the opposite number of the White Mage, it gets access to a range of offensive and status ailment related spells. If you plan to have an offensive magic specialist, this is a class you’ll want to start them off with. It’ll eventually be superseded by the Magus.
- Red Mage: the Red Mage still effectively acts as a halfway between the other two mages and the warrior. It can use lower-level White and Black Magic up to magic level 4, and has decent attack power. They’re a jack of all trades, master of none, with all the benefits and drawbacks that suggests.
Upgrades & Archetype Jobs: Fire Crystal Unlocks
Your next job unlock in FF3 will come when you get the next crystal - that’s the Fire Crystal, which you’ll appropriately obtain after completing the Molten Caves dungeon. This offers up four more jobs - some evolutions on existing jobs, some new ones:
- Ranger: think of the Ranger as the Robin Hood archetype, complete with a green cap. It exclusively uses ranged weapons, headlined by bows and arrows.
- Knight: consider the Knight job a direct upgrade from the Warrior; they have better base stats and the Defend command which can be used to keep your hopes alive in even the most dire of circumstances. Unlike in the other versions of FF3 and most other FF games, the Knight Job does not get access to White Magic in 2D FF3.
- Thief: this job of course comes with one key skill - the command ability to steal. However, items held by enemies in FF3 aren’t often so useful as to make this class a must-have. Thieves have an advantage in their speed, and if you can get gear to maximize that, you can get them attacking many times per turn, as described above in our ‘best jobs’ section.
- Scholar: the Scholar class carries books as their weapon. Never underestimate the power of a nerd, though. They have two key command abilities in the Pixel Remaster allowing them to find out enemy weaknesses (think casting Scan or Libra - though Libra is also available as a spell in FF3, rendering this skill fairly useless), and also a replacement for the Item command, Alchemy, that makes items more effective. Despite not being a great class, a Scholar is extremely useful to take on the boss Hein, as he will shift his weakness, and a Scholar can reveal what element you should hit him with.
The Specialist Jobs: Water Crystal Unlocks
FF3 continues, and the next job unlock comes… well, you guessed it, it comes when you nab the Water Crystal, after the Water Temple dungeon. Can you see a pattern appearing? More jobs unlock this time - this is arguably the point at which the job system really opens up in a big way. Here’s what you’ll have to choose from:
- Geomancer: the Geomancer comes with a special ability called Terrain - which basically modifies the environment. In real terms, it’s a random black magic effect that costs no MP - but which attack you get will depend on the sort of environment you’re fighting in. The thing to note is that these attacks can backfire onto you - there’s a random but small chance of disaster whenever you cast. Geomancers are especially useful in the Cave of the Circle dungeon.
- Dragoon: a Final Fantasy staple, FF3’s Dragoon of course gets access to the Jump ability. This is the first time it appears in the series! They of course use Spears - but they can only use Spears. When Jump is used against actual dragon-type enemies in FF3, it does more damage. When you take on Garuda in Saronia in the latter half of the game, having a team of Dragoons is almost necessary if you want to get through the boss encounter unscathed.
- Viking: in stat terms, the Viking is one of the most purely physical classes available in FF3, with this job using heavy weapons like hammers and axes. This is the ultimate tank, basically. It keeps the Defend command from the Warrior job, but really it’s just a slightly different tank class stat-wise.
- Black Belt: the natural evolution of the Monk job, and returning from the first game, they’re really quite similar to Monks - ridiculous attack power, but a limited selection of armor, making this a glass cannon of a class. Their special ability allows them to bide time and deal out a more damaging attack next turn, an ability that many monks get in later FF games.
- Dark Knight: low defense, high attack power, Sword & Katana users. Katanas and therefore Dark Knights are actually vital for one particular dungeon thanks to how they shred one type of enemy; Use Dark Knights in the Ancient Ruins dungeon as well as Falagbard caves to prevent the enemies there from splitting apart when they are attacked, otherwise you can quickly be overwhelmed.
- Evoker: think of the Evoker as a summoner by another name; this job has also been called a Conjurer in the past. They have a range of elemental attacks, white and black magic both, that summon special beings to battle. The spells don’t have the names you’d expect in this game, but many of them are familiar - Heatra summons Ifrit, for instance. The twist for this game is that each attack as White and Black magic variations - so Ifrit can heal the party or rain Hellfire on your enemies, for instance - and which happens is all down to a coin flip.
- Bard: this job class has the rather unique ability to sing to attack, so long as they have the right sort of ‘weapon’ equipped. Depending on the weapon, attacking might also inflict certain status effects. On top of this, Bards have a couple of other abilities that debuff enemies buff the party’s attack power, making them a consummate support class. They're fairly unique in the Pixel Remaster version of FF3 in that they get new skills as they level up. With access to a decent heal and strong buffs in the mid-game, at around job level 20 they can be a powerful mid-game option.
Top-Tier Magic Jobs: Earth Crystal Unlocks
As you’ve no doubt guessed at this point, the fourth job set unlocks when you complete your first visit to the Ancient Labyrinth and get your hands on the Earth Crystal. This isn’t quite FF3’s final job set, however… there are a couple of final ones not tied to a crystal. This group of classes, however, is a bounty for those who like to use magic:
- Magus: the Magus job has also been called the Warlock, and it’s basically the highly evolved, topped-out version of the Black Mage class, able to use high-level Black Magic spells and a very high MP stat. They can cast level 1-8 of Black Magic - but are still ultimately outclassed by the Sage, one of the final class unlocks.
- Devout: the opposite of the Magus, the Devout offers the same sort of setup but for White Magic, able to use all White Magic levels and boasting a stacked MP stat to allow for lots of casting. They are also outclassed by the Sage in the end, however.
- Summoner: remember how we described the Evoker as like a summoner? Well, here’s an actual summoner! Bluntly, it is a powered-up, better version of the Evoker. It doesn’t unlock any additional summons - you’ll just be able to do more damage with them.
Ultimate Jobs: Eureka Dungeon Unlocks
The final job unlocks in FF3 are unleashed if you complete ‘The Forbidden Land, Eureka’, a special optional dungeon in the FF3 late game. You can find the entrance to this dungeon on the bottom floor of the Crystal Tower - but you’ll need to get the Eureka Key from Doga and Unei to enter.
The Eureka Dungeon is basically your FF3 end-game. As well as unlocking these incredible jobs, it’s also one of the best places to get high-end equipment. Here’s the pair that unlocks:
- Sage: Sages are a spellcasting class with both high Intellect and high Spirit stats, meaning both Black Magic and White Magic users can transfer to this class late in the game. The Sage has access to all Black, White, and Summon magic spells - making them the ultimate magic user in the game, rendering every magic class before it obsolete.
- Ninja: Ninjas are the only class with the Throw ability, which allows you to chuck Shuriken to do massive damage. In fact, it is widely recommended to have at least one Ninja in your final party against the game’s final boss, The Cloud of Darkness, as your stockpiled Shuriken are one of the most surefire ways to do large amounts of damage quickly. Beyond that, the Ninja is a strong physical fighter able to use every weapon type in the game. If the Sage is the ultimate magical class, this is the ultimate physical class.