While we're strong proponents of class/job/role uniqueness, we were both really surprised these changes were being done on a class level. We thought that was what jobs were for. We both expected some abilities to be shuffled around, or that class roles would be slightly more refined towards the jobs that they lead into, but the route they are taking to get there is a bit baffling.
I (Yelta) do not really like auto-learning spells. I enjoyed having to obtain my spell scrolls, whether it be to buy them or hunt down mobs to gain my next spell, but I like the sound of “Job-exclusive actions will be made obtainable via quests and treated separately” so we will have to do some actual work to obtain our job abilities.
The biggest news seems to be that tiers are going away. Your Fire spell will now grow with you as you level. For damage type spells and buffs this sounds good, but as a healer, I am worried about losing the ability to have 3 Cures, 2 Sacrifices, and a Curaga on my bar. Most healers will recognize the advantages of having all the cures on your bar. Using the right size cure for the situation in terms of HP healed, enmity gained, and MP management is a decision I like to make. I’m not going to panic just yet; hopefully they add some more cure types with differing casting times and MP costs.
Yelta looks to Kariri to comment on the Shield Skill changes.
I (Kariri) am on the fence when it comes to the shield skill changes. Although I agree that the shield skill has always been a bit awkward and separate from other classes and abilities, I'm not sure intertwining its usage with Gladiator is the best way to go about fixing it. It also leaves many unanswered questions.
First, does that mean that Gladiators will lose some of their existing abilities to make room for the shield abilities? If we are only given certain number of abilities at different levels, many Gladiator or shield abilities will have to be removed to make this a viable option. I'm concerned about which ones are going to be cut to make room for this.
Second, are Gladiators now the only class that will be able to use a shield? What happens to Conjurers and Thaumaturges? What about their defense? Will the caster classes now have increased defensive capabilities to make up for the loss of a shield? Does this remove one-handed weapons from these classes entirely?
Finally, does this allow for other classes to equip shield abilities, although they can't hold a shield? Since they are now Gladiator specific instead of shield specific, I would assume this would not be restricted. That could be a benefit.
In other words, I think there are many more questions caused by this announcement than answers, and I'll be waiting for more information before I can really give an informed opinion.
On another note, we are both excited at the prospect of being appropriately reimbursed for the guild marks we already earned if they are abolished. The idea of converting these into gil, seals, or items makes perfect sense, and we hope they stick to this idea.
Basically, a few general bits of new information today, leading to many more questions. We can't wait to see where we go from here!