The Beaten Diaries #7: History of Classes in Fantasy

APRIL ISSUE: POST #31

I am so excited to be writing this 7th Beaten Diaries post because I’m finally going to be talking about Fantasy LifeFantasy Life is somewhat nostalgic to me already, even though I only played it at the end of 2016 (okay, time goes too fast. Maybe it should be nostalgic to me already). I don’t own the game as of now, and I would really love a physical copy because it is so CUTE and I want it on my shelf so it can flourish.

The game itself is a fantastic 3DS title, developed by Level-5 and released back in 2012 in Japan and then in 2014 for the rest of the world (why they made us wait and tortured us I have no idea). The game is set in the world of Reveria, which has green forests, tall mountains, sparkling rivers and bustling cities. However, this peaceful land is disturbed when a meteorite falls into the player’s house (which is pretty unfortunate I must say), and then there’s a bunch of stuff about the prophecy and the moon. So, naturally, from the King himself, you are told to go and investigate!

The great thing about this game is that you don’t just have to be a warrior or a fighter and go and kill a bunch of enemies and repeat that forever. You can be given a bunch of various tasks depending on your class, including fishing (no, this isn’t Final Fantasy 15). You can choose from 12 classes at the beginning of the game, and I’m going to give you an overview of them and a little history about those roles in real life.

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Let’s begin with the Combat classes, which consists of the Paladin, Mercenary, Hunter, and Magician. I, as always, went for the magician first for my play-through. All these classes are great in combat and you can collect armor and powerful weapons as you progress.

Paladin So primarily, a Paladin is a military leader, or a knight, who wields a big weapon and can perform magic, such as healing and protection. The term comes from the roman word Palatine, which basically means a government official. After the fall of Rome, the King Charlemagne took over most of Europe, and tried to bring back the Roman Empire. There were 12 high-ranking warriors that served this King, and they were called his Palatines (or Paladins), which were very loyal and devoted. Fantasy paladins in general are special, righteous warriors or holy knights that follow their beliefs and leaders. The Paladin in Fantasy Life can hold a longsword and a shield. I don’t usually play as a warrior or a knight in games, but the Paladin in this game seems pretty fun to me, and I like bashing people with shields.

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Mercenary In history, mercenaries are professional soldiers who are hired to fight, and usually, fight for money rather than their beliefs or political reasons (I don’t blame them). They are usually not part of a regular army or force. Some records in history of using mercenaries in battle dates back to Ancient Egypt, where Pharaoh Ramesses II used 11,000 of them during his battles (the more the merrier I’m sure). The mercenary in Fantasy Life uses two-handed swords and inflicts a lot of damage, which makes them different to the Paladins. Mercenaries seem fun to play as, as you can throw your two swords around and chop people up (I can’t really say that without sounding like a psychopath though).

Hunter There isn’t really much to say about hunters. Hunters are hunters. They hunt things. It is a pretty cool class though since you use a bow and arrow as a weapon, and that’s pretty satisfying. You can inflict status effects such as paralysis and poison on enemies, all whilst keeping at a far and therefore safe distance. I think if I was in a fantasy world, I’d prefer to hide up in the trees and use bows and arrows from a distance. I don’t really want to come face-to-face with anything sharp.

Magician It’s hard to kind of sum up the history of magic. The term magic derives from the Greek work Mageia, and back during the medieval times, a wizard or magician was seen as a wise old man who served as a mentor, which can be backed up by the character Dumbledore from Harry Potter (also, I’m sure a long majestic beard is part of it). Of course, all throughout history there have been mages, wizards, witches, sorcerers, archmages, enchanters- it’s such a big topic to explore. In Fantasy Life, I very contently played as a magician. In the game, you can collect spirits such as water, air, earth and fire in your staff and use them to heal or attack. I always play as a mage when I play games. Perhaps I just like brandishing a staff.

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Now we’re moving onto the Gatherer classes, which consists of the woodcutter, miner, and angler. These classes, well, focus on gathering, believe it or not. There are many items to collect in Fantasy Life, and if you enjoy this activity, then one of these classes is for you (and if you have a particular interest for wood, ore or fish, then the choice will be made even easier!)

Woodcutter A woodcutter, otherwise known as a lumberjack, are workers in the logging industry who harvest wood. Lots and lots of wood. Back in history, the work a lumberjack had to do was actually pretty dangerous, and rather unfortunately low-paying too (I know I’d want more money if there was a chance I’d be crushed by a tree). The term comes from Canada back in 1831, and lumberjacks primarily worked in camps and lived in bunkhouses or tents, where they would have their trusty axes and saws beside them (while they slept too? I hope not). The Woodcutter role in Fantasy Life is pretty cool if you like this sort of thing. You can run around and cut trees, and, well, cut more trees! Actually it is pretty satisfying so I recommend you give it a shot.

Miner A miner is someone who extracts coal, ore and other minerals. The term can be for someone who works directly with rock faces or someone who works within a mine, usually below ground. Mining is even more dangerous than woodcutting, and there have been many catastrophes and injuries, even though the role has been around for centuries. Since the beginning of civilisation, we have gathered ceramics and metals, which were used to make tools around the world. Nowadays we use mining to gather coal, lead, copper, and iron. In the game, the miner’s role is to also mine materials, such as minerals and ore, from rocks with a pickaxe, whilst also using a dagger as a weapon if needed. Again, it’s pretty satisfying.

Angler I really like fishing in this game. It reminds me of games such as Animal Crossing where it’s pretty relaxing, and there’s nice background music to go with it too. Of course, you use a fishing rod, and like the miner, you use a dagger if you need to attack. There are plenty of fish to catch, so you can spend a lot of time doing so if you wish. Fishing is old. Very old. Some practices of fishing date back at least 40,000 years, but I think we’ve improved our equipment since then unless we still use fish hooks made from bone.

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Last, but certainly not least, are the Crafting classesThere are a staggering five classes to choose from here! This includes a cook, tailor, blacksmith, alchemist and carpenter. If you want to become any of those in real life, then it’s time to get some practice in virtually.

Cook Everyone knows what cooking is, I think. Preparing food for consumption. Oh, how us humans do love our food. Of course, the way we eat food keeps changing drastically. I for one, am a vegan, but I did grow up consuming a lot of dairy and meat products. There is evidence that shows that humans had control of fire one million years ago, so it does seem likely that cooking came about millions of years ago too (although the image of humans that long ago trying to figure out fire makes me laugh, and also makes me slightly nervous). Of course, fast forwarding through time, the Industrial Revolution brought the standardisation of food, where factories quickly canned and packaged a range of foods for consuming. In the 1920s, cafeterias and fast food restaurants emerged (much to our joy). It’s pretty adorable to cook in Fantasy Life though, where you have your little frying pan and workstation and ingredients. You have to stir, chop and fry! So if you’re looking to be a cook in real life, at least you’ll improve those three aspects quickly.

Tailor Aaah! Needles! No, not that sort of needle. There is no doctor class here, instead, you use your needle to sew and thread. In the game, you can make clothes, accessories, and furniture, which you can place neatly in one of your many homes. It’s noted that there were tailors back in the thirteenth century, but it didn’t take its modern turn until the late eighteenth century, and clothes were made from materials such as wool, silk or linen. Of course, everyone must look smart, and when they need to look smart, they go to a tailor. I like imagining the suits being made and pressed ready for a spiffing young fellow to take home.

Blacksmith Grr, weapons! Lots of hammers and swords and armor and daggers! Who doesn’t love some pointy things?! But anyway, using your hammer, you can craft a multitude of things in the game, which is really useful, to be honest. I for one could never be a blacksmith in real life, all that forging and bending and cutting and using fire- I’m sure I would kill someone (before I killed myself). There are many blacksmiths in mythology, including Hindu, Greek, Germanic, and Celtic mythology, who would probably construct lots of tools and weapons for Gods of some sort, or beautiful gold rings and glistening gems. Nowadays, there is a fluctuating interest in blacksmithing, but making and repairing iron and steel tools for people is still in practice (I for one just hope they do that without accidentally killing anything).

Alchemist Come on, Alchemists are just as cool to me as magicians are! Using flasks and materials, you can make bombs, accessories or medicine, and explosions! Okay, maybe not the last one, on purpose anyway. I could probably read a whole book on alchemy, and I probably will at some point, because right now, I really don’t know where to start. For places all over the world, there are many different ways that alchemy was introduced and then put into practice. It is said that alchemy was born in Ancient Egypt though, as the Egyptians believed in life after death, and their chemical knowledge rose because of it. Greeks than became interested in the Egyptian studies of alchemy, and viewed matter as the combination of fire, earth, air, and water, which definitely rings a few bells in modern fantasy-based media.

Carpenter Time to bring out the mighty saw and make all the tools, furniture and weapons in the game! Whoo! Anyway, the word carpentry comes from the French ‘Charpentier’ which means carriage maker, and carpentry itself is one of the oldest skills that is still used today. Some of the oldest surviving examples of carpentry are the Nanchan Temple in China and the Greensted Church, in my good ol’ home country, England (how it has parts surviving from the 11th century though I have no idea. Carpenters must’ve been incredibly skilled, or it was magic. I say it was magic). By the 16th century there were sawmills and later, the Industrial Revolution brought steam engines and other processes that made carpentry what it is today. I think I might shed a tear…

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So there we have it! A pretty wordy post, but it was interesting to me and I hope at least some of it is interesting to you too. It’s crazy how much history there is in this world, and how certain roles in life started from literally nothing. Video gaming stuff included. I really recommend Fantasy Life though, even if you don’t have a 2DS or a 3DS. Get it anyway. Just love the box. And the cartridge. I promise you, it’s worth it.

Thank you and Happy Gaming!

-LDG

4 thoughts on “The Beaten Diaries #7: History of Classes in Fantasy

  1. This has instantly become my favourite post about gaming EVER! 🙂 I love Fantasy Life so much. I’m still playing it today. I feel it got overlooked in the West because it was out on the same day as the Super Smash Bros demo (the full game coming out 7 days later) so that was the big 3DS game everyone was playing at the time.

    FL really feels like a portable version of Final Fantasy XIV to me with it’s mix gathering and crafting classes 🙂 It has a gorgeous art style, beautiful music, and so much to do! Truly it’s one of my favourite games of all time. I also enjoy fishing in the game… It’s probably the only game with fishing that feels fun to me 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Also the subtitle translation is incredibly strong. Lots of JRPGs suffer from awful stilted dialogue so it’s refreshing how well FL has been written. The conversations have quite a lot of nuanced humour.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes! I totally agree with everything you’ve said there. Fantasy Life is definitely overlooked and deserved a lot more attention. A lot of work went into the game, including all the different classes, story, gameplay, content in general and the translation! I didn’t even know there was a game like that for the 3DS until a long time later, and it’s a big shame.
      I remember being absolutely addicted and charmed by the game, and I’m really happy someone else was too!
      Thank you for your great comment 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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