Back again for more FF5 goodness. On this trip I wanted to do something a little easier than Spoony's journey, so I decided to explore the gameplay of the Dragoon class. The Final Fantasy universe has Dragoons in a number of different games, but probably most famously in the character of Kain from Final Fantasy 2/4. My solo character bears the same name in a tribute to everyone's favorite mind-controlled turncoat.
You can pretty much sum up the Dragoon in one word: JUMP. The Dragoon's bread and butter is their Jump attack, wherein they leap up off the screen, disappearing for one round of combat, and then dish out major damage upon landing. Jump deals double damage (the multiplier is doubled) if the Dragoon is equipped with a spear, but can be used with normal weapons as well, just without the extra damage. While in the air no attacks will hit the Dragoon, kind of like a short version of the Bard's Hide command. You can thus Jump over some nasty attacks like Surge Beam if you time it correctly. Best of all, Jump deals full damage when used from the back row - guess where you should be for a solo challenge? Heh.
The Dragoon only has three total abilities in this game: Jump, Dragon Sword (which we'll get to a bit later), and Equip Spears, the last being an ability that allows other classes to use the unique Dragoon spear weapons. Based on that short list, you can see that the Jump move is what this job is all about. With no further ado, let's get started. Kain swapped to his permanent job after completing the Wind Shrine, using an emulator to access a job that is normally not available until later:
I have to say, it was a relief to be playing a character with high Vitality again! Anyway, the Dragoon's stats are fairly similar to the other melee-dependent classes like Knight and Samurai. Compared to the Knight, the Dragoon has a little less Strength and Vitality, and a little more Agility and Magic Power to compensate. Dragoons can equip all of the heaviest armors, along with shields, which makes them quite strong defensively. In fact, because Jump can be used from the back row, I found that Kain was the strongest tank out of all my solo characters, something I had not been expecting. Magic spells were the one weak point in his armor.
Kain was slowed early on only by a lack of spears; with the Dragoon class unavailable until the end of the first world, he was stuck with a Dagger to start the game. Even so, without getting double damage from Jump, he was still quite formidable as a melee fighter. I took him up to level 14 to deal with Karlabos, where Kain would be getting an attack multiplier of seven. Kain stayed in the back row and Jumped repeatedly at the boss:
There's the move in mid-animation; I'll try to capture some more shots throughout the rest of this report. Anyway, it took 6 hits of slightly over 100 damage each to eliminate the boss, which Kain managed with a minimum of fuss. It was a matter of redoing the battle enough times to avoid the really bad streaks of Tentacle/Tailscrew/Attack that popped up frequently.
Kain was barely touched in the Ship Graveyard, well protected by his spot in the back row. I think I used about 6 or 7 Potions total all the way through, and could have made do with even fewer. Siren was a matter of Jumping constantly, trying to remain up in the air to dodge some of her nastier moves and hit the human form (with its low Defense) wherever possible. I had turned up an Elixir earlier in the Ship Graveyard from a random battle, and used it here when Kain's health got low. Otherwise, this battle was pretty routine.
Kain upgraded to some slightly better armor in Carwen, and then it was a matter of Jumping his way through the weak foes on North Mountain. The typical critter attack only did 2-5 damage, which was little more than laughable. Magisa went down in four Jumps, and that left only Forza to be reckoned with. Kain used a few Potions to restore his health, as they healed back more life (50 per use) than Forza could do damage when attacking (20-30 per hit), and of course Kain blocked some attacks too with his shield. More Jumping sealed the deal.
There is one bug in the game involving the Dragoon that I should point out before going any further; after landing from a Jump, sometimes the game fails to recognize the Dragoon as legitimate target, and you end up getting an "Ineffective" message when the monsters try to attack:
Here it is happening against Galura, and you can clearly see that Kain is on the ground, where he should be taking damage. I'm not of a mind to abuse this bug, and I don't do anything to produce it intentionally, but for a solo Dragoon, it pops up fairly frequently. There's nothing you can do about it - I just pretend it's not there. Unfortunately it makes the game a little easier, not worth losing sleep over though.
As for poor Galura, Kain's Defense (15) was higher than his Attack (12) and thus all his moves were completely useless. You may remember that Kambei and Arthur had the same experience, as they could also equip the "heavy" set of armor. For these classes, Galura is just a joke. Very strange to see a boss attack and do 0 damage!
Kain was finally able to upgrade from his starting Dagger to a Mythril one in Karnak; in fact, he liked their Mythril stuff on sale so much, he went and bought the full set:
I've never had a character use ALL of the Mythril gear before; my two other potential candidates (Kambei and Arthur) were using swords and katanas instead of the dagger. It made for an amusing screenshot!
I expected the Steamship to be easy, and it was. The random enemies simply could not do enough damage to punch through Kain's mighty Defense rating, and protection granted by the back row. Kain's continuing reliance on low-damage daggers meant he had to Jump against most enemies twice, so the battles dragged out for a pretty long time, but the danger was quite low, and Potion use virtually nonexistant. This was more "leisurely stroll" than "epic quest".
Liquid Flame is a boss that can be beaten by exploting the various AI scripting of the three different parts. Usually, this means resting and healing up during the Tornado form. Well, I found that for Kain, he had enough Defense to render the Hand form completely helpless as well! Every attack from the Hand form would hit and do 0 damage; it didn't matter that Kain would sometimes get paralyzed, since even the paralyzed hits continued to do no damage. I could therefore pause and heal Kain in either of these forms, needing to attack only against the somewhat dangerous Human form. This was about as easy as Liquid Flame gets for a character that can't use Ice element damage.
One disadvantage of Kain's Jump move is that it takes two rounds to get off each attack, which is slow from a pure speed standpoint. This was an issue in Karnak Castle, with Kain having to rush to get the key treasures before the 10 minute time limit was up. I only had time to get the two big chests (Elf Cape and Guardian Dagger) and sneak one Elixir before heading to the exit. Kain made it out successfully with a mere 15 seconds remaining! Never cut it that close before, heh. Yeah, I could have just replayed the area again if I hadn't made it, but the tension was fun.
Kain picked up his second ability during the flight sequence in the castle: Dragon Sword.
Like Jump, Dragon Sword can be used at no penalty from the back row. However, this is for an entirely different reason: rather than being a physical attack from the skies, Dragon Sword is a magical attack that drains health and magic points out of the target. In fact, "Dragon Sword" is literally a free casting of the Black Magic spells "Drain" and "Psych". This obviously is a useful ability in a number of different situations, held back by the low Magic Power stat of the Dragoon. If you want to try something fun, give a magely class (like White Mage or Summoner) the Dragon Sword ability, and watch the carnage ensue! It's actually a great secondary ability for a Black Mage/Summoner to have, as they'll keep draining away extra magic points for free to power an endless succession of attack magics. The one downside is needing to invest 200 ability points into the Dragoon class, which could probably be better spent elsewhere.
For Kain, Dragon Sword already was doing less damage than Jumping with the Guardian dagger. (I should point out just to be clear that Dragon Sword has nothing to do with the weapon the Dragoon is using, as it's entirely based on the Magic Power and Level stats.) Nevertheless, it provided free healing, and could also be used to drain magic points away from certain pesky opponents. This would be useful in several situations to come...
I tried using Dragon Sword against Ifrit, but his Magic Defense is apparently pretty high, and Ifrit's fire spells were doing damage much faster than the skill was healing it back. Kain ended up going with the brute force Jump approach, having to down a couple of Hi Potions and Elixirs in the process. When it came to Byblos, however, the standard Jumping didn't have much luck. Kain would inevitably get hit with Byblos' three nasty buffs (Armor, Thread, and Sonic Wave) which together would slow his actions to a crawl and reduce his damage to virtually nil. Kain couldn't do enough damage to get past Byblos' Drain spell, which the boss switched to when he neared death. So I adopted a new tactic: leech away the boss' magic points with Dragon Sword.
Remember, Dragon Sword functions as both a Drain and a Psych spell, stealing away HP and MP from the target. Every time Kain used the ability, he would absorb about 70 health and exactly 16 magic points from Byblos. Now Byblos has 1000 MP, which is a huge amount for this stage of the game, and yet if you use Dragon Sword enough times... Well, you get the point. After Kain had used Dragon Sword about 45 times, Byblos ran completely out of magic points, and Kain was able to finish him off with ease. The fight lasted a loooooong time, about 30 minutes total, and yet this was the easiest and safest way to do it. Running Byblos out of magic is the best way to defeat him for any low-offense variant!
I used the Steamship to go purchase a Flame Ring in Istory, and more importantly, the Trident in Jacohl. The Trident is an actual spear, and thus the first weapon in the game that dealt double damage when using the Jump command. Finally, a real Dragoon weapon, yay! The Trident also deals lightning damage, which was helpful against enemies encountered in the oceans. And against Crayclaw:
Almost got 2000 damage for the one-hit kill. Maybe next time, heh.
Kain found that he had to use Dragon Sword again versus the Sandworm, as the delay inherent in Jump made that attack too risky. I didn't want to waste time attacking the Holes, after all. Constant life leeching from Dragon Sword made the fight a total yawner, as all the damage done to Kain was healed back instantly. The next boss fight, against the Adamantium Turtle, was a bit tougher. His Shell status and high Magic Defense made Dragon Sword impractical. Instead, I had Kain time his Jumps so that Adamantium always did his double attack when Kain was in the air, and his single attack when Kain was on the ground. (Adamantium alternates between a round of one attack and a round of two; essentially three attacks every two rounds of combat.) This went a long way to cut down on damage taken, and I was able to avoid having to use an Elixir, just barely.
Kain was level 31 at this point, and found himself unfortunately sitting 40k gold short of the amount needed for an Angel Ring. I had him fight for a while against the Black Flames and various assorted monsters in the Crescent area; I think he gained four levels while accumulating the necessary money. That out of the way? OK, let's move on to the Sol Cannon encounters.
In the four miniboss battles before fighting Sol Cannon, you can encounter either Flameguns or Rockets. The Flameguns are easily countered by equipping a Flame Ring, while the Rockets involve a little more creativity. All of their attacks are percentage based: Missile (which does 3/4 of current life damage, like the spell Quarter) and Rocket Punch (which does 1/2 of current life damage and inflicts Confusion/Charm status). Neither attack will ever kill your characters, even with only 1 life remaining. The ONLY way to die in this battle is to kill yourself via Confuse status. Thus, the best solution is to unequip your characters completely, and wear enough armor that they can't damage themselves:
Here, Kain is punching himself out of Confuse status, and he faces no danger (even with a single hit point left!) because his fists are much too weak to damage himself. I actually could have done better here: your bare fists have an 8% chance to do a critical hit, and Kain did in fact kill himself a couple times this way. What I should have done was equip a really weak weapon (e.g. the Knife) that lacked the chance for a critical hit. Maybe next time, heh. With no weapon equipped, Kain relied on Dragon Sword again for damage, which conveniently also healed him in the process. Maybe I'm getting into too much detail here, but I had a lot of fun strategizing for this tiny little fight, and wanted to pass that on.
Sol Cannon was quite easy. Kain killed the Launchers first and then timed his Jumps so that he was always in the air when the Surge Beam fired. The Trident's ability to do lightning damage really helped out here.
The Lonka Ruins offered up some armor upgrades (Gold Armor/Shield) and a couple of Elixirs, while otherwise being uneventful. Dragon Sword rendered Kain completely independent of Potion usage, which was darned impressive. For the ArchaeoAvis fight, Kain stuck with his Elf Cape accessory; the true danger in this fight isn't the elemental attack, it's the Claw charming attack (physical damage). My advice to all solo characters is to go with the Elf Cape over the Flame Ring. The Trident's lightning damage worked for the first three forms, but Kain had to swap back to the Guardian Dagger for the last two, as those forms absorbed lightning-based attacks. This wasn't so bad, as it gave Kain an impressive 65% chance to dodge physical attacks! Soon enough the battle was over:
I got a screen of the Jump animation in action too, which looks awesome.
Chimera Brain and Titan went down to standard Jumping attacks, needing no special strategy. For the Puroboros, Kain timed his Jumps so that he was in the air when they were about to do their Exploder moves. After damaging each of the six bombs to near-death status (1300-1400 out of their 1500 life), Kain allowed them to use Exploder and absorbed the weak punishment that resulted. This worked really well; just had to practice the battle about three times to know exactly when to use Jump. I almost thought about timing it with a stopwatch! That didn't prove necessary, fortunately.
Kain tried to drain all of Gilgamesh's magic points with Dragon Sword on the Big Bridge; unfortunately, however, Kain did the full 4000 damage and triggered his AI change before getting through all of them. The Jump-off that followed was surprisingly entertaining. Kain didn't like to be the one getting hit by that attack, especially as it did full damage to him in the back row! Got through this encounter with some Elixir usage, the end of the battle being a bit of a slugfest and not particularly elegant from a tactical standpoint.
Rugor sold a new weapon: the Wind Spear, which did slightly more damage and had the Air element property. Now Kain had his choice of two different elements to work with, Air and Lightning, useful in dealing with certain boss weaknesses. Everything else about this portion of the game was normal, and not worth commenting upon.
I was eager to get my hands on the Bone Mail, which I expected would work spectacularly well with Kain's ability to sit in the back row. I was not disappointed:
Most of the melee characters that are built like tanks (Knight, Samurai, etc.) still have to sit in the front row to do full damage, so this was a real treat from a defensive standpoint. Even better, Kain could heal his minor injuries by popping out Dragon Sword occasionally, allowing him to operate in the field almost indefinitely. Magic damage and status-effecting abilities were the one real threat.
The Hiryuu Plant was somewhat interesting as a fight; by wearing the Bone Mail, Kain was able to cancel out the status effects from all but the dreaded paralyzing flower #4. However, Kain's Jumping move meant that the timing was very strange, and took some practice to work out. Jumping at the wrong time would have Kain come down just after flower #4 got revived, and then get paralyzed and slowly plinked to death. I worked it out through experimentation without any real difficulties.
Gilgamesh and Enkidou were handled with normal Jumping, both of them having too many magic points to try a draining strategy with Dragon Sword. Their physical attacks were unbelievably pathetic, doing damage in the double digits to a character with well over 1000 health, but their nasty Death Claw move did kill Kain twice. Winning the battle was as simple as avoiding that move coming up, through pure chance.
After getting a Wall Ring to drop in the Barrier Tower, Kain started cracking open the treasure chests. This is one of the entertaining pre-programmed fights:
The Red Dragons hit hard and have a lot of hit points. If you know they're going to be in the chest, however, you can equip a Flame Ring to absorb the damage from their Atomic Ray move, which is a fire attack. Unfortunately Dragon Sword is useless here, because the Red Dragons are undead - draining attacks actually heal them! (Imagine that, Dragon Sword completely ineffective against actual dragons, heh.) Oddly, I think Spoony the Bard had the easiest time against these foes, with his Requiem Song tearing them up. Well, Black also did pretty well with Ice element spells, especially after getting Ice 3...
Once again, I killed off the other three characters during the Atmos fight to extend the time amount before the boss went into his Cometing rampage. I make no bones about this, as the battle is broken for solo characters, who either have a loophole way of getting past it (e.g. Strago's Black Shock/Level 5 Doom combo) or they don't. Kain was in a particularly bad spot, his Jump attack requiring extra time to pull off - not a good thing! I had him move to the front row and attack normally with the Dancing Dirk, which did more non-Jumping damage than his Wind Spear. Had to do the fight a couple of times until Kain landed a series of Sword Dances instead of useless Mystery Waltzes and Tempting Tangoes.
Mua is always one of my favorite parts of the game, and it was no exception for Kain. A combination of Jumping and occasional Dragon Swords to restore health got him through the random battles without issue, while picking up lots of experience in the process. Kain also finally acquired an Aegis Shield here, yay! Best shield in the game hands down. The Crystals/Seal Guardians were handled the same way as my other solo characters, equip a Flame Ring and rely on Fire 3s from the Fire Crystal for free healing. Kain had to switch over to the Dancing Dirk to damage the Wind Crystal, however, as his Wind Spear would heal it. I landed two Sword Dances at opportune moments which made that a lot easier.
Exdeath's Castle was more of the same, Jumping and using Dragon Sword as needed. I'm giving the wrong impression if that sounds boring - it was actually quite fun! Kain finally secured a weapons upgrade at the very top of the Castle on the 12th floor: the Partisan spear increased his base damage from 44 to 62, an increase of nearly 50%! I have to say that this is one of the weaknesses of the Dragoon class, just not enough weapons available. Spears seem to come few and far between. I made it all the way to the end of the second world while only coming across three spears, and I don't think I missed any!
Against Exdeath, I timed Kain's Jumps to be in the air when he used his Condemn move, one of only two really dangerous moves in his arsenal. (The other being Hurricane, instantly dropping health to nil.) Kain's ability to sit in the back row was a lifesaver again here, meaning that Exdeath's physical attacks only did ~350 damage. Along with a Wall Ring to reflect spells, this battle was rather easy for a change.
First priority in the third world was grabbing the Chicken Knife and running away from enough battles to power it up to maximum. This took a bit of time, as Kain had barely done any running so far. By the way, did you know that Jumping cancels out the Chicken Knife's Flee effect? And can be used at no penalty from the back row? Guess what Kain's strategy was going to be! Now Kain did lose the 2x multiplier effect, since the Chicken Knife is not a spear, but it hardly mattered. The "Flying Chicken" strategy is ridiculously powerful regardless.
I had a major stumbling block against the Gargolye mini-bosses that guard each of the four primary dungeons in the last world. Yes, the Gargoyles!
Each of these opponents has 5000 health, and they will revive each other if one of them is killed. Kain's Flying Chicken moves could do massive damage, as seen above, yet not enough to kill either Gargoyle in one hit - and that was a problem. Kain had absolutely no way to multi-target more than one enemy at a time. Still no access to the Magic Lamp until a bit later, unfortunately. And their reviving effect was not magical, so draining away magic points with Dragon Sword was not going to help out. Kain could stand there and kill Gargoyles all day without ever making any progress. What was I going to do here?
As always, the best answer was to look at the code by reading through the Algorithms Guide. I had hoped that I might be able to inflict some kind of status ailment on the bosses (for instance, they are vulnerable to Sleep) but there was nothing Kain could do to them with his selection of weapons. Finally, I noticed that the Gargoyles are listed as having Speed 34 in the code. With Chicken Knife and Elf Cape equipped, Kain's Speed was 36 - just a tiny bit faster than them. Hmmm.... that had some possibilities. I stripped Kain of his Aegis Shield and Diamond Helmet to reduce his equipment weight, and speed him up to his full potential. Then I damaged both Gargoyles until they were close to death, waited until both attacked, and then instantly attacked and kill the first one, immediately following that up with an attack on the second one before it's turn to act came around again. And it worked!
Now that might sound like a brilliant plan, but in reality it was a slapdash ragtag effort cobbled together at the last moment. If Kain had been even a tiny bit slower, I would have had no option but to level up for a while until he could kill the Gargoyles in one hit. Sometimes in this game, the tactics of how the battles are managed can be more important than the overall strategy of character-building. It certainly was here.
Anyway, Jumping with the Chicken Knife was enough to deal with just about everything in the Pyramid. Not the Machine Head robots, however:
Apparently the designers programmed in a move with no purpose other than to stop Dragoons from using the Jump attack! At least the Interceptor Rocket looked cool. Kain simply moved into the front row and attacked normally with the Chicken Knife, and that certainly worked well enough. Kain had no issues looting all of the treasure chests, and polishing off Merugene/Mellusion. If you know how to counter her spells, she's a total joke.
Kain was one of the solo characters who had a real reason to head for Kuzar Castle, where he picked up the Holy Lance. This very fine weapon does nearly as much damage as Excaliber (109 damage versus 110) while also granting +3 Strength and having Holy element properties. Beacuse the Holy Lance was a spear and did double damage while Jumping, it now became Kain's weapon of choice. I stopped by Mirage to pick up the Running Shoes, and the addition of permanent Haste status turned Kain into a crazed whirling dervish:
The Jump effect looked even better with Kain outlined in a red glow. An interesting thing about the Jump move is that the length of time spent in the air is not fixed; it seems to last the same duration as the time needed to fill up the action bar. Thus, when Kain was in Slow status he stayed in the air forever, and in Haste status he landed against almost immediately. With a little practice, I could time it so that Kain would be in the air when the enemies attacked, land and deal damage, then take off again before they had a chance to react! Kain did most of the third world while leaping over virtually every monster attack, no joke. This would not have been possible without the Running Shoes. Haste is just an amazingly powerful spell to have on your side. You can work miracles with it.
Nothing of interest in the Solitary Island Temple to report. Minotaur and Omniscient were the same as usual for melee classes, killing the first without issue and waiting for the latter to do himself in with spells reflected off a Wall Ring. The Great Trench can often be a pain for melee classes (remember Arthur?), not so for Kain. All of the undead creatures down there have a weakness to Holy element - the same property as his new spear!
Very nice. Kain breezed through this area up to the final boss trio, only to have me realize that I lacked any way to multi-target enemies, and Kain needed to kill all three of them at once or they would revive each other endlessly. I had to walk all the way out of the dungeon, go pick up the Magic Lamp, and then return to polish off the bosses with a Bahamut summon. Hmmpf. That could have been done more smoothly...
Istory Falls was similarly easily sailing through calm waters. With a Coral Ring, Leviathan was no problem at all, his own Tidal Waves healing back all of the damage Kain took. It had been a remarkably easy run through the third world, and time already to enter the last area of the game. Both Calotisteri and Apanda were handled easily, Jumping repeatedly until they croaked. Apocalypse didn't fare much better:
He did manage to kill Kain twice, however, one time pulling out ???? (which is always an instant kill if it appears) and the other time using Level 5 Doom - Kain was level 55 at the time. Unhappy coincidence! Got him on the third try with a little more luck in terms of what spells came up.
Catastrophe and Halicarnassus followed the same tactics as usual, nothing special to report. Twin Tania was amusing to face, as he has a weakness to Holy element and took 9999 damage each time Kain Jumped! I made sure to be in the air when he launched Giga Flare, and the battle was quickly ended. From here, Kain went directly into the Void, not needing to return to Mirage to restock items as so many of my other characters have done. I was not worried about Necrophobia, as Kain was able to Jump over the spell barrage of the Barriers, and Necrophobia also has a weakness to Holy element. While I did screw up the timing and get hit by a couple of Flares in the first half of the battle, that was nothing a few Elixirs couldn't heal. In the second half of the fight, every Jump did 9999 damage to old Necro, and Kain was able to avoid some of his attacks by Jumping over them. Very shortly thereafter Gilgamesh showed up, the cut-scene played, and Kain was able to save his game at the last resting point.
Normally, there's nothing left to do but fight the ending boss. Except that Kain still had another weapon to grab:
The best spear in the game, the Dragoon Spear, can be stolen from Crystal Dragons, a rare encounter in the Void. Using the Thief Knife and a whole lot of running away from random encounters, Kain managed to track down a copy of this elusive weapon. The Dragoon Spear does slightly more damage than the Holy Lance (119 versus 109) and gets a huge multiplier against "dragon" opponents, essentially doing 9999 damage against them every time. That includes Shinryuu:
Shinryuu is one of the two optional superbosses that wander around in the Void. Both Shinryuu and Omega are ridiculously overpowered, and I don't regard them as a part of the main game. There are certain narrow (i.e. cheap) strategies that can be used to take them down, but really, only someone with way too much time on their hands will be able to get their party to a level high enough to beat them. Kain was quite naturally obliterated shortly after I took this picture. I thought it was fun to see him do the max damage to one of the most powerful foes in the game though.
With the Aegis Shield to protect him from White Hole, Kain had a legit chance to defeat Neo Exdeath on the first try. However, luck was not on my side this time. When the first "Tree" form gets until 10k health remaining, it has a 1/3 chance to cast Meteo, which would be an instant kill against Kain. I was unlucky enough to see Exdeath pull out this move FIVE times in a row against Kain, wiping him out each time. Sheesh. You'd think the Aegis Shield would have blocked at least one of them!
Finally I managed to avoid seeing Meteo appear, and Kain got down to business against Neo Exdeath:
Part #1, the Grand Crossing part, is also classified as a "dragon" in the code, which meant instant 9999 damage from the Dragoon Spear! That made things a lot simpler. After that part was gone, it was a matter of keeping health near full with Elixirs while Jumping and doing ~4000 damage each time to the other two parts. I screwed this up once and got Kain killed, as he landed from a Jump and was instantly hit with both Almagest and a Vaccuum Wave physical attack that combined did 3000 damage. But the second time reaching Neo Exdeath was the charm, and I pulling things off without any issue:
Game over. Yay!
In summation, the Dragoon is a very powerful character class. The Dragoon gets a strong selection of weapons and all the heaviest armors, the ability to stay in the back row cuts down on damage enormously, Dragon Sword is a great way to restore life (especially early in the game) and can be used to drain bosses of magic points, and finally, you can even Jump over particularly nasty enemy attacks if the timing is done correctly. The biggest problem with the Dragoon is that none of its abilities are party-friendly. Jumping is really great, but if your beefy tank character is up in the air, he's not tanking for the rest of the group, is he? None of the Dragoon's abilities synergize with anything else in a non-variant environment either. You can't mix and match abilities, as with stuff like Double Grip, X-Fight, or Two Handed. Thus the Dragoon is the quintessential loner, a character class that doesn't play well with others. The gameplay therefore matches the personality of the Dragoons from the previous Final Fantasy games, which is probably a coincidence, but is pretty cool regardless.
Next up: Summoner, to compare with the Black Mage and see who is the best at casting the spells that makes the peoples fall down.