Dragon's Dogma Vocation Guide
Introduction to Vocations
Hello Arisen! Traveling around Gransys and saving everyone can be quite the chore, and if you are comfortable with what you're doing now then great, but for those who sat themselves down on Hillfire Knoll staring at the Harpies in the distance and thought "Damned fiends, if only I had something to throw at them..." No matter! Because here is where I, you and others shall detail the easiest way to transform your ignorant fighter into a master archer, or your capable archer into a semi-capable warrior.
Because of the stat system in Dragon's Dogma [Stat increases per level are determined by your Vocation], your Fighter turned Mage will not be optimal, since it will have a comparatively poor Magic Attack stat, with time as a Mage this difference will matter less. For example, the starting Magic Stat of the Warrior is 60, while the Mage's is 80, the Striders being a moderated 70. I cant say for sure this 75% power trend will continue throughout the leveling, but it is something to keep in mind.
The different Vocations work on several sliding scales of certain values, the two most prominent of which being the Sliding Scale of DPS-to-Burst Damage, the Sliding Scale of Damage-to-Effect, and the Sliding Scale of Offense to Defense. The more a Vocation leans towards one end of each scale, the more it suffers in at the other end; for example, the more a class focuses on DPS, the well suited it is to perform Burst Damage.
The Sliding Scale of DPS (Damage-Per-Second)-to-Burst-Damage refers to how focused a Vocation is on dealing as much damage as possible compared to how much it can deal in a single strike. The more focused a Vocation is on DPS, the higher it's damage output will be over a matter of time and inflicts little stun, whereas the more focused a Vocation is on Burst Damage, the more damage it deals in single attacks and stunning at the cost of dealing less damage over time. Because large enemies and bosses are strongly resistant to stun and fighting them is more a matter of dealing heavy damage, Burst Damage is better suited to taking down mobs of weak enemies that are comprised of enemies who can be leveled in a single blow or two and/or stunned easily, whereas DPS is better suited to fighting bosses, which, especially as the game progresses, becomes more and more important over mobs. Because of this, and because DPS-focused Vocations often deal enough damage fast enough that their low stun rarely matters, Burst Damage-focused classes frequently tend to be less useful than DPS-focused ones. This scale runs from 1 (extremely DPS focused) to 7 (extremely Burst Focused.
This guide was drafted by members of the lovely Fextralife Forums to gain a quick grasp on vocations some may have never tried without spending hours to max it out or investing a small amount of time only to get discouraged. See the thread that started this all here.
Core Vocations: These Vocations are available from the start of the game.
-Deal physical melee damage and act as a defense
-4, about even
-2, heavily combat-focused
- Sword: Various offensive skills to deal damage. Swords are roughly in the middle of DPS-to-Burst and so are suited well for all melee combat.
- Shield: These give the Fighter their greatest asset-their defense. Mainly what is useful here is the skills that heighten their ability to defend, such as attacking while their shield is up or further decreasing damage. The abilities that draw enemies attention don't work very well, and npcs and pawns tend to swarm around you anyways, which means they still get hit-sometimes even more so than if the enemies had been focusing on a Pawn. The high damage-to-health ratio also makes offense much more valuable in this game, rendering this strength largely pointless in comparison to a better damage-dealer.
- This class can wear the second-heaviest armor in the game, surpassed only by Warriors. A fighter's defense is more focused on their shield.
(Looking for expertise)
A healing-focused Mage is necessary as this class tends to get hit a lot and cannot heal itself. Another unit dedicated to ranged attacks is also necessary as Fighters have absolutely no ranged capabilities. Even then, it's not very effective, as Pawns are very poor and unintelligent with ranged attacks, besides that there's a few points in the game where ranged attacks on the player's part are almost, and a few cases, absolutely required.
With daggers and a shortbow you are the classic DPS character, light but meant to dish out hits for fast KOs, as well as taking on large monsters with a bow or climbing and unleashing flurries.
- 2, heavily DPS-focused
-4, about balanced
- Dagger: Twin daggers used to attack in extremely close range at dashing speeds. These skills have some of the higher DPS values in the game.
- Shortbow: A set of skills that enables the Strider to launch flurries of arrows in multi-shot, consecutive-shot and trick-shot arrows.
Key Skills and Abilities:
Scarlet Kisses: By far a Strider's highest-DPS skill, this short range dagger flurry is dangerous because it unleashes an extremely fast series of slashes-that can be used while grappling a large enemy. This is a boss-slayer.
Double-Jump: Striders can jump a second time while in mid-air and in any direction. Not only does this drastically improve their distance and height in jumping, it also lets them rapidly maneuver around and change directions when combined with skilled sprinting.
Forward Roll: Dark Souls vets rejoice at this skill that trivializes every fight, allowing you to easily dodge and annihilate any foe. It's not so useful in dodging area-of-effects, though.
Mobility : Striders tend to have low weight, can Double-Jump, easily attack in mid-air and land ready to run instead of slamming their weapon into the ground, roll, and so on; all of this, when used correctly, can make a Strider extremely difficult to hit. A strategy to use on bosses that you're not ready for/substantially weaker than is to run around, letting your pawns hurt them and you reviving them. This makes it possible for a fight to last a very long time.
Unless you are capable in clearing house, a Tank is very useful for handling overall defenses, but if you have a highly mobile party this becomes less apparent. Healers aren't crucial since you shouldn't be taking much damage anyways, but you will be rather fragile next to a fighter, keep this in mind.
Mages are the most dedicated support Vocation in the game. They wield medium-strength offensive spells, yet the strongest and greatest wealth of enchantments, cures, and are the only Vocation with the only directly-healing spell Anodyne. Sorcerers are better suited to attack with spells in almost every regard, making this class mostly worthwhile as a support and/or healing unit.
-7, heavily Burst-focused
-6, heavily Effect-based
- Staff: The offensive spells in this class aren't that useful, especially late into the game, as they are very Burst-focused and have a long casting time. These are easily interrupted and deal little damage compared to the time it takes to complete the spell and is very risky. Overall, Mages are a poor choice for inflicting damage.
- Support: This Vocation wields, comparatively, an enormous number of enchantments, cures and a few debilitation-inflicting spells. As they, along with sorcerers, often have the highest magic, their enchantments also tend to be the most powerful.
- Healing: This is the only Vocation with access to the spell path Anodyne, the only spell that directly and immediately heals HP. This makes Mages the only dedicated healers in the game. With the sheer amount that they heal, they become one of the most valuable units in the game.
Armor is limited, with the exception of the Royal Guard set, wearable by all vocations and supplying an acceptable amount of defense, but forfeiting the opportunity for enchanted robes or gauntlets to boost your magic power. A ring that increases resistance to silence is highly recommended.
Anodyne: The only healing spell in the game, this spell alone makes this class worthwhile. This spell is also unusual in that it's actually more useful if left unupgraded, because, though it heals a greater amount per cast when upgraded, it takes substantially longer and the target is prone to moving and not getting healed at all, besides that the longer cast time makes it more likely that the caster will be interrupted.
(Element) Boon: Enchantments that add elemental magic damage to allies' weapons. This can make weapons far more effective in taking on foes.
A melee unit that prevents enemies from hurting the caster are basically necessary here as casting takes a long time and are easily stunned, which restarts the whole casting process. Note that an ally with skills that supposedly draw enemy attention don't actually work well and, considering the high damage-to-health ratio of the game, still wouldn't be as effective as focusing on DPS anyways. Thus, Fighters and Warriors aren't necessarily going to keep a Mage any more safe than a Strider. As long as they're killing enemies before they get to you, the particular skills don't actually matter that much.
Advanced Vocations: These Vocations are only available at the Gran Soren Union Inn. These are more Burst-focused versions of the Core Vocations.
You are the berserker, the supporting damage class clothed in heavy armor, meant to deal ungodly amounts of damage in few hits, where other classes rely on DPS you will be wielding weapons that deal over a thousand damage.
-5, moderately Burst-focused.
-1, extremely Combat-focused.
Light/Heavy Attack: Warriors, more so than probably any other Vocation, make use of the basic Light and Heavy attacks. These are still quite strong and, being extremely Burst-focused, tend to kill weak enemies in a single combo and/or stun them (almost) immediately.
Warriors wear the heaviest armor which gives them fairly good defense and extremely high stun resistance. As they lack shields, they are not true tanks; their armor is more for the purpose of shrugging off stuns and continuing to hack away at enemies than to negate damage.
Though they aren't true tanks, any form of tank is largely mute with a Warrior present as they tend to mow down weak enemies quickly. Considering their reckless nature, and lack of a shield, they tend to take a lot of damage and thus a healer is often critical. They also lack any ranged capabilities whatsoever, and, thus, need either an offensive caster or a bow specialist as well. However, as Pawns are not intelligent ranged attackers and never snipe, besides that there are many cases where ranged attacks are almost absolutely necessary and a few where they are, Warrior-lead group tend to have a very difficult time.
Utilizing the heavier longbows, the Ranger sacrifices short range specialization and Area-of-Effect attacks (AOE) for optimal sniper support. You are able to cripple and clear out individuals through debilitating hits and high power attacks over safe distances.
-5, slightly Burst-focused
-5, moderately Effect-focused
- Daggers: Many of the Striders dagger skills are converted into disruptions, which tend to be ineffective at every point in the game. They also become more Burst-focused, meaning the very thing that made them useful before-DPS-takes a blow.
- Longbows: More Burst-focused archery; these have longer range, many disruptions, and only slightly higher damage and still pitiful stun. As using a longbow is slow and misses with any sort of bow are frequent, the number of successful shots plummets, and the slight increase in damage and stun come nowhere near covering the difference. All their power is in their skills.
Rangers wield slow and low-damage longbows and have armor and health just above the dedicated casters. Altogether, they are extremely fragile and prone to being stunned. They tend to be lightweight and thus can maneuver well.
- Tenfold flurry. 10 arrows fired in less than half a second, it will absolutely devastate critical hit points at mid range, and will kill lined up mobs several at a time.
- Deathly Arrow/Great Gamble/Meteor shot. All serving similar roles, these are the sniper strikes. Movement is impossible while using them. Meteor Shot has the longest range and a variable zoom for precision, but constantly drains stamina and is comparatively weak. Deathly Arrow has a long charge time and requires a good deal of timing and even more accuracy, as taking advantage of the massive damage potential is only possible just as it finishes charging. Great Gamble, as the name suggests, is the highest risk/highest reward skill Rangers have. It completely drains the Rangers stamina, and adds the % of remaining stamina to the damage of a slow motion, remote control arrow.
- INSTANT RESET. A dagger skill that does exactly what it says. Instantly ends any (non grab) stun or animation and returns you to a neutral position, enabling you to escape and retreat.
- Hundred kisses. For bosses/mini bosses with crit points armored (like armored cyclops) so you can deal damage as you scale them to expose the spot.
- Forward roll (dodge, any dagger class has this)
The Ranger is a very range-focused Vocation and is easily hurt and stunned, thus making both a melee unit and healer essential.. Pawns also cannot take advantage of this class's long range (great gamble/meteor strike) as they only attack enemies within a certain proximity to themselves, making sniping impossible for them.
Special Thanks to the Forum Pirate for his expertise on this vocation. (See thread)
Sorcerers are the most Burst-focused Vocation in the entire game, with extremely long cast times, fragile health and weak armor. They trade everything in nearly every area for one thing; the ability to, once and if completed, level anything near them with an extremely low number of attacks.
-7, extremely Burst-focused
-3, slightly Combat-focused
Sorcerers wield a variety of slow, mighty archmagics. They are easily interrupted and have difficulty getting a spell cast; often, a fast, well-made party will destroy everything before a sorcerer gets even one strong spell completed. When they do, though, with the exception of the stronger bosses, they tend to destroy every enemy around them.
Besides the Archistaves used to cast their spells, Sorcerers wear among the weakest armor in the game, which, when added to the natural frailty, makes them glass cannons. They are stunned extremely easily.
- Maelstrom: One of the few Dark element spells, this summons a massive tornado and is the epitome of a Burst-focused skill; if it is ever completed, it tends to wipe out everything it touches.
- Necromancy: Floating skull spirits will automatically attack enemies near the caster, leaving them free to do other things.
- Gicel: A giant, spear-like torrent of ice that also deals physical damage, thus making it effective on things like Iron Golems.
- Bolide: One of the slowest spells; it calls down randomly-placed Fire-damage-inflicting meteors.
A melee unit is just short of required for this class, as it is so fragile and stunned so easily. The player character also usually ends up in the front pretty much regardless of their Pawns' inclination because of the very nature of travelling in this game, thus meaning they're often in the front and getting attacked almost no matter what. A healer is strongly advised as well, though, with a sorcerer's extremely low hp, a few healing items may be as useful as a healer won't have much to heal.
Hybrid Vocations: These Vocations are only available at the Gran Soren Union Inn.
Mystic Knights are the spellswords of the game, implementing magic alongside armor and arms. They easily take a leadership position and can be both an enchanter and a melee unit easily.
-5, slightly Burst-based
-5, slightly effect-based
- Sword/Mace: While these skills contain basic attacks and a few flashy ones, what is to be noted here are the weapon-spells here; the Sigils and Magic Cannons. Magic Cannon, in particular, is among the most game-breaking skills in the game. The skill places an orb of energy that, when struck, sends orbs of damaging energy that automatically home in on targets. This can take on elemental qualities and up to three can be put at once and still last long enough to be effective (four can be placed at once, yet the first one then disappears too quickly for it to be worth it). Combine this with another basic skill and an enchantment, and you have a magical machine gun turret that slaughters basically every enemy type in the game, bosses included.
- Magic Shield: Mostly counter-attacks and enchantments, the counter-attacks aren't really of much use. The shield alone is quite useful, though, and ability to buff yourself when already a damage-dealing unit is useful and deadly. Add in that when upgraded you also enchant your pawns' weapons, and you have something devastating.
- Staff: Only the most basic offensive spells are here, and spells are generally too slow to be the best choice for dealing damage anyways. On a Vocation that has the Magic Cannon skills, these spells are ultimately useless.
Mystic Knights wear medium-to-heavy armor, just under a Fighter, alongside Swords, Maces, Magic Shields and Staves. Maces are simply a slightly more Burst-focused version of swords. Staves, as the spells are generally useless and especially compared to Magic Cannon, are best left unused except for perhaps their ability to grant levitation.
- Full Moon Slash: A full-circle slash that can be used repeatedly and deals high damage. This is a great attack on its own, and is perhaps the best skill to combine with Magic Cannon.
- Perilous Sigil: An AoE placed into the ground that emits a damaging shockwave to any enemies that enter it until either the time runs out or it deals a certain amount of damage. This can make an entire safe zone, play ping-pong with enemies (they are sent flying upwards, and multiples can keep them bouncing back up and unable to do anything), and make short work of bosses.
- Magic Cannon: A skill that, when used in the correct combo, becomes effectively a machine gun. Watch a boss's life bar and you'll see that this is more than a metaphor; the way it takes the health bar down extremely quickly in a series of bursts looks like a machine gun.
- Holy Furor: One of the strongest Holy element attacks in the game. It has a long cast time and completely drains the entire party's stamina, though, which usually makes this attack useless. On a few otherwise difficult bosses, this is nearly or even a 1-hit-kill, though.
This class has one of the greatest degrees of flexibility as it covers so many areas so well. A healer, combined with its holy magic, covers nearly everything; just add on some DPS, stun or disruption.
The least balanced class in this game. That's not to say that its the most min-maxed one; no, being able to wield Daggers, Swords, Shields, Shortbows and medium armor, it's extremely versatile. It's the least balanced in the sense that a properly built up Assassin utterly breaks this game with it's nightmarish DPS and special effect abilities.
-1, extremely DPS-focused
-3, moderately Combat-focused
- Dagger: The most DPS-focused skill in the game, Scarlet Kisses, besides a strong counterattack, an auto-stunning poison-inflicting attack and so are all here. Combine these with the special effects and you become a unit that is basically walking around slitting throats left and right.
- Sword: A few basic sword skills, a grapple-specific move and a powerful counter-attack are here. Good for mobs.
- Shield: "While they lack the same blocking capability as the Fighter set, the shield alone is a great asset, and there also also techniques to send you or an ally high into the air and to give you a temporary strength boost.
- Shortbow: A machine-gun like arsenal is here, with a plethora of multi-shots, consecutive-shots and several debilitation-inflicting shots. Bow-work is fast with this class.
The greatest range in the game, considering they have Daggers, Swords, Shields, Shortbows and medium armor. Their defenses are only slightly frail.
- Scarlet Kisses: The most DPS-focused attack in the game, this skill creates a rapid series of tiny Dagger strikes that eat away at an enemy's life. This can be used while climbing a boss and is partly why this attack is so deadly.
- Clairvoyance/Masterful Kill: A skill that is available for both Daggers and Swords, it automatically blocks a parry-able attack (boss attacks are parry-able with Masterful Kill. Don't know about Clairvoyance.) and delivers a very high-damage counterattack. The window for timing it is narrow, though. (Masterful Kill's timing is infinite as long as you don't move.)
- Wind Harness: This, more than anything else this Vocation has to offer, is why it is so game-breaking. This temporarily increases your speed at everything; moving, jumping, falling, stopping, picking up items, and attacking. Combine this with Scarlet Kisses and, if a Mystic Knight's Magic Cannons are a machine gun, this is a laser-bladed buzzsaw that is on fire spinning at the speed of light. It eats through enemy and boss health in a way that it really looks like you're pressing a buzzsaw to it's health bar and pushing it across the screen; this is the boss-slayer, and it works on everything. Even enemy's too small to grapple will fall in seconds if that to this. Add in Showdown for a Strength and thus damage boost. And if you really want to go for overkill? Use a Liquid Vim and activate Invisibility so that you become invulnerable until it runs out.
- Invisibility: This is one overpowered ability, though not as much as Wind Harness. It activates almost instantly, yet it eats through stamina really, really fast.; as in a high-stamina character will be out in maybe 20 seconds fast. It's completely worth the price as it makes you both invisible on the screen, utterly ignored by enemies and unable to be hurt by enemies until it runs out. Not 'they won't attack you', unable to be hurt.
- Windmill Strike: A sword move that spins the sword in circles around the Assassin carving everything around them for high damage. It slaughters mobs and bosses.
- Threefold Arrow: A bow attack that shoots several consecutive shots almost instantly. This deals damage quickly, and is useful for catching hard-to-hit flying enemies.
- Triad Shot: A bow attack that fires a horizontal line of arrows. This is useful on mobs or to make sure you catch a fast flying enemy.
- Showdown: A shield skill that temporarily boosts your Strength. Useful after casting Wind Harness since it increases your cast speed.
A healer is the thing this Vocation benefits the most from, although a melee unit with good stunning ability like a Warrior helps keep them from getting swarmed. They are a bit fragile, so a healing unit helps.
On the other hand, this class is perhaps actually stronger alone so long as it is using the Augment Autonomy, which increases basically all of their stats when alone. When combined with a class that deals such extreme damage, another boost can actually be more helpful than allies.
Magic Archers are the tactical units of the game. They have a litany of abilities that break the usual mold, especially geared around unusual effects. They are the ultimate adventurer and dungeoneer, and moderately good combatants.
-3, slightly DPS-based
-7, extremely Effect-focused
- Dagger: These often implement elemental magic damage, such as a flaming strike, launching a multi-hit blast of Holy energy and traps.
- Staff: Like with the Mystic Knight, there are only the weakest spells here, which aren't that effective even for a genuine Mage.
- Magic Bow: A collection of exotic and tactical shots are here. Note that all Magic Bow arrows deal only magical damage, are unaffected by weapon enchantments, and automatically home in on targets. Arrow items also cannot be used in conjunction with these bows.
Daggers, Staves, Magic Bows and armor just above Mages, Magic Archers are a bit frail, yet are able to hold their own in melee well enough in terms of damage.
One thing of note is that magic bows use ethereal arrows, and therefore cannot be used to fire debilitation arrows (Makers Fingers for example). REMEMBER THIS.
- Hundred Kisses: This is for single stronger enemies and scalable mini-bosses.
- Sunburn: A high-leaping attack that lands with daggers plunging into the ground, creating an AoE burst of fire. Only moderate damage, yet fast and easy to dodge and counterattack with.
- Scension: A charged-up multi-hit blast of Holy energy. This does wonders on undead and creates light to make the landscape visible at night as well.
- Backfire: You set yourself on fire. The fire hurts you and anything you come in contact with, drastically heightening your DPS for a while.
- Seeker Bolt: A shot that sends multiple magical arrows flying with the Holy element and increased homing capabilities. This hits multiple targets.
- Magical Flare: A shot that illuminates the area and damages undead.
- Ricochet Seeker: A shot that not only bounces off the walls in enclosed spaces, it gets faster and stronger each time it bounces.
- Explosive Bolt: A bolt that attaches an explosive to an enemy that can later be detonated by another attack.
- The large collection of attacks that pull enemies to a place, hold them in place
- The large collection of attacks that raise the abilities of allies
- Hunter Bolt. Target up to 10 enemies at once (Holy)
- Bracer Arrow. Fortifies a target ally against reeling from enemy attacks (Holy)
- Explosive Rivet. Lodges an arrow into the enemy that will detonate after being hit (Fire)
Frigor/Levin/Ingle. The three best offensive spells you can cast, now put that old stick away.
Fighter-Fighters make for better meat shields than warriors; with shields providing higher durability at the expense of damage. When paired with a MA this tradeoff is insignificant as the DPS potential of a good MA build is second only to a pure ATTK Assassin, and your melee support pawn is there for the sole purpose of soaking damage.
Mage/Sorcerer-Equal value as support for MAs. The sorcerers high damage spells, while still formidable are not nearly as over-powered when fighting shoulder to shoulder with the MAs damage output, but debilitations and Voidspell make for a good support character for an offensive style party. Mages come with healing and a variety of buffs, so make good support characters for a more balanced style party.
Striders/Rangers-If you know you're about to face golems, or any other enemy with magic resistance then I'd suggest switching out you mage for one of these. Otherwise no need to worry about them, you should have the ranged thing down by now.
Special Thanks to Hart the magical reindeer for his contributions on the Magic Archer.