Hopefully this document will give you a better idea about each class capability to decide how to construct your initial party
In order to simplify the comparison I have assigned 5 attributes to each class (pre and post change) as well as each party configuration, this represents the performance of the class or party in key aspects of the game.
Each attribute will have a score A(Good), B(Medium) or C(Bad) depending on how the class/party performs in comparison to others.
Dungeon Crawl (DC):
The prowess of the class/party going through a dungeon, how useful their skills can be in and out of battle, durability and damage potential play a large role here.
Boss Fights (BF):
The consideration here is similar to DC(Dungeon Crawl) but bosses hit harder and have substantially more hit points, so classes/parties perform differently during these fights, additionally conserving magic charges should not be an issue here.
Like it or not, FF1 is the kind of game that requires some grinding to accumulate gold and experience points, the assumption here is that the party will be close to an inn or in a place where a tent/cottage can be used and the goal is to fight as fast as possible for as long as possible between rests.
Item Usage (IU):
One of the key aspects of the game is the use of items (infinitely) to reproduce the effect of certain spells. This attribute represents how good a class/party is at using items.
Gil Savings (GS):
Since not all classes can wear the same equipment and cast the same spells, their cost variate greatly, it is an important aspect of the game because it will reduce the necessity to grind.
Everyone describes the fighter first, and for good reason, it is the poster boy of the game and most of the mechanics seems to be centered around having at least one of these guys in the party, their combat ability is top notch, and can equip almost anything, although they cannot use magic, are expensive and a very mediocre item users, their defense is second to none.
The Knight can casts white magic (levels 1 to 3) which translates to some off combat healing here and there, they also gain the ability to equip the best items in the game.
Their combat ability is as good as fighters, they hit harder but have worse defense, unfortunately this means that they are simply worse to fight bosses, since endurance during those fights become a key element. Monks are interesting in the sense that their bare hand combat eventually surpasses the use of weaponry and since that point (which is actually around the midgame) they become the cheapest class in the game and the simplest (they will mostly use the attack command for the entirety of the game)
The master gains some increased stats but their function is exactly the same as the Monk.
Red mages are the king of early game, at least until the 3rd town, you will wonder why Fighters exists at all, if Red mages hit just as hard, have almost as much defense and can also cast heal and offensive magic, their shine goes away as the game progresses, losing more and more terrain on combat ability as well as magic usage, their versatility however is simply excellent, they can heal, buff party members and cast area spells. they are relevant for the entirety of the game.
The Red Wizard gains access to 2 very important spells Life and Exit and more equipment, allowing this class to cross into the endgame while conserving their versatility.
We can quiver over stats and talk about the ability to escape battles but the easiest way to described them is as bad Fighters, they are cheaper, but that is only because they can't equip the best items and their hit points are on the low side.
The Ninja on the other hand is the Red mage of endgame, they can equip excellent armor and weapons they can cast up to lvl 4 black magic, which gives them 2 strong buffing spells and they become a reliable item user, they can't heal like a Red mage does, but their versatility is unquestionable.
White mages are, as expected, the main healers in this game, their spells are very strong against bosses, specially because they can increase the party's defense and keep their hit points high enough to survive, they have a good offensive against undead which are unfortunately not that common, they are capable item users but their grinding ability is simple non-existent the best they can do is use some cure spells off-combat to extend the time before the party needs to rest.
White Wizard are just more of the same, they gain access to more spells and equipment and remain very strong against bosses
Black mages have strong offensive spells that can defeat groups of enemies with ease, they however sacrifice all defensive and recovery ability for it, becoming the weakest class in the game, they are the best item users, unfortunately balancing the use of their spell charges in dungeons is tough. Against bosses, rather than casing offensive magic, they take on a different role, buffing Fighters, Thieves and/or Monks.
Black Wizard gains the use of the most advanced black magic as well as some specialized weaponry of minor consequence, but they remain both the strongest offensive magic users as well as the weakest class over all.
Rather than describing a template, I though it will be more useful to provide some party configuration samples as well as their weakness/strengths
This is a midgame party, they will start strong enough and by midgame with the increase fighting ability of the Monk/Master and Thief changing into Ninja the party's over all efficiency will continue almost to the very last portion of the game.
Hard boss fights can be challenging due the lack of multi-healing. And their item usage ability is rather week but over all it is a balanced party.
This is a very interesting configuration, they unfortunately require a bit more grinding(to which they excel) than other parties due the extra cost and low defense of their front line (Thief / Red Mage). All members become competent spellcasters and their item usage is just great, they can blitz through dungeons in the endgame with ease, unfortunately due the lack of defensive ability their effectiveness against bosses will always be subpar.
This is my favorite party configuration, their only bad point is the grinding prowess but they almost don't need to grind at all. After midgame, once you get your hands on some casting items they will move through dungeons very fast, but where they excel, is fighting bosses; between Red Wizard/Ninja offensive buffs and the defensive magic of a White Wizard they can complete most boss fights without any casualties.
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