I started out on Final Fantasy. I never questioned its methods. In fact, when I started branching out in to games like Baldur's Gate and Final Fantasy IX, I found that the inability for everyone to learn every ability and absolutely max out their stats to be a bit strange and even decried it as bad design. Years later, after dayum near exclusivity to WRPGs, I have revisited games like Final Fantasy VI, VII, VIII, even, X, and Dragon Quest...whatever... and found that the party were ultimately homogenous; everybody could have access to max stats and all spells and techniques after a sh*t-load of grinding. Since you could do it in one playthrough thanks to an infinite supply of XP, AP, PP, what-have-you-P thanks to random encounters, this begs the question: What is the dayum point of having different party members when they're all the same? In FFVI, everyone could learn magic, which had the highest damage-dealing potential of all moves (in theory). I just had one party who I maxed out and didn't use the rest. In FFVII, I just switched my Materia around whenever the plot called for a particular party member, but I always stuck with Cloud, and the others (I don't freaking remember) IN FFVIII, I just switched my Junction setups around whenever the plot called for me not to have Squall, Selphie, and Irvine. In FFX, you could max everyone's stats through careful manipulation of the Sphere Grid. And even without exploitation, you could have everyone know each skill, and build their weapons to address their weak points. In FFXII, every character could learn every spell, technique, and gain the ability to wear any piece of equipment. Rendered moot because you could rely on Quickenings for DPS in the end. By the end of these games, nothing really differentiated the party members except for their Limit Breaks/Overdrives/Whatever, and you couldn't rely on them except for 6 and 8. And we look upon those games as paragons of design. The best design is one that actually uses the skills you've given your actors that allow them to PLAY A ROLE in combat (or, ideally, the rest of the gameplay, too). Anyway, thoughts?