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I've just started playing Final Fantasy III, and I am wondering what bonuses your characters get from being in the back row during combat. I have put my mage in the back row, assuming it would prevent her from being attacked, but she was still targeted by enemies.

Now that I've shrunk my entire party to get into the gnome village, Desch has informed me that I should switch all my characters to mage jobs and put everyone in the back row. Will that do a good job of protecting them in combat? Or would I be better off making everyone a Red Mage, giving them armour and leaving them in the front row?

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Oh, by the way, is this the DS version or the Famicom version? My answer is assuming the DS version, but it's actually something to make sure of. –  Grace Note Feb 15 '12 at 21:30
    
iOS, so the DS version. I thought that was the only version available in English, or else I would have been specific / tagged the question. –  Jason Berkan Feb 15 '12 at 21:32
    
We're not limited to English games, haha. But mostly, it's that a lot of formulae were changed between the original and the re-release (mostly to make it less insane and wonky), and that includes the effects of sitting in the back row. Most people are probably expecting the English version, though. –  Grace Note Feb 15 '12 at 21:35
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up vote 5 down vote accepted

Being in the back row reduces damage from non-ranged attacks, outgoing and incoming. This means that most enemy attacks will do less damage, but most weapon attacks of your own will also do less damage. Mages and classes who have ranged attacks like bows can safely sit in the back row - they can dispense full damage while avoiding a good portion of incoming damage.

Note that this effect is irrelevant to whether or not you actually have a front row. Having all back row characters means that everyone will be taking reduced damage from melee attacks. You could combine this with your Red Mage note and give everyone armor and still sit in the back row, while also enjoying the benefits of strong armor.

The main reason this is suggested with Mini status is because all weapon attacks while tiny are pitifully weak, front or back. So in general, you want to be a mage when you are Mini, and the best place to sit if you're a Mage is generally in the back row.

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