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Once you get to the Inn in Gran Soren, you can unlock the rest of the available vocations.

Aside from the differing playstyles, are there any mechanical or character-development reasons to switch?

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up vote 9 down vote accepted

Yes, there are two major reasons:

Any character level you gain will grant you increased stats according to your current vocation, which means a lvl20 character that has been playing as a warrior from level one will have significantly different stats than one that was a mage from level 1-19. While a lot of this difference can be mitigated with proper gear for your current vocation, it does affect the difficulty of combat since enemies stats do not scale with yours.

Secondly, and more importantly, any augments you unlock in a vocation is available to your character permantently, for all vocations. Some augments from the strider vocation are very useful for a fighter, and some fighter augments are even useful for a mage (like increased carrying capacity).

Both of these also apply to your main pawn, although augments are unlocked separately for you and the pawn, it doesn't automatically have access to your augments.

Edit: I might add that any non-vocation weapon skills are retained when you switch vocation. This means a strider with all dagger skills unlocked that switches to assassin will still have access to any dagger skills that aren't specifically marked as strider only (easily identified from the small class icon in the description). If you switch back to strider later, you'll regain access to the strider skills (i.e. you won't need to purchase them again). This goes for the vocations too, if you spend the exp to unlock vocations you can switch between them without any cost afterwards.

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The first reason seems to be against changing vocations. – kotekzot Jun 26 '12 at 8:51
@kotekzot Well, There are three professions that aren't even available on character creation, switching vocation early is the only way to level your characters with their stat progression. And it's certainly conceivable to mix and match leveling as different vocations in order to maximize more than one aspect of your stats (an assassin who spent a couple of levels as a warrior would have better health than one who went pure assassin, while only slightly lower agility.) – Tzarium Jun 26 '12 at 15:16
I also find that having the augments available from multiple classes can allow to increase the difficulty of the game a little by going out without your pawns. Soloing chimeras, dragons, gryphons can be a very fun experience. Personally I play as an assassin, with the increased carrying capacity and a few other augments, like the one that gives you increased stats when you are alone, soloing large groups and even very large enemies becomes possible and you can stay out for longer periods of time without having to go and sell stuff. – Ravekner Mar 23 '13 at 9:44

The vocation system is just the Dragon's Dogma version of a class system - it just changes play style.

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your pawns combat usefulness is related to different experiences of vocational combat techniques. As the pawn witnesses the varied techniques of a different vocation, they will vocalize that they learned a new technique. This will also help your pawn get better battle ratings when the pawn is hired. Staying as one vocation such as ranger will not help your pawn learn how to work with a fighter and therefore not be an effective rent for another arisen who is a fighter.

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