1. I think your arguments more pointed out, at least to me, that the Rainbow Staff is a bit overpowered more than I see the other staffs underpowered.
And yet Rainbow Staff is no better than Platinum Sword.
Thinking more about the elemental rods, it actually kind of saddens me since they proc Nether spells. These prevent the weapon being utilized effectively since in order to proc, you'd want low brave, but for the whack damage, you want higher brave. I have to think about that a bit more as they don't go well with each other.
I hope my calculations have helped out a bit. As they are, the elemental rods are kind of like the sisters of guns/flails: the rods' damage is roughly independent of Brave, just as the guns/flails damage are independent of PA and MA.
2. Distribute is almost useless on TM I'm afraid which would why I'd be against swapping it. The scholar, due to the Lore spells and the popularity with absorb, is probably the right home for distribute (perhaps Wizard too.)
True, though it does not fare much better on Scholars, as I don't believe Distribute triggers on self-absorption. Distribute would only work if you have two Scholars casting Lore on each other, at which point we're looking at a pretty niche team. Still better than nothing.
I'm not totally against [Priests] losing Flails since they did gain books, but eh, would want something to replace them, and preferably a non MA weapon.
How about having Scholars and Priests swap flails and poles? Poles are equally useable as PA weapons, and give Priests extra reach for melee attacks. Perhaps the +1 Range of Poles could make up for reverting Priests to 3 Move, and Scholars could become the 4 Move mage (if that ever happens).
4. A lot. But it depends on the unit. Monks are probably the best at using their own skill set, tied only with Dancer in terms of being able to PA stack. But it becomes arguable when you look at other skills. For example, any of the Cross skills require Equip X which means they must now build for that in addition to losing Attack UP or Concentrate (with the barely notable exception that they want to bag Southern Cross). The tons, while they can couple with Attack Up or Concentrate, now sacrifice W-EV and S-EV and it might be more apt on a Squire, as well as having to choose between 108 Gems to strengthen or some other, more relevant, Accessory. (I won't go over all the different PA skill sets and such, but I think you get where I'm going.)
Also, Monks are already kinda meh on their skillset without Martial Arts as it renders all but Stigma Magic, Revive and Secret Fist (and I think it affects them too but on a much more miniscule scale) from their native skillset very weakened. This sacrifices a support slot to use their own skillset. Even with Attack UP, it just can't produce the same results MA can.
I would say that Monks and Dancers are the only
classes that can use the top four skills of Punch Art. Nevertheless, I wouldn't want to drop Monks' PA without buffing Punch Art, so no worries there.
As for the comparison between ton Monks and ton Squires, I believe Monks' higher HP, MP, SP, and access to Punch Art are well worth the loss of EV. By the numbers,Monk (13+5 PA, 108 Gems, Attack UP)
30 effective PA, 335 HP, 98 MP, 9 SP, 10 P-EV, 0 M-EV, Poison/Sap immunitySquire (10+8 PA, Kaiser Plate, Attack UP)
30 effective PA, 315 HP, 62 MP, 8 SP, 35 P-EV, 15 M-EV
For the cost of 25 P-EV and 15 M-EV, Monks get
- +20 HP
- +36 MP
- +1 SP
- Poison/Sap immunity
- the ability to restore their own MP with Chakra
- the ability to hit multiple units with Earth Slash and Spin Fist, etc.
The +1 SP boost alone is worth the price. Just look at Swift Plate: 20 fewer P-EV and M-EV than Escutcheon II for +1 SP.
Dropping Monks to 12 base PA would drop their effective PA from 30 to 28, adding an extra cost of 2 PA for the above benefits.
Cross Monks getting nerfed is certainly true, but it is a price I would be willing to pay in exchange for making PA-based skills (like the new Jump) viable on other jobs without having Monks break them.Edit
: I think I am going to backpedal a bit on my Monk proposal for the moment. Monks being the reigning ton user still stands, but a few sloppy calculations show that Monks are no better at Jumping than Lancers. Time for another approach.