Of course it's so bad! Your complaints about magic differentiation seem to be the same ones you have about physical weapon differentiation to me. Hopefully you don't think merging the weapon triangle into one type would be an ass idea, don't you? Then can't you see that merging Anima is just as bad?!
What I'm concerned with is the result. In 6/7/8, I see three magic types. That's enough. In 11/12, I see one. That's not enough.
Five can be better than three, but it's not necessary; three can be enough on its own. Furthermore, we must evaluate what it means for a game to have five. Let's take a more in-depth look at each of the games that had the split elements:
FE4: Dark was enemy-only, so there were only four types available to the player. For the elemental magic, almost all classes had equal access to each. Characters often had better access to one type than others, but it rarely mattered which type; they all played virtually the same, except some were lighter than others.
FE5: Characters used even more wide swaths of magic types, and they had to, since none of them had enough magic to use on its own. Among the five types available, aside from limited siege and personal spells, there were only nine
spells available: up to two for each magic type. All characters could use a mix of the basic spells, and pretty much had to. It was pretty much impossible to get an A rank without starting out close to it, so the high-rank spells were pretty much just exclusive to certain characters rather than training towards them. It had some advantages over mashing things together, but not much.
FE9: Dark magic was completely nonexistent. Light magic was locked to Bishops, and Rhys was the only playable Bishop. Otherwise, magic users just used all three elements. They could train more in one than another, but there was little distinction in who could use what. Fire/Thunder/Wind became more of a replacement to the Anima/Light/Dark triangle than an expansion of it, and it wasn't as good of a replacement.
FE10: Dark magic returned, yet still managed to be pretty irrelevant. Light magic was more relevant, but the three magic types remained combined for every class above first tier. Different maximums for different classes offered some help differentiating things, but the three elements were still largely combined.
So overall, those games rarely if ever did much to actually separate the three elements, despite doing so in name. The same characters used them, and they tended to function about the same. Meanwhile, this tended to come at a cost of dark and light magic. There are definitely improvements that could be made, but as long as there are at least three separate types, I'd say that's a decent amount.
Not sure how new it is, but GoNintendo has a 2-3 minute long trailer up on their site:
It shows off a lot of different team attacks.
At 1:20, there is the initial level up for the blond haired mage kid. He seems to start with solid enough bases.
MU casts a spell clearly named "Thunder". It emits what looks like a fireball. wtf?
Regardless of realism in how difficult it is to go from one weapon type to another or from one spell type to another (and I would hope there's more to spellcasting than reading a few words and things blow up), it's better gameplaywise to have a magic triangle so different magic users are more/less useful against others, and it's better for the setting to have magic split up so we don't have Dark Mages casting 'light' magic or whatever.
Also keep in mind DS FE had only 3 t2 magic classes, so it kind of made sense to only have one magic type or there would only be one class using each type. But we've probably got at least 4 in FE13 (Sage, Druid thing, Valkyrie for the Troubadour, and likely Bishop from Priests/Monks), plus any others from branching promotions.
HOWEVER, the above paragraph is simply a guess from classes used in past games. If Clerics/Priests all go Battle Monk/Cleric or Sage now and there's no 'light' magic dedicated t2, and then Valkyries might be sword/staff while the other Troubadour choice is Mage Knights (while the Mage choices would be Mage Knight and Sage), it's fairly understandable why they would compress tomes to one type; though the whole thing being understandable doesn't mean it was a good idea :M
One class using each isn't bad as long as they all stay relevant. Rather, it helps the classes stay different, unlike Sage/Sorcerer/Bishop which were pretty much all the same. And as much as I'm not a fan of Reclassing, it helped every class stay relevant if used. If not used, however, it would kinda screw Dark magic, and like in FE6, Light magic would have been rather limited by being Tier 2 only.
Mage Knights better fucking not use staffs again.
Edited by Othin, 15 March 2012 - 01:33 PM.