Final Fantasy XII Discussion (Spoiler-Full)

Pages

So I thought i'd start this discussion where we can be free to discuss FFXII in all it's glory without worrying about spoiling anything. So here are a few questions I have.

What is up with the chain thing you see while fighting? ZeroKFE mentioned it in the other thread, and i've seen it while playing but how does it work exactly?

What's up with the Bazaar? Seems like it is just a place where stuff shows up with vague descriptions that are usually a good deal. Anything else to this?

Your wish is my command.

What is up with the chain thing you see while fighting? ZeroKFE mentioned it in the other thread, and i've seen it while playing but how does it work exactly?

As you continue to kill monsters of the same general type (wolf, or slime, or whatever) you build a chain. When as your chain grows, the chance of rare drops increases. Also, as you grow your chain it say "chain level up" from time to time, which will cause nice things to happen, like more than one item dropping at a time, more rare items dropping, and at high chain levels you will even get free shell or protect buffs from picking up drops. As far as when chain level ups occur, I'm not sure. Sometimes the first level up will happen at as low as 8 or 9, other times not until 20 or so. Maybe it has to do with the monster type? I'm not exactly sure. Also, I don't know if chains affect the rarity of the items you steal.

What's up with the Bazaar? Seems like it is just a place where stuff shows up with vague descriptions that are usually a good deal. Anything else to this?

Items show up in the bazaar when certain conditions are met. Most of the time it has to do with you having sold the right kinds of loot. You can actually find hints about what to sell in the extra info for some of the monsters in the bestiary. But yeah, items will show up with vague descriptions. I have basically just bought everything that has shown up, though. Many times it will be nice bundles of healing items, or a powerful weapon or armor, but almost always it will be cheaper than buying those items directly at the shop.

There are also some items that will show up under certain other circumstances, kind of like how you earn acheivements for doing random stuff in Xbox 360 games. There is only one class that I am sure about, though, and it is a very important kind of item. I'm pretty proud of figuring out how these work, but I'm going to put it in spoiler-vision because it is fairly obfuscated.

spoiler wrote:
[color=white]
The are a bunch of items that increase the rare item drop rates from various monster types. There are six or seven of them, each of which increases the drop rate from a few monster types each, and once you buy them the effect is always on (you don't have to equip it or anything). The first shows up in the bazaar after a hunt. The client for the hunt will tell you to come visit him in the actual physical bazaar in Rabinastre, and when you do it shows up. (It's very pricey and the vague description indicates that it is a special book.)

A shop keeper a bit later in the game gives you a vague hint, though, saying that he wished he could hunt around at shops for these books. Sure enough, that is all you have to do. Just visit shops a lot and the other rare drop books will appear in the bazaar. Each shop type AND the hunt bulletin board seem to contribute their own book. Just open and close each a crapload of times (anyway from like 20 to 50, I'm not sure) and the books will appear. They are all very expensive, but the dividends are very much worth it. I've found more than a few weapons and pieces of equipment as drops that only showed up in shops much later, if at all, including the accessories that double LP and exp earned.
[/color]

Thanks zeroKFE, Thank you for sharing:) I see you have been playing for much longer then me. How many hours do you have in and are you using all party members or just sticking with the same 3? Please tell me all your secrets old wise one. Not that your old or anything.

What the heck are you supposed to do with Mist Attacks? A timer comes up, I mash some buttons and my guy hits the monster for some decent damage. I don't actually know what I'm supposed to do, nor what "shuffling" does. Any ideas?

Wow never mind my questions Zero. You talked about everything in the other post. I guess I should have read the bigger one first. Very nice write up old wise one.

Sinatar wrote:
What the heck are you supposed to do with Mist Attacks? A timer comes up, I mash some buttons and my guy hits the monster for some decent damage. I don't actually know what I'm supposed to do, nor what "shuffling" does. Any ideas?

Zero talks about the "shuffling" on page 4 I think in the Spoiler Free post. I would tell you but he says it all and way better then I can.

Just a tip. Somehow I got to Raithwalls tomb today and my party was only level 13. Needless to say you want to be at least 15-16 before you try to go there. It's strange because the sand people were so easy. So my other question is what about those caves in the off of the sand sea? The slimes were really bad. Do slimes split if you use edged weapons in this game? If so that may explain why they seemed impossible.

I'll copy over some of my more useful posts from the other thread in a minute here. First...

Braehole wrote:
Thanks zeroKFE, Thank you for sharing:) I see you have been playing for much longer then me. How many hours do you have in and are you using all party members or just sticking with the same 3? Please tell me all your secrets old wise one. Not that your old or anything.

I have about 90 hours right now.

To be fair, though, that is after about two and a half weeks.

I used all six characters. I'll copy over my post about that in a second here.

Sinatar wrote:
What the heck are you supposed to do with Mist Attacks? A timer comes up, I mash some buttons and my guy hits the monster for some decent damage. I don't actually know what I'm supposed to do, nor what "shuffling" does. Any ideas?

I'll copy over the details about that too.

Stric9 wrote:
Just a tip. Somehow I got to Raithwalls tomb today and my party was only level 13. Needless to say you want to be at least 15-16 before you try to go there. It's strange because the sand people were so easy. So my other question is what about those caves in the off of the sand sea? The slimes were really bad. Do slimes split if you use edged weapons in this game? If so that may explain why they seemed impossible.

There's a lot of optional stuff that goes on down there, and the caverns connect up a lot of different areas that you will access throughout the game. As far as I can tell, though, they give you access to them just in case you want to go somewhere and fight some tougher monsters.

As for slimes: Yeah, they are tough against certain types of damage. Guns are the only thing I'm sure of, though. As for splitting, I've seen it happen with certain slime varieties but I think it is just an ability they have rather than a reaction to being hit with swords.

Some quotes from the other thread:

Basic tips:


1. Buy innate ability licenses as quickly as possible -- there is some very useful stuff, and once you buy them they are always on.
2. Once you have a grasp on the general way in which you are going to build your characters, plan your paths to the quickening spots as quick as possible. Not only do quickening combos make a great desperation attack, once a character has two their MP will double, and when they have all three it will triple. Very, very useful. Just beware that unlike other licenses, each quickening spot can only be used by a single character.
3. More than in any other RPG you've ever played, steal frequently. One of the only ways to earn cash is to sell the loot you get from monsters, so you will want to maximize you loot gathering ability as quickly as possible.

About a particularly useful but poorly named gambit target:


One other note: "Ally: Any" may be more useful than you think, particularly for healing status effects. Late in the game you will get targets for specific status effects (which are very useful with a few particular techniques), but "Ally: Any" should really be called "Ally: Any who needs the action to be taken," because if you pair it with any action which heals status ailments it will only evaluate to true if an ally has a status ailment covered by that action.

About how I planned and built my characters:

Just a quick response about the license board: By moving the cursor around, you can see the general category of board items that haven't been revealed. Also, subcategories have different color markers. Since I was playing pre-release, I assumed that the manual might point this out, but you can look at the board even at the beginning and have a general idea of what things are where, even though the specifics aren't revealed. I found that after I bought a few licenses I had enough information to develop a general build strategy, and it wasn't long before I had a very good idea of where each character should go. It could certainly be a bit clearer, but there is an interesting balance to be made between giving the user enough information to make good choices and ruining the surprise of what abilites are to come. I found that the balance was good for me, but I supposed they did play that one a bit close to the line.

Long Answer: For me, two main things came into play other than what felt right for the characters: efficient usage of license points and party composition.

First, efficient usage of license points. By now you've probably noticed that items on the license board are organized in a fairly logical manner. If you notice, the top board has accessories, techniques, innate abilities, and magic (and if you divide the board into quadrants and move around clockwise starting at 12, they are in that order -- accessories between 12 and 3, techniques between 3 and 6, and so on). The bottom board has equipment, with armor in the first quadrant (mage armor closer to twelve, heavy armor closer to 3, and light in between), warrior weapons in the second (including mage knight weapons like katanas, swords of all kinds, axes, hammers, lances, and bows), mage weapons in the third, and rogue weapons in the fourth (daggers, ninja swords, crossbows, guns, and bombs).

Anyway, as I mentioned in another post it is very helpful to get to the quickening spots which are spread fairly evenly around the outside of the board. So with the exception of having every character get the innate abilities as fast as possible, I tried to plan my other paths through the board so that my characters could get those quickening spots as soon as possible, and then I had them branch out. (Remember, unlike other licenses each quickening spot can only be taken by one character.)

Which leads to the second area of consideration, party composition. As you probably know, all six of your characters earn LP from every monster killed, and they all earn the same amount. Unfortunately, only your three active characters earn experience. This means that the first thing you need to do is decide if you are only going to use three of them throughout the game, or if you are going to spend the time to keep them all equally leveled. I'm sure you could do just fine sticking with just three character if you want, especially if you don't care too much about doing every hunt as soon as you can. However, I was having so much fun with the combat and I didn't want to have to choose just three characters, so I choose to keep all my characters at roughly the same level.

In any case, the decision of using just three characters or all six will play a large part in how you will want to have them travel the board. If you are keeping all six leveled up, you will actually have a lot more LP to play with as you go along (twice the fighting per level == twice the LP per level). This means you can be a lot looser in how you develop your licenses. However, it means you will have to find ways to get your characters to the more out of reach quickening spots too; after all, if you only care about three characters you can just get them to the easy ones and be done with it. Also, having six viable characters is extremely helpful when fighting the often insanely hard optional monsters, like hidden espers and hunt targets, since you can switch your characters out at any time during battle as long as they aren't currently being targeted by an action.

So, what I decided was that I was going to have two parties that I would switch between, and I would build them to have different focuses.

*** I'm going to start using character names, so if you somehow don't know which characters will eventually join your party, you may want to move along. ***
...
...
...

Party 1: Vaan, Balthier, and Fran, focused on ranged and magical combat
Party 2: Basch, Ashe, and Panelo focused on good old fashioned muscle

Again, I tried to divide my characters up and choose roles for them that suited their character in the story, but this particular division made party changing easy, since one party is the three people at the top of the list and the other is the three people at the bottom. It also has a fun feeling like one party is a bunch of pirates and the other are the good and honorable knight types.

So, with party 1, I have Vaan play the role of the rogue. I rely on him to deal much of my close quarters damage and to do the stealing for the party. He uses daggers, ninja swords, and poles (which ever will deal the most damage) which are all fast weapons with high chances of multi hit attacks (where for one charge of the attack bar you can get two, three, four, or even five hits in). I generally had him use light armor early on, as it gives bonuses to HP, but later I switched him up to heavy armor with better defense and strength bonuses.

I have Balthier do ranged support. He shares healing duties with Fran and manages status effects. For weapons, I've had him switch between guns and crossbows. I tried bombs a little bit, but the randomized damage they deal doesn't fit well with this party. The consistent and predictable damage of the other ranged weapons in the rogue quadrant was more useful. As for armor, I've pretty much kept him with light armor. Maybe a mage hat here or there, or a heavy armor towards the end of the game.

Fran is all about magic. She handles healing when combat magic isn't called for, but I focused on pushing her out the magic board early so as to have access to every spell possible. For weapons, I have pretty much stuck with bows. The katanas are nearby and give great magic power bonues, and lances are near and are cool, but as a magic user I wanted to keep her as far from the action as possible, and hence the bow was the best choice (there are also a lot of quite strong bows early in the game too, which is nice). For armor, I started her with the light armor (again, those HP bonuses are nice early on) and then switched over to magic gear later.

For party 2, Basch is the crazed tank pure and simple. I set him up with the strongest weapons (usually axes or hammers) and ever since I got the spell, I have kept him constantly berserked. And obviously I used heavy armor and shields for him from the beginning. In this party the random damage of weapons like the axes and hammers is a bit more acceptable, since the fact that he is berserk makes up for the occasional dud hit.

Ashe is the thief, secondary combat, and secondary support for this party. Mostly I have her use swords and shields, but whatever consistently high damage weapon is available works fine too. I use a mix of light and heavy armor for her.

Finally, Panelo is pure support and healing. For weapons, it would probably have made sense to use the mage weapons (maces, staves, etc) and I sent her down that path for her quickening spots, but it really is more useful to keep her at range, so like Balthier I have mostly used a combination of crossbows, guns, and bombs with her. For armor I have her stick almost exclusively to mage gear.

Anyway, between these two parties I am pretty well equipped to handle most situations, and if an odd condition pops up (like a battle where attacking is disabled) I can mix and match and put together an appropriate group of characters. Again, though, don't be too afraid to experiment a bit. If something doesn't work too well it doesn't take to much effort to buy a couple of different licenses and change what you are doing with a character (ie, you don't have to make the same nail-biting kinds of decisions as you did with the FF10 sphere grid).

About quickenings:


Quickenings really are a combo thing exclusively. Hm, this is a bit hard to explain.

This might work with just one quickening, but I didn't figure it out until I had hit a few quickening squares. For each square a character gets, they gain the capacity to hold what we'll call a "mist charge." When you have one quickening spot, you can hold a maximum of one mist charge, and this will be only when you have full MP (your MP bar will flash red and orange). When you get a second quickening spot, your MP will double and when it is full you will have two mist charges (each representing one half of your total MP) and when you get a third, your MP triples and is divided into three mist charges.

Now, as you unlock quickening spots, you gain quickening abilities. The first requires one mist charge to use, the second requires two, and the third requires three. Makes sense so far, right?

So when you are doing a quickening combo, you will see a list of all the characters in your active party who have quickenings (and aren't in a status that keeps them from acting). The list will randomly show one of the quickenings they have unlocked. If they currently have enough mist charges to use it, it will be bright and there will be a button displayed that you can press to activate it. If not, it will be greyed out. If all your options are greyed out, you hit shuffle, and you will get a new list of potential options.

So here's the catch. Sometimes you will get an option called "mist charge" for one or more of the characters. Hit this, and they will be refilled to full mist charge level, and the list will be shuffled. Obviously after that shuffle, they WILL be able to do the move that comes up after that shuffle because they will have full mist charges (note, though, that these mist charges will NOT turn back into MP after the quickening combo is over).

So as you probably noticed, you have a timer to input the next hit in your quickening combo. As you get successive hits, the timer grows shorter. Do the input well, and you can get a lot of hits in -- I've gotten up to 15 or 16, but usually I get around 7 to 9. Also, by doing certain things you will get special finishing moves that deal extra damage to the enemy you targeted and do damage to the enemies around them as well. I haven't figured out the formulas yet, but I believe it has something to do with getting a certain amount of quickenings of certain levels in the combo. Like doing three level 1 quickenings and three level 2 quickenings gives one special attack, six level 1 quickenings another, and so on.

Honestly, it's not the coolest limit break system ever. However, I like the balance it provides. Basically, if I am in a desperate situation, I have to trust my ability to do well in the combo mini-game and be willing to expend my remaining MP. However, in trade I can do 10,000, 20,000 maybe even 30,000 damage at once and finish off the boss. There are some tricks with the MP thing though. Because you can "mist charge" within the combo, you really only need one character with one charge to get the combo going, so you can just feed someone an ether after one combo (or swap out one character) and start another combo if you failed to finish off the monster you were fighting. Of course, it is a hell of a lot easier to get a good combo going if everyone started with at least one or two levels of charge, because the less you have to hit the shuffle button the more time you are going to have.

Also, late in the game the damage you can deal with the combos becomes less and less significant, so they become more and more of a desperation move (ie, sh*t, this guy is dealing thousands of damage per second so I can't do anything but heal, but he only has a sliver of life left so if I could only hit him for a healthy chunk of damage he would be done for). However, it is still vitally important to have unlocked your quickening spots since you will need the extra MP they grant you.

Incidentally, summoning espers requires mist charges but unlocking them for a character will NOT extend your MP bar like unlocking quickenings does.

About money scarcity:


Money is quite scarce though. Did I mention earlier that you should steal constantly? Also, there are items that can be acquired that cause rare loot and equipment to drop more often (if you are interested, I'll tell in spoiler-vision), and that helps quite a bit, as does the accessory that you get to aid in stealing. Also, when you are intentionally farming, keep the "chaining" concept in mind because it will make a huge difference in the quality of the items that monsters drop. The only other thing I would say is that while weapon upgrades don't show up quite as often, newer, better armor will often become available in shops in quick succession as you move through the story, so you might be able to save some money by only upgrading every other time you see better equipment, or something like that.

Best Money making run I have found so far:
In the Sandseas, just outside of the tomb. The dead-end land north of the tomb entrance.
4 enemy types. Owlmen of the armored variety (names elude me. I've been staring at them for HOURS and I can't think of a single name... ), the axebeak version of the cockatrice, a couple of the smaller fish if you get close to the coast line, and a single wyvern.

I had the first grimoure(sp?) (AKA - LootPumper5000 Beasts and Avions) at that point so if you don't have that this may not work for you.
If you start chaining the Owls together you start getting semi-frequent drops of the bent staff, which sells for 1200+ gil.
If you start chaining the axebeaks together you start getting semi-frequent drops of the rainbow eggs, which sell for 500+ gil.

The map is set up so that you can flee past the axebeaks to fight the pockets of owlmen pretty easily. With a little patience you can get a chain of 50+ going before respawn starts becoming an issue. I can usually come out of there with a stack of 20+ staves and assorted other goodies, netting 30-35K.

Anyone find any better areas for someone just entering the 'rainy' period?

The sandpeople in the sandsea, I got up to a 100 chain off the, but hit 99 loot off of all their drops so ended the chain. It's pretty sweet at that high, they drop like 5 earth stones, 3 phoenix downs, and either heal your party or protect them from each kill.

*grin* I stopped doing that run when I realized that just 5 bent staves sold for more gil than 99 earthstones! But there's something addictive about keeping that chain going, isn't there? It doesn't FEEL like farming and definitely hits my "just-one-more" OCD trait.

BTW have you fought the giant balls of fire that sometimes hang around there? Whenever I see one I back the hell up and find another way because Libra tells me that thing is LVL 45 and has over 40K hitpoints.

Rezzy wrote:
Best Money making run I have found so far:
In the Sandseas, just outside of the tomb. The dead-end land north of the tomb entrance.
4 enemy types. Owlmen of the armored variety (names elude me. I've been staring at them for HOURS and I can't think of a single name... ), the axebeak version of the cockatrice, a couple of the smaller fish if you get close to the coast line, and a single wyvern.

I had the first grimoure(sp?) (AKA - LootPumper5000 Beasts and Avions) at that point so if you don't have that this may not work for you.
If you start chaining the Owls together you start getting semi-frequent drops of the bent staff, which sells for 1200+ gil.
If you start chaining the axebeaks together you start getting semi-frequent drops of the rainbow eggs, which sell for 500+ gil.

The map is set up so that you can flee past the axebeaks to fight the pockets of owlmen pretty easily. With a little patience you can get a chain of 50+ going before respawn starts becoming an issue. I can usually come out of there with a stack of 20+ staves and assorted other goodies, netting 30-35K.

Anyone find any better areas for someone just entering the 'rainy' period?

Man, that post reminded me of FFXI SO much. I remembered when I was playing that game, I'd scour forums, looking for the best way to make money.

Spools of silk outside Windurst, or beehive chips outside Bastok. Ahhh, the memories.

But somehow "grinding" in FFXII (I've only done it once or twice so far: Lhusu Mines and the first Sandsea region; I just got to the second sandsea region) is actually fun. Maybe because, with it being single-player, they designed it to be fast, fun, and efficient, whereas in FFXI with it being an mmo, they designed it to be slow and inefficient to slow the players down. *shrugs*

I'm also absolutely thrilled at how varied the art direction is; most of what I've seen so far consists of one desert region after another, but the art team did a fantastic job of coming up with consistently new and interesting regions within this one ecosystem. If anything, it highlights how much more could be done in other games, including mmo's and single-player games, that utilize the classic ecosystem conventions but don't get this detailed and inventive. My first look at the initial Sandsea was awesome, the sheer scope of it impressed me more than anything I'd seen yet.

If anything, I'm surprised at how FFXII's gameworld, despite having discrete "zones", feels just as open and massive as Dragon Quest 8's overworld. I didn't expect that, as I figured the "zones" would leave me feeling rather hampered just as they did in FFX.

Anyway; I still have tons of gameplay yet to come from this game, and I couldn't be happier with it.

Man, it's so hard not come in here and go completely fanboy agreeing with everyone and saying how awesome it is. I really like how the environments work, and there's a lot of little things that add to it. The environments are very organic, and I haven't reached a point yet where I thought "Geez, they're really forcing me to go this way, huh?" There's a lot of territory open for you to explore at any time. As Far said, each zone has it's own unique flavor, but beyond zones even, I like how the cities so far have been unique. Rabanastre was a sprawling metropolis, centered around a Bazaar and a castle (and I can't tell you how glad I am they put in the Moogling). Bhujerba is a smaller city-state, with a well organized design and a lot of cross cutting streets. Villages and outposts are small, and have just what you'd expect. Teleporting stones work well. The sheer amount of sidequests and little things you can do to help people is amazing me so far.

Rezzy, I think that's one of the elementals they keep warning you about. I tried to avoid them, and someone cast something, not sure what, and suddenly my whole party is silenced and darknessed and running for our lives. That's all I know, didn't bother trying to find more.

Anybody have theories on who to give summons to? I feel like I should just give them to Baasch (high defense) or Vaan/Panelo (high block/evade) because I don't use magic too often with them, and they have a better chance surviving on their own.

Anyone find any better areas for someone just entering the 'rainy' period?

Yes. Go past the rainy place, but then head east rather than south through the next zone (you are told to go south). East will take you to a place with trees and easily chained coerls (spelling?). Their drops aren't quite as valuable as the bent staffs, but they are a hell of a lot more frequent. Also, the other monsters in this region have good drops, and all of them will afford you healthy amounts of experience for relatively small amounts of pain. Oh, and those coerls have the accessory that double LP earned. It is SUPER rare, and I don't know if it came as a drop or a steal, but if you spend some time chaining them you might be able to pick one up a lot earlier than you could buy them.

Re: The grimoires. If you want to spoil the suprise of how to get them, I put it in spoiler vision above.

Re: The elementals. The NPCs aren't blowing smoke up your ass about them. They will kill you even when you significantly out level them. My advice is to just keep running from them, and if you can't run, turn off your gambits and make damn sure you don't cast anything until you are in the next zone.

I fought sooo hard not to turn on the PS2 this morning. That groove on the couch and the well-worn controller were whispering sweet sweet promises about unlocking more stuff. In the end the need to pay for GH2 won out so I'm at work.

I'll check that place out tonight. I haven't ventured into any new areas yet because I wanted to upgrade and purchase what had become available. The only thing I have left to buy currently are a couple of those tomes of knowledge. I made it a habit to check each and every store after story missions to see what had been unlocked (just to be disappointed most of the time ) so I figured that secret out fairly quickly. Still... it took some checking back and forth and me finally reading the descriptions to figure out what the heck was going on with them! So now I own 3, The beasts, avian one. The Giant, something else one. And the Insect one. I'm pretty sure I have 2 or 3 more waiting in the Bazaar, therefore my current Spaceballs 2 Dilemma.

Question: I have some loot items that were granted through Hunt or sidequests. Does it matter who I sell them to? Do I need to hold on to them for some weird encounter? Does anyone know? I went through a lot of trouble to get these items and it feels weird parting with them for a paltry 70 gil. The items are a basilisk skin which I'm told makes a delicious soup or something... and a bundle of a bunch, lets say a thousand, needles.

As far as I can tell, the loot prices are always the same, or at least if they change they do so in a very minimal manner. Also, from discussions I've read at other boards, there is generally no need to hang on to loot for events with one exception, and that is the snake skin you get from a hunt. It will garner you a slightly better reward from a side quest, but it is nothing you can't just buy at a store or find as a drop around the same time as you are doing the quest. It seems that other than that, anything that is truly important to keep ahold of is put into your "key items" collection rather than your loot. (Of course, that isn't to say that there might not be a few other such situations, but the discussion I was reading was between people who had played the Japanese version quite thoroughly.)

My suggestion would be to move on to the place I described, though, as your earning potential should be better and the experience will be well worth it. (By the way, the closest shop will be the place to the south that you are supposed to go to, so you might want to find it as well.)

DAMMIT I knew I shouldn't have sold that snake skin.

Ah well.

Farscry wrote:
DAMMIT I knew I shouldn't have sold that snake skin.

Ah well.

Crap, I think I sold it, too.

I mean, I got the Rainbow egg from a hunt, too, and once those rolling birdguys started dropping them (I hate names), I just figured that even the hunt items weren't so unique.

Hmm... I was kinda hoping that the bundle of needles would help unlock the technique with the same name, but maybe selling it is the trigger too!
I USED to be a hoarder in these games. I wasn't happy unless my stacks were full and I would rarely use items.... because of some mental block or something. If enemies hadn't used Dark Motes on me I still wouldn't be sure what it did because I'll never use an expendable item unless I force myself.
So I forced myself to sell stuff I wasn't using and Lo and Behold... it unlocks Bazaar stuff! So don't be shy about selling off some of your excess stuff! I'm not quite sure how it works yet, but I've managed to get 3 or 4 different Hi-Potion packs.

BTW. An admission. I've played MANY MANY MANY hours of Final Fantasy. MANY. I have a couple of playthroughs of FF7 with Master Summons... some of you will know what that entails.
"Phoenix Down" has never made sense to me. Until now: You found a Tuft of Phoenix Down. Like a Down pillow. It seriously never clicked before and I always thought it was some sort of translation thing or what have you. The Down of a Phoenix. It made me love this game even more!

/EDIT The skin: The Item description led me to believe that this was no normal item, so I was confused when it stuck it in with the Crap LOOT items... but I guess the teleport stones are there too for some weird reason so maybe there are more items with other uses in that category.

Farscry wrote:
DAMMIT I knew I shouldn't have sold that snake skin.

Ah well.

Don't worry, I sold it too. And again, the item that they said you could get is something you will have easy access to around the same time as the quest.

The more frustrating thing I read in that discussion was that in order to get one of the most powerful weapons in the game you have to have NOT opened a series of treasure chests throughout the game. Really, if you've played through the first dungeon, it is probably too late.

Thankfully, though, other than that there supposedly aren't any other things you can miss through simply playing the game as a normal person would.

zeroKFE wrote:
The more frustrating thing I read in that discussion was that in order to get one of the most powerful weapons in the game you have to have NOT opened a series of treasure chests throughout the game. Really, if you've played through the first dungeon, it is probably too late.

What? How the hell would you ever figure that out independently?!?!
LEAVE a treasure unopened? Does that happen?

/EDIT The skin: The Item description led me to believe that this was no normal item, so I was confused when it stuck it in with the Crap LOOT items... but I guess the teleport stones are there too for some weird reason so maybe there are more items with other uses in that category.

Again, if the discussion I was reading is to be trusted (and I think it can be) other than teleport stones and geyshl greens (and the snakeskin) the only use for loot is to sell for cash and to make items appear in the bazaar.

Rezzy wrote:
zeroKFE wrote:
The more frustrating thing I read in that discussion was that in order to get one of the most powerful weapons in the game you have to have NOT opened a series of treasure chests throughout the game. Really, if you've played through the first dungeon, it is probably too late.

What? How the hell would you ever figure that out independently?!?!
LEAVE a treasure unopened? Does that happen?

I know. But again, they say it is the only such item in the game. Really, really, really stupid though.

Anybody have theories on who to give summons to? I feel like I should just give them to Baasch (high defense) or Vaan/Panelo (high block/evade) because I don't use magic too often with them, and they have a better chance surviving on their own.

For some stupid reason I gave my first summon to one of my healers. So yeah it pretty much never gets used as that mana is much too valuable for healing. My new theory is i'm going to give them to the melee guys as they need the mana a lot less for other things.

So lets talke strategies. So far I have basically two identical parties. Van, Balthier, Fran in one and Basch, Peneloe, Ashe in the other. Then when I level the party once a person levels I replace them with their equivalent that is a level lower. Seems to work well. Now for skills I have Van and Basch as tanks, Fran and Ashe as healers, and Balthier and Peneloe as the rogues. Although they differ in that Peneloe has tons of techniques and Balthier has tons of offensive magic.

My biggest problem from this path is that I have only two characters with ranged weapons Balthier and Fran. This is problematic any time I fight flying creatures as Fran spends too much time healing and Balthier is fine but his Black Magic would be much better served on someone without a ranged weapon so they could then hit the flying monster as well. So I may be moving Peneloe into black magic as well, and perhaps adding a ranged weapon option to one or both of my tanks.

Gambits:

For general leveling, grinding I have the following gambits, note I always have the tank as the party leader.

Tank:
1) Ally: HP < 40% - Cure
2) Party Leader's Target - Attack
3) Nearest Enemy - Attack

The nice thing about this setup is with the Party Leader and Nearest Enemy attack gambits you can have your tank automatically attack quickly after each enemy is downed but then he will stay on the same target for the duration of each fight. Also the tank is an emergency healer.

Rogue:
1) Ally: HP < 50% - Cure
2) Enemy: HP Critical - Poach
3) Enemy: HP = 100% - Steal
4) Party Leader's Target - Attack
5) Ally: HP < 80% - Cure

On harder fights with Balthier i'll put a cast appropriate black magic spell gambit. As for poach and steal I have yet to come up with ideal gambits for either yet. For steal this is the best solution I have come up with so far, but when you get large groups of enemies you have to manually turn off the gambit otherwise your rogue will just keep stealing the entire fight. However I definitely prefer to have someone not the party leader stealing as that way it doesn't change the entire groups target. Poach has it's own problems basically by the time the target has HP critical it's dead before the rogue can get the poach off. I'm hoping getting a few more ranks of swiftness on the rogues get the poach off more often. Also sometimes when I see a monster with HP critical i'll just have my party leader use libra or switch targets if there are more than one. Also obviously as you can see the rogue also acts as a secondary healer, and after battle top off healer.

Healer:
1) Ally: HP < 70% - Cure
2) Ally: Any - - Changes depending on what i'm fighting
3) Party Leader's Target - Attack
4) Ally: Party Leader - Protect

Sometimes I put shell in there as well but generally I don't as it takes too much of the healers mana to keep both protect and shell up on the tank. I just got curaga so i'm still thinking about how I want to incorporate this into my gambit routine. Also I just got the spell that changes aggro to one person, so i'll be looking for a way to incorporate that into my repertoire.

As I mentioned in some post somewhere, there really isn't a better way to handle stealing with gambits. Personally, I haven't bothered with poaching. If the game follows the pattern of previous versions of that skill, it probably will give different items than stealing or dropping would, but there are more important things to spend a gambit spot on.

I generally have everyone's first gambit to be Ally:Any -> Pheonix Down. Nothing more important than keeping everyone alive, and items work faster than spells. Second slot for everyone is always the recovery of that most dangerous of status ailments, confuse, and again with an item (later in the game the disease status can be quite bad as well, especially since esuna doesn't remove it). After that, I'll have a few levels of cure gambits and then my class based ones. I leave buffs for after the attack gambits, because when it comes down to it you just want to destroy the enemies as quick as possible, and during long fights you will want to manage them intelligently yourself. Same with a general esuna, and after battle healing by fighters/rogues.

I like your setup, Stric, I'll have to adopt a couple of those.

As far as the flyers though, I don't mind having my tank just walk up to try and wail on them, because it distracts them into attacking the tank, and occasionally they'll get some good damage in anyway.

I have my healing requirements set a little bit lower, so I get more attacks in before the healer goes into permanent medic role. Not sure if that's something you want to go for.

Since I went the technick route with Penelo, she ended up with Horology pretty early, which has been awesome. It gives her a long range attack, and while she'll sometimes only do 9 damage, she's averaging somewhere in the mid to upper 300's, which is a cut above what my melee fighters are typically doing. It's a bit slow of an attack, but it keeps her out of combat, she's been a secondary healer/spellcaster for me. Now she's got weapons/armor that put her evade up to the 40's, so I may change that.

I have my party leader as the stealer, as they are the first to come across the enemies, they get the steal in right away, and I can override it very quickly if they start going clepto.

I've kinda screwed up Penelo and Baltheir by taking them into the technicks and augments respectively. Baltheir is now some sort of weird long range tank, and Penelo is a melee fighter who doesn't get into melee and is a worse spellcaster than Fran or Ashe. Once I get her some more melee Augments she'll be a lot better. Maybe when I finally find a Measure for Baltheir to equip I'll take him in close range.

Rezzy wrote:
zeroKFE wrote:
The more frustrating thing I read in that discussion was that in order to get one of the most powerful weapons in the game you have to have NOT opened a series of treasure chests throughout the game. Really, if you've played through the first dungeon, it is probably too late.

What? How the hell would you ever figure that out independently?!?!
LEAVE a treasure unopened? Does that happen?

The good news? I read up on this as well and discovered that you CAN still get the item (I opened the chests I wasn't supposed to, so I'm "screwed" as well), but it's a very low percent chance in a specific spot late in the game. Which kinda sucks, since I've turned Penelo essentially into a dragoon. She's a spear-wielding berserking whirldwind of death. So I'd really like to get that ultimate spear for her someday...

For characters, I continue to refine them:

Vaan: dagger/1-hander swords and shield, thieving skills, light armor. Going for rapid attacks and high evasion with him.
Balthier: guns/handbombs, light armor, heavy on technicks and some light spellcasting (arcane/time primarily).
Fran: bows, mystic armor, heavy on white/green/time magick. She's the support caster and a ranged combatant the rest of the time.
Basch: 1-hander swords & shield, will move to greatswords when available, heavy armor, white magic. He's basically going to be a paladin.
Ashe: staves/rods, mystic armor, heavy on black magic (she'll be my main offense caster) with time/arcane to back it up.
Penelo: spears/poles, heavy armor, some white magic for support in emergencies.

I'm sure I'll diversify eventually, but I'm having a blast with this setup. And yes, I'm levelling everyone up together.

generally have everyone's first gambit to be Ally:Any -> Pheonix Down. Nothing more important than keeping everyone alive, and items work faster than spells

I'm more of the opinion that when someone goes down I just replace them instead of wasting precious time and mana on a combat rez. Also I messed the healing gambits order up the protect gambit should be below attack, fixed it now.

I have my party leader as the stealer, as they are the first to come across the enemies, they get the steal in right away, and I can override it very quickly if they start going clepto.

At first I had this setup and it seemed fine at first but the problem is your tank will switch targets and if you have everyone assisting him then everyone switches targets which is very counter productive. With the way I do it worst case is you lose one character to cleptomania. Often times if your just grinding this isn't even a problem as he'll get about one extra steal attempt in before the rest of your party finishes off the first target and is on to the one he's attempting to steal from. Frankly they should have made steal work like the status effect removal spells, you should just be able to put "Party Leader Target - Steal" and have it steal until successful then ignore it.

I'm thinking about trying some kind of party based gambit for stealing. Not sure what yet, I was thinking maybe some kind of "Ally: Mana > 90% - Steal" or perhaps "Ally: HP = 100% - Steal". Not sure yet I think i'll experiment with something like that though. Obviously you may miss some steal attempts in larger fights like that, but truthfully usually in a large enough fight where that would happen you don't want your character stealing anyways. Also I guess you could have a case where your tank started the fight with less than 100% and no steal attempt occured but you could fix that by having an after combat healer make sure he's always at 100%. In fact now that i'm thinking about it I definately like the tank HP one better than the healer mana based one. I'll have to give that a try tonight.

The good news? I read up on this as well and discovered that you CAN still get the item (I opened the chests I wasn't supposed to, so I'm "screwed" as well), but it's a very low percent chance in a specific spot late in the game.

Well that's good to know. I suppose I ought to get down to the business of finding it, eh?

I generally have everyone's first gambit to be Ally:Any -> Pheonix Down.

I thought about that, except aren't there times when it's better to simply immediately swap out the downed party member with a fresh replacement, rather than try to spend precious time reviving and then healing them up? In other words, isn't it better to let a downed member stay down, if there's someone who can jump in? I've just kept my party leader on phoenix down duty, and I haven't revived anyone until I had to to keep a full party, and at that point I've revived the most useful KO'd member. This assumes, of course, that you're making efforts to levelling all six members so they're on relatively equal terms.

Hmm, I suppose that works for shorter battles and monsters that don't have instant kill techniques. However, given that:

1. Phoenix down on a gambit activates about as close to instantly as possible, expecially when you have all of the "swiftness" upgrades.
2. Phoenix downs are plentiful throughout the game.
3. Keeping all party members as close to perfect status at all times becomes very important in tougher battles.

Elaboration on point 3: MP is hard to come by (as are ethers) so you will want to maximize your usage of your characters in long battles for that reason alone. Also, you will want to have your reserve characters in as good of health as possible in case you get worse status problems, like combinations of stop, disable, disease, sleep, sap and confuse, which will take multiple actions to recover from (there is no single spell or item that can remove all of that at once -- with that particular collection you would need an esuna, a dispel, and a cleanse to get back in fighting shape.) So when you have to swap those guys out, you don't want to be swapping in someone who is already dead and then reviving them.

The point of all this being that death is a nasty status, but it is quick and easily to heal. Devote a gambit slot to fixing it instantly, and you will be better off down the road. Also, it will help you keep on track with what should be the ultimate goal of any fight: to kill the enemy as quickly and with as little interruption as possible.

Pages