The Quarterly JRPG Club - Q1 2018 - Final Fantasy XII!

ccesarano wrote:

Gonna be honest, right now I'm of the mindset that everything is wrong about the gambit system being great and insisting on inputting commands anyway because at least then I get to do something.

We'll see how long that goes.

I haven’t gotten far enough to put it into practice but I’m planning to control one character and use gambits on the other two. See how that feels.

I played the original version way back and remember getting a lot of enjoyment out of creating gambits and just grinding through a dungeon with automated killers while watching videos, listening to music, etc.... Not sure why I've always loved grinding in rpg's while doing other things.

ccesarano wrote:

Gonna be honest, right now I'm of the mindset that everything is wrong about the gambit system being great and insisting on inputting commands anyway because at least then I get to do something.

We'll see how long that goes.

You can get away with that for awhile, but eventually the fights become complex enough that you pretty much have to set up gambits to survive some of them.

So after a bit of looking on reddit and some comparisons with the job combo guide posted earlier this is what I'm going to go with.

Vaan - Archer/Red Battlemage
Penelo - Uhlan/Time Battlemage
Balthier - Shikari/White Mage
Fran - Machinist/Foebreaker
Basch - Bushi/Knight
Ashe - Monk/Black Mage

ClockworkHouse wrote:

That's interesting, because I think of XIII as the most active of the single-player Final Fantasy combat systems (I haven't played XV). The ATB timer is really fast, and you're constantly swapping paradigms to make sure everyone's in the right role at the right time. (The AI is also pretty good about using the right spells, but it helps to use Libra with new enemies to scan them, something that's historically pretty useless in Final Fantasy games.)

Sure, the combat system is fast, but switching paradigms and watching things happen isn't quite the same as selecting spells and whatnot. I think the extra layer of abstraction is why a lot of people didn't care for XII and XIII and why XV went more action based.

Anyway, we've all probably beat XIII to death in every JRPG thread. Lol

JeremyK wrote:

I played the original version way back and remember getting a lot of enjoyment out of creating gambits and just grinding through a dungeon with automated killers while watching videos, listening to music, etc.... Not sure why I've always loved grinding in rpg's while doing other things.

Mobile RPGs are straight up being designed to be played this way. Might want to check some out.

garion333 wrote:

Sure, the combat system is fast, but switching paradigms and watching things happen isn't quite the same as selecting spells and whatnot.

You're absolutely right. In that case, you're selecting spells and watching things happen.

I doubt I'll ever understand how there's this significant difference between picking "Ravager" from a menu and picking "Fira" so long as that choice is meaningful, but I guess it's a thing.

ClockworkHouse wrote:
garion333 wrote:

Sure, the combat system is fast, but switching paradigms and watching things happen isn't quite the same as selecting spells and whatnot.

You're absolutely right. In that case, you're selecting spells and watching things happen.

I doubt I'll ever understand how there's this significant difference between picking "Ravager" from a menu and picking "Fira" so long as that choice is meaningful, but I guess it's a thing.

There really isn't much difference. The combat flow does FEEL different though. I have to point out, just as I think others have, that you CAN override the lead character in XIII. You may not want to, however.

I just got it and am starting. Wait a 136 Meg update? What kind of junk is this?

Put in a few hours today and was feeling pretty good about myself wandering/grinding the Giza Plains. Then a Werewolf one shotted me... hmm.

farley3k wrote:

I just got it and am starting. Wait a 136 Meg update? What kind of junk is this?

That’s kind of small, especially for a game that came out almost a year ago.

In the good old days, you had to check serial numbers or regions to get the patched versions of a game.

farley3k wrote:

I just got it and am starting. Wait a 136 Meg update? What kind of junk is this? :)

I thought the same thing. Had wanted to make a joke about being able to put the disc in and play. I usually hate that joke, but...

Anyway, the updates were quite minor and fixed characters getting stuck in battle or something.

The bug update, the most recent, did this:

Square Enix will release the version 1.04 update for Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age on November 22, which brings back the “Sky Pirate’s Den” feature originally cut from high-definition remaster.

2 hours in, it's... Surprisingly not bad? It makes me really miss FFXIV (but I say that pretty much constantly, don't I?) and the UI is pretty clunky compared to newer releases and maybe even contemporaries, but the setting and characters are interesting. I like that the writers seem to understand that Vaan's a bit of a sh*t and don't treat him like a hero.

Am I really understanding it right that your character won't automatically target the next nearby attacker once their current target is dead? That's weird.

ClockworkHouse wrote:

Am I really understanding it right that your character won't automatically target the next nearby attacker once their current target is dead? That's weird.

I think so? More than a couple times I’ve had to select the target I was already attacking again because I accidentally tried to “help” the auto-attack and brought up the menu. Also had to get used to using a potion from that action menu rather than going into the item list in the main menu.

I haven’t gotten too much further. I just killed a LOT of rats.

After caving into the Amazon price, I started it up yesterday. I'm bouncing around the Gaza plains. I only played about 10 hours of the original and I remember very little. I spent 10 minutes looking for how to control the gambits when you first get them. They wait to give you control, don't they?

Yes. Gambits are activated but you can't control them right away. There is a whole tutorial about it when you get that ability.

steinkrug wrote:
ClockworkHouse wrote:

Am I really understanding it right that your character won't automatically target the next nearby attacker once their current target is dead? That's weird.

I think so? More than a couple times I’ve had to select the target I was already attacking again because I accidentally tried to “help” the auto-attack and brought up the menu. Also had to get used to using a potion from that action menu rather than going into the item list in the main menu.

I haven’t gotten too much further. I just killed a LOT of rats.

Heh. I hadn't thought about this is a while, but yeah, that's one of the first Gambits I equip on pretty much every character. Target nearest or target leaders target. Then I use the leader to direct priorities.

I'm really loving this. Currently about 6 hours in, and the job system they've added is just making the game so much more engaging. The setting is really cool, and it looks gorgeous in HD. I'm just out of the first dungeon with Fran and Balthier, and goddamn, I forgot how charming Balthier is!

Wasn't Balthier supposed to be the main character originally? And Vaan was added in by corporate?

I believe that was one of the reasons Matsuno walked away.

Hard to know how much I recall is rumor and how much is reality though.

Well, he is the leading man!

garion333 wrote:

Wasn't Balthier supposed to be the main character originally? And Vaan was added in by corporate?

I believe that was one of the reasons Matsuno walked away.

Hard to know how much I recall is rumor and how much is reality though.

That's been the assumption, yes. We know Matsuno left late in production, and we know Vaan and Penelo were added by the producers because of concerns about repeating the poor sales performance of Vagrant Story and Final Fantasy Tactics. Fans have long assumed that Matsuno left for that reason, although officially he left because of health concerns.

It certainly plays into the common narrative that producers are bad guys interfering with the work of creative types. It doesn't help that in the last twelve years since release that the gaming landscape has shifted such that a game without a gruff, older male protagonist is a bit of an oddity. Matsuno's reputation has also considerably improved since then; it's hard to remember that his Ivalice games were commercial failures at launch.

Over the years, another explanation has come forward for Matsuno's departure, though (although it's not mutually exclusive). We now know that development on Final Fantasy XII took so long and consumed so many internal resources that it killed other projects and hamstrung the development of Final Fantasy XIII. XIII's corridor design and cramped environments were a direct result of its shift from release on PS2 to PS3 and a much-shortened development cycle. (A lot of time was also spent developing expensive custom tools for XII that couldn't and wouldn't be reused on other projects.) So it's possible that Matsuno was made to step down because his production had gotten out of control and was causing problems for the company as a whole.

My assumption is that all of these things are true to an extent. Final Fantasy XII needed to be a big hit because it was costing more and more to create, which made the producers less willing to take a chance with a niche creator and a storyline outside the series's norm. That prompted changes in the storyline that upset Matsuno, and the whole relationship soured until neither side wanted him to be involved any longer.

JeremyK wrote:

Put in a few hours today and was feeling pretty good about myself wandering/grinding the Giza Plains. Then a Werewolf one shotted me... hmm.

Those guys are jerks and serve as a not-so-subtle hint to come back to this little corner later. (Although, it's possible to steal an OP-for-early-game weapon from them, iirc.)

garion333 wrote:

The bug update, the most recent, did this:

Square Enix will release the version 1.04 update for Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age on November 22, which brings back the “Sky Pirate’s Den” feature originally cut from high-definition remaster.

Yay; having the Sky Pirate's Den back makes me very happy.

Speaking of stealing, has anyone figured out an efficient gambit for it?

At the moment, I use Balthier as the leader and have Vaan set up with "Enemy > 70% - Steal" It may be more efficient going for HP=100% but I don't have that gambit yet.

ClockworkHouse wrote:

Over the years, another explanation has come forward for Matsuno's departure, though (although it's not mutually exclusive). We now know that development on Final Fantasy XII took so long and consumed so many internal resources that it killed other projects and hamstrung the development of Final Fantasy XIII. XIII's corridor design and cramped environments were a direct result of its shift from release on PS2 to PS3 and a much-shortened development cycle. (A lot of time was also spent developing expensive custom tools for XII that couldn't and wouldn't be reused on other projects.) So it's possible that Matsuno was made to step down because his production had gotten out of control and was causing problems for the company as a whole.

This could also lead to Matsuno's health issues if it was really becoming that messy a project. Hell, it's kind of hard not to see history repeating here given that this whole era was attempting this big plan of sorts. I feel like FFXII was developed alongside FFXI in order to capitalize on similar mechanics (I'm guessing, haven't played XI myself) only for it to become this massive thing that derailed XIII, which itself would become derailed because of this huge ambition for Nova Crystallis or whatnot, and the FFXV etc...

My assumption is that all of these things are true to an extent. Final Fantasy XII needed to be a big hit because it was costing more and more to create, which made the producers less willing to take a chance with a niche creator and a storyline outside the series's norm.

Wait, didn't the producer off-hand say he was curious about Final Fantasy in the hands of Yoko Taro?

Oh God, Squenix is doomed to forever repeat themselves.

garion333 wrote:

Wasn't Balthier supposed to be the main character originally? And Vaan was added in by corporate?

Basch not Balthier. Was not mandated by management, but seems to have been a result of focus testing.

ccesarano wrote:

I feel like FFXII was developed alongside FFXI in order to capitalize on similar mechanics (I'm guessing, haven't played XI myself)

It's possible, but I'm not sure. It looks like XII went into development sometime in December 2000, wheras X and XI went into production in 1999. Given that XI would have it's first beta test in August 2001 it's pretty likely that XI was very far along in production by the time XII started.

According to the Wikipedia Development section for XII: "The desire to move away from random encounters was present since the beginning of development. This desire fueled the development of the Active Dimension Battle system so players could seamlessly move from battle to exploration. The gambit system was conceived early on as a way to facilitate this change".

If this is true, then it seems like one of Square's goals for the PS2-era was to have a completely seamless experience with none of the transitions from the World Map -> Field -> Combat loop that had been present since the NES days. My understanding is that X did away with the World Map -> Field transition by making a seamless overworld, so XII knocking down the Field -> Combat transition would make a lot of sense.

I forgot how annoying the Bazaar stuff is.

I did find a checklist that is handy via ChaosRonin on Gamefaqs.

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets...

A_Unicycle wrote:

Speaking of stealing, has anyone figured out an efficient gambit for it?

At the moment, I use Balthier as the leader and have Vaan set up with "Enemy > 70% - Steal" It may be more efficient going for HP=100% but I don't have that gambit yet.

So you don't waste time looking for it, "Enemy = 100% HP - Steal" is generally considered the best you can do. And it still sometimes means the character repeatedly tries to steal from someone they've already stolen from.

I finished this game back in teh PS2 days... Given my backlog I AM not sure I want to put this before other games I havent played... such as Tales of Berseria for example

shoptroll wrote:
garion333 wrote:

Wasn't Balthier supposed to be the main character originally? And Vaan was added in by corporate?

Basch not Balthier. Was not mandated by management, but seems to have been a result of focus testing.

That's sad. Basch was definitely my favorite character. Note to self: sign up for more gaming focus groups.