Just got Final Fantasy XII

Yes, I’ve been totally slacking, but the DS is just so much fun!

Before I get started, I wanted to ask about the License Board - I read the manual (I know, I never do this, but since this game sounded so different I thought I should just this once), and it sounds sort of like the Sphere Grid from X but not really… understand what I mean? Does each character begin with the same stats and abilities and customizes solely on licenses obtained (sort of like FF3 DS), or does each one have a somewhat specialty (like one has higher strength and HP, and one has higher magic, etc.) that makes going a certain path on the License Board better than others?

Also, with the espers and quickenings, does it make sense to divvy them up, or does it work better to concentrate espers to have a summoner-type character and to spread out the quickenings? (See, I can’t imagine giving only one character all the special attacks 'cause that’s just not cool.) I just don’t want to go down a path where I get myself stuck with character growth and want to restart based on that (like people who played DQ8 the first time through and put all their points toward the soft skills rather than any sort of weapons).

Any other advice is also welcome, too. :slight_smile:

There’s no difference whatsoever between who gets what in the License board. The characters start with different bits enabled, but they’re close enough together to make no difference.

Eventually you’ll be giving each character three Quickenings. The main use of Quickenings is to give the character more MP, so your spellcasters should get them first. Espers are a total waste of LP since you’ll never be using them, ever.

To answer your first question more of the former than the later. In fact the differences between characters are only noticeable right at the beginning of the game (and even then they’re hardly any different from each other), but not all stats comes from the character and the license board but what you equip onto a character. Mystic Robes boosts MDef and Magic, Heavy Armor boosts Def and Strength, and Light Armor boosts both Def and MDef (only half as well though) and HP.

For your second question just get the quickenings as fast as you can. Each character can learn up to three quickenings and there are eighteen quickenings in all. Also when a character learns two quickenings their MP doubles and when they learn three it triples which is a very good thing to have in this game. The quickenings themselves though will get outdated pretty quickly though since using one requires a full bar of MP to use and the damage you get from them will quickly be outdated by far more efficient means (you’ll get a bar for each quickening you learn up to a total of three which is where the triple MP comes from). Summons on the other hand are very much like quickenings but it A) replaces your party save for the summoner until either it’s time is up or either the summoner or the summon is killed, B) again uses up anywhere from one to three bars of magic to cast, and C) doesn’t do enough damage efficiently to justify the cost.

Edit: Having refreshed to find that Cid has beaten me to it I will add that you’ll eventually need the first summon to open one door exactly once other than that they’re worthless.

You might also want to spend some time boning up on the bazaar trades as well since than can screw you out of time and energy if you’re careless. Same for the retardedly stupid Zodiac Spear. Also prepare to live and breath enemy drops as it’s the only way to make a buck in this game especially since treasure chests in this game give random drops randomly (they can appear randomly and may come in limited quantities).

In fact I recommend studying the various guides at GameFAQs since Squeenix hates completeist as well as other threads made in the various message boards it’ll save a mountain of time and trouble.

Espers: relatively useless. Don’t worry about who gets what. You’ll rarely ever use them.
Quickenings: very powerful, also very cheap to use in combat. There aren’t really necessary either as my way of playing through the game makes them relatively useless anyway.

The big usefulness of quickenings is how they’ll allow you to have more MP. Basically, every quickening level adds more MP. If you have 2 quickenings, you ll have double MP. If you have 3 levels, you’ll have triple MP.

Only 2 magics are ever of any use:

White magic is great for obvious reasons.
Stat magic is AWESOME.

Having said that, what do I do?

I create gambits that make my characters always cast protect, bravery (increased physical damage), berserk (increased physical damage, increased attack rate) on each other. I give either maces or later in the game, 2h swords and I let them loose unto the world. Other useful gambits are bubble (2x hp), stuff to cast heal at specific times, stuff to cast esuna whenever a status effect is on anyone and very importantly, a gambit to use a phoenix down / revive on anyone who dies.

Berserk and protect you get very early. Bravery and bubble are spells you get late in the game through your guild. Esuna you get midway through the game. The phoenix down gambit is something you want to get very quickly. Maximize your use of gambits by concentrating on boosting your characters with status effects.

I alternate who is not berserk depending on MP status. The non berserked character is the one I control and is the one doing the healing. With quickenings, you’ll have MP out the ass.

This essentially turns my entire party into lawnmowers. The game plays itself out. Its fucking hilarious. The only thing I really do is use my left hand to direct where my characters are walking.

This is what you need to do about the license board:

Ignore the majority of the equipment area (bottom) as equipment doesn’t progress very fast.

On the upper board, you want to focus on the bottom left part where the gambits are and where you’ll find things to boost your attack rate, damage, block rate and ESPECIALLY hp. You also want to gradually add the few white magic and status effect spells in the upper part as they become available. Doing this maximizes your use of the board as you won’t have squares that will have been bought early for nothing.


Gambits streamline going through the game. You will find that the game has _A_LOT_of minor monsters for you to kill so making it easier to kill those (and survive!! ie protect!!) will make your life a lot less frustrating.

If you want to handle real stuff like boss fights differently, I actually suggest you do. Having your guys on berserk in boss fights can work but typically I didn’t have more than 1 because you really need to have a lot of maneuvrability to compensate for dead people or heals.

You 'll find that having heal and revive gambits will just save you time from doing what you would’ve done anyway and will be doing repeatedly otherwise. As you’ll see, you’ll have little other use for gambits anyway as there are few convenient and straightforward uses for them past auto-steal / auto- poach, auto attack, auto- heal and auto-self-boost. Ask yourself this: why wouldn’t you want all your chars to always have protect? Why wouldn’t you want them to automatically res or heal themselves? The only answer is that you want to make yourself do the same tasks over and over.

Use espers all you want. You’ll just see what I mean when I say they’re a waste because they cost 1/2 to 1/3 of your mp for little relative output.

You’ll notice that your characters don’t specialize when:

-you have to give them all the same healing spells
-you have to give them all the same stat spells
-you have to give them all the same stat boosts (get mp when killing, get mp when doing damage, get mp when damaged, more hp, more hp , more hp, etc).

Any variability is short lived. You might give 1 faster cast times while another gets faster melee strikes but its only a matter of time before they catch up to each other. As Cid said, by the time you get to the end, you covered the whole board anyway. Save yourself time, all the useful stuff is in the bottom left quadrant of the top board.

I think gambits are the most amazing thing ever and being able to stream line tedious tasks like that makes playing through conventional RPGs very hard afterwards. Its just not the same o_o.

There’s only a few things you really need to know:

  • Later in the game you will be killing shit so fast, you’ll probably clean up the license grid with every character by the time you reach the end, especially if you use golden amulets.

  • Quickenings are extremely broken. It’s easy enough to beat the game without them. If you want a challenge, just ignore them. You don’t need them at all unless you plan on killing some of the more difficult marks and need the extra mp. And even then, the only marks I’ve seen yet that MIGHT necessitate that is the dragon you fight in Paramina and Gilgamesh. That’s two marks out of the 40+ I’ve killed.

  • Summons are useless. The only one I’ve learned is Belias because you need him to progress in the story.

  • Listen to whatever Sin tells you.

  • I’m gonna gold this because it’s so important: <font color="#f2b400"><b>MARTYR AND INQUISITOR ARE THE TWO BEST LICENSES IN THE GAME.</b></font> As soon as they appear, snap them up. They’ll refill your mp by a few points every time you attack and every time you get attacked. Martyr and Inquisitor will be the only licenses between you and death in some of the harder battles, trust me. Even with triple MP, you’ll run out very quickly recasting spells like haste, protect, bravery, etc. if you’re not constantly grabbing more of it.

  • Don’t underestimate cat-ear hoods.

That’s all from me.

FYI, perhaps Sin’s way will get you to beat the game easily, but you’ll probably find it more fun if you spread the love around. For most of the game, I assigned one character to be the support, one to be the black mage, one to be a time mage etc., and I had different characters master different weapon types. I found it relatively challenging without being ridiculously frustrating.

In my most recent playthrough I made it more challenging by not letting my characters use swords, 1h or 2h, or quickenings. I kind of want to play it again without protect and bravery, but that’d be suicide.

Yes. I played the game using pretty much the same strategy and I thought it was still very entertaining.

Try using katanas as soon as you get them, especially if you use sin’s berserk strategy. They combo often, and when combined with all the buffs and accessories you get later on they blenderize everything in sight.

Also, if you do use berserk, have your magic caster use syphon on your berserked characters, as they won’t be needing MP as much. :wink:

Yeah the siphon trick will spare you having to rotate your characters.

I tried the katanas and ninja swords and didn’t like them very much but some people swear by them, which is fine. I would probably experiment more with them in my next game. You start getting 2h swords in Archades and then your damage just gets absurd. Then you get bravery shortly after and you’re popping 5-6k a hit , which with haste and berserk speed at that point, is over 25k damage per second. I just can’t remember if the possibility of combos at this point makes up for the damage difference. If I remember right it didn’t until you got some of the super combo items that come very late in the game.

Katanas don’t combo any more than any other weapon, but they do deal more than 2H swords if you have mage gear on. Katanas are for people who want a caster-fighter with very little defense. 2H swords are better if you want damage/defense and weaker magic. If you don’t use black magic and you don’t have any trouble healing, 2H swords are the better choice, since booster spells aren’t affected by magic power whatsoever.

1H Swords and Shields are far better than either of those options though. You barely deal any less than you do with a 2H, and you block 75% of what comes your way. It’s disgusting. You can kill Vayne effortlessly with a Deathbringer and a Demon Shield, and they’re both buyable.

Cat-ear hoods will make the more powerful daggers and bows as strong as 2H swords too, on top of boosting your speed by 50. They are really damn good items and I try to put one on everyone if I can get away with it. Also buyable.

Bubble Belts go on people who don’t need the hoods. Double your HP. Also buyable.

25k/second as soon as you pick up bravery is embellishing it a bit. It’s more like 20k per volley, every few seconds. The damage is still huge though, especially when you have two or three guys getting massive combos at the same time. Bosses go down in seconds.

I spared myself having to rotate my characters by just making them all strong fighters and never zerking. I was already casting haste, protect, bravery, esuna, and curaga on whoever needed them, and I was already frustrated by all the interruptions. Why torture myself with berserk? It’s good, but it’s not worth losing control over your characters imo. The battles are more fluid without it. Especially if you’ve hit the damage cap without it.

I’m looking forward to trying out these tips - keep them coming if you have more!

So far I’ve only just gotten into the palace during the banquet (you can tell I don’t get a lot of time to play these days), and I was totally cracked up by the number of times I was told in-game that I really can’t go back… even to the extent of touching the save crystal and being told that it might be a good idea to save to a different file. Funny stuff, I wish that sort of reminder had been around for me a couple of times in other games. :slight_smile:

During battles I still wish there was some way I could dodge enemies a little better, but I think I’m screwed there. I get this feeling that since it doesn’t look menu-based I should be able to run away from enemy hits!

FFXII is all about gambits and you’ve still got a chunk to go before you get to gambits.

When you do have access to gambits, you have to unlock gambit slots in the license board so you’ll only have a couple at the start. I suggest looking at a FAQ to strategise how you want to go down and to the left to get more gambit slots, the more hp slots and the mp after whatever slots.

Your first gambits should be auto-attacks , auto heals, auto protects, auto revive if you’re seeing your characters die a lot. Stuff like that.

You can’t really dodge attacks by moving your character around. You would think that but its not the case. The strike will miss or it won’t regardless of position.

I was really disappointed at first that you could move around but couldn’t use it to dodge. It does have its uses though. You can buy time in the early stages of the game by making enemies chase you while your atb fills up. It’s also useful against bosses that use scathe and other area effect spells. You have the option of spreading out. You have the option of running away when you’re low on HP, the enemies will usually go after whoever’s attacking them. So even though you can’t dodge, movement does have a few uses.

I wouldn’t worry about looking at a FAQ to see where licenses are. You’ll get all the good ones soon enough. Just make sure you’re spending most of your LP to go down and left on the main grid. That’s where all the juicy ones are. It’s probably pretty obvious, but look out for licenses that add HP, lower MP cost, anything called “Swiftness,” headsman, inquisitor, martyr, combat lore, blocking lore if you’re using shields, magic lore… You’ll know what to get when you see it, trust me.

The license that makes powerup spells last longer is an important one too. Don’t wait too long to get that.

I highly suggest your read the Gambit FAQs on GameFAQs. If you do it right, you can make the game so much easier. It also makes stealing everyone blind super easy and fun.