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.
CHARACTER SPECIALIZATION DOES NOT MATTER AND IS INEXISTANT.
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.