Final Fantasy XII
by Bill Pringle
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Table of Contents * Introduction <#intro> * Overview <#over> o Overview of the Battle System <#over-battle> o Overview of the Gambit System <#over-gambit> * Gambit Targets <#target> o Ally Targets <#targ-ally> o Foe Targets <#targ-foe> o Self Targets <#targ-self> * Sample Configurations <#config> o Partitioning Gambits <#parts> o Using Decoy <#decoy> o Making Money <#money> o Weakening the Enemy <#weak> * Tips, Guidelines, Words of Wisdom, etc. <#tips> o Forming Parties <#tip-party> o Mixing Weapons <#tip-weapons> o Changing Things on the Fly <#tip-changing> o Keeping Everyone Alive <#tip-alive> o Keeping Things in Order <#top-order> Introduction The Gambit System for Final Fantasy XII allows a player to configure their characters to behave in a sophisticated manner. Behavior can be customized to match a player's personal style (mostly fighting, mostly magic, stealing, etc.) When configured properly, the player can spend time watching the fight rather than mashing buttons, while the characters do pretty much the same thing as when the player is controlling that character. Each character will perform according to their gambit settings, which can be changed during fights, if necessary. It is important to realize that the gambit system is optional. You can play the entire game by controlling each character manually, if you want. (Of course, if that were the case, you probably wouldn't be reading this document. ;^) Also, even while using the gambit system, you can manually control any (or all) character and have them do things different than what they would have done through the gambit system. This document describes the Gambit System for Final Fantasy XII. In addition to how it works, some tips and suggestions are given to help the reader configure the AI of their parties to match the player's fighting style. If you find any problems and/or have any questions, you can e-mail me at wrp103 (AT) psu (DOT) edu. Make sure you have "Final Fantasy Gambits" in the subject. I get a lot of spam, and will delete things without looking at them if I don't recognize the sender and the subject line doesn't stand out as legit (for example, a message with a subject of "a question" will probably get deleted without me looking at it.) Overview * Overview of the Battle System <#over-battle> * Overview of the Gambit System <#over-gambit> Overview of the Battle System You can have up to three characters in your party. One of the characters must be the party leader. If you press the /Triangle/ button to bring up the menu, then select "Party", you can move characters into (left) or out of (right) the party. If you move the party leader out of the party, then the top character that is still in the party will be the new leader. You can also switch party leaders when walking around by pressing up or down on the D-pad, then moving up or down to select a new leader. If you press the /X/ button, the battle/field menu for the party leader appears. By pressing left or right on the D-pad you can select a different character to control. Your options are: Attack Initiates a physical attack with the current weapon. Magicks & Techniques Initiate a magic spell or a Techniques. The magic spells are grouped by category (white, black, etc.). Techniques are similar to magic except that they don't cost any MP. Mist This is similar to limit breaks in other Final Fantasy games. You must first obtain a license for up to three mist charges. Gambits This option merely turns gambits on or off. You use the "Gambits" option of the main menu to set up the gambits for each character. Items This option allows the character to use an item If the character is in the process of performing an operation and you select a different option for that character, they will either finish the current operation and queue the action you selected, or will interrupt the current operation and begin the action you selected instead. (It depends on how far along in the cycle they are, but if you select the same operation they are performing, the new action will always be queued.) Overview of the Gambit System Each character has a number of gambit slots that can be programmed as desired. Each slot has a target (and possibly a condition), and an action. The target could be an ally or a foe. The condition for a target can refer various aspects of the target, and the action can be a magic spell, a technique, or an item. For example, one possible target is: "Foe: flying", that can only be performed if one of the foes is a flying enemy. Another target is "Ally: status=slow", which is true only if one of the characters in the party have been afflicted with "slow." If the target of a gambit exists (including any conditional), and the action "makes sense", then the gambit can be performed. For example, if the action heals a condition, then the gambit only makes sense if the target has the condition. Each character loops through the gambit steps until it finds one that can be performed. After the gambit action is performed, the character begins at the top of the gambit steps again. If no gambit condition is met, then the character does nothing, and it starts back at the top of the list again. Here is a sample gambit setup: 1 Ally: Any Raise 2 Ally: Any Phoenix Down 3 Ally: HP < 40% Curaga 4 Foe: Party leader's target Attack And here is an explanation of the setup: 1. Ally: Any / Raise If any of your allies are killed, this character will cast a raise spell to revive them. If more than one character is dead, the first character will be raised. 2. Ally: Any / Phoenix Down This gambit will only be executed if an ally is dead, and the character doesn't have enough MP to case Raise. If this happens, then the character will use a Phoenix Down to revive the dead ally. This is a good strategy for important curing conditions: first try magic, and then try an item. It takes two gambit slots, but at least you are sure that your characters will be revived quickly when killed. 3. Ally: HP < 40% / Curaga If anyone is the current party drops below 40% of their max HP, this character will cast Curaga to heal them. (Early in the game, you will probably want to use "Cure".) If one of your characters is below 40% HP, then there is a good chance that the other characters are low as well. You might also consider using "Cura" or "Curaja" which heals all nearby allies. This will cost more MP, but will tend to keep your party healthier. 4. Foe: Party Leader's Target / Attack If none of the previous conditions are met, and if the party leader is attacking an enemy, then this character will attack it. No more than one gambit is performed for each cycle, so the order of the gambits is very important. For example, if the attack gambit was at the top of the list, then even if the rest of the party was dead, this character would keep attacking the same enemy. Only after the current target is dead would the other gambits even get looked at. (If everyone else is dead, then this character would be the party leader, which means it would keep attacking the current target. Once that foe was dead, the party leader wouldn't be targeting any foe, so the other gambits would be considered.) Gambit Targets * Ally Targets <#targ-ally> * Foe Targets <#targ-foe> * Self Targets <#targ-self> Ally Targets Ally gambit targets apply to the current party. Ally: Any This target applies to any character in the active party If the target "makes sense", then this gambit will be executed. You would use this gambit for certain conditions (e.g., "Ally: Any / Raise") Ally: HP/MP < X% This set of targets apply to any ally whose HP (or MP) is less than *X* percent. If you use more than one of these targets, put the lower values first. (If you put < 90% before < 10%, the second will never be executed, since if the character is 5%, the < 90% will be executed instead of the 10%.) Ally: Status=/status/ This gambit tests to see if anyone in your party has a specific status effect (good or bad). You can use this gambit to set or reset the status of someone in your party (including this character). For example, "Ally: Status=slow / Haste" will cancel slow on any character in your party." Remember that you don't always need to specify the status of a character. For example, "Ally: Any / Raise" will raise any character that has been killed off, so you don't really need to use: "Ally: Status=KO / Raise". Ally: /name/ You can specify an individual in your party. For example, if you want Basch to be beserk when fighting, you can use the gambit: "Ally: Basch / Beserk". Whenver his beserk spell wears off, this character will cast it again. (You probably don't want to have Basch cast beserk on himself since the spell misses sometimes. By having another character cast beserk, Basch can continue to attack enemies.) Ally: lowest HP / Strongest Weapon / Lowest Defense / Lowest Magick Resist These are some odd-ball gambits that you can use for special occasions. These are most useful if you don't keep the same group most of the time. (I had two groups that I rotated between, so I didn't really see any use for these gambits.) Presumably you could cast bubble (or reverse) on the lowest HP, protect on the lowest defense, shell on the lowest magick resist, and beserk on strongest weapon. Ally: Item >= 10 This gambit can prevent you from running out of an item automatically. For example, suppose you are in a tough fight, with people dropping left and right. If you are low on magic, you could easily run out of phoenix downs if you aren't careful. By using this gambit, once you have less ten items, this gambit will not longer be used. You can still use the items manually, but at least you don't have to worry about some character wiping out your inventory when you aren't looking. Self Targets These gambits allow a character to perform actions upon him/her self under certain conditions. Self This gambit will perform the action if it makes sense. Self: HP/MP < X% These gambits allow your HP or MP level to trigger a gambit. One gambit you should probably have on each character is: "Self: MP < 10% / Charge". This will allow your characters to gain back some MP when they are low. Self: Status=/status/ These gambits allow a character to perform an action when the character has the given status value. Usually you will want to undo any negative status effects. It is less obvious what to do for any positive effects. You probably don't want to use one of these gambits if other characters have a similar condition for any ally. Foe Targets These gambits can target various foes under certain conditions. Foe: Party leader's target This gambit targets whoever the party leader is attacking. If the character is the party leader, this gambit will cause them to keep attacking the same enemy until it is killed. If you use this gambit with each character, then the entire party to concentrate on one enemy at a time. Once that enemy is defeated, the party leader should have a gambit to choose the next enemy. Foe: Nearest visible This gambit causes the character to attack the closest enemy. This is a good gambit to include after the above gambit for the party leader. After the current enemy is defeated, this gambit will cause the party leader to attack the next closest enemy. If this gambit is used instead of the above gambit, then the character will always attack the closest enemy, which might be a different enemy each time. This will tend to fragment your attack, rather than concentrating on a particular enemy. Foe: Any This gambit would target any enemy that corresponds to the action. For example, "For: Any / Poison" will cast poison on any enemy that is not already poisoned. For: Targeting leader / self / ally This gambit will target any foe that is attacking the specified character (or, in the case of "ally", any character). Foe: nearest / farthest These gambits target the enemy that is closest or furthest from the character. Notice that "nearest" is slightly different than "nearest visible". For: Highest / Lowest HP, MP, Max HP, Max MP These gambits allow you to target an enemy based on either their current or their max HP/MP. You could use one of these gambits to let the party leader pick the next target. If you are fighting a boss that has a lot of small minions around, this can allow a character to concentrate on either the boss or the minions, depending on which gambit you choose. For: Highest / Lowest level, strength, magick power, speed These gambits allow you to target an enemy based on one of their characteristics. There are a number of ways you can use these gambits. If you have fighters and magicians, you can start with the lowest / weakest and work your way up, or start at the strongest and work yourself down. You can cast slow on the fastest enemy, cast wither on the strongest, etc. Foe: HP>X, HP
X%, HP=100% These gambits allow you to perform different types of actions depending on their current HP. One possible use of these gambits would be: "Foe: HP=100% / Steal" If the party leader has this gambit, they would try to steal from an enemy until they receive damage. (If the other characters have the "Foe: Party Leader's target" gambit, then the enemy would ahortly receive damage.) This approach would allow you to attempt to steal items for each enemy in the attacking party. Once every enemy has received damage, then the other gambits would take over. Foe: Status=/status/ These gambits allow you to target enemies based on their status. For example: "Foe: Status=Oil / Firaga". For: X-weak, X-vulnerable, undead These gambits allow you to target enemies based on their weaknesses (Undead are weak against cure spells.) If you are fighting a group of enemies that have different weaknesses, you can use these gambits to make the most out of your magic spells. If an enemy is weak against an elemental, it will sustain more damage than if it is vulnerable against the same elemental. Vulnerable merely means you can do damage (i.e., not immune), even if the damage is minimum. Weak against an elemental means the enemy will receive more damage than most other enemies. Foe: flying This gambit allows you to do something special for any flying enemies. This is very important to characters with short range melee weapons. Once you get telekenesis, you should have the "Foe: Flying / Telekenesis" gambit for all your melee fighters. Foe: character HP=100%, Item>10, HP/MP > X%, Status=/status/, HP Critical These gambits allow a character to change strategy depending on their own status. For example, if their MP is high, they can cast magic, but when their MP drops too low, they can switch to attacks. Sample Configurations * Partitioning Gambits <#parts> * Using Decoy <#decoy> * Making Money <#money> * Weakening the Enemy <#weak> When setting up gambits, try to envision what you want the various characters to do in given situations, and then set up the gambits to mimic your strategy. Next, you should get into a number of easy fights and pay attention to what each character does. Are they doing what you think they should be doing? If not, then find out why and adjust the gambits. Once you think you have your gambits in good shape, you are ready to try some harder battles. If you are using a good strategy, you should be able to sit back and watch a boss fight, and only need to pick up the controller when things get too far out of hand. I was able to sit beat a number of bosses without ever touching the controller. Some people might think that takes all the fun out of the game, but the characters were doing the same thing I would have commanded them to do if I weren't using gambits. This way, I'm able to keep an eye out for the big picture. Often when I'm in the middle of a fight, I'm looking around to see where I want to go after this fight is over. Partioning Gambits When setting up gambits, divide them into the following segments: High-priority support / recovery actions These gambits will be performed before the character attacks any of the enemies. This means that only high-priority actions that only fire under certain conditions should appear here. Some example gambits for this group would be: "Ally: Any / Raise" and "Ally: Any / Esuna", which will make sure that all party members are alive and not suffering most status problems. Battle actions These are the gambits that control the attacking of enemies. All the characters should have: "Foe: Party Leader's target", while the leader should then have something like "Foe: Nearest". Post-battle recovery actions These gambits only kick in once there are no enemies in the area. These can be used to recover the party. For example: "Ally; HP<100% / Cure". Using Decoy This approach causes the enemies to concentrate on the party leader, while the other members provide backup and only attack when the targetted character is in good condition. The gambits for the party leader could be: 1 Ally: Any Raise 2 Self Decoy 3 Foe: Party Leader's target Attack 4 Foe: Nearest visible Attack 5 Ally: HP<100% Cure The other characters could have the following gambits: 1 Ally: Any Raise 2 Ally: HP<40% Curaga 3 Ally: Any Esuna 4 Ally: HP<70% Cure 5 Foe: Party Leader's target Attack 6 Self Libra 7 Ally: HP<100% Cure Notice that both sets of gambits start the same way: to raise any fallen allies. The party leader puts him/herself into decoy status and then attacks the enemy. If one of the other characters die, then he/she will revive them, but otherwise he/she will continue to attack. The back-up characters make sure that everyone (especially the party leader) is in good health. As long as the party leader is in decent health, the backup characters will attack. As soon as his/her health drops to 70%, they will resuming healing. Notice that both backup characters have the same gambits, which mean they will often be doing the same thing. You can change this a bit by reversing gambits #3 and #4 so that if the party leader is both below 70% and has a status anomaly, each character will be working on a different problem. If both characters are casting "curaga" because the party leader is less than 40%, as soon as the first character casts their spell, the HP of the party leader will increase. If the new HP is above 40%, the second character will cancel their spell, since the gambit condition is no longer true. After the fight is over, the characters will continue to cure everyone until everyone is at 100% HP. This approach works best if you are attacking a single enemey, and the two backup characters are using long-range weapons. The party leader should have a melee weapon, and keep up close to the enemy. That way the backup characters stay out of harm's way. If the party leader gets killed, you might have to pick a different leader (depending on how quickly he/she is raised). If that happens, as soon as the original party leader is revived, make him/her the party leader again. The party leader will cast Libra (which makes traps and extra targetting information visible) whenever it times out. If it times out during a fight, the character will wait until after the fight before it casts it again. Making Money The following set of gambits can maximize the amount of money you accumulate. The party leader could have the following gambits: 1 Ally: Any Raise 2 Foe: HP=100% Steal 3 Foe: HP Critical Poach 4 Foe: Party Leader's target Attack 5 Foe: Lowest HP Attack 6 Ally: HP<100% Cure With the above gambits, the party leader will start out by attempting to steal from each enemy, and then concentrate on one enemy at a time, starting with the weakest enemy and working their way up. Whenever an enemy is close to being dead, the party leader will attempt to poach the enemy instead of attack it. (Make sure that you don't have all characters with this gambit, since some enemies are immune to poach, which means they will never kill off the enemy.) Weakening the Enemy The following gambits can be used by one of the backup characters (not the party leader). Their purpose will be to lower some stat of an enemy: either the defence, the magic defence, or the strength of the enemy. Which one you want to use depends on the nature of the enemy. You probably want to limit this type of setup to a boss. For normal types of enemies, you would be better off having everyone participate in the attack. 1 Ally: Any Raise 2 Ally: Any Esuna 3 Ally: HP<40% Curaja 4 Foe: Party Leader's target Expose, Shear, or Wither 5 Ally: HP<100% Cure With the above gambits, the character continue to hit the current enemy with whatever weakening technique was chosen. Remember that you can change gambits even during a fight, so you can let this character switch attacks at various times. For example, some bosses have times when they are impervious to physical or magic attacks. When this happens, you can switch the weakening attack as well as the actual attack from the other party members. Tips, Guidelines, Words of Wisdom, etc. * Forming Parties <#tip-party> * Mixing Weapons <#tip-weapons> * Changing Things on the Fly <#tip-changing> * Keeping Everyone Alive <#tip-alive> * Keeping Things in Order <#top-order> This section contains a collection of suggestions on how to get the most out of your game. Forming Parties Your party consists of three people. While you can combine characters in any way, and let any character be the party leader, if you keep changing party configurations you will have to keep switching gambits. Depending on how long it takes you to configure a new set of gambits, it might be best to have more stable party configurations. I had two groups that I pretty much always kept together. The first party was Vaan, Balthier, and Fran. The second party was Basch, Ashe, and Penelo. Vaan and Penelo are the two leaders, and both are configured for making money <#money>. Vaan and Penelo use a mele weapon and a shield. Balthier uses a gun, and Fran uses a bow, and both have a number of support gambits to heal and cure status problems before actually fighting. Ashe uses a one-handed weapon and a shield, while Basch uses a two-handed weapon and is normally in beserk mode. The advantage of the first party is that Fran and Balthier tend to stay out of harm's way, even if Vaan doesn't use decoy. This party has taken out bosses without me needing to even touch the controller. The second party, however, tends to clear out enemies quicker, especially if are set up to also cast haste on Basch (or hastega for everyone). I keep switching between the two parties to make sure they both stay at about the same level. The official strategy advises against this: it claims once you get to a high level, you should abandon one of the parties and concentrate on one. I don't care for that approach, but if you are in a hurry to finish the game, then that might be the way for you. Mixing Weapons You might be tempted to have everyone using the strongest weapons that are available, but that isn't always the best approach. It is important to understand how the various weapons behave in order to make an intelligent decision about what mix to use. For example, some heavy weapons like axes and hammers have a very high attack power, but they tend to be slower and tend not to combo very often. A weapon with less attack power may get multiple hits, which means the total damage per turn is more than the other weapon. Watch how much damage each character inflicts and then try changing weapons and see what changes appear. For distance weapons, the two types I tend to have Balthier and Fran use guns and bows. Guns tend to be weaker than bows, but guns ignore the defense of the enemy, which means that for enemies with high defense, a gun will do more damage than a bow. Changing Things on the Fly You can hit the triangle button during a battle and get into the menu system. At that point, you can change the equipment or the gambits for any character. The gambits system allows you to take more time looking at the battles, since you aren't mashing buttons all the time. Keep an eye out for signs of problems. For example, if you notice the enemy gets healed every so often during a battle, check to make sure that one of your characters doesn't have a weapon with an elemental that the enemy absorbs. If one character seems to be doing very little damage, consider changing what type of weapon they are using, or switch then to casting expose or shear to help increase the damage caused by the other characters. If you have Libra turned on, then take manual control of the party leader and target the current enemy. See if it has some kind of weakeness; if so, then change the attack of your high magic characters to match the weakness. If you have all characters with the "Foe: Party Leader's target" gambit, you can easily change the focus of the fight by manually taking control of the party leader and attacking whatever enemy you want to target next. As soon as the party leader targets a foe, the rest of the party will concentrate on that enemy. Keeping Everyone Alive One of the nice features of this game is that the game isn't over until all of your characters have been killed. Not just your active party, but all characters. If your entire active party is killed, you will get to change your party configuration. If your active party dies, switch to your other party. As soon as the fight resumes, take control of the party leader and cast "Raise" for each of the original party. Keep away from the enemies so that your party leader doesn't take damage. Basically, you want the other characters to keep the enemy busy while you are reviving the original party. Once the first party is alive and fully healed, you can either continue to attack with your current party, or switch back to your original party. I tend to stay with the other party, since the two have different fighting styles sometimes one group will tend to do better than the other. Keep Things in Order The order in which you arrange the gambits is very important. It is very easy to arrange gambits so that some of them will never be selected. It is also possible that you can end up getting killed off because you arranged the gambits in the wrong order. For example, suppose you want to keep your party healthy, and decide to cast "Cure" when a character gets below 90% HP. However, if a character takes a lot of damage, you might also want to cast "Curaga" if the character is below 30%. Suppose you set up the following gambits: The wrong order: 1 Ally: HP < 90% Cure 2 Ally: HP < 30% Curaga There is a serious problem with the above arrangement: the second gambit will never be selected. Remember that the first gambit with a valid condition will be executed, and then starts at the top of the list again. Suppose a character is at 70% HP. Since 70% is less than 90%, gambit 1 will be executed. However, if the character is at 20% HP, that is still less than 90%, so gambit 1 will be executed again. Gambit #2 will never be executed, and your character will probably die, since this character will only cast "Cure" even when you want them to case "Curaga". The correct order: 1 Ally: HP < 30% Curaga 2 Ally: HP < 90% Cure Now, if a character is at 70% HP, the condition for gambit #1 is false, so gambit #2 is examined. Since 70% is less than 90%, gambit #2 is executed. However, if the character is down to 20% HP, the condition for gambit is true, so the character will cast "Curaga." Here is another example: 1 Ally: Any Vox 2 Ally: Any Poisona 3 Ally: Any Esuna The above arrangement will help you save MP. If another member of the party is Silenced, this character will cast Vox to cure them. Likewise, if a character is poisoned, this character will cast Poisona to cure them. The Esuna spell will cure a wide variety of status ailments, including silence and poison, but it also costs a lot more than the more specific spells. This means that you can save MP by casting Vox instead of Esuna to cure Silence. Notice, however, if you had the above gambits in a different order, things wouldn't work quite right. If Vox or Poisona appeared /after/ Esuna, it will never get cast, since the character would cast Esuna instead. A more subtle problem appears below. Suppose you want to make a lot of money, so you try to poach whenever possible. (You can poach a foe who is down to critical HP. You finish off the foe and get some loot, even if you have stolen loot from the enemy earlier.) This gambit setup has problems: 1 Foe: HP Critical Poach 2 Foe: Party Leader's target Attack There are two problems with the above setup: (a) some enemies are immune to poach, and (b) stronger foes can be in HP Critical, but still have too much HP to poach. If either of the above conditions are true, then this character will never kill such an enemy. They will continue to try to poach the foe, and continue to fail. I had my party get killed once while fighting a mark once when I was distracted and doing something else (not related to the game). Make sure that at least one of your characters keeps attacking. A similar problem appears in the gambits below: 1 Foe: HP < 10% Attack 2 Ally: Any Raise 3 Ally: Any Esuna 4 Ally: HP < 50% Curaga 5 Foe: Party Leader's target Attack The idea with the above gambit setup is that if a foe is almost dead, have everyone pile on until it is dead, and then go back to the normal routine of heal and attack. The idea is that if you hurry up and kill a weakened enemy, you reduce the amount of damage your party will receive, since you have one less enemy attacking. The above gambit works great most of the time. The problem, however, comes when you are up against a boss, or any other foe with a huge HP. For normal foes, it doesn't take long to do away with 10% of their HP. However, you can have the boss below 10% HP, and it could still be a long time before you defeat it. During that time, other party members could easily get killed off if you aren't paying attention. An easy solution to the above situation is that, when facing a boss, simply go into the Gambit systems for your characters and turn gambit #1 off. After the boss fight is over, go back in and turn them on again. Version History 1.0 Initial draft