Final Fantasy XII: Level Up

By Shamus Posted Tuesday May 15, 2007

Filed under: Game Reviews 115 comments

There are two aspects that most people talk about when discussing Final Fantasy games: The story, and the gameplay. In my previous posts I said I was unhappy with both. I’ve started the game over, and I’m still not happy with the story, but this time through the gameplay is really working for me.

In previous FF games, I’d march straight through the game, occasionally taking little half-hour leveling sessions to level up a bit past the monsters and ease my way past the occasional bossfight. This usually worked well. I was doing that here, and wondering why the game was so murderously hard.

For those that played the game: I was level 14 when I reached the Ogir-Yensa Sandsea. I was sort of surprised that the game gave me a level 18 NPC to travel with, and I was even more surprised to see that even with his help the journey through the Sandsea was really hard. Then I had a sort of forehead-slapping “duh” moment and realized that the little bits of leveling I was doing were falling way, way short of what the designers intended.

Final Fantasy 12, a 101-zombie-killing chain.
We just killed over a hundred zombies. Are you guys bored? I’m not bored. I could do another hundred if you wanted.
Now on my second attempt at the game I’ve done some treadmill leveling. In the Lhusu mines I found a nice spot that generated endless foes at a steady pace. I cranked up the combat speed and ran around, slaughtering those foes for a couple of hours. Later I found myself on an enemy airship with laser tripwires. Crossing them would sound an alarm and cause bunches of guards to emerge from the woodwork and throw themselves onto the end of my sword. We were careful to set each and every one of them off repeatedly. The process sort of reminded me of this Penny Arcade comic.

The gambit system makes it pretty easy to automate most of this, so I was reading blogs and writing posts while I nudged the analog stick and kept the process moving. Yes, I realize how absurd it is to look for ways to amuse myself while I’m playing a game. It’s like going to a concert and listening to your iPod the whole time. In the end, this silly behavior paid off. This time around I was level 24 by the time I hit the Sandsea, and it’s like I’m playing Final Fantasy again.

Now, I disapprove of this mandatory level-grinding for the most part. I think XP farming should be optional. It should be something risk-adverse gamers (like me) do to get ahead, not something everyone should be forced to do in order to keep up. Having said that, the game is so much more fun now that I’ve invested the time to get “ahead”.

Final Fantasy 12, $20,000 for bone fragments?
I don’t know why people are so excited about bone fragments, but after I killed all those zombies people were willing to pay a lot of money for this stuff.
And now that I’ve done it, further grinding is pretty painless. My crew can wipe out most foes in just two or three hits. Whenever I find an area dense with foes, I run around and slaughter them for a bit. The constant killing has yielded a lot of loot, which fixed the money shortage problem I was having. In my earlier post I complained that high-level foes were mixed in with lower level ones, just waiting to kill unwary players. Now when I meet these things I can actually survive long enough to run away, instead of getting insta-killed. I even managed to beat one, but just barely. (It wasn’t really worth the time it took to bring him down, but it was sort of amusing to try.)

The other thing I did which added to my enjoyment of the game was to look up the layout of the license grid. The game really, really needed to make the contents of grid squares visible ahead of time so the player could plan ahead. Opening abilities via blind luck sucked a huge amount of strategy out of the game, and using this “cheat sheet” fixed that and made the game a lot more interesting.

 


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115 thoughts on “Final Fantasy XII: Level Up

  1. AJ says:

    I had to do a lot of blatant leveling as well, and to be honest, I did the same thing you did, in the same places. The sandsea turned out to be a great one too because you can get the chain up to an insane level and once you do that they drop all the restoratives you could possibly need, so a correct set of gambits and some analog nudging later, you’re level 40.

    Admittedly, I also don’t normally care for a forced grind, but in this case, at least the grind doesn’t feel as bad since you can basically turn on “autopilot” and let them go while doing other things.

    I agree completely on the hidden grid issues. I got the collector’s edition of the strategy guide (it was soooo pretty) and just pulled out the huge map of the grid and let it go crazy.

    Also, if you haven’t yet, look up the stuff on the Zodiac spear. The weapon is fantastic, but it’s way too easy to make it unavailable since you’re just popping chests open and leaving others closed.

  2. DocTwisted says:

    I, like you, had to start over due to getting my keester handed to me, and on the second time around I did some serious grinding. It does make all the difference… my general rule of thumb now is to go out and hunt until I’ve made enough to buy everything I can at the latest shops. So far that’s worked well for me.

    That spot with the skeletons in the mines is still my favorite place to go, for both the chain you reach and just how quick it can build you up.

  3. Mordaedil says:

    Grinding makes me choke. What is the point of making your players spend more time doing tedious stuff when you can do something that is actually fun? It’s like playing DOOM only with a pistol with 5 bullets and challenge them to complete the game in Nightmare mode without switching weapons.

    … Well, not that impossible, but it’s about as fun when you’ve died for 100th time. I think it’s about time RPG’s do away with the leveling system for something that actually means roleplaying, over grinding.

  4. rou says:

    To me, required grinding is sign that the game is broken.

    If the game curve isn’t a constant growth, it’s pushing you out of the plot and out of immersion. This is even worse when you’re playing an RPG, because they’re supposed to be designed to ROLE PLAY.

    Being forces to kill infinitely spawning creatures is the antithesis of role playing. I’d leave a pen and paper campaign if my DM did that. Why should we expect less of our video games?

    1. CONQUEST says:

      you are right, but really ? who told you this game need to be grinding ? you only need to be focus -.- i finish this game with only level 48 vaan , 47 basch,46 penelo , balthier and fran level 28 , ashe level 32 lol -.- feywood is tactics is just make them sleep and bleed them of break (petrified) them , you cant think about how to use the gamble to be usefull -.- try it yourself, all you need is patient , sleep , petrify / bleed , or you can get nipholoa, and use remedy ^^ make em stop , poison , blind, etc , just use your mind if you wandering my equipment that time , sorry i forgot XD, all i remember that vaan using protect the queen as well as basch , penelo use diamon swords, and diamon armor , fran balthier and ashe, well… i dont equip them with powerfull equip , just make them to use tortoise krunch (or what ever ) that make mp using to be gil , because i dont really make much money from the game, and only use mp for quickening done ! finish the game quite long but i finaly made it *pant**pant* when i go to the feywood, yes i did but not died anyhow

  5. Vegedus says:

    Grinding and using my computer at the same time? You’re a genious Shamus! I hadn’t thought of that! I’ll go try right now, hope they’re not too far apart for me to be able to do that.

  6. Lebkin says:

    “To me, required grinding is sign that the game is broken.”

    Mandatory grinding also is an easy way for developers to artificially pad the length of the game. Final Fantasy games always brag about long play times, usually in the 50+ hour range. But how much of that is actual game and how much is mindless leveling?

    My personal preference is that going through the main storyline should provide enough experience to overcome all challenges. Going on side quests and level grinding should make the main challenges easier, as a reward. But a game should not penalize players who don’t do side quests or level grinding.

    I remember when I played through FFX, I found the game challenging, and the last fight to be a memorable encounter. This was with only the minimum side quests and only a bit of level grinding. Mostly, I did quests that looked interesting, and level grinding when wandering from one place to another looking for side quests. My goal was to experience the story, not make uber-strong characters. To be honest, I really don’t like the overly-lethal combat of FF games and their various cousins. It worked pretty well, and I was rarely overly frustrated.

    On the other hand, I took a similar strategy with FFX-2 and it failed. At one point, I reached a boss that could cause more damage than any of my characters had hit points, and he hurt all three at once. I looked to game guides for help, thinking I missed something that could protect me from the attack. Nope, nothing. Instead I was given long explanations on how to level grind up till a strong enough level, noting that I would be ready to fight the boss in “only three or four hours.” The same thing happened in many other RPG of the same style, such as Xenosaga. No story, no matter how interesting and beautifully done, is worth level grinding for three or four hours.

    But I think this is a symptom of Final Fantasy’s success. They built a franchise on a very specific type of gameplay, and it is hard to break certain habits. I know that several long-time FF fans I know hated FFX, because it was easy and didn’t require long hours of level grinding. So I have just learned to avoid that whole style of RPG games and leave it to those who prefer it.

  7. Inane Fedaykin says:

    Mind that several people have completed this game without going over level 3. I haven’t and wouldn’t want to try it but it can be done with a bit of kiting.

    1. CONQUEST says:

      it will be super hard , but i does see someone did it , they dont use lp and magic, i wonder how they do it but well, they are super great

  8. Sebastian says:

    The last RPG I played was Chrono Cross (yes, I’ve played some more modern games, but this is the last one I’ve played — I dug it out of the closet). It breaks from a lot of the Chrono Trigger/Final Fantasy battle and levelling conventions, and almost completely eliminates grinding as a game mechanic. Major differences from Final Fantasy style gameplay:

    – No random encounters (this is like Chrono Trigger – you can see all enemies on the world/level map before you fight them)
    – No MP cost – You charge up your special attack power by doing melee attacks and then spend it to activate your specials (magic, special abilities, consumable use). The higher level they are, the more power they consume to use.
    – No XP grinding – there’s no explicit XP stat. After fighting random critters, you might get some loot or a few pluses to stats. I suspect there’s probably an XP system running in the background to hand out the stat bonuses, but there’s no XP ever displayed to the user. Levelling gives you more slots for specials (and unlocks innate specials), and occurs automatically after major battles. Your level is therefore locked in with the state of the plot — you’re never out of sync with the areas you’re supposed to be in or the next boss you have to fight.
    – Equipment always cost money *and* parts to buy/construct – usually there’s a specific ingredient for each tier of equipment, so in order to equip your whole party with stone gear, you need to have enough stones (and enough cash).

    Given the level sync/plot integration described above, what made the battles challenging (for me, anyway) is having to find the right elemental spec for my specials for each battle. Each character has an innate element (one of six, three pairs of opposites), and each enemy has an innate element, and finding the right combination of specials to spec for a particular battle is a lot more fun (to me anywway) than grinding on mobs for half an hour in order to power over the boss.

    The only time I had to go back and fight mobs for a while was to get loot ingredients and money to upgrade equipment, but I think that happened once through the whole game.

  9. Downtym says:

    Two of my favorite FF’s were FF 6 and FF 7. These were the only two Final Fantasies that I found it possible to literally pick up the game and just play through to the end without having to wrap a rubber band onto the controller for some easy auto levelling.

    If the challenge of the game is boiled down to “Walk back and forth on this beach until you’re level X. Now go fight boss Y. Now go back to that beach and walk back and forth until you’re level Z. Now go fight boss Q.” then I don’t fight it to be a very rewarding experience. I prefer puzzles, quests, mazes, and interesting boss fights – and let me emphasize that it helps if said puzzles, quests, mazes, and interesting boss fights are actually well thought out and not of the “Ask everyone in town, one of the guys has the answer! Congratulations!” type – in a game. If you want to go grind, that should be available as a means to make the game easier or more approachable or as a way to accomplish wacky side-quests, but it shouldn’t be a requirement in a single-player game to grind your face off to fight the next boss.

    That just seems like a treadmill for your thumbs.

  10. Adam says:

    Maybe I’m a weird game player, but I barely had to grind at all in FFXII, and never in X-2. In XII I only grinded when I needed money, once in the Lhusu mines and once near the end of the game. Both times I didn’t spend more than a couple hours at it. I can’t stand grinding outside of MMOs.

    1. CONQUEST says:

      hahaha, same with me

  11. Roy says:

    I can't stand grinding outside of MMOs.

    Ugh. I can’t stand it even in MMOs.

    I know that I’m definitely not part of the MMO target, because I just can’t justify paying a monthly fee unless I’m leveling at a pretty steady rate. If I’m going to play, I want to level at least every other time I log in. I don’t have the time to four, five, six hours at a time, and a dozen on weekends.

    Blah.

    Yeah, grinding just annoys me. I think it’s one of the things that kept me from getting into most RPGs that I’ve been exposed to. Grind, grind, grind.

  12. Jeff says:

    I don’t recall doing much actual grinding until midgame, where I stopped in an attempt to afford some good items (accessories that give double license points, grimoires, and thief gloves) that would reduce the need for grinding later.

    Even when I did grind, it wasn’t as bad as other console RPGs I’ve played because of the automation, and because I didn’t spend time waiting for battle screens to load.

    What I *did* do was take a completist tack. I would detour from the main plot to do all the hunts and side quests I could find. That put me at about the level of the NPCs. I do think the Final Fantasy series tends to be badly designed in that it’s often balanced for the completist player, which means that the player who doesn’t want to spend time on the side quests has a very hard time unless he or she does some mindless leveling instead. (OTOH, there’s things like Knights of the Round that I’ve heard totally unbalance the game in the other direction.)

    1. Anna Perkins says:

      Knights of the Round as far as I know was only in one of the games. FF7. Most people skip it anyway since you need the golden chocobo and you have to breed it or win the chocobo race on the highest level. If you master it out though even the final bosses aren’t very challenging. Well then again my brother was in the 70’s when he showed me it so that might also play into it doing a 9999 with all but like the last hit which was a 9867? Not to mention it hits about 14 times. Point is you can’t get the OP summon unless you work for it and I can’t see anyone working that hard unless it’s for a complete game. As for the level grinding it is a little ridiculous. I’m 25 hours in, just got to Lhusu Mines and my highest character is 17 because I was using the werewolves to gain levels. Doesn’t hurt that I have everyone with javelin as their weapon with the strongest armor I could afford. However I’ve also killed every mark so far. Only one left that was available is the elite mark Rocktoise. So I guess it was worth all the extra monsters and hours hunting for loot to sell. I’m as well prepared as I can be for this section. Sorry for rambling, I can get off track easily and I haven’t slept yet so it’s even easier right now. Going back to killing skeletons for the fragments now, bye!

  13. Adam says:

    Final Fantasy VII is not balanced for the completist. When I was 11 or 12, and not a very skilled RPG player, I beat it with a little trouble. When I replayed it a few months ago, my experience in boss fights was figuring out the most amusing way to kill my enemies.

    FFXII… I don’t really think that it’s balanced either for completists or for grinders. I think if you use a license grid guide, plan your parties in advance, and not avoid too many monsters during your journey, you’ll find that the only grinding you ever have to do is for money, and even that only once or twice throughout the game, and for no more than an hour (if you know where to do it).

  14. Deoxy says:

    Question: how does one get better at something? Practice?

    I would think the PCs would have to practice somehow, if they actually want to get better.

    If you don’t spend any time “grinding”, but the game is designed to keep you at just about the right level by the number of fights you have to do just to get where you are going, how is that really much different from the latest Elder Scrolls game, where the enemies level with you? In fact, why have leveling at all?

    I like to feel like I’ve accomplished something (even if it’s something stupid and pointless… says something about my life right now, especially my job, huh?)… I like to have enemies that I can’t beat… and then that I can, because of something I did. I think this is the inherent draw of “grinding” to so many people: a sense, even a completely fake and silly one, of accomplishment.

    Ouch. Wasn’t intending to get philosophical, or anything, but that’s some kind of indictment of our society (or perhaps the human condition), I think.

  15. Stranger says:

    Largely, I ground for License points more than EXP but I did spend a fair amount of time gathering loot to do my “mandatory stocking” which is my standard RPG approach.

    “Find vendor who sells equipment. Grind until you can afford that equipment, plus 10 of most healing/support items. Add 10 Antidotes (Poison SUCKS, I hate it in every game), and 20 Potions (Extra healing is always useful). Repeat upon opening next town, if needed.”

    Suffice it to say, I did a LOT of grinding in the first two “Dragon Quest/Warrior” games. Grinding which was very much not fun. It’s noted FF12 is an RPG where you can automate grinding with Gambits (Search GameFAQs for “Negalmuur LEveling Trick”, for even more insane methods.). This is (IMHO) neither a step forward, nor a step back . . . it is a sidestep to the player boredom from such sorts of grinding.

    I had . . . SOME problems with the Firemare boss, but I didn’t especially recall it being a TPK experience. I have stopped inside the Airship to take advantage of the laser tripwires to bring my newest party members “up to spec” with Licenses.

    Anyone remember when you could beat a Final Fantasy in under a day’s play time? FF9 gave a reward for doing it, if you got to a room in the last dungeon in under something like 12 hours . . . and it was eminently possible! (But the rewarded “ultimate weapon” required shutting out some sidequests and trips which were more rewarding in the long run.)

    I’ve got a game you may hate, or love, Shamus . . . “Digital Devil Saga”. I love it, personally, because it is a little more strategic than most RPGs and it uses turn-based combat. Grinding in that game is, however, very much present but becomes *FAR* easier towards the end of the game for higher rewards. But the story should be interesting to you, all the same.

  16. Bogan the Mighty says:

    You know I didn’t ever have too much of a problem grinding. Like I started XII over again and got to the mines before I really needed to grind and that’s mainly for money issues. Also there are a few things out there that can help lower grinding even if its a bit later in the game. Like there are items that double xp or lp. Also there are a bunch of random things like talking to a weapon shop owner like 30 times and you’ll get a book in a bazaar that increases loot for a certain monster type. Of course you really would need a strategy guide to figure out how to get them all.

  17. The Pancakes says:

    Shamus, the idea of finding something ‘fun’ to do while you’re playing a game is just so bizarre to me, and yet I see it more and more as time goes on. I still think WoW is the worst offender in this category, having spent countless hours staring at the screen waiting to get somewhere so I could start playing.

    The first and only Final Fantasy I played was FF7 on the PS1. I spent 10 hours or so playing the game, but was unable to make any progress that I noticed toward finishing it or even making sense out of what was going on, so I stopped playing. I haven’t been interested in Final Fantasy since.

  18. unbeliever says:

    My main problem with the FF series is that I tend to glide through things as efficiently as possible, often the low levels result in sweating it out on bosses, but a try or two later they fall. The end result is I always come up against the last big bad and find the game unbeatable without spending a dozen or more game sessions just grinding the xp.

    As much as I enjoy final bosses that take half an hour to kill, i hate needing to spend the time needed getting the 20-30 levels I’m lacking, especially so close to the end.

  19. “Mandatory grinding also is an easy way for developers to artificially pad the length of the game. Final Fantasy games always brag about long play times, usually in the 50+ hour range. But how much of that is actual game and how much is mindless leveling?”

    I can’t speak for FFXII, but here’s an exercise for FFX that is one of the major reasons why I just couldn’t stand to run through it again, or “finish” the optional parts of the game:

    * Start with the number of sphere grid spaces there are on the sphere grid: 828 nodes.

    * Multiply by the number of characters: 6 * 828 = 4,968

    * Multiply by the amount of time it takes to fill in a single node at full speed, approx. 2 seconds, divide out for minutes: ~160 minutes spent simply watching animations of the sphere grid. Two seconds may be a bit generous too; it doesn’t take much to push that into three of the hours of “gameplay”.

    * Divide back out for how far in the game you actually progress. If you just run through the game with minimal side quests or grinding, your characters overlap each other by about half (IIRC), so you can multiply by about 1.5/6, for merely ~40 minutes spent staring at the sphere grid.

    The ironic thing is how little true choice is given to you by the sphere grid, despite this massively larger charge in time vs. a traditional level system. Branch points are relatively rare, certainly far more rare than how often I have to choose “feats” or equivalent in other systems.

    The license grid’s resemblance to the Sphere Grid is one of the things that make me really nervous about FFXII. With every iteration, it seems like FF respects your time less and less, catering to the people who want to level grind at the expense of all else. That’s their decision, but it’s not one I like. What’s worse is that it seems like everything is moving that way. Here’s hoping Fallout 3 actually resembles Fallout 1 and 2….

  20. James Blair says:

    The level of all party members when they join you is based entirely on the average party level when they join. Thus, there is much in-game benefit to levelling Vaan as much as possible before letting Penelo join him for the first time (i.e. her level is equal to Vaan’s, and others will normally start out 1-4 levels ahead of Vaan).

    There’s a long and rather silly strategy to getting Vaan to solo to level 30 or so before going on with the game. Up to level 20 or so, it’s probably worth doing. Any more than that, the game becomes too easy for too long and boredom might ensue.

  21. Xanthir, FCD says:

    My experience with FF12 (and Final Fantasy in general) is similar to Jeff(comment#12)’s. Basically, I didn’t have to grind at all, because I was being completist in the first place. I got all the XP/loot/etc I needed as a side effect of completing the challenges.

    Money was tight in the beginning, but I liked that. Later in the game it became trivial, which I also liked. In general I thought the dynamic was just fine.

    I do tend to grind a bit in most games, though. I actually enjoy it, though. I have to wait until I get a chance to play without my wife (we usually play RPGs together), because she hates grinding even a little bit. ^_^

  22. CyberGorth says:

    The only Final Fantasy that I play with any kind of regularity is the 1st, original, 8-bit NES one emulated for my PC. Grinding is in that game too. If you want to be able to afford new equipment and spells once you reach Elfland you HAVE to grind becuase the prices get jacked up that much. Grinding has been a part of Final Fantasy, and most other Video Game RPG’s since day 1. The better ones just disguise it with side-quests.

  23. DocTwisted says:

    You’ve got to grind, grind, grind, at that grindstone;
    though childhood slips like sand through a sieve.
    And all too soon they’ve up and grown,
    and then they’ve flown…
    And it’s too late for you to give.

    Sorry, had a Mary Poppins moment there, with all these people discussing the merits or evils of grinding in RPGs.

    One of my best friends is an avid RPG gamer, and he detests grinding. The new Elder Scrolls game is his personal favorite right now, in large part because the game levels with you, much as a DM running a “balanced” PnP campaign would. He didn’t care much for the recent iterations of Final Fantasy.

    I, meanwhile, am also an avid RPG gamer, and as mentioned in another comment earlier, I’ve played FF games almost completely through the first one on 8-bit NES (Note: still haven’t played X or IX, and will never play XI). I am okay with some grinding. I usually like to stock up on all the items in the shop (and by “stock up,” I’m talking 99 of each usable item and one of each weapon, armor, or magic spell). What irks me more is the growing trend of needing either to buy the spoiler book or find a full spoiler like the ones at gamefaqs.com in order to complete the game. There’s just some side-quests I wouldn’t complete properly without a walkthrough… like… well, like MOST the side-quests in X-2, where you have to say just the right thing to enough people at the right time in one, or get through another section perfectly in another, or get the exact right camera sequence in a given “mystery” subgame, or… argh. That really made me shake my head and wonder WTF the game creators were thinking. FF XII suffers from this same pet peeve a bit too, see the “Zodiac Spear” unlocking as the most blatant example.

  24. Zaxares says:

    Personally I feel that grinding does have a place in RPGs, but (and this is a big BUT) it has to be OPTIONAL. I feel that a game should be structured so that, if your character only does the bare minimum required to progress through the storyline, you should be able to scrape through the battles by the skin of your teeth.

    If you take the time to detour around and do every single available side-quest (or at least most of them), you should have a much easier time overcoming encounters due to your higher level and/or better equipment.

    If you decide to take a major hiatus and just stomp Goombas/slaughter rats/smack mutant bunnies till the cows come home, you’ll obviously be able to steamroll your opposition, but at the cost of spending way more time in the same area of the game.

    Incidentally, I really hate games that scale encounters based on your level due to my particular view of how game difficulty should work, because it makes me feel that, no matter how much effort I put into advancing my character, the enemies he encounters are always going to be more powerful than him.

  25. Mordaedil says:

    “Personally I feel that grinding does have a place in RPGs”

    :(

    What changed about RPG’s in the last decade?

  26. Zack says:

    One thing that contributes to grinding is if you try to keep your entire party at the same level like my girlfriend does. Another friend picked his 3 favorite character and the game was much faster an easier since he didn’t have to grind to level the “extra” characters.

    I love license system. Shamus is completely right in that knowing the grid layout is almost mandatory unless you want to have “two handed-berserker” healers, and grenade wielding blackmages.

    If your non-played characters leveled with you I would be much happier with the game. It is a fun game, but I just don’t have time to grind these days… ‘Least not until my troll priest hits 70. *grin* Yah mon!

  27. Bard says:

    “Two of my favorite FF's were FF 6 and FF 7. These were the only two Final Fantasies that I found it possible to literally pick up the game and just play through to the end without having to wrap a rubber band onto the controller for some easy auto levelling.”

    The sidequests in FF6 were nice that way (though the first couple of times through, I did have to grind before the Floating Continent), but in FF7, I spent way too much time on the Gelnika. That, and I foolishly went for Knights of the Round. Never again. The summon is as tedious as the chocobo rigmarole required to get to it.

  28. Stranger says:

    @ #25 “What changed about RPG's in the last decade?”

    The NES game Dragon Warrior had grinding in it, way back when. So did the first Final Fantasy (the game was practically TOO hard without it). As long as there have been computer-based RPGs, there’s been something to grind for. The Gold-Box D&D games from SSI were much . . . MUCH . . . worse as far as the grinding went. Without doing mandatory grinding early on you could very easily have your head handed to you.

    Of course, then you have Nippon Ichi “Strategy RPGs” like Disgaea which are nothing BUT grinding levels or loot out.

    I’ll be worried when/if I see a fighting game or a flight sim have ‘grinding’ in it as an integral part rather than “something to do”.

  29. Fieari says:

    In response to:

    14 Deoxy Says:
    May 15th, 2007 at 5:03 pm

    Question: how does one get better at something? Practice?

    I would think the PCs would have to practice somehow, if they actually want to get better.

    This is not true. At least, not in the sense that the more your practice something, the better you get at it. This is simply not true. As the article I linked says (and also the article discussed in the article linked) “It's possible to spend a very long time at something and still not be good at it. It's also possible to spend a short time on something and be extremely good at it.”

    I hate grinding. I don’t mind it in FFXII so much, because it’s so easy to do, and I can easily surf the web during the process. Of course, it’s possible to play the game without grinding, it just takes quite a bit of skill.

    FFX had the absolute best system out of all the Final Fantasies though. You never, ever, EVER have to grind. Not once. Furthermore, the entire game can be beaten without ONCE even VISITING the sphere grid. Check Gamefaqs for step-by-step guides. It’s easier than you’d think, although to be honest, slightly more time consuming. But it’s more time consuming in a meaningful manner… that time is spent DOING things, not just repeating the same motions over and over and over again.

    Whatever. I still maintain that FFXII’s story is king over FFX’s.

  30. Hal says:

    Y’know, I ended up voluntarily grinding when I played FFX. I was ready to take on Sin and I thought, “Let’s get those Celestial Weapons. Ooh, and the Omega Ruins! Let’s go through those!”

    By the time I’d finished with all of that, I was ready to take on Sin. Except, I was too ready. I had characters who could do nearly as much damage as the final bosses had.

    The grinding aspect of that game was so that characters could fight the ultra-hard monsters in the arena. Except, there was no fine line there. In order to beat most of those, you had to spend 100+ hours of game time building levels. I ended up trying a couple of them, but got bored when I realized that I’d never touch most of them without giving up on other games.

    When I think about it, I realize that a lot of the FF games end up having some degree of grinding in them. I’m not entirely certain how I just accepted that. FFIV was usually when you arrived on the moon. FFVI was typically after you picked up your airship in the world of ruin. Even in FFIX, my first time fighting that female soldier (crap, can’t remember the name anymore!) left me realizing I needed more levels.

    I don’t have much patience for that these days. I’ve been grinding on FFIII on my DS, but the only reason I’m dealing with it is because it gives me something to do on my commute every day. Honestly, none of these comments give me much reason to pick up FFXII.

  31. Basilios says:

    It’s a very nice idea, and I’ll keep it in mind for when I finally find enough players to set up a campaign. But doesn’t it mean you still have to plan for every bit of the territories in the map, albeit in a discretized way?

    Another thing I could try for those insisting in traveling in the blank areas of the map is the good old Random Encounter table, or rather, a set of ones tweaked for the regions they’re exploring. I’m hoping that would give off enough “wilderness” feeling… After all, what is it you get in wild, unexplored regions? Animals, xenophobic tribesmen, possibly brigands, and deserts, treacherous swamps and impassable mountains. As someone said before me, there’s a reason why the places are empty, right?

  32. Basilios says:

    Good gods, I submitted a comment for the wrong post :-P

    I apologise.

  33. Trevor says:

    One thing i love in games is micro-management. Final Fantasy games give a lot of choices to tweak each character: Gear, Spells, Materia (i loved FF3/6’s thing), Gambits, Sphere Grids, etc etc etc.

    These are some of the reasons i like to play final fantasy games, the micro-management.

  34. Jacob says:

    Personally i think grinding is more fun than the actual storyline, but a game of just grinding isn’t that fun. I’ve played FFX and FFX-2 pretty much without griding and as i look back i find FFXII more thrilling than the the others.

  35. Bradisonfire says:

    I was late getting into RPGs. The first real RPG I played was FF-X. I played through the game without a walkthrough, and without completing a lot of the side quests. When I got to Yunalesca, which I think is like the third to last boss, my entire party got slaughtered. It happened over and over again, no matter what strategy I used. My characters simply weren’t at a high enough level.

    The bad part about the whole thing is I think for some reason at that point in the game you can’t go back to the previous area, and my only other save file was from somewhere close to only half way through the game.

    So I loaded up my gameshark, and proceeded to cheat and win the game. I had mixed feelings, because after all the time I spent playing it, I cheated to get to the end.

    It’s frustrating. I’ve been playing FF-XII and I’ve been grinding. I’m not even a quarter done with the game, and my characters are already around level 35. Again, I have mixed feelings about this, because I’ve been running around in the Lhusu mines for so long and/or using the respawning Dustia trick for hours on end, and I’ve darn near forgotten the main plotline of the game.

    It’s ridiculous. Games are supposed to be fun. I remember when I was a kid, I beat Super Mario 3 in under two hours or something like that. I was happy about it for about five minutes, then I went outside and played. Games should be a diversion. They shouldn’t consume your every waking hour with thoughts about where to go for the quickest leveling or whether or not you missed any side quests.

  36. Khen says:

    Hi, I’m also a player and I’m just here to give a training tip for those still in the beginning, this training should let you kill the T-Rex in the estersand in under three hours of glaying the game. That part’s a really cool achievement and it’s really very useful too.

    The training is pretty monotonous cause you’ll be running around the first area of the estersand all the time but Oh My God you’ll be a powerhouse in three to four hours and based on my experience, if you’re willing you’ll get a level 20-25 vann in 10 hours flat.

    Training starts at the very beginning.

    when you are controlling reks and running round the fortress, all you have to do is open all the chest for all the potions you can take, don’t use a single one, you’ll sell them later.

    then at the part when vaan fights the three rats, successfully steal from all the rats.

    then when you are given the mission to kill the rotten tomato, on’t go out the city just yet, instead visit the magic shop and sell all your potions and the crap you stole from the rats, you should now have 400+ gil. Then buy cure, go to the weapons department and buy a dagger, daggers are strong and fast. Now go out to estersand and save.

    Continued…

  37. Khen says:

    Continuation…

    Ok don’t run to the tomato,trust me you can kill the ugly T-Rex before you do, first, kill enough monsters to get the license for the cure magic, save or whatever then get enough LP for the dagger. Do this all without entering the gates, only saving or resting in the save point.

    Now it’s time. save and clear the area of enemies, again avoid tomato, try as hard as you could, AVOID THE T-REX AND THE ROUND BIRDS THEY ARE A WASTE OF TIME FOR NOW. just kill the cacti and the wolves. Do this to level up primarily. then once you clear the area for the first time you’ll notice that the game is not respawning the monsters fast enough. Now a sort of trick or cheat i discovered comes into play, you’ve probably done this too. once there’s very little monsters left, go back to the save point and save, pause and then quit your game then reload it. go out and wala! the area is again full of them, kill and reload as repeated, to get enough LP to run straight towards the nearest quickening in the license board. you’ll find them by pressing X to see the title of the license and a ??? underneath. the title should say Quickening. this is one of the boring steps of this training, once you’ve activated your first quickening you are strong enough to kill the tomato but not just yet, kill more ordinaries and you should activate the 2nd and third quickening in two hours. anyway the dagger gives you the speed to kill. after activating the first two quickenings you can get lucky and kill the T-rex but the third quickening could increase your chances byy a lot. I’ve done this in 2:45 of playng the game, and the tomato saw kill the infamous T-Rex in front of his eyes. Anyway if you’re bored after killing the T-Rex you kan show the tomato hell and go back to rabanastre, and go back to estersand. To level up to level 20 just kill the T-Rex and save and reload to espawn him and then kill him again. that’s basically it. I only took 10 hours to level up to 20 because each time i kill the T-rex, I also kill everybody else for LP before saving and reloading. I recommend that to optimize your growth, try heading down to the augments in yur license board because they are more helpful this early in the game. In my game, I was lvl 30 before lowtown was opened, but that’s hard boring work, just go to lvl 20+ and you’ll be fine.

    1. CONQUEST says:

      those tips went well , but only level 20 is already to high, well, if you really want an easy storyline this way really good or should i say great , but if you want a hard core story line you can follow mine :
      1. eastersand, kill the cactic and wolf just some (maybe 20 to get level 3 and enough lp to get broad sword) this should give you some loot , use steal to get more loot maybe give you 500 – 1000 you can kill more if you want to get more money and a bit of exp. talk to the empire , and wait at a line , after line’s your turn, just talk to it and tell you want to get in to the town, sell your loot, buy all magic and buy broad sword or dagger if you want. Then kill the rougue , and go back, talk to tmaj after that and you get 200 gill and other things, now, you maybe level 4, After the cutsceen when vayne already come, go to easter sand , now the other way from the post should be open, go to nalbina(before penelo join party, just do it fast and make penelo gone), buy long sword and poison, protect and buy armor this will be hard, but if you want to go hardcore, dontk ill them, just steal from it, now you ready ! go to waterway, buy potion,antidote, eye drop , run run run , steal from the rat, run run run , i got there still in level 4 ( i was tierd to kill all of those) and got balthier and fran at party level 5, make them learn magic and skill steal, then i use gambits like this :
      Vaan : party leader, attack(2)|nearest unit steal (1)
      Balthier : ally, any cure , critical : first aid
      Fran : party leader, steal , nearest steal
      i use the leader as balthier, balthier wont attack though now after go long way, you should get at least 50 rat pelt (or more if you patient tipe people unlike me)now you at the dungeon , you will fight 3 people just use fire to it, easy win, go to the mimic place, sell all your loot , buy other magic and phonix down and other thing. Still level 5 and level 4 vaan, go nuts at mimic, (note : i didn’t kill any other foes) and it comes to mimic queen, use blizard blizard and again and again, there you won, after that you will get into the eastersand, with the teleport stone, go to the village, sell your loot , you will maybe got 7000 money now. go to nalbina and equip your character to max maybe your money will be 1000 , still level 5 gonna be hard nay ? now balthier gone and fran as well , basch as well now go to giza plain , steal steal steal , get some loot and kill ( try to make combo/s) until you make level 8 (max 14 if you want to ) then go to old dalana, speak speak and bla bla bla and then give him the sword and then cutsceen and go to wester sand , gonna be hard with only level 8, kill slowly and steal , for great content, now you mayhap be level 10 (from 8) (if you level 14 at giza, well you dont need to do it). and search balthier and fran at sandsea. go to bhujerba, larsa will join you , fight fast steal loot if you want from the skeleton , and go to the boss bagamaan and the other. Use mist ( you should have at least 1 for each character from battling at giza and easter , will get more lp from giza though because you kill more many) get your attention at bagaaman , or if you want, you can run until they dont chase you anymore, Contineu….. sorry i am tired from writing this much , this way work super, just remember all you need is sleep , bleed , petrify or immoblize or disamble if you have no sleep

  38. Khen says:

    I also hope you comment on my sadistc training strategy, another plus in this strategy, is that because Vaan is totally alone in this part, every one who joins his party would be level 20+ already with a lot of LP, i think this is a time saver because once a person joins your party, you will level him/her up individually and he/she won’t level up by him/herself when she leaves.

  39. Bradisonfire says:

    I got Vaan to level 25 in about two and a half hours, using the “Dustia method”. Look it up. It’s much easier and quicker.

  40. Khen says:

    I looked it up and it really is a cool method. But I’ve never tried them before. Very nice though.

  41. Qurqriish Dragon says:

    Going by how you described playing other RPGs, I think I know where your leveling problem came from. You like to get to the end of the game, and then replay it, doing all the optional bits.
    I like doing side quests all along, and I found that my party was almost always overpowered for anything in the storyline-path. Assuming you have access to the hunts (I forget when they are unlocked), you might want to try a bunch of level I hunts.
    And, as in other FF games, eventually the side-quests outstrip the main quest in difficulty. I didn’t complete everything, but when I finished FF12, the last story-battle was simple, but a few of the hunt creatures were still clobbering me with ease.

  42. Matt says:

    In response to #29 Fieari:

    Anyone who is the best in their field at anything will disagree with you that you can be the best at anything without any effort. In fact, I would say that the likelihood of being the best in the world at something with minimal effort is a big, fat 0. In your typical RPG, you’re training to be the best in the world at fighting, magic, etc. Otherwise, someone else would be doing your job. I just don’t think the bare minimum is enough to accomplish that goal. The boss of the game didn’t do the bare minimum to get in his position, I guarantee it.

    I think grinding is necessary for an RPG. If you just want to run through and absorb the story, then go read a book. The fact of the matter is, the more you work at something, the more you appreciate the end result. An RPG shouldn’t be a story that you have to make your way through; you’re trying to save the world. You’re playing the role of your character, and their path is not an easy one. If it’s not fun for you, then you’re playing the wrong game and you need to go pick up an entry-level RPG like Mystic Quest. “I shouldn’t have to work to enjoy the story” is something you might be thinking; well, I disagree. Completing an RPG is a victory you should earn, not a right everyone has.
    If you can’t make it through fighting monsters in a video game, I’d hate to see your work ethic in real life.

  43. Elundir says:

    Well, I dont think grinding is necessary.. I agree it is kinda difficult without it.. I felt I was too low and checked out a guide on the net, the guide said I should be at least 28 for a boss, I was 23 max and didnt wanna grind, so I just went with that.. And beating that boss at lvl 23 was much more fun.. I had to think of lots of strategies, best ways to use esper, quickenings, mana etc.. but at the end, when I beat that boss, it felt really great.. :D I wont grind, I’m just following the storyline.. dont need extra levels. It may be difficult at some bosses but its not impossible

  44. Elundir says:

    @matt: I’m guessing you dont really know about rpgs -.- it means “role playing game” and grinding is just the opposite of it!! I guess ppl call it power gaming or something like that.. that character wouldnt just kill the same monsters to get stronger, killing the same monster shouldnt make him stronger if you think of it in terms of role playing.. especially in the middle of a story (He would look stupid) . He makes his way through the story and gets stronger during the story.. and best way to make it happen in games, is to make player gain exp by killing monsters.. (another way is through quests..)

  45. Megan says:

    OMG it took me ten hours to get to level ten and that was withalot of mosters in eah area. I need help where is the best place to level up quickly? And just like you i started over once cause i missed alot of secret missions and monsters, all i want to knw is how to level up so fast withen the shortest period of time.

    1. CONQUEST says:

      level 8 best : westersand, just be carefull , level 20 mariam , level 30-60 flan
      level60+ unknown

  46. caowens says:

    guys RPG’s are marketed toward a select group of people they are not for the people who want to be able to beat a game in a few hours or more they are for people who love the idea of leveling up and grinding…the rpg person usually beats the bosses through the game barely and the final boss after they beat it they want to get to the highest level and go back and decimate the final boss rpg’s are designed to be made like this i know there are some exceptions to this rule but rpg fanatics like me love leveling up for hours and getting the ultimate weapon that takes three hours of extra side quests to get its the joy for us its our sense of accomplishment the rpg market is geared toward people like us not your gamer who like the thrills of soul caliber tekken halo metal gear solid not knocking those games they are excellent i love them as much as the next gamer but rpgs hold special place in my heart i feel more satisfaction from beating an rpg because of how long it is and currently ive played final fantasy XII through four times my current game ive been working on it for 82 hours getting extra stuff and leveling up just enjoying the game final fantasy X i loved that game i know it was one you hated or loved but i had 6 games on it were i had over 130 hours each

    RPG’s arent for your average game player so quit knocking them

  47. anthfk66 says:

    So far I have done some grinding for LP but in my attempts to beat the marks, running from place to place verses using the teleport stones, getting all the possible treasure chests, going to the places accessible to chocobos only, defeating the optional espers,and defeating the required number on beast to learn more about the story, its been pretty minimum.

  48. Megan z says:

    CAOWENS: not to sound RUDE to caowens i love rpg games the only reason i asked for help is cause i just started playing, and i have probebly played more games then you have, me i’m a hardcore gamer, and because i just started to play final fantasy about one year ago. i knw now that if you rush leveling it will take you ten hours. but i just want to knw how to level up a little faster, so help me a bit wat waas the best place to level up?

  49. Felblood says:

    Wow. All these hardcore, ideals-down-ye-throat gamers seem to have found themselves stymed at the same points in those games that I was.

    Power staff solves FF1’s stop at the elf nation in 20-30 minutes. In fact it will keep you alive until you meet the mindflayers. Who are the last real obstical between you and your first Healing staff. Which makes you pretty much unstoppable in a grinds-you-slowly-to-nothing-over-a-28-level-dungeon-crawl-full of-lava like FF 1. The bosses were really just a test to check that you hadn’t got to the end of the dungeon with one character left who had no spells.

    You didn’t grind in order to play that game, the game was a grind, and the worthy and the patient were rewarded with a nonsensical yet predictable plot, that turns out not to have actually happened.

    Hint: Garland is the bad guy, all along. That’s right the glowing eyed dude in the black armor who throws fireballs did it and kidnaps princesses. Shocking spoiler, I know. He used a time portal, that’s how.

    Let’s face it. There was no role there to play. Bruce the Monk and AAAA the Fighter could kill anything that moved (Including the final boss) in 1-6 rounds with no grinding, no gear and only one sidequest, but he never had any actual lines. Ever. If you love Final Fantasy games, you love the grind or you love surviving by the skin of your teeth. It’s when the designers overestimate us squeeze by through brilliance types that we feel disappointed, in them and in ourselves.

    When, in FFT I saved after the second stage of the mansion, only to find a third stage wherein ninja demons would kill the hostage (and fail me the mission) before I got my first move, forcing me to restart the game(ALWAYS stagger your saves!) I was pissed. I grudged square every minute of my restart, but with my greater knowledge I did better. When I got to that same mission with a squad of ninjas in speed shoes and barrets, with less actual grinding, and killed those demons before their first move….It was worth every second. –of both plays. Purest music.

  50. Kyu says:

    well maby im just a weird guy but i enjoy grinding its a good way to experience all the game has to offer and how to tweak a few things for an enjoyable RPG in the future.

  51. Kalliste says:

    After a lot of thought about it, I’ve come to the conclusion that I don’t mind how much leveling there is. Believe me, I HATE leveling, especially to the magnitude that this game requires. However, my enjoyment of everything else sort of outweighs it. Every time I gain a level, it’s such a feeling of accomplishment. :) And look on the bright side, it’s a lot more enjoyable leveling than some other games.

  52. bryan says:

    at first i had no idea what i was doing and getting killed by the smallest tomatoes…it was frustrating until i read some walkthroughs and realized that leveling is necessary for me to enjoy the game…being overpowering and defeating bosses in two or three tries is what i am looking for…and then moving on with the story…having to try defeating a boss 30 or 40 times and then quitting is not fun…i just wish for guys like me who don’t want to spend hours on one boss they could incorporate an auto mode to defeat certain foes once you no longer can yourself

  53. UnitOmega says:

    Actually, with FFXII, the point isn’t about the levels, but about the equipment and licenses. If you have good weapons, armor, have the appropriate level of spells available (and also therefore, have all the licenses for these) its real easy. People can beat the game at the LOWEST POSSIBLE levels. Grinding is not necessary.

    1. CONQUEST says:

      FINAL FANTASY CAN BE DONE WITH JUST LEVEL 1 !! why does the game push us to get to be level and cant decrease the level temporarely XD all i need is lp and the equip

  54. Farulosonoth says:

    Mordaedil Wrote:
    “Well, not that impossible, but it's about as fun when you've died for 100th time. I think it's about time RPG's do away with the leveling system for something that actually means roleplaying, over grinding.”

    Are you kidding me? These games have already become easy enough… I go through a final fantasy at an average pace, making enough money so that all equipment can be bought and your lucky if I have a full party wipe 2-3 times throughout the course of an entire game, due to hard bosses, etc…

    If you want an adventure with no character development, play some Super Mario Bros’ or something similar (Sonic, Spiro, etc…) I do, and I enjoy it (when I am looking for that kind of game). You people need to stop forcing the developers to dumb down the RPG genre. It’s almost pathetic what it has been reduced to.

  55. Farulosonoth says:

    Felblood wrote :
    “Let's face it. There was no role there to play. Bruce the Monk and AAAA the Fighter could kill anything that moved (Including the final boss) in 1-6 rounds with no grinding, no gear and only one sidequest, but he never had any actual lines. Ever.”

    Some of you people complain about not enough ‘Role Playing’ in your CRPG’s. Ok, first thing, the game isn’t the only one to blame. Have you ever played a p&p session and there was someone there who just didn’t get it? Well, thats the impression you give when you name your character a name that you plainly care nothing about. Role Playing is as much a part of the player as it is the Dungeon Master, or have we forgotten that. (Don’t even get me started on people and some of their MMORPG names)

    I know in the age of flashy graphics, amazing AI and Blue-Ray PS3s we expect everything to be done for us. Does that include our role-playing, our very thinking and imagination, or are we still capable of doing some of those wetware computations ourselves?

    Sometimes you need to fill in with your minds eye some of the details that aren’t spelled right out for you. 1/2 of any role playing session is the perspective of the player, If you start it with a character named AAAA the fighter, and expect the game to roleplay FOR you, it may not always work so well.

  56. vbafpb says:

    im at level 62 but i need to level up a lot to get the espers but i dont know where to do power leveling places like lushu mines just take too long now i need to beat monsters close to my own level but i don know where

    1. SUPERNOOB20 says:

      have you ever tried entering in the zertinan caves? There, there are hundreds of “horses” with something like 35000 hp (I don´t actually know their level). You can go there from lots of places, like ozmone plains, western sand, ogir and nam yensa sandsea. If i should ever do it, it should be kinda of suicide (because I just have lvl 30 characters) but I think that if yo use berserk, haste and that kinda magickal enchances you should be able to do it

  57. Tony says:

    I started playing Final Fantasy XII a few weeks back with small intervals to complete other games. I’m not a big fan of the series, as a whole. I love VII, but don’t understand how anyone couldn’t. I kinda liked X the first time I played it but got annoyed with it halfway through and actually lost interest and put it away when I was near the end. I think that was mostly because of the horrible English dubbing and random encounters though. The second time I played the game, I did some major grinding near the end, getting Yuna, Tidus and I believe Rikku as powerful as possible before continuing where I stopped playing the last time. That made the last part of the game really funny. I remember taking a hell of a long time to defeat Seymour during my first two encounters and then only having to _hit_ him with Yuna (bink!) once or twice during the last encounter, haha.

    As for X-2, I liked the dress-sphere system but was as annoyed with this game’s dubbing and whatnot as I was with X. I did the same thing in this game, near the end. The grinding, I mean. I leveled one or two of them till 99 and the last was only 91, or so.

    I like the characters in XII a lot and even though I can barely get myself to focus on it, I don’t think it’s a bad story. The combat system isn’t bad either, but I have to agree on the _mandatory_ grinding. I like grinding and end up doing it sometimes when it’s optional. Even if it’s just for the fun of being way stronger then the ultimate bad guy, who was supposed to be all powerful. But here, I can’t wrap my head around how to get stronger sometimes without having to waste countless hours. In order to gain another level right now, I need at least 4000XP and there’s not a single monster I encounter that gives me more then 86XP. And it’s the same all over (so far anyway). You get almost no XP, money or whatever, and need way too much of those to go on without having to waste your time on all the grinding, gah.

    The license grid I agree on as well. A nice idea, but somewhat poorly executed.

  58. Callum says:

    I don’t think you have to “grond” to get upto a high level, I only did one 1 hour levelling up thing right at the beginning of the game, fighting that Dusta thing with pheonix downs, I find if you do all the side quest things, like the monster slayer thing, or all the other odd little sideshows that’ll get you some powerful weapon, then you’ll never need to level up incessiently, which is only mildly stasifying compaired to levelling up on the way to kill some huge red-eyed child eating snake

  59. FF Veteran says:

    A lot of you people compalin that you cnat level up quickly. Its because you dont PAY ATTENTION. Your level 65 for pete’s sake! What are you doing in the estersand with lvl 5 monsters? If you paid enough attention to the story line to figure out that the strong monsters appear at the END of the game, then you would have no problem. Me? I know of 5 great sites to level up, and it takes me about 5 minutes per level. How you ask? Let me share a little secret with you that isnt so hard to find and doesnt require a game guide. The 5 locations for leveling that only require you to be level 45 and have at least 1 embroided tippet.

    1. Giruvegan, inside. The monsters there average between lvl’s 44-49, and there are only 4 kinds of monsters, not counting the rare and all powerful elementals that appear at lvl 70 or something every 10 hours.

    2. Nabreus/ Necrohol. This is for level 55’s and above. For any players that want a challenge, you guys can all be about 10 levels lower than the monsters and you *might* survive.

    3. Pharos, above levels and subterra. The above levels are much easier, but we warned, the subterra contains lvl 55+ monsters.

    4. Great Crystal/ Giruvegan. Inside the cystal, the monsters are about the same. About lvl 50’s or so. But deeper inside, higher up, the monsters reach above the 60’s.

    5. Henne mines. Inside the pithead junction. Open the gate, and with one character equipped with the embroided tippet, kill the slime things that appear. Not only will you get about a good 8 levels in around an hour(per one character though), you will also get great loot provided you chain these things, turn off your gambits and dont kill the bats, and run 2 maps away. Rinse and repeat.

    Of these, I use the Giruvegan method. Using one character, I gain a level for one character in 5-10 minutes. Added with the fact that Ive only been grinding for 10 hours, and I took the time to kill almost all the marks in the game(about 43 out of some 48), I get great rewards. Assasin’s arrows KO almost every other monster when your in the right range.(Not proven, just something Ive observed). Overall, I have 130 hours of gameplay somply because I fooled around trying to get money.(Did I mention my Giruvegan method gets you more than 100,000 gil per hour?) If you do it properly of course. Not only do you not need to grind more than 15 hours to kills lvl 70 marks with rewards going as much as 500,000 gil, you dont need to grind AT ALL to beat the game. Wow I typed alot.

  60. Taylor says:

    well, i can say that i got to the sandsea t level 10 becuase i would run away from the hard monsters, soi went to the mines{their really good} and got all my party up to 44 until i went to the sand-sea, its way esiar.

  61. Katrani Merack says:

    Okay, I admit, the abttle system is lacking. I prefer the actual ‘battle screen’ type, like most of the rest of the FFs. But I did like this, since you had a big area to roam around in and if you had/wanted to run most enemies would only chase you a certain distance. Their ‘territory’, I guess. Like, the dino on the first screen of the Estersand would stop when I was about five steps from an exit. It was five steps from an exit, yes, but at least that was enough to give me space to hela in case another big monster was through the other screen. The licenses could have been better- maybe a mix between these and FFX’s sphere grid?- but come on. They DO say what they’re for, in a general sense. Magicks are all in one area, as are the upgrades (braindead on what those were called, the +15- HP and sheild block stuff), accesories, and techniques. Armor and Weapons are sort of bunched and mixed together, yes, BUT you can still see what type of weapon each one is. Trying to get a certain sword? Just unlock the sword licenses until you find the right one. A piece of magic armor? Same thing! Repeat for axes, scales, staffs, etc. Some were even tied together, like the axes and… Okay, I forget what they unlocked. BUt it was axes and something. And, generally, the rarer ones would be the ones that cost the most. If you planned right by looking at costs in LP (which you CAN see before unlocking a licenses) you could get all of the ones you’d be able to find in stores easily, then slowly focus on getting the drop ones.

    Easy enough, i think.

  62. stoppit says:

    this is so true. i played this for the first time while staying with my bf a while ago, the storyline was making us fall asleep and it wasn’t even fun to play! just frustrating.
    i started it again now, on my own and spent hours nearer the beginning of the game levelling. the mines and the sandsea are both great places. also did some low exp levelling to get a lot of LP to buy the augments (hp+, battle lore etc) to make my characters stronger. but it just does my head in – once i was at a level where i felt comfortable continuing i pushed ahead with the game. now i’m at the stilshrine and getting raped again coz i haven’t levelled in a while. so, back to the grind. i have acquired a huge amount of the board and have bought the best weapons and armour available, spells, technicks, so i really can’t agree with people who are saying you don’t need to do extra levelling.

    in my opinion, the game should be challenging but not impossible if you stick to the normal amount of levelling/battles you come across (without trying to escape). and i believe i’ve had to go way beyond the ‘normal’ amount. of course boss battles should require a bit of work and skill to figure out the most effective way to dispatch.

    i really thought the free roaming battle system was great after the initial shock (i hadn’t read a thing about ff12 before i first played it!) but i think it’s straying too far from the FF feel.

    it’s really made me appreciate all the effort that went into FF8. a lot of people hated it but actually the storyline is at least intriguing. and i’ve rather have annoying characters like squall and rinoa than characters i can’t give a toss about as there are too many and no central ones. basch, balthier and fran are about the only interesting ones and we just don’t hear enough from them.
    also, there was so much to FF8, with the GFs and the ability to draw magic and modding enemies so that you could keep to a low level while acquiring high level magicks and items.

    anyway, i remember levelling up loads in ff7 before doing the ‘weapons’ that didn’t seem nearly as much as chore as levelling in this game though.

  63. RemoteKontrol says:

    I don’t know but I may be one of the few who likes level grinding in FF XII; it’s addictive (chain levels, semi-real time battles, gambits). It feels like an RTS (without much of the strategy, unless you customise your gambits properly). I initially got into it because the character design was made by the same guy who designed the vagrant story characters. I like the story in XII so far but nothing in comparison to FF IX or xenogears :). I wish FF XII would focus more on the main characters, instead of the warring nations.

    I’m hoping for the same/slightly tweaked battle system when FF XIII/versus XIII rolls around.

  64. NiceAshe says:

    what does the “Chain” thing do anyway. Ive seen it all the time and ive never known what it was for. And also have u seen the esper in the sewer. talk about a face only a mother could love. I had trouble with leveling up so… i went north towards archadia to posibly get the zodiac spear and nearly died. like omg they were strong. Plus i was only level 20 something at the time. As for money i just went into the mountains and had the theif cuffs on someone and stole various stuff from enemys for money.

  65. Neema says:

    Alright sooo I didnt read all the comments, but first off to Nice Ashe;

    Chains give you potentially more loot, better loot, and if you get high enough, heal some HP, give you shell, and give you protect. Right now, because im grinding after the part where the party gets ashe out of her cell but not off the ship yet. (right now, most of the party is 15, shooting for 16 at least)

    Now part of the way im grinding isnt even analog nubbing. You see, at this part, the enemy spawns and comes to you. I just got my gambits set so (after healing priorities), they attack the nearest foe. Working so far; you jus need to make sure that your party leader does not use a ranged weapon, and that everyone can use Cure

    note; i read over somes tuff, and other peoples methods seem better…now..to sacrifice my 10 hours of gameplay to go over and level like that..or no…..

  66. NiceAshe says:

    Thanks for the info and right now im at the shrine in the mountains tring to beat the esper but.. guess what.. no luck. what realy made me mad is that my cousin is a level 40 or so now and he is before the shrine and he dont do the grinding stuff eather. he wont tell me his secret but i know that he beat vaine at level 20 somthing and its like OMG how the heck did u do that. but i digress. i made a pact as soon as i lost that i wouldnt return to the shrine untill i got everyone to level 30 or so and at least 3 more espers

  67. NiceAshe says:

    Anyone know where the best place is to train when you are only level 30 and need to be at level 35. Also when you are near the shrine in the mountains and are in need of levelups. plus my lowest is at level 23 and such.

  68. NiceAshe says:

    after much time in… well.. Everywhere just about. i found the best way to level up. go to Archadia and buy 3 (and i mean only three because otherwise u just wasted your money) embrordered tiblits. then put them on vaan of course and then your 2 weakest characters then go the Barahiem Passage (need the Barahiem key first). then from the save crystal, follow the tracks to the right and take the tunnel to the left to the “insert name here” and kill all of the guys here for at least 10000 or more exp. plus double with the tiblit. plus if u are lucky a rare monster called inthuos could be their and if u steal from it u can get a super strong and very dangerous to the enemy sword called the deathbringer. happy training and hunting

  69. tom says:

    the way to make the game easier is before the palace and without penelo to chain dustias to level 25-30, then to get the gladius and kill the werewolves in giza until vaan is levels 50-60, then you can defeat everything until you fight Yiazmat (optional)

  70. d says:

    some of the comments i see are such bs..some of u complaining for ff games to be too hard if u don tdo side quests? ahha come on so for ppl who arent true gamers and dont do side quests and all that how would that work? its like well u can play the game with out grinding or side quests and just go thro the game for the story but if u ewant u can grind..which would mean the game would be insanely easy..easier than ff10 was…ff12 is easy to me i could beat the game right now..but i think thats not how ff games are their ment for u to fight the level 99 boss not the story boss..like in ffx who was the strongest enemy? not seymour or jecht!…the final monster in the arena! theres always a level 99 monster and a bunch of enemies over the final boss of the storys level..thats y ppl who play alot of games play final fantasy..when i play i play to max my ppl out and fight the final hardest boss of the game..watever the hardest challenge is i wan beat it..thats wat final fantasy is all about and thats y it always has the stuff after the story..inff12 vayne is the final..but hes no where close to the strongest..thats how ff does it and it always is greatt

  71. NiceAshe says:

    good outlook on the final fantasy games d: but some like me just play to challege myself and my true limit of my gaming skills. Even know i havent found any games that truly push me to the limit, this one was ehh close. but what i realy want to know is is there a good place to train my guys when they are like high 50s and low 60s when the only good places are the ones that have the levels higher… MUCH HIGHER. like in the secret area of the henne mines and the lower levels of the pharos. i know about the gelamesh or whatever it is trick to get unlimited exp. but i dont want to leave my game on all night long because i got a new system and im afraid that it might overheat like my cousins did. other places that scare me at my level would be the great crystal. O MY GOD. can they get any stronger. of course they can like the freaken OMEGA MARK XII. good god do i not want to see him any time soon. recomended level 99 he says sarcastecly. naw duh. he’s only the strongest boss in the game.

  72. NiceAshe says:

    i learned a great secret to all those that have beaten zardiark. if u have beaten him and u missed the zodiac spear then i have good news for u. i was look around the internet when i found something “VERY INTERESTING” i dont know if it is true or not but im hoping it is because i missed the spear. well if u notice the 16 chests on the phon coast, remember u have to have beaten zardiark first, well u need to open the chests in a certain way. whatever that way might be u need to open ALL 16 chests. and yes it will afect the chests in the nechrol of nabudis. well go there and open the chests in the same way as u did on the phon coast. now go to the henne mines and get back to the spot where u fought zardiark and i mean the same room. there will be a chest in the middle of it. (MEGA WARNING NOW. MEGA WARNING NOW. U NEED TO HAVE THE DIAMOND ARMLET ON TO GET THE GOOD STUFF. U NEED TO HAVE THE DIAMOND ARMLET ON TO GET THE GOOD STUFF). open the the chest with the DIAMOND ARMLET ON. i cant stress how impotant it is to have it on. inside it could be a number or items like the DRAGON WISKER, EXALABER, TOURNESOL, especily the ZODIAC SPEAR. yes i said it the zodiac spear and not only that the chest will constently reapper in the same spot with the same items in it UNLIMITEDLY. now like i said this is something i have not tested myself before but im hoping that it is true because i really need that spear. if anyone tries this please please o please o please write on here the results and tell me if its true or not.

  73. Leboutaine says:

    What do you want from an RPG? To simply just “stroll” through the game and not have to overcome any possibilities? The game would then become pointless and far too easy. If you never had to level up, then what would the game ever be about, other than you “acting out” parts of a storyline. It would be like an interactive movie, where you have absolutely minimal control over what happens.

    The things you people want to moan about these days is just bizarre. There’s a reason why you aren’t making games and other people are. You only need to “grind” in FFX12 if you want to complete elite marks or do much of the side quests. It makes sense that there should be harder monsters in different and more rare parts of the world, otherwise what “menacing foes” would there be? If you could just simply walk through the whole game without any difficulties, where would the fun be in that? Please, I’m dying to know just what you’d propose, because it seems to me that the idea of an RPG would be infinitely changed to suit those people who know nothing of tactics and battle experience.

    Woeful comments here!

    1. Shamus says:

      Leboutaine: The question is: What are you so ANGRY?

      I’m not sure what your problem is, but people are stopping by to mention that the game would be more fun for them if it worked a little differently. And you stagger in here and demand an explanation for why they want things the way they do. AND you failed to notice that this post is nearly two years old, so nobody else is reading this thread.

      (I read it because it’s my site.)

      There ARE other reasons to enjoy a game than for raw challenge.

      Think about it. I’m sure some will come to you.

    2. Vic 2.0 says:

      I’m inclined to agree. I think it MUST be about tactics and strategy (which, oddly enough, the author of the article says he’s in favor of) because I NEVER had to grind just to get through the story. Optional quests and marks, sure, but not the story.

      But since there is the option of simply “level-grinding” (which is great about FF, that they give you that option), people tend to lean that direction and then complain about it. That’s a very common them in criticism of FF12, I find, complaining about the way YOU CHOSE to play it. “The game plays itself!” Well turn the gambits off, goofball! “All my characters have the same abilities!” Well who made THAT happen, hmmmmmm? It goes on and on.

  74. Auberon says:

    Well, Shamus, I guess I’d go with Leboutaine, here. No offense, really, but I was reading your site in search of some oppinions about ps2 rpg’s in general. And I guess these observations are a bit too demanding.
    Again, no offense. I guess I’m kinda old school. The improvement FFXII represented in it’s strategic depth and development in plot (and many would desagree in here) gives quite a contrast, if compared, as mentioned, with older games. Grinding is completely secondary, as far as I can see, and when it becomes a choice, it is still enjoyable for the gambit strategy and for the opportunity to enjoy the scenary.
    And even if it is an old tread, and an old discussion… Well, there’s allways the possibility of an ocasional curious reader – such as I – to show up. And there’s allways the pleasure of a good argument, of course!
    By the way, I loved the site. Congratulations!

  75. Meh says:

    can we just get a cheat so we can just watch the cutscenes from the start of the game to the end with no playing at all. That would make a great game.
    (that was a joke)

    1. Shamus says:

      Retort:

      Why don’t they just make you fight each and every monster ten thousand times before you gain a level. Just think, the game will be thousands of hours long! Won’t that be awesome?
      (That was sarcasm.)

  76. acabaca says:

    Bitching about “mandatory grinding” in an RPG is iffy because it’s both easy and valid to interpret such complaints as “I suck at this game and I’m blaming it on the game”.

    Games traditionally expect the player to reach a certain level of (real-life) skill before allowing him to proceed. RPGs have the unique trait that they allow us to replace that real life skill with grinding. But if we have to grind, isn’t it just an admission of suckage on our part? A failure in our strategies, our character builds? Traditionally, we would be punished for that by not being allowed to progress until we have gotten better at the game. Games that allow us to exchange that penalty for a bit of busywork are being lenient on us, not strict.

    Now, this argument doesn’t fit JRPGs very well because they are usually about as strategically deep as tic-tac-toe. But I don’t think it’s ever a reasonable expectation to be able to defeat enemies by mashing the attack button. Some games are like that – oh who am I kidding, almost all JRPGs are like that – but it’s a strike against them.

  77. PsychoStarFish says:

    I am so awesome
    Unbelievebly I got Reks up to lvl99
    It took weeks of boring training
    Day after Day
    Kill after Kill
    And now its just an awesome decoration I have
    He does outstanding damage better than what lvl99 Basch can do
    I destroy all obstacles in my way with Destruction and I leave my carnage behind for others to witness my power
    XP Farming is a big help for pass the game with ease
    The Lushu Mines is one of my favourites
    It is so easy train in this game
    WOOT
    I am awesome
    LoL

  78. Kathy says:

    In general, I don’t mind having to grind a little in order to take up a boss, but in this game I end up having to grind way too much. I especially get pissed off when I spend 3-4 hours leveling up my characters, only to find out that I have to gain another 5 levels in order to scrape by on the next boss/area. Even though I generally fight every single monster available in every area I enter, I still have to grind. Currently, my main three characters are up to par with the boss im at, but my other three are almost 10 levels behind. Some people say that if you do the side quests the extra leveling up is minimal, but I hate doing side quests in games. Side quests shouldn’t even be essential in reaching the appropriate level. Nevertheless, I love this game. The story line is awesome and I find it fun finding every bosses’ weakness and defeating them (barely) based on that.

  79. Russell F says:

    Ugg.

    “Mandatory Gridning” does not exist in Final Fantasy XII.

    There are people who have beaten the game without a single character leveling up. I’m sure there are videos showing it on Youtube. If this is possible, then presumably it’s possible to do it at near any level. It’s just more DIFFICULT.

    If there are multiple enemies you don’t want to deal with, spells like Sleep, Disable or Stop can make it so that you don’t HAVE to. Or at least knock them down long enough to run away. These spells also work well for crowd control in general.

    I understand you’ve already beaten it, but the comment on “Mandatory Grinding” really bothers me. It’s a bit of a pet peeve issue for me.

    1. Vic 2.0 says:

      Ditto. I know I never had to grind just to get through the story. And I know what you’re talking about, the people who play it without leveling. One example is what the call the 122333 game; people can look it up.

  80. Amanda says:

    Ahhh, “Mandatory Grinding.” The great debate, right? I feel like leveling up/money making is kind of a part of the RPG process. It’s something a lot of gamers just take in stride, and being voluntary in a lot of games, you can pass it up but may end up having a more difficult time winning through a lot of later battles. I spend a lot of time XP farming and building up my money supply in any RPG, regardless of “need” just because that’s how I play them. -shrug-

  81. daniel24 says:

    i was lvl 17 before i first found penelo

  82. daniel24 says:

    i think that grinding is just another way to get to the top to be the strongest but everyone has there opinion so i guess it doesn’t matter if you do or don’t like grinding or wether you use it or not the point is is the game fun and did you like it

  83. Pablo says:

    I’s not mandatory grinding. You also are supposed to do the hunts and side quest that makes you lvl up and be prepared. Hunts usually give you money and also usefull items that are available much more later in the game. And for instance side quest “Barheym’s key” will help lvling up and getting one of the best 1 handed swords.

  84. silly mikey says:

    what you people are talking about when you say no grinding in games is a game like Legend of Zelda.it makes perfect sense,really…i guess what would be a really good system is one that takes a more realistic approach:running builds stamina which would help you hit harder for longer with out taking breaks.lifting weights or some such to increase your strength to hit harder/move faster.the only experience one should gain is in yourself,as in experience on how to kick this guys ass,and learn to chain moves together to make effective and even awesome looking kills.and of course upgrades in equipment here and there because in the real world,a sword made of steel will more preferable than one of iron,and one of folded steel more than steel.

  85. Profile Hits says:

    Thank You For keeping it on point and on topic –

    Best Regards

  86. Altair says:

    I totally agree with Kathy. I was lvl 10 when I get to Dreadnought Leviathan for the first time only to get owned at the prison door. Fine, I went back to Lhusu Mines to level up until I am satisfied. It sure feels much easier. At least my healer’s MP isn’t drain that much. It was really comfortable.

    So off we go to the tomb of Raithwall at lvl 20. No problems at all and I am sooo happy. Guess what? I am now at Ozmone Plain and I getting my ass kicked so hard by two Zaghnals, I will need a save crystal every 2 fights in order to regain my MP. I didn’t get the best weapons but I do equipped my tank with the best armor + weapon I can buy. Initially I though they are not the normal mobs because of the huge increase in HP from the ones in Gaza Plain. I ran around the area and I was shell shocked. I don’t know what to do with this game anymore.

  87. Holy judge says:

    you guys are retarded! so what if you have to grind…thats one thing you HAVE to to do in most RPG’s!!! to me, the grinding is to let you enjoy the combat and the feeling that you are making the game easier on your self. yes,bosses are supposed to be difficult and fun..but not to where you get your ass kicked a thousand times then finaly get lucky with a critical hit or somethin. if you dont like to grind,oh well get over it. any one else agree with me here???

  88. doco says:

    I only ran through the mines twice for the bone fragment money, and the only grinding was to get three demonsbanes from the raithwall chest.. I’m at Bur Omisace and there’s no area besides feywood that I can’t at least explore without dying. I had been killing king malboros under Rabanastre to find the Mousse and it made me lol when the storyline had me kill normal ones.

    Level 26, with all the best equips around.

    Did every side quest, nothing that felt line grinding..

    Quit bawwing, the game is easy.

    1. CONQUEST says:

      EASY but you died at fey wood ? -.- i made it with my reserve party level 15 easily , run run and run -.- ecept the time you need to battle , i use sleepaga , bleed, sleepaga, bleed and they died on thier self -.- you level 27 still cant do it -.- sheez///

    2. CONQUEST says:

      has you got all esper? or should i said , the last and hardes boss?

    1. Shamus says:

      Timmy: Behave like an adult or get back in your playpen. This site is for grownups.

  89. TutengBatute says:

    we are just talking semantics here. RPG games are multi faceted and cant be categorized into being non-grinding and grinding genres. true, you can finish most RPG games w/out going into any side quests and BUT i assure you that you’ll barelay pass through the bosses by a hair if not at all. 1 memorable end boss is sephiroth, which according to 1 review about it, the creators said the boss matched the level you were at so it doesnt matter how much you level grinded, the difference would be w/ the skill and the items. and yes, hard core RPG gamers, by experience knows that the FF franchise usually has harder side quest boss that the final boss for the main story. thats what set apart ff7 among the rest because of what they did for sephiroth’s level matching set up. id still play the ff franchise any day compared to any out there :o)

  90. chris azure says:

    hey when I fisrt started the game I found a way to get one of the stong weapons the “kotetsu”, I just sat there and killed warewolves of giza plain all day long. I’m barly at the sandsea at level 40 and it took alot of paitent, an alot of combos, but its good when you can get all your charator’z to have kotetsu’s

  91. Odin says:

    101 Chain ? Boring..i make till 400 to 600 chain..still not boring.can make till few thousand,if i want

  92. Irah says:

    Except for the fact that chains cap at 999. Quit trollin’. This thread is dead.

  93. cikgu azim says:

    itried to play the game many times and still not finish the game..thanks for help

    1. CONQUEST says:

      Are you really playing for good? this is my way :
      1. when balthier and fran at party , minimum level : 6
      2. at airship (the first judge boss) min level : 12
      3. miriam (sorry forgot the writing) min level : 17
      4. phoan coast min : 35/30?(reserve party min 28)
      5. PHAROS AT RIDHORANA : 48(reserve party min 33)
      6.FINAL BOSS : 52-55(reserve 38)

      sorry if it’s not enough (how to go with it : )
      this is hard
      1. level 6 = just attack and run if you cant defend / survive
      2. kill the archadians’s soldier then the judge , use mist with great combo to kill it in 1 blow
      3. try to get the blood moon to get past it a bit easier
      4. this is hard if you in level 30-35 i suggest to level up to 39/40 but i made it with level 30-35 though , just use libra and DONT DIED. just make sure you got a powerfull armor ok ?
      5. libra again, flee flee flee, boss, cura/curaga/curaja , attack , bravery (attacker) faith (caster),protect,shell,haste , do it reapeatly , note : stock up alot of phonix down if you aren’t as smart as the game maker (no offense ok ? ^^)
      6.FINAL BOSS : kill if you want to kill the guard, the machine are pain in the back , suggest you just run , basch twin brother boss :
      a. before get there, prepare your self (max hp , protect,shell,haste,bravery,faith) finish it fast (suggest not to use mist of you will be hard getting the final boss) he will cast renew, after this use summon ( the 1 mark ) and make the best of your esper and kill it
      b.vayne 1 : Larsa in party, before enter , use buff protect ,shell , haste, ect, curaja , kill it fast, or you will regret it (after this battle your hp maybe at 30% or less)
      c. undead vayne (vayne 2) : renew , attack the sword of holy , darkness, thunder , first then the other , protect shell haste again . summon esper if you need , adramalach i will suggest , KILL KILL KILL !!(if you cant, just use reserve party) damage and won (maybe hp only 10%) phew this is hard nay ?
      D. final boss : use reverse team, and renew the main team , attack , fast fast , when it physical resist , just cure your team, shock spell if you can , when it magicc resist , use physical and haste team , when it use both resist : !!
      >renew , cure yourself, off your gambit , use hi ether to heal mp , use esper when he use both resist, then use quickening !! WIN !! YOU WIN ^^

  94. CONQUEST says:

    not so bad, but i have level 17 before even get balthier and fran at my party :P it’s easy, just tell me if you want to know how, it’s not so long even without the gambits, you can just kill and use the equip that attack enemies with super damage for westersand , comment if you want to know how

  95. The Truth says:

    “In previous FF games, I'd march straight through the game, occasionally taking little half-hour leveling sessions to level up a bit past the monsters and ease my way past the occasional bossfight. This usually worked well. I was doing that here, and wondering why the game was so murderously hard.”

    That is intriguing, because I’ve played the game through without level-grinding AT ALL and had no real trouble. It is probably something to do with your strategy. The way you have your gambits set up, etc.

    “The other thing I did which added to my enjoyment of the game was to look up the layout of the license grid. The game really, really needed to make the contents of grid squares visible ahead of time so the player could plan ahead. Opening abilities via blind luck sucked a huge amount of strategy out of the game, and using this “cheat sheet” fixed that and made the game a lot more interesting.”

    Actually, if you took the time to notice, the weapons are organized on the License Board so that you can easily find whatever license you need. Spells are with spells, shields are with shields, guns are with guns, etc. And it does in fact tell you the CATEGORY to which any given license belongs, so it narrows it down pretty nicely for you. You didn’t need the “cheat sheet” at all, just to be observant.

  96. Vic 2.0 says:

    I never had to grind much to get through the story *shrugs* But remember, if you get tired of the game “playing itself”, don’t be a fool like a lot of 12’s critics – remember that you can simply turn some, most or all of the gambits off!

    As for the license board, part of strategy is PAYING ATTENTION. If you do that, you will notice that all the licenses are categorized, so it shouldn’t really hard at all to figure out where you need to go next on the board… without a “cheat sheet”.

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