The Let's Play Archive

Final Fantasy XII International Zodiac Job System

by BrainWeasel

Part 27: Von Muir p. 46-52: "Chapter 4: Edward Meets the Spurned Dark Warrior"

Von Muir p. 46-52: "Chapter 4: Edward Meets the Spurned Dark Warrior"

Espers are the summoning mechanic of FFXII, and the other combat ability that uses the Mist Gauge. The Espers are powerful beings created by the gods for specific purposes, and, with only one exception, were banished to the mortal realm after they rebelled against their creators. Most of the Espers originally appeared in Final Fantasy Tactics as the Lucavi, demons taking human form and manipulating Ivalice's political strife to revive their dead leader; the remainder were inspired by bosses from other previous Final Fantasy games.

There are a total of thirteen Espers in the game, each tied to a different element and zodiac sign. Defeating an Esper binds it to the party's will, adding that Esper's License to the License Board and allowing it to be summoned. Similar to the Quickening Licenses, Esper Licenses can only be used by one character. Also similarly, some Licenses can only be reached through an Esper tile. However, unlike Quickenings, when a character acquires an Esper License, it is removed from every other License Board, not just the one for that character's Job. The extra bonuses unlocked by an Esper thus play a large part in deciding which character to pair with it.

When a character summons an Esper, it replaces all other characters in battle. Its stats are determined by the level of the summoner, although its Attack, Defense, and Magick Defense values are fixed. The Esper remains manifested until a certain time has elapsed, it or the summoner are KO'd, or it uses its ultimate attack.

Espers got a couple of changes in IZJS, the big one being that, like Guests, Espers can be given direct commands, have their Gambits turned off, and even be made party leader. Most notably, this makes it much easier to use the Espers' ultimate attacks, as most of them had difficult or obscure triggering conditions in vanilla. Most Espers also had their stats or attack strengths increased and learned new abilities. Summon time was also tripled from 90 seconds to 270 seconds, making Espers a better return on Mist investment than before.

So are Espers worth using? They benefit from innate status immunity and elemental resistance/absorption, and they're usually relatively strong for when you get them. However, they suffer from a lack of flexibility compared to having two other fully-developed characters around, and they don't really scale well, so the main characters will usually end up out-classing them by the end of the game, or if you do any equipment sequence-breaking at all. Still, they're a lot less frustrating than in the original version of the game, and a good resource for players who are trying not to over-grind.

Belias is the Esper of Fire, associated with the sign of Aries. Unwanted from his creation, he lashed out at the gods in impotent anger and pain, only to find himself punished for something wholly outside his control. Only once defeated by King Raithwall did he find his place, the loyal servant of a grateful master long after the master's death.

Being the first Esper, Belias does not grant access to many bonus Licenses -- in fact, for this party, only Vaan will gain an additional benefit from Belias, learning the Libra Technick. However, much like the choice of characters' Jobs, I am leaving the assignment of Espers up to the thread, and I will be resisting the urge to metagame.

Writing Assignment 4

Choose a summoner for Belias and, in 100 words or less, explain why that character is the most appropriate choice. Tag spoilers and show your work. Remember that this is an essay contest, not a popular vote!

Writing Assignment 4 due!

Wow, you guys are just great. I liked all the essays and the meta-discussion as well, and I agreed with nearly everybody, too, which made picking a winner even harder. However, I ultimately had to go with the one-two punch of BrightWing's analysis and Tupperwarez's hopeful wish, and grant Belias to the loyal knight Basch.

BrightWing posted:

Basch. He and Belias share something in common that I beleive would make them a great pair. They are both gaurdians sustained by their loyalty. Just as Belias had contiued to gaurd Raithwall's tomb after his masters death, so too does Basch try to fulfill his knightly vows to King Ramminas and Ashe. While both also may be considered dogs to their masters, both are also content in the role they are now given, after suffering pain for past actions.

Tupperwarez posted:

I'll put in a vote for Basch, adding that like Belias, he too was screwed over by circumstances. It might be too late for Belias to square things away, but at least Basch has a chance. Maybe they can both find catharsis when this is all over.