The Let's Play Archive

Final Fantasy XII International Zodiac Job System

by BrainWeasel

Part 29: Recitation Notes 6: Time Management

Recitation Notes 6: Time Management

I think that most viewers who are familiar with the Final Fantasy series, or the JRPG genre more generally, will basically know what all the status effects in this game do. But there are a couple of interesting additions for XII and some mechanics that might not be immediately obvious. I'm going to go over them very quickly, partly for reference, but mostly to provide some context to the topic I really want to discuss here.

Target's HP is zero and target is removed from the field. Permanent until cured.

Starts a countdown from 10. Target is KO'd when countdown reaches 0. Technically permanent until cured or KO'd.

Starts a countdown from 10. Target is petrified when countdown reaches 0, removing them from the field. Petrification does not reduce HP to zero. Target also takes and deals 10% less physical damage each time the countdown decrements. Permanent until cured.

Removes the target from the field, as though KO'd. Permanent until the player crosses a zone transition.

Prevents target from casting magick. Permanent until cured or KO'd.

Target's physical accuracy is reduced by 50%. Permanent until cured or KO'd.

Target takes fractional damage every 12 seconds.

Target loses 1 HP every 0.1 seconds. Permanent until cured or KO'd.

Target's actions charge at half normal speed.

Prevents target from moving, pauses charging actions, and increases damage taken by 50%.

Freezes the target in place, preventing the target from acting or blocking, and pauses all other status timers currently set on the target. Also removes Lure.

Prevents target from moving.

Prevents target from taking any action.

Sets the target's max HP to their current HP, making healing impossible. Also disables any passive abilities triggered by HP loss. Permanent until cured; Diseased characters are revived from KO with 1 HP.

Triples damage target takes from fire-elemental attacks. Permanent until cured.

Target is healed by damage and damaged by healing.

Target attacks allies uncontrollably.

Allows player to see enhanced information about enemies when target is in the active party.

Reduces physical damage taken by 25%.

Reduces magickal damage taken by 25% and provides a 50% chance to resist negative statuses.

Increases physical damage dealt by 30%.

Increases magickal damage dealt by 30%, magickal healing by 50%, and status attack success rate by 50%.

Restores a random amount of HP every 1.5 seconds.

Doubles target's max HP.

Target's actions charge at 150% normal speed.

Redirects magick cast on target to target's enemies.

Prevents target from triggering traps.

Target attacks enemies uncontrollably. Increases physical damage dealt by 50% and target's actions charge at double normal speed.

Character draws aggro from enemies.

Prevents character from drawing aggro by crossing enemy field of vision or prevents player from targeting enemy directly.

The rub of status effects, however, is that all of the ones I didn't explicitly list as permanent are quite temporary. Every status effect has its own fixed duration, measured in relation to the game's internal framerate, and the counter ticks down every frame that the character is in the active party. Since all of the positive statuses are temporary, and since they're all useful in their own way, it was common in XII vanilla for someone in your party to have to stop every ten steps to reapply whatever buff just wore off. IZJS enforces a little more prioritization, as your single White Mage probably can't keep the entire active party decked in Protect, Shell, Regen, and Bubble at all times.

(As a quick aside, status effects are the primary purpose of the Vitality stat for anybody that's not a Breaker. Vitality extends the duration of positive statuses, reduces the duration of negative statuses, and reduces the success chance of status-inflicting attacks (but not ones that also deal damage, for some reason). However, there are two exceptions -- Berserk and Lure, both of which are considered positive statuses, can still be resisted by Vitality. This is sort of okay for Berserk, because, while it's quite powerful, enemies sometimes like to inflict it on your healer to screw up your strategy. But enemies will never inflict Lure, so there is no conceivable reason for it to be resistible except to frustrate the player.)

Anyway, I mention the specifics of the timing of status effects to bring up this Battle Speed option on the game's Config Menu. This ostensibly simple option is a holdover from the early days of Active Time Battle, but its function in the real-time world of XII isn't as straightforward. Battle Speed doesn't have any impact on the duration of status effects, nor does it change the speed of attack animations or running around the world either. So what does it do?

Well, every action in the combat system has both a specific charge time and an animation time. (To see the difference, fight an enemy with the Instant Attack or Instant Magick passives, and note how the attack animation begins at the same instant the Combat Log announces the attack. Or just use an item, which has a charge time of zero, and see that the action bar next to the user's name fills instantly.) Animation times are fixed, but charge times depend on the actor's Speed, several status effects, and, yes, the Battle Speed option.

Understanding that these two times can change asynchronously allows for a little bit of clever tweaking on the player's part. Faster Battle Speeds are proportionally more beneficial for actions with a long charge time, which is good for a cheap advantage when using long-charge actions like magick or ranged weapons, or when fighting enemies that gain Instant Attack. On the other hand, the slowest Battle Speed is good for running through dangerous high-level areas, as it minimizes the ratio of attacks received per step taken. And while the Battle Speed won't make status effects last longer in terms of absolute time, the faster settings can actually make positive statuses more efficient, as the party will make (or take) more attacks before they expire.

Mostly, I'll be leaving the Battle Speed on the default setting, because I don't really have the patience to micromanage this particular bit of metastrategy. If I do make use of this feature, I'll make mention of it.