Thursday, November 16, 2006

FFXII: Licenses, cont.

I may, on a whim, purchase a motorcycle, speedboat, or even an 18-wheel cargo truck. Perhaps, even, a de-commissioned Sherman tank. I may purchase each of these things, but I will not have the license to operate any of them. Such is the catch in FFXII's License System.

The License Board starts whole and empty for each character. It's split into two main areas, abilities and weapons. Each grid space costs LP to unlock and the catch is two-fold. I may spend points to unlock the first level of white magic, but my characters must then go out and purchase that white magic with cash money! In turn, I may come across a vendor who sells fifth level black magic, but I can't use it until I find and unlock the corresponding license!

It's this way for magic, skills, and accessories. Swords, daggers, maces, bows, spears, armor... it goes and goes. Thankfully there are licenses that are instantly accessible (and most valuable) without needing to purchase anything but the license itself. Like +HP, +defense, speed bonuses, stuff like that. And there is a lot of stuff like that.

Since I am a weapon happy gamer, early in the game I spent LP heartily on weapons licenses. But it became crushingly clear to me that many of these groovy weapons were nowhere to be found-- and I realized would not be for who knows how long. Again that license catch-- you need both components to make it work. I have licenses for weapons and armor I haven't even seen offered, let alone will be able to afford when they are.

But I've fallen into a steady groove. Lots of combat got me lots of LP, and my characters are developing nicely:

Vaan: As the lead, he's pretty well balanced. But I'm specializing him in one handed swords, fighting attributes, and the appropriate armor classes.
Basch: The Brawler. Weapons, heavy armor, and all out strength. I've moved him past swords into hammers and spears, and he is getting lethal.
Fran: I've got Fran as an archer and two-handed swordsman (for the super cool and lethal Katana class weapons). I'm also giving her the Quickening super moves along with Vaan. Since Quickenings cost MP, and Fran rarely casts spells, she's always at full MP and ready to unleash a Quickening in emergencies.
Ashe: The game clearly wants Lady Ashe to be a white mage, but I've geared her more towards fighting. But I've also kept up her white mage licenses while buffing her out, so I've got me a great paladin class character. Like Vann I'll have her specialize in swords, a good tactic I think because she can always take his hand-me-downs. Otherwise she's at the ready with healing, status cures, and resurrect spells.
Penello: When Penello finally joined the party, she came with a wealth of LP and I had learned from my early errors in spending. Instantly she got a bevvy of buff licenses and became a jack of all trades. Like Ashe she fights and heals and is great in a support role, tho can wield a mean pole and has plenty of damage attributes to back it up.
Balthier: My power mage. He doesn't just get some magic, he gets all magic. Old school gamers can agree with me on an RPG staple. Mages by nature are initially weak characters that need constant supervision and protection for at least half the game. But stick with them and see the blossoming of a spellcasting juggernaught by the 3rd quarter who's power will be near unrivaled.

The images here are pictures I took of my actual game in progress. On the license board close up, you'll see how some squares have numbers, that's what I can spend on. The others are filled in, that's what I've gotten so far. Empty squares aren't revealed until you buy the square adjacent to it... The second screen shows how my characters are progressing on each of their own boards. As you'll notice I've accumulated quite a bit of LP after my latest trek, so it's time to buy more licenses! Ah, good times, good times.

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