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Final Fantasy X
Wakka's a bit lacking in the imagination department.
The Sphere Grid
If you look at the Sphere Grid for the first time, it looks like a random assortment of nodes connected by lines, probably doesn't making any sense. However, the grid can be easily divided into seven sections. Each section is specifically for a certain character and the types of nodes in those sections correspond with the predetermined strengths and weaknesses. If you compare it to other Final Fantasy series, each character has its own strengths and weaknesses. For example, the classic Black Mage has high Magic, but low Attack and a Warrior will have high Strength and Defense, while its Magic is lower. In the Sphere Grid, you'll have the option to just follow the designated route, or take a little detour to learn other abilities or increase other statistics. Of course, you can also just wait until the route of one character is completed and then take the route of another character to advance your character more.
The way to develop your characters in FFX is using the Sphere Grid. If you start a new game, you have to choose which Sphere Grid you wish to use during the game, this cannot be changed later in the game. If youíre new to Final Fantasy X, itís recommended to use the Standard Sphere Grid. However, more experienced players will probably pick the Expert Sphere Grid, as this is a bigger Sphere Grid with more possibilities. Also for those who wish to maximize the stats of your characters, the Expert Sphere Grid is necessary.
Below, youíll see a screenshot of the Sphere Grid. Iíve made 6 marks on it, which will be described underneath the picture.
Explanation of the marks on the image
You'll need different Spheres to activate the Nodes on the Grid and unlock the relevant abilities and attributes. If Key Locks are blocking your way, you'll need the rare Key Spheres which allow one of your heroes to penetrate another character's sectors and learn completely new abilities. Spheres can be obtained by defeating (or bribing) enemies, talking to people or opening some treasure chests. There are many different types of Spheres which have different effects on the Grid.
Take a look at the Sphere List to see all the Spheres and Nodes on the Sphere Grid and their meanings. The different colors will indicate the color on the Sphere Grid./p>
Gaining Sphere Levels
First of all, it's important to know that your characters are rewarded with AP (Ability Points) after you won a battle. Some enemies also leave Spheres behind. When you've collected enough Ability Points, the character's Sphere Level is increased. With one Sphere Level, you can move one step forward or up to four steps backwards. Note that as you cannot have a fraction of a Sphere Level, you will spend one sphere level even if you only move one, two, or three spaces backwards.
Any character who participates in battle will receive AP, no matter what kind of action they took, so even if they just defended themselves. All characters will receive the same amount of AP, so letting a character stay a long time in battle or just a short time, doesn't affect the AP amount. Characters who are switched out their first turn, are KO'd or Petrified at the end of the battle, or are not in the battle at all will gain no AP. For example, if the starting line-up is Kimahri, Wakka, and Rikku, and Wakka is switched out his first turn and does not return, he will gain no AP. Also, if Yuna takes the first turn in battle and she summons an Aeon right from the start and the Aeon finishes the battle, only Yuna will gain AP, because the others didn't take any action. This also means that if a battle starts against one fiend and you attack the fiend with one of your characters and it's an instant kill or Overkill, only the character who took the action will gain AP.
A character can have as many Sphere Levels at once as the player desires, up to the max of 99 Sphere Levels, although it's wise not to hold on to them for a long time. As the difficulty of the enemies progresses in the game, Yuna and her entourage must grow more powerful in order to defeat them.
Developing your Characters
Now, how to develop your characters? Go to the main menu by pressing , then select the character you want to develop and press to get to the Sphere Grid. Another menu will be opened, which looks like the pic above. You can use and to tilt the Grid for a slightly different view. And using Select you can zoom in.
Now, let's start. Press and a little window will pop up with two options: Move and Use. Select Move to move your character, now you'll see that the accessible Nodes are highlighted. You can enter one new field per Sphere Level, or you can cross four activated fields. Press to confirm your decision.
Now we've moved the character, but we still need to activate Nodes in order to learn new abilities or increase attributes. If you are on or directly beside a Node which has yet to be activated, press . Now, the same little window as before will pop up, but this time, select Use. Another window will open, displaying a list of your Spheres. The available Spheres are highlighted in white. You can use certain Spheres to transform empty Node fields into activated Nodes, whereas other can be used to activate nonadjacent Nodes. So select the needed Sphere type and press to confirm, or to cancel.
A light shines on the Node and you've activated the Node. If it's an Ability Node, the character has learned the Ability instantly and will be able to use it directly (if there's enough MP to consume it), if it's an Attribute Node, the corresponding attribute is upgraded immediately. You'll now see a small coloured mark next to the field (see Colours on the Sphere grid below). Either continue to activate more Nodes or more your character further on the grid (if you have at least one Sphere Level left), or you can press to view your character's status. Further, you can use and to switch between your characters or press to return to the main menu.
Sections of the Grid
When a character becomes playable, they all have their own starting point on the Grid. When a character's section ends, with the exception of Kimahri's, it runs halfway into another character's section. Which one it is usually reflects their personality in a way, such as how Rikku, who admitted that she admired Lulu, runs halfway into Lulu's grid section after she finishes hers. Let's take a close look at the routes of the seven characters.
◊ Tidus: Tidus holds a light sword as his weapon and he has a good balance of Strength and Accuracy. He learns Special Abilities and White Magic that can be used to aid himself or teammates, such as Haste and Cheer. He also learns Skills that can handicap the enemy, such as Delay Buster. He is best against land-dwelling enemies that are too quick for Auron, and too resilient for Wakka. When his Grid section ends, it runs into Yuna's. His Grid color is Aqua/Light Blue.
◊ Yuna: Yuna uses a Summoning staff or rod as her weapon. She has low Strength and Defense but high Magic and Magic Defense. All the classic healing abilities like the Cure series, Regen, and Esuna are in her section. Being the Summoner of the game, the stats of Yuna's Aeons will also be raised when hers do. She is best skilled as a White Mage and Summoner, of course. When her Grid section ends, it runs into Rikku's. Her Grid color is White.
◊ Wakka: Wakka uses his Blitzball as his weapon, which he throws at the enemy and then conveniently bounces back into his hands. He has low Strength, but makes up for it with higher Accuracy and Evasion. He also has many moves that change enemies' status, such as Dark Attack and Silence Buster. His specialties are flyers, who are weak but also very quick. When his Grid section ends, it runs into Auron's. His Grid color is Yellow.
◊ Lulu: Lulu uses a doll as her weapon. Her section is that of the classic Black Mage. She has many of the same stats as Yuna. Classic Black Magic such as the Fire, Thunder, Blizzard and Water series are in her section. Her specialty is elemental fiends like flans who are resistant to physical attacks. When her Grid section ends, it runs into Wakka's. Her Grid color is Blue/Purple.
◊ Kimahri: Kimahri uses a spear as his weapon. However, his section is the only one that doesn't follow a direct line. At the center of his section is Ultima, but it is guarded by several Lv. 4 Lock Nodes. Kimahri's section is rather small, but it can merge into the start of every character's section, except for Auron's. Kimahri's section itself is mostly directed for raising Speed and Defense. His specialty is unique use of the special ability Lancet. In addition to absorbing HP and MP like with everyone else, when Kimahri uses it he may learn certain abilities from the enemy he is using Lancet on, which he can then use in his Overdrive: Ronso Rage. Refer to his Overdrive section for more info. His Grid color is Dark Blue.
◊ Auron: Auron uses a heavy katana as his weapon, which rests on his shoulder. His section includes many Strength and HP Nodes, but less Evasion and Agility Nodes. Auron's section includes the stat-altering abilities Power Break, Armor Break, Mental Break and Magic Break, and he also has first access to defensive abilities such as Sentinel and Threaten. Almost all of his weapons come with piercing ability, so naturally his specialty is armored and thick-skinned fiends that are too tough for Tidus. When his Grid section ends, it runs into Tidus's, thus closing the circle (Tidus-Yuna-Rikku-Lulu-Wakka-Auron). His Grid color is Red.
◊ Rikku: Rikku uses a Brace on her arm as her weapon to hit the enemies. Her section will have more physical attributes then magical. Rikku is a mix between the classic jobs of a Thief and a Chemist, i.e. she has abilities in her section such as Mug and she starts off with Steal and Use already learned. Her specialty is obtaining, mixing, and manipulating items that can be used in battle or as tools to raise attributes. When her Grid section ends, it runs into Lulu's. Her color is Green.
The beginning and end of each section is blocked by Lock Nodes, as well are the optional paths in between sections. Ultimately, when using Key Spheres to unlock Lock Nodes, each character will have access to the whole Grid. Unless characters are very extensively trained, a player should have the corresponding Lock Spheres before a character meets the end of his or her section.
Colours on the Sphere Grid
At the start of the game, some Nodes are not activated and are therefore grey. A Node will light up once it has been activated. However, if you switch to another character, the field will be coloured grey again, since it has not yet been activated by the relevant character. Each Node has seven small squares arranged around it. If one of these lights up, you'll be able to see which character has already activated the Node in question. The following colour code is used to denote the various characters:
Tips using the Sphere Gird
- It's wise to use your Sphere Levels as soon as you gain them, because it will make your characters stronger as you increase their attributes or learn them more new abilities.
- Save your game before entering the Sphere Grid. If you happen to make a mistake, you can simply reload your previous game.
- A little forward planning always makes sense: plan your route well before you set off, so you don't waste AP going back. Use the overview of the full Sphere Grid to plan your route.
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