A brief venture into a non-general challenge (**Spoilers**)

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4 years ago#1
I will eventually move similar challenges and discussion to General Challenge Topic, but since this isn't something listed in the general challenge introductory page and giving full explanation and going into playthrough notes would clutter things up, I'll go ahead and give an introductory here that I can link to in the challenge topic. I'll use this one for as long as it's around and others who feel the desire to give it a go may post their playthrough information as well as any further restrictions or lessened restrictions that they wish to add. Once the topic is full, I'll move discussion to the General Challenge thread. After the first challenge playthrough, any additional playthroughs using similar "cluster" restrictions will also be placed in the challenge thread.

Given a moment of thought and an urge to play an easy FFX challenge, I realized that I couldn't find my old NSG save available immediately after the Zanarkand introduction, which I've played too many times. Instead of doing the rational thing and quickly playing the ten minutes required to make it to the Salvage Ship again the old fashioned way, I instead took an hour to plan out a type of challenge that I can lazily start from a post-salvage ship save without having to worry about whether I've put any Sphere Levels or activations into Tidus or Rikku.

New Restriction: SLC - Starting Loop Cluster

The concept is simple enough and it's a relatively easy challenge for those not entirely willing to go the NSG route. The player may not allow a character to venture beyond the first loop cluster of his section of the Sphere Grid. In total, this gives about ~22 average nodes each that the characters will have available to last them through the end of the game, counting empty nodes and the allowable locks. There are a few characters where the limits of their movement was a bit more arbitrary in deciding, so I went further into developing the standard for the restrictions.

As such, the characters are allowed to move freely and backtrack as often as the player desires within the first loop cluster of their section. They may activate any nodes within. They are also allowed to access any adjacent nodes even if the node is just outside of the parameters considered to be the first "loop cluster."

Only their movement is limited, not their regular sphere usage. One such example is Jynx, which I consider to be outside of Kimahri's first main spiral. Since Jynx is still accessible via Ability Sphere from Kimahri's point on the cluster itself, he's still allowed to learn it. Similarly, characters may also branch into paths leading to new clusters, but must stop just short of reaching the new cluster itself.

This was decided after much consideration while looking at Auron's section. Others were a bit straight forward, but he was the first with a bit more complexity in defining the end of one path and the beginning of a new cluster. As such, he was allowed movement onto the first Str node in his section and may activate the adjacent Def+3 node that is considered the start of a new cluster.

Continued in next post
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4 years ago#2
I agree.
Standing in the tall grass. Thinking nothing.
You know, we need oxygen to breathe? Oxygen to breathe...
4 years ago#3
New "max stats" for this SLC, excuse the formatting:

Character| HP MP | STR | DEF | MAG | MDE | AGL | LUCK | EVA | ACC
Tidus | 920 | 32 | 19 | 8 | 5 | 5 | 13 | 18 | 12 | 14
Wakka | 1218 | 50 | 18 | 13 | 14 | 5 | 11 |19 | 6 | 27
Yuna | 875 104 | 5 | 7 | 26 | 26 | 13 | 17 | 32 | 3
Lulu | 780 | 132 | 5 | 12 | 24 | 34 | 5 | 17 | 46 | 3
Kimahri| 1444 | 98 | 20 | 19 | 17 | 7 | 7 | 18 | 5 | 7
Auron | 1830 | 53 | 24 | 18 | 5 | 5 | 5 | 17 | 5 | 3
Rikku | 1360 | 105 | 12 | 10 | 13 | 10 | 23 | 18 | 5 | 7

Locks: Players may also break locks, but may not move characters onto them or warp/teleport/return past them for any reason. Players *may* use the newly freed nodes for Stat Spheres.

Node Manipulation Spheres: Players may manipulate the nodes however they see fit, whether it's to add a Stat+4 sphere or clear a stat node entirely with a Clear Sphere. However, players are *not* allowed to activate any node outside of their section. They may not use Master Spheres to activate any node outside of their first loop cluster. This means that Black Magic Spheres, White Magic Spheres, Special Spheres, Skill Spheres, Stat Spheres, and Master Spheres will not be used.

Total Available Nodes: These are the nodes that the player are allowed to manipulate and activate even if they aren't allowed to move onto them. This total includes ability nodes and broken locks.

Borders nodes and player movement for each section: Character may only move as far as border nodes, but may still activate surrounding nodes even if they are in another cluster. They may also use excess Sphere Levels to move back and forth across allowed nodes to manipulate them as they see fit. They may not move onto the location of any broken lock or warp/teleport/return past those previously locked nodes.

Continued in next post
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4 years ago#4
To give some further perspective on the characters and their end-game situation, here is an overview of their free nodes, the total number of nodes they'll have available by the end of the game, the abilities they're allowed to know, and the exact border restrictions on their movement:

Free Nodes - 3
FN after Keys - 6
Total Available Nodes - 25
Abilities - Cheer, Flee, Haste, Provoke
Borders - Starting Node above lock, Must stop on HP+200 immediately prior to Acc+2

Free Nodes - 6
FN after Keys - 7
Total Available Nodes - 24
Abilities - Dark Attack, Silence Attack, Aim
Borders - Starting node, not allowed to move onto Dark Attack as it's technically in a different cluster, must stop on Defense+3 node prior to Evade+1

Free Nodes - 4
FN after Keys - 7
Total Available Nodes - 25
Abilities - Cure, Esuna, NulBlaze, NulShock, NulFrost, NulTide, Pray
Borders - May backtracdk as far as Cure spell (allows access to L4 lock), must stop on Pray

Free Nodes - 3
FN after Keys - 5
Total Available Nodes - 24
Abilities - Fire, Thunder, Water, Blizzard, Focus
Borders - May backtrack as far as Fire spell (allows access to two different locks), must stop on Eva+2 node between the two Def+2 nodes.

Free Nodes - 6
FN after Keys - 7
Total Available Nodes - 22
Abilities - Lancet, Scan, Jynx
Borders - May backtrack to Lancet (allows access to HP+200), may move onto Agi+1 node (allows access to another HP+200), may not move onto node to bottom right of Scan (access to free node), may not move onto Jynx (Jynx still accessible to learn), may not move onto node to bottom left of Def+2 (access to free node). Kimahri may use one Lvl 4 Key Sphere in Ultima Cluster, but may not move into Ultima cluster or learn Ultima. Basically, you may only stay on the straight circle with the two exceptions (Lancet and Agi+1 nodes) allowing the activation of the two additional HP+200 nodes.

Free Nodes - 6
FN after Keys - 7
Total Available Nodes - 16
Abilities - Power Break, Guard
Borders - May move as far as Str+4 node* prior to Def+3. May activate Lvl 2 lock, but may not move past it into next cluster.

Free Nodes - 1
FN after Keys - 4
Total Available Nodes - 19
Abilities - Steal, Use, Luck
Borders - May backtrack as far as Use (allows access to lvl 2 lock), onto the HP+200 node prior to Lvl 3 Lock (allowing access to said lock), and must stop on Agi+4 node prior to Spr+2. May open Lvl 1 lock next to starting position, but may not move onto it or into line leading toward Kimahri's section.
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4 years ago#5
Getting into my own challenge playthrough, I'll also have a few more restrictions.

SLC, NTQ, NS, and NE.

After beating BFA, I'll probably drop NTQ and add MoC as well for some Monster Arena fun.

I may slightly modify the NE rule later on as well for backtracking to older areas if I've already fought every enemy in that area. Since I've already made it as far as the first Calm Lands arena farming in the nsgnsncnonennenbb challenge, there's little reason for me to make things any easier on myself for the main game by allowing escapes. I'll have until after Djose to decide, so I'll have until then to figure out if I want to give that Flee ability some use.

I will leave playthrough notes regularly throughout the challenge. Others may feel free to do the same if anyone else decides that the challenge could be interesting to try it won't be too interesting for most of the early parts of the game since it will be played regularly until roughly Mushroom Rock Road, but it will start to show a little bit more difficulty beyond that, especially once the later Monster Arena part of the challenge comes into play.
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4 years ago#6
After a few hiccups with my memory cards, I've made it up to Luca, so real gameplay should start shortly. I've decided that I'm going to hold off on immediately using any stat creation nodes for now and wait until I think they may be helpful. Unlike the usual nsgnsntq games where strategy will be entirely independent of the Sphere Grid, I'll have some extra stats and abilities that I'd like to play with without making things too easy at very early points in the game.

With the limited number of open nodes, it could also be more beneficial to hold off on some of them until later when I have a better feel for the characters and any new additions to their play styles. Since it'll be entirely possible for me to manipulate those ~20 nodes that most of them will have with clear spheres by the time I'm ready for the post-story monster arena, it'll take some consideration to figure out which stats would be most beneficial for the purposes of the eventual Mark of Conquest part of the challenge.

Gameplay has progressed normally since not much will change early on in the story. One exception that I can note is that I didn't worry about resetting after getting an MP Sphere from Lord Ochu instead of HP. I have a feeling that 40 more MP on a character may be slightly more beneficial than a few hundred more HP since the characters, even Rikku, will be a bit beefier than usual. Adding a stamina tablet/tonic will make up any difference should I need the extra HP. MP will be a bit of a commodity though since I'll actually have some abilities to use, but not much MP to use them.
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4 years ago#7
I always seem to forget that the machina in Luca can drop Hi-Potions and X-Potions. It comes as a surprise and then I remember how upon seeing that in my first playthrough before getting a memory card, I stayed and fought the random encounters in Luca for a while to collect the extra items before I went and fought Oblitzerator. I felt a little silly when I saw how much more AP I was getting from fiends on Mi'ihen Highroad compared to the low numbers from the Machina, but I still felt safer having those extra items.

Looking up, I noticed that I missed Yuna's Life ability that should have also been on the list. I spent so much time going back through and checking the stats to make sure I had typed correctly that I guess I forgot to give the same amount of attention to the ability list. The life spell could definitely be useful at times, but I doubt its effectiveness will survive particularly far into the story. Rikku may already be mixing up some Auto-Life effects at that point or the Life spell could possibly even be made obsolete by already having Auto-Phoenix before it becomes particularly necessary to keep reviving people. There shouldn't be too many battles in the main story prior to those methods that will require a lot of reviving, but just having the option available could mean taking a few riskier strategies. NSG games mostly rely on keeping people alive in spite of their low HP, so having the option of letting someone die without having to worry about as many soft resets could definitely be beneficial, especially when those characters will have so much more max HP.
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4 years ago#8
I still can't imagine how this looks like in battle. Do you have some videos uploaded to show that?
Final Fantasy X PAL+ v1.1 videos on my channel:
4 years ago#9
I don't own a camera or mobile phone, so I can't really take any videos or pictures. The new "max" stat table I posted above shows the actual stats the characters will have by the time they reach Gui. Only Rikku will take until the Thunder Plains or Macalania to reach the end of her first loop cluster since she doesn't join until the end of the Moonflow. Aside from a few potential stat boosting nodes that I could potentially create, that's how it's going to look until Clear Spheres become available, which I don't plan on using until after BFA and reloading for the MoC part of the quest. Aside from that, they seem to average about 7 empty nodes that I can use for those few stat boosting nodes that I get throughout the game.

For one character using 7 nodes (poor Rikku only gets four, but Steal and Use make up for it), that could mean as much as adding an additional 28 points into a single regular stat, 2100 to HP, or 280 more MP. It's a big advantage compared to an NSG game where you get no wiggle room at all without Stamina Tablets or other methods that many may or may not choose to also restrict. In this game alone, I could potentially end up with Auron tanking with Guard at 7860 HP (potentially more with armor boosts) and Auto-Phoenix to keep reviving everyone after adding the additional HP+300 nodes and throwing a stamina tablet. That's not to say that's the plan, because there are other options that would be available that could be more beneficial than just using all of the HP spheres on Auron. It's just one option that I know is available to me since I've not put any restrictions on customization or the use of stat node creation spheres.

That's largely why I want to wait until later to use most of them . Lulu could be a bit of a given for the Magic Spheres since the extra magic stat is always beneficial and Yuna won't have any damage spells to play with. It's the others that would actually require a bit more thought. Auron can tank, but he can't hit anything. Kimahri sacrifices a little HP for 3x the def and mdef. Rikku attacks twice as often as everyone else, but is better spent using items and only starts with half as much Str. By the time most of it even becomes an issue, their regular attacks will mostly be obsolete thanks to status attacks, overdrives, etc.

While the characters will still roughly fill their NSG roles with a few obvious exceptions, the stats change things up enough that even though things will be easier, most of the experience is just finding out new ways to use the characters that make sense in both terms of stat setups and learning to take advantage of their shiny new abilities. Honestly, the one I'm most excited about is the ability to use Provoke in random encounters.
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4 years ago#10
drops from worker
Moon bangle - SOS NulShock and SOS NulFrost
Nultide bangle - SOS NulTide

I may have gone a little overboard with the random machina battles.

Messed up in first Blitzball game, reset
Shut out goers 3-0 to win Strength Sphere

After getting in some gameplay and looking enough at Auron's section of the Sphere Grid, I've made a decision. Everybody starts inside an ornate "circle" that is clearly defined on the grid. It mostly corresponds with the borders I've set up for everyone. Mostly. For Auron in particular, he would have been entering 2 nodes inside of the next circle if I had gone along with the previously noted setup. When I made the border nodes, I was looking at a .png of the Sphere Grid that was entirely lacking in the game's background. Having that made things a bit clearer and allowed me to come to a more accurate definition of what should be considered a "loop cluster" in this challenge. It will strictly be the nodes on/within those starting circle patterns. Even if the node isn't within another circle, they can not move onto it unless it is strictly on or inside of the main big circle itself. The "don't move on/past locks" and "don't activate any node outside their section" things were also mostly just ways to simplify the rules as well so that I wouldn't be tempted to make exceptions for certain nodes that could arguably be considered part of a separate cluster. That was why Ultima was off limits before in spite of it being within Kimahri's first loop cluster and why characters couldn't move onto other specific nodes that seemed very clearly within their starting circle. Now that the rule is a bit more defined, that rule is now obsolete.

This is advantageous and disadvantageous in different respects. Auron is the only character that actually takes a hit. It means he loses out on those Str+4 and Def+3 nodes as well as the use of those two nodes for deletion/manipulation. Kimahri gets the biggest advantage in that he now gets both the Ultima spell and all four (instead of just one) of the level 4 locks surrounding it since there will be enough key spheres found to accommodate for all of them by the end of the game. That gives Kimahri even more stat manipulation options.

Thanks also to the lack of limitations against moving on/past locks, that means some other advantages for other characters as well. Lulu can now move onto the level 2 lock node to the left of Fire. This now gives her the ability to manipulate/activate the blank node to the left of the lock that is technically in Rikku's section. It's a shame copycat wasn't there instead. Rikku now gets to move as far as the blank node below the Lvl 1 lock leading toward Kimahri's section, also allowing her to manipulate/activate the blank node to the right of that. She also gets to use the stats and free nodes past the level 3 lock in her section. "Poor" Rikku just got an additional 6 more total nodes to play with in addition to the 4 blank nodes she already would have had. The only thing it changes for Tidus is that he can now move onto the Lvl 1 lock leading into Kimahri's section and activate/manipulate the Acc+2 below it. Unless I really missed something, those should be all of the changes.
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Happy kitty, sleepy kitty, purr purr purr
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