Final Fantasy XII Hello and welcome. This is my first guide, and it will be a very short one at that. The reason I wrote this guide is that I was searching the Internet (for various reasons), and I constantly came across people asking about how to gain large Quickening Chains, what the difference between the levels of Quickenings are etc, and so I decided to make a document outlining my findings after quite a large amount of experimentation. The highest chain I have ever accomplished is 32 (with the concurrence of Black Hole) and I frequently get chains in the +20 region (usually resulting in Dark Hole, Cataclysm or White Out). This guide does try to explain Quickenings and Mist Charges as though it was being read by someone with no experience using them, though some basic knowledge of the system will most likely help you to understand what is being said. Contents: 1. What are Quickenings? 2. Quickenings List. 3. Basic Mechanics of a Quickening Chain. 4. Gaining a High Chain. 5. Concurrence. 6. Legal Nonsense 7. Updates 1. What are Quickenings? Quickenings are the ‘Limit’ for the characters of this game. For most people, you will remember how the FFVII characters had ‘Limit’ bars, which charged as damage was incurred, or how the FFVIII characters had the ‘Limit Break’ command, which could be performed by any character in the HP Critical status. FFIX players will remember each character having ‘Trance’ bars, that was also charged as the characters recieved damage, and FFX players will be more than familiar with the ‘Overdrive’ command, which filled under a variety of different conditions chosen by the character. As we can see then, each game has had it’s own version of a ‘special move’ and FFXII has chosen Quickenings (and Summonings, which are not covered in this guide) as it’s variation. So back to the original question: what are Quickenings? Quickenings are a command that can be found under the ‘Mist’ menu in the battle menu, and each Quickening expends a certain amount of Mist Charges. To obtain a Quickening, all you have to do is obtain the license for it on the license board. The Quickenings are usually found at the edges and the corners of the license board (presumably so that you have to gain a decent amount of License Points before you can obtain them) and each character can have a maximum of three Quickenings. Once the license for a Quickening has been learned, that Quickening slot is removed from all other character’s license boards, which means that only one character can learn a Quickening from any specific slot on the license board (note that there are enough Quickening slots on the License grid for every character to obtain three). Each time a character learns a Quickening, they will receive an extra Mist Charge. A Mist Charge is basically a second MP bar, and can be used for extra MP for ordinary spells, or as an extra charge for a Quickening. Quickenings have three levels. Once a character has learnt their first quickening, they have their version of the level one Quickening; they will gain one Mist Charge bar, and this Quickening will cost one Mist Charge to perform. When this character learns their second Quickening, they have their version of the level two Quickening; they will gain another Mist Charge bar (total of two) and this Quickening will cost two Mist Charges to perform. When this character learns their third and final Quickening, they will have their version of the level three Quickening; they will gain another Mist Charge bar (max total of three) and this quickening will cost three Mist Charges to perform. To perform a Quickening, all you need is to have at least one Mist Charge available, and all you have to do is access the Mist option in the battle menu, choose the Quickening option, and then choose whichever Quickening you wish to perform. I will cover damage of the various Quickenings later, for now you should just be advised that it is generally better to start a chain with the level one Quickening, even though the level three Quickening is more powerful (explained later). 2. Quickening List. Here you will find a list of each character, with their corresponding Quickenings and their levels, along with a quick explanation of what each one looks like. Vaan Red Spiral – Level 1 Vaan performs an uppercut, then some red and blue streaks appear under the enemy and form a cone shape before exploding. White Whorl – Level 2 Vaan clasps his hands together (like he is charging the move) and then jumps into the air and hurls a huge tornado at the enemy. Pyroclasm – Level 3 Vaan generates a ball of fire in each hand. He then throws one at the enemy and waits a little bit before throwing the other one with more speed, so that it hits the first one and they explode as they collide with the enemy. Balthier Fires of War – Level 1 Balthier places one hand out towards the enemy, and various balls of fire fly into the enemy and explode. Tides of Fate – Level 2 Balthier performs a kind of hand-jive, which generates a huge pentagram around the enemy, and calls forth a huge tidal wave to crash onto the enemy. Element of Treachery – Level 3 A big symbol appears under the enemy, and then Balthier, along with your two other party members, flies off into the sky, before a huge meteorite comes crashing into the enemy. Fran Feral Strike – Level 1 Fran performs a lightening fast punch combo, and the last one causes an explosion. Whip Kick – Level 2 Fran jumps into the air, and performs a succession of spinning kicks on the enemy, and then she lands and performs a flip kick that sends a huge blast of air towards the enemy, causing an explosion. Shatterheart – Level 3 This is very similar to the old-school summoning attack of ‘Shiva’. Fran sends two huge ice structures towards the enemy, and then she causes them to shatter around the enemy. Basch Fulminating Darkness – Level 1 Basch places his hands together and sends a stream of energy into the enemy, causing an explosion. Ruin Impendent – Level 2 Basch performs a three punch combo on the enemy, which causes the screen to break, and then he charges a final punch which shatters the screen and causes something which resembles a black hole. Flame Purge – Level 3 Basch summons a huge amount of flaming swords that he fires straight into the enemy, impaling it from all sides. Then the swords explode. Penelo Intercession – Level 1 Penelo dances around and summons some kind of magical light to attack the enemy. Evanescence – Level 2 Again, she dances around, except this time the explosion is larger and the dance is longer. Resplendence – Level 3 This time, Penelo seems to cause time to stop, as there are falling snowflakes that she stops in mid-air, then she runs up to the enemy and causes a ripple in time, which causes the enemy to shatter. Ashe Northswain’s Glow – Level 1 Ashe causes several pillars of light to explode upwards from beneath the enemy. Heaven’s Wrath – Level 2 Ashe floats into the air, and then she sends a cascade of explosions into the enemy, bombarding it until it explodes. Maelstrom’s Bolt – Level 3 Ashe creates a huge black source of energy behind her, which she then unleashes on the enemy, causing a constant stream of dark magic to attack the enemy, resulting in a massive explosion. By now you can see that the great majority of these moves result in an explosion. Everybody's Quickenings of the same level are the same power. For example, Northswain's Glow has the same power as Red Spiral, and Flame Purge has the same power as Element of Treachery. The power of the levels is displayed below: Level 1 - 90 Level 2 - 140 Level 3 - 230 (source http://www.final-fantasy-12.com/ff12_mists_quickenings.html) Although the power of these moves are the same, the damage can be quite different, depending on the power of your character. If you have a level 10 character perform their level 1 Quickening, it will do much less damage than if you have a level 50 character do the same. 3. Basic Mechanics of a Quickening Chain. As mentioned before, to perform a Quickening, you must select the Mist option from the battle menu and then choose a Quickening to perform. When you have selected a Quickening (and chosen an appropriate target), the Quickening will be performed, however, this alone will do little damage; you must chain a succession of Quickenings together to get the desired effect. To create a chain, you must pay attention to the bottom right hand side of the screen at the beginning of each Quickening. When you perform your first Quickening, you must chain a second Quickening onto the combo within a certain time limit. The time limit is displayed as both a bar, and as a numerical value (the bar is so that you can monitor it out of the corner of your eye, without having to switch your attention from the Quickening commands to the numerical value). Above the timer bar, you should see a button for each of the characters in your party who have learned at least one Quickening, and next to it, you should see a particular command. This command will either read “Mist Charge” or it will be the name of one of the Quickenings that this character has learned. If it is a Quickening (not “Mist Charge”) it will also display the number of Charges needed to perform that Quickening. For example, if you have Vaan in your party, and you have learned White Whorl, it might read:  White Whorl oo This would indicate that the Quickening White Whorl is available to be performed, and that it costs two Mist Charges to perform. As the button at the beginning is the Square button (indicated by ) if you wanted to perform this Quickening, you would press the Square button. When you choose a Quickening to perform, this freezes the time bar. Sometimes, you will see that the commands that are displayed are in grey and not white. This is because you have learned that particular quickening, but you do not currently have enough Mist Charges to perform that Quickening. For example, if choose the Quickening Pyroclasm to start the Quickening chain, this will use all three of your Mist Charges, and will mean that you won’t have any left to perform a second Quickening. If however, you were to start the Quickening chain with ‘Red Spiral’ you would only use one Mist Charge, which means that, if either ‘Red Spiral’ or ‘White Whorl’ were to become available, you would have enough charges to perform either one of them. If you see the command “Mist Charge” next to a particular character, you are being given the change to refill that characters Mist Charges up to their maximum level. For example if you have learned two Quickenings with Vaan and you are given the Mist Charge option, this will refill his charges back to two. When you choose the Mist Charge option, the timer will not stop, as you haven’t chosen another Quickening to continue the chain; you have only refilled a character’s Mist Charges. When you have chosen the Mist Charge option, all the options will be shuffled, and you will have three brand new options from which to choose. These options might be Mist Charges for the other two characters, or they might be Quickenings. Note that there is always one command for each character, and that character will always correspond to the same button within the same chain i.e. Vaan will not switch from Square to Triangle in the middle of a chain: he will always remain the same button. The way the button assignment is determined is dependent on whom you have in your party. The person at the top of the party list in the battle screen will always correspond with Triangle. The person second on the list will always correspond with Square, and the bottom person will always correspond with X. The Circle button is not used when performing Quickenings. Sometimes you will find that all of the options available to you are grey. This will either be because you have used all of your Mist Charges or because you do not have enough Mist Charges to perform any of the Quickenings presented. If this is the case, you can press the R2 button to shuffle your options. This will give you three brand new options from which to pick; however you are not guaranteed to be given an option you can perform. Also be aware that the timer does not stop when you choose to shuffle, as you still haven’t chosen another Quickening to continue the chain. To perform a large chain, you must juggle between not using up all of your charges, and not using up all of your time. Once your time is up, you will perform a Concurrence. This is dependent on the length of your chain: the higher the chain means a better Concurrence. Also note that anyone who performs a Quickening in a chain will use all their Mist Charges. 4. Gaining a Large Chain Now that we know how to operate the Quickening screen, we can look at how to perform a large chain. I (like most others) thought it was a good idea to keep shuffling the options at the beginning of the quickening, trying to get as many Mist Charges as possible, while the bar/timer was slow. THIS IS WRONG! You should choose an option as fast as possible, because the more time you use in the first round, the less time you have in the second round, and the more you use in the second, the less you have in the third etc. You usually start a Quickening with 5 seconds worth of time available to you, and whatever you don’t use is carried on to the next round. After each round, the time is replenshed with half of the time you used in the previous round. For example, you start with five seconds of time in the first round. If you was to use Three of these seconds in the first round, this would leave you with two seconds, plus the replenishment of half of the time you used. Half of three is one and a half, making your total time for the next round become two plus one and a half, which amounts to three and a half. TL=TR+(TU/2) Where TL=Time Left TR=Time Remaining from last round TU=Time Used in last round The way you should do it is to start a chain off with a level one Quickening. When the options appear, if Mist Charge is available, choose that, and constantly keep pressing that character's button over and over (as you know that they will definitely be able to perform a quickening because they have just replenished all their Mist Charges). If you don't get Mist Charge as an option, choose the lowest level Quickening available (so as to conserve charges). If the same level quickening is available to more than one character, perform it with the one who has the least remaining charges (if you can remember) so that, if that character gets a Mist Charge, you will gain more charges. e.g. Scenario 1 (The Wrong Way) Quickening 1 - Vaan level 1 Quickening 2 - Fran level 1 Quickening 3 - Basch level 1 NOW IF YOU WERE TO GAIN A MIST CHARGE OPTION, YOU WOULD GET ONE CHARGE BACK, AND THE OTHER TWO CHARACTERS WOULD BE LEFT WITH TWO CHARGES; OUTCOME = 3 QUICKENINGS PERFORMED, 7CHARGES LEFT. Scenario 2 (The Right Way) Quickening 1 - Vaan Level 1 Quickening 2 - Vaan Level 1 Quickening 3 -Vaan Level 1 NOW IF YOU WERE TO GAIN A MIST CHARGE OPTION, YOU WOULD GET THREE CHARGES BACK, AND THE OTHER TWO CHARACTERS WOULD BE LEFT WITH THREE CHARGES; OUTCOME = 3 QUICKENINGS PERFORMED, 9 CHARGES LEFT. Now, when you get to the later stages, you will find that, because you saved your time at the beginning, you will now have a lot more time available to you, and it is more valuable to you at the later stages, because you will have less Mist Charges left. When you find that you have just performed a Quickening, and none of the options that are available to you can be performed, only then should you shuffle the reels. If any of the options are a Mist Charge then take it, otherwise just choose any option as quick as you can, so as to avoid spending too much time on one section. Obviously there will be times when you have no charges left and you have to shuffle 3-4 times to get a Charge, and sometimes it won't give you one, but on the whole, this works for me. Just remember to be fast at the beginning, and don't be tempted to keep shuffling for the Mist Charges. To simplify your thoughts, get into the mentality of doing things in this order: 1) If a Mist Charge is there then choose it. 2) If a Mist Charge isn't there, choose the lowest level Quickening. 3) If no option is available, shuffle and go back to stage one. As for damage, it is simple; the bigger the chain, the more damage is done. With this in mind, it is easy to understand why we should always start the chain with a level one Quickening; simply because it conserves charges and allows for a bigger chain. To look at it another way, a chain of nine Quickenings that are all level one would be more powerful than a chain of three Quickenings that are all level three. Obviously there will be times when the only option that you can choose is a level three Quickening, and in that case you should choose it, because it will add a decent amount of damage to your chain, and it is better to choose the level three quickening straight away, rather that to waste time shuffling the options to find a level one Quickening. If you stick to the three stages above, you should get the most out of your chain. Another point to mention is that, if/when you shuffle the reels, even whilst the words are still shuffling, you can see what is going to become available by looking at the Mist Charges to the right of the Quickenings. The moment you press the shuffle button, the Mist Charge icons change straight away to the next set of options, meaning that while you are waiting for the names of the Quickenings to appear, you can be using that time to check the icons (Note that 'Mist Charge' has no icons, so be sure to look out for that). Once you become confident with this system, you're free to take a more level-headed approach after selecting 'Mist Charge'. While your timer is still relatively slow-moving, you free to look for a second Mist Charge. See, sometimes, you'll be given the option of Mist Charge, and you'll obviously take it, and using our current strategy, you would then be mashing that character's button in order to select a Quickening and freeze the chain. You'll also notice that, when you do this, another character was offered the option of a Mist Charge. I've often filled all three character's charges in one round. To do this, just don't spam-click the recently-charged character's button; wait and see if the Mist Charge option appears for either of the other two characters, and select it if you see it. This is only recommended for those with quick reflexes and plenty of experience with performing Quickenings, as you can often waste valuable time trying to see if you have another Mist Charge option. 5. Getting The Most Out Of Your Charges So far, we know how to get the most out of a chain, but how about getting the most out of out charges? At first glance, it would appear that taking as many charges into a Quickening would be best, as it gives you a lot of charges with which to rack up a high chain. Alas, this is not the case. See, on average, with a fully-charged team of three characters, you'll get around a twenty chain. Do this with two teams, and you will have performed around forty Quickenings and two Concurrences. Here's how you go about adding another ten to twenty (sometimes even more) Quickenings, along with four extra Concurrences, to your chain. Firstly, make sure that all your party members have all their Mist Charges fully-charged. Switch out all party members except one. Select and perform a Quickening chain with that one character. You'll get around five to Ten Quickenings and a Concurrence, depending on your luck. Next, bring in ONE more party member, and perform a second Quickening chain. This means you'll have three initial charges with which to work, and two characters that can gain the Mist Charge option. You should get around eight to twelve Quickenings, and a Concurrence. Next, bring in a third party member, and initiate a third QUickening chain. This means you'll have three initial charges with which to work, and three characters that can gain the Mist Charge option. You should get around ten to fifteen Quickenings and a Concurrence. Now, you might be thinking that you'd just switch those three out and start again with one character and work up to three, but that'd be a waste of potential Mist Charges. So, what you do, is switch out ONE of the three already-used characters, and bring in one of the three characters who still have left some charges. This means you'll have three initial charges with which to work, and three characters that can gain the Mist Charge option. You should get around ten to fifteen Quickenings and a Concurrence. Then, switch out a used character and bring in one of the remaining unused characters. This means you'll have three initial charges with which to work, and three characters that can gain the Mist Charge option. You should get around ten to fifteen Quickenings and a Concurrence. Lastly, switch out a used character, and bring in the remaining Unused character. This means you'll have three initial charges with which to work,and three characters that can gain the Mist Charge option. You should get around ten to fifteen Quickenings and a Concurrence. So, after all of this, let's look at the numbers (note that I will take the lowest estimate for each chain, to emphasise the point): First chain: 5 Quickenings, 1 Concurrence Second chain: 8 Quickenings, 1 Concurrence Third Chain: 10 Quickenings, 1 Concurrence Fourth Chain: 10 Quickenings, 1 Concurrence Fifth Chain: 10 Quickenings, 1 Concurrence Sixth Chain; 10 Quickenings, 1 Concurrence Total: 53 Quickenings, 6 Concurrences. As you can see, even if we take the lower estimates, this method will still grant you over ten more Quickenings, and an extra four more Concurrences. It also leaves a greater margin for getting a lucky streak, where you're given Mist Charge options for several consecutive rounds, and also minimises the effect of a 'dud chain', where it just fails to give you any Mist Charge options. Using this method, it's possible (and quite easy) to beat some of the Mob Hunts that are deemed way above your level. Such examples are Trickster, which you can fight as soon as you get to Bur Omisace (around level twenty), which will be very very tough to handle without Quickenings; or the Antlion in the Lhusu Mines, which is Usually surrounded by four to six other enemies, all of which will be ten to fifteen levels above you (this is also an example of a place where you might aim for a high-levelled Concurrence, so as to clear out his litle friends). Also note that, by using this method, you'll be able to clear out a swarm of enemies (again, think of the Antlion Mob Hunt as an example) much easier, as you'll perform a total of six Concurrences. Even if all Six are Inferno, you're still going to inflict around 20k-30k worth of area damage, as well as take out a huge chunk of the targetted enemy's HP. 6. Concurrence As mentioned before, when the timer has run out, your characters will perform a concurrence. Following further investigation, and with information from outside sources (mentioned below) I can now explain how the Concurrence performed is determined. *All Concurrences have a specific condition that is required to be fulfilled in order for it to be performed, and this condition is the amount of each Quickening level performed in that chain. For example, if you perform five level 1 Quickenings and three level 2 Quickenings, you will definitely get Torrent. The following table contains the requirements: ------------------------------------------------------ Concurrence - Quickening Level - Amount - ------------------------------------------------------ Inferno - Level 1 - 3 Times - Cataclysm - Level 1 - 8 Times - Torrent - Level 2 - 3 Times - Wind Burst - Level 2 - 6 Times - Whiteout - Level 3 - 5 Times - *Ark Blast - Level 1/2/3 - 2 Times Each- *Luminescence - Level 1/2/3 - 3 Times Each- *Black Hole - Level 1/2/3 - 4 Times Each- ------------------------------------------------------ *Means you have to perform a leve1 1, level 2 and a level 3 in the amounts stated* For example, Ark Blast requires you to do a level 1 Quickening two times, a level 2 Quickening two times and a level 3 Quickening two times. The Concurrences are listed based on priority. For example, even if you get eight level 1 Quickenings, if you do three level 2 Quickenings (resulting in an 11 hit combo), you will get Torrent as a Concurrence, not Cataclysm. The priority is always with the Concurrence lowest down on the list. If the conditions are fulfilled for Black Hole, then Black Hole will always be performed, regardless of how ever many other conditions you may have fulfilled, as Black Hole has priority over all other Quickenings. If the conditions for Luminescene are fulfilled, then Luminescence will always be performed unless the conditions for Black Hole have also been fulfilled, as Luminescence has priority over all other Quickenings except Black Hole. (Credit here to Stephen Martin, Tyrel Yuen, Alex Jones, James Burkhardt and Vaan Ratsbane) Although each of the concurrences lends itself to an element, like Inferno obviously being fire, they actually deal non-elemental physical damage. This is so that you don't end up healing the enemy if it absorbed that particular element (which would be kind of unfair as you don’t have total control over which move it performs). The element simply indicates how powerful the concurrence is, the more basic the element, the less powerful the concurrence. For example, the Fire element is the most basic of the elements, and in most FF games, it is the first element magic (and usually the first magic at all) that you can learn, whereas something like Dark element, or Holy element is much more advanced, costing more MP, dealing more damage and being attainable only at a later stage of the game. Also note that Concurrences deal area damage, so sometimes you might want to aim for a better Concurrence, even if it means getting a smaller chain. The reason you might want to do this is if you have activated a Quickening because you have been over run by 5-6 enemies (can happen in the Pharos and in the last areas of the Henne Mines). See, when you are surrounded by five or six Lv60 enemies, you can often find yourself in the tedious cycle of revive - heal - die, never really managing to deal any damage to the enemy. For this reason, you might want to unleash a Quickening, but remember that you're not really trying to deal massive damage to any one particular enemy, more trying to deal a decent amount of damage to all enemies. In this situation, you might want to take note of which Quickenings you are performing, because getting a 25 chain of level one Quickenings is only going to yield the Inferno Concurrence, whereas even with a chain of only 10 or so Quickenings could easily yield a Concurrence with more potency, such as White Out or Ark Blast. My recommendations in that situation would be to aim for either Ark Blast or Wind Burst, for the reasons discussed below. Ark Blast The reason I would aim for this is that it only requires a total of 6 Quickenings, and is rather high on the damage scale. It also allows for a variety of different level Quickenings, so you can usually use one of the options made available to your advantage, and you shouldn't find yourself endlessly cycling throught the options trying to get a level 3 Quickening, as you maybe would do if you were looking to perform something like White Out. Another reason is that, once you have fulfilled the criteria for Ark Blast, you can easily try to upgrade it to an even more powerful Concurrence by simply adding another Quickening of each level, further increasing the damage. WindBurst The reason I might aim for this Concurrence is that again it only requires six Quickenings, and you don't need any level 3 Quickenings to perform it. It is usually best to aim for this one if your MP is somewhat deminished when you activate the Quickening chain, as you won't need any level 3 Quickenings, and so you will have more chance of completing the criteria. Another reason why this is sometimes the best choice is that, if you don't manage to fulfill the criteria, you will at least be able to fall back on the Torrent Quickening, as opposed to having to settle for Inferno, or sometimes not even acheiving anything. Ultimately the choices are up to you, and you should try to make your own judgements based on how much MP you have, what options you are given at the start, and exactly how much damage you need to inflict to dig yourself out of the situation. The more priority a Concurrence has, the more damage it will inflict. Here is a list of the Concurrences along with their power: Inferno - 90 Cataclysm - 110 Torrent - 130 Windburst - 155 Ark Blast - 175 Luminescence - 205 White Out - 215 Black Hole - 253 (source http://www.final-fantasy-12.com/ff12_mists_quickenings.html) Again, they are all non-elemental damage, and as you can see, the damage increases as you get further down the priority list. Well, that’s all folks. I hope this has been of some use to people, and any comments/suggestions/feedback (good or bad) is greatly appreciated, and any additional information provided will be included in the guide with the relevant credit. Get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org 7. Legal Nonsense All work (unless otherwise stated) is copyright to me, Shaun Arnett, and all rights remain mine. This may be not be reproduced under any circumstances except for personal, private use. It may not be placed on any web site or otherwise distributed publicly without advance written permission. Use of this guide on any other web site or as a part of any public display is strictly prohibited, and a violation of copyright. All trademarks and copyrights contained in this document are owned by their respective trademark and copyright holders. Contact can be made at email@example.com Copyright 2006 Shaun Arnett 8. Updates Update - 07/12/06 Renamed 'Finishing moves' to the more accurate 'Concurrence'. Update - 08/12/06 More info on Concurrence determination and a detailed list of peformance requirements for Concurrences received and added (credit to Stephen Martin, Tyrel Yuen et al). Power levels added to Quickening description, and powe levels added to Concurrence explaination. Various other small amendments. Update - 14/01/07 Added the formatted version of the Concurrence requirements (Thanks to Adam M) Added Extra info on aiming for a better Concurrences (Thanks to James B and PsiBlade42) Added info on using the Mist Charge Icons during Quickenings (Thanks to Lai Yang) Update - 28/03/08 Added Section Five.