Star Ocean: Till The End of Time
Battle Fundamentals Guide Version 1.2
By Roger Pope, May 4, 2005


Table of Contents:

-001- Introduction
-002- Manual Vs. AI control
-003- X vs. O
-004- Death
-005- Fury
-006- Anti-Attack Aura
-007- Sidestepping
-008- Parrying
-009- Combat Skills
-010- Cancel Comboes
-011- The Beauty that is No Guard
-012- Paralysis, Petrification and Freezing
-013- Bonus Battles and that Funny Bar on the Right
-014- The Wonders of Stunning
-015- Stunlocking
-016- Battle Tactics Menus
-017- Status Skill Points
-018- AI Training
-019- Elements
-020- Full Active Mode
-021- No Movement Glitch
-022- Misc
-023- Yet to Come
-024- Appendix
-025- Revision Info
-026- Disclaimers and Acknowlegements




-001-
Introduction:

This is a guide to describe the intricacies and nuances of the battle system.
It starts with some of the most basic of fundamentals for beginners, covers
some general tricks and tidbits that may help in battle.  This guide also
explains some of the less obvious battle system "rules" to players of all
ranges of experience, be it newcomers or with those with dozens of hours
playtime.  This is not supposed to be a play by play guide to get the most out
of each individual, nor a guide to defeat specific enemies.  At the present
time it is not intended to be a full AI guide either, but this is something
that falls into the spirit of the guide but is such a vast topic it most likely
deserves its own FAQ.  It is rather a tool to help you figure out how to best
use characters.  Note, whenever I refer to a Playstation button name
specifically, I mean according to the default button mapping; yours may be
different if changed accordingly.

Throughout this guide I use three digit numbers as bookmarks. To use these
bookmarks, highlight the number, hit Ctrl-C to copy, then hit Ctrl-F to
bring up the text search, then hit Ctrl-V to paste the copied bookmark, then
search.  Alternatively, you can just go directly into search and look type in
the binary number.






-002-
Manual Vs. AI control:

In battle you only control one character at a time, and the other two
characters are handled by AI.  To can switch which character you control mid
battle press the L1 or R1 buttons.  You can also quick toggle the AI on/off by
hitting R2.  To determine who is the default character you control, set the
"Leader" in the Battle Formation Menu (see OIIIO).






-003-
X vs. O:

There are two basic attack buttons.  X will do a quick attack, whereas O will
do a strong attack.  This is the terminology I prefer and will use in this
guide, but quick attack is can also be referred to as "weak attack", and strong
attack can also be a "slow attack".  A quick attack will generally execute
immediately, whereas a strong attack can have anywhere between a 0.5 second to
a 4 second windup period, during which the character is extremely vulnerable.
Strong attacks are also easy to distinguish because the user is enveloped in a
purple aura. Should you see an enemy winding up a strong attack, you can try to
hit them before they hit you, run away from the monster, or sidestep.






-004-
Death:

You die when you run out of health, simple enough.  What you might not know is
that you will also die if you run out of magic points.  Some people's first
impression is that this dynamic who think this is a really lame, but I disagree
for both logical and gameplay reasons. Logically, just consider that MP is like
mental energy and HP is like physical energy.  If you run of either physical or
mental energy, you're going to pass out.  As far of gameplay is concerned, it
adds a very different and fun flavor to combat.  A lot of monsters are
significantly easier to kill by either method and you should adjust your
tactics accordingly.  Monster HP/MP can be seen with the Scan Enemy Tactical
Skill.  Fayt gets this early in the game, but most other characters need to
wait until around level 30.  To do MP damage you generally need to equip a skill
that does MP damage.

Should you find yourself dying more than you think you should there are a few
things to consider. Your equipment might be sub-par, your level may be too low,
or your HP/MP too low.  The simplest option may be to raise HP/MP directly.
HP/MP can be raised by huge amounts during the low to mid levels by spending
Status Skill Points (see heading below).  If you're concerned about gear, your
best bet is to just check a FAQ/Walkthrough to see if maybe you missed an
upgrade, or you can do some item creation (see appendix).  You can also sit back
and level for a while, but this is rarely necessary.  I'll reiterate this once
more:

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>YOU ALMOST NEVER HAVE TO LEVEL IN THIS GAME!!!!<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<

The Star Ocean message boards are inundated with people asking, "are my lvls
high enuf?" or "what lvl do I need to be to beat *****" questions.  The stat
improvements you get from leveling up in this game are negligible on a level by
level basis, thus 10 or 15 level ups won't help a whole lot, but 30-50 will.
The main reason to level is to get Status Skill points (see OIIII) or to get new
Skills.

Alternatively, there are a few points in the game where there are battles that
are disproportionately difficult considering the monsters around them.  Robots
with guns are prime examples.  If it's just certain monsters that are giving you
trouble, don't be afraid to run from those specific encounters.  BTW, everyone
has trouble with the dragons on Barr their first time through... try to MP kill
them.






-005-
Fury:
Fury is a unique property of SO3 that does not seem to appear in any form in
other real time combat RPGs.  Think of Fury as battle stamina.  Each attack
your character makes depletes a certain amount of that character's fury.  Fury
is restored if your character stands still doing nothing.  Generally you want
to run away from the action to restore your fury gauge.  Enemies also have a
fury gauge, which can be seen as the green horizontal bar right next to the
enemy.






-006-
Anti-Attack Aura:

Also known as AAA.  When your fury is full, and you are hit with a quick
attack, you will see a shield flash around your character and you reflect back
some aura reflect back some aura.  If you are hit with a strong attack while
your fury gauge is full you will see your shield shatter and your fury will be
halved.  All AAA rules apply to enemies as well as characters, so to avoid
getting hit with the enemy AAA you need to attack with a strong attack.

The standard AAA has a stun effect and you may end up using it the entire game
(I did).  It is available after defeating the first mini-boss battle.  Once
other AAA are found, you can select which AAA you want a character to be using
from the skills menu, under the tactical list (see OIOOI).  Other effects
include sending multiple stun auras that are less effective than the standard,
returning a portion of the damage prevented by the AAA, and healing some amount
based on the damage prevented.  A full list of AAA is included in the appendix.






-007-
Side stepping:

There are two different ways to sidestep, which is determined in the
configuration menu.  The default is to simultaneously press L2 and the
direction you want to hop.  This is kind of cumbersome and I like the second
option much more.  With this to sidestep, you simply press the direction you
want to hop on the d-pad rather than the analog stick.  One thing to note is
you can only sidestep backwards, or to the left or right of the direction your
character is facing. Should you be facing away from the enemy you're fighting,
you cannot sidestep away from it.  I can't provide any definitive advice for
sidestepping other than watch and experiment for yourself.






-008-
Parrying:

Parrying is determined by your AGL compares to the enemies HIT.  Once your AGL
is high enough, characters will automatically parry the enemy's attack.  This
is purely automatic, and I'm not aware of anyway to actively parry, or to
intentionally not parry.  This only happens once your AGL is really high
compared to the enemy HIT, so you don't need to worry about this sort of thing
for quite a while. Once again, the opposite rule applies to your HIT and the
monster AGL.






-009-
Combat Skills:

After you learn combat skills, you can assign them in the Skills menu, under
the battle skills option.  You may equip up to 4 normal skills (long range
strong, long range quick, short range quick, and short range strong) and 2
support skills.  You are limited in how many skills by how many battle skill
points you have.  Battle skill points increase with level and cap at 15 points.


Support skills will do their intended effect just by equipping the skill, you
don't need to do anything else. The normal battle skills fall into two
categories, passive and active (my own terminology). Passive skills assist you
when you do the normal attack that corresponds to whichever attack you assign
it to.  Example:  Equipping Critical hit onto quick short range means that
every quick short range attack you do will have a chance to be critical; you
don't need to do anything special to activate critical hit.  Active skills are
used by holding down the button at the range it is assigned to for a short
duration (as opposed to tapping it).







-010-
Cancel Comboes:

Active skills may be chained together.  To start a chain, the first attack you
should do is a quick battle skill.  After the animation for this skill has
begun to execute, but before the skill animation is over, press and hold the
strong attack button to activate a strong battle skill.  You will see a little
notice above the character saying "Cancel Combo 175%".  This means that the
damage dealt will be equal to 175% of the expected damage (i.e. this is a 75%
increase, not a 175% increase).  Now during the animation of the strong battle
skill, you can activate quick battle skill, which will do 200% damage.  As long
as you have sufficient fury, you can continue to chain skills, alternating
between quick and strong skills.  The damage will increase as follows: 175%,
200%, 250%, 300%, and every subsequent skill will also be at 300%.  It is also
possible to start your cancel chains at 175%.  To do this, simply start with a
quick normal attack, and during that attack animation, initiate a quick battle
skill.

NOTE ABOUT TIMING:  The timing of when you activate the next skill in your chain
is not very critical, it just important that you activate the next skill during
the current skill's animation.  There are some minor exceptions to this.  Some
skills will lose hits if you activate the next skill too soon, such as Cliff's
"Sphere of Might".  This can be a good thing depending on what you want to
accomplish.  It's bad in the sense that you're wasting fury by not doing the
most potential damage.  On the other hand you may want your quick attacks to be
as breif as possible to prevent AAA.  It should also be noted that some skills
have special properties, like you can hold down the attack button to do damage
over time (e.g. Dimension Door and Energy Burst), or you can press the same
button multiple times to do additional hits (e.g. Uppercut).  With these skills
you might want to chain them up to 175% or 200% and make use of subsequent
damage rather than chaining additional skills.


NOTE ABOUT RANGE:  In order to perform a cancel, the enemy needs to be at a
range such that your character has a skill to perform.  Example, if in the
middle of your skill, the enemy manages to get into long range and you have no
long range skills set, the combo will be broken.  The opposite is also true.  If
your character has only long range skills set, and the enemy moves into short
range, the combo will be broken.  If you manage to set a skill to all 4
positions (not possible with a lot of skills), then this is a concern you need
not worry about.

NOTE ABOUT MAGIC:  There are two characters who are able to use magic as battle
skills.  These spells can be canceled just as an battle skill can, they can be
mixed in with normal battle skills, and will have the appropriate damage
aplifiers.  There are only two real differences between spells and other battle
skills.  The first is that they obviously use INT rather than ATT.  The other is
that they cannot be AAA'd.  If an enemy is struck by a spell set to a quick
slot, the shield will be shattered, just like if it were a strong attack.
Because of this advantage spells have over normal skills, the damage done by
spells has significantly lower damage than normal attacks.  However, despite the
lessened damage, spells can be very useful for stunlocking.  This is covered in
greater detail in the "Assault Magic FAQ".

To get the most out of chaining you NEED the Berserk Tactical skill, which
every character will learn, but at differing levels.  This skill halves the
amount of fury used by attacking and using battle skills, which is utterly
necessary because strong battle skills use a huge amount of fury points.
Berserk will also raise your Damage by 30% and reduce your DEF by 30%, but this
skill is so crucial that I would honestly use it even if reduced damage by up to
10%.  (Just a little comment, Bererk raises the total damage output, not the
base ATT.  Even if your character has the maximum possible ATT, berserk will
still increase the damage output.)  To get a little extra kick out of chaining,
you can equip an accessory that reduces fury use by 1-3 points, these reductions
can be stacked up to a 4 point fury use reduction. This may not seem like much
when your strong battle skills still cost 30+ points per use, but it can give
you the edge needed to pull off one last skill in a chain.






-011-
The Beauty that is No Guard:

One last thing to keep in mind is there are occasions where the best offense is
a good defense.  This is generally limited to when your characters are basically
being bitch slapped to death (see OIIOI - Stunlocking) and there is nothing you
can do about it.  This is where the Support Battle Skill "No Guard" comes into
play.  No guard makes is so that your characters are not phased when taking
small amounts of damage, small being defined as less than or equal to 1/15 of
the current HP.  So once you have No guard Equipped, you can run up to and kill
that jerk who has been giving you the "Pink Belly of Death" while he's attacking
you.  (No, Pink Belly of Death is not an actual attack used by any enemies.) Of
the few times in game when I have actually stopped to level up, it was usually
to get more HP to more effectively use this support skill.






-012-
Paralysis, Petrification and Freezing:

These three effects can afflict you (or the enemy) if hit by the right attack.
All of them prevent the afflicted character from doing anything until remedied.
Paralysis prevents your character from doing anything until it is remedied or
naturally wears off.  Characters can still be attacked while paralyzed and
paralysis carries through death and after battle, though it's not likely to last
very long in the next battle fought.

Freezing prevents your character from doing anything, but as a little extra
spice, they will be "Shatter Killed" if hit by most attacks while frozen.  You
can also Freeze and Shatter Kill many enemies with either ice magic or equipping
something with the "Freezing" Property, however you cannot shatter an enemy
while equipping something with the Freezing property.  Freezing will wear off
after battle.

Petrification is more like another kind of death.  Petrified characters will not
be attacked by enemies (but you are free to attack a petrified enemy).
Petrification will not wear off on its own accord, so you must restore them with
either Symbology or items, and if your whole party is petrified, it's game over.
The items that remove of these conditions are Basil (Paralysis), Sage
(Petrification) and Lavender (Freezing), all of which are available at
outfitters for the low price of 20 Fol each.


-013-
Bonus Battles and that Funny Bar on the Right:

When you attack an enemy with any kind of attack, the bar on the right of the
screen fills up slightly.  You'll notice that there is a percentage located at
the bottom of the bar. This percentage a multiplier to some base amount of gauge
increase every hit you deliver.  The percentage can be manipulated somewhat by
putting low level characters into your party (preferably dead so that they stay
low level), as the percentage is based upon the average party member level.  You
can also make the gauge fill faster by equipping items that give "Battle Bonus
Gauge Increase".  I'm not sure if these stack, but I don't know for sure that +5
Battle Bonus Gauge Increase is a lot better than +1 Battle Bonus Increase.
Two more dirty little tricks two help you raise the bonus gauge quickly are: (1)
Use multi-striking symbology like lightning chain and thunder flare, (2) Use a
certain katana wielding swordsman and spam out quick attacks.

Once the gauge fills up completely, battles become "Bonus Battles" and one of 4
bonuses is initiated, depending on the type of blow that was least dealt: Triple
XP (Quick Attack), Double Fol (Strong Attack), Increased Recovery (Battle
Skills), and Increased Chance of Item (Symbology). This doesn't affect battle
action at all, it's just a perk for when the battle is over. Each successive
bonus battle you fight will add to your "Bonus Chain" which can be seen right
next to the gauge on the right.  After 5 battles you get an additional bonus,
until you acquire all 4 bonuses.  These bonuses will continue until your Bonus
Chain is broken.  There are a few sure ways to break your chain.  Your chain
will be broken if you escape from combat, the character you control is killed,
or you hit with a critical hit. Unfortunately, even if your character takes so
little damage that he/she isn't phased by an attack, the chain can still be
still be broken if the attack was critical.  You can avoid a lot of chain
breakage by keeping your controlled character far away from the action and by
switching characters if something bad is about to happen to the character you
are controlling.  You can also go all out and set the character you control to
someone who is already dead, thus your gauge can't be broken except by running.
One last thing to note is that chains are not saved as part of game saves, thus
loading a save will also effectively "break" the bonus chain.






-014-
The Wonders of Stunning:

There are two consistent ways to stun an enemy:  (1) Hit them with an anti-
attack aura; (2) Use a stun bomb. You can also stun enemies with certain battle
skills, but it those do not lead into the same kind of tactics that these
methods do.

Use of AAA requires a little bit of observation of enemy behavior, but once you
know it, you can abuse it pretty well.  Against lots of enemies you can run up
pretty close to them and just kinda wait until they attack you.  If they hit
you with a weak attack they'll be stunned (assuming you use a stunning AAA),
during this period you can unleash a powerful attack that will do double the
normal damage and cannot be blocked or otherwise avoided.  This is a good
reason to be mindful of enemy fury so you won't be stunned yourself.

Stun Bombs refer to any usable item that says "Stuns Enemy" in the description,
which may or may not be called a stun bomb in the name.  They are made through
item creation (during the normal game using the engineering, but better bombs
can be compounded after you get a "Clear" save after winning), or you can
purchase a stun bomb that was patented.  Keep in mind that you can only
purchase a finite amount of creation items, and more cannot be purchased once
you buy the max.  The practical use of stun bombs is twofold. First, it is a
much easier way to set up a powerful attack as described above. Second, you can
use them to interrupt ludicrously powerful special attacks.  This is especially
valuable fighting the last boss and several bonus bosses.  These specific bosses
have massive full field attacks that are difficult if not impossible to avoid.
The easiest way to avoid that is to toss a stun bomb and disrupt the attack
before its execution.

A very cheap way to kill some of the more difficult bosses with low to mid
health is to use a stun bomb, then hit the target with a powerful single blow
attack.  For example, the boss of the first bonus dungeon, the Maze of
Tribulations, has 1,000,000 HP.  Using Cliff's Aerial Assault with an
Oricaulcum Synthed Weapon you can do 90,000 damage. (See Appendix: Item Creation
for more details on making stun bombs and Oricaulcum.)






-015-
Stunlocking:

This refers to when a character/enemy can't do anything because he/she is being
perpetually struck by attacks.  The most effective way to stunlock is with the
symbol "Thunderflare", but all multiple striking symbology has the potential to
stunlock; Cliff's "Fists of Fury" battle skill is another good way to stunlock.
Stunlocking is a good way to handle some of the more obnoxious enemies you come
across, such as gun toting robots.  I'm not aware of any good way to get out of
a stunlock your enemy holds you in other than possibly using a stun bomb with
another character (see -014-), but you can prevent a lot of stunlocking through
the use of No Guard. (see -011-)






-016-
Battle Tactics Menu:
This menu is present in the main menu screen and has three sub categories:
Tactics, Replacement, and Formation.  Tactics defines the basic overview of how
a character will attack.  The name of the tactics are plain enough except for
"Don't Use Coup de Grace", which means the characters will not use battle
skills.  The quality of how well the AI works is determined by Status Skill
Level (see the status skill points heading).  I prefer to leave all characters
on "Attack with all your Might", and to set Sophia to "Concentrate on Healing".
The general consensus on mage A.I. is that for some reason she is lot meaner
attacking when her AI is set to Healing than she is on Well Balanced.  I don't
know if this applies to Adray or not.  Tactics can also be set mid-battle by
bringing up the battle menu and selecting tactics.

Replace Characters is exactly what it sounds like.  Use it to swap characters
in and out of your party, or adjust their position in the fighting line.
Formation determines the layout of your party at the start of battle.  Standard
is a good all around way to go.  If your party is very tank heavy you might
want forward line rather than normal, if you have a mage, you may want defense,
or if you plan on running a lot use the escape formation.  In this menu you can
only set generically what positions your characters will be in.  If the
character is in the wrong spot in the formation, change the order of you
characters in the Replacement menu so they are.  Also, in the formation menu,
by hitting the triangle button you can adjust who you want to be the default
character you control (the leader).






-017-
Status Skill Points:
There are 4 types of Status Skill points: Increase HP, Increased MP, Attack,
and Defense.  The purpose of Increase HP/MP is obvious; Attack/Defense strictly
related to how the AI handles your characters.  The very first thing you want to
do is raise Defense to level three.  At this point your characters gain some
small semblance of common sense; they will leave the melee if low on HP/MP or if
they're going to cast a spell.

After that, I'm personally fond of focusing primarily on HP and MP until they
get really expensive.  Once they get to be around 80+points, I recommend
raising attack/defense to 4/3 or 3/4 depending on if this is a tank or a mage,
then maxing HP/MP before spending more.  Because Attack/Defense are exclusively
AI related, it has led people to believe that you can tweak your characters AI
performance by only raising Attack/Defense in certain ratios.  From my
observation, this is only a half-truth.  There is a FAQ on this site that
details how far you should raise Attack/Defense, which I strongly disagree
with.  I feel that all characters should end up with 10/10 Attack/Defense as
soon as you have the points to do so.  I will repeat this because it is
important.

>>>>>>>>ALL CHARACTERS SHOULD END UP WITH 10/10 ATTACK/DEFENSE<<<<<<<<<

Tanks need high defense in order to dodge attacks and get out of a melee before
they get killed.  If your tank is not in the melee, there is a good reason, be
it low HP, MP or Fury.  Conversely, having a high Attack skill does not make a
mage charge into the melee.  You want your mages to have high Attack so they can
chain symbology/battle skills from afar.  Unfortunately, there does not seem to
be a way to make an AI controlled mage leave the melee once they're in it,
you'll have to run them away yourself, or hope that battle circumstances turn
out such they find themselves at long range by chance.






-018-
AI Training:

It is believed that it is possible to influence the way AI controls your
characters based upon how you control them yourself.  I don't know if this is
true or not, but on casual observation it looks to be true.  Whenever I switch
my characters' Battle Skills, they don't seem to be particularly effective at
chaining until fight a couple of battles controlling them.  I can't say for sure
if this is accurate or if it's consistant observer error, but it is suggestive.

For those who swear by AI training, it is said to be done best on "Act in a Well
Balanced Manner" and takes about 3 hours before your characters really become
reliable.  Once again, I don't know for sure if this is true, but my characters
have always acted like idiots on everything but "Attack with all your Might"  so
maybe I'm training them on that mode, and they lack training in other modes.

One of the strongest counterpoints to the general AI training theory that I've
heard is the simple argument that if there were an intricate AI training system,
it would be a selling point of the game, not something completely hidden from
any official documentation.






-019-
Elements:
There are 4 elements in this game, wind (also lightning), fire, earth, and
water (also ice).  This comes into play most often when attacking.  You can see
if a monster is weak or resistant to a monster by scanning it.  Resistance
comes in the form of halving, negating and absorbing.  You want to use a
specific element if a monster is weak to it, or avoid using it when the monster
is resistant.  Likewise, if you find yourself getting beat down by what appears
to be a certain element, try adding getting some form of elemental defense.
You can add elemental properties to your attack and defense with certain Battle
Skills, weapons, accessories, or by synthesizing an elemental property onto a
weapon (although there are likely better ways to use your synthesis materials
and weapon slots).

A slick way of increasing your spell damage output is to get the attributes +30%
(or +50%) increase damage for elemental attacks of that type.  One way to do
this is to just equip the right accessory.  Another is to synthesis the bonus
onto a weapon.  You cannot do this with physical attacks, unfortunately.



-020-
Full Active Mode:
Full Active Mode becomes available in NEW GAMES once you aquire 95% of the
battle trophies.  What it does is eliminates the prescribed distance for moves
and allows you to use moves exactly where you stand.  Some people say this gives
moves longer range, which is not exactly true.  Any move that had a limited
range in normal mode has that same limited range in FAM.  Notable exceptions
being moves like Adray's Titan Fist and Peppita's instanto blast.  These moves
have artificially limited range in normal mode, but since they don't fire
projectiles there is no limit to how far away the non-projectile attack can be
used from in FAM.

FAM has many tactical advantages and disadvantages.  The full reprocussions are
hard to understand if you haven't used them yourself, so I'll try to explain
with an example.  Cliff's Hammer of Might throws a ball of enery abotu 8 feet in
front of Cliff.  In normal mode, Cliff would run up to 8 feet short of the enemy
then jump up, then throw the ball.  During the jumping animation, the enemy
can still run towards Cliff.  In FAM, you could have Cliff use HoM from 12 feet
away then while Cliff is jumping, the enemy is walking into the bulleye area
that Cliff is aiming at.  You can add even more power than that.  In normal mode
when you do a normal attack your character will run towards the enemy.  In FAM
you can attack the air, then cancel into a 175% HoM while the enemy is still at
range, then continue tossing hammers while the enemy approaches.

The opposite is also true.  When Cliff uses his Charge skill he likes to do it
from about 3 feet away.  This means that between each charge he'll run away from
the enemy back to his starting point.  On FAM, he can use Charge while standing
right next to his target.  The consequence of this is that Cliff is able to fire
off 5 charges in about 2 seconds.  This was actually the way I defeated the last
boss in my solo Cliff game.

The disadvantages of FAM are quite intuitve.  If you're using a non-ranged
attack, you need to be close to the enemy or your attack will be wasted.
Certain attacks like Fayt's O,O,X,X, combo are impossible as they need to be
launched from a distance.  Once you've unlocked FAM, you'll need to pick and
choose what situations will be suited better by wheich mode.  Fortunately, most
battle skills involve a step forward as part of the attack, and thus there is
little practical difference between the modes unless you use the skill from
quite a ways away.

The last thing about FAM is that AI chracters are totally unaffected by which
mode you select.  FAM affects only your controlled chracter.


-021-
No Movement Glitch:
This is often referred to as the "4D no movement glitch" which is a really bad
misnomer.  What this referrs to is that many AI protocols are unable to target
an enemy which is in motion.  This applies to both your characters and enemies.
What it basically boils down to is certain AI regimes are unable to target an
enemy in motion, and enemies can't target your characters when in the middle of
a cancel combo.  You'll see this most often when your party gets Back Attacked
or ambushed, or when you control a solo characters with 2 dead party members.
Not many enemies are effected by this bug in the Galaxy difficulty, but nearly
all enemies are affected in the Universe and 4D modes.


-022-
Misc. Effects:

This is to cover various questions people may have regarding skills or effects
/items that impact battle dynamics, that are not significant to have their own
category.

-Increase Attack Decision: This effect adds additional blows to your non-battle
skill attacks.  These blows cost you nothing, and are displayed right below the
initial attack value. Each successive blow dealt deals half of what the
previous blow dealt.  These effects stack, but I don't fully understand how.  I
know that if you equip a Tri-Emblem and a Victory Trophy, both of which raise
attack decision by 2, you will get 4 additional attacks, but if you equip 2
Tri-Emblems, you will only get 2.


-Add Balls of (Insert Element) while Attacking/Defending: These will add
automated attacks (occasionally) to an enemy that you are attacking or being
attacked by.  I haven't experimented much with this, but I have not been very
impressed with what I've seen; I think that Increase Attack Decision is a
better way to go.  This is more likely one of those toys to add a little more
fun and flavor to the gameplay, and not so much a way to maximize the
effectiveness of your character.  This also has an added benefit of occasionally
knocking down enemies, though this is another mixed blessing.

-Anger:  If your characters like each other enough (read a Private Action FAQ
for more info) when someone dies, another character will get angry.  The Angered
Character gets a sizable attack increase, something like 30-50%.  This boost
lasts about 1-2 min.

-Fayt's incredible legs (courtesy of Black Cow, unverified by myself):
While Fayt is running to attack the enemy (triggered by pressing X/O- from
afar)he will:
--Remain unglitched from any damaging symbol (No Guard-Like Effect)
--Dodge wide-area attack glitches and damages (example : Freya`s Ether strike,
simply go far, and press O from afar, doing so, Fayt will not receive ANY damage
from Ether Strike, but when Fayt stops moving, he'll become vulnerable again)
--I`ve tried this trick to the other characters, but sadly.. it didn`t work..



-023-
Yet to come:
I know a few other little tricks that I want to play around with more before I
include them in this document.  Other than that, I'm not sure of what else I
should include in here. I would appreciate any corrections or other feedback
you have to offer.  I may fix grammatical errors or basic wording problems
based on feedback, but keep in mind that my intent is not to write an English
paper, so I have intentionally included some improper grammar because that's
just how I speak.  If you have a new heading, or absolutely think something is
worded poorly, you can write your own paragraph(s), and I may quote it exactly,
giving you immediate credit in the body of the text, assuming you give
permission.  If you do think something should be added, ask yourself, "Does
this apply to intent of the FAQ as detailed in the intro?" before you tell me
to add it.






-024-
APPENDIX:

AAA:  The following types of AAA are available.  This is donated info, courtesy
of Black Cow. Please do not ask me where to get the various AAA or how to best
utilize them, but feel free to do said embellishment for me.

Standard
Effect: 100% stun vs 1 enemy
Damage : -
Range: medium

2-Way
Effect: 70% stun vs max 2 enemies
Damage: -
Range: medium, spread

Homing
Effect: Knockdown
Damage: 50% of damage (1 hit)
Range: medium

Wide-Area Homing
Effect: Damage
Damage: 50% of damage (total 4 hits)
Range: wide, medium-far

Surround
Effect: Damage
Damage: 25% of damage (total about 6 hits)
Range: short-surround

Star Guard
Effect: Damage
Damage: 75% of damage (total max 4 hits)
Range: fan-forward, short

Regeneration
Effect: Recovers HP
Damage: 75% of damage (total 4x)
Range: medium-far






Item Creation:

This is not supposed to a full item creation FAQ, but rather a primer to help
you with a few things I mentioned in the guide.
Your best general resources on item creation are:

Item Creation FAQ - by A I e x (general info)
Item Refining FAQ - by Demonfayt (descriptions of items and how they refine)
Item Creation Calculator - www.crashedweb.com/so3

Once you unlock the use of workshops, you can do item creation.  Original
creation creates new items based on price, and requires nothing but time and
money to do.  When doing original invention you will see a progress and quality
meter.  Progress is the current progress on one item.  Quality refers to how
well your characters are working.  It will decrease with each iteration and the
likelihood of creating another item successfully also goes down.  Specify plan
will refine certain factors and requires materials corresponding to the type of
item creation you wish to do.  Synthesis requires synthesis materials and is
used to transfer properties from one item onto a weapon.  You can see if a you
have had any success based on the character's reactions.  Happy = Success, Sad =
Failure.  To get items created through original creation, you must request
submission.  To get specify plans to work, you simply wait until you get a
notice that item creation is complete (but don't let your money or quality run
out or you'll get nothing).

Some of the best things to make early in the game (any time in the game for that
matter) are stun bombs.  The simplest stun bombs to make are Duck-Duck Bombs and
EM Stun bombs.  To make them EARLY in the game, use a party of Cliff, Fayt, and
Roger and go into Engineering, then keep selecting original invention until you
get on of the following values:  (courtesy of Item creation Calculator)

34-36: Duck-Duck Bomb (66% success rate)
87-95: EM Stun Bomb (31% success rate)
87-95: EM Stun Bomb MP (31% success rate)



Orichalcum:
Orichalcum gives a +500 ATT bonus when synthed onto a weapon.  To make it, you
need Misty Lear (recruitable in Barr Mountain workshop with spirit stone, which
is found in Barr Ruins) and the Alchemy Stone (found in Mosel Dunes).  Once you
have them, go to a workshop and do original creation with Misty, Maria and Nel.
Select original creation until you get something with a value in the ballpark of
5000-5300.  The probably of making it is 14% so you want to save it because you
may end up losing a lot of money.  This is much easier if you recruit Mackwell
(don't ask me how, that info is not going in this guide).  Once you make some
Orichalcum, you may want to patent it, use synthesis to add the +500 Factor onto
a weapon of your choice.  You choose weather or not you want to add the "Survive
50% on Fury" factor if you want it or not.  To put it on, synthesize for two
iterations, if you don't only synthesize one iteration.  If this doesn't make
sense, save before you do the synthesis and experiement, it'll be really obvious
after a couple tries.
Once you have the +500 ATT, you can duplicate that property through Specify
Plan, usually Smithery.  The most you can have is 8 factors, so you can get
+4000 ATT with 8x +500 ATT, or +3500 with 7x +500 ATT and "Survive on Fury 50%".

Just a word of caution.  Use of Orichalcum during the normal course of the game
will cheapen the fighting experience and decrease the overall enjoyability of
the game.  It's mostly there for higher difficulty and post-game dungeons.





-025-
Revisions Info:

1.0
Original release

1.1
Added table of Contents
Major updated the "Death" Section
Minor updates to "Combat Skills"
Added Section "The Beauty that is No Guard"
Major Updates to "Paralysis, Petrification and Freezing"
Major Updates to "Bonus Battles and that Funny Bar on the Right"
Minor update to "Stunlocking"
Major update to "Status Skill Points"
Major Update to "AI Training"
Added Appendix

1.2
Ditched the Binary ToC... I don't know what I was thinking.
Major rewrite of section on battle skill chaining.  I can't conceive of anyone
   not understanding comboes if they understand the definition of "animation."
New Section: Full Active Mode... feel free to copy/paste this one.
New Section: No Movement Glitch



-026-
Disclaimers and Acknowlegements:


Contact Information:
I can be reached via email at sifian42@yahoo.com. Please use a subject line
that explicitly refers to this guide.

Terms of Use:
This document is intended for personal non-profit use and at present time is to
be hosted and distributed exclusively by GameFAQs (www.gamefaqs.com).  No part
of this document may be reproduced in any other document without my explicit
permission, excepting where a small portion is quoted on a message forum and a
link to the original document.  If you run a Star Ocean related website and
wish to host this document, just ask for my permission and I will most likely
grant it.  My condition is that your website have a good amount of content
before you may host this.  This guide is not to be the focal point of someone
else's website.  If you wish to quote a small portion of this guide in another
guide you are writing, ask for permission including the surround context of
your document and I will determine whether or not you may include it your
document.

Acknowledgments:
Thanks to Tri-Ace for making what has been one of the biggest and best offline
videogame time sinks I have ever played.
Thanks to Square-Enix for publishing this wonderful game.
Thanks to printf for pointing out that button mapping can be redefined.
Thanks to Temporal Vortex for additional info on Bonus Battle Chains and
Parrying.
J.Feldman for telling me about criticals breaking bonus chains.
Black Cow for donated info.
Trowbarton for making me put the word "Cancel" into the battle skills section.


Copyright (c) 2005 Roger Pope