-- Final Fantasy X (US) Sphere Grid FAQ -- -- by CB! (Christine Bomke, email@example.com) -- -- Version 2.5, 1/4/03 -- LEGAL DISCLAIMER: This FAQ is for PERSONAL USE ONLY, copyrighted to me, Christine Bomke. Do not put this FAQ on your site without first emailing me for permission. If permission IS granted, you are not permitted to change a single word of this FAQ when you post it, and must leave it as a .txt file unless I've explicitly told you otherwise that you may change it. Do not steal information from this FAQ for your magazine, or other form of media - printed, online, or otherwise. Do not pass GO, do not collect $200. If you violate this disclaimer anyway, know that I have the means and mettle to pursue this matter legally, and you _will_ regret it. NOTE TO WEBMASTERS: If permission is granted to post this document on your site, it is _your_ responsibility to get the most recent version from my site or GameFAQs.com periodically. If you can't be bothered to keep it current, then please do not post it. Avast ye matey, thar be spoilers ahead. -- Table 'o Contents -- I. Version History II. Foreword / Contact Information III. Frequently Asked Questions a. Just what is the Sphere Grid? b. So how do I increase my stats and learn abilities from the grid? c. Which nodes do these spheres activate? d. I still don't get it, can you give me an example or two? e. Are there any other spheres besides Power, Mana, Speed, and Ability? f. Where can I find the rare spheres from question e? g. Can any character learn any ability? h. What about Enemy Skills, aka Ronso Rages? i. If one character activates a node on the grid, is it used up forever? j. If one character uses a Key Sphere to erase a Sphere Lock, is it gone from everyone else's grid? k. How can I tell if a character has activated a particular node on the grid? Is the only way to go to their grid and look? l. What's wrong with Kimahri's part of the Sphere Grid? m. How can I gain AP - and therefore S.Lv - faster? n. What do Sphere Distiller items do? And what's the Sphere Distiller trick? o. Is it possible to make a character lopsided? p. Is it possible to max out stats? q. Can I use a Clear Sphere to erase ability nodes? r. Where can I find a map of the Sphere Grid? s. Why do some people call it the Sphere Board? t. I'm at [insert location], and I'm out of Ability Spheres! Where can I get more? u. I heard there's a new Sphere Grid in Final Fantasy X International? And is there any benefit of using the International Grid over the Original Grid? v. Are there any new abilities in the Final Fantasy X International Sphere Grid? w. Besides the new Sphere Grid, are there any other differences in Final Fantasy X International that I should know about? And how can I get my grubby little mitts on it? x. What are the three questions the game asks you in Japanese at the beginning of FFX International? y. Which stats are worth raising? z. If I keep activating HP nodes after I've reached 9,999 HP, will the game "remember" later when I equip armor with [Break HP Limit]? IV. Thanks, Credits, Shameless Plugs -- I. Version History -- v2.5 1/4/03: Been awhile, no? Revised the contact information, in addition to questions f, j, l, n, p, u, v, w, y, and the Thank You's. v2.0 5/18/02: Rewrote several answers, most importantly the pro's and con's of using the International Grid over the Original Grid. Added a translation for the three questions at the beginning of FFX International, for Japanese-illiterate importers. Happy birthday, pickles. v1.75 2/11/02: Updated FAQ with more information about FFX International changes. v1.7 2/6/02: Updated FAQ with information about the new FFX International Sphere Grid. Questions n, t, and v have been revised, and questions w, x, and y are new. I'm running out of letters here. Also revised the Foreword, and switched around the "Skill" and "Special" in question c that I'd had juxtaposed since the very first version. v1.5 1/13/02: Rewrote pretty much every answer for clarity, added a couple of new frequently asked questions pertaining to Final Fantasy X International, fixed yet even more translational errors, added a pointer to my "walkthrough" of the Amazon Japan checkout in question r, and revised the thankyous. v1.3 12/11/01: Converted some names to the North American release, and added a few more FAQs. PLEASE NOTE MY CHANGE OF EMAIL ADDRESS - I may not be using firstname.lastname@example.org very much longer. If you definately want me to recieve your email, use email@example.com. v1.2 12/2/01: Added a couple more questions, and gave another, more complex example of grid movement in question d. Ph33r my 1337 ASCII 5killZ!! v1.01 11/25/01: Fixed some typos, grammatical errors, and a mistake about where the branching paths of Kimahri's part of the Sphere Grid lead. v1.0 11/24/01: Began FAQ, since there seems to be a lot of confusion on various message boards as to how the Sphere Grid works. -- II. Foreword / Contact Informatiom -- First, this is not a gameplay FAQ. This is an explanation of how the Sphere Grid works, and answers to the most commonly-asked questions about it. If you need a walkthrough, a beastiary, a Mix list, or anything else not pertaining to the Sphere Grid, look elsewhere. If you have a question or submission about the Sphere Grid, don't bother emailing me. My former primary email address - firstname.lastname@example.org - gets at least 50 pieces of spam and/or viruses daily thanks to these FAQs, and I've stopped checking it completely. If you need gameplay help, I suggest you make use of a message board geared towards that, such as the lovely ones on GameFAQs.com. I'm on there routinely as "Ceebs". The latest version of this FAQ, and all the other ones I've written, can always be found at GameFAQs (http://www.gamefaqs.com/) and my site (http://home.san.rr.com/circe/). Please look at them before finding fault with what may be an out-of-date version. Thanks, and enjoy. -- III. Frequently Asked Questions -- a. Just what is the Sphere Grid? Final Fantasy X has done away with the RPG standard of "levelling up", and replaced it with a gigantic virtual board filled with incrimental stat increases, and battle abilities that may be learned. To put it another way, the Sphere Grid is the means by which your characters learn non-Overdrive abilities, and their statistics like HP, MP, Defense, Attack Power, etc, go up. Each character starts at one place on the board, and through gaining AP in battle, may move along the board picking up stat increases, and learning battle abilities as they go. b. So how do I increase my stats and learn abilities from the grid? After every battle, you'll receive AP. When you recieve enough AP, your S.Lv (Sphere Level) increases. For every S.Lv, you may move one space forward on the Sphere Grid, or four spaces back. ("Forward" is defined as a space you haven't previously visited or activated, and "back" is defined as a space you have.) However, it's not enough to simply move to a node - you must activate it with one of four kinds of sphere: Power Sphere, Mana Sphere, Speed Sphere, and Ability Sphere. Monsters always drop at least one of these four spheres throughout the entire game, so don't worry about running out. c. Which nodes do these spheres activate? (1) A Power Sphere activates the following kinds of nodes on the Sphere Grid: - Strength stat increase - Defense stat increase - HP stat increase (2) A Mana Sphere activates the following kinds of nodes on the Sphere Grid: - Magic stat increase - Magic Defense stat increase - MP stat increase (3) A Speed Sphere activates the following kinds of nodes on the Sphere Grid: - Agility (aka Speed) stat increase - Accuracy stat increase - Evade stat increase (4) An Ability Sphere activates the following kinds of nodes on the Sphere Grid: - Skill (ie: Wakka's Blind Attack, Rikku's Mug, Auron's Armor Break) - Special (ie: Kimahri's Lancet, Rikku's Bribe, Lulu's Focus) - Magic spells (ie: Lulu's Blizzaga, Tidus' Slow, Yuna's Protect) d. I still don't get it, can you give me an example or two? Sure. Say you'd accrued enough AP to increase your S.Lv to two - you may move two spaces forward on the sphere board, and activate any surrounding nodes. If you were currently on an Accuracy node, with an Evade node after that, a Magic Power node after that, and a Haste spell node after that, you could move as far as the Magic Power node, and still activate Haste, because it's immediately after your destination. Moving from left to right, here's a crude ASCII rendering: _____ _______ __________ _______ | | ____ | | ____ | | ____ | | | Acc | ---- | Evade | ---- | M. Power | ---- | Haste | |_____| |_______| |__________| |_______| | | | | / | / / Starting node / Destination node Bonus (S.Lv = 2) (S.Lv = 1) (S.Lv = 0) To activate all of these nodes, you would need two Speed Spheres (for Accuracy and Evade), one Mana Sphere (for Magic Power), and one Ability Sphere (for the Haste Spell). Make sense? Here's another, more complicated example - if your S.Lv were three, and you began at a Strength node, followed by an Evade node that branched into two Agility nodes, then a Magic Defense node after that, and finally an empty space after that which branched off into another Evade node, with another Agility node immediately after the empty space, it would look like: _______ _______ | | | | | Agil. | | Evade | |_______| |_______| || || || || _______ _______ ________ _______ _______ | | ____ | | ____ | | ____ | | ___ | | | Str. | ---- | Evade | ---- | M. Def | ---- | empty | --- | Agil. | |_______| |_______| |________| |_______| |_______| | || | | | | || | | | | _______ | | / | | | | | Bonus node | | Agil. | | | | |_______| / / / (S.Lv = 1) Destination node Starting node | (S.Lv = 0 after (S.Lv = 3) / moving to the (S.Lv = 2 after empty node; no moving to the reduction in S.Lv Evade node; no for activating reduction in S.Lv the Evade node for activating or Agility node surrounding immediately after.) Agility nodes.) To activate all of these nodes, you would need one Power Sphere (for Strength), five Speed Spheres (for two Evade and three Agility), and one Mana Sphere (for Magic Defense). e. Are there any other spheres besides Power, Mana, Agility, and Ability? Yes, lots. Brace yourself. They are: Fortune Sphere, Attribute Sphere, Special Sphere, Skill Sphere, White Magic Sphere, Black Magic Sphere, Master Sphere, Level 1 Key Sphere, Level 2 Key Sphere, Level 3 Key Sphere, Level 4 Key Sphere, HP Sphere, MP Sphere, Strength Sphere, Defense Sphere, Magic Sphere, Magic Defense Sphere, Agility Sphere, Evasion Sphere, Accuracy Sphere, Luck Sphere, Clear Sphere, Return Sphere, Friend Sphere, Teleport Sphere, and Warp Sphere. Their effects are: - Fortune Sphere: activates a Luck node on the Sphere Grid - Attribute Sphere: activate any statistic node that's already been activated by another character - Special Sphere: activate any Special node that's already been activated by another character - Skill Sphere: activate any Skill node that's already been activated by another character - White Magic Sphere: activate any White Magic node that's already been activated by another character - Black Magic Sphere: activate any Black Magic node that's already been activated by another character - Master Sphere: activate any node that's already been activated by another character - Level 1-4 Key Spheres: permanently remove any Sphere Lock of the appropriate level from the Sphere Grid (ie; a Level 1 Key Sphere will remove a Level 1 Sphere Lock, a Level 2 Key Sphere will remove a Level 2 Sphere Lock, etc.) - HP Sphere: turns an empty space into an unactivated "HP +300" node - MP Sphere: turns an empty space into an unactivated "MP +40" node - Strength Sphere: turns an empty space into an unactivated "Strength +4" node - Defense Sphere: turns an empty space into an unactivated "Defense +4" node - Magic Sphere: turns an empty space into an unactivated "Magic +4" node - Magic Defense Sphere: turns an empty space into an unactivated "Magic Defense +4" node - Agility Sphere: turns an empty space into an unactivated "Agility +4" node - Evasion Sphere: turns an empty space into an unactivated "Evade +4" node - Accuracy Sphere: turns an empty space into an unactivated "Aim +4" node - Luck Sphere: turns an empty space into an unactivated "Luck +4" node - Clear Sphere: erases any statistic node on the Sphere Grid ** - Return Sphere: allows one character to return to any node they've previously activated - Friend Sphere: allows one character to move to the node which another character is currently occupying on the Sphere Grid - Teleport Sphere: allows one character to teleport to any node which anyone has previously activated - Warp Sphere: allows one character to warp anywhere on the Sphere Grid, whether the node has been activated or not ** Do not use Clear Spheres unless you know exactly what you're doing - erasing a previously activated node makes it like you never activated it in the first place. For example, if everyone had visited a particular Strength +3 node, and you used a Clear Sphere on that space, everyone's attack power would drop by 3. See question p for more on this. f. Where can I find the rare spheres from question e? You can acquire these most reliably through Bribe, but some enemies drop them as rare items, and some can be bought. In the same order as the preceding question, these are the ones I know of: - Fortune Sphere: found in various locales, dropped by Earth Eater - Attribute Sphere: bribed from Maelspike - Special Sphere: bribed from Adamantoise - Skill Sphere: bribed from Zuu - White Magic Sphere: bribed from Dark Flan - Black Magic Sphere: dropped by Seymour, dropped by Evrae, dropped by Evrae Oltana, bribed from Black Element - Master Sphere: dropped by the Dark Aeons in FFX International, or given to you by the trainer at the Monster Arena as a prize for unlocking Nemesis - Level 1 Key Sphere: found in various locales, dropped by Chocobo Eater, dropped by Sand Worm, dropped by Master Coeurl, dropped by Puroboros, stolen from Earth Eater, bribed from Imp - Level 2 Key Sphere: found in various locales, dropped by Spherimorph, dropped by Seymour Natus, dropped by Defender X, dropped by Tonberry, dropped by Defender Z, dropped by Varuna, stolen from Catastrophe, bribed from Behemoth - Level 3 Key Sphere: found in various locales, dropped by Defender Z, dropped by Yunalesca, dropped by Sin's right fin, dropped by Sin on the airship, dropped by Behemoth King, dropped by Seymour Omnis, dropped by Demonolith, dropped by Machea, dropped by Ultima Weapon, stolen from Ultima Buster, stolen from Biran Ronso, stolen from Yenke Ronso, bribed from Demonolith - Level 4 Key Sphere: found in various locales, dropped by Seymour Flux, dropped by Spectral Keeper, dropped by Land Worm, dropped by Omega Weapon, stolen from Nemesis, bribed from Chimera Brain - HP Sphere: dropped by Lost Ochu, dropped by Sin's left fin, dropped by Ironclad - MP Sphere: dropped by Lost Ochu, dropped by Sin's Core, dropped by Vidatu - Strength Sphere: found in various locales, dropped by Juggernaut - Defense Sphere: found in various locales, dropped by Tanket - Magic Sphere: found in various locales, dropped by Jumbo Flan - Magic Defense Sphere: found in various locales, dropped by One-Eye - Agility Sphere: found in various locales, dropped by Fenrir - Evasion Sphere: found in various locales, dropped by Pteryx - Accuracy Sphere: found in various locales, dropped by Hornet - Luck Sphere: found in various locales, dropped by Greater Sphere - Clear Sphere: bought from the trainer at the Monster Arena after capturing at least five of every monster (ie; when Ultima Buster is unlocked) - Return Sphere: won from Blitzball games, dropped by Biran Ronso, dropped by Yenke Ronso, dropped by Sanctuary Keeper, dropped by Sinspawn: Genais, dropped by Barbatos, dropped by Black Element, dropped by Chimerageist, stolen from Greater Sphere, bribed from Dark Element, bribed from Mandragora - Friend Sphere: dropped by Biran Ronso, dropped by Yenke Ronso, dropped by Spirit, dropped by Master Coeurl, dropped by Vorban, stolen from Neslug, bribed from Coeurl - Teleport Sphere: dropped by Master Tonberry, dropped by Sleep Sprout, stolen from Th'uban, bribed from Barbatos - Warp Sphere: found in the Omega Ruins if you open all of the treasure chests there in the correct randomly-generated order, bribed from Master Coeurl, stolen from Nemesis For the locations of these monsters, and exact gil cost to Bribe, see my Monster Encyclopedia, or my Bribe FAQ. g. Can any character learn any ability? Yes, any character can learn any ability, except for Overdrives and Aeons. For a sizable portion of the game, each character will be confined to their own part of the Sphere Grid due to a) Sphere Locks, and b) a lack of excessive amounts of AP, but once you start getting Key Spheres and cheat like mad using the AP trick (or level up the old-fashioned way, if that's your bag), you can traverse the board in several hours' time. Filling all of the empty spaces with stat bonuses is a much bigger undertaking, however... h. What about Enemy Skills, aka Ronso Rages? No. Ronso Rages are solely used by Kimahri, and technically an Overdrive. See above question. Any character may use Lancet, but only Kimahri may learn the enemy skills from it. A sad waste. i. If one character activates a node on the grid, is it used up forever? No. There are seven characters, and each may activate a node one time. Your stats would be awfully low if Sphere Grid nodes were consumable... j. If one character uses a Key Sphere to erase a Sphere Lock, is it gone from everyone else's grid? Yes, once you've erased a Sphere Lock with a Key Sphere, it's gone permanently from the same grid which everyone shares. In its place there will be an empty space, which you can then use a node creation sphere on to create a new unactivated node. (Node creation spheres are what they sound like - they create nodes. Strength, Magic, Defense, Luck, and Evasion Spheres are examples.) And remember, Key Spheres are consumable, so use them wisely. k. How can I tell if a character has activated a particular node on the grid? Is the only way to go to their grid and look? Around each node on the Sphere Grid, there are seven tiny circles which light up a certain color when a different character activates the space. These are visible no matter whose grid you're on. Starting from the top clockwise, they are: - Tidus: light blue - Yuna: white - Auron: red - Kimahri: dark blue - Wakka: yellow - Lulu: purple - Rikku: green l. What's wrong with Kimahri's part of the Sphere Grid? In the Original Grid (not the International/Expert Grid), Kimahri begins with a very small available area of the Sphere Grid, fenced in by several Level 1 Sphere Locks. By the time you reach Mi'ihen Highroad, you'll have recieved a few Level 1 Key Spheres to use, which will release Kimahri from his tiny grid. The top path leads to Tidus' part of the Sphere Grid, the left path leads to Rikku's part of the Sphere Grid, the lower center path leads to Lulu's part of the Sphere Grid, and the lower right path leads to Wakka's part of the Sphere Grid. It all depends on whether you want a well-rounded fighter, a thief with high HP and speed, a second black mage, or a heavy hitter with a great hit % and status-ailment specials. I recommend taking Rikku's path, because this makes Use, Steal, and Mug available to you MUCH earlier in the game. On the other hand, if you send him up Tidus' path on the Grid, you'll have two people who know Haste, then with Yuna's healing spells immediately after, this will make some of the later bosses much easier. Other people find having two characters with Wakka's high strength and hit accuracy useful, while still others like having two black mages with high magic power and magic defense. m. How can I gain AP - and therefore S.Lv - faster? The fair way to increase the amount of AP gained after battle is to Overkill enemies - this will up the AP gained by one and a half to two times. For the precise amount of damage in the killing blow needed to Overkill a particular enemy, see my Monster Encyclopedia. The cheap and dirty way to get lots of AP is to use the AP trick, as described in ChronoRye's, and Gamepro2817's / ORCA782's AP Trick FAQs. n. What do Sphere Distiller items do? And what's the Sphere Distiller trick? If you're low on a particular kind of consumable Sphere (ie: Power, Mana, Speed, or Ability), using a Sphere Distiller item on an enemy will force it to drop that kind of Sphere. For example, the Snow Wolf always drops Power Spheres - if you wanted it to drop a Speed Sphere instead, you would use a Speed Distiller item on it. Alternately, in Final Fantasy X International, and the European release, there are battle Skills called "Extract (name of Sphere)" which cost one MP each to preform, and serve the same purpose as using a Sphere Distiller item. Also, there are weapon auto-abilities that do the same called [Distill Power], [Distill Mana], [Distill Speed], and [Distill Ability]. As for the Sphere Distiller trick, at some point in the game, especially if you use one of the ubiquitous "AP Tricks", you'll probably run out one or more of the common Sphere types. To get 20-40 in one fight, simply use a Sphere Distiller on Kottos or Fafnir, who will then drop 20 after the fight for a standard kill, and 40 for an Overkill. If they only drop two of that type of Sphere, consider it bad luck - they would have dropped two Dark Matter otherwise. o. Is it possible to make a character lopsided? All characters have porportionately more of one kind of stat nodes on their part of the Sphere Grid than any other kind. Rikku's, for example, has lots of HP, Agility, and Luck nodes. Auron's has lots of Strength and Defense nodes. Lulu's has lots of MP, Magic Power, and Magic Defense nodes. Despite this, unless you intentionally and habitually don't activate a particular type of node while passing over it, no it is not possible to make a character lopsided. The Sphere Grid is very well designed like that. p. Is it possible to max out stats? First, we need to define "max out". Without placing any extra spheres in empty spaces on the Sphere Grid, if you travel the whole board, you'll have 19,700 HP, 1,250 MP, and the rest of your stats will be around 120-170. (Note: you can only have more than 9,999 HP and 999 MP if you have the [Break HP Limit] and/or [Break MP Limit] auto-abilities in your armor.) The true stat maximums you can possess are 99,999 HP, 9,999 MP, and 255 for your stats like Strength, Magic Defense, Evade, etc - but not all of these simultaneously. Why not? Read on... There are 828 nodes total on the original Sphere Grid. (The original grid is also known as the beginner grid in the European release.) 500 of these are pre-filled stat nodes, 191 are empty nodes waiting to be filled, 60 are Sphere Locks (which you may erase with Key Spheres to become empty nodes), and 77 are ability nodes. You can use Clear Spheres on shoddy stat nodes and replace them with better ones, but this will take a VERY long time. Erasing a Magic +1 node and replacing it with a Magic +4 node is an intelligent and proper use of Clear Spheres. Just remember that if you use a Clear Sphere on a node, and replace it with something else, all your characters will have to re-activate it. JungleJim wrote a Stat Maxing FAQ addressing this very question, which I suggest you read if you're gung-ho about seeing lots of 255's on your status screen, or just want to know the breakdown of how many nodes of each kind are on both Sphere Grids. You can find it at GameFAQs.com. q. Can I use a Clear Sphere to erase ability nodes? Despite lower level magics becoming useless once you have more powerful ones - Cure and Curaga, or Fire and Firaga, for example - and certain Skills and Specials having varying degrees of usefulness, you cannot erase any ability node. For practical reasons, the size of the ability nodes are larger than the stat nodes, and the game doesn't contain any code for redrawing these if they've been deleted. r. Where can I find a map of the Sphere Grid? You can import the Final Fantasy X Ultimania Battle Guide from Japan, or buy the Bradygames strategy guide, both of which come with a foldout map of the Sphere Grid, or you can go to GameFAQs for free and check out Zeric's, DocTobasco's, and DokiWaku's Sphere Grid gifs. If you choose to import the Ultimania book, Amazon Japan carries it. And if you point your browser towards http://home.san.rr.com/circe/amazon_japan.html, you can see a "walkthrough" of the checkout process which I've written specifically for this purpose, as well as links to all of the Ultimania books, and other Japan-only items you may want to purchase while you're on their site. Who loves you, baby? s. Why do some people call it the Sphere Board? In the Japanese release of Final Fantasy X, the Sphere Grid was called the Sphere Board, and the name seems to have stuck. Grid, board, does the name really matter? A rose by any other name would smell as sweet. t. I'm at [insert location], and I'm out of Ability Spheres! Where can I get more? Once you begin leveling up and moving around the Sphere Grid, you may find that your demand for Ability Spheres outweighs the supply. Prior to Mi'ihen Highroad, your only source of these will be predetermined boss fights, but trust me when I say that at least _one_ monster in every region from Mi'ihen onwards drops Ability Spheres. In Mi'ihen, that monster is the Dual Horn; in Djose, it's the Basilisk; in Thunder Plains, it's the Larvae; in Macalania, it's the Xiphos, Chimera, all of the Guado Guards; etc. I'm not going to list every single monster in the game who drops these - if you run out after Macalania, either use an Ability Distiller on a monster, or do a "Find" (Ctrl + F) in my Monster Encyclopedia. Lastly, as stated in question n, there are new skills and weapon auto-abilities in Final Fantasy X International which will allow you to distill Ability Spheres very early in the game. u. I heard there's a new Sphere Grid in Final Fantasy X International? And is there any benefit of using the International Grid over the Original Grid? You heard correctly. The layout of the new Sphere Grid is entirely new, and unlike the standard grid found in the initial Japan and US releases, all of your characters start relatively close together at the center of the grid. This means that you could make Tidus a white mage, Lulu a powerful attacker, or give Yuna all of Wakka's status ailment specials. The fact that most of the paths are closely interwoven allows you to jump back and forth between two characters' paths easily, giving Yuna a full complement of black magic, for example, or Wakka Tidus' "Delay Attack" and "Delay Buster". However, due to precisely that, I would recommend the new grid only to experienced players who know exactly how they want to customize their characters, because it's _very_ easy to lead someone down the wrong path and level poorly if you don't plan ahead. (Case in point, I accidently made Rikku and Auron white mages - they knew Curaga and Holy long before Yuna.) At the beginning of the game, you'll be given the choice to use either the standard grid for the remainder of the game, or the new grid designed for FFX International. Once you choose one, you cannot switch to the other. Strangely, even if you choose the new Sphere Grid, Rikku's tutorial takes place on the old Sphere Grid. The benefit of the International Grid over the Original Grid is that all of your characters start close together at the center, meaning you can level them up any way you like from the beginning of the game. However, there are about fifty (!!) fewer nodes in the International Grid than the Original Grid, which is counterproductive to maxing stats, so it's up to you whether having customizable characters early is worth the tradeoff of a significant number of nodes. If you plan on fighting the Dark Aeons, I would highly recommend that you use the Original Grid, to get the most out of your level ups. Note: in the European release of Final Fantasy X, the Original Grid is called the Beginner Grid, and the International Grid is called the Expert Grid. See my snafu above of making Rikku and Auron white mages if you don't believe the latter is truly for the experts, or at least the un-absent-minded. :( v. Are there any new abilities in the Final Fantasy X International Sphere Grid? Yes, several. Their functions, and English and Japanese names are as follows: - Pilfer Gil or 'Kusuneru': Steal gil from enemies. - Nab Gil or 'Makiageru': The Mug equivalent of Pilfer Gil. - Full Break or 'Furu Bureiku': All four "Break" effects at once. ** - Quick Pockets or 'Jinsoku': The item-using equivalent of Quick Hit. - Extract Power or 'Pawaa Atakku': Same effect as a Power Distiller item. - Extract Mana or 'Majikku Atakku': Same effect as a Mana Distiller item. - Extract Speed or 'Supiido Atakku': Same effect as a Speed Distiller item. - Extract Ability or 'Abiriti Atakku': Same effect as an Ability Distiller item. ** What differentiates this from Auron's Banishing Blade Overdrive, is that Full Break has the same success rate as Armor Break, Power Break, Mental Break, and Magic Break, while Banishing Blade _always_ works, so long as the fiend has at least a 1% weakness to a Break. w. Besides the new Sphere Grid, are there any other differences in Final Fantasy X International that I should know about? And how can I get my grubby little mitts on it? Besides the new Sphere Grid, and Skills and Specials outlined in the question above, there's a few new optional bosses, an option to switch the language between English and Japanese, a handful of new weapon and armor auto-abilities, various statistical changes to some monsters (most notably the Omega Weapon, who was toughened up), the properties of Quick Hit were changed, and the game came with a sublimely magnificent DVD bonus disc containing an epilogue that takes place two years after the game's ending. The new optional bosses are "dark" versions of your Aeons which make the Monster Arena bosses look like Water Flans and Dingos in comparison. Yes, they're really that hard. There's also a new hulking brute of a boss called Der Richter ("The Judge" in German) if you've set the language option to Japanese, or called Penance if you've set it to English, which becomes available to fight after you've defeated the "dark" Aeons. The bonus DVD includes some sweet trailers from upcoming Square games, as well as an epilogue leading into Final Fantasy X-2, the VERY FIRST DIRECT SEQUEL TO ANY FINAL FANTASY GAME! As for how you can get your own copy, there are several places online who carry Japanese import games - Tronix (www.tronixweb.com), Lik-Sang (www.lik-sang.com), and Himeya (shop.himeya.com). I've personally never had a bad experience ordering from Tronix or Lik-Sang, and I would recommend that you avoid National Console Support (www.ncsx.com) like the plague. They have singularly messed up every order I've ever placed with them, owe me $100 in credit which they refuse to honor, and their crack team of customer service folks seem to take pleasure in ignoring emails. I'd love to tell a different story, but that's the way it is. Alternately, the European release has all of the in-game bells and whistles that FFX International contains, though no bonus DVD with the "Eien no Nagisetsu" epilogue, which you could import as well. However, because FFX International is Japanese-region, and the European release is obviously PAL- region, if you have an unchipped US Playstation 2, you cannot play it reliably. Consider this before you import. x. What are the three questions the game asks you in Japanese at the beginning of FFX International? 1. "Which Sphere Grid would you like to use?" - Original version - International version (After choosing "Original version"...) 2. "Original version Sphere Grid, is this okay?" - Yes - No (Or after choosing "International version"...) 2. "International version Sphere Grid, is this okay?" - Yes - No 3. "Please select which language you'd like to play in?" (Note: The language may be changed later by going to the Config menu, this question solely influences which language the Zanarkand sequence is played in.) - Japanese - English y. Which stats are worth raising? Raising pretty much everything except Luck will help you instantly. The Luck stat affects rare Steals, critical hits, evasion rates, hitting fiends with high evasion, and possibly how often a [... Ward] armor auto-ability will protect you from a status ailment. The frugal player who doesn't want to take on Greater Sphere and Earth Eater repeatedly will realize that they can compensate for a lousy Luck stat by simply customizing certain auto-abilities into their armor. Always making a rare Steal can be accomplished by putting [Master Thief] on an armor, maxing out your strength and accuracy, and obtaining the Celestial Weapons eliminates the need for making critical hits, and [...proof] or [Ribbon] on an armor will always protect you from that status ailment. ...Note I said "instantly". If you're planning on defeating the Dark Aeons and Penance, all of whom have high Luck and Evasion stats, your characters' Luck will have to be just as high to level the playing field. If defeating these optional bosses is not part of your game plan, however, you can scrape by the rest of the game - and all of the Monster Arena bosses - with more or less your starting Luck statistic. z. If I keep activating HP nodes after I've reached 9,999 HP, will the game "remember" later when I equip armor with [Break HP Limit]? Yes, after you reach 9,999 HP or 999 MP, the game will "remember" any additional HP or MP nodes you activate. When you equip armor with [Break HP Limit] or [Break MP Limit], your HP and MP will reflect your true totals. -- IV. Thanks, Credits, Shameless Plugs -- Thanks to Muni Shinobu (email@example.com) for his excellent FFX walkthrough and numerous other guides on the game. Without him, we would not know wairo from Shinola. Much respect to Alexander O. Smith for his fantastic localizations of Vagrant Story, Parasite Eve 2, Final Fantasy X, et al, and for not calling me an idiot when I misunderstood his contribution to Final Fantasy IX. Oops. Thanks to Matt for making me too happy to update this thing for months on end. Mush. Extra special thanks to Square (http://www.playonline.com/) for creating FFX and many other quality titles, GameFAQs (http://www.gamefaqs.com/) for hosting FAQs on every game imaginable, and respecting FAQ author's rights, and most importantly to everyone who encouraged me to keep writing. Extra extra EXTRA special thanks to Jeei on the GameFAQs message boards for coining the term "Sphere Board Bus", and providing endless hours of amusement. Some people think the theme of FFX is love and sacrifice, but I think it's public transportation. Ride the bus, get HP +200. Am I alone? If your name isn't here and it should be, blame the memory and not the heart.