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Min-Maxing is a gameplay term used in reference to many video games, particularly RPGs. Min-maxing refers to maximizing the potential strength of a character through a specific and planned-out skill path as they level up and, at the same time, minimizing their weaknesses. In the Final Fantasy series, getting the most out of a character's stats usually means keeping the character at a low level to exploit level up stat bonuses acquired later in the game, or giving the character specific skills to influence their stat growth.
- See also: Stat Growth.
In the DS release only, at Level 71 characters stop gaining stats innately. Instead, further stat boosts are dependant on what augments the player has given the character, each augment being tied to one or more specific stats and thus giving a set boost to those stats on level up. The stat boosts are HP +10, MP +5, Strength +1, Speed +1, Stamina +1, Intelligence +1, and Spirit +1. By giving the proper augments to each party member, they will gain in all stats at each level up, allowing for an extra +280 HP, +140 MP, and +28 in all other stats once they hit level 99.
When he defeats Dark Kain and becomes a Holy Dragoon, Kain Highwind will retain his level, but his stat growth is different from his time as the Hooded Man. Most of his stats simply change to their Holy Dragoon values, but his HP and MP remain as they were when he was the Hooded Man. Thus, keeping Kain at a low level up until the battle will result in significantly higher HP and MP as Kain levels up afterwards than if he leveled up as the Hooded Man. At Level 50, the level cap in Kain's Tale, the Hooded Man has 3,150 HP and 105 MP, while if the player keeps the Hooded Man at his starting level of 15 and levels Kain to 50 after he becomes a Holy Dragoon, he will have 4,036 HP and 206 MP.
Espers grant bonuses to stats at level up, so the best way to maximize stats is to keep characters at a low level until the player earns stronger espers, so that they will get more stat boosts. The best espers for this are as follows:
- Bismarck, Raiden, Gilgamesh - Strength +2
- Zona Seeker, Valigarmanda - Magic Power +2
- Golem, Lakshmi, Leviathan - Stamina +2
- Odin - Speed +1
- Cactuar - Speed +2
- Bahamut - HP +50%*
- Diabolos - HP +100%*
- Crusader - MP +50%*
As Leviathan, Gilgamesh, Cactuar and Diabolos are espers exclusive to the Finest Fantasy for Advance release, in the SNES and PlayStation versions of the game, Odin is the only esper to grant a Speed bonus, so for purposes of min-maxing it is best to not upgrade it into the Raiden magicite.
Guaranteeing 9,999 HP and 999 MP at level 99 without equipment bonuses is fairly simple. With regards to HP and MP growth, at level 99 all permanent characters have well over 9,700 HP at minimum, and at least 990 MP, with the exception of Umaro who has 989. All characters gain different HP and MP per each level, and between level 50 and level 77, a character will gain at least 130 HP, while MP growth is maximized between level 10 and level 35.
To ensure 9,999 HP, a character must equip Diabolos for any two levels between the given range, or equip Bahamut from Level 68 to 71 - the most any character needs for 9,999 is an extra 216 HP, which Diabolos's 200% bonus ensures regardless of specific level, while for Bahamut the three given levels offer 160 and 162 increases to HP, the highest of any natural gain, which multiplied by 150% will give a net bonus of 240 HP. 999 MP is easier to track, as each character gets 11 MP from level 97 to 98 and 13 from 98 to 99, so the player just needs to remember to equip Crusader for the last level or two. Otherwise the player can focus on leveling up Strength, Stamina, Speed and Magic Power at all other times.
If playing the Advance release, the player may take advantage of the Level Reset Glitch to maximize character stats.
The maximum effective value for all stats is 128. While Magic will still have an effect over 128 via equipment boosts, any Strength over 128 is wasted. Also, any Speed over 235 will cause an extremely slow ATB bar, due to how the game works.
In Final Fantasy VII, there is no trick of getting higher stats since characters are on a growth curve that cannot be modified in-game, and the only other way to increase stats is through items.
However, similar to the Level Reset Glitch in Final Fantasy VI, the Emerald Weapon Countdown Glitch allows a player to retain the stats of a party on one save and transfer them to another save (bar level, HP, and MP). When starting a new game battles will not work, however the game can be saved and then loaded and it will still be a perfectly working save file. This isn't an as viable tactic as in Final Fantasy VI as it requires the player to only reach Emerald Weapon, but also to be able to beat it.
Some Guardian Forces have innate support skills that grant a permanent increase to base stats on level up, so to maximize stat growth the player should keep their characters at a low level. The five bonus abilities and the GFs that bear them are:
- HP Bonus* - Brothers
- Str Bonus - Ifrit
- Mag Bonus - Siren
- Vit Bonus - Carbuncle
- Spr Bonus - Leviathan
Uniquely, the Cactuar GF has all five of these abilities itself. Unfortunately due to a limit of four support skills at a time, it is impossible to equip all of these abilities at once, so the player will have to leave one stat out, or can raise them all equally. The HP Bonus ability is fairly useless, however, as it only gives 10 HP per level up. HP maxes at 9,999 while the other four stats max out at 255. Using junctions it is possible to get a character's stats to these values without any bonuses, but the bonuses allow the player to reach the maximum value with lesser spells, freeing their stronger stock to junction to stats that cannot have bonus increases.
Alternatively, particularly if levels are already maxed, the Devour command may be used on certain opponents in order to permanently increase stats. Uniquely, Pupu may be Devoured in order to boost a single character's Spd stat.
The final way to increase stats is through the use of items.
- HP Up - Increases Max HP by 10
- Str Up - Increase Str by 1
- Vit Up - Increase Vit by 1
- Mag Up - Increase Mag by 1
- Spr Up - Increase Spr by 1
- Spd Up - Increase Spd by 1
- Luck Up - Increase Luck by 1
These Items are all quite rare and only a few can be found. Namely HP Up can be won randomly, though only once, in D-District Prison (11th floor) playing Triple Triad. One Luck Up can be won from the 5th floor D-District Prison card player. Str Up can also be won in D-District prison through Tpriple Triad, in this case on the 2nd floor. In battle it can be dropped by, or stolen from Raijin in each battle. More Str Up can be stolen from Right Probe. Vit Up can be mugged from Left Probe. Mag Up can be stolen from NORG's Left Pod and Spr Up can be stolen from his Right Pod. As these are all one time encounters (except Raijin who is met twice), the only way to get a continuous supply of these items is to refine them using Doomtrain's Forbid Mag-RF as described below:
- 1 Gaea's Ring refines to 1 HP Up
- 10 Hyper Wrist refines to 1 Str Up
- 1 Monk's Code refines to 1 Str Up
- 5 Adamantine refines to 1 Vit Up
- 10 Royal Crown refines to 1 Mag Up
- 10 Magic Armlet refines to 1 Spr Up
- 2 Aegis Amulet refines to 1 Spd Up
- 50 Jet Engine refines to 1 Spd Up
- 1 Hundred Needles refines to 1 Spd Up
- 1 Luck-J Scroll refines to 1 Luck Up
The Player can use a combination of the Gil trick and card refining to max any stat other than Evade, but it is very time consuming.
Characters gain greater stat boosts due to the stat values on their equipment. The equipment with the greatest stat values are found at the latest portions of the game. Therefore, in order to maximize their stats, one must remain at level 1 until all of the best equipment becomes available.
With the use of the Add Status ability and the Stop ability to avoid gaining experience, it is possible to keep the entire party at Level 1 until the player reaches Pandemonium, at which point there are 3 encounters that force Zidane or several characters to gain levels. After those encounters, there are none that require the party to gain experience until all the equipment in the game becomes available.
Due to a bug, Marcus' stat growth transfers to Eiko without effecting her level. In order to 'fully' maximize Eiko's stats, Marcus must be leveled to 99 before he leaves the party in Disk 2, though this process can take several days worth of real time.
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Once the player earns the ability to purchase Clear Spheres at the Monster Arena, they can use them to blank spots on the Sphere Grid and fill them in with stat-boosting spheres of their choice. Stat boosting nodes created this way offer higher boosts than pre-existing nodes, and the player can eventually choose to blank ability nodes as well. HP caps at 99,999, MP at 9,999, Strength, Defense, Magic, Magic Def, Agility, and Accuracy cap at 255, Evasion caps at 133, and Luck at 122. There are 751 nodes on the Sphere Grid that can be cleared and filled in with other spheres.
With 63 nodes allocated to each of the primary six stats, the stats will increase by 252 each, which is enough with the character's natural stats to get 255. With another 63 nodes to get Evasion and Luck at their maximum values, this leaves 310 empty nodes for HP and MP. With each HP node granting +300 HP, this works out to a boost of 93,000 HP. Getting to 99,999 requires another 23 nodes, so the player will have to leave out the maximum values from at least one stat to get maximum HP. This also leaves no room at all for MP increasing nodes - getting 9,999 MP requires 249 nodes for MP spheres, which grant +40 MP each. In tandem with armor abilities though that can increase maximum HP, the player can still reach 99,999 HP with only 310 HP nodes, while the lack of MP growth can be compensated for with armor abilities to increase MP and reduce the MP cost of abilities.
|Power Sphere||Activates Strength, Defense, or HP nodes.||Use Power Distiller/Extract Power on Kottos or Fafnir (x20 common drop, or 40 if Overkill).|
|Mana Sphere||Activates Magic, Magic Defense, or MP nodes.||Use Mana Distiller/Extract Mana on Kottos or Fafnir (x20 common drop, or 40 if Overkill).|
|Speed Sphere||Activates Agility, Accuracy, or Evasion nodes.||Use Speed Distiller/Extract Speed on Kottos or Fafnir (x20 common drop, or 40 if Overkill).|
|Ability Sphere||Activates Ability nodes.||Use Ability Distiller/Extract Ability on Kottos or Fafnir (x20 common drop, or 40 if Overkill).|
|Fortune Sphere||Activates Luck nodes.||Earth Eater|
|Master Sphere||Activates any Ability or Attribute nodes on grid.||Unlock Nemesis for x10; Dark Aeons (x1, rare drop).|
|HP Sphere||Changes empty node to HP +300.||Ironclad|
|MP Sphere||Changes empty node to MP +40.||Vidatu|
|Strength Sphere||Changes empty node to Strength +4.||Juggernaut|
|Defense Sphere||Changes empty node to Defense +4.||Tanket|
|Magic Sphere||Changes empty node to Magic +4.||Jumbo Flan|
|Magic Def Sphere||Changes empty node to Magic Def +4.||One-Eye|
|Agility Sphere||Changes empty node to Agility +4.||Fenrir|
|Evasion Sphere||Changes empty node to Evasion +4.||Pteryx|
|Accuracy Sphere||Changes empty node to Accuracy +4.||Hornet|
|Luck Sphere||Changes empty node to Luck +4.||Greater Sphere|
|Clear Sphere||Clears stat nodes from grid. If anyone has activated a node that has been cleared, their stats will drop as if it wasn't ever there.||Can buy from monster trainer (10,000 gil each) after unlocking Ultima Buster (capture 5 of each monster).|
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Serah and Noel can increases their HP, Strength, and Magic using small and large nodes on the crystarium. Typically, Noel will finish with higher HP and Strength than Serah, but with less Magic. Large nodes give certain bonuses depending on which role is leveled up:
- Commando - +2 Strength
- Ravager - +2 Magic
- Sentinel - +6 HP
- Saboteur - +2 Strength (going from odd to even level), +2 Magic (even to odd)
- Synergist - +6 HP (going from odd to even level), +2 Magic (even to odd)
- Medic - +6 HP
There are 197 large nodes that can be filled in each character's crystarium. One recommended strategy is to use all the available large nodes to increase Serah's Magic and Noel's Strength. After maximizing those stats, the player can use the remaining large nodes to increase Serah's HP and Noel's Magic. Doing so will give the following stats:
- Serah: 6,619 HP - 402 Str - 880 Mag
- Noel: 8,550 HP - 851 Str - 509 Mag
- See also: Stat Growth (Tactics).
Characters' stats largely depend on the job they are in, but, to a lesser degree, also the jobs they have leveled up in. As such, players can use jobs with good all-around stats to make characters stronger overall, or use specialized jobs like the Ninja to make them very good at a particular set of jobs.
Degenerator traps are also useful in optimizing stats. They reduce characters' level by 1, and in doing so also reduce the stats of that character by the amount they would have gained by leveling up once in that job. This can be exploited by entering a battle with Degenerator traps in a job with terrible growth stats, such as the Bard, and lower that character's level to 1 without lowering their stats to what they would normally be at level 1. They can then use a job with better growth stats to increase that character's level back up to what it was, with much higher stats.
The Orator's Praise, Intimidate, Preach, and Enlighten (and, to a lesser degree, Ramza's exclusive Squire abilities Steel and Shout) can also be exploited to alter Bravery and Faith by dramatic amounts -- a fifth of any change in Bravery or Faith during battle is permanent, and because the Orator can alter these stats by as much as 25 at once, they can be altered by 5, or a twentieth of the maximum amount, in a single turn by a particularly strong Oracle. Both can be exploited for specific purposes; Bravery increases the damage of some of the game's strongest physical attacks, increases the odds of Reaction Abilities, and reduces the chance of being inflicted with Chicken, at the cost of finding rare items with Treasure Hunter, while Faith increases the power of magic spells and the effectiveness of helpful magic spells cast on the character at the cost of taking more damage from enemy spells. However, one must be careful not to scare a party member away by reducing their Bravery too low, or raise their Faith too high and cause them to leave the party in favor of a more religious life.
Each character's stat growth is determined entirely by their Job when they level up after gaining 100 exp. It is thus simple to predict when a character will level up during a battle and change their Job to obtain desired stats. The character's secondary A-ability does not affect stat growth.
The following table lists the best Jobs per race to equip for each stat, along with that Job's stat growth.
|HP||Soldier (8.40)||Warrior (9.20)||Sage (7.60)||Fencer (7.60)||Animist and Gadgeteer (7.20)|
|MP||Illusionist (7.10)||Bishop (4.60)||Sage (8.80)||Summoner (6.20)||Black Mage (4.80)|
|Attack||Fighter (9.20)||Dragoon (9.60)||Beastmaster (8.80)||Sniper (9.40)||Mog Knight (8.80)|
|Defense||Paladin (9.20)||Templar (9.70)||Beastmaster (8.80)||Fencer (8.10)||Juggler (9.90)|
|Magic||Illusionist (9.20)||Templar (8.80)||Time Mage (10.2)||Summoner (10.1)||Time Mage (9.20)|
|Resist||Black Mage (9.60)||Bishop and Templar (7.60)||Black Mage (10.2)||Summoner (8.40)||Gadgeteer (10.2)|
|Speed||Ninja (2.20)||White Monk (1.40)||Morpher (1.60)||Assassin (2.30)||Thief (1.90)|
Mutants level via their actions, but cap out at 99 in each respective stat. Humans are supposed to do this (as suggested by the Wonderswan remake) but simply do not: by continuing to give them statistic-increasing potions, they will continue to gain Strength and Agility up to 255, and HP well beyond 999, though the values listed on the subscreen will remain 99 and 999. Once passing the true max values, these statistics will revert to 0 in a rollover glitch. Increasing HP beyond 600 is time-consuming, as HP potions only function to their listed maximum before increasing only a single point of Max HP, and there are no HP potions superior to HP600s. For this reason, a player attempting to min-max should purchase HP200s before proceeding past Ashura and the Point of No Return.
Monster statistics are set and based on the actual monsters in-game. Once the player has reached the uppermost Monster tier by consuming the meat from one of the Four Fiend refights, they will only be able to progress by changing to the form of other top-tier monsters.
In every battle, there are certain tactics that should be used to achieve maximum effectiveness in terms of item usage and stat gaining. Here are the basic steps to follow in battle.
Humans and mutants have the potential to gain stats when they have a turn in battle whether they actually act or not. Therefore, in order to maximize the potential for stats with humans and mutants is to at least have their turn come up in every battle.
Humans and mutants also can gain an increase to maximum HP if they survive a battle. Therefore, a player should ensure that all humans and mutants survive the battle as often as possible.
Items equipped on humans and mutants generally have a limited number of uses before they break or are exhausted. Therefore, the player should minimize the number of uses of consumable items to save GP.
The turn order during battle is generally determined by the agility of the unit. Higher agile characters generally act before lower agile characters, although this is not 100% true most of the time due to random factors. Therefore, to ensure than everybody has a chance to have an action during battle, the player should have a higher agile characters to kill the more dangerous enemies and let the lower agile characters mop up the rest of the enemies.
As mentioned, humans and mutants can gain stats even if they do nothing in battle, as long as their turn has come up even if the action they were to perform would now do nothing. For example, let's say there are two enemies against the player's party of a robot, monster, human, and mutant. The robot and monster have high agility, the human has moderate agility, and the mutant has low agility. The mutant has an ability that can kill the second enemy on its own.
There are three potential scenarios here. First, if the robot targets one enemy and the monster targets the other, both easily killing their targets, the human and the mutant don't get a chance to act since the battle ends too quickly. They have an opportunity to gain HP, but no chance for any stat gains.
In the second scenario, the robot and the monster both target the first monster and the human and mutant target the second monster. The robot and monster easily kill the first enemy and the human easily kills the second enemy before the mutant acts. Now the results are that the human has used a consumable item and has a chance to gain a stat bonus for the item used, while the mutant remains unable to gain a stat bonus.
The third scenario. The robot, monster and human all attack the first enemy while the mutant targets the second enemy. The robot and the monster easily kill the first monster before the human gets its turn. Since its target is dead, when the human's turn comes up, the human simply does nothing and no consumable item is used. The mutant easily kills the second enemy with a rechargeable ability. Comparing the results to the previous two scenarios. After this scenario is over, both the human and the mutant may gain a stat bonus, and no consumable items were used. This is the ideal scenario.
Obviously, this scenario is only generally applicable in random battles. Boss battles should be focused on quick kills. There aren't many bosses where only one or two attacks finishes the battle, so it is likely that everyone will get a chance to take an action in any case.
|Ability Points - Accuracy - Bravery - Charge Time - Clan Points - Defense - Evasion - Experience Points - Health Points - Intelligence - Jump - Level - Luck - Magic Defense - Magic Evasion - Magic Points - Magic Power - Mind - Move - Speed - Spirit - Stamina - Strength - Use - Vitality|
|Before Crisis -Final Fantasy VII-|
|Crisis Core -Final Fantasy VII-|
|Final Fantasy XI|
|Charisma - Fame - Magic Accuracy - Tactical Points|
|Final Fantasy XII|
|Final Fantasy XIII|
|Final Fantasy Tactics|
|Bravery - Faith|
|Final Fantasy Tactics Advance|
|Min-Maxing - Stat Growth|