The Sphere Grid is the name of the ability and character development system used in Final Fantasy X. It is a roughly circular grid of interconnected "nodes" arranged in smaller circular clusters, containing all the abilities and special skills the player characters can learn. The name of the system is used both to refer to the grid's design, and to the use of spheres to activate the nodes.
In "Beyond Final Fantasy" feature included with the PAL and International versions of Final Fantasy X, Yoshinori Kitase explains the purpose behind the Sphere Grid is to give players an interactive means of increasing their characters' attributes, such that they will be able to observe the development of those attributes firsthand.
AP and Sphere LevelsEdit
At the end of each battle, every character in the party that took at least one full turn in battle will earn Ability Points (AP). Characters who are switched out their first turn, KO'd or petrified at the end of the battle, will not gain AP. For example, if the starting line-up is Kimahri, Wakka and Rikku, and Wakka is switched out his first turn and does not return, he will gain no AP because he did not take a full turn.
Similarly, if Wakka is switched out for Auron, and Auron is immediately switched back out, he will also not earn AP. In the above example, if Kimahri acts first in battle and defeats all enemies on his turn, Rikku and Wakka will receive no AP because they did not get a turn. If the player defeats an enemy party using an aeon, Yuna will be treated as having taken a turn and will earn AP, even if she summoned the aeon on her first turn in battle.
When enough AP is earned, the character gains a Sphere Level, abbreviated as "S.LV" in-game. When moving about the Sphere Grid, the character may move one node forward for each S.LV they have. The player does not need to activate a node to pass by it. Regardless of if a node was activated or not, when the player passes it a band of color appears connecting their current node to the node they just left, to show they have already been down this path. Moving around paths already connected allows the character to move four nodes for every S.LV they have.
As is the case in most previous Final Fantasy games, at the beginning of the game each character is set with certain strengths and weaknesses, demonstrated by the variety of nodes in their section of the Sphere Grid. Due to the function of the Sphere Grid, however, the player has a choice of going out of his or her way to put the character down a different path.
The character-specific sections of the Sphere Grid each merge into each other at certain points, allowing the player to take the character down the grid of another character if they so choose. The character-specific sections of the grid are separated by locked nodes that cannot be passed, but once they are opened, become as any other empty node, allowing free movement. Ultimately, every node on the Sphere Grid may be accessed by every character.
Sections of the GridEdit
The Sphere Grid is roughly divided into seven sections, one for each member of the party. When a character is selected, his or her path will be highlighted in the character's grid color. Each node has seven invisible marks around its border and when a character activates the node, the corresponding mark becomes visible and is colored the same as the character's grid color. These marks can be viewed no matter which character is currently selected.
Tidus's grid has a good balance of Strength and Accuracy, as well as decent Evasion and Agility. Because of this he is adept at killing lightly-armored enemies, but flying enemies have too much Evasion for him to hit, and most of his weapons cannot pierce through armored enemies.
Tidus learns special abilities and White Magic that affect the turn order of his allies and enemies, such as Haste, Slow and Delay Buster. He also has party support abilities like Cheer and Flee. At the end of his section is the ability Quick Hit. In the PAL and International version, it also includes Extract Speed. Tidus's grid section runs into Yuna's, and his grid color is aqua.
Yuna has low Strength and Defense, but has the highest Magic of the party, and strong Evasion and Agility. Yuna's grid contains many healing White Magic spells, such as Cure spells, Regen and Esuna, and buffing spells like Reflect and Shell. Being the game's Summoner, the stats of Yuna's aeons are raised as hers increase. At the end of her section is the spell Holy. Yuna's grid section runs into Rikku's, and her grid color is white.
Rikku has the highest Agility of all the characters, and her grid has many HP and Agility nodes. Rikku has low Strength but learns a variety of support abilities, such as Steal, Mug, Spare Change and Copycat. Her grid also contains the White Magic spell Full-Life. At the end of her section is the ability Bribe. In the International and PAL versions, it also includes the Pilfer Gil, Nab Gil and Quick Pockets abilities. Rikku's grid section runs into Lulu's, and her grid color is green.
Lulu, as a classic Black Mage, has low Strength, Accuracy and Agility, but high Magic and the highest Magic Defense and Evasion. She also has high Defense, the highest in the game, which is uncharacteristic of the traditional Black Mage. Black Magic such as the Fire, Blizzard, Thunder, and Water series are in her section, along with other spells like Bio and Demi. Lulu's section also has the support skills Focus, Reflex and Doublecast. At the end of her section is the spell Flare. Lulu's grid section runs into Wakka's, and her grid color is purple.
Wakka has high Strength and Accuracy, but average Evasion and HP with low Agility and MP. Wakka learns many special attacks that let him inflict status ailments on enemies, such as Dark Attack and Silence Attack. Wakka's grid also contains two Black Magic spells, Drain and Osmose. At the end of his section is the special attack Triple Foul. In the International and PAL versions, it also includes Extract Ability. Wakka's section runs into Auron's, and his grid color is yellow.
Auron's section has many Strength, Defense and HP nodes, but lacks Evasion, Accuracy and Agility. His section includes "break" abilities to lower enemy stats, like Power Break and Armor Break, and defensive abilities such as Sentinel and Guard. At the end of his section are the special abilities Threaten and Entrust. In the International and PAL versions, it also includes Extract Power and Full Break. Auron's section runs into Tidus's grid, thus closing the circle of Tidus-Yuna-Rikku-Lulu-Wakka-Auron. His grid color is red.
Kimahri's section is in the center of the Sphere Grid and contains a variety of nodes. As a Blue Mage, Kimahri's grid directly connects to the grids of every other character except Auron, allowing the player to customize his stats as they wish once they can access the proper Key Spheres separating the grids. Kimahri's section contains the ability Lancet which allows him to learn Ronso Rages from certain enemies, and support abilities like Jinx and Scan. At the center of his section is the Black Magic Ultima. In the International and PAL versions, it also includes Extract Mana. Kimahri's grid color is dark blue.
In the game's International and PAL versions and the HD Remaster, an Expert option is available at the beginning of the game. The difference between Normal and Expert is that in the Expert mode, each character starts in the middle of a completely different grid design. The player must then decide which path the character will follow. The abilities in both grids are the same (the normal grid is slightly different from the original grid, with extra branches and nodes to fit the new abilities), but the Expert grid has fewer nodes in total than the Normal grid (roughly 50 less), but it still contains enough nodes to maximize the characters' statistics.
- See also: Sphere (Final Fantasy X)
Activating any node on the grid requires some sort of sphere. Early in the game the player only has access to the basic red spheres, but as they progress in the game many more types of sphere become available. Though all nodes need a sphere to be activated, not all spheres are used only to activate a node.
The types of sphere are as follows:
- Red Spheres are the most common kind, with the exception of the Fortune Spheres. They are used to activate most of the nodes on the grid to increase basic stats like Strength, Agility and HP. The types of red sphere are:
- Power Sphere - Activates Strength, Defense, and HP Nodes.
- Mana Sphere - Activates Magic Power, Magic Resistance, and MP Nodes.
- Speed Sphere - Activates Agility, Accuracy, and Evasion Nodes.
- Ability Sphere - Activates Skill, Special, and Magic Nodes.
- Fortune Sphere - Activates Luck Nodes.
- Key Spheres are dark gray and come in four levels, which can open a locked node of the corresponding level only: a Level 4 Key Sphere cannot open any locked node but Level 4. When a locked node is unlocked, it is unlocked for all characters regardless of who unlocked it.
- Purple Spheres are used to fill empty nodes with stat nodes. There are ten types of purple sphere, one for each for the basic stats: HP, MP, Strength, Defense, Magic Power, Magic Defense, Agility, Evasion, Accuracy and Luck. Whenever any empty node is turned into a stat node, the stat increase given by that node is higher than the increase given by a normal node: For example, an HP node made from a purple sphere gives +300 HP, as opposed to normal HP nodes which give +200 HP. MP nodes give +40 MP, and all other stat nodes give +4 in their respective stat.
- Yellow spheres are used to activate ability nodes that have been activated by at least one other character, no matter where that node is in relation to the character's location. The types of yellow sphere are:
- Attribute Sphere - activate any stat node.
- Special Sphere - activates any Special node.
- Skill Sphere - activates any Skill node.
- White Magic Sphere - activates any White Magic node.
- Black Magic Sphere - activates any Black Magic node.
- Master Sphere - activates any node.
- Light blue Spheres can teleport characters around the grid. The types of light blue sphere are:
- Return Sphere - Warp to any node previously activated by the player.
- Friend Sphere - Warp to another ally's spot on the grid.
- Teleport Sphere - Warp to any activated node on the grid.
- Warp Sphere - Warp to any spot on the grid.
- Clear Spheres are aqua and can only be bought from the Monster Arena trainer after the player has captured five of every monster in the game. They will clear any stat node and negate whatever stat increase it gave. Ability nodes and locked nodes cannot be cleared. Clear Spheres cost 10,000 gil apiece.
There is also an option to fully customize one's personal Sphere Grid. By doing so, one would be able to max out the characters' stats. If the player only activates the nodes that are available by default, the characters will not max on all of the stats.
Some nodes will either have +1, +2, +3 and (rarely) +4, as well as +200 HP and +20 MP. By using the Clear Sphere (which are only available at the Monster Arena), the player can clear out the weaker nodes and activate any of the purple spheres of the player's choice (HP, MP, Strength, Defense, Magic Power, Magic Defense, Agility, Evasion, Accuracy and Luck). Once all the weak nodes have been removed and replaced with the +4, +300 HP, and +40 MP, it is possible to max a number of stats. It is not possible to max out all stats.
The special spheres to help the player customize the Sphere Grid are received from the monsters at the Monster Arena. The following chart explains what they drop and how to acquire them.
|Sphere||Stat Increase||Fiend||Unlock by|
|HP Sphere||+300 Hit Points||Ironclad||Capture 10 of each of the 'Iron Giant'-type fiends.|
|MP Sphere||+40 Magic Points||Vidatu||Capture 4 of each of the elemental 'Imp'-type fiends.|
|Strength Sphere||+4 Strength||Juggernaut||Capture 5 of each of the 'Ruminant'-type fiends.|
|Defense Sphere||+4 Defense||Tanket||Capture 3 of each of the 'Helm (armored)'-type fiends.|
|Magic Sphere||+4 Magic||Jumbo Flan||Capture 3 of each of the 'Flan'-type fiends.|
|Magic Def Sphere||+4 Magic Defense||One-Eye||Capture 4 of each of the 'Eye'-type fiends.|
|Agility Sphere||+4 Agility||Fenrir||Capture 3 of each of the 'Wolf'-type fiends.|
|Evasion Sphere||+4 Evasion||Pteryx||Capture 4 of each of the 'Bird'-type fiends.|
|Accuracy Sphere||+4 Accuracy||Hornet||Capture 4 of each of the 'Wasp'-type fiends.|
|Luck Sphere||+4 Luck||Greater Sphere||Breed at least 2 monsters in Species Conquest.|
- Main article: Skill (Final Fantasy X)
- Main article: Special (Final Fantasy X)
- Main article: Blk Magic (Final Fantasy X)
- Main article: Wht Magic (Final Fantasy X)