Stagger (ブレイク, Bureiku?, lit. "Break") (Bonus in the Final Fantasy XIII Demo) is a gameplay feature in Final Fantasy XIII, Final Fantasy XIII-2, and Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII. As the party consistently attacks an enemy, its chain bonus will increase. When the chain bonus reaches the enemy's stagger point, the chain bonus is instantly increased and the target is generally more vulnerable to all kinds of attack (including negative status effects). In addition, a staggered target's chain bonus increases more rapidly due to its chain resistance being ignored for the duration.
While staggered, the chain gauge will steadily decrease (although percentage damage may still build as usual), and the enemy stops being staggered and has its chain bonus reset to 100% when the timer runs out.
In the Easy Mode of Final Fantasy XIII, a mode available in the Japanese versions only, staggered enemies receive much more damage than in Normal Mode.
The chain bonus of an enemy is a direct multiplier for all damage dealt to it; if an attack's base damage is 1000, a chain bonus of 250% results in 2500 damage being done. This occurs whether the enemy is staggered or not, so it is always to the player's advantage to raise the number. In short, the chain percentage affects the success of most actions in the game, from damage dealt to the chance to inflict statuses, and even things like the chance of Odin's Zantetsuken inflicting Instant Death.
When an enemy becomes staggered, its chain bonus instantly increases by 100%, and continues increasing with attacks to a maximum of 999.9%. When calculating damage dealt by an attack, the game first calculates the increased chain bonus; for example, if an attack would increase an enemy's chain bonus from 100% to 110%, the damage is calculated with the 110%. The amount that an attack increases the chain bonus does not depend on the damage it deals, though it is affected by relevant resistances of the enemy. The chain bonus can rise even if the enemy takes no damage, such as against enemies that are immune to damage.
The player may notice when using restorative and enhancing abilities that allies also have a chain gauge. A player character's chain gauge does not increase when attacked, but when healed or enhanced by a Medic or Synergist respectively, and the chain gauge directly improves further healing and enhancement duration.
Each enemy has a chain resistance ranging from 0 to 100, which decreases the base chain bonus impact of abilities targeting it. Some enemies have 100 chain resistance, meaning that abilities don't increase their chain bonus on their own.
However, several sets of circumstances can increase an enemy's chain bonus separately, such as attacking while you have enhancements, attacking while the enemy has negative status effects, attacking with different abilities, and attacking an enemy's weak element or type. While an enemy is staggered, its chain resistance is reduced to 0.
Ravagers increase an enemy's chain bonus the fastest, but do not increase the chain gauge timer by much with each attack. On the other hand, Commandos, Saboteurs, and Sentinels have abilities that do not increase the chain bonus much, but are much more effective at increasing the timer. In general, non-elemental attacks (with the exemption of these attacks from a character enhanced with the En-spells such as Enfire) increase the timer more than elemental ones found on the Ravager skill set.
The target's elemental resistances also play a role in building the chain bonus; attacking with the ice element increases the enemy's chain bonus more effectively when the enemy is weak to ice, and is less effective when the enemy is resistant to it. The Ravager's role bonus allows them to fill the chain gauge faster, and this bonus is bigger the higher role level the Ravager is, and the more Ravagers there are in the current Paradigm. Also, Full ATB Skills like Lightning's Army of One and Sazh's Cold Blood, increase the stagger percentage value, but are more effective the higher the percentage already is.
Certain auto abilities boost the party's ability to amass chain bonuses. The Commando's Jeopardize adds +1.0 against a staggered target. The Ravager's Overwhelm adds +1.0 for each ally targeting the same enemy, and the Ravager's Vigor adds +1.0 when the Ravager's HP is above 70%. Sazh's Antares Deluxes class of weapons have the Chain Bonus Boost abilities, which add +1.0 for the regular version of the ability, and +2.0 for the upgraded Chain Bonus Boost II.
The actual formula by which the game adds to the chain percentage on attack is actually quite complicated with a long list of variables and conditions. For example, Commandos add slightly more to the chain percentage when they attack a launched opponent, Ravagers add more chain percentage when they alternate their spells, and the chain bonus effect is greater the more enhancements party members have and the more negative status effects the target has. For an exact list of all the variables, see the link in External Links section at the bottom of this page.
When a target's chain gauge is about 90% - 92% full, the enemy turns red and the gauge will flash, which indicates the enemy has reached the "near stagger" status. This is most applicable to Lightning's weapon ability: Quick Stagger, which will instantly stagger enemies in near stagger status. Performing a preemptive attack causes all enemies to enter near stagger for 10 seconds regardless of their respective stagger points.
When the enemy becomes staggered, the chain bonus immediately increases by 100% (but not above 999.9%) and the enemy's chain resistance drops to zero. The effects on individual enemies vary: Some enemies are weaker against type/elemental damage and statuses, some enemies' attack patterns change and most regular enemies players are able to launch into the air when they are staggered.
Players can launch opponents with the Commando's Launch auto ability. -Ga level spells and Aero-series abilities can also lift the enemies up in the air, but not as high as the Commando's Launch. Launching an enemy allows for even greater damage, as the foe is held aloft by attacks and prevented from action until it falls and stands again. Aerial enemies cannot be launched, and most bosses are immune to Launch as well, though there are some exceptions, such as the the Proudclad.
Enemies about to be staggered strobe golden-orange, while staggered enemies have a slowly-pulsing glow of the same color. Fang's and Snow's special attacks (Highwind & Sovereign Fist) will clear a stagger chain gauge, as does performing an Eidolon's special attack in Gestalt Mode.
Stagger status lasts minimum of 8 seconds and maximum of 45 seconds. The time is equal to double the remaining gauge time when the enemy was staggered; thus enemies that take longer to stagger also stay staggered longer.
Abilities That Affect StaggerEdit
Stagger Lock is a weapon ability which prevents the wielder from staggering an enemy. The character can still raise the chain bonus up to the stagger limit, but can't bring the opponent past the stagger threshold, meaning the other allies in the party will have to do it. If the enemy is already staggered, the character with Stagger Lock can continue to raise the chain as normal. Every character has a Stagger Lock weapon, and they have higher stats than most other weapons to counter the handicap.
Lightning's Lionheart and its upgrades have this ability and staggers an opponent in "near stagger" status.
Sazh's Procyons and its upgrades have this ability and increase the stagger time limit by 10% (Stagger Maintenance) or 30% (Stagger Maintenance II) if Sazh was the one who staggered the target, but will not increase the stagger duration past the maximum limit of 45 seconds.
Random: Instant ChainEdit
Random: Instant Chain is a synthesized ability, gained by equipping enough equipment pieces at once that have it as a trait. Random: Instant Chain gives the character a 0.5% chance of instantly raising the chain up to the Stagger Point with each hit. It does not stagger the target, but any next attack will. Random: Instant Chain does not work on enemies over level 49, which means it won't work on bosses and some of the more difficult mission marks.
The random chance of instantly raising the gauge to the Stagger Point is based on the number of times the chain bonus value is calculated. Since Sazh's Attack command calculates the chain bonus only once he has one chance to activate Random: Instant Chain during his attack, despite him actually attacking twice per each Attack command. Sazh's Full ATB Skill on the other hand calculates the chain bonus 17 times, giving 17 chances for Random: Instant Chain to activate. Raising the chain is not a requirement for Random: Instant Chain; the command used only needs to have a chain bonus calculation step.
- Ultima Weapon
- Polaris Specials
- Betelgeuse Customs
- Unsetting Sun
- Midnight Sun
- Heavenly Axis
- Taming Pole
- Venus Gospel
When staggered, attacks from the player will occasionally prevent build-up attacks, such as Enlil's Raging Tempest attack or summoning moves. Sometimes, attacking the enemy will prevent normal physical or magic attacks. This only works while the enemy is staggered.
Stagger reappears in Final Fantasy XIII-2.
The formula for its chain bonus is as follows:
The formula for Stagger duration is as follows:
When launching a preemptive strike on an enemy the party can no longer fill the stagger gauge to full, but instead, they can fill it up to 120.0% on the first strike, still gaining an advantage. Enemies can be launched in the air like in Final Fantasy XIII incapacitating them by the Commando's Launch ability, and several monster party members can do so as well, such as the Behemoth-types' Heave ability.
As in Final Fantasy XIII, allies have a chain gauge as well, even if allies cannot be staggered and their higher chain gauge does not have them take more damage, as with enemies. Instead, the allies' chain gauge is raised whenever the respective ally receives healing or enhancements from Medics and Synergists.
The Synergists' enhancements aren't notably affected by a higher chain gauge, but healing spells restore more HP to an ally the higher their chain gauge is. Healing spells deplete the gauge faster than Synergist enhancements; in a way, the Synergists may be seen as a Commando, and the Medics as a Ravager; the Synergist stabilizes the gauge while the Medics raise it. Using this method, it is possible to raise an ally's gauge to 999.9%.
Several passive abilities that affect stagger return in Final Fantasy XIII-2. Such abilities are found in weapons and learned by monsters in the Crystarium System. New to Final Fantasy XIII-2, certain bosses can be staggered by correctly performing Cinematic Actions. Caius Ballad is shown to be able to perform "chain break" an ability that resets his chain gauge, this effect is random and has no set conditions, as such it cannot be anticipated and makes his boss fight all the more intimidating.
Staggering enemies 50 times earns the player the "Staggering" achievement/trophy.
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Stagger, also known as Knock Out in the Japanese version, appears in Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII in a modified form: the "Stagger Wave" is an electrical charge that appears with an enemy's HP gauge and as the player attacks, the wave fluctuates. When an enemy is attacked with something it is vulnerable against, the wave fluctuates more, and as the player attacks the enemy with its weakness, the Stagger Wave will grow and the enemy will eventually be staggered.
The Stagger Wave appears in three colors: It is initially blue, will turn yellow when the enemy is moderately staggered, and turns red when the enemy is close to being staggered.
The most effective Staggering Abilities are second tier spells (Fira, Blizzara, etc.), because they have the best "balance" between casting speed and Stagger Power. first tier spells are faster, but also much weaker; third tier spells are stronger, but also much more ATB-expensive and slow. The strongest spells such as Flare, Chill, Surge, and Tornado are extremely ATB-expensive, and not strong enough to compensate for it.
Among the second tier spells, the best ones are Fira, Thundara, and Aerora. Blizzara is the worst of them since it travels too slowly across the battlefield. Fira is fast, Thundara is instant, and Aerora has middle-speed but it compensates for this by hitting targets multiple times.
Stagger functions differently comparing it to its Final Fantasy XIII and Final Fantasy XIII-2 counterparts: whereas in the earlier installments the player was to raise chain gauge to to the stagger point and enemy would become vulnerable to damage and action interruption for a set amount of time, in Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII the player can stack stagger effects as each enemy can have more than one stagger condition, and player can apply indispensable status ailments on an enemy.
Following stagger effects can be applied on the enemy:
- Unprotected – Lowers the target's physical resistance.
- Unshelled – Lowers the target's magic resistance.
- Parched – Lowers the target's resistance to fire damage.
- Exposed – Lowers the target's resistance to ice damage.
- Conductive – Lowers the target's resistance to lightning damage.
- Brittle – Lowers the target's resistance to wind damage.
- Broken – Makes the target easier to stagger.
- Infected – Makes the target more vulnerable to status ailments.
- Hindered – Slows the target's movement.
- Confused – Makes the target unable to distinguish friend from foe.
- Cursed – Makes the target more likely to recoil and have attack interrupted.
- Dazed – Makes the target unable to take action and more vulnerable to damage.
- Pained – Makes the target unable to use physical attacks.
- Foggy – Makes the target unable to use magic attacks.