Entites and ElementalsEdit
These things are levels 45 and 25 respectively. Run away if you are at a lower level. He that fights and runs away, may turn and fight another day; but he that is in battle slain, will never rise to fight again. So you're not being cowardly, you're being strategically wise since you know they'll get what's coming to them in due time...
Elementals are the weaker of these enemies, and use mostly Level 2 spells of their element. They can also cast Sleep and counter Magic attacks with Silence. Entites upgrade to Level 3 spells, Sleepga, and Silencega, but use these at the same time. Entites can also use Fear to reduces a target's MP, similar to the Rasp spell.
Some Entites attack differently. The Gnoma Entite, for instance, uses Firaga, Blizzaga, and Thundaga since there's no Quake spell in this game. The Leamonde Entite uses Darkra in addition to Darkga and Level 3 spells for most other elements, and the Diakon Entite uses Level 3 spells for most elements until it's low on HP, and then it will start casting Holy. Both these species use Fearga instead of Fear, which affects the entire party.
Don't be afraid to use them, especially against bosses or hard enemies, against the latter the concurrences can be especially useful if they attack in packs. If you switch out one character each time you do a quickening chain, you can get 4 long (over 10 hit) chains which is enough to kill a lot of bosses.
If you kill the boss, you won't need MP to cure yourself now will you? Just remember to be careful, against the harder bosses, unleashing a quickening chain even a little bit too early may doom you to an early grave. Against the very late game bosses it is many times better to use magick and summons, as they don't consume all of your MP.
Monster chaining is the quickest way to get loads of loot (and gil) for those Monographs early in the game, although it requires a lot of patience. When you kill the same type of monster multiple times, you create a chain. After a certain number of kills, the chain levels up, indicated by a change of icon with the drop and an increase in the quality and/or quantity of the loot.
Sometimes picking up the drops will confer a beneficial status or heal your characters. The chain can go up to 999, although you can only hold 99 of any Loot. Chains are broken when you kill a different type of monster, you enter a town/village, or you touch a save crystal.
Don't spread your attacks over 2 or 3 enemies, have all your characters attack one in order to kill it quickly. For that purpose equip the gambit of: Attack: Party Leader's Target on all characters as their highest attack gambit.
Just because you have 7 gambit slots doesn't mean you have to use them, it is better to keep it simple but effective, and just have curative and basic attack gambits than over-complicate it and waste precious MP
Always prioritize healing over killing as you don't want to have to raise your characters repeatedly while the enemy is at near full health. Though if the enemies are a few levels lower than you, you might put the HP <50% Gambit before attack, and HP <80% after attack, this way you are safe in battle, but you don't waste time curing unnecessarily during battle.
Never think that your Gambit setup is perfect or foolproof, so don't hesitate to interrupt a Gambit, if you see the need for it, e.g. if you have a revive gambit set above an attack gambit, only one character left alive and you're fighting a strong enemy with 27 HP left, it is better to interrupt the revive-gambit and attack and kill it, rather than spend time reviving a fallen character and having it kill you while casting.
While gambits are meant to be used so that any character can control themselves, you should try to make them reliant upon each other. Having one character responsible for just healing rather than attacking may result in more damage, since the other characters can focus on attacking. Try experimenting with different combinations of gambits to see what results in the best damage output.
Vary Your CommandsEdit
To many people only have two or three different things, maybe attack, heal, and esuna, per character. Try to vary what they do. For instance, having one person steal from any foe with 100% HP may result in a lot of gained gil from steals, and once that enemy is damaged, they'll attack like normal. Sometimes setting a gambit to buff a character who is weak in one area might be a good idea as well. Varying your results from your gambits is key to maximizing gil intake as well as survival.
Don't waste your moneyEdit
Money is rarer than in other FFs so don't buy a new weapon or piece of armor if it doesn't give a large increase in stats. On the other hand, don't just save it for nothing, those licenses need to be used, after all.
Don't spend your LP just because you have them, that's a surefire way of not being able to equip that brand new axe that gives an extra +6 attack, only splash out on things you want/need, and remember, it is always best to have some LP left in case you need them in boss fights.
This is particularly useful in fights against difficult opponents, where you may need a last second augment added to help you out of a squeeze. But if in need, just remember, no matter how weak a monster is compared to you, it always gives at least 1 LP (2 if you equip the Golden Amulet), so if you're in a jam, just go back to Rabanastre and start killing.
Steal, Steal, StealEdit
Against most of the enemies, stealing is basically doubling your Loot. You may also get hard-to-find Loot or early access to equipment by stealing. The Thief's Cuff is a great accessory as it improves your chances and gives you a chance to get all the possible steals.
Get the Monographs ASAPEdit
Yes, they're expensive. Yes, you'll get tired of picking up Pebbles. But in the long run they will make your life easier. The monographs are essential for increasing your money. While they cost over 100,000 gil altogether, they make up for it tenfold with the increased value in drops you will get on your travels.
Don't Get DizzyEdit
Don't be afraid to run around in circles when you find a suitable area to build up your MP, when you get a lot of MP it is time consuming, but if you can't get to a save crystal then it is better than wasting ethers. The same goes for your other party members. If you see them running low on MP in the middle of a fight, and you don't want them to stop attacking in order to Charge, then make them the party leader and run around to gain MP.
Don't forget to do those marks, they might be a bit tricky, but you get free items and money after defeating them. So accept those hunts whenever you see them. Remember, you don't have to hunt immediately after accepting, so you can have several accepted hunts pending. The marks won't appear until after you accepted the hunt, so don't worry about killing them beforehand. Another good tip would be that marks do not level up according to your level, so fight them when you're considerably strong, unless you'd like a challenge.
After you defeat a boss or hunt, go back to Rabanastre and get the free goodies that Montblanc gives you. You may even rank up and unlock better stuff at the Clan shop. If nothing else he'll give you some money to buy that shield that you've been eying...
Listen to the hintsEdit
When you touch a save crystal and it tells you that you may not be able to leave the area easily, listen to it and save on a different file (if possible), you don't want to be stuck in an area where you can't kill the enemies without dying a few times first.
When you're running low on MP, especially late in the game, you can decide to use a very handy arcane magic called Syphon. Espers have natural stocks of MP that they don't use up, so even summoning Belias in an empty area to syphon MP off of him is a good idea. All espers can be syphoned for more than it took to summon them, which can be a lifesaver; especially when summoning those all-consuming rank 3 ones.
Another trick with syphoning is using it on your teammates. When one of your teammates is low on MP, and the other two still have a lot of it, then syphon from one of them. Sometimes it will miss, but if you succeed, you can syphon enough MP to fill one quickening charge. Works on situations where you have a teammate with a heal gambit and you don't want to use many ethers.
The Nihopalaoa is a very odd item, but one that can be very useful in boss fights. Once you obtain the necessary clan rank by killing marks and obtaining clan points, you can buy it for 30000 gil in the clan shop. It has the ability to reverse the effects of items, i.e. potions hurt and phoenix downs kill. The good part of this is that you can use it on enemies.
Certain enemies you can use the phoenix down trick on to fell in seconds, but for bosses, just use a remedy. Since a remedy normally cures almost all status effects, using one with the nihopalaoa equipped is a status bomb, sending the boss or mark reeling with every single status effect that it's not immune against instantly, allowing you to go in for a much easier fight.
Take Care When Selling LootEdit
When you get low on funds and want to sell off some Loot, remember that whenever an item is made available in the Bazaar, all loot which makes up that item is reset back to zero, regardless of how many has been sold. For instance, the Ivory Pole and Cloud Staff both require 6x Demon Feather.
If you find yourself with 9 Demon Feathers and sell all of them, should one of these items be made, the count for Feathers will reset, meaning that to get the other item you will need to collect another 6. But by waiting to collect all the loot required for both items and then selling them, you can unlock both items at the same time. This works for any Bazaar items that share the same type of loot, but not necessarily the same quantity.
Sometimes, even though there isn't a class system in Final Fantasy XII, it is still best to assign a "Job" to each of your characters. If you decide you want one of your characters to be a strong damage-dealer, then give them augments, gambits, and equipment that supports that. If you decide you want someone to be thief-like, then thief's cuffs, swiftness gambits, or possibly a cat-ear hood may be in order.
While this may seem restrictive, it helps due to the fact that your characters will be much more efficient in the role of your choice than they would otherwise be. Also, you can make additional challenges by "creating" unique jobs like Grenadier (only use hand-bombs), Chemist (equip measures, heal with items), or Necromancer (only use arcane magic).
Don't be afraid to try the active battle mode. With the right gambits set up, you'll be knocking down foes faster you can take notice of them. It also keeps you from second guessing and giving redundant commands. However, for extremely difficult enemies like Zodiark, you might have to switch back to Wait just to stay one step ahead of instant death.
The game is hard when having low levels, so those who wants to be at reasonable levels at the beginning should first level up Vaan using the Dustia method, and when arriving at Old Archades be sure to buy 3 (no point in having 6 as the back-up team members won't gain any experience) Embroidered Tippets (along with having all characters with "Accessories 14" license bought) and equip them on characters to boost speed of leveling.