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The world map (ワールドマップ, Wārudo Mappu?), also known as the overworld, plays a prominent role in many games of the Final Fantasy series. It is a smaller-scale representation that is used in the game to make travel less time-consuming and easier for the player. On it, the player can move about between various locations including towns, dungeons, and other areas, as well as fight monsters in random encounters. Later games in the main series, starting with Final Fantasy X, did away with an explorable world map and replaced it with groups of large, fully-scaled, interconnected areas, while some modern spin-offs, such as Final Fantasy Type-0, continue to use it.
The games offer various modes of transportation to the player. In most games, the player is initially forced to walk to each location, but other modes of transportation become available as the game progresses and the player is required to overcome geological obstacles. These modes include boats, airships, hovercraft, and chocobos.
The game's main theme, if not a variation of it, usually plays on the world map, with the exception being Final Fantasy VIII. Certain games in the series, especially Final Fantasy IV, have more than one overworld theme, because there is more than one overworld map.
Most of the world maps in the Final Fantasy series are made up of two dimensional square tiles, and since these tile maps wrap on both the X and Y axis, the spacial relationships between all the tiles could only be accurately represented in three dimensional geometry as a torus.
The world map is made up of three continents. The world's geography includes forests, mountains, deserts, and a volcano. The player can use a boat to travel by sea, a canoe to travel by river, and an airship to travel anywhere with a clearing available. Points of interest in this world are the Chaos Shrine, Cornelia, Cavern of Ice, Crescent Lake, Mount Gulg and the Citadel of Trials.
The Final Fantasy II world map is unique in the series in that it is connected all around the world as one giant land mass. Most of the map can be accessed from the start, but strong enemies usually appear if the player strays too far from the path they are meant to take. Many areas are also inaccessible, and the party will not be able to enter them from the world map until later in the story. Mysidia and the Cave of Mysidia can be theoretically accessed from the start, but in the case of the latter, most of the area is inaccessible due to a Doppelganger blocking the path.
The world map is accessible through the Ring key item, and by pressing + on the overworld in the NES version.
Final Fantasy III was the first game to have several maps. The party starts off on a floating continent, but later finds that the "continent" is but an island levitating above the face of a huge world. This surface world also goes through some changes. When first discovered, the world has been flooded as a result of the Water Crystal being taken over by Xande, leaving only a few patches of land accessible to the player. Later, the waters recede, revealing three large continents.
Final Fantasy IV has three world maps: the Overworld, the Underworld, and the Red Moon; however the Moon and Underworld are relatively small. The Overworld is the largest of the three and the place where the majority of the game takes place. It consists of oceans, mountains, plains, and forests and contains a number of towns, castles, and other accessible areas.
The Underworld is the second world map and is cave-like. Its terrain consists of lava and caves with a few towns and castles, as well as the ground entrance to the Tower of Babel. The Underworld is unique in that one cannot cross from one side of the map to another by continuously going in the same direction.
The Moon is the third and final world map made up of a few caves and the Crystal Palace. Its terrain is plain, consisting of caves and craters. It is the smallest of any world map.
While moving on the world map, if the player presses the very quickly, they can enter the menu while the character is mid-transition. If the player then uses a Tent, the game's collision detection is off by a tile by the time normal gameplay resumes. With this the player can trigger a bypass event glitch.
Final Fantasy V has three world maps: Bartz's World, Galuf's World, and both worlds combined, the Merged World. The game adds two additional theoretical world maps: the underwater map for Galuf's World used to sneak into the Barrier Tower, and the underwater map for the Merged World. The submarine opens many optional places to visit, such as the Sunken Tower.
Another quasi-world map appears when the player allows Cid and Mid to upgrade the airship using Adamantite. This gives the airship the opportunity to fly at higher altitudes, which allows the player to reach the Ronka Ruins. Once this area is completed, the player can no longer reach those high altitudes.
Final Fantasy VI has two world maps: The World of Balance and the World of Ruin. The game begins in the World of Balance, and after Kefka Palazzo changes the positions of the Warring Triad, the world changes to the World of Ruin. Traveling options include airship, ferries and chocobos, which can be rented from stables in towns and forests.
Final Fantasy VII has three world map modules, and was the first to be rendered in full 3D. They are also the first world maps with a controllable camera.
The primary world map is the overworld. Although the overworld map remains the same throughout the game, there are a few changes at different points in the story, including the appearance of Meteor in the sky, and geographical changes. Some are just aesthetic, such as the Temple of the Ancients and Mideel changing objects to reflect the changes in the field locations, while others change both aesthetics and functionality, including the addition of a crater in the Junon Area which renders Junon inaccessible by foot.
Most of the overworld is in daylight, but the area around Midgar and North Crater are always night, and the area around Cosmo Canyon is always dusk. The player can travel the map by buggy and Tiny Bronco before the summoning of the meteor, and by airship once the meteor has been summoned. Chocobos can be captured and used for transportation even across otherwise unreachable terrain.
The second world map is the Bottom of the Sea accessible with the Shinra Sub. Like underwater world maps of previous games, the player can freely enter and leave it by surfacing and submerging the submarine. Only an area at the center of the world map between the main three continents can be accessed, although there are numerous tunnels that travel underneath the continent. One leads to a location called ???, normally only accessible through certain breeds of Chocobo. The map display used is the same as the overworld map. There are no random encounters, but the player can face the Emerald Weapon in a fixed encounter here.
The third world map isn't technically a world map; however, it is a world map module within the game. In the Great Glacier is an area where the player is seen from a top-down view, and they can move the camera. While traversing this area, snowstorms occur, changing the camera angle. To navigate the area, the player can leave flags, so when the camera angle is changed, they can follow in the same direction. The player can exit into different areas by moving off the "edge" of the map, but there is still one area in the middle, a cave containing an All Materia. The world map connects the rest of the Great Glacier to the base of Gaea's Cliff. There are random encounters.
Final Fantasy VIII has a single world map, but with 32 locations to be explored. It was the first and only map to date to feature an optional 3D globe in place of the traditional minimap. While traveling on foot, the player can use the roads to avoid random encounters. Other ways to travel the map are by rental car, chocobo, train, Balamb Garden, or airship.
The area around Deling City is always night, and around Dollet, it is always dusk. During the Lunatic Pandora event, the area near and around Tears' Point is enveloped in an ominous red aura with the Lunatic Pandora itself seen hovering over the point. The artificial sea-haven for artisans, Fishermans Horizon, is located in the center of the map's main ocean, and a causeway rail bridge spanning either direction from the town connecting Galbadia to Esthar, bifurcates the body of water making early transportation with Balamb Garden difficult.
Final Fantasy IX has two world maps. At first, the party is granted a map of the known civilized world: the Mist Continent, listed in the game's inventory as the "Continental Map." After certain conditions are met, players receive an ancient map detailing all of Gaia, which is an expansion of the first map. The player can travel the map by chocobo, boat, or airship. Gaia comprises four major landmasses and their surrounding islands: the Mist Continent to the southeast, the Outer Continent to the northeast, the Lost Continent in the northwest, and the Forgotten Continent in the southwest.
An endless night shrouds the Dark City Treno, and rain falls upon the city of Burmecia, while the greatest landmass of the Forgotten Continent is forever locked in twilight (though the vast archipelago in its southern region remains sunny). The overall lucidity of the skies varies in the presence of Mist. Being a product of the Iifa Tree and its roots, this Mist only permeates the Mist Continent and around the tree itself on the secluded western half of the Outer Continent.
During the final events of Disc 4 many locales become inaccessible (likely because of disc capacity concerns); they are sealed off with the Iifa Tree's roots, and the world becomes enveloped in Mist. The world map is similar to the original Final Fantasy world map.
Chocobo footprints on the world map let the player summon Choco by the use of Gysahl Greens. Secret chocobo treasures can be found from bubbling areas on the sea, and cracks in the mountains. Small circular shadows denote the location of Chocobo's Air Garden, and using a Dead Pepper on a flying Choco in these locations allows the player access to the final Chocobo Hot and Cold location. Pressing button summons a moogle to save the game on the world map.
World maps may be accessed through the Region section of the main menu. There are three maps, each with its own purpose. The Middle Lands map displays areas participating in Conquest and the region that currently owns them, and also displays the current influence in the region and the player's current Conquest Points. It does not display regions in the Middle Lands of Vana'diel that are not participating in Conquest, such as Promyvion.
The Aradjiah map displays the areas of Besieged, and each of the various faction's current strength, the number of prisoners they have, and the number of Archaic Mirrors they possess. It also displays an adventurer's current Imperial Standing.
The Shadowreign era map displays the fronts of Campaign, as well as their current owners. It also displays the influence the current owning faction has in the region, as well as whether or not a battle is currently taking place. It also keeps track of an adventurer's Allied Notes.
The first chapter takes place in the same Ivalice as Final Fantasy XII. After the acquisition of the Galbana, the Purvama of Lemurés is accessible and plays host to the majority of the game's events. Later on, the party may freely travel between Lemurés, Ivalice, and the lofty Keep of Forgotten Time.
Unique among Final Fantasy installments, Revenant Wings allows the player to travel by airship very early in the game, and the world map itself requires little walking.
Ivalice differs from the world maps of previous games. It is made up of a series of locations represented by glowing dots on a 2D map, which the player can see at all times when not in battle. Ramza can move between these dots, and each space traversed takes up one day.
Blue dots signal a peaceful town or city, green dots signal an area where a random battle has a 50% chance of occurring, and red dots signal a location where a storyline mission will be forced upon moving onto the dot.
Final Fantasy Tactics Advance is also set in Ivalice, but its geography is different from that of Final Fantasy Tactics. The world map is again a 2D plane made up of a total of 24 location symbols rather than the worlds of other Final Fantasies. With a few exceptions, a new area can be placed in blank circles on the world map whenever Marche completes certain missions. Moving between spaces on the map, symbolic or blank, takes one day.
A 2D region of Ivalice called Jylland is used for Final Fantasy Tactics A2. This Ivalician area spans two continents; Loar in the west and Ordalia in the east. Airships are used to travel between these two continents, from Moorabella in the west to Fluorgis in the east. Jylland is comprised of five territories, in which there are many smaller territories and locations. Tactics A2 differs from Tactics Advance in that all locations are set, and traveling between locations does not necessarily take up one day.
The world is split into nine areas, each one containing dungeons or settlements. The dungeons and settlements are represented by little icons that represent the area. The Tipa Caravan moves across the map by selecting a location; along the way, random events can be witnessed on the path. To enter another area, the caravan must past through the Miasma Stream, which, depending upon the year in the game, can only be passed if the Crystal Chalice element matches the Miasma Stream's element for that year.
The map is made up of one area with towns and dungeons represented by small portraits on a 3D map. The entire map can be viewed freely, but new dungeons only appear as players progress.
The map is used to assign quests for the adventurers sent out by King Leo. None of the locations (besides Padarak) are seen, and they are only explored by the adventurers. As they explore and defeat the bosses in each dungeon new locations show up on the map.
Dungeons and towns are represented by icons, much like in the original Crystal Chronicles. When connecting with friends, other icons will appear, such as character polygons or new locations. Characters can freely move around on the map, much like in the old Final Fantasy games, except that there are no enemies nor monsters to fight against with.
The player can travel the world map on foot, by chocobo, or by airship. While there are monsters that roam about the map, there are also random encounters the player can get into. The enemies that are visible on the world map are tough optional enemies the party can take on as a challenge.
Towns on the map have the emblem of the peristylium that currently controls it above them. Only the towns that are under Dominion of Rubrum's control can be entered. The party can leave Akademeia to enter the world map. This is done during storyline missions, or during free time by expending six hours. Some areas on the world map are landlocked and can only be accessed via caves or the airship. The weather changes randomly on the world map.
The player controls Benjamin on the world map. At first, the map is nearly all hidden by clouds except for the Earth Region and the strongholds of the Vile Four situated in the other regions. By defeating the Vile Four in their respective dungeons, new regions will be revealed as the clouds disperse. When a crystal is freed, that region will be restored to normal.
The world is one huge continent, containing grasslands, a marsh, a coastal beach, a forest, three deserts, snowfields, a mountainous region, and two small islands.
Final Fantasy Legend II has thirteen worlds the player will explore during their journey, each different from one another. Each of them are separated from one another, but they are all connected to the Celestial World by the Pillar of Sky.
Final Fantasy Legend III has two types of world maps for the original world: the Overworld and the Seafloor. There are three different versions of the Overworld and Seafloor maps: the Past, Present, and Future version of the original world are all different from one another. There is also the Floatland map which is only accessible in the Future World. The last two maps are Pureland; the Overworld and the Underworld.
The player controls the lead character of their party on the map, although Brandt's icon is always displayed on the map view as an indicator of the player's location, regardless of whether Brandt is actually in the party or not. The map is 3D, but the player can't rotate the map like in most other games. Some locations on the world map can only be entered by transforming into an animal with the Transformation Staff.
Initially, the player has no map view while on the world map, but they are given the map of the world during the story. The map is not as detailed as in other Final Fantasy games, and is merely an artwork of the world and doesn't have the locations displayed on it, although it does show the player's current position.
The world map is displayed on the touch screen of the Nintendo 3DS, with yellow marks to indicate where to continue the main scenario and blue marks to indicate any available sub-scenarios. While on the world map, the player can save anywhere and access Grandship when it becomes available. Day and night change depending on the cue in the music, allowing access to certain events and enemies that are only present at nighttime. All locations on the world map, both towns and dungeons, require the button to let the player visit. Initially during the Intro chapter, the world map only shows the Caldis Region, but once Chapter 1 begins, it is expanded to show all of Luxendarc.
For the majority of the game, the world has been split into two halves, the worlds of World of Light and World of Darkness, meaning that the world map is also segmented. Early in Chapter 4 the world has become whole again and changes into the World of Dusk, and the map is given to the Warriors of Light and Darkness by Dr. Lugae. It contains every location ever visited by both parties, and extra locations that weren't. All of these locations are accessible by airship by the end of the game.
Unlike its predecessor, Dissidia 012 Final Fantasy has a 3D world map used for most of the story; however, the classic "Game Board" returns for dungeons. Certain actions earn the player Kupo Points (KP), which can be used at the Moogle Shops located around the world map. The player can form parties to travel the world map with. The map shown is similar to the original Final Fantasy world map, although in a post-apocalyptic atmosphere, with all cities in ruins.