Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age

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About this mod

A difficulty mod that changes several core mechanics, including new License Boards specifically designed for each character (with original jobs also as an option), rebalanced weapons, tougher enemies, and a tougher Trial Mode. Also features revamped Espers, abilities, and more.

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What does this mod change? Here's a quick rundown!

Struggle for Freedom (SFF) aims to overall be a more challenging/balanced version of FFXII while still being fair and adding quality of life features. SFF doesn't aim to be cruelly difficult.

SFF is balanced around Normal Mode and isn't intended for use with New Game- or New Game+, although there's nothing stopping you from playing with those modes.

There are four versions of the mod included:

1) The Struggle/Freedom Jobs, which feature unique jobs for each character based on their canon roles, each with two set Espers and Zodiark being a Wild Card that can be assigned to anyone. Struggle jobs are linear with little room to diverge from the set License path, whereas Freedom jobs are more open, similar to FFXII's original boards.
  • Vaan (Sky Pirate) is a Thief/Ninja, focusing on swift attacks with Daggers and Ninja Blades as well as Stealing and evading attacks.
  • Penelo (Dancer) is a White Mage/Dancer, focusing on healing and buffing while striking enemies with Rods and Poles.
  • Balthier (Leading Man) is a Machinist/Chemist, focusing on Guns, Spears and Measures and boosting the effects of items.
  • Fran (Wood Warden) is a Black Mage/Archer, focusing on elemental attacks, both magickal and physical to snipe enemy weaknesses.
  • Basch (Paladin) is a Knight/Paladin, focusing on defending allies while doling out powerful physical attacks with Swords, Knightswords, Axes, and Hammers.
  • Ashe (Princess) is an all-rounder, being a combination of a Time Mage/Red Mage/Samurai, focusing on combos with Katana, Maces, Knuckles augmented by Time Magick and Arcane Magick.

2) The PS2 Board, which features the original PS2 board, albeit with TZA's new Licenses added.

3) Rebalanced 12 Jobs, which feature altered versions of the 12 jobs introduced in TZA.

4) Unchanged 12 Jobs, which feature unaltered versions of the 12 jobs introduced in TZA.

Characters have had their stats changed around to better fit their canon appearances:
  • Vaan has the highest Speed of the party and decent HP, but has low Magick and MP. Vaan comes with the Foe: HP = 100% Gambit upon reaching the Gambit tutorial, allowing for easier theft.
  • Penelo has the highest Magick of the party and decent MP, but has low Strength and Vitality. Penelo also now comes with the Cure spell innately as well as the Ally: HP < 30% : Cure Gambit.
  • Balthier has the highest Vitality of the party and decent HP, but has low MP and Speed.
  • Fran has the highest MP of the party and decent Magick, but has low Strength and Vitality.
  • Basch has the highest Strength and HP of the party and decent Vitality, but has the lowest Magick and MP.
  • Ashe falls right in the middle of the group, having an average stat spread among everyone in the party.

Each character has Brawler as an innate License, allowing True Unarmed to be a more viable gameplay type without needing to buy the License or use the Amber Armlet.

Espers have many, many more skills at their disposal and have custom Gambits set up to take advantage of their new skillsets. As such, Espers are far more powerful now. Each Esper also has new passive abilities to further augment their power. Most Espers have a theme to give them each a unique use. For example, Cuchulainn has the ability to corrupt and invert items that he uses, similar to the Nihopalaoa.

Guests can no longer set off traps.

Many enemies have had their stats augmented. As a general rule, most enemies have 2x HP and 1.3x stats, with certain exceptions to the rule.

Certain Steals and Drops have been changed to better fit the balance of the game.

Trial Mode enemies have had their stats severely increased, and no longer give LP.

Certain "broken" enemies such as Dustia and Negalmuur have been severely nerfed.

Many enemies have different pieces of equipment now, such as the Urutan Yensa, who can now Poison the party with their Bamboo Arrows.

Some enemies are now differently sized, making them stand out more.

The Treasure system has been completely changed. Many chests that were not 100% spawn are now 100% spawn, meaning there's less of an RNG element to finding treasure, particularly late-game. For example, the Cleanse chest in Cerobi is now a 100% spawning chest.

Diamond Armlet mechanics have also been changed- now, wearing the Diamond Armlet doubles the ceiling of potential Gil that can be obtained from a chest. Also, the Rare item found without the DA becomes the Common item found with the DA. Knots of Rust and the Meteorite items are now the Rare DA item.

FFXII PS2 players can rest easy- the Demonsbane is now once again in the post-Demon Wall chest.

The Invisible Equipment (Gendarme, Seitengrat, etc.) can now be obtained via the Bazaar and treasure chests. Seitengrat has been moved to a new location.

Certain Bazaar recipes have been changed for balance purposes.

Consumable item Bazaar recipes can now be repeated infinitely, allowing a capable hunter to farm the materials they need to get consumables for cheap.

Many shops have new items, with items like Serums and Teleport Stones being more readily available.

The Hunt Club sidequest has been made to be more interesting.

Each Trophy Rare Game now has a 100% drop of a rare or useful item.

Each of the prizes you can buy from the Hunter's Club salesman is streamlined, so you no longer have to worry about who you give what trophy to.

By getting all 30 Trophies, you are rewarded with the Wyrmhero Blade. The Hunt Club is now the only way to acquire the Wyrmhero Blade.

Many weapons have been completely changed, with weapon types having niches now, making each weapon type more viable and interesting and allowing for more interesting job combos.

  • Swords are simple weapons, with many of them having an elemental affinity with which to strike down the foe. Their elemental affinity allows them to be easily boosted by element augmenting equipment.
  • Daggers are quick weapons, focusing on quickly debilitating the target with debuffs.
  • Axes no longer deal random damage, instead focusing on damage with a higher combo rate compared to comparable weapons.
  • Hammers no longer deal random damage, instead focusing on raw damage and debuffs that impair the foe's ability to move and act.
  • Maces are versatile weapons, focusing on debuffs and element augmenting with the boon of being able to be used alongside a Shield.
  • Measures have been completely rehauled, with each Measure no longer inflicting damage and instead bestowing the target with two buffs 100% of the time.
  • Greatswords can no longer Combo and are instead considered to be defensive weapons, with many Greatswords bestowing an Auto: Buff such as Protect and Haste on the user.
  • Katana focus on dealing high amounts of damage with long combos. Masamune is now 1H, allowing it to be used with the Genji Shield.
  • Ninja Blades are now 1H, allowing them to be used in conjunction with Shields and focus on combos, with Iga/Koga being a devastating combo that takes advantage of Oil and Fire.
  • Spears are powerful weapons capable of hitting Flying units, with many late-game Spears having new elemental affinities to strike down targets more quickly, and many can also inflict debuffs.
  • Poles can no longer hit Flying units, but are otherwise well-balanced between offense and defense, being able to allow the user to easily evade attacks while being able to string together long combos of attacks.
  • Rods are now 1H, allowing them to be used in conjunction with Shields. Many Rods focus on either augmenting the user's magickal abilities or protecting their frail mage users from harm.
  • Staves are now 1H, allowing them to be used in conjunction with Shields. Staves focusing on augmenting elemental damage- particularly those of spells- to devastate the enemy.
  • Bows are now slightly faster, with many late-game Bows able to augment elemental damage, particularly those of their Arrows, with many Arrows having new elements, such as the Bamboo Arrows being Water Elemental, and the Parallel Arrows becoming the Silver Arrows, which are Holy Elemental.
  • Crossbows are now able to Combo and ignore the weather, making them more accurate and ultimately able to inflict more damage.
  • Guns are mostly the same, still capable of ignoring stats to deal decent damage regardless of level. Two Guns are now Gunblades, which can Combo and deal damage based on STR, but can swap out ammo to change the sword's element.
  • Hand-Bombs are now Knuckles, weapons that deal damage based on Strength and Speed. Knuckles focus on raw damage and combos together to deal heavy damage. Knuckles use Claws as ammo, and Claws can be switched out to change their element and status effects. Certain Claws also have special effects, such as dealing damage based on Magick instead of Strength.

The FINAL FANTASY weapons (Vrscika, Mina, etc.) now have new weapon models. The Invisible Weapons also have proper models now.

Guest weapons such as Larsa's Joyeuse can now be obtained and used by the party by stealing from certain bosses.

The previously unused Hero's Blade is now Ashe's starting weapon.

Armor is mostly the same, with many differences being found with Shields and certain pieces of armor bestowing elemental augmentation.
Shields- in addition to focusing on evasion- now also focus on reducing elemental damage, with there being a Shield to guard against each of the 8 elements. Zodiac Escutcheon is now the best overall shield, Gendarme is now the most elementally resistant shield, and Ensanguined Shield bestows Auto: Decoy onto the user.

Many previously uninteresting pieces of armor such as Pirate's Hat and Bone Helm now offer new effects.

Accessories have been retouched, with many no longer having random elemental affinity.

  • Thief's Cuffs have been fully removed and replaced with Giant's Gloves, which grant +HP and +Vitality. A new License, Master Thief, allows a character to permanently have boosted Steal rates.
  • Firefly no longer cuts EXP gains to 0, rather, it grants immunity to Instant Death, Syphon, and Fractional Damage.
  • Steel Poleyns no longer grant immunity to traps, instead it boosts damage dealt by the Attack command by 20%.
  • Quasimodo Boots now reduce all damage taken by 30%.
  • Winged Boots now grant Swiftness 2 (50 LP version) to a character if they don't have it already in addition to Auto: Float.

Many, many abilities have been altered in some form or fashion. This ranges from MP Cost changes, to element changes, etc.

  • Black Magick is largely the same, focusing on elemental damage with some big changes. Aqua is now Water and comes with an upgraded form- Waterga- finally accessible to the player for use. Each elemental spell family has its own niche use. Fire spells can inflict Oil for increased damage, Blizzard spells are AoE, Thunder spells have reduced casting time, Water spells are MP efficient, and Aero spells can inflict Immobilize to pin down foes. Scourge now can inflict many debilitating statuses at once, and Toxify is able to inflict both Disease and Sap at once- making it the first time a player has access to a Disease spell. Flare is instant-cast to make up for its long animation, Poison is AoE, and Bio can inflict both Poison and Sap.
  • White Magick still focuses on healing and buffing with some major changes. Protect and Shell last longer and Regen is AoE and lasts longer, making those buffs more viable early-game. The status clearing spells such as Poisona are now AoE, making them more useful compared to items. Esuna now clears statuses that those status cleansing spells don't, such as Stop, Slow, and more. Renew is worth the high MP cost now by virtue of it becoming instant-cast, and Holy is AoE now with a shorter animation, and has a small chance of Stopping foes.
  • Time Magick remains a good blend of buffs and debuffs, but with some big changes. Gravity and Graviga have been replaced with Quake and Quakega, spells that deal Earth Elemental damage in an AoE, giving Time Magick users a reliable method of dealing damage with an element that wasn't seen often in Vanilla FFXII. Vanish is now AoE, with Vanishga being replaced with Gravity, which reduces HP by 50% in an AoE.
  • Green Magick has seen some drastic changes. Reverse was very broken in Vanilla and has been replaced with Drainga- a spell that drains HP from multiple foes in an AoE, effectively fully restoring the user's HP while dealing that damage. Decoy is now considered a buff, has had its duration increased, and has perfect accuracy, while Oil is more accurate. Oil will now wear off over time.
  • Arcane Magick has remained mostly unchanged from Vanilla, albeit with some minor MP and Power changes.
  • Technicks have received the largest overhaul of all skill types in the game. First Aid now restores a flat 15% of the target's HP, making it useful for conserving MP between fights. Wither and Addle have been replaced with Blitz and Erase- the former dealing weapon damage in an AoE and the latter removing all statuses from a target. 1000 Needles is now instant-cast, making it great for finishing off bosses with damage resistance. Traveler now bestows Haste/Vanish/Float on the user, while Numerology reduces the HP of enemies in an AoE by 25%, while Horology removes Time Magick-based effects such as Slow and Stop from the party.
  • Esper abilities and Finishers have been buffed, making them far more devastating than they were previously, with the exception of Zeromus' abilities, which were nerfed slightly for balance. Many Esper abilities now inflict debuffs as well.

Many consumables have been changed, although for the most part they have effects similar to how they were in Vanilla.
  • The Fang items no longer deal percentile damage, instead dealing elemental damage similar to -ra level spells.
  • Baltoro's Seed now bestows defensive buffs on an ally, whereas Domaine Calvados bestows offensive buffs on an ally.
  • The Meteorite items have been renamed for clarity upon getting them from chests, and they have a variety of new effects, primarily focusing on dealing heavy damage to enemies.
  • Black Orbs now act as normal drops from enemies in the Penumbra in addition to their "Press X to Collect" versions. This means you can get Black Orbs without needing to mash X to collect them if you don't want to.
The "Foe: Vulnerable to X" Gambits have been renamed for clarity to "Foe: Not-Immune to X".

Thank you for playing! Please send any feedback, bug reports, or even just general comments on whatever thread or board you found this mod on. I'll do my best to keep an eye on everything and reply to feedback as it comes back!