Final Fantasy VIII

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About this mod

Changes the Guardian Force Abilities, Character Base Stats, and stat increases of Magic Junctions. Provides a much more balanced game, while offering increased customization.

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Final Fantasy 8 - Martial Law v1.1
  This is NOT a difficulty mod.

  This is a rebalance mod that primarily changes the Guardian Force Abilities, Character Stat growth, and stat bonuses
for Magic Junctions.
The purpose of this mod is to make GFs and characters more unique, and to reduce the role that
magic junctioning plays in trivializing any challenge.

  This mod falls very short of a full gameplay overhaul. I did not edit any enemies or refining recipes at all. That doesn't
mean I might not in the future. But for now, I am convinced that other mod creators will eventually do a much better
job in much less time. This mod was mainly meant as a proof of concept, and I hope that my ideas influence the design
of future mods.

  This mod was originally designed as a companion piece to my main mod: Succession, which is a total dialogue overhaul
for the entire game. You can find that mod here, or at the Qhimm Forums.

  In the meantime, I present to you Martial Law!

  This mod has recently been updated to v1.1, and includes a redesign of the junction bonuses for all magic. For more information,
refer to section 3 - Magic Junctions.



1 - Guardian Forces
2 - Shield Guardian Forces
3 - Refining and other Abilities
4 - Characters
5 - Magic Junctions
- Acknowledgements
7 - A Personal Note to the GF Critics  

List of Changes:

1 - Guardian Forces -
  GFs in FF8 are the most unique mechanic in the game, and the changes here offer the greatest improvement in the
mod by far.

  Each Guardian force now has a core stat that governs the nature of their abilities. This was already the case to a certain
extent in the vanilla game, but I have made it far more systematic and comprehensive. Each GF now comes with the
junction for their core stat already learned by default. There are 16 total GF's, and there are 8 core stats in the game.
This allows for each stat to have 2 corresponding GFs.

  Many GFs have very few other base stat junctions besides their primary core stat. The exceptions to this are Quetzecoalt,
Shiva, and Ifrit, which all have the ability to learn HP, Vit, and Spr junctions. They do not, however, ever obtain the junctions
for the core stats of the other two initial GFs.

  My goal was to make Speed, Magic, and Strength the defining stat junctions, and their presence or absence will determine
how that character functions in battle.

GF:                    Primary Stat     Secondary Stat
Quetzecoatl:      Speed
Shiva:                 Magic
Ifrit:                    Strength
Siren:       (S)      Vitality              Magic       (locked until Lvl 18)
Brothers: (S)      Health               Strength  (locked until Lvl 18)
Diablos:   (S)      Evade                Speed       (locked until Lvl 18)
Carbuncle:         Spirit                 Speed      
Leviathan:          Health              Strength
Pandemona:      Luck                  Magic
Cerberus:           Vitality              Speed
Alexander:         Spirit                 Magic
Tonberry: (S)     Luck                  Strength
Bahamut:           Strength
Doomtrain:        Speed
Eden:                  Magic
Cactuar:             Evade

  The reason why I have divided the GFs into groups of three is because you will usually have three characters in your
party, and I tried to organize the ability distribution with that in mind. They are in the approximate order of how they
are introduced in the game, and therefore how you will add them to your characters.

  This mod heavily favors splitting up the first three GFs, like the vanilla game, but tries to increase the ability to customize
your loadout with each subsequent GF. The second set of GFs grants another set of speed, magic, and strength junctions.
The next set of three does as well, meaning that the earliest time you will have access to one of each for three characters
is after acquiring Pandemona. By the time you get Alexander and Tonberry, you will have 4 options for each of the
primary stats.

  I also paired the Speed Junctions with the Status Junctions, which helps to increase the value and versatility of speed-based
characters, and makes it less likely to accidently set up a character that doubles up on these junctions.

  I recognize that this does tend to funnel the player into creating a default loadout for your junctions, and then simply
switching these loadouts from one character to another. I see this as a good thing and as a bad. On one hand, it lessens the
individuality of the characters. But on the other hand, it highlights the strengths of the given game mechanics, and reduces
the amount of tedium in the menu screen, constantly changing your junctions.

2 - Shield Guardian Forces -
  The other feature I added is a concept I call the Shield GF. This is perhaps the most unique feature of the mod, as well as the
one with the most potential change to overall gameplay experience.

  Siren, Brothers, Diablos, and Tonberry fall into this category.

  The Shield GF is an attempt to use of the GFHP mechanic in the opposite way of the other GFs. Shield GFs have a ton of HP,
more than double that of a normal GF. But their charge time is slow, and they don't attack for high damage (except for Diablos,
who remains the same). Their purpose is instead to offer protection for a character if they are about to die, and give them a
chance to be healed. To make use of this strategy, a Shield GF's compatibility with a character GOES DOWN, not up, each time
it is cast. This is both a blessing, and a curse. It provides you with protection for a progressively longer period of time, but also
ties up your character's turns, and allows the enemy more turns to KO the GF.

3 - Magic Junctions -

  For junction bonuses given by magic, I generally cut the total bonus to every stat by about half. This may sound extreme, but
the vanilla game was quite easy, and once again, the increase in character stats help mitigate the loss.

  One of the few statbonuses I raised was the bonuses to Speed stat. Most early game spells now give a greater bonus to Speed.
This is in order to provide greater benefit to a character with a Speed-J, but no Strength-J or Magic-J. I also slightly lowered the
default speed stat of each character to compensate for this bonus.

  For HP bonuses, I reduced the bonus even more than half. The only time throughout the game where this appears to be a
problem is with Omega Weapon. He has several fixed damage attacks, and I was unable to beat him until I gained enough levels
to max out the HP of at least one character (Zell) to 9999. More play testing may be required...

  Beyond that, almost every stat bonus was altered either up or down. The main variation I made was to status and elemental
bonuses. Now a lot more support magic will offer a variety of defenses, allowing for more options than simply an all or nothing
junction with specific status and elemental magic.

  I also lowered the draw resistance of every spell. This will save some time, and prevent you from only being able to successfully
draw with the character with the highest magic stat.


!!!! New as of 1.1 update !!!!

  As of the latest update, I have rebalanced the stat bonuses gained from junctioning magic. In order to provide some much needed
structure to the overall quality of junctioned spells, each spell is now arranged into a tiered system.

  There are 6 tiers total, and the magic is roughly arranged according to how early you gain access to it, with 1 being the earliest,
such as fire and cure, and 6 being the latest, flare and full-life. Generally speaking, a spell of one tier will always be inferior to a spell
of a tier above it. While there is a small amount of overlap, every tier 4 spell will almost invariably provide a much better bonus to
every stat than a tier 2 spell.

  Within each tier, magic has been further arranged into 2 categories, attack and defense magic, usually with three spells for each
category. Attack spells provide a greater bonus to Strength, Magic, and Speed. Defense spells provide a greater bonus to Vitality,
Spirit, and Evade.
  As an example, in tier 3, the attack spells are Fira, Blizzara, and Thundara. Thundara is the best spell in tier 3 to equip to the three
attack stats, followed by Blizzara then Fira. This structure harmonizes with the GFs, who are already divided by these same stats, in
order to offer strategy to how you set up your team. Instead of finding the most optimal spell for each stat, you must choose which
stat you want to favor most, and which one you favor least. This is also true for the defense magic.

  My goal with this design is to help foster a strategic approach to junctioning, as well as minimize the game-altering junction bonuses
from early game spells (such as protect and shell). Also, each spell still maintains a degree of variety and individuality that shouldn't
eliminate the sense of satisfaction when acquiring a new spell. 

4 - Refining and other Abilities -
  I did not make any changes to the refining process. Making any changes to that system is probably the most challenging task of
any FF8 mod. What I have done is alter how soon you are able to unlock them. This does not keep you from exploiting the system,
but it does keep you from making use of it before you even leave the Garden.

  Most of the abilities are still with their initial GFs. But the level requirements have been raised to anywhere from 8-20, depending
on the ability.

  Card Mod has been moved to Siren, and she doesn't unlock it until level 20. The Card command is unlocked after learning Card
Mod, preventing you from using it to farm AP without gaining levels. (At least, not right away.)

  I recognize that this is a disincentive to play cards right away. I guess I think that may be the point...I don't know...
  The AP cost for many abilities have been tweaked. The only major difference, however, is the cost of base stat junctions. All of
these have been reduced to either 30AP, or 40AP. This will allow you to make use of them within a reasonable amount of time.

  Also, regarding Encounter abilities, Diablos has Enc-Half, and Cerberus has Enc-None. This means that you won't be able to learn
Enc-None until the opening of Disc 3.

5 - Characters -
  I gave each character one core stat at which they surpass any other character. For their other stats, I made them either more or
less well rounded based on their perceived 'class'. I also gave a modest boost to higher level stat gains, to compensate for lowering
bonuses from junctions.

Squall:     Vitality
Quistis:   Speed
Zell:         Health
Selphie:   Spirit
Rinoa:     Magic
Irvine:     Attack
  It is obviously more in-depth than this, but this gives you a general idea of how the character will play. 

 6 - Acknowledgements

  This mod would not have been possible without the work of the community of modders on the Qhimm Forums, at
The amount and quality of resources (as well as other mods) available there is truly staggering, and I recommend it for anyone interested
in modding Final Fantasy games.

  I used three different programs in making this mod, and I would like to highlight their creators for the quality job they did.

Doomtrain - by alexfith
Quetzacolt - by alexfilth
Deling - by myst6re

7 - A Personal Note to the GF Critics -
  I'm sorry I didn't listen to your warnings. You all said that long term exposer to GFs could be harmful, and that I was playing with a
power I did not fully understand. And now, after working on this mod for countless hours, I have found that I often forget things.
Important things like: what day it is, my given name, and that it is probably time to go back to work already...

  I now realize my error, and from here on, I will no longer argue against the danger of GFs.