FF XII Chaining Guide Table of Contents I. About me, contact info. II. About this guide. III. What is Chaining? IV. How does Chaining work? V. Does Chaining do anything special for me? VI. What special effects do the chain levels have? VII. What do i need to chain? VIII. How can I tell what Chain level I'm on? IX. Chaining and Loot. X. Chaining and Gear drops. XI. Chaining and XP. XII. Chaining and stealing. XIII. Reverse Chain Effect. XIV. Good Chaining locations. XV. Bad Chaining Locations. XVI. MoBs it's pointless to chain. XVII. Unconfirmed Rumors. XVIII. Total Load Of Crap - confirmed to be false. XIX. Exploitation of Reverse Chain and theft. XX. Legal mumbo jumbo. XVIII. Credit. I. About me, contact info My name is Zarius, and this is, yes, my first guide ever. I wrote on this topic due to the startling lack of existence, even years after the game was released. All of the foot work pertaining to actually chaining, how it works, and the like, is entirely my baseline. I may make updates and/or alterations to the data based on what others tell me, and I will give credit to the *first* person that tells me. If I don't credit you, it's because someone else told me first. If I don't credit anyone, it's because, by some random miracle, I found the data first. Chances are I won't find it, though I certainly WILL test it. If I find it to be bunk, I'll put the info under the Total Load of Crap section. If I am unable to confirm or deny your info, it will go under the Unconfirmed Rumors. And yes, if I get enough people stating that it is accurate, I will make the appropriate modifications based on community confirmation. Do not, I repeat, DO NOT simply email me to tell me that I'm wrong about something. Tell me what the correct info is, and I will test it and/or update my guide. If you just email me to whine, I will put you under my Flamers, Idiots, and Jerks section (not in as of the first draft, but will be added later if needed). You can contact me at Dragonorb13@gmail.com. Put something in the subject line about my guide, whether it's questions, comments, updates, or grammatical corrections (yes, I will fix grammatical errors) II. About this guide This FAQ's sole, pure, and only purpose is to explain kill Chains, what they do, and how they affect various things, and why you would bother with them. This IS an FAQ, meaning that I am going to answer F.requently A.sked Q.uestions, even if most of them are questions that I have asked and am answering. I am NOT making a full walk through, I am NOT making an FAQ on auto leveling, I am NOT making a guide on Marks, though I will reference them later, I am NOT making a guide on anything else. JUST chains. If you have an issue with this, go to someone else's guide for your info. Berserker and Split Infinity both excellent walk throughs that i have referenced on several occasions on my many play throughs. For everything else I've ever wanted to know about, there's already a guide. This one is for Chains. III. What is Chaining? Chaining is the act of killing large numbers of monsters falling into the same Classification in the Bestiary. Yes, the in game Bestiary is the one I am referring to, and is the best and most readily accessible tool for determining if an enemy will break your chain or not. Examples: Wolves and Hyenas fall under the Wolf classification, thus chains will continue. Steelings and Skeletons do not fall under the same classification, thus chains will break. IV. How does Chaining work. As you kill more and more enemies of the same Classification, you will note an increase in Chain Level. There is no set number where the chains will level up, but there is a way to make a rough estimate as to when. There are a number of factors in this. Enemy level vs. Party's average level. If you massively out match your enemy (such as farming Wolves after reaching Phon Coast), your chain will take forever to build levels up. If your enemy massively out matches you (going straight into the northern Westersands at the start of the game. Yes, you can do it. You just can't go through the Westersands Gate in town) you will get your levels much faster... provided that you survive the encounter. Commonality of enemy. If your enemy breeds like rabits, such as wolves, chaining them will be convenient, but will take much longer to build than a chain of rarer enemies, such as Entites. Yes, you can chain Entites and elementals. It's just much harder than chaining other mobs. RLF. Sometimes, you just get the Devil's own luck, and you'll get a full level wolf chain in 40. This is shown in the Random Luck Factor. Sometimes, you just get hit in the head with a brick, and your chain of Entites goes on for 80 kills before you even get your first level. This is shown in the Random Luck Factor. Yes, this is a real pain in the rear. Nothing I can do about it. So that you don't get concerned that there is no way at all to tell when you'll go up, I'll give you a couple small tips. -When you get your first chain level, if it's under 20, double it... that's ABOUT how much it will take to get to the next chain level and the one after. This is never 100% accurate, but it will give you an idea. -When you get your first chain level, if it's over 15 leave it be. that's ABOUT how much it will take to get to the next chain level and the one after. This is never 100% accurate. -Yes, there is overlap there. Yes, the over lap is important. If you get your first Chain level up at 16 kills, you could get your next one at 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 48, 49, 50... you could get your last chain level up at 48, 49, 50, 51, 80, 81, 82, 83, 84... ect. You could get your first chain level up at 16, your second one at 46, and your third one at 51. I have seen this. So, no, it's not set, but it WILL give you a rough time frame. - You will never go over 100 kills in a Chain before you get the last Chain level up. If this is inaccurate, send me a picture (Yes, I am good with computers, and various programs. Yes, I will be able to tell if you photo shopped it.) of the screen with your Chain level, and the Level up marker. That is about the only way I will believe it. I've done way too many chains on way too many enemies to believe it with out good proof. Things that will break your chains: -Killing an enemy with a different classification than your chain. -Entering a "safe zone". No, this does NOT mean a zone with a save crystal, this means any town, outpost, village, city, or the like. Many of them do have save crystals, but the two are unrelated. No, this does not mean any zone with a Merchant, though if you see more than one merchant, it probably is a safe zone. More specifically, a Safe Zone is any map area that only shows Vahn as your team, no matter how you have it set up. -Healing at save crystal. No, walking THROUGH the zone with a save crystal will not reset your chain, just talking to it (healing or saving). This is proven by farming the Panthers in the jungle near Osmone Plains. you farm then, go THROUGH the crystal zone to the entrance of the one past it, then come back and kill more. You don't heal, you keep your chain. You heal, it's gone. -Poaching. What's that you say, poaching doesn't give you XP or LP? Such a shame, since the only point behind Chaining is loot, which Poach DOES give you. Things that won't break your chain, though they seem like they should. -Stone. Gives you XP and LP, so it seems at first glance that it should take out your chain. Wrong. Stone gives you XP and LP, yes, but not loot, and your chains ONLY cares about whether or not your attack rolls on the loot table. V. Does Chaining do anything special for me? Yes! Yes, it does little padawan, indeed it does! What it does is, as you chain more and more enemies together, your Chain level will increase. First, and most important effect, is that you will notice a rise in loot drops, both in the frequency of drops and in the amount of loot in a drop. Why kill four wolves at base line when a Loot level 4 drop might drop the same 4 Wolf Pelts? (Actually, the low level wolves don't drop multiple pelts, but the Hyenas do. This was just an example) Also, as you get larger chains, you might notice that your health and mana are being restored faster than normal. This is the case. A high chain level will cause small heals, small mana restores, and even short term Protection and Shell effects. Before you bother asking, no. No, you can not use this as a battle tactic to aid you in finishing off a boss faster/easier. There are only one or two instances where this would even be remotely possible, and you'd spend more time and energy killing the adds than would have been spent just killing the boss out right. Good thought though, cookie for the idea. What, you ask, does this have to do with anything? Well, remember those lovely Forgotten Grimiores in the Bazaar Goods? They are a lot easier to get with out crippling yourself when you know how you farm loot the faster way. I said faster, not fast. There is no fast way to farm anything in any FF game that I've ever played. No, the tricks for leveling your self 40 levels over night do NOT count as "fast farming". That 1) is cheap, 2) takes all night, even if you ARE a sleep and 3) risks burning out your console. VI. What special effects do the chain levels have? First and foremost, you will notice a progressive increase in loot drop frequency. Second, you might, depending on the enemy you've killed, notice an increase in the amount of loot the enemy drops. -Level 1: This bag looks like a burlap bag a burglar (bank robber, in some modern movies) might throw over his shoulder filled with his ill-gotten spoils. This bag is tied off with a ribbon of red material. Red, just for reference, in the age in which most Final Fantasy games are set, was a color of royalty signifying wealth. Such as the wealth, nominal as it may be, contained in these bags. Loot drops are normal, and have no extra effects what so ever. -Level 2: This bag is not really a bag, it's a coin. A bluish-blackish coin (looks like really badly tarnished silver, in my opinion) with an image similar to the level 1 bag embossed on it. The coin also has a whitish-blue aura around it. Loot will be increased a bit, and you will get rare (approximately 10% of the time) a small health or mana restoration of about 5% of your total health or mana to the party leader. Not a lot, but this is a convenience to you, as it will allow you to continue killing with out using as much mana. -Level 3: This bag is, again, a coin and not a bag. It looks identical to the coins dropped at loot level 2, except that the blue areas are now gold instead, and the aura is greenish-white instead of the original blue. You'll notice even higher loot frequency, and even start seeing that you're getting more than one item per drop, depending on your enemies. Again, about 10% of the time, you will get a health or mana restore, but this time the whole party benifits. About 5% of each active party member's health or mana will be restored. Still not a lot, but hey... saves even more mana. Given the levels I'm usually at when I start farming a particular MoB, it's usually enough that I don't have to heal often, and even when I do, my mana goes right back to full fairly quickly. Great incase you run across a Rare Spawn while chaining (yes, if I haven't killed it yet, I've been known to break my chain for a Rare spawn. More than one reason, explanations later on). -Level 4: This 'bag' is actually a huge, golden coin with a full, life-sized image of the L1 bag, in exact detail save color which, again, is gold with sunburstesque lines coming off the bag. The coin also has a huge, golden aura around it. Loot levels will be impressive compared to level one, again having the fairly regular loot item giving more than one copy of an item. Also, you will notice an increased rate of party heals, almost ensuring that you don't need to bother with a healing spell. You will also notice a new effect. You will get a rare (10% of the time, roughly) either a Protection spell effect or a Shell spell effect. You won't get both in the same loot coin, but you'll get them so often that you'll probably have both going most of the time anyways. VII. What do I need to Chain? Not a lot. You just need at least one party member, a mob that you can kill in large quantities with out dying (that IS the important part, by the way, no point in trying to chain something that will just eat you), and a bit of spare time. Really, that's it. Good weapons, spells, armor, and skills are all superfluous. Just enemies you can kill and time. VIII. How can I tell what Chain level i'm on? This is probably the easiest thing in the whole game to figure out, as far as chaining goes. There are two ways to tell what Chain level you are on. The fastest way is to kill something in your chain and see what color the text is. If the text is a dark, foresty green, you're still on Chain level 1. If your text is a sky-blue, baby-blue color, you're on Chain level 2. If your text is a sort of orangish-gold, you're at Chain level 3. Red is for stop, and if you see red text, you're on the last one, Chain level 4. IX. Chaining and Loot. First off, let's explain what I mean when I say "Loot". I mean any item that goes into the Loot section of your inventory. I do not mean armor, weapons, ammo, accessories or Items (potions, motes, ect). Second, a little more about loot in general. There is one very important thing you need to know about loot in general, and that is that getting a particular loot item does not automatically exclude other loot items. Wolves, for example, will frequently drop both Wolf Pelts and Fire Stones, and will occasionally drop Wolf Pelts, Fire Stones, AND Potions. Skull Defenders will very rarely drop Bone Fragment, Dark Stone, AND Iron Helm. Each item a MoB drops is rolled for entirely independently of the others. Period, no exceptions. Third, let's chat about Grimmiores. They cost a small fortune, and early in the game are neigh impossible to get with out breaking your bank or spending three days farming. But they have two important effects on loot. Effect one is that they ADD an extra item to the drop list. For the Forgotten Grimmiores, it's a pebble from weak mobs. The sell for 2 gil a pop, and 198 gil for a whole stack. The pebble drops do NOT affect the other drops at all. Effect two is that all loot (yes, loot, not items or gear, just loot) drops are increased a little, and this increase takes effect prior to any chain level upgrades. Math: Total drop rate = (base drop rate + grimmiore change + Accessory change) x Loot Level change. Fourth, let's go into a little more detail about how chain levels affect your loot drops. Just the loot, we went over the special effects earlier. -Chain level 1: Loot drops. That's really about all that can be said about Chain level 1. -Chain level 2: Loot drops are increased by aproximately 20% of their base. This also alters any item or grimmiore based changes to the base drop rate. -Chain level 3: Loot drops are increased by aproximately 35% of their base. This also alters any item or grimmiore based changes to the base drop rate. -Chain level 4: Loot drops are increased by aproximately 50% of their base. This also alters any item or grimmiore based changes to the base drop rate. Also, there are a select few enemies that ONLY drop their rares when you are at Chain level 4. -No, I am not 100% certain of these numbers, but I am confident in them as an estimate. Feel free to email me with your observations. These are just the approximate drop changes I've observed myself while farming. Yes, I did a lot of farming to make this guide. X. Chaining and Gear drops. When I say 'Gear' I'm referring to any item that is not a loot item. Potion, Iron helm, bangle, Onion Bolt. All are Gear for this purpose, because they do something in battle period. Gear drops are completely, totally unaffected by loot level. A Skull Defender will drop a helmet 3% of the time at Chain level 1, and 3% of the time at Chain Level 3. XI. Chaining and XP or LP. When I say XP and LP, I mean experience points and license points, obviously. These are completely, totally, and utterly unaffected by chain levels. If you try to tell me otherwise, I'll put you under the Total Load Of Crap section. The only thing that changes how much XP or LP certain enemies award is the Accessories that specifically say they do. XII. Chaining and Stealing. When I say 'Stealing' I am referring to both the Steal teck command that Vahn and Fran start with, as well as the Poach teck command. Stealing sort of is, and sort of is not affected by Chain level. What you get is NOT affected by chain levels. Stealing and Poaching are preset probabilities, and only affected by Thief's Cuffs. Chain level does, however, affect the chance that you will Steal and the chance that Poach will be successful. Neither is, in my experience, a guarantee, though a Chain level 4 does help drastically. XIII. Reverse Chain effect. -Credit goes to Doyle.- Most of you have probably not done enough chain-breaking on other enemies to notice this, but it is a real effect, and it does have a major role in how you can go about farming. Let's say you have that elemental finally on your screen, and you want that rare drop. Farm something else first, all the way up to gold coin drops. Why, you ask? Simple. The game has a small oddity in the loot mechanics. When you kill something outside of your chain, there is an effect called the Reverse Chain. It occurs when you break a Chain, causing the first monsters drop percentages to *reverse*... this means that, instead of a 20% drop chance for that Earth Stone, you now have an 80% drop chance. Instead of that 5% drop chance for that Sagittarius Gem, you now have a 5% chance that it WON'T drop. This only applies to the FIRST mob outside of the chain, but it'd a real phenomena. Also, this is the only time that I will ever say that this affects non-Loot times. This affects every single item the mob drops. Yes, that means it's likely you'll see everything that mob CAN drop on that one shot. XIV. Good Chaining locations This is just a FEW of the chaining locations I've found, and the suggested enemy or enemies to kill. Feel free to pass any more on to me, if you want to. Just put in the Area, section and enemy, and a little bit (a LITTLE BIT, I swear, if you send me a 3 page field report, I will be forced to edit. A lot.) as to why you feel the area is a good farm spot, and I'll be happy to post it, possibly with an opinion of my own on the matter. I will also, ofcourse, give you full credit and quote you as long as the email isn't too long. Estersand, Westersands, and Giza Plains. Wolves and Hyenas are so common here that you can easily, switching back and forth between them, farm up a large chain. The Wolves do not drop multiple Wolf Pelts, but the Hyenas do at higher chain levels. The wolves are just to get your chain started, since the Hyenas are a bit stronger. This sets you up for the healing drops. The Luhsu Mines. In the Shunia Twinspan section, about 40ish Skeletons will appear as you run around the bridge itself. Apparently, this was a mafia job, since they are all in the bridge iteslf. This is a great place to farm up those Bone Fragments, though they might be a hair over your level your first time here. Waiting until after you complete Wraithwall's Tomb is not a bad idea, or even before it while you still have Vassler. Fourth member never hurts, as long as you aren't trying to Poach anything. That fourth member seems to always screw up poaching, because they seem to have a gambit for Enemy Status: Critical Health > Attack. Wraithwall's Tomb. As you're going through the Tomb, you will find two locations that spawn alot of the same type of enemy. one spawns skeleton-style enemies, the other zombie-types. Both are great, both can be reset by stepping into the other then leaving again without killing anything. Just beware the statues, and you'll do just fine. XV. Bad Chaining locations. Most areas, the chains seem obviously good or obviously bad. There are, however, a couple that just aren't nearly as good as they appear at first glance. That is what I am going to delve into in this section. Again, these are just a couple I've found so feel free to send me more and I'll post them. If you have a good reason as to why one of the Good Chaining Locations is bad, I'd even post that. Mind you, it does need to be a good reason. Barheim Passage. Zombies, zombies everywhere, power at 40 and leave it there! Remember your first time playing this area? You were, like me, probably at like level 5 because everything before it was easy and you just sped through it. I remember thinking "Oh, come on! Is there no end to these bloody things?!" while I was in there, and then later, when I had learned a little about chains, thinking "Hey, I bet if I had been like level 7 or 8, that would have been a GREAT farming spot!" I mean, there's a vendor right there, it's not a safe zone so you don't loose your chain unless you heal/save at the crystal, and you can just go back in and kill just the zombies after you've purged everything else. Well, crap. I tested that theory. There might be a lot of Zombie spawn locations once the lights go out, but the spawns are not as infinite as they seem when you first played through. You were just inexperienced and there were, again, a lot of spawns. Can't you just reset the area and come back, you ask? Well, naturally you CAN, the only problem is that if you do that, you've now reset the mobs interspersed in them, making it too difficult to kill just zombies. Yensa Sandsea. Both of them. They have alot of those little Urutan-Yensa buggers, and they do drop real loot. You can easily chain them unto infinity if you want to. Thing is, though, that they ONLY drop Earth Stones, and Earth Magicite if you are at Chain level 4. So, in esscense, it's like waiving a lolly infront of a baby and taking it away... you get to imagine the loot, but you get squat in the end. XVI. MoBs it's pointless to chain. There are alot of reasons a MoB might be pointless to chain. They may not drop anything. They might drop crap. They might be have too many things interspersed, makign chaining totally useless. Humanoids. Any and all humaniods. Yes, you will occasionally see a hunter in the wilderness areas near towns. Thing is, Humanoids don't drop Loot. They drop Potions, High Potions, you can get gil off them, some even drop armor or weapons. But none drops Loot. For example, in Nalbina Prison, there are A LOT of gaurds you could easily chain. Thing is, they only drop potions and high potions. This is NOT useful, in that 1) neither is actually useful as loot and 2) neither is affected by Chain Level. Total waste of time. Zombies (only in Barheim Passage). Too many things get mixed in and you get your face beat in at this level by those mobs. You can, but it's slow and wasteful. Wait for the skeletons in Lhusu Mines. A little stronger, but way more plentiful and nothing mixed in. XVII. Unconfirmed Rumors. None yet. XVIII. Total Load Of Crap. None yet. XIX. Exploitation of Reverse Chain effect and Stealing. I've gone over two things in this FAQ. One you thought was done, one you probably thought was a little odd to even think of. But there is more on both. The Reverse Chain effect is important for farmers who happen to run across Rare monsters. It happens to all of us. We're just sitting there, slaughtering the Urutan-Yensa because they happen to be annoying little buggers, when suddenly, -BAM!-, there's a Pineapple in our face. Well, almost all the Rare monsters have a rare drop loot. This is great because you can walk up, beat the crap out of it until it goes -pwick- (squishing sound, by the way) and it drops the extra special rare item. As to the topic of Stealing. Do you remember when I said that your chances of Stealing were affected by chains, but not your loot table since you only Steal one item? Well, there's a small exploit to this as well. Your chances of stealing are boosted blanket-style. It doesn't matter what you're Stealing from, just that you're using the Steal command and you have a Chain. You can use it in conjunction with Thief's Cuffs to farm those rare items much faster. XX. Legal Mumbo Jumbo. The whole of this work was done by me, save for where credit is given to others. As this work is mine and mine alone, it has thusly been copy-righted by me. The only site that has permission to use this FAQ, currently, is GameFAQs.com. If you wish to use this FAQ, in part or in whole, for any purpose other than personal usage, email me and ask my permission. If you aren't a known piece of trash, I'll probably give it as long as you give me my due credit. If you see this FAQ on any major web site other than GameFAQs, or if you see what appears to be a section of my FAQ copied and pasted, but with no credit to me, please inform me. If you copy and sell my FAQ for profit with out my permission, be aware that I do expect 80% royalties on every sale. Thank you. -Zarius XXI. Credit. To those that have helped me with my FAQ, thank you. You know who you are already, but so that others know that I'm not a glory hog, here it is in black and white. Doyle. One of my class mates at school. He mentioned the Reverse Chain effect to me, asking if I'd ever heard of it. No, I hadn't. I went home, tested it and found it to be a measurable effect, and have included it. Thanks, Doyle!