Paradigm Guide by wrp103
Final Fantasy XIII on SuperCheats.com

  Final Fantasy XIII Paradigm System [beg]

Version 1.6 <#version>,  2010 by Bill Pringle, all rights reserved.

The purpose of this FAQ is similar to my FF XII Gambit Systems Guide: it
explains the battle system and gives some tips on how to adapt the
system to your particular flavor of fighting. I have also included
sections on some other aspects of the game, such as power-up locations
and instructions on upgrading items. You can find my other FAQs,
including a FFXIII Upgrading Guide and an Upgrading Calculator tool on
GameFaqs
<http://www.gamefaqs.com/features/recognition/60591.html?type=1> or on
my web site at http://billpringle.com/games/


    Table of Contents [toc]

    * Introduction <#intro>
    * Overview <#over>
          o Overview of the Battle System <#over-battle>
          o Overview of the Role System <#over-role>
          o Overview of the Paradigm System <#over-paradigm>
          o Overview of the Crystarium <#over-stack>
          o Overview of Characters <#over-chars>
          o Character Abilities by Role <#over-ab>
    * Details of the Paradigm System <#para>
          o Creating Paradigms <#para-create>
          o Creating a Paradigm Deck <#para-deck>
          o Switching Between Paradigms <#para-switch>
          o Auto-Battle vs Manual Commands <#para-auto>
    * Examples <#ex>
          o Example Parties <#ex-party>
          o Example Scenarios <#ex-scen>
          o Example Paradigms <#ex-para>
          o Fighting in Unison <#ex-all>
          o Getting Five Stars <#ex-stars>
          o Example Enemy Fight Paradigms <#ex-enemy>
                + Post-Game Fights <#ex-enemy-gen>
                + Attacus, the Soulless <#ex-enemy-attacus>
                + Adamantortoise <#ex-enemy-turtle>
                + Long Gui <#ex-enemy-gui>
                + Mission 41 - Three Tonberries <#misc-enemy-tonberry>
                + Mission 64 - Vercingetorix <#misc-enemy-miss64>
                + Orphan Second Form - 5 Stars <#misc-enemy-orphan>
    * Catch-all <#misc>
          o Tips <#misc-tips>
          o Words of Wisdom <#misc-words>
          o Power-Up Opportunities <#misc-power>
          o Upgrading <#misc-up>
          o Rants <#misc-rants>
    * Thanks and Credits <#tnx>
    * Version History <#version>


    Introduction [intro]

The Paradigm System for Final Fantasy XIII allows a player to configure
their characters to behave in one of a variety of roles. Behavior can be
customized to match a player's personal style (mostly fighting, mostly
magic, aggressive, conservative, etc.) When configured properly, the
player controls the actions of the lead character, while at the same
time assigns the remaining party members what roles they should assume.
As characters understand the nature of an enemy, they will probably do
pretty much the same thing as when the player is controlling that
character. You can change the role setting during fights, if necessary,
but only to one of the paradigms you defined before the fight.

This document describes the Paradigm System for Final Fantasy XIII. In
addition to how it works, some tips and suggestions are given to help
the reader configure the AI of their parties to match the player's
fighting style.

This page can be found in two forms: an HTML (web) page at
http://BillPringle.com/games/ffxiii_paradigms.html, and as a text file
on GameFAQS. The HTML page will probably be updated more often, and tend
to be the latest version. The HTML web page will include hyperlinks, so
you can click on a link to find the appropriate section. The text file
was created by the FireFox browser, which inserts hyper-links inside
angle brackets (<#like-this>). To find that location with a text editor,
use the search feature to find the target name in square brackets
([like-this]). The link inside angle brackets will usually start with a
pound sign (#), indicating that the target is on the current page. The
square brackets won't have that pound sign. For example, to find the
target of link <#intro>, search for [intro].

This guide was written using the X-Box 360 version of the game, so if I
mention specific buttons, you should translate to the appropriate PS3
buttons.

If you find any mistakes and/or have any questions, you can e-mail me at
wrp103@gmail.com
<mailto:wrp103@gmail.com?Subject=Final_Fantasy_XIII_Paradigms>. Make
sure you have something like "Final Fantasy Paradigms" in the subject. I
get a lot of spam, and will delete things without looking at them if I
don't recognize the sender and the subject line doesn't stand out as
legit (for example, a message with a subject of "a question" will
probably get deleted without me looking at it.)

Top <#top>


    Overview [over]

    * Overview of the Battle System <#over-battle>
    * Overview of the Role System <#over-role>
    * Overview of the Paradigm System <#over-paradigm>
    * Overview of the Crystarium <#over-stack>
    * Overview of Characters <#over-chars>
    * Character Abilities by Role <#over-ab>

Top <#top>


      Overview of the Battle System [over-battle]

You can have up to three characters in your party. You control the lead
character directly, and by selecting a paradigm you assign roles to the
other party members. Each character has an ATB bar with from 2 to 6
slots. At the start of each battle, the ATB bar begins to fill. As the
bar passes each slot, the slot is filled (e.g., if there are 4 slots, at
1/4 full, the first slot is highlighted, at 1/2 the second slot, etc.)
While the bar is filling, you can select what commands you wish to
perform during this turn for the lead character, and the target for this
turn. Basic commands take one ATB slot; more advanced commands may take
more slots. When the bar is completely full, the commands are performed.
If you haven't finished entering the commands and target, the game will
wait for you to finish before starting.

During the early part of the game, you will have a predefined party that
you cannot change; later in the game you will be able to form a party
with whatever characters you want. Also in the early part of the game,
each character can only assume up to three roles. Between this and the
fact that the parties are predefined, you are pretty much limited to
what you can do at this point. Even so, you can still configure the
paradigm system to match your playing style.

You can configure up to six paradigms for each party, and you can change
that configuration before each battle. That means that during a battle,
you can choose up to six different ways to fight. During the battle, you
can switch to any other paradigm at any time, but the ATB bar is reset,
so you probably want to wait until the current turn is completed for the
lead character.

In addition to an enemy HP gauge, there is a chain gauge. Attacking the
enemy drives up the chain gauge, while between attacks the gauge falls.
Different types of attacks affect how fast the gauge rises or falls. If
you fill up the gauge to a certain threashold, the enemy becomes
staggered, which impedes their ability to attack. Being able to stagger
an enemy can make the difference between winning and losing certain
battles.

If you can sneak up on an enemy, you can get a pre-emptive attack. When
this happens, the lead character gets a free attack on each enemy,
placing them close to stagger condition. You should be able to stagger
at least one of the enemies when this happens. This is the only way you
can defeat certain enemies when you first encounter them.

You can gain Crystarium (aka Crystogen or Crystal) Points (CP) by
defeating enemies. You can also gain "loot" (similar to FF XII) which
can either be used for enhancing weapons or accessories, or sold to gain
Gil. You don't win Gil directly from defeating an enemy.

You never really get an "End Game" because you always have the option to
"Retry". If you select Retry, you even have the option to walk away from
the fight. If you realize there is no way you can win a fight, you can
hit Start / Back to quit (retry) the fight. This is helpful if you need
a pre-emptive attack to win. If you don't get it, do a retry and keep
that up until you can surprise the enemy.

Top <#top>


      Overview of the Role System [over-role]

Final Fantasy XIII defines a set of character roles that define the
basic behavior of a character while in that role. This is not unlike
many of the other Final Fantasy games. The difference, however, is that
their physical characteristics (HP, Strength, Magic, etc.) are basically
the same when they switch roles; what changes is what abilities they
have while in those roles. In former games, switching from a white mage
to a monk would significantly change the stats of a player; that doesn't
happen in FF XIII.

During the early part of the game, a character is limited to three
pre-defined roles. Later in the game, they can assume any role, although
some characters are better at a specific role than others. In fact, you
can have two characters in the same role, but with different
capabilities. This is because of the structure of their Crystarium
entries, which is explained later <#over-stack>. When you also consider
that you can define only six paradigms at a time, you probably want to
favor a fixed number of roles for any one character. The available roles
are:

Commando
    This person performs physical attacks. They might also be able to
    assign an element (fire, wind, etc.) to their weapon, so that their
    physical attacks also have an elemental property. 
    An AI Commando picks their own target and other fighters tend to
    follow them. If you have only one Commando, and have them as the
    lead character, then the rest of the party will attack whatever
    target you select. This tends to have the entire party attack a
    single enemy, defeat them and move on to the next. If you have more
    than one Commando, or your lead character is not a Commando, then
    the fighting could be divided among the enemies. 
    If you have an AI Commando, they can start to attack an enemy while
    you are selecting your next target. If you accept whatever target
    the AI selects, then your party will tend to always be fighting the
    same enemies. If you select a different enemy, the other characters
    will finish their current attack before following you. This implies
    that you usually don't want more than one Commando if you have a
    large number of enemies (unless they are very weak). 
    A Commando doesn't increase the chain gauge much, but their attacks
    will decrease the rate at which the gauge drops. For this reason, I
    often start out with an attack including a Commando and two
    Ravagers, so that the gauge quickly increases but slowly decreases. 
Ravager
    This person performs magic attacks. They can cast any combination of
    magic attacks up to the number of ATB slots they have. 
    The Ravager quickly drives up the chain gauge, as well as increases
    the chain bonus (which increases the effect of an attack). However,
    the gauge drops just as quickly if only Ravagers have been attacking. 
Medic
    This is the magic healer. They cast curative spells, including
    esuna, which only removes the most recent status ailment. That means
    if a character has more than one thing wrong with them, you have to
    cast esuna for each ailment to clear their status. 
Synergist
    This person buffs your party. They can cast things like haste,
    protect, faith, bravery, etc. 
Saboteur
    This character debuffs your enemies. They can cast things like slow,
    poison, deprotect, etc. In addition to status ailments, many of
    these attacks cause damage as well as lower resistance that will
    cause regular attacks to produce more damage. 
    The Saboteur slows the rate that the chain gauge drops, similar to a
    Commando. 
Sentinel
    This person acts like a lightning rod, taking beatings for the team.
    They cast things like provoke or challenge, and then various guard
    commands. This is very helpful if you have a lot of enemies that are
    overwhelming your party. If you are using a sentinel, you still
    probably want to also have a medic available to heal the sentinel. 
    A Sentinel can slow the rate at which the chain gauge drops, but you
    can't depend on it. If the Sentinel counters when attacked, it will
    slow the drop rate. 
    There are some that claim you need to use a Sentinel towards the end
    of the game. Personally, I haven't used Sentinel all that much. I
    think that once you have your party maxed out, you can rely on your
    Medic to keep your party healthy, although there might be times when
    you want more than one Medic. A lot depends on how you like to fight. 

Top <#top>


      Overview of the Paradigm System [over-paradigm]

A paradigm assigns a role to each of your party members. You can have up
to six paradigms defined at any time. During a battle, you can switch to
any of your predefined paradigms. You can change those paradigms between
battles.

When you pick the roles for your characters, the name of the paradigm
will be displayed. These names are based on the combination (not
permutation) of roles, so it is possible to have two different
permutations with the same name. For example, if you pick
"Commando/Medic/Ravager" you will get "Diversity". If you then pick
"Ravager/Medic/Commando" you will also get "Diversity". If you really
want to do that, take time to remember which paradigm is which.

It is important to realize that the role system in FF XIII is not like
the role systems in past games. In former games, a level 1 white mage
could perform a set number of spells, and when they got to level 2, they
could perform some other spells. That isn't the way that FF XIII works.
What capabilities they have depend on their Crystarium entries
(explained below) <#over-stack> and which optional capabilities you
decided to acquire for that character.

Top <#top>


      Overview of the Crystarium [over-stack]

As mentioned before, the role alone doesn't define what capabilities a
character can have. In fact, the role and level won't do that as well.
It is possible for some characters to get a capability when at level 1
of a role, while other characters may not get that capability until
level 2 or 3 (or perhaps never.) For this reason, certain characters are
better suited to certain roles than others. For example, Fang and Snow
are good sentinels, but using Hope or Vanille as a sentinel would be silly.

The Crystarium entries differ for each character, role, and level. You
have a series of nodes arranged in circles with possible branches. A
node can represent a stat change (HP + 10, Magic + 2, etc.) or an
ability (Cure, Fire, Slow, etc.). A character can only use a given
ability when they are functioning in that role, but the stat increases
apply regardless of their role. Each node is assigned a number of
points. To activate the node, you must have enough points. If you don't,
you can create a path partway to the node and finish it later, or you
might decide to work towards a different node. You can only activate a
node that is adjacent to an already active node. This is similar to the
growth systems for FF X and FF XII.

These circles of nodes are stacked vertically, with a connection going
from the center of the lower circle to the edge of the higher circle. To
get from the edge of a circle to the middle, you must activate a series
of nodes going around the circle. Once you complete the circuit, there
is a connection to the node in the center, which may or may not connect
to an upper level at this point. (This might sound complicated, but if
you look at the Crystarium entries for a couple characters, then it
should all make sense.)

While traversing the circle, you may encounter branches out from the
circle with additional nodes. These are optional nodes that you can
decide to get now or press on to the center. If you bypass a node, you
can go back at any time to enable the node, provided of course, you have
enough points.

Periodically the center node will be increase the role level of the
character. These nodes look very different, so it will be obvious when
you enconter them. If you are low on points, you might want to focus on
getting to the center, since an increase in role level can include some
buffs for that character that are present when they are in that role.

The Crystarium expands at a fixed rate. At the beginning of the game,
only so many levels of the Crystarium are available. At a certain point
in the game, the next few levels are available. This means that you
can't buff up faster than the game wants, although you can bank points
for when the next levels become available. This is usually not a great
idea, since the number of points you gain tends to increase as the game
progresses, as does the number of points you need to activate nodes.
Rather than spending a lot of time gaining small numbers of points, wait
until the Crystarium expands and then start farming CP until you have
activated all the available nodes.

Top <#top>


      Overview of Characters [over-chars]

At the beginning of the game, you will meet a collection of characters
that will come and go. The story will switch betweeen certain groups of
characters. During those times, you are forced to play with the
characters that have been defined, and the team leader is selected for
you. About half way through the game (when you switch to disc 3), they
will all be together and you can select the team and team leaders as you
see fit.

While you will eventually be able to have any character assume any role,
some characters are better suited for certain roles. While you can put
them into a different role, they won't be as good as another character
who is better suited. Having said this, since you can only have three
characters at a time on your team, you might want to put a character
into a role (e.g., Medic) where they aren't as suited as another
character because you need them to perform some other roles during the
battle.

A good example is Lightning. She doesn't excel in any role, but she does
reasonably well in several. Depending on your fighting style, you might
want a character that can assume a wide variety of roles, even if they
aren't the best in certain roles. How well a character is suited for a
role is due to a combination of their HP, strength, magic, and
capabilities available in that role. In general, the three roles they
can assume during the first part of the game are the ones that they are
best suited for. Here are the characters you can select for your team:

Lightning
    She is the lead character during much of the opening part of the
    game. She is the most versatile character in the game. She is pretty
    good as a Commando and a Ravager, but mediocre as a Medic (Cura is
    her best cure spell), followed by Synergist, Saboteur and Sentinel. 
    I tended to have Lightning in the party most of the time. The only
    time she was swapped out was for special fights and/or bosses. 
Sazh
    Sazh is a good Synergist, a decent Ravager, an okay Sentinel or
    Saboteur, a not so good Commando, and a poor Medic. 
    The big advantage of having Sazh in your party is that he keeps his
    distance from the enemies. This is great for mostly stationary
    enemies with very strong hits, since he doesn't tend to get the full
    brunt of attacks. 
Snow
    Snow is by far the best Sentinel, a good Commando, and a decent
    Ravager. He is less suited for Synergist and Saboteur, and very poor
    as a Medic, although he is better than Fang and Lightning. 
    Snow has high HP and high defence, so he can take strong hits and
    survive, even if he is not functioning as a Sentinel. 
Hope
    Hope is the best Medic, and an equally good Ravager and Synergist,
    followed closely by Saboteur. He is poorly suited for a Commando or
    a Sentinel. 
    The bigest disadvantage of Hope is that he has low HP. Although he
    is considered a better Medic, I found that Vanille tended to keep
    the party in better health. 
Vanille
    Vanille is almost as good a Medic as Hope, and probably the best
    Saboteur. She is decent as a Ravager, and less suited (although not
    too bad) as a Synergist, and pretty poor as a Commando or a Sentinel. 
    If you are using her as a Medic, equip the Healing Staff on her for
    extra healing bonus. If you are using her to debuff or to cast
    Death, then use her Belladonna / Malboro Wand. 
Fang
    Fang is the best Commando, the second best Sentinel, and an equally
    good Ravager and Saboteur. She is a decent Synergist but a poor
    Medic. She is the second most flexible character in the game. 
    I tended to have Fang as the party leader most of the time, since I
    tended to use her as a Commando most of the times. 

Top <#top>


      Character Abilities by Role [over-ab]

The nodes in the Crystarium include ability nodes, which will give the
character that ability when in that role. Some abilities are found in
the outer branches of the circle, which means you can decide whether to
get that ability for the character or not. Other abilities are found
along the circumfrence. These are required if you want to continue along
the path. In addition to actual abilities, there are nodes for ATB Level
and Accessory, which are included in the list. There are also a few
techniques included. The difference between a technique and an ability
is that an ability is only available when the character is in that role,
while techniques are available at any time.

The list below contains the abilities each character can achieve for
each role. They are listed in the order that they can be obtained. You
will notice many differences between what abilities are available, which
is part of what makes a given character good or poor in that role.

Even though two characters might get the same ability, how long it takes
to get there can vary. For example, even though Hope is considered a
better Medic, Vanille gets better cure spells earlier in the game than
he does. You should also check for where a character gets their ATB
Level and Accessory slots, and make sure you build them up enough to get
those at least.

Lightning

    Commando
        Attack, Blitz, Ruin, Lifesiphon, Powerchain, Faultsiphon,
        Launch, Ravage, Smite, Quake, Blindside, Scourge, Jeopardize,
        Dispelga, Ruinga, ATB Level, Accessory 
    Ravager
        Libra, Thunder Water, Sparkstrike, Aquastrike, Fire, Overwhelm,
        Thundera, Blizzard, Aero, Watera, Fearsiphon, Firea, Blizarra,
        Vigor, Aerora, Flamestrike, Frostrike, Accessory, Thunderga,
        Army of One 
    Medic
        Cure, Accessory, Esuna, Raise, Renew, Cura, Stopga 
    Synergist
        Bravery, Faith, Enthunder, Enfire, Enwater, Enfrost, Protect,
        Shell, Boon, Vigilance, Haste 
    Saboteur
        Deprotect, Deshell, Imperil, Poison, Deprotega, Jinx, Deshellga,
        Imperilga, Poisonga 
    Sentinel
        Provoke, Evade, Elude, Counter, Deathward, Fringeward, Reprieve 

    Top <#top>

Sazh

    Commando
        Attack, Ruin, Blitz, Quake, Powerchain, Scourge, Jeopardize,
        Lifesiphon, Adrenaline, Accessory, Ruinga 
    Ravager
        Libra, Fire, Flamestrike, Aero, Overwhelm, Thunder, Aerora,
        Firea, Sparkstrike, Renew, Thundera, Dispelga, Fearsiphon,
        Firaga, Thunderga, Aeroga, Coldblood, Accessory 
    Medic
        Cure, Esuna, Cura, Curasa 
    Synergist
        Faith, Bravery, Vigilance, Enthunder, Enwater, Accessory,
        Enfrost, Haste, Boon, Enfire, Barfire, Barfrost, Barthunder,
        Barwater, ATB Level, Protect, Shell, Stopga 
    Saboteur
        Deprotect, Deshell, Imperil, Poison, Jinx, Dispel, Curse, Pain,
        Fog, Daze, Slow 
    Sentinel
        Provoke, Steelguard, Vendetta, Challenge, Fringeward, Deathward 

    Top <#top>

Snow

    Commando
        Attack, Ruin, Deathblow, Launch, Adrenaline, Scourge, Smite,
        Blitz, Blindside, Powerchain, Ravage, Jeopardize, Ruinga,
        Sovereign Fist, Accessory 
    Ravager
        Blizzard, Frostbite, Water, AquaStrike, Aero, Overwhelm,
        Blizzara, Watera, Vigor, Aerora, Fearsiphon, Accessory,
        Blizzaga, Waterga, Stopga 
    Medic
        Cure, Cura, Esuna, Curasa 
    Synergist
        Protect, Vigilance, Shell, Bravery, Faith, Boon, Haste 
    Saboteur
        Curse, Pain, Fog, Jinkx, Daze, Slow, Cursega, Dazega, Slowga,
        Fogga, Painga 
    Sentinel
        Libra, Provoke, Steelguard, Fringeward, Evade, Vendetta, Quake,
        Accessory, Deathward, Challenge, Mediguard, Renew, Entrench,
        Dispelga, Counter, Reprieve, ATB Level 

    Top <#top>

Hope

    Commando
        Attack, Ruin, Faultsiphon, Blitz, Lifesiphon, Ravage, Scourge,
        Jeopardize, Ruinga 
    Ravager
        Fire, Blizzard, Aero, Thunder, Firea, Water, Fearsiphon, Quake,
        Thundera, Watera, Blizzara, Overwhelm, Aerora, Dispelga,
        Thunderga, Waterga, Vigor, Firaga, Blizzaga, Aeroga, Last
        Resort, Accessory 
    Medic
        Cure, Cura, Esuna, Renew, Accessory, Raise, Curasa, Curaja 
    Synergist
        Libra, Protect, Shell, Barfrost, Barfire, Accessory, Barwater,
        Barthunder, Veil, Boon, Enwater, Enthunder, Enfrost, Enfire,
        Bravery, Faith, ATB Level, Haste, Stopga 
    Saboteur
        Deprotega, Deshellga, Dispel, Cursega, Jinx, Poisonga, Slowga,
        Painga, Fogga, Dazega, Imperga 
    Sentinel
        Provoke, Evade, Entrench, Elude, Counter, Vendatta, Reprieve,
        Deathward 

    Top <#top>

Vanille

    Commando
        Attack, Ruin, Jeopardize, Faultsiphon, Blindside, Scourge,
        Adrenaline, Deathblow, Ruinga 
    Ravager
        Aero, Water, Fire, Aerora, Thunder, Overwhelm, Firea, Blizzard,
        Watera, Blizzara, Thundera, Dispelga, Fireaga, Fearsiphon,
        Blizzaga, Accessory 
    Medic
        Libra, Cure, Esuna, Cura, Renew, Raise, ATB Level, Curasa,
        Accessory, Curaja, Stopga 
    Synergist
        Vigilance, Veil, Barwater, Barfrost, Barfire, Barthunder, Boon,
        Protectra, Shellra, Bravera, Faithra 
    Saboteur
        Deshell, Deprotect, Poison, Quake, Imperil, Accessory, Dispel,
        Deprotega, Deshellga, Jinx, Poisonga, Imperilga, Fog, Pain, Death 
    Sentinel
        Provoke, Mediguard, Steelguard, Reprieve, Entrench 

    Top <#top>

Fang

    Commando
        Attack, Libra, Ruin, Blitz, Launch, Smite, Adrenaline,
        Lifesiphon, Scourge, Ravage, Powerchain, Deathblow, Faultsiphon,
        Blindside, Ruinga, ATB Level, Jeopardize, Highwind, Accessory 
    Ravager
        Fire, Thunder, Blizzard, Water, Aero, Sparkstrike, Flamestrike,
        Froststrike, Aquastrike, Thundera, Blizzara, Watera, Firea,
        Aerora, Aeroga, Overwhelm, Vigor, Fearsiphon, Waterga 
    Medic
        Cure, Esuna, Raise, Cura 
    Synergist
        Veil, Bravera, Faithra, Protectra Shellra, Haste, Boon 
    Saboteur
        Slow, Slowga, Accessory, Dispel, Curse, Cursega, Fog, Fogga,
        Pain, Painga, Daze, Dazega, Jinx, Deprotect, Deshell, Imperil,
        Stopga 
    Sentinel
        Provoke, Mediguard, Deathward, Fringeward, Evade, Quake,
        Steelguard, Renew, Counter, Challenge, Entrench, Dispelga,
        Vendetta, Accessory, Reprieve 

Top <#top>


    Details of the Paradigm System [para]

    * Creating Paradigms <#para-create>
    * Creating a Paradigm Deck <#para-deck>
    * Switching Between Paradigms <#para-switch>
    * Auto-Battle vs Manual Commands <#para-auto>

Top <#top>


      Creating Paradigms [para-create]

You can create a paradigm any time you are not in a battle. Press the
"Y" button to bring up the main menu. Select "Paradigms" and then
"Custom". You will see the current list of paradigms that you have
defined. There are six slots, some of which might be blank. You can
either create a new one or redefine an existing one.

Highlight the slot where you want to define your new paradigm using the
D-pad. Click "A" until you are located in the role slot for the first
character. Click "A" again to see the list of roles that the character
can assume, and select the role you want for this paradigm. (If it was
already on the role you wanted, just go to the next character.) Use the
D-pad to select the next characters and their roles in the same way.
When done, click "B" which will return to the left and display the name
of the paradigm you just created. There is no undo, so if you are just
experimenting, you might want to make a note of the configuration before
you change it.

Top <#top>


      Creating a Paradigm Deck [para-deck]

You can have up to six paradigms defined at a time. This collection is
referred to as the paradigm deck. What paradigms you include in this
deck depends on your own personal fighting style. My favorite paradigms
might be terrible for you. I didn't like many of the ones identified in
the official strategy guide, and found I did much better in fights when
I had paradigms that fit my own personal fighting style.

When you form a new party, certain paradigms will already be defined.
You can leave them, change them, or delete them if you want.

I created a few paradigms that I was comfortable with, and then used
those regardless of the party for most combat. When a tough boss or a
large group of enemies are coming up, you might want to create some
paradigms for that specific battle. If you are having problems defeating
an enemy, you can Retry the fight and modify your paradigm deck before
starting the next battle (or perhaps decide not to fight.) If you are
farming for CP, you might want to set up paradigms for the specific
enemies you are fighting.

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      Switching Between Paradigms [para-switch]

You can switch to a different paradigm at any time, but you would be
better off to at least wait until the current turn is over. If you still
have commands being executed, they will be canceled if you change to a
different paradigm. When you switch to a new paradigm, the ATB bar is
either reset or completely full.

If you have been in the current paradigm for at least two turns and
switch to a different one, then the ATB bar will be completely full for
your entire party. For this reason, I tend to spend at least two turns
in each paradigm. Sometimes I switch to a new paradigm not because the
current one isn't working, but rather I want to get a full bar and so I
switch to a different paradigm that would also work for the current
fight. Actually, if you switch to a different paradigm on every turn,
you will get a full ATB bar on every other paradigm.

If you don't like to use that many different paradigms, you might
consider creating two copies of your fighting paradigm (I tend to use
Relentless Assault) next to each other. You can then spend two times on
the first paradigm, switch to the second one for two turns, and then
back to the first. Why would you do that? Because each time you switch
you will have a full ATB bar, which means no wait for that attack. Not
as good as haste, but a help.

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      Auto-Battle vs Manual Commands [para-auto]

While you can manually enter commands for the leading character, most of
the time you probably want to use the Auto option instead. The AI is
pretty good, and will even switch queued commands faster than you can if
the situation changes. For example, if an area attack is queued, then
all but one enemy is killed off, the AI will switch to single-target
attacks instead.

For those of you who like to micro-manage your battles, you can mash
buttons, but in the long run you probably won't be able to beat the AI
system. Regardless of how you handle the lead character, the other party
members are controlled by the AI.

Each party member performs commands according to the role they have been
assigned by the current paradigm. This includes the lead character, so
if you have your lead set up as a commando, those are the only commands
available to you. If you want to do something else, you need to switch
paradigms so that your lead character has the appropriate paradigm.

The AI uses the current information about an enemy to decide what
commands to perform. It can learn this information from experience in
former battles. For example, if it encounters a new enemy, it will cast
fire, ice, water, etc. The damages are then compared to determine if the
enemy is weak, strong, immune or absorbs each element. The damage from
physical attacks are determined as well. Once the characteristics of the
enemy is known, the AI will use only those attacks that will do the most
damage. (This includes Saboteurs, who will not bother to use commands
that have no effect on the enemy.)

The AI can also learn if the lead character performs a "Libra"
technique, which will analyze the enemy and determine its
characteristics. You could also use a Librascope, which is expensive,
but analyzes all enemies in the battle.

So, unless you have a really good memory, and can make snap decisions
without errors, you are probably better off clicking on the "Auto"
button instead of trying to select the specific spells.

The AI system usually picks the best enemy to attack next when you
encounter a mixture of enemies. Once you have selected a type, the AI
assumes you want to finish all of that type. You can usually simply
click the Auto option and the enemy that the AI selects, especially in
the easier battles. This means that when you are powering up, you can be
doing something else while you click the "A" button every couple of
seconds. A great opportunity for multi-tasking, especially since if you
lose a battle, you can simply retry and pay more attention next time.

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    Examples [ex]

    * Example Parties <#ex-party>
    * Example Scenarios <#ex-scen>
    * Example Paradigms <#ex-para>
    * Fighting in Unison <#ex-all>
    * Getting Five Stars <#ex-stars>
    * Example Enemy Fight Paradigms <#ex-enemy>

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Enough theory. Let's look at some concrete examples. The goal of using
the paradigm system is to create a set of paradigms that cover the
different situations you might encounter in the upcoming fight(s). For
example, you will want an attack paradigm and a recover paradigm. You
might want more than one attack or recover paradigms, depending on your
preference. You might also want special paradigms for when things get
tough and you are in danger of getting overwhelmed. Try to anticipate
the possible situations, consider your current party, and set up the
paradigms. Keep in mind that you can always Retry the current fight,
modify the paradigm deck, and then try again.

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      Example Parties [ex-party]

During the first part of the game you are forced to use certain parties,
and you have probably developed a comfortable fighting style for each
group. Later in the game, you can now select your own three characters,
so you might want to duplicate those same combinations in order to
continue whatever type of fighting you preferred during the earlier part
of the game. You might also want to swap out one character for another
who can perform certain roles better than the first.

In some ways, the characters you pick will determine what paradigms you
can use. For example, if your party doesn't include Fang or Snow, you
probably don't want any paradigm that includes a Sentinel role. On the
other hand, if you do have one of them, then a Sentinel paradigm makes
sense. When you were fighting with Sazh and Vanille, you probably got
used to buffing and debuffing at the start of a fight. When you had
Lightning and Hope, you might have done less buffing and more fighting.
Decide what kind of fighting you want to do, and that will help you
decide who you want in the party.

Here are some examples of parties and how you might use the individual
characters. Again, this will depend on your fighting style, so pick a
party that best fits how you want to play the game.

During the early parts of the game, you can rely on a Medic to keep your
party healthy. When you get further into the game, you might instead
depend on a Sentinel. This means that during the early part of the game,
you will want Hope or Vanille in your party (of course, you can't really
control your party until later in the game.) During the later parts of
the game, you will depend on either Fang or Snow.

If you want to use a Sentinel, you probably want to fill the rest of the
party with a good Commando and a good Ravager. The more roles these
characters are good at, the more flexible your party becomes. While
Lightning is a good overall fighter, don't over look the other
characters. Hope is a good Medic, Ravager, Synergist, and Sabateur, but
his low HP can be a problem. Vanille is not quite as flexible as Hope,
but her higher HP tends to compensate, plus I find that she seems to do
a better job healing the party. (And frankly, I would rather listen to
her perky comments than Hope's moans and groans.) Sazh isn't as good as
Hope and Vanille at anything except for Synthesist, but his high HP
means you won't have to worry about keeping him alive as much as the
others. He might even be useful as a Sentinel in a pinch.

Here are some sample configurations. In most cases, you can substitute
Snow for Fang, depending on what non-Sentinel roles you want to use.
Likewise you could substitute Vanille for Hope if you are mostly using
them for Medic. Try different combinations, and you will probably find
yourself fighting differently depending on the party. That can be a
great help when you come across a boss, since you are already
comfortable with different fighting styles, and can choose what party
and paradigm deck best fits your need.

Lightning, Hope, Vanille
    This is a combination you have used quite a bit. It is a versatile
    group that includes characters that can perform in Commando,
    Ravager, Medic, Synergist, and Saboteur roles. All you are missing
    is a Sentinel, which means you might want to have at least one
    paradigm where you have more than one Medic working. 
Lightning, Hope, Fang
    Another group you should be familiar with. In this case, you have
    two good fighters and a good magician. Hope can usually keep people
    alive during normal fights, and when things get tough, you can use
    Fang as a Sentinel. 
    You probably noticed when you were forced to use this party is that
    Fang starts out as Commando, Sentinel, and Saboteur. She doesn't
    start with Ravager, which means that she can only fight as a
    Commando. You were probably used to using Lightning as a Commando,
    but when you have two Commandos, the party might end up attacking
    more than one enemy at a time. As a result, you probably want to use
    Lightning as a Ravager. Since the Commando selects the target for
    the rest of the party, you might prefer to have Fang as the party
    leader. However, if you plan on using Fang mostly as a Sentinel,
    remember that if she is the lead character, you will spend a lot of
    your time just watching. 
Fang, Lightning, and Vanille
    This is the party you are forced to use when fighting Bahamut (and
    my favorite group for most fights.) You again have two good fighters
    and a good magician. Fang clearly can serve as Commando and
    Lightning as Ravager. Vanille can switch between Medic, Saboteur and
    Ravager, depending on what you need at the time. 
    Vanille is a better Saboteur than Fang, but if you want to quickly
    debuff the enemy, you might want to have both of them working as
    Saboteur for a brief time. That can be inefficient if you have a
    single boss, and probably better if you have a large group of
    enemies. The two of them have different abilities as Saboteur, so
    having them both casting against a boss can bring about a wide range
    of debuffs. 
Lightning, Sazh, Fang
    This party combines three good fighters who can also double as
    magicians. You would want to use Fang for Saboteur and Sazh for
    Synergist (if you want to use those roles). Your only choice for a
    Medic is Lightning, and while she is pretty good, she isn't great.
    Whenever you use Lightning as a Medic, you probably want to put her
    as the lead character and, if possible, equip the Doctor's Code on
    her so that she can use potions. If you use this combination,
    consider having a paradigm where Fang is Sentinel, Lightning is
    Medic, and Sazh is either Commando or Ravager, depending on your
    style (or use two paradigms, one with each.) 
Lightning, Sazh, Vanille
    Another party you should be familiar with. Here you have a good
    Synergist and a good Saboteur, two good fighters and two (or three,
    depending on how you configure Lightning) good magicians. 
Sazh, Vanille, Fang
    You don't always have to put Lightning in you party. You should
    already be familiar with how Sazh and Vanille work together. Fang
    can be a Sentinel or a Commando, two things that the other two
    aren't that good at. You could substitute Snow for Fang if you prefer. 
Fang, Lightning, Snow
    This is a party I used during the post-game period. You have three
    heavy-duty fighters with pretty good HP. Amazingly, the best Medic
    in this party is Snow, who can use Curasa, while Lightning and Fang
    only go up to Cura. Fortunately, with this party you won't need a
    Medic that often. 
Fang, Sazh, Snow
    Three good fighters with plenty of HP. The advantage of having Sazh
    is that he usually keeps out of harms way, staying a distance from
    the enemies. 
Fang, Hope, and somebody
    If you have Fang and Hope in the same party, you have access to all
    six roles. Depending on what you want to do, you could pick the
    third member based on what roles you expect to use most. Clearly
    Lightning is a good candidate since she is so versatile, but any of
    the other characters could be useful as well. 

The reality is that you should be able to pick any three characters at
random and come up with a paradigm deck that would fit those characters.
The more you do something like that, the more flexible you will become
as a player, and the better your chances when your "A" party runs into
something they can't handle. If you are just farming CP, why not put in
combinations you haven't tried yet and see how they fight. You might
discover new strategies that you hadn't thought of, and that might help
you through some tough places later on in the game.

Once again, it comes down to personal preference. However, the more you
try to extend those preferences, the more rounded you become as a
player. It is hard to imagine how being more flexible could be a bad
thing for this game.

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      Example Scenarios [ex-scen]

The following are some sample scenarios on how you can approach a fight.
When you are dealing with a few weaker enemies, you can pretty much
blast away and take them all down, but for larger groups or stronger
enemies, how you transition between the various paradigms you have set
up can make the difference between a win and a game over. (Fortunately,
game over just means try the fight again, so don't be afraid to
experiment.)

The consensus seems to be that you need a Sentinel starting in Chapter
11. While I had Fang in my final party, I didn't use her as a Sentinel
all that often. My "normal" party was Lightning, Hope (or Vanille), and
Fang. I had the following Paradigm Deck:

    * Relentless Assault (Rav/Rav/Com)
    * Diversity (Rav/Med/Com)
    * Aggression (Com/Rav/Com)
    * Delta Attack (Com/Rav/Sen) or Tri-Disaster (NAV/NAV/NAV)
    * For Lightning / Hope / Fang:
          o Evened Odds (Med/Syn/Sab) or Bully (Com/Syn/Sab) or Guerilla
            (Rav/Syn/Sab)
      For Lightning / Vanille / Fang:
          o Assassination (Rav/Sab/Sab) or Exploitation (Com/Sab/Sab) or
            Save Subversion (Med/Sab/Sab)
    * Combat Clinic (Med/Med/Sen) or Discretion (Com/Med/Med)

Rather than concentrating on specific paradigms, I would encourage you
to think in terms of what you want your party to be doing, look at the
capabilities of the people in your party, and determine the best
combination of roles your characters should assume. I tend to think in
terms of "combination physical and magic attack (to slow how fast the
chain gauge drops)", "all magic attack (to drive up chain gauge)",
"strong physical attack (to do the most damage)" "attack and heal (to
keep the party healthy)", "buff and debuff (to give my party an
advantage)", etc. I then look at my characters and determine the best
combination of roles that those characters can assume. For example, when
I have Fang, Vanille, and Lightning, my "strong physical attack" is
actually Aggression (Com/Rav/Com) since Vanille is a much better Ravager
than Commando. If, however, I have something like Fang, Lightning, and
Snow, I will use Cerberus (Com/Com/Com). At one point I had Fang,
Vanille, and Snow in my party, and Snow was my main Medic. The reason is
that I was using Vanille to spam Death, and Snow has Curasa while Fang
only has Cura. I wanted Fang and Snow with Vanille because they would
spend most of their time keeping Vanille healthy rather than healing
themselves.

You should also keep in mind the special abilities of your lead
character. Fang has the Commando ability Highwind, which does serious
physical damage when the chain gauge is high. Lightning has the Ravager
ability Army of One, which drives up the chain gauge quickly. So if Fang
is your leader, use something like Tri-Disaster (Rav/Rav/Rav) to work on
getting the chain gauge up so you can use Highwind; if Lightning is your
party leader, use Army of One to stagger the enemy, and then switch to
something like Agression (Com/Rav/Com) or Cerberus (Com/Com/Com) to
perform physical attacks and do major damage. If I can probably take out
the enemy on the first stagger, then I will tend to have Fang as party
leader and use Highwind to finish the fight; if, however, I expect to
need several staggers, then I might put Lightning in the lead to speed
up the staggers.

For most of the battles, I have the lead character as a Commando so that
I can direct which enemies to attack in what order. For normal fights, I
start off with Relentless Assault (Com/Rav/Rav), switching to Diversity
(Com/Med/Rav) if they need healing. Relentless Assault drives up the
chain bar quickly, while Diversity drives it up less, but keeps your
party healthy. If there is only one enemy, I will switch to Aggression
(Com/Rav/Com) or Cerberus (Com/Com/Com) once they stagger, and not
switch until they recover from stagger, at which point I go back to
Relentless Assault or Diversity, depending on the health of the party.

For tougher opponents, I might start off with Bully, switching to Evened
Odds if the party is taking damage. If I have Vanille and Fang, I might
use Exploitation (Com/Sab/Sab) or Assassination (Rav/Sab/Sab). Once the
party is buffed and/or the enemy is debuffed, I then switch to
Relentless Assault or Delta Attack (if you want to use a Sentinel),
healing with Diversity when necessary, and then back to Relentless
Assault. If they take serious damage, I will switch to Combat Clinic or
Discretion for a few turns to get everyone back to green. If the buffs
wear off, I go back to Bully or Evened Odds and start again.

If you want to use Sentinels, your strategy changes (depending on your
fighting style). Instead of healing your party, your Sentinel deflects
the damage. You will probably still have to heal at some point, but not
as often if you are using Fang or Snow as Sentinel. I usually start off
with Relentless Attack and try to stagger the enemy. If the party starts
taking damage, and the Medic can't keep up with Diversity, I will switch
to Delta Attack, and then use either Solidarity (Com/Med/Sen) or
Entourage (Rav/Med/Sen) for healing, depending on if I want to attack
physically or with magic. (Entourage can sometimes keep the chain gauge
from dropping, so you can continue once the party is healed.)

When everyone is healthy, you can have all three characters fighting
(although you are taking a risk if the enemy has very powerful hits.)
When they start taking damage, you can have your Sentinel absorb damage
while the other two fight. After the party has sustained significant
damage, you can have one of the fighters heal. (Another option is to use
Potions). If things are really bleak, use Combat Clinic, which is one
Sentinel and two Medics. Remember to consider what type of damage would
help you the most (usually Commando or Ravager), and then have the other
character be the Medic. If your Sentinel is Fang or Snow, then your
healer doesn't have to be top notch, and if they can't keep up, switch
to Combat Clinic until they are all healed.

In some cases, you have a tough enemy along with some weaker ones.
Usually it is better to finish off the smaller foes before tackling the
big one, although you might want to stagger the stronger one and then
take on the smaller ones. Don't get overconfident, especially if the
smaller foes can apply status ailments. Nothing is more frustrating than
having your leader dazed and have to sit there watching your party get
decimated.

Having said all this, I found that by the final boss fights in the game,
I pretty much stuck with Relentless Assault, Diversity, and Aggression,
rarely switching to a buff, debuff,and/or heal paradigm. There is no
right or wrong; it depends on your personal fighting style.

Top <#top>


      Example Paradigms [ex-para]

Here are some of my favorite paradigms, along with some others that I
found in various places. Again, it is up to you to decide which
paradigms fit your fighting style, so I might like something, and you
might hate it. Don't bother sending me any messages about how you don't
like any of these. They are for you to study and decide which ones you
want to use.

Also, remember that a paradigm is named based on the combination of
roles. Who you put into those roles is up to you (but usually obvious
when you look at your party.)

The first four paradigms are almost always in my Paradigm Deck. The
others I might switch around, depending on the upcoming fight. I prefer
to have certain types of paradigms always in the same position so that I
don't have to think when I am switching between paradigms. I know that
the top paradigm is for initial fighting, then healing, then finishing
the enemy, while the last one is for when things get tough. You are
welcome to arrange them in whatever order makes sense for you.

Once you get into chapters 10 and 11, some people like to have a
Sentinel in their party. While having a Medic was enough to keep your
party in good health at the beginning of the game, having a good
Sentinel can be even more important than a good Medic. This means that
you will probably have either Snow or Fang in your party, depending on
your preference. Personally, I tend to favor Fang, but I know others who
prefer Snow. The choice is yours, but if I were you, I would get them
both maxed out on at least their Sentinel role. While I used Sentinel
every so often, for most battles, I just used one or sometimes two
Medics for healing, and the Sentinel was only used if the party took a
lot of damage and I needed something like Combat Clinic to restore health.

Relentless Assault (1 Commando and 2 Ravagers)
    This is my favorite fighting paradigm for most battles. You have the
    Commando directing the targets and the two magicians attacking. This
    increases the stagger rate because of the Ravager, while lessens the
    decrease because of the Commando. 
Diversity (Commando, Ravager, Medic)
    This is my usual paradigm for healing. You have two good fighters -
    physical and magic, along with a healer. There are times that I
    switch to this paradigm not because I need to heal, but so that I
    can get a full ATB gauge. I stay in Diversity for two turns, let the
    Medic top the characters off, and then switch back to fighting,
    starting with a full ATB bar. 
Aggression (2 Commando, 1 Ravager)
    I use this as my secondary fighting paradigm. It works best for a
    single boss, but can also be useful if you have a lot of enemies
    that are vulnerable to Blitz. You would not increase the stagger
    meter as much as you do with Relentless Assault, but you will do
    more damage when the enemy is staggered, or if the enemy is weak
    against physical attacks or strong against magic attacks. 
Solidarity (Sentinel, Commando, Medic)
    This is a good paradigm for when you are about to get overwhelmed.
    The Sentinel deflects the attacks while the Medic heals the party.
    The third person can then fight or throw items as needed. Obviously,
    this is only useful if you have Fang or Snow in your party. 
Bully (Commando, Synergist, Saboteur)
    This is a good paradigm at the start of a battle, where you can buff
    and debuff while you start to work on the enemy. I also switch to
    this when the status effects start to wear off. 
Guerilla (Ravager, Synergist, Saboteur)
    This is basically the same as Bully, but with magic attacks instead
    of physical attacks. Since Saboteur reduces the drop rate of the
    chain gauge, this can be used very effectively for enemies weak
    against magic. 
Evened Odds (Medic, Synergist, Soboteur)
    This is a good alternative to Bully and Guerilla, except that the
    third character restores the party instead of attacks while the
    buffing and debuffing is going on. If you have both of these
    defined, you can switch between them whenever you want to fight or
    heal. 
Tri-Disaster (3 Ravagers)
    This is an all-out magic attack. It should help get an enemy to
    stagger quickly, especially if you started out by having a Commando
    attack a few times (so the bar doesn't go down too fast.) 
Cerberus (3 Commandos)
    This is an all-out physical attack. If you have three good
    Commandos, this can be great once you have a single enemy that is
    staggered, or you have a large number of smaller enemies that are
    immune to magic. Having three Commandos with the Blitz ability can
    clear out a collection of enemies in record time. 
    The one caveat to remember is that each Commando will fight a
    different target, so if you have a number of stronger enemies, you
    might be better off using something like Relentless Assault to take
    them out one at a time. 
    If you don't have three good Commandos, then you probably want to
    use Aggression instead, although I have seen people use this
    paradigm when they had Vanille in their party. 
Delta Attack (Commando, Ravager, Sentinel)
    This is a variation of Diversity, with physical and magical
    attackers where the third party member deflects the attacks instead
    of healing. When you get to the point where you use a Sentinel
    instead of a Medic, this could probably become your standard attack
    paradigm. 
Hero's Charge (Commando, Synergist, Medic)
    This is a conservative paradigm for buffing the party. The Medic
    keeps the party healthy while their buffs are being applied. 
Matador (Ravager, Sentinel, Saboteur)
    This paradigm will debuff your enemy while attacking with magic. The
    Sentinel deflects all the attacks. You might want to switch to a
    different paradigm with a Medic if the Sentinel gets too low. 
Assassination (2 Saboteurs and a Ravager)
    This paradigm was suggested by thrakkemarn. The Saboteurs debuff the
    enemies, and at the same time reduce the drop rate of the chain
    gauge. Meanwhile the third party attacks with magic, which drives up
    the chain gauge. It should be noted that different Saboteurs have
    different abilities, so have two of them casting at the same time
    will often result in a wide range of ailments for the enemy. 
Combat Clinic (2 Medics and a Sentinel)
    This paradigm allows you to quickly heal your party while the
    Sentinel absorbs the damage. Once everyone is back to full health,
    you can switch to another paradigm that has the two Medics attacking. 
Mystic Tower (Sentinel and 2 Ravagers)
    This paradigm can be used to drive up the chain gauge while letting
    the Sentinel absorb all the damage. If you started out with Delta
    Attack, you can switch to this paradigm to drive up the chain gauge. 
Entourage (Ravager, Medic, and Sentinel)
    This paradigm can be used if your party is taking too much damage
    while you are using a Sentinel. The idea is to have one of the
    fighters do healing. This is a variation of the Solidarity paradigm,
    using a Ravager instead of a Commando. The Ravager can help keep the
    chain gauge from dropping if you don't spend too much time in this
    paradigm. 

The above examples should give you some ideas on what paradigms fit your
fighting styles. In some cases a Medic is used to protect the party; in
other cases a Sentinel. You also have the option to have everyone
fighting, or more than one Medic to recover the party. The choice is
yours and yours alone. Even if two players have the exact same paradigm
deck, they can fight totally differently by switching to different
paradigms at different times. You can think of the deck as a tool box;
how you use those tools is up to you.

Top <#top>


      Fighting in Unison [ex-all]

Most of the time you want your party with balanced roles, but sometimes
it helps to have everyone doing the same thing. I noticed somebody
talking about how they fought Attacus, the Soulless. He used Rapid
Growth (Syn/Syn/Syn), Salvation (Med/Med/Med), Tri-disaster
(Rav/Rav/Rav), Tortoise (Sen/Sen/Sen), and Cerberus (Com/Com/Com). I
tried that, but didn't like it since the chain gauge kept dropping, but
at the same time it was very nice to have everyone doing the same thing.
For example, if someone's HP was low, having everyone heal meant that in
one or maybe two turns, the entire party was healed.

What I did instead was to have at least one person fighting or doing
damage while the other ones were doing whatever operation I wanted. I
had Fang, Lightning, and Snow in my party. I used All for One
(Syn/Syn/Com), Discretion (Med/Com/Med), Tri-disaster (Rav/Rav/Rav),
Exploitation (Sab/Sab/Comm), Tortoise (Sen/Sen/Sen), and Cerberus
(Com/Com/Com). I started out with shrouds to buff my party and began
debuffing Attacus. Once enough debuffs were on, I switched to
Tri-disaster to build up the chain gauge, healing, debuffing, or buffing
as needed. I had intended to use Tortoise for the big attacks, but found
I didn't really need it, so I simply switched to Discretion to heal
quickly and then resume attacking. Once his HP was down pretty far, I
switched to Cerberus to finish him off. I got 5 starts, so that approach
seems to be a good one.

Top <#top>


      Getting Five Stars [ex-stars]

The basic strategy for getting five stars is to kill the enemy in a very
short time. The stars battle rating is based on how fast you defeat the
enemy. It doesn't depend on how you fight, although indirectly it does,
since it would be hard to get a good rating if your strategy is poor. It
doesn't depend on the health of your party. Your other two members could
be dead, and your lead character with a sliver of HP, and you might
still get a 5 star rating. The target time will change depending on how
many times you have fought the same types of enemies as well as the
level of your party.

In general, you should quickly stagger the enemy, and then use Commandos
to produce damage. Usually that means start with something like
Relentless Assault or some paradigm that involves a saboteur. As soon as
the enemy is staggered, use something like Cerberus or Aggression to
inflict serious physical damage. Experiment to see what works and what
doesn't.

The absolutely easiest way to stagger an enemy is to get a pre-emptive
attack. If you can sneak up behind the enemy or use Deceptisol, you get
a first strike and leave the enemy almost staggered. During the next
turn, you should be able to stagger. If you get a pre-emptive attack and
don't get 5 stars, then you should seriously re-evaluate your fighting
strategy.

If you are having problems, try putting one or more character in the
Saboteur role. Assassination (Sab/Sab/Rav) works well. It will weaken
the enemy while at the same time the Ravager is driving up the chain
gauge. Another good paradigm is Guerilla (Rav/Syn/Sab), which buffs and
debuffs while attacking at the same time.

For particularly tough enemies, consider using shrouds just before the
battle. Use Fortisol and Aegisol by pressing the left shoulder button
(LB) and selecting the top two sections. If you are having problems
getting a pre-emptive attack, also select Deceptisol.

Once an anemy is staggered, the Commando role does the most damage. If
there is only one enemy, then either Cerberus (Com/Com/Com) or
Aggression (Com/Rav/Com) will do significant damage. If there are more
than one enemy, then I would recommend Relentless Assault (Com/Rav/Rav)
to concentrate all the damage on the staggered enemy. (If you have more
than one Commando, they will attack different enemies if there is more
than one.)

Top <#top>


    Example Enemy Fight Paradigms

    * Post-Game Fights <#ex-enemy-gen>
    * Attacus, the Soulless <#ex-enemy-attacus>
    * Adamantortoise <#ex-enemy-turtle>
    * Long Gui <#ex-enemy-gui>
    * Mission 41 - Three Tonberries <#misc-enemy-tonberry>
    * Mission 64 - Vercingetorix <#misc-enemy-miss64>
    * Orphan Second Form - 5 Stars <#misc-enemy-orphan>

This section provides you with the paradigms and strategies that I used
against specific enemies, as well as a general approach for most regular
enemy fights. Each person has their own fighting styles, so these
examples probably won't suit yours perfectly, but at least will give you
some ideas on how to approach certain fights.


      Post-Game Fights

My typical party is Fang, Vanille, and Lightning, although I will use
Snow instead of Lightning for enemies that do large amounts of damage
because of his higher HP. I usually have Sprint Shoes equipped on each
person, and Genji Gloves on Fang and Lightning/Snow. My typical paradigm
deck for most enemy fights once I had my characters fairly well
developed was:

    * Relentless Assault (Com/Rav/Rav)
    * Diversity (Com/Med/Rav)
    * Tri-Disaster
    * Discretion (Com/Med/Med)
    * Assassination (Sab/Sab/Rav)
    * Aggression (Com/Rav/Com)

My default paradigm is Relentless Assault. In most cases, I can just
stay in that paradigm and win the fight, usually with 5 stars. If the
enemy has high defense, I will start off with a round or two of
Assassination until the enemy has a few status ailments and then switch
to Relentless Assault.

If the party is starting to take some damage and I don't think the fight
is almost over, I will switch to Diversity until everyone is in good
health. If the enemy has strong attacks, I might simply stay in this
paradigm for the entire fight.

For stronger enemies, after a round or two of Relentless Assault, I will
switch to Tri-Disaster to drive up the chain gauge until the enemy is
staggered. Once staggered, what I do next depends on how many enemies I
am fighting. If there is only one enemy, I will switch to Aggression to
finish the fight. If there is more than one enemy, I will switch to
Relentless Assault until the current enemy is defeated. I will then
continue for a round or two on the next enemy and then switch to
Tri-Disaster as described above.

The paradigm Descretion is used on longer fights with tough enemies. If
Diversity is not keeping the party healthy, then I will switch to this
to let Lightning help Vanille cure the party. For really tough enemies,
I will have Snow instead of Lightning, and he does a much better job of
healing, since he knows Curasa and Lightning only knows Cura. I will
also use this paradigm if I want to use Fang's Highwind attack and want
the party to be in good shape when the attack is done.

Top <#top>


      Attacus, the Soulless

I describe my approach to this boss in the Fighting in Unison <#ex-all>
section.

Top <#top>


      Adamantortoise

The Adamantortoise is actually three enemies: Left Foreleg, Right
Foreleg, and Adamantortoise (Body). You must take out the Left Foreleg,
and the Right Foreleg before you can do any damage to the Body. It is
important to keep the party healthy, so I have a Medic on duty during
most of the fight. The legs have very high defense, so I use the
standard pattern for tough critters:

    * Use Saboteur to soften them up
    * Use Ravager to stagger them
    * Use Commando to finish them off

My paradigm deck for this fight is:

    * Relentless Assault (Com/Rav/Rav)
    * Thaumaturgy (Rav/Med/Rav)
    * Descretion (Com/Med/Med)
    * Recuperation (Syn/Syn/Med)
    * Espionage (Sab/Sab/Syn)
    * Agression (Com/Rav/Com)

I start the fight by switching to Recuperation. This will allow Fang and
Vanille to buff the party while Snow/Lightning keeps everyone healthy.

When you are buffed, switch to Espionage to inflict several status
ailments on the Left Leg while Snow buffs the party. (There isn't much
for Snow to do the first time, but we will use this paradigm later in
the fight.) Be careful because as soon as you inflict a status ailment
on the Left Leg, the AI will want to target the Right Leg; manually set
the target back to the Left Leg and it should keep targetting it.

Once the Left Leg has enough status ailments, switch to Thaumaturgy and
drive up the chain gauge. Once the Left Leg is staggered and the chain
gauge is full, switch to Discretion, which allows Vanille and Snow to
max out everyone's HP while Fang takes out the Left Leg. (Use Highwind
to speed this up.) When the left leg goes away, immediately cancel your
attack chain and manually target the Right Leg (the AI will target the
Body, which you don't want.)

Once the Left Leg is gone, switch back to Espionage and debuf the Right
Leg. This time, Snow will probably have some buffs to apply. When the
Right Leg has enough status ailments, switch to Thaumaturgy and drive up
the chain gauge. When full, switch to Discretion to take out the Right
Leg while topping off the party HP.

As soon as the Right Leg is defeated, the enemy will collapse to the
ground, and you can finally damage the Body. Switch to Espionage and get
as many status ailments as possible. Next, switch to Thaumaturgy to
drive up the chain gauge. As soon as the Body is staggered, switch to
Aggression and finish him off.

If you don't finish him up before he gets back up, have Fang use
Highwind to do as much damage as possible. If you don't take him out,
then start over again with Recuperation, Espionage, Thaumaturgy, and
Discretion. When you get back to the body, it will have the same HP it
had when the legs come back, so you should be able to finish it off this
second time.

Don't rush any of the stages or you will end up taking even more time.
When trying to debuff the legs, if a leg doesn't have 4 status ailments,
keep trying. What often happens is that there are no new ailments until
the leg staggers, and then they appear. When driving up the chain bonus,
don't switch to Discretion until the chain bonus is up around 800-900%.
When you are debuffing the body, don't stop until you see 5 status
ailments, and don't switch to Aggression until the body staggers.

Top <#top>


      Long Gui

The strategy for taking down a Long Gui is basically the same as
fighting an Adamantortoise with one exception. The Long Gui has some
really high attacks that can wipe out your party. If you look at the
Paradigm Deck for Adamantortoise, you will see Relentless Assault, which
I don't mention in the strategy section. For the Long Gui, change that
entry to Tortoise (Sen/Sen/Sen). I recommend that you move that paradigm
to the middle of the deck and always keep in mind where that paradigm is
from your current position.

The strategy for a Long Gui is exactly the same as that for the
Adamantortoise except that you want to switch to Tortoise any time you
see one of its attacks being queued. As soon as the attack is over,
switch to Discretion for double healers. I generally have Fang just
stand there or throw potions until she has close to a full HP bar, and
then switch to whatever paradigm makes sense (probably Recuperation or
Espionage.) You will have to take the Long Gui down at least twice to
finish it off. For an Adamantortoise, you can usually finish it off with
only one take down.

As with Adamantortoise, take your time and don't try any short cuts.
Your main goal is to keep your party healthy. This is even more
important than with the Adamantortoise. If you let your HP get low, you
run the risk of losing the fight from one of the big attacks.

Top <#top>


      Mission 41 - Three Tonberries

As I mention in my Upgrade Guide
<http://billpringle.com/games/ffxiii_upgrades.html>, I use Bomb Cores,
Bomb Shells, and other items I get from fighting to upgrade my
accessories and lower weapons for free. (You need to buy Ultracompact
Reactors and Particle Accellerators when you need huge amounts of EXP to
upgrade.) When I need Bomb Shells, I will go to the Faultwarrens and
pick the left exit for each location. That will get me 16 Bomb Shells
and a Tonberry Figurine, which sells for 28,500 Gil.

If you can get a preemptive strike, this fight is super easy, but I
usually don't have the patience to wait for them to all be facing away
from me. The basic strategy for this fight is to soften them up and then
take them down.

I start out by using whatever paradigm I have with Saboteur. The goal is
to inflict some status ailments on your first target. I then switch to
Relentless Assault, dropping back to Diversity if the party is starting
to take some damage. I generally have Fang as the lead character and
have her perform all Blitz attacks at the start of the fight. (The AI
will often do this if your target is near another Tonberry, but I find
they group together so often that it is better to just manually do all
Blitz attacks.)

Once your target is defeated, do the same for the next one: Saboteur
followed by Relentless Attack and Diversity. When you are down to one
left, use Soboteur followed by Aggression or Cerberus.

Top <#top>


      Mission 64 - Vercingetorix

This fight will take a long time. Relax and don't get impatient, or you
might lose and have to start over again. Your main goal is keeping your
party healthy. If you can do that, you will win.

My party was Fang, Vanille, and Snow. (Lightning doesn't haven enough HP
and can't cure that well.) My paradigm deck was:

    * Relentless Assault (Com/Nav/Nav)
    * Tireless Charge (Com/Med/Com
    * Tortoise (Sen/Sen/Sen)
    * Convalescence (Syn/Med/Med)
    * Recuperation (Syn/Syn/Med)
    * Safe Subversion (Sab/Sab/Med)

My default (start-up) paradigm was Safe Subversion. You use this
arrangement to remove whatever buffs the enemy has, and apply some
status ailments. The important ones are Slow, to counter his high speed,
and Poison, to help deplete his high HP.

Once you have applied enough status ailments, switch to Relentless
Assault to do some damage. If your HP is down a little, switch to
Tireless Charge to continue fighting while getting some damage in. (You
could probably use Diversity instead of Tireless Charge).

When the enemy goes into its shell, it is time to heal and rebuff. Use
either Convalescence or Recuperation, depending on if you need more HP
or more buffs. Once your party is in good shape, you can either wait
until it drops its shell or just start spamming Safe Subversion so that
you are ready as soon as it becomes vulnerable.

They key to this fight is to watch for "Wicked Whirl" and immediately go
into Tortoise. As soon as the attack is over, switch to Convalescence,
followed by Recuperation once everyone's HP is good. I suggest you place
this paradigm in the middle of the deck and always keep in mind where it
is relative to your current paradigm. You won't have a lot of time to
think once you see the attack name.

There will be times when the enemy is vulnerable but you will want to
heal and debuff instead of fighting. As I said above, patience is
required to win this fight. While you might be able to live on the edge
for most fights, I seriously doubt if you can consistently pull it off
for this one.

Top <#top>


      Orphan Second Form - 5 Stars

Beating Orphan is pretty easy; the problem is getting five stars. There
is a very tight time limit for this fight, so you can't afford to to
anything that isn't absolutely necessary to win the fight.

My party was Fang, Hope, and Lightning. Here were the paradigms that I
used:

    * Guerilla (Sab/Syn/Rav)
    * Tri-Disaster (Rav/Rav/Rav)
    * Relentless Assault (Com/Rav/Rav)
    * Cerberus (Com/Com/Com) or Aggression (Com/Rav/Com)

Start with Guerilla. As soon as everyone has three buffs, switch to
Tri-Disaster. As soon as Orphan staggers, switch to Relentless Assault.
As soon as the chain bonus reaches 800-900, switch to Cerberus or
Aggression. Keep going and cross your fingers. You will see the
Achievement notice before you see the five stars.

A lot depends on luck and timing. I tried the above approach many times
until I got it. You can make absolutely no mistakes, and switch
perfectly, but still not get five stars. In fact, if something happens
to mess you up, you should probably do a retry so you don't have to
fight the other two bosses before trying this again. I first had Vanille
instead of Hope, but noticed somebody on YouTube used basically the same
approach but with Hope, so I tried him. It still took several tries, so
I might have gotten 5 stars even if I had Vanille.

Top <#top>


    Catch-all [misc]

    * Tips <#misc-tips>
    * Words of Wisdom <#misc-words>
    * Power-Up Opportunities <#misc-power>
    * Rants <#misc-rants>

Top <#top>


      Tips [misc-tips]

If you are low on CP, consider sticking to the circumference of the
circle in the Crystarium, ignoring the nodes that branch out, especially
if there is a level-up node in the center. This is especially true if
the branches cost more than the nodes along the circumference. When you
activate a level-up node, it adds some buffs to your character for that
role. The exception to this rule is if the branches lead to abilities
that are useful to the way you are using that character.

The game limits how much you can power up your characters. During the
early part of the game, if you don't avoid any enemies, you should be
able to max out the Crystarium levels with little or no extra fighting.
Once you have maxed out the current levels of the Crystarium, you have
to wait until the next expansion.

Once you can upgrade your weapons and accessories, read my Upgrade Guide
<http://billpringle.com/games/ffxiii_upgrades.html>. Most FAQs and the
Official Strategy Guide tell you that it really isn't practical until
you can purchase components that will allow you to upgrade efficiently.
What they don't take into account is that you can upgrade accessories
and lower tier weapons for free by using components that you get from
fighting.

There are however, times when grinding away makes sense: just before a
new Crystarium level opens, and when you can rack up significant money.
I felt no need to make money until it was time to upgrade weapons, but
once that happened, I realized that there were times when I could have
stockpiled a lot of money to make upgrading easier.

During the early part of the game, remember that when any party gains
CP, the other characters gain those points as well. So if you are about
to swith to a different group of characters, you might want to collect
some CP so that they can upgrade their Crystarium nodes when you switch
to them. In particular, when you first get Fang, she will probably be
behind on her CP points, so once she joins, even if she isn't in the
party, the next time you can control her, you will be able to upgrade
her using however many points you have collected. When Snow finally is
back in your party, you will have all kinds of points you can use to
upgrade him.

Just because you don't plan to use a character at a role, that doesn't
mean you don't want to level them up for that role. The reason is simple
- it can be cheaper. As you go up in the Crystarium entries, the nodes
become more and more expensive. If you want to increase your character's
HP, it might be cheaper to have them work on the Sentinel role so that
they can buy HP upgrades at a fraction of what it costs at higher levels
for their optimal roles. (Of course, if there is a Role Level node
available, you want to work towards that node before going elsewhere.)

When you get to Chapter 11, you have plenty of chances to gain a lot of
CP. Once you have maxed out the primary roles of the Crystarium, you
will need less than 600,000 CP to finish the last expansion. If you have
more than 600,000 CP before the final Crystarium expansion, then
consider using the extra points to build up at least one of the
secondary roles for each character. (I was able to max out one of the
secondary roles for each character before the final expansion.)

There may also be times when you will want to put a character in for one
of their secondary roles either because the experts in that role are not
in the party, or you want more than one character performing that
action. Medic, Synergist, and Sabateur are good examples where more than
one character can help heal / buff / debuff quickly.

If you are having problems defeating a new enemy, consider doing a Libra
on them at the start of the battle. This allows the AI system to
immediately work on the weaknesses rather than experimenting with spells
that are less effective. It costs 1 TP each time, but you can recover
the TP fairly quickly with a few good fights.

Top <#top>


      Words of Wisdom[misc-words]

The button pushing seems to be off. If I click too fast, it seems to
miss a click. There have been several times when I noticed that my lead
character is waiting for me to select a target, and I am sure I clicked
on the "A" button.

There is no reason to click fast (but I still do). Nothing can happen
until at least the first ATB slot is full. Take your time and think out
what you want to do. Also, if you change your mind, you can click the
"B" button to cancel the queued commands. This will not reset the ATB
bar, which will continue to fill. If you don't want to wait, you can
click the "Y" button to trigger the commands that have been queued so far.

If you want to try treasure hunting using a Chocobo, there are some
things that might help:

    * When standing still, the Chocobo will tend to look at either a
      nearby enemy or where the treasure is buried
    * The exclamation point will bounce faster as you get close to the spot
    * The treasures seem to all be buried in dirt, not grass. So when
      you are looking, concentrate on the bare patches of ground and
      ignore the grassy areas.

Equipping more than one of the same kind of catalog doesn't seem to
help, but having different types of catalogs does seem to help. Once I
had the Survivor's, Collector's, and the Connoisseur's Catalogs equipped
the items dropped seemed to improve. They don't have to be equipped on
the lead character; in fact, they don't have to be equipped on the same
character. I originally had the Collector's and Connoisseur's Catalogs
equipped, and then noticed that the Survivor's Catalog would cause
shrouds to be dropped. So I equipped a Survivor's Catalog on a different
character and started seeing shrouds on my items dropped. Shroud drops
seem to be independent of item drops. In other words, you don't get a
shroud instead of an item. I have seen cases where I fought two enemies
and got two items and a shroud.

It seems that high scores tend to increase the chances of rare drops,
medium scores produce normal drops, while really low scores tend to
produce shrouds if you have the Survivor's Catalog equipped so if you
are low on shrouds, simply let your characters stand around for a few
rounds before you finish off an enemy group.

Never save in the same slot as you loaded. If anything goes wrong with
the save, you might lose your entire game. (It has happened to me - not
on this game, though.) I usually alternate between two save areas, and
use a third if I'm not sure that I am about to make the right choice.

If you are planning on trying for the Treasure Hunter achievement, make
sure you get the Gyroscope from the Midlight Reaper. That is the only
way that I know of to obtain that item. (If you find another way, let me
know.)

Top <#top>


      Power Up Opportunities [misc-power]

Remember that the game limits you to how much you can power up your
characters, but there are still times when grinding makes sense. Here
are some useful power-up places and why you might want to:

    * In Chap. 2, have Hope and Vanille fight the enemies in the
      Sanctarium area, walk into the Oblatorium and then return to find
      the enemies respawned. These enemies will drop the party buff
      items Fortisol and Deceptisol, which will prove to be very handy
      for difficult fights. I collected a lot of these during this time,
      and never had to buy them later in the game. If you start to run
      low on shrouds, then equip a Survivor's Catalog on one of your
      characters.
    * In Chap. 4, when you get to Vile Peaks, keep fighting the
      Pulsework Soldiers as they respawn. These enemies will drop Spark
      Plugs and Passive Detectors, which are fairly good for upgrading
      weapons (EXP 62 and 188 resp.).
    * In Chap. 5, when you take the elevator down to the Research
      Corridor, there is a group of six enemies that will give you 156
      CP. You can take the elevator back up and come down again to
      respawn them.
    * In Chap. 7, you can travel back and forth between the Save Point
      in the Central Arcade to where you fight all the Falco Velocycles.
      The enemies respawn fairly often, so by running back and forth you
      can rack up a fair amount of CP in a fairly short time.
    * In Chap 8., when you reach the Clock Tower Save Point, continue
      west to fight a group of Zwerg Metrodroids guarding a chest. Then
      back track past the save point, take the first right (avoiding the
      fight at the end of that node), the next left, and then the next
      right (just keep zig-zagging). You will be at the point where a
      single Zwerg Metrodroid is guarding an opened treasure sphere.
      Take it out and return to the previous fight location. You can
      easily rack up a lot of CP quickly by just going between those two
      fights. (I found the fight I told you to avoid took more time and
      wasn't worth the effort for the CP you get.)
    * In Chap. 9, spend some time on the External Berths. You can gain
      some nice CP, but you can also get valuable items, like the Credit
      and Incentive Chips. These are useless for upgrading, but can be
      sold for money. The Credit Chip can be sold for 500 Gil, and the
      Incentive Chip for 2,500. Walk into the Crew Corridors and save,
      then back out and all the enemies will be respawned. If you go
      back to the original Save Point, some of the enemies will be
      respawned on your return to the Crew Corridors. You can go through
      the Crew Corridors every so often just to vary things if you get
      bored.
    * In Chap. 10, spend some time in the first section of the Fifth
      Ark. The Pulsework Knights are worth 256 CP, and drop Spark Plugs,
      which have 62 EXP for upgrading.
    * If you just want CP in Chap. 10, there is a group of enemies
      guarding a treasure chest with Medicinal Oil. This group is worth
      640 CP, and will respawn before you are done hopping down to the
      main level. Configure your party with 2 Commandos and a Ravager
      and their use of Blitz will wipe out the group in very little time.
    * Also in Chap. 10, when you first enter the Hypogeum, you can get
      250 CP and possibly a Bomb Shell, which has 206 EXP. When you are
      done, walk back out until the room is no longer in your small map,
      then go back in to find them respawn. When you get bored doing
      that, go to the next room and either avoid or take out the enemies
      there (take out the Stikini first, then the Skata'ne, and finally
      the Greater Behemoth). I would then usually go into the next room
      to save at that point. If you double back, your 250 CP critters
      will be back, and for a bonus when you go back out to the bridge,
      you can easily get a pre-emptive strike on the Greater Behemoth
      (384 CP) as it walks away from you. There is enough variation
      available to keep you from becoming bored.
    * In Chap. 11, look NE from the first save area to see a lone
      Behemoth King. Walk towards it, keeping your distance. Once it
      turns and walks away, run up behind it and get a pre-emptive
      strike. Use Relentless Assault (Commando and 2 Ravagers) to
      stagger and finish it. If you don't get a pre-emptive strike or it
      stands up and refills its HP gauge, use Start-Skip to retry the
      fight. You get 4,000 CP for a very short battle. By the time you
      go back to the save area, it will be respawned.
    * Also in Chap. 11, when you enter Mah'Habara, travel from the first
      Save Point and take the left branch in the tunnel until you fight
      a group of enemies and find yourself staring at a strange looking
      wall. Turn around (if you keep going, you will have to fight
      Juggernaut) and return to the Save Point. In that short little
      path, and with very little time or effort, you will rack up lots
      of CP and some nice components that can either be sold for money
      or used for upgrades.
    * At the start of Chap. 12, there is a point where you jump down
      from the first area to a race track. Ahead of you is a group of
      Corps Stewards, who will drop either a Credit Chip or Incentive
      Chip, which are great items that can be sold for Gil. After
      fighting them, backtrack to the Save Point and continue to the
      back wall. When you return to the fight location, a new group will
      be spawned. There is a second group of soldiers, but I found that
      they took longer and didn't tend to drop items as easy as the
      first group. This is the only time you can visit this area, so
      keep collecting chips until you have enough Gil for whatever you
      want.
    * Also in Chap. 12, when you get to Siren Park, you can spend some
      time wandering around through the various paths that loop around.
      You can sometimes get Credit and Incentive Chips that can be sold,
      along with Perfume with is another nice item to sell for money.
    * Throughout Chap. 13 there are a lot of fights that yield nice CP
      and some nice item drops. Most of the enemies respawn fairly
      often. Some of the items you might get are Perfume, Scarletite,
      Perovskite, etc. Just keep travelling in circles between the
      various areas and collect items and CP. This is the only time you
      will be able to access this area, so I suggest you try to max out
      all your characters at the Crystarium, and earn enough to take a
      big chunk out of the last segment for post-game play. Make sure
      you don't go over 999,999 CP. By the time I finished the area, all
      my characters had maxed out their Primary and Secondary roles, and
      took a big chunk out of the rest of the roles.
    * During post-game, there really aren't any new spots open until you
      complete some Missions, which you might have done before going
      back to Eden. You can now take on some of the larger enemies that
      you couldn't attempt before.
          o If you want to get quick CP, use the power-up for Chap. 11.
            One round trip will earn your 33,000 CP. Of course, that
            only gets you 2 nodes on the grid, but I found that the
            fastest easy place to crank up CP without a lot of thought.
            This route is also good for getting Bomb Cores and
            Solenoids, which are good for upgrading accessories and
            tier-1 weapons. By this time you can probably take out the
            box phalanx easily, so when you come down from where
            Juggernaut was, turn left and fight that group. Turn back
            through the tunnel and take the path up to where the
            Juggernaut was located, then come back down and head towards
            the entrance, and you will find that the group of Hoplites
            that was right outside the tunnel will be respawned.
          o If you are able to handle the Faultwarrens, you can go
            through the "C" and "B" missions there. In a few places
            (like Mission 42), you can find Flowering Cactuars and
            Borgbears that are worth a fair amount of CP. The Flowering
            Cactuars tend to flee, so work quickly and aggressively. You
            can use the transporter to return to Truthseeker's Rise and
            start over.
          o The Faultwarrens can also be used to collect items to be
            sold. Look at the secondary rewards for missions. For
            example, the Tonberry mission (41) gives a Tonberry
            Figurine, which sells for 28,500 Gil. You can also get a lot
            of Bomb Shells for upgrading.
          o The easiest way to get Bomb Cores for upgrading is Mission
            7. The Cei'th Stone and mark are within short walking
            distances of each other, and reward 5 Bomb Cores per battle.
            You can keep doing the mission over and over until you have
            enough Bomb Cores. A side benefit of this mission is that
            the mark will sometimes drop Tetradic Crown or the Tetradic
            Tiara. The Crown can be upgraded to the Tiara, and when the
            Tiara is maxed and dismantled, you get a pair of Sprint Shoes.
          o If you want Gil, transport to Eden and go down the path
            until you fight a Juggernat. Ignore the Tyrant and walk out
            the door, turn around, and walk back in. The Juggernat will
            be gone, but the soldiers and Sacrifices will be back. You
            can get a fair amount of Credit Chip (500), Incentive Chip
            (2,500), Scarletite (7,000), and Perfume (12,500). You can
            usually sell what you collect in one trip for between
            100,000 and 150,000 Gil if you have catalogs equipped. Of
            course, if you have the Survivor's Catalog also equipped,
            you can also get shrouds.
          o If you can handle an Adamantortoise, there is one at the
            entrance of the Edenhall building. When you exit the
            building, take out the soldiers for chips and get a
            preemptive strike on the Humbabas if you need CP, and then
            the Adamantortoise. When done, save at the nearby save area,
            go back inside the building and turn right around and go
            out. Everything will be regenerated.
          o If you want Gil on Gran Pulse, try fighting the big
            dinosaurs with the short horns (Adamanchelid). They
            sometimes drop Gold Dust (15,000) or Scarletite (7,000 but
            also a catalyst). There are two guarding chests on the
            western side of the Steppes. Also, if you look on the map at
            the top in the center is a loop. (The western entrance is
            just east of the eastern Adamanchelid guarding a chest.)
            Both sides are guarded by a large dinosaur (the
            Adamantortoise) that you probably can't beat until you are
            pretty well maxed out, but you can sneak past the one
            guarding the western entrance. Inside there are three
            Adamanchelid. After you beat them, sneak back out past the
            same Adamantortoise, save, and when you come back in they
            will be back.
          o If you are willing to concentrate on the game (I am often
            doing other things while I absent-mindedly click the button
            every so often) and can handle the Adamtantortoise, you can
            make lots by repeating Mission 63.
                + Teleport to Taejin's Tower. When you come out of warp,
                  turn left (away from the tower) and follow the path
                  until you enter the Sulyya Springs cave.
                + As soon as you hop up on a platform with a bunch of
                  citters jumping around, turn left and touch the Cei'th
                  Stone.
                + Exit the same way you came in. You should be able to
                  avoid dealing with the enemies in the cave.
                + Backtrack to the Cei'th Stone for Taejin's Tower and
                  teleport to the Central Expanse.
                + Grab a Chocobo and travel to the Save Spot just
                  outside the area where the Adamantortoise is waiting.
                + After you are done, walk to the nearest Chocobo and
                  head to a Teleport stone to repeat the process.
            The reason to use a Chocobo is because you will often get
            some treasure hunting while traveling to and from the fight.
            Once I got 2 Gold Nuggest, a Dawnlight Dew and some
            Corbalite. This will almost always earn you more money than
            fighting the Adamantortoise outside of Edenhall. You are
            sure of at least one Gold Nugget for completing the Mission,
            plus a possible Platinum Ingot or Trapezohedron, and
            possibly some goodies from a few Chocobo hunts. I will often
            enter via the Central Expanse and exit via the Northern
            Expanse so I have a better chance for more Chocobo hunts.
          o You can get lots of Gil by repeating Mission 24 in Taejin's
            Tower. The Cei'th Stone and the Mark are only a few steps
            from each other. Every time you defeat the Mark you get a
            Moonblossom Seed, which sells for 6,000 Gil. Just keep
            walking back and forth until you get tired, then sell
            whatever seeds you have collected.
          o Another way to raise money is to treasure hunt on a Chocobo.
            After 20 digs, you will get a ribbon, but in the mean time
            you can get components that can sell for a nice sum. See my
            comments under the Words of Wisdom section <#misc-words>
            about the Chocobo hunts.

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      Upgrading [misc-up]

The Officially Strategy Guide and many of the FAQs I've seen suggest
that you put off upgrading until later in the game. That is certainly
true for weapons, but upgrading accessories makes lots of sense,
especially early in the game, where a few percentage points can make a
big difference.

There are a number of accessories that have only two levels. This means
that it is very simple and easy to upgrade an accessory. For example,
and Iron Bangle is HP+50, while a Silver Bangle is HP+100. However, if
you add 780 EXP to an Iron Bangle, it will provide HP+120. A Spark Plug
has 90 EXP, while a Passive Dector has 200 EXP, so 9 Spark Plugs or 4
Passive Detectors can make an Iron Bangle better than a Silver Bangle.
You can get those items for free when you can first upgrade, which means
you can essentially upgrade your bangles for free. For small amounts of
EXP, there is no need to worry about getting the Bonus Value to 3X; just
apply enough items that have the EXP needed to max out the accessory.
Look at what items you are getting a lot of from your fights and see how
many of them you need to max out my accessories

Always make sure you apply enough items to max them out with one upgrade
operation. This is because the Bonus Value changes each time you perform
an upgrade. The items that apply large amounts of EXP typically have
small or negative Multiplier Values, which means that if you try to max
out an item with more than one upgrade operation, each time you will
need to apply more and more items to raise the item by the same EXP.

Caclulating how much EXP is needed to max out an item can be confusing.
There are a lot of charts with how many EXP are needed to max out items,
but I have found a lot of errors. If you want to be sure, you should
make your own calculations. To help you with this, you download my
Upgrading FAQ <http://billpringle.com/games/ffxiii_upgrades.html> and/or
my Upgrading Spreadsheet Tool from my web site at
http://billpringle.com/games/.

Top <#top>


      Rants [misc-rants]

In many ways, I prefer the Gambit system from Final Fantasy XII, mostly
because I like writing functional programs, but the Paradigm system
works well for most cases. (In FF XII you can manually override the
gambits for any character, so you get more flexibility.) Since the AI
takes advantage of the enemy stats, in many situations the actions of
your party will be better than the Gambit system. For example, you could
set up a gambit so that if an enemy was weak against fire, to use fire,
but with the paradigm system, it will use whatever element the enemy is
weakest against. On the other hand, you are limited to six paradigms, so
you have to carefully decide what paradigms you want to include in your
deck.

The performance within battles is much better than what you can probably
get from FF XII, but some people feel that they have less control with
paradigms. If, instead of thinking about what commands to use, you
instead think about what strategies to use, you can see that you are
still controlling the fight, just at a higher level. You tell someone to
buff the party, but you don't have to tell them what spells to use
because in most cases they already know - maybe better than you.

I wish Square had included a pronouncing guide when they introduced new
terms. It is disconcerting when the voice actors pronounce a term
differently than you have been pronouncing it for many years.

I was only in chapter 10 when I started writing this FAQ (and have since
finished the game), but so far, this is my least favorite Final Fantasy
game. (I'm talking about the "real" FF games, not all the marketing
spin-offs.) What I enjoy about Final Fantasy is that I am able to
immerse myself into a universe. I can visit the country sides, talk to
people in towns, etc. This game is basically one long string of fights
with a few movies in between. It is still fun to play, but at times
frustrating.

For example, when you get to Nautilus "City of Dreams" there is
absolutely nothing to do. If you stand near people you hear their
comments, but you aren't talking to them, just eavesdropping. You can't
play any games (unless you count chasing a baby Chocobo). The game is
basically cut scenes and fights with some moving along a fixed path in
between. What is interesting about Final Fantasy is that everyone has
their own reasons for liking the game. Trying to get a group of fans to
agree on the "best" (or "worst") Final Fantasy is a fruitless endeavor.

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    Thanks and Credits [tnx]

Thanks to the following for help with this guide

    * Square, for another Final Fantasy. May there be many more
    * Split Infinity, for a great walkthrough, as always
    * thrakkemarn, for some excellent suggestions and pointing out a few
      mistakes
    * tempestmichael, for some comments
    * Sword Seraph, for some excellent comments

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    Version History [version]

1.7 ? 30 Apr 2010
    Added Example Enemy Paradigms
    More power-up locations 
    Misc. changes and additions 
1.6 ? 20 Apr 2010
    Additions and minor corrections.
1.5 ? 12 Apr 2010
    Added tips on Upgrading and getting 5 stars
    Additional example paradigms and parties. 
1.4 ? 4 Apr 2010
    Removed Upgrade section and placed it in its own FAQ
    Minor corrections and changes. 
1.3 ? 31 Mar 2010
    Added section on upgrading. 
    Added power-up locations for Chaps. 12 and 13. 
1.2 ? 25 Mar 2010
    Added additional paradigms involving Sentinels, the list of Power-Up
    Opportunites, and other additions and corrections. 
1.1 ? 19 Mar 2010
    Added Character / Role / Attribute chart. 
    Minor corrections and additions. 
1.0 ? 18 Mar 2010
    Initial draft

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