Final Fantasy XII (PC): The Struggle for Freedom - A Difficulty Mod

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Hey NGPlus community, and happy New Year! It's been a while, but I've released a few big updates since the last time I posted on here. SFF is currently at 1.6.2, and I figured it was time to update you all! :)

This will (hopefully) be one of the last updates, as SFF is more or less where I want it to be. Future updates will primarily focus on bugfixes and balance issues. There are many, many changes, but here are the biggest changes made since 1.5:

  • Quickening shortcuts have been removed from the Struggle boards, since they weren't adding much to the game, and they were just causing confusion and frustration for people missing out on some stuff late-game.
  • Hand-Bombs have become Knuckles, which allow the player to see Unarmed animations and actually use (pseudo) Unarmed combat more often. Also, each character now begins with Brawler learned, allowing for True Unarmed gameplay runs.
  • The Brawler License has become Master Thief, giving the character the ability to have more accurate Steals, and allowing them to Steal two things at once sometimes. It's basically the Thief's Cuffs, without the need to sacrifice an Accessory slot.
  • Wither/Addle have been removed and have been replaced with Blitz/Erase, the former dealing AoE physical damage and the latter removing every status- good and bad- from a single target.
  • Most Technicks have been completely retouched in some way. Numerology now deals percentile damage to enemies in an AoE, Traveler bestows Haste/Float/Vanish on the user, First Aid restores 15% HP now, etc.
  • Five-Star Trophy Hunts now have 100% drops, making it more worth the player's while to seek them out.
  • Certain enemies have been rebalanced, with many late-game enemies receiving careful nerfs to make them less tedious fights.
  • Some weapons have been changed around to have more use, such as the Platinum Sword becoming the Liquid Steel, adding a Water physical option mid-game.
  • Accessories have been reworked, with many giving DEF/RES or additional effects to make them more universally useful.
  • Aquaga is now usable, replacing Shock. Gravity/Graviga have become Quake/Quakega, and Vanishga has become Gravity. Bio/Scourge are back to being Non-Elemental and inflicting debuffs. Reverse (which became basically useless) has been replaced with Drainga.
  • Decoy lasts longer now.
  • Many shops have been edited, allowing things like Teleport Stones and Serums to be purchased earlier.
  • Black Orbs now drop from enemies as normal items, allowing you to collect them more easily, while still being able to pick up the Orbs via pressing X as you could before.
  • Guests now come with the Ignore Traps Augment, making them unable to accidentally trip traps.

It can be found here!


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The good thing is that it's on sale a lot these days. There was just a really good sale for it during the Steam Winter Sale where it was like 50-60% off. I'm sure it'll come back on sale again soon, probably during the Spring sale (if not earlier).

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1.7 of SFF has been released on the Nexus (link below). It's a very large update and will likely be the last large content update, with future updates focusing on balance tweaks and small changes. There are several large changes, but some of the major ones are the following:

-Axes/Hammers no longer deal randomized damage.
-Rods and Crossbows are more useful now, with the latter now being able to Combo and ignore Weather.
-The Hunt Club sidequest is now far more interesting, has been completely revamped, and is how the player obtains the Wyrmhero Blade. 
-Holy is far better now, dealing AoE damage with a chance of inflicting Stop, similar to FFXIV.
-Treasures have been completely revamped- all 1600+ chests now have the chest's rare item as the Diamond Armlet's common item, making those wearing the DA more likely to find genuinely good, rare treasure.
-Many enemies with one 3% Steal have had Steal rates increased to reduce tedium.
-Protect/Shell/Regen last longer, making them more viable early game.
-For those playing with Struggle/Freedom boards, Penelo has been buffed to be a better caster and survive longer.
-There are many other changes- be sure to check the changelog on the Nexus!

I've put my heart and soul into this project, and I hope that everyone who has played it, is playing it, or will come to play it enjoys the world of Ivalice, improved.

A full 1.7 changelog can be viewed here:

1.7 can be downloaded here:!aLJV1CqC!_hmF2k-AsOwtmNrGacCseId46eRtBrYrNtqq3ML9TT4

I'm sure that certain numbers will need to be changed in the future, but that just comes with the territory, so feedback is greatly appreciated!

Edited by Eternal

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Any reason why the files for this have all been deleted? Was quite looking forward to playing it myself after finally getting around to buying the game during the steam winter sale.

edit: Never mind, I'm dumb and can't read. Looking forward to playing this anyways! Thanks for the hard work man.

Edited by Vivadufruit
Reading is hard.

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Will there be a gambit for "Foe: has something to steal"? One annoying thing from the original was that you couldn't have a proper gambit to attempt a steal from only enemies that had stuff to steal.

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i love everything about your mod EXCEPT the double hp on bosses, just finished lushu mines and I think they just take way too long to kill. i wanted to ask what tool did you use to edit the bosses? Is it on the nexus?

If so, after i download it, what file(s) are the boss hp values stored in? I also know how to do basic hex editing so if you tell me what files i can try doing it that way too.

I think with boss hp only x1.5 instead of double your SFF mod will be PERFECT.

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I wouldn't seek for balancing around the bosses of Lhusu Mines, they are 4 ennemies so of course they take longer than most bosses that are alone, and they are optionnal bosses (you are suppose to run away from them as Balthier say in the cutscene prior) so they are meant to be harder than regular story bosses if you choose to fight them.

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14 hours ago, Nesouk said:

I wouldn't seek for balancing around the bosses of Lhusu Mines, they are 4 ennemies so of course they take longer than most bosses that are alone, and they are optionnal bosses (you are suppose to run away from them as Balthier say in the cutscene prior) so they are meant to be harder than regular story bosses if you choose to fight them.


Problems started in Barheim. With the HP boost SFF gives to bosses the Mimic queen is impossible to defeat without the charge running out. Anyway i am not here to argue about whether it's right to balance something or not, i am here asking to do something that will make me enjoy the mod more. If not then the mod is useless to me and i will have to remove it.

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So after all these years I FINALLY got the PC version of FFXII and can finally try out this mod, saw that since then a Hard Mod version has been made, but I wanted to try the original version for now.

So far I got up to Raithwall Tomb (just defeat the first Demon Wall), going mostly blind (aka not watching the docs for finding gear and stuff, I only read the doc for when something isn't clear to me like Diamond Armlet's reworked effect), I think before anything I should emphasize that as I'm used with FFXII I'm trying to explore as much as I can and doing Hunts and optionnal Bosses as early as possible, so now about what I have to say on the mod :

Characters :

So since I want to play the mod as intended I opted for the the custom License Boards, opting for the Struggle Boards, so the obvious good thing is it makes each characters feel unique, basically it's like playing similar to FFIX where each character are preset with lower customization, I do admit that I find the reduce customization unfortunate but it allow for more balancing game, the Struggle Board being also very linear remove potential to get access to better gear early, but pretty much remove the decision making in regard to getting the Licenses, but I knew what I was throwing myself into and in that regard the Freedom Board are an option as for the characters themselves :

-Vaan : Basically the speedy fighter and Thief (and I do steal a LOT just saying XD), not much damage but attacks fast and he has a decent Evasion and good utility with access to Immobilize and Blind (Statut Effect are good in this game, vanilla is just sadly to easy to make them truly shine) and other statut effect on his Daggers, also really like that Master Thief license not having to equipped an accessory for that is a welcome QoL, also earliest character to get access to the Focus Augment will see if this is good on him as I just got it.
Also for him, Balthier and Basch First Aid has become a very usefull skill to recover between battle.

-Balthier : The Leading Man has proven quite usefull so far, one thing to note Guns are great at this stage probably a result of ennemies defense being increase, but so far Balthier with Guns has been consistantly the hardest hitting character unless the ennemy has the license that reduce damage from Guns, on top of that I got Blazer Gloves through the Bazaar during the Sandsea, and he is currently the only character who can use it, since with Guns he can stay out of range it's not hard to keep his HP top. On other utility he is so far the only character with Decoy this gives him a great synergy with Basch (more on him later), and Oil which I sadly lack good Fire damage option to truly take advantage of but it was usefull early on with Fran's Fire spell.

-Fran : So far she has been the least usefull character for me, magick is lacking for mobs early on due to the lack of AoE spells, and sadly the spell that could have remede that Aero has been revert to a Single Target spell and the Cherry Staff doesn't boost it anymore (it was still usefull for Sandsea where pretty much everything is weak to Wind), got Silver Arrows quite early which made her with a Bow decent for Lhusu Mines, and Blind is a usefull statut effect which she has better chance to land than Vaan thanks to an higher magick stat, her best contribution other than that is when she can hit a boss elemental weakness or Oil + Fire (mainly during the Barheim section).

One thing for these 2 I don't understand tough is why the Light Gear License 2 are unlocked immediatly and they come with equipement for it, yet the Light Gear License 1 is still in their path, not a deal breaker just a nitpick.

-Basch : The straightforward tank character, I have been enjoying the Axes much improve combo rate and non-random damage tough ^^, as mentionned earlier great synergy with Balthier early on with Balthier having Decoy. One balance issue tough in the Sandsea you can found a Rare Monster called Imdugud, similar to how you removed the Gladius from Lindbur Wolf, I was expecting you removed Imdugud's Shielded Armor, turns out that wasn't the case and Basch with this armor completly cheese the Sandsea, as thanks to a pretty high defense and Auto-Protect litterally every mob in the Sandsea were hitting Basch for 0 or 1 digit damage with their physical attack, and with Decoy from Balthier this basically trivialize the Sandsea (and I'm honnestly expecting it to be pretty effective in Raithwall Tomb), and in general having Basch has the Decoy with Balthier and Ashe attacking at distance has been a working strat even for bosses and even more with this armor.

-Ashe : I'm honnestly surprise in how you decided to go for her, one would be expecting to make her a Magic heavy character, but instead she is a very well Balance character, and quite customizable since she has access to both Heavy Armor and Mystic Armor (and by the way she can also equipped the Shielded Armor and it's just as effective), so far I mostly played her with Heavy Armors and Crossbow from distance, Crossbow are pretty good so far decent damage and speed and their ability to combo is nice, but she can also work as a Mage with Mystic Armor and access to Dark and Quake (which by the way are early on the best spell available for the Reflect Strat) or go Hand to Hand combat with Katanas, very usefull character so far.

-Penelo : I feel the Shielded Armor gotten on Basch has somewhat made her look worse than she is for the Sandsea section, as prior to getting the Armor her Cura was pretty valuable, after that tough since Basch is negating most of the mobs damage her Cura become less valuable and she was just good for healing Statut Effect and dealing some damage with Poles, doesn't help that Basch get access to Protect and Shell by himself so once he do Penelo isn't even needed for that. I feel it's just a case of being at a point where support is still not needed enough for a character to be fully dedicate to it. Didn't get much use for her Shade of White skill outside of fishing Bravery and Faith for Balthier and Ashe to beat the First Demon Wall ASAP.

So for now I feel Balthier, Basch and Ashe are the most usefull characters of the bunch, Vaan is decent but Fran and Penelo feel a bit lackluster compare to the other, I of course expect this to change as I'll progress through the game.

As for guest character not much to say about them, Lamont isn't here for long but he does his Job of acting as a support and Shade of Black makes him funny (Scathe let's go XD), Vossler deal damage comparable to Basch, his Blitz Skill was good for the fight before getting Ashe and Expose is good for trying optionnal bosses early, and explore area (Zertinian Cave's Slimes and Frogs have quite a high defense which makes him good for managing).

Difficulty :

So at first I admit I wasn't sure about the Double HP and +30% stat increase, but it turns out really fine actually I'll admit that the beginning can feel a bit slow but eventually you get more option and stronger, and so this Stat increase feel natural, mobs doesn't die in one hit like Vanilla but aren't to long to defeat and they are sturdy enough to make statut effect worth casting on them, bosses feel good to you still have some option to speed them up (like for Mimic Queen you can Oiled her and cast Fire with Fran and get some Rime Fang before the fight for a good amount of damage), also makes some debuff more valuable like the difference between a Slowed ennemy and non-slowed ennemy is much more noticeable, making Slow a really good debuff.

I'll say tough like Vanilla there is a gap in difficulty between Optionnal Bosses and Storyline Bosses but for one this is expectd and for 2 the difference isn't, Storyline Bosses are still fairly easy and contrary to Vanilla are tough enough to actually make Statut Effect usefull, doing Optionnal Bosses as soon as they are available is the real challenge and is where you have to strategize the most which is how it should be, Hunts in particular like doing Cluckatrice Hunt or Rocktoise Hunt before going to the Leviathan was quite a tough challenge and satisfying to pull off.

I want to emphasize that while I do explore a lot and take my time to kill every ennemies I encounter, I didn't do any excessive grinding section and the difficulty is well tuned so far.

So for now I'm really enjoying this mod, it gives a nice freash experience on my favorite Final Fantasy, especially this Zodiac Age version which I felt was way to easy (way more than base FFXII and even easier than PS2 IZJS), I'll try to do everything even tough I saw somewhere that Trial Mod was very VERY brutal but I'll see that for myself ^^"

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Well I've been continuing a LOT since last time, so lot of thing have change since last post especially in regard to the characters :

-Vaan : Has evolve quite a lot, he started as a sort of all rounder with some debuff and decent damage, has a small period where he was an evasion tank, but lately has been really shining as a DPS monster, ever since I grab Orochi and Germina Boots, buff him with Haste, Berserk and Bravery and he attacks almost instantly and he hit like a truck, definitly my go to single target damage dealer at the moment no one else come even close. On other small utility his Sight Unseeing has been usefull for quick Poaching farm ^^.

-Balthier : Has other character picked up in speed his Damage with Guns was still respectable fall from grace, however he got a good swap in becoming one of the best support character, only character that have access to Bubble spell, measures allow him to quickly buff (and if you get them early buff that you might not have access yet with spells), and with Pheasant Netsuke his healing through items is great particularly MP Recovery with Ether and Revive with Phenix Down (with Pheasant Netsuke and all Phenix Down Lore, Phenix Down are effectivly instant arise with Balthier) as well as statut effect healing with Remedies. I'm really not sold on the spears tough.

-Fran : She really picked up compare to the early game, access to Staves that Boost elemental damage and stronger version of spells makes her much better, and surprisingly with Bows and Elemental arrow as well as Kaiser Knuckles (this Knuckle in particular is great cause it uses the Gun's damage formula) with Elemental knuckle and access to Berserk Bracers she can be a surprisingly good Physical Damage dealer if you want to save MP, I'd say however unfortunatly Magic other than Blizzard line of spell took quite a nerf due to losing their AoE property, I don't really like this change as in all honnestly what was making Magic good in Vanilla was how potent it was at cleaning group of mobs, now that it isn't the case (only with Blizzaga, and maybe once I get Scathe or Scourge), for Fire spell for instance I see ne reason to lose MP on Firaga when I can just take a Bows with Fiery Arrows and Berserk Bracers.

-Basch : Probably the character that change the least as the playthrough goes, he is tank and absolutly everything he get just server to make him in that role, which is fine goes he does the job very well, he can Decoy, Protect and Shell himself so he is totally self-sufficent buff wise, a gigantic HP pool especially with Bubble and a Shield for every element, altough recently got the Ensanguined Shield and I have to say having Auto-Lure on him is so damn convenient, as an added utility he get Expose and Shear to reduce defenses of the target and make his allies hit harder.

-Ashe : Now let's jump right into the big one, the big game changer for Ashe is without any questions the Indigo Pendant once she grab that accessory Ashe goes from being good to being amazing, thanks to Immobilize and Disable these 2 spells alone can trivialize a TON of mobs including high Level mobs like the Necrohol of Nabudis and the last part of Lhusu Mines, Ashe's presence alone make these 2 area 10 times easier to go through thanks to Disable and Immobilize, as mobs susceptible to these might as well be considere dead. Really the rest doesn't matter this ability to neutralize mobs is so invaluable, it help that she is also an all-rounder and can dish good damage herself, she isn't as usefull in Boss Fight (mainly for Slow, Immobilize sometime) for the moment tough.

-Penelo : Yeah Penelo during the sandsea part/Raithwall was really taking a dump because of Shielded Armor issue, thankfully this has been the only instances where you could easily get an equipment that made her support less good than it is, while Balthier gives her quite a competition as far as support goes, she still definitly has the edge as far as AoE healing goes with Cura and later Curaja, she was also a better single-target heal for the time she has Curaga and Balthier didn't have X-Potions, which made her a good pair with Basch, acces to Sage's Ring also make MP management much easier, and Curaja made her a good damage dealer against Undead, she is also catching up on Buff side as she is getting the spells for them, really the only downside of Penelo is that outside of Undead her damage are Abysmal.

So yeah I'm quite liking how the character are turning on, on the difficulty side I still think the story is sadly a bit on the easy side even if it's nowhere near as easy as vanilla Zodiac Age, but the optionnal quest are proving challenging enough and the rework on the gameplay really keeps things fresh, I also experiment a little with the Espers and they are pretty good, Mateus help me a bit against the Baknamies in the Deadlands thanks to them being weak to ice, Addramalech almost solo the Mateus fight with Thunder, and Belias was good when there was a fire weakness to exploit, haven't try Zalera tough, admitadly never being fan of Instant-Kill in FFXII as it prevent you to gain any EXP, LP or items which is annoying and just got Zeromus (aka the most OP esper in Vanilla) but haven't try him yet.

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Almost at the end only have Omega and the Trial Mod left to complete, not much to add in regard to the character outside of Penelo becoming a real beast in the later area of the game once you grab Holy and the Holy Rod, since later area are fill with monstre weak to Light she wrecks them.

On subject of weapon balance tough :

-Knuckles : Now that's an interesting weapon, unfortunately it's on the wrong character Fran's strength is just not good to really take advantage of these weapon, with 2 exception being the Kaiser Knuckle since it doesn't require any stats, and the Magick Knuckle which use the Mace formula which obviously makes it good on Fran.

-2-Handed Sword : I like the concept, but feel on Basch I have a hard time justifying picking these over his other type, with the exception of the Excalibur (Holy Damage + High Attack power + Auto-Haste = Best weapon for Basch for mob fights in post-game area), most of the time I find it not worth dropping a Shield for Greatsword, most noticeably Ensanguined Shield Auto-Lure is so convenient and was my go to Shield in most boss fight (switching to Elemental Shield when I saw a big attack coming) as the Lure effect persist through Stop and no need to reapply it after a Death, plus Basch has access to the Golden Axe which is fairly easy to get, and have a high Attack power and decent Combo unless there was an Elemental weakness Golden Axe + Shield was my go to set up with him.

-Hammer : Honnestly found these useless, the statut effect they provide is covered by Ashe (which once she get the Indigo Pendant inflict them more reliably) and once you get the Nihopalaoa by Balthier.

-Spears I found them underpower personnaly, maybe it's because Balthier is not a Physical Powerhouse but as a result of ennemies's Defense increase and Balthier lack of strength option, the damage of his Spear is consistantly inferior to the damage of his Guns and by a margin, not mentionning Guns have more versatility in elemental damage, maybe that's just me not knowing how to exploit the Spear's potential.

As to progress recently beat Yazmat, took me about 1 hour and 56 minutes without x4 speed (I don't like using this when fighting bosses) at LV75, my strat was :

-Basch as the Tank and decent damage with Golden Axe after Yazmat being fully expose he was hitting for 8000 per hits (5000 after the Defense Bonus kicks in) and the Gendarme for Elemental reduction against his Breath and Cyclone, I let him do his own buffing work with Decoy, Protect and Shell MP isn't a concern for him, since he can't equipped Ribbon I had to cycle through his Accessorie to avoid Statut effet (Bowling Sash for Stone Breath (and Cyclone if I have the time to react), Power Armlet for White Breath and Black Belt for his normal attack).

-Ashe definitive Damage Dealer for this fight, like she was design for this fight in short : Murasame (Dark Elemental Katana) + Demon Mail (boost dark damage) + Rood Inverse (Auto Critical HP aka permanent Adrenaline) + Bravery + Berserk = 11,7 damage multiplier on her damage, after full expose she was hitting Yazmat for over 40k per hits (about 30k when his defense goes up mid-fight).

-Balthier : Since Yazmat isn't to dangerous early on I use him as a support, was healing Basch with X-Potion, keeping the Bubble on Basch and Bravery on Ashe and dealing some damage himself Mithuna and Dark Shot (about 10k per shot so respectable), once I run out of X-Potion Penelo take his place and from then I was just bringgin him to refresh Basch Bubble and as a resurrection if Penelo died (pretty much after every Cyclone in the final phase).

-Penelo : Pure support was healing Basch with Curaga, refreshing Ashe's Bravery, toward the end when Yazmat become relentless pretty much have to spam Curaga with her for Basch to not die, as if Basch die I was fucked.

In the end it did go very well just one moment in the 5 last bars where I have to go out of his range to regroup as I was losing the control of the situation, for the most part the 5 last millions where he stop doing breath and instead keep attacking non-stop with occasionnal Death Strike was by far the hardest part of the fight, not helping that at that point Basch was the only one surviving Cyclone.

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