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Eternal posted a topic in Development DiscussionHello everyone! This is my first post here on NG+, but I'm excited to be able to share this project with this community. I've been out of the modding scene for the past few years aside from some minor projects, mostly due to work and real life stuff consuming the vast majority of my time and energy. I was working on FFTA2 for the most part until I stumbled upon the FFXII (PC) modding community. To that end, I was able to work with some of the many talented folks who are working hard on making tools and doing research on XII's inner workings. With their help, I was able to create the first difficulty/rebalancing mod for FFXII, called The Struggle for Freedom (SFF), designed for The Zodiac Age on PC, for English-speaking communities. XII, and Ivalice in general, hold a very special place in my heart. FFT was one of the first RPGs I ever played, and XII was the first numbered FF I ever finished. Even when I was younger, I always thought XII had a lot of potential and wanted to mess around with it. Why did First Aid have to suck? Why did all Black Magick have to feel the same? And why do those three invisible items added in IZJS not have models? And further, why can't every character feel unique, like they do in other FF games? Those are all some of the founding things I wanted to change with this mod, among many other changes. Here's what the biggest changes are: Enemies have 2x HP and a 1.3x boost to their other stats, making them hit harder, faster, and actually able to survive for a bit longer, without making enemies super tanky and feeling like a drag. Many enemies now use abilities that people have never even seen them use before because of the added survivability. If you use the default version of the mod, each character is assigned a set role and License Board to give them a unique role within the party. Vaan is fast and excels at evasion and combos, Fran is able to wield offensive magicks, Balthier is the best item-user, etc. There are two versions of each board for each character- a Struggle Board, and a Freedom Board. Struggle Boards are linear and have set growth, similar to FFX's Sphere Grid and FFXIII's Crystarium, and Freedom Boards are more open, similar to XII's original License Boards. For those not wanting set roles, there is also a version of the mod included that has the original 12 jobs and the PS2 version of the License Boards. Espers are now far more useful and, if you use the default SFF boards, are assigned to each character. Each character gets two Espers, each having very different playstyles and abilities that compliment their summoner, and Espers have completely revamped AI to take advantage of their skillsets. For example, Belias excels at helping Basch tank by using Bubble/Decoy on him while Belias uses magick, and Adrammelech uses Hastega/Slowga/Blindga and Thunder magicks to aid Vaan. Many abilities have been completely revamped to either fill a new niche, or to be more useful. Equipment- primarily weapons- have been greatly rebalanced. The three invisible items now have models and are more balanced to be on par with other late-game weaponry, and are now available through the Bazaar (albeit requiring rare Loot). Most late-game weaponry within each category is competitive with each other. For example, the Arcturus has enhanced Range compared to other Guns, the Fomalhaut has an increased Critical Hit Rate compared to other Guns, and the Mithuna has the highest raw Attack of all Guns. Character stats have been revamped to better fit a character's role. For example, Basch now has some of the best VIT/HP in the game as befitting his role as a tank, whereas Vaan is the fastest, and Fran has the highest Magick. What will happen in future versions? Currently, FFXII modding is still very much in its infancy. There's many things we can't do just yet, and even things like editing text is very time-consuming. To that end, there are some minor text inaccuracies and other very small bugs that are being slowly but surely snipped for future versions. We're also working on a Treasure Chest Editor, which will hopefully be done within the next few weeks. Once that's completed, treasure chests will be a 100% spawn, 100% set item, and will no longer respawn, much like traditional FF treasure chests. Those chests will have set items, generally the rarest item that would have normally been found in that chest to begin with. AI is currently not editable for enemies. Hopefully, in future versions, we'll be able to make enemy AI more interesting. I think that covers most of the bigger things... I would definitely add, however, to read the Readme/Master Guide included with the mod download prior to playing. It has a variety of useful information, as well as accurate info about Abilities/Equipment/Items that can't be found in-game at the moment due to text modding limitations. SFF isn't perfect, but I hope that it'll allow people to enjoy XII in a new way. A lot of love went into making SFF, and I'm excited to share it with others who love Ivalice as well. If anyone has any questions or feedback, feel free to ping me on Discord (eternal248#1817) or shoot me a message here. I try to be as responsive as possible, and I'd love to hear from you guys! This is my first post here, so if I've done anything wrong, just let me know and I'll fix whatever I need to. Thank you! Download it here.
Content mode and Normal mode are different in more ways than just enemies. Normal mode has some balancing done with equipment. Here's how I rate the difficulty and my overall experience with the 2 modes that are currently out. Content mode: Content mode is kinda like baby's first rom hack. It closely matches vanilla in difficulty. Something about that which I haven't thought about until now though, is that vanilla only had 1 superboss, Culex. He was pretty hard, and all optional bosses match that. They are all just like Culex, it's just that there are so many of them. What makes content mode even worthy of the title "difficulty hack" is the fact that the superbosses are the main attraction. I give it a 1/10 in difficulty, this is because, if you know what you're doing, you can blast through any boss without breaking a sweat. The ultimate boss can even be beaten without blocking! I give it a 6/10 for the overall experience, because it's not too much fun just blasting through even the toughest bosses. I do however like the feeling of blasting through them. In the end, it was made for people who wasn't very experienced with vanilla/difficulty hacks, so I can't really give a fair opinion because of that, but it'll do for now. Normal mode: Normal mode is currently the main attraction of the hack. It's balanced and challenging even if you know what you're doing, and you're not forced to learn every little trick about an enemy to beat it, even at the very end. It does however get tough eventually, but not to where you need to be a master to beat it. The biggest difference between this and content mode, besides being a lot tougher, of course, is that certain accessories have been buffed/ nerfed. The double-turn items have been nerfed and some of the high tier non-double-turn items have been buffed to not get totally overshadowed by the double-turn items. Another tweak to these powerful pieces of gear, is how you unlock some of the best ones. I will mark the next section as a spoiler for those who hasn't made it that far, and doesn't want to be spoiled. Just know that you need to meet certain requirements to get a reward from a later boss. All these changes put together makes normal mode pretty rough. I give it a 6/10 in difficulty due to a certain late postgame boss, the rest is about 3-4/10. I also give it a 8/10 for the overall experience, because you have to really work to get further. Take the Axem Rangers, in content mode, you can just plow right through them on your first try (I somehow managed to die to them 3 times when playing content mode, oops), but you'll probably have to be prepared before facing them in normal mode. (In which I beat them on my first try, don't ask) I hope this can help some people to decide which version to start out with. Thanks for reading!
Part of my goals for this game is to create a more consistent difficulty curve, while still retaining variety in encounter types. This is something I can't do without your help! I can test my own battles as much as I want to, however I'm not a blind runner and can't replicate how another player who thinks differently from myself will approach a battle. There are some battles that still seem out of place in my opinion, but I'm also not sure if anyone else finds them troublesome or not. Anyone who has played through a good portion of the game can write their own rankings. Use whatever scale you want, but please explain it if it's not the same one I'm using. Keep in mind some of the differences within versions - if a battle has changed drastically since you last played it, please note that. All of my rankings are based on battles in the newest version (2.55 as of this post) All newly added battles that didn't exist in vanilla are now in italics. No longer relevant notes removed. Note: Rankings in story battles are based off of not using sidequest equipment or characters. They assume a "normal" party (Ramza, Agrias, and whatever monsters are available at that point in the game; with reasonable stats/equipment/jobs and abilities available). They do not assume excessive amounts of grinding (i.e, Bard in ch 1) or unreasonable recruitment (all 74/74 units). Chapter 4 end sequence and chapter 5 ranking assumes lv 99 party (since reaching it at low levels in current versions is an unreasonable assumption). Extra battles ranking assumes a ch 4 party (but you are free to attempt those as soon as it opens for you for the extra challenge). Scale: between 0-10, where 0 is "must actively try to lose" and 10 is "evil" Note that the battles are ranked as compared with each other - it's not necessarily an even difference between a 1 and 2 vs. a 7 and 8. Added: Current average to each chapter, battle count. Chapter 1: Orbonne Intro - 1 Gariland - 1 Mandalia - 1.5 Igros Castle - 1 Sweegy - 2 Dorter 1 - 2.5 Sand Rats - 2.5 Miluda 1 - 1 Mandalia 2 - 3 Miluda 2 - 2.7 Wiegraf 1 - 2 Algus - 2.8 Current battles: 12 Ch 1 average: 2.1 Chapter 2: Dorter 2 - 2.5 Araguay - 2 Zirekile - 3.5 Zaland - 5.1 Zaland 2 - 4 Barius Hill - 4.5 Lionel Gate 1 - 4 Zigolis - 4.8 Goug 1 - 5.1 Goug 2 - 4 Warjilis Port - 4.8 Barius Valley - 4.5 Golgorand - 5.4 Gafgarion - 5.5 Queklain - 5 Current battles: 15 Ch 2 average: 4.3 Chapter 3: Goland - 5 Zalmo - 7 Outside Orbonne - 5 Book Storage 1 - 6.5 Izlude - 7 Wiegraf 2 - 5 Dorter 3 - 5.7 Lesalia 2 - 6 Grog Hill - 6.5 Yardow - 6.4 Yuguo - 5 Riovanes Gate - 6.5 Velius - 8 Riovanes 3 - 7 Rooftop - 4 Current battles: 15 Ch 3 average: 5.9 Chapter 4: Doguola - 8 Meliadoul - 7 Finath - 9.5 Zeltennia 1 (Ruins) - 7.5 Zeltennia 2 (Castle) - 8 Zeltennia 3 (Church) - 7 Zalmo 2 - 8.5 Balk 1 - 9.1 South Wall - 9.6 North Wall - 6.5 Sluice - 8 Bethla 4 (Final boss?) - 7.9 Zarghidas Slums - 7.5 Zarghidas 2 (Juiblex) - 8.1 Germinas - 7 Germinas 2 (Duma) - 8 Poeskas - 9.3 Limberry Gate - 7 Limberry Office - 8.5 Elmdor - 8 Zalera - 8.5 Igros Gate - 8 Adramelk - 9.2 Balbanes' Grave - 8 Murond Gate - 7.5 Murond Hall - 6.5 Zalbag - 9.1 Orbonne Chapel - 8.5 Book Storage 4 - 7 Rofel - 9 Death City Entrance - 9.1 Kletian - 9.2 Balk 2 - 9.7 Hashmalum - 9.4 Altima 1 - 8 Altima 2 - 8.9 Current battles: 35 (36 if you count both Altimas separately) Ch 4 average: 8.2 Chapter 5 (work in progress): Zeltennia 5 - 8 Fort Zeakden 2 - 7 Fovoham Windmill - 9.2 Fovoham 2 - 9.3 Riovanes Gate 2 - 9.8 Bervenia Volcano - 9.4 Inside the Volcano - 9.5 Zeklaus Desert - 9.5 Dorter 4 - 9.6 Sweegy 2 - 9 Gariland 2 - 9.6 Inside Military Academy - 9.7 Outside Murond - 9.7 Inside Murond - 9.8 Murond Chapel - 9.5 Goug - 9.1