Final Fantasy XIII Ditches Leveling Up for "Crystalium"

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Final Fantasy XIII Ditches Leveling Up for "Crystalium"

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Weekly Japanese manga-and-all-things-nerdy magazine Shonen Jump has revealed the upcoming advancement system in Final Fantasy XIII, which ditches traditional leveling for something like Final Fantasy X's Sphere Grid.

Now, for everything you can say about Square-Enix's landmark Final Fantasy JRPG series, you can't say that it hasn't ever tried variations on the basic RPG "level up new skill yay!" formula. But while the games have played with how your characters learn abilities - whether completely modular and tied to other items like in FF7, learned from equipment like in FF9, or learned from attached summoned creatures as in FF6 and FF8 - the games have still largely held to the formula of "hit an arbitrary limit of experience points, level up and get more powerful."

Not so in Final Fantasy XIII. The latest issue of manga magazine Shonen Jump has some scans and information detailing the game's advancement system, called the "Crystalium" System. According to the translation posted on Andriasang, defeating enemies in battle in FF13 will earn "Crystal Points," or CP - and these CP can be exchanged for new skills or abilities, like the standard Fire/Fira/Firaga tree of magic.

As you purchase certain skills, your characters will unlock new available paths - my guess is that these paths will presumably lead further down their chosen fields; purchasing magic abilities will unlock more magic-based points and so on. Nor will this just be skill and abilities, either - the screenshots in the scans show purchasable nodes that increase a character's health, so one can assume that they'll be able to increase their other statistics in the same way.

It all sounds very reminiscent of the Sphere Grid system in Final Fantasy X, which is good because the Sphere Grid was awesome (if rather hard to explain to people at first). True, if you spent enough time with it you'd eventually end up with characters that were all exactly the same, but that's true with almost every Final Fantasy advancement system out there, and it at least preserved the characters' in-battle identities for a while (Tidus was quick, Wakka accurate, Auron powerful, etc).

A more in-depth explanation on the Crystalium System is believed to appear in Famitsu later this month as we move closer to Final Fantasy XIII's December release date.

And no, I still don't know what "OPTIMA CHANGE!" means.

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My guess is that "OPTIMA CHANGE!" is french for "DIGIVOLVE TO!"

Nothing wrong with that, so far as I'm concerned. The sphere grid was my favorite method of leveling up characters in any of the Final Fantasy games.

"Optima change!"? I think the Japanese should hire a person from a Western country just to check if their names make any dang sense. "Executive producer of making things not sound silly".

I'm guessing OPTIMA its just another way of saying Optimus, and CHANGE may just mean transform.

So I guess you will be able to summon Optimus Prime.

Which would totally rule.

DrunkWithPower:
My guess is that "OPTIMA CHANGE!" is french for "DIGIVOLVE TO!"

I would gladly play a Final Fantasy/Digimon crossover.

I also loved the Sphere grid, as it was also the first time that a character limits could be put WELL BEYOND anything I'd ever seen before. Nothing quite like watching the frail and timid summoner smack a beast in the head for 20k damage.

EDIT:

Irridium:
I'm guessing OPTIMA its just another way of saying Optimus, and CHANGE may just mean transform.

So I guess you will be able to summon Optimus Prime.

Which would totally rule.

We do already have ONE transforming car in XIII, why not add another? :D

I never remember leveling up being broken, why try to replace a formula that has worked for well over 15 years?

SharPhoe:

DrunkWithPower:
My guess is that "OPTIMA CHANGE!" is french for "DIGIVOLVE TO!"

I would gladly play a Final Fantasy/Digimon crossover.

I also loved the Sphere grid, as it was also the first time that a character limits could be put WELL BEYOND anything I'd ever seen before. Nothing quite like watching the frail and timid summoner smack a beast in the head for 20k damage.

I have a save game where Yuna and Lulu's melee attacks do 99999 damage apiece.

Hmmm.
I like the way it sounds.
Hopefully it will let us make characters based around our own taste's a bit easer.

SharPhoe:

I also loved the Sphere grid, as it was also the first time that a character limits could be put WELL BEYOND anything I'd ever seen before. Nothing quite like watching the frail and timid summoner smack a beast in the head for 20k damage.

Disgaea would break your head then ;)

this reminds me of buying skills and armor and weapons for your character like in FFXII

which was a interesting way of leveling up. You could teach anyone any skill or weapon or armor. But I keep all 6 of them different from each other when I played.

the Sphere grid is also great way to level up as well

FFVIII is also very intersting as way to level up as well. I liked this way as well

Reminds me of how you had to buy the licenses to wear better weapons and armor in FFXII. I welcome this new leveling system. Although I doubt I'd be playing this game any time soon.

So, is it similar to FF12's license board? Because I hated that thing.
Never played FFX, so I don't know how it was.
I agree with the above poster, OPTIMA CHANGE is definitely refering to Optimus Prime.

I was on the fence, but now I'm not buying it. Abandoning levels for this shitty CP thing? Reminds me of FFII, which was broken as hell

GloatingSwine:

Disgaea would break your head then ;)

I plan on trying that series someday, hopefully soon. I'll make sure to wear a helmet so I don't make a mess when it blows my mind. XD

I loved the Sphere Grid from FFX, just because it meant no longer grinding for several hours before I could take on the next boss. I just hope that they make it more customizable, as in FFXII, because it was a bit strange that they had this system for choosing how you could advance your characters, and then have each grid be essentially one line, with some exceptions.

Come to think of it, they were sort of slowly working their way over here. You'd unlock more hitpoints and mana in FFXII, and if using a grid to unlock hitpoints and mana is the way you go then why do you even need levels? Might as well just give them the points (Crystalium, SP, whatever).

As long as it doesn't end up like the license system in FFXII where you could get all abilities for every character simply by grinding like there's no tomorrow.

ForgottenPr0digy:
this reminds me of buying skills and armor and weapons for your character like in FFXII

which was a interesting way of leveling up. You could teach anyone any skill or weapon or armor. But I keep all 6 of them different from each other when I played.

I thought this a now it has me worried. While I liked the system for learning skills and abilities, the fact you also had to learn how to wear a hat REALLY annoyed me. Hopefully its more like the sphere grid though. If so, I'm definitely buying it as I really like the sound of the combat system.

Ending up with characters who are "all the same" is one of the things that made FFXII so damn forgettable. One of the reasons characters like Cloud or Vivi are memorable is because of their big effing swords and defined classes, not because they could have used spears or anything else you felt like giving them. I guess I see a characters' weapon/class/whatever as part of their personality, and this effort to "promote customization" kinda smacks of laziness in character development.

Maybe I'm reading too far into this. Maybe FFXIII won't in fact suck. I can only hope.

The DSM:
I never remember leveling up being broken, why try to replace a formula that has worked for well over 15 years?

Because a lot of people (me included) think that that "formula" is linear, boring, and allows absolutely no customization of your character. You can't be who you want to be, only who the character is. Which is boring. Having more control over which path you want to take is always a good thing. Examples being Fallout3 and Oblivion.

Why does this remind me of Fable?

Plus, it's a redundant and stupid change. I loved the system they had.

I think Lisence points, were the last straw for me.

The Sphere was one of the easiest skilling up systems to exploit, so obviously I'm chuffed to bits that it's making a return.

As long as it's nothing like that aweful, aweful licensing system...

I honestly can't play 12 because of that system...
Like I play up the moment the guys who gives you the tutorial says "Hey! you don't have the license for that yet!"

Then I turn my console off...

So yeah, sphere-grid for the win!

Sounds interesting. Can't wait to see people break it and complain about it.

BrotherhoodOfSteel:
Why does this remind me of Fable?

Plus, it's a redundant and stupid change. I loved the system they had.

I think Lisence points, were the last straw for me.

"The System they had"?

Every FF has a different system, dude.

CantFaketheFunk:

SharPhoe:

DrunkWithPower:
My guess is that "OPTIMA CHANGE!" is french for "DIGIVOLVE TO!"

I would gladly play a Final Fantasy/Digimon crossover.

I also loved the Sphere grid, as it was also the first time that a character limits could be put WELL BEYOND anything I'd ever seen before. Nothing quite like watching the frail and timid summoner smack a beast in the head for 20k damage.

I have a save game where Yuna and Lulu's melee attacks do 99999 damage apiece.

Their MELEE attacks? No offense intended, but that sounds a wee bit fishy to me...

Which reminds me, I never spent money in that game... contrary to 12, where I never had enough :(

I liked both the licensing and Sphere Grid systems: hopefully this is a delightful combination of both.

Wakka accurate

Ha ah hah ha hah ha! Oh, you were serious. Wakka missed about 95% of the time, which is why I never used him.

However, the system does sound interesting, and it will make power-leveling a bit more fun. Didn't like 12 too much, but the Gambit system did make it easy to customize your characters for a particular type of battle. That and i could beat the Hellwyrm by setting the appropriate items and gambits and walking away for 2 hours.

CantFaketheFunk:

BrotherhoodOfSteel:
Why does this remind me of Fable?

Plus, it's a redundant and stupid change. I loved the system they had.

I think Lisence points, were the last straw for me.

"The System they had"?

Every FF has a different system, dude.

Sigh.... Maybe so....

But simple XP to level up is best for me.

Sure, Oblivion was sort of the same breed of FF2, but for some reason I could only accept it in Oblivion, where you don't get XP, you just boost your skills.

It seemed cluttered in FF2, and I'm judging the updated versions on PSP and GBA.

That's why FF1, FF4 and FF6 are my favourites in the series.

Off Topic, but I like your avatar Funk.

scotth266:

CantFaketheFunk:

SharPhoe:

DrunkWithPower:
My guess is that "OPTIMA CHANGE!" is french for "DIGIVOLVE TO!"

I would gladly play a Final Fantasy/Digimon crossover.

I also loved the Sphere grid, as it was also the first time that a character limits could be put WELL BEYOND anything I'd ever seen before. Nothing quite like watching the frail and timid summoner smack a beast in the head for 20k damage.

I have a save game where Yuna and Lulu's melee attacks do 99999 damage apiece.

Their MELEE attacks? No offense intended, but that sounds a wee bit fishy to me...

Which reminds me, I never spent money in that game... contrary to 12, where I never had enough :(

I liked both the licensing and Sphere Grid systems: hopefully this is a delightful combination of both.

Yep, their melee attacks. Yuna had the entire sphere grid colored in. It was a result of abusing the Master Tonberry fight with a weapon with 3x Overdrive, 3x Sphere Points, and Overdrive -> Sphere Points.

So instead of XP being a measure of how many things you've killed, you earn these new points and exchange them for upgrades?

This could end up being far more tactical and strategic than amassing techniques as you level up.

The DSM:
I never remember leveling up being broken, why try to replace a formula that has worked for well over 15 years?

I see what you mean but this system is still leveling it is just leveling with a Zoro mask on it and said system worked fine in FFX and FFXII but they became even more insane grind quests than usual.

SamElliot'sMustache:
I loved the Sphere Grid from FFX, just because it meant no longer grinding for several hours before I could take on the next boss. I just hope that they make it more customizable, as in FFXII, because it was a bit strange that they had this system for choosing how you could advance your characters, and then have each grid be essentially one line, with some exceptions.

Those games were worse grindfests than any other Final Fantasy more so FFXII then FFX.
FFX wasn't too bad in comparision to FFXII but the sphere grid got kinda broken after Luca where no monsters dropped Ability Spheres and best skills were kept under so many locks it made my eyes bleed when I saw the work to get them when they aren't even that good when compared to Aeons.

The system sounds alright and flexible enough as long as it doens't have the problems of the forebearers of this similar system with grinding.

... I would just like to say SUCCESS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I absolutely loved the sphere grid concept primarily because while it allowed open customization the characters were not cookie cutters until the end of the game and obviously by your own choosing. It has been disappointing to see this was never expanded upon in latter FFs or games in general and I can certainly state my excitement for the return of my favorite leveling system to date, albeit in a new variation.

Admittedly I almost feel for fans of Final Fantasy XII that expected a new direction for the FFs series even if they are within a minority. Square has essentially proven that FFX is the focal point in terms of how the game will be handled as with the inclusion of a similar leveling system, we have a primary story and cut-scene focus. I myself cannot wait.

DrunkWithPower:
My guess is that "OPTIMA CHANGE!" is french for "DIGIVOLVE TO!"

I saw in some english trailers for the game it displayed "Paradigm Shift" on screen, I'm guessing these are probably the same thing just in different versions of the game. It's probably used when shifting your friendly AI from offence to defense or something like that.

Although digimon would be sweet in the game (I realy miss the original show, it was so much better than Pokemon)

Plinglebob:

ForgottenPr0digy:
this reminds me of buying skills and armor and weapons for your character like in FFXII

which was a interesting way of leveling up. You could teach anyone any skill or weapon or armor. But I keep all 6 of them different from each other when I played.

I thought this a now it has me worried. While I liked the system for learning skills and abilities, the fact you also had to learn how to wear a hat REALLY annoyed me. Hopefully its more like the sphere grid though. If so, I'm definitely buying it as I really like the sound of the combat system.

it wasn't too much of a problem to me because I had a lot of LP points and if I needed any equipment I just need to unlock it and buy it.

CantFaketheFunk:

scotth266:

CantFaketheFunk:

SharPhoe:

DrunkWithPower:
My guess is that "OPTIMA CHANGE!" is french for "DIGIVOLVE TO!"

I would gladly play a Final Fantasy/Digimon crossover.

I also loved the Sphere grid, as it was also the first time that a character limits could be put WELL BEYOND anything I'd ever seen before. Nothing quite like watching the frail and timid summoner smack a beast in the head for 20k damage.

I have a save game where Yuna and Lulu's melee attacks do 99999 damage apiece.

Their MELEE attacks? No offense intended, but that sounds a wee bit fishy to me...

Which reminds me, I never spent money in that game... contrary to 12, where I never had enough :(

I liked both the licensing and Sphere Grid systems: hopefully this is a delightful combination of both.

Yep, their melee attacks. Yuna had the entire sphere grid colored in. It was a result of abusing the Master Tonberry fight with a weapon with 3x Overdrive, 3x Sphere Points, and Overdrive -> Sphere Points.

Sorry, but being the Square(as well as multiple other companies) fanboy that I am, I have to correct your statement. It's AP (Ability Points), not Sphere Points. As for me, I could only be bothered to max out their Magic damage. Either way, this new system definitely sounds decent. I can't wait to see it.

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