Battle Chains in Final Fantasy XII – The Zodiac Age can be a bit of a pain in the arse if you are new to the game, so we at Unclenched decided to put this little guide together for you lovely people.
A “Battle Chain” starts to happen in Final Fantasy XII when you kill more than one of the same enemy type (Zombie mage, Zombie Warlock etc.) in a row. It will be reset if you kill a different type of enemy or if you touch a save crystal of any type. It will not reset if you travel through different zones without killing anything else however, and this little nugget of information will serve us well when creating chains well into the hundreds.
‘The Unrelenting’ trophy for chaining 50 enemies will be in your hot little hands in no time at all! (especially at 4 x speed).
As your chain level increases, so does the likelihood of rare and valuable item drops from each kill. There are Four chain levels, symbolised by the item icon that drops when an enemy dies. Level 0 is a normal Loot bag, level 1 a small Silver Medallion, level 2 is a small Gold Medallion and level 3 is a large (and rather glorious) Gold Medallion.
The items you receive will be of a better and more valuable ilk the higher your level, with normally rare drop items becoming quite frequent. Small buffs like Protectga and Shellga will start to be applied to your party randomly upon collection of these tokens too. This is the absolute best way to make easy Money, Exp and LP, especially in the first half of the game.
Levelling up your battle chain to level 3 can be done in as little as 30 kills, but if not done correctly can take more than 100. So how do we do get those delicious Large Golden Medallions to start dropping as soon as possible?
It’s all about self-control. You actually need to avoid picking up the loot drop bags, the silver medallions and so-on until your chain reaches the highest level and the big Gold buggers start dropping. This can be a right prick to figure out on your own, trust me. Don’t worry if you accidentally pick up a lower level icon here and there on your way up the battle chain, it may only push it out another 2-3 kills, which is a drop in the ocean when you are killing 200+.
Once those big gold coins start dropping then go nuts and grab everything. If you are playing on 4 x speed then be sure to pick them up quickly as they will disappear rather fast. And don’t worry about the paltry loot that was left behind in the 30 or so drops on the way to the top chain level, the loss will be offset only a few kills later.
How, I hear you ask, can you get a chain of hundreds of the same enemy type when only a handful appear in each zone? Well it just so happens that enemies in FFXII re-spawn when you move two zones away. So wiping out an area of inhabitants (providing they are the same enemy type) then quickly fleeing while holding R2 through an adjoining zone and into a second, then turning around and fleeing back to the area that you previously cleansed will see it teaming with life again. Life for you to again snuff out and collect your well-earned prizes. Rinse, repeat and enjoy the financial and developmental rewards.
Now that we know the what and how of Battle Chains, let’s have a look at some of the best areas early on to start building them.
The first worthwhile chaining area will be during your first visit to the Barheim Passage. This is the areas where a bunch of power hungry Mimics are dining on the power cables. Progress through the passage until you come to an area called Great Central Passage. When you arrive in this area you will find a Mimic chowing down on the left half way through the zone. DO NOT KILL THIS MIMIC. You need him to keep on eating in order to keep the power charge under 30%. It is ok to let the charge run out completely (0%), it will refill once you’ve had enough of chaining in this area and eventually kill the mimic.
Once the charge is low enough, a bunch of Zombies will start to crawl out of the ground. This area should spawn about 8-10 of them as you walk from one end to the other. Kill them all, but be sure to set your gambits for your party to attack the party leaders target, so that you don’t accidentally kill the mimic. If you start attacking it, don’t be afraid to flee.
Once you have cleared the zone of zombies, trying hard not to pick up their loot, back track through the previous zone (North-South Junction), being sure not to touch the orange save crystal, and into the Special Op Sector 3 zone. Turn around immediately and run back through to the Great Central Passage (don’t you dare touch that bloody crystal).
After a few trips doing this you will have built up a pretty decent chain, and at the top chain lvel you will start to see Bucklers dropping fairly frequently, along with the quite handsomely priced Foul Flesh, with the quantity of all drops increasing after 100 kills.
After around 200 Zombie kills, and if you’ve been stealing from them as well, you should have 99 Foul Flesh and an assortment of valuable gear to sell. Go cash in! There is a vendor a few zones back if you remember, the one that gave you the Fuse. When you speak to the vendor it will reset your chain level however, but it won’t take too long to get it back up again. And gil saved really is gil earned.
The second area we will look at is in the Lhusu Mines when you have reached the sky city of Bhujerba. Once you have run away from/defeated a certain motley crew of dick heads, return to the mines. The Shunia Twinspan is the area that you want to walk to, it is the zone before the Site 2 zone you’ve just fled from. Here you will find a bunch of Skeletons that wouldn’t mind a fight. Using the same process as before – Wipe them out (usually around 12 -20 will spawn), leave the loot until you hit the max chain level, back track while fleeing two zones through Transitway into Oltam Span, turn around, come back, slaughter. Your rewards at the highest chain level will consist of the very lucrative Bone Fragments and some good gear like Iron Helms. There is vendor at the entrance to the mines.
After a few runs through these first two chain levelling zones you will find yourself with quite a bit of cash, good gear and plenty of LP. Your group of Ivalice defenders will also find themselves at above average levels. I advise making the most of this and attempting some quests/hunts that you would otherwise not be ready for yet. It is always pretty sweet to defeat a higher level hunt before you even have your first esper. The gear you receive from side quests and hunts is very good too, well worth the endeavour.
Let’s look at the third and final chain levelling area that we are going to cover here. There are more chaining areas that you will find as you progress through the game, however these first three are the best to get you set up and strong/rich enough to conquer most things that are thrown at you.
The Stilshrine of Miriam is a gorgeous and haunting tomb, and it’s not little. Once you arrive here you will need to complete a few easy tasks to unlock the way through the tomb. Not too far into it you will find yourself in an area called The Walk of Reason. From the western entrance of this zone, to the ground level area that spans south to a few chests, you will find it inhabited by more Undead!
Don’t go up the stairs, just stick to the ground level. These enemies drop much nicer loot including plenty of Festering Flesh. Gear-wise you could do much worse than the one handed sword Icebrand and Enchanter’s Habit mage armour.
You will also find up to three chests at the southern-most part of this walkway, at a dead end (get it? Dead end? DEAD end? I’m so fkn funny). These chests have a chance to award you with a Platinum Sword and an Obelisk spear. Very nice loot indeed!
I advise fleeing back the way you came through the Walk of Prescience into Cold Distance, then back again. Beware of floor traps in this area too, equip Libra or Steel Polyons if you like to live. Once you are full of loot you will have to leave the tomb and use the teleport crystal to find a vendor, but you will net at least 50k per trip so it is well worth it. Plus, as a bonus, the Ghouls and Zombies will sometimes drop teleport stones, so you will be covered there too!
We do hope you found this useful, and keep an eye out for potential chaining areas as you progress through the story. Enemies that are almost exclusive to an area help, especially ones that have rare or valuable potential drops, and look for zones that are divided by smaller zones.