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CT5Holy [Posts: 1104]
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  • [January 04, 2011, 05:13:11 AM]
Beginner's Guide to FFT Arena! (If new, start here!)
« on: January 04, 2011, 05:13:11 AM »
If you are new to FFT: Arena, please take a look at the Master Guide to familiarize yourself with the rules, since that's what you'll need to work around as you build your team. Worry about stats, abilities, and items later.

When I build a team, I always start with an idea. I like to look through the list of abilities and equipment for inspiration. An excellent way to gather ideas, especially for those new to team creation, is to watch videos. Videos are great sources of ideas and concepts – you can get a feel for not only what works and what doesn't, but also for AI behavior. Once you have your idea, start thinking of other units and abilities that would go well with it, and work from there.

General guidelines when actually constructing your team:
1. Stick to your plan. Make sure each unit can do its job. You only have 3000 JP, and since each unit will most likely dabble in 3-5 jobs, you really only have ~2000 JP to spend on abilities. If you want your unit to have good R/S/M, said unit probably won't have many action abilities, and vice versa. Whether you choose to focus on explosiveness or opt for more stability and resilience (ex. status protection), make sure your team can carry out the plan.

2. Try to build a cohesive, synergistic team, not four individually strong units that are unfocused as a team. My S3 team is a good example of this problem. It was composed of four solid units, similar to my fairly successful S2 team. I was eliminated in the first round. Elemental absorb teams (popularized by the success of the S3 finalists) are a simple, straightforward way to have a team work together. Make sure the healing is worthwhile though – quite a few teams in S4 are capable of elemental healing, but it typically isn't enough to offset the damage by the opponent. Pride's “Return of Another Boring Team” and The3rdOracle's team are examples of elemental healing done right. Another fairly common example is the Lore + Save teams from older versions of Arena. Constant, low damage from the Lore user would power its teammates to absurd speeds and damage capabilities.

3. Revival and healing are good. Obvious, yes, but absolutely essential. At least one person needs to be able to heal and revive on a team. I don't remember any decent teams with no revival, or if anyone even had the guts to try a team with no revival.

4. Speed is good. More speed → more turns → more chances to make your opponent sad/mitigate any problems your opponent has inflicted. Haste is quite valuable – in AI tournaments, ~70% of teams will have someone that can apply Haste. With the recent change to Haste (increases speed by 25% instead of 50%), it will not be as important if you can't fit Haste into your team. Haste will only increase the effective speed of most units by 2-3 instead of 4-6. Slow, however, remains a 50% speed penalty, and is still rather crippling when applied at the right time. If you test against The3rdOracle's winning team from S3 (and/or Akwikone's resubmission of said team for S4), you will likely find that once Slow lands, any chance of comeback is instantly erased. That team runs on speed – the Hasted thieves are already fairly difficult to keep up with. Slow makes it impossible.

As for AI behavior, if you watch videos and test, you'll get familiar with it very quickly. If you've played FFT before, you already know a tiny bit about it! Now it's about manipulating it to do what we want. Here's how it tends to behave:
1. Be stupid. It's the AI. It'll somehow find a way to make you sad with their awful decisions, guaranteed.

2. Revival/healing is top priority. Always. Even if they could kill the last opponent (I'm pretty sure, anyway). If they think someone needs to be healed or revived and they can do it, they will. End of story. A rather extreme example that stands out in my mind, was I believe a match in S2, I think Dol vs Saeru. A geomancer had an opportunity to kill two units on the enemy team, but chose to retreat and revive instead. That move likely cost the team a victory.

3. Will almost always move and act, even if moving is unnecessary. The one exception is when they're at the end of the map, like in my match vs Skip Sandwich (S1, round 2)). The Lancer waited in place after throwing Phoenix Downs. They also like to act then move; rather frustrating when instead of Chakraing himself and his low-on-MP mage, the monk acts first, healing only himself, then moves next to the mage anyway.

4. MP restoration is erratic. Sometimes they'll throw that Hi-Ether on the Wizard when she needs it, and other times they'll ignore the Wizard and let her go whack the enemy for inconsequential damage and trigger their Speed Save. Most mages will have Move-MP UP to prevent them from becoming useless if they never get MP from their allies. In general, you'll want your units to be self-sufficient.

5. AI loves Haste, but hates every other buff. Absolutely loves Haste. If someone doesn't have Haste, they'll try to stick it onto them. In critical? Run away and Haste yourself. Other buffs? Not so much. Protect and Shell will only be cast after someone has been hurt, but at that point, they'll likely need to be healed, instead. Regen is considered healing, so they'll use it when in critical and have no better way to heal (say, a male Samurai with Masamune). Reraise? Forget about it. It's 100% hit in Arena and they still won't use it. Maybe if they're in critical. That's when they would use Preach in 1.3.

6. AI targets lowest HP units. They also like to waste actions – ex. a Lancer jumps on a target for enough to kill, but while he's in the air, a teammate kills the target. Lancer lands on corpse, action wasted.
I'm sure there's more, but these should be enough to take into consideration while you make your team.

"Know the AI, be the AI, kill everyone else!" - philsov

Suggestions? Any other topics I should address?
« Last Edit: August 02, 2016, 12:59:37 AM by silentkaster »
Winner of the 1st FFT 1.3 AI Tourney
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The Damned [Posts: 2168]
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  • [January 04, 2011, 05:26:12 AM]
Re: AI team building guide
« Reply #1 on: January 04, 2011, 05:26:12 AM »
This looks pretty good for a first draft. I can't think of anything that's missing, but let's see if I say the same thing tomorrow.

As stands now, the only "improvement" I can think of is spacing things out to make them easier to read.

Otherwise, great job at once being informative yet not holding people's hand/making their teams for them.

"Sorrow cannot be abolished. It is meaningless to try." - FFX's Yunalesca

"Good and evil are relative, but being a dick cannot be allowed." - Oglaf's Thaumaturge in "The Abyss"

"Well, see, the real magic isn't believing in yourself. The real magic is manipulating people by telling them to believe in themselves. The more you believe, the less you check facts."  - Oglaf's Vanka in "Conviction"
Kaz [Posts: 149]
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  • [January 23, 2011, 06:47:34 AM]
Re: AI team building guide
« Reply #2 on: January 23, 2011, 06:47:34 AM »
is there a JP limit spreadsheet lying around for arena? thatd be a good addition to this guide i think

to hell with you mustadio haters
Skip Sandwich [Posts: 994]
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  • [January 27, 2011, 08:27:08 PM]
Re: AI team building guide
« Reply #3 on: January 27, 2011, 08:27:08 PM »
a guide for grand cross paladins

the Grand Cross skill can be tricky to use, since it also hits the caster and inflicts darkness status at a 100% rate, both of these are a very bad thing since Grand Cross is P-evadable and darkness status is much harsher in Arena. There are basically two ways to get around this problem


a possible third method would be something I call "The Gambler Method", where you use a Platinum Sword/Defender/Main Gauche + Crystal Shield/Escutcheon II + Vanish Mantle + Abandon setup. This method would have the advantage of being useful against any possible enemy equipment setup, but comes at the downside of turning your unit into a potential suicide bomber. Myself, and others like me who have for some reason offended the Random Number Gods should stay well clear of this setup.

oh, and one more fun but most likely useless fact before I go. Squires are the only class capable of absorbing all 8 elements at once via only their innate equip options

Mace of Zeus (Thunder) + Flame Shield (Fire) + Cachusha (Wind/Water/Holy/Earth) + Santa Outfit (Ice) + Cursed Ring (Dark)

obviously, you could swap the Flame Shield/Santa Outfit with an Ice Shield/Black Costume, depending on if you'd rather have protection from Sleep or Stop status.

:EDIT: just for fun I though i'd list the other 7 classes that can pull this off. Archer and Geomancer can pull it off with Equip Magegear, while the Priest, Time Mage, Oracle, Sumoner and Scholar can do it with Equip Shield
« Last Edit: January 27, 2011, 09:38:34 PM by Skip Sandwich »
“Dave?  Are you there?”
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“You have to talk through the bratwurst from now on. I’m sorry. I didn’t know it would do that.”
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logus [Posts: 113]
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  • [January 31, 2011, 04:00:10 AM]
Re: AI team building guide
« Reply #4 on: January 31, 2011, 04:00:10 AM »
easy way to force casting of protect/shell: have a support that has said skills but is unable to heal. That's my oracle from a lot of versions ago. Since the others could heal/blood sword/etc, and usually had regen and reductions, she casted protect2/shell2 a fair amount of times whenever someone was around half hp, and since AI does try to optimize the area of the spells, she'd usually hit 3 teammates with protect/shell. It's quite useful when running a defensive team that abuses move-hp up/regen paired with defensive support skills.

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The Damned [Posts: 2168]
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  • [February 02, 2011, 11:33:35 AM]
Re: AI team building guide
« Reply #5 on: February 02, 2011, 11:33:35 AM »
Quite the good guide, Skip Sandwich. Although now it also makes me wonder what happens if you try to Grand Cross with Two Swords. I mean, I'd expect it to only go off once, but I'm not sure whether it would only count the element (if any) of the weapon in the first hand or if it would try to combine the element of both weapons.

easy way to force casting of protect/shell: have a support that has said skills but is unable to heal. That's my oracle from a lot of versions ago. Since the others could heal/blood sword/etc, and usually had regen and reductions, she casted protect2/shell2 a fair amount of times whenever someone was around half hp, and since AI does try to optimize the area of the spells, she'd usually hit 3 teammates with protect/shell. It's quite useful when running a defensive team that abuses move-hp up/regen paired with defensive support skills.

I suspected as much. I wonder why the AI doesn't use protect and shell more pro-actively....

"Sorrow cannot be abolished. It is meaningless to try." - FFX's Yunalesca

"Good and evil are relative, but being a dick cannot be allowed." - Oglaf's Thaumaturge in "The Abyss"

"Well, see, the real magic isn't believing in yourself. The real magic is manipulating people by telling them to believe in themselves. The more you believe, the less you check facts."  - Oglaf's Vanka in "Conviction"
Skip Sandwich [Posts: 994]
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  • [February 02, 2011, 08:26:15 PM]
Re: AI team building guide
« Reply #6 on: February 02, 2011, 08:26:15 PM »
Something of note regarding the "Gambler Method" outlined in my above post, initial testing seems to indicate that the paladin calculates evasion against his own grand cross using only the rear evasion value (presumably because it's calculated as originating from the same panel), as even with stacked Main Gauche/Escutcheon II/Vanish Mantle, almost every grand cross cast hit himself, I do not know for sure if Awareness would increase evasion rates accordingly, independent testing to verify this one way or the other would be helpful.

“Dave?  Are you there?”
“Yeah.  I can’t get you through the cell now.”
“You have to talk through the bratwurst from now on. I’m sorry. I didn’t know it would do that.”
http://www.johndiesattheend.com
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Eternal [Posts: 3013]
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  • [February 04, 2011, 07:59:40 PM]
Re: AI team building guide
« Reply #7 on: February 04, 2011, 07:59:40 PM »
I edited the original post so there were spaces, and it'd be easier to read. Hope nobody minds. :P

"You, no less human than we? Ha! Now there's a beastly thought. You've been less than we from the moment your baseborn father fell upon your mother in whatever gutter saw you sired! You've been chattel since you came into the world drenched in common blood!"
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