The Sphere Grid is the leveling system used in Final Fantasy X. It is a plane consisting of several hundred connected nodes. Characters navigate along the grid using Ability Point (AP) Spheres gained in battle.
At first glance, the grid seems like a random assortment of nodes connected by lines. However, the grid can be easily divided into seven sections. Each of these sections is made specifically for a certain character and the types of nodes in those sections correspond with the predetermined strengths and weaknesses.
As is the case in most previous Final Fantasy games, each character is set with certain strengths and weaknesses or specific jobs. For example, the classic Black Mage has strong Magic but weak Attack, while a warrior will have strong Attack and Defense, but low Magic. In the Sphere Grid, however, the player has a choice of going out of his or her way to put the character down a different path. For example, there is one instance in which Wakka can merge into Lulu's section of the grid: Instead of continuing his own section, he can learn black magic abilities and raise his Magic and Magic Defense, rather than more Strength and Defense as he would in his own section.
Each character has their own starting point when they become playable, and each character's section is defined by the ratio of status nodes (such as Strength, Magic Defense, etc.) and unique ability nodes (such as NulTide, Dark Buster, or Fire).
When a character is selected, his or her path will be highlighted in the character's grid color. Each node has seven invisible marks around its border and when a character activates the node, the corresponding mark becomes visible and is colored the same as the character's grid color. These marks can be viewed no matter which character is currently selected.
The beginning and end of each section is blocked by Lock Nodes, as well are the optional paths in between sections. Ultimately, each character will have access to the whole grid, and unless characters are very extensively trained in a particular class, a player should have the corresponding Lock Spheres before a character meets the end of his or her section.
Tidus' grid has a good balance of Strength and Accuracy, as well as decent evasion and agility. He learns special abilities and white magic that can be used to aid himself or his teammates, such as Haste and Cheer, as well as skills that can handicap the enemy, such as Delay Buster. When his grid section ends, it runs into Yuna's. Tidus' grid color is aqua.
Yuna has low Strength and Defense, but makes up for it with the highest Magic and Magic Defense and a strong Evasion and Agility. All of the classic healing abilities such as the Cure series, Regen and Esuna are in her section. Being the Summoner of the game, the stats of Yuna's Aeons will be raised as hers increase. Naturally, she is best skilled as a White Mage and Summoner. Her grid section runs into Rikku's. Yuna's grid color is white.
Rikku, having the highest Agility of all the characters, has a grid section with the most Agility and Luck nodes. She is a mix between the classic jobs of Thief and Chemist, meaning she has abilities in her section such as Mug. When she begins, Rikku already has Steal and Use learned. Her sections runs into Lulu's. Rikku's color is green.
Lulu's section is that of the classic Black Mage, and she shares many of the same stats as Yuna, giving her low Strength, but high Magic and Magic Defense. She has unusually high defence for a black mage though, earning 8 points after she unlocks her first lock node. In addition, she boasts the highest Evasion (explaining why she learns the ability Reflex). Classic Black Magic such as the Fire, Thunder, Blizzard, and Water are in her grid section. The only stat that differs between her and Yuna is her low Agility. Her section runs into Wakka's. Lulu's color is purple.
Wakka has both high Strength and Accuracy, giving him access to skills such as Aim, though he has average Evasion. To add to his amazing stats, many of his skills change enemies' status, such as Dark Attack and Silence Buster. His section runs into Auron's. Wakka's color is yellow.
Auron's section has many Strength, Defense and HP nodes, but lacks Evasion, Accuracy and Agility. His section includes the stat-altering abilities such as Power Break and Armor Break and is the first to access to defensive abilities such as Sentinel and Threaten. His section runs into Tidus' grid, thus closing the circle of Tidus-Yuna-Rikku-Lulu-Wakka-Auron. Auron's grid color is red.
Kimahri's section is the only grid that doesn't follow a direct line. It is roughly in the shape of a circle and is in the center of the Sphere Grid. At the center of his section is Ultima, but it is guarded by several Lvl. 4 Lock Nodes. Kimahri's section is rather small, but can merge into the start of and learn the abilities and stats of every character's section except for Auron's, which is a reference to his class, Blue Mage. Kimahri's section itself contains mostly Speed and Defense, and his specialty is use of the unique special ability Lancet, which allows him to gather Overdrives from certain enemies. Most of Kimahri's weapons have the piercing ability equipped, meaning physical attack areas on the grid (such as Tidus or Auron's) are fitting. However most of his Blue Magic overdrive attacks are based on Kimahri's magic stat, meaning putting Kimahri on Yuna or Lulu's areas is also quite effective. Kimahri's grid color is dark blue.
In International and PAL versions of the game, an Expert option is available at the beginning of the game. The difference between Normal and Expert is that in the Expert mode, each character starts in the middle of a completely different grid design. The player must then decide which path the character will follow, whether it be the powerhouse, the White Mage, the Tactician, etc. There are no new abilities. The Expert grid has less nodes in total than the Normal grid (roughly 50 less), so while it may be more convenient in the beginning, it will be significantly less useful if trying to completely max out the stats of your characters.
Ability Points (AP) are won by winning battles during gameplay, and act as a representation of experience. When enough are collected, the character gains a Sphere Level (S. Lvl), which will move him or her along the grid. One Sphere Level will move the character one space "forward" (i.e. into a section of the grid they have not already been to) or up to four spaces "backwards" (i.e. spaces the character has already been to). Note that as you cannot have a fraction of a Sphere Level, you will spend one sphere level even if you only move one, two, or three spaces backwards.
Any character who takes an action in the battle will receive AP (even if they attacked and missed) and all characters will receive the same amount. (Note: if you summon an Aeon first thing in the battle and the Aeon defeats all the enemies, only Yuna will gain AP.) Characters who are switched out their first turn, KO'd or Petrified at the end of the battle, or are not in the battle at all will not gain AP. For example, if the starting line-up is Kimahri, Wakka, and Rikku, and Wakka is switched out his first turn and does not return, he will gain no AP.
Celestial Weapons all start out with the "No AP" ability, meaning their wielder will not gain AP from participating in battle. It is possible to remove this ability, and in some cases, replace it with the "Double AP" ability. (This, obviously, doubles the amount of AP that character gains.)
A character can have as many Sphere Levels at once as the player desires, although it's wise not to hold on to them for a long time. As the difficulty of the enemies progresses in the game, Yuna and her entourage must grow more powerful in order to defeat them.
There are many kinds of Spheres in Final Fantasy X, many used on the Sphere Grid to activate the various nodes. They come in several colors and varieties.
Nodes come in different types and degrees. All the types are described in the Sphere article, under Red Spheres. Each different kind of node has different degrees as well. For example, strength nodes can raise strength by 1, 2, 3, or 4 points. Whenever a new stat node is created with Purple Spheres, they are always 4 points.
A player can be positioned on one node at a time, but can activate not only the node that they are on, but any adjacent nodes as well.
|Spell||MP Cost||Description||Sphere Grid Section|
|Dark Attack||5||Inflicts Darkness to an enemy for three turns.||Wakka|
|Silence Attack||5||Inflicts Silence to an enemy for three turns.||Wakka|
|Sleep Attack||5||Puts an enemy to Sleep for three turns.||Wakka|
|Delay Attack||8||Delays target's next turn.||Tidus|
|Zombie Attack||10||Inflicts the Zombie status effect on one enemy.||Auron|
|Dark Buster||10||Always inflicts darkness on an enemy for 1 turn.||Wakka|
|Silence Buster||10||Always inflicts silence on an enemy for 1 turn.||Wakka|
|Sleep Buster||10||Always inflicts sleep on an enemy for 1 turn.||Wakka|
|Delay Buster||18||Greatly delays target's next turn.||Tidus|
|Triple Foul||24||Inflicts darkness, silence and sleep on an enemy for 3 turns.||Wakka|
|Extract Power*||1||Allows target to drop power spheres.||Auron|
|Extract Mana*||1||Allows target to drop mana spheres.||Kimahri|
|Extract Speed*||1||Allows target to drop speed spheres.||Tidus|
|Extract Ability*||1||Allows target to drop ability spheres.||Wakka|
|Power Break||8||Lowers opponent's strength.||Auron|
|Magic Break||8||Lowers opponent's Magic.||Auron|
|Armor Break||12||Lowers opponent's physical defense and nullifies Armored status.||Auron|
|Mental Break||12||Lowers opponent's magic defense.||Auron|
|Full Break*||99||Inflicts Power, Magic, Armor and Mental Breaks on an enemy.||Auron|
|Mug||10||Attack and steal items at the same time.||Rikku|
|Nab Gil*||30||Attack and steal gil at the same time.||Lulu|
|Quick Hit||12 (36*)||Strike quickly with reduced recovery time.||Tidus|
|Spell||MP Cost||Description||Sphere Grid Section|
|Flee||0||Aids party's escape from battle.||Tidus|
|Steal||0||Steals items from enemies.||Rikku|
|Use||0||Use special items.||Rikku|
|Pray||0||Restores a small amount of HP to all allies.||Yuna|
|Cheer||0||Raises party's strength and defense.||Tidus|
|Aim||0||Raises party's accuracy.||Wakka|
|Focus||0||Raises party's magic & magic defense.||Lulu|
|Reflex||0||Raises party's evasion.||Lulu|
|Luck||0||Raises party's luck.||Rikku|
|Jinx||0||Lowers opponent's luck.||Kimahri|
|Lancet||0||Absorb HP & MP from an enemy.||Kimahri|
|Guard||0||Allows character to take damage for an ally.||Auron|
|Sentinel||0||Allows character to guard allies while in defensive stance.||Auron|
|Spare Change||0||Attack by throwing gil.||Rikku|
|Threaten||12||Immobilize an enemy with fear; inflicts Stop.||Auron|
|Provoke||4||Draw an enemy's attack toward you.||Tidus|
|Entrust||8||Contribute your overdrive charge to an ally's gauge.||Auron|
|Copycat||28||Mimic an ally's previous action.||Rikku|
|Pilfer Gil*||20||Steal gil from an enemy.||Rikku|
|Quick Pockets*||70||Swiftly use items with reduced recovery time.||Yuna|
|Doublecast||0||Allows character to cast Black Magic spells twice.||Lulu|
|Bribe||0||Pay an enemy to make it go away.||Rikku|
|Spell||MP Cost||Description||Sphere Grid Section|
|Cure||4||Restores minor HP.||Yuna|
|Cura||10||Restores moderate HP.||Yuna|
|Curaga||20||Restores major HP.||Yuna|
|Scan||1||See target's vital statistics.||Kimahri|
|NulBlaze||2||Nullifies Fire elemental damage for one attack.||Yuna|
|NulShock||2||Nullifies Lightning elemental damage for one attack.||Yuna|
|NulTide||2||Nullifies Water elemental damage for one attack.||Yuna|
|NulFrost||2||Nullifies Ice elemental damage for one attack.||Yuna|
|Esuna||5||Removes negative status effects.||Yuna|
|Life||18||Revive a KO'ed party member with 50% max HP.||Yuna|
|Full-Life||60||Revive a KO'ed party member with max HP.||Rikku|
|Haste||8||Increases Agility of party member.||Tidus|
|Hastega||30||Increases Agility of party.||Tidus|
|Slow||12||Reduces Agility of target.||Tidus|
|Slowga||20||Reduces Agility of target's party.||Tidus|
|Shell||10||Halves damage from magic attacks.||Yuna|
|Protect||12||Halves damage from physical attacks.||Yuna|
|Reflect||14||Bounce spells off of target back at enemy party. Does not reflect all spells.||Yuna|
|Dispel||12||Remove positive status effects.||Yuna|
|Regen||40||Target restores a fraction of HP each turn for 10 turns.||Yuna|
|Holy||85||Heavy Holy elemental damage.||Yuna|
|Auto-Life||97||Automatically revives KO'ed target with 25% of Max HP.||Yuna|
|Spell||MP Cost||Description||Sphere Grid Section|
|Fire||4||Minor Fire elemental damage.||Lulu|
|Blizzard||4||Minor Ice elemental damage.||Lulu|
|Thunder||4||Minor Lightning elemental damage.||Lulu|
|Water||4||Minor Water elemental damage.||Lulu|
|Fira||8||Moderate Fire elemental damage.||Lulu|
|Blizzara||8||Moderate Ice elemental damage.||Lulu|
|Thundara||8||Moderate Lightning elemental damage.||Lulu|
|Watera||8||Moderate Water elemental damage.||Lulu|
|Firaga||16||Major Fire elemental damage.||Lulu|
|Blizzaga||16||Major Ice elemental damage.||Lulu|
|Thundaga||16||Major Lightning elemental damage.||Lulu|
|Waterga||16||Major Water elemental damage.||Lulu|
|Bio||10||Inflicts Poison and non-elemental damage.||Lulu|
|Demi||32||Reduces HP of target party by 1/4.||Lulu|
|Drain||12||Steal HP from target to restore own HP.||Wakka|
|Osmose||0||Steal MP from target to restore own MP.||Wakka|
|Flare||54||Extreme non-elemental damage.||Lulu|
|Ultima||90||Extreme non-elemental damage to target party.||Kimahri|
|Tidus - Auron - Rikku - Wakka - Lulu - Yuna - Kimahri|
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