FFIX - Abilities

Abilities Overview

The ability system in FFIX is rather complex. It reverts to the "class" system used in older Final Fantasy games, yet it also allows the player some measure of customization. Characters can learn a variety of different abilities; however, each character has a unique list of abilities that s/he can learn. Some abilities can be learned by all characters, while some abilities are specific to one character.

A character does not have to learn an ability to use it. Abilities can be used as soon as the item that contains them is equipped. However, once the item is removed, the character cannot use that ability unless they have learned it completely. A list of each character's learned (partially or fully) abilities can be found in the Status menu. Press X to scroll through the pages. The type, name, and learning status of each ability is displayed.

Each of the characters' abilities falls into one of two general categories: Support Ability or Action Ability.

Support Abilities

Support Abilites are generally used to enhance a character's actions in battle, and to protect them. There is a set of "general" support abilites that can be learned by every character. Most of the other support abilites can be learned by some of the characters. There are a few that can only be learned by one character - usually to support a special skill that character has.
(A complete list of all the support abilities can be found here.)

To function, support abilities must be equipped with Magic Stones. Different abilities require different numbers of magic stones. Usually, the more powerful an ability is, the more magic stones it requires. Each character has a number of magic stones that, like MP and HP, increase with the character's levels. You can see how many magic stones each character has when you access the Main Menu. Next to the character's name, there is a round, green icon followed by two numbers: the number of remaining magic stones, and the total number of magic stones the character possesses.

To set magic stones to abilites, select Ability in the main menu. In the Ability menu, select Equip. You will see a list of all the abilites the character has learned (fullly or partially). The number of magic stones required is listed to the right of the ability's name. If the ability is equipped with magic stones, there will be a green magic stone icon in front of the ability's name. If not, the space will be dark. Grayed-out abilities cannot be equipped - there probably are not enough magic stones to equip that particular ability. To equip an ability with magic stones, simply move the cursor to the ability, and press X.

Remember, support abilities must be equipped to function, and each character has a limited amount of magic stones. Plan what abilities you want to function, and use your magic stones carefully.

Action Abilities

Each character has a set of action abilites, or special skills, that s/he alone can use in battle. (For a list of these abilities, go to that character's abilites section.) Unlike support abilities, action abilities do not require magic stones to function. All that they require to function is that the character has either learned the ability, or has the proper item equipped (More about that in the Learning Abilities section). A list of the character's available action abilities can be found in the Ability menu. From the main menu, select Ability and then Use. You will see a list of all the action abilities the character has learned (partially or fully) so far. Certain abilities (mainly curative ones) may be used in the field.

Learning Abilities

In general, abilities are learned by equipping the items that contain them. All characters cannot learn all abilities. To determine which abilities a character can learn, select Equip from the main menu, and select an item to equip. In the bottom right corner, a box will display information on that item's abilities. You will see an icon signifying the type of ability, followed by the ability's name, and it's AP gauge. Grayed out abilities cannot be learned by that character.

Each ability requires a certain number of Ability Points (AP) to learn. Characters earn AP in battle, along with EXP. The amount of AP required to learn a certain ability may vary from character to character.

If the AP gauge is red with three stars across it, the character has already learned that ability. It can be used with or without the item being equipped.

If the AP gauge is empty, the character has not started to learn the ability yet. Equip the item to use the ability and start learning it.

If the character has started to learn the ability, a green bar will fill the AP gauge to a certain point, and a ratio will display below it showing the amount of AP the character has earned towards that ability, and the total number of AP needed to learn the ability.