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- In the NES version of FFI and FFII, your party members do not switch targets if the enemy they'd targeted dies before they attackif your entire party targets an enemy and the first attacker kills it, the other three waste their turns. This does not apply to the computer, however, as it seems to select enemies' targets at the time of their actions going off, making it entirely possible for an enemy to attack a party member on the turn they're revived.
- FFI through FFVI all unfortunately share the same annoying NPCs who wander aimlessly around towns or castles and can block you. Such characters basically wander back and forth or in random directions about a small area, and you have no means of pushing them out of your way or passing through them (though later games tried to address this by having these characters speed up when you pushed against them which does help somewhat). All too often you'll get blocked in an alley and unable to move until said character decides to finally move left, or forced to follow a slowly moving character down a tight alley (the line of townsfolk in Zozo, for example).
Final Fantasy I
- A minor but annoying one is that if one of your party members gets afflicted with a negative status ailment, they'll be switched to the back of the party and other members will switch places with them accordingly. This wouldn't be so bad but for the fact that the ones at the front are more likely to be attacked, meaning that if your Fighter gets poisoned, you'll have to switch him back to the front, lest your Black Mage end up tanking the enemies.
Final Fantasy II
- The "Leveling" system in general. You do not gain traditional EXP from killing monsters. Instead, characters level skills based upon use. Therefore, you must use each individual magic in order to increase its level. HP works in a similar fashion you gain more by being hit. This was even worse in the earlier versions, as your stats could go down if you don't use a skill tied to it enough. Haven't cast magic in a while? Your Intelligence will drop.
- The NES version files your key items in your hugely limited inventory, where they consume a valuable slot for the whole game. Most expert players will skip picking up the airship pass from the office in the mines in favour of using exploits to cheese their way past the Beef Gate instead, because the inventory slot is more valuable.
- Trap rooms. Instead of simply having in dungeon traps, the game has it where the doorway to the next level of a dungeon is found from usually several doors, all but one being "fake" rooms that lead to small rooms where the enemy rate jumps significantly, turning the each step into a battle. This is already frustrating, but the game forces you almost to the center of the room, meaning it can take four to five fights to even escape. Combined with how difficult FF2 is, and it means a player can lose progress not because they made a mistake, but because the game punished the player for something out of their control.
- In addition to this, many dungeons feature a bunch of doors at the end, one of which leads to progress, and the rest of which lead to trap rooms. There is no way of telling the correct door apart from the others.
- The constant switching of the fourth party member turns the game into a far more frustrating experience due to how each character has different stats and specializations when you get them. It makes each time you gain a new one, or regain a previously playable one, time consuming because you need to make sure they have stats comparable to the three heroes.
Final Fantasy III
- The adjustment period when changing jobs. It varies in length; as low as two for transitions between jobs of like specialty, but up to ten if you're switching from a magic-oriented to a physical-oriented job, during which time the character has lowered stats. Combined with the fact that jobs have levels independent of character levels, it rather encourages players to lock into a handful of preferred jobs rather than sink time into experimentation.
- In the NES version, attempting to flee would cause that character's defense stat to drop all the way down to zero, meaning that if you had every member of your party try to flee while facing four or more enemies, it could very easily result in a Total Party Kill. The DS version got rid of this mechanic, mercifully.
Final Fantasy IV and The After Years
- In the original SNES version, the inventory only has a limited number of slots. All of your healing items, equipment and key items were in one place. And if that place got filled up? Too bad. This makes inventory management a pain, as one has to repeatedly throw items away to make room for new ones, or head back to the Fat Chocobo over and over. Subsequent versions fixed this; Key Items are usually in their own tab, or there's no inventory capacity.
- Outside of battle, healing magic only restores a set amount of HP, meaning multiple usages of Curaga or Curaja would be needed to completely restore the party's HP. Later versions change the HP-amount to be dependent on the caster's Spirit attribute. This may be a deliberate choice, so as to make healing magic less efficient outside of battle.
- After reaching Level 70note , attribute bonuses are random when a character gains a level. You could get a decent amount of stats increased upon leveling up, maybe only one or two points in a specific stat, or even decrease stats. Fortunately, the DS version has this changed to be based on the game's Augment Ability system, but good luck figuring that thing out without having a handy guide. Speaking of which...
- The process to obtain the best armour in the game (or, in the DS version, continue one of the game's most amusing added sidequests) combines all the most loathed mechanics in the game - you need to get the 1/64 Rare Drop from an ultra-rare monster, in one of the game's many Boss in Mook Clothing dungeons, the game never giving you the means to defend more than one or two of your party members from the all-party Berserk spell the enemy casts as soon as you encounter it, and the only way to speed up the grind being an item that is... another 1/64 Rare Drop. Even the most ardent fans of FFIV's (otherwise rock-solid) battle mechanics find this quest too depressing to bother with.
- Fleeing from battle will sometimes cause you to drop a random amount of money. Hope you levelled up enough that you don't need to run, because it'll cost you if you want to get out of a battle you can't win. This didn't happen if you used Edge's Smoke Bomb ability, but considering how hard it is to keep MP high in this game, all that accomplishes is trade one precious resource for another.
- The Moon Phase System. When the moon is at a certain phase, it alters a character's stats. If your main party consists of a certain warrior class, you'll be finding yourself wasting Tents until you get the moon phase you need. If that weren't enough, it changes on its own if enough time passes since the last shift, even without having your characters sleep.
Final Fantasy V
- Rare steals. First, the chance of a rare steal is less than 4% (5/128, to be exact) and this means using !Steal repeatedly, all while the enemy is trying to kill you. This includes bosses; if you don't get that rare steal while you were fighting the boss, too bad, that item is gone forever. And one can only steal 1 item per enemy, so if you got the common steal, the battle will have to be restarted. The one bright spot is the Reset spell, which allows you to restart the battle.
- Rare drops are just as bad. Couple the above less-than-4% chance of obtaining it, with Permanently Missable Content and apply this to a post-battle drop, which is a one-chance thing. You didn't get it, you need to restart the battle.
- In the SNES version, you can only run on the map if one of your characters has the Sprint ability equipped. This requires some grinding of the Thief class (only a little, to be fair), and is a punishing loss in a game where you only have one changeable ability slot per character (unless they're a Freelancer, when they have... two) and four characters. Somewhat mitigated by Freelancers gaining all passive abilities from mastered classes, meaning if you master the thief class you'll automatically be able to Sprint even without the ability equipped, but this still means you need to devote to mastering the thief (it takes a while) and keeping said character as a Freelancer or Mimic.
- The spell limitations on the battle screen. Even if a character has fully mastered one (or all) of the various mage classes you still need to have that specific command on their menu list to use spells of that type. In theory this makes sense, but in practice since you can just easily swap an ability for the command long enough to use said spell it's one acceptable break from reality that could have been done just to save having to shuffle commands and having your equipment changed just to cast a spell. Made worse by Blue magic, which cannot be cast at all from the status screen, which is very biting since White Wind, the best healing spell in the gamenote can only be cast inside combat.
- Whenever you want to change a skill, the game forces you to change your equipment, generally putting the optimal equipment on after the change takes effect. It makes sense when changing weapon or armor skills most classes naturally cannot equip outside of Freelancers, but when it is not weapon or armor related, it gets extremely tedious knowing that you always need to change your equipment. What makes this worse is that unlike later games, equipment with drawbacks such as the Bone Mail (makes the user undead, which means healing spells damage and cannot be revived in battle once their HP reaches 0), Thornlet, (gives the HP leak status to the user) Excalipoor (always deals 1 point of damage to the target despite listed with one of the highest base attack values in the game), and the Cursed Ring (gives the user Doom/Count status) are not excluded from the optimize equip mechanic, but are considered better equipment than gear that has lower stats but no drawbacks. This means if you do not want to equip them, you either have to get rid of the equipment with the some of, if not, the highest stat values in the game, or always be prepared to manually swap it with different equipment afterwards.
Final Fantasy VI
- Some of the special ability of several characters are known to be this:
- Gau's Rages are quite possibly the worst designed mechanic in the game. It's no wonder that Gau ends up as a Tier-Induced Scrappy, for some at least, because of it.
- Acquiring the Rages means fighting on the Veldt, where you can encounter almost every enemy you've met thus far, including some boss enemies. Having Gau "Leap" at them ends the battle, and then you need to continuing fighting on the Veldt until he randomly reappears and rejoins, now knowing the Rages of the enemies in the party when he first used Leap and when he returned. This means a lot of fighting enemies from across the game over and over until one appears whose Rage you want to learn, then fighting more enemies until Gau returns. To add insult to injury, while you'll earn money and magic points on the Veldt, you don't earn experience, so you don't even get to level grind.
- Learning Gau's Rages is tedious enough, but when it comes to using them, you run into a whole other set of annoyances. Gau becomes uncontrollable when he uses a Rage until the battle ends or he is KO'd. Every turn he randomly uses the Attack command, or a unique command. What each Rage does is never explained in-game, so to know what each one can do, you need a guide or to start keeping track yourself. There's also no rhyme or reason to it — the Stray Cat, an unremarkable normal enemy, uses a powerful physical attack, but the Intangir, a very powerful Behemoth palette swap, uses Transfusion, which instantly KO's Gau to heal a party member. Even if you do know what abilities each enemy will give, Gau will only use Attack and his unique skill every turn for the rest of the battle, and there's no way to snap him out of it besides knocking him out. Need him to do something else, like an emergency heal or Phoenix Down? Tough luck.
- Finally, you don't have as much access to the Veldt as it may seem. Unless you go out of your way after leaving Narshe to return there (via a long walk across the Overworld and through previous dungeons), you won't get access again until you get the airship, which you lose after the next storyline dungeon until the end of the World of Balance. And then in the World of Ruin, its non-linear nature means you'll have to keep revisiting the Veldt to learn new Rages for Gau, going back into the boredom of finding specific enemies for him to Rage. By this point, you have likely defeated well over 100-150 different enemies, so finding a specific enemy formation may take *hours*. And by this point, all your other party members are becoming powerhouses who can hit the damage cap with spells or their unique skills, and they don't need to enter a Berserk state to do it.
- Mog is only slightly better with his Dances. Like Gau, Mog enters a Berserk state when his Dance works, and he has a chance to use one of four attacks every turn. While each Dance skillset has enough versatility that they're still useful (several include a party-healing ability, a One-Hit KO move, and/or a powerful group-hitting attack), it's still random which one Mog will use each turn. It's not uncommon to see Mog using a healing ability on a party at full HP, or trying to use a Gravity-based attack on a boss (which are usually immune to such things) while he's dancing. And most of the boss enemies have unique terrains that prevent the Dance command from working anyway, so you can't use it even if you wanted to. The only reason Mog isn't a Tier-Induced Scrappy like Gau is because Mog can still attack and cast magic like almost everyone else outside of his dances, and Mog's stats boast surprisingly high Defense and Magic Defense in spite of lackluster offensive stats.
- Relm's Sketch ability mimics a monster's ability, which could be helpful if only most monsters didn't have her use an elemental attack they absorb or are immune to. But that happens way too often. It also hits the wrong side of the Health/Damage Asymmetry, in that it uses the monster's stats to determine damage, not Relm's, and since monsters tend to have low Strength and Magic, Sketched attacks will do pitiful damage. Not to mention if used wrong, Sketch can break the universe due to how badly it was programmed.
- Cyan's Bushido techniques are some of the best and strongest in the game and make him a really good party member (for strength, at least). Except that one needs to let the bar charge up to the level of technique one wants to use and the player cannot do anything while charging, making the entire party a sitting duck, even if one uses Haste. This was remedied in the iOS and Steam versions where you pick a technique and the bar charges on its own while you're free to attack with your other party members, making Bushido much more viable.
- Shadow randomly leaving the party. The first time in Sabin's side story is workable: Shadow won't leave unless it's between the Imperial Camp and the Phantom Train; once you're on the train, he'll stick around until you reach Barren Falls (at which point he leaves for sure). However, nothing excuses the second trip. He joins up in Kohlingen, charging you 3000 gil to join. And from there up until you meet Ramuh, he has a chance to leave after any battle. Imagine walking all the way from Kohlingen to Zozo, and as you enter town, you get into a battle after which Shadow leaves. Your choices then are to trek all the way back to Narshe to get a fourth party member then come all the way back, or traverse one of the hardest areas of the game with a party of only three people. And if you have the insane idea to recruit Shadow after Zozo and before the Opera House, he leaves during the performance, trapping you with three people all the way through the trip to Vector, another one of the hardest areas of the game. Shadow himself is a pretty decent party member, but he's hardly work the headache he puts you through.
- Having to give up a Relic slot on one character for the Sprint Shoes that allow you to move at a non-glacial pace on the map. At least you have double the amount of available slots compared to V. The Playstation release just gave you the ability to sprint by holding a button, but later releases inexplicably removed this.
- The escape mechanic, so much so that often it's not a viable option. It's surprisingly difficult to escape from most battles, as it tends to take quite a while of holding the run buttons while the enemies pick at you one by one and the damage adds up. Also, your party members escape from battle individually and leave others behind still in combat. It's easy for all your party but one to escape, leaving them to be ganged up on and quickly killed.
- Buying anything from the Auction House in Jidoor. There are a few very useful items to get, but you will have to deal with a ridiculous amount of sequences of a Spoiled Brat getting his pampering dad to buy him one of three different pieces of junk. There are no options to skip or fast forward through these sequences, and they will happen an unlimited number of times, making attempting to buy the items you need a crapshoot of the RNG. This could have been easily averted had they had each of these two auctions items occur only once, but they don't.
- The linking of stat increases to having the right Espers equipped. Other games in the series had stats increase naturally on leveling up, but in this game the character has to be training on the right Esper to make sure they are receiving the correct stat increase. This ends up requiring so much manipulation of the subscreen menu that in a game that should take 30-40 hours, probably at least an hour of it will be constantly returning to this menu to check how close characters are to the next level, and moving around Espers between characters to receive the correct stat. It doesn't help that two of the four primary stats are near worthless due to bugs, and the HP or MP bonuses upon level up are so trivial as to be near meaningless. Combined with the fact that you ALSO need to move Espers around to train different spells on each character, and the game is a lot more fiddly than it needs to be.
- Equipment and Espers being stuck on whoever's got them equipped. Got an Esper you want to shuffle around, but it's equipped on someone who's not in the party? Tough luck. There's at least NPCs on the airships to let you unequip them from people who aren't in the party, but such a thing really shouldn't have been necessary.
Compilation of Final Fantasy VII
- The original Japanese version only allows you to manage the Materia of characters currently in your party, except at a couple of story points (e.g. before Cloud's duel with Rufus). This makes party member management into the world's dullest Fox-Chicken-Grain Puzzle where you can't even remember who's holding what, especially in the passages of the game where Can't Drop the Hero means you only get one flexible party slot. Since you can only swap party members at Save Points or on the Overworld, you'll also have to backtrack if you accidentally give someone on the bench a spell you need. As a result, the English version and the Final Fantasy VII International Updated Re-release add an extra menu, Exchange, that allows you see all available characters and what Materia they have equipped, and swap it around freely, even if you're nowhere near a Save Point. Cloud even lampshades this tweak in his tutorial narration, acknowledging the popular demand that led to the menu's addition and advising the player to keep it secret from those playing the vanilla game.
- Summons are cool-looking, but their MP cost is far too high to compensate for what they actually do, being simply strong elemental magic but three times as expensive and taking fifteen times as long. Only four of the Summons in the game have much utility (Choco/Mog, Hades, Phoenix and Knights of the Round), and of those, one is only useful in conjunction with a Support Materia.
- Similarly you cannot skip the Final Boss's Supernova animation. Two minutes of waiting for a glorified Percent Damage Attack.
- The bare amounts of AP you get in the game when it comes to mastering Materia can make it a grind or limit what you can do with characters. It's no problem with magic materia, but command, summon and support materia have obnoxious amounts required to master even late game. It really stinks with support materia as you can't easily customize your characters to fulfill specific roles in battle.
- After the side quest in Wutai where Yuffie steals all of the team's Materia, upon getting it all back, the player will discover it's all been jumbled up across all characters. Thanks a lot Yuffie...
- The impossible to dodge cutscene attacks that bosses are fond of using, especially in Hard mode. The most flagrant Hard Mode example being in mission 5-1-2 (a fight with Bahamut) where Megaflare (the cutscene attack) will kill you in one hit if you take the mission shortly after gaining access to it, in spite of the game calling its difficulty "Normal". Yes, a mission that's impossible without specifically preparing for the inevitable one hit kill by an undodgable attack is just normal....
- Even worse in the fight with the Superboss, Minerva. Yes, it's meant to be tough. But do you think an undodgeable cinematic attack that has a good chance of dealing 99999 damage AND removes your Raise status is a little broken?
- The DMW system randomizes when Zack levels up, when his Materia levels up (as well as which ones level up, and how much), when he can perform Limit Breaks, and randomly heals him or gives him temporary stat buffs. While leveling up isn't entirely randomnote , the ability to level up Materia and execute Limit Breaks relying on random chance is ridiculous.
- All encounters are on fixed places, even if you cannot SEE them. This means you can accidentally re-enter a "conflict" as soon as you have "resolved" another, simply because you took one step in the wrong direction. It is possible to avoid MOST fixed encounters by hugging the correct ledge/wall, but some are unavoidable, specially during "open world" maps. After hours playing the game you will likely cringe every single time you hear "Activating Combat Mode!"
- In most boss battles, there are cinematic pauses that take place when the boss reaches a certain hit point threshold that transition to a new stage of the battle. The only problem is that more often than not the boss could have just become staggered and the party made use of several action gauges, spells, and/or limit breaks to take advantage, but as soon as the hit point threshold is reached, the boss temporarily becomes invulnerable to further damage until the next stage begins, and all the actions the party is in the middle of taking are squandered.
- To some extent, the ban on item usage in hard mode. It increases difficulty for a certainty, but when starting on a New Game+, results in an entire inventory of useless items.
Final Fantasy VIII
- The Junction System has the steepest learning curve of any equipment system in a Final Fantasy title. The drab visual design of the menus does not help.
- The Draw System is easily exploitable, and grinding for spells is slow and painful. There's a Magic Booster system in the 2013 PC release that gives you 100 of most low and mid level spells, but while many fans either like it or think it takes away from the challenge, others believe that its addition proves that the Draw System was poorly designed to begin with.
- Triple Triad has a few rules which are disliked for various reasons. Since rules change and spread depending on where in the world you play, many players find themselves pulling their hair out dealing with scrappy rules catching on, or else going to great lengths to stop rules from spreading at all.
- There's the Random rule, which automatically selects 5 random cards for your hand, instead of allowing you to select cards manually. The problem can be mitigated considerably by Card Modding or throwing away any weak cards that come into your hand, but it's still irritating, especially if you're trying to complete the Queen of Cards sidequest (which requires you to lose specific unique cards to her).
- The Same and Plus rules increase the complexity of the game greatly, and can allow either player to turn their opponent's overwhelming advantage into a crushing defeat at the last second. Then again, there are people who love these rules for those exact reasons.
- The Final Boss selects your party for you at random. Not even Squall is immune from this. And given how easy it is to swap Junctions from character to character, you probably don't have six characters' worth of spells stocked up, much less proper GF coverage. (You can prepare for this, of course, but... well.) It's possible to change your layout by killing your own members and waiting until they're "absorbed into time" and replaced with someone you want to use, but if that happens to your favorite party members, they're gone forever.
- It only takes exactly 1000 EXP to level up in this game across all levels, making getting to level 100 with a character much quicker than any other FF game. However, the enemies level up as much as you do. For the poor, uneducated players who grinded to level 100 early on that learned this the hard way...
- Speaking of levelling to 100, there is the fact that characters can reach level 100 in the first place, where almost every other game in the series caps at 99. This can be a problem with a handful of end-game enemies that have Level 5 Death at their disposal, and with no further means of changing their level, the player in any battle involving them has until the count of one to kill them off, run away, or be subject to a total party kill.
Final Fantasy IX
- The Trance system, largely because of how uncontrollable the transformation is. It can take several hours of fighting in-game to charge up Trance, and when charged you immediately enter Trance, and then when the current battle is over the gauge completely depletes. Imagine this — your Trance bar is almost filled, when you order an attack on an enemy in a random encounter. Before the attack goes through, the enemy attacks, the Trance bar fills, and the character enter Trance. They attack and kill the enemy, the battle ends, Trance gauge is depleted. This will happen. That's also not getting into how unbalanced the Trance abilities are between various characters; Quina just gets to use Eat on enemies with higher health and Steiner gets an attack power buff, while Eiko and Vivi get Dualcast and Zidane becomes a god of destruction able to deal massive damage to enemies for trivial amounts of MP.
- Quina's "Eat" ability. It instantly kills the enemy and possibly earns Quina a new ability, however it will only work if the enemy is at 1/4 of its health, a rather small window. Oftentimes whittling down the enemy's health will result in accidentally killing it. It doesn't help that a lot of the powers can be collected from enemies when you first meet Quina, meaning you don't yet have Scan to determine how much health they have left, only figuring out when he/she says "I no can eat until it's weaker!". Luckily, a Blue Magic skill Quina learns (Matra Magic) is a HP to 1 move, but it comes with its own problems, as its accuracy, while not bad enough to make it unusable, doesn't guarantee a hit, and it means Quina (a party member that, by default, is as fast as Steiner) needs extra turns to attempt to hit Matra Magic, and once it hits, one more to Eat the enemy.
- The card game, Tetra Master, qualifies too. Particularly because first time one plays the game is during the very beginning of the game and there's a half hour long tutorial with unlimited consequence free practice games available, and since the game doesn't come up much during the actual plot, they aren't expecting to have to win a couple of games to progress the storyline. Moreover, playing it the way it looks like it ought to be played (stronger cards beat weaker ones) doesn't help you much, because there's some kind of random element to it, to the point where even FAQ writers haven't been able to fully figure out how the mechanics work. Back when PlayOnline.com still existed, at least it revealed that strength of the cards is based off their Hexidecimal Code values. However, despite that, there is an RNG factor in the game that has such a range to it that the stats could border on meaningless. The one time you're forced to play it to progress the plot is the only time in the entire game where being good at it gets you anything besides more useless cards. Finally, the only Tetra Master card that does anything outside the minigame (which allows you to rename your party members if you show it to a specific NPC) can be found without ever playing it.
- The HP in the game being capped at just-below five digits and, even for the lowest-level characters, HP starts at three digits. There are several segments in the game, where one has no access to any character with a healing or revival spell/technique. And if one does have such a character in the party, the spells cannot be accessed due to 'anti-magic fields' in the area or because your healing mage is technically available but broken. And Phoenix Downs in this game only restore single-digit HP.
- The fact that being killed does not negate the Zombie status. It prevents the character from being revived, until it is removed and Remedy does not work on it, so if you forgot to bring along the appropriate item (Magic Tag) you're out of luck.
- Stop does not wear off with time, making it one of few games in the series where a party afflicted with Stop faces the Game Over screen. There is also a worse version of the Poison status called Venom, which combines the slow HP drain of Poison with the effect of Stop and adds a slow-MP-drain on top of that.
- Additionally, the version of Stop that is available for players to use is also essentially an instant-death spell when it's affecting a solo enemy, and winning a battle in this manner will give no experience or gil (though AP will still be awarded).
- The Overly Long Fighting Animations can be quite tedious, as well as the long camera pan around the battlefield at the beginning of every random encounter.
- During the mid-point of the game, Dagger will frequently fail to perform actions, instead presenting you with a "Can't concentrate" message. When Garnet goes through a broken phase note , she becomes useless in battle. She completely loses her ability to go into Trance and has a random chance of skipping her turn, because she is incapable of focusing. It also doesn't help that the other white mage of the party has gone missing. Fortunately, you can still use Garnet's magic outside of battles. While justified based on story-related reasons, from a gameplay standpoint this renders one of the stronger mages in your party (the primary summoner at that) effectively useless.
- The stealing mechanic can drive players up the wall, they're widely hated due to how luck based it can be. Most enemies carry up to 4 items to steal, ranging from common to rare and bosses, naturally, tend to hold the better items. Even with add-on abilities that increase the success rate of stealing, it still doesn't help a lot. Almost every boss has several items and the more rare ones are harder to steal. Rare items have a 16/256 success rate in being stolen and very rare items just have a 1/256 odds. note While the majority of the items from bosses can either be found/bought/synthesized later on, you will pull your hair out trying to get the best items early so that your characters can have stronger stats and/or learn abilities sooner. All the above is made even worse during the Hopeless Boss Fight against Beatrix since she'll automatically end the battle after a few minutes passes or if her HP is depleted, which means you lose out on any items you didn't get to steal from her. The Hilgigars is infamous among players for having its Fairy Flute being nearly impossible to steal (it has a 1/256 chance of success).
Final Fantasy X and X- 2
- While this game's levelling system, Sphere Grid, is very much fun and interesting during the normal gameplay, the amount of grinding it needs for you to be able to tackle Bonus Bosses, especially Dark Aeons from International/PAL/HD release requires much more time than it would just taking characters to Lv. 99 in any other game from the series. This is mainly because you have to not only grind levels, but also items, seeing as you need to get spheres that fill in empty node. Later, once you unlock clear spheres, you have to clear all nodes that don't offer maximum bonus and re-fill them by above spheres, and reactivate them by everyone. Since clear sphere is accessed by beating second strongest monster from arena, you need to make a pass on weaker grid before, and seeing a single clear sphere costs 10000 Gil, you need to grind money as well. And let's not talk about raising Luck, which you'll need to do too at least a bit if you want to tackle Dark Aeons. The luck spheres are a pain because they're only gained by grinding the Greater Sphere; a horrid superboss with obnoxious defenses and the fortune spheres to activate said nodes come from the Earth Eater superboss. It's telling that some players just learn how to get Yojimbo's affection up very high for a potential Zanmato just to avoid having to deal with them the hard way.
- Heck, even in just regular gameplay, the Sphere grid is one of the most time consuming leveling systems in the Final Fantasy franchise, and can start to get tedious. Every time you earn a handful of sphere levels, its time to enter the menu, manually move your characters around the board, and manually open another menu and select different sphere types to activate the nodes for stat and ability gains. Sphere levels also accumulate at a much faster pace than your typical level up system (especially if you overkill enemies consistently) meaning you'll be stopping to manually level almost constantly. An auto level option might have been a welcome addition.
- The then new innovation of being able to change your party at ANY time, even during battle, was a welcome addition in this game, but the fact that only characters who take an action in battle earn experience means that players who are determined to evenly balance all their characters will have to spend a significantly longer amount of time in every battle constantly switching in every character to make sure they act to share in the exp. The leaked experience common in most other Final Fantasy games can be a bit missed after a while.
- The Chocobo Race minigame. No player has not raged at the horrible mechanics in this minigame. In the race, one rides a barely-controllable Chocobo and needs to beat the NPC opponent's time in racing - picking up balloons on the track removes 3 seconds off of your time, whereas being hit by seagulls who come out of nowhere not only adds 3 seconds to your time, but also briefly stuns you, making the actual amount of time lost almost twice that amount. And if the player wants Tidus' best weapon? You need to obtain a time below 0:00 seconds! Meaning a preferably perfect run of the race, with only picking up balloons and not getting whomped by a seagull.
- Monster Catching. In order to complete the Monster Catching sidequest, the player needs to catch 10 fiends of every area in the game. Problem is that some encounters are so rare, that the player could spend hours running around and trying to find this rare monster. Tonberries are notorious, as they reside in the hardest area of the entire game and, without weapons that can break the damage cap or summoning Aeons, one is essentially screwed. Worst part is that the player needs to have specific weapons equipped for a character to even be able to catch a monster and needs to do the last hit for the monster to count as caught.
- Dodging lightning bolts in the Thunder Plains. Getting hit is bad enough, as it throws Tidus back a few paces, and the player can make it through somewhat easily enough by just dodging a few lightning bolts. But if they want Lulu's crest to power up her best weapon, the player needs to dodge two-hundred (200) lightning bolts. Consecutively. The erratic pattern of the lightning bolts makes this obnoxious enough, and this area has random encounters, so attempting this without a No Encounters weapon is just begging for a hole in the wall. Oh, and don't even think of switching screens, because if you do, your count gets reset and you get to do that whole thing all over again. And no, nothing in the game actually tells you how many bolts you've dodged already.
- Blitzball itself. The first half of the game revolves around it and the player is thrown into a tournament game of Blitzball, with no real preparation, except an in-game manual just beforehand, which is a vague description of what goes on. The player is also immediately pitted against a team that, stat-wise, is so much better than your team that winning the game is practically luck-based.note The only upside is that winning this game is optional, so whether you lose or win makes no difference, except for one minuscule scene. And the game was inevitably soured for most players, especially when one learned that, in order to get Wakka's other Overdrives or best weapon, you have to play hours upon hours of Blitzball.
- Butterfly catching. While not as unforgiving as any of the above, the mechanics behind the game are still not well executed, for lack of better term. First, the lighting of the place makes hard to distinguish blue butterflies, which you must collect, from red ones, which you have to avoid. Second, the butterflies don't produce any shadow, making hard to estimate where they are. Third, for whatever reason, while the butterflies move, the butterfly hitboxes do not, making grabbing/avoiding them even harder. Lastly, when you trigger one of the games, butterflies spawn behind you but they don't materialize until second later or so, including a red one that spawns right behind you, into which you can run even if you remember there is a blue butterfly you need to get. And yes, the whole thing is timed.
- Lulu's Overdrive mechanic requiring fast rotating of the right analog stick. Any player of the original Mario Party knows that this results in blistered palms and broken controllers. And yes, this is unchanged in the PS3/PS4 version.
- Unskippable Cutscenes. As amazing as the cutscenes are, the fact that the series is infamous for throwing bosses at the player, with no saving in-between, makes this a horrible combination. So be prepared to not only fight the same boss again, but also to watch the very long cutscene leading up to the battle. And this issue was not fixed in the HD Remaster, despite it being one of the biggest complaints of the game.
- Bribe has a hit rate. It's quite possible in game to bribe a monster with a set amount of money and the bribe simply doesn't take. The money is memorized for subsequent bribes against same monster, meaning you can just bribe monster repeatedly with 1 gil until it will accept it, but this means bribing can quickly become a godawful time sink and nothing in the game tells you this, which means many players will consider that those gils are lost permanently. This is painful considering that in order to farm endgame armor for Dark Aeons and Penance, you're going to need upwards of the hundreds and thousands (396,000 for up to 60 chocobo wings from the Machea fiend) of gil to be able to craft the components multiple times.
- Linking Kimarhi's Blue Magic to his Overdrive has effectively rendered him one of the worst Blue Mages in the entire series as it diminishes the rate you can use it by an almost unreasonable degree, especially if you only have the Stoic Overdrive charge. It is also pretty hard to get around the fact that he just does not have that many Blue Magic spells he can use, and of those, half are of dubious utility in the mid to late game. Stone Breath, Fire Breath, Aqua Breath and Mighty G can be easily replicated by items and normal spells, and even Nova isn't all that spectacular when put up against Attack Reels and Blitz Ace. Compare this to Quina from Final Fantasy IX who has several pages of Blue Magic that can be learned and is cast from his/her MP, making it usable in every battle from start to finish.
- The escape command has a random chance of not working properly, leaving your party members to visibly refuse to obey you before returning back to the fight. During normal gameplay the chances are that you won't even realise this is even a thing let alone have it impact your game as the flee command is obtained early on and is always freely available as it does not use MP. During a no sphere grid run however where you are going to be using the escape command a lot come the mid-game, and this can easily bring forth a game over. Your only hope is that you have the relevant proof or evade and counter ability customised into your armour to survive the attack long enough to try again.
- There is a number of Scrappy Mechanics involving the Publicity Campaign sidequest in Calm Lands. The objective is to accumulate by 400 PR points for the company of your choice. This can be done in two ways: spending cash on minigames or making a pitch to random people by hitting square. The second option does not work for everyone and on top of that you have to select correct pitch for them to get maximum points, bringing on a plenty of Guide Dang It!. Thankfully correct pitches are always the same so if you do have a guide open, it's doable, though it's a still waste of time by virtue of running to correct person. However, even if you do everything perfectly you won't get enough points from that, so you're obliged to play mini-games where you either have to blow all your cash (though there is a trick that allows you to get infinite money with a bit of patience) or pray RNG is kind to you. The minigames themselves are full of strange quirks as well: Sky Slots for example will randomly skip the last selected fiend even if they time the press right, and sometimes even if you selected it the fiend after will attack the one you selected and take its place, often causing you to lose.
Final Fantasy XI
- Player Versus Player, for several reasons:
- Many matches of PvP turn into 1v1 matches, even though the game is based almost entirely on party play, turning most team matches into insane free-for-alls.
- Many job combinations are horribly ill-suited for solo play in the first place. A Bard/anything will likely be turned into paste in one-on-one.
- Swapping equipment has harsh penalties, and while it's to prevent players being untargetable, the game is almost bursting with players that swap equipment all the damn time in order to perform perfectly.
- Very few players even have a large interest in PvP, and most of those people are on one server.
- And due to the lack of interest in PvP, the classes are largely unbalanced. Paladins have a large inherent advantage against melees (especially PLD/RDM) and a skilled Red Mage can beat pretty much any class.
Final Fantasy XII
- AI party members hold still when charging spells, thus if you try to move through an area while gambits for your party members to cast spells are active, they'll get spread out behind you and have to run to catch up. Characters can move while charging spells, they only need to hold still once they actually cast the spell, but the AI still stays put.
- No one likes the Chops sidequest in Archades. For some reason pieces of wood are considered a status symbol in Archades, and people tend to pass around chops as thanks for aid, so you have to do enough good deeds to earn enough chops to take the air cab, which will refuse to take you anywhere without chops. Thus you have to run back and forth talking to people, relaying specific messages to specific people, getting chops in thanks. With a guide it can still take half an hour, and without a guide it'll probably take double that time, since it's often counter-intuitive to figure out which messages have to be relayed to whom. And to add further insult, in-story you shouldn't even have had to do this quest at all; Balthier gave some chops to Jules to pass along to you, but Jules decided to pocket them and make you get your own.
- The way treasure containers work is infamously terrible. First, there's a random chance for a container to spawn or not. Then there's a chance for the container to contain gil or an item. Then the game looks at one of two potential items to be in the container. The result is that every treasure container has one of three potential treasures, if it spawns at all, and the Diamond Armlet accessory changes those contents entirely. Oh, and just because the developers hate you: some containers contain the "good" items in their normal loot pools, while the Diamond Armlets don't, so wearing it all the time to ensure good stuff will cheat you out of rare items. The Zodiac version thankfully simplifies this; containers either contain gil or an item, and the Diamond Armlet changes the item inside to randomly be a Knot of Rust or a Meteorite (or in a few end-game locations, some other item). The Zodiac version also gives certain treasure chests a 100% chance of its contents, usually an ability or equipment pieces, so wearing the Diamond Armlet won't cause you to miss out.
- The Bazaar. As the Guide Dang It! entry on the main page explains, it is impossible to figure out without a guide how to unlock the various items there, or where you can get the loot items that can unlock them.
- Effect Capacity. Every action save for normal attacks and some enemy-exclusive Technicks has a hidden value of 1, 2, 4, or 8 Effect Capacity. Effect Capacity basically determines how many actions can be used at once: if enough actions are being taken that the Capacity hits 8, no other actions with Capacity can be performed. While this was a necessary limitation to ease strain on the PS2's hardware by not letting too many special attacks animate at once, the developers rather obviously used it to introduce some Fake Difficulty too, as several spells and items with simple animations have high Capacities. In the late game thanks to this mechanic, get used to seeing party members charge spells, and then sit there doing nothing for several seconds while they wait for someone else's spell to finish casting. It also makes enemies with Level 3 spells deceptively difficult, as most Tier 3 spells have 4 capacity and Darkga and Graviga have 8. Finally, normal attacks don't have Effect Capacity, so in a battle with multiple enemies, one of them casting Darkga can prevent your healer from casting any healing spells while the rest of the enemy mob keeps attacking normally on top of Darkga's damage. The removal of this mechanic in the PS4 version was met with much rejoicing among players.
- Summoning and using espers sounds totally badass until you see the annoying limitations they have that prevent them from being fun to use. Espers are under AI control, cannot be controlled manually, and they have their own set of gambits that cannot be adjusted. Their Limit Break is activated usually when their timer is nearly finished or if their HP gets low, but some espers have incredibly obtuse and convoluted ways of activating their special moves such as requiring both the summoner and the esper to have less than 20% of their max HP or having the summoner being afflicted with petrifaction. Naturally, you are never told how to find these triggers. Espers also retain their elemental weaknesses and will crumble like paper if a strong enemy exploits it. If either the summoner or the esper's HP hits zero, the esper is dismissed and you've effectively wasted a mist charge. The international and HD remaster versions of the game allows espers to be controlled by the player and their special attacks can be executed at any time, but their gambits are still set in stone.
- Traps, a mechanic in this game where certain areas will have invisible traps that when you step on them will cause an effect, such as full-party Blind, Sap, Silence, Confusion, drains all your MP, rejuvenates all nearby enemies, or cause a massive explosion that will likely send your health into the red if it doesn't outright wipe your party. Traps also reset if you leave an area and come back, and the only way to avoid them is by using an accessory slot on a special item to make you immune to traps, or to constantly have Float active. The worst time to get hit with a trap is probably when you're trying to flee through a map to get through quickly, only to run over 20 traps along the way.
Final Fantasy XIII Trilogy
- The fact that Transformation Is a Free Action is not observed by the characters in-battle. The first time your party switches Paradigms in a fight, the camera zooms in on each of them and they strike a pose while the enemy is still fighting. Better make sure to switch to healing before you desperately need it (or better yet, switch once immediately at the fight just to get it over with, if you think it'll take awhile)- after that, it doesn't happen again, for that battle anyway. If you are thrown airborne, the camera will also not change.
- The characters will often try to turn on the spot to align themselves before they perform their actions towards their characters, which can lead to an ally dying before the healer can start casting a Cure spell, or an enemy's Stagger Meter fully draining because the character failed to attack immediately.
- Each character have their own casting or attacking animation, and all of them are variable by the speed of their animations. Because time is essentially the most important factor in battle, slow characters like Vanille can take too much time gesticulating on the spot before casting her spell, which makes them vulnerable to being interrupted by an enemy attack.
- The AI script for defensive options is poorly optimized. When playing with synergists, they'll only cast one spell on you at a time, and they'll run the list rather than stick to what's most effective for the fight at hand. Medics will tend to spam cure magic when poisoned instead of using Esuna, then curing the lost amounts. The game's difficulty when you need an AI to handle the defensive roles can lead to Fake Difficulty because of it.
- Similarly the AI handling the buffing (synergist) and debuffing (Saboteur) roles will cast until their full selection of buffs/debuffs are cast, then sit around and do nothing. What it should do is start recasting already cast spells to refersh their duration. This grealy limits the ability of either role in the hands of an AI:
- For synergists this means that you will have to deal with your buffs wearing off multuple times during a boss fight. While simply annoying for offensive buffs it's downright deadly for defensive buffs, as being hit with a bosses hardest ability during the period that your defensive buffs are down can lead to an instant game over, meaining an AI synergist is basically signing up for Luck-Based Mission for any boss fight.
- Synergists spells build up the break gauge, and thus a synergist could replace a commander as the role that builds break in your team if you lack enough paragim roles to fit a commander in one. However, this strategy can only be used if you control the synergist since the AI synergist will wait around not casting anything after it's applied it's full range of debuffs, which allows the break gauge to drop back to 0 since the synergist isn't maintaining it any longer.
- One of the worst mechanics in the game, even for those who like the game, is, for the first time ever in the series, the entire party loses if the leader gets KOed. So if any battle has all the enemies decide to focus on your main character, make sure to keep them at full HP or retry the battle, or at least pray to God that the party member focused on isn't the leader.
- The Quake spell is the only offensive spell in the game that requires a consumable gauge (the TP gauge), which is better saved for things like Libra or summoning Eidolons. But Quake is the only way to deal Earth-elemental damage in the entire game, outside of summons. Fortunately, most enemies are not weak to Earth to begin with, but the ones that are, are often Demonic Spiders. And making use of (elemental) weaknesses makes up a big part of the staggering mechanic, which lets the party deal tons of damage. Fortunately, the sequel removes the Earth element entirely.
- Customization earns quite some flak for three reasons. First, money is exceptionally hard to obtain, as battles do not drop Gil and the best drops to sell are usually held by really strong monsters, making Weapon customization difficult to do as it requires a lot of money. Second, its system of balancing EXP Multiplier and points is rather convoluted. Third, nothing in the game hints at the target time for battles being lowered the higher upgraded your weapon is. So the player can inadverdently shoot themselves in the foot by making great weapons, but not finishing battles soon enough to get 5 Stars, which results in better upgrade material being dropped.
- While it fixes a lot of the previous game's mechanics in the battle system, the added monster catching aspect is sometimes one itself. It's basically a Luck-Based Mission on whether the player gets a Monster Crystal from fighting a monster. Sometimes, the Random Number God is kind and lets you get a crystal after one or two fights, other times it will force you to fight the same enemy at least a dozen times.
- The casino's slot-machine is based on actual luck, much like it would be in real life. No matter what you do, nothing really influences the chance of getting 777 and a nice pay-off - except for the machine's 'mood' - meaning the player could spend hours upon hours of dropping coins into the thing just to get a big enough pay-out to get the Lucky Coin fragment. And using the Auto-Play option for the slot-machine doesn't help much, either. Tie a rubber-band to it, go away for a few hours and check to see if you got lucky.
- The "Hands of Time" Temporal Rift puzzles. Do you suck at math? Yes? We have a minigame for you! Some of them have a time limit that will generate a new puzzle if it expires. And there are no fixed solutions, since the puzzles are generated, though this is mitigated by the fact that many solver applets are available. Of course, that doesn't improve the mechanic itself; it just makes it less annoying for those who don't like it. Also, there's a silver lining in that no Hands of Time puzzles turn up in the main story, so they're totally optional if you aren't going for 100% completion.
- Academia 500 AF, the final dungeon of the game, caused many gamers to bite their controllers in frustration. A massive maze comprised of floating platforms where you have to rotate certain platforms to make sure you go the right way. Oh and did I mention the Proto Behemoths lurking around the place? Have fun!
- The whole game is a Timed Mission, with a hard limit of thirteen in-game days, and the clock never stops ticking. Take too long and you get an underwhelming Game Over. If you don't enjoy the high-stakes urgency, then you will hate being rushed when there is a world begging to be explored, as well as saved.
- Synthesizing and upgrading Abilities. The higher an Ability's level is, the more damage it does, so one would want to increase their strength, especially against Chocobo-Eaters and Earth-Eaters. Downside: synthesizing means you need to have multiple of the same Ability to merge them, raising their points enough so that it's ready to be leveled up. So the player needs to grind monsters for the same Ability over and over, with/without save-scumming, to get enough multiples to merge. The worst offender is Elementaga, the highest tier of the four-elemental spell, which is only dropped by the Final Boss... on Hard Mode. Thankfully, there is a Last One accessory that doubles all item drop rates at the cost of gaining 0 gil for that battle, but save-scumming may still be required.
- The spawning of the Rare Forge, a traveling NPC, who sells some of the best garbs in the game. He spawns randomly each hour, in any of the four locales - with five spawn points per locale - and he cannot spawn in the locale the player's currently at. Looking for this guy on purpose will waste the limited time the game gives, so one can only hope to honestly just stumble over him at one point. And it's not uncommon to go an entire playthrough without ever knowing he exists.
- The constant time limit. Every (in game) day at 6:00 you have to return to the arc (the hub). Even if you're in the middle of doing something, you WILL return to the arc. Maybe that's what the game's title refers to? And bonus points for Hope's constant talking, specifically reminding you that you have to return to the arc soon.
- There's no levelling up or Crystarium in this game; you instead gain random stat boosts for completing side quests only. The only way to increase your stats is to do tons and tons of Side Quests which devolve into Fetch Quests and hunting for 20 Bear Asses over and over again. One let's player noted that this system combined with the time system demands that the player somehow grind while avoiding grinding. Compounding this, as Yahtzee pointed out, is that with the worlds so big and massive and the fetch quests having almost no way to find them out aside from talking to EVERY single person to find out, that precious time gets wasted to do a quest that Lightning may not be strong enough to complete.
Final Fantasy XIV
- Rage quit penalties. Anyone that ditches a party on a quest will get slapped with a 30 minute timeout, which means that player cannot sign up for any quest on the duty finder until their 30 minutes are up. While the mechanic does help curb rage quitting, it also punishes players that want to leave due to the party being trolls or the party simply being bad and can't finish the quest. The 30 minute penalty also applies globally, which means that even if you are in a premade party, you can't do a quest with your friends at all until the timer runs out.
- FATEs, which stand for Full Active Time Events. Said events are randomly generated everywhere and are usually "kill all monsters" or "gather items for this NPC". The better you perform in the events, the more experience points, gil, and company seals you can earn. FATEs are good for low level characters, but are a pain for high level players that need the events to level grind due to the RNG of the events popping up. Some quests and objectives may require a specific FATE to appear, which means a lot of waiting around if you're unlucky. It also doesn't help that many seasonal events are also based around the FATE mechanic.
- There are two FATEs that spawn King Behemoth and Odin and they require a lot of people to come together to take the bosses down. It is not unusual to see hundreds of players trying to fight the super bosses all at once, which can cause massive slowdown for many people. The problem was so bad that the boss characters would sometime fail to appear on many peoples' screens, making it impossible to attack them. Square did attempt to alleviate the issue by giving the bosses higher priority for character rendering, but the zerg rushes that follow can still cause issues. A similar phenomenon occurred with Ixion on the release of Stormblood.
- The entirety of the Relic Weapon quest line that powers up your Infinity +1 Sword to higher levels is a nightmare of RNG and grind. Finishing the initial leg of the quest required some effort, but was doable within a reasonable amount of time - you acquired the original, broken weapon, collected a few materials through event fights, fought a few open world monsters, and finally capped it off with easily-obtainable items purchased with end-game dungeon currency. It was when the Atma portion of the quest was reached that the entire chain quickly devolved into a mind-numbing experience. Tasked to locate 12 Atma crystals (randomly dropped from any FATE you participate in, with 1 unique Atma per zone), it was quickly discovered that the RNG drop rate was so terrible that one player could spend hours grinding in a single area and receive nothing, while incredible luck would mean another player could find all the Atma in equal or even decidedly less time. Worse still, the second half of the quest demanded you collect 9 books to give your weapon its true power (the Atma quest doesn't even do that, merely raising the weapon's item level) and every book carried an original price tag of 1500 mythology tomes to purchase, out of a 2000 tome cap. Although Patch 2.4 alleviated some of the pain by boosting the drop rates of the Atma crystals and reduced the amount of tomestones needed to purchase the books, the tomestones used for purchase were changed from Mythology to Soldiery, and the overall ease of acquiring them was limited compared to gathering Mythology. While the Atma books were, fortunately, a quest item and located in your key items inventory, the Atma crystals were treated as regular loot - capable of accidentally being discarded or sold. Worse yet, each Atma corresponds to a single Zodiac sign (Atma of the Crab, Archer, Fish, etc.) and took up a single inventory slot apiece, much like weapons and armor. It was only much, much later that Atma of the same type would stack together, but by that point the utility of obtaining a Relic Weapon was more or less moot.
- The Novus portion of the relic quest line cuts out the RNG in exchange for materia farming. You need 75 pieces of Alexandrite and 75 pieces of materia to power up your relic. Said materia are easy to obtain or buy from other players until you start using the higher grade materia, which are a lot more difficult to come by, involves some RNG in terms of what kind of materia you get, and you forking over a ton of gil on the market board if you want to buy high level materia from someone.note Assuming one did manage to obtain all the materia and Alexandrite, the very next step involved "Light" farming - tasked with obtaining 2000 Light to power up the weapon, at a time when completing the entirety of a 24-player raid would only yield 8 points, and most other activities granting perhaps 1 or 2 at most.
- The Zodiac weapon, which is the transformation of your relic weapon, is even more absurd by combining everything hated from the previous relic quests into one ball of "we enjoy watching players suffer." Hope you loved farming for the low drop rate Atmas because now you get to do it again for sixteen items needed for your Zodiac weapon and they can only be acquired by running the very lengthy dungeons! You'll also need several hundred thousand gil just to purchase a few key items needed for the quest, over 6000 Soldiery Tomestones for another item, and 60,000 grand company seals for a different item. Hope you also took up some crafting classes because now you'll need to get items that can only be obtained through crafting and desynthesis! If not, better hope you can afford to buy the crafted items from other players. Later patches would make the required items in dungeons always drop and the crafted materials no longer have to be high quality.
- And hopefully you actually enjoyed the 2.0 run of relic quests, because they basically copy/pasted the procedure for the Heavensward relic quests. There's still FATE farming (though that can be skipped if you turn in a Zodiac weapon that is now completely useless due to the incessant, perfectly vertical gear progression), there's a fat materia requirement, there's a need for an absurd amount of tomestones, and there's a stage that requires running dungeons you've already completed. Though at least the dungeon runs are part of a repeatable subquest that guarantee you the item you want, rather than in the 2.0 version where it was completely random.
- Loot drops. By itself, the mechanic isn't bad, but when combined with a weekly lockout for raids, it's a major pain. If you're really unlucky, you'll probably never see the piece of gear or token that you need. The weekly look lockouts do eventually get abolished once the gear from those raids are no longer the best ones that can be obtained, but you're still subjected to luck's mercy on getting specific drops.
- Crafting scrips, and indeed, high-level crafting/gathering and collectibles in general for the Heavensward expansion. While specialty nodes for gatherers appeared for a small window in the ARR release, these windows allowed enough time for players to travel to different zones and gather the items they needed. The new nodes, however, only appear for roughly 55 real-time seconds, and are far enough away from zone Aetherytes that it is literally impossible to gather from more than one node at a time...all of which are only available twice per in-game day.
- This is compounded by the fact that the collectible minigame involves using a series of skills in a precise order which not only renders the item gathered unfit for use in any crafting, but each item acquired takes up a single inventory slot, and, if any deviation in said minigame occurs, means that it is impossible to recover from and either means losing another collectible or wasting the node entirely. Collectibles must be of a certain rarity value (achieved through the minigame) to have any XP value as a turn-in, or be worth any amount of end-game scrip currency.
- Collectibles also impact crafting classes, who must engage in the same type of minigame upon making an item to turn in, if they wish to see any moderately level-appropriate XP rewards or acquire any scrips. The terrible thing for crafters is that it is extraordinarily difficult to make the items needed without first having the gear and tools to acquire said items, which requires acquiring those same items to make the gear, which requires having the gear to begin with, which necessitates obtaining the items...
- Eureka: Anemos turned out to be one entire scrappy mechanic. Any mob a but a couple levels above you will immediately murder you. The only decent way to make any EXP gains is to farm Notorious Monsters (a throwback to Final Fantasy XI), which are basically FATEs, the scrappy mechanic that will not die. The only way to gain levels is to join the "zerg train", which is a large group of players that go from FATE to FATE. But if you're under the recommended level for a FATE, you'll get less EXP and none of the drops you need to upgrade gear, meaning lower level players are left in the dust. Likewise, if you are planning to farm regular monsters while in a party, any level difference between party members will reduce the amount of EXP everyone gets per kill. If the level difference is big, EXP gains are severely reduced or even outright eliminated.
- Eureka: Pagos takes everything that people hated about Anemos and not only brings them back, but adds even more hated mechanics on top of it. The map design spaces everything far apart from each other, which means aetherytes and other important locations can take a few minutes to reach while you're trying to avoid every high leveled monster. Dragons are also placed in many choke points where people would frequently travel. Said dragons are always sleeping, but running past them wakes them up and they will one shot you unless you're at the level cap. Unlike Anemos, you can't actually begin to grind for your relic until level 25 and you can't ride your mounts until you hit the level cap of 35. EXP gains in Pagos was extremely abysmal to the point that it was faster to level up by chain killing mobs instead of farming FATEs, leading many to speculate that the slow EXP gains was done as a response to how quickly people leveled up in Anemos. Pagos also has Happy Bunnies, which have to be saved during certain FATEs. Completing them gives you no rewards since you're expected to get said rewards from a hidden treasure coffer. However, it's completely up to chance if you actually get a Happy Bunny if you beat the FATE and if you do get one, you lose out on the coffer if you or the bunny dies (later patches would give you EXP if you saved the Happy Bunnies). Once you do actually start your relic in Pagos, the method of doing it is abysmal; you need to collect several frosted crystals, which can only be obtained by collecting aether from monster kills. Aether fills up your bar and a full bar gives you one crystal. Crystals then have to be taken to a forge to be smelted into usable materials for Gerolt to use, but the path to the forge is a one way trip that's guarded by a dragon and the forge itself is surrounded by hostile monsters as well. The grind for aether is heavily reliant on luck since you will not always gain aether from each kill and the amount you do get is completely random. The grind for aether was so ill received that many players practically gave up on their relic and abandoned Pagos entirely. Later patches would buff the EXP gains as well as the amount of aether obtained.
- Eureka: Pyros does make an attempt to improve some things, such as a denser monster intensity and a better map design to get around enemies more easily. However, Pyros also retains the same mechanics from the previous iterations of Eureka (FATE grinding, level grinding, grinding for crystals, etc) as well as adding more annoying mechanics. Powering up your relic requires unlocking Logos actions from logograms. Said logorams can be earned from completing a FATE or finding them in coffers from Happy Bunnies, but they are subjected to RNG and you may never get the ones you want. There are 50 Logos actions total, but you only need 30 to upgrade your relic. Getting all 50 grants you the right to buy pretty neat looking armor, but good luck trying to figure out which lologram combos unlock new actions. Even after you get your relic upgraded, you can choose to upgrade it further, but doing so removes all of your weapon's substats. To get them back or get something better than what you had, you have to grind for aether in the same way you did for Pagos. Luckily, you only need two crystals to get a shot of getting better stats for your relic. Unfortunately, you can't choose what stats you can get or how much of it you want. It's purely up to luck. Don't like the results? Go back and grind aether again for another shot.
- Trusts for the dungeons in Shadowbringers are good alternative when you either can't get a group going or just want to play alone. Trusts are basically AI controlled party members and each one acts differently from one another. Trusts aren't perfect and have quite a number of shortcomings; trusts don't react as quickly as players, so they will feel slow at times. Trusts also don't output damage as fast or heavy as a typical player, so a dungeon run can take quite a while. If there's a mechanic where you have to stack, you have to move the marker to the trusts since they won't go to you. Trusts can only be used when alone and not with other players. Using trusts also reduces the amount of loot you can get in a dungeon. Lastly, upon completing the main story of Shadowbringers, unique trust allies will no longer be available as party members and the remaining trusts now have to be leveled up in order to be used in higher level dungeons. Be prepared to grind a lot since it can take around four to six runs of the same dungeon just to have a trust level up once due to the absurd amount of experience required. A later patch would rectify the EXP issue by having trusts gain a lot more than before.
- Greased Lightning is a job mechanic for Monks that boosts the player's attack power and reduces cooldown on weapon skills every time the player does a full attack rotation. Greased Lighting could be stacked three times (four stacks by the time of the Shadowbringers expansion) and the stacks were lost if the timer expired. This meant that players had to always be attacking and any screw ups would lead to a pretty big DPS loss. Since many raid and trial bosses always have a "I'll hide off screen while the next phase comes up/perform my ultimate attack" gimmick, Monks would be guaranteed to lose their Greased Lightning stacks and had to build them up again. It wasn't until several years later in patch 5.3 where Greased Lightning was made into a trait that was always active and improves upon reaching certain level up milestones.
- In Stormblood, White Mages had the lily system where players would have a random chance of gaining a lilly (maximum of three) upon casting Cure or Cure II. Using a lily would reduce the cooldown of other healing spells. However, the concept was very counterintuitive since you basically had to ignore most of your healing toolkit and spam the Cure spells in order to generate a lily. While the lily mechanic didn't heavily affect how White Mage played, it was a cumbersome system that people ignored or even forgot that it was there. Shadowbringers completely revamped the lilies by having the player gain one every thirty seconds in battle and getting three allowed them to cast Afflatus Misery, an absurdly powerful AOE spell.
Final Fantasy XV
- The Wait Mode, which makes the battles a lot easier and more strategic, is off by default and buried under an option which, in earlier FFs, made the game less fun.
- The summoning system. Each of the summons has a specific set of conditions under which they will appear, none of which are mentioned to you at any point, but which generally involve one or more of your party being dead or in critical condition. And getting summons to appear is not as simple as holding L2 as the game prompts you to, as you have to do so for 5-10 seconds without getting hit (while Noctis is the only person standing, thus the target for the enemies and incapable of doing more than limping along while in critical condition). And even if you do all that, there's still no guarantee that any given summon will appear.
- Depending on the control scheme selected, doing actions is set to the X or Circle button, which can make it a pain to pick things up or interact with the environment when you keep jumping or warping by accident.
- The Regalia Type-F. For starters, you don't get it until after you've beaten the main story, so there's a good chance that you could Fast Travel to the places you need to go anyway. Unlike the other Airships, it takes damage and will cause a Game Over if you crash it. Many players crash it immediately right after they get it into a street light. It's difficult to land it without damaging it, and you can only land it on the road. The only upside is that it has infinite fuel, but considering how cheap fuel is, it's not much of an upside. Most infuriatingly, the airship also has something of an invisible border to where it can fly and it'll automatically re-direct itself back into its boundaries depending on where you are. Many a takeoff has been ruined by the airship instantly darting to the left or right as it lifts off, directly into a street light or a wall. On top of all that your customization options are more limited by the fact that the airship doesn't support full-body decals. With the later introduction of the Regalia Type-D, which carries over everything the Vanilla Regalia can equip(Including obtainable bonus parts to cut fuel consumption down to near or literally nothing) and can go off-road like Chocobos to cut down on travel exponentially(while running down any wildlife in your way), the airship ends up looking like little more than a novelty.
- The lack of hitstun on enemies can be really irritating thanks to the autoattack system. Rather than have enemies react to your blows and be unable to recover from them while you're comboing them, a lot of mid-to-lategame enemies will simply power through your attacks with no reaction to them. This can make your slower attacks feel obsolete, and make a lot of the bossfights feel tedious due to a lack of reaction from the bosses to your warps and other attacks. Oh, and naturally, that hitstun resistance does not apply to the player character or his party members - enemies can easily break your combos or stunlock you all day long, even if they are level 5 and your party is level 90.
- When the party engages the enemy, is triggers a 'battle zone', a red-outlined area visible on the map (but not the actual world) where if you run outside of this line, you can escape the battle. Part of the issue is, this area is not fixed to the enemy, but instead fixed to the general area that the enemy spawns in. Sometimes, especially with bigger enemies fought in the late-game, such as the Malbodoom or Phalaris, the enemy itself can cross this line due to how quickly and wildly they can attack, which effectively forces the battle to end even if your party is still on top of it. Worst, if this does happen, the enemy immediately regains all its health, and you have to kite the enemy back to the middle to the spawn point and start the entire fight over again.
Final Fantasy Tactics series
- Rapha and Marach's innate skill would assign them a random number of hits to random squares within the 5-square-cross targeting zone you give them. The Random Number God being the Jerkass he is, actually hitting anything with this ability is less likely than winning the lottery. As a result, the Hydra monster class is better at their jobs than they are, both because it's easier to restrict their targetting area because their equivalent skills have no vertical tolerance while Rapha and Marach have the default 3, and because the monster's skill has higher minimum and maximum hitcounts than theirs.
- The fact that support spells can miss is near-universally disliked. Especially since their accuracy can be less than an offensive spell, which doesn't make a lot of sense unless characters are trying to dodge Haste. It does, however, make some sense as a spell's effectiveness is based on the target's Faith stat.
- Speaking of the Faith stat, the fact that it's a double-edged sword (as opposed to Bravery, which you can never have too much of unless you're item-hunting) can be irritating. Basically, high-Faith units both deal and take more damage with magic, which quickly goes negative-sum against multiple enemies who can dish out more magic than they can in the same amount of time. Raising a unit's natural Faith over 95 also risks them leaving your party (either to seek loftier goals in life or because your leader has become The Heretic in-story). Zero-faith units on the other hand are immune to magic... including purely-beneficial magic which can save them if they're a few turns away from Final Death.
- That many of the Chapter 4 sidequests require you have certain characters in your party to be able to access them or else they'll be Permanently Missable Content. The worst of this is that the chain of sidequests to unlock all of the optional bonus characters in Chapter 4 require you having Mustadio, a unit you got way back in Chapter 2 with a crappy special job, while your party in the Playstation version had a very strict 16 unit limit that you'll probably already be having problems with before you even get him. So if you're one of the many players that got rid of Mustadio at any point before you can access those Chapter 4 sidequests to make room in your party, then too bad, you can't get ANY of those bonus characters.
- That the Playstation version actually has a party limit of 20 units, but four of the slots are exclusively reserved for Guest units, while you never have more than two Guests at once at any point of the game, making two of those slots being Guest-exclusive completely pointless. Additionally Guests didn't even need to be in your party at all, they could have just showed up in their relevant story battles, and they can't be used in random encounter battles anyway, making it farther pointless to have them being in your party at all. Unfortunately despite the prominence of the game's modding scene, modders have not figured out a way to make the four Guest-exclusive slots usable without any bugs.
- Another issue with Guests is in story battles where there are more than one involved, the amount of units you can bring into the battle is reduced, while often you would much rather use your own unit over having that extra AI-controlled Guest "helping" you (for example the infamous Dorter City Slums at the beginning of the game may not have been so bad if you didn't have Algus/Argath taking up one of your slots). The worst of this is in two battles where you have a Guest unit that is already dead and can't be revived restricting your battle slots, and in one battle where an enemy Guest is inexplicably restricting your slots.
- Special characters not being able to do propositions, which is especially a problem in the Playstation version when there's enough special characters to completely fill your aforementioned 16 character party limit. So besides eliminating a way for those units to get JP without getting any EXP to help stay ahead of the Level Scaling random encounters (or to just get JP in a purely prerequisite job without having them go into battle with that job), this means if you intend to get everyone you will have to at least ditch a few of those special characters for generics to be able to keep doing propositions.
- The Zodiac compatibility mechanic; each character is assigned one of the twelve Zodiac signs, and with units of certain other Zodiac signs they'll have "good" or "bad" compatibility, as well as a "best" (with opposite sex units) and "worst" (with same sex units) compatibility with one sign. With "good" compatibility attacks will deal more damage and status moves + recovery/buffing moves will have better accuracy, even moreso with "best" compatibility, and then vice versa for "bad" and "worst" compatibility. The problem is besides being a complicated mess to actually keep track of, the effect of compatibility is quite extreme (a 25% boost/drop for good/bad compatibility, and a 50% boost/drop for best/worst compatibility) and so you can find your units seemingly randomly getting hit much harder than they should be or find your unit unable to reliably inflict a status on a threatening enemy unit because of good/bad compatibility, as well as find your healer/supporter unable to properly heal/status buff one of your units because they happen to have bad/worst compatibility with each other. You can mostly ignore this mechanic and just adapt mid-battle when issues related to Zodiac compatibility arise, but it can screw you over at times, make some crucial boss fights harder because your party happened to have unindeal Zodiac signs for it, and can cripple your intended healer/support unit if you didn't carefully manage Zodiac compatibility within your party ahead of time.
- The law system can really piss people off. Minor infractions will earn a unit a yellow card, which resets their JP to zero, and major infractions (e.g. killing a monster with an Ice spell if Ice, Black Magic, and/or Dmg 2 Animal are illegal). Though canny players can turn it to their advantage sometimes (notably, waiting for Charm to be illegal makes the second Totema fight a complete joke), the presence of enemies with red-card immunity puts a sour taste in everyone's collective mouth.
- One law specifically forbids you from damaging monsters. Obviously, this is a significant advantage to the computer side, since many missions pit you against groups that consist entirely of monsters, which makes the battle impossible to win if you don't have an Antilaw that can negate it.
- Laws, again.
- Specifically certain laws that you may end up violating by an unavoidable accident. Namely "no damage above X, no hitting enemies more than 1 square away, or no critical hits" which you will end up breaking if you accidentally score a Critical Hit because you'll deal more damage than you expected to, will knock the opponent away counting the attack as damaging multiple squares away, or break the law for the Critical itself. Or the No Knockbacks law. Or the No Solitude law, if that was the only character next to you. Fortunately, the penalty is generally less severe depending on how you look at it (instead of characters potentially being arrested, removing them from the battle and forcing you to pay bail to get them out), you are simply restricted from reviving downed units for the rest of the battle. That way, if you do break the law, you can just go all out and ignore the laws for the rest of the fight.
- Many battles have enemies that are scripted to have one or two turns right at the beginning of the battle. Brightmoon Tor has enemies that cast Haste on themselves, doubling the number. One battle combines this with an Escort Mission to create one of the most insulting luck-based missions in video game history.
- The fact that your units begin with 0 MP. On the plus side, this makes Damage>MP much less useful, since you don't have to deplete all the enemies' MP to hurt them. On the minus side, this means that unlike most games, your spellcasters will have to wait or use an MP-restoring item to use their best spells.
- Final Fantasy: The 4 Heroes of Light
- The battle system lets you control what action your characters take, but not which target it will be done to. Do you want to gang up on a Cowpel with physical and magical attacks? Sorry, you can't. Physical attacks always go for the left-most and magic the right-most enemy. Want your White Mage to heal your half-dead tank? They will only heal the one with the least HP, even if said character has barely a scratch on them.
- The Crown upgrade system. The only way to learn new abilities is by upgrading the crowns with gems, which are only dropped by monsters. Every Level 2 upgrade requires an Amethyst (which you only have a limited supply in the first half of the game) and Level 3 upgrades requires a Diamond (which cannot be found until the last third of the game). And if you upgrade a crown, only the character that did so will benefit from it.
- Final Fantasy Brave Exvius
- Dispelling one's party is a frustrating task due to requiring you to target a party member in order to do it. Not only does the game not tell you you can do that in the first place, but you can't just pick a target and cast Dispel. Instead, you must cast another spell then target yourself between animations, meaning that you need a party member with Dualcast to even try dispelling yourself. Then depending on the sensitivity of one's touchscreen this is anywhere between easy to flat out impossible because of lag. Most people opt to attack themselves with an attack that also has a dispel effect rather than deal with the nuisance.
- Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles
- The bonus system was basically how the player knew what they had to do to obtain the most points in a given level. Lot of issues with it.
- A: The bonuses can be anything. They can be something simple as "Kill monsters" or they could be hell on earth such as "Don't use magic". Woe be unto you if you're in a area that requires Gravity or Holy magic only to get the latter.
- B: The only way to see the bonus was the GBA-Link cable. While it can be easily moot in a multiplayer setting, it makes no sense for single players to be stuck with the restriction. If you don't have the extra hardware; you can't see your bonuses for the level at all, which badly screws the player over.
- C: Sometimes, having too many points in a given set can be just as bad as having too few, as certain artifacts won't show up if you're over the amount of points necessary to obtain the artifact.
- Mog being the bucket moogle isn't a problem unless you have to visit the hotter areas in which he'll tire faster than usual (even if you shave him), forcing you to balance the bucket duties along with the really nasty enemies of the area. It doesn't take long for Mog to recover (5 seconds at most by most accounts), but then you wonder why they bothered letting it tire out in the first place, as it's a real pace-breaker.