Yiazmat or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Quit Final Fantasy

When I play video games, I tend to play for the story.  Whether the story be plot, experience, or mood, it is often my main motivator as a gamer.  As such, I tend to be a completionist when it comes to my game plots.  This includes, but is not limited to: reading novels that fill in gaps between the games, watching movies like Halo: Legends, and playing shitty spin-offs that are related to the main plot (unless I can find some way to divorce them; i.e., playing FFXII doesn't require that I play all Ivalice Alliance games).  It also means that I'm not done with a game until I do what it takes to squeeze every bit of story juice out of it.  In RPGs that means most side-quests, in other games it means beating it on the hardest difficulty in order to unlock a 20-second cutscene at the end of the credits, in Alan Wake and Halo 3:ODST it meant finding every hidden manuscript page or audio diary, respectively. 
 
 

 If I never see you again, Yiazmat, it will be too soon.
I beat FFXII.  I beat it pretty easily at about level 60 or 65.  After I beat the game, my plot-oriented OCD required me to finish the minutely plot-related "hunts".  I defeated 44 of 45, and then I was tasked with defeating Yiazmat, who has the largest health of any Final Fantasy superboss (50 health bars of 1 million hit points each).  It takes so long to defeat him (a few hours at least, if you're fully leveled up), that the game allows you to flee and Save, as long as Yiazmat doesn't have Regen currently cast.  Each attempt you make on his life is called a "stage".  
 
At my current level, I was defeated instantly.  So I gathered some of the best weapons in the game, and leveled up for a few hours.  Once I got all of my characters to level 80, I figured I was ready to take on Yiazmat.  I set up my gambits, and attacked.  Every time, I was able to take about a full life bar off.  This would take about 15 minutes, which I'd spend online or watching Deadwood or YouTube videos.  Once only two of my party members were left, I'd run back to the Save Point (as Yiazmat can one-hit kill any character with his move "Death Strike", and continue the process.  This continued for over a week, hours at a time, until I got him down to about 8,000,000 hit points left.
   
That's when he started casting Growing Threat.  You see, Growing Threat doubles the level of the enemy that uses it.  So, instead of being Level 70, Yiazmat was now
 Emerald Weapon, you're on notice.
Level 140.  The highest level your party can possibly be is Level 99.  At this point, my characters could only take off a quarter-of-a-million hit points per attempt at best, and next-to-nothing at worst.  Finally, I decided that after 50 'stages', a week of my life, and hours in the double digits of my time, that I was done with this game.  It actually wound up souring me on Final Fantasy as a whole and JRPG's to a lesser degree (I may still give Persona a shot).
 
 Now, I understand that this was an "optional boss" but why is it even in the game.  Does anyone find it fun?  It's not even difficult, it's just incredibly tedious.  If I had beat him, I wouldn't be proud of my victory, I wouldn't feel a sense of accomplishment, I would be disappointed that I wasted so much time on something so meaningless.  With the Gambit System, you barely have to do anything, just sit and watch his massive health tick down hours at a time.  It's like grinding (the worst part of JRPGs) but against one single enemy with no break whatsoever.  It's indicative of a lot of problems I have with JRPGs.  Grinding gives me no satisfaction whatsoever.  I only play JRPGs for the story, just as I used to with Blizzard's RTS games.  I'm terrible at both and don't enjoy both.  I gave up on Blizzard when I realized I was just putting on the invincibility code to watch the cutscenes.  Now, I'm done with Final Fantasy thanks to the design philosophies that Yiazmat represent.  Who does grinding serve?  And superbosses?  Did anyone actually enjoy this bullshit, or am I just pissed that I suck so bad?  Games are meant to be fun, right?  Right?
10 Comments
10 Comments
Edited by Wrighteous86

When I play video games, I tend to play for the story.  Whether the story be plot, experience, or mood, it is often my main motivator as a gamer.  As such, I tend to be a completionist when it comes to my game plots.  This includes, but is not limited to: reading novels that fill in gaps between the games, watching movies like Halo: Legends, and playing shitty spin-offs that are related to the main plot (unless I can find some way to divorce them; i.e., playing FFXII doesn't require that I play all Ivalice Alliance games).  It also means that I'm not done with a game until I do what it takes to squeeze every bit of story juice out of it.  In RPGs that means most side-quests, in other games it means beating it on the hardest difficulty in order to unlock a 20-second cutscene at the end of the credits, in Alan Wake and Halo 3:ODST it meant finding every hidden manuscript page or audio diary, respectively. 
 
 

 If I never see you again, Yiazmat, it will be too soon.
I beat FFXII.  I beat it pretty easily at about level 60 or 65.  After I beat the game, my plot-oriented OCD required me to finish the minutely plot-related "hunts".  I defeated 44 of 45, and then I was tasked with defeating Yiazmat, who has the largest health of any Final Fantasy superboss (50 health bars of 1 million hit points each).  It takes so long to defeat him (a few hours at least, if you're fully leveled up), that the game allows you to flee and Save, as long as Yiazmat doesn't have Regen currently cast.  Each attempt you make on his life is called a "stage".  
 
At my current level, I was defeated instantly.  So I gathered some of the best weapons in the game, and leveled up for a few hours.  Once I got all of my characters to level 80, I figured I was ready to take on Yiazmat.  I set up my gambits, and attacked.  Every time, I was able to take about a full life bar off.  This would take about 15 minutes, which I'd spend online or watching Deadwood or YouTube videos.  Once only two of my party members were left, I'd run back to the Save Point (as Yiazmat can one-hit kill any character with his move "Death Strike", and continue the process.  This continued for over a week, hours at a time, until I got him down to about 8,000,000 hit points left.
   
That's when he started casting Growing Threat.  You see, Growing Threat doubles the level of the enemy that uses it.  So, instead of being Level 70, Yiazmat was now
 Emerald Weapon, you're on notice.
Level 140.  The highest level your party can possibly be is Level 99.  At this point, my characters could only take off a quarter-of-a-million hit points per attempt at best, and next-to-nothing at worst.  Finally, I decided that after 50 'stages', a week of my life, and hours in the double digits of my time, that I was done with this game.  It actually wound up souring me on Final Fantasy as a whole and JRPG's to a lesser degree (I may still give Persona a shot).
 
 Now, I understand that this was an "optional boss" but why is it even in the game.  Does anyone find it fun?  It's not even difficult, it's just incredibly tedious.  If I had beat him, I wouldn't be proud of my victory, I wouldn't feel a sense of accomplishment, I would be disappointed that I wasted so much time on something so meaningless.  With the Gambit System, you barely have to do anything, just sit and watch his massive health tick down hours at a time.  It's like grinding (the worst part of JRPGs) but against one single enemy with no break whatsoever.  It's indicative of a lot of problems I have with JRPGs.  Grinding gives me no satisfaction whatsoever.  I only play JRPGs for the story, just as I used to with Blizzard's RTS games.  I'm terrible at both and don't enjoy both.  I gave up on Blizzard when I realized I was just putting on the invincibility code to watch the cutscenes.  Now, I'm done with Final Fantasy thanks to the design philosophies that Yiazmat represent.  Who does grinding serve?  And superbosses?  Did anyone actually enjoy this bullshit, or am I just pissed that I suck so bad?  Games are meant to be fun, right?  Right?
Posted by xaLieNxGrEyx
@Wrighteous86:
You did it wrong, you should beat him before he gets that high in stages. My friend did it in a day, we all watched. It was boring.
Posted by Gaff
@xaLieNxGrEyx: Yeah, from what I read in my Piggyback guide, it shouldn't have taken that long. 
 
@Wrighteous86: I know the feeling! Especially with RPGs of this length the thought of going through it again because "I missed something" is just terrifying. I guess hurray for day one strategy guides.
Posted by Wrighteous86
@xaLieNxGrEyx said:
" @Wrighteous86: You did it wrong, you should beat him before he gets that high in stages. My friend did it in a day, we all watched. It was boring. "
Lol, I admit that I'm terrible at JRPGs, but still, even following guides to some degree, I'd have to do 10 more hours of work to prepare my party for the battle more than I already had.  I had beaten everything in the game aside from Yiazmat, had worked on gathering some of the best weapons and leveling up for about 10 hours, whittled down his health for about 6-10 hours, and then still couldn't beat him, unless I planned on wasting another 10 hours whittling down the rest of his health or leveling up all the way.  Just that huge gap between beating everything else and doing this one task seems a bit extreme.
 
I guess I'm just curious if anyone actually enjoys this kind of thing.  No knock if you do, I just want to understand what you like about it.
Posted by Marz

you were using reverse right?

Posted by Brodehouse

Bottom line is that you have to kill your need for '100% completion'.  I had this argument with my roommate.  Developers, especially Japanese ones, can artificially lengthen their games, by creating challenges that require slavish dedication to defeat.  What's more, this actually saves production costs, because they don't have to create anything meaningful beyond fighting this monster.  All it requires is a couple data entries for damage quotients, and an art asset for the monster.  And why do they do this?  Because they know they can get the obsessive to do whatever they say. 

Posted by Wrighteous86
@Brodehouse:  You're absolutely right.  This game has broken my need to do be a completionist.  Unfortunately, it also broke me of the need to put up with any kind of mindless tedium in games, and most JRPGs tend to have that in grinding.  The effort (time and interest put towards grinding) doesn't seem to be worth the reward (entertaining story).  I guess it was a combination of Yiazmat and playing through half of Final Fantasy XIII on 360 that got me to this point. 
 
@Marz:   Death Strike is still effective with Reverse on, isn't it?  I know Shell cuts Death Strikes efficiency, but it still works half of the time.
Posted by teh_pwnzorer

I like minimalist stories in games.  ....Have you tried Shin Megami Tensei Nocturne? 
 
There is some grinding in Shin Megami Tensei and Persona games, but you do get rewarded for planning your strategy, knowing your enemy's weakness and demon fusing far more than grinding -- at least in P4.

Posted by Wrighteous86
@teh_pwnzorer:   I haven't played the SMT or Persona games yet, but am looking forward to trying them due to the Endurance Run.  I know grinding exists there too, but we'll see if it's enough to throw me off.  One of the things I hate most about Final Fantasy is that they give you all these debilitating spells, like slow or poison, and they never work on the bosses... you know, the kind of enemies you're likely to use them on?  FFXII was the first one, that I know of, to fix this to some degree, but I know Persona doesn't have that problem so I appreciate you can use debilitating spells as a strategy.
Posted by jon.woodley@utoronto.ca

I couldn't agree more.  I beat Yiazmat without using the reverse trick and it took over 5 hours spread over 2 days (group was about lvl 90) and after I was done I didn't feel satisfied, I was just glad it was over and that I'd never have to do it again.  I love the Final Fantasy games and FF12 was one of my favorites (Yiazmat aside) but I hope to never see anything like that again in a FF game.  It wasn't particularly challenging, just tedious.  The Omega Mark 12 fight was an example of a great optional boss encounter.  I tried over and over each time failing miserably, but each of those time I tweaked my gambits until eventually a good strategy came together and the fight went off without any trouble.  That was satisfying.