Final Fantasy X: Standard Sphere Grid vs Expert Sphere Grid
When I booted up my copy of Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster, I encountered an option I had never seen before. On the Final Fantasy X menu, the game asked me if I wanted to use the Standard Sphere Grid or the Expert Sphere Grid. Less than two minutes into the game and I was already completely stumped.
Most Americans had never encountered the option of Expert Sphere Grid before, as it was only included in international copies of Final Fantasy X. For those of you, like me, who had no idea which to choose in this situation, here's a break down both grids so you can make an easy to choise as to which one you'd like to use.
Standard Sphere Grid
The Standard Sphere Grid is what most of you are probably familiar with. Each of your characters starts out in their own area of the grid, and most are separated by several modules. It looks something like this:
The Standard Sphere Grid sets your characters along fairly straightforward paths. For instance, if you wanted Yuna to be both a white and black mage you would have to waste quite a few moves to make that possible.
For beginners, that's not necessarily a bad thing. If you don't know exactly what path you want your characters to go down, or if you don't want to think about it too much, this sphere grid is perfect.
The other bonus of the Standard Sphere Grid is the sheer amount of nodes on it. It contains roughly fifty more nodes than the Expert Sphere Grid, which makes it ideal for maxing out stats. You can max out characters stats on both grids, but the number of extra and empty nodes on the Standard Grid makes it an easier challenge to accomplish.
Expert Sphere Grid
When the option to choose my grid came up, the Expert Sphere Grid option befuddled me. I had never seen it before and had to do some quick research to figure out how "expert" I needed to be to use it.
If you can tell by the above image, your team members all start out very close to each other in the middle of this grid. While each team member does already have a few nodes filled out, this makes it easier to change their paths and roles early on.
For instance, Lulu and Yuna can completely swap roles early on, making Lulu the white mage and Yuna the black mage. Or, if you wanted, you could do a combination of the two easily. With all team members starting so closely, it becomes very easy to customize their roles and tailor-suit them to your needs very early on in the game.
Warning: customizing your characters does take some prior knowledge (or research) to be able to do it well without wasting spheres and moves. Beginners may want to steer clear of this grid for their first play through, because it is extremely easy to wander about the board without a clear goal in mind - leaving your character a weak jack of all trades.
Also, for those who want to max out stats, this board requires very deliberate action and has less empty nodes to customize later on in the game. It's still doable, but does require more effort and attention.
In the end, I chose the Expert Sphere Grid
This is not my first time playing the game, I'm not interested in maxing out stats, and I am sorely tempted to make Tidus a black mage for the hell of it. Base your decision on your level of play and game goals and you're sure to have a good time.