Final Fantasy XII is a gloriously complicated game with systems coming from the mind of Hiroyuki Ito, the same man who helped to design the original Active Time Battle (ATB) combat system that truly set Final Fantasy apart from its peers. In the newly released Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age his ideas are turned up to eleven, with licensing, jobs, LP, license boards and a variety of other FF12-specific jargon thrown in your face from early on.
But what does it all mean? Well, consider yourself covered. We've been playing The Zodiac Age for a couple of weeks and are putting together the primers for everything you need to know, from the basic starters such as basic character strengths and weaknesses and what each job does through to the much more complicated stuff such as ensuring you use your espers on the right license boards and making sure that you pick the right second job to create a strong hybrid class.
Here, however, we want to talk about those basics: license boards, licenses, LP and basic character progression. So - let's do just that.
FF12 The Zodiac Age: License Board Guide
Okay, so - take a look above. That's what a license board looks like, and if you've been playing FF12 for more than a couple of minutes you'll have seen this before (although, we admit, probably in English). It looks daunting but it's not that bad: this is a pretty standard-issue JRPG progression mechanic.
Each block on the checkered chess board like surface is home to a license, and each license gives you the right to do something different in FF12's combat. A license might give you access to cast a particular couple of spells or equip a couple of specific pieces of armor, weapons or other gear - or it might give you other character bonuses such as new moves (Technicks) or character bonuses (Augments) that can boost your HP and other basic stats.
Basically, as you fight and level up you'll learn LP, and this LP is then spent on the license board to make your characters grow. Each job has its own entirely unique license board with a different set of abilities - some of which we've detailed in our guide to FF12 The Zodiac Age's job system. Some characters are more suited to some jobs than others too, so we've also covered which are the best jobs for each character.
Which licenses you have access to via your job will greatly determine what each character can do, and when later in the game the option to gain access to a second job and thus a second license board for each character crops up you'll want to choose your second job very carefully based on the choices you've made around your job and license board already.
Certain job combinations are far more powerful than others, and that's thanks to how the licenses exclusively available for one job might enhance the abilities of another, or based on how the same sorts of licenses can stack buffs to really make a character powerful. When paired with the AI-instructing gambit system this is what makes FF12's combat really satisfying and deeply tactical. We've included some of the top licenses for each job on our jobs guide page if you want to know what skills you should be shooting for.
The license boards are constructed in such a way that you can't buy a license until you've picked up one of the ones adjacent to it, so in some instances you'll want to plan ahead and buy some skills you're not as interested in on the way to the one you really want. The best way to do that, of course, is by grinding for LP...
A final note to be aware of is that which license boards you use espers on will directly impact the abilities available on the license boards of certain jobs. This is a deep topic, but we've got a page if you want to know all about Epsers, including where to find them and what job license boards to use them on.
Grinding LP to unlock more LP to spend on job license boards
License Points (LP) are earned at the same time as EXP as you battle enemies, so how you earn it is actually a pretty simple thing. How to optimise your earning is a difficult question, however, especially The Zodiac Age kills off some of the amazing infinite level-up grinding tricks from the original vanilla version of FF12.
With that noted, there are still some great places in the game to grind and thanks The Zodiac Age's new high-speed modes you can now level up way faster than ever before. As a rule, we recommend you find an area with enemies that are below your natural skill level and then set your gambits up so your characters can map up the enemies easily without you paying too much attention. If you can one-shot enemies, all the better - this is about quantity, not quality. If you want EXP, you'll want to grind harder enemies.
In order to grind LP one of the best tricks is to get the Golden Amulet accessory - it doubles the LP earned for whoever is wearing it. These can be found at Ogir-Yensa Sandsea (Platform 1, Refinery), Feywood (White Magick's Embrace), and Pharos - Subterra (Penumbra - South) or they can be purchased bought from the Bazaar from the Gilt Phylactery set. The Golden Amulet requires the Accessories 6 license to equip.
As an aside, a similar item exists for EXP, the Embroidered Tippet. If you want to grind levels, that's the better accessory to use.