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In final fantasy 12, It's not overly clear if a character has a 'best weapon' as damage for weapons can vary and other factors like speed of weapon come into play also.

I kept Fran with her bow since she joined my party, but have switched Balthier to ninja swords and Ashe to Spears , amongst other things.

I notice that at the same level and equipment, characters can be more or less effective at a weapon than others. So my question is, which character-weapon combinations are strongest/most suitable?

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  • I might do some more research on this later, but from what I remember, the differences between the characters is negligible. You should pick whatever weapons you like and do the most damage and assign them to whatever characters you like.
    – Colin D
    Sep 19 '13 at 14:45
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I remembered once reading that, ironically, Balthier and Fran actually fire slower with guns and bows respectively than other characters. Found this mechanics FAQ that clarifies that the following character and weapon combinations act slightly slower than others: Fran with a Bow, Penelo with a Gun or Crossbow, and Baltheir with any of those three weapons. Past these exceptions, all attack action times are the same so each character performs equally in the speed department (assuming matching stats).

Past this, the relevance is the actual weapon stats. I believe this is explained in one of the game help sections but the following weapons rely on the following stats to deal damage (I'm ignoring which defense they target for now):

  • Swords, Spears, Crossbows, Rods, Poles - STR only
  • Maces - MAG only
  • Katanas, Staves - STR and MAG
  • Axes, Hammers, Handbombs - STR and VIT
  • Daggers, Ninja Swords, Bows - STR and SPD
  • Guns, Measures - no stats; these will always do the same damage no matter who uses them, basically, though remember who is slower with guns.

The FAQ linked earlier will go into more detail if you want to read the specifics of how it all works. The differences usually aren't a lot to make a humongous difference barring license/equipment focus towards certain stats. All the same, the top three characters in each stat over time are:

  • STR - Basch, Vaan, Balthier
  • MAG - Ashe, Penelo, Vaan
  • VIT - Vaan, Penelo, Balthier
  • SPD - Balthier, Vaan, Fran

For the most part these differences aren't humongous (and by the time they hit the larger gaps, you'll possibly be hitting the damage cap anyway), so it shouldn't impact, but if you wanted to prioritize based on stat, this would be the direction to head.

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  • I didn't realize there was a damage cap. Thanks for this, I assumed the Weapon choice would be a bit more significant :) Sep 19 '13 at 17:01
  • Zodiac Spear will ignore damage cap Jan 19 '17 at 2:59
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Might I add there is a guide in the game itself if you would check under the clan primer called arm thyself and it explains how each weapon is used.

It's clan primer > Travelers tips > The ways of war > Arm thyself

It explains how each weapons damages and what base stat is used to increase its damage

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It has pretty much no impact on the game, baceus most characters base stats are almost exactly the same.
So pick the weapons that do the most damage. Or don't. Axes are the most fun, though.

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