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The target time of a battle is determined in part by your party's strength, but you can have up to three monster companions in your paradigm pack. How does the composition of your paradigm pack affect the party's overall strength for the purposes of determining target time?

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Based on my testing, the third slot has no effect on target times.

Methodology

To test this, I decided to attack the same set of monsters multiple times with different party compositions:

  1. Regular party composition, no paradigm shifts (same three members in battle)
  2. Regular party composition, paradigm (more than three members in battle)
  3. Three-man party composition (one monster in paradigm pack)
  4. Two-man party composition (no monsters in my paradigm pack)

This is my party:

  • Noel: Strength: 284, Magic: 127
  • Serah: Strength: 111, Magic: 322
  • Albino Loco: Strength: 243, Magic: 298
  • Spiranthes: Strength: 25, Magic: 66
  • Pulse Knight: Strength: 206, Magic: 77

Which leads to the following totals:

  • Regular party composition: Strength: 869, Magic: 890, Total: 1,759
  • Noel + Serah + Albino Loco: Strength: 638, Magic: 747, Total: 1,385
  • Noel + Serah + Pulse Knight: Strength: 601, Magic: 526, Total: 1,127
  • Noel and Serah only: Strength: 395, Magic: 449, Total: 844

I then went to Archlyte Steppe -??? AF- and walked around until I fought battles consisting only of a Goblin Chieftain and two Goblins. My target times were the following:

  1. Regular party, no paradigm shifts: 1:50
  2. Regular party, paradigm shift from Albino Loco to Pulse Knight: 1:50
  3. Just Noel, Serah, and Albino Loco: 1:50
  4. Just Noel, Serah, and Pulse Knight: 1:50
  5. Just Noel and Serah: 1:50

Thus, monster companions have no effect on target time.

As an aside, I also decided to test whether increasing Noel or Serah's power would affect the target time. Once the above tests were complete, I used 5,000 CP to increase their stats to:

  • Noel: Strength: 307, Magic: 133
  • Serah: Strength: 112, Magic: 346

For a combined total of 898 (+54 from the previous test). Testing with just Noel and Serah against a Goblin Chieftain and two Goblins, I had a target time of 1:50. So it turns out not even your party members' power affects target time.

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    If I could upvote this twice, I would. For SCIENCE!!! – Niro Mar 12 '12 at 4:31
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Unlike Final Fantasy 13, target times do not scale with level. So, your target time is the same throughout the whole game. It does not take into account any factors.

Seemingly the game rewards high levels over strategy.

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