Last Updated on October 23, 2020 by Aether
If you’re wondering what the differences are between the FFX Expert Sphere grid and the Standard one, then please read on.
Final Fantasy X was one of my favorite games during the PlayStation 2 era of gaming. The graphics, storyline, and soundtracks truly encapsulated me within the game. Early on into the game you are presented a choice, which without much explanation, can be a little daunting, Do you want to use the Standard Sphere Grid, or the Expert Sphere Grid? Truthfully, if you aren’t a veteran to the game, you’ll likely just select Standard without any hesitation.
But what exactly is the Expert Sphere Grid? And why is there even a choice at all?
In fact, during the original release of Final Fantasy X, the US version didn’t even have the option for the Expert Sphere Grid. I have no idea why it was omitted, perhaps it was a mistake? Either way, the European and Asian version of the game had both options.
For those who are still playing this magnificent game at least two decades later, we’ll explain both grid systems so that you can make an informed choice. Thanks to the HD remaster of FFX, the game is always somewhat relevant.
FFX Standard Sphere Grid
The Standard Sphere Grid is likely what you’ve used before, whether intentionally or just from not knowing what the Expert one entails. Although it looks like a bit of a mess, it’s fairly straightforward. Each character as their own specific area on the grid, and as you level up you’re kept within certain leveling paths. Deviating from said paths makes you waste a considerable amount of moves to do so.
As you can probably guess, the Standard Grid is ideal for beginners. It takes away any overthinking when it comes to moving around the grid, and actually lets you enjoy the system for what it is: improving your characters in a linear fashion.
Another nice thing about this Grid is that there are an immense amount of nodes available. Due to these extra nodes, it allows you to make your characters strong easily. Sure, it’s possible to do the same with the Expert Grid, but it’s a lot more challenging.
FFX Expert Sphere Grid
Using the Expert Sphere Grid allows you almost complete freedom on how you want your characters to be played. All characters start in the middle of the grid, each with minimal spheres occupied. What does this mean? It means that it’s possible turn any character into a backline or frontline job, or to swap their magic types.
Do you want to turn Yuna into a female Vivi? You can! Do you want Tidus to focus on supporting magic only, that’s possible too! As it’s so easy to customize each character, you could seriously make the game challenging for yourself, if you felt the need.
I should warn you though, it’s quite easy to make the game too difficult, if you mess up your sphere allocations a lot. If you’re a complete beginner, and just want to enjoy playing FFX the way it is supposed to be played, I’d avoid the Expert Grid altogether. If you don’t have a clear direction of how you want your characters to end up being, you might put yourself into a situation where you’re unable to progress through the game.
Final Fantasy X is still a fun and challenging game without the use of the Expert Sphere Grid, so please don’t feel like it won’t challenge you and that you’ll be bored if you choose the Standard Sphere Grid.
If you’re looking to min-max your characters to their fullest capabilities, each node movement must be very deliberate. You can’t afford to waste any moves, otherwise you might fall short. Again, if you’re a veteran of FFXI, you’ll probably be aware of this already.
Which Sphere Grid Should I Choose?
Over the years I have completed Final Fantasy X a few times. There was always a significant break inbetween each one, but I’ve still completed the game enough times to fully understand the implications of my actions.
That being said, my last two playthroughs used the Expert Sphere Grid. Why? Because I wanted to really mess around with my team composition. I love playing FFX so much, but as you can imagine, after a few complete playthroughs there isn’t much else to see and do. Adding a bit of challenge and customization via the Expert Grid has allowed me to keep enjoying one of my favorite games for hopefully years to come.
I’d recommend that you always pick the Standard grid if you’re just wanting to play the game, and choose the Expert grid if you’re completely ‘done’ with the game.
Check out our Final Fantasy XIV guides here.