Final Fantasy VIII Guardian Forces
Since Final Fantasy III, there have been creatures you can summon into battle. In Final Fantasy VIII, your summons, or Guardian Forces (GF) as they are known, take on a whole new role. From Final Fantasy VIII on, summons become more than just another
spell. In this section, you will learn a great deal about GF's. To get the most out of your GF's, you will need to know three
principle things: Junctioning a GF, GF growth, and finally Love and hate with GF's.
Once you get these down, you will see how much of an importance these beasts are in your characters growth.
Junctioning a GF
Junctioning is not anywhere near as difficult as it looks. It might take a bit to get used to, but once you do...it is a piece of cake.
When you begin, only the Junction option will be highlighted. This is because you cannot do anything else, without the
GF being junctioned to you.
First, select the Junction option in the menu, than press Junction. This will bring up a list of available GF's you can junction to that character. The GF's in White are the ones you can choose from. The ones in Grey are already junctioned to you. The Opaque ones are junctioned to someone else. Before you can choose the Opaque ones, you must first remove them from the other characters.
Once you have chosen the GF(s) you want to junction, you will be taken to a status screen. Here you can junction spells you drew, to the stats the GF has available. Each spell has a different effect on your stats. (See the Magic section for a full list of spells, and their effects on your stats.) You have two options on how to junction magic. You can either do it manually, Or, if you like, you can have it done automatically. If you choose Auto-Junction, you will be asked whether you want the spells junctioned for attack, magic, or defensive increases. Once you make the choice, the spells will be placed for you.
After your magic is junctioned to your stats, you are taken to the ability menu. There are abilities on the top, and on the bottom. The ones on the top are your command abilities. These provide you with the battle commands, such as Magic, draw, and GF.
The lower abilities are your character abilities. These are the bonus abilities, such as Move-Find, and Enc-None. These abilities affect the character, rather than being used by them. In the beginning, you will only get to choose two of these commands. But later on, either with other GF's, or items, you can have up to four abilities.
Once you have completed this process, you will be ready for battle. In the beginning, I would suggest junctioning Draw to every character. This will give you the opportunity to stockpile the magic you need to junction to your stats. In time you will get the hang of junctioning, and then you will be able to make full use of it for your characters.
Growth of a GF
GF's grow in the game, the same way your own party does. GF's have their own EXP levels, and when a junctioned GF hits a certain amount of EXP, they level up. The EXP they get is the same as the EXP the character junctioned with them gets. When there is more than one GF junctioned to a character, the EXP is divided between the GF's. When the GF's level up, their HP and attack power will increase. This is why it is so important to keep as many GF's junctioned as you can. Even if you do not use them, they will gain the necessary EXP to increase their HP as well as the damage they do.
With the EXP received at the end of the battle, GF's also get AP. AP is used to teach the GF's their abilities.
The game chooses which ability to learn for you, but you can choose which ability to learn at any time. To do so, simply access the GF menu. Now select the GF you want, and switch the ability to the one you want to have learned first. Also, unlike EXP, AP is not divided between multiple GF's. If you get 20 AP after battle, each of your GF's will get 20 AP.
The final way to make your GF's grow is through items. There are certain items in the game that will teach a GF certain abilities rather than waiting to gain the AP. Say you want to teach your GF the SUMMAG+30%, but you do not want to wait for the 140 AP it takes to learn it. All you need is an Energy Crystal, and you can teach the GF the ability right now. Just remember, that you can have so many abilities on a GF at one time. It is advisable to use a Amnesia Green on the GF, to make it forget the unlearned ability. Then use your item to teach the ability again. There also may be other abilities you do not use. You can easily get rid of those abilities, and teach your GF a much better one. Think about it, every GF has Magic, Draw, and Item right? So if you have six GF's junctioned, do you really need all six of them with the Magic command?
Teaching your GF new abilities is key to their survival in fights, and a great benefit to the party's stats and abilities too.
They love you, they hate you
GF'S are like your own cats and dogs at home. The more times you use them (pay attention to them), the more they will like you. The more they like you, the quicker they respond when summoned. This is called the GF's compatibility. Never take this lightly. When junctioning a GF, make sure there is good compatibility between them and the character. If there isn't, the enemy may kill the GF before it can be summoned into battle.
There are a few ways to make the GF more compatible with you. The easiest way is to simply summon them. Each time you summon a GF, their compatibility will increase by like 20 or so. If it is an elemental GF like Shiva or Alexander, you can increase your comparability by using magic of the same element. Healing your GF will increase the compatibility, but it is very minor. And lastly, there are certain items in the game, that will increase the compatibility with your GF.
You can also lose compatibility with your GF as well. As with your pets, if you pay too much attention to one, and not the others, the other GF's will get angry. Their compatibility, in turn, will begin to drop. Even if you have only one GF junctioned, if you do not use it it will drop its compatibility. It is best to pay close attention to your GF's, and give them a equal amount of attention. They are loyal to the bitter end, but they can be jealous as all get too.