There are a few aspects of Final Fantasy 13 gameplay regarding the shop/economy/item system that I did not figure out until relatively late in the game. Both were probably due to my (relative) illiteracy in Japanese. (日本語がちょっとだけ読めます)
Note that you can largely ignore the shops until very late in the game (even until the postgame!), so this didn’t actually hurt me very much.
Raw material types
I figured out early that some 素材 (raw materials) increase the EXP multiplier for a piece of equipment and some give lots of EXP but lower the EXP multiplier. I didn’t realize it was easy to tell which was which.
There are three types of items:
- Biological materials increase the EXP multiplier but doesn’t give much actual EXP.
- Mechanical/artificial materials give lots of EXP but lower the EXP multiplier.
- Catalysts let you upgrade an item once it’s maxed out.
It’s easy to tell which is which, even if you can’t read, because they have different icons.
Some materials are designed to be sold
I got most of the extra money I used for the occasional store purchase by selling phoenix wings (フェニックスの尾). What I didn’t notice was that some of the items I assumed were for increasing EXP multiplier were actually for selling to the store.
I would not have made this mistake were I a native Japanese speaker; the item descriptions for these are usually pretty clear. Notable early-game examples:
- クレジットチップ (Credit chip), sells for 500 and only gives 1 EXP (as a mechanical item!)
- プレミアムチップ (Premium chip), sells for 2500
For a full list, see http://playshinra.com/ff13/material.html#ncb7f44e (in Japanese)