The abilities available in Final Fantasy XII are largely divided into four categories: the normal physical attack; Magicks & Technicks, which contains six skillsets of normal skills that make up the bulk of abilities; Mist, which covers special systems that use up Mist bars/MP; and Items, which allows the player to use items from their inventory.
Attack allows a user to perform a physical attack. The damage dealt depends on the weapon the character has equipped, as well as the basic elements involved in the damage formula, such as an enemy's defenses and a player's strengths. The Attack command is always available unless the player has the Disable status.
Magicks & Technicks
Magicks & Technicks covers the bulk of the skills. The sub-menu branches out into six further sub-menus with the lists of skills. Five of these sub-menus are magick skillsets, while the final is a category of other miscellaneous abilities, usually physical in element.
Magicks and technicks need to be obtained for any member of the party to use, and have a character obtain the relevant license. In the Zodiac versions, licenses for abilities in this category are divided between jobs, with some appearing in multiple, however, full sets only being available to one.
The Silence and Disable statuses prevent users from using skills in the Magick skillset, while only Disable prevents technicks.
White Magicks is mainly comprised of abilities that heal party members and abilities that remove negative statuses. The Dispel and Dispelga abilities remove positive statuses from enemies, while Holy is a magically offensive attack of the Holy element.
In the Zodiac versions, a number of Green Magicks skills from the original version are moved to White Magicks. These skills allow the user to cast beneficial statuses on their party. The Arcane Magicks skill, Confuse, was moved to White Magicks, and this inflicts a negative status, Confuse, on a foe. The full White Magicks set is available to the White Mage job class, with a number of others having access to a few depending on the licenses bought.
The original version has 18 White Magicks skills, while the Zodiac versions have 25.
In the Zodiac versions, a number of Green Magicks skills from the original version are moved to Black Magicks. These are mostly offensive status skills, the abilities that inflict Silence, Blind, Sleep, and Poison. The full Black Magicks set is available to the Black Mage job class, with a couple of others having access to a few depending on the licenses bought.
The original version has 18 Black Magicks skills, while the Zodiac versions have 25.
Time Magicks is comprised of spells that generally slow or speed up the actions of a target, or make an attempt to stop the actions of a target. Balance inflicts damage based on current and maximum HP of user, Float and Reflect gives the Float and Reflect statuses respectively, and Bleed inflicts Sap.
In the Zodiac versions many of Arcane Magicks from the original version are moved to Time Magicks. Included in this are a couple of percentage-damaged spells and a couple of spells that inflict Invisible, and Berserk which inflicts Berserk. The full Time Magicks set is available to the Time Battlemage job class, with a couple of others access to a few depending on licenses bought.
The original version has 15 Time Magicks skills, while the Zodiac versions have 20.
Green Magicks is comprised of status-inflicting abilities, both positive and negative. In theZodiac versions the skillset is redefined, instead of covering status-inflicting abilities it covers abilities that deal with HP, and in once case, MP. Only one ability, Oil remains from the original set, with most of the original set being divided into White Magicks and Black Magicks, and the new skills being sourced from Arcane Magicks. The skillset is far smaller in this version since there is no Mage specifically held to this class of Magick, with the entire set being available to the White Mage, Black Mage, Time Battlemage, and Red Battlemage job classes.
The original version has 15 Green Magicks skills, while the Zodiac versions have six.
Arcane Magicks is comprised of a range of attacks including direct-damage attacks, negative status attacks, and attacks which inflict the Dark element. The Bubble ability inflicts the Bubble which doubles the target's maximum and current HP.
In the Zodiac versions, Arcane Magicks is significantly cut down. A number of skills originally classed as Arcane Magicks were moved to Time Magicks. The skillset only includes spells with the Dark element, Death which inflicts instant death, and Ardor, an ex-Black Magicks skill that inflicts heavy Fire-elemental damage. Arcane Magicks skills are only available to the Red Battlemage job class.
The original version has 15 Arcane Magicks skills, while the Zodiac versions have five.
Technicks are a collection of non-Magical miscellaneous abilities. Each ability is generally unique in purpose. Unlike the other Magick skillsets, in the Zodiac versions the Technicks skillset does not fully belong to any job but each job can obtain the licenses to a few of the abilities.
There are 24 Technicks skills in all versions.
The Mist sub-menu contains two further sub-menus. These contain two unique systems, both of which utilize Mist Charges. In each case, Summon and Quickening, abilities appear in three different ranks. The rank depends on how must Mist Charges it takes to use.
The party member who has an Esper's license can summon it by expending a number of Mist Gauges. Summoning an Esper is similar to using a Quickening; the Lv1 Espers take one gauge to summon, whereas the Lv3 Espers take all three. Summoning an Esper is instantaneous and when an Esper is summoned the two other party members disappear. An Esper's level is identical to its summoner's, yet Espers have fixed Attack, Defense and Magick Resist (as if wearing the same "equipment"). Each summon lasts maximum of one minute and thirty seconds, and ends when either the summoner or the Esper dies, or the Esper uses its ultimate move. The ultimate attacks are area-effect attacks and target the enemy with the highest max HP. Espers' attacks never deal hit combos or critical hits. Espers can cast magicks even without MP and are immune to almost all status ailments.
Quickenings are the "Limit Breaks". They are divided into three levels, with each requiring more Mist Charges to use. Quickenings each require 50 LP to unlock on the License Board regardless of the Quickening's level. Using a Quickening takes no Charge Time. Normal gameplay stops as the character executes the attack. A timer appears along with a blue bar and button icons corresponding to any of the three current party members who know Quickenings and who are not incapacitated. The player must quickly press a shown button to have the next character execute another Quickening. This is called a "Quickening Chain". The faster the player inputs the next command, the more time they will have to input another command during the next attack. When the chain ends, characters lose MP equal to however many Mist Charges they used in the chain, and any characters who used the Mist Charge command lose all their MP. In the Zodiac versions, Quickenings no longer use MP, but have their own Mist Charge gauge.
Dismiss is available when an Esper is called into battle. The Dismiss command replaces the Mist command in the command menu, and using it will withdraw the summoned Esper from battle.
The Gambits option in the menu allows the player to turn off the character-in-question's gambits. The selected gambits remain intact but will not do anything and it leaves it up to the player to choose their actions. This can also be done through the menu, which is accessible at all times.
The Items command allows a player to select an item from their inventory to use in battle.