There are two types of motes; Stat Motes, and Job Motes. Stat Motes are used to activate the main type of Record Sphere, the six being based around Job Classes. Rarity 3 Motes are used to activate nodes in the base three jobs, while Rarity 4 are used to activate notes in their additional three jobs. For Legend Spheres, which not all characters possess, the character needs Rarity 5 Motes. The amount of Motes needed to master a Record Sphere varies.
Job Motes are used to activate Empowered Spheres, which exist separately from the standard Record Spheres. Using Job Motes on these Empowered Spheres will first unlock the character's ability to use Rarity 6 abilities of a certain ability type, then a Rarity 6 ability of the same type, and finally a small boost to the character's damage output when using abilities of the same type. For example, a Thief Empowered Sphere first lets the user use Rarity 6 Thief abilities, then grants the Mug Bloodlust ability, then raises Thief ability damage by 3%. The amount of Motes needed to master an Empowered Sphere is always the same, thirty in total; one to open the Sphere, 4-10-15 Motes for each Sphere level.
There are also special kinds of Mote. The Onion Motes are only used for Onion Knight, and one each is needed to activate the first level of each of his Record Spheres. Whereas other Motes are acquired as dungeon rewards or item exchanges, Onion Motes are randomly dropped by certain enemies in certain Final Fantasy III event dungeons. The Eiko Motes are used for Eiko Carol and Marcus, in reference to the Marcus/Eiko stat bug; as the player completes Record Spheres for Marcus, they will earn Eiko Motes, used to activate a unique Job Sphere "Record Link" in Eiko's Record Spheres to afford her additional stat boosts.