The Best Side Quests in FFXII: The Zodiac Age (Ranked)

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You and your ragtag group of rebels have been trudging all over Ivalice and fighting the empire every step of the way.

And at some point, you’re bound to get sick and tired of being heroes.

What’s a party to do when they need a breather from saving the world?

Side quests!

Take that breather by turning your back on the important issues and focus on tasks that exist for nothing but material rewards.

And in FF12, these are the best quests to do with some down time.


10. Fishing

Fishing Side Quest in FF12

Once you complete ‘The Desert Patient’ (which we’ll discuss next), you can go about securing a rod and catch some fish.

Speak with Ruskel in the South Bank Village, then do some runaround in Balfonheim Port and to get a fishing rod.

Fishing in FF12 is what you’d expect:

Do a minigame and you’ll secure a fish.

If you can satisfy various goals, such as comboing five perfect catches or catching a rare fish, you’ll unlock more fishing spots.

Work your way up the fish ladder and you’ll eventually earn Lu Shang’s Badge, which is an item used for making the fabled Wyrmhero Blade.


9. The Desert Patient

The Desert Patient FFXII Side Quest

Once you defeat the Flowering Cactoid and Nidhogg marks, you can go to the Outpost in the Dalmasca Estersand and talk to a fella named Dantro to start this quest.

Then head to South Bank Village to talk to his wife and begin helping a mysterious traveler.

What comes next is a series of fetch quests, involving finding phials, hunting down some plant dew, and even fighting monsters.

Once everything is said and done, the traveler is restored. And Vaan’s team is rewarded with a Wyrmfire Shot, Gil, and the Barheim Key – which is the real reward, letting you get back into the Barheim Passage for all its goodies.


8. The Cockatrice Hunt

The Cockatrice Hunt in FF12

This side quest of finding and talking to a half-dozen escaped cockatrices gets you just as many good (if not rare) weapons.

Start by first defeating the Cluckatrice hunt, and then finding the Feather of the Flock item in the Giza Plains during the rains.

Once you’re able to converse with the proud feathered spheres, head over to the Nomad Village in the dry Giza Plains and talk to Dania. She’ll lament over her escaped birds, and then it’s your turn!

Following her clues, you can go out and find the animals.

And each one will reward you with a different weapon.

All told you’ll get a Yoichi Bow, Deathbringer, Platinum Dagger, Koga Blade, Tumulus, and a Defender.

Quite the haul for such a simple (and fun) task!

Also, now we know never to mess with cockatrices.


7. Ann and her Sisters

Ann and her Sisters in Final Fantasy XII

Once you reach Balfonheim Port, you can head to any Aeroport to start this side quest.

Take an airship anywhere and travel by leisure craft so you can explore the airship.

Ann is the airship’s Chief Steward. She’s having a conversation with a man named Rande, and after eavesdropping, you can horn your way in and start solving her marriage problem.

She’ll ask Vaan’s party if they’d be so kind as to deliver some letters to her sisters.

And being the kind person that you are, you’ll accept. Right?

Lucky for you, all of Ann’s sisters are also Chief Stewards – on different ships, of course.

So you’ll have to travel all the different routes from city to city to find all seven.

After delivering the letters, Ann will reward you with a Ring of Renewal. It’s an item that’s pretty difficult to obtain otherwise, and bestows Regen upon whoever’s wearing it.

So it’s a fine reward for being so diligent.


6. Rare Game and the Hunt Club

Rare Game and the Hunt Club FFXII Side Quest

At the Hunter’s Camp on the Phon Coast there’s a gang of Bangaa who are all about rare game.

After clearing Draklor Laboratory, you can visit these hunters and start going after the 80 different rare game they want.

Rare Game differs from hunt marks, as you don’t get nearly as much direction for these side quests.

You do get various hints from the hunt club, but the real legwork of finding these beasts (which range from red chocobos to giant crocs) is up to you.

49 of these can be hunted repeatedly for their drops, poaches, and steals. The remaining 31 rare game monsters are one-time hunts called Trophy Rare Game.

Bagging one of these gets you a Hunt Trophy, which can then be given to one of the three Hunt Club bangaa for rewards.

Each bangaa has unique items for you, should you provide them with enough trophies, so choose wisely.

All of their items are worth it, like the Ribbon, Staff of the Magi, and the fabled Zodiac Spear.

Add these up with the Hunt Club store (as well as the stuff that rare game drops) and you’ve got a lengthy side quest well worth your time.


5. Hunts

Hunts Side Quest in FF12

Hunts are notorious monsters that people across Ivalice have put bounties on, in the hopes of having them eliminated.

And who will do the eliminating? You.

In every major city you’ll find a hunt board. And pinned to these boards are various beasties who need defeating.

Take the lead, hunt the beast, and get your reward. It’s that simple.

But anyone looking for some extra-spicy elite marks can visit Clan Centurio in Rabanastre.

Just note that the Hunt Board isn’t a singular one-and-done quest like all these others in this list. No, you’ll be working on hunts through the entire game.

The rewards for individual hunts are great, but the real prize is the big-ticket bosses you can unlock by climbing the hunt ladder.


4. The Necrohol of Nabudis

The Necrohol of Nabudis in FF12

After defeating the King Bomb in the Salikawood, the party can do one of two things:

Either head east to the Phon Coast and continue their journey to Archades, or they could head west to the Necrohol of Nabudis.

The Necrohol is a dark and scary place that’s home to not only untold evils, but also fantastic treasures.

While you can attempt it right after defeating the King Bomb, it’s recommended to wait until you’re a few dozen levels higher (or just do it, I’m not your mom).

If you can persevere past all the nasty traps and monsters, you can get a boatload of good stuff – like the White Magic spell Protectga, and the impressively good Penetrator Crossbow.

And depending on when you arrive, you might even have a hunt or two to take care of (as well as some rare game to discover).

To top it all off, in the bottom depths of this place, you’ll find the Esper Chaos.

All told, visiting the Necrohol is well worth your time.

The whole place is like a living scary treasure chest!


3. The Subterra

The Subterra FFXII Side Quest

After you’ve cleared Pharos at Ridorana, you can return to the ancient lighthouse to challenge its lower half.

Take the elevator down near the gate crystal, and good luck.

Clearing the Subterra requires a lot of preparation.

Don’t even try if you’re below level 50. The monsters here don’t mess around.

If you have the skills to pay the bills, however, you can find a lot of good treasures in here – as well as two rare game monsters, and just as many elite marks.

You can even square off against Phoenix!

The Subterra is a descent that shouldn’t be missed out on. Just make sure you’re prepared before going.


2. The Great Crystal

The Great Crystal in Final Fantasy XII

You’ll get a taste of the Great Crystal during your trip through Giruvegan, but you can’t enter the real deal until obtaining the Treaty Blade.

The real deal is the beefiest bit of optional content in the game – actual real-world hours can be spent plumbing these depths.

The Great Crystal doesn’t have a real map. Just a vague overview of where you are.

It goes room-by-room, although that doesn’t make it any easier to navigate.

Chock full of monsters, hunts, and rare game, you’ll be as challenged as you’ve ever been. So best be prepared!

Like, over prepared.

Besides all the cool treasures you can get (including the Gold Hairpin and the Shellga spell), you can also collect the Esper Ultima, as well as fight the super boss Omega Mark XII.

And this boss (which is by far one of the hardest in FF12) actually drops one of the items required for making the Wyrmhero Blade.


1. Trial Mode

Trial Mode FFXII Side Quest

Turns out the best side quest in The Zodiac Age isn’t even part of the main game!

Don’t dismiss it, though.

The Trial Mode, accessed from the main menu, is a series of 100 battles (trials).

Each trial has its own set of monsters, with the rarity and toughness increasing as the floors get higher.

The real magic of Trial Mode is that you can do it as much as you want.

Build a strong party through the main game, and then hit up the Trial Mode on the side to farm rare beasts, treasure chests, or even just battle the normal beasts for experience and license points.

The rewards of Trial Mode are just about infinite, and this is easily the best side content in the whole game.

Also, clearing all 100 floors makes you feel awesome (and you are).

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Brian Conley

Brian knows more about RPGs than he does world history. Combine with his love of writing and you get somebody who can, and will, go on forever about every nuance of every game he's played.