Final Fantasy VIII: The Inauguration Ball

Quistis attempts to have a heart to heart with Squall...

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Table Of Contents

    Back in Balamb

    Once you’ve returned to Balamb Town, you’re free to explore the area. Here, you can currently acquire the first installment of the “Timber Maniacs” Magazine. While these have little impact on core gameplay, acquiring certain installments can affect certain story sequences, and they can be obtained throughout the game. Confusingly, the first installment can be found in one of two locations in Balamb Town.

    On the floor of the platform at the Train Station:

    The timber maniacs issue in Balamb Train Station

    Or on the side-table in the Hotel Room:

    The timber maniacs issue in the Hotel Bedroom.

    Acquiring one will cause the other to disappear. Picking the one in the Hotel Room will affect a specific story segment in the game later on. You can also stop off at the Dincht residency and speak to Ma Dincht there. If you leave and return to her, you can play her for a chance to acquire Zell’s Card. If she doesn’t play Zell’s card, keep challenging her until she does.

    Squad B outside of the Dincht household. Ma Dincht challenging Squall to a game of Triple Triad.

    You can also use this opportunity to stock up on items from the Shop there and the draw point with Thunder.  Once you’re finished in Balamb Town, you can head back to Balamb Garden.

    The Inauguration

    At Balamb Garden, your party will separate. Here proceed with Squall back to the Lobby. The draw point with Cure should be refilled by now.

    Squad B returning to Balamb Garden. Squalls draws 3 cures from the refilled draw point.

    Once you’re back at the lobby, head over to Xu, Cid, and Quistis. They’ll discuss Galbadia before you regain control. From here, you can go closer to them with Squall and talk to them individually for some optional dialogue. Talking to Cid will result in him asking how Squall felt on the battlefield. Note that your response will only affect Cid’s response here so feel free to choose any option.

    A dialogue choice in response to Cid asking Squall how he found being on the battlefield. Seifer talking to Squall after the Exam

    When you’re done, go to the right of the directory and meet with Seifer. After his dialogue return to the lobby. Here you’ll be told to go to the Second Floor Hallway, outside of the classroom. To return there, use the lift from the Lobby.

    Once you’re there with the others, simply wait for the Faculty to announce who has graduated. Feel free to talk to the other cadets at this time.

    The cadets waiting for the graduation announcement.

    When you have been called to Cid’s office, proceed through the dialogue as normal. If you talk to Cid again immediately after you’ve been dismissed, you’ll obtain the Battle Meter. This adds an additional section in the Tutorial option in the menu. This section shows certain statistics such as the number of battles you’ve won and escaped from. Speaking to the Faculty member now will offer some optional dialogue with regards to GF criticism. But don’t worry, as the Faculty member says, you can ignore that. For now anyway.

    Cid giving Squall a Battle Meter.

    Head back to the 2nd Floor Hallway. After this, you receive your SeeD Report and your starting SeeD Rank which will determine how much you get paid at each interval.

    After you’ve seen your report, you’ll be back at Squall’s dormitory. Selphie will mention the Inauguration Party and will remind you that you should get changed. As you did for Squall’s cadet uniform, return to Squall’s room and press the Confirm button by the bed to obtain the relevant prompt.

    Squall deciding to change into his SeeD uniform. Selphie exclaiming that she's ready to party.

    Once Squall is at the Ball, just progress through the story and dialogue. Selphie will ask Squall if he wishes to be part of the Garden Festival Committee. The response chosen here will affect a small portion of dialogue later in the game. After this, continue to progress through the story. You’ll encounter a girl who asks Squall for a dance.

    Selphie asking Squall to join the Garden Festival Committee. The girl asking Squall for a dance.

    After this, Squall will speak to Quistis. Here, she’ll give her last order for Squall to get changed again at the dormitory and to go to the Training Center. The Training Center is located on the right side of Balamb Garden as you come out of the dormitory corridor and is the only facility that is currently accessible.

    The Training Center

    When you’ve reached the Training Center Entrance, Quistis will give you an overview of St-Atk-J and St-Def-J and will recommend Squall junction Sleep to St-Atk-J.

    Quistis talks to Squall about St-Atk-J.

    The Center is made up of two paths that converge on the “secret area” Quistis mentioned before. The path on the right has a Draw Point with Blizzard. You’ll be vulnerable to random encounters from Grats in the Center. Grats can have Sleep and Silence drawn from them, making them a useful source of Sleep for your junctions.

    Squall stocking 6 Blizzards from the draw point in the training center. Quistis drawing Sleep from a Grat.

    You can also face T-rexaurs as random encounters here. These can make for a challenging foe if you’re unprepared.  When you do encounter a T-rexaur, following Quistis’ previous advice and inflicting Sleep on it will help keep it incapacitated while you damage it with Ice-based magic and GF attacks. Note that Sleep will be nullified with physical attacks and will gradually wear off. Alternatively, inflicting Blind on it will ensure it poses little threat as it can only perform physical attacks.  Blind will not wear off and you’ll be able to stock more of it shortly.

    Quistis and Squall fighting against a T-rexaur in the training center.

    If you defeat a T-rexaur, you’ll be rewarded with 10 AP and, potentially, Dino Bones. These can be refined into powerful magic with an RF ability you can obtain later on. Using the Card ability against them can help shorten the battle considerably as they have a large amount of HP.

    The so-called “secret area” is position beyond the Save point in the Training Center. Once there, Quistis will attempt to have a dialogue with Squall.

    Squall and Quistis enter the "Secret Area" in the Training Center. Squall and Quistis looking at Balamb Garden from the secret area.

    After Quistis’ failed her attempted heart-to-heart, head back to the Training Center Entrance. Before you get there, you’ll find the mysterious girl from the infirmary in need of the party’s assistance. Specifically, she’s being attacked by a Granaldo.

    The mysterious girl being attacked by a Granaldo.

    Boss: Granaldo, Raldo × 3

    Granaldo performs its joint attack with Raldo.

    Level Range: 7-11 (Granaldo), 7-11 (Raldo)
    Max HP range: 1,432-1,538 (Granaldo), 203-287 (Raldo)
    Draw: Sleep, BlindShell (Granaldo) Fire, Thunder, Protect (Raldo)
    Drops: Wizard Stone
    AP: 14 AP

    This fight will prove straightforward as none of the enemies here have particularly powerful attacks. Even their joint attack won’t cause enough damage to be a problem for your party.

    You’ll ideally be stocking up on Blind, Shell, and Protect this battle as these spells are useful throughout the game and you can’t refine them yet. To this end, killing off two of the Raldos early on will reduce the number of attacks your party takes while drawing said magic.

    You can also use Blind and Sleep to incapacitate the Granaldo and the Raldos further as you draw magic from them. Draw casting Protect will allow you to reduce incoming damage even further.

    When you’ve had your fill on their respective magics, you can make short work of them with Limit breaks and summoning GFs.

    Once you’ve defeated the Granaldo, the mysterious girl will be escorted away by equally mysterious bodyguards. You’ll then have another brief dialogue with Quistis before leaving. From here, return to your dormitory. On the way, you’ll find Zell who is itching to tell Squall about his new dormitory. Thankfully, you can access it in the same way as the old one. Once you’re in Squall’s new dormitory, there is nothing left but for Squall to go to sleep.

    Squall preparing to go to sleep.