Tension is the measure of a character's morale. High tension makes a character perform better in battle. A character with very high tension will have a fiery battle portrait. Low tension will lower their performance. A character with very low tension will have a gloomy portrait. A character that was recently revived will have low tension and thus will suffer from reduced accuracy.
There are various ways to affect tension. If the players choose the attack command outside of battle, they will have a chance to achieve Battle Start Affinity. If performed correctly, the current leader will shout a battle cry that will give everyone a boost in tension. Players will not obtain a chance to get Battle Start Affinity if an enemy has commenced its attack first.
Whenever a character in battle scores a critical hit, dodges, or misses an attack, players will have a chance to obtain Burst Affinity where the character in question is encouraged by his or her teammates. This character receives a great boost in tension and an increase of affinity with the other party members.
When a character reaches a very high tension, each Auto Attack fills the three-bar Party Gauge. A full bar allows to revive an incapacitated ally, and a full Party Gauge allows to initiate a Chain Attack.
If a character is low on tension, such as from recently being revived, players can encourage him or her by going near him or her and pressing B when the "Encourage" icon shows up. The other ally character can also encourage the low tension character. The encourage action resets the dispirited character's tension up back to a neutral 100 and boosts the affinity between the encouraged and the motivator.
States of Tension and Effects
- Very High Tension (250+)
- Increase critical rate by +30%
- Increases damage during chain attacks by +20%
- 30% critical heal rate*
- High Tension (200-249)
- Increase critical rate by +15%
- Increases damage during chain attacks by +10%
- 15% critical heal rate*
- Normal Tension (1-199)
- No status change. All characters by default start at 100.
- Low Tension (-49 to 0)
- Decreases agility by 50
- Critical hit rate penalized by 10%
- Very Low Tension (-50 or lower)
- Nearly all attacks will fail to connect. (5% hit rate)
- Critical hit rate penalized by 20%
- After a party member is revived from incapacitation during battle, they are usually at this state.
- Critical heal is 25% more healing than normal. Like critical hits, they are indicated by a larger font on screen. The critical heal rate cannot be improved by using gems or skill links, as it is a separate category from critical hit rate.
Change In Tension
The following is a list of ways to increase tension and the actual parameters (data obtained from Monolith Soft). However, there will be cases where tension is capped at a certain level. Some ways require the battle members to be at a certain tension state in order to get to the higher tension state. For example, tension will not increase any further than 249 by initiating a chain attack. Very high tension state can only be achieved by breaking vision tags or landing a successful critical hit or dodge affinity burst when the battle members are in high tension. Similarly, breaking vision tags at a normal tension state is capped at 199. In order to get to the next level of tension (high), either get a critical hit or execute an arts successfully.
- Battle Start Affinity (normal): +50 to all members
- Battle Start Affinity (when the ring just hits the rim of the circle before battle starts): +100 to all members
- Using a back attack prior to engaging in battle: +50 to all members
- Critical Hit: +5 to the attacker
- Using arts against an enemy in topple, daze, or sleep status: +10 to the attacker
- Attacking a dazed enemy with a Daze Tension gem equipped: The attacker's tension increases with every attack, increase dependent on Gem strength (maximum +25 at rank VI)
- Cheering up a battle member: The affected battle member's tension resets to 100
- Helping a battle member in Topple, Daze, Sleep or Confuse status: +25 to the affected battle member.
- Executing an art: +5 to the attacker
- Breaking the enemy icon vision tag: very high tension for everyone
- Breaking the enemy's arts tag: +100 to all members
- Breaking the enemy's target tag: +50 to all members
- Breaking the enemy's damage tag: +25 to all members
- Breaking the enemy's timer tag: +20 to all members
- Initiating a chain attack: +50 to all members
- Successful affinity burst for critical hit or dodge: The attacker's tension resets to 100 if in lower tension state. No change if tension is normal. If attacker's tension is high, he/she will go to very high tension state.
- Successful affinity burst for "miss": The attacker's tension resets to 100 if in lower tension state. No change if otherwise.
The following decreases the battle members' tension:
- One of the battle members is in KO status: very low tension to all battle members. Battle members in very high tension will drop to low tension.
- A battle member has been in topple, daze, confuse, or sleep status: -100 to affected member. No change if tension is high or normal.
- A battle member has been inflicted by blowdown or knockback: -100 to affected member. No change if tension is high or normal.
- A battle member has been debuffed: -25 to affected member
- A battle member has received critical damage: -40 to affected member
- A battle member has missed an attack: -25 to attacker
- A battle member's attack has been resisted: -25 to attacker
- A battle member's attack has been blocked: -10 to attacker
Tension can also be increased, or reduced or prevented from being decreased by using specific arts and/or linking specific skills to battle members. Examples:
- Fiora - Double Wind (+50), Explosion of Energy (Increase Tension stage with use of Talent Art)
- Sharla - Heat Bullet (depends on arts level)
- Riki - Hero Time (prevents tension loss)
- Shulk - Battle Cry skill (+20 to Battle Start Affinity)
- Dunban - Ardent Strike skill (attacker gets +10 more for executing critical hit)
- Melia - Unyielding Heart skill (the hit rate penalty for low tension is reduced by 50%)