Balamb Garden (Part 2) (Disc 1) - FF8 Guide
At the top of every page of my Final Fantasy 8 Walkthrough I will have a list of the most important GF Abilities for you to learn as well as my personal preference for who to junction GFs to for this part of the story. The game's auto order for GFs learning abilities is extremely terrible so it's strongly recommended you interfere and do the abilities in the order I provide here.
Throughout the game you can also refine Cards into Items and then the Items into magic. I've provided a list of the refinements that you can do for the cards that you will most likely have in your possession at this time during the story below as well. This same information will be provided at the top of every page during the full walkthrough, keep checking it as it'll change as the story progresses.
GF Abilities to Learn:
Quezacotl: Card, Card Mod, T Mag-RF, Mid Mag-RF, Boost, Vit-J, Elem-Def-J, Elem-Defx2, Mag+20%, Mag+40%, Mag Bonus
Shiva: I Mag-RF, Str-J, Elem-Atk-J, Elem-Def-J, Elem-Defx2, Vit-J, Spr+20%, Spr+40%, Spr Bonus, Boost
Ifrit: F Mag-RF, Str+20%, Str+40%, Str Bonus, HP-J, Str-J, Ammo-RF, Elem-Atk-J, Elem-Def-J, Mad Rush, Boost
Siren: Tool-RF, L Mag-RF, Mag+20%, Mag+40%, Mag+60%, Mag Bonus, Move-Find, St Med-RF, Boost, Junctions
She's acquired during the Dollet mission.
Squall: Ifrit, Siren
Back inside Balamb Garden speak with Headmaster Cid and Quistis standing near the board in the front of Balamb Garden then to Seifer who is to the right of that board. Once you've spoke with Seifer you'll have to ride the elevator up to the 2F hallway where you'll want to talk to everyone in the area then run around in circles. The amount of steps taken is what advances the story forward.
On the 3F after the ceremony speak with Headmaster Cid to receive the Battle Meter. If you don't get the Battle Meter now you'll have one other opportunity later - then it's lost forever. Once you grab the Battle Meter from Cid return to the 2F hallway where you had to run around in circles to get your exam score.
When you regain control of Squall he'll be back in the Dormitory. Change into another uniform by inspecting the bed, the same way we did last time. Speak with Selphie outside to begin a long series of scenes. Leave the balcony when you regain control of Squall for more scenes.
Eventually you will finally find yourself back in the Dormitory where you will need to change clothes again. Our next stop is the Training Center in the eastern portion of Balamb Garden.
Junction Tip: Make sure you Junction Sleep to ST-Atk on one of your party members - it makes the T-rexaur fight a breeze
Squall GF Junctions: Ifrit, Siren
Quistis GF Junctions: Quezacotl, Shiva
Inside the Training Center you can go either right or left when the path splits, it all leads to the same area. You're heading to the room at the northern end of this area just past the Save Point. Here there will be more scenes with Quistis. After the scenes you'll want to leave this area and return to the entrance of the Training Center.
Here you will run into Ellone, a character who plays a large role in the later portions of the game as well as a Granaldo enemy and three Raldo enemies. Both of these enemies have spells you're going to want to Draw (mentioned below).
Important Draw Notice: Draw Protect from Raldo and Shell from Granaldo - this is your first opportunity to do this in the game
With the fight over you'll want to return to the Dormitory where you will rest again. When you awake grab the Weapons Mon Apr Magazine on the table next to the bed then use the Save Point if you'd like. Exit your room when you're done and head to the entrance of Balamb Garden. Here there will be another scene with Headmaster Cid, Zell and Selphie.
Very Important When the scene is done you'll want to speak with Headmaster Cid to get the Magical Lamp item. This will give you the GF Diablos who is one of the most important GFs in the entire game since he is the only GF with an ability that eliminates random encounters called Enc-None.
Before you continue with the game's story it is highly recommended that you get the Diablos GF (pictured below).
Important Draw Tip: Draw Demi from Diablos while fighting him
After obtaining the Magical Lamp from Cid but before leaving for the Timber Mission there are a ton of side quests and activities for you to complete. First and most importantly you'll want to find some place to save then use the Magical Lamp to fight Diablos and win him as a Guardian Force. Follow the link for more information on how to beat him.
With Diablos defeated you'll now have two rare cards, Ifrit and Diablos. This is finally enough to give us a 60% or greater chance of beating the rare card holders mentioned below. Prior to acquiring the Diablos card you'd have to get really lucky to beat one of the NPCs with a rare card below - making it not really worth your time to collect the cards (or extremely frustrating if you tried).
Save your game after every other card battle (in case you lose) and make sure you don't accept a match unless the Rule is what you want it to be.
Now is a very good time for you to stock up on cards and use the Card Mod ability to turn them into items. Then you can use your GF abilities to refine those items into magic so you don't have to Draw it.... Even better - you can get your hands on magic that you wouldn't get until much later in the game if you refine the right cards and items.
If breaking the game like this sounds appealing to you I recommend you follow the guidance I give on the Card Mod and Item/Magic Refinement pages. Before continuing with the story below is a list of all the available side quests you can do right now.
(Optional; no reward) Zell's Love Interest (Part 3) Side Quest
Note: It's highly recommended you spend enough time on the beach outside Balamb Town to get Enc-None on Diablos. This will prevent all Encounters and is extremely useful for people who are looking to stay as low a level as possible throughout the whole game. Don't forget to Card enemies too if you want them to give you 0 EXP!
When you're ready to push the story forward you're going to want to go to Balamb town and to the train station (behind the Queen of Cards). Buy a ticket for 3000 Gil and board the train. On the train follow Zell and keep speaking to him, during a scene he'll give you Pet Pals Vol 1.
The scene ends with your party passing out and you waking up as..... someone else?