Chain Capacity (チェイン・キャパ 「チェイン・キャパシティ」 Chein Kyapa / Chein Kyapashiti?, "Chain Capa"), or CC for short, refers to the action cost and combo limiter system that serves as an alternative to the more traditional TP-based systems of older games.
Chain Capacity was introduced with the release of the PlayStation 2 remake of Tales of Destiny as one of several major gameplay renovations designed to modernize the game. The system was later reprised through Tales of Graces and Keroro RPG: Kishi to Musha to Densetsu no Kaizoku, with few changes.
Chain Capacity provides a way to limit combos by tying most battle actions, including arte use, normal attacks, and special actions such as "Backstep" and "Double Jump", to a cost that consumes the CC gauge. Every action is given a set value that defines how much it drains the gauge, and when the gauge is depleted, no more actions can be performed by the character until the gauge recovers enough to perform a new action. Basic actions such as guarding, running, and standing still do not affect the CC gauge, allowing it to recover as needed while providing options for defensive or evasive movement. This system is based on the Spirit Point system established in Tales of Destiny 2, which also ties artes and most actions to the SP gauge and prevents action when depleted.
Compared to the earlier system, however, Chain Capacity recovers at a much faster rate, automatically refilling to its current limit within a few seconds after a character completes his or her actions. This leads to the system being significantly less capable at limiting combos than its predecessor, leading to the common misinterpretation that this system actually encourages combo use. Furthermore, Chain Capacity has no bearing on the arte combo chaining mechanics of any given game, whether it involves tier-based chaining or freely ordered arte chains. This is the function of battle mechanics within the game itself, and Chain Capacity only relates to the cost required to perform the artes used in those chains.
Tales of Destiny (PS2)
In Tales of Destiny, the CC Gauge is displayed as a circular gauge above each character's portrait during battle. A large number appears within the center of the gauge, denoting the number of CC points are available to the character. When an action is performed, the gauge instantly decreases by the required amount, and the displayed number changes at the same time.
Outside of battle, all characters have specified minimum and maximum range for their CC, denoted by two numbers separated by a tilde (~) mark on their character sheet within the status menu. The maximum range denotes their starting CC when they enter battle. Whenever CC is consumed past the minimum range and then recovered, after the gauge had previously been at its maximum range, the gauge resets to the minimum range, setting it as the temporary maximum for the duration of the next combo or action sequence. After this, each consumption and recovery cycle will allow the temporary maximum to increase by 1 CC until it returns to its absolute maximum value, allowing the process to continue from the beginning again.
To prevent the temporary maximum CC from dropping to such a low point, it is possible to use a small amount of CC before allowing for recovery. The CC gauge will recover 1 CC, setting that value as its temporary maximum, and the cycle can continue without reducing the temporary maximum further, allowing characters to maintain that value close to the absolute maximum CC range with proper awareness during battle.
The minimum and maximum CC values can be increased by equipping new weapons, or in the case of the Swordian Masters, by equipping the "Rise", "Exceed", or "Variable" Device Skills through the Swordian Device system. Jewels with the same passive skills can also be equipped by any character to increase his or her CC range further. All passive skills gained through Swordian Device or jewels stack with each other and with themselves. Alternatively, the "Flat" jewel will set CC to always recover to the average value between the minimum and maximum CC range, while the "Fix" jewel will recover the gauge to 15 CC regardless of any other modifications that character might have equipped.
CC can be recovered in small amounts during combos through various means, without relying on the recovery period which prevents combos from continuing. The gauge recovers by 1 CC whenever the character lands a successful critical hit on an enemy. This amount can be increased through the "Chaser" skill obtained through Swordian Device or jewels, increasing further with each instance of the skill that is equipped through stacking. The gauge recovers by 2 CC whenever an enemy is defeated, and this value can likewise be increased through the "Rapid" skill.
The "Charge" action enables recovery of 1 CC if the "Chain" skill is equipped, and the "Guard" action can recover 2 CC on a successful "Flash Guard", a function which requires perfect timing to guard at the precise instant an enemy hits the character. 1 CC can be recovered after performing a successful hit with any arte that has been used at least 600 times, denoted with a mastery level of two stars. This effect activates with a 20% chance of occurring. An additional 1 CC will be recovered 100% of the time after performing a hit with any arte that has been fully mastered with five stars and a usage count of at least 5,000.
Tales of Graces
The Chain Capacity system remains largely similar in Tales of Graces, with set minimum and maximum CC values based primarily on the weapons that are equipped by each character. Battles begin with characters at their minimum CC, but this can be increased by 1 if a random encounter is started by engaging an enemy from behind.
The CC level is increased through the Critical Gauge, which increases itself after each successful strike, block, evaded enemy attack, or by entering red aura by guarding, and decreases through excessive guarding and idleness, being hit, or repeated use of a single arte in a combo. CC will begin to recover to its current maximum at a set rate if no expenditure occurs in a short time frame. Any spending while this recovery is occurring will stop the recovery. The current maximum will not be modified until the Critical Gauge increases to its maximum. When this occurs, the next assault style hit the character makes is granted automatic critical damage, and the maximum CC increases by one point. The process continues until the absolute maximum CC value has been reached. When the next battle begins, this progress is lost and the entire process must be repeated.
Like in Tales of Destiny, the "Rise" and "Exceed" skills increase the minimum and maximum CC range, obtained as Mastery Skills that are learned mastered titles, and from dualized equipment with shards that have those properties. The recovery rate of CC can also be increased from such equipment. Some titles have passive effects that boost CC while they are equipped, with a greater bonus granted at full mastery. CC can be recovered through a well-timed Around Step action, and more CC is provided if the action is performed at the precise moment an enemy attack hits. CC can also be recovered through the use of various manuscripts that are added to the Eleth Mixer, each of which require various conditions to enable activation.