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The World of Balance

The World of Balance is where the game begins. Despite the name, all is not peaceful here. The Empire seeks to dominate the world using the power of magic and technology, and only the Returners stand between them and their dark goal.

Places in the World of Balance


Narshe is a small neutral coal-mining town in the mountains on the northeast continent. Due to its high altitude, it's always very cold here. However, the town is kept warm by advanced geothermal furnaces. This is where the game begins, when an Esper is discovered here. An Imperial search team arrives, composed of two soldiers and a mysterious young woman. For about the first eighth of the game, you won't be allowed to enter Narshe. However, after you fight off Kefka's troops, you're allowed to explore the town. There are a colony of Moogles and a yeti living in the mines, and a house containing many treasure boxes, including one that can't be opened...
Eventually, Narshe allies with the Returners, and soldiers of the Narshe militia are seen in Vector before the peace talks there.

To see what Narshe is like in the World of Ruin, click here!

Figaro Castle

The stronghold of King Edgar, located in the desert south of Narshe. Edgar feigns allegiance to the Empire while actually supporting the Returners. As a testament to Edgar's mechanical genius, the castle is equipped with many advanced machines, such as massive fans in the towers, presumably used for air conditioning, and even a system that allows the castle to submerge into the desert. BTW, if you have Edgar at the head of your party, the shopkeepers in Figaro Castle will give you a 50% discount!

To see what Figaro Castle is like in the World of Ruin, click here!

Figaro Cave

A cave connecting the Narshe/Figaro Castle area to South Figaro. Contains a healing spring near the entrance.

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South Figaro

A port town under the jurisdiction of Figaro Castle, South Figaro is a peaceful and prosperous town. Unfortunately, it's occupied by the Empire early on. Notable residents include a millionaire and his family, the wife of the martial arts master Duncan, and an old man who won't talk to you unless he's had some cider (wine in the Japanese version.

To see what South Figaro is like in the World of Ruin, click here!

Mt. Kolts

A mountain where Duncan took his disciples, including Sabin and Vargas, for training. This is where Vargas betrayed and killed Duncan, and where Sabin joins your party. Imperial troops briefly block passage through Mt. Kolts.

Returner's Hideout

A cave in the Sabil Mountains where the Returners are based. This is where you first meet Banon, and where you access the Lete River.

Lete River

A long winding river that flows from the Sabil Mountains to a small lake near Narshe. The party first meets with the demented octopus Ultros here. After fighting off Ultros, Sabin is separated from the rest of the group, and his journey to get back to Narshe is quite a long one.

House on the Veldt

Despite the name, this small cabin is nowhere near the Veldt, but rather on the shores of the Lete River near where Sabin washes up after being separated from the group. The only people here are a traveling merchant, who looks like an Imperial soldier for some reason, and a crazy old man who mistakes Sabin for a repairman. This is also where Shadow can join you for the first time.

To see what the House on the Veldt is like in the World of Ruin, click here!

Imperial Camp

A small encampment established by the Empire as part of their plan to capture Doma. Initially under the command of the honorable General Leo, the psychotic Kefka takes over after Leo is called away, leading to the poisoning of Doma. After the events there are completed, the Imperial Camp becomes a normal patch of desert where one can encounter monsters from the Figaro Castle area.

Doma Castle

A castle on the eastern continent, Doma has been fighting against the Empire for a long time. The castle is partially destroyed, but still inhabited. In the end, Kefka poisons the castle, leaving only two survivors- Cyan and a generic soldier. The castle is then occupied by Imperial troops. Later, if you play your cards right, the Empire will pull out of Doma, enabling you to claim the treasures within.

To see what Doma is like in the World of Ruin, click here!

Phantom Forest

A mysterious forest south of Doma. As the name implies, there are many ghosts in the forest. There's also a train platform, where the Phantom Train picks up passengers.

Phantom Train

The vessel that transports the dead to the "other side." It is composed of an engine, a baggage car, two compartment cars, a dining car, five coaches, and a caboose. Any attempt to stop the train will cause it to attack the fools who attempted to slow its progress. The Phantom Train later appears as a summon in Final Fantasy VIII.

Baren Falls

A waterfall north of the Veldt. After passing through the Phantom Forest, Sabin and Cyan must jump from Baren Falls to reach the Veldt, since the trail to Nikeah is blocked by a landslide.

The Veldt

A large savannah in the western part of the world. Monsters of all kind, inexplicably including Imperial soldiers, Narshe militiamen, thieves, and ninja, migrate here, so almost any monster in the game can be found here. This is where Gau lives, and where you must take him in order for him to learn new Rages.

To see what the Veldt is like in the World of Ruin, click here!


A small village on the Veldt. Mobliz is a very isolated village, only connected to the outside world by carrier pigeons. Many of the people here make their living by hunting the monsters of the Veldt. During the Doma campaign, a wounded Imperial deserter managed to make his way here. Since he can't move his arms, he asks the playable characters to send letters to his girlfriend in Maranda. As a side note, Gau's diving helmet originally belonged to the people of Mobliz. It is unknown how he acquired it or what it was originally used for.

To see what Mobliz is like in the World of Ruin, click here!

Serpent Trench

An underwater trench infested with monsters. There are a few treasure-filled caves in the trench, but it's largely a series of random battles, as well as one of the two places where Mog can learn the Water Rondo dance, the other being the Lete River. It's theoretically possible for him to learn it at Baren Falls, but you'll never have Mog in your party when fighting there, so it's a moot point.

To see what the Serpent Trench is like in the World of Ruin, click here!


A port town south of the Phantom Forest. Ferries run from Nikeah to South Figaro, and there are many merchants here, selling their wares on the streets. This town is notable for two things: the infamous scene where Cyan refers to a dancer as a "licentious howler" when she tries to hit on him, and the fact that it's the only port town in the game which is never occupied by the Empire.

To see what Nikeah is like in the World of Ruin, click here!


A small peaceful village in Figaro's western province. This is Locke's hometown, and where the body of his dead fianceé Rachel lies, preserved in suspended animation. When Terra reacted with Tritoch and turned into her Esper form for the first time, she arrived in Kohlingen and destroyed one of the houses there.

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A town inhabited by wealthy aristocrats. Famous for its auction house and for the art collection owned by the millionaire Owzer.

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When the people of Jidoor drove the lower-class citizen out of town, they moved north and established their own town in the mountains north of Jidoor and called it Zozo. Zozo is a filthy cesspool, drenched by perpetual rain. Many of the citizens are thieves, and none of them tell the truth. Edgar's Chainsaw can be found here by setting an old grandfather clock to the proper time. This is where Terra lands when she flies off after reacting with Tritoch, and where the party finds out that she is half-Esper. It's also where you get your first few pieces of Magicite.

To see what Zozo is like in the World of Ruin, click here!

Opera House

An opera house inexplicably built far to the south of Jidoor, at the end of a peninsula. The party comes here in an attempt to meet with a man named Setzer and request that he use his airship to take them to the Empire. What follows is a bizarre plot involving disguising Celes as an opera diva named Maria, but Ultros shows up to throw a monkey wrench into the works.

To see what the Opera House is like in the World of Ruin, click here!


A port town on the Empire's southern coast. Not much to say about it, really, other than that it's where the ship to Crescent Island is located, and that it's blanketed in darkness after the Floating Continent rises.

To see what Albrook is like in the World of Ruin, click here!


Tzen was once an independent monarchy, but the Empire invaded, slaughtering Tzen's royal family and taking over. After the events in the Magitek Research Facility, a strange man can be found in the woods outside town, offering the Esper "Seraphim" for the low, low price of 3000 GP.

To see what Tzen is like in the World of Ruin, click here!


A small town under Imperial occupation. According to one citizen, it was the most beautiful town on the continent before the Empire took over. Dog fights are held in the central square, and one citizen states that the fights are the only form of entertainment in town. Also, this is where the lover of the wounded soldier in Mobliz lives.

To see what Maranda is like in the World of Ruin, click here!


The capital of the Empire. This is a gloomy city, patrolled by Imperial soldiers 24/7. Despite this, there are a few friendly citizens, including an old woman who heals your party if you refuse to pay allegiance to the Empire and a Returner sympathizer, who gets you into the Magitek Research Facility. Also known as the "Devil's Lab," the Magitek Research Facility is composed of two major areas- the weapons factory and the actual laboratory. In the factory, you'll have to ride on conveyor belts and go through pipes to reach the pit where Espers are thrown once they are drained of power. After fighting two weakened, but still deadly, Espers, you can proceed into the labs, where you acquire the powers of numerous Espers, and a shocking revelation occurs. After this, you'll escape the crumbling facility on a mine cart, meeting with Setzer at the exit. He helps you escape using his airship, but your escape is nearly stopped by a pair of giant cranes.

Imperial Base

An Imperial fortress located on the eastern end of their territory. If you go here before destroying the Magitek Research Facility, it is crawling with soldiers and you can't get past it. However, after you destroy the MRF and make plans to open the Espers' Sealed Gate, the base is eerily empty. A strange locked door in the main building there can be opened later, if you mind your manners...

Cave to the Sealed Gate

A lava-filled cave leading to the gateway between the human and Esper worlds. Contains numerous switches and levers which can be used to access treasures, as well as one lever that summons a ninja to attack you. In addition, this is where the mighty Atma Weapon is located.

Imperial Palace

When you first go to Vector, the Imperial Palace is guarded by the Empire's ultimate weapon, Guardian. However, after the Espers are released, a member of Gestahl's Elite Guard will personally escort you to meet the Emperor. It seems that after the Espers devastated Vector, Gestahl lost his will to fight and now wants to make peace. The peace talks will occur at a banquet to be held later. But before dinner, he wants you to talk to his soldiers. After doing so, the banquet begins. Based on how your behavior at the banquet, combined with how many soldiers you talked to, you'll be rewarded by the Emperor, as follows:


At first glance, Thamasa appears to be an ordinary backwater village. But if you explore, you'll find that the villagers are capable of using magic. Later, after rescuing a young girl named Relm from a burning house, her grandfather Strago explains the village's history. During the War of the Magi, their ancestors, the Mage Warriors, fought with magical powers extracted from Espers. After the war, they were persecuted by normal people, eventually fleeing to Crescent Island to start their own community. Strago then decides to accompany the heroes to a nearby mountain, where the Espers are said to be.

To see what Thamasa is like in the World of Ruin, click here!

Espers' Gathering Place

A mountain west of Thamasa. Golden images of the Goddesses can be found here, and this is where the Espers go after destroying Vector, due to the abundant magical energy here.

The Floating Continent

After the tragic events at Thamasa, Gestahl and Kefka head to the Esper World and raise the island with the Sealed Gate into the sky. When you attempt to pursue them in the Blackjack, you're attacked by the IAF, then by Ultros and Chupon. After making it down, you have to navigate a maze of transportation devices and false walls to reach the beast known as Atma. After fighting Atma, the party confronts Gestahl and Kefka. Kefka then reveals his plan to revive the Goddess Statues, devastating the world. Now, Gestahl understandably doesn't want to rule over a wasteland, so he attempts to fight Kefka, only to be blasted by the divine power of the statues. Kefka then kicks the Emperor's corpse off the continent and begins to move the statues, releasing vast amounts of magical energy.
And then, all hell breaks loose.

The Collapse

Just as everything seems hopeless, Shadow shows up and traps Kefka between the statues, temporarily preventing him from moving. The party takes this opportunity to escape, but the continent is crumbling around them and demons, released by the Goddesses' energy, are attacking. They eventually make it to a small cape, where the airship is just below. This is where Shadow's fate is decided. If you jump off right away, then he's stuck on the Floating Continent and dies in the collapse. If you want him to live, then approach the cape, choose not to jump, then approach it again and pick the option "Gotta wait for Shadow..."
After picking this option, wait until the timer reacher 4 seconds. Shadow should then show up, and you'll all escape together. However, during the escape, the airship is destroyed and the party are separated in the destruction. Then, mountains rise, flames scorch the land, and continents are split in two...
On that day, the world was forever changed...

The World of Ruin

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