Omega Ruins FAQ

Huge thanks to Darryl Knight for allowing us to use his (this) FAQ

Side note: I have been asked to keep this in its exact shape, so there's going to be a lot of 'extra' stuff.

Omega Ruins Side-Quest FAQ
Final Fantasy X (US) Omega Ruins Side-Quest FAQ
Written by thgink999(Darryl Knight,
Written for:
Version 1.1 3/17/2002

The usual LEGAL wording that I guess I should put here like everyone else does. This guide was written by me. The theory behind this FAQ was my idea. You don't have to steal it from me, ask me before posting or including it in any other form.
I like fame as much as anyone else so I'll probably allow you to use it. I'm new at this, but I will take it seriously if my very first FAQ gets ripped off. If you use it without my permission, I will take all appropriate steps to resolve.
Copyright Darryl Knight, 03/05/2002

Table of Contents

* Revision History
* Disclaimer
* Preface
* Theory
* Statistics
* Chest Contents
* Game Timing Facts
* Frequently Asked Questions
* Urban Legends
* Endorsements
* Credits and Acknowledgements

Revision History

Version 1.0 - Initial composition 3/5/02
Version 1.1 - First revision 8/17/02
                   - Added Disclaimer section
                   - Added section on gameplay timing
                   - Added section on Urban Legends (Other Ideas)
                   - Added descriptions of Chest Contents
                   - Endorsements
                   - Updated actual number of trials completed
                   - Updated actual number of 12 chest success


The FAQ was written to help those seeking completion of the 12 chests in Omega Ruins to receive Warp Sphere x99 in the last chest. This FAQ by no means offers any guarantee the player will achieve the goal since this FAQ only addresses manipulating the odds of success. Timing issues involved wholly depend on the players' particular method of accurately keeping track of their timing errors. These issues will be addressed later in the content of this FAQ. The diligent ones will succeed.


This whole Side-Quest idea came about after playing FFX my second time through and discovering the contents of the last chest contained Warp Sphere x99. I was thrilled to say the least and immediately went to the FAQ pages to find out how I had missed such a key item find. I couldn't find any reference to Warp Sphere except that Nemesis drops them. Knowing this was important and several FAQ walkthroughs were being written at the same time. I emailed my findings to some of the authors, and StoneKotr (Francis Bilodeau) included my email contribution to his FAQ. The quest had begun!

I went to the Message Boards only to find references to the Ultimania Guide and that the Warp Sphere x99 in the last of the 12 chests in Omega Ruins was a "random" event. I wasn't satisfied with this notion, but I continued with my second game to completion.

Wanting more to do after I completed my game, I went back to Omega Ruins to "see" for myself if this event was actually "random" event or not. Armed with a 'clean' SAVE before the Ruins of my last game, I went in to do research on this.

Here's how it went:

I repeated my SAVE over and over and over again....100 times in fact and wrote down how many chests I opened each time and using the SAME order to open them. Initially, I assumed the "random" event outlined by my colleagues on the message boards. I wanted to find out how long a "random" generator would take to 'hit' my chosen chest order or as Ultimania puts it "hit" the odds on each individual chest (using my order). As you can presumably understand it was boring, so at around the 50th attempt I began experimenting with TIME, and that's when everything started to change. I started opening MORE and MORE chests! After going over the data, a pattern showed up, and testing began using a "Time Based" theory rather than the "random" theory previously touted by the Ultimania Guide and universally accepted as fact.

After initially writing this FAQ I kept on with the process of collecting data until I just couldn't go on any further. After weeks of working on a complete database I stopped after 1176 trials.


This was my original quote on the GameFAQs message board on 2-25-02 after initially testing the "Time Based" theory. Now with 1176 attempts at the quest and all the data I've logged, the results confirm the original hypothesis. Two compatible time base methods have been confirmed as of this version. The "original" and a technique I've simply called "doubling".

The basic concept uses the actual number of chests in the room at any given moment as the premise of the counting method. Counting is achieved by the player mentally (or verbally) counting off the seconds before opening a particular chest in a room. Another poster recommended using a metronome to help with keeping track of the timing. I'm sorry to that person for not remembering who they were, but just let me know and I'll be more than grateful to give you your proper credit. It's a great idea. Data suggests that the actual count used by the game uses 'rounding' to whole seconds (ie. slightly more than a count, goes to the next whole second).

Counting begins when you arrive at the chest, NOT when you stop moving. Accuracy is critical, but not impossible. If you hated Chocobo Racing to get 0:0.0 using a timer, then you'll hate this too. The exception here is, the prize is much more valuable!

First, the "Original Method" of counting:

  1. Upon entering a room, note how many chests (important)
  2. Approach a chest and begin counting off the number of chests in the room, then OPEN
  3. Go to the next chest and count off (but now there is one less chest), then OPEN
  4. Repeat for each of the chests in the room

Second, is the "Doubling Method" of counting:

1. Upon entering a room, note how many chests (important) and double it (double count)
2. Approach a chest and begin counting off the double count in the room, then OPEN
3. Go to the next chest and count off the double count (but now there is one less chest), then OPEN
4. Repeat for each of the chests in the room

This "Doubling Method" does NOT work (statistically significant) in the "room with four chests"! You must use the "Original Method" in the fourth room for best results. Each room is also timed with a maximum time to achieve opening the chests, except the "room with four chests". If the maximum time expires, you lose ALL of the chests in that room as if you had opened a "trapped" chest. The "room with four chests" is an exception to the rule (just to mess with you a little). It's the ONLY room that you can leave and the chests do not disappear after opening a chest. Even though you can do this, it is not recommended because of the timing issues involved.


According to the "random" theory as expressed in the Ultimania Guide the game decides if the chest you choose in a particular room is trapped or not using the following calculations:

Room with 2 chests, the odds are:

1/3 that the first chest is trapped, 1/3 that the second chest is trapped, and 1/3 chance that none of chests are trapped at all.

Room with 3 chests, the odds are:

1/4 that the first chest is trapped, 1/4 that the second chest is trapped, 1/4 that the third chest is trapped, and 1/4 chance that none of chests are trapped at all.

Room with 4 chests, the odds are:

1/5 that the first chest is trapped, 1/5 that the second chest is trapped, 1/5 that the third chest is trapped, 1/5 that the fourth chest is trapped, and 1/5 chance that none of chests are trapped at all.

So, we are left to accept that the odds are 1/240 (3x4x4x5) of getting all 12 chests without encountering a single trap. If you ask me, that's hell.

According to the "timing" theory as expressed by myself, the player decides if the chest chosen in a particular room is trapped or not. Now, let's look at how the statistics stack up if you now know you have an element of control in the outcome of your choice. Meaning that, if you know when an event is going to occur, then matching that event is now determined by the error invoked in the choice. Data suggests a "rounding up" in the final choice. The range of error allowed is unknown, but its small, and less than one second. If we follow standard rounding rules, it's greater than 1/2 second, it may be less than that (and probably is).

For example, if the players' time is 0.7 seconds, it is rounded up to 1 second, if its 0.4 its instantaneous (or zero) using standard rounding. Using this criterion, and a "worst" case scenario of a 50% error, then the calculations are:

Room with 2 chests, the odds are:

1/2 x (1/3) that the 1st chest is trapped, 1/2 x (1/3) that the 2nd chest is trapped, and 1/2 x (1/3) chance that none of chests are trapped at all.

Room with 3 chests, the odds are:

1/2 x (1/3) that the first chest is trapped, 1/2 x (1/3) that the second chest is trapped, 1/2 x (1/3) that the third chest is trapped, and 1/2 x (1/3) chance that none of chests are trapped at all.

Room with 4 chests, the odds are:

1/2 x (1/5) that the first chest is trapped, 1/2 x (1/5) that the second chest is trapped, 1/2 x (1/5) that the third chest is trapped, 1/2 x (1/5) that the fourth chest is trapped, and 1/2 x (1/5) chance that none of the chests are trapped at all.

Now, we see the results of our efforts, (1/2) x (3x4x4x5) or 1/120 of getting all 12 chests without encountering a single trap. That's HALF the original odds! The best part is, as you reduce your timing error, the odds GO DOWN!

The key is to reduce your error. The lower the error in your counting, the odds at getting all the chests decreases.

Chest Contents

When opening the 12 chests, choose any order you like. The contents of the chests will always be the same. The contents of successfully opening the chests will be:

1) Lv.4 Sphere x1
2) Defending Bracer.....................[2 slots] SilenceProof DarkProof
3) Turnover...........................................[2 slots] MagicCounter CounterAttack
4) Lv.3 Sphere x2
5) Defending Armlet...................[4 slots] StoneProof PoisonProof
6) Friend Sphere x1
7) Lv.4 Sphere x1
8) Phantom Ring...............................[4 slots] IceEater FireEater LighteningEater
9) Cactuar Wizard.........................[1 slot ] Half MPcost
10) War Monger..................................[2 slots] DoubleAP DoubleOverdrive
11) Teleport Sphere x2
12) WARP SPHERE x99 !!

Game Timing Facts

Many of the game's programmed timing routines are exposed during routine
gameplay and give the player clues as to how the programmers utilized timing sub-routines during events encountered throughout the course of the game. These clues were essential in development of the Timing Method. As you progress though normal gameplay events become more and more time challenging, or handicapped against the player as you proceed. Here I've outlined just a few of the major occurrences, but not all of them. If you have others, email me.

Here are a few to consider:

Lightening Dodging in the Thunder Plains

Here we first encounter:
Invisible Counting
Active Completion
Event Cueing
Dynamic Environment Timing (DET)

Here's where the programmers throw you the first big clue... Invisible counting need not be discussed since we all know the player has to keep track of the total amount of Lightening Dodges and that you cannot leave the Thunder Plains or the number resets. The only benefit is the result of the flash before the strike, Event Cueing. At least you know that a strike is imminent. The other is less obvious. In and around the environment of Thunder Plains you can find different frequencies of lightening strikes. Depending on where you are in the environment you can encounter 1, 2, or 3 strikes within a given time period. This fact is well documented in a number of published FAQs as to where the different areas are located on the map of Thunder Plains.

Butterfly Catching in Macalania Woods

Here we first encounter:
Visual Timers
No Encounter
Critical Timing
Dialog Window timer suspend

Here's where the programmers throw you the second big clue... The visual timer thing is no big deal, but what happens during a butterfly encounter is not so obvious. Anyone who has done the Butterfly Catching knows you cannot get the chest if you get into a fight after encountering a butterfly. You must go as fast as you can without having a single encounter with a butterfly. The last one is subtle, the timer suspends counting while in the actual dialogs after the battle, but there is a time when switching between dialogs you see the timer on the screen briefly. Since the timing is so critical in this little quest the appearance of this timer shows you the lost seconds needed to complete successfully. Its here the game makes sure you lose if you fight and shows you that time suspends while in a dialog.

Chocobo Racing at the Calm Lands

Here we first encounter:
Active Timers
Visual Timers
Timer Manipulation

And again encounter: Active Completion

Here's where the programmers throw you the third big clue... Anyone who has done this knows about the timer in getting 0:0.0 but that's only half of the story. Those damn balloons and seagulls to modify the timing is absolutely crucial to achieving the goal. You must go through each of the four races sequentially and win each one to move the guy blocking the path to Tidus' Ultimate Weapon (Active Completion). If you leave or stop racing, you cannot get the guy to move. Winning all four races in a row will get the guy to finally move out of the way.


Here we encounter:
Active Timers
Passive Completion
Visual Timers
Event Cueing
Dynamic Environment Timing (DET)

Here's where the programmers throw you the fourth big clue... Anyone who has played Blitzball knows the game is timed. Getting all of Wakka's Reels and getting player Tech skills knows the process of Passive Completion. You can come and go from games and not lose your place. What you got is yours to keep. One must do things in order to achieve the goal. The clue here is the use again of Event Cueing to signal a TechCopy situation. The effectiveness of Event Cueing is hindered by the use of Dynamic Environment Timing (DET) during a TechCopy of other player's skills. The environment that changes here is the opponent and what skill is able to be TechCopied. There is no timer that you can see, but timing is absolutely critical in getting a successful TechCopy of skills like Jecht Shot 2, Sphere Shot, Invisible Shot, etc. Each skill has a different timing associated with it during a TechCopy. If you have done this, you know how hard it can be.

Omega Ruins

Here we encounter the worst of the timing protocols:
Invisible Timing
Active Completion
No Encounter
Dynamic Environment Timing (DET)
Dialog Window timer suspend
Timer Manipulation

The game knows where you are and what you are doing at all times. There are no obvious clues that this mini-quest is timed, no active timers and Invisible Timing on top of that. You must complete without saving (Active Completion), you cannot fight any Mimics (No Encounter) and the DET adds to the whole mess. As the environment in each room changes, so does the timing. There is no Event Cueing to help either. This combination of routines makes this one the worst timing mini-quest in the whole game. You can suspend the timing in any room after successfully opening a chest by leaving the chest contents dialog on the screen, kinda like a pause feature. The player is left with very few options. The only choices you have are to assume it is random and be satisfied, or you can try to manipulate the timing. If you follow the Timing Method protocol, you can beat the rules in this quest by exploiting Timer Manipulation.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Can I SAVE my progress after opening chests?
A. No, you cannot SAVE or leave the Ruins during the quest. If you do, the item list will change and you will start getting duplicates of some items. Any deviation from the item list in the previous section says you did something wrong.

Q. I enter the room. There are X chests. I approach chest 1, count X times, open, success. I move to the next chest. I count X-1 times, open, success, etc. until I get to the last one. I count once, open, trap. Every time.
A. I got that at first also, I kept trying. It all comes down to timing. Remember, start counting when you get to the chest, not when you stop moving. It's probably rounding error. I actually practiced with a second hand on a clock to get the timing down.

Q. What is the "Brute Force" method?
A. Start from a SAVED game, then pick an order you'd like to open the chests in, and do it. If it fails, reload and use that same pattern and try it again. Do it over and over until you get it.

Q. Shouldn't a better Luck score on your characters increase your odds of getting all 12 chests?
A. I don't know, I haven't tried that one.

Q. Does it matter which chest I open first? Should I open the closest one to me as I enter?
A. I found no statistical correlation. I don't have the data to say YES and likewise, I can't say NO.

Q. Do I have to open all the chests in a room?
A. Yes, if you leave, the remaining chests will disappear...forever.

Q. Why is the room with four chests an exception?
A. I don't know. This room has some peculiar traits. You can leave and the chests do not disappear. The timing method favors the "Original" method. The LAST chest doesn't always fall into the pattern. Other than that, I would just be guessing. If you find out, let ME know!

Q. Does the order depend on other events in the game before I get to Omega Ruins?
A. I don't think so, because the timing method has been tested by others with a variety of "events" leading up to their appearance in the Ruins and their results seem consistent.

Q. How many times have you achieved Warp Sphere x99?
A. 14, over the course of this study. Not all have been through counting though. I tried variations during the sampling, so the actual results are "tainted" (statistically speaking, of course).

Q. Based on your results alone, what is the chance that your results could happen all by chance?
A. Good question, I would've had to have been VERY lucky indeed. I recorded a 70% increase in non- trapped chests using this method. I still screw up on the timing myself, but now I usually know before I press X that I'm just going for chance.

Q. How do you count?
A. 1,2, seriously, I tried one one thousand, two one thousand, etc. but I couldn't get consistent enough with it so I personally used one thousand, thousand, thousand, three, etc. I guess its whatever works for you. Try using a metronome or something to help.

Q. If I miss the timing on a chest, what should I do?
A. Go for it. You now have a 50/50 chance of getting back on the timing set up from the first chest. Consider yourself lucky if you hit it. Next time, keep track of your counting.

Q. I can't get your theory to work. What should I do?
A. Your timing is off. If you can clear the first two rooms (five chests) MOST of the time, then you are on the right track. If not, keep practicing.

Q. I'm skeptical, does your method really work?
A. I was too at first. All I ask is that you try it. Others have and say it does. I'm OK with that.

Urban Legends

Throughout the many postings and contributions there have been many theories to solve the 12 chest quest. Here is my list of the most notable, outrageous, and untested comments and theories out there that I know of. If you have heard of any others, email me.


Open the chest on the hard 'C' note of the music playing in the background while in the Omega Ruins.

Turbo Controller

Hold down the 'X' button when approaching the chest so you open it ASAP upon reaching the chest.


That there is a secret "order" to opening the chests.


The higher you Luck stat the higher your chances of getting all 12 chests.


There is a certain order of game events that determine your ability to get all 12 chests.


"Actually I think between the new Sidequests FAQ, and Hyprophant's lovely NSG Monster Taming FAQ, the game pretty much has all of its bases covered. There is no new information that could possibly be posted, only theory and conjecture. If someone really wanted to figure out the Omega Ruins chest formulas, they'd have to hack the game code, and even then I suspect it would still prove to be random. Thgink's theory is the best bet for opening all 12 chests."


From: Ceebs | Posted: 8/9/2002 7:52:28 PM

Credits and Acknowledgements

Hyprophant > Telling me to resubmit
Ceebs > unsolicited endorsement
Olivier Hague > For reminding me of the 'randomness' and the odds
Stonekotr > For listing my observations in his walkthrough
Squall6Cloud > For challenging the idea
dimshade > for going the extra mile
Goobers > for defending me
dgcopter > for giving it merit and trying it
Egomaniacal1 > for a lot of support
aukevin > for trying
HolyBallZ > for support and all the BUMPs
Milehka > for noticing I was "utterly insane"
Hunter_Santorius > for noticing I was persistent
Aerius > for support
OmniFreak85 > for trying and defending me
neogbf > comments on Luck scores
SnareKick23 > suggestions on "nearest" chest
ranmafan > another suggesting I write the FAQ
lavarock > a promise to try it, next game
vOodoO_majic > for comments
Fricassee > comments about odds and lotteries

And for everyone else who had even the most remote contribution to this
effort that I somehow overlooked. Thank you all.