In Kingdom Hearts, abilities are a type of skill that is equipped by allotting Ability Points (AP). These skills can either be active techniques which can be performed at the character's discretion, or passive upgrades which are always active and enhance the various stats or qualities of the character. While many Abilities are used by more than one character, each character has a unique set which reflects their role in combat.
While there is no explicit division between abilities, the "Sort" function in the Abilities menu groups them into three main categories. Combat abilities directly affect the skills the user uses in battle. For Sora, these abilities provide defensive and evasive actions and affect his weapon attack combos; for other party members, they provide unique techniques that cost MP to use, which may be classified as "Special attacks", "Support skills", or "Defense skills". Support abilities are passive skills that provide miscellaneous supporting effects for the user, such as boosting MP recovery or item drop rates. Sora also has access to special abilities, offensive skills that consume MP. These special abilities return in Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix as Limit abilities accessible to Limit Form.
Sora also gains access to Shared Abilities (共有アビリティ, Kyōyū Abiriti?), which are equipped to the entire party. They increase the party's mobility in the field, and they cost no AP to equip.
Sora, Donald, and Goofy learn most abilities through leveling up, and others by completing certain objectives, such as defeating a boss or completing a mini-game. Sora learns his special abilities by defeating bosses. Other party members possess all of their abilities by default. The party-wide Shared abilities are learned through plot events.
While Sora's combat abilities and special attacks are controlled directly by the player, party members' combat abilities are controlled by their individual AIs. The frequency at which they use their combat abilities can be selected outside of battle from the "Customize" menu.
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