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1  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: FFT Play report on: October 12, 2010, 02:18:15 PM
Oct. 11

My second fight-through of the Wiegraf battle was extremely easy. He did Judgement blade, and Ramza ran up behind him and hit him, and Agrias did Judgement blade, too. I had Bathusa cast haste but it only worked on Agrias. Second turn, Wiegraf killed Bathusa, running down the steps, and AIAS was at crit status. I went ahead and had him attack Wiegraf; the counterattack killed him, but he did some damage. Then Agrias ran over and did a sword technique for the kill. So, four hits and he was out. The key difference this time was that he didn't run behind the wall, because I moved Ramza behind him, blocking the way.
   So, that was easy. Then there was lots of story development--Wiegraf 'fused' with the stone, because it recognised his rage, and he transformed into Gigas Belgas (sp?); thankfully I didn't have to fight him.
   After this, let's see...sometimes I have a hard time remembering what all happened in what order. There was a beautiful cutscene between Delita and Ovelia. These cutscenes are often somewhat lame. Actually I think I'll give my opinion of these now. A lot of them have been annoying, but it wasn't until this last one that I really realised why. They are really well done in many ways: I like the art and the cinematography of them (except for Delita's hand in the one where he and Ramza are talking about grass whistles--it looked like a ballon). In terms of how they develop the story, I like them. But the voice acting is horrible. It really showed in this last cutscene--the shots were wonderfully composed, the music complemented the action very well, and there was a lot of pathos here, when Ovelia was talking about being shut away in a monastery for most of her life. But the voice acting ruined so much of it. The horrible, fake British accents, which affect at being noble. However, I'm simply not convinced at the nod toward late medieval England they are going for here. Perhaps it's because I'm studying Renaissance English literature in grad school and I can see through it, I don't know...In terms of an RPG of its time then yes, the story so far is mind-blowingly awesome, and yes, I do like it very much anyway. It's simply that the fake accents and the "old-timey" diction are off-putting (the diction isn't all that 'accurate' for a Wars of the Roses period English. But I am being pedantic.)
   There was a point in the story where I ran into a guy who insisted that I show up at a castle with the Scriptures which had been given to me by the elder Simon. The guy asked me if I'd read them and I lied, saying I had. Right after this I went and read them, and now I wonder what sort of effect my answer had on the game--does the game know I lied? etc.
   Reading the scriptures, I see that this game was possibly controversial for its time, since the story is very sclose to the story of Christ, but the argument is that the hero was a human being, not descended from the gods. But then again, it was been easy for video games to include those sorts of story elements because they weren't mainstream or taken seriously in high culture or anything. Like, imagine is Final Fantasy VII came out today--there would possibly be a firestorm of controversy. You start out as an eco-terrorist blowing up a factory! Would that fly in a "post-9/11 world?"
   Let's see, more story...I got Luso in my party. That fight, against all the huge lion beast things, was not to hard, but their instant KO attack took out half my party. Still, not too bad. Luso came on at level 25, so he's more powerful than anyone else in my party. I've still got some level 19 people. Luso kind of renders AIAS obsolete actually; I don't think he'll see much play. Then there was the battle against the Southern Star deserters, which I won easily as well, but it was a fun battle because I had to fight uphill as though scaling fortress walls.
   Finally, I had the fight against a bunch of ninjas. I had to fight this one twice! And I realised that I MUST make Ramza a ninja--they attack twice! And can throw bombs! A Ninja/Monk combo (with Brawler on) would be POTENT holy crap. I guess this means I'll have to level up as Thief some...I'm not sure what the requirements are for Ninja, but Thief and Monk seem plausible. I'm trying to play through without consulting a FAQ, which I've done fine with so far--when I started I a FAQ on mechanics and jobs but I'm not relying on it so far. Since Orbonne I haven't had a ton of difficulties.
   Back to story stuff, though: up to a point I'd thought that the story of the game was a little lame, but last night I started to really get into it. I think the plot is really opening up and getting in full swing. I still, to be honest, think there are some holes or issues with the development of the story--for instance, Orenn showed up again and said he was my good friend,etc., but I've only met him once! It feels like a ton of stuff must have happened off-screen. But other than these few issues which i can easily overlook, the story is getting better and better.
   Sorry about the really fragmentary nature of these writings; I always write in the mornings as I'm waking up, so I can't always remember very well what happened. Plus I'm waking up.
   
2  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: FFT Play report on: October 11, 2010, 12:57:49 PM
Oct. 8.

Fuuuuck, the Wiegraf battle is Hard! The Orbonne monastery is hurting me.

I've been casually fighting my way through this game, not grinding or anything, and so many recent battles have been easy. I went into the Orbonne monastery and won the first battle, against the three dragoons, two time mages and a chemist, with ease. The dragoons charged right up on me, and they were overwhelmed. Cakewalk.
   Then there was the second battle in the monastery. The monastery is like a multi-leveled dungeon and you can't go back and revisit the world map at all: no leveling up, no buying supplies, nothing. So the second battle starts but I'm thinking it will be easy. I have to defeat this guy Isilud in this maze but whatevs, right? I decide to work my guys around down the hall to take out the summoner first then work my way around, killing everything. I like to kill everyone even in battles where I just have to defeat just one person, for the JP/EXP.
   But that didn't work. Sure, I took out the summoner, but I had two archers hitting me with Aim +2, doing 105 damage. And then the guy I'm supposed to defeat is a dragoon, but his Jump has a range of more than half the map. There go my mages pretty quick! I didn't last very long.
   So I fight again, this time I figure maybe I made a few tactical mistakes, but still try the same general strategy. Nope. A third time...still, wiped out, even when I go the other way. Each time I start thinking, "Oh I've got this, I just took out one of the knights, not too much longer before I get to Isilud," but then he breaks out the Jump attack and the archers start hitting me. I start to realise that maybe in this fight the summoner isn't that great of a threat...Glacial Shards is only doing about 50 hp of damage to me. Maybe I can ignore him. But at this point I'm exhausted. My brain couldn't take anymore. Yesterday was a long day; I spent 8 hours in the library doing research and then I attended a conference. After three tries, I passed out.
   But then I woke up around two in the morning. I'd been dreaming. I grabbed my PSP and turned the game back on. I made my Black Mage into a Time Mage and tried again, Hasting everyone and charging everyone as quickly as possible toward Isilud. The summoner starts harrasing me and one of the archers is taking potshots at me; Ramza gets close to Isilud but the other knights block the way of everyone else. Agrias is able to get off an attack against him, though. Isilud does his jump on AIAS and a knight and archer concentrate their attacks on Agrias and kill her. Her dead body is in the way. But now Ramza is next to Isilud and starts attacking. I'm able to get in flank attacks so he doesn't use his shield. But the freaking summoner takes out both of my mages with one blow...that sucked! Good got that sucked! So then AIAS is just sitting there getting shot to death.
   Meanwhile another knight has moved up with Isilud and starts attacking Ramza as well. I'm so glad that he has Auto-Potion equipped because these guys are doing immense amount of damage, yet Ramza has almost full health. But if anyone crystals I'm going to have to re-start. Then Ramza punches Isilud in his stupid face and he goes down on his knees and teleports away.
   Fucking hell that was hard.
   And theeen I get to fight Wiegraf. Yeah, this sucked. Basically, the battlefield is divided in half by a wall; there are five doorways through which the enemy can pass. The first move was Wiegraf's; he comes over to my side of the map and does Judgement Blade on everyone. OK; that's fine. I haste everyone and rush him and I'm able to do a lot of damage right away. By the end of my first round of attacks he's only got 96 hp left.
   But then he moves again, does a pretty powerful attack and runs back on the other side of the wall. Then the mages and archers start showing up and Agrias and Ramza and Bathusa are KO'ed. I think, "well I can still get him, c'mon AIAS!" but one of the archers moves into the doorway, blocking my path. Now there's no way I can get to Wiegraf, and my remaining party members are picked off.
   So yeah. I lose and then go to sleep. 
3  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: FFT Play report on: October 08, 2010, 06:26:37 PM
Oct. 7.

Ramza is level 21, Bathusa 16, AIAS 17, Helen 17, Agrias 15 and Mustadio 13 and now I've been playing almost 17 hours. But I've only fought one battle, I think...a lot of time has been story develpment. Basically I show up at the capital and talk to Ramza's brother about what is going on; but his brother gets angry and says that his common-blooded mother forever marks him as a commoner and tells him to leave. I think that Ramza's problem is his concern with 'justice' and he refuses to see that the Beovle family is involved in politics as usual, just like every other noble family.
   On the other hand, this priest, in the Monastery at Orbonne says, a little later, that Ramza is just like his father, or something to that effect, so we have the interesting idea that the guy who is only halfway noble, genetically speaking is more noble in character. Ramza, having a "common" mother, has greater concern for the commons, the people, than do the nobles. There has already been a scene in which a bunch of nobles are in a council of war, and the duke suggests that they triple the tax rate in order to make ends meet. There was a Cid there (Cidolphus) who was pushing for peace, and who was worried about the people: "We used to fight wars for the people," he said (I paraphrase), "But now we are fighting for ourselves, and the people are suffering." They just tell Cid to shut up.
   So the monks come to arrest Ramza for the murder of Delacroix. Ramza actually tries to reason with them for a minute, insisting that the auracite is a lie and it is actually magicite, and Delacroix used it to turn into a Lucavi--then the fight proceeds. This battle was _easy_. I was worried at first because the monks and knights were level 22 and the big bad was level 24, but nope. Actually it lately seems like the battles are getting easier in general, and the truly tough ones were early in the game. I think part of the reason is that Ramza can dish out so much damage now. Especially if I use Focus in the turns before contact with the enemy is made, he dishes out about 150 HP. Couple that with Equip Heavy Armor and Lifefont and he's almost an unstoppable tank who can fight everyone himself.
   For the battle I hung back and waited for the enemies to come to me, and I fought them in the small space near the edge. Bathusa stayed on the other side of the wall casting powerful black magics, and Helen hung out back there casting Protect on everyone, and Arise on Agrias when she went down from Doom Fist. Since Alma hasted Ramza, he dropped two knights pretty damn quickly. Honestly, the enemy posed virtually no threat at all. I'm not even grinding at all here, just fighting each battle as it comes.
   Which is a good thing--like I wrote about the previous battle, I finally won it simply by reconfiguring everyone's assigned abilities and figuring out some good tactical moves. I didn't go back to level up at all. This is a good design feature!
   Another annoying plot point: I went to the Monastery, and watched the story development part, but didn't fight the battle. Well one thing was the fact that Alma was with the party. Earlier she begs Ramza to take her along, and he says no, it's too dangerous. Then she replies that she will be hunted as a heretic as well, so she must accompany him. But Ramza insists that she go to Zaalbaag (I think) to explain the situation and a, ask forgiveness and everything will be okay. But then Alma replies that there will be no way for Ramza to get into Orbonne without her, because he is an outlaw. Which makes no sense--she is an outlaw, too; she participated in the battle, so how could she get him in? And, what, is the idea that since Ramza is with her, they won't arrest him?
   Anyway, it was also frustrating that Alma says, at one point, "I wish I'd been born a man." She says this in Orbonne, and she says it because she wants to fight or be able to do something to stop these evil forces from seizing all the stones. This is freaking annoying because this is an expression of traditional gender stereotypes, that women can't fight or do things. HOWEVER, IN THIS GAME, in the world of Ivalice, there ARE women fighters: Milleuda was a tough cookie, and Agrias and Alicia are girls, and I can go to the Warrior's Guild and hire all women if I want. Why on earth would Alma say that, then? This is not a world where women are forbidden to fight. It's as if suddenly she stepped out of The Lord of the Rings and is Eowyn. I mean, it's pretty obvious that she will officially join the party at some point.
   Also, Ramza gives her his auracite and tells her, "If I don't return, cast the stone into the sea," and I'm reminded of someone at the Council of Elrond in LotR suggesting that they simply toss the Ring into the ocean, since throwing it into the crack of doom seems impossible.
   Ok, WOW I just wrote a lot.
4  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: FFT Play report on: October 06, 2010, 06:34:27 PM
I agree with others. This is making me very nostalgic. I can literally feel the excitement with you as you go through the game. I might just have to restart this game up again for the 100434543534 time. Soooo goood.

Thanks! I'm glad people enjoy reading this. I was a bit worried it would seem goofy.

Oct. 5

I finally beat Lionel Castle Gate. This was the first battle I fought in this play-through that I hadn't already fought before, and at first I was worried that I was stuck all over again. Each time I fought the battle Ramza would get killed, the summoner would deal tons of damage and I couldn't win.
   But then I realised that it was all a matter of job configurations and assigned abilities. Once I prepped appropriately for the battle, it wasn't too hard. I actually facepalmed myself for not doing this sooner.
   I kept Ramza as a Monk and assigned the ability that allows him to recover HP when he moves, and I also assigned Auto-Potion. Duh. And then also Equip Heavy Armor so that he'd have plenty of HP (241 in this case). My black mage and white mage (Bathusa and Helen) I switched back to Chemists--they wouldn't be able to get JP for their magic jobs, but I gave them guns so that they would be reliable contributors to offense--plus it's about time for them to learn more Chemist stuff, like X-Potion etc.
   So as soon as the battle started, I went for the summoner. My chemical mages shot at him, Agrias used a ranged sword technique, and AIAS charged him and whacked him. He was dead before he did anything. This was pretty risky--AIAS had to position himself right in the middle of the enemy forces and was eventually KO'ed--but on the other hand, removing the summoner was essential. The various summons had been doing more damage to my party than I could manage. And I was able, in the course of the fight, to revive AIAS.
   Ramza simply ran around to open the gate, casting either Tailwind or Focus on the way. I ignored Gaffarion at first, because Ramza was able to heal all the damage incurred from G.'s Shadowblade attack, pretty much. He then ran out and helped clear out the enemies, which didn't take too long since he was doing 70-115 points of damage each attack!
   After this battle there was a huge story dump. The plot thickens...Wiegraf is joining some group, and Delita is involved with these other guys--the battle I had to fight as Delita was cute. Honestly I think I'm going to have to find a game script to review, because some of this is getting confusing...I was sleepy when all of this was happening and didn't quite catch it. However, I got the impression that everything in chapters 1 and 2 boils down to backstory for the War of the Lions, which begins in chapter 3. We've got the duke who supports the Prince and the duke who supports Ovelia, who is not really Ovelia...
   Oh, and I fought Cuculainn. Delacroix turns into this fat zombie with vagina dentata through the power of the stone. At first I freaked out, when his opening move inflicted Doom on half my party; but he was easy and I killed him before anyone died.
   I was a little disappointed with that fight, more because of what it did to the story. The story and world so far has been fairly "realistic" and gritty--everything is about politics and the manipulation of truth, etc., and then all of a sudden we have this crazy monster that makes no sense. The fight also felt more "gamey" than any other I'd fought before--it was a traditional 'boss fight' and everything. Anyway, meh.
   Let's see...I fought the battle where I meet Orenn--I think that's his name--but fell asleep right after winning it. I look forward to finding out what's up with him.
   The more I play this game, the more I enjoy it. BTW, I'm 15 hours in and wondering how long it is.
5  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: age-old JRPG problem on: October 05, 2010, 10:09:48 AM
Grinding is typically an "easy" way to solve problems in a game--if you are powerful enough then no matter how horrible your strategy, you're sure to win. But this is pretty boring! And it certainly isn't easy if  you are trying to get through the game and have fun with it.
6  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: FFT Play report on: October 05, 2010, 09:41:11 AM
Oct. 3

I fought the Gallows battle and won it without a hitch. I used AIAS, Helen, Bathusa, Ramza and Mustadio. Probably the main help was the fact that AIAS broke Gaffarrion's weapon on his first turn. Rend Weapon is really chancy and often doesn't work, but it did this time and that helped so very much.
   The battle wasn't exactly easy, and Ramza was KO'ed at a certain point (Helen revived him with Arise, though). It was a nice challenge I didn't exactly feel impossible but also not like a cakewalk.
   But the battle after that left me reeling.
   We go to Lionel Castle, hoping to storm the gates, but it turns out to be an ambush. Ramza is on one side of the gate, squaring off with Gaffarion, while my other four guys have to fight three knights, two archers and a Summoner. A summoner who hastes everyone.
   I got stomped. I didn't have Items equipped as an ability for Ramza, so he couldn't heal himself while Gaffarion pummeled on him. My party on the other side of the gate was doing okay; it was looking rough, though, and it was hard to figure out exactly what strategy to use here...should I move away from the gate to engage the enemy, or hang back until Ramza can make it over here? I can't easily hang back, because of those archers and the summoner. The enemy can sit back and poach at me.
   Anyway, I lost when Ramza crystaled.
7  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: FFT Play report on: October 04, 2010, 09:43:28 PM

A good secondary ability for a white mage is throw. Or anyone who doesn't have ranged attack that needs one for that matter. Since it's based on speed instead of power a white mage can still make good use of it to add some ranged support that doesn't take any mp.

Is this the same as the Chemist skill, Throw? If not, what job gives it?


8  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: FFT Play report on: October 03, 2010, 06:44:07 PM
Oct. 2.

OK. First what I did was go back to Dorter and Eagrose to pick up my people who I had sent on Errands. I don't really get the point of Errands other than to make some money--it's not like I'm going to send someone who I regularly use in battle on an Errand. I sure hope this doesn't turn out at the end to be the sort of game where you have to have been leveling everyone up. I have my main battle-party and then some hangers-on.
   One of the Errands was Mining and I got 1,003 Gil. The other was fighting off bandits and I got almost 15,000 Gil--so yeah, I'm definitely going to be doing more of these things. That's good pay, but the JP isn't all that great.
   Afterwards I went ahead and fought the battle in Goug. It wasn't too difficult, but I took my time with it. For some reason, Mustadio charged the enemy thieves--he's got a gun and that isn't necessary. The result was that he got KO'ed on the front lines and I coudn't revive him. I tried and wasted two phoenix downs on him. Whatever man.
   Ramza is dealing out tons of damage as a Monk now. The Monk abilities are really expensive, but hey, doing over a hundred points of damage in one hit is good enough for me; I can wait. He is now level 15; everyone else is between 15 and 12. Leveling a White Mage is a bitch, because there's often nothing to do. Helen sits around and casts Protect and Shell over and over again.
   I'm at the point now where the very next battle is the one at the gallows, and I've clocked about 13 hours in the game (so I've gotten here a little quicker than last time). For this battle, I will probably make Helen into a Chemist so that she can equip a gun and contribute to my offense--or who knows, she might have enough Knight JP from spillover to Equip Swords.
   Hopefully at least my party is in good enough shape to do this; I think they are, but then again the upcoming battle is tough. If I recall correctly, there were two Time Mages who also had healing or offensive magic; three knights, three archers and Gaffarion. Also, my party starts off split up; so I'm surrounded, outnumbered, and my forces are fragmented. My first try will be Ramza (Monk/Squire), Mustadio, Agrias, Bathusa (Black Mage), Helen (as Gun-equipped Chemist with white magic, or sword-equipped), and--do I get one more?--AIAS, my damage-soaking knight. Come on, Leg Shot! Rend Weapon!

A note on the way I'm posting these: I'm posting this on Oct. 3, but I'm writing it on Oct 2, and it reflects what gaming I did actually on Oct. 1. I game, I write it down the next day (in the morning, actually), and later post it. That way, when you read me say "I'm about to fight this battle!" it means that I actually have...I'm posting like this so that nothing gets spoiled for me, and by the time people are reading and giving strategy tips or whatever, I've already tried things out. So feel free to talk about strategy; you won't be spoiling things for me actually. I'm not necessarily *asking* anyone to, though; I just want to let  you know that nothing will be spoiled for me--unless of course you start talking about the ending or something. This also hopefully explains if any of my posts seem weird.
9  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: FFT Play report on: October 02, 2010, 01:42:20 PM
Oct. 1.

I fought just one battle, the one in the swamp on the way to Goug. It was ridiculously easy. I made Lavian, one of the knights you get early on in the game, into an archer. Now that I pretty much have Mustadio in the party, archers are obsolete, but there are some nice skills there, like archer's bane...I'm actually tempted to turn everyone into an archer, equip JP Boost, and fight some random battles that way. Anyway, I want to make Lavian into a Thief, and probably won't make AIAS one. A female thief will be good, because she can Steal Hearts...
   The battle involved me just waiting for them to come then hitting the undead with Thundara, bows, guns, etc. I was actually barely hurt at all. The next battle is the one IN Goug.
10  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: Do you take notes on games? on: October 01, 2010, 09:32:11 PM
You guys should play the old CRPGs from the early 90s. People used to map out everything in a dungeon. In fact, I think some of the games came with fucking GRAPHING PAPER. haha.

What are the names of some of these? Are there any that are abandonware I can track down? Sounds interesting!!!
11  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: Tactics Ogre on: October 01, 2010, 11:27:30 AM
I care more about the game...I have wanted to play it for a long time, but haven't  been able to get my hands on it!
12  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: FFT Play report on: October 01, 2010, 11:24:23 AM
I'm actually enjoying reading your game logs of each battle, getting all nostalgic and whatnot. Makes me want to start up a new game myself as FFT is pretty much my fav RPG ever. :D

Thanks, man!

was AIAS a name that it suggested?

Nope, I decided to give all the characters I buy names from Greek mythology; AIAS is the Greek spelling for Ajax.

Either this game is super grind heavy or I just plain play it wrong. You don't seem to be grinding nearly as much as I had to.

I've done hardly any grinding at all this time around. Basically the first thing I did was level up two chemists and then switched them onto other job paths; the key, I think, seems to be to just stick with a job for a while rather than trying to make each character too diverse; that and making sure everyone does plenty of stuff in battles....



Sept. 30.

I've got Mustadio in my party now. Let's see...I did the fight at the waterfall with Delita and Ovelia...this fight has tons of dialogue in it, since Ramza, Gaffarion and Delita were all yelling at each other. The dialogue is necessary to advance the plot, I suppose, but when you are refighting a hard battle it's annoying. And this is a battle I've fought before!
   Then there's the Mustadio battle and the battle after that with two summoners, two archers and two knights opposing you. I remember this battle as having been really tough--the knights would dish out so much damage, and Mustadio would always get killed by a summoner, etc.  Last time I played, this battle took several tries. But this time around the battle wasn't all that bad, and I think it's simply because I have better character builds. I did have to use phoenix downs, though. I don't really feel "successful" unless I can win a battle without ever having someone KO'ed.
   I think this will be easier once Mustadio and Agrias actually join my party and I don't have to worry about guest mechanics screwing me up. For instance, in this battle, Mustadio starts off by attacking the summoner directly across from him. He shot her a few times, but instead of finishing her off, he started shooting one of the knights instead. So then there's this summoner with only 30 HP left summoning Shiva. Thanks, Mustadio. The battle would have been easier if Mustadio had either kept attacking the summoner or if he attacked the knights from the get go. One of the keys to military victory is to concentrate one's attacks!

Story, story, story. Mustadio the machinist, who works to recover and refurbish the old machines of a lost civilisation. This is a standard Final Fantasy trope, right? That there was an ancient civilisation, far more advanced than the current one, whose technologies have been lost and are studied by a small group of people, but whose weaponry some group of bad guys hopes to obtain.
   This trope isn't in every game, sure, but it's common in one way or another. I like the trope because in a way it promotes a study of the past in general as a useful thing. Today we don't think of historical knowledge as all that important, besides paying lip service to the idea that "those who forget history are doomed to repeat it," which in my opinion isn't true anyway. But I do think that studying old things is at the very least incredibly interesting, and useful in some ways.
   I also just think it's neat to think about looking back at the past toward a technologically advanced age. And then there's always that muted warning about the dangers of technology which runs through a lot of Japanese games generally--many of these ancient civilisations destroyed themselves.

Anyway, I've made it to Lionel Castle and learned about the Zodiac stones. We're off to Goug to put the hurt on the Baert Trading Company!


13  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: FFT Play report on: September 30, 2010, 10:16:34 AM
Sept. 29.


I seem to have no problem playing pretty regularly right now. I fought Argath, and the battle was a pain in the ass. It took a while to finish. The problem was that most of the fighting was in a very small, area and the enemy is all around me essentially. Delita charged ahead and was KO'ed almost instantly, again, but since his body was practically surrounded the entire time, there was hardly an opportunity to revive him. He actually automatically revives once in the battle with 1 HP, but he was immediately mowed down. I advanced a little more slowly; my forces were split into two squads so my opening moves were to move AIAS and Helen back around the fort to rejoin the others and cast Protect, Focus, Tailwind: buffer up.
   The main difficulty, though, was numbers: I had an effective force of only 4 units, a knight, a squire, black mage and white mage (both of the mages had Throw Items and Auto-Potion). I was up against Argath, 3 knights and 2 mages, and since Argath had Auto-Potion, I had to concentrate my attacks on him, but I couldn't easily do this until I'd cleared out more of the enemy. So the thing ended up as an intense slugfest; spells were going off constantly and my mages were throwing potions and trying to hang back, while Ramza and AIAS lured the first two knights off their platform and wailed on them. At one point AIAS went down and I had to scramble to get him back up...it's a good thing I had two chemists, basically, to phoenix him and hi-potion him back to back. Takes up too many actions, though--I look forward to some powerful revival white magics!
   By the end of the battle, Helen, the white mage, was down but there was only Argath and one black mage left. Unfortunately Argath has Auto-Potion and would heal 30 HP pretty much every hit. I'd whack him for 42 points of damage, but he'd heal and it was as if I was only doing 12 points. This was taking forever. But I finally had him down to 33 or so; Ramza was up for a turn and I moved him over to attack and whaddya know, Argath blocks. Then he moves and shoots Ramza to death. Thankfully AIAS finishes off the job and no one goes crystal.
   Overall this was a tough fight that had me thinking I was going to lose, but I made it out. It would have been easier if Delita hadn't recklessly charged ahead--I hate these battles with guests in them, because I can't always work them into an overall tactical plan! And then there's also the fact that, in a sense, the guests are stealing EXP and JP from me.

So the story advances and I'm in chapter 2 now--chapter 1 was all flashback, explaining who Delita is and his relationship with Ramza. Ramza, it turns out, is a noble-born son, but whose mother is not the queen or something like that. He is only the half-brother to the others. Delita, who is not a noble, is Ramza's childhood friend. I'm actually curious about why he is hanging out with Ramza in the first place--why/how did he start rubbing shoulders with this noble family? My guess is that he is actually Ramza's half-brother, but from a different father and so entirely not noble at all. (Honestly, it seems that Ramza's noble status should be suspect as well, but the rules of Ivalice are not necessarily the same as our world.)
   The great thing about the story, about the way it unfolds at least, is that there are both personal elements and global, epic political elements to it. On the one hand, Ramza is a noble kid who genuinely believes in being good and just, even while surrounded by people with a more "realistic" or cynical outlook. But he is friends with someone who becomes implicated in this rebellion against the noble class: the nobility (Argath) rejects him; the rebels kidnap his sister, thinking she is in fact noble.
   On the other hand, there seem to be major political movements behind the scenes and I'm beginning to wonder if the nobles, even the Beovles, are responsible for many of the problems Ramza/the player is trying to solve throughout the game. But the genius of the story is the extent to which the personal increasingly becomes entangled in the political, such that the political becomes personal and Ramza is very much invested in the fight, and not for ideological reasons.
   Of course, I'm just guessing. I don't know how everything will unfold. In previous plays I got to about halfway (?) through chapter 2 and it seemed to have been working that way.
14  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: FFT Play report on: September 29, 2010, 11:52:29 AM
Let me guess. The battle you were stuck on in Chapter 2 was at an execution site of some sort.

YEP! I fought that battle over and over and just couldn't cut it. I even looked at a FAQ for tactical tips and still couldn't do it. I simply couldn't do enough damage to the enemy and I'm pretty sure that at that point I couldn't go back to level up at all because a lot of the map is closed.

Quote from: insertnamehere
you should also try to track down this this game since it's nearly identical in style and gameplay

I played that game about 2.5 years ago, I think it was. I thought it was solid.

As for monk, I totally am thinking along these lines. I'm goofy and like to level/equip characters in line with the story. I figure in chapter 1 Ramza is a knight, but then he's walked away from his noble roots and is on a 'spiritual' path for self-knowledge and becomes a monk. I know, I'm weird and like to add to the story in my head.
15  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: FFT Play report on: September 29, 2010, 11:46:47 AM
Sept. 28.

Well, I switched Bathusa to a Black Mage and Helen to a White Mage and fought Wiegraf at the mill. The battle was actually pretty easy--Ramza is level 10 now and armed to the teeth; AIAS is level 9 and pretty badass for a Squire. Bathusa, equipped with a Thunder Rod, did amazing amounts of damage--her Faith is 74! Helen worked effectively as a healer also.
   Delita--as is usual--was KO'ed very early in the battle and I let him lay there while I cleared out the enemies with Thunder. I'm starting to think that it's often a good idea to spread out my attacks so that the enemies will simply retreat, giving me time to heal back up, and also to prolong the battle a little bit in order to have more opportunities for getting EXP and JP--especially if the enemies heal themselves. If I stood there and fought the enemies on the front line, then Delita would just lay there the whole fight and never gain anything--although I know he's going to leave my party before too long so I don't care actually.
   If I remember correctly, the next battle is against Argath and possibly the end of Chapter 1. I'm 8 hours in--I'm not sure if that's long or not. It seems like I spend a lot of time messing around in the menus or leaving the game running while I do something else.
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