I went and spent 5 hours tonight streaming the start of a Final Fantasy II run. It didn't exactly go according to plan but I learned some things. I also talked a bit about Final Fantasy games with a 13 year old who randomly decided to watch me because he played FFII on the GBA. Anyway, here's what I learned...
- Even with 16 sword skill you actually need a good sword to do any damage. The enemy's armour applies to each hit so the fact I'm swinging with a 8 attack sword means any enemy with something like 20 armour is immune to my damage. For the record, the Captain I need to grind for a toad book has 50 armour.
- I leveled a fire spell to 10 in order to kill the Captain, but it really didn't do a whole lot of damage. Something like 280 to a single target. I also tried using it against some powerful undead I ran into near Mysidia and it was hitting them all for about 120 each. The ghost had 540 health so it was taking 5 casts to kill them off. That is not fast. Even if I leveled fire all the way to 16 it would be doing less than 200 on average to all enemies. So 3 casts to take out the ghosts. And there are other undead with even more health than ghosts. The damage from my fire is pretty much capped, too, unless I put even more time and effort into grinding my int stat.
- Toad actually took out some enemies despite casting it with a sword and shield on. This confused me. It hit some and missed others of the same type so it isn't that they're vulnerable to the element. I was able to land it despite having 120% accuracy penalty from my sword and shield. It just doesn't make sense. My chance to hit while naked should only be around 50%! (Though toad 16 does try to hit 16 times which means it really will hit everything when I have 50% chance to hit.) My best guess is that the accuracy penalty was removed in this version of the game. Possibly drastically reduced? And that the enemies I didn't hit with toad rolled high on their magic resist checks and I rolled abysmally low on my toad checks? That doesn't feel very good, but it feels better than hitting with a spell that has a -70% chance to hit. Or maybe there's some underflow error going on?
- Toad 16 and the snowcraft did combine to get me an aegis shield and a ribbon pretty early on. No enemies that I would legitimately encounter on the way to this point in the game cast dangerous debuffs so the ribbon here doesn't come too late.
- I had serious money trouble. Especially when I got Mindu and started grinding up magic points. But I was able to kill some enemies near Mysidia for a lot of cash, and that's not very far from the starting town. So if I have a way to kill them I might try grinding down there instead.
- I wanted to get toad on my first trip to the castle but I really only see one way to make that happen, and that's to level unarmed skill. You get 8 damage for each level in unarmed, so if I grind that up to level 16 I'd get to swing 16 times for something close to 200 per swing. 50 armour doesn't do anything relevant against that! It adds another thing to grind, which sucks, but since fire really isn't cutting it for killing undead I can just skip grinding that? Alternatively the Fynn castle isn't very far from the starting town so I can just go get toad after I do some plot and level up organically along the way?
- I got my evade chance up to 99% pretty easily, but I only had 1 chance to evade. This wasn't good since the Captain swings 6 times per attack. I can deal with that by taking the time to grind up my evade chance though. (Equip 2 shields and just mash X to spam attack against a large group of enemies willing to attack you.) This is probably worth my while to do regardless.
- It was weird, but I couldn't get a full level in a spell in one combat. I could take sword skill up a full 100 experience and gain a level in one fight but the spells were all capping out in the high 90s. eventually I resorted to doing half a level in each fight to level up my toad spell.
- Counting to 100 is easy if I focus on it. Counting to 100 while reading chat and responding is tricky.
- It felt like I was still getting ambushed more often than I thought I should. It's possible I want 99% evade on all my characters, even the dead ones. This wouldn't actually take very long. Level 10 shield skill and two of the second shield would do it. Assuming I had the money to buy them!
I'm now torn on if I should continue from my saved game to see what other issues I run into or if I should start a new plan from the beginning since this start really isn't great. I guess I could just grind unarmed skill in my current game to emulate what I'll probably want to do? That way I can see problems that crop up later while having unarmed skill to actually kill enemies with armour.
I'm also torn on if I want one character to grind unarmed for early game and swords for late game or if I want two different characters to grind each one. Only having one character taking actions felt really good... So I think I want to stick with that for now.