Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Final Fantasy Tactics Update 2: In Which I Forget I'm Only in Chapter Two

The second proper update to my Final Fantasy Tactics playthrough brings us to the end of Chapter 2 because I wasn't paying attention to the actual flow and story of Chapter 2 at all and thought it went completely differently than it ended up going.  It also sees my team (Minus Minerva) hilariously overleveled to an actually embarrassing degree because, again, I really totally forgot I was in Chapter 2.  And when I say 'hilariously overleveled', I mean everyone's coasting around 60.  When the max is 99.  Whoops!  This is also where I point out that I've accidentally gotten most of the team close to their Master Class already because I am bad at planning, but oh well, no reason to fuss on about it; nobody is -at- their Master Class just yet, it's just everyone is various levels of "ALMOST THERE", and then it's about 30 levels of coasting to 99 when I can stop worrying about XP and such and really set everyone up to their Master, rather than throwing the Squire set on everyone (for Focus spamming for guaranteed JP).

Chapter 2 is really where the story picks up for FFT, obviously, as the first chapter is all just prologue as I discussed in the first update, and it's just really setting things up.  Starting in Chapter 2, Ramza's party really strikes out on their own to do what they have to do (or at least think they have to do) and end up making quite a few powerful enemies, some for better reasons than others.  It's more or less this stuff that makes me think I should do a side-update or something that basically throws the whole story of FFT out there as I get to it, but I am....entirely too unorganized for that.  But to throw out random bits of it here would also be doing the story of the game a disservice.  I can broach things simply/vaguely here, I suppose, and give myself an in for more complexity later.

The Zodiac Stones, or 'auracite' as it's sometimes referred to by the characters first show up here and quickly show off why they're possibly wanted, and -then- at the end of the chapter, show off -exactly- why they're wanted.  Obviously they contain a power if they're referred to by a special name like 'Zodiac Stones', but I'm not going to say just to what extent or anything.  Regardless, there's a whole lot of intrigue and backstabbing going on over them and because of those antics Ramza's ever-dwindling group of miscreants ends up public enemy number one to a lot of groups, which is what comprises much of the story of Chapter 3.  But I will state that Chapter 2 (I believe) features the first of the few extra missions inserted into War of the Lions (fairly seemlessly) specifically for the remake.

It's a common theme that, despite Ramza being the focus of Final Fantasy Tactics, Delita, his childhood friend, is actually the main character of the game.  This is only further reinforced by War of the Lions insistence on featuring Delita in every single one of the new cutscenes made specifically for this game as well as the increased amount of time spent telling his story which includes a new mission where you actually play as Delita.  This isn't much of a spoiler, but Delita, at a certain point in the game, has Princess Ovelia with him as he's running about, doing his Delita business.  Unfortunately, at this point, there's a price on the Princess (safe return, of course) at this point and they happen to wander across some ruffians willing to cash in.  A knight, archer and Black Mage, specifically.  While you can only control Delita and his only partner in this is Ovelia (who, in my play, actually -killed- two of the three because they were left with crap for HP after a single hit from Delita) the battle is terribly easy, but does add a little bit to the narrative, making it enjoyable and worthwhile.  And, like I mentioned, sometimes something awesome happens like the Princess caning two dudes to death.

On that note, it's probably best if I just go ahead and begin with the actual Character Update portion here.  As I've hinted to, there's been quite a bit of progress, most of it unintentional, but it all works out regardless.

Counter to Chapter One's support role, Mogs has been one of the two main offensive members of the team, with a Chakra to Haplo or whoever needed a heal here or there.  Truly, I have a little over a half a notebook page of entirely different murder scenarios that Mogs has carried out, even if I am being a little too pedantic with some of them.  Such as "Killed Story Human" and "Killed Story Human with Martial Arts" (As in, one of the Monk's abilities, likely Shockwave).  Still, I maintain that it's important to make these distinctions because they're entertaining, especially here when I'm doing these breakdowns.  Mostly because I can recall specific situations like the random encounter with three Mindflayers and a Panther in which a Mindflayer decided it was a good idea to Berserk Mogs on turn one.  Obviously, when a character is Berserked, they move to the closest thing and attack, and I don't know if FFT: WotL just has an "Enemy before Ally" priority or if he was actually closer to a mob than not (I doubt that though), but this was a very, very poor move as Mogs proceeded to murder the shit out of every single Mindflayer while Sakura (also berserked) punched the Panther to death.  ....More on that in Sakura's section.

Mogs is unique in Chapter 2 because he started and ended the Chapter as a Monk with no class change in between.  Whether it's because I don't want to move him into something else because I quite enjoy him punching shit to death, or because I think he's more or less set exactly how I want him (I.E. Mastered) I haven't quite decided yet.  I would actually kind of hate for him to be -done- already, but it is entirely possible that I decide not to move him into anything else.  We'll just have to see on that.  He did end up with Move +2 over Teleport which I think I prefer since Teleport always has a chance to fail which can really screw you in crunch time.  Or it could work and make a level impossibly easy.  More the former, though.  Obviously, he has gotten Ninja and has acquired Dual Wield which means he punches twice with every regular attack.  Most of the time, this second punch is unnecessary but it was required to end the Boss of Chapter 2 in a single action (which was -awesome-.) so it worked out.
# of Jobs Had: 1 (Chapter 2), 4 (Cumulative)
Jobs Mastered:  0 (Chapter 2), 2 (Cumulative)
Most Important Achievement (Chapter 2):  Killed the Boss of Chapter 2 (With the only action taken in that battle)
Progress:  (Almost Too) High

Haplo didn't get too many accolades in Chapter Two because, more or less, he didn't do a lot of killing, but rather was the Support character to end all Support Characters.  He started as an Orator so as to get the abilities that raise Brave and Faith values (Temporarily, though every 4 Temporary Point Nets one Permanent point of gain, meaning several battles of spamming to get 90s in Braves and Faiths) and then went into Mystic because I'm pretty sure I thought they had a better raise skill but was wrong, which meant I remedied that by throwing him into Time Mage with Orator skillset secondary.  'When in doubt, Haste' became his motto and when everyone was sufficiently faster, that's when he'd start talking people up, making sure they became more courageous and more faithful to the word of Ajora.  I didn't record every instance of this (in fact, no instance of this), but everyone walked away with Brave and Faith in the 90s or top-tier 80s depending on what they needed.  (So, basically, Haplo and Sakura got Faith while everyone else, still including Sakura got Brave.)  After accidentally Mastering Time Mage, I threw him into Black Mage since that's one of his Master Classes and he was fairly close to Mastering that anyway.  Following his stint in Black Mage, he went into White Mage where he closed out the chapter in.

His stints in Orator, Time Mage and Black Mage were all enough for him to Master all three classes, almost completely on accident as Orator and Time Mage aren't even in his final build, but, screw it, they helped me.  Currently, he's a White Mage with Time Magic as a secondary because it's still useful, but once he masters White Mage, he'll.....pretty much be done, honestly.  At that time, I might just say the hell with Time Magic and throw Black Magic secondary on him to ride it out as his Master, but I'm not sure.  We'll see how it works out when I get to that point.
# of Jobs Had:  5 (Chapter 2), 11 (Cumulative, includes multiple stints in the same Class)
Jobs Mastered:  3 (Chapter 2), 3 (Cumulative)
Most Important Achievement (Chapter 2):  Continued being the Best Support Character and also Toaded Nine Different Enemies during his run as Black Mage
Progress:  Almost Complete(!)

Where Saki-Chan was my Goddess of Chaos in Chapter 1, she emerged as the Unquestioned Master of Murder in Chapter 2, taking up a full notebook page of paper with different exploits of killings and job changing.  Seriously, of the 26 lines on this piece of paper, six of them are entries of non-destruction.  Sakura started Chapter 2 as a Geomancer, on her way to get it to level 8 which was a requirement for Dark Knight.  As is Level 8 Dragoon, Ninja and Samurai, on top of Mastering Knight and Black Mage, both of which were done last chapter.  Another semi-hidden (I believe) requirement is that she needs to have killed 20 things and left them dead long enough to turn into a Crystal or Treasure Chest, meaning they are irrevocably dead.  It will come as no surprise that this was accomplished well before it needed to be, so that when Samurai Level 8 was finally reached, Dark Knight instantly became available.  Which she instantly went into because goddamn Dark Knight takes a lot of JP to master.  Way more than I anticipated, but it shouldn't be too bad.

Now, I have to let you guys in on what is quite possibly the most badassest thing I've ever experienced in Final Fantasy Tactics in all of my attempts at playing it.  Now, I know that the Monk is a dedicated class to punching shit to death and that's awesome, and when I switched Sakura to Samurai, I had no Katana to give her so she could wield nothing but her fist.  I briefly considered throwing one of the many "Equip (weapon)" skills onto her to give her -something-, but recalled "Brawler" which is basically "Equip Monk Fist" and thus brilliance was born.  Sakura as a Samurai running around and punching shit to death is just....just amazing and was definitely the overall highlight of the chapter.  While she has a sword now as a Dark Knight, I will always fondly remember her days as the best samurai in FFT ever.
# of Jobs Had:  5 (Chapter 2), 8 (Cumulative)
Jobs Mastered:  1 (Chapter 2), 3 (Cumulative)
Most Important Achievement (Chapter 2):  Punched Eleven(!) Story Humans to Death as a Samurai.  Really, the whole Punching Samurai bit.  19 things in total fell to a fist of hers.
Progress:  High

Much like Chapter 1, Kasey has resumed being the Behind-the-Scenes Sleeper guy, not going over-the-top with murder like some people, but has managed to get in a number of clean kills unopposed.  He and Emily share a spot for the least amount of Job changes in Chapter 2 (aside from Mogs with 0) simply because I'm sticking them with their preferred classes as I try to figure out just what my plan for them is.  I'm still leaning towards them being Equipment Destroyers, but I still haven't tested whether they can do that at range yet which means they've more or less been at a stand-still since.  I've been considering putting Kasey into Thief secondary since Archers are fairly fast (I believe) and I'm pretty sure Steal works off of Speed in this game as it does in others.  Still, the idea of an Archer is to be -away- from an enemy, not right next to it, which makes that idea seem counter-intuitive even if it matches the stats.  I'm sure there's a right right here that I'm not thinking of, but eventually it'll come to me and all will be glorious.

Indeed, most of Kasey's jobs have been -about- speed, which is why I'm thinking about it so heavily as I imagine he has higher base speed than most, or at least I would hope as much.  Between Thief, Ninja and Archer, he should be a point or two above everybody, but I might just be hoping more than thinking on that.  Still, he's more or less built as a support fighter now and even if I threw him into Monk, Dragoon or Knight to finish off to level 99 it would likely be too little too late.  Which is why it's time to think about what I've got to work with.
# of Jobs Had:  2 (Chapter 2), 6 (Cumulative)
Jobs Mastered:  2 (Chapter 2), 4 (Cumulative)
Most Important Achievement (Chapter 2):  Was the only person to kill one thing, let alone three things, with a Shuriken.
Progress:  Undecided (High)

Again, much like last Chapter, Emily's job has remained more or less unchanged in being the secondary Fighter when necessary (I.E. when Sakura isn't a direct physical class) and one of the designated shields for the formations, given her armor, reaction ability and Shield offer a great rate of blocking, not to mention the high HP she has regardless.  Always using terrain to the advantage, I tend to find some way to wedge Mogs and Emily between the units that might not be able to take the hits (Kasey and Haplo primarily being an Archer/Ninja and Mage respectively) and it works quite well.  Emily has been put in primarily Physical classes all the while, which means she's pretty hardy which is good and having defaulted to Dragoon for the majority of the chapter (after switching from Monk post-Mastering it) only amplifies that exponentially.  I think I'm more apt to put the Rend skills on her, especially if they work at range with the spear, if simply because a lot of the physical characters will be the ones to run up to her, try and attack, get blocked and leave themselves open to getting their shit wrecked.  Literally.  And if needed, that one extra tile of reach could always come in handy if something -needs- destroyed right away.

You can't say that I haven't had Emily use the Dragoon skill-set to its fullest either.  Even with Sakura as a Dragoon for quite a while, Emily has far more Jump-Kills than she, which obviously means she wins the class.  And it's only fair, after all she wanted to be a Dragoon.  I built her -into- Dragoon, not the other way around, so it's a perfect fit, which means I don't know if I'll actually shift her out into anything else.  She already has Knight Mastered anyway, which is where the Rend skills lay, but again, I haven't tested her mettle with them yet.
# of Jobs Had:  2 (Chapter 2), 6 (Cumulative)
Jobs Mastered:  1 (Chapter 2), 3 (Cumulative)
Most Important Achievement (Chapter 2):  Jump-Killed 10 Foes, Including One of the Major Antagonists (Kind of) of Chapter 2
Progress:  Undecided (Possibly done-ish?)

I introduced Minerva in the In-Between Update to explain why I hadn't updated in a while and it's kind of a blessing and a curse that I introduced her at all.  A blessing because I needed Extra Characters (and still do, especially now with most of my main team possibly -done-), but a curse because in training her up some (Only to level 20) I ended up doing a lot of grinding for everyone else at the same time which is how I got into this Over-Leveled, over-prepared state to behind with.  Regardless, I don't regret it, but I'll have to be a little more careful with how I raise my Extra characters from here out.  At least until I get my main team to Level 99 at which point it won't really matter.  Unfortunately, all that grinding was mostly just Focus-grinding which means Minerva has no accolades to speak of besides being Berserked by the same Mindflayer that Berserked Mogs mere turns before it got its face punched in.  Just that and the job changes she went through on her way towards her Orator class, which she still hasn't reached unfortunately, as she got to Mystic before I put things into High-Gear Story-Clearing mode.

Nothing else to really say about Minerva yet unfortunately.
# of Jobs Had:  5 (Chapter 2 and Cumulative)
Jobs Mastered:  0
Most Important Achievement (Chapter 2):  Exists.
Progress:  Low

Chapter 2 came and went with a blur which is kind of unfortunate for the various reasons I described above.  Hopefully Chapter 3 will be a little better paced and I'll actually remember the mid-way point of it so I can split it into two updates, but I can't guarantee anything.  I know I'll be picking up at least one more Extra character during the course of Chapter 3 as well, which will entail the same pitfalls as getting Minerva held, so I'll have to be a little wary of that as well.  Still, it'll work out, I'm sure and I can't wait to get it all figured out on the way!

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