Hey [%target] Whatcha Playin'?

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Re: Hey [%target] Whatcha Playin'?

Postby nosimpleway » Sat Mar 04, 2023 7:33 pm

I stfg whenever Setzer rolls BAR-BAR-BAR for the random esper summon it starts with like a 30% chance to summon Crusader and kill your party.

Cave to the Sealed Gate:
Turns out the Healing Staff I nabbed somewhere doesn't hurt undead. Setzer had to fall back on using Cards, because it was either Healing Staff or Blood Sword otherwise, and I sure wasn't gonna take an HP-drain weapon into an undead-filled cave. My "take whoever's the lowest experience level" strategy is not great but I don't know when some new story beat is going to force someone into my party at this point.

Turns out they added some common monsters that weren't undead, though. One with a counter that instantly kills, and one with a fondness for Poison Frog to throw around poison, silence, and blind all at once. Even though they reskinned Imp status into Toad status, Poison Frog doesn't cause it. Seems like an oversight.

There's a hidden boss here in Gil Snapper, which is level 49 or so IIRC and I'm taking that as a general guideline for when to go back and challenge it for realsies. It attacks almost entirely with physical hits for a bit shy of 2000 damage for OHKOs, and counters with bigger hits around 3000 damage. "That's cool and fine", I said, "I'll just Vanish everybody and see how that goes."
Turns out once the fight goes on for a bit -- either in time or at an HP threshold idk -- it whips out 50Gs to remove Float from everyone in the party. This has to be exclusively to get around Vanishenanigans because it doesn't follow up with Quake or anything like that. It Zeninages everyone in the party for about 2000 damage. Whatever he does after that is still a mystery to me, obvs.

Figured having Locke and Terra on their own was probably enough to not make Seraphim go nutshit on being ganged up on. Talk about a tedious fight, her gimmick is even worse than Catoblepas's.

Strago doesn't have Stone anymore, only AquaBrth and RvngBlst. But since the Balloons in the burning house are joined by bigger, meaner monsters and MomBomb from FF4 replaces the Flame Eater, chances are good you'll score Self-Destruct before you're done with that first dungeon. Hooray?

When they made the game they gave Terra and Celes pretty good strength, stamina, and speed because they're trained soldiers. This mod makes them more traditional squishy wizards, as some of the few people on the roster with a good Magic stat, everything else suffers. And if you think they're surprisingly fragile and couldn't fight their way out of a wet paper bag, wait'll you see what they did to Strago. Better to be young than old, Relm has better stats overall than Strago does... but not the highest natural Magic anymore, now it's more along what you'd see from Edgar or Mog.

Anyway, make sure you nab the Flame Whip from Mom Bomb, because hoo boy, Strago needs to be in the back row, and it's not like he has any spells worth using for a while and he's stuck using Fight. In another of the baffling design decisions behind the mod somebody looked at the way magic is learned and went "Sure, but what if we made it even slower?"

They redid Sketch, so that it's supposedly not guaranteed to be awful all the time. Presumably it also does not crash the game. But failing that, they gave Relm some natural magic like Terra and Celes. As of her joining, at level 22, she has Cure, Silence, Thunder, Thundara, Slow, and Gravity.

The chest in Cyan's room in Doma castle isn't an X-Potion, I think it was in vanilla. It's Diamond Armor. So... why wasn't Cyan wearing it during the Imperial attack earlier?

I got the extraneous esper fights, I got Pupu from the Auction House. (replaces Zona Seeker. Teaches Shell and Bio. Search me why.) I got the dances that aren't the snowfield one, I got Lores I'll probably never use, I suppose I have all the Rages I'm likely to need. Guess it's time for the Floating Continent?

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Re: Hey [%target] Whatcha Playin'?

Postby nosimpleway » Sun Mar 05, 2023 12:32 am

Typhon's new special attack deals enough damage to OHKO Locke, in the back row, with Protect up. Strago, of course, doesn't have a prayer. Or Typhon can cast Whirlwind to drop your entire party to critical, or set up Fireball so that Ultros's full-party tentacle whip kills everyone. The airship battle is no longer a small speedbump on the way to a tough dungeon, but it's a difficulty mod for an RPG, so what did you expect? It takes a little while for Typhon to show up, so setting everyone up with Protect and Regen makes things a tiny bit easier. Gau picked up Slow somewhere, and it turns out both of 'em are open to that. Typhon, it turns out, can be Silenced. No more Fireball, no more Whirlwind. All I've got to watch out for is getting crompchd

So if you wanna play this mod, remember those buff and debuff spells you completely ignored in your playthroughs of vanilla FF6. They're make-or-break now. I dread what happens when I'm up against the lategame bullshit bosses that are immune to everything.

"The Grand Finale" plays for every Ultros battle. I like it, but it turns out part of its appeal was that it only played the one time, in the one situation in the opera house. Besides, everyone knows that Ultros's theme is actually Johnny C. Badd.

Air Force is a chump by comparison, more or less unchanged from vanilla. Once the arms are defeated it starts its countdown like usual, and releases two bits at once. One absorbs magic like the usual, and the other draws attacks and then counterattacks whoever hit it. Both usually get wasted by a Fira off of Strago's Flame Whip, which the bit doesn't absorb. It ate an Aqua Breath, but Gau keeps raging White Wind and that works just fine. I dunno.

Floating Continent is exactly what you'd expect from the Floating Continent. Weirdly, most monsters are weak to Lightning. Gigantos is a pain not because it's any different but because Level 5 Death isn't a thing anymore. It can be Toad-ed, though. I'm sure Atma Weapon (yeah it's still "Atma") has the usual second phase with even more overpowered horseshit than in vanilla, so I skipped it with Magic Hammer and Rasp. He still dies at 0 MP, and has a changed drop, but probably the least surprising one for a drop to be changed to.

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Re: Hey [%target] Whatcha Playin'?

Postby nosimpleway » Sun Mar 05, 2023 11:31 pm

After Atma Weapon, before the end of the world, there's a Kefka boss fight. Celes joins in, so remember to equip her before you leave the airship! Otherwise she's without armor or accessories in a tough boss battle. Kefka opened with Thundaga and knocked her out before anyone else could move, though given the damage output I'm not sure armor would have made a difference. Guy counters with Bio and drops Flare and Trine as part of his normal move rotation, so it's... well, I keep saying "It's kind of what you expect from a difficulty romhack" but that's really the best description I've got. There's a climactic boss fight in vanilla, then the hack adds a new, equally difficult boss fight immediately after.

In a timesaving mercy, Shadow shows up the instant you get to the edge of the Floating Continent escape sequence. In another, Cid takes a lot fewer fish to either save or presumably kill. I think four or five fish in total and he was out of bed. The fish themselves are given new descriptions in the Rare Item menu, for example, the formerly yummy fish is now "CrysBass". If you don't notice immediately, the pubmaster in Albrook gives you a quest to fetch him a Vector Sardine. So, uh, put a pin in that until you get your airship back and return to Solitary Island in hopes Palidor is still there?

The other quest in Albrook, if you're curious, is to find the Goddess Bell for a local scholar, in hopes of researching a particular cave that was sacred to the espers. Another guy drops the hint that Bahamut himself is the one who shows up after you beat the eight dragons, so what Deathgaze drops and where Crusader might be are unknowns.

Celes's ultranerfed HP is a real liability when she's in a party by herself. The collapsing house took several tries. Inside is a new piece of gear not in vanilla, a broadsword originally from the Volsunga Saga, that used by Sigurd to kill the dragon Fafnir. But when Celes opens a chest and deadpans "Oh. A Gram." my first reaction is hell yeah Celes let's get lit so maybe the item name convention simplifying everything down to '[icon]name' has paid off after all. (There are monsters called "Fafnir" outside, so sure, you find the Fafnir-slaying sword right here. Why not.)

The thief in the corner of Tzen who normally offers Seraphim now crashes the game, so, uh, don't talk to that guy.

Humbaba is the same. They renamed the "Poison" element to "Darkness" for this mod, and Gram is the latest in a line of series-traditional Dark Swords (that only Celes can equip), but Gram doesn't deal Darkness-elemental damage. Since Bio is only taught by one of the last espers I picked up in the World of Balance, I didn't have it for this fight, so it was down to a brawl. Sabin learned Poison after the fight was over. Go figure.
Come to think of it, Gau was wearing some Dark-element claws for the last half of the World of Balance. Dammit.

The only side job in Nikeah is to deliver some goods to Mobliz. Pin in that one too, I'm not going all the way back right now.
Side jobs in South Figaro are another monster flush that I'll try again once I have a full party and to go get another kind of fish.

Went to the Cave to South Figaro and thought maybe the mod had screwed up when the thieves didn't appear in the recovery spring room to open the way into the rest of the cave. Nope, hang on, same mistake I've made a couple times already in vanilla -- I forgot to track Gerad down at the inn and talk to him first. Edgar is slightly more competent in this mod, his Gerad disguise includes a long coat rather than just repainting his armor a darker color.

The cave into Figaro Castle works mostly like it does in vanilla, despite the new monsters. Very nearly every attack from every creature between the cave entrance and the Tentacles fight can be dodged with Vanish. The exception is now Dischord, instead of Fira.

The Tentacles fight is a nigh-insurmountable pain in the ass even in vanilla, unless you know The Trick. The Trick is that the tentacles can only shut your party down after they're Slowed, and equipping Hermes Sandals to Celes and Sabin means they have permanent Haste. Can't be Hasted and Slowed at the same time, so the tentacles lose their main gimmick. The Tentacles themselves are unchanged, but there's only one pair of Hermes Sandals up til now, so you can't have both characters ignore 'em.
Anyway, under the assumption that everyone knows The Trick by now, the mod designer added a new boss to the end, presumably the one that all the tentacles are sprouting from. It will not surprise you to learn that it is just as gimmicky as the tentacles themselves! I barely scraped through the Floating Continent, but this is the first time I've had to really grind out levels just to make it through a fight. Level 22 or so was inadequate, but I passed it at 31.
The Desert Trap will counter everything with Drain twice, until it's hit with either water or ice magic. Once it's frozen in place -- come on, not like you have a ton of water-elemental options at this point -- it relies on Bio and Scourge to keep everyone poisoned and diseased while it Lifeshavers their HP away. Celes locks it down with Blizzara, then uses Runic every turn and I keep my fingers crossed it doesn't try anything but Bio or Scourge while Sabin and Edgar chip away at it with their specials. If it manages to poison anyone with its regular attacks, I wait until Celes is holding her sword up to absorb one of the Trap's spells before Sabin starts chanting Poisona.

Sabin actually reacts to Edgar's ruse, though it's not much more than "You could have told us."

Rumor has it there's a tough guy in the Coliseum looking for a "Gnarly Geese Tuna". What, am I sayin' it wrong? So I'll keep my eye out for whatever isn't an Ichigeki this time around.

And then I partywiped to a fuckin' random encounter outside Daryl's Tomb and got thrown back to before the god fucking damned shit-ass fucking fuck fucker tentacles fight. I'll pick this back up again tomorrow.

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Re: Hey [%target] Whatcha Playin'?

Postby nosimpleway » Mon Mar 06, 2023 7:33 pm

In vanilla, you want to hold off on leveling as much as you can so you can make sure your casters get, say, Zona Seeker equipped while they level so their base Magic goes up. If espers no longer give level-up bonuses, and characters' stats are unchangeable outside of whatever equipment they're wearing at the moment then there's no reason not to be as high a level as possible as early as possible. And I'm in a cave where the only enemy that can hit me with anything does it on its fifth turn or so -- far as I can tell, Desert Sahagins don't cast Dischord randomly.

So I might as well keep grinding here, where it's safe to do it. And since Celes and Sabin are the only characters I've got, then everyone else in the World of Ruin will have their levels adjusted upwards to meet theirs upon recruitment. So... back to grinding. Take out the DsrtSahagn first, then just hold down the controller's A button to auto-fight and the emulator's fast-forward button.

I figure I'll either keep going until I get bored with whatever YouTube is throwing at me, or Celes and Sabin know all the spells available from the Espers I've got. YT recs throws out 8-Bit Music Theory's analysis of Final Fantasy 6, which I figure, hey, appropriate enough. And just as they finish talking about Dancing Mad, I equip Kirin to Celes so she can pick up her last spell, and Catoblepas to Sabin, likewise to complete his list. So I guess I'm done! NeckHunters drop Crystal Shields sometimes, I now have seven. Dantes drop Diamond Helms, I have nine. That should alleviate cash flow problems for the foreseeable future.

Sabin and Celes are now at level 43, just over double where they were when I entered the cave for the first time. Celes has picked up Hastega and Blizzaga in the meantime, which should simplify the next fight somewhat. This also means that Sabin, with the worst Magic stat in the game, now knows more spells than anyone else except for Celes. Go figure.

If you're having trouble with the Tentacles, remember: the bottom-left can be instakilled with Death or Chainsaw, the bottom-right is weak to Ice, the top-left can be Stopped, the top-right can be Sleep...ed. Slept? Is vulnerable to Sleep. The mod doesn't change any of that. What the mod does change is how Bio works. Or rather, how the Sap status caused by Bio works. Or rather, it changes Sap (previously "poison, but worse because you can't cure it") into Disease (MP drain). Disease isn't prevented by the Ribbon, much less the Star Pendant, and isn't cured by the Antidote item. Poisona removes it, though.
So kill off three tentacles, Sleep the last one, and set up. Haste, Shell, and Regen on everyone, cure any lingering Disease or Poison, make sure Celes's MP is topped off, Blizzaga is 75 MP to cast now. Now we're ready for the bullshit second phase.

Once it's over I save state immediately. I rest up inside Figaro, watch the Coin Song cutscene since this is the first time Edgar and Sabin have been home together, go outside, and save game. Then save state again. Now we can go to Kohlingen.

Setzer, once again, wants to equip the Blood Sword on the way to a dungeon full of undead. Other options are Darts (not the "it's a trap!" Viper Darts as in vanilla, they're not for sale here) or the unreliable and mod-nerfed Dice. I'll try... the Atma Weapon. Anyone can equip it now.

Step outside Kohlingen, save again. Yes I'm twenty levels higher and know to keep my Confuse-immunity accessories on until I'm in the tomb, shut up.

The Growth Egg is now a monster-in-a-box against a couple of ladies, one level 73, one level 93. Nothing like grinding up levels for hours and then getting effortlessly wiped out by another bullshit surprise encounter! Good thing I'm compulsively saving my game now. The CloudWraiths in here like to death-counter with Poison, and the Necromancers death-counter with Bio, which is not a pain in the ass at all, no sir.

Land the new airship just outside Maranda, save the game.

One tip in Maranda is that a woman got a strange rock, and now has dreams of a woman crying, and the roar of a sea serpent. Are there any women in the series history who have a history with sea serpents? I have a pretty good guess where this is going, and what replaced Bismark as the water-element summon esper.

Palidor has not washed up on the beach at Solitary Island, but I got the fish the guy in South Figaro wanted (reward: just-too-late Hermes Shoes). Cid namedrops Deathgaze, so I'll come back and see him once that's dealt with. Humbaba isn't ready to attack Mobliz again quite yet, but Duane appreciates the supply delivery from Nikeah. The reward from the Nikeah pubmaster is a Black Garb, and the next quest available is... to let the Dancer standing there (the one Cyan calls a "licentious howler") onto the airship.

So... huh. Going belowdecks for the first time, there's now a room to rest, the shop from the Blackjack, and a dressing room. The dancer lets you change outfits for characters, which I'm not going to mess around with too much just yet.

The moogle dwelling in Narshe has some surviving moogles, and the sylphs that saved them. Doubtless there's more to this later on, too. Mog joins up, and unsurprisingly Molulu's Charm is not available where he was standing. It's just an Elixir.

There's a magicite where Valigarmanda was dug up at the beginning of the game. Titan doesn't ever cast Quake, only Magnitude8. He does punch people a goddamn lot, and counters with a strong physical hit. "Hey," says I, "It uses enough magic to get through Vanish, but Setzer has Fenrir equipped, and Image for immunity to a few hits should work fine." Friends, Fenrir does not cast Image on the party in this mod. It casts Berserk. Against a monster who counters the Fight command. So hey, don't fuckin' do that.

The "Freeze" Dragon does the thing it does in the Dragon's Den in GBA, splitting into four targets. These aren't decoys, though, every dragon is a full-fledged monster to fight. They like to use Freezing Dust, both in their usual move rotation and as a counter, then use a special to shatter anyone who's frozen.

Varigarmanda refuses to stir from its slumber, which seals off Umaro's cave, too.

Going back to Mobliz, Humbaba is back to menace us once more. So either recruiting a couple more guys, or just finishing the delivery from Nikeah has to be done first.

Chadarnook was probably the easiest fight in the game yet. He still attacks with lightning, and Diamond armor and helms are lightning-resistant now. Gau has the Thunder Shield instead. Terra has Firaga, Edgar has fire-elemental Flash, Mog lucked into Elf Fire with his dances, and Gau has holy-elemental claws and a 3.5x damage special attack. Chadarnook tried to hide behind the goddess painting briefly, but then switched back so fast that Terra and Edgar hit it with the attacks they'd been charging already. It didn't take long. I got Relm, but not Lakshmi.

Right where the Striker/Ichigeki was is the Narigitsune. Which... yeah, that person really was saying it wrong.

The Behemoth King doesn't attack from behind with its own shambling corpse. The new monster is the... Behemoth Queen. You still only get one Behemoth Suit for winning, but at least they patched out the random Thunderblade you used to get instead of the second Suit? Whatever. Behemoth Suit now boosts attack power at the expense of magic, but can only be worn by Strago and Relm, so what's the entire point?

Deathgaze does not drop Bahamut, but we know Bahamut is already the boss waiting at the end of the eight dragons. Without Deathgaze's interference (????) Cid has managed to fix up the little house on Solitary Island, but I don't know why that's important. The beach is still empty of magicite.

Talking to Gau's dad without Sabin in the party has him ask where the repairman is, y'know, hasn't been around in a while, looks like a big ol' burly bear. This would be a great hint if the joke was established when seeing Sabin for the first time at Mt. Kolts! But the new script describes him as more like a Gorgias, one of the mammothlike enemies on that mountain. Vargas doesn't have any bears with him, either, he brings two lesser martial artists to that fight. So the whole reference just falls flat, because the script can't keep its own internal consistency straight.
Gau's dad also points to you where the mountains form a star, which is pretty out of nowhere. What he ever had to do with Locke or the Phoenix or the Emperor's painting/map/letter is not clear.

Gotta bring Terra to talk to Varigarmanda. The fight turns from a magic-draining gimmick into a typical ice-elemental monster battle. This is in contrast to the Freezy Dragon the next screen over, or the Coolness wisps, White flans, mammoths, and so on that serve as the rest of the random encounters throughout Narshe. Keep those Protect Rings on, they halve ice damage for some reason! Halfway through the esper breaks out of his icy prison and starts using fire and lightning attacks, too. I assume he absorbs fire/ice/lightning in this form, he sure as shit nulls every other element. Terra and Strago are on healing duty while Gau, downgraded into a non-elemental weapon, and Edgar pound on the dragonsnake.
The first thing Varigarmanda does once he's broken free is Tri-Disaster, his own summon spell. But since it's a summon spell, it's the party that disappears, a second Varigarmanda appears just above and to the left of the enemy sprite, there's the zappy explosion, and the party reappears and takes damage. That... probably could have been done better.

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Re: Hey [%target] Whatcha Playin'?

Postby nosimpleway » Wed Mar 08, 2023 4:16 am

So, costumes.

Talk to the dancer you picked up from a sidequest to start costuming. Paging through the options, you're given a list of characters, three at a time. Only once you've selected a character does it list what alternate costumes they have, or indeed, whether there are any costumes at all. It's very much a "this is what the dev could get to work within the framework of options provided by the game engine", since it... sucks.
"Hey this is the dressing room."
[choice: explain it to me/get dressed]
[choice: Terra/Locke/Edgar/NEXT]
[choice: Celes/Sabin/Shadow/NEXT]
"Who?" [choice: Mog/Strago/Relm/NEXT]
[choice: Gau/Cyan/Setzer/NEXT]
"Bruh you don't have a costume for that guy yet. Start over."

Only Edgar, Celes, and Gau have alternate costumes at this point. Where are the others? I dunno!
Celes in her yellow bodysuit is a "Rune Knight", with power 34, speed 34, stamina 31, and magic 39. Changing into her opera dress makes her a "Prima Donna", with power 42, speed 37, stamina 28, and magic 36. Which... okay. Is three points of magic, from one of my few good mages, worth three points of speed?
(Unless it's been heavily empowered by the mod, stamina doesn't really do much of anything, so I ignore it.)

Gau is a "Feral Youth", stats are 38/41/36/22. I really thought his magic was higher than that, huh. Put him back in his tuxedo and he's 35/31/32/41. That's a big boost to his magic without sacrificing much power, but oof, that hit to speed. Tough call.

Edgar is a "Machinist", 39/30/24/29. Switching into his Gerad disguise turns him into a "Chief", with 36/42/35/37. For losing three points of power he gets twelve points of speed and eight points of magic! Sheesh. He also has a previously-unseen Dragon Armor costume, turning his job into "Dragoon" and his stats to 38/47/33/35. That loses one point of power for seventeen points of speed and six points of magic. So I'm probably going to keep Edgar in the Dragon Armor for the rest of the game, even though the sprite edit looks pretty ridiculous.

Anyway. Return to Thamasa with Strago and Relm together, and upstairs in Strago's house is a sparkle on the shelf. Inside is a cutscene with Relm's mother and the Memento Ring previously hidden in the corner of the room. Relm still starts with a Memento Ring when she joins for the Ultros-painting fight, so why this is here is a bit of a mystery. Watch all of Shadow's dream sequences hinting at his past and return to Thamasa with Strago and Shadow, and you get the cut-content-from-vanilla scene of Stago putting it together and figuring out that Shadow is Relm's dad. This unlocks the Wanderer's Mantle for Shadow, changing him from "Assassin" 39/41/30/33 to his old Clyde clothes for "Thief" 45/35/32/36. I'd rather have the speed, I think.

The elder's house in Narshe has been unlocked this whole time. Banon and Arvis are inside, and Banon invites you to find the refugees who fled Narshe and tell them we're getting the band back together. I'd seen most of them already, new NPCs scattered around who just tell you they fled their hometown because of the monsters there. The last one was in the Zone Eater's belly. Rough.
Once you find enough of them, Narshe becomes a functional RPG town again.

Whoops, forgot the woman in Tzen. She crashed the game the first time, I walked up to talk to her and her dialog box opened, but then the party just... kept walking. Straight through her. Straight through the wall. By the time I got control back I'd softlocked into a different room where none of the doors worked. Anyway, once everyone is back, the Narshe elder gives you the Ragnarok magicite. Finally, some powerful magi-- oh it just teaches Libra and Teleport now. Well, let's go see the weaponsmith in town and get this turned into a swo-- oh he's just going on about Adamantite from the Adamantoise. "Rumor has it the Adamantoise lives inside an even larger monster" yeah that would explain the doorway that was added to the map where I found the Narshe citizen inside Zone Eater. I didn't look inside because I was pretty banged up and figured there was some bullshit optional boss inside. Called it!

Finding the last Narshe citizen expands the shops, selling some pretty nice and gawt-damned expensive stuff. Djinni Caps are probably one of the top prizes, they're good helmets; give a bonus to max MP; half fire, ice, and lightning; and teach Thundaga x1. I keep coming back to buy 'em as I get the dosh.

The Phoenix Cave chest that was previously a Ribbon is now a White Robe, guarded by a monster-in-a-box that counters everything with Curaga. Thankfully, it doesn't actually have a ton of MP, and I happened to fight it with the party that included Strago (for Magic Hammer) and Gau (for BladeDancer -> Rasp). Once it was out of MP the only thing to watch out for was a pretty underpowered Saint Beam.

The Red Dragon also uses its Dragon's Den gimmick -- it turns invincible and your only goal is to survive. It's nasty, particularly with Dispel in its rotation so you can't just Mighty Guard to mitigate damage. My favorite part was where it cast Northern Cross, then immediately did eight superpowered physical hits in a row to wipe everyone out. I hate having to come back to the Phoenix Cave again but I'll have to, I don't have enough fire-nullifying gear. Djinni Caps are expensive as balls, the Red Jacket doesn't seem to exist, and I've only got one Flame Shield.

Phoenix Cave as a whole has a new boss on the bridge to where Locke is hiding but it's a speedbump. It's a two-phase fight but I have no idea what either phase does. Once in Kohlingen, Locke gives you "all the treasures of the Phoenix Cave" but the chests in the cave had treasure in them anyway. It's not super-awesome game-breaking extra loot but I'll take it.

Since Gau's dad talks about the Phoenix cave for no readily apparent reason I went back to see him with Locke in tow. Now he offers to use some special bait he's made to lure all the world's monsters onto the Veldt. He appears to mean it, all of the monsters, including the lategame/endgame ones I haven't encountered yet. So now I have to compulsively save every few steps on the Veldt, too. On the other hand, if I can scrape by, I can probably fill out the rest of the Rage and Lores list and get... whatever it is I'm missing off of those. Maybe this time I can find Yojimbo and get the Rage that lets me do General Leo's Shock, assuming that's still a thing that happens.

Only... it turns out that a bunch of these super-tough endgame monsters that have shown up from god-knows-what dungeons I haven't seen yet... don't have Rages to learn. They seem reluctant to drop anything. And since it's the Veldt, I'm not getting any EXP for clawing my way through 'em. I did get some good Rages, like Great Behemoth, which casts Meteor and typically appears in the final dungeon in vanilla, so that's a get I guess. But mostly that was a waste of a grind. Too bad.

The hack comes with a warning that some of the music might not sound quite right. I haven't brought up the music changes, I don't recognize most of them. But hoo boy, the music that plays in the Ancient Castle underneath Figaro... I had to mute the sound, it's so grating.

Anyway. The Master-Tonberry-in-a-Box is replaced by Tonberry King. Which Barrier Changes and counters physicals like the Master Tonberry did, but then it also counters everything else with Everyone's Grudge like the Tonberries in this mod do. As is usual for optional bosses the mod threw in, it's way too goddamned hard for me to fight at the level I'm at. But Omega Weapon is wandering around in the next room over, so I'm gonna have to come back here later anyway. I haven't even gotten into the castle yet!

Inside are Nighthawks, which are notable for being incredibly fast and having a special that uses almost as big a multiplier as CatScratch used to. Only instead of being on some weak feline in the overworld you pass through briefly, it's an already-tough side-dungeon monster added in a difficulty mod. Urrgh. The one upside is that having slain a couple of them (of course they attack in pairs) Gau can now use the same Special. It's not better than the Meteor I just picked up a bit ago, but there it is.

It will not surprise you to learn that Samurai Soul is now immune to Confuse and will no longer kill himself to give you the Offering. It's still the "Offering", not the "Master's Scroll". What's up with this translation?

Odin fights you despite being turned to stone, because of course he does. Take too long and he does the same thing Varigarmanda did and summons himself. The party vanishes, Odin reappears above his own head and does his wipe-and-scale attack, and everyone reappears, dead. Sigh. I mean, I'm having to redo this for the Tonberry King and Omega, might as well add Odin to the list.

Oh yeah. If you take the relevant characters back to Solitary Island, there's a cutscene where Celes introduces Locke to Cid. Locke and Cid have already met, of course, but whatever. What follows is a cutscene up on the suicide cliff with some extremely "tastes like fanfic" dialog. But, to its credit, Celes brought along some of those silk flowers Cyan was making, and the bouquet throw off the cliff does in fact mimic the opera scene! And since I had changed Celes's costume, she's even wearing the dress for it.
Why they chose to throw flowers off the cliff is not clear, except to reference Celes's opera performance in-universe, whatever. The reward is the Tynar Rouge, an accessory that gives Auto-Wall and Auto-Reflect and teaches Arise at x5, faster than Phoenix itself.

Talking to the Thamasa elder after talking to Banon allows you to do another Esper fight. The Mist Dragon casts Blink on itself to avoid physical attacks and changes forms entirely to avoid physical attacks absorb magic. Do not try to get around these limitations and it's fine -- hitting it lets it summon itself for partywide damage, and using a non-spell magic attack on its alternate form (such as the Great Behemoth's Meteor) has it White WInd itself and restore up to 32,000 HP. It'd have been nice to have some indication that it's not as ball-bustingly difficult as the rest of the new bosses and esper fights, I probably could have gotten this a while ago.

Still don't have Curaga. Wonder where that is.

Whoops. WIth Narshe repopulated before I found Locke, I forgot to go get the Cursed Shield.

Thanks to changes made in the mod specifically for this purpose, you can't equip an accessory that gives you immunity to a status you already have. So the Ribbon doesn't null all of the status ailments given by the Cursed Shield like it used to. Thankfully, the readme guides that come with the mod recommend a place to grind for money, and I was doing that anyway: the grasslands near the dinosaur-infested forest have monsters that only use physical hits, so just like in the cave under Figaro, having everyone under Vanish status means nothing can hit them. This dovetails nicely with uncursing the shield, since it while it does give the wearer Confuse so they aim their attacks at the rest of the party, it also gives them Berserk so they only use physical hits. Which are nulled by Vanish. It works out okay.

Amusingly, this is when I discover that the mod gives Umaro all of the spells the rest of the party knows, like Gogo had in vanilla. He doesn't have a magic command in battle, but he does in the menu. He's the one who casts Vanish on everyone, just for the novelty of doing that. Around level 65 Umaro hits the HP limit of 9999. I think he'll carry the Atma Weapon from now on.

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Re: Hey [%target] Whatcha Playin'?

Postby nosimpleway » Wed Mar 08, 2023 8:12 pm

Just about everyone has just about every spell from just about every esper I've found so far. I have over six million gil. Everyone's experience level has depended on how many spells they needed to learn when I started grinding, so the ones who were way behind, like Relm or Mog, are in the low sixties while Celes, who already had all of the spells memorized, is still at level 45. I haven't uncursed the shield yet, and I can't think of any better way to do it than this, so I'm going to keep doing it -- but I'm going to go rechallenge some espers first and see if I can't get more spells to learn while I'm grinding.

First off, it's been pretty heavily hinted that Leviathan and Asura are in the game. I can't think of anywhere to find Leviathan other than where it was in the GBA version, so I head to Nikeah and hop a ship. While there, I swing by the pub and get a hint that the Phantom Forest is near Maranda and a witch lives there. So add that to the list of things to look into.

Leviathan doesn't attack while I'm on the ship. I fly to Maranda and sure enough, there's a tiny patch of forest nearby that takes me into the Phantom Forest map from the World of Balance. The first encounter is with a Great Behemoth and two Killer Mantises, who open with Whirlwind and Shrapnel and wipe the party. Nothing like topping off a big grind session with an instant party wipe! In a random encounter!

The Growth Egg chest in Darrill's Tomb (with the new MiaB) is now the Embroidered Tippet, for Relm. Equipping it turns Sketch into Bless, restoring some MP to the party. Which is pretty darn nice in a game where all the spells have been made super duper extra expensive! It also nulls Holy and Darkness and halves Water, Earth, and Wind damage so it might be worth the equip slot just for the resists.

I take Mog back to the moogle cave to see if anything new happens there, but nothing does. This does remind me that one of the moogles has a shop, and sells Reincarnations -- an item that revives with full HP instead of the pittance you get from a Phoenix Down -- for 60,000 gil a pop. So now I'm back to being broke but with 99 Reincarnations in tow.

But come to think of it, this is probably the kind of game where "take your guys back to where you found them for stuff" is a thing. So while we're right by Narshe let's grab Umaro and head back to his cave, and see what's up. Gotta rematch the Freeze Dragon anyway.
To his credit, Mog seemed to understand what was at stake with his allies frozen, and every Dance came up Sun Bath. Sun Bath restores HP and thaws frozen allies, which doubtless kept me from having to cast Araise a half-dozen times. With nobody getting instakilled and Umaro swinging the Atma Weapon powered by his 9999 HP, plus Firaga and Meteor from Celes and Gau, the Freeze Dragon(s) get bulldozed and I earn my Force Shield.

Let's see...
Terra to Mobliz, (nothing I've found yet)
Locke to Kohlingen, (you do get Phoenix here earlier, I guess)
Cyan to Doma, (nightmare sequence, I assume, unlocking his Bushido)
or Mt. Zozo, (Bushido in the Bedroom)
Edgar to Figaro, (nothing I've found yet)
Sabin to Figaro, (a new costume -- from "Brawler" 47/37/42/18 to "Royal Aide", which looks a lot like General Leo, 35/38/35/42.)
or Duncan's Cabin, (learn Phantom Rush, but there's a duel with Vargas again)
Gau to his dad, (with Locke, bait the Veldt)
Celes to Solitary Island, (with Locke, gives the Tynar Rouge)
Strago to Thamasa, (bring Relm or Shadow, start Hidon quest as in vanilla)
Shadow to Thamasa, (new costume)
Relm to Thamasa, (Memento Ring)
or Owzer's house, (Relm isn't necessary? He gives you a Floral Fallal if you have Deathgaze's Claw. I don't, I just turned it into a Rage Ring, but he forked it over anyway. Floral Fallal can be equipped by anybody, gives HP and MP max bonuses, boosts evade, is weak to Dark, and finally I have something that teaches Curaga.)
Umaro to his own cave, (he scrimshaws the Rage Ring for himself, out of Deathgaze's claw)

Locke back to Phoenix Cave, Gogo to Zone Eater's guts, and Setzer back to Darrill's Tomb I haven't gotten around to trying yet. There's a new quest in Kohlingen to play a music box requiem at the Tomb, so I'll pack Setzer along whenever I go do that I guess.

I went to the top of the tower in Zozo, where you find Ramuh and Terra in the WoB, and Dadaluma is there. He talks about how pleasant it is to see you again! Except everyone in Zozo is a liar. Jerk. (I finally got the Gigamesh fight in Zozo on the way up, not sure why it didn't trigger before. Needless to say a mid-WoB boss is a complete chump now.)
On my way to Mt. Zozo I talk to the pubmaster in Zozo, which I did not realize was an option earlier, who tells me that the guy at the top of the tower is in fact "Super Doctor D" and needs some help with stuff. His quest is tedious since it has four steps and you have to leave Zozo for two of them (meaning you have to climb back up the whoooole tower) but the rewards are worth it, up to a second Ribbon.

Storm Dragon is tougher than Freeze Dragon. It's only one monster instead of four, but it's still really fast (befitting the wind-elemental one) and has both a strong special hit and a propensity to cast Whirlwind on everyone. Equip those Zephyr Capes (they halve Wind now) and buff up with Protect/Shell/Haste/Regen before you start pounding on it. I'm not sure why they added Blink to the game, it only absorbs one or two hits before it's gone. Not worth the turn to cast, it seems. Relm was on curing duty, Terra transformed to supercharge her Blizzaga casts, Locke stole a Soma Drop and Cyan used his sword. Got a Force Armor for my trouble.

hey I found Leviathan

guess where it is

just guess

if you guessed the beach on Solitary Island that I've checked four or five times already you are correct! Of course there's a fight.

Asura has three faces to change between, as expected. But she's not the same as FF4, you don't get to push her back a face by hitting her, and she doesn't counter with curative magic. She counters with -ga magic, Quake, or Stop depending on which face she has up. At some point she summons herself (Leviathan is the only one I didn't see do that, come to think of it) to cast Reraise, so don't be faked out by the death animation the first time it happens.

Let's see. Most new espers just replace old ones on the list -- Titan used to be Terrato/Midgarsormr, Pupu replaces Zona Seeker, Leviathan is Bismark, who fucked right off. I know Bahamut is post-dragons, Odin is still petrified in the Ancient Castle. Alexander was on the throne in Doma post-nightmare, no telling if it's still there now (and I don't want to do the nightmare until I gotta, because you're locked in once you start, and who knows what kind of new bullshit could softlock me in there). I know Diabolos and Crusader are summons because I've seen Setzer BAR-BAR-BAR both into battle, but I have no hints where they might be.

Memento Ring seems to reliably resist Zantetsuken, so bring Shadow and Relm to send Odin to the Shadow Relm. Took care of the Tonberry King and the Blue Dragon while I was down there.

I take my three new espers and go to work, managing to uncurse the shield. You might want to sit down for this truly devastating surprise: the Hero's Shield is nerfed from vanilla. It's still really good! But it only nulls elements instead of absorbing four, and teaches Meteor instead of Ultima. I just got Odin to start learning Meteor anyway!

The treasure trove building in Narshe is now a pub, with quests. One is "Night Patrol", which has you wait until dark to fight off the various monsters attacking the town. They're mostly Tonberries. Umaro -- with his maxed-out HP, Atma Weapon, and the Rage Ring (for another +50% attack) -- can oneshot them. You get a Snow Muffler for doing it. Which, like the Hero's Shield, is pretty darn good armor, but not as good as it was in vanilla. It's a difficulty mod, everything you get is powered down while monsters can walk all over you. That's how this works!
You can do Night Patrol more than once, but you don't get another Snow Muffler. Five Reincarnations would be a nice prize, if I hadn't been able to afford 99 not too long ago. In fact, I think that refilled my supply to maximum.

There's a guy in the pub who's a Mimic master. Bring Gogo to see him and he drops a pop quiz on you. "Question 1: Terra enjoys 'fluffing' which of the following?"
...........................must..... resist.......... joke................
I don't know how you're supposed to know all of the stuff he asks you, unless the NPCs I've skipped have been dropping hints about it. Well, whatever. You get a thing for Gogo and I don't know what it does because I haven't been using him for anything.

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Re: Hey [%target] Whatcha Playin'?

Postby nosimpleway » Thu Mar 09, 2023 11:11 pm

The Cult of Kekfa tower has fewer enemies than in vanilla, so you can be that they're all annoying in their own ways. I'm glad to have brought Umaro and given him the Bacchus' Bracer to re-Berserk him. Don't need to care about any of the monster gimmicks or counters when they're geared toward magic, and Umaro just pummels everything. Omniscient is at the top, and he's easier than MagiMaster ever was. He counters damage with Comet, which is manageable, and doesn't have a death counter.

Once you defeat Omniscient you get a message that the magic energy surrounding the tower has disappeared. Get to the bottom and the cultists previously wandering in a circle are broken free of their hypnosis, and the bandits are talking about a flying dragon that's nested at the top of the tower. It really likes the special food they make in Mobliz!

Go to the top of the tower again -- you have all your command set available now -- and there's hiryu from FF5. Give it a Dried Meat and it gives you a Dragon Horn.

I figure the Adamantoise doesn't have a ton of Evade, so I swap out Umaro's Sniper Whatchamacallit for the Offering. X-Fight has a .75x damage multiplier for each hit, but Umaro still hits five digits with each one. Adamantoise doesn't last long, so I got myself a Ragnarok knightsword. It is deffo better than the stone that teaches Teleport and Libra, not that they're mutually exclusive anymore.

Locke to Phoenix Cave and Setzer to Darrill's Tomb doesn't accomplish anything.

As hinted in Narshe, there's a new tower north of the Veldt, east of Jurassic Park. There's not much to the Mirage Tower itself, hardly a tower really, compared to the skyscrapers in Zozo or the Fanatics' Tower. At the top is a sparkle that transports you to... the Floating Continent, still in the air. The enemies here are clones of the espers Unicorn, Siren, Kirin, Ramuh, Shiva, and Ifrit. They are annoying as balls to fight, but I don't know if they get two actions per turn or what, but it seems like an eternity of sitting and watching their magic attacks after putting in your own commands. Even without the "can't run away" message it seems they're near-impossible to flee from. Remember those Smoke Bombs! The boss is Ultima Buster, which is delightfully straightforward. Two phases, 65,000 HP each, no gimmicks. Nasty death counter, though.

The Dream Stooges are replaced with the Magus Sisters. Okay, fair enough. You can't go into the nightmare throne room for the boss fight until you see all three of Cyan's memories of his family -- confessing his love to his wife in his chambers, teaching his son fencing, and teaching his son fishing. Once there Cyan has a gauntlet fight against some enemies, the last of which dropped an Offering. Okay, I'll take it.

Diabolos is the one replacing Alexander on the throne post-nightmare. How do you beat an enemy that casts White Wind as a counter, restoring 32,000 HP anytime it's hit? Not even Umaro can crank out that kind of damage. Diabolos hits himself when he casts Gravija, too, so it's a waiting game until he wears himself down enough to oneshot.

Returning to the moogle's dwelling to restock on Reincarnations, I chat with Molulu. Turns out Molulu's Charm is in the game, but you have to talk to her with both Mog and Umaro present to get it. It even does the same thing as in vanilla! It hasn't been nerfed! Major score.

I'm certainly not futzing around in the Coliseum without one of the packed-in guides, but leafing through, a lot of the changes make sense without being worth doing. Most things follow a pretty linear bet crap -> get something okay, bet it -> get something good, bet it -> get something better, bet it -> get something endgame-tier. Since most equipment is on a linear progression, you can eventually turn a crap katana into the Muramasa, or a shitty dagger into a Gladius. But since so much of the equipment in the game has been made significantly worse by the mod as a whole, and so much of the endgame stuff is character-exclusive, very little of it is worth betting and competing for. I could get a Muramasa, but only Cyan can use them, and I already found one. I could get a Gladius, but only Locke can use it, and I already found one. And so on. I turn my BehemothSuit into another Snow Muffler, but apart from that... eh. Oh well.

I hit up Kefka's Tower to find the last two dragons, and with Molulu's Charm, loot whatever I can. But the dragons aren't here anymore, replaced with possibly the dumbest mod-inserted boss I've seen yet. I suppose they're in some of the new dungeons. Or Ebot's Rock, that'd be just about the worst place imaginable to put a dragon, so sure, let's look there. (lol called it but apparently you have to beat Hidon first)

The Ancient Castle has two new doors behind the thrones, that lead to a duplicate of the FF5 Sealed Weapons room. So I guess this castle is now that castle from FF5. Sure. Whatever. Go talk to Banon to be redirected to a scholar in Figaro who tells you how to unseal them: find the four crystals, defeat the crystal guardians. He pretty much tells you where they are: where you found the Phoenix, formerly under the Serpent Trench (but there's a switch that sounds like running water in the Cave on the Vedlt that's hard to miss), underground near Kohlingen. Except the Wind crystal is "on a mountain somewhere", but it's not like there's a ton of mountains in the game in the first place. It's gotta be either behind Narshe or on Mt. Zozo.

Gold Dragon is in the Cave on the Veldt. Permanent Runic effect, but my major damage dealer stopped being -ga magic or Flare and started being Umaro's sinewy thews quite a while ago.

The only tricky bit to find each crystal is in Darrill's Tomb. All the others have a nice, conspicuous sparkle indicating what to investigate to find them. In the Tomb you have to check the backside of Darrill's sarcophagus to open the door into the crystal chamber. You can imagine my annoyance at being able to go back to each of these places to find something now, considering I'd already fucking come to all these places and nothing was there before.

The guardians? Of the crystals? They're exactly who you think they are. If they have any gimmicks I don't know what they are, despite the bizarrely linear nature of the quest starting with "be able to survive getting into the Ancient Castle", they seem to be intended to be fought much earlier than I have.

Bahamut is more than anyone can withstand for long. If there's a way to make Final Fantasy 6 challenging without having enemies get two or three moves per turn and throwing around debilitating status ailments like it's going out of style, apparently nobody's found it yet! Bahamut can Stop two characters at once (and there's no way to dispel Stop), and gets two physical hits when one is enough to KO Strago or knock Celes or Mog down to critical. And that's not counting that he can, of course, summon himself.

Passing through Albrook the first time, waaay back when, you find a scholar who's got half a page he can't figure out. Arvis has a scrap of a page he can't figure out. Take the scholar's half-page to Arvis to hear about one of the last espers added in the mod, yay hooray I'm sure it's a bitch of a fight but we'll cross that bridge when we get there. The sylphs know the secret, but you can't understand what they're saying when you talk to the ones in the moogle's dwelling. The trick here is to go talk to Arvis again, he points you to the Phantom Forest. If you go before then -- like I did! Twice! -- then the brooms in Matoya's Cave will sweep you out, like it or not. Only after Arvis gives you the recommendation can you see Matoya and get a translation item.

One of Matoya's brooms drops a magic word, backwards because it's a broom and that's how they do it. It's another throwback to a previous game so I have little worry over forgetting what it is.

The Sylph won't help until I've got Leviathan, Odin, and Bahamut, and I can't beat Bahamut. I could go to Kefka's Tower and finish the bosses there -- it's hinted that the Warring Triad itself unlocks more stuff to do! -- but they stomp a big ol mudhole in my ass too. Still can't even challenge Omega. It's too fast, and pumps out five-digit damage when it's not just instakilling everyone. Last try it opened with Blaster and killed three out of my four dudes so it looks like another job for Shadow and Relm.

I think I'm just gonna have to grind up some more experience levels.

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Re: Hey [%target] Whatcha Playin'?

Postby nosimpleway » Fri Mar 10, 2023 1:17 am

And if anyone can find, or figure out how to find, a cheat code to make level grinding less tedious (the Growth Egg doesn't seem to exist), I'll give you a dollar

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Re: Hey [%target] Whatcha Playin'?

Postby nosimpleway » Fri Mar 10, 2023 2:25 pm

The best part of leveling up with Umaro and Sabin is that after a couple fights where they're both kinda beat up, Umaro can cast Cure from the menu to patch them both up. And he's better at it than Sabin.

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Re: Hey [%target] Whatcha Playin'?

Postby nosimpleway » Sat Mar 11, 2023 9:07 am

Sabin's Spiraler/Soul Spiral has been replaced with Tiger Break, which hits three times and, if all three hits land, can do more damage than Phantom Rush. Bahamut's second phase (of course there's a second phase) has ridiculously high defense so Phantom Rush becomes more viable again, but between Sabin and Umaro cranking out damage and Strago and Celes on healing and recovery I manage to win. Bahamut, true to his nature, teaches Flare.

I got the Black Robe ages ago. Anyone who can wear it -- which pretty well synchronizes with "has the magic power to make it worth casting" -- already knows Flare. I don't care if he learns it quickly from an esper instead of an article of clothing, Sabin is not gonna get a ton of mileage out of this spell. Who planned this?

The sylphs fork over the Goddess Bell to let me into the dungeon where the final (?) esper is. (Show the Goddess Bell to a guy in Albrook to complete a pub quest and get five Megalixirs.) The game makes no secret who the esper is, Arvis namedrops it in the first conversation: I'm going after Ultima, the High Seraph. The dungeon is full of really annoying enemies who love to use status ailments, so I hope you've got those Ribbons handy! Or Mog, I may well need a second run where I bring Mog and just dash through everything. But the grind got so goddamn boring before I got around to Mog, he's not strong enough to make it in the inevitable Ultima boss fight. I wonder what kind of magic she'll cast, by preference...

Inside Ultima's lair are Black Force monsters, formerly Dark Force and lurking in Kefka's Tower. These are they guys who know pretty much every Blue spell in the game, and Strago manages to pick up Quasar, Level 2 Holy, Rippler, and Ancient Prayer (summons a random esper) from them pretty easily. Only one to go and I'm pretty sure it's still ForceField and I'm pretty sure ForceField is still exclusive to that one guy in the Warring Triad.

Further in there's a room with a save point, a red sparkle to let you swap party members, and a teleporter to the Forbidden Land Eureka. Well, what the hell, let's get Mog and get going. I assume the random encounters are ultra-shitty and every chest is a monster-in-a-box for piddling rewards (the treasure so far has been not great), but let's go see the new conte-- huh. Okay. The chests just... give you stuff. That's a surprise. It's not all equipment I recognize from the series but from what I've Googled it looks like it's stuff named after FF14 loadouts.

Only later on do you find treasures, just lying on the ground, that are guarded by boss fights. Echidna guards the Lordly Robes, which... teach Ultima, making the entire rest of this trip extraneous? Once you see the first monster's name under the spoiler there, you'll know exactly who the others are, and how many to expect! Cerberus guards the Bracer, which appears to be an improved Genji Glove that gives boosted attack and some passive stat bonuses.

"An Amanomurakumo!" aww, it's just "Amanomur" in the menu. That's disappointing.

Ahriman guards the Grand Helm, which gives an HP bonus but doesn't have, like, amazing stats or resists or anything. Hey, the Maximillian plate, who could possibly be guarding this one? :mystery: It's a guy who gets two attacks per turn, and is strong enough that it did 11,000 damage to Sabin, through Protect.

And at the end, is... some shops? One sells Tynar Rouge, one is weapons I presumably missed earlier by not having Locke in the party for every boss fight, the last is protective equipment. I pick up a dozen each of Genji Shield, Force Shield, and Aegis Shields, I'll figure out how to equip 'em to everyone when it's time to storm Kefka's Tower for realsies. Another Minerva Bustier, then Genji Armor for everyone else who can wear it... an extra Zantetsuken and a Gungnir even though I'm pretty sure I have better stuff for everyone who can use these anyway. I'm broke again, but hey. What else am I gonna spend it all on?

There's a conspicuous miscolored patch on the wall that leads down a secret passage to a gravestone. Remember that magic word I got from Matoya's broom? Use it here and a frog pops out and gives you "a whole bunch of new outfits!" Yay, hooray.

You gotta walk out of Eureka. Back in Ultima's tower/dungeon/whatever you soon find yourself up against Scarmilogne, so you can pretty well imagine how the next leg of the journey is going to be -- a mazelike room that demands you walk all over the damned place and get into lots of random encounters (except Mog is here) and then a themed boss fight at the end.

And at the very top...

Not real sure what you expect me to fuckin' do about that, game.

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Re: Hey [%target] Whatcha Playin'?

Postby nosimpleway » Sun Mar 12, 2023 12:32 am

Okay, everybody's got Ultima, Dispel, and Osmose. Why doesn't Diabolos teach any level of Gravity-elemental magic? Search me.

Off to the Warring Triad. Defeating them reveals them to be not gods themselves, but just really strong espers, and grants the Crusader magicite. So that's a full set. (The lore implications of the gods themselves turning into magicite is not examined.) You get a "Hey we better go tell Banon about this", literally two rooms away from the final boss. Ah well. Let's go talk to Banon.

Banon reveals that the way to the esper realm is probably still around, probably connected to the tunnel to the Ancient Castle. Which makes absolutely zero sense whatsoever but at this point you just roll with that kind of thing. On my way through I manage to defeat Omega, losing my first attempt to his Ultima death counter. Can't wait to find Shinryu. Those two usually hang out together, right?

There's a new door in the caverns that leads, sure enough, to the "Lost Path", a palette-swap of the cave to the Sealed Gate. Some kind individual has come through and refilled the chests with Genji Helms and Genji Armor and stuff! How polite.

Gil Turtle is right where I left him, and he's a chump by the time you can defeat the Warring Triad. So you have a completely unbeatable challenge if you fight it on the brief opportunity it's available in the World of Balance, or barely a speedbump if you defeat it at the next opportunity it's available. Someone thought this was a good idea!

lmao Shinryu is literally the next chest over from where the Gil Turtle was buried, somebody answer the phone because I fuckin' called it. Weirdly neither Shinryu nor Omega have the mod-standard "this isn't even my final form" phase change when you deplete their first set of HP, and Shinryu doesn't even have a death counter. Strago managed to squeeze out a doublecast Ultima and that was that. I was as surprised at Shinryu's death rattle as anybody.

Alexander guards the esper realm, and is the shoot-himself-in-the-footingest boss I've seen yet. He opens with Disaster, basically a partywide Bad Breath, but thanks to the Ribbons I've got it only ends up doing Death Sentence and Stop. But... being frozen in time means the Death Sentence countdown doesn't proceed. It also casts Float, which means the Quake that Alexander uses later on got nulled.

There are shops in the esper realm but apparently you're supposed to get here before Eureka, because the stuff isn't as good. There's a silk dress Terra's mom left here for Terra, but I haven't figured out what it might do yet. It's a key item, not an equip.

Take the Shinryu Claw, Omega Plate, and... Gil Turtle Shell? I guess? back to the swordsmith in Narshe and he'll make an Omega Weapon. This is the new Lightbringer, it's 255 attack, +6 to core stats, and the ingame description is "Atk + Mag up/100%/Counter/Ultima/Auto-Regen/Haste/SOS Wall], so it combines the vanilla Hero Ring, Sniper's Eye, Black Belt, Hermes Sandals, Angel Ring, and whatever gave Protect and Shell at low HP, plus it casts Ultima. Unlike the Lightbringer, anyone can equip it.

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Re: Hey [%target] Whatcha Playin'?

Postby Thad » Sun Mar 12, 2023 6:28 pm

I'm only glancing at these occasionally, R^2, because I still want to finish the thing myself one of these days and mostly I'd like to be surprised, but what I've read is good stuff and I expect I will read the rest later!

Meanwhile: I started the WonderSwan Color version of Makai Toshi SaGa and I'm enjoying it rather a lot more than I expected. It's still chockfull of the kind of thing I have a low tolerance for these days -- small inventory, high random encounter rate, a whole lot of grinding -- but I'm finding it pretty manageable, probably because it's a handheld game and I'm playing it like a handheld game, in 5-10 minute bursts to kill time in the waiting room or whatever, and I don't give it time to wear out its welcome. At least, so far.

Anyway, I like it! It's part of that same generation of WSC remakes of 8-bit Square RPGs as Final Fantasy 1&2 (the ones that were later ported to PS1, GBA, and pretty much fucking everything after that), and it's similar quality. The graphics and sound got a 16-bit facelift, and there are some significant quality-of-life improvements (you no longer try to hit dead things, it tells you when ESPers get stat boosts at the end of a battle, it shows you what kind of monster you'll turn into if you eat the meat) but the core gameplay is still recognizably 8-bit. Again, I'm finding it fun in short bursts, though I imagine sitting with it for too long would probably put me off it.

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Re: Hey [%target] Whatcha Playin'?

Postby Thad » Mon Mar 13, 2023 1:17 am

(And since nobody asked: human Reed, ESPers Sue and Jony, monster Ben.)

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Re: Hey [%target] Whatcha Playin'?

Postby nosimpleway » Mon Mar 13, 2023 1:36 am

Robot RBIE left behind to watch the Fantasticar again

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Re: Hey [%target] Whatcha Playin'?

Postby nosimpleway » Mon Mar 13, 2023 11:30 pm

Didn't bring it up last post but I feel like it's worth noting that Demon, left unchecked, will end up getting four or five attacks in a row between its multiple attacks per turn, multiple counters per hit, and self-Haste. And those attacks are shit like Hyperdrive and Whirlwind and Merton and Stop, along with his couple-thousand damage special hit. So once its aura flares, make sure to DIspel the Haste, at least. The other workaround: it doesn't counter Dark-elemental attacks. This requires its own creative takes, since you don't get Scourge until after beating it, leaving you with Bio as your strongest Dark spell...

At this point I'm cool combing through the spoiler files that came with the patch to make sure I'm not missing anything. I got the ingame cheevo for doing all the pub quests at least once, so I know I'm at least done with all that. I like how the character guide justifies Locke's change in equips, making him less able to use heavy armor or shields or knightswords, with "because he's a thief". But he's not, he's an Adventurer, or perhaps Treasure Hunter, says right there on the status screen. No one would be more offended by this characterization than Locke himself.

Each character has their own ingame achievement. Some are pretty easy but time-consuming, like Umaro's "use Snowstorm a bunch", which was quite doable in my Vanish-using grind sessions. Some you might be compelled to get anyway, like Strago's "learn all the Lores". Some are tedious, like Relm's or Setzer's "use Sketch/Slots a bunch", which thanks to White Wind, Meerkat, and Mysidian Rabbit, I couldn't do while maintaining Vanish. I'm pretty sure Edgar's happens as a plot point, it's "liberate South Figaro from Imperial control", and that's the one result you're guaranteed to get from the Imperial banquet.

Some are rather more difficult. Shadow's is "Use Interceptor's counterattack a bunch", which requires a lot of RNG: an enemy has to choose to use a physical hit, it has to choose to target Shadow, Shadow has to roll for Interceptor to block the attack, and then Shadow has to roll for the counter chance. Celes and Locke have "succeed at using Steal/Runic a bunch", which is tough to manipulate -- "couldn't steal!" results or just having Celes prepare Runic without absorbing anything don't count. Far as I can tell replacing one command with another also doesn't count, so I can't use Pray instead of Runic, or even Mug instead of Steal. (Or Zeninage for Slots, or Bless for Sketch, and so on.) By "a bunch" I mean "a couple hundred times, at least".

It doesn't help that Sprinters, Killer Mantises, Tyranosaurs, and Brachioraidos (the monsters I've been grinding on) don't have anything to steal. As far as I can tell Tyranosaurs and Brachioraidos don't drop anything, either, I haven't seen a single Impartisan or Economizer from them.

I've been collecting Rages for Gau, grinding out use of Sketch and Slots and Mimic and Steal as best I can while I look for monsters. The baited Veldt means that monsters I'd never seen before show up, so Gau can get Rages for them. Eventually I whittle my to-get list down a bit and figure at least some of these monsters will show up in the Soul Shrine, so I go there and try that.

Soul Shrine works like it does in the GBA, where you go through phases of ten or so battles at a time. The game goes through all the random encounters it can think of first, including yeah, several Rages I was missing from World of Balance and Cyan's Nightmare that would be random rolls on the Veldt now. Eventually you run up against Fiend -- oh yeah that's the first boss encounter, one of the Warring Triad -- at the end of a phase, indicating things are Getting Serious. The next phase ends with Demon, the one after that Goddess. The phase after that is all previous esper fights. Then it's regular bosses, for some reason you have to fight Demon three phases before you can challenge Dadaluma. Then it's a mix of mid/lategame bosses and monster-in-a-box encounters, which is the only phase really worth doing since you get the box drop from each one: new Black Robe from that guy, new White Robe from the angel thing, new Offering from Samurai Soul.
The phase after that puts Omega Weapon and Shinryu back-to-back, so that you take Omega's death counter and spend the entire fight with Shinryu on your heels trying to recover. At this point I figured the only thing to look forward to was the High Seraph and left. I assume I'll have to start over if I go back. (According to the spoiler file I'm three phases away from it, but yeah, of course the last fight is High Seraph Ultima -- right at the end of a phase full of the FF3 and FF4 retreads.)

Oh well. Back to the Veldt. Chaser, Io, Templar, Venobennu. Three World of Balance monsters and one Cyan's Nightmare monster -- all stuff I can't just go find in their natural habitats. I've still got some folks who need to learn stuff from Bahamut and Crusader, so it's fine, at least I'm getting AP for the fighting I have to do. Eventually I narrow it down to just Io. Okay, so every 64 fights, I get a 1/8 chance of finding the monster I need... pff, nah. Let's RNG manip, there's a guide to it in the Veldt spoiler packed in. So that's every Rage.
(The only one of those worth actually using might be Io, which uses Flare Star, for levelx42 nonelemental damage. But even at level 99, that's only 4,158, which is a drop in the bucket at this point in the endgame.)

The other cheevos to go for are:
Get one new outfit, for every character (I got this one)
Get all the Rare Items in the game
Start a New Game+
Collect all the magicite (I got this one)
Play the game for a long time
Get a high step count
Complete every pub sidequest (I got this one, like I said)
Unlock "many characters'" achievements (11/14 is not enough)
Defeat everything in the EX bonus patch (I suppose for completion's sake I should try, but...)

Looks like New Game + resets your experience levels and undoes the "unlock all the costumes" secret but everything else rolls over. Terra marches into Narshe with her dagger and leathers and immediately pulls out the Omega Weapon and Hero Shield. The collection room is empty, including the part for the twelve legendary weapons, but the weapons themselves are still in my inventory. The only change I've found so far is that innkeepers let you change costumes.

If someone is in an alternate costume when you find Terra in Zozo, and for a few cutscenes thereafter, their palettes will be the same as Terra's monstrous form. Dragoon Edgar and Fabul-style Monk Sabin are now glowing pink-white anytime they're not actually fighting something.

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Re: Hey [%target] Whatcha Playin'?

Postby nosimpleway » Wed Mar 15, 2023 7:46 pm

"R2", you might be saying, assuming anyone is following along anymore. "You've pretty well framed this mod as being distilled anti-fun, why would you play through New Game+? Just get it over with."
"That's true!" I would agree, "But at this point it's basically a micro-Let's Play so I feel obligated to at least try what it has on offer." And I'm going to stop framing the rest of this post as an answer to a hypothetical question because that'd get almost as annoying as some boss getting three attacks a turn, two of which are Stop and one of which is an instant-kill move.

If I'm going to be doing the late-mod extra stuff, or even look sidelong at the EX patch, I want everyone to be maxed out. FF6 doesn't have to be grindy unless you're intentionally going for 100%, but the mod sure as shit is. So I New Game Plussed so I could go back and see an old friend: The Lethe River.

Back when Celes and Sabin were stumbling through the Cave to South Figaro I realized there's no reason not to be as high a level as possible as early as possible. With New Game+, I started with some of those Tynar Rouge I got in my first playthrough (with Angel Rings out, auto-Regen is hard to come by). So with New Game+ I could take Celes, by herself so she wouldn't have to split the EXP with anyone, put her on the raft in the river with a Tynar Rouge to keep her HP up, the Hero Shield and Omega Weapon, and then just strap down the confirm button like I used to do on my SNES before going to bed. Only now I have a fast-forward button, too, so what previously took several overnight sessions was done in a few hours while my daughter was home sick yesterday: Celes, at level 99.

Beginning the World of Ruin with just Celes at level 99 and recruiting Sabin moved his level up to Celes's: also 99. Edgar averaged his level with the party: 99. Setzer, too: 99. And so on with everyone else, automatically raised to level 99. This is suboptimal in the vanilla game, where being level 60 but with premium esper bonuses makes your characters stronger than they would be at 99 without them. But in a mod without esper bonuses, well. All I really need is the HP, MP, and to feed "99" into whatever internal formulas the game uses that might call for character level.

The "not quite 9999 HP" club: Terra, Locke, Celes, Relm, Setzer, Gogo. Gogo is almost absurdly fragile, with only 7700 or so HP to his name even with his level maxed. Save those Gold Apples!
I've been steamrolling around the World of Ruin, trampling everything in my path more or less effortlessly. I wonder whether the mod would still be difficult at all with this much power but without all the equipment I got the first time around? Given the choice I'm not sure if I'd rather have everyone at level 99 or to possess four Ribbons my first time through.

Something strange: in vanilla, Humbaba is ready to go back and kaiju what's left of Mobliz as soon as you find the airship. I still haven't found what triggers in T-edition. It's not the pub quest in Nikeah to deliver goods to Mobliz, that was the first thing I tried. I've got everyone else in the party but Umaro, since I need Terra to get Valigarmanda out of the way. I've got quests and magicite I didn't have until after Terra joined in the first run -- Odin and Leviathan are defeated, six of the eight dragons are in the bag, I've got the Ragnarok and Omega Plate already. What makes Humbaba show up so Terra can have her emotional revelation and come back to us?

It's not number of battles since (whatever event starts counting), I just uncursed the Hero Shield again and it's still not time. Uncursing the Shield, in this case, is still casting Vanish on the poor schmuck carrying it and taking them along with Shadow to the spot near Jurassic Park. Shadow is not Vanished for this grind session, since I'm also trying to score his Interceptor counterattack as many times as I can. I end up getting BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK WILD FANG about fifty times before I'm done. Since Shadow can be hit by his confuserked ally, I made that ally Relm and left her weapon slot empty, figuring her noodly arms and bare fists wouldn't do anything that auto-regen couldn't handle.
Since Relm can wear the Cat-Ear Hood and this is the spot I used previously to grind for cash anyway, I'm now at 9,833,000 gil in my pocket. I need to unlock Eureka pretty soon, without anything else to buy I might as well blow it all on whatever weapon has the highest base attack power and is for sale, so Shadow can throw 'em at stuff.

I went to Mobliz, checked inside the house, no luck. Left, turned around, went back in, talked to the dog at the entrance ("Woof!", it says), went back in, and bam, Katarin's preggo. So as far as I can tell the trigger for Humbaba mk.II is talking to the dog at the entrance of Mobliz. That's so dumb.

Hmm. There are three cheevos left to get, now. One is "do the EX patch", which I'll get to some other time. One is "get all the key items", but at this point I'm not sure what I might be missing. And the last is "do all the character cheevos", which means Runic and BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK
Grinding Runic is easy enough, I'd just hoped I wouldn't have to do it. Take Celes and $charname somewhere with harmless monsters, give $charname an Economizer, set the cursor to Memory, set Celes to Runic, and $charname to cast Cure on themselves. Every dozen or so casts the ATB gets out of synch and the spell actually gets through, so $charname doesn't even need auto-Regen. 500 MP off of $charname later, and I've got it.
Getting Twin Fang to proc 500 times is going to be trickier, or at least, even more time-consuming. Back to Jurassic Park, with only Shadow present. Make sure he doesn't have the Omega Weapon (since it counters by itself) and does have a Flame Cloak for the only way auto-Regen is available to men. I know the stuff here attacks with only physicals and specials without any bothersome status ailments, so it's just a matter of sitting in combat until Interceptor triggers, killing that enemy. Once they're all WILD FANGed, find another encounter...
whoops turns out the Killer Mantises have an instant-death special, there goes a bunch of progress, better get a Memento Ring while I'm at it huh
whoops that doesn't work 100%, weird. Guess the strategy now is either "go do this on Solitary Island instead, which takes even longer because Peepers try to White Wind half the time", or "just kill the mantis before waiting the rest of the fight out".

So, key items and rare treasures. Let's see. Oh, I'm missing the Lump of Metal, I haven't done Cyan's Nightmare in this run. Another way to beat Diabolos: counterattacks. His White Wind counter to full-HP himself won't trigger if he's hit by a counterattack to one of his normal hits, since you can't counter a counter.

Apparently I'm missing three Rare Items. One sits next to Shinryu's Fang, one next to the Ancient Text you work out with Arvis, and one between the Diving Helmet and Rust-Rid. The only ones I'm missing from vanilla, or the GBA version, are the stone tablet you get with the hint for where to find Dragon's Den and the certificate you get for finishing the Soul Shrine.
There's a room for all twelve legendary weapons, and I've got 'em, no problem.
There's also a room of miscellaneous stuff, from the slave crown to Cyan's handmade flowers to the Warring Triad replica statues you find while spelunking near Thamasa. There's an empty table in the middle, an empty pedestal to one side, and a conspicuously carpeted area with nothing in it. No telling what any of those are, or how to get them.

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Re: Hey [%target] Whatcha Playin'?

Postby nosimpleway » Wed Mar 15, 2023 9:44 pm

The EX patch takes some work to get to... er, work. Beating the High Seraph opens access to a specific save point in the Beginner's House in Narshe. Save there, and quit the game. The EX version runs off an entirely different ROM, so you need to go back to the clean pre-patched file and patch it again with the EX version. Then copy/rename the .srm save file from the ROM you'd been using to match the new EX file. Once you boot up your EX rom, it should read your old save data, bring in your old party, and let you proceed to the "Hall of Memories".

The theme music from FF9 is playing here, and it sounds fucking awful. It's not even glitchy like some of the other tracks that T-Edition added in. It's just a bad choice for the SNES sound capabilities.

The EX Patch is not fun. It is not worth the effort of applying to the game and moving the savefile over. It's all bosses, all rehashes, and they're up to the usual jiggery-pokery you've come to expect from T-Edition -- opening attacks for 5000+ damage, constant Stop and Freeze status that can't be protected against, multiple attacks per turn, multiple counterattacks per hit, self-healing. Even at level 99, with all the good equipment I've got from playing through the game twice, I'm stuck on the second one. Of twelve.

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Re: Hey [%target] Whatcha Playin'?

Postby nosimpleway » Thu Mar 16, 2023 11:08 pm

Anyway let's fight the last boss of this game and see if we can't wrap things up.

Long Arm is still vulnerable to Death. The counterattacks aren't Shockwave anymore, they're bonks that cause Confuse and oh look! Stop status. I figured it'd come up.
I couldn't remember which target in the second layer was vulnerable to Death, so I dropped X-Zone. Turns out it's Machine, the one that wasn't alive in the first place! That's nonsense but it's nonsense carried over from vanilla so I can't be mad at the mod for that one. Magic can still be Silenced, which shuts it down nicely, but oh look, it counterattacks with Freeze. Surprise, surprise. Power doesn't spread its death counter 10-Hit Combo around the party anymore, so if the last hit is done by somebody with low defense they're probably going to get pummeled to death in return. I dunno what Tiger does now, I figured it's still the most dangerous part and killed it as soon as I procced X-Zone and Silence on the other two.
If Visage uses Stop and Magic uses Freeze, then I can only assume that at some point I'll get-- yep. Rest opens with Cloudy Heaven, inflicting Death Sentence and then Zombie to anyone who dies during the fight. Saw that one coming a mile off. Time it so that you've got people in Lordly Robes or Memento Rings to dodge that -- you have to be immune to Death Sentence, not Zombie (Cloudy Heaven in fact ignores Zombie immunity). Lady now has more than 9999 HP, so she can't be oneshot anymore, but seems to prefer plain ol' Curaga to White Wind. Killing Rest sill does an instant-kill counter, which thanks to Cloudy Heaven turns the victim into a zombie. They're still removed from the party for the tier change.

The God of Magic is, in the least surprising revelation in T-Edition, just some top-tier horseshit. Not as bad as the EX special bosses, but using some of the same tactics! To wit:
He gets two attacks per turn. He seems to have a fondness for fixed-damage Flare Star, or random-hitting spells like Thunder Call and Meteor. He's got Mind Blast and Magic Hammer to directly fuck with everyone's MP. He's got a partywide Freeze effect with Northern Cross, and the plain ol' regular Stop spell, the mod's favorite ailments to hose your party. Of course, he still has access to Fallen One in his rotation to drop everyone to 1 HP. You've got some Megalixirs saved up, right?
Havoc Wing is now Wing of Ruin. It does about 11,000 damage to folks with heavy armor on, so about the only person with any hopes of surviving it is Terra in her transformation.
In vanilla, while Kefka charges Forsaken/Goner is the best time to attack, since he stops countering with Havoc Wing of Ruin. Now he's invincible, so you might as well heal up and start defending with anyone who can. It did 11,000-12000 to people who aren't defending, 5200 to the person who was, and 3600 to defending, transformed Terra. So stack those protection multipliers as best you can, actual magic defense does nothing. Also, Goner now sets everyone to now be vulnerable to a new element and has a Dispel effect. Don't bother casting Shell, either.
He really, really likes to follow up Goner with Flare Star for another unavoidable 4000+ damage. This caused me to wipe twice.
He's got 59,000 HP and, if I'm reading this right, refills that five times. The last two is a phase change so that he's even more dangerous!

The ending spells Cyan as "Cayenne", Locke as "Lock", and calls Sabin "Mash", Terra "Tina", and Strago "Stragus". For all the graphics changes T-Edition put in, the translation doesn't bring over the English names for the characters during the cast roll.

The only actual difference to the ending is that Shadow decides to live, he's got more stuff to do. Strago coming up behind him and nodding implies he's going to try being a dad.

I guess unless I really feel like going back and fighting Mateus HEAVEN OR HELL, LET'S ROCK and then the rest of whatever bullshit EX mode throws at me, I'm done. No more commandeering this thread for this specific mod!

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Re: Hey [%target] Whatcha Playin'?

Postby nosimpleway » Fri Mar 17, 2023 8:32 pm

lol they didn't fix every glitch in the game. Linking instead of tagging the image so you have to click through to see the EX boss:
http://nosimpleway.brontoforum.us/forum ... glitch.png
I bet if my menu ever came back I'd have a bajillion inventory slots with 255 daggers in them

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Re: Hey [%target] Whatcha Playin'?

Postby Thad » Wed Mar 22, 2023 5:14 pm

I keep seeing this on lists of the best Game Gear games so I decided to try it.

"It says here, 'DO NOT OPEN!'"

"Let's open it."

God damn it, Hamburglar.

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