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World Map 1: Expel
World Map 2: Nede

Thanks to Sherwin Tam and Ian Kelley for many of these tips.

Battle Strategies
Equipment Strategies
Skill/Specialty Strategies
Misc. Strategies

Battle Strategies

  • FORMATIONS: If you're using two fighters and two mages (like I usually do, with Rena being one of the mages) you'll want one of the two Square Shift formations. If you use three fighters and a mage, a Tri-Shift is useful. If you find that you're overwhelmed by enemies, go for the Escape Shift for easy escapes.
  • The AI for mages (especially Noel) is quite finicky; though you might be tempted to control your fighters, it might be better to stay back and control a mage directly so you only cast the spells you want to cast.
  • You recover HP and MP after every battle, based on your Stamina stat. As you move around and attack, your Stamina goes down; if you stop for a little bit, it rises again. Because you keep recovering MP, using Killer Moves during battle should be something you do a LOT, because they just won't level up and become really useful unless you keep using them. Bunny Shoes (when you get them) raise Stamina by 80 points, so go all out!
  • In later battles, every second counts. When you want to target a specific enemy (like a wizard or balloon), the game doesn't pause to let you do so. The solution? Open the item screen, select Spectacles or a non-area bomb (like Assault Bomb), and select the monster you want (without actually using the item). Then go out of the item screen, press "accept" twice, and you're targeting the right monster. 8-)
  • Characters have different attacks while jumping. As a rule, they suck (besides for Precis and Opera, who stay on the ground and shoot upwards, and Ashton, who has a nice jump attack). Try to get the right amount of distance between you and your enemy before trying a jumping attack (if you're too close, you'll just land underneath the enemy without hitting it).
  • Bombs, as a rule, are useless. Don't bother using them once you've progressed past the Hoffman Ruins or so. Er, besides the Peep-peep Bomb, which is nice.
  • Unless you're wearing Bunny Shoes, turn the Flip skill off. It screws up everything.
  • Speaking of Bunny Shoes, they make battles WAY easier. You can simulate Bunny Shoes speed by using a Skanda Compress or Skanda Ointment, but they disappear after one use. You can make them using Compounding.
  • Spell Absorption doesn't happen often, but it can be deadly if used against you, or awesome if you use it yourself. Check the Spell Absorption list for more info.
  • Don't underestimate the Insta-Kill techniques: Using a Bubble Lotion, Melting Lotion, or Bitter Lotion on an ally imbues him/her with a small chance to instantly kill any enemy, including bosses (even those supposedly unkillable!) If you do kill an unkillable boss, though, the game will continue as if you hadn't. (D'OH!) Another great item is the Algol Shield, which can be equipped by Chisato or Precis. With it, you have a small chance that any enemy (including bosses) that attacks you will die instantly! (I had this work on the Dragon Tyrant in the COT... man, was that sweet... 8-))
  • Invincibility! There are two ways to pull this off. One is to equip the Bloody Armor on a fighter. It makes you invincible, but continually drains your HP. All you have to do is control Rena to continually heal Claude and you're set. The second way is to equip a Lunatic Ring and Peep Non, but that'll only work until the Lunatic Ring breaks.
  • That's it for now; if you think of more, e-mail me!

Equipment Strategies

These tips are from Sherwin Tam, since he put it much better than I could. 8-)

  • The Equipment Wizard is a finicky creature. It is useful for the first few chapters of the game, but then becomes a hassle when the equipment starts getting more varied. The EW only chooses equipment by their main attribute, i.e. attack power for weapons, defense power for armor. If you make any manual changes, such as replacing accessories, the EW will automatically turn off. Rather than continuously turning the EW back on, you should get used to manually equipping. When the number of accessories increases, you will constantly be doing a lot of accessory moving. Also, many of the later weapons and armor will have other beneficial properties that might make them more desirable despite their lower attack or defense power.
  • Special properties from equipment for the most part aren't cumulative.
    • For items that reduce MP cost, the better MP reduction is used. For instance, equipping a Fairy Ring, which reduces MP cost by 1/2, and an Emerald Ring, which reduces MP cost by 2/3, results in a 1/2 MP cost reduction (the Emerald Ring is ignored).
    • Items that regain HP or MP aren't cumulative, so wearing two items that regenerate HP every 5 seconds doesn't give you double the regenerative power.
    • You can never have more than three attacks per swing on a weapon. If you have a weapon, such as Ashton's Gemini, that gives two attacks per swing, adding a Slayer's Ring (+2 attacks) results in three attacks per swing and one attack wasted.
    • Items that affect statistics _are_ cumulative. This includes Atlas Rings, which double your strength; two Atlas Rings would give you quadruple the strength, or an additional 3 x current strength to your attack power.
    • Items which give free skills override the character's normal level if the item's level is higher, and does nothing if it is lower.
    • Accessories which speed up your character, like Silver Pendants and Zephyr Earrings, give about the equivalent of Gale 10 speed. With experimentation, it seems that equipping two such accessories isn't cumulative. Furthermore, once you achieve Gale 10, the accessories don't seem to make any difference. They also don't give any bonus to speed when under the effects of Comprehension. On the other hand, Bunny Shoes will speed up characters faster than Gale 10 and is unaffected by Comprehension, although Delay spells will still slow you down.
    • Not sure about items that reduce or increase enemy encounters. I suspect that they aren't cumulative, and anywise, why would you want to give up more than one slot for any of these items?
    Due to the huge assortment of accessories available, there are no absolute best combinations of accessories. However, here are some tips and tricks to help you choose what to wear:
  • Wearing to cover weaknesses: one of the major functions of accessories is to shore up weaknesses or add strengths to your characters. Up until the end of the game, most of equipment you'll encounter won't have any extra bonuses, i.e. weapons that reduce MP cost, or armor that protects against elements. Some even have major weaknesses, usually in their elemental strength, that can be lethal unless accounted for by another item which has enough elemental defense to counteract the weakness. And of course, having an elemental strength can make your life much easier when enemy mages come knocking.
    • Keep four Poison/Paralysis/Stone Checks in your inventory. This becomes less important as the game progresses, but until you have equipment or spells that can counteract these status anomalies, having a few of these around can save you a lot of money and time. Later in the game you can get accessories which protect against all status ailments, although none of these have 100% protection like the Checks.
    • If you're stuck looking for good defense against pesky elemental attacks, note that equipping ores and jewels will give you some protection against an element or two in a pinch.
  • Wearing to enhance stats: Many of the accessories will give set bonuses to your stats. Some will also give hidden bonuses, additions to your attack or some other stat that isn't shown. The more powerful accessories will give statistical bonuses by percentage, i.e. an extra 30% added to your strength, or some other stat. Since your character's stats increase as you go up in level, most of these percentage bonuses eventually pass all but the highest set number bonuses. These percentage accessories are also a good reason to invest in skills that raise your statistics, since they become more effective when you raise skills that pertain to the affected statistic(s).
  • Wearing to reduce MP consumption: A good reason to wear accessories is to reduce the rate of MP consumption your character has. Accessories like Emerald Rings [Edit: FAIRY RINGS ROCK!] and Mind Rings can keep your character from running out of power over the course of many battles. Another factor to consider is stamina; accessories that have stamina bonuses will help raise the amount of MP regained after battle, rather than controlling the usage during battle. Characters with extremely high stamina can sometimes forgo reduced MP costs because they regain so much MP after battle. Also note that in a strange role reversal, fighters will usually run out of MP faster than the mages, since they can whip out killer moves faster and don't have as much MP as the mages get as they level up.
  • Redundancy: Make sure that you aren't wearing items that have the same functionality, unless it's statistic enhancing. Knowing that your weapon performs the same function as an Emerald Ring allows you to replace that Emerald Ring you might be wearing. If you already have a skill at the same or higher level, wearing an item that gives you the skill is a waste. And so on...
  • Accessories that break: If you're wearing an item that seems to be too good to be true, like the Shield Ring that protects against 90% of physical damage, it probably has a downside: some accessories eventually will break, leaving you without the item in the middle of battle. The accessories most suspect are ones that have some sort of absorption involved, such as damage absorption, spell absorption, attack diversion, and so on. Items such as the Wisdom Ring and Silver Cross, which protect against status ailments, will also occasionally break, although it doesn't happen nearly as often. If you plan to use these sorts of accessories, make sure you've bought, made, or copied more so that you have some spares when the current one you're wearing finally falls apart. If you find an accessory breaks too often for your tastes and you don't want to deal with the constant replacement of these items, move on to some more permanent fixtures.
  • Accessory pairs: There are a few accessories that seemingly are intended to be worn in pairs. The best example would be the Left Cross/Right Cross combination, where each cross cancels the other's weakness. To a lesser extent, the Pyre Tear and Fairy Tear can be considered a pair. Also, you can get temporary invulnerability by equipping a Lunatic Ring and a Peep Non, at least until the Lunatic Ring breaks.
  • If anyone knows what the Insanity Ring does, please inform me, as it is the only accessory that completely befuddles me as to its purpose.
  • Specific character recommendations:
    • For fighter characters, the Atlas Ring (doubles your strength) can dramatically enhance the power of your attacks and killer moves. This works best for characters who can equip the Pallas Athena (and maybe Odin's Helm), since it will counteract the severe elemental penalties that the Atlas Ring carries. Another good strength enhancer is the Might Chain, which gives 30% extra strength and a stamina bonus; certainly not as good as 100% extra strength, but there aren't any downsides. Wearing strength enhancers is especially important to Dias, who needs to do a lot of damage to counteract his small number of hits per killer move. His best weapon, the Crimson Diablos, acts as a free Atlas Ring. Wearing one Atlas Ring thus will give Dias 4x the strength. Two will give him 8x his strength, which no other character can match. With a decent strength stat, this translates to 9999 damage for every hit, or almost 40,000 damage for a 4-hit killer move! Watch your enemies fall within seconds -- if Dias can hit them, that is... Other accessories that increase strength include the Hard Ring/Earring, which gives a 30% increase at the expense of dexterity, and the Feet Symbol, which gives a 10% increase along with a 20% increase in dexterity.
    • Accessories that increase the number of normal attacks per swing are less useful, since not all fighting characters have good normal attacks. The best characters to use these accessories on are probably Claude, Ashton, Ernest, and Chisato. Precis and Opera are better at longer ranges with their killer moves, Bowman's normal attack is too pitiful to use effectively, and Dias's swing comes out too slow to catch faster opponents. Besides, after some experimentation I've found that Dias _can't_ have more than one normal attack, in keeping with his philosophy of few hits; equipping a Meteor or Slayer's Ring on Dias does nothing. On the other hand, you'll want to use normal attacks if you rely on canceling or if you have the Eternal Sphere for Claude.
    • The female characters can equip Earrings; Rena and Precis can wear a few, while Celine, Opera, and Chisato can wear the majority of earrings. Earrings usually have different variations on the normal accessories, and using them can free up vital accessories for the male characters. Notable earrings include the Gale Earring, which works just like a Meteor Ring; the Lunatic Earring, which works like an Atlas Ring, except it penalizes your dexterity instead of your elemental strength; and the Silver Earring, which gives 30% extra MP like the Luna Tablet.
    • Turning to defense, there are a number of items that give bonuses to your constitution and thus your AC. Talismans and the General's Ring will increase CON by 10%, and the General's Ring has a stamina bonus. The Leaf Pendant and the Ring of Sadness will increase CON by 30%. The Ring of Sadness has a corresponding 30% decrease in strength, but if you use it on a mage, it doesn't matter as much. The best of these items would be the Blue Talisman, which gives a 30% increase and a resistance to water, along with a small stamina bonus. This accessory is especially useful to Ashton, who relies on high defense to protect himself while he inserts himself into the enemy back line and when starting his killer moves, most of which have significant preparation times. The strength against water also eliminates his water weakness when using Melufa, his most powerful weapon. Ashton also has special accessories available for his dragons, the Salamander Helmet and Sacknoth's Helmet. These provide straight AC and avoidance bonuses which are quite nice, although Ashton's CON rating will eventually rise enough so that the Blue Talisman is more effective. The Blue Talisman is also useful in conjunction with the Right Cross; along with Reflective Armor, all the elemental weaknesses of the Right Cross can be accounted for, and the cross provides extra AC and avoidance along with its major effect (doubles MP) to supplement the effects of the talisman. [Edit: Equipping a Right Cross and Left Cross rocks, since they're intended to counteract each other, and you're left with HUGE status increases in all stats as well as HP and MP.]

Skill/Specialty Strategies

  • Perseverance comes first. Always. Get it up to level 10 before trying anything else. Once you do that, level up all skills as long as they cost 1 SP (this means you'll have most skills at level 2 or 3 with very low SP cost). Then go for all skills as long as they're 2 or 3 SP. After that, you go on to...
  • SPECIALIZATION. Item Creation skills can get you great items (for using or for selling), but don't bother leveling everyone up in every skill. There are a few Specialties that offer different items based on which character uses it: those Specialties are: Customization, Metalwork, and Machinery (that last one only makes different items for Opera and Precis). For everything else, you only need one person to know it. The skills that make up some of the specialties can still be useful (e.g. Herbal Medicine, Functionality, etc.) but you shouldn't learn them in order to get their Specialties.
  • You SHOULD, though, learn every single Skill (except Copying and Fairyology) at least to Level 1. That means your Super Specialties will instantly be up to level 2, and anyone who learns it higher than that will raise it more. Leveling up combat skills past the single-digit SP-cost range should wait until Disc 2.
  • About the item creation morph. This can be slightly useful when your item creation fails and you want to know what you were about to get! The morph passes through four stages. First it'll show the item you started with (Iron, Magical Clay, Material Kit, etc.). Second it'll morph into its final form (whatever you'll actually end up with). Third will be one of two things. If the item creation is going to fail, it'll be the item that WOULD have been made if it had been successful. If the creation will be successful, it's a failure item. ^^; Fourth is the same as the second stage.
  • Effort should be on the high-priority list as well. The more Effort you have, the faster you'll level up, the more SP you'll have. 8-)
  • If your item creation always fails, you're probably missing a needed Talent. However, note that missing a Talent isn't necessarily a bad thing! Keep trying (it'll take a while, if you don't have Orchestra) and eventually you'll learn the Talent yourself (see the Talents page for which Talents can be learned from which Specialties). And when you do, you get a free 100 SP!
  • As everyone knows, using Orchestra means you have an ultra-high chance of making an item. But first off, Orchestra only lets you do three (four if you're real fast) items per sitting. A much-aligned tune is Violin 2. While it doesn't have as high a success rate as Orchestra, it does seem to give you a higher chance of making *rare* items. Plus, it lasts through about ten items if you're quick enough.
  • To get your money's worth from Orchestra, try to have all the items you want to work with at the top of your item list. Problem, though, is that you can't sort them manually. Well, if it's a piece of equipment you want, just equip it on someone, de-equip it, then sort the items by New and it'll be at the top! For non-equippable items it's a bit tougher... just try to get one (by copying/item creation/buying/whatever) and sort by New to get the same sort of thing. 8-)
  • Machinery is super-useful for making item creation items like Antiseptic Gloves and Survival Kit which ups the chances of item creation. You can also use it to make Opera's and Precis's Killer Moves and weapons!
  • That's all I can think of for now. Got more? Let me know!

Misc. Strategies

Thanks to Edward Chang for several of these tips.

  • Easy Money. There's lots of ways to use Item Creation to get easy money.
    • The Tool Knowledge skill costs relatively little SP and raises the prices of sold items. You only need one person to level up in it, as well. The Identify All! super specialty can also raise prices of selling items and lower prices of buying items if you can do it.
    • Early in the game, try Cooking. Fruit can give you Aged Berry Juice (worth 5,000 FOL with no Tool Knowledge skill) and Meat can get you Baby Rabbit Risotto (worth 10,000 FOL). If an adult character knows Cooking, 'Ishidaya' Tea and Yaegaki Tea go for several thousand as well. Master Chef items go for even more!
    • Pickpocketing is also a great way to sell stuff!
    • They cost a bit of SP, but Metalwork and Art can sell nicely as well.
    • The Playfulness skill gives you money as you level it up; if you level it up to level 4, you'll have gotten 6,400 FOL! And it goes up exponentially. 8-)
    • Later in the game, buy a Lezard Flask and use Alchemy to make Sage's Stones, which sell for a cool 50,000 FOL each with Tool Knowledge at level 0!
    • Reproduction's also a nice way to make money if you've used a bit of Blacksmithing. Some equipment which sells sky-high is Jeanne's Shield (200,000 FOL), Sylvan Boots (110,000), and Wizard's Mail (96,000).
    • If you have Ashton and a high Customizing skill, go and buy lots of Scythers and Customize them with Damascuses (use Alchemy to get those) to make Melufas. You can sell them for a whopping 1,200,000 FOL with no Tool Knowledge skill!
    • One last way is using Publishing. If you manage to do this before hitting the Sanctuary of Linga and selling your books to the publishers in Lacour, then come back after getting to the last save point in Fienal, you'll make several million FOL from the royalties! There's also a publisher in Central City which will buy your books and give you royalties. However, the ones in Lacour let you also buy them back, which is useful for you (although selling multiple copies of the same book won't raise your royalties any).
  • Making The First Disc Way Easier: It'll take you about two hours at the start of the game, but you'll love it later on! First off, you MUST start the game with the Dexterity Talent. If you don't have it, restart. Next, continue on until you've finished Cross Cave. At this point, we want to get you to Pickpocket. However, the Bandit's Glove costs 40,000 FOL! Use a few of the Easy Money tricks listed above, like Cooking, Playfulness, and Metalwork (it'll take a while since you're so low on SP, but if you have the patience to teach a character a Talent s/he doesn't have, you'll get 100 free SP). Raise your levels in the Heraldry Forest in Mars to get the SP you need. The glove and necessary skills can be gotten in Herlie. Now go and do the Private Action in Clik, and filch the Mischief from Filia. BOOM, you've just gotten an awesome item that gives you a bunch of great items as you walk around, including (rarely) Forged Medals, which instantly puts one character within 1 EXP of leveling up!
  • Another Way To Make The First Disc Easier: This easier method of leveling up was sent in by Gilles Boulay: Don't buy any items; fight in Salva Drift until you get to level 8. Then once you get Portrait B, don't go to Cross, instead head to Mars and sell it for 1600 FOL. Then buy a Flame Blade for Claude in Mars. Killing enemies should be way easier, and in 1 hour you can easily get to level 20!
  • Yet Another Way To Make The First Disc Easier: After beating the Lacour Tournament of Arms and getting the Sharp Edge from Gamgee, save your game and have a character level up in the Radar skill. If you're very lucky, you'll get a free Mithril. Save your game and try again until you get another Mithril. Save again, and customize Claude's Eternal Sphere with a Mithril to get the Minus Sword. Save again, and customize the Minus Sword with another Mithril to get the godly Eternal Sphere! You have just whupped every single enemy until halfway through Disc 2. 8-)
  • Good FOL and Items: Before finishing the Sanctuary of Linga, try going into Lassguss Mountain and heading east to the sandy area. The monsters here are a bit tough, but they give nice FOL, and frequently drop Orichalcums and Damascuses! Once you're in Disc 2, a similar situation is in the icy area near Giveaway. Mountsnows drop Meteorites and Orichalcums, and Sabrebunnies give great EXP! The Survival Skill at level 10 with a Survival Kit seems to garner some nice minerals from here, as well. (Thanks to Chris Kallmeyer for that last tip.)
  • Easy Double Level-Up: This one was sent in by Callisto Dementia. This is a very cheap trick to level up a character fast AND to get a nice dose of SP, and it's worth it. (Sometimes.) It works best with a high Reverse Side level and someone good in Metalwork. Orchestra isn't a bad skill to invest in either, but then again it NEVER is. ^_~

    Have your Metalwork-savvy character create a Dream Bracelet. Then save your game––it's not necessary, but you'll see the reasoning behind it in a minute. Using the Reverse Side skill, create a False Medal(or more than one, if you want). If you use up all your Vellum Paper before getting one, it's better to reload and try again than to buy more and retry, since Reverse Side lowers your party's emotional levels and no one wants that. -_-;; [They can also be randomly dropped by the Mischief accessory for free - ed.]

    Once you have the False Medal(s) and the Dream Bracelet, equip the Bracelet on the character you're looking to level up/get SP for. Now use the False Medal on the character, and they will need only 1 experience point to get up to the next level. Engage in a fight with a random enemy and up their level goes.

    But wait, that's not all! UNequip the Dream Bracelet, and their reading for how much EXP they need to reach the next level should read 0. Fight another enemy, and they go up AGAIN! Voilá! Up two levels for minimal effort, AND two levels' worth SP! Great for leveling up a skill you've just GOT to have in a character, or getting a character whose level is low up to the same general level range as the rest of your party. And you can do it as many times as you want; just keep on churning out False Medals! Cheap, but good!

    Note that once you're over a certain level(I think 100), the trick no longer works. In fact, Forged Medals stop working at all!

  • After every important event, return to any cities you've missed and see if any new Private Actions have opened up. Try to get them all!
  • That's it for now! If you have more, E-mail me!