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Overall, Magic does not seem very useful in this game

#1elite_marksmanPosted 5/13/2014 3:18:18 PM
So, I'm at the temple of the ancients on my first run through the game. And I don't think any of the typical magic spells like Fire, Lightning, etc have been all that useful. Certainly much less useful than in other FF games. Enemy Skill seems to be significantly better.

I think one of the biggest reasons is the existence of the All materia. That's pretty much the only way they become practical in normal use. And even then, enemy skill is better. You got spells like Trine that are cheaper than level 2 elemental spells, do more damage, and hit everyone. Pretty much only reason to use an elemental spell over that is when you have an enemy weak to a particular element. And it seems like a waste of space having them equipped knowing you're not going to be using them much.

Support magic seems alright though. Yeah, Enemy Skill has big guard, but sometimes you just want haste on your party without such a huge MP cost.

So, outside of Enemy Skill, are any of the offensive materia actually good? Although maybe it's not so much those offensive spells are bad, but rather enemy skill does it so much better.
#2colon_threePosted 5/13/2014 4:41:50 PM
They're more useful as links to Elemental or Added Effect materia than anything else. You're pretty much spot-on that for actual casting, Enemy Skills are almost always better (and are among the most useful abilities in the game).
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#3Number154Posted 5/13/2014 6:14:46 PM
I don't think it's so much that magic isn't useful as that the enemy skill materia is massively OP (why yes, I would like to be able to do everything with one materia slot, thanks for asking!), but I guess that's six of one half a dozen of another. Some of the skills, like big guard, are unlikely to be found on a first playthrough without outside help unless you're very thorough, but that's a small factor for balance, and some of the better skills are actually kind of hard to miss if you're being even remotely thorough even without outside help.
#4joeygerald805Posted 5/13/2014 6:31:19 PM
Yeah, I do think a lot of the balancing of enemy skill comes from not realizing its power on a first playthrough. There's spells like beta, which under normal circumstances you'd never be able to get from the Midgar Zolom and survive, and others that you wouldn't really think about unless you made a real effort to collect and test out enemy skills.

If you're following a guide or have deep knowledge of it, it becomes immensely overpowered and makes using anything else for spell casting pointless.
#5TheOppositePosted 5/13/2014 6:58:06 PM
The level 3 spells are useful later in the game in spots. Bolt 3 is good for machines and Fire 3 is good for ice-type enemies, and the Sea Worms near Mideel can be easily killed by Ice 3 if your magic power is high enough.

Ultima is pretty awesome, as is Comet 2, and Cure 3 is good. Before getting a Ribbon the Resist spell is nice to have in the Battle Arena.
#6Number154Posted 5/13/2014 9:27:42 PM
joeygerald805 posted...
Yeah, I do think a lot of the balancing of enemy skill comes from not realizing its power on a first playthrough. There's spells like beta, which under normal circumstances you'd never be able to get from the Midgar Zolom and survive, and others that you wouldn't really think about unless you made a real effort to collect and test out enemy skills.

If you're following a guide or have deep knowledge of it, it becomes immensely overpowered and makes using anything else for spell casting pointless.


I think it's flawed anyway though, either you don't collect E. Skills and it's useless, or you use a guide/are super completionist and make sure you manipulate every enemy and see every enemy on every terrain and its overpowered. The theory that enemy skills should be better than normal spells because you have to hunt for them is flawed because you still have one materia slot giving you incredible versatility that would normally take several slots.

There are two ways to look at it. One is to say that E. Skill is like KOTR - obviously unbalanced, but only abusable by completionists/people using guides, and that's okay because JRPGs are supposed to beat themselves for you if you know what your doing, while still providing a reasonable challenge on casual first time playthroughs. Looked at this way, collecting E. Skills is no different than grinding - it's something you can do to make the game easy, but not something you're supposed to do in a normal game unless you have to.

The other way is to say that E . Skill should be balanced, but I honestly don't know how to do that. Aside from making E. Skill take up seven materia slots and having there be only one in the game, a materia that gives you healing, attacking, buffing, status removal and more just is so much more than any other materia. Maybe if they made all the E.Skills cost ridiculous amounts of MP or limited you to using only one E. Skill per battle. Or maybe they could have made a "learner" E. Skill that spawns a new materia the first time it's hit with a new E. Skill attack, and the new materia grants only that one skill.

Also, Magic Hammer shouldn't be a thing no matter how you look at it. It's not as bad as osmose was in ffvi, but the extent to which osmose broke that game (quick -> ultima -> ultima wouldn't be even a tenth as broken if osmose didn't exist) should have taught the game designers that free mp destroys any semblance of balance.
#7Number154Posted 5/13/2014 9:30:17 PM
I want my edit button activated so bad, so many typos!
#8VeghEstherPosted 5/14/2014 6:45:11 AM
Well Trine is still better then Bolt and Beta will outdamage Firaga on enemies weak to fire.

So my only magic that isn't KoTR abuse is from Beta/Trine/Aqualung and White Wind for healing.
#9The_Beta_MalePosted 5/14/2014 8:06:45 AM
was never a big fan of enemy skill and to this day i will only acquire skills that you kind of get "naturally" anyway--stuff like Aqualung, L4 Suicide, Death Sentence, Trine, etc. I don't ever actually go out of my way to find or manipulate creatures to see if they have specific abilities because frankly I do not care. Only once in my entire life did I acquire Big Guard or w/e it's called on an FF7 save file (presumably because I looked where to get it first) and it only took a few uses to realize how boring and broken it would make the game.

Honestly, forget what this topic says--magic is great, far more useful than in FF8, at least. Feel free to use Enemy Skill but don't overdo it like so many people do. You will get plenty of useful spells just by fighting all the random battles and bosses you come across normally, so just go with that. It has the extra benefit of making the default stuff like Fire/Ice/Bolt more useful, and that's always a plus.

AND ONE MORE THING. I know Fire/Ice/Bolt are like, the most default spells in the game and are, thus, not very powerful but y'know what? I always liked at least equipping Cloud with them because I dunno, I always remember that one scene with young Cloud & Sephiroth and Sephiroth is just destroying s*** with Fire3/Ice3/Bolt3/etc. and just looked so f***ing cool doing it, so whenever I play through FF7, more than likely I have Cloud equipped with Fire/Ice/Bolt + all on each, just 'cause, I dunno, I'm weird like that and I enjoy weird things that only I can really understand.
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#10Atomos199Posted 5/14/2014 8:18:51 AM
Number154 posted...
Or maybe they could have made a "learner" E. Skill that spawns a new materia the first time it's hit with a new E. Skill attack, and the new materia grants only that one skill.

This would have been a very simple and elegant solution. Great idea!
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