Character classes

#1KaskosPosted 5/14/2011 9:23:35 PM
Summer is here again! Last year I focused on a little hex editing but this year I think I want to find the quickest path to Baramos...been playing around with the classes, up to mid-game (up to the ship)...observations (up to level 15 or so):

1. The pilgrim class is awesome. Surround and Sleep are the best items of defense in the game. The pilgrim's strength is equal to the merchant and often just a bit behind the hero's. His equipment is even better in some ways, considering the Staff of Judgment. Their only real drawback is their low HP.

2. The merchant is a good punching bag, and that's about it. If you put them at the front of the party and have them parry, they soak up a fair amount of damage. Otherwise, weak soldier with no spells.

3. The game was made for wizards. The last position gets such a disproportionate amount of attacks, and the wizard's spells are so destructive. Icebolt hits 3x as hard as a soldier with the best equipment early on! Increase, though not as good as Surround, is still a life-saver.

4. Fighters...idk, i know a lot of people like them, but they are so useless in the beginning (up to Kanave at least). On such low levels, they rarely hit criticals. Their defense is as low as a wizard's, and their HP drags behind the other "fighting" classes. I would imagine they could save the party gold, but all this really translates to is no useable equipment. They get the +30 Iron Claw in Kanave, and this does give them a slight attack advantage over soldiers, but only until you get to Isis.

So now I'm going through this early part of the game with different party combinations. Right now, the best combo does seem to be the soldier/pilgrim/wizard.
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"Fortune smiles upon thee, Erdrick. Thou hast found the Herb."
#2slartiferPosted 5/15/2011 4:48:41 AM
Things change later on.

1. The Pilgrim is great early. The Pilgrim remains invaluable for healing, especially Healus much later on, but Surround and Sleep become fairly unreliable. (Also, unlike Surround and Sleep, multiple castings of Increase ARE cumulative, which makes Increase incredibly good.) Main problem is the Pilgrim stops getting weapon upgrades entirely halfway through the game, and starts to fall behind in Strength at about the same time, so the Pilgrim starts to look more and more like an FF1 White Mage.

2. Merchants have literally nothing to recommend them.

3. Wizards are fairly good. Their major problem is that elemental attack spells become frustratingly unreliable later on, which means that, like the Pilgrim, they have less to contribute to your party's attack strength than the fighting classes. However, Bikill and Increase and two of the best spells, which makes class-changing a wizard into something else after you get Bikill a great idea.

4. The Fighter vs Soldier debate has happened here many times, and Fighter always wins, although never by much. The Fighter has slightly lower attack at the start of the game, then comparable attack for a bit, then better attack for a bit, and a much better attack at the end of the game, taking criticals into account. The Fighter has a bit less HP, and fewer armor options, but since the Cloak of Evasion is one of the best, the only real weakness here is his inability to wear breath-halving armor. The biggest difference is Agility: the Fighter will pretty much always act first while the Soldier will pretty much always act last. This makes the Fighter's attacks far more valuable in short random battles, and in the early to midgame, it makes the Fighter a reliable Medical Herb user in boss fights.
#3AlgusPosted 5/15/2011 7:25:52 AM
The nice thing about Soldier is that you don't really need to go crazy with equipment and they still rock. You can end up buying Giant Shears in Isis and pretty much be set all the way until you find the Thunder Sword. So, really, I'd say it is a myth that the soldier is super expensive since your money is better spent gearing the other classes.

Orochi Sword/Zombie Slasher holds up fairly reliably until Alefgard, so Pilgrims/Sages aren't completely useless in battle.

While the Wizard spell list is undeniably useful (Increase is awesome), I don't find any of the spells are particularly needed before you get to Dhama. My feeling about it is save yourself the annoyance of a squishy wizard early on and plan to make a Sage when you get to Dhama. The merchant is actually useful here because his speedy level ups virtually insure that by the time you nab the Book of Satori, he will be ready to go for a class change.

Don't forget SpeedUp for Pilgrims either. Later on going first in the second/third round and being able to squeeze in an extra heal can end up helping you win a lot of fights. I just wish Defense was as reliable when you cast it as when the comp casts it on you.
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#4trancer1Posted 5/15/2011 12:44:00 PM
The Pilgrim is great early. The Pilgrim remains invaluable for healing, especially Healus much later on, but Surround and Sleep become fairly unreliable. (Also, unlike Surround and Sleep, multiple castings of Increase ARE cumulative, which makes Increase incredibly good.) Main problem is the Pilgrim stops getting weapon upgrades entirely halfway through the game, and starts to fall behind in Strength at about the same time, so the Pilgrim starts to look more and more like an FF1 White Mage.

This is why I almost always choose my Pilgrim for class-changing into Sage.

Yes, Merchants suck.

I find I can easily get by without a Wizard. Once I have a Sage, I can still get all of the useful spells.

To avoid the Fighter vs. Soldier dilemma, I take one of each.
Hero/Soldier/Fighter/Pilgrim(Sage) is a party bred for kicking ass.
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#5BrainMunchedPosted 5/16/2011 9:05:02 AM
Trancer has a good party there, though since you're talking about the quickest path to Baramos, I wonder if that should include the class change. (Very well might, still.)

Fighter does really stink early on. Up to the iron claw. But don't get too caught up in only what happens up to the ship. Necrogond and the run to it is a HUGE barrier. The same party that makes the earliest part of the game easy may be ineffectual for Necrogond. Just the walk to Necrogond is usually brutal. Frost clouds can annihilate you. Trancer's party is so good because the soldier will make the earliest part manageable while saving the fighter's ability for later. The single greatest thing in the game may be the fighter's attack power combined with (just almost) always going first. If you're relying on healing to get through Necrogond, you're usually in trouble. As always best to kill things before they get you.

It's an interesting problem, the quickest path...
#6Clairvoyant1332Posted 5/16/2011 4:25:49 PM
If I start with Hero/Soldier/Pilgrim/Wizard, I'll typically switch the Wizard to Soldier and the Soldier to Sage. That way, I have a Soldier which has Outside/Return as a backup along with a few other utility spells, and by not class changing the Pilgrim I get the good healing spells sooner.

However, if you want a surprisingly effective party, go with 3 Fighters. With 3 guys that always go first, and the Meteorite Armband on the Hero to bump him up, you usually end up killing everyone before they have a chance to hit you. Granted, this makes the Hero the primary healer once he gets Healmore, but it still works out great in the long run.
#7slartiferPosted 5/16/2011 4:41:07 PM
3 Fighters may be the party to go for if you want a _fast_ playthrough, as discussed above. Especially since most battles can be dealt with by holding down A!
#8Kaskos(Topic Creator)Posted 5/16/2011 8:33:42 PM
Since there are so many possible combinations, I broke the game up into pieces, and so that's why I'm only worrying about the ship first. Class change hasn't really come up yet. I suppose one sage will be mandatory, and the other decisions will have to wait until I get to them.

It might be alright to half a wizard's MP and turn them into a fighter/soldier, but until you get the Sage's Stone, I can't see that you'd really want to cut into your healing spells (three fighters?) As slartifer said, Bikill and Increase are the best two spells in the wizard inventory, and if you limit your expenses to that, 1/2 the MP might be okay, but I use surround, defeat, etc too much to do the same to my healer.

I got very frustrated with the fighter's lack of HP and defense last year when I played through. A soldier can be placed on the front row to soak up some damage, but not a fighter. If the agility weren't capped at 255, it would be a different story, and the Meteorite Armband would then be the class's best armor, but that isn't the case. IIRC they have about the same defense as a merchant. Not good.

The party combos I want to try are:

Soldier/Pilgrim/Wizard
Fighter/Merchant/Pilgrim
Soldier/Pilgrim/Pilgrim
Soldier/Soldier/Pilgrim
Fighter/Fighter/Pilgrim

...so I'll see how it goes, trying to get the quickest time to Baramos.
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"Fortune smiles upon thee, Erdrick. Thou hast found the Herb."
#9slartiferPosted 5/16/2011 8:56:24 PM
This myth that the Soldier has better defense than the Fighter continues to mystify me. In the mid-game, Fighters will often have HIGHER defense due to the Armband -- and they are WAY more survivable when you take the Cloak of Evasion into account. In the early game, Soldiers will only have a real advantage if you buy armor for them but you don't buy Cloaks for your Fighters, or do something silly like buy Fighting Suits instead. And in the late game, the numbers are pretty much comparable.
#10Kaskos(Topic Creator)Posted 5/16/2011 9:23:20 PM
Late game:

Soldier:
Swordedge Armor: +55
Shield of Strength: +40
Iron Mask: +35
Average agility at level 35:= 36pts.

which is 55+40+35+18 = 148, which /4 is 37 points of soaking.

Fighter:
Cloak of Evasion: +20
Average agility at level 35: = 169pts.

which is 20 + 84.5, which /4 is 27 points of soaking, with a "1/5 chance" of dodging. But if the meteorite armband is equipped, then the agility would be 255, so you would actually soak up around the exact same amount. And past level 35, the advantage would only increase for the fighter.

Wow, good stuff.
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"Fortune smiles upon thee, Erdrick. Thou hast found the Herb."