I've seen lots of discussions regarding the optimization of a single stat for Serah/Noel, as well as those regarding people who just did "whatever" and later wondered if they weren't optimal. However, there's one build I haven't seen anyone claim to try.
What if someone didn't focus on optimizing a single stat, but instead attempted to optimize all of them? The idea here is to create two balanced characters who can perform roughly equally in any Paradigm, barring the influence of specific skills/abilities in the roles themselves.
I'm guessing that this could be accomplished, or something close to it, by giving every role an equal number of Large Nodes. Given that we have 197 Large Nodes to play with, that would mean giving every role 32 Large Nodes, with a few left over afterwards. Variance would naturally occur through SAB and SYN, but I think the end result of doing this would be: Both characters have somewhat higher HP than a single stat optimized build and their other stats would be close to equal, their natural Strength/Magic advantages notwithstanding.
I'm currently going for this on my first playthrough. After all, the one thing I always keep seeing is that it's impossible to screw stats up so totally that the game becomes impossible :)
Not to discourage you but this will make your characters weaker. If you character has 1300 mag and 500 str for example, they will have 1300 mag for their commando and ravager roles. If you have 700 in str and mag for example your just weaker in both roles, not only that but it would cause you character to alternate between physical and magical ttacks which i recently learned slows down your chaining. Just some stuff to think about.
Assuming that general stat growth is "equal", Serah should still have 90-100 more Magic than Strength and Noel will have 150ish more Strength than Magic due to their base stat growths. Is that enough of a discrepancy to avoid the alternating behavior?
Upon thinking about this more, there really are far too many bonuses going to Health and not Stats. 64 nodes increase health(more if SYN levels are wrong!), instead of 128 points going into stats. Bah! Maybe this isn't such a good idea after all.
Now, I've certainly closed off the "optimum" path, but a little doing can probably put Serah's Magic and Noel's Strength near or over 800, but not at their max, if I wish. Noel is actually really well off, except for a few COM levels in small nodes; he hasn't had a chance to screw up SAB levels yet. He can probably break 800 Strength. Serah's lost at least 14 levels for Magic increases, not including bad SAB levels and small node RAV levels. I'll estimate that she's lost at least 50 Magic, probably more.
Overall, this seems fixable :)
That I don't know for sure, I think so but I''ll definitely let one of the experts handle that question. just wanted to make sure you under stood for example that a commando can do well with high strength(attack) or high magic(ruin) and same goes for the ravager. So by evening your stats you aren't making them more well rounded, your just making them weaker at everything.
Sure Noel might become a slightly better medic, but Serah will become a slightly worse Saboteur. And they will both be worse commandos and both be worse ravagers.
Yeah, thanks for bringing that to my attention. The main damage dealers can use either Strength or Magic without sacrificing much. I edited my previous post to brainstorm how much I can skew toward the optimum at this point, given that I'm not terribly far at the moment.
That's true the game isn't that hard and your stats will be fine no matter what, but I'd still try to avoid too many HP bonus'. Some people build them opposite too. Like a Magic Noel and a Strength Serah and that works too. I haven't tried that myself but I'm too busy enjoying the end game building monsters and collecting adornments that I have really no desire to play through again and try it.
EDIT: And there are always accessories to help you make tweaks here and there!
If you really want balanced stats you can use Serah's Nagaraja which raises her strength to match her magic and Noel's The Tower which raises his magic to match his strength. You can win them both from the Kalavinka Cup and Proudclad Cup (respectively) chocobo races in Serendipity.
Just go double magic humans. Serah with max magic, and Noel optimized in Magic.
If you're interested in playing around with various crystarium builds, I highly recommend the PSSR to set you up for easy experimentation (you can ignore the "speed run" part). Preserving crystarium flexibility is one of the primary goals of the run.
You can find general information here, including a full walkthrough for the PSSR: http://etrosgate.com/ffxiii-2/challenges/pssr
And there's a thread about it on this board: http://www.gamefaqs.com/boards/619315-final-fantasy-xiii-2/66291955