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BLUE DRAGON - XBOX 360 (JAPANESE VERSION)
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Bari-Barrier skill guide - efficient category ranking.
Version 0.1
(c) 2006 dobuita_bin_man (email dobuita.binman@gmail.com)


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THANKS
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Hironobu Sakaguchi, Akira Toriyama and Nobuo Uematsu.
Mistwalker, Artoon and Microsoft Game Studios.
Blue Dragon is a superb RPG and with a bit of success it will open doors for
many more RPGs, especailly JRPGs on the 360.

To the BD GameFAQs board members who helped a lot of people who imported this,
including me. Especially theonejin1 (essential skills guide!), solid872,
naalmaro, wintercat, FictionFaction and any others who answered my queries or
posted helpful tips.


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LEGAL
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This short guide can be distributed as long as the author's name remains but
please email me to let me know. Commercial use is strictly prohibited.
Corrections and suggestions can be emailed to dobuita.binman@gmail.com and
I'll do my best to keep this guide as up-to-date as possible. Please do not
email asking for translations or help with other parts of the game - use the
GameFAQs Blue Dragon message board for that. Any emails of such context will
be disregarded.

If any GameFAQs board member wishes to use part, or the whole, of this guide
in another Blue Dragon guide or walkthrough for GameFAQs, please do. I don't
mind as long as a credit is given. You do not need to ask permission although
you can drop me an email to say it's been incorporated if you like but it's
not necessary.


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NOTES
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This isn't meant to be some huge, in-depth long-winded guide. It's just a few
tips on how to save time maxing out Shadow categories, thus opening all
skills, whilst hopefully enhancing your enjoyment of the game. I've yet to
finish the game at the time of writing (Dec 28th 2006) so some parts may need
amending.

I'd written a little about the uses of Bari-Barrier in a thread so before it
disappeared, I thought a summary in a guide would be useful for future
players. This is based on the Japanese version of Blue Dragon so things may be
a little different in the NA and PAL releases (whenever they happen).


*****!!POSSIBLE SPOILERS ARE IN THIS GUIDE!!*****

If you are not on Disc 3, you may wish to wait before reading although I've
been as discreet as possible.


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VERSION HISTORY
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0.1 Birth (28th December 2006)


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TABLE OF CONTENTS
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zx01 - Bari-Barrier
zx02 - Acquiring the Skill
zx03 - Ranking Up
zx04 - Torippo
zx05 - Using Bari-Barrier
zx06 - SP Boosting Accessories
zx07 - Ranking Up Quickly
zx08 - Active and Passive Ranking
zx09 - Rank 99 and Achievements
zx10 - Ranking Locations
zx11 - Disclaimer


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zx01 - BARI-BARRIER
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Bari-Barrier is a Field Skill gained by ranking up the Barrier category. It
comes in three levels (1, 2 and 3) and, particularly at level 3, can
accelerate your Shadow's category rank at a tremendous rate.

Be aware that Bari-Barrier only work on monsters who are of a lower level than
you - if you encounter a stronger monster with it activated the monster will
simply break the barrier and enter into battle with you.


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zx02 - ACQUIRING THE SKILL
--------------------------
OK, as mentioned Bari-Barrier at Levels 1 and 2 are too costly in the MP
department for them to be useful over extended periods - getting Level 3 is a
priority and key to unlocking the choices for your characters.

First decide who will be your first Bari-Barrier caster, thus who will equip
the Barrier Shadow category. Take into consideration that you will be using MP
when using Bari-Barrier.

Next, unlock Barrier category for that person if they don't have it available.
New categories are unlockable every 10 Character Levels you gain (10, 20, 30,
etc). Got the Barrier category unlocked? It's the blue electrical ball. Good.

Now it's time to Rank it up. You need Rank 50 to get Bari-Barrier Lv.3 so
let's get started.


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zx03 - RANKING UP
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Most battles, if not all, give out SP when you win. SP boosts your category
up. At first ranking up is easy because of the low amounts of SP needed to
rank up. Ranks require more SP to go up to the next level the higher your rank
is.

There are two ways to rank up Barrier. First is by standard fighting and
winning battles to gain SP. Second is to boost the Rank of a category by
exchanging Medals (you wondered what they were for right?) found on your
travels with a character who appears and disappears - his name is Torippo. He
wears a green jacket and has a head what could be described as a gas mask. He
shows up after various events have occurred so save up those medals (see
TORIPPO LOCATIONS below).

Swapping medals with Torippo will rapidly accelerate your Rank. I used all of
my 250 medals collected at the time on Barrier. Each time you buy, the cost
increases by two medals. Eg, first purchase costs 2 medals for 1 Rank up,
second costs 4 medals to Rank up, third 6, etc. You can still easily get 20+
worth of Rank ups from 250 medals which you use when the total of Barrier Rank
+ Barrier Rank Ups = 50. It's easier to rank barrier from 20-30 than it is
from 40-50 so make the most of the +1 Rank Ups.

To be sure, if you have exchanged your medals and have 18 Barrier Rank Ups,
fight standard battles to gain SP until Barrier is Rank 32. Now use you 18
Rank Ups from Torippo and you'll have Barrier Rank 50 and, therefore,
Bari-Barrier Lv.3. That's the hard part done (whoo!).


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zx04 - TORIPPO
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Usually Torippo disappears after you've finished buying. Although you can only
buy one Rank Up at a time DON'T COMPLETELY EXIT HIS SHOP until you've bought
all you need! If you need to find Torippo, it's best to continue with the
story and he'll show up soon enough.

Cannibal Forest - 
Gibral Castle - near the warp point
Underground - just before the exit to Ancient Factory
Nolita Village - After getting access to the exit
Seabed Cave - near the entrance

There could be more and I'll update if needs be.

The green-jacketed-gas-mask-wearing midget is a great guy to help you unlock
Bari-Barrier Level 3. When you speak to him, his shop lists the bonuses he
offers. As well as category rank ups, he offers permanent stat boosts. His
list is in this order (it is shown in Japanese in the game):

Sword (+1 rank)
Arour (+1 rank)
Monk (+1 rank)
Assassin (+1 rank)
Black Mage (+1 rank)
White Mage (+1 rank)
Barrier (+1 rank)
Power Mage (Status)
Combination (Extra Skills/accessories (+1 rank)
HP (HP +3)
MP (MP +3)
ATK (Attack +1)
MATK (Magic Attack +1)
DEF (Defence +1)
MADEF (Magic Defence +1)
AGI (AGI +1)

So you want Barrier, just count to the seventh item down and exchange. Repeat
until you have enough Rank Ups or have used your medals. You can revisit
Torippo later with more medals you find and buy other categories to boost
later Ranks (90+) that take longer to Rank manually. Or just buy stat
boosters.


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zx05 - USING BARI-BARRIER
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So the hard work is done and you have Bari-Barrier Lv.3 available. In the
Field, sssign it to a Field Skill: hold Right Trigger and scroll down. Select
either Left or Right shoulder button and then select your character with the
Bari-Barrier skill.

Next make sure your characters have the correct category selected that you
wish to Rank Up.

Now press either Left or Right Shoulder Button (depending on what you assigned
it to) to activate Bari-Barrier. It costs 5MP to 'cast' at Lv.3.

To use it, you simply 'run over' an enemy and the announcer will say 'DEAD'
and you'll gain SP. Depending on the level of the monster relative to you, it
will award either +1 SP, +2 SP or +3 SP. Each hit uses 1MP from the character
who has activated Bari-Barrier. This means finding monsters which give +3 SP
per 'kill' is more efficient time and MP-wise. +2 shouldn't be that hard to
find, +3 is more difficult (see end notes which contain a location - possible
spoilers).

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zx06 - SP BOOSTING ACCESSORIES
------------------------------
As you may know, if you rank up the Combination category it allows you to 
equip extra skills and accessories to your characters. And here's the good
part: there are SP boosting accessories in the game. To be precise accessories
that double the rate you receive SP! This is perfect for turning that already 
nice +3 SP per kill into a massive +6 SP. Now there's no reason not to get 
Rank 99.

The accessories I've found are available later in the game on side-quests so
it's not that much of a concern early on. It is also possible to buy from a 
shop (check if it lists no apparent stat boosts). You'll know if you have one 
because it'll mention SP in the description when you try to equip it.

Remember, these are Special Accessories not standard Arm, Finger, Ear or Neck.

So not to spoil any sub-quests, two I have found look like:

A brown ribbon (has no other stat boosts)
An empty/glass necklace (also boost AGI +35, MP +50).

Unfortunately the accessories do not stack so even if you equip two SP
boosting items on the same character, they still get double.

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zx07 - RANKING UP QUICKLY
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The key to ranking quickly is SCENT. What is scent? It's a status that your
characters get by either equipping certain items or using items. It's
side-effect is that it gives away your location in the Field making it easier
for enemies to find you. This makes them spawn faster and this is good for
ranking quickly.

I got my party equipped with 2 or 3 special accessories so they gave off scent
making enemies re-appear almost the instant they die. You will rank up
categories to 30-36 in no time which is all you need to get key skills like
auto-revive, counter-attack, double cast, Lv.6 spells etc.

To rank up with as little interruption as possible, have your Bari-Barrier
caster loaded with MP boosting accessories and skills (the Black Mage skill
set has +25% and +50% MP skills). You can also equip an MP recovery Field
skill which will replenish you MP if you move around the Field.

Try to find a place near a Town with an Inn. If you run out of MP, go to the
Inn and rest overnight for 20-30G instead of paying for MP replenishing items.
You can bring MP items back to the Field if you have enough Gold and want to
minimise time further.

In short:
1. Give off Scent
2. Find 2SP or 3SP per kill enemies
3. Use Inns
4. Use special accessories to double SP rate (possible +6 SP per kill).

PLEASE NOTE: If you use an Inn it will clear your scent. To get scent back,
simply unequip and re-equip your accessories. You may also need to exit and
re-enter the world map to make enemies spawn again. Could be a bug, I'm not
100% sure why this happens. To save all this use MP Regen.

---------------------------------
zx08 - ACTIVE AND PASSIVE RANKING
---------------------------------
ACTIVE RANKING - means you're there moving the controller looking for enemies.
Quicker than passive but requires you to be in control. MP Regen will prolong
bouts of levelling.

PASSIVE RANKING - this is possible! First you need to find a 'safe zone' where
either only enemies of one type spawn or all types of enemies that spawn are
defeated by your Bari-Barrier. With this location found, you can effectively
rank up without even being near your 360!

You stand in a spot, whilst giving off scent, cast Bari-Barrier. The enemies
will spawn, detect you, attack and be defeated by your Bari-Barrier. You get
the SP. Enemies respawn and the cycle goes on.

Things to note:
1. Make sure your categories are above rank 50 to prevent the 'New Skill' menu
appearing.
2. Fill your MP bar as much as possible.
3. Give off scent as usual.
4. Equip SP doubling accessories if you have any. +6 is nice, really.
5. Do not have any skills that scare off enemies.
6. Unequip counter-attack skill.
7. Disable the screensaver in the 360 Dashboard!
8. Save regularly.

At worst, you will run out of MP, your barrier will break and a battle will
commence. If you're not taking the first turn, it should still be almost
impossible for you to be killed before you get a turn. When you do, the game
effectively pauses whilst it waits for you to pick an action. Just don't equip
the counter-attack skill. Just don't forget to save every once in a while.
360s are known to crash, overheat and alot worse!

Here is a link to a picture of my party static ranking. It was taken whilst I
was writing this guide =)

http://img153.imageshack.us/img153/4270/barika8.jpg

As you can see, my HP and MP are messed up because I'm ranking non-main
shadows by... standing there. Even though it says +3 SP, two members of my 
party have SP doubling accessories so they earn +6 per kill.


-------------------------------
zx09 - RANK 99 AND ACHIEVEMENTS
-------------------------------
There are various achievements unlocked throughout Blue Dragon and some are
linked to category ranks. If you reach Rank 99 for one of each character's
categories, you will unlock an achievement. You also unlock a further
achievement if you reach Rank 99 for ALL CATEGORIES for each character! That's
9 categories to Rank 99 and this is where passive ranking can really help.

For the single 99 rank achievement, this can take maybe an hour or two if
you're ranking on +3 SP enemies.  Multiply that by nine if you want the
ultimate all rank 99 achievements but considering you only have to refill MP,
it's a possibility. If you have 999MP, that equates to almost 3,000 SP points
which even at high ranks is worth 20-30 rank ups!

Each of the five characters gives 30 points for one category to rank 99 and a
further 50 points if all categories are at 99.

NOTE: I found that if you rank to 98 and use a Rank Up item from Torippo to go
to 99, the achievement doesn't unlock. I don't know why but it didn't.
Luckily, that was for a single rank 99 so I just switched to a new category
and did that which unlocked the achievement.

My advice would be to use any Rank Up items up to 98 and then passive rank the
last one. Or active if you want to speed it up.


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zx10 - RANKING LOCATIONS
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********POSSIBLE SPOILERS*********

I did a few levels outside Mitsuma Village against the blue bears and other
monsters which gave +2 SP per 'kill'. Some monsters were too strong (Turtle
creatures) so I active ranked this part and just ran away from any Turtles.

After that I played a little further into the story. It opened up the whole
map.

Once you get the Mechat airship, there is a small village (Kelaso) west of
Nolita Village that has monsters that give 3SP at around character Lv.50 - it
is the area in that picture aboive. Near the village is a small hill by the
sea - great for passive ranking. It took about an hour before I had my main
Shadows at rank 99 and from there you can passive rank all categories to 99 if
you wish.


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zx11 - DISCLAIMER
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Yep, there's always one. I take no responsibility for any damage caused
directly or indirectly to any hardware or software when using this guide. If
your 360 dies because you were passive ranking or whatever, it's not my
problem!