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    Power Levelling Guide by IanMustela

    Updated: 03/03/04 | Search Guide | Bookmark Guide

                Makai Senki Disgaea (Disgaea: Hour of Darkness)
                         Power Levelling Guide
                           Created by: IanMustela
                  |  M. Ian Graham                     |
                  |  ianDIE_SPAM_DIE@purpleferret.net  |
                   Originally Created on August 14, 2003.
                   Current version 1.0, August 14, 2003.
    Yet another quick-and-dirty Disgaea guide.  This time, a brief roadmap of the
    best maps in the game for power levelling, plus general tips and tricks.
    No plot spoilers.  I may add to this guide in the future to include more tips
    and methods for levelling.  This guide is based on my personal experience--if
    you have any corrections or feedback, or any additions you think should be made,
    please let me know!  Make sure to remove the anti-spam exclamatory from my
    address if contacting me via e-mail.
                                   Section 1
                              Power-Levelling Stages
                              (and how to use them)
     Episode 5, Stage 3
        This is the First Great Levelling Map in the game.  I personally recommend
        avoiding serious levelling (beyond what's necessary to get you through the
        plot alive) before reaching this point, because the rate at which you
        gain levels will make any power levelling before this point feel like a
        waste of time.
        Once you reach this stage, it's difficult to miss its potential for
        experience-filled goodness assuming you make two observations:
        (1) Everything except for a character or enemy located in one specific panel
            is invincible.
        (2) Throwing one enemy into another produces a new enemy whose level is the
            sum of the previous two enemies.
        The method for power levelling here should be immediately obvious.  Throw
        enemies together until you've obtained one of the desired level, then throw
        this enemy into the one non-invincible panel.  Smash it.  Repeat as desired.
        The only thing to watch out for is that an enemy may become impossible for
        your characters to damage if made too powerful--if this happens, you get to
        reset/give up.  Also, if you get to the point where combining all the enemies
        produces something too weak for your needs, you can remedy the situation by
        raising enemy levels through the Congress.
        An additional tip here--there tends to be a single enemy on this stage which
        has particularly low defense compared to the others.  Using this one as the
        high-level target will make it easier to damage and thus speed up the
        If you have any trouble progressing through the plot before Episode 10, this
        is the map to fall back to and build yourself up.
     Episode 10, Stage 1
        This map is similar to Episode 5, Stage 3 in that it has a huge amount of
        space covered with invincibility and thus can be used to tackle very strong
        enemies produced by combination as in the above.  However, it's less easy to
        deal with than the previous map due to its layout and the type of enemy:
        leaving multiple ones around often results in their killing each other off
        with area-of-effect attacks before you get the chance to grab the experience.
        It's hard to recommend spending a lot of time here, but if you find yourself
        very weak at this point in the game (before the next stage listed) it may
        help to hold you over for a little while.
     Episode 12, Stage 3
        Yet another stage which can be used for levelling via invincibility and
        enemy combination.  This one is much, much more useful than 10-1.  The
        enemies yield a lot of experience, and it's easier to control them this time
        The obvious first step here is to make a mad dash for the ally-damage symbol
        at the other end of the map and get it out of the invincibility region.  A
        single character with high movement (try a ninja) can make it there in a few
        rounds (stay in the invincibility region to avoid getting smashed by the
        enemies!) and complete the throw without any healing.  After this is done, you
        can proceed in much the same manner as the previous stages, combining enemies
        and defeating them as you see fit.  There are a lot of enemies to deal with,
        so levelling here will be very quick.  This is a great stage to fall back to
        if you have trouble later in Episode 13.
     Episode The Last, Stage 1
        Finally time to abandon the invincibility trick--this is definitely the best
        levelling map of any of the main plot stages.  The enemies yield a lot of
        experience, and the experience bonus here will speed things up even more.
        There's no funny strategy or anything here--simply smash them to bits, and
        use the Congress to make them stronger as needed.  A little bit of work here
        will get your characters up to around level 150 (and able to handle the next
        map listed here) in relatively short order.
     Cave of Trials, Stage 3
        Get ready to see a lot of this map.  The enemies here yield more experience
        at a given level than any other enemy type in the game, the experience bonus
        pumps that up further, and to top it all off they're lined up in a very
        convenient fashion for you to knock them down in record time.  You can always
        take them out one at a time, but if you have a sufficiently powerful
        character with a 3x3 area-of-effect attack (swords or fists come to mind),
        you can smash them all in a single attack and level disgustingly quickly.
        This map is the best place to level until your characters are somewhere in
        the range of about level 2000-2500.
     The Item World
        After a certain point, there's simply no non-random map in the game that'll
        get you experience at the rate needed to build towards the 4000-6000 range
        which you'll need to be at to finish the hardest maps in the game.  The maps
        leading up to them don't beat the ease of experience gain offered by the
        Cave of Trials level above, and you've already maxed out enemy difficulty
        and the guys there just aren't cutting it anymore.  Though there are
        higher-level guys at other non-plot dungeon levels, they don't give a whole
        lot of experience, and things seem to slow down.
        What to do?  Use the Item World!  There's no specific strategy at all--just
        pick an item with high-level enemies and slash your way through, using an
        exit door when you can't last any longer.  Progressing through items which
        you actually intend to use will give the time spent here more purpose as
        well, since you'll be gaining item levels and innocents in addition to
        Note:  Be careful with finishing Legendary items, as it will affect your
               ending.  See my Ending Guide for details.
                                   Section 2
                            General Levelling Methods/Tips
     Tip 1:  Use Experience Bonuses Wisely
        It's easy to ignore experience bonuses in items, but using them well can
        greatly accelerate your levelling.  A single item resident can yield up to
        a 300% gain in experience, meaning the character using it will level four
        times as quickly.  This bonus "stacks" with experience bonuses from
        geosymbols, so combining the two will really get you built up fast!
        Hunting down experience bonus innocents is well worth the time it takes,
        both for the increase in bonus when they're defeated and for the ability to
        move them to other items.  Earlier in the game, it's a good idea to
        consolidate experience bonuses, producing a single item with a very large
        bonus, and to use this item to concentrate on levelling a single character.
        This item can also be equipped and unequipped during battle to give the
        bonus to different characters at different times.
     Tip 2:  Follow the Leader(s)
        It's often a good idea to have one or two of your favorite characters use
        bonuses and take on high-level enemies to build themselves up very quickly.
        The reason for this is that once a high level is reached by even one
        character, it becomes very easy to bring much weaker characters up to speed.
        The method for quickly levelling weaker characters is simple--just have them
        participate in a team attack against a strong enemy, with the attack made
        by the stronger "leader" character.  The leader will take any damage from
        counter attacks, and even if the weaker characters miss or deal zero damage
        they still receive even shares of experience.  When attacking a very strong
        enemy in this manner, it's common for level 1 characters to gain several
        dozen levels in a single blow.
        A few preparations will make this process easier.  First, it's a good idea
        if your leader character either can kill the target in one strike or has
        no counter attacks--a counter attack which kills the enemy will result in
        no experience for the weaker characters.  Also, it's good to raise the
        chances of the weaker characters participating in the attack as much as
        possible--therefore, you'll want them to be equipped with the same weapon
        as the leader (how much damage they deal doesn't really matter, so no worries
        if they're terrible with the given weapon type).
        Finally, a good way to make this method very quick and completely safe for
        the weaker characters.  Keep the leader within one turn's distance of the
        starting panel (as walked by the weaker characters).  Before the leader
        attacks, deploy the weaker characters, moving them next to the leader.
        Attack, destroying the enemy and receiving the experience.  Finally,
        cancel the movements of the weaker characters, recalling them to the safety
        of the start panel.  This way, they receive experience without the
        possibility of taking damage and without even using their turns!  With
        multiple leader characters close to the start panel, the weaker characters
        can even participate in multiple attacks every turn.
    Tip 3:  Last but Not Least
        An alternative method for quickly levelling weaker characters is to combine
        a number of factors to have them deal a large amount of damage to a strong
        enemy they normally couldn't take on by themselves.  Aside from common-sense
        factors (using a good weapon with ATK bonuses, using Braveheart, lowering
        enemy defense with axe attacks), there are a couple possibilities.  One
        obvious one is first eliminating most of the enemy's HP with a stronger
        character.  Another is to have the weaker character be the last attacker in
        a long queue of attacks fired off in sequence--this will give some extra bite
        to their attack and often enable them to deal damage when they normally
        Whether this method or Tip 2 yields better results is debatable.  Tip 2 is
        the obvious choice for extremely weak characters who won't be able to deal
        damage to strong enemies no matter what (or will be too much of a pain to
        bother with).  This method may be more effective for moderately advanced
        characters who still have some catching up to do, as killing a stronger
        enemy on their own will keep them from sharing experience with others and
        probably advance them more quickly.
    That's about it for now!  Until the next update, thanks to:
    Ayndin for suggestions for Tip 3 and various other tidbits
    Nippon Ichi Software for an incredibly awesome game
    and Atlus USA for bringing it to the States as a bilingual release!

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