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Forsaken Lover
08-07-2015, 07:40 PM
So once upon a time, this game was my favorite FF. However it's been many years since I last played it and my affection for it has waned. However, over the course of the last couple years, mods have gotten me to reply FFVII and FFVIII. And so I thought "maybe it will be the same for IX." And here we are.

http://www.insanedifficulty.com/board/index.php?/files/file/28-final-fantasy-ix-unleashed/

See, even when I was a mega FFIX fanboy, I didn't like the gameplay much. I'm hoping this mod will remedy that.

Funnily enough, I bet this mod is for people who have 100%'ed FFIX and know everything about it. Me? I never did much of anything except the main story.I never beat Ozma, I don't have the faintest clue where the ultimate weapons are... No wait! I did Chocobo Hot n' Cold all the way to the end I think... Do you get an ultimate weapon from that? God it's been so long.

Don't tell me where the ultimate weapons are though! I wanna try and do some of this stuff on my own. Do tell me though, are they intuitive? Like, will I find them if I do a healthy bit of exploration? Or will I absolutely have to end up consulting a guide?

Well I know all about Excalibur II but I don't even count that at Steiner's ultimate weapon. That's just dumb.

Anyway, this is where I'm at in the mod at present. I just beat Black Waltz No. 1 and Sealion.I was worried about that fight since it's no joke in the original and this is a difficulty mod.

1. I was Level 5

2. I made sure to go into the fight in the back row ('cuz of Sealion's Wing attack)

3.I made sure to go into the fight right at the edge of Trance. I had it picture perfect too. First attack from Sealion sent me right into Trance Mode.

4. In this mod he actually has you start with the Dyne skill Scoop Art, probably to compensate for situations exactly like this. You also get Tidal Flame but while that kills BW#1 and does serious damage to Sealion, Sealion WILL immediately kill you after this because it will use Tsunami and then another move before you can do anything else. Combined with the initial attacks from Sealion and BW#1's only attack, you are a goner.

5. So plan was to kill BW#1 immediately with Scoop Art, then steal Ether and Myhril Dagger from Sealion. Don't even TRY to steal items from both BW1 and Sealion, if they start to double team you, you are screwed.

6. I tried to beat down Sealion normally but there is a problem. A little thing called Blizzara + normal attack. Combo pretty much guaranteed to kill you if you aren't at absolute max HP. I ended up just feeding Zidane Potions constantly until he got Trance again and then using Scoop Art to kill Sealion in one blow.

Also if you read the mod description, it talks about how he wanted to make more weapons viable for later game.It's a pretty neat idea. He put a lot of really useful Abilities on starter equipment. Steiner's Broadsword has Counter! So I'm gonna be using that for a good while to learn that.

Forsaken Lover
08-09-2015, 06:36 AM
FFIX Mod Report if anyone actually cares to know about it:

So I've never used Quina unless I had to and I certainly never went around collecting Blue Magic. But given that this intended to be hard, I suspect the maker of the mod counted on you not only recruiting Quina as early as possible, but collecting all his/her abilities. Some of these early ones I know about because of LPs.

First one I got was Aqua Breath because it's right there in Qu's Marsh. It costs 15 MP.

Then I got Mighty Guard because those scorpion/lizard things are easy.. It costs 50 MP.

Next I got Angel's Snack from those dragons. Those things can be really easy or really hard. Their Flame attack is guaranteed party wipe except for Freya who has way more HP than everyone else. To beat them I started off by having Vivi cast Sleep. There's quite a bit of luck involved, such as hoping Vivi gets his turn first and that if the dragon gets its turn it does something else. Then I had Quina cast Mighty Guard to try and protect us from Flame. Only the dragon never did it...it used its weak ass physical attack or Thundara. Thundara still kills whoever it hits but one KO is nothing. Vivi's Blizzard does about 200 damage Dragon seems to have maybe a little more than 1000 health so no big deal. Angel Snack does Remedy on all which sounds pretty useful.

Finally I got Flare Star from the Axe Beaks. Now I thought Flare Star was just a move Trance Kuja used! I had no idea I could use it...unless this is a mod thing. I was outside Lindblum by Pinnacle Rock stealing Tents from the big insect things (because Tents cost an arm and a leg and Gil is a precious commodity so far. Also as far as I can tell, Tents only heal half your HP and MP so you need to use two of them to get back to full) and then I thought "I feel like these birds can teach me something..." And they did. It costs a whopping 80 MP though.

Level 9 Quina only has 61 MP so Flare Star is a bit out of my reach and Mighty Guard is a one time only deal. Unless I want to use my Ethers, and I'm never going to use my Ethers. Ethers are like Exlixirs, items I'm overjoyed to get because "I might need them in an emergency." Then, even if an emergency happens, I still don't use them because "what if I need them later?"

So far Vivi is the real damage dealer. He does great damage against monsters with elemental weaknesses obviously but Drain, which you get off Steepled Hats, does about 200 a shot and only costs 15 MP out of his pool of 85 MP. Of course, Level 11 Vivi only has 233 HP so that may be required just to survive, as opposed to its usefulness in terms of offense. Zidane and Freya have over twice as much HP as him while Quina had 407 HP. As I said before, first time playing this game in forever so I'm not sure if stats have been drastically altered in any way. I gave Vivi the Glass Buckle though as it ups his Magic Evasion to a whole 7. Isn't that amazing? It still beats the 3 everyone else has. I don't feel like making any more of the Buckles...maybe one more but I'm trying to conserve money. I'm not sure how useful Magic Evasion is anyway.

Testing it out just now on some random monsters outside of Lindblum, Zidane normally does about 120 with The Ogre. Freya does 140. With MP Attack, Zidane does 160. He got MP Attack off his starter Dagger. Still, I never have that on unless it's during a boss fight. The two of them do more damage than I first realized. I've leveled up a bit since leaving Lindblum and those two levels helped a lot. Thank god for that little spot with the rare coffee and the healing spring. Also thank you game for showing me that in an ATE.

I started Chocobo Hot 'n' Cold, which is as awesome as ever. I got a bunch of Chocographs I can't get to yet. Still, the first Chocograph is pretty great. The HP+10% off the Germinas Boots was a great thing to give Freya. I would have Freya using Cover to protect Vivi but right now we are surviving on Potions. If I had a dedicated Healer I wouldn't mind but if she keeps taking hits for everyone she's gonna die really fast.

Gizamaluke's Grotto was a wonderful home of Blue Magic and I think it's Blue Magic unique to the mod. I didn't even remember this from a guide, I just thought a couple enemies looked like they might yield skills to learn and they did. Firstly, some sort of skeleton thing taught Pyro, which is described as 'A weaker version of Flare." After that I ran into the Lamia which used Might on itself. I'm pretty sure Might is what I'm supposed to learn from it as well. But what I ended up learning was "Level 3 Def-less" which is pretty self-explanatory. All enemies with levels that are multiples of 3 have lowered defense. I don't know how useful that is going to be but it's there.

Now Gizamaluke itself was pretty easy. In fact, should anyone else play this, this is how you win. Focus 4 times on Vivi and then just keep using Drain. Does between 480 and 510 damage. Gizamaluke, at least in the mod, seems to have about 3000 HP. As I stumbled into the boss fight with Vivi about to go Trance, I can kill the guy in about 6 turns. The only complications arose, and I can't tell if this is a problem with the mod or not, is that Gizamaluke will sometimes counter with Silent Voice. Key word is sometimes. I don't know what determines it. Sometimes it felt like countering, sometimes it didn't. It seems like it should have been a constant counter which is why I'm wondering if the mod did it. Another problem is that, towards the end of the fight, Gizamaluke will choose to spam nothing but Water attacks on your entire party. Everyone should survive the first attack but he spams it so good luck surviving the third or fourth. As far as I could tell, the only way to survive with everyone alive is to kill it before it can wipe you out by constantly using that move. Luckily Quina had Pyro and that is my best attack by far, dealing 700 damage. It only costs 30 MP too so you can use it at least twice.

So the only reason the fight took me a billion attempts was I wanted the Ice Staff. I stole it on my first attempt but then I ended up dying because I was stupid and wasted Quina's MP on Pyro to start off with. What you should do is cast Mighty Guard to start off with. That is what I planned to do but then I decided to kill it fast and this was before I knew Vivi could win on his own. Anyway, on every subsequent try when I did start off with Mighty Guard, I could absolutely not steal the damn staff. Far from getting it on my first attempt, I couldn't even get it on my 10th. I killed Gizamaluke so many times without that staff so I just kept reloading. Sometimes it killed me because of its damn Water all move. On my truly successful attempt when I did get the staff, I save stated after getting it. I felt guilty but I had already won the fight. Vivi can win the fight all on his own. There's nothing wrong with save stating in such a situation.

But yeah, this is pretty fun and different from what I remember. I'm kind of dreading Beatrix because that fight is just running out the clock, right? You don't even have to do damage? The mod does not lend itself to long battles. I'll probably have to waste Ethers to get Mighty Guard up a second time at the very least. Freya does have her regen move but it's really not worth much. I guess I'll just have to keep everyone on Potion duty while Zidane steals and then wait until it's over with.

EDIT:

Luckily Beatrix wasn't too bad. Had everyone in the back row, started off with Mighty Guard and then just had Zidane steal from her and that was about it. Goth both items with only a single try each. Vivi kept dying because she used both her Shocks on him and even when I revived him she would immediately attack him again. It was kinda funny after a while. Still, it all went pretty smoothly. The fight was nice and short. I was afraid I'd have a longer clock to run out.

Forsaken Lover
08-10-2015, 12:42 PM
So I totally spaced on the fact you can bring Kupo Nuts repeatedly to that moogle in the Grotto and keep getting items from him. I've never done this before and just heard about it in LP's. Is it worth it? I already fucked it up but I guess I can try to head back there after we get to Lindblum and before we head for the Outer Continent.

Also I must correct my earlier statement about the Armor abilities. As far as I can tell, there was NO single-target Protect or Shell abilities in this game. Even Garnet's Protect and Shell spells have auto-target on the whole party. I'm pretty sure this is an addition to the mod? Probably to make the buffs not last as long? It's kind of irritating. Garnet doesn't have enough MP to be wasting 25 MP on protection that will only last a couple turns. I've learned about the relation between Spirit and buff duration so my only hope is that once Garnet gains some levels, her Protect and Shell will be a lot more...cost effective. It doesn't help she's only Level 8 (and that was with me grinding for Tents outside Dali) while my main party are all Level 13.

So I haven't talked much about the story. I gotta say, I'm liking Freya more this time around than I used to. I'm actually curious, do we ever find out what happened to Fratley? Do we know what gave him amnesia?

And the more I think on that, the more I realize there are a lot of things I don't really know. Like, what was the deal with Quan? Quale clearly knows him, and the one thing in Quan's Dwelling makes it seem like he was going to eat Vivi....

I would be happy just being told where to find these answers, if they exist in the game somewhere.

The escape from Alexandria Castle was an absolute nightmare. Those big white things do 300 or 400 damage a shot, have a move that can sleep you and their Thundara does about as much damage as their physical attacks. They can easily kill Freya or Beatrix in no time. I finally just settled on using Climhazzard the first fight then feeding Beatrix an Ether the start of the next fight and using Climhazzard again. You will get stomped if you let the fight last more than a couple turns. If there was any other way to win, I don't know what it was. That whole bit really came down to the AI being mean or nice to you and nothing more.

Lani was a bitch of a boss. Her magic is instant kill unless you have Shell up and while Garnet is strong enough for Shell to last...oh, 3 or4 turns, it still costs 25 MP and she only had about 70 MP. She's obviously lagging behind in levels, although in Fossil Roo I got Fairy Earrings with Level Up which will hopefully help her catch up to Zidane and Vivi. Anyway, back to Lani. Apart from her Water-all move, she will focus all her fury on Garnet and Garnet alone. It was a rather sad state of affairs with Garnet dying, being revived, dying again, revived, dying, continue until end of battle. She took one for the team this fight.

I fought Lani several times to get all her steals but had to give up eventually. This is something I've done for Gizamaluke and the Antlion but I don't think I'll ever do if I find a particularly hard boss or one with story importance. Lani is the first boss I just said "aww, screw it!" Her rare steal is the Coral Sword which I got on my first attempt a couple times. Only, on those attempts, I then had a lot of trouble getting the Gladius. Now, I know Gladius is a weapon for Zidane and I'm gonna go out on a limb and say Coral Sword is a weapon for Steiner. I also know Steiner is absent the entire rest of the disk so the priority is rather apparent. Person in party for several boss fights and dungeons or person not going to be around for like 5 hours?

It was totally worth it too since Gladius teaches Zidane Free Energy. This is something the modder mentioned, he gave Zidane soem of his Dyne moves as regular Skills. I think this was a smart idea because, did Zidane in the base game have any good offensive Skills apart from powered up Thievery? I remember always thinking his abilities were kinda useless...

Speaking of stealing everything, I also got an Oak Staff from the one snake earlier on. Vivi learned Bio off it and he continues to bemy main powerhouse. Two Focuses and Bio on Lani = 1200 damage a pop. True, he can only use Bio 3 times before running out of MP but the point remains, he does way the fuck more damage than Zidane does. Boss fights are really just "have Zidane steal while Vivi focuses and then Vivi annihilates the boss."

Is this how it was in the normal game? Does Vivi stop being that useful later on? I'm kind of thinking Lulu in FFX where she's a lifesaver for the first half of the game but by...I think the Calm Lands you can totally phase her out of your main party. I wonder if a similar fate awaits Vivi where he stops doing way more damage than everyone else. I'd really like Zidane to be able to do at least half as much damage as Vivi.

So FFIX is kind of a short game. I didn't recall that. Disk 1 has nothing on FFVII's Disk 1. Even with all the grinding and some optional stuff I've done, I'm only at about 20 hours. I'd be truly surprised if I reached 100 hours by the end of this. I guess I'll just have to wait and see.

Leaving all the Outer Continent stuff till tomorrow.