Update time!

Since I didn't get any takers on what to do for classes, I opted to make Butz and Faris deal with the new classes. I only have two available Bard songs but Charm and a group Regen ability are not bad starts. I have a better selection of Bows so Hunter wasn't a big deal to get started on. I did head back to the library top pick up the Moon Flute Blue magic, but that won't be useful until later.

Before I tackle the desert, I need to get a few things out of the way that slipped my mind. I head back to the Jachol Region to visit the town for one of the piano's and to pick up an upgrade sword for any Knights on my team. The rest of the gear in town is mostly what I found in Crescent so I'm good on that front. There is a hilarious fourth wall breaking dance sequence by the piano, and I'm sad the dancer tradition ended in FFV. Most of the town folks talk about the ruins and mention the connection the town, ruins, and Crescent island have with each other. Man, you've got to love the ancient civilizations the permeate this series. I mean seriously, I don't think there is a single entry in the series that doesn't have a minor or major subplot deal with an ancient civilization who is magically more advanced than modern society. FFII might come the closest if you want to ignore the Ultima spell quest.

Anyway, I dive back into my farming cave to pick up a few things. If you spoke with the townspeople or simply grinded long enough to notice, you'll find there is a simple trick to the switch puzzle in here. If you simply wait long enough, the fake switches all disappear temporarily to reveal the one true switch. There is not a whole lot going on in this dungeon which is likely why I ignored it my first time through. The area has the early makings of what will become the Phoenix Cave in VI with all the switch puzzles and the empty treasure boxes. There are three treasures to be found in the deepest part of the cave, assuming you didn't let Lone Wolf the Pickpocket out of his prison cell. One is a minor item, another is a free shuriken which is nice since they are not cheap in this game, and the last is the Blitz Whip which is a pretty snazzy weapon for the Trainer/Beastmaster class. Once this is all done, it's time to flee before I get a party wipe from a Skull Eater Now it's time to progress the story and tackle the Desert of Shifting Sands. If I'm going to be honest here, I hate this place. Largely because its filler. There are no treasures, all of the enemies only carry basic consumable items, no blue magics, and there is a gimmicky sliding floor puzzle which you can largely ignore until you have to come back here in the third act. Not to mention you can still have random encounters while the sand has you uncontrollably shifting to your destination.

When you enter you can't make head way thanks to the shifting sands. Mid and Cid arrive to explain that the solution is a simple matter of summoning the infamous Sandworm in the region and murdering it to use it's corpse as a bridge. Have we discussed how metal Cid and Mid are in this game? Course that's easy for them to say, the Sandworm is generally the first boss in the game that gives players a tough time assuming they didn't try to tackle Shiva as soon as she's available. The Sandworm is the first battle that will teach you how much of a bad idea putting the ATB speed to its highest setting is. As I mentioned before, the battle speed only affects how often enemies get their turns, not how fast your own battle bar moves like in VII and VIII. Sandworm has a ton of health and appears with three holes. He'll pop his head out and only then can you actually damage him. So this is basically virtual whack-a-mole, but with the speed cranked up, he will start switching holes really quickly which will likely mean you'll miss him quite a lot. If you fail to hit him, or heaven help you, you try to cheese him with black magic/summons, he'll counter with Demi. His other attack is Quicksand which inflicts Sap. Not a good combo for party health. He hits pretty hard as well so trying to play this as an endurance match like it's meant to be is a fool's errand. There are two really easy ways to deal with him. If you bothered to pick up some Water Scrolls on your journey and happen to have a Ninja on the team, two of these should be enough to finish this boss off. The other easy win is to simply remember how I made it a point to learn Aqua Rake earlier in the game? Well this attack will OHKO this guy. This is because Aqua Rake has a funny algorithm where it gets to do additional damage to any enemy that falls into the Desert classification, which this guy does as well as everything else in this area. Sadly this boss only gives us a measly 5 ABP and has no items to drop or steal. Kind of a rip off for a boss that usually gives newbies their first ass whooping. If you head straight south, you'll find the exit to reach the lost city of Gohn. If you bother to head west/left like I did, you'll wander over to the Pyramid, which is a dungeon in the third act and is locked currently. The enemies in this area are annoying, give little in the way of XP/Gil, and ABP so it's not worth spending any more time here than you really need to.In my next playthrough, we'll explore Gohn and see if we can't find a missing daddy and maybe rediscover some ancient lost tech that might be useful like say an airship... Any suggestions on which classes I should pick next should be?