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Pre_PHD_Lee 4 months ago#1
I remember seeing this years ago, I think from Nintendo Power on the Power Challenge Cards they issued at one point, and thinking I'd really like to try that someday.

After doing a myriad of challenge quests on various NES Dragon Quest games, I decided it was time to finally hunker down and do it.

It was actually some months back that I started it. I alluded to it in a few posts here and there on this board. I was having a hard time pushing through the Marsh Cave and Earth Cave, unwilling to sit and grind out my levels if I thought I could progress organically, but also bored of how many forays I was actually making that weren't yielding much, if I survived at all. I was going weeks or longer without making substantial progress.

Then I finally beat Lich about three weeks ago, something clicked, and the whole rest of the game slid into place.

I've never actually done the game out of sequence before, except maybe doing the Ice Cave before Gurgu, but I decided it was a good time to try, understanding how useful spell items would be for the remainder. Once I grabbed my first set from the Ordeals Cave, I basically didn't look back. I did everything left outside the three Fiend dungeons in a single weekend, and then did all three of those the next weekend.

I went all the way to Chaos, but it turns out the high-20 level range I did everything else with was not enough to actually stand up to Chaos. I did some reading, found a recommended level of 42, and spent this last week fighting the Eye over and over (something I've actually never done for grinding before, but everything I read about it here made a compelling case). Last night, I started the last dungeon at level 39, hoping to gain some levels en route, though I estimated poorly and had to grind out 1.5 levels after Tiamat. (I also mistakenly stepped off of Tiamat's tile the wrong way and had to fight it twice.) As soon as one of my characters hit 42, I handed them the Masmune and went on.

I wasn't sure on the odds against Chaos at this level, but I did manage to beat him on my first try at that level. The HP gains between 27 and 42 are pretty significant, and I had plenty of spell charges by this time for HEL3. (To preempt the response to this, I actually skipped HEL2 because I don't like using beneficial bugs in my challenges if I think I can avoid it. I had one character learn it to use it out of battle, though I'm not sure if I ever actually used it.)

It still came pretty close. He used CUR4 only about three or four rounds in. I read that he uses the same pattern each time and I could see that he was only a round or two away from casting it again when he finally went down. I think at one point I went four or five straight rounds with less than 10 damage on Masmune, even though most attacks were much higher than that. I might have still been able to go through everything a second time, but it would have been a lot more tenuous to be sure.

Glad to finally tick off one of my long-time aspirations from my youth. You know, it's a little surprising how difficult it was to find resources for this. The 4 white mage guide on this site is actually a 4 white wizard guide, but I wanted to keep it pure, knowing if I could do one I'd never feel the need to prove the other. Someone posted a speedrun topic a while back which gave me the level 42 number to give the Masmune an extra hit (far be it for me to think I could easily do better than a speedrunner). I guess that, aside from that, most of it was straightforward to figure out from general tips I've read applicable to most runs.

It was kind of fun. White Mages are terrible offensively, but I never really realized just how strong their defensive capabilities are. Assuming enough spell charges and/or the right items, their only real threats are strong magic users that resist mute (i.e. Chaos and not much more). If you've got the patience to fight the individual battles needed, they're not bad at all. I don't think I lost a single boss fight the entire game, aside from the last one. Even a few Fiend fights that managed to kill two or more guys before I had my defenses up still ended up with drawn-out victories.

I'm moving on to resume my playthrough of Final Fantasy II, and from there to replay the rest of the series. I'm long overdue a revisit to what used to be my favorite game series. But I'm also going to take a side trip and try out a game I've never played past the opening scenes: the Origins version of this game. And after that, (no offense to any vets here) I'm gonna try out Dawn of Souls for my first time, too. I might even try and visit the new Pixel Remaster. I feel bad about being a fan of this game for so long and never playing any other version of it.
May someday resume the quest for higher education, or else change my name here. Won't stop playing games either way.
beege_man 4 months ago#2
Congrats! Enjoy FFII and Origins when you get back around to it. I really like Origins.
L44 482/482 9/9/9/8/8/8/8/7 Int/MDef: 58/106
HDCEA: 116-111-106/51-53-46/3-4-6.5/83/43(37) Resist: Ice/(Fire)/(Lit)/Death AtkElem: Ice-Fire-Coral
Jay_Shaw 4 months ago#3
Yes, congratulations, Pre_PHD_Lee! I would never have the patience for a White Mage-only run due to their generally terrible offensive capabilities. I highly recommend the Origins version of the game - even though the difficulty level is noticeably harder than the original version of the game (something I think you might actually view as a positive), the improved graphics and soundtrack are really awesome in my opinion. I also appreciated the fact that the developers eliminated some of the bugs which were in the original version of the game and made it so you can carry more weapons/armor, purchase several copies of an item at a time, etc.....

--Jay
hexagon_hero 4 months ago#4
Wow, grats!

I don't see myself ever trying 4 White Mages / Wizards in the real game, but might do it on restored or something sometime.

I don't know just how many foes were mutable before, it does sound like a fun ride; if you can deal with the pace.
Diamond_Dragon 4 months ago#5
Nice job! White Mages are so much fun. The poor enemies keep trying to hurt them and just can’t get the job done. It doesn’t really take too long if you find good places to grind (Mummies and ZomBulls), and then run from most time consuming encounters in the dungeons. That way you don’t lose much progress if you die near the end of a dungeon.

I did this challenge before I knew that RUSE could stack, and got so crazy pumped when I got past the Wizards in the Marsh Cave. It really surprised my brother who had never played the game without a Fighter before.
Pre_PHD_Lee 4 months ago#6
Yeah, the above advice would be good, especially near the beginning. I'm a player that usually likes to fight every battle I think I can win, and I really had to fight down that instinct for this challenge. Especially for the Earth Cave. Even at max level each character gets nine ruses tops, and you often need at least two to avoid taking a fair bit of damage. That basically forces you to run from everything you can in the Earth Cave and save your spells for the encounters you can't run from. That was surprisingly difficult to make myself do.

Although truthfully, once I cleared the Cave of Ordeals, I didn't have to run so much anymore, and with healing items I didn't have to rely as much on Ruse. So I started fighting most encounters at least once, learning to run mostly from just the tedious ones (although it so happens that several of the most tedious ones are actually the unrunnable ones...).

Once you get the white shirt you can basically clear nearly any battle at full health using no magic if you feel like taking the time to do so.
May someday resume the quest for higher education, or else change my name here. Won't stop playing games either way.
Pre_PHD_Lee 4 months ago#7
hexagon_hero posted...
Wow, grats!

I don't see myself ever trying 4 White Mages / Wizards in the real game, but might do it on restored or something sometime.

I don't know just how many foes were mutable before, it does sound like a fun ride; if you can deal with the pace.
What's a little more surprising is just how few enemies actually use magic in the game, and how few of those use spells you can't heal from in just one round.
May someday resume the quest for higher education, or else change my name here. Won't stop playing games either way.
FreshFeeling 3 months ago#8
^ but when they do, it can be pretty noticeable!

Congrats on the finish. I hate those big roadblocks; it must've felt awfully good to beat Astos.
The feral chocobo calls with a boisterous "wark," not the domestic breed's mild "kweh."
https://www.twitch.tv/freshfeelinggaming
Pre_PHD_Lee 3 months ago#9
^That's true too. As an example I didn't mention before, on my final post-grind final dungeon approach I actually lost three times to gas dragons on the third floor because of basically this.
May someday resume the quest for higher education, or else change my name here. Won't stop playing games either way.
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