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User Info: KevinReconAlpha

KevinReconAlpha
3 months ago#1
I've worked off and on on a patch for this game for the last few years. After a recent bout of iterations i'm really happy with where it landed. It's intended to be "polish" patch that attempts to clean up/rebalance/modernize various aspects of the game without making any sweeping overhauls. Here's some info:

General Info -
  • Set level cap to 50. 99 is pointless since the game is beatable in the low 40s and this keeps characters (especially Deis) from being easily made OP.
  • Lowered the encounter rate. Did not modify XP or Zenny to compensate as I wanted to keep the game somewhat difficult and low level.
  • I didn't touch the script itself, but I did significant cleanup on names of spells, items, and locations to make them more consistent and less engrish. I re-standardized certain things that were silly in the original like having a shield/head slot items use "AR" in their name. Spells use their BoF 3/4 names and Bleu is Deis.
  • I modestly buffed offensive magic across the board (most spells do 5-10 more base damage which helps ensure it is competitive without breaking anything.)
  • I reworked resistance on some armors to offer more accessible magic def. For example, the WitchRB (HolyRB) sold in Wyndia provides Fire and Holy protection.


Characters -
  • Ryu and Rand represent the optimal baseline for balance in the game and so they have not been modified
  • Katt is really good - the only change I've made was give her slightly more HP so that she can tolerate the front line a little better. She's still below average in HP but is now at least higher than Nina.
  • Bow is good for most of the game but his late game growth is terrible and he ends up as one of the weaker members despite being the best healer. I've buffed his strength growth a bit (+20 by lvl 50) so he remains a somewhat competent fighter. CureX also takes 40 instead of 50 AP now.
  • Jean has always been a tad underrated, but he really wants a bit more Strength, so I buffed his strength in a way comparable to the one Bow got (+20 by lvl 50).
  • Spar is arguably the worst character, but he's also pretty easy to fix - I gave him Cure3 and Hail, and I also buffed Shield to target the whole party, which makes it a far more valuable end-game spell. He also learns Cure1 and Cure2 at lower levels than he did originally.
  • Nina is not bad but she suffers heavily from Deis's presence both mechanically and thematically. I left her stats alone but significantly altered her spell list to give her a more fitting "storm/holy mage" theme rather than a "pure black mage" theme. She still favors offensive magic, but she loses access to Fire/blast spells, Death. and Leech, and instead picks up Sleep/Silence, CurePsn/Heal, and Cure 1,2, and 4 on a slower progress track than other healers. Frankly, I never understood the point of giving her Bomb/Missile/Fireball in the 50s as that's beyond the point you'd normally beat the game, and the higher you go out of your way to level the more supplanted she gets by Deis.
  • Sten is also on the weaker side and suffers mostly from his magic side being underdeveloped. I wanted to shift the theming a little between him and Nina, letting him take on more of the warlock/black mage archetype without giving up all of his fighting prowess. He as always specializes in Fire and blast, now to Nina's Ice and Lightning, and he picks up a number of black mage spells including Smoke, Death, Sap/Leech, Curse, and Boombada with a corresponding wisdom and AP boost.
For Deis, the above changes to Nina and Sten make her more unique as the all-out sorceress of the game with unbridled elemental access as well as Might. I added 8.0 to her spell list as well, which she gains on her first level up. So the only issue is fixing how game-breaking she is. I increased her starting level to 40 and lowered her starting stats substantially (incidentally, this made setting her starting XP at 666,000 appropriate, which is a bit of an easter egg for her character archetype). This works surprisingly well. If you get her as soon as you can she's powerful but not game-breaking and she develops slowly. if you get her late game she starts weak but develops very quickly. At 40, she's statistically comparable to Nina at around level 20. By level 45 she's like Nina at 40, and by 50 she's significantly ahead of Nina in physical stats and Wisdom while Nina is slightly ahead in AP, Agility, and Luck and far ahead in Guts. Overall, the two of them are very competitive with one another and also complement each other well, and this is true whether or not Nina is shamanized.
(edited 3 months ago)

User Info: blaisem

blaisem
3 months ago#2
I like the first 3 general info changes. Not sure how I feel about the balancing since most of it seems to be buffs and the game was already on the easy side, especially for veterans, for whom I assume the patch is aimed at since you removed the main black mage unless you´re already aware of how to acquire Bleu.

It's nice to see a new take on the game though. And it's fun to discuss balance ideas. Speaking of which...

I think the modest Bow and Jean changes are nice, although a bit more Holy emphasis on Jean would have been cool for his identity, and probably double the strength buff. Another major issue with Jean is how slow he levels. Strictly in terms of balance, the strength buff and a kinder leveling curve are all he needs.

For Spar and Bleu, I think you only really needed to take out Bleu's attack up and lower her base strength and AP, and give her standard scaling. This opens up a niche for Spar as the only person with attack up. It´s the best spell in the game. With Freeze and especially Hail, Spar would be a tremendous asset. Cure 3 on top is just huge overkill.

In general, I don´t really like the idea of cure3 and cure4 being handed out so carefree. Healing is a passive and boring way to make a character relevant, and limiting healing protects the dedicated healer archetype. More archetypes leads to more stimulating party creation. Like my first thought is to ditch Bow now that Spar goes up to cure 3, and just double Spar with Nina. You've got two cure 2 on your team for much of the game, strong status removal, and then later a cure 3 and cure 4. You could even run Rand and break the game. I think Spar and Nina are too jack of all trades with the healing. I would have liked to expand Nina's presence by making Will more reliable, so she can actually be the only character to cast spells freely every encounter, although with a lower encounter rate maybe this isn't as relevant.

For Sten, the AP and Wisdom would be enough. He's very close to being good, just outshined by Katt because he can't leverage his magic with such poor AP. I think his fire identity was already enough for him, since it's also how he bonds. Speaking of Katt, I don't understand the buff since she's already the best in the game.

Then again you can also acquire items for attack up or anything else, really. Items and cooking are so powerful that balancing the characters seems not all that relevant.
(edited 3 months ago)

User Info: KevinReconAlpha

KevinReconAlpha
3 months ago#3
blaisem posted...
I like the first 3 general info changes. Not sure how I feel about the balancing since most of it seems to be buffs and the game was already on the easy side, especially for veterans, for whom I assume the patch is aimed at since you removed the main black mage unless you´re already aware of how to acquire Bleu.

It's nice to see a new take on the game though. And it's fun to discuss balance ideas. Speaking of which...

I think the modest Bow and Jean changes are nice, although a bit more Holy emphasis on Jean would have been cool for his identity, and probably double the strength buff. Another major issue with Jean is how slow he levels. Strictly in terms of balance, the strength buff and a kinder leveling curve are all he needs.

For Spar and Bleu, I think you only really needed to take out Bleu's attack up and lower her base strength and AP, and give her standard scaling. This opens up a niche for Spar as the only person with attack up. It´s the best spell in the game. With Freeze and especially Hail, Spar would be a tremendous asset. Cure 3 on top is just huge overkill.

In general, I don´t really like the idea of cure3 and cure4 being handed out so carefree. Healing is a passive and boring way to make a character relevant, and limiting healing protects the dedicated healer archetype. More archetypes leads to more stimulating party creation. Like my first thought is to ditch Bow now that Spar goes up to cure 3, and just double Spar with Nina. You've got two cure 2 on your team for much of the game, strong status removal, and then later a cure 3 and cure 4. You could even run Rand and break the game. I think Spar and Nina are too jack of all trades with the healing. I would have liked to expand Nina's presence by making Will more reliable, so she can actually be the only character to cast spells freely every encounter, although with a lower encounter rate maybe this isn't as relevant.

For Sten, the AP and Wisdom would be enough. He's very close to being good, just outshined by Katt because he can't leverage his magic with such poor AP. I think his fire identity was already enough for him, since it's also how he bonds. Speaking of Katt, I don't understand the buff since she's already the best in the game.

Then again you can also acquire items for attack up or anything else, really. Items and cooking are so powerful that balancing the characters seems not all that relevant.

Fair points, but a couple of things to keep in mind - first and foremost, the lowered encounter rate forces you to go out of your way to grind if you want to afford all the best shop equips or keep the same level game rate as the original game. This results in the game overall being harder, not easier. Unless of course you grind a lot, which is always an option you have in RPGs.

Second, I neglected to mention that I did actually nerf a few pieces of equipment I felt were overkill in the original (including the EmpireSD.) and I also raised the price of healing items in shops so that resources were not naturally so plentiful.

Third, I haven't spread healing as much as you think. I don't consider giving each to one additional character particularly carefree. Nina is not intended as a full healer - she only learns Cure 1 at level 14 and Cure 2 at level 26. She's only intended to be able to support a party with out of battle healing, not act as a full party healer. I actually waffled a lot on whether to give her Cure 4 or not and ultimately I may end up removing it.

I considered removing Atk up for Bleu, but the truth is I just kind of like her having it. Atk up and Shield are both easily available with items (something I'm considering removing) so it's not a good way to make sure a character is balanced. I am feeling out whether Spar is overloaded as I'm not sure that I disagree with you there. I considered giving him Cure 3 only and not Hail.

Katt's HP buff is pretty immaterial in the grand scheme of things. She's not the best, IMO - Rand and Ryu are. She's just really good. I merely wanted her to have a bit more HP than Nina. But at lower levels than the original game there are areas where she just cannot survive in a more forward position with her HP total.

The changes I made to Sten were both for mechanical and flavor reasons. I really wanted him to feel like more of a black mage and Nina to feel a little less like one. I didn't mention that I did lower his strength just a little as well as I just prefer that flavor for him.

The problem with Bleu is that it is not possible to give her standard stat scaling because she doesn't have a stat table in the game's rom (technically, it is possible, but well beyond my current skill.) This means having to work with her having numerous +15 jumps. The way I calibrated her though simulates a much more natural growth than she has in the original game, as her stat spread from 40-50 closely mirrors other characters going from 20-50 which was not the case in the original. She feels surprisingly well balanced to me throughout the game with the way I've set her up. Never weak, but never head and shoulders above anyone else.
(edited 3 months ago)

User Info: praetarius3

praetarius3
3 months ago#4
I wonder, does Bleu's non-existant stat table have stats for L1-37?
Are those just as bad?
Or might it be an alternate option to have her start as a low level character?

User Info: KevinReconAlpha

KevinReconAlpha
3 months ago#5
praetarius3 posted...
I wonder, does Bleu's non-existant stat table have stats for L1-37?
Are those just as bad?
Or might it be an alternate option to have her start as a low level character?

Yeah, it does, and yes they are. I tried to do this from a few different angles and I believe they where I landed is the best way to do it without fully hacking the game to insert a normal stat table for her. Another option would be to point her level up growth to either Nina or Spar's tables, but I haven't found the location/ability to do that either.

Truthfully I would love to fix it so that she feels like a normal character, but the change I made in this patch really comes pretty close to it. At 40 she's equivalent to the rest of the cast at the point that you get her (roughly level 18-22). She keeps pace pretty well because her stats jump at 41 (she's only 20k away from 41 when she joins) and 43, and by 50 she's *sightly* better than other characters, which is offset by the fact that she can't shamanize. So she's basically a mage version of Ryu. Since she's a hidden character and also an endless, I'm pretty happy with it.
(edited 3 months ago)

User Info: DrugsRBad

DrugsRBad
3 months ago#6
I kinda disagree with most of your balancing ideas.

If I were to do this, I would have it so that Spar learns Def. Up and Atk. Up at earlier levels, learns Atk. Up X (the effect exists in the game with the Octopus item), and let him learn Cure 4. Giving him Hail and Cure 3 doesn't really fit his character archetype to me and removes the incentive of letting him learn Missile from Barose (since I feel he's a reward for not hastily using up that one particular spot in Township).
As Above, Sew Below

User Info: KevinReconAlpha

KevinReconAlpha
3 months ago#7
DrugsRBad posted...
I kinda disagree with most of your balancing ideas.

If I were to do this, I would have it so that Spar learns Def. Up and Atk. Up at earlier levels, learns Atk. Up X (the effect exists in the game with the Octopus item), and let him learn Cure 4. Giving him Hail and Cure 3 doesn't really fit his character archetype to me and removes the incentive of letting him learn Missile from Barose (since I feel he's a reward for not hastily using up that one particular spot in Township).

Okay, but my opinion is that a character should not be reliant on a particular townsperson to feel properly useful. I don't think Cure 3 and Hail are out of character as he essentially operates as the game's sage. Giving him missile is useful even with Hail as it's more than 50% stronger AND targets a different elemental vulnerability. This change just makes him less dependent on it to be useful.

Also, Atk. Up is overpowered enough as it is; I don't really want anyone to have Atk Up x as a spell. Something I didn't mention in my OP is that I gave Atk Up a higher MP cost and a Mood requirement.

What else, since you disagree with "most"?
(edited 3 months ago)

User Info: DrugsRBad

DrugsRBad
3 months ago#8
KevinReconAlpha posted...
Okay, but my opinion is that a character should not be reliant on a particular townsperson to feel properly useful. I don't think Cure 3 and Hail are out of character as he essentially operates as the game's sage. Giving him missile is useful even with Hail as it's more than 50% stronger AND targets a different elemental vulnerability. This change just makes him less dependent on it to be useful.

Also, Atk. Up is overpowered enough as it is; I don't really want anyone to have Atk Up x as a spell. Something I didn't mention in my OP is that I gave Atk Up a higher MP cost and a Mood requirement.

What else, since you disagree with "most"?

Well, one of the reasons why I played this game so much was because since the characters were mostly balanced it encouraged repeated playthroughs. I guess the reason why I wouldn't be hasty with trying to re-balance things is just because I'm already used to this game and its faults.

In regards to Spar, giving him Attack Up X at the end of the game is the best way to make him an asset to the party since only the Octopus item can do it. But also having him learn Def. Up and Attack Up earlier keeps him competitively useful with Deis. Also, since you can't buy an item that works like Cure 4, giving him that keeps him competitive with Bow and Rand. The two of them are still better healers, but these boosts I would give him would cement him as the valuable assist character his archetype is supposed to be (as opposed to giving him Cure3 and Hail).

In regards to Deis, I missed her on my first playthrough because I had played Bof3 first but not Bof1 and I didn't know about the name changing. I guess it's easier to get her if you played the first game (or use a guide, obviously), so I think her role as a goddess shouldn't be hampered since she is a secret character.

In regards to Jean, he has two "gimmicks". One is the Holy weaponry and the other is he is supposed to be weak for 80% of the game and shine at the end of it. Because of this, I wouldn't buff him.

As Above, Sew Below

User Info: praetarius3

praetarius3
3 months ago#9
KevinReconAlpha posted...
Also, Atk. Up is overpowered enough as it is; I don't really want anyone to have Atk Up x as a spell. Something I didn't mention in my OP is that I gave Atk Up a higher MP cost and a Mood requirement.

How about adjusting the effect strength of Atk Up then?
Also does this fix Agl Up?

User Info: KevinReconAlpha

KevinReconAlpha
3 months ago#10
praetarius3 posted...
How about adjusting the effect strength of Atk Up then?
Also does this fix Agl Up?

I'd love to do that but I actually don't know where it is in the rom.
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