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I used the Falcon Sword, and it took a crazy long time to finally win. Didn't think Lightning was doing enough for the frequency in which I had to Healall, and I liked that the Falcon Sword gave me two chances at critical hits.
Victory is mine! This solo challenge is complete! Not an easy task, but I ultimately was successful in defeating Zoma last night. I ended up with enough time to try the fight 5 times. I won the last fight with by an extremely narrow margin with a what seemed to be a very lucky overall attack sequence from Zoma.
I’d like to try and summarize my experience and findings, and add a few closing remarks. Sorry in advance if this gets too long-winded.
Firstly, it’s worth noting that Zoma’s attack pattern is highly variable. He may attack twice, he may use a damaging physical attack or a less damaging breath attack, or he may use freezing waves and not hurt you at all. Because of the wide variance in his attack patterns, it’s challenging to compare and analyze strategies empirically. Any judgments I make herein may not be definitive.
My first three attempts were just to try out different things, to see what I thought I should focus on. I tried Darkwing’s herb suggestion. With four herbs I got 120, 187, 54, and 241 damage off of Zoma. Those numbers were better than I expected, but with some further analysis I decided that this might not be the best strategy for the Hero to pursue. This is actually less damage than four Healall spells will do, and though it would seem to save some MP, the offset in defence from leaving so much armor behind really does seem to more than make up for it by forcing you to heal more often. I suspect that, at least for the Hero, your odds with Healall are better than your odds using Herbs.
My second run I tried the Falcon Sword and my third I tried the Sword of Kings. I do think that, at 196 strength, the Sword of Kings outperforms the Falcon Sword against Zoma, but I decided it was a mostly moot, because at that score I don’t think either weapon will outdo Zoma’s regeneration in a sustained fight.
I realized at the end of the night that I never tried Lightning. But I don’t think that Lightning is the way to go anyway. Healall does more than 75% of the damage Lightning does, at less than 25% of the MP cost, and hits 100% of the time. The math is in Healall’s favor.
So I concluded that the best way for me to go was the same strategy I’ve seen recommended most often: Healall every round, on myself or Zoma.
There’s one important thing about this strategy. It’s incredibly easy to accidentally heal yourself when you meant to attack Zoma. I did this several times on my third attempt and once on my fourth attempt, but I’m convinced now that even once is quite enough to decide the battle against you. It’s like giving Zoma an extra 140-170 HP.
On my fourth battle attempt, my damage tracking suggested I didn’t get more than about 600 off of his total HP after regeneration, which was very discouraging. I really began to consider the Noh Mask after that, but figured it merited a few more attempts to see how luck might affect the battle.
On my fifth attempt, I didn’t make any Heallall mistakes, and I saw that it made a notable difference in my damage tracking. But what really made a difference is that after my fourth self-heal, Zoma started spamming freezing waves with the occasional breath attack between, and no physical attacks for an unusually long time. I went a staggering eight rounds without having to heal myself, and was able to push my damage against him to about 724 after regeneration.
Even so, it came down to the wire. I had to heal more often after that. On round 132, I had my damage estimate at 898, but I was out of MP. With no other choice, I attacked with my Falcon Sword. The combined damage was 111, and it was enough. Zoma went down, and I went to sleep happy last night. (I had resolved on using the Falcon Sword because two of the first three fights went substantially faster with it, and I didn’t expect to actually use a physical attack on Zoma.)
So the Zoma fight is definitely possible without the Noh Mask and without MP manipulation, but I think it definitely requires a certain degree of luck under those conditions. A few thought I have at the end: The Noh Mask would unquestionably make a large difference. Zoma’s most devastating attack is his physical attack, so anything to mitigate that would go a long way. It’s also certain that every bit of MP you can get gives you an advantage in this battle. I would estimate that even 50 MP more than what I had would substantially decrease this difficulty of this fight to a point of being possibly easy.
I think it would require somewhat more than 200 strength to make physically attacking a viable strategy (which joaquintall clearly had). At 196 strength, the Sword of Kings still seems better than the Falcon Sword against Zoma, but I wouldn’t be surprised if another 20 strength points would weigh that back towards the Falcon Sword even without the critical hit chance.
Joaquintall, I’m really glad you made this run and shared it. I started this run years ago, before I had researched the game mechanics or spent much time on this site. One of the reasons I stalled out on this challenge was because I started researching the game mid-run, and basically read from multiple sources that the run would be next to impossible without starting over and manipulating my MP gains, and/or using the Noh Mask on Baramos. This discouraged me to the point of quitting. But after I read your account, I knew it would be possible without starting over, and it helped encourage me to resume this. Now I know that the “impossible”-sayers were further off than I ever guessed. I hope this account might similarly help anyone who wants to make this run.
I want to make one last remark. I haven’t mentioned this before out of a little embarrassment. It’s not recommended, and I wouldn’t do it if I replayed this run, but I used every seed in this game as soon as I got it--even vitality and intelligence seeds. I used most of them years ago before I knew it could hurt me. When I picked it back recently I decided to continue as I would have if I hadn’t quit then, (this wasn’t an entirely rational decision and I can’t explain why; it may have partially been out of defiance). But I wanted to put it out there because learning the seed mechanics is one of the things that discouraged me years ago after I’d already gone so far, and I wanted to make it known that misusing seeds, though it may hurt you some, won’t necessarily make or break this kind of run.
I’m done with this challenge, but I have another challenge run lined up for this game that I’ve been considering for over a year now. It’s the next thing now in my gaming queue, and I’m excited to start it soon. I’ll post more about that soon.
Congratulations, man! :) Not an easy challenge, so nice job finishing it off. Agree that unless you're a TAS and can manipulate top values for herbs, that's prolly not the way to go (though might be for a full party low level game, where MP/spells/attack power will be limited). I don't remember my strength, but prolly about yours as I didn't think melee attacks were making any real headway. To be honest, though, I don't think I tried Healall on him. I don't remember, but that sounds like the winning strat. Have a couple of things on my plate/upcoming, but definitely have to keep that in mind. Hmm. Might even have my old save, which would be right at/before Zoma, have to look into that. But yeah, congrats on beating this and looking forward to seeing what you've got planned next.
"Never again is what you swore the time before." - Depeche Mode, "Policy of Truth"
Congrats, glad that I was able to help!
Yeah, I had already read up on how seeds will affect your levels when you use them too soon, and I did A LOT of grinding trying to collect seeds (near Samanao, with the Golden Claw in my inventory). And then I waited until level 99 to use them, and I reset if it hadn't given me the max.
congrats I'm trying out a solo run and it seems harder at the shampagne tower tho a few levels should likely fix it and fairy water should repel away the monsters. I think that I will keep trying until my level is 5 more than the highest monster there.