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So, after being bored and with no firm answer in hand, I decided to figure out just how subweapons level and what effect Master Rings have on leveling. Armed with a handy hex editor and some spare time, I decided to mess around and figure out exactly what the values are.
First thing I did was make see if all characters level the same. Taking a fresh save, this was easy to check just by hitting once with a subweapon then looking at the value. Result? All characters level subweapons at the same speed per hit.
Next up, I had to see if some subweapons level at different speed than other. Again with fresh save data except for having all subs unlocked at 0 XP, I hit every enemy once with each of Jonathan's subweapons. End result, each weapon levels at the same speed per hit.
From here it was a simple task to find out how much "XP" each hit gives with 0/1/2 Master Rings equipped. The end results are below:
Normal Mode XP Per Hit, 0/1/2 Master Rings: 1/3/4 Hard Mode XP Per Hit, 0/1/2 Master Rings: 4/8/12
Yeah, I thought it was really weird that it goes 1/3/4 as well. At first, I thought it was a mistake and that I must be misreading the wrong weapon or I hit multiple times or something. After two more save data manipulations though, I came up with 3 points for 1 Master Ring on Normal still. No idea why they decided that, but that's the way it is.