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Leveling-Up FAQ by Onion Kid

Version: 1.10 | Updated: 07/15/2003

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Final Fantasy 2j
Leveling Up and Other Useful Tips and Tricks Guide
By David J. Rivera
Version 1.10

Final Fantasy 2j is copyright 1988 Square(c)

This FAQ is copyright
CyberPlanet Industries 
Consumer Affairs Dept.
Table of Contents

i. Introduction

I Leveling
	a. Honest method
	b. Beating the stuffing out of your characters
	c. Senseless waste of MP
	d. Selecting/Canceling
II Leveling Part 2
	a. Mystida
	b. Change Trick
	c. Optimal leveling
III Tips and Tricks
	a. Gil Management
		i. Inns
		ii. Equipment buying
		iii. Early Mystidan Enemies
		iv. Dungeons
		v. Mages
		vi. Captains
		vii. Ships and Airships
	b. The fourth character
	c. Notable spells and equipment
	d. Chocobo
IV Credits

i. Introduction

Hello all!  This is my second FAQ.  FF2j is quite a great game.  Although 
it never made it to the US or for that matter anywhere out of Japan, all 
the reviews for the most part state the game SUX!  Not true.  What they 
mainly complain about is the leveling system and the battles.  First off,
if you follow any of the advice in this guide, you will find the leveling
easier and even fun in certain cases. As for battles, this is a NES GAME! 
Blazing speed on such an old system is unheard of.  Ineffective hits allow
more strategy than just holding down a key. The music is great.  If 
anything it is too short.  But yes, selecting/canceling magic is annoying 
but hey you're not really supposed to do that.  Of course errors in battle
are another story. 
I might put spoilers unknowingly in this guide.  YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!

I Leveling

	a. Honest Method

As I have come to believe, Nasir (programmer of FF1, 2, and 3) originally 
implemented the leveling system as follows:
The more you get hurt not on purpose, the more HP you gain.
The more MP required to kill a foe, the more MP you get.
The more and more you use a certain magic, the higher in level it becomes.
The more and more you use a certain weapon class, the better you use that

Of course Vitality, Power, Magic Power, Shield Level, Soul, Intelligence,
etc. are raised in similar ways.  Unfortunately, there are two problems 
with this:

1.  The way this game is set up, if you don't cheat or get the stuffing 
beat out of you in every battle, you'll never beat it.
2.  A bug in the programming allows commands to be counted toward the 
progression of most stats (Select/Cancel).

But, if you do decide to venture out into the world with your starting 
stats and let them raise as you battle normally, don't expect to be beat 
the game fast. Doing so will be a big waste of time better spent 
"cheating".  But I salute you and you're bravery.  Don't read on if you 
want to just follow the Honest Method.

	b. Beating the stuffing out of your characters

The more damage you take within battle without getting killed, the more 
damage you are able to take.  In other words, the more HP you lose, the 
more HP and Vitality you receive.  

Of course, enemies don't need to damage you only; you can inflict yourself
with near-fatal blows.  I've found that you need to lose more than half 
your max HP in order to gain HP and Vitality bonuses.  To be on the safe 
side, get your characters into their "low-HP" Positions.  Only attempt 
this method of gaining Health near an Inn or with the Cure spell.  Only 
attempt it against weak enemies such as Goblin or Hornet.  Against such 
easy enemies, losing excess health to the point of death is not a threat. 
These enemies do however flee quite often which is very aggravating.  

An interesting note:  If you accidentally have one of your characters 
kill himself, they will remain standing but act as if they were dead for 
one round.  They might even do the victory dance and walk off screen.

*note:  Running away or being inflicted with statuses will not result in 
ANY bonuses.
	c. Senseless Waste of MP

The more MP used during battle, the more MP gained there after.  

Again, you do not have to actually use that much magic strategically; you
can senselessly use cure on non-undead foes, cure your own perfectly 
healed guys, life the living, fire yourself, etc.  For best results, use 
up all your MP. Then again, losing half is only necessary.  If you plan on
wasting it all, stay close to an Inn and only fight weaklings like Goblin 
and Hornet.  

*note:  Running away or being inflicted with statuses will not result in 
ANY bonuses.
	d. Selecting/Canceling

The more and more you use swing around your weapon, the more adapt you 
become with that particular weapon class.  Or more specifically, the more 
xHits you get.  The more and more you use a particular magic the better 
you become at casting that magic.  Or more specifically, the more accurate
and stronger the magic becomes.

The formula for weapon skill gains is:  
Number of times selected - current skill level + enemy strength factor + 1

It takes 100 pts to reach the next level.  Pts is displayed next to your 
current skill level in the stats screen.  Enemy strength level ranges from
1 to about 7.  Before the Ice Cavern, the groups of enemies have a 
strength factor of one.  After that, it varies greatly.  Enemies that 
mainly appear in groups of one (Hill Gigas) have the higher strength 

To select and cancel and gain weapon skill or shield skill, equip the 
character you want with the weapon class you want to increase in their 
correct hand (Everyone but Layla and Lionheart are right-handed) and the 
shield in the other hand.  Then select FIGHT, select a target and when it
moves on to the next character, press B and repeat however many times 
you need to.  I always select/cancel 5 more times than I need to make 
sure.  You may only advance one level at a time.  You may have something 
in your other hand other than a shield and it will level up as well.  If 
you have 3 characters, only the first two may do this; if you have four, 
only three may do this.  

*note:  Running away or being inflicted with statuses will not result in 
ANY bonuses.

The formula for magic skill gains is:
Number of times selected - current spell level + enemy strength factor + 3

It takes again 100 pts reach the next level.  Selecting/Canceling is much 
more frustrating than before, seeing as you must enter the magic menu, 
choose a magic, choose a target, then repeat.  I still always do it 5 more
times than necessary to make sure.  Turning off the music helps and so 
does a little FPS boost if you are running an emulator.  You may only
advance one level at a time.  Only the first 2/3 characters or 3/4 may do

*note:  Running away or being inflicted with statuses will not result in 
ANY bonuses.
II Leveling Part 2

	a. Mystida

You are only supposed to visit the Magical town of Mystida after the 
retaking of Phin by the rebels.  But it is accessible via two areas early 
on.  The first way to access this place and the only way if you haven't 
gotten Layla yet, is to head West over the bridge by Gatea, then head 
south a long while.  Head directly south. Mystida is a village with the 
sprites of a group of houses.  A canoe is required.  

The second way, and the wiser, is to wait until you get Layla.  Then with
your ship, sail to the peninsula south of Altea.  Head west until you find
a ring of mountains. Head to the south of the ring of mountains and head 
directly south.  On land, head right of the mountain trail, southwest into
the marshes and finally to Mystida.  

Now, the land around and leading to Mystida is filled with near impossible
to INSANELY powerful beasts.  To conquer these wrenched monsters you can
either become uber using the methods in Leveling Part 1 or by doing this:

1.  Depending on where you want to start from, make a save file there.  
2.  Walk several steps; save.  
3.  Walk several more steps and if you get into a battle, reset.  
4.  Load up and repeat until you get to Mystida,

Note that this works anywhere but is only useful in crossing the desert to
Arena or getting to Mystida early,

Now, why in all of the world would I want to get to Mystida?  Well, it has
to do with the shops here.  Here is the list:


Fire 400 
Bolt 400
Ice 400
Cure 400
Blink 400
Safe 400
Shell 400
Life 1500
Anti 1500
Warp 1500
Exit 1500
Fear 800
Peep 800
Heal 800
Mute 800
Barrier 8000
Wall 8000
Change 8000
Holy 20000
Ice Shield 5000
Knight Armor 5000
Thief Gauntlet 1000
Giant Gauntlet 2000
Power Stave 8000
Flame Spear 15000
Ogre Axe 15000
Ice Bow 5000

Yes, there is that much magic.  Of all the items, I suggest only getting:

Ice Shield
Knight Armor
Thief and Giant Gauntlets
Ogre Axe 
Ice Bow
And of course the elemental spells and cure, life, and exit if you didn't
get them already.  

Also in Mystida is a mysterious bookcase that gives you stories of certain
passwords. I won't tell which house it's in nor what it says only because
that's half the fun.  

	b. Change Trick

One of the magic books available in Mystida is the book of change.  It has
two uses: lowering the HP of bosses and leveling.  What change does is 
swap HP and MP of the caster and target.  It only works on one target at a
time.  If you have lower HP than that of a boss, use it for that.  If you 
use it on a target with less HP/MP than you, you gain HP and MP bonuses.
Change works on all levels 1-16 but doesn't work on all enemies/bosses.  
Even though the spell works on level one, you will see more ineffective
strikes and waste more time than if you level it up.  I suggest anything 
over level 5. Of course, I'm so lazy, I only have mine on level 2!

*note:  Running away or being inflicted with statuses will not result in 
ANY bonuses.
	c. Optimal Leveling

Three or Four characters each with Change5 or higher
Enemies around Altea and Gatea like Goblin.
Several thousand Gil.

1.  Get into a battle with a Goblin, Hornet, et cetera.
2.  The character with the lowest HP casts Change5 on the Goblin, Hornet,
    et cetera.
3.  Win the battle.  The character wins HP and MP bonuses as well as 
    others in some cases
4.  Get into another battle.
5.  The character with the second lowest HP casts Change5 on the character
    with the lowest HP.
6.  Win the battle.  The character wins HP and MP bonuses as well as 
    others in some cases.  But most importantly, the first character has 
    some HP and MP.
7.  Get into another battle.
8.  The character with the third highest/highest HP (with three characters
    only) casts Change5 on the second lowest HP character.
9.  Win the battle.  The character wins HP and MP bonuses as well as 
    others in some cases.  But most importantly, the first two characters
    have some HP and MP.
10. **Only with four characters; otherwise skip to step 13** Get into 
    another battle.
11. The character with the highest HP casts Change5 on the third highest 
    HP character.
12. Win the battle.  The character gets bonuses, but most importantly, 
    three characters have some HP and MP.  
13. Repeat for as long as possible.

Now, you may ask, "Why don't I just do this in one battle?"  Well there 
are several reasons.  First, many enemies in the areas around Altea and 
Gatea flee.  The battle wouldn't last long enough.  Second, you may run 
out of MP and need to visit an Inn. Third, you may get statuses which 
don't reward you with any bonuses.  Remember to save in-between battles 
just in case.  This is the fastest method of leveling up.

*note:  Running away or being inflicted with statuses will not result in 
ANY bonuses.
III Tips and Tricks

	a.  Gil Management

As SQUARE's foreshadowing in this game is blatantly obvious, I won't doubt
you've found the game's starting Gil of 400 insufficient.  This is a sign
for things to come.  The first time I was playing this game, I constantly
found myself out of gil.  Whether for inns or for potions I never had 
enough money.  

But this last time, and as this FAQ is being written I am in the middle 
of, I found several ways to save gil and be able to buy the sun and moon 
and still have enough money to blow in Las Vegas!

		i.  Inns

There is no doubt in my mind that you will need to visit an Inn.  Here's a
method to save time and gil:  Upon entering the Inn of your choice, use 
cure on all of your characters until they are all at maximum HP.  Then pay
the innkeeper.  This way, you will save money seeing as the price for Inns
has to do with your current HP/MP out of your maximum HP/MP.  It costs 
1 gil per MP.  HP is Max HP-Current HP divided by four.  Also, it will 
increase the strength of your cure spell

		ii.  Equipment Buying

Why of course you'll be buying equipment!  But you don't have to buy 
everything as it becomes available to you.  My advice is to only buy stuff 
as you need it.  Don't buy inferior equipment. If you are unsure of how 
good your current equip. is compared to the "new" stuff, either refer to an
FAQ or just save, buy the new stuff, and if it isn't satisfactory, reset.  
A lot of good equipment is found in dungeons.  Make sure not to buy 
anything until it's absolutely necessary to do so.  Keep these ideas in 
mind and you will save money.

		iii.  Early Mystidian Enemies

In order to get a lot of money early on, I always fight Mystidian enemies. 
Of course you don't actually have to be in the area of Mystida to encounter
such enemies.  If you travel DIRECTLY south of Altea until you can no 
longer go and walk left and right, you will fight very tough monsters.  The
majority of beasts here are found near Mystida but I have found Behemoths 

The trick is to save on this peninsula and then reset whenever you find 
enemies that are too tough.  If you are on the weak side, only fight Bombs,
Mines, Puddings (only with high fire magic), and Mallows (With high bolt 
magic).  But if you are strong enough, fight all who oppose your uber-ness.
The rewards are quite valuable, if you don't get the near or over 1000 gil.

		iv.  Dungeons

One tip:  get everything.  I don't care if you have to kill millions of 
beasts with your bare hands, get everything in a dungeon.  If it doesn't 
live up to your standards, sell it!  If this doesn't raise your income, 
nothing will.  Another area of this tip is to go through an entire dungeon 
again if the boss gives good items.  Who needs that extra 1000 gil when an 
armor of invincibility is available?  If the dungeon is non-renter able, 
then you should definitely get everything.

		v.  Mages

These are great enemies.  Easy to encounter.  Wondrous gifts.  And even 
their palette swaps (wizards, sorcerers) are great.  But I specifically am 
going to mention Mages because of their easy beat-ability and the fact that
they are easy to locate.  Below are it's stats:

80 HP
30 MP

50 gil 
Magic Stave 
Fire Book  
Thunder Book
Aero Book
Break Book
Berserk Book 
All of these books are worth a pretty penny if you sell them and some are 
useful to learn.

		vi.  Captians

These are the most reliable sources of gil until you re-take Phin.  In 
case you don't know, Captains are the guys in Phin and the Warship before 
Phin is re-taken and the Warship is destroyed.  And since the Warship is 
no where near an Inn or a shop to sell the stuff you get, I suggest the 
Captians in Phin.

Captains are not a walk in the park.  They are designed to keep you out of 
Phin and drive you mad in the Warship.  Most walkthroughs will tell you to 
not talk to these guys.  I will say fight them.  All you need is at least 
a weapon of moderate power leveled to level 5 or 6 and a lot of HP.

Stats of Captains:

750 HP
30 MP

200 gil
300 gil
Flame Bow
Gold Armor
Curse Book
Toad Book

Captains NEVER die.  Except they do leave when Phin is re-taken.  You can 
fight Captains until the NES completely disintegrates.  All the rewards 
are sure to please.

		vii.  Ships and Airships

Don't take them.  It's that simple.  All locations that can be paid to 
take you somewhere are easily reached on foot for free.  Only use the 
ships and airships when you get them during the storyline for free.  
	b. The Fourth Character                                           
Upon your quest to ultimately destroy the Emperor, you will find many     
souls who will join you on your journey.  Below are the characters and my 
opinions of them.                                                         
Minh::::::::::::::Minh, the white mage of the rebels makes an adequate 
::::::::::::::::::member of your party just don't buy him much if 
Josef:::::::::::::Josef, the man from Salamando comes ready equipped with 
::::::::::::::::::his fists; it's all you'll need.  He doesn't stay on 
::::::::::::::::::your team for very long; don't buy him anything.
Gordon::::::::::::Ha!  Kill him and leave him dead. Rob his dead body 
::::::::::::::::::blind and throw him in a river.  Seriously though, don't 
::::::::::::::::::bother leveling him or buying him anything.
Layla:::::::::::::Finally a GOOD character.  I recommend leveling her and 
::::::::::::::::::buying her somedecent equipment.
Richard:::::::::::I'm on the fence about the last dragoon.  While he is  
::::::::::::::::::not as worthwhile as Layla in terms of how long you keep
::::::::::::::::::him, he is still a worthy ally.  I say buy Richard a  
::::::::::::::::::few spells and use your old equipment you would 
::::::::::::::::::otherwise sell for him.
Lionheart:::::::::Being the final fourth character, I would suppose you  
::::::::::::::::::must use Lionheart to the fullest.  While it may be your
::::::::::::::::::choice to leave him dead or use him, I will suggest you 
::::::::::::::::::buy him a payload of spells and get optimal equipment 
::::::::::::::::::for a swords and shield man.

	c.  Notable Spells and Equipment

In this section, I will list spells and equipment upgrades that I feel are
worth pointing out. This, hopefully, will help you choose which spell to 
buy and which not to and if upgrading to that sword or shield is worth it.
If you don't see it listed here, it probably isn't worth the gil.  
However, if you think it is, e-mail me (timekeeper2021@fastmail.fm) with 
why you think so.


1) The 3 Elements (Fire, Ice, and Bolt)

While I may not be a huge fan of these magic spells, they are very helpful
against adamant foes like the Puddings, Mallows, and Jellies.  It helps to
level these spells around level 5.

2) Cure

Buy it.  EXTREMELY useful and as long as you level it as your characters' 
HP rise, it will prove its worth.  Get it to level 16.

3) Heal

Also useful.  It is much better to have one Heal spell at least at level 5
than all the items in the whole game.  

4) Life

Of course this will be useful.  Out of battle, Life1 will do but in battle
a higher level is required.  Try at least level 5 or be ready to spend 
several turns wasting MP.

5) Exit

Much better than Warp but it does take a toll on the user's HP.  Just make
sure to cure that character after using it, that's all.  A high level 
isn't required.

6) Change

As mentioned before in "the Change trick", change is useful for leveling 
but also for a quick cure and lowering a Boss's HP/MP.  Level 5 or more 
will do.

7) Berserk

Somewhat worthwhile and that's why I'm mentioning it.  While it's not as 
great as Haste, it does temporarily raise the Power stat and can really 
help in a tight spot.  Any level you see fit will do, really.

8) Haste

It raises your X Hit's; extremely useful.  Level it to the moon!

9) Drain/Aspil

Used against Undeads, it has the same effect as wasting HP/MP 

10) Flare

I'm not one for attack magic (reason that Holy and Ultima aren't here) but
if you must use attack magic, Flare is the one to use.  The higher the 
level, the more the damage.


1) Broad Sword, Axe, Bow, Leather Equipment

While it may be a pain to have to gather up enough gil to buy EVERYONE a 
ton of equipment, it is most definitely worth it.  Just battle a whole lot
 early on and you'll find enough dough.

2) Everything up to the Mythril

If you find the starting equipment sufficient up until you give the 
Mythril to Tobul, keep it. Really, the stuff from Broad Sword to Mythril 
Sword isn't worth it.

3) Mythril

Ok this will be the last time you must buy a whole bunch of equipment.  
From here on in, most of the good equipment will be found in dungeons.  
Buy every last bit of Mythril stuff you need.

4) Mystidia

As soon as you get the ship, go to Mystidia.  Forget all the crap in 
between, get some really powerful weapons and armor ahead of time.  
The stuff here along with what you get in dungeons will last you until the
Whirlwind.  No joke.

5) Whirlwind, Jade, and Paramekia

Just pick up all the treasure in these dungeons and you'll be with the 
game's progression into harder enemies.

6) Pandemonium

Get the Genji gear and the Masamune from their respective captors.  Be 
sure also to find some Iron Giants for extra Genji equipment and 
Excaliburs.  They are rarely found in Pandemonium but are on the last few 
floors of the Hell Castle.

7) Blood Swords

The seemingly useless Blood Swords are both found in Phin.  The first in 
Phin's basement, the second in Paul's house.  They are weak as anything 
but are EXTREMELY useful against undead foes and the bosses Asteroth and 
the Final Boss as well.   

	d.  Chocobo

The chocobo is one of the most definable things in a Final Fantasy and it 
all started here.  To reach the chocobo, travel directly south of 
Kashoun's entrance.  Upon entering the forest, find the chocobo and talk 
to him.  A dialogue will pop up saying "Found a Chocobo".  Press B and 
exit the forest.  Press A on him on the world map and ride around faster 
and without the threat of monsters.  This guy is especially useful in 
crossing the desert near arena and going to the Warship.

IV Credits

Alex Jackson-  For the formulas in getting bonuses

Skylark-  For his monster list of FF2J and all the other FF games.

AgriasOaks (Red Scarlet)- For being such a great inspiration.

If you know something I don't or you want to comment,
e-mail me at timekeeper2021@fastmail.fm.

Copyright Cyber Planet Industries 2003
Consumer Affairs Dept.

David J. Rivera

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