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    Leveling-Up FAQ by Onion Kid

    Version: 1.10 | Updated: 07/15/03 | Search Guide | Bookmark Guide

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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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