JohnFuklaw

Some thoughts on Stamina builds

73 posts in this topic

Fair enough, although basing a build around interceptor seems kinda unreliable IMO. I'm not really against expanding Interceptor for Relm, just questioning the reason like the contrarian I end up being.

 

I honestly don't know why I dislike shadow so much considering I should adore him on paper. Every time I save him I forget to use him and I don't have any memories of being impressed by him. Maybe if I had a more concrete plan/combo in mind things could be different.

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Shax, you are in good company. Despite being a "veteran" with Shadow being a "veteran" character, I still dislike the guy. He's too frail and there's no build variety for me to explore. These aren't bad aspects of his design, and I respect his power, but I dislike the guy. Don't like him story-wise either.

Oh, and yeah, I could care less for basing a build around Interceptor to.

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1 hour ago, thzfunnymzn said:

Thanks.

Force Armor and Force Robe both share Terra, Celes, and Mog as people who can equip these armors. So, that'd be unchanged. Strago and Gogo gaining Force Robe, yes, is redundant with their Hides.

If its possible programming wise, having both with some Colosseum trades is interesting. 2 of both might be a little much, I'd rather see 2-3 total

It would definitely be possible to have them trade for each other in the coliseum. The main issue is text space. If you open up the ROM with FF3usME you can edit the coliseum battles and choose which items trade into which. You can also edit the stats on weapons/armor. Neither of these effect game space at all. What would be difficult is making text space for the item to say "Halves Ice/Fire/Bolt Damage." More text space is probably possible via ROM expansion or by changing terminology that is already there. A good example would be changing the term "Stronger in 2 Hands" to "Stronger 2 Handed" as the first uses 19 bits(characters including spaces) whereas the latter is only 17. Only a 2 bit difference but could free up a bit of space if all instances of the quote were changed.

Also having 3 Force Armor/Robes sounds like the perfect amount, 2 is too little while 4 is overkill.

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Posted (edited)

There is definitely room to change terminology so as to save on space. Looking in FF3usME (I've been lazy about actually looking at this stuff lately), there's also definitely some blank spaces in the programming (that aren't even being used as place markers of sorts), so that's not an issue either. So, iow, it is feasible to fit it in there. Issue is do we want to, where does it go, what's the changes to the Colosseum trading sequences (that's a nightmare).

Nice to see we're in agreement on 3 of the Force stuff.

I'll propose a concern that I don't want Force Robe to come too quickly after the Light Robe, lest the Light Robe become outdated immediately after its bought. So...not on the Wind dragon, at least. Might also consider giving Light Robe an elemental resistance, since I suspect it's undervalued?

Another concern is that both Force Armor and Force Robe looks odd for Terra, Celes, and Mog. Since, currently, they're the exact same armor, just with different equips. Also, Force Robe is redundant on Strago and Gogo. I guess we could have Robe be a Te / Ce / Sa / Mo equip, while Armor is Ed / Cy / Se equip (3 is odd, but oh well). Does mean, in Kefka's, there might be some Force juggling you can no longer do, which I guess is fine.

Only last concern is whether Force Robe ought to have stam+ (this is being developed b/c of stam Sabin, after all), and if so, what are the values of stam+ and mag+ on it?

Edited by thzfunnymzn
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If the Force Robe and Force Armor trade for each other than i don't think it will affect the coliseum too much.

The best way to go about naturally finding the Force Robe is to have it replace the Force Armor found in the Fanatics Tower. Elemental resistance on light robe sounds nice.

The +stam +mag on the Force Robe would fit in with pretty much all four of them. Obviously Sabin increasing stamina while providing nice magic defense. Terra has morph and therefore will always benefit from stamina. Celes has regen, but she also has fractional magic which have hit% based off stamina. Mog requires a mix of stam & mag for dancing, so that one is already covered. Only problem here is what will Sabin do with that +7 Magic.

While on the topic of changing terminology, I propose that the term "Status Ailments" be replaced with "Debuffs." I personally believe it's a much better term and will save a ton of text space.

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Posted (edited)

I don’t think that Force Armor and Robe are both needed.  Cyan, Edgar, and Setzer can use Diamond and Crystal for Mg def, giving those some longevity (lazy shell too? I forget if they can equip that).  Plus all of them are tanks, not every character needs a perfect option for every scenario.  Furthermore, if Sabin is wearing a robe, that frees up the Royal jacket, so Edgar still has another option.  Additionally, even Stam Cyan wants Genji to get the vigor for C/C, so the only one really losing out is Setzer.  But I don’t see why he can’t be a robe wearer, hell his sprite is wearing a robe.

If Sabin’s blitzes stay magic based, there’s your use for the +7 magic.

Edited by SuperHario
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Tons of great ideas in this thread.

+1-ing stam on spears, changing force armor into force robe and either diamond or crystal into something force armor-esque, HP/Stam from Odin, Fire Dance and Sonic Boom as stam blitzes, and upping the status resist and regen ticks from Stamina in general.

I still think an event would be better than a relic for putting Interceptor on Relm if for no other reason than to not let her and Shadow have him at the same time, but a relic that you trade the memento ring for would also be really good.

Also I didn't know about stamina influencing Drain and Gravity spells, I guess that's something nice for Locke, Sabin, Cyan, and Celes. Does it also affect Quarter procs from the Gravity Rod and Drain procs from the Blood Sword?

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Stamina influencing Drain, Gravity, etc, is misinformation. Unfortunately, the Printme is unclear and needs to be fixed.

You have a (Stamina / 128) % chance of dodging a Drain, Gravity, Doom, or status spell. This is global. No status, gravity, drain, etc, actually has any more accuracy than any other, to my knowledge, nor can its accuracy be boosted. It's just a stamina-based chance to evade the attack.

To clarify, I mention "stamina affecting status resistance" because I find that it's much more reliable to equip for tanking these attacks (immunities, earth resist) or to just heal them off rather than to rely on dodging them. Most especially for the debuffs, of which, more than half are either instant-death or remove control from the player or even actively turn your own party against you. The other half, while less bad, is still "hit completely or miss completely", with most character's stamina not rising much beyond a 50% dodge rate, and that only in the latter part of the game.

***

@BTB, I know I'm stubborn as a mule, so to try and be a little more broad-minded: the current Aurabolt would be an acceptable attack on stam Sabin if A) extreme amounts of stamina (110+) are stacked, and B) if the Nirvana Band is equipped. The latter is generally undesirable and seems unpopular for a reason (instead of b/c of difficulty understanding or using), while the latter is only equipped on stam Sabin b/c one wants to boost Aurabolt's damage (which isn't stam Sabin's main asset, nor should it be; Chakra is). So, if stam-based Air Blade is still off the table (I can understand not wanting even more AoE attacks, as there are a little too many strong ones right now), might I request we look into what can be done to make the Nirvana Band a desirable equip for stam Sabin? (Removing it entirely and buffing stam-based damage is the alternative, but aesthetically undesirable, option). Even with only ~90 stamina, Nirvana Aurabolt at least finally starts breaking the 3k mark by endgame. Still not enough without extreme stamina stacking, but hey, Nirvana on Sabin is an aesthetic undesirable situation, so it's still a plus to look into this.

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I’ve been giving this some thought and here is what I think. Stam based elemtal Blitz sounds nice but ultimately make Sabin’s synergy with magic atrocious as the only thing magic will affect is Quake. The fact that Sabin has 2 AoE Blitz that scale off magic is a little redundant, changing these to scale off stamina will be just as redundant.

Therefore, I instead of changing both Fire Dance and Sonic Boom to scale off stamina we should instead have only 1 scale off stamina. If one of them stay magic based vig Sabin would still have a decent AoE. We have two options, here are my thoughts on both:

-Fire Dance: While seeming like a nice option at first, as you get this Blitz around the same time you get your first batch of espers, it would do more harm than good. Sabin would have zero magic synergy until he gets Quake or Sonic Boom, both of which come at late game.

-Sonic Boom: Should function as an “in-between” with Fire Dance and Quake and should also switch places with Chakra. This would change stam Sabin’s function completely. He would no longer focus on being just a healer but rather his main asset would be AoE effects. Sonic Boom would be his main attack while Fire Dance would serve for enemies that are resistant/immune to wind or enemies that are weak to fire. Quake would be more powerful but would require a bit of setup. Mantra/Chakra are already AoE and having him be the only one with an AoE MP heal fits the build. Aurabolt could function as a powerful one hitter when necessary.

Along with the changes to Sonic Boom, Aurabolt should receive a bit of a buff to compete with AoE attacks. Mantra should also give him regen as this would free up a relic slot and make his healing more viable, Mantra’s formula should also be changed to have stamina have a greater impact on it

Lastly, something that would make Sabin better in general, have the Duncan event teach Sabin all of his Blitz, like Cyan. This is a little OP as you could do this immediately after getting the airship. I suggest having a boss fight to test the player. Maybe a 1v1 with Sabin and Duncan?

 

+1 to having Odin EL’s be HP/Stam, would make Holy Wind/Raid more useful

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OK, I'm emotionally conflicted, b/c I'm happy that my Odin = HP/Stam idea is catching on, but I give a big no to fundamentally changing stam Sabin's design.

  • Chakra is unique. AoE isn't. Even outside BNW, Chakra is pretty unique for a jRPG. Chakra deserves to be in the fore-front, not put on the back burner.
  • Any Blitz gotten at lvl.30 might as well not exist. Chakra coming that late is a sad end to a unique skill.
  • There's all ready a lot of AoE options, many of them quite strong. Relm, Strago, Mog, Setzer, Shadow, Gau, and Edgar (half the cast) are all quite strong in terms of AoE. While there are balance issues here (see: Adamantite Rage), I'm not seeing room for adding an 8th dude into the mix (even 7 feels like a stretch), especially one whose whole identity is based around AoE. (After all, of those 7, who among them is completely defined strictly by their AoE?) If we did add an 8th person, Terra or Celes would be more fitting.
  • Sabin's magic is a joke. 24 base, only enough equip options for 48 total, but if equipping the Nirvana for the precious +25% power, you can only get 41 magic. That's simply too low to make any WoR magic of Sabin's be useful (not without the spell power being equal or even stronger than endgame summons like Tritoch). Magic-based Fire Dance is fine, the numbers of the early game allow it to be useful despite Sabin's garbage magic stat.

Ultimately, I didn't recommend stamina-based Air Blade because of wanting stam Sabin to be an attacker. I recommended it so that he at least had some means of offense for the late WoR, after Aurabolt had dropped off. Air Blade can't even hit for 1000 damage in Kefka's without building Sabin for magic (lol). It's a joke. I'll even take Air Blade just having Aurabolt's power but being in AoE version, but it can't do even that without de-coupling it from his magic stat (and vigor ain't happenin').

Course, issue here is that Sabin isn't supposed to have good AoE. He only has Fire Dance because most your AoE dudes come late (give Celes an early game AoE, get rid of Fire Dance? It's more appropriate thematically). So perhaps the issue here is that there Air Blade shouldn't be AoE, or perhaps not exist at all, being replaced with something else entirely. Single-target Air Blade is easy enough: little extra power then Aurabolt, actually learn it in decent time, boom, done. Some other blitz? I'll let the creative people have fun, as creativity ain't my forte.

***

I'm sorry if I come across very rudely, abrasively, or like I'm putting you down despite being a newbie. Not my intent. I love and am grateful for seeing new players, I love the discussion ya'll have started, and ya'll have presented good ideas. I'm, for better or worse, very opinionated, stubborn as a mule, and have a tendency to dominate the conversation. (It's genetic). I hope you can look past my bull-headedness and forgive a veteran coming down hardly on a new guy to see why I'm concerned with what you presented.

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Sonic Boom is the only Blitz I NEVER use — I couldn't even tell you what the inputs are for it. I fully support any change that makes it (or a replacement for it) worth using.

What about a Blitz akin to what Vargas uses to blow away the rest of the party before Sabin wrecks him? Could be a shite wind damage AoE akin to what we have now, with a rider effect of possibly Sneezing a target from the battle. Could something like this be handy for LLG/NHT runs?

Edit: I guess that's what Warp is for, on second thought. Carry on.

Edited by SirNewtonFig
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2 hours ago, SirNewtonFig said:

Sonic Boom is the only Blitz I NEVER use — I couldn't even tell you what the inputs are for it. I fully support any change that makes it (or a replacement for it) worth using.

What about a Blitz akin to what Vargas uses to blow away the rest of the party before Sabin wrecks him? Could be a shite wind damage AoE akin to what we have now, with a rider effect of possibly Sneezing a target from the battle. Could something like this be handy for LLG/NHT runs?

Edit: I guess that's what Warp is for, on second thought. Carry on.

I love this idea, a late game insta-kill would be much more appropriate for an ability gained at level 30 than a fairly weak AoE that most people will never touch. And much like Cyan's Cleave and Strago's X-Zone it would be great on Sabin regardless of his build, therefore giving his stamina build something nice for random encounters. I don't know if having a third guy with an AoE instant kill would be good for balance though (4 if you count Mog X-casting Doom), so maybe it would only target one enemy but remove the ability to counter it like X-Zone does?

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4 hours ago, thzfunnymzn said:

OK, I'm emotionally conflicted, b/c I'm happy that my Odin = HP/Stam idea is catching on.

Guess the idea is to make C/C Strago viable and give him the HP to survive it. It is strange how unnecessary Stam+2 is on Strrago, though... My Strago has 79 Stam with just 10 Carbuncle lvls.

 

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10 hours ago, Vaylen said:

Guess the idea is to make C/C Strago viable and give him the HP to survive it. It is strange how unnecessary Stam+2 is on Strrago, though... My Strago has 79 Stam with just 10 Carbuncle lvls.

 

No, Strago has no business Covering allies, not with his low p.def and HP. Sides, he's got Refract for that. HP is because HP is an actual, you know, tanking stat.

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2 hours ago, thzfunnymzn said:

No, Strago has no business Covering allies, not with his low p.def and HP. Sides, he's got Refract for that. HP is because HP is an actual, you know, tanking stat.

But everything that has access to HP ends up bulky. Something that Strago simply is not meant to be.

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My idea was HP +15 to match Golem (or +20, whatever it is that Golem is now). For someone like Strago, that's still enough for 3-5 ELs to be useful on any build, but it limits how tanky he can become. (Pure Odin would gut his attacking stat without being quite as rewarding as it would be with a stronger HP esper). He's definitely supposed to be tankier than Relm & Shadow, what, with that absurd stamina of his. And he'd still get absurd stamina, but also some a little more HP to boot.

Might still be an idea that works best of Strago has an actual defensive use for stamina, but at least it isn't purely dependent on such.

Being a useful dip for his mag build is also very important, considering how late Odin is "generally" gotten.

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14 hours ago, thzfunnymzn said:

My idea was HP +15 to match Golem (or +20, whatever it is that Golem is now). For someone like Strago, that's still enough for 3-5 ELs to be useful on any build, but it limits how tanky he can become. (Pure Odin would gut his attacking stat without being quite as rewarding as it would be with a stronger HP esper). He's definitely supposed to be tankier than Relm & Shadow, what, with that absurd stamina of his. And he'd still get absurd stamina, but also some a little more HP to boot.

Might still be an idea that works best of Strago has an actual defensive use for stamina, but at least it isn't purely dependent on such.

Being a useful dip for his mag build is also very important, considering how late Odin is "generally" gotten.

I see where you are going, but I believe just about 5 points would make him too tanky for his design. HP is kind of a stat that easily escalates in powerlevel, isn't it?
With just 5 +15 HP ELs and, say, a Red Cap... Strago wouldn't really feel fragile at all anymore. Not tanky, sure - but he wouldn't be at risk of dying very often. I think this is precisely why he cannot have HP ELs, sound as that idea may... sound on paper.

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I wouldn't mind that, honestly. All the other frail characters are insanely fast, which means that if they die and get ressed they don't take forever and a half to get their next turn. Also, Strago would gain access to HP ELs in one of the very last dungeons in the game (by difficulty). He'd still be plenty frail for the vast majority of the game, and he really wants his magic EL to shine so you can't just dump HP on him and call it a day. Unless you want a Holy Wind slave or something (which is arguably the worst MT heal when it comes to recovering from a strong AoE attack)

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1 minute ago, SpoonyBard said:

I wouldn't mind that, honestly. All the other frail characters are insanely fast, which means that if they die and get ressed they don't take forever and a half to get their next turn. Also, Strago would gain access to HP ELs in one of the very last dungeons in the game (by difficulty). He'd still be plenty frail for the vast majority of the game, and he really wants his magic EL to shine so you can't just dump HP on him and call it a day. Unless you want a Holy Wind slave or something (which is arguably the worst MT heal when it comes to recovering from a strong AoE attack)

Not wrong. I, myself, am not really opposed to the idea. On the other hand, I see the reasons against giving him access to HP ELs quite clearly.
It would be nice if there'd be some way to open up an actual stam build for him - HP ELs won't help out too much in that regard.

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3 hours ago, SpoonyBard said:

I wouldn't mind that, honestly. All the other frail characters are insanely fast, which means that if they die and get ressed they don't take forever and a half to get their next turn. Also, Strago would gain access to HP ELs in one of the very last dungeons in the game (by difficulty). He'd still be plenty frail for the vast majority of the game, and he really wants his magic EL to shine so you can't just dump HP on him and call it a day. Unless you want a Holy Wind slave or something (which is arguably the worst MT heal when it comes to recovering from a strong AoE attack)

I'll add on that at least part of my thinking is subjective: Strago by design is frail and slow, a reason people have pointed out for disliking stam Sabin as a healer. However, he's not slow. With Odin, Thunderguard, Dark Hood, Moogle Hide, and various relics such as Zephyr Cape, Stat Stick, Black Belt, White Cape, Knight Cape (back row only), he can break 50 speed without really sacrificing anything equipment wise. (Because, let's face it, without extreme set-ups or specific battles, Strago's not a top-tier or even upper-tier dps character, so losing Crystal Orb, Sage Stone, or extra mag+ / MP+ isn't really that big of a loss for him. Also, his support skillset is cheap and he's got Raid). This is all unlike Cyan, who has to make some sacrifices to even break 40 speed. Lose Genji Helm, lose Power Glove or Nirvana Band, etc.

Strago's design looks and feels like he's supposed to be tankier than Shadow and Relm, not trying to run as fast as them, so I'm suggesting a minor endgame HP esper alongside the loss of at least some speed equipment access (Dark Hood being, by far, the easiest).

5 hours ago, Vaylen said:

I see where you are going, but I believe just about 5 points would make him too tanky for his design. HP is kind of a stat that easily escalates in powerlevel, isn't it?
With just 5 +15 HP ELs and, say, a Red Cap... Strago wouldn't really feel fragile at all anymore. Not tanky, sure - but he wouldn't be at risk of dying very often. I think this is precisely why he cannot have HP ELs, sound as that idea may... sound on paper.

Honestly, I don't see HP Strago as breaking anything. Gau's got Snow Muffler, with +60 p.def, Ice/Wind immunity, and HP+25%, which means he can then go an equip a helmet better than Red Cap. Run spd ELs for 90+ speed and Tumbleweed Rage (status immunites, auto-regen, Water absorb), and healer Gau is lightning fast and surprisingly bulky. Even if Strago gets the game's weakest HP esper, I'm not sure he's necessarily getting any bulkier than what all ready exists in the game for the frail characters. So, while I understand the argument, unless you also argue for something happening to Gau, I see the argument as null and void.

Or take Relm. Unlike Strago, she still has a strong AoE heal (RegenX) that also heals herself when she equips the Black Heart, unlike Holy Wind. Combine with her various status resistances (shields, hides) and spd+, stam+ (stamina actually making her heal better), and healer Relm is arguably just as bulky as this hypothetical HP Strago while also being faster and having a significantly superior heal option. (This whole set-up being stam Relm's one good use).

So, again, HP Strago isn't actually anything that the game doesn't all ready give for the frail characters. An actual HP esper is more readily accessible to a new player, rather than these set-ups (esp. that Relm one), true, but it's also counterattacked by how late the esper comes, its slow growth, and the fact that HP Strago's lack of magic makes him somewhat single-minded (spam Refract, Shell, and Holy Wind, with minor contributions from X-Zone and elemental sniping).

Also, HP Strago is still significantly below the likes of heavy armor HP+30 characters (Terra, Setzer, Edgar; Edgar also having an HP+50% spear). I'm doubtful as to whether or not he'd actually rise up the bulkiness level of even Locke, Sabin, or Cyan. This change honestly brings him up from being tied with Shadow & Relm for being frailest to being tied with Gau for second frailest, without going outside of what the game all ready gives.

3 hours ago, Vaylen said:

Not wrong. I, myself, am not really opposed to the idea. On the other hand, I see the reasons against giving him access to HP ELs quite clearly.
It would be nice if there'd be some way to open up an actual stam build for him - HP ELs won't help out too much in that regard.

I don't think that can happen without a significant change to what stamina does universally or a significant change to Strago. Even then, Strago's naturally high stamina may still mean he's perfectly fine with a stam+1 esper, which is what I'm still giving.

Course, that's also speculation on my part. It could turn out that a better stamina means Strago really does want stam+2. I'm doubtful, but it could. Thing is, stamina or Strago has to change first, so it's a question of when, or even if, that ever happens.

Edited by thzfunnymzn
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On 6/14/2018 at 6:45 PM, thzfunnymzn said:

Sabin's magic is a joke. 24 base, only enough equip options for 48 total, but if equipping the Nirvana for the precious +25% power, you can only get 41 magic. That's simply too low to make any WoR magic of Sabin's be useful (not without the spell power being equal or even stronger than endgame summons like Tritoch). Magic-based Fire Dance is fine, the numbers of the early game allow it to be useful despite Sabin's garbage magic stat.

My main issue with making both of Sabin's AoE blitz stamina based is that it gets rid of his magic synergy. Every character seems to synergize with the 4 essential stats in some way. Shadow, for example, uses magic for his scrolls. Cyan syncs with magic for his healing power. Hell, even Strago/Relm sync with vigor in order too use Rods/Brushes. Sabin's magic is a tolal joke, yes, but it should still have some use. If both of his AoE blitz used stamina he might as well have no magic at all. I also believe that his low magic can be mitigated with the introduction of the Force Robe, perhaps also include a magic cap of some sorts for him and Gau, I think they could benefit greatly from one.

On 6/14/2018 at 6:45 PM, thzfunnymzn said:

Any Blitz gotten at lvl.30 might as well not exist.

This is the exact reason that Sabin should have a way to learn them all at once, similar to Cyan. The master Duncan event would be perfect for this. Another idea, drawing inspiration from the auto crossbow, have the Duncan event increase the power of his Blitz (Bum Rush would need a bit of a nerfing to compensate.) I know Cyan's dream is suppose to be done mid/late WoR but this is why I suggested the boss battle with Duncan in order to prevent players from getting all his Blitz as soon as you get the airship.

1 hour ago, thzfunnymzn said:

Strago's design looks and feels like he's supposed to be tankier than Shadow and Relm, not trying to run as fast as them

The man used to hunt monsters, he should be able to take a couple hits before going down.

On 6/14/2018 at 9:46 PM, JohnFuklaw said:

I love this idea, a late game insta-kill would be much more appropriate for an ability gained at level 30 than a fairly weak AoE that most people will never touch. And much like Cyan's Cleave and Strago's X-Zone it would be great on Sabin regardless of his build, therefore giving his stamina build something nice for random encounters. I don't know if having a third guy with an AoE instant kill would be good for balance though (4 if you count Mog X-casting Doom), so maybe it would only target one enemy but remove the ability to counter it like X-Zone does?

I second this idea, everything becomes a lot more "gimmicky" near the end. Mabye also have Fire Dance apply a dubuff of some sort?

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The problem with everyone having a use for their 4 main stats is that, well, both vigor and magic are really just "offense" stats, so it's only natural that some folks just only care about one offense and not the other. Strago / Relm really don't care all that much for their vigor stat, and Sabin really doesn't care all that much for his magic stat. Not really any way to avoid that without expanding one of the two stats into something besides "offense."

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On 16.6.2018 at 6:12 PM, thzfunnymzn said:

Honestly, I don't see HP Strago as breaking anything. Gau's got Snow Muffler, with +60 p.def, Ice/Wind immunity, and HP+25%, which means he can then go an equip a helmet better than Red Cap. Run spd ELs for 90+ speed and Tumbleweed Rage (status immunites, auto-regen, Water absorb), and healer Gau is lightning fast and surprisingly bulky. Even if Strago gets the game's weakest HP esper, I'm not sure he's necessarily getting any bulkier than what all ready exists in the game for the frail characters. So, while I understand the argument, unless you also argue for something happening to Gau, I see the argument as null and void.

Or take Relm. Unlike Strago, she still has a strong AoE heal (RegenX) that also heals herself when she equips the Black Heart, unlike Holy Wind. Combine with her various status resistances (shields, hides) and spd+, stam+ (stamina actually making her heal better), and healer Relm is arguably just as bulky as this hypothetical HP Strago while also being faster and having a significantly superior heal option. (This whole set-up being stam Relm's one good use).

So, again, HP Strago isn't actually anything that the game doesn't all ready give for the frail characters. An actual HP esper is more readily accessible to a new player, rather than these set-ups (esp. that Relm one), true, but it's also counterattacked by how late the esper comes, its slow growth, and the fact that HP Strago's lack of magic makes him somewhat single-minded (spam Refract, Shell, and Holy Wind, with minor contributions from X-Zone and elemental sniping).

Also, HP Strago is still significantly below the likes of heavy armor HP+30 characters (Terra, Setzer, Edgar; Edgar also having an HP+50% spear). I'm doubtful as to whether or not he'd actually rise up the bulkiness level of even Locke, Sabin, or Cyan. This change honestly brings him up from being tied with Shadow & Relm for being frailest to being tied with Gau for second frailest, without going outside of what the game all ready gives.

Just about 5 points of +15 HP EL would turn Strago significantly more survivable - this is mainly due to hitting certain strong HP points. Not to mention, Strago easily has 10 points to spare.

But, on a whole, he wouldn't get downright "tanky" at all - he'd just not be REALLY fragile(And could probably survive a lot better in the front row, which isnt bad). It really is more of a question of "Do we want him to be less frail or not?" - not a balance decision. As mentioned, I wouldn't really object to the change. I simply think it would betray his core design.
And going just by comparison is... not much of an argument. Gau is designed to have quirky defences for many situations and, as a character that may very well front-row, needs a bit more defence. Shadow has his insane dodge. Strago is really only in the same camp as Relm - and her healing capabilities are always better than Strago's, so that's not a good comparison axis. I mean, your point actually did not defend the HP Strago idea, quite the contrary...

So, the questions are...
Would a +15 HP Esper conflict too much with Strago's core theme?
Would it actually change much of anything for Strago?
Is there any need/desire to make him more bulky?

I see the conflict with his core theme - but, as you mentioned, it really doesnt turn him into an actually bulky character.
I do not see a lot of a change for Strago(This is more tied to the stam thing).
I also see only very little need to make him more bulky via an HP Esper.

The change certainly would make the Odin get more exciting in general, give it more of a purpose and is better than stam+2 on a character with tons of stam by nature. There is the bit of synergy in terms of "front row Strago needs more bulk", so I see that - but question for the need of that existing(Currently, at least, Rod-Strago feels like more of a gimmick).
If one just wants to make Odin a more exciting choice, HP+ is a valid option and surely, it is not as problematic as I made it out to be - which is why I wouldn't mind the change.

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Fair enough.

***

So, uh, back to Chakra. I've said that I think stam Sabin's critical issue is that Chakra's synergy with mages isn't as desirable as it ought be because of either the abundance of methods for said mages to be fairly independent (as Nowea and I have pointed out: MP+50%, MP+ espers, lategame Ether / Tincture supply, Gem & Soul Box, Raid / Osmose, Love Sonata). Too few magic users needing Chakra support = statistically unlikely for Chakra to find use in natural play (aka, requires pre-planning a specific party set-up). So, thinking specifically of whose synergy with Chakra ought to be looked at:

  • Terra. Chakra definitely helps in the mid-WoR b/c of the price tag on tier-3's and Life 2. In theory, she'd also like Chakra for Ultima spam as well. But she's got a lot of MP+ options, plus Gem Box for the endgame. Seems pretty simple: look at MP+50% availability, endgame Ether / Tincture supply, and perhaps consider a slightly weaker Gem Box (2/3 cost, instead of 1/2?). Heck, even changing Cure 3's price tag is an option here, but that's another can of worms entirely.
  • Celes...OK, like Terra, she does care for Chakra support mid-WoR b/c of the price tag on Ice 3. She also can't grow her MP as fast as Terra. It would seem like addressing Terra would address Celes as well, except Celes' endgame magic is different from Terra's. Unlike Ultima, Holy is the same power as earlier magics (Ice 3), but cheaper and defense-ignoring, while her healing is still Cure 2 & Rerise just scaled b/c of Celes' stats and possibly the Crystal Orb. Bolt 3 comes endgame, but, eh. So...uhh....something, something, Merton? Except Sabin's somewhat counter-synergistic with Merton, being unable to equip a Flameguard to get Merton healing. Also, Think's new patch makes Sabin even more counter-synergistic with Merton (can't even get immunity anymore). So....uhh....yeah, aside from whatever happens with Terra, synergy with Celes is a bit of a lost cause.
  • Locke definitely appreciates Chakra support if he's going X-Magic, as it fuels more heavy usage of higher tier magic. What's more, Sabin certainly appreciates higher tier healing, what, with his high HP but low defenses. (Oh, and Fire immunity + fire magic = painless de-Frost). So, good synergy all ready exists. Nice. That said, this is only for X-Locke; other Locke set-ups need Chakra support less, if at all. So, the synergy here depends on how popular X-Locke use is.
  • X-Mog, in theory, likes Chakra support. In fact, if he wants to use the Crystal Orb, he has to give up Moogle Charm, which means he pretty much needs Chakra (or Battery) support. Sabin even comes with Float for helping Mog use Quake, while Mog's Haste is helpful for the slower stam Sabin build (esp since Mirage Vest is unlikely). Problem is, X-Mog is unpopular, generally seen as (below) average, perhaps borderline satisfactory. Doesn't help that mag Mog has a plethora of other uses that don't care for Chakra support. So, something, something, X-Mog.
  • Relm, with Osmose's nerf (this version, or previous? I forgot), less enemies having millions of MP (a change a few versions ago), and expensive magics, definitely does appreciate Chakra support nowadays.
  • Strago, otoh, doesn't so much. While he's also been hurt by the Osmose nerf and the enemy MP changes, he's still got Raid. Actually, though, Raid might only be a secondary issue, especially considering its miss rate. Primary issue, I think, for Strago, is that most of his WoR magic and most of his support Lores are relatively cheap. Raze, X-Ice2, Refract, Holy Wind, Bad Breath, all pretty cheap. Dark and X-Zone are borderline, leaving his expensive magic limited to Tsunami, Black Omen, Shield, and Zoneseek. The expensive buffs aren't set frequently, so, uh, unless you're going for an ultra-high magic build with Crystal Orb equipped for Black Omen spam, Strago doesn't need Chakra too badly. It helps for the long stretch in Kefka's Tower, but more synergy could happen.
  • Rerise Shadow likes Chakra support, but that's it from Shadow.
  • Setzer uses magic, but really only healing magic, and Cure 3 is pretty inexpensive while being very powerful while Go Fish is a free Cure 2. He's not a bottomless pool of MP, but he can stretch his MP pretty far.
  • Gogo appreciates Chakra support on certain set-ups, though Gogo can also equip Tools for some self-sustaining with Battery. His battery ain't the strongest though, while Life 2 works regardless of Gogo's magic, so, uh, yeah, he likes Chakra support on some set-ups.
  • Edgar, Cyan, Gau, and especially Umaro and Sabin himself, are all lol.

Not every single character needs a change, just enough such that there's a statistically significant chance that stam Sabin will find a team to support in natural play (aka, without specific pre-planning to make him useful). Characters I'm eyeballing here are Terra, Setzer, Mog, and Strago. I wouldn't even know where to begin on anyone else.

***

Course, this is all assuming that I've got the right idea or even got the best arguments with those specific characters. Also, I'm essentially suggesting nerfs (except for Mog), which is never a fun time, and over-nerfing is just as big a potential problem as over-buffing (Relm's potentially in danger of being over-nerfed?). Furthermore, I'm suggesting such things based on character-character synergy and character-Item-equipment synergy, not just one character looked at solo, making this all the more difficult to analyze.

Still, thought I'd throw it out there.

 

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Hmm... the one thing I am really seeing is nerfing Gem/Soul Box to increase chakra's usefulness in that way.
I feel "MP-Healing" is just a pretty "meh" main draw of a build in general. It shines with 2 specific builds(X-Locke and X-Mog) and is just nice-to-have at any other time - which is pretty weak for a main draw of a build. A Gem/Soul Box nerf/rework would make Celes appreciate Chakra a lot more(She hasn't the best MP growth and has a big little ELs to spare). Terra just has flat-out too much MP if you really want to, but a gem box nerf would also make her appreciate this.
So a nerf to MP-trivialization of that pair of items would go a long way for stam Sabin. Wouldn't even need to be only a nerf - could come with a buff to Gem/Soul. Those two trivilialize MP too much anyway.

 

But to make stam Sabin actually good, the creative minds need to work on something new, so that he doesn't just have chakra as a draw.

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