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SuperHario

Merton Contemplation

9 posts in this topic

The elemental mixing topic got me thinking about Merton - some about the etymology, Thomas Merton perhaps? - but mostly why isn't this Terra's most powerful spell instead of Celes?  Here are some supporting arguments:
- Terra learns Fire spells naturally, and Maduin (her father) is the wind esper, so a fire/wind combination makes quite a bit of sense; 
- Terra is a quasi-religious figure due to her unique birth, transformational powers, and frequent characterization as a savior, so her being the Crusader fits thematically; 
- Crusader is obtained in the Fanatic's Tower, which is also where her pendant is found in the WoR, maybe there's some attraction between the two?
- Like Merton, the Crusader summon hits all targets on the battlefield, which exhibits Terra's difficulty in controlling her powers.

Furthermore, Celes using Ragnarok/Ultima aligns much more with her storyline as well (besides the fact that Celes looks of Nordic ancestry):
- The Ragnarok myth correlates pretty strongly with Celes experience upon awakening in the WoR;
- The Ragnarok summon is just a sword, appropriate for Celes the soldier;
- Non-elemental Ultima is the logical progression from ???

Arguments against are:
- Ragnarok is (currently) found very late, so that reduces the potential utility of the Stam/Speed esper bonus for Celes (see spoiler below);
- It removes Celes access to fire-elemental spells, but I don't see this as a huge drawback.  

To address some of these drawbacks, you could:

Spoiler

obtain Ragnarok by defeating the Water dragon (rather than the Holy dragon for Crusader), since the Sunken Castle story also closely parallels the Ragnarok myth (great battle,  death of Odin, world submerged by water, two lovers).  Then Crusader would be obtained by defeating Kaiser dragon, which is more in line with how Crusader was originally obtained by defeating all the dragons; and since Merton is not that great a spell, it's not a big deal if it's obtained late.  It also makes sense for Crusader to be obtained just before facing the statues, since the summon is depicting the battle between the Warring Triad.

 

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The biggest problem is that Ultima is, well, the ultimate black magic. Anime / jRPG logic dictates that this is given to the main character as their endgame "Super Saiyan" mode. So, it goes to Terra. Flipside of this argument is that a niche "ultimate" magic does not fit on the main character.

Second problem is that ??? is self-harming, and Merton is party-harming. A natural progression of sort that Terra lacks, albeit, a progression kinda shoved into a back corner. (Since I suspect most people using Merton are also snagging lots of Flameguards, or at least, Fire immunities).

On an unrelated note, I'll comment that "has potential to heal the party and damage the enemy on the same move" seems like a quirky magic more fitting for Strago or Mog. Especially Strago, with his slow speed. It kinda comes out of the blue with Celes, especially since ??? has no such functionality, and honestly, doesn't really hurt Celes too much. (Mind you, Flameguard x4 with Merton use is actually quite nice, so it's not like its bad on Celes. Just something somewhat different from how she's played throughout the rest of the game, requires some specfic set-up and party composition, and not really that useful until Soul Box is obtained b/c 80 MP).

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I believe that Merton is a truncation of Meltdown. As the spell name wouldn't fit.

On the PS release its changed to Melton, and in the GBA it's Meltdown.

I do like the reasons for the esper swap though.

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I'd be in favor of the switch. It makes a lot of sense in terms of themes and Ultima even feels like a spell more appropriate for Celes(To me, at least).
Don't think a ton of balance troubles would be cause if you'd also swap ELs and equipment benefits along with the switch, as well as location. Also, a sword giving +physical feels really fitting anyway.

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I think the Espers and spells are fine the way they are. Merton damaging allies and being elemental ties into Celes being the more strategic of the two, and same with Ultima being Terra's best spell. I would be in favor of obtaining Ragnarok before Kefka's Tower and have the eighth dragon drop Excalibur instead. However, I don't think it should be the water dragon that drops it because you already get Odin in the sunken keep. Besides, limiting Merton to be used only for the warring triad/Kefka fight would make the spell far worse then what it already is. Also, most of your points are simply for flavor reasons rather than actual gameplay reasons.

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4 hours ago, Mr. Ultima said:

I think the Espers and spells are fine the way they are. Merton damaging allies and being elemental ties into Celes being the more strategic of the two, and same with Ultima being Terra's best spell. I would be in favor of obtaining Ragnarok before Kefka's Tower and have the eighth dragon drop Excalibur instead. However, I don't think it should be the water dragon that drops it because you already get Odin in the sunken keep. Besides, limiting Merton to be used only for the warring triad/Kefka fight would make the spell far worse then what it already is. Also, most of your points are simply for flavor reasons rather than actual gameplay reasons.

Flavouris a fun thing, though.
Aside from that: With Brave New World especially, everything gotten in kefka's tower feels a bit.... too late. I never liked "super endgame"-stuff myself - If I get stuff, I wanna actually use it.

I'll probably never use any Ragnarok ELs, simply cause it would be a hassle to get out of KTs tower, respecc Terra and then get to the same point again. That thought is kind of... saddening.

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I agree they’re flavor, but that’s important too (see script complaints).  As BNW stands now, it’s a vast improvement over vanilla gameplay wise, no doubt, but there are still plenty of story tweaks that could be incorporated to better reference real life source material, or make the game feel more rewarding when you see the reasoning behind why an item is earned for a certain event and maybe learn something in the process.

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15 minutes ago, SuperHario said:

I agree they’re flavor, but that’s important too (see script complaints).  As BNW stands now, it’s a vast improvement over vanilla gameplay wise, no doubt, but there are still plenty of story tweaks that could be incorporated to better reference real life source material, or make the game feel more rewarding when you see the reasoning behind why an item is earned for a certain event and maybe learn something in the process.

Even though I disagree with your proposal, +1

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Posted (edited)

Hmm, it does seem to make more thematic sense. I'm all for it, but as with anything, the gut reaction is to shoot down ideas that change up the lategame in a pretty significant manner, are based on flavor more than anything else, and would require some major work to implement. Also it is kind of a no-brainer that the character with the highest magical capabilities has the strongest spell in the game. Celes should be stronger physically as a knight and a general and Terra should have the strongest magical prowess as a half-esper.

Edited by Hapanpappa
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