Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Manipulating Monster Manor

If you've played it, you know that you want stuff from chests.  You may want better chests, though.  You might also want to find a Mii for a team-up, a Mii for a puzzle box, or an orb.  Well, I've figured out how to manipulate most of that.

This makes heavy use of sending Miis to the back and dismissing them.  Obviously if you're on the first floor, you probably won't be able to dismiss, so this works best starting on the second floor.  To dismiss a Mii, go to a floor that's full and select "Take Piece".  Basically, if none of their pieces will fit on the floor you're currently on, then you'll be able to dismiss them.  However, this dismiss option replaces the "Take Piece" option, so if you want to use one of that Mii's pieces on a different floor, you'll have to use the stairs to reset it.  You can always back out and not place a piece, even if you've already selected the piece and progressed to the screen where you put it somewhere on the floor.

Actually, let's start with going up floors.  To do so, you need to find the stairs.  The stairs are in a random, hidden location that doesn't touch the walls of the manor.  When you reveal their location, go up them immediately.  Doing so refills your health, gives you more health, and most importantly, gives you another floor to put pieces into.  The only exception might be if there's a boss guarding the steps.  In that case, you might want to hold off, either for a team-up, or simply to get to an orb and power up your weapon.

Getting orbs is the one thing I haven't yet figured out how to manipulate, but it doesn't matter.  You won't always be able to make the giant rooms required to get the good chests, so you're very likely to get orbs generated in the smaller rooms you'll have to create in the meantime.

People who haven't purchased the game will give gifts of gems, and a random puzzle box.  If you want to raise the chances of these showing up, dismiss anyone who doesn't have a weapon on their back before making a room.  Placing their piece is also an option.  Keep in mind that the first time you meet someone who hasn't purchased the game, all you're going to get is gems, but starting with the second time you meet that person, you'll get the puzzle box.

People who have purchased the game will give you the option to team up, or get an item and a puzzle box.  If you want to raise the chances of these showing up, dismiss anyone who has a weapon on their back before making a room.  Placing their piece is also an option.

Getting better chests is simple.  You need to make a 4x4 room, all one color, that's connected to a room with an orb in it.  However, the order in which you do things matters.  Specifically, you'll need to make a 4x4 single-color square with room for a 2x2 piece in the center.  Every time you get a group of streetpasses after that, check for the color you're interested in.  Check that Mii's pieces and look for the 2x2 piece.  If you have a can of magic paint, check everyone's pieces.  Place this 2x2 piece first, whether you have to recolor it or not.  You'll also need to do all of this before dismissing anyone or placing any other pieces.

Generally speaking, you want to pick a color and stick with it, filling each floor with that color.  However, the game pre-generates sections of each floor in random colors, so you'll have to either force yourself to path through the room, or place a piece of that color next to it, preferably making a room.

However, once you've got a Rank S weapon that's been upgraded to +2, you'll want to fight a bunch of stuff to level it up.  To do this, you need to not make rooms.  Place pieces of as many different colors as possible next to each other and just make hallways.  This will increase the chance of finding something to fight.  As for the whole "five different elements, things are weak against one of them" thing, ignore it.  Just powerlevel a single weapon.  Remember: don't max its experience bar out if it's not +2.  Also, the maximum possible level for a weapon is 30.  You can make getting this easier by using weapons with a high max level (15 and up) to gain +1 and +2 on your desired weapon.  This may mean upgrading a weapon just to use it as materials for another weapon.

If you're going for completion, then you'll want to continue making big rooms to get gold chests and increase your chances of getting weapons until you've gotten that counter to 40.  You'll have plenty of smaller rooms to make in the meantime, so manipulate yourself some puzzle boxes and get that counter up to 50.  Getting the big rooms will get you the plaza tickets that you find from chests pretty quickly.  Those cans of magic paint, rare as they are, are really valuable for speeding up your ascent through this manor as well as making rooms.  You can also use them to deal with not having a specific color that it's pre-generated, particularly brown since approximately nobody selects brown as their favorite color when making a Mii.

The thing that ends up mattering least is the gift you get from a Mii every 10 times you StreetPass them.  If it so happens that you need a piece from that Mii, go ahead and get the gift, but don't feel too bad about dismissing a Mii that has a gift.

I hope this helps other people in their quest to get all the plaza tickets, or just simply helps people get through the game.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Almost done job grinding

As the previous post might have suggested, I've been grinding up all the jobs I have available in Bravely Default.  There are two reasons behind this: first, I was having trouble with the keystone dragons and thought I'd need a different party setup, and second, I wanted to have all my options available.

Now that the grinding is nearing a close, I've had a look through all the abilities I've unlocked and there seem to be a fair number of options available for taking the keystone dragons down.  I'm sticking with a party of mages, but even then, there are ways that I can completely nullify elemental damage for the entire party for multiple turns, which is good enough.

Once I finish grinding up Templar, I'll see about killing the keystone dragons and getting Vampire, and then running all around getting the Vampire's genome abilities.  Once I'm done with Vampire, I'll have Conjurer and Dark Knight left to get and grind up, and then I can think about end-game party setups.

I do plan on doing a post about the other popular money farming build, involving the Merchant ability Big Pharma.  I just need to get it set up and put into action.  I don't expect it to make money faster than stealing Elixirs off of Mammon and selling them with Salesman, but it does have the advantage of being able to run in Auto mode while I do something else.  I don't want to say too much other than that my setup for Big Pharma that I've been scheming is completely different from the popular setup that people normally use.  However, since it only exists in my head and I've done zero testing, I don't know how feasible it is.

I'm also probably going to revamp some of the posts I've made so far with setups for Bravely Default, mainly to use Miiverse to add screenshots so I can better illustrate the setups and eliminate some of the scatterbrain that's present in those posts since I never bothered to properly outline them.  There will definitely be a fair amount of image editing involved in revamping these posts, so I can show equipment and whatnot in a concise manner.

Further bulletins as events warrant.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Bravely Default: My XP/JP Grinding Setup

I will preface this by saying that, while Bravely Default makes it really easy to grind and provides a lot of things to grind, grinding is in no way required to beat the game.  Also, in my usual style, this is not the typical "Obliterate + JP Up + Alarm Earrings on everyone" grinding setup that seems to be far more mainstream.  This setup is obtainable much earlier in the game and can have far better yields than JP Up will provide, while eliminating the necessity for Alarm Earrings.  The downside?  A much higher cost, and you'll need to wait a bit anyway for JP rewards, since they get better from chapter to chapter.

Requirements to set up this build:
  • Salve-Maker mastered on everyone
  • Freelancer mastered on one character, and set as their job command
  • All five support ability slots (so basically, finish Chapter 4)
  • The Accessory Shop in Norende upgraded to level 10
  • The Combat Item Shop in Norende upgraded to level 6
  • A Taunt Bangle equipped on one party member
  • (Useful, but optional) Some Teleport Stones, so you can leave the place without triggering more fights once you've run out of items
  • (Highly recommended) A Growth Egg equipped on one party member, to double your JP returns
  • (Highly recommended) Elixir Mammon and related job levels for farming money
Since this build uses attack items for its damage output, we gain some flexibility.  Basically, we won't depend on MP and MP recovery items, nor will we depend on weapon damage.  Since we use items, though, this build costs a lot of money. Specifically, we'll be spamming Bomb Arm, the fire damage attack item that costs 2000pg each, and we'll go through them fairly quickly.  One stack should just about master two jobs.

The rate at which we go through Bomb Arms is why I recommend having an Elixir Mammon to cover your costs.  This needs a whole separate setup that I've already covered to make it as efficient as possible, but it's still pretty darn good even without that setup, so long as you have the requisite nemesis and the Thief job.  Basically, to cover your initial costs and then again whenever you run low on money, you'll have to switch over to farming money using the Elixir Mammon.  I recommend maxing yourself out on money, which will take quite a while to deplete.

Initial costs are as follows:
  • 500000pg - Growth Egg
  • 3000pg - Taunt Bangle
  • 198000pg - 99 Bomb Arm (you may not need to buy 99)
That brings the maximum initial cost to 701000pg.

Support ability setup: (Lure Enemy only needs to be on the character who's mastered Freelancer)
  • [1 slot] Attack Item Amp
  • [1 slot] Lure Enemy
  • [3 slots] Feel No Pain
Attack Item Amp multiplies the damage done by Bomb Arms (and all other attack items) by 1.5.  Feel No Pain prevents us from taking damage until the end of the second turn of the battle, which we will never reach.  Because we don't have to worry about enemies attacking us or getting first strike, Alarm Earrings and AGI stats are unnecessary and irrelevant.  In fact, character level and stats don't matter at all.  This is why I like this build: there's no uncertainty.  If you have the stuff to set it up, it will work.  As I like to say: it Just Works™.

The reason we're using Bomb Arms is simple: Everything in Grandship's Engine Room in Chapter 5 and later is weak to fire.  This elemental weakness multiplies the damage dealt by our Bomb Arms by 1.5.  Since it normally deals 1500 damage, it becomes 2250 damage.  This stacks with the 1.5x multiplier from Attack Item Amp, resulting in 3375 damage to everything.  With this setup, everything will die in two hits.

As for our equipment, the Growth Egg multiplies experience and job points received from battle by 2.  It does this at the cost of all money, but having an Elixir Mammon renders this a moot point.  Lure Enemy doubles our encounter rate.  The Taunt Bangle also doubles our encounter rate, and it stacks with Lure Enemy.  Furthermore, press X, go to Tactics → Config → Difficulty and set the encounter rate to +100%, which will also stack.  What results is a pretty insane 8x encounter rate, where you literally can't take more than two steps without encountering something.  Accessories on the other two party members don't matter, so long as you don't also equip the Golden Egg.

The final bit of the setup is deciding which job(s) you want to level up.  You can level four jobs simultaneously with this setup, or four of the same job, or whatever you like.  Just choose.  Once you've set each character's job to whatever you want to level up, you're ready to go.

All set up?  Awesome, it's time to head down the elevator into the engine room.  Take a couple steps, meet a random encounter.  Set your party for battle:
  • For the character who's mastered Freelancer and has it set as their job command:
    • Brave
    • First action: Bomb Arm
    • Second action: Mimic
  • Default on everyone else (hit the grey GO button!)
Press Y to engage Auto mode, and watch as you win the battle.  Now all you need to do is run around triggering fights.  My run is simple: run from the elevator all the way around to the chest just south of the elevator and back, then hit the switch to leave and restock.  Due to the encounter rate you'll experience, a level 1 job will reach level 14 just after the chest, so pay attention and swap jobs out as they're mastered.

Building up to 1-Turn Hero and Unscathed Hero won't take very long and you shouldn't ever lose these bonuses during a run.  My "just after the chest" figure above for getting a job from 0 JP to mastered includes building up these two bonuses, so if you've got them going already when you start, things will be even faster for you.

As for your rewards, once you've built up to 1-Turn Hero and Unscathed Hero, you'll be making over 3000 XP in most battles.  As for JP, it varies between 420 and 630.  Being that I already have characters at level 99, I can't vouch for the amount of character levels you'll get per run, but I expect it to be more than one.  Going from level 98 to level 99 only takes a mere 70000 XP, which is entirely doable in less than a run.

There are two jobs that are interesting to level up.  Freelancer requires 9999 JP to get from level 13 to 14, instead of the usual 5000.  Swordmaster is the only job whose specialty can cause damage to enemies, which might actually randomly save you a Bomb Arm here or there.  More often, it will reset your Sweeper bonus, but if you've got a Growth Egg, you don't care about Sweeper bonus anyway.

Keep in mind: if you save and quit Bravely Default (say, to go into StreetPass Mii Plaza), you'll need to re-set up Auto mode.  If you just hop back in unaware of this necessity, you'll find your characters doing regular attacks instead of doing the Bomb Arm spam you'd much rather have them doing.

This setup is not for everyone, simply due to its cost and the necessity for a second setup to cover that cost.  However, if you can cover its cost, it's very effective and incredibly consistent, and to me is well worth the cost.

Edit (2014-09-13): I remembered about the Freelancer's Mimic ability, which can be used to halve the cost of a single run.

Edit (2014-09-18): Shortly after remembering about Mimic, I started taking damage because the one character dealing damage kept getting hit with Dread.

Edit (2014-10-29): Ground Dark Knight up in Chapter 5, noted different enemies with a different weakness, and the much better JP returns.  I mastered Dark Knight in just over half a run, which is significant enough to advocate waiting.  Completely reworked the entire post to advocate waiting until Chapter 5 to do job grinding.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

StreetPass Games Revisited: Monster Manor

I have seven plaza tickets remaining.  The ones I have left are for clearing the 30th floor, teaming up 10 times, solving all the puzzle boxes, collecting all the weapons, finding a second plaza ticket in a silver chest, finding a plaza ticket in a gold chest, and then finding a second plaza ticket in a gold chest.

Just going to throw it out there: this is the only game I haven't yet beaten.

This game is much slower-paced than the others, due to you having to find the stairs on each floor and the randomness of the pieces and colors you receive.  The best strategy for getting good loot actually involves building giant single-color rooms and dismissing Miis of any other color.  Your weapons all belong to one of five elements, and enemies have weaknesses to those elements, but it doesn't seem like playing the weakness game is really worth it.  Just take all the weapons you get and boost a single weapon into an uber weapon.

If you're doing the "build giant rooms" strategy, dismiss the Miis of other colors before placing the pieces of your chosen color.  That way you can get the puzzle boxes and items from the other Miis, and still take advantage of team-ups if you don't want puzzle boxes.  This strategy is a lot slower, but gets you a chance at the plaza tickets as well as some really good loot.  I recommend doing it at the very least until you have the plaza tickets from chests and a decent weapon (one that can become rank S, with a decent ability).  Also, whenever you find the stairs, go up them and open the next floor.  Always.

If you want the plaza tickets from silver chests and gold chests, you'll have to build giant single-color rooms.  It's the only way to get those chests to appear.

Streetpassing other Monster Manor owners will let you team up with them to fight the things you encounter, or if you select "Get Item", you'll get an item that they have or a puzzle box that they've solved.  In addition, whatever weapon they're using will show up "holstered" on their back.  If you solve the puzzle box, you'll get an item, and if you beat the time shown on the puzzle box, you'll get a better item.

StreetPass Games Revisited: Warrior's Way

I have three plaza tickets left in Warrior's Way.  The ones I have left are for taking over the world twice, getting my castle to rank 20, and battling 300 monarchs from afar.

I don't really have any major issues with this game.  The way it curves enemy troop numbers according to your own progression can sometimes be frustrating when it throws a battle at you that makes you have to go on a troop recruitment drive.  This is most apparent when you've gotten to one country remaining, but also tends to happen when it throws Berserkers or Ninjas at you, since they have different battle rules than normal battles.

Don't get used to those gold stars telling you when an army can't lose, though.  They go away after your first playthrough.  Figuring out when you've got enough troops is simple, though.  When you're on equal footing, you simply need more troops.  When you have the advantage, you can have just over half the troops.  When you have the disadvantage, you need at least double the troops.  The condition for the gold star is that the specific troop type can defeat what it's weak to, or the largest enemy group, whichever is bigger.

Combat is basically rock, paper, scissors, best two out of three.  Rock is your cavalry, Scissors are your archers, and Paper is your infantry.  Just in case you live under a rock, this means that infantry has the advantage over cavalry, cavalry has the advantage over archers, and archers have the advantage over infantry.  A unit can still defeat the unit with an advantage over it, but it must do so through sheer numbers.  Field conditions can also randomly weaken one troop type and make it always have a disadvantage.

The game's play coin-fueled spying mechanic is very important to determining your strategy and unit sizes, so get yourself plenty of play coins.  However, there are two special types of battles you'll run into.  Some nations will have Berserkers, where spying is extra important because they take out 4/5 of a unit when they have the advantage, and 2/3 of a unit with equal footing.  Others will have Ninjas, which are their own special troop type that always has the advantage.  Because Ninja is its own troop type, spying is useless since you'll just figure out that they're going to be sending Ninjas (as the cool kids say... duh).  The only way to beat the Ninjas is through sheer numbers, you'll need at least twice what they have.

A strategy that's useful sometimes is to have a "planned defeat" built into your battle strategy.  This is most useful when the enemy has one really large group, or against Berserkers or Ninjas.  Set one of your troop types to be as small as possible.  You then get extra troops to throw at your other troop types.  Once in battle, spy to figure out when they're sending the big group, and send the tiny one.  It'll get defeated, but the big group won't be a factor anymore.  Against Ninjas, just send the tiny group first, then hopefully your other groups will be big enough to take out the remaining Ninjas.

Also, against the countries you have to take over, sometimes they'll favor one specific troop type and have it for two of their three units, making your strategy somewhat easier as you'll have a group that's much more easily guaranteed a win.  Field conditions can also apply to these battles.  I had one hilarious battle where the enemy had two units of cavalry, but field conditions weakened cavalry.  Easiest.  Battle.  Ever.

Don't forget to challenge monarchs from afar (which of course are other people who own Warrior's Way), because they're a great way to build your troops up.  Just remember that the number of times you can spy is per session, not per battle.  I generally only challenge a monarch if I have over double their troops by a significant enough amount that there's no possible way I can lose.  There are five plaza tickets related to challenging monarchs from afar, so you might as well get started on them as early as possible.

Hiring mercenaries is a great way to boost your numbers, but at the same time, it's not really necessary until just before the Emperor on each play-through.  Some castle rank-ups will increase how many mercenaries you can hire with play coins, so to get the most out of your play coins you should hold off until just before the Emperor.  Also, only ever spend 15 play coins on mercenaries, it's the best deal in the long run.

As for that pesky critical strike plaza ticket, it's something that has a chance of happening in the third round of battle if your unit is smaller than the opponent's unit.

I still maintain my stance that if you can only get one of these games, go with Warrior's Way.

StreetPass Games Revisited: Flower Town

I have every single plaza ticket available in Flower Town.  Getting them isn't incredibly difficult, and you can finish them long before finishing all the jobs.  That said, I'm still playing the game, because I'm going for journal completion.

Flower Town is definitely the underdog of the four additional StreetPass games.  On the surface, it looks like it's just a simple game where all you do is grow flowers, but once you get into it, there's a lot of thought and logic you'll have to put into what you're growing in order to get what you want and/or need.  Learning how to read the Planter's Preview and interpret seed shapes as well as their resale value is critical for getting the breeds you want.  The percentages it shows are mostly for show, because the seed has basically already "picked" one of the potential results and will grow into that plant with 100% certainty.

Likewise, once you get to the jobs from Flower Power, you'll find yourself needing to get plants that are either short or tall, and the game has absolutely no indication of what constitutes a short plant versus a tall plant.  Every place where you can look at a plant will adjust the camera or the scale of the plant's picture to fit it into view.  You'll have to use the size of the pot shown in the picture to determine how much the image of the plant has been scaled.  You'll often find yourself having to buy a seed from Poppy's Seeds and breed it with a plant that has the height you want, and then grow the result seeds to get the breed you want with the height you need.  Sometimes you need a plant of a specific color, but that's comparitively simple since it just requires that you StreetPass a Mii with that shirt color.  You then select that Mii and ask them to plant a seed with you, and they'll inject some magical plant-DNA-altering dye into the pot after you've planted the seed.

Much like Mii Force, Flower Town will simply ignore that you're holding R at some points.  Also, here, I feel as though the speed of the game when you're holding R should be the base speed, and holding R should make it go even faster.

This game is unique in that you can start it up and do things in it without having to StreetPass anyone or spend play coins.  The only thing restricted to StreetPasses or spending play coins is actually growing the flowers.  You can visit the shops and buy and sell things all you want.  You can go rearrange and decorate your gardens all you want.  You can take a job and turn in a plant for that job.  Or if for whatever reason you want to talk to Mr. Mendel, you can do that too.  The ability to play portions of the game without StreetPasses might not be a regularly-used thing, but it's important to note that it's there.

The goal of the game shifts.  Initially, the goal is to grow 20 different breeds of plants, but that's just the beginning.  Normally in these games, you get their second hat after you beat them, but you get Flower Town's second hat when you grow your 20th breed, and the game's far from over at that point.  After you grow your 20th breed, the next task is to take and complete jobs from Flower Power.

A small handful of jobs will present you with a choice of seeds, one of which will always complete the job.  For most jobs, however, you'll need to get the seed on your own, which involves either breeding it, or buying it from Poppy's Seeds.  Sometimes, hilariously enough, you can use a seed purchased directly from Poppy's Seeds to complete a job, without having to breed a specific height or ensure a specific color, including the job that you get from Poppy later on.  Couldn't she just grow one of her own seeds?  Not that I mind getting the job completion money...

To be able to buy a seed for a specific breed from Poppy's Seeds, first you must grow the breed in question.  Just once, any height, any color.  I recommend filling in a good portion of the journal before getting heavily into the jobs, just so you're more likely to be able to just buy what you need to complete the job.  You can earn a good chunk of money just by growing seeds harvested from plants and then selling the result plants.  Rare breeds in particular will go for a lot, should you choose to sell one.

Also, since the game thrusts the free Garden Grace shopping spree on you relatively early on, here's a hint: Go through the items and take the most expensive ones.  You know, because they're free.  Then, after you've checked out and you have an incredibly gaudy looking garden, go back to Garden Grace and sell that stuff.  Surprisingly, this works, and it will net you a fair amount of money if you chose pricey enough items.  You can only do this once, though.

The final phase of the game is after you've completed all the jobs and you just have miscellaneous things left in your journal to fill in.  This phase is of course entirely optional, since it involves growing every plant in every single color that each individual plant can grow in, and each plant has specific colors it can be.

Pacing-wise, this game depends heavily on StreetPasses.  If you don't get very many, it will take a lot longer to do anything.  Each plant needs to be watered multiple times before it will bloom.  Every time you StreetPass people, your Mii will water it once, and then each of the people you StreetPassed will water it once.  In addition, for each seed you want to harvest from a plant that's bloomed, it needs to be watered once by a Mii you've gotten via StreetPass.  I recommend finding yourself a Nintendo Zone that will cooperate and give you six StreetPasses every time, which for me at least was somewhat of a point of contention until I set up SpillPass-Pi.  Six StreetPasses is enough to grow almost everything that isn't a rare breed, and enough to harvest the majority of the seeds from a plant.

When StreetPassing someone else who owns Flower Town, they'll be holding whatever plant they're currently growing, and you can select them in the courtyard or shopping mall and see their garden.  The garden you see is the one they've selected as their favorite.

StreetPass Games Revisited: Mii Force

Now that I've had the opportunity to play the four newer StreetPass games a bunch, I'm going to do a quick series of four posts dedicated to each game and my thoughts after so much gameplay.  I can say for certain that there are some common complaints, but in general they're all still worth the money and I'll stand by my original statement of "just buy the bundle".  Each of these posts will also provide some general tips, but nothing that would supplant the use of a guide on GameFAQs or anything.

As the title of this post would suggest, this post is about Mii Force.

Plaza tickets are a somewhat decent but not perfect measure of the amount of time invested in the game versus the intended length of the game, so...  I have one plaza ticket remaining, which I will get once I complete Arcade Mode.  I keep derping in 4-2 or 4-3...  I'll get it someday.

I don't believe I've seen either the mechanic of being able to rotate your weapons around your ship, or the mechanic of being able to reconfigure your weapons at will in any other sidescrolling shooter.  The range of weapons is pretty good, but surprisingly the game is still fairly challenging, especially once you start trying to get the plaza tickets for completing various goals in each stage.  The tasks required to do these things range from annoying to challenging.  Sometimes to get one of the treasures in a stage, you'll have to destroy two large enemies simultaneously, including the final boss on one stage.  Other stages have treasures and alternate routes that require specific weaponry to be on your ship in order to get them.  Pausing and rearranging your weapons can make certain parts of stages easier, so keep that on your mind.  Also, you can rotate your weapons around your ship while you're paused, which can help speed you up in the later stages that tend to have less time between waves of enemies.

If you require a color that you don't have available, or you're in either of the frustrating situations where you have it but the pod doesn't show up until after you need it, or just aren't getting lucky with your StreetPasses, you're boned.  You can alleviate this using play coins to hire old allies, but you still need to have StreetPassed a Mii of the color that you want to hire, and if that color so happens to be brown, you might be out of luck since nobody chooses brown.

The game forces you to sit through its dialogue scenes after you've seen them five million times.  I get it, there's a story.  However, this game is designed to be replayed a lot, so give me the option to skip dialogue scenes and get on with it, please.  Also, at some points, it just flat-out ignores when you're holding R to speed things up.  If you get a game over on a stage, it's actually faster to hit Home and restart StreetPass Mii Plaza than it is to sit through the game over screen.  I get it, I suck, let me deal with it on my own time.

Beating the final boss in stage 5-3 unlocks Arcade Mode on the main menu.  In Arcade Mode, on normal difficulty, you take your squad through the entire game.  However, after the first three pods it gives them to you one at a time in later stages, injecting difficulty, and depending on the pods you get in 1-1, tedium.  In Arcade Mode, on hard difficulty, you select a single squad member and then try to play through the entire game.  Can it be done?  I've done a ton of streetpassing and have yet to see someone with a clear score on Arcade Mode Hard, so... I'm guessing not.

Arcade Mode is the most frustrating aspect of Mii Force.  For me, Mii Force went from being a fun use of my time to "play it once a day and skip it the rest of the time" once Arcade Mode became the only remaining thing that I hadn't done.  At this point, if I go into Mii Force at all after having played Arcade Mode, it'll be specifically to complete stage 1-1 really quickly, just to remove the exclamation point from the game's icon in the plaza.

Arcade Mode makes it blatantly clear that some weapons are much better than others.  My personal tier list:
  • High tier (Useful across all stages or the vast majority thereof)
    • White - Takes out enemy shots that other weapons can't shoot down, and can hit multiple times per shot against bosses.
    • Light Green - Hunts down its prey and latches onto it.  You can use this to hit a boss with this and one other weapon simultaneously.  Can also grab pods, gems, and treasures for you.  Kills the ghosts in 3-1 far faster than any other weapon, and is the only way to get all the treasures on 3-1 and 4-1.  At level 3, it can grab things through walls.
    • Light Blue - The only shots that White can't deal with are the fireballs, which this one handles, but can't handle the regular shots that White can handle.  Also due to its wide spread, can take out multiple enemies with one shot.  Its rapid fire is also very handy.
    • Blue - Homing weapons in sidescrolling shooters are always a "yes, please!" kind of deal.  In addition, it becomes extra powerful on 4-1, 4-2, and 4-3.
    • Red - You can swing this one around to hit things whereas everything else is a projectile or beam whose course can't be actively changed once fired.  Weakened on 4-1, 4-2, and 4-3.
  • Mid tier (stage-specific usefulness, plus decent utility making it a good second choice)
    • Orange - Useful on 5-2 and against anything with a shield when at level 3.  Lining up shots on moving targets is a chore, though.
    • Yellow - Useful for taking out tight clusters of enemies, as well as making it so you don't have to aim as accurately to hit things on walls.
    • Purple - At level 3, when charged, is useful against bosses when you have no other available strategy.  Its rapid fire is of general usefulness throughout all stages.
  • Low tier (low usefulness, or low fire rate)
    • Black - Highly desirable on 2-3 to instantly kill the plants and snakes, and makes short work of the boss at level 3.  Doesn't fire often enough to be useful anywhere else, especially the defense stages (2-2 and 4-2).
    • Brown -  Useful on 4-3, to get rid of the starfish that cover your weapons.  Useful anywhere else because it offers you a close-range weapon in addition to a projectile.  The only problem with this is, approximately nobody has a brown shirt.  That's right, it's low tier because you never see it.  It'd probably be mid tier if it was more common.  Proof that nobody likes the color brown?
  • Shit tier (just makes you facepalm)
    • Pink - Hunting down enemies' weak spots and travelling along walls to seek out enemies seems amazing at first, but its short range limits its usefulness.  Slightly more useful at level 3, but there's better options.
    • Green - Would be useful if there were more stages where you could bounce it off of walls.  All the really challenging stages don't have anything it can bounce off of.
One of the themes of these games is that you get something extra from streetpassing other people that own them, vs. people that don't own them.  I have yet to notice what you get from people that own Mii Force.  Their weapons don't appear to be any stronger or have any extra effects, and that's really the only thing I can think of that they could do.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Bravely Default Nemesis Strategy: Beelzebub

This is a tentacle monster with a horrible face.  You know how your parents always said "if you keep making that face, it's going to get stuck like that?"  Well, it kept making that face and it got stuck like that.  This is the level 10 version.

Recommended party:
  • As long as you're above level 10, pretty much anything.  It's only got 4000 HP.
Special Moves:
  • If you're lower level, perhaps something to buff your party or debuff it.  It's weak to both lightning and earth.
  • Spam Thunder/Thundara/Thundaga/Zeus' Wrath/Pantheon's Wrath depending on what you have access to.
  • Zeus' Wrath and Pantheon's Wrath will work regardless of your job setup, and two or three Pantheon's Wraths should seal the deal.
  • Heal as necessary