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.

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