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These are mostly just notes for myself.

Recently on GameFAQs board there's been someone who has been talking about "perfect games" (and a lot of debate about what this even means in a game like this) but one thing that did come up is the fact that line bonuses are not always that important. Generally until now, I think myself and many others always used line bonuses because they were the 'strongest' of the panel formation bonuses.

But line formations also require you to have three panels of one type -- often using panels you don't even really need on a character solely for the extra stat boost. Usually these aren't particularly useful except for having someone with keys for skill (since sharpeye, locksmith, and defuse are extremely helpful), or three fists for a character focusing on martial arts.

Plus the line bonus usually interferes with other stats. In my Kurt game, I have Playphyllum with a line of 'talking' skills -- Diplomacy, Monger, and Maharaja (fashion or inconspicuous would be nice instead of maharaja but they won't drop X_X). This is great because it boosts their Wood level a lot, but at the same time, I had to put Maharaja in the bottom left, which makes Magic level go WAY down.

Line bonuses give you 3x the base bonus. The multipliers don't affect the same-level bonus, either.

Talking panels give +2 Spirit, +2 Wood base bonus in formation combo.

So a line would give +6 Wood for the line, and then if they were all L5, you'd have +5 for the same-level bonus. So that's +11 Wood.

A joint would give +2 Wood and then +5 for the same-level bonus, so you'd have +7 Wood. It's a difference of 4 levels in Wood. But in the current setup, I'm sacrificing like... 30-40 levels in Magic, for 4 levels in Wood. Plus I have to be stuck with something like Maharaja when I could have another more useful skill panel instead.

Kurt currently has a triangle of maps, giving a total of +8 to Water (triangles give 2x the base bonus). One of these is Road Guide which I don't need, and it's sitting in one of the 'water' spots, so it's being a bit redundant in its boost (if I had something else there PLUS the bonus from the panels, it would get even more water).

If I just had Swimming and Obstacle Crossing alone in a joint, I'd have +6 Water. And I'd be able to put something else like a completed Water tablet in the other water spot to make up for the missed +2 Water anyway. So for pretty much no gain, I'm wasting a panel slot on Road Guide and missing out on better Strength or Magic levels. I'm also having to sacrifice Endurance or Spirit, when I could instead sacrifice Strength if I wanted to build him pure-magey (which I did -- I got rid of his axe and Axe Arts panel after defeating Domliat)

Anyway, my main point is just that I feel like I have overrated line bonuses. If you're just wanting to max a single stat and ignore others, line is the way to go. But I'm starting to think it's not really worth it for a lot of things.

Familiars are great for magic since they boost magic by 3, so a line is +9 magic, plus the same level bonus can get you up to +14 magic. Plus you actually USE magic with familiars, so it's helping out there, too. A variety of free magic arts + huge boost to magic. Great for forbidden mages, since the familiars provide support arts and some elemental weaknesses, while you can focus on your magic stat for the forbidden arts.

Anyway, here are the base boosts for the different 'classes' that actually are worth making bonuses with (something like weapon panels aren't good since you can't have more than one of the same level, for example):

Fist: +2 STR/END
Body: +4 END
Tablet: +1 FIR/WAT/MET/WOO/EAR
Familiar: +1 SPI +3 MAG
Judy: +1 MAG +3 SPI
Map: +2 END/WAT
Key: +2 SKI/EAR
Talk: +2 SPI/WOO
Fix: +3 SKI +2 MET
Phobia: +2 STR +6 MAG
Pacifist: +3 SPI +3 MAG

The phobia bonus gets less in higher formations. So the triangle is only worth +9, not +12, and the line is only worth +12, not +18.

There are only two "fix" panels and one is Artiste, so it's really hard to get a bonus of them.

The things that seem to be the most worth putting in lines are familiars (+14 Magic +8 Spirit) and maybe body if you're building a support tank (+17 Endurance).

For the others, I think it's really important to think if it's worth the sacrifice. If your character focuses on a single magic element, bow, or knife only, stays in the back row, and doesn't need like any other stats or abilities, lines would be the best way to go. But I think for anything else, joint is nice. You can also combine three joints at once if you really wanted to (though then you're just probably going to be using a lot of unneeded stuff again lol)

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