Part 50: Strategic Notes: The Third StratumStrategic Notes: The Third Stratum
The third Stratum is where the game starts picking up, plotwise at least, and at the same time starts becoming a slog. If you thought the story roadblocks in the earlier strata were annoying enough, hoo boy, you haven't seen anything yet. So one of the things the 3rd Stratum makes use of is the day and night cycle. I'll go more into detail on that later.
None of the enemies in this Stratum are weak to Ice, so if you've got an Alchemist that specializes in that, you might want to reskill them. Fire and Volt are the elements to stick to for the rest of the game. In fact, you might want to stick with Volt since the Stratum boss is weak to that element.
Damage tiles aren't in this Stratum anymore, so we don't have to worry about that. What we do have to worry about are FOEs. See, there's FOEs whose movement patterns involve just turning counterclockwise or clockwise for each step we take. When we get in their sights, they'll chase us down. Oh, and they're flying FOEs too, so we can't shake them too easily. They're not weak like the Slaveimps either, so fighting them is actually a hassle. The problem is that thanks to EO2's primitive way of keeping track of FOEs, we can't tell which way they're facing unless we happen to step on the same tile they're planted on at some point. Oh and since models weren't used for FOEs in the DS games, we can't look at the blue fuzzy balls to tell use which way they're facing.
: Pauline can actually help us sneak by the FOEs with her Foesense ability. She isn't too good at offense, but she does have 1st Turn for support. The FOEs in question are weak to stab attacks for what it's worth. This Stratum is probably the only time in the entire game she's going to be useful. She is needed for a class specific shortcut, but she has to be solo in order to access it.
: Or screw stealth, let's just kill everything with Nick. While the FOEs we need to sneak by are tough, they're not so tough that we can't get them into Climax range. With both Nick and Pauline, we can pick and choose our battles as needed. Or just get the drop on every one. But keep in mind that Nick can't take down FOEs without a party that can deal damage.
: Now that Aliara has a huge TP pool, she went from being a panic button to mob exterminator. She can spam Poison relentlessly and clear out all the encounters in the stratum in one turn. And for the cases she can't use Poison, she does have Torpor instead. She's needed for a class specific shortcut, but she can't get to it without Ken in the party.
: Bellamy is another strong choice. He does have a bigger TP pool so he can get more out of his spells. He has decent mob clearing ability, and good single target damage with his tier 2 spells. His elementals can help us snag some conditional drops as well.
: Fedot is another good choice. He's a decent back row attacker. His elemental shots can help kill some enemies easier and snag some conditional drops. Ricochet is his best skill, and it will just destroy the FOEs in question since they're weak to stab attacks. But he can't spam it since his TP pool is tiny.
: Ken is a strong frontliner and good at single target damage. Midareba will destroy single targets that won't go down so easily. Unfortunately that can't be spammed so much either since his TP pool is also tiny. He also has Orochi for fire damage. He's needed for a class specific passage, but we can't explore the whole place without Aliara in the party.
: Ling is another front row attacker. He can provide some uncontrollable protection to the other party members, while being able to deal some decent damage. Unfortunately with Loyalty, he's a bit suicidal.
: Emilia is another frontliner. She doesn't really have much, but she does have some AOE with Tornado.
: Frederik can heal the party, and he can do it fast. He can also provide some really good damage buffs and erase any enemy buffs as well. He is needed for a class specific shortcut.
: Gilbert is another good support since his elemental songs can help our physical attackers exploit weaknesses. He can also buff our party's attack, but it's not as strong as Frederik's buff. He's also really fast, so he's good at healing with items or doing whatever needs to be done right away.
: Aegis can provide some defensive support. Provoke can ensure that enemy attacks go for him, but this is kind of the point where enemies start to use AOEs more often, so that tactic isn't going to be as effective. But he still has Front Guard for defensive support. Against physical attacks at least.
: Maverick is another healer, but he's not really good at that job since he's so slow. If Pauline's in the party, that's not an issue at all thanks to 1st turn. He is a stronger healer than Frederik, so that's something to consider.
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