Part 108: Part One Hundred and Eight: Quistis's QuestPart One Hundred and Eight: Quistis's Quest
Having gotten our mission briefing, let's bounce right back into the Ragnarok's passenger area and chat.
: (Ward says... Good thing you don't look like your father.)
Both Kiros and Ward comment on Squall's looks.
: I have a lot to tell you... Well, if you don't want to hear it, I'll understand.
Talking to Laguna gives you this. What this is all implying is that Laguna is Squall's dad, accounting for Raine's baby. Now, I don't think Laguna knew about this until very recently. There's one person who would have known, though: Ellone. Raine being Squall's mother reinforces the Squall-Ellone bond and also gives us, as players, another little insight into why they would be so close. For her part, Ellone never told Squall any of this because no one in this game is free of sin.
Now let's play a game of cards with Squall's dad.
Laguna has the last player card to get. Of note is the fact that Squall's stats are a mirror image of Seifer's. It's because they're rivals.
And then, just as I wanted to show off my complete collection of player cards, I noticed I missed one.
Before I run off and get it, let's see what everyone has to say about the Lunatic Plandora. Selphie's on board.
Quistis isn't really offering much on the topic.
And Rinoa's just worried about Seifer. She's the only one left who still wonders if he can be saved - outwardly, at least.
Irvine will never have an incidental line on the Ragnarok, as he's locked into this role. And I'm not shuffling my party around just to see Zell's.
So let's go... directly back to Esthar, where I can play cards with Odine.
And there we are, a full set of player cards!
Once I got the Ward card, I immediately dumped everyone's junctions. We can see here that Squall has a base 56 Str if we account for the 30 points the Lion Heart adds. Str Bonus has been paying dividends; at level 40 he naturally has 27 Str (and at level 50, he'd have 32, so it's probably naturally around 28 at level 43). Bonus abilities are good.
Anyway, the reason I dumped off everyone's junctions was because I want to (over)prepare for the last battles. I want to fill up lists like these - this one in particular will take work. I could pick up every Blue Magic spell right now, but there are three that are easier to get after entering Lunatic Pandora, and one that's just a pain in the ass no matter what you do.
I also haven't been keeping up on teaching Angelo tricks.
Fun fact: I must have reloaded a save at some point, because Angelo Recover is missing from the list.
This is another missing move. Angelo search goes off randomly (well, semi-randomly, it can be manipulated if you're really dedicated) and if it does, Angelo shows up and digs up an item. Some of the items are pretty good, none of them are worth worrying about. If Angelo Search goes off, it's a curiosity.
And here's Angelo's "ultimate" move, Wishing Star! This hits 8 times and each hit has 130 power. It's worth noting that the damage is magical, not physical, which separates it from things like Duel or Renzokuken. Wishing Star is also the only Angelo trick you can use to manipulate the odds in Rinoa's Limit Break. The move she uses isn't random, it's determined by her Crisis Level. Crisis Level 1 is Angelo Cannon, 2 is Angelo Reverse, 3 is Invincible Moon, and 4 is Wishing Star. But if Rinoa's at a Crisis Level you don't know the ability for, the game jumps to the next one down - so if she's at Crisis Level 4 but doesn't know Wishing Star, she'll use Invincible Moon (provided she knows it). This gives you a little more leeway to stack her Crisis Level if you want, and since I think Invincible Moon is better than Wishing Star, I usually don't learn it.
Now that I've read every issue of Pet Pals, all I have to do is walk around with Rinoa in the party to fill those meters.
While I'm reading magazines, I also peeked at these old issues of Combat King. Zell has a lot of moves for a guy whose best (easiest, fastest) combo is just the first two the game gives you for free.
I can't quite finish his list out, though - the last issue of Combat King is inside Lunatic Pandora.
Now, back to Blue Magic (and why this update is called that): Quistis's "best" Blue Magic spell requires Kate Bush to be at level 100 to get it, at least in the original PlayStation version of the game. That's not difficult to do, but it's tedious. It's also a big part of what this update is gonna consist of.
And this is why I took all those junctions off: I have to set them up to level.
Like characters, GFs require EXP to level. It takes a lot of EXP to get a GF to level 100, so I'm going to capitalise on that. Putting a set of Bonus abilities on a character like this fucks shit right up. At level 43, Squall's a bit higher than I'd strictly like him to be (ideally, he'd still be level 7) but it's still a lot of space to grow. Generally speaking, as a character levels up, their stat growths both drop off and give you diminishing returns. For example, Squall gains 7 points of Str between level 1 and level 10 (his Str at level 10 is 800% what it is at level 1) but only 1 point between level 90 and level 100 (his Str at level 100 is 102% what it is at level 90). Bonus abilities make stat growth straight linear instead, one point per level. Natural stat growth is the real bonus here.
Having HP Bonus gives the added benefit that once his HP hits a base total of 5,200, having Full-Life junctioned gives him 9,999 without needing an HP+ ability. Every character can hit that threshold if you have them equip HP Bonus for a while.
And, since I have Conductor, Selphie's getting in on the action as well. Unfortunately, you can only ever have two sets of Bonus abilities.
So once she's done mugging things, Rinoa's taking a little nap.
And here we are at the first stop on our journey, some island off the coast of the Galbadian continent.
You can fight Geezards here! I'm not looking for Geezards.
What I am looking for are these guys, Adamantoises.
They carry Whispers.
Whispers teach Quistis White Wind, which heals the whole party for the difference between Quistis's max HP and current HP - it's a good heal when, say, she's at low enough HP to use a Limit Break.
And that exhausts the easy ones. From here out, I'm spending some time visiting the Island Closest to Heaven.
One big reason I'm here is the EXP. Gotta get those levels.
But here's the rub: Malboros live here. Last time I saw one, I got lucky and Odin took care of it. Not so this time. Malboros always use Bad Breath as their first move, and it dumps nearly everything on you. You can't really fight them well like this.
So it's time for some prep work.
Ochus have Pain and Confuse to draw at high levels, and they're not hard to kill.
Slow and Break are easily refined (Slow from M-Stone Pieces, Break from Softs). Setting it up this way blocks the stuff that can kill you (Petrification, Poison) but doesn't block Sleep. Sleep wears off quickly enough that I'd rather avoid Slow for now, though I'd normally block that by equipping Auto-Haste but I want those stat bonuses. There is an ability (Ribbon) that blocks all status effects, but it's locked behind Chocobo World (and would take up a junction slot besides). One thing this doesn't block is Berserk, which is good. Berserk is on my side here.
There are four enemies that live on the Island Closest to Heaven, and of all of them, Chimera (pictured) is the most annoying. The other three don't have any particular defences, and Malboros are the only ones with high HP. Chimeras, though, have both 60,000 HP (second highest on the island) and relatively high defences. Their EXP isn't great, they don't drop anything good, and they're a pain in the ass to actually fight.
About the only good thing Chimeras did for me while I was on this island was give me a chance to show this off. Rapture is one of Selphie's four special Slot spells.
Rapture attaches wings to enemies and flies them out and you win the battle. Mechanically, this is similar to Odin's Zantetsuken or Quistis's Degenerator limit break, as it uses the Eject "status" rather than Instant Death. There are a handful of enemies that are immune to it, and it doesn't affect bosses, but it's handy for this kind of thing.
Getting back to the grind, this is a common screen to see. Like I said, Sleep wears off soon enough (or with a physical attack like the Malboro's Disolving [sic] Acid. Once Sleep is gone, all that's left is Berserk characters smacking the shit out of these plant fuckers. This is handy, since my main method of offence is physical attacks - Berserk raises damage by 50%. Berserk also comes with the side effect of making your attacks come out faster - it doesn't affect Spd directly, but it stops the menu from opening and that saves you half a second or so. Malboros already aren't fast, and Squall has Triple on his Spd, so when he wakes up he'll smack this thing four or five times before it moves again. Once he hit level 100 and I took off the bonus abilities, I set him up with Auto-Haste and Spd+40% and he hit a Malboro 15 times in a row before it took a second turn - he only stopped because it died.
Basically, the takeaway is that Berserk + high Str = dead Malboro.
And here is the second reason I picked the Island Closest to Heaven: Curse Spikes. Malboros can drop 10 (it's an uncommon drop) and Tri-Faces (which also show up on this island) can be mugged for them. To get Quistis's last Blue Magic, you need 100 of them. There's one area that's technically better for grinding them, but I needed the EXP anyway so I came here.
I took this shot because Squall was level 69. But just take a look at his stats. Those are just with spells junctioned. He has Ultima on Str, but that still gives a base value of 94, which is double the 47 he'd normally have at level 100.
Like I mentioned, Tri-Face exists on this island.
Tri-Face is a rare encounter, but it hasn't got great defence or a pile of HP, so it's piss easy to kill. 20% of the time, they drop Curse Spikes.
But 70% of the time, they drop Poison Powder. You're better off mugging them, because they only have Curse Spikes that way, but that didn't occur to me until several hours after I took this picture.
Oh well, I needed the EXP (Tri-Face has the second best EXP yield on the island).
If you kill enough enemies between paycheques, you can get promoted. I killed enough enemies on this island to get promoted twice.
And here's Squall at level 100, with no junctions.
Here he is with junctions. One thing to note is that he doesn't have Ultima junctioned to a stat. He doesn't need Ultima on a stat. His low-ish Mag isn't really a problem since Squall doesn't cast spells, and everything else is way higher than it needs to be.
And you know what? It's not even his final form.
You can see here, if you pay close attention, he doesn't even have Auto-Haste. He does have Drain junctioned to his attack, though, so he'll heal himself whenever he does that. Bosses are generally immune to Drain, though, so it's not totally bulletproof.
I used up my other Rosetta Stone to teach IcyNips Abilityx4, since she's got a bunch of Stat+40% abilities.
I briefly stopped work on the Curse Spike collection to do some other prep. The Kiros card refines into three Accelerators, which teach Auto-Haste. Only one GF learns Auto-Haste naturally:
I wanted more Haste. Now everyone can have Haste.
I also used a Vit-J Scroll, since I was short on Vit junctions.
At some point, Selphie hit level 100. That Spd+40% is gonna turn into Auto-Haste, but she's even better than Squall on Mag and Spr.
Then I made a quick trip over to the Island Closest to Hell. I want some things.
I wanted this dinosaur's bones.
I wanted this dragon's Meteors.
Not like this, though. I believe that's Selphie getting hit on the left and Rinoa on the right. Numbers like this are why I wanted high Vit and Spr; in addition to being the fastest things on two legs, these kids are basically unkillable. Fixed damage can do it, there's no avoiding that, but not much else is getting through. And again, I'm not done yet.
The other thing I wanted from the dragon was its fragments.
I needed them to make gloves.
Then I detoured over to Esthar to visit this guy. Remember this guy?
He turns into a monster.
I needed his crystals.
And his stones.
I needed Moon Stones to make a gun.
Rinoa and Quistis have slightly more difficult weapons to get. I didn't have any Windmills around, I'd turned them all into Tornadoes long ago.
Hell, I even had to grind cards for these two.
Fun fact: if you grind cards and get the Force Armlet from X-ATM092, you can get Rinoa's ultimate weapon as soon as she joins the party.
You can get Quistis's right at the start of the game if you grind cards. It'd be useless between the Fire Cavern and leaving Timber, though, so you're better off waiting. It'd also require 40 Elnoyle cards, so you're really better off waiting.
Halfway to 100.
I also noticed that Squall didn't have Meltdown, so I made a quick jump over to Trabia to farm those off Gaylas.
Now he's even more unkillable!
Back to the grind!
Imagine a lot of this happening.
But finally, after too damn long, I refined my two last Tri-Face cards and had 100 Curse Spikes. You can, I suppose, grind 100 Tri-Face cards if you want this ability really early.
Apparently, your GF doesn't need to be level 100 in the PC version, so you could get this spell right after Dollet if you just play cards for 100 hours.
Also, Rinoa hit level 100. I'm using a bit of a weird setup with her so that I can stack Angel Wing - if she doesn't have any attack spells other than Meteor, she will only cast Meteor. Slap on a Mag-boosting ability and Auto-Haste and you have a machine that drops a lot of damage on enemies at all times.
Since Rinoa and Selphie were both level 100, I decided to cycle the party around. I brought Quistis and Zell in. Irvine wasn't picked because he was one level higher than Zell and because I don't like him very much.
I screwed with junctions some more. This is the setup that landed fifteen hits in a row on a Malboro. With his Spd so high and Haste on, Squall's ATB gauge has basically filled back up in the time it takes him to finish his attack animation and get back in position.
Oh, and you remember Ultima? Well, if you put 100 Ultimas on your elemental defence, it blocks 100% of all elements.
I combined this with Life to make Squall eat 30% of whatever elemental damage comes at him. It's not a lot, especially because I think his defence stats are still reducing it, but it means he gets healed by the vast majority of spells in the game.
Unfortunately for the party, Zell and Quistis are still quite weak, and this Tri-Face really tore 'em up.
Fortunately for the LP, this gives me a chance to show what happens when you use a Phoenix Pinion.
First of all, it targets an enemy, unlike other "Phoenix" items.
That's because it summons a secret pseudo-GF!
Phoenix does a powerful Fire-elemental attack on all enemies.
But, more importantly, it revives all party members. And from now on, whenever all three members are knocked out, there's a chance that Phoenix will show up and save the day. It can also show up if everyone is Petrified, but it can't cure Petrification, so that's still a game over.
That was the most exciting thing that happened between the party switch and this.
(Kate was not the only GF to hit level 100, by the way.)
At level 100, Kate Bush finally gains the ability to turn 100 Curse Spikes into a Dark Matter with Tool-RF.
If you use Forbid Mag-RF, you can then make 100 Ultimas out of it. This is probably the least efficient way of getting Ultima spells in the game!
No, what it's really for is this. Shockwave Pulsar is Quisitis's most powerful Blue Magic, numerically - Shockwave Pulsar has the highest Power in the game, starting at 150 at Crisis Level 1 and rising up to 250 at Crisis Level 4.
So let's take a look.
The move lifts the enemies into the sky...
...and then explodes the shit out of them.
It does this to great effect - Shockwave Pulsar is one of a handful of moves that can break the 9,999 damage cap (though there's a hard cap coded in at 60,000). It's a good spell for doing damage to enemies, if that's your thing. But is it worth all the time it takes to get? No. If you don't grind, you're not going to see 100 Curse Spikes or a level 100 GF in this game, and the game isn't particularly hard in the first place. It's not a bad spell at all, it's just one of those things that if you have it, you don't need it.
Speaking of abilities you're not likely to see, Angelo Search went off while I was queuing up Shockwave Pulsar.
And she dug up a Force Armlet. I honestly don't know if I've ever seen this before. But now we all have.
On that note, though, I finished my grinding and did a little round-up on other things. This was the highlight - one last diary entry from Selphie. She never updates the page with all the Timber Maniacs summaries to say that she actually met Laguna, though.
Since I can't think of anything else important to do, let's put this plan into action.