Part 56: Mechanical Sidebar: Why Rukia Is So Bad
I don't believe you. I think you're lying about Rukia being worse than Owl. Einander, prove it.
Sure, why not?
This is Rukia with +9 attack from training and three levels above base because of experience from the same. She still only does 72 damage per attack, and she should be doing less. Her combination of awful damage and awful MC makes leveling her up incredibly difficult.
(Data provided courtesy of Raijinili on the GameFAQs message boards, by the way. A lot of the ripped information is here. I've stripped out most of the information that no one understands.)
(It is, however, notable that Rukia is the very last character on the list of your characters. Interestingly enough, the order is ???, Marie, Prince Serdic, Mephreyu, Gauss, Aegil, Igraine, the Grands, and then all of you playable characters + Jaglat, Emir Darsin (Ansom's dead; he has mage growths and no weapon) and Uther, then all of your promotions. After that is all of the enemy generics.)
For what it's worth, her agility -- dodge chance -- is the highest in the game. Owl is 4/6/7 and Sasha is 4/5/6. What does that mean? I have no idea! Rondo is complicated and our formula knowledge is sketchy. She's also one of only two people to have a stat growth go lower as she promotes -- her MC growth drops by a tenth of a point every promotion. The same happens with Owl, whose MC growth is 3/2/1 across his classes.
Atk Def MgcHP MP MC ?? Agi Ctr ?? * [innates&cards]WAtkWAccWCrtWRng [smithstats] * #skills Ruki 2 2 2 44 0 2 3 6 0 2 8 Kaitouranma 0 108 123 0 17 40 10 0 1 2 3 9 10 Rukia1 2 3 5 48 0 1 3 7 1 3 8 Kaitouranma 108 123 0 0 22 50 15 0 1 2 3 9 8 Rukia2 3 5 7 52 0 0 4 8 1 4 8 Kaitouranma 108 123 0 0 29 60 20 0 1 2 3 9 6
(Owl is also the only person who has a weapon weaken in any regard when he promotes; his weapon loses 5 accuracy between his first and second classes. He gets it back when he promotes again.)
At level 15, our +9 attack Rukia will have 151(.4) HP, 21(.2)+17 attack, 10(.2) defense, 16(.2) magic, and six move. On promotion, he gets +5 attack due to a better weapon and her Card abilities move up one slot; she gets +25% OB gain innately and 100% criticals at 3 cards.
At level 30, Rukia will have 223(.4) HP, 24(.2)+22 attack, 14(.7) defense, 23(.7) magic, and six move. Promotion gives her +7 attack due to a better weapon.
Finally, at level 40, Rukia will have 275(.4) HP, 27+29 attack, 19(.7) defense, 30(.7) magic, and six move. If you have three cards, she'll do 56*2*1.25 = 140 defense-ignoring damage. Without the +9 attack she has here, she does 117. That's awful! But that's not really the death blow here.
Rukia's skills: (courtesy of the excellent guide by Kikuichimonji on GameFAQs, with short explanations manually appended):
Level Skill Name
1 Prowess (+experience)
6 Eternal Rage (+HP/MP on level)
6 Sprint (+move)
9 Rook (+defense -counter)
12 Defender (+defense to allies for duration of attack)
12 Desperation (activation, reduce defense for temporary ZOC)
12 Sharpshot (+accuracy)
15 Aggressor (+attack to allies for duration of attack)
15 Imp Wing (activation, +dodge for one turn)
15 Vital Strike (+critical rate)
Second Class (Lost Hiker)
Level Skill Name
15 Cyclone (+critical rate -defense)
15 Lateral Stab (+critical rate when attacking from side)
18 Holy Prayer (activation, temporary immunity to statuses)
18 Rally (+critical rate to allies for duration of attack)
21 Garrison (+defense -attack)
21 Hide (activation, reduces MC)
24 Task Master (+shopping success rates)
27 Retaliation (+counter rate)
Third Class (Shadow Thief)
Level Skill Name
30 Arrow Guard (-damage for enemy archers)
30 Null ZOC (ignore ZOC of equal or lower level)
33 Will of War (heal allies that pass through)
36 Frontal Fury (reduce counter rate for enemies attacked from the front)
39 Back Stab (+counter rate when attacking from back)
39 Snake Bite (activation, +counter -defense)
Why did they take a character whose single saving grace is the ability to reach 100% critical rate without skills and then give her nothing but +critical rate skills? That is the cruelest possible joke. (Second cruelest is the fact that someone only useful for shopping learns Task Master at level 24 promoted.)
Owl has the potential to not be completely awful when he criticals, because his attack growth is 1.5x/2.5x/2x hers throughout their classes, he has better base stats, and he gets two different +damage skills, plus some ability to boost his Attack directly. He can even, on occasion, be hit and not die! Rukia not so much.
I can only interpret Rukia (and, to a lesser degree, Owl, Selmer and Elmer) as a sign that someone on their development team really, really hated the Est archetype -- the idea that this initially weak unit grows into one of your best. Who are the best characters in Rondo? Cold Monarch Serdic (decent bases, immediate large boost to attack that makes him good at it, innate regeneration and very powerful OB), Margus (basically unkillable from start to finish), Alhambra (poor growths, good bases, good even without the Six Card), Ansom (ditto), Marie (starts with her MP regen, the game gives you plenty of time to notice her MP isn't running out)... And Aegil, who is the single exception. But it's obvious Aegil is going to eventually be powerful, what with being Pope. You don't get the hat by collecting bottle caps. Even with the other mages, the best characters are the ones who have good starts. Rondo is pretty up-front about strong characters being strong.
Maybe the writers and the gameplay staff were mostly the same people. This would explain a lot...