While the following will seem a bit terse, I'm interested in discussion, not just having the final word. If you can convince me of the merits of an idea that I seem to be dismissing, please do. Keep in mind that I prioritize my preferences when something is subjective (I'm doing this for fun).
Of course, thanks for the thorough reply! I don't feel particularly strongly about any of these, and you've convinced me on maybe half of them.
Swap the Javelin's Strong and Weak attacks.
The biggest problem with the current setup is that the Javelin used to be "the weapon you throw all the time", but now it's "the weapon you have to do something special to throw", since a neutral attack is a bit harder to do than a dpad attack. Now it's not as fun to use because I have to take special effort to throw it, or else it just feels like another melee weapon. It's a change to the identity of the weapon, and one that is unwelcome because now it's a bit less unique.
But I also feel like, psychologically, dpad attacks "feel" like "farther" attacks, basically in the same way I "feel" like magic is on L and weapon is on R because the menus suggest it. It's a tiny thing that can help the user learn the game a bit better. But my gameplay complaint above is the thing I care most about. Heck, the Boomerang's dpad and neutral attacks also don't obey the "dpad = farther" thing, but I support it the way it is because it's so much better for gameplay.
The Bow's neutral attack is a bit crazy for a noncharged attack.
I mostly meant this aesthetically - firing three arrows simultaneously into the sky to have them land on your opponent reads more like a super move to me than a standard attack. But I also have a gameplay complaint with it - since it's a neutral attack, I can't tell for sure that I fired it in the right direction, and because the arrows leave the screen before returning, it takes a little while for the game to confirm to me that I actually did (or didn't).
Attacking Requires Full Stamina.
I think you would still want the character flash and confirmation sound, especially if the player opts to keep the default Stamina regen time, which is pretty long. This option would just be a safety for those who don't even want the option of doing an accidental penalty swing.
x2 xp and x2 luc is too generous.
I agree that it'd be a negative experience to check a box for more XP and Luc, but find that it doesn't work because you had to go into this other menu and change some numbers first. The only way my suggestion would work would be if you lumped all the anti-grinding features together in a single checkbox that was essentially called "Anti-Grinding", and the description said it uses all the multipliers - then you'd have the freedom to use x1's if you wanted to.
I was also suggesting this not because I want to resurrect grinding, but because even without grinding x2 caused the game to become easier and easier as I progressed, to the point where the challenge I enjoyed at the beginning disappeared as I steamrolled the enemies. I at first tried to change these to 1.5 but the interface didn't seem to like decimal values. I agree that the game is way too grindy, but x2 felt like an overkill correction. And since the interface wouldn't accept decimal values, I found other ways to enhance xp and luc (keeping x2 xp and luc for bosses, using the more generous chests feature, etc.)
No Heal At Level Up to be on by default.
I knew this would be a controversial one. Turning it off by default is one way to suggest to the user that the game really is a better experience without it. It's a catch-22 though, because the player may find it odd or surprising that it's turned off by default, whereas leaving it on by default means most players probably wouldn't think to remove something that benefits them.
L and R hotkeys swap feature on by default.
I'll try this again :-) (though again, I doubt I feel as strongly about this as you do).
The R button is easier to hit in general, or at least, I assume it is for most players. When spell hotkeys are on L, that tiny extra bit of thought and difficulty is enough to discourage me from using them. With spell hotkeys on R though, I actually do use them (but only for Primm, because Popoi's just aren't fast enough, having to hit X as well).
However, with guard on L, something happens to me psychologically that helps me to actually use the button. Using "the movement hand" to guard feels like "turtling up" - like it's a "Stop doing things!" input. This helps me remember to do it more often. It was a surprise to me because I was like "of course I want to use R, that's easier than L", but after trying it, I found both guard and spell hotkeys benefited from the change.
But I'm just throwing this out there because it was my experience. I also think swapping the positions of magic and weapons xp on the levels screen is a great idea.
Functional Fashion, default equipment.
Yeah, I actually switched to No Default Equipment for this reason. However, No Default Equipment is similar to No Heal at Levelup - it's a better experience, but I don't think many players will realize that ahead of time and decide to take something away from themselves. Also, it's in a completely different section in the interface than Functional Fashion, so the player may not necessarily make the connection. So I'm predicting this all adds up to the "default" experience being an orange Randi for many players, which just isn't as aesthetic as his default blue and it gives the wrong first impression of the character.
I hear ya. I'm one of those players that always uses the default names so that it's easier to cement "the" story of the game in my mind, and so that I have a shared language with others about the game. For games that start you with a blank name, like this one (and Persona 5), for me it's "time to google to see if this character has a canon name!" :-)