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Poll

Restored: ROM space allowing, should attacks be tallied for each weapon type used in combat? (support multiple weapon EXP for weapon swapping)

No. Restored already has passive growth, only end-of-combat weapon should receive bonus.
Yes. All weapons used in combat should receive this bonus credit.

Author Topic: Final Fantasy II Restored  (Read 179187 times)

abw

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Re: Final Fantasy II Restored
« Reply #460 on: July 18, 2020, 02:06:35 pm »
Although I think the monster rank system could've been done differently, it's encouraging to see it addressed, even in a way that I don't agree with.
The rank system could definitely be expanded upon. Currently it only makes gaining weapon/spell/evasion/magic resist experience easier, but it could be worked in to other calculations or applied in different ways. Something like only allowing experience gain if skill level <= round(rank * 2.25) might match up with one of your earlier ideas. Did you have anything else in mind?

Have you guys considered redesigning all the menus to reduce/eliminate the character restrictions of all the misc text?

Like you could display 2 items per row single spaced. You could remove the max HP from displaying in battle to make room for longer enemy names.
At the moment both patches are theoretically language-independent, which I see as a benefit; a language-specific patch would be free to add some new strings for things like evasion/magic resist level ups and displaying additional info in the status menu.

More updates!

Bug Fix + Restored:
  • FIXED: When opening the row menu with at least one character in the back row, there's a 1 frame glitch where characters are displayed in the front row; similarly, when the rest of your party is in the back row and you try to also put your top character in the back row, the character is shown in the back row for 1 frame before being returned to the front row.
  • FIXED: Every character has discrepancies between the data for their initial stats and what their stats become after their first recalculation.
  • FIXED: When opening a shop interface, the NPC's sprite will be half-cleared with graphical glitches, which also carry over to any graphics displayed on the same line in their shop (usually the fourth line).
  • FIXED: The NPC Ask/Learn/Item UI is displayed even for NPCs that will never respond to any key terms or items.
  • FIXED: Attempting to scroll 1 row up from the bottom page of scrollable lists scrolls too far up.
The menu scrolling bug was probably the most seriously broken logic of any of this project's fixes. The game keeps a pointer to the read indices into the string describing the list for the start and end of the currently displayed portion. Scrolling forward takes the pointer to the end position and parses forward one line, and scrolling backward takes the pointer to the start position and tries to parse backward one line. However, the encoding for the list strings does not use fixed-length tokens, and the code for backwards parsing of variable-length tokens is fundamentally flawed, incorrectly assuming that every multi-byte control code is preceded by another multi-byte control code. It quickly loses alignment with the string and starts interpreting control code parameters as control codes, continuing to parse too far backwards until it reaches a $0F control code parameter (which it misinterprets as a control code) followed by a line control code, and that's the string position it uses for displaying the updated scroll list.

Restored:
  • FIXED: Make running work 100% of the time during first round of surprise attacks.

New:
  • When flashing the background during spell casting, there's a 10x3 rectangle at the bottom-left of the screen and a line between the battle area and the info area that do not flash; either the entire screen background should flash or the entire info area background should not flash.
  • The floor parts of the table, stool, counter, and barrel graphics only match up well with one of the floor patterns they appear on (table matches Bofsk Sewers, others match towns) and look out of place on other floor patterns.
  • The BGM pauses for a frame when closing the row menu.
  • Attempting to send your first non-KO/Stone character to the back row when all other non-KO/Stone characters are in the back row should play the error SFX.
  • Sprite tiles covered or uncovered by an opening or closing window should disappear or appear on the same frame as the changed background tiles rather than the entire sprite disappearing when the window starts opening or the entire sprite appearing after the window finishes closing.
  • Sprites have a 3px vertical offset from their background tile, resulting in the tops of sprites located 1 tile below the bottom of a window overlapping with the window.

Translation Issue:
  • Both the Demi and Chaos Rush translation patches changed the key terms list from a 2 x 8 list to a 2 x 16 list with the second column positioned on top of the first column; this results in needing to press the left/right buttons twice in order to move 1 row.

Spoiler:
I recently completed a solo pure mage run of the original game, and it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. The rules for this game were that it had to be a solo run (i.e. only the same 1 character could participate in battle, other than the first battle they were present in where killing them off was my highest priority) and it had to be a pure mage run (i.e. the character could only use magic/magical items, never physically attack). I decided to use Maria due to her stats, particularly her Agility; evasion is hugely important in this game, and since she wouldn't be attacking she wouldn't be gaining weapon skills, so she wouldn't be getting any decent multipliers on weapon evasion rates, so her evasion % would be low, leading to fewer Agility stat gains and consequently lower natural evasion %. After selling unwanted equipment, I equipped her with a pair of starting shields for the evasion boost (taking a 140 spell penalty, but the early game spell bonus isn't that great anyway) and then, knowing that turtles would be my first obstacle, bought her Blizzard.

After some light grinding for HP/MP she was ready to set out for Fynn, and the adventure proceeded smoothly up to Semitt Falls, where I had to stop to build up my max MP in order to make it through the cave with enough MP to spare for the bosses (Blizzard at level 2 was quite sufficient here) and the trek back to town. After that, more smooth sailing up to Kashuan Keep, where the first real challenge for a mage awaited: Red Souls absorb all elemental magic, which meant I needed some damage-dealing non-elemental magic, i.e. Drain, Flare, Holy, or Ultima. The only option available at this point in the game is Holy, so I had to scrounge up 20000 gil and make my way to Mysidia. Grinding around the Dreadnought landing area was profitable in several ways and scored me a Mage Staff, source of free Thunder 5 spells. Since Maria had been the only valid target for basically each and every monster attack throughout the entire game, her evasion level was proportionately higher than normal, so even with a relatively low evasion % she was difficult for most monsters to hit physically by this point, and her HP growth had stagnated; weathering magical attacks from Ogre Mages brought some welcome boosts to Stamina and max HP.

After sneaking my way into and out of Mysidia via exploiting save/heal to avoid encounters (had I been more ambitious, the treasures from Mysidia Cave B1 would have been fantastic to grab, but I decided against the attempt), I brought Holy up to level 2 while walking back to Kashuan Keep, and with that Mage Staff to take care of inescapable random encounters, I made it to Red Soul in pretty decent shape and Holy slowly but surely took it down.

For extra fun I decided to fight my way through the Captain guarding the entrance to the Dreadnought; Maria's evasion wasn't high enough to make that entirely safe yet and her HP was still low enough that a lucky crit meant serious trouble, so I decided to employ the Blink strategy for this fight. It took a few resets, but eventually I was able to stack enough Blinks to survive; after heading back to town to restore my depleted MP, the next few segments of the game went by without much difficulty.

The Queen Lamia scene was slightly amusing with Maria as my party avatar, and a little bit scary for being the first monster in a while that was able to penetrate Maria's evasion (which was up to 9-70 at this point). Charm 9 was more dangerous to my meta-game of having 0 physical attacks than it was to Maria's chance of survival, but fortunately the Deist cave provided me with a Wall-16 item, so I put that to good use and lucked out with a Ribbon drop, solving my future worries about Confusion. There were no serious challenges from there to the Pandaemonium bosses, and along the way Maria's Agility finally got high enough that I could ditch her two shields for a Defender/Main Gauche combo (55 spell penalty, the first time I actually got any spell bonus) and then just a Main Gauche (5 spell penalty, yay!).

Unfortunately, monsters had enough HP by this point that most of them took several rounds to kill even with 90 Intelligence and a low spell penalty. Battles become rather tedious when you can only deal < 800 damage per turn against normal monsters and < 200 damage per turn against magic resistant monsters; finding an enemy with an elemental weakness is very nice. Once she gained Osmose, Maria became very self-sufficient, but her high evasion had left her with low max HP (< 1000 by the time I reached the first Pandaemonium boss), which meant she was in danger from bosses with strong magic attacks such as Flare 16. Fortunately for me, Osmose is highly effective against monsters, and even at level 3, 2-3 castings of Osmose was enough to defang the Pandaemonium bosses, and without their magic, it was virtually impossible for them to break through Maria's evasion. Maria reached the Emperor with a grand total of 1082 HP, 676 MP, 12 STR (I was consistently lucky with not losing STR on SPR gains), 83 AGI, 36 STA, 94 INT, 52 SPR, 35 MAG, 16-90 EVA (I'm pretty sure this would have been more like 20-90 uncapped), 9-97 MGR, Blizzard/Fire at level 9, Thunder/Scourge/Holy at level 8, Flare at level 5 (it's acquired so late in the game...), and 1-00 in all weapon skills!

redmagejoe

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Re: Final Fantasy II Restored
« Reply #461 on: July 18, 2020, 02:25:59 pm »
Awesome work as always, abw! Updated the first post with the fixes, changes, and new bugs. Should I make a note to look at changing the Chaos Rush patch? I don't remember seeing duplicates in any given message for the banks dealing with key terms, so I'm not sure how feasible a fix would be if it's just replacing existing terms, but...

abw

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Re: Final Fantasy II Restored
« Reply #462 on: July 18, 2020, 08:22:53 pm »
The translation could save 64 bytes by using a 1 x 16 list instead of a 2 x 16 list, so that's always nice. Most people probably just use Up/Down instead of Left/Right, so the issue with the current patch probably isn't noticed very often. The string is loaded from the pointer at $0A:$8482 if that helps any, and if you do decide to switch it, you'll also want to update the constant that sets the width of the list at $0E:$9216 from #$08 to #$04 otherwise Up/Down will move by 2 positions instead of 1.

redmagejoe

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Re: Final Fantasy II Restored
« Reply #463 on: July 18, 2020, 08:31:18 pm »
I'll sit down and look into that. Lately I've only had time for food, sleep, and work. :(

Leviathan Mist

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Re: Final Fantasy II Restored
« Reply #464 on: July 19, 2020, 09:18:13 am »
The rank system could definitely be expanded upon. Currently it only makes gaining weapon/spell/evasion/magic resist experience easier, but it could be worked in to other calculations or applied in different ways. Something like only allowing experience gain if skill level <= round(rank * 2.25) might match up with one of your earlier ideas. Did you have anything else in mind?

The thing I didn't agree with was giving points to things you don't use in battle just because the enemy rank is higher. That does line up with a more traditional level-up system, but it changes the whole idea of the game's leveling system. In my file, all of my weapon levels are 6 or better and all of my spells are 8 or better, even though I've rarely used 90% of them. That's too much. Also not sure why spells gain passive exp up to 2 levels higher than weapons.

My idea would actually involve changing the rank level of all monster formations, mostly making them all higher rank. for example, a formation that was previously rank 3 might be rank 5 or 6 now. Also allow for up to rank 15 battles towards the end of the game. That way, you still only get exp for the weapon or spell you use in battle, but you gain more of it overall. I also think there should be a minimum of 1 point per use in battle. No more having to use a weapon or spell 12 times against a rank 1 formation just to get 1 point.

redmagejoe

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Re: Final Fantasy II Restored
« Reply #465 on: July 19, 2020, 01:08:11 pm »
While I might not agree with the nuances of the vanilla rank behavior, or the proposed changes, I think we can all agree with that last statement: You should be getting experience for using spells/weapons at all. The entire threshold-breaking mechanic is intrinsically flawed. Even if you're only getting 1 experience per battle, you shouldn't have to hope a battle drags on long enough for you to use a spell an arbitrary number of times to get any credit for it.

The remakes admittedly made it way easier to level spells and weapons, perhaps too easy by changing the required amount of experience per level, but they did do away with the threshold mechanic and every battle in which you use a weapon or a spell, you gain experience for it. When we get to rebalancing, it's at the very least worth considering keeping experience growth more hardcore than in remakes, but still fair and sensible such that any use credits you with experience.

abw

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Re: Final Fantasy II Restored
« Reply #466 on: July 19, 2020, 08:58:27 pm »
I'll sit down and look into that. Lately I've only had time for food, sleep, and work. :(
Been there, done that - having some amount of free time is definitely nice!

Also not sure why spells gain passive exp up to 2 levels higher than weapons.
This part is vanilla behaviour - for the same number of uses, skill level, and battle rank, spells always get +2 experience compared to weapons.



For weapons, one of the original game's problems is that you are strongly discouraged from changing your weapon type, taking an increasingly prohibitive penalty to your number of hits when changing from a type with a high skill level to a type with a low skill level, which basically means each character is locked in to whatever weapon type you choose at the start of the game (or the player is forced into hours of mindless grinding in order to level up a new type).

For spells, one of the original game's problems is that magic is almost always too weak to be useful, especially if your party is primarily physical (in which case being bad at magic might make sense, but still isn't much fun). Unlike a fighter who has skill in only one type of weapon, a mage who has skill in only one spell really isn't much use, so it takes 5-10 times more grinding to get a good mage than to get a good fighter (spells getting that +2 experience might be an attempt to compensate for this).

Allowing growth with 0 uses addresses those issues, but I'm not opposed to seeing them addressed in a different way. One other idea that's come up is to incorporate the concept of being highly skilled in one thing making it easier to learn a related new thing, so perhaps some variant on (max skill level within current skill class) - (current skill's level), e.g. if you have a level 10 spell and are training a level 1 spell, you get an extra +9 experience. That wouldn't change the growth rate for your highest skill, but would let other skills catch up much faster. If you've got a better proposal, feel free to share!

Just as a recap since it hasn't come up recently, experience gain is currently calculated as (number of uses) + (average battle rank) - (skill level) + (per-stat constant), where the per-stat constant for weapons is 0, spells is +2, evasion is -3, and magic resist is +4; the spirit of that calculation is that you gain more experience by using a skill more times in a battle, you gain more experience by fighting stronger enemies, and each level is harder to attain than the previous level.

I think preserving each part of the spirit of that calculation is desirable. The first two parts are pretty straightforward, and varying the required experience per level would take care of the third part.

Leviathan Mist

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Re: Final Fantasy II Restored
« Reply #467 on: July 19, 2020, 10:28:25 pm »
I actually think that allowing a minimum of 1 point per use on everything would address a lot of issues, because it would significantly increase the passive growth of the skills you use at higher levels, without affecting the balance of the game too much. Even if that was the only thing changed, I think it would change the whole dynamic of the leveling system for the better. Quite frankly, getting 0 exp until the 12th round of a battle makes battles suck, because then you're always trying to prolong your battles any way you can.

Chicken Knife

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Re: Final Fantasy II Restored
« Reply #468 on: July 20, 2020, 12:27:07 pm »
@abw,

Has there been any discussion about a system where it becomes easier to play catch-up, based various invisible thresholds that get passed in the course of progressing through the story? In most other RPGs, if you decide to start using a neglected party member for instance in the mid to late game, they catch up to the others pretty quickly based on the much higher experience acquisition rate in the later game, but will continue to stay a couple levels below other members because of the loss of the accumulated early game experience. I'd personally love to see something like that in FF2, where a spell or weapon would scale up very quickly to a certain level if you suddenly decide to start using it in the mid to late game. But that expeditious leveling would taper off as you approach the level a character would have had who has used that spell or weapon consistently the entire game. I think that provides a best of both worlds approach, rewarding the dedicated user, but giving players a good feeling about trying new things as the game goes on.

When I've played FF2, it seems like such an invisible threshold system has to exist in the game, because weapon levels would seem to cap off at a certain point at certain parts of the game, then you progress a little further and suddenly the weapon skills start leveling up again. Perhaps that same mechanic could be tapped into in order to check how far the weapon or spell is below the intended level and provide some kind of exponential boost to the gain it accrues per use?
« Last Edit: July 20, 2020, 12:54:53 pm by Chicken Knife »

abw

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Re: Final Fantasy II Restored
« Reply #469 on: July 20, 2020, 09:21:16 pm »
I actually think that allowing a minimum of 1 point per use on everything would address a lot of issues, because it would significantly increase the passive growth of the skills you use at higher levels, without affecting the balance of the game too much.
My fear there is that removing the growth barrier would cause your skill levels to skyrocket all out of proportion to the difficulty of the enemies you're facing and trivialize most encounters, but it's hard to say for sure without actually playing through a full game to try it out, so here is a version of the current Bug Fix patch modified to remove the growth barrier on weapon and spell skills; I left evasion and magic resist alone. As a wild guess, I'm thinking skills will hit level 16 somewhere between 50-75% of the way through the game assuming somewhat normal play, or 1% if you really really love killing goblins over and over again.

Quite frankly, getting 0 exp until the 12th round of a battle makes battles suck, because then you're always trying to prolong your battles any way you can.
Conversely, if you have level 12+ skills, you're already well past the point of being strong enough to beat the game and should probably just get on with it :P.

Has there been any discussion about a system where it becomes easier to play catch-up, based various invisible thresholds that get passed in the course of progressing through the story?
The battle rank system sort of does this already, just not well enough: higher rank battles do contribute more experience (but how much of that you end up getting is still dependent on the rest of the calculation). Giving a boost to skills at a lower level than your highest skill level also does this indirectly, assuming that you will have higher skill levels as the game progresses. Giving bonus experience based on how far below the battle rank a skill's level is could be interesting too, especially in combination with adding more battle ranks.

redmagejoe

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Re: Final Fantasy II Restored
« Reply #470 on: August 06, 2020, 12:15:30 am »
Not dead, just dealing with stuff. Hope everyone's staying safe.

abw

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Re: Final Fantasy II Restored
« Reply #471 on: August 27, 2020, 09:32:14 pm »
Also not dead, just taking a break from this to do some different things for a change :P. Out of curiosity, has anybody given the "no growth barrier" version a try to see what it's like?

redmagejoe

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Re: Final Fantasy II Restored
« Reply #472 on: August 28, 2020, 03:08:51 am »
Sadly I have not had the chance to play for a while so I have not been able to playtest it. I will say however that when I was playing before, I reached the end of the game with my main weapons around level 10 or 11, and then proceeded to spend hours power-grinding them up to 16 by going and buying the weakest versions of that weapon type, dual-wielding them, using Turbo speed and Autofire A and getting into fights with Dragons in Pandaemonium.

The reason I vividly describe the means required for me to get a single weapon to level 16 from 10-11 at endgame under normal gameplay (albeit with a bit of grind throughout the game) is to assure you that I do not think the lack of a growth barrier will break the game balance. I predict that unless you're regularly grinding, you will probably get a weapon level, if you've been using that weapon type exclusively on that character, to 16 closer to 80% of the way through the game. That doesn't seem that bad, given that there is incentive to switch up weapons for statistically better ones throughout the game. I can understand a concern that you become too powerful too early, but I feel confident that the removal of the barrier will only make that power creep become apparent during the phase of the game at which the player should already start to feel immensely powerful.

I think the removal of the growth barrier addresses one of the issues with the original experience system. I think the passive growth is nice in a vacuum, as is the barrier removal, though I'm not sure if they can really coexist. I certainly understand Leviathan's points about abilities you aren't using leveling, though without more fundamental changes to the experience system, it is a nice stop-gap until a more elegant solution can be found. Ideally, I think that the removal of the growth barrier coupled with an exponential experience curve (obviously emulated through the formula rather than literally increasing the required experience beyond 100) would address the "playing catch-up issue" as well as make it feasible to level up spells that haven't been used frequently without hours of grind to make them even remotely useful while also not falling back on having them passively grow.

I'd say that for testing purposes, right now the passive growth patch and the no barrier patch are a good start until the system is refined somewhat. That said, in the case of these two behaviors coexisting, for now at least, I would suggest that the no growth barrier not take into account the passive growth. That is to say, the "always gain at least 1 exp" behavior should only apply in cases where the spell is actually cast, while the passive growth still be subject to the current thresholds. Knowing how the experience system works, I understand that may be trickier to check for, though I do believe, abw, that you said that you didn't do something as simple as adding 1 "use" to the end of battle check. Rather I believe you found a more elegant solution, so maybe the foundation for what I just suggested is already in place.

Vanya

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Re: Final Fantasy II Restored
« Reply #473 on: August 28, 2020, 01:00:47 pm »
Also not dead, just taking a break from this to do some different things for a change :P. Out of curiosity, has anybody given the "no growth barrier" version a try to see what it's like?

I can give it a shot. Where do I get that version? I didn't see it in the first post unless I was careless while glancing over it.

redmagejoe

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Re: Final Fantasy II Restored
« Reply #474 on: August 28, 2020, 01:48:21 pm »
I can give it a shot. Where do I get that version? I didn't see it in the first post unless I was careless while glancing over it.

https://drive.google.com/uc?id=1-VmRIIeDAQoK9Cj-Y7MKWJ02yGU2QcN-

Bear in mind that this is simply Bug Fix and does not have any of the frills that the Restored version does.

abw

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Re: Final Fantasy II Restored
« Reply #475 on: August 28, 2020, 07:00:56 pm »
I suppose what I don't get here is the fascination with reaching level 16. If you're already killing almost every monster in one hit, it really doesn't matter by how much you overkill them. Even without abusing cheap exploits like dual Blood Swords for 1-round KOs, the endgame bosses fall pretty easily to a party with level 8 skills and some very basic strategy. I guess level 16 is helpful if you just want to hold down A to win every battle, but satisfying that desire would seem to call for a different kind of hack :P.

I can give it a shot. Where do I get that version? I didn't see it in the first post unless I was careless while glancing over it.
It was actually just embedded in my previous post, but alas, links do not show up well under the default theme :( (also, I can't seem to find the theme selector anymore...).

redmagejoe

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Re: Final Fantasy II Restored
« Reply #476 on: August 28, 2020, 07:35:37 pm »
It's certainly not necessary for game completion, but it is an innate desire for many humans to achieve the highest goal attainable. For some gamers, completionism is just another way to play and enjoy a game, and when it's arbitrarily difficult beyond reason, there are only a very few who find the effort worth that tiny pat on one's own back.

Having said that, since we seem to agree that it doesn't matter all that much whether your weapons are level 8 or level 16 by the end of the game, it doesn't hurt to make 16 more reasonable to achieve rather than having to bend over backwards and exploit the mechanics of the game to absurd lengths to achieve it. The fact that the experience curve was changed for the remakes such that it was feasible to max spells and weapons suggests that Square agreed that their archaic system was flawed, so I see no reason we cannot give it consideration.

I can certainly understand if the concern is that it creates extra work, and one then who is going to be doing the work must question the reason to invest that time and energy. It's certainly at the bottom of the priority list compared to bug fixes and some of the other proposed changes, but I would encourage you to consider that, as a completionist myself (and thus why I have tormented myself as I previously described to max a weapon level), I would sincerely and wholly appreciate an experience improvement to satisfy my masochistic desire to max everything.

:crazy:

Leviathan Mist

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Re: Final Fantasy II Restored
« Reply #477 on: August 28, 2020, 08:58:55 pm »
The reason I haven't tested the patch yet is that I have been off-and-on grinding on the same file with the same version for the past 3 months. When I do my next playthrough, I want to use the growth barrier removal patch for my next run, but I want to finish what I've been working on first. I've also been extremely busy, I might get a few hours a week to work on my file, which is extremely insufficient.

abw

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Re: Final Fantasy II Restored
« Reply #478 on: August 29, 2020, 09:45:20 pm »
Pretty much nobody is happy with the growth rate in the original game, so the question is what to change it to, and from that perspective, it would indeed be interesting to see the mechanics for the remakes. Probably the next item on my list when I get back to working on this is to make dual-wielding work; the game already calculates all of the battle stats for your secondary weapon, so basically all that needs to happen is to make another call to the current routine using the secondary weapon stats instead of the primary stats (and re-jig a couple of things so e.g. messages don't display twice). With Haste affecting both weapons, it would be possible to deal up to 64 hits, so that sounds kind of OP too and should be taken into account when balancing the game.

I've also been extremely busy, I might get a few hours a week to work on my file, which is extremely insufficient.
No worries, I was just curious to see if anybody had some feedback about how well the growth rate worked after actually playing the game instead of just theorizing about it :).

redmagejoe

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Re: Final Fantasy II Restored
« Reply #479 on: September 06, 2020, 01:46:10 pm »
Updated the first post to include the Bug Fix + No Growth Barrier patch for playtesters. I'm sure we can brainstorm on an elegant way to handle the overwhelming experience curve in this game.