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Equipment Progression Balance

Hack of Secret of Mana


This patch rearranges the armor, items, shops, and monster drops significantly. This hack is effectively a more ambitious effort to solve the problems that the previous similar hack “Drop Table Balance” attempted to solve. But instead of editing only the drop table, this hack alters the armor, items, shop, and drop tables to attain even better progression balance.


  • Promote a more balanced and natural feeling of item/armor progression throughout the game.
  • Reduce the excessive amount of grinding in the game.
  • Restore unused content back into the game (e.g. the unused item, armor, and Neko walking frames).
  • Make no items missable or excessively hard to find.
  • Make all armor useful; prevent getting new armor that is worse than what you already have.
  • Increase incentive to fight and defeat many of the game’s more annoying monsters by making their drops more useful.
  • Make overall difficulty more consistent / less uneven across a playthrough.
  • Make it easier to get the weapon orbs dropped in the Mana Fortress which otherwise would require excessive grinding.

Armor changes:

  • All armor is now buyable. No more missable or excessively rare items.
  • Armor progression was balanced. There is no more useless armor. Each new piece of equipment you encounter in a typical playthrough will either be an upgrade or offer reasonable tradeoffs over existing equipment. Armor stats and defensive properties have been tweaked accordingly with the goal of preserving the original spirit of each piece of equipment as much as possible.
  • Armor stats were adjusted to increase difficulty or reduce difficulty in various stages of the game. In some dungeons you will have better armor than the original game and in others you will have weaker armor than the original game. This is to make difficulty more consistent / less uneven across a playthrough.
  • Some armor sequencing has been rearranged to better match the spirit of the region the armor is acquired in. Stats have been adjusted accordingly to keep progression linear.
  • Restored unused Ruby Armet headgear for Primm back into the game. It is now sold at Kakkara.
  • Some armors will now be considered “siblings” to one another. “Siblings” are identical in defensive properties (and cost) to one another except in regards to some stat boost or status effect. As such, they are sold together at shops or are sold separately at shops that become accessible at the same time (e.g. Todo/Kakkara and Mandala/Gold Isle).

Items / shops:

  • All shops now sell more items. It is now possible to buy Faerie Walnuts, Royal Jam, Barrels and other later items earlier in the game. And more vendors sell early items like Candy later in the game too.
  • Restored unused consumable item back into the game. The new item, now called the Faerie Coconut, restores 50mp and features a new animation. The Faerie Walnut has been revised to restore only 25mp to balance things out. This hack supersedes the “Faerie Coconut” standalone hack.
  • Price of Barrels is now reduced from its base price of 225gp (450gp at Neko’s) to 100gp (200gp at Neko’s). Barrels are also available at regular shops now too instead of just Neko’s, who double charges for everything. This makes Barrels a lot cheaper and therefore less painful to waste.
  • Armor prices have been greatly reduced to encourage upgrading more often without the need for grinding. This was already needed with the original game’s armor table, but adding even more buyable armor into the game heightens the need for this considerably.
  • The cost of upgrading weapons is now half of what it is in the original game. (The code changes are identical to how this was also done in “Level 9 Weapons Progression Balance” to preserve compatibility between this hack and that one.)
  • Neko and Watts have been added to the Mana Fortress. The new Neko sells you unique, Mana Fortress-exclusive items, plus the ability to save inside the Mana Fortress. With Neko and Watts in the Mana Fortress, now you never have to leave. The New Nekos will wander, displaying the previously unseen Neko graphics. The Haunted Forest and Lofty Mountain Nekos will also now wander, displaying the previously unseen Neko graphics. This hack supersedes the “Neko and Watts in the Mana Fortress” standalone hack.

Drop changes:

  • Which monsters drop which items has been rearranged significantly to minimize useless/unhelpful items being dropped. Faerie Walnuts and other useful consumables will drop more often from more monsters now.
  • Monsters no longer drop unique armor. All armor is buyable. When monsters do drop armor, it will usually be better than what you have and will more closely match the theme of the monster.
  • Like the original game, various monsters in the Mana Fortress will still drop 9th weapon orbs (excluding the sword), but these drops will now be common drops instead of rare drops. Also the spear orb has been moved from Tsunami to Turtlance.

This hack is not compatible with the following hacks:

  • Masterflow’s Hard Mode: Alters the armor and drop tables in an incompatible way.
  • Kethinov’s Drop Table Balance: Alters the drop table in an incompatible way. This hack was expressly designed to supersede “Drop Table Balance.”
  • Timbo’s Equipment Overhaul: Alters the armor, drop, and shops tables in an incompatible way.
  • Queue’s Ruby Armet hack: Alters the shops table in an incompatible way.
  • Kethinov’s Neko and Watts in the Mana Fortress: This hack supersedes the “Neko and Watts in the Mana Fortress” standalone hack by incorporating its changes into this one, but enhancing it further by making the new Neko sell unique items.
  • Kethinov’s Faerie Coconut: This hack supersedes the “Faerie Coconut” standalone hack by incorporating its changes into this one’s revised and expanded shops table.

Some important things to note:

  • How to combine this with the Variable Width Font hack: 1. Apply VWF, 2. Remove header, 3. Apply this hack, 4. Apply this hack’s VWF support hack.
  • How to combine this with Relocalized: 1. Apply Relocalized, 2. Apply this hack, 3. Apply this hack’s Relocalized support hack.
  • The new Mana Fortress Neko will only wander up and down. Mostly down. This is because Neko does not have left/right walking frames, so when he attempts to wander, any commands he receives to walk left or right are interpreted as down instead. As such, Neko will only wander in locations that are suitable for him to walk down most of the time.
  • A companion hack “Faerie Coconut Replacement Graphic” has also been included. This hack replaces the graphic for the Faerie Coconut with a graphic that looks more explicitly like a coconut. The original graphic was a graphic that was included in the original game, but dummied out and went unused. The concept of the “Faerie Coconut” was created for the unused item it because it looked sort of like a coconut. But ThanatosZero suggested incorporating a graphic that looked more like a coconut and did a great job producing such a graphic. Timbo then did the hacking work to incorporate the graphic into the ROM. You can optionally apply that hack atop this one depending on which graphic you prefer.

See the README for the full list of changes to the armor, drop, and shop tables.

ROM / ISO Information:

  • Secret of Mana (U) [!].SMC
  • Header: NO
  • CRC32: 229BA7E4
  • MD5: 759A3837E5C16AF31464EF6192731EEB
  • SHA1: 4E214F3C987F842C2C68E77B99FC9760F6BB753D




ContributorType of contributionListed credit
KethinovHackingPrincipal author
Thanatos-ZeroGraphicsCreated Faerie Coconut replacement graphic
TimboHackingEncoded Faerie Coconut replacement graphic
QueueHackingSome refactoring

User Review Information

User Reviews
Mixed feelinghmsong29 Aug 20191.4Yes