I can feel it happening again: my obsession to grind beyond the point of reason. This time the catalyst is my recent re-discovered obsession with Breath of Fire IV. I am inching towards the final dungeon, which is one of my favorites of any RPG for its sheer difficulty and awesome loot to be had within. I want to get my team on the right track.
The Breath of Fire games have a unique system which allows you to shape your characters the way you would like by having them train under a master. Under the tutelage of a master, a character’s stat increases change upon leveling up. For instance, the very first master in Breath of Fire IV, Rwolf, gives trainees a boost to AP (ability points) and Wisdom at the cost of Power. Obviously most mages don’t require brute strength, so Rwolf is a great master for magic slingers (early on at least).
My dilemma comes from a tactic I just discovered regarding a particular master named Kryrik. He’s a seasoned sailor who knows how to tie a mean constrictor knot IF YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN.
Can’t tell if weird looking or racist…
Kryrik gives an enormous boost to HP, Power, and Defense at the expense of AP, Agility, and Wisdom. So the strategy is to get all six possible party members training under him as soon as possible since this is the best way to maximize HP and Defense. Naturally this is probably fine for your beefcake warriors of the party. But what of those magic slingers I talked about earlier? Is it worth it to sacrifice their offenses for a gruffer exterior?
Here is where things get interesting. There are these NPCs scattered throught the world of Breath of Fire called Manillos. They deal in fish tradery. In other words, they really want fish. If you catch some nice fish, you can trade them to these Manillos for rare and unique items.
Lemme see dem fishes
These Manillos are modern business men, despite their appearance (what are they exactly, frogs or something). Anyway, they want to keep you bringing in the fish as much as you want their rare wares. For this reason, they’ve developed a point card system (this is a very popular tactic in Japan). So as you trade for items, you earn points. After achieving a certain number of points you will fill up a card:
Still with me? Now there is a second list of items which you can trade your full points cards in for. Among the rewards are several items which permanently increase certain stats when consumed. It just so happens that those stats are all the same stats that Kryrik lowers by being your master. HMMM.
I’ll connect the dots for you in case you zoned out or browsed other tabs between yawning through this post: By putting all of your team members under Kryrik as a master, they will have the highest possible HP and Defence by the time they reach their level cap of 50. By abusing the Manillo points card system and fishing your ass off, you can essentially undo the negative effects of Kryril’s tutelage resulting in near perfect characters.
Did I say fishing your ass off? ‘Cause that’s what gon’ happen…
Now, as a clinically-diagnosed RPG perfectionist, do I have the willpower to take what I know and put it out of my mind — just ignore this recipe for perfection and its steep commitment? Can I, in good conscious, amble through the game enjoying it for what it is, rather than what I can make it? Queue soul-searching montage!
*Runs up some stairs in sweat pants and hoodie, pounds a glass filled with raw eggs, goes for a nighttime drive, contemplates own transience in front of a pond*
Right. I’ve taken the normal path before. It was fun, and I will never forget it. But now, I must strive for excellence. I want this save file to reflect how far I’ve come as a gamer since I played Breath of Fire IV over ten years ago. I will have the best team I’ve ever assembled and we will shake the foundation of the gods under an avalanche of fishes and point cards.