why am I so bad?

 
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twood



Joined: 06 Mar 2010
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Sun Mar 07, 2010 4:53 pm    Post subject: why am I so bad? Reply with quote
I just started playing this recently, and am very impressed with the game. However, I think I'm awful at it, and I haven't quite figured out what I'm doing wrong.

(apologies in advance for all the incorrect place and character names below, it's been a few days since I last played)

I'm playing with Grace, PuanYuan (?? the foreign priest), and Kaltos. I just reached Fort Longreach (??) and will soon be taking a balloon ride. I had a lot of trouble fighting the enemies in the "Tall Grass" area before the fort. I'm not sure if this is because: 1) I'm using the wrong skill chains, 2) I should have been grinding some baddies to level up first, 3) I picked a poor party, or 4) something else entirely.

From browsing the forums here I have just discovered one big mistake--I hadn't realized that smoke screen provides defensive bonuses to the enemies as well (in retrospect this should have been obvious), but I'm not sure what else I've been doing wrong. I tend to have my priest alternate between healing and blessing both kaltos and grace. Grace I had using a lot of explosive bullets, although it sounds like that may not be a good choice. Kaltos I kept on "hack" for small enemies or slay for large, with occasional calls to Brace (?) when I needed him in the front as defense.

I do not make much use of the pause buttons, except for fighting the golem type thing which had an invincible mode. Likewise, I pretty much never use the overdrive stuff.

Any suggestions? I admit that I'm used to games being easy where I pretty much won't die unless I do something stupid, but in SE2 I'm dying quite regularly. I'm mainly in the game for the story and the characters, so I don't want to spend all my time dying and reloading!
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Brickman
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Joined: 13 Aug 2008
Posts: 96

PostPosted: Mon Mar 08, 2010 4:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Well I'll tell you the first part right upfront: You didn't pick a bad party. As long as you've got one person of each class there are no parties because they're very close to interchangable (each sharpshooter and priest is missing one skill, the knights aren't missing ANY. There's a grand total of one fight that will only occur if you've got a certain party member with you, there's only a few pieces of equipment that you won't get with all party members and there's one boss who'll be a bit different for every party). Grace is probably the worst sharpshooter, and PyanPau is probably the weakest priest (but the skill he's missing isn't really important until 2/3 of the way through the game), but they've got some advantages over Charlotte and Enshadu and Mericious as well (especially if you use your priest mostly for defense you'll find PyanPau to get statistical boosts at several key points in the game, including the final boss).

Explosive bullet is generally considered a weak skill, but especially here it's just inefficient, not a game-loser. Most of the other sharpshooter attacks are better. Hack and slay and party heal are also useful, and Brace if you use it right (remember not to attack after using it until after you've taken two hits, or it'll be wasted. Recover or just storing energy work fine. Also, not all enemy attacks are created equal). Bless is not really appropriate this early in the game; you'll want it once enemies start having a lot of armor and/or you start needing to deal a lot of damage in one attack (it's indispensible near the end). You'd be better served with an attack skill; I'm partial to trick, especially with PyanPau for purely thematic reasons.

It sounds, though, like your problem is with strategy. First of all, the last area of chapter 2, where you hold the line against respawning enemies, is about defense rather than offense. Taking out one of the jackals is ok but the way to win is to use all your defensive skills. In fact, if you take out all three enemies they'll regenerate instantly, so you DON'T want to do that. Every party member has offensive and defensive skills which are equally useful, with their own advantages and disadvantages, but against straight melee enemies like this all the defensive skills work fine.

I also get the feeling you're not properly using your priest as a meatshield--that chi shield is a huge pile of HP and it regenerates for free, so your priest should be the first person to take hits in any fight. If you level up his HP he makes a pretty strong tank, and the skills trick and summon wraith can take it even further. You just have to pay attention since it's not as easy to replenish his HP as the others' if it drops dangerously low. Just don't bother giving him strong armor vs physical attacks, since it won't be applied while the shield lasts. After the priest's taken a hit or two you should start letting the other two guys take damage roughly equally so party heals won't be wasted; the knight can also heal himself so you can let him go lower if need be.

Going forward in the game, my advice is to keep an eye on what exactly your enemies have going for them. From chapter 3 onwards almost every enemy has a special gimmick which'll make life hell if you don't pay attention but can be overcome if you figure it out and compensate. For instance, in the next area there's an enemy who will run up, bite you, but rather than return home he'll continue biting you every few seconds until you hit him with an attack. If you attack blindly he'll carve huge chunks out of your HP bar, but if you hold an attack and unleash it only in response to his own you'll completely negate his advantage. Holding attacks doesn't actually slow you down at all unless you try to hold two at once and keep going; the energy bar regenerates at the same rate all the way up to 80 and it always takes exactly 40 to attack. Another enemy has extremely strong natural regeneration which doesn't cost him turns, enough that any attacks that hit him will be utterly wasted unless you focus all three party members on hurting him (or at least two of them using single-target attacks). If you do that, he's nothing special. It gets harder as it goes but there's always something to exploit if you use your head and make yourself aware of all the skills your party has

One more hint: leveling skills has extreme diminishing returns and a small effect to start with, so diversify. Every party member should probably have points in at least four skills besides health and their passive ability, because using the right level-0 skill is better than using the wrong level 15 skill and the game is designed to make sure everything can be the right skill at least a few times).
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twood



Joined: 06 Mar 2010
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Mon Mar 08, 2010 2:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Great! thanks for all these comments, I look forward to trying them out tonight.

I think I've generally been doing fine recognizing the gimicks so far (the invincibility mode and the one defensive timed battle), but I guess I've been misusing a number of my skills. I didn't know attacking cancelled brace, and didn't realize pausing wouldn't slow my attack progress.

I don't fully understand your point about the priest being a meatshield -- how does chi translate to health? Since heal only affects the other two I've been hesitant to let his health get low. I'll have to look through his skills to see if I'm missing something... it sounds like I need to reread all of them a bit more carefully...
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Brickman
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Joined: 13 Aug 2008
Posts: 96

PostPosted: Tue Mar 09, 2010 2:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
The priest has a lot of Chi. It regenerates automatically, and acts as a second health bar against physical attacks: Anything that deals piercing or concussive damage will damage his chi shield and will only affect his actual health underneath if the shield runs out (it'll cover the difference). Armor doesn't have an effect while the chi is absorbing your blows, but otherwise it's effectively health. Magic and ethereal damage go straight to his actual health bar, but with points in "Chosen" you can reduce the sting a little (you should still keep him away from them any time it's possible). As long as you're not fighting an opponent who can launch physical attacks against the whole party or random party members (of which I can only name a couple--the giant robot boss, the knight boss in chapters 4 and 5, the sludge in 7, and the midboss and riflemen in 9), taking damage to the chi is pretty safe. The chi can absorb several hits before putting the priest in anything resembling danger (more either other party member can take without needing turns devoted to healing) and slowly regenerates for free, so it frees you to focus on offense for a few rounds at the beginning of a fight and hopefully knock out one of your foes before you need to slow down and start healing. Moreover, if you use Trick you'll stretch out your priest's chi even further since it's a full-powered offensive move with a 25% reduction to damage taken from the next melee attack bundled in for free (I love Trick), and sprite summon can speed up the regeneration while giving a minor boost to offense (though I never used it).

You should glance at the guide for more info about your skills. A few more useful notes: Charge is lost if you use a non-attack skill, Staggering Blow and Flashbang will slightly hamper your enemy's offense (though I'm not a fan of either), Aurora gives the entire party a non-regenerating equivalent to chi which works against magic, can be stacked indefinitely and has a doubled effect on the priest (useful against bosses and late in the game), Lucky shot has reduced effect on large enemies, Wrath and Strike and Swordfaith get a bonus against undead, and Enpowder is nerfed slightly on Hack and the two area attacks (but enpowdered hack against a low-armor foe and enpowdered thunderstrike against virtually anything are still overpowered). Also, remember that Aim High, Damn and Swordfaith can be targeted against any enemy (they'll affect whoever has the arrow under them, and it'll move to whichever enemy you click on) and Thunderstrike and Lucky Shot hit all your opponents. Also also remember that black bullet is massively powerful but shouldn't be used again on the same opponent until the poison has run its course, but if you hold your attacks and time it well you can hit back-row foes when they run up to attack.

Also, do note that there will be equipment in this game which automatically applies weak heals to either the wearer or the rest of the party once every so many seconds. You should make a point of gobbling this equipment up. Remember: Priest>Sharphsooter>Knight for how much they need the healing.
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