Enemies in Record of Agarest War generally follow one of three distinct AI patterns. Identifying these patterns can help you make better decisions about the order in which you eliminate enemies and formulate the best strategies with which to approach tough battles.
- Warrior: This is the most common AI pattern type you will encounter in the game and it applies to the vast majority of enemies that attack primarily with physical arts and skills. Warrior-type mobs will make a beeline for the nearest available target, and once they are next to that target they will not move until that target either moves away or dies, even if there is a softer target within their movement range. This effectively allows them to be "tanked" by making sure that the first or only target in range is someone with high HP and defense, such as Borgnine. This type of AI will only intentionally link with other enemies if there is no target within their movement range.
- Magician: This AI pattern applies to almost all enemies in the game that attack primarily with magic arts and skills. Magician-type mobs will attempt to situate themselves at the maximum casting distance from a target while simultaneously staying out of range of as many of your party members as possible. They will also always attempt to link with as many other enemies as possible. Like Warrior-type mobs, Magician-type mobs can be "tanked" by making sure the first or only target in their range is the party member of your choice. However, Magician-type mobs will prioritize staying out of range of multiple targets, which can often lead to them moving to unfavorable positions and/or attacking unintended party members based on how your party members or the other enemies on the field move.
- Thief: The last type of enemy AI pattern is somewhat rare, which is a blessing considering that it is also the most troublesome. Similar to Warrior-type mobs, Thief-type mobs will make a beeline for the nearest available target. However, unlike Warrior-type mobs, Thief-type mobs will abandon their current target if there is a softer target or group of targets in range. This behavior makes them impossible to tank and can lead to battles quickly getting out of hand as they shred your lines and pick off your more vulnerable party members one-by-one. The majority of Thief-type mobs attack with physical arts and skills, but there are some that attack with magic as well, such as the Mandrake Root in the Fourth Generation. Thief-type enemies will only intentionally link if there is no target in range.
- Monolithica 19:01, November 20, 2010 (UTC)
Enhancing for Fun and ProfitEdit
Enhancing can make or break your playthrough on Hard mode; you will either be filled with joy at the awesomeness of your characters or become very frustrated very quickly as the Enemy AI pwns you to bits.
This section is very much a work in progress. I hope to add a generation by generation "must enhance" item list soon but for now I'll just lay down some basic strategies.
Know Your PlaystyleEdit
The potential for characters is nearly unlimited in this game; even without capturing monsters you will gain new recruits on a fairly regular basis. Do you want to focus on melee characters who jump into the thick of the action? Maybe you'd prefer to focus on mages and blast the enemy from a safe distance with powerful spells? Perhaps even a little of both? Make the choice early and stick with it, because it will determine what items you need to enhance to get the beneficial active skills, and unless you farm quite a bit in a Quest area you'll never have enough EP to enhance everything. The party setup I have used with great success is 3 straight melee, 2 straight mages, and a situational support character who can steal items or straight tank some of the harder bosses.
Capture Is Your Best FriendEdit
Get the Capture skill as soon as possible on Zerva and the Hunter Willpower.. Load him up with as many Luck +15 active skills as you can (you'll need 216 EP to convert a Ring of Luck to gain this active skill. 216 EP isn't that hard to farm, even in Generation 1). If you're interested in keeping him as a party member, it's not a great idea to spend all of his points on Luck; if you're ok with using him in a support-only role go ahead and spend the points. By the end of Generation 3 I was using Vashtor for this role without any luck bonuses, and still could capture mobs 75% of the time. In Generation 5 I have been using Thoma with no luck bonuses, and have had a 95% success rate.
Capture can get you some of the best active skills in the game, as many of the Monster Weapons convert into very powerful +ATK +MAG +RST and +DEF skills. I made it a habit to capture one of every monster type that gave a unique item in each Generation, and I would advise anyone else to do the same. If you find a monster type with a great bonus, capture more of them and trade to the Monster Guild to stack the bonuses to your taste.
Accessories can also convert into great bonuses. The first tier of accessories convert into +15 of their related attributes. The second tier convert into +30. Some higher tier accessories will convert into +40, but these do not become buyable at the Item Shop and unless you're planning to farm alot of the necessary materials (which really isn't a bad idea because alot of them are necessary for Titles), you can find a Monster Item that gives you a better bonus.
Keep Your Gear CappedEdit
Always keep your gear capped as soon as possible. Whether you synthesize a new item or get it from a monster, cap it as soon as possible to reap the benefits. Keeping your gear capped (along with good use of + active skills) can mean the difference between barely scraping through a tough boss battle with your entire party alive or getting wiped. In Hard Mode some of the bosses have attacks that will quickly tear through an ill-equipped or poorly placed party.
By the same token, don't enhance anything you aren't using on your main party, unless you need to convert an Item to synthesize a better one. If you plan to buy the 10,000,000 EP DLC pack this obviously doesn't apply, but if you want to experience the game for the challenge your EP is precious and should only be used as needed.
Other Active SkillsEdit
These tend to be useful on a situational basis, though there are some that are useful at all times.
The resistance related ones are extremely situational and should normally only be equipped if going into a battle where you know you'll encounter those effects. Possible exceptions being Resist Ailments+ and Resist Burst/Direction, which are useful in a larger variety of situations. Resist Bind/Stun and Resist HP Drain/Break are almost always a waste of a slot though.
The utility skills are more of a mixed bag:
- Accuracy Up+, Critical Hit Up, HP Up+, and Restore HP 15% are very useful for some characters and far less so for others.
- Counter is extremely powerful when it triggers, but a large number of stars must align for that to happen.
- Evasion Up+ and MOV +3 are rarely (if ever) worth the slot.
- Item Drop Rate Up is useful for parties that don't make heavy use of EX Steal abilities.
- Restore AP++ is universally useful and should be on every character.
- The effect of Magic Up+ is not shown in the character's status page but adds huge amount of damage for battle mages. Haven't tested Resist Magic Up+.
Spending Level-Up Points and PPEdit
Spending your attribute points in this game is thankfully not as "make or break" as other games. If you screw up and max Intelligence out on Borgnine (unless you're REALLY looking for a challenge!) you can always use a different character, or make up the difference using Party Points (PP).
PP act as something of a safety net and behave almost identically to level-up points. The main difference is that if spent on a captured monster, they will transfer along with that monster over to a New Game+ of the same or lower difficulty. If your characters are built efficiently from the beginning you'll have little use for them, but they can be particularly useful in certain situations:
- Acquired a new party member that's of a significantly lower level than your main party and don't wish to level them up separately.
- Ran into a boss fight underleveled, are doing next to no damage, and do not want to grind for several levels.
- Just got the True End and want to go straight to fighting the Guardian Gods.
- Making up for a captured monster's terrible attribute growth ranks and keeping them on par with the storyline characters.
As to actually spending the points, the strategy is dependent upon what type of character you're building and that character's growth ranks. A character focused on physical attacks will spend their points much differently than one that uses magical attacks, and putting points into an attribute with an E or F ranking ends up being something of a waste.
Also of note is that the point cost for raising an attribute will max out once it reaches an unmodified 91. A character with an A rank in Magic, for example, will have to spend 7 points to raise Magic from 90 to 91 and 8 points to raise it to 92 and beyond. Since characters will periodically receive free attribute boosts every few levels, the useful ones should be raised to 91 as soon as possible.
For physical characters:
- Strength is the central ability to raise since it controls both attack damage and the chance to hit with non-magical abilities.
- Vitality is a very particularly useful attribute, as it increases your defense and HP, making it much easier to survive boss EX's and counters, saving you the fragment/stone of life, the AP for healing, and the possiblt turns wasted ressurecting the fallen party member.
- Intelligence is basically an inferior Vitality for a physical character. Both raise defensive statistics, but Vitality also increases HP. If the character's EX abilities do both physical and magical hits however, it may be a good idea to raise this to 91 as well.
- Agility is primarily useful for determining action order. While it is true that you only need one character with a high rating in order to have the slower ones act through their extended area, this approach has several limitations. Range issues and the logistics of using multiple-character combination attacks against several targets being primary, while AP/SP Up bonuses being added in full only at the beginning of a character's turn being secondary. Complicating the issue further is that you often want to go first against common enemies (to wipe them out fast) and last against bosses (to heal/resurrect before the end of the turn).
- Luck does a variety of things. For a physical character however, it's central use will likely be to increase the chance of a successful Steal attempt. While it does also raise Avoid and Hit, Avoid is only useful at extremely high levels and Hit is increased by Strength.
For magical characters:
- Strength is almost always a waste of points.
- Vitality is a great skill to have for mages. Since you won't be increasing the strength of these party members, vitality is the best way to increase their physical defense. Intelligence will increase the magical defense.
- Intelligence is a magic user's central attribute. It controls both the damage of their attacks as well as their defense against those same attacks.
- Agility is roughly just as useful for a magic user as a physical attacker. The exception would be if the character serves as a healer, in which case a lower Agility might be more useful so that they can fix any dead or disabled characters before the new turn starts.
- Luck does a variety of things for a magic focused character as well. Most notably it seems to affect the chance of successfully applying status effects (needs confirmation; appeared to affect Judgment's chance of instant death).
For mixed characters:
- Strength is somewhat mandatory, as no other attribute raises physical damage.
- Vitality is just as useful for these characters as it does for the physical or magic characters.
- Intelligence ends up being slightly more useful than Strength due to raising both damage and defense.
- Agility will usually be more useful for a mixed character than a purely physical character. Due to using both types of skills, they're more likely to be involved in multiple multi-character combos and so will have greater need of the full AP boost gained from AP Up actives.
- Luck ends up being a decent choice since it enhances both the chance to hit with physical attacks and the chance to cause status effects with magical ones (the latter needs confirmation).
One of the most appealing aspects of this game is that you can approach battles in a myriad of different ways. The following are general tips that can be incorporated into any playstyle.
- Keep your characters linked: This may be the most important thing to consider regardless of your playstyle. Linked characters mean more damage can be dealt before the enemy can react, and it gives you more control over the battlefield as you can strategically place your characters so that no target is out of reach (be it friend or foe).
- Finish Extended Attacks with magic: Many of the enemies in the game have the Counter skill, and if they are repeatedly hit with melee attacks they can cut down your HP very quickly. Ending an Extended Attack with a magic skill will not trigger Counter, and allows you to pummel your enemies without fear of an often devastating reprisal.
- Keep your characters fairly spread out: Most of the large monsters and almost all of the bosses have AOE attacks which they will use against you constantly if you allow them to. Keep a tank in front of the party to absorb the brunt of the attacks and keep everyone else at least a few squares away from each other. The tank will be killed often, but Resurrecting one party member is alot easier than Resurrecting 4 or 5. (This becomes a real issue from the end of generation 3 and onward, when bosses can do AOE from 4+ squares outward and kill your entire party).
- Keep items stocked: There are a few reasons for this. Most important is that a Fragment of Life costs 6 AP less than Resurrect, though it has a very limited range, and items can't be used in an Extended Attack. Even when Extended, there is a limit to how far Resurrect will reach, and having a few Fragments will allow you to keep you characters from expiring before the 2 turn timer runs out. Grass and Cure Grass give you 10 SP per use and only cost 8 AP; use this to your advantage by hanging back and building enough SP for an Extra Skill during tough battles.
- Pay attention to elemental enemies: Not all enemies absorb elemental attacks but pay attention to the ones who do. If you use a element-based weapon or skill against an enemy of the same element you'll heal them, and though there are rare situations this can be useful, generally it can only be bad for you. Nothing is worse than pummeling a boss and then all of the sudden your Extra Skill heals him to full.
- Wounding your enemies: While it's great to kill an enemy in one fell swoop, it's not always possible. When you have an enemy that's much stronger than you that can heal, I sugguest wounding it. Getting it down to as little health as possible forces it to heal itself, instead of attacking you. This can be a real life saver in difficult battles, and can save you from useing fragments/stones of life.
- Kill mages first: This should be self-explanatory. Kill the healers or they'll stay out of range undoing any damage you manage to do.
- Sometimes it's best to let the monsters strike first: If you can't kill a large monster or boss with an extended attack, it's usually much better to wait for them to attack. If you attack them first, you put your entire party in range of an AOE attack that will often have devastating consequences. If you wait, at worst they might kill your tank; at best your tank survives and you can throw everything you have at him and then move out of range on the next turn.
- Use Parry and Magic Barrier to your advantage: Sometimes having a tank at the head of your party just isn't good enough--against extremely powerful enemies, or bosses, your tank will either be weakened to the point of near-death, if he/she isn't killed outright. The Willpowers Parry and Magic Barrier, however, keep a character alive when they reach critical status, blocking all appropriate attacks except for EX Skills (Parry-->Physical, Magic Barrier-->Magic). A good trick is to keep a character with the Parry willpower at the head of the party, soaking up damage for a few turns--when you notice, during a Move Phase, that a Boss (or a powerful large monster) has the SP to use one of their EX Skills, pull your Parry character back to be healed, and move your tank to the front of the line.
- Vitalize Early: To experienced players, this would probably seem obvious, but it's an important step in bringing out a characters full potential. Vitality provides HP upon level up, for each and every level they gain. Raising this early in a characters development maximizes the return for the points you invest. The earlier the VIT is raised, the more levels that VIT gives +3 to HP, and especially on Mages, every HP can make a difference.
This is a section of more specific information that has been compiled from playthroughs.
EX Stealing: while anyone with a Special slot can steal, only a few characters can EX Steal (steal with an EX move). Certain bosses have very useful items that can only be EX Stolen from them so it's useful to keep one of these characters in your active party during boss fights. These characters are:
SP Charging: If your strategy revolves around saving SP and then combining EX attacks, you can use one of the skills that targets your party (like the Fire skill Power Up) and get 10SP per use. This is useful to do on certain bosses on Hard like Midas: save up SP while he kills your tank and then hit him with your EX2/3 skills in one turn to kill him.
Stardust: Stardust is an Extra category spell that has a large radius (13 squares) that can be acquired in Gen 4. This spell is extremely useful for clearing fields of normal monsters provided your Mages are leveled enough. (Someone verify this, but I've had stardust from around the beginning of Gen 3 from title farming. It might have been a drop, I can't remember, but having this skill can make Ellis a god.)
Ellis: Ellis, once she gets her EX2 allows you to hit anyone (see below) on the field when she is linked with someone else and it is her turn. You can use this to jump to the back lines of the enemy and hit hard to reach Mages who run away from your party and scatter.
- Ellis' EX2 ability is Regeneration, which has a range of 10 squares. On the SMALLER Fields (such as Vital Field, which tends to be the endgame Field of Choice), Ellis can indeed reach anywhere. Note that on the larger Fields (such as Little Fortune, which is 13 x 13), even standing in the middle of the board may prevent you from reaching enemies hiding in the corners. As noted above, Stardust solves most of this problem.
Evil Dragon: Evil Dragons are very dangerous enemies. But it seems that they are very vulnerable against the combo Judgement (Ascension + Ray + Impulse + Stardust + Atomic Hole). I tried it several times in the fight against Nil and every time I hit these dragons with this combo instant death was triggered.(tested with EU PS3 version)
Sacraficial Lamb: I have found it to be extremely usefull on tough bosses. What you need to do is move up your sacrifice ( I always use my tank since he sometimes survives the onslaught) in front of the boss and moving the rest of your party far behind it but be sure to keep them all linked. When the boss unleashes it's fury upon your sacrifice it will stay focused on it. Usually your sacrifice dies but you will recieve some nice SP for that because everyone is linked. Now with Ellis in your party and her ability to pretty much strike anywhere on the field it is your turn to inflict some nice damage on the boss.Be sure to end your attacks with magic though since some will counter and pretty much wipe out your party since they are all together after the chain of attacks. Be sure to keep some AP so you can revive your sacrifice. When the turn ends pull everyone but your sacrifice back and have the sacrifice face the boss once more. Rinse and repeat. The only thing that can ruin this strategy is the boss's EX-Skills and moving. But since they don't tend to move a lot when they have a enemy right in front of that that rarely happens.