I guess I somehow thought I’d breeze through Vagrant Story now that I’m older, that I’ll have an easier time figuring it out completely. It turns out Final Fantasy and Grandia inflated my ego too much. Compared to Vagrant Story, those games are child’s play.
First of all, I had the completely wrong idea last time. There is no way to have one weapon “for the living” and the other for the undead and unliving. First of all, a level raise in the Human class almost always drops the Beast class, so those two can’t be together in any way. The same goes for most of the others I wanted to group up. Instead, I figure I can have two approaches. I could pair up two classes at a time, training three weapons, or I can just train one weapon for each class. The pairs would be:
- Human – Phantom
- Beast – Dragon
- Undead – Evil
However, from what I can tell, the three weapon categories (blunt, edge, piercing) also have a big effect on damage, so this might complicate things. Instead, I think I’ll just keep it simple. I reloaded my last save at the workshop, before I messed everything up and found one of each blades I have for each of the six weapon classes. The dagger I got can’t be modified in this workshop, so I didn’t touch that one, but I have renamed him to paladin. My Fandango was renamed to Hunter and made it my beast slayer sword and I also made some other weapons. Basically, now I have:
- Paladin – Dagger for fighting the undead
- Light’s Hope – Two-handed sword for fighting evil enemies
- Exorcist – Crossbow for fighting phantom enemies
- Executioner – One-handed axe for fighting humans
- Hunter – One-handed sword for fighting beasts
- Dragonslayer – Spear for fighting dragons
Now, I could go truly complicated and also take elemental affinities into account, but I was thinking that, since I can switch gems at will, I can just keep appropriate gems around and put them into weapons as needed. When it gets to a point where this becomes important, I hope I’ll have everything I need.
As for my armor, I’ll just keep upgrading it and use gems which increase all affinities and classes, as well as a gem or two for those special elemental enemies.
I fought the golem boss, which is another one of the early bosses. He’s of the evil type, so I basically had nothing to train on to get ready, meaning that, as usual, I was only able to do damage within single digits, even with my huge two-handed Light’s Hope. During the battle, I finally did get a point in Evil, so I started dishing out 10-20 damage at a time. Woot! I’m thinking this battle was supposed to be like that, just to prepare the player for what’s coming. Pretty much everyone I’ve talked to about Vagrant Story remembers the golem as one of the most hated bosses.
I also fought my first real dragon, since you can’t really count that Wyvern from the start of the game. Dragons actually have a trick to them. If you stay at range, they use their breath attack, which sucks. If you get up close, under their head, you can easily attack the neck and the feet, or even the head and all they can do is use their regular attacks, or in the case of this dragon, occasionally use a strong tail sweep special. Still, it was relatively easy to beat.
This sort of thing – having enemies I can do almost no damage to, happened all the time in my early play through, which is the main reason why I gave up on the game back then. I was hoping it would be easier this time, but it didn’t seem to be, though I now have a better grasp of the mechanics.
Still, at least now I understand the game better and I can enjoy the story more, so it’s not as important as it used to be.
Eventually, I got out of the cellars and catacombs and into the daylight of Lea Monde. There was some more story development with Romeo Guildenstern and a woman accompanying him, another riskbreaker was introduced and I got into my next difficult boss battle. This one was against two knights and a cleric, either belonging to the Crimson Blades directly or the Knights of the Cross, which is the umbrella organization that includes the Crimson Blades.
The first knight was easy, after I used degenerate. The second was sturdier, but I was able to poison him with my chain ability and kill him that way. The cleric was extremely sturdy, kept casting Poison Mist on me and then attacked me with high-damaging spells. I died several times in this fight, but eventually, I managed to get through. He was immune to poison, so I had to dwindle him down with zero damage attacks (usually 0-5 damage).
There was a Workshop in Lea Monde, so I did some combining to upgrade the materials of some of my weapons. I used the staff dropped by the priest as my one-handed mace for the Undead. It already had a nice Undead stat, but I couldn’t combine it with my existing dagger, since that one was silver. Instead, I renamed the dagger to Holy and kept it as backup, naming the staff Paladin from that point on. Here’s what I ended up with:
- Light’s Hope – A two-handed sword for fighting Evil
- Exorcist – A crossbow for fighting Phantoms, though just a placeholder, with none of the stats needed.
- Dragonslayer – A hagane polearm for dragons. It didn’t shine yet, but it already had a nice Dragon stat. I need a better grip for it, though.
- Paladin – A one-handed mace (staff) for fighting Undead. It also has a nice Phantom stat, but this will drop with time. It’s made out of silver.
- Executioner – A two-handed axe for fighting Human enemies (humanoids would have been a more appropriate name). It’s still made out of bronze, but the Human stat is already great.
- Hunter – A hagane one-handed sword for fighting beasts. This is basically what I started the game with, but I have been steadily upgrading it. The Beast stat isn’t high yet, but it already does decent damage.
I didn’t really mess with my armor, since I had nothing to combine it with. In hindsight, I should have at least stored some of it in the storage chest, since armor space in the inventory is very limited.
Here’s another reason why I love Vagrant Story. After the knights battle, I got into the City Walls area. First I fought a Wyvern. It killed me once, but due to me not reacting fast enough. On my second try, I killed it. After a while, I got to the Fire Elemental boss. This is where the game shows it’s good side.
Fire Elemental, First Attempt
I used my placeholder crossbow fist. My plan was to use a one-handed axe as my primary phantom weapon, but I didn’t get a decent one yet, so I just decided to use a crossbow until I do. I cast Pyro Guard on myself and degenerate on the enemy. I was hitting him for zero damage, meaning the real damage was around 5, usually. He was hitting me for 60-70 with the Fireball spell and for 120-140 with the Flame Sphere. During the fight, I realized I had a Grimoire which I could use to cast the Unlock spell on a chest in the previous room. I died.
Fire Elemental, Second Attempt
I used the Grimoire on the chest and it contained a shield gem which adds a 20% chance to dodge spells and a Grimoire which casts the Undine spell, increasing my weapon’s water affinity – Fire elemental is fire, obviously. This time, I slotted the gem and used the dagger I used to use for undead, but have since replaced it with a staff. I named the dagger Holy, but will be renaming it to the Exorcist, to replace my crossbow. With Undine on myself and degenerate on the fire elemental, I was now doing 30 points of damage per hit, easily. With the right chain and defense abilities equipped, I was also easily able to recover MP, so I was able to cast spells as much as I needed. The fire elemental died easily.
And that’s why I love Vagrant Story. It makes you think, it makes you prepare, it makes you figure things out and it means the world of difference when you do all that.
A few rooms later, I got into another boss fight, this time against on ogre. Now, this might have been intentional, so it’s evil game design, or it might have been an accident so I’d call it an oversight. I’ve been fighting goblins throughout the dungeon. They are categorized as human enemies. The boss is an ogre and looks pretty much like a large goblin. Without even looking, I equipped my Executioner and went at it. Half way through the fight, I realized my armor is getting Beast points when I get hit, so I took a look at the ogre and realized he’s categorized as a beast. Luckily, getting the Beast stat up doesn’t lower the Human stat, so I didn’t ruin my Executioner, but I could’ve trained my Hunter nicely and all that was needed was for me to pay more attention.
Back in Lea Monde
Soon after the fight, I got out of the dungeon and I was back in Lea Monde, on the other side of the river. The floating platform was working now, so I was able to get back to the previous area and into the Magic Hammer workshop. I didn’t have much to do, but I was able to combine two helmets into a hagane helmet and, more importantly, I was able to store some of my items. I was also able to revisit the first area of the dungeon I’ve just been to, because I missed a room by taking a wrong turn. In that room, I found some extra gear, but nothing that would have been critical in fighting any of the bosses I just fought.
At this point, I actually decided to go back to where the human training dummy was, inside the first few dungeon areas. I’ve spent about an hour or so trying to find it, but I just couldn’t. Either it’s gone, or I wasn’t looking hard enough.
Also, my game progress is nearing 20%, meaning it’s not a very long game. On the other hand, I already have about 7 hours clocked in, so not very long actually means takes about 40 hours to beat.