Updated 8/18/16: uploaded BaconCatBug's Steam release of FF9.2.2.Vir did this? Yea... so who helped him?
What's this mod?
- Thanks to Tirlititi--who seems to me to be really a worthy Qhimm user in that his tool Hades Workshop was easy to use and he has replied to numerous questions for me promptly, and volunteered useful feedback.
- Thanks also to GameFAQs users aladore384 and Atomos199, for their persistent feedback and error-finding. Their questioning my logic made me explain and understand it better. Also, if they hadn't been responding, there wouldn't have been much response, and I would have gone away thinking I must have scrambled the toast somehow ^^
- Thanks to (GameFAQs users, all of these) BronzeStuff, XtraT, monkeyslinger, Pibugo, and terran3999999 for their repeated inputs.
- Thanks to Pibugo for saying he liked what I was doing.
- Thanks MarquisOndore, ertfert, IllusionGamer90, and others for contributing to a discussion of m.stone balance, which I used. WhPlague sparked and inadvertently contributed to this discussion: thanks. M.O. and Atomos brought up the suggestion of adding detail to support ability tooltips, which I did.
- Thanks to m'lady for sitting listening to a mess of arcane game mechanical algebra to help me figure out... something... well, it was important we knew what it was at that time, anyway. And we solved it! *Also, she told me repeatedly to do iterative testing and I did not do it at all ever so if anything's broken it is not her fault and she told me so. She insisted on and dictated *this addition.
- Thanks to LandonRay, from whose Unleashed mod Tirlititi got his suggestion to just make Six Dragons single target. I eventually took this advice. Fair dues to LandonRay for thinking of it first. (Also if anyone has a really good idea for another use of this ability slot, let me know!)
- Thanks Advent on ID for prompting me to clarify what I mean by "balance" so downloaders don't spend time under a misconception.
- GameFAQs' Zaltera discovered a couple errors in my change log, provided feedback on just about every aspect of the mod, tested to make sure Float didn't increase Wind-damage, and has otherwise been helping by play testing all the way to 99. Many thanks!
- GameFAQs' pjng99 and YouTube's ng family brought to GameFAQs' attention a typo. I did not search exhaustively, but as far as I know it may have never been brought to light before. The Hot & Cold exchange gives you Phoenix Pinions, not Phoenix Down. Tirlititi confirms this is correctly listed in other translations. I fixed it in this one.
- Thanks to awesomeuno for feedback and for his inquiries with monkeyslinger revealing that I'd made an error in calculating Amarant's max stats. Thanks to him, we also have max stat setups for ordered-without-final-equipment and combined stats. Check the GameFAQs thread to see if he's posted them or contact him there; I didn't do any work on them, so I haven't taken the liberty to redistribute them.
- Thanks monkeyslinger for working out those setups mentioned above and for helping proving via computer-checking that the setups I have in this version 2.21 will be final. Human re-re-checking was not good enough.
- Thanks to Kivikaki's interest in a German version, I wrote up a guide (must be post 13 or so) for what text one would have to change to put the mod in other languages. Also, I would not have noticed the Brave Suit thing without his post.
- Thanks to Zara9 and Covarr for tips to improve the download accessibility.
- Kivikaki contributed a German language translation (for the German PAL FF9).
- BaconCatBug recreated the mod for Steam/PC and wrote instructions for how to use such.
The first version of this mod was my attempt to correct some small inequities (e.g., why ever use Kain's Lance if you have Dragon's Hair?), nuisances (removed forced exp.), and the Thunder Slash bug without changing the over all balance of FF9. This version got taken down at 2.2 because it also contained the error which 2.2 corrected and I didn't see updating them both. Its changes are still color coded light blue in the change log below, because why not.
This, the second version, includes the first version changes, but takes on less conservative goals, too. FF9.2, here, is my attempt to improve the balance of FF9, making all active and support abilities comparatively viable after their function, systematizing their costs to be less arbitrary, and leveling off most of the most exploitable abilities.
This is not a difficulty mod
: a difficulty mod changes the balance between the players' resources and the monsters' resources. I have touched monsters very little. Under my changes, the game should be slightly more difficult. It shouldn't be less difficult, or you need to let me know. But difficulty was not a goal and any new difficulty doesn't spring from my making it "hard" to kill monsters in a few hits like in vanilla FF9. The balance in my goals was balance within the PCs' resources. Any new difficulty comes from there being a more reasonable cost in MP and M.Stones to playing that simple, high offense strategy. At the same time, other tactics are more viable because I've priced status effects and other not-big-damage moves reasonably, too (I hope!), so if there remains an incentive to just press Attack all the time, that was Square. But that incentive is smaller. That was me.
It's possible (no way to know) I'll also boost monsters in the future. If I do, it'll probably only be D4 randoms, because I'll still want this mod to be viable for persons like me who want to play the rest of the game in a traditional E2PG or Slow E2PG style. But this part of it wouldn't be done so fast (took me about a week, which I had off) or now if I had been more ambitious What're the details?
I believe I have documented everything I did in a rather extensive--and orange--change log. It is in a google doc along with other working sheets, which are not guaranteed legible like the change log. You can't see the notes in google's preview, but you should be able to open it as a spreadsheet (as intended).https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1bQaj0zRxfw6l-nkJRXMssWN9ZosvTZdpm_fVKEnaE0c/edit?pli=1#gid=330958072
In addition to saying what changed, how it is now, what it was before, and a summary of why, I have made extensive notes to various cells explaining reasoning, advantage, and so forth. The wall of text which was here explaining my first version is there, distributed among various first version (blue text) notes.Is it compatible with the Excalibur 2 Perfect Game?
That was my intention and I do believe it is so, yes.
If you find any little thing that I have not successfully anticipated that interferes seriously with the E2PG, let me know! I will make a new version of the mod as quick as I can and release it to you. Your save will adjust with the changes and work and you should be fine.
In fact, please note that for various reasons I insisted my finished work the remain compatible with the Excalibur II Perfect Game as described by that Odysseus of Perfect Game Writers, Atomos199. (It's been 10 years now, right?) For the sake of compatibility with the E2PG, the abilities Night and Charge! are still relatively broken. But if I have done at all well balancing everything else, their broken edge is duller.Overview:
Rebalanced all abilities' MP and Magic Stone costs, power and other attributes as appropriate, relating to approximately how many offensively- and defensively-spent turns they are worth.
To maintain compatibility with E2PG support ability combos, magic stones are balanced around higher numbers. You will have 45 instead of 14-18 at lv1, each ability will cost perhaps 8 instead of 4, and you will have 99 at max level instead of 68-72. The combinations that took up all your stones at lv1 before will do just that, but the points will be distributed between those abilities in a way that better reflects their relative power. Also, since the max will be 99, that "max stat" will be rounder and the cost of each ability happens to be the percent of your total you're investing there. Note that exactly as in the original game, characters joining at levels higher than one will wind up with lower stats (including total M. Stones) than had they joined at lv1. That's just how FF9 works. If you like the round numbers but don't want to play a lv1 game through Amarant, look at it that if you get any round numbers, it's more than you got in vanilla.
Removal of forced exp. and addition of stat weapons for four characters who had none rebalanced perfect stats in a more intuitive way. (Though they're nothing different to the extent other things have changed: e.g., Amarant isn't 10% weaker than Zidane, Vivi can get as high Mag as Eiko; nothing radical.) All E2PG setups are still sound: only there are +str/mag weapons to equip with those setups for characters who had no stat weapon before. Since it's only +Str/Mag, which do not cap, on those weapons, it does not change the gear/level setups.
All abilities aim to be more attractive in the right scenario (as far as I can do in Hades Workshop and without yet altering enemies), where in the original many abilities were too inaccurate or underpowered to be worth using. Examples to this end:
- Comet did random damage, you couldn't raise the minimum, and it had a 33% chance to miss entirely. Why use it over a more reliable spell? Well, now perhaps because it has a(n overall) 30% chance to cause Freeze, as well.
- Demi, Aqua Breath, and Demi Shock all did fairly low percent-based damage, if they hit. Now, they each have a niche within that function now: e.g., Aqua Breath is cheap and always hits for 25% damage, Demi Shock has a 60% chance to hit for 50% at a higher price. I knew the fair price by making sure they had the same MP efficiency. Also, pro tip: Demi (30% max HP) works and always worked with Reflectx2 (i.e., 60% max HP, as many times as you reflect it).
- Dragon's Crest has the same MP cost as Shock (48), since they're both pretty much 9999 buttons. Shock's cost comes from a standard price per Atk bonus.
- Soul Blade inflicts a status based on your thief sword. It's well to use it with Ultima Weapon: 100% chance to sleep an enemy. I put it at 12 MP. If it always did sleep throughout the game, I'd have given it a higher cost, but it doesn't and wouldn't be worthwhile at some weapons. I believe it balances well even at end-game, though, because when you're thinking of using Zidane for a status, you must be balancing it against Annoy (useful against groups), which my system rates at 12 MP for a 75% chance. Further, even at high level, you won't inevitably have Ultima Weapon on anymore, because I made The Tower an elemental sidegrade. Finally, any small advantage it does have in MP efficiency due to these complexities is outweighed, to my priorities, because without the no-brainer choice of 9999 Thievery for 8 MP, you're now thinking about tradeoffs instead of having no real incentive except hit 'em again.
- Roulette was very underwhelming because you normally had a larger party than your foe: it was probably going to kill one of you for the cost of your MP. The above is still true, but the spell is now cheap so if Quina is in a 1v1 emergency (the situation appropriate to its function), it will be available and worthwhile.
More nuances if you want to check out the change log for a while.Fine. Give us the goods.
There are instructions there. BaconCatBug's Steam/PC version and Kivikaki's PSX German version have their own folders there.
Please feel free to offer feedback. Also, there was a lot of data-inputting between calculating, re-calculating, updating change log, updating Hades Workshop, re-calculating... I tried to double- and triple-check everything, but please show me my errors.
- 8/18/16-BaconCatBug from Qhimm here took on making the Steam/PC version and its accompanying instructions, which is now released.
- 3/11/15-Writing up what all text should be changed to translate the mod, I noticed Brave Suit still had its vanilla description. Fixed.
- 10/28 to 10/30/14-Turned out that a computer could (and did) use my Avenger change to manipulate spare remainders of fractions to max Spirit faster and then push Strength even higher than Amarant's previous max stat setups suggested. I had not anticipated this possibility. We have adjusted to this. See post #10 if you have a previous version and are concerned about Amarant's Strength.
- 10/2/14-Fixed Hot & Cold's erroneous advertising exchange of Phoenix Downs rather than Phoenix Pinions (which it gives).
- 9/18 to 9/24/14-Ranted continually on GameFAQs about work on a second version until this became so tiresome that magical trolls appeared in the world and produced the work on my computer to shut me up.
- 7/12/14-simply uploaded new patches since Hades Workshop can now do the tooltip text for my changes like the game does, e.g., Elem Atk: Wind. If there were anyone using this mod, they could use this patch on some clean ISOs and keep playing the same saves no problem.
- 7/17/14-on the GameFAQs message board, aladore384 (crediting a French user called spdf) observed that no Physical Attacks have elements and further that Thunder Slash didn't do Thunder damage as a Physical Attack. So I changed it to a Magic Weapon attack: it does Thunder damage now for certain. A Magic Weapon attack is like Cherry Blossom and Climhazzard, opposing MDef instead of Def.
- 7/18/14-added thanks section.