Author Topic: [FF7PC-98/Steam] New Threat Mod (v1.5)  (Read 1866657 times)

Loseless

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Re: [FF7PC-98/Steam] New Threat Mod (v1.2)
« Reply #375 on: 2014-10-09 10:54:10 »
I haven't tried this version yet (and god knows how depressing that is for me), but you can try to poison them and play turtle. Poison+All, wait until the dog thing dies and then go offence with Bio, although limit breaks could easily do him. Sadness can also help.

Cozzer

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Re: [FF7PC-98/Steam] New Threat Mod (v1.2)
« Reply #376 on: 2014-10-09 16:17:00 »
I did use poison, but just turtling wouldn't work because the panther uses White Wind once in a while.
Anyway, after switching Cloud to the back row I was able to manage a good enough offense and kill it without having to use Sadness too.

Now I just defeated the flying boss on the beach at Junon. For now my strategy mostly works, and the battles are just difficult enough.
Physical attacks are basically useless against bosses, though, so I may switch out Barret for a better magic user and demote Tifa to full-time healing+support.

Really enjoying the mod, I'll keep giving feedback as I go on!

Sega Chief

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Re: [FF7PC-98/Steam] New Threat Mod (v1.2)
« Reply #377 on: 2014-10-09 17:09:19 »
One thing I might not have counted on is the loss of the Power Wrist as a guaranteed drop; however, you could give Elemental + [Spell] in your weapon a go; it'll give it an Element which can double the attack power of physical hits. There's also a weapon on the Cargo Ship, Wind Slash, that has an innate Wind element attached to it; very handy for killing those thunder birds on Mt. Corel.

I haven't written up the manual yet, but I've went with a consistent element system for this mod which runs as:
-) Big/Heavy enemy: Weak to Earth, Immune or resistant to Wind + Gravity (lot of bosses fall into this)
-) Flying enemy: Immune to Earth, but takes 2x damage from Wind and Gravity (large flying enemies tend to be resistant to Gravity though)
-) Bug/Insect/Beast/Plant: General enemies tend to be weak to Fire and Ice. Kalm Fangs, Capparwires, and Search Crowns are an example.
-) Mechanical: Bolt and Water, of course, but Poison does nothing.
-) Human: Weak to Poison; is maybe a little TOO effective during boss fights with Turks, etc.

The other two factors that can override elemental affinities is the location of a monster or if it has attacks linked to a certain element. If an element they use is something they'd normally be weak to, then it overrides it (like that Thundergunner absorbing Bolt). But sometimes it means they'll be weak to other things, like the fire-based Rubicante GT being weak to Ice on top of the usual mechanical weaknesses. As far as area goes, best example is the Great Glacier; most of the enemies there will resist or absorb Ice but be weak to Fire. The Crater has one too, though less obvious; most enemies down there are weak to Holy but strong against Hidden.

Idea behind it is that a player can guess what an enemy is weak to or plan ahead if they know what kind of enemies to expect in each area of the game.

Loseless

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Re: [FF7PC-98/Steam] New Threat Mod (v1.2)
« Reply #378 on: 2014-10-09 17:15:03 »
The problem with the poison weakness was always that enemies, besides getting double damaged, also get poisoned. I might be off here, but I think enemies that can't be poisoned are also immune to poison damage. Thus fights against the Turks tend to be easy thanks to them getting sick with anthrax or something.

Sega Chief

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Re: [FF7PC-98/Steam] New Threat Mod (v1.2)
« Reply #379 on: 2014-10-09 17:17:50 »
That's exactly right; the early fights with Turks still suffer the same problem, but I gave Reno an attack called 'Turk Poisona' which restores HP and heals the Poison status. He also does something...unusual in the Gelnika fight so we'll see how that goes down  :evil:

Tenko Kuugen

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Re: [FF7PC-98/Steam] New Threat Mod (v1.2)
« Reply #380 on: 2014-10-09 20:12:34 »
The problem with the poison weakness was always that enemies, besides getting double damaged, also get poisoned. I might be off here, but I think enemies that can't be poisoned are also immune to poison damage. Thus fights against the Turks tend to be easy thanks to them getting sick with anthrax or something.

I actually changed this in my mod with NFITC1's help. I'll look up where he explained it to me and hand the changes to Sega.
It unhinges the poison status from the poison element. the poison status damage is non-element then and the poison element immunity does not also grant poison status immunity.

Sega Chief

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Re: [FF7PC-98/Steam] New Threat Mod (v1.2)
« Reply #381 on: 2014-10-09 21:39:52 »
That could be handy; Poison is always tricky to use on advanced attacks because status immunity means the entire attack fails. And I've been wanting to get into .exe editing; any chance of some pointers about changing Materia equip effects too? I was messing around with the default ones but the options were too limited.

Tenko Kuugen

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Re: [FF7PC-98/Steam] New Threat Mod (v1.2)
« Reply #382 on: 2014-10-10 11:10:47 »
I don't keep my strawberries documented(yes, I now, too, know what an idiotic thing that is to do) so that's gonna be a real hassle.

Materia strawberries
http://forums.qhimm.com/index.php?topic=13647.0

The actual "attack" that poison inflicts is hard-coded in the exe that just sets the element and power. The element is set as a word and located at 0x5C9FCB (0x1C93CB). It's traditionally set to 0010h. Set that to any element mask you want. 0000h would be non-elemental.

I've been very distracted with lots of IRL stuff, but I've given this another look-over and believe I've found the location of the cause. I'll give a little detail:

First of all, remember this address for me: 0x43374D. This is the start of the cause of it all.

In a nutshell, if a target nullifies the poison element then they are granted poison status immunity. Makes sense, right? Why needlessly inflict a status that will do a 0 damage attack.
However, if they're immune to the poison status they instantly get granted poison element immunity. That sort of makes sense. If they can't be poisoned then they shouldn't be vulnerable to the element that should cause it. This would make attacks like Bio do no damage to a victim that is immune to the status. I see the logic, but only in a deeply-thought out way.

I think that's right. The asm is getting a little confusing and I'm making one or two assumptions. Either way, make this change:
Code: [Select]
0x433765 (0x032B65)  74 -> EB
and tell me if that satisfies your need. Fastest way I can think is the Custom Sweepers or Devil Rides outside Midgar, but it's up to you.

Sega Chief

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Re: [FF7PC-98/Steam] New Threat Mod (v1.2)
« Reply #383 on: 2014-10-10 14:38:26 »
Cheers for the info, I got my first hex edit done- well, I changed a 74 to an EB but it's a start.

Edit: I did the Materia things too! Took me a bit to figure out that the negative values were counting backwards from 0 into FF and that it's every other number, etc. but I got there. Tested it out too, now I can give Materia a bit more of a kick to make 'em more dimensional.
« Last Edit: 2014-10-10 15:18:41 by Sega Chief »

Nikkolas

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Re: [FF7PC-98/Steam] New Threat Mod (v1.2)
« Reply #384 on: 2014-10-11 21:29:47 »
I have a quick question. So I tried to see if I could get Bootleg running with this using just grahic and audio mods and the like. No luck there apart from menus being different and audio and stuff.

Anyway, I am just wondering if something weird happened with the NT mod as a result? Tifa and Barret and Aerith are way stronger than Cloud, their initial equipment is ridiculously strong and I think even has Triple Materia Growth. Well, Barret's and Tifa's did.

I know nothing about modding and maybe this is impossible to be an accident. I figured at first maybe it was just an intentional facet of the mod to help make me stronger and prepare for the challenges ahead. TheN Barret killed Air Buster with one Limit break... That made me think something was amiss.

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Re: [FF7PC-98/Steam] New Threat Mod (v1.2)
« Reply #385 on: 2014-10-11 22:30:40 »
Did you start a new game with the mod, or load an existing savegame? You need to always start a new game with the mod, or things like that can happen.

Sega Chief

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Re: [FF7PC-98/Steam] New Threat Mod (v1.2)
« Reply #386 on: 2014-10-12 00:16:09 »
Yeah, that's basically the problem. There's not a lot of weapons to work with for certain characters that can't be bought from shops (especially for Aeris) so I had the idea of converting their starting weapon to a triple AP one instead (Gatling, Leather Knuckle, and the Guard Stick are almost a tier below the Buster Sword so they're like 'wasted' weapons in a sense, but more crucially they're not available in shops).

When hitting New Game, the kernel is read for Initial character data (starting weapons, Materia, etc.) By loading a save file created on an unmodded version of the game, this information has already been set so you have the original starting weapons which are now much stronger than before. However, you'll also miss out on the new Materia that characters have; Aeris joins with Barrier, Heal, and Revive for instance. I'd recommend always starting from a New Game when trying out a gameplay mod (even though we've all seen the intro a million times; I had a skip for it originally, but it crashed the Steam version for some reason).

Edit: Applying graphical mods has to be done with a bit of care in this mod. While the field models can be replaced with no issues (although a Young Cid and a red-haired guy may pop up in certain places because they were replaced with different models), if the extra battle models are lost due to an overwrite then the mod will crash at some point when it tries to load a new enemy that doesn't exist anymore. If it's possible, you could try applying the NT Mod first and then applying the Bootleg graphical patches afterwards; my installer is very 'robust' in that it just flat-out overwrites the files rather than just the ones it changes.
« Last Edit: 2014-10-12 00:20:58 by Sega Chief »

Nikkolas

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Re: [FF7PC-98/Steam] New Threat Mod (v1.2)
« Reply #387 on: 2014-10-12 01:20:04 »
Yeah I started a New Game. Air Buster was A LOT harder this time around and kicked my ass several times. Fortunately, Cloud saved me the fourth attempt because his Braver did some ridiculous amounts of damage. Like 500 i think it was.
I am glad I started it over though. It's not only harder and thus more interesting, it has all the new Materia you mentioned. I like that. :)

I'm not too fussed about the Bootleg Field Models and stuff though. NT has new gameplay and stuff so that's enough "newness" for me. I'll mess about with making everything prettier in my next playthrough after I hopefully beat NT. God knows if I'll be able to but I'll try. I'm hardly an expert at FFVII - I just find the plain old game boring and wanted unique tweaks to it to make playing it over again a fresh experience. NT offers that freshness and seems like a lot of fun. I just hope I'm up to the challenge.

Sega Chief

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Re: [FF7PC-98/Steam] New Threat Mod (v1.2)
« Reply #388 on: 2014-10-12 01:29:23 »
Well, thanks for giving the mod a shot. The three keys to success are:
-) Wait ATB + Barriers are always a good thing to have in boss fights.
-) A nice stock of status-healing items (some now heal two statuses; Echo Drops cover Silence and Darkness while Maiden's Grace heal Confusion and Berserk).
-) Saving often! Got a fair few new encounters in there, but there's new save points around the place too.

If you need ideas for strats against a tough boss, there's some playthroughs on YT that could do the trick otherwise you can ask me (either through comment or PM) and I'll give you some detailed info. Hope you enjoy it, bud!

Tenko Kuugen

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Re: [FF7PC-98/Steam] New Threat Mod (v1.2)
« Reply #389 on: 2014-10-12 09:04:16 »
You should have modified the shops, Sega :)

Sega Chief

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Re: [FF7PC-98/Steam] New Threat Mod (v1.2)
« Reply #390 on: 2014-10-12 12:49:06 »
That would have made things simpler, true. At the end, with some major shuffling, I managed to get most characters a triple AP weapon and three 'ult' weapons (Mag, Vit/Spr, and Dex/Lck) with the Disc 2 Costa/Junon weapons squeezed into the bracket between Icicle and Mideel. Besides someone starting from a non-mod save file the equipment tiers should be intact as they are.

I've got a custom .exe in the works though; I went trawling through the Scripting/Reverse-Engineering threads for any post made by NFITC1 and Bosola handy info I could edit the .exe with. So far, I've got:

-) Changes to Materia equip effects for more strategy in set-up and a nerf to how much mastered Materia sells for
-) Adjustments for certain limit breaks to make them stronger (Breath of the Earth, Cosmo Memory, and All Creation for starters)
-) The long range flag for enemy attacks (well, the short range flag) so certain enemy physical attacks ignore target's row
-) Small tweaks to buying/selling prices and a new secret shop

I'll maybe go hunting again at some point, in the trouble-shooting thread.

Nikkolas

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Re: [FF7PC-98/Steam] New Threat Mod (v1.2)
« Reply #391 on: 2014-10-12 13:43:00 »
I'm not exactly looking for help but just figured I'd post my progress and maybe at the end see if you or anyone else have any pointers. If that's okay?

I realize this is largely my own fault but that boss that you fight at the end of the Motorcycle game and before you leave Midgar was a nightmare. I had used up all my Potions in the Shinra building on various dumb things so Aerith with my single Restore was my only source of Healing. I knew i should have bought another Restore while in the Slums but...I'm dumb. Anyway, that boss fight had me praising the Save Anywhere function because otherwise I'd be screwed. I died at least three or four times to it the first round and then I beat him. Only then the game froze when I tried to enter the World Map. So guess who had to do the fight all over again. I died another three or four times before winning again. This time the World Map loaded and I'm at Kalm but I'm too tired to bother with Cloud's Flashback right now.

That boss fight has me expend my precious Hi Potions though, I'm down to 2 or 3. And I'm completely out of Ethers since Magic seems to be the only way to do good damage.

I restocked on Potions in Kalm and got Sense and a ton more Dirty Bombs. I love those things. I'm not sure if they do a whole lot but it's free damage against some bosses so far. I'm not complaining.  Don't think I need a Poison or Steal Materia though because Yuffie will still be joining my party soon, correct? So I'll have 2 Steals then and that's more than enough.

Gil is a precious, precious commodity in this game. I am a natural hoarder and always make sure I have a nice chunk of Gil left over. I never break myself when shopping in JRPGs. This is true for normal games let alone difficulty mods. I only dared to buy a couple more Phoenix Downs, 1 more Tent and a new weapon for Aerith. I have about 4,000 Gil left but I don't feel it's wise to let it go any lower given the scarcity of Gil so far and the fact I'll want to buy more stuff once I reach Junon.

Anyway, I'm really enjoying myself. I know it's probably foolish of me to think so but I feel, now I'm "free" things might become a bit more....straightforward? I dunno. Like I can start to grind. Not Level grinding or anything (unless that's necessary?) but just grinding for Gil and Items.
« Last Edit: 2014-10-12 13:46:48 by Nikkolas »

Sega Chief

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Re: [FF7PC-98/Steam] New Threat Mod (v1.2)
« Reply #392 on: 2014-10-12 14:51:16 »
You're not alone with the Motorball thing; I have this curse where any boss that appears at the end of a lengthy segment (Jenova LIFE being the other one) hits a difficulty spike that I didn't want. What I should do is review how that segment works, but I'm not sure what would be an appropriate replacement. Motorball has to be fought at the end of the motorbike game and it's kind of the climax to the Midgar Escape, so...

There is a shop available when Aeris reaches the first floor, up the staircase on the second floor (as well as the new shop on the floor where the Gunners are fought) but as random encounters are disabled at that point the player might not be able to stock up on Potions/Phens if they have no money left (seems the Poverty Mod is living up to it's unofficial nickname :l). I'm wondering what I can do about the Ether thing though; I need to get players to make use of physical hits a little more to ease the strain on MP, probably.

A good alternative to magic is [Element]+Elemental materia in the weapon and a stack of cheap Grenades; both together can hit for a nice bit of damage when Limits pile onto it. Yuffie is joining soon with the Time Materia and a Slow-Haste advantage over a boss can greatly boost your damage output, especially if you grab some Carbon Bangles/Shinra Betas to up your Dex stat. That can be good for phys-set-ups in the early game. In Junon, I'd recommend checking out the shop there; he sells Echo Drops now that'll be useful for the boss (otherwise, Capparwires in the nearby forests/beaches carry them).

Don't worry about fighting a lot; there's 'hard caps' in the levels that are difficult to get through on random encounters alone. Bosses cut into these caps quite well and so far it seems to have performed the miracle of making grindy and not-so-grindy players stick to a similar level. It should hopefully not be necessary to grind at all until you reach the Crater but try not to rush either.

Tenko Kuugen

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Re: [FF7PC-98/Steam] New Threat Mod (v1.2)
« Reply #393 on: 2014-10-12 15:50:59 »
I'll maybe go hunting again at some point, in the trouble-shooting thread.

It's easier to look through the gameplay forum and for threads I made
There's a bunch of other stuff you can use.

Nikkolas

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Re: [FF7PC-98/Steam] New Threat Mod (v1.2)
« Reply #394 on: 2014-10-13 00:27:58 »
You're not alone with the Motorball thing; I have this curse where any boss that appears at the end of a lengthy segment (Jenova LIFE being the other one) hits a difficulty spike that I didn't want. What I should do is review how that segment works, but I'm not sure what would be an appropriate replacement. Motorball has to be fought at the end of the motorbike game and it's kind of the climax to the Midgar Escape, so...

There is a shop available when Aeris reaches the first floor, up the staircase on the second floor (as well as the new shop on the floor where the Gunners are fought) but as random encounters are disabled at that point the player might not be able to stock up on Potions/Phens if they have no money left (seems the Poverty Mod is living up to it's unofficial nickname :l). I'm wondering what I can do about the Ether thing though; I need to get players to make use of physical hits a little more to ease the strain on MP, probably.

A good alternative to magic is [Element]+Elemental materia in the weapon and a stack of cheap Grenades; both together can hit for a nice bit of damage when Limits pile onto it. Yuffie is joining soon with the Time Materia and a Slow-Haste advantage over a boss can greatly boost your damage output, especially if you grab some Carbon Bangles/Shinra Betas to up your Dex stat. That can be good for phys-set-ups in the early game. In Junon, I'd recommend checking out the shop there; he sells Echo Drops now that'll be useful for the boss (otherwise, Capparwires in the nearby forests/beaches carry them).

Don't worry about fighting a lot; there's 'hard caps' in the levels that are difficult to get through on random encounters alone. Bosses cut into these caps quite well and so far it seems to have performed the miracle of making grindy and not-so-grindy players stick to a similar level. It should hopefully not be necessary to grind at all until you reach the Crater but try not to rush either.

Thank you for your advice. I just got done defeating Jenova-VECTOR after losing an ungodly number of times.  I ended up using all 30 of my Potions and even then it was a really close thing. With her down to less than 1K HP she used this move called...Electrosurge maybe? Whatever it is, she ALWAYS used it twice in a row. Cloud dead, Yuffie dead, Aerith barely alive, I somehow managed to revive Cloud and Yuffie and scrape out a win.  I have no Ethers, I used up this Ghost Hand I stole earlier as well as a Turbo Ether I stole from..Rude I think. Or Elena. One of them.

In short, I'm right screwed at the moment in terms of MP restoring items.  I also broke myself restocking on Potions and Phoenix Downs so I'm in a bad way. I suppose I'll need to start buying Hi potions soon but right now 300 HP is definitely enough to keep us alive.

I did take your advice though. Once i realized she was weak to Earth, I had Cloud as my main damage dealer with Earth-Elemental doing 200 damage a swing.

Also question - does every boss have a couple items to steal? I notice this when I die several times and repeat the boss. Like, Motorball had a Platinum Bangle and some other stuff. Jenova VECTOR I think had a Fire Ring but my successful attempt ended up with a Safety Bit.

One more question - would you recommend Sadness as a way to deal with damage? Or if I'm depending too much on that it means I'm doing something wrong? I've been avoiding using it for precisely that reason.

EDIT:

Looking at a video of another person fighting Jenova VECTOR, although they had a completely different party than I did (Tifa and Barret vs. my Yuffie and Aerith) they also seemed to get more hits in, even without Haste. Perhaps I need to prioritize Dex? I figured Defense was the most important thing so I didn't bother with getting any Shinra Betas... I'm dumb. I still have the thing Yuffie joined up with though but she's only 1/3. The other two will still be too slow it seems.

I also bought another Restore Materia but maybe I should have used my money on some nw attack materia, like another Ice or Fire or whatever. I'm just a very defensive, cautious player and I should be more offensive.
« Last Edit: 2014-10-13 00:52:03 by Nikkolas »

Sega Chief

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Re: [FF7PC-98/Steam] New Threat Mod (v1.2)
« Reply #395 on: 2014-10-13 01:13:34 »
There should be enemies that carry Ethers, here's a list of some in that area:

Corel - Mt. Corel - Corel Prison
-) Grangalan: Drop (rare)
-) Quarry Quail: Drop (V. Rare or Morph)
-) Search Crown: Drop (V.Rare or Morph)
-) Bloatfloat: Drop (V.Rare or Morph)
-) Bullmotor: Drop (V.Rare or Morph)

It's maybe too much to expect enough to drop, but you could try setting up in North Corel's Inn and using your Gravity Materia to soften up groups of Search Crowns and then picking them off with Morph; tricky work, but it'll get you a few, plus whatever happens to drop naturally.

Bosses up to about Gi Nattak had a sort of roulette on equipment drops; it was to help make people's playthroughs a little bit different and add some spice to it. There were some quite rare things like a Fire Armlet and even a Curse Ring to get from some of them. Curious thing is, they don't break the game too much at that level.

What I'll say is that there's no wrong way to play the game. Use what you have to, Sadness does have it's drawback of curbing Limit Breaks and they're generally harder to fill in this mod as it is so it'll balance out in that sense.

The VECTOR fight you saw was from someone who played through 1.1 of the mod, so they had an idea of what to expect. The Dexterity stat is often overlooked like Vitality, Spirit, and Luck but it's one of the best stats if you can boost it high enough. VECTOR also has BIRTH's original AI structure, so after it uses what was originally Stop (VECTOR uses Transducer instead, I think) there's a big 'pause' where the boss skips through turns until it reaches it's three waves of attacks. That's the window the LPer took advantage of to land a flurry of attacks using a high Dex stat before VECTOR started up. If they'd used Haste and Slow as well then that gap would have been huge.

I'd save money for items and equipment, I think. You'll want to work on replenishing your item stores so you have a safety net going forward into the next boss fights.

Nikkolas

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Re: [FF7PC-98/Steam] New Threat Mod (v1.2)
« Reply #396 on: 2014-10-13 03:53:09 »
I'm in Corel Prison right now. Where do I get the Morph materia in this?

But even without it, Corel was a huge help. I spent a lot of time grinding for Gil there and got a nice new supply of Potions and Phoenix Downs Also got everyone decked out with Carbon Bangles too.

I also caught Aerith up on levels. She died in both the Motorball and Bottomswell boss fights but now she's Level 21 just like everyone else. I finally feel like I have things under control again.

Thank you for your prompt replies and advice. I think I will do asyou suggest and mainly just buy Items and Equipment unless a Materia looks really handy.

Sega Chief

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Re: [FF7PC-98/Steam] New Threat Mod (v1.2)
« Reply #397 on: 2014-10-13 04:01:52 »
Good to hear you've got a handle on things again. There's a not so well known item shop in the Corel Prison if you need to re-stock, it's in the ramshackle house in the bottom right of the main area (down from where you go to find Barret the first time).

But the Morph Materia should be in your inventory by now; it was in the garden beside Aeris' House, replacing the Cover Materia that's usually there...that makes me worry about the flevel in your game. Quick question; is there a save point in the junkyard screen where the Deathclaws and Bullmotors appear?

Nikkolas

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Re: [FF7PC-98/Steam] New Threat Mod (v1.2)
« Reply #398 on: 2014-10-13 05:26:44 »
Do you mean where the optional miniboss is right before the screen with Dyne?  Yeah there was a Save point there.

I think i just missed Morph because I'm a dumbass. I remember searching the garden but I didn't notice it. Well then I am probably screwed.  The earliest you can get back into Midgar is middle of Disc 2.  I just hope the game isn't impossible without it....

I will miss all those Ethers...

EDIT:

Holy...! There' sa shop in Cosmo Canyon that sells Ethers! And not a bad price at only 1500 I think. I'm not going Nanaki's subplot/Cage of the Gi tonight but this is so good to know. Once that's all done with I can get some moneys and stock up on Ethers. Probably at least 10-15 of them. I have 3 right now. Luckily I have had so much MP of late I haven't needed Ethers nearly as much.

EDIT 2:

Okay, I lied, I went and did most of the GI Cave but now I'm stuck on Gi Nattak. I cannot for the life of me figure out the solution to this puzzle since it has to be a puzzle boss, right? The little things heal him for about 5K with their Demi3 and obviously there is no way I can deal with that kind of recovery.  So there has to be a trick to beating him that I'm just not seeing.

EDIT 3:

So was the answer "just outlast them"? Because that's what I ended up doing. Once they expended all their MP they couldn't do crap anymore and then it was a relatively simple matter of killing the main boss with plain old physical attacks.
« Last Edit: 2014-10-13 11:25:14 by Nikkolas »

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Re: [FF7PC-98/Steam] New Threat Mod (v1.2)
« Reply #399 on: 2014-10-13 10:32:20 »
Nikkolas, I'm finding it strange that you're having such difficulties with Ethers. I haven't played this version yet, but I beta tested most of the principles applied here and maybe at fault for the lack of money and ethers :P

What I thought of was that, since there are 9 party characters, players should have to use them all. I tested the game with MP values as high or maybe higher than those used here and never used Ethers outside of boss fights. When a character ran out of MP I'd just use another instead. Besides, since you now can change party everywhere, this is pretty much standard. It goes against the habits of old players, but that's what came out of our discussions regarding the balance and adding new layers of difficulty, like money, MP, items and such. Plus, keeps the game interesting, since most character will end up receiving attention and a type of roles were kind of introduced. In some fights a magic oriented party might be more useful. Therefore, using Barret and Cid would be a crappy idea. Aeris, Red and Vincent would be the best choices. Or maybe speed is more relevant. It depends. And the range of possibilities and strategies that are possible because of the changes add a lot to the gameplay and replay value of the mod.

My advice here is: learn first to unlearn what you know about the original FF7. Then all will be easier. Players tend to have constant approaches to the game, so mods always make things interesting.

PS: try to kill the flames first. They'll ran out of MP eventually, I assume. Keep on the defense until then.