Final Fantasy VIII mini FAQ
- The player don’t need to level up characters to rise attributes. It only needs to teach skills to GFs (by earning AP from monsters) and junction magic to rise character attributes. The amount of attributes you get with just leveling is marginal. Bosses don’t give character experience, only AP for GFs.
- The party is composed of 3 characters, you can switch them from your character roster. Two characters join the party just temporary (which opens up some powergaming paths).
- Enemies level up with the party average level and they get huge bonus to attributes. This is interesting because you can (and are supposed to) avoid leveling up in order to keep enemy level lower. The more you level up, the stronger the enemies get, as contrary to usual JRPGs. This is one of the core mechanics many players still don’t know how to exploit, as many believe that you are only supposed to fight bosses, which is wrong: you should be fighting regular enemies but not the regular way. Read more here.
- Weapons are crafted and mostly aren’t too important to deal damage. Also, there are no armor or accessories. Junction magic is the way to go.
- Enemy drop and stolen objects depend on enemy level. That’s not a problem as you can Lvl UP and Lvl DOWN most enemies (by using a middle game GF command). Objects are important as everything is learnt from them.
- Also, there is (almost) no need to level up summons. You need to earn regular exp to level up GFs, so you need to level a character to level up it’s linked GFs, which again is not worth it. GF summoning take time and there are better ways to deal with enemies.
- There are no jobs either. Every character has a special limit skill but you can give roles (healer, physic DPS, …), as you see fit, just for practical reasons. The most important is the Quistis’ blue magic.
- The party can also earn non-combat skills from GFs (which are very useful to get items and magic by refining stuff).
- You can extract magic from enemies and from extraction points on levels and world map. You can also refine it by using party non-combat skills, so you really don’t need to extract it all time. If you play smart, you’re going to refine most of it.
- The GFs can also give you bonus-attribute level up skills. When learned and linked on combat, leveling up is actually worth as you get really stronger than you enemy. But that comes at late game.
Random numbers could be a minor issue in FF8 as the odds were unfavorable most of the time (too much outcomes for the same dice). Some things were unlikely to happen. The good thing is that you can manipulate RNG to your favor.
I’ll explain it. Think about it like a fixed score, with 1 on 1 increments, instead of a dice.
- You can predict all those random event outcomes from the moment you hard reset and load your game. The reason is that you start with a zero as score, that it has fixed outcomes for every possible event.
- Some actions, like time passing in some areas or touching a extraction point, can increase the score. So you must run in some places and e.g. touch a extraction point or ask to play cards to increase the score a known amount and change the outcome in a predictable manner.
- When you soft reset, the score is kept. You can reload the game, slightly increase again the score and get a new outcome. There is a fixed number of outcomes for every event, like in a dice, so you could just try them all.
- You also can rely on other players and just get the exact score value that worked for someone else for a concrete event. Just repeat the exact actions after a hard reset and you’ll get the desired outcome.
There are some few things you can do to use the no-level-up game mechanic to your advantage and powerlevel your characters.
Know you enemy
Firstly, the most important thing is to know what are you fighting against. Bosses never give you exp. Regular enemies usually give experience if you just kill them. But there are exceptions, where a regular enemy is a boss (e.g. first Ruby Dragon battles) and won’t give exp. Even there are few regular enemy fixed battles which won’t give exp either. Other fixed battles will. So just save as often as you can and reload if you mess up.
Know your party
It’s important to know that Laguna’s party levels are linked to Squall’s party, so avoid all exp gains when using Laguna!
The most important skill to learn on early game is the Card command. It’s actually the first skill you should learn for Quetzalcoatl, don’t waste time with other stuff.
It allows the party to safely kill normal monsters, to earn AP and items from them, without earning experience at all. This means you don’t need to limit yourself to only kill bosses!
The skill converts enemies into a card. This indirectly helps a lot with Triple Triad because you need to farm less cards for refining them into items/spells. It also helps directly as you can get randomly rare cards (boss level), it’s useful early.
Keep in mind that carding don’t work with some enemies (like soldiers or robots). It also doesn’t work with bosses but those won’t give exp anyways.
Diablo most important skill you must learn is encounters-none, as it will allow you to choose when you want to battle with random enemies and will help you to avoid random battles with enemies that can’t be carded.
Quistis has various spells useful for powerleveling:
- Micro missiles: very useful to lower enemies health without risk of killing them, because as demi spell, always reduces health to a % of actual value.
- Degenerator: useful to petrify characters so they don’t earn experience when combat ends, but still earn AP.
And, of course, you can rely to using regular magic:
- Demi spell (or Diablo summon): to reduce enemy health.
- Break spell: to petrify enemies.
Lastly, you could join break spell into status attack but that won’t work fine as you’re going to get regular experience of dealt physical damage.
Level down enemies
In case you’re forced to fight and you don’t want exp from the battle, you can use Cactilio level-down command to reduce an enemy level to 1. The enemy will be not just easy to kill, but will also net little exp, 1 or 2 points. That should be easier to handle.
If you’re just interested in the low-level achievement, just kill Squall (and Laguna). 💀 This is also useful for some fixed battles where enc-none won’t work, the enemy can’t be carded, the enemy gives exp and you can’t escape.
You can earn levels with the other characters and still earn the achievement, only Squall must be kept at his initial level (8). Try to ensure he doesn’t get any exp at all: avoid using physical attacks with him as it will give a little bit exp too.
Still, don’t level up the party too much as you’re wasting levels. It’s just better to level up with bonus-attribute skill junctions. But if you just want to rush, a level here or there (for other characters) is fine.
Temporary level up a character
I already mentioned that there are 2 characters that temporary join the party. One is Seifer (I won’t spoil the other). When they are in the party, you can kill the other party members (e.g. Squall and Zell) and just level up with the temporary character. In the proper place you’re going to level up quickly. Those levels won’t affect the party when the temporary character abandons it and also it doesn’t affect to the achievement. By leveling him up:
- You get access to few higher level spells when monsters level up enough (remember their level depends on you party average).
- You can level up your GFs: that boosts them seriously and also unlocks few GF skills that require a minimum GF level (Ifrit, Siren, … has got such skills). You can level up most GFs to max level without affecting your party levels!
When you’re set
After you got your achievement or when you just are ready to gain levels, junction your stat-boosting skills and start gaining levels with one character. This time it will be worth as you’re going to increase the stats.