If you ever go on Free Play, it's not hard to spot some people hitting damage as low as 50~100 even when they're at higher levels. By the same token, you might run across the odd player who is about half your level and hits twice as much damage as you do. Why does this happen? Well, there's a fine line between not knowing what the hell you're doing, and being an experienced player while playing a funded character. If you fall in the category of "Decent experience/damage but want to improve", or "Have no idea what the hell you're doing," then this Guide is for you.
I'll start off with some pointers that should help pretty much everyone no matter what character you're playing...
1. The Life and Celeb Elements.
I personally cannot stress this enough. These two elements WILL skyrocket your damage up to 1.5x. However, each of them comes at a price . . . literally. The Celeb Element costs a bit of Meseta for each hit you land on your opponent, and the Life element has a Blood Price attached, which causes you to lose a bit (or a lot) of health per hit. The Celeb element increases the power of your weapon by 10% per element level. The Life Element always adds 50% to your damage, but a higher element level will lessen the Blood Price.
1.1 The Prices are expensive.
Unfortunately, yes. The amount of Meseta that Celeb requires and the amount of HP that Life leaves you with are often way too much earlier in the game, even moreso for life since it's % based. I personally wasn't able to afford Celeb until I made it to Super Hard, by which time the items that you get and sell to the vendor will net you more money than the amount you spent flailing your weapon. As for Life, even experienced players have trouble with it. You need to be really good at dodging for it to be worth it.
1.2 Life OR Celeb?
When it comes to this, I always always ALWAYS recommend using Celeb over Life in any instance possible. Meseta is easy to get, and if the element level on your weapon is 4 or higher, Celeb can match the power of the Life element anyway. The only instance where I would recommend Life is if you're feeling very ballsy with a low level (2-) customizable weapon with godlike stats, OR in another example, a weapon like the H44 Missouri where you have no choice what element is placed on it. Always use Celeb with...
1.3 Element Boost
The Element Boost is the Celeb Element's best friend. What the Element Boost does is it boosts the Weapon's Element level by 1. This means that if the Celeb Element level on your weapon is 4 or lower, then by equipping this Unit, you're increasing the Celeb Element's level by one and you are therefore adding 10% to your damage output; this is a lot more damage than a Divine/Power or a Divine/Mind would give you. You can also use it to lower the damage you do to yourself with Life.
2. Weapon and Elemental Resistances
Here's another reason why people are dealing too much damage or none at all. Having immediate power isn't good enough if you're using the wrong Weapon or casting the wrong Techniques. I'll explain below what is the "Right" weapon to use. I'll explain Techs when I get down to Forces.
2.1 What weapons to use and where?
Gurhacia Valley: Use a Melee Weapon(s) with decent paramaters in Native and Beast.
Ozette Wetlands: Use a Ranged Weapon(s) with decent paramaters in Native and Beast. Octo Diablo takes decent damage from Melee as well.
Rioh Sowfield: Use a Ranged Weapon with decent paramaters in Native and Beast. Melee weapons can be used here too, but they aren't as strong.
Oblivion City Paru: Use a Melee Weapon(s) with decent paramaters in Native, Beast, and Machine.
Makara Ruins: Use a Ranged Weapon with decent paramaters in Native and Beast.
Arca Plant: Use either Melee or Ranged weapons with a decent Machine stat. Ranged weapons will leave you helpless against Arkzeins though.
Dark Shrine: Use either Melee or Ranged weapons with a decent Dark stat. Like Arca, some enemies have a bit more ranged resistance.
This chart gives importance to both Hunters and Rangers equally. But don't worry if you are a Hunter and want to play in someplace like Makara; you can still equip a Universal Ranged weapon like the Rouge Pulse and do decent damage there, you'll just have more accuracy problems than a Ranger would. Same goes for Rangers; you can use a Luzparias in someplace like Paru, but they'll have more Damage problems than a Hunter would.
Though everyone probably knows this, the stats on the weapon (x/x/x/x/x) each play a huge part in increasing your damage output. However, as time goes on, these numbers cease to be bonuses and instead become a must-have on your weapons. A weapon with 40% Native is going to kill small Native enemies much faster than a weapon with 0% Native will, and hopefully will allow you to down your enemies in less hits.
3.1 Some weapons don't need THIS stat.
I'll explain this as good as I can. Melee and Ranged weapons can have a use for every stat. However, Ranged weapons don't work all too well at the Arca Plant and against some enemies in the Dark Shrine. Most of the enemies at the Arca Plant have the same Ranged resistance as they do Melee resistance, but Arkzeins have a heavy Ranged resistance which would cause you to have to change to a Melee weapon. Because of this, I'd still rather use a Melee weapon at Arca Plant. Some of the Dark Shrine enemies appear to have higher Ranged resistance, limiting the use for the Dark stat on a Gun.
Wands that use Magical Sign tend to work well at the Ranged resistant areas like Gurhacia and Paru, but for Arca and Shrine, I prefer to spam techs for more damage. Therefore, I'll say that a Wand has less use for the Dark stat.
3.2 Accuracy and Accuracy Adjustment.
While not that important to raise your numbers, in the long run it will raise your damage over time. I've rewritten this by request, but I still think it would be rather difficult to get my point across. There is something you should know: The Magic Accuracy number is apparently 520 after the Photon Art modifier (thanks Paromin). Anything lower and you'll start seeing plenty of misses. Most weapons, even at level 100 won't hit that 520 accuracy without the help of Accuracy Adjustment or mag stats. Most of us really want a max power mag, so the accuracy adjustment stat makes it so that we can hit our target accuracy without having to resort to using a Mag with a mix of power and hit. If you do end up having to use such a Mag, it's not the end of the world. Sure Mags are expensive, but once you've made a bunch, you can switch them up in the blink of an eye unlike materials.
4. Mags & Materials
This one here is mostly common sense as well, but I figured I'd write about it anyway. Mags directly influence your stats, as do Materials. Mags can help you out with your Power, Hit, or Mind (never use Guard on a mag), while Materials should help you with Power, Mind, or Evasion.
4.1 What should the stats on my Mag be?
Oh wait, you're serious? Okay, if you're a Force, stuff your mag full of Force weapons until it has 100 Mind. If you're a Human Ranger, stuff it full of Hunter weapons until it has 100 Power. And if you're a Hunter or a CAST ranger. . . well, it depends mostly. Have a 100 Power mag anyway, and for most areas, depending on your accuracy, what weapon you're using, and what Photon Art you're using, you should carry some mags with combonations of Power and Hit. I see most people say that you should aim for 500~600 accuracy after your Photon Art modifiers take place, and for the most part, those people are right. 550 is a good number to try and hit, but can sacrafice a lot of power unfortunately, in which case aim for 500 accuracy after the Photon Art accuracy modifier.
4.2 What kind of Materials should I run?
Another no-brainer, to be honest. Power materials and Mind materials directly benefit Shifta's power increase, so maxing out your Power or Mind might not be such a bad idea. However, you should never really run Hit materials for this purpose; HIT really is better off as a Mag stat, and the other materials have little to no use. Evade materials are a cool idea if you feel like sacraficing power for the ability to be a bit more careless, but I don't recommend this. Late game, you'll have all the Evasion you'll need.
Hunters, when equipped right, can dish out the highest damage in the game, even higher than a Force. The only drawback is that the Hunter needs to work harder than the Force to attain this godlike damage. Hunters have the most universal damage potential in this game, which sort of makes those poor Rangers seem underwhelming.
1. General Hunter Tips
You've got your weapon, you've got your 80~100 Power mats, and your mag is all set. Yes? Well, if you're a CAST, then yes, you're free to go have fun. If you're a Newman or Human hunter, there's still something you need to know. I can't even count how many times I've went on Free Play with a Human or Newman hunter and they did not take advantage of the Support Techniques they have access to; most notably, Shifta.
Shifta gives you a wonderful damage bonus, and it's even higher with all of those Power materials you should be running. If you're partying with a Force, let the Force use Shifta since theirs is stronger than yours. However, when you're partying with a group of CASTs, then it's only polite that you buff them with Shifta. It will raise their damage and therefore will lower the time it takes to kill enemies.
2. What Ranged Weapons can I use
All Hunters gain access to a certain number of Ranger weapons, just like how the Ranger gets access to some Hunter Weapons. The weapons you should be going for are the Handguns, the Rifles, and the Mechguns. Off the top of my head, all Hunters have access to the Rouge Pulse, the CAST Hunters have access to the Lavateinn, AND the Blackhawk AND the Frigiand (best Gunblade in the game). The newman Hunters have access to the Neidaryl, which is slightly more accurate than the Frigiand. Gunblades deal Melee damage with their regular attacks though, so be careful.
3. The better Hunter Photon Arts
Cross Rave: This one is, in my opinion, the best Saber Photon Art of the three available. My reasoning is that it has a very low charge time and a very wonderful 160% ATP modifier. It also hits 3 times, making it stronger than a 3 hit combo of heavy Attacks. The only problem with it is its low Range, requiring very careful precision to pull off. It is also heavily reliant on the Lock-on feature, so if your L Button doesn't work, tough luck.
Force Ride: This bad boy hits 5 times. This one is the favorite of many, but its accuracy mod is only 100%, which means if you have accuracy problems with regular attacks, then those problems will carry over to Force Ride as well. Also, since 5 hits take very long to excecute, you'll be left vulnerable for quite a bit of time should you miss. 5 hits with a Grand total of 725% damage is no joke though, and is still a good PA.
Over-End: The Photon Art to end all Photon Arts. You were probably tempted to try this when you first saw its modifier, and only then were you aware of its true power... and its unfortunate downfall. This PA has the longest charge time of them all, and missing with it sucks hardcore. But oh man when it hits, and when it has Life or Lv3 Celeb tagged onto the sword, the damage is beautiful. Compress PA is a must for this Photon Art, as without, you'll be wasting too much time for it to be useful.
Reverse Kill: Despite the modifiers, it is quite possibly the most favored Dagger Photon Art of the three. It has such an amazing Range... try it out in game.
Air Ride: Yo, so okay, apparently Air Ride looks really uber amazing on paper. At first it lost my attention when I saw the low modifiers, but apparently it has a good frontal range with a total of 5 hits. This can work as a wonderful close-ranged multiple target alternative to Reverse Kill. Try it out and see what you think.
Hopping Run: This is the "better" Spear Photon Art. Mostly because it is more practical, and not only because it is absolutely hillarious to use. the 360 degrees area and the 130% modifier make it the most useful.
Serpent Air: You inflict up to 5 hits close to you. It's pretty good, but you'll probably need some Accuracy Adjustment or a Hit mag to make it work in the field. This PA works extremely well against Humilias.
Bite Stamp: This is one of the best Photon Arts in the game, and is half the reason anyone even uses Claws. It has long range and an insane modifier, but again, you need a bit of Accuracy Adjustment and/or a Hit mag to make it work well in the field.
Linear Shake: This one is a favorite mostly because even though it is mobile, it is very easy to connect all 4 of your hits. The best of both worlds, and an amazing 160/160 modifier.
Bull Smash: If you thought Linear Shake was good, try this one out. It only has 2 hits, but it has a very quick charge time, is very minimally mobile, has a crazy range, and pretty much never misses. The argument of which is better, Linear Shake vs Bull Smash, will go on forever.
Cyclone Run: It's allright I guess. It has some uses at Humilias or crowds of small enemies, and it hits 5 times in a circle around you. Pretty fun, but I see myself missing a bit.
Million Rave: This one is probably the favorite Double Saber PA of the three. Still, the modifiers are... OK at best, and it is a very awkward PA to master. I still recommend with a weapon like this that you stick to using the main attacks and only using this Photon Art to chase things down.
Rangers got borked. Sad to say it, but they're very underwhelming characters. One of which, the RAcaseal, has only one thing going for her, and that is having the highest accuracy stat in the game. Other than that, everything she can do, the RAcast can do better. This is thanks to the Kepler Suit combos, which raise the RAcasts accuracy stat by 25 and therefore, higher than the RAcaseal therefore giving the RAcast the highest Accuracy stat. The RAmar and RAmarl has access to Jellen and Zalure, which are two amazing and overlooked support techniques. If it weren't for those techs, the Human Rangers would fall into obscurity very quickly.
1. General Ranger Tips
Rangers need to work a little harder if they want to attain damage that matches or (in some cases) exceeds that of a Force. The best Weapons, most notably the Rouge Pulse and the Lavateinn are used much better by the Hunters (seriously, what was SEGA thinking letting Hunters be able to equip the best Ranger Weapons?). However, since Rangers have higher base accuracy, they are much less reliant on Accuracy adjustment and mag accuracy and therefore have less pressure placed on them when deciding on mag builds or which weapons to use. CAST Hunters with a Lavateinn laugh uncontrolably at this though, since Mine Sneak has a 200% accuracy modifier, not only do they hit harder, but they never miss as well. But with things like the Rouge Pulse, Hunters miss with Flame Hit all the time. This means that you don't fall into obscurity just yet, since Flame Hit is much easier to use than Mine Sneak, and you miss much less often with it.
But I should stop rambling on about what Rangers can do that Hunters can't. CAST Rangers are big and bulky and can take hits. Human Rangers? Not so much. Hell, the FOmar has more HP than the Human Rangers. What is their saving Grace?
1.1 Jellen and Zalure
This part is less about increasing your damage, and more about what Jellen and Zalure do. Jellen lowers your opponent's accuracy and their attack power letting you take hits better, while Zalure lowers your opponent's defense (not enough to make a big difference) and it also lowers their Evasion. With Zalure in play, Rangers should miss much less often (I admit I haven't quite done my research yet on the Evasion part) and therefore raise their damage over time if they had accuracy problems before. If you didn't have accuracy problems, don't bother using Zalure.
2. What Hunter Weapons can I use?
Well, there are Sabers and Spears for the most part that Rangers can use. You can use a Saber with Force Ride and have less accuracy troubles than a Hunter, and you can use a Spear because Spears are awesome. You have access to the Luzparias, and the Grand Chariot as universal weapons. There's also the Eclipse Star, but good luck finding one with Life or Celeb. If you don't want to resort to having to use weapons that Hunters can use better, you can always use Gunblades as your Melee weapon. While Hunters get more damage with Gunblades, you get (oh boy I wonder) more accuracy! Too bad since Earth Bullet has a modifier of 150%, (oh crap here it comes) Hunters never miss with Earth Bullet and as a result of this and what I've written in this article, Hunters are the best users of pretty much all Hunter AND Ranger weapons in existence! Horray!
3. Why do Rangers suck?
Apparently, even Human Forces use the Crimson Vis better than the Human Rangers do (CAST Rangers are safe for the most part). The CAST Hunters have a higher ATP/ATA total when using a Blackhawk than the CAST Rangers do (never mind, they're not safe lol). Anyway, Rangers suck because of their poor stat distribution. The main difference between Hunters and Rangers in this game is that Hunters have more Power, and Rangers have more accuracy. Once the Hunters resolve their accuracy problems through mags or ACC ADJ, they significantly overpower the Rangers. Rangers can still achieve high damage using Life and Celeb, but it won't be as high unfortunately. You could try using Life element on a Crimson Vis for the long range, but again, Hunters can do that too.
If you still haven't made a Ranger but still want one, make a RAcast or a RAmar. All you need is the 4 slot Kepler Suit and you're good to go in the department of uniqueness. Have fun wielding all those weapons that no one else can, and good luck searching for good "Missouri" weapons. You'll need it.
3.1 What can a Ranger do that would make him unique?
If you happen upon a Riverman Missouri with the Life Element, then congrats, you've obtained not only a powerful weapon, but a playstyle that only a Ranger (a male Ranger) can achieve; that being extended Mech Gun range with the most powerful Mechgun in the game after the Kepler combo kicks in. I say Life works better because with the extended Range, you don't need to worry about being hit all too much unless you plan on spamming its Photon Art. Other things I can think of are the H44 Missouri, which also has extended Range, and the M&A41. Though again, good luck. I've been searching for such weapons for my RAcast all my life.
4. The better Ranger Photon Arts
Flame Hit: This PA makes Handguns actually useable. It deals 3 quick hits in a good range in front of you, and has a chance to burn enemies without having to use a Heat Trap. The Accuracy modifier is still only 100%, so it's likely you'll need a little extra.
Thriller Combo: This one has a different positive effect than Flame Hit. Thriller Combo also shoots 3 times, but only the last hit targets multiple enemies. Though the PSOW guide doesn't say so, the upside of Thriller Combo is that it has a chance to Stun the enemies rather than set them on fire. Another upside is that Thriller Combo as a 120% accuracy modifier whereas Flame Hit has only 100%. This is a safe alternative to Flame Hit for Hunters who often miss with it. The DPS isn't as good, but it works incredibly well against Rohjades and Rohcrystas as you can stun lock them and kill them before they start rolling (they might have too much HP online though).
Mine Sneak: It's only useable because of its modifiers, and damn are they ever good modifiers. 160/200 is amazing for the 3 hits is provides. The difference between this and Flame Hit is that Mine Sneak takes a bit of practice to master.
Earth Bullet: I recommend only turning to this one. Earth Bullet is one of the best Photon Arts in the game, right up there with Over End and Bite Stamp. 3 strong hits in front with a good range is just awesome both on paper and in game. Also, Gunblades also have a neat Triple Shot attack making it useable in both Melee and Ranged weapon areas. Like the regular attack of the Gunblade as well as the rest of the Gunblade Photon Arts, Earth Bullet also inflicts Melee damage.
Cool Style: Probably the better Mech Gun PA to use. It says on the Photon Arts page that it can potentially dish out 30 hits, but you'd be lucky to get half of them in. Even though the modifier is 80/80, 30 hits is a lot, and you'll likely be getting your PP's worth when you use it properly.
Acro-Step: While I've never actually used this one, it looks to be very useable on single targets. 85/100 modifier and 15 hits looks like it could devistate something like a Rohjade or a Hildegao, but I've also heard reports that you need to be right up in the enemies face to do anything. If that's the case, I would just recommend using the Mechguns for their amazing regular attacks.
Crush Bomb: Bazookas only suck because you can't make a 3 hit combo with them, so you're pretty much stuck to PA spamming. Anyway, Bazookas have such huge power to begin with, and with a 210% ATP modifier, the damage you can get from Crush Bomb is incredible. Still, it's just a number, and you'll probably get more Damage over time with Flame Hit or Mine Sneak. And for Crush Bomb, you need to be up in your enemy's face for it to work.
Wild Blow: It's not bad, but it's not great either. You get up in the face of your enemy again, then you LOCK-ON, then pound its face in with 4 powerful hits. You can hit up to 3 things at a time with this PA if your enemies happen to be bunched up, but again, there's always Flame Hit which has a better Range and ATP modifier to do that anyway.
Divine Ray: Laser Cannons suck, and if you actually use one, Divine Ray is the way to go. It only hits once, but the 250% modifier gives it the same purpose as Crush Bomb; deal one huge hit and stare in awe at the large number that appears on your screen.
Bio-Panic: is an alternative to Flame hit with a weaker 100% ATP modifier, but a better 180% Accuracy. In the end though, Rangers don't need this much accuracy (maybe in the lower levels they will) and Heat is much stronger than Poison.
The super amazing Support character in this game. A Force is a treat in most parties if the Force knows what they're doing. With access to every technique and their max levels... you know where I'm going with this. Forces are awesome. Lv11+ Shifta and Zalure let Hunters and Rangers hit like Trucks (assuming they're properly equipped as well). What's cool about Forces is that they can also dish out quite a bit of damage themselves just by nuking with their level 15 techs and crazy high MST. Just throwing techs around isn't enough. You need to know which techs are better to use in which areas, and which techs not to use. Also, I'll explain the bonuses that the Forces get, and how you can adjust your palette to use these bonuses to your advantage.
1. General Force Tips
So far, the way I've written this, I might as well have titled the thread "How to outdamage a Force online." However, if you're a Force and want to get the most out of you and your party members, you should be OK with that. It's your job to make the Hunters and Rangers stronger, and you can do so with Shifta and Zalure. But what about you? You probably already know this, but each Force gets their own bonuses to certain techniques, and can deal a hefty amount of hurt to certain enemies. For example, my FOmarl can inflict 500+ damage in the latter part of the Dark Shrine because the FOmarl gets a 30% Grants boost. Have you ever seen a Hunter or Ranger hit regular 500+ regularly? (I have, but that's besides the point).
1.1 Force Bonuses
So I'll try to make this short since there's already a chart listed on which Force gets what Bonus. A FOmar would want to get the most out of Foie, Zonde, and Barta. A FOmarl would want to get the most out of Grants. A FOnewm would want to get the most out of all techniques, and the FOnewearl would want to get the most out of Megid. For example, a FOmar might run Foie, Zonde, and Barta for perfect coverage at the Arca Plant, but a FOmarl or FOnewm might run only Zonde and Grants; Zonde hits mostly everything, and Grants hits Akorse and locks on to the Finjers Red and Green. I'm not about to write out a palette for every Force for every area, I'll leave that for you to test out. But I'll give you a universal idea below
1.2 What techniques to use and where.
Gurhacia Valley: Everything appears to be weak to Barta. You can also use Zonde for precision. (unsure about this one)
Ozette Wetlands: Everything is weak to Foie. You can use Zonde to hit the frogs easier.
Rioh Snowfield: Everything is damaged hard by Foie.
Paru: Perfect coverage is obtained with Foie and Zonde
Makara Ruins: Perfect coverage is obtained with Grants and Megid. The Rohjades are weaker to Barta, and both Batts can be hit with Zonde.
Arca Plant: Prefect Coverage can be obtained with Grants/Zonde, Foie/Zonde, Zonde/Megid
Dark Shrine: Megid for the first half, Grants for the second half.
2. Support Techniques
Support Techniques are half the reason why everyone wants you in their party (the other half being your damage). You get Shifta, Deband, Jellen, Zalure, a powerful Resta, long-range Anti, and to a lesser extent, Gimegid. In order of importance: Shifta, Resta, Zalure, Jellen, Anti, Deband, and Gimegid. I personally always have the first 4 in that sequence on my palette, with the other two reserved for offensive techniques depending on the area. If anyone asks me to use anything else, I will, but I believe those 4 are the most important. Shifta and Zalure makes everyone stronger, Jellen makes it so that the enemies have less accuracy and power, and Resta is Resta.
I've never used this often myself, or seen too many people use it for any other purpose besides gathering in enemies for Magical Sign. Basically, you can use this technique to draw in enemies that aren't too mobile and let your party members smash them with Over End or Earth Bullet or Flame Hit once they're all bunched up. The problem with this is that you need to find room on your palette for Megid in an area that doesn't call for it too often, and some overly mobile enemies ignore the vortex anyway. In my own personal experiences, it's just easier to run up to enemies and, one by one, give them all a beating. It's probably more useful in a 2 player party where one person vortexes the enemies and the other uses Bite Stamp or Flame Hit.
Anyone with successful Gimegid experiences should let me know and I'll edit your paragraph into this part of the OP.
3. Force Weapons
For tech spamming, we've been using Rods for the most part. But if we ever want to turn to Melee, then that's what Wands and Slicers are for. Just like Hunters and Rangers, these two weapons also need Celeb for them to work well and to outdamage techniques. In my experiences, Slicers are hopeless without a heavy Accuracy investment and the Life Element. Wands on the other hand are amazing. With level 5 Celeb and 15% Native, I was able to inflict 500 damage with a Heavy Attack on a Pobomma with an Alice Olivia. But in most cases, you'd be using Wands for Magical Sign, and Slicers for their regular attacks and Bright Sign. I'll explain the useable Photon Arts below and their practical uses.
4. The only three useable FOton Arts
Magical Sign: Without a doubt, the best Photon Art available to a Force. This Photon Art has amazing stat modifiers, an incredible Range, and Wands have the potential for their element to reach level 5. It sounds really amazing, but I was only really able to inflict heavy damage in Paru and Gurhacia; everywhere else it felt as though technique damage did more work. You can also use Gimegid to pull things into your range, but it seems as though the enemies walk into your range half the time anyway. Magical sign also comes with a Slow Effect, which helps you to predict enemy movements before you hit them again.
Rodeo Drive: It's useable, but it's still not as great as Magical Sign. You're left vulnerable for a bit longer. The difference is Rodeo Drive has 3 hits and Magical Sign has 2. Rodeo Drive doesn't get any extra benefits either.
Bright Sign: The only useable Slicer PA. Bright Sign executes 3 110% ATP hits and if you aren't using it on a boss, then it has a 15% chance to paralyze enemies per hit. Still, I've only ever used slicers at Dark Falz where the powerful ranged attacks worked better than technique spamming since Falz resists all of the elements.
I'm not good at writing conclusions, but I really hope that this has opened your eyes as to why you haven't been able to inflict damage as high as those other pros you see on Free Play once in a while. If you have any questions, send me a PM or leave a post here. Thanks for reading . Again, CELEB ELEMENT!