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Best AGL in the series

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Best AGL in the series

Postby DomingoRules! » Fri Feb 24 2017 1:05am

Having recently picked up a CD burner, I decided to finally give this game a go again after many years. Last time I played Shining Force 3 was probably over 10 years ago, when I reached the (seemingly) final boss, then abruptly quit out of disappointment that I wouldn't be able to move on to Scenario 2 afterwards.

Anyway, one thing I felt like posting about (despite it indubitably being old news around here) is the Agility stat, and how it seems much more reliable in this game than in other Shining Forces. In previous entries, while AGL did determine turn order, it seemed to be more of a rough estimate than anything else. SF3 however finally seems to get it right, and make it a much more concrete stat; to the point where if one enemy takes a turn, odds are every single copy of that enemy on the battlefield with act sequentially, save for the occasional interruption from one of your party members with equal AGL. Additionally, this also seems to prevent characters from getting two turns during a single round.

It's certainly a nice change of pace, and I imagine makes planning strategies much deeper and more reliable when it comes to trying to manage the higher difficulty settings.
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Re: Best AGL in the series

Postby MCRT » Sat Feb 25 2017 1:11pm

I also just stumbled across how reliable the AGL is in this games compared to the other ones and therefore have to agree on that.

But in consequence, it is very important (especially on higher difficulties) to make sure that all AGL levels are represented in the party, otherwise it could happen that the sequential turns by the enemys tear your characters apart without any chance for healing.

Another usefull application of this is something I call "pseudo-double turns".
You give a team member with low or medium AGL a weapon with high AGL bonus and (if required) a gale ring/swift boots + some exchange equipment without AGL bonus.
After an enemy with higher AGL you get your turn, equip the AGL bonus equipment and do you turn. In the next round your character will get his turn *before* the enemy, enabling you to take a second action before they can react.
This can be very usefull to get rid of enemys that are to strong to get one-shotted, for healing with items, in ruins to hunt the thief, for hit&run tactics and for flyers to avoid archer's.

In general, the 3 Shining force III scenarios are in my opinion the ones with most stratgical options of the camelot series anyway, especially the friendship system, too bad that soulmating is such a tedious issue.
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Re: Best AGL in the series

Postby DomingoRules! » Sun Feb 26 2017 9:06am

I feel like I have a decent enough range, at least playing on Normal, although seeing all those enemies going all at once did make it clear that it could be a problem if I wind up being swarmed. Unless the AI improves on higher difficulties as well though, I imagine it's manageable enough since they're not very aggressive, and lots of times it's easy to arrange it so you're not fighting too many all at once. I also have Sleep on Noon, who has solid AGL, and so if I need to I can lead in with that.

In fact, that's one of my favorite aspects of the consistent AGL stat. It makes status effect spells much more practical than in previous entries. Rather than just blindly deal damage, or hope for a status effect, you can make the decision based on turn order. Decide whether or not it's best to deal damage, or try inflicting something like sleep or silence depending on which one you can more effectively follow through on in the coming round.

Heck, just a few minutes ago while playing, I silenced a mage with Dispel because his turn would've come up before anybody else could possibly finish him off after a Blaze spell. Something I never would've done in any of the previous games, because doing damage always felt like a much more solid bet.
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Re: Best AGL in the series

Postby ZethaPonderer » Sun Feb 26 2017 9:32am

Hmm this is a really interesting topic about the agility stat. Let me just throw in my 2 cents on whether AGI has ever done anything good for me in my SF3 Scenario 1 playthrough and currently playing Scenario 2.

While I don't necessarily disagree on where you guys are coming from, I personally don't think it made THAT much of a crucial difference during my SF3 Scenario 1 playthrough. So, I always found the AGI stat very underwhelming. It would be a huge change and a breath of fresh air IMO if the AGI does more than simply raise the character's turn order faster e.g. Increase the likelihood of evading physical attacks and critical. Even in the original SF1 the characters had a hidden critical stat when using SF1 Editor that is, So why not combine that along with the AGI stat? That would've make AGI far more useful if you ask me.
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Re: Best AGL in the series

Postby MCRT » Sun Feb 26 2017 11:56am

@Domingorules: Normally it is no problem, but back then I was a notorious power-leveler and RNG-abuser, therefore my team members had forbiddenly high stats :blush:
In a regular battle it makes no difference, but in certain battles of the 3rd scenario you have battles where you are confronted with 3-4 member groups of the same enemy, and in this cases it can become an issue (when you were overconfident and split the force).

The AI starts to act different on higher difficulties, but as far as I could remember the in-depth analysis in the forum, this is based on the higher ATT stat, as things like having the chance to get a kill changes the decision making of the AI and therefore they will become more aggressive under certain circumstances.

Yeah, status ailments are finally usable in SF III, not only because of the AGL, but also because of the much higher success chance. At certain chapters of the latter 2 scenarios I even find it kind of overpowered, when you have access tu multiple sleep user's and the most enemys have an average luck stat from 2 to 3.

@ZethaPonderer: Maybe we expressed ourselves a little bit misunderstandable. For most parts of the game and without any intentional manipulation (see my previous post), the influence of the AGL stat is of course not that big, but compared to SF I and SF II where it was almost completely ignorable, it is a step forward. In SF II it could even happen that your characters skipped their turns when the AGL was to high and you used boost *horrible* :eyebrow:

In a regular playthrough the only point where you should keep the AGL stat in mind are some of the later thief-ruins, as they become more tricky from chapter to chapter and scenario to scenario. Sometimes it can happen that in a ruin where you cannot block the thieves movement, he gets the item you want under all circumstances (a great rod or a unique very powerful weapon for Julian) in the second to last turn but he is out of your range in this turn and he will exit the ruin in the next turn. Then it will help a lot that you can increase your AGL to outspeed the thief and hence can make sure you will have the chance to get the item in the last turn.

I am not that enthusiastic about the idea to combine AGL & crit stat, of course it would increase the impact of the AGL stat, but it would destroy the great balance between the classes that SF III has.
I prefer the recent crit system (all have the same chances and the chance increases with higher weapon skill level). Making it AGL based would end up like a remix of SF II system, where it was all class dependent (in SF III all members of the same class have comparable AGL). It also would cripple most fighter classes like warriors or archers compared to the already mega-powerful mage classes.
Therefore I would propose to combine the AGL stat with the counter stat, the overall impact would be lower, but it would make sense, as a very agile person can react and initiate the counter while the enemy approaches. Combining it with evasion would also possible, but that could also became unbalanced very fast.

But I agree that combining it with another stat would be a breath of fresh air
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Re: Best AGL in the series

Postby DomingoRules! » Sun Feb 26 2017 7:26pm

Whether AGL has a huge impact on the results of combat or not, I just think it makes the game a lot more fun to play. I find myself putting a lot more thought into every move based on AGL stats, rather than just charging in like a lunatic like I do in SF1 and 2 where the turn order can be utterly erratic anyway, giving little point to trying group tactics, and enemy interceptions. That welcome aspect makes the game feel more like a real tactical experience, rather than a mindless bum rush.

I've also found it very helpful for setting up kills for certain characters. If somebody is falling behind a bit on levels, I can reference the AGL stat to know which characters I can use the weaken the target, as well as the window of opportunity to score the killing blow with the desired character without putting myself at risk. And while I haven't been putting much thought into it on Normal, I imagine on higher difficulties knowing the turn order can also help immensely with trying to set up desirable friendships between key characters.
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Re: Best AGL in the series

Postby ZethaPonderer » Sun Feb 26 2017 10:20pm

@MCRT:

Agreed on the whole matter about misunderstanding each other's points on the AGI stat, but while you do bring out an interesting point when it comes to catching up to those pesky thieves in every Thief Ruins Map, I didn't really find it that much of a struggle with my characters low agility scores since Support can counteract this. Besides I always send in my characters with the highest movement like the Centaurs, Birdwoman/man, and Ninjas/Kunoichis when traversing through the Thief Ruins Map since they don't seem to suffer too much on low agility stats.

Urrrggghhh... don't even get me started on the previous entries dysfunctional AGI stat, but I'll just say you made your point and I stand 100% on the matter. XD

As for my points on raising the likelihood of critical and evading physical attacks allow me to make it somewhat fair and manageable for how it could be implemented without breaking the game since it is my fault for not going in depth on this.

The higher your character's agility compared to the enemy you get a small increase in evasion and critical.

Suppose your main hero starts out with his base critical and evasion score at 1%. With the agility stat raising critical and evasion it will give out a small bonus percentage with this mathematical sample model that I have in mind,

Main Hero's AGI = 64
Enemy's AGI = 32

((64 - 32) / 100) * 50 = 16% round it up when at .5 or higher

Then add that 16% with the main character's 1% on both evasion and critical and you get a 17% chance of him evading and doing a critical.

Think of it as a bonus that will be silently helping you along the sidelines just as much as the friendship bonuses although the bonus it gives out is pretty small and your agility stat needs to be significantly half as higher or even more compared to the enemy to make it game-breaking although with my method it should make things fair, but having that unpredictable feel when fighting enemies y'know. :)

And pretty much similar setup if the enemy's AGI stat is higher than the Main Hero's AGI stat except they get the bonus and you get nothing in return so just reverse those AGI stat samples for the Main Hero and Enemy. Follow my mathematical model and you get a -16% which will transfer to the enemy's critical and evasion percent and will silently use their critical and evasion bonus upon you.

Hopefully, it would make AGI stand out with where I'm coming from despite the bonuses it gives pretty small to begin with although coding this mathematical model I imagine would be a huge pain in the rear when modding SF games in general. XD

@DomingoRules!:

My point still stands and while I don't disagree on where you're coming from, I'm just explaining my stance on the AGI stat through my personal experience with the game as a whole during my SF3 Scenario 1 playthrough. Perhaps I should've been clear on that front so oops. :p
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Re: Best AGL in the series

Postby DomingoRules! » Mon Feb 27 2017 10:23am

With all that said, it would be nice if the game also had a turn order list you could reference. It would make utilizing the stat's information much less tedious than frequently clicking on everybody to compare. Sure, the status menu helps a bit, and I do use that on occasion, but that excludes the enemies, so it only helps so much when it comes to determining turn order.
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Re: Best AGL in the series

Postby MCRT » Mon Feb 27 2017 8:46pm

@ZethaPonderer: Yeah ok that would be awesome... but also complicated due to the interaction with special attacks and counters, hence I would guess that even modern games would use an easier formula :)

I don't want to spoil you, but scenario 3 will contain some ruins where some planning is required and not just sending in the high movement members ;)

But support is unfortunately not very reliable and will not be sufficient to let a normal AGL member outspeed a thief. The reason is that support increases your stats based upon you class and your base-AGL, and the most normal low & normal AGL classes get boni around 15-20 percent of their base AGL (hence 4-8 points).

@Domingorules: A "who's next?" list would be great :thumbsup:

I guess in the end we all can agree on that it is good that you can make some use out of the AGL stat with some thought.
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Re: Best AGL in the series

Postby DomingoRules! » Tue Feb 28 2017 6:34am

In Scenario 1 anyway, my main tactic for dealing with ruins has been Dantares, and Eldar (plus anybody else I can spare). Dantares can outrun the thieves, and Eldar is uninhibited by most complicated mazes.
WARNING: SPOILER!
Of course, I imagine they're a bit trickier on higher difficulties, since survivability of your characters against other enemies can play a larger role.

There was also one case where I was dealing too much damage to the thieves, so the only way I could manage was to have my faster characters block the exits, then use the mighty weakness of wizard smacks to retrieve the treasures.

Of course, I also ALWAYS save before attacking a thief, because just one solid critical or special can ruin everything.
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Re: Best AGL in the series

Postby MCRT » Tue Feb 28 2017 7:31pm

A good tactic is to keep some of the first weapons like a regular spear for the ruins to make sure you will not kill the thief to early. Or you equip the elbesem orb and use it on the thief.

Yeah, those Thieves are like paper against a raging Dantares with good weapon :)
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Re: Best AGL in the series

Postby DomingoRules! » Tue Feb 28 2017 8:21pm

In hindsight, I probably should've kept a weaker spear, but that didn't occur so early on. Either way though, I imagine it's a much bigger deal to get every chest you can on higher difficulties, and on those (especially Insane) it's also probably much less likely you'll accidentally kill them. Also, I had no idea the Elbesem Orb would work.

Another good tactic, if they could somehow keep up, would be to get at the thieves with monks, since they can attack without a weapon equipped. Of course, to manage with them, you'd probably need to use other characters to block off the thieves anyway.
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Re: Best AGL in the series

Postby MCRT » Wed Mar 01 2017 11:54pm

Any form of damage will be sufficient to get an item from the thief, therefore Spells (Heat Axe, Black Ring & Elbesem Orb) will also work. In the other 2 chapters you will also get an one-shot item called Freeze Balls multiple times, they work like freeze 2 and can be used as well (and open a free item slot due to their usage;) )

But I actually never tried the thing with the monks
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Re: Best AGL in the series

Postby DomingoRules! » Thu Mar 02 2017 1:47am

Neither did I. I just realized that they can attack without weapons because I was using Kahn and Cybel to help promote Penn (wanting to avoid getting excess EXP with my active party members), and numerous times I would unequip Kahn's weapon to tick an enemy with 2 HP down to 1 for Penn to kill. Then later I realized that other characters can't attack if unarmed when trying to do something similar.
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Re: Best AGL in the series

Postby MCRT » Sat Mar 04 2017 2:45pm

It actually make kind of sense that Monk's can also attack without weapons... that you can still learn such little details after all this years is what actually qualifies a really great game in my opinion. :thumbsup:
I always give Penn the Elbesem Orb for lelving purposes to enable him to do reliable 5-7 points of damage with additional range.
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Re: Best AGL in the series

Postby DomingoRules! » Sat Mar 04 2017 7:06pm

I just gave Penn the Black and Evil rings to make him useful. That was pretty much his only use. They really dropped the ball with him. At least in SF2, Kiwi gets that ultra high DEF, has incredible movement, and has the flame breath. Penn though doesn't really seem to have anything, unless his third special that I never got is godly powerful. Mainly because despite the fact that he can't equip weapons, it feels like they gave him the exact same stat gains as everybody else, forcing him to be perpetually lagging behind. His attack power was even stuck behind my mages the whole game, and attacking is all he can do.
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Re: Best AGL in the series

Postby MCRT » Wed Mar 08 2017 4:42pm

His last special attack is actually the strongest special attack in Sc 1 (with whooping 30 points of additional damage), but even when you have it, it is nothing to rely on as he unlike all others seem to favor the other 2 attacks over the last one.

In the other 2 Scenarios additional beaks are available, but even then the Penguins never really shine (except the 3rd one, but he is a spellcaster and no pure fighter).
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Re: Best AGL in the series

Postby DomingoRules! » Wed Mar 08 2017 6:31pm

Even with a bonus of 30 damage though, if applied to his raw attack power that would've only put him roughly on par with some of the other fighters' basic attacks.
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Re: Best AGL in the series

Postby MCRT » Sat Mar 11 2017 9:46am

DomingoRules! wrote:Even with a bonus of 30 damage though, if applied to his raw attack power that would've only put him roughly on par with some of the other fighters' basic attacks.


If I remember correctly special attack damage values are added after the Att-Def damage calculation. But even then, it it nothing to rely one.
Just for comparison: Frank & the Monks have much more attack than Penn (except you promoted him with 20 and all others with 10), but their last regular special attacks have either 24 or 25 points of additional damage. The average for the last specials is around 20

Thereofre the 10 points do not much, escpecially as his first 2 specials are weaker than the first/second specials of other classes.
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Re: Best AGL in the series

Postby DomingoRules! » Sat Mar 11 2017 6:40pm

I imagine that counterbalance against defense can also probably have a higher impact on higher difficulties. Then, if two characters can only deal 1-4 points of damage to an enemy regardless, the stronger special has a larger impact on who will hit harder.
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