Last Dream: World Unknown Party Selection
One of the most important decisions in the Last Dream series is made immediately after starting a New Game. There are eight character classes and only four Party members to choose. You’ll have to lose out on the strengths of at least four of the character classes. Remember also that you don’t have to choose four different character classes. You can choose 4× Knights, if you prefer, although one of the most important points to consider when choosing your Party is balance.
In this respect, balance means that you will want to fill several different Party needs. The most obvious Party need is damage dealing. Damage dealers largely come in two classes: single target killers or Party killers. The Monk is an ideal example of a single target killer. Late in the game with Fists of Frenzy, he far surpasses the damage output (dealt to a single enemy) of any other character class. This makes him ideal for slaughtering bosses in short order. Meanwhile, the Black Mage is the epitome of a Party killer. All of his elemental spells beyond Tier #1 will attack all enemies and, if you choose the element that your enemies are weak to, the Black Mage can annihilate the entire Party. The Black Mage’s limitation is his finite amount of MP. The Knight straddles the line between single enemy and Party killer, although he is more effective as a boss killer than any other character besides the Monk in the late game. The Engineer also straddles this line and can fill the slot of a Party killer in place of a Black Mage with Hydrogen Bomb, whereas Battle of Wits is a powerful single target skill. In addition, the Engineer can deal significant damage either to all enemies or single targets with Grenadier and use a copious amount of normal (attack all) or piercing (single target) bombs.
The second Party need is healing. The White Mage is by far the best healer in the game but lacks the ability to deal significant damage to any but undead enemies. The White Mage and Gray Mage stand alone as the only characters that can resurrect Party members. Without a White Mage or Gray Mage in your Party, you’ll have to return to a Tree of Life to resurrect your characters, acquire the Master Fishing Spear and catch some High-Level fish, or use rare items such as a Resurrection Elixir. The Master Fishing Spear is not acquired until later in the game and resurrecting items cannot be purchased (except for 10 Elixirs that can be purchased from the High Roller Casino Shop), so a character dying halfway through a dungeon can be particularly crippling without a White or Gray Mage. In addition, both the Hunter and the Engineer can be effective healers with their higher-level skills. The Engineer can also double as an extremely effective healer when you couple his Item Master and Transmutation skills with Saltwater fish which can restore large amounts of HP and MP.
The third Party need is damage absorption. Without sufficient damage absorption, you might find your Party slaughtered in a single round of combat before you even have a chance to heal. But even if you can survive single combat rounds and have an excellent healer, you’ll eventually run out of items or MP to cast healing spells if your characters have insufficient DEF or MGD. The Knight is a superior physical damage absorber because he can equip heavy armor, has inexpensive DEF for leveling up, and also has a variety of skills to boost his DEF and to attract enemies to attack him (e.g. Human Shield). The weakness of the Knight is his relatively low MGD, which is expensive to build. The Gray Mage can also be built as a physical tank but he doesn’t have all of the Knight’s taunting skills and the cost of each point of DEF increases faster for the Gray Mage. The advantage of the Gray Mage over the Knight is that the Gray Mage has cheaper MGD AP costs and can even equip all of the Mage’s equipment and bridge the gap in MGD. The White and Black Mage suffer from low physical DEF; however, they have excellent MGD and therefore won’t take much damage from magic spells.
The fourth Party need is agility and preemption. Although this may seem unimportant at first, you’ll find out later in the game that an untimely surprise attack by a powerful enemy Party can easily spell your doom. To avoid surprise attacks, you’ll need to build agility and preemption. The characters that excel in these character traits are the Thief and the Hunter. The Thief benefits from agility more than the Hunter because it boosts the Thief’s chance to steal, although the Hunter has access to the Moa. Preemption is an invaluable trait because it allows your characters to act before the enemies. For example, consider a Party member on the verge of death and the difference between your Thief/Hunter acting before any of the enemies or the enemies striking first. The benefit of preemption for healing classes is clear – if a member of your Party is hurt, you want to heal him before the enemy can finish him off. Perhaps less obvious is that preemption is particularly powerful for Party killer characters like the Engineer and the Black Mage, because it allows them to wipe out an entire enemy Party before they have a chance to act.
With these four needs considered (damage dealing, healing, damage absorption, and agility/preemption), you are now ready to select your Party. Your goal should be to select a Party with characters that will fill all of these Party needs. For example, consider a 2× White Mage and 2× Black Mage Party. This Party excels in healing and (Party-wide) damage dealing but suffers when it comes to damage absorption and agility/preemption. You’ll likely find yourself continuously healing and often getting surprise attacked late in the game. A better choice would be a Knight (damage dealing, damage absorption), Hunter (agility/preemption, some damage absorption and healing), White Mage (healing), and Black Mage (damage dealing). An equally suitable Party choice might be a Gray Mage (damage dealing, damage absorption, some healing), Thief (agility/preemption, damage absorption), Monk (damage dealing), and Engineer (damage dealing, healing). Of course, there are thousands of possible combinations and many successful (and interesting!) Parties.