Combine is the ultimate step to obtaining the most powerful armor and weapons in the game, and can be used throughout the game to make small but significant improvements to a player's gear. However, improving Class and Affinity is very powerful; for example, it is quite possible, though not necessary, to play through the entire game with Ashley's first three weapons. As can be seen in this guide, Combine and Class and Affinity bonuses can quite happily go hand in hand. Three Weapon and Four Weapon strategies can be used either to maintain the maximum Class and Affinity bonuses for casual play, or for creating Ultimate Weapons as an additional challenge.
To players used to other games, where weapon and progression is the only factor in attacking and defense power, it may seem at first as though better weapons and armor is of paramount importance, and so would be combining weapons and armor to get them, but there are several exceptions to that, most of which are can be seen by looking at the Damage calculations. Class and Affinity can each be equal to one-quarter of the weapon's Strength; together with Damage Points and Phantom Points and the Strength gained from Accessories, their contribution to damage can exceed the weapon's own.
Maintainance is one issue; Damage Points DP and Phantom Points PP have something of a see-saw effect, but new weapons will most certainly not have full Phantom Points. Instill Chain ability adds PP quickly; Temper restores lost Damage Points.
Great Axe and Staff, with only six Tiers, are the shortest ladders up which you can take weapons that have accumulated a lot of Class and Affinity bonuses, rather than just throwing those weapons away because their Design is weak. They do not get some of the Best Combinations with other Designs, however.
Three Weapons Edit
Two strategies for casual play both rely on letting the Affinities take care of themselves.
- One damages enemies based on the class bonuses accrued by the blade, and dedicates each of the three weapons to attacking two types of enemies: Human + Phantom, Beast + Dragon, and Undead + Evil. This works, for example, because although gaining levels in the Human Class beats down the Beast and Undead classes mercilessly, it has no effect at all on Phantom class gains, and while Phantom gains will make a mess out of the Dragon and Evil Classes, it leaves the Human class untouched.
- Another relies on the fact that there is very rarely an enemy without a weakness to a Type of damage; almost everything is weak to either Blunt or Edged or Piercing damage. This is much more time-consuming, though, requiring memorization of weaknesses, looking it up, or switching between the three weapons and re-targeting. A handful of enemies such as Rosencrantz, Deaths and the final boss are strong to Blunt, Edged and Piercing equally.
Affinities can also be ignored, and found and dropped items with unblemished Affinities used instead (but this is not recommended at all for weapons, when the three weapon strategy is much more effective). Second and successive playthroughs with New Game Plus, in particular, are a source of much better items, and some players challenge themselves by attempting powerful combinations on the first or second playthrough.
Dummies can be ignored, if the player wishes more of a challenge or simply finds dummy-basing too boring, but should be used whenever possible when making Ultimate Weapons, as they speed up the gain of Class and Affinity immensely
Three Blades Edit
A very difficult strategy used to create Ultimate or Penultimate Weapons; some of the difficulty comes from adding both Elemental and Physical, as Physical will reduce any other affinity, and fairly rapidly. The good news is that the reverse is not true; most elements will only infrequently reduce Physical. Consider adding a fourth blade that makes an Equal combination with one of the three chosen blades, or two blades that are part of a Progression. The other difficult part is that dummies cannot be used for all of this, and so creatures must be chosen to fit the strategy, and respawned over and over to fight again.
- Undead - Evil - Physical - Light/Dark blade, as Undead and Evil can both provide Physical, and the Evil dummy in Gharme's Walk in Town Center East is Dark affinity and will add Light to weapons. Dark could be acquired on this blade instead, by killing Liches, and that is a lucrative pursuit as well, but much tougher. The Undead dummy is in the Hall Of Sworn Revenge in The Catacombs
- Human - Phantom - X - X - Dark/Light The Human dummy, also known as the Affinity Training Dummy, can be found in the Worker's Breakroom in the Wine Cellar. It is key to the three-blade strategy, as all affinities can be gained on it, and thus up to three non-opposed ones can be, even Dark. Phantom is of course added to this blade. Gaining Dark here is by far the easiest way. If Dark is chosen for the Evil blade, from Evil Liches, then choose Light here. The Phantom Dummy is in From Boy To Hero in City Walls North
- Beast - Dragon - X - X : player's choice of two Affinities. Fire offers the opportunity to kill two birds with one stone, and gain affinity at the same time as gathering Faerie Wings from Ichthious in the Snowfly Forest. If Dark is not gained with the Human-Phantom blade, then the player must kill Slimes to gain it. The Beast Dummy is in The Dark Tunnel in the First Abandoned Mines. The Dragon dummy is in The Boys Training Room in City Walls South
Four Blades Edit
With four blades, Physical can be put on a fourth blade. Strategies may vary, but for the one shown, the Human dummy is used for two blades
- Human - Phantom - Earth - Darkness - Water. Human dummy
- Dragon - Beast - Physical. Same as with three blades, only no Elements; Ichthious is not an option
- (Human) - Fire - Air
- Undead - Evil - Light. Same as with three blades, only without Physical