Nightmare difficulty speedrun planning
7 years ago

I kinda feel like doing a speedrun on Nightmare difficulty but I’m not sure what the route should be. Probably very similar to Normal, but I don’t even remember what the differences are in Nightmare. Do enemies have more HP? I know they give the same amount of EXP at least, as I had to test that for my calculator.

Edit: OK so enemies do have significantly more HP (even in speedrun mode you can see this from boss HP). The ferrets have ≈ 40HP on Normal but ≈ 100HP on Nightmare. If bombs do as well, the Normal grinding route would be impossible unless we grind the spiders a bit more or something.

Damage taken is also significantly more. On Normal, ferrets deal 3–4HP, on Nightmare they deal 7 or 9HP. That means diving the Limewater Cave for equips would be really hard on Nightmare as you’d probably die in 2 hits, maybe 1…

Edit: Oh god, I forgot Nightmare also introduces the glowing enemies…

Oh my god Demi-Galba is literally impossible even at level 3. The arms OHKO you, the right arm seems to have a giant increased hitbox as I can almost never dodge it (or maybe I just got bad), the left arm is a lot easier to dodge. The flame attack at the start homes at you so it’s a lot harder to dodge (I think you have to run across the bottom of the map after you get 1 attack in). At least you can survive 2 hits of it if you’re not critted. I have no idea how to dodge it if he does it while you’re under him. Also the boss has 480HP instead of 200.

OMG I just got a double hit by delaying the attack to the limit. O_o Lmao just spent the whole fight trying to get the double hit and I only got it twice, but I actually survived the whole fight and killed him. XD

Double hit vid:

I think I remember now the trick to dodging the right arm was to not stay directly under its armpit when doing the attack.

So despite having gotten consistent at dodging the arms, beating it at level 3 still is really hard and basically RNG. I can take 2 flame attacks, but if he does 3 I die because I don’t know how to dodge it (it’s a 3HKO). What’s worse is that if you’re level 4, the flame doesn’t knock you down, so a single attack will combo you 3 times and kill you. // Decided that level 3 is the way to go. Dash attacks may be faster, but they’re much harder to handle. If you’re unlucky 1 homing flame can combo you twice or deal 37 damage instead of 35 so it’s possible to die early (you have 71HP).

Demi-Galba vid:

Edited by the author 7 years ago

^Watched up to Demi-Galba and the thing that caught my eye the most is the fact he lists names for the normal enemies… where did he get those? lol He gets up to level 4 (wasting a ton of time) and fights Demi-Galba really carefully (slowly), it did teach me how to dodge the flames I guess but it’s not worth doing when it’s that slow. I think a good Nightmare any% should sub 2 hours.


Observations: Emel drops are rarer than on Normal? Item drops seem the same. Enemies can crit you on Nightmare, doesn’t happen on Normal IIRC. You can only hold a max amount of 3 for each item… oh my god.

OK, so. The spiders kill you in 4 hits, 3 if they get a crit. I thought that place was bad enough (it’s already hard on Normal), but I was wrong. Grana-Vallis Mountain is legit impossible. I’m trying really hard to come up with a speed strategy here. There are 2 options:

  1. Dive Limewater Cave for the equips, then abuse the Defense to grind flowers up until lvl 9 (106HP) where you can start killing bombs. You can be lvl7 and with lvl2 Livart, so Normal strategy (grab Honey at spiders tho) with just super early dive. Obviously you have to go through the whole Limewater Cave and back on foot without ever being hit…
  2. Kill all the killable en-route (plants, every room of spiders, farm the first 3 wolves with lunge+up-thrust combo) to get 18 total Emel to level up Livart twice. At this point you’re either lvl9 (106HP) or lvl10 (111HP), whichever should be fine to grind bombs. Normal route.

I took a look at buying armor, but unless we wanna sell the Capla Water (4500G) instead of exchanging it for the Emel Mallet, it’s not gonna happen. Though if you do happen to have 410G, you can buy Round Shield (+12 Def) for a benefit of 6 Def. It can be the difference between getting OHKO’d and surviving 1 hit.

Notes: Livart 1 = 20 STR; 2 = 27 STR, magic; 3 = 34 STR, whirlwind; 4 = 41 STR Galba Shield +5 STR Bomb kill = 84 STR but RNG can make it fail; if you’re really skilled you may be able to make 82 work Survive flowers = 62 DEF, 99 dmg (106HP, lvl9) lvl8 Livart 2 76 STR 59 DEF 100HP lvl9 Livart 2 79 STR 62 DEF 106HP lvl10 Livart 2 82 STR 65 DEF 111HP lvl11 Livart 2 86 STR 68 DEF 117HP

I suppose I’ll eventually have to time both strategies and see how they go. Getting them without deaths is going to be hell…

Edit: The Japanese runner opts to ignore everything up to the Wing of Alma, dives Limewater Cave then, then it cuts off so I don’t know how he grinds (but probably just does what I say in my strategy 1). His part 2 is private or something.

Edit: Confirmed that Zonplas is easy after diving. // Even at lvl6 you get 119 DEF with the equips and 68 STR with Livart lvl1 so the Japanese’s strategy is totally doable, bombs still 2HKO though.

5 + 13 + 34 = 52 Emel for Livart lvl4.

Edited by the author 7 years ago

So… testing the “ignore everything, grind flowers with equips” route and I think it’s best to fight Demi-Galba as soon as you get level 3. It actually takes quite a bit of killing to get to level 3. After Demi-Galba you’ll be lvl5 with 263 EXP for next level in worst case scenario, which = 1 flower (302); seems like a good deal. Have to test whether super early dive is faster than grab Wing then dive. After I know that I can figure out an estimate up to Zonplas with this.

Edit: Yesterday I math’d out dive first to be faster than Wing then dive, but after actually running it today it seems like Wing first is faster. Starting point plains with wolves, ending point teleport to middle of Grana-Vallis Mountain: Wing first best segments 6′17, worst run 6′54; dive first best segments 6′58. It was on stream. Wing first ≈ 30″ faster. Diving first seems faster getting to the flowers (≈ 33″), but since you actually have to climb up the farming ends up being much slower (≈ 53″). /// Tested using the same farming strat for early dive and it ends up being faster, saved 20″ over my old time. 6′37″ best segments now. Still seems like Wing first is faster and probably easier too, so a safe bet… /// Fused the Emel and Wing splits for early dive strat because it makes more sense. I pushed it down to a 6′28″, but can’t do better, so I’m OK with saying Wing first is faster. It also allows you to equip the Emel Mallet before farming and it’s 1 less menu action compared to early dive which has to equip it when having to teleport.

All this is also actually making me very curious about a new Normal route where you only kill 3 plants at the start, fight Demi-Galba at lvl2, then ignore everything and just go fight the flowers at lvl5 with 718 NEXT (3 flowers to level up).

Edited by the author 7 years ago


  1. You can manipulate Adol to do a lunge during Demi-Galba’s cutscene when he protects Isha. Changes your position.
  2. Can do the same after the cutscenes with the moles when you save that dude by doing a whirlwind, seems pointless.
  3. Gotta make a new Demi-Galba vid using the strategy where you keep attacking all the time… Edit: Meh too hard, anyway you can jump the arm attack and dodge it if you land between the hand and shoulder hitboxes (basically land on the elbow) and then up-thrust again as the arm goes back (still has a hitboox).

So… I tried testing the farming everything en-route, but it was pretty hard. I think it was actually slower to do that and faster to just go to the wolves. Took me 5′57″ to exit Port Rimorge after making Livart lvl3, starting point save before Demi-Galba but with all the cutscenes already taken care of. It takes 55″ to get through that ignoring everything (Wing early strat). So for that to be faster it’d have to save 5 minutes in the Grana-Vallis Mountain grind… doesn’t look possible.

I did a bunch more testing with the Wing then dive strat and I like it ever more. Got it up to killing Ud-Meiyu decently fast. Current best segments are:

Edit: Being veeeery generous (didn’t run the timer in a bunch of places) with the wolves farming strat:

Edited by the author 7 years ago

Trying to route Ud-Meiyu, it’s hell… I don’t know what to kill…

It seems like the mini Gaposdhala aren’t worth killing, because even with luck it takes 30″ and the only gain is ≈ 63 Emel and 1827 EXP, meanwhile 1 Green Slime gives 45 Emel so with 2 you outdo that and it only takes 10″ to kill the 3 laser shooters in the first room and those give 1620 EXP. Ud-Meiyu killing times: 1:23.73 lvl22 181HP Ud-Meiyu 3 Honey 1:00.25 lvl23 186HP Ud-Meiyu 3 Honey very lucky many crits So it doesn’t seem worthwhile to gain the extra level as it most likely will cost more than 20 seconds.

I forgot to check what my level was after Ud-Meiyu and it’s hard to tell from the video quality but it looks like 24… O_o Edit: Wow yep, just went through it again and I’m lvl23 213 NEXT.

Edited by the author 7 years ago
Illinois, USA

This isn't specifically directed at a Nightmare route, but I've been curious, has anyone timed whether or not the Ud-Meiyu pre-fight kill is faster than killing him normally? It's cool and all, but I've a suspicion that it's probably faster to defeat him normally. Hmm, but now that I think about it, Nightmare (and maybe Hard) have the laser enemies to deal with throughout the fight, and it'd definitely be wise to take them out first.


The glitch is a lot faster, and even on Normal fighting it glitchless is hard. Glitchless is basically doing the same thing (charged slash combos) but you have to worry about not being hit and dying.


OK so, just beat the game. After Ud-Meiyu the strategy is mostly the same as any% Normal. Piana-Pius is extremely hard though so I have to grind to level 31 to even have a chance; Orjugan and Lanaluna are surprisingly easy. While grinding bats I grab the Seed of Defense from the chest and use it. The second Kishgal miniboss is really tough due to having 3 invincible enemies together with it who shoot everywhere and make the room a bullet hell. Here I grab the extra slot to equip the Wooden Bracelet and also the Seed of Vitality, not sure whether all this stuff is necessary but considering Ernst/Ark are pretty hard I’ll just do them because why not (oh yeah I also grind 2 extra levels compared to Normal here). Galba-Roa seems to OHKO with all attacks except the flames one, as in Normal I think I’ll opt for equipping the Capla Water here and not use any during the fight. Since you can only keep 3 Capla Water, after defeating Ernst you have to go back and grab the 4th Capla Water to use for the Ark. 3 on Ernst, 1 on Ark. Oh yeah I also grab the Seed of Power before Galba-Roa.

I actually had very little use for the lucky shield throughout the run, considering it costs like 10 seconds to grab it it might be worth it to ignore it… On Nightmare, Emel isn’t really an issue, it’s your level. Which makes me wonder if the Emel Mallet is even necessary. Hmm… the only time Emel is the bottleneck is when farming bats…

I timed Ravi’s Limewater Cave grinding strategy to be 33″ faster (2′42″ vs. 2′19″ to get to level 31), which is far less than I thought. That is without considering all the movement, so it actually ends up being slower with it I believe. Needless to say I won’t be implementing it, considering it’s harder too. Edit: Considering this took me 9′30″ in my run I think I started the grinding from a much higher level while testing…

Generally: buy a lot of healing items.

Possible improvements: Limewater Cave grind Kishgal grind

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention… I don’t think I can sub 2 hours. Definitely can sub 3, though.

Edit: I was lvl38 (273HP) when I fought Orjugan.

Edited by the author 7 years ago

Vids: Piana-Pius



Ark of Napishtim

Current best segments after only 2 runs:

I’ll try to go for a full run within the weekend.

Edited by the author 7 years ago

XSEED/Steam version any% Nightmare 2:43′11″20. I probably died over 100 times. Can we add a category for this?

Something went wrong with my leveling so I gotta look into that. Sub 2h is definitely possible but is it doable? I don’t know.

Edit: Looking into EXP stuff and it looks like it would be faster to just get 4481 EXP when at level 47 so Galba-Roa levels me all the way to 49. That’s either clearing 3 rooms of bombs (3 each time) + 2 + mandatory Door Miniboss or idk. // Nevermind… that works for Ernst, but not for the Ark…

Omg I actually only barely reach lvl51 even. O_o Worst case scenario I need 3174 EXP from the pixies which means I have to kill 4 of them during the Ernst fight to get enough EXP… wow. If I only kill 3 it means I need to go for a few extra kills after leveling to 48 I guess (447 EXP needed). The fact you can double kill pixies probably helps a lot, though…

Edited by the author 7 years ago

So I just compared the Limewater Cave grind between my strat and Ravi’s… Ravi’s actually ended up being 1 minute slower. O_o 8′28″54 vs. 9′30″96. I’m not sure why. I guess because Ravi grinds in a spot with stronger slimes, on Nightmare it takes too long to kill them…

Spending 8′ and a half grinding is a pain in the ass though. Wish there was a better way…

Edit: Door Miniboss is killed faster with down-thrust, 21″ vs 28″ of charged slashes. I’m working on a new EXP route for Kishgal also killing Piana-Pullus and grabbing the Emelas Glove.

Seems like the fastest way to grab the extra accessory slot is en route to Orjugan, takes 35″ (without considering the opening of the chest). // Hmm, this may actually be unnecessary… I can replace the Starlight Medal with the Emelas Glove for Ernst/Ark, since Ernst can’t level me to 52 anyway. It’s basically a 40″ tradeoff for having Wooden Bracialet for Romun escape, Kishgal and Galba-Roa… I feel like I don’t need it but I’ll probably get it anyway.

So atm I’m doing level 47 (325HP) at bombs, kill Piana-Pullus to get to 48 (335HP after Seed of Vitality), kill Galba-Roa to get to 50 (347HP) for Ernst. Sadly I’ll still only be 51 at the Ark…

I noticed killing the first flamethrower after entering Kishgal levels me from 41 to 42 in my current save. Those things seem to give a lot of EXP…

Edited by the author 7 years ago



The run went overall really well, the new addition of fighting Piana-Pullus was the best idea I’ve had in my life. I probably died less than 40 times in the whole run. Though I died a lot against Galba-Roa without understanding why the arms were hitting me, and somehow I kept dying against Orjugan, both of which are supposed to be easy bosses. But hey, I made up for it with a 3rd try Ernst and 2nd try Ark. :)

Best splits:

Can definitely go lower since Demi-Galba has a death and Galba-Roa has several. I’m happy with my run though so I don’t even know whether I’ll try to improve it. I didn’t think I’d get sub 2h so quickly. After having done two runs taking the extra slot though, I do think it’s not worth it. It’s way too risky since it’s filled with enemies that WILL hit you, you waste all your healing items for it and it takes like 50″ to do. If I’m ever to do another run I don’t think I’ll go for the extra slot.

Edited by the author 7 years ago

OK so, a few improvements that were discovered right after my run: 2 new tricks when escaping Romun Fleet:

  1. Found by Ravi, my best guess of how it works is due to how transitions with a party work: 1. Adol must be in the loading zone. 2. 1 girl must be oriented towards the top of the stairs and in the running animation. 3. Both girls must be close enough to Adol, vertical distance disregarded.
  2. Found by me as a byproduct of understanding why Ravi’s trick worked, you can trigger the stairs loading zones sooner if you stop going up/down them right at the loading zone instead of going all the way in (that just gives more distance between Adol and the girls, thus delaying the trigger). This is doable with the last loading zone when escaping too. Also, the last loading zone only checks for Olha to be following rather than both girls, for whatever reason. Edit: There are times when Olha alone won’t trigger the escape, though… go figure.

When going to Ud-Meiyu, it’s ≈ 9″ faster to teleport to the Fountain of Prayer right after leveling up Brillante. This might not be that useful for Normal because there I actually kill the new enemies that spawn outside of Port Rimorge for some Emel. Edit: Thinking about it though all that means is that on Normal I’m losing even more than 9″, and even if it were a trade-off of 9″ for like 60 Emel I’m pretty sure that’s not worth going for… so yeah I think I should teleport on Normal too.

Edit: So I just went through it and there’s no need to kill anything extra after the Kishgal grind to get lvl50 at Ernst. Door Miniboss, Piana-Pullus and Galba-Roa give more than enough experience.

Edit: Figured out another minor trick, you can use Brillante’s magic at the same time you open Lanaluna’s gate and hit her, dealing just as much damage as normal (Brillante lvl10). This basically saves the half a second of the magic attack animation, since you’re doing it together with starting the cutscene. Probably 100% pointless RTA, but I’d expect a TAS to use this.

Edited by the author 7 years ago

Didn’t want to make a new topic for it but I ran Hard and got 1:43′19″95. I think I implemented all the new tricks and ideas we’ve found since my Nightmare run so that’s cool. I had some super silly mistakes though such as a death during Escape (hey at least I didn’t select “Quit”…) which cost me a minute on an otherwise very consistent split. Still the run could’ve been good if I didn’t lose 3′ at Ark, some time dying at Galba-Roa again and missing Ernst’s cutscene skip. The time is probably not beatable on Nightmare with current strategies. Demi-Galba is actually harder on Hard than Nightmare, because the flame attack combos you and 3HKOs even if you’re level 2. I didn’t try level 1 but I don’t think that’s worth it, so I just play it safe at level 3.

part 1: part 2:

Edit: Also yeah on Hard enemies still crit you (less often though, I think) and there are still glowing enemies, but I think if you don’t have a sword unlocked there won’t be glowing enemies of that type. It’s otherwise mostly the same as Nightmare (just with fewer mobs in certain places).

Edited by the author 7 years ago

My time got beaten yesterday on the JPN version by the Japanese guy with the Normal record by 1′10″! 1:55′19″

Haven’t watched it yet but I’m really curious to see his routing.

Edit: Differences: He kills enemies a little more optimally than me at the start of the game I think. Plays Demi-Galba safe. Goes back and forth in the room before Demi-Galba to spawn a blue enemy and get 5 Emel (maybe he needs 2 of them idk); seems pointless to me. Goes to Limewater Cave before Grana-Vallis Mountain (tested to be slower on ENG). Makes Livart lvl5, farms Emel before Piana-Pius. O_o Gets to 175HP (1 level above me) before Zonplas. Gets the lucky shield. I have no idea how he doesn’t even lose a minute after Zonplas doing all that compared to me (I did lose 2′ at Demi-Galba…). Kills the big spiders on his way to Ud-Meiyu’s dungeon. Goes back to the corridor after Galba-Hand to grind a level (186HP); seems pointless to me. Uses Livart for Ud-Meiyu, doesn’t look faster to me. He almost got first try Piana-Pius, daaaaamn. He does the hard dashjump to the Capla Water, daaamn this guy is good, and crazy. He’s 1 level lower than me at Orjugan (273HP), plays it more smartly, damaging both hands and using the magic with timing to break them. Holy shit, turbo saves a fuck ton of time with Ericcil movement. O_o He keeps dying to Lanaluna. His buying route is different from mine, I haven’t been paying attention because that’s not a big deal (I already improved mine from my WR IIRC). His Escape movement is very poor. Gets the Emelas Shield. …And the Emelas Armor! O_o Wastes the Capla Water on Piana-Pullus! O_o He even kills Gaposasura. Ha, he beat my time because he got Ernst’s cutscene skip. …For whatever reason unequips Emelas Armor for Ark, don’t see how that’d be any help.

A lot of what he does seems useless for ENG, not much I can steal from him I guess. I’m having the thought of trying Livart lvl5 and doing Ud-Meiyu with it, farming there enough for Brillante; like he does on Normal. Something to be tested I guess… Getting the Emelas Armor could be a good idea, not sure where he gets the Emel for it though. I’m 50k short in my WR.

Edited by the author 7 years ago

Harumaki dropped a 2:04′42″ Nightmare Catastrophe run, I’ve already told him on Discord everything improvable but I’ll drop here a few thoughts I could use in my runs:

  1. my run uses the old bomb grinding strat, so that’s hugely improvable in the Wing of Alma room.
  2. I wonder which moles are faster to farm? Before Wing of Alma has a bunch but requires backtracking, on Normal I opted for the ones near the top…
  3. I did some Ud-Meiyu science and found out charged Brillante slashes do more dmg and that’s the extra ≈ 24dmg you see sometimes. Could they be useful elsewhere…? Video of this at the bottom.
  4. You probably can’t get it in time but killing Ud-Meiyu minions before it explodes would be extra EXP.
  5. LC midpoint TP triggering requires a bunch of testing. Mid first, then equips? Equips, then to mid through the North route Daifuku showed? Slowly moving towards it during the Slimes grind…? 2nd option may be best.
  6. Gaposasura probably not killable en-route on NM? Might still be faster to grind the bombs less and TP to Gaposasura just after Piana-Pullus.

Ud-Meiyu science vid:

Edit: some magic science I just did: lv10 sword passively charges 1/f (3000 is full charge) lv11 6/f getting hit gives 200 charge but if dmg is nullified by Emelas Armor it’s 100, hitting an enemy is also 100, with Eldian Orb these become 300 and 150 sometimes hitting an enemy doesn’t charge anything, I don’t know why

Edited by the author 2 years ago