Disgaea is launching today on PC and as a series veteran, who still owns the strategy guides for the original PlayStation 2 launches and keeps a PlayStation 2 and PlayStation 3 around for the series, I have a few words for you on how to do well in the game from my experiences. This interestingly enough applies to every game in the series, they're very similar, but with minor changes and cool new stories.
1. Power Level
There are maps that are obvious when you get to them that they're for power leveling. Power leveling is INSANELY easy in Disgaea. Do the following. Take enemies, drop them on %XP tiles, kill them. Now, as you level, you take enemies and get them almost dead. Now throw them ontop of each other. You now have an almost dead higher level enemy. Keep doing this until all the enemies on the map are stacked together and it's still not enough. I do believe in Disgaea 1 the Dark Assembly is there and you can vote to raise monster level, making lower level leveling spots valid throughout the game.
2. The Item World is for the Postgame
You can get some early gains playing around in the item world. However, in the time you spend advancing a weapon that you probably won't even have later in the game, you could just power level some more. Considering enemies are rather weak compared to any of the main heroes (at least through the story missions). Disgaea is more about what you can do after the game is over than it is about the journey through the actual game.
It's a game that combines a strong story, with strong gameplay, being as accessible as you desire it to be, and you can easily compensate for anything by spending more time grinding at something. However, for leveling, the item world isn't really that interesting.
3. Don't Spoil the Story - Power Level! Then spoil the game.
There isn't a point in looking at a single guide for a single map before you finish the game. You can easily just go back and grind maps and power through the geo puzzles. Later maps are hard, but most of the fun in the game is literally going through and playing through each of the maps. There isn't any really puzzles that aren't going to be obvious. The game is very happy-go-lucky and can be forgiving. Specific maps will have casters pelting you down specific paths and the such, but at a high enough level it's not as if you could make a tower, take your highest level character, throw it over there, and just knock the problem out.
Speaking of spoiling, read guides for the postgame as much as you want. That's part of the fun, is finding out what you need to do to go where you need to go. Specific items, maps, and more are going to be more valuable for you than trying to bumble through a HUGE game in order to find it out. Especially when it comes to class unlocks.
4. Stack Everything and Bring Weak Filler Characters just to Throw
You can deal damage to enemies by throwing a weakened enemy at another enemy (leveling it up). You can get to geo tiles easier by stacking enemies. You can mess with the enemy AI by throwing a weak character close to them making them clump up to take it out. There isn't any harm in having a few characters really high level and the rest just being whatever or whereever they're at, especially for the story.
5. Do Level a Rogue
They suck, but they can steal, and stealing is what you'll need postgame the most. Just do it.
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