What a videogame. After completing the 100 hour story of Dragon Quest VII I felt a huge sense of pride and satisfaction. Without spoiling what happened, the ending was epic, interesting, and a highly suitable way to end such a game. It was an outstanding journey I will never forget, and one of the greatest RPGs of all time. The story has a very large scope yet every town and little moment feels special. It’s so rewarding to solve people’s problems, with some of the best writing I’ve ever enjoyed in a videogame.
However, even after hours and hours of dialogue and traveling, one thing was still stirring in my mind. After beating the end boss and completing the story I was still only level 44. Out of a potential 99 levels this felt a bit low and I still felt like I had unfinished business. I knew there was still more to explore with the Monster Meadows mechanic, tablets, and more fragments to collect. I enjoyed the game so much, I immediately went back into it to see what else I could do. I won’t bother with a spoiler warning here, because you should know what you’re getting into if you read further. It’s EVERYTHING! It’s the post-game!
My first mission was to get the remaining grey fragments and unlock a new dungeon. I just wanted to challenge myself further and find another boss fight. I won’t go too in-depth with a strategy guide on how to get each extra shard, but the game’s “Next Fragment” advice in the menu was always reliable for me. One problem I did run into however, was the Shrine door being locked. The Ultimate Key is found in the final dungeon (in the prison area), and necessary to get into this room on the bottom floor of the Shrine of Mysteries.
Here it is, the first of two post-game dungeons. I’ll talk more about the second one later, but this is more significant and where most of my play-time was. Getting through the dungeon is honestly not too hard. It’s long, and has about the same level enemies as the final story dungeon. The challenge comes at the very end when you face the ultimate boss of the game, The Almighty. This guy absolutely destroyed me on my first fight. Rather than feel discouraged, I was motivated and grateful to have a new challenge to prepare for. I was meat at my current level so my party needed a big overhaul, and this led to me delving further into the game’s mechanics.
The first, most obvious idea to improve your party is to level up. The problem in DQVII is that it takes forever to get EXP, as evidenced by the fact that I was level 44 after 100 hours. I had so much more potential to come in this aspect alone. So where to grind? The post-game dungeon has some fierce enemies, but still takes about an hour for each level without giving much more EXP than usual. The answer is in the StreetPass tablets. You can either create your own using monsters you’ve tamed, or download some from the Square-Enix servers in the bar at The Haven. There’s one labeled as a Treasure Hunt of some sort which is meant to be great for grinding, but I wasn’t “lucky” enough to get that Tablet on my weekly-rotation DLC list. I say lucky in quotes because not having an easy way to grind led me to actually recruit monsters myself for this purpose, and I had a lot of fun doing it.
I opened up The Big Book of Beasts to see which enemies provided the most EXP. I love this thing. It details the EXP, gold, items, and shows a pic of each enemy. I scrolled through until I found the highest EXP enemy I could recruit that wasn’t a random Metal Slime. The Bird of Terrordise in the final dungeon (Fire Amulet area) gives a crazy 2000 EXP compared to 400-600 from other enemies in the area, and isn’t that much more difficult to defeat. It was the perfect monster for my first custom tablet.
Now how do you recruit them? Firstly, ignore that “Hard to Tame” ranking, you can tame anything as long as you have a Monster Masher.
Ruff was my boy once again. There’s a bit of luck involved in recruiting enemies, but an ability called Animal Magnetism learned by high-level Monster Mashers increases these odds with each usage. After 5 uses, you are GUARANTEED to recruit the monster. Because I have trust issues with luck-based mechanics, I opted to use this ability on the dozen monsters I recruited. Once you find the monster you want, set your other 3 players to each defend or heal (so you don’t kill the monster), then proceed to kill it after your Monster Masher has used 5 magnets. It will look at you with a lonely face then run off to the Monster Meadows if you select “Yes”. Now, when you opt to create a Tablet, you can pick that enemy from a list.
My recruitment journey was a long one. Metal Slimes ARE mathematically the best way to grind if you can recruit them and chase them all over the map, but I did not want to deal with the frustration and randomness. I spent 2 hours around Grondal failing to recruit Metal King Slimes and Liquid Slimes as they would always flee. That was enough for me. In some Dragon Quest games Metal Slime farming is the way to go, but I did not find them to be worth it in Dragon Quest VII. Maybe I just got bad luck, but whatever. I found another way and committed myself to it.
While creating a tablet with the Bird of Terrordise as one of the enemies, I had to put 2 other stock monsters in there, so it wasn’t perfect. Every tablet requires 3 monsters. Luckily, some other random dudes showed up as “friends” of one of these monsters. Night Knight and Draculard approached me for the first time inside this tablet I made, and I was surprised to see they also gave around 2000 EXP. Since they were just “extra” random monsters in this dungeon with a very low appearance rate, I decided to recruit them too and make an even better tablet. Finally, I had a tablet where every single battle netted me 2000 to 6000 EXP, making grinding become fast and easy for the first time in the game.
EXP isn’t the only thing you can farm from monsters. With some of the best gear in DQVII being at the casino, you can also benefit from gold. You could potentially play your cards right at the casino table to get these items, but I hate this. I tried a few and felt dirty, gambling is just something that personally I have issues with. It’s not even remotely satisfying. My approach simply involved getting enough money to buy enough casino tokens. In total, I believe just under 1 million gold can get you 50,000 tokens in a direct exchange, which is the ridiculous price for the Metal King Helm.
Oh yes, march onward my beauties. These are my Gem Slimes; Gemma, Gemaine and Gemima. They are THE richest monsters in this game by a significant amount, netting 3000 gold each when defeated. The next closest is the Gold Golem at 1000 but they are both just as easy to tame, so you may as well go for the Gem Slime. They are found in the lower levels of the volcano near Emberdale and not even that rare. So wait, don’t you need 3 different monsters to create a tablet? How did I get three Gem Slimes? If you customise the Monster Meadows properly, you can find this extra layer of depth.
Those Enclosure Plans you get throughout the game finally have a purpose. If you create a barn, instead of leaving it empty like I did for the entire main game, you can assign a monster to it. This allows you to recruit MULTIPLE of the same monster and have them stored in the barn. I did this with Gem Slimes, and had 3 sent in there. This meant doing the recruitment process 3 times but it wasn’t that big a deal, considering how common they are. You can also recruit within tablets, so once you have one you essentially can recruit as many as you want.
After creating a perfect Gem Slime tablet to maximise money, I also did the same for Night Knights with EXP since they offer slightly more EXP than Birds of Terrordise and Draculord. May as well create the best tablet possible before the grind, so here it is.
Meet Sir Dark, Sir Loin, and Sir Viss. That’s right not only does the grind get incredibly meta, but the pun meta-game runs just as deep. Even though most of the monster names are already puns, they each have three PET NAMES in the meadows that are puns of the pun. I can’t believe how far they went with the writing in this game. The whole process was worth it just to see this. Try recruiting multiple of your favourite monster to see all their cute names.
I had my tablets as perfect as I could get them now, and just grinded away from here. My money maxed out pretty quickly and levels came in steadily. This might not be everyone’s idea of a fun gaming session, but with my current lifestyle I have a lot of dead time going to work and taking care of family matters. A half hour while sitting in the car, lunch room or doctor’s office would mean a lot of progress in DQVII with my perfect tablets. I got addicted to it because I was so determined to beat The Almighty.
After gaining a handful of levels, I fought him and beat him for the first time at Level 52. Unfortunately, because it took me 24 turns I did not get any reward. Are you kidding me? He holds Fragments for the final post-game dungeon, and you have to beat him in 19 turns or less to get them. I knew it was only a matter of time before I did this, so I grinded some more and changed my strategy a bit. His lightning attacks hit hard and fast, so I used Omniheal almost every turn, whether I needed to or not. I also switched the rest of my party from Heroes to Champions to use the best ability in the game every turn, Blade of Ultimate Power. Before this I was using Gigaslash and doing 300-400 damage, but now I was doing 600 per turn. It made a big difference and I finally demolished him.
That was very satisfying to get in 9 turns. If anyone can beat that I would love to hear your strategy, because as far as I can understand my team and battle was perfect. I healed at all the right moments and unleashed big attacks consistently. My other attempts after that got it done in 11 and 10 turns. The only quicker way I can imagine is getting to level 99 and using your pure attack stat, combined with Oomph! to double it. Is there any need to do that though? Who is waiting in the final-final dungeon? What’s NEXT?
As it turns out, nothing serious. I enjoyed the final unlockable dungeon but it was not as challenging as The Almighty. Just a cool little scenario. So now I’m level 63 and the only thing left to do is beat The Almighty in fewer turns. I consider myself done with the game now. I had a lot of fun, but also wished the rabbit hole went deeper after I got so good at digging. Maybe it’s for the best, as a level 99 enemy could have taken over my life. It might be possible to face a harder enemy if you level up a tablet over and over, but I’ve beaten every tablet I’ve downloaded and they don’t seem to get more difficult at higher levels. If anyone has one that is more difficult than The Almighty, I’d love to do a StreetPass trade.
Oh, what’s that? Dragon Quest VIII is out this week? Excellent. I’ll see you in a month.