Peninsula of Power Leveling
In video games with RPG Elements
, not to mention RPGs
themselves, there are often locations that are prime for quickly gathering experience (and, rarely, other resources). This can be due to a number of factors:
- Enemies well beyond what you should be meeting, with commensurate awards, are available - particularly if near a source of healing (a Save Point, a Trauma Inn, or the like).
- A Guest Star Party Member has joined you and gives you enough power to overwhelm what you ordinarily can't handle.
- An area so overloaded with various types of Metal Slime that you're bound to take out a couple by attrition alone.
- It's extraordinarily easy to take advantage of Elemental Rock-Paper-Scissors in this area.
- Otherwise formidable, the local enemies are weak to a crippling status debuff that rarely works anywhere else.
- An area where you can get incredibly useful items, either by Video Game Stealing, Randomly Drops, or findable in abundance while just walking around.
These areas quickly become popular, as players quickly stock up in these locales on experience (and usually money
, although that's usually secondary to the main goal). Some of these areas are accessible via Sequence Breaking
; they were supposed to be standard rewards when encountered, and players have found a shortcut to get to them earlier.
Some Peninsulas need not be a specific physical location in a game world — a Temporal
Peninsula of Power Leveling is a specific timeframe during which it is vastly conducive to gaining experience — be it a specific part of the story where a Guest Star Party Member
joins you (or the Required Party Member
leaves) or perhaps during the area before a boss (often a Load-Bearing Boss
) falls, or even a specific repeatable fight that is only available for a limited time (in the long term). These specific types of areas are very conducive to power leveling, but have one thing in common — after a certain story event, they become Lost Forever
Due to how popular these become, many attract a Fan Nickname
if not explicitly named in the game itself.
See also Infinite 1-Ups
, Metal Slime
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- Even games that aren't exactly RPGs can do this. Castlevania: Symphony of the Night has a nearly unbeatable enemy located in the Royal Chapel called a Spiked Ball. Despite not being an enemy so much as a piece of weaponry perched on top of a Bone Pillar on top of a long set of stairs that just happens to be lying in one particular spot and which does massive amounts of Collision Damage, you can destroy it if you stand as close as possible to it, equip a fist weapon, and hold the attack button for a minute or two. It's a piece of cake to gain 10 levels in this room if you so desire.
- Also, once you reach the inverted castle's Marble Corridor, you encounter the game's Boss in Mook Clothing the Guardians. While ridiculously powerful, their attacks can be easily telegraphed and avoided. Since they are the highest-level non-boss enemies in the game, they fork over absurd amounts of experience when killed, and a drop chance for a decent two-handed sword as well as a rare chance for the best set-stat armor in the game (second only to the Walk Armor when all of both castles are explored.)
- In the first castle, actually the beginning of the first castle, in the Castle Keep. You stand right next to the stairs where the zombies won't reach you, and you can cut down unlimited amounts of zombies, risk free! But it is only 1 exp per zombie so a controller with an auto option is handy. The mermans are handy for this as well, allowing the most patient of gamers to gain 40 levels after a few days of waiting with the PSX on.
- Castlevania: Harmony of Dissonance has a room full of skeletons in tanks in Castle A's Skeleton Cavern. These enemies are called Skeleton Glass, and once they burst out of the tank they're not much more dangerous than regular skeletons, and go down as fast. But their experience drop, while not the best, is pretty high up there.
- In Mega Man X, right at the beginning of Armored Armadillo's stage, there is a bat enemy that gives an extra life 90% of the time when it dies and respawns indefinitely. You're not supposed to see it though since you should normally be riding on a minecart at ten times the speed of light.
- In Mega Man Legends 2, there is a single enemy in the B-class ruins that drops 10,000 Zenny per kill with an S License, can be killed with a single throw from the Lifter, and, unlike almost all other enemies in the game, respawns when you leave and come back to the room it's in. Because doing this can net a skilled player equipped with a fully-upgraded Vacuum Arm around 50,000 Zenny per minute, money grinding this guy for an hour or two will allow you to upgrade most of your weapons to a point where the rest of the game becomes trivial at best.
- In the Manda Ruins early on in the game you will meet clamp like enemies in a long corridor who shoot at you, if you have the Rocket Launcher they fall easily and drop decent loot in addition to energy for the weapon. They also respawn like the above example.
Card Battle Game
- Metal Gear Acid 2 there is a short level atop a moving train with only a handful of robot opponents. Using Stinger/FIM type weapons, you can attack these opponents even at the far end of the level, taking the target and any of the robots on the immediate squares out in one shot. This means you can complete the level in about three moves with the robots not even getting a turn. This makes the level very good for grinding for new cards.
- The Arena Mode also qualifies, since it rotates only a handful of bosses (Liquid Snake, Revolver Ocelot, Vamp, Fortune, The End, The Boss, Teliko and Venus), each of whom have very predicable AI and strategy even on Hard and Extreme mode (with Venus, you even know the contents of her hand at all times). Once you've learned these and built a deck to fit around them, you can beat even Extreme mode characters with minimal effort, way before your characters should be able to, and grind for cards while raking in the points. And there's no penalty for losing.
- In Yugioh The Sacred Cards, The easiest way to get your level up quickly in the final levels is to stack your deck with Shadow and Fiend monsters when it comes time to duel Ishizu, curbstomp her Light and Dream monsters for 30 deck points and a rare card, then lose to Kaiba on purpose. When you return to the museum you have to start over with Ishizu again, giving you 30 deck points each time.
- Even Dissidia: Final Fantasy has one of these; the Exdeath Trick. Equip a character with as many EXP boosting accessories as possible and the non-auto summoning Magic Pot summon and fight a level 100 Exdeath in Quick Battle. Due to his poor AI and the effects of the summon (lets you copy opponent's Brave), it's rather easy to beat him, netting you tons of experience.
- It's even easier if you fight the Exdeath from the Omega friend card. He uses the Barbariccia summon, which swaps your bravery with his when you use any summon. It's essentially the same trick as with Magic Pot, but with the added benefit of being able to use almost any manual summon and not having to wait for Magic Pot to recharge.
- And you can get even easier XP once you've unlocked Gabranth (The FFXII character). His special attacks don't do any damage, just make him stand still and charge up his EX gauge. If you set his AI to cautious, he won't attack you directly, so as long as you keep at him, stopping him from charging up his gauge, he won't do any damage to you, even at level 100, at which point you'll be getting up to 80+ levels with the proper bonuses per kill with a low-level character.
- The ability to create custom rules in Duodecim adds to the fun. By setting the respawn and absorbtion rate of the EX Gauge and EX Cores and equipping "Force to Courage" (which converts all the absorbed EX Force to Bravery), Cores will instantly spawn and you can raise your Bravery to the maximum and possibly killing your opponent in one shot, without the need of Manual Magick Pot.
- But wait! It gets even easier! You can set Bravery Bonus to -100 in Custom Rules, and the game will start awarding total bravery to the lower-leveled character in any fight. Thus if you use adjusted-to-level-1 character against lv 100 character, your bravery will start at 9999 or close to it! Combine this with impotent characters like Gabranth and "Minimal" A.I., and you'll get a honest-to-Cosmos max-level character roster in no time! And you can alter PSP system clock so that it's always your Bonus Day, making the progress even faster!
Hack And Slash
- In Diablo 2, the first area of the 5th act in the expansion pack used to be a great place to level grind thanks to relatively easy monsters who gave exp like candy. Pretty sure it got fixed in a patch later on though.
- The general peninsulas for Diablo 2 are something along the lines of:
- Tristram for 1-15
- Tomb runs for 15-20
- Cow level for 20-25
- Baal Runs on varying difficulty modes for 25 on.
- Getting a Bug Rush to Act 4 in Hell Mode at level 24+ can get you to level 65+ in mere minutes.
- There's also an Ascended Glitch that lets you equip items to gain stats, which lets you equip even better items. Given the proper (extremely hard to find, due to Rare Item drop rates/combinations, forging, and the other ways of getting gear in the game) you can equip just about any item in the game by using this feature.
- In Dark Souls, there's an area you need a 20000 soul emblem in order to access. Go in and exploit the AI of the enemies there, and you can gain a massive amount of souls (as seen here).
First Person Shooter
- Since Borderlands and its sequel Borderlands 2 have RPG elements, there are several areas in the game which allow players to take advantage of the opportunity to grind levels and loot chests. The Rust Commons West area in the first game is the most prominent one in the mid-game zone. It has numerous (often unshielded) enemies which can also be run over with your vehicle. There are also several lootable chests within relatively easy access of the fast-travel station, and a hidden 'developer chest' with better-than-average chances to spawn good weapons that resets every time you save, exit, and reload the game. The same can be said of Lynchwood in Borderlands 2, which has huge lines of sight and a slew of fairly straightforward bandit enemies, making it perfect for a sniper on the go. It also doesn't hurt that it has vending machines available mere steps from the best early sniping vantage points. Finally, it is loaded to the gills with no less than fourteen weapon chests and item lockers.
- If an EXP camp is described as a "insert-word-here-burn" in Final Fantasy XI, chances are you're going to get a lot of EXP. Because of the way the game's evolved, it's increasingly rare to find "standard" experience parties anymore, as everyone prefers to abuse the following types of EXP.
- The most common type, melee burns (otherwise known as TP burns), do nothing but slaughter birds at a mind-boggling pace. They abuse the fact that colibri birds parrot spells cast on them... but are otherwise very weak and have laughable normal attacks, so melee characters can mow them down effortlessly.
- Manaburns involve five Black Mages and one level synced leech frying crabs and fish on Qufim Island at a similar pace. Other locations that don't involve level sync include killing tigers in Vunkerl Inlet or ghosts in the past version of Xarcabard, but they all basically involve many mages liquefying a mob in a round or two.
- Furthermore, many areas count for solo Black Mages, as beastmaster mobs won't attack you for attacking their pet if they don't see you doing so. A Black Mage can simply pull the pet away while the master's back is turned. Alternatively, killing the pet in one spell will never cause the master to attack you, even if he's looking right at his pet.
- Finally, there are Astral burns (or "SMN burns") in Korroloka Tunnel, in which a max-level player draws/links half the tunnel into following and attacking him, at which point a party of Summoners use Astral Flow and kill every mob instantly while level synced to a low-level leech. It's a very blatant abuse of the level sync system (meant to allow friends of disparate levels to party together), but it's widely and routinely abused so much that Square can't reasonably ban anyone over it.
- People will even pay (in-game) money to leech SMN burn exp. A fair number of players get rich by allowing others to leech their way to max level this way, and players who level this way are stereotyped as having, well, bribed their way to victory, and are looked down upon for it.
- The zones from the Vision of Abyssea and Scars of Abyssea micro-expansions were built to be areas where players could acquire huge amounts of XP that make all of the above methods look slow in comparison. This was designed as part of a massive send-off as the playerbase, in theory, moved en mass to Final Fantasy XIV, but, well...
- In Kingdom of Loathing, several of the areas in Spookyraven Manor work this way, with different areas tuned to different stats. This is especially useful with Clovers later on - a properly-equipped player (with a lot of funds) can reach level 15 easily through them, without a single combat.
- One good spot is the Haunted Bedroom once you break the staircase and get the backup working. With the right choices, you can get leveled up fairly quickly.
- These are common in the MMORPG genre as well, and tend to be places where low level characters can tag along with high level characters kicking tail. City of Heroes has Peregrine Island, while City of Villains has Grandville, both being the highest-level zones. Briefly, there was a lot of powerlevelling in the starter zones due to a bug. (which people massively complained about when it was fixed)
- Due to how leveling is handled in Ace Online / Air Rivals, there are only several maps where each class goes to: A-Gears usually settle in Alioth, while higher level ones prefer Lumein Volcano. B-Gears prefer Dimension Corridor "wall", or when not available, Island Dream or again, Alioth. Defense M-Gears can also grind in Alioth or sharegrind with B-Gears in Dimension Corridor or Chaos. For I-Gears however, there's only one map: CMM (short for Chaos Mission Map). The catch? Due to the intense PVP-based gaming that Ace Online is, Alioth and CMM are perpetually open to both nations, meaning that while it is usually a no-fire zone, wars often break out to determine "ownership" of said maps. Island Dream and Dimension Corridor likewise has an "open" version as well.
- The maps above primarily satisfy the "very weak and numerous" rule. Otherwise, these maps wouldn't be as popular; each map enemy's exp reward vs. toughness is inherently progressing lower and lower (that is, enemies get tougher while yielding dismally low exp in return) as players advance in maps, so these grindmaps make up for it by sheer numbers of mobs even though the exp reward becomes more and more useless as level progresses. For instance, a level 8x I-Gear would take 2-3 kills in Chaos Mission Map to bring his/her exp bar up by 0.01!
- For about a day, there was a quest in Star Wars: Galaxies which got you half a level for every completion. This quest was repeatable, but it was intended that the opposing faction (Rebel or Imperial) was supposed to stop you. Fortunately for the Rebels, the Imperial players didn't feel like it. This made it possible for the Rebel players to continuously complete the quest, allowing for very quick leveling. Many players were literally able to jump 70+ levels in that one day (a feat which should have taken weeks or months normally).
- Lion Heart Castle/Lion King Castle (Usually abbreviated as LHC, regardless of region) in MapleStory. It is one of several Party-Play zones in the game that gives extra experience if more people are in your party. During 2X events (where the experience given by monsters is doubled) it's not uncommon to find almost every map with at least one party grinding. Killing one mob can give hundreds of thousands of experience, which you'll need at higher levels.
- zOMG!: Due to experience being an item-drop, most boss instances can be repeatedly farmed for "Charge Orbs" if you have a full party, but the Saw Mill is the most popular due to its accessibility, simplicity, and gold payout.
- In World of Warcraft random dungeon groups are often viewed as one of the best ways to quickly grind levels and gain gear. The combination of experience from mobs, quests, and the completion bonus are significant and the drops are generally superior to average quest rewards at the same level.
- Deepholm is a preferred location for power-leveling to 85 by using locations with fast-respawning enemies and NPCs willing to help kill them.
- A rare Platform Game example, in Super Mario Galaxy: Bubble Blast Galaxy is a paradise of Star Bits, and dying and retrying a few tens of times there you can collect up to 9999 to turn the coconuts into watermelons.
- Henry Hatsworth In The Puzzling Adventure contains another example. Purchasing all the upgrades pretty much requires money grinding (or a New Game+), but the end-of-level treasure chests contain less treasure on repeat visits. However, there is one treasure chest in 5-4 (the first part of Weasalby's Mansion) that contains a huge amount of gems, and respawns every time you enter the level. Provided you know where to find the chest, you can easily amass over 5000 money for each pass through the level.
- In the first and second Mega Man Zero games, Zero has to level up his weapons in order to upgrade that weapon and unlock new abilities. In the first game, this can be achieved as early as Aztec Falcon's stage. After finishing the mission, return to the area, home to Totem Cannons. Attacking these Cannons repeatedly (since they regenerate infinitely) would level up Zero's skills with no penalty.
- The introductory stage's area works very well for this, too, due to spiders that constantly spawn from their nests. It can't be used to level every weapon, however - the mission that gets you the Triple Rod ends with the area self-destructing, after which you can't return.
Role Playing Game
- The trope name comes from the Fan Nickname for a peninsula north of Pravoka in Final Fantasy I - originally a Good Bad Bug where a few squares accidentally held the data for the wrong area of monsters, but it quickly became popular due to its potential for massive experience early on. All rereleases have kept said bug.
- Anyone interested in some simple Sequence Breaking can get to the Castle of Ordeals as soon as they reach Crescent Lake, and get some great experience (plus the first reuseable magic-casting items and a sword that's highly effective against nearly everything in the next major dungeon) and a class upgrade before fighting the Fiend of Fire.
- There is also the Hall of Giants, an area on the first floor of the Earth Cave in which every step is populated by giants. Great for later on, when the Peninsula Of Power and the Castle of Ordeals no longer give great experience awards.
- In early versions of the game the fight with The Eye in the Ice Cave was this, due to your ability to step one step away from where he spawns, step back, and fight him again ad nauseum. He had an instant death attack, but the chances of it succeeding were very low, he cast it infrequently, and after a certain point he died too fast for this to be an issue. Similar fights against elementals in the usually empty side rooms and in front of certain chests also provided similar gains.
- Final Fantasy II has a quite literal Peninsula of Power below the very first town, retained in the GBA version. A few squares to the south of the first town have enemies far stronger than anything one will encounter for much of the game. Leveling off of them for a few hours makes the remainder of the game trivial at best.
- The entire game works like that, though. And there's absolutely no indication of where the borders between one type of monster and another should be, unlike Dragon Quest and its "cross and you die" bridges. It doesn't help that the entire planet is a Pangaea, and that you could theoretically walk all the way to Palamecia without a boat or even a canoe.
- Final Fantasy III has the Undersea Cave; a completely optional place which gives a lot of experience for comparatively little effort. Just one runthrough to get all the treasure inside will level your party up by at least 3-5 levels.
- There's also Lake Dohr and Bahamut's Lair, at least in the DS remake. Even better than the Undersea Cave, though you can't reach them until you get the third airship, the Invincible. Unfortunately, Lake Dohr can't be accessed after you defeat Leviathan, however Bahamut's Lair remains open as long as you need it. You're going to need it.
- Grinding on Mount Ordeals with a solo Paladin Cecil in Final Fantasy IV makes most of the next few dungeons (Lodestone Cavern, Tower of Zot, Sealed Cave) far more bearable, thanks to the levels of your permanent companions being tied to Cecil's at that point in the game.
- In Final Fantasy V, there's the castle with the sealed legendary weapons in world 2. When you first go there, you'll meet dragons who are much too tough for you. If you have a Beastmaster in the party, however, those monsters can be controlled with the "Control" ability, and can be made to kill themselves for massive experience.
- There's also the basement of Bal Castle, and only one kind of enemy: Objet d'Art. They come in groups of two and five, and are vulnerable to the Blue Magic spell Level 5 Death. Groups of two give you 4 ABP, while groups of five give you 8. This makes it the ideal grinding spot for Jobs for a good portion of the game. AND the castle has its own Inn and save point.
- It is also possible to kill these monsters instantly (one at a time) by using the Gold Needle on them. Gold Needles are purchasable in the castle above, and costs less than the Gil received for killing the monsters.
- Final Fantasy VI has a few:
- In the SNES version, Triangle Island, found in the World of Balance, where you can quickly learn spells from fighting the Intangir, which is normally a Boss in Mook Clothing due to its astounding HP (more than Ultima Weapon!) and the fact that it always counterattacks with a powerful Meteo spell, even before it dies. The Intangir begins battle in the "Vanish" state. Thanks to a Good Bad Bug in the original version, "Vanish" status makes instant death spells hit with 100% accuracy, despite the fact that the Intangir itself is immune to Instant Death. So you enter battle, use Gau's Mu/Rhodox Rage, Intangir dies without using Meteo, and you get 10 AP, which means you need a maximum of 10 of these guys to gain even the hardest-to-gain spells.
- Dinosaur Forest, in the northern part of the World of Ruin, which contains the strongest enemies in the game. They give great experience (and the possibility to obtain a Game Breaker relic), provided you're able to survive multiple Meteor spells (and maybe even an Ultima spell!).
- And if you send one of your characters there alone with an Experience Egg, you can get over 17,000 XP (effectively gaining one level per enemy). However, this is only possible if you've got either the Master's Scroll or Soul of Thamasa relic (which allow you to attack/cast spells multiple times, respectively) equipped.
- This trick can also be combined with another trick mentioned below. While it won't net you as much EXP, the enemies around the Dinosaur Forest do net you a decent amount and equipping a character with the Experience Egg makes up the difference rather well. And, as an added bonus, staying on the grassy area means you only run into enemies that use physical attacks; getting the Vanish status on a character means you can grind for as long as you wish and never take any damage. While it's somewhat slower than using the forest, it is significantly safer.
- There's also the desert near Maranda in the World of Ruin, which is inhabited by Cactuars. Cactuars give you no EXP, but 10 AP and 10,000 gil, and are easy to kill with defense-piercing and evasion-ignoring attacks. The other enemy in the region, the Slagworm, is somewhat tough for lower levels, because it can counterattack with two Sandstorms (each one deals around 1000 HP worth of Wind-elemental damage to the entire party), but it's vulnerable to the Death and Stop spells, and it gives good EXP, 5 AP and 10,000 gil. It's an excellent place to learn spells in the World of Ruin, and make a lot of money while doing it.
- The Veldt is the equivalent in the World of Balance. It doesn't raise levels, but you probably don't want to grind too much before you get Espers that raise your stats at level-ups. You want magic points to learn spells. And you get magic points and gil in spades.
- There is a section in an early part of the game where the party is on a raft which can move through a repeating loop of river without player interaction, and Banon, a Guest Star Party Member, has a no-MP heal command. The upshot of this was that rubber-banding down the controller on one button and leaving the SNES on overnight would let you come back to find your characters around level 60 with only a few hours of real playtime elapsed. Most expert players would advise against using this trick at this point in the game, though, as the best stat gains are obtained when Espers (acquired much later) are equipped. (Though the game will become quite easy at level 60+ regardless.) The main use also tends to be in minimal step runs, as this process doesn't use any steps.
- There's also the small island in the World of Ruin where Doma Castle sits. If you cast Vanish (or summon Phantom) to make one party member invisible, you can solo the monsters and gain tons of Exp. As long as you stay on the brownish-yellowish field part of the island, you'll only encounter enemies that attack with physical attacks, so you'll never get knocked out of Vanish.
- Final Fantasy VII has Junon Cannon Alarm. After the trip through the sea, you can return to Junon and go to the passageway under the lift (which Rufus rode earlier). There are bunch of Shinra Troops practising military parade and a red switch on the wall. Press the switch and you can fight enemies that'll get you level 60 or more.
- There's also Gongaga Reactor where the enemy Heavy Tank dwells (an anthromorphic robot triceratops with treadmills for its legs, whose primary attack is a wheelie) which you can morph for Power Source item which raises your strength. Grinding there will eventually leave you with a party with max strength on disc 1.
- Once you get the morph materia from the Temple of the Ancients, go back to several areas you've been to before. You can morph several known enemies into different kinds of Source, which will permanently increase a party member's stat by 1, and is normally a quite rare item (you get a smattering of "Sources" through the entire game). People normally don't get many sources since they are unaware that simply morphing an enemy (like the Heavy Tank, above) will get them a decent amount of a certain source, if you know where to look. Feel free to max out your stats, now.
- Mideel's eastern half is accessible as soon as you gain the tiny brnoco, and has several enemies that yield hundreds of AP and thousands of XP and Gil. Furthermore, the area has enemies that can drop both Turbo Ethers and X-potions, giving you the best healing and MP restoration you'll need for most of the game.
- There's also the Sunken Gelnika, a bonus dungeon that you can access once you get the Submarine.
- The Swamp Room in the Northern Crater is the only location where you can fight Movers and Magic Pots.
- Movers, bouncing red spheres which appear in groups of three, grant 800 AP each. If you put the most powerful Materia, Knights Of The Round, into a weapon that triples AP gains, you can duplicate it in just 70 battles.
- Magic Pots will request Elixirs from you, in exchange for massive experience and ability points. You can either exploit the W-Item trick to create infinite Elixirs to give to these Magic Pots, or (if you prefer to do things legit) you can steal them from Master Tonberrys, which also spawn in the area.
- The northwestern room of the Mythril Mines are often used to level up limit breaks, which require a character to kill a certain number of enemies. This room is usefull becace the enemies always appear in groups of 4 or 5, and right after the opportunity to acquire the useful Matra Magic skill, which can defeat this whole group in one casting.
- Final Fantasy VIII has the Island Closest To Heaven and the Island Closest To Hell: two islands filled with level 100 monsters that have great spells to steal, plus many draw points for powerful spells like Ultima and Full-Life. If you have a plan in mind, here is where you can build your characters up to take on Omega; if you don't, here is where you can squander the Low-Level Advantage the game gives you and ratchet up the difficulty level for the rest of the game.
- Cactuar Island and the desert near it have primarily Cactaur encounters which give off 20 AP (Ability Points) each, so abilities can be learned quickly. As a bonus, they also give you very little EXP, letting you preserve your Low-Level Advantage.
- Here's a fun game to play on the Islands Closest to Heaven and Hell: Have Quistis in critical condition and use Degenerator over and over again, since the monsters only attack you one at a time, and very few non-boss enemies are immune to it, none of which are present on either island.
- During the monster rain in Esthar, there's an NPC you can speak to to trigger a fight with an Elnoyle. Due to the way monsters scale with player level, you're guaranteed to gain a level almost every single time you kill an Elnoyle. And Elnoyles are vulnerable to instant death, so junction 100 Dooms to a weapon and watch the exp roll in.
- Final Fantasy IX has Popos Heights, an area accessible only by a vine ladder in a dungeon, or by airship. The dungeon is very early in the game, so you'd be fighting level 60 monsters at level 20 or so, each of which give around 8800 EXP per battle. Combine with a character who has an instant death spell that always hits on that monster, and awa-ay we go!
- Final Fantasy X's Omega Ruins. One or two battles there will yield enough AP to let your characters move several spaces on the Sphere Grid. Perfect for endgame Stat Grinding.
- A dozen or so battles in the Omega Ruins will make the notoriously difficult final boss a cake-walk. A few dozen more and the ease with which you demolish him could be considered cruel and unusual.
- There's also the Monster Arena, where repeatedly fighting certain monsters allows you to both optimize and retraverse the Sphere Grid to make your characters strong enough to stand a chance against the Bonus Bosses.
- The Highbridge are before the battle against Seymour Natus is worth a mention. The enemies here award you large sums of AP, more than you get in Mt. Gagazet. Kimahri isn't available because he fending Seymour off before the party decide to turn back and all fight together. Also, Yuna just got a summon (Bahamut) with a powerful all-target attack that isn't an overdrive, which it can spam to make quick work of the groups of enemies you fight here.
- Final Fantasy XII has one that's available almost at the beginning of the game. Because of the rather strange Beef Gate random encounters on the overworld map, it's possible to come across enemies dozens of levels beyond your current level, since enemies in this game do not scale to the party's levels. Near the Westersand is a respawning creature called a Dustia, which just happens to be undead. And because in this game Revive Kills Zombie, all Vaan needs to do is show up with an inventory full of Phoenix Downs and use them when Dustia spawns. As long as the player leaves the map before the XP count shows up on screen, the Dustia will continue to respawn while the XP and gold awards will still register. Over about three hours, you'll be around level 40 before the game's tutorial is technically over, and by selling the rare drops Dustia generates, you'll have more money than you know what to do with. What's more, because of the game's Leaked Experience system, every party member that joins from then on, which is every other party member, will have a similar level to Vaan's vastly inflated total.
- An even better option, with no player input needed, is the famous Negalmuur method. The Negalmuur is a strong, difficult to find enemy, and the only creature in the game to constantly spawn its own minions. With clever use of the gambit system, which allows for automatic party members actions, the party can be configured to keep themselves healed, target Negalmuur's minions, and leave Negalmuur himself alone. Leave the game on overnight, and by morning, all three party members will be at level 99, with full LPs, and an inventory full of valuable loot.
- Final Fantasy XIII has a few: The behemoth/megistotherian battle near Mah'habara, using Vanille's summon and Limit Break on adamantoises, and grinding cactuars in Titan's trials. For pure CP, the group of 6 Cryohedrons in Mah'habara is pretty good, as they're easy to kill (especially with Firaga) give over 7,000 CP per fight (over 14,000 with the Growth Egg), and is pretty easy to get them to respawn.
- Continuously saving and loading on the last part of the Tesseracts (located in Orphan's Cradle) in the last area (before the Tiamat Eliminator fight) can net about 70,000 CP every time, plus some valuable Vendor Trash.
- Perhaps the best grinding spot for Vendor Trash is the group of 4 Sacrifices in the first area of the last chapter, as both of their drops can be sold for a nice profit. It also doesn't take long to walk away and come back to make them respawn. Unfortunately, once you reach the final boss, the only way to respawn the Sacrifices then is to save and reload after every fight.
- Final Fantasy XIII-2 keeps up the series tradition: Pay a visit to Dying World 700 AF, activate the attract tougher enemies fragment skill and watch the Metallicactuars line up to hand you thousands of CP.
- Maxing out your monster's levels is a more complicated task than regular level grinding as monsters require special materials to become stronger. Some high grade materials can be bought, but expect to pay for them through the nose. Alternatively, setting the Archylte Steppe's weather machine to rainy will turn the Clearwater Marshes into an excellent grinding spot for Potent Essences and Crystals. As an added bonus, this is also a good location to grind for the tedious Clock Stopper achievement/trophy.
- Because non-story enemies level with you in Final Fantasy Tactics and the way experience works in this game (the amount of experience you gain is based on your target's level relative to yours), the very first random encounter area can easily become this, as ability-wise it's got the easiest enemies in the game. Once you've leveled your jobs up enough you can whip out some class/ability combinations that allow you to level almost indefinitely with minimal effort. As such, grinding for a few hours on the Mandalia Plains effectively makes the rest of the game trivial at best.
- This can, however, prove very problematic if done wrong, because while the levels of random encountered mooks will advance with you, their equipment will not, as it's determined by your storyline progression. This, of course, leaves an even playing field, as you won't have equipment they won't have and vice versa - until you run into a random encounter full of non-mook monsters, balanced against the hypothesis that you are not engaging in level-grinding, and have equipment commensurate to your level. Cue an Oh Crap moment if you're not very powerful and built not to rely on your equipment.
- Dragon Quest I: The Rimuldar Islands, particularly the south island, the Grave of Garin, the area around the town of Cantlin, and the lower levels of the Dragonlord's castle(although the enemies here are the rather tough Elite Mooks).
- On the western most continent, at the very southern tip of the western side (due south of Hawkness, the ghost town where Loto/Erdrick's Armor is found) is a strip of hilly land that has a high rate of Metal Slime encounters, mixed in with other high exp monsters. But since you cross two bridges to get there, it can be dangerous. In the original Dragon Warrior/Quest, Random Encounters became exponentially more difficult with each bridge crossed.
- There's also a strip at the edge of Rimuldar where you can encounter the enemy set from the Cantlin area.
- DQ1 is full of these. Besides the famous coast of Rimuldar, there is the "Scorpion's Nest", a row of hills southwest of Tantegel with enemies from the Mountain Cave region, and a strip of land northeast of Hauksness with enemies from the Dragonlord's island. DQ1 even has reverse PoPs - areas with much weaker monsters than you should be fighting (the mouth of the Mountain Cave, a strip northwest of Hauksness, the entrance to the Dragonlord's island, and a huge area of hills southeast of Cantlin).
- In Dragon Quest II, the bottom part of the island of Osterfair is home to groups of eight Metal Slimes, and certain floors of the Cave to Rhone can be farmed for Metal Babbles.
- In Dragon Quest III, east of Kanave/Kazave, there is a small section where you can fight high experience enemies normally found across the river near the Dragon Queen's castle.
- Dragon Quest VI has one applicable to improving jobs — while most areas have a Cap that, should your levels pass it, make it so you cannot improve your jobs in the areas in question, the Spiegelspire does not. As such, you can always return there and wail on mid-game enemies when your power well exceeds what you need to plow through them and improve jobs at your leisure, and the Zoom spell allows the party to travel there anytime when outdoors in the Dream World. Particularly useful as mastering jobs gives stat bonuses and access to multiple powerful attacks that don't cost anything to use and do a fixed amount of damage on multiple enemies that you can use regardless of your current job.
- Dragon Quest VII has the Slime Forest. A forest area north of Krage. While there you fight nothing but slimes of all kinds, including Metal Slimes, Metal King Slimes, Metal Babbles, and Gold Slimes. Best place in the game for money and experienced. Even better is the fact every fight, even those against normal slimes give you Job Points no matter your level. No better place to max out everything you want in the game.
- The Slime Plateau in Dragon Quest VIII - while not as filled with Metal Slimes as the aforementioned Metal Menagerie (but with no time limit), it has three different varieties that are all common encounters. You're pretty much guaranteed to take down a few sooner or later.
- Another area, the Dragon Graveyard, has no purpose aside from a mid-game sidequest set inside. However, several battles will reveal that the elusive and highly prized Metal King Slime resides there. It gets better. Another indigenous monster, the Beelzebuzz, has the ability to cast the spell "Kerplunk", which revives all defeated allies at the cost of the user's life. Beelzebuzzes often appear in droves. So the formula becomes: find a battle with an MKS and several Beelzebuzzes, hope the MKS sticks around long enough to slay it once, charge up your attacks and wait for a Kerplunk spell, repeat until all Beelzebuzzes have cast it once. You can win over 120,000 EXP in the most rewarding (and lucky) encounters, along with several shots at the ultra-rare items MKS carry.
- Dragon Quest IX has its own Slime Plateau near the starting town, with Metal Slimes, Metal Medleys, and Liquid Metal Slimes being fairly common encounters. The catch is that the player doesn't get the ability to fly up there until after the main story is completed, though with the large amount of post-game content this still ends up being quite useful. (Before beating the game, however, players commonly walk up and down a set of stairs in the Bowhole until a Liquid Metal Slime appears and keep defeating those; they're less common than on the plateau, but it's more or less the best way to grind closer to the end of the main story.)
- The Metal Menagerie in Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker. As you can guess by the Meaningful Name, it's populated solely by Metal Slimes. As a way to limit how much this can be abused, though, it can only be visited after performing a task, and then for only 150 seconds at a time.
- Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker 2 has a few — a part of the second to last dungeon has a guaranteed Liquid Metal Slime (the in between monster between Metal Slimes and Metal King slimes) and randomly spawns others nearby. Still better is the random Dark World Bonus Dungeon — each room has a random family of monsters that only appear, which changes upon entering and leaving. However, going into Tag mode and immediately exiting it causes the monsters to shuffle but not the family — meaning in a Slime room you can keep shuffling until you find Metal Kaizer Slimes — the next step up from Metal Kings. In addition, the Metal Menagerie makes a comeback (and much earlier in the game, too), and there is a bonus dungeon version of it — finishing a simple find the exit bonus game in the Dark World (trivial if you have a map) sends you to the Light World, a copy of the tutorial zone filled to the brim with Metal Kings that you can stay in for 30 minutes.
- If it has a name with Lord in it, Dragon Quest Monsters 2 has it. ???-type monsters that you can't catch, but you can kill for experience.On the subject of twinking, if you have a friend and you breed monsters together a lot, you can breed two Goopi for a MudDoll each, breed two MudDoll for a Golem each, and breed two Golem for a StoneMan each. Similarly, you can breed two Metaly for a Metabble, breed two Metabble for a MetalKing, two MetalKing for a GoldSlime, and two GoldSlime for a GranSlime. And two DragonKid for a Dragon and two Dragons for a GreatDrak. Gross, yes, but Incest Is Relative.
- Mount Itoi in MOTHER 1— once you've found Eve, who can effortlessly wipe out all the ridiculously powerful monsters in the area.
- There's also two eastmost reachable spaces of land around the south bridge that police officers are blocking where you can fight things like Mad Cars for good EXP.
- That pitch-black train tunnel contains very tough enemies that are normally found later in the game, just to make sure you don't get to the next area without paying. By abusing Offense Up and Defense Up correctly (both of which are very inexpensive spells), however, you can turn this area into a level-grinding treadmill, as a few enemies here give up to 200 experience points. If you don't know what you're doing, though...
- You're pretty much actively encouraged to use each My Sanctuary in EarthBound once you beat its boss in this fashion - all the enemies visible on the map run away from you, regardless of their comparative strength to yours, making it very easy to get surprise attacks (and thus easier victories) on them all, plus you can get healed for free.
- In Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga, as soon as you get down from Hoohoo Mountain, you're supposed to go to Beanbean Castle Town and advance the plot from there, but nothing is stopping you from venturing north to fight Tanoombas or far east to fight Bomb-ombs. Due to the game's mechanics, a player who knows the attack patterns of these monsters can reap some massive rewards from them without being hit in return. A Tanoomba's attacks are ridiculously easy to dodge/counter, and they yield thirty experience points and the occasional Green Pepper (for comparison, a Dry Bones from Hoohoo Mountain gives six XP); Bomb-ombs are tougher to deal with, but they yield almost fifty XP apiece and sometimes drop Nuts.
- Mario & Luigi: Dream Team has this in the second area of the game. You see, while you're supposed to adventure through Mushrise Park and a couple of other areas before heading to Wakeport, the path to said area isn't actually inaccessible in the meantime (just the door to the actual town). And in this area, you can find plenty of easy to defeat Hermite Crab enemies that you're meant to fight in about five hours time at a much higher level. So it's very easy and useful to just head left instead of south when you first reach the park, and fight the crabs instead of the weak mooks you'd encounter in the next area, letting you gain some very fast levels and experience in the process.
- Knights of the Old Republic 2 has a cave on Korriban that can instantly spawn enemies that are easily defeated for pretty good EXP.
- And in a game with a finite amount of experience points where you're likely to stop 15 levels short of the cap by the endgame (even if you finish all the side quests), having a source of easy, unlimited XP falls hard on the Good side of Good Bad Bugs.
- Pokémon Red and Blue/Yellow and their remakes, the Pokemon Tower features tiles that instantly heal you fully just by walking on them. This makes it a great place for midgame grinding.
- In Pokémon Diamond and Pearl/Platinum, there are several areas in which you'll be joined by an AI-controlled partner. While this partner is with you, you'll have all your health and power points restored after every battle, encouraging you to rack up tons of experience.
- After playing for long enough, players who want to pump up their Pokémon before competing with other players tend to use the Pokémon League as a Peninsula of Power Leveling. In the first generation, at one point it also becomes the only possible way to get any money, though the third generation's remakes of those games allow rematches with run-of-the-mill Pokémon Trainers.
- Rematches with Gym Leaders (such as the Battlegrounds in Diamond/Pearl/Platinum) tend to yield lots of Exp and money, even more so when a 'mon holds the Amulet Coin/Luck Incense.
- Not experience-related, but two NPC Trainers in particular on Route 12, a Gentleman and a Socialite, can be repeatedly rebattled with the Vs. Seeker for 24,000 Pokédollars a pop.
- Pokémon Black and White and its sequel have a modified experience rate boost that allows low-leveled Pokemon to catch up really quickly. They also give Lucky Eggnote fairly early on. There is also "shaking grass" which has a high chance of encountering Audino, a Pokemon that yields a high amount of experience, as well as dark grass which has tough Pokemon but grant better experience than the ones found on normal grass.
- While rematches have been removed, Black and White and Black 2 and White 2 have many daily repeatable trainer matches like the Nimbasa Stadium. Black 2 and White 2 also have the Black Tower (for Black 2) and White Treehollow (for White 2). Both are the same areas which have a random, maze-like route with trainers you can fight leading up to the "boss" of the floor. You can repeatedly challenge the floor and lower floors net tougher enemies. Even better, the Pokemon Breeder trainers in this area have two members of the Chansey family, which (aside from Happiny) give out the most EXP in the games.
- Black 2 and White 2 have one better - a strange new mechanic added to all Breeders, a type of trainer class you can battle, allows to you re-battle them whenever you leave the route or area they're encountering in. Breeders show up randomly in the Nimbasa stadiums after defeating the Champion, as they did in Black and White, and give out Rare Candies, an item that instantly boosts a Pokemon's level by 1, when defeated there. The kicker is that the rematching mechanic and the Rare Candy rewards are not mutually exclusive, nor are they restricted to once a day - you can effectively grind Rare Candies indefinitely if you're lucky enough to get a Breeder or two in one of the stadiums.
- Pokémon X and Y has the Battle Chateau, which is found halfway between the first and second Gyms. It has Trainers to battle, most of whom will pay out a decent amount of money (especially with the Amulet Coin, which is found nearby). As you defeat Trainers, your rank will increase, as will the rank of your opponents. Higher-ranked Trainers have stronger Pokémon; for example, a Marchioness (with a semi-unique model) with two level 35 Audino. It's also possible to rebattle Gym Leaders once your rank is high enough. With enough time and patience, it's entirely possible to have Pokémon at post-game levels before you reach the second Gym, although the obedience problem would still remain.
- In Kingdom Hearts II, there's a specific area of the Pride Lands—Pride Rock, specifically—with an incredibly thick swarm of Heartless in it. By using area-of-effect spells like Magnega, one can gain massive amounts of experience in a short time. You'll also find yourself with more munny than you know what to do with. Removed, alas, in the Final Mix version.
- For even more EXP, you can disable Donald's Cure spell, get your HP down to critical levels by getting hit, then equipping the Experience Boost ability and Gullwing Keyblade (both raise EXP when low on health).
- Port Royal can be this for leveling up the Drive Forms. If you let a Gambler transform you into a die or a card while you are in Drive Form, your HP, MP and Drive gauge will be restored when you turn back. This way you can level each form up nonstop without having to worry about the Drive gauge running out.
- After a certain point, you can gain a truckload of XP just by going to the bottom of the Organization XIII tower, carving your way through them, then hopping into your ship and reappearing at the bottom again. Also works for grinding Final Form, since that only powers up when you kill Nobodies and guess what's all over the tower?
- Possibly the best place for leveling Most Drive Forms and Summons is Hall of the Cornerstone/Cornerstone Hill. There are 4 rooms that are easily accessible and have a decent amount of enemies. The best part? The door between Cornerstone Hill and Hall of the Cornerstone removes you from a drive form and resets your drive bar. Simply enter, kill enemies until you're almost out of drive, and run out. Rinse and repeat.
- The Bequerel Mine copper gathering mission in Star Ocean: Till the End of Time - assuming the near-end boss Demetrio has been defeated - allows a small window of time to explore the dragon-infested Bequerel Mountain, with several save points and a free bed-for-healing, allowing the player to train indefinitely. The player, who is expected to be somewhere near level 19 by this point, can reach levels of 35 and higher with enough grinding.
- And if the player is crazy enough to try, the Sanmite Republic is open after rescuing Ameena. Just outside is a number of higher-level bird type enemies, and beyond Surferio is a cave leading to the Mosel dunes, an area the party won't be visiting till much later. With proper management of the bonus gauge, training in these places becomes (mildly) feasible.
- In Phantasy Star IV, relatively early on, you have the opportunity to fight monsters called sand worms (there's a Side Quest where you can fight a severely de-powered one, but here we're talking about an infinite number of the real deal). Sand worms have a lot of HP, and their attacks will be lethal to one or all of your party members at low levels. However, if you can take one down, it gives a fairly massive amount of experience. Once your characters can survive at least one hit, it's one of the best monsters to farm until you can access the Very Definitely Final Dungeon.
- Also in Phantasy Star IV, after the battle with Zio, two of your party members leave the group. Since EXP rewards are split between characters, it means that any battles fought from the time Gryz and Demi leave to the point where Wren and Raja join are giving each character 33% of the total XP instead of 20%. Going back into Nurvus and hunting the Tarantellas (which Rune can wipe out in a single spell) are a great way to grind, since a full screen is worth well over 1000 EXP. If you're not shy about letting Rika and Chaz bite it, Rune can hoard that EXP for himself, and walk into the second half of the game with most of his Skill list filled out (and thus several of the game's best Combination Attacks).
- Related to Rune's amazing potential, the first time he's acquired for a short span while leading the party to Tonoe. During this time, if you were to kill off the rest of the party except Chaz, you have a very easy time with Rune's Multi-hit spells to gain Chaz a great deal of levels very quickly.
- Breath of Fire II has Monster Island far to the north, home to a pair of cameo appearances from the original Breath of Fire and Skull Island-issue giant'' versions of the game's cannon fodder monsters; needless to say, this is a great place to level grind before facing the final dungeon. Another common level grinding location is Nightrider Island to the south, named for a rare enemy encountered on the island (although this fan name may be affected by the upcoming fan retranslation project, which restores "N. Rider" to the original name of "Ragnarider").
- Made even better that Monster Island is available as soon as you obtain the Grandpa Whale.
- Also in Breath of FireII, early in the game before you try to break the spell on Jean, there's a signpost Southeast of Sima Fort. If you wander around the squares just south of the sign, you find orange crabs that are incredibly powerful, but die very fast to Thunder spells. Once Nina learns S.Boom, she kills them all in one shot and goes before them and they give 2x the XP anything else in the area does.
- In the original Breath of Fire, said island was to the north and was notable, on the map, for having a tower on it that was part of the endgame dungeon run prior to Obelisk. It had both Ryu's most powerful weapon, and the massive Gold Slimes which you could grind until you were absurdly leveled.
- The Gold Slimes apparently underwent evolution between the first and second games, as they exist on Monster Island in 2, but shrunk down to the size of the E. Sludges you encounter in the Home Town area, and are now called K. Sludges. It's almost a MUST to have G.Drgn/Kaiser to drop on these suckers, because they come 3 in a group, 1000 HP per Sludge, hit hard, don't take much damage otherwise, AND can effectively cast Death.
- Breath of Fire III has Mt. Zublo. The Lavamen there can be quickly upgraded to Boss in Mook Clothing status by repeatedly using fire attacks. A properly-prepared party can survive the battle, and earn an outrageous experience reward.
- Breathof Fire games in general split the XP earned amongst your group members. Anytime a group member is isolated because of plot reasons, a Peninsula of Power Leveling is found nearby:
- Breath of Fire I: After the debacle having to do with the Time machine, Ryu is isolated by himself. Normally you walk straight North into a town to be re-united with your group. Instead, you can use items that prevent battles, and backtrack to a nearby town where you can gain 5x-8x the XP per battle to push Ryu's levels insanely high very quickly.
- Breath of Fire III: Ryu first goes to Mt. Myrneg after he's been separated from Rei and Teepo. There, he can find Tar Man enemies, who are extremely powerful for the area...but can be trivially frozen with the Frost spell you can learn from Mygas. These give Ryu a lot of experience.
- Breath of Fire IV: Going to the Great Plains forces Ryu to go alone. There's a Temple-like area where Nut Troops appear. If you knew this ahead of time, you might have had Ryu learn the Burn spell (they are weak against fire). Take Ryu there with a bunch of cheap healing herbs and Burn all the Nut Troops there until you run out of AP. Easy XP that isn't cut by group members; the XP you get here is far better than anywhere else. But, again, only Ryu levels up in this way. Still, high level Ryu beats low level Ryu.
- In Grandia, there's easy way to get your Water spell levels to 99; In Mt. Typhoon, run around on the poisonous puddles to lose your HP and then heal yourself afterwards to gain easy experience.
- In Beyond the Beyond, about halfway through the game, you gain access to Leave Village. In the mountains to the west you can fight enemies you normally would fight near the end of the game.
- In Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne following the highway east of Ginza will lead to Shibaura, where enemies there are roughly level 28-33 when normal foes are in the teens. What makes it good for power leveling instead of getting youself killed is that the two enemies of any threat are both weak to Standard Status Effects that prevent all actions by them. These encounters net over 10 times the experience from a normal fight in the area. Given that the next boss is Matador you may need it.
- In Shin Megami Tensei I, there is a shrine in the post-nuke world, where the enemies have levels in the 40s. All of these enemies are vulnerable to Standard Status Effects, most notably Marin-Karin, which causes them to attack themselves and their allies. As the experience gain for battles increases based on the level difference between your party and the enemy's, and you can first go to the shrine at about level 20, you can easily get multiple levels per battle.
- Digital Devil Saga features the Titania Tunnels, located in the Manipura Waterways. There you'll encounter nothing but groups of Titanias, whose attacks can easily be reflected to inflict them with fear, making them easy to devour. Not only does this get you a ton of Atma Points quickly, but Titanias also drop extremely valuable Vendor Trash so you can keep buying more abilities. Making this slightly risky is Arahabaki, a Boss in Mook Clothing that makes the real bosses look like pansies. They have a chance of showing up as reinforcements in virtually any battle, sometimes in groups of two. But if you have Cocytus, you can take them out fairly easily.
- Chrono Trigger:
- You can visit 65,000,000 BC as soon as you access the End of Time, several dungeons before you actually need to go there. There lies the Dactyl's Nest, an area that's traversed during your second visit. The enemies there give three times the typical amount of experience that battles in the next storyline dungeon do, at only a mild increase in difficulty.
- There's also the Nu in the Hunting Range. It can't kill you, but you can kill it for lots of Tech Points.
- While taken aboard the Blackbird, you can encounter mooks which, despite posing a minimal threat, still give more experience than their challenging recolors from the Ocean Palace.
- There's a respawning Rubble on an island near the Mountain of Woe. This enemy gives 1000 EXP and 100 Tech Points, which means easy grinding. The only downside is that after a certain point in the story, the Mountain of Woe becomes unavailable.
- On the Black Omen, there is a hall which puts you against three enemies every time you walk through it, two of which will give you massive amounts of Tech Points, but distract you from the middle enemy which has a very strong attack, and they leave if you beat it first. However, once you're strong enough to beat them all before they can attack, the place becomes an easy area to get enough TP to get all Abilities.
- Also on the Black Omen, there's a room that generates six alien-type enemies not seen anywhere else in the game. Four of these enemies can have Magic Capsules Charmed off of them. What makes this truly excellent is that these enemies have no attacks whatsoever except an instant-death counter... that only triggers after a physical attack. Thus you can charm 4 Magic Capsules, escape, leave the area, come back, charm another 2 Capsules, rinse and repeat until every character's Magic stat is maxed out. The only downside is that once you do kill these enemies, they don't come back. Ever.
- Finally, Mother Brain's fortress starts with a conveyor belt which has five sets of enemies, which reward a total combined EXP of roughly 10,000, far greater than any other location in the entire game. It also gives a decent amount of Tech Points. A garbage chute at the end of the belt allows you to travel back to the beginning and reset the enemies, making it the perfect location to grind up to level 99 (or **).
- Even better, by this point you should have at least one Golden Stud (even more if you've made a side-trip to the Black Omen and Charmed some more). This nifty accessory reduces MP costs by a whopping 75%. At this point, "grinding" more or less devolves into "Have a character spam an all-enemy hitting Tech, stopping at an Enertron when your MP gets low".
- Persona 3 has this on its second playthrough, in the Monad Block. This new area of Tartarus is accessible from the lobby, and has super-powerful monsters. Ordinarily this would be a problem, but (if you put enough time into the first playthrough), your New Game+-powered protagonist can probably kill these monsters by himself, adding 10 to 20 levels at a time to your party members - which allows you to rapidly out level even this grindy game, and speed on through to the interesting parts by only fighting bosses (and intimidating everything else to run away from your party).
- The Monad Block is accessible in the first playthrough as well... but to reach it, you must defeat the Reaper. It's worth it simply to see how long the final boss lasts with an all-Level 99 party (answer: about 15 minutes).
- In Wild ARMs Alter Code F (the remake of the original), the area around Adelhyde Castle is a goldmine of both money and experience, if you know how to farm the monsters correctly.
- Skies of Arcadia has a fairly large overworld area in the far upper-left corner of the map that has no affiliation with any of the other areas. This largely empty area has been dubbed "Looper Sea" by fans, due to the fact that every enemy encounter in this area contains nothing but experience filled Looper enemies and their palette swaps. This makes it a prime location for Power Leveling, since Loopers are typically rare and have a tendency to run away as soon as battles begin.
- The pacing of Skies of Arcadia can cause you to accidentally power level if you take a long time to find the discoveries. Plus, there's an area in the arctic sections while flying on a ship that yield encounters with multiple purple loopers. (The strongest looper, which nets the best exp.) And if you're smart, you'll equip a "Black Map", which makes it impossible (Or at least very hard) to run away while attracting more random battles!
- In Lufia and the Fortress of Doom, as soon as you get the ability to control a ship, all you need to do is go to the Island where you find the huge frogs and those turtles. Not only do these enemies give absurd experience, but there is a small town (Frederia) that sells equipment far beyond what you are normally supposed to have. Hint: Use Instant-Death items to kill the frogs, since they * will* smear you when you first arrive.
- Once you get a ship in Lufia II: Rise of the Sinistrals, you can find a small island that seems to serve no purpose, but has an enemy population solely made up of all four varieties of the game's Metal Slime, Cubes. While you can't reach it until late in the game, it's perfect for buffing your characters for the last dungeons.
- Thanks to a Good Bad Bug, the gate between Muse and Matilda in Suikoden II is pushable: as long as you don't talk to the guards around the normally closed gate, you can just walk straight through it. On the other side is a zone which you aren't supposed to reach until noticably later in the game, with appropriately leveled monsters and items in the shops. There's also a pair of recruitable party members who join you temporarily to complete a side-quest (and join permenantly at the end of the quest). All you have to do is make a mad dash from the gate to the town where these two are, and you can grind all your low-leveled members up in a matter of a few fights and use the money to buy them good armor.
- This was also possible in Suikoden I after you pass through the Fortress of Kwaba. Head straight south to the Great Forest, which you normally won't head to for another few hours. It isn't possible yet to go past the first screen, but that screen alone is filled with Kobold enemies that are very easily taken out with area of effect magic like a Fire Rune (such as the one Cleo normally has). You don't even have to grind that long to get your characters a significant EXP boost, which makes the next few dungeons rather easy. Making it even better, there's a town just before the dungeon itself with an inn that you can use to recharge when you run out of fire magic.
- Lost Odyssey has Numara Atoll, which will give you one of two random encounters - Silver Kelolon, or Hell Shaker. The latter gives huge EXP (guaranteed level up upon defeating until around 47 or so), but is nearly impossible to beat when you are first able to reach the island, while the former is a spineless wimp whose first action is almost always to run away. Swat the Silver Kelolon with Gamble and huge EXP and AP gains are yours. Numara Atoll is the grinding spot of choice through nearly three discs' worth of story progression.
- You defeat the Hell Shakers quite easily at a low level if you use the following technique. Have everyone learn Gamble (Mack knows it naturally after a certain event, Jansen and Cooke can equip Spirit magic items, and the Immortals can learn it from Mack). Enter battle with a Hell Shaker, and have one character physically attack, and the rest use Gamble. For the majority of the time, the Hell Shaker's first move will be to use an All-Water spell, because by physically attacking, the attack will be pushed back one turn. Spam Gamble, and hopefully you'll take it out before the spell can hit.
- By disc 4 though, there is the Temple of Enlightenment, which is basically the toughest dungeon in the game. Although all of the enemies in there give off loads of experience, Hellish Kelolons will instantly level you up until you hit level 97, making pretty much every enemy in the game a breeze.
- Golden Sun: The Lost Age has the rear chamber of the Islet Cave, a short corridor that leads to a Bonus Boss (probably the easiest of the game's four Bonus Bosses, but still plenty challenging). Said corridor is home to the Wonder Bird, the most powerful member of the Phoenix family of monsters, which gives enormous EXP gains and seems to appear more frequently than its lesser relatives do at their designated locations. As an extra motivation, one of the other enemies in this area Randomly Drops the Tisiphone Edge, the strongest Light Blade and therefore Jenna's and Ivan's best weapon, and another drops the best circlet, the Berserker Band. Of course, you have to be about a third of the way through the final dungeon before you can access this area, so you're really only power-leveling to take on the Final Boss and the last Bonus Boss or two or for battling your friends, but it's still a fairly quick way to level up if your party is much below level 50.
- Its sequel has perhaps an even more bizarre one, right before the Final Boss. After viewing the cutscene in which Arcanus/Alex appears to double-cross Blados and Chalis, the area surrounding the Apollo Lens becomes filled with Tuaparang warriors, appearing in groups of 2 or 3. They're notably easier than the shadow enemies you faced on the way up to Apollo Sanctum, yet give out a massive 13720 experience points apiece and a Water of Life. Yeah, that's right, easy levels and easy item farming at once. Sweet deal, huh?
- Much earlier in the same game, there's an example that works the same way as the Trope Namer. Rat Warriors are normally found outside the city of Tonfon, but occasionally the random encounter system makes them appear much earlier in the game in a forest southeast of Kaocho, which is beneath a cliff west of where Tonfon is on the world map. By the time Tonfon is reached, these enemies aren't anything special (Especially since by that point the shadow creatures from the Grave Eclipse give better experience), but earlier in the game 900 experience points apiece is enough to power-level in few battles as long as the player characters' HP is kept high enough for them to survive.
- Don't forget the Ooze enemies, which can divide. Just defend, let them multiply, kill all but one, rinse and repeat.
- In the first game, just north of Kalay, on the shores of the Karagol Sea, there is a very small strip of land that works just like the Trope Namer; if you run right against the shore of the Sea, then the enemy data for the land around Tolbi loads. These enemies aren't too difficult for a properly leveled party even at this earlier point, but the amount of experience they give is plenty enough to make them extremely useful for grinding when you first arrive. And since the upcoming fight with the Kraken is rough enough as is, you'll need all the advantage you can get.
- Similarly, in the second game, there are two real trope-namer locations – as soon as the Boat opens up, you can sail to Treasure Isle, where on the overworld you'd encounter the enemies that don't usually start appearing until the third act of the game (the overworld enemies from the Great Western Sea until the final dungeon), and the enemies inside the dungeon are similarly balanced for about 10 levels above what you'd have when you get the boat. These same overworld enemies can be found on a strip of land in Gondowan, to the north of the Kibombo Village, and thus are very easy to encounter if you sail back into Gondowan to do the optional Gabomba Catacombs dungeon (which doesn't open up until right before the Lemurian Ship dungeon that nets you the boat).
- In Super Mario RPG, Star Hill is the best place to grind.
- If you're willing to spam Mallow's Thunderbolt, the Dry Bones between the two sets of clues for the Sunken Ship puzzle offers an even better grinding opportunity: Put the Zoom Shoes and Work Pants on, and then every encounter with this respawning enemy will consist of Mallow blowing the enemies away with a Thunderbolt, 27 Exp. (54 Exp. for the character wearing Exp. Booster) for 2 FP; the money you get here will more than allow you to stock up on Maple Syrups at the nearby Shaman store to replenish the FP, and with concerted grinding, you can make it all the way to level 30 in about 300 encounters. Of course, you'll probably do better stopping after a little under 100 encounters, making best use of the Lucky Jewel and Exp. Booster at the Culex fight in Monstro Town (to get 288 Exp. for 4 characters and 576 Exp. for the Boosted one), and finally getting the rest of your experience at the Machine-Made Yaridovich (60 Exp., 120 Exp. Boosted) just before the factory gates.
- The area (looks like a valley) between Redding and San Francisco in Fallout 2. The hardest enemies in the game would show up- floaters, aliens, centaurs, fire geckos, but, if you could handle them (if you had enough characters with combat armor/power armor and good guns), you could level after at most 4-5 encounters, even at extremely high levels.
- In Paper Mario, the Flower Fields contain Amazy Dayzees, the enemy with by far the biggest EXP yield. It's the only enemy that can allow Mario to level up twice in one battle (though with Merluvlee's help). It might not sound like much, but in this game, Mario tops off at Level 27, so it's pretty significant. Amazy Dayzees continue to appear in subsequent Paper Mario games and continue the tradition of ridiculously high EXP yield, although they are much more difficult to encounter and defeat. One path in Chapter 3's Forever Forest will also take Mario to an area containing a beehive that will release unlimited Bzzap!, a Glass Cannon enemy that is not formally introduced until Chapter 6.
- In Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door, the Amazy Dayzees provide vast amounts of experience no matter what level you are. While most enemies provide less Star Points as you level up (up to the point where they give none at all), the Amazy Dayzee will ALWAYS give you enough to level up quickly. Unfortunately, they are quite strong and only appear rarely in the Twilight Forest and semi-rarely in the depths of the Pit of 100 Trials...but they are the most economical way to reach incredibly high levels.
- In Treasure of the Rudra, at the beginning of Surlent's scenario, you have access to Sakkara Desert, which has powerful monsters which give about 50 times as much EXP and money as the surrounding monsters, and also randomly drop a weapon which is much stronger than anything you could get for a while.
- Rune Factory 3 has two:
- An island within the Privera Forrest dungeon, accessible once you have the Lily Pad seed or the Water Shoes. It contains a random Bonus Boss every time you visit (and will respawn a new one if you hang around without destroying the monster portal) Tough, but will give you loads of XP and valuable boss drops.
- The Bonus Dungeon in your basement: Accessible once you defeat the first boss. Will be FAR above your level at first (You'll probably be around level 5-7. The first level starts at 30) , but each monster will give that much more XP. Plus each dungeon has at least one room with one or two rare chestsnote , containing random weapons, accessories, magic spells, and/or skill seals. If you're lucky, you'll come away with gear you wouldn't be able to nab for months, in-game. Works even better if you're trying to level up a low-level NPC (In a high-enough level dungeon, they'll level up with each defeated enemy).
- Xenoblade gives us Bionis' Leg. Besides the regular mooks, the game lets Elite Mooks over 50 levels higher than the regular ones roam most areas. Generally you're just supposed to avoid them until you're much, MUCH later on the game, but on Bionis' Leg is possible to take down a few of these by having Melia put the Elite Mook to sleep with Hypnotize, then pushing it off a cliff with Spear Break. The end result: Loads of experience and lategame equipment.
- Summon Night: Swordcraft Story has floors 24-28 of the main dungeon. While you can access them on day 7, you aren't required to go till day 10 (7, 8 and 9 take place in separate dungeons), and the enemies, which aren't that much tougher than before, give enough experience to easily gain ~15 levels before you stop gaining the bonus for being lower level than the enemies, the otherwise annoyingly rare but necessary Mystic Ore is relatively common and the boxes there give great materials for crafting.
- There's a notorious one in Baldur's Gate 2: Throne of Bhaal, in which you reach the ramparts of a city that's being attacked by giants. By equipping infinite-ammunition bows, setting those with them to attack automatically, and telling anyone without one not to attack, you can reach the level cap without even being at your computer.
- About halfway through Suikoden Tierkreis, you can reach the bottom floor of Grayridge Mine. Most of the enemies are the same low-level ones that don't give you much in the way of rewards, but every so often you'll run into the miniboss "Fanged Silkmoth," which is absurdly high level. What makes this good for gaining levels instead of getting killed is that it's vulnerable to the Sleep Freeze line of spells, which you conveniently just got access to when Manaril joined. Once it's asleep, you can take it out in one shot with Gadburg's Spark command. The same area also connects to a corner of Mt. Svatgol, a late-game area where you can pick up a ton of expensive item drops and recruit a character early.
- Ni No Kuni has Swan Island, a small island north of the early game continent you can access the moment you Get on the Boat. It's kind of a gimmick area, as all the enemies here are of the various species of Familiar you get given automatically at early points in the story. (They can't be found anywhere else) Except one, the Tokos. They run from you on the world map, and will run in battle if given the chance, but give 2002 exp when defeated, when the most exp you're getting from regular battles at this point is around 150. With a bit of luck you can easily turn your party into a Disk One Nuke here.
- Later on once you get Tengri the dragon as your transportation, you can get to the place north of the Tombstone Trail and go to a place named Perdida. You can go inside the city for bookmarking purposes but the guard won't let you in until a certain point. That's fine because outside Perdida, you get to encounter the slightly more powerful version of the Tokos named Tokotoko. Still has the same gimmicks as the Tokos, but if you're lucky, you could encounter two of them in one battle. One already gives out at least 8000 EXP; do the math.
- TalesOfXillia has the Xagut Floodmeadow. It becomes available very early in the game (around 10% of the way through) and features enemies of a level more appropriate to the halfway mark. They'll likely wipe your party without much trouble even on Easy at the time you get there, but by the time you can fight them (albeit with some difficulty) they'll still give around triple the experience and money of level-appropriate encounters, as well as some valuable item drops. What really makes the area great, though, is the loot farming. In addition to a few chests with rare items, there are respawning harvest points that contain loot of a much higher level than anything else nearby, allowing a player skilled at dodging enemy encounters to make an average of 3-4 thousand gald per minute in money and items, at a point in the game where a party with 30-40k is pretty rich. Between the money and the shop upgrades, it's easy to acquire high level gear that makes Hard and Unknown difficulties substantially more manageable.
- The Old Vicalle Mine has some spindly enemies called Gentlegnomes. Three of them give 1500 experience and have good drops and stealables worth great amounts for shop expansion. Adding some spicy chicken rolls grants that fight 3000 experience, enough to level up your characters in one battle each time till level 40 and still good enough to level up till 50 rather quick. Only possible after Chapter 2 starts and you have a full party, and are at least level 25+ already with decent equipment.
- Off has Purified Zones. They are home to only one kind of enemy: the Secretaries (each zone has its own kind, varying in power depending on the zone's level). Secretaries are Demonic Spiders of the worst kind, but give massive amounts of experience and often drop health-restoring and resurrecting items. If your party is strong enough to defeat at least one group of them, it is possible to run in circles around a savespot until you encounter Secretaries, kill them, go to the savespot for health replenishment, rinse and repeat. While Off combat is not very hard and level grinding is not at all necessary to beat the game, if you want to see the high-level moves (like Ultimate Homerun) in action, you'll have to spend a couple of hours grinding Zone 3 Secretaries.
- The portal sidequest in Arcanum: Of Steamworks & Magick Obscura. The portal is spewing monsters into the forest around Blackroot, and you're encouraged to disable it from a safe distance with either a magickal trap or a scroll of magick dispersal. But if your character is powerful enough, or you have a good selection of followers, you can bait the monsters into attacking you, kill them, and the portal will spawn more (though it will eventually run out). The monsters in question aren't usually encountered until The Very Definitely Final Dungeon, and can be a good source of XP early on.
- Robopon has this. In particular, the waves in front of Vanza Village can carry you for at least a dozen levels early on, and the well in Cools Town is also useful.
- Gothic II: The battering ram near the wall of the Old Camp. You can walk on it, but the surrounding orcs can't. However, you can still reach them with your weapons. Cue the player running around the entire Orc encampment, luring small groups of orcs near the ram and slaughtering them.
Turn Based Strategy
- Since the ultimate goal of a lot of players in the Disgaea series is to make characters as ridiculously strong as possible, many try to look for places to very quickly power-level. The go-to place in each game is usually a specific stage of the Cave/Hall/Mount of Ordeals, which has to be unlocked by passing a bill in the Dark Assembly. The stage usually has high level enemies on an EXP (and sometimes Mana) boosting Geo Panel, all placed in a specific pattern (often 3x3) so that one strong AoE attack (usually magic or the Big Bang fist skill) can take them all out very quickly. Boost the enemy levels in the Dark Assembly and use EXP boosting Innocents, and suddenly, the player's characters are jumping thousands of levels (in some cases, going from lv 1 to lv 9999 in two battles). However, getting that specific stage may require dealing with a couple of annoying stages beforehand.
- Disgaea, one level has all Geo Effects that make everyone on the stage but one square invincible. By throwing enemies on top of each other, you can create a level 100 enemy to whittle down for great EXP gain. The same chapter is also good for building weapon levels, as you can freely have your troops attack each other without concern.
- The PSP and DS releases has an even better place. After clearing the Demonhall Mirror, you get a stage similar to Cave of Ordeals 3. Except the enemies are higher level, higher rank, and the EXP bonus is +100% instead of +50%. You'll spend a bit of time there.
- In Disgaea 2: Cursed Memories, one chapter has enemies that level endlessly if left alone (thanks to a Geo Effect), you can then capture them once they are twice the level of your highest leveled character (leave him in your base), then repeat, doubling the level you can capture each go until you have a level 9999 character, then use it in a combo to kill other level 9999 characters, giving massive level gains to the other people in the combo.
- More fun Level Grinding: The Dark World version of a late stage has a bunch of geo effects that buff your party, the most important of which is an ATK+ 1 effect; the Dark Sun also respawns enemies every couple of turns, so as long as you're not bored you can just sit there and kill your enemies ad infinitum.
- And there are plenty of areas with Exp X 3 effects.
- Disgaea 3: Absence of Justice has a map in Chapter 7 that is just a ordinary battle when played for the first time, but once it's beaten, it changes into a field with 9 mushroom-like enemies sitting in panels that boost their experience and mana given. And by passing four Stronger Enemies bills, they will be at Lv. 99, which makes them award as much experience as a Lv. 320 enemynote . Roughly a half hour there will net the player millions of HL and boost their levels to 300 range, making the rest of the story a breeze.
- Disgaea 4: A Promise Unforgotten did the exact same thing: one of the Chapter 9 levels feature a normal battle when played once but by playing the map again will have the same mushroom enemies sitting in exp and mana boosting grounds. Passing the Stronger Enemies bill once will have their levels increased to 99, and the same experience loophole can be exploited.
- As early as Chapter 5 unveils a similar map, with one key difference — Desco, when turned giant via merging with another monster, is the only one who can hit the entire enemy team at the same time. It's incredibly easy to get Desco to around level 500 without any real work, making the rest of the game trivial.
- In Disgaea Dimension 2 A Brighter Darkness, the cheat shop (which allows you to increase both enemy levels and EXP growth.) can make many story maps one, but 6-1 most of all. Simply change the enemies' level to 99 and use tower attacks and you'll be at level 400-700 in a few minutes. More than enough to blaze trough the rest of the game.
- In Phantom Brave similar to the Disgaea 2 example above, there is an early level where one enemy is under the effect of Level+ 1 - but its current Hit Points don't increase. If you are far enough away from it, you can let it level an enormous number of times before letting any character with a decent attack stat and item kill it for huge amounts of EXP.
- For a more certain level-up, there's an ability that allows a newly confined spirit to damage everything around him immediately (called Big Bang). It's a simple matter to fuse a spirit who has this ability to any spirit you want to power level, give Marona a slowing piece of equipment, wait for the little guy to reach lvl. 9999, throw the equipment next to him, confine the spirit, and BANG! Instant Lvl. 100 (or more, once you increase the Cap).
- The "Failure" title. Attach it to a high-leveled Random Dungeon, and then BOOM! All enemies in that dungeon are 80% weaker, yet all items in the dungeon still give out experience according to their level. Yes, destroying items gives you XP.
- The Tower of Valni in Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones is a good place to train, but the chests and dropped items are also fairly valuable. Furthermore, you can exit and reenter at any time, and the boss of the first floor doesn't move, has no ranged weapon, and gives out a full 100 experience (one level-up) for landing the killing blow to any unpromoted character, possibly even to a level 1 promoted unit. Redoing the first level over and over again is a great way to level up weak characters.
- Even for promoted characters of a high level (15+), the first floor boss still grants over 70 EXP. It's also possible for other enemies of the same kind to spawn on that floor, and they provide just as much experience.
- It seems the dev team realised how popular Entombed (the above mentioned boss) were for grinding: Fire Emblem Awakening has a DLC chapter consisting of nothing but Entombed. However, if you just rush in and start attacking them, you'll be in for a nasty surprise...
- In Vandal Hearts you can use the healing circles in the Castle Ruins to level up faster than the developers had in mind. Simply move your bishops in the healing circles and have them cast bless weapon on each other. In about 1 and a half hours they'll be at level 70 (the level cap for the game.) Next have the unit that sustained the highest damage find and use the iron boot on your level 70 bishop. Now watch said unit gains 50+ levels. Now you can let all your other units heal that damaged unit with herbs. Congratulations, most of your units will now be at level 60+. Just be careful. The monsters in the bonus levels will be at the same level as Ashe, so you may not want to level him up like this.
- With a lot of patience, players are capable of leveling both Kouta and to a lesser extent, Raul, Fiona, and Despinis in chapter 37 of 2nd Original Generation. For Kouta, all you just need is to have his Ace Bonus, a Dust-proof device, and pump up his skill and melee stats, give him some ability parts, and some pilot skills to help boost his attacks, and watch as Jin Rai Mooks go down in one hit with his free cost attack, Spiral Knuckle, after getting his Compatible Kaiser. In a few hours, you get a lot of money, a lot of pilot points, and a lot of levels for Kouta. For the Excellence team's case, you can have Fiona cast Bless on the Excellence Rescue, resupply the Compatible Kaiser (as the machine debuts with a low EN) and watch as you get 800 EXP for that one scenario (as you have only 8 turns to finish that part of the scenario and it's an instant game over if you fail that chapter). The only thing bad about this trick is that if Kouta kills too many enemies, the game will crash. Fortunately, if you do get a game over, you get to keep all the money, pilot point skills, and kills that you accumulated throughout the entire stage and thus lets you redo it all over again at the cost of one Battle Mastery point.