Disgaea is obviously the greatest strat RPG of all time. However, it’s also perhaps the most complex and least forgiving. It makes little effort to educate the player in its wiley ways and assumes you will go to GameFAQs if you want to know anything. And when you get there, HOLY FUCK. It’s not as bad as Pokemon, but it’s not far off. And you’ll be faced with tables of data and lists of items and starting stats and and and STOP.
It’s too much. And you could argue that it doesn’t matter what you do, since aside from ally-killing, you can’t really do anything wrong. You can only be more or less efficient. I would rather you were more efficient, though, so here is my guide to what to keep in mind as you play through your first few hours.
Focus on one character.
If you have one mega character who is stupidly powerful and you hit a wall, you can use that character to level other characters more easily. So always have one character who is God-like. Which one? Laharl.
It’s all about Laharl.
Laharl, Laharl, Laharl, Laharl. He starts with a sword and should always have a sword. It’s usually better to use the item world to level a rubbish sword then it is to buy a good one. The chances are, by the time you’re strong enough to head into the Dark Assembly and raise the shop level (more expensive items) high enough to buy a sword better than that, you’ll be earning those swords on the Bonus Gauge, so level a lower sword.
What kind of sword?
A sharp pointy one, ie any sword, really. The weaker the sword, the easier it is to rape its item world. And the item world is your friend. But when choosing a sword to level, choose one with the right kind of specialists in it, and make sure you kill (subdue) those specialists, because specialists are the key to uber-levelling.
What’s a specialist?
Every item has slightly different stats, you will notice. Some also have specialists (little grey dots) that have names like Armsmaster, Gladiator and suchlike. Each specialist has a level, and the higher the level the higher their effect on the item and the character who has equipped that item. You should care about the following two the most - Statistician (more EXP on each kill) and Armsmaster (increases weapon skill gain and thus gives you access to weapon-specific skills sooner). This is because later on, you’ll want to create an uber sword and pass it round to different characters for power-levelling. You might also care about Gladiators (increase ATK) and I like Hypnotist (sends baddies to sleep). There’s tons more and you might go for different ones than me, but I think EVERYONE should be after Statisticians and Armsmasters.
Which character classes should I create?
All of them. And don’t transmigrate one class into another until much later. And have Laharl create all your characters, because as they level he will become more powerful (thanks to the master/pupil mechanic) and the more powerful he is, the easier it is to level them. Also, never create monsters (at first). Just capture them. And the more characters you have, the easier it is to capture monsters. More character classes will appear as you level your characters (and you fulfill the criteria) and transmigrating one class into another will only hinder this process. Later on you might want to, say, take a high level Star Mage and transmigrate her into a Cleric so that you have a healer with offensive capabilities, but that kind of thing is a lot of work for little gain until your team is in its 30s (at least).
So how do I level a non-offensive character?
First things first - always check the Bonus Gauge. If it starts with an EXP gain, as you’re about the clear the map take your weak characters out of the base. Anyone on the map will get the bonus upon completion. Or, you can have them take part in a team-attack that finishes a bad guy - EXP is shared out equally among all characters in a killing team-attack (when characters are next to each other). You can increase a character’s chances of being in the attack by having them equip the same weapon as the attacker. So, have your Cleric hold a sword (it doesn’t matter if they hit or not), and if they’ve been created by Laharl and are standing next to him, they should have a 99% chance of taking part in the attack. Just make sure Laharl kills them in his first blow, because if it goes to counters, your Cleric won’t get the EXP. There’s a good level in the fifth world to do this, as all the squares are invincible bar one, so weak characters can stand next to Laharl as he BATTERS a high level dude who has been thrown onto the one vulnerable square. Throw several dudes into the same square to get one mega dude if you want (I’m not sure if it works out more exp, but it’s faster). As long as Laharl is powerful enough to take some damage, you’re onto a winner. Taking a cleric from level 1 to 10 in a hit feels pretty good. Of course later you’ll take someone from level 1 to 1000 in a hit, but hey. This is just for now.
Didn’t you say you can capture a monster?
I did! And you do that by throwing the monster into your base square, where it will fight everyone in your base one after another. If you win, you get it, if you lose, you lose your base square and have to finish the map or DIE. A couple of things here. When you throw a monster into your square, it will first let loose an SP explosion. So if it had 100SP when it got thrown in, it will dish 100HP out in damage to a random assortment of characters. So it pays to have lots of characters when doing this. The more you capture the easier it will get, but you can make life easier for you if you fight the monster first, taking some of its HP and allowing it to spend some of its SP. You might see a way to earn a monstrously high level dude in a short space of time here, but I’m not doing all your thinking for you.
So, to recap -
Laharl! Level him, level his sword, get Armsmasters and Statisticians, check the Bonus Gauge, have loads of characters, capture monsters and then use your power to RAPE ALL ENEMIES.
STOP THE PRESS
What you actually should do with this game is focus on getting your shop rank to level 8 AS FAST AS POSSIBLE. With your customer rank at 8 (from buying loads of stuff) you can raise the shop level to 8 in the Dark Assembly. Then buy a Foresight with maxed out Armsmaster and Statistician. Then the real work begins.