Twitch Plays FF7 Part 16: Speed Running and Breeding Practices

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PART 1 - **NEW** PART 1.1 - PART 1.2 - PART 1.3 - PART 2 - PART 3 - PART 4 - PART 5 - PART 6 - PART 7 - PART 8 - PART 9 - PART 10 - PART 11 - PART 12 - PART 13 - PART 14 - PART 15 - PART 16 - PART 17 - PART 18 - PART 19 FINALE

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Before proceeding on our Weapon killing adventure, some materia work is done across the party. Menuing was always difficult, tedious and fraught with danger, so lengthy sessions were kept to a minimum. It was early morning quiet hours for chat though, and represented a good opportunity to get it done. Cloud can keep the hades added effect combo since he's always swinging anyway but he needs the all paired with his restore put back in and somehow the long range materia we murdered another ladderboss for was never actually equipped. The rest of the party can at least be stuffed with HP plus materia since we bought an absolute truckload of them. The viability of magic and summons has been historically low throughout the run, even most command are more menu trouble than they're typically worth, so most of the crew have only run with a few critical materia at any given time, rarely filling all available slots. Chat is very patient, as most generally appreciated letting someone else do this complicated, often confusing task. I did this relatively minor menu entirely alone, and it still took eight minutes.

Chat is now ready for the next stage of preparation, starting with a quick detour to grab something overlooked in the first Gelnika trip. Yuffie needs her ultimate weapon, so chat hops back in the sub and briefly returns into the depths. However, it seems like Emerald Weapon is getting a tad impatient, understandable given how long we've been at this now, and decides to block our access to the sunken plane not once, but twice. While you can navigate above the superboss at max height, any errant commands to descend could thrust us into combat, so the safest option is to just surface and dive until he wanders off.

Finally past the jade menace, chat enters the sub and quickly retrieves the sole remaining chest, sneakily hidden behind a foreground pipe. The save before exiting reveals another important milestone has been reached. After nearly 131 hours of runtime, the in game timer has reached maximum, 99:59:59. 30 hours of progress had been lost to wipes of some fashion, some intentional. Deaths had become much less frequent as of late, but with superbosses on the horizon that was likely to change soon. The next step on that path has been determined. Chat is breeding chocobos.

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I have to take a sidebar here to address a delicate subject I alluded to in a previous part. I want to handle this carefully because it's a bit charged for me. Another speedrunner has caught wind of Twitch's attempt to beat FF7 and arrived a short time ago. As someone who runs the FF7 100% category, this person has an unparalleled knowledge of the game, likely second to none. Fortunately he is nothing like his predecessor and his intentions are good natured. However, I felt that he misunderstood the nature of this experience. It quickly seemed to me like this had become a personal project for him, and that chat had been left on the side of the road. I don't think this speedrunner had any ill intent, I spoke to him later about all this and we were amicable.

I'm going to toss flak my own way now, because I'm not some paragon either. I was one of the most vocal members of chat through this whole thing, and just by nature of my personality became a bit of a de facto leader. I'm not proud of this designation, I never wanted this to be Kerik plays FF7 and I reminded people of that often. What chat could do was what really mattered to me, but what we ended up doing was often my plan anyway and I could have been better at avoiding that. So I wasn't upset about my crown being stolen, I think my only problem was that this speedrunner had just arrived, completely unaware of what chat had already accomplished, and perhaps understandably thought he knew better. Which to be fair, in most cases he probably did. I'm going to try not to harp on this going forward, it will come up at least one more time, but again there's no hard feelings now. Onwards and upwards, there's birds to catch.

Chocobo Hunting Returns

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First order of business is to actually return to the ranch and unlock the ability to catch and breed chocobos. This is definitely the most involved side activity in the game and given chat's 8 hour struggle to catch even a single bird earlier it had been fearfully avoided until now. Chocobos can be caught in several regions of the world map, designated by their distinct footprints in the terrain. Breeding is a complex process, and personally I was nearly useless for this segment. I've only really bothered to do this entire process once, opting on subsequent playthroughs to just get the free gold chocobo from defeating Ruby Weapon. This however wasn't an option currently for chat, Ruby will not spawn until Ultimate Weapon is defeated as they occupy the same slot of memory on the world map.

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Chat next swings up to the chocobo sage, a semi hidden location only accessible by airship. Rare and powerful greens are sold here, used not only for the catching process but later feeding to increase racing stats. Bait procured, we proceed to the first hunting ground, the tracks just outside Mideel. We need two great quality chocobos from this area, identifiable from the enemies they appear with. However, the first catch attempt goes as poorly as expected and an alternate strategy is proposed. Using the remove ability from the exit materia will erase all enemies from combat but leave the chocobo intact. This is the only enemy wide attack that will not cause the bird to flee and could help significantly.

We return to Rocket Town and purchase Exit, accidentally receiving a duplicate, but money is not a significant issue. Since nobody has ever been daring enough to brave the sell menu, there's significant useless junk cluttering our bags we could always clear out if need be. However, as remove is the second spell on the materia and would require significant AP to level, chat elects to return to the hunting grounds first and try the standard process once more. Losing two more chocobos to slow menus, even after moving the greens to the top item slot, the decision is begrudgingly made to finally embark on the second ever intentional session of grinding. Fortunately there's an acceptable location literally next door in the forest surrounding Mideel, so we don't have to travel far.

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Nearly an hour later, remove is learned and chat is yet again ready to hunt. On the next attempt though, traditional methods are successfully employed and via careful menu and targeting, our first chocobo is captured. It had been nearly five hours since beginning the process, but that shaves three hours off the previous par at least. The second required bird arrives much sooner, taking only twenty minutes after the first to procure. It helps significantly that the party can one shot most enemies on the world map now. First phase completed, chat returns to the ranch for the next heavily randomized segment of the process.

We know both of our chocobos are of the necessary great quality, but their genders will be determined once they are transferred to the barn. We require a breeding pair but fortunately this can be manipulated, saving before the move and reloading if the desired result isn't achieved. This is expected to be one of the many time consuming aspects of this process, since intentionally wiping the party is a bit more involved than a casual reset. The first female chocobo is settled in and given the appropriate name of MOM, but her partner proves trickier, completely unaided by the arrival of a known miscreant. The second attempt results in releasing the bird, prompting an intentional wipe and reset.

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It was clear all chocobo menus would require the delicate use of democracy going forward, generally avoided due to the painful time extension. Work was slow enough without 9 seconds between every input, assuming every one was executed perfectly and didn't require more rounds of voting to correct. With morning becoming day and chat getting busier, caution would need to be exercised. This was going to take a while either way, careless mistakes just adding more painful time penalties. To illustrate, this one errant button press cost about twenty minutes of retracing steps.

Fortunately chat gets lucky on the next attempt and DAD swiftly joins the stable, but before our pair can do their carnal dance, they need to stretch their legs first. The next dreaded aspect of chocobo breeding has arrived and chat braces for another potentially massive roadblock. In order to achieve our desired results, we would have to race these birds up at least a few ranks.

We've now reached 137 hours into the run, and 8 hours into our chocobo breeding adventure. Next time, we stand on the other side of gambling for once as the superboss preparation continues. I know this was a lengthy update with not a lot of excitement, but much like life, sometimes you have to put in some plain old boring work before the fun can begin. There's plenty of action around the corner though, and two seemingly impossible fights still lie ahead. Thanks for reading!

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PART 1 - **NEW** PART 1.1 - PART 1.2 - PART 1.3 - PART 2 - PART 3 - PART 4 - PART 5 - PART 6 - PART 7 - PART 8 - PART 9 - PART 10 - PART 11 - PART 12 - PART 13 - PART 14 - PART 15 - PART 16 - PART 17 - PART 18 - PART 19 FINALE

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