I've just started playing Final Fantasy 8 for the first time, and I've come to understand that monsters level up with you. So from what I can find, the game doesn't get easier with grinding, with only a few exceptions (monsters that have level caps, so I've read).

So then what is the point of character level/experience? I understand that GFs level up, but it seems to be a wash when it comes to characters.

I'm sure I'm not the first person to ask this, but I can't seem to find a straight answer anywhere; just guides on how to best perform leveling .. which seems pointless.

At least in other FFs you could grind if you were having a difficult time with a particular enemy or boss, or you wanted to easily farm some desired item. That back-up strategy seems lost in FF8.

  • 12
    Because bigger numbers are better. Jul 21, 2014 at 15:09
  • Random encounters level up with you but what about bosses? I doubt they level up. Jul 21, 2014 at 15:10
  • there's actually a challenge no level up run in ff8 that starts out tough but actually ends up being super easy due to overpowered junction effects.
    – l I
    Jul 21, 2014 at 15:17
  • If you use the Card command to finish a enemy, no EXP will be awarded for that enemy, but you will still receive its AP.
    – user131933
    Dec 5, 2015 at 16:40

2 Answers 2


It raises stats, though Junctions raise stats far more effectively for the most part. The main purpose of leveling is to raise enemy's tiers--higher tiers (the max tier is actually very low, around level 40 I think?) drop better items. Higher tier enemies also use more dangerous spells or attack patterns however.

For instance, Elnoyle will drop Moon Stones at low tiers, but Energy Crystals (useful for gaining Ultima) at a high tier.

Also, certain encounters have fixed levels. But generally speaking, leveling will actually make enemies harder, though they will drop better item rewards. Much progress in FF8, unlike most other FF games, is related to items directly or indirectly, so they shouldn't be ignored. By fighting higher tier enemies you can more easily synthesize high level magics, weapons or GF ability items.

Grinding in FF8 is rarely direct, aside from AP. (It's also rarely necessary) Grinding to level 100 may seem pointless, but grinding Energy Crystals will give you plenty of Ultima which is both a very useful spell, and the best stat raising junction for several stats.

You can also grind if you WANT to make the game harder. Personally the first thing I do when possible is head straight to the Island Closest to Hell and get to level 100 (which due to FF8's leveling system and the level 100 enemies, does not take long).

  • It's also worth noting that most of the materials needed for the best junctions/gear can be gained simply through Triple Triad (and some minor grinding for Card Refine).
    – Niro
    Jul 22, 2014 at 1:02
  • This is odd. In my experience playing FF8 (which includes far more time than I'll admit to) monsters become slightly easier per levelup. My reasoning is that few monsters/foes have balanced stats. Thus they levelup in some areas but gain increasingly glaring weaknesses. Jul 22, 2014 at 14:51
  • 1
    @BlackVegetable the main difference is after level 40 they'll use significantly better skills (independent of actual stats). The most dramatic example is Ruby Dragon who gains an extremely powerful all-party breath attack that can, at level 100, deal 9999 damage to the whole party. Weak enemies like Geezards are still pathetic, but stuff like Behemoths and Malboros are worse due to the extra skills.
    – Ben Brocka
    Jul 23, 2014 at 13:12
  • @BenBrocka That's an excellent point. I had forgotten. Ruby Dragon's breath attack is strong, particularly in a back attack. Keep in mind that if you can boost Vitality (Spirit?) you can avoid having your party one-shot even by that attack. Jul 23, 2014 at 15:22

There are two main benefits to leveling up:

1) Getting AP points for your GF's. Without your GFs getting stronger, and learning new abilities (especially item-refining abilities), it's hard to beat many bosses. Therefore, the main point in 'grinding' in FF8 is to level up your GFs.

2) Even though enemies level up with you, if you level up with some GF stat-boosting skills, such as Strength-Up from Ifrit, you will get extra stats (effectively putting you ahead of the enemies).

@Jonathan Drapeau - Most bosses do, in fact, also level up with you.

In conclusion, there isn't much benefit to grinding in Final Fantasy 8 (unlike other Final Fantasy games - excluding Tactics). In fact, if you use GameShark and skip right to the end, you can hypothetically beat the final boss at a very low level because it'll be weak.

As for the best strategy? Find enemies that yield high AP and low EXP, get stat-boosting skills with your GFs ASAP. Once you have a good amount of stat-boosting skills, then level up your characters!

  • Bosses level up but they often have a level cap. For instance Elvoret is capped at a measly level 11 finalfantasy.wikia.com/wiki/Elvoret_(Final_Fantasy_VIII)
    – Ben Brocka
    Jul 21, 2014 at 15:16
  • Some have a cap. The majority do not as per the Official Strategy Guide of Final Fantasy 8.
    – Othya
    Jul 21, 2014 at 15:18
  • 1
    @z' Pretty hard to get AP without a moderate amount of XP. Best way is Cactuars and they're fairly late game.
    – Ben Brocka
    Jul 21, 2014 at 15:21
  • 1
    Additionally, Bosses levelups are not as strong as character levelups (even ignoring GF-stat boosting junctions.) Thus gaining more levels will make bosses/monsters slightly weaker (relatively) each time even not including level caps. Jul 21, 2014 at 17:50
  • 1
    Actually, when you transform monsters into cards you get AP but no XP.
    – Alayric
    Jul 21, 2014 at 21:59

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