Greetings! I've been following these forum threads for LoT2 for many years even back with the old forums as far back as the first game, and thought I should quit lurking, so I made migrated from the old forum and wanted to open up a less explored mechanic of this game I thought would be nice to see talked about here.

I'm here today with a method I've been using for a while now involving base stat increasing to gain more stats per level, but have come into an argument with which I had to try and dispel about my using stat boosting for stats over using EXP boosting items for stats instead, which came up after introducing someone I know into this game recently. To illustrate this, for years now I have sworn that First Aid Kits and other base stat boosting items/skills/gems

*increase* stats gained per level, thanks to the wiki's section on

growth rates and are more optimal to use over EXP boosting, which I theorize that boosting EXP actually works

*against* this idea of mine. For reference, for every playthrough I do, I level each character's skill point based stat boosts and whenever available, then, I trade out every subclass stone for Transcendent after finding its proof to give a huge boost on every character's stats for level grinding. Eventually with the final boss beat, I refight them for 10 stat gems for every character, get Achievement 30 to give every character the Transcendent subclass, and go for any locked chest containing base stat affecting items like Main Equipment and Tomes. I have been under the impression that this will bolster stats and help keep my characters left behind in Gensokyo to stay well-rounded and boosted if I feel like swapping characters.

I theorize the most optimal time to get EXP boosting from Mr. Midnight items, Hand-on Experience/Motivated Heart, Keine's "Historian School", and Diva's "Song of Delight" is ONLY after you get Mega/Giga Boost boost every needed stat, but recently the argument I mentioned thought this theorem is not optimal, and that doubling down on EXP early was the best course of action, born I believe from the idea that this works for other JRPGs, so why not here. The argument was such that Shoes of Happiness and Training Eggs (Growth Eggs if you don't use the Steam version) are clearly superior over going for base stat boosting in the long run. I went out of my way to get evidence to prove to the contrary, but all I was unable to prove if this idea actually carried over into Plus Disk, though thankfully this hasn't been tested as it hasn't got that far for either side here. I am here today to learn, either by merit of the game's code or mathematically, which is best to go with in the end because 1) I don't think anyone on the old forum or now has talked very much about stat growth rate affecting stats significantly as far as I've been able to see, and 2) I do genuinely want to find out how to minmax optimize this game and make the best character builds possible.

Here what I did to test and prove my side right: Used a NG+ framework, waited the 256 hours out for Plus Disk Achievement 2 "God Player" for the +2,000,000 money, should've got Achievement 28 "Slapping Her Face with Money Bundles" for +3 Life Gems, and then got Achievement 48 "Novice Explorer" for another +3 Life Gem. Being sure to pick that up along the way with the highest base HP character, Komachi, in tow with enough Magic Library levels to overcome the following bosses for 4 more Life Gems: Youmu, NG+ Alaya-Vijana, Komachi, then Hina to get to 6F super early for a First Aid Kit and the Guardian subclass. Using all of this puts Komachi's base HP at 314 which gives her an insanely high HP count for 6F. From here I made it to 12F and stopped her level at 47, right before the fight with the celestial, and she has a whooping 10680 HP even without HP boosting equipment (8370 without level up investment). Taking off the First Aid Kit left Komachi with a still hefty 9034 HP (7378 w/o lv. bonuses). Unfortunately I wasn't

*perfectly* optimized in gem usage, because I actually forgot to give Komachi most of the Life Gems I could have with some more numbers for a potential 11k, because I haven't got the Achievement 28 which I did for the second test.

For the next playthrough test, I did the exact same set up but instead of using a First Aid Kit, I used the Shoes of Happiness on Komachi from 5F and optimized bosses with Hands-On Experience for the most EXP gains, and went for a trick beating 6F Tenshi + Yuugi FOE for Achievement 60 netting an EXP Egg way earlier than is possible. Komachi at level 47 was only 7332 HP (5022 w/o lv. bonus) at the same place in 12F despite me keeping her HP growth items the same as the above test, and this was

*with* me bumping her base stat up to 314 with First Aid Kit, because without it she had 6215 HP (4257 w/o bonus). Despite having the save files to prove the argument, it came back with a counter that if growth rate exists, then wouldn't gems, subclasses, and skill point ups be enough? I haven't been able to actually disprove that remaining argument there enough to know if EXP eggs here won't eventually, by the end of Plus Disk, win out over the First Aid Kit method I've been sticking with for all this time, and spending an entire playthrough just to prove this wrong isn't as easy for me to do with a busy schedule, and I am not exactly familiar with diving into the game's data or code.

In a nutshell, is the wiki right to use the term "growth rate" or is it actually it a misnomer and thus EXP boosting items are better in the end if you stick with them? There is isn't a lot of concrete information on this that speaks conclusively on the nature of this underlying mechanic, and I wanted to make a public effort for an answer. If anyone with an insider look into the game has any clue about this, I'd really like to know! If anyone is interested to have a look for themselves at the proof, for the sake of posterity, I do have the save files I used in case anyone wants to see the technical side and proof of what I did. But just know I use the fan-created save file that gives me the Plus Disk characters since I didn't like that the NG+ didn't let me have those characters at the start, and also am still using the DLSite version as implied before without experience with the Steam converter as I don't own the Steam version yet.

Thanks in advance, and thank you folks here for all your the hard work over the years, especially the still amazing achievement of getting a game's fan translation official for Steam like that! I really want to support the scene for the game here and see about giving back to one of the coolest Touhou fan games I've played here. Apologizes for bumping this thread so long after the last post, as I imagine people have moved on or are on Discord. I suppose I wanted an open forum of eyes on this as Discord's a bit far n' away from being the completely public sphere I was after, and also having text limits even with Nitro.