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Your nights are filled with nightmares. Sephiroth repeatedly destroys you at superhuman speed. Just the thought of facing Data XIII makes your nerves tingle. Lingering Will? Sorry to mention his name. I know how terrifying he can be. And in all your torments, you always cry out for help, “why no one makes a Kingdom Hearts 2 best grinding spot guide?”
I got you, my fellow warrior of the bladed key. As someone who suffered, persevered, and finally defeated all these bosses to neat a beautiful and glossy platinum trophy, I can guide you to the best grinding spots, strengthen you, and show the power of your Keyblade to these charlatans. Keep in mind this guide will mainly cover Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix, albeit the original version can also enjoy some of the pointers.
Early and Late Game Grinding
Two types of grinding will be discussed here. One is the endgame grinding for level 99 to get Sora on par with all the optional bosses or simply because you like to feel fit; the other is for those who want to get strong from the get-go and run through the game like a tractor on a beet farm. Although this guide focuses on Sora’s level, you can also take the opportunity to evolve the Drive Forms.
For those of you wondering if the game’s starting questions influence experience gain as it did in Kingdom Hearts I, it somewhat does. The Dreams Weapons choice will influence which skills Sora learns earlier. The one in question is the Experience Boost support ability which increases the XP gained by 50% when Sora is in critical health. If you choose the Dream Wand, he learns the ability at level 7. With the Dream Sword, he unlocks at level 9, and with the Dream Shield, at level 17. The only caveat is that the Experience Boost only occurs if Sora defeats the enemy. Should an ally take the final strike, the bonus is denied.
Early Game Grinding Spot for Roxas
Honestly, I wonder why anyone would want to grind with Roxas. His level does carry on to Sora, but still, it’s highly inefficient. However, I am not here to judge but to help. The prologue in Twilight Town is separated by days. Initially, facing Seifer is the fastest way to level up with Roxas compared to Nobodies.
After the third day, you are freer to explore the outskirts of the town. But we are aiming for the fifth day when time freezes. At this moment, stronger Nobodies start spawning around Twilight Town, which gives us more experience. You should wander the town while hunting them, especially the Assassins. It’s not the most efficient method overall, and it definitely takes longer than if you start the playthrough with Sora, but the possibility is there.
Early Game Grinding Spot for Sora
The Land of Dragons
Although the term early game is used loosely, I consider early the first half of it. After completing Radiant Garden, Sora can choose two new worlds. In this scenario, I will assume you picked The Land of Dragons, the Mulan-based world. If not, you can always go there later. You should be close to level 7 or 9, and if you have chosen either the Dream Wand or Dream Sword, it’s near to unlocking the Experience Boost, which will aid in this grinding endeavor.
Fulfill the goals of The Land of Dragons until the village is destroyed. Then, enter the camp close to the Mountain Trail and see if Donald and Goofy are parading. This only happens on the first visit to the world and before you complete it, so take advantage of the opportunity.
If they are, go to the Mountain Trail and use your Valor Form. Destroy all enemies in your way and get back to the village before the drive gauge runs out, and it will be refilled. This gauge trick only works if Donald and Goofy are strolling around, something they stop doing once you complete The Land of Dragons. The downside is that when using a form, your HP recovers, preventing the Experience Boost from activating. On the other hand, the Valor Form will evolve quickly. So it’s up to you to grind faster for levels or the Drive Form.
The Beast Castle is another interesting place to upgrade both your Forms and Sora’s levels. In the Entrance Hall, there are some annoying heartless, such as the Large Body that repels frontal physical attacks. However, the side rooms help with monster respawns.
In Kingdom Hearts 2, for an enemy to respawn, you need to move away two screens from the intended spot. So your plan is to go to the East Wing, kill the statues, go back to the main hall, go to the West Wing, and destroy more stone statues and the heartless there. Rinse and repeat with as few logistics as possible.
Since the statues are easy enemies to defeat, this ensures that your Experience Boost stays on course without the threat of death. Avoid getting health orbs since we don’t want a top-notch Sora here but a bloodthirsty one. This is planned for your first visit to Beast Castle. The second visit is also a worthwhile grinding spot, but mainly for Drive Forms than for levels since we’ll have a better alternative by then.
Preparing for Late Game Grinding
Now that I have shown you the two best places to grind in the early game, it is time to take out the big guns and prepare some bulking up. The late-game grind requires more preparation to maximize the grind time and earn the most experience possible. It’s recommended after you have completed all the common worlds and are nearing the end.
The first step is to get the Gull Wing Keyblade. The process of acquiring this weapon is natural to the game, but the act of receiving it as a reward requires you to go slightly out of your way. On your last visit to the Radiant Garden, you will meet the Final Fantasy X-2 protagonist trio in fairy form. After talking to them, you will soon participate in the best scenes in the entire franchise: The Battle of 1000 Heartless.
After triumphing in the battle, go to The Postern area in Radiant Garden. There is a safe point that takes you directly there, but if you cannot find it, this area is north of the Bailey. The fairy Gullwings will be there, and after complaining about Donald’s unfounded promise, they decide to present our young Sora with a Keyblade entitled Gull Wing. This weapon natively has the Experience Boost ability, despite its frustrating stats.
With two Experience Boosts equipped, the focus is to keep one Sora’s foot in the grave and the other in enemies’ faces, so the bonuses come into effect. Remember to mute your TV if the critical health sound annoys you because it absolutely will.
Kingdom Hearts 2 Pride Land Grinding
This method is unique to the classic version of Kingdom Hearts 2, and I will explain why. After completing Pride Land, the map’s highest point becomes an interesting grinding spot. Magnera magic is a must at this point. Magnega is even better, but to learn it, you must beat the second boss of The World That Never Was, the game’s last stage.
Have the Gull Wing in hand, and the Experience Boost activated to earn that massive bonus. Fitting Sora with support skills that benefit magic is essential but not strictly necessary. To make the grinding smoother, equip Magic Lock-On and Draw. You can prepare some Ether if the enemies are not charitable with MP orbs.
Remember to contain Donald and Goofy from healing you by removing all of their items and the Donald Cure from the wizard. Activate all the Jackpots and Draws support abilities they have.
Now you need to go to Pride Rock. It’s past The King’s Den and climbing up to the Peak. While on the way, take free hits from enemies to keep Sora’s health at critical levels and trigger the boosts.
When you arrive at the Peak, the place should be infested with tiny heartlessness. If not, go back to one screen and return until they pop. With Magnera/Magnega, you can gather them all and perform basic attacks to quickly eliminate them. Hasty players can use Thundara/Thundaga, but it will cost you more MP, and the enemy may not drop enough magic orbs to top up your MP.
After killing them all, go back to the King’s Den to respawn the heartless, and rinse and repeat until you’re satisfied. If your HP is wearing thin, go to Stone Hollow to recover at the save point. This method will assuredly take you to level 99 in less than two hours.
Unfortunately, it was nerfed in the Final Mix version. Now the heartless at the Peak drops HP orbs in the remastered version, making the process more onerous since the Experience Boost passive won’t work on a healthy Sora. That’s what happens when people post helpful guides online, and developers take heed of them.
Kingdom Hearts 2 Final Mix The World That Never Was Grinding
That is why in the Final Mix version, the best place to grind is The World That Never Was. While it may seem evident to level in the last stage, there’s a specific place which, with proper preparations, becomes highly efficient to reach level 99. It’s slower than the former but better than every other grinding spot.
You can also seize the opportunity to evolve Sora’s drive forms, but remember that each time you transform, your HP is restored, taking away the Experience Boost bonus.
You know the drill: Gull Wing Keyblade and Experience Boost. This time, however, we must manipulate Sora’s combat abilities to face a specific enemy, the Berserker. It’s a Nobody who carries and throws his massive sword and can be troublesome if let it be.
Remove most of Sora’s action abilities concerning finishing combos, exce but let Slide Dash, Guard Break, and Explosion active. In Support abilities, trigger Negative Combo, Combo Master, Combo Boost, Finishing Plus, and Thunder Boost. These combo-related abilities allow Sora to unleash stronger finishing strikes more often. And Thunder Boost to eliminate smaller enemies after sticking them with Magnega.
If you want to feel safe, I suggest activating Damage Control, Second Chance, and Once More. These are preventive measures in case enemies surprise you, and you don’t want to lose progress because you forgot to save the game or are engaged in the grind. Happened to me more times than I’m comfortable assuming. The last abilities are Draw, Jackpot, and Lucky Lucky to collect MP orbs and drop items.
In the spell shortcuts, place Thundaga and Magnega. Ether is good to keep up and a Cure if you feel imminent danger. Remember to deactivate Donald Cure and remove items from friends who insist on keeping Sora alive. Annoying do-gooders.
On The World That Never Was, TWTNW for short, your destination is The Altar of Naught, where a door leads to Xemnas. The map before that is Ruin and Creation’s Passage, where we will begin the trampling and grinding. The first platform, coming from the Altar of Naught, will spawn a berserker and other annoying nobodies. Their role is to reduce your HP to a critical level. Ignore them because they are a hassle to defeat together and inefficient.
Go down the ethereal stairs and find a Berserker with Creepers. Once the Berserker spawns, stay a short distance away from it so that Sora triggers the Sliding Dash at each basic attack. Keep dashing until Sora unleashes Explosion, causing massive damage. Do this every time you encounter a Berserker, and you will defeat it before it poses a threat, netting over 2,000 exp.
Continue down the platforms, and you will find several leg-shaped small nobodies. Use a Magnega and finish them off with Thundaga. Another round of them will spawn, and you must repeat. Whenever you encounter small enemies, your go-to combo is Magnega and Thundaga, hoping they drop MP orbs.
If you continue to the following map, you will reach Naught’s Approach. Dancers or Sorceress usually spawn there. Although it’s annoying to defeat them, their materials are crucial for crafting the ultimate weapons, so defeat them. Furthermore, you have to move two screens away to respawn enemies on the Ruin and Creation’s Passage.
The next room is the Proof of Existence. There’s a Save Point there that can replenish your health slightly. From then on, you can return to the Ruin and Creation’s Passage Map and retrace your steps or keep going down to face Assassins, highly subject to a Magnega plus Thundaga combo. Keep going, and you’ll reach the Naught’s Skyway, where you will face a Berserker and three Creepers. Defeat them, and a Berserker and Samurai will spawn. After those, three Berserkers appear, which is the most tricky trio possible. I suggest you ignore them.
Now you have two options. Use the teleport at the Save Point to get back to The Altar of Naught and make the whole journey again – remember to get your ass kicked initially – or manually climb up to the Altar while defeating enemies along the way. Both methods work and provide the highest amount of experience per hour in Kingdom Hearts 2 Final Mix, boosting your grinding to the max.
In addition, these enemies also drop materials needed for crafting the best weapons in the group, especially the Ultima Weapon. So besides grinding to naturally strengthen young Sora, you will be able to equip him and prepare for the optional bosses’ challenges ahead.
These are the ways I used in my endeavor to get Sora to level 99, get a trophy in the process, and be prepared to fight the optional bosses. Sephiroth will be pretty easy if you are that strong, even more so if you manage to craft the Ultima Weapon. However, Data XIII will still pose a slight threat even at the maximum level.
Lingering Will, on the other hand, no matter how much grind or prayer you do, the boss fight is ruthless. Level 99 is almost a must to even dare to face him, even more so if you are playing on Proud or Critical difficulty. I hope these tips help you to make the grinding process less burdensome. One last suggestion: Twitch or Netflix at the side makes the process less tedious.
Question: Do I need to grind levels in Kingdom Hearts 2?
Answer: Not necessarily. Kingdom Hearts 2 is one of the easiest of the franchise, even if you want to play on the hardest difficulties. If you don’t feel comfortable with Action RPGs, you can choose the easy mode at the beginning of the game, and no grinding will be necessary. However, if, like me, you are a completionist, then yes, grind you must. In addition to earning a trophy that requires Sora to be level 99, you will need to defeat all optional bosses. Standing at max level helps in the endeavor.
Question: What level is suggested to face Lingering Will?
Answer: At least level 80, but 99 is highly recommended. Lingering Will is allegedly one of the most challenging bosses in the entire franchise and should not be taken lightly. In addition to Sora at max level, you better grind his Drive Forms as well to get extra abilities and a bigger gauge when transformed.
Question: Does Roxas level carry on to Sora?
Answer: Indeed, it does. While grinding with Roxas can feel like an ordeal and only for the strong-hearted, your efforts won’t be discarded since they will pass on to Sora. If your deal is to smack Seifer’s face repeatedly and hoard those experience points, do so enjoyingly.