In all of the Final Fantasy games I’ve played, I’ve never had to grind for levels. If one plays through the game and progress as normal, their stats will increase naturally. Monsters can provide our characters with experience to overcome dungeons and bosses. One can level up, but I’m not sure how necessary it is…unless you just want to be powerful.
When people speedrun in Final Fantasy, they don’t have the time to level. Low-level challenges are similar; players are trying to avoid gaining experience. Both of these challenges can play into each other. But in both challenges, players have to rely on one thing: gil. Gil will help with purchasing items, weapons, armor, etc. These will help you offset your level.
Final Fantasy VIII discarded level grinding in favor of gil grind. Your enemies level with you, so gaining experience might not work in your best interest. However, you might want to acquire magic. But how do you acquire more magic, without searching for draw points or battling? Items. You can refine items into magic. And how do you get items? You have to use your purchasing power.
The first Final Fantasy is essentially a test in resource management. But it’s evident in the Marsh Cave. Final Fantasy’s strategy guide infamously advised to “bring 99 potions”. This is extremely, but not far off. At this point in the game, your characters don’t have very much armor, and the Marsh Cave jumps in levels.
So this sounds like a pretty good time to level your characters. But leveling is difficult. You can take on goblins and wolves, and it’ll take a while before you level up. Going after Orges is riskier. But either way, you’ll gain gil. The gil is what you’ll need to heal yourself in the Marsh Cave. The cave isn’t too deep; but if you go far enough with no way of healing, you’ll have to either run or turn back. Either one takes risks. If you run, you might miss out on making money. If you press on when you’re low on health, you may not get far.
In this case, potions will keep you going. And you need gil to purchase potions (which you’ll go through pretty quickly). In the meantime, you will gain levels, offsetting the need to purchase a large supply of potions.
This is why I grind for money, not than gil. With gil, you can purchase items to help you last longer in the battles. You can also purchase better weapons, armor, and/or accessories to help you dole out or take more damage in battle. Plus, the items can replenish health and MP.
I guess this is a pretty counter-intuitive. If we want to grow stronger, we grind. But there are several ways to grind, and gil is one of them.
Money is power.