revives a dying thread
I was hardcore into DQ VIII analysis for awhile. Behold my findings:
The Hero - Always max out Courage. Reduced spell/ability costs, Kazing, Kazap, and Gigagash make it his best skill option. For reliable damage, Swords are by far his best weapon option - Falcon Slash replaces the normal attack, his Dragon and Fire attacks help a lot, and his final skill is half of Gigagash. Spears and Boomerangs are good third options, Spears because of Multithrust and Lightning Thrust, and Boomerangs for Super/Power Throwing large groups of enemies. Even if you focus on Swords and Courage (which is the best idea), at least learn Lightning Thrust so you can reliably take down MKSes. I don’t recommend going into Fisticuffs, even though the Hero is good with them.
Yangus - Yangus’s three best skill options are Axes, Axes, and Axes. You will be using Helm Splitter and Parallax the entire game, and Axes of Evil and his final Axe attack (the name escapes me at the moment…) are no slouches either. it’s too bad that the best axe is pretty weak for a final weapon and there isn’t a +25 Attack level, though. Scythes are his second-best option, with the Heavy Hatchet (a scythe) being his strongest weapon other than the Flail of Destruction; the lategame skills are useful as well, but not as universally useful as Parallax or Helm Splitter. Humanity is useful for healing and auxilliary purposes, but I’d recommend Scythes before Humanity. Avoid Clubs. Weak attacks, lame skills, and you have to synth your best axe to get the best hammer, which blows goats. Also avoid Fisticuffs.
Jessica - Avoid Daggers; they suck compared to what Whips, Staves, and Sex Appeal have to offer. Sex Appeal’s trait of charming enemies, quick healing (late in the game), and status-affecting attacks are nice, but Whips and Staves are ultimately more useful, especially for Twin Dragon Lash (whips), MP +100, and Kazing (Staves). It really depends if you want to focus on a physical end or a magical end, but I recommend putting an emphasis on those two first and foremost. Jessica is okay with Fisticuffs, but her strongest spell in the game (Magic Burst) is learned at 100 Fisticuffs, so it might be worthwhile to try them out (I only maxed it on my Fisticuffs-only game, but was awesome when I got it).
Angelo: this guy has the least clear-cut decisions for skill options. Charisma isn’t very useful, but tension-reduction has its situational uses, everyone loves more spells and status attacks, and Pearly Gates is Angelo’s strongest magic attack. Bows are nice for Seraph Shot, Multishot, and Shining Shot, and Angelo’s strongest weapon is a bow (Odin’s Bow). Swords let you use the excellent Falcon Slash and a variety of other great attacks, and unless you do some clever Alchemy Pot use swords will almost always be stronger than your available bows. Staves are great on Angelo, teaching him his nifty death spells, some stat spells, and giving the usual MP boosts that Angelo always needs. My favorite Angelo setup focuses on Bows, Staves, and Charisma (with emphasis in that order from most to least), but you really can’t go wrong with him. Again, avoid Fisticuffs.
I hope this helps any interested parties. And for the record, each character gets 350 skill points at level 99. I had everything finished at level 68 or so, but it’s definitely possible to finish everything at levels as low as 40, because I sure as hell did a lot of dicking around in this game.