So we are just finished with the first stage of the dreadnought Leviathan. Ashe is in the party and we are ready to make our escape with her. I have to admit, I fell for the Marquis's "double cross" -- I really thought he had given us up and I was quite confused as to his motives there. Then of course Vassler reappeared and all became clear.
The mines were a great place to level. Of course, we almost *died* with all our lovely levels trying to get away from the bounty hunter guys -- in the end it was just Basch running and running and running. But we did get away and then we came back and beat up skeletons for fun, profit, and XP. I had forgotten just how money-focused T gets while playing an RPG. His point is that it's important to collect money for fast upgrades, and I do see his point, but boy do I get tired of running around in dungeons, especially when you just know that eventually you will have more gil than you know what to do with.
Other characters: I am finding Basch more interesting with time. Still need more on Ashe than "deposed royal with an attitude problem (although I must admit that it's hard to blame her for that)" before I have a real opinion on her. My real question is what are you supposed to do with her, battle-wise? She has the highest magick power (tied with Vaan) and the second highest attack (after Basch). Is she a hand-to-hand girl? A warrior mage? But Vaan and Fran are already warrior mage types. Hmmm. In NPC news, I am rather destroyed to learn that Vayne is probably evil. He caught my attention all the way back in the trailer. I really wish he would not be evil. Why does evil have to be more attractive and possibly more interesting than good? Why do all the "good guys" have to be blond? Alas.
Meanwhile, T keeps trying to relate everything to Star Wars. Balthier is Han Solo, of course, which makes Fran Chewbacca. (Um. No.) Vaan is Luke Skywalker and the Marquis is Lando Calrissian. Ba'Gannon is Boba Fett, and when we walked into the cell to rescue Ashe, the first words out of T's mouth were "aren't you a little short for a stormtrooper?" Okay, I do see his point. But it's not like Lucas made any of this stuff up, either.
It seems likely that we will be rejoining with Penelo soon, which is excellent. I like her a great deal. Certain bad influences are trying to convince me to ship Larsa/Penelo. I am attempting resistance, but it's difficult. Larsa is just so awesome. But he's 12! But he's awesome! But Vaan/Penelo! But Larsa. And he's so sweet with her! You see my dilemma. Well, it's still early in the game. We will see how things shake out.