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Tips for Buying EarthBound

November 23rd, 2011 | EarthBound, Uncommon Knowledge

A common question I see from EarthBound players is, “When does the game decide when an enemy will drop an item and which item it’ll drop after you beat it?”

Some games decide this right after you defeat each individual enemy, but in EarthBound’s case, the determination is made when you touch the enemy while walking around outside. What this means is that if you’re trying to cheat using save states to get the Sword of Kings or something, make sure your save state is BEFORE you touch the enemy, otherwise the determination will already have been made.

Now, I’m not exactly sure what happens when you touch an enemy and a bunch of other enemies come running to join the fight. Any PK Hackers out there know what happens in those cases? If I was the programmer, I’d probably be lazy and not do anything different in those cases, but then again EarthBound’s programming is crazy so who knows 😛


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21 Comments to Winning Items in EarthBound

zedrein said on Nov. 23, 2011

Being a person that knows nothing of programming, I’m always surprised how many aspects of a game are variable (eg item determination happening before the actual fight). Pretty cool stuff happening behind the scenes of a piece of software from the early 90’s!

Satsy said on Nov. 23, 2011

I’ve never actually gotten any of the rare drops. Though to be fair they’re not something I’ll actively look for either. If I get them I get them. Not gonna grind to level 70 looking for them. 😉

man said on Nov. 23, 2011

Does this mean that if we want to get the Sword of Kings, it doesn’t work if you touch the regular Starman and the Super Starman joins him in battle?

Bread said on Nov. 23, 2011

How did you know that?

Linkzcap said on Nov. 23, 2011

First play-through of earthbound I bumped into a starman on my way out Stonehenge and got the sword of kings. Man am I lucky.

Nightshade said on Nov. 23, 2011

It kind of makes sense since Jeff is able to “steal” presents from enemies before defeating them (even the Sword of Kings). Because of that, you don’t want the game to determine if there’s an item drop twice in your code but you still want to be sure that it will not be skipped. The moment a battle is triggered seemed to be the programmers’ pick in that case.

Mother Fanatic said on Nov. 23, 2011

I got 3 Broken Attennas on a file of EarthBound….. Wow!!!!!!!!

RadicOmega said on Nov. 23, 2011

Hey guys! You may have heard
Of Gooptek possibly. He makes a lot of EarthBound formees and one for Kirby fans you can check out his lists of Formees on the earlier post about the Ultimate Chimera FreakyForms! It’s really neat check it out!

kallman1206 said on Nov. 24, 2011

I recall from reading the run comments for a TAS of the game that the RNG is updated once when you push an arrow key in a menu and twice when you push B (or something like that), so in TASes of the game you’ll see them mess around in the menus while picking fight and so on in order to have a favourable result. I assume if they wanted to ensure an enemy would drop whatever item it can, they’d mess about quickly in the menus just before engaging the enemy – I don’t think any of the normal movement stuff changes the random number generator’s seed value.

FlyingManCourage said on Nov. 24, 2011

Take it from a seasoned veteran of obtaining rare items in EarhtBound:

In answer to your question about multiple enemies.

The drop rate of any item from any enemy is doubled if another enemy is present for the battle. This means that a 1/128 because a 1/256 if you are fighting two enemies. The odds get even worse if you are fighting add more enemies. ANYTIME you are trying to get a rare item, you want to battle the desired enemy ALONE.

RadicOmega said on Nov. 24, 2011

@FlyingManCourage, Tge chances of getting the sword of kings is 1/16. So if I battle two the. My odds are now 1/32!

RandomGuardian said on Nov. 24, 2011

I hope this stands true to MOTHER 3. I knew the “pre battle item drop” thing before and that’s why I didn’t feel special when the pig mask dropped the mystic cape thingy in the temple masked man battle (vagueness ahoy). Now if what FlyingManCourage said was true I have a reason to feel special now.

Zinco said on Nov. 24, 2011

FlyingManCourage’s insight is rather interesting—it could explain, too, why it seems for so many people that it takes far longer than one would expect, given the 1:128 odds, of finding the Sword of Kings.

Alchemic said on Nov. 24, 2011

If I recall correctly, the item drop process works like this:

* Touch an enemy.
* (Optional) Other enemies run up, adding opponents into the upcoming battle.
* Screen fades to black.
* Battle setup stuff, including the item drop calculation at C2/4D6B (part of the big battle engine function that starts at C2/4821).
* Screen returns and the battle begins.

The item drop calculation picks an enemy in the current battle at random, then reads that enemy’s data to determine what item to drop and the probability of dropping it. So if you get into a battle with a Starman and a Starman Super, the odds are 1/2 of the game picking the Starman Super, and 1/128 of getting the Sword of Kings, for a cumulative probability of 1/256.

This also means that a battle group of two Starman Supers (with no other enemies) would still have a 1/128 chance of giving you the Sword, as the game would pick one Super and calculate as usual.

FlyingManCourage said on Nov. 24, 2011

Ah. Thanks for clarifying Alchemic. I discovered this while trying to get a Goddess Ribbon from a Ghost of Starman. I noticed I ALWAYS got the Magic Fry Pan (from a Chomposaur) much more quickly than other items such as the Star Pendant. Did some internet searching and found someone’s synposis of item chances. I immediately began to focus on trying to isolate the Ghost of Starman and was able to get my item very quickly.

I did some testing in future plays and discovered the isolation technique to be constantly effective. However, your explanation makes perfect sense as you typically fight a Starman Super with a Robot, a Major Psychic Psycho with a Psychic Psycho, and a Ghost of Starman with whatever else is lurking Onett.

If you are going for any of the 1/128 items/equipment, eliminating other enemies from the equation gives you the best chances.

RadicOmega said on Nov. 26, 2011

Also the chances of getting a sword of Kings is 1/16.

Zinco said on Nov. 26, 2011

@RadicOmega No, lol.

RadicOmega said on Nov. 26, 2011

@Zinco, WHA!!! I’M WRONG(!!!)? WHAT(!!!) IS IT??

Ice Sage said on Nov. 27, 2011

The chance is 1/128 for a Sword of Kings drop, as has been stated several times in this thread.

Actually, I’ve noticed that I have a harder time getting rare drops from solo encounters as opposed to group encounters. It took me nearly six months to get a Magic Fry Pan from a Chomposaur (admittedly I was playing quite infrequently), but only part of an afternoon to get a Sword of Kings while battling groups of Starman Supers plus other enemies. And this happens nearly every time I play through the game.

Alchemic’s equation/process appears to be correct, judging from what I’ve noticed in-game and playing around with the code (except for the weird Chomposaur thing). This makes even more sense when you conisder that people have advocated the SNOT technique for God knows how long.

My posts always end up so much longer than what I intend them to be…

MrSaturn1 said on Dec. 2, 2011

If you want to get any of the 1/128 items quickly on an emulator without just hacking them into your inventory, there’s an easy way to do it.

To get the Sword of Kings, for example, locate a lone Starman Super in the Stonehenge Base, save state, and attack. Then, every following try, load state, open and close the status window (hitting B twice) and then save state again before approaching the Starman Super. Essentially, this means that every time you load state for another try, an additional “open and close” of the status menu will have been added before you fight the Starman Super, advancing the random number generator a bit more each time. This way you don’t have to waste time going in and out of a room, using the SNOT method, dealing with multiple enemies, or leveling up unnecessarily.

It’s especially easy if you’re playing with a USB controller, as you can just set two buttons you’re not using to “load state” and “save state,” so each iteration will take all of 10 seconds or so. I honestly just got the Sword of Kings, Magic Fry Pan, three Star Pendants, Goddess Ribbon, Broken Antenna, and Gutsy Bat all within a few hours yesterday.

jinxkatty7 said on Oct. 29, 2012

First play of Earthbound it took me 15 minutes to get the sword of kings. I. was. so. dang. lucky.


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