well, finished as much as I probably will ever finish.
Yiazmat and Omega XII done. I never attempted either in vanilla, so props to anyone who slugged through those with the damage cap and no wither break. shredding Yiazmat was fun with berserk/yagyu/black robes/germinas boots. Omega was easy with reverse, but JFC you still have to load 10 Youtubes and have five different tabs open with maps of Dha Vi Fuck Off Shaari to find the gotdamn thing. Great Crystal might be the most forsaken location in all of FF.
I played on active this time and it made me put more attention into gambits. normally berserk sucks in turn-based/ATB, but holy shit having your heavy hitters throw bacchus's wines on themselves while you decoy/reverse your white mage is fucking satisfying (the only good way to beat Zodiark). and resetting your license board is welcomed, since certain end-game job set-ups suck for 60% of the story, but now can be changed at liberty when it's time to go elite mark hunting.
revisiting this game so many years later reminded me why its legacy is so..."je ne sais quoi". the game mechanics have been refined in other titles over the last decade, the story is still polarizing at best, and the designed obtuseness is maddening (fuck a 5% chest spawn, every map has false exits, the bazaar is legitimately masochistic -- even when you beat Yiazmat and Omega, you have to play a stupid fucking Simon Says fishing game 30 times to get the OP sword reward).
but I still pumped 100 hours into it on PS2, then 100 more hours this time (despite not having the same leisure as an adult with a family). and it still grabbed me and annoyed me and made me pump my fist and pore over the best way to play it. it's an experience that stands the test of time.