From Before I Play
- For your first playthrough, you should recruit either all humans or all non-humans. There's a plot twist halfway through that robs you of half your Friends List. Don't worry; you'll be explicitly told what's going on at the time.
- The non-human path has the happier ending, if that makes a difference.
- It doesn't really matter as long as you try and recruit as many people as possible while playing. Near the end you have to choose sides but the game is fairly balanced for the most part. The fairy ending is widely considered the best ending but it's worth keeping a save before you're asked the deciding question and the endgame content is only about 5 hours long.
- I highly suggest a recruitment guide because recruiting is like a Suikoden game except 10 times more obscure. Some people join based on your levels, others appear at specific times, and there are many that can be arbitrarily locked out completely. You can't get 100% on the first play so don't sweat perfection.
- NPCs don't learn skills and can't change equipment so the initial loadout is important. For a good, well rounded human party you should focus on Vancoor and Oracian guild members. The Vareth guild members generally have obscure conditions but their magic is incredibly helpful.
- Non-humans are the easiest to recruit after the split BUT you want to recruit them as early as possible if you'll side with them. The game doesn't balance experience so new characters will be underleveled in the endgame. Non-humans congregate together and most of their conditions seem to be "talk to them alone or at X time" but again, don't hesitate to use a guide.
- Kick everything and everyone! I don't think there are negative repurcussions, you can't die in a duel, and you get items and money from objects. Sometimes it's required to recruit people. Jack Russel is the biggest douchebag in JRPGs and it's fun reading people's reactions.