- I don't know about good or bad starting characters (I haven't even beaten the game yet ) but as far as I can tell, bosses are static and don't upgrade like random encounters do. Instead some quests end if you get too powerful.
- If you have access to the world map you are in the main game and can start exploring for new areas, quests, and most importantly, new party members.
- In fact, I'd suggest ignoring any quests/dungeons until you've opened up several towns in each area (except the Coral Sea which you don't have access to for a while). Plus this game doesn't mind giving you a quest that you aren't powerful enough to complete yet.
- Boat rides will cost you money the first time to take the trip but all following trips are free.
- Check out the pub in each city and try and recruit a full party before going too far. Mercenaries are meant to fill up party spots until you can find a better character (aka any non-mercenary), mercenaries are stuck with early gear (which you can't steal) and have shitty LP. You can recruit some characters in other places other than the pub.
- Your main source of cash will be from quests and chests - enemies drop jack shit in terms of cash.
- To get most chests you'll need proficiencies which you can buy from the class teachers. Buy at least one level of every proficiency you see (only one character needs to know it for you to use it, so try and get proficiencies on one character who knows the skills that the proficiency uses like 'Find Chests' on a character with the Search skill).
- Exploring and buying proficiencies can get somewhat costly but there is an easy quest in Melvir you can complete almost right off the bat. Talk to people and you'll hear about a missing daughter and a cult. Enter the sewers near the police station and you should see someone sneaking around. Follow them for money rewards!
- Using magic will make it improve over time, kind of like learning new weapon skills. Instead of learning new skills the ones you already know will become better. Of course there isn't much indication of this besides your magic improving suddenly (like an attack spell hitting multiple times).