In case you missed it, the first part of this set of time-saving tips can be found here.
When you’re nearing the end of Episode 2, you probably have enough mana to start a small army. The most important characters to create at this point are a Cleric, Mage, Warrior, and Brawler. Create the best you can make without senate approval. If you have enough mana, you can make multiple, mixing up the genders. Clerics are important for healing and shield magic. Mage elemental spells are useful, but the main reason you want them is for the Braveheart skill which can increase attack power, though you won’t be able to get it this early. Warriors and Brawlers aren’t too important at this point of the game as far as combat goes since you’re focusing all your money on your main attacker, but they’re needed to unlock some other classes, like Rogue, and their throwing range will make life easier for you in the Item World.
Speaking of the Item World, this is a pretty good time to make your first trip, though you may prefer to wait until you receive your first exit item, just to play it safe. A few good preparations to make include: having your main character take a few promotion exams, passing the law that allows the store to carry shoes, equipping a single character with good natural movement with as many shoes as you can afford, and beginning to stock up on humanoid vassals with good throwing ability or support skills. Having a variety of characters who can throw others at a good range and at least one with really good movement will help you move through stages more quickly, as well as help reach and subdue residents before they’re killed by enemies.
At this point, some decent story stages have been unlocked, and repeating them will earn you a lot more exp and money than Episode 1 maps would have. If you’re hesitant about the Item World, this is a decent enough time to start grinding a tiny bit. If you do so, you might want to have someone learn some fist skills since they can re-position enemies, though that can certainly wait. Just keep in mind that you should avoid wasting too much time grinding right now.
Now then, once you’re feeling ready, it’s time to pick a good piece of equipment to dive into. You’re going to want to choose something weak since this is your first trip, and you’re going to want to look at the residents and make sure they’ll be helpful. By far the most helpful residents at this point are Statisticians and Armsmasters since they affect the rate at which you gain power. You might be tempted to grab Brokers or Managers since they increase money and mana earnings respectively, but if you can gain power more quickly, you’ll be able to fight enemies that are worth more money and mana anyway. This isn’t to say that equipment that has these guys in them isn’t useful at this point in the game; it’s just a waste of time to go out of your way to subdue them since you’ll eventually have more money and mana than you’ll probably ever need.
Second to Statisticians and Armsmasters are Gladiators which will bolster your attack, and they’re ideal for weapons like swords that rely on attack for damage. The Disgaea series is a very good example of the saying “the best defense is a strong offense.” The ability to defeat an enemy in fewer turns will help a lot, especially when facing multiple foes at once. If enemies gang up, they’ll begin to ignore your defenses anyway. That said, defense and resistance, gained from Sentries and Physicians respectively, are pretty good stats to increase if you find them in the same items as the other, more vital, residents. Among the least important residents are Dieticians and Masters which raise your HP and SP respectively, as well as residents that add status effects to weapons. A few extra HP or SP won’t help much when you have thousands or millions of each, and inflicting status effects at microscopic chances isn’t very useful when raising attack power will allow you to one-hit most of the enemies that are susceptible to status effects anyway. If you want to raise these later in the game, go ahead, but it’s very inefficient to do so now.
There isn’t much to say about the Item World that I haven’t mentioned already. Take advantage of lifting and throwing, subdue any residents you come across, and don’t waste exits unless you’re desperate. Don’t worry about clearing each floor. Many floors you come across will be difficult if not impossible to clear anyway. That said, if you come across a floor with the good geopanel setup that looks easy to clear, go ahead and rack up some huge bonuses. Aside from floors like that, it’s only really important to clear every tenth floor since that will give the item you’re inside an extra boost in power and earn you another exit, one of the most useful items in the game. When you’re done, move the residents into your current equipment for an added bonus. Just don’t merge them with residents of the same type that haven’t been subdued.
Between the Item World and any good leveling maps you come across, you should be able to move through the game at a reasonable pace until you find a really nice map to level up on. If you have enough Item World exits, you may wish to attempt riskier items for better residents or even for the sake of leveling up the item itself. In either case, avoid going past floor ten at this point. Make sure to focus on your main attacker still. The others can play more of a support role as you progress, but it’s still far too early to build a true army.