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I mean, the middle ground is just spending your MP conservatively and weaving in normal attacks when convenient to recover it. Of course you're going to have a bad time if you just blow through everyone's MP to make the first fight you come across go fast. Also, the idea of walking back to the campfire between fights is absolutely unfathomable to me. The game is very generous with campfires (perhaps excessively so, if I'm being honest) or shortcuts back to previous campfires, so I found that I was basically back at full after every few fights anyway. And even then, there's also food, since the game basically gives you enough ingredients to shove infinite MP down your gullet (that said, I think I only ate like a half-dozen foods all game, and most of those were just to make room for a meal found in a chest).