I dunno who I’m going to use on this playthrough, but when I played the game last time I always used Zidane, Freya, Vivi and Dagger. For some reason I never gave Eiko or Amarant a shot. I probably would’ve used Steiner if I could get a fifth character in. And then there’s Quina, who is… Quina. Blue magic is so inconvenient in this one.
Oh god that thing. I think that’s about how long it took me to give up, too, which is silly because I never even bothered to use Eiko unless I had to. Since i’m playing through FF9 again right now, when I get there I’ll have to record trying to steal it to show how stupid it can get.
Weeeeell… stealing in FF9 is like this.
All of the bosses have something like one to three items that are worth stealing, since they let you get new equipment (and thusly new abilities, since those are attached to equipment) earlier than usual. It’s probably the FF in which stealing is most useful.
However, the success rate of steal is rather awful. Get used to seeing the message “Couldn’t steal anything” if you want to steal as much as you can. Zidane has a few abilities that help for stealing; Bandit is a passive that increases the steal rate, and Detect is a thing he can use in battle to see what an enemy is carrying. You can use that (or a guide) and decide for yourself if you need to steal.
So basically, yes, stealing can help a lot, but it can also be a huge pain. Whether or not you should steal depends on how patient you can be; Above all else, do what lets you enjoy the game!
And I hope you do enjoy it. :D