Part 7: Update VII: An Alchemist and her First Year
This Assignment is very, very easy to pass. You can quite literally pass it on the first day by buying 8 or 9 Cabbage Stews from Iksel and handing them over, netting you the three stars needed for passing. The only real thing you have to watch out for is that this Assignment is ten days shorter than usual; the last ten days from 12/20-12/30 are unavailable, but this shouldn't concern you any. So while passing the Assignment is simple, the new area in this Assignment will really test if you're leveled up far enough, and going to this new area is paramount. You'll find some pretty great materials in it, and unlike the Mines you don't need Bombs to proceed through the entire area. Once you're done shoring up Gio and Lionela's friendship level, that's when you move out. Regardless of who you take out, however, make sure to upgrade their armor and weapon, as well as getting some Gnardi Rings from Esty if you're really having trouble. They raise attack power pretty significantly. If you're going for the Pie Ending, make sure you have all but the Honey Pie made at 80 quality by the end of the year. We can't make 80 quality Honey Pies right now, but very early in the next year.
If I may talk about behind the scenes work, however, this one was a nightmare for me. Using a level 8 Lionela and a level 6 Cordelia was just asking for trouble, and it was. Not only that, but I wanted to get all variations on the Annual Festival dialogue between all possible party members, which resulted in me wasting a lot of time that should have been spent in the new location. All that said, it should be fairly smooth sailing from now on, now that I've got a lot of monkey work done. If the past two updates were a bit chatty for your taste, this update should be a lot more interesting. With all that out of the way, let's jump right in.
This scene takes place under a few special circumstances. The most important condition is that you don't take Cordelia outside of Arland at all for 90 days. In addition, you have to not speak to her at all for that same amount of time. If you've fulfilled those conditions, this scene happens in the Square. Video goes until the screenshot of Rorona asking why Cordelia is so mad.
Hi, Cory. I haven't seen you in a while.
Hey, are you alright?
You look super busy lately.
Yeah. If I don't do my job, I'll lose my workshop.
What's the matter? You're acting weird.
Are you sure? You look kinda sad.
What!? Why would I be sad!? Get your facts straight!
Whoa! I'm sorry!
Hmph. Stupid Rorona!
The worst part about seeing this scene, aside from making you feel like a jerk for not taking Rorona's best friend out for three months, is that Cordelia's friendship level drops to 0. That means you're going to have to work twice as hard to catch Cordelia up to everyone else. Needless to say having this scene part of the main playthrough made this Assignment pretty busy on my end.
This next scene happens when you talk to Esty after the fourth Assignment begins. Video goes until Esty says "Come report back to me, as usual, once you're done."
Well, it looks like you're getting used to this whole "accepting jobs" thing.
Wait, haven't we had this conversation before? Are you...?
Hmhmhm, I like girls who catch on quickly like that. With that said, I want to challenge you to jobs that are more challenging.
Well, I wouldn't say Rorona catches on quickly, but she's getting a little better. There's hope for her yet.
Again...? Hopefully, they won't be too hard...
Well, just hear me out first. This job is a request to defeat a certain monster.
I included the tutorial in the video, but there's not much to say. Basically, in addition to material or synthesis quests Esty offers, finishing this next job will allow us to take monster hunting quests from her. There's no major difference in the monster hunting quests as opposed to other quests. They're mainly to allow you to finish up the monster encyclopedia. Of course, they can also be used to level up, and monsters that only appear when you're accepted a quest to hunt them can be hunted several times, in addition to generic enemy quests.
Like the tutorial mentions, if you have a monster hunting quest, the map selection screen when you enter a major area will let you know where the monster you are hunting is.
So, what do you say? Think you can handle it?
Yeah, I think I can do it...
Okay, good. Here's the job I have for you. I need you to get out and fight this monster.
Green Punis are very easy to kill at this point, of course. Rorona with her current weapon can one-shot them, so there's no reason you can't complete this quickly. Ortoga Ruins is the best place to complete this, especially since one sub-map includes an area with nothing but Green Punis.
Come report back to me, as usual, once you're done.
I mentioned this in the last update, but this is the second of Esty's special quests. Unlike future ones, however, this one won't upgrade the item selection, but its completion is necessary to make the future ones appear. This next scene happens in the atelier sometime in the middle of October. No earlier than the 15th, however. Video goes until the screenshot of Rorona talking about her latest nickname.
Music: Merchant's Spirit
Yo, are you the new owner of this workshop?
Yes, I am... Who are you? You should knock before you come in, you know?
You look a little lost as an owner. Are you sure you're handling everything okay?
Ugh...! Well...not really, but... I don't really have a choice...
Well, this isn't my business. My name is Cole. I'm a merchant. I came all the way here to visit you, so you should buy something from me.
Meet Cole. He's pretty useful for getting some high quality materials as the moment, but there's nothing super special about what he's selling at the moment. However, it is very important you see him four or five times over the next six months or so, because he is the only way to unlock a major area in the game.
A merchant? But you're so young.
I'm probably more mature than you'll ever be. Anyway, check out whatI've got here.
Lemme see... Whoa! I've never seen most of these before.
Hehe. I get them throught a special hook up. The owner before you was never interested in buying them, though.
Why would I be? I'm not drunk enough to give money to some bratty man-child.
Whoa! I didn't know you were there.
Hmph. Well, I don't have time to be sucking up to people who won't pay.
It's the customers who get to choose who they wanna do business with. You should remember that.
Umm...no fighting, okay?
Hmph. So, what do you say? Are you gonna buy something?
Oh, um, sure...
As you can see, Cole's not selling anything particularly great right now. However, you should buy all of Cole's Dead Beasts, because the ones you've got up until now will likely be pretty bad quality (needed for the Meat Pie, of course). Honey is an item we can't make right now, so you might want to buy them for Honey Pies if your alchemy level is high enough. The more you see Cole, however, the better stuff he'll have. Every month on the 15th EXACTLY, he'll stop by the atelier. That means you can't be outside the atelier, and you can't be synthing or sleeping on the 15th. Keep that in mind.
Thanks for your business! I'll be stopping by frequently from now on, so I'll be seeing ya.
Oh wait. Um, Cole...right?
What is it?
Cole, Cole... How about "C" for short? Can I call you C?
I don't know, I think "C" is probably the best nickname Rorona's come up with so far. It's snappy.
See? A true brat is he.
Music: Should I Try It?
In addition to Cole stopping by the workshop once every month, after he visits a few times you can start taking jobs from him. There's no real point aside from a few extra scenes, so I'll be doing them off-screen.
This next scene happens shortly after the scene with Cole in the Square. It's not necessary, but it is hilarious. Video goes until Aranya says "I haven't seen Lionela talk this much in a long time."
Good job. You didn't run away today!
It's not like I do that every time...
Well, you're not supposed to run away in the first place.
Ugh...I know, but...
Yup. And I got to watch the whole thing. You were great!
That's all? What about the lead actor's performance?
Oh, sorry. You and Ranya did great, too.
Thank you for the compliment.
Oh, so I was wondering... Can you two move around on your own, as well?
Of course not. What do you think Lionela would be doing if we were able to move on our own?
Right... So then how is she moving you two? I don't see any strings.
Invisible strings? Wow! What do they look like? Can I see?
It would be hard to show you what an invisible string looks like...
Oh! You're right...
But they're not your ordinary invisible strings... They're only invisible to idiots!
Why you gotta do that, Horo? Rorona's a dope, sure, but she's trying. But he does have a point, though...
What!? So...does this mean that I'm an idiot?
Oh, no, that's not true! He was lying!
It's not true...? So I'm not an idiot?
No, that's not what I meant...
So I am an idiot...
I highly recommend watching the video of this scene. This whole conversation is far funnier than it appears in text.
Um, no, I...
This conversation is never gonna end...
You started it. Let's leave them alone for a while. I haven't seen Lionela talk this much in a long time.
This next scene happens a week after the previous one. This is the big one to watch out for this Assignment. Scene happens whenever you visit the Factory Way, Square, or Main Street. Video goes until Lionela says "Thanks!"
Huh...? Oh, it's you.
You don't look too excited.
Did you see that? It's unusual for Lionela to start a conversation.
Oh, no. I was just thinking about stuff...
Oh yeah? Like what? Stupid stuff, I'd guess.
Don't be so rude, Horoholo. What were you thinking about?
About work. I've been reading about a lot of different ingredients... I've never seen most of them, so I was wondering where I can go to find them.
Well, that's not really something you can figure out by just sitting there.
Ugh, I know...
I think I might know a place where you can find synthesis ingredients...
Really!? Like where!?
Are you talking about the Traveler's Way?
If there's one concrete complaint I do have with this game, is that the first year takes too long to open up. Consider that the last location we unlocked was at the start of the second Assignment, and we haven't had any new major locations to go to since. However, this problem won't happen in the second year, when we can unlock quite a few new areas quickly, with no more than three months happening between new locations opening up.
Mmhm. It looks like a normal road but it's a maze if you take the wrong turn. It's a fun place.
It's fun to talk about now, but man... Remember when Lionela was lost...?
D-dont' talk about that!
Hmm...I should go out there sometime.
Can I...come along, too?
You wanna come with me?
I'll try not to get lost this time. And I know how to fight! I've been traveling for a while now...
...Sure. It sounds like that would help a lot. I'll let you know!
Well, it makes sense that Lionela isn't a trained fighter like Sterk. She's definitely quite a bit weaker, but she's the first character who can heal. Her healing abilities aren't enough to make up for her lack of power at this point, but she does have quite good magic that can pack a punch. If only for the fact she's the first new character in a while, I'd advise taking her out.
Oh... Uh, okay! Thanks!
I do really like how Lionela is so embarrased to ask to join Rorona on a new adventure, and Rorona makes her so happy by accepting. Lionela comes off really good in this game, I think.
This next scene happens sometime in mid-November. Video goes until Rorona says "...I wonder what she's up to now?"
Yes, I am. Why do you ask?
No reason... Did you ever want a sibling?
Sure, I've wanted one before. My parents were always going somewhere without me, so I wanted someone to play with.
Hmm, I see. One more question. If you were to have a brother or sister, which one would you prefer?
Well, Something Awful already made this decision for me, so my hands are tied as to Rorona's option. I'll be choosing a sister, which in light of what this decision affects and Rorona's general thinking, I think, she'd probably answer if we didn't have a choice here. Makes the most aesthetic sense to me, anyway, and it's a purely cosmetic choice.
Probably a sister. I could play with her and we'd get along better.
Hmm, alright. Thanks for the info. I'll take that into consideration.
Consideration? ...I wonder what she's up to now?
This next scene happens in Sunrise Cafe when Tiffani's friendship level is 60 or greater. Video goes until Rorona says "Please help me!"
Oh, hey...um...I'm so sorry, Rorona!
Huh? Hmmm...? Why is Esty all freaked out?
Aghhh! M-Ms. Tiffani!? N-no, please! Get off of me...
Nope. I'm not gonna let you run away like Esty did!
B-but...ahhh! D-don't touch me there!
Told you Tiffani was an affectionate drunk. I do have to wonder how this scene would play out if we could see it in real-time, but I guess the dialogue is explicit enough...
...Hey, can you two please keep it down?
I actually didn't notice Iksel's sweatdrop before recording this scene. I'm having quite a bit of fun going through this game again and seeing a bunch of content I either forgot about or didn't notice at all when I was playing this game a bunch almost two years ago.
Iksy! Help me! Ms. Tiffani is... Ms. Tiffani is...!
I don't know, Rorona, your expression there in the CG isn't exactly the most protesting. I wonder if that was intentional.
...Helping you now would only create more victims. Sorry, but can't you try to stop her yourself?
N-nooo! Iksy! Iksyyyy!
Agh! N-no, that's... I-I can't take this any more! Someone! Please help me!
You actually do lose a day after seeing that scene. They're very closely related, but I separated the Sunrise Cafe scene with the next scene. Next one happens when you visit Tiffani's shop the day after the previous scene. Video goes until Rorona says "Oh, but I'm kinda scared to find out..."
I need to get that item... Let's go, Rorona!
Oh...um, hello. (Good. She's acting normal...)
By the way...out of curiosity...did you come to see me last night?
What!? Wh-why do you ask?
It's embarrassing, but...I drank a little too much and I can't remember a thing about last night.
Oh, I see... (So she really doesn't remember it...)
Um...to be honest, I don't remember this at all. Tiffani and Esty definitely seem to have a very close friendship if that line means what I think it means...
She looked like she had been crying, but she wouldn't tell me what happened...
What!? She was crying? But why...?
Well, I guess I shouldn't worry about it too much. Sorry for bothering you.
Maybe you should worry a little about it... I should ask Esty what happened... Oh, but I'm kinda scared to find out...
Unlike what this line implies, Rorona won't talk to Esty about it the next time you talk to her. Bummer.
This next scene happens when you bring Cordelia and Lionela out on adventure together. Video goes until Lionela says "They look like they're having fun."
This is Liona. We just met recently. And this is Cory. She's my childhood friend.
...Nice to meet you.
Nice to meet you, too...
Should we go now? I've got the map, so I'll lead the way. You two can just relax and have fun.
*fade to black*
Hey now, stop staring. We're not just for show.
Yes we are... So don't be so rude!
Why would you apologize just because your puppets talk? You must live a really depressing life.
Lionela's very shy, sure, but I'd actually love to just travel around and have magical puppets. That'd be pretty neat, I must say.
Uh, okay! Sor...
Now, now. That's enough, Lionela.
Geez, you're making me look like a bully here. Stop looking so nervous. Stand up straight!
Okay...umm, I heard about you from Rorona...
You did? So what did she say about me?
She also said you're never honest about your feelings, you're stubborn, and you're short-tempered.
I think Horoholo here is bluffing. I can't imagine Rorona talking bad about Cordelia behind her back, especially since Rorona has never been able to pick up on when Cordelia is making fun of her from what we've seen.
Wh-what did she say!?
Whoa! Why are you so mad all of a sudden?
Why wouldn't I be!? Who are you calling persistent, strong-minded, and shy!?
Is that what I said...? Hey, ow! I'm sorry!
She's just as Rorona described.
Uh huh. But she doesn't seem all that bad.
... Hehehe! They look like they're having fun.
Music: Never-Ending Field
So we've got a new location, meaning I think it's high time for a few battle videos. This one I wanted because it's our first "tough" battle. If your party's average level is quite a bit below the enemy's, you'll get different battle music indicating as such. Like I said, bringing Cordelia and Lionela out in this situation was a bad idea, but I'll deal with it. Battle against the Yellow Punis.
This is the one really unique skill these Yellow Puni have. They have the ability, which they usually do when they're pretty low on health, to replicate themselves and bring in a whole new Puni. This battle could conceivably go on forever because our party is so weak, but every new Puni you kill gives you experience, even if it's a duplicate. It can be pretty good for grinding assuming you have the patience. That might just be a good idea to do off-screen to fix my crippling level problem, to be honest...
Horoholo Magic is Lionela's one trump card at this point. It's quite a bit more powerful than her, has 100% accuracy, and has low activation costs. I'd advise spamming it if you're going to bring Lionela to this location. When she levels up, make sure to pump all your skill points in Horoholo Magic. Something I discovered while recording is that the activation cost for skills also is dependent on a character's ATK, which is a nice little balancing feature.
There's not much to say about this next battle video, aside from the fact I came very, very close to losing. See, when I usually play this game, my alchemy level tends to lag pretty far behind my adventurer level, so I probably overcompensated for that this playthrough, which resulted in this battle being much harder than it normally would be. Oh well. I'll manage. Battle against the Vultures.
These birds have a rather annoying ability of causing a firestorm with their wings somehow. This attack packs a punch, but it does have one good side-effect to it, with Rorona and Cordelia in our party...
You'll notice a special icon over Ether Bright. Rorona's second weapon gives her that skill. The thing with skills is that they're reliant on both the weapon the character has, and from the element gauge. Each character has an innate element (for the characters so far, Rorona and Cordelia are Fire, Iksel is Earth, Sterk is Wind, and Lionela is Water). I mentioned before that the element gauges go up and down with the skills used, and once the element bar goes above one (to continue with the Rorona example), she'll get an expanded version of one of her base skills. Further increasing the element gauge in that direction (so if Fire goes above 2), she'll get an even more powerful skill, assuming she has the right weapon equipped (or has a Hidden Secret trait on it).
The good thing about the element gauges is that bombs count as elemental attacks. We only have standard bombs at the moment, so they'll increase the Fire gauge. A good way to make the team effective is to bring out a few bombs that agree with a character's innate element, use them, and pound the enemy with more powerful skills faster than usual. There's another good reason to do this, but we'll get to it in due time.
You won't see this in the battle video, since this came from an earlier recording, but I'm glad this came up. Every party member has a special support skill they can activate if they have at least one diamond filled and something and Rorona herself fulfills a specific condition. For Cordelia, it's if an enemy targets while Rorona and she's in critical. If both of those conditions are filled, then Cordelia can support Rorona by canceling that enemy's attack. Lionela can revive Rorona if she was KO'd, the only character who can.
This is the revive skill in action. It didn't help me during that fight, but when I do everyone's skills video, I'll of course show their special support skill.
This is the first time this popped up for me. Every now and then you'll find this on the ground in an area, and if you examine, you can acquire an item. Rorona's comment when she takes it indicates the general quality of the item, or you could end up losing HP. Might as well take every one of them you can.
So here we have the Griffon, the first really powerful enemy we've seen. Come prepared for this fight with bombs and healing items. Even with Sterk, you're not likely to win this fight through brute force. If you're careful, you can smack the Griffon with your staff to get the first turn. Battle against the Griffon.
The Beast Statue is a pretty great item. At least with the couple traits I put on these, they can really pack a punch, as shown. What animal comes out of the Statue depends on what materials you used for it. Lowest-quality materials gets you a wolf, as shown.
This I was NOT expecting. 362 is an enormous amount of damage to deal in the first year. It definitely got a critical hit, but you won't see me complaining. It also helps that magical tool items (of which the Beast Statue is one), have the unique trait of naturally increasing their quality while inside the Container, which is why they're 120 quality in the video. The Griffon has 559 HP, so it goes without saying that'll make things much easier.
I got pretty damn lucky here with Cordelia's third skill, Sleep Shot. Sleep Shot was able to inflict our first status effect on an enemy, Sleep. In good old RPG fashion, that means Griffon is out of the fight for a few turns, and we can focus on the Punis. As soon as any damage is done to it, however, the sleeping target will wake immidiately.
I seem to be on a roll this fight, because this is probably the Griffon's most powerful ability, but it didn't hurt anyone when it used it this time. Lionela wasn't so lucky with the Griffon's next attack, but this fight is just about over, anyway.
For one last bit of fortune, the Griffon dropped this Beast Skin. It's got some pretty great traits on it, and it's not a guaranteed drop anyway. This material is good for the next tier of cloth items, so if you've got a good system for taking out Griffons, it's a good idea to grind in this area a bit for Beast Skins. Well, the decisions on what to do about grinding are yours.
Unfortunately, I didn't make much more progress in Traveler's Way. There are three Griffon fights in the Griffon Nest, and I beat the first and second fights, but was in no position to beat the third fight.
This is an interesting gathering spot because if you do loot it before fighting the Griffon guarding the exit to this area, it'll attack you as soon as you exit the item gathering screen. Serves you right for stealing from its nest.
This next scene happens in the Square when December begins. Video goes until Rorona says "I don't think I've ever seen him..."
Oh, it's you. Have you seen the King anywhere?
The King...? You mean our King?
I'll assume that's a no. I can't believe he ran away right before the festival!
Huh? The King ran away...!?
Shhh! Keep it down! These things shouldn't be made public.
I-I'm sorry... Um, isn't the King the most powerful person in the kingdom? Why would he run away?
I'm sure he has some stupid reason, like he got tired of all the meetings or something...
That's the kind of person he is... Anyway, let me know if you find him, okay? Or you can try and capture him as well. I don't mind if you use force...
This whole thing is just a recipe for disaster. Besides, I wouldn't attack the King, anyway. He sounds like a fun guy.
Are you sure?
Well, I'll see you later.
Sounds like he's in trouble... By the way...what does the King even look like? I don't think I've ever seen him...
Well, normally this would be a good opportunity for making fun of Rorona, but especically in Japanese history it's pretty common that ordinary citizens didn't even know what their own rulers looked like, so I think she gets a pass here.
This next scene happens when you finish Esty's request and report in. Video goes until the screenshot of Esty talking about Rorona's reward.
Really? Thanks... Hmm...
What's the matter?
That's really impressive.
Okay, sure...? (Why did she ask me to do it in the first place?)
Well, I think we're done with this Assignment and this year, so let's move on to the evaluations. Before you do finish the Assignment, however, clear your basket of everything in it. The reason why will become clear soon. And before the final day is the last chance you get before the end of the year.
...Where's Sterk? ...Did I get the dates mixed up?
Hey, sorry for the wait!
Oh good, you're here.
Can you believe I was called from duty to go put decorations up all around town?
...I'm sorry to hear that.
I mean, nevermind. I shouldn't bring you into this. Let's make this quick.
Wh-what do you think...?
It's not horrible, but...I'll have to do some reorganizing on my end. *sigh* I was expecting more from you...
I'm so sorry! I'll do better next time!
Please do... *sigh* I don't have time to be upset. Let's move on to your next assignment.
There's still some room for improvement, but it was satisfactory. I'll take care of the rest.
I'm sorry...I know you're really busy.
Don't mention it. This little amount of work on top of what I already have isn't gonna affect me much. Now, let me give you your next assignment.
Whew...I'm glad you were able to complete what we needed from you. I wouldn't have so much work to do now if everyone else was working as hard as you... First of all, the King needs to become a better example for his servants...
Ummm...are you alright?
Oh, sorry about that...I guess I'm more stressed out than I thought. ...Alright, let's talk about your next assignment.
Unfortunately, I'm too short on time to go into the details right now, but keep one thing in mind...
Just go enjoy yourself and don't worry about work during the festival. Then all of my hard work would've paid off.
Music: Fun at the Festival
Whoa, there are so many people... Oh yeah, it's the festival... Should I look around?
Yeah, you do have the choice of not attending the festival. However, unless you're trying to rush through the game, there's absolutely no point in not attending. You lose 10 days either way, so take Sterk's advice and the take the time to enjoy yourself. Let's make the right choice.
It only happens once a year, right? I should enjoy it.
Esty! Are you enjoying the festival?
No, I'm here for work. How about you? Are you having fun? Ugh, I'm so jealous! It's so not fair!
Oh, um...I'm sorry. I don't know why, I'm just sorry...
Hahaha, I'm only kidding with you. Oh, you know what? Since you're here, why don't you join the main event?
What do I have to do?
...What's a Cabbage Fair?
Great! We have another participant!
But I didn't...w-wait!
*fade to black*
*sigh* I guess I don't have a choice...
Hey, right there! Pay attention or you're gonna miss the important stuff!
We now have a chance to view the rules for the upcoming Cabbage Fair event. It's as simple as can be, so there's no point in going over it right now.
Understood? We're not going to field any questions! Now, we don't have any time to mess around. Cabbage Fair...start!
What!? Whoa...! Don't push me!
*fade to black*
*sigh* Now I'm spinning... Wh-where did everybody go!? W-wait for me!
The Fair is extremely easy to win. Basically, you just go around an enclosed area and collect all the Cabbage you can from the multitudes of gathering points scattered around. Some of the Cabbage is of terrible quality, while occasionally you'll find Cabbage of 90+ quality. But basically, you just want as much Cabbage as you can get. You need 40 or more to win the Festival, but there's no point to not getting as much as you can.
If you run out of space in your Basket, you can go into your Basket menu and toss out the Cabbage you don't want. The game counts Cabbage collected, not Cabbage in your Basket. But, you can watch me beat the Fair in this video.
But, there's no way I can fit all of the post-Fair dialogue in this update. Next small update will just feature all of the post-Fair dialogue.
Tiffani concept art
The reference song to this was more dynamic and clean, but I wanted to add a more comical taste, as the title can attest to.
An arrangement for strong enemies with a Flamenco-like guitar. The chorus part sounds very battle-ish.
This character was a challenge. He looked like the other fairies in the series, but he's not a fairy...and he doesn't really have his own story. I took a balance among all the other event songs and came up with this one.
Fun at the Festival
I know the tuning is a little off, but I think that brings a unique flavor to the song.
Should I Try It?
There are different ways to play Atelier Rorona; some people focus on adventures, some people battle excessively, and some focus on synthesis. It would suck to get a save data from someone who focuses only on sleeping and slacking off...