Part 83: Update LXXIX: An Apprentice and the Way ForwardIf you've been following along, you'll probably guess that I don't like ending updates mid-scene, which is why aside from the previous update, only the first one ended mid-scene. The burden of character limits is one I have had to bear many times. Anyway, second half of the big scene after returning from the forest. Video goes until Meruru says "Okay, let's get this over with!"
What are you going to do? Lord Dessier isn't likely to change his mind anytime soon.
Well, I'm not, either! I'm gonna become an alchemist! I won't give up!
Oh, hi Lias. What's new in the world of gatekeeping?
Music: Wind and Sand Alivio
So, Lias. He's the Eugene Horowitz of this game, but he's one of the more interesting characters in battle, actually, thanks to a weird trait of his equipment.
I won't be gatekeeping much longer if I keep letting the princess sneak out. Aren't you ever gonna settle down? I hope all this rampaging around isn't causing my brother too many headaches.
I-I'm not rampaging around! I mean sure, maybe I've caused some trouble here and there, but...
Heh. At least you can admit that much. But unlike you, he's really busy. So try not to be too much of a pain.
I know...I'll try to keep that in mind.
Hm? Oh, well that's...undecided.
Why don't we head to Ms. Totori's workshop for now?
Oh, good idea! Maybe Miss Totori can give me some advice. All right, Lias. See ya later!
*Meruru and Keina leave*
But still...what kind of trouble has she gotten herself into this time? I hope it doesn't get out of hand...
*fade to black*
Ah, welcome back, Meruru. Were you able to gather up all your ingredients?
Well, the thing is... I've kind of hit a little snag...
*fade for exposition*
So then, what are you going to do now?
I'm not giving up, that's for sure! I just managed to take the first step in becoming your alchemist apprentice! But at this rate, my lifelong dream of seeing the world beyond Arls as a real alchemist will never come true!
So that's your true goal, is it? I can't say I'm surprised - you've always been a bit obsessed with the outside world.
And that's why I officially refuse to leave this workshop until Dad comes to his senses!
Are you sure you want to put that kind of stress on Ms. Totori?
But growing as an alchemist is going to be very difficult without your father's approval.
You're right about that. What can I do to change his mind...?
Why don't you try showing him how alchemy can help in the development of the kingdom?
Hmm...good question. I'm not sure I can help you there.
To aid in the kingdom's development... Oh, maybe we should talk to Mr. Rufus about that. He's more familiar with Arls Kingdom than anyone. He's sure to have some good advice.
Hmm...Rufus. You really think he'd be willing to help? I feel like I'd just be asking for another stone-cold lecture.
Hehe. You're really just no good at dealing with him, huh? Fine, I'll just go and talk to him myself tomorrow. But you two must be exhausted from your trip outside. Stay here tonight, and we can start fresh in the morning.
*fade to black*
Music: Atelier Meruru
*yaaawn* ...Huh? Miss Totori?
I'm back! Oh, Meruru - did you just wake up?
Did you already go talk to Rufus?
Gaaah...I really don't want to. But i can't waste any more time. Okay, let's get this over with!
After this scene, you gain control again, but there's nothing to do either in town or the atelier until you meet with Rufus and see what he has in mind. Let's just skip right on to that...
Oh, and I forgot that the Shoes have a different function. Both Jog, and the better effect Sprint, reduce travel time by the same amount of time, but Sprint also makes Meruru move faster in-game, which an interesting feature. I always thought she was moving much faster than I remembered, and that was the reason.
Anyway, onto the castle. Video goes until Meruru says "Anyway, thanks for coming along"
Music: Beleaguered Butler
I've been waiting for you, Princess. Ms. Totori has told me everything.
Huh? Wh-What do you mean?
Your royal duty and your love of alchemy - you're trying to find a way to balance them, are you not?
Umm...well, not exactly. But I guess it's close enough.
By helping our kingdom match the growth of surrounding areas, you will be fulfilling your royal duty.
Umm...I don't really get it, but I should jsut use alchemy to help people, right? Will Dad be okay with that?
That's up to you. He might not say it, but Lord Dessier has high hopes for you.
How can you be so sure? I've never seen him react like that before...
Mmm, something definitely seems up with those two.
Ah, never mind. Come with me to my study, and I'll outline my plan in greater detail.
*fade to black*
Okay, here's how the major mechanic works in Meruru. Throughout the game, by various means you'll acquire requests that call for you to synthesize something, gather materials in a specific location, or hunt a certain monster that's hanging around an area you have to develop.
By completing those requests, you gain points, which you bring back to Rufus, for a mechanic he'll explain later this update. It's basically the equal to Rank Points from the last game, in that those points are how you advance the Kingdom Rank. Population is actually how the game measures progress, and again, I'll defer to the game to explain that mechanic later on.
Umm...maybe? Or maybe not...
I'm sure it will make more sense once you actually begin your task. As this is your first time, I have prepared a simple assignment for you.
The ever-present force of pie even stretches all the way to Arls Kingdom.
There are complaints coming in from soldiers stationed in Moyori Forest regarding a food shortage. Please deliever some food to them as soon as possible in order to improve their living conditions.
Okay! Thanks, Rufus. I'll just head over there right now and-
One moment, if you please. I'm not finished.
Ehh... Are you gonna lecture me again?
From now on, you'll be leaving town more frequently. So I'll be assigning you an escort, just to be safe.
I know he's still in training, but he does have live battle experience. He should be of some help, at least.
Listen, it's not like I wanted this assignment. I'm only doing this 'cause my brother asked me to.
Hahaha! You're so funny, Lias. Anyway, thanks for coming along.
So now we have a full party. Believe it or not, other than DLC characters, we have the entire new cast playable. Meruru, Keina, and Lias are the only new, playable members of the cast.
Anyway, after this just head back to the atelier. Video goes until Meruru says "I'm gonna haul this off to the forest right now"
I haven't talked to my dad about it, but my gut says it's gonna be fine. Thanks, Miss Totori!
No need to thank me. I'm positive Rufus will make sure it all works out for you, as a favor to me if nothing else. Oh, and to celebrate, I have something special for you - my workshop! You can come use it whenever you like.
Hehe. Don't worry. I have two cauldrons here, just in case. I've done this kind of thing before, you know.
Thank you so much! So now this workshop belongs to you AND me, right?
Not only that - everything in that Container over there is yours, too. Oh! So a Container is...
See that number there? You will never, ever, EVER come anywhere near filling up the Container. You would need to try really hard to do that, as 1,999 items is a hell of a lot. It's like spending a billion dollars in an average person's lifetime. You could spend tons, daily, and you'd never come close to spending all that money before you die.
Of course! You'll still have to go gather lots of materials that aren't already in your Container. And last but not least, your very own alchemy recipe book! I hope you're okay with a hand-me-down.
Here's a bit of a change regarding recipes. For many recipes, certainly not all, you earn them as you level up, instead of buying books or seeing specific events to make items. It ensures you're rarely making items higher than your own alchemy level, and it encourages lots of synthesizing to make the things you want.
But rest assured plenty of recipes will still come from books.
Holy cow! This is incredible, thanks! Hmm...to be honest, I don't really understand anything in here.
Well, a lot of these are still pretty tough, I'm sure. But it'll start making sense the more you do alchemy. And these are just some basic recipes. There are all kinds of recipes out there just waiting to be discovered.
Yup. I have to deliver some food to a soldier stationed in the forest.
Oh, I have a great pie recipe I got from my old teacher. Here, it's on this page in your book.
An...alchemy pie? What's that gonna taste like?
You'll have to find out for yourself. All the ingredients are waiting for you in the Container. Let's give it a shot!
There's nothing stopping you from making more than two pies here, but I opted to not, since they don't give much experience anyway.
Here's a little tip for you if you want some easy alchemy experience: don't make more than one item at a time. It's a little counterintuitive, but for whatever reason, you get more experience from individual syntheses instead of group. For instance, say you want to make a couple ingots. If you make two ingots at once, you'll get less experience than if you make one ingot, then another.
Miss Totori, this pie looks crazy delicious! I'm gonna try a little bit...mmm, it's amazing!
It looks like it came out well. I'm sure that soldier will be pleased as punch with your pie.
Thanks! I'm gonna haul this off to the forest right now.
Music: Lets Learn
Well, "Starter" is right. But hey, if starting so low didn't stop Totori, I see no reason it'll stop Meruru.
After you leave for the first time, you also gain access to the good ol' Shortcut feature, which can take you anywhere in town with a couple button presses. Also, now that we have full access to Atelier Meruru, we can get our first Suicide Ending. If you rest a whole bunch, for...some reason, eventually you'll get a Game Over ending after a couple weeks, but after you get a short scene with Totori basically asking what the hell are you doing.
But that's in the future. Let's head out on our first real adventure.
Okay everyone, follow me!
"Follow me"? You do realize that the bodyguard is supposed to go first, right?
Ah! Rufus, what are you doing here!?
It's my duty to make sure our princess has safely departed. So I've come to see you off properly. More importantly - Lias, are you saying you are so weak that you cannot deal with any monsters that may appear?
O-Of course not! I was just trying to put her somewhere she'd be safe.
Then let her take the lead. If you are a truly loyal servant, you should be able to protect her from any position.
Okay, I get it...
You got it! I'm gonna come back a winner for sure! Lias, Keina, let's go!
Just make sure to pay attention to what's in front of you.
Yes, please watch where you step. There's a big rock right there...!
Music: Expanding World
A pretty cool feature of the world map is that the further you get into the game, the more dramatic / uplifting the world map music is. It's a nice way to get you pumped up the more the game opens up.
Music: What I See With My Eyes (1)
Music: What I See With My Eyes: Forest
Anyway, after we deliver our pie to the soldier, a scene. Video goes until the screenshot of a woman walking off.
Princess! What are you doing here?
I heard you were having some food troubles. So I synthesized a pie for you! Dig in and boost that energy!
Wow, this looks amazing! Thank you, Princess! I'm feeling better already!
Man, I'm so glad I was able to help. And now it's officially mission complete!
Good job. We should head back to the castle and report to Mr. Rufus right away!
But we went to so much trouble to get out here. Can't we wander around for a while first?
I'll expecting big things from you, Princess.
Hmm...haven't we seen her before?
In any case, you can either take Keina's advice to return or check out the Forest a bit to get some bearings. I'd advise doing as Meruru wants, since it's not like we have much better things to be doing at the moment.
So our first real battle. Meruru, surprisingly enough for these games, is actually a pretty competent physical attacker. She's not the strongest, certainly, but she's capable of holding her own, especially when she starts getting tricked out equipment. Lias, however, is definitely the strongest at the moment.
Mainly because his group attack is about as strong as Meruru's single-target basic attack.
So Lias' gimmick is that his attack messes around with the WT (Wait) of whoever it hits, and essentially shuffles their position in the turn order. It might not end up doing you much good, but every now and then you'll cause the enemy to lose it's turn and push it back after Meruru or any of her allies might move again. It's not bad.
But after our first battle with Lias, another scene.
Wow, Lias! You've gotten so strong. You're totally different from how you used to be.
That was nothing... Besides, I have a habit of forgetting everything from the past.
...Are you sure about that?
...You're imagining all that. I-I would never do such a thing! Just...stop talking. Come on, let's go.
You'd run off into the castle garden and cry your eyes out. Keina would come to cheer you up, and you'd cry again...
I told you, quit talking about it! We're leaving now!
Ah! Lias, wait up!
The strongest enemies wandering around are these horses. I like horses, so I can't say I'm fond of beating them up.
Well, that is, I like non-evil horses. Clearly, these guys are asking for it. With Lias, though, you've got nothing to worry about.
Keina's gimmick, on the other hand, is that her basic attack is a group hit, and can cause Sleep. It doesn't have a great success rate, but it's common enough that it does help. Keina is a massive cream puff, as her stats indicate, but that really does help, especially in tougher fights.
Also hanging around are Wolves. They're as menacing as they were last time, and in Rorona, so let's head out. When you leave, you get this scene. Video goes until the soldier says Thank you so much, Princess!
What is it? Just tell me what I can do to help, whatever it is!
Is that right? Okay, leave it to me! But, um...how can I fix it? Hmm. I need to talk to Rufus, so maybe I should just head back to the castle first. Sorry, I'll be back!
Ah, of course. Thank you so much, Princess!
After this, you get a tutorial talking about how you get requests. A large majority of requests will come in the form of letters to the mailbox outside Atelier Meruru, but every now and then a conversation with Rufus will trigger a request. Theres only a few of those in the entire game, so check your mailbox frequently if you see an icon above it. The game will also let you know when a letter arrives.
But even when you get a letter, you have to go to Rufus to actually decode it, I guess would be a good word, and hell draw up the formal request so youll know what to do. As you can guess, youll be making frequent trips to Rufus study over the course of the game.
Lets go see what the grouch has to say. Video goes until Dessier says I suppose Ill just have to wait and see
Welcome back, Princess. So, lets take a look at your results.
Oh, about that...when I delievered the pie, the soldier had another request. What should I do?
Part of your duty is to listen to the will of the people and find a solution. If youre unsure, come speak with me.
Sounds good! Okay, so his request was...
*fade for explanation*
Youuu got it! I guess theres all kinds of problems Ill never know about unless I talk to our citizens.
Naturally. Identifying these issues is another important aspect of your duty. Now then, shall we review your results?
Also, I must tell you that Lord Dessier has agreed to construct facilities that will reflect your development results.
Please dont get ahead of yourself, Princess. Let me explain piece by piece. You see...
Yet another tutorial. Basically, when you complete requests, you get points, as I already mentioned. You then go talk to Rufus and see what available facilities there are to construct. Facilities can give you a number of benefits, including more alchemy / adventure experiences, more storage for shopkeepers, or more specialized benefits. As a general rule, I tend to want to focus on increasing alchemy experience, since my playstyle ends up with me gaining adventurer experience faster than alchemy experience.
Music: Reliable Butler
Only two facilities can be constructed at the moment. Depends on what you want more, more adventure or alchemy experience. Ive made my thoughts clear, so Im going with the Academy. This early in the game, though, it doesnt matter much which you choose.
Umm...I think so. Anyway, Im sure Ill figure it out...somehow.
Very good. Before you proceed any further, I would ask you to keep one thing in mind.
Ah, yes, I see, of course. So...what does that mean, exactly?
In short, if your popularity falls, it will become more difficult for you to continue your development project.
What!? Does that mean I wont be able to do alchemy, either?
Precisely. But as long as you remain aware of your actions as royalty and maintain the faith of the populace...
Got it! Basically, as long as I dont go around causing trouble, Ill be fine. I can do that!
Popularity is like the deadline qualification for adventurers in Atelier Totori. Basically, you have a bar at the bottom right of the screen that measures, obviously, your popularity. As time goes on, that bar naturally decreases, but that can be slowed by various things, including some development facilities, and the Goddess Statue.
The Goddess Statue can have one of three Effects: Good Rumors, Bad Rumors, and Wonderful Rumors. Good Rumors causes your natural popularity decrease to slow, Bad Rumors causes it to increase, and Wonderful causes it to decrease very slowly. If your bar ever reaches zero, its an automatic Game Over, regardless of any other factors. With this, however, Rufus will stop by when its slipping, and when its nearly emptied. By building various facilities, you can punch up your popularity, but theres another method that will come up shortly.
Furthermore, our development project will work in conjunction with Arlands guild.
Ugh...theres more? I can feel my attention span draining away...
There should be an Arland emissary waiting for you at the tavern. Please go and find out more from her.
Okay...Im worried what he might say, but I have to face him sooner or later. I hope hes not mad or anything...
Eurgh, dont remind me. I feel really bad about that. But he just wouldnt listen!
No excuses. Think about what youve done, then stand before Lord Dessier and listen to what he has to say.
Okay, okay, stop guilt-tripping me! Ill go talk to Dad and tell him Im sorry.
*fade to black*
Hey, umm...so, Father...about those things I said last time we talked...
So, youre back. Yes...well. I cant say that Im not at least partially to blame for that.
But still, I have to apologize! Im sorry for making you worry. But Im really serious about this. And to prove it, Ive started working on something real big! See, I wanna use alchemy to make our kingdom-
So your mind is really made up about this alchemy thing? You wont reconsider?
Besides, I think Ive found a way to use alchemy to help develop our kingdom.
And even if you say no, I wont change my mind. Im going to fulfill my royal duty the way I see fit!
Huh? Really? Really really? Say it again!
This isnt a joke, right? Ahhhh! Thank you, Fath-
However! Nothing lasts forever. You have three years from today - I expect definite results before you reach adulthood.
Merurus 15, making her the second-oldest Arland protagonist at the start of her adventure. Rorona is 16 at the start of hers, and Totori was 13. Meruru aging and become more mature as an alchemist and a princess is actually a rather important theme of this game, it seems.
O-Okay. But...what do you mean by definite results? What do you want me to do?
Population will increase naturally as our land develops. Your mission is to help that along with your alchemy.
You technically dont have to meet this goal. You just have to have 30,000+ people in the kingdom by the end of the three year period. Remember that the union with Arland is five years off, giving you an extra two years to do stuff, assuming you reach that goal. Of course, if you dont, its Game Over.
Develop the kingdom, and increase the population. Complete those goals, and Ill allow you to become an alchemist. But if you fail in your attempt...you must cut all ties with alchemy. Understood?
Okay! Just dont forget this moment when I succeed.
Of course, I promise. Oh, and take this with you.
This is...an alchemy book? What are you doing with something like this?
I cant get into it just yet, but Ill explain everything if you manage to become a full-fledged alchemist.
Hmmm...Im not sure what youre hinting at, but Im gonna do it. Thank you, Father!
*fade to black*
Yes...YEEESSS! The clocks running, but I finally have the chance to become a real alchemist! Wooooo! Lets do this!
*fade to black*
An alchemist, huh? I never imagined my own daughter would stumble upon the same path as her...
Perhaps its simply in her blood.
Perhaps. She even has her eyes. Such details shouldnt be cause for concern, and yet...
I am confident that it will not. Im sure the princess will overcome what she could not. She has a strength and a kindness that draw others to her.
All I can do now is stand by and allow her life to unfold. Rufus, please watch over her.
Of course, your Majesty. My heart and sould are devoted to the care of the princess.
Thank you. I have to wonder what kind of change she might enact in three years time... I suppose Ill just have to wait and see.
Now we have some more essentials. A good thing, since well need them soon. But for one final scene this update, since theres been plenty of this update, lets head to the Tavern like Rufus mentioned. Video goes until Meruru says Im gonna work hard to complete requests and earn some money
Music: Drinking from 20 Years Old
Oh, Meruru. Did you come to check out the requests, too?
What exactly do I have to do for requests? I know Rufus said I could get them here, but...
Okay, well...I came to report in, so if youre not sure, you should just come and watch me.
*fade to black*
Wow, great Totori! Im always glad to see how quickly you work. Huh? Whos that girl behind you? I havent met anyone as cute as her yet.
True story, you can stop by the Tavern before heading to the Study for a second time, for a rather different scene with Filly. This scene happens anyway, but appropriate dialogue changes are made. It will go under Bonus Content, of course.
This is Meruru, the girl I was telling you about. Shes an alchemist, like me.
Nice to meet you! Im Meruru. But Im still just a rookie alchemist...
Oh, so you must be the princess. I suppose I should introduce myself, as well.
Music: Dont Ask Me
...Oops, I mean-! Oh, stupid me, talking so casually to a princess. Im really sorry! Are you gonna throw me in jail for treason? Or banish me from the land!? But i only just got here!
Whoa, whoa, whoa! Calm down, Ms. Filly. Im not gonna do anything like that. I dont like being treated different, and everyone calls me Meruru. So just call me that, okay?
R-Really...? Im so relieved. My sister would be furious if I got banished from Arls so soon.
So, Ms. Filly...what are you here for?
Totori invited me, so I came along with her. But she just seems so busy... Working here by myself is really stressful. I dont know anybody here... Maybe I should have stayed in Arland.
Huh? Friends...with a princess? ...Are you sure!?
Of course. Nice to officially meet you, Ms. Filly!
Y-Yes, you too. Friends with a princess...things are really getting crazy. So did you come to see me?
Yup! Id like you to teach Meruru about requests.
Oh, is the princess going to start accepting jobs?
I see...very impressive. Okay, let me tell you about requests. Here we gather work requests from people and assign them to adventurers and other volunteers.
Weve seen requests twice before already. The only major difference between Meruru and the rest of the trilogy is that requests are your primary source of popularity. Obviously, your goal is 30,000 by the end of the three year period, and the reason you want higher popularity is because the higher your popularity, the faster people come to the kingdom.
You know, one time I just slept for a whole bunch after this seeing this whole group of scenes, and with the Goddess Statue equipped, it took me about 2 1/2 years to deplete the popularity I had the start of the game. Popularity, shockingly enough, is quite easy to keep up assuming you do requests every now and then, and beating that 30,000 goal is incredibly easy. Crazy, I know, but remember that these games are more about the characters than the story.
Oh, and take note: requests no longer have deadlines. You can only take a certain number of requests at a time, but youll never have to worry about them expiring.
So as long as I complete the job, Ill get a reward for it?
You dont have to accept every single request. Just take whatever you can handle.
If you push yourself on a request and the final quality is bad, youll develop a poor reputation among the people.
So then my popularity will go down, huh? Yeah, I think I remember Rufus mentioning that.
Certainly could be Im not remembering things right, but Im pretty certain theres no way to do so badly on a request that your popularity actually goes down. Its true that the higher quality the item, the more your popularity goes up, but I dont remember actually getting negative popularity from a request.
Gh...Mr. Rufus...I dont...
Haha. Fillys not very good with people like him.
Yeah...I feel like he can read all my worst thoughts when I look into his eyes.
Okaaay! All right, Im gonna work hard to complete requests and earn some money!
Predictably enough, things start off pretty slow, but well be bringing plenty of money in from requests in good time. Next time, we start to head out on legit adventures.
Congratulations! I hope you play this game until you see absolutely everything. This is the workshop song filled with Meruru's spirit. When I first saw Meruru's design, I thought she had dog ears and I got excited. Then I realized it was just her hair buns (?).
Drinking from 20 Years Old
The Tavern theme. Its a bit fancier than before. The previous Tavern had a pretty stuffy image, but the Arls Tavern isnt like that...I dont think.
What I See With My Eyes (1)
For World Map #1. Like in previous games, it transitions seamlessly when moving to the smaller Field Map. The song becomes more exciting depending on development progress, which is a mechanic you can only enjoy through playing.
What I See With My Eyes: Forest
For small forest map. On the last one, I concentrated on a smooth flow. But a friend told me he didnt notice the changes in the BGM while he was playing. So I made some wider arrangements this time to make them more obvious. So Im sure hell notice this time.
Estrella means star in Spanish. Oh man, I just went there. That was a total lie. Ive been to a recording studio called Spain-zaka, though. So Im sure thats like the same thing.
Wind and Sand Alivio
It has an aura of 8th-graderitis, so I made the title 8th-grader-ish. Also, it doesn't affect me since I already have 2nd-graderitis. So I'm dismissed. And you, and you over there, too.
A long-haired character. Long-haired is an interesting description. Because no matter how long your armpit, butt, or nipple hair grows, nobody would call you long-haired. Interesting.
There are several times when Rufus and Sterk interact, and I got very emotional as I play-tested the game. I mean, its Takehito Koyasu and Jurota Kosugi! A Kreis and Enderk reunion! And of course, the Weapon Shop Pop Hagel, Fumihiko Tachiki, is amazing as always! (Continued in Unsociable Knight) [By Kreis and Enderk, he seems to be referring to a couple characters from Atelier Marie]
Dont Ask Me
The fantasizing girl is back. Filly is so cute! That cute fantasizing little girl. Even though Im a fantasizing middle-aged guy, no one would call me cute. I do hear gross! a lot, though.
The unlocking jingle. I casually borrowed the melody from the opening songs chorus. I figure nobody will notice, so Ill just mention here. If you recognized it before reading this, youre awesome!
For learning recipes. Rorona and Totori had the same melody, so Ive continued that trend here as well. Theres some humming added during the game, which adds to the peacefulness.
Alternate Filly scene