Part 7: The Whale in all of us.Update 7: The Whale in all of us.
Well, it's time to get out of Sadal Suud. I kinda like it here, but honestly I'm ready to move on to a new place.
Eh, it's just four of them. I'm sure the two of you could pull it off. Although I guess killing a bunch of soldiers right in public would look bad, but it's not like Kalas has an image to maintain.
...or...that...uh...yeah, I'm not going to pretend I know how that was supposed to work. You'd think the pilot/driver/whatever wouldn't time his departure so perfectly in the protagonist's favor. Maybe he just likes trolling soldiers.
Here we have the proper world map. The plot will be shuffling us around automatically between islands for much of the earlygame, but we will eventually get to explore on our own. Sadal Suud is on the center right...
...and Diadem is the pink cloudy mass below it. Also, check out the frame around the world map. I have no idea what the meaning behind it is, but that guy on the lower left is pretty crazy looking.
I just now noticed this...the ship has some sort of shrimp thing hanging off a rod in front of it to entice the beast that's carrying it. Nice touch.
The Empire? You'd need to make your way down to the castle town. There's a large port there. Nashira here is just a small village, as you can see. The only ships around here are merchant ships flying in and out from Pherkad.
I'm headed for the castle, too. I need to talk to the King...Which means we'll be traveling together a little longer.
Kalas, I think you need to write a message on your cape. Something like "The wearer of this cape does not want to be friends with Xelha". Actually, no, she'd just pull it off and keep stalking us anyway...sigh.
But Kalas, Legion, before we set off, why don't we stop by the village? We might need a Magnus or two for the road.
Yeah, good idea.
Well, I actually won't be shopping in this update, but I do need to remember to do that before I move on to the next dungeon. I've got that Nunkirantula picture I still need to sell, and I could use an update in healing stuff if nothing else.
At any rate, I head into the building, and before I know it...
Wow, I don't even remember this woman. I'm glad I decided to talk to all the NPCs or I would have totally missed her. I mean, it's not like I couldn't have just come back later, but it's still nice to have that over with. Too bad she didn't have anything interesting to say.
I also find a Fire Yell. Yells are a special kind of Magnus which I honestly have never cared much for. You can only use them immediately after using another magnus of the same element. Xelha could do Fire Burst -> Fire Yell, but not Fire Burst -> Light Flare -> Fire Yell. Yells are somewhat unique in that they can be played on offense or defense turns (again, assuming you play a same element card beforehand), but in general I don't think there's ever any incentive to use a Yell specifically.
Yells are also interesting in that they each have four levels, with each one being it's own Magnus (and thus having it's own place in the Gathering list). You can level up a Yell by using a specific appropriate-element card before it; for example, to get a Chronos Yell level 4, you have to use a Forbidden Fruit followed by Chronos Yell III.
The best part? Yells deteriorate over time.
Pretty much the only time I will ever use Yells is when they are in a new character's starting deck, and even then I switch them out pretty fast. It's just not worth the effort, especially since the high end yells aren't really all that good compared to other high end Magnus.
Several NPCs comment on how this is a fishing village and that fishing has been going quite badly as of late. Sucks be to them, I guess.
Video: The Ambassador
Yeah...Can't say for sure from here, but it looks like an Imperial uniform. The boat nearby must be an Imperial issue, too.
And then a kid appears. Read all of his lines with the most affected, obnoxious, self-righteous-hick-brat voice you can, and you've got the next minute of dialogue.
A brand new Imperial model! Pretty cool, ain't it?
This Lyude of yours...Is he from the Empire?
Yup. He's pretty important, ya know? An Ambassador from the Empire. Awesome, huh?
Hmm...From the Empire, huh? I hope he's not looking for us.
The game's being pretty subtle here. I don't know why it doesn't just come out and say that Lyude is from the Empire.
They couldn't be that quick. But we'd better be careful.
Huh? You outlaws or somethin'? Bein' chased by the Empire?
Sorry? No, no way. What gave you that idea? It's just that...We're not on very good terms with Imperial soldiers. Nothing serious.
Hmmm...Well, the girl behind ya doesn't look like a bad person at all...Don't know about you, though. See ya!
Er...bye, thank you.
As annoying as the kids are, I like how they've all collectively decided that Kalas is evil.
Despite the scene we just saw, it is perfectly safe to go over and chat up Lyude. In fact, it may even be mandatory to trigger a later event - I didn't test it out, but it seems probable.
Um...yeah, you could say that.
I see. I'm not a resident of this village, but I hope you enjoy your stay. It's a great place to relax. I tend to spend a lot of time down here away from the city and the Embassy. I prefer the humble atmosphere of this village to the glitz and glam of the city.
The Embassy...Then you are from the Empire...
Yes. My name is Lyude, Imperial Ambassador to Diadem...Yet the title of Ambassador is but a name. An excuse for sending me away. The relationship between Diadem and our Empire has always been a little shaky. Even today, there is little if any exchange between the two nations. When I first arrived, the villagers were suspicious. They thought I might be a spy!
Besides, the Empire cares very little about people of other nations...
Thus, my post is much less important than it sounds.
Well, that was...candid. Don't see many ambassadors who say things like "Actually my country gives zero shits about you guys, I'm just here because my country doesn't like me that much either."
Talking to him again...
day to make an honest living...They live every day with pride. For their village, and their way of life. I wonder how they do it. I always like coming here.
Well, he seems like a decent guy. Couple that with his disappointment in his homeland, and I suspect that we've got a future party member on our hands, or possibly a supporting NPC! Unless he's just a really talented liar. That's also possible I suppose. I mean, he is an Ambassador...
And here we have a fisherman bitching about strangers. They're already down on their luck, and now we're showing up...I don't think our stay here is going to be a pleasant one...
Our next destination is the building on the far right. It's the local tavern! I wonder if Kalas is old enough to get a drink?
Video:Anna the Barkeeper
So many Greythornes!
I'm Anna, owner of this humble establishment. Did you come in on the liner today?
Then you must be from Sadal Suud. That's quite a trip. Welcome to Nashira. There isn't much to see here, but it's a great place to relax.
Actually, we don't have time to relax. We've got some business to take care of in the city. It's kind of urgent.
Oh, really? You're out of luck, then. As you may have heard, the Lesser Celestial River has flooded. The road to the city has been cut off. The river rarely floods over. It's one of those freak things that happens once in a blue moon.
If the road's cut off, maybe we could get there by boat. When does the next ship leave for the city?
Hate to say this, but there is no regular ship to the city. You'll have to ask one of the fisherman to ferry you over. But it might not be easy...They don't like taking strangers on their ships. Besides, everyone's been pretty jumpy lately with the poor catch and all.
Well, that's okay. I'm sure Kalas is up for stealing a boat.
Do you know anyone who would be willing to help us? We need to get to the capital as soon as possible. We'll pay for the ride, though we can't offer much...
So you're in a hurry, huh? Let's see...
He, if anyone, might agree to help.
Well, we've got a prospective helper, but...
Gibari? Where would we find him?
He hasn't stopped by today. He should be along soon enough, though. Why don't you check back later?
Or you could stick around and...have a drink! *chuckle*
Thanks, but no thanks. We'll stop by later and see if he's here.
...he's nowhere to be found!
And so we come across one of those "wander around until you accidentally trigger all the cutscenes you need to trigger before the next plot event happens" monstrosities. I must have spent fifteen minutes trying to figure out what the hell to do here in my first playthrough. You can even leave the village on your own, but it's just like Anna said - the road is flooded and we can't get all the way through the field dungeon between here and Sheliak, plus the monsters on that road are a pretty decent challenge at this point.
As I mentioned earlier, I believe you have to speak to Lyude to advance the plot. But there's one other scene we have to witness as well...
Video: Adventures in voice acting, old lady edition
Music: Soul Spring of the Blue Ocean
We have to go to the house on the far left of the village, near where Kalas and Xelha first entered from the dock/fishery building.
People did not have any wings! They lived on the wide, wide land. The ocean was a huge pool, so large and so deep that it would have swallowed this entire nation.
The whale was as old as the world itself...It was always singing mysterious, yet gentle, heart-warming songs.
Where did the ocean go? What happened to the whale?
Whoa, it's like Giygas but it's on fire this is fucking awesome
He swallowed the whale, too, and it was never seen again. Remember this name, never forget...The name of the god was Malpercio...Malpercio sucked up the entire ocean, but choked and drowned in the very water he swallowed.
The whale, however, will always be with us...It lives on in our hearts. Close your eyes and listen! You can hear the whale's songs. Even today...The Ocean will return someday...Until then, the whale will be waiting. Waiting patiently...That's all I can tell you now.
So we have some background on the lore of Baten Kaitos. We'll be getting even more later in the next island, but this is still an interesting bit of mythology.
Incidentally, I did a bit more research on the Baten Kaitos constellation and learned that it's actually sometimes called (or in the shape of?) a whale, so the name isn't completely arbitrary. Also, one of the stars in the constellation is called Mira, which as you may recall is the island where we (that is, Legion) met Kalas.
Anyway, Xelha decides she has something to say.
Words can bring mischief. Confide not in those yet to be proven worthy of trust.
There are so many ways to take this statement, but personally I like to translate it as "Shut up, bitch".
...I'll...keep that in mind.
Spare us the fortune telling. I'd like to hear more about this evil god. About Malpercio, swallowing the ocean...
It is but a tale, young one. I know little about it myself.
And we are once again left to our own devices. Let's see if I hit all the event flags I need to make Gibari show up.
Video: I have
And then, walking in from offscreen, we have...
...this colossal asshat.
For best results, read his lines in the voice of Biff Tannen. It's not anything like what his VA sounds like but it's just so fitting.
Nothing serious. We're just looking for a ride to the city. Who are you?
The name's Reblys. You could say I'm the head fisherman in this village. You're outta luck, kids. No one here takes strangers on their boats.
Cut it out, Reblys. Leave the travelers alone.
Humph. Leave them alone? The catch is poor and the wind is almost dead. These are hard times, Anna. The last thing we need is strangers scaring away the fish. Ferrying strangers goes against our village rules. Rules we've held on to for generations.
I don't even understand how it's possible to be this full of shit.
That lug always has to do things his own way, by his own rules. He's just a big pain in the neck! Ain't that so, boys?
I say you forget about going to the city. Take the liner back home to your mommy!
What was that?
Or you could wait your life away for the river to calm down, and take the road.
Hear, hear! It's your choice...take the road, or wait forever!
I came here to see Gibari. I'm not asking any of you to take us.
You just don't get it, do you kid? If talk ain't workin', maybe roughin' you up a bit will help it sink in.
Hold it, there.
And then Reblys just kinda wanders off. Presumably because he knows if he stays he's gonna get his shit wrecked.
Don't take it personally. It's the poor catch. And the wind. Been puttin' them on edge.
It's okay. You must be Gibari, then.
Right. What can I do for ya?
We need a boat ride into the city.
To Sheliak? I see. The Cloud Passage being cut off and all.
Please! We must hurry! It's very important!
You sound pretty desperate. Anyway, you came at the right time. Why don't you help me out? I'm going over to take a look at the Lesser Celestial River. It's on the way to the city. I'm curious as to what's causin' it to flood over. None of the others have enough guts to go out there.
note: Gibari is technically correct in saying that the Lesser Celestial River is "on the way to the city"...because it's flooding the road that actually IS on the way to the city. The part we will be visiting is not on the way to the city. Naturally.
Just the three of us?
Yup. Don't you worry. Three's a crowd. We'll be fine. The young lady here looks much more trustworthy than the slackers I know. What do you say?
I like the implication that Kalas doesn't look trustworthy.
I don't know how much help we'll be, but we'll do what we can.
If whatever's causing this flood is too much to handle, we can leave it alone and I'll take ya straight to the city.
What do you think, Legion?
Well, there you have it. But before we go...
- - - - -
How do battles work?
Currently, all of my characters are able to use three cards per offensive turn. The main trick, then, is to
->orient my deck so that I can help increase the odds that I'll have a good hand to use against the enemy, and
->Pick the right cards from my hand to deal optimal damage.
Deck building depends on the player's preferences, as well as what you expect the character to be doing. Since there is no dedicated healer, some players opt to load one character up with a bunch of defense and healing magnus to sort of create one. In general, I try to have my character's decks with a little over half being attack magnus, a little over half of what's left being defense magnus, and the rest being healing/status recovery stuff, although that also can fluctuate over the course of the game, especially as I get more finishers.
Picking the right cards, then, is what the battles are all about. Not only do the cards themselves matter, but the order you pick them in can also impact things. Let's take a more in depth look.
I went ahead and proceeded slightly farther into the game to where Gibari is in the party and went to the Cloud Passage to demonstrate some things. I also turned the battle results on, because they're an excellent visual aid and explain the mechanics fairly well.
Let's start with elements.
(note that I use the terms "physical" and "non-elemental" interchangeably here: the game does not distinguish between physical and magical attacks, just elements.)
First off, most if not elemental cards actually have two damage types: the physical damage, plus the actual elemental damage. In this case, Xelha's hand dealt 32 physical damage, 15 fire, 26 light, and 9 wind (the card has 18 attack power, but the enemy is 50% resistant to it), for a total of 82 damage.
Since most enemies have at least one elemental weakness and strength, it's helpful to keep your deck diverse so that you are always able to target a weakness that you need to. Xelha is particularly good at this, since she has easy access to all of the elements. Of course, if you know what element your enemies will be strong against/weak to beforehand (or can glean that information based on your surroundings) then you can stack your deck appropriately in favor of the elements they would be weak to.
So, as you've no doubt noticed, the ability to use more than one attack per turn equates to the ability to use more than one element per turn. But that's not always a great idea...
This hand dealt 36 physical damage, 27 light, 27 dark, and 10 wind, for a total of 100 damage...except that the light and dark damage canceled each other out and left the attack doing 44 damage instead!
This is what happens when you mix elements. Opposing elements (water/fire, light/dark, wind/chronos) will offset each other's power when used in the same attack. As such, once you use a wind attack, you're better off not using a chronos based one until the next turn. This is another reason why stacking the deck in favor of three elements over their opposites can be desirable (with the obvious drawback that the character will now be ineffective at dealing damage of the element you took out).
One important thing to note (which I believe I've touched on already) is that enemy attacks are sometimes elemental as well. When being attacked by an enemy, you want to use armor of the opposite element. Let's demonstrate...
In this picture, Gibari was just attacked by an enemy. Before factoring in defense magnus, the enemy did
48 physical/non-elemental damage
30 fire damage
31 wind damage.
Gibari's defense cards negated 52 physical damage...and ONLY PHYSICAL DAMAGE. Even though he negated 52 points worth, he still only ended up negating the 48 physical damage - the remaining 4 points were essentially overkill (overblock?) which do not spill over into blocking the fire or wind damage. To negate that damage, I would have to use chronos and water defense magnus.
In other words, an enemy could do 50 physical damage, 50 light damage, and 50 chronos damage, and even if I played a card that had 400000 physical defense, my character would still take 100 damage because I did nothing to block the elemental damage.
And blocking with the wrong kind of element, like using Fire to block Wind, is equally fruitless.
I took these two pictures to demonstrate another point: Enemies WILL do the same amount of damage to any character if they don't use defense magnus. A string of attacks that targeted Xelha did the same damage as the same string of attacks against Gibari, despite their wildly different DEF stats.
Okay, enough about elements. Let's talk about the numbers.
The numbers on the cards are another important feature which will become extremely useful later in the game. As some people in the thread have mentioned, some cards have more than one number - we'll even be seeing cards later on that have up to four different ones, one on each corner. When selecting the card, you can use the c-stick to choose which number on the card you want to use.
When choosing your hand, there are two ways the numbers can be helpful. The first, demonstrated above, is if you can get all of the numbers to be the same. Doing this will give you a positive damage modifier which can make a substantial difference in attack power later on in the game. You can also just make it so that each number appears more than once (such as 23223 or 345453, but not 444441), although I believe that gives a smaller damage modifier than having a hand entirely composed of one number like this is.
(also note that one of the cards I used was a "Voice" card. These do no base damage but add an additional damage modifier at the end. In general the damage modifier isn't worth as much as the raw damage you'd get from using another attack card).
The other way you can use numbers to help is by playing numbers in a row. Whether it's ascending or descending (567 or 765), you'll get a nice damage modifier to boos the attack.
The numbers modifier also applies to defense and even healing magnus. For example, guarding with a set of defense magnus and picking 5 for each will make you take less damage than normal, and using a bunch of healing magnus that go 345 will recover more HP than normal.
Finally, there are status ailments. Most of them are pretty standard - burn and poison make you take damage every turn, sleep and frozen disable you for a while. There are a couple interesting ones that I'll bring up as they become relevant, though.
I think that pretty well covers the major things to worry about. So I'll leave you with one last thought...
- - -
Don't forget, you have something to vote on!
If whatever's causing this flood is too much to handle, we can leave it alone and I'll take ya straight to the city.
What do you think, Legion?
Good to meetcha, Legion.
Nice to meet you.