Part 22: The First MissionThe First Mission
Alright, let's head into the forest.
Hmm, what's this?
Ah, we can't use this right now, but we'll have access to it soon enough.
: Everybody ready?
: Good, let's head in.
Welcome to the Yggdrassil Labyrinth, this is where we'll be spending most of our time in the game.
On the bottom screen here, we have our map. We can zoom in to edit- wait a minute. No no no, this won't do at all.
Much better. We can edit our map here. Not much of it is filled in right now, but that will change. That green circle with an arrow in it is our party. We can move forward and back, and turn left and right. A new feature that was added to this game is sidestepping. EO1 didn't have that, so if you wanted to move to the left and right, you had to turn and walk, which really made navigating twisty paths annoying. But for some reason, Atlus decided that sidestepping also needed a downside, which we'll be seeing on the second floor.
The sight overwhelms all who see it for the first time... The Yggdrasil Labyrinth. This forest maze exists within Yggdrasil, the tree that looms over the town of Lagaard.
: Whoa, so this is the place we're exploring?
: It's really pretty.
As you marvel at its beauty, a guard appears before you.
The guard is standing in a manner that seems meant to block your passage.
: I'm in the Grand Duchy's guard corps. We help explorers like yourself on missions.
The guard takes a hard look at you before speaking again.
: I'll get right to the point. Shall we begin your first trial to become an official citizen?
: Yes. What are we supposed to be doing?
: It's a simple task. I'll lead you to a certain area of the Labyrinth. All you have to do then... Is find your way back here.
The guard turns and takes a few steps before beckoning you to follow.
: Come. Your adventures in the Yggdrasil Labyrinth are about to begin.
So if you came straight from 1 or any of the other games, you're thrown for a bit of a loop here. Instead of just wandering around a portion of the first floor so you can fill in the map, you actually have an objective to fill in addition to making a map. I thought this was a neat way to justify the map making portion of the mission. We don't want to get lost while making our way back after all.
After so many turns that you can no longer remember where you are, the guard stops.
: That should do it. This will be the starting point of your mission.
: Uh, you sure we can we can do this?
The guard scans your anxious faces and softens in an attempt to encourage you.
: It's not so bad. Just draw a map and you'll find your way back to town with no trouble.
The guard points to the brand-new parchment clutched tightly in your fists.
: Why don't I give you a quick lesson on how to orient yourselves?
In this game, you must draw your own map on the lower screen using the stylus. Take care to recreate each square exactly as it is in the dungeon on your map.
: Enough chitchat, then. I'll be waiting for you at the entrance to Lagaard. I look forward to seeing you return safely, map in hand.
: Wait, shouldn't we get some supplies so we can get back safely?
: I would give you some if you were novices... but you're veterans aren't you? I'm sure you'll be fine.
: But, but-
And with these words, the guard leaves you alone in the forest.
Any dialogue in italics next to an NPC portrait is my writing for the record. I'll try not to do too much of that. If you were wondering about that, yes, normally the guard is supposed to give us five Medicas so he doesn't just ditch us in the middle of the woods and tells us to have fun. But because we're playing a password game, we don't get those. Which is why I said to stock up on those back at the store. This is basically Atlus telling you just because you used a password, doesn't mean you're getting a free ride. While a password game does give us some benefits, it does have its disadvantages. The Town Crown if still worth it for the record. The Town Medal, not so much.
: So, Mr. Veteran. You'll crush all the monsters for us, right?
: About that... I used bows back in my old guild, not guns. I'm still learning how to use this thing.
: Oh god we're gonna die in here.
: Now now, I'm sure we can make it back. We did gather some supplies before we came in here. It doesn't seem like we're too far from the entrance according to the map.
Right, so the plan.
Just make it back to that spot. We really don't have to travel too far to get there.
As you have some skill at adventuring, 3 Skill Points should be available to you. To spend them on skills useful in the Labyinth, open the Main Menu with the Y Button. Select Custom to allocate skill points, but think carefully before doing so. You may already be aware of this, in which case this advice is happily unnecessary. If so, then hesitate no longer to begin your adventure in this lush, green forest!
Way ahead of the game on that front. Now that the tutorial stuff is out of the way, let's get started with our exploration.
Over to the left is this spot. There's a bunch of these all over the Labyrinth. Typically these spots are events, which can either do something good for your party, or something bad. You don't know until you've examined them.
But they seem to be weakened from the harsh sun, and have not emerged from their buds. You sigh, sure that they would have been beautiful blossoms, and continue on your journey.
: Aw, I wanted to see if I could make them wilt.
Now this seems like nothing more than flavor text. In the daytime it's just that. But something this game makes use of that EO1 didn't utilize all that much was the day and night cycle. In EO1, aside from a few quests, day and night didn't affect your exploration all that much. It didn't matter what time you explored the dungeon, barely anything changed. Later games decided to change that, 2 especially. Unfortunately Atlus loved making the time of day affect your dungeon crawling experience so much, that you can't progress if you decided to explore the Labyrinth at the wrong time. Thankfully later games didn't do anything like that. What this event does at night...
: I'm looking forward to seeing you with a nice map of this area, hmm?
: Oh, yes... I almost forgot. Something for novice explorers, just in case.
The guard rummages through his pack and doles out a supply of medication to the party.
This is what's supposed to happen if you're playing a non password game. You get 5 of these to start out.
: The forest can be more dangerous than it looks. Always be on your guard while inside it.
The guard's cheery warning echoes ominously alongside the clanging of his armor as he leaves...
Their vibrant color stands out against the forest green, as if luring you to them. You wonder what the harm could be in bending over to take a closer look. You are torn between examining the flowers and proceeding with your journey...
: What beautiful flowers! I must know what they smell like!
You lean in close to the flowers, noting carefully their structure and color. Suddenly, the blossoms begin to twitch, as if reacting to your presence! At so close a distance, you receive a faceful of pollen. You back away quickly...
: Oh no... aaaaAAACHOOO!
However, Gilbert inhaled the pollen and begins to sneeze uncontrollably!
After some time, Gilbert's sneezing fit finally stops. You take this as a warning not to be so careless as you progress through the forest.
Yeah, even flowers are deadly in the Labyrinth. That's Atlus for you. Some events have negative effects like that. In the first game, they were on the first two floors, and rarely popped up after that. The second game onwards has these little events all over the Labyrinth. Be careful when you run into these, make sure your party is in good enough condition to handle any bad things that may happen. Thankfully events that cause you to lose HP directly can't kill your party members. This event teaches you that the Labyrinth is more dangerous at certain times of day. Although to even see this event, you would have to take a nap at the inn, which you have no reason to do at this point.
: Perhaps exploring by myself wasn't a good idea. Hmm, what should I do now?
And now back to our regularly scheduled Let's Play
Right over in this little alcove is this chest.
: Why is that box floating and spinning around?
: Who cares. Let's just see what's inside.
: It's the Labyrinth. There's lots of strange things in this place. Try not to think about them too much.
: Oh fine.
Ah a Nectar. Nectars can revive someone who dies in battle, but they come back at really low HP. It's a bit risky to use these right in the middle of battle.
You might have noticed that little circle in the corner there, and that it's red now. It was blue before. That thing lets us know how close we are in getting into a random battle. When it's red, it just takes a few more steps to get into a fight, so make sure to prepare a bit before that happens. Now it's a nice feature, but if you're wondering why you have something like that, don't worry too much about it. It's real purpose will be revealed later.
So this a battle. You have a set of options, most of them pretty self explanatory. New to this game is Switch. You can select that to make that character switch the front row and back row around on the first turn. You shouldn't need to use this too much. The Boost action from the first game is gone, and is replaced by Force Skills. In the first game, boost could be used to make a skill more powerful. It barely increased the power of offensive skills, but it had a huge effect on buffs and debuffs. Force skills on the other hand, are powerful class exclusive skills that can really turn the battle in your favor. When the force meter fills up, your character can unleash a Force Skill for no cost at all, other than all the force that was built up. Let's see what we're up against.
-Common: Rat Needle - 1 needed for Falcatta (Sword.) 2 needed for Green Leaf. 15 needed for Warabide. (Katana.)
--A Hedgehog's prickly fur.
-Conditional: Long Pin - Kill on the first turn. 7 needed for Hindi (Bow.) 3 needed for the quest The leathersmith's request.
--Long, flexible, and prickly fur.
Description: A small forest rodent whose body is covered in needles, with which it pierces the unwary.
Weakness: Physical attacks (150%)
The Hedgehog is one of the weakest monsters you'll run into in the Labyrinth. But at this point, they can hit your party pretty hard. Needle is a slightly more hard hitting attack than their regular attack. If you're reckless they can take you down easily, but aren't really anything remarkable.
The highlighted box shows who is attacking.
: Anyone want Hedgehog for dinner?
: I'll have two if you don't mind.
Occasionally your party members may miss. This also applies to the enemy.
: Uhh, maybe I should work on my aim.
: How do you like that?
: I'M SORRY!
Hedgehogs and other enemies tend to hit really hard at this point in the game. Every Etrian Odyssey game aside from Untold has a brutal earlygame. Try not to be too reckless when fighting, that will get your party members killed. Eventually...
After a battle we get some exp, and some enemy drops if we're lucky enough. Enemy drops can be sold to the store to unlock new items and pieces of equipment. We weren't able to get the conditional drop, but we'll have plenty of chances to get that. Each monster can drop up to three items and the drop rates of these items can vary. Conditional drops are special drops you can only get if you kill the enemy in a certain way. In this case, it was kill on the first turn. A nice change made from EO1 to 2, is that getting the conditional drop no longer locks you out of any of the other two drops. Some monsters are weird and don't actually have a conditional drop, but have two rare drops.
Whenever we discover new monsters and items, the game will let us know.
Another new feature that was added to this game, quicksaving! You can save and leave off in the middle of a dungeon and come back later.
: Hmm, let's see what's in that room over there.
Their petals sway in the breeze as the aroma grows stronger... You wonder if it would be so bad to take a brief rest here amidst the fragrant blossoms.
: This looks like a good place to rest, don't you think?
This is a rare generous moment from Atlus. Say yes to this if you're not playing on a password game, your party will recover 10 HP. Don't say no to this, or something bad happens. If you're playing on a password game though, Atlus wasn't done kicking you around. No matter what decision you make here, you're pretty screwed.
: No. The last time my guild rested in a field like this, we got ambushed by monsters. Come on, we're leaving.
You think it best to leave this sweet-smelling vale of flowers. However... it seems your decision was hair too slow. As you turn around, you spot a pack of butterflies that were drawn to the flowers's pollen. Worse, these are no ordinary butterfliesit's a swarm of dangerous Venomflies! They're almost upon you! Draw your weapons and fight!
: Oh dammit, not again!
: That's odd, reports said they were usually seen on the higher floors.
: Oh, of course. Why am I not surprised?
It's also a bait and switch for veterans of the first game. Saying no triggers the encounter. A spot that looked like it was a healing spot would get you into an encounter with a swarm of Venomflies if you wanted to rest there. On a non-password game, this is a real resting spot, and you can avoid the Venomfly encounter if you say yes. If you're playing a password game, saying yes reminds your guild of the Venomfly encounter in Etria's Labyrinth, and you get into a fight with the Venomflies anyway.
There's actually two different encounters that can take place here, and the Venomflies are actually the least dangerous of the two. The other encounter is three Crawlers. You can at least take down the Venomflies with some proper strategy. At this point this party has no chance of dealing with the latter. If that happens, just accept defeat or turn off your DS.
-Common: Bug Wing - 1 needed for Therica B, Wood Bow, Hard Vest, and Venom Ring. 2 needed for Targe. 3 needed for Bullwhip. 4 needed for Wing Leaf. 7 needed for Hindi (Bow.)
--Beautiful wing with a mysterious glow.
-Conditional: Lymph - Kill with Volt. 3 needed for Matchlock (Gun.)
--Highly flammable butterfly lymphs.
Description: Though fairly weak, its poison can pose problems for adventurers who don't expect it.
Weakness: Volt (150%)
These enemies have appeared in every Etrian Odyssey game to date. Every game they show up, they are a massive pain for the party to deal with. They can poison your party members, which deals a fixed amount of damage. At the point we're at, it's a pretty big amount of damage. If you encounter Venomflies in groups, just focus one down. If you encounter them with another enemy, take down the Venomfly first. You don't want to be dealing with poison in prolonged battles. These enemies are a crash course in dealing with status effects and prioritizing enemies. Normally these are encountered on the second floor.
Take a look at the damage output from these guys. Ken is actually hitting pretty hard at this point. Keep in mind he still has his starting dagger and Nick has a whip bought from the store. This is because of the Town Crown. Ken is technically a level 2 or 3 character at this point, and that's a big advantage to have in the earlygame. Once Ken gets his hands on a katana, he'll be hitting pretty hard.
Oh yeah, Venomflies also picked up a nasty new trick since the first game. Poison doesn't hit one person anymore. It targets the whole party.
But it has a pretty low accuracy. It might tag your whole party, but usually it only manages to get two members most of the time.
: Are you serious? You're scared of butterflies?
: Oh be quiet. They're deadly butterflies.
Of course they still hit pretty hard. Frederik is in the back row, so he's supposed to be taking less damage.
: HOW DO BUTTERFLIES HIT SO HARD?
: What's that about being scared of butterflies now?
: Shut up.
I want to get the conditional drop, so I have everyone except Fedot hold off on attacking.
Unfortunately Fedot gets poisoned because of that. It's a non issue though.
: Oh god, I don't feel so good.
: Hmm, he's twitching a lot, and he looks like he's about to throw up. I should learn how to do that!
: Please refrain from doing that on us if you're going to learn those dark arts. I would prefer to die horribly. I mean, peacefully.
: I could try poisoning you in your sleep.
: I meant by old age. Without being cursed.
: I'll think about it.
One thing to note is that status effects that cause damage don't take effect if you've finished the battle. And poison doesn't stick around after battle. Only one status effect does that in this game, and it's a pretty deadly one.
: Never mind, I'm all right now.
: That fast?
: Let's be thankful and not think about it too much.
: Oh good, you did listen to me!
That encounter gave us a lot of exp, but not enough to level up our party.
The mineral water that flows here is crystal-clear and shimmers beautifully in the sun. You stop for a while to enjoy its brisk refreshment, then resume your journey onward.
: Uh, I think we should remember this spot for later.
When making a map, mark it however you want. The important thing is that you're able to read your own map and know where the important stuff is.
Oh dear. Crawlers are enemies you do not want to be encountering this early into the game. And they're supposed to be a fairly rare encounter at this point, so I got unlucky here.
-Common: Small Nail - 1 needed for Nail Whip, Steel Pin, and Green Boot.
--A crawling creature's twisted black nail.
Description: A pillbug that evolution has granted a montrous size and spinnerets to snare its prey.
Weakness: Fire (150%), Volt (150%)
As you can tell from their stats, they're a huge step up from the other enemies on this floor, even tougher than the Venomflies. They're a rare encounter on the floor, and if your party is level 1, you may want to run from them. Web can bind random body parts of your party members. They may be too tough for some parties to handle at this point in the game. If you feel like you can't handle these enemies, just run away. There's no shame in running from an encounter. Just try not to do it too much or your party will be underleveled.
: Oh that's gross.
: Hey, I'm the one that's supposed to be tying up stuff!
Binds are another way you can be disabled, or disable enemies. They don't count as status effects, but what binding does is disable a body part, which prevent skills that use that body part from being used, and debuffs a stat. The Head, Arms, and Legs are affected by binds. Head binds generally stop spells from being cast, and lowers TEC and accuracy. Arm binds lower attack damage, and leg binds lower agility and evasion. In EO1 leg binds couldn't stop your party from running away from an encounter, but they got reworked to stop that from happening.
Crawlers hit hard. If that attack hit Ken or Nick, they would have died. If you run into one this early, just try to run away. You want your party to survive for the most part while exploring.
The party's almost close to a level up here.
I heal Aliara up, mainly because any monster would be able to take her out at this point. Medicas are very good healing items to have in the first stratum.
: Hey what's over here?
You have a task at hand: map your way back to the entrance of the Labyrinth!
: We're almost done, let's report in. We can explore there later.
The guard you recall meeting before abruptly appears before you.
: Ah! Made it back safely, I see.
The guard's voice is cheerful as he looks over your progress on the map. The guard looks at your map and speaks in a stern voice.
: This map is not complete. I cannot let you pass. You must go back and finish mapping the forest's paths.
The party automatically backs off here. And yeah the guard doesn't let you leave the Labyrinth if you're not done. He is a bit picky about how the map is drawn. The again, there's not much to map so it shouldn't be too much of a hassle to finish it if you somehow missed something.
: Wait, what did I miss?
: Oh I forgot to finish drawing in the walls.
I noticed we're close to an encounter, so I wander around a bit to try to get my party to level up.
And we encounter a new monster in the process.
-Common: Husk Shard - 1 needed for Green Leaf. 2 needed for Amud Staff. 3 needed for Steel Pin. 30 needed for Maimai Bat (Staff.)
--The shattered shell of a Woodmai.
Description: A small, weak forest denizen that retreats into its shell when it senses a threat.
Weakness: Volt (150%)
Woodmais are also one of the first monsters you'll run into with the Hedgehog. They're pretty easy to take out. All they can really do is attack or buff their defense. Which elemental attackers like Alchemists and Gunners don't care about.
Another comparison of Ken and Nick's damage outputs, this time on a much weaker enemy.
: Okay, how are you doing that with a plastic stick?
: Well I go to the gym a lot. I guess that might have something to do with it.
Bah, not enough for a level up. Oh well.
There we go, all filled in.
He looks intently at you before examining your map again... After looking at your map, the guard's cheerful voice emanates from his helmet.
: I'd say your mission to create a map of the Labyrinth's 1st floor is a success. The Minister will grant you citizenship to High Lagaard and full access to the Labyrinth. My part is done. You may go on from here, but I suggest you report to the Minister first.
The guard finishes his speech and steps aside, allowing you to reach the stairs back to town. You may go back to Lagaard now or continues exploring the Yggdrasil Labyrinth.
Let's go and report in.
: We finished the mission.
I don't know why they extended the last note so much in this game. First time that happened, I thought my game froze.
: I received word of your accomplishments. I congratulate you on your map making skills. I hereby name you explorers of the Yggdrasil Labyrinth, and citizens of High Lagaard. As I mentioned earlier, you have but one goal. Climb the Yggdrasil Labyrinth and discover the lands said to lie in the skies above. I expect great things from you from here on out, members of Firefly. Ah, I nearly forgot. Take this token of the Duke's esteem, and keep up the good work.
We also get 500 en. Fun fact, this is the only Etrian Odyssey game where you actually climb up the Labyrinth instead of down.
: You are free to keep whatever you find there, or sell it to Sitoth Trading. Ah, wait, first... About those items and monsters you encounter in the Labyrinth... We have lived in Yggdrasil's shadow for some time, but there is much we don't know. The official guard corps are posted, of course, but they are not tasked with exploration. What we need is data on the Labyrinth's monsters, the items they drop, and your equipment. We will save these records, which should help the guard corps with their task. Adding to our store of knowledge about the Labyrinth is every explorer's duty. Good luck.
This is where we can see our monsters encountered, items discovered, and gear unlocked. The gear that the store starts out with is already in here for the record.
: Are you organizing your guild wisely? Make sure you divide the party's duties evenly. You may also choose to form specialized teams. A main team, one to gather items, and so on. That's all the advice I have for now. Never underestimate the Labyrinth.
: Now, let's get down to business. I get a lot of requests here, and I put them all up on that bulletin board over there. Usually, it's stuff like, Pick this up orDefeat that. Pretty damn lazy bunch, if yeh ask me... But the reward is usually well worth the trouble.
No they're not.
: So it's a great way to pick up a little something here and there. Got it? You can take on Quests here in the bar, which are optional jobs or requests. There are many types of Quests, each with its own reward. Select Accept quests from the menu to see the details.
Right, every time we reach a new floor, there will be some new quests in the bar.
: Well the monsters took a lot out of us. Didn't really know how tough this would be. I'm wondering why I even joined up with a guild in the first place.
: Ahh... Well, all I can say is, take it slow. If yeh die, it's curtains for yeh. The Labyrinth's huge, but it'll keep. Take it easy, and go at yer own pace.
: Well this looks simple enough.
: Ah, yeh'll take the quest, then? Great, great, good to hear it. This one's from the restaurant down the way. The man there's in powerful need of Rock Water. It's bracing stuff, but yeh can only find it in the Labyrinth. Yeh don't have to go too far in, mind. Should be able to get some on the 1st floor. Just bring back some of that water and the job's done. G'luck!
: Oh I think I know where that is, it's not too far.
: Sorry, but I have to check...
: Oh, is this it?
: Oh... sorry, but I don't think this is the permission I'm looking for. Once you have permission, I can sell you some special items. They're really helpful! So get permission, then come back and show me, okay? A-Are you sure you don't have it...? Maybe it's buried in all the stuff you're carrying? I mean, I was sure you had finished the training mission, so I thought... Sorry! I really, really wish I could sell you this, so I have to nag you about it. Are you absolutely sure you don't have permission?
: Uh, that's our map. I think she's talking about that card we got.
: Oh, yes. Whoops!
: Hold on. Ah, here it is!
: Perfect, thanks! Some things I'm not allowed to sell to anyone without a permit. Like this Warp Wire. It lets you come back to town from the Labyrinth at any time. When you plan to enter the Labyrinth, you should always make sure you have one.
We unlock the Nail Whip, Falcatta sword, and the Green Leaf armor by selling our items. Not much, but we didn't get that many drops.
The Warp Wire (known as the Ariadne Thread in 3 onwards) is an essential item in the Etrian Odyssey series. It instantly warps your party back into town from the Labyrinth. It's a very handy item in most situations. Carry one at all times. Some people like to carry multiple in case they forget to go back to the store to stock up. Being stuck in a dire situation with no way out would be a frustrating thing to have happen. You don't have to do that, but if you're playing this game, I really suggest having at least two Warp Wires on you. I make sure to pick up two at this point.
Some items need two or more different materials to make. If you sell enough of one kind, it'll show up in the shop, letting you know what else you need to sell to unlock it.
: How's it going? This might be an impossible request, but please try not to get hurt! I'm always praying for you to make it home safe!
: Truthfully, I'm not sure how I feel about explorers spending so much time in the Labyrinth. Injuries are frequent, and it's our job to patch them up. It would be best if you could avoid getting hurt at all.
: Oh if only that could happen.
: It's only 100en per item! We've got space, so use it as much as you want!
: I'd say we did enough for today. What do you say we all take a rest before heading out again?
: Yeah, I'm beat.
: It hurts so much...
: I'm going to bed.
: Keep that girl away from me if you can.
: I'll take that as a yes.
I initially had my party take a nap here, turning it night. But that turned out to be a very bad idea. If you're going to rest at the inn at this point, sleep till morning. We'll be seeing one of the core gameplay elements of the Etrian Odyssey series, and just how much Atlus hates us in the next update.