Part 69: The Tree KeyThe Tree Key
I temporarily switched in Nick because I want to get the Flygourd's conditional drop. Don't worry, I'll switch back to the old party soon enough.
: Ooh! Ooh! Another victim just waiting to be dominated!
: Please don't do that again.
: Please do!
Oh, this is a great start.
: Now beg for mercy!
: You sure Gilbert wasn't available?
: Sorry, but Nick was the best I could do.
I dunno if that's enough for Climax.
Fortunately, I still had Bellamy's Force Skill.
And I got the conditional! I already sold 2 other Curse Vines, so this one will unlock the Dominator.
: Goddammit Bellamy, would you quit doing that to me!?
: Why should I? It's funny to watch you squirm, and none of us have to witness anything mind scarring.
: I have needs, you jerk!
: Needs that none of us need to witness!
: Would you quit bickering for just a second? We need to get a move on. Save it for later, kids.
: This isn't over.
So there's a door and some branching pathways here.
: Sweet! There's a shortcut here!
: Why don't we go see what's down the other path?
: But there's a marking on the wall. And that means- oh forget it!
Okay, so here's the gimmick of this secret area.
There's three paths to choose from. One of them contains nothing at all, one contains the way onward, and one contains a Flygourd that will spawn when you reach the dead end. They all have marked walls, so you have to go to the end to check if it's the way onward. There's no way to tell which path leads forward, so it's trial and error.
Oh, and the paths forward are all class specific shortcuts too! So if you didn't bring in the right combination of classes, too bad! You have to go back and bring in the right class combination. Again, there's no way to tell what classes you'll need. You need an Alchemist for this one.
: Let's see here... Ah, here we go.
Next path requires you to go top.
A Gunner is required here.
Next path is the bottom one, and you need a Medic.
: You know, I really wish I didn't leave behind my medical supplies. Oh well, I'll have to make do.
Middle path. Needs a Hexer. Flavor text is the same for all of them.
: Hey, buddies. Help us up!
Our reward for getting through all that is this room full of treasures.
Good treasures! I put this on Maverick since he's gonna be frontlining for a bit longer.
Nice defense boost for Fedot.
Dual level-up! I wonder if we'll ever see a quintuple level-up again.
Not really an interesting use of skill points. Maverick will probably get reworked back into a regular Medic after I'm done with the first half of this Stratum. I really regret trying to make him a combat Medic now. It's a build that only really worked in EO1.
Still, I get something that boosts his attack by a fair amount.
Ohohoho, now this is a good upgrade. This was definitely worth the trip.
The Dominator is Nick's ultimate weapon. This is the thing that makes them skyrocket from FOE killer, to outright broken. Oh sure the stats are nice, but that's not what I'm concerned about. It's the Force Up attribute. Consider that Force Skills are super powerful, but are balanced by the fact that Force builds up super slowly. The Force Up attribute completely throws that out the window. What it does is add an additional 5 Force points to a party member's Force meter any time they gain force. So the Force gain would go from this:
-Defending, using a skill, attacking an enemy, taking damage from an enemy, killing an enemy: +2
-Using the attack command: +1
-Using an item, switching, dodging an attack, attempting to escape: +0
-Successfully escaping: -5
-Defending, using a skill, attacking an enemy, taking damage from an enemy, killing an enemy: +7
-Using the attack command: +6
-Using an item, switching, dodging an attack, attempting to escape: +0
-Successfully escaping: -5
Long story short, Nick can use Dominate every few battles, where before you would hardly see Force Skills being used unless you did some Force grinding. The Force Up attribute also makes Force grinding for bosses take far less time. And Nick isn't the only one who can wield a weapon that increases Force gain. Some other weapon types, but not all, have a weapon with the Force Up attribute. This is why Force Skills are so broken. The only flimsy balancing factor is thrown out the window with this and Axcelas. I won't be buying this just yet, but I wanted to unlock it now. If you thought Dark Hunters were broken before, trust me, you haven't seen anything yet.
Now, let's get the original party back together. I'm sure you've missed them.
Seriously? I accidentally ran into a Voltking and this happens.
: I think it would be best if we run. Right now. I don't want to be here right now. Why did I agree to joining this guild!? Risking my life and-
: Bellamy, shut up.
Here's the Voltking's patrol path, since we didn't go down here last time.
: Goddammit Gilbert.
: Can you really blame him? He's not supposed to be up here. You know, like how I'm not supposed to be up here!
: He's right, this team could be better.
I regret nothing.
Megido isn't that strong right now, but it has it's uses later.
The Voltking was guarding some treasures.
Some nice, but not that great treasures.
Now that Corrupt is maxed out, she can help provide infinite TP to the party if she gets paired up with Frederik.
There's a Voltking that patrols this path.
Fortunately, there's an empty room you can duck into to avoid it.
But avoiding it would be the cowardly thing to do.
Behavior: Patrol, Staggered
Skills: Roar, Fury
-Common: Spinal Fin - 1 needed for Caledfwlch (Sword.) 1 needed for the quest A diviner's tools.
Description: These dragonlike beings can create and control bolts of lightning to destroy their enemies.
Weakness: Fire (125%)
Resistance: Stab (75%), Volt (0%)
So these things are basically palette-swaps of the Firekings, and operate in the same way. They'll mostly use Roar and just attack at full health, and once they start getting low they'll get more aggressive. Their version of Fury is a random target Volt attack that hits multiple times that has a chance to inflict Terror, so be careful with that. A Protector with a fully leveled Antivolt can nullify Fury, so the only things you'd have to worry about is Roar and their regular attacks.
: Okay, who thought fighting this thing was a good idea?
: Don't blame me. I wanted to avoid it, but those guys wanted a piece of it.
: Don't worry, this formula should take care of it!
: ...Well that formula needs more work.
Megido needs to be at a higher level to do any impressive damage.
: Just zap him.
: Wow, I keep getting lucky with these.
: Aliara, high fi-
Dampen is such a disgustingly broken move. I love it.
: Aliara... For my last reque-
: You're not dead yet, and no.
And this is when things start going south. Bellamy was my main damage dealer.
This isn't good.
: I believe this is the part where I bravely run away!
: Don't even think about it!
: Make it stop.
: How about... now?
Well, if the Voltking uses Fury again, I'm done for. I don't know if the poison damage will be enough, so if he kills Fedot, I'm also done for.
Also, I'm out of Nectars.
: Why? Why must the Labyrinth be so cruel to me?
YES! Gilbert died!
The damage from Ricochet was enough to make the Poison finish it off. Sheesh, talk about lucky.
: I tried to warn them, but noooooooo. Now I have to drag four bodies back to High Lagaard.
And I got the drop! Oh, and since I spent all that time grinding up Force with Nick, Gilbert's kind of behind. At this point I go back and resupply.
Here's another pitfall, but we don't want to go down this one. It doesn't lead anywhere.
And another Voltking patrols this area. I'm not fighting this one. I've racked up... just how many deaths did I rack up? I've lost count. Much more than in a normal playthrough I'm sure.
: What an adorable squirrel.
: Bellamy! Don't!
: Hmm? Why- What the!? Hey! Get out of there!
: Can we avoid petting the squirrels for once!?
: Please tell me we have a spare- huh? What's it doing?
: I'm sorry about that, but it looked like it didn't steal anything.
: That's weird. It usually steals a Warp Wire from us.
: ...Fedot. Check the backpack.
: I guess we can't blame the squirrel this time.
: We really need to do something about your Warp Wire problem.
: Maybe he has Alzheimers.
: I'm not that old!
: I hope I never wake from the next one.
Now this pitfall you actually want to go down.
: Just let me die. My life has no purpose now.
: Can this just end already?
: Can you guys quit whining already?
: Can we actually get a better team?
: Maybe when we reach the 19th floor.
: I believe that may have been their death rattles.
We actually have a lot more floor to go through before we get to the 19th floor. I'd say we're maybe halfway there?
He hails you in a cheerful voice.
: It looks like your journey is going smoothly, explorers. You must be Firefly. I have something you'll want when exploring the Labyrinth...
He continues, as if probing your reactions.
: Go on.
: It's indispensable to proceed through the Labyrinth, I assure you. That being said...
He looks at you hopefully. If this item is really as useful as he claims...
You inform the guard that you won't pay, and he shakes his head with disappointment.
: Well, I'll wait here for a while. If you change your mind, come see me.
And with that, the guard sees you off.
He speaks to you, as cheerful as ever.
: How about it? Were you able to save up 10000en?
If you have the money, there is a chance that his goods may be worth the steep price...
It is definitely worth it. Buy it if you have the money. You don't actually need this, despite what the game claims, but it's very handy to have.
: 10000en? Pfft, that's nothing to us. Here.
You pay the guard the agreed-upon amount, and he smiles as he stuffs it into his bag.
: Here you are. I don't know what this key is for, but I'm certain it will help somewhere.
The guard hands you a small key, which you put away with the rest of your things.
: Well then, I'll be heading back to town. Good luck to you all.
And with that, the guard leaves the area. You decide to return to your investigation of the Labyrinth.
: Hmm, what could this be for?
: It's a key, so it opens a locked something.
: Like a door? Hey, didn't we see a bunch of locked doors in the first two Strata?
: You might be onto something. How about a bit of a break from exploring this Stratum? We could go back to the earlier ones and see if this key works on those doors.
: Oh god, yes!
: Well, it's decided.
So that Tree Key unlocks those locked doors we saw in the Labyrinth. Some just lead to treasure, while others lead to secret areas. I'll be exploring those areas with a team of my choosing.
This area has a bunch of Flygourds in it, which can be annoying if your team doesn't have anything to help deal with them.
There's another one over there, guarding some treasure.
It's a nice defense boost for the squishy classes. I put it on Bellamy.
: Seems sturdy enough, although I'm not sure if I like the design. Seems a bit tacky.
: I think it looks good on you.
: It really brings our your hair color and eyes.
: Really? Well, I suppose I can make anything look dazzling.
That pitfall was the only way to get down here. Most others will take you to this next area.
: How many of these things are there?
And one last one this way.
And the way out connects to the other dead end on the 17th floor. Oh, and one more thing.
Squirrels don't steal Warp Stones. So if you came from a Geomagnetic Field, you can just warp out with one of those if you have one.
Next time, we'll look behind all the locked doors in the first two Strata.