Part 8: Auction SeasonUpdate 8: Auction Season
In This Update:
- Only Violence can Prevent Forest Fires!
- God I Love Auctions.
- Time is Immaterial.
Last time, we discovered how Samuel can return home: fill out his journal by going on adventures, meeting new people, and generally living life to the fullest.
To distract him from Cid's recovery, Adelle suggested Samuel try out an auction. Today's update focuses on that, which also means breaking the game wide open.
This is the bit a lot of people have been waiting for.
First, we have to tackle this story mission.
Auctions cost clan points, and this one is supposed to get us enough for the auction. It's really completely pointless.
: Wow, look at all of them!
: Better clean this up quick or we'll have a forest fire on our hands!
A nice, easy law this time around. We still have no way to restore MP outside of limited items.
There's a bunch of new enemies here. I'll talk about them as the fight progresses.
Floating Eyes are fast, nimble and annoying monsters. Gnaw can inflict poison, and Death Dive sacrifices the user to deal heavy damage. They only use it when at critical health.
They're also weak to Earth damage. Lenolia gladly obliges.
Like every offensive Elementalist ability, Boulder Crush inflicts a condition, in this case Immobilize.
Adelle and Imino quickly followup with the kill.
Bombs are basically fire elementals. They shoot fire and self-destruct when at critical HP. They're weak to Ice, making Imino and Talf's jobs much easier.
Of course, they like to heal each other using their fire attacks.
I wasn't kidding about shooting fire.
Red Marshmallows are the fire version of the Yellow Flan we saw when we fought Gilmunto. Not surprisingly, they absorb Fire and are weak to Ice.
Their signature ability is Unction, which inflicts the Oil condition. Oil makes the unit take double damage from Fire-element attacks.
Oh hey I forgot Blue Mages can learn that ability!
I'm guessing Flame Attack is physical, there's no other reason for Talf to take this much damage.
Keeping Samuel's Black Mage abilities is really paying off.
When weakened, any enemy with a suicide ability will charge in and use it.
We can actually get a few abilities of our own that do this, they just are rarely worth using.
That's a KO on the grenade, not Henri. He only took 45 damage.
Floating Eyes are annoying to fight. It seems like they dodge every other attack!
This fight drags on for a bit because the enemies keep healing each other. At least it keeps them from attacking us.
Samuel nets our next kill. We've managed to avoid both Death Dives, thankfully.
This sleep doesn't really help much, I think I only got 1 skipped turn out of it. Then again, every little bit helps.
I really love the Thundara animation.
Berserk is actually pretty helpful here! It stops the marshmallow from using any spells, so it can't heal itself.
Doesn't stop the Bomb from trying to help though.
For some reason, it seems like damage spells are more likely to miss when used to heal. It's probably just confirmation bias, but I remember it happening in previous playthroughs.
Not much else interesting happens, so let's fast forward to the end.
Nice Jump kill!
Samuel and Adelle are relaxing for a bit after the battle. I would, too; this is a beautiful forest.
: Once we report this we're done... and the clan points are ours!
: Let's make for the auction house then, shall we? If I'm not mistaken, the auction's starting any time now! Miss it and we'll have to wait until they hold the next one...
: Are there auctions in every town?
: The larger ones, sure.
: Any difference depending on where you go?
: The areas up for bidding vary from place to place... but don't worry too much. It's your first time, after all. How about picking Camoa or Graszton?
: Right, sounds good. Let's see what these auctions are all about!
This loot will hopefully be useful soon.
We're heading to Camoa first. It's the easier auction
Here's the main auction screen. The stuff on the top screen will be explained after the next screenshot.
The Auctioneer is the same race as Cid.
: Pardon me for saying so, sir, but you look a mite nervous. First time at the auction house, is it? Well, there's no hurry. I'll be happy to explain the house rules to you.
Quick explanation of the rules:
- The things up for auction are the areas of the region. The Camoa auction covers Camoa, Targ Wood and Baptiste Hill.
- Each area is "owned" by whomever wins the auction. Winning every area gives a discount at the shop and pub in that region.
- Tokens are the currency of auctions. Each one is worth some number of coins. We bid tokens each round, and whoever has the most coins on the board wins!
- You can see how many tokens we start with for this auction at the top of the screen, a couple screenshots up. They come in 1, 2, 3 and 5-coin denominations.
: Enough talk, then. One never knows until one tries, as they say.
There's a round for each area. Here we can see the name of the area (Camoa) and who controls it (Camoa Braves). Up top, we see the competition, how many tokens they have, and the control scheme for playing tokens.
You have the option to skip a round. There's no reason to ever do this.
The Auction's "battlefield"! Each round consists of a number of bids, which are the little yellow triangles on the bar. We can choose to bid a token or play nothing (pass). The bar fills in real time, and our bid is placed when the bar fills to the next yellow triangle.
At the start of each round, the current area champ gets 1 free coin.
And the bidding starts!
Each competitor's avatar shows what they're thinking of betting.
The aggressive punch forward means they're going to bid 3 coins.
The wide, defensive stance means 1 coin.
The question mark bubble means the opponent is still thinking. Most opponents decide quickly, but some will wait until the last second in an attempt to mess you up.
Walking calmly means they're playing a 2-coin token.
The downcast, shaking head means they aren't going to bet anything.
Not every opponent has these tells. Just most of them.
When the bid ends, coins equal to the token that was bid are added to the stack, and the current ranking is shown. A tie means the next lowest rank isn't used, e.g. two clans tying for 1st means there's no 2nd place, while three clans tying for 1st means there's no 2st or 3rd place.
The strategy is to stay slightly ahead of your opponent. Going too far ahead is probably a waste of tokens! You don't get more tokens between rounds, so what you start with has to last the whole auction.
The first round goes to us! Awesome. Let's keep it going.
Each round is slightly different: the number of bids, the speed of the bar, and the possible bonuses all change.
This round has a bonus on the second bid. Whoever is in first place when that bid is closed gets a 5-coin token. This can make or break your chances of winning the auction! Try to get as many bonuses as possible without taking too many risks.
There's only 1 round left, so I went with an aggressive strategy here.
5-coin tokens are great. Bonuses can be for any place from 1st to 5th. I usually ignore the ones below 3rd, because that can set you too far back to win the round. But it can be worth it to fall a little behind, then use the 5-coin token to leap ahead!
Unsurprisingly, we win that one too.
Your opponents can also earn and play 5-coin tokens. When they're about to play one, they'll jump up and down with a golden "!" next to them.
Alright, last round. We're running a little low on tokens, but we'll make it, probably.
Two bonuses this time. We should try to get both.
The other bonus for strategies is to deny them to the enemy. Tying someone for 2nd place means no one gets the 3rd place bonus!
Of course, if multiple players tie for the same bonus, they all get a token.
We handily win this one with our last 3-coin token.
The auction house keeps records, which are updated at the end of each auction.
Finishing a particular category gives you a significant reward.
We swept the board!
: We did it! I gotta admit, this auction stuff is pretty fun!
: Not half as fun as getting my hands on the spoils is going to be. Heh heh.
: Did you say something?
: Who, me? Not a word. So what do you say we find ourselves another auction, or even a quest?
: Yeah, sure. But there was something I wanted to go looking for first.
: Lavenicalia flowers. I don't really know where to start looking for them, though. See, if you grind up the leaves and the petals, it's supposed to make a good medicine. Thought I'd make some for Cid.
: Lacenicalia flowers? Doesn't sound familiar. But I know how to make another medicine that might do the trick. If only we had some pearl moss... What day is it?
: If they auctions were open today, that quest should be up by now.
: What are you talking about?
: Here's what we'll do, Samuel. I'll help you make that medicine, but you have to find me some pearls.
: If that's how you're going to be, I don't even -want- your help.
: Would you stop talking for a minute and listen? The pearl moss and the pearls are in the same place. No sense mucking around for moss and passing up pearls.
: I guess if they're right there, it can't hurt. But still...
: That wasn't so hard, was it? Now, the pearls - and the moss - are in the Galerria Deep. Oh, and we can't just go picking up the pearls - they'll lock us away for poaching. So we need to accept a pearl hunting quest before we go. Got it?
Samuel nods in agreement, and they walk off to the pub.
But we're not done with auctions yet! The auction season runs 1 month, just 20 days, each year. We aren't going to squander that!
Graszton is the other major city here, so of course it has an auction.
Enrolling in an auction costs 20 CP. The fee is waved for the first auction. This is why doing the forest fire quest was kind of pointless! We could do the first auction without having to bother with a quest.
More tokens to start, but also 4 areas instead of 3.
It's entirely possible to beat the Graszton auction on your first try, but it's not easy.
Unless you really get screwed by the AI, you should always win the first round. But you might spend too many tokens to do it -- two 3-Coin tokens is cutting is really close.
But if we can get both bonuses...
...we can squeak out a win.
This might look a little dire, but it's not too bad. You see, not every AI is created equal. I'd say that in most rounds, you're only really competing against at most 2 opponents. The rest are there for show, though sometimes they get lucky.
In this case, Komodo Potions and Zedlei Consortium aren't very threatening, despite having way more coins than us.
This is basically a lightning round. No time to think, just react! Or really, just play the largest token you can.
This is a case where hitting every bonus can save you, but don't get distracted from the real goal: winning!
Case in point: three ties for 2nd, so no one gets a bonus.
At least we kept the three-way tie going.
This bonus is basically a gimme.
Again: Do not go for every bonus! That 4th place one is a distract--
ahem. Or three other people can tie for 1st, giving you an automatic 4th place despite being only 1 coin behind.
It's the last round, burn those tokens and get those bonuses!
And just like that, we've won.
We've mastered a few categories. What fabulous prizes await us?
"Tokens+" means we start with 1 additional token of that type. This means we'll start with a free 5-coin token if we master that category!
Region Master is the real reward. It's what transforms the auction house from "interesting minigame" to "game-breaking item fountain."
You see, now that we've unlocked Region Master, winning the auction for a region makes us champions for life. We can no longer lose an area in an auction.
With no areas to fight over, we instead compete for prizes. These prizes are high-quality weapons, armor and accessories. I'm talking actual end-game gear here. Stuff that costs loot we won't see for another 20 levels we can get right now for the low cost of 20 CP.
This is utterly game breaking. I don't know what the devs were thinking! This is an easy minigame, it only gets easier from here, and you can save scum for the gear you want. CP is hardly a limited resource, and while not everything is available through auctions, a lot of really good stuff is.
But before we dive into that, we have one more auction to do!
We've now explored every area of Loar. We've reached Moorabella, the city of magick, home of the third auction house.
This is important. You cannot compete in an auction for an area you have not discovered! Make sure you visit every area, particularly the Ruins of Delgantua to the northwest, before partaking in the auction!
I'd say Moorabella is only slightly harder than Graszton.
There's 4 rounds, with a lot more bids per round. We only have a handful more tokens, too.
We tied with the Culinary Crusade, the current champ for the area of Moorabella.
All ties are broken in favor of the reigning champ. If the champ isn't part of the tie, it'll almost always break in our favor.
Area champs get a free token and automatically win ties. Remember I said the best strategy is to stay slightly ahead of your opponent? If you're area champ, the best strategy is to stay tied with your opponent.
Recall we're champ-for-life of Graszton. This is what I meant when I said auctions only get easier! We have every possible advantage.
Anyway, a quick restart and we win it this time.
Moorabella's auction is basically a matter of stamina. You have to really stretch your coins, which means getting lucky for 4 rounds in a row.
8 bids left, but we have so few coins left. Can we pull through?
Yes, easily. Our only real competition was Culinary Crusade, though House Eden was pretty close. We started with more coins than them, so the win was basically guaranteed.
Bonga Bugle and Prima Donna -- two groups we'll be meeting later -- are too stupid to actually play their coins.
And we mastered 1-Coin Tokens and 5-Coin Tokens, giving us and additional one of each at the start of every auction!
Moorabells is now an item auction, because we're champs for life.
Well, that was fun!
We can use some more clan points, so I did a bunch of quests. Those'll be in the next update.
At the end of the month, the auction houses close for the year.
These little bubbles appear on the map. We get rewards for becoming region champ!
Zodiac Ore is mid-tier loot. A great reward for this point in the game!
Another champion reward, this time for Moorabella. This is truly end-game loot! The best armor in the game requires Pagoda Wood, as do several other powerful items.
We also start seeing random clan battles on the map. They're pissed we beat them in the auction, and they want to tussle.
We'll worry about them later.
It's a shame auctions are only once a year.
220 days is a long time to wait for the next one, you know?
That's dozens of quests, unless we just wander around.
And that's incredibly boring.
It's not like they'd give you an option to just skip 20, 60 or even 200 days ahead, would they?
Of course not.
Hahahaha of course they did.
Welcome to Lezaford's Magickal Time-Warp Resort! Come and pass some time -- you'll be amazed at how much time flies by when you're having fun.
I'm pretty sure the intended use of the cabin is to let you easily pass time while waiting for quests that only activate during certain parts of the year. That it makes auctions so much easier to activate is just a helpful bonus.
Another thing the auctions unlock is clan recruitment! There's two ways to hire recruits. One is by random events on the map, like this one. The other is a quest. I'll explain the details in a future update.
Voting for new recruits is now open! See the end of the update for details.
We wander around for a bit until the auctions are available.
Our first target is Graszton.
Instead of an area, we now bid on items. If we win all the rounds, we also get the Grand Prize.
Each auction house has two pools of items, one for regular prizes and a smaller one for the valuable Grand Prizes. Graszton's items are mostly "exotic," with katanas and greatswords being the big-ticket items. The Genji armor set, which is the best armor in the game, makes up the majority of the Grand Prize pool.
Moorabella is mostly magickal items, especially ones with a "holy" theme. Camoa is a grab bag of knives, swords, bows, guns and the odd magickal item.
The auction itself is completely unchanged. Same rounds, same opponents, just better rewards.
Unsurprisingly, we sweep the board. The advantages from being champion really make it too easy!
This katana has more power than basically any other weapon we've seen so far.
Oblige is a mid-tier greatsword. Great for beginner Paladins.
Cachusha is a women-only hair accessory. Yes, that's an item category in this game.
Luabreaker is another big, strong greatsword. We don't have the job that learns its ability yet.
This is the real prize. This sword teaches the Ninja job's signature P-Ability, Dual Wield, which lets the unit equip two one-handed weapons.
We're level 11, 6 hours into the game, and we have access to one of the best abilities in the game.
This is why so many fans of the game speak reverently of the Auction House.
Done with Graszton for this year, we move on to Camoa. Since we beat it before unlocking "Region Master," we have to do the area auction all over again. At least we still have the bonuses for being champ!
Done. We can start getting items next time.
On to Moorabella. These prizes, my goodness!
The really important one is Nirvana, which teaches a White Mage spell. If you didn't get the Healing Staff like we did, this is your best bet for another White Mage staff.
Of course we win all of them! The auctions are pretty easy at this point, and you can always restart if you mess up.
We passed our 20th auction played, completing that particular record. The reward?
The Token Emporium, where we can buy more tokens for clan points.
And with that, the auction is trivialized. We can literally buy our way through it, assuming we have enough clan points.
Bless Auctions. Blauctions.
From now on, any auction activity will be offscreen. They aren't particular interesting in terms of LP content. I'll try to show off any fun items we get though!
The legendary sword Excalibur. (Moorabella)
Orichalcum dirk, which lets Jugglers give anyone a free turn. (Moorabella)
I picked up a second knife in Camoa. Now Samuel and Adelle can learn enough Thief skills to become Ninjas!
Which is great, because I picked up a second Ragetsu-denbu in Graszton. Since AP applies to every piece of equipment you're wearing, we can now learn Dual Wield twice as fast.
One of the better instruments. It lets Beastmasters control Malboros and Bombs, and lets Animists turn people into toads.
We won 2 Ribbons. These show up in a lot of Final Fantasy games. In FFTA2, they make the unit immune to every condition. One of these was a reward for getting 20 bonuses in the auctions.
The Sage's Robe teaches Geomancy to Black Mages. This is the ability that lowers enemy's elemental resistances by one level, which we saw way back in the second update. This is amazing for almost every mage.
Ninja Tabi give +2 Move to the wearer. Suddenly your mages move further than your warriors. Or maybe you let your assassin move 6 tiles per turn.
We earned all this and so much more from the auction houses. Bless you, FFTA2, for giving us these wonderful items so early.
Look forward to next update, where we might actually get to use some of these!
Thanks for reading!
The advent of the auction marks the end of the beginning. Targ Woods was the tutorial, and everything up to this point has been easing you into the game.
The main conflict of FFTA2, "How does Samuel get home?" is basically already over. We have the answer: play the game. And now there is so much to play! The number of quests available explodes, there are even more clan trials to try, and we've already seen the random battles popping up.
To me, this is the exciting part of the game. My favorite part of any game is growing stronger, gaining new abilities and powers, and exploring the world. That's where we are! And thanks to the auction house, we're well equipped for it.
The real adventure begins now.
We can now recruit new characters into the clan. I'll explain the details next update. I'm leaving it up to YOU to choose who will join our clan next!
Any units I recruit are going to be recruited for a purpose. They'll be trained for one or two particular jobs, and generally stay in those jobs as the game progresses.
Your choices are:
- Magickal Hume: Samuel and Adelle are going to be mostly physical. This is your chance to get someone to tackle the magickal hume jobs.
- Magickal Moogle: Imino is a pretty mixed character right now, and he's better off staying on the physical side of things. Vote for this if you want to see a moogle Time Mage!
- Seeq: This race only has 4 jobs, and they're basically all physical, so one unit can adequately show us everything.
- Bangaa Bishop: Bangaa can do magick, but Henri definitely isn't the best choice for showing it off.
- Assassin Viera: Everyone's looking forward to it, really. Lenolia is going to be more magick focused.
- Your choice! Have a particular race/job combination you want to see? Write it in!
Note that we cannot recruit Gria at this time. I will do so when they are available.
We cannot directly recruit several advanced jobs, such as Assassins. This is gated by story progression.
We'll be doing a few rounds of recruiting, this is just the first! So don't worry if something you want to see doesn't get voted for this time around.
Everyone gets two votes! Voting will be open for uhhh a fair bit because Destiny 2 is coming out in a couple days.