Part 18: Commentary: Updates 11 - 15
Mine Your Own Business
Pets can have all sorts of weird (and useful) synchro effects. Rango will occasionally drop chocolate when near him, but the way it drops always has it feed Rango, which is annoying because he doesn't need to hoard his damn chocolate.
Pokiehl's probably one of my favorite characters in this game. He's just some weird birdman who goes around telling these stories. Despite being a Wisdom, he probably has one of the best senses of humor in the game. He'll pop up from time to time as the game goes on.
Labanne is probably the second-most annoying boss in the game, with the first being the same boss but with more health. Instead of whacking the thing, you have to kill its little extensions. Then Labanne will grow another one, which takes off part of its health.
The blue is pretty weak attack-wise, but it has a large chunk of health to go through. The red is fragile (one attack after knocking it down will kill it), but it's very powerful. It'll cast strong spells while attached to Labanne, and when knocked loose it'll do a very poweful area attack. Your allies will likely die while facing this guy, and it's easy for your character to die if you're not careful.
As many have noted, the spritework is fantastic in this game. There's so much life in the animations, and it really enhances the theme of this magical fairy tale land of insanity. This is probably my favorite GIF so far.
I'm also amused that you search for Watts, with Pokiehl hyping him up to be this amazing, interesting person, and it turns out it's some forgetful blacksmith, and the epic tale you're promised fizzles out once Pokeihl realizes he kind of fucked up with this. It's anti-climatic, but with the game's weird sense of humor. I like it, anyway.
Watts Drops the Hammer
This is where you'll most likely first meet the Diggers. Roger and his gang of Dudbears will pop up from time to time in future quests, though Roger's poetry is the most development you'll really get. It's just some guy who runs a mining company forcing his immigrant workers to adopt his religion. It's immoral, it's insane, and yet it makes perfect sense in this world. The best part is that the Dudbears probably don't even know they're supposed to be worshipping their boss's dog.
This game has the weirdest shit sometimes.
As many have noticed, this iteration of Watts is probably the worst of them all. He's incredibly absent-minded, he looks like a toddler more than a dwarf, and he's really not that likeable. There's a future quest with him that's pretty entertaining, but this one's short and not that interesting.
The Path of the Blacksmith
Oh, blacksmithing. Probably the most infamous thing about its game is the incredibly complex forging system. It's possible to make some ridiculously powerful weapons and armor with all sorts of awesome effects that will break the game in half, but it's also one of the most incomprehensible game mechanics ever introduced. Of course, the game itself doesn't even acknowledge anything other than the basics.
I'll give a more in-depth explanation in the future, but here's the gist. Actually creating items is simple, as you pick a weapon/armor type and a material. Then it's made. The material used will determine how strong/defensive the item is.
The crazy part is tempering items to make them stronger. You know all the ridiculous amounts of random items we've been picking up? All the rust and virgin's sighs and little eyes and all that crap? The only use most of those items have is to be tempered into weapons and armor. Of course, you won't know what will actually happen when you add them in until you do it (or look the item's effects up online).
You can boost strength/defenses by enhancing the elemental affinites. The easiest way to do this is using a set of items we don't have access to yet, but many items will do this. You can also add Mystic Powers, which do all sorts of effects. The ForbiddenRing, for instance, is able to split EXP with the party because it comes with a Mystic Power that does it. Of course, you don't know which combination of items will give you Mystic Powers, and even when you accidentally stumble onto one, you probably won't know just what the hell it does for you. You can also forge new plunge attacks into certain weapons, which is cool. Though, again, good luck figuring out how on your own.
So yeah, you're going to need a FAQ to even attempt to make half-decent equipment to break the game with. Even then, it can take quite a bit to actually comprehend how everything works. And even if you understand everything, it'll still take a long time to actually obtain the materials you need. Some of the important things you can buy, but it can really be tedious grinding for the money to buy it, as money's not that easy to obtain (though there are ways to do it) and it can be expensive. The other materials you may need are also tedious to do, which I'll explain once I get there.
And all to break a game that's in general pretty damn easy to begin with.
And you can score a second MenosBronze if you tell Watts he didn't give you any, but who cares, MenosBronze is the weakest metal anyway.
The Infernal Doll
Thanks for the wonderful name. Really.
This little fella's rather lackluster. His synchro sucks, though he can inflict confusion. I was hoping for a Poto myself because they're probably my favorite monster in the series for some reason, but eh.
So how about the part where we explore a graveyard of discarded war toys? To fight in war, only to be discarded afterwards and left to rot for centuries. It's pretty fucked up, and it's obvious to see why they're resentful of humans.
This guy is especially weird. You can go back to him several times, each time being teleported back to the entrance. You continue his conversations simply by acting like a prick to him. It's pretty odd to see things carry out the way they do.
Louie's kind of an odd one. He doesn't show up in World History, and we never really learn anything about him. It's possible he's one of Anuella's dolls, as he claims to be the oldest thing in the Junkyard and may have been created even before Magnolia. He also has his weird manner of speaking that highlights how different he is from everything else.
Yeah, he's most likely a doll.
So I cheated a bit here. I didn't have the entire World History filled out yet, as it's done automatically as you do another quest involving the Wisdoms. Still, I felt it worked best here, and it doesn't really spoil anything in the story. I also thought it'd be cool to do it early so people will remember the World History when we run into a few of the characters mentioned within.
Also, while most of the main updates are actual quests, this is one of the few that isn't. This and the Prologue are the only ones so far that aren't actual quests, though I'm sure I'll do more as the game goes on.
So there's six sections to this book, with the first section dealing with the creation of Fa'Diel. The Moon Gods never come into play, nor do the Flammies. The creation myth does explain the presence of Elemental Spirits, and we'll run into those later, though it's not really the same manner as you meet them in other games.
Not completely sure if the Flammies mentioned are supposed to be the same creature as the flying beast from other Mana games. Probably, though.
The second section deals with the rise of faeries and humans. Humans include all humanoids, so characters like Niccolo, Diddle, Miss Yuka, and Inspector Boyd are all considered humans. It also deals with the rise of mages, using magical stones to try to conquer Fa'Diel, sparking a war between mages and faeries.
Anise was the most dangerous of these mages, living in the fucking Mana Tree itself and creating powerful magic stones that could wreck everything. With this power, the flow of mana was fucked up and the mages just took control of everything. The faeries fought back, but a huge chunk were wiped out as a result. Pretty horrible stuff.
Part Three deals with the defeat of Anise and the mages, with humans joining forces with the Faeries. The mages then rebuilt, trying to recover their forces. It also goes a bit into detail about Anise's daughter, Anuella, who mostly stuck to herself and created living dolls like Magnolia.
Selva is one of the Seven Wisdoms. Though he's mentioned a lot in the World History, he's the Wisdom we'll probably see the least often during the game. At the very least, he's probably the biggest pain in the ass to meet regularly.
Also, the Mana Tree burns down during the war. The book kind of glosses over that.
Part four deals with Selva's doll accidentally killing the little girl he gave it to, with this doll sort of sparking a war between the mages and Anuella. Anuella ended up using her magic to create Gaeus and enchanted instruments, which in this game are what are used to cast spells. She also made the toys that we met in the Junkyard, though nobody really thought about what they were going to do with them after the war.
Also, the Lilipeas are mentioned in killing a wyrm. Once you see the Lilipeas, you'll wonder how the hell they pulled that off.
The next section begins with Rosiotti vs Selva, with it ending by Rosiotti becoming a Wisdom. We'll run into him later as well. Several of the names in this section will also become relevant later. The rest of this section deals with the aftermath of the war, with Ricrot IV leading things and the Jumi being hunted down while some searched for a Mana stone.
The final section is where things get batshit insane, involving angels and a living ship. Everyone gets amnesia, the ship becomes evil, and the angels create another ship to fight the evil ship. Then it ends with a couple of items that are relevant for a future quest line.
I like the World History, as it does quite a bit of world-building while being entertaining. Most of the events and characters are irrelevant to the game, but they're still referenced in the background as you do certain quests. Much like the rest of the game, a lot of it makes little sense, but it's pretty cool if you roll with it, much like the rest of the game's content.