Part 3: UPDATE 2: The Southern ReachesLong post for you today -- summing up more game mechanics, building my army, and completing the first assignment all got done today!
Have to break it up into two posts, though.
Update 2 - The Southern Reaches
Okay, from the top.
hell yes it is
sure why not
Man, I've spent my entire Ogre Battle career keeping an eye out for the month of Flama, now I gotta switch gears over to Raio. How is that even pronounced?
Anyway let's ace this test.
Triumph for glory, a decent trade. "If the gods let me win a lot, I'll win a lot. Sound fair?"
HELL YES. Thank you, Goonmind!
Boring, boring, boring, and boring.
Huh. The Baldr Armor isn't too bad of a score, either.
The Blessed Sword and the Baldr Armor are half of the required equipment for my favorite class in the game. We're still missing one important part which we won't see anytime soon, but it's nice to get a head start on this stuff.
And this is our new Pedra. You can't use Pedras until battles drag on for a certain amount of time (see: Megadump), and they definitely will not last long enough for a while, but we'll get to use this eventually.
don't care don't care skip this part
bluh bluh huge douche
OKAY, let's see what we've got!
This is the Organize Screen, your main method of interacting with your units and the characters therein. First thing I'm gonna have to do is change around the unit formations, since the default is far from optimal.
For example, Freddie's unit has the Fighters in the front row, which is good, but it has the Amazons in the middle row, which is bad. Fighters and Amazons are the basic male + female units in your beginning army. Crossposted from the Megadump, here are the descriptions:
Once a Soldier in a unit with a male leader gets promoted, he becomes a Fighter. Fighters are a starter class; the only purpose of the class is to get the stats to turn into something better. Generic and largely incompetent frontliner. Two melee attacks in the front row, only one anywhere else. Cannot be made into Unit Leaders.
Once a Soldier in a unit with a female leader gets promoted, she becomes an Amazon. Where Fighters are generic and largely incompetent frontliners, Amazons are generic and largely incompetent back-row archers. Only use Amazons until you get the stats to turn into something better. Two ranged attacks in the back row, only one anywhere else. Cannot be made into Unit Leaders.
I moved Freddie's Amazons into the back row, where they get a second attack every battle, and moved Freddie himself into the front row, where he is more badass. Note that one of the Amazons is now directly behind him; this is because ranged attacks (magic/archery) have to target the furthest unit back in a column; this way Freddie can take melee hits and Ling Chi back there can take ranged hits. Splitting the duties, if you will. Freddie is the only unit not allowed to die, so that's important.
Our first generic unit is led by a Knight who was apparently named after that scientist chick from Xenosaga. Since I now have a Knight, I need to write a description for them.
I like Knights. These guys are the basic Lawful frontliner unit for the first portion of the game; they've got good attack and good armor. Very well-rounded. If they have one downside it's that their equipment is on the expensive side, but this is (of course) not a big deal at all. The vast majority of male characters not meant to serve another specific purpose will be made into these guys.
Also the game isn't kind enough to give us more than one unit fully stocked with mature characters at this point, so half of Shion's unit is made up of Soldiers. Soldiers suck, but you have to put up with them in order to get anything better. Their Megadump description:
These little guys are as generic and expendable as you get. You get a certain number of them after every mission; they can only fight in groups of three. They are nameless and androgynous. A set of three soldiers counts as one character; if it takes enough damage, one of them will die. If a soldier dies, it's no big deal; you've got dozens more, just grab another one from the big pile. They're almost completely worthless, though. Their tiny little spears do almost no damage, and they only get to attack once per battle. If multiple groups of Soldiers positioned in the same row attack the same target at the same time, they can swarm the target and attack simultaneously for a damage bonus; this is nice but doesn't make much difference in the end. Once a unit with Soldiers in it gets enough victories in real battle (not training), one of the Soldiers can earn their own name and get promoted to a full unit of the same sex as the unit's leader (or the opposite if the unit is carrying an Ansate Cross). This happens faster in units with more soldiers, but those are of course less likely to get victories in real battle. Because soldiers suck. Unfortunately they're a necessary evil if you ever want to get anything better.
Obviously, I move Shion's fighters to the front row, where they get a second attack; also, I put the Soldiers right next to each other. This way they're more likely to pick the same target, and more likely to get a swarm attack. Trust me, I'm gonna need all the productivity I can squeeze out of these little buggers.
Hm. The last unit I'm getting right now isn't quite as immediately appealing to me as Shion's. It consists of a Fencer named
So they took a Scottish highlander complete with claymore and kilt, put a Chinese peasant sunhat thing on him, and called the result a Fencer? Okay whatever I guess. These guys are kind of like Knights, but I like Knights better. Fencers are cheaper to outfit, with good offense but weaker armor. They have high Dex growth (and high Dex requirements); the idea is that eventually their poor defense will be compensated for by blocking a lot of attacks, but YMMV on that. They've also got good speed and looser alignment requirements than Knights. When it comes down to it, though, you need your front guys to take a hit or two.
Well, I'll have to settle for what I've got. I moved the back Soldier to the middle row to be with his buddies (and swarm assholes with them too while we're at it).
Also time for me to change the Battle Strategy of all my units. I already talked about this in the Megadump, but there are very tight rules about which enemies your characters can target, depending on friendly formation, enemy formation, and Battle Strategy.
Attack Leader is without question the best. I'll very rarely use anything else.
While I'm here I might as well use some of that phat lewt Odiron gave me.
This is Freddie's character detail screen. All the basics are here: name, class, alignment, innate element, level, number of items he can carry, attacks in each of the three rows and the attack power of each, physical defense, magical defense, and of course equipment. Freddie is of course never seen without his Blue Sash; he's also sporting some plate mail (okay) and a short sword (not so much). The short sword sucks. Its only positive quality is that it's small enough that it doesn't look completely weird being held by a Fighter (those guys are SO SHORT).
I'm giving him my shiny new Blessed Sword instead. Freddie's class is Gladiator (which in Ogre Battle terms means anyone wearing a blue sash). Anyone with a unique class (like Gladiator) cannot change class. That's fine by me. The Blessed Sword is Holy-element; this means that any attack of Freddie's will deal extra damage to undead and various other evil stuff, and also if he were still in the back row he'd Heal instead of attacking. He's terrible at healing, which is why he's in the front. If he were holding a Fire-element sword, his back-row attack would be a generic fireball; there is no Holy-element attack magic (which is REALLY ANNOYING LATER) so he gets Healing instead.
At any rate physical classes always suck at magic so we're not going to give that a second thought.
I'm also throwing the Baldr Armor onto Shion. He doesn't gain any immediate benefit from it, but its DEF rating is still higher than his plate armor, so once he gains some VIT he might get something out of it later.
Anyway I think we were supposed to be going to Tenne Plains or something. Let's get on that.
Now then, something important to realize about Hugo is that every room he ever sits in looks exactly the same.
: "Diomedes Rangue reporting as requested, sir!"
: "Oh, I didn't expect you two to arrive at the same time... Nice and prompt. I hope you came prepared, Diomedes."
: "Why just me!? ...Man, that pisses me off. And call me Dio, alright? You too! You better not call me Diomedes, or else..."
Dio is, shall we say, not the most balanced of individuals. I have no idea how he survived boot camp.
: "Okay, okay. Will you calm down? I want you to head for the Theodricus Mine, to the west. There's been quite a number of incidents recently, where the workers were attacked by wild beasts. In addition, there are bandits in the area. The locals are very concerned about the situation. ...Now, go take care of it. Take a look at this map."
Hugo's main function in this game is to show you a map of the area you're about to be campaigning through and give you some idea of how the enemy forces are positioned and what is going to happen later. Even though I've played this game enough to know most of the stuff he says, I still listen to it anyway.
Oh right, briefing music.
: "Let me begin... Zemio will be our headquarters. From headquarters you can dispatch units or order them to retreat. Do not let your headquarters be overtaken. Let me explain how strongholds are displayed. Colored icons indicate strongsholds. Units in a stronghold will rest and recover hit points. A blue circle indicates that the stronghold belongs to you. A red circle indicates that the stronghold belongs to your enemy. A green circle indicates that the stronghold is neutral. A blue square indicates your headquarters. A red square indicates your enemy's headquarters. Make sure you remember this."
Very few missions besides this one have any strongholds other than your headquarters start off friendly. Since you can only dispatch troops from your HQ anyway, other friendly strongholds aren't really worth much.
Neutral strongholds cannot be liberated, only captured, which makes sense. Since this is a Nice playthrough, in other words, we're never going to touch one of them. Not that it matters in this case, since this one is out of the way. Gotta wonder how they can be "neutral" in this fight against bandits and monsters, though.
: "...Enough about strongholds. Let's get down to business..."
: "Just get there. Easy enough, huh?"
: "This will be your first time leading the troops. Show caution in your actions. I will provide a briefing like this prior to each operation. You can skip it by pressing START. ...Well, I guess that's it for me."
FOURTH WALL... SHATTERED.
: "You can handle it, can't you? ...This is an order. Let's start the training. I'll be waiting outside."
Dio is not pleased.
: "You make some snap judgment on something like that? Without a test or anything!?"
: "I tested each of you, in my own way. Besides, it's only temporary. Don't make such a fuss about it. ...You hear me?"
Hugo out, bitches.
jeez man i didnt even say anything
: "...Come on, let's take it outside."
: "But I won't let anyone weaker than me be my commander!! You know what I'm trying to say, right? ...Fight me!"
Yeah, this is totally sensible. Let's fight to the death over who gets to be in charge for this training exercise where we scare off wild animals. Brilliant decisions like this are sure to bring Dio straight to the top.
: "...No, I won't. What's the big deal about who's better than who anyway? I don't mind if you are the commander."
: "What are you saying? You're so superior that you don't care?"
THAT'S OUR DIO
: "...I'm sorry. I didn't mean it that way."
And in comes our Parental Supervision. Yeah, remember the part where Hugo was waiting for us outside? I guess he's sort of dead-set against the idea of his command candidates stabbing each other with swords for frivolous reasons.
(for the record if we decided to fight, he'd break it up before anything happened)
Because it's his main character trait DUHHHHHH
: "Don't be so rash. The rest of your life isn't set in stone, right?"
but but but I WANNA BE THE COMMANDERRRRRRRRRR WAAAAAAH
: "Enough! You'll eventually understand your shortcomings."
: "For now, follow my orders. I'll assess your skills according to your performance. Go take care of those beasts if you want to make a name for yourself."
: "(...Damn it, we're not janitors. We're soldiers...)"
Way to earn that T rating, Ogre Battle!
Well said, Hugo. Let's do the thing.
So I guess the wild animals really like this mine, or there are bandits hiding in the tunnels or something? Whatever, man, Hugo's pissed, let's just do the mission.
Time for some actual gameplay! That music there will be drilled into your head permanently after enough time playing this game.
Freddie's unit is the only one that starts off on the field map ("dispatched"); any other units must be dispatched manually. They can also leave the field map ("retreat") if they're on the headquarters. Freddie can't.
Oh right, I have new units now. Dio joined, and he brought some flunkies! Sorry, no gameplay yet, gotta sort these guys out.
Hm. Okay. Dio's unit is about the only one I've gotten so far that's already in optimal formation (sort of). Dio's hiding behind those mooks, which he is totally within his rights to do (even if it's kinda lame).
Those units he brought with him aren't exactly great, though.
Ivory is a Dragon Tamer. Haven't seen one of those before (obviously since I just got my first one and we haven't actually fought anything yet); have a writeup!
One of two female classes useful as frontline fighters. As you can probably tell from their name, they're good with dragons -- if you can manage to recruit a dragon, and stick it in a unit led by a Dragon Tamer, that dragon will fight harder. The Dragon Tamer wears a dragon skull on her head; that's how she keeps the things in line.
I don't have any dragons just yet, but the Dragon Tamer is just fine without one. I'll probably have Ivory's unit led by someone who is not her eventually (I'd say more if it wasn't spoilery, but let's just say there's a long and annoying sidequest involved ), but for now she can keep her unit.
Marty, on the other hand.
Marty, Marty, Marty.
The final personality-test-generated unit always involves one unit leader and one large monster (large monsters count as two characters toward the limit and require one empty space between them and anything else); ideally you want those to be a Beast Tamer and a Hellhound. That is bar none my favorite beginning generic unit. But this time I'm stuck with the mighty sorcerer Marty and his pet Wyrm. A wizard and a lizard.
Turn a guy into a Wizard, he ages 50 years. Turn him back, he gets young again. I dunno man. Anyway this is the basic male magic-using class. Poor physical defense, good magic defense, etc etc. Better Intelligence than the female equivalent, the Sorceress, but worse Mentality. Blame Japan for that, but basically it means that Wizards have better offense and Sorceresses have better defense. This guy is the only basic male ranged attacker. Magic is pretty good in this game; for most of the early- and mid-game you want them in groups of two because they can work together that way!
I don't like Wyrms. They can fly, but they're definitely not better than two regular-sized units, meaning it's not worth giving up two slots for their fat asses. Decent attackers, but I'd rather have two normal characters than one of these things any day. Oh, and as Beast units they get stronger when in a unit led by a Beast Tamer, but Beast Tamers can't fly, which kind of ruins the point of using a Wyrm. Not my favorite beast.
As you might be able to tell, I'm not planning on using the Wyrm. Which means I can (a) kick it out of Marty's unit and have not one but two units made up of a unit leader and a bunch of soldiers, or (b) do something slightly more drastic than that.
Hope you enjoyed your command while it lasted, Marty!
Since I broke up Marty's unit, he and his Wyrm are now Unitless characters, meaning they kind of hover in limbo off to the right. I can't use them for anything until I put them in a Unit.
On that note, here is Ivory's new unit! I also added some more Soldiers because there was room.
Hm. Y'know, Marty's STR and VIT are a whole lot higher than his INT and MEN. You sure you picked the right career path, Marty?
TIME FOR A GAME-CHANGER
As you can see, Marty doesn't have the stats to be a Knight or a Fencer, but he didn't have the stats to be a Wizard either, meaning I won't be able to turn him back into one. I haven't a fuck to give.
Enjoy your new life as a mook in someone else's unit, kid. Awww look at 'im he's SO CUTE
Now then, my army's in a good enough state now that I can think of actually embarking on my mission. FINALLY.
Those flags on the right are everyone's Fatigue meters -- right now they're empty because everyone is well-rested, but as I have them run around and do stuff the flags will fill up with red and they'll get worse at fighting and eventually they'll have to Camp. blah blah Megadump blah.
Anyway Freddie and Dio don't have any Soldiers in their unit. This means that I can keep up their levels using Training outside of missions; real-world experience is necessary to promote Soldiers, so the units with the Soldiers in them are going to be doing the fighting here. Freddie is going to lead from behind, guarding his Headquarters.
Dio is going shopping.
Bourdeux has a morale score of 71 out of 100. This means that to Liberate it (since this is a Nice playthrough) I need a unit to invade whose leader is Lawful (but not TOO lawful).
You can't see it because this game sucks at that kind of thing, but I'm sending Shion the Knight.
Mulsuk, over in the west, has an exactly Neutral morale.
Ivory is exactly Neutral. I'm sending her.
I'm also sending Swift a little while behind her for backup. If you'll recall from Hugo's briefing, that's a hot area over there.
Sometimes your units will find items while walking around. Ivory just found something! I BET IT'S TREASURE!
that's not treasure
that's a rag you found on the ground
why did you even pick it up
Oh hey, Dio got to his destination. This was a friendly stronghold, with no enemy troops in the area.
That yellow circle next to the stronghold's name means that there's a Shop here, though.
Whenever you have a unit sitting on a Stronghold, you can send them inside to get a fluffy little scene with some townsperson or other. This is important for sidequests, but usually not during missions. I probably won't show a lot of these off. They're rarely worth doing.
Naturally Dio is hitting the bar to drown his sorrows. Considering how pissed off he was to not be in charge, he must be REALLY mad that I sent him in the opposite direction of all the fighting.
BARKEEP: "Hey, how 'bout a drink? I don't understand kids these days. My son's an idiot... He's growing his hair out... I didn't raise him to be no sissy-girl... He claims it's some tradition from Indigo. What the hell is that? Is it some kind of protest?"
This is a good way to get exposure to lore, I suppose, in a very long and drawn-out fashion. I'll just tell you that Indigans are a traditionally mistreated ethnic group that used to get a pretty rough deal but not so much anymore. The closest real-life analogue is probably the Irish. Indigans have blue hair (LIKE FREDDIE ).
Anyway SHOPPING TIME
Every mission you want to check the shop for pieces of equipment you don't have, even if you have no immediate plans to use it. This is because to get access to a new class, you need to have (a) one character capable of changing to that class, and (b) a complete set of that class's basic equipment. The faster you fill in your holes, the sooner you get new classes.
This shop doesn't have anything new for us, but it does have the usual complement of consumable items that all shops have. The Heal Leaf heals 100 HP on one character; the Heal Seed heals 300 HP on one character; the Heal Pack heals 120 HP on all characters in a unit; the Power Fruit restores a little stamina; the Angel Fruit restores a lot of stamina; the Revive Stone de-petrifies units (); the Quit Gate lets a unit Retreat from anywhere on the map. The most useful items are the Heal Pack and the Angel Fruit.
Shion found a Baldr Sword on the ground. Better than a dirty rag. This is part of a Knight's basic equipment. One less I'll have to buy later.
Before this first battle starts, we get a cutscene of an enemy Wizard and an enemy Barbarian talking. You can tell they're bad because they're wearing red!
: "Calm down! It's not that big of a problem. Our plan has already been initiated. We must stop them! Or else... it will come to naught. Nothing will change. Everything will remain the same... This is for our future!"
: "G, get... Get out of our way!!"
Soooo are these guys bandits or wild beasts?
oh that's a beast
FIGHT IT OUT
Main threat of this fight is the Hellhound. Hellhounds are my favorite beast and I wish I'd gotten one myself.
I love these things. Big, tough, powerful, Chaotic, and one of the first units you can get access to that gets 3 attacks in the front row. They kick like a mule, have decent HP (to compensate for the fact that they have no armor), dodge attacks reasonably well, and mesh very well with Beast Tamers. You want to keep Hellhounds in the front row, and if an enemy unit has one, try to attack it from a direction that'll keep the Hellhound in back.
Luckily the Wizard is a complete idiot and neglected to hide himself behind either of his two perfectly serviceable meatshields. Time to stab him.
Uh. That's about to say 31 damage, not 3. Trust me. Soldiers aren't THAT bad, especially when you have nine of them all bumrushing a squishy mage at once.
Here he is attempting to get some kind of revenge against his hated rivals, the fearsome Soldiers! ...It doesn't really work.
good night sweet prince
you were my first foe and also my dumbest
Huh. Hellhound managed to kill one of my soldiers. I almost care. He's looking backwards because he just finished his attack and is on his way back to his spot.
So, I'm out a Soldier. They're out a Wizard. Advantage, Ivory.
(to be continued in the next post)