Part 8: PART EIGHT: GRINDING AND FROTHING
Yet another thing I did not know that will probably aid this playthrough something fierce. Excellent!
Also, Mountaineer, I don't mind at all. This IS stuff I should be showing off, after all.
But, moving on!
PART EIGHT: GRINDING AND FROTHING
It's time to take things to Zio's doorstep! To the tunnel!
: Why, this isn't just a reused cave entrance map at all!
There are two things in this cave: slugs, and men with pointy sticks. I'm not quite certain why they hang out.
I mean, they seem like pretty no-nonsense folks.
Having pet slugs just seems rather silly.
Wait, hold on...
Oh. Snap. Welcome to the gimmick of the week! When fighting Zol Slugs, leaving two of them alive before taking their turn will cause them to fuse into mister Meta Slug here. There's not too much to say about them: They're bigger, so they have more HP and hit hard by comparison, but...
Considering how easy it is to farm them, the results are quite worth it. This is a pretty good place to level up before facing the threat ahead.
And seeing as how our team has numerous ways to inflict instant death, it makes an easy job even easier.
Oh, hey, now Alys has one too!
: I'm one step closer to killing people with my mind.
: How ironic that I can now do so instead!
: I'm not sure that's irony.
: But it is aggravating!
Yup, that's right folks: Our little geek has learned how to instantly kill things by pointing at them. Suddenly he's a lot harder to pick on.
And since we now have Death, and Rika had Illusion just laying around, combining the two (order matters on this one, apparently) creates...
...creates multi-target instant-death. And that's just tasty.
At this point I just start goofing around with instant-kills. Eliminate is hard to screencap since Rika is invisible for most of it.
Poor Chaz has no instant kill ability. He stabs the ground in frustration.
: Stupid dirt!
: This is so awesome. I'm so glad I came with you guys.
: Just keep rubbing it in, why don'tcha?
Rika's healing ability has just gotten all that much better.
Might as well show off another combination.
Fire Storm is essentially just Blizzard with a different element. Not all that useful here on Motavia, though apparently Zol Slugs are actually weak against fire. They die quickly enough without it.
: Ooh! Come on, explosions!
: Aw, nuts.
Death is just a plain looking single slicer toss, but I'll be damned if this screencap doesn't make it look like a messy process.
: I've figured out how to hit harder by yelling at myself!
: I'm not sure I can even begin to understand that.
: This I can understand quite well, though.
As mentioned before, the Wood-Cane can cast Res when used as an item in battle. Apparently it's also made of Laerma Wood, though it picked up a 'u' over the last two-thousand years.
: Hahn, eat it. I want to see you grow wings.
: I think you're just jealous of my mind-powers now.
Alright, alright, that's enough of that. Time to actually move on. After spending the night at Alys and Chaz's place, of course.
The first fork in the cave. To the left is more cave. To the south,
is a halfway decent potion, I guess. I'm not all that impressed.
Ooh, this I always like, though.
We're one-fourth of the way to the ultimate combination attack! Also, Rika can buff the whole party's defense, which is pretty much a necessity later on.
: Alright, maybe this time?
: Awww...well I guess mass wind-death is kinda okay.
Welcome to fork number two! Going right...
...gives us nothing! Yay!
Let's just friggin' go south.
The levels just keep rolling in! I'm not even grinding at this point. (I have stopped running away from monsters in this playthrough, though. Especially since I now know what half of these stupid techs do.)
Ooh, now that is nice. A shame it's not on someone with better magic, but, hell, better fire is better fire.
: I wonder what other amazing powers I'll develop on this journey?
Rimpa removes paralysis. Paralysis doesn't come up all that much. It also heals naturally in battle or just by walking around. Yeah. Whoopdeedoo.
Fork three! Going southeast...
...oh fuck you, game.
Fork number four!
Nothing to the right! Of course!
Exit to the left! Much better.
: So this is the fourth identical cavern entrance, I see.
: Oh my! That town!
: Did Zio do that? Or was it his army?
: I doubt it was his army, if those Speard guys were any indication. I think we took out a whole division back there.
: There's another ruined city over there!
: That one to the east looks alright, though.
: Let's check it out.
: Have you come to visit Zio's church as well?
: Depends. Is he in there where we can clobber him?
: Aww, church? Booooooring.
: there's a saying that goes 'The righteous do not ignore Kadary.' Kadary is a sacred area!
Kadary is like Mecca if Mecca were a miserable hovel with a gift shop and like three houses.
: I wonder if that's true?
: Considering that he's planning to cause it, yeah, it's likely.
: we might as well pin all our hopes on this one man. Don't you agree?
: Oh, sure, yeah, unless of course he happens to be preaching about how he's going to destroy the world. God, you people are nimrods.
: with this Zio thing? It just makes my skin crawl!
: You and me both, buddy.
: named Zio was erected in this town. Devotees come here from all over the place.
: This place is completely cut off from the outside world except for a monster infested cave! How are they getting here?
: I don't want to say it in a loud voice, but...it sure is a big bother!
: In that case, you must have seen the town burnt to ruins on your way here?
: Two, actually.
: It's been said that was all due to Zio! I'm so afraid!
: So maybe not everyone in this town is a moron.
: These poor people...
: What in the-
: Oh...Zio, the holy one...
: Uh...is he okay?
: Nope. He's still breathing. Hold on, I can fix that...
: Alys, cut it out!
: Woah. Halfway decent architecture?
: It might not even be sandstone, too. How weird.
: Those faces are somewhat unnerving...
: Zio says he's going to cleanse this soiled land with the fires of destruction...
: YOU PEOPLE ARE FUCKING STUPID.
: And then, he's going to build a utopian society populated with only the finest citizens!
: Doesn't 'utopian' imply that it's not possible in the slightest?
: Also, if you guys are the best and brightest, this new world isn't gonna last more than a week.
: How wonderful! The thought makes me tingle!
: I swear, nobody will miss him if I kill him. C'mon!
: These are exactly the people that should be purged at the hands of Zio!
: Thus says the mindless pawn standing around waiting for Zio to hand him a new world.
: School work is so stupid!
: Oh, professor Hahn! You're half of the reason I gave up on that crap!
: of Motavia! Ahhh! Glory be to you, Zio!
: How...how frightening.
: I've seen enough of this crap. Let's go gut Zio personally.
: And rescue Demi!
: Yeah, sure, whatever.
: Hold your horses. There's still some things we haven't seen around here. There were a few buildings walled off for some reason.
: Oh, fine.
: Nobody had better harrass us about any-
: What? Of course not, you god damn imbecile!
: In that case, become one of us at once. Otherwise, you will be purged by us.
: That was a threat, right? It was! I'm allowed to kill this miserable fucker! Let me at 'im!
: Alys, please calm down! These people don't know any better!
: I WILL CARVE A BOWL FROM YOUR SKULL AND DRINK YOUR BLOOD FROM IT YOU MISERABLE ZIO-ITE!
: Alright, that's enough of that. Help me pull her into that house over there. Maybe we can calm her down.
: Hey, stuff!
: Okay, I feel better now. Let's check out the other building.
: this, eh, Boys?
: Excuse me, meathead, I'm the party leader here. The 'boys' go where I tell them to.
: Don't you kow that we are Zio's subordinates?
: Oh, like that spear patrol in the caves? If you really want to die that badly...
: Uh, well, on second thought, maybe I'll just let you off with a warning. Yeah.
: money to feed myself, but my hands are definitely becoming soiled...I wonder if I'm doing the right thing?
: I think it'd be obvious, but since you're the first person in this cult to actually question anything, you're lightyears ahead of your colleagues.
: but one day, Zio's soldiers came...They said to just put everything on a running tab, but they never pay up...boo hoo...
Only one place left to look. Let's go upstairs.
: How adorable.
: Oh my god, this is going to be good.
: I'm going to give you some great service.
: Huh? Wh...What are you talking about?
: Hmm, and I'd heard most hunters were keen on the shady side of things. Chaz, you've never heard of a prostitute before?
: What? Oh...ew! I don't want any diseases!
: Aww, and I was even going to give you a discount...
: Besides, I'm not into bunnygirls. I'm more of a catgirl guy.
: Gah ha ha ha ha! This was totally worth it!
: ...how come I didn't get propositioned?
: Aw, man, that was great. I really needed that. Ah...alright, now, let's get on with things, shall we?
: We're finally going to take on Zio! It took you people long enough, but here we are!
: I hope we're ready.
: I hope I don't die!
: And I hope Demi's okay...
: Let's do this thing!
NEXT TIME ON PHANTASY STAR 4:
Zio's fortress and fanboy fandango!
: I've got a really bad feeling...
So meteor9 namedropped Laerma trees in this update. The Laerma tree first appeared in Phantasy Star 1, as part of one of the biggest chains of fetch quests in the game. (Various minor PS1 spoilers follow.)
By talking to various people in towns, it's possible to find out that by eating a certain kind of nut, Musk Cats such as the party member Myau can grow wings and fly. These are Laerma nuts, but there's a catch: Laerma trees only grow on the top of one plateau on the ice planet Dezoris, and the nuts only ripen under a special kind of light. This is supposed to be your hint that you need the Eclipse Torch, a flame that's worshipped by Dezorians. The trouble is that the Eclipse Torch is at the top of a tower and guarded by a Dezorian, who will only give you some of the flame in exchange for "a gem from a dragon".
Now, if you talk to people on Motavia, you'll find that there's a cave containing a dragon with a gem in its forehead. Explore the cave and kill the dragon to find the gem, so you can trade it for the Eclipse Torch, so that you can use it at the foot of the Laerma tree and collect... oh, wait. The Laerma nuts shrivelled up as soon as you picked them. What's wrong?
Well, if you talk to even more people on Dezoris, it turns out that Laerma nuts can only be preserved by keeping them in a pot made of solid Laconia, the strongest metal in the Algo system. You receive a Laconian pot right at the start of the game, but you soon have to trade it to a dealer in rare animals to receive Myau -- and there wouldn't be very much point getting the Laerma nuts without Myau, would there? Fortunately, there's a second Laconian pot in the game, but you have to go to a town in the middle of nowhere and kill a mad scientist to get it. (Said scientist, incidentally, likes to experiment on Musk Cats in unpleasant and fatal ways.)
Finally, once you've done all that, you can go and collect the Laerma nuts in the Laconian pot. Of course, then you need another item to reveal the place that Myau can fly the party to...
Phantasy Star 1 is a cool game, but let's face it: except at the very beginning and end, its plot consists almost entirely of fetch quests. The one good thing is that you're not railroaded into doing all the quest chains in a particular order, so you're free to explore almost anywhere from quite early in the game.
Chaz's Earth skill causes Paralysis to one biomonster, and works slightly more often than most instadeath attacks. Alys' Moonshade skill does the same, but to an entire group, with a higher chance of success. Useful, but not useful, because you can usually efficiently wipe out the entire group of enemies in one turn by this point. (Unless you're underleveled, but you're clearly not; Hahn has Vol, Alys has Death, etc..)
This also reminds me that this early portion of the game is light on bossfights. Igglanova at the beginning...and Igglanova again in Zema. This will change very soon, we'll be seeing them much more often in the future.
Welcome to first area in the game that can actually put forth a decent challenge in terms of enemy encounters! You know how I said you can easily wipe out an entire group of foes in one turn? It's quite simple, really. Since most bossfights are against a single target, you should feel free to use any and all multi-target skills throughout the dungeons of Algo. Of course, certain ones are incredibly powerful, or you may be planning to save those for combinations, but each character has plenty of other options to help wipe-out an enemy group easily, painlessly, and efficiently.
Using the current party as an example, a powerful, yet TP and Skill efficient macro would look like this:
Alys: Attack (Single or Dual Slicer)
Gryz: Attack (Sweeping if you get it)
Most things will be dead by the time Chaz lets loose with Airslash, and if not, they're dead after it. However, pretty soon we'll find that Airslash is used for a combination! So what we do is limit ourselves to the uses of the other skill involved in the combination. So if that other skill has 3 uses, we stop doing this macro when Airslash only has 3 uses. At this point, your group probably doesn't have comfortable numbers of the two group-assault skills I mentioned, but you still have them nonetheless. Don't be too stingy with them, but choose your shots carefully. You wouldn't want to waste it on only two enemies, for example. You'd be best off using it against a full group of 4. This preserves Alys' Vortex, Rika's DoubleSlash, and Chaz's Crosscut skills, and costs 0 TP to use. Good stuff.
As an alternative, if you're worried about taking too much damage, you could try rendering your enemies helpless against you, and dealing with them in a slower, but safer manner. Try this:
Rika: Saner (or Attack)
In this macro, Rika's job is interchangeable, but based on Alys' Agility score. If she typically goes before your enemies, you'll not need the Saner, and she can attack instead. Alys will paralyze all enemies (or most of them, anyway), giving you at least one free turn on them. Hahn uses Gelun to weaken the enemies' attacks , just in case Moonshade fails to hit every enemy. Then you're free to kill the enemies safely. This costs 10 TP (6 for Saner, 4 for Gelun) to use, but worth it if you find you're taking too much damage from the mooks. 10 TP is less than the 30 TP it costs to use Gires on every member of your party, and still less than the 15 TP it would cost to use Res on every member.
Of course, if you're overleveled, you don't even need a strategy. Just use the default Macro, and let your team cut loose and beat them all down. You will very likely outnumber every encounter in the game from this point onward, so you have the advantage in most encounters.
Later in the game, you'll have access to better abilities, so these are in no way end-all be-all gamewinning moves. But if you're having trouble with anything, they're good to keep in mind. Never underestimate your indirect damage techniques/skills, as they can turn the tides of difficult enemy encounters.