Part 8: So what's all this about missions and Wonder Mail?
We've reached the point in PMD where the leash is finally taken off and, for once, the plot isn't urging us to go anywhere in particular. So what do we do now? Well, we take missions. Missions are randomly generated requests from other Pokémon to accomplish something or other in one of the many dungeons in the Pokémon world. They can be broken into five types:
- Rescue a Pokémon who's stuck in a dungeon somewhere and has called for help.
- Rescue a Pokémon, this time at the behest of another Pokémon who's gotten worried.
- The infamous escort mission: take a ludicrously low-level Pokémon into a dungeon to meet with a friend.
- Retrieve a specific item from the dungeon for a Pokémon.
- Bring a specific item, obtained somewhere else, to the Pokémon in the dungeon.
A quick digression: while the item retrieval mission, as shown, specifies a location where we can probably find the desired item, we don't have to get one from that exact place. If we have the item already and don't feel like going to level 69 of Skullcrusher Mountain to get one, we can just visit the dungeon, use an Escape Orb to leave the dungeon immediately with all our stuff, and the mission will be considered complete. (I believe, but haven't confirmed, that the item requested may not even appear on the specified floor, but it's always something that could be randomly generated at that location.)
Missions can reward us with items and money, and they're also worth points toward our team rank. There are also certain special rewards we can receive, which I'll discuss when I talk about Wonder Mail. There are several times during the plot when we'll have to pass time by doing missions to get the plot to advance, and if we have to go to a dungeon anyway, we might as well do missions related to the dungeon.
Missions can be acquired in three ways. Each day, a random assortment of missions will be posted on the board by the post office. (At one point, a plot mission appears there, but we'll be steered toward it; at another point, a sidequest appears there, but we'll be sure to pick it up.) There can be up to eight missions on the board, and they change daily. There's no time limit on doing missions, so we can grab any we like and hang on to them until we want to do them, with the caveat that we can have only eight uncompleted missions on our list.
The second way we can get missions is in the mail. Once Pokémon start hearing about us, they'll send missions right to our mailbox. The mailbox only holds four letters at a time, so it's important to clear it out even if we don't want to do these missions, as otherwise we may not get more important mail. Other than the method of delivery, there's no difference between these missions and board missions-- though some sidequests are opened by specific mail we'll receive.
The third way is Wonder Mail, which will be discussed shortly.
Just having a mission isn't enough, though. As Sheldon noted in the last update, we have to effectively activate a mission before we can go on it. We can activate as many missions as we want, with the following caveats: we can't be on more than one escort mission at a time, and we can't have more than one mission to the same floor of the same dungeon active at one time. Once the missions are active, we go to the dungeon, and the hunt is on!
Incidentally, the reason we can only bring three Pokémon into the dungeon when we have four party slots is that the fourth will be taken by our escortee, if any. Once we drop off our escortee, or if we don't have one to begin with, we can recruit to fill the slot-- once we can recruit, anyway.
When we complete a mission to rescue or escort a Pokémon, we use the power of our Rescue Badge to send them to safety, and we can choose to do the same to ourselves, exiting the dungeon immediately. If we choose not to accept this lift, we have to reach the end of the dungeon in the normal way or use an Escape Orb to safely exit. (I'm not sure if you get credit for completing missions if you're knocked out in the dungeon and not rescued, so be careful.)
Once we've left the dungeon after completing a mission, there's a brief cutscene where our client (and the second party, if any) gives us our reward, and then it's back to the base for a good night's sleep. That's all there is to missions!
Wonder Mail is a mission that's been generated by a password. There are two intended sources of these passwords. One is that a friend can read the password off of a mission he gets in his game and give the password to us; if we enter that password at the Wonder Mail menu, that mission will be added to our list. (Note that we can't go on a mission until we get access to the dungeon it's in, with a few key exceptions I'll mention momentarily.) The other is from Nintendo, which released a few Wonder Mail codes for missions that would give interesting rewards, like access to version-exclusive Pokémon. Naturally, though, the code was cracked, and now it's pretty easy to find an online or downloadable Wonder Mail generator that will give you whatever mission you want.
So what's so cool about Wonder Mail? Well, besides that we can choose whatever mission we want to do, there are certain benefits that can only be gained by completing missions. One is access to version-exclusive Pokémon. There are only a handful of these, six in Red and five in Blue. However, if we complete a mission involving one of the exclusive Pokémon (as a client or a second party), that Pokémon will start appearing in the wild in our game. The Pokémon we don't have access to without missions are Minun, Aipom, Lapras, Magikarp, and Porygon2.
Another is Friend Areas, which I'll talk about more in the next update. There are four that can only be obtained as rewards for completing a mission, and one of them even has a related sidequest.
The third is dungeons. There are four super-secret dungeons that can be opened with missions that direct us to those dungeons.
The final benefit is decor. There are two statues we can have placed outside our base as rewards for completing missions.
Wonder Mail is the key to getting all of these benefits, and we'll be taking advantage of that throughout this LP. That's not the only benefit, however. Rather than let the game pick my missions, why not let the goons do the picking?
In the original version of this chapter, I directed goons to the Pokémon Mystery Dungeon Wonder Mail Generator and let them generate missions, then picked some to do in the next chapter. Obviously, it's too late to join in now, but read on to see what wacky hijinks the goons got themselves into, needing Team Hugs to rescue them!