Part 34: CH28: The Tragedy of Bad Scaling, and that Other ThingCH28: The Tragedy of Bad Scaling, and that Other Thing
: The ad-hoc organization of the pursuit of me meant there was nothing to stop Jude between the seahaven and the mountain. Well, except this big idiot.
: Hey! It's the little guy with the big mouth!
: Ivar? What are you doing here?
: Did Gaius and Muzét come this way?
: Is everything okay?
: Not just them. Wingul headed to the Hallowmont, as well.
He also left me with a little message.
Jude may come after us. Deal with him as you wish.
: I was gonna let that guy off easy 'cause he looks good in black, but now he's on my hit list!
: Heh heh heh. So Gaius abandoned you, huh?
: I don't expect you to understand our circumstance, but please, we don't have time for this right now!
: Jude came here to finish what Milla started!
: None of that matters anymore, understand?!
: Jude, why did it always have to be you?!
: Everyone, go on ahead.
: We will have to refuse.
: Hah! You can't even fight your own battles. You coward!
: Jude just told you that we don't have time for this.
: That's right! He has something he needs to do. We all do!
: If you would interfere with Jude, then you would interfere with us.
: We will pass!
: We'll see about that!
: It's amazing how much you suck. Everyone can see it, so you anger and alienate all of them eventually. Only animals are dumb enough to let you hang around.
: Sh-shut it!
So this fight is kind of a pain, mostly due to the difficulty slider affecting how the staggering mechanic works. How easy it is to break the "iron stance" of a boss is effected by how high their Vitality is versus how high your Strength is. The difference in Ivar's vitality between normal and hard is about 2/3 of Jude's entire strength. You can see the problem. Since strength doesn't scale very well for me (IIRC it's quite rare for equipment to alter it directly), this can create a massive problem, where Moderate is too easy but Hard is "me being stunlocked constantly". TLDR I'd rather be playing Graces. Even Solomus couldn't just prance around for whole seconds while we beat on him.
So I make two mistakes here, counting "playing on Hard" as a mistake. The second is focusing Ivar down first, despite the Wyvern having 25k more max HP than him.
Since the last fight, he's learned an Arcane Arte called Crushing Eagle.
It has a good area of effect, but we're actually passively resisting most elements just from skills. The wyvern's charge right after drops Jude and Leia. It's pretty annoying when they both gang up on Jude. I'm pretty sure the Wyvern uses standard NPC AI, but Ivar has a hate-on for Jude.
The wyvern can spit clouds of poison, which linger in the area.
So this is what I meant earlier by it being a mistake to focus Ivar, he's a lot smaller, a lot dodgier, and as you can see here it took a goddamn linked arte to break his Iron Stance.
Soulstoke Spin is Leia's Arcane Arte, it ignites the edges of the staff with energy, then spins it around smacking dudes.
Arcane Arte means Mystic Arte! Here's Leia's, Soulstoke Celebration.
It starts out a lot like Soulstoke Spin, but keeps going.
...into a diving attack...
...that cracks the goddamn earth.
Ivar has an Arcane Arte AND an overlimit, that means...
Could be worse.
I tried to pull off Elize's Mystic Arte, but couldn't quite get it to go off for some reason or another. Maybe next update.
See that purple flame over Ivar's head? We managed to inflict a status ailment on a boss with our elemental attacks. Pop the goddamn champaign.
His tendency to attack Jude means he misses the opportunity to kill either Rowen or Elize here.
Homing Venom kicks people and then poisons that area? Weird.
Dammit Elize/Rowen, I wanted that Linked Arte trigger. It's like Muzet's gravity well, except with a bigger opportunity cost if the enemy decides to, say, run out of it.
After he goes down the wyvern is pretty easy.
: Ivar lost. Bad.
: I'm the handmaid! I had a sacred duty to protect Lady Milla! I'm special! Special, I tell you!
: You're special alright.
: Neither of us are special. Not yet anyway, Ivar.
: What did you say?
: But, that doesn't mean that I don't want to learn how to be like them. Just like Milla and Gaius.
: Someone like you will never be like them! You're the one who let Lady Milla die!
: Ivar, you loved her, too.
If I really were special, then maybe I might have actually been able to save her.
: I'm sorry.
: The Hallowmont is right beyond the shrine.
: Go! Just go! Get out of my sight once and for all!
: He got out of our sight first!
: Ivar must've been tortured by all this.
: We may have just given him some bitter medicine.
: I hope you're right. I look forward to seeing how he acts the next time we meet him.
: Who knows. There may not be a next time.
: Hey! Wait a minute, what's that supposed to mean?
So that rug right next to the "Save" prompt is covering the door that leads to the path to the Hallowmont. But first, we have an appointment in town.
Once I get some real money I'm going to work on that whole "difficulty" thing. Every single item there is difficulty-destroying. All those herbs let me turn gold directly into stat points. I'm not sure there's any other Tales game that lets you straight buy Hourglasses.
But first, new armor!
Skit Video: A Handmaid's Pride
: It looked to me as though Ivar's anger was mostly with himself.
: There's no loathing like self-loathing.
: I do believe you have won his approval.
: I have?
: Yes. But Ivar is a prideful man, and can ill endure the humiliation of defeat.
: That's probably why I got that feeling he won't show up again.
: You almost sound sad about that! Ivar has done nothing but yell at you.
: I certainly didn't like that part.
But, if we could have done it in a civilized fashion, it would've been nice to sit down and talk for once.
: I see.
Dungeon Video! One of the shortest dungeons, half of this is just me fighting a rather meh rare monster.
: Gaius was giving me a lot of trouble.
: You witness the depths of my suffering, Lord Maxwell.
And yet you never answer me! Why?! Why?! Why?!
Why have you forsaken me?
: You are a mighty spirit, and yet you are unable to think for yourself.
: I will not let you reach Lord Maxwell! His defense is all I have left!
: I couldn't hit the broad side of a barn, as they say, in that state.
: Foolish. No, pitiful.
: At that point, I bugged out and Gaius followed.
: Was that them fighting?!
: It would seem we have witnessed but a fraction of Gaius' true strength.
: Muzét didn't seem in any condition to fight either.
: Yes, but speculating on the matter will get us nowhere.
We must hurry on.
: It seems like we can find Maxwell here, too.
: Yeah, we're on the right path.
Skit Video: Muzét Adrift
: It isn't easy to lose the person who guides you.
You don't know what you're supposed to do. You lose what little confidence you have in yourself.
: It'd just be easier to do nothing.
: Wouldn't that be okay?
: I couldn't respect myself if I chose that path.
: This must be the summit.
: What's with this place? The air feels all tingly!
: No way.
: What are you doing here?
: Alvin? We could ask you the same question.
: Fair enough.
: And I see you're not alone.
: Looks like we don't have to play nice anymore. Can't say I'm sad.
: Ah ha ha! That means I get to pound you to a pulp again!
Hey pimple! How'd it feel when your buddy here shot you?
: Knock it off, Agria.
: Ah ha ha ha ha!
: I'm afraid your journey ends here.
: I'm afraid you are mistaken.
We will not be so easily stopped. I must help Jude meet with Maxwell.
: The reason people are drawn to Milla and Gaius is their will and conviction.
They have the ability to live their lives as true adults.
:Ah ha ha! You sure couldn't, huh gramps?
: As embarrassing as it is to admit, you are correct. But, it is never too late. People can always change.
Isn't that right, Alvin?
: I can't give you an answer to that.
: Enough with the lecture, gramps. You get to feed the worms first.
: It surprised everyone, but apparently there was a moral bone in Alvin's body.
: No, I just...
: You make a better door than a window, stud. Move!
: Agria! Why are you doing this?
: Put a sock in it!
Clean out that earwax 'cause I'll only say it once. I won't turn against His Highness!
: I know you're with me on this. We got nowhere else to turn.
: Yes, you're right.
When everyone else treated us like scum, he took us in. He allowed us by his side.
: I'm sorry, Al.
But not even you will get past us!
: Either we do our job, or we wind up in the trash again!
: Unfortunately, they'd been set on a collision course.
So as a Chimaeriad fight, these two will spend a lot of time linked. Since they're both casters, that means they'll also stand next to each other. At least there's no penalty for hitting people with an element they resist.
Fire Djinn will periodically spawn in. I think they stop doing so if Agria goes down.
I hate it when enemies use Flame Ring, it makes me stand there waiting.
Raging Mist is Agria and Presa's Linked Arte, it combines water and fire damage as shown there. I think it first appeared as a spell Genis used in Symphonia.
Also they spam it nonstop sometimes.
Dragonmare Head summons a blue dragon head from Presa's book, which breaths out a torrent of water. It's an Arcane Arte, so watch out.
Agria seems to be way worse at pulling off the bullshit "never get interrupted" thing previous bosses did. I guess because she and Presa aren't giant Vitality tanks or something.
Of course, I say that and now she's tanking multiple weakness hits without losing Iron Stance.
Agria's Flare Bomb appears to have multiple hits all at once.
Thanks, Mystic Arte cutin, for giving us that view of Presa's chest.
Dragonmare Brood sends out a pair of dragon spirits or something to pass through us and cause damage.
I'm not 100% sure on the shape of its AOE, but note Jude and Elize being totally fine.
I switch in Rowen but I can't get his Mystic Arte to go off, not sure why.
Agria's Mystic Arte is still a thing.
Between our new armor and the fact that we're passively reducing damage from basically all elements by a fair chunk from the skill system, it's actually pretty hard for them to kill even one of us. That was a Mystic Arte that hit 3 people and couldn't kill (or knock to one hp) one of them.
Each time they Link, it transfers some HP from the higher one to the lower one, so Agria won't outlive Presa by much.
Compare my combos in Graces to my combos here. There's something missing.
One down, one to go.
She's mostly there already.
For thematic reasons, I'm controlling Alvin.
Foxtail Fury actually attacks with the tail.
Alvin and Leia don't actually have too many Linked Artes it turns out.
Rowen has a skill called "Opportune Moment" on the last ring of his second Lillium Orb. It causes time to stop for the enemy when he backsteps with "perfect timing". It is goddamn the best.
Hell Fryer is Alvin's Arcane Arte, so you know what that means.
This part looks a little like Leia's MA.
I like how it persists onto the battlefield for a few frames.
I'm pretty sure her Guardian Field actually heals for LESS than ours. Note the swirlies on Alvin and Leia, that's motherfucking Charm from Foxtail Fury. She shook her hips at us so hard it caused us to switch sides. Nothing a Dispel can't cure, thankfully.
: Not really a fight you can feel good about.
I'm glad we could be together again even if it was only for a little while.
: Presa... Presa, I...
: I'm happy for you, Al. Open your eyes. Now, you've found your place, as well.
: So it turns out that craggy-ass, unstable-looking mountain was a bad place to set off all kinds of magic explosions.
I've got you! Now just hold on!
: Now you listen, eyesore!
Some things in this world you just can't fix, no matter how hard you keep trying to!
: Ah ha ha ha ha! Drown in despair!
: What happened to the whole "lives of the Chimaeriad belonging to his highness, don't throw them away selfishly" thing?
: Nobody ever accused Agria of being of sound mind.
: You okay?
: Yeah, don't worry. I'm fine.
: Hey, you've always tried your best even when you were a little girl.
I've lost count of all the times you've saved me because of it.
: I'm all right, Jude.
You should go try and cheer up Alvin. You're the only one who can.
: You play the martyr as well as Jude does.
: Guess that's one of the reasons why I fell for him.
: Well put.
: That's right.
: Look, I know that sometimes doing your best still isn't enough to fix everything in this world.
But, it's what I do best. It's my only real strength.
: Yes, I know that.
: Alvin, where will you go now?
: I don't know. What's it to you?
: Come with us.
: Now the kids wanna babysit me.
: Don't think that this is easy for me. I can't forget what you did to Leia.
: I'll tell her I'm sorry.
: You do that.
: Jude, don't let that big fat liar come with us! He'll just stab us in the back again!
: Heh, you don't exactly hide your feelings.
: No she doesn't! Because Elize is good and honest girl!
: It's strange. It's hard to believe how fast that kid has grown up already.
He really hates me now, doesn't he?
: That's right! And I hate you too!
: Thanks, Elize.
: What do you mean?
: You can hate me all you want, okay? It's good to know how people really feel for a change.
: Well, I hate creepy people just as much! Let's go, Teepo.
: Rowen's right. I can't stay like this.
Skit Video: Alvin's Apology
: What's with you?
: After what happened, it hasn't been easy finding my old groove again.
: I would certainly hope so.
: So, you at least feel bad about it, huh?
: Well... yeah.
: Are you doing okay?
: I'm all right.
: Sorry about that.
: Don't worry about it.
: Are you really okay with me again?
: Not entirely.
: Fair enough.
So uh. People talk about the game getting rushed, and that definitely felt like "welp gotta wrap those stories up now now now" to me. It really doesn't feel cathartic and I'm not sure we know them well enough to be properly sad.
I mean, compare it to the deaths of the God Generals in Abyss. We spend way more time with them and they do way more heinous stuff. Even though we know their backstories, we're still more or less on the side of "fucking die, you omnicide-supporters". It's not like anyone we liked or even knew was killed onscreen by those two.
On the other hand, we know barely anything about Presa other than "was an item with Alvin at one point". This game is just killing off its villains way too early.
So speaking of rushed, I bet there are only six more updates left in the entire game. Maybe one or two from Feinne, to tie up loose ends.