Part 56: Mechanics 2 - Unions, Items, and Stat GrowthThat was a pretty lame mission, so here's Mechanics Update 2.
Unions, Items, and Stat Growth
The titular mechanic of the game, it's obvious to see the value in fully understanding how Unions work. For the most part, Unions have two important features: Type, and Priority.
We can see from these two images, that Yggdra has a + type, and Milanor has X (on the left, under the weapon). All females in the game share Yggdra's + type, while all males share X. There's a third type, null, which is only on a couple units. Null units can't form unions, but they can still join.
What the type means is which directions friendly units will join the Union. For females, anyone two tiles or less away from the Union Leader, in a horizontal or vertical line, will join. Males work two tiles diagonally.
We can see from these two images, whenever you initiate an attack, tiles get highlighted to show who can join the union.
The same rules apply for the enemy Union. Whichever unit you target leads his or her own Union, and brings in as many allies as he can.
Union rules go through terrain and enemy units, as well. Yggdra is leading the Union, and even Milanor can join from the far side of the opponent.
It's especially important to know in what order your allies with join the union. You can control the order in which units do their attack, albeit indirectly.
The order units join is a simple rule start above the Union Leader, and count clockwise in every eligible tile. When you reach the top again, move out one tile, and count again.
Order of attacks is determined by whoever has the lowest number, or highest priority. You can easily rearrange your order by moving someone closer, or farther, from the leader.
For example, if the enemy Union comprised of, in this order, Bandit (axe), Knight (spear) and Fencer (sword) you'd want Yggdra first, followed by Milanor, then Durant. However, we're in this position:
Milanor is in position 6, and Durant is in 3. It's easy enough to fix, with only one move. Milanor can move closer, to position 2, or Durant can move far, to position 7.
X-Type Unions need a little more forethought, since it takes two Mov to come closer, or move farther.
There are three uses for items in this game: Equipping, Morale Recovery, and Trading.
We've seen trading in action already, in battlefield 3. The Hunter wanted a Fur, in exchange for a Fur Coat. All we needed to do was step on the village, with the Fur unequipped and in our inventory. You don't have a prompt, or a choice. If you have the item available, they take it, and give you whatever. It's usually an upgrade, but not always.
We'll start off by showing off the organization screen between battles. Here you can choose your characters for the next mission, and perform item operations. If you highlight a character and hit left, you're taken to the equip screen.
We see here Yggdra has an item the Silk Corset  still equipped. It has three more maps before it expires, so let's check on someone else.
Here we go. Durant started with the Paladin Lance, and it didn't do a whole lot worth noting. Let's check out the equipment list.
We can see a few of the items we picked up, the Flamberg, Four-Leaf Clover, Fur Coat, etc. Some are highlighted white, and some are greyed out. Obviously, Durant can't use all of the items, so we look at the bottom to see who can.
Flamberg can only be used by Yggdra. The Clover and Fur Coat can be used by All. Goat Milk by the Non-milk-haters. Only Spear users can use the Ice Javelin. The Imperial Warfare volumes can only be used by The Literate, which Milanor is not a part of. The Iron Choker can only be used by females.
In the end, there is a large variety of item compatibility. Now, let's get to what they actually do. In most cases, items modify stats, and give you a special characteristic. Stat modification comes in 3 flavours, UP, plus and minus.
UP increases that stat to the next big star. It doesn't matter if you're one small star away, or 12 you go to the next full level and stay there.
Plus effectively gives you that many small stars, up to the next Big Star. In the hypothetical existence of a +20 item, you wouldn't gain multiple stars.
Minus, like plus, decreases up to that many small stars, and can lower your stats.
If you level up, your total small starts is updated, and the effects of any of these may change.
Let's see an example.
As you can see, Imperial Warfare 3 lists the following: Gen UP, Atk -4, Tec +2, Luk +2. Let's compare Durant's current stats, to what they'd be with the Imperial Warfare 3 equipped.
Durant is currently 3 (0/6), 3 (1/6), 2 (0/8), 1 (9/10).
The Imperial Warfare 3 gives UP, -4, +2, +2. What should happen, is Durant gains one full Gen, and goes to 4. He should lose 4 small stars of Atk, so he'll lose his 3.1, and go to 2.7, and be dropped to 2. Tec should go to 2 (2/8), and luck should go to 2 and stop.
When we compare his pre-equip stats, to his post-equip, we see 4, 2, 2(2/8) and 2, exactly what we predicted. He also gains the O No Zero Reset attribute.
Food items are equipped normally, but have a completely different function.
Take a look at this Goat Milk here. We see it doesn't modify any stats, but it's listed as Edible, with O Eat: Tec UP. With this item equipped, the first time the character moves in a battle, they permanently gain an increase to that stat, to the next big star.
Durant drinks it, and loses the Goat Milk. He now has nothing equipped, but is at 3 Tec. That essentially was a gain of 8 small stars. We also see a side effect of some items. Durant drank the milk, kept the bottle, and returned it to our inventory. Some items provide a new item when used, or when their effect activates.
Let's try that with the Kokorinut now, which provides Eat: Luk UP. Durant's Luk is now 2, but it was only an increase of 1 small star. Obviously, there are more optimum times to use that item.
When on the character organization screen, hit Right to go to the Recovery screen. You get the same list of items, but instead of seeing how long they last, you see the possible values the item can restore. For example, take a look at Imperial Warfare 1.
Yggdra's pretty smart, and can make some use of it. It would restore her 2000 morale.
Durant is quite skilled in tactics, and gains the full 3000 morale.
Milanor can't read, so probably wouldn't give a shit about a book. It doesn't restore his morale at all.
As a side-effect of all this, you learn something about the characters. It's nothing ground breaking, but you find out stuff like who's a vegetarian, who's a little money-hungry, or who will eat god-damn anything. In a similar vein, you also can learn a little about some enemies. One more prominent example that we haven't met yet boasts an impressive collection of shoes.
Medallions raise 20% of the character's morale, and are the main restoration consumable.
Items can still be used for morale restoration, even if an item is equipped, and there's no limit on how many items you can give someone.
Stat Growth is straight-forward. You gain small stars when you level, and when you get MVP. When you fill your small stars, you gain a big star, which indicates your actual stat.
First, let's take a look at the number of small stars you need to level
1 → 2, 10 stars
2 → 3, 8 stars
3 → 4, 6 stars
4 → 5, 4 stars
5 → 6, 2 stars
First, we can see here, is that your stat growth accelerates, since you need less to grow each level.
Second, we can count the number of stars needed when at a certain point. If you're at 4 stars, 6 small stars will get you two levels and max you out.
There are two ways we can abuse this if we know what a character's max stat is:
MVPs provide either 1 or 2 small stars, depending on your time. If a character maxes out at 5 stars, and they gain a Quick Clear MVP bonus, they will now finish at 6 stars.
For example, Yggdra and Durant both max out at 5 Atk. Each of them have also gained a +2 Atk MVP bonus. They will both reach 6 Atk, and max out their stat. Since they both max out their Gen, any Gen MVP's would be largely wasted.
Milanor gets to 4 Gen, and has gained a +2 MVP bonus to Gen. He'll only get to 4 (2/4), and not do anything else unless he gets more MVP bonuses. His Atk reaches 6 naturally, unless there's a strategic point to raising attack earlier (there is), any Atk MVPs are wasted.
Food Items provide 1 full level of a stat. Using items early, when levels take 8 or so stars, provide bigger gains than late, when it may only take 2. Since using an item doesn't affect the growth rate, we can predict the new maximum stat after using an item.
Example, Durant has 2 (0/8) Tec right now, and only maxes out at 3. This means he will gain 8 stars. If we give him the Goat Milk, and raise his Tec to 3, he'll still gain those 8 stars. Looking at the list above, if you gain 8 stars from 3 Tec, you'll go to 4, and halfway to 5. Overall, that one food item gained Durant 1 and a half levels.
If someone maxes out at 4 stars, it gets even better. By using the food item at 3 (0/6), they will be brought to 4 and still gain 6 stars enough to hit level 6. In the end, that food item provided 2 levels.
Most of the battlefields I've done have been short enough to redo if I get a bad MVP, and doing so has already made certain Yggdra and Durant max out their Atk, and Milanor will max out his Luk. Durant has received a slight boost to Luk, which while not what I wanted, I can use. Milanor will need a couple more Gen MVPs to do anything with that, but it's ok he'll get them.
By combining food use at critical points in their stat growth, as well as MVPs, it's not too difficult to bring up a selected groups stats to at least 5s and 6s.
Let's take a quick look at the items we have now, and I'll explain some of the effects.
Imperial Warfare 1
Imperial Warfare 2
Imperial Warfare 3
Some new effects we see here are:
Drop Rate 100%: If you defeat an enemy, they always drop their item, regardless of luck.
Instant Charge: Affects Card Skills.
No Zero Reset: When a character loses their morale (except Yggdra and Milanor) they lose their Exp in their current level, and retreat. This stops the Exp loss.
Evade Criticals: You can't be hit by a critical hit
Evade Panic: If you are hit by a critical hit, you have zero panic time.