Part 1: .hack Infection - //Update 01 - Δ Bursting Passed Over Aqua Field//Update 01
Video: Pre-Title Screen Demo
Let's get started! The options screen really doesn't contain anything of note, everything useful is already enabled by default. For this, we'll be using the default controller configuration.
Yet to return, the shadowed one
who quests for the Twilight Dragon.
Rumbles the Dark Hearth,
And Helba, Queen of the Dark, has finally raised her army.
Apeiron, King of Light, beckons...
At the base of the rainbow they meet.
Against the abominable "Wave," together they fight.
Alba's lake boils
Light's great tree doth fall.
Power-all now to droplets turned in the temple of Arche Koeln.
Returns to nothing, this world of Shadowless ones.
Never to return, the shadowed one
who quests for the Twilight Dragon.
"Epitaph of the Twlight" -- Emma Wieland
Video: Introduction Cinematic
"Yasuhiko's probably already there waiting for me. I'd better hurry."
Registration for "The World" is finished.
Reconfirming your name and character name.
I chose Alphonse because, why not? Kite is the default character name.
To start the game, select "The World" from your desktop. Please enjoy "The World."
Welcome to the desktop interface! The options on the left are largely self-explanatory, but it never hurts to go over then anyway.
"The World" launches the game itself. This is where 99.9% of the action takes place.
"Mailer" contains all e-mails sent to your character. There's only a handful in there right now, we'll cover those in a future update.
"News" is a bunch of news headlines that affect Japan while "Alphonse" is spending all his free time in the game. The world that .hack takes place in is pretty screwy at times.
"Accessory" lets you change the desktop wallpaper. Right now, we only have three, counting the one on display. The other two are variants of the one in the background - one red and one blue. I change the background to the blue one off-screen.
"Audio" doesn't have very much right now. The desktop has music playing in the background and this is the place where you can change that. More music tracks are unlocked by playing. There is also a movies sub-heading, which lets you play FMVs from the main game. These are all locked until the game has been beaten.
"Data" lets you save the game.
Got all that? Good! Let's head into the main game and see what's what.
Yet another menu. Welcome to MMORPGs! The "new" tag next to the board option means there's new forum posts. Just like the e-mails, those will be covered in a future update. Moving right along, into the game itself.
: Hey. You made it!
Note, this is one of the rare times that Kite has a speaking part before certain events later change his appearance.
: Hey, it's me. Orca, the Blademaster.
: Whoa! You look so different from the real Yasuhiko. Nothing like the real you.
: Hey, in this game I'm Orca! Regardless of what I am in reality. I'm pretty well known here. What...?
: No, you look great.
: Anyway, take this.
: Member Address is the Flash Mail address you can only access in "The World." With Flash Mail, you can exchange messages with others in real time as long as you are in "The World." It's mostly used by newbies to contact other players to form a party. Try it out by inviting me to join your party. First, press the triangle button to open the menu.
: Choose a player you want to invite to your party, and send a Flash Mail. Since you just started, you probably only have my member address. Now press the X button twice, to send a Flash Mail to me.
: ...Ah, got it! "Join my party!" It's kinda weird mailing each other when we're face to face.
: See? My name appears under your screen. That means I'm in your party. By the way, Flash Mail is only available when you're in a town. Oh, and you can't contact people when they're not logged into "The World." People do have a life, you know. We're not online 24/7! In other words, you can't always count on the same members to form a party. So, try to get as many member addresses as you can. You'll have more fun that way. Well, how you play is up to you, but since EXP and stuff isn't divided among party members, you really don't benefit if you go solo. OK. Well, why don't we head off? There's nothing to worry about. I found a perfect place for newbies!
Orca really, really likes the sound of his own voice. He is being helpful, but geez.
: Now, press the X button.
: You put the 3 selected keywords one by one for each part; A, B, and C. Left of the Entry Plate is all the keywords you have. You can collect more of them by reading your e-mails, the Board, and from other players. Now, let's enter some keywords by starting with Part A.
: Now you're done specifying the area. Oh, one more thing. You see the symbol on the left next to the keyword? That's the Server Symbol. It indicates which server you are currently logged onto. This symbol is delta, so we're logged onto the Delta Server. The list on the bottom right is the Area Status List. See the Jewel next to the field type and dungeon? That indicates how the selected keyword affects the status. For example, check the field type. See the Jewel on the right? This means that the field type is being determined by Aqua Field, the keyword in C. We don't know what kind of field the current keyword will create until we get there. But once we learn the effect of that keyword, we can combine it with other keywords effectively. For more details, check out the Board on your own time. All right, let's get going to the ? Bursting Passed Over Aqua Field!
: During the game, enemies will attack from all directions. The idea is to adjust your view quickly to see your enemy and grasp the situation. I'll explain more later, but remember, you can only use Skills on targets you can see. Basically, if you don't use the camera right, you'll be dead before you know it.
There was a camera usage tutorial in here. The condensed version is use L1 and R1 to turn the camera, use L2 to center the camera, and use the right analog stick to zoom in.
: When you want to return to town, press the triangle button and select "Gate Out" from the menu. Grassland, wilderness, and jungle are some of the field types. You can set them with keywords. The combination of field type and weather determines the Area Elements. For example, if it's a grassland and it's raining, that area will be a Water Element stage. The elements will also affect the type of monsters that will appear and the items you can get. Don't worry about it now. As you get used to it, combine words to get different elements.
: You see the Red Down Arrow on it? That's the gate to the Dungeon. In the dungeon's deepest level, there's a Gott Statue that usually holds a rare item. Basically, the goal is to reach this statue. But enemies are often tougher down there, so gain some levels above ground before you head below. OK, wait a sec.
: By using the Fairy's Orb, hidden data on the map becomes visible, like this. Yellow areas on the map show Magic Portals where you encounter monsters and treasures. All right! How about we go pick a fight? Head for one of the magic portals.
: By the way, a cursor appears on the target so that you can check its name and HP. Try using a basic attack to defeat some monsters.
Video: Combat Tutorial (This is the only fight in the entire tutorial sequence that Orca doesn't cheese for you.)
: Press the triangle button to open the menu, and select Skills.
: That's it. Pretty easy huh? You can target a party member for recovery or remedy skills and the enemy for attack skills. Remember, you can only apply skills to targets within your view. Before using a skill, adjust the camera so that your target comes into view. Well, you must be sick of me at this point.
Video: Skills Tutorial (I promise this is the last video tutorial. Orca has so few speaking parts that I wanted to get many of them recorded.)
: OK then, press the square button to open the menu.
: Well? It's good to be the boss, isn't it? If you use it well, you can bunch up on the enemy or give separate orders to each party member. When you add members to the party, try various chat commands to see their various effects. That's it for now! Just remember what you learned, and start exploring. When you think you're ready, we'll head for the dungeon!
At this point, we're finally given control of Kite. Naturally, my first inclination is to completely decimate the local Goblin population. Orca doesn't give Kite a chance to even attack before he ends combat. There are only four portals on the field, and this video here shows how long it took to clear one of them out. Orca is a legendary killing machine!
Off to one side of the minimap, you may have noticed a weird little face icon. Let's see what that's all about.
Welp. That was a waste of time! You can find springs in most field-type areas, and they upgrade your equipment. Seeing as Kite has nothing worth upgrading, and you can't completely unequip your weapons or armor, there's no point in hanging around. Let's make for the dungeon like Orca suggested!
Orca, all you've done so far is completely slaughter everything that's looked at us remotely funny. You may be a legendary hero, but there's better fields to use if you wanna power level Kite like that.
: One thing you need to remember is that you can't Gate Out when you're in a dungeon. To Gate Out and return to the town, you have to go back to the field. The Sprite Ocarina will warp you to the surface, but you can't use it during battle.
: You should know that there are two types of treasure boxes, normal and booby-trapped. This one's normal. Hit the X button to open it.
Resurrects do exactly what you might think. We'll be needing many of these throughout the game.
: Just use the Fortune Wire on it. This item will disarm the trap.
You do not want to open a trapped treasure box. You can suffer from damage or status ailments, most usually poison. Trapped chests tend to deal heavy damage if they go off. Luckily, the game gives us five Fortune Wires to start off. They're not too expensive from shops, either. Luckily, Orca's got plenty and will take care of the chest for us.
: See? Now it's safe to open. Press the X button to open it.
Gale Breath is a damaging spell with Wood Element. It'll be useful once the game actually gets out of the hand-holding stage. Looting that item also concludes the first part of the dungeon tutorial. We're now free to walk forward and straight into a cutscene.
Video: The Mysterious Girl
Well, that was certainly odd, wasn't it? Common sense should dictate we run away from something like that, but the Legendary Hero Orca is with us. So let's give chase! The monster ran off to the right, so we'll head that way.
Well, hell. She was in such a hurry running away that she forgot to take the delicious, delicious treasure. More for us, then!
Speed Charms increase your character's running speed. Very handy to have a stockpile of them for obvious reasons. Since the mysterious girl noclipped out of the dungeon, let's turn around and go through the other exit from the first room.
As soon as we walked in, the portcullis closed. Though we can't see it from here, the other exit has been similarly sealed as well. We'll let Orca to explain this further.
: In the dungeon, there are rooms with traps everywhere.
: All right, let's charge to that magic portal!
Combat lasts all of a second. Like usual, Orca completely destroys the enemy before it has a chance to hurt Kite. On the far side of the room, we find the stairs down.
The second floor is the bottom level for the tutorial dungeon. The first room after the stairs is a crossway. The left and right rooms have treasure and monsters, while the room directly across the way has the Gott Statue. Let's head to the left room first and see what treasures await.
I didn't manage to catch a screenshot, but the enemy list now includes Goblin Wizards. Their melee is pitiful and the only spell they know is a poison effect. Next we head for the other treasure room.
Defeated monsters have a chance to turn into treasure boxes. Here we got extremely lucky and got two trapped boxes - one from each monster that died. Though Orca never mentions it, trapped boxes usually have better treasure.
See? We found our first bit of equipment in those chests. Let's see if we can equip anything. Like Orca said earlier, the triangle button opens the menu, where we can find the Equipment screen.
This is the equipment screen. Oddly enough, there isn't an accompanying tutorial. As you can see, we can equip the Leather Coat we found in that chest. The screen's pretty easy to read once you understand what you're looking at.
Things in orange are skills/points that Kite is losing, while ones in green are ones that he is gaining. He loses some physical defense and evasion, but gains magical defense and evasion. He also loses the ability to cast Vak Kruz, but can cast Gan Zot instead.
Vak Kruz is your standard fireball spell, while Gan Zot drops a column of rock on top of the monster. The loss in physical stats isn't worth it at this point, so we'll just hold onto the Leather Coat instead. The Brigandine is a Heavy Blade, something that Kite can never equip. We'll get a Heavy User before too long, so we'll hold onto it for them.
Alright! That does it for the treasure. That yellow notification is as good an indication as any to head for the Gott Statue. Let's see what rare items are inside!
: There's only one of 'em at the dungeon's deepest level, and you can get rare items from it. That's enough adventure for now. Let's grab the treasure and get back to town, shall we?
: So we gotta go back the way we just came.
Not before we loot that chest, Orca! We came this far and we're getting the gooey treasure center!
It's not a very good shot, but once you loot the treasure from the Gott Chest, the statue in the background falls and breaks. Also, we actually got two grunt dolls, but doubling up on the shot would have just looked odd. The Grunt Dolls are just vendor trash. We'll look at the Steel Blades in the next update.
Back outside in the main terminal of the bottom floor, some weird shit goes down. This is the primary catalyst for the plot of the first series, so pay close attention!
: Or... was the rumor true?
: Take this.
: It's coming!
The mysterious girl vanishes with the interference.
: Run! It'll kill you!
Kite makes ready to attack the strange monster. Orca tells Kite to run while he rushes to deal with the strange monster himeslf, but he can't land a single blow.
: What the hell...? What is this... There's something wrog... nothing works!
The monster lands a particularly nasty blow on Orca, who is surrounded by green hexagons. They fly off and disappear, while Orca rises into the air.
The monster's cross weapon flies behind Orca, while the monster readies a very strange attack. Weird beams fly out from its hand and pierce Orca's body. He falls to the ground.
: No... I... It... It wasn't supposed to be this way. I'm... sorry...
The book rises into the air and vanishes. The monster points the cross at Kite and starts to charge up that attack again.
However, something interrupts the attack. The monster looks around, confused while a wand drops from the sky into the ground. The wand releases a shockwave. Kite is teleported to safety in the confusion.
Video: Something Goes Wrong
The book floats from the sky down to the ground. Debris and ruined buildings litter the landscape. Kite is unconscious in a clearing. The book is absorbed by Kite like it had been by Orca earlier. A mysterious woman, holding the wand that saved Kite, can be seen watching over him.
I wanted to ask him, but he wouldn't even pick up the phone.
The next day, I found out that Yasuhiko had been hospitalized.
I rushed to the hospital, but they wouldn't even let me see him.
But I guess it's better this way. I didn't want to see him all weak, and he wouldn't want that either.
But... what the hell happened to him?
I have a feeling that the key to it is somewhere in... "The World."
What happened, indeed? What was that monster? Just what did it do to Orca? Who was that woman that saved Kite? Just where the hell did he wind up?
Oh look, we've received new mail. Let's see what it says.
Do you think that the instability has something to do with that weird thing that hurt Orca? If so, "The World" is pretty screwed.