Part 21: .hack Mutation - //Update 08 - Wiseman's Quest//Update 08
Hello folks! Hope y'all are ready for a super long one, because this update is gonna be quite lengthy. It's 190 screencaps worth of material! For comparison's sake, the previous update was 90-some, and the ones before that were approximately 130ish.
So yeah. Go get yourself a snack, something to drink, and get comfy because this might take a while! Last time we were told to go hunt down Wiseman and were even told where he likes to hang out. So we shouldn't have any difficulties, right?
First off, we're gonna do a little level grinding. Natsume still needs to be shown off, so we invite her along, and Mistral wasn't doing anything particularly important, so she tags along as well.
As you can see, the field is a level 42 area, which is the party's average approximate level, and seeing as the level 40+ monsters are a bit rough, and Natsume is still using the shitty equipment she had during Infection, we need to get her upgraded.
With her affection capped out, and now that she's using a pretty decent weapon, we're good to go, so let's go hop into a field and grind some levels.
I'd also like to be the first to point out the irony of preparing to enter a level 42 field by going to a level 44 field to train.
I'd also like to make special mention of these assholes. They're basically the big brother of the dreaded Armor Evils, and are completely immune to Mistral's rain of death. They're about the hardest hitting thing in the field and can easily take a character's HP down to almost nothing extremely quickly.
Luckily their magical tolerance can be blown away with a Beast's Bane.
This is the party's condition going in to the field. Well, after a few fights in the field. As you can see, Kite gained a level between the Temple Knight screenshot and now.
And after the field has been cleaned of monsters, the party's looking a lot better off. Natsume gained three levels, Mistral gained two, and Kite gained a single level. I'd say we're now ready for that level 42 field that Wiseman's hanging out in!
So naturally we should kick out both Mistral and Natsume in favor of Blackrose and Rachel.
The field is largely devoid of anything that's not snow, so we'll just head into the dungeon.
Music: Castle Wall Dungeon (Normal ~ Battle)
These Franken are cute enemies. If you did Sanjuro's task, then you'll have a weapon that has Thunder Dance. This skill, as you can tell, completely wrecks them. The butterfly just above Kite's speech bubble should also stand out as an asshole enemy. It has an absurdly high physical evasion stat, so most of your party's attacks against it will miss.
Oh right, Rachel and Blackrose's status screens. Rachel isn't too awful bad now that I've finally started using her. She's almost as tanky as Blackrose is, and her evasion is much higher than Kite's!
Before too long, we reach the bottom of the dungeon. See if you can't guess what room Wiseman is in! I'll give you three guesses, and the first two don't count.
: Um... I want to ask about the "Epitaph of Twilight"...
: The "Epitaph of Twilight"... That information won't be cheap. This is business - supply and demand. I'll give it on condition.
: What kind?
: Let me see... give me some time. I'll give you the details by mail.
: I understand.
: We'll wait, so make it cheaper.
: Ha ha ha... yes, exchanges are like that.
And just like that, we're turned back loose. Luckily, we don't have to wait very long at all.
So, let's see what Wiseman wants.
Λ Blooming Promised Walkway has been added to the Word List.
Looks like the eBook "revolution" didn't occur in the .hack universe. I guess it makes sense, given that the Internet wasn't all that useful for near on two years. Or maybe it has yet to occur. Were cheap eInk Readers a thing in 2010? By the way, that's the year that this series takes place in - 2010.
It's difficult to read "Yeah, nice to know you." as anything but sarcastic. Seems like he could have chosen something better to put there.
Anyway, that's enough of that for now. Let's go check out the field that Wiseman told us about.
This is why I hate the gate hacking system so much. We're short one F core, and those only come from large sized enemies. Most of the enemies that I've found on Lambda server are all medium and small. So it's time to go on a journey to find that single solitary F core we need.
Along the way, Elk finally grasps the truth that I've been shouting at him since we first met.
Also, if you want to play a little game, try and find Elk in this picture. Go on, I'll wait.
He's caught behind the geometry of that oversized bonewheel skeleton. I think that's what it is, at least. Certainly looks like one.
About twenty minutes of searching later, I finally happen across this field:
It's a level 40 field, but it's full of basically nothing but large sized monsters, all perfect for your data draining needs. Give it a try, I'm sure you will like it.
With our newly acquired F-core in hand, we can finally go get that Spark Sword that Wiseman wanted so badly.
: The Spark Sword is in this dungeon.
I love the look of this sky rift. Looks really sinister with the red text.
Things were pretty friendly on the field. However, inside the dungeon things change.
There are a lot of Temple Knights in here, and they all like to attack Elk. He spends more time in this dungeon dead than he does alive.
And this is how the party is looking just before we reach the bottom floor. Not too shabby! We've very nearly caught up to Orca!
We also find this neat piece of armor in the dungeon. Though I can't remember if I give it to Blackrose or not. I think I do.
You know, a T-junction is a pretty odd place to stick a data bug. Makes fighting them tricky if you need to do any dodging.
And we're gonna want to dodge this sucker. Why?
Because of that breath attack. It cut Kite and Blackrose's HP by half!
It also has a second breath attack, this one signified by it standing up on its hind legs. This breath attack is a lot more dangerous, and it's the primary reason you should try to follow basic dragon fight DPS etiquette: glue yourself to the boss's hindquarters and stay there.
Eventually the Gr=go&! protect breaks and yields a valuable O-core.
As a Dalaigon, it's a lot less dangerous. Don't get me wrong, it's still dangerous as hell, but its breath attack isn't quite as deadly anymore.
And as a final "fuck you" from the game, it yields the same amount of experience that the Temple Knights were giving us for the entire dungeon. Yeah, those Dalaigons could very well have shown up in the dungeon for us to fight had the RNG taken a particular dislike to us.
: Well, we got the item we were looking for. Let's go meet Wiseman!
: Wiseman is probably still there. Let's give this to him.
A good game would take us straight to Wiseman, or at least to the field he's in. .hack//MUTATION is not a good game. For you see, it's integral we see...
: Huh? ...Balmung?
: Do you understand? Give this to...
: ...... (This is more of a scoff than dead silence.)
And that's that. That's the scene that the game wanted us to see. Lios talking to Balmung. Anyway, our next destination is back in Wiseman's field, so lemme just skip ahead some.
Back in the dungeon and down to the third floor. Not pictured: ten minutes of a pointless dungeon slog full of enemies that were weak the first time through. Except this time we have a(n admittedly useless) Wavemaster to nuke the butterflies.
: It is indeed the Spark Sword.
: Isn't it? OK, now give us the information like you promised.
: I must ask you first. Who are you?
: What do you mean by that?! We gave you the item and now you're complaining?!
: I will honor my promise. It's just... it was a Protected Area... I'm intrigued...
Time out! Time out! Wiseman purposely chose an item buried in the depths of a protected area guarded by an insanely powerful Death Dragon. Does anyone else get the feeling he was trying to blow us off and didn't actually expect us to ever come back?
: You deliberately chose a Protected Area to test us! That is so not cool!!
: Well, I guess it seems that way... If it's all right, will you tell me?
: I see. This world is indeed... This is all very interesting. I didn't know Orca of the Azure Sea was in that condition... All right. If that's the case then I will help you. I apologize for testing you.
But on the upside, we finally got our last character for Mutation!
: I will send you the data that I have on the "Epitaph of Twilight" by mail. And take this.
: Your tale was much more interesting than the item.
Alright, let's go see what this Epitaph of Twilight is all about.
World" online will be funded by ALTIMIT Corp. and the CC Corporation.
:staredog: That's a lot of e-mails. Starting from the bottom...
May the grace of the Twilight Dragon be with you.
It's so nice to see that Kite's friends have his back.
Despite this being a perfect stopping point we're still continuing on! This next bit of content was supposed to be the next update, but
Λ Scattering Fossil's Milestone has been added to the Word List.
: Λ Scattering Fossil's Milestone. Λ Scattering Fossil's Milestone!
I think she's trying to tell us something. But whatever could it be? Anyway, enough with gimmick parties. Time for the old standby.
This is the weapon that we went to go fetch for Wiseman. It's a level 30 rare weapon, and... going by those stats, looks like Mimiru's sword just got replaced!
Also replenishing our stocks, as they were getting a tad depleted. Now... for some level grinding. The destination that Blackrose wants us to go to is level 46. Kite is only just about that level, so we've got some catching up to do!
First up is this quite lovely fire field. It's level 48 out of the server maximum of 50.
The monsters are strong.
But so is the treasure. According to one of the text files on GameFAQs, this wand has OrGan Don, GiVak Kruz, and Rai Kruz as spells. It sells for 3,000 gold, has 12 magical attack, 21 magical accuracy, and provides 4 points in all the elemental resistances.
I never equip this on Mistral. Y'all will see why shortly.
As you can see, the entire party's pretty powerful already. Blackrose is still using Mimiru's Sword for the time being because I'm an idiot and forgot to equip the Spark Sword on her. Not that it matters, because she's still quite powerful, and has almost broken the 1,000 HP mark.
Kite isn't very far behind and has quite the selection of skills of his own. Finally, Mistral is still using the same wand I gave to her at the end of Infection. Yarthkins and Vulcan Ch scale pretty well and are still destroying enemies right and left. But she can do better.
How much better, you may ask?
By data draining a Harpy Queen enemy that's pretty common in these high level fields, you can rarely find a Great Elite. Also a Jishuwen.
The Jishuwen is a pretty strong spear weapon that will make either Gardenia or Nuke quite happy.
But the Great Elite? It's a level 20 rare wand for Mistral. It's a very thunder themed weapon, summoning two different variants of Lanceor, and having a tier 2 or 3 lightning whirlwind spell.
Lanceor's two settings are as follows: hits like a truck, and hits like a freight train.
This is the "hits like a truck" setting on an enemy that's neutral to thunder damage. Suddenly, I don't feel so bad about our chances in this field with the mysterious figure.
: I wonder where the weird guy mentioned on the Board is...?
Nothing special in the dungeon. Some thunder tolerant enemies, and some that are Magic Tolerant. None of them last very long, and even with Mistral's new thunder focus, she still has her fair share of darkness spells to wreck those enemies with.
These blades dropped from a random trapped chest. I think I'll give them a pass.
While I'm reminded, risky chests are now starting to carry the armor that we've been buying in bulk from the Weapon Shop to catch up party members for the entire game. Granted, that armor isn't necessarily endgame quality. There's probably half a dozen upgrades to each piece locked behind the Springs of Myst before they're the absolute best you can get for the game.
Anyway, before we head into the obvious destination room, we swing by the Gott Statue to plunder its chest.
The Geist Ring just makes Mistral even stronger than she was before. Though I'm confused by the "skill drain" extra. I'm pretty sure if a Wavemaster is out of SP, they won't bother meleeing an enemy and will just stand around with a thumb up their ass instead. At any rate, let's go see about that mysterious figure ranting about Net Slum.
Note, that for the purposes of this conversation, the No Picture talking head image is going to represent Plaird, this... unique fellow.
If you click on that, I apologize in advance for possibly the single most annoying voice in the world. It's like someone took a natural soprano and had *them* talk in falsetto.
: Do you know? I'm looking for something. Do you know where it is?
: What are you looking for?
: I don't know, that's why I'm looking... I don't know. What is I don't know?
: Hey, you're coming on to us, aren't you...
: Coming? Not coming? Come or not to come, rendezvous. Rendezvous at Net Slum. Rendezvous at Λ Pulsating Worst Core. Rendezvous at no time. Rendezvous if we can meet. Rendezvous I'm sure we can. I don't know, I don't know. What's Rendezvous? What's search? What's what? I don't know, I don't know. What's I don't know?
: We're the ones that don't know!!
: What? What? What?
: Woah! I totally didn't expect that...
: Trash data!
: Lios? What did you do?!
: Debugging. Deleting worthless data. This is also my job.
That's bullshit and you know it! You didn't give two fucks about that vagrant AI until it told us where to find the Net Slum. Once it did it became a threat and so you deleted it. Fuck uou Lios. Go eat a dick.
: I told you to stay put until ordered to do otherwise. Seems you have friends... but if you don't want to be deleted like him, obey my orders. That is all!
: Λ Pulsating Worst Core... That's where the Net Slum is...
You know, I would honestly love to see Lios try to delete Kite's character data. Helba's got the right of it: he never had the power in the first place. He obviously can't control Kite, so he's doing the only thing he knows how to do, which is just throw his apparently massive weight around and hope that being a bully will get him his way.
We'll see how well that goes.
: Use it.
: ...... (Another scoff.)
: I wonder what changed his mind... Oh well.
I like this shot. The camera kind of lingers on Kite for a minute, gives me the impression that he's not entirely sure but is keeping quiet about it.
As an aside, you can actually watch the .hack team get more comfortable with their engine as the games progress. Things felt somewhat stilted early in Infection, and now there's all these sweeping and zooming camera angles for story beats here at the end of Mutation.
But enough of that. We've had a new e-mail notification bugging us ever since we logged in to investigate that field, so let's go see what it is.
Not quite as impressive an ending as most of the extended team telling Kite that he's got friends, but still not too bad. We've accomplished quite a lot in this update and things are only gonna get better from here on out. Mutation's been a pretty short game. I say that because next time we're gonna investigate Net Slum and tackle the final boss.
Things are gonna get pretty exciting and insane. I honestly can't wait! See y'all next time.
... ... OH right! I had almost forgotten! In the original incarnation of this thread, forums user FredMSloniker asked if I would record all the Grunty Food audio, both English and Japanese. Well, I've finally completed that monumental task!
So, for your edification, enjoy this cute video that took me way too long to put together: