Part 38: .hack Quarantine - //Update 01 - Relic City Lia Fail//Update 01
Well everyone, this is it. We've gone through 3/4 of this series and we're in the home stretch.
Quarantine is an incredibly short game. Due to the way I've been trying to cut off updates, it's still going to feel about as long as the others, but trust me when I say that the majority of the stuff happens in rapid succession. Imagine me repeatedly snapping my fingers there for accentuation if you like.
But getting to the end of the story is only the first half of the trouble we're going to get into. It took use 39 hours or so to get to Quarantine. As you may have guessed, I've recorded everything up through the end of the game already. It will take us another 77 hours to complete absolutely everything.
Yes I do mean absolutely everything. But more on that later.
Pre-Title Demo: ***LOTS OF SPOILERS***
I'm including the pre-title screen demo for the sake of completion. I strongly urge you to not watch it unless you've already beaten the games. There are some pretty major spoilers in there if you know what to look for!
I'll see you guys on the other side of the intro cutscene. Enjoy!
: The day that he first played "The World," his friend Orca fell into a deep coma as a result of Skeith's Data Drain.
: "The World" isn't just an online game. Something with another purpose is lurking within it.
: The Book of Twilight, handed to him by the girl Aura, transformed into a bracelet, giving him two extraordinary powers.
: Data Drain, the power to alter monster data.
: And Gate Hacking, which allows him to gain entrance into protected areas. It was these very same powers that put Orca into a coma.
: However, contrary to hope, the situation continues to worsen.
: Casualties are no longer contained to the game, and the damages extend to the real world. What is the intention of the game designer, Harald? What is the Epitaph of Twilight, that supposedly is the key to this mystery?
: Nonetheless, they have finally found a clue to counterattack.
: This marks the beginning of the counterattack.
: Counterattack? No!
The same spiel we've heard two times now, just slightly modified. I'm still just completely baffled on what it is Kite's talking about with the true rule of the game. That Harald created. Can't forget the dramatic zoom in on his face with that stinger.
Anyway, because it's the start of the volume, we have some incredibly important e-mails to attend to. In fact, if you try to do anything but open the e-mail program, Kite will
Starting from the bottom...
Throughout this volume, more than others, they refer to the Cursed Wave as a huge data file. I like to imagine that it's just this giant multi-terabyte .dat file being moved around on the servers.
You can now go to Ω Server.
Select Other Servers from the Chaos Gate Menu.
Omega Server access means we've got ready access to some bafflingly powerful equipment, as well as the best consumable items.
Aura's garbled e-mails are becoming more readable as time goes on.
Oh boy. The item completion event. In the last incarnation of this thread, I said that doing that particular event would be antithetical to actually completing the game. I still stand by that sentiment. So let me put this as plainly as I can.
DO NOT DO THE ITEM COMPLETION EVENT. IT IS NOT WORTH THE EFFORT IT REQUIRES FROM YOU AND WILL MAKE YOU HATE THIS AWFUL GAME SERIES.
We'll cover that more later, though. Much, much later.
On to the news.
Reading this article reminded me that at one point in the dotHack universe, the US President's name was actually Jim Stonecold.
In all seriousness, apparently the shit is hitting the fan harder than we anticipated. Anyway, on with the game!
We'll be looking at the board posts in their own separate update. I captured screenshots for them, and when I was done I realized that there would be a giant block of 40 message board posts in the middle of my update. Nobody, least of all me, wants that. So I've shuffled them off to their own bonus update which will follow shortly after this one.
If you're the type to look at screenshot names, look at the numbering between that image and the next one.
The last screenshot was 01046. The next one is 01088, meaning I cut out 42 message board posts.
: Do you know where Mia is? She was right there. Hey! You know where she is, right? Tell me... tell me where she is!
: I - I don't know... I just got here.
: OK... if you see her, tell me! You have to tell me!
: Yeah. OK.
Poor Elk. Without his buddy, he's completely lost. Anyway, this cutscene is a bit weird. It'll ambush you the first time you log in to Σ Server. So it could be as early as now or as late as 20 minutes from now. We happened to end the last game on Σ Server, so we got to see it now.
Lia Fail awaits!
Video: (You should probably watch this to understand what's going on)
Oh good, the new root town is unstable.
Thought it doesn't look corrupted. Gonna spoil something that's gonna be revealed in a minute anyway, but it's a shame we never really get to explore this place. It looks really pretty.
With all the inverted color images I'm posting, I really hope I'm impressing on you just how unstable this place is. Fields with active phase fights aren't this unstable. This server is barely holding itself together.
And now a massive earthquake is rocking the game, and the colors basically go permanently inverted. Ω Server is crashing.
: It's too dangerous here... We're warping!
: Helba?! ...Warp?
: Welcome to Paradise!
: Net Slum?
: It's a mirror of Ω Server... which is mine.
You read that right guys. The new root town is Net Slum. It's extremely awesome!
: When did you - I can't let my guard down for even a minute!
: ...But we're safe because of this mirror server.
: Yeah! What do you expect us to do in a place that unstable?!
: Is that how you apologize to someone?
That is the first time we've ever heard Lios apologize. Blackrose may not have liked it, but he sounded genuinely contrite. She's the only person still operating under the assumption that we're working at cross purposes with Lios, instead of with him. In fact, this is one of, if not the last, times we'll ever hear Lios called a pig-head.
: I am telling you I am sorry!
Of course, Lios is still Lios.
: Well, there's no point in arguing about something that's already happened.
: Wha - what?! Why are you all...
: Let's begin our strategy meeting.
She's still pouting because nobody wanted to join her in hurling senseless abuse at Lios. It really shows just how immature she is compared to even Kite, who is several years younger than her. Or Wiseman, who is much, much younger than either of them
: The Wave is still moving at this point. If it is difficult to determine the location, let's specify its movement. That is essentially the plan for this operation, right?
: Yes. Orca told me about it before.
: Orcas - killer whales - create an enclosure when hunting prey, to close any escape paths. But if there's no place for the prey to run, then they will disperse. So they create an escape route on purpose to lure the prey to where it is the most convenient.
: Most convenient?
: The surface... it's a dead end for the prey.
Kite is probably referring to the "Carousel Feeding" strategy that Orcas use against schools of fish. To quote pbs.org...
Small fish like herring aren't even a bite-size snack for killer whales, which makes chasing down individual fish not worth the effort. Orcas off the Norwegian coast don't let such inconveniences get in the way of a meal. Working together, they use a combination of air bubbles and belly flashes to herd schools of fish into a tight ball near the surface of the water. This churning "bait ball" resembles a rotating carousel, which may have given this method its name: carousel feeding. The orcas slap the ball with their tails, stunning the fish, which makes them easier to gulp down by the mouthful.
Watch an animation of carousel feeding from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute that includes live sound recordings of the orcas communicating with each other:
: So, if your enemy is moving, I was thinking maybe we can apply it.
: It is a good plan.
: Using the analysis of the Virus Core provided by Lios, Helba is developing a vaccine program.
: The vaccine won't be able to destroy the wave. But it may be able to corner it... Don't worry. Leave it to me. But, are we going to have enough people?
: That's not a problem. We'll have my employees that I trust do it.
: We'll get more pig-heads...
: Shut up!
Who is surprised that the teenager and the hacker are the two most immature people in our party? Show of hands?
: Putting pig-heads aside...
: Excuse me. What do we need to do to prepare for the operation?
: Hmm... I would like to measure the data fluctuation. I would like for you to investigate Ω Bigoted Snowflake's Capsule as soon as possible.
: Yes sir!
: Meeting adjourned!
Ω Bigoted Snowflake's Capsule is added to the Word List.
So let's explore
Omega Server isn't very big, which is why I like it the best. If you're hunting a specific player for one of their trade items, this is the best server to search on. Not pictured is the magic shop which is on the north end of the map, just out of view.
The weapons in the shop are all really high level stuff. The three twin blade weapons are all different elemental affinities.
The armor are all level 71-74 depending on type, and as you can see from the image, have incredibly powerful healing spells attached. Everyone in the party gets a full complement of new armor to replace the outdated stuff they were wearing.
The magic shop has all the top-tier magics. The scrolls pictured, the "call" spells, are the best trade resources in the game. Three of these will make any trade succeed. (Excepting, of course, the ones that require specific items.) I don't want to think of how many millions of GP I spent in the postgame loading up on Nightcall scrolls.
The scrolls are also one of the best ways to raise affection in party members. Magically-inclined party mates will get as much as a 50 affection boost per scroll! Less easily impressed friends will "merely" get 20 points. That means that even starting from 0, you only need, at max, 500,000 GP to cap out someone's affection.
Healing Elixirs, as pictured, are a spammable instant full heal on anyone, regardless of how much HP they have. Emperor's Souls are a full SP recovery.
You're going to want a bunch of each. Quarantine doesn't pull any punches when it comes to difficulty. The designers know that you now have access to full heals and have adjusted things accordingly. More so than before, enemies will hit like rocket propelled freight trains.
Anyway, that's all for now. Next time we'll measure that data fluctuation for Lios. There's also a bunch of forum posts coming in a quick bonus update. I wouldn't blame you if you skipped them.