The first thing I notice when looking back at the quest board is that a quest has disappeared. Originally, there was a 1 star quest to go kill a giant yukkuri in some place. The reward was some sort of crafting material. I didn't take it though, because I figured I wouldn't be able to win without a bigger party anyway. But now it's gone. Note to self: do the optional quests before finishing all of a difficulty level next time.
Of the two star quests, there are 3 party members and 1 Rumia. Rumia has another item, but again I'd rather not fight her without a full party. The available party members are Sanae, Aya and Mokou. I instinctively choose to go for Sanae◊
first, because she was a staple of my party back in the day. Come to think of it though, this is as good an opportunity as any to mix things up. I think I'll try to avoid using people I used before. Not that it matters when my party size is 4.
Sanae is at the summit of the Youkai mountain. Well, not quite the summit but the path leading up to it. Conveniently for me, I have a teleporter all the way to the top, so I can start from the top and work my way down. There's also a heal point that used to be for the boss here. It has now been commandeered for my tried and true strategy of going all-out on every fight and running back to heal a lot. Sorry, that's a bad habit I picked up while unsuccessfully grinding for the final boss.
As expected, the enemies in the area have upgraded. The only notable ones are the flowers, which use both sleep and instant death targeting the entire party. That's a bad thing. I don't have my old Sanae resistance buff trick, so my only hope is to kill them as fast as possible. Cirno turns out to be surprisingly useful in random battles. She's still only level 20 or so and dies in one hit, but she has instant death spells. I stack her with induction (CAS) accessories and she ends up being one of my MVPs here, despite her level. Induction doesn't really go up with level anyway.
Anyway, shortly enough I discover the room with Sanae, as indicated by my Nakama
Sense. After clearing the room, I run back to heal up and confront Sanae◊
. And she kills me. Not even close. Here I was thinking that Sanae would be pretty easy, given that all she can do is buff and heal. Apparently in boss form she can also summon gods, and not her patrons. On the first turn she summons Takeminakata who proceeds to systematically kill my party one at a time. With his normal attack. While Sanae buffs him.
After dying, I run back up to try again but she's gone. Uh... do I only get one chance? Do I have to wait for her to respawn? I have no idea, but somehow I doubt I could beat her anyway. You may not have noticed, but none of my party members are tanks. None of them can even wear heavy armor. The previous bosses did mostly magic damage so it didn't matter, but this is worrisome. None of us can take a hit. We need a tank.
Thus begins the quest for Mokou◊
. Taking a quest when you're already on one abandons the old one. So you can only search for one party member at a time. For some bizarre reason Mokou is now hanging out in Muenzuka, in an area called the mountain trail. I don't remember a mountain, but a trail should be easy enough to find. If I recall correctly Muenzuka was pretty linear.
First of all I check the end, but given the weak enemies that's definitely a dud. While I'm here, I check in with Komachi, who gives me a formation. There are actually a ton of formations that you get from talking to old bosses. I probably could have gotten this one before the expansion. Or maybe I did? This isn't my save file... I should check in with former bosses whenever possible, just in case.
Going back the beginning, I notice the enemies are upgraded. I didn't even need to go through the teleporter. It's at this point I notice that the areas are named on the menu screen, and lo and behold I'm on the mountain trail. Mountain trail A. Each larger area is divided into sub-areas with their own names. This whole searching thing may be more systematic than I thought. I also get the impression that only in these particular areas are the enemies changed.
So I head forward and sure enough Mokou is in the next room. After clearing the enemies, which is quite troublesome, I engage her◊
. And she kills me. Instantly. She just casts "Honest Man's Death" and it kills my entire party in one hit. Well, not quite instantly, on the first turn she was actually frozen by Cirno's "Perfect Freeze". Freezing basically interrupts your action for that turn, and Cirno is pretty fast. So she killed me on the second
I put on some fire resistance (except for Cirno, who it doesn't matter for) and head back to find her again. And she's not there. Acting on a hunch, I head forward further up the trail. And indeed she's in the next room (very handy, these Nakama Sensors). I fail to reach her though, because a normal enemy kills me. The third time around she's back in the second room, which is luckily still cleared. Overall, it seems that the boss can appear in any
of the rooms in that sub-area, and they randomly move whenever you exit the area. Dying counts as leaving. Good to know.
Fighting her again, I learn a few things. A) The fire resistance, it does nothing. Her fire attacks are powerful enough to kill me anyway, and most of her attacks aren't fire anyway. B) Perfect Freeze, despite its name, does not always freeze. C) There seems to be a 100% chance of running away from bosses. You can easily reset the battle if it goes badly. Especially helpful so you don't have to hunt them down again. D) At low health Mokou will start regenerating for 999 per turn.
I try a number of things in this fight, mostly involving Cirno. Because my only hope is to stunlock Mokou with freeze and hope that her randomly not frozen turns don't instantly kill me. Luckily Mokou doesn't have much HP. Cirno's commander ability does not have a higher chance of freezing like I'd hoped, and it has a cooldown anyway, but all her normal ice spells also have a chance of freezing, and it seems to be around 80% when she's loaded with CAS gear. Which she was anyway for the instant death. So I figure it's just a matter of getting good rolls. You only need to win once, right?
Not the most elegant strategy, but it works. I manage to pin Mokou down in the very first room, which is right next to a heal point by way of teleporter. Lithos just spams her spellcards and Nitori does the bulk of the damage with her water rotation. Not that Mokou is vulnerable to water, but Nitori's water spells are her strongest single target abilities and she's my strongest character right now. After several attempts, Mokou goes down and I finally have a 5th character. Yay! Reimu died mid-fight but its not like she was doing anything anyway. Note that I can't revive with this party.
We're treated to another short post-battle recruitment conversation where the rest of our party doesn't exist. Mokou confirms (again) that she was basically being mind controlled by a dark power. She seems to have memories of what she did though, and laments her former violence, even if it wasn't her fault. When asked to join the party, she quickly agrees and notes that even if we hadn't asked she'd have gone off to resolve this on her own.
So we have Mokou again, which means 5 person formations, which means having a tank. Except... this save file seems to have no good heavy armor. At all. Mokou somehow has less defense than Reimu's medium armor. Oh well. At least she's got her shield bonuses and such. I gotta work on that, although there's really not much I can do.
Back at the quest board, I note that Rumia has disappeared. Grah. So more than just clearing all the stars, I shouldn't do anything
until I do the sidequests. Assuming I care about the items anyway. Hope it's not Lost Forever
, although from what I could tell it was a sort of generic yet rare crafting item. Anyway, Sanae time.
Back at Youkai Mountain, I steamroll through the respawned enemies by spamming Last Spells and reach Sanae in decent time. Mokou tanking the summoned minion works pretty well, but I realize during the fight that it's pretty much impossible for me to actually kill them. They deflect and counter nearly all physical attacks, are immune to light magic, and have half the HP of Sanae. So... ignore them and focus on Sanae seems to be the good plan. Also, they have lightning spells so I need lightning resistance. I run away so she doesn't get to change locations.
Focusing her down works wonders, as she has pretty low defensive stats. She's also vulnerable to silence, which Mokou's gloves have a random chance of afflicting. Overall, it looks pretty good. She manages to summon another
minion, but she's in critical, so all I have to do is finish her off right?
If only it were that easy. The fight doesn't actually end when the minions are still alive. And they do massive damage and are basically invincible to my melee focused party (only Cirno can hurt them, and she's usually dead). So I respec Lithos to magic damage and try again. It... doesn't help much but as long as I keep going they'll die eventually right? As long as Mokou doesn't die— whoops she's dead. If only she had real armor...
The fight doesn't end there though. All I have left is Reimu and Lithos, and they both just procced their Last Words. Full healing and 7777 damage! The minions aren't bosses! Unfortunately that's only half their HP. I somehow manage to get another proc though, and Lithos is somehow still alive. Void Cavitation, suckers!◊
Yeah, I'll take that victory. Not sure if I earned, but I'll take it. Sanae is a welcome member of my boss party. But the guy set her up all weird. She was stacked with nothing but speed for some bizarre reason. I just don't get this guy. Then again, he did
beat the final boss.
Sanae's conversation is a lot like Mokou's, except apparently she has a thesaurus so she manages to say the exact same thing in completely different words. Really looking forward to some hypothetical later stage of the game when my other party members can have dialog. This looks like it might happen after the 3 star range, because unlike previously new quests are not opening up as I complete them.
Lastly, we have Aya. She's also on the Youkai Mountain, in the lake region. Except what I think of as the lake is technically an extension of the mountain creek. Are creeks usually so wide that you can't see the opposite shore? Anyway, I sort of stubbornly advance forward, hoping to reach the lake, when I end up back at the summit. And the enemies are weak again. Huh. Apparently they're only upgraded during
the quest and revert afterwards. So any sub-area with powerful enemies will
be a boss area. Good to know.
But... what about the treasure boxes? I've opened every new one I've encountered, but I haven't exactly been exploring these places. Do the boxes disappear too? I can't test this without a finding a box and deliberately not opening it though. I think I'll just explore more thoroughly in the future.
As it turns out, the lake is the forest. I don't get it either. Aya◊
is pretty easy, her only gimmick is that she has ridiculous evasion and sometimes reflects magic. So I just stacked hit on Nitori and cast Sanae's DEX buff. Well, she also gets two actions per turn, but everything she does is wind, which is apparently affected by lightning resistance. Which I still have on from the Sanae fight. Reimu's AOE healing is enough to take care of that. It felt kind of surreal to have two healers in the party though.
So now we have Aya. I guess that's sort of an anti-climax. On a good note though, it seems that the Rumia sidequest is again available and rewards the same item. But the quest is higher level. Not sure how that works, but I'll find out next time.
Cirno could be level 1 and she'd still be kicking ass left and right, yo.