Stage 27 bookkeeping
First of all, I feel pretty stupid right now. I ended the previous installment with a big rant about how utterly impossible it would be to upgrade everyone's weapons now because of the rare ingredients. And of course the first chest in the next dungeon contains one of those supposedly rare ingredients. And the next chest, and the chest after that. That's pretty much all they had down here. In the end, I got one for each character, making getting the 7th tier weapons for any of them trivial. Not all
of them though, any
of them. I'm still limited by Orichalcon, the generic material for tier 7 weapons, and the irons ores and bamboo sticks and all that.
Moreover though, I feel really
stupid because apparently it's possible to craft crafting materials now. They added a completely new tab to Kourindou's shop in the expansion, that I just never noticed at all. There you can turn weaker materials into stronger ones, or useless materials into useful ones. Notably, I can turn the Orichalcon fragments into full Orichalcon, and the common character specific materials into rare ones. Given that I can collect the common ones from repeatable sidequests, this should be a simple matter, if potentially a time consuming matter. Not that I'd need to, since most of my characters have accumulated enough of the commons over the course of the game to make the extra 2 rares I'd need for their tier 9 weapons.
Of course, I can't jump to tier 9 immediately. I'd need another material called the "Super Ager" or something like that ("suupaa eejaa"), which rarely drops off powerful enemies that I can't reliably kill. However, there's also a sidequest for that. Good old sidequests, making my life so much simpler. However, it's an 8 star quest, when the main quest is at 7 stars. And I'm pretty sure this is the final dungeon, so it's harder than the final dungeon. Well, if it's easier than the final boss...
In other bookkeeping news, halfway through this dungeon a new patch came out. Or rather, while I was halfway through the dungeon I really hoped a new patch would come out and that hope translated into a patch actually coming out at that moment. I just happen to have powers like that, or so it appears. The game is now 2.04, and the graphical slowdown that had been annoying me in the final dungeon was fixed. As well as some ability changes to make them match their in-game description. Or possibly in-game description changes to match their abilities; I only ran the patch notes through google translate so I'm not sure. And finally a long delayed bugfix to the way Bad Conditions were calculated. They no longer use the caster's resistance in the calculations. Wait what?
Apparently, the caster's resistance was being used instead of or in addition to the target's resistance. All this time. Honestly, I'd noticed this a while ago back when I was experimenting with Satori. Her poison would do less damage if I cast resistance up first. Only a bit less damage, but I noticed it and thought it was quite odd. In any case, this should probably increase the effectiveness of status effects by a bit. Which fills me with a warm fuzzy feeling, but given the inherently random nature of them I'm not sure if it's actually noticeable.
The Resentment Incident
The thing you fought last time wasn't the true body. Go deeper into the area, find the mastermind, and finally stop this incident!
The translation for this quest◊
is rather loose, because frankly I don't expect it to say anything interesting. Anyway, it is known to me that this is the final dungeon, so it will be split into separate dungeon and boss installments since I haven't beaten the boss yet. The dungeon certainly took long enough on its own. Also, I may do some sidequests in between, we'll see.
The place is the Depths of Resentment◊
. It looks... exactly the same◊
as the previous area. Well, apparently not◊
. Now we're in some sort of cave variation, as opposed to the floating island variation. As we go deeper◊
, we eventually start seeing things like webs and eggs◊
. Overall, icky purple place. It also caused the graphics to slow down in version 2.03 for some reason. Not enough to slow down gameplay, but enough to make it look pretty ugly while running around. As you can see, the enemies are featureless shadowy blob things.
The dungeon design is very twisty and sometimes confusing, but ultimately straightforward. The first 3 rooms are labyrinthine, but there's only one exit to the room and everything else is a dead end with an item. The rooms make heavy use of having both an upper and lower level that you have to use stairs to get between, and the lower paths often run directly below the upper paths, which means our friend the invisible hidden pathway is making a strong comeback. Luckily I'm already used to running into every wall just in case.
In the 4th room, there's suddenly a 4-way split up. Each of these paths leads to even more labyrinthine rooms, but ultimately they all connect back together in a big circle. The point of this is to hit 7 switches scattered throughout the area, which turns on a bridge that lets you advance forward. There are also several other switches that turn on other bridges, either creating shortcuts or opening new paths.
Finally, after you do all this, the final room (the 12th, based on the fact that it's labeled "L") is another infinitely repeating room. Except this time most of the paths are covered up by ceilings and you have to feel your way around. And it's filled with powerful enemies, of course. What fun! The first time I got there I was running low on MP and worried about my items so I went back and saved outside. Without realizing that I was only a few steps away from the exit. Oh well, better than dying. It was a long run though...
However, a description of this place just isn't accurate without taking into account the enemies. Oh,◊ the◊ enemies◊
. And there are an awful◊ lot◊ of◊ them◊
. And that's not even counting the ones you don't want to meet◊ in◊ a◊ dark◊ alley◊
. Yes, every one of those guys in the last set was considered unbeatable for now and would cause me to run away. Not that the others couldn't easily kill me if I slipped up or got unlucky. And they did. These guys are the real stars of the show this time around.
You know how a lot of the time I'll mention a couple of enemies that annoy me with some strategy of theirs? Well this time that's extended to "all of them". Every last one of them has some trick or gimmick that could cause me to die. Luckily most of them fall into one of several categories, which lets me deal with them in a party of only five characters. Incidentally, Cirno, Remilia and Reisen graduated to power level 77 and no longer receive special treatment. So I didn't feel obligated to keep them in my party. Let's all give them a hand. Yuugi is still quite far behind because she had a dungeon in between her recruitment and everyone else's.
First of all, everything
does enough damage to kill characters who aren't Alice in 1-2 hits. That's just standard procedure. Alice will have to protect whoever else in the party is most important to my survival. Some enemies also seem particularly vulnerable to taunt for whatever reason. I can't really imagine doing this without Alice. Sorry Mokou, you can't taunt or cover other people.
Going down the list, the first◊
annoying enemies are the Resentment elementals (the little orb thing). Immune to all magic, high evasion, regenerates a bit each turn. I require two physical attackers to avoid going insane trying to kill these guys. Not exceptionally dangerous though. The lizardmen that come with them are
though. They have all-targeting physical attacks that can hit the back row, as well as some kind of shield piercing attack that can even kill Alice. Lizardmen are bad news. Luckily they're vulnerable to paralysis and Berserk. Thank you Reisen, for saving the day every day. Berserked enemies will only do normal attacks and seem more likely to target Alice.
: the reason I need resistance buffs. The moon girls do Time Stop (which is really just a form of paralysis) while the old computers do the old classic HDD failure, which is all-targeting super-death. Removal from battle, meaning no chance to revive and no experience (you get Power though). Sanae's resistance buffs are mandatory here as far as I'm concerned. And given the HP of the enemies, I probably need healing anyway.
: Also status effect users, but dangerous in other ways too. The basilisks do poison breath for massive poison damage (~250 per turn) and the... other thing that's not a frog does petrify and cast CAS buffs on themselves. They also do Fire Breath which just kind of kills everyone. In addition to Sanae's resistance buffs, I need Aya for her Favorable Wind. Breath attacks are very
dangerous. The frog is actually a Pinata Enemy
that will always drop a random crafting material but usually runs away.
: Very scary things that can just kill me if they feel like it. Thank goodness for Reisen's Berserk keeping their special abilities in check. And helping them die faster, as Reisen has absurd multipliers against enemies with statuses. Berserk also seems to increase damage received. They're all strong against physical attacks but weak against particular elements, so Patchouli rounds out my party for her power and versatility. Actually, I haven't paid attention to elemental weaknesses on random enemies for most of this expansion, which is sort of weird since that's pretty much all I did in the original game.
: The "Dragon Eater". Does absurd single target damage. Enough to kill Alice even when she's blocking with her shield. She needs to use her damage reduction abilities every turn, which unfortunately prevents her from guarding others. Vulnerable to fire and comes with a pair of yukkuris every time for some reason. One of the few "big" enemies that I can kill.
: A Malboro, straight out of Final Fantasy
. I hope the developers don't get sued for all these copyright violations. Does status attacks but I have resist up so surprisingly harmless. The dangerous thing in this group is the eel thing. Vulnerable to lightning, but also uses lightning in a flagrant violation of land gauge policy. So in order to kill it efficiently I have to also help it kill me by increasing its lightning damage. It also gets 2 actions per turn. Luckily, one of those actions is always Aurora Breath so it helps kill itself with Aya's breath reflection. I learned the hard way that it can use its breath attack even when Berserked. Maybe it's a counterattack?
: Perhaps the most dangerous of all the groups I find killable. The bird thing is evil. High evasion, high physical attack, attacks twice per turn. Likes to target the back row. Has a breath attack. Randomly interrupts spellcasts at the beginning of the turn without using up an action. The lion makes it worse by covering it and casting magic defense up or magic reflect. Atlas just sits in the back being a titan. Luckily both bird and beast are vulnerable to fire so Patchouli starts the battle filling the land gauge with fire (she has a spell that bumps it to full without actually hitting anything). This also protects her from spell reflection, because she has an ability called Chameleon that prevents her from dying to elemental attacks when that element has a full land gauge. Although generally it's not a problem because the lion gets Berserked. Bird has high resistance though.
I'm not even going to go into the others because they just kill me or have too much defense to reasonably kill. Even when I did
manage to kill one (the old man), it used up so much MP that it's just not worth it. Unless they drop the Super Ager, but they probably won't so I'm just gonna use the sidequest instead of hunting these guys down.
Anyway, clearing this dungeon took forever, and not just because of deaths. I don't think I was wasting MP, but it just takes a whole lot out of everyone to kill these enemies safely. I resorted to the Byakuren trick I referred to a while ago when I analyzed everyone's commander abilities, which in case you forgot is that when in the commander slot she can restore 10% MP per turn. This turns her into a consumable MP item that I can use once a dungeon, limited by her bombs. Even with that though I just had to enter and leave a lot, eventually re-spawning the enemies near the beginning. Causing me to run out of MP even faster and necessitating more trips, so more respawned enemies, etc etc. I was not
playing other games between this installment and the previous, despite the similar delay. I was just playing this game, a lot. The dungeon was long and hard.
Finally, after completing the entire trek, we find the ominous heal point and teleporter back to the entrance. Whew. Also, there's the now familiar path to a pointless dungeon sequence filled with enemies as well as a mysterious hint book floating in mid-air. When approached, it prompts you to split into three parties. Oddly enough, these three parties occupy the exact same location, so you're not actually splitting up at all. I assume this is for the final boss because there's really no point when you can change party members whenever you're not in battle anyway.
There's a cutscene for the final boss, but it's not exactly interesting since all it says it "Grr, I'm gonna eat you!" and things of that nature. Also, I'm saving that for the actual boss installment.
Next up: probably some sidequests. Also, I have no idea who to make the tier 7 weapons for and for some reason I have the compulsion to make that choice audience participation, despite the fact that you guys have no idea what any of the weapons do or who needs them more. Alas, not all compulsions can be fought, so I would very much like to take votes in some sort of pointless popularity contest. Presumably this would also affect who I use to some degree, if only for the sidequests. I have about 5 Orichalcon right now, so yeah. If I don't get any votes, I'll have to start making decisions for myself, and you know what that means don't you? Sakuya and Remilia all the way, and then I waste all my other materials on their armor. You don't want that, do you?