Finishing Up the Second Legs, On to the Third

The Octopath Traveler Chronicles: Week 5

Last week was very much about me dipping my toes into the game again, finding my footing after a while so I could figure out how to properly play Octopath Traveler again and do it right. This week, though, was all about the missions. Now that my guys were all of a decent level (as in 40 or more for the entire party, at least 11 levels higher than I needed to be for anything coming my way), I had missions to do and chapters to finish up.

This we we finally wrap up the few Chapter 2 missions I had hanging, and then it's back in for Chapter 3 missions (since we're largely over-leveled for those, too). And then... well, we get a little distracted. Let's go!

An Evil Apothecary

Having decided to strike out on his own, Alfyn makes way to a small town that, up until recently has been suffering from a nasty fever. However, before Alfyn could move in and do his good work, another apothecary -- Jessica, I think, although it could have been Tiffany or Claudia; I'm very bad with names and worse at doing research after the fact -- had already gotten there first. Seemingly having the solution for just this problem, this lady gave out her medicine for free, wanting to help all the poor unfortunates suffering from the malady.

Or so it would seem. Soon, though, the same people who had just recovered from the fever were plunged into a nasty bout of coughing and sore throats, pain so bad they could barely breathe. Jessica (which is her name as far as I'm concerned) had the only cure, but due to "scare quantities" would only sell it for 100,000 leaves (the currency of the land), a price only the super rich could afford. The poor that Jess has saved, like a little girl who Alfyn grew to care for in this town? They were shit out of luck.

Quick, Alfyn realized that Jessica, of course, was the cause of the new malady. Her "medicine" might have cured the fevers but it also caused the sore throats and, worst of all, she knew it. This lead Alfyn, of course, to head to the secret caves where Jess was harvesting her cure (glow moss, I think) and confront the evil apothecary. Of course this lead to our now-standard boss battle, and, naturally, we absolutely obliterated Jess and her goons because we're uber powerful for where we're at and she was like a bug to us. Day saved, Jess was thrown in jail and we cured the town, free of charge. Happiness for everyone that deserved it.

Chapter 2, for each character, hasn't really been all that deep -- setup, evil person, battle across the board -- and this story doesn't really change that. Like most of the other Chapter 2 stories, this adventure was pretty shallow with a simple plot device, an obvious villain (telegraphed almost from the minute we meet her) and a basic story that wraps up in no time. It's about what I expect from the game and I wasn't surprised here. More of the same, really, but it is what it is. I will admit, though, that the kids in this story were cute, so this story wasn't a complete wash. Plus it really is fun steam-rolling bosses. That never gets old.

The next story, though, would change the basic formula of Chapter 2...

Olberic Battles Them All

Olberic is searching for the man that betrayed his king (again, not gonna bother looking it up so let's call him... Derrick). Derrick, as you might recall, killed the king Olberic was honor-sworn to protect, which then made Olberic a knight without a liege-lord, a ronin, effectively. Having decided to find his revenge, Olberic has been traveling to track down Derrick. This lead him to a town in the midst of their annual arena battles. One entrant, the Black Knight, is suspected of having information about Derrick, so Olberic has to find a way into the arena so he can battle the Black Knight and convince him to divulge this information.

Naturally, then, this leads to a series of battles, as one would expect from this kind of setup. And man, as basic and expected as this story might have been from the setup, it was a total relief to do something different. Instead of a bunch of little monsters to fight (or, because I'm over-leveled and they're worthless to me, run from) before one, solitary boss fight, we have four boss battles to work our way through. The first is so we can take down one of the eight competitors and take their spot in the arena, and then three tournament battles from here. It's not an overly complicated story but it was a refreshing change of pace, that's for sure.

I liked these simply because I got to try out differently tactics, play with a bunch of my characters in each of the fights (since I got to stay in town and could swap characters between battles) and have fun tinkering with my classes. I didn't realize this story was in the game and that it would be so much fun to play around in it, but I'm glad I accidentally left it for last. This was the right adventure to close out Chapter 2 for all my characters before diving head-first into Chapter 3.

And, thankfully, Chapter 3 for each character does seem to put a new twist on the stories across the board. Thank gods.

Oh yeah, and Olberic does get the information he was seeking. Of course he did, because that has to setup his next chapter, naturally enough.

Alfyn Makes a Mistake

After clearing out all the Chapter 2 missions, my next step was to take an appraisal of where Chapter 3 wanted me to go and what missions had the lowest level-ratings; like with Chapter 2 my plan was to start with the lowest rated missions and work my way up through the progressive difficulty. Not that I really had to worry too much -- at this point H'aanit, my lead character, is at least 20 levels higher than the zones I'm in so nothing can really hurt me and, if I want, I can run from everything. The joy of being ultra-powerful.

The first mission, easiest of the Chapter 3 set, was Alfyn's quest. Having gone two-for-two in helping towns, Alfyn wandered into a quiet riverside hamlet to do his magical work. There he ran into a quiet apothecary, one who seemed to be dark and selfish, who chose who he wanted to help and who he'd leave to die. Alfyn, being much more dedicated to the Apothecary cause, and vastly more idealistic, refused to let anyone die. That's how he came to assist Marcus, a criminal looking to change his ways after he suffered a rather nasty encounter with some guards. Dying from his wound, Marcus just needed someone to help him. Alfyn, of course, stepped up.

The thing I liked about this mission was the fact that it inverted expectations. So far, Alfyn's idealism has carried him through life. After the encounter with the evil Jessica it seemed like this new, dark and broody apothecary was cut from the same cloth. I expected to have to trudge into some woods to track down the Dark One after he revealed himself to be evil, having poisoned the local river or given everyone magical Ebola or something. But no, instead the game gave us a nice redirect and made the criminal Marcus, or greater foe. As soon as Marcus was healed he immediately went off and started robbing the populace. Taking a kid hostage, Marcus fled into the nearby woods so, naturally, Alfyn went in to stop him. This was his fault and his problem to fix.

And then, of course, we get the usual dungeon crawl and boss fight. Even if the last part of this story was more of the same, I liked how the tale leading up to it gave us a bit of back-and-forth. That was a good job from the writers. About the only critique I had was that the game still treated dealing with Marcus as a black or white affair. Either he was going to live and terrorize people or Alfyn could attack him and then let him die afterwards. No thought is made to capturing Marcus and turning him over to the Guard, which was the first thing I thought of the second Alfyn met the dude. He already had Jessica thrown in prison, so what differentiates her from Marcus? They were both evil, both criminals. It's weird.

Still, kudos for this chapter as it gave me hope for what was to come.

Thief Versus Thief

While at the town I saw that Olberic's next chapter was nearby. Olberic has been a mainstay of my party for most fights because, with a single buff, he can do a healthy 9,999 damage on his powerful sword attack. That's math I think. Olberic's quest was gonna be a piece of cake since he's also at least 15 levels above the monsters of the region. But then I noticed that Therion's quest was right nearby as well and, for whatever reason, I decided to give my thief some love.

As you might recall, Therion is on a quest to collect four dragon stones and return them to their (supposed) rightful ruler. Having already found on (the other being a lure that got Therion mixed up in this quest to begin with), it was time to find the third. In a quiet desert town, Therion found out about a black market that was selling the dragon stone, among other wares. All Therion had to do was find a way into the black market and then steal the stone.

This, naturally, lead Therion to use his skills -- stealing, specifically -- to gain his way in. There were multiple ways this could have been done (steal from the barkeep, steal from the guards near the market) and I went with the most direct. I tried a couple of times to steal a mask from a guard so I could pretend to be one of them and enter the market; this was a 10% chance and, if I failed enough I'd have to go back to town (a long walk, to be sure) and steal from the barkeep instead. I rolled the dice twice and, on the second attempt, got the mask. Easy peasy.

From there I was able to wander the black market (hidden away in a cave, of course) and then find the dragon stone. This leads me to one bit of critique for this mission: you can go into the black market but nothing is for sale from any of the vendors. I wanted to come in, buy (or, really, steal) some good gear and then be even more powerful come the time to fight the expected bosses, but there wasn't anything to buy. No one to talk to, nothing to steal, which is just a waste.

Still, the back half of the adventure was pretty good. The dragon stone was stolen by some no good thieves (before I could do the same) so, of course, I had to track them deeper into the cave. And, wouldn't you know it, the thief Therion knew back in the day, the one that betrayed him all those years ago, was behind this dragon stone theft. He sent waves of his guards at Therion while the thief chased after him. Thus we had a few smaller boss fights before taking on Darius's second-in-command, Gideon (neither name I am 100% on). Darius got away (so I could go kill him in Chapter 4) but we got a lot of blood on our hands, so it wasn't a total wash.

One mission is left for Therion and, at that point, he'll get the last two stones from Darius and end his adventure. Playing through he reminded me how fun it is to steal from everyone (gimmie that gear!) so I'm going to have to remember to swap in Therion more often when exploring towns, and not just when I'm going after Darius in the last act.

A Warrior's Revenge

And now, back to Olberic. His mission was, numerically, the next on my list so there was no more putting it off. We entered into the same quiet little town Therion had just raided for all it was worth, and that's when we learned this town, seemingly quiet just a few hours earlier, was being plagued by lizardmen. Apparently they were a constant scourge until Olberic's sworn enemy, Derrick, showed up and become protector of the town. Now the lizardmen have been held at bay and Derrick has seemingly changed his ways. This is something Olberic doubts, though, so he'd just have to see for himself.

Heading west out of town, Olberic had to help the local guards fight off a couple of waves of Lizardmen (just a basic one-two battle, not a huge gauntlet like I was hoping for) before he could venture further across the sands to the cave (of course) where the lizardmen had seemingly nested. In the cave Olberic came across Derrick and the two agreed to join forces to take on the last of the lizardmen. We mopped up our battle with a lizard chief (because we're like gods to these wretches), and then met back up with Derrick after he'd done the same.

And here is where the game throws in a little twist. You might have been expecting that the lizard chief was our boss for this chapter, but Olberic had other ideas, challenging Derrick to a duel to cap the mission. And this wasn't like the "duels" in the arena earlier, which were actually party-wide fights between my guys and the arena champs plus their minions. No, this was Olberic versus Derrick, one on one. For a split second I was worried about how the battle would rage until Derrick's attacks started plinking against me. One good sword charged up sword attack took out half of Derrick's health and I knew this battle wasn't going to last long. And, sure enough, Derrick was very quickly on his knees, defeated in honorable combat.

But Olberic lets him live, a move I didn't expect. Instead, Olberic's new goal was to take on the guy who original hired Derrick to kill the good king. That's the real enemy, in Olberic's eyes and, armed with the knowledge gleaned from Derrick, our Chapter 4 for our warrior was set.

I did enjoy this adventure. It, again, had a few set pieces to change things up -- the one-two battle, the big fight, and then the duel -- and that kept things spicy. Hopefully, going forward, we'll get more of these interesting twists on the formula.

Time to Get Feisty

But we're not going to get to any more Chapter 3 adventures just yet. Figuring my guys were powerful enough to take on anything, I decided my next task should be gathering the four special classes in the game -- hidden classes guarded by special bosses -- so I could be even more powerful and ungodly. Thus, I went in search of the four classes.

The first one, Starseer, gave me a bit of trouble. That boss had a few attacks that were able to wipe me. Part of the problem was her rotating defenses, one of which, Dark, was really hard to break (since there aren't any good multi-hit dark attacks, at least not at this point). That left me using by my Dark Soulstones and praying. Even then, my third attempt still ended in failure when she got a lucky strike in against my guys, wiped one of my party members (Cyrus) and left me staggering to take her defenses down while she went into her limit break phase. Her third attack came out before I was ready, dealt 3,000 damage to each of my party members, and sent me back to the save point. Damn it.

It was on the fourth attempt that I managed to get past the boss. Part of this was luck and part skill. While I will admit that I was starting to get better at fighting her, learning her tactics and figuring out the best times to take her defenses down so I could maximize my own turns after, I will also admit that I got seriously lucky. Once she went into the red the boss was supposed to activate her overdrive and gain an extra turn to deal damage but, in this fourth fight, for whatever reason she never did that. I got to escape her fight using my same basic strategies, start to finish, and I took the win I was given.

I will note that I'm not super interested in this class. There is one good attack I like, where my starseer and hurl meteorites of wind, light, and dark damage on all foes, which is handy -- with the right weaknesses I can get two or three breaking hits in. The rest of the classes' skills, though, are about buffs and debuffs, things I don't normally use (although I might have to, come the end bosses and extra challenges). So while this class was fun to get, and I felt quite accomplished finishing off the boss, I don't think I'll use this class all that much.

Archmage, the next class I went after, was much more useful. For this will I will fully cop to looking up strategies for the fight and I did find one that was particularly effective. The archmage fight starts with the boss debuffing the party, preventing my heroes from using any buffs for five turns. he then also proceeded to unleash various spells, each of which struck for three attacks a pop. If I wasn't careful he could also do additional debuffs on my party forcing them to take additional magic damage. My first attempt, naturally, ended in failure.

Then I picked up the strategy that won me the day, and it's a doozy. So the Dancer can use their most powerful skill to cause a single ally's skills to "affect all". Normally I'd think that means all their attacks go after all the foes, but apparently it also means that all single-target ally buffs can target all allies. This is important when it's paired with the Cleric's reflective veil because that spell allows an ally to reflect up to four elemental attacks (if I cast it with all the BP charge possible). That meant, once the first five rounds of combat were past and I could cast buff spells, my first job was to get the Dancer to cast her skill on the Cleric, and then have the Cleric cast her reflecting wall on the party.

This is deeply satisfying, let me assure you, as the Archmage came after me with his spells one my wall was up, and it got reflected three times back from all four party members. He'd cast a spell and I'd watch him take twelve attacks back in his face. And, usually, he'd be unlucky enough to cast a spell he was weak against that round, meaning he'd end up breaking himself with his own spells. Then I'd just let Olberic go in, mop up the mage with a powerful sword attack, and then repeat the process all over again. The archmage lasted three rounds of this before he effectively committed suicide. It was glorious.

The Archmage class was one I really wanted as it grants the character spells in every element, and each of them can strike three times. This is massive and a real boon. Wandering the countryside after this, with an Archmage and a Scholar in my party meant that a lot of enemies were taking five hits of magic before they could even move, generally breaking anyone I came across. So glorious. This class is a must have.

Sadly, the next class I went after, Warmonger, did not work out as well. That boss is an absolute beast, one that can deal about as much damage as the archmage fight but without any way for me to reflect the damage back that I can find. Worse, as the battle wears on the warmonger will get more and more attacks, dealing even more damage. I hadn't even gotten her into the yellow (half-way down) before she decided to go into overdrive and unleash six attacks a round on me. It was pointless then and I let her kill me.

I might go and try to track down the other special class and see if that fight is any more manageable than the warmonger battle. I just know that I'm gonna have to do some real leveling, and get a few of my people much higher up in their stats, before I can attempt warmonger again.

Where The Journey Takes Us Next

We'll see if I go after either of the special classes left to me. But I know we'll take on a couple of the Chapter 3 adventures, especially since I have a Starseer and a Archmage to wipe up all the monsters in my way. Glorious battle for ALL!