Atoning for Past Sins

We’ve come to the end of our time.

Something that shouldn’t come as a surprise to the residents of Wellington Wells, as its bleak landscape is decaying more rapidly than a plagued corpse in Lud’s Holm. Their reliance on Joy to forget who they are and what they’ve done is a problem, as bad batches are becoming increasingly common, and those who can’t take their Joy are exiled from civilisation. Thrown to the destitute and plagued of the wilderness. Scavenging the ruins of a near-extinct society, that has no means by which to sustain itself, as its ageing population will eventually expire.

But maybe that’s for the best.

Arthur Hastings, former resident of the Parade District, awoke to this nightmare, and fled its institutionalised indoctrination to rediscover his own forgotten past. Something that he may regret doing once he discovers the truth about who he is, what he did, and how he came to be here.

I’ve found We Happy Few to be deceptively content-dense, with three distinct playable characters, each with their own motivations and talents, and each witnessing the intertwining events from their own perspective. Arthur is the first, and most versatile, of the three. Favouring either stealth or combat, while having the fewest equipment restrictions. Uncharacteristically, and solely because there is an associated achievement, I’ve been avoiding combat where possible, instead relying on subtlety to fumble my way through Wellington Wells. Only using weapons deemed as non-lethal, and thus only capable of rendering an opponent unconscious. Not that I’d agree that wrapping a cricket bat (or rolling pin) in cloth makes it any less lethal. But only with non-lethal weapons will I be able to avoid murdering the general populous as Ollie.

Happy as can be.

Character development is surprisingly extensive, too. There are three different skill trees per character to invest in, with skill points being awarded for the completion of numerous quests. Some skills, such as those that increase maximum health, or weapon damage, are shared between characters. But every character has their own particular talents as well. Having to explore- and interact with- the world around you to further the capabilities of your chosen character is very satisfying, and encourages meaningful exploration that often yields other boons.

Such as Inventory Expansion Kits.

Allowing you to satiate that desire to hoard every glass bottle, brick, and rock that you find in the bins you’re rummaging through. Regardless of whether they’re actually useful to you or not. Never daring to sell them as you’ve no need for more currency that you won’t spend.

I’m curious as to how my approach will change, if at all, for Sally and Ollie, as they’ve got notable strengths and weaknesses. Which is as exciting as it is terrifying, as there might be some really annoying mechanics pertaining to those two. Or they might be jolly good fun. Sally, who seems to favour stealth, and chemical warfare, should be easy to adjust to from my time with Arthur. Ollie, however, needs to fight. Needs to rely solely on non-lethal weapons to avoid undoing everything that I’ve done in the last fifty hours. I’m fairly proficient at engaging in combat, but I’ve never had to default to it. So I’m (rather surprisingly) unsure whether I can. But I believe that your experiences should teach you something about yourself, and relying on stealth in We Happy Few has certainly done that. I’ve learned that I’m really good at running away.

Have a nice week, all!

Moggie

Sprucin’ Things Up

Not as you may remember it.

While it is accurate to suggest that Moggie’s Proclamations is in a constant state of change, there have been few changes as significant as those that have occurred in recent months. Notably, and for the first time since its conception, I’ve decided to update the theme, which I’d been deliberating over for the last twelve months. This isn’t to suggest that the previous theme was in any way unsuited to my needs or content, but simply that I wanted to freshen up the blog. Something that (as you would expect) has fundamentally affected the formatting and layout of my posts.

I can’t really avoid that, though.

As my content is formatted and laid out to fit the constraints of the theme displaying it. This bled over to the Creative and Gaming pages, too. They’ve both been subject to formatting updates to reflect the introduction of new categories, and (hopefully) to make them easier to navigate.

Following the decision to recategorise MMORPG posts in Massively Multiplayer Moggie, I’ve also added The Atelier Series and The Yakuza Series to the parent Gaming category. This was mostly in response to recent purchases, as I’ve finally begun my adventures in the Atelier series with the wonderfully wholesome Atelier Ryza: Ever Darkness & the Secret Hideout. While the PC release of Yakuza 3 Remastered, Yakuza 4 Remastered, and Yakuza 5 Remastered means that I’ve got five instalments in the Yakuza series to experience. Five instalments which I own, as I apparently don’t have any concept of restraint. But that shouldn’t be too surprising to those who regularly frequent Moggie’s Proclamations. If there’s a way to surpass my limits, or to face greater challenges, I’ll find it. And I’ll do it.

Content on Moggie’s Proclamations has always existed in a transitory state, though. It’s unlikely that I’ll ever fully commit to one iteration. Which doesn’t mean that I’m unhappy with previous content, as I’d suggest that the posts from the last twelve months are among my best, but that change shouldn’t be feared, and that simply doing something because you’ve always done it is no reason at all. And that comfortable consistency is boring. I enjoy seeing how my writing style has changed- and how I’ve changed- over the years that I’ve been writing, drawing, and painting.

Hence why my personal site is as it is.

Progression is just as important, if not more so, than the end result, and that’s why I embrace everything that I do. Every attempt, every mistake, every post- it all contributes to the proficiency (or lack thereof) that I now possess. It all contributes to furthering that proficiency should I wish to.

I’ve certainly implemented less updates in recent years than in those that came before, but I’m still regularly tinkering with things and updating them as necessary. I wouldn’t deny that I’m happier with things as they are now. The last few years have been difficult for various reasons, and I’m glad that I can feel like I’ve achieved something in that time. Something meaningful. Even if it’s going to require even more work to be something that I’m truly happy with. I’ve already been considering ways to improve my personal site, to make it more accessible and easier to navigate, and I’m still committed to regularly sharing creative content again. I’m not sure what form that will take, or when that will be, but I’ve been thinking about how best to approach it, and I hope that through that rekindled creativity I’ll find even greater satisfaction.

Have a nice week, all!

Moggie

Klint Kingdom Mysteries

Synthesis for the devil.

Alchemy was the foundation of the Klint Kingdom, but it was tainted by the ambition of man and twisted into a perverse practice. One later redeemed by the exploits of Reisalin Stout, affectionately known as Ryza, and her friends, as they utilised alchemical formulae to better the world around them. Solving problems through synthesis, helping the hopeless, and firing letters out of a literal cannon. Atelier Ryza: Ever Darkness & the Secret Hideout is an enrapturing narrative-driven JRPG featuring gathering, synthesising, duplicating, and feeding a Puni for reasons unknown.

Who knows what it may bring home.

I’m assuming that it delivers randomly generated raw materials, and that what you feed it, or how it develops, determines those materials. It could be the source of raw materials that are unobtainable elsewhere, or it could exist solely for its comedic value, or it could be source of Gems.

One that doesn’t require the continued deforestation of Limewick Hill. But, to be fair, those trees were unnatural, and not meant for mortal beings. One tree shouldn’t produce that many raw materials. Discovering it was a considerable boon, though. I was finally able to make use of the Multiplicauldron, thus bypassing the repeated synthesis of refined materials, and exponentially hastening my progress towards optional bosses, while satiating my desire to collect and organise things. I was slightly disappointed that the fifth great element, that of shadow, was unavailable until after the main campaign. And that, as a result, having synthesised everything that an alchemist could synthesise, it was barely a challenge. But, by defeating it, I could finally face the secret boss, which proved to be a challenge on Charismatic difficulty.

I’ve greatly enjoyed the time spent with Atelier Ryza: Ever Darkness & the Secret Hideout, though. Even if I did tire of the Multiplicauldron towards the end of the main campaign. It’s a useful mechanic- and an appreciated one- but it’s a mundane process. Reduce raw materials into Gems, use those Gems, and then repeat. I was, however, impressed by how this instalment blended familiar mechanics with the usual modern conveniences. Not by cheapening the experience, but by making it accessible while retaining the complexity and extensiveness of its mechanics.

It was a rather refreshing experience.

Which is what I’d hoped that the Atelier series would be as a whole. Something different, but something satisfying. Something that I could enjoy for the countless hours spent synthesising recipes in the confines of an Atelier. And that’s exactly how I’ve felt with this particular instalment.

Throughout the main campaign I enjoyed watching each character develop independently, discovering their own goals and ambitions, and appreciated how each character had their own quests, which furthered their proficiency in combat. It was fun focusing on alchemical pursuits with Ryza and Empel, but then having to focus on defeating strong opposition with Lent and Lila. It was a rather prominent theme in the story, too. Which tied everything together quite nicely. I’m now wondering how they’re going to build on that in the sequel, and if we’ll see the same characters returning or an entirely new party. Or some characters returning and some new ones. Either way, I’d highly recommend Atelier Ryza: Ever Darkness & the Secret Hideout to those fans of JRPGs looking for something different but satisfying.

Have a nice week, all!

Moggie

Rasen Pudding Pioneer

A delightfully delicious magical treat.

Synthesised from only the highest quality ingredients, which are freshly gathered every day and simmered over a medium heat in an alchemy cauldron for the perfect texture. Don’t forget to try our Kurken Island variant, too. Produced from locally sourced fresh milk, sugar, and most likely some kind of gelatin. Of the many things that I’ve synthesised- massive two-handed swords, billowing capes of mystical fabric, rings of untapped potential- the Rasen Pudding is arguably the greatest. It heals, it buffs, it jiggles, and it never depletes when paired with a Core Crystal.

Core Charges are now pudding servings.

Given his predilection for sweet things, I’m certain that Empel would agree that this is an acceptable use of this mysterious Klint Kingdom relic. Rather than using it to inflict elemental damage via bombs, remove status ailments, revive characters who’ve been knocked out, and so on.

We could do both, though. Not that I’ve been particularly diligent when synthesising consumables and combustibles, but I’m still learning how best to utilise raw materials and where best to use them. I’ve barely touched the weapon enhancement mechanics, Weapon Buff and Weapon Forging, but I don’t want to waste Gems on weapons that I’m likely to replace fairly quickly. I’ve explored the Gathering Synthesiser but once to retrieve a single raw material. And don’t even ask about the Multiplicauldron. I’ve only duplicated items that won’t yield much alchemy experience, as I’d rather synthesise from raw ingredients to unlock new recipes and further enhance Ryza’s alchemical talent. Not that the complexity and extensiveness of these mechanics isn’t appreciated, but they can be slightly overwhelming for entirely new players.

This is going to hurt…

Which, regarding the Atelier series, I am, as Atelier Ryza: Ever Darkness & the Secret Hideout is the first of this series that I’ve played. I’ve previously purchased an entry in the Arland, Dusk, and Mysterious subseries. But I felt that the most recent release would be the most accessible, and would allow me to grow accustomed to the progression and mechanics of the series as a whole. And it certainly is accessible. But the mechanics exhibit unexpected complexity, which I couldn’t be happier about but know will result in hours of synthesising components in pursuit of perfection.

Or a really neat two-handed sword.

The Atelier series doesn’t conform to what you’d typically expect from a JRPG, either. Defeating enemies and grinding for experience isn’t as significant as synthesising powerful equipment, while progression through the main campaign is often narrative-driven and somewhat linear.

This is, of course, from my experiences with Atelier Ryza: Ever Darkness & the Secret Hideout, which have been pleasant but might not necessarily be indicative of the series as a whole. But I’ve been fascinated by how engaging the alchemy mechanics have been, and how satisfying synthesising is. Exploration has depth and requires the use of different Gathering Tools, gathering is kept fresh and interesting by utilising those in new areas, morphing affords unprecedented flexibility and results in new recipes, items can be rebuilt to enhance their effects or traits, and everything feels as if it has its own purpose. Nothing feels disjointed or unintuitive. Adventuring has never been as wholesome or as fulfilling, and I can’t wait to see what mysteries we’ll unravel as we continue to explore ancient Klint Kingdom ruins.

Have a nice weekend, all!

Moggie

Frigid Fusillade

Rain arrows down upon thee.

Following a rather successful poison Warlock build during its time in Early Access, and both a lightning Berserker and holy Templar build after its full release, it was finally time to revisit Chronicon with a Warden. The one character class that I know absolutely nothing about. I don’t think that I’ve ever built one, even during Early Access, prior to the conception of this build, and that’s not hard to believe. Seeing as I’d sprint into the fray ignoring my bow (and ranged skills) circled by my wolves, rather than taking calculated shots from a distance to decimate my enemies.

I’ve become too accustomed to close quarters builds.

And I’m sure that, were you to invest in Evasion and Damage Reduction, you could fashion a reasonably decent close quarters Warden. And that’s possibly what I should have done when considering this build. But I’ve made this awkwardly cumbersome bed, so I’m going to die in it.

A death wrought from hubris and aggressively increasing the difficulty level. The first for some time, too. However, not the first on my account, as I had to earn that achievement to spend crystals on resurrection somehow. It was a refreshing moment, though. One that I’ve anticipated for a while, as I’ve been too cautious when making the leap between difficulty levels prior to this build. This time I was purposefully making things more difficult for myself. Which probably wasn’t the best idea with a class that I’m wholly unfamiliar with, but I digress. Besides a single death, which haunts me even now, despite my protest to the contrary, this build has developed in interesting ways. I’ve been investing in different statistical bonuses such as +%Critical Hit Damage, +%Companion Damage, and +%Companion Health to name but a few.

Wardens aren’t supposed to be next to their enemies…

I’ve also been exclusively relying on enchanting and transmutation to acquire an equipment set that has persisted throughout her adventures. Instead of acquiring an entirely new equipment set at Lvl 100, I’ve been using the abundance of Legendary and True Legendary equipment to empower her existing set, which has exponentially hastened her development towards Anomalies. I’ve also been focusing on Critical Hit Damage. It’s fairly easy to guarantee critical hits, and to bolster those with Frost Damage, or Overpower, so I’ve been favouring higher multiplications for them.

Progression has definitely been smoother for it.

The Warden is a surprisingly diverse character class, and they’re afforded unexpected versatility through their skill trees. Notably, they could be a capable summoner, which I’d briefly tinkered with, but I’m not overly fond of having pets fight for me. I’d rather be dealing damage myself.

I’ve always enjoyed the complexity and diversity of the character classes (and skill trees) present in Chronicon, and the Warden, along with this build, is no exception. It’s delightfully malleable. Able to adapt to challenges and overcome them with relative competency, especially when I remember to avoid being hit by keeping my distance. Given the continued investment into +%Critical Hit Damage, it’s not dealing as much damage as I’d hoped that it would, but that might be due to how I’m playing this build. Now that Wolfpack can taunt I’m slightly safer than I was. Not that I’m able to completely avoid taking damage, but I’m able to funnel enemies into convenient bottlenecks and pelt them from afar. Which is what a Warden should be doing, right? Serious question. I have no idea what I’m doing. Please send help.

Have a nice weekend, all!

Moggie