Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Missing Pages in Rune Factory 2

When you obtain the Magical Spellbooks in Rune Factory 2, each will be missing two pages and will be described as 'badly damaged'. Badly damaged Spellbooks are Green in colour. When you are given the first Missing Page and ask Mana to repair the Book, it will become Red in colour. With the repair of the second Missing Page, the Spellbook will have its full power.

There was an odd error in the version of the game that I played. When I completed Egan's final Request, I was told that I received 'DRY CURRY', but in fact what I received was Missing Page 1 of the Stone Spike Spellbook. Completing Tanya's Troll 'Trial' Request directly afterwards gave me the final page of the Stone Spike Spellbook. I did not realise this at once, however, as I completed both requests almost simultaneously, so I erroneously listed Egan's reward as 'Dry Curry'. That will be corrected in the Guide in the next update.

Missing Page 1: Barrett's Request
Missing Page 2: Natalie's final Request

Missing Page 1: Yue's Request
Missing Page 2: Douglas' Final Request

Missing Page 1: Alicia's Request
Missing Page 2: Cecilia's final Request

Water Laser:
Missing Page 1: Barrett's Request
Missing Page 2: Tanya's Hobgoblin Trial Request

Stone Spike
Missing Page 1: Egan's Final Request
Missing Page 2: Tanya's Troll Trial Request

Sonic Wind
Missing Page 1: Roy's Request
Missing Page 2: Gordon's final Request

Life Drain:
Missing Page 1: Yue's Request
Missing Page 2: Ray's final Request

Missing Page 1: Yue's Request
Missing Page 2: Max's final Request

Some of the Special Items in Animal Crossing City Folk

Here's a little video of some of the special items in the new Wii version of Animal Crossing. Some are completely new to the game. Others are familiar to veteran players.

I need a little break from email and game questions... so if I don't respond immediately, please be patient!

Many thanks to Mars the Frog for helping me obtain some of these special items.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Catching the Sunsquid in Rune Factory 2

Fried Sunsquid is Orland's special Birthday Gift item in the 2nd Generation in Rune Factory 2. Sunsquid is not the most common fish. When I first wrote this post, I had been able to find it only at one location. Here is a little video:

At that point in time, I still was very involved in the actual PLOT, slaying dragons, unlocking the final Underground Shrines and so on... Now I have more so-called 'leisure' to fish and make certain I haven't missed ANY varieties of Monsters in terms of adding them both to the Monster Barn and to my Guides...

The fact of the matter is that Sunsquid can be caught in a few locations, including West Beach on Blessia Island (as two readers pointed out) and indeed when fishing from the Dock in Alvarna. The better the Fishing Rod, the more likely it is that you will catch one, I daresay, although even with the best Fishing Rod in the game, you still will catch more common fish than rare ones.

The 'location' in terms of where your character STANDS as well as general location can be critical where fishing is concerned. In many areas, standing in one position will allow you to catch only Rocks or Branches while standing in a different place will allow you to catch a rare variety of fish. The Pond is one example of this...

I now have added a 'Fishing Locations' section both to my General Guide and to my Items List Guide for Rune Factory 2. All guides for Rune Factory 2 remain 'works in progress'. (I wonder how long I will be stating THAT fact! This game is enormous.)

Friday, December 26, 2008

Alicia Mystery in Rune Factory 2

In Rune Factory 2, special items are obtained often through Requests that are posted on the Bulletin Board.

Special items can include Missing Pages from Spellbooks as well as Special Proposal Items, weapons, seeds and money. Some are more important than others.

Requests from individuals appear at specific heart levels. They must be experienced in proper order. If you do not complete an individual's first Request, therefore, the second never will appear on the Bulletin Board. It is a good idea to complete every Request that appears on the board both in the 1st and 2nd Generation. Even if you do not intend to marry a specific Eligible Girl in the 1st Generation, you should complete her Requests.

There is an odd 'Request' from Alicia in the 1st Generation that can result in the acquisition of Missing Page 1 from the Fireball Spellbook. It actually involves nothing more than a brief dialogue. Alicia will wonder why she isn't married yet. If you tell her it is because she is 'too beautiful', she will reward you with the Missing Page.

In my first test game, I experienced the dialogue and obtained the Missing Page. I did not save the result, however, as I was testing another situation at the time. When I reloaded the game, I forgot about the dialogue with Alicia..

The odd part of this experience is that I never experienced the dialogue again after reloading the game. I was not aware of this until I entered the 2nd Generation without the Missing Page for the Fireball Spellbook.

This apparently was some odd programming in an older version of the game. In the final retail version, the Request Event appears only in the 2nd Generation. If Alicia is your mother, the Request will occur but be worded a little differently. She will ask you if she is a good mother instead of asking why she is not married yet.

Note: The entire 'mother/child' dialogue is published in another post on this site.

Some Children who really enjoyed Christmas...

Here is a photograph of a playroom in the aftermath of a feline celebration of Christmas... They obviously are two children who truly enjoyed THEIR Christmas! In fact, the little yarn balls torn to shreds resemble New Year's Eve confetti to some extent. (I suspect that Father Christmas will not be bringing THOSE particular toys again! The entire set lasted less than five minutes. I don't think they were supposed to be pulled apart, but who knows? Perhaps they are like Christmas Crackers.)

In any case, whether human, feline or from another world, I hope that every one had as much joy from their holidays as these two.

Happy Boxing Day

I would like to wish every one a very happy Boxing Day! One hopes that Christmas, Yuletide and other Holiday Cheer continues and that Harvest Moon and Animal Crossing continue to provide entertainment and delight throughout the world.

I would like to thank a good friend for making my Christmas very special indeed by providing a treasure hunt in Animal Crossing City Folk that was created solely for my benefit, complete with clues and some of my favourite AC items! It made my day.
A very heartfelt 'Thank you' to Mars the Frog.

I would like to thank Alyssa for sending a charming Harvest Moon story, now posted on my 'We Love Harvest Moon' page.

For any one who doubts that the Christmas Spirit exists in our time, acts such as these provide ample evidence to the contrary.

Please take the time to read Alyssa's story and if inspired to do so, feel free to write your own Harvest Moon story and send it to me for publication.

I would like to thank all the Harvest Moon players who visit my site regularly for their continuing interest in my guides and posts.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Happy Christmas Eve from Freyashawk and Jingle

I moved forward in time a little to make this video about Jingle's visit on Christmas Eve in Animal Crossing City Folk.

The rules with respect to finding Jingle and obtaining more than one gift from him have changed a little from the original Animal Crossing. He now may be found in ANY darkened house as well as anywhere outside. You cannot expect to trick him simply by changing outfits either. You need to use different accessories, which actually adds to the fun. I felt I was playing a Masquerade game along with the 'hide-and-seek' that is part of the encounter with almost any Special Visitor in Animal Crossing.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

A Visit to the City in Animal Crossing City Folk

Here is a little tour of the City in Animal Crossing City Folk, showing some of the new characters as well as the old ones. One almost feels sorry for Lyle now, however much of a pest he could be in Wild World! And the perfidious Redd still sells forged paintings...

Little Secrets of Rune Factory 2

I made this little video to show players where to find the elusive Love Snapper in Rune Factory 2 as well as one of the special Monster outfits that is a prize for winning a Festival Contest.

The outfit you win as a boy is a Wooly Outfit!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Introduction to Animal Crossing City Folk

I intended to make a little video about the Special Characters in Animal Crossing City Folk, but there is much too much to cover! It ended up being a little introduction to the game and two of the Special Events in November and December. Well, the Snowman isn't an 'Event' per se, but he deserves a mention! It therefore mainly deals with the Harvest Festival in November and the Snowman in December.

Growing Gold Crops in Rune Factory 2

In order to grow the rare Gold Crops in Rune Factory 2, you must have access to the Seasonal Chambers on the 5th Floor of the Palermo Shrine and you must have the Inquisitive Waltz Spell. The Inquisitive Waltz really is the KEY to many items in Rune Factory 2, from the Broken Hilt to a Gold Pumpkin.

To use the Inquisitive Waltz, you must clear the chamber of ALL Monsters, and destroy the Generator(s). You then equip the Spell and activate it. The Tame Monster accompanying you will search for hidden items.

I made a video about this, which shows the process. I added it to another post, but here is the link again:

The video shows the Trieste Forest but the process is the same everywhere.

On the 5th Floor of the Palermo Shrine, you will find a Chamber for each of the Four Seasons that contains a Garden. Here you can grow Crops. Indeed you MUST grow Crops in order to unlock the final mystery of the Shrine...

Apart from this, however, each of these Chambers contains a hidden item point that can be discovered using the Inquisitive Waltz.

Here is a new video specifically about the Gold Pumpkin:

As always, when the Inquisitive Waltz is used, you only have a chance of finding a rare item. Most of the time, you will obtain ordinary items... The rare items in the Seasonal Gardens are the elusive Gold Crops. Use your Seed Maker to convert a Gold Crop to seed and then plant the seeds to grow Gold Crops yourself!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Harvest Moon or Rune Factory 2?

Two readers posted comments to which I would like to respond in an actual post. Both basically asked me my own personal opinion of the merits of Rune Factory 2 as compared to the original Rune Factory and other Harvest Moon games.

From the first reader: 'Recently I found myself with fascinated with the whole farming game genre. So, in your opinion which game is 'better' and explain why?

I'm conflicted of getting into the Harvest Moon series or the whole Rune Factory series.'

From the second reader: 'I also never even completed the first requests in Gen 2 for Julia, Barrett, or Herman... It just seems to me that you should have to complete some of these tasks in order to defeat the final boss and beat the game.

All that said, I can't wait for RF 3. I'm just wondering what your thoughts are on some of these things and on the game overall compared to RF 1.'

First, I would like to go on record once again in stating that I never played ANY Harvest Moon game that I did not enjoy thoroughly. I do prefer games that allow the player to 'live' his/her life without pressure of conforming to a specific timetable, but although 'Save the Homeland' and 'Innocent Life' both required the player to complete tasks in a specific time period, they nonetheless were wonderful games. This is ironic, in a way, because I am a player who tries to complete all goals at the earliest possible opportunity. Even so, I like the idea that a player can take one year to court and marry his/her heart's desire or take a decade to do it. That is very much like real life after all.

Where Rune Factory and Rune Factory 2 are concerned, I think that a player who is accustomed to traditional RPGs may not realise how much both games truly are part of the Harvest Moon genre.

Harvest Moon games are NOT linear in nature. RPGS tend to be fairly linear. Rune Factory and Rune Factory 2 have very definite plots and goals but the player is given almost total freedom to choose when, how or if he/she wishes to complete the story.

If you wished, you could stay in the 1st Generation in Rune Factory 2, living happily as a farmer in Alvarna, with only the occasional earthquake to remind you that there was a nebulous threat somewhere in the future. You could tame the Monsters who produce Ranch products, reach 10 hearts with every one in Alvarna and focus on growing the rare Crops rather than moving into the future. If you did this, you would be playing a classical Harvest Moon game.

I think this is where some players misunderstand the concept of Rune Factory. The plot and the combat aspects of the game are 'frills' in a sense. The fundamental game is Harvest Moon. 'Beating' the ultimate Boss isn't the purpose of this game, either in Rune Factory or in Rune Factory 2. The purpose of the game is to restore the farm and to create a decent life for yourself.

The player who feels a little cheated because he really did not NEED to make the most powerful weapons in order to defeat the Boss may not be aware of the role that 'Cookbooks' play in any Harvest Moon game. In a sense, Harvest Moon is based on completing Items Lists. You obtain or make every possible item in the game not because each has a distinct purpose in the sense of plot but because doing so represents 100% completion. In most Harvest Moon games, there are 'secret' items that are discovered by oblique means.

Many players of 'Friends of Mineral Town' and 'More Friends of Mineral Town' may not ever have known of the existence of 'X Wool', for example. The 'Gold' Crops in Rune Factory 2 are secret items. Recipes include them as ingredients but it may be only through exhaustive research and experimentation that players stumble upon them.

The 'Secret Concerto' in the 1st Generation is a clue that ultimately can lead you towards the 'Inquisitive Waltz'. There always are clues to the secrets in Harvest Moon games, although you have to pay attention. Sometimes it is nothing more than a single statement by a character at a specific heart level.

The plot is important in Rune Factory and Rune Factory 2 but ultimately, these games are about a world and the people who inhabit that world. Characters in Rune Factory 2 speak of individuals in the original Rune Factory. This is very typical of Harvest Moon where people who lived in Mineral Town would speak of Forget-Me-Not Valley long before players had any opportunity to experience an intersection between the two.

When I compare Rune Factory with Rune Factory 2, I detect more of 'Harvest Moon' in the sequel than in the original. There is so much quirky humour, sly little asides and detailed character studies in Rune Factory 2. Although it takes the player through two generations and therefore includes an incredible plot structure in its way, it concentrates more on the individual personalities of the characters in Alvarna than on the drama of the Caves. Rune Factory was more 'plot-driven' in a sense than the sequel.

All Harvest Moon games have a plot and definite goals. For example, in Harvest Moon DS/Cute DS, your goal is to rescue all 101 Sprites. This is not necessary in order to enjoy the game, but it represents the same sort of 100% completion philosophy that appeals to players of Harvest Moon. You really only need to rescue 60 Sprites in order to bring the Harvest Goddess back to the Valley, which is one of the requirements for marriage in HM DS/Cute DS. As previously stated, Harvest Moon is NOT linear.

Rune Factory 2 is one of my favourite games at this point, but it is difficult to rate Harvest Moon games. I adored Harvest Moon DS and Cute DS, because I loved the way those games combined the characters of 'A Wonderful Life' with the characters of Mineral Town. 'Island of Happiness' is another incredible game and may be the ultimate 'farming simulation' game, with its strict realistic requirements for crops and the ability to grow grains like rice. I loved the way Island of Happiness incorporated actual rice paddies into the farming experience.

For sheer beauty, however, I could not imagine any game more breathtaking than Rune Factory 2. THe original was exquisite but the sequel is even better. It is a world that constantly delights the eye. The music is wonderful and the landscapes are magical.

For a player who never played any Harvest Moon game before, however, I would be inclined to recommend something easier than 'Island of Happiness' for 'starters'. The farming and ranching aspects of Rune Factory 2 actually are easier for a novice than Island of Happiness. If you are not interested in combat at all, though, you probably should play Harvest Moon DS or Harvest Moon Cute DS. Either would be a fantastic introduction to Harvest Moon. If you like combat and the element of fantasy, then play Rune Factory or Rune Factory 2. I actually would recommend Rune Factory 2 above the original for a player who is more interested in simulation farming than in a traditional RPG. For the RPG player, the original Rune Factory is more 'true to form' but for any true Harvest Moon fan, I think the sequel is even better.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Special Birthday Gift Items for the 2nd Generation

I wrote a post previously that gave each of the Special Birthday Gift items for characters in the 1st Generation but thought that the list of the 2nd Generation characters and their Birthday Gift items would be helpful as well. This information IS included in my little Rune Factory Calendar Guide. Actually the Calendar Guide is one of my mini-guides, giving information quickly about a specific aspect of the game. Players may find it helpful to print it out, as it displays all birthdays with the designated Special Birthday Gift Item in brackets after the individual's name. (You will find the link on the right side of this page.)

The Birthday Gifts for each of the 1st Generation characters can be purchased from Yue. As most of these items are 'Cooked Dishes' or Accessories, I believe this was done in order to allow players to give them to the characters before they themselves had the ability to make items in a Workshop.

The 2nd Generation items are Cooked Dishes and Accessories but you will be obliged to make them yourself if you wish to 'gift' a 2nd Generation character. The list is as follows:

Leann, 27 Winter: Sapphire Ring
Leonel, 3 Summer: Mixed Juice
Orland, 15 Winter: Fried Sunsquid
Sera and Serena, 29 Autumn: Marmalade

A player asked how one could discover an individual's birthday in Rune Factory 2. In fact, in the 1st Generation, the character will tell you the date when he/she reaches a specific heart level. As soon as this occurs, the date will be added to the Calendar on the wall of your Farmhouse.

Where 2nd Generation characters are concerned, however, ALL their birthdays will be included on the Calendar from the start of the 2nd Generation.

As I explained in an earlier post, if you give the designated Birthday Gift to an individual on any day other than his/her actual birthday, you will be told that the character loves the item but would rather have it on his/her birthday.
You may notice that the items that Roy and Cammy loved best when they were younger children no longer are their favourites in the 2nd Generation. I still need to discover if the Special Birthday Gift item for each remains constant through both generations.

A similar situation occurs both in Harvest Moon DS and Harvest Moon Cute DS with respect to the characters such as Kate and Hugh who become young adults in the course of the game. Their favourite items change as they become more mature.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Rare War Trophies in Rune Factory 2

This information will be included in detail in my General Guide and my Bestiary and Caves Guide for Rune Factory 2 on Monday, but for those players who are frustrated by their inability to obtain a couple of items, the solution to this is to use a Magic Spell.

There is very little in any Harvest Moon game that does not have some purpose and Rune Factory 2 is no exception. You need to have the Inquisitive Waltz Spellbook and the aid of a Tame Monster to find the elusive Poison Powder and a couple of other items...

Rune Factory 2, like Island of Happiness, is such an immense game even where its basic plot is concerned, that one may be inclined to forget that ALL Harvest Moon games include secrets that are not obvious to the player and which must be discovered.

When one begins to use the Forge and Workbench in the 2nd Generation, one finally can use the War Trophies one has collected from Monsters in the Caves. As the list of items grows, one may assume that all rare items that cannot be grown as crops are 'dropped' by Monsters. This is NOT the case, however. There are a few rare items that must be 'found' by a Tame Monster.

The use of the 'Inquisitive Waltz' in this game really is quite wonderful. Once again, I am reminded of playiing the flute for my dog in 'Save the Homeland'. That was one of the best options in that game.

Here is a little visual tutorial on how to find and use the Inquisitive Waltz to uncover the rare Poison Powder.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Finding Characters during Requests in Rune Factory 2

This information is included in my General Guide and my Requests Guide as well, but perhaps is worth a post here.

Every character in Rune Factory 2, both in the 1st and in the 2nd Generation, has a set schedule of movements. As in any Harvest Moon game, locations may vary according to the day of the week, the time of day and the weather. I have added some of this information to my Characters Guide and intend to add ALL of it as time permits.

Meanwhile, however, this information is not really as important as it may be in other Harvest Moon games simply because there is a character in Rune Factory 2 who is willing to tell you the current location of ANY individual in Alvarna! Alicia's fortune-telling skills include the option to discover the current location of any character for 20G. In many cases, you will get two or three locations for the price of one, as some characters are grouped together in her locations menu.

This can be particularly useful during a Request situation when characters may NOT be in their usual location simply because the nature of the Request requires that the individual be somewhere else.

For example, when Natalie asks for a housesitter, the fact that she is out and about gathering rare herbs means that she will not be in her usual location.

Here is the Event from my game journal:
Natalie’s Request
Natalie: I need to prepare some medicine, so I need some wild herbs.
Me: You want me to collect them? But the posting said…
Natalie: It’s an herb that’s hard to spot, so it’d be too difficult for you, Freyr. I’ll go and get it, but could you watch over the clinic while I’m gone? Ray and Dorothy are also here, but I’d feel better if I knew you were keeping an eye on things.
Me: (with tear): (I don’t think I’m any more responsible than Ray, but if it makes Natalie feel better…)
Natalie: Will you watch over the place for me?
Me: Well, okay, but… What should I do if a patient comes?
Natalie: I won’t be long, so you shouldln’t have to worry, but if a patient comes, just tell them to wait.
She strides out at once.
I turn to face the door.
Me: She’s gone… I wish she had at least told me where she was going… Anyway, what am I going to do if someone with an emergency comes? Oh, Dorothy is here, so maybe it’ll be okay.
Dorothy: No… no way! I’m just an apprentice nurse. A nurse can’t do a medical examination, anyway!
Me: Really?
Dorothy; Yes… So, um, if something happens…
Me: If something happens, I should go get Dr. Natalie?
Cammy enters now.
Cammy: Whaaaaaa! Whaaaaa! My stomach hurts!!!
Me: Cammy! Are you okay?
Cammy: Ow! It hurts! Hey, where’s the doctor?
Me: Uh, she’s out at the moment.
Cammy: What?! But my stomach hurts!!!! Whaaaa! Whaaaa!
Me: Uh, wait just a minute. I’ll go get her right now.
Cammny: Okay…
Me: (I’d better find the doctor while the clinic is still open, or this will be serious! Gotta hurry!)
The quickest way to find Natalie is by asking Alicia for a Location reading.
She will tell you: Natalie is in Messhina Valley – Serene Garden.
Natalie is near the river on the screen with the Buffamoo where there are two garden plots.
Natalie: Oh, Freyr, is it an emergency?
Me: Yes. Cammy says her stomach hurts.
Natalie: Oh dear, that’s awful. Let’s hurry back.
Me: Okay.
Go back to the Clinic. You’ll have to speak to Natalie to continue the Event.
Natalie: Ok, Cammy. Let’s see how you’re doing. Does it hurt here?
Cammy: No, that feels okay.
Natalie: How about here?
Cammy: Ough! That hurts!
Natalie: Okay. You’re fine. You just ate too much. You’ll feel better in a little while.
Cammny: Really? Oh, good! I was so worried since it hurt so much.
Natalie: What did you eat?
Cammy: Popcorn, pancakes, and then apple juice with a steamed jellyroll cake.
Natalie: No wonder! Of course your stomach will hurt after pigging out like that! Why did you east so much?
Cammie: I had a fight with Roy and I got so mad I just ate everything.
Natalie: Binge eating… You’re about 10 years too young for that sort of thing.
Cammy: Really?
Natalie: Yes. No more overeating, okay?
Cammy: Okay. Thank you, doctor! My stomach feels better now, so I’m going back home.
She leaves.
Me: Great job once again, Natalie.
Ntalie: Well, it was an easy diagnosis. The problem usually is something simple.
Me: Huh. Live and learn.
Sorry to take so much of your time. But, thanks to you, I found the hearbs I needed. Thank you! Here’s a token of my appreciation.
You got: 300G!
Me: Thank you very much. By the way, Natalie, how can you go to a place with so many monsters?
Natalie: Oh, my scalpel has some very serious enchantments on it. No monsters would dare mess with me.
Me: Oh, really?
Natalie: Yes. It’s incredibly sharp. You can tell that Tanya made it.
It’s so rare, even the royal doctors of Norad are envious of it.
Me: Wow, that’s really something.
Natalie: I think she spends a little too much time with swords, but she certainly is talented.
Me: Yes.
Natalie: Thank you for your help today. I couldn’t have done it without you.
If I speak to her again after:
Natalie: Next time you have a bad injury, Freyr, I’ll fix you up for free, okay?
Me: Sounds good1 I’ll try to be careful not to get hurt in the first place, though.

Entrance to Palermo Shrine

This information is included in my General Guide for Rune Factory 2 but for players who cannot find it or who still have questions about the method of obtaining entry to the Palermo Shrine, here is a little visual tutorial:

When your Heart is set on an Item in Rune Factory 2

I probably should add this as a postcript to an existing post about Weapons and Accessories but for those who like posts that deal only with ONE topic, I will keep it separate.

If your heart is set on a specific Weapon or Accessory in Rune Factory 2, but it is not sold by Tanya and you haven't the skill to make it yet, you have two options:

1. Make Weapons/Accessories that require LESS skill until you raise your experience level to the point where you do have sufficient skill to make the desired item; or...
2. Stubbornly attempt the project at your Forge or Workbench again and again until it is successful.

The first option is the obvious one, but the second actually is a possible choice. You may see a '0% success rate' when you first begin to attempt the project but that WILL change. Depending on your current Skill Level and the Skill Level required to create the item successfully, it may appear to take FOREVER before your attempts meet with success but success WILL occur at some point.

Remember that the Success Rate percentage displayed in the Forge or Workbench box when it reaches 100% is that required to gurantee success. At any lower percentage, that simply represents your chances of success when you attempt the project. At 0% success, you have NO chance of succeeding, but each attempt will increase your Skill levels.

Although the next percentage level from zero is only 1% success rate, the level after 1% is 10%, a significant increase. I have made many Weapons and Accessories successfully with nothing more than 10% success rate in the box.

It is a very tedious option, however, and I would recommend that players raise their skill levels by making items that have good success rate percentages, then upgrading them to Level 10 at the Forge or Workbench as advised in my General Guide. Using those upgraded items as ingredients to create better items will result in a new item with a higher Level than Level 1, so your labours will not have been wasted.

The only reason I have attempted Weapons or Accessories when I still had only a zero or 1% chance of succeeding was to use rare ingredients that I did not wish to store any longer. Storage space ALWAYS is a problem for me in Harvest Moon. It can be even more of a problem in a game like Rune Factory or Rune Factory 2, where War Trophies are not always Level 1 and therefore may not be stackable, even when they are the same generic types. That can be a problem both on the field of battle and at home. The Skill Seals that you obtain from Barrett in the 2nd Generation quickly can fill your Rucksack and leave your character with few empty slots when he/she goes out to fight. When you then obtain three items that are the same type but all at different levels, that makes your life even more difficult. Other players may not have a psychological problem where tossing out items is concerned, but I do. Trained by other Harvest Moon games NEVER to litter, it is difficult for me to toss out a Level 1 War Trophy or a piece of ore when there is no slot for it in my Rucksack. My packrat instincts further limit my choices.

In any event, the reason for this post is to assure players that, if they actually salivate at the prospect of obtaining a specific Weapon or Accessory when their Skill levels remain insufficient to create it, provided always that they have a supply of Rune Points in their field to restore energy levels lost a the Forge or the Workbench, they can attempt the ambitious project again and again and again, ad nauseum, until they emerge with the item of their dreams!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Boss Monsters in the 2nd Generation of Rune Factory 2

I made this little video tutorial very quickly, but hope it will help in guiding players through some of the initial 2nd Generation goals that lead to the entrance to the Palermo Shrine:

Remember that you need ALL Fragments from all four Stone Tablets before Barrett will be able to talk about the Dragon Break spell.

Easy Accessory Projects in Rune Factory 2

I believe I have discussed this in another post that deals with Lessons in the 2nd Generation of Rune Factory, but it may be useful, especially for Harvest Moon players with little experience in playing traditional RPG games, to continue this topic.

Rune Factory 2 includes all basic aspects of any Harvest Moon game such as farming, ranching, fishing, and mining as well as that of collecting items. The combat option, however, adds a new dimension to the 'collecting' aspect of the game.

Monsters who drop 'War Trophies' must be defeated in order to yield an item. They do not drop a Chest containing an item every time you defeat them, but it is a result that will occur periodically. Taking a Monster Ally with you into combat appears to increase your chances of obtaining War Trophies somewhat. It depends somewhat on the type of Monster as each has his/her own distinctive method of fighting. I have found the Wolves, both the Silver and Hunter varieties to be wonderful procurers of War Trophies in the Caves.

The purpose of this post, however, is to discuss Accessories rather than War Trophies.

A player with little experience of RPG games may underestimate the important of choosing the right weapon and equipment for combat in any given situation. He/she further may underestimate the need to raise experience and Skill Levels for the purpose of defeating Monsters (or taming them!)

Increasing skills in forging and creating Accessories are the key to obtaining the best weapons and equipment in Rune Factory 2. Although some weapons and accessories can be obtained by completing Requests, they are not the best that will become available to you provided you have sufficient skill levels to make them yourself.

A traditional Harvest Moon player with no RPG experience must learn how to interpret the descriptions of Weapons and Equipment in order to maximise success and minimise pain and loss.

For example, if you go to the Blacksmith to buy an Accessory, you may find the Field Gloves a little lacking in value if you do not pay close attention to your Statistics. After all, the item has zero Defence capability.

Field Gloves: Level 1, Defence 0
Protect your hands from blisters and calluses. No farmer should be without a pair.
STR up, BODY up

Is there any point in buying them, apart from their potential use as an ingredient in a Recipe to create something better?

In fact, by 'upgrading' the Field Gloves at your Workbench, you can make them into a rather marvelous Accessory in the early stages of the 2nd Generation.

You will find that there is an option to ‘upgrade’ basic items in the 2nd Generation. You can do this at the Forge or Workbench or you can trade over wi-fi with another player to increase the levels of your items. It is better to do it at your own Forge or Workbench for one simple but important reason: doing so will increase your own Skill Levels.

You will use materials each time you upgrade an item but the advantage in terms of increasing both Skill Levels and the power of the item itself are significant.

As the Field Gloves increases both Strength and Body, you will find the following effects with Level 7 Field Gloves. All it takes to upgrade the Field Gloves, by the way, is a single piece of CHEAP CLOTH.

Field Gloves: Level 7, Defence 6
Protect your hands from blisters and calluses. No farmer should be without a pair.
Increases STR and BODY: +5 STR +5 ATK +1 DEF +1 VIT

Another example of an easy upgrade is the ‘Cheap Bracelet’.
A Level 1 basic Cheap Bracelet has the following values:

Cheap Bracelet: 740G
Level 1; Defence: 1
Selling Price: 370G

Cheap Bracelet: Level 10, Defence 11

Each time you upgrade it at your Workbench, you will raise ALL values, including the Selling Price. You only need two pieces of Iron to perform an upgrade to this Bracelet. It is worth doing for the increase in your own Skill Levels if not for its own sake, although three upgrades to the Cheap Bracelet will increase its Defence point value to 4 and at the maximum level of upgrade, Level 10, as shown, it will give you 11 Defence Points!

When your Skill Levels increase a little, you should make upgrades to your Leather Boots. Only one piece of Bronze is required for each upgrade to the Leather Boots and each will raise your Defence by 1 Point.

Again, another reason for performing the Upgrades is to increase your Skills at the Workbench. Otherwise, you never will be able to make a ‘better’ class of Accessories.

Granted, a Silver or Gold Bracelet is superior to the Cheap Bracelet even before these superior Bracelets have been upgraded. It does require a far higher level of skill at the Workbench to create either, however, not to mention all the Gold and Silver in each.

Make maximum upgrades to the most basic low-level Weapons and Accessories to increase your Skill Levels as well as improving the only Weapons and Accessories available to you in the early stages of the 2nd Generation. As time passes, you will raise your Skill Levels to the point where you can create better items.

Meanwhile, Accessories with Defence Points really can make a big difference in combat. This may appear obvious to some, but all the emails I have received both with respect to the original Rune Factory and Rune Factory 2 have made it clear to me that a large percentage of players really are oblivious to the fundamental rules of an RPG game. They go into the Caves with a bsic weapon, no shield, and no Accessories and then wonder why their HP is reduced to zero before they can make any progress against their targets. Defence is as important in any RPG as your character's ability to Attack. Rune Factory and Rune Factory 2 may be 'Fantasy Harvest Moon' games with all the best elements of ANY Harvest Moon game, but they are RPGs as well.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Tip about Invaders of all kinds in Sims 2 for the DS

I wrote my guide for Sims 2 for the DS a couple of years ago when the game first was released. Notwithstanding this, the game apparently remains extremely popular as I continue to receive emails about it on an almost daily basis. The game is fun and I would recommend it to any one who enjoys the rather bizarre elements of any Sims universe and particularly to any one who fantasises about becoming the Hotel Manager of an establishment that can be upgraded immensely to include art galleries, a Casino and other odd amenities including an alien dissection chamber and a Ratticator Batman-style hidden den. Mummies walk and aliens invade...

The reason for this post is not to review the game but to make players aware of one of the most common problems in Sims 2 DS and its very simple solution. When players attempt to use their water gun to repel any invaders or to stop Lord Mole from gnawing on the electrical wires, they complain often that it 'doesn't work'. The reason for this is simply that the water pressure is insufficient! Pump up the water pressure and your 'weapon' will operate at full capacity, stopping Lord Mole in his tracks and repelling any number of aliens or thugs...

Another successful strategy in terms of any 'invasion' is to put on your Ratticator suit. As the Ratticator, you can fight the aliens, robots and thugs without having to worry about your own safety. Only the water gun works on Lord Mole though.

When your Rucksack/Pocket is Full in Harvest Moon

In a comment, a player asked me why the Seed Maker did not work in Rune Factory 2. I will add this warning to my Rune Factory 2 General Guide but thought it merited a brief post here as well.

In most Harvest Moon games, including Rune Factory 2, you must have empty slots in your Rucksack or Pockets if you wish to perform any activity that yields an item. Whether in Harvest Moon DS/Harvest Moon Cute DS or Rune Factory 2, if you attempt to create Seeds using a Seed Maker, you will be unable to do so if you do not have an empty slot in your Rucksack for the resulting bag of seeds. There is no other special requirement in Rune Factory 2 where any of the Makers are concerned. If your Rucksack is full, you will be unable to use the Seed Maker.

Even the game itself will warn you about this potential problem when you press ‘A’ in front of the Seed Maker. You will obtain a prompt to the effect that:
‘Creates seeds from Crops. It won’t work if you don’t have room in your Backpack.’
Seeds, unlike Cheese or Yarn, are treated as tools rather than items and therefore cannot be held in your hands. You need to clear a slot in your Rucksack for the resulting product whenever you wish to use the Seed Maker.

Remember here that when items can be stacked, you need to be aware of the fact that separating ONE item from the stack to use in a Maker will create a new item that cannot be added to the stack and cannot occupy the slot where the original item lived! If you have 9 Tomatoes in your Rucksack and wish to create one bag of Tomato Seeds, therefore, you need an empty slot for those seeds. Unless you use all 9 of the Tomatoes to create 9 bags of seeds, the resulting product will not be able to occupy the slot that the original item occupied.

There is one situation where, even if your Rucksack has sufficient slots for a new Product, you will be unable to use the Seed Maker. This will occur whenever you attempt to create Seeds after accepting any Request. For the duration of any Request, the Seed Maker will not function!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Sharpening your Skills and Weapons in Rune Factory 2

As I have received quite a few emails from players asking how best to increase their skills at the forge in Rune Factory 2, I decided to write a little post about that.

When you begin to work at the Forge, you cannot think as much in terms of making the items you really want as making the items that are within reach of your poor Skills.
Fortunately, the lowest level of project is that of upgrading your basic old Rusty Tools. These all require no more than Level 5 Skill and although your chances of success are not guaranteed, each time you attempt a project at the Forge, your Skill Level will increase a little, even if not by an entire Level.

As with any Skill Levels, whether in farming, combat, cooking or forging, actual Levels will increase more slowly as you reach higher Levels. In other words, to raise your Level from 1 to 2 requires little effort, but to raise it from 10 to 11 will take far longer.

Success in terms of any project is NOT what determines a Skill Level increase, happily. It is practice that increases Levels, whether or not you actually succeed or fail! You therefore will benefit each time you attempt a project at the forge, even if the result is a Failure again and again. Your Skill Level ultimately will increase, giving you a better chance of success with the project at hand as you continue to attempt it.

As soon as you have upgraded your Basic tools to the next level, you should upgrade them once more, as the second upgrade requires only Level 9 Skill at the Forge and you will find those Tools far superior to the basic Tools.

After these projects have been completed, you will struggle a little as you attempt to raise your Forging Skill from Level 10 to Level 20. There are few new projects that can be completed with guaranteed success initially at Level 10. You will be obliged to fail again and again unless you are extremely lucky, and indeed, luck will determine success at this stage!

This is where you may wish to upgrade the Steel Sword, as it requires only Level 14 Skill and uses only a single piece of Iron for each upgrade.

Useful items and upgrades between Level 10 Skill and Level 20 Skill include:

Steel Sword Upgrade, Level 14
Ingredients: Steel Sword, Iron

Staff Upgrade, Level 17
Ingredients: Staff, Bronze, Emerald

Silver Staff Recipe, Level 18
Ingredients: Rod, Rock, Silver, Apple, Cheap Cloth, Sparkle String

Defender Upgrade, Level 19
Ingredients: Defender, Iron, Bronze, Silver

Bronze Shield Upgrade, Level 20
Ingredients: Bronze Shield, Bronze x 2

Needle Spear Recipe, Level 20
Ingredients: Spear, Spore, Strong String, Plant Stem, Iron, Bronze

There are other Recipes as well between Level 10 and Level 20, but the ones I have listed do not require any ingredients that are difficult to procure.

There are some Recipes for two-handed Weapons at these Levels as well, but I personally would advise players to use one-handed Weapons with a Shield in the early stages of the 2nd Generation to improve your chance of survival in combat with powerful Monsters.

Although you have two Accessory Slots that can be equipped with defensive items, a Shield can add a few Defence points as well. Even with ‘Cure’ and ‘Medication’ to restore your HP during combat, you give yourself more protection if you equip a Shield. That effectively means that two-handed Swords, combat Axes and Hammers are to be avoided until your character acquires higher Statistics in terms of his/her personal Level as opposed to Weapons Level.

Although making the Basic Weapons that Tanya sells at her Smithy will increase your Skill Levels, most of those require quite a few ingredients. The items needed are not difficult to obtain, but the quantity of ore needed to produce one Basic Weapon can equal that required for three upgrades of the same Weapon. Whether you choose to use your ore to forge the Basic Weapon yourself or whether you choose to buy the Basic Weapon from Tanya, then perform many upgrades with the ore you have collected is a matter of personal preference in the end.

Incidentally, although you need to have the 'Recipe' in order to create a Weapon or item successfully at the Forge, you do not have to highlight it in the Menu. As long as you place the correct ingredients in the 'Forging Box', you can attempt the project. The success rate will be diaplayed as zero simply because you have not highlighted the Recipe, but the actual success rate will be determined as always by your Skill Level.

An important limitation to 'Upgrades' should be noted here. The highest upgrade to an item that you can make is Level 10. After that, the Weapon or Accessory no longer will increase in capacity. Performing upgrades after an item has reached the maximum Level 10 WILL continue to increase your Skill Level but it will not improve the actual item.

Nonetheless, at a very early stage in the 2nd Generation, you can perform the following upgrades to make it possible for rather low quallity weapons to operate at a far higher capacity:

Windsword: Level 10, Attack 47
Leather Boots: Level 10, Defence 11

These are only two examples of items I particularly like but the principle applies to any Weapon and Accessory.

By the way, if you are wondering whether you 'waste' upgraded weapons or accessories by using them as ingredients to create a new item rather than using a Level 1 weapon or accessory, the upgraded item is NOT wasted by any means.

Using a Level 1 Windsword as an ingredient in creating an Aerial Blade will result in a Level 1 Aerial Blade. Using a Level 10 Windsword, on the other hand, results in a Level 3 Aerial Blade.

Unfortunately, the upgraded item only 'counts' towards the result when it is a Weapon or Accessory in its own right. In other words, using a Level 5 Wind Crystal or Level 5 Quality Cloth in any Recipe will not have any more value than a Level 1 Wind Crystal or Quality Cloth. Where it is an item that you have upgraded yourself, however, it will improve the Levels of the resulting item.

Finally, to answer a player's question, you CAN trade items with other players using the Wi-Fi link at the Mirror on the upper floor of the Farmhouse. There is nothing wrong with this approach, but remember that one of the major goals in Rune Factory and Rune Factory 2 is to increase your own Skill Levels so that you can create the BEST items in the game. As I explained earlier in this post, upgrading your own items at the Forge or Workbench is one of the few ways by which you can increase your skill levels early in the 2nd Generation. There is a good reason for EVERYTHING usually in any Harvest Moon game. Yes, you could trade your Level 1 Windsword back and forth with another player to upgrade it, but that would keep your own Forging Skill at its existing level. It would be better to upgrade your own items in the early stages of the 2nd Generation and use the trading option LATER, once you have achieved the Skill Levels that allow you to create the best items in the game!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Special Birthday Gift Items in Rune Factory 2

In most Harvest Moon games, when you give an individual any item he/she particularly likes as a birthday gift, it will be acknowledged as such and heart levels in many circumstances increase far more than they would on any other day.

This is the case, for example, in HM DS and Cute DS, where a birthday gift of ANY item that is liked by the character will have its ordinary value multiplied by 5.

In Rune Factory 2, however, birthday gifts are treated a little differently from other Harvest Moon games. For each individual, there is only ONE item that will be recognised as a proper birthday gift. If you give the character any other item on his/her birthday, there will be no recognition whatsoever of it as a birthday gift.

This information has been included now in a special section in my Characters Guide but it may be helpful to post it here as well.

Here is a list of all characters and their responses:

Julia for Seafood Pizza: I don’t really want to eat something so fattening right now. If it were my birthday or something it’d be different.
Mana: I love this, but I would’ve preferred it on my birthday.
EMERALD RING for Alicia:
Alicia: I love this, but… I would have liked it on my birthday.
HOT MILK for Rosalind:
Rosalind: Thank you, Freya, but I’d hoped to get this on my birthday.
Dorothy for Strawberry Jam: Thank you… I’d love to get this for my birthday…
Ceci for Aquamarine Brooch; I really like those, but I’d prefer one on my birthday.
Yue: Oh, it looks delicious! Is that really for me? This would taste even better if it was my birthday!

Other 1st Generation Characters:
Max: Thanks! But it really would have bene perfect for a birthday present.
PLATINUM for Jake:
Jake: Don’t give this to me when it’s not going to mean anything. You’re supposed to give it to me on a special day. Like my birthday, for example.
Barrett: What’s this, all of a sudden? Is that a present for me? That would be a perfect gift if you gave it to me on my birthday.
GRAPE JUICE for Ray: 'It's my birthday.'
RUBY RING for Tanya:
Tanya: Oh, that’s lovely. Is it for me? This is like… a birthday present, isn’t it!
FRIED RICE for Douglas:
Douglas: I love these, but I would prefer one on my birthday.
FRIED UDON for Natalie:
Natalie: I love this, but… I would have liked it on my birthday.
CURRY RICE for Herman:
Herman: (Much obliged!) Thaaaaaank you! Incidentally, I’d be really happy if you gave this to me on my birthday too.
Egan is Stew: This looks really good. It’s definitely the kind of thing I’d want to eat on my birthday.
Gordon: You’re giving this to me even though it’s not my birthday? I’d enjoy it more then. Ba ha ha ha!
Byron: Oh, this looks wonderful! What’s brought this on? It isn’t even my birthday! This would make the perfect birthday gift, though, wouldn’t it? Hah hah hah!
Roy: Heh heh heh, that’s my favourite. Maybe some one will give it to me for my birthday…?
Cammy: That looks delicious! I’d love to eat that on my birthday!

Here is a little 'visual guide' I made of all Birthdays and Special Gift Items for each character:

If any one has noted a different response from Ray when he is given Grape Juice, please let me know. My information is taken from the test version of the game.

Finally, I need to make a public apology for a false assumption I made very early in the game. I should know better by now than to make assumptions in ANY Harvest Moon game based on previous games...

In my Characters Guide, I wrote that Herman liked 'all cooked dishes', basing this on his negative response to a raw ingredient, assuming that he would be like the Gourmet in other Harvest Moon games.

In fact, in Rune Factory 2, there are only a couple of items that ANY character truly likes, and only one item that is recognised as a birthday gift, as stated previously in this post.

Herman loves Pineapple Juice, for example. He will state: (Much obliged.)
Isn't this... a PINEAPPLE JUICE???). Are you giving this to me? Thaaaaaank you!

Another false assumption I made in the 1st Generation, as one could not cook at the time in order to TEST his statements, was that I believed Herman when he spoke admiringly about specific items such as Tomato Juice. In fact, if you GIVE him Tomato Juice, he will ask you what in the world he should do with it, which is his standard response to an unwanted gift! His warm recommendations, like the 'urban legends' he and Rosalind tend to spread at specific heart levels, must be taken with more than one grain of salt!

I intended to correct this aspect of the Characters Guide sooner, but it slipped my mind with my recent focus on the birthday items and the Bestiary and Caves aspect of Rune Factory 2. The Characters Guide will be updated PROPERLY today!

Your Child in Rune Factory 2

I am receiving so many questions about this that I felt it might be useful to create a post about it.

In Rune Factory 2, when your wife becomes pregnant shortly after your marriage, you will have the opportunity to choose the gender of your Child. You can choose to have a boy or a girl or leave the choice to 'destiny' (50% chance either way obviously).

There are only two possible Children in this game: a boy and a girl. Their appearance is set. Marrying a half-elf will not affect that.

The game where the appearance AND personality of your Child will vary according to your choice of spouse is Tree of Tranquility. In THAT game, there is an individual child for each character.

Even in ToT, however, when you choose to start a 2nd Generation game, the Child will revert to the default character of either gender. It is only in the 1st Generation of ToT that your child will have an individual appearance and personality based on your choice of Spouse.

In the following, you can see both the Girl and the Boy characters on the 2nd Generation Start Page. I added some of the Outfit changes for the Girl as well.

(If any one ever wonders why the camera is so jumpy and the movements of my character so clumsy in videos, it is because I am left-handed and everything is designed for right-handed users.)

2nd Generation Flower Festival

In the 2nd Generation, you can meet each of the candidates for Romance consecutively to view the Cherry Blossoms on the occasion of the Flower Festival. I believe this may explain the odd anomaly in the 1st Generation whereby your character could ask three girls in succession to view the blossoms with him, but then could ask no others after that.

Here is the Event with each of the 'bachelors' and the dialogues of the girls:

As in the 1st Generation, speaking to every one on the day of any Festival raises heart levels. Speaking to any candidate for Romance raised both Love and Friendship levels.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Deceptive Harvest Moon Trivia Quiz

In Rune Factory 2, you can unlock new areas of each of the four seasonal Caves/Dungeons in the 2nd Generation either by simply slipping through the gates that were impassable in the 1st Generation or by satisfying the specific requirements given by each of the Altars/Stone Guardians that act as barriers.

The requirements for each Altar/Stone Guardian differ. In some cases, a request for a specified number of items will be made in the form of a riddle. In others, it is simply a matter of defeating a given number of Monsters at a certain location. In one case, though, you will be given a Rune Factory 2 trivia quiz.

The four trivia questions are deceptively simple but if you are a veteran Harvest Moon player, rather ironically, you will be more likely to give the wrong answers than a player who never played any game other than Rune Factory 2.

the first two questions are the trickiest. The third may give a little trouble if players have too many conflicting memories as well. The fourth is the only one that is straightforward.

Question 1. What is the name of the Event in the fourth week of Summer?
A. Dance Festival
B. Harvest Festival
C. Flower Festival
D. Fishing Festival

Question 2. This one is easy! Which none of thses cannot be grown in Summer?
A. Tomato
B. Corn
C. Onion
D. Eggplant

Question 3. Fireflies can be seen in Summer. What time do they normally come out?

A. 6 p.m.
B. 7 p.m.
C. 10 p.m.
D. 1 a.m.

Question 4. Two monsters can be found at Blessia Island - Clifftop during the day. They are Flower Lion and...?
A. Goblin Don
B. Chipsqueek
C. Troll
D. Goblin Gangster

For those who are unfamiliar with the Calendar in Rune Factory 2, the Festivals that are the choices in Question 1 occur as follows:
19 Summer: Dance Festival
13 Autumn: Harvest Festival
13 Spring: Flower Festival
25 Summer: Fishing Contest

Why then is this question tricky? If a player remembers the peculiarity of Rune Factory's Calendar, there won't be any problem. If, however, he/she thinks in terms of a 7 day Week, the answer will be wrong.

As for the second Question, I remarked upon this in a previous post when I first began to play Rune Factory 2. The traditional Harvest Moon seasons for Crops have been altered in Rune Factory 2. Two of the Crops given as choices here ARE Summer Crops in every Harvest Moon game, including Rune Factory 2. The other two are assigned to a different season in Rune Factory 2 from the one they ordinarily would be assigned in other Harvest Moon games. That is why the answer to Question 2 will be easier for some one who never played any other Harvest Moon game!

When you answer all four questions correctly, the barrier will dissolve and you will be given another fragment of the Stone Tablet.

Incidentally, for all those players who have asked why Barrett fails to react when you bring him all the fragments to any Stone Tablet, it is because you need to have all the fragments of ALL four Stone Tablets...

There is a section in my General Guide that deals with the Altars/Stone Guardians in each of the four Caves. It is incomplete but should be completed by tomorrow. There is so much information to add. Rune Factory 2 is one of the largest Harvest Moon games in terms of information. I am trying very hard to complete the Caves and Bestiary sections of the Guide now and I am adding a section that lists all War Trophies with the Monster(s) who provide them and their locations. I hope to add a detailed description of each screen, the Monsters and items found on each, as well as the locations of every Altar/Stone Guardian.

Monster Behaviour in 2nd Generation of Rune Factory 2

This information is included in my Guides now but I thought it might be useful to add a post about Monster Behaviour in the 2nd Generation.

First of all, your Tame Monsters from the 1st Generation are inherited with their existing Heart Levels by your Child and, as 9 years has passed between the end of the 1st Generation and the start of the 2nd, they have become far more skillful in the interim. When you begin the 2nd Generation game, any Tame Monsters who work as 'fieldhands' will be able to perform efficiently and two Monsters from the 1st Generation set to the task of watering your Crops can cover the entire field each day.

As far as Monster Companions in the Caves are concerned, there are advantages and disadvantages to their presence. If you are trying to tame a Monster, you must take care that your Ally doesn't defeat the Monster you almost have succeeded in taming! Instead, lead him/her to the Generator or to the other variety of Monster on the screen, then send him/her home quickly before the attack on your own taming target occurs.

Spells used in the Caves/Dungeons work both on you and on your Monster Ally. If your Monster is poisoned, therefore, you can use Medication to cure him/her. The same is true with respect to Cure and Escape. When you use Escape, it is your character who actually is affected by the Spell, I believe. Your Monster will arrive next to you simply because he/she follows you everywhere.

When you are in hostile territory, therefore, you need to be aware of your Monster's status at every moment if you want to keep him/her with you. When HP reaches zero, the Monster Ally simply will return to the Barn, but that may be inconvenient if you were hoping to use his/her aid again in the same visit to the Caves.

Finally, when an Altar/Stone Guardian requires the defeat of a specific number of Monsters as its 'price', any Monsters defeated by a Monster ally appear to count towards the total. I need to test this again, though, because I was fighting at the Ally's side and may have delivered some of the blows myself...

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Yue Holds the Key to a Better Life in the 2nd Generation

In Rune Factory 2, although you need to order all building expansions from Byron, it actually is Yue who offers the items that allow you to take advantage of the upgrades.

A new option will appear in Yue's Menu in the 2nd Generation, offering 'Bargains' to your character. Bargains are available only on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. If you ask for a Bargain on any other day, Yue will declare that she has 'sold out' of all Bargains. Furthermore, if you do not have a Workshop, you will not be able to access the choices in the Bargain Menu. If you do not own a Kitchen, you will not be able to access the Cookware Bargains on Friday.

It is Yue who will sell the Small and Large Kitchens needed if you wish to cook the Recipes learned in your Lessons at School. It is she who sells the actual Forge and Pharmacy bench. Yue offers additional storage space in the form of a new Refrigerator and Shelves that can be purchased from her on Wednesday. Finally, Yue sells all the Cookware in the form of the old Harvest Moon 'Utensils' and moreover, sells all six Makers as a set.

Without Yue's Bargains, you will find that your new Workshop is nothing more than a big empty Room!

All this information is included in my General Guide now but here is a little video tutorial about Yue's Bargains:

Updates for Rune Factory 2

Just a brief note to let players know that basic Characters information for the 2nd Generation was added to the Characters Guide. Information for unlocking all areas in Trieste Forest in the 2nd Generation was added to the General Guide yesterday and both updates have been published. I need to add 2nd Generation information to the Requests Guide and information about more of the Monsters and 2nd Generation Caves both to the Bestiary and Caves Guide and to the General Guide...

I am compiling a Recipe Cookbook Guide simply because the Recipes are so detailed in terms of style and enjoyable to read. You don't really NEED a Recipe Guide for Rune Factory 2 as much as you do in other Harvest Moon games, although a Recipe/Cookbook Guide will be useful to allow you to collect ingredients in advance for any item you wish to make!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Monsters in the 2nd Generation of Rune Factory 2

Some players expressed some concern that, if they spent too much time in the 1st Generation polishing their Skills, they would not find the 2nd Generation challenging enough in terms of combat.

Let me assure these players that this will NOT be the case by any means! I did not have my combat levels quite at maximum when I moved forward to the 2nd generation in my test game but, even so, my Skills were more than decent both in regular Weapons and in Magic. Nonetheless, there are Monsters in the 2nd Generation who could 'knock my socks off' as it were. I could defeat any Monster ultimately but it wasn't easy in every case.

It does appear that one will meet with the best success if one follows the Seasons in terms of exploring 2nd Generation Caves. That is how the game intended progression to occur and it does make sense, although you can change the order if you like. As a matter of fact, in my very first day in the 2nd Generation, I walked to the northern screen in the Trieste Forest rather carelessly and thereby encountered the 'Boss' Monster in the form of the Terror Tree. I actually was able to defeat him without any of the 2nd Generation Magic Spells like Cure... and indeed it does not affect the plot much to do things out of order. I didn't save the result, however, as I wanted to experience dialogues with characters BEFORE I bested that particular Monster.

There are 'ordinary' Monsters who can be more challenging than the 'Boss' Monsters actually. It is even more challenging when you wish to tame a Monster rather than defeat it.

The Blackbirds in the 2nd Generation will destroy stumps on your field for you but they are both very vicious and fast, with multiple attacks that can reduce your HP to zero in an instant if you fail to use 'Cure'. While engaged in petting them to try to tame them, you must endure punishing attacks. They are very useful, however, until you are able to increase your Forging Skills to the point where you can upgrade your Tools. Recipes in general take time to learn, as neither Mana nor Barreet will teach more than two lessons each day and the holiday is a true holiday in terms of School attendance. (I use the term 'Recipes' not only for Cooked Dishes but for the Forge and Pharmacy.)

I am updating my Rune Factory 2 General Guide with 2nd Generation material as quickly as I can. Among other things, I have added to the Bestiary...

It is only in the 2nd Generation that you can encounter the adorable Chipsqueek Monster. It is fitting that he was chosen as the plush toy for Rune Factory 2.

N.B. The miniature sword in the photograph has a damascus steel blade and carved mammoth ivory handle. I'm afraid that the blade has been neglected a little and needs to be both oiled and sharpened! It is a 'working' sword of tempered Damascus, even if it is sized for a pocket princeling or pocket Valkyrie.

Easy Lesson for Cooking in Rune Factory 2

Having vowed to myself that I would not spend any more time on videos, I somehow persuaded myself that a little tutorial to help players obtain all the upgrades necessary for Cooking and Forging as well as a brief lesson in completing a successful dish might be useful. Here is Freyashawk'e Easy Cooking tutorial:

Much has been added to my Rune Factory 2 General Guide in terms of 2nd Generration information. The updated version should be published shortly.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

A Pedant's Delight: Random Knowledge in Games


A Pedant never should be confused with descriptions with similar prefixes but which are negative 'tags' associated with illegal desires connected with children. A Pedant simply is some one who loves details where knowledge is concerned, an individual who takes great joy in knowledge for its own sake. I believe I once read a review of the original Animal Crossing game, describing it as a game that would appeal greatly to pedantic individuals. I would go further and state that it truly is 'A Pedant's Delight', a place where any one with pedantic leanings can experience the thrill of acquiring little tidbits of esoteric, random knowledge at any point in time.

Blathers, of course, is the ultimate font of esoteric knowledge. With every donation you give, he will reward you with a fact or two about the item in question. Sometimes the facts are fairly well-known, but quite often, they are more esoteric in nature. His 'lectures' are delivered with the humour and wit for which he has won international fame and renown.

Natsume prides itself on producing games that combine learning and education with fun. Animal Crossing is another game that can claim the same achievement.

I am done very little fishing in the real world, although I always have loved aquariums of every sort, so do have some intrinsic interest in fish in general. I have little interest in insects in academic or practical terms, however, but even so, I am a pedantic person in many respects who loves knowledge for its own sake.
I inevitably find some of Blathers' lectures fascinating. The problem ultimately is that I seldom retain the facts that he generously dishes out for more than a minute or two.

I do believe, however, that the text of his 'lectures' has changed from Wild World to City Folk. I do not recall that the description of the Red Snapper, for example, in Wild World included the information that:

Blathers: '...right near the gills of this fish is a bone that actually looks just like the fish itself… Some cultures believe keeping one of these on you brings good luck.'

I think I would have remembered THAT. It is entirely possible that I simply forgot it and therefore was delighted anew by this trivial detail. In fact, I am inspired to search for a charm created from the Red Snapper bone in the real world. I wonder if I could find one on Ebay?

Incidentally, there IS an auction house now in the City! I need to explore it further, but I was reminded of Ebay at once, although the Gyroid in charge is far too posh to be connected with anything less than an Animal Crossing equivalent of Christie's or Sotheby's.

In many cases, it is not the facts but the way in which they are delivered that makes Blathers such a wonderful character. For the Dace, for instance, he will declare:

Blathers: 'Most fishermen think of dace as a bit of a nuisance because they interfere with catching more desired fish. This fish cares not… During spawning season, the dace dons a bright orange stripe across its belly! Even nuisance fish get the urge to dress up and strut a bit, eh wot?'

In general, Animal Crossing is filled with extraordinary dialogue that varies wildly between the truly wit-inspired and the inane. In our village, surrounded by our bizarre Animal Neighbours, we can enjoy being silly, even if our 'real' lives do not allow much time or opportunity for that sort of thing.

In fact, Animal Crossing does address the woes of 'real life' as well and the cruelty of corporate expectations. In the person of Lyle, once an insurance salesman but now the curator of the HRA in the City, you will find a creature who was judged by corporate rules and found wanting. Lyle may have been intensely irritating in Wild World, a real pest sometimes, but I would imagine that every player must have a little compassion for Lyle now when he confesses:

Lyle: 'Lyle used to have dreams… Lyle used to have it all. Big car, corner office, bang. Then it all went to pot. Know what the boss said: ‘Offices are for closers.’ Guy busted my chops! You believe it?'

Then there are characters like Chrissy, who has only the vaguest notion where important environmental subjects are concerned. When she 'recycles' an old outfit of hers by giving it to you, she may tell you:

Chrissy: 'I’m, like, totally concerned about greenhouse flashes and sustainable forest fires or whatever!'

Who on earth would not be seduced by a world filled with characters like these?

Saturday, November 29, 2008

As players have asked about Cooking, Forging and Expansions in general in the 2nd Generation of Rune Factory 2 and no updates can be made to my actual Guides until Monday, I decided to make a little visual guide for players. Here it is:

Although the Cookbooks and Cooking Classes in any Harvest Moon game are very enjoyable, the Classes at the School in the 2nd Generation of Rune Factory 2 are incredible! The amount of text and effort that went into the creation of each 'recipe' amazes me. I initially was going to write a Cookbook/Recipe Guide that simply gave the ingredients for each cooked dish, weapon, accessory and pharmaceutical potion. The text though, is too good to ignore. The Guide will include the actual text of the Recipes as time permits.

Here are a few examples of early Lessons that allow you to upgrade your Rusty Tools:

Today, let’s start by making a TIN WATERPOT. It’ll make farming a breeze. I’m gonna tell you everything you need. First, an OLD WATERPOT. After that, it’s a cinch. Use a BRONZE. Then another BRONZE. Finally some BRONZE for the gilding and you’re done.

Next is a STURDY HOE. It’ll make plowing a little bit easier. First get a RUSTY HOE ready. Then you’ll need some BRONZE, but don’t overdo it. You gotta sharpen the tip a little, so use an IRON. Then add an IRON and you’re done.

Let’s learn about making a BEGINNER’s POLE next. The first thing you’ll be needing is an OLD POLE. Next you’ll need WOOD. Wood is actually the most basic component of a BEGINNER’S POLE. Use a BRONZE to make the joint. Then another BRONZE to make sure it won’t bend.

The Sorry Fate of the Special Proposal Items in RF2

I must be one of the most sentimental individuals on the face of the earth and I am no different in games than in reality. I cannot toss out old cards or items from my past... in Rune Factory 2, of course, I kept all the Special Proposal Items from the Eligible Girls I did NOT marry, after proposing to the one I chose.

Unfortunately, storage problems made it necessary to dispose of them somehow in the next Generation. In the 1st Generation, your character can give them as gifts to the designated Eligible Girls after he marries and the responses will vary from a simple recognition of a gift to disappointment that the item was not used as it was intended. Yue, for example, will declare that the ticket has passed its 'sell-by' date. Rosalind, on the other hand, will exclaim happily of her pleasure at receiving the bouquet...

What you CANNOT do, however, is keep the items for your child to give to the girls. You will receive a prompt to the effect that it is impossible to give the item. If, in the 1st Generation, you toss any Special Proposal Item into the street, it will go into the Lost and Found, where you can retrieve it at any time.

In the 2nd Generation, absolutely beside myself with the need to clear out storage space for new items, I tossed all the unused Special Proposal Items into the street, hoping that they would be stashed in the Lost and Found. Alas, this will not occur in the 2nd Generation. The items are gone, irrevocably...

Why did I save the result? Simply because I had to dispose of the items somehow and I feared that if I knew they would vanish when tossed, I would have kept them. In my next game, however, I shall give them to the designated girls BEFORE my first character disappears into the night...

Note that you can use the Lost and Found for temporary storage of the Special Proposal Items in the 1st Generation quite safely... you simply cannot do it in the 2nd Generation.

There is one ray of hope, however, if you are very sentimental and can wait until you have built the Workshop in the 2nd Generation. On Wednesdays, Yue has special 'Bargains' in the form of vital items including a Refrigerator and Shelf that each hold 60 items. If you can stand the annoyance of having less Storage than you need until then, you will be able to stash the unused Proposal Items and still have ample space for War Trophies, Spellbooks and so on...

Basic Tips and Tricks for Animal Crossing City Folk

This information is included in my Guide now, but I thought I would share it here as the latest version of the Guide may not be uploaded immediately:

A few Basic Animal Crossing Tips and Tricks:

Animal Crossing, in any version, essentially is a game wherein you collect items. Players who love to attain 100% completion in any game will be most satisfied by Animal Crossing as there are many different collections to complete and different results for each.

There are personal private collections and public collections. The Museum collections are the ‘public’ collections that can be completed by any of the four characters living in your village. Fossils, Fish, Insects and Paintings are the subject of Museum collections but the individual who actually collects each item will have the item added to his/her personal private list as well. In that sense, it is important for each character to obtain every item in the game.

Private collections are included in the Catalogue lists at Tom Nook’s shop even when they are unique items that cannot be ordered, such as the ‘Harvest’ furniture or ‘Mush’ furniture. When you access those items in your Catalogue, you will see ‘Not for Sale’ indicated. Any ordinary items of furniture can be ordered.
There are many purposes for each item in the game. As far as household decoration is concerned, furniture, carpets and wallpaper do not exist solely in order to decorate your own house and complete your Catalogue. They are useful gifts for Animal Neighbours.

Animal Requests are an important aspect of Animal Crossing. Animals can make a request for a specific item in your Pockets, an item that is part of a theme or set or a generic item with a specific purpose, such as a ‘lampy’ item.
In fact, it is a good idea to avoid Animal Neighbours when you are carrying any unique or rare item in your Pockets as Animals ALWAYS know what is concealed in your Pockets! Almost invariably, they will ask you to give them the rare items that you carry…
You therefore have three options when carrying a rare item that you do not wish to sell or give to an Animal.
1. You can avoid any conversation with an Animal on your way to your destination;
2. You can talk to the Animal and simply take your chances, refusing to give or sell the item in question if the Animal asks for it;
3. You can attach the item temporarily to a letter and stash it in your Letters Pocket instead of leaving it in your regular Pockets. Items attached to letters cannot be ‘seen’ by any one!

The Requests by Animal Neighbours actually can benefit you in more ways than one. Accepting and completing a Request will increase the Animal’s Friendship for you. Ultimately one goal is that of becoming close friends with all your Neighbours. Another result, however, can be the acquisition of another item. When you give an item carried in your Pocket to an Animal when requested, he/she usually will give you another item in return. You therefore can ‘bait’ your Pocket with items you no longer need or want, in the hope that an Animal may request it.

When an Animal offers to buy a specific item from you, such as a Fish, Insect or Fossil, the price will be absurdly low. Accept the offer in order to increase Friendship unless the item is a rare one that you need to donate to the Museum or sell to Nook for cash.

When an Animal asks for a generic item such as a ‘lampy’ item, you can give him/her any sort of lamp or light to satisfy the request. In these cases, the Animal usually will give you an item in return.

There are other Requests that may require preparation, however, unlike Requests for items that you actually have in your Pockets.

In some cases, an Animal will request an item in a specific theme or set. For example, an Animal may request ‘Retro’ items. In such a case, you need to find an item that matches the description. Sets and Themes are listed in my Comprehensive Guide for Animal Crossing Wild World. The lists apply to City Folk as well.

In other cases, the Animal may request an item of clothing. This can be generic or specific.

Animal Neighbours and their Houses:

It is a good idea to pay attention to the interior decoration of any Animal Neighbour’s house. If you see something that you like, you may be able to obtain it for yourself. There are a few little tricks that can be employed to this end, apart from the straightforward Flea Market.

Send a letter to the Animal and attach an item to it that you think the Animal will like. If the Animal likes your gift, he/she usually will place it in his/her home, and remove an item from the house in order to do so. The rejected item often will be sent to the Recycling Bin where you can retrieve it for your own use.

Whenever you send a letter with a gift to an Animal, you usually will receive a letter and gift in return. It may not be an item that was displayed in the Animal’s own home, but it could be something quite rare and fine on occasion. The type of item you obtain can be influenced by the value of the item you sent to the Animal. If you send an inexpensive shell as a gift, you may not receive a rare item in return, but this is not a fixed rule. It is true, however, that the gift of a rare item is more likely to result in a gift for you that is rare and valuable.

Pride and Dignity are not useful traits in Animal Crossing:

You need to behave entirely without dignity or pride in ANimal Crossing. Visit the Lost and Found frequently and CLAIM everything, even though you know that you are not the rightful owner.

Visit the Recycling Bin regularly and take everything that you find there, even if it is unattractive stuff. Sell it to Nook if you like, but placing any item in your Pocket will add it to your Catalogue...

Adding to your Catalogue:

As previously stated, any item that is placed in your Pocket will be added to your Catalogue. This is a method that friends use frequently in any Animal Crossing game. Throw items from your Pocket onto the ground and allow your Friend to collect all of them. Meanwhile, collect all the items he/she has thrown on the ground. You then throw everything down again to recover your own property. Meanwhile, however, your friend's items will have been added to your Catalogue, allowing you to order them from Tom Nook.

Fishing Tips:

Every fish is visible as a shadow in the water in Animal Crossing. The size and shape of the shadow will be a clue as to the identity of the fish. There is an entire section devoted to fish shadows in my Wild World Guide and it applies to City Folk as well. Usually, more than one variety of fish will ‘share’ a shadow form.
One or two of those fish will be quite common. The other will be rare. Location, time of year, time of day and weather all are factors in the appearance of any Fish. My Wild World Guides gives all details for each variety. I will transfer the information to my City Folk walkthrough in time, but for now, use the old guide.
When you decide to target a fish, pay attention to the direction in which the water is flowing and cast your line accordingly. Water in the river moves downstream, towards the south. Cast your line ABOVE a fish and it will move slowly towards the fish, encouraging it to take the bait.

Fish sometimes will be oblivious to the bait and will not bite at all, nor even move closer to it. Recast in this situation and you may have better results. When a fish does show interest in the bait, it usually will ‘nibble’ first. Do NOT respond to this! Sometimes the fish will nibble two or three times before taking a real bite. When a fish is on the hook, it will pull more strongly on the line and begin to circle the bait. THAT is the point at which you should respond to reel it in. If you respond too early, you will lose the fish.

Insect Hunting Tips

Like Fish, Insects appear at specific locations according to season, time of day and weather. Some insects are found on the ground and netting them is simply a matter of good aim. When you miss, however, those insects will tend to move towards the nearest body of water. Try to ‘herd’ the insect away from water as once it leaps into the water, it will be lost to you. You can direct an insect’s movements even when you miss it through your own character’s position.

Some insects, like butterflies and dragonflies will appear in the air; others alight on flowers. Some insects can be found on the trunks of trees. There are insects who announce their presence by making a sound that is unique to that variety. All details are included in my Wild World Guide.

Be alert at all times in order to make the most money from your hunting and fishing activities.

Another reason to be alert is in order to be aware of Special Visitors. Special Visitors with unique items to offer will visit your Village regularly. If you miss the visit, you miss the opportunity to obtain new items or in one case, new ‘emoticons’ from the psychiatrist Dr. Shrunk. Again, my Wild World guide contains details about Special Visitors, although actual interactions differ a little in City Folk in some instances.

Finally, the Calendar is vital in Animal Crossing. I published a Calendar Guide for Wild World and you will find that it is applicable for the most part to City Folk, although there are additional Festivals in City Folk and I am working on a new Calendar specifically designed for Animal Crossing City Folk.

Animal Crossing City Folk Guide

I sent a brief introductory 'Walkthrough' for Animal Crossing City Folk to IGN yesterday. It really does not contain much information at this point, apart from some of the combinations of responses to Rover that determine specific faces and hairstyles for your character, information about the Harvest Festival and the Mush Furniture and a few prices for 'easy' items to obtain in November. What is DOES contain is the link to my Comprehensive Wild World General Guide.

Although the games are not identical, there are enough similarities to make my old Wild World Guide useful to players of City Folk. The lists are fairly exhaustive in terms of catalogue offerings, fish, insects and fossils. New items have been added to City Folk and those will be added to the Guide shortly.

Guide writing is not simply a matter of playing the game and knowing the answers. It is above all else, writing...

In fact, I have written such a volume of words that I actually worn DOWN the keys on my old laptop. When I took it for repair, the guy who looked at it declared he never had seen a laptop keyboard as worn as mine. That doesn't make me a GOOD writer, but it does mean that I type a lot of words.

Players who are impatient for completion of the 2nd Generation section of my Rune Factory 2 Guide or are impatient for completion or even additions to the City Folk Walkthrough should be conscious of the time needed to type out the information. I wish I could transfer it effortlessly and instantly from my brain to the Guide, but that is not possible.

The real point of this post is to let players know that I am quite aware of the fact that I barely scratched the surface of City Folk in the 'Walkthrough' as it stands. It was published primarily to create the link and to make players aware of the possibility of using the old Wild World guide for many aspects of the new Animal Crossing game.

In fact, if I only had a few more hourse, I could have added twice as much information, but IGN has its own deadlines... Monday's update should dou8ble if not triple the length of the 'Walkthrough'. (And will include Mars Frog as a contributor!)

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Going to School and New Characters in Rune Factory 2

This is going to be my last effort today in terms of posting new information, as it is a very busy day for me, but I wanted to share this, especially as I was unable to complete the 2nd Generation sections of my Guide before Thanksgiving.

This should help answer a few questions. Here are introductions to new characters in the 2nd Generation as well as some glimpses of the School and the classes that are taught there!

All the sophisticated skills such as forging and cooking are 2nd Generation Skills in Rune Factory 2.

A 'Gift' for Harvest Moon fans...

As Rune Factory 2 now is available to the general public, this may or may not be of interest, but here is the entrance to the 2nd Generation. It includes the 'theme' of the 2nd half of the game.

I intend to spend most of the day with Animal Crossing City Folk's Harvest Festival, after I deal with real world duties... but I thought I would share this as a little 'gift' for Thanksgiving Day.

If I were to express my 'thanks' on this day, it would be to Marvelous Interactive and Natsume for the incredible series of games that fall under the umbrella of 'Harvest Moon'...

My gratitude for 10 years of fabulous interactions with the wonderful world of Harvest Moon!