Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Priorities in Upgrading Crops in Rune Factory Frontier


When you first begin to play any Rune Factory game, you probably will be a little overwhelmed with the necessity of making money. You will buy seeds that are inexpensive and grow them simply for shipping as well as those crops that may be 'Most Favourite Gifts' for an Eligible Girl or Bachelor (RF2, 2nd Generation allows you to play a girl).

It is only when you have all upgrades and have made some significant progress in the game that you can spare funds for rare seeds and farm aids that will boost the level of Crops.

In Rune Factory Frontier, you can buy both Greenifier and Formula C from the Clinic. Formula C speeds the growth of a crop by 3 days. Greenifier boosts the Crop by a single level. There are less potent Formulae in the form of Formulae A and B that speed growth by 1 and 2 days respectively, but by the time you can afford to buy rare seeds, you probably will have the option of buying Formula C as well as the skill level necessary to make it in your own Laboratory.

I may have written about the effects of Farm Aids in a previous post, but I will go through it again here quickly:

1. Greenifier can be used only once on any given Crop, and only when it is still seed. Once it sprouts, it will have NO effect.

2. Formula C can be used daily on any Crop at ANY stage of growth. You cannot use two Farm Aids in a single day, however. You should use Greenifier the day you plant the seed and then begin to use Formula C the next day.

Incidentally, the game description of Greenifier is misleading if not outright erroneous. Whether this was an editing error or deliberate is unknown.

The description is:

Greenifier: 1840G
Makes your crops grow faster. Only good for once a harvest and you'll need seed, too, of course.

This description would imply that Greenifier has effects similar to the three Formulae. In fact, what it does is boost the level of your seed by a single level. In other words, plant Level 1 Cherry Grass, dump Greenifier on it and you will be able to harvest Level 2 Cherry Grass.

Note that both the three Formulae and Greenifier work on a single square. You will not obtain 9 upgraded plants from a 3 x 3 plot. You only will obtain an upgraded plant from the square on which the Greenifier was placed. It is not worth the effort nor the expense to upgrade 9 squares in any case. It is far better to upgrade one, harvest it, then convert it into seed to plant again.

It is a long process to upgrade any Crop from Level 1 to Level 10 but with the aid of Greenifier and Formula C, it can be done much more quickly than Nature intended.

Rune Factory 2 and Rune Factory Frontier are the same in this respect, except for one additional aid in Rune Factory 2. There is a Magnifying Glass in RF2 that allows you to scrutinise any square where seed has been planted. The Magnifying Glass is found on the upper floor of your Farmhouse and is used as a Tool. Unfortunately, it will show only the CURRENT use of any Farm Aid on a Crop. In other words, it will identify the farm aid used on the square on THAT DAY. You will not be able to use it to discover the level of the Crop or to discover whether or not Greenifier or any Formulae were used on the previous day...

In both games, a square on which any farm aid has been used will turn green for the day. The next day, however, it will look like every other square where seed has been planted. You therefore need to remember where you have planted specific seeds and remember which square you are upgrading. I always choose the centre square in any 3 x 3 plot for my upgrades.

Having described the process in some detail, it now only remains to identify priorities in terms of upgrades.

Your first priority should be an upgrade to all ordinary Flowers: Moondrop, Toy Herb, Pink Cat and Charm Blue. These are ingredients in some of the best Accessories.

Your first priority in terms of 'rare' Crops should be the Four-Leaf Clover. You will receive one from the 'Young Girl', Stella's younger aspect, when you experience her sequence of Events. You may wish to purchase one bag of seeds from the Materia Shop as well.

The reason I would consider it the first priority is because it is used in so many Accessories. I now believe this is the reason both Tabatha and Stella speak of it as bringing 'good luck'. Carrying it in my Rucksack does not appear to change the probabilities in terms of obtaining rare items in the Dungeons, but there is no doubt that the Four-Leaf Clover is one of the most vital ingredients at the Crafts Bench. The other is the Emery Flower which is an ingredient in THREE of the very best Accessories.

Moondrop: Headdress, Wind Cape
Toy Herb: Stylish Hat, Fluffy Hat, Furry Belt, Earth Cape, Poison Ring
Pink Cat: Fire Cape, Cat's Tail, Silence Ring
Charm Blue: Headdress, Water Cape, Corsage, Para Ring

Four-Leaf Clover: Elephant Mask, Critical 7, Black Robe
Emery Flower: Tiara, Corsage, Diamond Ring
Lamp Grass: Whale Hat, Rosario
Cherry Grass: Corsage

Fireflower: Magic Ring

Ironleaf: Gold Hairpin

N.B. There are two separate Recipes for the Corsage, but the more difficult uses the three 'Crystal' Flowers and a Moondrop. The easier one uses Charm Blue, Cherry Grass and Emery Flower

There are 'Toys' that use various FLowers as well, such as the Turnip Lamp and Pumpkin Lamp that require Lamp Grass... but these are not priorities.

There is one other priority if you intend to marry. The Wedding Bouquet requires Blue Rose, Moon Drop, Toy Herb and Pink Cat.

It is in making Accessories that the bulk of the Flowers will be used but there are a few Weapons that require a Flower as well:

Moondrop: Lunar Eclipse, Crescent Axe
Pink Cat: Heaven's Tear
Charm Blue: Heaven's Tear
Ironleaf: Steel Sushir

In my opinion, these particular Weapons are NOT a priority to create, although you will wish to ship one of each to complete your Shipping List ultimately.

A couple of Farm Tools require 'rare' Flowers:

Fireflower: The Hammer
Noel Grass: Miracle Axe, Sacred Pole
Ironleaf: Legend Sickle
Four-Leaf Clover: Joy Can
Cherry Grass: Blessed Hoe

Where your Farm Tool upgrades are concerned, however, there is absolutely NO POINT WHATSOEVER in creating anything above Level 1 initially. Your Level 1 Little Crystals and Level 1 rare Flowers should be used here to create the initial Tool upgrade.

The reason why you should not waste your higher level ingredients on any Tool upgrade is because you can use Scrap Iron instead to upgrade any Level 1 Tool to Level 10!

In conclusion, it is important to put some Four-Leaf Clover Seeds as well as some Emery Seeds in the ground of a Dungeon plot as early in the game as possible in order to be able to craft some vital Accessories. You would not benefit even if you could harvest these two Crops in the first season, however, as the creation of the Accessories in question require very high Skill Levels... By the time you obtain your first Harvest, you should be able to create them. If you can upgrade TWO flowers of that first harvest, so much the better. One upgraded Crop ALWAYS needs to be converted into seed instantly and planted. That is why I suggest upgrading two.

One final note beyond the conclusion: Irony is active in any Harvest Moon or Rune Factory game. By the time you have been able to harvest upgraded Crops, their usefulness will have decreased somewhat as your character's levels of experience and Skill should be high enough to make any upgrade in Weapons or Accessories less significant than it would have been earlier in the game! Remember that the best Weapons require more RP to wield. It is only when your character's Skill and Experience Levels are high that the RP needed decreases. In a way, this is logical but it means that patience and work are required in any Harvest Moon or Rune Factory game as all of the best items take time and energy to obtain...

In Rune Factory 2, there is a trading option that allows a player to obtain items from another player. If you have two DS systems and two cartridges, in theory you could pass the best items from a character with maximum experience and skill levels to one who was just beginning his game. The problem here initially is that those weapons may destroy the character who attempts to wield them! The RP requirements are too stiff for a character at Level 1 Experience.

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