Monday, November 2, 2009
Your Degree in Mining and Fishing in Sunshine Islands
Sunshine Islands may be slightly easier than Island of Happiness in terms of obtaining and using Grains and Grain Products, but in other areas, it is equally challenging.
I could be wrong about this, as personal experience always has an element of luck attached to it, but it took far longer for me to catch a Medium Fish in Sunshine Islands than it did in Island of Happiness. In terms of acquiring a Fishing Rod, however, it is possible to achieve this almost immediately in Sunshine Islands. No longer is the Fishing Rod a gift, but is sold at Gannon's Shop for 5000G.
This brings me to the subject of balance in your priorities. Both games rather cleverly force your character to involve himself/herself regularly in all activities. Island of Happiness did this by linking the appearance and continuing presence of both Main and Subsidiary Characters to your own shipping performance. If you neglected mining for a full season, certain Characters would leave the Island. Main and Subsidiary Characters in Island of Happiness were linked to ALL activities: Farming, Ranching, Fishing, Cooking and Mining. In Sunshine Islands, it is your point totals in each area that determine a variety of things, including the appearance of Wonderfuls in Chen's Shop in Winter, your ability to make progress in the Mine and your ability to cook certain Dishes successfully. As in Island of Happiness, your point totals are not visible to you, but your title often will give you an indication of your progress.
It was when I was exploring the Mine that I discovered the degree to which my point totals determined my ability to reach new floors. Maintaining your Energy Levels in the Mine is critical both in Island of Happiness and Sunshine Islands. Without a large quantity of provisions, you will be in danger of passing out. As in IoH, there are both stairs and pitfalls to enable you to move downward. A new option in the form of lava rocks that contain 'gelatin' has been added to Sunshine Islands. You must use your Watering Can on the lava to melt it. This requires energy as well...
In any case, I was able to reach the 75th floor with recovery items still in my Rucksack only to discover that the floor contained neither stairs nor pitfalls. As in Island of Happiness, each time you reload on any given floor, the configuration will change. Having failed to find either stairs or pitfalls, I therefore reloaded... only to be met with the same result. After an entire (real life) day on the 75th floor, I admitted defeat.
The next time I explored the Mine, I had purchased a second Watering Can in order to guarantee that I would be carrying sufficient water to melt EVERY piece of lava on the 75th floor. I had a large stash of Recovery Items to enable me to smash every Rock and use the Hoe on every square on the 75th floor. This time, nothing would stop me...
To give myself an even better chance of succeeding, I saved my game on the 74th floor instead of the 75th, after finding the stairs there.
Each time I descended to the 75th floor, it would be virgin territory, completely different from the previous time.
Two (real) days later, I again admitted defeat. In attempt after attempt, having dissolved every piece of lava, smashed every rock and used the Hoe on every square, I still could not find either stairs or pitfalls on the 75th floor.
There had to be a logical answer, and of course there was. You cannot move past the 75th Floor if your Mining Degree level is too low. In other words, you need to spend time REGULARLY in the Mine to raise your Mining skills. It is not enough to make lightning trips to the Mine for Orichalcum, Adamantite, Mythic Stone or any other valuable Ore/Gem. I had thought myself very clever to have reached the 50th Floor to collect Mythic Stone fairly early in the game but I overestimated my ability to succeed in the Mine.
Furthermore, I expect that my habit of saving before I smash Rocks and then reloading if the Rock I smash contains nothing valuable actually did not benefit me in terms of gaining Mining Degree points. I would imagine that the number of Rocks you smash as well as the number of Squares you dig contributes points towards your Mining Degree Level.
Certainly, in Fishing, it was sheer quantity that determined my ability to catch Medium and finally Large Fish. You must do a lot of fishing and a lot of mining as well as growing and harvesting a lot of Crops in Sunshine Islands. In terms of Ranch Animals, however, it is Quality of product rather than quantity that unlocks the rare breeds. That, however, requires regular care and attention to your existing Ranch Animals in order to raise the level of their Products.
I have no doubt that I will not be the only player foolish enough to spend a couple of real days in the Mine on the 75th floor ... if the player does not have a guide to the game or has not read this post! One can be extremely stubborn and determined in Harvest Moon. The number of players, for example, who have written to me after exhaustively exploring the designated floors on the 3rd Mine in HM DS/Cute DS for (real) days without success, searching for the last Cursed Tool, could fill a Senate Meeting.
Knowing that you CANNOT pass the 75th Floor if your Mining Degree Level is too low should prevent a great deal of frustration and wasted time and energy. It would be far better to visit the Mine regularly to smash everything in sight on the initial 10to 30 floors, even if you take home a Rucksack heavier with Scrap Iron than any valuable ore or gem.
In fact, looking back at my experiences in Island of Happiness, I wonder if the same may apply there to the appearance of stairs or pitfalls on the 100th Floor. I had many experiences on the 100th floor where I was unable to find a pitfall and had to dig exhaustively to find the stairs... Could it be that, as your experience levels in Mining increase, stairs and even pitfalls might appear more readily on the 100th Floor in Island of Happiness as well?