Saturday, May 22, 2010

General Strategies in HoLV

Any Harvest Moon or Rune Factory game can be played in a number of different ways and HoLV definitely is part of the Harvest Moon series. It differs somewhat from most traditional Harvest Moon games in the necessity of 'saving the homeland' from Funland's threat of development by the end of the 2nd Year. There are a wide array of choices as to how you wish to accomplish this goal, however, and players need not experience ALL possible Events in HoLV in order to achieve the goal.

For many players, including myself, however, experiencing all possible Events IS a goal and I created the 1st and 2nd Year Events Calendar Guides with that aim in mind. A certain amount of planning is necessary if you wish to experience all possible Events simply because ALL Events are time-restricted and many have specific weather requirements.

When you experience the Event at the Villa where you obtain the Silk Thread and are told to give it to the Harvest Goddess, Flak makes an odd statement about his patroness, the Harvest Goddess:

Flak: Harvest Goddess keeps bugging us if the 'Silk Thread' is ready yet. But she's so fickle, she won't care about the 'Seven-Colour Cloth' in a few days!

When I experienced this dialogue, I was rather shocked for a moment by the Sprite's apparent disrespect for his Goddess, but then I realised what he was trying to tell you. All Events are set to occur within specific time periods. You can't carry the Silk Thread for weeks before deciding to take it to the Harvest Goddess and expect her to respond in a positive manner.

This is where an Events Calendar Guide can be vital. Most of the Events that occur outside buildings require fair weather. You therefore will not be able to experience them on rainy or snowy days. If an Event is set to occur only within a specific four day period and you have a rainy day, the window of opportunity becomes even smaller.

The Event where you obtain the Silk Thread is set to occur between 4 Autumn - 12 Autumn from 6.00 a.m. - 5.59 p.m. only in fine weather. The Event wherein you give the Thread to the Harvest Goddess is set to occur between 4 Autumn - 13 Autumn from 6.00 a.m. - 5.59 p.m. in good weather. If you wait until 12 Autumn to experience the first Event, you only have 12 Autumn and 13 Autumn in which to experience the second. If rain is predicted for 13 Autumn, you MUST go immediately to the Harvest Goddess Spring after obtaining the Silk Thread to give it to the Goddess.

If you do not obtain the Silk Thread before 13 Autumn, you will not be able to complete the Story Quest of the Harvest Goddess' Gown. That does not mean that you will be unable to save the land from the Funland threat of development by any means, but it does mean that you will be unable to experience many interesting Events in your current game.

Obviously, you can play the game more than once. With the PSP, you even can begin a game and then save the same game at different points in order to move forward along different paths in each file. If, however, you enjoy the challenge of experiencing as much as possible in a single file and game, you may wish to attempt to experience 'Dia's Jealousy' and 'Taking the Silk Thread to the Harvest Goddess' both on 4 Autumn, provided the weather is fine or if it is rainy, on 5 Autumn, at the earliest possible opportunity.

Characters often give very sound advice in Harvest Moon and Rune Factory. In HoLV, you will receive very useful advice from Wallace:

Wallace: It's important to plan what you're going to do each day.

This is not merely the ramblings of an old man. It IS very important to plan your day in advance, simply because the Map is large and some areas can be rather remote. The Harvest Goddess Spring probably is the most remote of all destinations because it cannot be reached from the Plaza, the central point, or hub, of Leaf Valley. From the Plaza, paths go directly to the Grocery, the Florist and Items Shop, Woody's Carpentry, the Beach and the Villa. To reach the Harvest Goddess Spring, you either need to take the Grocery path through the Cafe/Pub area, then through the Mallard Lake and Church area or you have to go to Woody's Carpentry area, through the Forest of Pike Mountain and then through the Mine/Funland Corporation area. In other words, no matter how you choose to do it, you have to go through three areas before you can reach the Harvest Goddess Spring.

Renton will tell you that it takes half a day to circle the Valley. Given the fact that most Events occur before 6.00 p.m., you need to plot your course rather carefully if you wish to maximise your experiences in a single day.

That having been said, it is not difficult to meet the ordinary Requirements for most Events in HoLV. Many Events involved with the main Story Quest occur automatically when you leave your Farmhouse at 6.00 a.m.

The reason why there are specific rather narrow time slots for each of the Events in HoLV is because the game includes more linear plots than other Harvest Moon games. When you consider that there are sixteen different Story Quests, each of which must operate smoothly within the context of the others and each of which includes a fair number of Events that must be completed within a two-year period, Hero of Leaf Valley represents rather an incredible achievement. 'Save the Homeland' was a marvelous game for its time, but 'Hero of Leaf Valley' is far more complex and sophisticated. The wealth of dialogue is astounding. I noted that dialogues about the weather can include a remark that deals not only with current weather conditions but actually compares that with the weather of the previous day! The fact that responses to specific gifts can vary according to heart levels makes the game very sophisticated in terms of dialogue as well.

My own strategy is to experience all possible Events at the earliest opportunity in a single day if I can even if it means that I will not make much money that day. Once I have cleared the Calendar of Events, I can relax a little and spend the rest of the days in that time period as I please, without worrying about weather or being at a specific location at a specific time.

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