Summary: Many little odds and ends around Colony 9 get wrapped up as I don't do what I'm supposed to be doing though I do enjoy it.
This part was supposed to start with a small section where I didn't actively record everything I was doing, only pausing to record if something interesting was happening. I feel a little constrained by the itch on the back of my neck that tells me all my dilly-dallying around is eating up GBs and video rewatch time, so as it wasn't going to be plot important I wanted to take myself off the clock for a bit, so to speak, and bed into the game at my own leisurely pace and do some exploring.
Turns out it's very easy to fall into my usual style of playing RPGs when I'm not recording everything I'm doing, even if I am still taking lots of notes. I don't think it affects the quality of this post, but I think I will keep these partially-recorded exploratory sessions (in old areas) to a minimum in the future.
Location: Colony 9
Taking my time through all the menus, I switch Shulk's skill tree to 'Humanity'. It has lots of bonuses centred around healing and support, the first skill in the tree giving a nice 15% bonus to healing arts. I also see that the 'Poison Defence III' Ether Crystal I got last time actually goes into a piece of armour, where before I only tried putting it into a weapon.
Checking the quest information, I learn that Marcia ('Biscuits for a Grandson') hangs about the 'Ether Light' Landmark (the square of Colony 9). Shuffling the time back and forwards eventually makes her spawn so I can finally turn the quest in.
Those Swimming Sandals aren't better than any footwear I already have equipped.
Continuing on this theme, I encounter a young boy named Rocco, who wants someone (not me?) to repair his mother's broken pendant. I also remember to try trading with another kid and it pays off. He has a collectible I need to complete a quest, so we make the trade. I give up one of my many 'Plate Snow', which is worth 4500G (1.5x the Rabbit Diode I want). After the trade he also gives me a 'Fresh Sardi Meat' (material), and while I can't do anything with it yet, I take it anyway.
I also go tracking down Lukas, the boy Niranira wants me to pass a letter of friendship along too. I guess I may not have been in Colony 9 at this time of day for a while, because he shows up quite easily. He's happy to make another friend, so when I report back to the adorable Niranira I get my reward, which includes a better weapon for Reyn. Unfortunately, my good mood doesn't last.
I'll be your friend! There better be a follow-up to this quest!
Location: Mechon Wreckage Site
The map shows that there is another H2H symbol in the area we first met Shulk and Reyn. I trek over there hoping that I can access this one, thinking it must be between them, but there's nothing doing. My journey isn't wasted however, as when I consult the map on where to explore next I click on a Colony 9 landmark out of curiosity and learn I can quick travel!
Location: Colony 9 (including Anti-Air Battery 3, Outlook Park and Cliff Lake)
Swimming around to fill in the blank spaces on my map leads me to the underside of Colony 9 and onto the Anti-Air Battery 3. I get a good view of some of the others from here too.
More swimming eventually leads me to a secret cave underneath Outlook Park. To succinctly sum up how this part ran away from me, it's so tempting to say to yourself "Just one more collectible," and before long you've been doing nothing but running/swimming around for 20 minutes following the blue orbs of promise.
The game knows what I'm up to though, and to punish me auto-initiates a battle with that great rock music I last heard when I got KOed! At night this cave is the spawn point for one of the challenge quest monsters! Not wanting to be forced into a dead end I flee into the lake! I can't fight when I'm deep enough to be swimming, and being a aquatic enemy Lake Magdalena (and her cronies) land several hits as I search for dry land.
I notice I'm not taking much damage so when I hit land I turn and fight.
It's close in the end. The music abruptly changed when things were looking bad, and I had recalled childhood memories of the red health warning ding in Pokemon. Reyn got himself dazed or something and we were both down below half health but I pulled through. This was particularly worrying as Shulk's Light Heal is the only in-battle way to restore HP (no healing items in the game so far), and the recharge time vs. HP restored ratio isn't in my favour right now. I getting another 'Affinity Coin' for winning (no level-up here). What do they do?!
Continuing on to the Cliff Lake area I find more tough enemies. These ones also auto-engage. Is it because they are strong enough to take me on, or is it this specific enemy's programming? The Colony Krabbles don't really threaten to kill me however, so I take out the ones I need to complete a quest then leave the rest of this area unexplored.
Reyn learns another new art here, which gives him about twice as many as Shulk and nears the limit he can assign for use in the Battle Palette. I also have enough AP to get Light Heal III for Shulk and I pick up Aura Burst II for Reyn, as I will be using him as leader for the next part. Lastly, he learns 'Heavy Equipment', though I have no armour of this category yet. He gets put onto the 'Diligence' skill tree, which gives him skills that boost his survivability.
As I don't learn lessons I approach this island. When I see the levels of the enemies I conclude that I've done enough exploring for today and high-tail it out of there.
- Biscuits For A Grandson - Complete! (800G, 30 EXP, Swimming Sandals)
- Challenge 3 - Complete! (3000G)
- Collection Quest 1 - Complete! (500G)
- Collection Quest 3 - Complete! (800G)
- Monster Quest 1: Part 3 - Complete! (1200G)
- Monster Quest 3: Part 2 - Complete! (800G)
- Rocco's Heartfelt Request - Found.
- Lonely Niranira - Complete! (100G, 50 EXP, Block Guarder)
After having collected countless collectibles I can't contain my curiosity to complete the Collectopaedia!
I get some more stat boosting Ether Crystals for each category I fill out, and redistribute all the ones I've collected. Instead of shoring up their respective weaknesses I play to their strengths: Reyn gets +Strength, +Defence and +HP, where as Shulk gets +Ether, +Agility, +Movement Speed and +Poison Resistance (it was lying around, someone had to have it). Completing all of Colony 9 also got me an even sweeter weapon for Reyn.
I've done quite a bit now, and while I only gained two levels in all this, with the equipment drops/rewards and art upgrades I don't want to accidentally grind past the difficulty curve. I learn, happily, that all the spare collectibles I have aren't worth nearly as much to sell as to trade, so I'm not too rich either.
Next time: The Mag Mell Ruins. For real this time.