Wild Arms 3 Part 07: Blame Yourself or Guardians

This is initially being posted on Gogglebob.com on June 6, Alnim Day. Several hundred years ago, monk Alnim, who served in the campaign against the demons, ran away from the army, tired of the long struggle. Alnim was charged with deserting his post and was executed on a small hilltop. A few years after his death, a small white flower grew from the place he was buried. It is said this flower has the power to cure any disease.

Previously on Wild Arms 3: No big deal, really, just learned that the whole of existence is being threatened by some mysterious blue thing, and now we have to go conscript gods into our party via violence. You really didn’t miss much.


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And now we are back at the dungeon previously explored by Gallows. Glad to see the steps are still lowered!


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We do not have to complete the whole dungeon again (though we will do that again later for one lousy treasure chest). We simply scoot up these stairs that were a dead end for ol’ Gallows…


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Now we know what we’re looking at up here.


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“We Baskar consider this a holy site dedicated to worshipping the very beings that maintain this world. But the only decent landscaper we could find was gonna charge us to mow the lawn every week, so screw that noise.”


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“Maybe a doormat…”


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Jet hits the nail on the head: the world sucks, why should the throne of the gods of this world be any different?


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“What’s that, Ark Scepter? Jet should shut his fat gob?”


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Why didn’t you knuckleheads bring Shane!?


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I choose to believe Virginia wound up grabbing for the “train” Ark Scepter, and obviously Gallows still has the one he stole in the first place. Jet and Clive got the leftovers.


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And the Ark Scepters disintegrate into a minor fireworks display. Mission accomplished!


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Or not.


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I… guess? Granny couldn’t have schlepped over with us? Gallows already established that she hangs out here.


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There we go! Now something is happening!


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Headache, Virginia. Didn’t you say your dad was a scientist? You should understand basic biology.


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Apparently the headache wants us to visit the altars.


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Anyone noticing the subtle clues that Gallows is the expert (“expert”), and Clive is the man who coordinated this mission, but maybe Virginia is working out to be the leader?


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So there are four altars in the four cardinal directions. Let’s head north, and see if we encounter a black tortoise.


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You know there’s a fight coming when you get a prompt like that.


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“The visions in your minds are bound together. The ground sends waves of quakes into the distance. You feel a presence bigger and heavier than anything. The power of earth crushes all with its howl. The bearer of the Ark Scepter must have the strength to fight that which has no form. Fight, and show your strength to Grudiev!”

Every Guardian gets an introduction and a clear “hint” to what element you’re dealing with right now.


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Hiya, Gruddy! The four Guardians we will see in this update all appeared in previous Wild Arms titles (actually, that’s true of nearly all the Guardians we will encounter in Wild Arms 3), and their designs have been pretty consistent since their introduction. Grudiev is a dragon/Godzilla with (earthy) crystals sprouting from his back. While he has always been plot relevant as the Guardian of Earth, we shall note that his medium was the “good luck charm” of Tim Rhymless, main summoner of Wild Arms 2. This actually makes Grudiev the only Guardian in this update that was not optional in Wild Arms 2.


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The Guardians all start their battles by using their “summon” attack. Spoilers: this attack will be yours before the update is out.


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But in the meanwhile, it can really kick your ass. Your party doesn’t have the ability to be weak to a certain element at this point, but getting hit by a strong, multi-hit attack can be a pain.


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Other than that, look out for physical attacks. The Guardians collectively have a high counter rate… but they also have lousy accuracy. Honestly, while avoiding megasmashes sounds rough, it does more to fill up your FP gauge than cause actual damage (and, yes, that is with non-New Game+ stats, too).


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The Guardians also have access to all the spells they will impart in a minute or two. Note that status buffs (and debuffs) do not stack in Wild Arms 3, so if Grudiev uses the Shield spell more than once, it is a wasted turn.


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“Grudiev, Guardian of the Planet, was shot six times in his home this morning by an unknown assailant wearing a scarf. Grudiev is in terminal condition, and assumed to be transformed into a stone.”


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No cash? No items? Cheap gods…


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Each of the mediums have element-appropriate names, but are not technically named for the Guardians. Grudiev gets an Earth Shout or whatever.


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And now Gallows with the tutorial. He did learn something!


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A medium must be equipped, and you can only equip three at a time. We will have four mediums by the end of this update, so it is nice that the designers forbade you from making the rookie mistake of sticking every medium on the dude that knows how they work. Spread the love around!

Also, if you are already doing the math, three mediums per four party members means that you can “only” have twelve active mediums at one time. And guess how many mediums/Guardians there are in Wild Arms 3! It’s twelve!


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Everybody gets magic in Wild Arms 3. This is a big change from Wild Arms 1 & 2, where crest sorcerers were the only party members that could use magic, and their spell list was dependent on your choice of “making” different crests. Tim the Summoner was the only one that got something even like spells… and now that seems to be the Wild Arms 3 standard. Crests are completely gone, and your spell list is 100% dependent on your equipped medium/Guardian. A character does not “learn” spells, they can not be “permanently” affixed to a character, and will change if you juggle your crests around. Spells are, basically, a side effect of your equipment.


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So speaking of which, let’s equip a medium. Currently (but this will change before the update is out), the only reason to equip a medium is to use spells. We’re going to stick Terra Roar on Clive because I feel like he needs to experience the joy and wonder of throwing rocks around. Clive is arguably the worst mage on the team, but he seems like an Earthy kind of guy, so let’s give it a go.


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“The visions in your minds are bound together. The swirling blaze coalesces, heralding a new beginning. You feel a presence hotter and more ferocious than anything. The power of fire spreads its crimson wings! The bearer of the Ark Scepter must have the strength to fight that which has no form. Fight, and show your strength to Moor Gault!”

Oh boy! The hottest Guardian!


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Moor Gault deviates within the series between being more bird or pterodactyl-like. Regardless, he’s always a flaming avian creature.


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Here are Clive’s shiny new spells. Each Guardian comes with around four spells, and they generally have something to do with the attendant element. Earth attack spell, increase physical defense, increase magical defense, and lower speed. All makes sense for the rock man.


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And you may want to up that magical defense on this battle. Moor Gault is the most offensive-inclined of the Guardians, and there are decent odds his attacks will drop Virginia (always the least HP, likely the lowest levels at this point). The summon attack always comes first with the Guardians, so spending the first round defending is advised.


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Other than that, this battle is like all the Guardian fights. Watch the pointy end of the bird-dragon.


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Clive casts his first spell! Last time I’ll say it (lies): spells require FP, but do not use FP. Since spells generally don’t accrue FP either, it is assumed the Guardians’ ineffectual counters are there to help everybody get more FP per round. Or it is a plot point that they are physically unstable in this dimension. Whatever works.


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The bird lands, and we have the Fiery Rage medium.


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Now we can start getting into the “real” medium placement. Virginia with Earth and Clive with Fire? This is how it should be.


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“The visions in your mind are bound together. The breeze turns to a blade that cuts away the clouds. You feel a presence sharper and swifter than anything. The power of wind shakes the vast wasteland. The bearer of the Ark Scepter must have the strength to fight that which has no form. Fight, and show your strength to Fengalon!”

Time to meet the kitty.


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Fengalon had his own wholly optional dungeon in Wild Arms 2, and now he’s pissed off for having been evicted.


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Watch those claws!


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But take a moment to admire those freshly acquired fire spells. Devastate is a non-elemental attack, and Fragile is just defense down. Revive is part of the reason Clive gets the fire medium, as he has a healthy amount of HP, and rarely uses his FP for anything but lockin’ on. Good guy to bring you back from the dead.


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Oh! Speaking of reviving, here’s something I hadn’t covered yet. Notice how it says “cancellable!!” above Virginia’s HP?


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Well, for the cost of 25 FP, you can “cancel” nearly every action your characters can take. This means that you can take this “waiting” combat system and make it a little more active.


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Once you cancel, you can choose any action you would normally choose. Note that it takes 25 FP to do this in the first place, so if you only have 25 FP, you won’t have any spare FP to do anything fun. And that 25 FP is spent regardless of if you decide to proceed with the same action again. But, that said, this can be a major game changer for a couple of specific combat scenarios. Like…

1. The most obvious: someone died or is now critically low on health, so you “cancel” to whip out a heal berry or life fruit.

2. You just learned the enemy’s strength/weakness, and, whoops, you have Virginia cued up to use a spell they are just going to absorb. Better cancel and switch gears.

3. Sometimes monsters use techniques that negate your attacks in fun ways. I will never forget fighting the final boss of Persona 3, and learning that a reflect spell can reverse your most powerful, party wiping attack. Still stings to this day. So you see your opponent casting bounce, and you’ve got a spell in the queue, cancel that nonsense and grab your gun.

So cancelling is for more than just being capricious with your actions, and often well worth the 25 FP.


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Anywho, back to the catfight.


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As expected, Wind Tiger is speedy and evasive. Clive’s Lock On will likely come in handy.


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Me-ow. Jet gets the plane rune.


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“The visions in your mind are bound together. The currents flow softly yet, strongly and never stop. You feel a presence kinder and more passionate than anything. The power of water engulfs you in its grasp. The bearer of the Ark Scepter must have the strength to fight that which has no form. Fight, and show your strength to Schturdark!”

And now for the finale. If I had been on the ball, I would have gone with the dork with the analyze spell first.


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Schturdark (sometimes Stoldark) the Turtle appeared during one of the introductory dungeons of Wild Arms (1), so he’s arguably been a Guardian the longest. He is always a turtle, but it appears his turtle “shell” works more like a clam or some kind of bivalvia organism in WA3.


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See? Whatever the case, get ready to soak some watery hits.


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Some Guardians housekeeping here: as was already alluded to, the four elemental Guardians of Wild Arms are based on the Four Symbols/Images of Chinese mythology. Black Tortoise of the North is currently on the screen, but we just fought Azure Dragon of the East (Earth), Vermillion Bird of the South (fire), and White Tiger of the West (wind). Unfortunately, their directions do not match the directions of the four altars, which leads me to believe someone forgot what was going on between Wild Arms 1 and Wild Arms 3.


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Additionally, like a good Mega Man game, all the Guardians are weak to one other specific Guardian’s powers. So if you are having problems with the Fire Bird, maybe grab the water medium first. Actually, you should always grab the water medium first, as Heal is useful in so many ways.


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Though I suppose that may be a challenge, as Schturdark apparently has the best physical defense out of the group. It might not technically be better than Grudiev, but having Heal available definitely pumps up Schturdark’s longevity. Maybe come back with some spells? Or be level 99?


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That Level 99 thing seems to have worked, so we got Aqua Wisp.

For the record, there is nothing saying you have to do all these battles in a grand survival match like I have shown here. You are absolutely allowed to take a break between battles to go back and level up or hit that free bed back at Gallows’s house. I’d say you can restock items, too, but literally none of the items you can purchase right now are useful in these fights (no status ailments).

One other bit of housekeeping: if a character dies, their max HP is permanently decreased until resting at an inn. This is not great, as your most dead character likely already has the lowest HP to begin with (looking squarely at you, Virginia). Don’t be afraid to leave a dungeon for a power nap.


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Here’s my setup now that we have the first four mediums. I will justify this a little more shortly, but what’s important is that Gallows got Aqua Wisp back (his fake Aqua Wisp medium had the exact same “powers”). Gallows is the only one in the party that ever has the ability to Target All a spell, which means he needs the only heal spell in the game. You’re going to want to spread that around!


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Note that previous Wild Arms titles had Noua Shax the Thunder Guardian and Aru Sulato the Ice Guardian. They are both sitting this game out, though, so the water medium gets an ice spell, and the wind medium covers the thunder spell.


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And we now have the ability to summon! You can summon your attached guardian by expending all of your FP. The power of the attack is dependent on how much FP is used, so if you’re at the maximum of 100 FP, you’re going to crack some skulls. If you are just using the FP you start a battle with at this stage in the game (probably around level… 6?), be prepared to do like 12 total damage.


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Summons also expend MTC. Each character starts with one MTC, and you can apply a consumable treasure found across the world to increase that maximum number. MTC is restored by staying at inns. This is presumably so you don’t just summon every battle.


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“We conquered her gods. May as well check in and say hi.”


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“Would you have preferred it stayed a scepter? More royal?”


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As our heroes leave, the camera pulls back to reveal our villain.


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“Or could you at least come down here so I don’t have to keep shouting?!”


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“They’ve had enough boss fights for today.”


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What’s ol’ one-eye seen?


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It’s a bird! It’s not a plane!


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Further evidence that our rogue is not very far up the villain chain.


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Spoilers: irony.


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Of course, our heroes neither know the future nor that they were being watched. Time to go report to granny.


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It is a quick trip back.


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But since we’re here, let’s give a summon a try.


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Each of these attacks were already seen during their attendant boss battles.


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It’s good to have the power of a god. It’s not so great if you are the balloon being popped.


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Like elemental attack spells, if you kill a monster with a summon, you receive the appropriately themed elemental gem as a reward. Since only one character can equip one of your elements at a time, elemental gems are useful if you somehow want everyone attacking the same elemental weakness in the same round, or have to use a specific element as part of a “puzzle fight”.


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Alright, back to Halle.


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… You’re not going to explode them again, are you?


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Always trust family.


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It is! Gallows was already working on medium forgeries over the walk back!


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There. Now the mediums will not only allow us to use spells and summon, but they also now completely work like JRPG equipment and raise stats. The four initial mediums are not all that impressive, though, and mainly just raise an attribute or two.


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Also, if you want to get a little meta, you could claim the new, “upgraded” mediums are the reason our party is able to accomplish so much more than regular Drifters. They now possess the stat boosts of the gods! Of course they can take out ancient sealed evils!


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One more upgrade for the road.


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What? The glory of the Guardians should be respected!


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Now we also get access to Personal Skills.


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Anything else to awaken? We good now? Okay, let’s get out of here.


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So each medium now has “Personal Skills” attached. Every Personal Skill just starts as a name, and you have to expend PS Points to power up these skills to actual usable levels. In general, these first mediums have one elemental defense skill, one anti-status ailment skill, and one “active” skill that impacts battles. You earn more PS points as you level up, and you can always “rebalance” your PS points for particular situations. If you know an earth-based opponent is going to show up, you can drain the PS points from Disease Status Ward there, and pump it into Earth Ward.


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(Also, you can note that Virginia gained nearly 900 HP at her advanced level when we unlocked the ability for mediums to enhance stats. Any and all medium-buffs are level based, and can be really useful at higher levels.)


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Personal Skills are a significant reason to pay attention to who has what medium. Clive always gets Fiery Rage in my playthroughs, because he is a beast when he has maximum Critical Hit skill, and is knocking off a quarter of a boss’s HP in a single lucky hit.

… And, yeah, it just feels right to make sure Clive can never be poisoned again.


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Like FP, you seem to accumulate PSP (hey, Sony did make this game…) at a 1:1 ratio to your level. You can throw out a lot of points at the higher levels, but you can probably power up one particular skill to maximum even at this early level of the game.


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Feel free to pump up the “unique” skills of each medium. The elemental and status wards are super useful… but super situational. Does anything even use the “disease” status effect this early in the game?

To further explain my choices: Gallows has to have the water medium for that heal spell, and it pumps up his magic attack to boot. Clive gets that critical skill with the fire medium that also boosts his general attack. Jet is already fast, but the wind medium makes him faster, and he also gets a counter ability that can help add extra damage. And Virginia is left with the earth medium, and, while the defender skill is fairly useless for her (it is that “cover” ability you frequently see in Final Fantasy), the medium does impart an HP boost, which the young lady desperately needs.


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Okie doke, looks like we are all wrapped up here at Baskar. Where are we going next? Not into the sandsea, I can tell you that.


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Oh, Shane has a weird little power here…


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You can rename any spell you’ve got with Shane. This was a service when “creating” spells in previous Wild Arms titles, and it is now tied exclusively to this familiar NPC. Considering I would kill to rename spells in Shin Megami Tensei, I appreciate that someone made the effort to see that I didn’t have to figure out whatever “Refrigerate” was supposed to mean. It’s the freeze spell? Okay, I guess that one makes sense…


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I choose to believe Shane trained his entire life so I could rename “Revive” to “Fartz”.


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Hey buddy, let’s chat.


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Roykman the shopkeep is recovered and moving on. And considering he is moving to somewhere with directions in red text, guess where we are going, too.


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Bye Roykman! Hope I don’t need anymore status healing before we hit Jolly Roger!


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Try to leave, and the obvious happens.


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“I may as well feed my pet turtle while we’re here. Other than that, I’m good.”


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Jet wants out!


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Clive wisely suggests they can go somewhere they can actually find a job before separating.


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The job market in Filgaia must be pretty awesome.


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Welp, it’s been fun, but looks like Wild Arms 3 is over next update.


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Current mood: smiling on the outside, character portrait clearly crying.


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We are and you know it. Stop pretending we’re going to be anything but glued to each other for the next 40 hours, game.


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Roykman, we’re coming for you!


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And away we go!


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It’s a long walk over to Jolly Roger, well past Fallen Sanctuary and that nondescript spot where the train left us off.


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At least there are signs of civilization along the way.


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And random battles, too.


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“Gobs! I hate Gobs!”


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Once again: heal berries cannot be purchased, but they are a pretty common drop.


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Just a little further…


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This sign is a reminder to save and not worry about losing Gimel Coins.


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Getting there!


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Here we are. Had to hammer that radar around the “coast”, but there is Jolly Roger.

Since I’ve been good about not using a constant stream of GIFs today, let’s blow the bandwidth out of the water and look at our summons du jour.


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Grudiev the Godzilla!


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Moor Gault of the flying fire!


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Fengalon the fluffy buddy!


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And Schturdark the shelled!


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And that’s where we’ll stop for the day. We have the powers of the gods, now. What could possibly stop us?

Next time on Wild Arms 3: Interpersonal issues.

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