We are going to solve the world on October 9, Mountain Day. There once was a master dowsing rodder who could strike water and dig wells. One day, he left for the mountains to hit the big one. True to his words, he found his prize. He struck an underground magma flow, activating a volcano that later became a grand mountain range.
Previously on Wild Arms 3: We explored Mimir’s Well. And that barely has anything to do with anything, because today we are…
I’ve been talking about those EX File Keys for a while now, so we are going to look at how you obtain every last one. Count ‘em down, ladies and gentlemen!
The Arioch Quest
We will begin with the quest we are not completing. Arioch can be unleashed as early as when you obtain Lombardia. Once he has been fought once, he can be confronted as a random encounter literally anywhere monsters are found (including the final dungeon, Abyss, and the “solo” dungeon). You must fight him 99 more times to earn his EX File Key.
As covered when I first unlocked this quest, this requires way too much grinding. Even if you unlock him as early as possible, there are not 99 dungeons in the game, so there are not enough opportunities to encounter him without some dedicated wandering around.
I have seen some “strategies” that involve flying between the first three dungeons, trying to force an encounter within the first five random battles, and then teleporting to another dungeon to try again. My understanding, according to FAQs, is that this method only takes about two to three hours to complete the whole quest.
I ain’t doin’ that.
But we are going to count this EX File Key for completion’s sake.
Sidequest Grade: F. Absolute garbage.
EX File Keys: 1/15
Additional Note: Unlike many of the EX File Key Quests you will see in these updates, Arioch does not grant the player a trophy on the PS4/PS5 version. Everybody knew this thing was bullshit best ignored.
The most obvious EX File Key is for sale at the Black Market. Recall that you cannot access the Black Market until you explore It’s a Trap Tower with Maya, collect the Black Card there, and then remember to find the Black Market back at Little Twister, a town you would otherwise have no reason to visit again.
Arguably, the best way to collect the necessary funds is to farm the Calupdis monsters in the Abyss.
These frogs steal a tenth of your gella on their first round, and then run on the second. If you kill them before they escape, you get all your gella back, plus a little prize. But! If you use a gella card on them while they “have” your gella, then it doubles your payout.
Since these things are fought in groups of two, you basically earn (((Your Gella) x .1) x 2) x 2) per battle. Mind you, that is only if you successfully pull this all off. You obviously earn less if a frog runs away with your money.
So earn as much cash as you can in the Abyss, and also remember to cut the final cost in half by defeating the super boss Heimdal Gazzo at the Dissection Facility. The Gold License takes the cost down to a mere 4,999,999.
Fun trivia: the EX File Key is the only item in the game that disappears from a shop menu after purchase. So, no, you cannot buy 99 EX File Keys if you farm enough cash.
Sidequest Grade: C. Your pretty typical “get as much money as possible” quest. Not that complicated, but not that creative, either. We have found out that you can just, you know, buy psychological validation
EX File Keys: 2/15
Search the Yggdrasil Area
Our first EX File Key that we already saw “completed” in this Let’s Play. There is an EX File Key on the world map in the Yggdrasil canyon. It is something of a bear to get to (no teleporting to Yggdrasil allowed), as you must complete the Nidhogg Pass dungeon again to get there. Also, you cannot obtain this key on your first visit, as you absolutely need the Item Scope prize from the coliseum for this key to appear at all. If you eventually obtain the Sonar Kit from the coliseum, you will eternally see this green dot of “please find me” as you zoom by on your airship. As a result, a lot of people probably find this EX File Key without much FAQ’ing.
Anywho, that’s three down.
Sidequest Grade: B. Better than another “search the map” quest we’ll be seeing soon.
EX File Keys: 3/15
Conquer Gunner’s Heaven
And speaking of the coliseum, you receive an EX File Key for defeating Bad News in combat. Note that you can only challenge Bad News after defeating Emperor Marduk, and Emperor Marduk is only available after conquering the three different tiers of coliseum challenges. In general, you should be leveled enough to pull all of that off by the time you are ready for the final dungeon. Trying it before that point is a real challenge, as the third level of the coliseum has a time limit and the monsters hit really hard.
When completing the Bad News challenge on PS4/PS5, you also get a trophy.
Sidequest Grade: A. The battle coliseum is an RPG mainstay, but this is one of the few places where the battle system of Wild Arms 3 actually has an iota of nuance. It is mostly because of the time/turn limit, but you have to think a little harder than “protect against element, keep hitting it.” Combine that with superbosses that are in a friendly area where you can rematch as much as you need without the consequences of having to complete a dungeon again after a failure, and this one works out pretty well.
EX File Keys: 4/15
Conquer the Abyss
Simultaneously the most straightforward and most difficult challenge for an EX File Key: You must descend through all 100 levels of The Abyss to defeat Ragu o Ragla (twice) and earn his EX File Key.
We’ve got a whole video of this challenge from when it was overcame on the Playstation 2, but I did it again on my Playstation 5 playthrough, because I am a masochist. In an effort to justify such an endeavor, please enjoy a few screenshots of the unique monsters I encountered on the PS5, but not on the PS2 run. It’s random!
Also: here is a picture of some scrap cardboard I used to keep track of the last 40 floors. Note that the Tracker item, which is supposed to denote your dungeon floor, does not work in the Abyss. You had one job!
Back to the monsters of this monster quest.
This is just your average giant bivalve.
Not going to lie: I am pretty sure that is my usual pho order.
You have too many heads, and you should feel bad about that.
I had a slightly easier time of this Abyss run thanks to remembering techniques I worked out during my previous journey. It also really helps that the Playstation 5 has an easy suspend/sleep function, and I could take breaks at my leisure.
Naturally, you receive a trophy for your troubles. Also: congratulations to Virginia for earning four times zero experience.
And if you are curious about my not-level max levels on this Abyss run, here we are. Looks like my lowest is Jet at Level 74. So don’t let anyone tell you you must be in the 90’s to beat the greatest challenge in the game.
Sidequest Grade: B-. Aggravating, but the kind of aggravating you expect from an RPG of this era. A big, long dungeon with limited (zero) save points was just the style of the time. The science fair volcano of EX File Key challenges.
EX File Keys: 5/15
Solve the Millennium Puzzles
There are twenty Millennium Puzzles all over the world. Find ‘em and solve ‘em.
We have more details available on that one (and another video!). If you are not using a FAQ, finding all the puzzles becomes a lot easier after you win the coliseum’s Sonar Kit.
Since this is all tied to talking to a specific dude after solving all puzzles, this one can be done in any order. The earliest you could accomplish this is after earning Lombardia, but you do not need to be “leveled” to solve puzzles. Technically no combat involved!
Sidequest Grade: A-. My only issue here is Millennium Puzzles are scattered across the map with no rhyme, reason, or order. Solve that with a FAQ or Sonar Kit, and the block puzzles are ingenious and entertaining.
EX File Keys: 6/15
Search Sunset Peak
The Millennium Puzzle quest is important because you will find the Teleport Orb as a reward for Puzzle #14. If you have the Teleport Orb in your inventory and take a train from Southfarm to East Highlands, you will be “accidentally” teleported to the abandoned train station, Sunset Peak. That whole sequence is esoteric, but you will naturally find some clues if you stick to the “talk to every NPC” rule.
Sunset Peak is necessary to the UFO and Millennium Puzzle quests, as Sunset Peak is not accessible by air, but there are mandatory (optional) locations nearby. However, just finding Sunset Peak earns you an EX File Key if you (literally) run into the nearby clock.
… I have no idea how you are supposed to know to do that. But whatever!
Sidequest Grade: A and F at the same time. Finding Sunset Peak is a matter of parsing out clues and a reference to Wild Arms 2. But actually knowing to run into that clock is cryptic nonsense.
EX File Keys: 7/15
Conquer the Aliens
You can activate the UFO quest after completing the Dissection Facility dungeon. Note that the quest is seemingly glitched, and some people have had trouble activating it if they wait until after completing the following dungeon (Cradle of the Metal God). You only need to start the quest to avoid the glitch, though.
This whole stupid quest is basically an excuse for status effect warding and vehicle combat.
You like trophies? You get a trophy.
Sidequest Grade: D. This was covered ad nauseum during its featured LP section, but this is the potato chip bag filled with 95% air of sidequests. This quest would be good if it wasn’t the same thing over and over again with little to no variation.
EX File Keys: 8/15
Conquer Balal Quo Naga
So remember a long time ago when we had to eliminate Balal Quo Naga to open a channel and earn the Goddess Statue? Well, afterwards you can do it again, just so long as you have Lombardia to launch some missiles at her new domain.
And we got an EX File Key for our troubles.
Sidequest Grade: P for Pass. This quest is stupid and pointless (if you can beat Balal Quo Naga I, you should have no problem with Balal Quo Naga II), but it also only takes five minutes. You pass, quest, but you’re not worth considering beyond that.
EX File Keys: 9/15
Make Your Garden Grow
Now we are back to quests that were not already completed in the Let’s Play. Some time back, we saved the soil around “Florina”’s garden. We have been producing bumper crops of heal berries ever since.
If you want to grow more of a particular item, you have to “sacrifice” one of your items to improve the “breeding”. Every item contributed to breeding adds one point, and a crop is at its maximum when it reaches Level 100. Basic items start at level 70 or so (so you only need to contribute thirty to reach maximum), while rare items (like the Tiny Flower) start at level 1. This means that you must grow and then ransom a lot of the more valuable items…
I kept careful track of my garden contributions over the course of my two playthroughs. Assuming you are playing a straightforward game of Wild Arms 3, and are not wandering around the countryside with no idea where to go next, you will never find/grow enough plants to reach level 100. Boo! There is simply not enough “game” in the game to max out your Mega Berries. But you can fool the system by resting at inns a lot, thus meaning you have more time for Florina to grow Full Carrots. The beds at Baskar are free and nearby, so go ahead and sleep for days.
Soon you’ll be seeing large harvests of the more valuable veggies. Take ‘em all, and put ‘em right back into the breeding program. Get more next time.
You don’t get to see the level of any given plant, but Florina’s descriptions change with your progress. It is easy to ascertain how many more weeks Virginia needs to nap.
And, eventually, you’ll achieve 100% with all plants.
And we have…
An EX File Key! Score!
Note that while the whole EX File Key situation seems to indicate that the directors want you to max out the garden, doing so absolutely breaks the combat system of Wild Arms 3. Virginia has the ability to spread any of these items across the party by using 25 FP to perform Mystic… But a Full Carrot restores 100 FP instantly. This means a Mystic’ed Full Carrot will grant the entire party 100 FP immediately, and the only cost is consuming a Full Carrot (to be clear: Virginia winds up with 100 FP after “using” 25 FP in that situation, too). With maximum bred Full Carrots in the garden, you effectively have access to infinite Full Carrots. And with infinite Full Carrots… Well… Even Ragu would quake in his monster shoes…
Uh… good luck with that.
She still has a crush on The Filgaia Sample.
While we are here… This isn’t for an EX File Key, but if you pump up everyone’s luck to BEST by using Tiny Flowers…
You will receive a trophy on the PS4/PS5 versions. “Best of Luck” can occur naturally/randomly (as your character’s luck stats bounce around haphazardly over the course of the game), but feeding (?) everyone small flowers will guarantee luck gains. It does not last, though…
Sidequest Grade: B+. This quest is the “good” version of the Arioch quest, as you can unlock it early in the game, and you can put in as much time as you want. The only downside is that it really does require some level of grinding (even if that grinding is easy to do), and completing this quest disproportionately makes you a god. Though maybe a game all about a world suffering through an ecological disaster should reward you excessively for properly cultivating plants…
EX File Keys: 10/15
Fill in the Map
Uncle Gob is living under Clive’s house, and he wants to see a completed world map.
This quest is stupid. Like any proper world, a lot of Filgaia is mountain or (sand) ocean, and there is never a reason to traverse either of those. If you are piloting your sandcraft, you are making a beeline for the next beach, and not “exploring” the ocean. I am almost certain any “random” island on Filgaia contains a treasure or sidequest location that already rewards you for discovery. And mountains and alike are 100% inaccessible and not traversable through any method but air. As a result, while you may spend a lot of time wandering around the walkable areas, there is never any reason to hit the places you can only see by vehicle.
Basically, there is only ever a purpose to explore 50% of this map (at most), and the rest is just “fly in straight lines so you fill in every dot”. This is not difficult with your dragon pal (for most of the game, there are no air-based random encounters), just tedious.
And since the visual difference between “filled in” is gray versus light tan, if you miss a single square or two, you are going to have a bad time. This screenshot is missing three squares. Can you find them?
On the original PS2 version, you have to check with Uncle Gob to confirm your progress. On the PS4/PS5 version, you immediately earn a trophy when you hit 100%. Leave those trophy notifications on!
Would do it all again if it meant seeing you happy, Uncle Gob.
Uncle does live in a sewer.
You knew this was coming.
Uncle Gob breaks the fourth wall slightly by offering the tiniest explanation for an EX File Key. Not like you can accidentally use them up before they are relevant.
He does offer the excellent information of numbering your prizes, though.
Sidequest Grade: C. Fun concept, but dumb execution. A reward for finding every random item on the world map might be more appealing. As it is, this just feels like busy work.
EX File Keys: 11/15
Reunite the Family
Now we’re really getting into the complicated quests. Before we even completed Chapter 1, we met Martina. Martina hadn’t heard from her mother in a while, and was stuck with her aunt Myra. Myra made reference to “inheriting” Martina’s family’s inn from her sister, but, more importantly, looked like a Disney villain. She must be evil!
Two updates later (immediately after meeting Maya for the first time, but before Janus climbed Ka Dingel), Myra made mention that Martina left a note and “disappeared”.
This quest can (and should) be started at that point. You will find Martina at Westwood, the train station closest to her hometown of Claiborne.
Here’s how this one works: when you see Martina, talk to her and anyone around her until they start repeating their dialogue. Sometimes (but not all the time), you have to talk to Martina, talk to someone nearby, and then talk to Martina again. You cannot progress until you have heard everything everyone has had to say. Then, stay at an inn or complete some mandatory plot progression, and Martina will move on to her next location. Find her in the new spot, and repeat.
Martina follows a set “path” through her quest to find her mother, and it may sync up with your own progression through Filgaia. That said, if you forget to activate Martina at a location, she will never make any progress, so you will have to return later to get her going again. While no part of this quest involves combat or anything “difficult”, it is best to keep Martina going so you don’t have to bother with finding where you left off later. There is no Martina radar (or anything else that will ever tell you where to pick up the trail).
Anywho, her second stop is Little Rock, where she finds her mom used to work at a local bar.
And hot. She learns her mom is hot.
“When I let Von take over this place, I did a little remodelin’. We closed the shop for that, but Mileux said she wanted to pay back the loan as soon as possible. So, I found her a job at a saloon owned by a friend of mine. Never thought I’d get to meet her daughter…”
Mama Mileux is working around the world to pay off a loan to her (obviously evil) sister.
Next stop is Little Twister, which is backtracking from Little Rock if you are following the plot progression.
“My grandmother mentioned this town by a slip of her tongue once…I thought maybe it had something to do with my father’s bankruptcy…”
Apparently Martina is trying to get some info from the Black Market, but there is no indication she gets anywhere during this visit. (Future info indicates this may be a glitch or some kind of translation flub.)
Next up is Clive’s hometown, Humphrey’s Peak. Here is where we get the pathos.
Martina has a new mom now.
If you speak to Cheville before the Martina quest, she will note that she is depressed as hell because her daughter died. Now she’s had a mental break, and believes Martina to be her departed Alice.
You don’t have to go anywhere, but you have to catch a few z’s to move Martina forward here.
“She…looks exactly like my mother. And coincidentally, I apparently look like her late daughter. I understand the pain and loneliness, so I wish to be by Cheville’s side for a while. Perhaps I can ease her pain by doing so…”
Martina has wandered outside, and is contemplating living the rest of her life in a bad sitcom plot.
“A day ends, and so will tomorrow. What is the meaning behind this cycle? To live like a surging wave, that will only erode the shores of your heart…”
Sleep some more, and Martina seems to move on. Cheville decides to spend this time ranting.
Apparently Martina just went out for a pack of smokes or something. Cheville is now… better? I think?
Whatever. Time to move on to Bell Starr Saloon at Jolly Roger. If you time this right, you will be returning here anyway to obtain your sandcraft.
Martina found religion?
Oh. Chevelle taught her religion.
So Martina sees the whole Chevelle incident as a net good for everybody, and she’s going to hang out in this bar until she finds another new mom.
After what the Jolly Roger newspaper describes as “the worst bar brawl involving a toddler in history”, Martina moves on to Ballack Rise. You need Lombardia to get to this town in the first place, so this one can only happen as of mid-Chapter 3. If you had Martina moving properly “with” the plot, you don’t see her for a while (basically the difference between Part 27 and Part 45).
Ballack Rise seems to be the only town on Earth with a healthy child population, so it makes a certain amount of sense that Martina would hang out here after evidently scaling a mountain.
Heartwarming or whatever.
It’s coming from a kid wearing a leather jacket, you know that’s legit.
A lead! Mileux was looking for work, and she was supposed to be a great chef, so now we’re all heading over to Laxisland.
Note that this is the first time in this quest that you are distinctly told the next location.
To the bar!
Dammit! We found mom, but she is not doing well.
She might be blind from a fever? Or has poor peripheral vision?
They have a guy who is obsessed with aliens. Could he help?
The solution is to head back to Humphrey’s Peak and call in the cavalry (Cheville).
Cheville teleports over (or something), and now it is just a matter of talking to everyone sixty times and staying at an inn.
Terrible doctor. This is why *REMAINDER OF SENTENCE DELETED DUE TO LACK OF EMPATHY*
“We came this far on a dragon.”
Eventually, Mileux gets better.
Heck yeah! The next stop is probably Little Rock or something.
Did we actually do anything? We mostly just watched.
And thus ends Clive’s quest to increase his property value by improving the sanity of the woman living next door.
Also: do Cheville and Mileux look anything alike? They kinda have the same haircut… I guess…
Back to Claiborne.
Mom is behind the counter, and Martina is back to her spot standing by a barrel.
Okay, so somewhere in the script it is discovered that Myra pulled one over on Mileux, and she somehow obtained the inn through dubious means. Theoretically this was supposed to be part of the dialogue at Little Twister, but it might not be programmed correctly or something. I never saw it, and it doesn’t appear to be in the (GameFAQs compiled) script. Martina makes reference to some denizens of Little Twister (and specifically Ian) clueing her in during the “Mileux is sick” section, but the details or how Martina found this information is never clarified. Anyway, Mileux is back in charge, and Myra is out.
More importantly: this quest is over.
And that means we get another EX File Key.
Thanks for playing!
Both Uncle Gob and Martina note that the EX File Key sparkles, and Cheville’s post quest dialogue claims that the strength of hope derives from purity with a “dazzling sparkle”. It is supposition, but it appears the “physical” answer for “what is an EX File Key” is something like “pure hope/determination”. It is as good an explanation as any.
And if you swing by Little Twister, you can find Myra.
Sucks to suck, Myra.
But it turns out that Mileux and Martina are infinitely good, so they are willing to forgive Myra. Happy ending for everybody!
Anywho, this is a… Well, it is hard for me to say this is a “fun” quest. This quest is neat if you follow it organically, as the whole concept of a random NPC having an expedition parallel to your own is delightful. Unfortunately, there are a number of sticking points in the requirements for this quest that make it really unlikely it will be naturally solved. Martina always seems to make a beeline for inns… except when she doesn’t. She follows the general arc of the party… except when she randomly returns to a previous location. She always moves on from town to town… except when she sticks around with Cheville for a while. There is rarely an indication where Martina will go next, and, after she leaves, there is never someone puttering around offering clues to where she has gone. If you really want to “solve” this quest, you either have to hit all the towns on the planet repeatedly until you find Martina, or check a FAQ.
Sidequest Grade: C+. There is an interesting idea here, but the execution could use some polish. You want me to track a little girl all over the world, at least throw me a bone once in a while.
EX File Keys: 12/15
And we are going to stop there for today. Still miles to go before our heroes sleep… or… well… you know. We are just assuming they don’t have narcolepsy from all those inn visits during this update…
Next time on Wild Arms: A talking box, a light novel, thievery, the last three keys, and what they actually do.