Update 7: DRAGON! DRAGON!




When you save your game after the dragons invade, the title screen changes to this instead, to signify that the game has really begun. There's also music playing now, and it's a rather pleasant piece. Give it a listen.

Anyways, going back to where we left off...



No music is playing at this point.


Awww... Mmm, what happened?
Last I recall, those infernal creatures invaded Kazan.
We were evacuating the town, then...
Wait, isn't this the guest room at Miross' castle? What are we doing here?
We regain control of our party at this point.






This is big news! I'll go tell everyone!
She leaves.
Huh? Why would us waking up be big news- ...Erin? How long were we out?





WHAT!?
Hmph. 3 years is nothing to me. Still, to think those dragons subdued us for that long... Wait, what exactly happened to the world?
Menas will be filling you in on the situation. Ever since that day, the whole world has changed a lot. Talking to people around here will bring you up to speed.
No straight answer, huh? I don't like where this is headed.
Now we have to talk to everyone in this castle, then talk to Erin again to progress.


I... think we have? I don't know. I still can't believe we were out for 3 years...



Each nation has been busy defending itself. ...But if that changes, we can get foreign cuisine again. Mmmm, Zenma Bamboo... I can taste it.
So those dragons are still at large?



Sorrier still about its people.
So Kazan really has fallen.
No no no! This isn't right! We're the heroes! We weren't supposed to get our butts kicked!
An army of dragons said otherwise.
But, you left urgent documents in the President's office. Can't you go and get them back from the Dragons or something?
That's what you're concerned about!?



It must feel like yesterday to you.
I'm just wondering what the hell just went down all this time.



I'd worked hard, and it was mostly safe. I'd been preparing an experimental drug.
Uhhh...
A-as you can see, we're clearly fine!





But with you awake and my treatment paying off... I have found I still do. What does it matter, though, if the world is dying too?
Oh come on. How can you say that when we just woke up? Can't you get a liiiiittle hopeful or anything?



But I can't sell that kind of stuff cheap...


We can't leave the castle yet.


It's been 3 years now! We somehow made it to Miross and settled down. It's pretty snug, though...





Was this really a good idea?
The number of Dragons out there is just crazy. The shrimpy ones can be beat with enough troops. But, anything stronger is certain death. So it's been pretty rough work defending you.
At least the people here can hold their own against some of the dragons.





I heard you kept the Dragons off of Nowari's back during his research. When I heard Kazan had been attacked, I felt responsible.
Save your worry for something else. If that meeting was to be believed, the invasion was going to happen either way.



Humanity has fought for three years, but 80% of Eden is buried in Bloom.
That bad, huh?
Eden is the name of this world.


I've had to deal with the fact that Kingsblade can't do this alone. A fight for the survival of humanity itself begins today.
That's everyone, so let's get back to Erin.






You must still be groggy from sleeping. I'll take it slow.
But we've found ourselves in a dire state of affairs. If you're embarrassed about being so lazy... Go make it up to me by recapturing Kazan and ousting the Dragons.
...Excuse me, what!?
That's not exactly taking things slow.
Menas, hold on!
How much chatter do we have time for?
Well, but...
In order to retake Kazan, we must defeat the Imperial Dragon there. I'll give you the full story later. We've set up an HQ, so drop by as soon as possible and check in.



If you want to prove that's the truth, then reclaim Kazan for us.
Menas leaves.
...Well, that's one hell of a way to say good morning.
Man, he's really asking a lot from us, considering that we couldn't repel the invasion back then. And got ourselves into a coma for our troubles.
What's gotten into him?
Menas... In that battle, the President went missing. He likely didn't make it.
Oh...
Menas has assumed command in his place. I've waited so long and so hopefully for you guys. If you're still confused, you can ask around for the full story. Our HQ is in the Quest Office, so go on ahead.


Erin leaves.
Hmm, I guess he must be really desperate if that's the very first thing he says to us.
Just how bad did things get while we were out?


The music starts playing again once we go down the stairs. Now I would show off all the NPC dialogue here, but I think you got enough of a feel for the world in the past few updates. So from now on, unless someone says something really relevant to the situation at hand (or really amusing), I won't be showing it off in the main updates. Instead they'll be put into side updates so they won't bog down the pacing of the main ones.




Use extreme caution.



I respect Mr. Menas, but I fear it may be to [sic] early for that.
Yes, I agree. That is not a demand to be made lightly, especially since we've just awoken from a 3 year coma.



Ugh, you can thank Menas for that.
You should make sure to talk to Grif sometime after this point. Because...






Uhhhh, thanks?
Fighting is not good for its own sake. It is for protecting what is dear.
I get that, but we don't really have a Knight in our guild.
Admittedly, having someone knowledgeable in defense would be a great boon to us.
Where could we find someone like that, though?
We just got something called an EX skill. Remember those locked skills in the classes' skill trees? That's what those are. They can be found throughout the game, and they're fairly powerful. In order to use an EX skill, you'll need to use up one of the segments of your EX gauge. EX skills do not cost anything to cast other than EX. You'll still have to spend skill points to learn them, and they aren't cheap. As for whether they're worth it or not... Well, a lot of the offensive EX skills tend to not be worth it. The reason for this is because they tend to have lower damage modifiers than the other skills the classes have. That's not to say that they're all lackluster, as some EX skills are really strong.


We call it Devilwatch Bridge... did you know that already?
Doesn't sound like we can get back to Kazan that way.



It's nice. I might get in trouble if I try to juggle two girls forever, though.
You are an imbecile, plain and simple.



Don't you think it would be better to talk it out?
...You wish to have peace talks. With the dragons. Who invaded this world of their own volition. And have killed who knows how many people. ARE YOU INSA-
Yeah, that would be nice. Maybe we should try it sometime.
Bah- you- GAAAHHHH!



If we can talk to the Dragons and share the land, it'd be wonderful!
You cannot be serious.



They attacked us from the start, so it's a long shot, but at this point...
WHO IS PUTTING THESE RIDICULOUS IDEAS INTO THEIR HEADS!?
Some people are way too idealistic for their own good.
Personally, I envy them.


So there is only one quest in Miross that we can take right now, and this NPC gives it out. And uhh... Oh, I'll explain a bit later.

The knight paces back and forth.


I've got to sneak out to the Quest Office and place a request.




All you need to know right now is that this quest is one of the main things wrong with the quest system in 7th Dragon.

But let's not worry about that. Instead, let's do some shopping!



Huh, curious. That 100% turned into 142%.



Both of these are fairly useful items, but...
...Please don't tell me I need a new pair of glasses.
Why's everything so much more expensive now!?
Perhaps our funds may be better spent at the weapons shop.







Just what is going on here!?
There's no way our funds can cover these insane prices!
New equipment is available at the stop, but it's a little pricy at the moment. You can blame that on the current state of the world. More on that later. In fact, I highly suggest resisting the urge to buy anything at the moment. Fortunately, inn and clinic prices are still the same.




I can't help it! It's what I do.


This item can come in handy if you're playing without the USA patch.


YES. EXACTLY.



To get to Kazan, go through Rorakka Forest.
I guess that answers how we're pulling that trip off.
Okay, let's head to the quest office.


After we escaped, the Dragons occupied Kazan, and have ever since.
We're taking it back. We'll recapture Kazan from those Dragons! ...There was one enormous Dragon that day. Mighty above all others. "Imperial Dragons" is what we call them. Kings.
Imperial Dragons (localized as High Dragons in the 4th game) are basically the top dogs amongst dragons. They aren't to be taken lightly.
Our surveys of the Bloom show that it emanates from them. In other words, if we can defeat the boss, it might stop the Bloom.
The bridge to Kazan is out of order to contain the Bloom, so... Head for Rorakka Cavern. Make your way through and assault the King. Here's a map for you.



Kingsblade will support you on this mission. You're in good hands.
... Support, huh?
Please begin at once. We must fulfill the President's last request!


This mission is automatically assigned to us as well, though that's also because we can't accept missions in this place.


They're northwest of Rorakka Forest.








Since Kazan is occupied by dragons, you can make guild members here if needed. I won't be doing that just yet, though.









Alright, so I'm gonna take this quest right now just to show off the problems with 7th Dragon's quest system.


Yep! What can we do for you?



Heh, wow. I didn't think we were rising up to the top that fast. Eh heh...
I'm going to go with the sane option and assume he means we're notable for sleeping for 3 years.



My request is for you to buy a specific good in my stead.
And what would that be?
Oh? What kind of good? This stuff is... Well, it's really fun.
...I am beginning to regret this decision.



But he comes and goes, so you'll need to track him down. Special negotiations might be needed to purchase it, too... I'm sorry this request will be so much trouble. But as I myself am stuck on guard duty, I must ask for your aid.
Okay, so about this quest. The location he pointed out? We can't reach it until like several dungeons later. Oh, but that's not all.

The ôspecial negotiations" we need is the Racketeer skill to be able to complete this quest. When do we get this skill?

Near the end of the game.

Essentially, this quest is completely impossible to complete right now. But wait, that's not all. 7th Dragon loves to throw impossible quests at you. And you have absolutely no idea which quests can be completed or not at the moment. And the kicker is, you can only accept 3 quests at a time, so this is just really annoying.

Welcome to 7th Dragon.

I'm canceling this quest because right now, it's just taking up space for quests I can actually complete. Anyways, let's leave town and see just what happened to the world after 3 years.






Ye gods, the Bloom is just...!
Everywhere, as far as we can see...
We... really have our work cut out for us, don't we?
They've certainly been busy.
The world is pretty much utterly screwed right now. And the song Land of Dragons and Flowers really does a good job of hammering that in. I really love this track. It starts off melancholy, but takes on a more hopeful tone as it goes on. It's a fitting piece for our journey to make things right. I highly recommend listening to it. The 8-bit version also makes for a good listen.

The Bloom functions the same way as it did before. Oh, and there was something I didn't bother to cover earlier. Sometimes the Bloom doesn't go away after 2 steps, and you'll hear a crinkling sound instead. When that happens, keep walking over it. Depending on how many steps you took, you'll gain a little bonus. Do note that exp bonus from the 8 and 12 step Bloom tiles cannot be used to level up a party member. Level ups can only occur in battle.

For the record, none of the encounters changed, so don't worry about that.


Is it me, or did it feel like the world just got, I dunno, brighter?
I can't explain it, but it does feel a lot less gloomy around here.
Now the Bloom will regenerate in dungeons, but on the world map, any bits of Bloom you get rid of won't regrow*. You do want to get rid of the Bloom. Because...

*May or may not be cases where this doesn't apply.






Hey, everything's cheaper now!
I guess the Bloom was really bad for business.
What I meant by the current state of the world is that the Bloom itself affects shop prices. The more Bloom that is around the town, the higher the prices will be. That price indicator at the top shows you if there are still some Bloom tiles you need to get rid of. Generally, the first thing you should do is to clear out as much of the Bloom as you can around a town, just so you aren't paying a premium for their goods.

Anyways, while I was clearing out the Bloom, the party got a level up.

Stella finally got Axecraft to 8, which multiplies Axe weapon powers by 124%, but more importantly, it unlocked Purge. Which is one of her best skills. I'll talk more about it later once she learns it.

At this point, I want to start working on Edward's healing skills. So I leveled up Medicine to 2. It now provides a healing bonus of 120% (multiplying healing skills by 1.24) and applies a 102% multiplier to healing speed modifiers.

However, I had to hold off on using Nila and Dia's skills points since the skills I want to level up now require 2 skill points.

Anyways, several minutes later...


Are we really going to go and mow the entire continent with our feet?
I don't see any faster ways to get rid of these flowers.
I could incinerate them...
Without setting the whole continent on fire.
Awww.


That's how much of the Bloom I had to clear out to lower the prices to 100%.

Now that I've got all that done, let's start the mission to take back Kazan. I should note that the patch of Bloom above the forest is impassable.



I've linked to this track before, but I didn't really highlight it since we were in the area for only a brief while. This track is by far my favorite dungeon theme. It's just so serene and calming.


Things have changed a lot since then. Hope you still know how to fight!
I think we'll be fine. It was just yesterday to us, when all that happened.



That's these flowers. They're fragile, and you can stomp them down. However, when they die, you'll be hurt as well. Please, be careful. They're hard to eradicate. Unless you destroy the root, they will return.
And where the Bloom is, so also are Dragons.





But they're strong. If you can't kill them, stay the hell away. If you do take one on, try and hit it from behind for an edge. Whatever you do, don't let it sneak up on you. That means goodnight.



Watch your map closely. When the counter hits zero, the Dragon will join in.
Guys, what we're facing... You won't be able to win with jittery nerves.



But if you do not turn back the Bloom and defeat them... This world'll stay buried in these creepy flowers. Ending not with a bang, but with a whimper... It makes my skin crawl. All we can do to stop that is beat those Dragons. This's our last shot. Anyway, that's all for now. Let's check the area. Pretty gloomy around here, peaceful or not.
Please, ask me if you need anything.
Go on, Odyssey. I'll be watching you guys fight.
Heh, no pressure, huh?
I dunno if we're up for this. We've only taken down one of those things before.
However, there doesn't appear to be an entire army of those dragons residing here, so it may be possible to eradicate them.
Yeah, that's the spirit! Let's show those dragons we mean business!
We can talk to the members of Kingsblade here, though Yuuri just repeats the information she told us about the Bloom.


I mean, after all, you want them dead anyway!



But they're strong. If you can't kill them, stay the hell away. If you do take one on, try and hit it from behind for an edge. Whatever you do, don't let it sneak up on you. That means goodnight. They'll come and find you when you're in combat, so always be watching. ...Be careful out there.




Alright, so here's one of the central mechanics of the game, the dragons.

They're actually moving around the dungeon in real time. They're preexisting encounters, so when you run into one, you'll get into a fight. If you manage to run into their back, you'll get a preemptive attack. However, if they run into your last party member, they'll get the jump on you. When you get into a battle (this includes battles with other dragons, for the record), depending on how close you are, a countdown is displayed on any nearby dragons (the distance is capped at 9 tiles), when the countdown reaches 0, they'll join in on the fight. If there happens to be no room on the screen, they won't join in. But in some cases, they don't care and will straight up delete one of the sprites on the screen to make room for themselves. They won't do this to fellow dragons though.

In fact, if you're familiar with the Etrian Odyssey series, they pretty much lifted the FOE system wholesale for this game (aside from the fact that their movement is turn based.) However, in the Etrian Odyssey series, the FOEs are meant to be obstacles to be avoided to add tension to your explorations.


Gotcha!
In 7th Dragon, you're meant to take on the dragons as soon as you see them.



Incidentally, I do have to say I like this track as well. It's very fast paced and frantic.

Serpentine
Level: 9
LIFE: 280
ATK: 56
DEF: 23
INT: 25
SPD: 20
Attack Type: Blunt
Size: N/A
Exp: 187
Gold: 18
Item Drops:
-Normal: Sleek Tailfin - 100% Drop Rate. 2 needed to unlock the Hunting Charm (Accessory, Life 5, Mana + 5, SPD + 3.)
--Tailfin of a Serpentine.
-Rare: Silk Whip - 15% Drop Rate.
--Knotted cord of strong silk. ATT + 16 MANA + 5 SPD + 5
Damage Multipliers:
Slash: 100% Blunt: 100% Thrust: 100%
Fire: 50% Ice: 50% Lightning: 125%
Ailment Susceptibility:
Death: 20% Masked Pain: 100% Skill Seal: 25%
Fear: 25% Curse: 50% Bleed: 25%
Poison: 50% Sleep: 25% Confuse: 25%
Paralysis: 50% Blind: 25% Stun: 100%

Skills:

Press: Deals 120% melee ATK-Based Blunt damage to one party member and has a 50% chance to inflict Stun. Has a speed modifier of 90%
Heavy Fog: Deals 100% ranged INT-Based Ice damage to all party members and has a 60% chance to inflict Blind. Has a speed modifier of 80%.
Serpentines are the first of the regular dragons that we can fight. Gameplay-wise, the dragon fights are probably the most interesting part of the game. Serpintines aren't too difficult, since they don't really have all that much health. But you really don't want to give them any sort of edge, since they can easily turn the battle in their favor. Heavy Fog can pretty much stop your party from doing much to it, and Press just deals a lot of damage.

Stella will open with Defense Down, like always.

Serpentines are fairly easy to Poison, so that's what Edward will be doing.

Lightning is the only element they really take damage from, so Nila will be spamming Shock throughout the battle.

Dia will help Stella murder the dragon faster.


This song will be the last words you hear.





Rrgh, every time.





Wing clipper!
Stella is dealing a respectable amount of damage. That's over 1/8th of the dragon's life gone already.




Zing zap!
Make that 1/4th.

Power Crash is probably gonna be doing a lot now.

Now Dia will set up Hard Words. Get used to seeing that. Until she gets more skills, that's all she can do for the moment.



Something that I want to point out is that in later titles, dragons and bosses can move 2 times per turn. This is not the case in this game. No enemy can take more than 1 action per turn.


Don't get yourselves killed too easily.









Have a taste of my DRAGON CHOP!


Since the Serpentine is almost dead, trying to inflict Poison on it is a waste of time. So I'm just going to have Edward heal Stella.






Gaah! Oof!
Edward, you okay!?
Ugh, yeah. Just give me a moment to get up.
What you saw right there was Stun in action. Unlike in Etrian Odyssey where it flat out forces the target to skip a turn, it just causes the victim to move last in the current turn. It's a really awful and ineffective ailment. Mainly because it accomplishes so little. If you manage to Stun something, it's not gonna matter unless your party happens to be really slow. If an enemy inflicts it... they've already moved first, what's the point? All it does in that case is shuffle around the order your teammates act. I mean it might matter if there's more than 1 enemy, but that only really happens in random encounters. Dragons and bosses tend to fight alone. Not much in the game actually resists it, but honestly, who even wants to do that?






Sorry about that. There you go.


This fight is pretty much over.






W-we... we did it!
Ha ha, even after 3 years, we still got it!




While random encounters are generally mindless, dragon fights do make up for that at least. Though keep in mind you're expected to do these fights several times. All those dragons in this area? They're all Serpentines. If you noticed, I never bothered using up my EX. That's mainly so some later fights will be able to go more smoothly.





Of course the next fight did not start out smoothly at all. (Also you can see the counter that was mentioned before on the nearby dragon.)




I knew this was too much for us...



It's still pursuing us!
Your escape success rate is dependent on your level. If your party member's levels are lower than the enemy's, you're really gonna have a hard time running away.


Sorry, Menas. We let you down...



At least we were able to take down one of them...



Are you all just going to lay down and die after all that?
I'm surprised that Dia actually managed to live through that Heavy Fog. But I'm really in a pickle. If this escape attempt doesn't work, I'm done for.


Because I have no plans to do such a thing!
I'm gonna be honest, I was fully expecting to party wipe there. But Dia was just way too tanky. A situation like that is honestly kind of miraculous.

Oh yes, when you run away from a dragon, they'll stay still on the overworld for a few seconds. However, you can't rebattle it again until it starts moving, or move through them, so you can end up inconveniencing yourself and block off a path for a few seconds.


I don't have time for the likes of you!
Incidentally, we're not gonna get access to revival methods for a long while.



Fortunately, I was able to make it back to the inn without any further incidents.
Urgh... What happened?
I think we were fighting that dragon, but then it started taking us out and... Oh, Dia. Did... did you actually manage to save us?
Try not to let that happen again. Lugging your bodies back to Miross was not an easy taAAAAAAA-
Oh, Dia! You're the best!
LET GO YOU IMBECILE! When did crushing people's spines become a sign of gratitude!?
I think that's a good place to end things off. We'll be trying to take back Kazan next time.