Atelier Ryza 3: Alchemist of the End & the Secret Key

From Before I Play
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  • You can pet cats and dogs in this game. Not the goats, though.
  • This game has recycled the maps from the first game, making them into a single seamless overworld. You will also go to other areas, and it's there where you'll make a lot of advances and find new materials.
  • Every region of the game has a certain number of “secret” recipes hidden in resource caches (blue or orange crystals). This is where you get e.g. the recipe for all seeds other than Plant Seeds. Recipes only appear if you open the cache with a Rare or Very Rare key - try making keys from tough bosses, or wait until near the end of the game when you can make Rarity + 1 or + 2 Pristine Keys, which guarantees a Very Rare key.
  • You can cook at campfires, which gives some bonuses.

Item Synthesis

  • As usual, item Quality is king, affecting the power of the healing and damage items you create. Traits are also important, but try not to neglect quality.
  • The ability to Sort and Filter your items through the Submenu is still very useful. Watch out, however, as sorting key twice will make it sort ascending, putting your lowest Quality/Value/powerful items first.
  • The Skill Tree will allow you to unlock the ability to add more ingredients to a synthesis, which helps increase quality and unlock traits. Materials with Effect Spread (such as the Traveler's Water Orb or Taboo Drop) are also very worthwhile for the same reason, unlocking multiple neighbouring nodes with one ingredient.
  • To break the difficulty, learn how to loop traits to level them up. For example, make a Red Neutraliser. Red Neutraliser is also a (Gunpowder) item and can be used to make... Red Neutraliser. Using four Red Neutralisers with Quality+ Lvl 1 to make Red Neutraliser makes the traits combine into Quality+ Lvl 4. Repeat for Quality+ Lvl 16, repeat to max Quality+ out at Lvl 50. This will also refine the quality (not the trait) of the items at the same time, even without Quality+/++ traits.
  • If you're gonna nerd out over traits, drawing a synthesis chart of what item can be used to make what other items (or itself) helps keep the synthesis loops clear. A good basic loop is Neutraliser -> Zettel -> Water Orb -> Neutraliser. Blue and Red Neutraliser also loop into themselves.
  • You increase the Elemental Value of the items you synthesize by increasing their quality and adding rarer traits (e.g. Quality++, Skill Charge++, Critical++). A Red Neutraliser can have their Elemental Value boosted from 3 to 5 by good traits.
  • Once you unlock Item Rebuild through the Skill Tree, you can use it to unlock extra effect nodes or slide in other traits. With Item Rebuild, you can focus on synthesizing high-quality but 'bland' items and spice 'em up later, as quality doesn't change from ingredients in rebuild, only through Quality nodes.
  • By marking an item as "Favourite", it gains a padlock symbol and will be ignored for Gem Reduction and the Auto-Add Material option in synthesis. This stops you accidentally destroying your last copy of a neutraliser containing a rare trait. You can still add Favourite items to a synthesis manually, however.

Getting Materials

  • You can add a material to your Exploration List, which causes nodes containing that material, and maps with such nodes, to be marked by a special icon (you'll have to zoom into the world map a bit).
  • Seeds allow you to grow your own materials, whose quality is up to 100% of the seeds' quality. A 999 Quality seed is the only way to get some materials to 999 quality, late in the game.
  • You can only grow seeds once you get the choice to create another Atelier, and only if you pick the Farm Atelier (you can remodel your Atelier for some minor cost in materials at any time). You can't grow seeds at your Hideout anymore, despite the big wide field there.

New Mechanics

  • You can only attach Super Traits by adding the material at synthesis - you cannot transfer Super Traits from other items
  • An item with the "Ultra Purity" Super Trait will give more gems in Gem Reduction than it costs to create with Gem Duplication, giving you infinite gems as soon as you can make a Neutraliser with this trait (you can duplicate up to 99 copies per round of duplication). Make sure to mark one of them as favourite so you don't melt it down when you go through pages upon pages of duplicates of it for Gem Reduction.
  • Keys are an important mechanic in this game. You start out being able to create mediocre keys, up to 5 times before you need to recharge at any Atelier. After a story mission, you gain the ability to synthesize "Pristine Keys", which let you create much stronger keys whilst using up one Pristine Key.
  • Stronger keys can e.g. add additional Element Types to items you synthesize, such as adding Ice element to Red Neutraliser
  • You cannot duplicate keys or Pristine Keys, but you can melt unwanted keys down for gems.

Combat, Weapons and Equipment

  • Your starter equipment is fine for a while; unless you really want to grind traits to Level 99 for four hours like I did, you will do much more damage with items
  • At the end of battle, any excess CC is put into your CC bottle and lets you use recovery items from your Basket.
  • If you do: Good weapon traits are Skill Power +/++, ATK+DEF Boost+/++ and ATK/Speed Boost+/++. Get those onto Ingots.
  • ATK Boost alone goes only up to +50 ATK, ATK/DEF boost gives 100 of each. Same for the Defense++ trait versus ATK/DEF Boost ++.
  • Those traits adds much, more more to the ATK stat of weapons / DEF of items than I got from ingots/cloth, so pay attention to traits for your equipment.

Finishing Touches

  • Good general traits to loop and forget in a bottle of neutraliser somewhere are: Quality+/++, Critical+/++, Healing+/++, Enhance Finisher +/++, Damage+/++. Whilst there are more excitingly-named trait, like "Tremendous Healing", their effect is always a bit lower than the corresponding ++ trait if the ++ trait is at max level.