A Guide to the NQIII Faerie Charms
With Neoquest III finally being released – something Neoquest fans have been waiting for for so long – it is hardly surprising that TNT followed the trend to offer some additional NC features for this game: The NQIII Faerie Charms!
Usually I tend to ignore NC offers for games, but as this is NQIII we are talking about my curiosity got the better of me and I have to say: I don't regret having bought those charms as TNT did quite well with those.
Now for those of you who are still unsure whether or not to get the charms and more importantly how best to use them, let me give you an overview on those fascinating NQIII Faerie Charms.
First of all you should be aware that these NC charms are optional. You don't need them to play the game, beat the boss, or earn yourself that spiffy trophy. But the charms are certainly nice to have as they can be really helpful throughout the game.
Like the additional towers for Neopian Battlefield Legends, the NQIII Faerie Charms will not show up in your regular inventory, only in your NQIII inventory. Furthermore these charms are limited use items, meaning you can use each charm only once per game, much like a Scorchstone in the Battledome which can be used only once per fight. But like the Scorchstone, you'll have all your charms available again for the next game, they will not disappear like your ordinary snowball to stick with the Battledome analogy. Also you can only carry one charm of each kind. But with six different Faerie Charms available, the full set will last you well through the game.
To me the only major downside with the Faerie Charms is that you can't add them to your NQIII inventory at any given time during the game. If you are already battling your way through Faerieland and then wish to obtain a charm, head over to the NC Mall and buy it, it will not show up immediately but only upon entering the next stage of NQIII. Once however the charms have been added to your inventory between two stages of NQIII or before starting a game, they will always show up in your NQIII inventory automatically and only temporarily disappear after you have used them. Using them of course is optional and even someone like me, who really likes the charms, will occasionally take up the challenge of beating the game without the help of those charms.
Now for the different charms: Much like your basic Faerie Quest there are NQIII Faerie Charms for each of the basic faeries.
The Light Faerie Charm
The gist of any kind of Neoquest was and is battling monsters and bosses to gain experience, level up and unlock new skills. And always, even at the beginning where it does not take much experience to gain the next level, one has the feeling that it takes way too long. Especially at those times where one does not really progress in the game but sticks to an area for the sole purpose of levelling up so that one stands a chance to beat the next boss. Here the Light Faerie Charm can be really helpful as by using it, it will fill up the experience meter of Kero and any additional group member at that time to the point where the next level is reached.
In my eyes there are two situations where this charm is best to be used: Either in the first stage before Kero can recruit a new group member where levelling up is not only tedious but outright dangerous if you are encountering more than one monster in a fight (but this has the downside that it will only grant Kero a new level, while a later use would give more group members a new level), or in the last stage to reach maximum level as after this you can skip battling those mini monsters and concentrate on the final fights. But the downside here is that in order to have this charm available at this point you'd have to do all the levelling up the old-fashioned way.
The Fire Faerie Charm
Besides skills it's the weapons you have equipped to your fighters which determine the effectiveness of a battle move. And of course the better the weapon the more effective the battle move. Now the Fire Faerie Charm allows you to up the strength of a currently equipped weapon +3. +3 in weapon strength can make quite a difference in a battle, but there are two downsides with this charm. The first point is that you can only up one weapon for the whole group and not one weapon for each group member. The other point is that you can only use it on a weapon equipped at that point in the game. Of course you get to choose the weapon, so it is your decision whether to use the +3 on the sword, the staff, the wand, the ladle, the teddy bear, or whatever weapon is available. But you can only choose one weapon and if later you obtain a stronger weapon of the same kind, a better sword or a more powerful wand, this +3 is not transferred. It will remain with the weapon chosen at the time the charm was used.
So choice of weapon and timing of usage warrant consideration. The most obvious point of using this charm is to up the final weapon which deals the most damage so as to have the maximum strength for the final battle. But honestly, by the time of the final battle the overall assortment of weapons for the group is strong enough to enable you to beat Lord Faerigan quite comfortably without this additional +3. Which is why, personally, I prefer to use this charm on the first or second weapon with healing properties. Healing is most important, but usually the healing abilities of group members and healing properties of weapons are the slowest to increase, making you quite dependent on healing potions, especially in the beginning. Using the Fire Faerie Charm this early in the game will make it easier to reach the point in the game where the natural healing powers are more balanced compared with the damage the monsters can deal.
The Earth Faerie Charm
As mentioned above, healing is most important. But there may be a point where you run low on healing potions, your healing skills are underdeveloped, you have no healer in your group and the health of Kero and the other members is dangerously in the red. Of course this is a worst case scenario, but already running low on healing potions can put you in an uncomfortable spot. This is where the Earth Faerie Charm comes in handy. By using it you transport the whole group to the next resting point in this stage. (The only exception is if you are already past the last resting point of the stage, in which case the charm will take you back to the last resting point.) One major boon is that often these resting points are located in settlements which also have shops selling potions, so you can replenish your healing potion stocks, and other shops might give you access to better weapons and armour. Depending on how far you are to the next resting point, this charm may also considerably advance you in the game. However not all resting points are for free, so you should make sure you have enough gold with you, though this usually is no problem. Far more serious is that by advancing in the game artificially, you don't gain the experience you'd otherwise get when battling your way there. So you may find yourself transported to an area where you encounter much tougher monsters than you are accustomed to and for which the group has no matching skills.
The choice of when to use this charm is something like a spur of the moment decision. I usually consider how far back the last resting point was, how much time (and patience) it would cost me to retreat to the last safe area with easy monsters and if perhaps I know the next resting point to have interesting weapon shops. But with all the different options NQIII offers regarding group composition, weapons and skills, each game is different, so I can give no specific recommendation in which stage to use this charm. Simply see how your game develops and use the charm when in dire need of rest.
The Air Faerie Charm
Like the Earth Faerie Charm above, this charm comes with group transportation. Only this time the charm will not take you to a resting point but straight to the next boss which is great, if you already have the necessary levels and skills to beat this boss and have not the patience to reach him the ordinary way. But as you can use this charm only once, you'll have to choose the boss to reach this way carefully. Please note that it will always be the next boss, even if this boss is an optional boss and not a mandatory one. Therefore make sure you either want to fight that boss if the next one is an optional one, or you are past that optional boss before you use this charm.
One of the obvious bosses to reach by using this charm would be Lord Faerigan once you have reached maximum level. No more traipsing through the Darigan countryside forever. But personally I prefer to use this charm much earlier in the game, more specifically in the Shenkuu stage. In Shenkuu there is one long and winding mountain trail at the end of which you encounter Tsi-Do. Tsi-Do is an optional boss but beating him gives you access to the village of Kotai and the precious Katana, which, seeing that if not in Kotai you can only obtain the Katana near the end of the Shenkuu stage, tells you much about the strength of this weapon. Now, Tsi-Do is not that difficult to beat (compared to what is to come), so you'll have the necessary levels and skills quite early. But the mountain trail to Tsi-Do is peppered with monsters which can be annoyingly tough, making the way to Tsi-Do rather perilous. However, leapfrogging the monsters, defeating Tsi-Do and slashing the monsters on your way back to the main route once you have the Katana is easy-peasy.
The Water Faerie Charm
Much like ordinary water enhances corrosion on metal and dulls a blade, the Water Faerie Charm will dull your opponent's weapon. Given the nature of water, the charm is most effective with slashing weapons (as these are usually made of metal), not so effective with a club or staff and of no effect on a monster or boss using no weapons but claws, paws, hooves and innate magic. Luckily the pictures TNT drew of the monsters and bosses are clear enough for you to see whether your opponent has a weapon or not and what kind of weapon it is.
Now, as you can use this charm like all others only once, it is no good using it on your ordinary monster. It is also not so good to use it on Lord Faerigan himself, as the final boss of NQIII relies more on innate magic than any weapon. So, personally, I prefer to use this charm for Nordrax. Nordrax is a Darigan Hissi and is also the Captain of the Guards of Darigan Citadel. Nordrax is actually the last lesser boss you'll encounter in NQIII and consequently quite tough. But he relies mostly on his weapon for dealing damage and as Captain of the Guards his weapon happens to be a sword. Perfect for using the Water Faerie Charm and it makes beating Nordrax a lot easier.
The Dark Faerie Charm
This charm takes its name quite literally. The Dark Faerie Charm shrouds your whole group in darkness for five turns, making it unassailable for that time, which is great. The downside is that the darkness affects the aim of your group somewhat, so you are dealing less damage while the charm is active. So this charm, like the Water Faerie Charm above, is a battle charm and obviously is better used fighting a boss than an ordinary monster. But which boss?
This is actually the only charm I decidedly keep for the final fight against Lord Faerigan, simply because Lord Faerigan is the only boss with the ability to develop and change strategies. But if your group is shrouded in darkness, even if only for five turns – and with Lord Faerigan five turns pass rather quickly compared to the length of the overall fight – it will hamper his strategy-finding efforts while allowing you to deal a nice amount of damage, even with the weaker aim. Not to forget that your turns include the possibility to use healing on your group and thereby last longer in the fight.
So this is it, the six NQIII Faerie Charms with their advantages and disadvantages. And who knows, perhaps TNT will release further charms in the future like The Battle Faerie Charm, The Rainbow Faerie Charm and The Faerie Queen Faerie Charm for even more options and fun when playing Neoquest III.