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Decoding the Legend of Mana Artifact Placement System

The Legend of Mana is a popular game with a complex artifact placement system that often leaves players puzzled. While many guides provide step-by-step instructions on where to place each artifact, few explain the underlying systems that govern these placement guides. In this article, we aim to demystify the systems that determine artifact placement, allowing you to make informed decisions when playing the game on your own, without relying solely on a guide.

Why Does Artifact Placement Matter?

Before diving into the intricacies of the artifact placement system, let’s understand why it’s important. The placement of artifacts affects several aspects of the game, including:

  • The level of monsters encountered, which determines the loot they drop.
  • The inventory available in shops, crucial for tempering and forging.
  • The events and demi-human pets you can encounter.

To grasp these effects fully, we need to explore two key systems: land levels and elemental levels.

Understanding Land Levels

Land level represents the difficulty or advancement of a particular land. It determines the average level of enemies found within that area. When you pause the game during combat, you can see the level of the enemies you are fighting, and land level is the primary factor that influences their levels.

Land level also dictates the inventory available in shops within that land. The same shop might offer MenosBronze items on one playthrough and GranzSteel items on another because the land was placed differently each time, resulting in different land levels.

Calculating Land Level: Land level is assigned to a land the moment you place the artifact, and it remains unchanged thereafter. The basic equation for land level is as follows:

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Land level = distance from home + total number of artifacts placed (including this one)

For example, if we consider the popular “completionist” layout, shown in the map below:

Artifact Placement Map

The 1st artifact, the mailbox (which creates Home), is 0 spaces from Home, resulting in a land level of 1. The 2nd artifact, colorblocks (which creates Domina), is 1 space from Home, leading to a land level of 3. Despite both Luon Highway and Domina being adjacent to Home, Luon Highway has a higher land level because it was placed later.

By understanding how land levels are calculated, you can strategically plan the placement of your artifacts to optimize the game experience.

The Significance of Shop Levels

Shop levels are influenced by land levels and are particularly important if you plan to forge and temper weapons. Certain crucial items for tempering can only be obtained from material shops of specific levels. To ensure you have access to all necessary items, it’s advisable to have at least one material shop of each level.

While land level affects the inventory of shops in several lands, six lands specifically have shops that are influenced by land level:

Gato GrottoesFlames5-911-15
Ulkan MinesWheel10-1316-24
Polpota HarborStar Lamp18-21
GeoRusted Anchor22-26

By considering the shop levels and planning your artifact placement accordingly, you can ensure you have access to the necessary shops for tempering and forging weapons.

Analyzing Elemental Levels

Elemental levels play a crucial role in unlocking certain events, obtaining demi-human pets, and even affecting the levels of monsters within a land. To understand elemental levels, let’s explore how they are calculated and their impact on the game.

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Calculating Elemental Levels: When you place a new artifact, its elemental levels are added not only to the adjacent land but also to the land where the artifact is placed. However, the new land only gains elemental levels from adjacent lands that have already been placed.

For example, let’s refer back to the map we discussed earlier:

Artifact Placement Map

When placing the mailbox artifact, which has elemental levels of 1 Wisp, 1 Dryad, and 1 Gnome, its adjacent land, Home, gains these elemental levels. However, the mailbox itself does not receive any elemental levels from Home. This process repeats for subsequent artifact placements, with each new land gaining elemental levels from its adjacent lands.

By strategically placing artifacts and considering the elemental levels they possess, you can unlock specific events and access demi-human pets. Elemental levels also affect the levels of monsters within a land, adding an additional layer of complexity to the game.

Unveiling an Elemental “Exploit”

As you progress through the game, you may notice a unique aspect in the layout of artifact placements. By placing the Sword of Mana, which has full elemental levels, you can unleash the potential of adjacent lands. The land levels surrounding the Sword of Mana experience a boost, leading to full elemental levels in those lands.

Artifact Placement Map

To take advantage of this phenomenon, you can strategically place lands diagonal to the Sword of Mana to unlock full elemental levels. This exploit allows you to maximize the benefits offered by the artifact placement system.

Deciphering the Essential Lands

While land levels and elemental levels have various effects in the game, not every land is equally significant. If you are primarily interested in unlocking specific content through artifact placement, here is a quick rundown of the lands that are impacted by the placement system:

  • Home/Orchard: Elemental levels affect the rate of fruit growth.
  • Domina: Important events and demi-human pets are influenced by elemental levels.
  • Gato Grottoes: Shops for weapons and materials are impacted by land levels.
  • Jungle: Demi-human pet (Chobin Hood) can be obtained at Dryad 3.
  • Lake Kilma: Demi-human pet (Mad Mallard) can be obtained at Wisp 3.
  • Ulkan Mines: Shops for weapons and armor are influenced by land levels.
  • Junkyard: Demi-human pet (Narcissos) can be obtained at Gnome 3.
  • Lumina: All shops are affected by land levels, and a demi-human pet (Goblin) can be obtained at Shade and Dryad 3.
  • Duma Desert: Event and demi-human pet (Wimpy Thugling and Sahagin) are influenced by Dryad 3.
  • Polpota Harbor: All shops are influenced by land levels.
  • Fieg Snowfields: Demi-human pet (Succubus) can be obtained at Shade 3.
  • Norn Peaks: Demi-human pet (Tomato Man) can be obtained at Salamander 3.
  • Geo: All shops are impacted by land levels.
  • White Forest: A popular farming spot for rare wood, with high land and elemental levels (especially Dryad).
  • Bejeweled City: Contains a repeatable boss-level mob, making it suitable for farming experience with high land and elemental levels.
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By identifying the lands that matter the most to your gameplay objectives, you can optimize your artifact placement strategy accordingly.

In conclusion, understanding the Legend of Mana artifact placement system can enhance your gaming experience and provide a deeper appreciation for the intricacies of the game world. By considering factors such as land levels, elemental levels, shop levels, and the elemental “exploit,” you can make informed decisions and unlock the full potential of the game. So go forth, adventurer, and conquer the lands of Legend of Mana with strategic artifact placement!

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