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PSO2 NGS Story Guide
The story of PSO2 NGS will likely be complex and long.
This isn't meant to be a substitute for the game, or as a transcript of the entire script/plot, but rather a way to understand, read-up-on, speculate, analyze & get a really good idea of what's going on in the game.
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They say “halt, intruders” and the woman says Crawford spoke of you, so you have to follow her.
She introduces herself as Nadereh, with Jalil who is her lieutenant and Moshen. They’re both casts with somewhat tall abstract designs. Their color scheme fits the area, with cloth accents and camo patterns, and neither one has a face. Nadereh herself has interesting hair. She’s a middle-dark brown color with black hair that is a burgundy-purple underneath. To show this, she puts it in a ponytail where it fans out wide behind her.

Aina brings up the huge Dolls from earlier, it’s the Renus Retem, explains Nadereh. Jalil calls it the perpetual thorn in everyone’s side. Moshen says no fatalities this time, but it’s beset the area for years on end. She says she already knows that you came for help but she can’t help because their hands are tied due to the Renas Retem and all of the Dolls attacks.
 Aina doesn’t like this. Nadereh knows what happened to Ailio town, and Falz needs dealt with but with Renus Retem always on the prowl, they can’t aid other regions. She apologizes for wasting the time, so rest first…she won’t turn you out right away.

 Hadi returns from his recon mission and is sorry he couldn’t help this time. (He is the Camo-Pattern Android you saw earlier who watched the trio battle the Dolls in Sagan Mountain Road, then left for his recon mission.) He doesn’t want the trio to leave town. Nadereh asks why he stops her from throwing out the 3 people. He tells her about the time he heard “the 3 defeated the Nex Ailio”. (This disregards Dozer, who's help WAS necisary at the time of the plot to beat it, but oh well) Hadi thinks that it’s a way to defeat the Renes Retem, is to enlist the help of the Ailio people who are here now. Jalil doesn’t believe it. Moshen nods his mono-eye head in doubt as well. Nedereh says it’s a terrible battle…so are you really prepared? She’ll welcome their aid. (And probably hear more from the trio as well, instead of just kicking everyone out)

Aina asks what’s going on with Retem?
The dolls are making them lose resources. A repository was under its jurisdiction, but a horde of dolls got there. They’re trying to defend the city, so there’s no forces to spare in doing anything else. Aina says let’s go get the dolls out of there first then. Nadereh says that’ll prove what the Nex Ailo defeaters will do there. She wishes you good luck. Hadi then says to go to Murabba Canyon, it is within the northern mountains.

To activate the next part of the story you’ll have to meet one of the story characters near there but first…

Now, a new cast appears, Guiden.
He’s an ARKS instructor from the region. The enemies there are fierce so you can come visit him for support. Then, the intro for Side Tasks appears to introduce those. There will be different NPCs in different ARKS bases that will give out lots of EXP if you keep taking them. Pretty much loads of npcs in the area then get the ‘have a task’ icon over them so you can get started with leveling. So, that part is mostly ‘game mechanics’ that does not seem to have anything to do with the story much.

An all right introduction.
Everything plays out pretty much exactly like Crawford said it would. Why Aina was so surprised that Nadereh/or whoever they met at the time was like 'no help right off the bat' is a mystery. Crawford basically told everyone "you're going to have to offer help with the Dolls before Retem's going to help you", yet when that happened she was about to get upset. Of course, you'd have to prove you can get rid of dolls, then actually do it to get the needed stuff out of the Dolls territory.

Why are the Dolls messing with the resources?
Do they just turn up to stop people from doing things they want because they are ornery? (Ex. Make everyone miserable and bad so defeat everything a person tries to do) Do the Dolls actually need stuff? They meddle with the mining rigs in "Mining Rig Defense Ailio" the EQ as well, so that's 2 incidences of Dolls messing with people trying to collect resources--so it's obvoiusly in-character for them to do this but people need to start asking what and why.

Nadereh at the Graves

If you talk to Aina at the edge of the city, Manon will meet up with you to head out to Murabba canyon. However, Manon hears something up ahead and the others follow her toward the sound instead. She looks down from the top of the dune sadly, to see a scattering of different bubbling/scrolling blue tablets that are set up in a sandy patch with flowers. There, the trio finds Nadereh at a graveyard singing a sad song. They apologize for intruding, and she explains that Retem values every soldier. If even one more name can be prevented from being added, it would matter. Each monument contains 1000 names at least, and Nadereh vows to become stronger to make sure no more names are added. The scene ends, but you can look over the tablets.

There are about 49,000 dead people. (counting all the tablets)

Now, you can find Aina at the start of Murabba canyon. She’ll call Manon and they get dolls readings from everywhere, so Manon thinks we should climb down into the valley instead.

Along the way you can find a gray metal thing with 2 prongs on top. It’s pretty vertical and maybe 3 meters high. Manon thinks for some reason that it might produce sound, though it is quiet there. They saw it in the city too. Manon doesn’t think they’re dangerous. Next, you have to fight your way past more native type badguys and sand Dolls.

The Transovre appears:
These are somewhat innocuous looking 8 sided polygon pyramid things that hover near the ground
. They’re black and red, and create an impenetrable red hex based shield around them from all attacks. There’s already quite a few dolls around them in the canyon, which of course, attack you. While you battle those though, Aina and Manon will observe the Transovre items.
Once enough dolls near them are defeated, they summon more…infinitely. And it’s not small fry either, it churns out the ever annoying Deser crew who have way too much hp for anyone’s good, just as the Pettas crew did back in Aelio. Fortunately, Manon figures out that the Transovre has to lower the shield when it summons more dolls. This is the only way to destroy it.

Lure the dolls over to the Transovres so any AOE attacks you do are always hitting them also. That way when they open up they’ll get struck by everyone on the team. If gunning, put the dolls in front of the Transovre while you are behind it and spread shots all around. As long as there's always damage going on around them/on top of them it won't matter as much when they open or not.

If you can break all 3 of those…
The Lizentos will appear further along in the canyon.

This is a T-rex shaped large dolls about the size of probably…an actual Tyrannosaur Dinosaur. However, it’s interesting and better because it does not move like one. It can scorpion the tail and shoot, it leaps, blasts, and spins around to get you. It is thicker/denser than the dinosaur it’s inspired by as well. It can (and will) run or rocket along very fast. It has fancy foot claws which can be broken off the tops of the feet to help it lose traction. When it is lower on HP, like all Dolls things, it will turn red and get crystals/fins and extra attacks. When it glows bright red it can zoom/charge around at rocket speed…but this can be ‘broken’ off of it with more attacks. If you can beat the boss, a mining guy will come out (miners were driven into hiding by all the dolls spawned at the Transovres)

Aina notices a door in the wall, and Manon says that’s how they transported the stuff. (That’s actually pretty vague? There’s a square door in the rock wall of the canyon and she just…? What? Knows there’s a goods teleporter back there or something?) The guy says thanks, now that mining can continue, thanks for saving everyone.  Now, you can return to the city to make the report.

When you go toward Nadereh’s office area, you get inside right away and, Moshen is amazed and apologizes for doubting the strength of the trio. He’s really formal about it and actually seems pretty upset for doubting you earlier. He does a bow. Jalil doesn’t approve of what he says/how apologetic he is. He grumbles about it, after Moshen kind of says “well they really did”, and acknowledges them too. All this seems to make Aina really happy (which makes sense, remember she’s always looking for praise because her father wouldn’t let her help or praise her fighting ability because he wanted her to stay safe and stay away from everything bad so he’d never promote her, etc) Hadi I told you so’s them all and they regard him with their abstract faces. Remember, none of the three have facial features capable of movement or change.

Manon wants to ask something to Moshen.
What are the speaker like objects scattered everywhere? Moshen says they amplify songs. It shows you a bit of a cut-scene where you can inspect one, and it looks like there are the round ‘bass speaker’ textures on the inner parts of the forks. He tells everyone that Nadereh’s family (the rulers of the Retem region…curious they’ve got a nepotism/kings/queens thing going on here) have a unique power. The Song of War empowers defenders who fight dolls. Aina wonders why she doesn’t use the awesome power now. Jalil and Moshen agitate just a little bit about this, but Hadi says everyone has a right to know if we’ll all fight together. He wants to meet up at “the altar” to tell you more. Manon wonders about that while everyone goes to the Altar. Manon & Aina advise to prepare before going towards it because a Dolls fight might break out.

The scene ends.

Someone asking for more plot info? And then getting it? Good!
A very concice and well done piece of story. You found out about the bad thing, went off to stop it, that worked, and questions were asked as well as answered. Real progress, and nothing out of character. Very nice

Munira and Rizwana are the 2 duman women who guard the Nadereh office area. Once you clear out Murabba canyon, they’re happy about it, and will encourage you.

A Flicker of Resistance

When you go find Hadi in the desert to head to the Altar Area, he’s alone, but asks if you’re ready to go to the Altar. This is called A Flicker of Resistance. Hadi says the altar is under their care, as is the canyon. It was used as a sacred place where ceremonies were held but now it’s hardly used because dolls always show up there now. Aina and Manon show up also, so the trio will head over there. *It turns out this is actually the Retem equivielent area to Mt. Magnus in Aelio where enemies are always spawining/you can run around fighting all you want--but here in story mode you can actually clea it out.

As you enter the area which has many platforms, ramps and other things built by…whatever was building these metal constructs all over the planet, a Sand Doltz and some desert Tinoses will appear. Hadi says the Dolls will interrupt us, so can you help clear out these pests first? It is questionable why he needed the trio to come here to explain the thing. It's more dramatic and believable the story telling it where it happened, but it has the side effect of 'using the trio' to rid of more Retem Dolls because he knew those would always turn up anyway.

Now, 3 targets appear, each one leads to a different enemy clear out.
The first has the Crowpa claw worm, Glassneg the snake that throws rocks, and Roufinbear (the hairy banehog-like thing of the desert) Hadi is impressed the sand didn’t slow them down, so Aina explains that they trained on the beach all the time back home.

A bubble Snapper then will appear on a platform next. After that, a Metius will appear with various Deser Crew baddies on another platform. The Metius is a new enemy that looks like a vaguely person, very tall with a ‘cape’ which is actually arms. The ‘arms’ are stiff/metal things with ‘speaker’ texture on the front. This can be used to boost other dolls. So, the dolls are also using sound to do things here? No one touches on this....

If you can defeat the Metius & various minion dolls, a Fortos Launcher and 2 deser guys will appear.
The Fortos Launcher is really an abstract dolls. It's big, with a somewhat fan-shaped upper part that has 4 arms on the top. These can spawn missiles. They can also be broken off with enough attacks. At the sides of the upper part are more 'regular' arms. It has no legs, but a small round core underneath, then a 'flower shape' type of....blades? at the bottom. Of course, it floats along on this. The core part/base is often protected by a high DEF (or impenetrable) sheild. Breaking off arms can disable this. Once it turns red (lower on hp) it can beam blast out the base and do a missile storm.

If you can beat it, now, Hadi will explain.
He drops the big info first. Nadereh lacks the power of song. When she became the leader and sang before a big crowd right here on this altar spot, her power didn’t manifest. When the new Retem person takes lead, they give a huge concert in front of all the population which gathers on the platforms around the speakers in this big area. Everyone expects to feel the boosting effects / proof of the Power of Song.
No one knows what went wrong, everyone was shaken. But Nadereh was the worst shaken…(She's a real leader-type, it obviously really devastated her to have the effect not happen) but anyway she endured physical training that no others could, in order to make the physical side of her fighting make up for her lack of the song power. The people of Nadereh’s line/family always had great physical power and song power too.

After hearing the explanation of what happened, Manon wants to look at recordings on terminals, or if there’s video of other people in the family doing the power of song so she can analyze it for clues. The scene ends.

Aina asks if she really lost the power of Song?
Manon confirms she’ll investigate. The thing is, nobody ever said she actually HAD the power at all. It’s implied that she gets it when she becomes the leader or she always had it, and in her case she never had it. So Aina's wording 'loss' is wrong to use.

Well well, a character is actually thinking and taking initiative to look into an issue?
Uncommon for it seems both NGS and PSO2, so it’s nice to see it here with Manon. It does raise questions though such as:
Why didn’t Nadereh herself or her aids look at video footage of the relatives?
It's obvious that this is a big deal, why not investigate?
SHE herself had to have been alive along-side a singing relative?
Why would there be not-much documentation…remember, it’s not like this place is low-tech or they magically didn’t have cameras or tape recorders or whatever 20 years ago or something. There’s no reason that footage of ‘literal miracle singing’ should be scarce with this kind of tech (unless some macguffin was ‘erasing it’ because ‘reasons’—but even then, the story would have to say what/how)
What is the actual power of Song? Arks didn’t have it, is this something new like the gliding thing because this planet is so photon rich?

The Dome: Rwh Maqead

Getting back to the city at all/for any reason starts a cutscene automatically. (no matter what you were doing) It shows your guy and the others getting back to a city that looks more empty than usual. Everyone rushes to the medical tent. There,  Nadereh, Moshen and Jalil have all been injured in a fight with Renus Retem. It went on the attack again, and was backed up by lots of dolls this time. They ask if she’s ok, and though she pants about it, insists ‘its just a scratch’.

 Nadereh frets that if it decides to attack again, or hit the city, this time, it’ll finally win because everyone who can fight still, their numbers are dwindling. She wants to reverse the course though, and actually form up a party to go and attack it in its home instead. This is different than previous strategies.

It’s stronghold is “The Dome”. The Retem region name for this is Rwh Maqead. (Nice choice there for having to use Japanese letters to try and spell this, I have no idea what they are trying)This is a mushroom shaped (eroded probably) absolutely huge, like bigger than buildings natural formation of reddish brown stone in the desert. It’s made of the same red rock as the surrounding area, appears to have a few ‘layers’ in the domed upper part and often sheds thin waterfalls of sand. It’s a very interesting vista.
She states that the goal is to make it through the desert and enter the dome, then attack it. She knows numbers and time are not on their side, but it’s all there is left to do.
 Jalil feels the dome can’t be attacked head on to force through. Some people have to split off from the main force. An Elite squad including her, will get to the center of the Dome where she believes the giant worm hides. She assigns the 3 CASTS to work out the details, then asks the Aina group to prepare for battle, as you’ll be part of Nadereh’s Elite Attack Team. Manon brings up the research materials again.

Interestingly, he actually helps out at this time before going to prepare with the other 2 casts. He shows them computer screens at a series of ‘desks’, (The set up is similar to the Ailio one, where obviously high tech stuff is set up in like…stone counter tops and such) he doesn’t think she’ll find anything of use in battle but…she sits down and starts in on it anyway. Jalil then leaves. You and Aina watch Manon type for a bit, and flap around a little while waiting. Aina falls asleep so your character leaves, then comes back later. Manon has since gone from the terminal, and Aina doesn’t know where she went. It shows that she’s at the grave yard singing to the tombs. Your char and Aina soon find her out there.

Manon says that she needed fresh air. There are dead Sand Fuwans in the background, Manon likely had to kill them to get them out of the grave area. It’s difficult to tell if this is unusual or not because dolls self-destruct/energy away as like red…energy…stuff when they are defeated. Sometimes spectacularly so, in a big bright ball with rays or with a shrieking sound sometimes. This is clearly part of ‘the plot’ BUT it is also NEEDED because enemy sprites have to have ‘an excuse’ to be dismissed once they’re defeated to make the game actually able to run. Turning monsters into 2D ‘stains’ on the floor of PSO1 Dreamcast was also this phenomenon. It's also why all 'mech type' enemies 'explode' when defeated--gotta get rid of the polygons.

Manon, who is upset, laments when you arrive that Halpha is a cruel place, brutal and merciless, feels Manon as she looks at the names on the glowing glass grave stones. To simply live here, so many ARKS fight the dolls and die. She then sings the unsubtitled song that Nadereh sang earlier/you can’t understand it, but it is a slow melody. She is good enough at singing. Nadereh knows it too, recognizing it as the song of mourning, as she enters the scene. Manon was looking at her battle records, and then came here. The conflict has gone on so long, there are so many casualties. If there’s another battle more will die so if she thinks about it… Manon is clearly getting upset about the prospect.

Manon asks what made her come here. She comes to sing the song of mourning to the graves and vow again that there won’t be more victims this time…but even though she’s strong, she can’t protect everyone. (It’s clear that she knows her vows are lies because people die no matter what, she’s coming here to pre-mourn the people, and to lament the already-dead—it’s no wonder everyone encounters her now, this is a ritual for her and it is the designated preparation time) Nadereh gets upset,  saying “ If only she had the Song power we never would have lost so many.”

Manon counters her pretty strongly, says it’s not your fault…the ones who are truly to blame…are and she backs off saying sorry she yelled, forget about it. Manon knows something she’s not saying. She holds her own arm and frets. It’s easy to see that she’s holding back info, but nobody says anything about it. *Keep This In Mind Nadereh sings the song anyway. This time there are recognizable words but it’s still fairly hard to understand.

The dead enemies in the background flicker and get blue light on them. Glowy dots of photon begin to rise around from the ground. Everyone looks around at the sparkles and is amazed. This isn’t the mourning song, it’s a different one. Nadereh notices the lights, and Manon figures it out. Her power is a separate power from the other leaders, Manon gets super excited at having figured something out. Nadereh is very curious about what it could be, and appears to become hopeful. The scene ends and dumps you back in the city but

Aina raidos asking about it, but Manon thinks we have to see for ourselves in the big battle that’s coming up.

Well well well if this isn’t looking like a shoe horn cliff hanger. There better be a dam good reason that Manon withholds the most important battle strategy information until a point that it is likely too late. Does she think the dead dolls can somehow still hear? Have comprehension and intelligence enough to warn the worm? (Doubtful)

So Nadereh power doesn’t work the same as all the ancestors so the same ‘trigger’ that she was doing/taught wasn’t going to get it going.
Who or what is blocking it? Why does Manon not tell her?
Why does your guy and Aina not help Manon do research? They’re not dumb.

Jalil – An interestingly designed person, he doesn’t look human at all. With one levitating polygonal shoulder guard and a faceless head. He has the apparently well-liked Retem color scheme which involves white with purple-fade-to-magenta ish employing this on his thigh tops and shoulder guard. He’s painted with a geometric pattern and also camo for the shins. His head has a blue square where the ‘face would be, but it is long and rectangular. (Slightly reminiscent of the “aliens xenomorph” but much boxy-er.

The Power of Song:

The goal, as stated by Jalil is to route the dolls from the path to Renus Retem, and test the power of Nadereh’s song. In the desert, Nadereh and her troops face off against however many Dolls that appear teleporting in from the area of the dome. Everyone is fighting the Deser guys like Deser Sword/Launcher, etc. There are a few Sand Fuwan around as well. Jalil asks what’s she doing without her weapon as she starts to sing. She actually lets the various Deser crew jump at her. Moshen and everyone are confused as the dolls slow down and turn blue. The leaping Deser Sword fails its jump at her as it gets waves of blue light upon it instead. A ‘2 prong speaker thing’ stuck in the sand near by starts to resonate out blue sparkles as she sings. You are able to defeat a few as she sings in the cut scene.

Manon now steps in, telling everyone what she’s figured out:
She figured out it’s a photon factor that only Retem leaders had. Manon’s worked out that her song WEAKENS dolls, not strengthens allies—as everyone elses’ song before her did. After singing the first song that apparently didn’t do anything she never sang again out of whatever shame and disappointment she had. (You can absolutely tell that Nadereh is the type of person that would do this. It’s completely in-character for her to have the big concert show where she was going to power everyone with the song and then when it didn’t do what everyone thought it would…she’d get turbo upset and never do it again.)

Aina comments that the dolls are slowing down more and more as Nadereh sings. Everyone takes advantage of the now Jellen/Zalure type effect that is upon them to battle the dolls. If you can battle through all of the Deser Crew and some Sand Goron/Gororox, a mini-boss will come out. It is the Kelkundo, a tall and spindly type of dolls with a circular…crown? Arch? On the upper back. It has very long legs with prickly ankles and kicks for all of the attacks. It can do leg slams, fly up and shoot projectiles down , spin/tornado kicks and various slashes. It does have small arms which it sometimes uncurls. It’s a pretty powerful foe for the size and is very quick. Rangers should shoot it from a distance, while melee people need something that can block. However, it can wear itself out with tons of attacks, and when this happens it kind of tilts down and you can attack it. Hadi, Aina, Manon, Jailil and Moshen will all be with you attacking it as well.

As soon as it is defeated…

Dozer then shows up with a crew of other Arks from Aelio. Hadi recognizes him. It seems like they were battle partners or some kind of old allies / maybe friends. Aina asks if it’s ok to leave his post in Aelieo, but Crawford can manage, he says. Moshen is heartened by the addition of so much more fresh forces. Nadereh wants to set out right away.

Now, once you sell items/prepare again, you can go into the desert to talk to Nadereh about the Battle of Rwh Maqead. She sounds tired but asks if you’re prepared. Remember, Rwh Maqead is the name of the mushroom shaped ‘dome’ area where the Renus Retem lurks.

A cutscene shows other defenders from both areas, and Dozer nods at the crew. Assult prep is complete. She says we’ve lived in fear for too long, but today we’ll defeat it once and for all. Dolls interrupt her speech, so everyone charges the dolls who have arrived.

Infiltrating the Fortress of Sand

Jalil goes to support the others, and a Sand Nogleth appears. Moshen will now step in for him and help fight it. The Sand Nogleth is different than the Aelio one somewhat. It jumps around more, and once it turns red it gains the power of rocket propelled fists instead of the big-back-crystal. It's similar enough though, that you can fight it in much the same way. Having everyone else around to help out is also good, as the NPCs here are actually pretty decent. Once you defeat it, he’ll go to render aid to the wounded.
Now there are sand roron and rorox. Annoy the roron to lure them away from the bigger bad guys without Manon or Aina snippng at them. Then, a Metius will come to heal/back up the dolls so get rid of it first. While doing this Dozer will appear. Once they’re defeated, he’ll go to help his squad.

Next higher up will be Deser Gunblades and a Brankle. Hadi will show up for this one. Get rid of the Deser Gunblades first or they’ll make it too annoying to kill the Brankle, which has even more HP than they do. The Gunblade is about like the ones in PSO2, but remember: it’s not a category of weapon in NGS at the time of release. They also ‘cheat’ with it because of their bungee-arm ability. Just kite them around while Aina annoys the Brankle until it’s all that’s left so you can focus on it without getting stabbed from across the plateau.

So what's happening here is the important characters are kind of "round robin"-ing in and out on your way up the dome. The 'lifters' that create the lifting force-field are mostly how you get better elevation each time. Because the mushroom-cap shape of the dome is flared outward it'd be unscalable at all even with jumping because you're under a 'rim' a lot. *If the dolls ever invented a guy who could eat the twirly thing that produces these fields, they'd stop all the Arks pretty easily!

Ruslan says more dolls are on the way.
(Ruslan is an NPC who appears sometimes in the mini-scuffles out in the field away from story mode like “defend a cargo” or “beat a boss” in areas like Mt Magnus or the Resol Forest. ) A cut scene lets you fight them, and Hadi wants Nadereh and everyone to go on ahead while he takes them on alone with his double saber weapon. You look back as he fights, worrying somewhat. The odds aren't really good for him, he's up against quite a few high HP monsters. You look back as he fights, worrying somewhat as everyone floats upward on the lifter-field. Once lifted, everyone apparently reaches the top of the dome which is much more ‘textured’ than one would suspect looking at it from the ground. There’s crags, peaks, and rock formations on the top. There’s also a hole right in the middle that goes down into darkness.

Dropping into the deep pit reveals its somewhat techno inside. There are building like structures, pipes, more of that ‘glowing girder’ stuff that’s all around the planet and some scaffold type paths. It’s dimly lit from the technological aspects. The floor is all sand…and the worm is obviously in it. It spirals up from underneath and reveals it is………significantly smaller than it was in the cut scene!

Why do they do this?
The cut scene where you saw it first (from the Oasis) had it being literal CITY BLOCKS long as well as totally massive, and now it’s perhaps 1 block at most? Maybe the length of a football field or two at most? There was also a huge discrepancy with “mountain rock gettem/elder” vs what you actually fought in space as the EQ boss battle. It’s super obvious that they’re changing the size of stuff—and it’s unrealistic vs the game’s own universe. If something is X size, then make X size BE scary—that’s the point of making things and controlling them.

Renus Retem is big, and it’s a boss that’s likely pretty good for rangers and maybe forces to fight because the only lower-def-enough part to hit is the head. It keeps this elevated really well almost the entire time. (That's double-jumps while running just to get up to it at all levels of 'well') It also has attacks a plenty to knock jumpers down/ stop combos. It does not particularly have a face per-se…the top seems almost hairy in texture and there are sharp points all around. The mouth interior is Saarlac-pit looking but with twirling metal saw blades. It can do energy blasting, targeted missile shooting, laser blasting, and dig in the sand to pop out/knock everyone down. It is also partially buried in the sand all the time. The tail tip and a middle ‘arch’ will usually be up. These both have very high DEF so don’t bother hitting at those until it decides to attack from them.

After it loses enough hp…it does a big attack, this knocks down the team, and it turns red. Manon will notify everyone that there’s another hittable point on the ‘arch’ middle part of it. A glowing yellow area that helps shoot missiles is on one side, and on the other it has a claw-like thing over the yellow dot that can energy blast…but both of these can be attacked and broken. Every time one breaks, the head falls down so you can rush to that and hit it more. (Use the PB at this point if it has built) Breaking both sides of this and hitting the head in between will be enough to defeat it.  

Once it falls down, there’s a cut scene where everyone rushes it as it tries to do a mega blast. Manon swings and jumps out of the way, Aina shoots it in the face and Nadereh blasts off with her bouncer shoes to deliver a mega kick that turns the whole thing red and kills it. Everyone’s super tired but walks out alive to find the defenders still standing.

Finally, Nadereh can smile. Hadi congratulates the team, and high fives are had all around. Everyone gets to smile now that Retem is safe from the monster worm. Nadereh says thanks to the trio for helping defeat it, we couldn’t have done it without you. She wants to celebrate after a rest in the city.

The scene ends

This went well. The round-robin of helper characters kept the ascent of the dome fresh, as did an actual interesting variety of enemies. The Sand Dolls are not in short supply of different types and nothing feels stale. No plot holes were formed, and everyone was in character for such a mission. The only oddity is the size of the Renus Retem vs its cut-scene. The interior being ‘developed’ is likely another drop onto the top of ‘who the heck was building this planet’, just like everywhere else so it can be shrugged at for now. A good battle story piece.

A Happy Ending

Returning to the city will trigger a cutscene where Nadereh says thanks for helping, we couldn’t have done it without you.

She sings
Aina pokes at her saying she’s always so in control, so what’s wrong? Later on, in the morning, Jalil, Moshen and Hadi all say the trio would be welcomed back, and there’s nice bye-byes as everyone heads back to central. This wraps up the Retem chapter pretty well.

Dark Falz Boss Battle Over Central

Around this point of the ONLINE updates...
They released an Emergency Quest were 'dark falz' comes around near Central. So, it's one of those "announced 15 minutes ahead" event type things that happen. You're supposed to have run it at least once to see what it did before this next part happens/or it won't make 100% of sense. SO: The call is that "DF is going to appear, we need a forward team of ARKS to intercept it and distract it while central cannon is prepared to shoot it/so we can get a good shot in." This makes sense and is fine. The cutscene has your character, Mannon, Aina and others gathering in the field to get ready for where it will appear. It's a big floating multi-armed thing that appears in the sky/hovers etc. but it's not vast. Perhaps house-sized. Once the quest is enganged...
You're 'beamed up' or kidnapped or whatever to a field in the sky. The ground is made of hexagon pillars, the surrounding area is obviously some bubble-trap/cloud type thing so it is trapping you in there with it, in the hopes of defeating the ARKS. The comms people (Orangie, Rosa, etc) try to call to you but communication is obviously all broken up because DF is trying to isolate people.
Fighting it is like a usual multi-arms boss: the 'core' with the weak spot is on the triangle shaped central body. The 6 arms wave around and do various attacks including energy beams, releasing 'bubble traps' to catch people (attack them before they explode), bashing (raises the hex pillar ground), teleporting the hands around, and the other general arms based problems. Breaking the armor off the 'wrist' areas is required.
Once it loses enough HP...
Which is the full health bar (yes the break-bar is also present) it will enter the secret surprise Phase 2 of the fight. A whole new health bar, and break bar, but now it is red instead of blue-ish Dolls color. (So, the usual dolls color switch as it is agitated now) However, this also destroys the big bubble the fight was taking place in, which also lets comms back in. They'll talk to you now, saying they can monitor health/the fight/etc. and you can also see the normal sky. There's levitating hex pillars scattered about from the break, and you can see that indeed, everything including the boss is floating about in the sky over the central plains.

Defeating it:
If you can knock down this 2nd health bar, it'll fall down onto the platform it created. Your character will be shown getting a big slash in on it. A cut-scene will appear where Crawford gets confirmation that Central Cannon is ready to fire, and he will shoot immediately. The beam does work, and hits it as it flails, doesn't kill it. Instead, as it takes increasing damage it teleports itself away. Crawfor basically does the fist-shake and says 'we'll get 'em next time'.
Aina, Mannon and you will then be able to get to the ground (as that hexagon 'floating island' or whatever it was has vanished along with the boss, and the scene ends with them slightly victorious but still somewhat dissapointed because the cannon didn't finish the job as everyone thought it would.

Once you run this DF Mission Once:
This is another of those "you can replay the incident however many times in the game, but in THE PLOT it only happened one time. Crawford will appear in his office with something new with:

Crawford And The Survey Data
He says it’s perfect timing because he’s gotten the data for the Retem Survey. Do you want to see?

Sounds Interesting
Well, If You Don’t Think It’d be Helpful

Of course, to choose Sounds Interesting, he wants to go over it, starting with the environment. It’s all covered in sand, the temp varies wildly from day to night and it almost never rains. It’s harsh for any living creature…but multitudes live there anyway, adapted to the surroundings. We want to do more research on all life forms including local enemies, but the odd thing is environments of regions connected by Border Bridges are astonishingly different. We want to assign researchers to the issue but we have to prioritize battle research instead.
But, Sagan Mountain Road (Where you first enter Retem via its Border Bridge) is also strange. It has gravitational and electromagnetic anomales. Boulders float in mid air. They think the cylinders called “Degreves” cause it, but there’s so much to learn about it. But, let’s save that topic for another day, so on to the residents.

It’s always under threat of the environment and dolls. The Nex Aelio was a major threat for us, but that’s common in Retem, and lost many lives trying to keep the town safe. They value strength above all. A basic tenent of theirs is the strong to protect and guide the weak. The circumstances of Aelio & Retem prevent interactions—as are the cultural differences. But, if you do exhibit strength they’ll surely accepts you there. Reach out to them and earn their trust. So that’s the introduction for now. So go experience it yourself. He’ll love to hear about it. The scene ends.

Degreves sounds a lot like "De-Gravs" as in de-gravity / get rid of gravity
You CAN see some kind of odd dust coming out of the cores of these pillar things.
It's excellent to actually get acknowledgement of the oddity of the Border Bridges and the "Xtreme environment shifts". PSO2 had that it was Elder/Falz doing it on Naberius (cold/jungle)
It also makes sense that "wacky mid air boulder you can hop on" must get lower research priority than 'how to kill dollz. It's annoying to not know, but it's great to see that everyone in the story is also annoyed by not knowing.

Crawford After Retem Intro
You can walk into the room while he contemplates the holo globe.

What Are You Up To?
Are You In The Middle of Some Work?

If you ask Are You In The Middle of Some Work? He’ll say ‘ah it’s you’, and hes going over the Central Cannon data. So since you’re here, he’ll explain more so it’s called Single Mount Photon Particle Cannon. He says apparently called that because it’s part of the old lost tech. Who built it, and why is a mystery. We use it as a comms tower, and it’s a part of city life. It even extends to underground spaces (like where we are now) like the nucleus of the city. When it was first discovered, it didn’t work. Vanford, his grandfather began to repair it. It’s more accurate to say incomplete rather than not working…because some parts were completely missing. It took so much time to understand it and build the missing pieces.

No one could get it operational during Grandfather nor Fathers’ time. So of course, it falls to him, and it isn’t easy. We finally got it to where it could fire, but there’s still room to improve it. The difficulty is in the durability of the new parts. We tried a test fire once long ago, have you noticed the mountain you can see from central, beyond the shopping plaza?

You Mean?
Mt. Mahinapali?

If you ask Mt. Mahinapali? That’s the one with the hole in it…yes, because we meant to fire on lowest setting but whoops heehe it was the highest output the cannon had at the time. The barrel got damaged and the control unit broke. It showed the imperfections, but that failure is not his proudest memory. It was progress…so mixed feelings. But, it did allow the cannon to be in the working stage of progress. We don’t have time to iron out all the kinks because he needs so much help to get the repairs done, so he’ll count on you once again.

Well well well: VANFORD Lab Ruins anyone?? Same guy you can bet on it.
What was the lab doing? Making the parts to repair the cannon, & researching the cannon most likely. Also interesting nomenclature here CrawFORD grandson of VanFORD. Why'd the dolls attack the lab? Stop the cannon research so nobody could blast their big bad Dark Falz the polygonal 6 armed menace. It does also raise the usual questions:

HOW did the Dolls know to attack the lab making cannon parts?
Why was the cannon incomplete in the first place?
What was the catastrophe that made everyone forget the 'old tech' that's somehow better than the 'new tech'?
Was the Vanford Lab really making only cannon parts?
Why did Mt. Mahinapali not collapse in an avalanche after being shot? There's hella geological features on the planet that should not be possible under normal gravity of any kind.