I suppose I never made another post here after I got Platinum on Atelier Rorona and moved on to Atelier Totori, the sequel and 2nd game in the Arland series. Totori expands on Rorona’s system by making an actual world map, rather than a city in the center and a circle of farming areas around it. There are only certain roads to reach certain areas, and it takes a certain amount of time to travel along each road. In addition, there are 2 cities now (100% increase!) with ateliers in them, so that lends to making the world seem more expansive. The other huge change is the addition of the Adventurer License. When you become an adventurer, you receive a license and are required to accomplish certain adventuring quests/tasks to earn points and increase your license rank, which opens up more areas in the world and more quests. It’s basically an in-game achievement system that’s actually integrated into game progression. The best part about it is that it functions similar to Rorona’s assignment system without having a grading system or a strict time table. Players are rewarded for seeing more of the game, basically.
I wrote a pretty long post on NISA’s forums on reasons why I think Totori is an easier game than Rorona, which I will copy here for your enjoyment. Enjoy!
However, in terms of general gameplay between Rorona and Totori, these are the reasons I feel Totori is easier:
1. Item Traits. Having the ability to freely choose which traits you want to end up on your items, provided you have enough points, is incredibly convenient. In Rorona, having to find not only the right ingredients with the right traits, but also having to look for a lack of interfering traits was pretty obnoxious. Totori also gives you a use for ingredients with negative traits, since you can just choose not to inherit them.
2. Battle System. While LP complicates things a bit, overall the battle system is much more forgiving in Totori. Not having to spend HP for skills and synthesis makes life a lot easier. Many of the license achievements give you bonuses to stats and resists. More characters have wide-area skills. Duplicate is completely overpowered. Inflict Sleep is overpowered (especially with wide-area skills).
3. No set schedule. As vampko noted, if you hit Diamond on 3/2, you have a year and 4 months to do anything you want. Yes, time goes “faster” in Totori since traveling and gathering take up a lot of time, but that’s still like having 6 months of free time in Rorona. In my first Totori playthrough, I completely ignored the time-saving items and Chim (didn’t realize I could just buy pies from Ceci >_>) until sometime during year 5, and I was still able to beat every optional boss in the game except Ozean Kaiser (no guides).
4. Friendship points increase on their own, no need to balance friend requests with Esty’s requests on top of the kingdom assignment. No tedious numbers to keep track of (how many little stars did I get until now?! what’s my reputation at?!), no concrete downsides to failing requests.