Rune Factory 4 is the most complex RF I’ve played yet. While it has some great tutorials to cover the basics, there are still many starting “secrets” which can be easy to miss. How you get your starter tools and unlock more seeds at the shops is a bit different than fans of the series might expect, as well. I’ve written this guide to help new players get the best start possible.
On Day 1, you select your gender by choosing a response to the height of the airship you find yourself on. “I’m flyin’ high” leads to a male character; “Goodness, I’m so high up” leads to a female.
After the intro, meeting a few townspeople in your new home, and a short tutorial about using the objects in your room, there’s little the game will allow you to do but go to bed.
Day 2 is when the play truly starts. Upon waking, you’ll be locked into eating and farming tutorials, so those are impossible to miss. During the farming tutorial, you will receive your first hoe, turnip seeds, and water pot. So far, it’s not much different from other Rune Factory and Harvest Moon games.
But then we’re introduced to Eliza, the Request Box. The Request Box is very important. Checking the request box and fulfilling the missions it offers will provide additional tutorials, as well as unlocking new seeds for sale in the stores. The starter tools you haven’t yet been given will all come from Requests, as will your calendar and storage box for your room. You want to be sure to check for new missions daily and complete your maximum allowable quests (which slowly goes up over time, from one to three a day).
Eventually, a few repeatable quests will show up – deliver item, deliver fish, ship crops, kill monsters – these are randomized, less important quests that give prince/princess points as reward. It’s better to do the non-repeatable quests first, because clearing those will unlock others. For example, I’ve only been able to unlock the ability for your character to run his/her own shop through these later quests.
The conversations to unlock the Chemistry set, Forge, Crafting Table, and Cooking sets are somewhat hidden.
To get your first Cooking tool and the ability to obtain cooking licenses, ask Porcoline about cooking tools. That option is available immediately.
After speaking with Porcoline about cooking tools, you’ll be able to access the option to take a quiz to get your cooking license, which is needed for any cooking skills above “simple” level. This option is available through the Orders sign in Ventuswill’s room.
Chat with Doctor Jones to unlock the ability to buy a Chemistry set and get a License to craft your own potions.
Bado will mention selling you a Forge, and he sells the crafting table as well.
The conversation lines involving the Forge and Chemistry set tend to appear after you finish the first dungeon. If you don’t get them at first, keep trying on subsequent days.
Speaking of dungeons, you can head out to your first dungeon on your first true day of play, so don’t hesitate to explore outside of town as soon as you’re ready. You should already have a weapon from the intro scenes on day 1.
Forte will give you another weapon as you leave town, as well as offering to go with you. Don’t worry about other armor or defensive gear – the chests in the first dungeon will take care of that. Take the path to the right; it’s really the only way you can go. Clear the dungeon and defeat the boss monster to advance the story.
Running out of energy too quickly? Speak with either of the ladies who run the Inn (while they’re at work) and they’ll give you five free baths. You won’t likely need one on day two, but they’ll soon come in handy as you work on raising your cooking skill for your first festival, clearing your field, and raising your first crops.
You will also find energy-restoring flowers within a few screens of town when you explore the forest. I go straight down from the entrance of town until I find the energy flower that grows there, then cut back up toward the farming field that grows just to the left of town. Along the way, I not only get all energy flowers, but also purple herbs, bamboo, and mine ore. That gives a nice free energy refill. The purple herbs allow you to make heavy spice in bulk using the chemistry set (raises medicine skill + earns gold when sold).
Bamboo, ore, and scrap metal can all be used to upgrade low-level weapons and accessories, for cheap, quick forging and crafting leveling. Quite a lot of junk can. Anything you’re tossing in your shipping box for less than 100g a sale, consider whether it’s worth more to you in upgrade experience.
The first festival is a cooking festival, and it can sneak up on you quick. However, on my latest play through I placed second with a pickled turnip dish, so it is possible to place and get prizes even the first year. My cooking level wasn’t very high; just whatever I could get from pickling my first crop of turnips.
As with all RF/HM games, saving before you participate in the festival is a good defense against the random scores of your opponents – just reload if you don’t place. Prizes are cooking recipe bread (more bread the higher you place), with second place getting food as well as the cooking bread, and first place getting additional loot.
I recommend the Knife table as your first cooking table purchase, to take full advantage of fishing to raise your cooking skills. Sashimi takes only a single fish to create, and most fish you commonly catch in the spring can be used in low level sashimi recipes.
Such as: Cherry Salmon, Girella, Masu Trout, Needlefish, Pike, Squid.
Your second dungeon – and more of the forest – will unlock after the townsfolk start talking about mysterious voices in the night. Until then, there’s nothing to do but tend your crops, cook, craft, keep up with your missions, and chat with the townsfolk.
Despite Doug’s concerns when you enter the second dungeon, I haven’t found it necessary to purchase new gear from Bado at all. Chest drops and the ability to forge our own gear has been more than enough. I do, however, sometimes pause when a dungeon/boss proves difficult and update my forging recipes or levels.
The best monsters to tame, to me, are the ones that produce food or easy crafting ingredients. So, my first pets in any RF game tend to be:
- Wooly – drops “fur” daily, which can be crafted into yarn (a “string”) for easy boosting of your crafting skill.
- Buffamoo – drops milk daily
- Cluckadoodle – drops egg daily
- Hornet or Hornet Queen – drops honey daily
The first three are available right away, in Selphia Plains, so you can target them for the taming monsters missions if you wish. The Hornet is found in Yokmir Cave; not for a little while longer than the others. I usually wait until Maya Road and get a Hornet Queen instead.
There is, of course, much more to learn about RF 4, but this quick beginner’s guide should have you off to a good start. Happy questing!