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Treasure map (Dragon Quest IX)

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A treasure map is a specialty item in Dragon Quest IX, which can be acquired in a number of different ways. When opened, a treasure map marks a particular spot on the world map where a secret grotto can be found. Treasure maps come in 2 varieties: normal and legacy boss. Overall, treasure maps play a key role in extending Dragon Quest IX's post-game by adding enormous amounts of additional content.

Map description

When viewed on the item screen, each treasure map displays description data on the top screen of the DS. This data contains the following:

  • Image of the map's grotto which must be located on the world map.
  • Name of the original owner of the map, aka the player whose game originally generated the map.
  • Name of the player who completed the map.
  • A 3 item list of treasure drops received upon completion of the map. These items have increasing rareness and are listed as question marks until they have been received for the first time. For all maps, the first item is always received 100% of the time. On normal maps, the first item is always another normal treasure map. For legacy boss maps, the first item is a mini medal. The second and third items are directly correlated to the treasure map boss' item drops, including their drop percentage.

World map locations

Each treasure maps displays a location on the world map that the player must find in order to access the map's grotto/dungeon. There is a fixed number of possible world map locations where a map's grotto can appear. For almost all maps, the grotto location is randomly selected from all the possible world map locations. However, maps shared using Tag Mode or by completing quests retain the same world map location.

To access a map's grotto, the player must find the location marked by the map on the overworld. When the map is activated, meaning it is in use and displayed on the top screen, the player will see an exclamation point above the hero's head on the bottom screen when they are in the correct location. Pressing the 'A' button when this happens will cause the map's grotto to appear. Pressing 'A' again, enters the grotto.

Once a map is put away, its grotto also disappears from the overworld. However, activating the map again allows the player to re-activate the grotto. The world map location of a map is permanent after it has been received by the player.

For images of all the possible world map locations for each map, see List of treasure map grotto locations in Dragon Quest IX.

Types of maps

Normal maps

Normal treasure maps lead to grottos/dungesons which consist of a number of floors containing enemies and possibly treasure chests, as well as a boss in the final basement. Each normal map is given a descriptive title which includes a level number. This level is a measure of difficulty for the associated grotto. All normal maps which are not received via Tag Mode are randomly generated based on various criteria. See #Normal map generation mechanics for a full description of the normal map generation process.

Legacy boss maps

Legacy Boss maps are treasure maps which lead to grottoes/dungeons which contain only 1 floor holding a legacy boss from Dragon Quest I - VIII. These maps are considered bonus material and are only received using Tag Mode, by completing specific quests, such as #151, and as item drops from certain other treasure map bosses. There are exactly 13 legacy boss maps in Dragon Quest IX.

The Legacy Bosses are unusual in that you can give them the EXP normally obtained from defeating them so they can level up. This increases their strength in battle, and adjusts their treasure drops.

Methods to acquire maps

Tag Mode

See main article: Tag Mode

Treasure maps can be received via Tag Mode with other copies of Dragon Quest IX. When entering Tag Mode, each player is able to choose a single treasure map which they possess to share with other games. This map will be "copied", meaning the original player does not lose it by sharing it on Tag Mode. This method of sharing treasure maps is also used for various Dragon Quest IX events in order to share maps. The 2 most famous maps traded via Tag Mode are the Masayuki map and the Locker map.

Quests

The following quests give a treasure map as a reward for their completion.












Note that quests 121 and higher are only available through the DQVC. See List of quests in Dragon Quest IX for more info.

Treasure map boss item drop

After defeating certain treasure map bosses multiple times, the possibility exists that the boss will drop a specific treasure map. However, only 5 bosses have the possibility of dropping a map and each of the 5 has a specific map which they drop.

King Schott

King Schott of Stornway Castle will give the player 1 random treasure map when speaking with him after completing the game.

Completion of a normal treasure map

Each normal treasure map has a specific number of floors, always culminating with a boss monster on the final basement. Defeating this boss monster gives the player another normal treasure map. This is the primary method of obtaining new treasure maps, as there is no limit to the number of maps a player can complete. A new map is given each time the player completes a normal treasure map, however, each map must be closed and reopened before it can be completed again. For information on how each normal map is generated, see Normal map generation mechanics.

Normal map generation mechanics

After completing a normal treasure map, another map is randomly generated and given to the player. The mechanics of how a new map is generated are somewhat complex.

1. Determining quality

Quality is a computed number between 2 and 248 that is later used to determine how good the next map will be. A higher quality value yields more rare maps. The formula for quality is:

q = (h + (5 * r) + m) + p()

q: quality value
h: hero's highest vocation level
r: hero's highest number of revocations (max of 10)
m: level of previous treasure map
p(): randomly generated value between -/+ 10% 

The hero's highest vocation level is the highest level they currently hold in any single vocation. The hero's highest number of revocations is the highest number of times they have used revocation in any single vocation. Note that revocation is the process used to change from level 99 in any single vocation back to level 1. The high and low values for quality are thus computed:

h: 1
r: 0
m: 1

q = (1 + (5 * 0) + 1) + p() = 2 

h: 99
r: >= 10
m: 99

q = (99 + (5 * 10) + 99) + p() = 248

Note that p() in these examples is negated by the max and min values of 2 and 248 respectively.

2. Grotto content generation

After computing the quality value, the game randomly selects one of 32768 maps for that quality value. Since quality can range from 2 to 248, the total normal map possibilities can be computed as:

(248 - 2) * 32,768 = 8,060,928 different maps

Hence the reason high quality maps are so rare. Even with the highest quality value (248), there is still only a 1/32768 chance of getting a specific map. For higher quality values, the possible maps contain grottos which are much longer and hold more powerful enemies, bosses, and treasures. The following table shows the relation between the quality value and the map contents.

Quality # of Floors Monster Rank Boss #
2-55 2-4 1-3 1-3
56-60 4-6 2-4 1-3
61-75 4-6 2-4 2-5
76-80 6-10 1-5 2-5
81-100 6-10 1-5 3-7
101-120 8-12 2-6 4-7
121-140 10-14 2-6 5-9
141-160 10-16 3-7 6-9
161-180 10-16 3-7 7-10
181-200 11-16 4-9 8-12
201-220 12-16 5-9 1-12
221-248 14-16 9 1-12

Using this table, the game randomly selects an eligible value from each column according to the computed quality value. For example, for the highest quality brackets (201-220 and 221-248), a random boss is selected from all 12 possible bosses.

a. Monster Rank

The monster rank value is used both for determining monsters and treasure chest rank within the grotto. Higher values equate to more difficult monsters and better chest contents.

Monster Rank increases in value on lower floors of a grotto. The increase can summarized as:

r = b + floor((f-1) / 4)

r: rank of floor f
b: base rank of grotto, where K = 1 ... S = 12
f: floor number
Note that floor() is the mathematical floor function.

More simply stated, the rank increases by 1 for every 4 floors completed. So for the largest grotto (16 floors), the break down would be:

floor 1 rank = C (9) + floor((1-1) / 4) = C (9)
...
floor 5 rank = C (9) + floor((5-1) / 4) = B (10)
...
floor 9 rank = C (9) + floor((9-1) / 4) = A (11)
...
floor 13 rank = C (9) + floor((13-1) / 4) = S (12)
floor 16 rank = C (9) + floor((16-1) / 4) = S (12)

Therefore, rank S (12) is the highest any grotto can contain, and can only appear on floors 13-16 if the Monster Rank on floor 1-4 is Rank C (9). Also note that not all monsters within a particular rank may appear on a floor. Which monsters within the rank appear and their frequency is determined randomly. This fact is tied to the popularity of the Masayuki map, as it contains a floor where only Metal King Slimes appear.

For the list of monsters in each rank, see List of treasure map monster ranks in Dragon Quest IX.

b. Treasure chest rank

Treasure chest rank is derived from the monster rank value. Treasure chest rank only has 10 values rather than 12.

Monster Rank Treasure Chest Rank
1 1-2
2 1-2
3 1-3
4 1-4
5 2-5
6 2-6
7 3-7
8 3-8
9 4-9
10 5-9
11 1-10
12 5-10

Treasure chest rank is determined on a per chest basis. This means that for a floor with monster rank 5, each chest could have a rank between 2 and 5. Each chest permanently retains its rank, so a rank 8 chest will always contain rank 8 items. The treasure map must be closed and reopened in order for chests to respawn their items.

The number of actual chests on any one floor is determined randomly. This variability in the number of chests and their rank is the reason for the Locker map's popularity, as it has a high amount of rank 9 and 10 chests.

For details treasure chest rank items, List of treasure map treasure chest ranks in Dragon Quest IX.

c. Normal map bosses

There are 12 possible bosses for normal treasure maps. These bosses are indexed below in increasing order of difficulty:

After defeating a boss, the treasure map must be closed and reopened in order for the boss to reappear.

For a full list of treasure map bosses, see List of treasure map bosses in Dragon Quest IX.

5. Map name generation

The treasure map name is generated based on the treasure map grotto contents and is structured as follows:

prefix + environment + "of" + suffix + level

For example:
Clay Tunnel of Bliss Lv.1  

Each portion of the map name represents an attribute of the grotto contents. Since the grotto contents are determined by the quality value listed above, the name is determined by randomly selecting from the eligible options for each portion of the name according to the grotto contents.

Level

The level formula is:

|l| = (((f - 2) * 3) + ((m - 1) * 3) + ((b - 1) * 3) + r()

l: new map level
f: number of grotto floors/basements, not including boss floor
m: base monster rank of grotto
b: boss number
r(): random number between -5 and 5

So for a map that has 8 floors (not including boss floor), monster rank 5, and boss 5 the level would be computed as:

|l| = (((8 - 2) * 3) + ((5 - 1) * 3) + ((5 - 1) * 3) + r()
|l| = (18 + 12 + 12) + r()
|l| = 42 + r()
37 <= l <= 47

So the level will be between 37 and 47, depending on the random value generated between -5 and 5.

Prefix

Prefix is related to the rank of the treasure map grotto. Rank is determined by the quality value computed above, and the prefix is randomly selected from the possible prefixes associated with the base rank.

Prefix Base Monster Rank
Clay 1-2
Rock 1-2
Granite 1-2
Basalt 1-2
Graphite 1-4
Iron 3-4
Copper 3-8
Bronze 3-8
Steel 5-8
Silver 5-8
Gold 5-8
Platinum 5-8
Ruby 6-9
Emerald 7-9
Sapphire 7-9
Diamond 7-9

There is a fair amount of ambiguity with each rank, as a map with rank 8 could have 10 out of 16 possible prefixes.

Environment

Environment is the word in the treasure map title that describes the 'theme' of the treasure map grotto. There are 5 possible themes:

  • Cave
  • Ruins
  • Ice
  • Water
  • Volcano

There are a variety of environment words used to describe each of these different themes. The environment word used is related to the number of floors the grotto contains.

# of Floors Cave Ruins Ice Water Volcano
2-7 Cave Tunnel Cave
2-11 Mine Crevasse Marsh Mine
4-13 Lair Icepit Lake Crater
6-15 Path Snowhall Moor Dungeon
8-15 Crypt
10-16 Nest Ruins Tundra Waterway Nest
12-16 World
14-16 Abyss Maze Glacier Chasm Void

The ambiguity is high related to number of floors. A grotto with 11 floors could have any environment word except for Tunnel and Cave.

Suffix

The suffix of the treasure map name is related to the number of the boss on the last floor of the grotto.

Boss Number Suffix
1-3 Joy, Bliss, Glee
1-6 Doubt, Woe, Dolour
4-9 Regret, Bane, Fear
7-12 Dread, Hurt, Gloom
10-12 Death, Ruin, Evil, Doom

Treasure map calculators

Calculators have been developed to compute the possible values related to treasure maps using the mechanics discussed above.

Obtaining better maps

A common question is how to obtain better maps. The answer to this question is to improve the quality value computed when each new map is generated. This can be done by doing the following:

  • Level up the hero, in any vocation, as high as possible (eventually level 99).
  • Level up the hero, in many other vocations to level 99 and begin using revocation.
  • Continue completing the highest level treasure maps available, as the level of the previous map is used in computing the quality of the next map.
  • Use revocation up to 10 times for maximum effect.

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