Since I got a few PM's asking about the staff and how insects work and upgrade I decided to write up a small guide. I'm not going to list all the basics of how staff controls and attacks but I will explain some of the more confusing or harder to find stuff. I didn't put too much time into this guide, so if I made mistakes, the information isn't clear, or more description is needed please tell me.
This system is hard to get used to at first but it becomes second nature after using the staff a while. When your bug hits a monster it steals different colored essence. This is not random each monster has a specific colored essence you can steal from each part of it's body. You can easily check what color is obtained on a monster by hitting it with your tracer shot. The color the tracer shot glows on the monster is the color your bug will steal when it runs into that part of the monster.
You don't actually have to shoot the monster before you can steal it's essence though, in fact it is usually much more effective to just manually command your since you can control what direction is flies in by just looking in that direction then commanding it. The only time I mark monsters is when red essence is not reachable on ground level.
The effect each essence has are as follow
Red: changes attack animations making your attacks much faster (I don't even use melee unless I have red)
White: Increases unsheathed movement speed and also pole vault jump height
Orange: Wind res small, Anti-stagger
Green: Heals small amount of Hp
Red+White: attack up small
Orange+ White: defense up small
Red+Orange+White: Atk and Def up large, low earplugs, some protection against status ailments, and another effect I'm not sure about yet.
There is only two insect types in the game, cutting damage type and impact damage type. The type of damage the insect does is linked to the staff itself and cannot be changed even through upgrades, most staffs in the game have a cutting type insect. You can tell the difference by looking at insects head, it it has little blade like pincers on it's head then it is cutting, if it has no blades then it is impact.
Both types of insects and branch off into different evolutions each getting a boost in a specific stat or multiple stats. Each type has 7 final insect evolutions to choose from, making a total of 14 different looking final insects.
Insects have 8 stats, while looking at the page where you feed the insect at the blacksmith they listed from top to bottom as
Power: Insect attack Damage
Stamina: How many times you can command your insect (R+X) before it has to return
Speed: How fast your insect flies
Fire: Fire elemental damage of bug
Your insect gains levels as you upgrade it, when you upgrade it's level it gains more stat points that you can allocate to any stat of your choice by feeding it the proper food
To even upgrade your staff you have to feed and level up your insect, before the blacksmith will allow you to upgrade the insect you have allocate all it's free stat points. Different insect evolutions also require different minimum stats which will be listed at the blacksmith right above the required materials. When a stat is grayed out it means you don't have enough points in that stat yet to upgrade to that insect. The 4th stat listed on that pages is telling you how many stat points you have left to use.
This can be a bit daunting at first, but thankfully insect food is color coded and the stats it adds to and subtracts from are listed at the bottom of the screen. Red food is power, orange is stamina, and white is speed. You can easily allocate points to any stat you want (besides elemental stats) by using the food that the trader will sell to you for points. I generally keep stocked up on food that adds 2 to just one stat and subtracts 1 from two other stats. Also note that even when your insects level bar is maxed out you can still feed it food to change it's stats around as long as it doesn't have a net gain of points (the food you can't use will be grayed out anyways)
Note that feeding food to your insect doesn't upgrade it's stats directly, stats will increase as points pass certain thresholds. When a threshold is passed the stat will increase by the amount of points which is labeled on the right most side of the stats.
Here is a list of insect upgrade paths and their bonuses, note that the color of the insect symbol when choosing a different bug path is also the color of the gem your staff will have on it. When upgrading your insect you will reach a point where it will ask you to choose between 4 different insects. Make sure that you choose the path you want since you can't undo an insect evolution and it's stats will never go below what was needed to initially upgrade insect to that point They are always in this order from top to bottom
Power: Insect obtains a passive attack up small buff
Stamina: Stamina up small buff
Speed: speed up small buff
All-rounder: All stats up small buff
Then later down the line you can choose between another 2 variations within each branch (except all-rounder which only has one). Some of them have recovery up buffs which I haven't tested too much but I'm pretty sure it effects how much HP you recover from green essence. The evolution choices are as follows
Power A: Attack up Large
Power B: Attack up med, Recovery up small
Stamina A: Stamina up Large
Stamina B: Stamina up med, Recovery up small
Speed A: Speed up Large
Speed B: Speed up Med, Recovery up small
All-rounder: All stats up Med , Recovery up Large
(only has one choice)
Now for what most people probably want to see, meh quality photos of final evolution insects
Power A: http://i783.photobucket.com/albums/yy119/Olin_Bernard/powercutA_zps08a1cec7.jpg
Power B: http://i783.photobucket.com/albums/yy119/Olin_Bernard/powecutB_zps4ba1b736.jpg
Stam A: http://i783.photobucket.com/albums/yy119/Olin_Bernard/stamcutA_zps878d7683.jpg
Stam B: http://i783.photobucket.com/albums/yy119/Olin_Bernard/stamcutB_zps87dd66c3.jpg
Speed A: http://i783.photobucket.com/albums/yy119/Olin_Bernard/speedcutA_zps90967d12.jpg
Speed B: http://i783.photobucket.com/albums/yy119/Olin_Bernard/speedcutB_zpsdff631cf.jpg
Power A: http://i783.photobucket.com/albums/yy119/Olin_Bernard/powerimpactA_zps111c6ed4.jpg
Power B: http://i783.photobucket.com/albums/yy119/Olin_Bernard/powerimpactB_zps91c03da5.jpg
Stam A: http://i783.photobucket.com/albums/yy119/Olin_Bernard/stamimpactA_zpsfd1b108c.jpg
Stam B: http://i783.photobucket.com/albums/yy119/Olin_Bernard/stamimpactB_zpsae425515.jpg
Speed A: http://i783.photobucket.com/albums/yy119/Olin_Bernard/speedimpactA_zps1fef757c.jpg
Speed B: http://i783.photobucket.com/albums/yy119/Olin_Bernard/speedimpactb_zps4949294c.jpg
Random Tips, Tricks, and Hints
Here is some random info I wanted to add on
You can charge up your insect by holding R+X, when it is charged release X and and the insect will do a spiral attack as it's first attack
Insect spiral attack always passed through the monster when it hits, it won't ever bounce off. This can be used to hit the monster multiple times as it passes through if aimed correctly
If you are having trouble stealing red essence because the monster is rarely facing you, you can use the spiral attack to pierce through the monsters body in an attempt to hit the head.
Insects are more powerful than you might think, especially once you get used to using a semi-slow insect and pump it's attack higher. Using an impact bug I can easily knock out a monster 1 or 2 times in a fight by nailing the monster in this head consistently.
If you find yourself running out of red too often, when you get an opening steal a red essence, and call the bug back. Then send it out to steal red again but don't call the bug back he will hold onto the buff for a while and return to you automatically later. This effectively extends the buff time
You can command the bug manually without locking onto a monster, when you hit R+X the bug flies in the direction you are facing. This is often the most accurate way to steal buffs as you have much more control over how your bug moves. It can also be used to avoid hitting a monster that your bug normally bounces off of to build up a spiral attack combo and then aim it at the monster
The staff can perform and escape slash off of some of it's melee attacks. After a forward+X attack or after the second x attack in a combo you can press back+a to do a backwards spinning attack. It's very useful for re-positioning yourself if you want you are to far forward when you start attacking a monster.
The staff can perform a backwards pole-vault anytime during a combo by hitting back+R+B
Insect Upgrade Materiel Hints:
The most common mats I find people are missing to upgrade their bug are obtained in the following places
Frog: found in area 1 of the frozen sea, at a plant gathering point
Swordfish: fishing point in area 2 of the frozen sea
Tuna: same place as the swordfish along with many other locations
Ancient fish: A black fish with blue spots located at the base camp fishing spot of the plain ruins
A good trick to speed up fishing is to bring another kind of fishing bait with you. When the fish you want is not in the fishing spot cast in the alternate bait you brought with you, the current fish will leave and the type attracted to the bait will appear. Then immediately retract the bait, those fish will leave and a brand new set of fish will appear. This can be abused to reset the fishing spots over and over until the fish you want shows up
The fastest place to obtain insect food to alter the basic 3 stats is from the trader. You can quickly cycle what he has in stock by taking a well-done streak and doing the first village quest over and over.
[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]
Whoa, that sounds super OP.
i5-3570K @ 3.4GHz | EVGA GTX660 Ti FTW | Corsair Vengeance 16GB DDR3-1600 | ASRock Z77 EXTREME4 | Antec EA-650 | Corsair 400R
Whoa, that sounds super OP.
Extremely OP you have no idea >.>
3DS FC: 3566-1586-6161
many thanks for this information!!!
Patroklos Combos PSN: Oo_kakui_oO <= (are not zeros)
You're welcome, I hope this guide helps people break into using the staff
Wow you really typed it up. :) I took your advise and started upgrading my Magaru staff into the all-rounder. The bug looks awesome. I might make another Shadow Walker and get an all-rounder onto it as well. The butterfly looks too lady-like. The power types look awesome too.
+10 internets to you.
Member of CMWABME