A few things first:
- There are no time limits
- There are ZERO missables
- Anything you don’t get to in one chapter you can do later, with zero exceptions
- There are no friendship points or friendship based endings
- There are no penalties for switching difficulty, other than reduced quality drops while an easier mode is in effect
Therefore first and foremost, go putz around. The only thing you can possibly mess up is losing something important in your basket by dying*. Thus, I recommend playing on Hard from the beginning, even in NG non-plus. You get better properties and quality items, and your battle level will catch up pretty quickly. You can always turn it down later. However, do what you like, Normal is honestly Normal.
This game is beautiful and easy-going, just enjoy doing anything you like at each point, experiment, EXPLORE. Check every nook and cranny. Smack every gathering location with every tool, including going back when you get a new tool. Beat every enemy a few times, ESPECIALLY the miniboss ones (that look like slightly larger versions). They’ll kick your butt initially, but they ALL give unique material drops that are useful. Craft everything once and see if you can get decent effects on them to see what they do.
Continue on with the links, also on the sidebar:
There are plenty of other resources out there. I’m not trying to replace any existing easily-accessible walkthroughs, just provide some simple explanations for game mechanics that I see lacking elsewhere, and a chart and some tools that wouldn’t fit on an FAQ page due to their custom HTML5 nature.
Recipe Chain Visualizer (different from the finder in the sidebar): https://ryzadb.deno.dev/
Bottle Code Generator: https://serity.github.io/ryza/
Good general game mechanics overview: https://www.koeitecmoamerica.com/manual/ryza/en/index.html
Forging and buffing: https://n9arcade.com/article/guide/atelier-ryza-synthesis-guide/2/
Some Ultimate Gear links:
* (You lose random things in your basket that way. THAT can permanently destroy items, so try to avoid that. However, unless you’ve disarmed yourself and put your precious items in your basket, or have a critical item with amazing Traits on it, this really isn’t a big deal. Die early, die often, it’s okay.)