Excerpt from Enceladus documentation:
ETHER – “Magical” Attributes to Inorganics (Encoded Talent H—- Equipment R—–)
Select items (typically in-game weaponry) have attributes which manifest like MAGUS abilities at first glance. ETHER involves coding encodes specific environmental programs onto items so that, in certain scenarios, the items will cause an alteration in the surrounding area. The range of effects is dependent on in-game usage, whether that be offensive or defensive. Some items have non-combat abilities such as opening doors or moving other coded items. Others can even be used for recovery. Most combat items have a degree of RNG in their activation code. For example, a sword with an ETHER ability may only activate that ability one in every 50 times it is swung.
Coded ETHER combat abilities are highly contextual based on their environment. This is to prevent accidental use when in a non-combat environment. Items such as the Chronicle and Index also function based on ETHER, but also feature computational substrates that let them manifest multiple apparent abilities (such as the Chronicle’s storage feature and achievement tracking module).
Items in Iravelon are complex. I get most of my functionality from RPG Maker VX from items, actually. Whether their existence triggers dialogue, cutscenes, events, etc, the items that the player holds at any given time often have some impact on gameplay (we’re typically talking “Quest Items” here, but not always – and don’t worry, this isn’t Earthbound – RPGVX has capabilities for a massive inventory).
One such item is the ETHER Index, an item that first comes into play just after the “prologue” of Shades of Resonance. It functions as a sortof “extra” area in itself, while remaining an item in your inventory.
Essentially, in-game when you use the ETHER Index, you are essentially brought into a kind of in-game “hub” so to speak. It’s an area where you can experiment with weapons, do test battles, review your progress, etc.
Shortly after the “prologue” of Shades of Resonance the player is given the opportunity to set up the ETHER Index. Based on these initial settings, the environment within the ETHER Index area actually changes in some surprising ways, some that actually might not make as much sense until later on. Also, a mechanic is introduced that relates to the ETHER Chronicle. This is what reacts to your progress through the story. Depending on your choices at this point (and you can change this setting later, though it requires some backtracking for the full effect depending on how far you go with it turned off), some additional story points can be found throughout the progression of the game, which will ultimately change some aspects of the ending and open up new possibilities. I’m not saying it’s going to completely change things – my name isn’t Peter Molyneux after all – but let’s just say that I would recommend you go with the “ATTEMPT DATA RECOVERY” option if you want to get the most out of the story of Shades of Resonance.
I don’t want to say much else beyond this, but know that this is just one optional mechanic based on items in Shades that I’m including – there are absolutely more, and I hope that they can each add something engaging to the game as a whole.