There are five elements contributing to the world of OFF. Four of these are commonly found and collected in Zone 1 and distributed to the rest of the Zones. A secret fifth element is manufactured in Zone 3. The elements are essential for the continued existence, survival and livelihood for the denizens and the Zones of OFF. If any of these elements were lacking, it would cause grave consequences in the stability of the OFF world's current state.
Smoke is the first element the Player discovers in the Smoke Mines of Damien. Smoke is what the occupants of the zones breathe, and it is exported from Zone 1 to the other zones. It is harvested through the rocks within the mines of Damien and through the use of special tools. It is then shipped to other Zones via packaging into bottles. It appears to be sold in the Gomez galleries.
"As the first of four elements... It's an important element. Because without smoke, people would have nothing to breathe."
Metal is the second element the Player discovers at the Metal Farmsteads of Pentel. The metal is made by extracting it from the cattle found on the farms via chopping them in half, and makes up the tools and ground of the zones. Metal of poor quality is discarded by being thrown onto the ground creating soil they walk on, while metal of desirable quality is "purified" through an unknown process and is then used to create tools and the like.
"As the first of the four elements... It's an important element. Because without metal, people would have nothing to walk on. They would sink and drown."
Plastic is the third element the Player discovers in the Plastic Administrations of Shachihata. The Elsen in the Administration ship packages to the Courier Service and receive parcels full of plastic in return. Liquid plastic makes up the lakes and oceans, while solid plastic can also be used to form various objects.
"As the first of the four elements... It's an important element. Because without plastic, the world would have no boundaries. People would walk and walk without ever stopping."
Meat is the fourth and final natural element the Player discovers at the Meat Fountains of Alma. Meat is poured into bottles to be shipped to the other zones for consumption. Meat seems to be the only edible material in the zones. It is not entirely known where the meat flows from, but a paper in the postal service in Shachihata talks about "a sole big insect, whose mandibles spit meat".
"As the first of the four elements... It's an important element. Because without meat, people would have nothing to eat. They would die of starvation, one after another."
Sugar is the fifth and final element the Player discovers at the Sugar Ovens of Vesper. Here, corpses are burnt and converted into sugar. Sugar is a "man-made" element created by Enoch to reward his workers for their daily work. The Elsen of Zone 3 are addicted to sugar, and most will not stray from the subject if interacted with. If their access to sugar is threatened, the usually timid Elsen become violent and desperate.
"It's a secret element... The fifth element... The most important element... Because without sugar, people could no longer bear reality, and they would go mad."
Gameplay-wise, the elements also play a role in the game's combat system. Some attacks that the Batter can use are laced with elemental properties, a large array of enemies have resistances and weaknesses towards particular elements. The rivers of meat in Alma of Zone 1 can also be traversed and maneuvered in via Pedalo.