Saturday, May 31, 2014

Getting Back to Bravely Default

So I took a rather long break from the story for a variety of reasons, which I shall attempt to explain briefly.
  • Grinding Norende completion
  • Grinding job levels to fight Nemeses, indirectly resulting in overlevelling my party
  • Updating my data to get more Nemeses, in hopes of getting the elusive Japanese Elixir Mammon
  • Swapping out the cartridge for Chrono Trigger after updating and grinding tech points in that
  • Letting Norende give me gifts
  • Eventually getting the elusive Japanese Elixir Mammon, and stealing enough Elixirs to buy the most expensive Norende stuff (all the costumes and a Growth Egg), then stealing an entire stack of 99 Elixirs to use as income since the Growth Egg prevents you from getting money from battles
Today I finally resumed the story.  I was in Florem looking for the Water Vestal.  BTW, going off of the Japanese audio, the word "Vestal" seems to be used as a translation for the Japanese word "miko", because the Wind Vestal is "kaze no miko" and the Water Vestal is "mizu no miko".  Advanced that a bit and noticed the blue sidequest bubbles starting to pop up, so I went and did all of those, which resulted in me getting the Ranger, Summoner, Valkyrie, and Red Mage jobs.  Then kurtjmac decided to stream some more work on building the Wilson Hall building from FermiLab on the MindCrack server, so I saved and watched that.  The stream actually started while I was doing the stupid Red Mage side quest, which requires you to enter Florem at night several times in a row, so I just had the stream audio turned down until I finished it.  Regardless, I now have the location of the Water Vestal and everything involving her will happen next time.

Level 53 in Chapter 2 is definitely overlevelled, you think?  It's actually kind of pointless to level grind so close to the beginning of the game since rewards go up by a significant amount from one chapter to the next, but...  I wanted those Norende items and the Japanese Elixir Mammon.  In terms of grinding, I'm probably not going to do any more job grinding for a while, since my current party combination (Tiz: Black Mage/Freelancer, Agnes: White Mage/Black Mage, Ringabel: Black Mage/variable, Edea: Black Mage/variable) works pretty well, and I've got several levels of each sitting there being pointless because I haven't yet gotten to the vendor that sells the necessary spell scrolls.  My party before all the Nemesis fights was Monk/Freelancer, White Mage/Black Mage, Black Mage/variable, and Spell Fencer/variable.  I haven't really settled on secondary jobs for Ringabel and Edea yet.

Ranger looks interesting and I'll have to give it a shot when I get a chance, pun intended.  I hope bows don't suffer from crap damage like they do in some other RPGs.

Summoner looks like a job that could help in the right situation at the right time, and be mostly useless the rest of the time, which makes it a good candidate to be a secondary job.  The summons, of which I have the first two, cost 40 MP each, when my best available Black Magic spells cost 15 MP each.  There better be a significant damage advantage or ancillary benefits to justify that increased MP cost.

Valkyrie uses spears in melee and the only real ability I saw during the asterisk fight was Jump, which gave me the opportunity to have everyone Default and then I won the fight on the next turn, after the hit from Jump, with the extra BP I'd gained from Defaulting because I didn't have anything else to do.

Red Mage looks like it'll be interesting, mainly as a secondary job since it can use the lower level White Magic and Black Magic spells.  As a primary, it has varying levels of semi-decent proficiency with all the weapons.  Also as a primary, it has a random source of extra BP when you get hit, but for it to work, that specific character has to be hit, and even then there's only a 25% chance of getting BP.  It'll probably be a job I ignore until I'm at the endgame and grinding all the jobs up on everyone for support ability purposes.

I do like how the jobs get gradually unlocked as you play through the game.  This allows jobs obtained later on in the game to be more powerful, while at the same time encouraging the player to experiment with what works rather than staying in a rut, since new options are constantly opening up.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Gaming Projects Status Update

Any new/different information in this post overrides anything stated in previous posts.
  • Chrono Fever (Chrono Trigger → Radical Dreamers → Chrono Cross):
    • Chrono Trigger (PSX): Beaten, Extras Mode fully unlocked, everyone level 99 with max power/magic/speed, enough copies of the best equipment so that I don't have to do equipment swaps
    • Chrono Trigger (SNES): Beaten, everyone level 99 with max power/magic/speed, enough copies of the best equipment so that I don't have to do equipment swaps
    • Chrono Trigger (DS): Have all techs for everyone but Magus, advancing story to where I get Magus
    • Radical Dreamers: Died on Lynx with no savestate, haven't retried
    • Chrono Cross: Not started
  • Secret of Mana-thon: Dropped due to grind
  • Project 'Bout Fuckin' Time (Link's Awakening DX → Final Fantasy 4):
    • Link's Awakening DX: Beaten
    • Final Fantasy 4: Not started
  • Simpsons Hit and Run: Dropped due to in-game time limits being too strict
  • Bravely Default: Norende completed a long time ago with about 45 citizens.  Able to defeat lower-level Nemeses reliably.  Have the elusive Japanese Elixir Mammon.  Ready to continue with story.
  • PC Games:
    • Half-Life 1: Beaten
    • Half-Life: Blue Shift: Beaten
    • Half-Life: Opposing Force: Dropped due to infinite spawns leaving no room to retreat
    • Half-Life 2 and episodes: Not started
    • Commander Keen "Complete" Pack: stalled on Commander Keen 2
    • Aquaria: a key item I need is finite and I've used all I obtained, will probably try to just hack my save file to add in just enough (justified since the item IS FUCKING FINITE)
    • Torchlight: Had mods installed, had to reinstall OS, forgot which mods I had installed, haven't picked back up as a result
    • Dungeons of Dredmor: semi-stalled, I go back to it every now and then
    • Hell Yeah!: stuck on final boss
    • Magicka: Have all DLC, haven't gotten back to 100% achievements yet (missing a few in Dungeons and Daemons, and haven't touched Dungeons and Gargoyles)
    • Beat Hazard: I need to get better at the game to get back to 100% achievements
    • Castle Crashers: Replaying periodically just to play the characters I skipped in my epic quest to unlock as much as I could, plus I almost think I can defeat the Thieves' Forest boss on Insane Mode now
    • BattleBlock Theater: Still going strong
    • Mitsurugi Kamui Hikae: stalled
    • Ether Vapor Remaster: stalled
    • Fairy Bloom Freesia: main story beaten, guardian mode stalled
    • Chantelise: stalled due to not being able to restart on the one mission that's giving me trouble because you have to complete all missions in a given area in one go and the camera x axis is inverted from what I want it to be

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Day of Racing 2014

So the F1 race was fun towards the end.  Monaco is always a bit of a procession due to how narrow the streets are, but towards the end Daniel Ricciardo started really pressuring Lewis Hamilton for 2nd.  True to expectations there were not one, but two safety car periods.  Nico Rosberg won it for the second year in a row.

The Indy 500 was uncharacteristically green for nearly two thirds of the race.  Then stuff started to go wrong and people started to spin and crash, and the Mayor of Hinchtown himself tried to make it three wide into the first corner on a restart and ended up crashing out.  My eternal pick to win, Tony Kanaan, sadly had issues and finished about 20 laps down.  Fortunately, Will Power didn't win.  Also, NASCAR's Kurt Busch participated and finished all 500 miles.  He's "doing the double", or as I like to call it, "attempting the 1100", wherein he's going to also race the Coca-Cola 600 this evening.


Saturday, May 24, 2014

Bravely Default: Farming Money with Mammon

There are a few ways to farm money, other than just repeatedly fighting battles.  One involves getting the Merchant job up really high to use an ability that heals an enemy and then charges them money based on how much they were healed for.  When set up properly, this method can be done AFK (AF3DS?) to get tons of money while you sleep.  The other method involves stealing items from the Japanese version of the Mammon nemesis.

You have to get kind of lucky when using the Update Data option, but people are sending them, so you'll get one eventually.  I've gotten several, in fact, but until today none had the correct item available to be stolen.

The key is, you want to be able to steal Elixirs from it.  Newer versions of this nemesis, including all of them with English names, have Ethers instead.  The Elixirs you steal from this Mammon are a separate item from regular Elixirs, and merchants will buy these Elixirs off of you for 25000pg each.  The trouble lies in the fact that even a Mammon with a Japanese name can't be guaranteed to be the Elixir variety we desire.  So basically, whenever you get one via StreetPass or through the Update Data option, always steal from it to see what it has.  If it's an Ether, you can go ahead and kill it.  If you get an Elixir, you may proceed.  Don't forget to protect it, also consider sending it.

Once you've got an Elixir Mammon protected, you may kill any new Mammon you receive, without bothering to check what you can steal from it.  You may notice an "opening of the floodgates", since Update Data gives you data from people that are around your level.  At a certain point, you'll hit the lowest level of people that are sending Elixir Mammons and you might even end up with Norende completely full of Elixir Mammons.  Just make sure you never kill your Elixir Mammon that you protected.

Anyway, so I got a Japanese Elixir Mammon.  Screenshot or it didn't happen, right?  Wait, you can take screenshots on the 3DS?  Why, yes you can, using Miiverse.  It's then trivial to download the image off of Miiverse and post it elsewhere.  Which is precisely what I'm doing here.

Here's the nemesis info for the correct Japanese Mammon:

And here's proof that the elixirs sell for 25000pg each:

All you need to do in order to do this is have this specific nemesis, and the Thief job, which comes with the Steal ability.  Levelling up your thief is recommended, at the very least to job level 5, which gives you Speed 20% Up, and ideally to job level 11, where you get Rob Blind.

The gist of how it works: steal an Elixir from Mammon, run from the battle, and repeat.  Once you have a full stack of Elixirs, sell them to a merchant.

The simplest method, stealing lots of Elixirs and then selling them to a merchant, can be done with a thief at any job level.  After a certain point in Chapter 1, you'll be able to use Speed 20% Up, which will pretty much guarantee that your thief will be able to act before any of your other party members.  If you have only two special ability slots and a choice between Speed 20% Up and Rob Blind, take Rob Blind.  Once you get to a certain point in Chapter 3, you'll be able to use both Speed 20% Up and Rob Blind together.  When in battle, the thief should brave three times and use Steal with all four actions.  Everyone else should run.

Getting two Elixirs per battle with Rob Blind is all well and good, but how would you like to skip the middleman and just make money directly off of Mammon?  Get your thief to job level 2 in Merchant so you can use Salesman, which shouldn't take too long.  Thief will be the primary job, and Merchant will be the job command.  You'll still need to build up a decent-sized stack of Elixirs, but leave it there and don't use/sell them.  You need these because sometimes you'll fail to steal from Mammon.  In battle, brave three times, use Salesman twice and select the Elixirs both times (if in doubt of whether you're selecting the right one, press X and verify that the description is empty), and then Steal twice.  Everyone else should run.  Your income will go up from 50000pg per battle to 120000pg per battle.  Well worth the extra setup, if you ask me.

Once you're set up, go to the Norende screen and fight Mammon.  Set your actions as described above, then engage auto mode (press Y).  Auto mode will toggle itself off before each fight, but so long as you don't change your actions, you can just hit Y to re-enable it during the before-fight cinematic and you'll be good to go.

When stealing Elixirs for later resale or as a buffer for failed steals for using the Salesman method, if you have any of the normal Elixirs, don't be fooled when you don't see your Elixir count going up.  The Elixirs you're getting from this are a separate item that appears near the bottom of the list.  If in doubt, highlight it and press X.  The Elixirs you want to sell have an empty description and a 25000pg sell value.


(Update 2014-05-25: clarified some things, corrected others, and expanded on yet a couple more things. tl;dr POST NOW MOAR BETTER)

(Update 2014-08-24: Now that I have Rob Blind, updated the last half of the post to be more accurate.)

Wednesday, May 21, 2014


You remember it, right?  RIGHT?  The original arcade classic, quite literally designed to suck the quarters out of your pockets because your health was your gameplay timer and the more money you put in the machine, the more health you got.

Not those more recent versions on home consoles.  The original arcade (and the NES version, I guess).  If you remember any version of Gauntlet other than, well, Gauntlet when I mention the title, then you really need to go play the original Gauntlet.

Why am I posting about this?  Well, there's a modern remake of the original Gauntlet available for preorder on Steam right now.  It has updated graphics but keeps the original four classes of Warrior, Wizard, Valkyrie, and Elf.  Yeah, that's right, Elf is a class.  Not a race.

I'm ranting because people on the Steam discussion boards for this game just don't get it.  They're going "where is X?" where X is anything from the newer games.  Even though the game's store page description flat out says it's a remake of the classic Gauntlet with the classic Gauntlet classes and the classic Gauntlet gameplay.  Why, then, would you expect anything from the newer games to be there?  There's a very apparent divide on the discussion boards.  One group is going "fuck yes classic Gauntlet" and the other is going 'HURF DURF WHARS TEH JESTER CALSS DIS GAEM IZ RIPOFF AN DUZNT HAEV FEETURZ NE1 EXPEKTZ RAWR I ENTITLED".

Everything about this game says they're trying to appeal to people who look back fondly on the arcade classic, and bring it up to date with modern graphics and a few new features here and there.  Not a single thing about this game says "generic role-playing adventure game with the name Gauntlet slapped on it".

Monday, May 19, 2014

UQ Holder!

So I'd seen an image on Sankaku Channel of an adult Evangeline A. K. McDowell tagged with uq_holder! (image SFW, rest of page not guaranteed to be SFW) as the source, rather than mahou_sensei_negima! like usual, but for some reason I didn't put one and one together until a few days ago when a friend noticed my Negima manga collection and asked if I was reading UQ Holder!.

UQ Holder! is of course Akamatsu Ken's followup to Mahou Sensei Negima!.  It's set 70 years after Negima ended and features a new main character who so happens to be Negi's grandson.  His name is Konoe Touta.  Yeeeeeeaaaaaaahhhhh.  This implies Negi ends up with Konoka somehow?  I dunno lol.  Also, the Konoe family name seems to have ceased to have any meaning in the 70 years since Negima ended.

Anyway, the focus this time is on immortals such as Evangeline, including the different types of immortals and a yakuza-like group they've created to band together.  One of the immortals in this group seems to be wearing a Mahora Academy uniform, and her full name is yet to be revealed.  Touta also makes a friend in the first chapter (which is 82 pages long!) that hasn't shown up again so far.  As far as the Shinmeiryuu goes, they're still alive and kicking.  Anyway, it's been pretty good, so I'm not going to say any more about the story itself.

The 70 year gap made me realize that Negima was one of the rare shounen manga that didn't have a timeskip.  There was time travel involved as a very core level of the story, but it didn't skip ahead to the future.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Castle Crashers Revisited

The Behemoth recently released Battleblock Theater on Steam, and along with it unlocked Hatty Hattington, his weapon, and his pet in Castle Crashers.  Now that I've beaten the game on normal mode with Hatty, here are my thoughts.

Since magic is what truly differentiates the characters, I of course followed my usual levelling pattern and maxed his magic, and poured all remaining stat points I gained into defense throughout the rest of the game.  He levelled up to 25 during the fight with the final boss.

He's a solid mid-tier character, whose magic deals physical damage and will thus be useful against the cultists in the last few stages.  His splash magic is a "rain objects from the sky" type.  He shoots tears for his projectile, and his aerial splash is a large green gem that will bounce once on the ground before shattering, making it a decent way to get a free hit in on wakeup.  He has a somewhat difficult time DPSing the painter boss, compared to other "rain objects from the sky" characters.

His starting weapon is +3 Magic, -1 Agility.  Fairly decent given that any character of any level can use it, but as expected of a starting weapon, it gets outclassed later on.

His pet is a golden whale that poops out money periodically.  He doesn't actually start with this pet, so you have to go to the animal ark to get it.

Overall, he doesn't really have trouble with any specific area of the game, but he also doesn't excel in any specific area of the game.  He's interesting to play given that it took so long for PC users to finally get him, but overall you're not missing a heck of a lot if you don't play him.

Also, I almost beat the stupid boss at the end of Thieves' Forest with the Industrialist in Insane Mode, so maybe I can actually pull that off sometime soon and have a go at unlocking the four remaining characters that I have left to unlock.  It would really help if I didn't have to play the level before Thieves' Forest every time I start up Insane Mode...

Edit: Holy crap I just realized that this post and the post where I tried out the demo of Castle Crashers are the only two posts on this blog about Castle Crashers.  I guess my marathon gaming spree of it was only reported to the internet via Twitter.  The tl;dr of it all is that I unlocked all of the characters you can get in normal mode, all the weapons available in normal mode, and all the pets.  This includes the stuff from the Insane store.  Personal favorite and my vote for top underdog character is the Barbarian, but the Industrialist is by far the best character in the game, with the Fencer, unlocked by beating the game with the Industrialist, playing identically to the Industrialist.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Bravely Default Nemesis Strategy: Ba'al iv; Goldie

This is for the level 20 version.  It's a freaky looking fish made out of jewelry or something.

Recommended party:
  • 3 Black Mages, 1 White Mage.
  • As long as you can cast Thundara and a decent heal spell, you're good.
  • No, seriously.
  • This might have been because Tiz was level 47 and everyone else was level 48 at the time...
Special Moves:
  • I didn't need any, but my standard recommendation of Withering Ripples and Rejuvenation could apply if you're lower level or it's higher level.
  • It's weak to lightning, so make sure to set any damage components and resistance reductions to lightning.
  • Heal as necessary
  • ???
  • Profit!
  • It will summon smaller fish during the fight, but they're also weak to lightning and don't have much in the way of health, so target all foes and you should be good.
Up next: I dunno.  I just cleaned Norende of all Nemeses, save for the level 99 one I got when I did my data update today.

Bravely Default Nemesis Strategy: Mammon

This is what you do with all the Mammons you get that you can't steal elixirs from.  If you're able to steal an elixir from a Mammon you receive (should be level 25 and Japanese), protect it and set it to send, and never change those options ever.  This strategy is for the level 25 version of Mammon.

Recommended party:
  • 3 Black Mages, 1 White Mage.
  • Black Mages at least job level 7 for the level 3 Black Magic spells.
  • White Mage at least job level 8 for Angelic Ward
  • White Mage should have Black Magic at level 7
  • Black Mages should have White Magic at level 8
  • Angelic Ward on everyone
  • You may also want Abate Water, since Mammon will be using Blizzaja on you.
  • I was level 47 because of grinding to get special moves available for clearing out all the Tax on the Cupids that I had.  This made the fight a bit of a pushover.
Special Moves:
  • Withering Ripple can be useful if you're lower level.  Make Mammon even more vulnerable to fire!  In this regard, you may not want to use all of them at the same time.  Use one, exploit extra fire weakness until it wears off, then use the next to re-apply.
  • Rejuvenation can also be useful in case you start to take too much damage.  Also, that BP boost.
  • Mammon is weak to fire, so spam Fira.
  • Mammon steals BP, so... watch out for that.
  • Basically just watch your health while spamming Fira and you shouldn't have too much of a problem.
Up next will be the level 20 version of Ba'al iv; Goldie.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

"Gaming" Keyboards

I might cause a lot of self-centered "hardcore" gamers to get their panties in a bunch in this post.  Or, given the relatively low view counts I get, it'll just have taken time out of my life to write this post, and, well, yeah.

Because I still want to put together a new computer to replace this 10-year-old computer I'm currently using, I've been looking around at all kinds of things, including monitors and keyboards.  This build will be an expensive one because I have a lot of old tech like PATA drives and a CRT monitor that I'm completely replacing.  But that's not the main point.

When looking around at keyboards, it's inevitable.  The subject of the "gaming" keyboard comes up.  These are characterized by hard angled casing, uselessly flat keys, LEDs out the wazoo, and different color keycaps for WASD like I don't know where to put my damn fingers.

When looking at keyboards in general, though, the debate of "mechanical vs. rubber dome" comes up.  There's evidence one way or the other, but in the end it all boils down to user preference and nothing more.  I'm a proponent of the rubber dome keyboards, simply because they're far quieter than mechanical keyboards.  Even the so-called "non-clicky" or "dampened" mechanical keyboards are super loud.  Noise is a real issue, because frankly I'd like to be able to think while I'm typing, or be able to type with someone else nearby and not annoy the shit out of them.

Proponents of mechanical keyboards tout a supposed "keypress life" advantage over rubber dome keyboards, and while it makes sense, since the rubber can wear out faster (I've seen this happen on the fret buttons on Guitar Hero controllers, which can wear out quickly for people like me who play on Expert and do so regularly), it doesn't necessarily have to.  I've been using a Microsoft keyboard since 2001.  No problems with keypresses not registering or anything.  Maybe if you have a total shit keyboard with a bad rubber mat in it, it'll wear out faster, but if it's even semi-decent, it makes it a non-issue.  Basically, a "looks good on paper but isn't necessary in practice" sort of thing.

The other touted advantage of mechanical keyboards is the ability to press all the keys at the same time and have them all register.  You see, when you buy a total shit keyboard, they cut corners in the design to keep the price down, which results in a cap in the number of keys you can hold simultaneously.  I would rate my keyboard somewhere between "total shit" and "amazing", because I've used "total shit" keyboards before and know what they feel like.  The lack of a cap on simultaneous keypresses is touted as "a good thing for gaming", but I've played a lot of games with this keyboard over the years and have yet to encounter a game where I can't hold the required number of keys to get things done.  So, another "looks good on paper but isn't necessary in practice" sort of thing.

Based on my own experience of using the same rubber dome keyboard for over a decade, I'll stick with rubber dome keyboards, preferably with a sanely-sized Enter key, because I don't need it to be vertical or L-shaped.  If you disagree, fine, but that's just your opinion, man.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Consider Opera Dropped

So for a long time I've been using a rather ancient version of Opera, 12.17, as a part of testing the various web pages I make.  As of today, I will no longer be doing any testing in Opera, nor will I support Opera in future things I make.  The sad part about that is Opera is now almost indistinguishable from Chromium, which makes it harder to specifically avoid having things work in it.  To further this, I have uninstalled Opera 12.17 and Opera 21 from my computer.

What was the straw that broke the camel's back?  Well, the previous paragraph kind of foreshadowed it.  Opera 21.

Opera 21 is basically a re-skin of Chromium, with fewer features, and an auto-updater that can't be disabled.  It went so far as to completely avoid having nearly the range of features that Opera 12.17 had.  What it calls "themes" are really just background images for the speed dial.  You're unable to change the window border/title bar color away from the default Chromium blue, and it adopts the standard Chromium "let's ignore the user's OS theme settings entirely" school of thought.  At least 12.17 respected my theme.

Development-wise, Opera has always been a pain in the dick to work with.  I know it pushed for 100% standards-compliance, supposedly, but things that all other browsers I test in agreed upon, including Firefox which is fairly well standards-compliant, Opera would do differently.  Things would break in the most subtle, inexplicable, or unpredictable ways, often without any warning whatsoever, and finding workarounds was nigh impossible most of the time.

At least with Chromium, I can use SRWare Iron, which removes all of Google's fancy information collecting and privacy-compromising features from Chromium, almost making it not a toy browser.

"New" StreetPass Games

They're not exactly new anymore, but they're newer than Puzzle Swap and Find Mii.  A fair amount of people haven't even bothered to get them simply because they're paid DLC for the StreetPass Mii Plaza, and I suspect people generally want to put their money towards bigger titles.  But man, they're missing out.

Available for purchase are Mii Force, Flower Town, Warrior's Way, and Monster Manor.  They're $4.99 each, or you can get all four of them in a bundle for $14.99.  I grabbed the bundle.

Mii Force

In Mii Force, you're galactic police going after space pirates.  It's a sidescrolling shooter, and an interesting one at that.  The people you streetpass give you different weapons based on the color of their shirt, and you can attach them in one of four places on your ship (three front, one back).  In addition, you can stick other people behind them to power their weapons up.  This game plays best when you get a lot of streetpasses.  The Special Miis that Nintendo sends out periodically have an extra gold pod that fires additional shots.

It has the interesting mechanic of being able to rotate your weapons around your ship with the L and R buttons during the stage.  The stages themselves will change direction from time to time, from horizontal to vertical and back, thus necessitating rotating your weapons.  The variety of weapons is amazing and it's incredibly fun to play.  The goal?  Complete all the stages and wipe out the pirates!

You can also spend play coins to recruit troops (including the ability to hire old allies!) and get extra weapon pods, if you don't have a lot of streetpasses available.  The game is fairly challenging with just one pod, enough so that some gamers may want to try it that way and see how far they get.

Worth it?  Definitely.

Flower Town

In Flower Town, you grow flowers, breed new flowers, and expand your garden on your quest to become a master gardener.  This game is full of bright colors and is fairly relaxing to play.  You can also buy decorations for your garden plots, and even take jobs from the local mall to breed specific plants for people.  You can use play coins to invite people you've previously met back to your garden.

Every streetpass you get will help your current flower grow, and once it's fully grown, will help you get seeds that can potentially grow entirely new flowers.  The goal is to get 20 breeds of flowers.

It's definitely not for everyone, but I find it to be interesting.

Worth it?  If you like flowers or want a nice relaxing game, sure.  Otherwise, you may want to hold off, unless you really really want to get the most out of every streetpass.

Warrior's Way

In Warrior's Way, you're a monarch building your army and trying to take over the world.  This is simplified into a rock-paper-scissors strategy game where each troop type is strong against one other and weak against one other.  Every few countries you take over will give you building materials you can use to upgrade your castle to get the ability to spy, or simply even the ability to hire more mercenaries with play coins.  The ability to spy in battle is useful for your strategy, as it tells you what troop type your enemy will attack with next.

This game is unique in that it depends on a portion of the world's owners of 3DSes not purchasing it.  When you streetpass someone who hasn't bought it, they're a general with an army (based on their StreetPass Plaza size), and they ally with you and boost your numbers.  If you streetpass someone who plays the game, though, they're a monarch and you have a choice between greeting them peacefully or fighting their army.  You want to have a fair number of streetpasses for this game, because more streetpasses = more troops.  The Special Miis that Nintendo sends out periodically add a nice chunk of troops.

The goal is simple enough that I've already stated it: take over the world!

Worth it?  Definitely.

Monster Manor

In Monster Manor, you're exploring a haunted mansion.  Each person you streetpass gives you pieces that you can use to reveal parts of the current floor of the mansion.  Join enough pieces of the same color together to make a room with chests (containing items, of course!) in it.  Throughout the mansion you'll encounter ghosts and have to fight them off.

This game has a nice blend of puzzles, exploration, combat, and supernatural horror.  You can use play coins to hire extra investigators to help with the exploration of the mansion.  The goal is to get to the top of the mansion and defeat everything that stands in your way.

Worth it?  Sure!


The newer streetpass games give you a lot more to do with each streetpass, as well as a lot of new and good uses for play coins.  If you've finished all the puzzles and Find Mii 1 and 2, definitely give them a shot.  Heck, give them a shot even if you haven't.  If you have to choose just one, I would say pick either Mii Force or Warrior's Way.

Price-wise, it appears at first glance like it's a whole two cents cheaper to buy only three of the games ($4.99 * 3 = $14.97) than to buy the bundle ($14.99), but the bundle makes all the games $3.75 each instead of $4.99 each.  This means you effectively end up spending more by buying three games at the full price than buying the bundle!  The difference?  $3.75 * 3 = $11.25, $14.97 - $11.25 = $3.72.  With buying three games costing almost an entire game more than simply buying the bundle, it makes no sense to buy anything other than the bundle.

Also, there's a hidden ranking in my "Worth it?" lines above.  Definitely > Sure! > Flower Town.  Flower Town isn't bad, it's just not for everyone.  All the games are good enough to be worth the price, so if you're not going to grab the bundle, it all comes down to your gaming preferences.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Bravely Default Nemesis Strategy: Tax on the Cupid

The Japanese version of this nemesis has the name 3%ゾーゼー.  It's level 30, standard.  This is a re-fight of the Merchant and Spell Fencer asterisk battle, except here they have 54k HP each, and the merchant constantly uses BP boosts on the Spell Fencer, so he can constantly Brave.  You also can't run from this fight, so save before starting it.  What truly makes this fight difficult, though, is that Khint will use Sword Magic Death and bring a swift end to your party.

Recommended party:
  • 3 Black Mages, 1 White Mage.
  • Black Mages at least job level 7 for the level 3 Black Magic spells.
  • White Mage at least job level 8 for Angelic Ward
  • White Mage should have Black Magic at level 7
  • Black Mages should have White Magic at level 8
  • Angelic Ward on everyone
  • Set Miscellany as the job command on one black mage, Black Magic as the job command on your white mage, and then whatever for the others.
  • I would recommend that you be at least level 44 for this fight, so you can have over 2000 health.
Special Moves:
  • On your White Mage, set up Rejuvenate to have Cure K.O. and your best available HP/MP/BP boosts.
  • On your Black Mages, set up their Withering Ripples to have a mixture of useful things such as M.DEF Down, Speed Down, Accuracy Down, Poison Res Down, and Sleep Res Down.  Additionally, put Fire Res Down on all of them.
  • Brave with whoever has Examine, and examine both of them.
  • Build up to 3 BP on your white mage while you wait to be able to use the character that Examined again.
  • Withering Ripple go (use all three)
  • Use Sleep on Khint, and use Posion on Tax on the Cupid
  • Focus-Fira Tax on the Cupid, who will be uselessly tossing BP potions at the sleepy Khint
  • Keep Khint slept until he leaves the fight
  • Once Khint leaves, Tax on the Cupid starts spamming Takedown for 2000 armor-ignoring damage a pop, but the poison should be adding a fair amount of damage per turn, and Angelic Ward should reduce enough incoming damage to matter.
  • Pop Rejuvenate when needed
  • For me, Tax on the Cupid died from poison damage and I didn't react quickly enough to Bravely Second and toss a Phoenix Down at Tiz :(
Up next will be Mammon.  I keep getting the ones that you steal Ethers from instead of Elixirs, regardless of their level or whether or not they're Japanese.  This might take a while, as I have two more Tax on the Cupid fights to do.

Bravely Default Nemesis Strategy: Working Overtime

The Japanese version of this one has the name 五月病ナヅット.  If that third kanji is correct (reading incredibly pixellated kanji off of a 3DS screen FTL), then according to Google Translate, the name romanizes to "Satsukibyou nadzutto", and translates to "May disease Nadzutto".  I therefore went into the battle expecting to be on the receiving end of poison, though this ended up not being the case.  This nemesis was level 30.

Essentially, it's an HP-boosted revisit to the Thief asterisk fight.  Khint still leaves partway through, and doesn't take much damage here, so our strategy will just ignore him and focus on the thief.

Recommended party:
  • Three Black Mages, one White Mage.
  • Black Mages at least job level 7 for the level 3 Black Magic spells.
  • White Mage at least job level 8 for Angelic Ward.
  • Grind the Black Mages up to level 8 White Mage so they too can have Angelic Ward.
  • Grind the White Mage up to level 7 Black Mage so they can take Black Magic as a Job Command.
  • Standard "one Black Mage has Miscellany so they can Examine" comment.
  • Because of all the job level grinding I've done in the past, I was level 42 for the fight.
Special moves:
  • Rejuvenate (White Mage): best available HP/MP/BP boosts, and Cure K.O. (is there a better way to set up Rejuvenate?)
  • Withering Ripple (Black Mages):
    • Your best available consecutive turn boost.
    • Accuracy Down, M.DEF Down, and Speed Down.
    • Poison Res Down, Sleep Res Down, and one of your choice (i.e. doesn't matter).  I typically leave the third one on Silence Res Down, just in case I need to throw out some Silence.
    • Fire Res Down on all three.
  • Beware, the thief will Brave a fair amount, and use Godspeed Strike, which can deal a large chunk of damage to a single character.  Fortunately, Godspeed Strike costs 2 BP, so you get a built-in break to heal.
  • On the first turn, Examine the thief if you want to see his HP drop, and default on everyone else.
  • Use all three Withering Ripples as soon as possible.
  • Default whenever possible on your White Mage, until they're at 3 BP.  Once there, they can then join in on the Fira spam and only take a break to heal.
  • Once the Withering Ripples have been used, cast Poison on the thief, Sleep on Khint, and throw all available Fira at the thief.
  • Re-sleep Khint if he wakes up, re-poison the thief if it wears off, spam Fira on the thief, and heal as necessary.  Your White Mage has 3 BP and Rejuvenate available to use as needed.
Now that I've figured these fights out, next time for sure will be Tax on the Cupid.  Just as soon as I get Rejuvenate and the Withering Ripples ready again.

Also, thanks to the Microsoft IME Pad for helping me type the kanji (it lets you draw it and it narrows it down as you do so), since I can't read kanji lol.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Plot Points for Jungle Planet

Remember back to over two years ago when I posted a story about colonists on a jungle planet that I'd experienced as a dream, and said "I might post the plot points/spoilers/whatever you want to call them at some point, but not now."?

Well, I happened to be reading back through old posts, ended up on the dreams tag, and re-read the entire thing.  Searched my hard drive and found the file where that same exact story text is, as well as the plot points/spoilers/whatever you want to call them that I'd typed over two years ago.  In fact, I haven't even touched it since then, the last modified date on the file is still the same as the date of the post.

Anyway, enough is enough.  Plot points/spoilers/whatever you want to call them, go!  The only editing I've done to this is adding formatting, all of the text is verbatim from the text file from which it came.  There is some stuff that's mentioned multiple times, deal with it.

The staff
  • Mary and the old man can do with the staff what it took the chanting of the entire rest of the tribe to do
  • The staff was responsible for the desolate area (hence why the old man was exiled)
  • And that the person who did this was Mary, on the first test of the staff
  • And that she's still upset about it
  • Rather than fearing the staff because of its power she has the mindset that it needs to be kept out of the hands of those who would misuse it
  • And for that reason decides to wield it herself
The old man in the store
  • Jack and Audrey don't discuss him with the other colonists until after the first time he comes to their colony
  • Over time he should instruct Mary in the use of the staff
  • He is the one that uncovers that Mary is responsible for the desolate area being desolate
  • Jack and Audrey, after consulting the rest of the colonists, decide to invite him to live in the colony
  • The tribe wanted her alive and well because of her ability to use the staff, and so they took care of her
  • Her clothes are tattered due to age and her growth, but she refused to wear the tribal dress anyway
  • Jack and Audrey take her in after bringing her back to the colony
  • She was 12 when she arrived and therefore 13 when Jack and Audrey rescue her
  • Plenty of opportunity for flashbacks to explain her backstory
Jack and Audrey
  • They're supposed to be adults, late 20s/early 30s.
  • Jack is a marksman and Audrey prefers melee weapons
  • This is the small bit of myself that's making it into Jack.  Basically I'm tired of how the ranged support characters in RPGs/movies/anime/manga/etc. are always female.
  • Also I tend to like sword-wielding female characters, so it works double.
  • At some point they take Mary to the charred remains of the old colony, because she wants to go and they'd never actually seen the area before
The colony/colonization effort
  • Unclear how far away their home planet is
  • Close enough that the news of what happened to the first colony (emergency transmissions) arrived before the second batch of colonists arrived, but far enough away that the news arrived after they left.
  • The previous colonists arrived about 13 months earlier, bringing Mary and her parents with them
  • Obviously from a much more technologically-advanced planet/society
  • Modern weaponry, essentially.
  • Mary wasn't the user of the staff in most of the tribe's rituals that involved it, and that it took the entire tribe chanting to make the staff do what Mary and the old man can do with it by themselves
  • Mary was abducted, the colony razed, and the colonists killed
    • Just to make it plainly obvious, she's the only remaining survivor from the first colonization effort
    • Current colony not built at the same site as the razed one
The desolate area
  • redundant points listed above
  • was once jungle, much like the rest of the planet
  • became desolate in the first test of the staff due to Mary's hatred of the tribe for killing her parents and abducting her
  • after the tribe is defeated it should be restored
  • automatically since the staff's effects end either after a certain amount of time or when a specific condition is met
The tribe
  • Wakes up and finds the snow and related footprints
  • Notices that both Mary and the staff are gone
  • follows footprints to the store
  • discovers colony at some point
  • main antagonists?  would make the full story shorter and simpler...  could be good or bad.
Yeah, I'd thought out that much of it.  Present thoughts want me to change it so rather than Mary being eager to see the charred remains of the old colony, they happen upon it while exploring, entirely unintentionally, and Mary gets some kind of sad reunion when she finds evidence of her parents.  This evidence would of course be small enough to carry with her as a memento.  Also, why was the staff originally created?  For that matter, why are the old man and Mary the only ones who can easily use it?  Also, when razing the colony and killing the colonists, the tribe had to have known Mary could use the staff, or they'd have killed her too.

Also, I do remember that the dream itself at one point had a Skyrim GUI (when they were sneaking into the village, getting Mary, grabbing the staff, and leaving), and in general because this kind of thing happens in my dreams, everything was a bit more sexualized.  Also, something that failed to make it in (maybe I consciously edited it out?) is that Mary's green shirt was actually a hooded sweatshirt at one point.  Perhaps it still technically was a hooded sweatshirt when Jack and Audrey discover her, but it's just been worn down through all the time of wearing it and being a hostage, and therefore losing its insulation value against the snow Mary inadvertently causes after they leave the village?  I realize this makes her receiving the sweatshirt from Jack kind of odd... (but only kind of)

Also, I seem to like beginning sentences with "Also,".

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Why do I even bother?

So I went to a job fair today.  I always get my hopes up when going to one of these things.  "Oh, it's going to be great, I'll talk to some potential employers, they'll need someone with my skills, I might even get an interview on the spot!"

Then I go to it.

They're all the same really.  Cramped quarters, you're lucky if they have a sign (or even a printed handout) with their open positions listed, some tables always get swapped around so the map is incorrect, and even more aren't clearly labelled and it just looks like people are hanging out and talking.

I did talk to several potential employers and things did seem positive across the board, but there was a disturbing trend.

"Oh, apply online."

Doesn't that defeat the entire purpose of going to a job fair?  I might as well just have looked at the list of everyone who was going to be there, and gone to their websites to apply.  I put on uncomfortable semi-dress clothing, updated and then printed out fifteen copies of my resume, and drove all the way here to talk to you about working for you and "apply online" is all you can say?

Speaking of those fifteen copies of my resume I printed out, guess how many got asked for by the companies I talked to.  Go ahead, take a wild guess.

You ready for the number?


What a waste of paper, printer ink, power, and time.

Also, about my skill set.  Apparently, even though I feel fairly well skilled, the only open positions in anything IT or otherwise computer or internet-related are senior staff positions that require a lot more intimate knowledge of approximately everything than I currently have.  Come on, you're coming to a job fair held right next door to the University of Virginia, and you don't have any entry or mid-level positions open?

At least I got three streetpasses.

Dungeon Siege

I've been watching ArchmageMelek's LP of the original Dungeon Siege, and every episode I say the same thing: "Man, this makes me want to play this game again.".

Last night I found my install discs (remember physical install media?) and installed it.

Here's where the problem began: it's an old game and its graphics options max out at 1024x768.  I'm using a 1440x900 monitor.

Thankfully the resolution options are stored in an easily editable file, so I simply changed the width and height to 1440x900.  However, even though it shows up properly in the options, I don't get the feeling it actually worked.

It looks just like it did when I fired it up set to 1024x768.  Now I know that 1440x900 isn't a heck of a lot bigger than 1024x768, but the real indication that something's not right: all the rest of my windows in my dual monitor setup moved around, which only happens when a game changes the display resolution.  So even though it says it's running at 1440x900, it's not really.  And indeed once I re-open DungeonSiege.ini, I can see that the width and height are set to 800 and 600, respectively.  If tweaking DungeonSiege.ini doesn't work, I guess command line options are my only hope.

It's still a really fun game that I hope to get back into.  I never got either of its sequels (and from what I've heard about DS3, it's a lazy console port with no real options or anything of use to a PC gamer), but I do own Legends of Aranna.  In fact, my install discs install both the full game and Legends of Aranna.  I picked up the game at Circuit City before they died a horrible fiery death, for about $30, specifically because it was the full game with the expansion included.

Edit (2014-12-18): The main menu still renders in 800x600, regardless of settings.  When you start a game, it'll bitch at you about the resolution you set, just hit OK and it'll change to the resolution you specified.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Pants Rant

I don't normally wear pants, but occasionally I do go outside, which typically requires wearing something below the waist.  During last MAGFest, a small hole in the upper leg of my pants became a gaping hole through which my leg and boxer shorts could be seen, so I went out to hunt down a replacement pair of pants in my size. 

I found one.  One pair of pants with the same waist/inseam as a pair of pants I have that fit just fine (that I happened to be wearing at the time).  Last I checked, the length of an inch hadn't changed.  I tried them on, and they fit just fine then.

Once I got them home and actually started to wear them, though, it became clear that they're way too tight around the man parts.  I can barely use the pockets.  In fact, with everything I normally carry with me in my pockets (Left: Wallet/3DS, Right: Keys/Phone/Sunglass clips), I can hit the outer buttons on my cell phone just by walking.  That's bad.  Also, I can't get anything into or out of my pockets while sitting down, which makes going through drive-throughs incredibly difficult.

So to whoever it was at Levi's that decided that mens' pants needed to be tighter around the crotchular area, fuck you, die in a fire.

Last pair of Levi's I'll ever buy.