16 October 2017

Star Ocean 2 'Crap Party' attempt

This should be easy to finish but the grinding may be more difficult; refreshing all the same.


Main Party:


Rena
Dias
Ernest
Noel


Supporting (won’t be used when above assembled):
Claude
Opera
Celine
Precis


There is always the chance that it may be too difficult or I may wish to switch gears, in which case I could just bring in Claude, Opera, Chisato or whoever to back Ernest - it’s more about him than anything else. Rena and Noel may be difficult to adjust to. Dias is good in some ways but very linear and slow at times.


Assessment so far halfway through disk 2:


Rena - my main. Heal very occasionally, cast dispel and use items etc. Bunny shoes first user. Fun to attack with. Supervisor role. Battle suit wearer. Image result for rena sprite star ocean


Dias - most damage, but still very linear, singular attacker. Tended to Gale Stab my other guys in the back rather than enemy!

Image result for dias star ocean 2


Ernest - way better than expected. Nice ranged attacks. Decent Killer Moves. Got his ultimate weapon there. Solid but probably the worst performing of this batch, always low on HP and MP. Not quite Space Indiana Jones: Image result for ernest  star ocean


Noel - surprisingly excellent, can’t hold his own in Duels but in the group of 4 he really shines. Decent attack power thanks to accessories (better than Ernest) and just set to ‘throw own body into attack’ so just clobbers enemy. Other Battle Suit wearer as soon as I got him, prior to that Ernest had it. This fucking guy:

Related image


What’s Next:

Fienal, Mihne, defeat the first 9 Wisemen up as far as final save point in Fienal, go back to Expel, Cave of Trials with this lot (oh Christ how will I do the 10/13 levels challenge bit with Rena and 1 other person), defeat all three superbosses???
After all THAT the next attempt will be Rena, Celine, Leon, Noel - the mages!

EDIT

Managed to beat the Cave of Trials with Rena, Dias, Noel and Ernest easily enough, Rena and Dias at around level 199-200 and the other two in the 180's.


Went outside, saved, and defeated Iselia Queen easily enough too! Went on to beat her two more times to get more Angel Armbands.


Went straight up to Indalecio Limiter Off and he was the hardest. His ability to slip away and cast spells almost caused a party wipe at least once, otherwise some of his spells were healing my guys (Explode).


I was surprised how much more effective the party became when I turned off Comprehension and started utilising the Slayer Rings and whatnot properly. Stars were flying everywhere! Also I only took control of Dias as my main deep into the Cave of Trials, and things finally slotted into place. Rena's attack was very quick but often got 'stuck' if the enemy managed to block, which left her hanging for a silly amount of time. This may have been due to Comprehension as when I turned it off after getting all my skill points herself and Noel could attack much more fluidly.

Some more character analysis: Rena was very good under AI control, casting Fairy Heal, Fairy Light, Antidote, Dispel and Raise Dead when I needed them. Dias was great to use, Illusion becomes super useful in its second, powered up form wherein Dias glows red. It helped a lot to control him as the only real warrior of the bunch. Air Slash as well is so fast and really really helped against flying terrors like the Phoenix and the Dragon Tyrant. It also broke up the super bosses spells and attacks.


Ernest's Broken Heart was the only thing saving him. Terrible stamina and costly Killer Moves left him in bits after most battles. The multiple attacks of Broken Heart combined with Cat o' 9 Tails and eventually Slayer's Rings/Angel Armband made him much more useful as kind of a ranged substitute for Opera. HONOURABLE MENTION for Sonic Whip, a nice KM that hits multiple enemies on a wide front, something I discovered very late in the game (as I made my way back to Fienal) but a nice substitute for Claude's Ripper Blast.

Noel was surprisingly beefy, he'd just go around clobbering enemies. It helped that he had a very good weapon (Death Claws, lol) and good accessories like the Atlas Ring and Berserk Ring. I tried really hard to get the 'Platinum Nails' weapon for him as it would've given him a multiple attack like Ernest's weapon apparently but no joy. He didn't seem to drag his feet as much as Ernest anyway.

I took apart the three superbosses within an hour or two of each other a few nights ago and am now bereft, trying out Civ V but still craving a classic JRPG. May try the Rena-Celine-Leon-Noel run soon and after that gun for Universe mode with Claude back at the helm.

07 August 2017

Love/Hate #13 T.I.M.E Stories Expedition Endurance *spoiler free*

A very brief review of T.I.M.E Stories: Expedition Endurance, sans spoilers this time for a change.

Image result for time stories expedition endurance

It all feels very different, from the very start. Even the briefing is handled differently.

The characters are hardy enough but each have small little advantages unique to them. Closer to the Asylum level of difficulty in character choice, while Marcy-PoD-Mask being stronger than these/more focused probably.

There are a number of unique mechanics and cards/events tied to them in this scenario, which really refreshes the run, fail, run again etc. of the others. I like that they're starting to invert the same old formulas.

Plot-wise there is a good bit there. If you are any way savvy in the themes it uses it may influence how you handle certain situations. However it wasn't too obvious about it in most instances - there was a trend in PoD and UtM to show a good/bad situation on the card and do the opposite for gits and shiggles, usually at player and fun expense. Not to mention TU. EE has a good few narrative building cards that you may end up ignoring on the subsequent runs but do add plenty of flavour.



This was certainly one of the harder more recent scenarios. The unique mechanics and certain tests will brutalise you and they do it so simply. It's a lean, mean scenario and was refreshing to run through 3 times until we beat it. There was none of the misery of PoD in doing subsequent runs, it was like Under the Mask - refreshing and new each time you play. If you kept failing, then it may get tedious for sure.

Run time - for us it took about 4 hours, with a good bit of chat but plenty of strategising and discussing what the next move was. Lots of decisions and stuff to be made, making tie breaks necessary. They definitely looked at everything that made T.I.M.E good and started fresh with a great new scenario.

New ranking w/ EE added:

Marcy Case
Asylum
Expedition Endurance
Under the Mask
Prophecy of Dragons

This is probably the way I'd rate them for now. If PoD was still good that just means the rest are even better. PoD was "here's 4-5 different routes to the end with different templates on them" but still managed to be good. UtM and EE bring so much freshness to the series but Asylum and Marcy still loom large, even if the latter has that one big issue built into it - it can never really be played again. All of them can't really be played again but Marcy is the most like that! Here's hoping for more scenarios soon.

07 July 2017

Age of Wonders Editor Necut PART 1

I have made the same-ish world map in Age of Wonders editor over the last decade and a half. Necut was created in 2001-2002 for a write-a-book project and has evolved a lot since then. These changes can be seen in the editor.

The Evolution of El

As the base of the Elven civilization and my own personal stake in this fantasy world, it actually hasn't changed that much:


2005. Lots of roads and samey forests.


2006. Noticeably unfinished compared to previous one.


2008. 'Necut1' way more complete and the shape if pretty much set.



2017. Note the Skagrak on the east cast and the smaller size to accommodate the rest of the world getting bigger. Still working on this right now.


The Evolution of the World Map

This reveals the biggest changes in the design of my world:


2005. Interesting how North Omera is entirely wasteland, while Frostica is completely covered in snow. Lacour, the small green ball in the centre probably changed the most over time.


2006. Little details start to creep in but not much has changed. Branch started to change in the east to be straight while the Omeras are no longer completely wasteland.


2007. A feckin revolution, Lacour and Terra Nova/Branch changed the most. Lacour is now very large and has a realistic Sahara-like desert in the west and centre. Branch and Terra Nova are now fused together with a gigantic Himalaya-esque range where they meet.




2008-2010. As was developed in Leaving Cert and beyond, the place starts to look a little more realistic and the map is actually playable from different angles.


2011. Laccai emerges on the west coast of Lacour. No Scoutja on the north pole to allow for more strategic warfare, note all the rivers. I learned some lessons from playing Deroman's excellent Napoleonic Wars. Also south coast of Kalousa no longer desert. The Skag'rak emerges as the final Elven island.




2012. Scoutja is back on the north pole. The player roles are starting to settle. Lacour as Humans (Blue) and Omera as Azracs (Orange) as they are traditionally allied in the setting.


 

2017. The emphasis now in the AoW version is less on the actual accuracy of the map to what is set in stone but what will be fun to play in AoW. Sweeping warfare, grinding sieges, naval transport and raids; a big bad AI player in the caverns.



26 May 2017

Yu-Gi-Oh! Decks built thus far out of old collection and some new pulls:

Main Dragon Deck (Blue Sleeves)
Nephew's Deck (White Sleeves)
Blue-Eyes Dragon
Water
Fire
Dark
Exodia
Low Level
Insect
Machine

16 May 2017

May update

S'all good here!

17 April 2017

Love/hate 12 T.I.M.E Stories Under the Mask *spoiler-tastic*

I played the Ra priest who could lock an automatic success the whole way through and Ger played the soldier dude; Dave played the scribe and changed on one run while Donal played the healer and changed many times.

We scoped out the boat and acquired the transfer device, allowing us to change characters mid-game. There are two characters here but we opted to press on, leaving the boat behind for this run.

I think we went to the streets first, then the military barracks followed by the temple. We scoped out the dyer's market later. A villa was revealed on the map and led to a number of encounters.

Our second run was equally good for revealing more locations but much like the first run we had nowhere near enough time to complete it. We more or less found everything you possibly could and occupied all but one or two vessels (the priestess, the soldier and the other version of the servant girl).

The third and final run was the quickest, at about an hour or less. We chose a slightly less optimal path but ended up only losing a small bit of time before we had everything we needed to make a run for the end. The puzzle at the end was quite easy and the final encounter was even easier. It did the Prophecy of Dragons thing where what seemed like a tough encounter or two is not what it seemed. I had the mask ad the poison so was able to glide toward the tomb and the mission was accomplished.

---

The original four characters are pretty great but some of the ones you pick up later are better in some fields, the artisan when improved has the best dexterity and the servant girl has great charisma. The initial guard guy is great strength-wise and can hand-wave many encounters from happening. The priestess of Ra I controlled has a nice auto-success and the ability to buff allies was very nice too. Healer priest had a hefty TU price-tag which would be good if combat were a factor but there were very few fights in our runs.

This was much better than Prophecy of Dragons. It felt somewhat fresh each time and was not as frustrating to run through again. I'm really looking forward to Expedition Endurance now. Being able to transfer between characters was excellent.

Probably ranking them:

Marcy Case
Asylum
Under the Mask
Prophecy of Dragons

If you reverse that order it's probably how replayable they are. PoD is the most pick your own adventure like and can be grinded through like five different ways while the Marcy Case is pretty much spoiled forever. I've forgotten quite a bit of Asylum so would not remember the optimal path and the same goes for UtM. I hope EE tops them all from what we know thus far.

23 March 2017

March update

2 exams at start of May, better study for those soon. Course was very good on balance.

Theo almost 5. Will be a nice weekend at end of month.

Currently playing: nothing, no time for vidya. Played a few emulators.

Itzacon soon maybe hopefully. Will probably do Saturday only. Warhammer probably wrapping up soon.

Finally acquired employment, 5 mins from house. That's it!

Got back into Yu-Gi-Oh! cards a bit and the Abridged series a lot. Stopped watching it years ago (2011?) glad to see only 20 episodes have been released since then. What's next, watching Zexal?

Wrestlemania: nice to see Jim Cornette will be presenting part of the HoF and also Kurt Freaking Angle being inducted; might even tune in to the event itself somehow and catch the Goldberg/Shane-AJ/Undertaker/JeriKO matches.

Fleetwood Mac doing farewell tour 2018? Will have to go when and if they're in Dublin.