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[WoW] Pre-Patch Impressions

For the first time in about forever, enough people have been back on WoW to socialize and do stuff so we caved-in and resubscribed. Luckily, the majority of my user interface seems to have survived the patch. I will though, need to find replacements for a few deprecated addons. Since my interface feels a bit top heavy, I think that I am going to spend part of my pre-expansion play time thinning out and redoing most of my UI.

I’m not sure that I would necessarily describe Retribution 7.0.3 as streamlined. It feels more, pruned than anything else. I find muscle memory moving my finger towards the buttons that I would press for Hammer of Wrath and Exorcism quite often. But that said, it has literally been almost two years since I have touched WoW and even then, it’s not like I was all that familiar with Retribution 6.x so… ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Hopping on the gear treadmill once a gain. My gear is slowly getting better. It is up from a paltry 645 iLevel to a slightly less paltry 664 iLevel. The goal of course being to be non-shit geared by the time the invasion occurs.

My Pending Return to WoW

Like much of the player base, my husband and I are planning to return to the World of Warcraft, albeit for a brief month or so, when the Legion expansion launches at the end of August. The pressure however, of seeing more and more friends filter back into World of Warcraft over the past month or so has been increasing. Now that the pre-expansion patch is out, I am quite tempted to re-subscribe a bit earlier than originally planned.

I haven’t really been “into” WoW for about two years, so Legion has felt like more of an obligatory/out of curiosity purchase more than anything else. As such, I have neither paid much attention to any WoW related news nor am I versed in any way on any of the changes that have been made to the game, classes, etc.

That said, let’s say that I do re-subscribe. What do I do? I guess I can try out the new class, LFR old raids, or see if enough people are playing at the same time to do something. Or I guess, I can take the extra time to re-learn how to play this game…

In any event, I have already re-downloaded the game, updated my interface, and re-configured my gamepad so I guess it’s just a matter of time.

PS: I did actually re-download the entire game this time onto the new drive (yada yada bought an SSD for Prime Day) instead of just copying over the same WoW folder that I have been using for a decade from computer to computer. It was kind of funny though, having a WoW directly full of old patch files stretching all the way back to Vanilla.

[Music] Zero Wing: Legrous (Stage 2)

At some point close to 2000 to 2001 when the “All Your Base” meme was becoming popular, I had downloaded a .midi from Zero Wing (old side scroller from Sega that was never released stateside). I was digging through and cleaning out my media folder and came across my MIDI stash which had somehow managed to survive multiple harddrive transitions. Given that my phone doesn’t play .mid files, I thought that it would be nice to find a decent soundfont and convert it to .mp3 format for the sake of adding to one of my lunchtime listening playlists. I have no idea where this midi is from or who the original author is so sincere apologies for no credit. Soundfont used: Arachno.

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Pokémon GO Ramblings & Tips

The team so far. Needs work

Literally every single nerd with a smartphone is playing Pokémon GO. A group of us went out last night to go Pokehunting and true enough, if at any point we were to bother to look up and away from our phones, there were quite a few people doing the same thing. The lures seem to not only attack Pokémon, but fellow nerds as well. Kudos to the dude who dropped two last night while we were poke walking.

Pokémon GO doesn’t quite have the depth as Ingress in my opinion: No portal linking obviously or colluding with other faction members to boost portals and capture large areas. I also wish the app had some sort of faction/player leaderboard. I am sure that will be added in a future update.

Literally every single time I want to play during my lunch at work :(

I have been also having difficulty capturing gyms because of the “1 HP gym bug.” Whenever I attack a gym and get the defending Pokémon down to 1HP, the game will glitch out and cause it to remain at 1 HP indefinitely. I have heard that this issue may have something to do with tapping the screen too fast as well as with multiple people attempting to take the gym at the same time.

In summary: Pokémon GO is generating the player response that we really really wanted from Ingress. The mere fact that there are so many people who are going outside and doing stuff is super cool.

Here are some odd tips and tricks that I have gathered so far:

  • If you see pink confetti on a pokestop, go there. Pink stuff = lure = more pokemans!

    Pokémon GO is obviously built off of data from Niantic’s other title Ingress. Portals = PokeStops and high traffic portals = gyms. There is no interactive map for Pokémon GO, but if you play Ingress or at least have an account, you can use this map to estimate PokeStop concentration.

  • Wait until the ring in the middle is at it’s smallest for the highest chance of catching the Pokémon.
  • Throwing curveballs increases your catch chance. To throw a curveball: If you spun the ball clockwise, throw the ball slightly to the left and visa versa. Most important thing: When you spin the ball, it will travel in the direction of the spin.
  • To spin the ball: While holding the pokeball, move your finger in rapid small circles until it shines.
  • Though less fun, I have found it easier (and to be honest, less suspicious looking in public), to turn off the AR camera while catching Pokémon.
  • Capture absolutely everything regardless of level or need. If you don’t need it, you can transfer it to the professor for candy. Candy is used for boosting and evolving Pokémon.
  • This game, much like Ingress, absolutely eats your battery alive. Investing in a USB power bank will increase your enjoyment of this game greatly; Or at the very least, allow you to enjoy it for longer periods of time without your phone dying.
  • Distance traveled is GPS based. In other words: Shaking your phone will not hatch the eggs faster. Go outside!
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Odd and Ends: The Warcraft Movie, FFX, Etc

So apparently, having low expectations would be the secret to enjoying most films. We saw the Warcraft movie the other week. My husband criticizes the plot, stating that it was disjointed (among other things). I would go so far as to wonder why anyone would go into this film expecting a plot in the first place. That said, I did enjoy watching Warcraft quite a bit but mostly in the way that one would enjoy pornography: Fun visuals, makes the MMO bits tingle, not exactly War and Peace quality writing.

At least half of the enjoyment was the novelty of seeing in-game locations fleshed out in cinema form, which was legitimately pretty neat to see. If you aren’t a fan of the Warcraft franchise, specifically World of Warcraft then you should probably either skip this movie or at least wait until it is out on Netflix or something. Independence Day 2 on the other hand? That was a truly bad movie. It was clear that not enough liquor was consumed before hand.

Final Fantasy X HD Remaster
I purchased Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD off of Steam last week and have been playing it on and off between Overwatch matches and other stuff: The English voice acting is pretty bad and the random encounters are barely tolerable. Otherwise, it is as fun as I remember it being. In all honesty, given that it has been literally a decade and a half since I had last played it, I don’t remember a whole lot about FFX other than it being one of the ‘good’ Final Fantasy games. Overall, it is a pretty decent remaster:

  • You can choose between either the original PS2 soundtrack or the orchestrated remaster.
  • If you prefer the Japanese audio, there is a mod to enable it. The audio files are already there but for whatever reason (copyright?) there isn’t a way of enabling it aside from using a mod.
  • Graphic look pretty slick
  • Blitzball! :3

FFRK
I was hoping to pull Cecil’s BSB but ended up pulling Celes’ SSB, Kefka’s cloak, and a few other things. Not what I was hoping for but Indomitable Blade is a damn fine consolation prize. I can muster just enough mithril to pull a couple times on banner 5 when it releases tonight. I wasn’t able to complete the FFX U+ Cid Mission; Or more accurately: I wasn’t interested in S/Ling for hours so that mission will just have to be “the one that got away” I guess.

[FFRK] Caius (Ultimate+)

My goal was to create a post about each FFRK event and other games for the sake of being more active on this site. Major league Overwatch obsession and being busy in general kind of pushed that off of the menu unfortunately. But alas, I am back to playing FFRK beyond just completing the events and then ignoring the game.

I am pretty tempted to pull during this banner for Lightning’s BSB. It’s not the best BSB, but given that she has decent stats and I already have her SSB, she is one of my Shout party staples. She will be even more of a staple once Full Charge and Chainstarter are released (5* Combat and 5* Celerity abilities that combo together rather well). If I recall correctly, the only characters with both 5* Combat and 5* Celerity are Lightning, Gau, Tidus, and Zack. 

There was not a lot of strategy or finesse required for this one. It was pretty much: Apply full mitigation, cleanse Regen off ASAP (because it ticks for 9k+…), charge SB bars, reapply full mitigation and Shout at around 50%, burn him down. Cauis’ “gimmick” is that his damage increases greatly as the encounter progresses. Once he reaches his weak phase, the fight is more-or-less a DPS race. I was however, fortunate enough that his opening bit was spread out enough to not gib one of my characters. It is probably worth noting that FFXIII would be one of the realms in which I have decent synergy. I have been patiently awaiting for this event for the sake of reaping the benefits of lopsided pull RNG…

wdt_IDCharacterAbility 1Ability 2RMSB
6 Lightning Lifesiphon R4 Drain Strike R5 Ace Striker Crushing Blow
7 Snow Saint Cross R3 Banishing Strike R4 Holy Knight's Pride Sovereign Fist
8 Ramza Power Breakdown R3 Full Break R3 Mako Might Shout
9 Tyro Magic Breakdown R4 Protectga R2 Dr. Mog's Teachings Sentinel's Grimoire
10 Selphie Curaja R5 Shellga R2 Battleforged Dreamstage


Roaming Warrior: HotF

His damage output was high enough to warrant bringing two supports to fit in both Full Break, Power Breakdown, Magic Breakdown, Shellga, and Protectga. Full mitigation gimped is damage during his Normal phase and made it tolerable during his Weak phase. During the last quarter of the encounter, I had underestimated exactly how much Caius’ damage had increased and ended up not casting Medica when I should have. Consequently, Selphie ate it and everyone else’s health dipped below the medal loss threshold. I was luckily still able to master the fight, but not perfectly.

Snow’s SB did significantly less damage than Saint Cross and was thus fairly useless. I probably should have taken Cecil along for his taunt SB. If I recall correctly, a few of Caius’s abilities are tauntable. Regardless, I am very glad that I chose to invest in Saint Cross. With Shout it does 2×9999 damage.

[FFRK] Bahamut’s Lair (U+)

Decided to experiment with AirServer + OBS Studio and record the entire encounter. Bahamut wasn’t nearly as bad as U+ Cagnazzo (…in which I pretty much ran out of every single ability and barely scraped by with a mastery). Having literally zero Final Fantasy III synergy hurts though.

wdt_IDCharacterAbility 1Ability 2RM
6 Lightning Lifesiphon R4 Drain Strike R5 Ace Striker
7 Snow Saint Cross R3 Banishing Strike R4 Holy Knight's Pride
8 Ramza Power Breakdown R3 Full Break R3 Mako Might
9 Tyro Magic Breakdown R4 Protectga R2 Dr. Mog's Teachings
10 Selphie Curaja R5 Shellga R2 Battleforged


Roaming Warrior: Lenna (Princess’ Favor)
Notable Soul Breaks: Blade Beam, Air Strike, Shout, Tailwind, Sentinel’s Grimoire, Dreamstage

Two re-dos of this fight were required: The first because I had forgotten to swap out Thundaga Strike with Aerora Strike and the second because I had forgotten to equip Power Breakdown. Aside from that, it was a straightforward encounter. Bahamut hits pretty hard with both physical as well as magical damage even with full mitigation up, but it is manageable as long as you recast Wall/Shellga/etc before it completely drops off. The first half of the fight is physical AoE damage for the most part. I couldn’t fit Protectga into my party configuration but Power Breakdown mitigated enough of the damage to make it survivable. Dreamstage + Air Strike during the second half of the fight = MVP.

I probably should have equipped a damage RM over Ace Striker on Cloud since Aerora Strike was hitting pretty high with Shout, but not at the damage cap. Also, I ended up accidentally fat finger casting Tailwind instead of Shout about half-way through the fight, which cut my damage by quite a bit :3.

[FFRK] Ultima Weapon (Ultimate+)

DPS race. This Ultimate+ encountered required a bit more thought than the bonus battles from the last few events. I had tried 2 previous configurations in an attempt to squeeze Tyro in for a full holy trinity but that wasn’t working so I left him at home. I was banking on the fact that two casts of Sentinel’s Grimoire would be sufficient whereas two casts of Dreamstage would not. Aside from some mistiming on my part, both were true.

wdt_IDCharacterAbility 1Ability 2RM
6 Lightning Lifesiphon R4 Drain Strike R5 Ace Striker
7 Snow Saint Cross R3 Banishing Strike R4 Holy Knight's Pride
8 Ramza Power Breakdown R3 Full Break R3 Mako Might
9 Tyro Magic Breakdown R4 Protectga R2 Dr. Mog's Teachings
10 Selphie Curaja R5 Shellga R2 Battleforged


Roaming Warrior: Tyro (Sentinel’s Grimoire)
Notable Soul Breaks: Air Strike, Dreamstage, Shout, Crushing Blow, Blade Beam

Ultima Weapon was a fairly straightforward albeit messy fight by virtue of the sheer amount of damage that he outputs: Pop Shout + mitigation ASAP, let Cloud, Lightning, and Zack build up their SB bars all the way then go to town. I may have been better off swapping out Drain Strike and Dismissal with something like Power Break and/or Armor Break to mitigate/increase damage.

It is well worth noting that Ultima Weapon is not immune to stun. As such, Air Strike’s 100% stun chance was immensely helpful. Dismissal of course, did not proc a single damn time and ended up just being a waste of space. I am pretty sure that I mistimed my second cast of SG and popped it a turn or two too early because it ended up running out way before I had expected it to. Consequently, 3/5 party members were basically eaten alive during the last quarter of the fight. Having several charges of Dreamstage ready to go effectively saved my ass and allowed Cloud to soak an AoE Magic attack and deal the final blow with Blade Beam.

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More Overwatch Musings

Most of my free gaming time this week has been dedicated to playing Overwatch. I have had a huge itch for a while to play an online class-based shooter that isn’t TF2, Battlefield, CoD, etc. Overwatch fulfills that need nicely. As such, it has effectively been the only non-mobile title that I have played over the past week. To be economical, I ended up pre-ordering the standard edition of Overwatch for the sake of playing in the early access beta. I would be lying if I had said that I wasn’t tempted to upgrade to the Origins Edition, but I do not think that a couple of skins and cosmetic doodads are worth an extra $20. If I were still playing WoW I would probably use the Winston pet as justification.

I am interested in seeing how class balance progresses as players eventually learn to play more of the characters. I have sneaky feeling that certain characters aren’t nearly as overpowered as the community makes them out to be by virtue of the general player knowledge still being fairly low, being an open beta and all. People, at least in most of the games that I have played in over the past week, seldom switch characters on the fly, if at all. For example: Switching to hard counter tank + turret camping or to transition into mid/late game defense. Overwatch is obviously designed around being able to play around character strengths and weaknesses mid-match.

As a sidenote: How exactly are the Play of the Game clips calculated? I had assumed that it was based off of obtaining the most points within a short period of time during the match, but I have seen a couple of clips lately where the featured player was literally doing almost nothing (and in one case, according to a Reddit post, literally doing nothing). Bug? This complaint of course, has absolutely nothing to do with me being semi-bitter about the fact that none of my epic team kill clips were chosen over yet another clip of Bastion killing 2 to 3 players 😛

[FFRK] Nightmare Demon Wall

I really wish that I had something more insightful to say about this encounter but to be honest, I had effectively brute forced Demon Wall down with Shout boosted SSB spam towards the end of the fight. I had somehow managed to master this fight despite entering phase 3 and losing all but Pecil and Lightning. As it turns out however, he is neither that beefy nor does he have all that much health. If you have enough physical gear with synergy and can in some way deal with his damage output, you can just burn him down.

wdt_IDCharacterAbility 1Ability 2RM
6 Lightning Lifesiphon R4 Drain Strike R5 Ace Striker
7 Snow Saint Cross R3 Banishing Strike R4 Holy Knight's Pride
8 Ramza Power Breakdown R3 Full Break R3 Mako Might
9 Tyro Magic Breakdown R4 Protectga R2 Dr. Mog's Teachings
10 Selphie Curaja R5 Shellga R2 Battleforged


Roaming Warrior: Ramza (Shout)
Notable Soul Breaks: Sentinel’s Grimoire, Blade Beam, Crushing Blow

I did have a native wall (SG), but ended up leaving both Shout and Medica out for the sake of full party synergy. Draw Fire really wasn’t all that useful in any sense. I would probably have been better off swapping it out with another healing spell.

The one and only thing that I did read about this encounter was to place your highest damaging party member dead in the middle. The main gimmick of the counter has something to do with Royal Tomb, which will target 3 consecutive party members at a time (the top 3, the middle 3, or the bottom 3).

I am pretty sure that the trick is to make sure that only the party members targeted by Royal Tomb are the ones who are attacking. Everyone else should either be on standby, healing, or support. Since the party member in the center will always be targetted, s/he should stack as much DPS as possible.

Phase 1 of the fight is a straight burn. Ignore mitigation, get Shout up ASAP and burst him down to phase 2. If you take too long (like I did during my first attempt), he will Gravija your entire party and you will lose the mastery condition.