[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_IDCharacterWeaponAbility 1Ability 2RM
6 Cloud Blazefire Saber (XIII)+ Lifesiphon Aerora Strike Ace Striker
7 Zack Organics (VII)+ Lifesiphon Aerora Strike Battleforged
8 Ramza Ultima Sword (IX) Magic Breakdown Armor Breakdown Mako Might
9 Tyro Thor Hammer (V)++ Power Breakdown Full Break Dr. Mog's Teachings
10 Selphie Crescent Wish (VIII)+ Curaja Shellga Knight's Charge


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_IDCharacterWeaponAbility 1Ability 2RM
6 Cloud Blazefire Saber (XIII)+ Lifesiphon Aerora Strike Ace Striker
7 Zack Organics (VII)+ Lifesiphon Aerora Strike Battleforged
8 Ramza Ultima Sword (IX) Magic Breakdown Armor Breakdown Mako Might
9 Tyro Thor Hammer (V)++ Power Breakdown Full Break Dr. Mog's Teachings
10 Selphie Crescent Wish (VIII)+ Curaja Shellga Knight's Charge


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_IDCharacterWeaponAbility 1Ability 2RM
6 Cloud Blazefire Saber (XIII)+ Lifesiphon Aerora Strike Ace Striker
7 Zack Organics (VII)+ Lifesiphon Aerora Strike Battleforged
8 Ramza Ultima Sword (IX) Magic Breakdown Armor Breakdown Mako Might
9 Tyro Thor Hammer (V)++ Power Breakdown Full Break Dr. Mog's Teachings
10 Selphie Crescent Wish (VIII)+ Curaja Shellga Knight's Charge


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.

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Black Desert Online Impressions

It was raining the other Sunday so for lack of any other indoor activity that I felt compelled to partake in, I purchased Black Desert Online on a whim. I have been hearing about this title on-and-off of the past month or so. Aside from screenshots, I didn’t actually know that much about it. Ultimately, it was both curiosity as well as the fact that it was only $30 with no monthly fee that pushed it over the edge of temptation.

BDO’s character creation is probably the most robust system out of any that I have seen in any recent MMO. That said, I really wish someone would make a character creator that is similar to Create-a-Sim from The Sims 4. I find that being able to click and drag on various facial features to move them, make them longer, etc is way easier than using slidebars.

As a sidenote, there is a distinct aesthetic that all Korean and Japanese MMO’s seem to have. I think it is that the characters look like 3Dified anime characters maybe? That is not to say that it is a bad thing, just something that I have noticed.

Combat is very fluid and action RPGish with a sufficient amount of ability combos. Though technically you could fight in a typical MMO keyboard binding manner, it is more fun to treat it like a 3rd party action game.

New game + fairly automatable (autopath to everything) = my new half watch Hulu and half play a game activity. That said, the fact that a number of things can be automated and minimized to the tray and that questing can be reduced to hitting ‘T’ to autorun to a giant glowing circle on the map makes me frown a bit and wonder if we are all not better off just ‘playing’ Progress Quest or something.

I don’t think that I am going to stick with BDO (or really any MMO) in the long run, but it is sufficiently interesting to hold my attention until Overwatch is released.

Odds and Ends: April 2016

My new personal project for April and onward is to consistently run and/or lift at least 5 days a week instead of sporadically jumping on the treadmill once or twice a week. I am considering moving the HTPC into the spare room so that I can watch Hulu/Netflix on a screen larger than the iPad/my phone while I run. Still no Overwatch beta invite though at this point it is not that far from release I guess.

FFRK: RNGesus be Praised
I went into SSBfest and the FFT challenge event expecting bupkis and came out of it with everything that I and really wanted and then some. In any case, I am almost certain that I have permanently exhausted my luck reservoir but now that I have both SG and Shout, I think I am okay with that. First World Problem: Since most of my Roaming Warriors were either Sentinel’s Grimoire or Stone Skin II, I now need to redo my entire list. What a pain in the ass.

FFRKlolRNG

Stardew Valley
This game is such a time sink; I don’t in any sense mean that in a negative manner. I am currently at the end of Fall during my first year. The farm, though rather small is mostly automated; Growth seems to be dictated by how many sprinklers I am able to craft. Alex, my chosen marriage candidate has recently accepted my bouquet. I actually haven’t picked Stardew Valley up in a few weeks. I feel as if it is one of those games that I will cycle in and out of as personal interest dictates.

My Plants
I am very pleased to see that the small sad looking lithop leaf double spawned. It was shriveled for quite some time, so I was pretty sure that it was going to die. I guess it just took longer to split for whatever reason. Unfortunately, I haven’t done a very good job of taking my plants in from the rain so I suspect that a few of them have gotten a bit too much water. The soil that they are in does seem to drain and dry out pretty fast so they should be okay.
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Black Desert Online
I caved and scratched a very faint but present itch. More posts to come.

[FFRK] Musings, Ultimate Gigas, and Nightmare Ultima Buster

Happy 1st anniversary Final Fantasy Record Keeper. This would mark the longest span a time that a single one of “these” apps has ever held my attention. With the anniversary gifts and what have you, I once again have mithril to spend. I had considered forgoing the lucky draws earlier this month in favor of saving all of my mithril for either SSB Fest Banner 5 or FFT. Ultimately, I ended up caving in and getting supremely lucky by pulling both Crescent Wish (Selphie: Medica + Avoid one magical attack) and Sage’s Staff (Lenna: Hastega + 30% Boostga). So at this point I have a natural medica and hastega/boostga .

So the question is, do I go for Sentinel’s Grimoire from SSB Fest or Scream from FFT? I was thinking that overall, SG will add the most utility to my team, particularly since I have several Boostga SBs. If by the good graces of RNGesus I do happen to pull SG, all leftover Mithril without blowing the entire stash, if any, will go towards pulling on FFT. I currently have enough mithril for 3 11x pulls. Given that dungeon update #20 is due out on the same day as banner 5, I may have enough for 4 pulls, but we’ll see.

Ultimate Gigas

Several S/L’s because of bad RNG before mitigation was set up. Aside from that, it’s a relatively straightforward fight if you can manage the massive damage output. Personal goals for this encounter were to use both Blind Shell and Thief’s Revenge since both are fairly new abilities that I had bothered honing (Thief’s Revenge in particular).

 Character  Weapon  Ability 1  Ability 2  Record Materia
 Cloud  Gaia Blade (II)  Lifesiphon  Blizzaga Strike  Ace Striker
 Zack  Bladefire Saber (XIII)+  Lifesiphon  Temp Flurry  Knight’s Charge
 Zidane  Ultima Sword (IX) Thief’s Revenge  Blind Shell  Pride of the Red Wings
 Selphie  Power Staff (V)  Curaja  Shellga  Dr. Mog’s Teachings
 Lenna  Sage’s Staff (V)  Renewing Cure  Heathen Frolic  Mako Might

Roaming Warrior: Tyro (Sentinel’s Grimoire)
Notable Soul Breaks: Blade Beam, Air Strike, Dreamstage, Flames of War

…in retrospect, I should have leveled Lock a bit more and used him instead of Zidane. Mitigation was setup ASAP then slow/blind for the medal requirements. After debuffs were applied, the Gigas’s were focus fired downed in the following order: Fire -> Ice -> Thunder (least to most HP).

The medal requirements were nerfed hard. I did not reapply the second charge of SG in time, ended up losing both Zidane and Zach at some point, and only lost 1 medal for party members KO’d. Zack’s stun all SB is great, but I really wish that I was able to use it more than once. As always, Boost + Blade Beam spam saves the day.

Nightmare Ultima Buster

I forgot to cast waterja on the sphere. Whoops. Otherwise, no medals lost. Easy gimmick, mage meta for the win. Well, given that physical attacks are countered with death + massive synergy for mage characters, there aren’t too many other viable party configurations I guess. Wall and Shellga were way sufficient for mitigation to the point where healing was probably not even needed. Hastega > Wall for your RW in my opinion because of the soft time limit in all phases.

 Character  Weapon  Ability 1  Ability 2  Record Materia
 Rydia  Magistral Rod  Valefor  Thundaga  Impetuous Youth
 Terra  Oak Staff  Waterja  Thundaja  Vow of Vengeance
 Rinoa  Valkyrie (VIII)+  Firaja  Drainga  Witch of Succession
 Tyro  Cardinal (VIII)  Flare  Firaga  Devotion
 Lenna  Crescent Wish (VIII)  Curaja  Shellga  Dr. Mog’s Teachings

Roaming Warrior: Tyro (Sentinel’s Grimoire)
Notable Soul Breaks: Flames of War

Phase 1: Apply mitigation and get him down to 80% to start phase 2 ASAP. If I recall correctly, you have about 3 to 4 turns to do this before he meteors his party. His resistance seems pretty low so this phase shouldn’t be much of a problem with a half way decent mage party.

Phase 2: Ultima Buster gains a non-dispelable reflect and will counter all AOEs with death unless they are specifically marked as not being counterable (summons are okay and also count towards the non-elemental requirement). So in other words: Focus all attacks on the mana sphere.

  • When a spell is cast on the Mana Sphere it will react with a different counter depending on the type of spell cast. For both fire and thunder based spells, Ultima Buster will take damage equal to 10x damage that the sphere has taken.
  • The general idea is to not kill the sphere and do as close to 900ish damage as possible (900 damage on the sphere means 9000 damage to Ultima, 10*900=9000).
  • The sphere will periodically charge Ultima. When he receives 4 charges, the sphere will die and phase 3 will begin. The idea is to never enter phase 3.
  • Multi-hit single-target fire/thunder SB’s work well.

Phase 3: If you have the misfortune of getting to phase 3, DPS him down as fast as possible. Everything that he does is effectively a OHKO. Magical Blink will negate one of his -ajas.

In a nutshell: Get him to 80% to start phase 2. Once the sphere appears, hit it was a water/fire/thunder spell to make the medal requirement, continue to spam fire/thunder.  He does piddly damage with wall + shellga during phase 2 to the point where healing wasn’t really necessary. So if you are pressed on damage/don’t have Hastega, it may be worth not bringing a healer. With synergy, Rinoa’s had 523 MAG and was doing 2k damage to the sphere per -aja cast. In retrospect, I could have swapped out firaja with a lesser fire spell.

[FFRK] Ultimate Adel

One shot. If I had to rank bosses, I would have to say that Adel was easier than Maduin, who at least had a gimick. Adel was pretty just 100% physical DPS brute force. Since she deals out 100% magical damage and punshes magical damage with a drain counter, not a very hard party to compose. Continuing with my glove curse, I pulled yet another 5* glove during Banner #1: Gauntlet. It has an okay Soul Break (3*171% single target physical hits with haste/protect/shell) but for a B-List mediocre character. Decent enough damage with Synergy + Lifesiphon + Knight’s Charge though.

 Character  Weapon  Ability 1  Ability 2  Record Materia
 Cloud  Blitz Sword (VIII)  Lifesiphon  Drain Strike  Ace Striker
 Zell  Gauntlet (VIII)  Lifesiphon  Dismissal  Knight’s Charge
 Pecil  Blazefire Saber (XIII)+  Armor Strike  Banishing Strike  Bastion
 Irvine  Ras Algethi (XII)  Magic Breakdown  Full Break  Master Sniper
 Aerith  Sage’s Staff (V)  Curaga  Shellha  Dr. Mog’s Teachings

Roaming Warrior: Tyro (Sentinel’s Grimoire)
Notable Soul Breaks: Blade Beam, Meteor Barrage, Planet Protector

Shellga + Full Break + Magic Breakdown + Sentinel’s Grimoire effectively neutered Adel for most of the fight. In summary: Set up mitigation as soon as possible, build up your SB gauge, reapply wall/shellga at about 50% health, then go to town with SB/SSB spam. As always, Planet Protector + any multi-hit SB with a decent multiplier is MVP this fight.

Adel’s AoE spam duirng the weak and very weak phases of the fight still hurts with full mitigation (around 1.3k damage or so to all characters). I didn’t find it very hard to single target heal through and it shouldn’t be a problem as long as you can burst her down.

Sidenote: I am really really really bad at saving mithril. 😕

[Gardening] My Succulent Collection

I have noticed recently, that as I grow older (more specifically, as my free time shrinks), the less I am interested in gaming in front of a computer. I guess that isn’t really a bad thing, but it is probably the reason why I post here about once a week at most.

Now that the weather is getting warmer, gardening can ensue. We have been in the house for a little over a year and the backyard is still kind of a mess, aside from my small corner of potted plants. Truth be told, one of the reasons for my love of succulents is the fact that they require very little maintenance. The primary reason of course being that they look cool/weird. Here are a couple of plants from my succulent collection that I am particularly fond of:

Echeveria (Elegans?)
DSC03710

I am pretty sure that these succulents are in the echeveria genus, but I am not 100% sure what species. They are from my wedding bouquet and grow/flower like crazy with very little maintenance other than placing them in a spot that receives sun and splashing them with water once in a while during peak hit in summer.

I have noticed that one of the flower stalks is infested with little black bugs. The bugs likely seem to be isolated to just one stem and have not returned since pruning them off.

Lithops (Living Stones)
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Before Winter (October) and after Winter (March). When I had purchased these plants at Lowe’s, I didn’t have high hopes for them surviving through the Winter because the looked a little bit scarred or possibly split from overwatering

The leaf on the top right was unfortunately munched on by a rabbit and died as expected. The leaf on the top left looked pretty bad, but has a new leaf emerging. I am very pleased to see a double spawn out of the big leaf on the bottom.

It rained a lot in 2015 (for Southern California which is to say, not much by everyone else’s standard) and I wasn’t very diligent about moving the water sensitive plants to a covered area, so we’ll see how they do. The soil does dry fairly rapidly when in full sun.

Fenestraria Aurantiaca (Baby Toes)
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Have been looking for these on and off for a while and happened to find them the other week during a plant sale when we were out and about. I had a decent sized pot of these growing up, pretty sure that they died due to over-watering.

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Stardew Valley

Oddly enough I have never even heard of Stardew Valley until about a week or so ago when it started popping up on the Youtube/Twitch streams that I watch occasionally. So being a big fan of the simulation game genre in general, I caved and purchased it. Stardew Valley is an indie open-ended country-life RPG, as it is described on their website. Given that farming and relationship simulating, among other things, are pretty big game components, it really does feel like a spiritual successor to the Harvest Moon series.

I managed to soak in a few hours playing on and off this week and so far I have fell into the steady rhythm of spending the morning hours tending to the crops, running any needed errands in town, a little time fishing, the remainder of my energy clearing out trees and rocks on my farm, and then the remaining time in the day socializing. Though this may sound tedious, it really doesn’t feel that way.

Resource usage as a whole seems to have been consolidated into time and energy (and inventory space). You have x amount of time in the day and y amount of energy to do stuff. Physically intensive actions such as chopping, planting, mining, etc cost a certain amount of energy. So it is a matter of prioritizing what needs to be done; All the while the game clock is running in the background.

Stardew Valley is a slow paced yet oddly satisfying game. Play it for hours or play it here and there one game day at a time. It is relaxing and satisfies my sim game/building game need.