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.
06 - 9Iw5ufz

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. 😕

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.

[FFRK] Ultimate Bahamut SIN

This one was harder than I had expected, given the number of Soul Breaks and the amount of record synergy that I have for FFVII. I think above all, hastega would have been a great help. Bahamut’s overall damage output wasn’t nearly as bad as previous Ultimate fights, but burst damage is necessary to kill the Giga/Petraflare bars in time as well as nuke him down. I guess I was lucky and paced the fight just enough to spawn/kill 8 dogs without taking too many extra actions. I did lose a medal for actions taken but managed to just make the cutoff for champion.

 Character  Weapon  Ability 1  Ability 2  Record Materia
 Cloud  Organics (VII)  Lifesiphon  Firaga Strike  Ace Striker
 Zack  Zack’s Gloves (VII)  Lifesiphon  Bladeblitz  Knight’s Charge
 Sephiroth   Basilisk Claw (VII)  Fire Blossom  Pound  Attunement II
 Aerith  Storm Staff (IX)  Ifrit  Shellga  Mako Might
 Lenna  Aurora Rod (VII)  Curaga  Protectga  Dr. Mog’s Teachings

Roaming Warrior: Tyro (Sentinel’s Grimoire)
Notable Soul Breaks: Blade Beam, Air Strike, Planet Protector, Princess’ Favor

Try to delay using the first Sentinel’s Grimoire charge as long as possible. As long as you get Protectga and Shellga up ASAP, the dogs are easily survivable without a wall. I ended up popping SG after the first Gigaflare and then again when he was between 40% and 50% health. Also, Petraflare is survivable with Shella, Wall, and full-ish HP. I had the misfortune of eating a Petraflare towards the end of the fight. Luckily, wall was still up, everyone was topped off, and an AoE heal was on standby.

Bladeblitz, Fire Blossom, and Ifrit were obviously used to AoE down the dogs. Blade Beam and Planet Protector were paced and kept in reserve for Gigaflare and Petraflare (with the added bonus of AoEing down the dogs).

The real MVPs of this encounter of course being: Planet Protector boosted Blade Beam and Air Strike. Air Strike doesn’t do that much damage but it does have a 100% chance to stun all, which was great for stalling Bahamut for just long enough to kill (most of the) the gigaflare and petraflare bars (why is Zack’s weapon a glove of all things?). Blade Beam, as always, is great for burning down just about everything.

[FFRK] Ultimate Seymour Flux

Everyone tired of fighting Seymour yet? Not the hardest encounter and not the easiest encounter; Definitely one of the easier ones though. Ultimate dispel + Total Annihilation was really his only major trick and even that is mostly just a timing thing. That said, I do have decent Final Fantasy X real synergy. I went with the standard 3x physical + Medica + Boostga party that I use for most things. The only major difference between my usual party configuration being that I swapped out a 5* support character in favor of Lightning for the sake of having a second Soul Break damage spammer.

 Character  Weapon  Ability 1  Ability 2  Record Materia
 Cloud  Thief Blade (X)  Lifesiphon  Tempo Flurry  Ace Striker
 Pecil  Fencing Sabre (X)++  Armor Strike  Venom Buster  Bastion
 Lightning  Heat Lance (X)  Dismissal  Drain Strike  Knight’s Charge
 Aerith  Sage’s Staff (V)  Curaja  Protectga  Mako Might
 Lenna  Magistral Rod (X)  Curaga  Exhausting Polka  Dr. Mog’s Teachings

Roaming Warrior: Tyro (Sentinel’s Grimoire)
Notable Soul Breaks: Planet Protector, Blade Beam, Blaze Rush, Sentinel, Princess’ Favor

I have mentioned this before but I really like Armor Strike because it multiplies off of DEF and not ATK. I usually have enough attack gear to equip for two characters, but not three. Armor Strike also works very well with Bastion and Cecil’s Sentinel Soul Break

Ultimate Dispel  is cast at two fixed points Seymour’s health bar: About 75% and about 50%. Subsequent casts will occur after a certain number of turns if I recall correctly. One of the medal conditions is to default him before he casts it 3 times.  After the second Ultimate Dispel, Mortiorchis will cast Total Annihilation (massive AoE damage) periodically; The first cast being a few turns after Ultimate Dispel. The trick to the fight is to not eat an unmitigated Total Annihilation and to burn him down after the second Dispel.

Phase 1: Use Exhausting Polka and Protectga for mitigation. Slow damage to build up SB bars. Cloud uses Tempo Flurry on Mortiorchis to obtain the slow medal condition, Cecil uses Venom Buster on Seymour to obtain the poison/sap medal condition.

Phase 2: Cast Protectga, Sentinel’s Grimoire, and Medica (if needed) after the first Ultimate Dispel. Recast Exhausting Polka if needed though, since it is effectively an AoE Magic Breakdown, Lenna should be keeping the debuff up in between healing rotations (or at least making a point to cast it before 75%~ 50%~ HP). I also had Pecil cast Sentinel to soak all of his single target damage and to buff his Armor Strike Damage output.

Phase 3: Lenna and someone else will need to be held in reserve when he is getting close to 50% health to cast medica and Sentinel’s Grimoire’s respectively. If you do not get mitigation up in time, it will pretty much be a S/L. A raw Total Annihilation will instagib the squishy party members. After TA: Heal up as needed, pop Planet Protector, burn him down with Blade Beam and Blaze Rush.

The vast majority of his attacks are physical based so I dropped Shellga. Total Annihilation however (if I recall correctly) is NAT typed magical damage. Luckily, Sentinel’s Grimoire was sufficient mitigation, though just barely for certain characters.

Diablo III Season 5 and FFXIV

I am making a feeble attempt at posting more often.

I had an odd urge and almost MMO relapsed into resubscribing to Final Fantasy XIV a couple of days ago. But, I had remembered how much of a drag early combat was and how much of the main quest line was gated fairly early on in the game. It’s not necessarily that bad of a thing to force people to run instances early on in the game I guess, but it’s not really what I was looking for. I had every intent on enjoying the game solo and then grouping for middle-high levelish instances with the intent of eventually finding a suitable guild, etc. Well, that and newbie instances are such a drag.

Everyone says that Final Fantasy XIV’s story is really good but do they mean good as in on par with narrative games or good as in not shit/decent for an MMO? I am legitimately curious. If I had a regular group of people also leveling through FFXIV, I am sure that the game would be much more fun. But that said, I am not sure I am interested in playing an MMO at the moment anyway.

I did however, pick up Diablo III. My husband was so kind as to power level my season 5 crusader to level 70 paragon 100+ so that we can play together in some capacity. The downside of course of power leveling a class being that I have limited knowledge as to what exactly I am supposed to be doing with my crusader.

Diablo III isn’t exactly that complicated game so at this point, I am sure it is a matter of sorting through the mounds of phat lootz and set items, picking out the best ones/gemming/re-rolling stats, and then basing a build off of that. I can at least, not be insta-gibbed while being carried through some of the harder rifts though jumping into Torment X was a bit…much lol. TL;DR: Pew pew pew with friends = much fun.

[FFRK] Ultimate Maduin

The Internet was right, Maduin wasn’t a very hard ultimate fight. After dealing with back-to-back Beatrix and Vossler, it’s nice having an easy one for once. His damage output is a joke until the end of the fight as long as you have some mitigation up. Magic Seal is mildly irritating, but it with decent enough damage output, it doesn’t last long enough to be that much of a threat. Here is the team that I went with:

 Character  Weapon  Ability 1  Ability 2  Record Materia
 Cloud  Kotetsu (VI)  Lifesiphon  Thundaga Strike  Ace Striker
 Celes  Rune Blade (VI)  Fire Strike  Blizarra Strike  Pride of the Red Wings
 Edgar  Blazefire Saber (XIII)+  Armor Strike  Banishing Strike  Bastion
 Setzer  Zantetsuken (VI)  Magic Breakdown  Power Breakdown  Zeal
 Aerith  Sage’s Staff (V)  Curaja  Shellga  Dr. Mog’s Teachings

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

I don’t have much to say about this encounter as there was not a whole lot of finesse required: I just applied mitigation at the beginning of the fight and then again after mass dispel. He casts Mass Dispel after Chaos Wave. As long as you time it and get your mitigation up ASAP, it’s no big deal. Aside from that, powered him down with PP and Blade Beam towards the end of the fight per usual. It’s worth noting that I do have decent weapon synergy for Final Fantasy VI.

Small tangent: Armor Strike is an ability that I find myself using more and more. It is perfect for situations where there isn’t a synergy weapon to around for each character. It doesn’t have a secondary benefit such as Lifesiphon or dismissal per se, but having DEF based damage means that Armor Strike provides super beefy damage characters that aren’t going to compete with other characters for ATK gear. That and it’s really great for Pecil with Sentinal. I really like Pecil so any excuse to use him is a bonus

Odds and Ends: February 2016

I have been on a mild Final Fantasy binge lately that may or may not have been at least partially inspired by my fixation with Final Fantasy Record Keeper.

Final Fantasy Tactics
This title went on sale on the App Store a long-ass time ago and has been shamefully sitting on my phone untouched for well over a year, if not more. Given that Final Fantasy Tactics Advanced is one of my all time favorite handheld titles, I am unsure why it has taken me this long to finally play this game. I actually own the PSX game; I think it was gifted to me like 15 years ago and chance.

The great thing about turn based mission based games is that they are very easy to pick up and set down as time dictates. As such, FFT is now my preferred lunch time and couch time game. Decent plot, fun game, decent port, despite the fact that it hasn’t been updated in about two years. I haven’t played Final Fantasy Tactics A2 either. I may treat myself after beating this game

Final Fantasy Explorers
Final Fantasy classes and abilities + Monster Hunter + Basic MMO grinding = this game. It’s a grindy handheld action RPG with a plot that is vague at best. I like it, but it may not be everyone’s cup of tea.

Dwarf Fortress
I have played through several fortresses at this point. In regards to Outpost Stizashoddom from my previous posts: Ultimately, Kol the Possessed One ended up going insane because I was unable to construct a metal forge to fulfill his needs. He was promptly smothered to death by his peers, thus ending both his murderous rage as well as his short life. The fortress was forced retired after accidentally digging a staircase wrong and trapping/starving the only dwarves in the fortress with a pining pick. It unfortunately, created a situation in which I was literally unable to do much of anything.

My second fortress survived a while longer, including long bloody winter in which a third of the population was killed during goblin siege. They held out but never fully recovered and perished the following year during a second siege. Ultimately, my downfall (one of them) was not having a self sustaining source of water during the winter. Future fortress incarnations were built on a map with a river or some constant source of water. Still need to work on building a pump/reservoir system.