My first hours with Final Fantasy XI

This is going to be a pretty boring blog post, in which I painstakingly detail the first six or so hours of my Final Fantasy XI experience, which was pain-inducing and mentally taxing to say the least. I am bored and tired for reasons I will detail (again, painstakingly) in the following paragraphs, and I want to impart a realistic amount of boredom and tiredness to mirror how I feel because I am spiteful and somewhat upset. I hope this at least could be a PSA for FFXI being on sale until June and for how to get the game going.

Part 1: Buying the game.

EPIC! SAVINGS!

Even though it was literally only yesterday, I cannot remember what pushed me to check the prices for Final Fantasy XI anymore. I saw that it was having a big discount, and I wanted to purchase it immediately. This was not an impulsive decision, mind you; I've been planning to buy this game for a long time. I heard the stories of how unique and intriguing the game is, and ever since I fell in love with Final Fantasy XIV I felt curiosity to see what came before it. The prices seemed a low enough barrier of entry, and I heard that it had been updated to allow for more casual low-level play, so I went ahead and tried to buy it. What I did not expect to be so high is the cost in time and effort, as this became the start of quite a journey...

The first hurdle is not so complicated. There are two different versions of the game, Final Fantasy XI: Seekers of Adoulin and Final Fantasy XI: Ultimate Collection Seekers Edition. The former is $5, the latter is $10. Seeing the word "Ultimate Collection" made me think that it is a collector's edition-type product. I thought, I'd buy the base game just for $5, but $10 doesn't sound too far off. I looked at the product details to see what's in the Ultimate Collection (Seekers Edition). It seems to just contain the game and add-ons. Wait, then what's in the other one? The former appears to contain only the last expansion pack, Seekers of Adoulin, which came out two years ago. There is no way to buy the base game of any other expansions by themselves, hence my confusion. Good thing I cleared that up, I'd have ended up wasting $5 otherwise...

So I put Final Fantasy® XI: Ultimate Collection Seekers Edition into my "cart", and went straight to checkout. I chose to use Facebook login; the Square Enix store account is somehow different than the Square Enix membership account. I started filling in my billing details into the form... only to find that they list only NA/US countries in the Country field. I live in Australia, so I thought that meant I cannot buy the game. I looked at the URL. "store.na.square-enix.com". Oh, this is a NA-specific store. I guessed I'll have to look for an Australian store.

Part 2: Buying the game for real, wherever it is.

Where's my game?

Putting the words into Google quickly lead me to where I was supposed to go. It seemed like the European Square Enix and North American Square Enix have completely different storefronts, and the Australian store is a subset of the European store. They don't even have the same store layouts or accounts system. You have to use the Square Enix membership account on the European store. I went straight to the search box, typed in "final fantasy xi" and... nothing? It lists the lone expansion pack, Final Fantasy XI: Seekers of Adoulin, in between Final Fantasy XIII and Final Fantasy XIV Online. Where is the Final Fantasy® XI: Ultimate Collection Seekers Edition that I seek?!

I tried Google some more. I found the European product page, but opening it just redirects me back to the Australian store front page. I found the FFXI website, which redirected me to another FFXI website, which is a Flash website. The "Buy Now" button redirects me back to the NA store. I found another FFXI website for Europeans, which also redirects me to a FFXI Flash website but for Europeans. I clicked the "Buy Now" button. It redirected me to the Australian store front page. What gives?

Fortunately, I finally did find the product page for the FF®XI:UCSE. I had to manually find it in the products listing from the navigation bar. Games -> PC Downloads -> MMORPG. And so I found it, the darned $10 thing that I wanted. (One nice thing so far is that it is 10 Australian Dollars, which is less than 10 US Dollars!)

Part 3: Installing the game... among other things. And waiting.

Thirteen years worth of expansions.

The purchasing process was painless and as expected. I logged in, filled in my address, paid for it and voila. I was a new owner of Final Fantasy XI. Yay.

It gave me a download link to a downloader, which started downloading the game. It was about a 5GB download. I went about my evening while waiting for it to download. Some of said evening involved making a tuna melt, eating it while watching Mad Men, and then making another toasted sandwich while watching more Mad Men. Mad Men is pretty good. The sandwiches were alright, too. Anyway, I eventually returned to find the download to have completed.

The downloader launched an extractor, which failed extracting because the downloader and the downloaded extractor were in different directories and that messed things up. I manually launched the extractor, which extracted an installer, which I then launched. The installer then launched seven separate installers one by one, one for each of the base game and its expansions and another for something called PlayOnline Viewer. I did not know what that meant, but I figured it must be important since it was set to be installed by default (unlike the DirectX 8.1 installer.) The PlayOnline Viewer installer installed PlayOnline Viewer and something called Tetra Master. That was also set to be installed by default, so I allowed it. I liked the splash artwork for the installers for the game.

That installation process took longer than I wished it did. I had to keep pressing "Next", "Install" and "Finish" for every single component, so I stayed at my computer. It must have taken almost an hour. I did not pay attention to the time as I was listening to Mouth Sounds and having a discussion with a friend about a 90's anime show in which a young bee gets separated from his queen bee mother. Was he abandoned or was there a villain involved? I could not remember. I brought the show up because Yoshitaka Amano, the illustrator of the FInal Fantasy artworks, apparently animated for that show.

It finally finished installing the game, and I tried to launch the game. There are no executables to be found in the game directory. I assumed that the PlayOnline Viewer has something to do with it, so I launched that.

Part 4: Registering an account. Or two. I'm not quite sure.

Menus, menus, every where.

I was surprised to find a program menu reminiscent of early 2000's sci-fi video game menus. The UI and sound effects are very pleasing. The music was quite intense. It had a jazz musician flipping out on a piano over some sort of drum and bass track. I waited for it to finish updating itself, and it gave me an option between registration and login. the login screen is... well, it had a lot of fields and only two of them had anything to do with Square Enix membership accounts. What puzzled me more is the register button at the bottom of the screen, as if I was on the registration screen by mistake. I went back and chose registration, and was told to register through my Square Enix membership account settings.

I switched to my browser and logged into my Square Enix Membership account -- which, by the way, is kind of a pain to use in FFXIV without one-time passwords, which is also kind of a pain, but a lesser pain, but that's another story. There's a big FFXI/PlayOnline button, so I clicked on that. It then asked my for my PlayOnline registration code. Uh, huh?

I looked for the receipt in my email. It's quite an extensive receipt, with many codes and ID's and such. Near the bottom of the receipt (not counting disclosures and copyrights and such, so more like right in the middle) are registration codes. I say "codes" because I have three different ones. (I still do not know why I have three of them.)

I put in the first code, and it just gave me a PlayOnline account. With a password and everything, all in plain text and sent to my email. At this point, I could not care less anymore.

I put in all the information I had to the PlayOnline Viewer. There is one field that I do not know what to fill with: "Member Name". Member name. What is that supposed to even be? Member of what? It's not the PlayOnline ID, there's a different field for that. It's not the "Square Enix account ID" either. Is this like a public account handle? I put in my handle.

It made some funny fake modem noises while it tried to verify me. It registered successfully, then asked me to type in a new public handle for my PlayOnline account. Um. I typed in my Member Name.

A cool menu with another cool music popped out. There seems to be way too many features on this thing (a mail service AND a chat service?) I clicked on Final Fantasy XI.

A PLAY BUTTON! I clicked the play button.

...and this appeared. Hah.

I clicked the new play button. It told me that I do not have a "Content ID". I had no fucking idea what that even means.

Going back to the FFXI menu, there was an option for "Content ID'. There is a button labeled "About Content ID". Two of them, in fact. The other one is called "Expanded Services". I felt a little fear of missing out some content, but I just pretended that did not exist. "Content ID', apparently, is what they call subscriptions... I think? But... don't I have a free 30-day trial? I tried one of the other buttons and it told me to go to the Square Enix account management thing. So back there I went.

No mention of Content ID. They seem to call it "options" on Square Enix account land. "Service option"? Something to do with "options". The free trial only kicks in after you put in your credit card details... so I did, and immediately canceled the subscription. The subscription list updated with something labeled "Free Trial" and a green dot next to it. Green is good, right? Green means go. So I went back to PlayOnline Viewer, logged out and logged back in because that's what it told me to do.

Part 5: Launching the game!

I pressed "Play". I pressed the other "Play" button. It said "Downloading Content ID list". It said that I have Content ID. Yes! Finally, I can...

...welp

So here I am, ranting on the internet while I wait for the PlayOnline Viewer to download those files. If you read this whole thing... thanks, I guess? "Sorry" is more like it, I suppose. It is now after midnight. I just want to play the dang game. I am so tired. I hope this will all be worth it. Good night.

Update:

So, this happened right after posting:

It was probably my internet connection. That's what I get for complaining, I guess!

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Games I played at PAX AUS (that I had never seen before)

It's a little late for this now, but I want to just write down my thoughts about some games I played at PAX Australia 2014 and share them real quick. I got to roam around the expo hall and played games I didn't even know exist, and a lot of them were super cool. I wanted to make a list but I don't really have time to try adding game pages into the wiki and all that =(

WAVE WAVE looks a lot like Super Hexagon, but it's a one-button game where you either zig or zag depending on whether you are touching the screen. Its main game mode includes a determined set of patterns to run through. It felt unique, but it did not hook me the way Super Hexagon did. I can see other people digging this more though.

EXPAND is a game about a square in a circular labyrinth. It goes one puzzle screen at a time, keeping you (the square) almost always on the screen and beautiful music playing continuously. There's no penalty to failing a puzzle, you just get to retry the screen but spun by 90 degrees. The way they just keep playing the music reminds me of Echochrome. It's not completely linear, which is neat. They had me write one word to describe the game and I couldn't think of anything good so I wrote "nice" after thinking for a really long time and it was pretty embarassing on my part.

I don't remember much of the first Bean's Quest, which I bought because I liked the soundtrack, but I had a good time playing BEAN'S QUEST 2: BEAN DREAMS. The chaotic nature of its physics engine and uncontrollable jumping makes this game really amusing. It's still the same music composer so that's cool too.

WITCH HOUSE is like a survival horror in a Diablo clone. It's a weird mix between 1920's pulp noir comics and Lovecraftian horror. I played as a nun (other options being detectives and magicians) and I shot monsters with a Tommy gun and it was pretty rad. The monsters aren't just there to be killed though, sometimes they would just run off into the darkness or stalk the player from a distance. Their corpses have to be burnt to prevent them from coming back (nun magic also worked well). The slow pace of the game may put some people off, but I really liked it. The very nice person manning the booth said that they wrote, programmed, art'ed etc the game alone, but I'm not buying that because 1) how the hell can you be so skilled and 2) what the fuck am I doing with my life in comparison.

SWORDY is my favourite for sure. It's as if Gang Beasts had a love child with Hammerfight. 4 players are dumped into a top-down arena with a bunch of weapons (which you can pick up by walking over) and the controls are left stick to move, right stick to stick arms in a direction, right bumper to let go, left/right triggers to punch/thrust each arm outwards. Damage, movement, and all are simulated by a physics engine. Each player has a set amount of lives and the last player standing wins. When you are having a kill streak, your weapon catches on fire. Trying to stab a runaway in the butt with a giant flaming sword looks like a scene straight out of a Hanna-Barbera cartoon.

BEARZERKERS is another 4-player game where everyone is a ball creature rolling away from one or more bear(s). You can do stuff like erect walls, which is no trouble for the bears but can block other players. Whoever gets eaten by the bears the least wins. It's fun to watch other people play, I found. There's also a co-op mode but it didn't seem as interesting.

Some guy yelled at me to play SQUARE HEROES (another 4-player competitive game) in the middle of a match and it was pretty fun. I guess everyone is worms with a helmcopter and we shoot each other with bows and laser guns? I'm not sure how but I got second place, so I voted for it on Steam Greenlight.

To play NIPPY CATS, you put your finger on a tablet screen and you don't let the cats catch your finger. High scorers get a free shirt, so I played it until my finger hurts (without success). The strategy that seems to work is to rub your finger in a large circle while dodging all visible cats, and the cats move in so quickly that I might could have started a fire with my finger. It's advertised as "the dark souls of cat gaming", but it felt a lot more like high-level Geometry Wars but with cats.

BONZA is a neat (and obviously Aussie) word puzzle game where you assemble crossword fragments around a central theme as if a jigsaw puzzle. They gave me a $5 Amazon App Store voucher, but it didn't work so that's all I'm gonna write =P

I dropped by the Microsoft booth and I was surprised at the amount of indie games coming to the Xbox One. It was unfortunately not a popular booth, however. I played LOVERS IN DANGEROUS SPACETIME alone, which would be completely sad if not for the cute space dog that accompanied me instead of another player, so it was only moderately sad. I watched 2 teenage girls play ORI AND THE BLIND FOREST and they seemed to really enjoy it, and the game looks fantastic. The most popular game at the booth was inexplicably some sci-fi roller coaster game I never heard of and then completely forgot the title of.

I also visited Nintendo's booth to check out this hot game called DISNEY MAGICAL WORLD. It was put in a weird spot and nobody was playing it, so I hopped in. I dressed up a kid in some dumb looking Mickey hat and shorts and that was enough to amuse me. The framerate unfortunately dropped significantly when I exited the dress-up menu. I then played CAPTAIN TOAD, which was positioned right across. I never played Super Mario 3D World and only heard of this game's existence. It was weird that I had to invert both axes before the cameras made sense, and the game visually looks good, but I found the game itself sort of uninteresting. Maybe just the early levels are a bit too simple. I didn't try the new 3DS or Splatoon because fuck queues, but Splatoon seems like a cool game.

I played the Australian Edition of CARDS AGAINST HUMANITY with some strangers and it was great fun. They replaced American references I don't get with Australian references I don't get! Well, I understood "throwing a baby into the dunny" at least. I really wanted to get a box, but they were already sold out at their wonderfully offensive booth within the first few hours. I instead enjoyed(?) watching an Australian marching band perform various American songs and a balloon man making... some sort of big black things and giving them away.

GAMELOADING isn't really a game, but I liked the sneak peek I saw. The sneak peek was focused around marketing. There was a great scene where the Armello team (another game I never heard of before that looks cool) tried to set up a booth during PAX East by sneaking into someone else's space, having not booked any space beforehand. It was very fascinating!

This isn't a game either, but there was a weird moment at a panel I went to. A panelist asked who have played Cart Life, and only a handful of us raised our hands (in comparison, Papers, Please got the same crowd to almost all raise hands). I'm only mentioning this because it reminded me that Cart Life is good and free and everyone should check it out.

Those are the games! This ended up way longer than I wanted, thanks for reading. I kinda wish I took photos to show, the only photo I took is of the back of the Cards Against Humanity booth. I'm not entirely sure why I took this one in the first place. Seems ironic in retrospect. Oh well!

PAX Australia!

EDIT: I forgot to mention METAL DEAD ENCORE, which franchise I admittedly first encountered as an animated gif on gamebutts.club. I watched a developer guide someone through a bit of the game, and it has a type of dumb humor that works pretty well with a crowd. One scene had someone's head slowly explode in a super gross way and it made me cringe and laugh at the same time. The developers seem to be really into it, and the completely original metal soundtrack is quite impressive.

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So... I played the Wii again recently.

All we have is an old Wii and two Wii remotes

It was a few weeks ago, around the start of the school holidays. Unaware of the next-gen craziness that was happening, one of my sisters suddenly asked me to set up my old Wii console in the house. My family never really played much of it and they're not really big on video games, so it came to me as a bit of a surprise. We only played Wii Sports and such, and I played a few more games on it (the Trauma Center games are so good, by the way) before losing any desire to turn it on ever again. I didn't really want to set it up, because it needed some work. The A/V cable was missing, the power adapter had the wrong plug, the remote batteries were leaking, et cetera. It ended up taking almost a fortnight before I got everything set up correctly in my spare time, right on time for a family friend's visit... and it was surprisingly worth the effort.

The first game we played was Just Dance 2 It's quite an old game that many people (i.e. people who go on video game forums like us) may dismiss it easily, but this game is super fun. It's incredibly shallow and our Wii only outputs in freaking 480i(the first thing my sister said when we booted it up was "have Wii games always looked this blurry?"), but none of that mattered. The game just goes straight to dancing, and the dancing is fun. The song selection is really old at this point, but it's varied and crazy enough to almost be timeless. Dancing any Bollywood duet to anysong would've been fun, but the song, silly choreography and colorful direction the game gives are perfectly stupid. Even though the game is barely interactive, playing it was the most active I've been, and the most fun I've had in a long time. We only stopped when we were tired as all hell, after more than 3 hours of playing.

Later on that week, we all played my old Wii library little-by-little. My sister seemed to enjoy House of the Dead: Overkill a lot (this really surprised me), and we played a few episodes of You Don't Know Jack, which is still great fun. And then we played Super Mario Galaxy. I didn't really "get" the game when I played it before (as I usually do with Mario games, unfortunately), but boy am I glad to give it another chance. I've thought that the multiplayer concept (the so-called "Co-Star Mode") is terrible, but it actually gives a good excuse to have one spectator "playing" the game with the main player, interacting and giving suggestions more actively. I'm a terrible Mario player, so it actually helped me too. This game just looks and sounds and plays fantastic, and even with so many "game of the generation" recommendations it still exceeded my expectations.. We only played a couple of levels, but I'm definitely going back into it when I have the time.

Playing the Wii again -- after years since the last time I even touched it -- feels refreshing. It showed me again how awesome video games can be, even when they might not be at their best. As the industry is moving into a new generation, everyone wants the future to be perfect. It's nice to be reminded that, although that is ideal, it doesn't need to be. Video games are still around, and they're still fun. And they still will be too!

Thanks for reading this nonsense I wanted to share. I hope you all enjoy your holidays too.

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How to eat boned wings!

I got this stock photo from foxnews.com, no joke.

Okay, that's it. This whole #TeamBoneless thing has been driving me crazy, because boned wings are obviously superior to boneless wings, which aren't even the wings of a chicken! Anyway, one of the major arguments for boneless wings is that they are clean; they do not require you to use your hands, which are apparently the utensil of savages. Now, I do understand the cleanliness argument, but ignoring my belief that our hands are -- in fact -- quite sophisticated and difficult to use properly (have you ever eaten loose rice with your hands before? You know what I'm talking about), I don't think eating wings is actually that difficult with other utensils.

As I have mentioned in another thread, I usually eat wings with a spoon. Well, sometimes with a knife and a fork, sometimes with a pair of chopsticks, but I think the technique is universal. What you need is just some knowledge of the wings' anatomy. Mind you, my limited knowledge of wings anatomy is just from eating a bunch of wings. (Aside: I like to eat any part of the chicken without my hands; I like the challenge and clean hands. I usually end up with cleaner bones than others too!)

I did some serious research to prepare this post anyway (which involves a full minute of Google Image Search! phew!) to illustrate things properly.

(Taken from some wikispaces site, 2nd Google result for "chicken wings anatomy")

I think you all know why eating wings are so goddamn difficult. It's that hole in the middle of the forearm! Well, here's the obvious solution to this problem: separate the bones. Specifically, the ulna and the radius. How we separate them depends entirely on how the wings are cooked.

If they are well-cooked, with very tender meat and softened tendons, you want to go for the elbow. The elbow should be the fatter end of the forearm (away from the pointy "hand", if it is not cut off). What you want to do is to pull or scoop away the thinner bone (the radius) at the joint so that it comes off from the elbow. Then, you can either cut the other end off the wrist, or just pull it away.

If the wings are a bit hard (this usually happens to slimmer country chickens, or if just lightly fried), the elbow end could be a bit difficult to separate as the tendons might not be soft enough. In this case, I usually go for the wrist. Still going for the radius first, I'd try to cut between the two bones, and then lever the bone away from the elbow. Even if it's still too hard to come off completely, having the wrist joint freed helps a lot. (Addendum: if it's still too hard to do it without touching, I usually bring it up to my mouth for a quick bite or grab.)

(Taken from ~lunarballad's DeviantArt, 1st Google result)

So, I guess the second part to the strategy is what we came for: the meat. This part is a bit easier if you see how muscles are connected. As long as you don't cut the muscles across, it should be really easy to get the most out of your wings without ever touching it with your hands! I would discourage this with beef, pork, or chicken breast -- as cutting them along the lines make them harder to chew -- but I think the wings and thighs of chicken are great for this way of eating. They're naturally more tender, so this gets maximum springiness out of them. Wings are too short across to get anything if you cut that way anyways. Well, if you get good enough with getting the bones out, I'm sure you can keep most of the meat intact and cut them however the heck you want. I usually get the outermost biceps of the wings first (marked orange in the diagram), but it's up to you where you start!

...Are you still reading? Thanks for reading this all of this text that doesn't really have anything to do with video games! It is great to know how to do this when I want both chicken wings and clean hands, like when I'm socializing at dinner, watching TV, or playing video games! Feel free to post about how you eat wings yourself; I'm sure I'm not the only one who always tries to eat chicken as efficiently as possible. #TeamBoneIn

P.S. Here's a good video guide on how to do something similar and have the wings still intact, but it requires hands:

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How Spiral Knights has grown since 2011.

(pic taken from the official Steam group)

So, Spiral Knights's second anniversary has just passed recently. It isn't really the most popular free-to-play game out there, so it surprised me that it has survived for this long! I haven't been playing much of it myself, nor have I spent much money on it, but I do enjoy the game very much and wish the best for it.

One great thing about the game is the large amount of changes the game went through in this past couple of years, and since there hasn't been much discussion on the game here, I'd like to share some interesting ones to maybe convince some of you to give this game another chance! Some of these updates are kinda old (like, last-year-old) but I want to talk about them anyway..

(I won't be discussing the core game very much because if you haven't played this back in 2011, what are you doing reading this, it's a free game just go play it.)

New Monsters and Levels

This is pretty much a Zelda boss battle. (pic from a Google search)

When Spiral Knights first came out, there were... two bosses? Well, now they have a whopping number of FOUR bosses, which is twice the old number. Okay, maybe that's not too impressive, but one great thing about the bosses in Spiral Knights is that they have a set of levels and a core mechanic associated to each set. The boss battle in the image, for example, has switchable barriers that blocks out missiles, and the boss battle itself is to switch the barriers at the right time to get them shoot each other. The levels before the boss play with this new mechanic a lot to prepare you for the boss.

This type of levels is not restricted to boss levels either, there are new sets of levels that play differently than the usual fight-and-then-move-on levels. They are similar to the old Graveyard level in a way. One set of levels make you run from large unkillable spookats (the ghost cats) and light candles that scare them away, and another recently released set includes small monsters that attacks in swarms. These levels keep the game interesting and challenging, as the simple combat-focused gameplay can get a bit tedious after a while.

There are also more difficult versions of those four bosses in the deepest levels, and a few more bosses in the missions, speaking of which...

Missions

Missions are basically a tutorial feature that gives you a set of static levels that focuses on one or two things. All you have to do is press a button to pull up the mission list; it's pretty convenient. The missions tells you what sort of monsters you are going to face, what sort of mechanics will be there, and even give you gear recommendations and the recipes associated with them. At one point they let you into a room where you can straight-up buy most of all recipes too (before, you'd have to reach a vendor in the depths that has a randomized inventory). I think there is at least one mission associated to most sets of levels available, boss levels included.

I think the missions are nice! They give a good structure to the originally almost fully randomized game that smooths up the learning curve quite a bit. I still remember how shocking Tier 2 was as a new player, and this teaches things new players would want to know without needing them to read the wiki. It has some nice story moments too, like paying respects to an unknown knight's grave and rescuing imprisoned NPC knights.

There is an expansion pack for the missions, which I haven't played myself, and although it is an interesting direction for the game it was quite ridiculously priced. I was fortunate enough to have someone gift it to me but I can't see myself or many other people buying it, so I doubt that another one will ever come out, at least not at the same price point. (That expansion pack came out February 2012. The price has went down since then actually.. I think it was $15, now it is less than half that).

A Bunch of Other Stuff

UI Changes

Check out that shield meter.

This had just came out for the anniversary, actually. I personally think that it does not look as good, but it does communicate a lot of things better. Now the monsters' health can be clearly seen above their heads, our own healths are more visible on screen, and there is a shield meter that shows our shield's health right below it! Way better than just "feeling" it by the shield color. When targeting a monster, its health, attack type and weakness is also shown. Neat! Also, it doesn't have the energy meter constantly up to remind you to buy more of them anymore.

Accessories

Bunny ears are available too. (image from the wiki)

Now you can wear cat ears on top of your helmets. =D

These are pretty rare and you can only equip them once, I think. They usually come in different colors too!

Guild Halls

Customizable Guild Halls. Pretty cool stuff. Too bad I'm not an active guild because it takes money to maintain them.

Auction House

I guess this was inevitable. Came out pretty close to release, actually.

PvP

Yup, it's Bomberman alright. (image from the wiki)

It's pretty interesting, but I don't know much about it. There are two PvP modes now, Blast Network and Lockdown. Blast Network sounds and looks a lot like playing Bomberman. Lockdown is a team-based game where you choose a class with a special skill and gear bonuses associated with it and capture control points for your team. You can get rewards you can use in the normal PvE game.

Events

There's a lot of them. There's one going on right now for the anniversary. Usually there are missions and special monsters associated with it that give you coins for accessories and such.

Other small things

  • 4* and 5* items are bound by default.
  • An NPC will randomize Unique Variants for money.
  • The crafting prices were changed so that 1-2* items are cheaper and curves way more after 3*.
  • There are more gear choice now, of course, but not that many (I guess new weapon behavior would be like a new fighting game character or a new Monster Hunter weapon in this game).
  • I think there are pets now? And they fight along with you and level up?
  • They added prize wheels that pops up after you finish a level but I think it's bugged out now.

What hasn't changed

Still a bit janky sometimes.
  • The lag can still get pretty bad, unfortunately. This is mainly the reason I don't play the game as much as I would like.
  • Core gameplay hasn't changed much. Shield-cancels and shield-bumps and such are still useful, and progression is still entirely gear-based.
  • Energy is still around, still only 100 Mist Energy per 22 hours and still 10 energy per level. I guess Crystal Energy is more valuable since high-level crafting cost way more and the lowest depths are super expensive to get into. Since there are missions now, energy should not be a hurdle to getting into a specific set of levels you want to play anymore.
  • The art and music is still pretty good.
  • Still pretty unique. I can't think of any game like it that has come out in the past 2 years.

Thanks for reading all of that! I hope this has been interesting to anyone, and I encourage you to try the game again if you didn't like it before! Maybe your opinion of it will change, who knows? If you have been playing the game recently, feel free to add in whatever other updates you think is important or elaborate on some points I glossed over.

(By the way, please give feedback on my writing! I'm actually trying to improve my English by writing on the forums, because it's not my first language. Any advice will be much appreciated!)

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I wish there are more cute games coming out.

I feel like I'm tired of most of the games that have come out recently. There are so many games featuring serious looking dudes with serious sounding stories, cool spaceships/robot future/magic, or even downright depressing shit! Even games centered around cute cartoonish animals get super dark.

Yes, please.

Well, a lot of those games are good, but I would like more sweet games to be made! I'm talking about games like Pikmin, Patapon, Kirby and Little Big Planet. Even simpler games like LocoRoco and Animal Crossing would be fine. Games that are fun and saccharine! I think these games were able to deliver cuteness without needing to compromise their gameplay and story, and there's something about cute things that I just enjoy. When Overlord took some of the ideas from Pikmin and brought it into a "dark and gritty" fantasy parody-ish setting, I felt like something was lost in the transition.

Look at Giant Bomb's top 10 games of 2012 list. the only game on it that can be called cute is Fez. Hell, look at the first page of the reviewed games list. As of right now, the only ones out of the list that I would consider cute are Theatrhythm, Adventure Time, and maybe Mario and Nintendo Land. Maybe the reason I like cute games more is that there's not as many? Maybe I would like cute games less if they start to become the norm.

I don't know if that is the case, but now might be an opportunity to make cuter games. They shouldn't be too hard to market, right? I mean, Nintendogs and Wii Sports (I guess it's somewhat cute?) did pretty well even to people who don't usually play games, didn't they? I know someone who loves Pikmin just because it is cute, and is amazing at it even though she never plays anything harder than Bejeweled.

I know that there are new Pikmin, Animal Crossing, and Media Molecule games coming out, but they are sequels so not exactly something new...

Is this just wishful thinking, or is there a place for more cute games in the current market? I sure hope it's the latter...

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