Monday, February 28, 2005

Sick as shit

This weekend has been horrid...
I feel crappy, headaches on either side of my head, coughing a lot, stuff nose/throat, probably will be sore soon too.
Plus it's snowing.
And like midterms coming up this exact week?
Anyway yeah, not good times.

What else, oh right, anyone know of a wav or mp3 splitter?
Preferably not one of those shitty shareware things I keep googling up.
I need to fix the Immaterial and Missing Power OST I ripped...

Wednesday, February 23, 2005


So there I was last friday, working in the wee hours of the morning on a programming languages assignment (OCAML YOU SUCK!), when my phone rang at 7am.
Since NO ONE calls me at 7am, I pick it up...and it turns out to be a rather frantic Andy (anime club president), asking me when I would be ready to go to Katsucon.

Double take.

I hadn't received a confirmation email, and I hadn't even paid the deposit; I just had expressed some interest, then promptly forgot the whole thing.
So the fact that I was PREregistered and PAID for gave me a start.
Plus that ocaml assignment wasn't finishing itself.
Asked if I could just pay deposit off and not go.
"That would be forty dollars of nothing."
So...what the hell.
Hastily threw some clothes in a suitcase, hurriedly finished OCAML, and off to Katsucon I go.

Short summary:
Played some GGXX, got owned quite a bit, played a LOT of smash, got owned quite a lot, learned a whole shitload at the same time.
Managed to get in the cosplay this year (last year I was blocked at the door), waited a fucking hour or so to get into the dealer's room, FOUND 200% MARKED UP official Tsukihime manga (FUCK YOU SASUGA, YOU AND YOUR 600yen = TWELVE DOLLARS SHIT).
Talked with many drunks, bought instant ramen, almost starved myself at the same time, slept on the floor over and over (bah), saw the VGCats and MacHall guys, had quite a lot of fun.

In short...I sort of want to go to Otakon in a bad way.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005


Quartett! is fucking beautiful.
I know I might say this every time, but there's this terrible urge for me to replay a BLOODY visual novel again.
And again.
And again.
The fact that a lot of it is about string instruments helps a lot, and the fact that the music is really really good too.
But geez, like Shuhua's story had me VERY VERY VERY worried and distraught until the final day.
I think I'm going to wimp out on replaying her story more than once...
I could probably replay Charlotte's story forever though...I like her character a lot.
And who knows, if my Japanese one day evolves far enough, I can grow to forgive Rossi too...cept in Charlotte's path of course, he's the absolute worst.
(I think the bastard's Phil's father too! Least from what the epilogue tells me...but the fact he "let?" Ruka kill that fucking bastard old man and helped him leave the country, plus the fact that he's at Phil's mother's grave in the epilogue, well he definitely has some good points at least...)

Anyway moving on to WoW business...
Two incidents which come to my attention, one is Glans/Jolson, who Dex hates, then again Dex hates everybody, vs the entire Obscured Reasoning guild.
Now I'm pretty neutral toward Obscured reasoning, and I'm really unsure about this Glans guy, nevermind the fact that his former name has a violation of TOS definition, but the argument pretty much went Glans and common sense - 1, all of Obscured reasoning - 0.
Best caster dagger in game...let's ignore the 40+ dps shall we.
What's the point of even trying to hide behind a shroud of neutrality when loot assigning, just come out and say you're going to be fucking biased before you bring people outside of guild to raid with you and be done with it so everyone knows.
Glans pretty much accomplished what he set out to do, which was paint Obscured Reasoning as idiots.

The other issue has to do with some crazy former Everquest guild and their highly "unusual" raid tactics.
I'm sort of undecided on this one, both sides make hilariously bitter filled comments that really put a new spin on spite, but in the end I'm inclined to lean toward the Conquest guild's side even though they are technically wrong.
They really are fucking hardcore though, their videos and strategies are really really well thought out.

What these crazies did was the first time in an instance, they did a hunter line of sight exploit pull, which basically pulls single mobs out of linked ones using feign death and frost traps.
In fact, I think it's sort of ingenius, it's been kicked around on the hunter boards for months, but Blizzard gave them a warning for it.
24 hours later, they tried another sort of pulling technique on the boss mob and his adds, this time involving a warlock summoning a rogue back to the main group.
In fact, every mob in the path also aggroed, however, boss ran faster than the others, and so they were able to section him off (I believe the rogue used vanish or died so the rest of the "trash" would reset and the guild hit the boss before he turned into the magical unhittable retreat state) and took the boss mob down to 5% (that's HALF AN HOUR, these boss mobs aren't your fucking blackrock spire losers) before getting owned by a GM, and getting several suspensions.
The suspension was basically as a result of..."Repeating an offense."

Now, to parse words, they in effect did not repeat the hunter line of sight bug at all. In fact the methods involved were really different. So the suspensions for a repeat of previous offense would not stack up UNLESS the listed offense was..."skipping content."
This euphemism seems to be engrained in MMORPG culture, which I was never a part of when I feebly attempted to play EQ, it basically means ignoring the crap and trash you have to fight through before the good stuff.
Evidentally, after waging a war with their players for a good few years, it's basically a standard tactic accepted by Sony on Everquest.
It's what I was doing when I stealthed through solo and assassinated Archmage Doan 20-30 or so times.
I completely ignored the "content" (trash mobs, etc.) of the rest of the instance and instead went straight for Doan, slicing the crap out of him and getting money from his drops.
They nerfed the selling prices on his drops pretty fast once they figured out what the rogues and druids were doing.
It's what I did when I called for a party of rogues to help me assassinate the hydromancer in Zul'Farrak to finish some quests.
It's also what our two druid three rogue party did in Maraudon, that is we skipped every single non named mob and went straight for the nameds, using a massive amount of stealth and distract to avoid about...3 hours worth of encounters.

Are we being asshats and "expoiters"?
I wouldn't like to think so, as we HAVE godamn stealth for a reason, and I'm sure hell the first thought of any semi intelligent rogue or druid would be...hey...we could frikkin stealth this entire damn instance.

Now the problems come up when you're talking about molten core, which is a raid instance.
Honestly, farming poor old corrupted Cerebras, farming until we all get photoskin spaulders and Vyletongue's lashes and crocodile skin boots is honestly NOT going to be a big deal.
These pieces of equipment are pretty good, and hell the spaulders and boots might last you to level 60...I know I sure haven't found anything better (I don't even HAVE the godamn spaulders or boots...because the damn other rogue won them.)
But when you're talking about say...molten core, with a named that takes a good HALF an hour alone to much time have you saved by pulling him through the trash.
We're talking shit that takes 40 people to kill and can sometimes win.
Yeah, you're saving a whole shitload.
And these are epic drops.

Now, to me, what these guys did was ingenius.
It's basically an extreme version of killing the named and his adds only, cept in a FORTY PERSON RAID INSTANCE.
Is it an exploit?
I don't know...but I have to say the burden sort of goes on Blizzard to FIX their high-end content and state if they specifically want to prohibit valid Everquest tactics in their game, considering they have some former EQ staff and players employed and are in the same genre.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

"There's no such thing as cheap."

I read Sirlin's post on PvP a while back, and being on a PvE server and reading the forums constantly, it made sense.
Even on PvE you have forms of morons who can't take pure PvP because of the constant crap, so they instead kill all the quest npcs in crossroads, a level 20 horde town and camp it for hours.
People are fucking stupid.
But it was the responses that were the best, as s-kill came and beat all the "Anonymous"'s heads in with a truth baseball bat.

Anyway what the hell, we lost another student...this one apparently a suicide.
So this makes two murders from my year and one suicide from Kenny's year during my four years at good old JHU.
My mom is probably flipping out again.

Anyway, the day before my Modern Complexity Theory homework is due, I'm wasting time on Immaterial and Missing Power.
This game is...fucking weird.
It's a fighting game from the EFZ people Tasofro, cept all the characters are from Shmups.
EFZ is one of those doujin fighters, and it's pretty good, and now that I'm watching Air some of the things they put in are really Kano's level 3 desparation super when you just defend is when she starts choking Yukito and saying "With my own hands" in the story.
And Misuzu's crow turns into Yukito who pours juice on the ground, or kicks potato at you like a fireball.
And Minagi's level 3 is her stardust.
But Immaterial plays...really really weirdly for a fighting game.
Like...more like direct versus shmups or something.
Oh sure there are combos, and some really hard ones also, but the general idea is everyone's "normals" at long range actually shoot bullet patterns.
The thing is, everyone has two dashes in the air and on the ground that just go through almost anything, so what ends up happening is at far range you have two people (or the cheating computer, who has more than 2 bars of life almost all the time and access to crazy versions of their supers) throwing bullet patterns and such at each other in such a way to catch the other.
The power meter is the life and blood of the game, when you are at far range and do your bullet patterns, certain patterns take more power meter than others, and if you hit 0 you have to wait for the ENTIRE bar to charge before doing projectile moves again.
Also, if you continually block, you lose power meter, and I believe if you hit 0 you can't block anymore either.
You can ALWAYS dash however.
Special moves (hadoken, srks, half circles, whatever) also usually take meter, but some don't...meaning some of the girls can still continue a pretty good assault while meterless, as they can still dash through bullet patterns and waves and can use some special moves.
Close range normals suck.
Like they don't chain, except maybe into itself twice or a medium move (forward + button), and the forward version might buffer into one of the specials, but in general if you're stuck with only your close range normals (meterless), you're pretty screwed.
Bombs work like in shooters, they clear all bullets from the screen...and they also let you cancel any move.
You get two per match, and well...I'm really bad at using them.
Usually for some reason I get hit while I'm doing a bomb, they're not the full screen livesaving things they are in shmups.
But they do launch, meaning you can do some really long combos with them, I'm just not good enough with them yet...hell I'm still trying to use them effectively like they are supposed to, removing bullets from the screen (maybe it's only a certain area or maybe I got jabbed out or something.)
While you're hitting or getting hit, you're building up super.
Normal matches start each player at two life bars, and you can choose a super for each life bar, meaning when you lose one life bar your super changes.
Each girl has 3 supers and their upgraded versions to use.
Supers also take power meter, some more than others, so you can spam some supers if you have enough meters, while other supers will actually take your entire power meter and leave you in helpless mode for a while after they are done.
Anyway, the characters still play differently, amazingly enough.
Like the sword girl is rush down.
Her dash is LONG, her dashing moves stuff all sorts of things, her specials are sword moves that take NO meter, her projectiles...well they're not that great.
But I like her, her supers aren't bad, one's a really easily comboable Hibiki type dash you got anime sword owned move, one's a gigantic instant overhead slash (the first version is pretty meh, I usually go the dash move for my first bar and her upgraded near full screen overhead slash super for my second life bar), and her third super summons a clone that mimics her moves but steadily drains your power meter.
Her third super honestly sucks, from what I can see, it's only good if you're fighting the cheating computer, where it becomes annoying as hell.
Then you have some sleepy library girl who has probably the best keepaway in the game?
Tornados, book fireballs, normal fireballs, a move that pushes you away from her if you get too close, water fountains, her supers are all pretty good too.
One she throws a ball onto the ground and if it's remotely near you it bursts into a tornado, pretty instant.
Upgraded version is a larger radius on the ball.
The second one she shoots a lot of waterballs at you, very nice spread and good if the enemy is on the ground.
I honestly forget what the upgraded version of this move is, it's sufficiently different, I think it summons lots of water bubbles that explode on contact?
Third super unupgraded version I've also forgotten, because the UPGRADED version is a full screen instant YOU GOT OWNED move.
True it takes out your power meter and such, but I'd have to say it could be better than Gill's jump into the middle of the screen and chip you down move.
Thing hits EVERYWHERE, does quite a bit of damage, has almost no startup.

Thing is Patchouli (her name's coming back to me) is sort of meter reliant, so she's really sort of vulnerable after it.
But it honestly doesn't matter to me.
I usually use her unupgraded watershot super and her upgraded FULLSCREENOWN super.
Finally you have this maid...
Her speed is on par with sword girl and her projectiles are pretty damn good.
So she's a good mix, she throws knives, lots of knives.
Her hadokens throw shadow knives that are activated if you press C, her C throws a stream so it's really two streams.
Her supers are summoning a circle of knives that then proceed to home on you (I believe when she just summons them they aren't in existence), this weird ass freeze time move I still haven't figured out yet, but when the computer does it a whole bunch of knives come out and basically guarantee if you're in reel animation you're going to get hit and if you're on the ground you're not going to be able to jump avoid it (good for chip). Her third super are these mad slashes with guess what, her knives, upgraded is full screen.

The problem comes from story mode, as the girls you fight in there don't exactly work the way you do.
In story mode, the girls will not do any supers or what not until they are low life (regardless of which life bar it is), then they have INFINITE SUPER METER and from what I think almost infinite power meter.
Also, the farther you go on, the more life bars the girls have, so instead of facing 2 supers, you'll face all 3, or maybe some crazy upgraded versions near the end.
Oh right, I forgot to mention that each girl's final life bar will will let her have infinite meter when it's full, meaning she will start with free supers on the last lag.
There's a whole series of bosses near the end too, that just have super sequences for their ENTIRE last 4 life bars or so, and they have like 7 total.
These overpower supers usually give the girl super armor, and or totally uninterruptible, hence the problem with some of the moves I mentioned.
Knife maid's slashing super is pretty good, but when you do it against unflinchable psycho children of doom, you're going to get interrupted by the ridiculous bullet patterns (reminiscent of shmups final bosses) that are flying all over the place.
So it's better to go her circle of knives, as the cast time is very short and she doesn't need to continually perform the move.
With the sword girl, her near full screen sword slash is very very fast, and with library girl, well her full screen move COMPLETELY YELLOWS out the screen when it's hitting meaning she is INVINCIBLE while it's happening, REGARDLESS of what craziness is going on screen.

Anyway I sort of wonder how competitive play is for this game, it's just too weird for me to imagine it being anything other than a keepaway fest and massive mind games.

Is there a use for wings that can't fly?

Air 5.
Ahhhhhhhh, they're really going to screw us along here aren't they...
I sort of feel the absence of Kano from further episodes (I hope it is not permanent), but Minagi's story takes place now, and it's depressing too.
Plus we're beginning to see a lot of the cracks around Misuzu.
I wonder how they're going juggle this in the end...

Oh right, level 60 Rogue.
I win.