Monday, October 17, 2011

So long Sword Girls. (Part 2)

Let me begin by saying that the actual launch of Sword Girls wasn't all peaches and cream.
The initial server load was way too much for Changyou to handle, the game frequently disconnected or crashed and was flat out unplayable for a good portion of the time when it started at 6pm PST on the 12th.
Everything was laggy and if you managed to connect you held onto your connection for dear sweet life until the dreaded PageCrash error.
They had to do emergency maintenance a couple times to even get a semblance of a functioning game (it should be noted that this initial garbage period weeded out tons of the initial SO MOE I DIED userbase from the dark pit/voodoo lounge /jp/ on 4chan, so maybe it was for a good reason!)

Around 8pm on the 14th, the above post that I linked was made.
It was a description of a deck designed to beat Ruins, which is initially a pretty hard 30F dungeon that had stomped plenty of people.
It wasn't the strategy conveyed in the post, but rather decklist, that made my jaw drop.
The user was running basically full rares from all the factions in a single deck.
His starting Character was Verika, which required something like 200 mats total to create.
One card, Coin Girl, even requires you to beat a quest that rewards you with special coins to even create.
The quest? Beat Ruins.
The Undertaker card requires THREE ENTIRE SETS of witch cards to create, and witches can only be gotten by grinding both PvP and PvE materials, it is impossible to craft them using booster packs.
Layna is a tier 3 Vita card that is insanely powerful, and he had UPGRADED her, which means he had TWO (you need two cards to attempt an upgrade.)
These cases are the most egregious cases, but everything in the list would take tons of time to make.

And he had done it 48 hours after a troubled launch.

I was not convinced.
The reason I had picked up this game was because the infinite Korean MMO fools Manabe and Lark had told me about it, and had fed me tons of information on the cards, the system, what was good early, who would be good later (Manabe tricking me by saying Darklore is overpowered), among other things.
The fact this person had gotten a full set of rares so fast was absolutely mind boggling, it would not only take some amazing grinding technique but an immense knowledge of the game engine as well to make every fight as fast as possible for materials.
So I questioned his claims.

It was very civil for a while, and it sort of unnerved me, because more or less I was flat out accusing him of hacking, and I know if the same thing was leveled at me I would get pretty indignant in my responses.
He gave meticulous answers that could let one almost suspend your disbelief.
When he finally got mad I was relieved to see some sort of emotion because it was exhausting fencing with him and poking holes in his statements.
I felt he had gotten the best of me with his measured responses and I more or less said mea culpa and dropped it.

And then he fucked up.
One of the biggest things about this entire exchange that bugged me to no end was his lack of advanced deck strategy.
Oh he had some idea of what the good combos were, but he overlooked tons of starting combos and strategies that people starting with only the core sets would think up.
If someone asks you "how to counter Vampiric Rites" and your answer includes 50 point rares no one would have, you're getting ahead of the metagame just a wee bit.
It had basically felt like the Cosmic Break beta, where they had given you everything and let you figure stuff out backwards instead of starting from ground zero and working your way on up.
1. Simple missteps like insisting Darklore's most powerful starting card, Vampiric Rites, did not work with other factions.
2. Not knowing that you could lose by decking yourself.
3. Not know that PvP matchmaking was determined by your total deck points, and thus higher cost decks had an extremely hard time in finding actual players to fight and were forced to wait a long time to fight an AI.
4. Insisting Neutral was not a faction.

Extremely basic things like this.
The key post was Sword0924's post.
Sword0924 had credit at the time as being the only other person to have beaten Ruins.
But he did it without a full set of point rares or Size 4s and 5s.
He had quickly figured out how to abuse Vampiric Rites in PvE (I think it's the best PvE card in the game, and I think Shrink is the best PvP card in the game) to basically go for a MUCH cheaper deck than Aeze's.
Aeze showed a marked lack of understanding for what he claimed was a key component of his deck, so Sword0924 went to correct him.
And still Aeze backtracked after each post.
First he said it was because Neutral wasn't a faction.
Then he said it was because Sword0924's monsters shared the same faction.
It had gotten so ridiculous that I purposely made a video of me, using a different Character card, playing Vampiric Rites on Layna to show how wrong he was.
The level of ignorance was unacceptable for someone supposedly so well-versed in the game.

And then the fire started.
People started noticing his bullshit and calling him out for it.
He had been exposed pretty badly in this exchange with Sword0924, and it really looked like he had no grasp of the basics of his main card in his main deck.
Combined with his ludicrous deck and posts it looked extremely bad for him.
This went on for a while, with Aeze's claims growing more preposterous by the post.
Because I had noticed a mod's presence in the thread but no other action, I decided the only way to get anywhere to resolving the issue was to force the GMs hand by committing forum suicide and making a last desperate attack topic.
So I did.

It happened more or less as I expected.
Vault finally realized he had let it gone on for far too long, locked the Multifaction thread, and completely deleted mine.
He did say I was welcome to question Aeze's claims, just not be so abusive, but at this point I didn't care.
You can't be civil to hackers, and what he was doing basically threatened the entire cash shop model the game was built on.
So as I promised myself, I removed myself from the forums and the game.

I'd like to give a large thanks to the multiple people in my other gaming communities who supported me through this, some of the folks on /JP/ who did some "research" for me, and some who actually said they would quit after this debacle went unaddressed.
It was sort of surprising how many people I knew played the game from other areas of the internet.
Special thanks goes out Sword0924, for being probably the most intelligent beta tester in the game, and who basically took the much higher road than I did in dealing with Aeze's bullshit.
I hope he destroys that vs GMs tournament, though he stated he was probably too lazy to become a community representative.

The worst outcome of course would be if Aeze became a community representative.
When someone of that character gets favored status, you're killing your community before it starts.
Honestly though in the end, I think I managed to kill his chances for that, at the cost of myself.

So long Sword Girls.

Sword Girls is a fun browser based Korean moe card girl game that is being localized by ChangYou.
At first glance it appears almost completely random in nature, coin flip determines turn order, targeting appears all over the place, spells go off randomly, and all you can do is curse the game for not having manual targeting.
But there is definitely a method to the madness.
If Grand Knights History is on one extreme of the Strategy spectrum, Sword Girls manages to be a very good Strategy game, just on the exact opposite side.

There are a few pseudo random constants:
Enemy monsters will more likely attack the monster in slot 3 first, non buff spells generally go off before buff spells, spells always go before attacks, stuff like that.
But really the beauty in the game is that a lot of the play is spent on thinking how to best minimize "WHAT HAPPENS IF EVERYTHING GOES WRONG" type circumstances.
And go wrong they can.
I described this part of the gameplay to mauve and he said, "sounds like a game I would scream at in rage repeatedly."
I find this part of the game incredibly fun though, the planning around catastrophic failure.
And of course you always get hilarious stories.
Last minute spells misfiring and costing people games, last minute spells letting people mount extraordinary comebacks, people winning because they lost the coin flip and went second instead of first, funny things like that.
I think my best stories are the following:
1. Someone snatching defeat from the jaws of victory because he spell switched my worst monster.
2. That same someone snatching victory from the jaws of defeat right after cause he spell switched the RIGHT monster.

3. 3HP vs 1HP, I'm firmly in control in a Darklore mirror, next turn we both play Sacrifice (take 1 damage to deal 4 damage). He wins coin flip, KILLS HIMSELF, KILLS ME, and gets the win for the game.

The game was really fun and easily playable on the sly at work (oh god my boss is a gamer I hope he does not read this) and very simple to learn but pretty complex at the higher levels.
I also enjoyed crafting, deck building, PvP vs PvE differences (can't run spells as a crutch against a dungeon loli who removes spells randomly from your hand!), among other things.
Unfortunately it wasn't going to end on a happy note.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Nokia's crowns new ringtone contest winner...with dubstep

Sizzi: Well... i made a dubstep version of the Nokia Tune. Dubstep has become massivly popular during the last two years (even if its roots are definetly older) between the "hipsters" from all over the world and the production of a dubstep track is something really challenging, as a producer. I just thought as a sound designer that a sparkling, up-to-date and with a certain coolness version of the Nokia Tune would have been perfect to attract young and "cool-hunting" customers. I just thought: if you want to give the fresHest product to a costumer, you better make it "sound" as freshest as you can, also!

Click to listen to this "interesting" entry.
Also you can listen to other non wubwubwub entries there as well.

Monday, October 03, 2011


So I moved from Monmouth Junction to Somerset, a grand total of like...5 miles.
Or something.
Lease expired, housemate didn't want to stay, what can you do.
So yeah my rent doubled, but I have more space than I know what to do with.
I fucked up though, I forgot how slow Verizon FIOS techs take to get scheduled, so I don't have internet at home until the 11th.
I will go crazy.

In the meantime, Fate Zero has started to air.
I'm killing all the crystals in Grand Knights History.
Acceleration of Suguri 2 patch 1.3 is out with Sumika added.

I need shelves, too used to single room life (even when I was in a double) and now everything is just laying on the carpet.
Maybe a couch too.
Or a TV.