Monday, April 18, 2011

Dokapon Kingdom

Ladies and gentlemen: Exhibit A
Ahhh Dokapon Kingdom, what is there to say about you? Quite a unique game due to how it combines different elements together. It plays differently from anything else you've probably played. It's part RPG, part board game and also adds elements taken from others games to make a fun game whether you play by yourself or up to 4 players. It's on the Wii and PS2 but both versions are very similar, I'd recommend you get the Wii version since it's easier to hook up 4 players without a multi-tap, and you also have more space for save files.

It has charming graphics, using a sort of cute styling for the whole thing. Nothing's really too dark even when you get further in the game and fight stronger monsters. You can pull stupid pranks on each other such as changing their name, hairstyle or draw graffiti on their face. The game also doesn't take itself too seriously with the voice acting or other things. For example the king will send you on missions to obtain food he wants to eat or for you to retrieve his daughters piggy bank. There's even and event where you hunt "Wabbits" for a decent reward if you can actually kill one. Overall it brings it's own charm that makes it a little lame but inviting once you get used to it.

So anyways this game is basically a board game with RPG elements in it. You start with a character where you get to pick your class, name, gender, color, and eye shape. There's 3 at the start but you unlock more as you go, somewhere around 10 classes are available. Each class gets it's own unique stat growths and there are 5 in total: Attack, Defence, Magic, Speed and Heal Points. Also, depending on which two classes you master you unlock different classes. For example:

Magician + Warrior = Spellsword
Warrior + Thief = Ninja
Magician + Thief = Alchemist
Monk + Alchemist = Robo Knight
Acrobat + Spellsword + Ninja = Hero
Warrior or Magician or Thief = Cleric
Cleric -> Monk

Choosing your path affects how you are going to play the game. Warrior based classes have an easier time surviving and also deal decent damage. Thieves have high speed growth and have decent attack. Magicians obviously concentrate on magic but also need some speed to actually hit anything. You kind of have to experiment with builds to see which one suits you most and it'll definitely take a few tries to get it right.

The Board, a warrior and his spiffy hairdo
So when you start in story mode you get told by the king that he needs warriors for whatever task, I don't know since I didn't pay attention too much. You and whoever you're playing with, whether AI or friend, start in the same place and roll on who goes first. This decides the turn order for the whole game so take note of that, otherwise if your friend gets distracted you'll have to smack him on his turn. After that the games begin and you start building your character. Basically you try to gain experience by defeating monsters on empty spaces and get equipment, spells and items. They all play an important role, and sometimes the person with the right things at the right time will have a significant lead.

This can cause fights among friends because to get ahead you basically have to fuck them over. You can be a huge dick in this game because you can not only PVP and take things away from them but you can also cast spells and things to slow them down. You see, to be the grand champion you have to gain the most money, and the easiest way to obtain more money is by killing bosses in towns. These bosses provide a significant boost to your score, and the person who has the right items can either have a severe advantage against the bosses to induce a guaranteed win or get their first to take it over.

Luck can also be a very annoying thing sometimes. Battles in this game work like a rock, paper and scissors type thing where certain moves counter other moves and deducing the risk of certain moves and make or break you. So if someone decides to fight you it can be a huge risk because many times you will die in one hit if you don't make your move properly. Not to mention the variety of other luck based things such as what you roll, what you fight, random npcs and a whole bunch of other things that can boost your character to infinite heights or reduce them to measly ants. I believe you can also be a dick and just limit your team mates. Kill them and take their money or towns or whatever else you want.

Sometimes it's better to give up than to fight
It's actually quite long when you're playing it, especially when you're playing with 3 or more people, and you can be stalled by many things such as deaths or shitty rolls. However it's quite immersive once you get used to it and can be a good, fun way to pass the time when you're bored with a few friends. The graphics match with what this game is trying to do. However the fights it can ignite and the sheer amount of dickery you can commit kind of contrasts it's funny nature. Definitely worth picking up though, even today.

There are a few cons I have to address though:

-Turns take too long, the menus feel a bit sluggish at times which doesn't help when you want it to be your turn
-Sometimes, while there's plenty to do and get in this game, you have to sacrifice too much in order to experience. For example to get the Hero class you basically would have to go completely out of your way to obtain it. By the time you're finished becoming the class, everything is just so piss poor easy that there is no challenge and nothing to kill with your shiny new hero title.
-A bit too random at times to the point where it gets unfair, this does make it more interesting though
-There's plenty of unbalance in the design, the cheapest being the Darkling(if you play this game you will know what Darklings entail)

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

BBoy log #1

Wait a minute... I haven't practiced for 3 days! What can I say about anything? Essentially I've forgotten all the moves that I came up with on the last practice and now have to come up with them again! Either that or come up with new ones which I always do. Fucking memory why can't you work properly?

Anyways flare and halo progress is getting better. 1990s are doing okay despite the lack of practice. Headspins and turtles are improving but slow moving. Handhops are a pain since I should already have them but oh well.

One thing I noticed while practicing is I hate thinking about stupid shit. Your mind just wanders and prohibits you from practicing, Also watching other people can be distracting.

Boring post today...Brain malfunctioning... think can't...

Monday, April 11, 2011

Ragnarok online

I've wasted tons of time on this MMORPG. Basically I broke my first MMO cherry when I played Runescape and ever since then I've liked the genre. I've always enjoyed playing in a world shaped by the players, and killing them is fun too! I spent too much time on RO and basically knew 90% of the world like the back of my palm. It had such great graphics for the time and the music was astounding!

One of the first themes I heard when I entered the game, frankly it was amazing.

I basically spent my adolescence playing this game. Even after several times starting over I still continued playing, each time getting more and more powerful and farther in the game. Compared to Runescape it was revolutionary because the combat wasn't a sort of turn based combat, you could actually see your characters move and fight. This made battles fast and streamlined meaning it was easier to get caught up in it. The graphics were also cute and the world was rich with unique monsters. Classes were distinct from one another and you always had a new experience whenever you made a new class.

The town of Prontera filled with a variety of classes and a Lord Knight showing off his equipment

Basically I had very fond memories of the game, as well as my fair share of drama(which was also fun in it's own way). Most of the time drama would either start through equipment or PVP(player vs player, basically killing each other). Now if you've played any game with a PVP system you know that drama is soon to follow. People HATE to lose and if you kill them they will come back with a vendetta the size of Uranus. Most of the time PVP is done for fun but it can easily escalate into all out war. PVP however was very quick in this game, you would usually die in 1-2 hits depending on what level and class you were so it wasn't easy to come back for your revenge. Also certain classes had certain advantages and the balance was wonky at best. Most of the offensive oriented classes dominated and could even take out hordes of people if you built AND equipped them right.

Which brings me to my next point, equipment. Equipment basically made the player. Sure without the levels you won't have the HP or stats to perform well with it but even at low levels you could destroy people if you had the best equipment. Of course the best equipment comes with a cost, as in any other MMORPG, the best equipment can cost you upwards of hundreds of millions, if not billions of dollars. Certain things are just so overpowered that whoever owned them makes them nigh invulnerable, either through super offense or super defence. The backbone of any equipment is having it highly upgraded which increases the defense a significant amount and having cards slotted into them. The more highly upgraded and rare cards slotted into the equipment the more rare and costly they become. Most equipment can be upgraded to a maximum of +10 but to get there requires extreme luck, as low as 0.0384% for going from 0 to +10.

Equipment makes a huge difference though because each upgrade reduced damage by a certain percentage, meaning if you stack enough of it you could tank basically anything. You had 5 equipment slots that can all be upgraded out of a total of 10, however every other slot can give you defence depending on what you're wearing.

The classes  you could become, these are the second classes and the transcended classes however.
Now let's move on to the grind. Yes the horrendous grind for levels that plague many RPGs, and MMORPGs are no exception. You literally have to kill thousands and thousands of monsters just to reach any feasible level of adequacy. Whether you're grinding for equipment or levels you will spend hundreds of hours just tweaking 1 character to be usable in any late-game activity. Whether you want to fight in the War of Emperium, Battle Ground, PVP, MVP or even kill basic monsters you have to gear up and level up. You're hard pressed to find any good equipment because anything that is good drops at a ridiculously low rates. At time they even drop from low level monsters so you can't even level from them so hunting them is essentially all you're going there for. Also, when you reach max level you can do it all over again at 3 times to experience rate! <sarcasm>Woohoo!</sarcasm> However they made the beginning grind way easier in the global server so you won't feel so weak in the beginning. You still have to grind in the end though because they increased the level cap to 150 which is 51 levels higher than the previous max. The experience needed for those levels is again ridiculous because to get anywhere good you have to spend time, basically the same time it took you to get to max level before, if not more.

Remember you're competing against thousands of people worldwide and there will always be someone who has more time and more social skill than you. If everyone could reach max level easily than everyone would be doing it and those that actually spent time leveling their character would complain about how easy it is. Final Fantasy XIV and World of Warcraft made this mistake and riots were started on the forums about how easy it is now.

Even with all the complaints however this is still one charming game. I still find myself attracted to it's alluring wafts of 2d goodness as well as the consistent updates they keep adding. Even though this game is beyond 10 years old now it still has a strong community of people still playing, whether that be on a official pay-to-play server or private server.

The developers are still going strong too but IMO they while some of the updates have definitely improved the game certain parts seriously need a rehaul. For instance the quest system, it fucking sucks man. It feels like there is no point in doing them because they provide such shit rewards. And the ones that have good rewards also are insanely hard and without a quest guide handy you'd be lucky to find any of the right NPCs to talk to. Another problem is, while the story to these quest are actually quite decent, it doesn't feel like you made any effect to the world at all. None of the NPCs talk or move and they are stuck in the same position for eternity. Also the sprites are boring as fuck. They just add effects but without actually changing what the sprite is doing. For instance the animation for clicking and attacking a monster is the same as doing a skill. So no matter how flashy the skill looks it doesn't matter because you're still following through, through the same motions. Your animations carry throughout the same class path too! I mean fuck, if it wasn't already bad that you had to put up with the same animations through 1 class but when you change into your second class you have the same god damn animations? Are you kidding me? I also hate that your equipment doesn't change, but alas I rarely see 2d games with equipment that actually changes the sprite.

Yes there is private servers with every change(or not change) you could think of. Some are very similar to the official servers where there's a heavy grind and almost no help in the basic stuff that new games have as their base. No resetting of stats if you screw up, no easy transportation without heavy cost, and other things such as no sp healing items sold. Other servers however are the complete opposite, upping the experience rate and drops 1 million times allowing you to level up like crazy and find every possible thing you can imagine. Resets, teleporting, and basic(and sometimes not so basic)healing items/equipment are all cheap or free. They have custom items that give you insane stats and a variety of other tweaks which make killing every monsters a breeze. You will attack 50 times per second and do millions of damage. However these types of high rate servers usually make you grind out for equipment and adjust the monsters so that the tougher monsters are equally as tough as you are. Drops for certain monsters will change because otherwise you'd be running around with overpowered items.

Example of several custom items not available on official servers

It's just basically a matter of finding the right balance of what you like and what server to pick. Without challenge there's no fun so each server owner tackles it in their own way, some being more popular than others. I love the game but I've since put it down for several years now and moving on to other MMOs. This game will always have a place in my heart, if just for nostalgia reasons though. When this game eventually whittles and dies it will still glow brightly in my as one of my fond memories.

Friday, April 8, 2011

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic

If you browse any kind of forum populated by males aged 18-34 than you've probably heard of this show. It's probably a fad by now, they post a new topic talking about how awesome it is and you're thought is either:

A: This is the gayest shit I've ever seen
C: Fuck this is embarrassing, I hope nobody is watching me

This show is full of giddyness. I mean look at it the show is based on ponies, that can either fly or have magic, are all friends with each other, and have names like Fluttershy, Twilight Sparkle, or Pinky Pie. If that wasn't enough:

A picture says a thousand words. Also if you watch this show you will never get a girlfriend, EVER!
Underneath all the girly, cotton candy, taste like diabetes, and girly likeliness of it all it's actually very good. I mean when I first watched it I had all the above reactions as long as every other male. I mean look how girly this show is? Who the hell would watch this girly show that's the girliest show ever meant for my 8 year old cousin. Not to mention how girly is it!

The characterization however is fantastic, each one stands on their own and makes their own mark in the overall show and plot. Easily identifiable with and not as cliche as they first appear. The voice acting is amazing and so is the animation. There's also singing parts which they somehow make not lame like in many other shows that feature it. It's just a very enjoyable show that knows what it's doing and targeting a younger audience without making it so dumbed down that you feel like vomiting when your kids watch it. Basically they targeted everyone without excluding anyone.

Definitely a show I'll hate to see end, luckily there's a season 2 coming out so that won't be for a while. Anyways I'll end this with my favorite part of the whole show(not that the other parts are shabby, NOT AT ALL) which makes me giddy with happiness every time I watch it.


Three months of winter coolness, and awesome holidays
We've kept our hoofsies warm at home, time off from work to play
But the food we've stored is running out, and we can't grow in this cold
And even though I love my boots, this fashion's getting old

The time has come to welcome spring, and all things warm and green
But it's also time to say goodbye, it's winter we must clean
How can I help, I'm new you see
What does everypony do?
How do I fit in without magic?
I haven't got a clue

Winter wrap up, winter wrap up
Let's finish our holiday cheer
Winter wrap up, winter wrap up
'Cause tomorrow spring is here
'Cause tomorrow spring is here

Bringing home the southern birds, a pegasus' job begins
And clearing all the gloomy skies, to let the sun shine in
We move the clouds, and we melt the white snow
When the sun comes up, its warmth and beauty will glow

Winter wrap up, winter wrap up
Let's finish our holiday cheer
Winter wrap up, winter wrap up
'Cause tomorrow spring is here
Winter wrap up, winter wrap up
'Cause tomorrow spring is here
'Cause tomorrow spring is here

Little critters hibernate, under the snow and ice
We wake up all the sleepyheads, so quietly and nice
We help them gather up their food, fix their homes below
We welcome back the southern birds, so their families can grow

Winter wrap up, winter wrap up
Let's finish our holiday cheer
Winter wrap up, winter wrap up
'Cause tomorrow spring is here
Winter wrap up, winter wrap up
'Cause tomorrow spring is here
'Cause tomorrow spring is here

No easy task to clear the ground, plant our tiny seeds
With proper care and sunshine, everyone it feeds
Apples, carrots, celery stalks, colorful flowers too
We must work so very hard, it's just so much to do

Winter wrap up, winter wrap up
Let's finish our holiday cheer
Winter wrap up, winter wrap up
'Cause tomorrow spring is here
Winter wrap up, winter wrap up
'Cause tomorrow spring is here
'Cause tomorrow spring is here

Now that I know what they all do, I have to find my place
And help with all of my heart, tough task ahead I face
How will I do without my magic, help the earth pony way?
I wanna belong so I must do my best today
Do my best today

Winter wrap up, winter wrap up
Let's finish our holiday cheer
Winter wrap up, winter wrap up
'Cause tomorrow spring is here
Winter wrap up, winter wrap up
'Cause tomorrow spring is here
'Cause tomorrow spring is here
'Cause tomorrow spring is he