How would you implement finding rule books IN GAME?
How would you literally use the rule books, as items, that your players could find? To make a very long story short, my players are about to stumble into an ongoing game of Xorvintall. This has an extremely meta implementation in my campaign setting, where the "Xorvintaal" started as a simple chess game between dragons and has spiraled into such a convoluted series of inter-linking games (played on boards, with dice, or by manipulating real people and real events, betting on random odds, games of skill, etc) that it puts Cones of Dunshire to shame. Each of these inter-linking games influence each other, such that a Royal Flush in poker would get you extra dice in Yahtzee, and your score there would give a bonus to your point buy for making D&D characters, and how good your character does in D&D-within-D&D would restore lost pawns to your board in the concurrent game of chess, which is important because the chess game... etc. More to the point, the realm in which this game is being played is composed entirely of books, scrolls, score ledgers, rules references, etc. Specifically, when my party is teleported to the Xorvintaal, they arrive standing on Vade Mecum Monsterus, Third Edition, Revised. Except this version is about 80x110 feet tall, the eye in the middle is alive and angry, and most importantly, the ampersand sword that splits Dungeons and Dragons is an actual sword they can pick up and use. What kind of magic item would you make out of such an iconic symbol? (the sword with the D&D ampersand) I have vague ideas of trying to design something very meta, like a 1/day "Cut Through The Red Tape" ability that allows the owner to ignore one rule of the game. Maybe even be able to confer that benefit upon a different player. I would leave it up to my party's imagination what they could do in 1 round, if they got to remove 1 rule of their choice. I certainly wouldn't recommend something like that to any other DM or tables, but my party already uses a modified plot points/veto-the-DM rule and some other wild stuff so this would be pretty par-for-the-course for us. How would you implement D&D rulebooks, if your players could find them? My other ideas include, besides stealing the 3.5e Monster Manual sword:
Getting a copy of the Player's Handbook gives the players unique insight to all of the "careers" and possible "skills and specialties" of adventurers. This would confer a bonus to the party's use of hirelings, retainers, armies, running their own guild, or any other situation where the party wants to make as effective and efficient a use of NPCs as possible. The PHB, in world, is a manual with all the collected expertise of generations of Xorvintaal players, a veritable Art of War that the party can consult. My players have aspirations of building an adventurer's guild, and the closely guarded secret of a trans-dimensional (if 2 editions outdated;) set of instructions would translate to the meteoric rise of their guild's success. After all, they know exactly who to hire, for what, and for how much.
The Dungeon Master's Guide would be similar, except it would be a bonus to the party's fortifications, traps, and non-intelligent employees (monsters). The 3.5e DMG prominently features a large globe; perhaps instead it is a mystic manual that would allow its owner to scry, cast powerful divinations, Contact Other Plane, and Legend Lore. But the information may be faulty, outdated, generic/generalized, or about a completely different campaign.
As most have seen, with Season 3 of GBL around the corner, we are getting another (fairly large) move shakeup that will definitely impact the meta going forward. The numerical changes are not available yet, but a general list of relevant mons that will be impacted for each league is as follows: 1 - Drill Peck Damage BUFF - Zapdos and Empoleon buffs (yes, Empoleon will soon be able to learn Drill Peck!) for all 3 leagues.
We will definitely be seeing more of both across all leagues (less so in master, but definitely in great/ultra).
Drill peck gives Empoleon great coverage, while Zapdos was already becoming fairly popular in great league.
Other mons that can learn it you don't really see in PvP.
2 - Brave Bird (Significant?) Damage Buff, but now has a severe defense stat self-debuff after use - It will be interesting to see the new numbers on this move, but considering the debuff, expect it to be used at most with hit-and-run tactics, the good old “store energy for 2 charges, fire both and swap.”
It’s hard to say how this’ll turn out without seeing the numbers for now.. but if it becomes something similar to close combat/wild charge.. fear the birds.
If it does... watch out for:
Braviary (who will also soon gain access to Close Combat), Blaziken, Galarian Farfetch'd, Honchkrow, and maybe.. just maybe.. Ho-oh? Probably not but one can dream.
Other potential fringe users include:
Skarmory (a slightly stronger nuke than sky attack to go out on? Especially with flash cannon energy nerfs - see below), Pidgeot, and maybe even Staraptor (Starly CD when?)
The impact all depends on the numbers, but could see use across all 3 leagues as well.
Infestation Energy Buff - oohhhh yes the bug fast move buff we’ve all been wanting. Finally bugs get some love, still waiting on struggle bug now Niantic..
Huge list of impacted mons including:
Beedrill, Cradily, Weezing, Drapion (perhaps in UL also, but doubtful it'll outclass ice fang), masquerain and venomoth are the notable ones who stand to gain the most.
This change is most likely to impact the great league, minor impact on the other 2.
Hex Energy Buff - Equally exciting to have a viable ghost fast move that isn’t shadow claw!! Poor Deoxys-D..
List of impacted mons will include:
Dusclops in GL, alolan marowak in GL, drifblim in GL andmaybeUL with 100% best buddy**, mismagius in GL (maybe?.. just maybe), banette in GL (has shadow claw, but if the energy gain is significant, could be viable to get off those shadow balls faster), dusknoir in GL, chandelure (master league** viable perhaps**?), froslass in GL (**impact will depend on the second buff our girl gets - see below)... yikes, this is long overdue.
A lot of potential increase in viability to many many ghosts that aren’t sableye,haunter, and more recently - Gengar!)
I expect Alolan Marowak, Drifblim, Froslass and Dusclops to gain the most of the mons listed above.
Definitely expecting to see a decrease in psychic/fighting in GBL with more ghost hard counters out there.
Deoxys-D for example being hard countered by ghosts will be having a much harder time.
Edit: Also told to watch out for normal castform... eh? I’m intrigued to see how our little buddy turns out.
Additional to note that this is a buff to the already feared, impending meta jellyfish.. Jellicent!
Powder Snow Damage Buff - Yet another much needed buff, whereas ice has a lot of potential but is held back by a plethora of weaknesses.
Ice types have long needed a real buff to compensate for their usual frailty and long list of weaknesses.. the bulkiealready meta ones don't learn powder snow anyways (looking at you, lapras and articuno)
A large(r) damage buff would be very welcomed and likely a safe choice, considering powder snow users like A-9, Abomasnow and A-Slash have very exploitable weaknesses (double weaknesses to boot), or are paper, like froslass.. or just fail to hold their own where they normally should dominate (mamoswine v. dragonite anyone?)
Impacted mons include:
Alolan Ninetales in GL (PS version may now be on par with charm!), both swinub evolutions (piloswine for GL, Mamoswine for ML), froslass again (it is her lucky patch), Alolan Sandslash in GL/maybe UL, snowy castform in GL, sealeo in GL, beartic in GL and abomasnow in GL/maybbee UL? (who also gets weather ball this patch.. ooh the potential, even with the terrible typing - more below).
A note on Abomasnow.. with powder snow, weather ball ice and energy ball.. he jumps to nearly 70% winrate in open GBL. Really, really need to watch him, because that is BEFORE the powder snow damage buffs. Hard to say if that WR actually will matter though, as he still has SO many counters due to his long list of weaknesses.
The biggest impact again will definitely be great league (froslass, A-9, piloswine, abomasnow, sealeo.. you get it), but also expect to see more Mamoswine in Master.. maybe poor boy won’t lose to dragonite anymore (the irony).
Blizzard Damage Buff - I know I said ice types need some love right above this, but I don’t honestly expect too much help from this particular change.
The energy cost is so steep and most ice users are either too frail to consistently reach it, or the buff will just be overkill as it already does respectable damage.
However, some mons /may/ get some use from the buff, namely:
Whiscash in GL, milotic perhaps in both GL/UL, A-slash in GL (maybe UL, not too far of a reach), maybeee tentacruel in GL (this ones a reach), porygon-Z with lock on anyone?
Blizzard is a widely learned move, but looking at the list of potential mons.. those not listed above are almost never going to use it, buff or not.
Edit: Overlooked Regice.. blizzard buff for ice titan boi could be very interesting across all leagues.. one to watch out for, combined with registeel nerfs also.. hehe.
Edit 2: Was made aware below that blizzard buff could help kyogre with a few matchups in ML, such as against Dialga.
This likely won't happen often, but when it does, expect it to make a noticeable difference.
Flash Cannon Energy NERF - RIP registeel part 1.
Other affected users include skarmory, ferrothorn.. that’s about it for primary users.
Other mons may occasionally like melmetal, bastiodon.. but eh.
Nerf is mostly aimed at registeel if I had to bet money, sad about the other casualties of war.
Focus Blast Damage NERF - RIP registeel part 2... poor boy is getting the coffin, been dominant for too long.
Other affected users include:
Mewtwo for ML, Darkrai for ML, Hypno for GL.. maybe the occasional ampharos and Weavile in UL or Silph cups..? Some fringe Gengar use in premier?
But - The move's damage already results in overkill from most of its users that aren't registeel, so maybe the nerf won’t be too impactful on the other mons listed beyond our steel titan boi.
Moonblast Debuff Chance DECREASE - Almost guaranteed to be aimed at Cresselia, mainly in UL, but will tangentially hurt GL cress too.
No other mon really gets use from the move due to its limited distribution.
Edit: Will note that some people can argue Clefable uses it.. but that's much less common.
Cresselia will be feeling this nerf most.
----------- Final few exciting notes - new moveset additions!!
Empoleon with Drill Peck - HUGE jump in winrate in both GL/UL
Jumps to nearly 70% WR in open GL, 67% in UL, and 61% in ML. Enough said!
Provides good coverage against its fighting weakness and grasses that resist hydro cannon/waterfall
Abomasnow with Weather Ball Ice
Jumps to nearly 70% WR in open GL (wow) with powder snow, only 60% with razor leaf.
An interesting note is that it jumps to a nearly 63% WR in UL with a 100% best buddy.. maybe something to consider?
Especially with the registeel nerfs (who hard counters it in both leagues) Watch my little snow buddy..
Pelipper with Weather Ball Water
Jumps to nearly 72% WR in open GL!! Huge player coming through!
Braviary with Close Combat
While this definitely helps Braviary, it doesn't do too much.
Pre numbers on brave bird changes - Air Slash/Rock Slide/Close Combat moveset gets to 55% WR in open GL. Not bad, not great.
In UL, gets to 57% WR or so.
Master League interestingly gets to 62% WR..
Overall, doesn't seem exciting on its own.. but maybe with the brave bird changes this will also change. Watch for the coveted bird.
Expect each of these mons to become more viable, Empoleon the most of all due to viability in both GL/UL, with pelippeabomasnow gaining similar traction in GL, and may actually become meta/very strong in particular silph cups in the future. Braviary is an odd one, may have some UL potential, will have to see the brave bird changes too. Let me know if there is anyone I didn’t mention that deserves a shout out for new potential with the changes! This was just meant to be a surface-level analysis until the numbers actually come out. When they do, I'll be watching for a beautiful, in-depth analysis from u/JRE47 that includes more concrete WR % numbers, meta victories, biggest counters, good pairs.. etc. Shout-out for the always great and thorough posts. A final note - because we have no clue how mega evolutions will be implemented, did not even try to analyze those like mega abomasnow, mega mewtwo, gengar, alakazam.. etc. its a huge TBD.
Float Like a Butterfly, Sting Like a Bee(keeper): A Warrior/Melee Guide to Terraria 1.4
Hello humans! A while ago (a VEEEERRRRY long while ago), I made a few guides to terraria as a mage and as a summoner. I promised to eventually cover the rest of the classes, then got bored and completely forgot. Recently though (as I’m assuming you know), the final update for Terraria came out, and I decided to get back into it. So, after a loooooooong time coming, here it is: The Warrior’s Guide to Terraria.
General Info and Strategy
So… Warriors are kinda wack. I mean, there are swords, and spears, and other actually “melee” weapons in the game, and I get the feeling these are what melee was originally balanced around. In exchange for a pathetic range, and generally weaker and less versatile attacks, warriors get very high defence so that they can actually survive when they inevitably get hit as they go charging in for the kill. This works alright in pre-hardmode, and is even viable in early hardmode when you’re playing in classic mode. In expert/master mode, or in later hardmode though, enemies and bosses just hit too hard. No matter how much defence you have, you won’t be able to tank more than a few hits, which is kind of a problem for a class that relies on running in and tanking a few hits in order to deal its damage. As a result, we have things like beam swords, vampire knives, and the Scourge of the Corruptor. Basically, melee has evolved into a kind of slightly weaker version of range/mage, except with crazy high defence and no ammo/mana consumption. This results in the kind of odd fact that, at least for bossfights and events, warriors have the same strategy as rangers: “run away from things while shooting attacks at the enemy from a distance,” except with more leeway for mistakes. Additionally, due to the fact that warriors don’t need mana, ammo, or summon slots, a warrior’s accessory slots basically stay open to whatever seems coolest. Basically, warriors are kinda OP once this whole “better ranger” thing takes off.
Before 1.4, the best world gen depended on your mode choice. In normal mode (now called classic mode), crimson is your best bet, with the crazy good early armour, weapons with overall higher stats, the amazing ichor debuff, and of course, vampire knives, the bestest weapon. In expert mode though, all of those benefits were completely outweighed by one item: the worm scarf. The worm scarf was an amazing accessory that scaled with gameplay so it remained VERY useful all through the game. Compared to its crimson equivalent, the brain of confusion, which had a chance to confuse enemies when you got hit, it’s obvious that corruption won out. That was… until 1.4… In Journey’s End, the Brain of Confusion got massively buffed. It now gives you a 1/16 chance to dodge attacks, confuses enemies, and can give crit bonuses after dodging. Overall, this means it reduces average damage taken by almost the same amount as the worm scarf, plus a few other benefits. Basically, the brain of confusion is now easily on par with its corruption counterpart. Overall, this basically means the crimson is a better optimization choice when creating your world, especially as a warrior, since you get the vampire knives, but honestly, it doesn’t matter that much, especially since you can get the opposite evil’s seeds from the Dryad in a graveyard in 1.4. If you want to pick corruption, go ahead. Do whatever you want, and have fun! Anyways, on to the…
Like with most new characters, your first task as a warrior is going to be to explore the surface. Your goals are to find cactus to make cactus armor and a cactus sword, and to find a wooden boomerang in a wooden chest. Now, the cactus stuff is just a nice early game set, but the boomerang will be useful for a while. In 1.4, we can now combine wooden boomerangs with fallen stars to make enchanted boomerangs. This is crazy. Enchanted boomerangs are actually decent weapons, with pretty good knockback to keep the creeps away, so getting one without even going underground yet is a pretty nice power boost early on. Your next goal after exploring the surface will obviously be to go mining. Like usual, try to find some nice juicy heart crystals to slurp up, some mobility accessories, a grappling hook, and some metal to make yourself better armor. The one extra thing you want to look for as a warrior is the mace. The mace is a new, weakish flail weapon added in 1.4. Now, if you played Terraria before this update, you’re probably thinking, “big whoop. A flail. No one can use those anyway.” The thing is, flails got a huge buff in 1.4 (similar to the brain of confusion, in fact). Flails are now actually usable weapons that can carry you all the way to Golem. Basically, flails now have 3 different attacks. If you click and hold your attack button, you spin them rapidly around your character, dealing reduced damage and knockback, but effectively creating a constantly damaging shield around you, blocking nearly all melee and blockable attacks. Heck, with a mace, I managed to run across the entire corruption without taking damage, since all the eaters just kept bumping into my spinny shield of death and getting knocked back. When you let go of the attack button, your mace will quickly launch in the direction of your cursor, similarly to old flails, but with much higher velocity. They basically act as a shorter range boomerang. Finally, if you click again while the flail is out, it will stop being drawn to you, falling to the ground and sitting there as a permanent source of damage to enemies until you let go, or you move too far away. Basically, flails are going to be your main weapon against normal enemies until hardmode, and they can even work pretty well against bosses. Now, once you get your mace, you’re not going to just use it as-is (unless you got a good modifier on it. In that case, ignore this paragraph). Instead, you’re going to get yourself a bunch of nice slimy flaming sticks (torches) and craft the together with your mace to get a… drumroll please… brudrudrudrudrudrudrudrud… flaming mace! What a surprise! It’s a mace… except it lights things on fire! Anyway, while you’re trudging across the surface of the world, and delving its depths, make sure to break pots and open chests. You’re looking for gravitation potions. Once you get a few of those nice drinks, you’re going to head to the surface and use them to fall into the sky, then towards the ground, then into the sky, then toward the ground, then into… you get the idea. While you do this, you’re going to be moving left (or right) constantly, on the lookout for floating islands in the sky. Make sure to flip gravity a bunch before landing on them to slow down your fall, because gravitation potions don’t cancel fall damage. In those sky islands, there are three cool things. Balloons and horseshoes are nice accessories, but the real reward for us warriors is the starfury. Once you’ve found this, congratulations! You’ve achieved the final goal of all warriors! To become a wizard who doesn’t use mana! Actually though, the starfury is a really nice sword. We’re going to be using it as our bossfighting weapon of choice up until hardmode. It deals an alright damage of 22 by itself, but the real goodness comes from the fact that the star projectile deals double damage, for a total of 44 damage while using it naked. That’s crazy for a weapon in the part of the game when most weapons are still doing around 10-20 damage. Plus, it’s a part of the Zenith crafting tree, so you gotta get it if you ever want to call yourself a real endgame warrior. With your health juiced up, your flimsy body coated in metal, some nice mobility items, some buff potions prepared, and a pair of pretty good weapons, it’s time to take on some…
For the Eye of Cthulhu, you’re going to want to make yourself a normal arena with one twist… Go around and hammer every platform in your arena into a stair. The reason for this is that with normal platforms, the starfury projectile crashes into them and disappears, meaning it can’t hit anything beneath the top layer of your arena. This is kind of a problem, given that the starfury is going to be your main method of actually damaging the boss, especially when it starts dashing (if you’re in expert/master mode). Stairs on the other hand, don’t block starfury stars… for some reason. If you’ve hammered them all in the same direction though, they basically act the same way as normal platforms apart from that, so that means you can make an arena where you can whack the Eye anywhere in it with a star, at any time. Talk about power. Anyway, for the first two phases of the fight, you can probably use the mace or the starfury, whichever one you prefer. The starfury will deal more damage if you can aim it, but the mace might be easier to hit, since the Eye tends to stay pretty close for the first part. If you’re in Expert/Master mode though, when the Eye starts dashing, it’s time to use the starfury. You don’t want to be anywhere near the Eye when it dashes, so it should hopefully be far enough away that you can’t hit it with the mace. Basically, just run and spam the starfury slightly ahead of the Eye, using a grapple to switch directions and keep running, and you should kill your first boss (or second if King Slime showed up at some point). With the demonite/crimtane you got from the Eye, you can probably craft the Artery or Malaise. They’re good, and if you happen to have yoyo accessories, they can probably out-dps your mace in most situations. Honestly though, they’re not really worth it except in the context of using them as a controllable projectile you can squeeze through a 1-block hole. Up next, you have the Eater of Worlds or the Brain of Cthulhu. Either one of these tends to get destroyed by piercing weapons, and can be fended off if you have rapid enough close-ranged attacks. Guess what we have that matches both of these descriptions. That’s right. Flails are going to absolutely annihilate these bosses. If you’re in a corruption world, break some shadow orbs to get yourself a Ball o’ Hurt. If you’re in the crimson, tough luck. Either way, if you spend time setting up an arena and making some potions, you shouldn’t have too much trouble with these bosses. One extra cool thing I found is that the EoW’s vile spit gets completely cancelled by a flail’s spin attack, since it can’t get to you through the shield of attacks you make. Good job. You just beat your second boss. With the materials you got from the bosses, you’re going to want to make a) the armor set, b) the pickaxe, b2) the meatball if you have a crimson world, and c) the sword (’cause Zenith). You might not have enough to make all of this, so you’ll have to fight the boss again. With your updated armor, you should be able to beat it pretty easily (especially if you have OP Crimtane armor). With your new and improved pickaxe and weapons, it’s time for you to…
Go to Hell
Now if you happen to have the resources to make an obsidian skin potion, I would strongly suggest just doing that and going swimming in lava to find yourself hellstone. Otherwise, you can always just tunnel until you’re 1 block away from a patch of hellstone, mine it, and pick it up through the walls. Get enough hellstone to make a full set of molten armor, a molten pickaxe, and a fiery greatsword (Zenith again). You might also choose to forego molten armor in exchange for the OPness that is crimson armor. If you do, you don’t need to mine the extra hellstone (duh). Once you have your new and improved equipment, you can go fight…
As our first contender, we have Skeletron. The strategy for this boss is going to be basically the same as for the Eye. Make an arena near the dungeon out of hammered platforms. Get some potions and other fun stuff, and summon him in. You’re basically going to spend this whole first bit of the fight running away from the hands while trying to whack them with stars (alternately, you can just ignore the hands and go for the head in classic mode). Once you manage to knock off a hand and the big boy starts shooting skulls, the best strategy is basically to just keep jumping back and forth over Skeletron’s head. The skulls have some difficulty turning more than like, 180 degrees, so when you jump over his head, the skulls just fly off into the sky. When you have both hands broken, you can start nailing the head with stars. You should soon defeat him. With access to the dungeon, you can now get some nice stuff. The cobalt shield is, like usual, a necessity, especially since you don’t really have anything better to do with your accessories as a warrior. The blue moon is a very nice upgrade to your Ball o’ Hurt/Meatball, although you won’t have it for long. The Muramasa is part of the Zenith crafting tree, but it’s also a kind of useful weapon, unlike the rest of the Night’s Edge components. Finally, the shadow key will give you access to the most broken weapon in pre-hardmode. No, not the zapinator. The sunfury. As soon as you leave the dungeon, head back down to hell and start opening shadow chests. This flail can do almost 100 damage with the right equipment, which is crazy for pre-hardmode. With your new flaming toy, go hunt down some wasps, vines, bees, and big bees (Queen Bee) for the beekeeper (Zenith) and the blade of grass (Zenith). These aren’t exactly necessary yet, but hey, why not. You may as well. Finally, it’s time to…
Go to Hell Part 2: Electric Boogaloo
By this point in the game, you should hopefully have
Bonus for Expert/Master mode
Shield of Cthulhu
Worm Scarf/Brain of Confusion
This is basically the minimum you should have before taking on the Wall of Flesh. Obviously, get some other nice stuff to fill the rest of your accessory slots. So, like usual, you will make a nice long hellbridge/clear out blockages so that you can fight the WoF. Unfortunately, you have to do this with the knowledge that the low point of being a warrior is coming up. The WoF is problematic for warriors. I mean, in classic mode, you can just go up to the WoF and murder its hungries, then keep pace with it as you smash its eyeball with your sun-on-a-chain until it dies. That’s not really too much of a problem. It’s when you decide to play expert/master mode that the WoF becomes a bit of a difficulty. You can’t just murder the hungries in those modes, since they respawn. On top of that, the WoF’s eye lasers actually hurt in those modes, and even worse, it starts moving through hell faster than Hermes boots near the end of its life, so if you’re too close to it, you won’t have a very good time. All of this means that to beat the WoF, you need a weapon with decent range, eliminating spears, most swords, and flails (unless you want to try beating the WoF by leaving the flail head on the ground over and over). Boomerangs have workable range, except that none of them pierce, and the respawning hungries will block most non-piercing attacks. This problem also means you can’t use enchanted swords or any other pre-hardmode beam swords. This basically leaves you with one option: the starfury. Since its projectiles fall from the sky, it bypasses the hungry and range problems altogether. It even pierces twice, so it can hit both of the WoF’s eyeballs and its mouth with every star. The only problem is that the stars get blocked very easily by the ash roof. Basically, how the starfury works underground is that, if the star projectile spawns in blocks, it will travel through blocks without a problem until it enters open space. Once it’s done that, the next blocks it encounters will stop it. This means that in order to properly use the starfury against the WoF, you kind of have to remove all the caves or underhangs (like an overhang, but under) in the ash ceiling. It’ll take a while, but it’s the surest way I’ve found to kill the WoF as a warrior. So, with your roof de-caved, your hellbridge built, your potions brewed, and your resolve set, throw that guide voodoo doll into the lava, and beat the WoF! Congratulations! You have now entered… Wait... Hold up... This seems to be a recurring problem with these guides. They end up larger than the character limit for reddit. The rest of the guide will have to go in the comments. Please upvote those so that they stay at the top of the comment threads and people don't have to scroll through other people's comments to get to hardmode. Anyway, see you all in the comments.
Should I Farm That - Kingdom Hearts Union X and Katy Perry x2
Should I Farm That - Kingdom Hearts Union X and Katy Perry x2
And here I thought we'd be getting a nice boring FFV raid and I could just do a mini SIFT and use the extra time to finally fight Asura. But no, Gumi has to give us another really interesting STMR that I need to spend a ton of time analyzing just to recommend most of you should NOT spend the lapis on it. On the bright side, last week I was saying Artemis Bow was too niche to really matter due to the lack of units that could make good use of it (more than a tiny boost). The item itself is awesome but Alim lacks the ability to design units that are cookie cutter copies of each other. So I was really hoping Gumi would design a GLEX hybrid bow user. Well, my prayers have been answered! AI Katy Perry is a hybrid unit that can use bows! I hereby raise my rating from very niche to somewhat niche. While it's only really good on one unit, it's a unit that will probably be very popular for a while. Well buckle in, folks. We've got some good loot this week!
Sephiroth's Boots (Max craft: 1) [accessory]: 250 HP, 100 MP, 40 ATK, 20 DEF/MAG/SPR The 100 MP alone is making my consider putting this on A Lasswell when I don't need evade on him. Trading 30-45 ATK (compared to 50-55 ATK accessory) and gaining a bit of extra MP can be very helpful when your MP healers are often too busy to constantly top the team off. (I ran into this with my recent Neo Exdeath clear.) That's a very niche use, but a nice to have option. While 40 ATK isn't anything special in a slot that is often used for TDH/TDW or LB damage gear, the other stats does make this an okay compromise between offense and defense when you just need a little bit more eHP. Obviously STMRs like Sabin's (55 ATK, +30% HP, +60% ATK with fist) or TMRs like Esther's (45 ATK, +20% HP, 10 DEF, +15% LB damage) are going to be better, so let's just focus on non-rainbow gear that gives similar ATK and HP. Millie's Charm (3 star, limited, +10% HP/MP, +30% ATK, 8 DEF/SPR, +10% fire/watewind/earth/light/dark resist) falls short on the offense side but eHP would be similar and those elemental resists would make it situationally better). EDIT: +30% ATK doesn't apply to all units. Hard Gauntlet (4 star TMR, 40 ATK, +10% HP, +100% blind resist) is about on par. Omega Medal (trial, +10% HP/MP, 35 ATK/MAG) will probably be similar or better on hybrid units most of the time. This should be a pretty solid accessory for new players but that MP does have niche use for veterans so this gets the niche rating. This is definitely at the upper end of newbie gear and could see a couple months of use depending on luck pull units with better TMRs. Dodge Roll (max craft: 1) [materia]: +30% HP/MP, +20% evade First of all, don't worry about the "not stackable" notice in the news. That means the materia isn't stackable (only one copy anyway). The evade effect will stack will all other sources of evade. This is the big freebie prize for the week. Obviously 20% evade is amazing (only better materia is Kaito's STMR, next best is the enhanced TMR of a limited unit). But what really makes this good for your tank is the HP on it. The biggest problem with 100% evade builds is that the tank may not have the stats to soak up damage they can't avoid. The +30% HP greatly addresses that issue. From an evade build perspective, you'll be able to free up at least one slot compared to previous builds. Whether it is equipment, materia, or esper, freeing that up allows you to build for even more bulk. 30% HP or MP is still pretty good for materias so this is useful even when you aren't going for 100% evade. Due to the combo of evade and HP, this gets the top rating: potential BiS MP Haste [materia]: +15% MP, recover 5% MP per turn Only two other materias give both MP and MP refresh. Folka's TMR (rainbow, +30% MP/SPR, 5% MP refresh, +50% LB fill rate) is not surprisingly much better. Great Mage's Chant (trial, +15% HP/MP/SPR, 5% refresh) is outright better. This gets a niche rating but Hasiko exists so there's a decent chance you'll use it. EXP Bracelet (KH) [accessory]: +30% EXP gained from battle Same 30% we get from the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Anniversary rings (those include some stats so their technically better but it won't make a difference). Last KH event gave us a 20% EXP accessory so you can toss those out now if you were holding on to them just in case. Growth Egg (3 star TMR) gives 50% as does Lucky Charm (quest reward) and Produce Moogle Charm (Fan Festa 2018 loot). As long as you have two of those, you have no need for this (it's always better to level one unit at a time to maximize EXP per energy). Leveling without simply fusing cactaurs is usually just for newer players and whales but whales would never use this so this gets a newbie rating.
Riku's STMR Heart's Darkness [materia]: +70% ATK, +50% light resist, +50% eqATK TDW TDW, big ATK boost, and big light resist. 70% ATK is good enough that you might use it on TDH units also. 50% light makes it good for all units when you need the light resist. Another strong source of TDW is very welcome in the current state of the game. While the 70% ATK is a huge boost, it's hardly that big of a deal by itself. For veterans it's likely to be replacing a 50%-60% materia. What makes this materia great is the combination of the ATK boost and TDW boost. That slot efficiency opens up a slot to boost damage or increase survival. Potential BiS for that reason. Riku's TMR Soul Eater [sword]: Riku only, 160 ATK, Eater of Souls => +25% light resist, +5% MP per turn, +30% eqATK TDW. It's limited to just Riku so this is automatically nche no matter how good the stats are. You'd need his STMR and some really strong 1H weapons to not use this on him. JP has 7% refresh and 50% TDW but no light resist. I assume in the very least the TDW will be boosted to 50% eventually. **Sephiroth (KH)'s STMR: Masamune (KH) [katana]: 172 ATK, 2H (1.05-1.55x dmg var, +50% acc), Master Swordsman => +30% ATK, +50% damage from physical or hybrid attacks against humans This is the fifth 2H katana in the game. Akstar's STMR is the only one with higher flat ATK (180) but this has an additional +30% ATK and killers. The 8 ATK difference is 32 after TDH which is just a tad over 10% ATK. So if you're at least 15% under that ATK stat cap (reasonable assumption for TDH units), this is the highest ATK you can get from a 2H katana. Onimaru+ has 25% demon killer and 140 ATK. Assuming killers only from esper (125%), that 25% killer translates to an increase of 11.1%. The 32 ATK difference (128 after TDH) isn't going to bridge that gap unless your total ATK is abysmally low so Onimaru+ will be better against demons. If you have 200% in killers, the 25% increase represents 8.3% more damage. If your ATK is in the 3200 range, it should be about equal. Unless you absolutely need the water element, this easily beats Suiryuken (140 ATK) and Water Dragon (120 ATK). That makes this potential BiS for TDH katana users. Sephiroth (KH)'s TMR Sephiroth's Longcoat (KH) [clothes]: 30 ATK, 18 DEF/SPR, Clad in Darkness => Seph only, +50% damage from physical and hybrid attacks against humans, Heroic Arts => +20% HP/ATK when equipped with a katana Note: JP version has 28 ATK/DEF/MAG/SPR so no telling what it'll be if/when they boost it. This is an upgrade from Suzume's Kimono (4 star TMR, 21 ATK, +20% ATK with katana, 36 DEF) with only the DEF in Seph's TMR being lower (but has 18 SPR to make it up). For units not wielding katanas, this is the highest flat ATK on any non-STMR clothes. Hyoh's Clothes comes in second with 28 ATK and Aileen's Dress which we got a couple months ago is third with 24 ATK. Hyoh's Clothes (28 ATK, +30% ATK with greatsword) will likely be better for any unit that can equip either katanas or greatswords. However, that's only a 10% ATK difference (~30 ATK) which is pretty minor compared to the extra 20% HP from this TMR. You'll likely need that HP more often than the extra ATK so I'm giving this the potential BiS rating. Sora's STMR Heart's Light [materia]: +70% +50% eqATK TDW Boost eqATK TDW from 20% to 50% to match JP. Essentially Riku's STMR minus the light resist so it is conditionally worse. Close enough to give the same potential BiS rating. Sora's TMR Kingdom Key (KH) [sword]: Sora only, 160 ATK, 5% MP per turn, +10% all element resist, +50% eqATK TDW Boosted eqATK TDW from 10% to 50% (JP is 30%). That makes this a lot less awkward to use. Also, if you equip Sora with two copies, he'll hit the 200% TDW cap. A very good weapon but restricted to Sora so automatically niche. Cloud (KH)'s STMR Buster Sword (KH) [greatsword]: 190 ATK, 2H (1.0-1.6x dmg var, +50% acc) Boosted ATK from 180 to 190 ATK (matches JP now). This remains tied for the highest ATK weapon in JP so it's got a lot of life in it. Other than Bahamut Tear on LB spamming units that favor lightning or are element agnostic, this will almost always be BiS on TDH greatsword users. *Cloud (KH)'s TMR Cloud's Cloak (KH) [accessory]: 40 ATK, 10 DEF/SPR, +50% eqATK TDH, +25% acc No changes from original release (matches JP). Akstar's and Elfreeda's TMRs also give LB per turn or boosted fill rate which is going to be a lot more useful than a meager 10 DEF/SPR. That pushes this down to very good category.
Katy Perry stuff
The quests will reward you with up to 4 copies of Lovely Katy. So free STMR for everyone. Lovely Katy's TMR Boundless Love [materia]: +30% SPR, +30% eqSPR TDH, increase potency (100%) of healing items used in battle Don't necessarily get all 4 copies of her TMR but you should at least make sure you don't lose the potential to get all of them. SPR is still a niche stat but this type of gear is too rare to squander. (recommendation: make two 7 star LK, moogle/farm one of them. Sacrifice the 100% TMR unit into the other for the STMR. You'll end up with one copy of the TMR, a farmable unit, and 2 moogle prisms. Her 7 star awakening is relatively cheap so you shouldn't run into a gil issue doing this). SPR focused builds are still niche thus so is this TMR. Lovely Katy's STMR Golden Earrings [accessory]: Golden Earrings => +20% HP/SPR, +120% SPR with HP falls below 50%, +30% eqSPR TDH This is essentially IF Katy's STMR but with a crisis buff and eqSPR TDH instead of the useless random skills. This has a very good chance to be BiS for magic eHP builds assuming your unit has strong SPR gear equipped. EDIT: Worth noting that if your goal is max SPR, LK's TMR might be a bit better due to no flat SPR in this accessory slot. I think the HP makes it worthwhile though. A.I. Katy's TMR Anti-Virus Software [accessory]: 20 DEF/SPR, +10% DEP/SPR, +100% resist to all ailments, Installation Program => +100% resist to ATK/DEF/MAG/SPR breaks to user for 3 turns. Decent defensive stats on a ribbon with break resists on top of it. Only other item in the game (GLor JP) that gives any break resist is Peace Ring (FFVII) with mere 25% SPR break resist. You'd have this on your tank and your tank is also the unit that most needs break resists - especially if they die. Fortunately the 3 turn break resist will get applied every time you raise your unit so this is exceptionally good. You can do better for eHP with full ailment resist and break resists aren't always needed so I'm giving this a very good rating (but at the top end of that rating). A.I. Katy's STMR Upgrade Package [accessory]: 40 ATK/MAG Separating out the skills for readability:
CPU Version Upgrade => equip rods or whips, +50% MAG with rod, +50% MAG with whip
Security Version Upgrade -> equip light/heavy shields, +40% SPR and +20% HP/DEF with light shield, +40% DEF and 20% SPHP with heavy shield
Value discussion - STMR only
This is just a huge trap. I'm betting that the Katy Perry deal ended up not gaining the number of new players they wanted so they are doing a last ditch effort to get people to spend money. Create the most tempting STMR (at first glance at least) in the history of the game and put it on a banner where you have a 100% chance of getting it... as long as you have 40k lapis. Just a reminder that 40k lapis will cost you $200-225 if you buy the lapis. Stop and digest that for a moment if you are a spender. For F2P players, this is about 1.5 - 2 months worth of free lapis. This is not a small investment. Let's talk value. In all cases I assume you have a solid roster (all areas covered by at least two good units), you're not saving for a specific future unit that will be out in the next 2-3 months, and either your gear is terrible or you just don't have any decent STMRs. For now, let's ignore the unit itself and the TMR. This is a value discussion of only the STMR.
Got 40k lapis with nothing to spend it on? Not bad choice to chase this (also not a great choice either).
Have only 30k lapis or less and you're not willing to spend real money? Don't do it unless you'd be happy with just getting 1 copy for her TMR which is decent but not groundbreaking. How you should pull: If you have 30k lapis, stop if you don't have 2 copies after the first lap. At that point, you'd be happy with the TMR and not risking blowing all your lapis and not getting the STMR.
Have an STMR moogle to burn? Oh boy, time for some math...
Basically using an STMR moogle would save you as much as 20k lapis (less if you're lucky). So we need to see if 100% STMR is worth 20k lapis. Let's pretend the free 100 STMR tickets didn't exist for the initial calculations. I recommend only using STMR moogles on gear that is either a huge increase over what you currently have or allows you to use completely different builds or strategies. (Does not apply if you buy STMR moogles) If you are F2P or low spender, this is a terrible deal unless it is a huge improvement over your current gear. STMR moogles are too hard to get. Don't confuse flexible use with improvement over existing gear. If you are a medium spender, it might be worth your while. If you bought one of the $48 USD STMR moogle bundles a while back, you potentially will come out ahead (I think that bundle had some lapis or tickets). At 200 lapis per dollar (approximate rate of the halfway decent bundles), that 100% STMR would cost you the equivalent of about 10k lapis. Not a bad choice if you're a spender and already bought the STMR bundle waiting for an STMR like this one. But that bundle is probably not going to be the main paid source of STMR moogles. We currently have a bundle for also $48 that gives 9k lapis and 20 STMR tickets. Those tickets are essentially "free" with the purchase of that lapis. BUT you'd need to buy the equivalent bundle (assuming they even offer it) 5 times to go this route. That's a lot of money (~$250) and only should be considered if you were planning on buying that much lapis anyway. (yes, depending on your luck with the anniversary tickets you might need a lot less STMR tickets to go this route). And obviously, if you're a whale, I thank you from the bottom of my pitch black lump of coal I call a heart for spending the money to support the game that I play. (I'm F2P BTW, except when I spend money)
Value discussion - Factoring in the unit and TMR
A lot of you will want AIKP because she is an incredibly flexible unit. We're talking Gumby-after-5-years-of-yoga-classes levels of flexibility. If you're pulling her because you think she's the most OP unit ever, you need to look more carefully at her kit. She's an awesome unit that can fill pretty much any role but she is missing a key skill or two for each of those roles (no provoke, no reraise, no mitigation, no AE breaks, etc.). Dedicated units will handle those roles better but that only matters for the hardest content we have. Like any other 7 star unit, she'll steamroll 99% of content with minimal gear. Assuming you have a firm understanding of the unit, you're looking at a different cost for the STMR. You're already dedicating up to 20k to the unit so the effective cost of the STMR is 20k lapis unless you get lucky. That's around the cost of cheaper step up which is still a steep price to pay for an item. Personally, I'd only go after it if I got lucky and got at least one non-guaranteed copy of AIKP to bring the maximum cost down to 10k (30k for all 4 copies). The odds of getting at least one non-guaranteed AIKP (assuming 1% rate) in the first 3 laps is a bit over 50% so don't get your hopes up too high. Now some of you will be tempted to pull just for her TMR and don't really care about the unit. Unless you get incredibly lucky with your pulls (2 non-guaranteed copies with first lap) chasing the STMR would probably be just too expensive for a single item.
For fuck's sake, could they possibly create a bigger pain in the ass item to review? I thought spending all that time to show Excalipoor was not a good weapon was annoying. This really takes the cake. A cake made of dog diarrhea and rat carcasses and decorated by baboons obsessed with flinging crap. Normally, I'd try to do calculations for all the likely possibilities but there's just way too much going on here. I'll be doing a lot of comparisons using my own gear which I think is very good for non-whale veterans. If you're gear isn't as good then Upgrade Package might be better for you, but you need to be realistic by how much better it would be. Once again, FFBEEquip is your best friend.
As a reminder, when you are checking your own gear against this, it's not enough to see that this STMR is better. It should be significantly better before considering it. You don't want to spend 40k lapis for a small gain.
CPU Version Upgrade => equip rods or whips, +50% MAG with rod, +50% MAG with whip
Rods and whips are generally the best sources of MAG in the game so the ability to equip this is always handy. Let's start by looking at TDH builds. This is essentially just a flat 40 MAG and +50% MAG accessory. That's only 10% better than Nutkin Hairpin (4 star TMR) which comes out to about 30 MAG. You might get a bit more benefit if you have Summer Whip (STMR) as your strongest MAG weapon but you'd lose out on a possible innate rod passive. Also whips have +40% MP as their IW rare so you can't make up the difference there. At best, using Summer Whip over a weaker rod would be a minor additional bump. Now let's look at TDW builds. Well, thanks to the sheer lack of non-STMR eqMAG TDW gear, all of the mages I checked with my gear outright prefer TDH builds (I can hit easily 300% TDH). I had to have less than 100% eqMAG TDH gear before FFBEEquip would switch to a TDW build on Christine. Even with Christine's STMR on her, the builder would only switch if I had less than 200% TDH available. (I have both Circe's STMR and Summer Whip so the favoring of TDH builds wasn't due to a lack of a strong whip or rod). If you have magic TDW gear or lack TDH gear, you'll likely benefit quite a bit from this STMR. Despite TDH builds being more likely to give higher MAG, AIKP's STMR does allow for a lot of slot efficiency and you can free up quite a few materia slots. You can sacrifice a little damage to equip a survival materia. Or you can stack multiple killers. Big caveat for that though - multiple magic killer materias are rare so a TDH build might still be better. For example, if I try to max damage against humans, the builder prefers TDW with a two killer materias equipped. If I max damage against beasts, it switches back to a TDH build instead because I only have one magic beast killer materia. . Overall, this is a minor boost under normal circumstances (most people won't have magic TDW gear and can easily get some magic TDH gear) and a decent boost under extremely specific conditions (right mix of gear and units). However, the 10% MP refresh is extremely useful to MP guzzling mages so despite the bump in MAG being small, it might have a significant impact in damage per turn (not having to pause a turn to restore MP). Overall, it's very good but nothing too amazing for mages in the general case. Equip Whip "usefulness" I will point out that there are a few interesting uses thanks to the equip whip passive. If you have 2 Summer Whips then you can use this plus the Equip whip materia from the 3rd floor of Madam's Manor. That'll let you have any two units chain the Rainbow Whip ability. Stick that on support units and you can very quickly hit the chain cap and give a wider window for you finishers. Yeah, that's incredibly niche... With this, you can use Yego's STMR on any unit... that wants TDH... and you don't have any other decent 2H weapons of more common weapon types... and that unit can't already equip whips... and has no strong passives for other weapon types... and your IW luck is so bad that the whip rare being +40% MP isn't a factor. And I thought the double Summer Whip idea was niche... To put this in simple terms, this is a shitty version of Equip Bows or Equip Axes which is pretty damn uncommon to begin with. If you have Summer Whip, a hybrid TDW (just Malphasie really) might get a decent bump in stats depending on your other gear. That's just one unit and very gear dependent so this is also very niche. Physical TDH
Okay, now we're getting somewhere. Flat 40 ATK , +40% ATK, and +50% TDH. That's a straight +40% ATK over Marshal Glove, Cloud's Cloak, and Rush glove. That comes out to about 120 ATK if you aren't hitting the stat cap (reasonable assumption with TDH units). For reference, the difference between 3120 ATK and 3000 ATK is 8.2% damage. The difference between 2630 and 2500 is 9.8%. But that assumes you want to get your TDH boost from your accessory slot. Units like Esther greatly favor her TMR for the LB damage boost. I haven't run the numbers but CG Rain will might want her TMR too since he is a LB spammer. So while this is the best e-peen ATK numbers accessory for physical TDH, it's not necessarily always optimal gear. Odds are you'll never equip it if you have Sabin's STMR (55 ATK, +30% HP, +60% ATK with fist) and a non-accessory source of TDH. Even Ravenheart which is meant to be a TDW accessory is potentially better when the killers apply. And we can't ever underestimate the usefulness of the guts passive on Lucid Lenses (55 ATK). So you'll probably see a sizable improvement for physical TDH builds with this (~9%), but it'll depend on your gear and specific fights. This is the most likely area where you'll see big gains over your existing gear. Again, the 10% MP refresh may make this worthwhile on high MP usage units even if there's no increase in ATK. Physical TDW
This fares pretty well because TDW gear is still pretty rare. The only other accessories are Ravenheart, Colorful Lei, and Hermes Sandals. We'll see CG OK's TMR too in the future but it's essentially the same as Hermes Sandals for the scope of this discussion. It's outright better than Hermes Sandals unless you need the LB/turn. Again that +40% ATK turns into about 120 ATK. BUT unlike TDH builds, hitting the stat cap (or at least coming close to it) is somewhat easy for TDW builds thanks to IW boosts on that second weapon. I did a few test builds with my own gear and this STMR was:
Equal for my Bartz build
+5% ATK more for my A Lassie build (but loses 25% evade).
Freed up a materia slot for my R Lightning build (assuming adding a 50% killer on top of the 200% I'd get from esper and first materia slot that's 16.7% increase in damage). This was only possible because I have a +62% ATK on my Prompto STMR. Lower IW enhancements didn't always free up a materia slot.
So don't expect this to help your physical TDW units by a significant amount unless it's a pretty niche situation or you are seriously lacking decent gear. If this would be your only TDW accessory, it's worthy of consideration (especially if you decided to go the prism moogle route for his TMR and only have one prism moogle). EDIT: If you have ravenheart, Lightning's STMR, and this STMR, you can free up as many as 3 materia slots. That's a lot of STMRs so I'm not going to change the rating but it is worth noting for folks with that gear. Hybrid TDH/TDW
Drive Version Upgrade => +40% ATK, +50% eqATK TDH, +50% eqATK TDW CPU Version Upgrade => equip rods or whips, +50% MAG with rod, +50% MAG with whip
I tested this with Elena builds and this outright beats Fry's STMR for TDH (25 ATK/MAG, +50% eqATK/eqMAG TDH). But is the difference worthwhile? I have Fry's STMR and with my existing gear I would get about a 10% improvement using this STMR. BUT that's only because the gain in ATK outweighs the loss in MAG. This would be worse against bosses with significantly higher DEF and SPR. It outright loses to Ravenheart for TDW because there's no eqMGA TDW on AIKP's STMR. I didn't find any builds with my gear that favored Upgrade Package over Ravenheart (checked with Fry and Malphaise) Tanky usage
Life extension => restore 10% HP/MP every turn Security Version Upgrade -> equip light/heavy shields, +40% SPR and +20% HP/DEF with light shield, +40% DEF and 20% SPHP with heavy shield
Lets' start by comparing this to Genbu Ring (7 DEF/SPR, +20% HP/DEF/SPR) which is my baseline accessory for survival: Upgrade Package wins here when but only with a shield equipped (it's worthless without a shield equipped). On a tank that is a decently safe assumption. On a support unit you might be better off without the shield if your unit can equip knives(IW rare gives LB fill rate boost) and that unit has an LB that you want to spam. If LB doesn't matter, this is pretty good for them. But what about other accessories? Obviously, the ring of never ending grinding is better for giving tanky stats (+30% HP, +50% DEF/SPATK/MAG). Emperor's Ring (STMR, 30 DEF/SPR, +40% HP, +30% DEF with large shield, +30% SPR with light shield, +50% fire resist). That 30 DEF/SPR is about 10% of those stats (even more if you have eqDEF/SPR boosts) so you're losing out on about 10% SPR or DEF but gaining 20% HP and 50% fire resist. Emperor's Ring is outright better in my opinion (HP is king). We also have Ring of the Lucii, Colorful Lei, Therion's Scarf, Protec Grappler G3, and Twenty sided die that will always be better on an evade tank. Safety bit is often needed on tanks (many need their shield slot for TMR bonus or Moogle Plushie for 100% passive provoke so Genji Shield is often not an option for death resist). There's also Shortcake which is essentially ribbon with 54 SPR, +10% SPR, +5% refresh, and 2 LB/turn. The ailment resist and LB combined will often make it more than worthwhile to sacrifice a bit of eHP. So this is a bit better than Genbu Ring and that's only if you can afford to equip a shield. The tanky aspect of this accessory is most definitely NOT worth chasing an STMR. Consider it a very nice bonus. Note: a lot of people are considering this for Liquid Metal Slime. Granting the ability to equip a shield and rod/whip adds an incredible amount of bulk to LMS. But that is extremely niche (limited unit that shared a banner with a few other 4 star units...) so I'm not factoring it into my ratings. Overall Good for:
Physical TDH units. Up to 120 ATK gains but there are many cases where you still wouldn't want it. (LB spammers will want Esther's TMR, Sabin's STMR is generally better, etc).
Hybrid TDH units with ATK favoring builds
Units that need bulk and will be equipping a shield
Gas guzzlers (even if the other boosts end up small, 10% MP refresh is very good)
Mages if you have magic TDW gear or lack TDH gear (rare scenario).
Small/no gains/very niche for:
Physical TDW units see small gains due to easily hitting stat cap. Most value is from the possibility that you can free up a materia slot (extremely gear and unit dependent).
All mages unless you have eqMAG TDW gear (all STMRs) on a unit that favors TDW or you have minimal eqMAG TDH gear.
Hybrid TDH units with MAG favoring builds (compared to Fry's STMR; it might be good if you don't have that)
Hybrid TDW units (compared to Ravenheart; it's probably be good if you don't have that)
(tanky builds) Any unit that won't use a shield (LB spammers) or wants evade
Final Thoughts Overall I do not think this is worth 40k Lapis if all you care about is the STMR. Sure it covers a lot of situations but it doesn't matter how flexible the item is if you can only equip it on one unit at a time. From that perspective, it's no more valuable than any other STMR you'd always have equipped. You'd need to see significant gains to justify that amount of spending. Here are the times when I recommend going after the STMR:
You have a deep roster, you aren't saving for any specific units, and you have 40k lapis burning a hole in your pocket.
You have a deep roster, you aren't saving for any specific units, and you have a STMR moogle burning a hole in your pocket.
You were pulling for AIKP and got a non-guaranteed one in the first two laps.
I'm giving this 2 separate ratings:
Potential BiS for pure ATK TDH builds.
Very good for all use cases considered together (although man use cases are niche there are enough to make this worth putting on a unit all the time).
As you can see, this is a really good week for gear. Dodge roll is probably the most important item to pick up. Potential BiS:
[OC] The 150 Greatest Characters of the Marvel Cinematic Universe FINALE: #10-1
We are here! A lot of people have been saying how much they can't wait to read the top ten, and at last, that day has come. Sorry for the delay since #20-11, I've had a few other things on my plate. But today, on the twelve year anniversary of Iron Man's release, we're finally here! But first, a look back on the top 150 to date: 150.Yon-Rogg 149.Betty Ross 148.Vanessa Marianna-Fisk 147.Trevor Slattery 146.Proxima Midnight 145.Hogun 144.Aldrich Killian (The Mandarin) 143.Jiaying 142.Harold Meachum 141.Jeffrey Mace 140.The Collector 139.Bakuto 138.Willis Stryker (Diamondback) 137.Harley Keener 136.Ivan Vanko (Whiplash) 135.Brock Rumlow (Crossbones) 134.Davos 133.Jane Foster 132.Joy Meachum 131.Christine Palmer 130.Dormammu 129.Lady Sif 128.Thaddeus Ross 127.Alexandra Reid 126.Sharon Carter 125.Erik Selvig 124.Nobu Yoshioka 123.Nakia 122.Sonny Burch 121.Malcolm Ducasse 120.Elena Rodriguez (Yo-Yo) 119.Happy Hogan 118.Stick 117.Amy Bendix 116.Ray Nadeem 115.The Grandmaster 114.Ward Meachum 113.Darcy Lewis 112.Lincoln Campbell 111.Hela 110.Arnim Zola 109.Alexander Pierce 108.Claire Temple 107.Frigga 106.Ulysses Klaue 105.Obadiah Stane (Iron Monger) 104.Wong 103.Jeri Hogarth 102.Yinsen 101.Pepper Potts 100.M’Baku 99.Ego 98.Karl Mordo 97.Ned Leeds 96.Korg 95.Mantis 94.William Rawlins (Agent Orange) 93.May Parker 92.Raina 91.Lewis Wilson 90.Janet Van Dyne 89.Justin Hammer 88.Johann Schmidt (Red Skull) 87.Maria Hill 86.Ebony Maw 85.Lash 84.Trish Walker 83.Curtis Hoyle 82.Ben Urich 81.Pietro Maximoff (Quicksilver) 80.Madame Gao 79.Danny Rand (Iron Fist) 78.James Wesley 77.David Lieberman (Micro) 76.Howard Stark 75.Michelle Jones 74.Misty Knight 73.Calvin Zabo 72.Foggy Nelson 71.John McIver (Bushmaster) 70.Ava Starr (Ghost) 69.Elektra 68.Hive 67.Heimdall 66.Colleen Wing 65.Talos 64.John Pilgrim 63.Bobbi Morse (Mockingbird) 62.Karen Page 61.Luis 60.Cornell Stokes (Cottonmouth) 59.Helmut Zemo 58.Dinah Madani 57.Yondu 56.Adrian Toomes (Vulture) 55.James Rhodes (War Machine) 54.Billy Russo 53.Alphonso “Mack” Mackenzie 52.Carol Danvers (Captain Marvel) 51.Jessica Jones 50.Okoye 49.Quentin Beck (Mysterio) 48.Aida 47.Odin 46.Hank Pym 45.Jemma Simmons 44.Ancient One 43.Luke Cage 42.Robbie Reyes (Ghost Rider) 41.Ultron 40.Melinda May 39.Vision 38.Groot 37.Nick Fury 36.Clint Barton (Hawkeye) 35.Sam Wilson (Falcon) 34.Hernan Alvarez (Shades) 33.Lance Hunter 32.Valkyrie 31.Hope Van Dyne (Wasp) 30.Gamora 29.Benjamin Poindexter (Bullseye) 28.T’Challa (Black Panther) 27.Wanda Maximoff (Scarlet Witch) 26.Phil Coulson 25.Leo Fitz 24.Natasha Romanoff (Black Widow) 23.Drax the Destroyer 22.Peggy Carter 21.Mariah Dillard 20.Grant Ward 19.Kilgrave 18.Daisy Johnson (Quake) 17.Scott Lang (Ant-Man) 16.Bucky Barnes (The Winter Soldier) 15.Bruce Banner (Hulk) 14.Wilson Fisk (Kingpin) 13.Erik Killmonger 12.Frank Castle (The Punisher) 11.Nebula #10. Stephen Strange (Doctor Strange) Sometimes, the fans just get it right. Legions of MCU fans were clamoring Kevin Feige and Marvel Studios to cast Benedict Cumberbatch in the role as the Sorcerer Supreme, and when Feige and co relented, the result was golden. Doctor Strange is one of the most powerful heroes in the MCU, going from a crippled shell of himself at the beginning of his first film to a supremely powerful Master of the Mystic Arts by the end. It's usually said that Doctor Strange doesn't have any actual "superpowers" so to speak, but I tend to disagree: I believe Stephen Strange's super power is his iron will, absolutely unbreakable by anyone in the universe. He let himself be killed, over and over again, for what probably amounted to centuries or millennia, if not for millions of years. And he never tapped out, he never relented. Doctor Strange is unmatched not just in his mystical power, but in his pure resolve to protect the physical world from all harm and destruction. #9. Rocket Raccoon Rocket Raccoon has been another member of the 'pleasant surprise' category in the MCU. He was always great, starting as the funniest Guardian and vehicle for a legendary performance by Bradley Cooper. But over the course of Rocket's four film appearances, we've learned about a complex character who's been hurt by everyone he's ever been close to and is grappling with the fact that he was made into something he never asked to be. At the same time though, for all the powerful emotional stuff going on with the character of Rocket, he is still just hilarious. A sarcastic quote for each and every occasion, the insistence that he's the captain of the Guardians' ship, and of course the scene where Bucky picks him up and spins him around killing outriders in Wakanda, which is the greatest scene in the MCU bar none. #8. Thor Thor, Son of Odin, King of Asgard, Guardian of the Nine Realms. The original Thor was the third MCU movie I saw in theaters, and I wasn't expecting much out of it. But like Iron Man before it, Thor was a massive surprise. Thor as a character has had one of the longest, most tumultuous journeys of any character in the franchise, and considering he's lived over 1,500 years old, those thirteen years he's been here have changed everything in the blink of an eye. Thor has one by one lost everyone from his old life on Asgard, leaving him alone in his life, the oldest man on earth by a few centuries and with hardly anyone he can truly relate to. Still, Thor suits up and goes to battle for a planet he's only recently known over and over again, putting his life on the line for people he will outlive by a few centuries more. Thor isn't just the ultimate warrior, he's also a great man and a good friend. #7. Matt Murdock (Daredevil) The first MCU superhero to be adapted to the small screen, the portrayal of Matt Murdock was knocked clear out of the park. Charlie Cox was one of the MCU's greatest castings, and the writing behind the character does true justice to one of the great comic heroes of all time. Matt Murdock is a man defined by his struggle to adhere to his vigorous moral code when the criminals he's fighting are bound by no such restriction. Still, even though every thug he beats up lives to tell the tale, it only serves to spread word about the Devil of Hell's Kitchen, and make the worst of society think twice about what they do in the shadows. Though it's now up in limbo whether we'll ever see Matt don his famous red suit again, should he not return there's still solace in a perfect final scene, where the Daredevil beats Wilson Fisk to a bloody husk and announces, with great authority and possibly even relief, that the Kingpin had been beaten. #6. Peter Quill (Star-Lord) With Peter Quill, Marvel had the unique challenge of having to build a famous movie hero out of an unknown comic character. Only Marvel's diehards had any idea about any of the Guardians of the Galaxy, Quill included, and so when the 2014 team movie became a smash hit, it was a surprise to many. It didn't hurt to have Chris Pratt in the role, bringing a goofy charisma that only a few actors can pull off. But what makes Quill so great is that beyond the wisecracking man-child is a layered character with a lot of internal tumult, mostly suppressed but often appearing when Quill loses control of his emotions. Peter lost his mother at a young age, something he was never taught to deal with, and every time since that he found himself a new family, it wasn't long before death took them too. It was obviously a strategic disaster for Peter to lose his cool on Titan, but doesn't he deserve it at this point? Everyone he's ever loved promptly died, and he finally found the person responsible for one of them. You can't expect him not to beat the crap out of Thanos there. #5. Peter Parker (Spider-Man) Powers can fall upon the strangest people sometimes, and unlike the genius billionaires, norse gods and born war heroes of the Marvel world, Peter Parker was just a kid, one who was really unprepared to be a superhero in any way. Sure he's quite intelligent for his young age, but suddenly becoming the strongest human alive and having abilities on par with the superheroes he admired was a pretty stark change for Peter. Ever since his first appearance in Captain America: Civil War, we've gotten to watch Peter learn just what his role is in this greater universe of superheroes, where someone like him is in position to truly enact positive change. It's of course also worth noting that Tom Holland has been fantastic in the role, especially up against Hulk-sized expectations from people who may have been rooting for Dylan O'Brien or Logan Lerman. One of the MCU's most iconic moments came in that first Civil War trailer when Spidey snatched away Captain America's shield landed in frame for his first appearance alongside the Avengers, right back where he belongs. Spider-Man is home, and this whole big journey wouldn't be as special without him. #4. Thanos Marvel's Darth Vader, teased from the shadows for years and then finally unveiled in grand fashion. Thanos flipped over everything we thought we knew about superhero movie villains when he not only did not die in Avengers: Infinity War, but he actually won. Not in the Helmut Zemo "lost but still won" way, but Thanos won outright. He went to each infinity stone and fought and killed whoever he had to fight and kill in order to take them, and then he did. There's no other MCU villain with that kind of performance. Tony Stark feared Thanos before he even met him, and he was clearly right to do so. Thanos took advantage of a divided Avengers team and walked right past them to achieve his goal and decimate half the universe. While he didn't have the absolute most fleshed-out backstory or the very most sympathetic motivation, Thanos was the perfect blend of being a legitimate threat and layered character. The role of being the villain in the final, ultimate climax of the Marvel Cinematic Universe was a task the size of the universe itself, and Thanos rose to the challenge. #3. Loki The first enemy to assemble the Avengers stands behind only Ledger's Joker in the hierarchy of comic movie villains, but as a character he's so much more than just that. Loki's arc from his first appearance nine years ago has been long and winding, and always captivating and heartbreaking. The adopted son of Odin, Prince of Asgard, felt a burden to rule that only he could fulfill, but his (perhaps justified) self-aspiration was met with a blatant preference toward his older brother, and immediately thereafter the revelation he had not been born to royalty at all. After being set adrift in the cosmos, Loki found himself a mind slave to the mad titan Thanos, landing him eventually into an Asgardian prison cell. From there he was shunned by most of his family, with his most cherished relative, his mother, being killed unceremoniously shortly thereafter. When Loki finally achieved redemption, found peace and restored his relationship with his brother, it was not long before the life was squeezed out of his frail windpipe by the galactic terrorist whose clutches he thought he'd escaped. Not only was Loki's character journey well-written and well-executed, you can't talk about Loki without mentioning the masterful performance of Tom Hiddleston. Hiddleston brought just the amount of charm that the god of mischief deserves, making it not at all hard to believe that Loki could take over the kingdom of Asgard by merit of his deceptive charisma alone. #2. Steve Rogers (Captain America) The leader of the Avengers, the man with the iron heart, the humanity that tied gods and monsters back down to Earth. Steve Rogers is, in his own words, "just a kid from Brooklyn", but what's inside of him made him so much more. Captain America wasn't just a name to reflect the spangly suit that Steve Rogers wore to battle, it was a symbol of the qualities we as Americans like to strive to reflect: perseverance, fortitude, and the unwavering commitment to do what's right regardless of how hard it is. There's a lot of moments you can point to as the definitive moment of Steve's character, but I can't think of a better choice than when Steve, with a broken body, broken shield, and broken home stood alone against the entire legions of Thanos's army. It didn't matter what the odds were. It didn't matter that he could stand down and bargain for his survival. All that mattered was the mission, and there was nothing in the universe that could stop Steve from fighting for what was right. And when the portals opened behind his backs, ushering in the armies of the world to stand against Thanos's tyranny, a powerful statement was made that those who are willing to lay it all down on the line usually don't do so alone. "The price of freedom is high; it always has been. But it's a price I'm willing to pay. And if I'm the only one, then so be it. But I'm willing to bet I'm not." #1. Tony Stark (Iron Man) It all began with one man, one man who wasn't born great, and didn't have it thrust upon him; rather he achieved it, he built it from scratch when all hope was lost. Because Tony wasn't strong enough to punch his way out of that cave, nor could he shoot lasers from his fists, shrink to microscopic size, or run past the speed of light. He used the one thing the terrorists couldn't take away from his: his mind. He didn't have the means to escape readily available to him, so he built them. Tony Stark's superpower is his brain, and his ironclad will. Everything in the MCU, from the very most grounded to the most bizarre and cosmic, all stemmed from Tony Stark's story, the journey he began twelve years ago. Iron Man ushered in a new era of not just cinema, but global culture. Tony Stark has been at the center of this great big saga since day one; he is the most compelling and most complex character with the most impactful presence in the 23 films of the MCU so far. The greatest accomplishment of this great big universe, is the man behind the ARC reactor. And when it all came to a head, the culmination of a decade plus of excitement and joy and tears and laughter, the climax it had all been building up to...the journey of one man, the one that eleven years prior saw him clinging to life in that cave, finally saw its conclusion. The MCU is Tony Stark. He is its heart, its soul, and of course, its greatest character. Thank you all for coming along on this journey with me, I hope you've enjoyed reading these as much as I've enjoyed making them! #150-141 #140-131 #130-121 #120-111 #110-101 #100-91 #90-81 #80-71 #70-61 #60-51 #50-41 #40-31 #30-21 #20-11
Please be warned - this review contains spoilers for the entire plot of the Remake - continue to read at your own peril.
User Review - The Fellowship of the Planet
“The reunion at hand may bring joy, it may bring fear. But let us embrace whatever it brings. For they are coming back.” – Words that accompanied the Remake reveal trailer back in 2015 and I bet a lot of you fall sharply between those two categories. For me I stand firmly with those that this game brought joy to and I’m willing to accept whatever may come because this is going to be one fine ride. Allow me to explain why.
Cracking the Combat
It could be argued by a lot that Final Fantasy is nothing without Active Time Battle and they would seek to have this style of battle in modern day Final Fantasy games. But how do you implement a battle system that was designed to fit with the limitations of past generations into a modern game and call it a success? For many years Square Enix had been playing with the formula, trying to get it right. XII was enjoyable and looked like the series was taking a step in the right direction. XIII continued that but for a system like the PS3 these limitations felt dated. XV abandoned it all together and went full on action, alienating a lot of core Final Fantasy fans right out the gate - they hated XV no matter what you told them. What Square Enix have done with the Remake is learn from all those mistakes, consider why people loved Final Fantasy and also considered what’s expected of a modern day RPG and blended them beautifully to create one of the series’ most fun and engaging battle systems. Each character feels like they have their unique effect on a particular battle. Cloud uses his punisher mode which is effective especially vs. harder melee units. You can really feel Barrett’s absence from the squad when you don’t have him for ranged foes and he can really be a powerhouse as well. Tifa’s combat design is the highlight of them all – they have introduced a Chi system whereby Tifa can build this and improve her stats and also the abilities available to her on her triangle ability – this coupled with their unique weapon abilities really made them feel like individual characters that had different pros and cons. This is a welcome improvement as in the original I felt like the characters were just skins when it came to battle – with the exception of Materia growth weapons and limit breaks. The Materia system feels as good as the original – better? I wouldn’t say so. You can master your Materia in this game and have access to the more powerful spells around ½ to ¾ of the way through the story if the Materia was equipped to Cloud who’s pretty much always involved. Materia that is mastered does not spawn another Materia like the original. I found this somewhat limiting on my first play through as I’d have liked to have had the option to use more Magnify Materia if available. The Materia system in its inception was of an excellent design and this continues that – I hope that for subsequent entries to the series we see a return of Materia growth producing a reward in the form of a newly produced Materia and perhaps the addition of Magic, Command and Summon Master Materia in the final entry. A completely new system added was the ability to have weapon growth. This is a welcome addition and allows for your weapons attained earlier in the game to be a viable option later on. I’m currently playing through Hard Mode with the Hardedge and that’s not my most recent weapon. It helps to produce weapons that have different functions for different scenarios. For example all characters have a spell caster type weapon, which I expect is a response to how important magic use is in the game given the importance of stagger and finding out how to trigger that. Stagger is another new dimension added to the game and I felt it added an additional, and welcome, lair of strategy to the game where by you’d have to figure out, or at least assess the enemy in order to learn the best strategy. Just as mashing square will make things difficult for you, not acknowledging weakness and just firing random attacks at enemies isn’t as efficient in dispatching enemies. I think this is the greatest battle system that a Final Fantasy game has had in a long time and it really is one of the highlights of the game.
Square have used typical level design systems such as ladders, tight spaces that your party take time to move through and bending roads to get you to your destination that bit slower, which is to be expected when you have a game as rich in detail as this and the loading times required to get this data won’t be short. In fact you can definitely tell they’re not short as some of the textures are still loading as you reach them. At the time of writing (pre-launch) this was still an issue but there’s supposedly a day 1 patch to solve this. I hope this is the case as it’s the only thing detracting from a truly beautiful game. One thing I will say is that the game from Chapters 1 through 3 and then 15 through to 18 were absolutely stunning. The reactor missions (1 & 5), walking through the Sector 8 plate in Chapter 2 and every aspect of the Shinra building was some of the most polished environments I’ve seen in gaming and it really is great what they have achieved here. That being said, the areas between Sector 5, 6 & 7 really seemed like they’d cheaped out slightly, on some of the textures and details around those areas. The exception to this would probably be Aerith’s house – particular attention had been taken to that and you can see why, but even then when the flowers were close to the screen they seemed pretty low quality – I’m not sure whether this was because it was during an in-game rendered cut scene and they were slow to load like I had mentioned previously or it was simply down to the quantity of them on screen. As you go along the game in between areas, there are obstacles and small puzzles to complete. These were engaging without being too time consuming or monotonous. The collapsed road area with the robotic hands was a fun puzzle (special shout out for attention to detail here – you can see Cloud move the joysticks on the console the same way you move them on your controller) and I particularly liked the floor they had added to Shinra Tower where the party is split and you’re being pitted against Hojo’s experiments. These all felt like worthwhile parts to this story and game and were welcome additions. Something that I noticed with the level design is that in every instance, the least obvious route when going through the game, always seemed to be the right one. I would always explore the least obvious route in attempts not to miss anything and find that I had actually made the right choice and could progress whilst having to go back and check the obvious route in case I’d actually missed something there. When playing through on Hard at the time of writing and trying to blast through the levels, not exploring and taking everything in, I find myself going the obvious route and experiencing what I feel like the designers must have intended – but that’s not how RPG fans tend to do things!
Side Characters & Quests
This was something I was concerned about as Final Fantasy hasn’t done this well in recent times, when I think back on Final Fantasy XV I can think of maybe one or two NPCs and that’s mainly because of the number of quests I got from the same people. The Remake does this well in that I’ll remember Marle, Johnny, Lesley, Mrs. M, Chocobo Sam and Andrea Rhodea. I’ll remember the teacher at the Leaf School and that she moonlights as a dancer at the HoneyBee Inn (you can find her in the alleyway behind the HoneyBee Inn in Chapter 9!). I’ll remember the Angel of the Slums and her granddaughter. Square Enix this time have created side characters with a story. There was a real sense of community around the slums in this game. Was it on par with The Witcher 3’s side quests? Maybe not, but it was definitely a step in the right direction and another solid foundation for which they can build on within this Remake series. One criticism I have of the side quests I have in this game is their pacing. The set of side quests in Chapter 3 Is fine as you’re between bombing missions and there is some down time – it was nice to have these here and really offered a time to become more familiar with the mechanics of the game. I would say the Sector 5 quests before you go to Aerith’s house were fine also but these maybe could have been served better by picking them up on the road from the church to the slums and completing them that way – to fit them into the story rather than stopping and just helping people. The pacing of the side quests felt really off when we reach Chapter 14. I’m appreciative of the content added through side quests, the colosseum and completing Chadley’s battle reports. But I can’t help but feel that this should have become available slightly before the party insisting to go and rescue Aerith – it just seems like there’s a buzz to rescue Aerith and then Tifa says, “we should try and help people around whilst we can”. Seemed like an odd choice.
Voice Acting & Writing
I’m not sure I’m the authority on judging what’s good voice acting and what isn’t as I come from a time in gaming where you didn’t have any voice acting and I’m appreciative of it all. I really enjoyed the voice acting in Final Fantasy X because it was one of the first times I had experience it and it brought a real emotion and life to the characters. That being said, I thought they did a really good job with the voice acting here. The main cast actors did a great job and I enjoyed Cloud & Tifa’s voice actors in particular. They have real acting experience having been in various popular productions. Aerith’s voice actor really comes into her own at the end – I’m not sure whether that’s because what she’s discussing has more gravitas or whether she got better as the process went on. Barrett’s voice acting can be kind of stereotypical black guy which can feel awkward at times but as he mellows out and becomes more of a comedic character (with the introduction of Red) it gets better – which I remember feeling even when reading his speech in the original. The voice actor for Red is so well chosen and he pulls his part of well, despite it being as short as it is. The voice acting for the NPCs was decent enough – more so for the top tier NPCs like Marle, Chocobo Sam, Mrs. M, Andrea and so on – than it was for some of the quest givers. But that’s to be expected and I don’t think any complaints can be made about that. When it comes to the writing on the whole I thought they’d taken the current story and expanded on that well. They really gave life to Midgar in a different way, made it more of a community and made me care more about the extra characters roaming about than I did in the original. The script written for the characters you can’t interact with was different for every chapter and it had those characters discussing current events which is a very nice attention to detail.
Mini-Games & Post-Game Content
Going into the game, Square Enix said they had added mini-games at appropriate times during the story where they would fit in. A dart board in a bar, squat and pull-up challenges in a gym, box hitting game in an area where kids are aspiring to be good fighters. It all makes sense. The mini-games were fun I felt, I never felt bored trying to play them to completion to receive the trophy. I had fun doing so and it presented enough of a challenge to keep me entertained. I’d have enjoyed them even more if there was a hub in one of the chapters that had all the games available, like a games room or something. As it stands, to replay the mini-games you have to go to the relevant chapter and find that game progressing through the story. Which leads me on to end game content. I had wondered how they were going to handle this as canonically, the party leave Midgar at the end of the game not to return so that kind of rules out free reign over Midgar to explore all the previous areas and fight extra enemies. What they do have however, is a chapter select feature. At first I was a bit annoyed at this as I enjoy the freedom that came at the end of a Final Fantasy game to have access to all end game content to complete at a whim, but as I’ve played through it more it’s actually very fun. The hard mode is challenging without being absolutely brutal and there are items to find in each chapter when it comes to hard mode. There is a greater number of battles to undertake in the Shinra Battle Simulator as well – at the time of writing I’m just about to dive into these.
Story of the Remake
I saw a journalist describe this game as the most well written story in a Final Fantasy game in years and I can’t really argue with that. Before everyone cries out in pain at my comments allow me to elaborate. When you take the story in isolation it kicks off spectacularly with the bombing mission – it really draws you in and leaves you wanting more as those who played the demo can attest to. Then we have the expanded run through Sector 8 which adds a real gravitas to the event and how they’ve unfolded. This is a small example of how they’ve taken a great story and built in it successfully to improve the experience for a modern generation. When it comes to the additions through the game – the chapter with Jessie, Biggs and Wedge was decent but probably the poorest of the additions to the game. I never really understood Roche or why he was there, just an off chance to add an additional boss? It wasn’t by any means boring or poorly done – just that I felt it was a slow point in the story. I liked how they handled the Sector 5 bombing mission and the fall from the reactor right up until we get to Wall Market, it all seemed very familiar and nostalgic. Another part that was added and appreciated was the build up to the Air Buster fight – that sequence where by you remove its essential components to make the battle easier for yourself was a clever mechanic. Being introduced to Aerith properly and her theme playing as Cloud wakes up sends shivers down my spine – it’s so good. Wall Market was one of my favourite parts of this game – I honestly found Wall Market in the original to be a bit tiring and never understood the clamour around the cross dressing scene and how important it is to the Final Fantasy VII community. Can I just say that Square Enix have completely changed my mind in that – the part of this story and the addition of the events in the HoneyBee Inn are really great. I found them really entertaining and the dancing Cloud mini-game and segment was excellent. This for me is one of the areas they improved upon greatly from the original and it’s to be commended. Next I want to come to the Sector 7 plate fall – before that we have the sewer system segment and then the train graveyard which seem fairly true to the original and it’s nice how they expanded on those areas to give greater detail and add the additional sub plot of the lost children and the boss that resides there. I really enjoyed the part where we got to look into Aerith’s past and see how lonely she was as a child, for me this was one of the saddest moments of the game and really serves to show Aerith’s strength that despite losing her mother and having this childhood – she’s still a very strong, kind person. We knew this from the original but this is a nice addition that reinforces those character traits. Moving on to the plate fall, this is what I thought about the most in the lead up to this game. The great human cost of the actions carried out by Avalanche and how that would affect the members of the party. My taste for this segment was soured early on as Wedge survives his fall from the pillar. Now I know we never actually see Wedge, Jessie or Biggs die on screen in the original but this was part of that human cost and should not have been messed with. When I progressed up the pillar and saw Biggs seemingly die and Jessie go the same way, I was glad they didn’t completely change the whole thing to make it easier on the emotions of those playing – with that I was happy and then we go through the sequence of plate fall and that really was a stunning reimagining of the sequence and we seemingly see Wedge perish. So I had felt they were just pulling my leg and was fine with that. Next we move on and find out the evacuation saved a lot of Sector 7 and Wedge has actually survived – that human cost was lost even though Barrett’s reaction was still there – although we learn later that it’s not as bad as he feared. This is what annoyed me the most about the story written for the remake (contrary to the rest of this community I suspect) – that we were losing on that raw emotion and devastation of the loss of the characters they had successfully fleshed out and built up for us in the early game. We later find out that Wedge is killed by the Arbiters (although off screen so who knows if that will stick) and Biggs survives the plate fall. This for me is my biggest gripe with the Remake – but again it won’t be an issue for newcomers to the franchise. Finally, we come to the climb to the plate and the Shinra Building. As I had mentioned earlier in the review, the Shinra building is one of the best looking, most polished gaming environments I ever played through. It really was impressive and Square Enix should be proud of themselves. I wasn’t really that bothered with Mayor Domino and I get that they’re trying to expand the story and explain why in the original the party could sneak through which was essentially a military complex without much resistance. Just a point of note – I’ve done both the stairs and elevator in the Shinra Building section and both have really good segments. The stairs are the stairs, but you get entertaining dialogue and it takes a while to get there. It shows who’s on what floor and the order of 1st, 2nd and 3rd which I thought was a nice touch. By going up the elevator, you stop at every tenth floor with a battle, then run into a woman who’s terrified to find Cloud with a sword in her face and then a man who walks into the lift so oblivious that he doesn’t even notice the 3 standing at the back of the lift. Both fun little segments. The ascent to Hojo’s Lab and the lab section itself were well done and entertaining, as I had mentioned above I really enjoyed the new section where the party was split and using the PHS stations you had to change parties to solve the puzzles and defeat the enemies. A long with the HoneyBee Inn segment, I feel like this is the best addition to the game. Now we come to the controversial part of the game and only my second mention of the Arbiters of Fate in this review, which is intentional as I wanted to cover this all at the one time. I felt like the Arbiters were representative of the purist fans trying to fight against any deviation from the original. When Jessie was going on the reactor 5 bombing mission, when Wedge survived and he was pulled out a window on Shinra tower, when Barrett was stabbed by Sephiroth and then saved and when Cloud attempted to stop the removal of Jenova’s body from Shinra tower. The idea of course being that these Arbiters of Fate are trying to course correct the Remake plot so that we have the same result in the end. It allowed them to put in the cheap shock of Barrett’s wound from Sephiroth and Wedge surviving the plate fall but course correcting in the end to achieve the same end result. What we have in the end though is the defeat of the Arbiters of Fate (one who wields a sword, one who wields a gun and one who fights with its fists…) and as such a suggestion that now things can change and the squad can alter their destiny. There’s been a lot said about this and the fears people have about the changes that may occur in subsequent instalments because of this – but I’m not concerned. It seems to me like the squad have seen snippets of their future that they don’t understand or know how to interpret and their goal is essentially still the same leaving Midgar – catch and stop Sephiroth. How can we know that their actions won’t be exactly the same as they are the same characters and will take the same actions otherwise? How can we tell for sure they’ll interpret the visions from the Arbiters correctly? Misreading visions from the future is a classic story telling trope. I feel like what we may have here is a Star Trek style reboot (which wouldn’t be out the question given the Wedge and Biggs reference – the makers of Final Fantasy have always been fans of the franchise). Influences from the future have intervened and caused a change in the events but that change in the events will mainly end up with everything turning out the same, but arriving there in a slightly different way. This makes the Remake a fresh gaming experience for all involved but through that we get to experience the events that we all love, just arriving there by a slightly different road. I personally don’t mind this direction at all and really enjoyed the conclusion of the game. The game has just been released and I’m already tempted to Google “When with FFVII Remake Part 2 be released” even though I know it will yield no results. There are still a few things making me scratch my head, like the survival of Zak – was that the past as it’s always been in this game or did the events at the end move the party into a different plane where Zak survived? Bigg’s being alive and what looks like the Sector 7 plate being intact – what can that mean? This is what makes the wait for Part 2 so agonising now!
In conclusion to everything that I’ve said I’ll summarise my thoughts on this game – and what a game it is. I loved every minute of playing it, it felt like a real journey. I finished the game in just under 40 hours but I’m still playing through the end game content and when I reflect back on where the squad and I were at the start of the game and where they and I were at the end and how it felt to go on that journey, it definitely feels rich. I’ve named my review Fellowship of the Planet – this is the second movie comparison I’ve made in relation to the remake – it is of course a reference to Lord of the Rings. When I was 11 years old I went to see The Fellowship of the Ring with my family and I never knew about the books or anything to do with that world. I left utterly amazed but confused by the ending. My dad told me there were to be more entries to the story. I couldn’t believe my luck that there was more of this to come and the wait was going to be really hard. The second time I’ve felt that way in life is with the Final Fantasy VII Remake. This is a game with amazing gameplay, writing, music and story (especially for the newcomers who aren’t comparing it to another story). This is a fantastic foundation on which Square Enix can build and the Remake trilogy (if it is indeed that) will be a spectacular achievement in gaming that really will be the crowning glory bridging the generational gap on PlayStation. People letting the ending cloud their experience and ignoring every other aspect of the game to put it down are entitled to their opinion – but I think they’re down right wrong and I wouldn’t let what these people say detract you from experiencing what is essentially an amazing game. It serves no purpose for me to give this game a rating as you have nothing else that I have written by which to compare it to but if I did it would be a 9/10. What is a tangible comparison though is the games I would consider to be peers of the Remake in quality that sit on my shelf. God of War, Horizon Zero Dawn, the Witcher 3 and Death Stranding. Four of my favourite games from this generation. Its leagues ahead of what we got with Final Fantasy XV and I say that as someone who enjoyed that game thoroughly.
A rich combat system that is the best to come with a Final Fantasy game in a generation.
Unique character play styles that make each character exciting and interesting to play.
Beautiful graphics which can be held amongst the most attractive games this generation.
A musical score that builds on the success of the original whilst introducing new music which stands up to the test of the quality of the old music. Some of the versions of the classic Final Fantasy VII found in this game are exceptional.
The addition of story elements that improve upon the story-telling experience from the original. While many sections remain faithful and help fuel that feeling of nostalgia.
Side characters which you care about, a real sense of community in the slums.
While the graphics are beautiful, the game has issues with a slow streaming rate loading in textures which can detract from the experience at times. There can be long pauses before character interactions due to data streaming issues also.
Some convoluted additional story elements at the end of the game which will annoy purists – I was fine with the ending but was annoyed with the removal of the emotional weight that came with the plate fall from the original.
The Zoo I worked at had strange rules and regulations. This is a story from the heart [Part 2].
The interview is where it all started The interview was not what I expected Someone died on my first day The second challenge changed me The next challenge made me question everything I rediscovered something important My third challenge was my last The greatest risks bring the greatest opportunities This is a story from the heart [Part 1] --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- His legs hit me like a truck. I was able to maintain my balance, but I was pushed back quite a distance. Domuni was completely different now, nowhere near being frog-like. His legs kept getting more and more distorted until I could swear the faces on them were whispering to me. Let it go Durant. Become one with my darkness... He launched his next attack with breakneck speed. I was able to dodge it, but I felt the pain the first attack had left when my thigh made contact with the ground. And then my eyes faced the blood. The reason I felt like I had a disadvantage in this fight was because I couldn't keep my eyes focused on two things at once. Domuni's attack was more of an immediate threat to me than his blood was, but it was starting to catch up. I wanted to jump back up, but I couldn't risk Domuni striking Hazard in the crossfire. I decided to stay on the ground, but move further into the darkness of the feeding compound. Domuni's legs scratched on the concrete like fingernails to a blackboard. I ran until I reached the 7th row of feeding cages and stopped in front of the first one thinking it should be far enough to keep Hazard from harm. This row of food was leftover livestock that had been imported from the farms way outside of the Zoo. Those farms are there specifically to raise these animals to be fed to...well...other animals. The meat was normally always fresh, but no shipments have been done in these last few weeks, so the flesh was starting to rot. Domuni stopped at the 5th cage, right in the middle of the row. Someone...is almost here. Once they join the fight, it's over for you Durant. I completely forgot about the stranger approaching the feeding compound. I concentrated my hearing to focus on their footsteps. From the sound of it, they were barely 2 minutes away. That was all the time I had to defeat Domuni. AHHHHHHHHHHH. He released a shrill battle cry and launched his entire body at me. I ran behind the cage and then jumped on top of it. His toes shot out to grapple my leg, but had just hit the grating. I opened up my abyss. I didn't know whether he would be affected by it at all or not, but it was the best move I had. He did not seem fazed as he was slowly being suctioned closer to my mouth. The moment he reached the grating, he held strong. His grip was remarkable for how tiny and slimy his legs were. I tried vacuuming harder but he wouldn't budge. He could stay like that indefinitely if he wished to. The footsteps from outside were getting closer and closer to the compound. You seem to be in a tight spot my friend. Domuni's voice was raspy and hoarse, emanating a chilling vibration through the air. I closed my abyss and coughed horrendously. The scent of rotten meat had entered through and enveloped my lungs. Domuni saw this and took his chance to wrap his gooey tendrils around my ankles. I clawed away at them, but to no avail. Embrace your nightmares Durant. As soon as I saw his black blood start to crawl up his legs, I did everything I possibly could to release myself. I tried dragging Domuni further up the grating, I tried ripping his legs apart, I tried biting at his legs, but nothing would work. Running out of time, I checked my surroundings. There was a wooden pillar situated right next to the cage. It had a dim, red colored button, with wires connected to an unknown location, and a light that kept flickering on and off. I had to take the chance. I pushed the button. The next moment, a loud alarm pierced our ears. Domuni had halted his advance as had I my attempts at escaping in order to see what was going to happen. The feeling of uncertainty was not something we were used to. We've lived through everything, knowing how it all worked, what to expect in terms of consequences. But not today. The next moment, the entire ceiling collapsed upwards. The massive metal flaps waved in the gushing wind like a sheets of fine silk. Outside was a torrent; the likes of which nearly matched that of Pincer's. The adrenaline within us had been pumping so hard, that all sensations and thoughts of anything not happening immediately within our enclosed vicinity were nullified. But it mattered not for me. I knew I was resilient enough to repel its attraction. The question that had to be asked, was Domuni? The answer was no. Despite being an animal of the Zoo, he was still, even if not at the moment, a toad. His grasp on the cage was unwavering, but he had to release his legs that were wrapped around my ankles to give himself more support. The contorted faces now looked wholeheartedly worried, as if the death they had already stared at was not enough to stave off the courage to face it again. At the same time, one by one, the cages in the back of the compound were unlatched from their rusty metal prisons and began flying towards freedom in the sky. The cages disintegrated upon impact with the palpable winds, as did the meat still left inside. Our strength was the only reason this box was not yearning to depart. But it was not going to hold out for long. I jumped off onto the concrete as the remaining 7th row cages ascended towards death. Domuni just had to let go for a second. I'm sorry old friend, but I must see this through to the end. I hope, in another life, you can forgive me. His thoughts were incoherent. For the first time in possibly ever, an animal of the Zoo had felt a sheer, unadulterated fear. As soon as Domuni's legs let go of the metal grating, I opened up my abyss. It was like a tug-of-war match. Who could produce the strongest force to annihilate this creature? It was clear that I was the winner. The amount of suction I conjured up with the aiding winds proliferated Domuni's advance into my system. And soon, he was nothing but a memory. When organisms become one with my abyss, I never fully know what happens to them. Do they just fly around for eternity, hoping beyond hope that they are one day, able to escape? Do they turn into mush as soon as they make impact with the compressed amount of space there is? I never opted to find out because it never mattered. But now that one of my comrades had just died, I wanted to take a closer look. Time was of the essence however, so I discarded the thought and picked up a more urgent one. Hazard. I said that out loud as I rushed to where I had left him. The gale was just now going through the second and third rows of cages. That loud alarm breached the atmosphere once more, signaling that the ceiling was about to converge back into one, whole entity. As the enclosures glided towards the open air, I made it to back to the entrance. Which one was it... He wasn't there. None of the cages had his person on it. The worst imaginable scenario depicted itself in my mind. If Hazard had accompanied the cages, then there would be no way to recover his body as each piece would be no longer or wider than a fingernail. Not only that, but the roof had now closed. The winds inside settled down and everything was back to the way it was before. Or so I thought. There was something out of place, and I had a feeling it had to do with Hazard's disappearance. I attuned myself to my surroundings. I could hear the ripping of wind, the screeching of archaic metal doors opening and closing, the pattering of multiple paws and feet on the soft gravel roads. But what was I listening for? Was there something I was trying to detect? I decided to test out the opposite; namely, determine the lack of something. I didn't even need to do anything for me to realize. The stranger's footsteps had ceased. I didn't give it much thought until now, but it seemed odd that they did not reveal themselves and join Domuni in his battle to stop me. Was it because Hazard was a more precious target for them? But who could have taken them? There was no way any of the animals or employees had split up to investigate on their own. Knowing who they were dealing with, they would have been in groups of at least 3 or 4 in order to guarantee capture. But this being was working independently of them. My mind was exhausted. I didn't have time to figure out who it could be, so I shifted all gears to focus on finding both them and Hazard. I opened the door leading outside of the compound and checked to the see if the coast was clear. Once I was sure, I looked around for footsteps. They had been concealed. Did the stranger take the time to hide their own tracks? I had no choice but to focus entirely on the trail they had possibly left, which would nearly dull all senses of anything happening around me. But the initial traces appeared immediately. I began following them. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- The trail went cold not too far from the feeding compound. My scales were becoming coated in loose drops of rain that slowly cascaded down to the Earth. This was good because now I could be more in tune with my environment, even if it was artificially different. On the bad side, if there were any visible footsteps, they were all but washed. I was back at square one. I didn't even know where I was. I pulled up my mental map. I was near where the battle just took place, but in which direction? East? Not possible, or else I would have run into at least one group of pursuers. West? If I remember correctly, a complete trek to the west side of the feeding compound leads into a dusty wasteland of dried grass and barren soil. I was currently standing on uneven rocky pavement, the cracks deluged with rainwater. Northwest was the only cardinal direction that made sense. I somewhat remember turning the corner of the compound and following it along its edges. South leads towards the front entrance which was sure to be manned, and I have a feeling Hazard's kidnapper does not want to be caught either. What was to the Northwest of the feeding compound? I looked up. The rickety wooden sign was becoming of age. It hung from very rusty chains, one of them a little more worn down than the other. The words written on the sign were a thing of mystery. They were probably erased by natural causes and continual negligence, with the place its purpose is for being lost to the ancestors. But here at the Zoo, we called this place... The Land of Misery. I turned around to see Diablo, the Wolf and Lankosi, the Sloth, accompanied by Demon and Singe, two of the most loyal and hardworking employees, at least in my eyes. Their behaviors were reported to be erratic at times, and I could see their dark fire blaze during their interviews. But they were not a threat. The other two however, were. This place is where we bring employees that deserves more than just a simple death. Their bodies need to learn what it means to be subservient so that their souls may be humbled in the process. You remember bringing someone here at some point, don't you Lankosi? No quick answer from Lankosi. He was a sloth, after all. How about you Durant? Do you remember anytime you brought someone here for persecution? Did you revel in their suffering? I bet you did. No need to be shy about it. Diablo was a master of psychological warfare and he had the might to back up his taunts. I decided the best course of action was to flee and continue my pursuit of this mystery being before they got too far away. But I knew Diablo and Lankosi would not allow such a thing to happen. There's no point in trying to run away, Durant. I'm an apex predator. The only way to get rid of me is to completely annihilate me. And...me...as...well... Lankosi's words flowed out like molasses. The sloth was a devious organism, externally benign but internally despicable. Slow and steady wins the race was his motto. I don't know exactly what he is capable of, but my most immediate threat would be Diablo and maybe even the two employees, if they so choose to provide distractions. Without hesitation, I bolted towards The Land of Misery. This open land will provide more options for me seeing how the soil was soft and arenaceous. My mastery of the earth was almost on par with my ability in water, so confidence was not something I was lacking in. Instead of chasing me, Diablo ran alongside me, staying in my line of sight but clear of my path. It was as if the world was moving and we were not. He matched every stride in perfect harmony, a duet of steps finally descending to its nadir as we stopped. In a western stand off fashion, a few tumbleweeds breezed past. We made our way closer and closer to each other, still staying away as best as possible. We began the almost ceremonious circling around a patch of the land, keeping ourselves equidistant from the center. Finally, he lunged. His fangs are powerful machines, trained to grind into the toughest of metals and roughest of surfaces. I was able to catch him by the jaw just as he pounced on me. He responded by kicking his hind legs upward at my arms, releasing himself from my grip. He retracted a few steps back, and like his kind were known to do, he charged faster and harder the second time, exposing more of his mandible in the process. I let him catch me on my arm, the pain shooting through my nerves and colliding with my brain. He began grinding his way through my scales, but I retaliated with a few harsh fist thumps to his cranial area. His skull was tough, but after a few more concentrated jabs, he relented and retreated once more. My flesh was starting become exposed, but for the most part, I was fine. Diablo was the same. You're a tough customer Durant. Oh how I wish this was a TRUE mano a mano. We could be here for days, WEEKS even. Listen Diablo. You need to understand why I'm doing all of this. This Zoo is nearing the point of damnation. It's about time the truth was revealed and that we move forward. He stopped and looked at me with a deathly facade. I could see his hate and confusion manifest outside of his corporeal form. He wanted to bring me to his master, Death. This was a true animal of the Zoo. No truth exists, Durant. You are deluded. What could you possibly do with information that you call a "truth"? Are you going to spew your nonsense to that worthless human? The one you LET be captured? Do you think he's going to believe you? I didn't know the answer to that. But that was something I had to save for later. Right now, I had to get out of here and continue searching for him. Diablo launched at me again while I was lost in thought, but I swatted at his cheek right before he made impact. He made many more attacks at me in this way, with me continuously parrying, and us making no progress. I was angry. Diablo knew this battle could last forever if he willed it. He wanted to kill me as soon as possible, but he's no idiot. His best option would be to make this a battle of attrition and wait on the other animals of the Zoo to show up and take me down with ease. But there was no way I was going to let that happen. I opened up my abyss and dragged out a weapon. This weapon has only been brought out and utilized in the most dire of circumstances, when my options were thin and my time was limited. It has never failed me yet, and it would not fail me now. Is that...Bane? You bet it is. Diablo was frightened beyond belief. He knew what was coming. So I struck Bane at the ground. This is a story from the heart [Part 3]
The Masters Tournament will be the final major of the PGA Tour’s 2020 schedule after being bumped from its usual spot in mid-April. Postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Masters will be held Nov. 12-15 at Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Ga. It will then run again April 8-11 as the first major of 2021. This entry was posted in Masters 2 & 3 Ball Betting Odds and tagged 2nd round masters betting odds, friday masters betting odds, masters 3 ball betting odds on April 6, 2012 by toprankadmin. Lee Westwood Now In Control Of 2012 Masters Odds After First Day 67 DeChambeau is the only player to break par in both rounds, but he along with everyone else still trails Patrick Reed. The 2018 Masters champ shot an even-par round of 70, and leads by one heading into Round 3. Live U.S. Open Odds The Masters Betting Odds. View all available outright and match odds, plus get news, tips, free bets and money-back offers. All you need to bet. Masters Betting Odds. Find the latest Masters betting odds right here. See the bookies favourite to win The Masters, as well as other players who are hotly tipped, including Tiger Woods, Rickie Fowler and Jon Rahm. ... but for dislocating his ankle during the par-3 contest in 2018. He opened with a 68 that year and finished T5, a testament to ...
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