Click on water to feed fish

Saturday, January 6, 2018

A Brave New Year

It seems F.O.R.E.V.E.R since my last entry -- Christmas and New Year already come and gone -- so here is a bumper edition :-)

To welcome 2018, I led a therapeutic/ nourishing class today ... after all, we can take a step back, reflect and contemplate at the beginning (as well as the end) of a year, right? Why not start a new year with calmness and solid grounding. And everyone in the class loved it! The slower pace and the gentle stretching. After months of not being able to stretch my right shoulder today I can finally do it; I didn't push it though but it felt great especially after months of immobility. The physio - painful that it was - really helped. I plan to go to a level 2 yoga class tomorrow. The instructor is not one of my favourites (too ... athletic) but there are just no other choices. Also, I think it's important to have a practice that challenges the body (at least once in awhile). There are now so many poses that I am working on that I like but not quite there yet: handstand, seated wide-leg forward fold, split, wheel with straight arms ... also, elsewhere, my (outer) knees are definitely not getting better (chronic pain) so will see where my yoga practice will take me this year. 

Game-wise, I've returned to Final Fantasy XV: A New Empire after a couple months away (spent WAY too much on this MMO) and only because my guildie mate wanted to pass my account onto someone whom I don't think would do a great job maintaining it. Luckily the guildie I did entrust the account to did a GREAT job in not only in sustaining it but actually made advancement with it. So now I feel my base/empire is a lot stronger/ powerful than when I left it. Also it appears Square Enix, who holds the licence to the whole Final Fantasy franchise, is not happy with studio Machine Zone, which basically turned the title into a money-spinning thing, instead of a proper game for the Final Fantasy fans and community and gamers who are genuinely interested in the title. There are now rumours that SE will pull the game next month ... I love the game still but let's get a proper studio to run it not some greedy, money-grabbing enterprise!

I have also started Danganronpa V3 ... tbh, I think the aura around this franchise is gone. I spent, like, five hours+ just to do the prologue and first chapter and it was WAY WAY too long. I quite like the new cast but ... oh well, will see if I will stick with this. I certainly am in no hurry to finish it. Have also been trying to finish Escha & Logy in the Atelier series... I actually really enjoyed playing this game -- I finally got my head around the synthesis/ crafting -- but there is a time limit to the game and it appears I won't be able to tackle any of the big bosses until second playthrough so I've kinda left it there (for now). And I am still very slowly playing Final Fantasy XV on my PlayStation 4...  I completed quite a few side missions last time but I forgot to save -- and then got salightered -- so I will have to reply those again ... all in all, there is enough game stuff to keep me busy this year.

On the gadget front, after the VERY disappointing Sony Xperia XZ1 compact -- Android 8 or Oreo is so full of bugs -- I went back to the LG G5 and to my (pleasant) surprise, the phone is pretty good and with the Cam Plus added onto it, I enjoy using it for gaming/ photo taking and social media. Just as well I didn't re-buy the XZ1 compact!!! And a friend also got me the Black Edition of the KeyOne, which is great since I've dropped the one I am using a few times and I wanted to have a spare just in case this one dies! 

So here we are. Now we have the Chinese New Year to look forward to (in February) !!

Saturday, October 21, 2017

A bit of a Humdrum

Yeah, it's been a bit a like that (dull) on the gaming front. I'm still playing FFXV: ANE but since I joined a new guild (second most powerful in the realm no less), I've just been training troops sine I have maxed everything single building in research @ Citadel 19. There really is no point moving beyond this point since I am not a big hitter but, most important of all, once passed c19 then you really have to spend $$$ to stay afloat. I've already spent more than I'd like to admit on this game (though definitely not spent 2000 quid or a lot more as some have done!) so am okay sitting on one helluva trap base right now (I have close to 2 million t1 and t2 troops) ... waiting for some n00b to hit me LOL But it is rather dull especially monster hunting is not really exciting at this stage; the drops are just mediocre. 

Meanwhile, have started playing Danganronpa V3 on the PS4 - and felt asleep - so not a good sign. It's probably better to play this on the PS Vita so will see if I can get a physical copy in English. Have also not progressed much with Final Fantasy XV... despite I recently took a couple of weeks off work. Some time I just wanna lie down and do nothing. 

Elsewhere, there has been an interesting (self) discovery - thanks to my "frozen shoulder" - that both sides of my body are extremely tight and they lack mobility. For the longest time I thought the reason why I cannot do a full spinal twist was because of my spine but it turns out it could be my tight hips (oh yes, those again) and shoulders that are preventing me from doing any full body rotation. So have started these physio sessions (ouch!) and the physiotherapist has been addressing both my hips/ glutes as well as my shoulders to lengthen my side body and stopping my body from caving inwards; something that I will pay more attention to during my own yoga practice...     

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Final Fantasy XV A New Empire

Can't believe I'm still playing this MMO! Anyone who'd played it knows how skewed the gameplay of this money grabbing title is: the more you spend (buying items that beef up your base or guild) the more you will, of course, succeed (play-to-win). And if you don't, you are always the losers -- and who likes to be a permanent loser, right? Though I somehow (perhaps naively) believe that you can still win if you play smart! Admittedly, I have spent some (decent) money on the game ...if only to make the grind easier (the extra resources always a bonus too) but I am also constantly finding ways to strengthen my base so at least I won't get OHKOed by ferocious and unbeatable enemies (who had paid through the roof to be, well, unbeatable).

Defence, defence, defence. I've learnt that defence in this game is not to be sniffed at. And I think if done right, even a high level player will have problem flattening my base. And there are several ways to strength that defence (as I see it)...

Having a humongous troop base
So my friend calculated that to withstand a solo rally attack (and a rally is limited to three marches), you'd need approx 1 million troops. Currently I have around 200K troop, each has 4-power so I guess my defence if all troops are in the base would be 800K. Plus 11.5K traps. And since an attack can Never send up to 100K troop in a single march (not even in three marches, I don't think), then having as large a troop base as possible would guarantee survival.

Have a buffed up hero
Here is the part of the game that fascinates me most. The hero (Prince Noctis from the main FFXV game) -- and how he is levelled up -- is independent from rss requirement that practically runs through everything else in the game (e.g. levelling up buildings and research). And to level up a hero, you basically just take all the quests (lame but v easy) and kill monsters to get the necessary experience points. Granted, if you pay for packs (and I had), then it makes levelling up even more easy. And with the hero, you can unlock skills + equip him to buff attack/ defence stats and I find this quite crucial. So my current strategy is to level him (instead of my base) up + equipping him with lvl6 gear for max stat boosts, esp in defence. I also decide to focus on Mage power (thematically, I see Noctis as more a mage than warrior or cavalry), which is strong against warriors & siege engines but weak against cavalry. 

I've just levelled up my base so my next task is to up the wall defence as well as research on defence + getting two more pieces of lvl6 equipment ... then I should be able to easily defend myself against players with tier 1 and 2 troops and even 3 troops. 

Tier 4 troops? That's altogether another story ~  

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Final Fantasy XV

Finally, I am now playing Final Fantasy XV on PlayStation 4 with a 50" TV screen.


It's something I'd always wanted to do but never got around doing. Then a (very generous) friend got me a PS4, and a few months later I bought a Samsung TV screen in a promotion. So far, I'm just taking it very slow, speaking to all the NPCs, doing all the sidequests that I can find (oh yes, feeding the cat) and really experiencing the game (it did take some 10 years to make). The VA is cool and I really love the music.

I'm kinda following a local walkthrough that is not very good (as well as an online one) so am playing the game semi blind. But I did watch all the cut scenes already so I kinda remember some of choices that I should make :-) Since this is my first console game (after more than decade playing on the PSP/ PS Vita) so still getting a grip using the control stick. Today I spent about four-five hours playing and I didn't even feel time passed (!)

This is also my first time playing a MMO - Final Fantasy XV - A New Empire! This is addictive stuff and I must confessed I've already spent more than I should on it, buying booster packs (well, at least I don't buy just to be OP)... since you interact with "guild members" all the time, the social aspect of the game is actually much fun. One of the leaders in our team is a bit of a psycho though and he alone provides much entertainment.   

Sunday, June 25, 2017

SD Gundam Generation Genesis

Having spent more than 1,000 hours on this turn-based strategy title -- that's according to the in-game clock, anyway ... but probably just a fraction of that in reality since the accumulated hours seem to be the total time the game has been active than of me playing it -- I've grown to like it quite a bit.

I came in as a total newbie as I haven't been a Gundam fan. So SD GGG is a great introduction cos 1) it obviously targets Gundam fans and 2) it tells the same core story about 20+ times (if you play every single story in the game). Sometimes you side with "the Federation", other times "the Zeon" rival fraction, which is kinda clever. I think the anime was created very much at a time when Japan was still pondering about the Second World War and its aftermaths; and its philosophic musings (yes!) verge on that grey area between right or wrong, good and evil etc.

So you can either enjoy these "moral" stories (which I do), or the collecting of the many, many Gundams and robots and warships (which I kinda enjoy but not obsessively) and the gameplay.

Now, the gameplay is pretty straightforward, not unlike Tactics Ogre only less fiddly. You basically unlock characters and units (i.e. an array of Gundam models) that you like and then that's it ... take them to battles and level up. There are options for you to evolve or exchange the units -- and characters gain more skills as they level up -- but the game (on normal mode anyway) is quite easy there is absolutely no need to pay too much attention on "bettering" your team. Sometimes I just want a basic Gundam simply cos it looks great (Blue Destiny Units!!!) without worrying about making it God-like. I leave that to the Unicorn Gundams, which players can easily unlock from the word go. The game also comes with some OP Gundams (Phoenix Gundam Power Unlocked) so this is not a difficult game... though the puzzles/challenges without these OP Gundams can be fun.

Being thematically obsessed, I now have two Federation warships, the Argama and the Nahel Argama [London Bell] captained by Bright Noa, (maybe I should get a Zeon one later) and four different teams. One made up of characters from the default Generation Genesis series, one from the first Gundam series (with Amuro Ray), one headed by Haman Karn (with the Quebley), one with Blue Destiny series (which I like!)

I have decided not to play the hard or insane mode cos that practically just means each battle lasts a lot longer (than it already is!) So I think I will just play through all the series and that's it. Will then move onto Super Robot Wars V, which I've heard has a more interesting story. 

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Plateau and Repetition

So I have been practising yoga for nine years (I always remember I started my practice a week before the devastating earthquake in Sichuan, 2008) and it feels like I've reached the proverbial plateau. That is when my body doesn't seem to be "advancing" any further and that it feels like I am not making any progress ... that all I'm doing now is to repeat the same old sequence again and again and again. Why am I not gaining more strength and flexibility? Why I still suck at handstand ><

Then I attended this panel discussion at this year's Asia Yoga Conference (AYC) and it all started to make sense. In this excerpt, veteran yoga teacher David Swenson explains why he likes practising Ashtanga and that through the repetition practitioners are able to find the magic and depth that lies within that practice... I'm totally inspired by that!!!


Saturday, May 6, 2017

Nobunaga's Ambition: Ascension

Here is a grand strategy game series that I dabbled in some years ago. It takes a bit of time to get a sense of what you are doing (me, several years lol) as there is so much micro-management I didn't know where to start.

With Ascension, the Nobunaga series finally introduced a gameplay mechanism that is similar to the Romance of the Three Kingdom games -- I get to play as an humble office to manage a fief instead of a daimyo working towards taking over/ unifying the entire country. And instead of following some historical events, I can choose to follow my own path: i.e. my office had already defected a few times to build up a stronger army. 

This is one long game (at the moment it's one invasion after another while learning about Japanese history) ... so will see where it will take me ...

Besides, am having a game drought (ironically someone gave me a PS4 slim!!!) and there isn't much out there worth playing right now for me. The other night I finally finished Summon Night 6: Lost Borders... the turn-based gameplay was interesting to begin with then it just kinda fizzled out ... the game itself is not challenging (though the final boss battle did take quite long). Think it was released just for fans (and I am not one of them). So I sold that -- as well as the Super Robot Wars Z3 cos it's in Japanese and I now have two more robot wars games that are in English (am not playing them right now). Psycho-Pass Mandatory Happiness also seems to appeal only to fans, as is Persona 4 Dancing All Night

In the meantime I just jump between old games: Atelier Escha & Logy: Alchemists of the Dusk Sky  I'm still playing but it's just not very engaging (though it is beautifully rendered). I'm just not very good at alchemy lol. Then there are the games I already finished: the two Zero Escape titles, the various Final Fantasy games, Uncharted Fight for Fortune ... which I kept going back to. 

But I really need to find something new -- and good ....