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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Success

Not in real life, sadly, but in my Tactics Ogre game (yeahhhh!) So, after I successfully recruited Vyce (and Xapan the Berserker and Ravness the Valkyrie along the way ~ might as well ~ it wasn't hard at all) on the Law Route, I World-ed/time travelled forward to the Coda section to see whether I could now unlock the 4th and final post-game episode and -- Voila! -- a cool scene of Denam, Catiua and Vyce together again (Vyce dies in Chaos Route). Hurrah. So the next step is to level up Vyce (he is at Level 1 right now) to Level 40 or thereabout so the trio can finish the final quest ... battling for several ultimate/unique weapons. Golborza Plain here I come (again) for some auto-grinding.

I did have to re-do Episode 3 (the rescue Lanselot mission) for the THIRD time but this time round it was SO easy (I forgot my Lanselot is now powered up) he didn't even need my team's help to win. Which was a pleasant surprise.

So, what next after Episode 4? Maybe go back to the Law Route to recruit Ozma the Knight Commander (read she is v good) and kill Catiua in order to turn Denam into a Lord (read that is pretty cool too)? That's easy. But acquiring the Crest of Fire is where things are gonna get tricky because (I just realised) I'll need to OVERWRITE Chaos Route Chapter 4 in order to have the killing of Nybeth the Necromancer (and, therefore, the clearing of Palace of the Dead) registered in the final/ultimate Law-Route game save PLUS  going back to PotD for the nth time to finally take on Blackmore for the Crest of Fire AND Ogre Set and (maybe optional) re-do all four Coda episodes (or just San Bronsa Ruins) ... Is it worth the effort? Can I be bothered? 

Monday, November 28, 2011

Some Progress (3)

So I'm on the Law Route of Tactics Ogre ~ and having a ball. Now that my weapons are way more superior than those of the enemies -- so it WAS worth visiting the Palace of the Dead TWICE -- I can actually have fun fighting those battles. Instead of going straight to the bosses before my team is slaughtered, I can now take the pleasure of picking off the enemies one by one, and getting excellent drops (since everyone is now @ Level 40+). The challenge lies more with trying to understand how the game mechanics work ... I still have no idea on what happens after I recruit Vyce and whether I should enter the PotD for the third time for the final rewards (Crest of Fire and the several items I missed during the last run ... is it even worth going back ...)

Moving on ... read that Galaxy Nexus has now been released in Europe/US ... but no sign of it here in Hongkers. I still have the Nexus S, which I haven't used that much... the phone is simply too big to hold next to face ... just look Ridiculous. Maybe I should trade in three of my phones and have a major overhaul. I actually think the older models are better, at least they were small and you could actually place calls with it without looking like a wally. 

Sunday, November 27, 2011

A Doppelganger

Every now and then, you run into people whom you thought you'd met/known before but, in fact, they are complete strangers. Yet they look kinda the same. Last night, I ran into a doppelganger of this guy I'd a major fallen out with many, many years ago. It kinda made me think, after all this time, "so what was that all about?!" The memory of what happened has all but faded but the feeling of animosity has stayed.

Tactics Ogre (Let Us Cling Together) ~ The Middle

Since the last entry I've managed to acquire more than 20 pieces of unique/rare weapons/items (BIG thanks to Col_Mobius and all the others who contributed to the Loot Spreadsheets on Gamefaqs.com), making my latest run in Palace of the Dead worthwhile. So, despite of the shock of not seeing Blackmore on Floor 100  (and, therefore, no luck with the Crest of Fire *sob*), last week has not been a complete waste of time. But as said, at least this run has been a lot more speedy than the last.

So, the plan now is: 
* finish two more floors in the PotD;
* use the World Tarot to go back to end of Chapter I to embark onto the Law Route (I took the Chaos Route in my first playthrough);
Vyce Bozeck
* recruit Vyce at the end of Chapter III; 
* World Tarot to Coda (Chaos Route) ~ and will probably have to redo Episode III (the Rescue Lanselot mission) AGAIN in order to bring everything up to date;
* train Vyce up to around Level 40 so he will be as powerful as the rest of my team;
* finish Coda Episode IV (assuming the condition to unlock this final mission is to have Vyce on the team but not actually alive in the Warren Report ~ very complicated situation here that I won't even attempt to explain...);
* World Tarot to Law Route Chapter IV to unlock PotD there;
* go into PotD AGAIN to kill Nybeth the Necromancer;
* World Tarot to Coda (which, by now, is fully completed)
* enter PotD one last time (but this time can skip two thirds of the floors using the activated Palace Guides) to kill Blackmore on Floor 100;
* get Crest of Fire and the Ogre Set
* THE END (hopefully) 

Thursday, November 24, 2011

All Four Wind Weapons But ...

... no sign of Blackmore on Floor 100 in the Palace of the Dead *sob*; which can only mean he'll only appear after Nybeth the Necromancer is dead, meaning I will HAVE to cover his story line, which I've thus far avoided. So what does it all mean? 

A face lift that went horribly wrong for
Nybeth the Necromancer
Well,  what's left to do in this latest PotD run is to complete the Ji'ygla Set and get all the exclusives between floors 90-115 and that's it. Blackmore, Crest of Fire and the Ogre Set are all only available when Nybeth is defeated. That, in itself, isn't really an issue (my team is now powerful enough to take on almost anything -- bar the Divine General, I guess -- without much difficulty). What IS an issue is the prospect of spending another 200+ hours on completing bits that I didn't touch during the first run of the game. The way forward, as I see it now, IS to go backwards: World Back and take the Law Route (the alternative to the Chaos Route I took), to get Vyce to join the team and then basically -- and this is the hard part -- re-do the entire Chapter Four (to, of course, kill Nybeth) AND Coda Episode One, Two and Three AND all/most of the side quests inc., oh yes, PotD, like, for the nth time (but don't think I have to do the horrid Cressida side quest in Law). Practically, replaying the game but with a better equipped/high level team. Do I have the energy for that? Much that I love this game (and have been blogging WAY TOO MUCH about it) ... it's one hell of an undertaking ... but will I also be able to resist the temptation of getting that one extra piece of exclusive item (I'm a bit fixated on the Crest of Fire right now ...) and to unlock the fourth and final Coda Episode?

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Some Progress (2)

I hope I AM making progress ... am now halfway /breezing through Palace of the Dead ... the ultimate rewards for this (final) run will be getting the Ji'ygla's Set (maybe also the Ogre Set) and the Crest of Fire ... I already have two of the three Jiggy items. BUT have read in order to get the Crest of Fire (from Blackmore on Level 100, with all four wind god weapons equipped), I need to have beaten Nybeth. WTH !?!?! I hope that is just misinformation because I'm NOT doing the Nybeth/Cressida quest in order to come back to the PotD for the THIRD time ... no no no no no... So there is just this possibility of me walking away with just the Jiggy set. I don't care much about the cursed weapons ...

After finishing the PotD (maybe in a week), then will finish the second part of the San Bronsa Ruins and I'm, like, done with Tactics Ogre finally. 

I'll be so bored ... have played the demo version of FF Type-0 but it's a bit difficult not being able to read Japanese. 


Thursday, November 17, 2011

Tight Hamstrings, But...

Well, I was going to write on how this particular workshop series on Iyenga Yoga (which I had over the past five days) wasn't as interesting as I'd wished because there were parts that were way too advanced for me but then I remember what one of my teachers said and about having hang-ups. So, instead of writing about how I couldn't do this and that, I decided to focus on how I physically felt (less thinking, more feeling!) and the observations I had about my body.

First of all, I thought I could twist my body until last weekend. To do a full twist, one has to turn not just the shoulders back but the entire torso, which can be extremely challenging. One way of deepening the twist is to suck in the tummy (doing the "bandha"), creating more room for movement and, subsequently, further lengthening the spine. It looks so easy in writing/theory but, in practice/reality, it's, like, omg I cannot turn any more. With help from the assistants, I was able to rotate the body a lot more and my body DID feel the stretch, particularly in the hips and entire back. It also made the body feel SO relaxed afterwards. 

No Sweat!

One interesting observation (but it's not something that I am unaware of ... it just became much more pronounced during the workshop): an imbalance in the left and right side of my body. When I try to get into utthita hasta padangusthasana (above), the right hand side always seems close to impossible. The hamstrings are tight and the hip area rigid. Even with help of the back of a chair to lift up the leg, it still takes me 2-3 minutes to get into the pose. On the other hand/side, despite of my protruding hip bone, this pose feels a lot easier on the left. What IS important though is, when I am in the pose (no matter how long it takes me), I get a nice workout on the hamstrings and sacrum/lower back area and it feels amazing.

So, yes, less hang ups and more enjoyable.

Tactics Ogre progress report: other than one drop that was supposed to drop but never dropped (after almost two hours of trying), have got a few more exclusive items as well as my first Necromancer recruitment! About to hit the first shop in PotD ...




Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Some Progress

The Palace of the Dead, this time round, turns out to be quite enjoyable (!!!) Have already picked up a number of goodies including part of the almighty Ji'ygla's Set and the Aganista Lightcoat ... and they weren't even that difficult to farm. Maybe cos my team has gotten stronger (as some started to reach Level 40). Am trying to pick up as many treasures as possible in this run cos I ain't returning (this time for real!!)

As the game progresses, I've groomed a small army of kick-ass mages and archers: Mirdyn, Sherri, Deneb, Rudlum and Warren are all powerful spell casters, while Arycelle and Canopus shoot to kill from afar and Iuria, Catiua and Lanselot on the side to buff and debuff. Have to drop Gildas as Lans basically is also a dragoon with his Dragon set and poor Denam is still at, like, Level 36. Azelstan looks cool with his gun but he is just not as powerful as the others (yet). The Golem, Familiar and Lich were all great in the first run but they are now so low level none can be deployed onto the battlefield. 

Anyway, looks like there is still much fun to be had!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

More Grinding (6)

So we are back on the grinding board ...but either I'm getting used to the tedious process or getting rather good at playing Tactics Ogre (after, uh-hm, 350+ hours), the grinding has gotten a bit easier. Just now I got myself a few exclusive weapons and magic scrolls from the San Bronsa Ruins. It's finally time to revisit the Palace of the Dead for some item hunting. With the Zephyros spear -- one of the four wind weapons -- I will be able to summon an exclusive boss in the PotD for the Crest of Fire (yeahh!)

But before heading back into that horrible dungeon, have to get my team sorted/prepared: 1) lots of mend and magic leaves/gems/exorcism scrolls etc and 2) to further power up my characters. Unfortunately, just found out I cannot scavenge skills from other classes -- boo-hoo -- meaning my rune fencer cannot learn the Ninjutsu skills, which would have been super cool. 

And the quest continues ...

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Still so many hangups

Am now half way through a five-day long yoga workshop on "alignment and energy in Asana"/ Iyengar Yoga. Despite it not being as intensive as the Ashtanga workshop I took several months ago, it sure is no walk in the park. Peter Scott is the instructor; he's been teaching yoga since 1982 and is a living proof that practising yoga can make you look young! His teaching focuses on the "mid-line" -- that the spine should stay long and stretched in most poses -- so to facilitate energy flow and openness in breathing. Which is interesting ... cos I thought alignment was about anatomical/physical alignment; in Iyengar Yoga, it is more to do with alignment for energy flow. So, for instance, in the class that looks at forward bends, we practised the rotation of the inner/outer arms and inner/outer thighs,the rotation of the hips, the tucking in of the tail bone ... or to ensure of a straight spine, which in turn makes the various asanas more effective. There is CONSTANT engagement of the muscles so am quite tired, physically, after 12.5 hours of practice over the past three days.



Again, there were poses that I couldn't do because of my stiff lower back and hips. A teacher told me I should STOP dwelling on that. He said I should start imagining myself being able to achieve these poses, that I am flexible, and also wishing others the same (don't get jealous of those who can put both their legs behind their head!) Well, I don't think I get jealous but I certainly get frustrated. The teacher (who is very flexible and he is a bloke) also said Ashtanga Yoga can REALLY open up the body ... hmm, not exactly what I wanted to hear but ... ... Oh well, we shall see. 

In the meantime, I really was hoping I could put Tactics Ogre down (at least for awhile) but somehow I'm still playing it. I actually downloaded the demo of the latest Final Fantasy game, "Type-0", but although the graphics is really stunning and it looks like an interesting game, it is in Japanese and it's another hack and slash game that will give me another pitched nerve ... so, def. won't be playing that. So I've decided to returned to TO and do the first half of the San Bronsa Ruins, get one of the four Wind Instruments before, oh yes, returning to the Palace of the Dead for some seriously top-weapon farming ... the second half of the Ruins apparently is, apparently, SO difficult I need to further upgrade my team; it's pretty strong now but not strong enough ...

Just got a rare drop (for the Divine Knight class) so the grinding/farming/obsession/addiction continues ....

Friday, November 11, 2011

More Crafting

Oh boy, that was a tough-ish one ... okay, basically in order to get those "chokers" -- accessories that you can put on the Tactics Ogre characters in order to multiply/amplify their damages, i.e. "Must Haves!" -- I World-ed back (travel back in time to Chapter 4) to re-do the Fire Temple and tackle Ifrit (this temple guardian drops the Codex of Jewelry III but because of a stupid glitch, this particular recipe for choker-crafting wouldn't drop when my team was below Level 33/34) ... anyway, now that I'm edging to the end of Level 30s, I World-ed back to the point where all the temples were still locked (bwah!) so I had to go through the laborious process of unlocking them again (many, many, many tedious, tedious, battles with horrible terrains, so OMG, MORE grinding) ... JUST to get into the Fire Temple (lucky I didn't have to fight through the other five temples).

Anyway, having finally confronted temple guardian Ifrit, it would NOT drop the recipe (scream/grunt/expletives) ... apparently had to try killing it at different angles, using different weapons/magic etc ... so, after, I think, a couple of HOURS attempting that (had to recharge PSP in between ...) I finally GOT the wretched thing to drop ~ PLUS two magic scrolls (yeahhh!). Then I World-ed Forward to the post-game "Coda" section to find ... well, luckily the recipe was still in my inventory (phew! or else I'd have thrown the PSP out of the window) ... yes, to find I have to redo the rescue Lanselot mission (!!) 

Which, actually, I didn't mind because partly the mission consists of just two battles (even though the final battle was a real pain in the backside the first time round they are still more interesting than the battles to unlock the temples and the final cut scenes are beautiful), and partly cos I wanted to test out the new gears. So I crafted three chokers (will have one more in a minute), various wizard hat + 1s and robe + 1s and head for the battles. Haven't noticed THAT big a difference yet but totally breezed through the mission. I was a little disappointed when I didn't get a Paladin class mark, which would have been good.

SO ... now I'm updated with my game and, perhaps, finally ready for the San Bronsa Ruins (?) Have to say I find this game incredible in that the system allows you to, like, time travel ... yes, by World-ing backward and forward (between what they call anchor points) might mean you have to re-do certain missions BUT the amazing thing is you get to keep or even gain characters and, more importantly, items in your inventory in the process. 


And I think that is why this overwriting-some-data-but-not-other system causes a lot of  confusion among players: On the gamefaqs forums, it is explained that different scenarios (between anchor points) within the four chapters and four Coda episodes act like saved files, so in order to SAVE any progress you've made between two anchor points (which could be recruiting a new character or getting an exclusive weapon/item), you need to complete the scenario in its entirety or else the system will not register the changes you've made ... but that is quite true; yes, you will lose the progress you've made if you don't save between two anchor points but you WON'T lose the items that you've gained. Strange yet utterly brilliant!!! With that, this game really takes equipment farming (and, unfortunately, grinding) to a whole new level/dimension.  

It's a shame the rescue Vyce mission involves World-ing back and do a completely different story line/route, which might result in some of my team members leaving/deserting (!!) Just don't want to risk that (Arycelle simply is too good an archer to lose) but it always means I will never "complete" the entire game (Coda Episode 4 is now just sitting there ...) But I still think Vyce deserves to die and I don't wanna deal with the necromancers side quest. Which means, of course, if I want more powerful equipment (like those terrifying cursed weapons), I may have to return to the Palace of the Dead (again ... yes, 100 levels this time) ... hmm ... dare I ... to even think about that ... 


PS just downloaded the game's OST ~ SO GOOD !!!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

An Afterthought

I know, I know, having TO withdrawal syndrome already ... but I'm very intrigued cos just now ... I Worlded back (travelled back in time in the game timeline) ... the strangest thing is I go back in time but with all my team (+ their level and equipments) remaining intact, which suggests my team data operate completely separately from the storyline data. So, I'm trying to see if I can get the item from Ifrit from "the past" (in Chapter 4), and which is not available in "the present" (Coda Section 3), then travel back to "the present" (Coda Section 3) and still get to keep the item in my inventory + not losing any progress ... if it works, whoever invents this game is a genius ... 

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

A Glitch


I was fighting this temple "guardian" (Ifrit) and it just wouldn't drop the recipe book that I need to craft some much-needed items. So, I'm literally grinding to a halt in Tactics Ogre. Other than the San Bronsa Ruins, which I don't feel I'm ready to tackle yet, there is really nowhere else to advance ... other than to World Back to an earlier chapter to resurrect Vyce (and unlocking more characters on the way). Okay, think I am done with this game for now (329 hours is a LONG time to spend on one single game...)



Besides, my next yoga workshop is fast approaching and I'm quite excited by the prospect of spending a week on the mat (have taken a week off work, yeahh!) The workshop is five days long and will cover alignment (and energy flow) in: standing poses, inversions, twists, forward/backward bends among other things. Lately I've been working on deepening my backward bending ... I'm looking forward to this workshop, which I hope, will show me how to stretch this pose further without breaking my back/injuring myself.    

Sunday, November 6, 2011

A New Team

So it's time to shakeup/update my Tactics Ogre/Firescale team lineup (playing the same characters started to get a little tedious). So now that they've performed their duties (in the main game and trawling through the wretched Palace of the Dead), it's time to say goodbye to a few friends including the Golem and Familiar. I'm also ditching Denam ... despite being a damage powerhouse, the ninja class lacks character and range when compared with the mages (all he does is hack and slash). Arycelle the Archer manages to scrape through, with her astonishing bow + arrow skills. So, now on my team of 12, I have seven Xenobians -- have been levelling up Rudlum the Warlock + new gears (had to farm for fire wand, intellect + 1 ring etc.) what a pain -- and the rest are all uniques: Arycelle, Deneb, Sherri, Azelstan and Catiua.

Strategically, imho, this is a very well-balanced team with male/female, melees/casters, offensive/defensive. For the mages, Sherri is has the Earth element (Earthquake is such a kickass move); Warren Lightning and Divine/Dark; Rudlum Fire and Divine/Dark/Draconic; Deneb Fire and Lightning; and Catiua Divine and Draconic. Mirdyn and Lanselot being half mages, both learnt Divine magic and can heal. These elements are basically ability/stat boosters. So am leaving out the less useful wind, water and ice elements. Sherri, Warren and Catiua are on the offensive while Rudlum buffs; Deneb is a bit of both. Weapon-wise, all the hard hitters have maxed out their main weapon skills (took a bit of auto grinding to max out Canopus's crossbow's skill but he has all four wicked finishing moves ~ yeah!!!) PSP battery ran out (again!) so after second recharge (in a day!) will fiddle more with the setup. After close to 300 hours of playing, am finally getting the hang of customising/accessorising my characters.

So what next? Have gone wandering around the World Map with my team of Magnificent Twelve (re-did most of the Phorampa Wildwood, not much left there to do) and it looks like it's time to re-visit the Temples to find some more weapon recipes and items. Then, yes, the final major side quest (which I've been saving up for when my team is stronger) the v challenging San Bronsa Ruins.   

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Another Beginning

And so the Tactics Ogre saga continues ...

Thank God for auto-grinding ...yes, after unlocking both Warren and Lanselot, it's time to put them to the test (I really hope they are worth the pain and hassle that I'd gone through the past week!!!) ~ but not whne they are at Level 1! So have been taking them + Iuria (Songstress), Lindl (Fusilier) and Frederick (Lich) to The Golborza Plain for some serious/hardcore level-up grinding (best place to grind cos the enemies are easier to kill, they are all humans, and there are SO many Blessing Stones to be had). And yes, why do the grinding myself when the AI is quite capable in doing that in twice the speed? So after a hard day's work, these characters have gone from, like, Level 10 to Level 26, with lots of coins/weapons/items won/earned along the way. They are, of course, not as good as my kickass team -- yet -- but that is part of the fun! What's the point if I could just KO everyone with one hit.


Scenes of when the Xenobians first met Denam, Catiua and Vyce

So, I have now got a new team of six in place, all from the Kingdom of New Xenobia: Gildas (Dragoon), Mirdyn (Rune Fencer), Canopus (Vartan), his sister Iuria, Warren and Lanselot, and I'm taking them to the PhorampaWildwood to farm some more weapons (no, the mere mention of Palace of the Dead still induces scream of agony)... Have just done four maps -- they are pretty easy but my new team is just scraping through.

The problem is, I've switched Canopus' main weapon from bow to crossbow, which seems to make him a less aggressive attacker (he hasn't even learnt his Finishing Moves yet), while Iuria is pretty useless right now (she is, like, bashing enemies with a guitar ~ what damages is THAT gonna make?) and am still trying to figure Warren out with all his magical abilities. Lanselot seems to be coping quite well cos, like Gildas and Mirdyn, they have very good base stats as Holy Knights. And the fact Gildas can one hit finish dragons and beasts helps. 

I will be leaving the Lich and Fusilier behind for now ~ later, I shall have another team made up of all the second-tier characters, of which I have many!!!

I love this game ... so many possibilities ... just hope I won't have to grind anymore (which I thought I wouldn't have to do, like, a couple of weeks ago!)