AnotherEden Patch Update

We finally get an update notice, this is apparently not the one that'll remove Miyu, but if you want to get her, you should get in soon. And this will be the banner you'll want to do as many 10-pulls as you can on, because it's full of healers:

AnotherEden-update 20190212

I'm actually pretty good on healers now, but I'll pull once anyway in hopes of upgrading Pom.

They say "bug fixes", but this has been one of the most bug-free launches of anything I've seen; even for other games that had a year or two in JP before global launch, those are usually buggy as shit. There's a few weird clipping issues with the paper-doll design, but that's "works as intended".

Finally got out of the beach (I only need 3 more shells for another sword, but I'll get by; maybe do one walk up and back a day) and onto the Riftbreaker, and levelling up my RP-team (Aldo, Cyrus, Amy, Riica) in Another Dungeon on the side; I have 8 class books, only 1 of which is a character I have (and I don't need to level them yet).

On a Beach in AnotherEden

And I'll be here a while, killing crabs, bananas (third joke monster, after Plum Goblins and the spongmonkey-looking dudes at the Ogre sword fight), and blue "dragons" (barely even wyverns). The Last Island gear is 20 points better than anything else I've unlocked, it drops a ton of gold, and my gear situation was critical; the 4 pieces I've got so far are a game-changer, but I need 12! I'll probably just get 8 and I can move on, back row can suck it. The entire beach is a single short corridor with no turns, so I'm running back and forth forever. Oh kill me now.

Also, you wash up here with Aldo alone; so keep him sorta levelled up if you don't want to die a lot. I got off the beach with <100 HP and no MP, and had previously eaten my food.

When I escape this beach, I can spend more time in the industrial and spacey areas I just finished for story, and do more hard dungeons, and then back to the main story. So there's nice cool darkness at the end of this too-bright grind tunnel I'm in now.

The best part about AnotherEden as a mobage is it isn't Stamina-limited. The worst part is the battery life basically restricts you to 2 hours of game and then it's back on a charger, so you may as well have had Stamina.

There's several sidequests now where I've greatly disagreed with the linear plot, I desperately miss Elder Scrolls Online's branching quests with consequences. Just have to sit back and let the idiots fuck things up, then collect mats, then finish the quest. "How could I have known this would fuck things up?!" Creepy farmer man is creepy and I'd kill him and use his body as fertilizer in a tabletop RPG. I've commented before that morality enforced by a scoring mechanism is not ethical: This is exactly that case in point, I have to help this guy because the system says I'm rewarded for doing so and there's no choices, even though ethically it's utterly wrong.

You get better hard/very hard dungeon rewards from high light or dark ratings. But there's no way to draw plot characters from the Dream, so you can't increase their light/dark ratings the usual way. Instead, JP site says grinding these dungeons with a plot char in party sometimes adds (slight spoilers):

  • Aldo: Miglance Castle
  • Riica: Xeno Domain
  • Amy: Industrial Ruins
  • Cyrus: Man-Eating Marsh
  • Feinne: Beast Kings Castle
  • Helena: Riftbreaker

I did a fourth 10-pull, and completely filled my C-team with ★★★★ Lingli and Denny, both excellent hitters, and a ★★★☆ Ciel which is disappointing since there's a ★★★★ and will be upgraded to ★★★★★ this year, if global follows JP release order; that's too much book grinding to upgrade. And a couple dumb ★★★ robots, which are kinda cool; I'd like to build an all-robot party, even if everyone but Riica sucks. I have another 1000 Chronos but I'm saving them now for special event banners.

Yes More AnotherEden

The scenery in this game is lovely, as is the soundtrack. Another photo gallery at the end of the post.

Did another 10 pull, got Akane and Mighty who are top-ranked, and Soira got upgraded to ★★★★, but they have a lot of levelling to do to catch up. Currently I have a heavy party for fighting bosses, and a trash/RP party for clearing lower-level zones. Plus a creepy evil priest "Prai" who will never be in a party.

Money and equipment is still a problem, but at least with buying one of each item for the achievements, and never being able to sell anything, I always have hand-me-downs for the lowbies. Slooowly upgrading everyone's stuff as I go; I really need to find a good gold-grinding area. Maybe I'm missing something?

Getting the books to upgrade ★★★☆ to ★★★★ is proving difficult. After a few hard mode dungeons, I'm about 10% of the way to ONE character. I guess if I don't do anything else with my life I can get that done in a week or two. In reality it'll be a few months.

Some kinda secret things:

Make sure to visit the theatre in Elzion (NE from the weapon shop) with Aldo and Riica (apparently Amy has another story there, but she's currently… uh… not available). Medieval savage and robot girlfriend out on a date, nice.

There's a guy standing around on Route 99 in the rain (which happens rarely when you enter), who'll sell you an item for 1,500 git; it's a Level 10 Leaf Bangle, which normally costs 2,300 git and a bunch of mats, so it is a good deal. If you don't have the cash, he'll reappear next rain. I dunno yet if he'll reappear with more stuff later.

There's a rumor (I don't recall which NPC; he's not in the water city's bar where I'd expect) about a red corpse. Turns out, in the Man-Eating Marsh, on the 6th map, there's a red skull at the far right. Tap it for a secret room.

There's a clue in a bookshelf in Miglance Castle to a secret area, but I haven't found it yet; I'm still grinding thru that area, so hopefully tomorrow.

Another Eden Protips

Just some random notes, and some screenshots at the bottom here.

You should be playing this, right now. It's one of the best JRPGs I've played in ages. It's not quite on par with Final Fantasy VII, or Dragon Quest 8, or Lunar 2: Eternal Blue, or even Chrono Trigger, but it's pretty close, which is just incredible from a mobage.

Characters in the back row of your party restore HP & MP every round of combat, so once someone's tapped out, switch them back, and pretty soon you can switch them forward, fully healed and ready to go. Once you have Robot Girl Riica and another healer, one of them can stay in the back all the time, while the other heals. You'll never have to run back to town!

But even then, you may run out, the volcano dungeon especially just took forever and ground me down. Hit Food on the main menu, and you can fully heal once. You'll get another food for free the next time you visit an inn.

Death isn't the handicap it used to be in the olden days. When a party member is KO'd, a cat comes on screen and pulls them off (!), and they revive after the fight. If you're TPK'd, you restart at the start of the area. Which I don't love, but there's no save points, it's just perpetual autosave. Certainly it fits the mobage experience better.

There are hidden passages in many areas. When you find a dead end, try to walk through it. Of course, sometimes this backfires and you fight a giant monster… I'm going to have to scour all the early areas again when I get up to level 30, assuming I can get back to them.

There's a flower-buying sidequest which is the worst thing in the game, after trying everything the horrible old woman tells you, and getting them wrong because I fell asleep mid-speech: mouseover for spoiler here.

Unsolved: My main party's Level 18-21, but the only high-level gear I have is a few Level 21 items I picked up in chests. The weapon shops are now at Level 16 gear, which I can't make because I don't have the mats from the next zone; most of the gear I can make and have equipped is Level 10 or 13. This is not optimal. I have at least 7 characters I need to equip with weapons and armor, and soon "Badges" (we don' need no steenkin' badges!). I hate falling behind.

There's a lot of Chronos Stones (premium currency) from Record events, but you can also get 10 free every day by hitting + and tapping the free offer link. No videos or any other scams, just a hidden freebie. This is a shockingly fair, non-ripoff gachapon game. Which means I do need to buy something to support them, but I dunno if they're going to make their money back on it.

I got to 1000 Chronos Stones, did a 10-unit pull, and got a really great ★★★★★ half-beastman pugilist, Lokido; a ★★★☆ (so she can star up, but starts weak) knight/tank, Soira; a spare ★★★★☆ druid healer, Mariel, who I haven't levelled yet, even tho technically she's better than my main healer; and 4 of 7 ★★★ "sisters" who all suck, and 3 of ? ★★★ knights who all suck. The character mix in this game is weird, and there's not much backstory yet; though they all have individual quests after I finish many chapters of the game, so maybe there's more there.

Another Eden

Finally available and patched, let's see.

It's very cute. The characters aren't quite chibi, but not realistic either. They move a little silly, like puppets waving their limbs around. Each area is a side-scroller, you can only move west or east, but there's a lot of things to tap on and they interact or give you loot, and then swipe up or down to move north or south. There's a minimap and a world map, but not really a middle ground where I can scroll around a big path map.

Opening is very, very cliché. You wake up late for your first day at work as town guard. Mysterious backstory of you and your sister abandoned in the woods. Peasant village has a bunch of wells you can climb down into and there's loot or events. Some running around to teach fighting Goblins (sigh) and gathering sparkly things in the woods. Then obviously monsters attack your beloved peasant village and kidnap your sister, because of course women only exist to be put in refrigerators. You get a literal sword from a stone that makes you a "hero". SIGH.

I got a couple free character pulls (pre-order bonus of Miyu, ★★★★ sword girl who is stats-wise literally the main char gender-swapped, and Bivette, ★★★★ mage with regen and fireball, so that's nice), and spent some "free gems" for a third (Urania, a ★★★ pugilist furry) so I have a full party, but they don't back me up in the story event.

Characters have a lot of skill-ups on an Ability Board, the first board is linear, but the second and later ones give you multiple paths/tech trees. After half an hour I still have no equipment, though, lots of materials but the shop won't make me anything.

Combat's a standard turn-based thing, though so far only attacks and Switch (to change out party), no defense, items, or other actions. I've certainly seen better, but it's functional. There's giant monsters in the woods that are FAR out-level, they just one-shot me, so I guess I get back to those much later. They remind me a bit of the dungeon bosses in Etrian Odyssey, being marked on the map even when you can't see them.

Finally I beat the mini-boss in the main quest and reach the actual title sequence, and get to the time-travelling part.

I didn't level-grind enough in the woods, because now I'm a little under-level for fighting robots in the future, but that'll fix itself soon enough.

What I'm Playing: Langrisser, Another Eden

Langrisser's a long-running series of tactical RPGs, later succeeded by Growlanser. The mobile game is very similar to the PSP Growlanser remake, or to Fire Emblem Heroes. Move around a map and fight battles with usually 2-5 heroes chosen from 10 classes with rock-paper-scissors interactions (Infantry -> Lance -> Cavalry loop, Holy -> Demon, Archery -> Flyers, Sailors, Mages, and Assassins are neutral). This has the usual mobage stuff of arenas, "Magic Rift" areas to grind because there's not enough content, gachapon to get more heroes and equipment. There's less blatant "waifu" T&A exploitation material in Langrisser than FEH or many others, there's a few but it's a more serious game.

The combat UI is excellent, maybe one of the easiest to control and see movement and combat ranges. Every character has a band of soldiers with them, which act as a sort of HP buffer, extra damage before you take damage and die; you can swap out what kind of soldiers to change your combat interactions! The scenarios are modestly hard sometimes, not Final Fantasy Tactics hard, but decent tactical puzzles, and many of them have bonus "Feats" like killing optional targets, finding a chest, and so on. Far better than FEH, which bored me to death, it never got interesting.

The main screen is the world map with a bunch of buttons around the edges, better than a blank button-filled home screen like most mobage, but it still has some annoyances. 3 or 4 places you have to tap every time you log in or do anything to collect all the little rewards.

Levelling up characters is absurdly complicated but I kinda like that. You increase "star" rating by collecting soul fragments in gachapon and quest events, but the overall rating of N, R, SR, SSR doesn't change, except for three of the main-story characters; you don't really want to use anything below SR. You also add experience levels, mostly by spending EXP potions, they only gain a little bit from combat. You also upgrade classes, first getting more abilities, then progressing to a more advanced class along a 3-5 stage tree. Equipment starts out scarce and at level 1, and also has to be increased by absorbing "hammers" and other equipment, and eventually by adding enchantments. After 3 days on and off, I have the main-story characters at R, and three SR characters (Imelda, mage, T&A BDSM waifu; Lance, flyer, stern badass; Silver Wolf, assassin, masked mystery man) almost fully equipped, levelled up, and I'm doing fine in the arenas. I have a lot of junk R characters who I wish I could recycle their souls for EXP or something; the only one I've used at all is a pirate captain.

I'm not sure how long I'll keep at it, but there's a lot of depth in the game so far; but I say that a lot just before I quit playing these mobage.

AnotherEden

The more important game got pre-released today, and goes live tomorrow:

I have very high expectations of this. Masato Kato, best known for Chrono Trigger, Xenogears, Chrono Cross, and Final Fantasy XI, has been working on this. So, I know there'll be time travel, branching stories, characters making heroic sacrifices, and a ton of crunchy turn-based combat and level-up strategies for the characters. Apparently it's only going to be solo, no events, arenas, or other mobage stuff, but does use gachapon for adding non-main-party characters. A huge contiguous world, no loading screens or warping.

The quotes from the staff in the interviews are interesting:

"This game was created with love by myself and the other staff who were raised on JRPGs. I want everyone to feel the same emotion and surprise I've experienced."
—Takahito Exa, art director

"This is a game which expands on the possibilities of the JRPG genre. It feels nostalgiac, yet modern. I think it's a game not only old-school Japanese game fans will enjoy, but also something younger people can get into as well."
—Shinwoo Choi, character designer

"If I was stuck on a deserted island and could only bring three things with me, I would bring a smartphone, charger, and Another Eden. If I have those, I don't need anything else in my life. I want everyone else to feel that way about Another Eden, too."
—Conomi Akahori, animator

Game of the Year

I've decided there is no Game of the Year 2018. Everything's been mediocre sequels or ripoffs; that a shitty deathmatch shooter is the most popular makes me disrespect your species nearly as much as sportsball.

I'm still playing old games:

  • Elder Scrolls Online: Mixed bag this year. Summerset's a fantastic "chapter"/DLC they make even subs pay for. Murkmire DLC is awful, its only virtue is that Shadowfen's no longer the worst zone in the game. Mac client performance has been garbage since Murkmire, and the nerf to Sorc shields has annoyed the shit out of me. But, close to 5 years in it's still the best Elder Scrolls game.
  • Unturned: France map is fun and moderately hard, but 3.0's reaching EOL and who knows how buggy 4.0 will be. Ominous.
  • Minecraft: 1.13 update was a buggy shitshow for a while, but it's made the waters interesting. But I build bases in taiga or mountains. Very little time in it this year.
  • Animal Crossing Pocket Camp: Least bad gachapon/daily clicky-toy game in its second year. The monthly cycle of garden event, fishing event, scavenger hunt is pretty solid now. The Cabin recently added lets me save a few favorite animals outside the ever-rotating camp roster. It's OK.

This year's failed contenders:

  • EXAPUNKS: Haven't bought it yet because like TIS-100 and the rest of Zach's games, real coding is more fun than fake-coding, but maybe if I was more fun-not-GTD it'd be on the shortlist at least.
  • World of Warcraft Classic demo: The most exciting pre-release was a 10-year-old version of the most boring MMO.
  • Dragalia Lost: Good but compromised design. I loved it for a few months, the characters are fun and cute, action dungeon's great for quick play, but the gachapon store drives the game and creates too many identical heroes, dragons, and cards, and it nagged me out. This could've been GOTY if it was paid up front, earning heroes by questing instead of random pulls.

My own failure to ship is appalling. I can't justify it. Perilar gameplay is excellent roguelike tactics & resource management, but some dungeon generation's not right yet.

Delvers in Darkness, my new tabletop RPG, is getting another rewrite of the adventure and I haven't done any art direction. I think it's fun in solo tests, but still need table testing.

What I'm Playing: Looney Tunes World of Mayhem

Yes, yet another iPhone/Android gachapon game, this time based on our beloved Saturday morning cartoon time with The Bugs Bunny/Road Runner Show. I have unkind thoughts about this genre of game, but you know, if you make one with some character I will play it to level cap, and sometimes pay for a pack later in the first week, just to get over the initial resource hump. That they're all the same except some combat gameplay tells you a lot about what kind of industrial wage-slaves make these things, though.

The classic music is there, though there's a lot of bridging music on loop. The cutscenes are fully-voiced, the rest of the game has little or no dialogue. Sadly, no audio sliders; you either have all sound on, or all sound off.

The art's classic WB style rendered in 3D; I'd prefer to have cel-shading outlines, sometimes it's a little muddy around the edges, and WB is supposed to be sharp and flat.

You're fighting cloned armies of toons created by Marvin the Martian, with your own cloned army of toons. The reatomizer sounds like The Case of Charles Dexter Ward.

Most of the game is turn-based combat with a handful of skills for each character, and the heavy ones have a cooldown of 2 or more turns; Bugs can push out a package full of dynamite, or burrow up behind someone and give 'em what for with a Louisville slugger, but then has to settle for a standard attack for a while.

So far this has been pretty good; there's tactics in characters who synergize with each other, or hate each other, so for instance my current team there is the starter Bugs Bunny as DPS mainly for the dynamite AOE attack, Hunter Yosemite Sam as my targeted DPS, starter Fishercat Sylvester Jr as healer/super-fast attacker, and Scout Sylvester as ninja (he hides after his big attack, so can't be targeted) and ally bonus with Fishercat. I just got Scout Leader Granny, who gives an Attack Up bonus to all Scout characters, so I could switch out Bugs for her, but I really don't need two heals. They give you a Scout Foghorn as a tank, but I play games in fast attack, not slow and tanky.

There are "PVP" missions to steal treasure chests from other players, guarded by a few of their toons. So far I've always won these and never had my chests stolen, but we'll see if it eventually turns on me when the cash-shop whales start mugging everyone.

And there's a World area, where you build & upgrade houses for toons, and send them on retrieval missions. I don't see that you get any other decorations or creative building options, it's very primitive, but maybe that'll be added.

Looney Tunes Mayhem-04

At Level 7, you unlock Alliances, and I created a Mastodon/Fediverse alliance, called "Mastodon".

New Doom WAD "Sigil" From John Romero

Oh, holy shit yes. If you're cheap, the free download will be fine.

Just replayed E1M4b, and it's a little too intense for this early in my day; also I hate super-dark mazes, it's not fun squinting at the screen. E1M8b was a great open-area shootemup. Dunno how hard Sigil's gonna be but I'm up. Just let me get some coffee first.

Poke Mon Questions

I'm as amused by Ryan Reynolds, middle-aged comedy/action hero, as any other unfrozen caveman would be, but this "Poke Mon Detective Pikachu" thing leaves me with many questions. The big ones are:

  • Why is it "Poke Mon" instead of "Poke Man"? Are they not men? Are they Devo? I seriously saw that second "o" as an "a" for decades, and the accent marker is clearly delimiting two words.
  • What's a "Pikachu"? Is that a species or the individual? Where are the packs or herds of these things? Final Fantasy has moogles with families and lifecycles.
  • Why is it now a talking animal in a deerstalker cap instead of a dumb fighting cock?

Seriously. I know very little about this whole genre. So here I will enumerate what I know about the poke mons:

  • Infants in the '90s had poke mons which were cock-fighting games and the yellow one is their… leader? I know it makes some sort of noise, and the trailer suggests it's "pica pica". The trailer also suggests it's able to electrocute someone? That's weird, right? Does it grab a frayed extension cord, or is it a fuzzy electric eel, or what?
  • It was a videogame first, a Dragon Quest ripoff; I never played it or saw more than a screenshot. Then a card game, a Magic the Gathering ripoff; I know these only from the booster pack wrappers left behind by prepubescent crack junkies, never seen a card. Then some badly-animated… I want to say Chinese or Vietnamese? cartoons, didn't look like even the cheapest Japanese anime; I've seen maybe 2 minutes of this and it was incomprehensible squealing and Hanna-Barbera-quality slideshow "animation". Then movies, a quick duck search shows there's 20 of these movies!!! That's fucking bizarre, I've never heard of them; admittedly, I haven't watched broadcast/cable TV since 1999 and I block all advertising online, so how could I, but you'd think someone would have said to me, "Did you know there are twenty fucking poke mon movies?!"
  • I know about the trap balls from parody references and Poke Mon Go (which I tried for a couple weeks but I live many km from any dots on their map). It's weird that a tiny ball holds a whole fighting cock in it. How does it breathe and eat (and other science facts) in there?
  • There's an enemy team named Rocket, with a hot pink/redhead chick (who I've seen in some parody porn), which automatically to me means they should be the heroes, and the team with the kid who owns the yellow one should be the villains.
  • I'm totally skeeved out by people doing even pretend cock-fighting or dog-fighting for fun. Taking a dumb animal and making it hurt another dumb animal for entertainment is unacceptable. You can kill (humanely, which ironically means not how we treat other Humans) and eat or process an animal for leather or other parts, fine; or make intelligent beings fight each other in an arena; but anyone doing it to animals is wrong.