[Old] Gaming

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The Grand Success of the Mobile Market Failure

Imagine if I told you that I had a product and that that product appealed to .15% of all people that tried it. Would you consider me a success? Likely not, I’m sure you would look at me and think I’m some kind of moron who doesn’t know what I’m doing. But this is not what is happening in the Mobile Games market. Half of all their sales come from .15% of the people that they reach with their games. You wouldn’t think this judging by all the bantering of investors and “experts”, you’d figure that these obscene sales that are coming from the industry are a sign that they know what they are doing and they are doing it well.

Clearly they are not and do not. What they’ve found is a previously untapped market of addicts. People willing to sell their home in order to fund a quick pleasure fix. Where we’ve previously placed laws to fight this kind of predation (which I don’t necessarily support, I’m more about education), we applaud these folks. So what are they doing wrong exactly? I’m not going to act like I know fully but I can at least speak anecdotally about what bothers me and suggest that this may be at least one avenue that they are failing.

Free to Play games are misleadingly named. They are not Free to Play, at best they are Free to Try or Free to Wait. These games punish you for not investing in them and most (if not all) of your investments are momentary fleeting positive results. This is similar to the drug model where you give people small free doses to help get them hooked and then jack up the price once they are addicted and rake in the profits. It’s a fairly nefarious abuse of our understanding of psychology and not something that I appreciate.

Once you are aware of how Free to Play games work you begin to find them very annoying. You end up seeing all that wasted talent on titles that have little to no merit to exist. It’s about mentality of design, at least as far as I’m concerned. When you build a game that will survive off of consistent and repeated monetary investments you are more likely to design the game to promote those activities. Once your primary focus is how to get money out of people you are not going to make a good game. If, in contrast, your goal is to make money by making good games then you are more likely to actually succeed.

It sounds a bit patronizing and obvious when I write it out but obviously it is not obvious to major game developers (or perhaps just the upper management of these places). If a game must have in app purchases I believe these should be designed after the fact. Games should be complete and enjoyable experiences when you release them to the public. Once you’ve done that then you can brainstorm (perhaps with your community) about what neat things they’d like you to keep making for them and then the community can pay your team to make that content by buying it.

A good example is League of Legends. The game on launch was a complete experience and I’d argue it still is a complete experience. There are no timers gating you from enjoying the game. For the most part there is no imbalance between you and paying users either. Most imbalances are accidental and they are fixed quickly and cleanly.

Another thing to consider is that not all games need in app purchases. If you design them smartly you should be able to release a game for a single fee and return ample profits to keep your company running. If you cannot this is a failure on your part and should not be passed on to the customer. It always is, but it shouldn’t be. Bravely Default is a beautiful example. Quite nearly a perfect game that hits all the right cords but then they randomly added in an in-app purchase.

Does it imbalance the game? Potentially but not necessarily. That’s something in its favor. Can you get it for free? Sure, you get one every time you go to bed (basically). Does it break immersion? Yes, desperately. When you use it your characters will hint that you can buy this item. That’s a very bad decision and it taints the entire experience. I see this nearly perfect snowflake but there is a lump of poop on the edge of it. An entirely unnecessary lump of poop as well.

It’s sad because as time goes on this game will always be remembered as that “nearly perfect game that had that icky in app purchase slapped on”. So tragic for something so beautiful to be so unnecessarily molested.

That’s where we stand. The industry is making the wrong decisions 99.85% of the time and yet everyone is trying to shift their design plan to fit that system. I can’t think of any other business where a 99.85% failure rate is considered wildly good and worth pursuing. To me this looks like an extremely frail bubble that is going to burst and burst hard. That .15% won’t have billions of dollars forever, once you milk them dry through deeper and deeper abuse they’ll be gone. Think of it like over fishing an ocean, if you are taking out quicker than they are breeding you will be left eventually with no fish.

We are on the precipice of a barren mobile gaming ocean and it will not be a clean break. What disappoints me is that the solution is not complicated. Fish smarter, fish friendlier, fish with honesty, and be patient. None of these things fit into the modern accepted model of capitalism however.

Should be interesting.

By | 2014-03-07T13:26:04+00:00 February 26th, 2014|Journal|Comments Off on The Grand Success of the Mobile Market Failure

Rico’s Bravely Default Guide: Universal Boss Guide

So you’ve leveled to your heart’s desire and have more money than the merchantry. But you find yourself stuck on a particular pain in the buttocks boss. I’ve not yet beaten the entire game but I have found a strategy that has worked on every single boss up to the point where I am (I should be nearing the end as I have most of the jobs unlocked).

Again this will be spoiler light. Because it works for anything that isn’t undead and anything that IS undead has an even simpler fix. If you go up against something that is undead just drop a Phoenix Down on it to instantly kill it (if it hits). You might think it strange that I’d title the post after that little strategy, and it would be strange, but that’s not what I’ve done. What we are getting into involves two job classes. The Spell Fencer and the Monk.

What you need for this strategy

Each of your characters need to know “Life Drain” from Spell Fencing.

Each of your characters need to know “Phoenix Flight” from Monk.

Probably wise to equip “Blessed Shield” on each of them.

Optional: Each of your characters can add “Revenge”  from Red Mage.

Weapon doesn’t matter.

  The more HP you can give your characters the better. This is because of the nature of “Phoenix Flight”. PF does “Reduce HP to 1 and convert the amount of HP sacrificed into damage applied to target enemy.” This on the face of it means that you wouldn’t want to do it 4 times in a row because it would do thousands of damage then 1 damage 3 times. But consider if we have our second job class being Spell Fencer and we use Life Drain the turn before.

Life Drain (I believe its just called Drain) causes you to convert 100% of your damage into life. So let’s imagine you’ve leveled your characters up to have about 5000 life after all their HP buffs are taken into account. They’ll deal 5,000 damage and then immediately gain back 5,000 life putting them back at max. If you brave with them 3 times that will be 20,000 damage from one character in a single turn.

Spread that across all four of your characters and you’ve just done 80,000 damage in a single turn. This isn’t quite enough to kill a few of the bosses outright as they have 100,000 life or 20,000 life. An ideal extra to this setup is to get “Revenge” from Red Mage level 11.

Revenge adds the following effect “Has a 25% chance to increase BP by 1 when taking damage.” This means that if you do go all in (I usually do this with only a single character and the other 3 spamming Blessed Shields) you will recover your BP extremely quickly in the following barrage of attacks by your opponent. It says that it activates only 25% of the time but I have an astoundingly high proc rate in my experience. Perhaps it is just luck.

The Blessed Shield provides you with an infinite supply of “Cura” which is incredibly helpful. If you keep healing your team each turn and just pumping out 20,000 damage every 4 turns with your 4th you’ll drop basically any boss up till the scary things on the world map. But even those things (which I won’t name) can be dropped with this method (I’ve done it).

Additionally if you want you can pump out an addition 10-20K damage with Bravely Second bringing a single turn of pounding up to 100,000 which will drop most job class bosses or quite nearly kill them.

It’s an easy strategy that is incredibly fun (for me) to do. You feel really great when your doing a defense and default ignoring 100% hitting 5K strike 4 times in a row. I’ve not once seen this move miss even with blindness and evasion up on my enemy. It MIGHT miss, but I’ve yet to see it happen. It also requires 0 extra BP or SP which means you can spam it willy nilly. The only SP loss is from the Drain and you can add “SP Gain on Hit” to your abilities if you’ve unlocked it to regain that in combat.

Sometimes a character will get cheesed and die instantly but you can res them and just grind it out. My worst experiences have been with bosses that “predict” who will hit them and kill that person or bosses that have additional “Damage every X turns at start of turns” effects as those reduce the impact of your attack because you are weaker. Yet I’ve only had to redo a boss fight once (soon to be twice) and both times it was only because I was OHKO’d across my entire team by cheese.

If you don’t get cheesed you can easily rule the world with this simple strategy :).

 

Edit: If you happen to be up against a tiny masochist and their keeper, I believe the strategy there is to use reflect so as to have them kill themselves with their extremely cheesy cheese. I haven’t tested it but it seems far too obvious to not be the case. You’ll know who I mean when they trounce you with no warning and no means of survival :p.

By | 2014-12-20T22:19:23+00:00 February 25th, 2014|Journal|4 Comments

Rico’s Bravely Default Guide: Money Making

Given how many people have visited my last guide on Bravely Default I suppose its time to hook people up with a better money making tool. This one came about after I got the skill “Big Pharma” and realized I was looking at a veritable goldmine, a bit like actual Big Pharma. As with the previous guide I’m going to be making this as spoiler free as possible, thankfully the entire guide takes place in the “Wind Temple” which is one of the first areas you enter in the game! [Ironically I had reached Merchant Job Class 11 in the very same place, so it was incredibly convenient for me.]

The Checklist

Blessed Shield x 1

Agnes without a weapon & Job changed to a Spellcaster.

One character with Merchant at Job Level 11 [I personally used Tiz, seeing as Ringabel is my Thief].

 

Next go to the second floor of the Wind Temple (which you’ve likely already found, so I won’t say where it is). Make sure that you have your non-merchant, non-Agnes character hooked up with the Blessed Shield. If you want you can put Blessed Shields on all 4 of your characters, this will help keep things more certain but isn’t necessary. Get into a fight with a Golem (kill any other mobs with him but don’t hit him yet). Once the Golem is alone do the following list in any order.

  1. Have your non-merchant, non-Agnes, non-Blessed Shield character use Default.
  2. Have your Blessed Shield character use their Blessed Shield on the party (This will cast Cura on the party, usually for about 200 life).
  3. Have Agnes physically hit the enemy, make sure she’s equipped with something that does less than 500 damage usually. I find that unarmed is probably best.
  4. Have your merchant use “Big Pharma” on the Golem.

What does this do? One character hits the Golem for between 200 and 500 damage, another heals him for that much and you get exactly that much in money back, a third heals the party for 200 damage (you are only taking between 1 and 50 by this point), and the last is just blocking.

This means that every turn you earn about 250 pg. Press Y and let your party keep doing this on repeat, crank up the speed to >>>>, and now you’ve got yourself a money making monstrosity! Leave the game running overnight and you should come back to roughly 1 million PG (almost on the spot, its rather consistent). Assuming that you kept Agnes unarmed you shouldn’t hit the Golem for more than 500 on anything but crits, this is good because you want to keep him healing from Big Pharma fast enough to not die while you are asleep.

In this way you can buy various items that will help make the game more enjoyable and take a bit of pressure off from the (surprisingly low) money output that the game delivers. Additionally you can purchase a certain item (which I won’t name) that increases your exp and job exp gains while simultaneously turning off your pg gains. You won’t need pg gains because of this trick which means you can use that item with my leveling guide to level twice as fast.

I personally leave the game running in this way while I sleep with my 3DS sleeve over the bottom screen and an empty 3DS game case over the top one. Keeps the 3DS nice and dark so that I can sleep and in the morning I can pick it up, kill the Golem, and check out my sweet haul.

There you go! A simple and fun way to earn a million pg while you sleep. Anyone can do it and it requires very little to get online.

Edit: For the sake of clarity. You could make as little as 750K or so depending on how hard you hit. Still you were sleeping when it happened so~

By | 2017-09-07T22:14:27+00:00 February 20th, 2014|Journal|16 Comments

Rico’s Bravely Default Guide: Leveling

Update: I recommend doing this only to job level 9 on most jobs until Chapter 5. At Chapter 5 you’ll want to use a new strategy which I’ll be writing up shortly (next day or so) to hit level 14 on all jobs in the blink of an eye. Click any of that sentence to go to the other post :p.

I’m going to talk about how I power level and I’ll be keeping this as content light as possible. Sadly it will be image light too, seeing as the 3DS doesn’t support native screenshots…one of the dumber Nintendo decisions. But I digress! Let’s begin with what you’ll want:

 

The Checklist

Support Ability Quantity of 2.

Knuckle Lore (Support Ability from Level 5 Monk)

Self Healing (Support Ability from Level 5 White Mage)

A Dime (US Currency, Results may vary in other countries)

  The reason I suggest Knuckle Lore, and indeed if you are leveling a class the first class you should level is Monk, is that it allows you to be other classes without buying new weaponry. Knuckle Lore makes your unarmed attacks incredibly strong and you keep this relatively consistent high DPS across all characters. This guide is about ease and lack of thought rather than some complex money and numbers game.

  The reason I suggest Self Healing is that you will find often during random battles you will get poisoned, this is extremely bad for the strategy we’ll be developing because it means while you AFK play you’ll be reducing all your characters HP to 1. You don’t want that, so with Self Healing you will heal from Poison, Paralysis, and something else after combat.

  Finally you want to find a place where you can easily kill the mobs without it being “a close one”. The ideal locations are places you find that have good JP output, unless you are more desiring base leveling but, trust me, you’ll be getting plenty of that. You want to find a location on the map that is not smooth, rocks, chests, something where if you ran into it your character would “jitter”. This creates a motion of bouncing back and walking forward that is subtle but noticeable. After you’ve got this angle down you’ll want to fight a match.

  In that match hold down L to Brave 4 times and then hold down A to attack 4 times. Do this on all 4 characters. Press Y and this will cause you to repeat this attack combination ad infinitum. Now after the match put that dime under your directional stick so that you infinitely run towards that bouncing spot on your map, nearly every map and even the overworld has these spots all over. Once you’ve found one you’ll know what I mean. All you have to do now is press A a few times each time a fight is over. If you are on the PC you can press A with your left pinky while you type or play other games (like I do with World of Warcraft).

  Congratulations! It still requires you “be there” but if you crank the encounter rates to +100% you’ll be grinding out levels, money, and jp in no time! If you want you can even make one of your characters to “Steal” from each bad guy instead of attacking. To do this best you want to wait till you have a 4v4 fight and have him steal from each mob once. Then when you auto-battle he’ll target each unique enemy once. Alternatively you can make all 4 of your characters Merchants and crank out money like its nobodies business (They each give you 1.5x money from winning and this stacks for each of them).

  That’s all there is to it! I find this incredibly relaxing and it allows me to enjoy the story and all the job classes without staring at my game all day :).

  If you need any further guidance feel free to leave a comment or message me, whatever have you. I’ll be adding a few new comment options soon once I figure out how to make them tabs under the posts instead of full replacements.

By | 2014-12-20T22:20:23+00:00 February 13th, 2014|Journal|4 Comments

Bravely Defaulting to the Weekend

   If you happen to have a 3DS or a 3DSXL you really owe it to yourself to download the demo for Bravely Default. This game is much better than it has any right to be. It’s that kind of genuine game that makes you smile because you know it was made with fun in mind, it isn’t out to scam you or fuck your wallet, it just wants you to enjoy yourself.

  I’ve felt that way about a few games recently. It’s really nice and I’m happy to have hit a point in my life again where I have a handful of games that I want to play because they are fun and not because they manipulate my psychology to try and get me to pump cash into them.

  I noticed my Project 52 page is broken, I’ll need to figure out what happened and repair that sometime soon. I’ll be including comics in it shortly because they tend to be packed in 4’s for the trade copies which is easily the size of a book. Additionally tomorrow we’ll be having another update me the IOS Mod which is good news for the 53 people now using it. Nearly all of those people have updated once as well it looks like. I’m pretty excited about the popularity it has seen. Very refreshing to see people liking something I’m working on and I like collaborating with friends on things.

  This weekend should be fun, I have some things that are arguably interesting to write about and I’m feeling pretty good physically and mentally.

Just a monk hiding in the grass.

By | 2014-01-03T22:23:05+00:00 January 3rd, 2014|Journal|Comments Off on Bravely Defaulting to the Weekend