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Rico’s Bravely Default Guide: Victor & Victoria

I wrote a guide a bit ago about how to beat basically every boss. Well there is one boss in particular that that strategy does not work on! That boss is Victor & Victoria. I won’t be describing any story elements or anything that could spoil it. Honestly by playing you already know you’ll be fighting these two because the game makes it very obvious. I’ll be talking about mechanics only.

What you need

One character with Reflect (White Mage Spell)

One (or more) characters with “Drain” Spell Fencer ability & “Phoenix Flight”

A few Phoenix Downs & Hi-Potions (20 is probably fine)

Admittedly I was level 70 when I did this but all that did for me was make me most certainly faster than them. Overall I wasn’t getting hit anyways so the amount of HP I had didn’t matter for survivability. What DID make HP matter was the combo of “Drain” and “Phoenix Flight” which I’ll start calling D/PF. I’ll give you the rotation and then you just rinse and repeat this for the rest of the match to win.

Phase 1:

Cast Reflect x 4 on all of your team members.

Cast Drain on all characters who will be on offense.

Default on all characters who won’t (or do some kind of damaging attack).

Phase 2:

Cast “Phoenix Flight” x 4 on Victoria. This should deal 20K or so per character if you are sitting around 5K life.

Phase 2 until Reflect drops on all 4 characters then Phase 1. Repeat ad nauseum.

That’s all you have to do. If you find that a DOOM or something gets through your reflect (it happens on rare occasion, I wonder if its a bug?) then just raise that person and use your free characters to hi-potion them back up. After a handful of turns you’ll kill Victoria and be left with Victor. He is considerably less scary and once you get the routine above going on him he’ll die pretty quickly.

Something to consider is adding “Poison Immunity” to your characters if you have it. This way if you get hit between reflects with poison it will not do anything. If it DOES hit it can be a bit of a tedious inconvenience.

If your reflect is up you’ll be taking around 0 damage, maybe a few hundred in random melee damage. If it is down there is a chance that you’ll be instantly killed. I don’t just mean one character either, your entire team. No amount of power leveling appears to make this survivable. So just keep reflect up all the time and you’ll be god mode for this fight.

That’s it! If you have any questions, corrections, or whatever the comments are open. But in my experience most folks just come for the data and apply it.



By | 2014-12-20T22:18:59+00:00 March 2nd, 2014|Journal|Comments Off on Rico’s Bravely Default Guide: Victor & Victoria

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

Do Spoilers Spoil Books or Movies?

Today I was compared to a young-earth creationist because I dared to disbelieve that spoiling entertainment has no detrimental (or indeed it has a positive) impact on my enjoyment. The level of patronizing in the criticism was such that I read the report that he cited to patronize me. That, I suspect, is where our experiences with the subject matter differed. Because once I had read it I went from being mostly suspect to being in complete disbelief, I couldn’t imagine anyone reading this research paper and not being suspicious of the findings.

I’m going to lay out the criticisms that come to mind but rest assured I won’t be hitting everything. In at least on point in our discussion I’m going to be tautological but doing so entirely aware and intentionally. But let’s begin at the beginning.

The first is the topic of discussion. Psychology, while being one of my favorite sciences, is and likely always will be a soft science. We can with Psychology make broad statements about the human psyche and the larger our research pool the more certain we can be with our commentary. Psychology was my main focus in college and likely one of the most heavily researched fields in my life. So when someone starts getting smug with me on this topic I tend to be a bit defensive. First we’ll link you to the research paper that everyone cited but didn’t have the decency to link to:


  What we are most interested in are the method and the result, their anecdotes elsewhere are of little importance. 819 students from the University of California, San Diego were used for this study. Of this group there was 176 men and 643 women. Already I’m a little nervous while reading this article because its heavily sided to a single gender. Something they seem entirely oblivious of and never address. The next is that we are looking at 819 college students from a single university in a single state. Everyone citing this paper is extrapolating a very small study to the entire human population. Do you know what happened the last time someone did that that I can recall off hand? People started saying vaccines caused Autism.

  That vaccine paper actually came to my mind a lot while I read this. But in the case of this study the writers are actually much less confident and smug than the people citing the paper. Whereas with the vaccine paper the opposite was most certainly true. But back to my point. We have 819 college students from a single university in a single state, reading a bunch of books they have literally no emotional expectations from, and these books were ‘spoiled’ with information that the study creators deemed “spoilers”. But what were these spoilers? They are never detailed in the report. Allow me to “spoil” a few video games and movies for you, tell me how they impact your feelings towards those particular items.

Bioshock happens underwater.

There are dead people in the Sixth Sense.

Megatron makes an appearance in Transformers.

Jason Vorhees murders [insert the names of a random selection of teens from any of the films].

  Do these constitute spoilers? I would argue that they do not and that they are perhaps even straw men. But that underlines one of my problems with this research paper. They said they spoiled these stories for the readers. But did they really? They might have thought that they did but clearly they did not. Had they spoiled these stories the stories would have been spoiled (that’s the tautology). This is the problem with the nature of the word and its function. A plot summary is meaningless if the reason you are watching the film is not for the plot. The plot of Prometheus is a fetid pile of shit that no spoiler could ruin, but if you are someone who loves set design it is still a very enjoyable film.

  But before I start going into the rest of my problems lets get into the result. At the end of their results they mention that readers didn’t find the spoilers included in the altered beginnings to be jarring. This suggests to me even further that what they delivered was not spoilers. They detailed what they found to be the most important parts of the stories to them, to other people, and other people did not find meaning or perhaps did not find the story hinging on those bits of information.

  Another major problem I have is with the concept of a “hedonic rating”. I’m a big fan of hedonism, I’m sure a lot of people are. But in citing hedonism they have undone their own research. If people were experiencing the same thing each time they read a book they liked or watched a film they liked (or listened to a song they liked) they would suffer from the Hedonic treadmill. But if they suffered from the Hedonic treadmill they wouldn’t be watching that film, reading that book, or listening to that song for the hundredth time. So why is it then that anyone could do this?

  I thought the answer was simple, but during my little discussion today the other half of the discussion seemed to think this was the concrete evidence to prove the report. Obviously this phenomenon that impacts humans nearly universally is overridden when it comes to things we like. The problem here is the confusion of the medium and the experience. Yes, you are reading the same book over and over. But each time you read it is not the same experience. You aren’t reading it for the same reasons each time. The first time you read it you read it to reveal the story. Maybe another time for nostalgia. Another to peel apart all the subtle nuances of the writing. Further still because you want to live in that world. Why deny people that extra experience if they want that experience.

  You simply wouldn’t keep absorbing that media if it stimulated you in the same way each time. Because if there is one place we have an astounding amount of research it is in the nature of hedonism and our brains ability to build up resistances to stimulation. The entire nature of addiction and the danger of relapsing into an addiction come from the hedonic treadmill. The recent death of Philip Seymour Hoffman being a real world example.

  Some people like that first experience. There is nothing in this entire 1.5 page essay that suggests they are wrong in that belief. All this paper says is that the first experience does not elicit the same (self reported) pleasure levels that the second/spoiled readings do. It doesn’t examine the different ways each reading stimulates the brain. It doesn’t examine how these results work across different cultures or regions. It doesn’t examine just about anything. All it found is that at a basic pleasure level, these books were better when you had the information that the scientists provided.

  Another fundamental problem with psychology is that people act differently in studies than they do in real life. There are ethical reasons why we can’t really get passed this most of the time but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t consider it. These people weren’t reading these books for the same reason than the average person consumes a book. They were reading them as part of a project for a college. There are so many variables up in the air with this study that it borders on meaningless.

  Finally these were all short stories. Do people have the same expectations from a short story as they do a long one? Do people have the same expectations from a 20 dollar video game as they do a 60 dollar one? Rather random example but its something I know my personal answer to. If this study is 100% true then at best it currently tells us that people don’t care if you spoil a short story.

  What would be more interesting (and meaningful) to me would be a study that takes random tidbit of information from a book (or set of books) and A/B tests the response of readers across an actual diverse sampling size. Find which information improves and which information hinders the reading of the book. What bothers me more than this report existing (because its a perfectly acceptable college assignment) but rather the way people are using it.

  People citing this study are doing a few things rather consistently across websites. The first is that they are smugly asserting that no good story falls apart when spoiled. This is usually a bad sign. When a scientific study is used to make blanket statements about the “objective” nature of subjective things, you likely have a misstep. The most cliche example was the Dumbledore reveal on a few of the pages citing this report. Personally speaking, as is the only option on this topic, Dumbledore has no impact on my feelings towards the Harry Potter series. He could have turned into a giraffe in the books and the part that actually interested me would have remained interesting.

  Telling me what happens with him in the story might seem like a spoiler on the face of it. He’s a primary character and thusly I should be finding him important and his exploits or misfortunes important. But I don’t.

  The next major problem I have with folks citing this is that they are using it as means and reason to alter their own lives. It’s one study. It’s not even a good one. What ever happened to being a skeptic? Science is about repeating results. Psychology in particular is very stringent about emphasizing that effectively nothing is universal. Yes, on average, a lot of people suffer the hedonic treadmill. But if you happen to have acute brain damage or even just a different genetic marker you might not. That doesn’t mean you are wrong. That means you are you.

  If you find that spoilers spoil things for you, then they do. That’s the nature of personal emotion.

  What I find most strange about these results and people flippantly throwing them around is that they don’t even make functional sense in the scientific community. Can you think of a single scientist that wants to immediately know the answer to everything? I imagine some exist but science is about the journey. The results are these once in a lifetime bursts of sensation that run throughout your body. But the journey is what really captures a scientist. That curiosity. If spoilers don’t ruin anything then by that logic knowing the answer to every question would have no impact on the journey to know.

  Maybe that is true but on the face of it that sounds rather ludicrous to me. But what do I know? Apparently I’m as dumb as someone who thinks the world is only 6,000 years old.

  Note: Another (of the literally dozens) of explanations for this paper that I didn’t even consider was stated thusly: “Perhaps it’s simply that stories are EASIER to read when we don’t have to spend time worrying about where intricate plot lines are going?”

By | 2014-03-07T13:24:48+00:00 February 24th, 2014|Journal|2 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