Knowing that I really need to practice the presentation for Gobble-Con, but being lazy at the same time, last night I struck a compromise and ran through the audio part of it, IE what I want to say. I’ll have to do some more of that in the coming weeks if I really want to get this down to the point that I’ll be confident at the convention itself. Hopefully I get there.
Over the last few Sundays, I’ve been streaming Phantasy Star II at my UStream channel. It’s been fun replaying it, even if I had kind of forgotten where one of the towns was located (I’m using dungeon maps from an aborted speedrun attempt, which makes it quite a bit easier.).
So to up the challenge a bit, as I mentioned before, I’ll be letting the members of The Speed Gamers Community decide my party configurations from week to week. I know what the optimal configurations so to speak are, but most of that community probably doesn’t (The game is older than a lot of its members, heh), and that’s honestly the way I like it.
Woo-hoo, a fan! :D
Part 6: In Which Nothing Much Happens
The group returned to the first floor, and kicked the crud out of Murphy’s Ghost, repeatedly, for what seemed like forever. The main effect of this was to increase Emptyeye’s level. Rocky and mahel042 also leveled up.
After the three warriors purchased Gloves of Copper, the party conferred at the Tavern once again.
Emptyeye: “Hey guys, have you noticed that I seem to be advancing slower than the rest of you?”
Nyperold: “Sort of, but really, besides you, Xanatos and Zudak don’t seem to be advancing as quickly as mahel and myself.”
mahel042: “Not only that, but relative to his actual strength, it seems like Rocky is advancing more quickly than any of us!”
Rocky: “What can I say? It must be the additional training I do in the snowy mountains during group downtime.”
Emptyeye: “…right. But I think I may have a short-term solution to the problem, in as much as it is a problem. Hey, Willy, come here for a second.”
Willy: “Yes? Got more stuff you need me to identify?”
Emptyeye: “Actually, no. But I think you’ll like this anyway. We’re taking you into the dungeon with us. We’re gonna go to our favorite strength-building spot.”
Rocky: “Mount Midoriyama?”
Emptyeye: “No, the southeast corner of…wait, what?!”
Rocky: “You thought I was joking about that mountain thing?”
Emptyeye: “I…but…I…gah! Anyway, Willy, you’re coming with myself, Xanatos, and Zudak down to the first floor of the dungeon. mahel, Nyperold and Rocky, you guys can relax for awhile.”
Willy: “Awesome, thanks!”
(LIVEBLOG NOTE: The actual reason for the discrepancy in experience is that some classes need less experience than others to go up levels—Thieves need less than anyone, followed by Fighters, Clerics, Mages, Wizards and Samurai [Who have the same requirements], and finally, Lords, then Ninjas [To say nothing of the experience required to get enough stat boosts to be able to upgrade to Lord/Ninja in the first place]. But that’s no fun to narrate. Also, I found out that the fighting classes [Fighter, Samurai, Lord, Ninja] get additional combat hits every 4 levels. I had some idea of this, but wasn’t sure of the exact mechanics.
..and yes, I know “Mount Midoriyama” is not a real mountain, nor is it located in Llylgamyn.)
The newly short-handed crew trekked down to Murphy’s Ghost’s resting place…
Zudak: “Hey Willy, look around that statue, you’ll like what you find.”
Willy: “Okay, let’s see what’s arrrrrAAAAAH!”
Murphy’s Ghost: “ROOOOOAR!!”
Zudak: “Ahahaha, that was priceless!”
Emptyeye: “Okay, yeah, that was amusing, now can we kill him…err, re-kill him and increase our power?”
Xanatos: “Good idea.”
And the group did so, roughly 20 times. This was good enough to further increase the spellcasting abilities of Xanatos (Who could throw blades at an enemy, oddly enough) and Zudak (Who could attempt to suffocate enemies, and instantly destroy any group of undead foes), as well as grant Willy Cleric spells, plus some more Mage spells. He also made enough money to purchase a suit of Padded Leather.
Willy: “Despite your apparent love of practical jokes, I have to admit I’m liking this increased power.”
Emptyeye: “I knew you would.”
Next Time: More Fourth Floor!
Awesome Bonus Commentary!
Typo Alert! I misspelled “trekked” as “treked” initially.
Xanatos is pretty silent here, as this is more of a half-chapter, to be frank. Something I don’t mention here at all is that Willy’s Identification ability improves as his level does, hence why I took him down here in the first place. In-story, Zudak was quite happy to spring the Murphy’s Ghost surprise on someone else. Out-of-story, one of the more annoying things that can happen is that Murphy’s Ghost can surprise you and get a free round in battle. It doesn’t really make the battle any harder–my party is long past the point where the Ghost is a threat–but really, I’ve searched that square hundreds of times by now…there is no way I should be surprised that he’s there.
Admittedly not a lot of progress to report today. What I did do was put “Mention Q&A” in its proper place near the beginning of the notes I have for the presentation, which will help me, you know, remember to mention it. And that’s about it, really.
After not thinking about the panel for Gobble-Con for over 2 weeks, I ran through the material again earlier tonight. And that’s really about the only positive thing that can be said about it. I took longer than I had before, and it was just generally not very good–I still forgot to mention important stuff like the fact that there would be a Q&A and handouts and the like. Yeesh.
I think from here on out, I’m going to have to run through the panel weekly, to A. keep everything in my head, B. refine everything a bit more, and C. hopefully get my confidence to the point where I’m not making all sorts of nervous gestures.
Part 5: Third Floor’s The Charm?
mahel042: “So what awaits us on the third floor?”
Emptyeye: “Actually, um…not a whole heck of a lot if this is anything to go by. There’s that elevator again, but other than that..looks like whoever made this map didn’t even finish this floor.”
(LIVEBLOG NOTE: In Wizardry I, the only floors you actually have to visit are 1, 4, 9 and 10. The main reason for exploring the others is to get sweet loot, specifically weapons. The further down you go, the tougher the enemies; the tougher the enemies, the greater the potential prizes.)
Rocky: “Awesome! We can be potential celebrities for finishing this map!”
Nyperold: “And killing stuff! Don’t forget that!”
Emptyeye: “Nyperold…I have to admire your focus on your goal, if nothing else.”
The group made their way to the third floor, and were set upon by Were Bears. Nyperold was the first to feel their wrath.
Were Bear: “ROAAAAAARGH!” *Swipe*
Xanatos: “My God man, he’s poisoned and paralyzed!”
The battle was eventually won, but not without Emptyeye being poisoned as well.
Xanatos: “Dialko! Latumofis! Latumofis!”
Nyperold: “Whew, thanks. That was…not all that much fun.”
Xanatos: “Tell me about it. I have my answer to ‘What can I do on the front lines?’ And the answer is ‘not much’.”
(LIVEBLOG NOTE: The three warriors of the group consistently hit an enemy two to three times per round. Xanatos gets only one hit per round, at least for now.)
The group continued exploring the floor…
All: “Ahhhhhh! Uhh!”
Emptyeye: “That pit hurt.”
Rocky: “At least it wasn’t filled with Deadly-poison-tipped spikes.”
Emptyeye: “True enough.”
More exploration commenced, and the group retreated from battle for the very first time.
mahel042: “That is an absolutely huge group of Were Bears. And Vorpal Bunnies? I want no part of this.”
Everyone Else: “NO!”
Exploring and filling out the last parts of the map, the group came upon a nasty surprise…
Ninjas: “Surprise! Hiya! Huah!”
All: “Ahhh! Ouch! Gah!”
In the end, the group all survived, though not without two of its members being poisoned again. They made sure to not give the Ninjas another chance to kill them.
Back in town, Zudak made another shopping trip…
Zudak: “Guys, check out my new staff! It’s STUDLY!” *Flex! Pose!*
The rest of the group hemmed and hawed at the purchase.
Emptyeye: “Look, I’m happy that you like your purchase and all…”
mahel042: “…yeah, we don’t wanna dampen your enthusiasm or anything…”
Emptyeye: “…well, it’s just that…you do realize you’re not really suited for frontline combat, right? That if you’re ever actually in a position to use that staff…well, we’re probably screwed?”
Zudak: “But….but it’s STUDLY!” *Pose!* *Flex!*
Nyperold: *Amused sigh*
The group then made a quick excursion down to the fourth floor. Quick as in “one battle”, since half the party, including Xanatos, ended up paralyzed at the hands of fourth floor foes. This necessitated a trip back to town and the Temple of Cant.
(LIVEBLOG NOTE: The Temple of Cant is one area of Town I haven’t talked about yet. It’s where you can do to get various status effects cured for a fee that’s dependent on your character level. These include Poison, Paralysis, and Death. Maybe. Hopefully I’ll never have to speak of that last one again though.)
After Xanatos was cured…
Xanatos: “Dialko! Dialko!”
Emptyeye: “Well, that was…interesting. I suppose we should just be grateful we’re all alive. Maybe more training is in order?”
Finally, Willy managed to get some decent coinage from castoffs at least.
Willy: “That, my friends, is a fine suit of Body Armor!”
Emptyeye: “Cool..but do we actually need it? I’ve already got something better.”
Nyperold: “I’ve got Plate Mail, which is comparable.”
mahel042: “As do I.”
Xanatos: “I already have some Body Armor.”
Rocky: “And I can’t wear it.”
Zudak: “Me neither.”
Emptyeye: “Looks like it’s yours, my bespectacled friend.”
Willy: “Well…I can’t use it either…guess I can sell it off.”
And everyone went their separate ways to rest.
Next Time: Who knows?
Bodacious Bonus Commentary!
- I have no idea what I even meant with this sentence: “Finally, Willy managed to get some decent coinage from castoffs at least.” My first thought is that I typoed the last word and meant “At last”, and the more I think about it, the more I think that’s what I wanted to say. At first, I didn’t think it was that, because “at least” would have been made redundant by “finally”, but I then realized that I meant “Finally” as in “lastly”, rather than “at last”.
- Whether I consciously intended it or not, mahel042 is emerging as the level-headed one of the group–here, he prudently decided that a Were Bear/Vorpal Bunny combo is not worth fighting.
- From a gameplay standpoint, I was really lucky that being surprised by Ninjas only resulted in two people getting poisoned, rather than killed outright.
- On the third floor–which, again, there is little reason to visit except to try and earn items–there are signs at the intersections saying “Turn right”, “Turn left” or “Turn around.” These all, ultimately, lead into a pit, which drops the HP of your group. There’s also a little Burma Shaveesque set of signs that lead into a pit. The Nethack link in the part right after the group falls into a pit is a reference to a particularly nasty part of Nethack. Nethack is a Roguelike, and the primary characteristics of Roguelike are that you only get one life through the game, and pretty much everything is randomly generated. Thus, at any new step you unlock (Including your first), if you’re unprepared, you can potentially come across “You fell into a pit! The pit was spiked! The spikes were poisoned! The poison was deadly…” and you die. Wizardry is, at least, marginally more merciful than that.
@Nyperold: Nope, no penalties, just a nice -4 to AC (This being D&D inspired, a lower Armor Class is better). And as you can see, a wide selection of classes can use them too.
@Zudak: That was basically what I said too. I still remember my mom fighting one for the first time and finding out about the insta-death attack the hard way…”My character is decapitated?!” (Note that “decapitation” isn’t worse than any other form of death in Wizardry..which doesn’t mean it’s something you want, by any means)
And now, a brief…
Interlude: Zudak the Poor Shopper. Oh, and More Grinding
Zudak: “Ah, some Orcs. Now to find out what cool power this Rod has. Hmm…it seems to make me a bit harder to hit. Neat….IT BROKE?!?”
(LIVEBLOG NOTE: The Rod of Iron casts Mogref in battle. Mogref is a Level 1 Mage spell [Character Level != Spell Level] that gives the caster -2 to AC for the duration of the battle. And the Rod apparently breaks after 1 use. Thank you for that useful item, Wizardry I!)
Another twenty minutes of pounding on Murphy’s Ghost followed, though the benefits were minimal—Emptyeye increased his command of Mage magic, and Rocky became stronger, but that was really it…this time. Xanatos had finally learned to cure poison at the end of the previous excursion, though.
Next Time: Floor 3, For Real!
Sweet Bonus Commentary!
There was a bit of conversation between the last entry and this one. Nyperold (The Troper, not my character) inquired as to whether the Iron Shields I bought in the last entry carried any penalty for using them. Zudak’s commentary consisted entirely of “Holy shit ninjas.” Other than that, this was just a brief interlude, covering a brief play session, basically starring the Rod of Iron. There are several ways to do a TV Tropes liveblog. You can snark on whatever it is you’re watching, covering it sarcastically, pointing out the plot holes, etc. You can turn it into a sort of narrative, as I’m doing here. You can incorporate pictures and video too. Either way, though, it’s accepted practice to fit as many trope links as you reasonably can into your liveblog. Here, I take advantage of this convention to link to things that make Zudak’s Rod of Iron sound like slang for genitalia. By the way, adding insult to injury: There is apparently some speculation that Armor Class in the NES version doesn’t actually do anything (Which I didn’t know at the time I was playing the game). Yeesh.
Part 4: Second Floor, Same as the First?
The group returned to the dungeon and made their way to the stairs to the second floor.
Zudak: “So what can we expect to find on this floor, Fearless Leader?”
Emptyeye: “Well, let’s see…the way we came down here, it looks like there are a couple statues, plus a third key. Huh, that’s interesting..we could also have arrived here by elevator. Doesn’t look like there’s much of interest on this floor going the elevator route though.”
mahel042: “So where to first?”
Emptyeye: “Let’s try for those statues. Then we can head for the key, and if we’re still feeling good, maybe explore the rest of the floor to make sure the mapmakers didn’t miss anything.”
So the party made their way to the first of the statue rooms. Along the way, they passed something on the floor, but they didn’t know exactly what it was.
Emptyeye: “This must be what we needed one of the keys for. Damned if I know which one, though.”
(LIVEBLOG NOTE: On “important” dungeon squares, you’ll see a square outlined on the floor, be it flavor text or some kind of barrier. If you already have the item needed to pass, you’ll see the square, but nothing else—and if you get the item before you ever encounter the barrier, you’ll forever be left wondering exactly which item lets you through)
Continuing on, the group came across a statue of a bear. The sign near the statue said “I’ve got a million of ‘em!” Zudak took the statue, and the group was immediately beset by…friendly Zombies.
Zombie: “All we wanna do is eat your brains!”
Emptyeye: “Hmm. You know, I kinda like my brain, but maybe we can compromise here.”
Zombie: “Okay, how about this. You turn your backs to us….and we eat your brains.”
Nyperold: “Compromise rejected! Die, monster!”
Emptyeye: “Okay, I must admit Nyperold, you had the right idea this time.”
As it turned out, the battle was difficult—joining the Zombies were a group of Creeping Cruds. Nyperold paid for his bloodlust, getting first poisoned, then paralyzed, which moved him to the back of the group.
Xanatos: “Whoa…now’s my chance to show what I’m made of!”
It happened that Xanatos’s assessment of the situation was incorrect—Emptyeye quickly cut down the last of the monsters before anything including Xanatos could react.
Xanatos: “Oh well…Dialko!”
And Nyperold was cured of the paralysis.
(LIVEBLOG NOTE: Floor 2 is the first difficult floor [Relative to the rest of the game, anyway]. The near-constant threat of being poisoned is probably the main reason, but it isn’t the only one.)
After a Potion of Neutralizing, the group made its way to the next statue, again passing a place where one of the keys allowed them access. It was a statue of a frog wearing a red and blue cape. The statue was strangely animated, and shook its legs while yelling “Yeah…yeah…” Rocky took this statue.
Emptyeye: “Okay, one more thing on this floor…the Key!”
On their way to the statue, the party encountered some Level 1 Clerics.
Xanatos and Rocky: “Ow! We’re supposed to be safe back here!”
(LIVEBLOG NOTE: You also meet enemies that can cast magic for the first time on this floor, meaning your back three members are no longer totally safe in battle.)
Fortunately, the Clerics posed little threat to the front lines, and, after going through two more mystery squares where, by their best guess, they were allowed through thanks to possessing the two statues they found on this floor, the crew made their way to a statue identical to that found by the Bronze key.
Xanatos: “Yep, it’s another key all right. We should probably go back to the surface and replace those Neutralizing potions we lost.”
Zudak: “Good idea.”
Emptyeye: “Yeah, let’s go.”
Back on the surface, the group took their wares to Willy.
Willy: “Yep, those are Frog and Bear Statues all right. Also, this is a solid gold key you have here!”
After that, the group replaced their potions and headed back down to explore the rest of the floor. This was difficult, though—one person or another was being poisoned at seemingly every opportunity. The enemies were indeed more difficult than they had been on floor one. Shockingly, the threat of poison wasn’t even the most worrisome thing on the floor.
Emptyeye: “Holy crap, Ninjas! I’ve heard about these guys…they can flip out and kill people!”
(LIVEBLOG NOTE: Hey, remember way back when I wrote that Ninjas were super-powered fighting machines with a chance of an insta-kill attack? That applies to enemy Ninjas too. Yeah, this game is difficult.)
Zudak: “Hey Emptyeye, remember when you had wanted me to make people’s heads explode? Well, it’s not quite the same thing, but I think a column of fire would be a decent idea right about now.”
Emptyeye: “Yes, fire, good idea. Nyperold, mahel and I will take the smaller group of Ninjas, and you fry the bigger group.”
The strategy worked brilliantly; when the round of combat was done, 8 Ninjas lay dead at the feet of the group, having never even gotten a chance to attack.
Rocky: *Whew* “That could’ve been ugly.”
After the last excursion into the dungeon, Zudak went to Boltac’s and purchased a Rod of Iron (The last one in stock!). Emptyeye, Nyperold, mahel042 and Xanatos all picked up Iron Shields, while Rocky bought a suit of Padded Leather.
Emptyeye: “The risk-reward ratio of that floor doesn’t really seem to be worth it. Let’s check out Floor 3 next time.”
Next Time: The third floor!
Intense Bonus Commentary!
- Originally, the part about the poison not being the most dangerous part of floor 2 began with “indeed” (sic). I took the opportunity to correct the misplaced lack of a capital letter by simply replacing the word with “Shockingly”–poison is pretty dangerous, so anything more dangerous (Like the Ninjas that have a chance of instantly killing you) is obviously nothing to be trifled with.
- Speaking of the Ninjas, I wrote that they were super-powered fighting machines in a post before the liveblog proper. The full writeup on Ninjas was: “Ninja: Super-powered fighting machines; they fight best with no equipment whatsoever, gaining natural Armor Class bonuses for fighting without armor as they gain levels. Can insta-kill enemies (The Wizardry I NES TAS uses this amongst other things to finish the game in under a minute). Must be either class-changed after meeting the (ridiculous) stat requirements or made via a Thief invoking the power of the Dagger of Thieves. Also disarm traps as well as Thieves do. Evil only.” great in your party if you’re patient enough to build the stats; unfortunately completely impractical for most people.
- I love the massive run-on sentence that begins “Fortunately, the Clerics posed little threat…”
Late last year, RaneofSOTN on the SDA forums brought to SDA’s attention a game called Dungeon Fighter Online, one of the Nexon Network of games (Probably best known for Maple Story at this point). What differentiates this game from a lot of other MMOs out there is that it’s not an RPG, so much as a beat-em-up with RPG Elements–if Final Fight had you gaining levels and equipment with each cleared stage, you’d have a good idea of what Dungeon Fighter Online–henceforth DFO–is like. Of course, I didn’t play it until this weekend…with timeliness like that, it’s a wonder I ever actually complete a speedrun.
In short, in DFO, you can select from one of six classes (Male and Female Gunners are separate classes; each other character is one gender only), and each of those classes can, beginning at level 18, then split off into one of four (Three, in the case of the Priest) subclasses. You talk to people to take on quests, although you can wander into dungeons without quests as well. Dungeons are instanced, meaning no waiting around for 12 hours for that one boss to pop up–you (Or your party if you’re in one) walk into the dungeon, and it’s yours to do as you please in.
I’ll grant that I haven’t had much time to really get into a lot of what the game has to offer–although I’ve enjoyed the little I have played, there’s a reason this post is titled “First Impressions”–like crafting items, the aforementioned subclasses, etc (My current character, Emptyeye the Fighter, is at level 7)..not the least of which is that actual “playing with other people” thing that is supposedly a draw of these games (“Offline”, as Silver will tell you, I tend to prefer my own company to that of friends and family. I have no reason why this should be any different online, various streams I’m constantly watching notwithstanding). That said, it strikes me that this is very much meant to be a “casual” MMO. For one, the dungeons themselves are fairly small, although this may be a symptom of early-game content; the dungeons may well expand later on. What’s not just a symptom of early-game content is the Fatique System, which is DFO’s way of making sure that its name doesn’t become associated with the next “Hardcore Gamer Gaming Marathons Self to Death” tragedy. In short, each day, you get roughly 150 Fatigue Points, and each dungeon room you visit consumes one fatigue point. The limit is actually rather generous–I’ve never come close to running out of fatigue, and according to RaneofSOTN, those fatigue points will generally last you about 3 hours a day if you actually run them dry each day. While 3 hours a day is, admittedly, a lot of gaming, this as an upper limit pales in comparison to a lot of World of Warcraft content (Particularly early on in that game’s history).
Oh, and did I mention that it’s free? Yes, there are things you can buy with real-life money, but you don’t need to. This is quite nice for people on a budget.
In all, if you like beat-em-ups a la Final Fight, but don’t want to have to spend hours a day (Or a monthly fee) on the same game to even have the potential to get anywhere, give DFO a try. And try to find my character if you can; I’m generally on the Eastern channels.
Since I would be home several hours before Silver, I received the assignment of “remove our air conditioner before she gets home”. Right away, I knew this was going to be a challenge. For one, said air conditioner is a horrifically old, heavy model that was in the window when we first moved into the apartment two-plus years ago (It’s been in and out a couple times since then, but I had never actually removed it by my lonesome). While I’m not one to refuse free stuff, especially something like that, it’s nonetheless old and clunky, and probably guzzling electricity to boot.
Adding to the challenge is that fact that the window the air conditioner is in is broken–that is, it doesn’t stay up on its own. The reason for this? Said air conditioner is bulky enough that the only way to make it fit in the window is to break the stuff that stops the window from slamming down on the sill.
Knowing this would not be an easy feat, I collected some plastic totes from our bedroom closet to act as an intermediate place for the air conditioner once I had removed it from the window, plus a stepstool to give me an extra bit of height so I wasn’t lifting the air conditioner at such a high point relative to my height. Preparations made, I try to open the window, to find it’s stuck. Completely unlocking the window slowly yielded results, as it slowly opened up more and more, until finally, I had enough room to get to the air conditioner!
…which had already toppled backward out of the window.
Luckily, Silver and I live on the basement floor, and our window is on the side of the building, meaning that the air conditioner fell only a few inches onto soft dirt. Mission accomplished!
Of course, implicit in “remove the air conditioner” was the instruction “Also put it in its proper storage place for the winter”. This was going to be a good deal more difficult. Putting on my socks and sneakers, I walked outside and around the building. After a rather unsuccessful attempt to drag it through the dirt, followed by “flipping” the air conditioner (Think something like the Tire Flip only more laterally, and you’ll have a good idea of what I was attempting) a short distance, I managed to get one corner of it onto my foot somehow. This gave me the leverage I needed to pick it up and carry it to the complex door. After a rest stop, followed by grabbing something to hold the door open, I lift the air conditioner again, this time managing to walk it down a small flight of stairs and to the entrance of our building’s storage room. Dragging the air conditioner the final distance, and probably scratching up the floor while I’m at it, I finally get the unit out of sight and out of mind.
…I really need a better, smaller air conditioner.