Category Archives: Gaming

Tokyo Game Show 2018 – 4 Days Report

2 Oct , 2018,
Haruta
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Bethesda Softworks’ IPs greeting event goers as they walk towards the halls

Over the 4 days between September 20th ~ 23rd, Makuhari Messe hosted the largest annual gaming convention of East Asia, Tokyo Game Show (TGS). This year saw a huge influx of visitors from the previous years ー A good 298,690 showed up over the 4 days, compared to 254,311 in 2017, and 271,224 in 2016. Likewise, exhibitors also increased from 609 to 668, of which 330 were from overseas. This was certainly a trend that’s been happening in the recent years, where overseas games and gaming-related companies are expanding into the Japanese market (One of which, notably, is Azure Lane, being introduced into the Japanese market and becoming a huge hit in 2017).

Kisei -Kuushiki- 1/1 display statue from [Border Break] right outside Makuhari Messe

As with any commercial conventions, exhibitors certainly placed a lot of effort into the visual promotion of their IPs. Booths were built in elaborated set-ups, with iconic figures and characters in detailed sculptures. Besides the typical promotional models, exhibitors also hired cosplayers to portray as in-game characters to promote their games (Pictures below). Some noticeable ones were Bandai Namco’s bright orange booths, with smoke machines making distinctive whiffs as they fire jets of white smokes at fixed intervals, or PlayStation’s show of dominance with walls of displays for the multiple IPs they’re showcasing, such as the Evil Monk mini boss from [Sekiro] (Seen above), or Sam Porter Bridges from the much anticipated Kojima Production’s [Death Stranding] (Seen below).

Players experience FromSoftware’s brutality aplenty

And of course, what’s TGS without games? Although we were able to enter on business days as press, the queue for certain games were insanely long as well. For example, on the first day it took more than 2 hours in the demo queue for FromSoftware’s newest title Sekiro before we got to try it at all (granted, we missed the early rush to the booths go get the queue tickets). Other games we managed to try required less waiting, such as Ace Combat 7, Devil May Cry 5, Rockman 11, Kingdom Hearts III, to name a few (also because we learnt our lesson and went straight to their booths as soon as we could enter). Demos were kept to 15 minutes per play, and if the players are competent to clear the demo under that limit, they’re free to continue playing until their times are up (we were able to hear really good music for DMC5 for one).

Singapore-based Battlebrew Productions also boothed at TGS in the Indie Games section

This year’s TGS also saw many overseas exhibitors, as mentioned above. The indie game booths took up a sizeable area within Hall 9 of Messe, with 154 booths as compared to 121 last year, and we happened to chance upon our local Singaporean company Battlebrew Productions exhibiting there (they will also be at Game Start 2018 this year, so give them a visit!). There has also been a prominent presence of virtual reality games this year, and given how affordable VR headsets are becoming compared to the last few years, it’s no wonder companies are pushing for VR. The most noticeable trend however, is the ever prominent push for mobile phone games; 30% of the games showcased at TGS are planned to be published on mobile phones, which goes to show that the mobile platform is still ever strong.

VR Machine for interested members of the public to experience

Overall, TGS2018 has seen the largest crowd yet, partly due to multiple AAA titles being announced this year at E3 earlier in June. Next year’s Tokyo Game Show will be held between September 12th to 15th, so for those interested in visiting, do mark it down on your dates.

 

7 FGO Tips for First-time Masters

26 Jul , 2017,
Crimson
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Fate/Grand Order has been out in the US for close a month now, but if you’ve only just jumped aboard the Fate fandom and started trying your hand at this game, here are some quick tips to help you maximize your play experience and get to a respectable level where you can enjoy both the story and the content.

Tip #1: Reroll, Reroll, Reroll

If you’ve been playing mobile phone games with a gacha element, you’ll be no stranger to rerolling in the hope of starting with a stronger unit.

As you play through the Prologue, you’ll get to make a welfare 10x Summon. This 10x Summon guarantees at least one 4* Servant (I ended up with two). You’ll also get to access your Present Box, pick up your commemorative Saber Lily, and some freebies (including 30 Saint Quartz) a couple battles after.

The Prologue teaches you all sorts of things, like how to utilize the Wall of Special Snowflakes. Luckily, it doesn’t take you more than 5 minutes to breeze through everything.

If you don’t know where the Present Box is, keep hitting the Back arrow in the top-left corner till you get back to the Terminal interface. It’s pretty self-evident where it is after.

With 30 Saint Quartz, you’re equipped to make some 10x Summon rolls and pray to the RNG gods that you get a 5* Servant that can help carry you, especially in the early game.

Keep doing this till you’re happy with the results.

That’s the button for a 10x Summon roll folks. Don’t forget to chant the summoning spell and place an offering in the magic circle while you’re at it.

Tip #2: Back up your Transfer Number

Fate/Grand Order tracks your account using a Transfer Number. If you like what you rolled, be sure to go to Menu > My Room, and select Issue Transfer Number to get one.

You’ll also be prompted to key in a password to go with the issued number for recovery purposes.

Lord El-Melloi II insists that you back up your data. 😛

Tip #3: Level up your 5* Servant immediately!

You should have received some QP (gold) and XP cards in your Present Box together with your Saint Quartz.

Go to Menu > Enhance > Servant, and feed those XP cards to your 5* Servant to bump up his Level before you begin the farming process. You don’t want to dive into the next part with your Servants at Level 1. 😛

Having a semi-decent 5* at a respectable level in your line-up will help in the next bit.

Tip #4: Raid the Treasure Vault (at least once)

Your Master level impacts the maximum number of Servants and Craft Essences you can bring into battle, and the speediest way to power level this is to do the Daily Quest maps.

If you’re fresh out of the third scenario in the Prologue, you’ll be maybe Level 2, with a maximum AP cap of slightly more than 20. This allows you to access Enter the Treasure Vault (Intermediate).

This is the first Daily Quest map (accessible from Terminal > Chaldea Gate > Daily Quest) that you will want to do because it hooks you up with some QP as well as enough XP to bump your Master level a couple times.

And of course, it’s gotta be Gil if a Treasure Vault is involved. 😛

Just be sure to bring along a friend with a powerful Rider because you’re kicking down Doors, and every one of them is a Caster. My personal favorite is Martha, but any Rider with an AOE (area effect) Noble Phantasm will do.

Slap on a Kaleidoscope, The Imaginary Element or Prisma Cosmos, and you’ll be firing that NP off pretty regularly too.

Tip #5: Do those Dailies!

Make sure you move on to Ember Gathering (Intermediate) once you have gotten some QP out of the Vault.

Farm Ember Gathering (Intermediate) till your maximum AP cap hits 30. This won’t take long as each completion will yield enough Master XP for you to level up, and that also instantly refills your AP gauge. The XP cards you farm can also be fed to your Servants to beef them up for the next part.

Farm Ember Gathering (Advanced) till your maximum AP cap hits 40, and start on Ember Gathering (Expert) as soon as you can.

Not only will you receive 15,690 XP for your Master Level, you’ll get 8 or 9 gold XP cards every time you complete the Expert map.

Of course, it helps if you (and your friend in the Support slot) are properly armed for the occasion.

Special events like the ongoing Nero Festival will yield a much higher XP payout (20,380 XP for the 30 AP map), so be sure to farm that instead when you can. Just make sure you’ve got a team (or friends) capable of taking on Servants with over 50,000 hp.

Tip #6: Watch those Affinities

This isn’t so much a tip, as it is common sense. Some Servants have Personal Skills that complement each other, and fielding a solid line-up to tackle those pesky Daily Quests will help speed up your power leveling process.

It also helps to level at least one Servant of every Class so you can keep your farming team versatile.

Decent 3* picks that can help fill gaps in your line-up include Julius Caesar (Saber), Robin Hood (Archer), Cu Chulainn (Protoype), Medusa (Rider), Medea (Caster), Jing Ke (Assassin) and Kiyohime (Berserker).

Or, you know, you could go with a full team of Berserkers like I normally do. :3

Tip #7: Make use of Mana Prisms

Since Mana Prism redemption in Da Vinci’s shop resets regularly now, you have the opportunity to get yourself some extra Summon Tickets, as well as Sun Fou (improves ATK by 50) and Star Fou (improves maximum HP by 50) if you have Mana Prisms to spare.

She’s here to take your money. Always try to clean out the shop and pump up your favorite Servants with the Fou cards if you can.

Doing your Dailies at the highest difficulty will get you about 11 Mana Prisms easily, and you can get as many as 26 each day if you do every single Daily Quest religiously.

You can also choose to Burn (Sell) unwanted Servants, XP Cards and Craft Essences. In fact, one of the easiest ways to farm Mana Prisms is to do Ember Gathering (Advanced), and burn any silver XP cards you gain after.

You’ll need several hundred Mana Prisms if you want to clear out Da Vinci’s shop on a regular basis!

If you’ve got plenty of friends (like me), you’ll always have at least 2 10x Friend Point rolls up daily. Burn any excess 3* Servants, silver XP cards and Craft Essences you don’t care for (like Black Keys) and turn them into Mana Prisms.

And that’s pretty much all there is to it.

Just keep doing your Dailies once you’ve completed your story maps, keep pimping out your Servants, and stock up on both Summon Tickets and Saint Quartz, because you’ll want them for special events with Rate Up like Nero Festival, among other things.

Happy farming! :3

6 Things You Should Know While Cosplaying at GameStart 2016

6 Oct , 2016,
Jazion
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Pumped up for GameStart 2016 tomorrow? So are we! Once again, we put together a handy guide for cosplayers who intend to visit the event. Don’t forget to like the official event page for a look at show-exclusive special offers too!

Take a look at the zone map to plan your routes

Take a look at the zone map to plan your routes

Oh and check out this post to see what booths will be at the event.

 

1. Free Entry

It'd put a smile on anyone's face!

It’d put a smile on anyone’s face!

The best part about being a cosplayer this year is that you get free entry for all three days! Entry is for recognisable costumes only, so don’t forget to bring references if you’re unsure.

 

2. Refreshments

We suggest not drinking all 4 cans of Monster at once

We suggest not drinking all 4 cans of Monster at once

If you’re in dire need of a pick-me-up, chug a can of Monster, which is the official energy drink of GameStart 2016! You can also look forward to snacks and other tasty noms without having to leave the hall, how convenient. :3 

 

3. Cosplay Rest Area

Yes, there is merch

Check out some of the cosplay activities we have planned!

This year boasts an expanded cosplay rest area at the back of the hall, right by the toilets! It’s also near the NTP booth, where there will be signings by guest cosplayers Miu and Okageo. Don’t forget to help keep the rest area clean for everyone!

 

 

4. Photobooth

Temple in background not included

Temple in background not included

If you’re cosplaying from Overwatch or Touken Ranbu, you definitely want to head to the photobooth by LunarWorks Studio. Expect a beautiful Japan-inspired theme at their photobooth, conveniently located next to the rest area!

 

5. Runway

Get your game on at our runway talent showcase!

Get your game on at our runway talent showcase!

Feel like strutting your stuff in return for a chance at prizes from Seagate, Xmashed Gear and LunarWorks Studio? Be there on Saturday (8 October) between 1pm and 6pm for a chance to be noticed by our guests and invited to join the runway show on Sunday! 

 

6. Exclusive Loot

Overwatch, assemble!

Overwatch, assemble!

If you’re cosplaying from Overwatch, be sure to head over to the Neo Tokyo Project booth on Saturday and Sunday! We have loot to give away to the first 15 Overwatch cosplayers each day (click here for details).

 

And that’s all, folks! Have any other tips? Be sure to share them with us!

Final Fantasy Brave Exvius: Producer Interview

22 Aug , 2016,
Crimson
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FFBE_Producers01

Fujimoto-san and Hirono-san (from left) were in the gumi Asia office Monday, and we asked them for the lowdown on what fans can expect in future updates.

You might have seen me talking about Final Fantasy Brave Exvius and posting screenies of my adventures this mobile RPG awhile ago.

It’s one of Square Enix’s more recent offerings, and rather than just a mindless grind with gacha elements, it’s got a rather compelling story in the vein of old 16-bit classics. Add to it retro sprites and a pretty killer soundtrack by video game music composer Noriyasu Agematsu and you’ve got a pretty polished app over all.

You also gotta give it to the folks at gumi Asia, who handled the monumental international rollout. The game has since hit more than 5 million downloads, bringing the total number of players for both the Global and JP versions to a whopping 12.5 million.  

When FFBE producers Kei Hirono and Hiroki Fujimoto dropped by the gumi Asia office Monday, we naturally jumped at the chance to pick their brains, and to find out what fans can expect in the months to come.

Hirono-san’s producer credits include PC-based browser game Imperial SaGa and the wildly popular live show Jitsuzai-Sei Million Arthur and is now Division Executive of Square Enix’s 8th Business Division, while Fujimoto-san has worked on numerous Square Enix titles since 1992, with multiple hits under his belt.

The interview was conducted in Japanese, with the help of our awesome columnist Haruta. Here are some highlights:

1. What can players expect in the future content updates?

Producers: Players can expect to see more of their favorite characters from Final Fantasy titles such as Final Fantasy XIII and Final Fantasy Tactics join the game. Some of these units are already available in Japan, and will eventually be included in the Global release. We have just released Kolobos, and the story of Rain, Lasswell and Fina will continue on Dirnado. We intend to have regular content updates, perhaps every month.

Screenshot_20160822-113819

The latest Visions to hit the gacha include FFIX staples and hot favorite Zidane, as well as ways to make these units more accessible to new players.

Screenshot_20160822-173946

Brace yourself. Dirnado is coming. 😀

2. Was Demons Unleashed too demanding for newer players?

Producers: Demons Unleashed was a brand new event for the Global release, and we hope to do better in future. We hope that the community will continue to give us feedback so we can improve the balance of events in future and to make the rewards worth their while.

Screenshot_20160822-172723

The latest Into the Abyss event tests your mettle in an expanded Earth Shrine, and rewards you for your efforts. You also don’t have to farm quite as many materials to craft the cool stuff.

3. New Co-Op Events?

Producers: We also hope to introduce more events to reward players. We are toying with the idea of a co-op event in the future. We want to create an event where there is a community objective, and all players will contribute to that objective. The event will also reward players with rare items and materials that will help them on their adventure. If the community is supportive of this idea, we hope that they can let us know.

4. Will we ever see Rain, Lasswell and Fina on the big screen or in animation?

Producers: That really depends on the fans. We cannot make any promises, but if community feedback is positive, then maybe. Would fans prefer a CG movie or anime? They should let us know on social media.

5. Are there plans for offline fan events in Singapore? 

Producers: Again, that depends on the fans. We’re doing an event in Japan soon, and if there’s demand for it, then maybe we will do something in Singapore too.


And there you have it. If you wish to see more improvements to the game, or perhaps an offline event at a gaming con near you, be sure to ping the official Final Fantasy Brave Exvius page on Facebook and let them know!

Wanna level in PoGo like a pro? Here’s how.

16 Aug , 2016,
Crimson
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PoGo’s been out for over a week, and it’s sure been a busy week for us at NTP. Because we want to be the very best, like no one ever was, we’ve been searching far and wide for the very best grinding spots in Singapore.

It’s been a helluva journey, and we’ve managed to break mid 20s with some clever strats and choice of locations.

The grind’s not pretty (and can get really boring), but if you’re the sort that wants to see your levels grow, here’s how:

1. Invest in Lucky Eggs

It's a great bargain!

When else can you put all your eggs in one basket? 😀

Pokemon Go is a game you can play without spending a single cent, but like many other mobile phone games, you may want to purchase quality of life improvements through the in-game store. If you have some gold to burn, be sure to spend it to upgrade the number of slots in your Bag (this is pretty important), and Lucky Eggs.

A Lucky Egg doubles the amount of XP you earn for 30 minutes, and is the foundation of grinding. A bargain bundle of 25 Lucky Eggs on the in-game store goes for 1250 coins ($15), and that ain’t half bad to say the least.

2. Hit the Intersection of Multiple Pokestops

They just keep spawning! :o

I feel like some seafood. How ’bout you? 😮

Where lures abound, those Pokemon keep spawning.

The best grinding spot is one with at least three intersecting Pokestops in close proximity to each other.

Our favorite spot has got to be VivoCity, where you’ll see Lure-induced cherry blossoms at all hours (even in the wee hours of the morning, which is kinda creepy).

Just make sure that you’re camping where you can handily swipe all nearby Pokestops, proc spawn triggers, and easily tap on all the cute Pokemon that appear on your cellphone screen.

3. Timing is Everything

You don't want to just TRY to be the very best. XD

You don’t want to just TRY to be the very best. XD

The cooldown for swiping a Pokestop is 5-minutes. That means you can’t benefit from a Pokestop till 5-minutes have passed since the last time you swiped it for loot and XP.

Be sure to time it so that you maximize your gains from the Pokestops every 5-minutes. You’ll need the extra Pokeballs since you’ll be catching Pokemon left, right and center anyway, and might actually run out.

4. Throw ’em a Curveball

Every bit of XP counts!

Every bit of XP counts!

Since we’re in it for the grind, every little bit of XP you can eke out of your catches counts.

Throwing a Curveball (tap and hold on the Pokeball, swish it around till stars appear, then release) nets you 10 XP, which is doubled to 20 XP with a Lucky Egg active.

Clearly, this Horsea doesn't want to get in the Pokeball.

Clearly, this Horsea doesn’t want to get in the Pokeball.

A Nice!, Great! or Excellent! throw yields additional XP too, so be sure to aim well, and let fly.

5. Other XP Bonuses (and the Pidgey Grind)

Make a new Pokefriend. Pick up that 500 free XP.

Make a new Pokefriend. Pick up that 500 free XP.

Adding a new Pokemon to your Pokedex gives you a bonus 500 XP (1,000 XP with Lucky Egg), and Evolving a Pokemon nets you the same.

That’s why there are stories of something called the Pidgey grind, where you evolve multiple Caterpies, Pidgeys and Weedles (they only require 12 candies each to evolve) with a Lucky Egg active to jump several levels at once.

Bear in mind though that each single instance of Pokemon evolution comes with a 30 second animation that CANNOT be canceled, which eats into your Lucky Egg duration.

6. Raw Numbers

Putting everything up there together, it’s conceivable for a starting trainer who spends a bit of money on Lucky Eggs to get from 1 to 20 in a day (and by a day we mean 12 hours of almost uninterrupted grinding).

Here’s the math:

4 Pokestops every 5 minutes – 400 XP every 5 minutes, or 4,800 XP per hour.

1 Pokemon catch with Curveball every minute – 220 XP every minute, or 13,200 XP per hour.

If we account for variance that’s anywhere from 18,000 XP to 20,000 XP per hour.

This means that if you’ve got an uninterrupted supply of Lucky Eggs, you’ll be able to hit Level 6 by the first hour, Level 9 by the second. In five hours, you MIGHT touch Level 15, and in a whopping 12 hours, Level 20, the break point where real life (and the real grind) begins.

You can hasten the process by evolving any caterpies, pidgeys and weedles you catch in batches of at least 10 (which translates to 10,000 XP with a Lucky Egg) or more. Naturally, the more batch evolutions you do, the better.

7. A Disclaimer

The math above is fairly accurate, but your mileage may vary depending on whether your Lucky Egg buff is active, how efficient your catches are, the location you camp at, and whether you get pulled away by other distractions (like rare spawns).

Most importantly, have fun playing the game, and don’t forget to join our Pokemon Go Photo Contest!

G933 Artemis Spectrum Gaming Headset

23 Jun , 2016,
Edric
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I am not a huge fan of wireless headsets until Logitech passed me their G933 Artemis Spectrum Gaming Headset during their Pizza session held at Colosseum at Bugis+, Singapore. Wireless PC peripherals are often overlooked by gamers no thanks to naysayers. But when it comes to setting up a gaming station at a LAN party, one less wire goes a long way. Since I game on a netbook on the go, that’s one less wired inconvenience for me.

Copy of JPG 300 dpi (RGB)-G933_Artemis_Spectrum_BTY2

The G933 improves on the successful G430 Gaming Headset with its minimalist design and stylish sleek curves making it a trendy headset for the fashionable geek on the go. It features 7.1 Dolby Surround Sound, washable ear cups and concealable mic that makes the G933. Its ten-hour inbuilt  battery completes the headset as a portable fashion accessory as well as an extension to a gamer’s unfair advantage on the virtual battlefield.

Copy of JPG 300 dpi (RGB)-G933 Artemis Spectrum BOB fade

The distinct advantage wireless headsets have over its analog counterparts is the missing audio input which has been problematic for most of my headsets. Going wireless allows Logitech to address the problem that plagued many traditional wired sets without redesigning and/or reinventing the very product audiophiles and gamers are familiar with. Now, you won’t have that pesky problem where one side of the earpiece will malfunction after some months and the temporary solution is to toy around with the audio jack or the wire leading up to the headphones itself; and pray that it works. There’s still the option to wire up the headphones using the USB adapter or analog audio input, which means wires. But with such convenience and performance, I’ll rather leave them in the box. The G933 Artemis Spectrum Gaming Headset is definitely one of the best premium wireless headsets on the market.

Copy of JPG 300 dpi (RGB)-G933 Artemis Spectrum BTY3

The Logitech G933 also works with PCs, mobile phones, the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. The headphones are also compatible to your home theater, as long as they have USB ports and RCA audio out.

The product is available from December 2015 at the MSRP of SGD 299.

Technical Specifications
System Requirements
– Windows 7 or higher
– Internet connection for Logitech Gaming Software installation
– USB port, 3.5 mm audio port or RCA audio output ports
– 7.1 surround sound, DTS Headphone:X*, lighting configuration, and G-key programming require Logitech Gaming Software

Product Specifications
Headphones
– Driver: 40 mm
– Frequency response: 20 Hz-20KHz
– Impedance: 39 Ohms (Passive), 5k Ohms (Active)
– Size 190 mm x 180 mm x 94 mm
– Sensitivity: 107dB SPL/mW
Microphone
– Size 4mm
– Type: Condenser-Cardioid
– Frequency response: 100Hz-20KHz

The Logitech G633 Artemis Spectrum Gaming Headset comes with a 2-year limited hardware warranty.

Fate/Grand Order – Gold, Leveling and Progression Guide

9 Aug , 2015,
Crimson
, , , , ,
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“Fate/Grand Order is easy”, said no weeaboo over.

While the interface itself is fairly straightforward, the shitty RNG that plagues the Grand Summon system often results in erratic rolls, and has the tendency to screw you over with a whole bunch of Craft Essences rather than fresh Servants.

This can often mean that if you’re not a pay-to-win, Saint-Quartz spamming player, you’re going to either be behind on the curve because your Servants aren’t cutting it level wise, or you’re often out of AP, which you need to maximize your story progression.

Thankfully, there are daily Event Quests in game that are designed to help you speed things along, and they aren’t that hard to master.

The trick to it, we realized, is the Sunday Event Quest – the Master Training scenario. We got an early start before last week’s Unlimited Maintenance Works thanks to that, and it’s really helped us come out ahead in the grind.

You can access Dailies through the Chaldean Gate option in Stage Select, and you can start blowing through them as early as Level 10. Just make sure you’ve got Shielder and your Starter up to at least Level 10 using XP-up drops, and you should be all set.

Screenshot_2015-08-09-13-57-37

You should have plenty of Exp-Up drops early game, so DO put all your eggs in one or two baskets.

Like all other Dailies, the Master Training scenario has three difficulties and cost either 10, 20, or 40 AP.

Screenshot_2015-08-09-13-23-27

Everyone loves a good Event Quest. :3

1. Master Training (AP 10)

Mooks are werewolves with an average Level of 6 and 3,800 hp, with either Saber, Lancer or Assassin Classes.

Boss is a werewolf Assassin with a Servant level of 15 and 13,765 hp. Abilities include a Critical rate buff and a multi-hit finisher.

Rewards 1,650 xp upon completion.

I-it's not like fighting werewolves is difficult or anything. :o

I-it’s not like werewolves are hard at lower levels or anything. Well, maybe if you have no friends…

2. Master Training (AP 20)

Mooks are ghosts with the Assassin class, an average Level of 10 and 6,000 hp.

Leader is a Level 25 ghost with 27,074 hp that can paralyze your party and inflict debuffs.

Rewards 8,310 xp upon completion.

Screenshot_2015-08-09-13-26-06

Once you’ve gotten the hang of farming Master levels, it’s easy to get into the spirit of things. 😡

3. Master Training (AP 40)

Mooks are primarily lamia between the Level 12 to 18 range with the Caster class and average 8,000 hp. Every now and then, you might also encounter shadow Servants with the abilities of Medusa (Rider), Euryale (Archer) or Stheno (Assassin).

Boss is a Level 40 demon with the Caster class, 58,503 hp, buff skills and really big damage potential.

Rewards 34,140 xp upon completion.

Screenshot_2015-08-09-13-11-51

Can’t say I enjoy snaking around with these guys. =_=;;

This is the toughest guy you've gotta kill. :o

This is the toughest guy you’ve gotta kill. 😮

Since gaining Master levels improves your abilities and also replenishes your AP, you can speedily farm levels as long as you’re able to hit all the right leveling break points. With enough level ups, you can also increase your party size, and attempt the same scenario at a higher difficulty.

The risks are definitely worth the reward, and it’s not uncommon to gain 20 Master levels on a good day before you hit a point where you can’t level up on the quick and need to wait for your AP to recharge anymore.

Does Master Level matter?

A higher Master level means better Master skills, a bigger party of Servants, and more AP to expend for Event Quests and Story Mode.

Being a Master means more than just wearing a swanky jacket.

Being a Master means more than just wearing a swanky jacket.

Right now, my Master rank is 45, with Level 6 in all Master skills. My AP is 70, and my party cost is 69. That means I can run a full party of 5 4-star Servants, or a full party of 3-star Servants with some sick Craft Essences, and that makes clearing stages a breeze.

Daily Quests for Fun and Profit

Screenshot_2015-08-09-13-24-38

Daily Event Quests are the path to victory. There’s even a handy list in game that reminds you which days are the best days to play!

If you’re just starting out, your best bet is to focus on doing a whole bunch of daily Event Quests rather than jumping ahead with the story.

Some recommended Event Quests to start with are:

Monday, Wednesday & Saturday:

Treasure Vault (QP). Mooks and bosses are primarily Caster types. You’ll need lots of QP to level up your Servants later, so start farming this Event Quest early and often.

Monday & Thursday:

Gathering Sparks (Three Knights). Exp-Up drops for the Three Knight Classes Saber, Archer and Lancer. Focus on this if your preferred Servant is a Saber, Archer or Lancer.

Tuesday & Friday:

Gathering Sparks (Four Horsemen). Exp-Up drops for the Four Horsemen Classes Assassin, Berserker, Caster and Rider. Focus on this if your preferred Servant is an Assassin, Berserker, Caster or Rider.

Saturday:

If you’re in a fairly comfortable position, or have a sizable enough pool of Servants to choose from, you can also do Congregation at Dawn (woohoo, MTG reference!), which has Exp-Up drops for all seven Classes.

Developing a Routine:

Because my starter unit was Ushiwakamaru (Rider), I went with Sunday (Master Training) > Monday (QP) > Tuesday (Four Horsemen Exp-Up) > Wednesday (QP) > Thursday (Three Knights Exp-Up) > Friday (Four Horsemen Exp-Up) > Saturday (QP) > Sunday (Master Training).

This netted me a good amount of QP and Master levels early game and helped to offset some really bad 40 Saint Quartz pulls.

My personal routine now is Monday (Three Knights Exp-Up) > Tuesday (Four Horsemen Exp-Up) > Wednesday (QP) > Thursday (Three Knights Exp-Up) > Friday (Four Horsemen Exp-Up) > Saturday (QP) > Sunday (Master Training).

Once you’ve found a routine you’re comfortable with, the game will turn from an annoyance into a breeze.

Fate/Grand Order

3 Aug , 2015,
Crimson
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I don’t usually play mobile phone games, but for Fate/Grand Order (mostly because the Fate series is my one weeb indulgence), I decided to make an exception.

Grand Order is the latest in Type Moon’s long running Fate franchise. For those of you who have not been exposed to the awesomeness that is Fate, well, think of it as a history lesson for otakus on crack, with a heavy dose of the supernatural thrown in.

In the setting, magicians vie for supremacy in Holy Grail Wars, with the ‘heroic spirits’ of famous persons from the past as their battle companions. These spirits are categorized loosely into RPG style archetypes like Archer, Assassin, Berserker, Caster, Lancer, Rider and Saber, and possess both mysterious powers and arcane relics (called Noble Phantasms) inspired by their real-world legends.

I could go on and on about the setting and all, but it’s really easier to just scoot over to the Type Moon Wiki for a quick look.

Say hello to Mr. Genderswapped Rin Tohsaka.

Say hello to Mr. Genderswapped Rin Tohsaka.

Now, on to the review.

Fate/Grand Order puts you in the role of a fresh recruit in Chaldea, an organization that oversees human history (it’s kinda like S.H.I.E.L.D., but with magic users).

Naturally, being the typical spiky-haired anime-style protagonist that you are, you quickly get embroiled in all sorts of trouble, and have to plunge through time to save the world.

Of course, as in all things Fate, the Master (that’s you) isn’t capable of going it alone since you know, people tend to die when they’re killed. That’s why you’re relegated to more of a support role, slinging heals and buffs while your Servants handle the heavy lifting.

Gameplay switches between a simple map-based navigation, VN style narration, and fights with some repetitive mooks and the occasional stage boss.

The navigation's pretty straightforward. I mean, you can't get more obvious than that.

The navigation’s pretty straightforward. I mean, you can’t get more obvious than that.

The story reads like a visual novel. Also, who woulda thunk your kouhai would be part-Heroic Spirit?

The story reads like a visual novel. Also, who woulda thunk your kouhai would be part-Heroic Spirit?

Attempting stages consumes AP (like any other mobile game), and naturally, you have to conquer stages to progress in the story.

Combat is simple and essentially a spin on the Rock, Paper, Scissors (and in this case also Lizard and Spock) system, coupled with match-3 elements.

You can check out how the Servant classes interact by clicking on Menu. You can also select Menu if you want to Flee the battle.

Check out how Servant classes interact by clicking on Menu. You can also select Menu if you want to Flee the battle.

Each Servant has a predetermined pool of color-coded cards determined by their class, which contain Arts (Blue), Buster (Red) and Quick (Green) moves.

Check out your Servant's status screen to find out what Attack cards he has.

Check out a Servant’s status screen to find out what attacks they possess. Building a team with good synergies can go a long way.

In a nutshell, Arts cards increase the Servant’s NP (Noble Phantasm) gauge, which allows them to pull off their special attacks, Buster cards inflict a large amount of physical damage, and Quick cards add to your Critical chance in the following round, allowing for bigger numbers on a successful hit.

Each round, the game pulls five cards, and after making tactical decisions such as using Servant abilities or Master buffs, you can lock in three of the five cards to form an attack chain.

Plan your moves before you hit the Attack button, because there's no way to go back. Luckily, the cards you're dealt each turn are displayed prominently.

Plan your moves before you hit the Attack button, because there’s no way to go back. Luckily, the cards you’re dealt each turn are displayed prominently.

Chaining the same type of moves can grant a stronger effect (a successful Arts chain fills the NP gauge of all Servants participating in that attack by 20%, for example), while chaining three attacks by the same Servant (by picking 3 similar portraits rather than move types) grants an extra attack. You can combine both move chains and Servant chains for even greater effect, but such occurrences tend to be rare.

Filling up a Servant’s Noble Phantasm gauge lets you use their special attack. These stronger moves also fall under the Arts, Buster, or Quick categories, so chain them strategically to take down difficult enemies.  Each Noble Phantasm activation also comes with animation and cut-ins, so Fate fanboys who’ve always wondered how some of these attacks look like, rejoice.

Darius III's Noble Phantasm - who doesn't want to be trampled by demonic elephants and hordes of undead?

Darius III’s Noble Phantasm – Athanaton Ten Thousand. Who doesn’t want to be trampled by elephanthulhu and hordes of the undead?

There are currently 59 Servants and 36 Mystic Codes (called Craft Essences in the game) to be collected, and rolling for them is done lottery style through the Grand Summon interface.

These Servants include fan favorites like Arturia, Cu Chulainn and Gilgamesh, as well as brand new ones created just for Grand Order. Nasuverse followers will also recognize Mystic Codes such as the Black Keys, the Kaleidoscope and Rin’s pendant in the Craft Essence pool.

You get a free low-tier summon each day, which may result in a 1-star, 2-star (or extremely rarely) 3-star unit or item. You can also make additional low-tier summons with Friend Points acquired from fighting alongsideton your contact list.

Spend more in-game currency, why don't you?

Making ten premium pulls with 40 Saint Quartz has a guaranteed chance for a 4-star unit or item, so spend more in-game currency, why don’t you?

Expending Saint Quartz (acquired through completing objectives and stages or through real money microtransactions), by comparison, guarantees a 3-star or higher unit.

The cost is fairly prohibitive though, and with the very iffy RNG system (I’ve been rolling more Craft Essences than I have Servants), you’re better off saving them till later when the game gets patched and things become a little more stable.

I-it's not like my Luck stat is E rank or anything right? Right? ><;;

These pulls. T_T I-it’s not like my Luck stat is E rank or anything right? Right? ><;;

Needless to say, this means that while the game has it going with the story, the biggest woes plaguing it right now are all design related.

Fights tend to be repetitive and lacking in variety, the recharge rate for AP is tediously slow (which reduces replay value), and Servant balance is questionable at best.

For example, I’ve pulled some really abysmal 4-star Servants, while most 5-star ones I’ve seen are insanely overpowered, with ridiculous parameters and abilities. 1-star and 2-star Servants, by comparison, are little better than chump blockers and the same disparity applies to Craft Essences as well.

She sure can pull off that dress, but seriously, most underwhelming 4-star unit ever.

Sure, she can pull off that dress, but seriously, most underwhelming 4-star unit ever.

This, of course, begs the question – could the game have been tested more rigorously before release? It’d have definitely mitigated the slew of QQing the devs are seeing on social media to say the least.

Fixing these problems in the first few weeks will be crucial, since player satisfaction and retention pretty much makes or breaks mobile games.

Still, I wouldn’t be surprised if this title manages to take off once the teething pains are over.

While the system lacks in polish, the game is faithful to, and builds upon, the source material. It documents several Holy Grail Wars that never made it onto the small screen, and that’s sure to whet any fan’s appetite. The art is generally pretty, the animation smooth, and the sheer number of new Servants makes for more story and waifu (or husbando) potential. 

Fate/Grand Order is currently gated for Japan (to keep us ignorant gaijin types out), but we all know dedicated fans will find a way. It’s also unlikely that there will ever be an English port, but the game’s intuitive enough that you can manage without knowledge of moon runes. 

Final Verdict: 3.5/5

For more information about the game, check out the Official Site at: http://www.fate-go.jp.

Heroes of the Storm Enters Open Beta, World Championship Announced

21 May , 2015,
Crimson
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If you’ve been following our recent adventures in the Nexus and have been itching to play, then you’ll be happy to know that Heroes of the Storm has officially gone into Open Beta!

What this means is that you’ll be able to log into Battle.net, download the game here, and instantly brawl to your hearts content with your favorite Blizzard heroes from Diablo, StarCraft, World of Warcraft and more!

We’ve had a great time with the game in the past half a year or so since we got into the Technical Alpha, and we’ve seen the game evolve with the feedback of testers and the community. It’s a great game that encourages teamwork through structured, map-based objectives, boasts a fun skill tree system reminiscent of Blizzard’s other franchises, and plenty of familiar faces for Blizzard fans.

We also appreciate how toxicity and baiting has been kept to a minimum thanks to systems Blizzard has put in place (though I’d still encourage players to get on the U.S. servers), and this makes the game incredibly friendly to new players who are totally unfamiliar with the team brawler genre.

For a more in-depth look at the game, check out the promo vid below:

Heroes of the Storm is also set to become a strong competitor in e-sports, with the Heroes of the Storm Southeast Asia (SEA) Championship organized by our friends at Asiasoft (more information can be found here).

Qualifiers will be held in Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia and Philippines, with the Regional Finals to be held on 8 August in Thailand. This tournament will see the winning team square off against others from around the globe at BlizzCon 2015 for a shot at the World Championship title.

Who's gonna make it to BlizzCon? We're also anxious to find out!

Who’s gonna make it to BlizzCon? We’re also anxious to find out!

This pretty much means that there’s gonna be a lot to look forward to with Heroes in the months to come so be sure to keep tabs on the Heroes of the Storm SEA Facebook Page for more updates!

Heroes of the Storm Open Beta announced

22 Apr , 2015,
Crimson
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HoS_Announce_976x250EN

If you’ve followed our work, then you know that we’re huge Blizzard fans. That’s why we’re super excited that Heroes of the Storm is finally going into OBT, and that’s news we wanna share.

Recently, Blizzard announced that the OBT is set for 20.05.15, with the official launch on June 3. We’ve also caught wind that AsiaSoft, the official HotS publisher for South East Asia has plenty of exciting activities planned to usher in this kick-ass team brawler.

Screenshot2015-04-23 13_33_57

So in this throwback to Uldum, you’ve got to capture temples that shoot lasers at the enemy base.

Screenshot2015-04-23 13_25_22

One thing we’ve enjoyed about the maps is how flavorful they are. Collecting skulls in the Haunted Mines gives you a pretty kickass NPC helper, for example.

Screenshot2015-04-23 13_20_23

The meaner and uglier they look, the more fun they are to play. Azmodan’s a great pusher, for example.

Of course, we’ve been playing this game in between building costumes and running cons, and the most awesome thing about OBT is that there will be no further wipes. Any current progress or hero unlocks in the CBT will carry over to the OBT and post launch, which means no more grinding from 1 to 40 again or unlocking heroes and talents, folks.

We’ve had a ton of fun in the Alpha and CBT, and if you’d like to try your hand at a team brawler that’s fairly easy to get into and revisit some old friends from Blizzard’s kickass titles (there’s even The Lost Vikings, come on!), then Heroes of the Storm’s for you.

If you’d like to get an early start on Heroes before it goes into OBT, be sure to click on over to AsiaSoft’s Heroes portal to grab yourselves some Beta keys (note that this redemption is open to users in Thailand, Philippines, Malaysia and Singapore only, with limited keys available daily).

We’ll see you folks in the Nexus!