Sunday, August 31, 2014

Bad Serebii suggestion of the week: Poison Tail Druddigon

I'm not sure whether I want this to be a recurring feature of this blog or not, but Serebii's PotW for today features yet another display of total embarrassment. On one of the sets, Poison Tail is recommended whenever playing in a Kalos-native metagame as a replacement for Gunk Shot. FUCKING POISON TAIL. Are you serious? If you're playing Kalos-native and need an answer to Fairies, USE IRON TAIL YOU FOOL. Sure, it's somewhat inaccurate, but it's TWICE AS POWERFUL. Jesus. What's going to happen next week, Porygon-Z as PotW with Hyper Beam being recommended?

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Waaaaaah!!! Muh VR!!!

One of the less-documented effects of the recent MK8 update is changes to the way VR works. Previously, it was capped at 9999, but such a score was much too easy to obtain, as the old VR system was sort of a hybrid between a ladder ranking system and an experience point system. Of course inferior players such as myself could never have achieved it, but anyone with actual skill could do it given a LOT of time. As a result, VR was less centered on skill and more on dedication, which is hardly fair.

So the update introduced a new system that raised the cap to 99999, but paradoxically made it much harder to remain at the old cap by making points much harder to attain. Of course, top (or should I say "top") players are complaining because the changes make them lose something like 200 points an hour, simply because they absolutely need to win EVERY SINGLE RACE just to keep their VR intact. It goes without saying that it sucks to see something you worked so much for vanish in smoke like that, but one fact I believe the naysayers like to forget is that a VR of 6000 is much more valuable now than a VR of 9999 ever was before the update.

One problem high-ranking players face, though, that makes it much trickier to keep those high VRs is that the matchmaking system makes it hard for them to race against each other, instead preferring to put them in rooms where the next highest ranking is 2500. I don't think I need to explain why this is bad - since your VR is so much higher than everyone else's, it means you HAVE to win to have any chance at keeping all their points. And this being Mario Kart, no one's immune to blue shells, lightning bolts and what not, even when you're five seconds a lap faster than everyone else. At least if the high-ranking players were paired together, you could conceivably finish, say, seventh, and your VR would still remain relatively unchanged. That is unfortunately not the case, presumably because such an overwhelming majority of players have a VR below 2500. Heck, I'm at 3000 and I'm consistently the highest or second highest VR in any room I join.

Either way, people are NOT happy that they're losing their VR, which is understandable given how much work they've put into it (even though, as I've said, a lower VR now is more meaningful than a higher VR was before). Some say a full reset should've been done, but it would've wasted even MORE of their time - and everyone else's, for that matter. There is, naturally, a lot of complaining over the fact that they can't be expected to win every race because, well, this is Mario Kart. And yes, even the best players will finish in the midfield every now and then. But, and I know what I'm saying because I play Pokémon, the effect of bad luck in one race will mitigate itself over the course of many races. After 20, 30 or 50 races, if you still win a large chunk of them, then your VR won't be going down as fast as if you're on the receiving end of a blue shell screwjob every single race, and it's eventually going to stabilize at the rating you're supposed to have.

Is the current system perfect? Of course not, and a lot of it has to do with matchmaking, as I've said before. But you don't see Elo or Glicko-based ladders hand out points like they're an experience point system, so it's definitely a step up.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Nintendo, fire your marketing team already.

"New 3DS". Jesus fucking Christ. It's like they think they started a competition of who can come up with the worst name for a system with the Wii U, then along came the friggin' Xbox One, which made Nintendo incredibly envious so they came up with THIS shit. Heck, "3DS" was already kind of dubious to start with, because it was easy to think it was just a DS with 3D capabilities, and "2DS" just made it even messier, but come on. "New 3DS" and "New 3DS XL".

So let me get this straight. We have the DS, the DS Lite, the DSi, the DSi XL, the 3DS, the 3DS XL, the 2DS, the New 3DS and the New 3DS XL. How the fuck do they expect parents who aren't into gaming to figure out what each does?

New Super Nintendo 3DS XL Micro DX 3 & Knuckles Turbo Edition Director’s Cut & All-Stars Racing Transformed Battle Royal Remastered Special Edition -NicoCW

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Link driving a Mercedes.

Can't wait to see THAT sight. This is going to be glorious.

In the meantime, though, MK8 owners can put the game's regular cast in the new vehicles provided by the Mercedes DLC. Being free, don't expect super amazing new stat combinations, as all three bodies and the one new tire set are all clones of existing stuff. The GLA is the new counterpart to the Steel Driver, Tri-Speeder, Badwagon and Standard ATV, the W25 Silver Arrow is a reskin of the Pipe Frame, Standard Bike, Flame Rider, Varmint and Wild Wiggler, while the 300 SL Roadster is a clone of the Standard Kart, Cat Cruiser, Prancer, Sneeker, The Duke and Teddy Buggy. Meanwhile, the GLA tires are nothing more than Standard/Off-Road tires. At least they could've done new players a favor and made them a clone of the Slick tires, just so that they aren't at the mercy of random unlocks just to get one of the most widely used tire stat sets. Oh well. I'm going to be honest, if not for the Mercedes logo in front those don't really look that much out of place, especially the Silver Arrow. The other two are more standard fare, I guess, but we already have stuff like the Sports Coupe anyway, so it's not that bad.

A few other features were included in that update, including the ability to have the minimap on the screen! Just press the - button, and voilà! It was about time too, having to look down at the gamepad to see where you were compared to your competition (especially when leading) got annoying. The map is still as useless as ever on Mario Circuit, though. We also get to see previously invisible stats such as win-loss record, total number of coins, and so on. Why weren't they visible out of the box, if the game was keeping track of them? I have no idea. The number of coins is especially useful, just so you know how far (far far far) away you are from unlocking the Gold Glider.

And then of course there's support for the upcoming DLC packs. Yep, as most people expected Nintendo's now jumping on the DLC bandwagon. I'll give them props, though: they gave us a full game, THEN added some extra DLC content instead of withholding what we've come to expect and selling it to us as DLC later. Big surprise, though: no Bowser Jr., no Diddy, no Birdo. Instead, we have Cat Peach and Tanooki Mario, as if they had no idea of the outcry over Pink Gold Peach. Or maybe they're just trolling. But more bizarrely, we also get the Villager, Isabelle, and LINK. Well I'd be lying if I said I hated the idea. Link in a Mario Kart game... at least the Animal Crossing crew are a bit more at home. And then there's the relatively expected Dry Bowser to round out a narrow super heavyweight crew. Cat Peach also does the same thing to the middleweight class (provided she even remains middleweight), but she still should've been an alternate costume like the Yoshi and Shy Guy colors you get for pre-ordering both DLC packs. (I did a few races online just now, lots of Yoshis and Shy Guys!) Same for Tanooki Mario.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Goddammit Memebase.

Guess what's now a thing?

SHIPPING SE JUN PARK'S POKÉMON.

Kill me now.

Now you might say these just might be two random Pokémon picked for this... but you know, I know, everyone knows, this is a Pachirisu and a Garchomp in August 2014. Of course it has to do with Se Jun Park. (Fun fact: both his Pachirisu and Garchomp were female. Of course I'm not a bigoted asshat so it doesn't do much for me, but I'm just throwing it out there.)

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Breaking news: Lucario is weak to Psychic moves.

Or so Serebii's PotW writers claim, at least. I mean come on. Fail Blast is what Psychics like Alakazam would use against it, not freaking Psychic - damage calcs say Psychic from Mega Alakazam falls just short of the OHKO against Lucario (or even Mega Lucario, since its special defense isn't boosted).

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Way to make me hate charity, world.

If you ever wanted proof of this civilization's utter lack of intellectual depth, look no further than the need for something as mind-(and body too, as an added bonus!)numbingly dumb as the ice bucket challenge to raise some money for charity. Somehow it's what's needed to raise awareness for a disease no one ever talks about on so much as an occasional basis. The worst thing about it is that for the most part, this is more of an attention-whoring exercise rather than a genuine attempt at helping out charity. But hey, the Facebook generation is just one giant clusterfuck of a popularity contest, so why am I surprised? And for that matter, out of all the A-list celebrities that did it, just how many actually gave enough of a shit about ALS to tell people how and where to donate for it? Yep, this is all one big fad that's going to peter out in the near future, and everyone will go back to not giving a fuck about ALS until they start pushing up daisies.

Oh, and don't even get me started on "forcing" other people to do the challenge and/or donate. The most important thing about charity donations is that they come from the heart, because the person genuinely wants to donate. Pressuring people into donating money to charity is just about the lowest possible thing that involves the word "charity". It's like this whole thing was carefully crafted down to the smallest detail to make me hate it despite essentially being a charity fundraiser.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

You're not a beautiful, unique snowflake, part 2

You're blind. You're deaf. Or rather, you just see what you want to see, hear what you want to hear. If you paid any attention to the post-match interview, you would've heard the man himself say his first choice was Amoonguss (the same as any smart and reasonable Pokémon player, at least in the absence of Togekiss), and only tried Pachirisu afterwards after the overgrown mushroom yielded questionable results. This means that he didn't use Pachirisu because he had a soft spot for the thing and slapped Follow Me on it just because it's what it did better than anything else, it's because Pachirisu gave him a chance to win more matches. Yes, maybe he genuinely likes Pachirisu. But since it wasn't his first choice, it's obvious that it's not the reason why he used it. No matter how much you want to believe the opposite, he used Pachirisu the same way he would a chess piece. He applied the same logic to this whole thing as any of the Smogonites you despise oh so much. It just so happens that he picked a Pokémon that rarely sees use by most normal players in most normal environments because of the restrictions of the 2014 VGC format. So please keep your annoying "YOU CAN WIN WITH YOUR FAVORITES" bullshit at the door.

Oh, I just mentioned chess pieces. That's something else. When have you ever heard the everyday Joe complain about how Russian grandmasters are obsessed with queens? Never. That's because chess players are above that shit. Not Pokémon players, by the looks of things. You never see some scrub brag, "I always underpromote because queens are so overrated!" Yes, underpromotion is something that happens, although rarely, most often to avoid a stalemate caused by a promotion to a queen. And that's exactly what happened this weekend. Se Jun Park used a seemingly lesser option compared to Amoonguss because the latter ended up dying more often because of its relative plethora of weaknesses than because he played it badly. At that point he simply was better served by a Pokémon with only one weakness, massive loss of HP be damned. Remember how I keep saying different Pokémon can see wild fluctuations in usefulness and usage depending on the level at which it's played? When you're arguably the best player in the world, it goes double for you. Any of us regular schmoes would replace our Amoongusses with Pachirisus on the VGC ladder overnight (something I get the feeling may happen, stay tuned for monthly stats!), we'd get pulverized and left wondering, how the fuck did he do what he did?

Oh, by the way, way to conveniently forget that the rest of his team was absolutely bog standard. Guess which Pokémon Pachirisu gave a chance to molest its opponents constantly in the finals? Garchomp, the Pokémon most closely associated with what you call "self-centered stuck-up Smogon elitists"! Pachirisu, the new darling of casuals everywhere, standing next to Garchomp, Smogon's uncontested favorite (or so they say). Pretty sure the universe is about to implode. We also got such staples as Talonflame, Gyarados and Gardevoir, with only Gothitelle being slightly more exotic (but not at all a bad or uncommon choice, Shadow Tag and all).

Bottom line: the man you hail as your new hero is actually a horrible villain by your standards. But never let the truth get in the way of a good story, right?