Thursday, April 17, 2014

Skyrim belongs to the glitch gremlin!

I was taking a look at whether the unofficial Skyrim patches had been updated since the last time I'd updated them in late February (yeah, I have to update them manually since they're not on the Steam Workshop), when I came across this sentence in the description that I'd somehow missed or just skimmed over previously:

The goal of the Unofficial Skyrim Patch (aka USKP) is to eventually fix every bug with Skyrim not officially resolved by the developers to the limits of the Creation Kit and community-developed tools, in one easy-to-install package.

Note the words "every bug". Yeesh, talk about ambitious - we all know of Skyrim's reputation as a giant mass of glitches. But you know what? They're actually making a pretty good job of it. Look at the list of fixes they've done over the years! And the one for Dawnguard! And the one for Hearthfire! And the one for Dragonborn!

What really blows my mind is that these fixes are made by a dozen people or so, and are still doing a very thorough job of it too. They're not being paid money for it like Bethesda's staff is, they're going to all that trouble just for the rest of us to enjoy the game better. Heck, one could say they're doing a much better job than Bethesda ever did, considering the blatant stuff that never got fixed in the official patches.

Interestingly, one of these blatant bugs only got fixed very recently in the unofficial patch, which is the fact that the Black Star could previously capture any type of soul, whereas it was meant to only be able to capture the souls of NPCs. This is one of those bugs that makes you wonder "how could such an obvious issue make it to release, much less never get patched?". And yet it seems to have been a very complicated thing, because not only did the unofficial patch attempt to do something about it only recently, but their first attempt ended in failure, and as a result the Black Star couldn't capture any souls whatsoever. Luckily this was then fixed properly with a response time that can only be called amazing, coming from a dozen community members.

Of course, they can't catch and fix everything, not even gamebreaking glitches that would make a questline impossible to finish if you're playing a console version, but hey, these unofficial patches are more than good enough to make doing so... foolish, to say the least.

Edit: Speaking of terrible glitches, look what I just ran into. A staircase floating in the air, well above where it should've been. Unfortunately, this means I was stuck in a tiny area, so it was console time to get me out of there.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Wanna be trendy? Start liking Ash Ketchum!

I don't know if it's just really bad luck or something, but lately I've been seeing many apologists of the bane of every Pokémon fan with an ounce of self-respect, Ash Ketchum. Apparently we're supposed to like him because he's not some unstoppable force, but rather a relatable figure capable of showing emotion and weakness while still remaining determined and having goals to pursue. And you know what? If that description held true, there WOULD be nothing wrong about Ash.

Except for the part where it's NOT true.

Sure, early on in the show's run you could buy that, but as the seasons go on (and on and on and on and on), he makes no progress whatsoever, making him slowly de-evolve into an incompetent doofus who still has no clue what it takes to improve, or worse, DOES know what it takes but refuses to do it because of some invariably inane bullshit. And his infamously middling *coughcough* track record at evolving Pokémon isn't all there is to it, even when any normal person would've said "fuck it" and shoved a Thunder Stone up Pikachu's ass if necessary. His marketing-required team reboot at the start of every generation didn't help, either - in fact, it may be the worst offender, as the one time Ash legitimately looked like a force was when he had almost every Pokémon he's ever had on hand (including a lot of fully-evolved Pokémon to boot). Of course the outcome was history, he was eventually stopped by a bunch of legendaries shamefully low-grade writing, even by the show's scrubbish standards.

But I'm just rambling on. Point is, he's had 17 years to show some improvement, and at the end of the day he always stays near square one. Weakness stops being weakness and turns into something much worse when you never learn from what you did wrong. As for being relatable... well, I can't argue against that. If you identify with him, then what does that make you?

Still, why are all the pro-Ash zombies coming out of their caves now? Is it because Smogon's ladder is so flooded with casuals that they can actually perform decently well using nutty garbage like Eviolite Slowbro, Hyper Beam Sylveon and Ash-based teams by beating the enormous amount of similarly rubbish players, leading them to believe the old doctrine of fighting with your favorites, treating your Pokémon with love and care and all that sappy rhetoric is the key to victory? Is it because some people were outraged by that one picture that had shots of Legend of Thunder, Pokémon Origins and the mega evolution special, that said that all you needed to make a good Pokémon anime was removing Ash, and every brainless sheep who thought they were making good points followed suit?

Either way, that won't change anything for me. Ash Ketchum sucked back then, he sucks now, and he'll suck forever.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Why is Gamespot still a thing?

Not long ago, I criticized an embarassingly wrong editorial about FF10 that was published on that site. Clearly that wasn't enough, because then THIS happened. Because checking sources is overrated. Quality journalism is for pussies! At least wait UNTIL Telltale has gotten back to you to write something about it, because now you just look like the biggest morons ever. Just looking at the GIF, you can already figure out that the odds of it being a genuine glitch and not a mod made by a prankster are pretty freaking low.

The biggest scandal in Canada's history

At least that's the way it sounds like, given what I've been hearing on TV over the last week. Only one Canadian team qualified for the NHL playoffs. Give me a break with the postmortems. I don't even want to imagine what it would've been like had Carey Price not been there to make it at least one Canadian team. At least the playoffs begin tomorrow, so maybe they'll move on to something else then.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Another middle finger from an event Pokémon

CoroCoro has revealed the details on the Diancie that's going to be distributed with the movie. No special moves it can't learn otherwise, as expected, however it's the item it holds that's... insulting, to say the least. It's a Normal Gem. It makes sense that it'd be a gem, considering that's Diancie's entire gimmick and all, but... a NORMAL Gem? The only one that's already available? Why not, say, the Flying one, which several Pokémon would have a use for? We already know Diancie's going to be totally worthless, so at least they could've sweetened the deal a little bit, but no, of course we can't have that.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

1760 stats' impact on tiering + Lucario in UU

I've already gone over the Pokémon that changed tiers solely because of the new weighting system, but I just wanted to push it a step further and compare some Pokémon that don't change tiers, but whose ranking varies wildly.

For reference purposes, here are the stats with the old weighting method and the new one.

So many big changes. Bisharp goes from #21 to #5, Landorus-T from #20 to #7, Keldeo from #39 to #10, Chansey from #40 to #23 (in fact it's even more popular than Blissey at higher levels of play), Landorus-I from #58 to #25... There are also several Pokémon who took a nasty tumble, especially Greninja (#5 to #21), Togekiss (#26 to #41) and Volcarona (#35 to #55).

On another subject, last month I wondered whether Mega Lucario's ban would mean the disappearance of its base form from OU, and the numbers I had back then gave us the right idea: vanilla Lucario just doesn't cut it anymore, at #82. Was Gamefreak targeting it for a mega evolution amazing foresight or sheer dumb luck? Either way, I think we can agree Adaptability was freaking overkill. Heck, there's no need for a super godly ability for previously bad Pokémon to rise to fame - Mega Manectric is currently making Jolteon quite obsolete armed with just the standard issue Intimidate, to such an extent that it should enter OU very soon. Of course it makes an amazing VoltTurn core with Landorus-T, who also has Intimidate, but my point is, even the megas that don't have terrifyingly good abilities are making a name for themselves.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Try to crack Nintendo's thought process!

So, the 3DS version of SSB4 will come out a LOT earlier than the Wii U one. Considering how desperately they need to sell the Wii U, and do so NOW, why in the world would they do that? The only reason I can think of is to try and get people even slightly interested in the 3DS version, based on the notion that we all want this game very, VERY badly - and THEN get us to buy the game all over again on Wii U this winter. But... that's a gamble if I've ever seen one. I wouldn't be surprised if many people who really want their SSB fix go for the 3DS version, then pass over the Wii U one (which, in some cases may mean the Wii U altogether).

Right, so... nope. Can't think of any logical reason. Nintendo marketing department, you dumb schmucks. Monkeys on typewriters would do your job better quicker than they would write a single word in Shakespeare's works, let alone all of them.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Smogon's worst decision since the Sand Veil ban

Unfortunately, that's not a very strong statement since that only happened a year and a half ago, but still, here's another one we can add to the category of really bad calls.

The combination of Swagger, Foul Play and Prankster, better known as Swagplay, had been under scrutiny for a while, and after discussion on the subject degenerated very, very badly, the decision was taken to give it a proper suspect test. Unfortunately, the voting ended up being on Swagger alone, instead of being in combination with Foul Play or Prankster. And words can't express the shock I had when I found out about it. I mean, sure, Swagger is a really bad move overall, except when used in combination with Foul Play, which gets its damage doubled by Swagger. So the competitive impact of a Swagger ban beyond Swagplay being forbidden would be practically non-existent, which is a step up from Sand Veil which could've had legitimate uses on other Pokémon besides Garchomp.

Still, it's the principle of the thing. Swagger alone isn't at all problematic, since as I just said it's a terrible move, and neither is Foul Play alone, which is a tremendous help to Pranksters and other support Pokémon like Mandibuzz. It's the combination of both that's debatably problematic, and as such I strongly believe a Swagger + Foul Play combo ban was the way to go. Yes, I'm not a huge fan of combo bans as a whole, but with an increasingly complex and synergy-based game, where rating moves and abilities on their own becomes borderline unfair, it's a necessary evil we have to put up with.

Obviously, this doesn't suddenly mean I believe the likes of Blaze Blaziken should be allowed in OU by just combo-banning Speed Boost and Blaziken. Nerfing various Pokémon just so they could be allowed in any tier would mean it would happen for just about everything in every tier, and of course we can't have that. On the other hand, doing it for combinations of moves, items and abilities is fine, since there's no real danger of a slippery slope effect there, as proven by the years following the Swift Swim embargo. For example, I'll point you towards the Endless Battle Clause that was put into effect a few months ago. It bans the combination of a Leppa Berry with either Harvest or Recycle, and even though Leppa Berry is completely useless beyond that, they still went ahead and did a combo ban anyway, because all the components of the ban are completely harmless on their own. So why didn't they do the same here?

Also surprising was the enormous blowout in favor of the ban of Swagger alone - 66 to 11. Not only because I would've imagined more people didn't like the idea of NOT doing a combo ban, but also because Klefki, the primary Swagplay user, is one of those Pokémon that fell out of OU with the tiering changes that only see the top 2% have a significant impact in the usage stats, suggesting Swagplay was more of an issue at lower levels of play, while better players could get around it better.

In the end, while banning Swagger alone doesn't have any effect beyond just getting rid of Swagplay, which was the intended goal all along, I still have a major problem with that way of doing things. What if someone wants to use Swagger for, say, phazing? Sure, it's far from the best way of doing it to say the least, but it's a universal move, and I guess it could work decently in certain contexts (such as opponents with no physical attacks). So I despise the notion of taking that option away, even if it's hardly a stellar one.

So, are you happy now? I did say I'd complain if something like that happened, so here you go.

Edit: Because I may not have been clear enough, let me reiterate: I see fundamentally nothing wrong with doing something about Swagplay, though I'm not nearly skilled enough to know for sure whether it's the right thing to do. However, preventing use of Swagger for what it was originally meant to do, even if it's bad at doing so... let's just say I'm not a fan. That's why I was hoping it'd be a combo ban with Foul Play.