Dabbling with Danger
At work there are a bunch of us who have at one point or another played Magic: The Gathering. I don’t play the game regularly, because I simply do not have the time to commit to going to a shop regularly to play. However I still love playing the game, and it is wrapped up in so much nostalgia for me. My first starter deck was from unlimited, and I dabbled a bit here and there through Arabian Nights, Antiquities, and started getting serious about the time revised came out. I played super actively until the launch of Ice Age and then for one reason or another got out of it. At that point I was really into the World of Darkness games, and was doing far more pen and paper than magic… also I started college and seemed to have far less disposable money.
I flirted with the game again my Senior year, because there was this great culture at the local game shop. I came in at the tail end of Mirage, played through Visions and was super involved with Weatherlight… probably my favorite expansion to date. When I left college I also left the community I liked hanging out with an playing magic regularly, so I stopped playing again. Since then I have picked up the occasional pack of cards to see what was new, but never really got involved with the game again. That was until I found out that we had a bunch of former magic players at work, and I thought it would be awesome to foster a sort of lunchtime M:TG group. Yesterday I got to break this awesome reaper miniature again, as I tutored my friend Rae through her first game of Magic. This could end in madness, but my hopes is that we can just develop a casual magic culture to hang out and enjoy.
The Ancient Library
Last night while waiting on the pizza to arrive and Elder Scrolls Online to patch, I decided to attempt to play some more Final Fantasy 5. I had a near mishap where I thought for a moment I had lost my saved game and had to revert back to a period of time when I was still in white mage hell. However that was not the case, and I managed to restore back and get to where I should have been. I kinda went crazy at one point and ground my way to 19… which means that in order to be safe for the Ancient Library I needed to be at least 21. So most of the time waiting on the Pizza was spent grinding aimlessly trying to get the last two levels so I could start my quest proper. You might ask why I need to be 21?
If you enter the Library of Ancients, there are various creatures that can cast the dreaded Level 5 Death spell. This will target any character with a level that is a multiple of 5, aka ending in 5 or 0 and pretty much instant kill them. This means in order to be safe you have to enter the library at something OTHER than that. Now if you have a Blue Mage, you want to de-synchronize your party so that you have exactly one party member at a “5” level so you can learn it. Both fortunately and unfortunately I do not have one so I just needed to be safe as I finished the library. The above monster is Byblos the guardian of the library, and I found him pretty easy considering I had ground to a much higher level than you normally need for the encounter. Most people natively get here around 15, so at 21 I was significantly higher.
Goodbye Ship, Hello Chocobo
Final Fantasy 5 is a story about destroying modes of transportation and then curiously finding a new one to replace them. After the library you find new information that allows the fire-powered-ship to start moving again without the power of the fire crystal. Unfortunately as you move to your next destination you encounter an earthquake and the fire-powered-ship gets sucked into a giant whirlpool. Conveniently you just happen to be on an island that just happens to have a Black Chocobo Forest. I know from lore that these are Black Chocobo, but I will be damned if this one is not pink… so you pilot your Pink Chocobo around the world visiting all the destinations that you missed and picking up any gear or spells that you might need.
Let There Be Rangers
The big takeaway from the encounter with the Pink Chocobo, is that it had the last two fire crystal jobs stuck in its gullet. One of which was the Ranger job that I had been waiting patiently for. This means from this point out I must have a White Mage, Mystic Knight and Ranger in the party at all times. I opted to shift Faris and Galuf to rangers in order to teach them the Rapid Fire ability as soon as I could. Basically you enter a period where you can reach most of the world so it is a great time to finish up anything you left unfinished. I headed up to Istory and went ahead and defeated Ramuh for example. Since I do not have a summoner in my party, this was a completely optional step… but Ramuh is generally my favorite of the espers so I figured I would go ahead and fight him.
Once finished messing around the room I proceeded with opening the way to the Tower of Ruin. The desert area is one of my least favorite, mostly because the sandworm fight is a pain in the butt. Considering my party composition, it was not really technically difficult, just annoying in that the Sandworm jumps between one of three holes on the screen. You don’t target the worm itself, but instead the hole it came out of, this means that more often than not you can target a hole and it might have moved before the attack lands. With the white mage, I was able to heal through anything the worm could throw at me, and it was simply a matter of wearing it down. Mostly this just meant that my rangers could not benefit from their !Aim ability, as it took way too long for it to actually resolve the damage.
Once you complete the Tower of Ruin you get rewarded with access to the airship, and find out that your fire-powered-ship didn’t get destroyed, but instead fell into a chamber underneath crescent isle. Now you have this really awesome base that you can launch either the fire-powered-ship or airship out of. You end up faffing about running several mini missions all in the effort of trying to teach your airship how to flight higher to reach the earth shrine that has been elevated up into the air by the power of yet another crystal draining… and ultimately crystal destroying machine. We are nearing the sequence of events that I hate each time I play this game.
The Earth Shrine is guarded by four missile launchers and the extremely frustrating boss Soul Cannon. This is the point at which I stopped playing for the night. I made an attempt at the missile launcher fights, and while I managed to get through one of them… I didn’t back out and save like I should have. The big problem with the fights are the “rocket punch” attacks that cause your characters to go confused, and the Rocket Launcher that is an insanely nasty percentage based attack. Thing is if I can get enough time to Spellblade, the Rocket Launchers drop fast but I seem to spend my entire time trying to heal up and un-confuse my party. If I am struggling with the Rocket Launchers I have having trouble fathoming just how bad the Soul Cannon encounter will be. I am thinking this might be time to grind again and get a level advantage.
Being 22 has allowed me to just steamroll the encounters leading up to this one, but that level gap has closed on me. So I am thinking I will spend some time over the weekend watching TV and grinding away to build back up a buffer. Additionally I would really like it if most of my characters had Rapidfire as an option for the Soul Cannon encounter. I think I got through it during last years Four Job Fiesta by double casting lightning attacks, so if I can get two Mystic Knights with Rapidfire I might be able to do the same kind of trickery. Spellblade is a super powerful ability, but it sucks in that it takes one turn to cast in which you essentially do nothing. The Soul Cannon sequence is one of the big hurdles that most players get hung up on, so I don’t feel too bad that I am having to rethink my strategy before moving forward. I am sure with the Black Mage/Red Mage combo Kodra was able to just absolutely destroy it. What I really need is a bunch of Ribbons, but I think at this point in the game I only have access to the one I have.
#FF5 #FinalFantasy #MagicTheGathering #MTG