Revisiting Old Ideas

ArcheAge 2016-06-27 06-11-47-14

ArcheAge Resurgence

ArcheAge 2016-06-27 06-11-47-14

I have been on quite the Trion Worlds games kick lately after coming back to Rift, and that has how officially spilled over into ArcheAge as well.  ArcheAge and I have a bit of a torrid past, or at least it was not a game that I really latched onto from the moment I first played it.  In fact in those early Alpha and eventual Beta days… the game had a less than stellar community.  That however has changed with time and a significant amount of effort by Trion staff, and the community that exists today is pretty great.  I blame Kiwi entirely for me starting to poke my head back into the game, and right now I am largely focused on leveling.  Right now I am playing a Firran Bloodreaver on Tahyang server, however as soon as the 3.0 patch lands I will largely be restarting as a Dwarf which will place me on the Nuia faction instead of Haranya.  Because of the lag between the South Korean and American versions of this game, we have known that Dwarves and Warborn would be something that would more than likely eventually cross between versions…  so I have been patiently waiting.  Of the starter races the Firrans were by far my favorite…  but if you put Dwarves in the game there is zero contest.  So I will have to bid a farewell to the crazy oriental steampunk land that I have grown up in on my cat, and get used to a more european fantasy setting once again.  Not necessarily a bad thing, just different.

I believe the level cap is somewhere in the 50s, so I still have a good ways to go since I am sitting at only 36 and that leveling in general does not go terribly quickly in this game.  It seems like my return was well timed, given that they gave me some sort of a welcome back package.  It included a quest that opens every 24 hours for various rewards, and a bunch of tokens that can be spent on Mirage Island, but I have not ventured back out there to see what all I can purchase with them.  At this point I am sorta waiting until I hit the level cap before being too tempted by the shiny baubles.  The game has so many little systems and currencies and things that can be done… but I feel like I would need to do a bunch of research to even begin to start taking advantage of half of it.  That is why in the meantime I am largely focusing on the leveling game, because combat is something that I understand… and honestly enjoy quite a lot after settling on the Bloodreaver class that is a mixture of Battlerage, Occultism and Auramancy.  One of the big concerns I can remember having about this game is the fairly open PVP system, but for the last several zones I have been in “High Tension” zones and really have remained largely uninterrupted in my pursuit of leveling.  The ArcheAge community staff deserves some pretty major Kudos for turning the course around in this game, and fostering what appears to be a real sense of community in its players.  Looking forward to delving further into it the longer I stick around.

Working on Something

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Last night was largely devoted to helping a friend of mine get to level 40 in Destiny and through the Taken King storyline missions.  However after I logged out of that game I poked my head back into Rift.  I worry that maybe folks reading this blog are getting tired of me talking about the game, but then again I am certain they also felt that way about Destiny, The Division and Diablo 3…  or any of the other games I have latched onto and obsessed over.  The weird thing about Rift is how much it has felt like “coming home”.  What you have to understand is that there has never been a period of time where I did not log into Rift, but for a good chunk of it I was honestly confused by the options.  What I mean by that is there are just so many different things that you can do in this game, and I felt like I was missing any real sense of bearing.  I would log into the game… see my insanely full bags, see the fact that I was nowhere near the level cap and struggle to sort out exactly what I wanted to do with myself.  Then like a sad little puppy I would log right back out feeling confused and frustrated because I had the desire to play… but somehow lacked the force to break the inertia of standing around in the Tempest Bay Canals district.  Granted right now… I still spend a good deal of my time in that location…  however current it is out of a sense of feeling like I belong there, and not out of a sense of being trapped there.  I go out into the world and explore all manner of new stuff, but I wind up returning back to my home base in the crafting area.


A little over five years ago when Rift launched I did a series of posts called “Why You Should Be Playing Rift”.   The purpose of these posts was extremely misguided, and was my way of rebelling against “the man” at that time… aka trying to convert the folks still playing World of Warcraft to being Rift players.  It worked for some, and others it just caused them to delete my blog from their blog roll, and un-follow me over on social media.  The other day I started thinking about these posts and what I was trying to do with them, and decided that it might be interesting to revisit that concept.  However instead of writing them in spite, as a way of trying to show the world what they were missing…  the idea this time is for me to tell you all what I see in the game.  Rift is like that friend in high school that you have maybe drifted apart from…  but when you get back together it is like no time has passed.  Except in this case your friend has quietly evolved and developed a bunch of cool new things they know how to do.  Rift has remained trucking along in the background, seemingly ignored by a lot of the MMORPG players as a phase they maybe went through at some point.  It is a game that seems to keep figuring out new quality of life tweaks to make the game more enjoyable.  However it is also a game with a bunch of scary looking monetization methods that I think frighten too many players, and keep them from spending more time and getting to know the game the way I do.  So while I am adopting the same sort of name that I had the first time… as a sort of revisiting effort, the purpose is completely different this time.  My goal is to show you my readers why I feel the way I feel about various aspects of this game.  I am still working on the first part, but hopefully soon it will make its way to the front page and kick off the sequence properly.  More than anything I guess I wanted to warn my long time readers, that you are going to likely be reading a lot more of Rift and ArcheAge content in the near future.

Delving the Sewers

Bloody Happy Place

ARCHEAGE 2015-06-14 01-03-43-47 Last night we were down a handful of people with Thalen and Grace being gone, but by that same token it is mostly a cast of original AggroChat folks.  Kodra is back from his traveling and it was awesome to get to spend the night hanging out with him again.  We have all been spending quite a bit of time in ArcheAge as we have been taking a break from Final Fantasy XIV right before the launch of Heavensward.  We talk about our further impressions of the game, and Kodra talks about his since he quite literally just started today.  From there we talk about our expectations for the coming launch of Heavensward and how Ashgar and I apparently have enough faith in the release of this expansion to have taken the day off work.  From there we meander into talk about the upcoming Four Job Fiesta, and how all of our listeners should really take Ashgar’s money, since he has put up $5 for every AggroChat listener to defeat the game during the event.  There was talk of Wildstar and Tam injuring himself, but we had a grand time just chatting about the games we had been playing.

As promised in the show I also posted a picture of the absolutely amazing Fred from Scooby Doo cosplay by Kodra over on AggroChat so you should totally check that out.  The title of the show comes from the fact that I am apparently a sick and twisted bastard.  One of the happiest moments I have in video games is when I am zoned out and just mindlessly slaughtering stuff for loot and prizes.  This is the reason why I have always been able to grind up levels in video games so effectively and why I so insanely over leveled the various JRPGs I have played.  Last night while recording the podcast I found myself cheerfully wrecking undead for a good hour of the time we recorded.  I slip into this mode from time to time and just got lost in the motion of combat, and as a result I end up over leveled almost all of the time.  It is a happy place…  just a very bloody happy place.

Beach Racing

ARCHEAGE 2015-06-13 14-13-28-18 ArcheAge is this collection of really strange systems, and I feel like I have only scratched the surface of figuring them out.  Yesterday my friends and I took a trip to Mirage Island, which is this strange second life esc showroom allowing you to buy crafting patterns for all sorts of random stuff.  The awesome thing about it however is that you can test drive most of them.  So Tamrielo and I went off on a tour of the island on the roadsters.  The only problem you have a very limited around of time to use it….  and we did not realize that before running off out into the ocean.  There is a giant track around the island… and part of it is a sandbar that cuts out into the middle of hte ocean.  The problem is…. this island is really freaking huge.  I crashed out of the game that apparently dropped me out of Mirage Island, but poor Tam I don’t think he made it around the sandbar before it despawned the roadster.  Luckily we had mounts so at least we didn’t have to walk back home if we got stranded.

The biggest problem I am having with ArcheAge is it seems like there are dozens of currencies that I am accumulating but I have no clue where to spend them.  I thought maybe Mirage Island would give me some idea, but I didn’t really find any traditional vendors.  Some of the kiosks required various currencies that I had not found yet, but I didn’t find any that took any of the ones I actually had.  The takeaway is that ArcheAge is a really strange game.  I am still liking it but I don’t feel any closer to actually understanding it.  The system I want to try and figure out how is that supposedly you can tame named bosses in the world and turn them into combat pets.  There is a tiger in one of the zones I have encountered and I am kinda hoping I can figure out how to trap it.  I remember in alpha I got some sort of a fox pet as a drop and it was insanely fun to run around with.  Not that it was sturdy enough to tank for me, but it did add some additional damage.  Who doesn’t like additional damage right?

Delving the Sewers

ARCHEAGE 2015-06-13 18-12-38-83 A few days ago I stumbled into the first dungeon of the game in the sewers under the City of Towers.  I managed to sneak my way through the dungeon, carefully pulling mobs and cleared my way to the first boss…  only to get my face rocked.  However the trash leading up to that boss dropped some really nice items.  Since I have massively out leveled my friends I figured I would revisit the dungeon when some of them got closer to my level.  So last night after the podcast we thought we would give the place another shot.  Unfortunately after getting Kodra and Tam out there, it looks like the 3 man dungeon had a minimum level requirement of 18.  So at this point I was sitting at 27, and Tam at 20… so we decided to try and work our way through it.  The first room or so was pretty easy because both of us are dual wielding blenders.  The first boss however…. ended up to be just as much of a challenge with the two of us as it was solo.  We managed to make it through it however with both of us extremely low in health.

The second boss was significantly easier mechanically, but involved me running around like a madman and kiting him for a bit while Tam finished him off.  Then we got to the final boss… and quite frankly it rocked our worlds.  It took lots of rethinking the situation and a series of I think ten attempts before we finally just barely managed to defeat the encounter.  Quite honestly I have no clue how someone would manage to do this dungeon at 18 with three people, when we technically over leveled the hell out of it.  This makes me super anxious however to try the next dungeon, because it was an awesome challenge.  The dungeon design like much of the game reminds me of an older era of MMOs.  There were moments when I was taken back to the mob density and layout of the dungeons in Dark Age of Camelot.  We had to very carefully pick our way through the targets and use line of sight to pull things back in order to make sure we only got the one target we needed.  The game is far better than I gave it credit for… and I am hoping to piddle around on the side for awhile.

Tiny Bel, Tiny Enterprise, Tiny Cid

Flight in Draenor


This mornings post is going to be a little odd, because I have already written it once before.  I sat down at the keyboard like normal this morning and started banging out a post, and within a paragraph of finishing it and hitting publish…  we had a power outage.  Unfortunately I was composing on my local machine, and also unfortunately it seems that LiveWriter only recovers if it crashes… and not the entire computer powering off.  As a result I am composing a second post… in which I am going to attempt to say all the sage things I said before.  This experiment is likely going to fail miserably.  In my original post I got a little salty over the announcement yesterday that Blizzard was adding in a meta-achievement that would allow you to unlock flight in Draenor for all of your 90+ characters.  The problem being I was grumpy for a silly reason, and now upon rewriting this post I have realized that.  Sure it felt good to rant a bit, but overall it was largely meaningless.

What I do feel like yesterday’s announcement signals is that Warlords of Draenor has been a testament to the fact that Blizzard does not understand its core demographic at all.  As a friend said last night, Flight is a Genie that you cannot put back in the bottle.  Once it was given to the players they will always crave its freedom.  While I personally agreed with the decision to take flight away, and supported the supposed line in the sand they drew, it seems like the villagers with pitchforks storming the ramparts made Blizzard change their mind.  Warlords as a whole has been a bit of a comedy of errors, with extremely good aspects like the raid encounters… and extremely bad aspects like the facebook game style garrisons and the demolition of crafting.  Ultimately my frustration with the flight move is it seems so rushed, and that they simply drew a card from the Final Fantasy XIV deck on how to deal with it.  Last October Square announced that they would add flight, but through a system that forced the player to explore a zone and learn how to harness the winds.  This meta-achievement seems like a rushed clone of that concept, and while it made me grumpy at first… I realize that every single game draws upon the best parts of every game before it.  I guess next week when Heavensward head start begins we can determine if it really was the good idea that Square hopes it is.

Clockwork Mayhem


I spent a good chunk of my night playing ArcheAge and I have to say the more I play Kitty Belghast the more I enjoy him.  Technically I am not Belghast at all… because apparently someone on Tahyang has my name.  To make matters worse they made an Elf Archer… which is pretty close to being the “anti-belghast”.  However I am getting by just fine with Belgrave the Nuian and Belglaive the Firran.  I finished up my questing in the mines and have moved now into a junkyard of clockwork machines.  I am really enjoying my Darkrunner build, because it just feels awesome to rush headlong into things with two swords drawn.  Everything was going well until I stumbled onto a quest to kill 20 discarded clockworks.  As I wandered through the junkyard I found them sitting there in several clumps of smaller mobs surrounded by an aggressive Harani.  At first I thought these were like the other packs of mobs I had encountered, so I pulled and popped my AOEs… only to get murdered in the most horrible fashion.

It turns out that when ArcheAge says something is an “Elite” quest it means it.  It also turns out that these are part of the Clockwork Rebellion event, which is the mirror of the Oblivion Rift event I had done before on the Nuian side.  These are absolutely scaled for groups to complete them, but instead being the stubborn fool that I am, I tried to solo it.  What I like the most is the fact that this game allowed me to do just this.  Through careful pulls I was able to peel smaller chunks of the large packs off and take care of them in multiple passes.  I found that I could take three or four of the little robots if I absolutely had to, and then would need to regenerate my health and mana back before trying another pass.  In doing this I whittled down the quest until I was able to complete it and get an achievement for doing so.  I have to say this sort of careful and methodical gameplay was extremely rewarding, and reminds me of an older era of gaming.  My hope is that once Kodra gets the ability to play ArcheAge that he too will find the game he had been looking for with Pathfinder Online.  In the meantime, I am having a lot of fun being kitty bel.

Tiny Bel, Tiny Enterprise, Tiny Cid


Several weeks ago I had ordered the Final Fantasy XIV Art Book from the Square Enix store, and last night when I got home it was sitting there waiting on my doorstep.  The coolest part so far is the fact that it has almost all of the weapon and armor designs from the game, and shows the production art behind them.  What makes that even more awesome is that each one of them has a sentence or two of notes below that explains some of their ideas that went into the design.  If it is a weapon with animated parts it explains how the weapon bits actually move and function together and the idea behind them.  If that was not cool enough it also included a tiny Enterprise minion that also has an even tinier Cid sitting on the deck.  I am thinking this is the ideal minion to run around with as a Lalafell, because Tiny Cid actually makes me feel big.

I had logged out of ArcheAge and into Final Fantasy XIV last night because in theory it was the night our second static runs.  Whenever my schedule works with it, I try and offer my services to make sure it can fill.  Last night however after sitting around and waiting for a bit we were standing there with four people.  The leader called the raid, and we instead shifted focus to running Art the bear tank from our WoW raid through some instances.  The most frustrating part about leveling a DPS right now is the fact that the queues are so ridiculously long.  As I have been leveling my Ninja lately my average wait time is around 40 minutes.  So we built a free company group and I got the job of tanking.  I tanked Copperbell as a Warrior, and Halatali as a Paladin and enjoyed both of them.  I like tanking lower level content in part because it makes me realize just how limited my toolbox used to be, and how hard it was to actually hold aggro on mobs.  Was a fun night all around, and I actually look forward to doing more of this as I work on leveling my Dark Knight eventually.

Blackhand Down

Gliders Away

ARCHEAGE 2015-06-09 18-56-11-46

Whatever has a hold of me allergy wise is driving me insane.  I struggled my way to work yesterday only to be not so subtly asked to go home by my boss.  Apparently I sounded fairly horrible.  So I headed to the house and took a breathing treatment and attempted to be productive remotely.  Last night I took several Benadryl before heading to bed so I am hoping that helped get me over whatever hump I was struggling with.  This morning my head feels a lot clearer, but that might all change the moment I open the front door and are exposed to the world again.  My friends have joked that I need a bubble… and there are days that I agree with them.  To make matters worse we are under an Ozone alert day meaning that the air quality levels are already going to be horrible today.  There is a whole list of things that we are not supposed to do during an Ozone alert day, but the show must go on.

Yesterday I was a little bit spread out in what I ended up playing.  It was of course my World of Warcraft raid night, and at least on some level I was excited about getting in and getting more attempts in on Blackhand.  I spent quite a bit of time last night playing around on Cat Belghast in ArcheAge and honestly the more I play that side of the fence the more charming I find it.  I am naturally drawn the Nuians simply because it is the race I can create the closest facsimile of “Belghast” proper in.  However it is pretty much a bland European fantasy world, with the same vistas and characters we have encountered in essentially every MMO.  What makes Haranya interesting is they combine the tribal Firran with the Harani that are essentially steampunk engineers.  Quite honestly the Harani remind me of the Al Bhed from Final Fantasy X, and doing quests just seem more interesting than the Nuia side of the house.  I know Ashgar has a preference towards the cat people, and I guess I am developing that as well.  In any case I am really enjoying my time spent piddling around in ArcheAge.

Blackhand Down

Wow-64 2015-06-09 22-10-57-40 Last week on Thursday we had made a significant amount of progress on Blackhand.  On our best attempt we managed to get hit to 11%, so it was my hope that after some time away from the fight we could pop back in and pick up where we left off.  What made last Thursday challenging was that we were extremely short on melee so the walls were going down very slowly.  Last night we had some of our normal melee which made that part easier, but we were also down two of our main healers which added its own challenges.  However right out of the gate we managed to push to phase three like it was easy and at least match that 11% progress.  The rest of the night was spent fine tuning things and on our very last attempt of the night our raid leader managed to bring in a additional healer which seemed to push us over the top.  Unfortunately I spent the tail end of that fight in the lava as I managed to get clipped by one of the smashes while trying to execute spam Blackhand.

It feels extremely good to have defeated this raid tier, especially since Heavensward is right around the corner.  This was functionally my last week of raiding in World of Warcraft before going on a bit of a sabbatical.  I had hopes that we would be able to down him at least by Thursday, but now we are in the interesting position of not really knowing what to do with ourselves.  I guess Thursday if we have the people we will venture back into Heroic and see what mischief we can get up to there.  I know several of us are a single kill away from being able to get Mythic gear out of our Garrison loot boxes.  So in theory it would be nice to knock that kill out as well.  Similarly it has been talked about maybe just having a Heroes of the Storm night instead, since several of  the raid are also playing that game.  In any case it feels like I managed to squeak by another milestone fight before the buzzer.  So that is two raid Warlords raid tiers I have managed to defeat in this expansion and I am pretty happy with that.


Wow-64 2015-06-09 17-09-25-10 Even thought I am not enjoying World of Warcraft fight now as much as I had hoped I absolutely loved getting to raid with the guild again.  Coming back I was in an odd situation where I simply did not know many of the folks that had joined the guild I founded in my absence.  I am so happy to have been welcomed back with open arms and been allowed to get to know so many of them.  I am not saying I am “done” with World of Warcraft, but if I was I would be able to end on a happy note.  In a months time I might be raring to go and begin raiding again and pushing forward into Hellfire Citadel.  Right now however I just know that I need a break from this game.  I don’t want to try and split my attention between the new and shiny Heavensward content and Warcraft that feels very much like a worn in shoe.  It is comfortable, but as you walk down the street you happen to notice every blemish and scuff and remind yourself that you really should buy a new pair of shoes.  I am just thankful for the most part that people seem to “get” why I am taking a break.

I talked with Rylacus the man who wears the crown these days and explained it as this.  If I was forced to play Warcraft, when there was another game I would rather be playing… it would ultimately lead to me quitting the game again.  I think instead of I just back away for awhile, and let myself get Heavensward out of my system…  or at least to a manageable level I will once again be able to juggle multiple games.  The only problem I see is that there are a lot more people than just me that are in desperate need of a break.  Yesterday it was revealed that once again World of Warcraft is timing their next infusion of crack with the launch of a major game.  It seems that the 6.2 patch is going to land right around the time Heavensward officially launches.  The current rumor is June 23rd, and for some that might be just enough to keep them from straying.  For me personally, my heart already belongs to Final Fantasy XIV… I just spend time in Warcraft so that I can hang out with the friends that are still there.

Cat Bel and Snowlion

Alone and Awake

ARCHEAGE 2015-06-08 09-43-12-18 This morning I am doing everything a bit discombobulated.  I ended up taking a massive name yesterday, and as a result took some melatonin to force myself to get to sleep at a decent hour.  The end result is me waking up at 4:30 instead of 5:30…  so I am just going to roll with it.  Today is the first morning I am getting ready by myself, and that is always a strange prospect.  We are now entering the season when my wife travels to go to conferences, and this time she will return in a little over a week on my birthday.  It is always strange to go through this each year, and as normal as it is I never seem to get used to it.  Technically yesterday was my first day without her, but since my allergies were trying to kill me, my focus was on simply surviving the day and less on living in it.  The allergies seem to be improved, but then again I am not actually out in the world yet.

Yesterday however I was struggling to breathe from the moment I woke up so that at least is not happening.  You’d think that staying home all day would have been an excellent opportunity for some gaming, but alas I actually tried to do some work.  Around noon I was feeling worse and opted to lay down for a nap… and wound up sleeping until 4 pm.  So I am guessing that maybe there was more at work than just the allergies.  I am not a big nap taker because generally it means I cannot sleep that night, and even when I do take a nap it is rarely longer than an hour.  So for me to sleep that long probably means I needed it.  The end result today however is that my time scale for everything is a little off.  As again I am mostly just going to roll with it and see if I can function normally today just offset by an hour.

Cat Bel and Snowlion

ARCHEAGE 2015-06-08 18-25-31-72 So as it turns out you apparently do only get two character slots in ArcheAge regardless of what the tooltip says.  Thanks to everyone for helping explain this one, because even Trion support seems not to know.  As of the conversation I had two nights ago they thought I should have at least gotten four.  So I purchased a third slot and moved on with the creation of my own Cat Belghast also known as Belglaive on the Tahyang server.  I have to admit, that at first I thought I was not going to like this whole cat man thing, but the longer I play the character the more I am actually enjoying.  I will admit part of the enjoyment is the snowlion mount I get to ride on.  If you thought carrying a foal around on your back was adorable… just wait until that is a lion cub.  One of the first quests is to go out into a field and cheer up a forlorn lion cub… and absolute adorableness ensues.   The animations are a little strange to get used to, like for example when I do a charge attack instead of sliding into the target with my shoulder I seem to leap into the target feet first, which is a little disjointed.

I also opted to go for a completely different path.  Always in the past I had chosen to go Battlerage and Defense, but instead I am mixing things up and going Battlerage, Shadowplay and Auramancy which is apparently the “Dark Runner” class.  I felt the more feral nature of the Firran character called for something more vicious and less tanky.   For the time being I am going down the path of Dual Wield which is giving everything a really awesome feel.  Right now I charge in, whirlwind, and then hit my normal attacks and things seem to just evaporate.  I just got a new attack from the Shadowplay tree but honestly I rarely have time to hit it, things are simply dying that fast.  Now I at least feel comfortable that I have something on both sides of the fence whichever direction we plan on going as a group.  I think the last thing said was that we would let Kodra decide which direction he wanted to play.  I feel comfortable on either side now, but I will say my leaning is still towards the side that will eventually get dwarves.

Ice-skating with Primals

ffxiv 2015-06-08 21-21-03-01 One of the things that has been noticed with our group is that we start out extremely solidly on a fight and then deteriorate over the night.  This means our first or second attempt will almost always be the best of the evening, and then maybe just maybe we pull things out by the skin of our teeth at the end of the evening.  As a result Tam wanted to try something slightly different last night and we went into turn nine for a half dozen or so attempts before moving on to something else for the evening.  Sure enough we had some of our best attempts early on and then got significantly worse from there.  When we hit that point where we were just making stupid mistakes we opted to shift focus and go make attempts on Shiva Extreme.  This is the last of the primals that we have not attempted and beaten on Extreme mode.  I have to say I was not really fully prepared for how annoying this fight ended up being.  I’ve said before that there are two types of fights in Final Fantasy XIV.  The first is one where you have to learn a dance and repeat that dance over and over until you win.  The second type is where you adjust to things that are happening and move around to account for this fact.

We are extremely good at the second type, and tend to defeat those encounters quickly.  However when a fight requires us to memorize a pattern and execute said pattern over and over…  we tend to struggle there a bit.  Last night however I feel proud of the progress we made.  We were consistently getting Shiva into the 30% range for most of the night, we just need to get better at two things really.  The first thing… we are really bad at moving behind her and stacking tight enough for the bow attack which does a 270 degree arc attack in front of her that will oneshot everyone including the tank.  When she hit me with it, the attack dealt 18,000 hit points… which even for my  silly warrior health pool was way too many.  The other thing is that we need to get better at dodging circles.  These come in the form of hailstorm that causes the group to spread out and not overlap, and later in the form of circles on the ground.  Between these effects and the bow… that pretty much accounted for all of our party deaths.  If we can figure out how to stay alive through all of that mess we will easily defeat her.