Monday, June 28, 2021

Pirate101 Marleybone Bounties — Developers Behind Bars

The quest to clear Friendly Thomas's quest log has concluded in Marleybone. *insert personal fan-fare music* Eventually I wrapped up every last Rolling Stone Zeke quest item and captured every last developer-gone-rogue to finish out my MB side quests. 

Nice lyrics, Zeke . . .

Developer gone rogue?  Oh yeah, lemme tell you . . . there's an interesting chain of side quests where you help Mann the Bounty Hunter with tracking down a bunch of criminals that need to be locked up -- criminals that have a very interesting bunch of names attached to them.

Safely behind bars . . . whew . . .

First you capture ol' Lymie Stone, then move on to Merciless Meagan Quinn. Third is Professor Chadwick and then finally Grumpy Jeff Haskell. Right around Meagan Quinn I started putting it together. 

  • Mann the Bounty Hunter =  Mike Mann (the old Pirate101 Art Lead)
  • Lymie Stone = Mike Stone (the old Pirate101 Associate Producer)
  • Merceliss Meagan Quinn = Meagan Quinn (an old Pirate101 Associate Game Designer)
  • Professor Chadwick = This has to be Chad Brown (an old Pirate101 Game Designer) . . . although I suppose it could also be Chad La Guardia.
  • Grumpy Jeff Haskell = Jeff Haskell (an old Pirate101 Senior Game Designer)

In fact, in the very back of my mind I think I remember . . . yeah . . . that group of designers sat one row away from the Marketing Department, and I even think I remember when Jeff Haskell got the news that he was in the game. There was a lot of laughter and smug grins. 😆

And who wouldn't be smug knowing they were the one stealing all the toys . . .

All these developers have long since left the KingsIsle fold. The only one I've really kept up with on his career path is Chad Brown, who, as fortune would have it, is working on DCUO right now, which is a game you know I absolutely adore. Chad is pretty amazing himself. He used to play a Ranger in a lunch time D&D game ran by Sam Johnson (Creative Design Lead for KingsIsle). He's a super nice person and a really great world builder. Playing D&D with the old devs were good times! 

Now that I've rounded all those scoundrels up, I've earned my "Civilian Baliff" badge, and I'm ready for my next job. As fate would have it, my next closest quest can be found in Mooshu!  So that's where you'll find me for a bit. I'm sure I'll be uncovering long lost secrets and memories as I go along.

I'm definitely still having fun revisiting Pirate101.

Happy Dueling!

Thursday, June 24, 2021

Pirate101 and my 2021 Quest to Clear the 2012 Quests

I've been logging on Pirate101 for an hour here, an hour there, and just trying my best to start clearing out this amazing backlog of side quests. It's honestly ridiculous how many I've just skipped and left to gather dust over time. 30+ pages of side quests . . . I'm not even kidding.

I decided to start my quest cleaning project in Marleybone. I did a few odd jobs here and there, then eventually landed on what felt like an extreme epic side quest.  After a bit of research, I realized I was actually on the companion promotion quest for Ratbeard. (Yeah, I never finished that.)

Look at this adorable little good boy!

It's an entertaining quest that involves the retelling of A Christmas Carol, but with a Pirate101 twist. For the player, this is an epic 32-step quest that has you hopping back and forth between Marleybone, Mooshu, and Skull Island . . . with no shortage of travel and stop offs in between, including a series of back to back epic ninja pig fights. 

No one expects Ninja Pigs . . . let alone expects them to be a part of the Christmas Carol Story

I remember players complaining about this particular quest's length on the Pirate101 messageboards back in the day, and I think the response was basically . . . so you complain when we give you more content to play?! I get it though, it's a bit of quest exhaustion when what you really want as the player is not the experience, but the reward . . . a powered-up Ratbeard companion.

It's actually a very charming quest where you try to spook ol' Ebeneezer with ghosts of the past, present, and future, but ultimately it's a letter from his father expressing regret and forgiveness that changes his heart. For Ratbeard, he too experiences forgiveness from the ghost of Lasko, part of his old crew that he just outright poisoned and killed back in Skull Island. It's a nice character redemption bit of story -- perfect for a companion quest.

Lasko for the win.

As for my secondary quests to 1- improve the gear on Friendly Thomas and Bad Pedro Pace and 2- level that literal army of companions, things are going pretty good! I've been enjoying logging on and claiming all the work orders for brawling experience.  I wish there was a claim all button for companion orders.  There isn't one, right? Please tell me I'm forgetting some magical way of claiming all these companion orders at once. Please?

Last time I posted about Pirate101, my old buddy Angela Shadowgarden reminded me that probably the easiest gear upgrade I could get right away was claiming the Hoodoo bundle items I had sitting in my gift box. It's not a bad set of items, and actually looks pretty cool on Thomas. I also switched things up with my wand and equipped the Haywire Technomancer Set (replacing Phule's wand).  I'm pretty sure I'll be missing that extra range soon.

Not a bad Witchdoctor setup

So all in all things are going pretty chill in Pirate101.  It's great to be back and just enjoying the ride.  Two boxing is a little frustrating, but I'm making it work. It's really strange how zone times between the two accounts differ so greatly. Ahh well.

Happy Dueling!

Monday, June 21, 2021

Pirate101 -- taking inventory and talking options

Ever since the new update to Pirate101, I've been really feeling the pull to play more, so to those ends I've been taking a bit of inventory on where I last left my heroes. 

- Friendly Thomas, my witchdoctor (also my main character), has a huge inventory of side quests sitting in his quest log, and I'd love to clear a few of those out . . . especially the ones that give companion training points! He has an absolutely enormous crew of companions . .  most not max level. Thomas himself is max level, but I'm not fully happy with his gear situation.

Friendly Thomas

- Wicked Faith, my musketeer, is still sitting in Cool Ranch . . . right where Vanessa Mythdust and myself left off after a bout of Pirate101 Twitch Streaming that happened, oh, four or five years ago?  I love her name and playing up a musketeer would be awesome.

Wicked Faith

- Reckless Leo Jenkins, my swashbuckler, is still being reckless and low level. Also, love his name . . . totally worthy of leveling at some point.

Reckless Leo Jenkins

- Sly Kai, my buccaneer, is still hanging out in Mooshu at level 50 with his pink sombrero. He's pretty amazing . . . I should try to push him out of Marleybone and into Aquila. 

Sly Kai

- And finally, Bad Pedro Pace, my Privateer on the second account. The best thing about this is that he could easily heal any of those alts as a second box account. So let's talk Bad Pedro Pace!

Ding 70! Bad Pedro Pace

Recently I was tweeting about how I finished up the final boss fight in Florenza with Bad Pedro. Afterwards, Bad Pedro found himself in pretty much the exact same situation that Friendly Thomas found himself back in 2018 -- about 3 quests away from hitting max level. That kind of settled it for me . . . out of all the things I could do, the thing I most want to do is get Pedro to max level. 

Can I just take a moment to say how great turn-based games like Pirate101 are for blogging? Playing and writing at the same time is totally the way to go. I've finished up all his quests and dinged all while typing this blogpost! Try to do that while playing DCUO!

So now that I'm level 70, I can do the new Sinbad quests, and with any luck I can get the gear sorted out between Bad Pedro Pace and Friendly Thomas at the same time.

Anyway, just have to say how weirdly familiar it all feels to sit at my desk and play Pirate101. This game was absolutely my life for a period of time, you know? It seriously makes me itch to do some livestreaming again. 

Happy Dueling!

Sunday, June 20, 2021

Leslie the Druid in The Tomb of the Serpent

I joined in a side game of Dungeons and Dragons on Saturday and started playing up a new level 1 character for the adventure. This time I was playing as Leslie the Druid. For some reason the first thing that popped into my head for a character voice was somewhere between a very helpful receptionist and an extremely toned-down version of Kiirsten Wig's Penelope character.  

Leslie the druid is amazing. The DM (again, Mr. Jeff Toney) kept forgetting my character's name, so it allowed me the opportunity to continually repeat, "Oh, you know, my name's Leslie . . . Leslie the druid . . .you can call me Les or Leslie, either is fine, so..."

The soul of Leslie the Druid

As per normal, you can earn 50 extra experience points for writing a story summation of what happened during the session from the point of view of your character, thus . . .

~~From the Personal Journal of Leslie the Druid~~

Our journey began and everyone introduced themselves to the group. I believe we had an assassin, a fighter, a halfling, a ranger, and myself? To be honest, I was a bit distracted with last minute preparations for the road to sufficiently give my full attention. I probably spent too much money on a tent, and I definitely spent too much on the local hirelings. We're bringing along a torchbearer and two more fighters who are willing to trade their lives for gold.

We started our journey and if I could roll my eyes more at the fighter hobbling along in plate mail, I would. Knowing we were headed to a snake temple, I was hoping that I could charm a giant snake into being a friend, but instead I asked the ranger to track us down a mule. No way was I going to let this journey take us 8 days to get to our destination because of old iron legs over there. 

The ranger did his job very well and quickly found a mule; although, I think if he had his way he would have eaten the poor beast. I used my patented animal calming technique and began casting Animal Friendship, asking Silvanus to allow us to take this creature along with us. Silvanus blessed my request and soon the Fighter had his worthy mount, which the group quickly named Burrito. It must be some strange local word that I don't quite grasp yet. 

An accurate drawing of Burrito thanks to the magic of clip art.

We had to hurry a bit after finding Burrito when a local farmer started chasing after us yelling something or another about the mule. How silly. One can't just own Burrito. Burrito is following his heart, and he is obviously in love with me and can't take his eyes off me, so... 

At the end of a long day of journey, which involved some unfortunate rain, we set up camp and found a fresh water source. Night fell and I went promptly to sleep. Early in the morning, we were woken up by a roving band of Barbarians. I was incredibly excited! I tried to convince them to take me along to party with them, but they didn't seem interested in me as much as they were the halfling. The halfling gave us all the slip and well that was it for talks about partying with Barbarians. The ranger traded some caltrops with them in exchange for information about the Tomb of the Serpent and a few mud packs for removing snake poison.  I took down the ingredients, but they didn't give me the recipe. Barbarians are great for partying, but horrible at giving useful information.

On the second day we trekked off the beaten path and made it into the northern hills. Everything seemed uneventful until, again, in the early morning, orcs happened. There was a war pack of them, fortunately most moved on, but three of the more foul orcs rushed our camp. I lit one up with a green Faerie  Fire glow and gave another a glancing spear blow, and the party responded with surprisingly quick action. So much so, I think we may be more suited to cleansing the world of orcs than delving deep into snake tombs.

No one hides in the dark with Faerie Fire upon them.

On the third day we made it through the mountains and arrived at the tomb of the serpent, only pausing slightly to sit out what appeared to be an illusionary storm. A company from our guild, The Butchers of Helix, had already ventured into the lower level of the Tomb of the Serpent, so we were fully briefed on the dangers inside . . . to a point.  Inside, we stashed Burrito in an empty room and eventually made it to the lower levels and an octagonal room with six doors. The previous company found a magic ring in this room and fought off a cadre of magical animated zombie hands, but this was also the point they called off their journey and headed back to town.

Our company's map to the Tomb of the Serpent

It was time for me to call upon Silvanus again and cast Detect Danger, which allowed me to use half an hour to fully detail the aspects of three of the six doorways. The first door looked primitive, but Silvanus scented the area with cinnamon to indicate its safety. The second door looked ornate and pictured snakes descending on humans, and this door also was scented with cinnamon. The third door was common looking, and also was scented with cinnamon.  Then a miracle happened! Silvanus was pleased with our adventure, and I felt refreshed to the point that I could once again cast Detect Danger and finish inspecting the other three doors! As fate would have it, the fourth door smelled of skunk and a sign of potential danger was given to me by Silvanus. The other two doors, however, all smelled of cinnamon.

While I was busy with my spells, my companions were all either standing guard or inspecting the other doors. One of our companions even began opening the doors that smelled of cinnamon. One opened to an unfinished hallway. One opened to a simple room. One opened to a hallway that led to a room. All entries seemed safe as foretold by Silvanus.

Possibly the most interesting door is one that looked common, smelled of cinnamon, yet behind it was a slow heavy thud sound that repeated every 10 minutes or so. My companions heard it as well. What dread lurks in this place . . . I fear we will soon find out.

Thursday, June 17, 2021

Oohhyeah Punchman and the Butchers of Helix in The Caverns of Archia

Every Wednesday night, Jeff Toney runs a private game of Dungeons and Dragons with yours truly in the mix. It's an Old School Essentials version of D&D, so things are a bit different with this game. In essence, old school essentials answers the question, what would D&D be like if you re-wrote the first edition of D&D for a modern audience?

For example, my character's statistics are AWFUL. Literal trash, BUT . . . in the OSE version of D&D, that isn't as punishing as it would be in modern D&D.  Despite my bad rolls for statistics, I still qualified to create an illusionist. While I was originally creating the character, I cautioned Jeff that I would most likely always being coming in at least 30 minutes late to the game, and he was fine with that.  In fact, we made the joke that I'd always be crashing in late like the Kool Aid man.  Thus, Ohhyeah Punchman the illusionist was born!

My photoshop skills were on point to express this lovely character's attire

Experience gain has been slow going, but consistent.  As long as you show up, you'll receive a bit of exp, and if there's one thing Ohhyeah has going for him, it seems to be consistency. After all these months, Ohhyeah is finally at 2,450 of the 2,500 experience he needs to move on to level 2.

Come to find out, Jeff will also allow you to earn an extra 50 experience if you write up a small "session notes" blurb from your character's perspective, and as I simply need an extra 50 experience to level . . . guess what paragraphs come next?

~~From the personal journal of Ohhyeah Punchman~~

Again we find ourselves plunged in darkness as we search the ruins of Archaia. I'm becoming used to the smell of burning tar from the torch. These days I find myself holding this light more often for the group. I'm not fond of this responsibility as it typically means I'm the first one that the creatures of the crypt focus in on, but I figure at least it helps me control when the group flees and when the group stays.

Archia itself is a large canyon dotted with crypt entrances from a more ancient time. Some of these areas are silent, but as we're discovering, most are crawling with new inhabitants.

The canyon sides of Archia

Earlier we spent a strange, yet adventurous morning in one of these Caves of Archia. We fought off blood-sucking stirges, rummaged through a mushroom patch (where incidentally I found a beautiful spell book off of a poor unfortunate mage's decaying body) and ran away from an angry troll who we taunted into charging at us. Obviously I was the first to run . . . that thing was twice our size and none to happy with the stirge wrapped magic mushroom we threw to him! Luckily we outran the ugly beast, and he lost interest as we ducked into the sunlight. 

This brings us to this evening's adventures. We decided to explore another crypt entrance that was a bit less natural looking. Indeed the entrance led down deep below the mountain, two flights of stairs, into a questionable crypt that is destined to collapse in on itself over time. The mountain keeps rumbling and it is surely a bad omen.

The northern half of the crypt was mostly barren, but as to be expected, someone or "some things" had been here before us. Come to find out, a small band of Kobolds had been roaming the halls and tried to set a crossbow trap in one of the rooms. It didn't work. Eventually we found them lost in the southern most part of the dungeon and our fighter slayed one without hesitation, which led to their surrender, and eventually their help! As it turns out, kobolds will do just about anything for food, including lifting a heavy portcullis and fetching rocks to hold it open.

Subject: Kobold. Name: Tartuccio

I must make a side note here about the kobolds.  Their presence makes me nervous.  Most of them fled, but one has joined our adventures. Our fighter named him "Tartuccio," supposedly after a bard song about a kobold (incidentally, what a horrible kobold name! Leave it to a bard to come up with something completely unrealistic. He looks more like a "Gurk" or "Zok" to me. I think I'll call him "shoe'y" for short). Shoe'y spoke of a winged beast that was mighty and could make the kobolds powerful. I think I heard tale once that where you find kobolds, you will also find dragons.

The western part of the dungeon was full of old death. Beyond the portcullis was a pile of old bones that, despite our attempts at separating the skulls, immediately animated when our barbarian grabbed an ancient, silver goblet from a skeletal grasp. The group again made the smart choice and knocked out the portcullis supports while the skeletons were reanimating and trapped them back in their tomb. (This also was the point where most of the kobolds fled in panic.)

Also in the west we found a room full of motionless zombies of all humanoid races. Sure enough they also animated the moment I threw a torch at one of them and hastily shut the door on them. One thing about the undead: they're none-to-bright and don't know how to use door handles. Fortuned favored us again as a room next door to the zombies had a large desk that our unusually strong thief was able to pull in front of their door to block them. Also fortunate, I managed to dig up an ancient tube of Papyrus from a hidden drawer! It's not of magical nature, but I bet you either Murrion the Magician or Retep back in town will pay us at least 250 gold for this artifact.

A map to the "zombie" crypt of Archia

As I write this note, the last of our evening's torchlight is about to fade. I discovered a secret room here on the Eastern side of the crypt and it will provide perfect shelter. I doubt kobolds or undead will be able to figure out the hidden lever system that was used to disguise the door.  We're safe here, and I'm on first watch as our warriors take a long night's rest to heal from their battle wounds. 

In the morning I'll be using Read Magic to take a closer look at this spell book we found in the Troll Cave. Perhaps something in its pages will spark inspiration in me to write a spell of my own!  I've been having visions of a human that looks something like a pitcher of red liquid with arms and legs, splashing through enemies and making them glow!  Of course, to craft such a spell would take intense research and approximately 100 platinum to devise. Maybe someday my fame and fortune will grow, but for now . . . I'll hold the torch and let my vestments do the smiling.

Monday, June 14, 2021

CR 338 -- A "try hard" noteworthy weekend in DCUO!

I played more than my fair share of DCUO this weekend and ended up with a new pair of shoulders and gloves that pushed me up another point of gear rating.  Lord Spode and Teal Lantern are both sitting at CR 340, so I've got a bit more to do to match their CR, but that's not even the noteworthy thing for me about this weekend in DCUO.

Chillin on Aquaman's boat with my new sunglasses . . .

I suppose the most noteworthy thing in DCUO right now is that the "Tides of War" Summer Event is happening.  Every day you log on and complete Aquaman's quest out in the ocean area of DCUO and an event instance where you stop Ocean Master from . . . idk, what am I stopping him from?  Holding an outpost? Doing bad ocean war stuff? Um, I'm stopping him from being, uh, his nefarious self!

In exchange for all that I get sand dollars, which can be exchanged for summer attire. I have no interest in wearing summer attire (aside from the legit sunglasses), but I do like the feat points I get for purchasing said summer attire . . . but even THAT is not the most noteworthy thing for me about this weekend in DCUO.

When you're 100+ CR over the raid event . . . of course it's ultra-easy . . .

I spent a huge amount of time grinding old content this weekend, trying to earn feat points. I focused in on the old tier 7 and 8 raids that I missed. I snagged a couple feats in the Earth 3: The Panopticon Raid, another in the Doomsday raid, another couple in Wonderverse off of things I had left half finished, and more!  So much more that it ended up being about 10 skill  points over the weekend, which ain't too shabby considering most of these feats are 1/10th to 1/25th of a skill point, but even THAT is not the most noteworthy thing for me about this weekend in DCUO!

I fell asleep while our raid group tried to get Solomon Grundy to spawn 20+ foot soldiers

Also, I finally progressed my first artifact to 160! I cashed in a huge amount of source marks in exchange for most of the catalysts I needed to progress my artifact, and then, yes, I dipped into real life money to purchase a seal of completion because when an artifact evolution only has a 10% chance to succeed, you need to guarantee that it's going to work, but even THAT is . . . 

level 160 source shard . . . a thing of beauty . . .

ok, I'll stop . . . The most noteworthy thing was that, after all that work, it didn't really mean anything special. It was a lot of "try harding" for micro boosts in DPS. I mean, yes, my Godwave Strength skill refreshes quite a bit now, and it even makes a special FX and sound when it refreshes and, yes, it makes my button taps a bit more exciting. But let's be honest . . . I don't think it was an "I win" button like I was thinking in my earlier post. C'est le vie. It's still pretty cool though. :)

I guess really the most noteworthy thing was that I got to play with my buddies on Sunday night!  That's always the best reward.

Happy dueling!

Saturday, June 12, 2021

Taking a Wakfu off the Beaten Path

 Yesterday I read a pretty fun post from MassivelyOP that was a quick guide to the perfect MMO for you, and I stumbled upon a revelation . . .

- Dungeons and Dragons Online — CHECK!  In fact, I kept an entire separate blog about DDO and played it for what felt like years. Love the game. Love the offbeat community.  It's just all around great.  I even wrote a magazine article about it back in the day when print media was still a thing.

- Project Gorgon — CHECK! In fact, if there was new content for me to play, I'd still be playing it. I'm on the Discord server.  I've written a score or so blog posts about the game.  I even made a remix of the Serbule theme song.

- Wizard101 — LAFF!  Do I even need to justify it? I mean, this blog started as a Wizard101 specific blog and led to me getting a job at KingsIsle, so . . . 

- A Tale in the Desert — Tried it.  Hated it.  Didn't even understand what was going on. Sorry.

Which leads us to Wakfu.  Yeah, you know, that's one that I always thought looked interesting, but honestly, I was already wrapped up in another turn-based MMO (wink, you know which one), and never gave it a go.  Props to MassivelyOP for this suggestion. I guess I'm Mr. Off The Beaten Path because I downloaded it and actually tried it this morning based off of their suggestion.

My thoughts exactly, who knows, maybe you'll be useful...

I gotta say that onboarding was rough for me and that was the biggest hurdle.  

1- For some reason establishing my account was difficult and took a while just to get going.
2- The character creator left so much to be desired.  After you've chosen your furry of choice, all you really get to then choose is your sex and your hair style and color.
3- The long sessions of dialog on the starter world went on for entirely too long.

Given all that, I stuck with it and before I knew it, I was in a group killing strange fuzzy beasts.

Kill all the white cloud things with pink horns . . . GO!

Then some guy tried to duel me over and over, so I logged out and logged back on a few minutes later after grabbing a drink.

The class I chose is called the "Osamodas' Whip" I chose it because, surprise surprise, it's the pet class of the game.  So, eventually I figured out how to tame one of those goofy looking white cloud things with pink horns and made it my pet.  Not bad!

The tutorial area culminates in a grand battle against a pink and purple edgelord with a sword for a hand.  I like his style actually . . .

Oh but death does exist! . . . and I'm serving it up to you today!

I enjoyed the first area, but the game really opened up and felt good in that first post-tutorial area named Astrub. It was full of people with their packs on the ground selling stuff and finally felt like an MMO.

People and their packs on the ground in a Town Hub! That's such an eastern MMO thing to do!

Once I figured out how to click on the compass on the quest log and how that actually worked, I was off to the races. Before I knew it I had killed a couple hours and was level 11 with a full set of gear and a couple of different beasts I could summon to help me in battle. 

I totally get the attraction of this MMO and could see myself spending even more time here just because it's all strange but familiar.

blue skin with a giant pink helmet . . . LET'S GO!

I'm not sure how much more of the game I'll play.  There's a lot of clunky things that make this old game a little difficult to play, but there is a lot of charm and character here regardless. The music has an earworm quality to it that will get stuck in your head and it's a fun art style.  In fact, that's kind of a big thing about this game.  There was a 3 season long anime that coincided with the game, and you can even find all three seasons currently on Netflix. I may just watch a few episodes now for kicks.

So all in all, this was a great suggestion from MassivelyOP, who apparently knows me better than I know myself. It was definitely worth the free download just to say I had walked thoroughly off the beaten path.

Happy Dueling

Wednesday, June 9, 2021

Sinbad and the return of Pirate101!

Pirate101 . . . it's the game that got me into the gaming industry back in 2012 with a simple phone call from Fred Howard to tell me . . . you've interviewed for enough positions at KingsIsle, and we have the perfect role for you: Community Manager for Pirate101. BAM! So much changed for me in that moment!

We did great things for that game and launching Pirate101 was an amazing amount of work that I'm incredibly proud of. Ultimately, it didn't get quite as much fanfare as Wizard101, but the game is solid. While I'm not a part of KingsIsle anymore, I STILL love Pirate101, and how do I know I still love it?  Because today I logged in and played the first new quest update they've had in (insert titanic-64-years-meme-picture here). If there was ever a time to return to revisit your pirates, now is the time!

~~Spoilers below!!~~

When I logged in, Gandry himself directed me to Avery's Court to see a crew of stranded pirates.

Albano straight up calling me the "Second Best" Pirate in the Spiral

Albano, Ratty Piper, and Toombs were there to represent the WWE . . . I mean Sinbad the pirate. As the story goes, Sinbad and his crew were ambushed by the Crushers and they stole the Belt of Champions for the title of Best Pirate in the Spiral. 

While on the hunt for the Crusher's hideout you stumble into Poffo, a mean shark wrestler who wanted to throw down against my Fin Dorsal companion.

Shark Week has never been this good

After another battle with some vulture pirates you eventually stumble into a cat named Fliehr (an homage to Ric Flair most certainly . . . you see the theme by now lol) who also wants to throw down with you. Lucky Jack Russel was all about that dog vs. cat life and made quick work of him.

Time to get nicked, Ric

Finally you arrive at the best pun of the entire new quest line . . . the Crush-tacian himself who's all about the Crushamania!

Hulk Hogan never posed so perfectly

The Crush-tacian was perfectly fine with handing over the belt, but that wasn't the real worry. The real worry was a call from Sinbad up ahead to victory! Apparently you and Albano were just serving as a distraction while Sinbad made away with the Belt. At which point he abandons his crew and the Crush-tacian's gang and all of a sudden you have to survive a 3 faction rumble where you're enemy number one!

Hoooo boy . . . that's a lot of enemies . . .

That fight made me wish I had run it with 3 other pirates on my team instead of solo!  I didn't mind shelling out Crowns to hire some henchmen to finish it off . . . and yes, I needed those henchmen to finish it off.  I was totally unprepared for that.

Plucky Portia Marozzo the Swashbuckler Henchman to the rescue!

Rowdy Ratty Piper was surprisingly tough, but at the end, I was standing as the victor of the brawl and poor Albano was feeling a bit abandoned by Sinbad. Albano let on that the belt is great for stroking egos, but the belt has a different purpose all together, and that's to find, as he calls it, "a fabulous treasure, greatest in the Spiral." Even better, Albano will help you get it . . . "it" being . . . The Eye of the Liger!

Consider my interest piqued!

Playing through this quest this morning pretty much solidified in my mind how much I love and have missed playing Pirate101. It's such a great game. While I was online, RZ, a streamer and mega fan of Pirate101, invited me to drop by his stream and say hello.  I may just have to do that.

Happy Dueling!

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

MHA Strongest Hero Character Spotlight: Izuku Midoriya

It's the star of the show and everybody's favorite goodest of good boys, Izuku Midoriya aka Deku!

Main protagonist and huggable green-haired wonder of My Hero Academia

If you're not familiar with Midoriya, then you haven't watched the anime, but not to worry, the game actually has a story mode where you get to play through the highlights featuring the story of Izuku Midoriya! You'll be finding all about his origin story and how this quirkless kid born near the Shizuoka Prefecture grew into his power. He's a diligent student that studies ALL the heroes, but for Izuku one hero's commanding smile changed him for ever: All Might, the Symbol of Peace. Now he walks in his footsteps and . . . well . . . you'll just have to watch the anime to fully understand.

Here, chibi Midoriya! Have some nom noms and grow big and strong. 

Midoriya is your starting character for the game and is a great middle of the road character because of this. You'll find uses for him in just about every situation. He has a little bit of ranged attacks, but mostly, Midoriya is in melee mixing it up.

He comes in as a solid A rank character and is perfect for playing in PvE or PvP.  He's the bread and butter of the game, so he's a great well-rounded part of any team.  His move sets are as follows:

  • Basic Attack: Heroic Combo—Uses his fists to volley a series of punches, then goes air-born to execute a 3-hit combo.
  • Q attack: Shoot Style—Midoriya teleports to the enemy and performs a powerful kick that launches his opponent into the air.
  • W attack: Smash—A chargeable ranged attack skill where Midoriya concentrates all his power into his fingers and flicks a power blast at his opponent.
  • E attack: Swift Kicks—Midoriya dashes forward and performs a flying kick.
  • Ultimate Move: Delaware Detroit Smash—Midoriya summons all his power to deal a huge devastating punch.
  • Charge: Inherited Might—Enters a  state of "full cowling" where his attack is greatly increased.
  • Dodge Attack: Speedy Counter—After dodging, he executes a 7 hit combo that strikes in a sudden blur of attacks.
Midoriya really shines with his 2 rapid Shoot Style kicks

You'll be learning all about combos while playing with Midoriya during the first part of the game, but remembering what those are can be a bit taxing on the brain. For Deku, try these combos out:

  • Basic Combo: Use Basic Attack 5 times in a row
  • Quirk Combo: Use Inherited Might Charge skill and again, follow it with Basic Attack 5 times in a row.
  • General Combo: Start with two rapid Shoot Style Q attacks, follow with Basic Attack 3 times in a row, and finish with the Swift Kicks E attack. 
  • Advanced Combo: Charge your W Smash attack, follow with two rapid Shoot Style Q attacks, and finish with Basic Attack 3 times in a row.
  • Super Combo: Start with two rapid Shoot Style Q attacks, charge the W smash skill for a second, then follow with another two rapid Shoot Style Q attacks.

Using Smash to reset the Shoot Style cool down is a great tip!

The game gives you the iconic character to play at the start of the game, you'll be using him a lot, and he'll continue to impress as you rank him up to S and beyond. If you have any tips for using him in combat, please share in the comments below. Gameplay footage:


Happy Dueling!

Monday, June 7, 2021

How to Beat Stage 5-6 in My Hero Academia: Strongest Hero

I just finished beating Stage 5-6 on My Hero Academia: Strongest Hero, and I'm so frustrated about it.  I should feel relieved since I got stuck on the stage for a few days, and now I'm through it -- but no, I'm legitimately frustrated. 

For the past few days, all I've been doing is logging on to do my daily quests and daily reward track because I was stuck. I finally got so frustrated that I looked up a video on how to beat 5-6 and saw my answer exactly 5 seconds into the video.

Stage 5-6 -- it's the first big hurdle of the game . . .

The main problem here is that the game seems to force a certain hero choice for the battle no matter how you arrange your deployed heroes.  I tried shuffling them around, but it would still select the same hero. I tried beating the game with manual, auto, and even auto with timed dodges . . . nothing seemed to work. All Might would just wreck my character.

What really won the day was finding out I can pause between deploying units, select the character I wanted to use for the All Might Battle (which was Eijiro Korishima), and then click on the pulsing red boss crosshairs manually to send in the desired character to battle. (Red Riot kind of destroyed All Might in this level -- I just used auto-battle and tapped the dodge button a few times during the fight to ensure the win) Since this spot is the first time you need to choose a specific character and not just mindlessly click the pathfinding button, it's confusing. 

Click the hero, then click the crosshairs -- Don't click the hero and click pathfinding

Another part of the problem is that the character it typically auto-chooses for the final fight in stage 5-6 is almost right on top of the pulsing boss crosshairs on the map, so you could accidentally click on the wrong character while trying to click on the boss and cancel your character selection. 

On that same video where I found my answer, in the comments there were a good half a dozen confused people just like me wondering why they couldn't select the hero they wanted to use for the boss fight. I love when that happens because it's justification that it's not just me . . . the UI for this action is unintuitive. It's unfortunate because I almost churned out of the game at this point, and I'm sure if they looked at the data for the game, they'd find out that it's a dropping point for players.

Hopefully they've already seen the problem and have a fix in place so those that stumble upon this fight in the future don't get stuck here.

Happy Dueling!

Saturday, June 5, 2021

MHA Strongest Hero Spotlight: Eijiro Kirishima

He's an unmovable powerhouse that packs a huge punch, it's Eijiro Kirishima the Sturdy Hero aka Red Riot! 

He's the essence of "manly"!

Eijiro is another U.A. High School classmate from Class 1-A who has a style and charm all his own. He lives by a chivalrous code of honor with an idolization for a old school hero named Crimson Riot.  It's a moral-centered combination that continues to help him survive the bumps on his road to becoming a Pro Hero. Although he seems to lack a sense of pride about his quirk, he uses his powers of hardening his body so that he has both enhanced durability and enhanced strength. The more he uses his hardening powers in a fight, the more his appearance changes so that his hair and teeth become more jagged and monstrous looking. 

Landing a huge set of blows against a training bot.

Eijiro Kirishima comes in as a solid B-rank character that feels more like an S-rank character when you play him, but as per normal in MHA: Strongest hero, you can always raise their rank through character shards.

In combat, his abilities are more about timing your defensive moves while delivering a quick succession of attacks to keep your opponent locked up as long as possible. In PvP you may find yourself sweating a bit, but in PvE he does almost everything right when on Auto-attack. His move sets are as follows:

  • Basic Attack: Hand Dagger—Hardens his hands to make a series of attacks.
  • Q attack: Red Counter—A defense status that absorbs damage before striking back.
  • W attack: Red Gauntlet—A charge-up skill where you delay a bit for a huge jump attack.
  • E attack: Red Charge—Kirishima charges in and deals extra damage to his opponent.
  • Ultimate Move: Red Shatter—Pays homage to his idol Crimson Riot while punching several times in a row building momentum until a huge final hit that can shatter the earth around him.
  • Charge: Impenetrable Hardening—Enters a state where he's immune to damage.
  • Dodge Attack: Manly Punch—After dodging, strikes back with a big hit.
Red Charge is the centerpiece of so many of his combos

While it may be easier to put the game on Auto-combat and let your device to the heavy lifting for you, knowing a character's combos can really come in handy for maximizing damage. For Kirishima, try these combos out:

  • Basic Combo: Use Basic Attack 5 times in a row
  • Quirk Combo: Invoke Charge (Impenetrable Hardening) then press and hold E attack (Red Charge)
  • General Combo: Use Basic Attack 5 times in a row followed by five Red Charge E attacks in a row.
  • Advanced Combo: Use Basic Attack 5 times in a row, followed by W attack (Red Gauntlet), then E attack (Red Charge) 
  • Super Combo: Start with Red Counter Q attack, follow it with five Basic Attacks, then W attack (Red Gauntlet), and finish with E attack (Red Charge)

Train him up and make his chibi smile!

If you need a sturdy tank that deals seismic punches with a touch of invulnerability, Kirishima is a fun hero in your line up.  Give him a try and please share any tips you may have for using him. Gameplay footage below.

Happy Dueling!

Wednesday, June 2, 2021

MHA Strongest Hero Spotlight: Denki Kaminari

It's Danki Kaminari aka the Stun Gun Hero: Chargebolt! 

Ranked up and ready to go!

In the My Hero Academia world, he's a part of Class 1-A at good old U.A. High School with his sights set on becoming a Pro Hero. He's an instantly lovable character that's friendly and casual.  The nature of his ability tends make him a hero that typically holds back until he's sure his friends are safely out of the way so he can unleash a huge surge of electricity that leaves him in a paralyzed state (which the anime plays up by making him look like a cute yet blubbering idiot).

Indiscriminate Shock! 1.3 Million Volts!

In MHA: Strongest Hero, Denki Kaminari comes in as a pretty standard B-rank character when you pull him, but you'll eventually be able to increase his rank through character shards.

In combat, his abilities are more about ranged attacks, which makes him an interesting addition to your lineup, especially for PvE (not so much for PvP). His move sets are as follows:

  • Basic Attack: Electric Surge—Fires 4 shots of electric bolts
  • Q attack: Lightning Bolt—Calls down a bolt of electricity at a targeted enemy
  • W attack: Shock Rays—Release electricity from his body to attack nearby enemies
  • E attack: Lightning Chain—Surges a bolt of lightning that chains enemies together
  • Ultimate Move: Indiscriminate Shock—Unleashes a full 1.3 million volts of electricity around him
  • Max Charge: Electric fists—lurch forward with a charged fist attack
  • Dodge Attack: Shocking Counter—After dodging, releases voltage to enemies around him
Leave them and me both drooling!

While it may be easier to put the game on Auto-combat and let your device to the heavy lifting for you, knowing a character's combos can really come in handy for maximizing damage. For Kaminari, try these combos out:

  • Basic Combo: Use Basic Attack 4 times in a row
  • Quirk Combo: Start with E Attack (lightning chain) and then follow it with 4 basic attacks
  • General Combo: Use Basic Attack 4 times in a row and follow it with E Attack (lightning chain)
  • Advanced Combo: Start with E attack (lightning chain) follow it with 4 basic attacks and finish with Q attack (Lightning Bolt)
  • Super Combo: Start with E attack (lightning chain), follow it with W attack (Shock Rays), follow it with 4 basic attacks, and finish with Q attack (lightning bolt)

Try to master the Super Combo in the Training Ring

He's a fun hero to add into your line up.  Give him a try and please share any tips you may have for using him. Gameplay footage below.

Happy Dueling!