Friday, 14 March 2014

Dark Souls 2 mini-guide

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My grossly incandescent tips for you young souls:

  • Learn to die and laugh at yourself. Playing any Souls games with a bad temper will diminish your lifespan by 70%, and I'm not talking about your character.
  • Always remember that dying is part of the game, but it's never the game's fault -- you die because you made a mistake. Learn from it, and don't blame the stupid controller or any of the mechanics of the game.
  • Learn from the tutorial near the first bonfire. Do not skip it. 
  • Allocate 80% on offense, 20% on defence. Defence does not matter much when you die a lot anyway. Might as well bring the other down before it brings you down. It wouldn't matter a lot if you wear the starting armour set from beginning to end. Consider it more aesthetic than necessary. But consider a sturdy shield as part of the offence. This applies on all Souls games.
  • Evading is better than blocking, but not always. Learning how to manoeuvre your movements to your advantage is a plus. 
  • On the other hand, if you think your timing is impeccable, learn to parry.
  • Do not carry too much souls at one time. Losing more will only hurt more.
  • All is fair in love and war. You can be the resident asshole black/blue phantom or the invadee who fires a cheap, devastating spell while the other party waves hello. Who cares?
  • Visit the Emerald Herald often. She's Dark Souls 2's version of the Maiden in Black. You can increase your level through her or increase the number of Estus flasks that you can carry in exchange for Estus shards.
  • Exhaust all conversations with standby NPC's. You just never know what to expect in return. Read item descriptions. It is the key to understanding the game and its lore.
  • Take advantage of the hint system; the bloodstains and messages left by other players are fun to see and at moments helpful.
  • When feeling too much stressed going at one level on the lonesome, never forget that jolly cooperation eases things tenfold.
  • Take your time fighting a black phantom. Anyone willing to invade your game and wants to take your humanity and hardwork will abide to the invadee's world's rules.
  • As a black phantom -- when fighting multiple phantoms in one world -- try taking them on a tight spot. A wide open space will be your biggest problem after two or three of them decides to flank on you.
  • If you make a mistake, one of the old women you meet early on will reset your stats in exchange for a rare Soul Vessel.
  • Do not linger trying to raise souls in one place for too long. The difference in gameplay in this game compared to previous ones is that enemies disappear the more you kill them. I personally haven't grinded my characters in any of my playthroughs, it kind of cheapens the game in the long run. If they do disappear, you need a Bonfire Ascetic to revive the monsters at a harder difficulty. This includes treasures and bosses, too.
  • Upgrading your gears is usually better than levelling up, so find your own balance.
  • Join a covenant. Cool things happen. Speak to the cat in Majula if you want to abandon one.
  • Fight anything on single combat as much as possible. Taking on more than two at a time will not only cause you stress, it will kill you faster.
  • If you want to do an int build, attunement is a vital stat. It not only increases your spell slot, it also speeds casting.
  • Always attack treasure chests before opening it. Enough said.
  • Train yourself to fight enemies and eyeing your stamina bar at the same time. Do not let yourself be carried away. Patience pays well in this game.
  • If conflicted as to where to allocate your stat points, vigour is always the better idea.
  • Explore and experiment. There's always something new to discover.
  • Never forget to praise the sun.
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Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Have Love, Will Travel


Love.

Monotony

There are contrails in the orange sky as I look out the window. It makes me contemplate for a moment. It seems to me that my reduction into the lowest form of depression has manifested itself quite rapidly, perhaps at the loss of purpose and love, as a result of the mundane things -- which were not mundane at all -- that I took for granted. My aggression towards the end sealed my fate, and now I am left barenaked to witness the gradual loss of my persona. I shudder to think of what lies ahead. All I want, all I still want, all that I have ever wanted, is a new purpose.

I cannot blame everything on Mioseon. That was on me. It was my biggest mistake. The things that I did, I did because I grew desperate. It consumed the totality of my being. From the moment that we met, I was sure that my life had begun, that that was it. My life found meaning and purpose. The joy and the pain eventually came, but I grew complacent. We were meant to be together, I thought. None of us could have anticipated. One of us had to give in, and one of us gave up.

It's been too long. Too long a time for mourning. Nothing of value came my way soonafter. Everything was taken away.

I miss the conflicts. I miss everything about me when Mioseon showed me what it means to be alive, to affect another's life beyond my own, and to stimulate the other into grace. These things occurred without me not realising the effect of my actions. It was all spontaneous. A big bag of circumstances with a straight line and filled with heart. Love was at the center, through the good times and bad.

Now I wait. Constantly and eagerly for an answer. Where do I go from here? I would follow the tip of the contrails if I could. If only all of that led to Mioseon.

Saturday, 8 March 2014

In one ear and out the other

Baby steps. Tiny tiptoes coming from a grown boy. Pretentious cocksucker looking for a jive shave. Tomorrow is the first day out in a long while, as if the planet just lost its gift of sunshine. And don't mention anything about the sunshine, because there ain't got one when she's gone.

Despite the blunder I'm slowly surviving, finding and inching my way out from the misery. Whatever remained of the memories remain etched in history. Nothing too important, nothing too shabby. Just a pile of sadness waiting to erode, one-by-one because she's gone.

Westminster Pier. Make something happen. Birthdays come and pass. Little memories come and gone. New people, new sadness, new trauma.

I say, "Bring it on." 

No. The only cause of euphoria now is slow acceptance for this tragedy. I learnt to love and live the tears and pain. Her face inhibits my soul, and I know, it's really over. It's really fucking over. The hardest button I'd ever had to button. I'll live through this, I must. She did. I'll live through this and drown with a barbell in hand. I'll live through this and never let hope fade. Because that is love and love bless the people. I don't walk alone. Not with others, but two sides of the same coin isn't so bad after practice.

"You made my day," someone indirectly told me. And that was all I needed to hear.

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Quora: What culture shocks have you experienced while visiting or living in South Korea?

Just came back from my visit, and here are some bloopers and non-bloopers that I personally have experienced:


  • Jjimjilbang: Nothing prepared me for what I had experienced. I did not know anything about it, nor was I familiar what was in store until someone told me you can spend a night there for cheap. As a foreigner, it was really intimidating and awkward. Every single time I make a mistake (like forgetting to remove shoes) was like a open grenade that I had just swallowed.
  • What is it with Koreans (older women especially) and their tendency to shy away whenever a foreigner such as me passes by. I have experienced this every single day. Like, say, a flyer or a coupon handler in a street labours on with their work, and then all of a sudden act like I'm invisible whenever I pass by and decide outright that I have no need for their services. It goes on without saying that this also happens with other foreigners as well.
  • Staring. Head to toe creepy fucking eyes making me turn my sixth sense on. This happens mostly on the subway. One time me and a friend caught one taking photos of us with his mobile phone sneakily as if we were being followed or something.
  • Spending social time with Koreans can be funny. We meet somewhere, eat at a restaurant, finish our meals, go somewhere, eat again, maybe drink -- wait, of course we drink! -- finish, go somewhere again, eat again, drink again, finish, go somewhere again and again, eat maybe, but drink definitely. At the end of the night we probably visited four or five or six different places doing exactly the same things that we did at the previous one. The reason they gave was: different place, different vibe, hopefully better.
  • Food culture is absolutely top-notch. Food wastage not so much. Finding people sleeping everywhere at night wherever they could; McDonald's, Angel-in-us, Lotteria, random bench if it's not cold. Even inside a PC bang. I brought with me a folding bicycle, and cycling is the equivalent of suicide bungee jumping without a rope. It is common to see fat motorcycles crossing along with you on a pedestrian lane. Neon lights everywhere. I had met and acquaintanced some foreigners who had lived there for years on end without knowing a single word of Korean, what the?
  • Bigass mobile phones and the Korean love for television. They even have antennas in their mobiles. You probably have the same Samsung model, but it wouldn't be Korean without television.
  • Going to the beach and nobody swimming. Everyone is busy taking photos of the beach while I frown in dismay as I was born in a tropical country.
  • The subway can be as crowded as the third level of hell.
  • They have gorgeous men (surprisingly tall ones too) that look good and dress good, and I'm not even gay. Fashion is absolutely big. This was the only country I've been where I met an intimidatingly buff, non-gay dude who wanted to be a fashion designer, who can wear all white on a normal Tuesday without looking like an absolute douchebag.
  • So many women. So many cute women. So many cute women I want to cuddle with. So many cute women I want to cuddle with and bring home with me. So many.
  • Unfortunately it's hard to tell if they're plastic [surgery] or not. I lived right in the heart of the medical street where they do this.
  • But still cute as hell.

Saturday, 1 March 2014

Sometimes we forget that love is the most splendid thing

The clock rewinds, my pattern of sleep reverts. Ten to three I labour awake while everyone else fades. The other side of the planet serves their luncheons, enjoying a momentous date; smiles flicker with reflections coming from the fluorescent bulb; yellow and acidic, torturous and barbaric. A smile is worth a day's notice; a privilege that I can no longer afford. I wake up, blood pumping, to the beats of the pulse, "Where is she?" No longer to be seen, much harder to be felt. It felt as if all the remaining goodness in me had been torn asunder. Yes, the end is neigh, but the pain is eternal.

A broken-hearted man leaves no room to grow; the love we shared shall always remind.

Search and destroy