Wednesday, 16 June 2021

Mortal Kombat (2021)

"Get over here!"

Because the gods are bored and need entertainment, a tournament was designed to send the best fighters of each realm to face each other in martial arts combat. If that seems like flaky ground to base a story off, don't worry - everyone ignores the rules for said tournament anyway - just enjoy people beating each other up!

Martial arts with super powers of course!

Based on the video game franchise, the story is undoubtedly the weakest component in this - thankfully the acting, action, effects and comedy save it somewhat but not quite enough for things to make sense. One of the lesser qualms is something Juris quite elegantly said: "In a franchise with so many characters, they decided to make an new one as their main hero."

All up its an ok "turn your brain off" movie for action buffs, but don't expect much else. I give it two fatalities out of five and would probably not watch it again.

Tuesday, 15 June 2021

BDO: Across the Sands

[Part of my Adventures in Black Desert Online]

Following my only lead I continue East and find Prince Bareeds III and his retinue, who were also headed to Valencia, holed up at the way station of Rock Fort. Apparently the road ahead is blocked by scary centaurans (yep, centaurs) so I do some scouting and confirm the centaurs are indeed scary (since I'm undergeared for this zone)!  There aren't too many of them on the road though, so I manage to rush past into a canyon mouth which the Katar soldiers of Valencia keep secure.

A little bit beyond them is the Sand Grain Bazaar - a large trading post and settlement which sits right on the border of the great desert. It is here that I learn how to dig up muddy water, filter it, and turn it into tea - essential skills since in the desert you can get heat stroke during the day (need filtered water to cool down) and hypothermia during the night (need star anise tea to warm up). Fortunately, these two effects seem to be turned off for the time being due to the Oasis event.

The desert isn't as black as I thought it would be.

I also earn a camel (slower but more suited to desert travel) by assisting the outpost against desert nagas who are spilling out of their temple. Some of them hit hard but they don't have a great deal of HP so they are quite manageable. At last I'm ready to venture out into the sands and immediately find that the desert turns off the mini map and any quest pathing. Any navigation will have to be done the old fashioned way!

Insight: Having no mini map might be scary but only because players would be used to it by now. While the desert is kinda big, it is not overly huge. Also, you can always tell what direction you are headed in so just use real life skills to keep track of land marks (which don't move) and get a general idea of where to go. High dunes also are good to climb to spot which way to go next.

Monday, 14 June 2021

BDO: The Black Spirit

[Part of my Adventures in Black Desert Online]

While reporting to Neruda Shen about the imminent barbarian betrayal I notice that Prince Bareeds III advisor is acting super shifty, and pretty much goes on the run when Neruda decides to question him. I chase him and his slow donkey up the coast and when I finally run him down he admits to everything: organizing the assassination of the Sausan leader, manipulating the barbarians, and being the high priest of Illezra whom he calls "the goddess of darkness".

That's certainly the largest form it's taken to date.

From a magic gem he then unleashes the black spirit (which he managed to capture somehow) in its most powerful form yet - strong enough to manifest physically I finally get to battle it properly, and it is surprisingly easy to defeat. While doing this Captain Sarma apprehends the advisor and I use the gem to re-trap the black spirit, now reduced to its original cute chibi state.

With this victory Neruda somehow convinces the barbarians to remain loyal to him, and appeases the Sausan's by giving them the killer of their leader, but not before I question him as to Illzera's whereabouts. He claims she has gone further East to the great desert of Valencia, which is also known as "The Black Desert".

Insight: Inventory weight is a thing, which is why butlers and maids who can transport one stack of items every 20 minutes to your storage is super helpful. More so as you get a handful of them for free!

Saturday, 12 June 2021

BDO: Sword on a Stick

[Part of my Adventures in Black Desert Online]

Since I've plateaued a bit with my sword skills, I decide to learn a new weapon: the glaive Crescent Blade (aka Sword on a Stick) and it is pretty awesome since it has a lot of strong knockdowns and area effect abilities. Then, while fooling around and still getting used to the weapon I suddenly run into... Illezra!?

She was in Velia the whole time.

Anyway, apparently she was impressed by the few seconds I fought the Kzarka and wanted to see how good I actually am which leads into a surprise boss fight out in the Velia village fields! Not against her of course, instead she summons a shadow clone of myself! It is an epic duel which I nearly lose, but still come out triumphant at the end. Erm. I suppose I technically punched myself in the face?

While this isn't enough to impress Illezra who simply leaves without saying a word, it gives me great confidence as I return to the Altinova-Sausan border where I proceed to totally wreck the Sausan forces with my new weapon. I am only stopped when Captain Sarma realizes the Sausan's are in league with the barbarians Neruda Shen hired (thanks to using the same weapons, and found correspondence between them), and they are now planning to take over Altinova!

Insight: In game you can pick between Awakening or Succession skills, one focuses on giving you a new weapon to play with based on your class (losing some other abilities) while the other focuses on building up your existing skills but no new weapon.

Friday, 11 June 2021

BDO: You need to Train

[Part of my Adventures in Black Desert Online]

It's tricky to reach the excavation team this time as there are some deadly golems in the way which requires some nice footwork. They agree to help quell the miners nightmares by creating relic necklaces, but in exchange I have to deal with a nearby helm orc threat. Strangely, I got to beat their "Captain America" boss early, but a new version of him from a nearby dark rift easily kicked my ass. Good thing beating him (again) wasn't a requirement for the necklaces!

When Captain Orcmerica had a spiky shield... and a mace?

My return to Altinova is short as Neruda Shen simply takes the necklaces and redirects me to the Nothern Shroud Knight fortress where a war is brewing against the neighbouring Susans Sausans, most likely because the Sausan leader was recently murdered in Altinova!

Captain Sarma leads the defense but I am of no use as even the Sausan scouts require a full skill rotation to defeat. Not interested to have another corpse, she instructs me to go train up elsewhere before rejoining the coming fight. This is probably a wise decision so I return to Velia. I am now level 57.

Insight: Dark Rift bosses are no joke as only YOU can see them. In my current state it's pointless to even attempt them! The only good part is that you lose nothing if you get killed by one.

Thursday, 10 June 2021

BDO: Shen Rising

[Part of my Adventures in Black Desert Online]

The arena battle is pretty cool as the death knight is the only enemy so far that can out pace me, but with potions and good dodging I still manage to kill him - which is bad because I forgot to ask about the white witch first. At least he gave me her name: Illezra.

After the match Captain Sarma Amin of the Shroud Knights and servants of the rightful lord Prince Barry Bareeds III, approaches and berates me for siding with the wannabe merchant despot, Neruda Shen. He is hurt by these accusations and so instructs me to assist the Shroud Knights in an effort to extend good will.

When player guilds can select their own emblems, you get funny flags.

Sarma is hesitant at first but welcomes the assistance as I take down a base of Illezra worshiping rogues and an army of manes (gnolls) threatening the small, sorceress filled village of Tarif. Thanks to my efforts, Prince Bareeds III (who turns out to be a kid) appoints Neruda Shen as Steward of Altinova while he seeks asylum at Valencia until he comes of age. Way to put off problems of the realm till later kid.

Neruda then asks I help the miners who are having horrible nightmares and after consulting with the sorceresses at Tarif, I am directed to find my old friends: the excavation dig team, who are now working on a ruin in this region! These guys certainly work fast!

Insight: My bonus beginner bag space ran out at this point, and if you are wondering - any items left at the bottom at the bag are now locked and held hostage until you can unlock more bag space, either through payment or by completing quests. I'm obviously going for the latter

BDO: A Song of Barbarians

[Part of my Adventures in Black Desert Online]

The road East is long and the first stop is by a small elven sanctuary, who claim something is happening underground which is causing trouble for their trees so I head to the nearby Omar Lava Cave where goblins have pushed out the miners who worked there. Since there is a wizard (player) training there, it is relatively easy for me to reach and defeat the goblin boss.

The thankful miners then point me to the direction of Altinova city, which hold the best odds of me finding a clue to the white witch's whereabouts. Alas, despite the bustling markets, tight streets and people every where the best lead I get is from some barbarian drinking song so to find out more I head to their base which is a not so abandoned quarry where they are using slaves to mine some black crystals.

Since they don't want to talk and I dislike their work ethic, much blood is spilled. Ultimately it is Altinova merchant lord Neruda Shen that resolves this though. Since he wants my support in taking control of the city he simply hires the barbarians and legalizes slavery! In exchange they tell me that their boss is a servant of the witch and is the reigning Altinova arena champion. He also happens to be a death knight.

The death knight looks pretty cool.

Insight: The tall barbarians with the long spears are especially dangerous since in a crowd you might not realize you aren't hitting them (it looks like you might be in range, but you aren't).