Monthly Archives: August 2013

Xillia-ted

I Finished Tales of Xillia for Milla’s story today! Final boss battle took me 1 minute and 3 seconds. My health did not even drop below 90%. I could have done it under a minute if not for the fact that the battle starts with only two party members, and every minute that passes one of the four missing characters joins the battle. I already had the final boss down to 10% health with only Jude and Milla and at the one minute mark, Leia joined the battle with a mystic arte and ended the battle.

After that, I cleared up most of the trophies except for the annoying skill-based ones like Jude’s Snap Pivot 150 times and Leia’s Elongating Staff 150 times. I finished up most of the collectible trophies like Enemy Sage in Magnus Zero, the EX Dungeon. The secret boss in Magnus Zero was the first time in the entire game I actually felt threatened. He has insanely high health being the secret unbeatable boss (like the Rockgagong in Tales of Graces f), splits himself into multiple versions several times throughout the fight (like Solomnus in Tales of Graces f) and moves very fast. At one point, my healer, Elize’s health dropped to 50%. But after whittling down his copies he becomes manageable. The entire three-phase battle with the Golden Mage Knight lasted 3 minutes and 39 seconds, the longest battle I’ve had in the game. Overall, it was a relatively easy secret boss battle in in RPG standards, considering I only used one Treat and one Hourglass (wasn’t necessary, but I panicked when the Golden Mage Knight split into three :S) in the entire battle.

With that sub-event completed, it brought me up to 89 sub-events, ONE sub-event away from a silver PSN trophy. 😦 In Milla’s story, there are a total of 97 sub-events and 32 of them are missable, so I think I did a pretty good job of exploring since I didn’t use a guide. I’ve done all the sub-events I haven’t missed and are still available to me except for The Lost Transcendental Ring, which involves acquiring 23 Mysterious Jewels and an optional boss battle. Without a guide, I collected 19 so I’m missing four and I have no idea which so I have to backtrack to each of the 23 locations. 😦 *sigh* Well, it’s either that or focus on doing every single sub-event on Jude’s story when I start it for his story’s trophy soI guess this way is less work.

Small reminder: tomorrow is a new month and that means new monthly achievements in Guild Wars 2! 😀

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Tales of Xillia: A Midgame Observation

So currently I’m in the middle of Chapter Four on Milla’s story in Tales of Xillia on my first playthrough (haven’t played Jude’s story yet) and here’s how the experience has been for me so far.

The graphics are amazing and the anime cutscenes are very well rendered as well. Tales of Xillia ditched the cartoony graphics of its predecessors in favour of more realistic 3D sprites and environments; a very good improvements I’d say. The detail on the characters, monsters and environment are beautiful.

The music of Tales of Xillia is epic. The town, dungeon and world music each capture the feel of the environment, be it haunting, dreary, lively and even sorrowful. Sadly, the battle music isn’t as well done but still bearable.

Now that my party is at maximum level, combat feels more enjoyable due to having more artes to combo and link with. However, it still feels restricted compared to previous Tales games. At maximum level with all AC skills equipped, your character only has 7 AC (and if you equip the accessory Exceed which adds 2 AC, that is a maximum achievable AC of 9). Compare this to Tales of Graces f where my characters had around 24 to 28 AC. Lack of AC makes it harder to string together long combos; my combo count rarely hits 5 in Tales of Xillia unless I’m in a boss battle.

Unfortunately, Tales of Xillia seems to have taken a step back in party combat AI. Party members controlled by CPU tend to ignore whatever strategy you set for them and often times stand around getting hit. Their reaction time is slow and when a battle starts, it takes them like 4 to 5 seconds to start moving. This is even worse if you link with party members. If you link and cast a spirit arte at a distance, your link partner will just stand idly next to you without engaging the enemy.

As fas as shops and equipment progression goes, Tales of Xillia has one of the most grind-worthy systems I’ve ever seen. To buy new items and equipment from shops, you have to donate materials or gald to them to level their shop expansion. The sheer amount of materials needed just to progress from level one to twenty will take you close to ten hours of constant farming. And you can’t completely ignore this part of the game either, as it is the only way to buy better weapons and armour. While farming is part and parcel of every RPG, the amount of farming the game forces you to do also has a side effect of overlevelling your party. By the time you unlock level 10 equipment, you could already be level 30+, and this leads to steamrolling through the next few bosses. Since most battles will end in less than five seconds when you’re overlevelled, combat is no longer fun and becomes a chore.

Skits in Tales of Xillia aren’t as fun to watch as in previous Tales games because most of them are serious and lack comedy. While this coincides with the story and atmosphere of Xillia, it somehow detracts from the overall experience and you no longer get as excited whenever you uncover a new skit.

I still have one and a half chapters to go, and the bonus dungeon as well. Hopefully things will pick up in the final chapter.


The Watchknight

Finally managed to participate in my last map invasion for the Invasion Canceller achievement, which was the 17th living story achievement I needed to complete the Clockwork Chaos meta-achievement. The meta-achievement reward this time is an Infinite Watchknight Tonic, which transforms you into a watchknight for five minutes. Unlike most transformations, this is a combat transformation, meaning you can fight while in watchknight transformation. Unfortunately, after you use the tonic, there is a thirty minute cooldown before you can use it again. This makes it impractical to run around maps as a watchknight since the duration is so short and the cooldown is so long. For the amount of frustration required to complete the meta-achievement, it is totally not worth it if you’re just going for the reward. Here are some pictures of my warrior in watchknight transformation in the Royal Terrace in Divinity’s Reach.

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The Royal Terrace has a trading post, banker, merchants, crafting stations, a mystic forge, repair master and an Asura gate to any of the other cities all in one convenient spot. It is next to the northwest main ramp in Divinity’s Reach. To enter the Royal Terrace, you need a Royal Pass which can be bought from the Black Lion Trading Company or found as an extremely rare drop in the Crown Pavilion. I got my Royal Pass off a champion in the Crown Pavilion last week so I’m not sure if they can still be found off foes in the Crown Pavilion.

Here’s an interesting trick I found three days ago. If you double-click your Royal Pass in your inventory, it automatically teleports you directly into the Royal Terrace no matter where you are in Tyria (except Heart of the Mists)! This means you can you it as soon as you are done with levelling for the day, to clear your bags when they are full, to escape combat or to simply craft with everything conveniently close by. You don’t have to actually walk all the way up to the entrance of the Royal Terrace and display the Royal Pass to gain entry, you could be on a mountaintop in Timberline Falls and click the Royal Pass and be instantly teleported into the Royal Terrace in Divinity’s Reach! Convenient. 🙂


Invasions All Around the World

For the Worldwide Invasion Responder and Invasion Canceller achievements for the Clockwork Chaos living story, you need to participate in clockwork invasions of 13 unique maps (7 for Worldwide Invasion Responder), not just participate in clockwork invasions 13 times. These clockwork invasions will only occur once at the start of every hour and lasts up to 45 minutes, and they only occur on maps with difficulties of level 25 to 80. As in previous living stories, these invasions do not occur in Southsun Cove or Orr territory (thank goodness). As you accumulate invasion participation in maps for Invasion Canceller, you will accumulate participation for Worldwide Invasion Canceller as well so all you really need for both achievements is participation in 13 different maps, not 20. Coincidentally, currently there are exactly 13 map between level 25 to 80 not counting Southsun Cove and Orr so this means you have to participate in every non-starter map at least once. Here is a list of the 13 maps; you can check them off as you go along to keep track of what you’ve done.

  • Gendarran Fields
  • Harathi Hinterlands
  • Bloodtide Coast
  • Sparkfly Fen
  • Lornar’s Pass
  • Dredgehaunt Cliffs
  • Timberline Falls
  • Mount Maelstrom
  • Frostgorge Sound
  • Fields of Ruin
  • Iron Marches
  • Blazeridge Steppes
  • Fireheart Rise

It is advised to unlock at least one waypoint in each of these maps during your free time while waiting for the next invasion to make it easier to get into that map within 10 minutes of the invasion starting so you can participate in the invasion. Obviously, unlocking as many waypoints in these maps as possible would be best for easy travel around the map during the actual invasion but you will be moving around a lot with other people while doing the event anyway so don’t worry if you don’t have full map completion. As long as you have completed at least one objective during the invasion and are on the map when the timer is up or the final boss, Scarlet Briar, is defeated, you will obtain progress towards the achievement. Yes, you get progress even if you fail to stop the invasion so don’t feel too stressed out and just have fun. The only drawback to failing the event is missing out on a chance to get the Scarlet Scrambler achievement (defeat Scarlet Briar) which you will most likely get while doing the event 13 times. You still get a ton of experience points, loot and gold.

With that in mind, the way to successfully participating in invasions is to:

  1. Get to the map on time (within 10 minutes of the invasion starting).
  2. Still be on the map when the event is completed or failed.

For number one, you need to keep an eye on the living story ticker on the top right corner of the screen when it is close to the next hour and quickly waypoint to whichever map is being invaded when the hour changes. Like I mentioned earlier, you should have at least one waypoint in each of the 13 maps.

Number two is a lot harder, especially during peak period. Avoid huge zergs of players and try to run solo or with a small party when traversing the map. If you start to get lag, immediately start running away. By avoiding overly populated battles, you can minimize the chance of getting disconnected (which happens frustratingly often in this living story). Turn off all your downloads and make sure nothing else is sharing your internet connection when you are attempting this achievement.

Do not worry about missing out on loot, your bags will be full by the time you’re halfway through the event. I’ve made over 70 gold from running this event 12 times. I’m only missing Timberline Falls for the achievement.

From what I observe, the maps are shuffled randomly and no map will be invaded twice in a row. So just check every hour for maps you are missing and be patient. All right, good luck!


Respected Achiever

Today I reached the 5000 achievement points mark and unlocked the Zenith Recurve Bow, a longbow skin. Here’s a picture.

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The latest living story, Clockwork Chaos, is extremely difficult to complete for people who don’t have a lot of time to wait in front of the computer all day. To participate in Clockwork Chaos events, you have to enter a map where the event is happening within 10 minutes of the event starting. Failure to do so prevents you from taking part in the event. So if you’ve just logged on and an event is in progress, you can’t join in. On top of that, events last for 45 minutes at a time and only occur once every hour. So try to time your logins to whenever a new hour begins (example: 3.00 PM to 3.10 PM, 9.00 AM to 9.10 AM etc.). Once you enter the map, do not leave the map until the event is done. You are allowed to use waypoints only within the same map. You will get a huge reward and credit towards achievements whether the event is completed successfully or failed so don’t worry too much and just have fun. The Clockwork Chaos meta-acheivement requires 17 achievements from the Clockwork Chaos tab or the daily achievement associated with Clockwork Chaos (marked with a gear instead of a star).


Ex… CALIBAAA!!!

This week’s episode of Fate Kaleid Liner Prisma Illya is freaking awesome! The music that plays during the major battle between Archer Illya and Saber Alter is actually a new remixed version of the famous Emiya theme that is prevalent in the Fate series. I can’t wait for the OST to be released so I can download the remix version!


Gentleman

So I’m at the beginning of chapter 2 in Tales of Xillia. I found this neat levelling spot outside of the main story available just before the end of chapter 1. When the game asks you to go to Felgana Mines, you can instead head north into Old Vicalle Mines. There’s no mention of this location anywhere so far except for a man in Leronde telling you to avoid it. Naturally, I ignore the man’s warning and proceed to explore the optional area.

Old Vicalle Mines has some extremely high level monsters for your current level (which I’m assuming to be approximately 25 – 30 if you haven’t been avoiding enemy encounters), but it also has some very valueble materials and items. I managed to survive encounters there once I reached level 30. The trick is to always circle strafe or sneak up on enemies so you approach them from  behind to trigger a battle where the enemies start stunned and at half HP. Then just spam all your most powerful artes (hopefully to hit elemental weaknesses). You’ll be getting tons of EXP and high-point material drops. For added effect, use EXP boosting food.

If you’re only around level 30, avoid the Gentlemen and that Devil Beast, Roparde, roaming the central chamber. Make sure your equipment (especially weapons) are significantly high (at least weapon shop rank 30).

Once you reach level 35 or so, you can start taking on Gentlemen who give even more EXP! I’m currently at level 40 after only two hours of grinding in Old Vicalle Mines. But avoid Roparde even if you do reach level 40 though, he’s an optional boss meant for level 60 and above.


Lilium

So my party is level 18 in Tales of Xillia at the moment. Still getting used to the combat system, at the moment I’m winning battles just by pressing the normal attack button. Guess I’m overpowered. The levelling system in Tales of Xillia resembles the Crystarium in Final Fantasy XIII or the Sphere Grid in Final Fantasy X, but it differs in some aspects. This system, named Lilium Orb, is shaped like a hexagonal spider web. Initially, the Lilium orb has three layers. Everytime you level, you gain growth points (GP). Each GP lets you fill a node, which grants a permanent stat boost (HP, TP, SP, strength, agility etc.), and two adjacent fileld nodes will form a line. The aim is to create a rectangle by filling four nodes to unlock a bonus middle node in the rectangle,  normally this grants skills or new artes.

To expand the Lilium Orb, you need to create three rectangles in the outermost layer of the hexagon, where one of the rectangles must have unlocked a key node (only one key node exists at a time i nthe outermost layer).

Since Tales of Xillia just came out, there aren’t any complete guides to allocating GP in the Lilium Orb around, so I’ve been focusing on expanding my Lilium Orb by filling nodes in the outermost layer without regard for arte unlocks. Of course, I prioritize unlocking skill nodes that give action counters (AC) since i know how important they were in Tales of Graces f.

Liking the game so far. There is a lot of farming and grinding, but the game makes it easy to farm materials due to gathering nodes and loot bags respawning instantly open zoning in and out of an area. I miss Tales of Graces f crafting system though. It’s so annoying to only be able to carry one food dish type at a time.

Really liking the Linked Artes. But I haven’t figured out how to chain linked artes yet, because so far every mob I’ve encountered dies in one or two hits.


Tales of Xillia on Playstation Store Asia!

Just a heads up for people waiting for local retailers to import Tales of Xillia from the US, you can download the full game from Playstation Store. It costs RM 219 in the Malaysian Playstation Store. There are also DLC costumes (swimsuits!), gald and level bonuses but I’m going to wait until I progress further into the game. Played an hour into Milla’s story, and the combat feels more rigid than Tales of Graces f due to the difficulty of maintaining a combo chain and lack of A-artes. On the plus side, you can jump! That means aerial attacks and combos. Also, there seems to be a lot of treasure lying around on the ground. And the first boss fight is laughable. I finished the battle in 6 seconds. Loving Milla’s battle theme though. ❤


Mini Watchknight

Finished the Queen’s Jubilee meta-achievement today and got the Mini Watchknight. Here’s a picture.

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If you don’t know what you’re looking at, the Mini Watchknight is that tiny bronze female knight wielding a halberd at the foot of my mesmer. Yeah, it’s really tiny. Today’s daily achievement that counts toward the meta-achievement is really easy, just ride a hot air balloon to Divinity’s Reach. You can get a ride in a hot air balloon from any hot air balloon tower located in all zones except Orr and Southsun Cove.