Community Discussion: Blog by StriderHoang | StriderHoang's ProfileDestructoid
StriderHoang's Profile - Destructoid


click to hide banner header

Fresh outta college, one of those stereotypical, bumbling jobless "journalists" wanting to become a "vidya gaems jarnalist". And so the hunt for a job he likes begins! And no, he's not going back to school to become a pharmacist technician, like his mom nags him to be.

I also have a YouTube channel (above image). Self-taught video editing! I'm still unemployed you know, potential hirers!

~ Favorite games
- Red Dead Redemption
- Shadow of the Colossus
- Psychonauts
- Mass Effect 2
- Yoshi's Island
- Pokemon
- Monday Night Combat
- Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas
- Super Mario World

Also, twitter

Introduction post

10 things about me

~Front Paged
- Downloadables: Every night is Monday Night Combat!
- eSports: Someone you know is hype
- Relaxation: Secretly training
- I calls dibs on Gaige!

~FAP Approved!
- A discussion about Catherine with my girlfriend
- So I applied for an internship at X-Play...
- Being Social: Cal State Long Beach's Gaming Club
- Persona 4: Ultimate and 4 other fighting games you probably don't know
- A new return to 3rd Strike Online part 1: Picking a main
- Top 6 somewhat natural disasters in gaming
- Villains: For me my dear, it was merely a Tuesday
- Let's talk about Phoenix Wright and Nova in UMvC3
- How I gave my girlfriend Tetris DS and loved every minute of it
- Let's talk about Rocket Raccoon and Frank West in UMvC3
- Xenophilia: The Universal Language of Mecha
- Asura's Wrath might get panned and I'm ok with that
- Acquisition: Solid Snake signed your what?
- A Valentine's Day reflection: two great loves
- Skullgirls and the art of combos
- 6 reasons why you should check out Legend of Korra
- Today, I thought about oversexualization
- Hype: Japan Time
- Objection! The story of an impossible gift for that special someone
- Cultural identity and Sleeping Dogs
- Finn and Flame Princess' big Disney Adventure Picspam
- FTL: Recovered diaries from a derelict spaceship
- Retaliation: Your guide to fighting the Collectors
-Handsome Jack, the father, the hero, the asshole
- Before StriderHoang, there was Marcel Hoang
- Adventure Time: Hey Ice King! You're not all that mathmatical
- Ralph wrecked his way into my heart
- The sixth generation wishlist from five time Pokemon Champion, Marcel
- Strider's big, fat, ride through 2012
- Being the best predator you can be

~Friday Night Fight Replays!
- 09/02/11
- 09/09/11
- 09/23/11
- 09/30/11
- 02/07/12
- 02/12/12

~The Write Stuff! Get to writing!
- 06/30 - The Beginning!
- 07/06 - Line breaks
- 07/13 - Tone
- 07/20 - Commas
- 08/06 - Balance
- 09/03 - Crossposting
- Write Stuff of September - Pride

~ The Cblog Fapcast!
- XCOM or bust!
- The show must Smurf on!
- ScottyG is on the line
- Hobo extraordinaire, Manchild
- The sorry game
- Girlfriend caps
- #1ReasonHow
- Holiday Revengeance
- My Hairy, Downstairs Fapcast
- bbreaking nnews
- Strider alone
- Oh the Injustice!

Also, check me out on Bitmob!
Player Profile
Xbox LIVE:Striderhoang
Steam ID:Striderhoang
Raptr ID:Striderhoang
Follow me:
Youtube:Striderhoang's Channel
StriderHoang's sites
Following (37)  

I’ve plugged countless hours into FTL and I still don’t consider myself good. While beating the Rebel Flagship is a challenge to most people it still seems like a dream to me, or at the very least a set piece you can never win against. Despite that though, I continue to play and have encountered a lot of the new content in the Advanced Edition and it continues to feed my addiction to seeing how far I can go. While I can attest to my ability by the fact that I’ve never beaten the Flagship, I’ve still picked up some tips along the way to really use a lot of the new Advanced Edition content. It should at least really help considering that as a rogue-like spaceship game, you’re probably having trouble picking up a lot of the new stuff.

Manning doors and sensors: giving your mantis something to do
The first major change you should realize for Advanced Edition is the ability to give sensors and doors a manned bonus. Manning these subsystems give them an instant +1 to their rank, potentially saving on scrap for upgrades. Imagine playing the Torus and saving on a mandatory door upgrade by sending crew to the doors. The Torus doesn’t start with important weapons anyways!

To go along with this change, these two subsystems also have a special 4th upgrade that’s only obtainable if the subsystem is fully upgraded and manned. While crew won’t gain any experience for running these subsystems, they also provide a flat +1 to subsystems regardless of previous experience. So depending on the ship, you can juggle crew between these around these subsystems as needed. Got a mantis but have no teleporter? You might as well make him your communications officer and put him in sensors. Flying through a nebula? Sensors are useless anyways so send your communications officer to doors as security. As you’ll realize, you’ll also have someone ready to repair these subsystems whenever they hit by stray shots.

Keeping your crew fluid to in the gaps is important. Using the Torus as an example, its only starting weapon is a fast charging ion cannon that doesn’t get much from a manned bonus. Since your entire crew is engi, setting one to the doors in case of boarding parties is important. But if no boarding party comes during an encounter, go ahead and give one engi experience as a weapons officer.

Mind Control: enemies amongst us
Probably my favorite new system in the game, mind control scrambles enemies’ minds and turns them to your side. You can’t give them orders though, so they’ll generally follow enemy AI routines except on your allegiance. While you need some kind of line of sight to use mind control, it is one of the most flexible active systems, capable of fitting on a variety of ships from defensively outfitted ships to even boarding specialists.

First things first though: since you need line of sight, you’ll need to upgrade your sensors or have someone man them for a +1. Slugs have quickly become one of my favorite races since they let you track life signs whenever sensors go down. While nebulas can render mind control useless, slugs keep them relevant regardless of the situation! Keep in mind that slugs are useful to use in conjunction with mind control but are immune to it as well.

Mind control’s best overall utility is aimed at the pilot. By turning the pilot, you drop enemy evasion to zero, you have someone damaging the helm, and reduce other bonuses by peeling crew away from their positions to deal with the turned pilot. A secondary target is anyone trying to repair damaged systems. This way, you delay their repairs and again, sow general chaos among the ranks. Another factor is mantis crew, who automatically become an asset with their increased attack power. You’ve hit the jackpot if the enemy pilot is a mantis. Lastly, mind control is a great defense against enemy boarding parties if you’re crew isn’t prepared well for them. While you can’t control them, you can easily manipulate them to your advantage. For example, in a two boarding situation, one can be turned to gang up on the other, then deal with him afterwards when the control wears off. In situations of one boarder, you can observe where he wanders off while brainwashed then vent the oxygen of his room, killing him with little trouble.

So the order of priority according to what’s present should be mantis crew, the pilot, repairmen, then boarders if you need the assistance.

Hacking: digital warfare
Efficient use of system energy usually means you either invest heavily in either weapons or drones. Of course, this means you’ll be sitting on a small hoard of drone parts if you don’t use them at all. Hacking is not only a great use of those drone parts, it’s a great way to bolster your offensive presence. If mind control is mostly about disrupting enemy ranks, hacking is about disrupting ship systems and debuffing it.

When you first activate hacking in battle, you’ll be able to target a system then have the option to initiate the hack right away or at a later time, plus the doors will lock to enemy crew like blast doors. You can only launch one hacking drone per battle though, so make it count! While hacking the helm or engine room will drop ship evasion, you’re often better off using your hacking for more direct means.

I recommend hacking either shields or weapons, where their respective energies are drained, giving you a timed advantage. Shields is useful on later sectors where enemies can have two or more layers of shields and cuts out the difficulty of piercing them. Hacking weapons can be vital in stalling for time before they launch their own salvos. There are of course other viable targets for other purposes. Hacking oxygen can make asphyxiating the enemy crew a very real possibility. Hacking the med bay can make boarding ships a breeze as it’ll damage enemies and heal your boarding party! And probably the last thing worth mentioning is the synergy together with mind control. With hacks working to lock doors, your possible priority ladder on mind control opens considerably as they can be left to do more damage in one room without intervention. Mind control the weapons officer, lock the doors, hack the weapon systems, and give yourself a huge boon of time to work safely without fear of retaliation.

Clone bay: less fear, more bodies
The clone bay changes up how you approach dangerous situations altogether. Instead of sending crew to the med bay to keep them healthy and alive in a defensive posture, the clone bay encourages aggressive movement by creating a steady supply of bodies regardless of the dangers. While you can’t heal conventionally, your crew does heal a moderate amount after every jump, with upgrades reducing the cloning time and increasing the health recovered per jump.

The clone bay is of course, the perfect companion to boarding parties. With little to fear from death, you can send out your most potent aliens to fight in strange and uncomfortable alien ships. They’ll receive a skill penalty on death, but mantis and rockmen have little to fear from other aliens as long as they’re not also mantis or rockmen. With a clone bay, you can send your crew into the jaws of danger such as putting out raging infernos and repairing hull breaches devoid of air.

Probably the best application of the clone bay is in handling random events. Lost someone to a science lab lit aflame? Clone bay. Distress beacon full of giant alien spiders? Clone bay. Slug ambush take out your chief engineer? Clone bay! I’ve even survived situations that would’ve been a game over. My two person crew was not ready to deal with a mantis boarding party, so I did the only reasonable thing I could do in that situation and vented my whole ship of its oxygen. After dying predictably, the mantis died just moments afterwards. But after a few seconds of eerie silence, (and after closing my doors and letting the oxygen circulate) my two crew popped out of the clone bay good as new.

Of course, managing your clone bay is a different affair from managing your med bay. While med bay power can be strategically routed and rerouted back depending on the need, the clone bay is vulnerable during one critical stage: the cloning process; If the clone bay isn’t on when crew dies and if it gets powered off during the cloning process, your crew will die permanently. This makes upgrades important more for increasing its system health then the actual upgrades, since a stray shot during the cloning process can mean certain doom for incubating clones unless the DNA Bank augmentation is installed.

Also be aware that a select few random events will still keep crew members from being properly clones. The mining colony plague event for example will cause your crew to stay behind in quarantine, making it unethical for you to make his clone.  And speaking of unethical clones, you can't clone someone who was sold into slavery. What a gyp!

Backup power: giving her more than she’s got
I’ve only recently learned that I’ve been upgrading my systems all wrong, at least under general circumstances. Upgrading both the system and reactor is costly so in order to meet the demands of space, you must upgrade systems and juggle energy channeling. But with the backup generator, juggling got a little bit easier. The best part is that the backup generator requires no power to use. That’d be pretty redundant! The backup generator is a subsystem that, when activated, immediately grants two bonus power for you to use as symbolized by red outlines, or 4 bars after an upgrade. This extra energy lasts for 30 seconds before it shuts down and recharges for 45 seconds.

It’s obvious that extra energy is great whenever you need upgrades desperately but lack the reactor power to keep pace. Quite possibly the most important way its an asset though is in nebulas, where you will sometimes encounter plasma storms that cut your reactor energy in half, though your backup battery is unaffected.

You’re not going to want to use this energy for weapons or shields though, as 30 seconds to power them can mean those systems can shut off at inopportune times during charges. The backup energy is best saved to power engines or the various life support systems in a pinch. You can also strategically over-upgrade and use your backup energy at crucial moments.

The Lanius: oxygen is overrated anyways
If engis don’t hit that robot itch you’re looking for due to their dependence on something as stupid as oxygen, there’s always the lanius with their unique quirks. They don’t need oxygen and like hipsters, they reject it to the point of draining all of it from a room. If you want one guaranteed, you can ask a lanius merchant about their translation device, which turns out to be the lanius itself that happens to know English.

Everything about the lanius revolves around juggling oxygen as a resource. They can’t share rooms with crew because they’ll suffocate them and they’ll drain all the oxygen of a given space no matter how many doors you open to equalize the pressure. Given this quirk, there are a couple of jobs they can do.

- They can repair hull breaches no problem. They don’t need air, remember?
- They can do extra damage in combat by adding the damage of suffocation to their regular combat damage.
- They can snuff out fires a little faster as their drain precious oxygen from fires.

It’s important to remember that they don’t play nicely with other friendly crew unless they’re also lanius. So while draining oxygen would be fun for enemies, it makes planning attacks complicated when you can’t keep the lanius together with other crew. You can however keep them on deck as security, keeping important rooms devoid of oxygen and suffocating potential boarders who want to get at crucial systems. Even when outnumbered, you can drain oxygen from a given space by opening a few doors and creating a no man's land. Since boarders like to move to where the oxygen is most concentrated in most cases, you can either manipulate them into fighting your crew in the med bay or just suffocate them. Just be careful about using the med bay defensively with your whole crew. Upgrade it as much as you can to offset at least suffocation damage or just keep the lanius out of it for your crew’s sake.

Miscellaneous equipment: all the other stuff you can’t afford

Charge weaponry
Most weapon types have a new fire mode model called charge. These weapons share similarities with burst firing variants with a twist for the patient type. While weak individually, every time the weapon fully charges, it stores the charge in a bank. Like Mega Man’s patented Mega Buster, the more you charge you weapon, the stronger the potential attack as it releases all its charged attacks.

Charge weaponry typically do weak damage individually but charge relatively quickly, giving you different tactical options to how big you want your burst to be. You can stock a 3-shot ion burst to strip 3 layers of shields immediately, then rapid fire single shots to keep it down. Or you can shoot a steady stream of 2-shot burst lasers. There’s even a unique missile model called the Swarm which encourages full charge shots to fire 3 missiles at the cost of 1!

Although a new, rare occurrence on certain weapons, there are also variant weapons which are dedicated to stunning crew inside the ship. The most common weapon is the ion stunner, which combines the ion effect with stun.

Stun is pretty self-explanatory. Targeted crews are dazed and can’t take any additional actions of any sort until they recover after a few seconds. It even affects crew manning the shield room if the attack only connects with the shield itself rather than the room. Probably the best utility to stunning is inflicting fires across the ship, stunning crew attempting to douse the fires. They’ll be standing in a stupor in the middle of a raging inferno!

Chain weaponry
Chain weaponry have an interesting charge mechanic. Every time you fire it, the cooldown goes down to the point where the volume of your output becomes a massive asset. However, their initial charge times can be lengthy. In essence these weapons function like miniguns, needing time to rev up but once fully revved, will fire a rapid stream of destruction. One unique weapon, the Vulcan laser, is capable of shooting one laser every second after firing 5 volleys, trivializing shields!

There is also a chain ion weapon where its ion damage increases every time it fires.

A unique line of weaponry all in its own, flak cannons are like shotguns. Despite appearing as if it fires physical ammunition, it consumes no missiles and fires multiple fragments of debris in a moderate spread. Instead of seeing a crosshair when it locks, you see a red shadow showing the possible area the debris can hit, indicating that it can overshoot certain rooms. In fact, flak cannons are even more inaccurate than missiles. They’ve been known to miss on ships sitting at an evasion percentage of zero.

Flak I fires 3 fragments while flak II fires an impressive 7 fragments. Like burst lasers, flak is useful for bringing shields down. In theory it works like burst lasers, shredding shields and hitting hull simultaneously.  In practice I’ve found flak unreliable on their own due to its extreme inaccuracy. You’ll be able to take 2 or 3 layers of shields down but the remaining damage on hull is low, if it even hits at all! Flak is better being compared to an ion weapon that can do damage.

Hopefully you go farther than I can. I actually have not recruited a Lanius yet nor have I unlocked the Lanius cruiser. Know that Lanius have interesting oxygen characteristics, draining oxygen from the room they’re in and requiring no oxygen in return. This makes them interesting in boarding parties, extinguishing fires, and repairing hull breaches, but their ability to play nice with other crew members is a bit complicated seeing as how they’ll suffocate them.

Good luck out there and godspeed!
Photo Photo Photo

Tired of the same old M-16/Barret 50 Cals/Desert Eagles? One of the main reasons I'm so attached to Mercenary Kings, a new so-called Borderslugs game, is because there are plenty of weapons which can then be mixed and matched with each other to create unique looking guns. Don't want to shoot a shotgun shaped liked a trombone for some reason? Then just attach the barrel/horn to the drum fed Striker and why not load from incendiary shot to boot?

But there are a lot of invisible values that aren't clearly explained, as well as concepts that will make your first few gun purchases far from maximized for their potential. Over time you can learn the invisible factors that make a good gun good and a great gun the best thing ever.

Range: hurt what you can't see
Range is pretty self-explanatory. The further the stat says it goes, the farther your bullets will go. What isn't immediately obvious though is how enemies spawn. Enemies will spawn ahead of you before you meet them and will respawn if you give them enough space. Often times, the initial opinion will be a sense of indifference towards range, since usually you will want to see what you're shooting and bullets will stop at walls. The important exception to this is the armor piercing ammo type.

Rather than go through actual armor, AP lets your bullets cheat the world design by going through all level geometry. Since there's no actual concern on ammo, a particularly speedy King can fire his weapon with wanton abandon and kill enemies ahead of him, saving time and comfort. After all, the enemies aren't physically in the world yet so they haven't attacked you yet either.

AP ammo is the biggest reason to consider keeping your range long. AP ammo also makes certain enemies spawns easier to deal with, such as grenadiers lobbing explosives at the exit of a ladder you're climbing. Simply shoot him from behind a wall or beneath the floor and the job is done!

The smaller they are, the fiercer they come
It's easy to tell right away but magazine capacity has a huge impact on your damage per bullet. There's a difference between squeezing out 30 bullets at 50 damage each and firing 5 bullets at 500 damage each. Early on, you'll probably lean towards a higher damage per bullet because the advantage of a high capacity weapon isn't apparent. This changes as you reach higher ranks and unlock more weapons though.

Early on, your choices in automatic weapons is a bit limited and not as satisfying as say, the Dunali two-shotting shotgun or the big ass Razorback magnum. But when you unlock something like the Madragora or the Minigun, you'll soon have a legitimate choice in DPS.

Personally, I love weapons like the Minigun, which let me hold the trigger down and blaze a trail through large, somewhat slogful maps. However, these weapons have a weakness in dealing with weakpoint specific boss enemies. Since their damage comes from sustained fire, you won't be able to stack the damage as easily if say, you have to jump to hit that vital point. Weapons with higher damage per bullet like snipers however, are perfect for squeezing off 5 high damage rounds into an enemy weakness.

Accuracy? There's accuracy?
You may be asking yourself, "There's an accuracy rating? So it determines how straight my bullets fly right? That's dumb for a 2D shooter."

Hold up buckaroo, because there are some mysteries we have to delve into which have supporting evidence.

According to some peers, accuracy also determines invisible values that calculate your raw damage. As you shoot enemies, you may notice difference colors jumping out of your targets. Normal damage can be seen as white and you'll guess that red are random critical hits. You'll sometimes see grey numbers which do significantly less damage though. I have personal experience with this too. My Minigun has a low accuracy rating, spewing out bullets in a wide spray. With a 50% accuracy rating, I'm hitting much more than it suggests but a lot of my bullets are actually doing half damage with a stream of grey numbers. In that case, it's best not to skip over accuracy as you build your gun. You'll find rifles have high accuracy and therefore, high crit values. It's also rumored that magnum ammo have a naturally higher crit multiplier too.

Special bullets make special soldiers
There are four elementally charged ammunitions you can load into your gun, each with its own unexplained properties. To make things easier, caustic pierces armor that bounces your shots, electric generally does more damage to mechanical enemies, incendiary does more to flesh, and cryo has a chance to freeze.

Certain weapon parts carry bonus damage to certain elements. A barrel that carries a +10 caustic damage means that when caustic ammo is loaded, you'll do 10 caustic damage on top of the actual gun's damage. So building a gun towards certain elemental specializations will do you good. Having elemental damage built up only to not use it will be a waste.

At first you'll only be able to craft guns to use AP ammo or magnum ammo or incendiary etc. But later on you'll unlock ammo that is a combination of ammo types and elements such as incendiary shot or caustic magnums. All you have to do is progress a bit in ranks and the further you along you are, the more you can craft. The game gets more difficult after all and the game likewise rewards you with bigger and better parts.

Knife to a gun fight
Never forget you have a knife that is plenty formidable on its own. In fact, its possible to play a melee build by crafting the lightest possible handgun and focus on farming items to forge the best knives you can find. Given enough time, you can unlock the recipe and ingredients to craft a Steel Soldier knife which is basically a man-sized knife jutting out of your hand. Big melee weapons are easier to hit with, deflect bullets, and generally have more damage values.

Speaking of knives and handguns, your weight limit dictates your speed and general agility. Its bestto focus on either a heavy weapon or a lighter loadout with a better knife. Knives can also come in different elemental buffs as well, so picking a light weapon with a huge knife with elemental buffs can pay off in the long run when it comes to tighter timed missions.

Of course, you can always negate the problem of agility and just roll everywhere with a gun that weighs 10 kilos and a knife that's 1 kilo, not to mention the first aid and C4 you can carry. It may make the jumping difficult but you've got a big knife, a big gun, and probably big balls.
Photo Photo Photo

Well, I'm sick. I've missed a couple days of work because of some weird Spring flu I caught. But my lack of shift hours in earning money doesn't mean you have to spend your own!

Since jumping into Steam head first and putting funds into my Steam wallet, I've been swamped by coupons and free shit. I actually paid for trading cards, pennies by the card, to a few badges dedicated to my most played games, and came out in the end with a bunch of coupons I'm not going to use! I mean seriously, I can finally play FTL, let's not get crazy and assume I can run Strike Suit Infinity ok?

I realize a few of these things are items you probably already have. I mean, I think Uber got desperate one day and just gave everyone copies to Super MNC. I get it Uber, you want to be taken seriously. I think everyone got coupons to Pixel Piracy too. Well, I don't want it, but I hate letting things go to waste too. Poor kids in India could use this shit. So might as well keep things internal and let it go to some other low to middle class privileged pc gamer!

Most coupons expire April 15 or 19. Also, ignore Monaco because that's been sent away for now.

If you want something, just comment below with what you want, your Steam name, and your personal experience with Steam Trading Cards. Do you not care? Are you as obsessed as I am? Have you spent dollars on the dime? Woojoowoojoowooboo? The meds are kicking!
Photo Photo

I've actually been emboldened from the state of the Animal Crossing thread in the Dtoid forums. Most people have dropped off playing the game, including the biggest AC player I knew, AlphaDeus. People chalk it up to burning out on the game too fast. Even I burned into it pretty fast. But my girlfriend kept me in it, asking me nearly everyday what my premium is, hoping that I'd get a perfect cherry premium for her to make an epic killing off of. I'd come back everyday for just a small routine to see how my villagers are doing and making sure my favorite wouldn't move away. A few have: some welcome like Limberg; others will be missed but a few were given to good homes. Lolly was one of my favorites and one of Harbor's original inhabitants but when the time came for her to move, I let my friend adopt her so I could keep her from forever disappearing into the ether. I'd like to think she still drops my name every now and then in the town of Plytown, just like how villagers I get through Streetpass talk about their hometowns.

Many seasons and holidays came and went. I participated in some like Halloween. Others I missed completely like Toy Day. But on many of them I'd have the simple joy and talking to others, especially my girlfriend, about what they did to celebrate some of Animal Crossing's quirky holidays. At the very least, I'd hop onto tumblr and see what mayor's around the world are doing to keep busy on the AC fandom.

No matter how far away I'd displace myself from AC though, I knew I had to at least come back on my own personal holiday, my birthday. Yes, on March 11, the town of Harbor celebrated my birthday with a cutesy little party held at one villager's house with a small enclave of my best villagers. Canberra the koala, the town big sister, greeted me as I booted up the game and invited me to the shindig where I found Teddy the bear and Jeremiah the frog. Canberra makes sense, because as the town big sister, its her job to know everyone and generally keep everyone in line whenever I'm not around. Jeremiah was a nice presence as he's one of the few original inhabitants still around. Teddy was surprising since I didn't know we were that close but then again, he's probably misconstrued my personality quirks and answers to be that of an exercise guru. He is one of my closer neighbors so I guess it makes sense that he rather likes me. But Hopper was a big no show. Where was he? I found out that he was sick again, for the second time this month!

If anyone's stuck around Animal Crossing long enough, they'd know that your poor ass animal villager's pool their meager bells together to splurge on getting you a birthday cake. While you can eat it, you can also display it as a rather sharp looking cake item for your home.

I've already explained a few character roles like Canberra being the town big sister who knows everyone. Teddy is the lovable meat head who's jacked as hell but nice too. He's like the guy at your local gym who's always ready to give you tips if you want but will never be overbearing about it.

Jeremiah is the small little eater who's obsessed with the color blue. All of his possessions are blue and the only things that aren't blue is th food he eats.

I was excited when O'Hare moved in. He used to be an island exclusive villager who was only available as a resident on your Gamecube island and wears a cool straw hat to show his island cred. He's a hipster who moved from his old island to a small town to find a connection with his own local community. He likes to wander the town bluffs with his favorite blend of java.

Annalisa used to live in my girlfriend's town of Yerba Bu. I once visited by sheer chance when she was packing up to move and I decided to invite her to Harbor to keep her memory alive. She now lives the live of the nice girl in town. She's into a bit of fashion and knits in her spare time but has recently gotten into Harbor's clothing craze. She hasn't worn anything besides the business suspenders I have displayed in the Ables Sisters. She also still has her catchphrase from Yerba Bu, which is ANTEATERS!

Snake is the aspiring ninja bunny. He's a bit of poser, acting like a jock but doing mostly goofy ninja exercises and dreaming of entering the American Ninja competition show. He's practically a Japanese weeaboo with his feudal Japan designed home and samurai armor but his obliviousness to gossip keeps his goofy grin and optimism on all the time.

Bonbon holds the title of the first bunny to arrive in Harbor and is credited with the boom of rabbit themed real estate that attracted O'Hare and Snake. She want to the same university as Lolly and has the same commitment to natural sciences as her too, fishing for marine biology and studying paleontology.

Gruff was a gift from a friend. She had been on the look out for adoption threads on Reddit since she knew Gruff was a favorite of mine as one of my first favorites from the Gamecube days. Nowadays, Gruff the green billy goat has lost his luster for music, instead letting his house clutter up with various knick knacks from his travels. Due to his habit of not letting go of his junk though, he has taken a liking to hiking around and enjoying Harbor's natural forests.

Lastly comes the new kid on the block, Marshal. This cute little white squirrel has the appearance of a grumpy little guy with his mean stare but he's actually a tsundere: harsh on the outside but nice on the inside. He's actually a horticultural artist and likes to garden around the town. He also built his home on the bluffs, following a tip that beach property was hot in Harbor. He's secretly learning how to swim but doesn't want people to see him with his white fur all wet.

So as the mayor of Harbor, I hereby thank all my loyal citizens for their continued support of the local community, Isabelle for her help on maintaining public order and civil advancement, and Kitty, mayor of Yerba Bu and my lovely girlfriend for keeping me in the game with her agriculturally advanced state and produce exports. While New Leaf isn't yet a year old, reaching my own birthday was still quite the milestone for me as mayor of Harbor.

Photo Photo Photo

After the realization that the 3DS turned three, reading this from Stephen Totilo, and by serendipity also AboveUp's foray into the 3DS, I think its time I shared my personal 3DS story and stats. In particular, someone who owns a 3DS and works at the Happiest Place on Earth (get out of here Disney World)!

I bought my 3DS at the onset of December last year. That was the point where the 3DS was lukewarm and starting to heat up. Announcements for Fire Emblem Awakening, Animal Crossing New Leaf, and the Year of Luigi with Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon get everyone excited about what was in store for the 3DS. The special part is that I bought it as part of a limited sale at Best Buy.  bought a red 3DS XL for about $160. That meant of course that the stock 3DS was cheaper still but I think we all agree that once you've gone XL, you can't go back.

My 3DS is also adorned with Capcom's limited Mega Man 25th anniversary cover. Only supposed to be available at San Diego Comic-Con, I waited patiently on a tip from Capcom Unity's Brett Elston that the covers were coming to the Capcom Store at some point.

I also got a sweet carrying bag from Club Nintendo but I gave that to my girlfriend when my Mega Man cover came in the mail.

Everyone near me wanted to own a 3DS in preparation for Pokemon. I knew I was going to jump onto that bandwagon but I was more excited for New Leaf. Of course, all the games coming out before weren't exactly games I was going to skip. I bought a 32GB card this past Christmas but up until that day, I had been playing with a 4GB card. Every game before Animal Crossing was bought physically but with a big SD card, I buy mostly digitally now.

I meticulously organized my DSiware games, the original 3DS utility apps, and the revamped 3D classics into their own folders. My menu's actually magnified one level more than what I have pictured but I decided to zoom out to get it in one picture.

At Disneyland, I get an average of 8 to 10 streepasses every work day. A handful are regulars, both co-workers and guests visiting the parks. I've streetpassed a few people over 40 times and my world map is filled out pretty well for someone who doesn't travel much: 41 states, 26 Japanese prefectures, hits from Canada, Ireland, the UK, Brazil, Singapore, Aruba, Anguilla, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Honduras, Mexico, Spain, and Australia.

Despite sinking hours in Pokemon X and Bravely Default, by far Animal Crossing was my labor of love. I've even gone back recently in order to redecorate my second floor with Gracie's signature gorgeous line of furniture.

Speaking of love, I bought my girlfriend the special Animal Crossing edition of the 3DS XL. She might have a spec of disappointment from not owning a physical copy but she still enjoys it just as much as me, if not more. I know she's gone on to purchase Crashmo and Quetzal's Corridors herself.

And there you have it. I mostly play in 2D since most games aren't very proactive about it but when I do turn it up, I go all the way or why bother? How has your 3DS hijinks been since Nintendo's darling runner up caught its stride?
Photo Photo Photo

We've finally arrived at the latest generation. After combing through the first, second, third, fourth, and fifth generations of Pokémon with 20 years of games, we've arrived at X and Y with their sixth generation flavor. After about two months of battles and deliberation, people have arrived at some hard conclusions concerning some of the important updates and changes X and Y brings. But make no mistake, I'm personally having the most fun I've had in a long time with X and Y. The spectrum is just so wide, even if I'm left salty by unexpected strategies, I can still do the same with my own strategies.

The Sixth Generation: The Mega Factor
By far the easiest thing to write off about X and Y's new mechanics is the introduction of mega evolutions. Mega evolutions are more akin to in-battle buffs to stats and power rather than complete and permanent evolutionary stages. Mega evolutions for the most part of drastic buffs to a select few Pokémon with access to them and if megavolution is a part of your strategy, it'll happen without fail as it has the highest priority in battle, just below switching. For a few Megas, it can be compared to suddenly doing one or two Swords Dances for free before attacking, or an Iron Defense and Amnesia at once. Scizor for example gains more bulk to its defenses as well more attack. Scizor's mega form simply lends additional bulk to his Swords Dance sets but his Choice Banded Bullet Punch sets are pretty much unchanged.

Other Pokémon are much more extreme. Mawile, a long thought useless Pokémon, in the blink of an eye has 210 attack. It's new steel/fairy typing is also a factor to its strength but its ability also changes to Huge Power, making its attack monstrous before even boosting. Charizard gains two alternate mega forms, both with different abilities that differentiate their strengths. Charizard's X form gives it Tough Claws, enhancing its physical power while the Y form gets the coveted Drought in addition to a 170 sp. attack. This makes its Flamethrowers and Fire Blasts hit like cement covered dump trucks!

Speaking of Drought, its worth noting that weather has been nerfed to be only five turns, always. Even with Drought or Drizzle introducing weather effects, it only stays for five turns. This puts a damper on the rain dominated strategies of gen 5 and also puts a small nerf to incidental powerhouses like Tyranitar with Sand Stream. Weather strategies can still be implemented though. They just have to unfold at a blazing fast pace before the weather wears out.

These are only a few examples of just how drastically powerful Mega Pokemon are though. Two have already been quick banned to Ubers by the competitive school, Smogon, with another likely joining them in the Ubers tier. Pokemon like Mega Blaziken are so powerful that they can hang out with the likes of Mewtwo and Rayquaza! Kangaskhan of all Pokemon is being debated as to whether not he formally belongs in Ubers and I use it enough to know that discussion is not without merit.

The good news is that you can only have one Mega Pokémon on a team at a time, so there's no need to worry about preparing for a team of megas. Still, some of the more powerful megas are so powerful that you need ultra specific checks and counters just to hope to stop them.

from Smogon

Me First! The importance of priority
Priority moves have always been a crucial part of the metagame since generation IV. Being able to move first is an important part of any offense and guaranteeing that first move is what disrupts a lot of potentially match breaking strategies like sweeping after surviving with a Focus Sash. A disturbing trend has risen in X and Y though that adds to the importance of priority.

Coined as bulky priority, several keys threats lead by example on just how powerful it is to be able to take hits while still managing to move first with strong attacks. Azumarill has long been known as a bulky water type, capable of taking anything that isn't electric or grass type with ease but its speed was its main detriment. It now rises out of the depths of the UU tier thanks to a blessing in Aqua Jet being an egg move this generation. A Quick Attack but water-type and STAB for Azumarill at that, this nifty buff with similar success stories to other Pokémon, allow it to tank any damage it might incidentally receive while still being able to move first and dish out moderate to extreme damage. Give the water rabbit a Choice Band and his Aqua Jets are beyond painful.

With more and more Pokémon like Azumarill gaining access to priority, it becomes an arms race to see who is best at utilizing the power of speed in combat. Talonflame is making waves for being the sole recipient of Gale Wings, an ability which adds +1 to the priority of all flying attacks. It essentially turns Brave Bird, a 120 base power flying type attack, a super charged Quick Attack in Talonflame's hands, erm, wings. An important note to understand of about making priority moves a staple to your move set is that is makes training speed redundant, since your moves will go first unless your opponent does the same. By relying on priority, effort value points can be redirected from speed to bulk, letting you turn OHKOs into 2OHKOs and so forth while still pounding away at blistering speeds.

Another factor to the rise of priority is chipping away at the threat of set up sweepers. We've all been a victim of a set up sweeper at one point in our careers. Something finds the chance to get two or even one Swords Dances in and suddenly useless to stopping its +2 attack power followed by a natural speed advantage. Set up sweepers need time to get those boosts up though, but most are successful because they can calculate survival by the skin of their teeth then proceed to wreck shop unopposed. Most set up sweepers barely survive and sweep unopposed but a simple STAB Quick Attack or Extreme Speed acts as a hard check to anything looking to set up. No matter how fast a sweeper naturally is, it means nothing if Aqua Jet is guaranteed to go first due to +1 priority. Azumarill rose to prominence due to the need to stop Mega Blaziken in its tracks after a Swords Dance and its newly released hidden ability, Speed Boost. In any battle, trainers need to recognize priority users so that they can plan accordingly.

But of course, we need to talk about fairies and the type chart in general.

Fairy-type Pokémon!
The new Fairy-type was first introduced to hard counter dragons but also serves to counter the rising strength of fighting and dark-type Pokemon. This sudden shift in metagame is the reason people are saying ghosts are powerful this gen due to the taming of one of their best enemies, dark-types. Fairy as a type is mostly a defensive type, being able to soak up powerful fighting attacks like Close Combat while completely negating incoming Draco Meteors and Outrages. Fairies are also weak to poison and steel-type attacks, bringing interest to very offensively irrelevant types. When was the last type you thought to teach your Pokemon Sludge Bomb or Flash Cannon for coverage?

Most individual fairies also follow a defensive mantra, furthering cementing their status as walls and pivots. Unfortunately, most new fairies have weird fits: Sylveon demonstrates this with terrific HP and sp. defense but lacking in the defense department. The bad part is that most attacks Sylveon wants to tank are physical attacks, seriously hamstringing his defensive potential. A lot of fairies share this kind of obtuse direction, which reduces most notable fairy-types to a smaller, more easily predicted bunch like Azumarill or Gardevoir.

And yes, Azumarill. He shows up again on this list due to his new fairy/water typing. Most of the better fairy-types are retconned Pokémon. Azumarill is once again a big threat not only due to its power and bulk, but with his fairy-typing adds to its ability to wall just about anything that was a big threat in previous generations like Garchomp or well, Blaziken.

"Looks like its time to fuck shit up."

Notable threats
For purposes of simplicity, we'll be skipping Mega forms. Almost all megas are extremely powerful and warrant either specific counters or simply another Mega. Except for Mega Bannette.

In a move that surprised no one, Gengar is still at the top of the threats. In fact, while nothing particular has changed about him asides from an Uber banned Mega form, he's actually gotten more powerful due to the rise of ghost-types. With the introduction of fairies to disrupt dragons and darks, Gengar becomes stronger as dark-types shrink back and poison attacks are needed against fairies.

Speaking of ghosts, Aegislash is another example of the increased importance of ghost-types. With a very useful ghost/steel typing, Aegislash's unique ability, Stance Change, allows Aegislash to shifts its massive stats from an offensive state to a defensive one. By alternating between Kings Shield to go into defense form and Shadow Sneak for priority and offense form, most match ups with Aegislash boil down to 50/50 guessing games in order to bait Kings Shield.

I've already mentioned Azumarill and Talonflame. Both are priority based threats: one is a super bulky fairy while the other can basically priority smash anything due how universally useful flying-type is offensively. Whenever these two Pokemon arrive on the field, you'll most likely be switching to something that can take the hit because few will want to take a choice banded Aqua Jet or Brave Bird unless you intend to take them down with you.

Greninja has also made waves as one of the few starters with a lot of competitive potential. Its ability, Protean, changes its typing to its chosen attack. This effectively gives it STAB on all its attacks which is great because Greninja's offensive potential would've reached its limit early if not for STAB on all its attacks. With great speed and fragile defense, Greninja is a typical scout, especially with STAB U-Turn. Many successful Greninjas can successfuly hit with Hydro Pump, Ice Beam, and your choice of a third special move which is usually Dark Pulse. Most water-types use Ice Beam for coverage against grass but Greninja's can hit especially hard due to Protean. Because of Protean though, there are a lot of weirder sets like using Spikes to become ground-type and block an electric attack, or Shadow Sneak to become ghost-type and spinblock. Most of these unorthodox sets are underpowered compared to an all-out attack set Greninja's speed should always be its most valued asset.

Rotom's Wash and Heat forms have also received stealthy little buffs. Electric-types can no longer be paralyzed in any way, similar to how fire-types are immune to burns. With a distinct advantage to switching in on Thunder Wave, Earthquake and Rotom-H also switching in on Will-o-wisp, Rotom's the world over are usually trained to be bulky and with its typing, Rotom makes a very effectively pivot that fits into nearly any team. Not only can Rotom-W and H switch in Thunder Wave and Will-o-wisp, it can also return the favor itself, making it a defensive mammoth that's difficult to deal with by itself.

And there you have it. This article has been a long time in coming and that's because its a combination of gleening information from theorycrafting and personal experience, along with the fact that gen 6 has had quite the shake up, but we're finally caught up on the metagame for Pokémon as of 2014. If you have anything to add, I would love to hear your personal thoughts on Pokemon battles, not just for me but for any other readers! See you guys on the battle field and in the next generation!
Photo Photo Photo