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StriderHoang's blog

Strider's top 10 Kirby powers
2:50 AM on 05.09.2014
The Rebellion Strikes Back! A primer to FTL's Advanced Edition
12:51 AM on 04.12.2014
Mercenary Kings: This is my gun
1:47 AM on 04.08.2014
Late night thoughts: STEEEAAAAAAM coupons
3:40 PM on 04.05.2014
Happy birthday Mr. Mayor
2:58 AM on 03.12.2014
How I 3DS: Strider edition
12:24 AM on 02.28.2014





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About




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

Another goddamn 10 things about Strider

~Front Paged
- Downloadables: Every night is Monday Night Combat!
- eSports: Someone you know is hype
- Relaxation: Secretly training
- I calls dibs on Gaige!
- Let's explore space! My top 10 space games

~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

- The Striderhoang series Dtoid Trading Card Roundup

- Strider's top 10 Kirby powers

-

~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!
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After finishing Kirby Triple Deluxe, I came to the realization that not all powers, at least in Triple Deluxe, are made equally. Sure, that's always been the case but now more than ever do I see the Fighter power being nerfed and the Archer power being insanely flexible to serve a variety of uses. Kirby has never been about difficulty but rather whimsical charm, colorful design, and of course, creative powers. If anything, we enjoy Kirby to see what sort of crazy powers he can copy then use to decimate the unsuspecting local fauna. While not a definitive list acknowledging all of Kirby's titles and powers, these are some of my favorite powers across several console generations' worth of Kirby games.



Sword (literally every Kirby game ever)
Starting the list is one of Kirby's most classic powers and the de facto workhorse for simple hack 'n' slash damage. You can never go wrong with the sword with its easy-to-use grounded slash and aerial spinning slash. Over the years, the sword has gained new moves, becoming more sophisticated, and yet it's still as easy as ever to simple walk up to fools and chop them to pieces.

Sword is notable for always being present during a Kirby games' recurring boss fight: the duel with Metaknight. This chivalrous on-again, off-again anti-hero always presents Kirby with a sword to use for honorable, one-on-one combat. Hell, you even get the chance to play as Metaknight in some games and of course, you'll be using a permanent, enhanced sword power.



Mirror (Kirby Superstar)
Mirror looks like a palette swap of Beam but Mirror is potentially more useful in application. In Superstar, Mirror allows not only for constant DPS with its primary mirror wave attack, but projectile reflection with the same attack. Mirror also changes Kirby's dash to be a sort of graceful, floaty skid across the floor, which is mostly cosmetic but fits with another attack you may have spammed a lot, the dash attack. Splitting Kirby into two images forwards and backwards of his trajectory, it does decent damage, has good range, and it unaffected by stage geography, letting you attack through walls!

It's a shame Mirror was only in Superstar and that your copy partner was so ugly. But great balance in both offense and defense, you can't go wrong with Mirror. Unless you read further along for my absolute favorite Superstar power.



Rick the hamster + Stone = Balancing Boulder (Kirby's Dreamland 2)
Stone has always been a double-edged sword type of weapon. The ability to crush foes under the weight of a massive rock has always yielded results known scientifically as totally rad. But leaving your rock form while enemies or bosses were standing around was problematic. Enter Rick the hamster, Kirby's first animal friend. By using rock together with Rick, you evolve the base form stone to its next form: a boulder.

By turning Rick into a huge, circular rock, Kirby can continue to move by balancing on Rick while you steamroll everything in your path like some nightmare out of Wile E. Coyote. True to the stone ability, you fall like a rock off of high places because, well, you're a rock. Also, Kirby isn't a rock, so flying and leaping enemies can attack Kirby like, "Fuck this rock crap. I'm hitting the weakest link!"

Course, you can leave rock mode and just jump and start the whole process, complete with a crushing pressure that your enemies will surely either go to a doctor or a morgue for.



Bomb + Cutter = Exploding Ninja Stars (Kirby 64)
Kirby 64 makes all the sense in the world. Combine fire and ice and you become a melting ice cube! While mixing bomb with cutter gets you deadly, explosive ninja stars. Wait, huh? Ok, nevermind, that's pretty fucking sweet.

And it's not just a matter of simply throwing these babies and having them explode mere seconds after sticking to a target. Kirby has been a ninja in at least two separate games so he's capable of throwing these things so fast, they pretty much disappear from sight until they stop in their target.

I like a lot of bomb-based power combos in Kirby 64 but this one takes the cake for sheer speed and range. Also, they're fucking ninja stars.



Nago the cat + Cleaning = Cleaning Cloth
Those little broom guys have always been, literally, a powerless enemy. You couldn't copy anything useful from them. Then in Dreamland 3, you can finally copy their amazing ability to sweep floors and clean stuff! It was truly a turning point for the series. *Editor's note: no, it was not.

In Dreamland 3, a new friend in the form of Nago the cat joined Kirby's land based Aquaman antics, showing his gratitude to Kirby's friendship by holding him beneath his paws like a ball. Swallow an agent of cleaning and Nago will flatten Kirby into a towel that he rides and cleans like something out of an anime. You know, that trope where Japanese teenagers gain character and experience by laying down a towel and pushing it along a wooden floor to clean. These same teenagers probably kicked themselves when mops or Swifters were introduced to temple cleaning closets the world over but that's neither here nor now.

The Cleaning Cloth solves three problems at once: it gives you forward locomotion, it destroys enemies in your path, and leaves behind a clean sheen free of the blood and entrails of your foes you just vanquished.



Suplex (Kirby Superstar)
This power, only available by kicking Bugzy's ass in single combat (or two-on-one if you bring a friend), is absolutely my favorite power from Superstar. Though limited in use against boss enemies, Suplex sends Kirby hurtling forward, eager to grab any hapless enemy stupid enough to think things will turn out differently then before.

After latching onto Kirby's victim, you can proceed to slam them in any of four directions, so long as you also jam afterwards. Every time I decided to slam and jam, I usually used the backwards Big Suplex or the forwards Pile Drive but you can't go wrong with the Torrent Lariat or Back Breaker. I mean, Waddle Dees have backs to be broken, right?

Even against bosses, this power has its use by slam jamming debris from the boss into them, doing as much damage as a normal redirection attack. So if you wanna slam, copy Suplex. If you wanna jam, copy Suplex. Slam, jam, thank you ma'am, get on the floor and jam. Hey DJ, turn it up. Etc. Etc.



Beam (Several Kirby games)
Beam is another staple power that's been around like Sword. It takes the simple concept of energy projection, which aims to destroy everything in its path, and puts a cute hat on it. Think Scott Summers if he wasn't such a perpetual dick. I mean, no matter what alternate reality it is, Scott is always a dick. What is this? A universal constant?

Beam has come a long way from simply having Kirby wave his hand down and seeing sparks come out. In Superstar, Beam gained a ton of new moves like many attacks. Most notable was the charge blast, ramping its damage up considerably. The dash attack was underwhelming at first but became much more powerful in its most recent iteration in Triple Deluxe. But my favorite application was the dashing, jumping attack, where Kirby sprays the ground with a barrage of energy spheres.

Beam is like good old fashion vanilla. Simple but effective tactics. And what more do you want? Anyone can become a wrestler I suppose. Can you shoot energy beams out of your fingertips? If yes, please record yourself on YouTube and title it, "Not a fraud. THE REAL THING! BEAM FINGERS!"



Ninja (Kirby Superstar, Kirby Triple Deluxe)
The Ninja power was introduced in Superstar and proved to be a a complex but rewarding power. It has a great mix of effective ranges, from tickling enemies from afar with throwing kunai, to close range slice and dice using dashing strikethroughs and slashing shock waves. It even has a divekick, which everyone knows is a game breaking power.

The ability to attack from far from safety and to attack up close with much stronger attacks allows Kirby to either push his luck or keep on surviving. He even explodes after taking damage, providing a defensive measure with the ability.

Ninja changes slightly in Triple Deluxe compared to Superstar but retains much of its flexibility. Kunai from afar and this time, a sword for close range with significantly more range to his melee attacks. Triple Deluxe adds two new area of effect attacks but arguably the biggest change was to its defensive measure: instead of exploding automatically, after taking damage, Kirby can pre-empt damage by guarding at the last second to perform the classic kawarimi technique where ninjas swap their position with a mundane log to misdirect attacks. When Kirby does this, he's effectively invincible while the log holds his position for a finite amount of time until he reappears.



Archer (Kirby Triple Deluxe)
Easily the most flexible and easiest to use ability in Triple Deluxe is the bow and arrow he uses for his Archer ability. Kirby is capable of charging and shooting high powered arrows and can hit virtually any spot on screen by positioning himself and aiming up or down as he charges. The ability to charge and aim lets Archer snipe enemies, mid-bosses, and world bosses regardless of the situation.

The Archer also has two other notable moves. By running and jumping, Kirby can unleash a quick barrage of three arrows downwards to throw down very respectable, mobile damage from the air. Like a similar move from the Beam power, it also hikes Kirby upwards a bit, able to keep him aloft shooting downwards for an extended amount of time. Kirby can also utilize camouflage and allows almost all attacks to pass through him harmlessly. He can even shoot sneak attack arrows from his hiding spot. Kirby can't phase through all attacks though, particularly attacks where a large boss rams Kirby with their size but it's useful to avoid complicated pattern attacks. Kirby even has a CQC option by dashing and attacking, slashing twice with an arrow. It has an elongated animation, leaving Kirby vulnerable but it's great in a pinch.



Fire + Spark = Match Spark aka the Human Torch
We all know that despite Kirby looking all cute, he is actually a badass. He can do it all after all, assuming he consumes his enemies. Here's a real power to really drive home your strength to your foes though. You think you're hard? Trying lighting yourself on fire and running into people to set them on fire.

We're not talking Human Torch stuff exactly. Human Torch is ok with being on fire because that's his special power. Kirby's special power isn't exactly to set himself on fire but just careful fire manipulation. So the kid gloves come off and he decides, "Fuck you're couch. I'm lighting myself on fire and taking you with me!"

After generating enough static electricity with towel, he sparks into a regular California brush fire, running around like a mad man, obstacles and monsters be damned. Get in his way? You can't hurt him! He's already burning his flesh off just to hurt you. You think he gives a damn son?

There are tons of powers I decided to leave off the list from Kirby 64's Triple Missile's, to the classic Cutter, to even a redundant Copy power which produces a partner that can copy powers like Kirby but these are some of my favorites from my many years of playing Kirby games. What are some of your favorite Kirby games and why?
Photo Photo Photo










Iíve plugged countless hours into FTL and I still donít 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 Iíve never beaten the Flagship, Iíve 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, youíre 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 doesnít start with important weapons anyways!



To go along with this change, these two subsystems also have a special 4th upgrade thatís only obtainable if the subsystem is fully upgraded and manned. While crew wonít 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 youíll realize, youíll 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 doesnít 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 enemiesí minds and turns them to your side. You canít give them orders though, so theyíll 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, youíll 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 controlís 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. Youíve hit the jackpot if the enemy pilot is a mantis. Lastly, mind control is a great defense against enemy boarding parties if youíre crew isnít prepared well for them. While you canít 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 whatís 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 youíll be sitting on a small hoard of drone parts if you donít use them at all. Hacking is not only a great use of those drone parts, itís 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, youíll 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, youíre 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 itíll 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 canít 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. Theyíll receive a skill penalty on death, but mantis and rockmen have little to fear from other aliens as long as theyíre 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! Iíve even survived situations that wouldíve 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 isnít 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 sheís got
Iíve only recently learned that Iíve 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. Thatíd 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.

Itís 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.

Youíre 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 donít hit that robot itch youíre looking for due to their dependence on something as stupid as oxygen, thereís always the lanius with their unique quirks. They donít 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 canít share rooms with crew because theyíll suffocate them and theyíll 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 donít 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.

Itís important to remember that they donít play nicely with other friendly crew unless theyíre also lanius. So while draining oxygen would be fun for enemies, it makes planning attacks complicated when you canít 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 crewís sake.

Miscellaneous equipment: all the other stuff you canít 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 Manís 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. Thereís even a unique missile model called the Swarm which encourages full charge shots to fire 3 missiles at the cost of 1!



Stunners
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 canít 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. Theyíll 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.

Flak
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. Theyíve 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 Iíve found flak unreliable on their own due to its extreme inaccuracy. Youíll 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 theyíre 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 theyíll 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.
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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!
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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.

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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?
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