Phoenotopia Forgotten Forest navigation + yet another glitch (Thought Dump Thursday 3/31/16)

Screen Shot 2016-03-31 at 11.08.48 PM

See anything wrong with this picture?
Yeah, that’s the glitch.

Recently, I was experimenting with movement through Forgotten Forest in 100% speedruns, mostly because my performance in that area in my current 100% record was…less than adequate (in fact, even worse than that of my first 100% run), and I feel like sharing insight on what I consider to be an ideal run of this particular segment rather than trying to find time to improve my 100% time (which is much easier said than done, mostly because I’m in my final semester of college and I would prefer to improve my any% time if anything).

First off, here is a video. It may not be perfect (after all, I am human), but it gives an idea of a Forgotten Forest 100% route that is radically different from the original route.

As you can see, rather than doing everything as intended (except maybe grabbing the fourth key), we skip three out of four required keys in the entire area.

How this route differs from the original route:

  • I decided to add an extra Jar of Honey to the route (which will be bought as a second jar during the Sunflower Road backtrack), hence the honey consumption at 0:15.
  • Shortly after the honey consumption, I demonstrate a neat little shortcut that leaves two fewer Arcs (and one less Harpy) to deal with. It relies on the mechanic that the loading zone to the left is actually a wall in which you can embed the Javelin (which you can call Out of Bounds Javelin, or OoBJ, even though that’s pretty much the only practical use for this glitch) and climb up to the second level before you’re supposed to.
  • Starting at 0:31, I get ready to set up a Pot Head Clip (full info on that glitch in Thought Dump Thursday 3/3/16) that allows me to bypass the first key door at 0:43. Yep, I have now found a practical use for Pot Head Clipping. (Actually, it’s useful in Bandits’ Lair to completely avoid the pit of bandits on the way to key 2.)
  • With the honey boost, I can do a little hover at 0:50 that bypasses the Plant Dog, and the stamina regen rate makes it much easier to get the first moonstone in the area.
  • At 1:07, I throw the Javelin at maximum height, use a Bomb Jump to get up onto that Javelin, and do a little Javelin Bomb Jump (JBJ) followed by a Pixel Hover to bypass the second key door (and obtain the second moonstone in the process). If, somehow, the Pixel Hover is not enough, JBJ again. Honestly, this is the worst part of the new route; in fact, my previous take failed it three times (and therefore I felt that I had to re-record and somehow managed to pull it off first try in the re-recording). Still, it’s no more annoying than the pressure plate puzzle that you would have to do otherwise.
  • As for the “yet another glitch” I mentioned in the title, it is set up at 1:49 and demonstrated at 2:06. Here’s the gist of it: If you push two stacked objects, the top slightly farther forward than the bottom, into a locked door, the door moves with the stacked objects. I randomly found this when I was trying to no avail to find a Pot Head Clip through that locked door, and I call it Door Pushing. That’s right: literally pushing a door. Crazy, right? This allows you to bypass the third key door and obtain the third moonstone.
    This technique is sometimes limited, however, as the object on top has a tendency to match its horizontal positioning with the bottom object, which will end up halting the Door Push (in which case you would have to reset the positioning of the objects). Also keep in mind that this is not just limited to duos of containers; you can place a bomb on top of a container to achieve the same effect. I tried this in Bandits’ Lair, hoping I could find a way to skip the two key doors, but when you push one or more doors and leave the screen, the doors’ positions will be reset, meaning even if you were to bypass the two key doors and capture the Bandit Boss, you would be softlocked behind the key doors with no way out.
    I plan on testing this in Dread Lands as well, but since it is dangerously close to midnight, I will postpone such testing and edit this post with my findings later on.
    4/3/16 EDIT: I’ve tried applying the glitch to Dread Lands, only to come to the conclusion that it’s not worth the trouble. The trouble that I find is, as I mentioned earlier, the technique is sometimes limited. More times than not, I find that the object on top matches its horizontal positioning with the bottom object. I think I’ve had some moments where I could push the door as far as it could go, but I cannot, for the life of me, find any clear meaning behind that effect. If I could, the following applications would be worth it (but, for now, they aren’t):

    • skipping the O-key door for the moonstone on the second screen to the left
    • skipping the second X-key door
  • At 2:19, I finally got it through my head to throw the Javelin while waiting for the bomb to detonate during the Big Robot mark II “skip” to obtain the fourth key. (This key can be skipped, but it would require a boatload of JBJs to bypass the door, which is totally not worth it.)
  • several other minor optimizations that I haven’t mentioned

Why this run in particular is not perfect (just FYI):

  • At 0:33, there was a bit of a hovering failure.
  • bit of an unintentional switch to the Bombs at 1:19
  • box breaking is hard (1:28-1:40)
  • Door Push setup was a bit suboptimal (I mean, what was that little idling at 2:03?)
  • failed Ki Spear throw at 3:09
  • could have done better against the Arcs later on
  • sloppy menuing at 3:27
  • climbed up a few too many branches at 3:34

Even with the few hitches in that particular run, consider the following. Forgotten Forest in my current 100% record took roughly 9 minutes, while in my first 100% run it took roughly 7 minutes. With the new route, I took only four-and-a-half minutes, and that was on my second try.

What am I trying to say? I dunno. It might be some roundabout way of saying “sub 2 IGT is imminent.” But, like I said, I would prefer to improve my any% time if I had time for Phoenotopia runs.

Nowi Wins À la prochaine! (Until next time!)

Gorebyss (Poké Monday 3/21/16)

 RNG (Gorebyss)

Tier: PU
Type: Water
Base Stats: 55 HP, 84 Atk, 105 Def, 114 Sp.Atk, 75 Sp.Def, 52 Speed
Abilities: Swift Swim, Hydration (hidden)

Usable moves: Agility, Aqua Tail, Baton Pass, Blizzard, Body Slam, Coil, Double-Edge, Façade, Frustration, Hidden Power (Electric, Fighting, Fire, Grass), Hydro Pump, Ice Beam, Protect, Psychic, Rest, Return, Scald, Shadow Ball, Shell Smash, Signal Beam, Sleep Talk, Substitute, Surf, Toxic, Waterfall

Overview

Gorebyss is one of 11 fully-evolved Pokémon (4 in its tier) with access to Shell Smash (courtesy of its pre-evolution), a wonderful boosting move introduced in the 5th generation that boosts its offensive stats by 2 stages while lowering its defensive stats by 1 (although note that the stat drops can be restored with White Herb). Because of that—along with a respectable base 114 Special Attack, decent 55/105/75 bulk, and typing you can’t go wrong with offensively or defensively—it is a formidable foe, even if its coverage (which is basically STAB + Ice Beam + Hidden Power) is relatively normal for a Water-type and its below-average base 52 Speed makes it easy to Taunt.

It does also get Baton Pass (and is one of only 3 with access to the combination of Shell Smash and Baton Pass), but the Baton Pass clause makes it so that Speed cannot be passed with any other stat, which in turn makes it illegal to run Shell Smash and Baton Pass on the same moveset.

Even still, Gorebyss is a threat that can wreak havoc if left to set up.

Set

Gorebyss @ White Herb
Ability: Swift Swim
EVs: 16 HP / 252 SpA / 240 Spe
Modest Nature
IVs: 0 Atk / 30 SpA
– Shell Smash
– Hydro Pump
– Ice Beam
– Hidden Power [Grass]

Simple set here. Shell Smash boosts Gorebyss’s strength to impressive levels while patching up its poor Speed stat. Hydro Pump is its strongest STAB and boasts great coverage and power as usual. Ice Beam is mandatory coverage for Grass- and Dragon-types that resist its STAB. Hidden Power Grass grants it further coverage, specifically against opposing Water-types, which especially helps against Pokémon immune to Water such as Lapras and Politoed.

EVs and nature ensure maximum power and slightly add to its bulk while keeping it faster than max Speed neutral-natured base 50s such as Regice and Bellossom. (However, you could go max Speed just to speed tie with Huntail and opposing Gorebyss.) White Herb is used to restore its bulk when it goes for Shell Smash. Swift Swim is the preferred ability because, although the use of rain is rather limited in the tier, a direct Speed boost would be better than situational status prevention in the event that rain does occur (especially against opposing Swift Swim users such as Golduck). IVs are tuned for Hidden Power Grass with minimized Attack to reduce damage from Foul Play and whatnot.

Note that one Shell Smash is not enough to outspeed Choice Scarf Rotom-F. This fact is critical when using Gorebyss. Either eliminate Rotom-F beforehand or try to get another boost before attempting to face it. Sawsbuck, Simisage, and medium-sized Gourgeist are other potentially Scarfed threats to be wary of when using this set.

Other Options

Substitute can be used as a failsafe against the aforementioned Scarfed threats, although it requires giving up offensive coverage and, in some situations, sacrificing Gorebyss’s durability. Hidden Power Electric is an alternative for HP Grass as a means to guarantee OHKOing Swanna regardless of boosts, although keep in mind that it’s less powerful against Relicanth and Whiscash, not to mention it’s useless against Lightning Rod Seaking. That’s all in terms of moves.

As for items, Gorebyss could swap its White Herb for a Life Orb (for extra power) or a Lum Berry (as a failsafe against status conditions such as paralysis). Wacan Berry and Rindo Berry are also options, and the purpose of such items is to make it easier to set up against faster super-effective attackers.

Sample Team

http://pastebin.com/sqceXuDz

This team contains:

  • Gorebyss (set above)
  • Torkoal for hazards and hazard control
  • Leafeon to complete the Fire-Water-Grass core
  • Ditto to check opposing sweepers
  • Clefairy as a special wall with clerical support
  • Ninjask as a Baton Pass recipient (although its type synergy with Leafeon is not that great)

I have been playing Fire Emblem Fates: Birthright (Thought Dump Thursday 3/17/16)

3/19/16 EDIT: I just realized I had “Top Three Thursday” in the title. Ugh…my brain. *fixes*

20160317_222456.jpg

This is my “business” card. I’m not asking for anything. It’s just…there. (Sorry for the quality; the picture was taken with my smartphone.)

So, I bought this game, Fire Emblem Fates, about a week and a half ago. I chose the path of Hoshido in Birthright (mostly because I dislike Camilla) and, since I already have experience with the series (having played the crap out of Awakening and beaten Radiant Dawn once), I decided to go Hard Classic, as it says on my card. Based on my experience with Awakening, I chose to have increased Speed and lowered Resistance with Dragonstone as my extra weapon. So far, I am up to Chapter 14 with two dead units and one game over.

First was the game over. It happened in Chapter 4, where I activated a dangerous Dragon Vein that caused four Faceless (including the leader) to gang up on me and take all my HP.

Next, Orochi died in Chapter 10 as a Level 7 Diviner. She was paired up with Hayato, and it came to my mind to let a pair of ninjas attack the Diviner pair. Since the combat forecast looked fine when they were paired up, I carelessly thought that it would be okay to move Orochi to the ninjas’ attacking range and separate Hayato from her. However, what I didn’t realize was that Hayato provided an important boost in Speed while they were paired up, and with the loss of that Speed boost, Orochi was attacked twice by the lead ninja (and once by that ninja’s partner as well) and killed.

On a more recent note, I lost Hinata, who was a Level 14 Samurai, in Chapter 13. It was quite a dicey situation where I thought I had to risk either Hinata or Sakura (although I was actually wrong because I overestimated the “danger” that Sakura was in) and thought that there was an alternative that would keep both of them safe. I thought I could heal Hinata and he would be fine. However, I was wrong, as I underestimated the damage output of the General that was threatening him. The entire situation was caused by a critical miscalculation in Dual Guard timing and unit placement. (If Hinata had had just one free space around him, I could have had Azura sing for him and have him finish off that pesky General.)

Still, I am really enjoying my experience so far. One thing I noticed that was a bit disappointing, though, was that they nerfed (or perhaps balanced?) Dragonstones significantly. Notably, they are now magical instead of physical, they no longer have 1-2 range (now only 1), and they cannot perform follow-up attacks. Speaking of follow-up attacks, though, it’s neat how many new weapons and mechanics they added. In particular, “Weak to follow-ups (-x effective Speed)” is something quite out of the ordinary. It’s also cool how some weapons actually grant a damage bonus against weapon types rather than affinity (by which I mean beast, dragon, or flier), namely Axe Splitter, Swordcatcher, and Pike Ruin Club. On that note, it’s also neat how Hoshido and Nohr have different weapons; while Nohr has the traditional swords, lances, axes, bows, tomes, and daggers, Hoshido has more…unconventional weapon types: katana, nagitana, clubs, yumi, scrolls, and shuriken (in respective order). Still on the note of weapons, Mini Bow is a very cool one.

On another note, Fates overthrew the system of Master and Second Seals. Instead, they have Master Seals, Heart Seals, Partner Seals, and Friendship Seals. Master Seals are the same as usual, but the other three Seals mentioned can be used at any level (whereas the former Second Seal was unusable by base classes below level 10) and do not reset the user’s level. Heart Seals change class based on the unit, Partner Seals based on an S-rank relationship, and Friendship Seals based on an A+-rank relationship. (The A+ rank, incidentally, is another new feature of the game. I haven’t tried it for myself, but it’s neat that they have some way to express special bonds between two close friends of the same gender.)

Castles are a great mechanic, sort of like Join Avenue in Pokémon Black 2 and White 2 but better. I don’t want to go into much detail (and I’ll use the excuse that it’s dangerously close to midnight), so I’ll just leave it at that. My castle is named “The Nowi Nest” for reasons that should be obvious.

In terms of characters, the only thing I really have to note is that Oboro reminds me of Umi Sonoda from Love Live because of her dark blue hair and dramatic facial expressions. Also, while I dislike Camilla as a character (and now that I know her better, it’s not just based on her appearance), I will say that it’s intriguing how she is a wyvern rider that wields tomes (i.e., Malig Knight(?)).

To end this off, here is an overview of my units. All pairs are S-rank unless specified otherwise.

  • Draco (Lv.7 Hoshido Noble) + Hinoka (Lv.4 Falcon Knight)
  • Silas (Lv.3 Paladin) + Mozu (Lv.1 Merchant)
  • Oboro (Lv.1 Spear Master) + Saizo (Lv.1 Master Ninja)
  • Subaki (Lv.2 Kinshi Knight) + Azura (Lv.15 Songstress)
  • Shigure (Lv.1 Falcon Knight) + Kana (Lv.1 Hoshido Noble) [currently A-rank]
  • Hayato (Lv.1 Basara) + Sakura (Lv.1 Onmyoji)
  • Rinkah (Lv.12 Oni Savage) + Azama (Lv.1 Great Master)
  • Kagero (Lv.12 Ninja) + Kaze (Lv.12 Ninja)
  • Setsuna (Lv.1 Sniper) + Takumi (Lv.1 Kinshi Knight) [currently C-rank]
  • Kaden (Lv.14 Kitsune) + Hana (Lv.11 Samurai) [currently unranked]
  • Felicia (Lv.14 Maid) [married Hinata when he was alive]
  • Scarlet (Lv.1 Wyvern Lord)
  • Ryoma (Lv.4 Swordmaster)
  • Reina (Lv.2 Kinshi Knight)
  • Jakob (Lv.16 Butler) [prize for unrestricted castle battle]
  • Caleb (Lv.12 Nohr Prince) [prize for unrestricted castle battle]

Nowi Wins À la prochaine! (Until next time!)

Horsea (Poké Monday on Wednesday 3/9/16)

Why on Wednesday? Vacation + studies, that’s why.

 RNG (Horsea)

Tier: LC
Type: Water
Base Stats: 30 HP, 40 Atk, 70 Def, 70 Sp.Atk, 25 Sp.Def, 60 Speed
Abilities: Swift Swim, Sniper, Damp (hidden)

Usable moves: Agility, Blizzard, Clear Smog, Disable, Double-Edge, Dragon Dance, Dragon Pulse, Façade, Flash Cannon, Frustration, Hidden Power (Electric, Fighting, Fire, Grass), Hydro Pump, Ice Beam, Outrage, Protect, Rest, Return, Scald, Signal Beam, Sleep Talk, Substitute, Surf, Toxic, Waterfall

Overview

Water is the most common type in Little Cup, belonging to roughly 18% of the Pokémon in the tier (44 in count). Because there are so many Water-types, some of which are forces to be reckoned with (notably Chinchou, Carvanha, Corphish, Omanyte, Shellder, and Skrelp), Horsea has a hard time standing out. After all, its bulk is pretty bad overall (although its Defense stat is respectable), its Speed and Special Attack stats are merely average, its Attack stat is unsalvageable, and its movepool is not much more than run-of-the-mill for a Water-type. Sniper with Focus Energy and a Scope Lens may seem cool in theory, considering the trio allows Horsea to deal 2.25 times damage with every attack, but, along with the fact that Focus Energy takes up a valuable moveslot and requires a whole turn to use, the prevalence of Knock Off means that Horsea would fear having its Scope Lens taken out of the equation, in which case it would only have a 50% chance of dealing 2.25 times damage. Plus, its Speed is, again, merely average, meaning that it speed ties with key threats and falls behind faster threats—unless it packs Agility, which also takes up a valuable moveslot and another whole turn.

If there’s anything that makes Horsea even remotely worth using, it’s being a specially offensive Swift Swim user that is slightly faster and stronger than Mantyke (although without the secondary STAB), much faster than Omanyte (enough so to cut it past the likes of Shell Smash Binacle and Jolly Scarf Deerling), and much stronger than Tympole. Even then, taking advantage of Swift Swim is quite difficult, especially considering rain is the only weather that cannot be set in LC through use of an ability (whereas the tier has Vulpix for sun, Hippopotas for sand, and Snover and Amaura for hail).

So, you can lead a Horsea to the waters of LC, but you can’t make it drink the tears of the opposition.

Set

Horsea @ Life Orb
Ability: Swift Swim
Level: 5
EVs: 200 SpA / 80 SpD / 196 Spe
Modest Nature
IVs: 1 Atk / 30 SpA / 30 SpD
– Hydro Pump
– Ice Beam
– Hidden Power [Ground]
– Rain Dance

This is the most Horsea can make of what little it has. Hydro Pump is its strongest STAB, Ice Beam covers Grass-types, and Hidden Power Ground lets it hit Dry Skin users (i.e., Croagunk and Helioptile) super-effectively. Rain Dance is put in the final moveslot in case other rain setters are out of commission or its rain is overridden by some other weather.

Swift Swim is the ability of choice for obvious reasons. EVs are focused on Speed and Special Attack for maximum offensive prowess (with Modest nature for maximum power and because a speed-boosting nature is relatively unnecessary with Swift Swim) with the rest thrown into its weaker defense (although throwing them into the superior defense could make it easier to survive and/or set up on physical attackers). Life Orb is the item of choice for the highest damage output with freedom to switch between moves. The cool thing about running Life Orb is that Horsea does not need to reduce its HP IV to reach a Life Orb number (19 HP, which cuts LO recoil down to 1 instead of 2). Shows how petty its HP stat is, though.

Other Options

Hidden Power Grass hits opposing Water-types, but they take just about as much damage from Hydro Pump (except, of course, those with Water Absorb or Storm Drain). That’s about it.

Sample Team

http://pastebin.com/uJ6uTpjq – The central idea of this team is rain, and the team went through a few tweaks before the final cut (first because Diglett was in the middle of being suspect tested (i.e., temporarily banned), then because I forgot to put hazards on the team, and then because I noticed that the team was susceptible to Fighting-types).

This team contains:

  • Horsea (set above)
  • Pawniard because it’s a mainstream threat (yeah, that’s about it)
  • Voltorb for rain support and, to some extent, opposing Water-types
  • Mienfoo for Ferroseed (at least that was its original purpose), revenge killing, and just being Mienfoo
  • Kabuto for hazards and hazard control (initially had Waterfall over Stealth Rock until the tweak due to lack of hazards)
  • Trubbish for Fighting-types (and more hazards)

Another glitch in Phoenotopia + current speedrun PBs (Thought Dump Thursday 3/3/16)

Screen Shot 2016-03-03 at 8.35.49 PM

Well, looky here. It would seem that I am trapped.
(No, those walls are not destructible or penetrable by normal means.)

Back in Thought Dump Thursday 1/7/16, I mentioned everything about a glitch known as Loot Duping that I found when I first considered speedrunning this game. In more recent news, 1 or 2 days after my latest 100% run (I don’t know which), I discovered yet another glitch. I call it:

Pot Head Clipping

Why the weird name, you may ask? Well…shown below is a video demonstrating how I first performed the glitch.

Near the Prince Tower save statue (before Kobold Mercenary General), I had the wild idea of making a weird arrangement of pots, one of which is placed on my head and at least one other of which is to my immediate left, and managing to clip myself through the barricade guarding the moonstone. It works with any variety of container, but I just call it Pot Head Clipping because (1) it originated with a pot, and (2) it sounds more dank that way.

The way I see it, the game behaves weirdly if you jump with a container placed on your head. Instead of preventing you from jumping or making you jump with the container, it takes Gale and moves her to the nearest available space surrounding her initial position. In this case, as it is evident at around 0:20 of the video, if you were to remove the factor of the pot(s) to your immediate left, the game would simply move Gale to the immediate left of her initial position. However, if you do like in the beginning of the video with the pots to your left, the game will consider the nearest available space to be to the immediate right of the barricade, hence the clip.

Sadly, in terms of speedrunning, I have not as of yet found a practical use for this glitch. In the case presented above, if done right, it does save a little time over doing it the intended way without a stamina boost, but with a stamina boost, the intended way is slightly faster.

However, the glitch does have a number of other cool applications (such as the one shown at the beginning of this post, which was taken in the Heart Ruby area of Daea prison):

Screen Shot 2016-03-03 at 9.43.09 PM

Daea Prison – D block
Peek-a-boo! My Javelin and I see you!

Screen Shot 2016-03-03 at 9.59.55 PM

Dread Lands – second screen from south entrance
Guess where I am? (Hint: center camera)

Bandits’ Lair / Atai – Nebula Armlet area
Undeniable proof that the left and right rooms are connected.
(This was recorded using Gyazo GIF, hence the poor quality.)

All three of the applications above abuse the fact that you can actually go out of bounds in some areas, which can only be explained as weirdly programmed walls; rather than being given complete impenetrability, only a box width (as I would assume) is made impenetrable, while the rest merely looks like the rest of the wall and is actually just empty space. It’s even weirder in the Daea prison application because some parts of the OoB area aren’t even on the same layer as the others. (By the way, the Dread Lands clip was done using the stationary Rolling Bombs at the far left side of the screen in question.)

So…yeah. Long story short, I found another glitch. While it is fun and has some cool applications, it has little to no practical use. (Here I’m hoping someone will try to prove me wrong.)

Anyway, moving on.

Current speedrun PBs (any% and 100%)

Since I wrote my speedrunning analyses on this game (Thought Dump Thursdays 1/7/16 and 2/4/16), I have been working to improve my times whenever I get the opportunity (which is getting more and more unlikely as I progress through the semester), and I will post my personal best runs on my YouTube channel EchecCritiqueMisc if they beat my record at the time of uploading.

Another way to keep up with my runs of this game is through the speedrun.com leaderboard: http://www.speedrun.com/phoenotopia

So, without further ado…

Current any% record – 54:52 (57m IGT)

This run had an amazing Dread Lands + Mul Cavern, but the rest of it has “improvable” written all over it. I’m glad I got the “backup” strat for Prince Tower floor 6, though, even if it cost me time. At any rate, I definitely plan on improving this time in the near(?) future, even if it took me quite a grind for this run in the first place. I’m thinking an in-game time of 56 minutes would be a good milestone.

Current 100% record – 1:59:43 (2h 2m IGT)

Much better than my first run, and I actually did manage to cut my record down to sub 2 RTA. (Next is sub 2 IGT if I ever have the patience to grind this category any further.) Honestly, I think the worst part of this run was the Loot Duping. I had so many shaky Loot Dupes in that run alone that it’s not even funny. In other news, got Translucent Meat on the 5th farm (whereas the previous run had perfect RNG with that), the death in Forgotten Forest wasted some time, I could have done the Heart Ruby in Mul Cavern more quickly had I had a better idea what I was doing, and Harpy Skip was second try again. Golem Skip, though… I got that first try, and the setup was almost perfect. Also, there was a massive rerouting between my first run and this one, hence the lack of splits until the end.

So, I guess that’s all for now.

Nowi Wins À la prochaine! (Until next time!)