Tag Archives: games

Dissecting the Ver.6.5 Update

When it comes to pazudora, I’ll admit I’m a little obsessed. Having had an extensive period of non-IAPing, interspersed by short bursts of somewhat uncontrolled but still moderate IAPing, then another few months of being a free player, I’d have trouble placing myself in a category as a player. Juxtaposing myself with the average japanese IAPer however, I’d be more inclined to label my sizable amounts of everyday thinking about this game as fantasizing and theorycrafting than actual planning that those with fat wallets can do. After all, one can only have so much proactivity with the limited stamina pool that each day provides, along with many, many distractions and deterrents along the way. Perhaps this is why I tend to have such a critical outlook on every piece of news (let alone a huge update) – rather than just swallow it whole and start acting on bringing those novelties to life like the other players.

Let’s have a look at the new update banner shall we? What do we see?

top

Idunn and Idunna.

What?!

Provided you can stop swooning from their cuteness, the next emotion almost everyone will feel is bafflement. Why them? The expectations of the player base were certainly high prior to the long awaited Fan Festival that promised to unveil a lot of uvos and game elements that GungHo had previously hinted at. With that in mind, any surprises would not have been very surprising. But come on – with many important monster evolutions behind schedule (JP 2.0 gods, Genbu, Angels, Devils) one would expect to see one (or two, maybe three) of those cards’ artworks in the spotlight, not a side-branching version of a Norse god out of the blue (pun intended). Notwithstanding the welcome art update (Loki and Freya need them the most), much more fitting subtype and that sexy new leader skill, this entire pantheon is already fully realized and thus, hardly a priority for the game’s balance. They have their place in a variety of teams, decent stats (they will be getting a small boost nonetheless), skill-ups…wait…did you say skill-ups? Hmm, come to think of it, there was a biweekly dragon dungeon series with their skill-up monsters, and Groove Coaster collaboration is just behind the corner. Heh, well that explains it. Next thing you know they’ll “coincidentally” hold a Norse GodFes…

Regarding my opening paragraph, I cannot help but wonder what’s in it for GungHo when they do these updates. Sure, they want to maintain the balance, show that they care, keep improving the game and strengthen the players’ trust. They also have their sublime way of cashing in on just about anything they do to this game ever so imperceptibly and without ever truly enraging us. Heck, you even have a smile on your face as you’re getting punk’d. How can you not? The game is obviously becoming more complex and enjoyable, only at the price of umm…well, money. And I&I are oh so cute.

Moving on.

top (1)

Truth be told, one of the two remaining Chinese gods without a uvo will also be included in the update and that is Byakko (and she’s in a banner, although not the update banner). Her branching uvo is nothing short of spectacular – both Dragon and Devil subtype are very desirable and fit perfectly in their respective teams. Yet the big surprise here is the change in the pattern for the tricolor Chinese gods’ “better” uvo. Devil Byakko’s subcolor is dark like her main color, not blue, and she has now TWO dark row enhances accordingly. Personally, I think that the devil subtype alone would have been a substantial boost to the aging playstyle but I guess this is as much a shout-out to her numerous fans as it is an invitation to the ones who don’t have her to pull and then max skill her via that arduous chaser trial.

Capture

The rest of the uvos are the utterly uninspiring ultimate Beelzebub and the only-for-the-pros ultimate Koryuus. The latter don’t have row enhances and our poor beetle seems to be just as pointless as he was before the uvo (hopefully, someone will prove me wrong here). Also, the requirement of orbs in his uvo (250+ stamina at a minimum) seems entirely unjustified.

hyohyo2

 

Last but not the least, we have the technical changes like the buffs for the crappiest awakenings ever (now not as crappy but still horrible)…

Capture2

 

…and the much anticipated Friend System Overhaul. It’ll actually be pretty nifty to be able to present more leads to your friends and select theirs. This could pretty much double our choice of friends without the need to add new ones and buy box slots; also, more pal points. Still, “overhaul” is a bit too strong of a word as the system remains just as rudimentary as it was before. No chat redesign, no fluid interface, just a welcome expansion.

ss2_d5qv4k

 

Oh there’s also the increase of the monster box’s maximum capacity (now 1100) and something about the special dungeons not appearing if one doesn’t have enough stamina that I don’t quite understand.

 

This concludes my analysis of this upcoming update. Despite the glaring omissions of the more important uvos for the older gods, and the update’s somewhat small scope, it’s still a big enough change to stir the pazudora community and make the players lucky enough to have these gods to contemplate new teams for about a month or so until the next update, or start +297ing some new monsters. YamaP did not exactly deliver this time as without the technical changes, this is still just a regular update, even a small one when compared to some major ones. But worry not, he’s already making big promises for the next month…a word to the wise – don’t hold your breath, it’s the “silent” updates that really count.

 

Sources:

http://mobile.gungho.jp/maintenance/pad/pua59k0000001nns.html

http://mobile.gungho.jp/news/pad/update.html

http://mobile.gungho.jp/news/pad/140525_sinka.html

That feeling…

A cosmic whirlpool of man-made quasi-randomness and universal laws of probability, to which the former is intrinsically linked to, gushing out the result of modern Man’s hopes and dreams, the reaction to one’s action. Gambling. Taking a shot. Initiating the process to which the outcome – something seemingly unnecessary on a basic, human level of needs and desires, but altogether simple to explain on a microscopic scale of the evolutionary carrot-and-stick mechanism embedded in our physiology – can lead to however transient and minute, true, palpable feeling of happiness. It is why Man finds it so effortless to become engulfed in that wild, dangerous chase for endogenous endorphins, and consequently, to spin out of control. That also presents an explanation for why playing the game of odds with universe has been Man’s companion since the dawn of civilization. Our minds and bodies (which are becoming increasingly difficult to separate owing to the wonders of science), as well as everything around us, is either drawn by that fundamentally simple nature’s law of striving toward something, whether that be a different molecule, food, water, a companion or a more abstract object of lust, or destined to a slow (or rapid) decay. To question the needs rooted in this is to question the point of doing anything in life since the reasons behind everything can always be reduced to some basic molecular attraction, made more complex by eons of reactions set in motion by…well, that part remains to be discovered. What is really left to debate is the issue of which need to focus on so as to use the time we have been given as sentient organisms in the most optimal way – and it has been more or less agreed that the growing of our intellect should supersede our primal urges, and that a balance between the two is the recommended path which humanity ought to take.

Completing a team…

This modern age of loneliness, but also of tolerance, and of rapid expansion of Man’s knowledge and wisdom, blurs the line between what can be considered a quasi-need and a worthy pursuit. When Man, for the most part, is getting rid of the heavy burden of survival and is being left with a clear path for prosperity of the mind, an entirely different light is cast on the notions of what is right or wrong, real or unreal.  A trip to unseen lands can lead to sensations, perspective and understanding unparalleled by anything a person has experienced in his lifetime hitherto. However, an addicting substance with no nutritional value, easily developed tolerance and the potential to render one a slave to its dopamine-regulated mental trap of steadily decreasing enjoyable effects would not be considered the most wise use of the vast potential one’s life offers. To have the passage to other vistas and sensations (physical or those more ethereal) barred from within is to succumb to the notion of unimportance of a sentient existence, however confined and powerless it might seem when lulled by the illusion of continuity provided by the society and its expectations. A certain dose of alienation to the already familiar joys of life might be welcome in revealing their true value, the miraculous odds which have led to their fruition in this harsh universe powered by entropy.

Pazudora, a game whose inner workings bear a striking resemblance to those of the human society in which we’ve learned to play our roles most dutifully, lest we were to be left stranded on the shores of the truly ruthless natural order outside of the comfort of the cities, and apartments, and beds and chairs that we’ve come to build as a species – a resemblance rooted in the free-to-play model worked out to perfection, offering each a chance to achieve everything that can be achieved. A chance that can be increased with effort, time, passion, ingenuity, knowledge, resources, and the randomly distributed blessing of rolling a stupendous monster or being born in a rich family or a highly developed country which enables you to IAP freely.

I have been fortunate enough to receive some of those blessings over where others I have not, and to learn and start playing this wondrous game against all odds; having lived in neither Japan or US and despite not having been in the area of influence of GungHo’s marketing.

To experience the feeling of rolling a super rare gacha God is akin to getting riches in life that aren’t easily acquired, but which are desired by many. The confluence of hope and incredibly low probability coming to pass, something so few find among the billions living humans, each and every one a central existence in the universe from his perspective.

Gold!

Mixed feelings of pride, undistilled happiness, a drop of growing arrogance for having something others do not and of excitement, all arising from the surge of adrenaline, endorphin and serotonin rush.

Pazudora is a world of its own, and what makes it so real and “addicting” is that it reflects the way our own world outside of the game works so well. It is necessary to find balance in both for us mortals or we risk losing everything, including our faith in whichever game we are currently playing and the drive to play it. Pazudora can grant one knowledge and perspective on what it is like to want, lose, and gain something but also, about what follows those feelings commonly associated with and described as “happiness” for reaching our goals or succeeding in obtaining something.

I will always strive to create my own goals, distill happiness from otherwise indistinct occurrences, and to keep in mind the carrot-and-stick mechanism that all games, and organisms, operate on. For all its addictiveness, I find that Pazudora helps me with that, so long as I put in the effort to maintain true free will. And through gaining the understanding of that part of life, I become more and more able to delve inside the more intricate and remarkable parts of the human psyche and life.