FFXI on iOS from Nexon

Lots of images — well, lots of the same image — are coming out of the Nexon developers conference showing the upcoming FFXI “reboot” for iOS.

FFXI for iOS

The idea of FFXI on mobile devices intrigues me for a few reasons.

MMORPGs on Mobile Devices

I’m growing quite fond of my iPhone gaming. I play Clash Royale, Kingdom Hearts Unchained X, Yokai Watch Wibble Wobble, and plenty more mobile games daily. I have lots of time to play in short bursts of 3 minutes here and 10 minutes there. That’s why mobile gaming is so convenient for me. Mobile games are becoming more like games and less like gambling by offering whole gaming experiences. MMORPGs on mobile devices would definitely take things up a notch for me.

I think the first question I have to ask myself is whether or not I want to even play a MMORPG on a phone. I think my answer is yes, though when given the choice I’ll take PC over phone. But when I’m not at my PC, is FFXI a game I’d boot up? I think so. I recently returned to FFXI on Nasomi, and I enjoy the experience enough. Having that, or even better a rebooted version of that, experience on mobile could be great.

The very thought of FFXI on a mobile device at first sounds horrible, but then I think about the menu system already being more intuitive for clicking. Then there’s the idea of a “reboot” where this could be a much simplified version. Maybe 5 abilities usable at a time? Refined menu system? After that, the only barrier becomes proper chat support and I think they have something.

FFXI Reboot

Will Nexon Ruin FFXI?

The business model will make it or break it for me. Nexon doesn’t have a great reputation for handling business models well. The currencies listed at the top of that first screenshot worry me. I’m not interested in a game where I pay to win or can’t do half the stuff F2P whales can do. I’d rather pay $10 and have the whole experience. Realistically my chances of that are nil. Will they have built in play-time limitations? Pay to win shops?

Lots of potential. FFXI is hopefully only the beginning of bigger things to come for mobile games. Never thought I would ever say that.

Kingdom Hearts Unchained X

Kingdom Hearts Unchained X

Kingdom Hearts Unchained X released in North America this past week for iOS and Android. Unchained X reveals the origins of Kingdom Hearts, taking place before any of the other games in the series. Unchained X’s story will connect to the upcoming Kingdom Hearts III game.

You are a Keyblade wielder — one of many — on a quest to rid the world of Darkness and fight with your Union over control of the remaining light.When you start the game you get to choose a Union. This Union is your faction of Keyblade wielders and each week your points are tallied to see which Union wins. There’s a neat multiplayer element to KH Unchained X where you get to fight raid bosses with members of your union, though it’s not truly playing with others in real time.

The presentation is in the form of a fairy tale. In the very beginning (while the game is downloading a good amount) you are presented a fairy tell in popup book format. Kairi’s Grandmother is telling her a favorite story from the past (the story you’re going to be playing) about how the whole thing got started.

KH Uchained X is free to play. The cash shop doesn’t appear to be too invasive. I’m not super far into the game by any means, but from what I can see it all appears to be cosmetic/”I want to be in the top 100 players” kind of stuff. It  doesn’t appear necessary for the story gameplay at all. Medals can be purchased with in-game currency in a form of random packs, and I feel like the game gives you plenty of in-game currency to avoid needing to spend money.

Gameplay happens in “quests” or missions. So far they seem pretty quick, taking no more than a couple of minutes to complete. These missions involve a main objective like killing a particular encounter. Combat is handled well. Tap the screen to attack, swipe to area attack, and drag medals off of your Keyblade to use abilities. Combat in general is somewhat turn-based. Each action you take rotates the medals in your Keyblade. When the enemy’s action comes around, they take a move. So you’re trying to utilize your actions knowing that the enemy’s action is likely to come around soon.

Customization is pretty good too. You’ll get to slot the medals you want, customize our character’s looks/outfit, and level things up with a bit of choice as to what you combine. Overall, a decent system. It’s like a mix of Days and CoM.

Kingdom Hearts Unchained X comes across very well on mobile devices. The story telling methods they use work for both mobile and the KH narrative. There are plenty of familiar faces, lots of Disney which is great, and the feeling of Kingdom Hearts is all there. The price is right, and KHUx is one of the most ‘complete’ feeling mobile games I’ve played.

Yo-Kai Watch Wibble Wobble

wib-wobs

Graev has been bugging me for a week to download this game called Yo’Kao Watch Wibble Wobble. I couldn’t pronounce it let alone tell you anything about it. I had never heard of Yo-Kai Watch. I finally gave in, and I’m sure glad I did.

yo-kai-watch-wibble-wobbleYo-Kao Watch Wibble Wabble — I still have no idea what that means — is a matching game on mobile devices that apparently mimics something similar that released on 3DS. Its absolutely free, and so far I haven’t ofund the need to spend a single cent.

The matching gameplay is paired with a combat system where you’re fighting an opponent and they attack you every so many seconds. You have to match quickly in order to combine your wib wobs to form bigger versions of themselves. Clicking them deals damage, but clicking multiple combined wib wobs in succession will combo dealing more damage. Then there are special abilities that wib wobs have, and the whole thing becomes a lot more than matching.

Although F2P, and spending money is easily avoided, you can spend money to play more often or to make playing a little easier. Essentially you can play so many matches until they regenerate. I haven’t quite figured out why, but my matches regenerate faster than I can use them, and if they ever were to run out I could spend some free currency and buy 50 more.

The matching can be frustrating for me as it’s not perfect. The wib wobs move a bit, and my reflexes and hand-eye coordination aren’t what they used to be so sometimes I mess up my combines or fail to see obvious ones. The matching is really, really generous too. Sometimes the wib wobs don’t look close at all but you can connect them — learn this early and you’ll breeze through the first matches. There’s a lot of customization when it comes to picking your team of 5 wib wobs — It can be frustrating to figure out the best combo or what they do at first.

I like collecting the wib wobs by inserting coins into the machine — pretty satisfying. There are also daily missions and plenty of incentives to keep playing regularly. Again, I haven’t hit a wall. Graev has played for 5+ hours and hasn’t hit a wall. In fact I think this has become his main game now and he hasn’t hit a wall in a week of non-stop playing.

Definitely a fun game, and for what it is I can’t find many flaws. Apparently there’s a TV show that Graev says is worth watching. Going to check that out.

The Plight of 1200 Trophies in Clash Royale

clash-royaleClash Royale is my goto game whenever I have downtime. If I’m in line at Disneyland, I pull of CR. If I’m waiting for my car at the service center I pull out CR. If I’m in line for lunch I pull our CR. I play it all the time. That’s part of the appeal for me — CR can be continually played without any penalty and without being forced to wait 30 minutes for something to reset.

Despite playing for hours and hours, I’m struggling to advance. I’m stuck around 1200 trophies. Every time I come within a win of pushing past, I go on a losing streak. I’ve stopped tweaking my decks as much, but that’s not the issue anymore. The issue really is that regardless of what I use, I seem to hit the people who are higher level than me or wanting to counter me.

All things considered, I win as much as I lose. I hover around 1100, spike to 1200, drop to 100, and sit at 1100 fighting people who are level 6-7 with cards 1-2 levels above mine. When I fight someone with cards like mine at level 5 it’s not even a contest — I feel like I crush them.

A few tips I’m learning to use more in my matches:

  • If they’re not sending cards, you should probably not send cards unless you have lots of 4+ elixir cards in hand.
    • The trick is to counter when they play and push against their weakness.
  • Know when to hold your cards at bay while letting towers soak up some damage. Nothing is worse than dropping a card to counter the 3 flying minions when you realize your towers can take them no problem. You’re down 3-4 elixir and they’re already likely regenerated theirs.
  • Elixir advantage is king. You can’t win if you constantly starve yourself.

aggresive-battle-deck

My current deck I use is mega aggresive with minor defensive counters. I’m also playing with another option but ultimately all of my problems seem to stem back to having no Baby Dragon or Skeleton army. The decks I want to build need those cards to push to later arenas.

I still haven’t spent a dime. I’m not going to, either. I’ll just keep playing until my cards are either leveled so much that I wreck people at my trophy levels or I simply get better. One has to happen eventually!

Building A Battle Deck in Clash Royale That Works

I’m getting better at Clash Royale, but I still have a really long way to go before I feel like I’ll be on the level of some of the guys in my clan. I put in maybe a combined 30 minutes to an hour a day battling my way to victory (or major loss) which doesn’t seem like a lot, but for a game that lasts 3 minutes per battle — and played on my iPhone — that’s pretty good. My biggest struggle has been in finding a good deck that synergizes with the cards I have (and don’t have) as well as counters what is most often used. Here’s what I came up with…

Clash Royale Arena 3 Deck

I’m currently in Arena 3. I was one or two matches away from Arena 4 when I went on a massive losing streak all the way back to Arena 2 and had to take a serious moment to stop and rethink what I was doing. I was constantly changing my deck, constantly thinking that every loss meant my deck was flawed. Every adjustment I made, I realize the next deck I fought countered me.

My problem wasn’t exactly in my cards, although they were certainly a component. My strategies were flawed too. I would see the mistakes I was making right as I made them. Every match was a “WHY did I just do that?!” One wrong card placement costs you the match in Clash Royale, and often recovering is only had when the enemy makes a mistake as well.

So anyway, after consulting with my clan mates they gave me some great advice. My deck is pictured above, but I want to go through it and explain how I use some of those cards and the strategies involved.

Keen’s Clash Royale Arena 3 Battle Deck:

  • Prince
  • Witch
  • Musketeer
  • Knight
  • Spear Goblins
  • Goblins
  • Goblin Hut
  • Arrows

The key strategy of my deck is to overwhelm BOTH lanes. I start by placing my Witch on one lane at the very back behind my towers. This gives her a chance to summon two skeletons groups by the time she reaches the middle, but also allows me to see how my opponent reacts. If they overcompensate to thwart the Witch, I send my Prince along with a musketeer or spear or anything else to the other side. Chances are I have caught them low on elixir and they not only lose a tower but are stuck on defense the rest of the game.

My deck is also fairly good against air. Muskeeteer takes out balloons with the help of Spear Goblins and the Witch. The Knight is a highly underrated card because he hits well and can really tank nicely — I’ve often had him tank for the prince. Goblins are great to disperse their melee, and Goblin Hut + Spears + Goblins in one lane with Prince or Witch in another is a second great push.

Decks I struggle against usually consist of a good combo of the Baby Dragon and Skeleton Army — I own neither because my luck sucks. I just had to realize that I won’t beat every match up, but on the balance I’m starting to pull ahead with more wins than losses.

I’d love to talk strategies with you guys if any of you play, or bounce ideas for decks off each other. My biggest recommendation would be to think about specific cards that usually lead to your opponent winning, and making sure that you at least counter the majority of them. You can’t counter them all, it simply doesn’t work that way. Find a balance and tactics that work for you and run with them.