Metal Gear Report: Exercise in tedium

I grew up without any Metal Gear in sight (except for the VR training of MG:S), and generally avoided it altogether for no apparent reason, but it just got up to a point lately, possibly due to MGS5:TPP where I finally gave in and declared time to explore the entire franchise in a row. I wanted to start from the NES games — I stand corrected, as they were initially released for MSX2, even though a slightly modified version for NES does exist —, but I’ve been repeatedly told not to, so I started from MG:S.

As I keep playing through the games I’ll keep updating this post, my conclusions and reasoning, and as a wise man once said: “it’s not over, ’till it’s over”. So let’s get crackin’, but first, an image of NES MG, courtesy of wikipedia:

Metal Gear [NES]
Reminds me a lot of Rambo III, for reasons.
Continue reading Metal Gear Report: Exercise in tedium

The Witcher 3: Achievements (Pocket Guide)

I’ve played the entire campaign on Death March! and done most of the achievements, except a few ones secret or grindy (listed below) that I completed after finishing the game. I decided to toss out a few tips that could speed up the process.

Achievement list covered in the article
What Was That?, Power Overwhelming, Card Collector, Munchkin, Overkill, Humpty Dumpty and Master Marksman achievements.

What Was That?

I don’t know why this achievement is hidden, I only discovered it while close to the end of the game. You “simply” have to counter-attack, attack, throw a bomb and use a sign. I did it in this very order, but you can mix it up as best suits you, just do it all in less than 4 seconds.

Power Overwhelming

This is rather easy, and can be done from the beginning in White Orchard. It consists in having all the buffs from places of power active at the same time. There are 6 in places of power in White Orchard, we need only the 5 different ones. I provided the fastest path in the image below, starting east of the Abandoned Village.

Power Overwhelming Run
The easiest and fastest way to get the achievement, all done in White Orchard.

Card Collector

This is the most time intensive one. There are a lot of guides around the web, like the VG24/7 or the gosunoob one. The problem is that THEY ARE WRONG. One example above all: you don’t lose cards bedding people.

Card Collector achievement
Locations you have most likely forgotten.

You play people all throughout the game. The first time you win with a certain person you get a random card from a fixed pool. If you are in this position (when you play a new person but it gives you money only) then you probably missed some of the vendors. A lot of websites (all of them) say that a few cards are available from Midcopse, but this is wrong: the vendor they are referring to is in Lindenvale. Another vendor you could have missed is the one freed in the Bandits Camp east of Oreton, that you will find later in Claywich.

Munchkin / Overkill

After completing the campaign, the contracts and most of the side quests, I was stuck at level 34 and a quarter. Completing the Pest Control in Velen and some treasure hunt elegible of XP, I was stuck at level 34 and a half. Then I discovered that in Skellige there is a place in which a level 30 Cyclops respawns after meditation.

Skellige Cyclops position
The level 30 Cyclops can be found here in Skellige.

I had to kill him a few times to get to level 35 for the Munchkin achievement, but while at it (in Death March! difficulty) I thought of going further and combining the grind with the Overkill achievement. The cyclops has enough HP to survive several blade slashes (with 15% chance of bleeding), followed by poison bomb(s) and Igni (with 5 points in Melt Armor). Do it 10 times (sometimes you can do it twice on the same cyclops) and you’re done.

Overkill Achievement in progress
A cyclops being gently overkilled by statuses (bleeding + poison + burning).

Humpty Dumpty / Master Marksman

The best place for these achievements is in Velen, specifically Devil’s Pit. There are several human deserters, high non protected ledges and, most importantly, they all respawn when you change map. If you kill them all, move to another map (Skellige / White Orchard / Royal Palace of Vizima), and then move back, you will find everyone there and waiting.

Devil's Pit location
The best farming point is in Velen.

There are a few people using the door glitch (pull them, move back past the gate and they won’t get to you). Some use Axii to stun them and have a better shot. I found out that the best way was to face them and place a bolt in between the eyes. I had about a 90% success rate with this method, it’s all in getting up close and personal.

Master Marksman in progress
A deserter being gently crossbow’d in the head.

I remapped the crossbow/item key from Middle Mouse Button to the key left of 1 on the keyboard: in my case \, ~ in the EN keyboards. Remember that while aiming down the crossbow you can still move, so it’s easier to aim and slow the time down from a moderate distance and then getting close and shooting the bolt.

Do this 50 times and you too will be done with the most boring grind in the game.

Random Garbage in High Definition

I’ve been taking some random screenshots lately and decided to post a few.

Malygos patroling his ‘hood

Malygos’ Vortex
You can see on the sides his wings are skinless. He’s all bones :<

Malygos has just got pwnd by 10 allies

Malygos has just got pwnd by 25 allies

Fluffy Yeti, also known as Icehowl got a bad headache
Just too many walls.

Lord Jaraxxus has just got flamed and decided to leave zeh intertubes
Grindhel just didn’t care, showing his butt to the camera

Extraordinary bonus: my druid riding in the sun

Personal Injury #2

Yesterday I had the EMG test. Painful as planned, although I’ve been lucky as I could have get a 20cm needle in my muscles. The electric shocks kept me jumping from the chair, but anyway.

The little bastard nerve is quite self healing, probably was just stressed out due to god knows what. Over a few weeks it should get back as new, or so I hope. Also apparently there’s no need for surgery.

I’m close to getting back to normal. Hooray!!

Personal Injury

It’s about time to tell you guys what’s currently happening to me.

You probably noticed I’ve not been around ingame much, and/or you are waiting for the DoR website to come up.

The fact which is refraining me from both atm is a personal injury: my ring & little left fingers are on a road to a (temporary) complete paralysis, which is obviously giving me a lot of troubles to even write this message.

I have the first diagnosis  visit scheduled for 15th of December, and hopefully the surgery operation will come shortly after it.

Bear with me a little longer. It’s not like we’re missing epic raids anyway, right Blizz? 😉

NGMP Foundation

I’m about to start the NGMP Foundation: No Games for Mindless People.

I’ve always liked video games, from developing them to enjoying playing them. I liked the stories, the development, the ideas behind the games themselves. Then suddenly, everything started to collapse.

World of Warcraft

I was fine with the idea of giving casual gamers a great chance. Say, new instances hard as hell, requiring attunements and stuff, then nerfed and removing attunement after some months. It wasn’t that nice for hardcore gamers (hay! don’t give cookies to casuals), but overally was acceptable.

WoW now has become so sad I almost don’t play it anymore. After the rush in buying it I found out raiding is pathetic, mostly trivial, which saddened me. A lot. Even though I was struggling with raiding back at the times, I was fine with it, because it was challenging. It was normal. It was supposed to be so. Then the nerf came, and I was like, “fine, there is new hard content up, it’s ok to give free cookies to the late comers”. Then the expansion comes.

  • No attunements for heroics/raids. Fine, I won’t have to farm rep again.
  • All raids are available for both 10 and 25 men. Fine, even if sometimes we can’t find 25 men, it’s alright, we can still do 10 men.
  • Instances have become a “tank the room, aoe”. Sgrunt. Well, ok, maybe we can level up faster.
  • Raids have been so nerfed to be fully cleared after two days from startup. OMGWTFBBQATTK?!? And yes, that included the whole leveling 70-80. Ok, it was combined forces of Nihilum + Curse/SK Gaming. But still…

I was expecting some challenges. I found out that while I was trying to improve myself to be a better player, “no wait they nerfed everything no need lulz”.

Need for Speed: Undercover

The saddest little game.

  • “They brought back open world”. That’s cool.
  • “You can’t do anything in open world”. That’s not cool.
  • “They brought back police”. That’s cool.
  • “But wait, I can’t find races in the world, I can only escape from police after a race”. That’s not cool.
  • “They put back traffic in the streets”. That’s cool.
  • “No, wait, most of the races have barricades on the sides of the streets, so no “random” incoming cars, only the ones aligned along the route”. That’s not cool.
  • “They brought back Autosculpt”. That’s cool.
  • “No, wait, it’s just for the look, basically useless, the contrary of Pro Street”. That’s not cool.
  • “A half rigged trash car can beat by 20 seconds a line up of Lamborghinis and stuff”. THIS IS MADNESS!!

So, so, so, so saddened.

Dungeons & Dragons

Yes, they nerfed it too. Hey, what do we need a master for? Let’s roll and follow a table. Dungeons & Dragons without a Dungeon Master. It’s like playing Chinese Checkers in two. Doable, but where’s the fun?

Personal opinion on the matter

Nobody will ever say that games shouldn’t be more accesible to the public. But in these days, I’m finding out that working is more fun than actually playing. And I wish I was kidding. Money is making companies forget that no matter the player base, what keeps paying the bills are good games. Take out Crayon Physics Deluxe for example. It’s one of the most awaited games ever. I’m even planning to buy a couple copies to send as gift and play it on my 20″ Cintiq.

No matter what the companies are more and more pushing toward the “I haz no brainz plz feed me” market, which is pretty wide, and forgetting that they made some good money starting with the people they should mainly think about. Natural Born Gamers.

Conclusions

We all know how this is gonna end. With a lot of real gamers who would like to play a game and finish it in just more than a-hour-because-time-has-changed-people-has-no-time-so-I-want-it-easy-and-quick-omg-I-just-finished-it-lulz. So called hardcore gamers will hate even more casual gamers, because they basically stole them the fun. Repeated complainings have brought the game to such an easy level to be ridicoulus for the good ol’ gamers. Which is only natural, but still sick in the way it has been done.

I’d like to end this harshly with an italian sentence: “Ma perché non ve ne andate ‘m’pò a fanculo?” (Why don’t you just go fuck off?).

It should pretty much state clearly what’s on my mind as of now.

WotLK Collector’s Edition: I haz it.

Collectors Edition Box
Collector's Edition

It took me some time (a few days actually) and a bit of luck (and steady reflexes) to get my dirty hands upon a collector’s edition box (actually menaces also worked for me here).

I would also like to say sorry to the poor ally bloke from Jaedenar-EU who was like 15ms late reaching the box. Sorry dude, I think about you all the time while I play. Honest.

No, maybe not XD

Anyway, there are quite a few interesting things in it. Too bad it’s overpriced, but hey, that’s quite normal methinks. For the ones who don’t know already, Collector’s Edition was worth a whopping €70,00, while Standard Edition was €35,00. And no, I won’t mention the €0,01 change you get back 😛

Back to the Collector’s Edition Box:

Collectors Edition Content
Collector's Edition Content

Content listed in no particoular order:

  • Mouse Pad. For the ones who get lost.
  • Original Soundtrack. Give your car an epic twist.
  • Game DVD. D’oh!
  • Video DVD: Behind the Scenes. No idea, didn’t see it yet 😛
  • Artbook. Awsomeness. Looks good in book shelves too.
  • Random TCG stuff. Cards ‘n Stuff
  • Frosty, in-game pet. *flap*flap*

Isn’t that enough to pay double the price? Probably not. But still I did, who cares.

On a side note the Nihilum+SK team 25th November guild already cleared by a day or two all the PvE content out to date. Leaves me wondering.

Blizzard Authenticator Flow [ITA]

[LinK] WoW-Europe Forums discussion
[LinK] English Version (Potete commentare qui)

Video, o non è mai successo (cit.)

Si, sono giunto alla conclusione di non poter più tenere la mia bocca chiusa. La Blizzard è probabilmente ancora impegnata con l’espansione, e scommetto tutto quel che ho che non spenderanno del tempo nel risolvere un problema di sicurezza di cui nessuno è a conoscenza. Il che mi lascia due opzioni: lavarmene le mani o informare la gente e dir loro come prevenire una tragedia simile (mi è successo, so come ci si sente).

Prima di tutto, iniziamo con l’e-Mail che ho inviato alla Blizzard:

Reference: http://forums.wow-europe.com/thread.html?topicId=6365388840&sid=1

So, basically I don’t know how you could ever mess up a thing like this, but ok, let’s explain.

Once you fire up the Blizzard Authenticator, you paste it in the login screen and that’s it, the number is saved and it can’t be used anymore. Also, if not used within a certain time will eventually expire. And we all know this. The problem is, how did you implement this?

Once you use the code, it gets saved to the account. And that’s what screws up the security. As long as you have a single Authenticator for a single account, you’re safe, but when you start to use a single Authenticator (as you all suggested aswell) for multiple accounts, you are screwed. Example:

Account 1, generated code 123321, I log in and write the code down.
10 minutes later, Account 2, another generated code 321123, I log in.
20 minutes later, Account 3, 123321 or 321123 doesnt matter, I log in.
Or Account 1 with 321123, or Account 2 with 123321 for the matter. It doesn’t matter, they all work.

This is where your problem relies. You didn’t do the right thing. You didn’t have to save the generated codes by account, but by Key ID instead. If you don’t all the valid keys generated (and logged) for an account, may be used on the other account to. Authenticator beated by a keylogger, that’s the most ironic thing ever.

Here’s the deal: when a user logs in check the Authenticator ID saved with his account, and then in a new table save the code by AuthID, and not in the account data. This will probably increase collisions, but better having collisions than hacked accounts, don’t you think?

Looking for an early reply.

Sincerely yours,
Skizo

Ora, se avete letto e capito penserete “ok, quindi ti hanno risposto, no?”. Estratto dalla risposta automatica:

A causa dei grossi volumi di email ricevuti dalla sezione Hacks & Anti-Pirateria non è sempre possibile per noi rispondere individualmente a tutte le segnalazioni e questa potrebbe essere l’unica email che ricevete da noi riguardo la faccenda.

Come potete capire, la mia unica opzione era di aspettare una e-Mail che potrebbe non arrivare mai nel terrore che per il momento in cui arrivi sia già troppo tardi, o rilasciare le informazioni. Col sangue da giornalista che mi ritrovo, non potevo fare nulla di meno di ciò che sto facendo, ed ho aspettato anche troppo a lungo per farlo.

Così, in breve, cos’ha tutto questo a che fare con me? Avanti con le spiegazioni.

Le basi del Blizzard Authenticator

Blizzard Authenticator, così come tutti gli altri generatori di chiavi dello stesso tipo, funziona così: generate un codice, usate un codice, diventa impossibile usare lo stesso codice di nuovo. Questo previene gli hacks subiti a causa di keyloggers, perché anche se gli hacker sono in possesso del vostro username e della vostra password, non possono passare l’ultimo test, che è una chiave unica generata a singolo uso. Un sistema comune anche a diverse banche che effettuano transazioni online. Il BA fa la stessa cosa. Il problema sta nel come è stato realizzato.

Se avete un singolo account ed un singolo BA, siete al sicuro. Dormite tranquilli. Se invece avete più di un account come me, non vi è concesso dormire. Dov’è che si è infranta la sicurezza? Se non l’avete capito dall’e-Mail qui sopra, ve lo spiegherò in brevi termini:

  • Avete due account
  • Generate il codice 123456 per loggarvi con l’Account1
  • Il codice 123456 viene salvato per l’Account1
  • Dato che l’Account1 e l’Account2 condividono lo stesso BA ma il codice 123456 non è stato salvato per l’Account2, allora potrete usare il codice 123456 per il vostro altro account, infrangendo così la sicurezza di una chiave a singolo utilizzo.

Questo significa che se gli hackers diventano abbastanza veloci, mentre loggate col vostro account principale, potrebbero mandarsi il codice che avete usato e nel frattempo loggare con l’altro vostro account. Certo, richiede del tempismo e buone capacità, ma non credo che sia una ragione per rilassarsi.

Ci sono diverse soluzioni per questo comunque. La prima sarebbe far fare alla Blizzard un fix nelle loro tabelle. Dovrebbe funzionare così:

  • Avete due account
  • Generate il codice 123456 per loggarvi con l’Account1
  • L’Account1 usa il BA1
  • Il codice 123456 viene salvato per il BA1
  • L’Account2 usa anch’esso il BA1, per questo il codice 123456 non può essere utilizzato di nuovo per loggarsi con un altro account, così come il codice 654321 generato per loggarsi con l’Account2 non può essere utilizzato per loggarsi con l’Account1.
  • Faccia sorridente qui 🙂

Dato che è alquanto improbabile che succede in un prossimo futuro (sapete, corporazioni multinazionali…) sono arrivato a trovare un paio di suggerimenti che potreste usare per risolvere il problema la maggior parte delle volte (ci sono alcune eccezioni di cui io stesso sono a conoscenza, so che sono soltanto delle soluzioni temporanee).

  • Se avete molteplici account e molteplici Authenticators (proprio come me), vi suggerisco di unbindare (rimuovere il collegamento) tra il vostro BA e tutti gli account che possedete tranne uno, e di usare gli altri authenticators per ogni account. Un BA per un account, torna ad essere 100% sicuro.
  • Se invece non siete propensi a farlo (proprio come me) potete usare un piccolo giro durante il login. Diciamo che volete loggare col vostro Account1. Generate il codice, loggate con l’Account2, sloggate, riloggate con l’Account1 e lo stesso codice. Siete al sicuro.
  • Scocciate la Blizzard finché non risolvono il problema (ehi, scherzo). (No, forse no).
  • Pregate Dio se ci credete.

Non c’è molto altro da fare. Personalmente io uso il secondo metodo nella lista.

L’unica cosa che vi chiedo a questo punto è di passar parola. L’unico modo per essere sicuri a questo mondo è sapere cosa ci circonda. Se sapete dove il problema risiede allora sapete come risolverlo. Allo stesso tempo se la gente sa dove risiede la vulnerabilità, allora sanno come proteggere se stessi.

Nella speranza che non sia già troppo tardi.

“We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.”