Make best use

I know it is wet and the sun is not sunny, but we can have lots of good fun that is funny.

- Dr Seuss’s ‘The Cat in the Hat’

Atlas Reactor: Garrison

One of the first two Freelancers I used is Garrison. Its difficulty is classified as "Easy" and I agree with this categorisation. He is the only Frontline who has no means to self-heal and so I hesitant to change the modifiers that give him shield.

His main ability is Piston Punch, a Blast, that punches enemies within a small arc. Default modifier gives extra damage to the 1st target.

Next ability is Hand Cannon, also a Blast, that damages and slows target, and damages targets in the secondary blast. Medium range. Default modifier increases initial damage by 4 but I chose the modifier that increase its range and and the arc of the secondary blast. This gives him a little more flexibility against enemies who are not near.

The 3rd ability is Missile Barrage, a Prep, that launches missiles, after 1 turn delay, at 3 random enemies (within certain range of course). Default modifier gives shield that lasts until the end of next turn. Nice :)

4th ability is Heavy Metal, a Dash, that allows him to jump to a location and damages as well as slows nearby enemies. Default modifier also gives shield that lasts until the end of next turn. A combo that some players and the AI use is to prepare Missile Barrage and then dash to enemies using Heavy Metal. Next turn, he can use either Piston Punch or Hand Cannon on enemies. So in 2 turns, he can deal bucketload of damage (since enemies are slowed, though they can still dash or teleport away) while getting some protection from the shield gained.

His ultimate ability is Shockpod, a Blast, that drops a pod anywhere on the map (yeah!) and damages nearby enemies. It also drops 4 minor power-ups that give 10 health each to allies. Default modifier allows it to also slows enemies. However, I noticed that sometimes I want to get at enemies who are far away and so slowing them is not as beneficial as trying to finish them off. Hence, I chose the modifier that increases the damage.

He is an easy, albeit a little boring, Freelancer to use and so I recommend this character to all new players. Use him to get used to the gameplay and other players and then switch to others as you like.

Atlas Reactor_6

This is probably the best result I get so far for Garrison. Over 1k contribution :)

Atlas Reactor_19

A more recent game. Though the contribution doesn't look impressive, the game ended on turn 19 (vs turn 26). I had the highest contribution. the lowest was Nix on their team, with just over 300.

Overwatch: Reinhardt

Reinhardt was one of the two heroes (the other was Mercy) that I had planned to play with in anticipation of the Open Beta. I had been watching many videos for tips and tricks.

Of all the tanks, I played Reinhardt the most, followed by Winston. I tried only a few times the other tanks but didn't like them. Reinhardt is my favourite tank as he is quite easy to use and great to have in certain situations.

During the Open Beta, too many people didn't want to play tank or support and so I switched, from time to time, character to Reinhardt to help the team. Won some, lost some :)

Reinhardt uses his huge hammer to smack people around and it does lots of damage at close quarters. He can also Firestrike at quite a long distance but that has cooldown. Another ability with cooldown is his charge: charges and pins enemy to a wall, thereby stunning him for a short time. Then smack him silly :P

His most used ability, however, is his 2000-hp shield. It provides protection to allies stationed behind his shield. Can be generated back to full hp by "resting" it (i.e. stop holding it up) for like maybe 5 seconds.

His ultimate ability is Earthshatter: a cone-shaped damage on the ground that knocks down and stuns enemies caught within the cone. Then smack them silly :P

Here are some highlights (including 2 Play of the Game :) ):

Chocolate vs Ice Lemon Tea

One night, Ban and I met simonlover for a drink with other friends. Simonlover was having his late dinner then. He also brought a pack of individually wrapped chocolate.

Simonlover: Have more chocolate.
Me: Oh, enough lor. Had one already.
Simonlover: Only one? At home, I can just eat and eat and eat.
Me: Wahhhhh. Eh, you ordered their set meal?
Simonlover: Yes.
Me: You gave away the Ice Lemon Tea that came along with it?
Simonlover: No, I didn't want it.
Me: Huh? Why not?
Simonlover: So much sugar. Don't want to be fat.
Me: What??? And you can eat lots of chocolate at one sitting and that's not fattening, is it? *laugh*
Simonlover: *laugh*

Lol, silly simonlover :)

Overwatch: Tracer

Of all characters that I regular play with during the Open Beta, Tracer is my favourite but I'm least competent in playing it :)

Tracer uses two rapid-fire pulse pistols that are great at short range. Unfortunately, she has low health to continuously engage enemies at that range. Thus her other abilities (with cooldown) help to increase her survivability: Blink and Recall. The former allows her to teleport short distance (can use 3 in succession before it has to go on cooldown) while the later allows her to "rewind" back to where she was 3 seconds ago and thereby possibly gaining back health and ridding of whatever debuffs she has at present.

Her ultimate is Pulse Bomb. Stick it on someone or near some people and kaboom!

Here are some of highlights:


Overwatch is an FPS game by Blizzard (same developer of Warcraft and Diablo). It is a greatly polished version of Team Fortress 2 i.e. you can change character midgame anytime in the spawn room and there are objectives for the team to complete to win the match.

It's a buy-to-play game that gives you access to all 21 characters (and future ones, if I'm not mistaken). This is important because changing character midgame to counter opposing team's certain character(s) is a key feature of the game. Therefore it will ruin the game if there are locked characters.

I've been watching Overwatch videos on Youtube since January when it was in Close Beta and was looking forward to play it. However, USD 40 is a hefty price for me (can easily buy me 27 balanced meals!) and also I'm not good at FPS game. Therefore, when they had Open Beta from 5 May to 10 May (was extended by a day), Ban and I tried it.

At first, we find it hard going and that we still preferred Atlas Reactor (which is also so much cheaper) but later as we got more practice and getting more familiar with the various maps, we gradually liked it much better. 

We now contemplating buying it although currently my stand is that the price is still too high for me. Moreover, there are no benefits to pre-order whatsoever. Nope, you don't get access to Close Beta that way (bewildering!). So we might as well take this time (launch date is 24 May) to calm down and think it over.

Atlas Reactor: Quark

My current favourite Freelancer is Quark. Ban told me that it is clearly based on Dota's Io, a game I've never played and not even remotely familiar with.

Atlas Reactor_1

His main ability (always the first one on the left and the only one without cooldown) is a Blast which damages and reveals enemy, and also places a theter on him that does the same amount of damage each turn this theter attached. The modifier, by default, gives Quark 5 health each turn this theter is attached. So cool, right?

The next ability is a Prep which attaches a theter on an ally and heals him that turn and every turn this theter is attached. The default modifier allows theter placed on ally who is beyond a wall. I, however, changed it to be the same as the main ability above i.e. heals Quark each turn theter is attached to ally.

3rd ability is also a Prep that enhances the thether's damage/heal of the 1st/2nd ability. Instead of the default modifier (movement no longer reduced after executing this ability), I've chosen the modifier which provides him 2 health for each active bond. So together with the first 2 abilities, Quark can self-heal a maximum of 14 per turn. Pretty good, right? :)

4th ability is a Dash that enables Quark to dash and place a theter on an ally or enemy. I used this almost exclusively to escape danger. Default modifier increase the landing zone by 1, which is helpful when trying to get away as far as possible from danger.

Atlas Reactor_2

His ultimate ability is also a Prep heals and energies allies in a certain radius as well as provides them Might via the default modifier.

Atlas Reactor_3

Below is a screenshot of one of his best games. I'm quite proud of this performance :)

Atlas Reactor_4

Below is screenshot of opposing team's Quark. He did quite well too.

Atlas Reactor_5

Atlas Reactor

Rift was a game both Ban and I played a few years back. We stopped mainly because the each character have too many similar abilities (how do you decide which ability to use?) and too many abilities to manage, so much so that using macros were essential.

About a month ago, Trion, the game developer, invited us to try their new game, Atlas Reactor, during the short period of Open Beta. We tried but alas, it kept crashing mid-game. So we gave up. Last week, they once again had Open Beta just for the weekend and this time no crashes! Yay!

Atlas Reactor is a unique game to me: it's a simultaneous turn-based game. Sound contradictory? Let me explain.

Each turn, players choose an ability to activate. Free action abilities can be activated without utilising this quota of 1 ability a turn. There are 3 categories of abilities: Prep, Dash, Blast. After that, players choose where to move.

Once all players lock in their choice of ability and movement path, the game resolve those choices in phases: Prep -> Dash -> Blast -> Movement. Each phase is resolved simultaneously. So for example, Player A and B chose Blast abilities to kill each other. During Blast phase, although visually it appears that Player A shoots before Player B does and kills the latter, Player B will still shoot A and kills him. They will both be shown dead (lying on the floor) at the end of the turn. Obviously in this case they don't get to move during Movement phase.

I started playing on the first day of the weekend. Ban had incredibly bad experience with uninstalling it previously - it deleted some other files in the drive where it was installed - and so was hesitant in trying it again. However, he changed his mind on 2nd day, saying that the files were backed up from his external drive and he could do it again if it happened again during uninstallation.

Eventually, once launched, the game is free-to-play. However, other than temporary Open Beta periods, the only ways to play in the current Close Beta are upon invitation (random) or to purchase Founders Pack. Ban and I like it so much that we bought the cheapest pack: Access Pack (USD 9.99).

Next post, I'll talk about my current favourite Freelancer (character).

Fisherman's Friend: modernised!

It's been maybe a decade since I last had Fisherman's Friend. Few months back, I bought one just before entering a cinema hall.

I was surprised that it now has ziplock! So convenient. I remember that previously, I just folded the open section a few times. Sometimes I used rubber band too.

Recently, I bought another one when I was suffering from this prolonged cough. No, of course it wasn't to cure the cough but more to sooth the throat a little. It did help but I noticed something strange: it made me hungry! Maybe it's more acidic now? *shrug*

Fisherman's Friend_1

Fisherman's Friend_2

"Store in a cool dry place below 30 degree C, away from scented goods." Such strange instruction lol. How do scented goods affect it? Hmmmm.

New backpack

My backpack was purchased maybe 5 years ago from Body Glove. If I recall correctly, the price was just over RM40.

But alas, a couple of years ago, its inner lining started to peel off. I'm afraid that its outer fabric will give way any time.

Now, normally when I receive e-mail from Lazada, I just thrash it. Possibly because of my sister's suggestion ("try shopping online lah"), I recently read one e-mail and decided to check out backpacks. Cheap backpacks below RM30.

There were a couple I shortlisted and since I do not know the difference between these two in term of quality, I chose the cheaper one: RM 24.70 after 55% discount.

Nikki backpack_1

Nikki backpack_2

Nikki backpack_3

I like it :) If it lasts for at least 5 years, then it's so worth the money spent.

Incidentally, the delivery time was supposed to take 6-8 days but I received it in 2 days! Phew, luckily I was at home when the courier service deliveryman arrived. I had trouble sleeping the night before and so was awake few hours before dawn.

I had bad experience with Lazada's delivery previously. Unbeknown to me, at that time GDex (appears to be their choice of courier service provider), wouldn't attempt to deliver if they couldn't get me on the phone. The two times GDex called me were when I was driving and napping. If they had told me about this procedure at the start, I would have left my phone switched on 24/7. In the end, the item was returned to Lazada and a full refund was initiated.

Well, I'm thankful I received bag fast and without fuss.