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Comparative Review: John Danaher's Pin Escapes and Lachlan Giles' Fundamentals of BJJ Escapes (long)

During quarantine, I watched all 18 hours of Danaher’s Pin Escapes and Giles’ Fundamentals of BJJ Escapes instructionals, and took careful notes on everything, eventually totaling 48 typed, single-spaced pages. These are my thoughts.
Both are excellent sets, and both are applicable to both gi and no-gi. Danaher’s wins on depth, while Giles’ wins on breadth. I recommend Giles’ set for white belts, due to lower price and greater number of positions dealt with, while Danaher’s is better for those further along who still have trouble getting basic mount and side control escapes to work for them and need extra details.
Danaher: $197 for 10 hours, 52 minutes, 17 seconds = 3 min 19 sec per $; produced 26 pages of notes = $7.57 per page of notes; information density of 25 minutes per page
Giles: $127 for 7 hours, 14 minutes, 12 seconds = 3 min 25 sec per $; produced 22 pages of notes = $5.77 per page of notes; information density of 19 minutes 42 seconds per page
Introductory Blather
Danaher: 1 hour, 24 minutes. Lots of repetition here, in an “I just said this in voiceover to PowerPoint slides, and now I'm going to say it again while looking into the camera” way. On the other hand, he presents a lot of careful analysis on what constitutes a pin, and based on that, presents a 5-step heuristic for escaping pins, worked examples of which constitute the rest of the Pin Escapes instructional.
Giles: 28 minutes. No Danaher-esque theoretical analysis here, but he does include some useful practical advice on how to go about learning the material on the instructional and how to incorporate it into one's game. Much of the content is in the titles of the sections listed on the order page for this product on bjjfanatics.com. Have you ever watched the fundamentals section of the Grapplers Guide? You know the videos that have a clear title, like “Don't chew gum on the mats,” and you click on it, and it's a 7-minute video of Jason Scully talking about why you shouldn't chew gum on the mats, and you watch until the end like the fool you are, and you get to the end, and you think, “Why the heck was this a video? And how could he talk so fast for so long and still say nothing more than the title?” Well, much of this is like that. (Sorry, Jason. You know I love Grapplers Guide and I'm only kidding. Kinda.) (Sorry, Lachlan. You know the only reason I got Grapplers Guide was for your videos, and I'm only kidding. Kinda.)
Fundamental Moves
Danaher: 39 minutes. Everything in this section is covered more in depth, with better camera angles and better explanation, in Danaher's free instructional, Self-Mastery: BJJ Solo Drills. The content is fantastic, but the only real reason you'd watch this instead of BJJ Solo Drills is because it's shorter and covers only the movements you need for this escape instructional. Pin Escapes covers seven basic body movements (counting sliding shrimps and rising shrimps separately); Solo Drills covers about two dozen movements, depending on how you divide them.
Giles: 22 minutes. Covers eleven basic body movements. Of these, the hip escape, reverse hip escape, and gongoa shoulder roll are basically the same as equivalent techniques shown by Danaher. The Bridge and the Bridge and Roll are very similar to what Danaher teaches, but each has a couple of details missing or added from what the other shows. Interestingly, on the Bridge and Roll, Giles teaches to do a side crunch toward the side you're rolling, which is exactly the opposite of what Matt Thornton teaches. I haven't had the opportunity in quarantine to try them both out and decide which one I like best.
Mount Escapes
Danaher: 2 hours, 8 minutes. As expected, it's long-winded and repetitive. He literally takes 8 minutes and 55 seconds to say “Don't put your hand on his knee unless you keep your elbow from being exposed.” Also, the chapter titles are supremely unhelpful, e.g. “Elbow Escape From Mounted Position 1” through “Elbow Escape From Mounted Position 7.” Here are my subtitles to help distinguish one from the other; more will follow in other sections:
Bridging Escape From Mounted Position (Basic Version)
Bridging Escape From Mounted Position 2 (Misdirectional Bridging)
Bridging Escape From Mounted Position 3 (Dealing with the Grapevine)
Bridging Escape From Mounted Position 4 (Dealing with Crossface Hold)
Bridging Escape From Mounted Position 5 (Bridging as Setup for Elbow Escape)
Elbow Escape From Mounted Position (Basic Version)
Elbow Escape From Mounted Position 2 (Serpentine Motion & High Mount)
Elbow Escape From Mounted Position 3 (Going Directly For the Knee)
Elbow Escape From Mounted Position 4 (Use of Hand and Elbow)
Elbow Escape From Mounted Position 5 (Don't Expose Your Back)
Elbow Escape From Mounted Position 6 (Leg Shimmying)
Elbow Escape From Mounted Position 7 (Dealing with Crossface)
Elbow Escape From Mounted Position - Ankle Trap Method (Transitional Escape from Knee Drive to Mount by Turning Away)
Elbow Escape From Mounted Position - Ankle Trap Method 2 (Transitional Escape from Knee Drive to Mount by Turning In)
Elbow Escape From Mounted Position - Ankle Trap Method 3 (Transitional Escape from Stepover Method)
As you can see, Danaher basically only teaches two escapes, and focuses on giving details, options, strategies, and applications of these rather than exploring other escapes.
Giles: 1 hour, 10 minutes. Giles is straightforward and concise in his explanations. Unlike Danaher, Giles shows many of his techniques in footage of actual rolls with upper belts, with a voiceover explanation, which I found quite illuminating. Content-wise, Giles covers the two major escapes Danaher covers, but in less detail. For instance, he doesn’t even touch on the “knee-down” variation of the elbow-escape that Danaher prefers. He covers the importance of inside leg position in mostly the same way Danaher does. On the other hand, he spends a significant amount of time discussing the battle for inside arm position, which Danaher seems unconcerned with. Giles also covers escapes from S-mount and includes a high-percentage escape directly to SLX. Giles covers a couple of submission escapes (cross-collar choke, americana, and armbar), whereas Danaher only addresses positional escapes.
Side Control Escapes
Danaher: 5 hours, 16 minutes. Here’s the meat of the set: five hours of side control escapes. This is what you bought the set for; admit it. You’ve always had trouble escaping side control, and you’re willing to shell out whatever Danaher asks if he can just share the secret to escaping side control. You imagine the look on that 300-lb. Bubba’s face as you slip your scrawny, pencil-necked 130-lb. frame out from under him, laughing deliriously, and scurry up his back. You imagine the admiring looks of that cute purple belt you’ve been trying to impress, as well as the satisfied nod of your coach as you see him thinking Yep, he’ll be ready for the next belt come promotion day.
So, does he deliver? You betcha. In spades. Twenty minutes into this section, my mind was blown at how little BJJ I knew. I knew the gross muscle movements, of course, but the difference was all the fine details – all of which I had been blind or oblivious to thus far. I felt like all my escapes so far were the equivalent of peering into the storefront windows of a BJJ gym, watching furious action from a distance, unable to hear or understand the significance of what was happening.
Sometimes the audio quality is poor. About 38 and a half minutes into Volume 7, a sound like a wobbly fan is heard in the background. It never prevents you from understanding what Danaher says, but it’s pretty distracting. It makes me think their mats are in a basement, and just off camera is a washing machine, surrounded by piles of dirty laundry and a big orange box of Tide detergent.
Unfortunately, although he includes escapes from north/south, knee on belly, and kuzure kesa gatame (sitout with far side underhook), and even reverse kuzure kesa gatame, he does not include any escapes from standard kesa gatame (scarf hold). I consider this a serious oversight, as anyone with a judo background is bound to use the scarf hold.
Elbow Escapes from Side Position 1 (Introduction)
Elbow Escapes from Side Position 2 (Moving His Head)
Elbow Escapes from Side Position 3 (Inserting the Knee)
Elbow Escapes from Side Position 4 (Dealing with Crossface)
Elbow Escapes from Side Position 5 (Asymetrical Bridging)
Elbow Escapes from Side Position 6 (Misc Tricks)
Elbow Escapes from Side Position 7 (Dealing with the Hip Block)
Knee Escapes from Side Position 1 (Introduction)
Knee Escapes from Side Position 2 (Beating the Crossface)
Knee Escapes from Side Position 3 (Fighting for the Underhook)
Knee Escapes from Side Position 4 (Anchoring on his Leg)
Knee Escapes from Side Position 5 (Finishing the Single Leg – Leg Hook)
Knee Escapes from Side Position 6 (Finishing the Single Leg – Elbow to the Floor)
Knee Escapes from Side Position 7 (Finishing the Single Leg – Moving Under the Sprawl)
Knee Escapes from Side Position 8 (Hand Grips)
Knee Escapes from Side Position 9 (Opponent’s Knee Position)
Knee Escapes from Side Position 10 (Putting Things Together)
Giles: 2 hours, 15 minutes. While Giles’ escapes from standard side control are certainly serviceable and effective (the frame and guard recovery and the underhook escape to knees), they didn’t wow me in the details like Danaher’s did. On the other hand, his escapes from related positions – north/south, knee on belly, and kesa gatame variations – are systems that are generally more complete than the ones Danaher presents, covering almost every variation you’ll encounter.
Back Control Escapes
Danaher: 36 minutes. Thirty-six minutes? That’s it? After spending five hours on side control escapes, you couldn’t even manage a full hour for back escapes? What happened? Did Matthias decide not to put up with the abuse your lapdog Placido was always willing to take? Or did Bernardo Faria set a hard limit of 11 hours to a set? Not even a body triangle escape? Lazy, Danaher. Lazy. And as always, the chapter titles are unhelpful. My subtitles:
Sliding Escape (Basic Version)
Sliding Escape 2 (Escape from Lapel Choke)
Sliding Escape 3 (Escaping to the Opposite Side)
Sliding Escape 4 (Preventing Face-Down Rear Mount)
Giles: 1 hour, 38 minutes. Here’s a turn-around: Giles spends nearly three times as long as Danaher on back escapes. And it’s far more comprehensive: Giles shows escapes from both the overhook side as well as the underhook side, escaping the shoulders first and escaping the hips first, including how to deal with hooks and the body triangle. Plus, Giles caps it off with some excellent rolling footage.
Turtle Escapes
Danaher: 48 minutes. Solid escapes for both one arm around the waist and the seatbelt/harness grip.
Giles: 35 minutes. Doesn’t cover the one arm around the waist situation, but makes up for it by covering turtle positions where your opponent’s got a hook in, an underhook, or two underhooks, none of which Danaher covers.
Front Headlock Escapes
Danaher: Doesn’t cover this at all. Not even on his Front Headlocks instructional. Bad Danaher. No cookie for you.
Giles: 47 minutes. Very good escapes for both chokes and attempts to take the back from the front headlock position. Thorough with important details highlighted.
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US Open Men's & Women's Quarterfinals Writeup sponsored by Andujarrrrrrr

It was a dark and stormy night. Pablo Andujar awoke with a start, rolling off the pile of jaguars that he uses as a mattress. He did not open his eyes, for he did not need to. “The man on the internet speaks my name,” he announced to the cave walls that surrounded him. “It is time,” they replied. Quietly he crept to the river, where sunken eyes belied the presence of Earth’s most dominant predator. Crocodiles, you say? No no no. For it is Pablo who is most dangerous, and his eyes whomst are most sunken due to my mentioningeth his name. Anyway, clay is back and I’m really excited. Pablo has begun his annual tradition of zipping people until they withdraw, and winning two consecutive tournaments. I heard the US Open is still going though or something, so let’s talk about that.
Carreño Busta Zverev : It’s been a long time since the livestream chatboxes were cursing PCB while he struggled to overcome Uchiyama. If his run continues here it would make his greatest finish ever at a major, and it’s fitting that he’d do so at the US Open where he has shown time and time again that he is very tough to beat in the 3/5 format. For years I have watched this guy and Schwartzman run into Nadal and play solid but be out in the first week. If you watch carefully you will notice rather than blink, PCB opens his eyes wider at the same frequency instead. This is 4d chess, and his opponents are at a major disadvantage with the mini-snoozes they take every time their eyes dry out. Is PCB a robot sent from the future? Yes. His match with Shapuzzle was the highlight of the quarterfinals, and had shades of the Coric Zverev matchup as far as the sets being decided by a few key points, but was light years ahead of them in quality. Simply put, Shapizza plays exciting tennis nonstop, and PCB played as good as he ever has in that match. After playing two fairly perfect tiebreakers, this match looked all but over. Shapunzel heading into the 2nd set tiebreaker began to have the look of a very tired human being, and after he lost I began to think the huge line movement on this one made sense.
-190 was the opening price for Shapriceisright and it went all the way down to -135 by gametime. Generally a line will receive balanced action on both sides even with minor line movement, so when a favorite wins, they just pass them the money from the underdog backers, and when an underdog wins, the book pays them with the money laid by the favorites. When a favorite plummets and the underdog wins, it is one of the only situations where the book eats a loss, and this makes me very happy.
Shapreyingmantis looked dominant in rallies against Goffin, seeming like it would just be a matter of time before he earned an error or a short ball. PCB’s power and backhand seemed to be a big factor here, and having played 6 fewer sets, he didn’t really tire at any point, while Shapottery seemingly fell into somewhat predictable patterns. It would have been nice to see him mix up some slices and dropshots, and while these are tough, giving a lockdown defender one speed is a recipe to exhaust yourself and lose to your own inevitable errors. PCB played two perfect tiebreakers, cementing both with aces, and that was really the only difference in sets 2 and 3. Shapressure went down a break and broke back several times, but he seemed to be fading. A pair of shoes was brought courtside, but Shapoomafoo never put them on as he went on an impressive run of games, and PCB conserved energy for the 5th set. This is a risky move, but against the current crop of younger players a smart one as winning 6 games in a row means they have fistpumped to their box over 600 times on average, and generally tired their arms.
Let’s be honest. Shap’s mom’s jacket was cool af. The 5th set was a bit tragic, as Shapartyallthetime double faulted to be broken. Tough loss but Shapopcorn is a player who will only get better, as his level of consistency and maturity this event was something we haven’t seen from him before. When he watches tape he can also take solace in the fact that when he got to net PCB didn’t misfire on a single passing shot attempt.
Zverev and Coric were two kids awkwardly competing in a spelling bee they didn’t study for. Coric changed his kit about 6-7 times during this match, and was drenched in sweat from start to finish to a degree that I was very surprised he didn’t end up cramping. Zverev, in Zverev fashion, was nowhere to be found in the first set. It has seemed all tournament long that he doesn’t get fully warmed up during the pre-match period, and this will be an issue for his team to work on as his career progresses. Getting broken multiple times actually seemed good for him, as when he finally broke down and stopped going for shots Coric found himself a bit puzzled as far as shot selection. After squandering a break in the second set Coric’s world seemed to fall apart, and an awkwardly aggressive tiebreaker spelled defeat for him. There is something very dismaying about the factor in this match that dictated swings in momentum being “whoever tried to press the issue and go for bigger shots immediately made errors and lost”. Perhaps it’s some remnant of knowing each other’s games so well, or perhaps this was simply a match where the pressure overwhelmed the competitors. The 2nd and 3rd sets were decided by a few key points, with Zverev coming up with some excellent passes and one excellent sliding backhand slice down the line off a Coric dropshot that had even the announcers surprised. Coric seemed to want to drive the ball a bit harder in each tiebreaker even though most of his momentum had come from placement and Zverev errors, and his (Coric’s) early errors in the tiebreakers cost him this match. In the 4th set, Zverev stepped his game up a bit and put distance between the two players.
Nothing I saw in this match is the type of play necessary to put PCB out, aside from Zverev’s decision to go big on his 2nd serve as well as his first. I’m not his coach, but his balltoss on his second serve going straight up in the air above his head might be something they want to change. It’s too akin to the Herbert 2nd serve plan when he tries to slice it as it’s dropping and Zverev’s arm/wrist are a bit too loose to make it consistent. With his height he would be able to toss the ball a bit in front of himself if he really is having issues and generate some easy power. As it stands now, going big on the 2nd serve is a much better option to keep Carreño Busta from getting in a rhythm. In a tournament where the bottom semifinal is going to be regarded as the finals, Zverev will place some doubt in that notion with a win here. I say that only because PCB is unlikely to drop significantly in level, and what Zverev has displayed so far as far as play during the rallies is going to have him going deep. Books opened Zverev as a -250 favorite, and Zverev has won their two previous meetings, but I think if he had a next level he can summon, he would have done so already earlier in previous matches, which he’s been winning largely with serving. PCB is an excellent returner as we saw with his constant pressure of Shap, and while Zverev is a bit more power and a bit less angle, I think Zverev will have to earn this one. I doubt he will. PCB in 4.
Medvedev Thiem : There is little in this event that Medvedev hasn’t done right. Rublev and him shared many a love hold in the first set, and I began to wonder if being a wall really mattered with Rublev being the more offensive player. At 5-1 in the first set tiebreak, things looked very grim. At 6-3 in the tiebreak, they seemed just about over. At 8-6 in the tiebreaker, Medvedev had just converted basically every single shot to perfection and had cemented himself as my pick to win this tournament. Watching him play is like watching a squirrel try to get onto a birdfeeder. He does not stop probing at any point. Rather than going for clean winners, all his shots are intended just to get his opponent to hang one up or make an error. It is exhausting, and his backhand is probably the best part of his game as he makes the perfect adjustments to send the ball back over and over. Standing as deep as he does is the same “you cannot beat me if the ball goes in play” message that Nadal sends and with his reach and movement he seems to be right. Rublev, to his credit, played one of the best matches anyone could, which makes it even more impressive than Medvedev won in straight sets. A few double faults were unfortunate, but really Rublev never found a crack in Medvedev, challenging him for an entire 3 sets of tennis only to watch Medvedev not miss a shot. If you want to know how frustrating it looked to play Medvedev, the umpire gave Rublev a warning at one point because he screamed in anger too loud after a point.
Thiem is conducting his own clinic on the bottom rung of this draw, not dropping a set along the way and dispatching some of the more promising contenders this tournament has produced. FAA seemed poised for next level competition. Nope. De Minaur was coming in as a favorite over and over and delivering. Nope. Thiem and De Minaur played the same point about 200 times today. Thiem slicing his backhand, De Minaur hitting the inside out forehand. Over and over they exchanged these two shots, until De Minaur got frustrated and came to net, at which point Thiem hit a perfect pass down the line. De Minaur fought and there were a number of break points earned as Thiem missed some offensive attempts and had some issues with 1st serves, but he never broke through. While I hate slices, Thiem’s strategy looked like someone very in control of the match, and very aware of De Minaur’s prowess for taking the ball on the rise and for counterpunching.
With both displaying extremely proficient defending and straight set victories, I think a few things will make a difference here. One, Medvedev’s serve seems much easier to produce and a bit better than Thiem’s. He had a better day serving, and held at love very often. Two, Thiem’s errors while going for winners were ok against De Minaur, but will cost him the match against Medvedev, who is unlikely to have the ball hit clean by him, and whose general strategy involves profiting from his opponents forcing the issue. Three, Thiem’s court position today was ok against De Minaur, but he won’t be able to beat Medvedev from behind the baseline. Where I do think Thiem can hurt Medvedev is with his backhand and general power during the rallies. Rublev is a ballbeater, but Thiem’s power has shown to be able to break down the two best defenders on tour (Novak/Nadal) at times, and in a 3/5 match it is likely we see some very long rallies. While waiting to see the line this opens at, I am inclined to think that either player being slated as an underdog will see a great influx of money on them. Although Medvedev has played a slightly better tournament thus far, these are both top 5 caliber players and it will be who competes better on the day. For now though, Medvedev in 4.
Brady Osaka : Puzzle time. Brady has the best forehand left in the event. She has played a number of opponents whose biggest issue was how to keep her from dictating play. No one has been able to do so. Putintseva had probably her best run ever at the US Open, and had basically frustrated a number of high level offenses, but she was run ragged back and forth. If we switch the draw around, I think Brady beats Serena. I think she also represents a tough test for Azarenka, but Osaka is such a difficult matchup for her. Osaka’s movement outside the court on her backhand wing has shown to be an extreme neutralizing force against her last few opponents. She crushes her backhand from there and drives it down the center of the court. This leaves not much angle to work with, and opponents who have tried to hit inside out again to her backhand have found the ball driven back on a sharp angle to their own backhand. Those who have tried to open the court to her forehand have been treated to some of the sharpest Rafa-like flail above the head crosscourt forehands that Osaka has ever hit. Rogers isn’t a great mover due to being 13% potato, but she was unable to even take a step towards a number of Osaka’s forehand returns when she went inside-in with her own fh. Osaka also served brilliantly throughout this match, and hit her backhand down the line to great effect when the ball was hit in a linear manner. This was the main problem for Rogers in this match, she played a very straightforward game and similar to the Osaka/Kontaveit match, this match was far gone before she ever really had a chance to change things up. The 6-3, 6-4 scoreline is promising for Brady since she’s a cut above Rogers on offense and much quicker around the court, but it seems like Naomi has upped her level every round of this event, and the finish line seems very much in sight.
After saying all that, I do think this match is a puzzle because while Osaka has the tools to negate Brady’s offense, she still has to do it. Brady should be able to hold at a much higher clip than anyone Osaka has played so far, since she is swinging for the fences on most shots and gets a lot of spin on her forehand which can force errors. I don’t think she’s there yet, but Brady is the sort of player that can run through tournaments if she commits herself to continuing this style. The more you go for big shots on tour, the more they become your normal shots, and hard work and dedication are something that anyone following Brady’s literally amazing physical transformation in the past year will see she has. As for her prospects of winning this match, I’ll say not yet, but soon. Osaka in 3.
Williams Azarenka : An announcer mentioned that Azarenka has never beaten Williams before which is interesting, because, she has beaten her. Also, she’s going to beat her. Pironkova and Williams today was a very interesting contest. Serena lost every portion of this match where her returns landed outside the court, and won every portion where they landed inside. This is her biggest issue since her return to the tour, her shotmaking is still the same when stationary but her accuracy suffers immensely when she’s forced to react or go a bit off-balance. Pironkova played her part well, and was a bit unfortunate in the second when a Williams double fault was not called that would have given her a break point which would have given her a chance to serve for the match. This is very much “if if if” territory though, and while I am a big Svetana fan, the better player won today. Serena served very well, and when she needed to she was able to get around the court. Her forehand was a huge weapon in neutralizing Pironkova’s ability to move her, and while the inside out backhand was a point almost every time it landed in, Serena was careful to mostly keep to Pironk’s weaker wing. These sort of comeback victories are less of an issue to me because in all of them we see Serena hit a gear of noisemaking and ballstriking that her opponents are clearly not able to counter. One player looks fatigued and hopeful, one player looks like they’re going to win if they can just keep it on the court.
Azarenka was herself against Mertens, and herself is a player who has not lost a match in the last two weeks, after not winning a match for the last two years. There is a brilliant tennis IQ at play with Vika lately, and her movement and defending have pretty much forced her opponents to fold. So many rallies see her not even exerting herself as she ends the point by guiding her backhand down the line or by putting a volley into the open court. Mertens today made all the errors that Kenin made yesterday, but I can understand why. Azarenka is playing a complete tennis game and that is something that coupled with her athleticism we don’t really see that often on the tour. Serena’s errors will cost her this match, and her poweserving will make it dangerous. I do expect that given there are just two matches left we will see Williams leave it all on the court, and Azarenka’s serving can struggle at times which leaves her open for getting down on the scoreline, but Serena has dropped the first set against a number of greatly inferior players, and Azarenka is not going to suffer from fatigue or lack of easily repeatable offense the way some of those players have. Stephens was toast after the first set. Sakkari’s game is less refined at this point, and Pironkova’s serve and forehand disappeared. Azarenka in 2, and I am hopeful we’ll get to see the Osaka Azarenka final we missed last week.
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Weekend Review- THE REVIEW

More tough times for Kepa, Bielsa's Leeds can't stop scoring (or conceding), and Erling Haaland is entirely too tall
Hosts: Taylor Rockwell and Ryan Bailey
Peacock is awful
Chelsea v Liverpool (7:07)
Manchester United v Crystal Palace (24:34)
Leeds v Fulham (41:33)
Southampton v Tottenham (50:17)
Borussia Dortmund v Borussia Monchengladbach (59:02)
Juve v Sampdoria (1:06:30)
Kickers v Orlando City B
Kickers host Inter Miami II on Wednesday September 23 @ 6:30
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MAME 0.222

MAME 0.222

MAME 0.222, the product of our May/June development cycle, is ready today, and it’s a very exciting release. There are lots of bug fixes, including some long-standing issues with classics like Bosconian and Gaplus, and missing pan/zoom effects in games on Seta hardware. Two more Nintendo LCD games are supported: the Panorama Screen version of Popeye, and the two-player Donkey Kong 3 Micro Vs. System. New versions of supported games include a review copy of DonPachi that allows the game to be paused for photography, and a version of the adult Qix game Gals Panic for the Taiwanese market.
Other advancements on the arcade side include audio circuitry emulation for 280-ZZZAP, and protection microcontroller emulation for Kick and Run and Captain Silver.
The GRiD Compass series were possibly the first rugged computers in the clamshell form factor, possibly best known for their use on NASA space shuttle missions in the 1980s. The initial model, the Compass 1101, is now usable in MAME. There are lots of improvements to the Tandy Color Computer drivers in this release, with better cartridge support being a theme. Acorn BBC series drivers now support Solidisk file system ROMs. Writing to IMD floppy images (popular for CP/M computers) is now supported, and a critical bug affecting writes to HFE disk images has been fixed. Software list additions include a collection of CDs for the SGI MIPS workstations.
There are several updates to Apple II emulation this month, including support for several accelerators, a new IWM floppy controller core, and support for using two memory cards simultaneously on the CFFA2. As usual, we’ve added the latest original software dumps and clean cracks to the software lists, including lots of educational titles.
Finally, the memory system has been optimised, yielding performance improvements in all emulated systems, you no longer need to avoid non-ASCII characters in paths when using the chdman tool, and jedutil supports more devices.
There were too many HyperScan RFID cards added to the software list to itemise them all here. You can read about all the updates in the whatsnew.txt file, or get the source and 64-bit Windows binary packages from the download page.

MAME Testers Bugs Fixed

New working machines

New working clones

Machines promoted to working

Clones promoted to working

New machines marked as NOT_WORKING

New clones marked as NOT_WORKING

New working software list additions

Software list items promoted to working

New NOT_WORKING software list additions

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I replayed (almost) all Metal Gear games... Here are all my thoughts on them!

Given the current state of the US and the world as a whole, it is not a good time to be a college student. Academic institutions have stopped to a grinding halt and have uncertain plans for the upcoming school year. Despite this, I have had no shortage of things to do. Even though I just finished my summer classes, I still have a lot to do. I continue to work remotely for my school's IT department and also do research with my professor in artificial intelligence (yes, Metal Gear influenced my career choice). My intent is not to flex my credentials or anything, but to explain my motivations. I realize how lucky I am to work on the things I love and build my career when many others can't at this moment. Still, I occasionally feel like I'm more active than I'd like to be. This is where Metal Gear comes in. I grew up with the series and haven't touched many of them in years. I was planning on revisiting the series for some time now too. Since I was at home and needed a way to destress, I said fuck it and decided to revisit all the games. I'll be explaining my thoughts with some version notes and the difficulty I played on in release order. I hope this is an entertaining read!

Metal Gear (PS3 HD Collection), Difficulty Played: Original
The one that started it all. IIRC, Kojima started development on a shoot em' up inspired by Commando but had to change direction due to the MSX2's limited hardware capabilities. Instead of fighting enemies, your objective is to avoid them. Simple, but a brilliant solution. Thus Metal Gear was born. I feel like this game has aged surprisingly well. It's not incredibly refined, but it definitely has that arcade charm and gameplay. Tactical espionage action at it's simplest. You can even see the origins of many modern MGS classics like the cardboard box, radio team, etc. This game is in desperate need of a Resident Evil-style remake though. The game's design leaves a lot to be desired. There's meaningless backtracking and the way ID cards work to open doors is absolutely moronic. And sometimes it's not really clear how to progress in the game like obtaining the bomb blast suit for example. Guards can only see in lines and the bosses are uninspiring. And despite 30 years of retcons and plot developments, the story is still vague and underdeveloped. FOXHOUND commander Big Boss sends Solid Snake to infiltrate Outer Heaven, also commanded by Big Boss (retconned as Venom Snake) to rescue Gray Fox and spread misinformation to the West (retconned as the Patriots) by... getting captured? Killed? Acquiring a false report? Not clear. And what kind of misinformation? To keep up appearances? To report Metal Gear isn't nuclear armed? Fake Big Bosses' death? Also not clear. Still, it's a humble beginning to a beloved franchise and should be appreciated.
Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake (PS3 HD Collection), Difficulty Played: Original
This is where Metal Gear really becomes Metal Gear. MG2 is an improvement over MG1 in every way. Graphics are better, gameplay is a lot better, and most importantly, it has a coherent story. It's incredibly impressive how this was developed for the same MSX2 system as MG1. And this is where Metal Gear adopts its quirky, goofy yet serious identity. You have dumb shit like "poisonous Zanzibar hamsters" juxtaposed with strong, anti-war themes. Absolutely brilliant. For an 8-bit game, it's very concise and articulate with this message. This game was so good, that the story and gameplay for MGS1 reused many of the ideas present in MG2. I think that if MG2 was remade, it would be better than MGS1 since they are the same game, but MG2 has a more interesting premise. Big Boss as the main villain is already reason enough. Not all is perfect though. The game design suffers from the same issues present in MG1 with unnecessary backtracking, the crappy card system, and confusing progression. I really think that everyone should give this a game a try since it is often underappreciated and overlooked in favor of the later games.

Metal Gear Solid (PC Integral), Difficulty Played: Extreme
If MG2 created the modern Metal Gear identity, MGS1 perfected it. Kojima and the team really outdid themselves when making this game. This game set a groundbreaking precedent in attention to detail and cinematic storytelling not just for future MGS games, but all video games that came after. To this day, I still think that MGS1 has one of the best atmospheres in gaming. The characters in this game are incredible and in my opinion have the best performances in the entire series. Every single one of them is iconic and memorable. As Otacon says though, "it's just like one of my Japanese animes." Revisiting MGS made me realize that the entire series is basically a long-running, edgy shonen anime based in video game form. You have all the iconic tropes like: a giant mecha, technobabble, superpowered characters, excessive chit-chat with villains and too much dialogue in general, every character having some sort of tragic backstory, some life lesson as a theme, and so on. None of this is bad though. In fact, it enhances the charm. The love of American action movies combined with the oddities of Japanese storytelling is what makes MGS so memorable. Unfortunately, some of the writing in this game is really jarring. MGS has really bad writing at times, but for some reason it was much more painful in this game for me than the others. The romantic elements were cringeworthy, the twists were handled poorly, and Liquid Snake, despite allegedly having an 180 IQ, has no grasp on basic genetics, among other issues. The gameplay isn't much of an innovation over MG2 either. It's just the same thing, but rendered in 3D. It added first-person mode, but that's about it. Regardless, this game is a classic.

Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty (PS3 HD Collection), Difficulty Played: Extreme
My personal favorite of the series. Once again, it innovates on the gameplay. Although the controls take an unwieldy, maximalist approach that uses way too many buttons sometimes, it presents you with a lot of options. It's very slick and versatile once you master it. I've seen some people on this sub say that the camera is not conducive with the game design for an enjoyable experience, but I think this is exaggerated BS. I played on Extreme with no radar and did fine. You're given all the tools you need to succeed. The bosses of this game are insane though. Even the more exploitable fights like Vamp and Solidus can still be tricky. The RAY fight on Extreme has got to be my favorite boss from any video game though. It's was incredibly tense with so many opponents who could potentially one-shot you. A single mistake could be fatal. The gratification I had after decommissioning 20 of those assholes can't be described with words. As for story, I can understand how some may not like the postmodern, artsy, almost pretentious approach the it takes, but I love it. MGS2 parodies MGS1 in the most brilliant way possible. It's an amazing deconstruction of sequel expectations and many of its ideas regarding society and technology are becoming more and more relevant. I also liked Raiden as a protagonist because of how well he contrasts with Solid Snake. He also has more noticeable character development. I would like to point out that I was still a baby when this game came out in 2001. Therefore it was impossible for me to get memed by Kojima's bait-and-switch. When I first got into the series, I already knew that Raiden was the main playable character. I can understand why many were/are frustrated with this change or simply just don't like Raiden. But I think the writing just works better in this game than MGS1. Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of examples of bad writing and questionable narrative choices in this game. However, while bad writing hurts MGS1, it actually strengthens MGS2. All the incongruities and ridiculousness present in the game build on its message that there is no objective truth. Seriously, MGS2 makes me question everything that I believe in. I've never been more terrified of a video game than the entire Arsenal Gear segment, and this isn't even a horror game. Resident Evil zombies and Silent Hill fog monsters will never hurt me. But censorship, authoritarianism, and misuse of technology can. The real terror is reality. And for that, I treat this game like the Bible. I will say that my veneration of this game is a recent development. It was actually my least favorite until a few years ago. It was after seeing several analyses on this game that my opinion shifted. And since I'm older now, I naturally have a different perspective on life than I did before. MGS2 definitely gets better with age.

Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater (PS3 HD Collection), Difficulty Played: Extreme
Over the years, I've had a growing sentiment that MGS3 is overrated. I was glad to be proven wrong. I still like MGS2's existential edginess more, but I concede that this game is the best MGS experience overall. This game deserves every word of praise that it receives. This entire game is an adorable homage to James Bond and other spy thrillers. Seriously, listen to that opening! The story is also the most sensible and best-written in the series. At first glance MGS3 doesn't seem to do anything bold, appearing to be very orthodox and conventional. Despite this, it never failed to excite and maintained that signature MGS personality the entire time. Additionally, the characters are all so likeable. Despite looking and sounding exactly like Solid Snake, Naked Snake has his own distinct personality. He's much more of shit-eating jokester and is a lot more social. And despite the mission he's sent on, he's super unprofessional and I love it. His characterization really adds to the atmosphere of blissful naivete this game goes for. And his chemistry with the rest of the characters is great. You have the radio support team who are also a bunch of lovable, unprofessional jokesters. Then there's EVA, who is an equally awesome female lead. The romance and sexual tension between EVA and Naked Snake actually feels natural, like normal people. It's not painfully awkward like Meryl and Solid Snake or artificial like Raiden and Rose (although that may have been the point with them). Then there's the Boss, who is one of the best supporting female characters in gaming. The contribution her powerful, motherly presence has on the story cannot be understated. The Cobra Unit was pretty shallow to be honest, but they were still memorable and were a fun collection of superpowered weirdos to fight. They didn't really need more than that. Oh, and Ocelot being retconned as a Snake fanboy is hilarious and fitting. There's too many good things about this area of the game and I need to go on. Once again, gameplay innovations! It still has the awkward MGS2 controls, but now you can use them to their full potential. While MGS3 is a super linear game, the number of strategies you can use are limitless. Look at James Howell's FOXHOUND guide on YouTube. He demonstrates multiple methods of entering and exiting the SAME room. Seriously, the dude shows like four different ways to defeat the Ocelot unit and that's barely scratching the surface. Every obtainable item can be meaningfully and that is brilliant... I need to move on but this game fucking rocks.
Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops (PC Emulated), Difficulty Played: Normal
I gotta say this right of the bat. This shit was not fun to play. I don't really mind if a game has bad graphics, but bad performance makes me want to DIE. 20 FPS physically hurts. Literally. The choppiness gave me a few headaches. I could have increased the framerate, but I read several user reports say that it messes up cutscenes. Plus, I figured I should suffer playing through it in its pure, unadulterated form. The game controlled like garbage and the recruitment mechanic sucked. Still, it's impressive that the development team ported the Snake Eater engine to the PSP. That is an achievement that deserves to be commended. Story wise, it's standard Metal Gear. It's a good time, but I don't really like the direction it took. The inclusion of Gray Fox and Campbell was kinda random and didn't meaningfully develop their characters. They were just there for the sake of being there. Not a good or bad thing, but they could have been totally new characters and the roles would be exactly the same. I also didn't like the implication that Big Boss got the idea and resources for Outer Heaven from Gene. It just rubbed me the wrong way. And what I really didn't like was retconning the entirety of Operation Snake Eater as some elaborate assassination ploy by the CIA because The Boss was "too charismatic" or some BS like that. Like, why? She was loyal to the end. Her being a threat to the US is not consistent with her character. It implies that obtaining the Philosopher's Legacy, destroying the Shagohod, and keeping the Khrushchev administration in power is not enough justification for the US to sacrifice the Boss. It's an unnecessary complication of the story that sets a bad precedent for using "the Bosses' will" as a convenient MacGuffin to explain character motivations or conflicts. Good thing the game is considered semi-canon so I can pretend these parts didn't happen. Still, I appreciate it for what it is. It's proof that a Kojima-less Metal Gear can still be Metal Gear. Not to mention, "Calling to the Night" is an incredibly underrated theme.

Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots (PS3), Difficulty Played: The Boss Extreme
The greatest movie game I've ever watched. It's such a shame that this game never got an official port outside of the PS3 because this game is stunning despite the meh performance. The 30 FPS didn't really agree with me, but it wasn't headache inducing like Portable Ops. I have a pretty beefy PC rig so I could've used the custom RPCS3 build to play it at 60 FPS, but I wasn't willing to gamble on the program's stability especially when the cutscenes are so long. Just like Portable Ops, I had to experience it in its raw, unadulterated form. I really wanted to hate this game for being a fanservice disaster... but I couldn't do it. This was the first Metal Gear I completed start to finish. This is the game that got me into the series. I was like 11 or 12 at the time and I had no idea what was going on, yet every little piece of lore kept me wanting to know more about the rest of the series. Nostalgia aside, this game is the most endearing trainwreck I've ever experienced despite the clear disdain and borderline self-hatred Kojima put in while making this game. MGS4 was always going to happen, but Kojima’s involvement was uncertain. I’m genuinely curious what direction this game would’ve took if he quit the series back then. MGS2 alone is already hard to follow up on, and by also having to relate all the events in MGS3, Kojima inadvertently placed the story into a position where writing successive games would become very difficult. I wonder how Murata or whatever writer would approach the story without Kojima’s input. Would it be more or less of a clusterfuck than what it is now? Who knows? Regardless, I think MGS4 is a worthy conclusion to the series. It hits every emotional chord it needs and gives a sense of closure. It really hits you with a feeling that this is indeed the end. The “war has changed” speech gets me every time. In many ways, I feel that MGS4 is as much of a critique on gaming industry trends as it is on the military industrial complex (although it is ironic since this game features so many licensed firearms). Think about it. Forcing Snake (Kojima) back into a life of battle (video games) not because they want to (MGS2), but because they have no choice. The nature of warfare (game development), has shifted from ideology (the messages he tried to tell in MGS 1-3) to profits (fan satisfaction, corporate responsibilities, etc). The war economy strengthens this point by demonstrating how war has infiltrated ever aspect in the MGS universe, like gamer’s seeming obsession with war games like MGS. And the fact that MGS4 demystifies everything with nanomachines or some bloated conspiracy relating back to The Boss is a big middle finger to everyone who clamored for explanations. Kojima was probably like “You couldn’t think of an explanation yourself? Okay, I’ll give you an explanation appropriate for your handicapped intelligence.” In a way, it’s just as postmodern as MGS2 if not more. The metanarrative has always been MGS strong suit after all. But this is one extremely expensive art project in that case. I realize that I also need to be objective in this retrospective. Once you get into this mode of thinking, a literal pile of shit can be interpreted as a gold mine. I am not likening MGS4 to a pile of shit by the way. I’d say that MGS4 did well given what it was tasked to do. All the loose ends are tied up and it (mostly) deals with its characters very well. The characterization of Old Snake is so well done. His depiction as a fallen legend from a bygone era seeking peace is so tragic and powerful. And I really liked Raiden too, but not for the typical reason. I thought he was a good representation of the fans who failed to understand MGS2. Rather than move on and become a better person, he becomes a parody of those who just want to be “cool” and “edgy.” It reverses the dynamic in MGS2. Now that Snake is a decrepit senior citizen, epic ninja dude Raiden is the guy that everyone wants to play as now. And Meryl was excellent too, representing people who were able to mature and move on. She’s all grown up and has found her own purpose in life. It was sad seeing how far she’s moved on from Snake. The whole “marry me Johnny uwu” part was awful, but I suppose it adds to the point of moving on. Liquid Ocelot was a real treat to watch in this game as well. I thought the whole cast was pretty strong. The only character I thought was bad was Naomi. None of her actions make any sense. Even fucking Revolver Ocelot makes more sense than her and he is the king of convoluted conspiracies. She did a total 180 from her MGS1 self for no real reason and she killed herself because? Sniper Wolf and Gray Fox nostalgia? There’s a ton of cheap fanservice in this game but most of those are minor, have some purpose to the plot, or aid characterization. This instance was none of those. And in her debrief video after the virus upload, she never bothered to tell Snake that the new FOXDIE replaced the old one and he could live the rest of his life. Like seriously? This dude almost shot himself to prevent a now nonexistent threat. Plus her hot British accent is gone which is big sad. Also, Sunny contributing to FOXALIVE was kind of jarring. I understand her entire character is to show the new generation inheriting the ideals and problems of the old, but it’s just so random to have a seven-year-old prodigy. She should’ve been a little bit older. She was 11 in Rising and I was totally chill with that. Minor gripe I suppose. As a self-contained narrative, the game isn’t that confusing. However, the way it fits with previous games is super awkward. Big Boss appearing at the end of the game is also very random and has got to be the biggest violation of the “show don’t tell” principle I’ve ever seen anywhere. But given how the Japanese dub literally reconciles real-life father and son, it’s nothing short of beautiful. I prefer this over the original execution ending. Snake has suffered enough. He’s been punished since the day he was born. Personally, I will contend that the twist that the Patriots were the MGS3 support cast isn’t that bad. The identity of the Patriots has been hyped up so much that the answer could never be that satisfying. Would it really be better if they were new, original characters? Considering that they would most likely all be dead anyways, I doubt it. The hive-mind, collective consciousness that MGS2 depicted them was good, but the MGS community has proven itself incapable of abstract thinking after not understanding MGS2 in general. The whole thing would’ve worked better if Major Zero acted more like Colonel Campbell in MGS1, a “trusted” friend who knows more about the operation than he seems and is actively lying to you. The Paramedic, Sigint, and rest are whatever, but Zero wasn’t fleshed out enough to have this huge role. Hindsight is 20/20. They had no idea the plot would go this way. But shoehorning the Bosses’ will as a motivation for everything is stupid. Like I said for Portable Ops, it just became a convenient MacGuffin. There’s a sort of irony here. I could see how Zero’s world government can be traced back to the Boss with “the world can be one again”, but aside from a few throwaway lines he barely has a connection to her. What, did he really hear her entire speech from Snake’s radio? On the other end, I don’t understand how Big Bosses’ warmongering mercenaries can be interpreted from the Bosses’ ideals and he is the one who has a fleshed-out relationship with her. This is where I go “bruh moment” on the writing. Yeah, Liquid Ocelot was also stupid, but the writers had no choice and that kind of shenanigan totally makes sense for his character anyways. This is just an objectively bad cop-out. Gameplay is pretty good. Just the same as MGS3 but now it doesn’t handle like a Rube Goldberg machine. Unfortunately, you don’t really get an opportunity to use the mechanics to their full potential. The game is super cutscene heavy and only act 1 and 2 are truly conducive with experimentation. Overall, I think this game gets shit on too much and I love it.

Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker (PS3 HD Collection)
This was actually the first Metal Gear game I ever played. My Dad got it for me on PSP close to when it was released. Unfortunately, 10 year old me was shit at video games and rage quit at the Hind boss fight so I put it on hiatus until the HD release came out. Online co-op came in clutch. I don't know why I found this game so difficult back then because now I find Peace Walker to be the easiest game out of all the Solid titles. Even the red skull vehicle missions aren’t too bad as long as you’ve grinded for the appropriate equipment. I have to mention that it was here where I was started to feel burnout from cycling through so many games so quickly. This one took me a bit longer to complete because I needed to extended breaks between sessions. But this game was still a treat. I was really confused with the plot because it seemed like Snake totally forgot about EVA’s debriefing and misremembers his fight with the Boss, but once I realized this game was about him coping with the truth rather than learning the truth, it finally clicked. For me, it cleared up a lot of the baggage left from MGS4. Outer Heaven is less of an interpretation of the Bosses’ will than it is an active rejection of it. When finally accepts the title of Big Boss, he refuses to resign himself to the same fate. That makes a lot more sense to me. Additionally, while it didn’t do that good of a job in this regard, it showed the origins of the alleged conflict between Zero and Big Boss that MGS4 mention. It also did some cool foreshadowing of the Patriot AI. I must mention that this game came out at a super awkward place. It’s post-MGS4 yet it chronologically takes place towards the beginning of the timeline. I also really liked the characters in this game. I was shocked to see how lively and colorful the entire cast was. You could tell they had a great time in the recording booth and most of it was just optional tapes! Unlike Campbell in Portable Ops, Miller is a much more realized character and has depth. He has great business acumen but is also as much of a dipshit as Snake. Then you had the bisexual chad Strangelove. I’m studying computer science, so her tapes were super interesting and relevant to me. I’d love to have her as a professor in real life. Even Cecile, a totally unimportant throwaway waifu, has some great moments in optional tapes. And it’s all very well acted too. Sadly, Hot Coldman was very uninspiring, lame villain. He was just kinda there. But it seemed clear that the real focus was the Boss AI and Cipher. Unfortunately, I don’t like David Hayter’s voice in this game. The Old Snake aesthetic doesn’t suit Big Boss. It sounded too forced to me. I’m not a big fan of Portable Ops, but they should have given Hayter the same voice direction. I am very satisfied with how they decided to expand this “Big Boss arc.” I know many don’t like how they continued the series, but I think this was a meaningful contribution. Although this is when the tech in Metal Gear got weird. Strangelove made an AI that replicated the Bosses’ thought patterns from brief personal experience and a bunch of documents. The best we have in real life is Alexa. It’s too advanced. Sure, there were always nanomachines and nuke tanks but that was all speculative fiction. I didn’t have a problem with the AI bosses. I think they were all fun and engaging. All of you who wished for human bosses are a bunch of homicidal maniacs. Although the breadth of vehicle missions suck. They’re not hard if you grind for equipment, but they are very tedious. And the grinding itself is a huge problem. So much of it is the just the same repetitive junk to farm soldiers or wait out development time. Good thing it’s only side content. I also understand that this was initially developed for the PSP, but the missions are way too short even if they are supposed to be bite-sized. Most of them can be completed in five minutes or less. But I appreciate the effort needed to put this much content into the game. Peace Walker is a great game.

Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance (PC), Difficulty Played: Hard
This whole game is a meme and I live for it. This is the only hack-and-slash I’ve ever played so I don’t consider myself super qualified to talk about its merits. But with what I’m given, I’ll say that the gameplay is slick and well-polished. Very fun to play and on top of the power-metal soundtrack, it was an adrenaline high the whole way through. It momentarily cured me of my burnout. Rising also made me to buy Devil May Cry for more of the same. Eventually I will get around to playing those games. I felt like the writing of this game was weak. To me, it was so unfocused with what it wanted to do. It went all over the place from child soldiers, free will, patriotism, and a whole bunch of other things. This game touches on a lot of interesting topics but it’s so haphazard with how it deals with it. It’ll mention some new topic and then barely develop it. It’s a shallow ocean. And it seems like the writers weren’t really sure what they wanted to do with Raiden. His “Jack the Ripper” persona is so inconsistent when it manifests. He’ll be totally normal in the game but then you call the codec and he’ll do this gravelly voice and talk about how he loves fighting or vice versa. He just has this weird multi-personality disorder that I don’t think was fully intended. But considering that this game is spinoff and a parody of the series, I give it a free pass. Raiden’s character development from MGS4 may have been completely invalidated, but since it was so over-the-top and wasn’t afraid to make fun of itself, it doesn’t offend me. All the characters from Raiden to Armstrong were all so colorful and lively. Even the radio support team has a ton of good codec moments that give a good laugh or provide good worldbuilding. It’s a blast to experience it all. And I think it’s all because Platinum nailed the tone for this game. The level of edginess in Rising was the perfect balance of both cringe and cool. And come to think of it, it barely has anything to do at with the rest of Metal Gear aside from Raiden and Sunny. Yet, it perfectly uses that Metal Gear aesthetic and fits into the universe. It feels like it “belongs” in the series. I seriously want a Rising 2.

Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes (PC)
I skipped this game at launch because even 14-year-old me knew it was a cash grab (and I had no money anyways lol). Funnily enough, I finally played it in like 2018. There’s no way to sugarcoat it, this game is just tech demo. An excellent tech demo, but a tech demo nonetheless. The Fox engine is a marvel in both graphics and performance. Easily one of the best game engines in recent years. And I’m not sure how, but I have over 30 hours on this game recorded on Steam. I probably idled the game overnight on accident, but I’m not sure. Still, it has a deceptive amount of content. I’d say it’s about the same as your average DLC. As for story, it’s a good transition from Peace Walker to MGSV. It effectively establishes the tonal change between the two games. And I really liked the little “side quest” of collecting Chico’s tapes. The way the plot unraveled itself even after you complete the main mission is a neat storytelling trick. And obviously I have to address the huge change that occurred in this game... The voice actor change. I like Kiefersnake. As much as I love David Hayter, Kiefer Sutherland’s voice really suited the character in my opinion. He sounds much more natural and gives a better impression of a non-accelerated aged man. I’ve heard some people say that it just sounds like Jack Bauer to them. This wasn’t a problem for me since I don’t watch 24, but after watching some clips of it I think this is a totally valid frustration. Anyways, decent game.

Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain (PC)
I call this one “Blue Balls: The Video Game.” I love this game. In fact, I’ve 100%ed it twice. However, my franchise fatigue got really bad at this point. I wanted to be done. My burnout was so bad, that I just skipped missions non-essential to the story. And the fact that I was able to do this what I think is the game’s biggest weakness. Many of the missions are inconsequential and only tangentially related to the main story. I really wish the whole story followed the example of missions 28, 29, 30, and 31, which comprise the segment where you meet Code Talker, cure the parasite outbreak, and then confront Skull Face. You had a little bit of cutscene and exposition before the mission, and then a little bit of cutscene and exposition afterwards. Sometimes there isn’t even a helicopter ride in or out. It doesn’t even have to be that much, just enough to ensure that a consistent and comprehensible story can be told. Basically, just follow Peace Walker’s example. If it were up to me, I would restructure the story entirely. I would have most of chapter 1 hype up this bombastic, lofty, hate-filled crusade against Cipher and Skull Face. Then, missions 28, 29, 30, and 31 happen as they did normally. Huey still kills Skull Face. I think that a boss fight with him misses the entire point of what this game was going for. The end of chapter 1 should remain dissatisfying and anticlimactic to preserve the message that revenge is a wasted effort. Then chapter 2 is where you put all the mundane missions like mission 10: rescue some guy or mission 15: get rid of these Walker Gears. Juxtapose these basic “job” missions with all the misfortunes like the second outbreak, Quiet’s sacrifice, Eli stealing Sahelanthropus, etc and you strengthen what chapter 1 was going for. After the characters get their “revenge,” life just goes on for them. The major threat is gone and all there is to do is to keep doing more jobs. And that’s when you realize that they really haven’t solved anything, and nothing has changed since this new state of normalcy. And finally, you learn the truth after becoming far too entrenched in the body double ruse to ever find a way out. Not to put myself on a pedestal since this is my idea, but I think this is a better way to tell the story. It preserves the writer’s intent but reordering it in such a way that it’s not a disjointed mess. It’s such a shame since I think that MGSV has a cool story with a lot of great ideas but is hampered with a botched presentation. All that stuff about language really grabbed my attention. It really got me thinking. And where MGS4 had too many cutscenes, MGSV had too little. Which sucks since the cinematography is so well done. Not only that, but I don’t like how the tapes were handled. In Peace Walker, they were entirely optional and provided additional context or characterization while the voice actors goofed off in the recording studio. Now, some of those tapes hold important plot points that easy to neglect due to the formatting. And when you do listen to them, you’re probably half paying attention since you’re also doing a side op at the same time and then you get Ocelot’s daily reminder to hide from a chopper or some other distraction. You could listen in the ACC or on base, but that hurts the pacing of the game since it forces unnecessary inactivity. And a lot of this information should’ve been better integrated into the cinematics. But objectively, the content of the tapes are interesting and well-performed. But again, botched presentation. This “audio diary” method works best in games like Bioshock that make heavy use of atmosphere and environmental story telling. MGSV was not well-designed with those in mind given the open world. And it really failed to capitalize on the cast’s talent. Especially Kiefersnake who was such a wasted opportunity. He doesn’t need to be super talkative, but I would’ve liked a little bit more than what we got in the game. The characters are a weak point in general. Kaz is a one-dimensional. Ocelot is still a devil’s advocate kinda guy but it’s a lot more subdued. Quiet was alright. And Volgin, Liquid, and Psycho Mantis honestly didn’t add anything meaningful. Huey and Skull Face were fantastic though. Huey being an absolute piece of shit actually enhances the Otacon and Solid Snake bromance. It gives them a shared trauma of wanting to absolve the sins of the father and illustrates how much better they are than their predecessors. Plus, despite how despicable Huey was, many of his accusations towards Diamond Dogs were very valid. So even is the good guy anymore? And Skull Face was epic. He is an amalgamation of many MGS villain traits. He’s got Volgin’s cruelty, Ocelot’s cunning, Solidus’ charisma and idealism, etc. He’s a delightful cocktail of evil. Too bad he didn’t show up more. Kojima claiming that his absence as well as other things to enhance the “phantom pain” just comes off as an excuse to me. I also really like the body double twist. I made a comment on another post addressing this so I’ll just copy paste it here:
MSGV’s ending is not an acknowledgement to the fans and is a brilliant inversion of MGS2’s ending. In MGS2, Solid Snake encourages Raiden to break free and form his own identity separate from the Snake persona as well as the player. In MGSV, Venom Snake’s identity is completely erased and replaced with that of Big Boss. The title of “Big Boss” is extended to Venom and is depicted like some kind of “gift.” What kind of deranged, mentally ill person would accept ever accept a gift like that? 9 years and your entire identity lost while becoming a human shield just to get some lousy recognition. Big Boss has to carefully word himself so you don’t completely lose your mind. While Raiden became his own man independent of the fans, Big Boss and Venom (you the player) are now one in the same. You’re just an expendable tool doomed to a life of eternal warfare. I think it’s Kojima’s way of saying “Thank you for you contributions... Wait, you’re not satisfied yet? Here, you can be Big Boss too. You get no peace now, keep fighting these meaningless proxy wars (video games).”
I interpret it as a final “fuck you assholes!” that Kojima disguised as a compliment and I love it. The dude has always had a tumultuous relationship with fans. But again, we must do an objective analysis. My only problem with it is that I feel like it wasn’t incorporated well into the story and it’s somewhat obvious from the beginning. In comparison, MGS2’s twist is handled with a lot more care, with it slowly unraveling throughout the whole thing rather than character creation, a couple throwaway lines, and then boom you remember the prologue differently. And in general, the reveal itself is not handled well. Mission 46 is exactly the same as the prologue aside from the beginning and end of it. I wish there was more effort to differentiate them from each other. Maybe play as Ishmael? The overall mission would play out the same, but it would be enough difference to justify replaying it. Anyways, gameplay is easily peak of the series. If you let go of tranquilizing everything and start formulating weird, unorthodox strategies you can have a lot of fun with this game. It sucks to have to budget your resources, especially with the higher tier equipment, but it’s manageable. The main ops are all pretty good, just wish that they hall had perfect stealth, subsistence, extreme, etc. But thank God for PC modding. The side ops a trash though. Peace Walker’s had issues but at least they had variety. MGSV’s are all the same thing. Overall, I think the game was too ambitious. The gameplay is phenomenal, but the story comes off as a less elegant MGS2 to me. Still like it though. They tried.

Metal Gear Survive (PC)
I actually skipped this game on release and have not played it until now. I actually planned on stopping at TPP, but this game was like $7 on Steam sale and I wanted to experience all its shitty glory for myself. It's not great..., but not terrible either. Just very mediocre. I don't know why I should invest my time into this game when I can go play Resident Evil or Fallout instead. The story is meh and the characterization is laughably terrible. I chuckled when Nicholas said he would miss Dite if we left, as if I had any attachment whatsoever to the location or characters. I had a soft spot for Miranda though since she looks and sounds like a girl I used to date, but that's about it. And you thought Venom didn't like talking? I think the Captain says less than five words the entire game. The silent protagonist thing doesn't work well here. Admittedly I spent way too much time making the player character look like me. Finally, a Filipino video game protagonist lmao. Anyways, the gameplay itself is not satisfying. I found it boring and repetitive. Doesn't help that the world is uninteresting and a pain in the ass to explore. Everything looks the same and the way that the map works is an inconvenience that doesn't add any challenge or depth. It was also depressing to see all MGSV assets so blatantly and lazily reused. I screamed when I saw Luftwa Mansion. And nanobot zombies is such a stupid and novel idea, so why didn't the devs at least have fun with it? This game had some serious potential to be a hilarious meme loved by the community like Rising, but it's too lifeless and dull to come even close. I don't know why the game was directed this way. I could see how this game could be a good co-op experience, but the underlying experience is so unimpressive that I don't want to invest more time into it. A total waste of the FOX Engine and the team's talent. It's such a shame since the intro of the game hooked me by showing the aftermath of Ground Zeroes. They should have made a game where they followed MSF remnants continuing operations in Central America, a sort of Peace Walker-lite. Or they could have made a game following XOF with Reeve as the main character. Anything above those lines would have been better.
submitted by WhodatBollocks to metalgearsolid [link] [comments]

Migueon has been manipulating you to his side on his biased poll of “Is Creeper_AwwMan a good mod?”, here are my reasons, I can’t afford to not care anymore.

As there is not true option and I see a biased in this, I assume you’ll lash out during this conversation so I’ll make this quick if I can.
I can whiteness an obvious sense of biased here, and if it’s because Creeper is your friend I understand that, but it shouldn’t be a reason on why you’re defending him. Furthermore, if the evidence is true that he did beg to become moderator, that would reveal a bad sense of leadership in you, granting somebody Sergeant because they keep asking is not how you go about this Migueon22. Or, since you may not understand what a Sergeant is, then imagine this, somebody joined your BrawlStars Club and they asked to become Vice President, would you give it to him?
Secondly, I cannot go without putting my own story in this, it’s this scenario but with a different dilemma.
So back in 8th grade I grew a major disliking to the LGBTQ community, reason was because it was evil to the eyes of Christ, so I saw it a bad too, I was heavily biased to this community to where I’d be disgusted if I heard any conversation of them, but in 9th grade freshman year, (for reference I am 15), it’s was the second semester of the school year and my friend’s gay friend was brought to our friend group, (now I was around this guy lots so I knew who he was via overhearing conversations, or when my other friend would bring his switch to outlet band class and we’d play Smash Bros.), now just because he was gay I already was biased, but instead of instantly discriminating him, I decided to be nice and lift my biased googles off, other than his sexuality he’s a fantastic person all around, and with that, it made me realize that I was the monster here, I had then no longer looked at that community with a biased approach, why do I bring up this story? Because you cannot make a point if you hadn’t experience it yourself.
Thirdly, saying that just because “Even I break the rules, so does it matter?!”, as the Owner might I add shows that you had never cared about this sub, stating and I quote “I hate everyone here this sub is shift!”, this show that even you have poor leadership skills, now your community is and always was here to help, they’d point out a problem and you’d be the major one to help. But as it seems with such a brash statement, that you have falsified all the ‘care’ you had, as if your community is less important than that of your drawings.
And this isn’t even included your manipulation to your fans Migueon...
I hereby make a claim that Migueon is abusing powers not by admin, but by his creations and massive following!
Allow me to explain. Migueon didn’t become the way he was over night, he became memorable in a day. Long before this sub existed, BrawlStars would’ve been his primary visit, and with his old and forgotten “Max and 8-Bit Q&A”, this gained a quick following to him for being unique, his style one that wasn’t seen and every single comment section in a post, he would have said something, he took the subreddit by storm, and also posting his comics on 8-bitgang and maxgang to either share his creations or as an excuse to karma farm, at this point his following was so large that he now has his own sub, some may call it hard work, I call it the genius of a dictator.
Now let’s talk about the first ‘Incident’ that happened (I had only became aware of this sub’s existence because of it when checking Mig’s profile).
Now I read the whole story, there is denying that what you did was a mistake right? I’d like to digress, you were full aware of this backlash that would occur if you had done it, anyone with an IQ above 20 would know. But instead of a PM or message in phone even, you still keeps going without ever saying at least “Wait, what we’re doing is pretty nasty, should we take this somewhere private?”, but no, you keep my going because you’re the owner and believes they’re above consequences. To your fan bases Horror they of course reacted negatively, but at the start of said RP you said and I will quote this “I been suffering from a mental illness and am depressed”, but I just can’t believe you anymore, so I come up with the accusation that you were fully aware of the consequences and put that up as a fail safe if your fans ever began to protest, because of course they will, seeing their idol making such an obvious mistake. I say 98% of the sub forgave you in your “I’m sorry post”, because you’re just too big to fail, only 2% weren’t fooled by it, and then came along your buddies to help with reparations in your community, and boosted they did, for nobody ever mentioned it, almost as if they forgot, like you had just reset, and leaving no trace behind, and knowing that nobody will have any memory of it... right? Well, let’s just say this post here made me no longer not care anymore. Now the other incidents being somewhat the same thing breaking the rules with NSFW roleplays.
Now for my final assumption, the mass amount of manipulation MiG has done to bend your minds against u/MigSummoner because Mig just has that power now.
This doesn’t come off as a surprise to me, and if you didn’t worship Migueon, you would be fully aware too. He has been using you to bend to his will, as though you some type of servant to him, let me just say something. He is not worth of being idolized anymore, if you need reasoning then read this whole comment thoroughly, he has become a dictator of his people, even as far as Fascism I say. He had taken you forgiveness for granted, or dare I say, weakness. The worst part is, you’ll defend your king from any or most criticism that is made to him, have you ever wonder why this sub burns and grows? Because your “King” has the littlest clue to maintain a following! But since all of you follow him no matter what, and if you do put your foot down, he’ll just send the rest of his following to attack you and put you in a deep depression, u/MigSummoner made a mistake yes, but Migueon has made far more! You’re being controlled by a hive mind, and I am possibly the only one that isn’t under the impression of “WOW cool art, let be be your loyal underling!”, I’ve seen drama, this could actually kill someone for a mass amount of people being negative to a single person would give them the idea of suicide, no of you should feel that you’re in the wrong, it’s Migueon who should, he’s the one that started this biased topic in the first place, and with no good option, I say Creeper_AwwMan should be striped of his powers, you need to rethink your hive mind strategy, because I Will be there to stop it.
That’s my discussion about this whole biased conversation, if you hate me for this, (anyone but Mig), re-read my reasoning, hopefully this will enlighten all of you.
Migueon’s if by some miracle you have read this through it’s entirety then, I just want to say, I forgave you in your times of need, you seemed like a really nice person. But I guess it is true, people do use UwU culture to seem wholesome but are truly the most dreadful people underneath. I forgave you, but it appears I simply cannot forgive you this time, your reign of manipulation will end, here and NOW!
submitted by EliNNM to u/EliNNM [link] [comments]

IQ Farming Guide For Explorers of Time, Darkness, and Sky

Greetings Explorers!
I noticed that Harad12 recently wrote a guide to using honey gather to farm for IQ, which is something I had independently thought of and had been experimenting with myself this week. The previous guide was certainly on the right track, but my own work with it brought up a number of details that could improve the efficiency of this method. As such, I decided that writing a new guide was the easiest way to keep all information easily available. I will try to make this guide usable at any point in the game and on any of the three versions, though having Apple Woods available is a clear and unavoidable minimum requirement.

So, down to business, what is the basis of this method?
The premise of this guide is to provide a faster and more efficient way to farm IQ than the normal method of gathering large quantities of Gummis. A Gummi that matches the type of a Pokemon provides 5 IQ points. However, another item called Nectar provides 10 to any type. Nectar can also potentially be gathered faster and more reliably than any type of Gummi, and that is what this guide will focus on.
This method of IQ farming relies entirely on the ability Honey Gather, an ability completely unique to Combee. (in gen IV, at least) Note that if it has evolved into Vespiquen, it will lose this ability.
In my efforts to be complete, this guide will be quite long. Much of it is explanation of relevant mechanics, if you only want the short version, I will try to bold the relevant bits.

If I don't have Combee, How do I get it?
Combee can be recruited on floors 6-12 of Apple Woods. They have a positive recruitment rate, so they don't require any extraordinary effort to recruit. If you are playing Explorers of Darkness, it will not appear unless you use a wondermail code that allows you to meet it first, Such as the one below.
X5&F \@YKQ 0-70
\@FWH 0FX& P8Y9
(where \@ is just @) (Example from Bulbapedia)
Combee should be recruited on Even floors, making them Female. This will allow you to evolve them if you decide you no longer need them, but also, in Explorers Female Pokemon have increased Accuracy and Evasion, whereas Males have a higher critical rate. The accuracy and evasion is more useful for how we will be using them. (Though truthfully, it won't make that big a difference.)

How do I set up my team?
If you have gained the ability to switch out your leader you will need two or three Combee. If you are not at this stage, you will use 1-2 Combee. I have been using two and it works quite well. If you want complete efficiency, three is the way to go.
Combee is recruited at level 12-13, if you are playing Explorers of Sky it will,have the moves Sweet Scent, Gust, and Bug Bite at level 13. If you are playing Time/Darkness, they will only have Sweet Scent and Gust. This is their complete learnset. Disable Sweet Scent, it does us no good.
The loss of Bug Bite on Time/Darkness is unfortunate, but Gust was by far the superior move, so it should only make a difference while leveling Combee to the point where their basic attack is good enough.
You will probably want to level these Combee up somewhat, but level 20 should be adequate for most of our target dungeons. You can level them up as you choose, mine leveled up as I took them on trial runs working out the exact mechanics.
Once they get to high enough levels, be sure to turn off the exclusive move user IQ skill, to let them basic attack enemies.
If you are playing Explorers of Time or Explorers of Darkness, you will also need to unlock the IQ skill Collector on your Combee! This will account for apparent differences in treasure box rates between them and Sky. A note on this skill can be found near the bottom of this guide.

There is another ability which will make this a lot easier, Illuminate. Illuminate is an ability for Volbeat (Upper Steam Cave), Staryu (Brine Cave), Starmie (anywhere named "Sea"), Chinchou, and Lanturn (both in Miracle Sea). Any of these choices should work, though some have certain advantages or better availability. In the Explorers games, Illuminate causes an enemy to spawn on the floor at the end of any turn the Pokemon was hit. This is bad when you are struggling through a hard dungeon, but excellent when you need large numbers of enemies to spawn, which is the case here. I recommend using only one Illuminate Poke, and all other available slots should be Combee, if possible. You should make the Pokemon with Illuminate team Leader, if you have this option.
I chose Volbeat as mine, because it started with the useful move Moonlight, which in Clear weather restores 50 HP to the entire team. This is reduced in other weathers, making it a little less reliable. Holding a Weather Band on Volbeat will restore its effect for the whole team, but X-Ray Specs are the recommended hold item, so if you want to do this you will need to switch to the Weather Band one turn before Moonlight is needed. If you are using Volbeat, do not use Double Team. 0 damage hits trigger Illuminate, misses do not.
Staryu/Starmie are also highly recommended, due to learning recover, which is not affected by weather, but only effects them. Staryu also learns Harden, but Starmie can only have it from evolution, which requires a Water Stone. They are also recruited at a much higher level than Volbeat and Combee, which is good for end-game players who don't want to spend time leveling, but makes them less accessible to early game players.
When a Pokemon with Illuminate is hit, you will see the message " Blinked!" at the beginning of your turn. This indicates the ability worked, and another enemy has spawned. if you have X-Ray Specs held, you will see another red dot appear on your map. (I went the entire game without knowing what that message meant.)
X-Ray Specs are an extremely useful held item for our purposes, since they show the location of all items and enemies on the map, these should be held by your team leader. Held items for your Combee are not required, but Pecha Scarves will protect them from poison, one of the major threats in the best dungeons for this strategy. These can both be received as mission rewards.
Other items you may use are apples, reviver seeds, oran berries, and max elixirs, but it is very important to keep as much inventory available as you safely can! If you are just starting the game, you will only have 16 slots available in your bag, but this will go up as you progress through the plot. The largest size is 48, which I will generally assume, but I found myself only using around 8 slots for preparations, so this is easily possible with less bag space!
One more note, go to options and set Speed to Fast and "Far-off pals" to Self. Since our party will be splitting up, this will make this go much faster, as the game will not have to cut away repeatedly every turn. You can still view your allies in the team menu to see and map their surroundings. You should also make sure the map is clearly visible on one of the screens.

What dungeon do I go to?
The only requirements for our target dungeons are:
  1. Low Level
  2. Treasure Boxes can drop
  3. Short
I have been using Oran Forest for this purpose in Explorers of Sky, though it is not the only option.
It is unlocked in Time and Darkness through a rescue mission in an unknown dungeon, or in Sky by making a cumulative 60 recycles in Spinda's Cafe.
It is a level 8-12 dungeon, and only has 4 floors, plus a fifth floor as an end-of-dungeon loot room. It also has a large number of Oran Berries (in case you couldn't guess), which can be used to heal your relatively vulnerable Combee.
Other suggestions are pending, but need to be examined in detail in both Sky and Time/Darkness before they can be fully recommended.
There are no advantages to using higher level dungeons for this! In fact, in Explorers of Sky, even the largest inventory can get filled in four floors of this, so there is no reason to go to longer dungeons for this. However, the drop rate appears to be lower in Time/Darkness, so longer dungeons may be beneficial if you are having trouble filling your inventory. Treasure Boxes from higher-level dungeons will have better item rewards when they are not Exclusive Items, but it is also possible the wider variety might decrease the odds of Nectar, which is the only thing we care about.
However, it is possible that boxes might drop more frequently in different dungeons, so trying other dungeons may have positive results.

How does it actually work?
Through repeated experiments, I have worked out that honey gather works as follows:
If an enemy is defeated by a Pokemon with honey gather and they drop a treasure box, there is a 30-50%* chance the box will contain Nectar! The enemy must be defeated by a Pokemon with Honey Gather, it is not enough to have Combee in the party or as leader! This also means multiple Combee does not raise the chance, it just allows another party member to get Nectar from boxes.
*More research is needed, See the Box Pruning tip at the bottom for more info.
So, to make use of this information, our goal is simply to have as many enemies as possible to get knocked out by Combee!
At the start of each floor, we must allow our Pokemon with Illuminate to get hit as many times as possible. If it is not party leader, This means making it so that it cannot defend itself while under attack until necessary. This does not mean allowing it to faint, just get hit repeatedly. Also, Illuminate only triggers once per turn, so only one Pokemon with Illuminate is needed and it only needs one Pokemon attacking it. There are several ways to do this, but the easiest ways to accomplish this if you are not controlling it are with a Diet Band (fairly rare), by setting its tactics to "Get Away From Here!" while it is trapped (untested), or to set up its moves so it does something useless each turn (like using a move with 0PP left). If you are controlling it, it is simply a matter of holding B+A to pass turns while they attack you.
After that, The Combee should have their tactics set to "Go The Other Way" to allow them to spread out and defeat enemies. If your Combee are not yet strong enough to fight on their own, you may instead use "Go After Foes" which causes them to follow you like the default "Let's go Together", but causes them to actively seek out enemies in the same room, letting you guard them while they fight. But remember, Combee must land the finishing blow or any boxes will not contain Nectar.
Be sure to keep an eye on the health of your Pokemon, we may be in a low level dungeon but Combee's stats are not as high as your starters. If Combee is knocked out, you will have to finish the dungeon and try again.
When the floor runs low on enemies (seen with X-Ray Specs), allow your Illuminate Pokemon to get hit some more. If you run out of enemies, move on to the next floor, it's faster than waiting for new spawns.
An enemy holding an item will never drop a treasure box, so you should pick up items as soon as you can, including boxes dropped by other enemies. This will especially cause a problem if your Combee fights a hallway full of enemies, since each enemy will pick up the box dropped by the first one, preventing additional drops.
Using this strategy, I was able to get more than 40 boxes in a single run of Oran Forest, making me glad I brought few items in.
Since you are spending a lot of time on each floor, you may require apples even in this 4-floor dungeon. Remember you can also snack on the Oran berries on the floor to restore 5 belly and heal the damage caused by hunger.
You should leave the dungeon as soon as your inventory is full, or as soon as the going gets tough. There is no penalty for coming back more prepared the next day.
Now that you have left the dungeon, you will need to appraise the boxes. This will cost 150p per box, or 1200p per page of 8. If you came out with 40 (more is unreasonable,) that would cost 6000p to appraise. This could be expensive at the start of the game, but it is well worth it. If money is tight, you might sell the exclusive items from the non-Nectar boxes to recover 125p per item. Far more painful than the cost is waiting through Xatu's dialogue for... every... single... box....
At my estimate of 50% Nectar, this results in around 20 Nectar, equal to two stars of IQ, or 40 Gummis of the appropriate type. At that rate it should only take 5 runs to max any given Pokemon.
If you are playing explorers of Sky, you can use them at Spinda's cafe for a chance at an extra point of IQ, and a lower chance of a stat boost from a miracle drink. If you are not playing Sky, don't worry, the bonus is only 1 point compared to the 10 they already give, so at even if half of them gave the bonus the Nectar would only work at 105% efficiency in Sky, or 1 bonus Nectar for 20, nothing serious to worry about. Sky players also have to go through Spinda's entire routine for each Nectar, so possibly a net loss there. However, there is a better alternative for all versions, it simply requires some setup.
An even better solution to feeding the nectar to your Pokemon was proposed by u/ugly_sabbia. If a Gummi or Nectar is thrown at a Pokemon, it will apply its usual effects to them. However, the IQ skill Pierce Hurler allows a thrown item to hit multiple Pokemon, applying their effect to each of them. By lining up your other three party members, you can feed all three a single Nectar, effectively tripling the effects! To line them up, you will want to position each one and tell them to "Wait Here". You can also tell them to "Wait Here", and then switch positions with them until they are lined up. You should note that thrown items can still miss teammates, so you will need to either hold Lock-on Specs (Found in Zero Isle, confirmed in a Kecleon Shop in South) or a move that gives the Sure-Shot status, either Lock-On or Mind Reader. The IQ Skill Pierce Hurler is held by IQ Groups A, B, C, and F. It requires 850 points of IQ (8.5 stars) to unlock, equivalent to 85 Nectar. Notably in IQ Group A is Combee, which we have already recruited, and Magnemite, which learns Lock-On. In order to do this, you will need your Pierce Hurler to be party leader, which may make it more difficult for players who cannot yet switch their leaders. Starters from one of these IQ groups are Bulbasaur, Charmander, Cyndaquil, Torchic, Mudkip, Chimchar, and Piplup, and if you are playing Sky, Eevee, Shinx, and Riolu, so if you are playing as one of these Pokemon, you can still do this without switching leaders. You can also use the rare Pierce Orb to apply this effect to your leader for a single floor, bypassing the requirement to have this skill. I saw one of these in Zero Isle South in a Kecleon shop while confirming the Lock-On Specs location, but I have not ruled out the possibility that they can be found elsewhere or earlier.
If you do not yet have access to Zero Isle or these items, I have devised a budget option that still allows for around 90% accuracy. By using Combee's Sweet Scent while Confused (or Cross-Eyed?), and turning off the IQ Skill Non-Traitor, you can reduce your own team's evasion. I found two totter seeds was the appropriate length of confusion to reach the maximum reduction. However, when told to "wait there" while confused, my Combee moved around instead of using Sweet Scent, even with an enemy present. If you can not make Combee your leader, you can instead try an X-Eye seed on Combee, or find a Dungeon where an enemy will use Sweet Scent on you, like the Wild Combee at Apple Woods. You will still miss occasionally, unfortunately, but this is another instance where we can benefit from the extra accuracy for Female Pokemon if your Leader is Female, our Combee, for example.
Note that No-Guard works differently in Mystery Dungeon, so using a Pierce Orb with Machoke does not guarantee the throw will hit. However, Lock-On and Mind-Reader will. Other accuracy-boosting moves and abilities may help, but obviously Combee does not have them.
This method of feeding has the advantages of being possible in any version, potentially tripling the effects, and being much faster and entertaining than Spinda's Cafe. It does mean no chance of miracle drinks, but we were already passing up quite a few stat points from Gummis, so this is an insignificant loss. This trick can also be used with Vitamins and Gummis. Note that Joy Seeds, Life Seeds, and Sitrus Berries are better used with the IQ skill Nature Giver, to apply to four Pokemon instead, not covered in this guide.
A limit on this strategy is that Large four-star size Pokemon can be brought in a team of at most three, so this limits you to feeding two Pokemon at a time if one is huge. This affects large Legendaries, large Pokemon such as Gyarados and Onix, and surprisingly Castform. however, it is still more efficient than other methods.
Testing proved that the Bounce Band has no effect on Pierce-Hurled items, so I can reasonably say this is the current efficiency limit.

Are there any improvements for better efficiency?
For people looking to improve on this method, there are four or five simple things you can do to improve your efficiency.
The first, and simplest, is exclusive to Sky. Explorers of Sky added many exclusive items to the game, and Combee received one of them. This is the 3-star rarity Nectar Bow, which raises the odds of enemies dropping boxes when Combee defeats them. This item will randomly appear in the Croagunk swap shop , where you can trade any 5 other exclusive items for it. It has a higher chance to appear after you brought Combee into a dungeon, so if it isn't there just check after your next Combee mission. It appeared fairly frequently when I was testing, so don't worry if it doesn't show up immediately. Having it in your bag is enough to trigger the effect, and it applies to all Combee and Vespiquen in the party.
The second option has the same effect, but is also available in Time and Darkness. As an IQ group A Pokemon, Combee can learn the IQ skill collector at 370 IQ points (4 stars), which only takes 37 nectar. This has the same effect as the Nectar Bow, but you have to earn it separately on each Combee. This probably stacks with the Nectar Bow, but I have not tested it yet. In Time/Darkness, this is almost mandatory due to the apparently much lower treasure box rates.
Another Exclusive item that might help is Sky Gem, which will raise their movement speed by 1 if the weather is clear. This will be impossible to get early in the game, but end-game players who have it might benefit from it, the faster they move, the faster they can defeat enemies. Sky Silk is on floor 13 of Zero Isle North, the dust comes from jobs, turn them in at the Croagunk swap shop.
The fourth option is the simplest: the stronger your Combee, the easier it can defeat enemies. The less you have to micromanage your Combee, the quicker things will go. This can be done by leveling up or by finding the right items or team set ups to make them stronger. One possible path is the type-exclusive items for Bug and Flying types. They are found as follows:
Sky Silk (Attack + Defense): Zero Isle North, 13th Floor
Green Silk (Attack + Defense): Zero Isle North, 30th Floor
Sky Dust (Sp. Attack + Sp. Defense): Reward for a job with ???? as the reward (from a flying-type client?)
Wonder Dust (Attack + Sp. Attack): Reward for a job with ???? as the reward (from a Bug-type client?)
Additional items are reached by trading in these items, but the later ones do not increase stats.

The last option needs some further research. I have devised a method I refer to as Box-Pruning. If we can increase the proportion of boxes that have Nectar, we can get the same IQ gains in fewer runs. But how can we do this? The contents of the boxes are hidden until you return to town! Well, as it turns out, not entirely. When you sort your inventory, boxes are sorted by category, but it appears that in any given category the boxes containing Exclusive Items are sorted to the end. This makes it simple, we just leave the boxes least likely to contain Nectar in the dungeon. This can be accomplished by throwing them in an empty room before switching floors. You should only do this if you expect to fill the space before you leave the dungeon, and don't need the Exclusive Items. Roughly 50% of boxes have exclusive items so after filling up your inventory and sorting once, you should leave the boxes behind as follows:
Groups of 3-4: get rid of the last box
Groups of 5-6: get rid of the last two boxes
Groups of 7+: get rid of the last three boxes
Keep in mind, after the first time you do this, all remaining boxes in categories that lost a box have reasonable odds to contain Nectar, so they should not be included in the count if you choose to empty a little more later. You might leave more boxes than I suggested if you are willing to spend more time gathering, I simply used statistics to estimate which boxes are least likely to contain Nectar.

Additional advice:
Combee can be quite vulnerable, and there are several things that can be surprisingly dangerous to them. The first is Poison, which is not dangerous because of the damage, but rather because it stops their natural health regeneration. Going from fight to fight with no healing can be dangerous, and you should be ready to help with healing, status cures, or by giving them Pecha Scarves. In Oran Forest, Budew and Wurmple can inflict poison.
Stat decreases, while not inherently dangerous, can render Combee vulnerable if left untreated. You can fix this by luring them to Wonder Tiles occasionally. Surprisingly dangerous in this regard is Oddish in Oran Forest, who can use Acid to reduce Sp. Def, making you more vulnerable to the next use of Acid. This can snowball if left unchecked. Other Pokemon may use Leer, making you more vulnerable to all physical attacks, which can be even worse if left unchecked. Less dangerous is growl, reducing attack. If this becomes a serious problem, turning Gust back on or restoring its PP if necessary should restore your combat capabilities, and it is hard to imagine a situation where your attack was so low that Gust was ineffective in Oran Forest.
Fixed damage can be dangerous in some dungeons, as no amount of defense increases or level advantage can reduce it. This is a serious risk in dungeons with Yanma or Yanmega, which has Sonicboom for a flat 20 damage.

The Disadvantage:
Unlike using a Gummi, using Nectar does not increase any stats. To reach 900 IQ points (9 stars), where all but three Pokemon have their last skill, it will take 90 Nectar. This is equivalent to 180 Gummis of the correct type. Each of these Gummis would have raised a stat by one point, so a Pokemon with maxed IQ using Nectar will be 180 points behind one who used the correct Gummis. at the generous assumption of 2 points in everything per level, this would still be at least 18 levels of strength difference. Of course, if you maxed IQ using the exact wrong Gummi (e.g. Purple on a pure Normal type), you would need 900 Gummis for 900 stat points, almost certainly pushing the stat caps of 255 (or 252? I forget.) each. I suppose this can be mitigated by pointing out that having all IQ skills does not mean you can no longer eat Gummis, but rather you no longer have to care what type you eat, but it is still something to consider. However, due to the massive time difference, I still recommend this strategy.

Closing notes:
When preparing to write this guide, I did two runs with the Nectar Bow in my bag to make sure I had all my facts straight. The first, I had Combee in my party, but defeated all enemies using Volbeat. Out of 71 KOs, I got 10 boxes, none of which had Nectar, and the Neon Scarf made enemies drop money 8 times. I would hypothesize they are both using the same 1/8 rate, but more importantly it shows that Combee in the party is not enough.
In my second run, My Combee KO'd 81 enemies, dropping 25 boxes, 13 of which had Nectar. This is where my initial estimate of 50% came from, and shows that Combee needs to get the final blow to get nectar and does not need to be the party leader. It also shows how much faster the Nectar Bow makes this, and I expect the IQ skill to have the same effect. Further runs indicated the true rate of Nectar is lower than this.
I would expect the IQ skill + Nectar Bow to have an even higher rate, but I did not feel testing was necessary before initially posting this.
With this strategy in Sky, I took a Pokemon from 1-star IQ to 9-star with just a couple runs per day for two days. I spent more time cleaning my inventory than running dungeons. I expect a decreased efficiency in Time/Darkness unfortunately, but it hopefully will still be worth using.
Also, I should note I used lots of info from Bulbapedia.
*Edits: corrections, feeding method from u/ugly_sabbia, some additional information added.
*Edit phase II: Accounting for version differences, added Box Pruning, confirmed item locations, special thanks to u/15-minutegaming for extensive feedback and suggestions
I will probably be taking a break from working further on this guide for a while, since I have something else I need to be doing, but I have not ruled out the possibility of further refinements in the future.
submitted by Cuthon to MysteryDungeon [link] [comments]

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