Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Onigiri Online (Part One)

Character Creation
Although cutish in design, Onigiri Online's character customization seems to lack the customary "Unlimited Freedom of Choice" that Japanese MMO makers are famed for. (Or maybe its just the impression that Phantasy Star Online 2 etched into my mind so vividly...even up until now.)

However, the options that are found available here are still plenty nonetheless, in comparison with the norm.

Onigiri Online - Body SizeBody Size
This option here allows you to choose the body size of your character as well as its gender, like muscular male, tall and slender male/female, teenager male/female version, etc.
Onigiri Online - Facial FeaturesFacial Features
This option here allows you to change the facial features of your character, like having big, round watery eyes, kind-looking or glowing ones. The color pad allows you to alter the color of the eyes.
Onigiri Online - HairHair
This option here allows you to alter your character's hairstyle and hair color.
Onigiri Online - Fashion SetFashion (Set)
This option here allows you to change the fashion attire of your character. Each set of attire design has two versions of color to choose, but its all or nothing at this stage.
Onigiri Online - Fashion IndividualFashion (Individual)
This option here allows you to select the fashion attire of your character, individually. Although its still the same sets as found in the previous option, they are now broken down into head, top, arms and bottom respectively so that you can mix and match them as you please.
Onigiri Online - VoiceVoice
This option here allows you to select the voice of your character. However don't get your hopes up too high as there won't be any speeches involved. Its only for the vocal sounds your character would make when casting spells, using skills or taking damage.

After finishing your customization, you will need to click on the bottom rightmost button (決定) to confirm your selections and proceed on to the next stage. The one on the left is your "Cancel" or "Back" button.

Character Naming And Stat Template
Onigiri Online - Naming And Stat Template
Now this part is perhaps the more important stage of your character creation, in my opinion. It is where you will have to decide upon the name of your character and then choose a "Preset Stat Template" for his or her starting stats.

Leaving the character naming aside, the options for your starting stats are as follows...(starting from the topmost option first)
  • Strength-type
    Choosing this preset model, your character's starting stats are scaled more towards Strength and Endurance. Intelligence and Spirit comes next, with a lower priority, before finally having Dexterity holding the least importance.

    A character following this stat distribution template is apt at using Katana, Odachi, Axe and Spear. This template is suitable for the close combat type players.
  • Sturdy-type
    Choosing this preset model, your character's starting stats are scaled more towards Endurance and Spirit. Strength and Dexterity comes next, with a lower priority, before finally having Intelligence holding the least importance.

    A character following this stat distribution template is apt at using Spear and Long Staff. This template is suitable for players who prefer to tank.
  • Cautious-type
    Choosing this preset model, your character's starting stats are biased towards Intelligence and Dexterity. Endurance and Spirit comes in second place while Strength will be given the least attention.

    A character following this stat distribution template is apt at using Short Staff, Bow and Dual Sword. This template is suitable for players who prefer ranged combat.
  • Support-type
    Choosing this preset model, your character's starting stats are biased towards Intelligence and Spirit. Strength and Dexterity comes in second place while Endurance will be given the least attention.

    A character following this stat distribution template is apt at using Short Staff and Long Staff. This template is suitable for players who prefer to use magical attacks and/or being a support.
  • Daring-type
    Choosing this preset model, your character's starting stats are biased towards Strength and Dexterity. Endurance and Intelligence comes in second place while Spirit will be given the least attention.

    A character following this stat distribution template is apt at using Katana, Odachi, Axe, Dual Sword and Bow. This template is suitable for players who desire quick kills and short battles. (Burst damage kind of character...which is the complete opposite of the tanking type.)

When choosing your preset stat template, please note that what your doing here will have two effects upon your character. First of all, it affects your character's starting stats. Secondly, it will affect the distribution of bonus stats that you will gain as you level up your character.

For now, just be satisfied in knowing that the choice you've made here would ultimately determine your weapons of choice when fighting as well as how you will fight in a battle. I will explain what all these stats and bonus stats are, in detail, later on when I deal with the character stats window.

Changing Your Looks Afterwards
If you were ever regretful about having sped through the character customization process in a rush to play the game or simply wish to tweak your looks just to have a change of pace, then this particular NPC is someone you won't want to ignore.
Onigiri Online - Appearance NPC
By just having the right amount of in-game coins (obtained via farming/killing monsters), you can visit this "Mirror-like" NPC to have your appearance altered or tweaked.
Onigiri Online - Fashion Set StoreOnigiri Online - Appearance Change
The first option is the "Fashion Set Store" which allows you to purchase the various sets of fashion wear found during the character creation process that you would have also liked to own but could not.

The second option allows you to change the appearance of your character, the facial features, eye color, hairstyle, hair color and other whatnots...all except for your body size and gender.

(Note that the color pad offered here has much more freedom than what you could have gotten at character creation. So if the color you've wanted for your character wasn't available at that time, then here would be where you should look.)

Previous: Onigiri Online (Part Zero)Next: Onigiri Online (Part Two)

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Onigiri Online (Part Zero)

I can't quite remember but...I think it was around August last year (2013) that I happen to come across a short video clip of some upcoming mmorpg, Onigiri Online.

However, due to it still being in Alpha then, there was nothing I could do but to bookmark it and wait for Open Beta.

Ever so often though, whilst I was still occupied with the coverage of some other games, I kept coming back to check upon its status...hoping that it will become available once I've finished my present one.

First it was Scarlet Blade, then went Path of Exile, Need For Speed World and finally...even GhostX Ultimate was "cleared". From my queue list that is. (Yes, I do keep a backlog of games I wish to blog about and systematically tackle them one by one.)

Anyway, it was by the time I started doing Ghost Recon Online, that I decided that I was done waiting and so proceeded to try out the Japanese version instead, since it was already in open beta.

That being said though, I can't really say that it was an easy feat trying to play a game that's in a foreign language. But it ain't gonna stop me I guess...
Onigiri Online - Register AccountOnigiri Online - Client Download
Using a bit of some common sense plus Google Translate, I somehow managed to get an account set up and proceeded to downloading the client.

Downloading Game Client
Onigiri Online
As far as downloading the client goes, the installation file is pretty small. Only about 56 mb or so. However, that is just the "pre-setup" to get things started with the main download.

Upon finishing the installation, you will need to start the game and get to the log-in screen like as shown above. This will initiate the downloading process and you will start to see a red "Download Progress Bar" (in percentage) at the bottom left corner. Upon this bar reaching 100%, this would mean that you've completely downloaded the entire game client...which at the time of this article is about 3.34 gigs.

But I will have to warn you that you will be in for some endless repetition of the game's intro song though. As you will need to keep the game open, at this log-in screen, in order for you to download the client.

Although you can still alt-tab out to continue with some other stuff while you wait, like surfing the Internet, it will not save you from the song though...as it will keep playing nonetheless. Unless you turn your speakers off.

(One thing to note about this downloading process is that the game downloads the client one file at a time into your game folder, under a folder named "pkg". Whichever file it is downloading at that time will have a .download appended to the end of its file name.

If you ever need to stop the download and continue another time, please do check out how large the currently downloading file is. The reason being that, once stopped, you will need to re-download that file all over again from scratch regardless of its progress. Thus if its a large one, then you should perhaps consider finishing that file first before you quit.

The same logic applies for when a new patch occurs.)

Now that you know, roughly, how to create an account and install the game to get things started, I guess its proper for me to give you some warnings ahead.

  • Be sure to only try out the Japanese version knowing/expecting it to be hard and understanding that your being adventurous here. It will be one heck of a "torture" in trying to figure out how things work and what to do to complete those quests your given.

    If you can't accept that, then its probably better to wait for the English version.
  • Playing this game "alone" can be very trying. Especially when soloing the dungeon instances that are around your character's level. So if possible, do try to get a few friends to play along with you. It will make things that much more fun and less tedious.

    Furthermore, it will be even harder to try and find others (from within the game) to help you...since you can't speak their language.

Well...despite the warnings, I will try to help explain as much as possible (over the next few articles) about the mechanics of the game that I've discovered. To help smoothen your "initiation ceremony".

Next: Onigiri Online (Part One)

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Ghost Recon Online: Accuracy, Control and Stability

By the time you have a couple of matches under your belt, I'm pretty sure you would start to wonder...

Just what exactly do these cover bonuses represent?
Ghost Recon Online - Cover Bonus
Well...even though I'm sure that, given your experiences in playing shooter games, you can roughly guess out what these might do already. But perhaps for clarification purposes or just to humor myself, I've decided to perform a tiny test down at the firing range so that there's something to go by.

To find out what exactly does "Accuracy" do to a weapon, I've picked up two "similar" weapons with slightly different Accuracy stats. (Well...not exactly identical of course, but rather stats that I've deemed might affect the outcome were made to be as close to each other as possible.)

Weapon StatsEffect
Ghost Recon Online - Accuracy 66 SMG StatsGhost Recon Online - Accuracy 66 SMG
Ghost Recon Online - Accuracy 75 SMG StatsGhost Recon Online - Accuracy 75 SMG

From this tiny test, you can roughly see that the effect of accuracy on a weapon is such that the weapon with the better accuracy will actually have a smaller/tighter crosshair.

(As seen by the Accuracy 66 SMG having its bottom-right crosshair not touching the number "3" on the scope while the Accuracy 75 SMG does.)

And as you would all know, the tighter the crosshair, the better your chances of landing a bullet on the target. Hence, in other words, if you prefer mid to long-range fights, where the target size is smaller, you would want to choose a weapon with good accuracy or leverage on the accuracy boost provided by the cover bonus if possible.

If you prefer close range battles, then this stat becomes less important as the target size is usually large enough to cover your entire crosshair and thus your shots will definitely hit.

Since its a no-brainer that this stat has definitely got something to do with the recoil of a weapon, I've decided to pick out two weapons with the same rate of fire and similar accuracy, but vastly different control stat.

For this test, I've reckoned that its pointless to simply reaffirm what's obvious because as a player, it would be impossible for you to not be actively adjusting to the weapon's recoil. Thus, what I did instead was to perform a test whereby I empty an entire clip on full auto fire, all the while trying to steady my sights upon the same spot on a wall.

Weapon StatsEffect
Ghost Recon Online - Control 18 SMG StatsGhost Recon Online - Control 18 SMG
Ghost Recon Online - Control 51 SMG StatsGhost Recon Online - Control 51 SMG

As you can see from the results, despite having the same rate of fire and similar accuracy, the bullets from these two weapons landed differently on the wall.

(The Control 18 SMG's bullets are more random and spreaded out while the Control 51 SMG's is more tightly packed or concentrated.)


The control stat becomes of huge importance in short range fights where you will need to fire upon a target in full auto or very rapid bursts.

In semi-auto or when taking single shots, this stat becomes of less importance as the recoil from each shot doesn't stack up like it does when your on burst or full auto mode.

For "Stability", I had initially thought that its got something to do with how stable your weapon firing would be. But since the control stat took care of that, the next logical candidate would be...yup, that's right...your weapon sway.

And knowing that weapon sway normally becomes more pronounced when using high-powered scopes, I sought to verify this hunch using a Nemesis 50 SV with a 2.5 - 12x scope.

Without +50% StabilityWith +50% Stability
Ghost Recon Online - Without Stability BonusGhost Recon Online - With Stability Bonus

From this simple test, you can see that at max zoom, the crosshair fluctuates very wildly without the +50% stability bonus. However, once in cover, the weapon sway becomes nearly unnoticeable, making it that much easier to take a shot.

But like I've said before, a weapon's sway is hardly of consequence in GRO. Unless your aiming at a very small target from afar and using a scope that is above 4x, of which you would then need to squeeze in every little bit of benefit that you can get.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Ghost Recon Online (Part Five)

Game Modes
Though there may be a variety of different maps in Ghost Recon Online, at present, they can generally be summarized into the following three map types.
  • Conquest
    Ghost Recon Online - Conquest Mode Example
    In this game mode, players are divided into two opposing teams. Their mission is to attempt to capture and hold on to a series of strategic points, A to E.

    Either side can win the game by conquering all the points for his or her team. Or, in the case of a stalemate, win by holding on to a larger number of strategic points.

    However, capturing of a strategic point can only be done via a "Tug of War" style of combat. Your team will need to capture each of the strategic points progressively and cannot attempt to "jump" the points.

    A typical example of a map with this game mode is Markov Station.
    Ghost Recon Online - Markov Station Map LobbyGhost Recon Online - Markov Station Loading Screen
  • Onslaught
    Ghost Recon Online - Onslaught Mode Example
    In this game mode, players are also divided into two opposing teams. However, this time round, one side plays as the "Attacking" team while the other plays as the "Defending" team. The attackers' objective is to capture all the strategic points. The defenders, on the other hand, are to fend off the attackers for a designated amount of time.

    But even though the objectives may look fair and simple, I'll have to warn you that the mechanics and strategy of approach aren't. At least in my opinion, of course.

    In essence, the basic flow of this game mode is that the attackers will need to conquer both points, A and B, before C becomes unlocked and available for capturing. And although the capping system found here is kept the same as that of Conquest Mode, there is a tiny "attacker's advantage" apparently.

    The attackers need only to capture a point, not hold on to it. Why? Because upon capping a point, it will be locked and permanently lost to the defenders.

    Hence, the attackers may choose to do a full force attack, systematically, upon each of the two points A and B. But the defenders, having two points to defend simultaneously, must do an active split into two or even three teams...with the third one being a reactive one that moves between the two points depending on the situation.

    A typical example of a map with this game mode is Shearwater 51.
    Ghost Recon Online - Shearwater 51 Map LobbyGhost Recon Online - Shearwater 51 Loading Screen
  • Holdout
    Ghost Recon Online - Holdout Mode Example
    The last of the three map types, Holdout, is just a simple "King of the Hill" game mode whereby the two opposing teams must duke it out upon a single strategic point. Whomever captures and holds onto the point until the time's up wins the game.

    A typical example of a map with this game mode is Balaklava Sub Pen.
    Ghost Recon Online - Balaklava Sub Pen Map LobbyGhost Recon Online - Balaklava Sub Pen Loading Screen

Capturing A Strategic Point
Ghost Recon Online - Capturing A Point
To capture a strategic point, all you need to do is to run towards the point and enter its "capture" zone. The zone has a grid-like flooring that lights up like as shown in the picture above. It may light up in red (Enemy), cyan (Yours) or white (Neutral) depending upon whom its present owner is.

Upon entering the zone, a capture bar would show up on your screen indicating the progress of capture. The speed at which you capture the point resembles that of PlanetSide 2, but with no numbers limit. The more peeps you have within the capping zone, the faster the rate at which you can capture it.


After having spent some time playing this game, I'ld have to say that my first impression for it compared to my present feelings has gone through some slight changes.

Perhaps it might have been due to the initial freshness? Or maybe its cause I was still in the beginner's matchmaking...

But anyway, I can quite frankly say that the fun factor I had is now gone I guess.

What's left awaiting you after you've graduated is the endless grind, for better weapons, armors, armor inserts, devices and squad supports, and the dreaded torture of being pounded mercilessly by players who've either earned their high-tiered equips or paid for them.

Unless and until some drastic game changing balance is made, I see no need for you to pick up this game.

If realism, tactical, balance and fun is what your looking for, then I guess there's always PlanetSide 2 or the Arma 2 series that you can try out.

Previous: Ghost Recon Online (Part Four)

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Ghost Recon Online (Part Four)

With regards to the equipment that you can bring to a fight, barring your headgear and consumables, most of your other stuff will inevitably have some sort of tier and modular system to it...

Tier System
For the Tier system, rather than being anything fancy and/or requires commitment and dedication to achieve, I am sad to tell you that it is actually more or less a very basic system that forces you to purchase stuff of a lower tier before allowing you to gain access to the higher tiers.
Ghost Recon Online - Hermes Armor Tier II UnlockedGhost Recon Online - Submachine Guns Tier III Unlocked
Simply put, before you are allowed to buy...let's say a Tier II Hermes Armor, you will need to unlock it first by buying something from its previous tier, namely, the Hermes R-02 Mk.I. Likewise, in order to gain access to the currently locked Tier IV Submachine Guns, you will need to buy any one of the Tier III Submachine Guns, the PP2000, PP2000 C or the PP2000 SD.

However, if your willing to spare some cash or be patient enough in grinding for RPs, you can immediately skip all these troublesome tiers and be competitive right from the start, by acquiring the highest tier "Unique" variant of these equipment (except for Devices and Squad Supports which do not have any uniques).

Unfortunately though, I will have to warn you that buying of these "Uniques" does not help you to unlock the tiers. It merely offers you a means to by-pass this tier-unlocking mess. And not only that, you ought to be reminded that opting to go on this route would also mean that your going to sacrifice your "Weapon Proficiency Rating", as mentioned in Part Three.

Modular System
Unlike the fully customizable modular system that I was initially expecting, the one that is actually in place isn't quite as flexible, I'm afraid. And furthermore, as it works slightly differently for different equipments, I might have to spend some time and deal with them separately.
  • For Weapons
    Ghost Recon Online - OC-14 4A03 Stock Model
    The above shows a typical weapon customization screen. In it, you will see that there are various categories found under the "Slot Upgrade" section. These categories are where you may purchase and insert different kinds of mods into.

    However, depending upon the weapon variant (for example close combat, suppression, long range or stealth) that you've bought, certain categories might be locked (greyed out) and not customizable.

    Ghost Recon Online - Scopes
    Depending on the purpose of the gun, you may attach scopes with a wide field of view but low magnification power, one with high magnification power but a narrow field of view or one that is in-between.

    Except for Sniper Rifles, which can have up to 12X scopes, most of your other weapons will only have up to 4X at best. However, due to the fairly short firefight range, these will actually be sufficient.

    In fact, because of the way the maps are designed, Sniper Rifles are typically forced to fight in what would be considered mid-range battles (or closer) and are thus handicapped in a sense...which makes those 12X scopes useless in my opinion. (Not to mention that there are some "fubar" mechanics occurring in the game that further nerfs the effectiveness of Sniper Rifles.)

    Ghost Recon Online - Capped StockGhost Recon Online - Fixed Stock
    Usually locked and cannot be customized, these mods affect a weapon's control and ready time*.

    (* Ready Time determines how fast you can ready and fire the weapon. For example, after you've stopped sprinting.)

    Ghost Recon Online - Extended MagazineGhost Recon Online - Drum Magazine
    The mods found here affects the magazine size (number of rounds you can fire before having to reload) and ammo pool (maximum number of rounds you can have on you).

    Bottom Attachment
    For the bottom attachment mods, I've only seen two kinds of it, the Bi-Pod and the Grip.

    Ghost Recon Online - Bi-Pod
    + Improves weapon's accuracy and control slightly.
    + Reduces weapon's sway*.
    + Improved cover/prone bonuses#.

    - Increases weapon's ready time.
    Ghost Recon Online - Grip
    + Improves weapon's control slightly.
    + Reduces weapon's sway* and ready time.

    - Reduces weapon's accuracy slightly.
    - Reduced cover/prone bonus (Accuracy)#.
    * Weapon sway refers to how badly the crosshair fluctuates while your steadying to take a shot. This attribute is more important for when your taking long range, aimed shots.

    # Example of effect on cover/prone bonus
    SRSSRS with Bi-PodSRS with Grip
    +40% Control
    +28% Accuracy
    +65% Stability
    +60% Control
    +36% Accuracy
    +65% Stability
    +40% Control
    +12% Accuracy
    +65% Stability

    Barrel Attachment
    Ghost Recon Online - Barrel Attachments
    Barrel Attachments come in three versions as far as I've seen, Flash Suppressor, Muzzle Brake and Silencer.

    These mods improve (very slightly) the accuracy and control of a weapon...with the silencer giving the best improvement (albeit at a cost of a reduction in weapon damage).

    Barrel Length
    Typically locked as well, these mods are perhaps the most important aspect that you should check out before you decide to purchase ANY weapon.

    Short BarrelMedium BarrelLong Barrel
    +0% Damage
    +0 s Ready Time
    +5% Damage
    +0.05 s Ready Time
    +10% Damage
    +0.1 s Ready Time

    In layman's terms, despite what its description might otherwise indicate, the barrel length affects how well the weapon's damage is carried over the distance.
    Ghost Recon Online - About Barrel Length
    The shorter the barrel length, the closer it is when the damage starts to drop and the faster it will drop.

    In addition to that, I've heard that the barrel length also affects the weapon's sway. The longer the barrel length, the more sway the weapon has. But as I've already mentioned, sway only becomes more of an issue if your using high powered scopes and taking long range, aimed shots (like when using Sniper Rifles).

    Side Attachment
    Ghost Recon Online - Side AttachmentGhost Recon Online - Waypoint
    For these mods, their usefulness is much more subtle. They are generally used to highlight the last known position of an enemy or for coordination purposes.

    To use, just use your crosshair to aim at the position you wish to set up a waypoint and press "T".

    Special Ammo
    Ghost Recon Online - Magnum Ammo
    Needless to say, these are used to improve your weapon's base damage. To use them, all you have to do is to equip it onto your weapon and press "Z" at the start of a round/match. These ammo are consumed on a per round basis and the effect lasts throughout the round, as far as I've heard.
  • For Armors
    Apart from the improvement in damage reduction, the increasingly better-tiered armor vests also have another plus to it and that is the number of upgrade slots that they possess.
    Ghost Recon Online - Two Upgrade SlotsGhost Recon Online - Four Upgrade Slots
    The beginning or low-tiered armor vests start with two upgrade slots. But as you move on to the better-tiered ones, the number of upgrade slots increases. (At present, Tier IV armors have four upgrade slots while Tier V ones have five.)
    Ghost Recon Online - Armor Inserts
    To these upgrade slots, you can fit in various sorts of armor inserts, bronze, silver or gold ones. These armor inserts typically offer any of the following four kinds of bonuses. Or a mix of them.

    Toughness works in such a way that it reduces the damage your character takes from each incoming bullet.

    The damage of a bullet is first "softened" by the protection from the armor vest and/or HARDEN. The toughness value would then be subtracted from whatever damage that's leftover to determine the actual damage your character takes from it.

    Armor inserts with this bonus usually works better against weapons with low damage, but multiple bullets. Like submachine gun rounds and shotgun pellets, since the toughness value would be applied individually on all the bullets.
    Critical Evasion
    Critical Evasion works to directly reduce an enemy's chance to deal a critical hit on you.

    If an enemy has a 15% chance to deal a critical hit on you with his weapon and you have a 5% critical evasion, then his actual chances becomes reduced to only 10%.

    Armor inserts with this bonus is generally used to counter against weapons with high critical chances or veteran players with high weapon proficiency ratings.
    These work by giving your character additional health points.

    Armor inserts with this bonus are best at giving you the extra HP necessary to tank high damage bullets or survive a volley/barrage.
    Regen works by boosting the rate at which your character recovers HP.

    Armor inserts with this bonus typically works better when coupled with an Assault's Squad Support, REGEN.

    For more info, please refer:
    Ghost Recon Online - Armor Upgrade Guide
  • For Devices
    Ghost Recon Online - Oracle Mk.IIIGhost Recon Online - Oracle Upgrade Modules
    The modular system for devices work in a similar fashion to the armor's. At the lowest tier, Tier I, the devices do not have any upgrade slots. But at Tier II and Tier III, they would then start to have one and two upgrade slots respectively.

    However the difference here is that the upgrade modules that you can insert into the devices are, in a sense, limited. The system rules that you may not insert two identical upgrade modules into the same device.
Oh and one last thing I'll need to point up...

These mods, armor inserts and upgrade modules that you can customize your equipment with? They are item-specific and once used upon an item, they will be permanently assigned to that item. Although you can still remove and switch them with something else, you can no longer use them on anything else apart from that piece of equipment.

In other words, if lets say you have a Tier IV armor which is inserted with some armor inserts that you like, but have now acquired a brand new Tier V armor. You cannot just remove the armor inserts from your Tier IV armor and put them into your Tier V one. Instead, you will need to purchase new inserts all over again for your Tier V armor. The same goes for weapons and devices as well, so I would recommend that you only spend your effort on customizing something that your planning to use for a long time.

Previous: Ghost Recon Online (Part Three)Next: Ghost Recon Online (Part Five)