[OC] The Best MLS Player from Each Country That's Fielded One: Part 1 (UEFA)
Throughout its first 25 years, Major League Soccer has seen players from all different corners of the globe, each with their own career story. Whether it be a guy like Tim Melia or Chris Wondolowski who were scrappy guys that came out of nowhere to be stars in this league, or world famous names such as Zlatan, Beckham, and Henry, the league's history of big names is as diverse as they come. Let's take a look at the best player from each country around the globe. This will be based on national team allegiance. Today, we'll be leading with Europe! Please note that this is my opinion, and in some cases the decisions were tough; I'll be sure to add in honorable mentions where I can, or add notes. Albania: Shkëlzen Gashi ( COL 2016-18) Short list to pick from here, as Gashi's only competition is Jahmir Hyka and Hamdi Salihi. Gashi gets the nod, if nothing else, for his huge 2016 season, where he scored 10 regular season goals (one of which was that year's Goal of the Year) as the Rapids damn near won the Shield. The madlad then went and one-upped that with his absurd equalizer in the playoffs against the Galaxy. His last two years weren't as fruitful, but man, when he was on he could pull something out of nowhere. Armenia: Yura Movsisyan ( KC 2006-07, RSL 2007-09 & 2016-18, CHI 2018) Four choices here, although in the end it's Movsisyan winning out over Harut Karapetyan, who played a couple seasons in the 90s for the Galaxy, San Jose, and Tampa Bay. The fourth pick in a strong 2006 MLS SuperDraft out of Pasadena City College, Movsisyan is mostly associated with RSL, who acquired him in a 2007 trade. With the Claret and Cobalt, he would tally 15 goals in 53 regular season appearances, and in 2009 he'd hoist the club's first MLS Cup. That'd be his last game with RSL until 2016 after some time in Europe with Randers, Krasnodar, and Spartak Moscow (even sharing the Russian PL Golden Boot in 2012/13 with Wanderson). He'd put up a similar clip of 16 in 57 before being waived and finishing his MLS career with four scoreless games with Chicago. Austria: Daniel Royer ( NYRB 2016-pres.) The choice here was largely Royer vs. Andreas Ivanschitz, who was a regular starter for Seattle's first MLS Cup, but I can't say no to a man with over 100 MLS matches played and three straight 10-goal seasons. In all comps, the former Austria Vienna man is just two goals behind Thierry Henry for third on the Red Bulls' all time goal scoring list. Belarus: Sasha Gotsmanov ( COL 2005) Gotsmanov qualifies by default as the only Belarusian player in MLS history. The Minsk native (and son of former Soviet and Belarusian international Sergei Gotsmanov) played one (1) single game for Colorado in October 2005, against RSL. Belgium: Laurent Ciman ( MTL 2015-17, LAFC 2018, TFC 2019-pres.) Shouts to Roland Lamah, who had his moments in Dallas, and Jelle van Damme, who played a season and a half for the Galaxy, but Ciman is the obvious choice. While he's fallen off a cliff as he's gotten older, he's a three-time All-Star and won Defender of the Year in his first MLS season; in his second, he played for Belgium at Euro 2016. At 35, he's lost a step and probably should only be used in emergencies, but at his best he was an elite MLS center back that could also be deployed at right back. Bosnia & Herzegovina: Haris Medunjanin ( PHI 2017-19, CIN 2020-pres.) The first one where I'm not totally confident in my pick, as Baggio Hušidić made this tricky (and as a Union fan I'm afraid of bias). But at his best, Haris is an assist machine (30 in four MLS seasons so far), and a threat on set pieces; the madlad even scored an Olimpico this year. His left foot is probably the best the Union have ever had. While his commitment to defense was nonexistent, give him the ball and he could spray a pass anywhere. Bulgaria: Hristo Stoichkov ( CHI 2000-02, DC 2003) One of three former Ballon d'Or winners to play in MLS (the others being Lothar Matthaus and Kaka, although "playing" is generous for the former), Stoichkov spent the last four seasons of his career in MLS, scoring 22 goals in 72 regular season matches for Chicago and DC. In his first season, a 9 goal in 18 match outing for the Fire, he also won the US Open Cup, scoring the opening goal of the final, a 2-1 win over Miami. (The winning goal, by the way, was scored by our old friend Owen Goal.) Croatia: Damir Kreilach ( RSL 2018-pres.) Mr. Miyagi's favorite MLS player for his crane kick equalizer in the playoffs, the former Rijeka and Union Berlin man has proven to be an excellent utility piece and core part of RSL throughout his time there, scoring 26 goals and chipping in 14 assists in 86 regular season matches and playing all over the damn place (naturally a central midfielder, he's probably still RSL's best forward). At 31, he still has a lot to give. MLS has seen a huge influx of Croats lately, though; before Kreilach's 2018 signing there had only been four Croatian players in MLS history, two of whom barely played. Currently, there are five on active rosters. Czechia: Luboš Kubík ( CHI 1998-2001, DAL 2001) Czech players have had a good hit rate in MLS. In his lone MLS season, Bořek Dočkal led the league in assists, and Zdeněk Ondrášek was a very solid piece for Dallas, albeit one whose MLS time was brief. But no. We have to go with Kubik. The sweeper was Best XI twice, in 1998 and 1999, and won Defender of the Year in 1998 helping Chicago to a MLS Cup-Open Cup double. He'd win another Open Cup two years later, before being traded to Dallas in 2001 and retiring due to injury. So many lethal counterattacks started on the foot of this man, and he is rightfully seen as one of the greatest defenders the league has ever seen. Denmark: Jimmy Nielsen ( KC 2010-13) I debated going WAYYYYYYY off the board here and throwing out Miklos Molnar. His time in MLS was brief, just the 2000 season before he retired, but the man was the best attacking piece on a Cup winner. He could have balled out if he didn't retire early. But nah. We're going with Casino Jimmy, one of the keys towards Kansas City's early 2010s turnaround. A two time All-Star, Nielsen was Goalkeeper of the Year in 2012, a year that also saw him win the Open Cup with the Wiz (on penalties, because KC and penalties, name a more iconic duo at this point). In 2013, he capped off his career by winning MLS Cup, again on penalties, while playing with broken ribs. England: Bradley Wright-Phillips ( 2013-2019, LAFC 2020) This league, man. The list of English players to have represented in MLS is a long one, full of iconic names. Ashley Cole. David Beckham. Frank Lampard. Steven Gerrard. Jermain Defoe. Wayne Rooney. Hell, even Bradley's brother Shaun. But nope. Many of those guys are the butt of many MLS jokes. BWP, on the other hand, is one of the greatest goal scorers the league has ever seen, with two Golden Boots to his name and well over a century of league goals. He was a part of 3 Shield winning teams, and made CONCACAF's Best XI in 2018. And it all started with a quiet trial in 2013 after Charlton dumped him. This. League. And This. Man. Even as a fan of Philly who doesn't care much for the Red Bulls, I respect this dude and everything he's done. I hope he gets another year after winning Comeback Player of the Year this year. Estonia: Joel Lindpere ( NYRB 2010-12, CHI 2013) The only other option here was Erik Sorga, who could dethrone Lindpere as he came to MLS at a very young age. But it's unlikely, as Lindpere was quietly very solid for the Red Bulls during his time. The Tallinn native was a two-time All-Star, and in 2010 he was named the Red Bulls' team MVP. Finland: Alex Ring ( NYC 2017-2020, AUS pres.) T O P I C A L There's a few fairly talented Finns in MLS right now that could make this interesting (I really like Robin Lod's game, and Lassi Lappelainen would be excellent for Montreal if he'd stop getting hurt). Ring however has proven his worth across 4 seasons, including time as NYC's captain. Over 10,000 MLS minutes, mostly for good teams, as a defensive anchor, he will be a fantastic tone-setter for the new Austin team. France: Thierry Henry ( NYRB 2010-14) Oh man, as an Ireland fan I wanted to give this to literally anyone else. I am still bitter, dammit. His best competition is probably Aurelien Collin, who has a closetful of trophies (including a Best XI and MLS Cup MVP). But no...it's Henry. When a big name comes to MLS, what people want to see is someone who treats the league with respect. Henry did that. Not only was he dominant on the pitch, a three-time Best XI nomination, he also respected the history of the club he played for and gave 100%, even though he was getting up there in the years. He's a Red Bulls and MLS legend...as much as I curse that godforsaken hand Georgia: Valeri "Vako" Qazaishvili ( SJ 2017-20) It looks like the San Jose chapter of Vako's career is done and dusted. While the former Vitesse man struggled for consistency, he did put up 26 goals and 13 assists across four MLS seasons for the Quakes, including 10 while being coached by Mikael Stahre, which should probably get him and Wondo some sort of award. We'll see what's next for him, if he leaves MLS or goes back to Europe. His only competition was Quakes teammate Guram Kashia. Germany: Bastian Schweinsteiger ( CHI 2017-19) I'm...actually not sure about this one. I actually changed this while writing, as I very nearly chose Julian Gressel; the former Rookie of the Year has two 10-assist seasons under his belt, and Kai Wagner has also been one of the league's better fullbacks for Philadelphia; Schweinsteiger was solid enough for Chicago in his advanced age for some very frustrating teams (and even moved positions to center back!)...but man, I don't know. Germany is weird. For a country with such a great footballing tradition, the pickings are fairly slim. Arne Friedrich had one good year for Chicago before injuries claimed his career. Lottar Matthaus was as committed to this league as Schalke are to winning football matches. Stefan Aigner was stifled by Anthony Hudson going galaxy brain. Torsten Frings...existed. I dunno. Greece: Alexandros Tabakis ( ATL 2017) The only Greek in MLS history...and our second one game wonder. Atlanta's FOURTH string keeper in 2017, he managed to sneak into a game against Minnesota with Brad Guzan on international duty, Alec Kann injured, and Kyle Reynish sent off during the match. Atlanta lost 3-2. He's now in USL. Hungary: Nemanja Nikolić ( CHI 2017-19) Dániel Sallói and Krisztián Németh had their moments, but the winner is Nikolić, who came to MLS from the Ekstraklasa and immediately won the Golden Boot. His totals diminished in the three seasons he spent with Chicago, but 51 goals in 96 appearances isn't too shabby at all - it's second in Fire history behind Ante Razov. Iceland - Guðmundur Þórarinsson ( NYC 2020-pres.) Not much choice, 3 guys, all of whom were mostly bench guys. I almost went with Kristinn Steindorsson here on the merits of "he didn't have a penalty saved by Rodrigo Schlegel." Israel: Gadi Kinda ( SKC 2020-pres.) It was either him or Dedi Ben Dayan, really. And I nearly went with the former Colorado left back, but nah, Kinda is very much the superior player. The midfielder born in Ethiopia, Kinda shone brightly in his first season in KC, with 6 goals and 4 assists in his debut season. He'll be a DP next season. Italy: Sebastian Giovinco ( TOR 2015-18) A signing that changed an entire club. Before Giovinco, the Reds were a laughingstock. He came in, won a Golden Boot and MVP right away, led the league in assists, made Best XI three years in a row, led them to their first playoff game, their first MLS Cup final, their first MLS Cup win, and a historic treble. And they damn near won CCL too. The Atomic Ant was must-see from Day 1. It's not just because of him that Toronto is now one of MLS's elite...but he was a huge part of changing that culture. 83 goals in 142 games in all comps. And he dished out his fair share of assists too, with a telepathic partnership with Jozy. Latvia: Raivis Hščanovičs ( TOR 2010) Not much to write about here. 14 games for a bad Reds team. Gets in by default with no other Latvian MLS players. Liechtenstein: Nicholas Hasler ( TOR 2017-18, CHI 2018-19, SKC 2019) Another one by default. 66 games as a utilityman. Won MLS Cup and the Shield, though. Lithuania: Vytautas Andriuškevičius ( POR 2016-18, DC 2018) Only other choice was Edgaras Jankauskas, a forward who played 14 games for the Revs. Vytas played 37 for Portland and zero for DC. Luxembourg: Maxime Chanot ( NYC 2016-pres.) Another one by default but this one's an actually really solid player that finished fourth in Defender of the Year voting in 2019. We take those. Malta: Etienne Barbera ( VAN 2012) 2 games in 2012. Only Maltese player in MLS. Montenegro: Branko Bošković ( DC 2010-12) Pretty much every other Montenegrin player played less than 20 games in MLS. Bošković played 43 before returning to Europe for family reasons. 7 assists in his final season though, which is technically something. Netherlands: Johan Kappelhof ( CHI 2016-pres.) Much like Germany, bright footballing tradition, very shaky MLS history. Which is weird because the Eredivisie exports a lot of guys to MLS. Also, I'm excluding Kelvin Leerdam, as he is probably changing his international allegiance to Suriname. So I'm going with 2017 All-Star Kappelhof, who I think is still fairly solid. But really the choices aren't great. Dave van den Burgh? Roland Alberg scored a hat trick once I guess? Danny Koevermans was decent but injured all the time? Maybe it's a hot take. It probably is. North Macedonia: Oka Nikolov ( PHI 2013) Never actually played, only in a friendly. Watch this space though as North Macedonia is apparently courting LAFC's Danny Musovski. Northern Ireland: Johnny Steele ( RSL 2012, NYRB 2013-14) Another case of shaky opposition, it was either Steele or Steve Morrow, who played 41 games for Dallas in the aughts. Steele played regularly for a Shield winner, the 2013 Red Bulls. Easy peasy. Norway: Vadim Demidov Ola Kamara ( CLB 2016-17, LAG 2018, DC 2019-pres.) Adama Diomande is the main competition here. Kamara's first stint in MLS was a smashing success, scoring 48 goals in 90 regular season matches for Columbus and the Galaxy (he was traded for Gyasi Zardes before 2018). A brief foray to China followed, and while he's back in MLS with DC he hasn't quite been the same. Still a good player on his day, maybe just the Bennyball effect. Poland: Piotr Nowak ( CHI 1998-2002) When I think of early Chicago, Nowak and the earlier-mentioned Kubik are the first two names that come to mind. Kubik held down the back while Nowak was the chief creator in the midfield. Three-time best XI, three-time All-Star, and MLS Cup MVP. ...can I drink my water now? Portugal: José Gonçalves ( NE 2013-16) Gonçalves fell off a cliff in his latter years, but in his first MLS season he won Defender of the Year and in his second he was a key part of a team that made the MLS Cup final and damn near won the thing. Runner up here is Nani who is probably closing in. EDIT: I also forgot to mention Pedro Santos, thanks to the Crew fans who pointed that one out. I still think Gonçalves pips him for his 2013 if nothing else, but Santos is probably closer than Nani. Republic of Ireland: Robbie Keane ( LAG 2011-16) A LOT closer than you think; Time Person of the CenturyJuventus legend Ronnie O'Brien was two-time best XI himself. But nonono. This is Robbie freaking Keane. When we see these big name Euro guys interested in MLS, this is the man we want them to be. Hypercompetitive and holding guys accountable on and off the pitch, and scoring for fun. 83 goals in 125 MLS regular season appearances. Best XI four times. 2014 MVP. MLS Cup MVP in 2014. A closetful of team awards including 3 MLS Cups. This man was a baller, and frankly his departure was the beginning of the Galaxy decline into irrelevance, but that's a story for another time. Romania: Alexandru Mitriță ( NYC 2019-pres.?) Question mark because he's on loan and I have no idea if it'll be permanent, but he was punted out by the Pigeons just as he was really starting to break out. He scored 12 goals in his debut season last year but filled in nicely this year while Maxi Moralez was injured. EDIT: NYC fans have informed me he wasn't punted out, but was loaned out to be closer to his pregnant wife. My apologies. Honorable mention: Alex Zotincă, who played for the Wizards and Chivas USA in the aughts. Brave man. Russia: Igor Simutenkov ( KC 2002-04) Not a lot to pick from here either. 49 games, 12 goals for this forward from Moscow, who now serves as an assistant coach at Zenit. Scotland: John Spencer ( COL, 2001-04) Give Johnny Russell another few years and he'll pass Spencer, but for now I'm leaning the latter. Spencer as a coach was frustrating as hell, but as a player he was Best XI twice and an MVP finalist once. Dude could score goals despite battling injuries in his time in MLS. Just don't let him sign Kris Boyd. Then you lose to Cal FC. No one wants that. Serbia: Aleksandar Katai ( 2018-19, 2020) FROM A SPORTING PERSPECTIVE. And mostly due to a weak pool. Runner up was probably someone like Miloš Kocić. 18 goals in 62 games for Chicago before getting yeeted back to Serbia for Bad People Reasons Slovakia: Albert Rusnák ( RSL 2017-pres.) He has tenure on Ján Greguš, who's the closest competitor, but Rusnák is also good. He followed up a 14-assist debut season (4th in the league) with back to back 10 goal seasons before struggling this year with injury. Slovenia: Robert Berić ( CHI 2020-pres.) Once he got acclimated to MLS, the goals came, and Chicago has its successor to Nikolić up top. He finished with 12 goals in his debut season, tied for second in the league with Ruidiaz and Zardes. Also, from what I saw early on, seems like he's a dark-arts type of guy that gets in your head. That's fun. Spain: David Villa ( NYC 2015-18) I really didn't want to put him here due to recent allegations, and the fact that Pozuelo has already matched his MVP and two Best XI performances.... 77 goals in 117 games though, that's tough to pass on. Sweden: Zlatan Ibrahimović ( LAG 2018-19) It's Zlatan. He pretty much dragged a sorry LA organization to something resembling competitiveness. What the hell did you expect? (Anton Tinnerholm made this hard, though) EDIT: Forgot Gustav Svensson as well in my honorable mentions. Switzerland: Stefan Frei ( TOR 2009-13, SEA 2014-pres.) Pretty self-explanatory, one of the most accomplished keepers in MLS history and with a closetful of hardware. And all it took Seattle to get him was a late first round pick that pinged around so much that it was eventually traded for a coach. Turkey: Sercan Güvenışık ( SJ 2012) 5 games that year. No one else has flown the Turkish flag in MLS. Ukraine: Dema Kovalenko ( CHI 1999-2002, DC 2002-05, NYRB 2006-08, RSL 2008, LAG 2008-10) I'm afraid he'd break my legs if I didn't. One of the most physical and downright dirty players the league has ever seen. Made nearly 300 appearances though, and has one each of the 3 major US trophies (MLS Cup, USOC, Shield), all with a different team. Wales: Andy Dorman ( NE 2004-07, 2013-15) Dorman was a key part of that real good Revs team from the mid-aughts, and just beats out Carl Robinson. He made 112 appearances in his first stint, and played in 3 MLS Cup finals, though they famously lost all three. The Revs brought him back in 2013 after some time in Scotland and England, and was playing semipro in the area as recently as 2018.
This chapter was a labour of love, heists are hard. Big thanks to u/eruwenn for helping tidy up this bag of snakes. First / Prev / Next
“Ranjaz K’Lua, you thieving scumbag!” the Kah’Ree in the purple suit exclaimed loudly as he spotted them across the busy room. “As I live and skral, I never thought you would have the Jolos show your face here again!” Two J’Rami in suits detached themselves from the lobby wall, walking towards the Kittran and his friends. “Alfor, my old friend!” Ranjaz smiled broadly. “No need for the welcoming party, I’ve got your credits” —he gestured to Cygna— “and a sweetener, for all the trouble I caused last time.” Alfor paused, lecherous eyes assessing the Fae’Dan. “You know I have a thing for purple.” He chuckled at his own joke and waved the guards back to their posts. “How about we have a drink, and discuss your forgiveness.” He pointed to Thor and Eruwenn. “Brought your own security, or are these Gal. Fed. goons? Everyone knows about your probation.” The Kittran gave a broad grin. “I got a Tulseria-damned pardon, a new ship and a very lucrative opportunity.” The Kah’Ree smiled. “How’d a thieving cat like you get a pardon?” He gave Ranjaz an appraising look up and down. “Oh? Now, let me guess, you need something from me and my brother?” Ranjaz fired his finger guns. “You were always the smart one Alfor, that’s why you run the casino floor.” The Kittran stepped in close. “The item, do you still have it?” Alfor tilted his head back and away from Ranjaz. “Your little guarantee?” He looked back down at Ranjaz. “We have it somewhere safe. Had some unusual people come by after you got caught. Asked a lot of questions. Made a lot of threats.” His face contorted in anger. “We got audited thanks to you.” The Kittran smiled. “If only they knew you better, they could have simply paid you for the information.” “We give nothing for free.” The Kah’Ree gave a sinister smile. “House rule.” Ranjaz walked forward to put his his arm on Alfor’s back. “Let’s go see your brother. Have a few drinks, maybe gamble a little, and discuss our future riches.”
Ripley stood in the shadows of the staff shuttle bay, watching as the numerous employees of assorted races came and went. Loud laughter caught her attention, and a very strangely dressed Niham broke away from a small group and walked towards her. Ripley tried to maintain her low profile as the scantily clad female strutted towards her in long black boots with pointed heels that clacked loudly with every step. Deliberately avoiding eye contact the Awakened tried to will herself into the wall but it was too late and a voice called out to her. “Hey Darling! You must be the one I’m looking for.” Ripley shook her head. The Kittran had said the contact was an Ashi pirate captain, a master gambler and expert in procuring the unusual. “I don’t-” “Listen cutie,” she interrupted, “you’re the one lurking in dark corners drawing attention to yourself. I’ve got your security card. You tell that fluffy little stud he owes me. And more than a bottle of Fae’Dan wine and a good time, if you know what I mean.” She held up the card between her fingers, just a little out of Ripley’s reach. The Awakened considered the phrase ‘fluffy little stud’ and decided that, despite her hopes, this was probably her contact. “You’re Captain Whiplash?” The Ashi laughed genuinely, the jiggling of tightly squeezed breasts bursting at shiny black restraints making Ripley nervous. “Oh, Darling! Only my little pets call me that! You may call me Sho’Na.” Ripley was momentarily confused. “So, you aren’t a pirate captain?” “I’m anything they pay me to be.” She smiled at the silver-haired woman's naivety. “You really are new to this.” Ripley, caught off guard, simply nodded, then replied, “I’m a quick learner.” “Good for you, Darling.” Sho’Na handed over the card. “Just make sure you get paid up front, and don’t use your real name with clients. Ruins the mystique.” Ripley was unsure of what was being said. Turning the card over in her hands she saw that the holo-image on the front was of a male Arkellian. “This isn’t me?” “Honey, I was given half a cycle to get you a level three security card. Just be glad it’s a biped.” Sho’Na looked Ripley up and down. “Our mutual acquaintance told me you were some sort of master of disguise who could even trick Selva Blaster.” Ripley paused, then smiled. Her appearance had become such an integral part of her identity she had forgotten that it was entirely optional. “It won’t be a problem.” She looked at the card again. “Unless the owner comes looking for it.” Sho’Na gave another bosom-trembling laugh that threatened to spill out at any moment. “Oh, don’t worry, he’s tied up at the moment.” The Awakened considered the risk. “Hmmm, but for how long?” The few strips of shiny black material that comprised Sho’Na’s revealing outfit strained under her amusement. “Don’t you worry, Darling. He paid for the whole night.”
Eruwenn had reassessed her opinion of Ranjaz many times since meeting him. The criminal. The loyal friend. The lazy trouble-maker. All were true, but now she was seeing something new. He sat opposite Toran, the brother of Alfor, in a game of dalcho she wished she could have taken part in, but was equally glad she did not. At first she had thought the Kittran was outmatched, a few reckless mistakes costing him dearly as the Kah’Ree deftly selected his tiles. Toran was clearly a seasoned gambler, using a blend of the Remee Le’Bow Gambit and the Kowals’Kee Analysis she hadn’t seen before. It seemed to be dismantling Ranjaz’s tiles before he could even prepare his cards. A few fortunate dice rolls and he had taken a strong lead from the outset. The Kittran appeared desperate, playing any tile available to try and slow the defeat. It had all been a ruse, she saw it; Ranjaz had saved his best tiles and carefully thrown hands to manipulate the cards. In just a few rounds he would be able to dominate the board and raise the stakes, recouping his losses and changing the course of the game entirely. She had encountered few players who could manipulate the game so deftly, using memory and layers of strategy to corner their opponent. It was magnificent. Eruwenn couldn’t tear her eyes from the board as she stood beside Thor. The Awakened had shown no interest in the game, studiously watching the opposite door as Toran’s staff came in and out. When a waiter entered and began preparing drinks at the small private bar in the executive gambling room, Thor coughed. It was a strange thing for an Awakened to do, and Eruwenn finally looked up from the table. “Are you ok?” Thor nodded. By the time he had looked towards her, she had returned her attention completely to the game. “You don’t seem concerned about your friend?” he asked. The Anatidae watched as Ranjaz used a blind double feint, and the sheer audacity of such a move made her swallow hard. She didn’t look back to Thor, but mumbled a response. “I’m very confident in her abilities.” The waiter was methodically placing drinks by each of the players, but when they stood behind Ranjaz the Kittran surged to his feet, shouting, “Hey! No cheating Toran! Getting your waiter to look over my shoulder? That’s a dirty move I’d expect from your brother!” Thor had reacted faster than Eruwenn, pinning the arms of the Arkellian waiter in a vice-like bear hug. Toran slowly stood. He was big, heavily muscled, and the veins on his neck bulged as his anger rose. “Don’t accuse me in my own place.” He cracked his knuckles and glowered down at Ranjaz. “I run a straight game.” Fearlessly the Kittran walked right up to the Kah’Ree and stared up into his face from waist height. “Don’t try and intimidate me, you son of a Vogel.” Ranjaz puffed out his chest and began pushing the burly casino owner. “Nobody cheats me!” The blow caught Ranjaz across the cheek and sent him sprawling across the room. Eruwenn winced at the impact, but maintained her composure. Toran laughed. “Watch your tongue or I’ll add it to my collection.” He walked round the table and kicked Ranjaz in the stomach, glaring at Thor and Eruwenn, daring them to act. “Know your place trash. You’re at this table because you put credits up front. You are a dishonest thief, begging for scraps, and cosying up to me any my brother to get your little trinket back.” He returned to his seat. “Why would I need to cheat against the likes of you?” Ranjaz stood, brushing himself off. “Fine, fine.” He waved a hand and Thor dropped the Arkellian. Ranjaz tapped him on the chest. “My mistake.” He sat down and picked up his cards once more. “You’re right Toran, you run a clean game. I’m just a sore loser.” He shuffled the order of the tiles that were still face down on the table. “To show my sincerity, how about we double the buy for the rest of the game?” Toran snorted. “Double?” He looked at the Kittran, scrutinising his opponent. The game was already over; he had control of the board and his tiles occupied the three prime positions. Was the thief trying to buy his favour, he wondered? How much was the trinket he wanted truly worth? He decided it was worth testing. “Triple, and I’ll forget you dared touch me.” The Kittran swallowed hard, his ears flat to his head. Toran momentarily worried he’d pushed for too much but a decision seemed to be reached. “Fine. Triple.” The look of defeat was delicious to the Kah’Ree.
Cygna had done her part and lured Alfor to a private room away from his security. She had danced, skipped and side-stepped his groping hands so far, maintaining a playfulness that ensured he complied. This sort of thing was not new to her; she had spent time undercover in the past. Fortunately, there had been little call for it since she had joined forces with Eruwenn. Alfor’s eyes scanned her body once more. “The Kittran has very good taste.” He licked his lips, a small amount of drool escaping and running down his chin. He wiped it on his sleeve. “Now, I brought you somewhere quiet. How about you show me how sweet you can be?” The Fae’Dan smiled coyly and continued her dancing just out of reach, glancing to the doorway where Alfor’s two guards stood watching her. “With an audience?” She raised her eyebrows expectantly. With a sly grin he waved the guards out of the room. “Now come here and let me satisfy you like only a Kah’Ree can.” His eyes wandered over her body once more. Cygna smiled, her own eyes moving from the Kah’Ree’s hands to his shoulders, then up towards his neck. An interesting fact about the Kah’Ree was the thick blood vessels on the side of their neck. They often bulged when a Kah’Ree was angry or excited, like Alfor’s were as he leered at her. She danced closer. Another interesting fact was that their brains were not as efficient as those of other species, hence the requirement for additional blood flow; more oxygen per limited thought. He leaned forward, his eyes locked to her swaying hips. Cygna turned slowly, and his head tilted to appreciate her assets. The third, lesser known, fact about the Kah’Ree was that an interruption to the blood flow while they were in this excited state caused them to lose consciousness rapidly as their brain burned through the available oxygen. “My eyes are up here.” She smiled as he looked up at her with his head still tilted. He sneered. “Who ca-” The Fae’Dan struck the side of his neck with the edge of her hand, targeting the throbbing blood vessel with a powerful blow. The interruption to his brain's oxygen supply worked perfectly and he fell face forward onto the ground at her feet. She let out a sigh of relief and looked down at his unconscious body. “Thank you, that was particularly satisfying.” She walked over to the door and peeked out, finding the guards standing either side. “He said to order us some drinks.” One of the guards nodded and immediately put his hand to his lapel communicator. Back inside the room, Cygna used her foot to roll Alfor to his back and began searching his pockets. She came up empty. Her eyes caught a glimmer from his collar and she found a heavy gold chain, at the end of which was his security key. She removed it just as a knock came at the door. A deep voice from the other side called out. “Your drinks, boss.” The Fae’Dan quickly messed up her hair. Using the back of her hand she smeared her lipstick sideways, and then pulled the strap of her dress down off her shoulder. She opened the door and, to her surprise, was faced with an Arkellian waiter. The bodyguards noted her dishevelled appearance and shared a smirk, and she said, “Oh, I wasn’t expec-” The waiter pushed the trolley into the room. “Don’t keep the boss waiting, lady.” Before Cygna could reply they were inside and the door closed. “Relax, it’s me.” Ripley’s voice sounded bizarre coming from the male Arkellian form, and Cygna’s eyes went wide in shock. Her sharp mind quickly adjusted to this new information. Of course the Awakened could change their physical appearance; she had just never seen it. They all seemed quite attached to their chosen human forms. “Neat trick.” She held out Alfor’s key. “Did you get the other one?” Ripley nodded. “The Kittran played his part well. I didn’t see him take it, and didn’t feel it when he placed it in my pocket. Now that was a neat trick.” The Fae’Dan smiled. “I think I’ll pass on that dalcho game.” The Arkellian Ripley smiled. “Probably wise.” Turning, she slipped the key into her pocket and headed back out of the door.
Ripley entered the elevator to the owner's private offices on the top floor. Thanks to the distractions downstairs, the two large desks in the centre of the room were empty. She walked straight past them to the large leokas painting on the wall and swung it forward. Behind it was a Fae’Dan safe; she took out the two keys and a small homemade device the Kittran had given her. Attaching the device to the bio-lock and standing before the safe, she elongated her arms to reach both key positions at once. There was more than one reason she was the one chosen for this task. The device beeped twice and small lights above each lock lit up. She simultaneously turned both keys, and there was a satisfying clunk. She raised an eyebrow. The device had worked. The heavy safe door swung open and she began her search. Ranjaz had been very specific: while there was one item she had to get, she was to grab as much as possible to obscure their true target. Quickly grabbing as much as she could she retrieved the keys and ran back across the room towards the elevator.
Cygna hauled Alfor back onto the seat, putting him in a more natural position and messing up his hair. She looked away as she began unbuttoning his clothes, pulling his trousers around his ankles and opening his shirt up to bare his chest. From a secret pocket inside her dress she pulled out a lace thong, setting it on his head like a bandana. She also had a small box which she opened, inside of which was a replica mouth with lipstick that matched her own. Cygna carefully applied kiss marks all over his exposed skin before popping the fake lips back into the secret pocket. She took the Fae’Dan wine and partially filled two glasses, making sure to take a long drink from one and leave more lipstick marks. The rest of the wine was poured into the ice bucket. She heard the sound of voices outside the door. The guards were arguing with someone, refusing them entry, but when the name Toran was mentioned it was Ripley who entered, still in uniform but now looking much like her usual self. She smirked at the Kah’Ree in his derobed state. “I can see you had fun.” The Fae’Dan chuckled. “That’s the idea.” She looked at the Awakened in her true form. “You look… better.” Ripley cocked her head. “It would be strange if the waiter came back to deliver a message.” She tossed the necklace key to Cygna, who replaced it on Alfor’s neck. Reclining on the sofa and picking up her glass, Cygna took another long drink. “Get the other one back to Ranjaz quickly. This one won’t be napping much longer.” The Awakened gave an almost Ranjaz-like grin. “You could always hit him again.” Before the Fae’Dan could reply she had ducked back out of the door. She caught the eye of one of the bodyguards and gave a head tilt back towards the room. “The boss is really enjoying himself!” As the suited pair chuckled, the larger of the two got a message in his ear piece. “Hey, silver hair.” He grunted. “Boss has an important guest. Meet them in the foyer and bring them to the dalcho room.” Ripley was relieved – she needed a reason to get into that room. “On my way.”
Toran was seething as he watched as the Kittran flipped his final tile. Why would he have waited so long to play the Wings of Tulseria tile? His stomach sank, and he couldn’t hold back his anger any longer. “Damn you!” Ranjaz gave a full-fanged grin. “Looks like my luck turned at just the right moment.” “Luck!” Toran’s tile snapped between his fingers. Why had he let the damned cat goad him into constantly increasing their bet? The cycle had started with him owing the brothers a million credits plus interest, and now the infuritating Kittran had won nearly forty times that. “Nobody is that lucky.” “Woah!” Ranjaz held up his hands. “I would never cheat, well... certainly not a second time. After you caught me, I’d be a fool to try.” “Hmm.” Toran looked at the two behind the Kittran. The big one would be a problem, but the Anatidae looked to be nothing special. “How about I give you back your little trinket and we call it even?” “My trinket?” Ranjaz shook his head. “I had to convince you it was worth the million I owed. Why would you think I’d trade it for thirty eight million credits? I’ll pay what I owe, take my trinket and my winnings and leave.” Toran folded his arms and looked across the dalcho board at Ranjaz. “And why would I let you do that?” The atmosphere in the room changed as the two security guards changed their stance. “Transfer the credits back to the house.” Ranjaz dropped the grin, replacing it with a defiant glare. “What happened to you running a straight game?” “The game was straight. You won, didn’t you?” He leaned forward, his eyes cold and hard. “You’re just in no position to collect.” The Kittran was about to argue when the door behind Toran opened. He looked up as Ripley entered, and his eyes widened in shock. She wasn’t alone. “Toran, you bastard! You sold me out!” “For ten million credits.” Toran stared hard at Ranjaz. “Care to make a better offer?” Eruwenn’s eyes blazed with anger as the grey-suited Niham pulled up a seat and sat down beside Toran. “Now, now, you lied to me about having the item before. Don’t double cross me.” Sentinel Krast placed his hands together on the table, interlacing his fingers. “I’m not somebody who forgives easily.” He looked directly at Eruwenn. “Isn’t that right, former Councillor? A little far from your new Ambassador position, aren’t you?” Ripley stood back against the wall. She had no idea who the newcomer was, but this most definitely was not the plan. The golden green Anatidae walked forward to stand behind Ranjaz. “Oh, I had a little vacation time saved up, and decided to spend it with my good friend here.” She placed a hand on the Kittrans shoulder. “And what brings a Sentinel here?” Krast’s lips curled in what might approximate a smile. “I’m also acquainted with Mr K’Lua. In fact, we go back a very long way.” He turned to look directly at Ranjaz. “Now, return what is mine.” Toran looked from Ranjaz to Krast. “Yours? You don’t look like the tiara wearing type.” The Sentinel didn’t turn his head. “Ah, so you hid the data chip inside some shiny bauble. As inventive as ever, Mr K’Lua.” The Niham finally acknowledged Toran by looking at him. “Bring. It. Here.” The Kah’Ree sucked air through his teeth. “Well, seems like we have something mighty important, and two very interested parties.” He stood and walked to his two security officers, who drew their weapons in unison. “Now then, I believe you” —he nodded to Krast— “offered ten million. How about it Ranjaz, old friend? What’s your counter offer?” The Kittran had been sitting, silently seething at his double cross being double crossed. He looked at Krast. “Were you the one?” Toran was surprised at being ignored, but before he could reply Krast answered, “The one?” Ranjaz’s eyes narrowed, his ears alert, his tail swishing aggressively. “The one who took my friend!” he snarled as he felt Eruwenn’s hand holding him back gently. Krast’s eyes glittered as he saw the impotent rage in his opponent’s eyes. “Ah, the poor deceased human?” He smiled his mannequin-esque smile. “And if I was?” Toran snatched a pistol from one of his men and fired a blast at the ceiling. “Your quarrel can wait. Let’s settle our business first and you can kill each other after I’m paid.” He paused, then added, “but, not in my casino. Body disposal costs extra.” Eruwenn’s hand gripped Ranjaz’s shoulder harder, and he braced himself. In one smooth move she both threw him backwards and to the right, and kicked the dalcho table up and forward into Krast's face. The Sentinel fell backwards as a blast from Toran struck the table, but Eruwenn was already on the move, sidestepping left and ducking forward into a cartwheel. Toran's gun had been following Ranjaz, but as her leg swept down it knocked the weapon from his grip. Once she stabilized, her fist, already primed with momentum from the cartwheel, struck Toran below the ribs and knocked the wind from him. The guard, whose gun the Kah'Ree had been holding, lunged forward to grab Eruwenn but she simply deflected his hand, pairing his forward momentum with her rising elbow to swiftly render him unconscious. The second guard had just begun to raise his weapon when a huge fist struck him in his chest, sending him careening backwards into the wall. Thor loomed over him, shaking his head as he retrieved the energy pistol. “Too slow.” Ripley helped Ranjaz to his feet as Krast pushed the table off his chest. Toran was coughing and struggling to breathe as Ranjaz pressed the retrieved energy pistol to his forehead. “Double cross me?” He dragged the Kah’Ree forward. “I want to see the item, then I’ll pay what I owe.” The two of them awkwardly made their way back towards Krast, so Ranjaz could point the gun in his face. “Then we can talk about your body disposal fee.” Krast stood, and his phony smile was gone. “You can’t kill me. The Sentinels will tear this place apart, hunt you down and kill you. You think I came alone? My ship is in orbit and waiting for my orders!” Ranjaz grabbed him by the jacket, pulling him down to his level, and struck him in the face with the butt of the pistol. Thor cooly kept his stolen pistol pointed at Toran and the one conscious guard. By the third blow Krast’s face was bloody, his nose broken and he began to struggle against Ranjaz’s assault. A muted boom caused everyone present to stop in their tracks. Alarms began to sound and Toran swore loudly. He pulled out his communicator, ignoring Thor’s pistol. “What the hell was that!” He held the device close as he listened. “My office?” He patted his pocket. Finding his key in place, he looked to Ranjaz and then Krast. “Seal the casino! And where is my brother?” Ripley suddenly understood why the Kittran had told her to leave his device on the safe door. After a brief further moment of shock, which she kept from showing on her face, she realized that she had been carrying an explosive without being told. If they survived, Ranjaz was going to need to explain himself. Thoroughly. Eruwenn, Thor and Ranjaz had backed away to the opposite side of the room, standing by the door. Krast stood alone, holding his profusely bleeding nose. The opposite door soon opened to reveal scrambling casino security, with Toran and his guard standing nearby. The unconscious guard was carried out without comment, and the Kah’Ree turned to Ripley. “Why are you still here?” She nodded and slipped out of the door, leaving one less concern for the remaining three. “Alright, which one of your skrolg-licking bastards broke into my private safe?” Krast spat blood onto the floor, pointing at Ranjaz. “He’s the thief. You and I had a deal.” The Kittran smirked. “I’m a better thief than blowing up a Tulseria-damned safe. If I wanted to steal it, I would have done just that. I would not have announced my arrival and sat down to a game of dalcho.” Toran looked between the two of them. “He’s got a point.” One of his men handed him a pistol, and he continued to talk a little distractedly into his communicator. “Well, check everywhere!” Ranjaz stirred the pot. “He’s the bastard who double crossed me, why would he honour your deal?” Eruwenn nodded. “A government agent can’t be seen working with criminals.” Krast's face contorted in rage. “Don’t be a damned fool, Toran!” He pointed at Ranjaz. “This is clearly some convoluted distraction.” Toran shook his head. “They had the upper hand. You were the one getting your face ruined.”
Cygna watched nervously as Alfor began to stir. Things were taking a lot longer than expected. Finally, her signal came; it was not as subtle as she had been led to believe. As soon as the explosion went off the two bodyguards quickly came into the room, glancing from Alfor’s sleeping body to her. She staggered forward, wine bottle in hand. “We need more drinkshh!” The guard ignored her as he saw the condition of his boss. “Not again,” he groaned. “Toran will kill us for letting him get like this.” The second guard stepped out into the corridor. “I’m not dressing him! Last time he tried to kiss me!” Cygna paused, not having expected it to go this way. The first bodyguard walked out as well. “He pissed on my new shoes the time before that. I’m not moving him.” Their communicators went off and their faces became more serious. Bodyguard two spoke first. “Damn it. Toran wants him.” The first turned to look at the increasingly bewildered Cygna. “You!” He smiled. “You got him undressed. You can dress him.” Cygna spotted Ripley running down the corridor towards them, causing her confusion to grow further. The Awakened shouted one word. “Sentinels!” The Fae’Dan’s mind raced. The plan was clearly blown, and they had to get out. Fast. As the guards were now facing Ripley, she took the opportunity to kick one in the back of the knee. He fell forward, and as the second turned he was met with the upward swing of a wine bottle. The first guard discovered first-hand the shocking truth of how hard the knee of an Awakened could be, and both were unconscious by the time they hit the ground. Cygna smiled at Ripley. "Thanks." The Awakened gave a swift nod of acknowledgement. “A Sentinel turned up, so Ranjaz set off the diversion he promised. The other brother is busy trying to figure out whether it’s us or the Sentinels robbing him.” Cygna took on board the new information quickly, knowing she needed to help the others. “I have an idea. Lie over there and look dead.” She ran back into the room, where Alfor was groaning and starting to move. She slipped the chain from his neck and dropped it into the ice bucket, where it sank out of sight below the dark Fae’Dan wine. She began to slowly shake him. “Huh,” he grumbled, and slowly opened his eyes. “Wha.. what happened?” Cygna clung to him tightly. “Oh thank goodness! I thought they killed you!” “Killed?” Alfor’s head was pounding, his memory blurry. “Who-” He caught sight of his downed guards in the open doorway. “What the hell happened?” He began pulling at his clothes, and swiftly checked that his trousers were dry. “While we were.. You know…” He nodded; he was buttoning up his clothes. He didn’t remember, but he knew. “Some scary men burst into the room and shot you! I was so scared.” She hugged him tight, pressing herself against him. He put his arm around her. “What men? Be brave, and tell me what happened.” She looked up at him, trying to make her eyes as big as possible, adding a lip tremble to really sell it. “I don’t know! They wore grey suits. And one of them took your necklace!” “My necklace.” He clutched at his chest where it should have been. “Damn Sentinels! I told Toran we couldn't trust them!” He stepped into the corridor, where Ripley lay on the ground with a terrible energy weapon burn on the side of her face. He pulled out his communicator. “Toran.” He instantly got hold of his brother. “I didn’t answer because I was knocked out. Damn Sentinels took my key, killed some of our guys.” He looked around. “Nobody important, just some waiter.” He finally pulled the underwear from his head. “I’ll go to the security room and look at the video.” He ended the call and turned back to Cygna. “You stay here.” She smiled. “Sorry, we can’t let you check the security footage.” “Wha-” Ripley struck him from behind and he crumpled to the ground, her fake burn melting from her face. The Awakened looked around, rechecking that all was clear. “I think that’s all we can do; we should get out of here. Come with me, my shuttle is in the staff bay.”
Toran closed his communicator and motioned to a guard. “Search him.” Eruwenn wished she had some way to capture the look on Krast’s face when the remote detonator was pulled from his pocket. She'd have to hug the light-fingered Kittran later. The Sentinel grit his teeth. “That’s not mine.” “Sure, sure,” Toran agreed, while simultaneously shaking his head at the Sentinel. “Looks like you really didn’t come alone.” Krast was furious, yelling, “I’m telling you-” He broke off when Ranjaz shot him in the leg, falling to the floor. The Kah’Ree pointed his pistol at the Kittran. “Can’t let you kill a Sentinel in my casino, even if they did just rob me.” Ranjaz was surprised the Kah’Ree had believed them so easily. “What about us?” Toran sighed, lowering his weapon. “Take your winnings and get out. If you stole the thing once, I’m sure you can steal it again.” Eruwenn and Thor both made to leave. Ranjaz paused, knowing he might not get another chance. “And him?” The Kah’Ree looked at the Sentinel holding his wounded leg. “We’ll send him back to his ship. As much as I hate it, the Sentinels are untouchable.” Ranjaz raised his pistol. “He took my friend.” “And we’ll get him back,” Eruwenn said softly. “Then we’ll all deal with him, and the rest of the Sentinels.” Krast sneered and spat blood once more. “Your human is dead.” Ranjaz fired. Krast screamed and grabbed his other leg. “You bastard!” Toran and his men raised their weapons as the Kah’Ree yelled, “Get the hell out of here!” Ranjaz turned and followed the others out of the door, but just as it was about to close he poked his head back in. “Oh, one last thing.” Toran could be seen looking up just as the Kittran fired again, but he ducked out of sight before the true outcome of his shot could be seen. The shrieks of agony, however, followed the trio down the corridor as they broke into a run. Eruwenn spared a glance down at Ranjaz during their retreat. “What did you do?” The full-fanged grin had never been larger. “Made sure we’ll see him again.” On the floor of the dalcho room Krast was screaming in agony. He turned over to stare at the closed door. “I’ll kill you! I will hunt you down and kill every last one of you!” Toran spoke into his communicator. “Tell the Sentinel ship to come get their man. And, bring a doctor. A really good doctor.” He nudged one of his guards and finally let out a chuckle. After all, the Sentinels had just robbed him. “You double-crossing scum always get what you deserve.” The J’Rami guard raised an eyebrow. “Not sure anyone deserves getting shot in the balls.”
jimmy is at his casino,kinda drunk, waiting with the cards “You ready” Yup “It will be poker” What i thought “ we will each get 25 chips, we use 5 to play each game, other then that the regular rules apply” Lets play the game begins, it seems they are both masters at this the game contiines with both sides being at a stalemate “Your still good” Right back at you they play more, both lying so well even a lie detector would struggle with them. They say nothing but both decive and trick their opponent with their faces alone it comes to the final 5 chips they began to show there cards with the winner being.... jimmy with a straight flush “So what the next game” I still have to think “Bye” he leaves the premise after turning into a lord of change once more
I've tried so many slot machines, kept bets low, tried high bets too, no matter what I do I will always lose money I literally cannot make it. Even a big win I just lose it all, I'm constantly out of chips. I've read the tips of using 1% of your chips etc and tried the recommended slots, done the roulette trick but I end up running out of money. Am I just insanely unlucky? I played HUUGE casino before and hit level 200 in a day with billions of chips but this game seems to hate me
Relative Tarkov noob here, started playing ~35-40 days ago and was intrigued by the number of psychological impacts that a game like Tarkov can have on the average player, including the multiple causes of 'gear fear' and choking. I thought I'd pen together some thoughts below regarding overcoming them - hopefully more experienced players can also share their secrets. Getting over the fear of using expensive gear (that you can afford) I used to dislike using reflex sights and scopes on my gun because they tend to cost disproportionately more than my gun. It wasn't that I couldn't afford them at that stage in my game, but it was a definite mental block when seeing the ruble price tag. The quick way around that is to use the trick that casinos play on you, which is to add a little mental separation between you and your valuable money through the use of casino chips to gamble with instead of cash. Take the opportunity to build a stockpile of attachments you want to use whenever there is a dip in the flea market pricing; it's easier to use that sight or scope when you have 10 already sitting in your inventory or attached to your pre-built guns. Performance anxiety when the stakes are high, most commonly manifested when entering raids fully geared This is a commonly studied problem in the field of high performance sports, and any answer I give here is going to be too watered down or not scholarly enough. A great introductory layperson book is The Inner Game of Tennis, by Timothy Gallwey. The trite answer is when the stakes are high, don't think about it - just focus on the process (with the caveat of not overthinking the process while you are executing it). If you notice in interviews of great tennis pros after they have lost a game, they focus on how they played the game, rather than on the outcome. In such close competition, there is a degree of randomness in life that is outside your control that you have to accept - in Tarkov that randomness is amplified to a ridiculous degree (late spawns, running into 5-man chad teams that decide to venture into low-value routes, etc). In practical terms, try treating everything you bring into the raid as already lost - that way it will sting less when you get headshot 5 mins into the raid. This is easier said than done because of the way scarcity affects the human mind - when you're taking in your first T5 armor that you get from a quest reward (and have no alternative way to replace it without paying exorbitant flea market markups that you can't afford) it's definitely going to be harder to ignore it mentally. The scarcity paradox of Tarkov This is more a musing than a tip, but part of what makes Tarkov so unique is the feeling you get when high stakes are involved due to the scarcity of gear. However, being successful at the game requires you to decrease the stress associated with high stakes, either through building up streams of income so that losing gear becomes meaningless to you, or by psychologically removing the impact of losing such gear. The paradox here is that the more successful you are at this game, the less meaningful it is - and it literally becomes COD with extra steps ...
Hey, dudes, I've gotten help from this subreddit many times, so I figured it was time to pay back some of that good will. I just completed the Billionaire Casino to Level 160 offer in about 8 days with no purchase, and I bet most of y'all are like me, in that: - You want to get this done as fast as possible. - You are mystified by the janky systems of Billionaire Casino. First off, it's about knowing which slots pay better than others, and how much time it'll take for each to become profitable. That said, here's what I did, with some notes to help. 1) When you're starting out, bet no more than 5% of your chips on a single pull. 75% of getting "good" at BC is overcoming the gambler's fallacy: you might think you can predict the slots, but you are dead wrong, and you will end up a virtual penniless pauper. 2) If you get above 1,000,000 chips, only bet 1% at most. The only times to go back to 5% are if you're either below 1 million again, or if you have a 2X experience boost, which is fairly invaluable. 3) Join a league as fast as possible, and have absolutely no loyalty. You are Benedict Arnold to the nth power. As soon as you see a better league, jump on it. Overnight, you should get a ridiculous amount of chips from shared jackpot and challenge prizes. 4) Recognize that most of the slots will drain you dry without giving much in return. From what I've seen, here are the ones worth playing:
Blaster Cats vs. Aliens - pays out pretty well, so I played this one almost exclusively until hitting level 90 or so.
Sky God - less reliable than BCvA, but when it pays out, it pays the hell out. If you've got a sudden influx of chips, try this for a bit. If you start losing, retreat to the safe harbor of BCvA.
Camelot Cash - even less reliable than Sky God, but pays out ridiculous dividends. On a bet of 10 million, I walked away with 8 billion. Make sure you have enough to wait this one out, because endurance will be key to reaching a really big win.
Any Huge Link game - these are risky, because they're probably the least reliable out of any of these, but, as you've probably guessed, they pay out a ton. The trick with these, and any, is not to be "lucky," but to be smart with your betting and only go in when you can afford to lose a lot while you wait for the ginormous payout.
Buffalo Rush - the best one, hands down. If you get a lot of chips (think at least a million) head straight here. The payouts are high, frequent, and on a ridiculous 1024 paylines.
Huuuge Bucks - another ridiculous payout with low reliability, though the kicker is you need to be a high level to play this one. I played while it was free for some kind of event. Locked slots go through that every so often.
5) Set Autoplay to run with the minimum bet on Buffalo Rush overnight. You might end up bankrupt, you might get a ton, or, most likely, you'll wake up around where you started but with significantly more XP. 6) Don't be afraid to lose it all. We're conditioned to hate losing, obviously, but, surprisingly, the game gives you a lot of chips a lot of the time. Every 15 minutes, you'll get a respectable sum, actually. Make sure to check the Billy Bonus (every 15 minutes), the shop bonus (every 8 hours or so), the lottery free tickets (also 8 hours, I think), and your Billionaire League bonuses. 7) Make friends, not because it's good for the soul or anything, but because the more friends you have, the bigger a bonus you get at the start of every day. 8) Meditate in order to calm the murderous rage you'll feel when you see Billy, the app's mascot. Good luck, my dudes. I'll try to answer any questions y'all might have, so feel free to ask here or PM me if you're shy.
A Guide to the Differences Between JRPGs Ports and Enhanced Versions (Part 1).
A new day, a new guide. This is the hardest one of the guides I wanted to make, because the information is never easy to get, which is weird. So please forgive me if I missed some changes, and by all means tell me if I missed any of them or if any of them are incorrect. Since this list is really long, this guide is going to come in parts, this part covers:
Valkyrie Profile (PSX) vs Valkyrie Profile: Lenneth (PSP vs iOS & Andriod).
Chrono Trigger (SNES) vs Chrono Trigger (PSX vs NDS vs iOS & Andriod vs PC).
Star Ocean 2 (PSX) vs Star Ocean: Second Evolution (PSP) vs PS4 (JP.ver).
The Last Remnant (Xbox360) vs The Last Remnant Remastered (PC vs PS4 & Switch).
Tales of Vesperia (Xbox360) vs Tales of Vesperia: Definitive Edition (PS4/PC/Switch/Xbox One).
Tales of Symphonia (GC) vs Tales of Symphonia (PS2 (JP.ver only) vs PS3/PC).
Skies of Arcadia (DC) vs Skies of Arcadia: Legends (GC).
Person 3 (PS2) vs Persona 3 FES (PS2 (English.ver)) vs Persona 3P (PSP).
Persona 4 (PS2) vs Persona 4 Golden (Vita vs PC).
.hack//G.U (PS2) vs .hack//G.U. Last Recode (PS4/PC).
Final Fantasy 12 (PS2) vs FF 12: International Zodiac Job System PS2 (JP.ver only) vs FF12 Zodiac Age (PS4/PC/Switch/Xbox One).
Rune Factory 4 (3DS) vs Rune Factory 4 Special (Switch).
This is made for Ports and Enhanced versions, so No Remakes. So this is about differences between the different versions of Chrono Trigger, and not about the differences between FF7 ps1 and FF7 Remake.
The differences are taken from all over the internet, either from official sources, wikis, youtube, and even forums.
I cover all the changes for a game, unless there is too many, in which case I will highlight the ones worth mentioning.
Nearly identical to the Japan version but with minor fixes in the menu screen. In the Japanese version, Characters not in the party were unable to change or learn skills nor were they able change or remove equipment. The US version allowed out of party members to change and learn skills as well as change or remove equipment without being added to the party. Also in the Japanese version, Lenneth would unequip all her skills and equipment when switching between sword and bow. The US version 'remembers' the previous setting when switching weaponry and is automatically equipped with the skills and equip. Another improvement over the Japanese version is an improved item sorting option. There are a few instances of censoring such as Badrach's smoking.
Valkyrie Profile: Lenneth PSP:
Valkyrie Profile: Lenneth lacks the improvement made in US version. Rather than re-rendering the textures of the dungeon maps, TOSE cropped and upscaled the pre-rendered images to fit the portable console's screen, resulting in severe blurring in some areas. This version also removes the anime opening movie in favor of 3D CGI, animated movie. Certain key story-sequences were animated in the same style as the opening movie and can be viewed at anytime in the Gallery option in the title screen once unlocked in the story. The animated scenes include:
Alicia witnesses Barbarossa's execution
Lenneth's encounter with the Lord of the Undead
Lenneth and the Homunculi
A chance encounter between "Meril" and Lucian
Lenneth in Weeping Lily Meadow
Lucian's departure to Valhalla
The Sovereign's Rite
Other big changes are:
An enhanced version of the original game's localization
Square Enix cleaned up the original game's English script and additional voice over dialogue for the CG movies was recorded by New Generation Pictures, rather than the original company, TAJ Productions.
Valkyrie Profile: Lenneth iOS & Andriod:
This is the PSP version being ported to iOS & Andriod, with the following changes:
Enhanced graphics such as character portraits. >* Enhanced Text.
Anime cut scenes created by original character designer Akira Toriyama's Bird Studio and animated by Toei Animation. A new Extra Mode Option was added that is divided into different categories of viewable extras, that are unlocked as you finish the game, and just as shown in the picture, they are:
Chrono Trigger NDS:
This version includes everything new in the PSX version, and also has big and a long list of changes and additions, which I will try to condense them as much as possible:
Ability to play using the two screens and the touch screen, or in classic mode through a single screen.
Added the Arena of Ages: A monster arena where You pick basic monsters and raise them to fight computer and wireless opponents.
Added the Lost Sanctum: A sidequest during the main game. It consists of two dungeons in two different eras.
Added the Dimensional Vortex: A extra Dungeon, available after beating the game once and appears in three different eras. Each dungeon is different.
A lot of New Items.
New Enemies in the new dungeons, in the form of palette swaps of old enemies.
One New Ending after finishing the Dimensional Vortex completely.
New Translation that changes a lot of names form the original version to something more faithful to the Japanese version.
Chrono Trigger iOS & Android:
Both versions initially were based on the NDS version, but later on got an update to make them similar to the PC version.
Chrono Trigger PC:
Everything on the NDS version is present here except there is No Arena of Ages. What they did add however is:
Unlocking the Galaxy and Universe modes now require defeating a specific number of enemies in a single playthrough rather than unlocking voices in the Voice Collection. >>>* Practically all Combat Skills have been refined, some being removed (such as Cancel, which is now automatically implemented).
The combat system has been slightly refined, now allowing all melee fighters to perform a 3-hit combo as their normal attack.
The Super Specialty "Bunny Call" no longer allows the player to "climb" on towns and some terrains. The player now will enter a town upon approaching while in Bunny Form, and can even activate private actions.
All items in the inventory screen are now depicted as 2D icons instead of the original 3D models.
Many bugs and glitches have been fixed (most notably the infamous random Cave of Trials screen freeze).
Ring of Lightspeed (called Slayer Ring in Second Story) now works on Dias Flac.
New character designs and portraits.
No magic combo mechanic.
Crafting animations are now replaced by a still 2D image.
Star Ocean: Second Evolution PS4 JP.ver:
This enhanced version was released only in Japan on the PS4, with enhanced graphics and BGM, and a DLC that helps you with the gameplay.
This version is only available to purchase in the EU SquareEnix online store as of right now: Battles:
Turbo Mode is now available, and can be toggled on or off while giving orders to unions in battle. When on, battles play out at double the speed.
Crimson Flare, a new Arcana, is now available.
New formations, such as Eremurus Rain, are now available.
Enemies hit considerably harder.
Rare Monsters can have significantly higher HP than their XBOX 360 counterparts.
Arcana require substantially more AP.
Unique Arts now require AP.
Remnant Arts can only be performed by union leader, Weapon Arts now require high union morale.
Offensive Weapon Arts now increase morale when used.
Additionally, Arcana and offensive Special Arts now raise morale by a fixed amount.
Likewise, certain Enemy Arts now lower morale by a fixed amount.
Wards now affect the entire union.
Attributes required for formation upgrades are vastly different.
Healing no longer raises morale, and morale increased by Critical Hits has been dramatically reduced.
Union morale now fluctuates based on more conditions (IE: taking an action, successfully landing a hit, receiving damage, etc.). In the X360 version, union morale stayed somewhat static, usually changing when being healed, being KO'd/terminated, executing a successful Critical Trigger. It also did not drop to 0 whenever an offensive Special Art was executed, whereas it will do so on the PC.
Linking additional enemies together does not increase your Battle Rank further than having fought them separately.
Special commands, such as the use of David's Gae Bolg, are no longer interrupted by being raidlocked by a different union or having targeted enemy union defeated by an ally.
Allies now have the option to cure a friendly union's Curse status ailment via "Cure them even if it kills them!" command. This command is in the XBOX 360 version as well, but is only available when the union is Enthralled; it will not be available when the union is cursed.
Items are color-coded in the PC version, and a new preview feature lets you see what the item looks like in battle.
You can now toggle between viewing the stats of a weapon or shield and viewing a preview of what it looks like in battle.
Components and consumables are now categorized.
Items are now color-coded based on their rarity.
Creation or customization of some items require fewer components.
New items available via Blueprint 4.
Various weapon stats have changed.
Some very rare monster-specific drops can now be split from monsters (e.g., Godwood Timber, Spiritwood Timber).
The leader limit is no longer imposed. Unions can be composed entirely of leader units if the player desires.
Likewise, soldiers can now be set as union leaders.
The stat cap has been lifted for all characters to allow a maximum of 255 for each stat.
The Seven are now recruitable after completing Union of the Golden Chalice Task #70: For Our Lord.
Rush can now be removed from the active party.
Khrynia can learn the new Unique Art Dual Snowpetal.
Arts can be disabled, filtering which skills a unit may use in combat.
Leaders' requested components are displayed when viewing their stats.
Leaders' wield style can be changed depending on their equipped weapon.
Shields now prevent style changes mid-battle.
The following classes now prevent style changes: Guardian, Scout, Hunter, Wanderer, Thief, Alchemist, all Mystic classes, Vagrant, Mercenary, Aristocrat, Djin, Fortuneteller, Sage and General.
The experience required to advance Wield Style skills has been reduced, and the experience required to advance Weapon Type skills has been increased.
Three new classes are now available: Ataraxian, Cleric, and Ninja.
The Guardian, Fencer, and Warrior classes now require non-sovani wield styles, and are thus not available to Sovani.
The Gladiator class now requires Power Grip and Wards.
Hybrid classes (Item+Combat and Mystic+Combat) can now be achieved by units who do not start in one.
Some leaders now have a different weapon upgrade path, which caused some units to learn new Weapon Arts while others lost theirs.
Leaders can request weapons that do not coincide with their weapon upgrade path as long as they match their equipped weapon type and size.
Soldiers can now request weapon drops.
Some units have had their starting Unit BR level, stats, class, equipment, arts, and hiring wage changed.
The completion of At Hatred's End is no longer required in order to activate Things Unchangeable.
Duke of Ghor now has a … icon when you speak with him between the first, third, and fifth base battles.
The component requirements in The Assistant have lowered.
The DLC content is now unlocked differently; the majority of the extra content now requires the completion of certain guild tasks.
The Leader Extraordinaire guild tasks which required three units of a single class now only require one.
The Monsterslayer guild tasks require different enemies to be defeated.
New Game Plus and Hard Mode: After the epilogue and credits, you can now save your game. When you're taken back to the main menu, you can load this save to begin a new playthrough that carries over certain elements from your previous playthrough. You will also be given the option to start the new game in Hard Mode. Miscellaneous:
The PC version will warn you if you cannot leave an area without a fight.
Auto Save is now available, which automatically saves after having changed zones or having won a battle.
Battle Rank is now viewable outside of combat, in the party menu.
Battle Rank progression has been slowed considerably; it takes more encounters/enemy unions terminated to increase in rank.
Characters with … icons are now identified with markers on the map.
Enemies can no longer be respawned by saving and reloading an adjacent area.
New saving opportunities are now available, such as before the base's boss.
A warning message is now displayed if you attempt to save your game in an area which you cannot leave until you defeat a boss.
Mr Diggs's digging animations are now much quicker.
The loading screens that explained some of the game's mechanics have been disabled.
Many areas of the game have had their spawn tables altered or repopulated.
Starting battle music now coincides with starting morale in most battles.
"Turn the Tide" and "Beat the Odds" now play during the second half instead of after entering Elysion.
Union highlighting during the selection phase has been toned down (ie: ally unions don't look quite as blue).
Leaders in reserve no longer gain skills via the Rush only skill grind trick.
Soldiers now slowly improve their stats in reserves.
Camera in battle doesn't swing around as wildly anymore.
Mitra soldiers' idle stances now come in 2 varieties: the one shared by both male and female units and the one exclusive to larger male units, rather than just the "large male mitra" stance.
The Last Remnant Remastered PS4 & Switch:
Based on the PC version, also added:
Graphics now are in Unreal Engine 4
A new function to run faster on the overworld.
Extra save slots.
Yes I am salty about this if you can't tell, since they removed the PC version from steam.
The frame rate was lowered from 60 frames per second to 30 frames per second.
The "Synopsis" option in the menu displays newer entries at the top
The Casino in the game is now actually fully playable with it's own mini-games, and chips to collecet and exchange for items.
The skits are graphically more dynamic. Portraits get larger or smaller quickly, swing from side to side, shake, and so on.
More post-battle animations.
Niflheim dungeon extended and 6 new boss characters, fought in 2 new boss battles.
New events to help raise affection.
Includes new side quests, new camera angles on some cutscenes, new animated cutscenes not featured in the GameCube version
Tales of Symphonia PS3/PC:
Improved character textures and improved some environments.
Dual-audio support: Japanese and English voiceovers, which neither the PS2 or GameCube versions had
Cutscenes support voice acting in both languages, but skits only have voice acting in Japanese. If you select English, you will just see the subtitles during skits. This is not a porting issue, as this is just how the GameCube version was.
While the original GameCube version ran at 60fps, the Japanese PS2 port which the PS3 Chronicles HD version is based off of ran at 30fps. The Steam version can run at 40FPS.
Random encounters occur less frequently and load considerably faster than the Dreamcast version, and EXP offered per battle is adjusted to compensate.
Graphically, the game sports mild improvements to character models, most noticeably adding individual fingers to the designs. The modifier volume shadows and (weirdly enough) point-mipmapping from the original release are still present.
One of the new sidequests available is Bounty Hunting. Sailor's Guilds offer information about each person on the bounty list as they are unlocked through story progression. After reading about them, they can be found in a constant location.
There are a number of new discoveries to be found.
A whole additional epilogue has been added, The Answer. This chapter is only available in one difficulty setting, which is supposed to be on par with Persona 3's Hard mode.
New Personas have been added
Secret videos of the protagonist's dorm mates have been added to flesh them out.
Koromaru can now be taken on walks.
Several of the Social Links have been modified slightly, such as Tanaka being available at a different time
Several new Quests have been added.
New costumes can be worn in battle.
A new event involving Chidori Yoshino was added.
Naganaki Shrine was completely overhauled.
A hard mode was added.
Save data from Persona 3 can be transferred into the game,
The Answer is not included in this verion.
Added a Female Main Character, so now you can choose between the Male and Female MCs.
The game lacks 3D environments and character models (outside of Tartarus), all anime cutscenes are gone, the graphics and audio quality were compressed,
The storyline of the female protagonist features many differences from that of the male protagonist, such as new social interactions as well as Social Links.
New voiced dialogue.
Players have the choice of selecting Elizabeth or a male-equivalent named Theodore to be Igor's assistant in the Velvet Room.
The ability to pick who the protagonist spends the last moments of the game with. This feature is only accessible on a New Cycle
The Desert of Doors from the Abyss of Time seen in The Answer will still appear, however, in an extra feature known as the Vision Quest. In this mode, the party can fight stronger incarnations of the Full Moon shadow bosses — save for Arcana Magician — and partake in special battles that test the party's abilities. When all of the battles have been successfully met, a second optional boss can be fought: Margaret, Igor's assistant in Persona 4 and guardian of the Desert of Doors in P3P.
There are now two overworld save points; Aside from the log book in the Iwatodai Dormitory, there is also one on the main character's desk at school.
In Paulownia Mall, the police station is now the only place where the protagonist can buy equipment and sell items. Aohige Pharmacy is now a buy-only store, and Be Blue V is just a part-time work site and hangout to improve the main character's condition
From previous versions, two difficulty modes have been added: Beginner and Maniac alongside Easy and Normal in Persona 3 and Hard in Persona 3 FES:
A new tactic, "Direct," has been added to the game, allowing control of the party members, unlike Persona 3 and Persona 3 FES.
The "Wait" command is replaced with the "Defense" command, and will decrease the damage and any knockdown effects of the next attack the user suffers.
The game grants "1 More" to a combatant who attacks multiple enemies not knocking all of them down; the original Persona 3 required all hit enemies to be knocked down for a 1 more.
Party members who have been knocked down no longer spend the turn by getting up and can act as soon as they stand.
Upon landing a critical hit or striking an enemy's weakness, party members can follow up with a co-op attack.
Fusion Spells from the original Persona 3 are now activated from items instead of equipping a persona and selecting it like other spells.
Allies can now take a fatal blow to the protagonist for them if they are able.
"Dizzy" has been added as a status effect.
Returning to the main lobby in Tartarus no longer automatically restores the party, and must now be done for a fee via the save point (this cost varies based on the date in-game and status effects currently inflicted on the party)
Floors can be directly returned to from the entrance of Tartarus instead of being restricted to the restore point like previous versions.
"Tired" status no longer is inflicted during Tartarus exploration, and is inflicted to all used party members after leaving (this will only drop to "Good" if the character used was at "Great" during exploration).
Unlike previous versions, money found by party members when split up will now be given to the protagonist.
Party members' equipment and status can now be accessed at any time from the pause menu, unlike in previous versions, which required the protagonist to speak to them while exploring Tartarus in order to change their equipment or view their status.
You can now control Party members directly.
The protagonists only have access to one weapon type (instead of having access to all weapon types like in P3 and FES); the male protagonist wields one-handed swords, and the female protagonist wields naginatas. As a result, the Skills "Fist Master," "Bow Master," "1hdSwdMaster" and similar skills have all been combined into a single skill called "Weapons Master." Its skill card is called "Phys Boost," and all Personas which had learned a "master" ability (like Cybele with Bow Master) now learn "Weapons Master."
Personas now have the ability to produce a Skill Card when raised to a specific level. Each card can be used on any Persona to teach them a skill.
The Inari Sushi in Naganaki Shrine no longer grants random bonuses for item gaining and Tartarus explorations. Instead, it offers to duplicate Skill Cards, which will take 5 days to complete
New Difficulty levels have been added: Safety/Easy/Normal/Hard/Risky.
Several new music tracks.
Additional voice-over dialogue.
Chie and Teddie have new voice actors in the English version.
New animated cutscenes.
More Personas, including new Ultimate Personas for the Investigation Team.
New areas can be visited.
The protagonist can now explore Inaba in the evening when Dojima is not home.
The protagonist and his friends now have motorized scooters to explore various areas.
Costumes are now available to buy at Croco Fur, in Okina City.
New Garden and Bug Catching features.
The ability to choose which skills can be inherited by the Persona the protagonist is fusing.
New scene skipping function
If the necessary criteria for at least the good ending are fulfilled, daily activities are expanded to February 14, 2012, giving more time for events and social links.
New epilogue has been added for the True Ending.
The list of Requests and the Fox' emas have been modified.
Rise can now assist the Investigation Team in All-Out-Attacks.
Added Tag Team attacks: two members can team up to perform a united attack.
Added Cavalry Attacks: Attacks from members of the Investigation Team that are not currently in the party.
Spell buffs and debuffs can now be used on the same character to prolong the effect
A new gallery menu has been added: "TV Listings." It displays bonus content unlocked through the main game at any time.
Floors and chests in dungeons can now reset by changing floors instead of leaving the dungeon and TV world, or visiting another dungeon.
Persona 4 Golden PC:
The game will run at up to 4K resolution with 60FPS+ as opposed to the Vita's 476p resolution and 30FPS target
Includes dual audio language and multiple text language. The anime cutscenes now also include subtitles
In the Steam version, the player may customize their difficulty setting at any time, in contrast to the Vita version only letting you do so on New Game Plus.The player may select a preset difficulty setting, or individually alter the following parameters
The player may select a preset difficulty setting, or individually alter the following parameters.
A brand new episode titled Vol.4//Reconnection, which takes place a year and three months after the events of Redemption
HD graphical update for the whole game.
Ability to restart the battle from the beginning if Haseo dies.
Movement speed on foot has somewhat increased.
The item stack size has increased from 50 to 99. The maximum number of item stacks in the inventory has increased from 30 to 90
Item menu shortcuts and sort features
When using an item in the field, pressing the X button repeatedly will cause the item to be used again without navigating the menu a second time.
The maximum number of Chim Spheres and Virus Cores the player can possess has increased from 99 to 999
Platforms now include the Platform Recovery feature, recovering a large portion of the party's HP and SP. It can only be used once per visit to a field.
Saku and Bo no longer switch the active player based on their level being even or odd. They can instead be selected as separate options in the Party screen.
Decreased the probability of allies selling the items the player give them.
Voice clips for returning characters and NPCs between games have been updated to use the Volume 3 clips from the beginning, except where said clips are unavailable.
Attack power has been increased and hit stops during attacks have been reduced to speed up the battle tempo.
Learning weapons proficiency increased and acquired experience points increased.
Awakening scenes can be skipped using the Option/Start button.
Some of the really tough enemies have been made a bit easier
Skeith’s general shot bullet speed has increased during Avatar Battles.
Enhanced battle balance and game pacing to provide an optimal experience.
Avatar battles now show a stun gauge over the enemy's head. Red diamonds have been added around attacks meant to be deflected using scythe slashes that are in range.
Added suspend feature during Avatar battle gameplay.
In Volume 3, the player is given 22 "Promise" greeting cards, meaning it is possible to do the "Forever in Love" / "Best Wishes" events with all party members in a single playthrough.
A new Cheat Mode allowing players who want to just enjoy the story to start the game with a large amount of items, best equipment, maximum money and chim spheres, and maximum level and affection for the respective volume.
Save files from Cheat Mode plays can be converted to the next volumes.
The videos from “The End of the World” Terminal Disc included with the limited edition PS2 release of Volume 1 are included in the collection
Final Fantasy 12: International Zodiac Job System PS2 (JP.ver only):
Addition of a "Zodiac Job System" featuring twelve jobs with individual License Boards corresponding to twelve zodiac signs
Addition of a 16:9 widescreen mode with menus and HUD at 4:3.
Addition of three new game modes: Trial Mode/New Game+ Strong Mode/New Game+ Weak Mode.
Pressing L1 will speed up gameplay. Conversations and events continue to play at normal speed.
Quickening doesn't consume MP. Now they use their own Mist gauge similarly to Limit Breaks from previous Final Fantasy titles.
Playable characters' starting LP, consumables, gil, gambits, equipment, licenses, and base stats have been modified.
You have more control over Guests now, they also gain EXP/Item/Gold.
Many magick spells and technicks have been tweaked, renamed and recategorized.
Obtaining Quickenings no longer affects max MP and Mist charges do not diminish when MP is consumed (unless the player is affected by a reversed Elixir or Megalixir). The player's MP is also unaffected by the depletion of Mist charges. However, effects that recover the player's MP will also restore Mist charges. One Mist charge is granted each time the amount recovered totals the player's maximum MP. Effects that fully restore a player's MP recover all Mist charges.
You can now fully control Espers, they also require MP to cast magicks
Almost all attacks now break the 9999 damage limit from the original by default.
New items have been added, such as Cura Mote, Bubble Mote, Domaine Calvados, Baltoro Seed, Dark Energy and various Meteorites.
Bacchus's Wine now has 100% chance of inflicting Berserk (previously it was 50%).
Several equipment pieces were added, while some available in the original release were removed or tweaked.
New Weapons added.
Most shops had their assortments changed. Many weapons are now available from shops earlier because of the job system, and were thus made weaker.
Treasures respawn by moving just one area away as opposed to two. Treasures were moved around, changed the items they can give, or were removed altogether. The "forbidden chest" concept was removed, that in the original prevented the player from obtaining the Zodiac Spear in Necrohol of Nabudis if they opened a wrong treasure.
Dark Matter can no longer be acquired from the bazaar, and selling the ingredients needed to make it in the original will result in making the Dark Energy instead. The Dark Energy is an item that does not charge up with Knot of Rust or Devour Soul and always deals 50,000 damage to each enemy in range.
Treasure chests are now in different locations and contain different items.
There are more traps throughout the map.
Final Fantasy 12: Zodiac Age PS4/PC/Switch/Xbox One:
Remastered HD graphical upgrade.
English and Japanese voices (switch between them in the game configuration).
Original and newly re-recorded background music (switch between them in the game configuration).
Auto-save functionality added (game saves automatically when moving to each new screen, excepting boss arenas)
Improved high-speed mode and improved play time operability during high-speed mode
Ability to invert both the X and Y camera axes
The game balance has been overhauled to make it easier.
Each playable character can have two jobs at once.
Job Reset function added; talk to Montblanc in the Clan Hall to use.
The Effect Capacity system that limited spell-casting in the PlayStation 2 versions has been removed.
Fire, Thunder, Blizzard, and Cure only affect a single target again.
Espers' HP values have been doubled, but other stats kept the same as in Zodiac Job System.
The animation for summoning Espers is removed.
A glitch concerning Dyce's character model has been fixed.
New Game Plus and New Game Minus are now accessible from the beginning of the game.
Retail stores use casino tricks to keep you inside longer!
[PSYCH BUT FASHION] Hi everyone, I'm back with some more shopping research:) In this post, I draw parallels between casinos and retail stores - they both use similar tricks to keep you inside for as long as possible. Enjoy the read! 1. THE GRAND PRINCIPLE OF 'PLAYGROUND' CASINOS Have you ever wondered why casinos are so spacious and grand? New ones built in the early 2000s are constructed according to the 'playground' (luxurious resort-like) principle. It aims to create a festive holiday feeling with entertainment, installations, art, high ceilings etc. This makes you enjoy the experience even beyond playing games so you don't want to leave - it increases the chance that you will eventually place a bet somewhere (Finlay, Marmurek, Kanetkar & Londerville, 2010). Modern shopping malls use a similar idea to keep you inside - think Harrods, Dubai Mall, Mall of Emirates. Airy, spacious, full of art, installations, and entertainment. It makes you reluctant to leave. More time spent inside = more chance of buying. 2. LAYOUT You will notice that in casinos, roulette tables and slot machines take up the prime space in the building - they're always the most visible because those are the most profitable games for the casino. You will find poker rooms hidden in the farthest corner of the building because poker is played against other players and not against the house. Apart from small fees, casinos do not make much money out of it because the money is circulating among the players. In the retail world, poker rooms are sales sections. They will make you go through multiple new collections in order to reach sale - just in case a more expensive item catches your eye and you decide to buy it. 3. LACK OF TIME CUES Casinos do everything so you lose the track of time, keep having fun and gambling. There are no clocks or windows, the doors are tinted, and the atmosphere is exactly the same regardless of what time of the day it is (Sykes, Gaffney, Sykes & Posner, 2012). There's also quiet and ambient music - it gets overwhelmed by slot machine sounds and chips clinking together. The music is kept quiet and transitions seamlessly - the reason being that separate songs can provide time cues, which might make you realise how long you've spent inside. Casinos keep the music for atmospheric purposes but make sure you don't focus on it (Noseworthy & Finlay, 2009). Windows are common in malls to add to the 'grand' feeling; moreover, malls are usually open during the day only anyway so they have less incentive to keep the light out. You will rarely see a clock in a mall though, and separate stores are often windowless to eliminate time cues. Stores also use quiet, ambient, seamlessly transitioning music. Research shows that loud music drives people out of the store so they spend less time inside and buy less often (fun fact: small stores play loud music inside to avoid overcrowding) (Michel, Baumann & Gayer, 2017). 4. SCENT Casinos often have a signature scent. Fresh, pleasant smell adds to the atmosphere and leaves you wanting to spend more time inside. A study showed that people gambled on slots significantly more when the area was scented compared to when it was unscented (Hirsch, 1992). Stores use it too - research says that ambient smell increases customer satisfaction, buying, and willingness to return (Gulas & Bloch, 1995). 5. ALCOHOL Casinos often offer free alcohol. It adds to the feeling of hospitality but the main reason is that alcohol reduces inhibition which leads to riskier gambling (Baron & Dickerson, 1999). [personal interpretation alert] Luxury boutiques often offer you free champagne; however, it is less common in the retail industry. It also feels more oriented towards hospitality and luxurious experience rather than control inhibition because the context of a retail store is not particularly congruent with alcohol consumption. Regardless, even small amounts of alcohol can reduce inhibition which potentially increases how much we buy so a glass of champagne could well be a strategic trick. What do you think? *** I hope you enjoyed the read! I regularly create content around fashion psychology (Psych But Fashion) - if you're interested to learn more, visit my profile where I have links to my social media accounts. Thank you for reading, BEA REFERENCE LIST Baron, E., & Dickerson, M. (1999). Alcohol consumption and self-control of gambling behaviour. Journal of Gambling Studies, 15(1), 3-15. Finlay, K., Marmurek, H. H., Kanetkar, V., & Londerville, J. (2010). Casino décor effects on gambling emotions and intentions. Environment and Behavior, 42(4), 524-545. Gulas, C. S., & Bloch, P. H. (1995). Right under our noses: Ambient scent and consumer responses. Journal of Business and Psychology, 10(1), 87-98. Hirsch, A. R. (1992). Effect of an ambient odor on slot.machine usage in a Las Vegas casino. Unpublished report: Smell & Taste Treatment and Research Foundation, Ltd. Michel, A., Baumann, C., & Gayer, L. (2017). Thank you for the music–or not? The effects of in-store music in service settings. Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, 36, 21-32. Noseworthy, T. J., & Finlay, K. (2009). A comparison of ambient casino sound and music: Effects on dissociation and on perceptions of elapsed time while playing slot machines. Journal of Gambling Studies, 25(3), 331-342. Sykes, K., Gaffney, C., Sykes, T., & Posner, I. (2012). Sustainability in casino design and operation:“Green” is good for the bottom line. World Journal of Science, Technology and Sustainable Development.
When my sister Mary moved back into the house, it didn't sit well with my parents. She had moved out on her own for a year, and in that time had managed to blow every single penny at a casino. She claimed she would move out again, "Once she was back on her feet," but after eight months of her living with us, there seemed to be little hope of her leaving any time soon. My mom and dad were desperate. They set up interviews, they forced her to job shadow, anything to get her a job. She was twenty-seven years old, and my parents were too old to be looking after her all the time. At my young age of thirteen, I wasn't able to move out, but I avoided being a nuisance. Every day Mary would leave the house, normally very early in the morning. She would be gone all day. The only time I'd see my sister were at dinnertime, and that was it. After that, she would disappear into her room until she left again the next morning. Mary claimed to be spending all this time, "Networking," and "Searching for openings," but we all knew the truth; she was going to her boyfriend, Jeremy's place. None of us had seen Jeremy for a long time, as they never came over, but she would post pictures of them to her social media almost every day. They would be sitting on a bench at the park, or on a chair at the pool, or standing on the beach. In the standing pictures, Mary was always supporting Jeremy. He was leaning on her, arms around her shoulders. I learned to disregard her posts, as most of them were the same. However, I did notice that she had astonishing amounts of likes on her pictures. For some reason, I never seemed to picture my sister as, "popular," but it was a little strange seeing the hundreds of thousands of likes and followers she had. A few times, I attempted to listen in on what Mary was doing in her room. I never heard anything interesting, just the sounds of her breathing and the trackpad on her laptop being clicked. During the day when she wasn't there, I didn't go into her room, as it was on the opposite side of our house from mine. On the rare occasion that I did happen to glance into her room, I didn't notice anything of interest, just some empty chip wrappers on the floor and several pictures of her and her boyfriend framed on her desk and nightstand. I suppose I should tell you why I'm I'm explaining this to you. Well, I never thought much of any of her behavior until four o'clock one morning when I was aroused by the sound of the door slamming. It was unusual for me to be awoken by this. For one, I'm a deep sleeper, and on top of that, the door is on the complete opposite side of my house from where I sleep. I slowly sat up, rubbing the sleep from my eyes. I checked the clock. 4 AM. I groaned. Thinking I could catch a glimpse of my sister, I climbed out of bed and walked down the hallway that snakes through our house. As I neared the front door, I noticed a soft glow emitting from Mary's room. I glanced over at the window next to our door. No sign of Mary. I didn't intend to snoop. I was just planning on turning off her laptop for her. But as I walked up to her bed, I realized that she had left open her Photoshop Project Page. I thought about her social media pictures, and it made sense that she would touch up her photos before posting them online. The thought came to me that this was what she spent all her time doing, during the day holding a photoshoot with her boyfriend, and editing the pictures at night. Curiosity overcame me, and I was suddenly tempted to look at some of her files. What harm could it do? They were just a few pictures she had taken of her and Jeremy, and all she was doing were little basic things, like color correcting and touching up little blemishes. Having recently become somewhat interested in photography myself, I figured looking through some of her Photoshop files would be a learning experience for me. So, I sat down on her bed and placed her computer in my lap. I clicked on the first one, the most recently updated project, titled, "Park 3." As I waited for the file to load, I took a look around her room. Most of it lay shrouded in darkness. I could see a posters on the wall parallel to myself, and on the floor a pile of trash. On the bed next to me lay a dirty, stained duffel back. It was closed up, but the smell coming from it told me I shouldn't open it. The whole room emitted a foul stench, a combination of rotted food and mildew on the walls. I didn't plan on spending a whole lot of time in her room, just a minute or so, allowing me to take a peek at the image. Eventually, the file loaded fully. I looked at the picture. It was a shot of Mary and Jeremy in some park, Jeremy's arms wrapped around her as if she were supporting him. At a glance, the picture was rather normal. There didn't appear to be anyone in the background, just a dirt path that trailed into a patch of woods behind them. They both had almost unnaturally wide smiles plastered on to their faces. It seemed like a normal picture. That was before I started to analyze Jeremy. Actually, half of him looked completely normal. From the waist down, no blemishes could be seen, just a pair of ripped up jeans and a generic pair of tennis shoes. The colors looked good and there didn't look to be any issues. I guessed that Mary was working on editing Jeremy before she was forced to leave, as he was half done. The disturbing part was his upper half. If I zoomed in very much at all, I began to see it. An unmistakeable blemish. An enormous bloodstain. It soaked his shirt almost entirely. From a distance, you might think it was just the color of his shirt. But once you looked at it, you knew exactly what it was. I didn't know where so much blood could have come from. Was he wounded? Did he hurt someone or something? Was it just my imagination playing tricks on me? After all, it was quite early, and I had just woken up. Perhaps my eyes were messing with me, making me imagine something in the picture that wasn't really there. That was what I thought, at least, until I examined his face. It too, was splattered in blood. Not as much of it, but still very noticeable. It was also caked in what looked like mud or dirt. His cheeks were sunken in and his hair, which from other pictures seemed to be flowing, full, and blonde was now stringy and tangled, more like the color of soiled milk than anything else. But none of that was as disturbing as the eyes. They were cold, lifeless, as if he were staring off into space. From Mary's finished pictures, Jeremy appeared to have bright blue eyes, cheery and full of life. But here, they were less saturated, more dead than alive. They were a milky white color, glazed over in a way that made him look like a zombie. Mary herself seemed to be fine. She wasn't perfect in the picture, the colors weren't as good as they normally were and there were a few scuff marks on her jeans. I was certain that she hadn't done any editing to herself yet. I wanted to believe that this was all fake, just a creepy makeup job. But it wasn't anywhere near Halloween, and it all seemed too strange, too unfinished. She was clearly trying to hide Jeremy's issues with Photoshop. I only had a few memories of my sister's boyfriend, and most of them were fuzzy at best. It had been years since he'd come to our house. The clearest memory I had of Jeremy was of him showing me a camera drone that he had just bought. I remembered feeling somewhat envious, as I didn't have anything like that. I remember begging him to let me fly it, and I accidentally steered it into a tree. It got a little dent, and Jeremy was furious. After that, I could recall anything else, but I could sill remember his appearance. He truly did have luscious blonde hair. His cheeks were full and rosy, not sunken and decaying. His eyes were crystal blue and not a milky white. I exited out of Park 3 and opened up one called Beach 5. Again, only partly finished. The bloodstain was less pronounced, but still obvious. His face was cold and lifeless. Then, another memory came to me, one that I had completely forgotten. I remembered the morning paper. I was reading through the obituaries, wondering if anyone I knew had died. I came across one. At the time, I refused to believe it was true. But now, I know it was. Jeremy West, age 30. Murdered mysteriously. They had found his body in a dumpster somewhere in town and had buried him in the local cemetery after a fairly informal funeral. The police claimed that he had been beaten to death, but they weren't sure what with. There was also no evidence as to the killer themselves. It was all a mystery. Now, looking around the room, things seemed more menacing. Suddenly, the room smelled like decaying bodies. I could even see small bloodstains on the sheets that could easily be mistaken for ketchup stains. I slammed the laptop closed and took a few deep breaths. There had to be a rational explanation for all of this. Maybe it was a different Jeremy that I'd seen in the obituaries. Maybe it was my overactive imagination that caused me to see those things. Every possible situation flew through my head at the speed of light, but none of them were right. I knew it. I don't know how I knew, but my mind wasn't playing tricks on me, and that was definitely the same exact Jeremy that was in the obituaries. That was my sister's boyfriend, dead. It made so much sense now; her strange behavior, the way she seemed to be supporting him in all the pictures....he was dead. But that arose a more nightmarish question. Who had killed him? Had my sister dug him up out of his grave, or did she kill him so that she could keep doing those photoshoots? Then, the silence that penetrated the room was shattered. I heard the sound of the door slowly swinging open, creaking on its hinges. A few soft footsteps followed, along with the sounds of my sister saying, "I can't believe I forgot the laptop!" In a moment of sheer panic, I dove under the bed. I hoped that Mary would just grab her laptop and leave. Then maybe I could run for help and tell someone about this. As I scooted further under the bed, my leg with something. A shovel. Covered in dirt and blood. I shivered. My sister padded quietly into the room. The only thing I could see of her were her feet. They walked slowly and deliberately to the bed, where she grabbed her laptop. Then, she opened it. Mary typed on a few keys, inputting her password. Then, I watched as she stomped on the ground in a fury. "I know I didn't open that. Who on earth has been tampering with my files?" her voice was enraged, full of absolute hate. She stomped off out the room, but I wasn't sure exactly which direction she went. After a few moments, I prepared my escape plan. I would crawl out the room, into the laundry room, and out through the laundry room window. After that I could hide out until daybreak, when I could tell mom and dad. As I readied myself to make my exit, I took another look around the room. Now that I knew about my sister, the whole room seemed more menacing. Then, I heard them. Footsteps coming back up the hall. I froze. Now what? What if she found me? I stayed where I was, listening to her rapid advance. As she entered the room, I stopped breathing. from the position i was in, I could see that she was holding something. A garbage bag. I watched in complete terror as she bent down, slowly. Her face soon became parallel with mine as she stared straight in her face. Mary's expression was a look of complete insanity. A mix of joy and anger. My sister was truly mad. I couldn't move. I couldn't breathe. I couldn't scream. But then, something strange happened. Something I can only describe as a miracle. Mary's eyes swiveled around slowly, examining the area under her bed. I buried my face in the shag rug, wondering if she had actually seen me. She reached out. I squeezed my eyes shut. There was no possible way that she hadn't seen me. Her hand continued to extend, past me, and toward the shovel. She grabbed it and pulled it out from under the bed. It brushed against the back of my shirt as it was pulled out. I carefully turned my head to see my sister stroking the shovel, and saying,"It's time to see Jeremy again!" With that, she turned and exited the room.
...“You know what I'm here for!” Effie’s words rang out as Ernie watched on at the unexpected turn of events. “The funny thing is I really don’t know.” Ernie stood there and took in the scene. Was this the first time he had seen this type of outburst in the District? Ernie tried to recall, but now wasn’t really the time to reminisce on bad memories. Something was afoot. Something about Ugo threatening them that was for sure. But if Ugo wanted somebody to fight him this would never be his plan of attack. “Would you care to enlighten me then, I wouldn’t mind this either way!” Ernie shouted back, his tone was neutral, the tension of the situation only increased, but he didn’t see a need to fight back even now. “They sent us here, because they wanted us to steal your notebook!” Ernie heard the voice of Jenny behind a tree. Things started to make sense to Ernie, the hiding, why it wasn’t Odin’s people doing this, and that outburst. “And what do you two intend to do?” Ernie moved his backpack from his back to carrying it on one arm. “Well if you help us, you could send them a fake notebook! It’s not like we like those fuckers anyways!” Jenny replied beyond the trees. Well that wasn’t so difficult was it, it only took one or maybe both of their ire to get to this arrangement. Ernie weighed this against the prospect that they were lying to him, but if it came down to it it would just be either a fight now or a fight later. “Alright I’ll help you! I’ll be in my cabin manuscripting! You two wait outside, this will take less than an hour!” Ernie shouted back over as he started to walk back to his cabin. “Your funeral..wait what?!” Effie flipped as Jenny clapped an arm on her, “We did it, we can get out of this shitty situation.” Effie looked around, The Murder receded back into herself. “Did that really just happen?” She held out the hope that it really would be that easy, she wanted to believe it but she felt a slight pang of confusion, guilt maybe? Jenny continued on, “We just have to make sure that he does his end of the deal and we’ll be out of here in no time.” Jenny looked at Effie’s face as she noticed the change in expression, “You okay there? You let out a bunch just now and if you wanted to talk about it.” “No I’m ok, come on we have to still keep an eye on him.” Effie brushed Jenny’s arm off and made her way closer into the clearing with Jenny following. Well, that was somewhat anticlimactic. If you were hoping for a match with some more carnage in it, how about checking out a race out of a monster-filled urn and voting on it? Scenario: Sound’s Garden Eastern Strip - Heartache Casino VIP Room “So kind of you all to come again,” a man dressed garishly in gold spoke to a roomful of wealthy highrollers, a lounge area with a wall taken up by a screen large enough to make the place double as something of a particularly cozy home theater, a setup which had typically been reserved for two things: watching games organized by Heartache Casino’s owner on the closed-circuits of buildings he owned, and being rented out for private parties and banquets. “This is pretty unconventional,” a dark-haired sniper remarked between drinks, staring at the screen as it showed, largely, several shots of a building in Downtown Los Fortuna, which seemed to have rapidly grown occupied by a small group of Stand Users, some of whom familiar to the district’s regulars after some close shaves in the subways both occupied, “but it’s brilliant… Just needed to get your tech guy to get cameras in there, now you have a huge show for free.” “Should you be drinking, Seido?” The gold-clad owner asked, raising an eyebrow, “I mean, if something comes up…” “If something comes up, I’m off-duty, I’m just a guest right now, and I can shoot well enough sloshed to get myself out of a bind. If you wanted me as security, you should’ve hired me for that… Though really, I’d have rather been down there raising some hell if I was gonna shoot things.” Tigran sighed, finding that fair enough, he supposed… He wasn’t going to hire this man when he was buzzed, and he wouldn’t do guard detail for free either. Apparently, the man literally came to the city walking out of a bar into the flag unveiling, so he shouldn’t have been surprised. Still, though, even with moods high here, nobody seeming to mind the way anonymous characters like Oh No and Conqueror Worm mingled among them. Sure, they were kind of a low-priority target right now, with protests in the Business district, the hell-on-earth about to be unleashed Downtown keeping their worst nightmares busy, and the usual BS in places like the Waterfront and Industrial, but the man once noted for his supremely smarmy overconfidence had been feeling more anxious lately, probably because the Entertainment District’s criminal underground had taken some losses recently. Things were riding high with several successful games, and the arrival of Conqueror Worm, revitalizing everything that they had thought they’d known and opening up whole new possibilities of what games might be possible to organize from a place of safety, all while not asking for a penny of payment. He was a weird guy, but a valuable asset, and all that was understood to be asked in return was that they pretend not to know exactly who it was underneath that big fleshy suit. And then, the next time they had an in-person event, a bunch of them died in a fire, and on the way to… Well, who knew why he was there, but something happened that got a formerly active manager and ‘game’ organizer murdered blocks away from the site of the flames. Was it a sign, then, that the old ways really were dying, that they needed to change with the times or lose this subculture of theirs entirely? Maybe, and maybe some would leave it like that, but Tigran “Golden” Sins knew another source of common ground with every one of their games to go wrong, to go awry, to risk the future and safety of all that they were, all that they had. Everything (besides that time he got punched in the face) that had gone wrong, from Thutmose leaving them, to events that were supposed to be disastrous bloodbaths going well for the ‘players’ and ruining bets, could trace back somewhere. And she was sitting there looking very disinterested, nursing a sparkling juice in a very expensive evening dress and earrings, recently bought by the only man in the world he believed to be above himself. “Having a good time, Metra?” Fox asked the star known to much of the city as TD/MD, smiling smoothly and paying her more attention than the event itself, where he was significantly more public than before. He’d spent how many thousands on her in a few days? “Sure, yeah,” she answered, with a clear disinterest and foul mood. “I understand if you’re not… we’re all sorry to have lost Thutmose. Most likely by where he was, whoever killed him would have done the same to us had he not interfered. So he would want you to have a good time, right?” “Alright, everyone, last calls!” Conqueror Worm called out, many eyes looking all over. After getting back from camera work, he’d volunteered to handle bets, on account of his utter disinterest in profiting from his work there. Damn shame, honestly; Tigran loved that weird golden Stand-hurting sword he’d always been swinging around, and something belonging to a regional founder would be a hell of a get to wear around. “We know all the key players in that little downtown scuffle, so let’s hear it! Who’s biting it? Who’s comin’ out? Who’s gonna have the highest bodycount? Is anyone even gonna get IN?” That Oh No guy, from the Institute, spoke up through that voice changer he almost always had on in his coverings. “I think that… Three people will manage to find their way inside. Nobody on this betting board.” “Ooh, bold words from our boldest regular!” Worm leaned in close, asking, “how much’re you puttin’ on that?” “Nothing,” No responded, “I just want to see what comes of it… I’m almost disappointed you needed to ask.” Peas in a pod, those two. Tigran sighed, figuring he might need to drink through these proceedings, only to glance at Metra, suddenly, seeming to smirk, ears twitching as if that special pitch of hers had picked something up. “What? What’s so fun now, that-” The heavily reinforced, hidden doorway to the VIP room burst open, bisecting the hollow yet burly door guard as sand and rocks spilled out of its hollow crevasse, the only herald within seconds of a quintet of Stand Users barreling in, led by a trio on two motorbikes as two others, curious but energetic, followed. “All that you’ve done ends here, Fox!” Around the same time, Heartache Casino Public Floors “Uh… Glitch? I think… it might be good if we… go?” William Eyelash was not liking it here very much. His hyperactive coworker and teammate had practically dragged him here after what was otherwise a simple delivery performed in place of Zebra, who had been busy enough delivering food to the other side of the city. William was the one supposed to carry it out, but Glitch had practically jumped at the opportunity to do so. Glitch herself, meanwhile, seemed to be very content eating some fries which she (very regrettably) had to actually buy instead of simply snatching it away from a poor, unaware bystander, and had already ordered another plate because they were just that good. Security was too tight, somewhat on edge - the moment she got close to someone or something, they immediately turned their attention to her. Still, she didn’t want to deprive herself of one of the many pleasures of life like that, so she didn’t mind paying too much. “Mmrgh..? Why sho?” “W- well… you know… uh...” William wasn’t sure how to say it - he was scared enough of Glitch’s erratic mannerisms most days, and that was while he tried to steer clear of her. Were he to directly oppose her, he’d have no way of knowing what she’d do! On top of that, he couldn’t help but notice that she seemed slightly… on edge. She was usually hyperactive, but she seemed to be even more eager to jump from one thing to another recently, and to ignore anything that even slightly stressed her out. Considering everything that happened to the staff at the Elephant Bones recently, it made sense for her to be stressed, even if she didn’t really show it usually. “... um, you know the rumors about this place… right? ” Glitch turned to look at William, tilting her head “Hm? What rumors?”. “Uh... well… about the ED… and the fighting rings… I saw an article about it on the Hermod, and… i- it could be dangerous to be here for too long...” hearing William say that, Glitch seemed to recede for a bit, thinking to herself. “Mmm... well, it hasn’t been a problem yet! Right? Besides, the other chips haven’t arrived yet!” Glitch didn’t want to think much about it - so long as these fighting rings were away from her, she could just ignore them and go on with her life, but if it really was here, then maybe it would be good to avoid this place… but the fries were so good... Glitch took another look at the table she was sitting at and at the plate of fries she’d ordered. She grabbed a handful and ate them. “Mmm… after the second order of chips comes! Then we leave! But only after then!” “Alright...” William didn’t like this very much, and he couldn’t help but shoot nervous glances around as Glitch finished up. Just about every staff member here was on edge and uncomfortable - he knew how to notice these things, and it would make sense if this place really was connected to the underground. Ugh… Why did he come along with Glitch? He’d just have to hope that the second order would come soon, and then they’d be able leave just as quickly as they came in. Naturally, as if fate itself had conspired to screw him over, he couldn’t help but pick up on ‘something’. Guards around the floor peered nervously into their phones, and most of them began rushing towards the stairwell. Glitch had noticed as well, her ears picking up on the nervous murmurings of the guards and their hasty footsteps. “Uhh… G- Glitch, something’s happening, we should-” “Pleh! Can’t you wait just a second! The chips aren’t here yet! This isn’t-” Before Glitch could finish her sentence, something flew into the room - the body of a security officer, clearly tossed away by some stand, flew from the entrance to the second floor, and landed right in the middle of a group of more security officers. “Oh god oh god it’s happening oh no oh no oh no oh-” William was, as expected, positively freaking out by now. Meanwhile, Glitch was keeping her ears peeled out, having picked up on something… interesting. The voice of two people she vaguely recognized from “Taste of Fortuna” a month or so back. “Hey! That’s Agnes! And that other chef whose food is good! Even better than the chips!! What are they doing here, fighting?!” Soon enough, Agnes and Arpeggi really did pop into the room, their stands summoned as they staved off some guards with them. Much to William’s chagrin, Glitch grabbed onto his hand and summoned [Vida Loca], before hopping onto it, the massive feline hoisting him onto it as well, before running right towards the source of the commotion… And right into the footpath of a terrifying giant who seemed to suddenly fall from the ceiling, several eyes along its body looking to them as its head rotated 180 degrees. “Well, wouldn’t you like to know?” Several minutes earlier, A Few Stories Lower - Sound’s Garden Abandoned Subway “Are you sure this is the place? Seems pretty fucking trashy to me, honestly…” “That’s what makes it a secret passage, Agnes… They’re not exactly rolling out the red carpet to tell you how to get there.” “Ugh, Astronomia wasn’t built for this shit. You’re paying if something gets stuck somewhere.” “You’ve crashed it how many times this month alone?” Arpeggi Osso Buco sat in the sidecar of a motorbike driven by one Ananas “Agnes” Bayley, through the abandoned subways of the Eastern strip. He’d meant to take this trip alone, like he had before, but of course, this fucking guy had to be the first on the team to learn that he was a Stand User, an active vigilante, and not only in part responsible for a certain cult’s influence plummeting to nothing in Los Fortuna, but had dedicated himself to making an enemy of the blight of the Entertainment District. “Fuck it, I’m down.” “You’re… What?” “I’m down. Fuck those guys. I don’t even need to ask any more questions, they’re an absolute disgrace to be shown up by a real villain, and if you’re hunting their boss down, I’m with you.” “You are the last person I would want watching my back in a-” “Or I can tell Gabanna what you’re doing so soon after getting SHOT last time you tried your luck with these guys.” “…bastard. Okay, just don’t get in the way.” Minus a near-scare with RCR’s nightmarish train nearly running them down without noticing, and Arpeggi having to explain at some point that it was both private information from a set of informants and news now publicly printed in multiple sources about the higher-ups of this organization, it had mostly gone smoothly since then. As they drove closer to the underside of Heartache, Arpeggi signaled for Agnes to stop, noting a destroyed set of hollowed-out mannequins of sorts, smoking and smelling like gunpowder. “Hell is that?” Agnes asked, looking down, but Arpeggi, in turn, didn’t quite seem surprised. Before he could explain, however, another, distorted voice cut through. “You’re late.” The revving of a second motorcycle, a sport bike, had quietly synced with Astronomia, and the pair looked up to see a figure clad in orange and black, winglike scarf drooping upside-down, its rider atop the ceiling of the tunnel. “You.” Agnes spoke with contempt, despite having never seen the Black Angel in person before, only for them and their bike to drop down right in front of them, flipping in midair to land gracefully. “You didn’t tell me you were bringing a friend, let alone… Him.” The Angel sounded dubious about Agnes’ presence, adding, “since you took time picking him up, I’ve had to start picking off these weird… hollow doll-guards myself. They almost noticed me in time to signal the boss. I really don’t have the time for this today.” “Sorry about that, he insisted,” Arpeggi wrote off, not wanting to explain the somewhat unsurprising (“ran into one another while doing their vigilante rounds, got to talking about the ED mainly”) story how he and the Angel met, “and he’s here right now… Say what you like about him, you saw that Being So Normal, I assume. He’ll be an asset.” “I’ll kick your ass-et,” Agnes grumbled, “fighting them alone my ass. Ugh, teaming up with masked hero types like this… Pisses me off. We should be kicking each other’s asses, Angel.” “Deal with it,” the Angel wrote off, before adding, “our contacts in there… They said basically everyone we might have any reason to get is on that floor with them, watching Downtown.” “Right, some madman is acting out there,” Arpeggi noted, folding his arms and looking Westward, “I take it that’s why you’re in a hurry? You want to deal with them quickly and head out there next?” “You got it,” they answered, “and admittedly, there’s a reason I had to come here first… Something I’m going to prioritize the highest, and if we take too long, I’ll have to leave having only done that.” “You’ve got a grudge, is that it?” Agnes asked, “you wanna punt some fucker before moving on?” “That’s… not why I’m targeting him,” The Angel noted, before adding, “that sword the Conqueror Worm always has on him… The ‘Sword of Sir Aurel…’ The future of the city might depend on me getting that Downtown. The contacts say he still has it with him, just like on that stream.” “You’re pissing me off, pretending you don’t care about just one-upping that bastard,” Agnes chided, adding, “act like you’re ‘heroes of justice’ all you want… I’m doing this because these guys piss me the hell off, and seeing them fall will make me laugh. Do all of us a favor, cut the bullshit, and admit you’re gonna enjoy this, yeah?” The others didn’t say too much more of note, then, beyond the Angel briefly examining Astronomia, putting something all over it that they claimed would ‘make it maneuver better,’ which Arpeggi had to calm Agnes into accepting, especially considering it meant they could ride up stairs with relative ease. “Alright, from this secret passage, it’s a straight shot up a few flights of stairs to the VIP room… We should be able to burst it down without ever disrupting all the public patrons and fortifications up on 1F. Hold on tight, you got that?” The motorbikes revved, then, and the Angel’s led Agnes in seeming to leap into the air, driving up and along the walls of the stairwell, before a long-haired figure emerged from the Angel, aiming something at a metal reinforced door, firing into it a few times, and it shifted in place as Pork Soda rushed towards it, placing a tab on the material before ripping it away, liquid metal blasting in the opposite direction the door would fly and swing at rapid speed, swinging like a deadly projectile and cutting more powerful puppet guards away as the three burst in. Arpeggi called out, “All that you’ve done ends here, Fox!” Not long after Arpeggi called that out, Fox himself, of course, was quick to stand, as were a few bold-looking members of the crowd, hurrying towards the fighters with his own accompanying doll-guard, small enough to hold in two hands and, with his large frame, swing like a hammer-thrower, lobbing up towards them and bursting open into a mess of pointed rocks as he drew closer, repelling Arpeggi’s immediate attempts to approach. The swinging door, embedded with odd screws and still gushing metal soda, began to fly towards him, only for the sound of a rifle to fill the room, a single warping bullet putting out every one of the odd screws and careening it to strike Arpeggi back, sending him flying down the stairwell before either the Angel or Agnes could react. Seido, sitting at his edge of the bar, finished downing his drink, holding his weapon in one hand and grinning a bit, slurring slightly, “thas’ goin’ on your tab, boss…” Fox smirked, then, rocks and sand swirling around him and beating back the remaining attackers’ efforts to burst forward. “Let’s not fight up here, gentlemen… I’ve set this place up nice for a very special guest. Take it downstairs. Seido, consider yourself on the clock now.” Worm, then, seemed to realize the Angel was staring at his movements, diving down into the floor below to the terror of the 1F patrons, and the rider hurriedly cut away from the clash, leaving Agnes to fend for himself against the rocky onslaught of Fox, all while Oh No watched and Seido, quickly, lined up another shot. Even on this upgraded bike, he knew the only response to make there. “Fffuck this!” Pork Soda reached for Astronomia, a tab appearing on its wheel which, as the Stand weathered rocky blows, it pulled, blasting Agnes back into the stairwell, where he hit the wall with an, “oof!” before hopping off of his ride, which crashed and plummeted down as he abandoned it to slide down the railing, doing a cool combat roll to cover Arpeggi and the Angel as they rolled into the first floor, clearly concerned about what Conqueror Worm being there would mean for the patrons. Fox and others were shortly behind, with a certain exception. Though nobody could hear it, by Metra Doria’s choice, as soon as Seido had spoken that aloud, she’d kicked up the chair she’d been sulking in all ‘party’ long, a pair of headphones appearing along her neck as a blast of sonic energy kicked it directly into the head of the hitman. Her heart skipped a beat, then, and she muttered under her breath, “shit, that actually worked… I got lucky, huh?” “Entirely,” Oh No agreed, stepping forth himself and stretching, producing a very large, intimidating revolver from his cloak and beginning, idly, to load it, “but don’t treat that as a failing, TD/MD… You saw a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and you had the instincts to take it.” No closed the chamber, starting leisurely towards the stairs after the rest. “This is getting tiresome, isn’t it? You see it too, how dull this has gotten… What potential they’re wasting here. What do you say we speed along what’s been a long, long time coming?” “Well, wouldn’t you like to know?” A golden, shining sword appeared out of the giant’s gross hand, and his presence alone made Glitch want to wretch, the smell of the Conqueror Worm fell, and vibes even more rancid. “We got two more troublemakers here, eh?” Worm asked her and William with an amused tone, “Hell just broke loose here, and you’re tryin’ to run headlong into it! I like that! I like that drive! So what do ya say? Attacka them!” Glitch didn’t know this guy, but something about his gleeful nature, the way that William murmured to himself in alarm when he spoke those distorted words, made her hairs stand on end, made her want to hiss and immediately turn her attention to him, and it seemed, then, that Worm could sense this. “Another one who ain’t a fan, huh?” He shook his head. “Disappointing, but typical.” At that, he ducked into the floor, before attempting to burst out from underneath and drive his blade up into Vida Loca, barely being scraped before hopping away from the rising attack and meeting it with a sharp, harsh claw, beating back his raw strength with her Stand’s own. “I don’t know who you are, but you’re really not the kind of bad news that’s any fun!” Glitch called out from atop her mount, pulling off in time to avoid the ambush of a hollowed-out guard and note two others bothering William. “That guy looks underage… He ain’t allowed to be on a casino floor without ID!” Worm declared with amusement, fully expecting what came next as several of the doll-guards attempted to strong-arm him. “G-get away… Get away from me!” William was freaking out, then, and fairly fearing for his life, allowed Ocean Eyes to manifest, swinging and spraying acid all around, which bounced uselessly off of Worm’s hide, didn’t so much as drop near Glitch or Vida Loca, and melted away the threats in an instant. The casino floor was pandemonium then, several high rollers, some random patrons, and of course, every named member fighting, Stands flying. Arpeggi expertly caught rocks tossed by Fox, only for him to still control them even as they were made to burn by NEXT LEVEL 2, though this eroded away much of the sands of his barrier, backed up by Agnes as he very competently kept a rocky barrier up regardless, Metra standing close by, shifting her eyes. The Black Angel tried to drive headlong into Worm, continuing his mess of a situation, while Glitch, mostly, managed to sneak off on her own, trying to find a way to support William and calm him out of whatever this was. “Don’t move,” a modulated voice behind her said, and she heard something click behind her. “Mrr?” She turned, then, facing the barrel of Oh No’s revolver head-on. “This might be a bit loud… But it’s about time this ended.” Before Glitch could react, No had pulled the trigger twice. Neither shot so much as grazed her, but seemed to hit tables, cameras, walls, ricocheting about in apparent chaos, before finally… “I… What did…” Blood ran down the organizational ringleader’s outfit, bleeding both from a massive wound to the back of his knee and opening a massive hole in his shoulder, as the rocks he had been flinging around dropped like… Rocks. Tigran’s voice was the next thing to ring out through the casino, now mostly abandoned bar the combatants. “TOBY!!!” Fox hadn’t even heard the shots fired, thanks to Metra, let alone noticed their angles; after all, the only one he knew of who could make a shot like that was knocked out and drunk upstairs, not to mention loyal to Tigran’s paychecks. No twirled his gun around, holstering it and patting the bewildered Glitch on the shoulder. “Thanks for holding still… Didn’t want to hit you and ruin it all, after all. Hmmhmmhmahaha!" “You… You motherfuckers!” Tigran wanted to cry then, especially as the others drew closer, seeing everyone who had fought against an ally of his here as little more than an enemy. Still, though, facing them off, he had to calm himself. “Stand down,” Arpeggi demanded, “you’re outnumbered, completely.” Tigran, rather than giving up, began to speak again. “You know, as the owner of this casino, I know the power of ‘games’. You see, if you call it a ‘gamble’, that sounds so… negative, no? So you call it nothing more than a simple ‘game’. That’s what draws people in. Getting people to play ‘roulette’ is harder, but if you call it a ‘roulette game’ and mask it correctly, it’s so, so, easy… However, the moment the ball is launched, it doesn’t matter, does it? No difference between a ‘gamble’ and a ‘game’... the ‘contract’ is the same - you abandon your money for ‘entertainment’ and for a slim ‘hope’ that you’ll succeed this time and make bank… It’s all thanks to these ‘games’... All of you lot, don’t you think so? Aren’t ‘games’ great? Hell, I’ve got an idea for one we can play right now…” “Wh- what the hell are you talking about!” Arpeggi shouted out in anger. “I’m not putting up with this shit! You want a ‘game’?! Sure, fine! Here, how about this one - I go up to you, and have fun beating the shit out of you!” rushing towards Tigran, Arpeggi readied a punch and swung towards him - only for his fist to stop in midair, hitting against some kind of invisible barrier. He reeled back from the impact, stumbling backwards, feeling… weak. A look behind him revealed that Agnes, Glitch, William, and even Metra, the Angel, and No seemed to be feeling the same, struggling to remain upright. “Y- you ‘agreed’... heh…” Tigran’s previously panicked expression quickly faded, replaced by a wide grin. “You agreed to it! You agreed to the ‘game’!” By now, Tigran broke out into uproarious laughter. “Always! They always fall for it, tempted by ‘games’! You… you idiot! I put the answer right in front of you, and you still missed it! ‘Games’, by their very nature, are tricks! Illusions! And my [The Grid] has the power to facilitate that! By agreeing to the game, my [The Grid] forces you to participate! There’s no escape now - you’re trapped in this ‘game’ of mine!” As he realized he had screwed them all right at the last moment, Arpeggi’s vision began fading, and he fell onto the ground with a thud, blacking out. ???, an hour later, Heartache Casino VIP room “Alright! Seems like our contestants for the first impromptu match of the day are waking up!” “Plrrr..?” Out of nowhere, Glitch found herself standing straight, awake, somewhere unfamiliar. She tried to listen to see what was going on, only hearing the groans of William, Agnes, and Arpeggi, indicating that they were in a similar position to her. Of course, there was also that voice - she was… a ‘contestant’. It wasn’t hard to roughly figure out what exactly she was a ‘contestant’ of. She, and... “...William!” Behind her was a whimpering noise, evidently William, and the sound of droplets of some kind of liquid splashing onto the ground, clearly [Ocean Eyes]’s acid. Ahead of her were Agnes and Arpeggi, talking between themselves about what the hell happened. Arpeggi sounded mad. Agnes… she wasn’t sure how he sounded. But she gathered enough from their conversation to understand that somehow, they were currently inside of a roulette wheel. Or rather, she, and everyone else, was shrunk, and placed into a roulette wheel. “Now, this match is simple - a deathmatch to see who manages to survive! However, since we’re at the heartache casino… there’s an appropriate twist involved! See, our combatants for today are fighting on a roulette table, and meanwhile, our spectators for today are placing ‘bets’ to see which colors win out! Representing ‘red’, we’ve got our very own ‘Fox’! On black, meanwhile, we’ve got ‘Tigran Sins’, who set this match up!” She summoned [Vida Loca] besides her, taking a look through the stand’s eyes and seeing the environment for herself. She was dwarfed by the room, trapped inside of this small roulette wheel. There was nowhere to run. William’s whimpers had escalated into sobbing, as [Ocean Eyes] hugged him from behind. Arpeggi and Agnes were arguing by now, shouting at each other. She took a deep breath. “Now… I won’t keep you waiting any longer, since I just know everyone here’s excited to see what happens! So...” First, Glitch got tossed into Los Fortuna and found a new home there, with the rest of the staff at the Elephant Bones. Then, they started getting into fights with other stand users - Shelldrake, Effie, Byte, William. She hadn’t been in one yet, but she knew very well the effects of them. Her friends had gotten hurt, some such as Father Blue even dying. Then the situation in the slums got worse, her home becoming less and less safe by the minute, her friends getting extorted and forced to work for ODIN, and now she and William were trapped here. “Three… Two… One...” She needed to get out. She needed to fight. She needed to win. She could overhear Agnes and Arpeggi bickering on the other side of the wheel, but knew that they were going to try and fight her and William as well. They had to. They’d been trapped by that man’s stand, and none of them knew what could be done against it, if anything. [Vida Loca] stood behind her, a constant vibration coming out of it and creating a loud hissing noise that was soon mimicked by [Ocean Eyes], drowning out William’s sobs. She knew full well that, even if he was her friend, William was also a dangerous killer, meek though he might have acted. As hard as that whole situation was to grasp, she understood something else - that the more she stayed near [Ocean Eyes], working alongside it, the safer she was. She and William had to get out of this. And if they wanted to get out of this... They would have to fight for their lives. OPEN THE GAME! (credit to magistelles for the image, both the censored and uncensored version!(CW: trypophobia)) Location: A roulette wheel in Heartache Casino, upon which players have been forcibly placed. The map here is roughly similar to the image of the roulette wheel above. The outer brown layer represents the rim, the yellow layer being the wooden slopes down towards the center, the black layer being the numbers, the red layer being the pockets, the next layer being sloped wood up towards the center, and the center being a metal tower. The map is 30 by 30 meters relative to the players, with the dotted tile being 5 by 5 meters. The diamonds are the metal bumpers, about half a meter tall, and the blue circle is a weighted metal roulette ball which is a meter tall, both heights relative to the players. The metal tower in the center is 8 meters tall relative to the players and the outside walls are 5 meters relative to the players. Players can not go past the rim of the roulette wheel. Goal: RETIRE your opponents! Additional Information: There is an invisible barrier keeping the players and their Stands inside the roulette wheel. Everything else will pass through as normal, but the players and their attacks will be blocked by this barrier. The barrier is cylindrical around the entire roulette wheel. The roulette system is currently automatic, 5 seconds after the ball falls into a pocket or stops moving entirely, it will start rolling again at top speed clockwise. The max speed of the ball is equivalent to B SPD and the ball is A DUR. You can expect it to make around 8 revolutions around the wheel before losing most of its speed if it is unimpeded by the players. If the ball is destroyed or unable to roll, a new one will be thrown in from outside.
"Nowadays, 30,000 yen is gone after you make one or two trips... So all that's left is to make more money, or go flat broke." You are being forced to fight here, and you hate it, so you might as well do something to cause the casino to lose money! Do whatever you can to constantly rig the roulette in favor of odds!
"Does that alien not know what 'holding back' means?" You were tricked by that asshole, and now you’ve got to fight these two bystanders?! Fuck, this makes you irritated. Destroy as much of the area as possible over the course of your strategy!
"I did say this seemed fun, but I wasn't talking about Cee-lo. I meant that it'd be fun taking your 30,000 yen from you." That girl over there is trying to rig the game, so play the agent of chaos and rig it towards the other end! Do whatever you can to constantly rig the roulette in favor of evens!
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