Saturday, September 28, 2013

Getting a large HDTV? Always Get It Inspected Before Signing!

Yesterday a bit of me inside was horrifically tarnished, so much that today I can barely concentrate.

I'm posting this so if you're captured in the same instance as I was, you won't be making the same mistake.

You see, yesterday I finally received my 50" Toshiba HDTV (50L1350U) shipped from Amazon. I wanted to upgrade from my 37" Protron set that was inexplicably experiencing hardware issues, from malfunctioning buttons, burn in and static noises.

Whenever Amazon or another retailer ships out TVs 46" or larger, or large furniture and appliances, they'll almost always transfer it over via a freight delivery company (e.g. CEVA Logistics, Pilot, Eagle, etc.). Mine was done with CEVA Logistics. Interestingly, I have never heard or dealt with this company before in my life. I later found out that it was essentially a delivery service that included "White Glove service", i.e. they'll be offering extra convenience services such as hauling the large item to a room of destination in your house. If it's a television set, they'll offer to unpack the box, set the TV up, check for damages and see if it's working.

Take note of the bold text. This was the reason for the illness of this post—don't ever accept and sign for a delivery of a TV or other large item without inspecting it for damage! As it unfortunately turns out, I didn't and the TV had large cracks on the screen when I unboxed it, rendering it basically a paper weight.

If ever there occurs damages or defects during the inspection process, refuse delivery and contact the retailer where you purchased it from. If they want to stay in business, they'll offer to refund or replace it for free.

I was so scared of not being able to return or exchange the TV, as I clearly signed the paper work that indicated it was in GOOD condition. Fortunately, since Amazon had great customer service, I called them up the day after and they had no issues setting up a refund. It would be completely disastrous if I would lose $700 for nothing!

So you're probably asking, why did he sign for delivery without prior inspection for damages and defects? It was because the box looked to be in great condition with no physical damages, so I thought nothing could be wrong (guess again!). I additionally didn't feel safe letting a sole stranger in my house, handling the new equipment and potentially damaging something. He was also alone when it clearly states there should be at least two delivery men for the service.

Anyways, consider this a lesson learned. Since Amazon no longer has the TV in stock, I have to wait at least 2 or more weeks to get a refund and buy from somewhere else like Best Buy. I was really looking forward to this TV too, as the reviews on it have been superb! D:

I also have to say CEVA failed to impress me and I would not like to deal with them again. Not only did they miss my initial delivery appointment and refused to call me prior to actual delivery, I believe they were the ones who damaged the TV. I mean, the bottom of the box was even opened for no reason.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Wonderpierrot's Questions and Answers 2

I wanted to greatly expand on the previous personal questions and answers post I made—virtually my first post on this blog. So I went around and did a questions and answers session with a few of my subscribers. I also dug out a few unanswered questions I was previously asked that I didn't detail in the initial post. These are the final results; I hope you enjoy reading them!

Oh, I apologize in advance if the questions' subjects are a bit shuffled and random. I didn't know how to exactly categorize them, so I went with a slightly random shuffle.

What are your ultimate goals on YouTube?  

My only goals are to have a semi-successful channel with viewers who are enjoying my videos, engaging in them and learning things from them. To also be unique and bold from the rest of the crowd is also an important goal, even if I'm participating in a rather niche category.

What is your defined gameplay style compared to others?  

Let me first explain what is not my gameplay style. I don't do casual, beginner level gameplay, at least not anymore. On the other end of the spectrum, I additionally avoid doing maximized or tier based gameplay, this includes often times hardcore breaking of the game to dwindle it down to baby level difficulty.

What I do is simply thrilling, diverse, stylish and combo centric gameplay for hack n' slash games. For others, it's a mix of everything, but usually I'm all about showcasing as much skill as possible.

What inspired you to create your YouTube channel and its videos?  

Video games and the ability to capture game footage and put it live on the internet. At first, it really didn't even matter if the gameplay videos were good or bad, I just felt it was so cool to be able to put my own gameplay videos on the internet.

Did you think you'd be well-known on YouTube?

Honestly, I don't think anybody in their beginnings would think they'd be well-known on YouTube, besides people who are already stars outside of YouTube. For me, it's the same. So no. I just created my channel to have some bit of fun and to experiment on how I can make or break the YouTube video quality system.

How do you feel when people idolize you?  

I don't think people can idolize me, that's nonsense... but seriously, I feel very honored and happy that I'm making such an impact on individuals with my videos on YouTube.

Why don't you do more commentaries / Can you do more commentaries?  

I would, but quite frankly I just don't like doing them. Especially for gameplay videos, it simply gets in the way and makes the video awkward to watch and listen to. You also have to understand that attempting to deliver great gameplay and commentary at the same time is very difficult, as the level of concentration is doubled. For me, it's just one or the other and not in-between—I pick the former than the latter.

Commentaries and voice overs are good for guides and tutorials nevertheless. I'll be continuing to do these types of videos with commentaries, as long as viewers are *gulp* tolerable with them.

What do you use to capture and edit videos for YouTube?  

Why don't you head over to this particular post, where I spill everything about this!

Do you do shout outs or cross promotions?  

I currently don't do shout outs on YouTube videos nor cross promotions. However, I am running an affiliate program where I can exchange channel recommendation spots (i.e. if you place my channel in your recommended channel list, I'll return the favor by putting yours on mine). However, I won't accept channels with no videos, as there wouldn't be a point to put it as a recommended channel.

Do you have Skype, Facebook or Twitter?  

I don't have Facebook. Twitter is something I've been contemplating on giving a try, but whenever I end up test driving it, it just seems to be an non-necessity for me, largely due to the amount of time you have to put into it to make it successful.

I do have Skype, but I don't give it out publicly because I don't like talking to random people on the internet unless I really know them well.

What is your favorite or best video you created on YouTube?  

I would have to largely say my Dynasty Warriors 7 - Mega Combos Compilation Vol. 2. I put nearly all my skill and tactics I learned through playing that game intensively into that video, and it quite shows how well that turned out.

What is your least favorite or worst video you created on YouTube?  

Oh boy… too many. I can't put a finger on one exclusively, though. But it has got to be the earlier videos, especially the Dynasty Warriors 6: Special and Musou Orochi: Maou Sairin gameplay videos. Those were just… embarrassing!

What do you hate the most about your YouTube habits?  

The fact that I never go through an entire video and check it over for errors before uploading it to YouTube and making it public. Probably has something to do with being too excited and wanting to get the video up as soon as possible. Which of course always results in me re-uploading the same video multiple times and pissing off my subscribers. If you're a subscriber, you already know the deal.  Break it you say, but hey… it's a habit! Habits are deadly and indestructible!

What types of games do you like to play and are interested in?

Judging by going over my channel, you think the answer would be quite obvious right?

But nah,  I play way more than what I upload to YouTube. Hack n' slash style games aren't even my favorite. I actually enjoy quite a diversity of game genres, including RPG, action RPGs, adventure, first/third person shooters and even a few sports genres.

Do you buy and play every KOEI/Musou game?  

Absolutely not. There are certain games they make that don't interest me at all, for instance the ROTTK series, Fist of the North Star, random anime based Musou games, etc. Not to mention all those expansions and re-releases of games which should have content already in place with the first game.

I don't even buy and play every Dynasty Warriors or Samurai Warriors game released, especially the portable ones.

Do you play every character, not like everyone else who avoids certain characters like Xu Zhu and always plays as Lu Bu?

Actually, yes. Playing with every character and every weapon for long periods is always an essential for me with each DW game. This is because it's the only way to know how good each character/weapon is, their versatility and overall fun factor.

Although, when you experiment with all of them long enough, you will always find some characters/weapons will be either poor gameplay wise or boring. That's just the way it is, and that's usually why you won't find players playing and liking every single character in the game.

And to put it on record, I don't do favoritism. I don't love or dislike any character. I don't even like or use Lu Bu at all. For me, it's always about how good and fun the weapon they have is, and an added bonus if they have a good character design, personality and voice. That's all.

Are you going to do any classic game videos?

In classic, I take it as older games. I actually have done a few videos of older games on my channel, but the reason I don't do them often is because of low viewership and interest. Usually when a game becomes so old, there becomes much less interest in them. I don't feel like working hard on content and in return receiving low to no viewership. That's the prominent reason why I'm always making videos of the latest games.

Do you know and understand Japanese?

Yes, I consider myself quite fluent in Japanese. Hence, the reason why I'm usually able to play the Japanese versions of games without much difficulty. I also do translation work often times, not only for my YouTube videos but for friends.

KOEI is often labeled as the cash milking cow, even to fans of the company's games. What are your thoughts?  

I agree they are somewhat heading in that category. I don't mind them continuing to release Dynasty Warriors and Samurai Warriors until the end of time, so long as each entry is strikingly different from the past, which is what they are currently achieving well. However, what they should not doing is re-releasing old games with extra content and charge premium prices for them.

You talked about channel expansion and expansion into other games besides just KOEI/Musou games. When do you think your channel may no longer be all about KOEI/Musou games?  

I think KOEI/Musou games will still clearly be the bread and butter of the channel forever. Out of my 13,000 subscribers, I'd say 80-90% of them subscribed because of those videos.

This is why unfortunately for me it's rather risky to expand. If you want to expand when having such a significant amount of viewers in a certain area, you have to do it slowly.

I don't additionally wish to stray too much from KOEI/Musou games as I enjoy doing them as well as the viewers enjoy watching them.  Perhaps in a few years, we can talk about it then...

Can I use your videos for my own videos? 

Yes you can. I don't mind it as long as you leave credit. After all, it would be a crime otherwise.

Can I collaborate with you on a video or videos?

Maybe. I tend to like to do my own stuff solo. Collaboration involves a lot of complications that can make the process frustrating, including the constant need to contact the other party back and forth, different video quality and others.

Why don't you upload videos as often?

Numerous reasons: lack of video ideas, lack of motivation, busy personal life, no games to showcase, illnesses and laziness.

Yeah, if I don't upload videos often, then it should fall in one or more of the above categories.

My YouTube channel became so dull and unfocused at one point that I almost quit. This was after the series of Musou Orochi 2 videos, where I went 8 entire months without a single new video upload.

Nowadays, I am partnered with a great YouTube network. Hence, I'm a lot more motivated to upload more often, especially as the money helps me fund the expensive import games that literally costs $100 per game.

How did getting partnered affected your channel and videos?

See above! Getting partnered was a huge boost to my self-motivation to continue pumping out video content, mostly as I was actually earning something in return. Prior to getting partnered, I felt as if I was doing these videos at a great financial loss for nothing other than pleasing viewers and fans of the games. Some of the games I presented I didn't even like, yet I forced myself to upload content of them for the viewers and subscribers. That was hard because I had to shell out $100 every time KOEI comes out with a new Musou game.

How much do you get paid on YouTube?  

Not too much or not too little either. Not in the 4 digits per month but rather the 3 digits.

Will you do a room tour or tour of your game collection?

Yes! I wanted to do one for a long time, but I will most likely be doing it via photos and text in this blog.

Any tips to other YouTubers who want to be as successful as you are?

I stress good content the utter most. If your content is uninteresting, boring, plain, bad and even been done before, you won't ever have the amount of return viewership and spreading of your works.

Even if your content is good, you will not get the amount of views you deserve unless you advertise and promote it well. That's why I wrote a post detailing the top ways you can do this.

If there is anything else you'd like to know, feel free to drop by my YouTube channel and post a message or sent me an e-mail. Thanks for reading!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

2012 27" iMac Impressions and Review

 Lately, I've been desiring a more powerful desktop computer to help speed up time consuming tasks such as video encoding and to use as a good computer gaming station in my room.

The last desktop computer I've owned was way back in 2009, which was another iMac but much older—with a Core 2 Duo CPU. After having numerous display issues with the computer, I ended up selling it and moving permanently for a long time to exclusively using laptops.

But now, I think it's finally time for me to get a new desktop, especially since I have more than enough Benjamins in my bank account to fund for pretty much computer I yearned. And let's face it, the small screens and lack of CPU and GPU power on laptops was getting kind of aggravating.

Oh no Wonder, why on Earth would you get a Mac for gaming, naysayers might say. Well, the fact is that I got a Mac because I love the primary operating system and its rock solid stability (OS X). More than that however, is that Macs are just aesthetically beautiful times a thousand compared to PCs, which are downright ugly or geeky looking majority of the time. I also needed a computer that has Thunderbolt ports, which are necessary for me to use the BlackMagic Intensity Shuttle that I'm purchasing later on. The iMac also had one of the best GPU of its time, which was a slimmed down version of the Nvidia GTX 680. This along with the ability to quickly switch from in and out of Windows, sealed the deal for me.

Unfortunately, this computer wasn't cheap. I spent a whopping $2,400 on it; the most amount of money I ever spent a computer in my life! Fortunately, when the iMac did arrive, everything turned out to be good (despite those horrid QC stories you often hear on Apple forums).

iMac's pretty box which I stuffed away inside my empty closet.
iMac all set up on my desk. Forgive the bad lighting, the iMac's screen is so bright it caused the room to go completely dark with my camera.

The specs of the machine I purchased was the following:
  • 27" display
  • 3.4Ghz Intel Core i7 processor with Turbo Boost up to 3.9Ghz
  • 8GB 1600Mhz DDR3 SDRAM
  • 1TB 7200RPM SATA HDD
  • Nvidia GeForce 680MX with 2GB VRAM
  • Mighty Mouse and Wireless Keyboard combo

This was a custom built order, so Apple was supposedly unable to ship it within 24 hours as they had to build it first for me. Amazingly, the build time took less than a day, and Apple was even nice enough to upgrade to 2 day FedEx shipping at no cost! I got it literally over the weekend.

The only thing I regret at the time being is not getting the optional 1TB Fusion Drive for an additional $225. With the Fusion Drive, it combines a 128GB SSD and 1TB HDD together and virtually makes it seem like one drive. Hence, you'll get the speed of an SSD (most of the time) and the benefits of a larger spaced traditional HDD.

After researching it more extensively however, I found out that it was a better idea to just buy an external SSD, hook it up to Thunderbolt and use it to boot. It's faster, has more space and cheaper than the ridiculous prices Apple are charging. I don't want my two drives to be combined into one either, which is just strange and I like to have full control of my things.

So I'm contemplating about buying this external 256GB Thunderbolt SSD for $329:

I'll definitely be reviewing this SSD once I get it and test it out.

Anyways, enough about my own story, you probably want to know more about the machine itself. So here are my impressions with the iMac so far...


* Excellent screen. The IPS panel technology provides superb viewing angles (better than any other display I've seen and own before), eye-popping colors and rich contrast. The color profile is just a tad on the warm side, so a little color calibration (with something like a Spyder 4) and it would likely be flawless. And while it's not a retina quality display, it's pretty damn close to it.
* Nice sexy design. As obvious, the iMac has a great minimalistic and slim design with aluminum and glass. No plastic on the computer at all, which is awesome.
* Graphics performance is excellent. I believe Nvidia actually custom built the 680MX specifically for the iMac. All 3D games runs like a dream with maximum quality settings and in native resolution.
* Speakers and sound quality are very good, a lot better than I expected. A great balance of both bass and treble. It sounds so good that I don't even think I'll be needing to plug in external speakers with it.
* Very fast CPU performance. The 3.4Ghz quad core i7 processor with turbo boost makes almost anything CPU extensive a breeze. Video encoding is so much faster than my old Core 2 Duo machines.
* Nice variety of ports. You have USB 3.0, Thunderbolt, Ethernet, microphone, line in and a SD card slot. The Thunderbolt ports are notably nice as you can use it to drive the highest speed devices, such as thunderbolt SSD drives and HD capture devices.
* Windows was so easy to setup. Bootcamp now allows you to default to starting up in the Windows partition all the time, so you no longer have to continuously hold down the option key during startup. With Parallel's Desktop, running Windows on top of OS X works efficiently well too.
* OS X. Need I say more?


* The Mighty Mouse is borderline bad. It is too flat and therefore not incredibly ergonomic. Multi-gestures are difficult to use and the amount of gestures you can do are minimal. In fact, most of the gestures requires you to use Safari as your internet browser (sorry, I will always use Firefox). The mouse doesn't work well gliding on my leather mouse pad and for some reason trying to use it to adjust sliders is virtually impossible, possibly due to the sensitivity. I end up selling it and get a much cheaper, but better functioning Logitech M510 wireless mouse.
* The wireless keyboard, while not quite as bad as the Mighty Mouse, is still not the very best. It's more difficult to type on than a regular keyboard as the keys are so thin and leaves almost zero feedback response. The worst however are the side keys such as delete, which are so small I often find myself pressing them or the wrong key next to them by accident. It's still a decent, usable keyboard nevertheless. I just wish Apple would make the wireless keyboard the same version as the wired keyboard.
* Screen size and resolution. This might just be me, but I think the screen size and resolution is a bit too big! Since the Apple menu bar is always affixed to the top, I often find myself completely shifting my eyes and try to move the tiny cursor a long distance to the top corners. Perhaps I just need to get used to it? I do like the large 2560 x 1440 screen estate, but I find myself not even use 30% of it.
* No CD/DVD drive. This isn't a killer for me, as I rarely ever use CD/DVDs. Who still does anyways? Even when installing Windows through Bootcamp, you can do it all over USB now.
* The noise of the computer is not entirely silent. Even when idle and nothing running, you can still hear a tiny bit of white noise coming from the fans constantly.
* Hardware upgrade of the computer is quite limited. You only have user access to the RAM, which can upgraded to 32GB the max. Regardless, I believe the computer already has more than enough hardware to satisfy the current heavy user from now to at least 5 more years (until it gets somewhat outdated). Fortunately, Apple electronics are well known to hold their value incredibly well. When the times comes to upgrade, you can simply sell the current iMac for roughly the same amount of money you purchased it, then use the funds for a new computer. I actually sold my old iMac for $400 more than I bought it for, and I bought it brand new!

Overall Impressions:

So far, I'm loving it! I don't regret paying the premium price for such a nice machine, especially considering how gorgeous the display looks. As for custom PC vs this iMac, I would personally go with iMac all the way.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Wonderpierrot's Video Soundtrack 1

If you've been watching my recent YouTube videos, you'll notice I've been blending in custom background music that isn't part of the actual game or its soundtrack. Quite frankly, I've been growing dreary of using the soundtrack of these games (there are so many times you can hear the same rock and techno tunes), so I decided to put a different spin to and use out-of-the-game tunes and see the results.

Whenever you do something like that however, you're bound to get a few people requesting what the music are, since they don't recognize it but like it.

So this is essentially what this post will be about—detailing what all the unfamiliar music I've been using thus far and giving you links to download these awesome songs.

Songs used in Dynasty Warriors 8 - Top 10 Weapon Elements and Element Setups

Sunrise (Original Mix) - Anton Ishutin
August Noise - 1Touch
Through the Time (Original Mix) - Airform

Songs used in Dynasty Warriors 8 - How to Get the Best Weapons (Weapon Temper Guide)

プロヴィデンス  (Symphony Orchestra Version) - LUNA SEA

Remember, these songs sounds a thousand times better as pure music than they were played over a voice—my voice, that is. Even if you didn't care for or like the songs, I still recommend you give them all a listen, as they truly are awesome tunes—and the reason why I used them!

Also, if you like the songs, remember to support the artists by officially buying their works!

Dynasty Warriors 8 Mega Combos Compilation Volume 2

I like to thank everyone for viewing my Dynasty Warriors 8 Mega Combos Compilation Volume 1, leaving comments and voting for characters you want presented in the next volume.

I have tallied the results up, looked at them closely and have compiled the list of characters that will most likely be on volume 2.

Nothing is entirely final and the combos are yet to be executed and recorded. That's why I'm listing more potential most likely characters than the 10 maximum per volume. This is to also factor in subsequent volumes past 2, as I'm contemplating on making at least 3 of these.

I'm also listing "maybe" characters that may or may not be on subsequent volumes, and finally "most likely not" characters that are well, most likely not to be on any volumes.

Most Likely:
  • Diao Chan
  • Da Qiao
  • Guan Yinping
  • Jia Chong
  • Zhong Hui
  • Wang Yi
  • Zhao Yun
  • Ling Tong
  • Zhen Ji 
  • Wen Yang
  • Zhang Fei
  • Wang Yuanji
  • Yuan Shao
These characters have good to excellent combo capabilities and additionally have the highest amount of user votes. Therefore, they would be the best to showcase in the next volume. Listed from highest votes to lowest votes.

  • Lu Bu
  • Yue Ying*
  • Zhuge Dan*
  • Sima Zhao
  • Li Dian*
  • Zhang Bao*
  • Gan Ning
  • Lu Xun*
  • Han Dang*
  • Guo Jia
  • Sun Ce*
These characters have questionable to average combo capabilities. Although they may have a high amount of user votes, they may not be worth showcasing due to that reason. Asterisk (*) represents a character/moveset I haven't really experimented with for combos, so I may move characters here up to most likely if they turn out to have good combo capabilities.

Most Likely Not: 
  • Cao Pi
  • Sima Yi  
  • Xiahou Ba
These characters have poor to no combo capabilities. Therefore, doing combo videos for them are likely impossible.

If I didn't list a character that you or someone else has voted for, that probably means there were not enough votes—usually only one or two.

Estimated date of the next volume will be out by September 28th. I will post the final list of characters prior to the video being uploaded to YouTube.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Dynasty Warriors 8 - 3 Hidden Gameplay Things

I apologize for the lack of posts this month, but it's also been a pretty busy and hectic month for me. I additionally didn't have a lot to blog about besides personal things—which I'm sure none of you care about. I do have some more content planned in the forthcoming weeks, so stay tuned and stay subscribed! :D

Anyways, I thought about doing a mini post regarding three hidden gameplay things you may not know about in Dynasty Warriors 8. These are not game changing by any means, but they are interesting nevertheless. I actually found some of these out by pure accident.

1: Instant Affinity Shield Breaking  

The next time you approach an officer with an inferior weapon affinity, get into close range, then proceed to do an interim save.

Reload the game and the officer's affinity shield is instantly completely destroyed without you having to do anything!

There isn't much use to this in normal gameplay, but it's definitely useful to provide normally impossible combos (see number 2).

2: Eliminate Recovery for Named Officers  

Here's something you might not know about—if an enemy officer has his or her affinity shield totally destroyed, they will no longer be able to do any sort of recovery, or somersault. You can switch to a inferior or neutral affinity, and they'll still retain the inability to recover.

This trick was actually used in my mega combo compilations volume 1 video, to achieve the normally impossible.

3: Unit Commanders Have No Recovery  

Unit commanders are like named officers, but they lack one thing in common—recovery. They will almost never attempt to recover when falling on the ground or during an air recoverable attack. So go ahead, and do the normally impossible juggles with them.

Got anything else you'd like to share that I or we don't know about?