Random Curiosity

Log Horizon 2 – 04 »« Log Horizon 2 – 02

Log Horizon 2 – 03

「奈落の参道」 (Naraku no Sandou)
“The Abyssal Shaft”

Have you ever done major raids in an MMORPG? If not, you get to learn what it’s like. If you have, welcome back.

A Taste of Raiding

I’ve seen a lot of raiding in my (younger) day. 100+ people raids during the first six expansions of Everquest. Leading a raiding guild through every raid encounter in vanilla World of Warcraft. PvP raids in Dark Ages of Camelot and Warhammer Online. So with all my nerdy knowledge, let me say this: this episode was an accurate representation of how raiding works. The raid setup was typical but robust (which, by the way, I anticipated almost perfectly last week. I still got it!), with Party 1 stacked with tanks and healers to tank big big baddies, Party 2 taking down the trash mobs, and Party 3 and Party 4 playing main DPS (especially William’s Party 3, because he’s probably got the highest DPS of the bunch, that goofy no-lifer). But it’s when they get into the first raid boss that Touno Mamare’s impeccable MMO credentials crystallized. Which is not usually something I would have to stress/praise so much, were it not for a certain other show that didn’t conform to the experience quite so well.

The biggest thing: raid bosses are hard! I never understood how the characters in SAO expected to beat all those bosses without massive casualties unless they massively over-leveled for each encounter (smart) or the raid bosses were comparatively weak compared to other MMOs (which is also reasonable, since Kayaba Akihiko planned it as a death game). So it could be justified, but Log Horizon cleaves closer to my experience. Raid bosses are hard, and frequently surprise you with bullshit attacks that you have little way to defend against without previous knowledge. I can remember bosses that dumped aggro, split apart into multiple bosses, randomly insta-killed raid members on a random cooldown, had knockbacks, raid-wide stuns, constant debuffs or DoTs on the whole raid, bosses you had to dance in certain patterns at certain times or their attacks would swallow you whole … the inventiveness of video game designers is as endless as they are evil. That William’s group never wiped completely was in itself surprising—in most MMOs I’ve played, a retreat was a rarity; you either stuck to the plan and kept the main tank(s) alive, or you were all doing a corpse run (unless you could Feign Death, you lucky bastards). The fail, strategize, and repeat path to (eventual) victory is one I took many a time, so it’s a trip straight down nostalgia lane. Though the smallest raids I ever took part in were 40-man, and I thought those were too small. It takes a 72-man raid to really get my blood pumping.

Supply Problems

But it wasn’t all straight fidelity to traditional raiding. Their supply problems were a new wrinkle. (Also, shooting the first boss in the eye. I was still thinking in pure MMO terms, so that was clever.) Usually the limiting factor is time—time before people have to go make dinner, get to bed, and rest before work or school in the morning. Since they’ve apparently been at this raid for weeks, that’s no longer a problem—it’s a hardcore raider’s wet dream. Slowly running low on repair supplies, not to mention food puts a different limit on their activities, a limit Shiroe apparently doesn’t think they can afford. They were lucky the raid dungeon is underground because that will keep Plant Hwyaden (and maybe someone else) from learning about it for a while, but it won’t last forever. From the sound of it they need to hurry up, beat the dungeon, and make with the flow of gold before someone else gets wind of their plan.

The other things I’m curious about is how exactly Shiroe was able to get twenty days worth of supplies. Log Horizon only has eight people, but I also didn’t see them doing a lot of supply collecting (though it could have happened between seasons). I feel like I missed something there, or perhaps that’s something that hasn’t been explained yet.

Skill Up

The designers of Elder Tales did not screw around. This is definitely an old school MMORPG—you don’t get your skills handed to you when you level, no siree! Having to get someone else to craft them (and for Hidden skills, out of expensive materials) is one thing, but requiring a special quest and participation in a raid to get their Rank 4 (Secret) skills? Harsh! If that’s for just their marquee skills, that would be rough enough, but if it’s for everything, that would be a slog.

Well, I say that, but those kinds of things are part of the fun. Though perhaps not for Akatsuki, who has never taken part in a raid. Learning of the Teachings (Edit: I’m going to go with the LN term of Overskill, because it sounds a lot cooler) is definitely foreshadowing, and hopefully what it’s foreshadowing is a stronger, more confident Akatsuki. I prefer her as a woman of action rather than angsty. Maybe evil-eyes-in-the-santa-cape will help bring that out of her.

Looking Ahead – Pivot to Akatsuki & Lenessia

I’m surprised that we’re doing a full pivot back to Akiba next week, though mostly because of Lenessia’s purported loss of faith in the adventurer-and-People-of-the-Land dialogue. That feels out of left field to me, but only next week’s episode will tell.

tl;dr: @StiltsOutLoud – It’s a trip down nostalgia lane with old school raiding by Silver Sword. But supply problems could grind them to a halt #loghorizon s2e3

Random thoughts:

  • I laughed when they were talking about the devs reusing an old boss, but that proved to be dangerous—it made them think they knew what to expect, even though it was under no obligation to act as it did before. They didn’t wipe, so they didn’t fully pay for their presumption, but it may have held them back and made them take longer to beat the encounter.
  • “Main tank down. Die in a good place!” (Oh gods, I’m having flashbacks.)
  • Demi-Demi can’t accept the simple truth—he isn’t that important to Shiroe. Shiroe does what’s best at the time—he antagonized Demi-Demi to make him sloppy when they were enemies, and now he’s helping (even saving) him because they’re allies. Demi-Demi can’t accept that he isn’t important enough for Shiroe to hate. He’s just a Demi-Demi.
  • How is she sticking to his back right now?
  • Embarrassed Naotsugu is so moe!

Check out my blog about storytelling and the novel I’m writing at stiltsoutloud.com. The last four posts: Between novels, From me to you, The glorious unburdening of less, and Rape fiction. For book updates, please sign up for my mailing list.

 

Preview

October 18, 2014 at 9:24 pm
122 comments »
  • October 18, 2014 at 9:27 pmSilentCid

    It seems like cat people are always the best chef.

    • October 18, 2014 at 9:49 pmbakakubi

      I assume they make great ma-po tofu as well!

    • October 19, 2014 at 5:43 amMasterDragonKnight

      Then I would like a Deluxe hamburger with plenty of Demi-glace sauce. I bet it will be Delicious!

      • October 19, 2014 at 10:58 amJoao Carlos

        They will come with Democracy fries!

  • October 18, 2014 at 9:34 pmKyon12

    Time to raid PK’s lair hope they have a change of heart or just have then die a lot of times until they learn of course that wont happen will it ???

    • October 18, 2014 at 9:37 pmKyon12

      I think my message was wrong sorry D:

  • October 18, 2014 at 9:34 pmnoir

    Hey stilts, can I post the full strategy of raid formation described by the author? I found it posted here and there.

    • October 18, 2014 at 9:40 pmStilts

      I ain’t going to stop you. Probably should hide it in spoiler tags and/or post it as a link to the site you found it, to avoid having a comment longer’n my post, lol

      • October 18, 2014 at 9:55 pmnoir

        Show Spoiler ▼

        ^There is no spoiler inside, just more explanation for party/raid setup.

        Also this episode show, how different/harsh the fights become when you are actually present inside the Game instead of behind the PC, aka first person view instead of overhead.

        Counting time by mouths, positioning or terrain situation, getting knock away by sheer force, longer distance travelling, also nobody have the time to look at their status bar when in full battle (shown by William asking Shiroe damage report), the need to eat and sleep, and many others things I might not have thought of.

        Add blood, gore and pain from the LN to that situation, it become really bleak for the players.

  • October 18, 2014 at 9:45 pmlol

    http://randomc.net/image/Log%20Horizon/Log%20Horizon%202%20-%2003%20-%20Preview%2003.jpg

    Lenessia what happen to your eyes! it used to be so pretty, now it’s just ugly, damn you DEEN!

    • October 18, 2014 at 10:23 pmWanderer

      What bugs me the most about it is that it makes her look… empty. Doll-like. As if they’re trying to imply that she isn’t a real person. That really bothers me.

      • October 19, 2014 at 1:41 amLonghaul

        I really do not see it, the lifeless eyes you are referring to would not have highlights in them.

    • October 18, 2014 at 11:01 pmDafuq

      She doesn’t have pupils.

    • October 19, 2014 at 2:25 pms_w

      There isn’t much about this version of Log Horizon’s animation that bugs me… BUT THIS BUGS THE HELL OUT OF ME. She looks so dead in the eyes, and it’s just weird. Really weird. (It reminds me of how the eye highlights in GJ-bu’s animation looked like smiley faces, and I. could. not. unsee. them. ever.)

  • October 18, 2014 at 9:45 pmx

    I’m surprised that we’re doing a full pivot back to Akiba next week, though mostly because of Lenessia’s purported loss of faith in the adventurer-and-People-of-the-Land dialogue. That feels out of left field to me, but only next week’s episode will tell.

    This anime seem to be swing back and forth between the chapters of two different volumes of the novel (one volume focused on what’s going on in Akiba, and one volume focused on what’s going on in the dungeon). I’ve not read most of these two volumes (only read parts of the Akiba focused volume). There are pros and cons with this method. I found the Akiba focused volume a lot less interesting to read compared with previous volumes :p, and generally I like what they are doing in this anime (as events in both volumes of the novel happen concurrently). Having said that, I do wonder if it will get too confusing with so much going on at the same time.

    • October 18, 2014 at 10:22 pmBigFire

      Volume 6 (Shiroe’s raid) and Volume 7 (Akatsuki’s story in Akiba) takes place roughly at the same time. So it’s a good idea in the adaptation to have them switch back and forth.

      • October 19, 2014 at 12:20 amUngas123

        err.. it’s the other way around.
        Volume 6 is Akatsuki’s story (Yoake no Mayoigo, 夜明けの迷い子)
        while Volume 7 is Shiroe’s raid (Kunie no Ougon, 供贄の黄金)

    • October 19, 2014 at 2:53 pmSolaris

      That ‘loss of faith’ thing is the main point of the two volumes for char development this time.
      Show Spoiler ▼

  • October 18, 2014 at 9:47 pmDave

    Also, shooting the first boss in the eye. I was still thinking in pure MMO terms, so that was clever.

    It was an interesting implementation of the standard interrupt mechanic, yes. If you think about it, it would probably be a natural progression if you were to migrate from the “click to target” system used in most MMO’s to a more FPS style one where you actually aim/place your shots. I kinda wonder if the latter is what the actual Elder Tales system is like or if this is just a side effect of being trapped inside the game and having it be your reality.

    If Elder Scrolls used click to target IRL, they probably would’ve been wondering why the eye was becoming/is targetable and tripped over the solution sooner.

    • October 18, 2014 at 9:58 pmStilts

      Honestly, I was more thinking about how raid bosses usually aren’t interruptable. Maybe 24-man raid bosses are, but I’m eternally functioning at 40-man and 72-man+ levels, and raid bosses that nasty did not take any shit. Plus physically massive bosses are less likely to be interruptable, no matter the raid size.

      • October 19, 2014 at 6:01 amDave

        I dunno. I guess I’m more used to modern WoW Raiding where insta-gib abilities/mechanics like that are almost always directly interruptible (ex: General Vezax’s flame wave interrupt rotation), or have mechanics designed to interrupt them (ie: killing slimes before they get to Professor Putricide and explode).

      • October 19, 2014 at 6:42 amDvalinn

        Even in oldschool 40-man WoW there were certain attacks or effects that had to be stopped though. Just think of Magmadar in Molten Core for example, whose frenzy had to be stopped with a Tranq shot from a hunter. And that had to be on rotation too!

        Especially considering this boss is from newer content, it makes sense to have a mechanic like that in the fight somewhere, in my opinion.

      • October 19, 2014 at 9:20 amStilts

        You’re right, but I’m eternally an EQ raider by nature, because that’s what I cut my teeth on and what I have the strongest memories of. And in those, you didn’t interrupt shit. I don’t think it was even a mechanic, lol. There were plenty of things that you out-of-ranged or hid from which, if they hit you, you were going down … and some that just killed random people no matter what. Just for the lulz, lol

        Trying to make sure the Rangers always took the Death Touches was a hard (but rewarding!) job.

        Elder Tales, though primarily a late 90′s / early 2000′s-style MMO, appears to have been updated with some modern mechanics (the 24-man raid size included … though I think that was as much so Touno Mamare didn’t have to think up as many characters), so the boss being interruptable is reasonable. I think shooting it in the eye specifically was an outgrowth of moving from click-to-target to actually having to target, but probably the interrupt mechanic would have been included in the game version somehow … though I say that, if it were a game version I’m not sure they would have reused bosses, so the whole shebang could be a sort of procedurally created encounter by the Kunie Clan or something.

      • October 19, 2014 at 2:39 pms_w

        I used to raid a lot in FFXI, and for some fights, you might need a few people designated as “stunners,” because they could cast Stun, which stunned the enemy and interrupted whatever it was going to do. If you were a stunner, your job was to stare at the boss until it started to do some evil special attack and stun only that attack, as opposed to some other attack that wasn’t a big deal. If you did your job right, everyone lived, and nobody said anything. If you screwed up, everyone died. (No pressure.) Of course, the more you stunned the boss, the more it would resist. Good times.

        FFXI had some evil freakin’ fights. (Look up Absolute Virtue.) But it was a hell of a lot of fun!

        Watching this week’s ep made me miss that part of MMO gaming. Really good focused raids with competent teams you could rely on, man, that’s a lot of fun if done right. (And an absolute nightmare when done wrong, but that’s how it is.)

      • October 19, 2014 at 10:16 pmDave

        WRT them reusing bosses, there have been situations where defeating a boss t’was merely a setback and they’ve been dusted off by the dev’s for a new raid/dungeon with new mechanics. On the most notable occasion I’ve hinted at here, even within the same expansion…

        I somehow find it unlikely the dev’s ever intended to put a raid in the game that gives access to the gold generation system though. So, an emergent AI creating something on the fly in response to the players actions is not out of the question.

  • October 18, 2014 at 9:52 pmplushkin

    Learning of the Teachings? ugh, the LN called it “Overskills”, which sounds so much cooler =P

    Also Demi-Demi is totally going to Leeroy at some point, isn’t he? -_-|||

    • October 19, 2014 at 2:47 amckuri

      The light novel also called it “teaching” (口伝) and used “overkskill” (オーバースキル) only as an alternative name.

    • October 19, 2014 at 3:50 amChar

      Yeah. I’m getting strong Leeroy vibes from Demi Demi.
      *bites nail furiously*

      I hope their efforts are not wasted.

    • October 20, 2014 at 10:27 amStilts

      I’m getting character development vibes myself. We’ll have to see

  • October 18, 2014 at 9:58 pmL002

    evil-eyes-in-the-santa-cape
    http://randomc.net/image/Log%20Horizon/Log%20Horizon%202%20-%2003%20-%20Large%2039.jpg
    Indeed an evil santa sir.
    “You better watch out, You better not cry, Better not pout, I’m telling you why: ‘Santa Claus’ is coming to Akiba.”
    It would be awkward if they actually sang that and then someone actually comes down to say “ho ho ho.” Can he transform I wonder.
    http://randomc.net/image/Sword%20Art%20Online/Sword%20Art%20Online%20-%2003%20-%20Large%2034.jpg

    • October 18, 2014 at 10:41 pmGuile

      Beware his second form; he transforms into the Krampus.

    • October 19, 2014 at 12:04 amTassadar

      He reminds me of Arthas!

    • October 19, 2014 at 8:34 amRaijin

      He almost looks like Democracy-san.

    • October 19, 2014 at 9:28 amStilts

      I always preferred Kore wa Zombie Desu ka?’s version.

    • October 22, 2014 at 9:24 amPoritos

      It actually reminded me of Arthas from world of warcraft…

  • October 18, 2014 at 10:18 pmDeadpool

    The extra supplies seemed a lot but… Debauchery Tea Party were VERY busy and Shiroe never had anything to spend it on after it ended because of the lack of Guild… It’s probably just left overs.

    • October 19, 2014 at 1:46 amLonghaul

      This would be my guess as well, either from his DTP days or simply having built up a cache over his years of playing that never got used.

      • October 20, 2014 at 10:29 amStilts

        Usually you don’t build up a full raid’s worth of raiding supplies incidentally. There will be plenty of supplies which Shiroe himself would never have use for (for the weapons and armor types he doesn’t wear), and even if he was collecting them for a rainy day, there are always some mats (materials) you have to go get specifically. DTP is more likely in my opinion, or something more recent.

  • October 18, 2014 at 10:36 pmDrasca

    “comparatively weak compared to other MMOs”
    Weak is one way to spin it, fighting chance is another. No bullshit unavoidable attacks / magic going on, like in traditional MMO’s that determine chance to hit/miss/block on magic pRNG systems rather than actual physics.

    I would like to think the SAO death game rules would be akin to the iOS game Infinity Blade (even though that one had magic and some very OP stuff too)… anything was survive-able with enough skill (just very difficult).

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Infinity_Blade

    Parry, Block, Dodge. With no magic, and only close quarters combat (no bows), skill should be able to make anything surviveable, but it helps to not be drastically under leveled/geared.

    Guild Wars 2 did away with auto targeting guaranteeing hits. If it can be dodged, it will be dodged if you’re skillful enough. Another fun game, and raids both of the world event variety and small team tactics. Though honestly when opened up to the world of players, the more realistic thing happens is so many gather up they blow away the raid event before strategy and tactics are required. Immortal and near invincible heros ahoy!

    • October 19, 2014 at 12:16 amHanabira.Kage

      It was also common practice to overlevel by at least 10 to 20 levels in SAO as well, to minimise your chances of dying. Not that that helped a lot of people, since the later bosses were still pretty brutal. Didn’t help that the higher floors’ boss rooms had bullsh*t rules either.

      No escape.

      And then no instant heals, due to the anti-crystal zones. :/

      • October 19, 2014 at 3:04 amDrasca

        Definitely over-leveling helped, but there was a limit to that. Mainly spawn rate limit, but also I imagine diminishing rate of returns from farming the same areas before unlocking the next set of levels.

        Remember the first boss? They were worried if that first group failed, no one would have the spirit to challenge afterward. It was a death game after all, and the author’s advice was to stay alive: Stay in town! Haha. Certainly a valid approach too, as you can’t die in town.

    • October 19, 2014 at 9:52 amStilts

      Aye, that’s why I mentioned overleveling + Kayaba not including tons of totally bullshit insta-gib attacks because he knew it would be a death game. Calling them more skill-based would be one way to say it, but really it’s just another type of skill—traditional MMOs work more on skills based on teamwork than on pure mechanical skill like SAO.

      Like I said, that one could be justified, but Log Horizon cleaves more to the typical MMORPG raiding experience.

      • October 21, 2014 at 9:39 amKaleRylan

        This is true, and the fact that SAO was a VRMMO meant that it COULD focus more on personal physical skills. Elder Tale is, as you regularly mention, a pretty classic point and click MMO, so the physical skill of the player is irrelevant to the dodging and hitting and what-not.

        In general though I think this is more unique

  • October 18, 2014 at 10:48 pmDrasca

    “I’m curious about is how exactly Shiroe was able to get twenty days worth of supplies. Log Horizon only has eight people”

    Maybe, but it isn’t just direct manpower that’s involved. I assumed time better invested with all those secrets he has, plus he has access to the round table and the stabilized Akiba & People of the Land trade economy as well. It is not just his own group at work here, but the power base of an entire city + economy boom of the NPC’s as well.

    Or so I assume. There’s lots of potential reasons they have more supplies, but food seems easy for a guild that once made a fortune off burgers and he does have access to trade contacts making other materials easier to obtain via strengthed supply lines.

    • October 18, 2014 at 11:23 pmRandom Comment

      Actually the 20 days of supplies is what they have after combining what the Silver Swords have with Shiroe’s backup stock. William’s share is around ten days if I’m not wrong, so the other half comes from Shiroe’s.

      Still this doesn’t change the fact that a tiny guild like Log Horizon is able to amass around 10 days’ worth of supplies for a full raid. I’m no raider myself (nor one very knowledgeable about military matters, which imho is more applicable here), but that does seem to be an amount beyond the means of most individuals or small groups at a short notice.

      • October 19, 2014 at 2:58 amDrasca

        It is certainly no small feat, and abnormal for a small group, but further stresses how cool Shiro is to amass that much. If I’m interpreting correcting, his additions provide 20 days for the entire raid group, so his set of provisions is even greater.

        It can all be explained away, given better economic base and access. Also important is the efficiency of provision usage. Since Shiro never died, we can make a same assumption his groups own raids never wiped, thus retaining provisions and requiring fewer attempts.

        i.e. Where it’d take 100 units of provisions for a standard group attempting a raid, it might take Shiro’s group 10 units or less due to no wipes and fewer attempts required before ‘farm status’ (getting more out than required putting in). Relative increased efficiency leads build-up of wealth & associated accumulated power.

        In short, Shiro’s leadership abilities are a huge Force Multiplier, leading to increased wealth as well.

      • October 19, 2014 at 9:58 amStilts

        First of all, Log Horizon can’t really raid. They have eight people, that’s barely more than a single group as is (and while you can form a raid group to do non-raid activities, in MMO parlance, that’s not raiding). And Shiroe has only not died since the Apocalypse; he certainly died many times before that (including when he was with Debauchery Tea Party).

        Also, Shiroe’s connections could give him a discount, but he would need to get the money (or favors) to pay for them somehow, and Log Horizon hasn’t been seen running a business or anything. He may have just straight gotten the supplies from other guilds who he brought in on his plans, but I don’t think he did that with almost anymore. So unless he got them from Soujiro or someone, I’m still not sure how he got so many supplies.

        And yes, military supply lines would be a better example … except in some ways not, because they have no supply lines, just a stockpile in their magic bags. It’s a little of both.

  • October 18, 2014 at 11:15 pmRandom Comment

    Tetora-chan uses Aurora Heal.

    It is super effectively!

    Additional effect: Mahou Shoujo Feel (Traditional)

    I’m serious. When Tetora used her AoE heal, it looks (to me) as if a magical girl anime had suddenly cut into the raid =3

  • October 18, 2014 at 11:51 pmDorian

    Shiroe’s stockpile likely is The Round Tables stockpile, he’s been given it by Crescent Moon or he’s borrowing from the guild with the Samurai player and his harem. Sorry, forgot his name and the guild’s. With the Samurai, he probably could’ve just told him “I need it” and would’ve been given it since he seems to have a lot of faith in Shiroe. The same applies to Krusty and the Round Table though it might’ve been a little different. And Maria just would’ve forked it over as a fellow Evil Glasses person. It is highly unlikely that Shiroe’s stockpile is his own, since much of his guild isn’t in a position to obtain it yet with their levels.

    • October 19, 2014 at 9:59 amStilts

      Soujiro, and that’s what I was thinking too.

  • October 19, 2014 at 12:09 amUngas123

    Stilts edit: Teachings/Overskill spoilers. You have no idea how hard it is to edit a comment without reading it, stop it.
    Show Spoiler ▼

    Show Spoiler ▼

    • October 19, 2014 at 12:11 amUngas123

      err… correction on the 4th line… “when it was a game.”

    • October 19, 2014 at 1:11 amErimaki

      Uhh, aren’t those spoilers, since Overskills/(Teachings?) were only briefly hinted at this episode?

      • October 19, 2014 at 1:53 amLonghaul

        This is another case of Show Spoiler ▼

      • October 19, 2014 at 12:11 pmUngas123

        I understand, Longhaul. But sometimes you have to make your brain work when watching to connect the dots. But still, isn’t it totally obvious at this point?

        According to Nyanta,

        a Teaching (Overskill) is new Rank of Skills. The skill could be powerful or not.

        New rank of skill. NEW. So, it’s safe to assume that Teachings came with Novasphere Pioneers or it won’t be called “new”. Show Spoiler ▼

        Stilts edit: Please stop spoiling and/or confirming things outside of spoiler tags.

        P.S.
        Show Spoiler ▼

      • October 19, 2014 at 2:39 pmSolaris

        I think you should stop speaking about Overskill/teachlings (wtf is with this name lol) till the proper time. Their details are peculiar and spoiling it now would be a pity.

      • October 19, 2014 at 2:52 pmLonghaul

        I understand, Longhaul.

        No, you don’t. Otherwise you would have respected Stilts request (which is pretty much the standard policy for spoilers on RC).
        Show Spoiler ▼

  • October 19, 2014 at 12:10 amnoir

    Is it me or the sub in this episode is horrible?

  • October 19, 2014 at 1:09 amErimaki

    That was some amazing combat! It’s nice to see how making mistakes isn’t something to be avoided, but more the norm (ok, so immortality definitely helps there, I admit).

    As LN reader, I like the way raid/raid party explanation was adapted; for one, telling while showing works better than just telling in visual media. And using a raid boss only mentioned briefly in the LNs gave a nice surprise to LN readers too.
    And the fact it was explained in more detail was definitely nice. I didn’t have complaints about the lack of explanation when reading, but the amount of detail to the whole raid group created that need. Stilts’ explanation in last episode’s comments really helped.

    Speaking of which, I’ll leave a short reply to that conversation here, since I just noticed there was continuation to it:
    It was thanks to Stilts’ explanation I started to question my assumption on what kind of animal a raid was (assumption that wasn’t very favorable). That combined with this episode made me realize how wrong I was. The passionate way Stilts is telling about his raiding experiences is also making me sad I never got to that part of MMOs. (My personal MMO experiences were never too good and led me to losing interest…)

    Also, Stilts, couple of small things I feel the need to point out/correct:
    - this is something I feel the anime explained badly, but the skills you need items for are upgraded versions of already existing skills, not completely new skills. Basically you learn all the skills by leveling up and need those scrolls to rank them up into stronger versions.
    - I didn’t realize this last week, but 24 isn’t actually the maximum size for raids in Elder Tales. A 96-man variety also exists. For example, the group Krusty led into the battle with goblins was one of those.

    • October 19, 2014 at 10:09 amStilts

      On the skills: I know. That was the four (perhaps five now) skill levels. Typical MMO fare, and yes, in older MMORPGs you often had to get drops (and occasionally even do quests / get raid drops) to upgrade your spells. I was merely noting that they were going all in on it because they were apparently making ALL skills do that, rather than just a few marquee ones. Or that’s what it sounded like.

      On 96-man raids: Is that so? I had assumed Krusty’s raid was just a group of raids, i.e. they weren’t actually grouped together, but they were operating like that. (In EQ, I did many 100+ people raids even though the max raid size was 72 … the extras were just in a second raid that came along and cycled into the main raid as spots opened up.) Looking into it though, you’re right. There are 92-man Legion Raids.

      As for my raiding experiences, it was a lot of fun when I did it, but I was also younger with not a lot to do and I spent waaaaay too much time raiding. That’s not something I can do anymore because I have too many other things I want to spend time on (Random Curiosity and my other writing chief among them), so I don’t do it anymore. Unless you’re planning to go all-in, it’s not something easily done … and it’s not the same as when I did it by virtue of the calculus changing toward making encounters “more accessible” to more players. Which is good, but also a shame, because beating out your rival guilds was part of the run to raiding the planes in my time in Everquest, lol

      • October 19, 2014 at 2:09 pmErimaki

        Oh, ok, I misunderstood you there. But man, I’ve never seen this kind of system before. I’ve only seen the gain by level, pay for skills and skill point systems. Of course, all of my little MMO experience is from late 2000s onwards, so obviously I’m not going to be familiar with these nifty old-school mechanics. Shame, really, most of those sound really fun.

        Actually, now that I think about it, it probably wasn’t mentioned in the anime. The novel gave a brief explanation back then, but nothing much (basically “these exists, they get bigger in this order, this is what they are doing now”).
        And I can’t even imagine how raiding in a 100+ group would be like. BTW, that sounds like EQ didn’t have those restricting things called instances. Cool.

        Yeah, raiding really seems to take a lot of time and we all know how busy you are (your backlog is the proof), so that’s understandable. Also great, I admit, because we couldn’t enjoy your writing nearly as often if you were off raiding =P
        As for me, whenever I joined a MMO, I did so with the plan to stay. That plan didn’t work out though, partially because I usually had really bad luck with parties. As in, the nice veterans who bothered to explain things to those who didn’t know never seemed to find themselves in my party.

      • October 19, 2014 at 4:23 pmStilts

        EQ did not have instances at that time, you are correct. (They were added later on.) That was fun when you could get the better of the other guilds, but you sometimes ended up at virtual war with your rivals, which—since there was no PvP on my server, or most of them for that matter, and there were no opposing player factions—meant scrambling to organize raids and clear to (and defeat) raid bosses first before other guilds could, or opposing raid groups training mobs on each other back and forth in an attempt to frustrate one of them into giving up.

        It was chaos, but the kind of frustrating chaos that you look back on fondly after the fact.

  • October 19, 2014 at 2:06 amLonghaul

    I am happy that our ex-PKer trio still gets to appear.

  • October 19, 2014 at 2:17 amGinobi47

    Ah raids… reminds me of the good old days were my guild would reserve an entire netcafe when we go on a major one. We go out to eat at the same time, and at times, have fist fights coz someone screwed up somewhere.

    I never get into the fist fights coz im a healer, but it sure hell was fun to watch.

    Highschool was awesome

  • October 19, 2014 at 3:25 ammac65

    He’s just a Demi-Demi.

    @stilts – well said, excellent characterization of that relationship!

    Love the series so far, gets better and better!

  • October 19, 2014 at 3:36 amNetto

    Heart was pounding throughout the episode.

    William’s passion as a Guild Master is so touching. :D Great character building episode.

    The Grind is real! :P

  • October 19, 2014 at 5:42 amZannafar

    How is she sticking to his back right now?

    Tetra’s shoes have a floating ability. She’s not really sticking to his back and more leaning on it while floating.

    • October 19, 2014 at 8:47 amnoir

      Damn how could I have forgotten that and wonder what on earth going on with tetora.

      Thank you, dude.

      • October 19, 2014 at 10:04 amnoir

        Wait I can’t find it too…but I have heard of that shoes….

        Err…Damn…I can’t remember.. but I seem to have seen a pic of that shoes, or at least tetora’s mini floating.

      • October 19, 2014 at 11:25 amnoir

        Okay I give up, after all the searching and asking, its not certain for me, so it’s a miss remembering I think.

        The Only and the closest thing I could find for that shoes was Hara’s designs for the full Raid members and LN vol 7. It show tetora having a weird detach discs below her shoes.

        So Source pls? :D

    • October 19, 2014 at 10:00 amSTELLA

      where is the floating shoes setting you have seen?
      i cant seems find it in vol.7….

    • October 19, 2014 at 10:13 amStilts

      That’d make sense (though be slightly overpowered … hovering spells are useful), but I can’t find it mentioned anywhere either. Source?

    • October 20, 2014 at 12:01 amRandom Comment

      You folks are looking too much into it. Can you just accept that her sticking to Naotsugu, even in mid-air, is just the animation staff’s joke about how annoyingly clingy she is? Like the way she managed to slip under his armor when it’s just humanly impossible ^^;;;

      In fact, nothing is mentioned about Tetora’s shoes. The equipment mentioned in the novel is only her wand and two of her accessories. In fact, the disks noir mentioned might well be part of the visual effects granted by one of those accessories. Or it could be just hara-san’s way of highlighting her Idol status =3

      • October 20, 2014 at 10:34 amStilts

        Ahaha, you’re probably right. They just let us focus on it for a bit too long, so we started looking for answers. Tetora being the Super Magical Galaxy Idol Tetora-chan is enough!

      • October 20, 2014 at 7:20 pmDrasca

        Though I have to admit there’s a lot of room inside Nao’s armor, especially if you compare Nao’s volume outside the armor vs wearing it, Tetra needs no excuses. The old survival game club, ‘this is all inside their imaginations’ idea is enough.

        Just accept the mahou shoujo can do anything!

  • October 19, 2014 at 7:03 amDvalinn

    …unless you could Feign Death, you lucky bastards…

    :D

    I loved being a Hunter. Saved so much money on repairs!

    Man, this episode was an exercise in nostalgia. It’s been pretty clear for a while that the author knows these games top to bottom, and it clearly showed again here. I loved the complexity of these types of raids and I’ve had many nights of wiping and learning bosses myself (from the 10-mans of Shade of-”goddammit don’t move in the fire”-Aran, to 25-man fighting the Lich King himself to revisiting the ye olde 40-mans). I can’t imagine how much more complex it must be here, considering there’s no convenient overview. Not to mention the raid seems to be lacking in opportunities ro repair or gather supplies – no HS-ing to Shattrath or Dalaran to get some extra arrows or something. Now that’s hardcore raiding. I do wonder how much deeper they’re going to go though, that raid is freaking huge.

    And Akatsuki gets to be in the spotlight in the future again, yay. As far as female characters go, she’s sadly always been one of the more underdeveloped ones (compared to the likes of, say, Lenessia), so having a story where she’s the main protag would be a good way to solve that issue.

    • October 19, 2014 at 1:41 pmStilts

      I was thinking of EQ monks when I said that, but yeah, screw WoW Hunters too! Especially since I ended up pulling half the time anyway. (I played a Mage with Ice Block back when few Mages had Ice Block, and I was the raid leader and impatient. Sometimes it was easier to just pull the boss myself, lol)

      • October 19, 2014 at 2:25 pmXacual

        Hahahaha that reminds me of my guild’s first successful kill of a boss back in Vanilla WoW. We had a very impatient grumpy mage in the guild. And he got really annoyed that the hunter screwed up the pull twice so he ran out himself and grabbed the boss and then ran to me, I was the main tank, and Ice Blocked. We had a really good laugh over it on Vent at the time, he ended up pretty much pulling that boss every reset as a result, really confused some hunter recruits that came later.

      • October 19, 2014 at 4:19 pmStilts

        Exactly! Only since I was the guild (and raid) leader, I had a license to be grumpy, and I pulled things all the time, lol

      • October 19, 2014 at 8:49 pmDvalinn

        Haha, that reminds me of an old guild leader back in the day, a warlock. After a demoralizing night of repeated wiping against a certain raid boss, it was time for our final attempt. Dude just Leeroys in because he got frustrated and ninjapulls the boss. Utter chaos was the result.

        …and we got our first kill! Glorious!

      • October 20, 2014 at 7:23 pmDrasca

        Bwahaha I loved Locke shennanigans. My guild hated when I eye of kilrogg’ed inside raid zones. Summoned a little moving eyeball that I could see through, which is targetabble by monsters, and zipped by until it went splat… of course I could pull this way too!

  • October 19, 2014 at 10:41 amTrap Masters

    Log Horizon is as impressive as ever! :D I really loved the explanation in the beginning explaining the raid parties and the strategies involved, and it really helped me understand as to how the raid is done(who never played any games in his life) and its these details and strategy that makes a series really shine! And as for the animation, despite some hiccups and a slightly different character design, overall I really think there isn’t that much of a difference between season 1 and 2,so I have no problem with Deen doing the second season. :D

    PS: We need more Akatsuki! Please Shiroe, realize her feelings already and let this ship set sail! :(

  • October 19, 2014 at 11:09 amtimbo_1

    There is a mistake that Deen made about Shiroe in this ep. His Character Profile Pic shows his race as “Human” and not “Half-Alv”…..look at the time stamp 4:24.

    @Stilts….”Domo arigato” for continuing to cover LH2. This ep did bring back good and bad times during the raids and dungeons that my NUKER-LOCK participated in the old days of WoW. I always had a full 1 and 1/2 bags of “soul shards”.

    • October 19, 2014 at 11:43 amKrono

      That’s not a Deen error, that’s a Crunchyroll error. Just like they “translated” Minami into “the South” for the first two episodes despite it being a proper place name like Akiba, before finally fixing it this episode. An error incidentally, which Stilts continued in his review of this episode despite Crunchyroll fixing it.

      • October 19, 2014 at 1:31 pmStilts

        @ timbo_1

        *Bows* Domo. Happy to do it. In fact, wouldn’t miss it for the world!

        @ Krono

        Fixed. I always confuse Minami with Kanami, because it sounds too much like a name to me. I’ll probably just refer to the guild itself from now on, because Plant Hwyaden is fun to say.

      • October 19, 2014 at 11:06 pmtimbo_1

        Weird…. I didn’t watch it on Crunchyroll, watched it on Anilinkz.

        Are they tied together somehow?

      • October 20, 2014 at 10:33 amKrono

        @timbo_1

        Yes. Anilinkz is just an aggregator site that links to various pirate streams. Most of which these days are rips of Crunchyroll, or other streaming services.

  • October 19, 2014 at 11:13 amJhacks

    This is why Log Horizon is a great MMORPG-anime and everyone else is trash.

  • October 19, 2014 at 12:44 pmLithonite

    *sigh* the good old days of EQ.. how I wish there were still games like that.

    • October 19, 2014 at 1:33 pmStilts

      Technically, there is—EQ. It’s still running. I’m sure it’s changed, but it’s one of the rare MMOs that have stayed around. A loyal fanbase’ll do that.

  • October 19, 2014 at 12:45 pmbakakubi

    I’m just waiting for Demi-Demi to starting running in, pulling aggro and shouting “Leeroy” from the top of his lungs.

  • October 19, 2014 at 1:05 pmSolaris

    I can be rude but, please, don’t mention SAO here. Not only that *thing* has nothing to do with real or fictional games but it has nothing to do with other than wish fulfilment for n00bs, so better not use it for comparing with Log Horizon especially.

    • October 19, 2014 at 1:28 pmStilts

      Sorry, but if it’s relevant and I want to, I’m going to mention it. Comparing and contrasting (contrasting, in this case) is a good way to further explore a topic. No reason to avoid it out of dislike … and especially because I don’t hate SAO. I just ignore it at this point (haven’t even finished the first arc of s2).

      • October 19, 2014 at 2:02 pmSolaris

        Well I actually hate SAO quite a bit, but this has nothing to do with my comment: I said that because SAO and Log Horizon are very dissimilar to each other so there’s no point in comparing them like that.
        Back when first SAO season aired I and my friends (from another site) were discussing how SAO was similar to this or that game, just like we’re discussing here how Log Horizon was inspired by Everquest or if it’s similar to WoW. But the more we discussed (and fought) the less clear the situation became. And the problem was always HIM: Kirito. Everything in Sword Art Online is centred around him and develops to his advantage. Rules of the fictional world are born or rewritten to his only advantage. So you can win a raid only if you have Kirito in a party or splendidly winning the last fight even if you’re already dead, with the bonus that even your girlfriend, whose brain should have fried already is alive and kicking, just because you’re Kirito.
        So no, don’t mention that shit here because Log Horizon doesn’t deserve to be compared with something so low in every aspect. Bad writing, bad concept, bad chars bad everything.
        What is there to compare then?
        Log Horizon, on the other hand, is the real depiction of a fantasy game where there isn’t a single main character, but everyone is important in a group. Group dynamics, expanded on several layers, from party to guild, cities and server zones, something poor puny SAO never had to begin with. Doesn’t it sounds more interesting than a story where the main char wins everything just ’cause he’s the main?

      • October 19, 2014 at 4:18 pmStilts

        First of all, please understand that telling me what to do isn’t liable to get you very far. I’m a contrary person by nature, and while that’s a facet of my personality I usually keep in check, it remains; for instance, I’ve never wanted to write an entire post on SAO until the moment someone told me to never mention it again. You can ask, but telling me to do something is as liable to get the opposite result as anything.

        Understand that I hold no umbrage against you, nor am I angry. I’m just explaining how not to ask for something.

        As for mentioning SAO, I was contrasting the two—I was showing how they differ striking from one another, despite the superficial similarities (being “MMO anime”, though as I’ve noted before, SAO is a fantasy anime with flimsy MMO trappings, whereas Log Horizon is an actual MMORPG-flavored anime). I’m not putting them on the same level, nor saying that SAO is as good (in my eyes, and arguably objectively) as Log Horizon by talking about the two in the same paragraph—I was making a point. Which I will continue to do if I see fit, thank you very much. Probably won’t be often, but I’ll mention SAO whenever I feel compelled.

      • October 19, 2014 at 4:29 pmSolaris

        I get the gist of that you’re the king of the castle and I remember now why left this site before once again. Thank you for remembering that to me, so I’ll try to behave.
        PS: Thank you for fixing my spoiler last week too.

      • October 19, 2014 at 5:49 pmStilts

        Not at all. Divine is the king. But I get to write what I want (within certain acceptable limits), just as you get to do the same in the comments. That’s all there is.

        And no problem.

  • October 19, 2014 at 2:43 pmSolaris

    Did someone notice how every char keep repeating how this or that thing didn’t exist when it was still a game?

  • October 19, 2014 at 3:59 pmbakakubi

    I’m curious Stilts, do you still play mmos?

    I think it would be awesome if we have a RC guild and just do raids (without hindering the writers releases, of course).

    • October 19, 2014 at 4:20 pmbakakubi

      Also, this episode totally reminds me of the fractle dungeons from guild wars 2.

    • October 19, 2014 at 4:25 pmStilts

      I don’t anymore, really. I basically played them as Real Time Strategy games where all the units were actual human beings (raid/guild leader was my thing), and in the absence of that kind of high-level play (I don’t have the time for that anymore), being a regular mook lost all its flavor. I play the occasional one with friends, but I haven’t hit level cap since Warhammer Online, and that was only because I had multiple RL friends I was playing with. And the dark magic / combustion mechanic was awesome (when your best friend is a pocket healer, haha)

      You’re free to try to make one though. I’d start with IRC. Just can’t promise I’d be able to join in.

      • October 19, 2014 at 4:52 pmbakakubi

        OMG, then I’ll really make one for sure! It won’t be anything too serious, since work only allows me to play during Fridays and weekends.

        Are there any games you’d suggest?

        The ones that comes to mind for me are: Elsword, Guild Wars 2, Vindictus(sadly not that great of a game, but they have great raids)…… and that’s about it -_- I’m down for suggestions from anyone.

        Also, sorry for being a complete noob, but what does IRC stand for? I google searched it and got “internet relay chat”. I have no idea what that means.

      • October 19, 2014 at 5:50 pmStilts

        We have an IRC channel. Information is in the top right, under where it says Announcements.

      • October 19, 2014 at 10:53 pmbakakubi

        Oh cool, never noticed that. Thanks for the info. I will definitely hit it up once I’m free!

      • October 20, 2014 at 7:34 pmDrasca

        I do have positive things to say about Guild Wars 2. I’ve played my fill and there are some negatives to it, but the positives are pretty overwhelming:

        No subscription fee for modern & regularly updated AAA quality MMO content: Pretty big deal, esp with much worse MMO’s like ESO out there that charge subs for much less. F2P games are ‘free’ but handicapped by paywalls, and usually not nearly as complete.

        Levels & Loot are handled better. Loot is handed directly to the player, and scaled to your character, even if you’re playing with your newbie friends in their zone, your level is scaled down and your loot is scaled up to your level with rarities being the same.

        Most importantly Lots of fun :)

  • October 19, 2014 at 11:32 pmPrivate

    Show Spoiler ▼

    Stilts edit: Reacting to spoilers is still spoiling.

    • October 22, 2014 at 1:32 pmLyfe

      I think this season has been great so far. They’ve adapted the material fairly well too, I think we’ll get a full 24 episodes with no filler.

  • October 20, 2014 at 4:38 amNagakun

    Show Spoiler ▼

    But one of the boss loot is the big eye?!

    Stilts edit: Alluding to spoilers is still spoiling.

  • October 20, 2014 at 7:30 amSissy

    People are comparing Log Horizon to SAO because they’re pretty recent. But how about comparing it to .hack? Eh? Eh? :D
    Imma go back to work now.

    • October 20, 2014 at 8:31 amGermanguy

      or Summer Wars

    • October 20, 2014 at 10:31 amStilts

      I didn’t watch much of .hack (only seen the occasional episode sporadically), so I can’t speak to that one. Alas, I can’t say the same for SAO

      • October 20, 2014 at 10:42 amGermanguy

        .hack has nearly the same base as SAO. Well, a System that control a game, and more. And now you imagine something goes wrong, like in Summer wars. As you see same Base, just another Universe. Thats why nowadays most Animes seem offspring’s from the same Parents

      • October 20, 2014 at 10:43 amGermanguy

        like most Sci-fi Mecha Animes, has some connection to Evagelion and such

    • October 20, 2014 at 10:59 amPancakes

      .hack is probably the best reference for Log Horizon, but one has to be careful in making comparisons as .hack has a definite dichotomy between the real world and The World; whereas in Log Horizon the main focus is on learning to adapt and accept being trapped in the game world, in .hack it’s about the transfer of actions and consequences between the game world and the real world.

      Basically .hack is what SAO looked to be aiming for in season 1 before the whole Kirito-Asuna thing and the deus ex machina of an ending.

    • October 20, 2014 at 11:44 amSolaris

      It’s a pity people have SAO as their only reference nowadays.
      And you can’t also speak up against it that people react funny. There is a lot to say about virtual life interaction vs real life here but I’d rather avoid using SAO as a comparison/contrast. It just let flame rise unless you flatter it.

      • October 21, 2014 at 9:56 amKaleRylan

        No, plenty of people complain about SAO, what makes people fight is when you get uppity like you did up above with Stilts.

        As for .hack; I always enjoyed it and played through all of the games that came west(the second set was better). It’s kind of a middle ground between SAO and Log Horizon. For the most part people aren’t trapped in the game, aside from the one main character in the original anime, so the mystery is more on what’s going on with the game and why than surviving in the game world itself since the vast majority of characters could still log out just fine. It also had a somewhat simplistic game system that was broken from minute 1 so it wasn’t nearly as technical as Log Horizon. And it was VR like SAO.

        Personally while I haven’t even finished SAO and don’t feel like really catching up with it, I think people give it too much crap. So many people get mad that it doesn’t follow the game rules or something, but is that such a big deal? It’s NOT Log Horizon. It is Kirito’s story and he’s a superhero in it. There’s LOTS of stories where the main character is a superhero that the universe basically revolves around. People seem more offended by the fact that SAO isn’t the story they want than anything about the quality of the story it is telling. Still, like I said I’ve only watched the first arc and a half or so.

  • October 20, 2014 at 12:36 pmSolaris

    So, I’ll leave SAO aside. The nice thing in Log Horizon is that you’re supposed to be in a game, but every now and then all of the chars mention discrepancies from the Elder Tale they knew before the Apocalypse. Hints are that things are changing and Adventurers looks to be in something different than a game. This will have immediate implications. Just stay tuned and see.

    Hack, on the other way was a game in every way you look at it. The detail of the world game was good, but different from Log Horizon. The game looked a lot more a game. The chars resembled avatars and there was a heavy reuse of sprite with changing colour theme. You could easily meet chars that resembled the main but had a different colour scheme and equip. This made easier animation recycle thus giving a nice effect depicting a real game. Moreover all of the PG always equipped weapons and had no problem carrying them around. That also made the pg looks more an avatar than a fantasy character. The world, as previously stated was separated from real life and you heard people disconnect and speak nerdy just like people used to while playing. In the story line everything was a game, but just something strange occurred at some time and ‘weird’ stuff happened and main chars were prompted to investigate, discovering hidden truth just like happened in Lain.

    • October 21, 2014 at 10:02 amKaleRylan

      The anime of Log horizon hasn’t made this exceedingly clear so people haven’t totally caught onto it, but in the LNs, WAY back when Shiroe first meets Nyanta in Susukino, it’s mentioned that their characters DID change to reflect their real bodies to some extent. It didn’t change their race, height, or anything ‘hard-coded’ like that, but it apparently shifted their features. This is mentioned in regards to NYANTA of all people, a cat, so you can be sure that the human-looking races look very close to their real selves.

      This is probably why you don’t see models being re-used; we’re not actually seeing the in-game models in Log Horizon. The anime has Shiroe, Naotsugu, and Akatsuki talk about this a little in the first episode, but I don’t think they were clear enough so people seem to have missed it.

      This isn’t a spoiler since it was from episode 1, but the anime didn’t really hammer it in. And I’ve only read volume 1 of the LNs anyway because I decided I liked the anime better (the books are VERY detail-heavy).

      • October 23, 2014 at 6:30 amSolaris

        This whole matter has been exposed well in the anime too. Remember the first round table conference? What did Shiroe say that time about npcs and the game? Well, the topic will be further developed in an episode in volume 6, that is to say in less than 7 episodes (given they still are adapting every volume in 5 episodes anyway). The problem with Log Horizon is the heavy foreshadowing: There are a lot of details being shown far before you can tell what it is all about, and so you forget. The truth being told by Shiroe back in the second arc is going to be proven in a few episodes. This is not Elder Tales any more, it’s something different, so we can’t expect anything to be just like we are used it to be before.

        Models aren’t reused here for they don’t want to depict avatars but real-like people in a fantasy like settings. Log Horizon used the same usual graphical code to ‘tell’ chars personality by the way they’re drawn. Just notice how sidekick chars and apparition chars aren’t usually very detailed to begin with. The eyes, their attire tells a lot about them too, even with the tiny budget such serie have. The hint is, again, that Elder Tale is something more than a game. So, here details are that important.