Game Complete! The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky

So this is a thing I’ve been wanting to do over the years but never got around to doing it: Recording when I finish a game. I am terrible about finishing games, especially JRPGs, so I feel like I need to keep a record of the rare times it actually happens!

I just finished the JRPG, “Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky” (Steam/PC). I’m not going to do a review, but it is an excellent game. But I knew that going into it. Because this is the second time I’ve completed it! I actually played it when it was it initially released in the West on the Playstation Portable (PSP) 10-15yrs ago. I’m pretty sure I still own the UMD disc for my still working PSP.

So why replay this game? Because there’s a second and third chapter to it. I initially expected to play at least the second chapter on the PSP back in the day, but unfortunately it never released to PSP. Instead the second chapter went to the PS3, and I just never got around to playing it.

Then it was re-released on Steam in 2014, and the remaining chapters were finally released on Steam in 2015 and 2017. As such, the second and third chapter have been on my radar for a while. I recently picked up the additional chapters, but since it’s been so long since I’ve played the first chapter, that I’d forgotten most of the story, it made sense to simply replay it. And I’m glad I did.

Some details of this playthrough:

  • Installed: 2022-09-23
  • Start Date: 2022-09-23, est.
  • Time in-game based on Steam: 80.7 hrs
  • Time in-game based on Save Data: 60.5 hrs
  • Completed: 2022-10-26

So 60-80hrs over about a month. Not bad. Especially when most of my JRPGs can take me years to finish, if I even do finish them. I often restart them multiple times, because I’ll sometimes put a JRPG down for a few years and forget everything (Looking at you Final Fantasy XII…).

On to the second chapter! My goal is to finish that one and the third by the end of the year.

Afterwards, maybe I’ll move to some of the other LoH games that I’ve been working on over the years. The LoH series has quite a lot of games, much like the Final Fantasy series. “Trails” is just one subseries of LoH. I played all of and completed 2/3 of the so-called “Gagharv” subseries on PSP back in the day. I also completed the first chapter of the “Trails in the Sky” subseries on my Vita, and have been playing the second chapter on and off for the last few years. See what I mean?

One last thing…

Other games I’ve completed in 2022 so far:

  • Final Fantasy VII Remake (PS4) – Completed on 2nd restart.
  • Desperados III (Steam/PC) – Finished 2022-05-17; started it back in 2020 at the beginning of the pandemic.
  • The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles (Steam/PC), both first and second parts – Finished 2022-09-05; started 2021-07-30.

AAR: 8 Mar. 2020, Deklein — Whoring on the Penultimate GOTG Keepstar

Having already been on a few GOTG Keepstar killmails last month and having already hit my PVP kill requirements for March, I wasn’t really planning on getting on another. But when you’re up at 4:00 am, finishing up some 5+ hours of mining, a free opportunity to pad zKillboard isn’t a bad idea. Especially since it requires little thought from the sleep-deprived brain.

Our fleet to EU3Y-6 in Deklein – through two advantageously-spawned Thera wormhole connections – was quick as we flew up in a fast Jackdaw fleet. As expected, there were hundreds other players in system ready to whore on the kill, along with the main Titan damage dealer fleets. Our allies in NC. were there, along with the “bluetral”-for-this-eviction TEST, among others. Enemies were absent in major numbers since technically GOTG has disbanded. Who would show up to defend a structure of a dead coalition of alliances? No one would. The enemies barely defended them when they were still a semi-organized group.

There’s not much else to say, other than our Jackdaw fleet did get Doomsday’d by the Keepstar, though I think we only lost eight or so ships. I didn’t take any damage from it.

The following photos tell the story better.

The main Titan fleet doing the vast majority of damage.
The Titans started getting ballsy, knowing they couldn’t be killed.
Is this a Michael Bay movie?

Killmail of the Keepstar. And I believe there’s another one, the last Keepstar to destroy, in a few hours. We’ll see if I’m awake for that one.

Going down the Rabbit Wormhole

While I’ve dabbled in Wormholes before, I’ve never really gone too deep. Once in a blue moon, I’d spend a few hours scanning an anomaly down, jumping into a wormhole, and then kinda putz around aimlessly.

I’d attempt to hack a data or relic site or engage in some “ninja mining:” relatively quick and short sessions of mining or gas harvesting before PVE enemies (“rats”) or other players show up. I’ve certainly never solo explored chains of wormholes, for fear of getting lost. Boredom would set in quickly and I’d drop exploration again for several months.

I didn’t really learn or retain much as a result. This time, however, I wanted to really get a good taste of what wormhole exploration had to offer. To do that, I put together a basic fitting for a Prospect, a T2 expedition frigate.

[Prospect, Gas Ninja Speed Prototype]
Warp Core Stabilizer I
IFFA Compact Damage Control
Nanofiber Internal Structure II
Warp Core Stabilizer I

5MN Microwarpdrive II
Survey Scanner II

Covert Ops Cloaking Device II
Expanded Probe Launcher I
Gas Cloud Harvester II

Small Processor Overclocking Unit I
Small Processor Overclocking Unit I

Combat Scanner Probe I x16
Nanite Repair Paste x50

This fit comes in at under 50 million ISK. Since my goal was exploration and ninja mining, I focused on cloaking, probe scanning, and resource gathering Defensive capabilities were nil; speed and the ability to run away would be my means of staying alive. It should be noted that this fit is very tight for me: CPU utilization is at 96%, even with CPU Management V.

Probe Scanner window in EVE; shows a system map of the wormhole, with list of 20 anomalies or cosmic signatures.
Lots of sites for gas harvesting in this C4 wormhole!

So far, all is going pretty well. I’ve only come across a handful of people in the wormholes I’ve visited, and only once did someone warp on to grid with me. Luckily, I scanned at the right time, saw the unfamiliar ship on the directional scanner, and MWD+Cloaked away about 30 seconds before an Eris landed and bubbled. I was able to jump out with the enemy pilot none the wiser.

Since I’m mostly solo, I’ve been using Tripwire to help me explore. I can jot down cosmic signatures, record what they are once fully scanned, and track my journey so I know how to get back to high-sec. It even takes some of the work away by auto-tracking and noting where I’m jumping to and from. Pathfinder is another site that provides a similar service that I may try.

Tripwire says I’ve added 262 signatures and added 75 wormholes so far. The longest chain I’ve taken from my “starting” high-sec system is 5 wormholes. I’ve been lucky that I’ve been able to get back to my start each time.

Screenshot of the browser-based Tripwire service. Shows a diagram of connected systems, statistical graph, list of found anomalies/sites, and some of my notes.
The UI of Tripwire from a recent excursion.

In terms of profit, I’m probably ISK-positive, having harvested somewhere between 100-150 million ISK worth of gas. Ninja mining, however, in a single Prospect doesn’t seem to be particularly profitable, especially given how much time I’m spending scanning down the gas harvesting sites or new wormholes. I’ve likely spent at least fifteen hours in wormholes in the last week.

Nor is it without danger. About half of the gas sites I find already have scary Sleeper rats on them. For the rest, I get between five and twenty minutes to harvest before the Sleepers appear. With no offensive or defensive capabilities, I have no choice but to run.

I should also mention that I’m on my second Prospect. I lost one to sentries at a gas site when I accidentally and stupidly decloaked on grid to launch scanning probes. My poor ship, the aptly named, “Junior Prospector” was obliterated instantly. So I’m down about 50 million ISK already.

Screenshot of in-game Mining Ledger, showing graphs of what gas types I've harvested and the amounts.
Definitely harvested more gas than I thought I did.

Overall, however, I’m having a lot of fun exploring wormholes and learning a lot. Aside from breaking the monotony of ice mining or “getting blueballs” in null-sec fleets, I’m finally taking the time to participate in this side of the game. W-Space (or J-Space) is one of four main areas of space in Eve. I play in high- and null-sec all the time — while mostly avoiding low-sec, other than travel — so it’s great to finally get my toes wet here. I’ve even convinced a buddy to join me. Maybe one day I’ll set up shop in a wormhole. I certainly see the allure.

In the meantime, it’s time to get back to exploring the unknown. Back to going down the rabbit hole.

An Assassin With a Soul? A Short Review of ‘Hitman: Absolution’

This was initially written on and submitted to the Steam store page for Hitman: Absolution, with some additional edits and commentary.

This is the first game I’ve played in the Hitman series. It took me two attempts to finally complete it (got bored the first time around a few years ago). I played on the Normal difficulty. I beat the game right before writing this review. I won’t give a synopsis, since the Wikipedia article does a good job.

If you’re into stealth action games like Deus Ex: Human Revolution and Mankind Divided or the Spinter Cell series, HM:A definitely satisfies that “itch” since those two series are currently on hiatus. Gameplay wise, it’s mostly fun, but the AI is rather dumb. The challenge is that there are often tons of enemies on the map that you have to sneak around instead of fewer NPCs with decent AI to contend with. That’s not to say it’s always easy to do so. Though how to complete the mission is up to you; full stealth or full rampage or anywhere in between.

Screenshot of an enemy NPC above main character; main character is hanging off the bridge ledge.
Really, dude? You don’t see Agent 47, or at least his hands? OK…

As such, you can often just blast your way through a mission, quite easily. For a stealth game, it’s quite odd that that’s a legitimate option, and often times the easiest and quickest option. During the final missions, I was definitely rampaging. And thinking about it now, it seemed like Absolution “forced” me to go into that mode. There weren’t enough places to hide bodies or even hide, period. There were less items to throw or other things like radios to distract enemies, nor opportunities to take down enemies one by one.

The setting is average at best. I expected a more realistic setting. Instead, it’s like some modern-day but noir-ish alternative universe, with over-the-top stereotypical characters and events. Add in the villains and it felt like I was in a comic book or pulp fiction novel. Again, not at all what I was expecting.

Screenshot of Agent 47 walking away like a badass, as the town in the background burns.
The former town of Hope, South Dakota. The bad guys burned down a town; NBD.

With regards to the story, it was just OK. It’s easy to follow and makes sense, but it’s nothing that makes you think hard and deep. I think my biggest complaint is that characters would be introduced – often they’d need to be assassinated – but there’s no real backstory or explanation as to who they are and why I need to assassinate them (other than they’re working for the bad guys). 

I didn’t try any of the online Contracts stuff, since I guess it no longer exists due to GDPR compliance issues *shrug*.

I’ll leave the rest of my review to the checklist below. Would I recommend this game? Yeah, probably. But I wouldn’t buy it at full price. Wait for a sale or get it as part of a bundle. Like I said, it definitely satisfied my stealth game needs. And if that’s what you’re looking for, Hitman: Absolution will do.

☐ Is this real life?
☐ Beautiful
☑ Good
☐ Average
☐ Paint.exe

☐ Excellent
☑ Good
☐ Average
☐ Staring at walls is better
☐ Just don‘t

☐ Eargasm
☑ Very good
☐ Good
☐ OK
☐ Ear rape

☑ Adults
☐ Teens
☐ Kids
☐ Human

—{PC Requirements}—
☐ Ask NASA if they have a spare Cray
☐ RTX 2080
☑ Decent
☐ Toaster
☐ Potato

☐ Dark Souls
☐ Frustrating, but not impossible
☑ Easy to learn / Hard to master
☐ Significant brain usage
☐ So easy a child could do it
☐ Just press ‘A’

☐ Asian MMO
☐ Western MMO
☐ Average amount of grind
☑ Only if you care about leaderboards/ranks
☐ Nothing to grind

☐ National Epic
☐ NYT Bestseller
☑ Average
☐ Bargain Bin
☐ There’s a story?

—{Game Time}—
☐ To infinity and beyond
☐ Long
☑ Average
☐ Short
☐ Long enough for a cup of coffee

☐ It’s free!
☐ Worth the full price
☑ Wait for a sale/Humble Bundle
☐ You could also just burn your money

☑ Clean Room, Biosafety Level 4
☐ Minor and/or few non-gamebreaking bugs
☐ Many bugs; some serious
☐ ARK: Survival Evolved
☐ Ant Farm/Hive/Termite Mound

Probably my favorite disguise.

AAR: 6 Mar. 2019, Lonetrek

I was just about to get off the computer and go to bed when an urgent ping went out:



Well, shit. Might as well log back in. We had been camping an NPC station housing enemy dreads and subcaps earlier in the night, so I figured we finally tackled some. Either that or it was our Dreadnoughts that were tackled.

So I jumpclone’d back to our SIG staging, got into an Osprey (sounded like we were lacking in Logi; not that we needed it), then burned to Hakonen.

Once I landed on grid, I was treated to the beautiful site of two neutral Revelations and a couple of Moros, all tackled. In addition, we were next to an Astrahus that was already into structure. And these weren’t the same guys from earlier.

I made sure to bring some drones so I could whore on these kills. And whore I did. I only missed out on one Moros.

In the end, all targets were destroyed, quite easily, including the Astrahus. We did lose two Revelations of our own, along with a Naglfar. But given how blingy the enemies were — they also lost a Vindicator somehow — I’m pretty sure we were ISK-positive.

All that in about twenty minutes.

Moments before the explosion of the Astrahus

AAR: 28 Feb. 2019, Branch

Our evening began with a Slasher gang roam in Geminate that ended with us staring at the Oijanen sun and attempting to fly into said sun for at least fifteen minutes. Yeah, it was one of those nights. I believe the only kill we managed to snag was an Impairor piloted by a non-blue alt of a completely newbie Newbean, along with his accompanying pod. Hey, he was neutral. He should’ve known better (or not).

A lavender sun in the Oijanen system of EVE. In the foreground, a small Slasher frigate gazes upon it.
The mesmerizing violet sun in Oijanen. Courtesy of Briggens Dingus, who was there probably fifteen minutes longer than the rest of us.

Sensing that the gang was getting bored, Lolz and I suggested that we go on a real roam to some other parts of null-sec. Five of us — Heinrich, Gary, Lolz, Swiggity, and I — agreed.

After debating the finer points of a Warp Disruptor versus a Warp Scrambler, we set off north in Thrashers, with Heinrich in a Svipul for cloaky probing.

Our target was Branch.

I was familiar with the Branch region since I was deployed up there last fall in a campaign to harass GOTG. There were always tons of ratters. Hell, even I ratted up there during lulls in action.

We took the “ansiblex highway” up to Tribute, through Venal, and then into Branch via MA-VDX. It was relatively quiet the whole way through. We stopped here and there to try to probe down neutrals in system with us, but nothing came of it.

From MA-, we moved to 1G-MJE. Dotlan was showing high amounts of NPC kills in this area of the pocket. We immediately detected several ships on D-Scan, including some caps. Heinrich probed them down, and warped on to them…

…Only to find they were all in a POS bubble.

We, not entirely understanding the mechanics of POS’s, hung around figuring out what to do, and even fired a few shots into the thing. We had a strong suspicion that these were bots, so we bookmarked the location for a return at a later date, perhaps with some Mobile Warp Disruptors.

From there, we dove deeper into Branch, trying to probe or shotgun sites to find ratters. Unfortunately, they were all paying attention so we never caught any.

By this point, our presence was known and we started seeing more of the locals flying around. No one ever engaged us, but we knew we were being tracked. Heinrich started jumping into systems first to probe down ships without scaring them as much. However, he couldn’t scan them down quick enough before they docked or tethered-up.

Next, we flew into the CX-1XF pipe, heading towards south-central Branch. This pocket had the highest concentration of ratting activity in the region according to Dotlan.

This, however, was a dangerous gambit. While the pipe was very long, it was exactly that, a pipe with only two exits. Just like our recent excursion in Catch, we could be camped quite easily on either or both ends of the pipe, slowly getting boxed in.

After hanging around 3-TD6L for too long, I felt we needed to keep moving. I had us start freeburning towards 9-B1DS. The more time we spent in this pipe, the higher chance of a gatecamp being formed.

And formed it was. We met the gatecamp in J52-BH. Upon landing on the 5-P1Y2 gate, a handful of ships were there to meet us. It was time to fight.

There were a couple of frigates, so we focused on a Claw and won. However, we lost Lolz before that. Our next target was a VNI, which we managed to force into armor, but with more enemies jumping in, we didn’t stand a chance. Each of us was promptly destroyed and podded.

Except for Heinrich.

He somehow managed to cloak up in the thick of it and evade getting decloaked. Though he said they got dangerously close to doing so. He slowly burned out of the bubble, then waited for things to quiet down before bee-lining it to nearest friendly station for repairs, several jumps away. He set course back home – twenty-something jumps – and made it back in one piece.

Overall, I thought we did pretty good. We stuck together this time and people followed my orders. Plus we got a kill! The last few roams were either content droughts or situations where we ended up as the “content,” so it was good to finally score a kill again.

My personal highlight was my call to take on the Claw. In battles, it gets chaotic quite quickly. With multiple targets, people tend to panic and just attack whatever. I took a few seconds to look through the enemies on grid and evaluate the situation. Since the Claw was the smallest thing on grid — and we were in destroyers– it was the perfect target. The gang listened, adjusted their targets, tackled him, and followed through to completion.

Lessons learned: Be quick. The more time we spend in one place, the more time we’re giving the enemy to prepare.

Communicate accurately and quickly. We didn’t actually have to enter that fight in the manner we did (we warped in at zero from a freeburn). Had the person that landed first accurately relayed the situation, we might have been able to enter the fight differently.

That said, there’s something to be said about chaos. They were probably caught off guard just as we were.

AAR: 23 Feb. 2019, Insmother

I joined a late night/early morning whaling fleet. No whales killed, but we got a few subcaps in the chaos.

Our 60-80-man group of Goku Bombers took off through a wormhole to the Insmother region, via the Cache region. Our target(s) were Rorquals that Fraternity had in the field.

On our way to UDE-FX from 4S0-NP (our ingress system), our scouts reported a lone Rorqual in a belt in 4LB-EL, so that’s where we headed. The scouts tackled and bubbled it, and the fleet warped into the belt.

By the time we landed, at least one enemy subcap was on grid and they had cyno’d in at least one Apostle (there were two on grid at one point). We were unable to take down the Rorq, as we had a limited number of Focused Void Bomb users (myself included) to neut the Rorq’s capacitor, and the fleet was never sorted into proper bombing squadrons that could do bombing runs. I don’t think we ever broke its shields.

We eventually placed a Mobile Cynosural Inhibitor, which our logistics pilots managed to keep up for quite a while. A Nyx and a Nidhoggur showed up as well. It started to get a little hairy as our Interdictors were sometimes bubbling us in the chaos of an escalating situation. We nearly took down an Apostle before leaving. One enemy Nestor was destroyed.

The Rorqual escaped, replaced by multiple enemy caps.

From there, we moved next door to 5IH-GL. By now, FRAT was well aware that we were in the area and had begun responding. While no equivalent fleet was met, several FRAT subcaps moved to intercept us, along with a handful of caps.

With the majority of fleet in Bombers, we were hard-pressed to directly engage. We resorted to guerrilla-esque hit and run tactics, warping back and forth from the gates to see what we could catch. Additional subcap killmails were had in the process.

But with limited number of Interdictors left, and FRAT fully aware of our presence, we had to extract. The goal was to get back to our ingress wormhole. We warped and jumped around a bit to lose our tail, did so, and eventually set course to 4S0-NP. The route back was uneventful, as was the journey back home on the other side of the wormhole.

We stood down once safe at home. Though we didn’t achieve our objective, the final Battle Report showed us winning the ISK war, about 60% vs 40% efficiency (4LB not shown).

A couple of issues we ran into included the ridiculous TiDi as we jumped around in Cache. Altogether, there were probably less than 100 pilots in any one system, so any TiDI made no sense, even if it was just moderately-intense at most.

In addition, our FC, who was in a Harpy, was often just too fast for a fleet of mostly Bombers (I was in a Manticore). The fleet was often “smeared” in a long line behind the FC. We had Command Destroyers (“Booshers”) with us, which made booshing difficult. Sometimes members, even if anchored, missed the boosh. Our FC was often not paying attention to speed, and would even yell at us to catch up, even if we already had MWDs on and flying at max speed.

Overall, it was a good time and everyone did well, considering. Looking forward to the next whaling fleet.

Made it back in one piece!

AAR: 17 Feb. 2019, Catch

We decided to go on a couple of PVP roams. They didn’t turn out very well, but hey, each is a learning experience.

Part I

6-8 of us went out to our usual roaming grounds between Oijanen and Akkio. Having noticed that “shotgunning” anomalies and belts, trying to find targets, wasn’t very effective in previous roams, I decided to bring my trusty Helios with combat probes. Overall, it was kitchen sink gang.

After finding nothing in Oijanen, we moved onto Akora. The gang’s presence in space posed a problem for my probes, so I asked them to dock up. I eventually scanned down an industrial of some kind, and as I warped in under cloak, it warped off to the nearby Mesoya gate.

I warped in at a distance, still cloaked, to see what it would do. Instead of immediately jumping, the indy just sat there. Gilmor came to investigate in an Algos, but the indy still stayed put. Being low-sec, we were wary of the gate sentry guns and didn’t engage.

I started wondering if this was bait since we were next to Mesoya and we’d had losses there before. I asked Killroy to use his Wolf to jump the gate and see if anything was on the other side. He could crash the gate or even warp off in case there was a camp.

For some reason, Gilmor decided to jump in as well. As they went, the industrial jumped in behind them and we heard the groans over comms. There was a small gatecamp and, indeed, the indy was bait. We lost two ships (here and here), and the rest of us headed back home.

Lesson learned: If it’s too good to be true, it probably is.

Part II

Our gang, somewhat deflated, went our separate ways, but eventually a few of us decided to head back out. Rather than go to the usual spot, I suggested we head south. Deep south. To the distant lands of Catch. Maybe we could catch some ratters.

So Heinrich, Gary, and I set off. It was a 25-30 jump journey. Though 10 or so jumps in, Briggens decided he wanted to come, so he set out to catch-up.

The route to Catch was pretty uneventful. It’s surprising how empty large sections of New Eden are. As we got closer, we decided to go into a pocket that showed a lot of ratting activity (via Dotlan): RNF-YH. This would later prove to be a very bad idea.

The locals alerted each other quickly; D-Scan showed little activity, even though plenty of people were in those systems. Rather than backing out, we decided to go further into the pocket. This time Heinrich had probes (and cloak) and tried to find us some targets

While he did that, our gang got a little split up. As Briggens was moving to Heinrich and me, he lost his ship. Shortly thereafter, as Gary was checking to see what happened, he too was forcibly deprived of a ship. Both were given the pod express.

It was at this point we realized our mistake. We were deeply in a dead end. We would have had to jump at least 3 systems before getting out of the pocket. And after losing two guys, we knew some baddies were camping the gates. To make the trip worth it, Heinrich and I decided to try and kill something. Anything.

Unfortunately, all that were left were MTUs, two of which we destroyed. I suggested we let our timers run down, safe log-off, log-in 30-45 minutes later, and then burn out of the pocket once the heat was gone.

Heinrich, however, noticed via D-Scan that a couple of ratting Nyxes had ventured back out, sensing we weren’t much of a threat.

So we warped to a Nyx and scrammed and took out a fighter group! The Nyx itself ran.

Now it was time to run the timer down. 15 minutes. He cloaked up while I continuously warped between safe spots and celestials. We managed to run the timer down with no issue, but then Heinrich had the great idea to check-out the gate. It was clear — let’s give it a try! As he jumped the gate, I warped to it.

Within a minute, he was destroyed by the mini gatecamp on the other side. As I landed…Well, you can see it up top.

Oh, and I managed to bring my training clone. Sigh.

Lesson(s) learned: Stick together. Never go into a dead end pocket (especially one that deep). Safe log is always an option when stranded. Leave the +4 training clone at home.


Well, hello. I’m JCPhoenix. This is my new WordPress site I’m experimenting with. I’m not entirely sure what I’ll post here, but I’m sure it’ll be a lot of gaming related stuff. Like my “battlestation” up above. If I’m not working, sleeping, or at home, there’s a good chance I’m sat here for hours on end.

My current lineup of games is EVE Online, Planetside 2, Stellaris, and Foundation, with other games I play every once in a while. I’m a fan of management/building simulations games.

That’s all I have for now.