Category Archives: Games

Anything and everything game-related

Interview with Staz

This post was first published on GameForge Hearthstone’s Facebook Page on Jan 27, 2017. I’m putting it here as a backup copy. Click here to see the original post.
Last week, Euneil “Staz” Javiñas won the entire World Electronic Sports Games (WESG) Hearthstone World Finals in Changzhou, China, and has become the first SEA player to have a major win. Bagging a cool USD150,000, a whopping 25kg trophy and bragging rights is nothing short of amazing and it’s probably more meaningful to him as it’s his biggest monetary victory yet.
The PH Alliance player is no stranger to hardship as his professional Hearthstone career has been riddled with potholes. He was repeatedly denied visas to the US which cost him several opportunities to compete. Nevertheless, he persevered and the Filipino finally earned the well deserved title of Champion of a premier Hearthstone tournament.
We managed to ask Staz a few questions and he graciously replied, giving us just a glimpse into his world. Most people would want to know how a full time eSports gamer prepares for such events and Staz’s secret is that he has no secret, just pure hard work. He predicted that most people would bring Reno and Patches decks, which was no surprise to anyone.
Staz himself brought Reno Mage and Pirate Warrior, as well as Miracle Rogue, Renolock and Jade Aggro Shaman. Staz felt that these decks had consistency and he preferred to focus on practicing with the decks than to come up with tournament strategy to counter a specific deck or type of deck. Staz didn’t favour any of his decks in particular, he just practiced with all of them them until he reached a fairly equal level of confidence with wielding each one effectively.
Since he expected meta decks, he practiced with meta decks, which not only let him understand the nuances and weaknesses of each deck, but also translated all that practice into muscle memory. Practice gains experience and enough experience turns into reflex actions and instinct. This meant that playing in the tournament didn’t tax his brainpower as much, which in turn allowed him to use his time each turn more effectively to figure out better plays, lessened the likelihood of misplays, and also extended his mental stamina by that much more.
Staz has a lot of respect and hope for our SEA players and says that he can name “at least 15 players who are equally good or even better than [him] here in SEA”. It’s just that we do not have as much exposure or as many major tournaments as the NA or EU regions. So what can SEA players do to elevate themselves to become world class players? Staz brings it back to hard work and perseverance. Just do your best and grind as many tournaments as you can. Keep practicing and, well, git gud, scrub. Everyone has different points of view and personally for him, he likes to understand all the mechanics and the current state of the meta.
He does feel that playing eSports, Hearthstone especially, is a viable full-time career as there are an increasing number of companies investing in eSports and more major tournaments coming up. There are also teams and sponsors that pay enough to satisfy your basic needs, if you can find them, but that really depends on the cost of living in your country. For example, here in Singapore, the cost of living is really quite expensive compared to that of our neighbours, Malaysia and Indonesia.
Just take it from Staz; when asked what the most fun or interesting thing he did (besides winning) while in Changzhou, he said he made a lot of friends and generally had a great time. Imagine living there, where the cost of living is about 50% cheaper compared to that of Singapore, playing Hearthstone everyday and hanging out with great people! You don’t really have that kind of freedom here when the pressures of being an adult have you working at least a part time job to pay the bills.
Our final question we had for Staz was where he saw himself in Hearthstone about two years from now. He replied that, due to Hearthstone’s unpredictability, no one can really look that far into the future. However he did say it could take him anywhere and, when he’s winning this kind of money, he can definitely go wherever he pleases!
Congratulations Staz, you’ve done your country and the SEA region proud. Euneil-ed it!
Written by Jace
Jace is a casual Hearthstone player. Like most players, he has dreams of hitting Legend, but like most players, he’s too lazy to put in the effort. So he writes articles like this one to learn from the true masters. Check out more of his writing attempts at punslingerofthemildjest.wordpress.com.
-Jace

Logitech G231 Prodigy

This post was first published on GameForge Hearthstone’s Facebook Page on Jan 17, 2017. I’m putting it here as a backup copy. Click here to see the original post.
REASONS TO OWN A GAMING HEADSET FOR HEARTHSTONE
  1. It’s an essential tool for gamers and streamers.
  2. It helps to provide quality streaming either casually or professionally on Facebook and Twitch TV.
  3. It enables clear communication via the new in-game chat function for coaching and strategy discussion.
  4. Enriches your overall gaming experience!
REVIEW ON LOGITECH G231 PRODIGY GAMING HEADSET
At only 255g, the G231 Prodigy is not only light, but it’s also covered in a sports mesh cloth at the areas where it makes contact with the wearer’s head, namely the ear cushions and the underside of the headband. While leatherette is more commonly used, the mesh cloth is more durable and doesn’t flake off when it gets old. The softness of the material and the way it allows air to ventilate through the mesh keeps the head and ears cool and overall provides great comfort to the wearer. This is a particularly desirable feature, given Singapore’s warm and humid climate. The ear cushions are designed to go around the ear rather than on the ear, which also adds to the comfort regardless of ear size or shape.
The G231 Prodigy also features ear cups that have a wide swivel range of up to 90 degrees. This is makes the headset stand out amongst other headsets that have fixed ear cups because it’s able to accommodate the wearer’s small movements. When other headphones slip, they tend to let in surrounding noise, but the G231’s ear cups swivel and continuously supply steady sound without needing to be readjusted.
The headset provides stereo sound, which is rich and crisp, and this gives the user a complete immersive experience. There is a bit of static sometimes, but this is one of the more affordable headsets so it’s actually quite acceptable for its price.
The unidirectional microphone doesn’t have noise cancelling, but still enables clear communication. The mic is fold-able, meaning you can push it away when you’re not using it, but it’s not retractable. Because of this, some of us feel it’s a bit large and we can’t adjust it to the desired length. If multiple people happen to use the same headset, then each person might need to adjust the length of the mic so having a retractable microphone would be preferable. Having volume control and a microphone muting switch on the wire is also quite useful. This means the user doesn’t have to adjust the volume on their computer when they switch between using the headset and speakers.
In conclusion, the G231 Prodigy is well-rounded and affordable and we highly recommend it for gamers looking to get started with a gaming headset. It’s durable and serves as a good starting pair that are definitely worth investing in!

Written by Jace

Jace is a casual Hearthstone player. Like most players, he has dreams of hitting Legend, but like most players, he’s too lazy to put in the effort. So he writes articles like this one to learn from the true masters. Check out more of his writing attempts at punslingerofthemildjest.wordpress.com.

-Jace

Road to Legend Rank 1 in 2 days

This post was first published on GameForge Hearthstone’s Facebook Page on Jan 6, 2017. I’m putting it here as a backup copy. Click here to see the original post.

Our very own katsucurry reached Rank 1 Legend just two days into Season 34 and naturally we are all very excited and eager to know what his secret is so that we can just copy/paste and hope to achieve similar results. Because we all want that “gg ez game bois” deck right?

Think it’s that easy? Katsucurry dedicated more than 20 hours of gameplay and played over 150 games, averaging a win rate of 66%. And he did it with just one deck: Reno Mage. He said that the deck definitely felt like a Tier One option as long as there were no Tier One Druids.

reno-mage-legend-rank-1

Please not that this list was used by katsucurry but created by him.

DECKLIST
Kastucurry says he doesn’t consider himself to be a deck builder, he usually just plays the decks that he thinks are the current best out there. If he were to make any changes to the list, it would be to add additional card draw like Novice Engineer or Acolyte of Pain. The Ice Lance has also been hit or miss for him, so it’s next up on the chopping board.

MULLIGAN
Because this is a Reno deck, there’s no perfect way to make a reliable mulligan guide as there are way too many possible permutations of starting hands.

That being said, katsucurry did provide some tips:

  • Reno Jackson is always a keep except against Druid
  • Kazakus is always a keep
  • You want removal spells against aggressive decks
  • Against control, you want draw spells, cycle/value minions, Emperor Thaurissan and Archmage Antonidas

MATCH UPS
To answer the question that’s on everyone’s minds: No, Pirate Warrior isn’t the top dog on ladder. Out of the 150+ games he played, Katsucurry mostly faced Shamans – usually Aggro Shaman variants – but there were a few Midrange Shamans here and there as well. Other reasonably represented decks were Miracle Rogue, Renolock, Reno Mage, Pirate Warrior, Dragon Warrior and Dragon Priest. Other than Dragon Warrior, the rest of the decks shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone.

Katsucurry said that the easiest deck to beat was Midrange Shaman. This version of Reno Mage also has the edge in a mirror match and against Renolock because of it’s additional reach. Rogues and Dragon Priests feel like the harder match ups for this deck.

STRATEGY
Against aggressive decks, you basically try to survive with removal spells and get to the late game where you can resolve a threat and contest their board position.

Against control decks, you usually go for the burn plan which is really similar to how Freeze Mage wins and sometimes you can go for the value game plan. The burn plan is to crank out a bunch of Fireballs from Archmage Antonidas with the help of Emperor or double 1-cost Kazakus spells and then burn out your opponent to the ground with a little help from Pyroblast or Alexstrasza.

GAME PLAY TIPS
When playing against aggressive decks, the aim is just to survive the early game, so plan your turns in such a way that you take the least amount of damage possible. Don’t be afraid to use cards like Ice Lance just to prevent a few points of damage and keep stalling until you find Reno Jackson or stabilize the board.

Against control, your game plan should be to draw and cycle as much as possible to get to Emperor Thaurissan or Archmage Antonidas. You almost always want to wait for the Brann + Kazakus combo. However, if the situation calls for an emergency Kazakus board clear or if you feel the need to get immediate value in the form of drawing cards and/or developing a board, go for it.

INTERESTING PLAYS
The deck has a few interesting combos that are good to be aware of. Besides the Brann + Kazakus combo, there are:

  • Inkmaster Solia + Pyroblast + Roaring Torch or discounted Fireball can OTK after Alexstrasza or against an active Jaraxxus
  • Inkmaster Solia + 10 mana Kazakus potion on turn 7
  • With 10 mana crystals, Brann + Kabal Courier can potentially find and play Kazakus in the same turn
  • Brann + Kazakus for double 1-cost potions to play with Antonidas

Written by Jace

Jace is a casual Hearthstone player. Like most players, he has dreams of hitting Legend, but like most players, he’s too lazy to put in the effort. So he writes articles like this one to learn from the true masters. Check out more of his writing attempts at punslingerofthemildjest.wordpress.com.

-Jace

Ingress – Drama

Last Saturday morning, I was training at Bukit Timah Hill with a few friends from Ingress for the Goruck event and there was some drama from the Resistance.

Our team met at 7am and walked to the starting point of the hill, with each person carrying a load of around 9kg. While we waited at the foot of the hill for our last member, I was happily hacked and blasted away at the Resistance’s web of links. It was so satifying to destroy two of their portals which each had a SoftBank Ultra Link, supporting about 23 links in total, I think.

Anyway, about an hour plus into our training, I got called out in the Ingress Comm section by the owner of the portals I destroyed.

01

Like, whaaaat??? That’s kinda mean-spirited, rude and obviously a butt-hurt reaction to me poking a hole in his link web. I showed my fellow Enlightened Ruckers and they all had similar reactions. This was just after we finished the three sets of going up and down the steep part of the hill, climbing all the way to the summit via the stairs on the third run. We were just about to start our physical training, so I put away my phone after I showed them.

After the training, I decided to punch more holes in the Resistance web out of spite, then tagged bluwarrior back in the comms.

02 Drama

Yeah okay, I’m a childish, petty person. But he started it! *throws a tantrum*

My response about training for two hours was pretty funny, if I do say so myself. But I wasn’t satisfied. I was riled up, pumped with leftover adrenaline and itching for a fight. So I poked the bear. And this was his response.

03 Drama

Like I said, Pokemon Go came out, so we all lost interest in Ingress. Just FYI, Bukit Timah hill has a ton of Eevee and Clefairies. Nearby, Beauty World has Pikachu, Vulpix and Ryhorn, though they’re still fairly rare. You’re welcome.

Back to the main story. Okay, I admit, I don’t personally know who bluwarrior is or what he looks like, but the opportunity to return fire was too good to pass up. To be honest, I don’t know who PathToNowhere is either, but I’m glad a fellow Enlightened Agent came to my defense, which just goes to show how supportive we Enlightened as a community are, unlike the unfriendly – almost militarian – Resistance. Guys, come on, haven’t we had enough of Singapore’s crap army system?

Side note: PathToNowhere seems to be a portmanteau of two cards from Magic: the Gathering (MTG), named Path to Exile and Journey to Nowhere. Both cards are white and do similar things: They exile a creature. Of course, it’s entirely possible that the handle PathToNowhere holds it’s own significance to its user, but it’s a curious little coincidence.

04 Drama

I MADE A TERRIBLE MISTAKE. I FORGOT TO SCREENSHOT BLUWARRIOR’S REPLY. But I remember it went something like this:

bluwarrior: “You want to challenge a guy three times your age?”

And our replies:

05 Drama

I don’t know how old the other two are, but I’m 23, so I tripled it to 69. Heh, 69 XD

Sadly, he didn’t respond, so that was the end of my fun. But for my last jibe, I took over his church with a JARVIS Virus.

Disclaimer to the Resistance: This burn post is targeted at bluwarrior. I’m sure there many of you nice agents out there. He just isn’t one of you. Sorry for any smack talk, we are opposing teams after all XD

Here’s proof that we made it to the summit.

08 Drama

-Jace

Feature Article – Mikkel Goh

This post was first published on GameForge Hearthstone’s blog on Aug 2, 2016. I’m putting it here as a backup copy. Click here to see the original post.

Mikkel Goh is an outgoing 17 year old student at BMC International College and is a competitive player in Hearthstone for Team GameForge. He started playing in 2015 through an introduction from Yee Shean, who is a friend and now fellow teammate. Mikkel realized he had potential when he achieved the Legend rank within his second month of picking up the game. He subsequently joined regular tournaments, both official and unofficial, often finishing within the top 32 out of 256 players, and has won at least two of them. With a competitive nature and a background in other card games such as Duel Masters and Vanguard, it isn’t hard to see why Mikkel has done so well.

Mikkel has expressed his desire to be a professional gamer and play Hearthstone competitively full time, which is why he joined the GameForge team just a few months after he picked up the game. He says that enjoys the prospect of attention, fame and respect it will bring him, and that that is his main motivation for training hard. As a student, he has a lot of free time, so he dedicates most of it to Hearthstone. One of the most important lessons he’s learnt is to calm down and manage his emotions well because he cannot think when he’s too stressed. For example, during the Campus Game Fest at ITE College Central in a match against heisnotaxel, he didn’t realise that he had lethal in his hand until the rope started. Thankfully, he saw it eventually and finished his opponent off just before the rope ended his turn.

When asked what he thought of the GameForge team, Mikkel commented that they were still small and that they had much to improve upon. He felt that the team should train together more often, not only to improve their skills but also to strengthen bonds and friendships. Mikkel appreciates the Global Friendly Series and has played in all of them except against MiTH, a team from Thailand. He would like to play against Team Abyssus in the future.

One question Mikkel was asked was what changes he would make or would like to see in Hearthstone, to which he immediately answered: “Reduce RNG”. RNG refers to luck based cards and effects, and stands for Random Number Generator, a function used by digital games to determine random outcomes. By reducing RNG, the overall skill level of players would have to increase, making the game more competitive. He would also like to see some form of active interaction on your opponent’s turn, similar to how instants and abilities work in Magic: The Gathering. Mikkel also disagrees with the having formats such as Standard and Wild as he supports buffing or nerfing existing cards, but since Blizzard has already implemented rotation, he’d like to see some expansion cards be shifted into Classic, so that they can become evergreen.

Random fun facts about Mikkel:
His favourite class is Druid.
He enjoys playing tempo and midrange decks.
He finds the Singapore Shit Post giant very amusing.

And here are some of Mikkel’s tips for new players and players trying to get to Legend:

1. Find a coach
Having someone guide you is very important as he or she can see things from a different perspective. Often when you’re playing the game, your vision becomes one dimensional and you may end up misplaying because you didn’t see a certain angle.

2. Think through your turns
Similar to finding a coach, this allows you to consider all possible plays, even if you’re playing a mindless cancer/smorc deck.

3. Ingrain good fundamental habits
Good habits like thinking through your turns are hard to form, but once you ingrain them, you can save a lot of time in higher level plays because you will instinctively know what to do next.

-Jace

Ingress – CBD Mission Series

Hey guys, here’s another mission series I did: the CBD Mission Series created by Resistance player Sharkzy!

01 CBD Complete Mission

Mission Series notes:
– Consists of 24 missions, all hacking and about one passphrase per mission
– All mission waypoints can be completed in any order
– Missions are arranged in alphabetical order, so just follow the mission titles starting with CBD Adventure and CBD Bank, all the way to CBD Zone (there’s no mission K or X)
– It’s a really long walk. You’ll go from Fullerton Hotel -> Asian Civilisations Museum (ACM) -> Merlion Park -> down Fullerton road -> follow the river bank to Bayfront side -> up to the ArtScience Museum -> across the Helix Bridge -> and then around the Singapore Flyer.
– If you, like us, parked near the start point, it’s a 25-30min walk back once you’ve completed the series.
– We took nearly three hours to complete the mission series, not including the walk back to the car

SPOILER ALERT: Answers to all passphrase waypoints will be shown below. Turn back now if you don’t want to know.

Dad parked on Phillip St, because we drove around and couldn’t find any other parking spots. That itself was actually a good distance from the first mission. We started at 11.30pm and finished only at about 2.15am. By the time we walked back to the car, it was 2.45am and we ended up sleeping at about 3.30am.

Sigh.
The things we do for Ingress…

Anyway, the first two missions were all hacking missions. Do take note that you may have some trouble getting two of the portals in CBD Bank, because they’re actually inside Fullerton hotel. If you can’t wait and drift about, then here’s the solution: go into Fullerton hotel (to enjoy the aircon for a bit), then sign into Wireless at Fullerton wifi and set your GPS to high accuracy. It’s free and you’ll be able to get the last two portals.

CBD Caper had the first passphrase.
02 CBD Caper Passphrase

03 CBD Caper Answer

Also note that, at the time we did this, missions D to J had some construction work going on, so it was quite difficult to manoeuvre around the site to get the missions. Please do be careful and be hyper aware of your surroundings, especially if you go at night like we did.

CBD Deed
04 CBD Deed Passphrase

05 CBD Deed Answer

CBD Feat
06 CBD Feat Passphrase

07 CBD Feat Answer

CBD Gamble
08 CBD Gamble Passphrase

09 CBD Gamble Answer

CBD Jeopardy has one Visit Waypoint and this is around Merlion Park. Remember that there’s no Mission K, so just move on to CBD Limit. The next few missions were all hacking waypoints, but this part has the most walking. You’ve got to walk down and around the river bank to get to Bayfront area. Along the way, I managed to get my Platinum Translator Medal!

10 Translator Medal

And here’s a shot of two lines of the mission complete! Halfway though.
11 Two Lines Complete

Once you get to Bayfront, CBD Peril starts the passphrase thing up again.

CBD Peril
12 CBD Peril Passphrase

13 CBD Peril Answer

CBD Romp
14 CBD Romp Passphrase

15 CBD Romp Answer

CBD Stunt
16 CBD Stunt Passphrase

17 CBD Stunt Answer

Okay this mission was quite interesting. It starts at the ArtScience Museum, then takes you over the Helix Bridge. There aren’t any portals on the bridge itself, so put away your device for a bit and enjoy the walk over. When you reach the other side, there’s a whole cluster of portals, which will be very tempting to blast and hack and capture.

DO NOT HACK THEM YET. Focus on completing the missions, because I stupidly hacked them and had to wait for them to cooldown before I could hack for CBD Trial. Interestingly, the passphrase provides a clue if you make this mistake. Not a lot of people realize that if you deploy a Heat Sink (regardless of rarity), it completely resets the burnout counter on a portal. When I first found out about this several months ago, I used to deploy a rare Multi-Hack on my home portal, hack it 12 times over an hour or so, then deploy a common Heat Sink immediately after the 12th hack to hack it again.

So don’t cast aside common Heat Sinks. Stock them up when you do missions, just in case you make the mistake of hacking a non-mission portal that turns out to be a waypoint for the next mission.

Also, I leveled up to Level 14!
18 Level 14

And we’re three quarters of the way through now.
19 Three Lines Complete

CBD Undertaking has two passphrases (I hope you paid attention when I said to enjoy the walk over the Helix Bridge)
20 CBD Undertaking Passphrase 1

21 CBD Undertaking Answer 1

The answer for this can actually be found on the plaques in the area. Go treasure hunt a bit, if you don’t want to see the answer here.
22 CBD Undertaking Passphrase 2

23 CBD Undertaking Answer 2

CBD Venture (Math involved!) I kinda guessed the answer to this one and just chose 1.2M to start. I got lucky XD
24 CBD Venture Passphrase

25 CBD Venture Answer

There’s no Mission X, so move on to CBD Walk. The last few missions takes you around Singapore Flyer and back to the portal cluster. And that’s the end of that.

26 CBD Mission Complete

-Jace

Ingress – CNY Mini-Series and Mystic @Haw Par Villa Mission Series

Back again with a new mission series less than a month after the last one. The way I use my mobile data only lets me do one major mission series a month, which suits me well XD

Anyway, I made new friends! After finally fixing all the broken links as a result from my blog split, a couple of happy Enlightened players contacted me and one of them (Andrew | floodplug) invited me to his group to do this mission series last Saturday.

I’m very honoured to receive all this recognition and appreciation. 🙂

Before the actual mission notes, here’s a short part on the “CNY mission mini-series” my dad and I did to create a separator (Dad likes a line of six missions to separate the large pictures).

01 CNY Series

Mini-series mission notes:
– All missions are made up of four hacking waypoints in any order
– All missions are clustered in the Tampines Central Park, so it takes less than half an hour to hack everything
– You might want to prepare some multi-hacks and heat sinks, because all the portals in the are make it very tempting to farm and very confusing at the same time. Sometimes I forgot which portal I already hacked
– I suggest you only hack the portals on the missions first, then once you’re done you can go bananas

Okay it’s not actually a proper mission series. Each mission gives a picture of a Chinese character on a red background. Since I can’t read Chinese, I have no idea what each character means. Apparently there were supposed to be eight missions, so perhaps they were meant to be two sets of four-character idiom-type things. Only seven were approved, so pick any six Chinese character missions to create your separator.

02 CNY Row Complete

Now that that’s out of the way, I can dive into the Mystic @Haw Par Villa (hereafter referred to as HPV) mission series notes and report. Created by Resistance player Halette, here’s what the entire mission series looks like. It’s a Kirin! A flying dragon horse thing that’s on fire. SO MUCH BADASS! Halette might have chosen the wrong side, but she chose a really awesome picture.

03 HPV Kirin

Mission Series notes:
– Consists of 24 missions, and mostly hacking and capture/upgrade waypoints
– All mission waypoints can be completed in any order
– Mission series starts at Exit A of Haw Par Villa MRT station and ends at a Korean restaurant just across road from the starting point.
– The last two missions contain passphrase waypoints, so details on the questions and answers will be shown later.
– Even with the passphrase waypoints, we completed the whole mission series in about an hour
– I recommend you go in the morning (9am, like what we did), or in the late afternoon (5-6pm). You can’t do it at night because HPV has opening hours of 9am-7pm daily. Free entry, but I think you’ll get kicked out by the wardens if you stay beyond the opening hours. Besides, HPV contains depictions of Hell, so going in after dark would be super creepy.

04 HPV Opening Hours

SPOILER ALERT: Answers to all passphrase waypoints will be shown below. Turn back now if you don’t want to know.

So Andrew had invited to me to join him and a few other players for this mission series. I met him first at NUH Burger King for breakfast and we talked for a quite a bit. I found out he loves puns so now I have a new best friend XD

After breakfast, we headed down one stop to Haw Par Villa station and met Jwei (jwei_jwei), an Enlightened agent from the West. Two other Enlightened players Derek (ShagGamer) and Jeremy (Skulldaeron) were supposed to join us at 9am, but they were late, so the three of us set off first to claim all the unique caps we could. 😛

We had a good time racing each other to capture portals and complete the mission, as well as explore Haw Par Villa. I haven’t been there since… Hmmm I do remember going once before, but I was very young. Can’t remember if it was on a school trip or one of those family and friends outings Mum used to organize.

As I mentioned in the mission notes above, the first 22 missions consisted only of hacking and capture/upgrade portal waypoints. The last two missions had some passphrase waypoints, so here are the questions and answers.

05 Mission #23

06 Passphrase #1

07 Answer #1

08 Passphrase #2

09 Answer #2

10 Passphrase #3

11 Answer #3

12 Mission #24

13 Passphrase #1

14 Answer #1

15 Passphrase #2

16 Answer #2

17 Passphrase #3

18 Answer #3

19 Passphrase #4

20 Answer #4

And when I finished it…
21 Mission Complete

At about mission #5, there was a section of HPV that was roped off and we thought we’d have to climb over to ropes to get to the next waypoint. I was like, we’re going to hell for this – oh wait, we’re already here!

We had quite a few hilarious moments, like when Andrew said “Ingress: taking you to interesting places only for you to stare at your phone”. Then after the mission when we went to have lunch/brunch at Vivo, all of us were staring at our mobiles hacking whatever portals we happened to drift over and I said “Ingress: Making people be anti-social together!”

I finally met Derek while he was on mission #7 and I was doing #18, so note the overlap of waypoints. I also met Jeremy only after we finished the whole mission. We took a group picture together with the Haw Par Villa sign.

22 Group Pic (Original)
Left to right: Me, Derek, Jwei, Jeremy and Andrew

I sent the original to the Telegram group, and I got “scolded” because the picture wasn’t sharp. I said I was a writer, not a photographer, so John (FortMax) edited it for me.

23 Group Pic (Edited)

-Jace

Ingress – Gardens by the Bay Mission Series

After more than two months since our last mission series, we finally completed another one: Gardens by the Bay by Sharkzy!

01 GBTB Complete Pic

We did this series with two new Ingress friends: husband and wife couple Ann and Jen Hwa. They’re almost our neighbours, we only live a few blocks apart.

Mission Series notes:
– All 24 missions are in Gardens by the Bay area, and waypoints can be completed in any order
– The order to complete the missions is to follow the alphabet of the missions. Start with “Assemble in GBTB”, followed by “Balance in GBTB” and so on, until you hit “Yearn in GBTB”
– The letters “X” and “Z” aren’t used in these missions, so don’t look for them
– I recommend you start from Bayfront MRT and walk in. We parked below and so when we came up, we had to backtrack quite a bit before we completed the first mission.
– The whole series takes about three hours to complete on foot. We took three and a half hours (7.30pm to 11pm) because we stopped halfway for prata
– Most of the missions consists of hacking waypoints and an average one passphrase waypoint per mission. Two exceptions: the “Kiss in GBTB” mission contains TWO passphrases, while the last mission (“Yearn in GBTB”) only has hacking waypoints.
– All the passphrase waypoints are questions related to the layout of the Ingress tabs and in game actions. Very easy to figure out.
– When you reach a passphrase waypoint, DO NOT HACK IT FIRST. Some of the missions overlap portals, so do prep Multi-Hacks and Heat Sinks in case you make mistakes

As we drove in, I managed to snag a picture of the GBTB sign. I thought it wouldn’t come out nicely since we were moving, but it came out well.

02 GBTB Entrance Sign

I came loaded with water and my charger pack and I was so efficient that I managed to complete two Carousell deals at Raffles MRT before we started. Go me. Anyway, we took a group shot before we started.

Most of the missions were uneventful, so I’ll just post the screenshots. Since there was no order to the waypoints, I soon realised that it was futile to take the mission map screenshots. Instead, I took screenshots of the passphrase questions and answers.

SPOILER ALERT: THIS IS A COMPREHENSIVE GUIDE TO THIS MISSION SERIES. ALL ANSWERS TO THE PASSPHRASE QUESTIONS WILL BE PROVIDED.

Assemble in GBTB
04 Passphrase A1

05 Passphrase A2

Balance in GBTB
06 Passphrase B1

07 Passphrase B2

Cultivate in GBTB
08 Passphrase C1

09 Passphrase C2

Discover in GBTB
10 Passphrase D1

11 Passphrase D2

Exercise in GBTB
12 Passphrase E1

13 Passphrase E2

Fashion in GBTB
14 Passphrase F1

15 Passphrase F2

First Row Complete
16 GBTB One Row of Six

Glitter in GBTB
17 Passphrase G1

18 Passphrase G2

Hibernate in GBTB
19 Passphrase H1

20 Passphrase H2

Illuminate in GBTB
21 Passphrase I1

22 Passphrase I2

Joy in GBTB
23 Passphrase J1

24 Passphrase J2

Kiss in GBTB
Take note that in this mission, there are TWO (2) passphrases and that the last passphrase portal is the first portal of the next mission so DON’T HACK IT FIRST.

25 Passphrase K (Double passphrase)

26 Passphrase K1

27 Passphrase K2

28 Passphrase K3

29 Passphrase K4

Learn in GBTB
30 Passphrase L1

31 Passphrase L2

Two Rows Complete
32 GBTB Two Rows of Six

Move in GBTB
33 Passphrase M1

34 Passphrase M2

Navigate in GBTB
35 Passphrase N1

36 Passphrase N2

Orchestrate in GBTB
38 Passphrase O2

37 Passphrase O1

Photograph in GBTB
39 Passphrase P1

40 Passphrase P2

Quest in GBTB
42 Passphrase Q2

41 Passphrase Q1

Revitalise in GBTB
43 Passphrase R1

44 Passphrase R2

Third Row Complete
45 GBTB Three Rows of Six

Sleep in GBTB
46 Passphrase S1

47 Passphrase S2

Transform in GBTB
48 Passphrase T1

49 Passphrase T2

After this mission, we decided to have a break. There was a 24 hour hawker centre that reminded me of the one at East Coast Park. We had prata and decided to take a group picture while we ate.

I didn’t take a very good photo…

50 Group Pic (Prata Break)

Unite in GBTB
51 Passphrase U1

52 Passphrase U2

Visualize in GBTB
53 Passphrase V1

54 Passphrase V2

Wanderlust in GBTB
55 Passphrase W1

56 Passphrase W2

Whole GBTB Picture Complete!
57 GBTB Four Rows of Six

After we finished, we took another group picture. Man, were we tired!
58 Group Pic (After)

-Jace

Ingress – You Mad Bro? Mission Series

Fourth mission series! This brings my total missions up to 95, so I’ll definitely get the Gold Spec Ops badge once we complete the fifth mission series. Created by Enlightened agent MelvinChen, this series was set in Toa Payoh and was actually pretty fun and funny.

The whole image is made up of 18 missions in two 3×3 blocks. One block forms a troll face and the other forms the internet meme catchphrase ‘You Mad Bro?’.

01 You Mad Bro Complete

Mission Series notes:
– All missions are around Toa Payoh Central and Toa Payoh Sensory Park
– Mostly Hacking but there are several Capture/Upgrade Portals, Create Links, Create Fields, Passphrases, and at least one Install Mod
– All mission waypoints have to be completed in sequence
– Two missions are Hidden Waypoints with Passphrases
– Passphrases and answers to the clues to find the hidden portals are included in the guide
– Took Dad and I three and a half hours to complete, mostly on foot
– There are lots of repeated portals, so start the next mission before you hack a non-mission portal, and make sure you don’t fully upgrade or mod any portals until you finish the whole series
– Prep MultiHacks, Heat Sinks and Jarvis/ADA viruses in case you mess up (I had to use two ADAs myself and a few multi hacks)
– There are two ‘O’ missions (for the O in ‘YOU’ and ‘BRO’). Doesn’t matter which one you do first, but I recommend following the order we did
– I also recommend going with only one or two other people, since it’ll be easier take down enemy portals and you won’t have to fight so much over linking or deploying mods

SPOILER ALERT: THIS IS A COMPREHENSIVE GUIDE TO THIS MISSION SERIES. ALL ANSWERS TO THE PASSPHRASE QUESTIONS AND NEXT WAYPOINT CLUES WILL BE PROVIDED.

We completed the whole thing on Saturday night (2nd May), starting from 10.30pm and finishing at 2am. We started out driving, then walked when we met a portal that we couldn’t access from the road (the B mission), then it rained and slowed us down. Averaging out all the time taken and I think you should take around the same time we did if you go completely on foot.

The first six missions were really easy. Just hack-in-sequence waypoints.

02 O Mission
‘O’ Mission Map

03 R Mission
‘R’ Mission Map

We started off driving to complete the first two missions, but when we hit the third mission, we realized we’d have to get out of the car, so Dad parked at the car park beside the Toa Payoh interchange.

04 B Mission
‘B’ Mission Map

At this mission, we had some problems because the portals were under shelter and we took some time to drift over to the right ones. I think MelvinChen purposely chose this location to make it difficult for us (i.e. trolling XD).

Important Note!
Do NOT install any mods on the TP Giant Coin portal in the ‘B’ mission. You’ll need to install a mod on it later for the first part of the middle face section, just after the ‘M’ mission.

Anyway, after that, Dad and I continued on with the bottom of the troll face. Pretty straightforward and much easier since the portals were all out in the open.

05 Face Bottom Right
Bottom of Face Mission #1 Map

06 Face Bottom Middle
Bottom of Face Mission #2 Map

07 Face Bottom Left
Bottom of Face Mission #3 Map

So that took us down and then back up around Toa Payoh Interchange and I took a screenshot of our progress.

08 Bottom Row Complete

We moved up to the Toa Payoh Library for the next three missions, ‘D’, ‘A’ and then ‘M’.

09 D Mission
‘D’ Mission Map

10 A Mission
‘A’ Mission Map

11 M Mission
‘M’ Mission Map

For the ‘A’ Mission, there’s no need to cross the road for the first two portals. You can reach the second portal from the Library side before turning southward to the last two portals. You do have to cross Toa Payoh Central for the ‘M’ mission though, but you don’t need to cross Lor 4 Toa Payoh.

Now, the missions get tricky. The Face Middle Mission #1 is the first mission I’ve encountered to have hidden waypoints. Luckily, all the clues were very easy to workout or Google. At this point, it would’ve been a good idea to head back to the car for a drink of water before continuing on. But ah well, hindsight.

12 Face Middle Right
Middle of Face #1 Mission Map

So yeah. That’s all they showed for the hidden waypoint missions. This was a Capture/Upgrade portal waypoint, which we passed easily. The next waypoint was the clue: “Biggest Coin in Toa Payoh”. If you tap on the nearby portals, you’ll find one named TP Giant Coin, slightly westward. Once you get into range, it’ll tell you to install a mod.

13 Clue - Biggest Coin

This was the problematic portal because it was under shelter. I had to drift to ADA it because I’d maxed out mod spaces, then we had to take it down, then drift over it again to plant a mod. Sigh. That ate up a lot of time. This should totally have been a mission on it’s own.

Thanks a lot MelvinChen

After we completed walking around and waving our phones in the air installing the mod, the next clue was: “Top transport service that will break down now and then”. I couldn’t help but snigger; it was obvious this was the MRT, so I tapped around for the Toa Payoh station portal, which turned out to be northward.

14 Clue - Top Transport Service

Once we reached the TP Station portal, a passphrase popped up. The clue was: “In what year did the squatters start to move out?”

15 TP Station Passphrase

It was an easy Google search for “toa payoh squatters move out” and I found the answer in the first hit. On the Wikipedia page in the History section, it says that the squatters started moving out in 1962.

We typed that in and passed. The clue to the next portal was: “Tree that fell in 2013”. I started Googling for it, but before the results came back, Dad had already found a nearby portal and guessed it.

16 Clue - Fallen Tree

The portal is Banyan Tree and it’s northeast of the TP Station portal. I think it’s the unclaimed portal in the screenshot above. When we reached it, this passphrase popped up: “In which yeah did Queen Elizabeth II first visit Toa Payoh?”

17 Fallen Tree Passphrase

Again, I flipped to Google and again, before the results came back, Dad had figured it out by guessing. The answer is 1972, and I found it in the second result. And just like that, we completed the mission.

The next mission also is a hidden waypoints mission, with the first waypoint being a Capture/Upgrade Portal as well.

18 Face Middle Middle
Middle of Face #2 Mission Map

After we completed that waypoint, the clue was so straightforward that it was an actual instruction: “Travel North East 55 Degrees”. Small note here: Cross Toa Payoh Central road northward when you finish this waypoint. The next portals are all on that side of the road.

19 Clue - Travel Northeast

There was only one portal North East and close by: Sun Floor Mural. In the screenshot above, the Sun Floor Mural is the portal near the COMM tab. We moved down a bit, without crossing the road, and this passphrase clue popped up: “How do you write Toa Payoh in Malay?”

20 Sun Floor Mural Passphrase

Now this was the best troll waypoint ever. Toa Payoh in Malay is Toa Payoh. I had no idea and didn’t even think to guess that before turning to Google. I hadn’t even loaded up the screen yet when my Dad guessed it successfully. In my defence, I was busy taking screenshots and making notes of the mission. Since he’d already put in “Toa Payoh”, I put in “toapayoh” to check for case sensitivity and whether the space matters.

It doesn’t. My answer was accepted and the next clue appeared on screen: “Also a mural, but it’s not a Sun”.

21 Clue - Also a Mural

See the only blue portal in the picture? That’s the portal you need to go to. It’s called Flower Mural. Now you know why I told you to cross the road first. And the passphrase clue for Flower Mural is: “Name the TV show on Toa Payoh”.

22 Flower Mural Passphrase

Hah! Finally something Daddy couldn’t guess. I Googled it and found the answer in the second hit: Home in Toa Payoh. Actually, the answer was also in the Toa Payoh Wiki, but I tapped on the second one first.

The clue for the next portal was last of the hidden waypoints for this mission series and also the most obscure: “It’s near a MSCP”. I was about to Google “MSCP” when my genius Dad kicked my butt in the guessing game again: MSCP stands for Multi-Storey Car Park. Looking around, we saw the MSCP and headed to the portal nearest to it: Birds on a Grill.

23 Clue - Near MSCP

The passphrase clue that showed was: “Who is the Minister for Toa Payoh?”

24 Birds on a Grill Passphrase

Now, the accepted answer is Dr Ng Eng Hen, but we tripped up a bit here. When I Googled for the answer, I misspelled his name, adding a “g” at the end, so it was wrong. Dad and I puzzled over this for a while, but finally figured out my careless mistake.

I’m concerned: What if this changes? Is there a way to alter the waypoint clue? Also, I’m not sure if “Dr” is required. Can you leave it out and just put Ng Eng Hen? Can you enter “Doctor Ng Eng Hen” instead? Someone try and let me know, thanks!

Finally, back to normal missions!

25 Face Middle Left
Middle of Face #3 Mission Map

I was quite happy to find this complete map. But this one is not just hacking! Here’s what you need to do:

26 Face Middle Left Waypoints

Do note that when you create a field, you must stand on the stated portal and close a field from there. My dad had the same keys I did but there was only one field available, so I let him close that while I jogged to collect keys and create another field. Simple enough. Once we finished that, I took a screenshot of our two complete rows.

27 Two Rows Complete

I saw that the ‘U’ mission was back at the Sensory Park, so I suggested that we head back to the car, have a drink of water (man, we were parched), and drive over, so that’s what we did. Also, it had just started drizzling and we were hoping to complete the rest of the missions by car. I didn’t want to have to go home with only two rows and have to come back again another day.

28 U Mission
‘U’ Mission Map

29 O Mission
‘O’ Mission Map

30 Y Mission
‘Y’ Mission Map

The ‘U’, ‘O’ and ‘Y’ missions were all back to hack-in-sequence waypoints, so we cleared those quickly. Or, at least, as quickly as the rain would allow. The rain became really heavy just before mission ‘Y’, so Dad parked at the start of ‘Y’ and we took umbrellas out of the car.

It was a nightmare completing the last three missions under our umbrellas, but the rain didn’t dampen our spirits, only our pants and shoes. Besides, it was just three more missions and like I said, I really didn’t want to go home without completing the series.

31 Face Top Right
Top of Face #1 Mission Map

32 Face Top Right Waypoints

This mission was a harder one, starting with a Capture/Upgrade portal waypoint that my Dad and I had already fully upgraded and modded. I had to use my second ADA virus to recapture the portal and complete the waypoint. The second portal was shooting a link, so since we had a bunch of keys, we passed this waypoint easily. And the last two were normal hacks.

33 Face Top Middle
Top of Face #2 Mission Map

All hack-in-sequence. No trouble. Do note that the third portal is in between the first two, so focus on hacking in sequence, otherwise you might be stuck there for five minutes. That would be okay if you had a heat sink or it doesn’t rain, but we didn’t have that luxury. Luckily I snapped a screenshot before we hacked the first portal so I was able to warn my Dad.

34 Face Top Left
Top of Face #3 Mission Map

35 Face Top Left Waypoints

Last mission! This was pretty okay. We had shelter for the first portal, but the rain got a little lighter so we didn’t have much trouble hitting the middle two waypoints. Since they were Resistance portals, we were able to take them down and clear the waypoints easily. Install Mod and Create Link respectively.

The last waypoint of the mission was past the car, but I noticed it was by the roadside, so we headed back to the car and then Dad drove us to the portal. Since it was near 2am, there was hardly any traffic and we were able to stop by the road side for a few minutes to upgrade the portal.

36 Three Rows Complete

And we’re done! Now might be a good point to let you know that there’s a 24hr MacDonald’s near the library, so once you’re done, you can pop in for a midnight snack. It was still surprisingly crowded at 1.30am.

Overall, I think this was a pretty good mission series and heck of a lot easier than the first three series we did. It had just the right amount of complexity, humour and required time to complete. We didn’t have to drive so far like we did for Uniquely Singapore, nor do it over several days like the Land missions, nor even walk 15km for Perdition’s Road.

Very satisfying indeed. Although the shelter at the TP Giant Coin was very annoying.

You Mad Bro?

-Jace

Ingress – Perdition’s Road Mission Series

So, another mission series by FortMax, although this time all the missions were in Seng Kang area. This is a series of 18 missions, forming a pretty nice image of the Ingress logo with the Resistance and Enlightened symbols on either side.

01 Perdition's Road Complete

Mission Series Notes:
– All missions contain a series of 4 Hack Portal waypoints
– All waypoints have to be hacked in sequence
– Takes more than 6 hours to complete on foot, so do it in batches, or use a bike/skates, or a car, like we ended up doing in the end.
– Always, ALWAYS start the next mission before hacking any portal that’s not part of the current mission you’re doing. See below for details.
– There are two major breaks, between Chapters 5-6 and Chapters 11-12

22 Mar 2015 – Chapters 1-3
We started this mission series immediately after the Land of Series, hoping to complete at least a row of six before we went back. But, as mentioned in the last post, we got rained out. Managed to push through the first three chapters before we were thoroughly drenched.

These three chapters weren’t much of a problem. The first chapter was a lot farther south from the end of the Land of Water mission (and our car) than I’d estimated, so it was a quite a walk to get there. However, the end of each mission was pretty close to the start of its subsequent mission, so it was easy to brave the rain and continue once we started. The third chapter ended closer to our car than if we were to finish the fourth, so we stopped for the day and went home for dinner.

02 Perdition's Road Chapter 1
Chapter 1

03 Perdition's Road Chapter 2
Chapter 2

04 Perdition's Road Chapter 3
Chapter 3

4 Apr 2015 – Chapters 4-18
And we’re back, two weeks later, to complete this mission series. Did this over Saturday night/Sunday morning, starting at around 9.45pm. Dad parked the car and we were off to Chapter 4. Here’s a warning though: Chapters 4 and 5 are VERY close. Literally one portal away. Take a look at the maps.

05 Perdition's Road Chapter 4
Chapter 4

06 Perdition's Road Chapter 5
Chapter 5

See, the end of Chapter 4 is less than 40m from the starting portal of Chapter 5. Dad and I made the same mistake of hacking said portal before we started Chapter 5, meaning we had to stand around for five minutes before we could hack again to satisfy the mission waypoint. We didn’t want to take it down because we felt it took too much time. The point was to complete the missions as fast as possible, so we only took down low level portals that had little to no shielding.

Take note that there’s a huge break between Chapters 5 and 6, and Chapter 6 itself contains portals that are quite spread out. It looks decent on the map, but if you look closely, you’ll notice that the map is quite zoomed out.

07 Perdition's Road Chapter 6
Chapter 6

08 Chapter 1-6 Complete
Decided to take a screenshot of the first 6 chapters completed.

We slowed down at Chapter 7 because there were quite a few clusters of portals we could take down and link together. At the end of that mission, we sat on a ledge that allowed us to reach three L8 blue portals and were happily glyph hacking. We decided to take down all three, since we were already sitting down and each blast could hit three portals.

09 Perdition's Road Chapter 7
Chapter 7

The Resistance are really fast. Within minutes of our attacks, three enemy agents (ahzpek, ecchua and diamana) appeared to reinforce the portals we were attacking. I guess they were alerted to our presence when we were hitting the small clusters before reaching the three L8 portals. I continued attacking a bit more before I realized we were outnumbered. Dad and I said our hellos and goodbyes and continued on our way.

We completed Chapters 8-11 without incident, then realized we were turning northwards, back towards our car, starting from Chapter 11. I thought the whole series would make a circuit, but it didn’t.

10 Perdition's Road Chapter 8
Chapter 8

11 Perdition's Road Chapter 9
Chapter 9

12 Perdition's Road Chapter 10
Chapter 10

13 Perdition's Road Chapter 11
Chapter 11

Chapter 12 was 1.2km away from the end of Chapter 11, which was mildly annoying. It was a little past midnight, so there was little traffic, which was nice. Chapter 12 was a very weird mission. Take a look at the map.

14 Perdition's Road Chapter 12
Chapter 12

First, it was in a U-shape. The other missions were all more or less in one direction. This mission was also the most ulu. We walked into semi-detached-like houses, but there was very little light. No street lamps at all. It’s a good thing there were two of us; I don’t think I would have entered alone. Remember that it was way past 12 midnight and especially eerie.

15 Perdition's Road Chapter 1-12
After we completed it, I took another screenshot. It was nice to see the whole image slowly developing, like watching IE buffer a large image. Heh.

Okay here are a few important notes for Chapter 13. Remember I said to be careful of hacking random portals lest you make the same mistake my Dad and I did for Chapter 4-5? Well, Chapter 13 is weird in that you will walk past the second portal to hit the first. Since it’s a sequence mission, if you don’t look at the map, you’ll naturally want to hack that portal since it’s on the way.

16 Perdition's Road Chapter 13
Chapter 13

When you move from the end of Chapter 12 to the start of 13, you’ll need to actually go into IMH area. I don’t know how to describe it. Just look and follow your game map. Last thing to note is that once you get portal waypoints 1 and 2, turn back out the way you came in. Dad and I continued walking inwards, making a bee line for the third waypoint, but we were blocked by a gate. Apparently, it isn’t open at night.

17 Perdition's Road Chapter 14
Chapter 14

After we completed Chapter 14, we decided to head back to the car because it was about 1.30am and we were tired. Bought a 100+ on the way back from a 7-Eleven, which was the most refreshing thing ever. We got back to the car and completed the last four missions. Luckily, they were all easily accessed from the car. There was only one portal that we had to hop out to get in Chapter 15, but that took all of two minutes and there were no other cars on the street.

18 Perdition's Road Chapter 15
Chapter 15

19 Perdition's Road Chapter 16
Chapter 16

20 Perdition's Road Chapter 17
Chapter 17

Chapters 16 and 17 were both around a HDB area, so it was easy to just drive at the parking lot area to get all the portals.

21 Perdition's Road Chapter 18
Chapter 18

Chapter 18 made us end up at Jalan Kayu area, waaayyyy further than where Dad had parked the car. Imagine if we had decide to walk the whole thing. I think we’d have gotten back to the car at around 5am. The end of the whole mission also proved to be nostalgic for my Dad, because that area was where he’d first lived with my mum.

-Jace