Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Rebuilding the Library

Recently I opted to purchase a new iPod in anticipation for a trip. Originally I intended to take the old iPod (3rd generation) in for a battery replacement. I kept pushing it off until I later figure that the cost may not be worth it. So currently I am a proud owner of an iPod Classic, 80GB in capacity size. The choice in size is obvious as there is absolutely no way I am able to fill it entirely, especially with 320kbit/s mp3s. Besides, the smaller size is actually better as it's a bit lighter and the iPod itself is slimmer by a good margin than the 3rd generation.

Expecting that I would have brought the old iPod in for a battery replacement, I backed up the files and had it stored away. This would make it easy for me to copy the files back and rebuild the iPod's internal library, theoretically speaking. That never came to be. Instead, I found myself having to sort through several files, many of which are encoded into 4 letter filenames. This caused so much pain and confusion for me, since I have no idea what audio track is what. The only way to determine this is to add it into a mp3 player and let it fetch the ID3 metadata information from the file itself. Even then it's troublesome having to go through all these 4-letter files. Using whatever tools I have at hand, I started from the very top, the letter A, and worked my way down one letter at a time. Flushing them out is easy, as Windows' search function provided me a simple way to do a limited search within the backup.

After several days of loading a file up on foobar, moving the file over, and renaming them appropriately, I made it to the end. The result is the reconstruction of my Final Fantasy IX Original Soundtrack, Final Fantasy VII Advant Children Soundtrack, 3 Trans-Siberian Orchestra albums, deleting several files of which an original copy already exists, a new set of ID3 tags for the Indigo's album Blue, and some loose files that were hand selected for listening purposes.

The library is only partially rebuilt, as there are still loose files and songs that I haven't dragged out of its folder structure. This also includes some of my purchased freebies that I have collected over the years. Eventually the new library will feature some new tunes as well as some old ones put back in. I need to seek out my old Bubblegum Crisis Vocal Collection that is perhaps buried in that backup. And then there's the Final Fantasy IV Original Soundtrack that is waiting to be transferred to the iPod. All that means is I still have a long while to go before the new iPod is brought back to "normal."

Friday, May 09, 2008

The Keymaker

Sometimes I ponder just what some of these people are thinking. Those are usually left a mystery to the rest of the world since they never come forth. It has been speculated since late April that a certain new title is in the work. There are numerous guesses and speculation as to what it entails. Eventually the debut of the title came.

In Guild Wars, the Zaishen title is a title that are awarded to those who use a Zaishen Key to open a Zaishen Chest. Each use awards 5 points to the title. The only way to acquire a Zaishen Key is to participate in PvP or in their Xunlai Tournament House, where anyone can make predictions as to where certain guilds or individuals will stand at the top 8. But the problem does not seem to lie within its acquisition but rather how it's designed.

Unfortunately the Zaishen title is not based on any other viable method that long time players have been using. Fame points can only be acquired through the battle at Hero's Ascent. Gladiator points can only be earned on a 5-game win streak. Champion points can only be earned through participation and winning Guild vs Guild battles. And finally, Commander points can only be earned through participation in Hero Battles. The use of Zaishen Chest seem to matter very little to those who strictly participate in PvP activities. Perhaps this continues to hold true as there are no incentives to use these keys to get anything. After all, what good is an item, rare or not, if most of these items are already usable through PvP equipment creation?

A good idea was to base Zaishen off of the total amount of Balthazar factions earned in the account's entire lifetime. But that can raise a bit of a problem. How high is the limit? How high is too high? Long-time PvP players will find that they've earned enough Balthazar factions to instantly rank fairly high on the title regardless of how each title rank is set up. Still, how high is too high? And is it high enough that it'll still take the players a while to get to? Even today there has been no known individual who has reached the highest rank in Hero.

Originally, I thought that the idea of a Zaishen title would be neat. But I later found it to be rather disappointing. Having kept hold of several Zaishen Keys won from predictions, I lucked out, as I originally wanted to stock up on keys prior to using them at all, in the hope that when I do use a bunch, I will be greatly rewarded for my patience in getting highly exclusive items and perhaps some extremely rare items in the process. Sadly, as I am not a PvP type of individual, I cannot easily obtain these keys in order to hasten the progression to each individual rank.

In either case, there were some interesting and notable changes that are perhaps welcomed. The introduction of monthly rotated tonics as well as the increase of Tournament Reward Points to tournament winners should provide people a bit of additional incentives to buy keys or use them to open the chests. I wonder how far I'll go...