Thursday, 25 July 2019

MSN minesweeper revisited (in 2019)

I have expressed numerous time my love on the MSN minesweeper...and now it is back online. It is a pity the mienfield was down without any support...but hopefully this is going to last longer.

So here this is a question related to the grid efficiency in MSN minesweeper.

$\begin{matrix}
\square & \square & B_1 & B_2 & B_3 & \square & \square\\
\cdots & 1 & 1 & 1 & 1 & 1 & \cdots \\
\cdots & 0 & 0 & 0 & 0 & 0 & \cdots
\end{matrix}$

Suppose that you have a line of 1s along a long enough edge (basically you do not get any information from the two endpoints of the edge), then at any of the 1s, the chance of a mine appearing on a random grid should be 1/3...or is it?

Assume that the universal distribution is uniform. I.e. that is an equal chance of getting any of the $C^n_r$ many combinations (ignoring the corner rule since it is less relevant). Similarly without further hints, if we have n remaining unrevealed grids and r remaining mines, then the number of possible combinations is again $C^n_r$.

Out of the formula there is one single variable that varies with actual config - the number of remaining mines depends on the length of the edge modulo 3. Let $r_i$ be the remaining mines count after revealing the row given the configuration $B_i$. Then

$P(B_i) = \frac{C^n_{r_i}}{\sum C^n _{r_k}}$

If the number of mines to be revealed is independent of the configuration then we can conclude that the chance are equal. Otherwise we can compare the binomial terms:

$C^n_{r+1} = C^n_r \frac{n-r-1}{r+1}$

The usual ratio between grids and mines is 5:1 -- but that varies greatly depending on the given situation. In particular there are loads of 1s and 0s in our example, which boosts the ratio greatly. At the ratio of 2:1 the increase of mines would not increase the likelihood of the evisceration, but of course such ratio is unrealistic in a minesweeper setup, so we can say that the configuration that the configuration that leads to less mines on the row, is more likely.

One may raise the question: shouldn't the equilibrium happens at 3:1 instead of 2:1, from a likelihood perspective? We can visualize the likelihood approach by the following problem.

In a box there are $n$ balls, in which $r\approx n/x$ are white, and the rest are black. (i.e., the ratio between balls and white balls is $x:1$). Suppose we draw $\alpha$ balls out of it and we want to compare the chance of having $\beta \approx \alpha /3$ or $\beta +1$ white balls in the draw. If we want the chance between the two events to be comparable:

$\frac{C^{n-\alpha}_{r-\beta}C^{\alpha}_{\beta}}{C^{n-\alpha}_{r-\beta-1}C^{\alpha}_{\beta +1}} = \frac{(n-\alpha-(r-\beta))(\beta +1)}{(r-\beta)(\alpha -\beta-1)} \approx \frac{1}{2} \frac{n-\alpha - (r-\beta)}{r-\beta} = 1$

That gives $n-\alpha \approx 3(r-\beta)$, or $n \approx 3r$.

In our problem however, the term $C^{\alpha}_{\beta}$ does not exist, because we do not take the full combination within the balls drawn. In other words, we do not allow orders like

BBBWWWWWW
BBWWBWWWW
BWWWWWWBB...

The three only allowed scenarios are

BWWBWWBWW
WBWWBWWBW
WWBWWBWWB

Once we fixed that in our formula, similar calculations yield $n\approx 2r$, instead of $3r$.

*

Of course there is no such 'infinite edge' in minesweeper. The endpoints is definitely giving extra information unless it looks like the following:

$\begin{matrix}
\square & \square & \square & \square & \square & \square & \square & \square & \square\\
\square & 1 & 1 & 1 & \cdots & 1 & 1 & 1 & \square\\
\square & 1 & 0 & 0 & \cdots & 0 & 0 & 1 & \square\\
\square & 1 & 0 & 0 & \cdots & 0 & 0 & 1 & \square\\
\square & \vdots & \vdots & \vdots & \vdots & \vdots & \vdots & \vdots & \square
\end{matrix}$

Any extra information would impose extra difficulty on these kind of analyses, but I am here to give some primary idea on what's happening.

To give an application, consider the following example. I said on my twitter that red made a bad move:


The reason behind is simple. There is only [something between 1/4 and 1/2] chance that the grid contains a mine. On the other hand if it does not the opponent gets a free flag immediately with everything else remains the same.

But...is it possible to calculate the exact chance? Yes, and this is not hard at all: this is a 16x16 board with 51 mines. The shown area is the only revealed portion. To calculate the probability we list the few only scenarios then the chance follows by the binomial coefficients.

Tuesday, 23 July 2019

Fire Emblem: Three Houses and Rokkr Sieges

Back to something casual...Fire Emblem. Surely quite a lot happened since last time I wrote about FE and now it is a good time to talk about that again, since Three Houses is coming soon.

Well what should I expect? Unfortunately it's very hard for me to make a fair comment because I have not played the main franchise since the GBA era, a time where skills did not exist and information was sacrce because you didn't know Japanese back in the days...But FEH players should beware of the vast difference between playing FEH and the main franchise.

In FEH the key word is competitiveness. We keep facing stronger and stronger metas and we need to use the same team to work around it (unless you spend heavily). When you use more or less the same team against the opponent, what brings you victories is either the tiny bit of stat difference, or a well-desgined tactic which after all tricks the AI.

In the main franchise it is a totally different story. You are not really fighting in the fair setup -- instead of a 4v4 battle you are doing a 15v50 battle in a well designed stage where you are expected to solve the puzzle bit by bit. Restrictions are kind of loosened but you often ended up putting soft restirctions on yourself: units can be "killed" without failing the stage, but you want to unlock all stories. Time limit is less of a problem but you want to get all secret items and recruit hidden characters...the flexibility is much higher but the difficulty can be no less than what we have met in FEH. The most important bit is, you need to know how to work with a complete army, instread of your precious 4 units.

But yeah I can't wait further for the game. And I am going for Edgelord. Based on the official tease and FEH unit intro she's gotta have an interesting story behind.

*

Back to FEH we now have two more game modes which I also want to talk about.

- Alligence battle -

Interesting concept, but competitiveness forces the highest difficulty and hence very tense and allows very limited unit choices. It's also very luck based when you are not using a DC/CC based team, then you will have to play multiple times to get a high enough score.

But the reward is kind of reasonable - taking 900 as the threshold, the effort required to climb above 900 is hard but not very rewarding, while scoring a 860 is of moderate difficulty. I believe a large portion of the players are settled to the casually playing state on this mode.

- Rokkr Siege -

The opposite of the alligence battle. Fun, promotes casual play and allows huge flexibility. The three difficulty means you can score quite a lot without getting into trouble, and the score cap means you do not need to strike for the optimal. For sure the reward is not the most attractive but 10k feather is still 10k feather and I will take it.

In the discord channel we have seen many different setups, but today I want to talk about my setup.

Three features about the dynamax (taking a lesson from the shitty pokemon sword&shield -- that's another story for another day) boss:
1) Swaps upon special proc
2) AOE damage upon special proc
3) Always counterattack creating non-zero damage

If you are taking lower difficulties, damage is not a problem and you can deploy simple means of recovery to overcome the damage like recover 3, or breath of life. In advanced however, you will either need to stop special from processing, or use a strong means of healing, like using a staff or heal based moves.

Swapping means your defense tiles will then be occupied by the boss, or that the boss will escape from your lineup. In lower difficulty, it is hard to hit the score cap just because the multiplier is too low, so stragety that adapts swapping is essential if we want to hit the score cap, especially if we are fighting cavalries.

With that being said, to tackle lower difficulties steadily you would like to:
- mobility to tackle swapping
- minimum healing power

And to tackle the advanced difficulty you would like to:
- much stronger healing
- ability to take down generic enemies
- not necessary to keep a full team to the end; in fact it would be easier to finish the battle within 5 or 6 turns with some units defeated

Some like to use tank units with guard and healing special to lock down the boss, but without enough merging it is hard to hit the score cap. Don't forget that special fighter and guard are both premium skills and quite costly to inherit (if you do not use to do that).

Another problem with guard is the 70% HP requirement which is hard to maintain during enemy phase. My brave sword guard DC Ayra strategy failed miserably -- not to mention that such build is so impractical in PVP battles.

So with my newly merged +10 Catria, I had an idea. A lesson taken from my Cherche.

The setup is basically dancer + flying healer (witchy hand) + 2 fliers

Dancer - Partial tank, need to tank attacks with triangle disadvantage

Olivia in my case
A - Atk/Def Bond 3
B - Wings of Mercy 3
C - Hone Atk 4 [flexible C-skill or depends on your flier performance]
S - Atk/Def Bond 3

L!Azura is of course a perfect choice for fliers, but she cannot tank physical attacks and you may not have enough Iote shields.

Flying healer - putting guard effect on enemy

HS!Sakura [with H!Mia inherited]
A - Iote shield [use something else if you have it on the S-slot]
B - Live to serve 3
C - Hone fliers [spur buffs are also preferred, since the units may move around]
S - Breath of life 3

Fliers - to block boss on one quadrant and DPS
Units depends on the color of enemy but they should be brave based with galeforce. Without galeforce we can steadily hit the cap in 5 turns. It is suggested to bring at least one galeforce flier. If you do not have galeforce, sol is a temporary solution.

Standard builds:
Weapon - Brave weapon [or amiti / whitewing weapons]
Special - Galeforce / Sol
A - Iote shield / Swift sparrow / Death blow / Life and death
B - Seal atk / seal def
C - Ward fliers
S - Iote shield / defensive based seals



We start by blocking the boss on one of the quadrant - attacking is of second priority because we have enough time. It is important to keep the right formation to keep things predictable.
(1): Cherche to destory the wall
(2): Sakura to attack so as to reset the special cooldown
(3): Catria attacks [quad attack due to whitewing effect] 3 times [galeforce + dancing]


If we are fighting close attack bosses then it's not going to move but otherwise the boss may move by a grid, then we have to reform. We first move the unit to facilitate Sakura - remember that when you are using Brave weapons, a second attack would trigger boss' special so we must use Sakura before the second attack.

Here Sonya moved up a grid.
(1): Cherche moved up and attack [galeforce activated so that she looks active again]
(2): Sakura goes up to attack
(3): Catria and Olivia go up accordingly

It is important to deal with other generic enemies. That's the advantage of using galeforce -- we wait until they approach the fliers and attack, within the attack range the two fliers can kill the enemy then going back to the original position without further dancing. The dancer is also expected to be capable to kill most non-armor enemy by floating around.

It is relatively easy to lock the boss using this strategy, unless it's cavalry distant boss -- then we will need to carefully corner her.


The theoretical limit is 6.5 mil points. I somehow used 2 crests in the first round, so this is a pretty good score. It's definitely not a very rewarding act, yet this is a fun mode to play.

*

Oh and the Three Houses banner is out. Bitybroken by Chrom I spent 400 orbs to get Edgelord and Byleth. Now I am not prepared for Ayra revival...

Monday, 22 July 2019

夢.十夜 (3) The Arena Mode

做了一個這樣的夢。

喧鬧的購物街的樓上,除了有一堆樓上書店還有一堆樓上咖啡廳。當然還有樓上鞋店、樓上髮型屋等等。沒辦法,這都是租金太貴的錯。

如果問我外出要到哪裡喝咖啡的話,這家樓上咖啡廳大概怎樣也排不上榜。偏偏這天咖啡廳地下入口的全彩LED屏幕正好打著與某乙女向手機GAL合作的廣告。為了確認那一閃而過的廣告,我站了在門口決定等廣告第二次出來。不過似乎是買廣告的預算不夠,我等了超過一分鐘它才再次冒出來--不過這個廣告還是成功把我拉進了咖啡廳。

咖啡廳的合作其實蠻有誠意了:牆壁四周掛滿了遊戲的海報,門口放了男主(們)的看版,木制的餐桌與裝潢也切合遊戲的仿英倫風格。

餐牌上的飲品當然也冠上不同的角色名字,本來的簡單的選咖啡變成了選攻略對象(?)頓時變難了許多。這時候--

「美麗動人的小姐,很榮幸可以再次見到您。今天需要我來介紹嗎?」一把熟悉的聲音從後傳來。我扭頭向後望,遊戲「愛麗絲與魔法之國」的男主雷伊就在身後。

眼前的雷伊頂著一頭淺黑及眼短髮、身穿藍黑色的華麗軍裝,綠寶石般的瞳孔一但對上就沒法移開,戴著漆黑手套的修長手指慣性地向我的下巴伸過來。

昨晚與他在森林裡尋找走失小貓觸發了劇情,一回到家就被輕輕按到牆上,二人之間的距離越拉越近,鼻尖都能嗅到彼此的氣息--

「抱歉……你能不能被我俘獲?」

腦補出來的聲音與現實重疊,我下意識的向後退了一下。眼前的少年擺出了一個跟遊戲CG裡一模一樣的驚訝表情,害我當場腦袋一片空白,過了好一會我回過神來紅著臉移開視線。少年還是維持那個驚訝的表情:「咦,不認得我嗎?」

我努力地在腦海中尋找長得差不多的人。長得這麼帥的黑髮少年……沒有。

拿掉黑髮這個條件的話……

「!!」

我掩住嘴阻止了自己尖叫,當然在這個咖啡廳尖叫頂多會被當成對著王子殿下發情就是了。「你、你是……卡、卡羅……」

少年從「驚訝」CG改回了「微笑」CG,兩個表情都跟遊戲裡一模一樣,真是敬業得可怕。「沒想到你自己上門來找我,本來活動開打我都想找小雨把你釣出來了呢。」

沒錯,自上次迷迷糊糊地進了法式甜點店,又迷迷糊糊地掉進了逆戰幻想這個大坑,已經過了一個月。

這一個月的登入獎勵,我一天都沒有錯過。

登入獎勵除了有可用來衝活動的道具以外,一個月登入30天還會送正常版的小紅帽。當然萬聖節早就過去,除去驚悚氣息的小紅帽化身人畜無害的農村少女展示出她可愛的一面。據說這次是官方第一次釋出活動限定卡與登入獎勵這種菜市場卡的聯動,萬聖小紅帽的叫價立馬飆高。當然我並沒有把她放出去,只是默默地天天登入等待小紅帽的來臨。

然後我就完美地掉坑了。從解每日任務開始,慢慢變成推主線劇情,之後乾脆定時上線清體力。在完全沒有其他助力下掉坑,以致我都不太好意思找Alex他們,畢竟這樣就掉坑太丟臉了。

「聽說你這個月一直在玩喔,上次活動也衝進7000位了,每天不玩個八小時基本上摸不到這個排名吧?」少年依舊「微笑」著,慢慢把臉湊過來:「我想,應該不會只為了拿到登入獎勵就這麼拼吧?」比起少年的問句,我開始感受到後面「愛麗絲」們兇狠的目光……應該是在想一會到底怎樣才能拿到這樣的殺必死吧。嗯,一定是這樣沒錯。

「我才沒有玩……喂你湊太近了啦!」我連忙抗議道:「玩這麼一個月甚麼鳥蛋六星都沒有抽到,我都快要放棄了……這種超弱玩家還是找來打活動只會拖後腿吧?還有你……過來是打工的還是來泡妹的?你看後面的太太們都快要暴動了哦。」

「嘛,我是特約過來cosplay的。這種事情我又不管,誰叫我長得這麼帥呢。」少年還是掛著「微笑」表情,他的帥氣笑容自信到要溢出來了:「與其看到我跟你玩會吃醋,不如說愛麗絲們下次光臨也有機會這樣互動呢……好啦,在我去應付其他太太們之前,可以請你點些甚麼嗎?今天點這幾個特調飲品的話可以抽遊戲精品回去喔。」他忽然湊到我耳邊說話,射我身上的殺氣變得更重了:「Alex他們又想找你一起打活動,在群組裡沒看到你回應只好讓我來問你了。今晚八點以後可以回來這邊等我嗎?正好這裡附近有家不錯的餐廳值得一試喔。」

「好、好啦!我叫點東西就是了!別來煩我,你去處理其他客人啦!我要這個!」我隨手拿起菜單一指,剛好是「雷伊小貓屋熱朱古力」。

「好哦~來一杯雷伊熱朱古力~」他居然直接對廚房喊了起來。等等只有拉麵屋才會這樣叫吧?!?

熱朱古力上的小貓拉花很可愛,不過熱朱古力本身並不是用即溶沖劑這點更令人意外。絲綢般順滑的口感中帶着柑橘系的芳香再加一點辣椒的野性,讓人完全沒法想像出自這種平凡咖啡廳之手。

*

也許是這杯熱朱古力被施下了神奇的魔法,又或者只是以前經常流連的舊書店和精品店已經全部倒掉,百無聊賴的我在機廳刷了十道jubeat後終於還是回到咖啡廳等他下班。

卡羅還是一副雷伊的樣子,只不過上衣換成了雷伊版黑色皮外套。這樣的裝扮作為雷伊毫無違和感,在路人眼中也只是新潮打扮的美少年而已。遠處看到他就在揮手了:「沒想到你真的回來等我呢。唔~讓我猜一下你肯回來等我的原因吧。是想享受獨佔雷伊的時間?被新餐廳釣到了?還是,想跟只認識了一個月多一點,只見過兩次的卡羅吃飯?」

「都錯了,」對對對,我就是想看你的CG「警訝」表情。我禁不住揚起的嘴角應道:「我打jubeat打到手痛,剛好發現時間差不多才回來等你的。」

「至少你真的回來等我,這樣我就不用在西餐廳裡獨自用餐啊。我們先走過去吧?再晚一點的話可能沒有位子了哦。」

本來以為是甚麼大商場的高級餐廳,其實從購物街轉兩個街角就到了。這家餐廳開了在一樓,入口被外面的露天攤檔擋著,顯眼程度可能比我剛才去的樓上咖啡廳還要低。而且叫歐陸菜大概就不單是意大利菜或者法國菜,又不能加點紫薯之類的潮物制造噱頭,想吸引人大概只能實力取勝了吧?

*

餐廳沒有像他所說的再晚一點就沒位子,但也坐滿了六七成,以這種地段來說已經不錯了。餐廳的裝潢倒是不錯,石壁牆紙、復古水晶燈跟木製餐桌都頗具歐洲風味。

「別小看這裡生意一般,做出來的菜品可是十分正宗,只是跟一堆廉價快餐排在一起身價被拉低不少。」他很快點了幾道菜又把菜單還了回去:「先試試這幾個吧。不夠的話等下加點或者下去掃小吃就好了。」

卡羅隔著燭光望著我,這個「微笑」CG感覺又與之前所見的不同:「下個活動快要開始了,這個活動正好是適合半新手的類型。不過這個活動起步很重要呢,所以他們就派我來跟你說一下,順便增進一下感情嘛。」

「誰要跟你增進感情……」「我說是作為同一陣線的玩家情誼啦。當然你另有所指也可以……」

按他的介紹下一個活動是所謂競技場活動,主要分為PVE[Player vs Environment]跟PVP[Player vs Player]兩項排名。PVE那邊沒甚麼好說的,就是刷固定的關卡打固定的對手組合。拼的是玩家能課多少抽活動角色,拼玩家能吃多少水,拼玩家能肝多少小時。

PVP這邊比較有趣。所有人都是固定每十分鐘可以挑戰一次,對手全是PVP排名附近的玩家。匹配相近玩家的用意就是將玩家按本身的硬實力進行排名,底子不夠強的玩家早期衝上去也只會因為不敵上級玩家而漸漸滑落,而老手玩家再怎樣休閒打也可以慢慢爬上去。

固定挑戰次數的設定將所有向上爬的階梯鎖死,剩下的就只有課金一條路而已。硬實力的排行榜聽上去很美好,其實對玩家一點吸引力都沒有。大家早就把PVP活動當成變相給土豪送紅利的活動,按自己的步調隨便刷一下拿到基本獎勵就好。

說到這裡,卡羅點的前菜就端上來了。「白蘆荀在亞洲真的很少人會用喔。雖然不是時令季節,不過他們做出來的白蘆荀既能保持口感,又可以充分讓湯汁的味道滲進去,我每次來都忍不住會點呢。」他把眼前的白蘆薈佐煙三文魚推了過來。我也爽快地夾進嘴裡一口吃下。這道前菜真的做得不錯,軟綿綿的煙三文魚與裡面清淡的蘆筍形成強烈對比,三文魚的鮮味沒有像預期般蓋過蘆荀,反而將蘆荀特有的香味表現出來。看著我欲罷不能的樣子卡羅笑道:「有一種做法是用火腿包著進焗爐,不過我覺得這個變種更好入口就是了。」

在主菜還沒上來之前我趕緊接續遊戲活動的話題:「所以輕度玩家根本不會去碰這個活動囉?」

「基本上是這樣。不過有一群非重課玩家會在PVP從頭衝到尾然後互相匹配以避免被土豪隊屠殺。這個方法雖然不一定成功,但也算是不課金的最優解了。不過要跟上他們的話從一開始就要全力打,晚了的就會被他們拉開沒辦法抱大腿了。他們基本上都要24小時待命,只要失手個一兩次就掉下去了。實際上能待到最後的人都是少之又少,這就是所謂的『次元之壁』喔。」

「既然如此,我們自己製造可以互抱大腿的區間就好了嗎?」

「誒?」

「把我們公會的人聚集起來,讓大家的分數保持在同一個區間裡。每次大家要互刷時才把防守隊換成弱隊,這樣就不難刷勝場數了。分數區間最好比次元之壁低一截,這樣可以減低被頂尖玩家發現的風險。不過這樣勝場數可能不夠拿最高的排名賞呢,這方面可能要用過去的分數線去預測一下。不過這個活動不能回體也不耗時間,分數線相當穩定呢。要估算分數線的話大概在活動前半就能有個底了。」

對啊。既然是匹配制,那只要一直打到比自己弱的對手就好了吧?

明明一個人刷上去就會變得強敵環伺、孤立無援,幾個人一起上的話就變成送分模式了。這就是組隊的力量。

奇怪的是,同樣模式的活動已經跑了四次,能突破單兵思維的人只有少女一人……至少在少年的認知是這樣。

卡羅陷入了沉默,我則津津有味地把剩下的食物一掃而空。烤蘆荀好吃,三文魚好吃。少年盤中的炖牛肉好吃,配上德國名物麵疙瘩(Spätzle)更棒。果然不是只有啤酒和豬手才算德國料理啊,我不禁感嘆道。

把主菜清空後甜點就被端上來了。那是源自奧地利的沙河蛋糕。香滑的巧克力糖霜包覆著裡面綿密口感的巧克力蛋糕。為了迎合現代低糖的潮流,實力的巧克力內餡被拿掉了三分之一,改成了帶有杏子與蘭姆酒香氣的巧克力海綿蛋糕。蛋糕旁邊輕飄飄的鮮奶油與厚實的蛋糕形成鮮明的對比,還是嫌太甜的話還有傳統的餐後黑咖啡和小曲奇。

別忘了,德國可是甜點大國啊。

誘人的甜品加上咖啡的香氣終於成功把少年的思緒拉回來。他動手舀起一小塊蛋糕放進口裡面,壓下臉上忍不住浮現出的半個陶醉表情道:「嗯……聽上去應該可行呢。活動後天就要開始了,你要找多少人幫忙?需要活動卡支援嗎?」

「嗯……不清楚呢,視乎匹配到自己人的難度吧。如果是我們公會出人的話四五個人試試看?那邊應該也有人想刷活動的吧,人太多的話自然掉隊就好了呢。」

「好,我現在就叫他們。」卡羅放下半塊曲奇浮在上面的熱咖啡,然後拿出手機放在餐桌上。晚飯過後的群組裡相當熱鬧,大家都在討論接下來的活動。裡面有我已經認識的Alex、阿飛跟小雨,更多的是我從沒聽過的玩家。

卡羅按下了慣用的打招呼表情,看上去就像是從漫畫截出來的那種。其他群員也很配合地打著招呼。他緊接著把我吃了一半的蛋糕拉到中間拍了一張蛋糕合照。

卡羅:「@亞歷克斯,下次網聚就來這邊好了。是難得真正的歐陸菜餐廳呢。」
亞歷克斯:「@卡羅真過份,又帶新的女友去到處吃了?」

他似乎早就知道Alex的反應,從臉紅的我手上接過手機並打開終戰幻想,然後將帳戶和蛋糕的合照傳上群組裡。

卡羅:「是小紅哦。」
天天下小雨:「哇小紅!」
飛:「小紅!」
亞歷克斯:「看錯你了卡羅,居然背著我們泡走小紅。」
Lampbear:「是新人玩家嗎?快點拉進群裡吧(゚∀゚)」是沒看過的玩家呢,先叫她熊熊好了。
卡羅:「先別吵(o´・ω・`)σ)Д`) 小紅對接下來的活動有點想法,需要四五個人來幫忙。有誰打算要衝這個活動的嗎?」
一個叫Sora的玩家立刻發了兩張圖片:「是這次的活動獎勵喔。」

第一張是粉紅色長髮的少女。身穿暗紅色風衣配上短裙和吊帶襪,蹲下來拔槍的姿勢當然是給玩家的殺必死。雖然有個詞語叫「粉切黑」,不過粉髮少女的傲嬌氣息已經快要滿出來了。再加上官方所設定的職業「搜查官」這根本就是色違夏娜嘛!

Sora:「這張要PVP前一百才能拿到喔,相當的不容易呢。」
卡羅:「這可未必,有小紅在我們說不定有機會呢!」
阿歷克斯:「小紅要衝PVP?」
卡羅:「不是小紅要衝,是小紅要帶我們衝(ゝ∀・)b這邊需要四五個人,有興趣的快來報名喔。」

在又萌又強的獎勵卡面前要招人參與當然不難,對於見過小紅一次的三人組更是如此。
天天下小雨:「我來!」
飛:「這張卡我要定了!」
亞歷克斯:「我也來吧,剛好人在歐洲可以幫忙輪流刷喔。」
Sora:「好像很有趣的樣子,我也來幫忙吧。」
小熊:「那我也參一腳好了(〃∀〃)」

正在輸入的人數越來越多,少年眼明手快地打了一條分隔線:「以上~加上我就是這次出擊成員名單了。其他人有意刷活動的話也請加油喔~」

少年把手機收起來把剩下小半的蛋糕吞掉,想喝點東西抵消口中甜膩的感覺卻發現咖啡已經喝光了。他皺了下眉頭後再次回復CG式「微笑」表情道:「今天就先這樣吧,活動的話明天再安排好了。」他忽然話鋒一轉,表情也變成「自信笑容」:「大小姐您對這一頓飯應該還算滿意吧?要出去轉彎買杯珍珠奶茶繼續掃小吃,還是要我把妳送.回.家?」

第三次見面就要送回家?門都沒有。「啊……我想起今天跳舞機又有新曲了,我想先去解一下……」我隨口編出一個借口轉身便走。

少年一把抓住我向後擺的手。我向後望那一瞬間,卡羅與雷伊的帥臉再次重疊;大街上的人群忽然全數凍結,又大又圓的月亮變得近在近在咫尺,他身後甚至有櫻花瓣緩緩飄落--

「都那麼晚了,一個女生去機廳還是很危險的。讓我陪你去吧。」

結果我真的讓他跟來機廳了。可惜的是,打跳舞機算是劇烈運動,吃飽後進行劇烈運動永遠是個錯誤。我連熱身用的譜面也打得東歪西倒,沒打兩道腿就已經不聽話了。打其他音遊也因為太累而沒法集中精神。這一趟除了吸了一堆二手煙外甚麼收獲都沒有。

*

第二天我向他們講解了一下衝排名的要點。其實只是要挑的對手從不認識的人變成認識的人而已,剩下要做的事根本跟正常刷活動沒有分別。我們從每天刷17小時開始,視乎排名狀況調整時數或者讓Alex幫忙在我們睡覺的時候幫刷一下。

活動的過程比我們預計中還要順利。「次元之壁」據說在60位上下,所以我們決定把刷排名都以80名為目標,最終都排90左右。似乎因為戰鬥有少許隨機性的緣故,同級玩家間的戰鬥先手方的勝率其實只有75%左右。換句話說,我們每天打17小時全勝已經壓過大部分沒打滿24小時的玩家了。甚至到活動後期我們還要每天放個幾場把排名壓下去。

我們團隊裡唯一進PVE榜是熊熊。她的免費一抽居然出了六星活動卡--那張在地下市場都快叫到400美元一隻了。憑著這張活動卡她也在PVE榜上挺進了前一百拿到另一張六星排名獎勵。不過她大方地把卡片放給群友們傳閱順便補完圖鑑和劇情。聽說熊熊的「神抽之右手」已是常規操作,不知道我有沒有辦法也能學會這個技能呢?

為期九天的活動順利結束。維修過後我不急及待地打開禮物箱接收我玩這遊戲以來第一張六星排名獎勵。卡片上的簡介是這樣的:

「搜查官」戴娜
她是審判官,亦是行刑者。
子彈只為那些
死不悔改的罪犯落下--
「案件,處理完畢。」

卡片背後的只是角色專屬劇情的舖墊,劇情內容大概就是她追捕一名罪犯的故事,裡面還有其他可收藏角色登場。不過可能因為我手上的角色太少,對於其他角色還沒有甚麼感覺就是了。

至於卡羅,活動後我已經好一段時間沒看到他了。

有幾次我回到了那家跟乙女GAL合作的咖啡廳,那邊還有其他cosplay成遊戲男角的店員,不過始終沒有他的身影。咖啡廳的店長表示他是遊戲營運方派來的,然後又帶點嫉妒地暗示我也不是第一個向他詢問卡羅的人。

可惡……裝成雷伊的卡羅殺傷力實在太猛了。

我在遊戲內向小雨拿到進群的邀請,然後裝成新人混了進去。群裡面的玩家就跟那天晚上卡羅上線一樣熱情。大概是因為剛打完活動,大家都自發地避免提到遊戲而只談日常。這幾天他也沒有在群裡說話,裝成新人的我也不方便直接呼喚他。

這樣的僵局(?)持續了好幾天,直到我裝新人的惡作劇被識破。

我沒有想到的是,第一個揭穿我的居然是熊熊,而不見卡羅或者見過面的三人組。

*

某漆黑的房間裡,一位肥宅坐在電腦前一邊打著手遊一邊進行視像通訊。

「按照計劃,我們團隊的人也順利進到前一百名裡面。我們三個的排名是86、89和90名。門檻比上次高了不少。」

「嗯,很正常,這遊戲還在高速發展期吧。」

「六星排名那張我們叫價250瓶水還沒賣出去。不過市場上的賣家不多,這張卡又萌又好用,我覺得賣出去是遲早的事。」

遊戲裡當然不能直接進行金錢交易,可以回復體力刷活動的藥水成為了實質的貨幣。玩家可以課金買水,價錢大約就是每瓶一美金;當然也有玩家在地下渠道套現手上的藥水,價格比官方定價稍低一些。

「沒關係,這張賣不出給兄弟們掛在首頁也可以,錢我補貼就好了。」

「比較有趣的是,我們似乎注意到有其他成功刷勝場數的玩家。」

「嗯?」肥宅第一次停下手遊操作望向屏幕。

Skype的另一端是一位銀髮少女,寬鬆的T恤並沒法掩飾她玲瓏有致的身材。似乎是料到對面會對這個消息感興趣一般,她微微一笑,放慢將接下來的情報道出:「我們在匹配不到自己人時打過不少其他附近的玩家,其中有兩次對到送分的防守配置。」

銀髮少女操作滑鼠,向肥宅發送了兩張截圖:「兩次的對手分別是排83的Rainmi0031跟87的aoisora2。這兩張圖分別是Rainmi0031平時的防守配置跟那次的送分配置。嗯……正常的配置很硬,可以肯定送分配置是刻意換的。唯一不能確定的是,送分配置的角色全部出自同一個畫師,單憑這個配置我們沒法排除玩家只想曬卡的可能性。」

「那你有調查過這兩個玩家的背景嗎?」

「有,」少女笑得更燦爛了:「他們才剛在遊戲內的留言版互打招呼呢。」

----

最近用多事之秋已經沒法形容出大事的頻率了。京阿尼大火,還有香港的遊行……不過這些有空的話我另開一篇再談就好。

回到正文,這篇的遊戲其實早就想好了,不過拖到五月才動筆。第二章完稿的時候終戰幻想其實還活得好好的,但它終於在今年二月倒了。不過倒下的原因跟台版<<戰鬥女子學園>>一樣是「正服倒掉所以不再予以支援」,也算是「壽終正寢」了吧?咳咳,這個形容詞最近變得很難聽呢。

這個遊戲模式聽上去有點荒謬……其實從終戰幻想本身到現存的手遊都還有在用。當然,硬性時間限制會稍為放鬆一下,這樣才好吸金--上述模式被詬病之處與少女的謀略,都是在硬性時間限制存在的前提下出現的,不是嗎?

順道一說,飛機上碼字的效率真不錯,兩小時寫三千字根本易如反掌。不過寫了兩小時後電腦沒電就很痛苦了……

在第二章的尾聲我說過我希望下一章在2018年寫出來,很遺憾這個目標失敗了。我在這裡再說一遍好了,希望下一章的完成時間也是2019,而不是2020。