My PS3 has had very bad luck indeed

I bought a box of individually packaged PS3 parts on eBay that the seller assured me were all from the same system. He or she explained in the auction description that the system suffered from the YLOD problem. Since I have a heat gun now and the price was even lower than the other YLOD systems on eBay due to it being already disassembled, I bought it.

A reflow fixed the YLOD for about a year. When I got the YLOD again the other day I tried doing another reflow with the heat gun. This is the same PS3 that I broke the USB ports on, so if I destroy it utterly, it’s no big loss to me. But sure enough, the second reflow did the job and it booted up and ran. I even left it alone to play gameplay videos in Dynasty Warriors for about an hour or two as a stress test and it was fine.

When I turned it on the next day, however, I immediately saw a warning about error 80010201. The light that should be green on the Ethernet port wouldn’t turn on. I figured I must have damaged the Ethernet port somehow during my clumsy YLOD fix. “No problem”, I say to myself, “I’ll just use WiFi”. So I scan for my network and get an error message that says something along the lines of “no access point detected”, although I forget the precise wording. I tried entering the SSID manually but it just got stuck when I did.

Although I didn’t notice it at the time, what should have tipped me off at that point was that Bluetooth wasn’t working. The battery in my controller was dead, so I connected by USB cable. I only realised later, after making things much worse, that Bluetooth wasn’t working.

After I read online that reinstalling or updating the firmware can sometimes fix these mysterious errors, I thought I would try re-installing kmeaw 3.55. As a precaution I was going to first install OFW 3.55 and then install kmeaw 3.55 afterwards. Unfortunately, at about 62 to 64% of the way through the flash every console owner’s worst nightmare happened: the flash failed with a cryptic error message.

The error I received was 8002f1f9. This was actually helpful, because other people had already done most of the work for me in figuring out more or less what it meant. I’m almost certain now that every single one of my problems was because the WiFi/Bluetooth daughterboard was not connected properly, though I did check about 10 times that the ribbon cable was firmly inserted and not visibly damaged. The only thing that made me wonder if perhaps something else was wrong in addition to the CWI-001 board was that the Ethernet didn’t work either. I’ve read, however, that this board also controls Ethernet network connections, despite what one might think.

Bearing in mind the possibility that the CW-001 board also controlled the Ethernet port, I bought a replacement on eBay. However, it occurred to me that it was possible that the board was fine but it was merely the ribbon cable that was damaged. The seller provided both the card and the ribbon cable for it so I did an experiment when it arrived. I put in the new board using the old cable and booted the system. It gave the same 8002f1f9 error message at about 62-64%. I then powered the system down, took out the new card and the old ribbon and inserted the new ribbon and the old card. The combination of new ribbon + old card worked and now I’m back on 3.55 kmeaw.

I’ve learned a few lessons from this experience. The most important, perhaps, is that error 8002f1f9 refers to a problem with the WiFi/Bluetooth daughterboard and that it is, indeed, this board that also controls the Ethernet port. The Ethernet port won’t work if you try to boot without the board connected. The green light won’t light up at all.

The second lesson is to be careful with the ribbon cables. This is the first time I’ve ever damaged one but I’m 99% certain this was the cause of all my problems. There was absolutely no visible damage to the ribbon, but it’s clear after testing it so many times that I must have damaged it somehow.

The final lesson that I’ve learned from my problem is that it taught me how to get a console out of an update loop, which means that merely failing to update the firmware won’t really “brick” a console as long as you can fix whatever caused the failure in the first place. The trouble with update loops, of course, is that since the firmware flash failed, every time the user boots the system it retries the installation which will never succeed until the hardware problem is solved. This means that you cannot access the recovery menu. According to a thread I read on the official Playstation forums of all places, if you install a hard drive in the system that is not PS3-formatted (i.e. any notebook HDD) you can get to the recovery menu even if the console had been stuck in an update loop prior. You can then hot-swap the drives by taking out the non-PS3 HDD and inserting the HDD you actually want to use with the PS3. It’s a bit frightening removing and then installing an HDD while the PS3 is powered on and running, but I gave it a shot before I figured out that the Wifi board was the culprit and discovered that this method works perfectly. It’s not enough to simply boot without any HDD installed because the PS3 won’t go to the recovery menu if there’s no HDD at all. It must be a non-PS3-formatted HDD.

But fuuuuckkkkkk… I really want to play Ni no Kuni. It’s not even an issue of not wanting to pay for games. I buy all my PS3 games. It’s just that I can’t update my firmware to play the games I legitimately purchase without forgoing CFW. I have a retail copy of Tales of Xillia that I still haven’t been able to play for this very reason. That’s also why I won’t buy Ni no Kuni until I either buy another PS3 or there emerges a new exploit. I don’t want to buy a TB dongle. If I were going to do that, I’d just buy a used PS3 slim incapable of being downgraded to 3.55 for slightly more than the price of the dongle instead and designate it my dedicated legit console. All options seem like a waste of money to me though at this juncture.

this is how long it took me to shake off level 15 murderer status

I started with somewhere around 180,000 PK points.

The character started at level 28. Now it’s level 10. All I did was log in with a bot and set it to stand around in town, respawn, and then simply do nothing until the character dies again. It only took around 7 hours, though for about one of those hours I had it set to walk outside town where I had a wizard standing by to nuke me, so that may have sped things up just a little bit.

These SRO-R updates have utterly ruined the game for both botters and legitimate players alike

My sosun-wielding goldbots have no gold to pick

Others have said it before me, but I feel the need to reiterate how poorly thought out an update this was for the iSRO economy. Servers like Xian and my old home of Babel have players (or at least abandoned accounts) from 2006, filled with items. Those items retained their value for these six years. This is one of the reasons why the supposed database leak was of interest to so many people who didn’t even play; they hoped to be able to harvest items from old, unused accounts and sell them. Equipment and other items are not like pastries; they don’t lose value as they age. At least they shouldn’t. In fact, some, like GDFs and other items that were available only for a limited time, actually increase significantly in value with the passage of time. But now the majority of the items people have been saving in reserve, ready to sell in the event of a rainy day, have been rendered worthless in one fell swoop, like all my SoX 8th degree weapons. No other update has caused a catastrophe of comparable proportions.

Say what you will about Joymax, but none of their updates to the game thus far, not even the much-maligned abolition of the triangular trade conflict system that was the main selling point of the game (it’s called Silkroad Online for fuck’s sake) have done as much damage to as many players as the phase-in of SRO-R features in iSRO. All items below 9th degree have lost their value. Even SOSun 8th degree weapons are being sold for 100 to 200 million gold. You can’t even give Spell Paper away for 30m when it ought to fly off the shelves at 70m on my server. There is no point to the Forgotten World prior to 9th degree. What this update essentially does is transform the entire player experience from level 1 through 70 into an agonizingly long and boring tutorial before they are allowed to play the “real game”. Levels 20 through 70 used to be part of that “real game”. There was competition with other players. There was envy when someone came about with a golden glowing +7 weapon. Not to deny the repetitiveness of the game, but at least back then there was suspense, since you could get a drop at any moment. That was one of the incentives to play legitimately, without the use of bots. Now there’s really no reason at all not to bot and go afk all day.

I made a goldbot party recently in celebration of learning to use the clientless feature in iBot. Now my goldbot party is useless. I have to raise them to level 75 or so and send them into the Donwhang Cave or put them at Niyas in Taklamakan for them to be of any use. I had been counting on getting a good spot fighting Hun Archers or something and letting them all stay there as long as possible with a 9 level gap. Now I can’t do that. All this update will serve to do is drive the last remaining legitimate players to use bots, and force goldbot companies and players with goldbots such as myself to level them up more quickly, leading to armies of SoSun-clad underfarmed lightning nukers who will ks you at every turn and spawn party giants and envies to kill your wizard while you’re afk or playing Skyrim on the other monitor.


I’ve been very lucky in iSRO this week

These are just a few of the prizes I got in the White Day event.

I barely played at all, to tell the truth, and I still ended up getting some fabulous prizes. The last one is from SRO-R. Of course, I’m happy about it since I’m the one who benefits, but it’s quite obvious that the ease with which these items can be acquired will be ruinous for the game economy. It really ought to take a lifetime of grinding and alchemy, not to mention massive amounts of real currency, to be able to obtain these Seal of Nova and “Rare” items. Yet a person like me, who had barely played in the last year, was able to get those items using a brand new character that I hadn’t even been botting very much with. Case in point: I bought a level 101 “Rare” earring from a guy for 150k gold. That’s how flooded the market is with Seal of Nova and “rare” items; people will sell them for less than the price of a single star level 35-50 Dimension Hole.

Ruined though the economy may be, it was to my great advantage, especially since my character is a newly created one. I once again am reminded of my theory that the bad luck I used to have in SRO was due to some sort of invisible “luck” factor built into the game, one that is assigned to each character upon creation and never changes. Not that I really believe there is a hidden “luck” statistic, but I did play legitimately without botting from level 1 to 80 during cap 80 and it is true that I never once got an SOS drop or even a +5 drop. Yet, in the space of several days of light botting (not even 24/7), my character got these:

As though that wasn’t enough good luck, the new equipment exchange system is worth mentioning. I haven’t seen too much written about this yet, which surprises me because it strikes me as one of the biggest game-ruining updates ever implemented, dwarfed in imprudence perhaps only by the elimination of the triangular trade system. The idea of the exchange system is that if you have, say, a level 56 sword and you need a level 56 blade you can go to the Magic Pop NPC in any city and exchange the sword for a blade or any other Chinese weapon of equal level with randomized stats. You pay a small fee in gold for the exchange. The key phrase here is randomized stats. This isn’t random in the same sense that the alchemy success rate is “randomized” to never, ever work when you most need it to. No, it’s “randomized” in a good way. Say your sword has shit stats, no blues, and is +0. You might get a +5 blade with full blues and superb stats in exchange. All it’ll cost you is a very modest fee in gold. Here are some items I got today with my new character by exchanging equipment with no bonuses on them at all:

I don’t know if the best part about all this is

    a) that you can buy an item from the NPC and “exchange” it for a superior item of equivalent level or
    a) that you can “exchange” an item into something else and then “exchange” the resultant item back into the original type of equipment

The latter requires a teensy bit of elaboration. Let’s say you use blades and have a level 52 blade with garbage stats. You have no money or patience for alchemy to fix the stats on the blade. As long as you have at least a little bit of gold you can exchange it for some other weapon and then exchange that weapon back into a blade. There is a good chance the resulting blade will have better stats than it did when you started the process. If it doesn’t, you can just keep repeating this exchange loop, as it were, until you get a blade with stats that you can be satisfied with.

The fee is not enough to discourage gaming the system like this. I can’t remember the exact fees, but for low degree stuff the fee was only four digits. For the 8th degree staff it was around 250k or thereabouts. It’s highly affordable and less of a gamble than you might imagine. I didn’t go through the loop more than three times on any of those items, if I recall correctly.

Once again, this change to the game gives some instant gratification and I’ll even admit I did momentarily feel like posting a global chat message proclaiming my overflowing love for Joymax when I realised how I could take advantage of it, but, just like the White Day event, it takes one of the meaningful challenges out of the game while leaving untouched the most injurious of the game’s many flaws which is the amount of time it takes to level up. Planning ahead was one of the things that made SRO great. You could never be certain that you’d be able to find equipment mid-degree. By this I mean that, while you could always be sure in the knowledge that, in a pinch, you could buy NPC equipment, you couldn’t buy equipment after the first item for each degree from NPCs. So if you were level 52, you needed to start thinking about buying your level 56 and 60 weapons because, though you could buy the level 52 weapon from the NPC, you had to buy the latter two from actual human players via a stall or direct exchange. The same was true for equipment. The stall network made it easier to find the second and third tier items for each degree but didn’t actually do anything to reduce the scarcity of them. The exchange system, on the other hand, actually reduces that scarcity and makes it easy to create out of thin air equipment that cannot be purchased from the NPCs. This reduces the importance of long term planning and will surely precipitate a sharp fall in the prices of most non-SoX equipment and perhaps even elixirs.

Having said that, I should really quit biting the hand that feeds me. I will exploit the exchange system to the fullest. It’s not a bug, so I can’t be banned for it. I just can’t help but wonder if Joymax realised when they implemented it how generous they were being.

The most incredible episode in my series of good luck, however, must be the following:

I’m telling the truth when I say that I only started playing again in mid-March. I went to the Forgotten World a total of three times since I started playing and, as is my wont, only went to the first treasure box. I got Spell Paper on my first run, Red Tears on the second, and Elder Staff on the third. I’m now in the peculiar situation of having the two most sought-after talismans but nonetheless being unable to finish the quest for lack of a Puppet, which is not all that rare of a talisman. Yet in the entire stall network there has not been a single puppet since this morning, when I got the Elder Staff. I suppose I’ll just try to get one myself since I’m only level 56 and have no need to finish the quest just yet. I can’t wait to one-hit mobs in DW stone cave with my SoSun staff!

I tried Silkroad-R today…

...and got this in the White Day event!

It was my first day playing SRO since last autumn and I didn’t even know what Silkroad-R was. Now I do. Since I’ve only played it for a few hours so far, I’m unable to conclusively say what I think of the new system yet. It’s weird getting stacks of 500 potions. I used to have to do gross estimates in my head every time I would restock on pots, trying to estimate how many inventory spots I would need to leave empty in anticipation of elixirs, alchemy materials, and, if I was lucky, equipment drops. Now I don’t have to do that. Pots take up 3 spots: one for HP potions, MP potions, and universal pills.

On the positive side, you get a free SOS equipment set every time you reach the next degree (eg. 8->16->24->32->42->52, etc…). This is nice, I suppose, especially for someone with bad luck at getting SOS drops. On the other hand, it takes all the luck out of the game. In normal SRO even killing thousands of Niya snipers has a tiny degree of suspense because you never know if a piece of equipment will drop. In the back of your mind you even maintain hope that maybe today will be the day you’ll get a SoX drop. Nearly all chance is taken out of the equation though without equipment or even gold drops in SRO-R prior to level 70.

But the reason I’m so excited is not because of SRO-R actually. In fact, I was going to play normal SRO today but I can’t get the client to update properly. Shortly after starting SRO-R I got these two White Day event items. On my very first try I got the above SOM garment chest piece. My first thought, of course, was that I had stumbled across some bug and that now I was going to be banned for “abusing” it. My second thought was something along the lines of, “Holy hell, this is one uncharacteristically magnanimous event if all the rewards are like this!” But no, apparently I’m just the luckiest noob on earth.

I’ve cashed in two sets of heart-shaped event items now. The first was a grand triumph. The second time I got a cookie that restores 25% HP and MP. The value differential between the first and second prizes is just staggering. So for all my complaining about there being no element of chance in SRO-R, it looks like it’s the events that are going to restore the premium on luck. That and presumably alchemy. I suppose that’s still all about luck, too.

I hope I can get a GDF. Those are worth barrels of money now.