music

Is it really the end of an era?

This past weekend, the long awaited BTS Map of the Soul ON:E online concerts happened! Originally, I had only bought a 4K ticket through the BTS ARMY Fanclub membership for the Saturday show, which for me started at 6am. However, as soon as that concert ended, I bought a ticket for the Sunday show as well, and that one started at 3am for me. It’s now Monday and I’m still super tired and trying to catch up on sleep, however, seeing both shows was 100% entirely worth the exhaustion I will be consumed with for the next few days.

Promotional image for Map of the Soul ON:E concerts, via BigHit Entertainment.

The set list for both shows were the same, save for the encore which was different. There were also some differences such as some outfit choices for the solo songs. Jungkook and Jimin seemed to do a color swap for their solos, with Jimin having a red suit on Saturday and then Jungkook had a red outfit for Sunday. Even if nothing was different, it would have been amazing regardless!

The set list for both days are as follows:

Opening VCRON, N.O, We Are Bulletproof Pt.2

VCR,  Intro: Persona (RM solo), Boy in Luv, MENT, Dionysus

VCR, Interlude: Shadow (SUGA solo), Black Swan, Jimin dance solo, UGH! (Rap line), 00:00 Zero o’Clock (Vocal line)

VCR, My Time (Jungkook solo), Filter (Jimin solo), Moon (Jin solo), Inner Child (V solo)

VCR, Outro: Ego (J-Hope solo), Boy With Luv, MENT, DNA, Dope, No More Dream
Encore Day 1: Butterfly, RUN, Dynamite, Ending MENT, We Are Bulletproof: The Eternal

Encore Day 2: Spring Day, IDOL, Dynamite, Ending MENT, We Are Bulletproof: The Eternal

Both shows were incredible. It was really nice being able to see them perform in this way again since it’s been a while, well almost a year, since they had a concert save for the performances they have done for promotions and “smaller concerts” like the Tiny Desk concert just as an example. With the concerts being online, they were able to achieve some really cool effects throughout the performances with the stage. The “elevator” set up they had for their Dope performance was really cool.

I think the first show was more emotional than the second. Jimin cried and seemed very emotional, I think mostly because he didn’t realize that he would actually see fans on the screen (there were fans that were “there” through their webcams on the screen that the members could see and hear which was really heart warming!), and I also think just the overall state of things at the moment with COVID-19, how things are so much different right now and a lot of people are struggling no matter where you are or what you’re doing. I think Jimin’s feelings could really be felt by a lot of people watching. For the second show, Jimin seemed better and more cheerful so that was nice to see! Also, finally hearing them sing We Are Bulletproof: The Eternal gave me all the feels. Even though it wasn’t in person, I’m glad I was still able to “see” them sing it live.

Each member did really well throughout all the songs. The solos were incredible. It’s hard to pick a favorite performance because I loved them all so much. Jungkook is my favorite member so I’m biased towards him and his performances, so I could say that his solo was my favorite. Really though, they were all amazing and worthy of being on my top tier favorites list. I think this may be one of my favorite concerts. I really love the setlist they had. The solos were wonderful, the group songs were amazing, both encores were definitely made with the fans in mind, and the VCRs!! They obviously filmed these months ago so I’m glad they were finally able to use them. The one before Shadow and then the vocal line one are probably my favorites. I also liked the one before Ego because J-Hope and Jungkook were together in it and it was just super cute. The mixes for a lot of the songs were also very good, and I really wish they would release the mixes or even a live album? Maybe this concert will somehow be available to purchase in the future so I can just have these mixes forever? Because they were all amazing!

One cool thing about these concerts? Syncing up the lightstick! I bought tour merch for the original tour a few months ago and got the Map of the Soul lightstick. Through the live streaming site, you were able to connect the lightstick via bluetooth so it was like you were really there! It was really nice! I love the lightstick and the colors from the concert were so pretty. It was the easiest thing to set up as well. It was easier than connecting my wireless earbuds if I’m being honest…

The ending screen for both concerts featuring the ARMY Bomb (BTS lightstick). Left is 10/10 and Right is 10/11. Photos taken by me.

With the conclusion of these concerts and the fact that BTS have a new album coming next month which means a new era is upon us… does this mean that the Map of the Soul era is truly over? From what RM said yesterday, it seems like this journey has, in fact, come to an end and we should be ready for the next journey to go on with them. It’s sad, because the Map of the Soul era didn’t have a proper tour, but these two shows were better than nothing at all. Maybe there is still hope for a proper MotS tour, but it wouldn’t surprise me if the tickets for that tour were converted into whatever tour they will hopefully be able to have for their new era. Time will tell. Let’s hold onto the words that the members said and hope we can all meet next year and have a proper concert safely together.

gaming

I’d like to introduce you to my new obsession.

Oh, hey. It’s me. I decided to come back earlier than anticipated because I was feeling motivated to write about some stuff again. 

Today’s topic is one you have probably seen if you are part of video game Twitter, or into gaming at all. Yes, that’s right! It’s about Genshin Impact!

Before going any further, I will say that I had been looking to jump back into an MMO experience for a couple of months now. I entirely blame Final Fantasy for it. I was actually considering redownloading and resubscribing to Final Fantasy XIV, going back to my Dragoon character I haven’t done anything with in, what? Two years? And most likely ending up as lost as ever in the experience which is why I ended up stopping in the first place. Well, that and also being completely burnt out by it all.

However, last week, I saw people starting to talk about what has been deemed as an “anime styled Breath of the Wild” game that was free to play on mobile, PC, and Playstation. Honestly, at first I was pretty skeptical about it. I figured it would end up being one of those games where you eventually have to pay money to progress. 

That has not been the case. At least, not yet!

Genshin Impact, developed by miHoYo. Screenshot by me.

So, what exactly is Genshin Impact? Aside from it being a free to play game, it takes the concept of an MMO and makes it into a viable solo experience with recruiting other characters, each having their own unique perks and an elemental ability which makes the fighting really fun. There’s a leveling system for characters, their weapons and artifacts that you can equip for them which all give various benefits. As for the story (or what I know of it so far), the focus is of one twin trying to find their other twin (you pick one to play as and the story proceeds from there). Whichever twin you choose, they end up in what I can only describe as the most beautiful fantasy esque world I have ever seen. The prologue introduces you to the main threat (or is it?) and a few different characters, some you end up recruiting into your party, and once that is done, more stuff unlocks for you to complete in order to rank up in the game and be able to do other quest lines and eventually be able to go through what I can assume are dungeons. I hit adventurer rank 10 yesterday so I can continue the main story quest next time I login which will most likely be once this post goes up! 

Genshin Impact, developed by miHoYo. Screenshot by me.

Okay, so now you may be thinking about the fact you have to hit certain adventure ranks in order to proceed in the main story. It’s not that bad. It didn’t take me very long at all to get from rank 7 to rank 10. You get a handbook from the adventurer’s guild with challenges you complete to get points, there are bosses that spawn on the map that you can fight a few times a day, and also by just doing basic things in the world, such as opening treasure chests and exploring, you will rank up in no time to be able to continue. There are also other world quests and side quests you can complete as well! I’m not sure how it will be once you get to 25+ for adventure rank. I’m sure like any other RPG game, there will be some sense of grinding for levels, but that’s really to be expected from a game like this. Trust me, there’s a lot you can do in the game, even at such early levels! The map is huge, too!

Genshin Impact, developed by miHoYo. Screenshot by me.

One final aspect to this game is the gacha system. Yes, there’s a gacha system. I haven’t paid any money so far and have just used what I have been rewarded in game through progression and rewards to play the gacha and form a tiny prayer circle that maybe something amazing will happen and I’ll get awesome characters and weapons from it. Well, I did get Noelle (pictured above), but I think she may be easy to get? But, she is my favorite so far. I really like her combat style and the geo ability she has which has come in handy from the lvl 18+ enemies I have started running into. Aside from Noelle, I have unlocked 3 other characters from the gacha as well, and a whole slew of weapon duplicates which I’m not going to complain too much about since you need duplicate weapons in order to refine them anyway. You can pay real money to get the currency needed to buy more gacha plays but… and maybe I’m just old, but I enjoy getting the in game rewards and then using that for gacha spins, not actually paying my own money for them. Because where’s the fun in that?

Other things to note? The soundtrack is beautiful and very relaxing to listen to while running around exploring. The combat is very smooth and works well. Character switching is super quick so you’re able to stack up elemental abilities against enemies and really cause some DPS mayhem if needed. Most importantly: it’s fun!!! And it’s FREE!!! Did I mention that already?

This will be a title I will go back to and keep playing. I’m sure more things will be added over time and I’m looking forward to seeing where the story goes, if there really is any sort of paywall, and what ends up being added to the game in the future!

With that being said, I think I may end up making a game log again with this game as the test title. Once a week, just posting my progress and some new screenshots from the game! I used to make game logs years ago, so we’ll see how this turns out.