I've seen things you wouldn't believe… 

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I had planned on writing about something else today, but I was just too excited to think about much else.

After watching the season 6 premier of The Venture Brothers, I just had to order a set of those.


Grab some for yourself here.



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First 3 Star During War

I finally made a 3 star attack in Clash of Clans.

It's taken a while, but even as a level 6 town hall, I was finally able to get a 3 star attack in during our most recent clan war. I only attacked a th4 village, but they were #45 on our opposing clan while I was #45 in our clan.

I still have yet to master my attack strategy, but for th6 the standard from my research is to use Giants and Healers. My first attack against a th4 did not go so well – the main reason was I neglected to draw out the clan troops to kill them before deploying my giants.

ALWAYS remember to draw out the clan troops. They can be deadly even when facing a th4, and they can wipe out all your attacking forces before you know it.

In the attack that I 3 starred, I did remember to draw out the clan troops and I wiped them out early in the battle. After that, it was just a matter of throwing all my giants in the same area to let them soak up damage while attacking the enemy's defenses. A healer placed behind the giants keeps them from dying, and a set of archers next to the healer makes sure they don't get attacked while they take out resource buildings the giants pass by.

I have since upgraded all walls to gold

While I did well on offense, I also did ok on defense. My newly redesigned base withstood an attack to the turn of 2 stars when attacked by a th7. But then a th8 sent in an overwhelming force that I could not hold off and they got a 3 star from me. I feel pretty good about requiring them to send 2 attacks to get 3 stars and hope that my new base design holds up for future battles.


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Where’s the Negativity?

I am starting to wonder when the players in League of Legends become toxic.

I've been playing my low level summoner for about 20 games now and I have yet to encounter the level of toxicity I see in many games I've played in ranked. So I am starting to think it is a learned behavior.

From my first few matches, it is obvious that people don't come into the league with the negativity. And I would not expect that – people do not start playing a game only to be toxic – at least most people.

So where and when does the horrible behavior come from?

While I hope not to encounter it, I am paying close attention to see what the deal is.

#LoL #LeagueOfLegends


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Break out the Silver

Legends Success!

After grinding for 160 days in League of Legends, I finally reattained my Silver ranking.

Back in July I first achieved a Silver ranking and I was happy. That feeling lasted briefly as I started playing like crap and getting paired with teams that were determined to lose. 18 days later, I was sent packing back down to Bronze and not just to Bronze I – I fell hard and fast to the basement of Bronze V.

Eye of the Tiger

But then, I started the climb back. When I first reached Silver, I was pretty much do focused on using Morgana as my only main. Sure I had to play a few other champs when forced to play top, ADC, or jungle, but whenever I could, she was my goto. When I hit rock bottom, I decided I needed to expand my stable of champs so I could take care of business when I had to play other lanes. This was fortunate since everyone started banning Morgana and I was forced into other champs.

Learn How to Jungle

At first I started to explore the jungle. I had been in plenty of games where I was playing Morgana and scoring kills and assists left and right, but we would lose because we were lacking a competent jungler, so I wanted to learn how to jungle. Xin Zhao and Wukong were my mains here, and I threw in a few games with Vi and Rammus. I got petty decent with them – in what is now the old jungle – and started moving back up the ranks.

Add a Couple Midlaners

Next I started to expand my knowledge of midlane champs and decided to work with a couple assassins – Ahri and Talon. Ahri was fairly easy to pick up as she is a ranged champ and boy does she have a lot of mobility. I love her for that, but she is squishy. Talon on the other hand is a melee champ and while I had gotten used to Xin and Wukong, I had a hard time getting CS with him. Eventually I got accustomed to him and I think I can play him relatively well, though he is certainly not my first choice midlane.

Enter Zyra

With these four new champs, I started playing much better, but it wasn't until I started experimenting with Zyra that I really began my climb back to Silver. Similar to Morgana, she has a bind and an ultimate that effects a large area, but she also has a slow and a turret-like plant that can extend her range and allow for AFK farming. Fortunately, I started playing her about the patch when everyone started banning Morgana, and essentially, she has been my main recently.

Back at Silver V

So, here I am, back at Silver V. It's been a long road, but I learned a lot on the way. If you find yourself stuck in Bronze a couple of recommendations may help:

  1. Try out some new champs or a new lane
  2. Starting a new summoner can help, as I did with IntrepidRedshirt
  3. Always try to record and watch your matches – you'll see plenty of mistakes and places where a little moment of opportunity was available that could have turned the game in your favor

Of course, the same day I reachieved my Silver ranking, Riot announced the start date for season 5.

Listening Enjoyment – The Sandbox Podcast

The Sandbox podcast is back after being on holiday for December, and I am happy to hear the guys again. They talk about playing Eve, Mortal Online, and Tera, and after listening to the show, I had to fire up Eve again. With all the changes in exploration, jump fatigue, skill queues, clones, the 6 week release cycle, and more, I've got to see about spending some time relearning my capsuleer.

#LoL #LeagueOfLegends


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Sadly Toxic Legends and The Adventure Zone

Legends Really?

Sometimes I am so confused by League of Legends. But I guess there people who have a different concept of ranked play versus normal play. And I am pretty sure that this is the source of a lot of the toxicity in League of Legends. Some people are pretty serious about playing when they are in ranked play – kinda like raiding – where they focus and have researched how to approach the battles and if not, they certainly try hard to perform well. Others try to coast through like some people in LFR. As a healer, I've seen both sides of this behavior and try to ensure those that try, survive to contribute during the battles. But when looking at LoL, with only 5 people, one person who doesn't pull their weight or at least try, seriously impacts everyone's gameplay. I know I've had games where I don't perform as well as I want to, but I try to admit it and at least work to avoid being a detriment to the team, but recently, I've seen a number of people actively working to help opposing teams win. I suppose it is just the preseason, but ranked play is “supposed” to be a higher level of competition. Maybe it is just the lower levels of ranked play. I hope to improve and move out it he toxic ranks someday.


Some days my optimism is really tested though.


Fun Podcast

I've been listening to The Adventure Zone podcast recently and am loving it. If you have ever played any RPGs, pen and paper or computer, I think you'll enjoy it as well. The podcast follows a group of adventurers through their D&D campaign. These guys seem to be having fun playing and are able to convey their enjoyable gaming sessions very well, I'd highly recommend it.

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Gaming Rotation 2015.1

A Look at my rotation these past 10 days

I set out to focus my gameplay on League of Legends, Heroes of the Storm, WoW, Civilization V, and Clash of Clans for the first rotation of 2015, and I succeeded mostly.


Valla and Li Li

In Heroes of the Sotrm, I played a bunch of matches learning the ins and outs of Valla and Li Li. I actually advanced my player level from 1 to 9 and in the process got Valla to level 6 and Li Li to level 3. With Valla, I actually played a few “Versus” mode games against other people after I attained level 5 with mixed results. Some people definitely knew what they were doing better than I did, and I found out how squishy Valla can be when real people focused on me. I have been experimenting with a Strafe build, but I need to recognize that using my ult does not grant any defense.

Li Li on the other hand has a bunch of sustain. Her heals are smartly targeted, and focus on me when I am the most damaged teammate in the area. I’m not sure how much damage she does since I tried to stick with others for the few games I played with her, but she definitely allows people to stay in the fight a lot longer. I also felts she was a huge benefit when going against tower – her healing let people keep on damaging them for a lot longer. Since I’m only level 3, I haven’t tried the “Versus” mode with her yet though, so it will be interesting to see how she does when facing human opponents.

Nitocris and IntrepidRedshirt

In League of Legends, I’ve been working with 2 summoners. Nitocris is max level and has tons of games under his belt while IntrepidRedshirt is just starting out. During the past 10 days, I’ve been playing pretty will with Nitocris, moving from Bronze III to Bronze I, but I’ve done this all before. I had reached Silver V at one point only to fall all the way back to Bronze V because of bad luck, poor play, and horrible teammates. I am hoping to make my improvement stay with me this time, even though it is only preseason. Hopefully, once the real season starts, I’ll be able to jump right into Silver or above – I think my abilities have improved since season 4 started.

IntrepidRedshirt is just starting out and has reached level 6 playing Ashe, Garen, and Lux. I’ve played mostly Bot games, but as Lux, I’ve run a few teambuilder games. Thusfar, I’ve been successful and have been enjoying playing Lux as a support. Based on my plan for this summoner, I have set up both Ashe and Lux as potential champs to use against human players, but I only played 3 games as Garen and want to wait till I get another 2 games under my belt as him. Unfortunately, he is now out of rotation so I’m not sure how long it will be till I finish him up.

I think my playing in the lower levels with different champs is helping my overall gameplay as Nitocris. Once I started my young summoner, I started moving up in the rankings, so I definitely think this is a good thing for improving my play.

Clash of Clans

During the past 10 days, I took part in a few wars with my clan and had some decent success. It has been difficult since I am one of the lower leveled players in the clan so have limited options on who to attack. I have managed to tally up a star or two in the past few wars, and I am working on building up my town hall so I can contribute more. Leveling up to TH6 has opened up healer production as soon as I upgrade my barracks, and I can start making healing spells at the spell factory. The most important thing, though is that I keep working on practicing my attacks during clan wars – eventually, I will get high enough level to open up some more attack opportunities.

Civilization V

I went to my steam directory to start up my last game of Civ – I had let it sit since late November – and I was unable to get the save game to load. Frustrated, I did not play any Civ during this rotation because of that.

World of Warcraft

I listend to a bunch of people talk about how cold Warlords is, read a bunch of blog posts about how cool Warlords is, but did not take the chance to log in. I just did not have the motivation this time around.

4 out of 6

I would say that for this gaming rotation, I succeeded with 4 out of 6 games. The idea behind my rotation is to try to put 4-5 hours into each of the games in the rotation so that I get the flavor and fun of playing a variety of games. It helps to have this kind of goal since I found that without one, I sometimes would focus all attention on one game and not feel satisfied with my gameplay. Switching between games give my brain a chance to focus and expand at the same time and I feel like I’ve accomplished much more, even if it is only a couple of levels.

Rotation 2015.2

Since this process is still new, I think I will stay with the same games for #2. I’ve got a one way to go in all of them, and I think the new season is going to start soon in LoL. With that, ting to reach max level in WoW, and HotS going into beta, I think I will have plenty to keep my attention with these games over the next 10 days.

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Alpha turns into Beta

National Champions

Congratulations to the Ohio State football team for winning the inaugural College Football championship tournament. They were pretty dominant last night overcoming a number of turnovers with great defense and an offense that ground down the Oregon Ducks’ defenders. They certainly proved that they deserve the Number 1 ranking and the championship. I of course was pulling for the Ducks, but then, they had a great season, only to meet a better Buckeye team. They both were deserving of being in the finals and it was good to see that the NCAA has finally decided to have a tournament to determine number 1.

Alpha turns into Beta

I wanted to get online today and watch some of my replays to learn more about the Blackheart’s Bay map and it’s inhabitants. Unfortunately, with the transition to beta status, the previous games are unwatchable – at least as far as I can tell. I suppose this is to be expected considering this was an alpha release, but I wouldn’t be surprised if there are future breaks like this when big patches are released. In any case, I’ll have to hold off on my study of Blackheart’s Bay, instead, I’ll just do a quick rundown of the current crop of free heroes.

The only hero in the current rotation that I have played is Raynor, and that was during the 2 tutorials. I think it is a nice ‘coincidence’ that he is availbe for the first week of the closed beta so that the new players can stick with him after the tutorial. He’s a fun champ, and I’ll have to play him again this week as it has been a while and I’ve been focusing on Valla and Li Li.

Free Heroes this week

  • Warriors
    • Muradin
    • Tyrael
  • Assassins
    • Raynor
    • Illidan
  • Support
    • Rehgar
    • Tassadar
  • Specialists
    • Zagara

Based on these heroes, I think I will give Raynor and either Tassadar or Rehgar a shot this week. I’ll have to take a deeper look at the two supports to see what their mechanics are before I decide. I am kinda sad about Li Li not being available since I was enjoying her healing and I had not even made it to level 4 to open all her abilities.

#HotS #HeroesOfTheStorm


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First Game in HotS

Types of Champions

Similar to League of Legends and other MOBAs, Heroes of the Storm breaks their champions into a number of categories to help players have a basic understanding of the play style each will accommodate. Those categories are Warriors, Assassins, Support, and Specialist.

  • Warriors – the tanks of HotS. These guys seem to be able to absorb a lot of damage and prevent teammates from taking damage.
  • Assassins – the dps of the game. These are the champions you want to play if you want to burst down the other team.
  • Support – these are the healers and buffers of the game.
  • Specialists- do other stuff that I am not sure about. I think I’ll stay away from these guys at the start.

Free Rotation

Each week, starting on Blizzard’s standard update Tuesday, a set of champions are put into a free rotation. Being a level 1 summoner or rather player, you have access to 5 champions. These champs are Anub’Arak, Arthus, Kerrigan, Malfurion, and Valla.

Anub’Arak and Arthus are warriors and I don’t tend to play tanks – at least not in WoW or LoL, so I am gonna stay away from them for now. Malfurion is a support champion and I tend to like those, but they can be difficult to play, so I decided to go for an assassin. Kerrigan is melee, and I prefer ranged classes, so I am going to go with Valla as my starting champion.


Recording Games

One thing I like about Heroes of the Storm is that the game automatically records your matches. LoL is a pain in the butt to record games – every week, it seems one or more of the recording mechanisms are broken, and each patch causes issues as well. HotS has recording built in. This is such a huge benefit when trying to improve your gameplay – just watch your games to see mistakes and compare your play to the pros you can see on YouTube. I definitely appreciate this feature of the game.

Talent Unlocks

When you start with a new hero, you are only allowed a certain set of talents. The number increases as you play and gain experience with that hero. Basically, you want to get a hero to level 4 before you start to seriously play that champion. This way, you have access to all of hate hero’s abilities. Prior to level 4, it is still a learning period and you can try to play against other people, but I would think you have a severe handicap by not having all your talents.

The Game

With all that preamble, I finally got into the game. The map was Blackheart’s Bay, which I had no clue meant anything – apparently each map has a different mechanic that makes them unique along with different mercenary camps and map paths.

Blackheart's Bay

Eventually I figured out what the deal was with the doubloons. You need to collect them form around the map and turn them into a guy in the middle of the map. Once your team gets a certain amount, he bombards the enemy buildings. It is definitely a neat mechanic, I just wish the explaination was more apparent and stayed on the screen a bit longer – load times are pretty quick compared to LoL.
Once the game started, I road my horse to the bottom lane and started killing minions. This is ok, but I soon saw that most of my teammates were running from lane to lane. There seems to be a culture of team fighting in HotS. This behavior is encouraged on this map by the collection of doubloons – there always is a fight at the chests and at many of the mercenary camps as well, and try to have someone at your back when turning in the loot as many ganks occur as people are turning in the coins.

HotS Game 1 Results

In any case, this was an AI match, and we won. I think I did ok – scoring 5 kills and only 2 deaths. I didn’t do too well with the doubloons but that’s because it took me a while to figure things out.
On the whole, I enjoyed the game and was please with how I performed. I also liked how quick the game was.

#HotS #HeroesOfTheStorm

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Ascension and Lux

I watched the first episode of Ascension on ScyFy channel a few weeks ago and I was not too impressed.

They gave away such a big plot point of the miniseries in the final scenes…at least that's what it appeared. This weekend I watched the second episode, and I'd have to say it was better than the first installment. I'm actually looking forward to watching the final episode. I just wonder if they got the rights from Marvel for the X-Men because that is the vibe I am getting. Or more likely a cross between X-Men and Twin Peaks. I'm also getting a strong desire to rewatch Babylon 5. The whole concept they keep pushing of the upper and lower decks draws me back to how much I enjoyed that series.

Trying out Lux

Since I completed my 5 bot matches playing as Ashe, I decided on a new champion to move forward with. Lux is a good champion since she can work as a mid lane or a support, and against bots, she can be useful in any of the lanes.

In my first game, I went mid with her, and handled things pretty well. For the first 10 minutes of the game, Varus and I were the only two out there on our team. I handled mid and he handled bot lane, but Pantheon never showed up and Sejuani and Thresh waited to show up. Since this is my first game as Lux, I had a bunch of learning to do. First of all, is how to use my passive which illuminates those hit with my spells so that they take extra damage when I auto attack them. Secondly I need to,learn the width of my ultimate – it always seems wider when I am on the receiving end of it. In any case, I rolled to a 7-0 record with 16 assists so I feel pretty good about my first Lux game. #LoL LeagueOfLegends #Ascension


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Giving Heroes of the Storm a Shot

I’ve been invited to the Heroes of the Storm Alpha since early December, but only this week did I get on and give it a try, and it is a lot of fun.

Of course the style is a mix of League of Legends MOBA with a Blizzard twist, but there are many differences between HotS and LoL. While I am sure I haven’t seen all the differences in my short playing time, here are a few that stand for me after a few games.

  1. Don’t worry about last hitting – there is NO gold during gameplay in HotS. Blizzard has done away with ingame gold and instead just have minions provide expeierence – and that expeirence is for the entire team, which leads to the next point…
  2. Your team levels up together. The is no individual level, but each team has a level that all 5 champions are at. Expeirence is gained by the team and if one team is at a higher level than the other, all the champs are fighting at that higher level. This is kinda good for when you get a disconnect, but I haven’t seen many of those – or at least many that have lasted more than a minute or so.
  3. Towers prefer to shoot minions regardless of if you are shooting the heroes whose team is controlling the towers. This is good on offense, but bad on defense. I have to get used to the fact that just because I am in range of my tower, the enemy is not deterred from attacking me if there are minions around.
  4. Towers provide gateways that can only be passed through by the owning team which gives added protection as you can run back through your gate to escape from the enemy team. This added protection is offset by the fact that the towers have limited ammo. You need to pay attention to towers because once they are out of ammo, they provide not protection and you can dance around in their range without getting shot.
  5. Jungle camps can be recruited to fight for your team. If you defeat the various jungle camps, you can stand in a circle where they spawn and flip it to your team’s color. This will cause them to start moving to attack enemy structures which can really turn a lane around.

These are just a handful of the differences between the games that I have seen. There are plenty of others, but for the most part, I have been enjoying the gameplay and loving the experience of learning a new game. Beta is coming soon, so I suggest you give Heroes a shot to see how you like it.

#HotS #HeroesOfTheStorm #LoL #Moba #LeagueOfLegends


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