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I've seen things you wouldn't believe… 

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Frustration with Dark Souls 2

I had hoped to add Dark Souls 2 to my gaming rotation this week.

But it was not to be…

Apparently there is some server connection issue that tends to be common, but with no solution I was able to find after about an hour of searching.

Some day I will get to play the game I bought (there is an incoming patch later this week I learned of), but for now, I will see about playing the previous game – Dark Souls: Prepare to Die Edition – and add it to my rotation.

#DarkSouls2 #DarkSouls

In any case, I spent too much time searching for a solution to the connectivity issues that I did not get a chance to play. Tomorrow is another day though, and there will be some Dark Souls in it.

 

 
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Ch…Ch…Ch…Changes…

Wow – so much craziness! I may be late learning of the news, but I finally am catching up…

A day after seeing multiple game commercials during the most extensively watched television program of the year, I learn of chaos in the gaming industry.

Sony sells SOE and it becomes Daybreak Game Company – DGC anyone?

AOL shuts down Massively and WoW Insider.

So while it is apparent mobile gaming is experiencing an upswing and making some dough, traditional PC games and gaming journalism is suffering.

I'm not really sure what this means for me, but I did visit Massively quite regularly, and I did buy a Landmark founders pack.

I think I'll feel the Massively closure the most as I'll have to find another source for information. While I didn't read every article in depth, I did enjoy the fact that they covered parts of the industry that I did not always get to. They introduced me to Wurm Online, and even though I did not always like what they had to say, they helped increase my appreciation of Eve Online. And when City of Heroes was shut down, they were there with the rest of the community. I am sad to see them go, but have faith that something positive will come from the vacuum that will be left.

As for the SOE deal, I became disenchanted with Sony over a decade ago when they stopped making their Clié Palm PDA, and since then, have expected the worst from them. I did dabble in EverQuest and PlanetSide, but I never made much of a commitment. While this is not the end for those games, it does bring up the question about how they will survive, and if they will last much longer if they are not making the kind of money an investment management firm requires to keep them afloat. I wish them luck.

 
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A Second Three Star Attack

I don't usually put much credence in advertising, particularly commercials with actors saying they use some product or another. So I was surprised when I saw an actor I tend to like in movies promoting a product I enjoy using.

Liam Neeson wants revenge in Clash of Clans

It was interesting to see the game I play daily advertising during the biggest and most watched game in the world. They must be making some dough to be able to pay for that spot and I wonder what kind of bump in players there will be from the ad.

For myself, I have continued regular play and I made my second 3 star attack. This time against a level 5 base.

I used similar tactics as I did against the th4 base I destroyed in the previous war, and the Giants did a great job against the th5 defenses. One thing I made sure of this time was that I brought a contingent of Goblins with me that would clean up after the Giants. I added them into the tactic when I saw a previous attack fail because they ran out of time.

Giants are great for taking out the defenses of the opposing village, but they are slow and single minded. Too many times have I sent them in to attack and they went right past the town hall – destroying the town hall guarantees at least a single star – to attack cannons and archer towers and then not have the speed to get back to destroy all the buildings. While the Giants focus on defenses, the Goblins focus on resource buildings – including the town hall – and they move quickly. By sending in Giants first, the Goblins don't get attacked and can destroy everything the Giants pass by.

I think I am starting to get a better understanding of this game and am building some better tactics. It's definitely still fun and obviously, still has contains things I need to learn.

#CoC #ClashOfClans

 

 
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Bedsheets!

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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