Monthly Archives: August 2015

Getting back into League of Legends?

Today I found myself with a surplus of time I wanted to waste, and decided to attempt to get back into League of Legends. I’m still not even level 30 in that game, but I have a lot of friends who play it all the time. If you’ve never played a MOBA, they can be extremely difficult to learn and unfriendly to inexperienced players. That might be an understatement. MOBA communities will flame you for making mistakes, which can be…daunting for a newbie. I generally only ever play League in a group of friends so that I don’t have to deal with that hate, and also because I can get constructive criticism. Today, I played one game and lost, but it got me thinking about the whole system in general.

MOBAs are an interesting enterprise, where the entire business depends on hoping players want to learn a very complicated, detailed, skill-based game. Add in the fact that the majority of the gameplay (bots don’t count) is PvP, and it’s a wonder people like me ever even try them. I think the only real draw for me is the lore of League. Every champion has a homeland and backstory, and some of them even interact with other champions. I am a huge sucker for character details like that. Kha’zix and Rengar being on opposing teams even starts a sort of minigame, where they fight to see who is the better hunter! Riot writes interesting lore, and has a varied roster of 125 (as of this post) champions to play. There’s really a character for everyone in the giant mass of heroic men, women, and monsters.

I think it’s fascinating that all MOBAs grew out of one game: Defense of the Ancients. I used to play DotA back in college, so I got to watch a genre be born and grow. Most video game genres have existed for decades, but this one was new, and might be the only example of a new genre of games in the past 15 years. DotA started as a fan-made game using Warcraft 3 assets and existing on Blizzard’s Battle.net. When I think about that, and then look at all the MOBAs we have now. and how successful they are, I get a real “we are living in the future” feeling.

League of Legends bills itself as the most popular game in the world, with over 40 million players, and thousands of matches being played at all hours of the day. I watch competitive League and cheer for my favorite teams (TSM and UOL), and it is truly the only sport, electronic or otherwise, that I actually care about as a spectator.

Anyways I ragequit that shit after one game. Thanks for reading!

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World of Warcraft – Legion

It’s looking like Burning Crusade 2.0, but that was my favorite, so this is like crack to me.

WoW just announced its next expansion yesterday. I have a passing fondness for the game, which is to say I’ve been playing it for 10 years and will never get that time back. I quit “for good” a few months ago, but I think I will probably end up playing the new expansion. There’s a lot of different reasons why WoW’s particular brand of hype works on me, such as my love of the lore and general weakness to Skinnerian MMO tactics, but the main one is probably the fact that I’ve already invested so much time in the game. I also have a lot of real life friends that play the game, so when one of us relapses, the rest of us do as well.

World of Warcraft has lost a record-breaking number of subscribers in the past few months, and if you haven’t seen the figures, they went from 10 million players to around 5.6 million. The current expansion, Warlords of Draenor, hasn’t just been a disappointment, it’s been a disaster. Lack of content, boring and chore-like garrisons, poor characterization and plot, you can criticize WoD from almost every angle. It took 9 months of Dragon Soul to make me quit last time, but it only took about 2 months of trying to push Mythic raids in Blackrock Foundry. Let me give you a little context.

I have raided every tier of dungeon in Warcraft, with the exception of the current 6.2 content. I’ve been the main tank for our raids (protection paladin) for years, and while I’m certainly not the best, I always do well, both by my own standards and the standards of things like World of Logs and AskMrRobot. I love raiding, it’s what really makes Warcraft fun for me, but this last expansion actually proved too hard for my guild. Mythic raids really showed us who we were having to carry, and when it came right down to it, we couldn’t carry 10 out of the 20 players in our raid. Moreover, the people who were not skilled enough were longstanding members of our relatively casual guild, and we didn’t want to ask them to leave. So I quit, along with all my real life friends.

Quitting WoW gave me a lot of free time that I’m still not sure how to properly use. I started doing this blog again and learning video editing, and I’m happy to not have to raid on a nightly schedule. However, when I see the upcoming stuff like customizable artifact weapons for every class (Ashbringer for Paladin!), and the class halls, and generally just let myself get sucked into the hype, I want to play again. As I understand it, the lore of the new expansion has Illidan and Gul’dan, along with more Khadgar. The Burning Legion is finally attacking real Azeroth again, and it’s a big deal, obviously. All of this news makes me flounder around in indecision, because it sounds awesome.

I’m going to attempt something new on this blog to keep myself from re-subscribing to the eternal timesink that is WoW. I’m going to write out my journey from lowly noob in 2005 to jaded 2015 ex-raider. It details the saga of how I formed my long-standing raiding guild, made a lot of friends that I still do things with on a daily basis, and in general learned about leadership and the internet itself. If I can do it right, hopefully I can capture all the different eras of WoW’s experience, and share how I came to see the game, and why I love it and know I shouldn’t play it anymore. In the process, I hope to improve my own writing skill. Look forward to it!

Towerfall Ascension

I can imagine some sort of snarky wanna-be AVGN clone saying “Towerfall Ass-cension is the worst game since my butt” or something like that, it’s been running through my head since I bought the game.

Towerfall was the best-selling game for the Ouya, an ill-fated console from 2013. The Ouya was a Kickstarter-funded project intended to produce a console that would play Android games, with room for multiple players and real controllers. I never bought one, which is pretty much the case for the rest of the world too. I don’t have any dislike for Android games, and I actually thought this was a pretty good idea from a business perspective, but as it turns out, no one really wants to pay $100 for what is essentially a better version of phone games. Towerfall only sold about 7000 copies on the Ouya, and was later ported to XBOX and Steam under the name Towerfall Ascension, where it is doing much better. Read the rest of this entry

The Leak

Today started like a normal day for me, I got up, exercised for an hour on a stationary bike, showered, and went to my closet for clothes. And then I stepped in something wet. And then I noticed all the carpet in the closet was wet, and then I started to panic. I keep a lot of things in my closet, and one of the things most vulnerable to water is a small bookshelf. The bottom shelf had absorbed so much water that all the books were swollen and stuck together, and the wood was almost twice its normal width.

I moved everything out of the closet and began to assess the damage. Had it been leaking long? Where is the leak coming from, and is it ruining the walls? Will I need to pay for this, or the apartment management? I called the manager and they had a guy come look at it. Turns out the leak was coming from the AC unit in the closet, and was caused by a small blockage in the pipe that leads outside. Didn’t cost me anything to fix, and it should work fine now. I have fans running my closet to dry it out.

It really wasn’t that big of a deal when summarized, but the main damage was done to my books. I have a pretty large book collection, so storing them means I will take whatever room I can get, hence the closet space being used. I managed to pry the fused row of books out of the shelf and separate them to see what could be saved. Pulling them out actually did take a lot of force, because I pack books in tight in the first place.

The leak must have been going unnoticed for the past few days, because all of these books are moldy, inside and outside. There’s nothing I can do to save them, and it always makes me sad to have to throw away books. The only real solace is that most of them were books I read as a child, and I keep them in the closet because they don’t really need to be displayed to my adult friends or me. I lost compilations of the comic strips Dilbert and Foxtrot, some novels in the Pendragon series of books, and all of my Forgotten Realms collection.

The Forgotten Realms are the biggest loss. I’m not really interested in reading about Drizzt or his friends anymore, but these were 13 pristine hardcover books with their jackets still attached. My parents gave them to me when I was a teenager after I told them how much I enjoyed the first one. I think this is the main reason I feel so bad about their loss; they were a thoughtful gift given to me with love.

So that’s what I’ve been up to today. I don’t want to turn this into some sort of banal daily life blog, and I will get back to video games next time, but I thought I would give an update on what is distracting me today. I don’t have any more to say about SGDQ 2015, it was fun while it lasted but now that it’s over I will let it rest. Wednesday I want to talk about Call of Cthulu, if nothing else comes up. Thanks for reading.