Author Archive: Isey

Turbine Loves Me!

So I started my Return of the Warden adventures in LOTRO. I have no friends that play LOTRO (that I know of) and I really haven’t played since launch (2007) except for a quick jump in when it was free to play Mines of Moira – which allowed me to test drive the Warden. To which I never played again because Turbine wouldn’t let me play a Warden without paying for it.

The warden was one of my 4 favorite MMO classes of all time from my quick play of it. I finally caved and gave them $8 and bought the warden. As you see from the crazy link-love above, I have always really wanted to play and like this game I just haven’t found the traction with it. It’s late in this game’s life but I am going to give it the old college try.

I was greeted back in LOTRO with some surprises!

First off, two cloaks

Cloak of the Peace Keeper, War-Cloak of Isildur. I have no clue why I got these – but very nice to have a cool cloak when I log in. I am guessing that it has to do with either beta, or pre-order, or maybe both.

I also have 6 gift boxes – one for every year! A 1 year Gift Box, 2 year, etc. These yielded (in yearly order)

  • Anniversary Fireworks (GB1)
  • 90 Min +5% Damage buff (GB2)
  • 10 Battle potions of Restoration (GB2)
  • 3 sturdy steel keys (GB3)
  • Festive Azure Clothes (dress, trousers, tunic, cloak) (GB4)
  • Festive Azure Steed (GB5)
  • Festive Azure Caparison, Halter, Saddle, and Accessory for the horse (GB6)

All in all, a nice welcome back. Now I am going to go kill things, and do a good old MMO Quest-a-thon. I am actually looking forward to old school, non-dodge combat and normal questing. Hopefully its zen-like. I am going to read all quest text and see if I can be immersed in Middle-Earth.

After 5 levels, two quick comments – one is that I am ridiculously overpowered for my level, but two is that there is no looting in the traditional sense. You kill stuff, and you have a loot menu that you can go to anytime, and click “loot all”. you have one hour per item to loot.

I like that part. I also like how they throw a major character at you in the beginning tutorial. Strider was mine, and I am running quests for him throughout the first part. That is a nice connection with the main story and movies.

 

 

A Dark Room

What a great little text/flash/ascii game.

There is a lot to do and discover once you get past the idle games part, and I was disappointed one of my discoveries led to the end of the game – I felt I had more to learn and discover but I actually “won” (by accident. I thought I was still discovering…). Playing through again to see if I missed anything.

Sometimes the simplicity is in the delivery, and I am glad www.killtenrats.com shared it.

If you haven’t yet, go play it now.

Since we are on the topic: reminder of Gods Will be Watching for other cool games worth playing =)

Insanity: Doing the Same Thing…

Oh look, Brad McQuaid is back and people are picking on him (pretty accurate?) and/or taking a “hey something to talk about!” (also accurate) approach.

I made my feelings known about Mr. McQuaid back in the day when we couldn’t tell if he was hoaxing or not when coming up for air – and Jim Collin’s “Good to Great” research was pretty clear research that ‘rockstar’ CEOs tend to fail more often than not (its a great read) especially compared to the down at home, technocratic types.

Is it ANY surprise that “our” generation’s ‘rockstar’ CEOs – Lord British, Arundane, and Marc Jacobs (does he even have a cool rockstar-CEO pseudonym?) haven’t done any gaming good since their “one and done” hits that many would chalk up more to timing than to vision.

I tend to agree, after all, if it was vision, follow up games would have been better (because they have the budgets to support their visions!) Yet WAR failed miserably, Tabula Rasa as well, and Vanguard…. ok, they all may have contributed to gaming and gave some people some good times – but on the backs of the “superstars” these three games were supposed to revolutionize the MMO spaces – because look at who they were made by!

So each are now 1/1 in shipping a successful title and I am surprised that anyone is giving them even a fighting chance – all made some pretty good excuses for failing the second time around (issues with big labels, etc.) but the true failing was their leadership – and the employees paid the ultimate price.

They will all get their chances thanks to fandom and Kickstarter and I honestly hope they make something worth playing. I am not holding my breath though. I’d rather support people that make great companies and have a history of success that’s not tied to one win 15 years ago…

Squelch

Curious curiosity – you cannot talk to your opponents in Hearthstone.

I find this very odd.

For a social game and gaming company as Blizzard who once wanted people to be their real selves while online to take away a basic chat function is puzzling. What are they afraid of? Its a head to head game, so there is no chance of cheating. The only possibility I can think of is that they are afraid games will go on too long – but there is a turn timer built in for that already too.

Harassment? Trash talk? Why is Blizzard so afraid to give the opportunity for two people to talk in a card game? Isn’t that the point of a card game – socialization?

They do give you right-click standard options “Greetings”, “Oops”, “Sorry”, “Taunt”, (etc.) and they have carefully designed those in such a way that you can only do so many in a time frame so you can’t ‘spam’ the presets.

And if you do, your opponent can right click on you and ‘Squelch’ you so you can’t Greet, Say Oops, Sorry, or Taunt them. All in all, a TON of effort has been put into limiting player interaction in Hearthstone.

I just can’t understand why.

Lego Marvel Super Heroes

Part of myself maturing as a gamer is learning to share video game time with my eight year old son – who is also an enthusiast. Of course I try parenting hard (1 hour a day tops gaming time) but sometimes I am my own worst enemy.

A game style/series we have seriously enjoyed and put some great time into together is the Lego series. They just get better and better. We still haven’t finished the Lord of the Rings Trilogy (sitting at 83% completed) and when Telltale launched the Avengers game we jumped (flew, swung, smashed) right in.

All of the series are a fan’s (whatever your flavor) dream. We have played Batman, Indiana Jones, Pirates of the Caribbean, the aforementioned Lord of the Rings… they are all well done. The game play is a delicious mix of living/reliving a story line, puzzle solving, item/character collecting, questing, jumping, shooting/fighting and discovery. Most levels you will have to complete several times (and on free play mode) to collect and discover every nook and cranny.

We have been plugging away at the Lord of The Rings Trilogy well over a year. Its not a daily play by any means, but we keep going back to it. 17% to go – and we both are VERY curious what happens when we “beat” it. Of course, there will be a Hobbit Trilogy Lego (no doubt) after movie three, so I see us playing these series to completion and beyond for at least that long.

Of course, maybe once he hits 10 he’ll stop playing with me and move to Call of Duty 12 or something.

Improvement Realization

I don’t mind losing when I play games. Part of this is from the old MMO raiding mentality where we knew we would die several times while “learning” the fight. It was the ultimate proof that if you kept practicing, and learning, and get a bit better everyday, and learn to work as a team better, you win. The more you beat an encounter the easier it becomes. This whole process makes sense to me and is easy to put time into. That example is very PVE centric.

PVP/FPS games you lose a lot but doing so learn about your enemies – what they like to do, how they perform, what they are capable of, what strategies they employ (etc.) This allows you to change your strategies and adjust at the next encounter. You learn and get better.

I am having a hard time even knowing if I am learning in Hearthstone. Yes, it is still in beta but due to the prior discussions I have had on here that decks can easily be stacked with pay to win – I can lose 10 games in a row with a deck/class and then win 10 in a row using the exact same techniques. This doesn’t give me any clarity:

  • Did I lose/win because they had a better/worse deck than I did? How can I tell?
  • Did I lose/win because they were a better/worse player than I am? How can I tell?
  • Did I lose/win because the built in matchmaker gave an insurmountable advantage/disadvantage? How can I tell?

This is the main beef I have with the game so far – I can’t tell if I am getting better (or worse) and there are no clear indications to help me figure that out.

Stamina

One nice integration with the Hearthstone beta is that my WoW-playing friends still show up on my friends list in Hearthstone. At first, they seemed really excited that I was coming back to WoW… until they realized that “oh, you are playing that card game thing”.

Personally I am surprised at how many of the same people are still playing WoW. Most in the same guild, with a lot of the same people. It isn’t just WoW either I have a lot of gaming friends who are still connected in EQ.  In both cases that is a lot of years playing the same games.

With the reoccurring arguments about community erosion in modern day MMO I am starting to doubt if that is entirely true. Sure, it is taking on new forms and shapes (cross-realm, casual raiding, etc. etc.) but you have to give some credit to the longevity that people are playing the same old games, often in the same old way, with much of the same old people.

I am looking forward to Warlord’s of Draenor so I can buy it, play it for 6 weeks and wait for the next one – even picky little me keeps going back. I suppose I’m more of a sprinter while my old friends are long distance runners.

I just don’t have that kind of Stamina for gaming.

 

Guild Wars 2 Offer

40% off offer for me to give to a friend.

I stopped playing GW2 months ago.

Use data! Incent me to come back! For data driven companies (or at bare minimum, data-capable companies) I am not sure how MMOs use their data effectively on subscribers (if at all)). MMOs do a crappy advertising job. I know how companies use consumer data to connect with their customers. It’s really simple, and can be effective.

It’s a waste of an email to give a guy who isn’t guilded and hasn’t logged in in months a 40% off the game offer for someone else. Give me some coins to spend in the store (or something) and I might check it out. I am not going to give a coupon to a friend for a game I don’t even play.

Boggled.

Quitting Games

I forgot to mention I quit League of Legends sometime ago. Right around the end of the last season.

It was odd because it wasn’t even a decision. I just stopped playing. It was my daily login and play game, and one day, I just stopped.

A long time ago I did a brief recap of when and why I left certain games (specifically MMOs) and it was just time. I don’t even miss it, and even more importantly can even begin to bother thinking about relearning the whole game now that they are doing sweeping changes to the jungle, laning and items again. My LoL friends tell me that its the best it has been competitive wise, but I am still not interested.

The game that broke the camel’s back was actually Civ 5 now that I think about it. I got it for free for doing a survey, and became engrossed with it. I had never played it before. That is a whole other post though. I rarely juggle multiple games now that I don’t have multiple hours to play them. I tend to stick with just one, ride it hard and fast, then dismount. All sort of places that sentence can go, but just going to stop here.

It’s Friday, after all. have a great weekend. Happy New Year.

M2P – Motivation 2 Play

I haven’t had a chance to dig into LOTRO: The Warden’s Return (self titled) with all the fun holiday shenanigans on the go. I have been playing Hearthstone daily and I have noticed a curious reoccurrence to my playing pattern. I just play to finish the daily quest(s).

This doesn’t make a ton of sense to me because the reliance on daily quests to advance in WOW made me quit the game.

This does  makes sense in one regard – it isn’t WOW and  since it is beta, and I’m not spending money in the beta (although they are offering you a free, special card if you give them money during beta – limited 1 per player) I can only advance myself in a couple methods. One is levels, which you get a bit of XP every game. From what I can tell levels only help to get free, class specific cards (which you can get other ways as well). They are reskins (gold) from regular old cards. Most of that is not motivating for me. A gold framed card with some moving graphic elements is just as handy to me as the plain one that does the same thing.

The second advancement is by getting new packs of cards (5 to a pack) and there are two ways. Spend $$ (which I already shared I am not willing to do in this beta) or get points. You need 100 points to get a deck of cards, and there are two ways to get points without spending money.

1) Win three games. Not in a row or during a specific time frame – every 3 games you win you get 10 points. So 30 wins for a deck.

2) Finish any quests that may be available at the time. I have had three at the most, and I believe you get one a day. So if you skip a couple days you have a few extra quests waiting. In my experience, these quests give 30 to 60 points so it is always worthwhile to do. They also do a good job of forcing you to play other characters as some quests are win X games as a Y (Paladin, Shaman, etc.)

Matchmaking is feast or famine depending on who else is on at the time so you might win 3 in a row and then lose 10. It is a slow grind to 100 points. So the wins in (1) above are just in the normal time frame of trying to complete (2).

(2) is the way to go. I log in, do my quests and then….

Logoff. After getting the efficient points I find there isn’t much else motivating me to play. Don’t get me wrong I’m having fun but there isn’t anything else to do after that. There is RANKED play but right now that is filled with people who have these crazy cards I can’t get without spending a lot of money or a ridiculous amount of time doing activity (1). I am limited on what I can do with (2).

This makes me think about other games and what has M2P in the past and it was a combination of leveling, gearing, and people. Definitely not in that order.

 

Hearthstoned

Full disclaimer – I am not big on card games. Actually, to be more clear – fantasy hard games. I didn’t play Magic: The Gathering, or Pokémon, or any of those fine pastimes. Pull my nerd card if you have to. I did play quite a bit of Texas Hold’em and other traditional card games so I understand basic concepts on how cards work. Card tricks are also fun to watch.

When I was invited to the Hearthstone beta I thought it could be a fun way to enter into the fantasy card space. Blizzard has a history of ease of entry and since it is all digitized I wouldn’t have to worry about spilling my beer over any actual cards. This could work!

ss1-med_rd5zbm

The nutshell review: Fun game, but completely pay to win. Saying that, you may say “duh, its a fantasy card game!” and they all revolve around what cards you have and how much you spend. The obligatory analogy here is playing Texas Hold’em but depending on how much your opponents spent, they may have 10 aces available in their deck and you only have 4.

As soon as the playing field isn’t level to start you don’t have a game of skill, you have a game of chance – but one heavily influenced by how much money you have invested in your “chance”. I will agree with you that Poker is also a game of chance but it is one where all players know what cards are in deck.

You can also not spend and still grow your deck but cold hard cash skips over any effort. You might get one pack of cards a day, every day, if you play a couple of hours. Or, you could get 100 packs in 5 seconds. Up to you.

That being said, I am still going to continue to play it in the beta – I am having some fun while learning and because I haven’t anything personal invested in it (except some time) I don’t mind that it is built around the frustrating aspect of most PVP that its 81.93% “blowout” 18.07% “close”. There isn’t a lot of evenly matched because you have several random aspects. 1, the skill/experience of your opponent. 2, how much they have spent on their decks.3, how they have built their decks and 4, what random drawing order of the cards has occurred. I suppose you should add a 5, the random drawing of your own cards (and I will assume at this point your own skill isn’t random.. right?). There are a few extra chance and pay to win elements there that aren’t available in traditional card games.

Perhaps the ‘fantasy cards’ industry is built around this and everyone is accepting and understanding of this. As an outsider just dipping his toe into the space it is a bit of a turnoff.

WRIP

I’ve been doing a bit of housecleaning around here and have tagged some of my blogroll with a new designation -WRIP. Writers Resting In Paradise! It’s over half the list now itself. I spent a lot of time clicking, reading, and commenting on those blogs even though they haven’t updated in 6 months or longer (my random chosen timeframe for the WRIP designation.)

I like to keep them listed there as a sort of homage to my personal voyage in blogging and who knows, maybe they will come back! Even if they don’t I really appreciate the part they have played in my own (in) consistent blogging efforts.

On that note – any recommendations on who else to be reading these days? I try to randomly choose links when I visit other blogs, but sometimes a straight up recommendation is just better.

Enjoy your weekend and don’t worry about the WRIPs – paradise sounds nice.

Microsoft Surface Pro 2

It’s an amazing machine.

I have replaced all of my gadgets with it this week. My phone (cell) Laptop (work and personal), iPAD, desktop, ipod (I use it for magazines and music, and books-while driving).

I don’t miss anything – except a big monitor. I am going to buy the docking station this week to see if I can game on it.

I bought the 256 GB, 8meg ram version (the 512 GB is a HEFTY $1799 price tag) and its been nothing short of amazing. A bit of a learning curve with a touchscreen Windows 8.1 but some quick hits:

  1. The kickstand should be standard on all tablets. I can’t stand my IPAD anymore.
  2. The type cover 2 is the best keyboard/cover I have ever used (and I have tried a lot of them)
  3. The built in “apps” (travel, health, business, sports, news etc.) are really good. I didn’t think I would use them – but felt it would be only fair to give them a shot. The travel/health ones are especially well done.
  4. I LOVE writing with the stylus! It isn’t as convenient as typing, but sometimes, I just don’t feel like typing at all. The recognition software is really solid and I am actually writing this whole blog post with the stylus. It’s clever too – using the stylus and finger has different functions on the same page. It’s really intuitive. (IE: swipe a PDF page with the finger, write down notes with the pen.)
  5. Battery life has been solid.

The only game I have played on it is the HEARTHSTONE beta, but I am going to try a few to see how it performs. Really curious on that front.

Definitely worth getting used to.

A Way to Innovate Combat in MMO’s

We are talking next gen amazingness.

One of my favourite posts is “Greatest Fantasy Movie Ever“. In it I describe how a typical boss fight in any MMO would translate into a big budget movie and how ridiculous the whole event is. Sure, arguments of tech limitations and what not on why that is but really – that isn’t an excuse anymore.

Check out Batman: Arkham Asylum. Yes it is an old game (thank you humble bundle) and how action sequences play out there is much more enjoyable and sensible. Sure, you would need to slow down the combat just a bit but just watch:

Notice something? Batman doesn’t get hit. There are 20+ bad guys around him and he dodges, blocks, and counterattacks his way through the group. When he DOES get hit, you really tell. The screen changes color and there is impact. I got hit with a lead bar once and the screen showed me an interpretation of concussion like symptoms. Even more so, the fighting is really smooth, makes sense, and is somewhat believable.

The result is a ton of industry awards and 2 sequels. This was released in 2009. Don’t tell me we don’t have the technology.

Now compare to every MMO where bad guys arms and legs would be going through Batman’s torso and little -10’s would float up from the damage, blocks would show the letters “BLOCK!”, and so on.

It’s a natural progression. We went from standing in place with 4 buttons, to standing in place with 3 hotbars of buttons, to active dodging/attacking – all while not having the graphic interactions between combatants accurately reflected.

It would be an amazing innovation, and well overdue.

LOTRO – Friends With Benefits?

I still don’t get LOTRO. It’s confusing.

Is it free to play? Why are they selling expansions? I still want to try playing the Warden class past level 10, because it is the only class in that game that interests me (I have tried them all). But I can’t, because I have to buy the expansion OR pay for the character class. What if the class sucks by level 20?

I know, I know – companies are supposed to make money but for some reason they don’t get me. I paid a lot of money to League of Legends this year because they didn’t make me pay up front. They earned my dollars through my enjoyment. I love the Lord of the Rings books, and universe, but I’m not convinced on the game. Let me play the class I want and if the game is any good, I’ll give you some money.

Would you rather con $5 up front, or earn $100s over the long term?

I know this is nothing new. Doesn’t make it any less frustrating. I could have been paying and playing this game since 2009.

Auf Wiedersehen WAR! 4 of 4

The final comic is the Choppa – the Orc mirror to the Hammerer. Violent, ugly, and viscious – WAR players were angry because the Choppa was an iconic WAR class and having them cut from the launch was not something they were “happy” about.

So, how to write a comic about an evil dummy?

choppy22(click the comic to see it in full)

Was fun to tie in a previous comic (love seeing that in the comics I read) and besides that, played on the singing angle again (what would a character do when they were planning to be in a game, after all?)

So that was the series. They are still available in the PRESENTS page, but it’s hard to find and full of spam now – I am going to kill that page soon.

WAR was one of the most hyped disappointments ever in the MMO genre and I am shocked that SWTOR didn’t learn about the hype machine in full failure – some of my favourite personal posts are about WAR and how PVP games could actually scale and last, but hey, I’m pure armchair.

 

 

Hasta La Vista WAR! 3 of 4

When WAR classes were dropped they did the mirror classes. The counterpart to the Black Guard was the Knight of the Blazing Sun (KOTBS) quite possibly the longest named class in MMO history. Fact check, anyone? When they released concept art there was so much feathery delight to them that I felt took away the typical tanky archetype edge. Hence the flavour of the comic.

kotbs(Click anywhere on the comic to get the whole thing)

I think this was my favorite one for a few reasons- mostly because I was able to over the top the whole thing and reference some pop-culture. This one makes me think I could have had a future on comics!

Good thing I am a realist. #smirk

 

Adios WAR! 2 of 4

The second WAR comic was the Black Guard, a terrifying Dark Elf class of pure evil (originally slated to be a tank). His comic was an easy personality, complete evil that even the producers didn’t like dealing with him.

blacked-guard(click anywhere on the comic to view).

This class was actually one of the ones I was most looking forward to. I had always planned on tanking, but the Swordmaster and the Knight of the Blazing Sun didn’t appeal to me (and the KOTBS was also being cut – next comic!). I ended up going Dwarf Ironbreaker and wow were they awesome to play in both PVE and PVP.

They ended up adding them (eventually?) but I never got a chance to play them. I suppose I never will =)

Au Revoir WAR! 1 of 4

I loved WAR. It was the best BETA ever, and really showed the potential for a pure PVP game (with PVE elements) to shine. I talked about it in the past but the short list of why the BETA was awesome was:

  • Every player was funneled into areas – so there was equal representation of each side, and always conflict to be had
  • You got to know your enemies really well – to nemesis status! Some on the other side were known as amazing, and you had to change tactics to deal with it
  • Everyone was forced into the same power level (tests were focused, +/- 5 levels)

Of course, the game fell apart live because everything above stopped happening (among other reasons go read the posts tagged WAR if you are really interested).

I predicted 1,000,000 active subs and a huge success for WAR. I still stand by that based on the BETA experience. Of course, the LIVE experience sucked in comparison. I was so certain that it was going to be a hit, and that I would be playing it for 10 years, that I started making comics about the game.

To be clear, I have ZERO art skills, so was using rudimentary photo-shop skills. I had planned to carry the comic on for a while, but only got four done. I am re-releasing them in honor of WAR closing down. The first, is Hammerer  Ed. I focused my first 4 comics on the “cut” classes and the Hammerer was one of them. Existing in the “nether”, and having the makers of the game explain why they weren’t making the launch of the game.

HammererEd_ghiy4p

(Click on the graphic to see it in full)

If you don’t know the game you probably won’t get it. Even if you do, you probably won’t find it funny =) Either way, it stands as my first (and last) foray into comic-ing and at bare minimum remains a reminder of the enthusiasm I had for this title. Shame it let me (and us) down so badly.

1 of 4! Three more comics to go. Will post them daily.

 

World of Warcraft – Random Thoughts About the Expansion

So, Warlords of Draenor.

I have had a long tenure with World of Warcraft. From hardcore raiding through Vanilla, multiple accounts, multiple licences, to guild leadership in a progression guild through WOTLK. Half way through WOTLK I gave up on WoW and the sub model. It remains the one game I have spent the most money on (historically/total) and I still go back each expansion to say “hi” to my more consistent/stubborn friends (who still play), get to the next level cap, and bid adieu.

I have a lot of emotional experiences in WOW – all positive. So many good gaming friends (that I miss – some still in touch with, but most have gone to non-gaming pastures of “real life”) and I would probably play WOW still if there wasn’t a subscription. There is a comfort and familiarity there that is still fun, and I find the 5 mans smooth. The 30 minutes in and out is good for my current lifestyle as well. I have invested so much time and cash into it they should probably thank me and give me a lifetime subscription. Customer Service is not the inter-webs strong point.

Couple Random thoughts on what I have learned about the expansion:

Mists of Pandaria lost me because you HAD to do daily quests to advance. In WOTLK you could grind reputation through dungeons, but not in MoP. I can’t stand doing dailies – its the WORST part of WoW for my playstyle. They are getting rid of them as a gating mechanism in WoD.  Hopefully this is a push towards allowing players to enjoy the game the way they like the most. WoW gates at every step – at least let players choose which gate they have to walk through.

You get a free level 90 (any class) with the expansion. Waiting on specifics here, but EVERY new character should be a free level 90. 1-89 teaches nothing of the game anymore.

The best (and smartest) news I have heard is that they are pushing for ONE gear set regardless of spec – and that when you switch specs, the gear will switch intelligently to reflect the item budget you need.

I called this a good move in 2008.

If Blizzard really liked you (us) they would change itemization – not provide a double-grind to the already solid grind. Easy in some cases, harder in others. I like to use arbitrary numbers, so here goes. ONE raid gear set regardless of spec. Change how your character USES that set.

And my final initial takeaway, to make Wolfshead happy, is that WoW is down to about 7M members. The giant is dying. At the rate of decline, it will still be #1 for the next 5+ years.

I have been gaming all sorts of odd games – and I will be back to share some neat things I have sorted out, including what it is going take to make a MMO that captures the awesomeness that WoW (and MMO’s) were.

 

Against My Better Judgement

I went back into SWTOR.

I love the Star Wars Universe. I was in early Beta Tests for SWTOR and like many others, believed if the game was launched as a single player experience it would have done amazing. Really, it is just a better, shinier KOTOR.  Dragon Age in the Star Wars Universe. Mass Effect-esque gameplay in a Star Wars backdrop. It could have been a perennial giant seller as a single player game such as the COD series or even Assasin’s Creed. I went back knowing that it really isn’t an MMO but the storylines I did in beta were pretty well done – and I wanted to see some of them through and maybe experience a couple new ones. I was willing to invest my time (and depending on the experience, money)

Wow, they have really messed it up. During my three hour play experience last night:

1) You can’t get certain quest rewards without being a subscriber. Major quest rewards are unattainable. Really? PRE-LEVEL 10? The starter experience?

2) The restrictions on chat make group very, very difficult (and there are heroic quests that require you to have a group as early as level 6-7)

3) XP gains have really been throttled (not surprisingly though)

So after spending a lot of time (and money) in League of Legends, someone who does Free To Play exceptionally well, it was a letdown. I want to spend time in EA’s Star Wars Universe, I want to give them my money – but I want to feel like I am rewarding them for good programming and business decisions. If I gave them a dime right now it would be the exact opposite.

League S4 Goals – Failed!

And I am just fine with it. Taking the plunge and focus into ranked play, but starting at the bottom of the barrel was a LOT to overcome. The truth is the Solo Queue ranked system seems to rewards games played. Bad streaks, bad luck, whatever – as long as you plow through you’ll end up where you want to be.

I just ran out of time.

Bloodstone-Lissandra_io1scg

To test the whole ranking theory I leveled up a second account and it placed me a full league ahead – and didn’t force me to trudge through 200 games. So I actually *reached* my goals by not using the established system. It will be interesting to see if they work on improving that at all for season four. They already have a ton to work on with Jungle/Support fixes, items, a stale meta, etc. I did find two new champs I am deeply in love with playing – Lissandra (above) and I’ll save the second for my next post. Truthfully, I am even getting ‘meh’ on League.

I am accepting that I am not really a gamer like I used to be anymore. I used to keep up on the news, be excited for releases, try everything, get into every BETA possible… and now? I think I am just more of a hobbiest. I am coming to terms with that. What I am really excited for isn’t any upcoming game or title (well, for one there is another ‘memory lane title’, and another that won’t be out for years). The thing that has me excited again is seeing my old friend Wolfshead posting again. He is covering a bit on the next iteration on the EQ franchise and his initial observations seem to indicate that gamers like he and I should accept which gamers are being targeted now. And hey, even if they finally DID make the game I always wanted, having gone from hardcore to hobbiest, I’m not even sure if I would end up playing it anyway.

 

 

 

Odds Are in My Favour

Still playing League of Legends and I am nearing my placement matches to move up from Bronze (crap) to Silver (less crap). it has been an arduous climb, but somewhat of a positive experience. My top laners (Wukong, Pantheon) continue to be my bread and butter and I have recently added Rumble – and have an over 75% winrate with him. He has been ‘nerfed’ as of late but since I have seen him exactly zero times over 100 games what I suspected is true – no one knows how to play against him.

Rumble is that cat like creature (yordle) riding his mechanized contraption and is a fun character conceptually, and plays hella fun. Anyway, hopefully I can ride him to silver.

Back to the title – what I have realized in the untalented, cesspool that is bronze (which I am so fond of being a bronzie myself) is that if you don’t suck, that means you have an up to 80% chance of having sucky players on your team. This is a benefit because the other team has an up to 100% chance. So the odds are definitely in your favour. Assuming, of course, you don’t suck. (Sometimes I do).

I have hit a neat spot where your League Points get ‘clamped’. Whereas before clamping, you could get 20 LP for a win, now its 3 to 6. This means you really have to power through matches to get to your promotion matches. Also a nice way to slow you down to stop and smell the roses. Or at least the other available scents in bronze.

Dat Wukong (aka “That Wukong”)

Great observation by Zubon over at KTR, and I am living that efficiency. He hasn’t played ranked yet so he doesn’t share that you can use ‘Dat’ or ‘Dis’ in place of the proper words, and it looks like he won’t stick around to learn that part. Despite the trash, despite the hate, despite the racism, I still stick around League of Legends for the competition. It’s an interesting setup and gives you something to shoot for.

Once you have the requisite amount of champions (16) and levels (30) you can enter into the dreaded abyss that makes Barren Chat look like Sunday school and play Solo Queue Ranked games in League of Legends. Solo Q matches you with four random strangers on your team, and 5 random strangers on the other, after being “matched” through Riot’s super secret system. You then “discuss” what roles you want to play, throw together a team, and go off to get MOBA glory. If you win, you get League Points (LP). If you lose, you lose LP. The amount you gain or lose depends on who the secret matchmaker things should have won. Win a game that you are supposed to and you get little gains. Lose a game you are favored to win and see the points melt away.

Once you hit 100 points, you get put into a best of 3 situation to move up a League. I need to backup a second – BEFORE you enter ranked, you play 10 ‘placement’ matches which will put you in a skill group and category. Currently it goes from Bronze to Platinum, with each metal having ranks 5 through 1. I was placed in Bronze III. Back to the 100 points. Once you earn 100 LP in your bracket, you are put into a best of 3 situation. Win 2 of 3 and you move up the scale (for me, Bronze III to Bronze II) and once you get into the “I” division of your color, win a best of 5 and you move up to the next precious metal. Bronze to Silver to Gold and so on.

I just won my second of three placement matches and moved up to Bronze II and unlike MMO achievements, it actually felt like an accomplishment. Against the feeders, ragers, AFK’ers, and racists – I persevered and now have earned the distinction of a Bronze II League placement. I have set a goal to make Silver I so wish me luck.

And oh, although I still haven’t had 10 games without trash, I did reward Riot for enjoying this stint of games and bought a skin – General Wukong. I am 10-5 with him in ranked and am proving someone efficient with him.