Plus > Live

Playstation Plus’s Instant Game Collection (IGC) celebrated a year anniversary this week. This graphic tells an amazing story:

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In a year there’s been a total of 64 (mostly complete) games for Playstation 3 and PS Vita. I still really want to get a Vita, as I already have quite a collection of games for it. All of this for $50. Compare to the Xbox Live subscription service. Apparently Microsoft recently added free games to their required-for-multi-player service, but at two games per month, we’re talking a measly 24 games for roughly the same price. Even with the Playstation 4 requiring Plus for multiplayer like the current gen Xbox does, they still make it much more worth your while. I’m already sold on it, having been a member for more than a year now, so when I make the system jump I’m already prepared for the expenditure.

In the past year there have been games I loved, games I didn’t care for, and untried games for the vita that I have downloaded. I seriously have to juggle space on my 160 GB hard drive to try new games, but there’s always a new experience waiting to be had. It’s especially great when you have a down month and don’t have funds to buy new games, I don’t feel like I ever run out of things to do. I’m not aiming to convert anyone, but this is a serious deal.

XBox 180

The console wars took another turn today, as Microsoft did a complete 180 on their DRM and online check in policies. Good news for gamers who favor the Xbox over the Playstation console, and really no news at all for PC gamers. Its obvious why Microsoft would do so, as they were completely demolished by the PS4 at E3, and though people like me who never liked Xbox in the first place are unaffected, I still think that this is a good move on Microsoft’s part. Listening to your fanbase is definitely paramount in the industry; alienated fans will flock to your competition. I’m curious to see how much this affects there sales. In the comments on the above linked article, many people seem to have made up their mind to purchase an XBone because of these changes, I think if I was an Xbox fan, I wouldn’t trust Microsoft at all. It seems to me that the DRM issues, the online check-in, the used game issues, and the always-on Kinect would be part of the system architecture, meaning they are either having to completely re-do things, or they just simply turned these features “off”. If the latter is the case, then what’s to stop them from turning it right back on in the future? I guess time will tell.

Again, this doesn’t affect me one way or the other, but it’s interesting to keep track of the developments. I’m still on the Sony side, this won’t be changing any time soon.

Master Yi Changes (PBE)

Incoming Master Yi Re-work, finally! I’ve made a couple of snide comments in the past about how overpowered AP Master Yi is when playing ARAM, and this still holds true (it’s also true that I can’t seem to have the same overpowered results with him). Not only is there going to be a visual overhaul, but his kit is being reworked as well.

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Via LeagueCraft:

Why’d Master Yi get a new look?

Master Yi was one of the first League of Legends champions ever created. Back then the game had a less established artistic identity. We’ve learned a lot over the years, but we also thought it was important to preserve his core look and feel as a part of LoL history. The differences are subtle, but when you check out the new Yi you’ll notice his proportions are more in line with his fellow champs, his animations are more polished and he has some sweet new acrobatic moves on Alpha Strike, Double Strike and Highlander.

Why does Yi need a design update?

Most of AD Yi’s power comes from his basic attack combined with the steroid effects on Wuju Style, Highlander and Double Strike. Without AP, there’s almost no incentive to master your active skills – Meditate’s not a very effective disengage and Alpha Strike can actually make you lose DPS since you could be attacking during the cast animation. By contrast, AP Yi requires careful management of Alpha Strike, Meditate and Wuju Style to maximize damage and survivability, but doesn’t do a whole lot with his basic attack until he gets Lich Bane.

While both these playstyles are interesting in their own right, they don’t necessarily have to be mutually exclusive, and there’s probably a unified design that offers the best of both. Moreover, while AP Yi’s a rather compelling late game fighter, he’s extremely frustrating to face in lane, so scaling back Alpha Strike and Meditate was a necessary part of the update.

What’s happening to AP Yi?

While straight AP probably won’t remain a prominent build, AP Yi players will find many of the familiar elements of their playstyle intact. While Alpha Strike and Meditate are scaled back so they’re less overwhelming in lane, carefully managing your active abilities will play an important role in staying alive and maximizing your DPS. You’ll also have the added power of AD Yi’s basic attack to make up for your less devastating Alpha Strikes.

How’s the new Master Yi play?

We imagine the updated Master Yi will work well in both mid lane and the jungle. We definitely want to skew his itemization away from the typical tank-heavy fighter builds. The updated kit rewards glass cannon DPS builds that rely on disengaging with Alpha Strike and Meditate to stay alive. Most of his power still comes though items rather than natural scaling through levels. Overall, Master Yi players should have more strategic options, and more incentive to master his full kit to fight effectively.

These aren’t full details, obviously. However I like the idea of the changes to Yi; it appears that AD Yi will scale better and AP Yi will be scaled back. I’m hoping this is the case, because although I don’t mind the idea of either flavor of Yi, I don’t like the fact that he’s so powerful early-mid game. I’m ok with him fitting the “carry” role, where he is insanely powerful at end game, particularly on ARAM, where sometimes “end game” doesn’t happen. Hopefully further details will tell us just how far he has been buffed/nerfed. Perhaps he will fit more of a hybrid role now? I guess we’ll find out soon enough.

On all Fronts

The summer of 2013 is already rounding out to be one of the better summers in recent memory. There is something happening with nearly every subject of interest that I have. To begin, I’ll go over the things that have already come to pass:

League Related:

In League of Legends, the newest patch (3.8) went live a couple of nights ago, and brought with it some pretty significant balancing changes. I’m not going to go into too much detail, but will say that I love the fact that Riot is constantly improving the game, and they actually seem like a company that listens to its player’s feedback. I will comment that the item changes (pricing and balancing) that came through in this patch are worth taking a look at. I have also noticed since this patch that the game client seems to run smoother; I haven’t been having the constant issues with disconnecting and having random lag spikes. The full patch notes are linked above, and for those of you who don’t like to read, here’s the patch preview:

The newest champion, Aatrox the Darkin Blade, didn’t release on schedule with the patch, but was available last night when I was getting a few rounds of ARAM in. This is a new champion that I am actually excited to try out, which hasn’t happened for a while now. Some champions just call out to me, whereas some of the others just don’t. Here’s his champion spotlight, check it out for details:

Everything Else:

In one of my posts last month I spoke of my journey to metal, and nearly all of the bands I mentioned are releasing new albums this summer. The Black Dahlia Murder dropped their latest, “Everblack” this past Tuesday, and I haven’t been able to finish a day without giving it a spin. I have always enjoyed BDM’s style, and each album they continue to hold my attention, without getting old. I’m not any good at reviewing albums, but dammit it’s great if you enjoy metal like I do. Most critics agree, it’s received rave reviews. Later in July, Chimaira releases their new album entitled “Crown of Phantoms”, and then in August Revocation drops their self-titled album. Misery Index didn’t deliver this year, but according to their Facebook:

Our one and only trip to Europe this year starts next week, see you then, final dates below – Also, we can finally say, a new album will definitely be out by Spring 2014!

One of my other favorite bands of all time, Nine Inch Nails announced a new album that is releasing at the end of summer, on September 3rd called “Hesitation Marks”. The first single from this album was leaked a little early, but is officially out now, and you can check that out right here:

A good year for music indeed.

Now, on to E3. I have long been a fan of Sony’s products, particularly the Playstation console. I am not one to completely hate on all of the other consoles out there, as I have also owned Nintendo products, and have played my share on the Xbox consoles. Really I’d be a Sega fanboy still if they didn’t destroy their reputation so long ago. Since the first Playstation released, I have been on board. The main reason for this? Well at the time it was the games. Their exclusives were better than what the competitors were offering, and really the Xbox didn’t exist yet. When it did release, I was already firmly in the Sony camp, although I did end up giving Microsoft a chance (outside of their PC products, which I have no problems with). My major complaint? The controller. I’ll never forget the day my roommate purchased a 360. He did so specifically because he wanted a copy of Resident Evil 5, and the Xbox was cheaper at the time (otherwise he would have stuck with Sony, just like we both have throughout the years). This same year, Street Fighter IV released, and as a longtime fan of the series, I got it for his system, as I didn’t have the funds to get my PS3 yet. The controller killed that game for me, as I really couldn’t play as effectively with it. I did so-so on shooters and other games that he acquired, but my poor opinion of that controller has always stuck with me. Xbox doesn’t have exclusives I can’t live without, and most companies seem to avoid those exclusivity deals. So what if XBone owners are going to get the newest cut and paste Call of Duty game first? The DRM issue really doesn’t even bother me, I have an internet connection, and I intend to play games online. The used game issue is a little more touchy, as if I have the option to acquire one I want to be able to play it. I will admit though, that the way of the future is digital distribution, and most of my library of games are all virtual copies. So in that respect Microsoft is moving towards the future, but I still see my prior investment in Sony as something I should continue on with. PS Plus and PSN accounts are going to merge over to PS4, so why not stay where I am? I see no advantages in owning both consoles, and no advantages for jumping ship now. If I can’t get a game on my PS4, I’ll most likely be able to get it on my PC. I’m also not made of money, so the lower entry point is another selling point. If you prefer Wii U or XBone, good on you, but I’m still in the Sony camp.

Finally, “The Last of Us” released today, and I have yet to get my copy, but I have been looking forward to the game for what a year now? Whatever the case, it’s one of the last big PS3 releases and I want to get in on it. I am hoping to be able to get my hands on a PS4 during the initial launch, which is something I hadn’t done with any of the prior systems. I usually don’t have to have the next big thing right when it releases, but this just seems phenomenal. If I have the money to spend, why not?

Is it just me?

Or is anyone else excited that League of Legends has opened up “Latin America” servers? Before you ask, no I don’t speak Spanish, so no, I’m not planning on transferring. What excites me is the fact that (hopefully) many of the non-English speaking players will transfer to these servers, and we won’t have the huge communication barrier anymore. There have been far too many times that I played with Spanish-speaking players, and aside from pinging or general abbreviations, we couldn’t communicate effectively. This has cost me wins, as communication is very important in team games.

Of course this probably comes across as racist and politically incorrect, but I don’t give a shit. A game that’s developed in the US (here in California actually) is obviously going to be mostly populated by English-speaking players. A game like League that has spread in popularity around the world is going to have other language servers, and it’s about time that North America be split to reflect these differences. This is actually the first game that I have played that I’ve been affected by a language barrier, and I’m glad to see Riot is taking steps to help get rid of it.

Just a quick observation. Thoughts?