Lunar Revel 2014

The Seasonal events just keep coming in League of Legends. As a game that is played extensively throughout the world, there are more than just American holidays celebrated in-game. This is the time of the Chinese New Year, and the Lunar Revel is League’s celebration of it. As with all of the holiday events, there are new summoner’s icons to earn, and new skins to buy. I’m surprised though, that there wasn’t a featured game mode to go along with the celebration. Still, the icons are less exclusive than usual, being earned just by playing and winning on the different game maps. The skins are cool, but once again all on champs that I don’t really play. I have enough ward skins as well, so I’m passing on all the purchase-ables. Here’s the links to the goods:

Lunar Revel Site
Warring Kingdoms Tryndamere Skin
Lunar Goddess Diana Skin
Dragonblade Riven Skin

Also, there is a post over on that sounds like a champion teaser:

For many moons our prison held the butcher at bay, but now it’s simply a matter of time before he erupts onto the rift.

You’ve been warned.

I mean, what else could it be? Some sort of special event? Maybe, but I’m betting on a champion teaser, mainly because I also found some leaked champion information a few days ago, and the “rift” clue makes me think that “Velkoz” is coming:



One way or the other, this champion sounds pretty cool. I guess we’ll find out if he’s what the mystery is all about.

The State of the Game #14

This week was more of the same, with some added splashes of new/old games thrown into the mix. As usual, I played quite a bit of my usual MOBAs, but I also ran through a new game, and fired up an old friend that’s been sitting on my hard drive for over a year. I also hit a milestone this week, but more on that in a bit. The playlist this week was Awesomenauts, League of Legends, Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons, Battlefield 3, and Doom 3 BFG.

It was a little over a year ago that I wrote my last post relating to my PSN trophy level. I have gone over how achievements/trophies/whatever-you-want-to-call-them are less of a priority for me than they once were, but I still like seeing the numbers change and how my trophy collection stacks up to my friends. I don’t have hundreds of friends on PSN, so I am only taking a small sample size of the community, but of the friends I do have, there are only a couple of them that are truly obsessed with trophy gathering. One in particular has nearly  100 platinum trophies, a number which I would never even hope to attain. I’ve probably played over 100 games on my PS3, but not all of them had platinum trophies, and those that did were sometimes ridiculously hard to earn, or the game just wasn’t fun enough to warrant all that play time. I’ve earned 8, and have a few games that are within reach of the platinum, but I’m in no hurry to earn more. Still, my last post on the subject had me sitting close to 1500 trophies, and almost to level 14, and I have now hit level 15 during the course of the week. I’m almost to 2,000 trophies as I write this as well. It took a year to earn a level, and that goes to show how much I’ve slowed down with achievement-based gaming. Part of what got me to the next level was my play through of Brothers, and I’ve already dedicated a full post to that, so no more commentary is needed. Here’s what has happened with the other games on the list:

I believe I have made it over “the hump”. In last week’s column, I mentioned that I was nearing 16k rating and had broken into the top 1600 rank-range, but that it was becoming increasingly more difficult to get my numbers to go up/down (up in the case of rating, down in the case of rank). This week I saw a considerable jump on both ends, and I didn’t really play any more games than usual. I’m now sitting at rank 1361, and have a rating of 16216. Getting over the hump into the 16k rating-range has made it that much easier to go up in rank, as I went from 1600~ to 1300~ in a matter of a couple of days. I also prestiged for the the final time, and am about halfway to max level. Once that happens, there really won’t be any other form of progression outside of climbing the leaderboards, but that has been fulfilling in itself. Here’s the proof:



My roommate is rather upset, because at some point (back when we were in the 3000~ rank-range) he was rated higher than me, and after I passed him up he’s never come close. I think he is rank 2900 or so, which isn’t to say he’s bad, perhaps he’s just had worse luck. Or maybe he’s just bad 🙂

League of Legends:
My Brother-in-law mentioned that he got his little brother playing League, and he was seemingly picking it up rather quickly. At some point he had made a “smurf” account (new account that starts at level 1 and has to be leveled, but you have the higher level gameplay experience, usually giving you an advantage when playing against those with a low MMR), and was using it to play with his brother. I thought it sounded like a good idea, because if I played with them on my main account, I would probably suffer a loss of MMR because of their lower skill level. So I made my own smurf account. I have yet to play with them, but I did play a bot match with the new account, and forgot how truly bad people are when they first start playing the game. Hard to believe I too was that bad at one point, and I’m not even that good now.

Outside of the smurfing, I started playing more classic again, as I reunited with an old friend in the game, and we have been tearing it up. Every game I have played with him has ended in a win, despite some of the games seeming like they would be a loss. We have a similar play style though, so our synergy elevates the rest of the team. I have mostly played Support, and because I hadn’t really played much classic since the new season started (or throughout preseason for that matter) I realized that I needed to tweak my builds and my runes/masteries. I was finding that the runes I was using to add gold per 5 aren’t really as necessary anymore, as the new gp5 items and masteries really made a difference. I was having an over abundance of gold, but was noticing that my AP ratios were lacking. As such, I have shifted the focus of my rune page from gp5 to ability power. Here’s the new page:



Keep in mind, this is a work in progress because I didn’t have the marks I decided I wanted to use. I am now using flat AP quints (+15 AP), AP/level glyphs (+28 AP @ lvl18), Flat Armor seals (+12~ armor), and Hybrid penetration marks (will give armor and magic penetration). I’m not sure on how it will work 100%, because I was using armor marks previously, and only have two of the hybrid pen marks as of right now. So I’m a little tankier and have a little less penetration for the time being. The justification for these runes is that the extra ability power really helps early game skirmishes, the armor is protection from the opposing AD, and from the auto attacks that the opposing support will throw at you. The hybrid penetration will help you do more damage with your own auto attacks, and will also help with spell damage. This is an aggressive set up, but you should always be trying to poke as the support, especially if you are ranged. I used this build with Sona and it seems to work out better, mainly because you still have manageable gold amounts, but also hit a little harder in early game lane trades. Supports no longer have to be a heal bot, they can actually do some damage.

The Others:
I played more Battlefield 3 here and there. It’s still going strong from what I can tell, no matter what time of the day I get on, there are always multiple full servers. Perhaps some people never moved on to #4, or maybe because of its buggy launch they went back to 3 for a while. Either way, it’s nice to see that it hasn’t be completely abandoned. I really want to like the rush mode or the domination mode, but there’s something wonky about the vehicle controls that throw me off. The first time I piloted a jet I crashed before anyone knew I was in the air. I somehow managed to put a helicopter on it’s side and still move for quite some distance. The tanks aren’t as bad, but I still got lit up by the opposition. For now, playing the good ol’ infantry-based deathmatch is the most fun to me. I even fired up the single player campaign just to see if there was some missions that would teach me how to properly control the vehicles, but I haven’t played one yet. More on this later.

Finally, I returned to Doom 3 BFG. I pre-ordered this game, and played it a bit upon release. I played it a little here and there. At one point I decided it was best to play through Doom 1 & 2 first before playing through 3, and I beat the old games, just to let the title collect dust again. I was looking at it the other day and said “why not?”, so I picked up where I left off, basically at the very beginning of the game. I only played one night, but I made a fair bit of progress. I believe I’ve made my way farther than I have ever been, as I had played the game a time or two before on different platforms, but have not beaten it anywhere. The game still looks pretty good, but is showing some of its age, particularly in the area of aiming. I get frustrated playing games where you don’t have the option to look down the cross hairs of your gun. But it’s still got enough spunk to keep it fun. I was still jumping every time they threw something crazy and unexpected at me, and that damn flashlight still doesn’t stay charged long enough!

Normally I’d go into what’s ahead at this point, but I really don’t know. I have been in one of those moods where I bounce around a bunch. Still having the craving to play an MMO again, but I’m unsure where I might do so. Guess we will have to wait until next week to find out what I decide. Until then.



Brothers: A Tale of Mediocrity

This past Tuesday, the new free game on offer through Playstation Plus was an Indie title by the name of “Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons”. I recall reading praise for the game, Metacritic has it scored at an 86/100 (excellent by most definitions) and the user ratings are hovering at 8.5/10. This is one of the many times I have seen a score not reflect my feelings for a game, but this just seems like everyone is being far too generous. Typically my feelings go the other way, where a game that scores low is actually a gem.Creating a game is no easy task, and I know that project development takes time, money and manpower to accomplish — all of this before actually getting to work. Developers don’t green light something unless it seems like a good idea, and in turn will make the company a profit. I fail to see what the grand scheme here was; I am lost as to what everyone else is so in love with.

Let’s start with the normal breakdown:

The graphics are stylized, in that they are somewhat cartoonish, but still realistic enough. There are some fantasy tropes (orcs, ogres (or are they trolls?)), and they are many cut scenes intertwined through the adventure. Overall I liked the art direction, even if it was a little too cute/family-friendly/G-rated. This is probably the best part of the game when it comes down to it, as I have complaints everywhere else.

There’s gonna be spoilers here, fair warning. This game isn’t new, so the story has been out there for a long time, if you haven’t played the game and want to see for yourself, skip this section. The story in this game is a bit hard to follow. I’m not entirely sure if the designers are from another country and as such the language being spoken is foreign, but for the most part it seems like gibberish. Not to sound insensitive to other languages, but it really sounds like gibberish. This leaves the player to infer what is really going on. Hand gestures are great, and I am smart enough to infer what is happening, but regardless of if a different language is being spoken or it is just gibberish, I feel like it broke the immersion. I think subtitles would have been in order, or some narration, anything really. It irritated the shit out of me having to guess why we were climbing a castle in the middle of nowhere, or helping sea turtles reunite with their mother. Anyway, you are two brothers, your mom died when the little bro failed to rescue her from drowning, and your Dad is sick. You have to go on a journey to get some shit and make him better. That’s the arc in a nutshell. There is talk of how the game is emotionally charged, and that people who have played through it were “touched” in some way. I felt absolutely nothing. Perhaps I’m a cold-hearted bastard, or perhaps I’ve seen all of these tired cliches before. There wasn’t anything here that made me feel connected to the characters. Add in the fact that the game clocks in a 3 hours to complete and there’s absolutely no replay value (unless you want to play for trophies), and this story was mediocre at best.

The gameplay relies on the controller’s two sticks, and two buttons, L2 and R2. As simple as that is, controlling both brothers at once can be challenging at best, frustrating at worst. The concept is neat and all, but when you have to control both brothers through some tight spots, you’ll be lucky to not be throwing your controller. Honestly, I didn’t have that much trouble and I completed the game quickly, but it was still enough to be frustrating. There is no combat, puzzles are pretty easy, but jumping and  climbing are at a premium. Getting the trophies were easy as well, I was at 100% by the end of my 1st playthrough, and have already uninstalled the game.

Overall I can’t say that the game was really worth my time. I don’t think it’s worth yours either. If it wasn’t so short and easy, I wouldn’t have even bothered to complete it. On the plus side, the adventure itself had some high points, some interesting concepts, and was polished enough. I just don’t see the point, so it all fell flat for me. I would give it a 4/10, there really isn’t anything going for it. Did you play the game? What did you think?

The State of the Game #13

Here were are again, this time falling on lucky number 13. I had another busy week, not really even having time to post anything since last Tuesday. Part of the reason for this is that it was a Finals week (new class started up today), and I worked a few extra hours as well. But, that’s not going to affect the content of this week’s column, because I have a lot to talk about! As I mentioned last week, Bioshock: Infinite was the new free game via Playstation Plus, and that did consume some of my time, but I have decided to bookmark my progress in that game until I manage to go back and play the first two. I realize that the storylines aren’t really even relative, but I still feel like I should experience those two games first. I will come back to those games at a later date, though I do have some further commentary on B:I later in the post. I also spent a fair bit of time with both Awesomenauts and League of Legends this week, and have one other surprise game that I pulled out of the archive. Let’s get on with it, shall we?

I am nearing my final prestige level, finally. I am rank 35 or so (of 45) and then I will prestige for the tenth and final time. Once I have all of the high rank abilities, all of the time, it’s going to be over for the competition! I have also almost broken into the 16k tier of the rating system, and am nearly in the top 1600 players in the world (on the PS3 that is). I’m not sure how that would rate me compared to Xbox 360 players or the PC players, but I feel pretty good about being that close to the top. My 1615 or so rank on the leaderboards is the best I have accomplished thus far, and that’s good for a 15900~ rating, but it is increasingly difficult to get that number to go up. I have been floating around 15800-15900 for the last month. I believe by this time next week if I keep doing well I should be able to best 16000 rating, and drop below 1600 on the leaderboard.

League of Legends:
I was still going along with my playing-nothing-but-ARAM pattern at the beginning of the week, until one day I was contacted by one of my friends online who wanted to play some Classic with me. We hadn’t played together since last season, and I really haven’t played with anyone at all since then, so I jumped at the opportunity. Since I hadn’t played any Summoner’s Rift since all of the preseason changes went in, or the even more recent changes with patch 4.1, I was showing a bit of rust when the game began. My friend ran Hecarim in the jungle, we had a Jax up top, Katarina in mid lane, and I was supporting a Jayce carry as Sona. I was worried about the Jayce pick to begin with, as I usually see him used in a Bruiser role on top lane, but it turns out I was worrying for nothing. My early rust turned into a dominant game. We were smart and didn’t feed, I kept wards up at all times, I really fell in love with the support buffs, as I was never wanting for gold (and I was always gold starved before, even with all of my extra gold earned from Runes/Masteries — these are even better than before along with the new gold earning items and extra help for the vision war with the trinkets), and later on we were completely destroying the enemy team. We managed to destroy all three outer turrets by the twenty minute mark, and the enemy team surrendered. Check my final score:

The 5th game down is highlighted at right

Another fun story from a game of ARAM: I was playing Ezreal and one of my teammates was Varus. We were facing an enemy Ziggs that really wasn’t all that skilled, but still managed to poke the hell out of us anyway. At one point Varus was gravely wounded and he was attempting to outrun one of Ziggs’ bouncing bombs, but was clearly not going to make it. At the last possible second, I used my E to teleport into the path of the bomb and save Varus. We both retreated to the nearby bush, and I typed in “All for you!”. He responded “I love you <3”, while Ziggs dropped his ultimate right on our heads. It was a good laugh.

Bioshock: Infinite:
I really look forward to playing through this game. As I mentioned before, I have put a bookmark in this game as of now, but I played through quite a bit of the beginning of the game in a couple of evenings. I really am tempted to just run through the game, but I have that completionist spirit in me that wants to play through the whole series first. This isn’t a game like Call of Duty where the multiplayer is exactly the same every game, and for the most part so is the story line. This is a game where the story is the best part of the game and the combat is only a small portion of it. The story for Infinite is seemingly similar to the original Bioshock in that some nut job created a city in an unlikely place. In #1, the city was under the sea, whereas in Infinite the city is in the sky. Entrance to the city is interesting enough in that you are launched in a pod from a light house, but you land smack dab in some sort of temple where the cult-like assembly wants you to assimilate to their viewpoint. The religious cult undertones in this game are something that I can appreciate, because as an Atheist I feel that all religions are cult-like (yes, that probably includes yours). Some examples of the dogma of this fictional world:

Haven't figured out if this is an "emaculate conception"
Haven’t figured out if this is an “emaculate conception”
This "false shepard" sounds like "satan"
This “false shepard” sounds like “satan”
"Mark of the Beast" anyone?
“Mark of the Beast” anyone?

Oh yes, all of Christianity’s tired cliches are present. During this portion of the game, a fair is going on in the city, and there is a parade float going through that has the story of Columbia depicted. The other mumbo jumbo propaganda is littered throughout the city, though I really appreciated the latter picture. When you come upon this sign for the first time you actually raise your hand in front of you and see the “AD” mark on your hand, knowing that you are playing the so-called “villain” of the story. I’m not sure if the creators were aiming to make fun of religion in general, or if they were just using the same ideas to make some new thing to be hated, but either way I like where it’s going so far. I will come back to this game and speak more of this when I get to it.

Now for the surprise game:

Battlefield 3:
Late to the party, yeah I know. Still, I haven’t really ever given the Battlefield series a chance. When people were playing the original Battlefield 1942, I was playing Counter-Strike and Day of Defeat (both Half-life 2 mods if you didn’t already know). I tried it and wasn’t as thrilled with it. I also tried Battlefield 2 at a friend’s house later on, and still wasn’t impressed. I had become a Call of Duty player by that point, and CoD held my interest up until Modern Warfare 3. At that point, I become disenfranchised with Call of Duty altogether, and boycotted the series. I have stayed true to that sentiment through two installments of the game, having avoided Black Ops 2 and Ghosts altogether. Lately though, I have been feeling that crave for competitive gameplay (this should be obvious with all my talk about LoL and Awesomenauts) that falls outside of the MOBA genre. I love my MOBAs, but I wanted some first person action that wasn’t all story-line intensive. Yes, Battlefield does have a single player campaign, but as of right now all I want to play is the multiplayer component.

I realize that Battlefield 3 is something like 2 1/2 years old and that Battlefield 4 released at the end of last year, so I am definitely far behind and it’s probably not the best time to jump into a shooter like this (populations die out when new titles are released). I’d also have to pay $50 to get all of the DLC for the game, which at this point seems like a joke. I have no intentions of doing so, because if I had $50 to throw away, I might as well just get a copy of the newest release, regardless of if it doesn’t have DLC yet. I actually don’t want to get caught in that DLC trap again, but I do crave an awesome multiplayer experience. That’s one thing I can’t fault CoD on, regardless of if it was nearly the same thing over and over again, it was always fun when I did play it. So, with all that said, BF3 was free for plus members a while back and I had skipped over it, but I decided the other night to go back and play it. I had a lot of fun blasting people and it didn’t feel like I was at a huge disadvantage even lacking all of the stuff you unlock as you progress through the multiplayer portion. I ended up only playing on maps that were designated as Team Deathmatch, so it was basically the same experience as one would have playing CoD, as there weren’t vehicles to control. That is a portion of the game that I want to try out, along with any other game modes. If I do all of that and I end up enjoying myself, I just might get a copy of BF4 at some point down the line. One good thing is that all of the controversy about the game’s stability has made DICE fix the problems it’s had since launch (or so I’ve read elsewhere), and I can get a copy of the game for PS3 and later upgrade it to a PS4 edition if I so choose. We’ll see what happens.

This week the Plus game is Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons. It looks interesting enough and I’ll give it a whirl. I’ve heard good things. Til next week.

The State of the Game #12

This week the column is going to be fairly short. Part of this is due to the fact that my winter break from school is over, so I have been focusing more time on that. Aside from having played through Devil May Cry, I also only played my two standby MOBAs. I’ve also had a renewed interest in my Netflix queue, and have been trying to watch something from my list once a day. So forgive me if this all sounds repetitive.

As I already posted previously, I played through DmC in three sittings. The game was pretty short, although I was pretty good at it, only having real trouble with the mid-game boss and a little with the final one, who really just came down to knowing the trick. If you need to know the trick, save your Devil Trigger until the shadow of your brother is protecting him. Once that happens, utilize your trigger and attack as normal. Don’t say I never gave you any useful information. If you missed that post, click here. Otherwise, on with the other games.

In Awesomenauts, I have continued on the path of improvement. I have really seen my skill level in the game take leaps and bounds. I am frequently the teammate with the most kills, least deaths, and focus on objectives with the best of them. My win percentage isn’t indicative of these facts though, and as a result I have been recruiting more people to play with. I have had the good luck the last few days to end up with good players, good enough that I have added them as friends and played with them more often. I used to think me and my roommate were pretty good at the game. Now I feel like he is holding me back. It seems the higher I climb on the leaderboards, the more I find better players, and keeping them on my team has helped to climb the leaderboards even more. Unfortunately, there are times when no one is playing, or I just go solo and sometimes that ends up in defeat, which then drops my rating more significantly than the wins raise it. That being said, I am consistently sitting in the 1600-1700 range on the leaderboard, currently around 1640. I went through another prestige level, and am nearing the tenth and final one. Once I have max rank and max prestige level, there will be no stopping me. Prestige limits your performance because you get stuck with the low end abilities, and once you get to the high end ones, it’s time to prestige again. When I don’t have to worry about going back, I’ll have the best stuff all of the time, and that will be great for my ranking. More on this as it develops.

In League, it has been more of the same. I have still been playing a few ARAMs here and there. I noticed that my LP was going to start decaying, but the 2014 season (season 4) just started today, and as a result the leaderboards will be reset soon. Because of that fact I am not worrying about my rank or LP, and won’t start playing ranked again until the reset. Might as well get started when everyone else does. I am looking forward to getting back into ranked play. I felt I had some good development last season, and this time I am setting the bar higher, I want to break into Gold tier at minimum this season. There is a new information site dedicated to the new season now, and they have already said that the Team Builder feature is going to be added sometime during this season, so that’s good news, although that doesn’t affect ranked play. Featured game modes are also still supposed to be utilized here and there. Speaking of which, yesterday there was some news on my favorite featured game mode thus far, Showdown.

Apparently it was supposed to be made into a fully supported game mode, though instead of being played on Howling Abyss, it was supposed to be on a new map called Magma Chamber. This was shown off at last year’s all-star game, but I wasn’t paying as close attention to League news at that point in time and missed it altogether. That game mode/map idea has been scrapped altogether, and from some data that was gathered during Snowdown, Showdown has been eliminated from becoming a full game mode. That’s a bummer for me, but they have already said that they want to explore the options of 1v1 and 2v2 modes in the future, so perhaps there is still some hope. More on this to come, and more on the upcoming seasonal changes that are sure to be in the works.

That’s really all for this week. Bioshock Infinite has already been offered for free this week through Plus, and I have already installed it. That will be the game of the week for me, barring it being crap or me being otherwise distracted. Until next time.