Budget ‘Lock

I have been having a lot of success with the Zoo variation of the Warlock deck in Hearthstone. I’ll admit, I originally saw the deck online, so it is a Net Deck. I know, how noob of me. It’s not as if I haven’t played the Warlock successfully otherwise. My “Murlock” deck was pretty cool, and wasn’t like typical Murloc decks, mainly because I was lacking some of the cards. My best deck remains my Hunter, and I built that one from scratch, so I know that my deck making skills aren’t complete crap. Still, the Zoo variation is quite flexible, and with just a bit of luck, you decimate your foes very quickly. In the games where your staying power is tested, sometimes it doesn’t work out so well. Still, there will be a twist of fate and the right combo will present itself and you’ll still get the win when all had looked lost.

My “budget” version of the Zoo deck didn’t have any legendaries or even epic cards. It was all rare or below, and it was working well. I substituted some cards for ones I didn’t yet own, and that worked out ok. Then I played an even more stripped down version for the NBI tournament (that is still going on by the way. I have plans for a post about that when it finally ends) and still did pretty well with it (in matches that counted, I didn’t lose, but of course J3w3l managed to beat me when I played her on our own time). I have since crafted all of the cards needed to make this still count as a budget deck, but I have two of everything and it synergizes quite well. Here’s the decklist:

zoodeck

Tonight I was running some dailies that I let pile up (last night I wasn’t in the mood and the night before I was playing EQ2) and I played with the Zoo deck. I lost a few sure, but overall I had a good little run. After finishing my dailies I needed ten more gold for an arena ticket, and luckily I only needed one more win to get in. One game, one win, check. With my Arena ticket in hand, I picked a Warlock and built the closest deck to my Zoo variation as possible. There were some differences but I managed to get some of the core cards. I’m not sure how it went down like this, but I ended up 6-3 when my Arena run was over and received a decent reward. I was surprised by my success because I cannot count how many times I’ve built what I thought was an excellent Arena deck and got trounced 3 times in a row. That didn’t happen this time, and I was glad for it.

I streamed tonight’s activities, you can check the broadcast out over on my Twitch Channel.

#hearthstone #streaming #warlock #zoo #arena

I’m Supporting the NBI, Here’s Why

nbi2014

My exposure to the Newbie Blogger Initiative (NBI from here on) was limited until this year. During the first year my only knowledge of the event was from reading a few posts from participants whose blogs I happened to already read. I didn’t follow any links to other blogs or to the official site, for reasons I’m not sure of. I read the participants’ articles and then went back to whatever I was doing at the time. I remember off-handedly thinking that the NBI was akin to NaNoWriMo, and though that’s also something that interests me, I didn’t feel the inspiration to participate at that point in time.

Within the last year I’ve become a more active blogger. This has nothing to do with the NBI, I motivated myself through some reflection. The NBI is something that might have helped me get to this point faster though, and my self-reflection had me remembering why I started blogging in the first place. We didn’t even call them blogs yet; the term “web log” (where “blog” is derived from) hadn’t been coined. They were home pages, and they lacked any sort of focus, design principles or real content. “Clown Pants” would be an adequate term. Eventually a group of my friends and I decided that we should form a collaborative web page where we could all post articles, and though this still didn’t have all that much purpose or content, we ended up as part of a network. I don’t recall the name of the network, but we were provided hosting to do with what we pleased, had quite a few other sites in our blogroll that we conversed with and formed a community. This was rather short-lived (from the late 90’s to about 2002 or so), and then it seemed that blogging was dead for a while, as anyone who I knew that participated had given up the hobby. When I started up this blog, I wasn’t sure how much of a community would be out there, but I went ahead and wrote what I wanted to write anyway.

I remembered how much more fun it was to write for an audience when thinking of my past. I wanted that sort of audience again, however small it may have been. I might have built up a little bit of a reader-base on my own, but I know that it has expanded much more rapidly just through my short time as a supporter of the NBI. I want to help shape a community. This has been sorely missing from the Internet in years past, and the support of a community alone can inspire someone to try and do something more than just write words for themselves. Don’t get me wrong, I firmly believe that you should write for yourself, and not worry about what other people think. But that is a core value you will have learned by the time you come to a point that you want an audience of like-minded individuals. When we write for others it is a gift we give of ourselves.

One day while doing my rounds I stumbled upon the Gaming Blog Nexus. I saw it as a great way to get some of my posts out into other networks (most of my traffic usually came from search engines or from within WordPress). From there I ended up on the NBI homepage, noticing announcements that #NBI2014 was coming, and they were looking for volunteers who were existing bloggers to help organize the event. I gladly volunteered, and next thing I knew I was getting involved in all sorts of cool things. I can’t spoil anything here, but I think this year’s event will put the others to shame.

As one of the Old-Guard (a nickname for veteran bloggers), I feel like I can contribute to this budding community by helping others with their writing, sharing my own stories and experiences, and participating in the NBI event by writing articles and playing games with other bloggers. I just wish I could have been involved sooner! While the official start date is still a couple of days away, I wanted to get this out there now. I have a guide to add to the wealth of information the community has already created, that will be coming May 1st.

#nbi2014 #NBI #newbiebloggerinitiative #community

League of Legends Night!

The NBI is in full effect, and what better way to keep the camaraderie going than another great in-game event? This time we’ll be facing off in ARAM (all-random, all-mid) battles in League of Legends. There are some great prizes up for grabs and you won’t be getting them if you aren’t playing, so what are you waiting for? Go to the NBI forums and sign up! Make sure to include your name (blogging handle) and Summoner ID (your in-game name for LoL). Also make sure to download the client and get it patched prior to May 10th so you’re all set to go. We are playing on the NA server. Sign ups for the event close on May 9th.

lolnightNBI

Hope to own, er, see you there!

(credit is due to Ashmo for helping me photoshop the flier)

#nbi2014 #NBI #newbiebloggerinitiative #leagueoflegends #bloggerbattles

May IGC

Another month down, another round of Playstation Plus freebies. This month is a little on the light side, most likely because of the fact that the “permanent” fixtures are going to be rotated out very soon. I could have sworn that kept occurring in May, but perhaps it is June that the main 3 or 4 games will get swapped out. That month tends to be one of the best of the year, especially for AAA titles you might not have checked out before. Here’s the video preview, commentary to follow:

On the PS4, the new game of the month is called “Stick it to the Man”. Although the title sounds vaguely familiar, I’m not exactly sure what that one is about. I still haven’t picked up a PS4 yet, so add it to the list of games I’ll check out when that day comes.

On the Vita, a couple of indie games that I haven’t really played/read/heard about: Surge, and Limbo. I recall the latter title but it isn’t something I’ve played, and I’m still just adding these Vita games to the pile for a day when I might get that system. I swear a PS4/Vita bundle would give me so many new games to play my head would explode.

Finally, on the PS3 side of things, we’re getting a couple of decent titles. Puppeteer got rave reviews and up until now I hadn’t ever tried it. I’m interested to see how that one turns out. I’m not sure who asked for sports titles in the IGC, but they got their wish. Pro Evolution Soccer 2014 is coming to the service this month, and though I am not a soccer fan, it’s good to see Sony adding variety to the mix. It’s been a while since the last sports game. Too bad it’s not Madden, though. The game I’m most excited about this month? Read on.

Skullgirls is a 2-D fighting game that I always wanted to try, and almost bought on more than one occassion. The character design is wacky, and overall the game reminds me of Darkstalkers, with an all-female cast. There was some sort of legislation with the game’s creators and either their publisher or distributor or something to that effect, so the game was being “remade”, and re-released as Skullgirls Encore. This version was supposed to contain more stuff and/or be patched to be the best version of the game possible. It’s been a while since we got a fighting game, and even longer since I really got into one, so I’m looking forward to playing this bad boy (or should I say bad girl?)

What game are you looking forward to most?

#playstation #playstationplus #IGC #instantgamecollection

Around the World in Several Days

I’ve had another couple of nights in Norrath recently. One of those days I was grouped up with the guildies in several zones, mostly from the Sentinel’s Fate expansion this time, as we had cleared nearly any other zone that was doable with my gear/level/AAs. My Brigand has progressed to around 250 AAs, so I only need 30 more before I can truly start getting into the newer expansions, along with leveling beyond 90. It’s been slow going mainly because I haven’t poured a whole lot of time into it, but when I have it has been fun. Here’s some assorted screens from that night’s adventures:

EQ2_000011 EQ2_000012 EQ2_000000 EQ2_000002 EQ2_000004 EQ2_000005 EQ2_000006

On Friday night I spent some time playing my Paladin, whom needed some love. Turns out that he wasn’t all that far behind either, so I ended up getting him to 220 AAs on the eve. I also remembered that I had actually been playing him more towards the end of my last visit to EQ2-land, so his gear was a bit more tuned for what we needed to do. I successfully tanked everything, although we did have a group of 3 along with 3 mercenaries. It was challenging at times, but we had a good time overall, and I managed to finish his enervated epic quest as well. That netted me the Mythical Truth of Marr, which gives the blade a nice “holy light” effect, along with the buffs from it in spell form. So now both of my main characters have their buffs + cool looking weapons in their appearance slot (as the weapons themselves aren’t so hot anymore). Here’s what the pally looks like these days:

EQ2_000015

We called it a night after finishing the quest run. The plan from here is to get my Brigand to 280 AAs so that I can start on the Withering Lands quests and move into Chains of Eternity. After that, it’s on to the newest expansion, Tears of Veeshan. From what I hear the end game is surprisingly different compared to previous expansions, so here’s hoping to the lack of grindy treadmill mechanics in exchange for something else. I’ll work on my Paladin in there from time to time as well, but I’m sure once I’ve eaten up most of the content I’ll move onto another game. Such is the way of the Themepark.

#everquest2 #mythicalepic #envervated #paladin #brigand