The State of the Game #11

I’m a bit late this week (the shame!) but I have a good reason. I was off this past Tuesday, and I had a very busy day. Not only did I have to get my car smogged, insured, and registered (it had been on a non-op), I also had a date that night. All things were accomplished, and life was good. Sorry for the delay!

Over the course of the week I was light on gaming anyhow, mainly due to the fact that there was New Year’s celebrations to be had, playoff football to be watched (I touched on this in my last post) and I had work. Back to school this week, so I am back to the grind. Still, I did play quite a bit of Awesomenauts and League of Legends. I don’t understand my fascination with MOBAs, but I simply can’t pull myself away from them. I suppose like all things, I go in waves, but aside from MMOs, I haven’t played anything else quite as religiously.

In Awesomenauts, I went through the prestige process once again, now a total of  8 times. I’m half way to the 9th, and there is one more to go after that. I have also been climbing the leaderboards pretty steadily, and actually broke into the 1600 range earlier in the week. I had some bad games since then though, and am now ranked in the low 1700s. Here’s a pic for posterity:


I can’t seem to break into the 16k rating though, and that has been frustrating. I ended up making a new “friend” the other night. I ended up on the team opposite him, and bots filled our our teams. The game came down to the wire, with him beating me by such a slight margin it wasn’t funny. He messaged me afterward saying that was an epic game and that we should team up some time. I added him as a friend and we went on a rampage for the rest of the night. Good times.

In League of Legends I had some varied experiences. I had mentioned before that I didn’t think I would earn one of the Snowdown icons due to it not working with my brother-in-law, but that was incorrect apparently, as it did appear later. 3/5 ain’t bad. On the last day of Snowdown I played the shit out of the Showdown mode, and had some fun with that. Later in the week after the event had ended, I went over to my sister’s house and played with my brother-in-law for a while, and that ended up being more frustrating than it was worth. When I’m at home, my ping floats between 20-70, and very rarely do I have issues with lag. As soon as I try to play with him in the same room, I get pings in the 60 (normal) to 4k range (wtf retarded). We will play successfully for small spurts, and then get bogged down completely with lag. It drove me crazy to the point where I left the final game I played without finishing, because I simply couldn’t handle not being able to control my character. In twitch based gaming, ping is your friend — or worst enemy. I told him that I could never come over and play that again, unless he buys a new router… or something. After Snowdown was over I fell back into my regular pattern of playing ARAM and logging off. Looking forward now to the next event that will probably come with a new featured game mode.

Lastly, I had been playing Tiny Death Star quite a bit after the “Bux Bug” had been fixed. I have since found another annoying bug that causes the game to crash every time I try this particular action. During the game there are crafting quests that are given out by Darth Vader, and I had completed many of them without incident. This particular quest that I’m on required three products, and I crafted the specific number of all three. From there I click “accept reward” and then the game promptly exits. If you hadn’t closed the game down (not minimized it to the background) in some time, you will lose all progress. The first time this happened I lost a lot of progress and was pissed off. Later I went back and tried again with the same result. I had recently saved up 75 bux to buy the next level elevator, and after having built up 40 levels on my Death Star I still want to be able to play the game as intended, which I cannot. This isn’t a game breaking bug like the Bux one was, but it’s still annoying that I’m still finding bugs this far after the release of the game. Apparently QA testing isn’t done for mobile games. With that said, I’m done with this one. It’s just not worth my time anymore.

Looking ahead, this week DmC is free for plus members, and I have downloaded that already. More on it as I play it. Until next week.

The State of the Game #10

I decided that rather than trying to come up with titles for the individual posts for this column it made more sense to simply number them. This is the tenth post of my weekly column, and I will probably keep this format for simplicity’s sake. The other part of my reasoning behind this was the fact that I didn’t play many titles this week, and there wasn’t any sort of theme. The Christmas holiday just passed, and it’s New Year’s Eve today, so gaming time was a bit limited. The playlist this week was League of Legends, Borderlands 2 and the Minecraft PS3 edition demo.

League of Legends:
I played League more than anything. I am really enjoying the Snowdown Showdown, and I did end up picking up one of the Snowdown skins. I was unimpressed with the new Sivir, Singed and Lulu skins because I really don’t play any of those champions. However, we were presented with the ability to buy any of the retired Snowdown skins, and of the ones on offer, Ziggs is my favorite champion. I have been playing him a lot in Showdown, and have wanted to pick up one of his skins for a long time. Here’s the splash art for Snowday Ziggs:


He’s so awesome 🙂 Because of “wearing a snowdown skin” I earned another of the event’s summoner icons. I have now earned a total of eight icons from various events. I would have to send a mystery gift to a friend and play in a premade to earn the final three, but I’m not in the gifting mood anymore, and I haven’t been playing other modes outside of Howling Abyss. Apparently the premade doesn’t count with Snowdown matches, as I did play with my Brother-in-law quite a bit the other night. Still, I think it’s a nice little feature for those of us who like earning new stuff, even if it is just fluff. Playing the game is still where the real fun is at, and for a free to play game it has held my attention for far longer than I would have expected. Here’s a shot of my icon collection:


Borderlands 2:
I mentioned it at some point or another that I had decided it was time to play some multiplayer in Borderlands. I finally followed through with that, in an attempt to level up my Gunzerker without having to grind through the same missions by myself. I still ended up having to play through some of the same content, but the added difficulty that comes from playing with other people makes it a little more “fresh.” Basically, adding another player to the game ups the difficulty, and when you get four players in the same game, enemies become ridiculously tough. So much that when I matched up with some players that were only a level or so above me, I was getting dropped left and right, but so were they. We never fully wiped but there were times when 1 or 2 of us would have to respawn because a revive wasn’t going to happen. This ended up being a lot more fun, but the looting system kind of sucks, in that everyone fights to grab the better colored stuff. I wasn’t too concerned though, as I never intended to play my zerker again after completing the trophy. Leveling from 15 or so to 21 occurred over the span of a couple of nights. I then retired to my own little world to try and earn the trophy. I found a few places where enough enemies spawn of lower level that I felt I’d be able to Gunzerk for 90 seconds, but as of right now I haven’t completed the task. That’s on the to-do list and after it’s been completed I will go back to my Siren, and attempt to clear the DLC content I have yet to touch, and in the process try to get her to level 50. I also have to finish up some of her challenges, and beat the final boss of the game (the raid boss from after finishing the storyline). At that point, I’d have a platinum trophy for the game. I’m unsure if I will buy the newer headhunter packs, the psycho, or the digistruct peak dlc. There aren’t additional trophies, and I may be burnt out on the game by then. We will see.

The Playstation 3 edition of Minecraft released last week, and having played Terraria and seeing their obvious similarities along with hearing that my Sister has become addicted to the game, prompted me to download the demo and see what the fuss was about. The demo is fairly limited in that you only really get to play the tutorial. Aside from the graphical differences of 2-D and 3-D games, Minecraft and Terraria start off pretty much the same. I didn’t see day turn to night, nor did I fight anything. I just learned how to harvest and craft, and it felt like more of the same. The major thing that irks me is that I can see the appeal of “retro” graphics, but I have a strong dislike for crappy 3-D graphics. When I started playing video games there wasn’t 3-D. I can see the appeal of 2-D graphics because I grew up with them. I also grew up with 3-D graphics, but it took quite a few years for it to advance far enough for things to look decent. Minecraft’s graphic style reminds me of games on the Sega Genesis that attempted to be 3-D or early 32-bit games like Virtua Fighter and Daytona USA that had “3-D graphics” that looked like utter dogshit even at the time. So Minecraft’s “charm” isn’t so charming after all, and deters me from really wanting to play it. Pixellation in 2-D is still charming to me though. I guess I’m picky. Either way, I’m not dropping $15 for Minecraft, though I might pick it up if I can get it for $5 or less. I’m sure it will be on sale soon enough.

Looking ahead I am planning on playing these games more (minus MC), and possibly delving into some of the other more recently purchased games. There is only a PSVita game on offer this week from plus, as it is the last Tuesday of December. The plus offerings next month will definitely keep me busy when they finally come out, and I am supposed to be borrowing Bioshock from a friend so I can get started playing through that series in preparation for Infinite’s Plus release. However I did just get my car back up and running, so buying anything game related is going to be on hold for a while, as I have real-life expenses to take care of. The next month should be great for gaming nonetheless.

Snowdown is finally here!

It took longer than I expected, though in past years I never really paid attention to the holiday events in League of Legends. I have been playing the game since 2011, but this past year (during Season 3) I played the most, and was the most active in paying attention to the new stuff on offer. I used to just read the patch notes. Now I have things to say. These are the way things are here, I go in waves with everything.

Snowdown is League’s winter event, and during the next couple of weeks, we have new winter-themed skins on offer (Lulu, Sivir, Singed) and the legacy vault is opened on all of the past Snowdown skins. As with all holiday events, there are opportunities to earn new Summoner’s icons, purchase skins, and the new trend brings along a new featured game mode: Showdown. But as will all events, most of what you can “earn” is through making purchases. For example, you can only buy skins for real world money, and some of the new icons are unlocked only after buying some of the themed content (skins, ward skins). This is fine, if you have the money. The limited availability makes it more tempting, because you know you’ll be part of the smaller group of people who ponied up for new stuff. However, that isn’t always enough of a draw. I like skins as much as the next guy. I like to earn new stuff that sets me apart from everyone else, it’s the American way. During the Harrowing I did make a purchase or two and did earn some of the new stuff. This time around, I think I’ll only be getting a couple of the icons, ones that are earned by playing. The first requires 3 wins in the new game mode (I already have two) and the other requires playing in a pre-made, which should be easy enough. Everything else requires a money expenditure, and I’m just not gonna do it this time. Maybe during the Lunar Revel things will be easier.

The trouble with all of these holiday events and sales is that we are supposed to be buying things for other people, and it’s so tempting to just buy for ourselves. I can admit to doing it more often than I should, but I did manage to get everyone something for Christmas this year, so I would technically be in the clear (I did actually bite the bullet on GOG again, but more on that later). However, having spent money on everyone else means I can’t afford this shit right now, as much as I would like to. So I’m going bah humbug right now. Maybe they should make these sales last until the end of January, to give our wallets time to recover?

Ok /rant off. Moving on, the new featured game mode “Showdown” also went live with the event, and I’m not sure on the time frame that we’ll have it available, but it is pretty awesome. Different than I expected, but still fun and a great change of pace. I know that most people play Summoner’s Rift almost exclusively, and that’s where the Ranked games happen, where the pros play as well. But dammit, I need variety, and that’s what’s being added here. Dominion was so-so. ARAM was a big win in my book. The last featured game mode (one for all) sucked, and so far Showdown is a win.

As I mentioned, it takes place on the Howling Abyss map, which is usually reserved for ARAM. That’s where the similarities stop though. I was expecting the game to play just the same, but instead of teams of 5, it would be 1v1 or 2v2. This isn’t the case. Also, instead of stating off at level 3, your champ starts at level 1. You don’t get the bonus starting gold. You do start with a free scrying orb trinket, so it’s nice to see them integrate that outside of Summoner’s Rift. You can also recall to base to heal and buy stuff, which is necessary if the game starts to lag. The win conditions are the strangest yet, and the hardest part to wrap your head around.

When playing by yourself against another player, you start off in a blind draft. You both get your 3 bans, and then make your champion selection. After in the game and heading down the lane, you will meet your enemy in the middle, and creep waves will funnel out as usual. Play will seem pretty standard, but you need to be mindful of last hitting, and be aware of giving up first blood. But you can’t be too passive and let your tower take too much damage either. Sounds pretty much the same right? Well those are the actual win conditions. Give up first blood, you lose. Let your enemy get 100 creep kills before you, you lose. Let them destroy your tower first, you lose. It’s a simple premise, but it’s effective. The games can be incredibly short.

Speaking of which, my first foray saw me playing one on one, and getting my ass handed to me before the 3 minute mark. All it takes is giving up that first blood. After getting a grip on the concept, I played 2v2 for a couple rounds and saw a couple of wins. Twitch/Blitz is a very effective combo, and Ziggs is still my most dominate champion on the map, regardless of mode. His harass is epic. I need to start playing him in Ranked. But I digress.

I vote that this mode makes it to the live game, with a dedicated queue. It beats the pants off of the last one.